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Title: Franciscan Adventures [The sixth story in Lewis's 1927 collection The Wild Body: A Soldier of Humour and Other Stories]
Author: Lewis, Percy Wyndham (1882-1957)
Date of first publication: 1927
Edition used as base for this ebook: New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1928
Date first posted: 7 January 2011
Date last updated: 17 June 2014
Faded Page ebook#20110105

This ebook was produced by Barbara Watson & the Online Distributed Proofreading Canada Team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

This ebook was produced from images generously made available by the Internet Archive

[Pg 185]


by Wyndham Lewis

I found him in front of a crowd of awestruck children, the french vagabond, hoisting a box up under his arm, strapping it over his shoulder, and brandishing three ruined umbrellas. 'Ah, yes, say what you will, music, that is the art for me! Do you know, shall I tell you?' (he approached a little girl, who shrank abashed from his confidences). 'Shall I tell you, my little chicken?' he whispered, his voice sustaining in a sepulchral vibration the dise of 'veux-tu que je te dise?' and slobbering at 'poule,' which he puffed out from his vinous lips, eyes sodden, fixed and blank.

'I am musical!'

Waggling his head, he turned away and started down the road. Then he wheeled at their jeers. In big strides he hurried back: he saw himself as a giant in a fairy tale. The group of small children backed in a block, all eyes centering on the figure stalking towards them. He brought himself to a sudden halt, stiffened to lift himself still further above their lilliputian stature. 'Music!' he exclaimed: 'ah, yes, I am' (he paused, kneading them with his fiery eyes; then in a very confidential key) 'musical!' He proceeded with that [Pg 186]theme, but conversationally. In making use of certain expressions such as pianissimo and contralto, he would add, as a polite afterthought, 'that is a term in music.' Then, towering over his puny audience, arms extended, head thrown back, he would call out menacingly his maxims—all on the subject of music. Afterwards, dropping his voice once more, and turning his pompous and knowing eyes upon the nearest infant, he would add, in a manner suggestive of a favoured privacy, some further information or advice, 'Remember, the stomach is the womb! L'estomac, c'est la matrice! it is the stomach that sings! It comes out here.' He pointed to his mouth. He placed his hand midway on his person. 'It is born here.' Tall, slender and with graceful waving limbs, he wore a full beard, growing in a lustreless, grey-green cascade, while hair fell, curling at the ends, upon his shoulders. He had a handsome, fastidiously regular, thin and tanned face, in which his luminous black eyes recognized the advantage of their position; they rolled luxuriously on either side of his aristocratic nose. He would frequently pass his hands, of a 'musical' tenuity, over his canonical beard.

I thought I would stop and interrogate this shell. I watched his performance from a distance. He soon saw me and left the children. He passed, his hat struck down over his eyes, a drunken pout [Pg 187]of watchful defiance lying like a burst plum in a nest of green bristle and mildewed down, his nose reddening at its fine extremity. From beneath the hat-brim he quizzed me, but offering alternatives, I thought.

I smiled at him broadly, showing him my big, white, expensive teeth, in perfect condition.

'Good-day!' I nodded.

He might pull up, or perhaps he was too drunk, or not in the mood: I thought I would leave it at that. He was not sure: the tail of his eye interrogated.

'Good-day!' I nodded more sharply, reassuringly.

An arch light replaced the quizzing scowl, but still he did not stop.

'Good-day!' I exclaimed. 'Yes!' I nodded with pointed affirmative.


He went on, his eyes trained sideways on me. I gave a salvo of emphatic nods in quick succession.

'Yes!' I coaxed. I showed my teeth again. 'Why yes!'

He was repelled by my shabby appearance, I saw. I opened my coat and showed him a rich coloured scarf. I smiled again, slowly and hypnotically, offering to his dazzled inspection the dangling scarf.

[Pg 188]He suddenly wheeled in my direction, stopped, stretched out the hand with the scarecrow umbrellas, and began singing a patriotic song. I stopped. A half-dozen yards separated us. His voice was strong: it spent most of its time in his throat, wallowing in a juicy bellow. Sometimes by accident the sinuses were occupied by it, as it charged up the octave, and it issued pretty and flute-like from the well-shaped inside of his face. As he sang, his head was dramatically lowered, to enable him to fish down for the low notes; his eyes glared fixedly up from underneath. His mouth was stretched open to imitate the dark, florid aperture of a trumpet: from its lips rich sputum trickled. He would stop, and with an indrawn wheeze or a quick gasp, fetch it back as it was escaping. Then he would burst out violently again into a heaving flux of song. I approached him.

'That was not at all bad,' I remarked when he had done, and was gathering up stray drops the colour of brandy with his tongue.


'Not at all. It was very musical. Quite good!'

'Ah!' he exclaimed, and his eyes rested blankly on my person. 'Musical! Ah!'

'Yes, I think so.'


[Pg 189]'By God and the Devil and what comes between, you have a voice that is not at all bad.'

'You are of that opinion?'

'My God, yes!'


'That is what I hold for the moment. But I must hear more of it.'

He retreated a step, lowered his head, took a deep breath, and opened his mouth. I held up my hand. He closed his mouth, deflated his chest, and raised his head.

'Have a cigarette,' I said.

He eyed my luxurious new morocco cigarette case. He perceived the clean, pink shirt and collar as I drew it out. With a clear responsive functioning to delight 'Behavior,' he swung his box off his shoulder, put it down upon the road, and placed his umbrellas upon it. He felt stiff when that was off. He rattled himself about circumspectly.

'Thanks! Thanks!'

His fine amber and ebony finger-tips entered the case with suspicious decorum, and drew out the little body of a cigarette nipped between thumb and index.

'Thank you, old chap!'

The cigarette was stuck into the split plum, which came out in the midst of his beard—its [Pg 190]dull-red hemispheres revolving a little, outward and then inward, to make way, gently closing upon it. I lighted it; he began sucking the smoke. A moment later it burst from his nostrils.

'What is the time, mon petit?' he asked.

He wanted to see my watch.

'Half-past hanging time,' I said. 'Will you have a drink? Tu prendras un petit coup, n'est-ce pas?'


It was done. I led him to the nearby débit. We sat down in the excessive gloom and damp. I rattled on the tin table with the soucoupe of the last drinker.

I examined this old song-bird with scorn. Monotonous passion, stereotyped into a frenzied machine, he irritated me like an aimlessly howling wind. Had I been sitting with the wind, however, I should not have felt scorn. He was at the same time elemental and silly, that was the reason. What emotions had this automaton experienced before he accepted outcast life? In the rounded personality, known as Father Francis, the answer was neatly engraved. The emotions provoked by the bad, late, topical sentimental songs of Republican France. You could get no closer answer than that, and it accounted completely for him. He had become their disreputable embodiment. In his youth the chlorotic heroine of the popular lyrical [Pg 191]fancy must have been his phantom mate. He became her ideal, according to the indications provided by the lying ballad. So he would lose touch more and more with unlyricized reality, which would in due course vomit him into the outcast void. That was the likeliest story of this shell I had arrested and attracted in here to inspect.

I settled down to watch. I flashed a few big smiles at him to warm him up. But he was very businesslike. A stranger would have supposed us engaged in some small but interesting negotiation. My rôle would have seemed that of a young, naïve, enthusiastic impresario. Francis was my 'find.' (I was evidently a musical impresario.)

After having been shown his throat, and having failed in my attempt to seize between my thumb and forefinger an imaginary vessel, which he insisted, with considerable violence, I should locate, our relations nearly terminated out of hand. I had cast doubt, involuntarily, upon a possession by which he set great store. He frowned. But he had other resources. I pursued song across this friend's anatomy to its darkest springs. Limited, possibly, to the field of his own body, he was a consummate ventriloquist. I have heard the endocrines uttering a C sharp, and there is nowhere in the intestines from which for me musical notes have not issued. Placing his hand upon his stomach, and convulsing himself solemnly, as though [Pg 192]about to eat, his chin on his chest, he and I would sit and listen, and we would both hear a rich, musical sound an inch or so above the seat of the stool on which he sat.

He would then look up at me slowly, with a smile of naïve understanding.

I got tired of this, and said irrelevantly:

'Your hair is very long.'

He pushed in a brake—he had heard—he slowed down his speech, his eye doubtfully hooked on to mine: some sentences still followed. Then after a silence, releasing as it were with a snap all his face muscles so that his mask dropped into lines of preternatural gravity, he exclaimed:

'T'as raison, mon pauv' gosse!—I will tell you. Here, I say, I will tell you. It's too long. My hair is too long!'

How vastly this differed from my own observation, though the words were the same, it is difficult to convey. If he had with irrefragable proofs confuted my statement for ever, it could not have been more utterly wiped out.

