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Cavalleria Rusticana
by [?]

Translated by D. H. Lawrence

TURIDDU MACCA, son of old Mother Nunzia, when he came home from being a soldier, went swaggering about the village square every Sunday, showing himself off in his bersagliere’s uniform with the red fez cap, till you’d have thought it was the fortune-teller himself come to set up his stall with the cage of canaries. The girls going to Mass with their noses meekly inside their kerchiefs stole such looks at him, and the youngsters buzzed round him like flies. And he’d brought home a pipe with the king on horseback on the bowl, simply life-like, and when he struck a match on his trousers behind, he lifted his leg up as if he was going to give you a kick.

But for all that, Lola, Farmer Angelo’s daughter, never showed a sign of herself, neither at Mass nor on her balcony; for the simple reason that she’d gone and got herself engaged to a fellow from Licodia, a carter who took contracts, and had four handsome Sortino mules of his own in his stable.

When Turiddu first got to hear of it, oh, the devil! he raved and swore!—he’d rip his guts out for him, he’d rip ’em out for him, that Licodia fellow!—But he never did a thing, except go and sing every slighting song he could think of under the beauty’s window.

“Has Mother Nunzia’s Turiddu got nothing else to do but sing songs like a forlorn sparrow, every mortal night?” said the neighbours.

However, he ran into Lola at last, as she was coming back from her little pilgrimage to Our Lady of Peril; and she, when she saw him, never turned a hair, as if it was nothing to do with her.

“It’s rare to set eyes on you!” he said to her.

“Hello, Turiddu! They told me you’d come back on the first of this month.”

“They told me more than that!” he replied.”Is it right as you’re marrying Alfio, as contracts for carting?”

“God willing, I am,” replied Lola, twisting the corners of her kerchief at her chin.

“There’s a lot o’ God willing about it! You suit your own fancy! And it was God willing as I should come home from as far as I did, to hear this nice bit of news, was it, Lola?”

The poor man tried to keep a good face, but his voice had gone husky; and he walked on at the heels of the girl, the tassel of his fez cap swinging melancholy to and fro, on his shoulders. And to tell the truth, she was sorry to see him with such a long face; but she hadn’t the heart to cheer him up with false promises.

“Look here, Turiddu,” she said at last to him, “let me go on and join the others. What do you think folks’ll say if they see me with you?”

“You’re right!” replied Turiddu.”Now you’re going to marry that chap Alfio, as has got four mules of his own in his stable, it’d never do to set folks talking! Not like my poor old mother, as had to sell our bay mule and the bit of a vineyard, while I was away soldiering. —Ah well, the time’s gone by when Bertha sat a-spinning!—And you’ve forgotten how we used to talk together at the window in the yard, and how you gave me that handkerchief before I went away—God knows how many tears I cried in it, going that far off, I’d almost forgotten even the name of where I came from. —Well, good-bye, then, Lola. It showered a while, and then left off, and all was over between us!”

And so Miss Lola married the carter; and the Sunday after, there she sat on her balcony, with her hands spread on her stomach to show all the great gold rings her husband had given her. Turiddu kept going back and forth, back and forth up the narrow street, his pipe in his mouth and his hands in his pockets, to show he didn’t care, and ogling all the girls. But it gnawed him inside himself to think that Lola’s husband should have all that gold, and that she pretended not to notice him, when he passed.