Sample P12 from Morley Callaghan, A Passion in Rome. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1961. Pp. 124-129 A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,010 words 492 (24.5%) quotesP12

Used by permission of Coward-McCann, Inc. 0010-1670

Morley Callaghan, A Passion in Rome. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1961. Pp. 124-129

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`` I had a rather small place of my own . A nice bachelor apartment in a place called the Lancaster Arms '' .

`` Uhhu '' , she said , hardly listening as she studied her left eyelid .

`` And then I had another place farther downtown I used as a studio '' .

`` Uhhu '' .

`` I'm not a man who has many close intimate friends , Carla '' , he said , wanting her to know all about him . `` Oh , I'd drink with newspaper people . I think I was what you might call a convivial man , and yet it was when I was alone in my studio , doing my work , that I really felt alive . But I think a man needs at least one intimate friend to communicate with '' . Pausing , he waited for her to turn , to ask a question . She showed no interest at all in the life he had led back home , and it hurt him a little . `` Well , what about you , Carla '' ? ?

`` Me '' ? ? She asked , turning slowly . `` What about me '' ? ?

`` Did you make friends easily '' ? ?

`` Umm , uhhu '' .

`` Somehow I imagine that as you grew up you were alone a lot . How about it '' ? ?

`` I guess so '' , she said taking a Kleenex from her purse . When she had wiped some of the lipstick from her mouth , she stared solemnly at her image in the mirror .

`` Are your people still alive '' ? ? He asked , trying to touch a part of her life Alberto hadn't discussed ; ; so he could have something of her for himself . `` You talk so well , Carla '' , he went on . `` You seem to have read so much , you have a natural gift for words '' , he added , trying to flatter her vanity . `` You must have been good at history at school . Where did you go to school '' ? ?

`` What is this '' ? ? She asked , turning suddenly . `` Don't you know all about me by this time ? ? My name's Carla Caneli . This is my town . I sleep with you . You know something more about me every day , don't you ? ? Would you be happier if I made up some stories about my life , told you some lies ? ? Why are you trying to worry me '' ? ?

`` I'm not trying to worry you '' .

`` Well , all right then '' .

The cleansing tissues she had been using had been falling on the floor , and he got up and picked up one , then another , hoping she would notice what he was doing . At home he had been a clean orderly man , and now he had to hide his annoyance . Was she just naturally sloppy about everything but her physical appearance ? ? He wondered . Would he have to clean up after her every day , clean the kitchen , the bathroom , and get down on his knees and scrub the kitchen floor , then hang up her dresses , pick up her stockings , make the bed while she lay around ? ? He straightened up , ready to vent his exasperation , then grew afraid . If he dwelt on the indignities he suffered he would lose all respect for her , and without the respect he might lose his view of her , too .

`` What's the matter '' ? ? She asked suddenly .

`` Nothing . Nothing at all '' , he said quietly . `` Let's go out '' .

`` Are those the only shoes you have , Sam '' ? ?

`` What's the matter with them '' ? ?

`` The heavy thick soles . Look at them '' .

`` They're an expensive English shoe for walking around a lot . I like them '' .

`` Sam , no one around here wears such heavy soles . Can't you get another pair '' ? ?

`` Maybe I could '' , he said , surprised that she could turn from herself and notice anything about him . `` I'll get an elegant pair of thin-soled Italian shoes tomorrow , Carla '' .

`` And I don't know why you want to go on wearing that outfit '' , she said , making a face .

`` What's the matter with it '' ? ? He had put on the gray jacket and the dark-gray slacks and the fawn-colored shirt he had worn that first night in Rome when he had encountered her on the street .

`` Oh , Sam . You look like a tweedy Englishman . Can't you wear something else and look a little more as though you belonged '' ? ?

`` I don't mind at all '' , he said , delighted with her attention . Changing his clothes , he put on his dark-blue flannel suit , and laid away the gray jacket with the feeling that he might be putting it aside for good . But it was a hopeful sign , he told himself . She no longer wanted anything about him to remind her of the circumstances of their meeting that first night in Parioli .

That day they loafed around , just getting the feel of the city . They looked at the ruins of the old Roman wall on the lower Via Veneto , then they went to the Farnese Gardens . She had some amusing scandal about the Farneses in the old days . Then they took a taxi to Trastevere . `` There's a church you should see '' , she said . And when they stood by the fountain in the piazza looking at Santa Maria he had to keep a straight face , not letting on he had been there with Alberto . He let her tell him all about the church . Then they had dinner . All evening she was eloquent and pleased with herself . When they got home at midnight she was tired out . And in the morning when he woke up at ten the church bells were ringing .

He had never heard so many bells , and as he lay there listening , he thought of her scolding him for his remarks when he had looked up at the obelisk and the church at the top of the Spanish Steps . It was a good thing that she clung to her religion , he thought . She might like to take him to St. Peter's .