What was I? That did not exercise him. Once or twice he looked at me, not certainly with curiosity, but with a formal attention. An inscrutable figure had beckoned to him, and was now treating him for no reason beyond that he was. (This might be a strange circumstance. But it possessed no monopoly of strangeness.) His cigarettes, [Pg 193]though not strong, were good. He was a foreigner. That was sufficient. François was not interested in other people, except as illustrations of elementary physics. Some people repelled him, violently on occasion, and set up interferences, resulting in hunger and thirst. He lived in outer space, outcast, and only came to earth to drink and get a crust. There people mattered, for a moment, but without identity.

The obstacles to be overcome if you were to establish profitable relations with this at first sight inaccessible mind, were many. Between it and the outer world many natural barriers existed. His conversation was obscure. My ignorance of the theory of music, the confusion caused in my mind by his prolonged explanation of difficult passages (full of what I supposed to be musicians' slang, confounded with thieves' slang and breton idiom); the destructive hiccups that engulfed so many of his phrases, and often ruined a whole train of thought, even nipped in the bud entire philosophies, the constant sense of insecurity consequent upon these repeated catastrophes, these were only a few of the disappointments. Another obstacle was that he spoke the major part of the time in a whisper. When I could not catch a single word, I yet often could judge, by the glances he shot at me, the scornful half-closing of his eyes, screwing up of his mouth and nose, [Pg 194]all the horrid cunning of his expression and nodding of his head, the sort of thing that was occurring. At other times, his angry and defiant looks showed me that my respect was being peremptorily claimed. But it remained dumb show, often, his voice was pitched so low.

'Speak up, Francis. On Tibb's-eve you'll have to be louder than that.'

'I'm sorry, my poor friend.—It's the vocal cords. They function badly today.'

'Are you dry? Fill up.'

He forgot the next moment, and renewed his muttering.

The remembrance of injuries constantly stirred in him. Excited by his words, when he had found some phrase happier than another to express his defiant independence, he felt keenly the chance he had lost. But enemies melted into friends, and vice versa, in his mind, as they had in his experience. He turned and frankly enjoyed his verbal triumphs at my expense.

We had been together some time, and he had drunk a bottle of wine, when his thoughts began to run on a certain hotel-keeper of the neighbourhood, whom he suspected of wishing to sell his present business. The day before, or the week before, he had observed him looking up at a newly-constructed building in the main street of Rot.

When he first began about this, I supposed he [Pg 195]was referring to the coarse eructations of some figure whom we had imperceptibly left, although I thought we were still with him. He dropped his voice, and looked behind him when he said 'Rot.' (Rot is a breton commune, and it also means a belch.) I sat over him with knitted brows for some time.

'Oui. Pour moi, c'est sa dame qui ne veut plus de Kermanec.—Que la vase pue là-bas—oh, là là! Quel odeur! Elle a raison! Qu'il aille à Rot! Qu'il y aille! Moi, je m'en fous! Tant pis pour lui. C'est un malin, tu sais.' He drank fiercely and continued (I will translate the sort of rigmarole that followed): 'He's like that. Once he gets an idea in his head. What's he want to leave Kermanec for? It's a good place: he has a fine trade. He's my cousin. He doesn't know me. I got behind the wall. It's not a bad house. It's been in that state for two years. What? Two years, I say, for certain; it may be three or four. There's no roof, but its first floor is in:—no staircase. It's dry. I don't say it's a Régina! They put a flic at the corner, but we got in the back way. There's waste-land—yes, waste. Of course. Naturally. I saw him. He was going in at the gate. I hid. He paced the frontage.' He put one sabot in front of the other to show the method. This was the innkeeper—not the flic—measuring the frontage of the half-built house, in the sheltered part of which tramps were [Pg 196]accustomed to spend the night, under the nose of the sergent de ville. And this was the house on which, so it seemed, the landlord had his eye.

In the course of his recital, he repeatedly reverted to the proud spirit of this publican. On my catching the word 'vermin,' and showing interest, he repeated what he was saying a little louder.

'Any one seeing me as I am, without profession, poor, might suppose that I had vermin in my beard. Yes,' he added softly. We fell into a conversation at this point upon matters connected with the toilet. What a bore it was to wash! No great men had ever washed. There was a great sage in England called Shaw, I told him, he never washed. Doctor Johnson, another british sage, found washing repugnant. It was very unusual, I said, for me to wash, though I had, I said, washed that morning. Searching stealthily behind the unorganized panels of rags, which could be seen symmetrically depending when his great-coat was opened, he produced the middle section of a comb. With this he made passes over his beard—without, however, touching it—which he shook scornfully. He looked at me steadily. I showed I was impressed. He replaced the comb. The dumb-show had been intended to reveal to my curiosity a characteristic moment of his toilet.

'Zut!' he said, coughing, 'I had a good brush. That rogue Charlot (ce chenapan de Charlot!) [Pg 197]pinched it!' 'Charlot,' I heard, was so named among his brother vagabonds on account of his resemblance to Chaplin.

A story intervened in which he gave a glimpse of his physical resource and determination in moments of difficulty. The landlords of inns, and farmers, were his principal enemies. He told me how he treated them. First, it was in general, then particular figures suggested themselves. He dealt with them one by one.

'Je lui disais: Monsieur!' (Like Doctor Johnson all his addresses began with an emphatic and threatening 'Sir!') 'I said: Your views are not mine. It's no use my affecting to be in agreement with you. You say I'm a "rôdeur." I give you the lie. (—I don't beat about the bush! he said in an aside to me.) Je n'ai jamais rôdé.—Je ne bouge pas, moi—jamais! J'y suis, j'y reste!—That is my motto! That is my way, sir!'

A scene of considerable violence shortly took place. He stamped on the floor with his great sabots to render more vivid to himself this scene, also to supply the indispensable element of noise. Owing to emotion, his voice was incapable of providing this. He spoke with a dreadful intensity, glaring into my face. Eventually he sprang up; struggling and stamping about the room (over-matched at first) with an indomitable heave of the shoulders, and an irresistible rush, he then made [Pg 198]believe to fling his antagonist out of the door. While engaged in this feat, panting and stamping, he had exclaimed where the action suggested it, 'Ah! veux-tu! Sale bête! Ah sacré gars! Et puis alors, quoi? Es-tu fou? Tu crois pétrir avec tes mains un tel que moi! Allons donc! Tu plaisantes! Ah! Je vois bien ton jeu!—Ah bah! le voilà foutu! Tant mieux! Con! Oui! Con! sale con! Ah!' He came back and sat down, his chest heaving, looking at me for a long time silently, with an air of insolent triumph.

It would have been difficult to blame him for the steps he had taken, for he evidently experienced a great relief at the eviction of this imaginary landlord. Probably he had thrown him out of every bar along the road. Ever since we had entered he had been restless. I was not sorry he had rid us of this phantom; but I looked with a certain anxiety towards the door from time to time. He now seemed enjoying the peace that he had so gallantly secured for himself. His limbs relaxed, his eyes were softer. The lips of the voluptuary were everted again, moving like gorged red worms in the hairs of his moustache and beard. He delicately fed them from his wineglass. He proceeded now to show me his mild side. He could afford to. He assured me that he did not like turbulent people. 'J' n'aime pas l'monde turbulent!' And then he raised his voice, [Pg 199]making the gesture of the teacher: 'Socrates said, "Listen, but do not strike!"' ('Socrate a dit: "Ecoutez, mais ne frappez pas."')

He abounded in a certain kind of catch-word (such as 'Il ne faut pas confondre la vitesse avec la précipitation! Non! il ne faut pas confondre la vitesse avec la précipitation!'). These sayings occurred to him hors d'à propos. Sometimes, finding them there on his tongue, he would just use them and leave it at that. Or he would boldly utter them and take them as a text for a new discourse. Another perhaps would turn up: he would drop the first and proceed triumphantly at a tangent.

'Do you go to Rumengol?' I asked him.

'Rumengol? Why, yes, I have gone to Rumengol.'

'It is the Pardon for men of your profession.'

He looked at me, saying absent-mindedly:

'Why, yes, perhaps.'

'It is called le Pardon des chanteurs, "the singers' Pardon," is not that so, I believe?'

His face lit up stupidly.

'Ah, is it called that?' he said. 'I didn't know it was called that. Pardon des chanteurs. That's jolly! Pardon des chanteurs!'

He began singing a catch.

'Is your beat mostly on the armor, or is it in the argoat?'

[Pg 200]'Argouate?' he asked blankly. 'What is that? Argouate! I don't know it.'

Those are the terms for the littoral and the interior respectively. I was surprised to find he did not know them.

'Where do you come from?' I asked.

'I don't know.—Far from here,' he said briefly.

So he was not breton. The historic rôle of the vagabond in Armorica has almost imposed on him the advertisement of a mysterious origin. It was so much to his advantage, in the more superstitious centuries, to be a stranger, and seem not to know the breton tongue, if not deaf and mute. So he could slip into the legendary framework, and become, at need, Gabik or Gralon.

Something had struck his fancy particularly. This was connected with his name François. He told me how he had slept in the château of François I. at Chambord. It appeared that it was in giving information against his bête noire, the local innkeeper, that he had come to sleep there. I could not discover what connection these two facts might have. I expect they had none. It began suddenly with a picture of a wintry night in the forest. It was very cold and it blew. An inn put in its appearance. There an 'orgie' was in progress. He introduced himself. Without being exactly welcomed, he was suffered to remain. The account at this point became more and more fantastic and [Pg 201]uncertain. He must have got drunk almost immediately. This I put down to his exposure to the cold: so I picked my way through his disordered words. His story staggered and came in flashes. He could not understand evidently why the material had, all of a sudden, grown so intractable. Once or twice he stopped. Living it again, he rolled his eyes and even seemed about to lose his balance on the stool. He wanted to go on telling it: but it began to sound absurd even to him. It still did not occur to him that at this point he had fallen down drunk. He gave it up.

But the inevitable wicked landlord put in his appearance, robbed him of his tobacco and other articles. He resisted this exploitation. Then we certainly reached the château. His face cleared up. We had arrived at the château. He became more composed. I asked him where he had slept in the château. He answered he had slept on a mattress, and had had two blankets. On second thoughts he concluded that this would tax my credulity too much, and withdrew one of the blankets. It was in the Château de Chambord that Molière played for the first time Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, under the splendid ceiling covered then with freshly painted salamanders. But how did this Francis come to lodge there, if he ever did? Flaubert's indignant account of the neglect into which, in his time, this celebrated castle had [Pg 202]fallen, may afford some clue. He says of it: 'On l'a donné à tout le monde, comme si personne ne voulait le garder. Il a l'air de n'avoir presque jamais servi et avoir été toujours trop grand. C'est comme une hôtellerie abandonnée où les voyageurs n'ont pas même laissé leurs noms aux murs.'

As it has been 'given to everybody,' and yet 'nobody has ever wanted it,' perhaps this 'derelict inn' was given to le père François for a night. When Flaubert and Maxime du Camp, already in a state of bellicose distress, gaze over the staircase into the central court, their indignant gaze falls on a humble female donkey, giving milk to a newly-born colt. 'Voilà ce qu'il y avait dans la cour d'honneur du Château de Chambord!' exclaims Flaubert: 'un chien qui joue dans l'herbe et un âne qui tette, ronfle et brait, fiente et gambade sur le seuil des rois. . . .' Could Flaubert have observed le père François installed beneath his sumptuous blanket in the entrance court of kings, or addressing himself to his toilet, I feel certain that that impetuous man would have passionately descended the staircase and driven him out with his cane. But this account of Flaubert's does make the franciscan adventure of the Château de Chambord more likely: for if a dog and a donkey, why not a tramp?

There was no break in the story; but the château grew dim. He evidently rapidly fell asleep, [Pg 203]owing to the unaccustomed blanket. He forgot the last landlord. He had been a robust man. He ran after the bonnes. He melted into a farmer. The farmer was robust. He ran after François. There was a dog. It fixed its teeth in his leg. He struggled madly with the dog, his back against the débit wall. Afterwards, when it was all over, he rolled up his trousers and we attempted to find a cicatrice. He wetted his thumb, with that he abraded a rectangular strip near the ankle: there was a little weal.

The saloon-keeper passed the table several times during this chain of stories. Once he said, stopping to listen for a moment, 'Ouf, a pack of lies!' 'Non pas!' replied Francis. 'You lie. You love falsehood! I can see it. Go away.' The man shrugged violently and went back to the bar. Some customers had come in. One sat listening to François with a heavy grin. I turned to him and said:

'He is original, le père François, don't you find that so?'

'Why, yes. He's mad.' The steady eyes of the smiling peasant continued to follow his movements with lazy attention.

'Yes, original, I am original!' François eagerly assented, as though in fear, then, that I should be converted to this other man's opinion.

'Original!' he insisted. 'I am original.'

[Pg 204]Suddenly turning to me, with rapid condescension, he remarked:

'Je suis content de toi! I am satisfied with you!'

