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329

(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 - 5. The Beggars in Rome

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PENCIL SKETCHES IN ROME. 329
It was not long, however, before I became acquainted
with members of the begging brotherhood of Rome.
They have, by practice, a wonderfully developed faculty
of knowing among strangers those who are " green ;
" and
it really takes some time for a green person to mature to
hardness against the arts by which they know how to
wheedle from him his tribute to their laziness. During
the first days, one is deeply moved by their sorrowful
petition, " I die of hunger," which sounds so real, even
when it comes from children with cheeks as fat and
blooming as those of the grotesque church cherubs, that
I was positively ashamed for my domesticated fellow-
countrymen, when I observed that they could pass by
so wretched a bit of humanity without either seeing or
hearing him. Meanwhile, after a lapse of a few days,
strong doubts of that imminent death from starvation
begin to arise, and one feels himself more and more im-
pervious to the tragic side of the art of begging. Harder
it is to protect one’s self against the merry kind, against
those beggars who know how to give their buoti giorno
greeting with the most affable and freshest morning face,
and stretch out their hands in such a way that it seems
as if in return for a copper farthing, they could assure us
a whole year of cloudless days and good humor. They
are, and continue to be, almost irresistible. Regular
stages are however to be remarked, in the stranger’s rela-
tion with the guild of beggars. At first, he gives with-
out any farther thought, and gives to all. Then he gives
to some, and thinks he can rid himself of the others with
a short no. But that is a terrible mistake. Even the
stiffest and most resolute **
no " is to the Roman beggar
nothing but a notification that one wishes to surrender,
and will give up if he is persevering. Such a " no

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