"Elephants?" she queried. "Did elephants scramble about these precipices
and ravines? I should like to have seen that."
"Pardon me, Madame. He probably killed them down there," and his arm
swept over the blue Mediterranean, lying at our feet. "Do you mean to
say that elephants paddled across from Algiers in order to be
assassinated by your old skeleton? I should like to have seen that."
"Pardon me, Madame. The Mediterranean did not exist in those days."
The suggestion that this boundless sea should ever have been dry land,
and in the time of her own ancestors, was too much for the young lady.
She smiled politely, and soon I heard her whispering to her husband:
"I had him there, eh? Quel farceur!"
"Yes. You caught him nicely, I must say. But one must not be too hard on
these poor devils. They have got to earn their bread somehow."
This will never do.
I have loafed into Levanto, on the recommendation of an Irish friend
who, it would seem, had reasons of his own for sending me there.
"Try Levanto," he said. "A little place below Genoa. Nice, kindly
people. And sunshine all the time. Hotel Nazionale. Yes, yes! The food
is all right. Quite all right. Now please do not let us start that
subject - - "
We started it none the less, and at the end of the discussion he added: