- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
393

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XXV. The Little Sisters of the Poor

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at Café Aragno where Monsieur Alphonse sat
down in his reserved corner for his cup of coffee and
his ‘Figaro’ with the air of an old ambassador.
Another half hour of glorious life driving down
the Corso, eagerly looking out for some of his
acquaintances from Piazza di Spagna to whom to
raise his new top hat. Then to vanish again
behind his blue curtains till the following
Thursday when he began brushing his top hat at
daybreak, according to the Little Sisters. As often
as not a friend or two dropped in to share the
luncheon party to the huge delight of Monsieur
Alphonse. More than one of them will surely
still remember him. None of them ever had
the slightest suspicion of where he came from.
He looked besides very neat and dapper in his
long, smart frock coat and in his new top hat
which he was most reluctant to part with even
while at table. Not knowing myself what to
make out of Monsieur Alphonse, I had ended
by turning him into a retired diplomat. All my
friends addressed him as “Monsieur le Ministre,”
and Anna invariably called him “Vostra
Eccellenza,” you should have seen his face! Luckily
he was extremely deaf, and the conversation was
generally limited to a few polite remarks about
the Pope or about the scirocco. Anyhow I had
to keep a vigilant eye and ear upon the
proceedings, ready to interfere at any moment to put
aside the decanter or to come to his rescue at
some embarrassing question or some even more
embarrassing answer after his second glass of
Frascati. Monsieur Alphonse was an ardent
royalist, ready to overthrow the French Republic

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