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322

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - Pencil Sketches in Rome - 4. La Campagna di Roma

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322 ROMAN DAYS.
land-rental from the farmers of the Campagna, except
that now and then the nuisance recurs, of making new
contracts with those gentlemen who, under the name of
mercanti di Campagiia and to the number of forty, form
a guild by themselves, and feel themselves safe in the
consciousness of money power and union.
One of these forty, I once had the pleasure of meeting,
during his tour around among his tenants. He was one
of the stoutest men I ever saw. The small, low wagon,
well polished and shining, in which he travelled behind
two swift horses, trembled under his weight, and was
hardly able to contain the breadth of his ample body.
His features almost vanished under the fat masses of his
cheeks : his nose, though large and crooked as the beak
of a hawk, could not assert its right against these expan-
sive neighbors. His paunch was worthy of the abbot in
Buergers ballad. To judge from the beef displayed in
the Roman trattorias, not one of the large-horned quad-
rupeds that browse upon classic ground could boast of
flesh like his. The man was a noteworthy but not inex-
plicable exception to the gaunt human shapes one other-
wise meets on the Campagna.
Under the mercante is the fattore, the steward who
lives in the lonely tenant’s house, until the malaria drives
him away. The fattore’s next man is the chief herds-
man, who has supervision of the picturesque band that
mounted and afoot tends the herds of oxen, buffaloes,
horses and goats. These herdsmen are for the most part
born sons of the plain, the real campagnoli, the most
characteristic figures in the living accessories of the im-
mense picture. Those who tend the horses and oxen,
have nothing of the idyll about them. They are weather-
beaten, black-bearded, sinewy and spare fellows, with

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