However, the horizon became anew over-clouded. With him it never stood at Fair for long. He grew more and more violent. Often he sprang up and whirled round without reason, with the ecstasy of a dervish, his ruined umbrellas shaken at arm's length. Afterwards he sat down suddenly. He held his arm out stiffly towards me, looked at it, then at me, wildly, contracting his muscles, as if searching for some thought that this familiar instrument suggested, without finding it. Stretching his arm back swiftly as though about to strike, drawing his breath between his teeth, with the other hand he seized his forearm as though it were an independent creature, his fingers its legs, and stared at it. What did this mad arm want? Allons donc! He dropped it listlessly at his side, where it hung.

Night had fallen: the landlord had lighted the lamp over the bar. Francis grew steadily more noisy, singing and using the window as a drum, his arms on either side of it, tattooing and banging it, his head turned towards us. The landlord shouted at him at last, with great violence, 'Tais-toi, vieil imbécile!' The landlord was vexed. His wife slouched out from the kitchen, and directing [Pg 205]the fine hostility of her gaze toward Francis, muttered heatedly with her husband for some minutes. They were afraid they would have to give him a night's lodging in the barn. Not long after this we were turned out. Francis went meekly: he ridiculed the event, in sotto voce conversation with himself. I was ready to go. At the door he cut a caper, and shouted at the landlord, bolder out of doors:

'Je vous remercie! Monsieur, adieu! Me v'là qui va me chauffer à la cheminée du roi René.'

'Plutôt à la belle étoile, mon pauv' viou!'

Francis looked up into the sky overhead and saw a bright star.

'Plutôt, en effet,' he said. 'Mais oui-dà, t'as raison—il fait nuit! T'es intelligent, tu sais! N'est-ce pas, mon petit, qu'il est intelligent, le patron, quand même? Il n'en a pas l'air, parbleu! Pauv' colas, va! Ah, bah! Tant pis! Les paysans de par-ici sont d'une bêtise!—c'est fantastique! Oui-dame: mais écoute! C'môme-là, tu sais: il n'est pas méchant; mais non! Il est trop bête! C'est à peine s'il sait lire et écrire. C'est une brute, quoi! Tant pis! Ah! merde alors, où sont donc mes photos——?'

He stood drawn up to his full height, his hands hurrying dramatically into all the hiding-places of his person. First one hand, then the other, disappeared beneath his rags and leapt out empty.

[Pg 206]'Rien! Ils ne sont pas là! Nom d'un nom! On m'a volé!'

He made as though to rush back to the débit. I held him by the arm.

'Come on! I'll give you a franc. You can buy some more.'

He was about to put into execution the immemorial tactic of the outcast in such a situation. Eviction from an eating and drinking house, first: then comes the retort of an accusation of theft. The indignant customary words raced on his tongue. He had been robbed! All his photographs had been pinched! What a house! What people! It was not safe for honest men to drink there! He would inform the Commissioner of Police when he reached Saint-Kaduan. They would see if he was to be robbed with impunity!

He shook his fist at the débit while I held him. The landlord had left the door. The road was deserted; a gilt moon (it was that he had mistaken for the sun, in a condition of partial eclipse) hung over the village a hundred yards away. Our shadows staggered madly for a moment, then the thought of the franc cut short this ceremony, and he came away towards the village. I gave him the franc. He came half way, then left me. Standing in the middle of the road, the moonlight converting him into a sickly figure of early republican romance, he sang to me as I walked [Pg 207]away. With the franc, I supposed it was his intention to return to the débit.

In the 'granges' at the various farms, tramps usually find a night's lodging. They make arrangements to meet, and often spend several nights together in this way. The farm people take their matches and pipes away from them. Or they put them in the stable among the cattle, making a hole in the wet straw like a cradle for them. Two days later I saw him through an inn window for a moment, outside Braspartz. He was dancing in his heavy sabots, his shoulders drawn up to his ears, arms akimbo. 'I saw an Italian dance this way,' I heard him exclaim. 'It's true! This is the way the Italians dance!' A group of sullen peasants watched him, one laughing, to show he was not taken in. On noticing me, he began singing a love song, in a loud strong voice. Without interrupting the song, he stretched his hand through the window for a cigarette. There was no recognition in his face while he sang: his lips protruded eloquently in keeping with the sentiment. That is the last I saw of him.


Minor variations in spelling and punctuation have been preserved.

[End of Franciscan Adventures, by Wyndham Lewis]