`` Carla , wake up '' , he said shaking her . `` It's ten o'clock . Aren't you going out to mass ? ? You could take me to St. Peter's '' .

`` Uhhu '' , she muttered .

`` Come on , you'll be late '' .

`` I think I'll sleep in this morning '' , she said drowsily , and as she snuggled against him , he wondered if she ever went to church . Why did he want her to go to church ? ? He wondered Probably because it was a place where she might get a feeling of certainty and security . It would be good for her . It was too bad he had no feeling himself for church . Not his poor mother's fault . She would have been better off if she had stuck to her Bible . As for himself , he just didn't have the temperament for it . From the time he had been at college he had achieved a certain tranquility and composure by accepting the fact that there were certain things he could never know . Then he thought of those Old Testament figures on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel . Just figures out of a tribal folklore . Could he honestly believe it would be good for Carla to have those old prophets gripping her imagination now ? ? Being a woman though , she would take only what she needed from church . It was too bad he wasn't a Catholic himself . Or a Protestant , or one of those amusing dogmatic atheists , or a strict orthodox Communist . What was the matter with him that they all wearied him ? ? It was the times , he was sure . All the ideologies changing from day to day , right under his eyes , so how could a man look to any one of them for an enlargement of his freedom ? ? It was all too wearying . Look somewhere else . But where ? ? Just the same , he thought , pondering over it , it would be a good thing for a girl like Carla if she got up and went to church .

A half hour later he got her up to go out for breakfast so the Ferraros , hearing them hurrying down the stairs , would think they were going to a late mass . It seemed to him that if the Ferraros felt sure of them , could place them , it would help him to feel more sure of himself with Carla .

`` Since we're having coffee with them this afternoon '' , he said , `` I think I'll ask the daughter if we can pay her to come in every day to clean for us '' . And he waited for her to say , `` Oh , no , I can do it , Sam . There's so little to do '' .

`` Why not '' ? ? She said . `` I'm not good at that kind of thing '' .

`` This afternoon let's take an air with them . Let's be fine superior people of great dignity '' , he said as if he were joking .

`` If you find it necessary , Sam , go ahead '' , she said , turning on the stair . `` I am what I am . I can't help it '' . Her words remained with him , worrying him for hours . He didn't know how she would behave with other people .

When they walked into the Ferraro apartment , the old lady , bowing and smiling , said softly . `` Ciao , '' and put out her hand . Her little brown face wrinkled up , her brown eyes gleamed , and with her little gestures she said all the courteous things . Agnese , smiling too , said , `` 'ello '' , and then more slowly , `` I am happy '' . And they sat down and began their little coffee party . The Ferraros offered them biscuits with the coffee . Acting only as interpreter Carla , her hands folded on her lap , was utterly impersonal . She would turn to them , then turn to him , then turn again . Watching her , he felt like a spectator at a tennis game , with the ball being bounced back and forth . Signora Ferraro , bobbing her head encouragingly , asked Sam about Canada , having a special interest . Carla translated . The old woman had a nephew from North Italy , a poor boy from a lumber mill who had got tired of the seasonal unemployment , and who had migrated to Canada to work on the railway . For a year the boy had lived in the bush in a boxcar . Did many of Sam's countrymen live in boxcars in the bush ? ? Had Sam ever lived in a boxcar ? ? She wanted to know . Regretfully Sam explained that he had no experience with boxcars . Just the same , the old woman said , she would write to her nephew in his boxcar and tell him she had met a nice man from his adopted country . And Sam thanked her , and hoped he might meet her nephew back home , and asked her if she had any further news of the Pope .

A very great Pope , this one , the old woman explained , her black eyes sparkling . An intellectual . But very mystical too . It was said that he had had a vision . Just as thousands that day in Portugal had seen the sun dancing in the sky , he had seen the same thing later in his own garden , and she turned to Agnese for confirmation . Agnese had been sitting quietly , listening with the serenity of the unaware . Now a little flush came on her pale homely face and enchantment in her eyes . The Holy Father would die soon , she said to Carla , so she could translate for Sam , although he had a brilliant doctor , a man who did not need the assistance of those doctors offered by the great rulers of the world . Yes , the Pope could die and quickly be made a saint . No , he was indeed a saint now . Nodding approvingly and swelling with importance , the old lady whispered confidentially . There was a certain discontent among the cardinals . The Pope , in the splendor of his great intellect , had neglected them a little . There would be changes made , and Signor Raymond should understand that when the Pope died it was like the end of a regime in Rome . Jobs would be lost and new faces would become prominent .

Did Signor Raymond understand ? ? Indeed he did , Sam said solemnly , trying to get Carla's eye . Surely she could see that these women were her Italians , too , he thought . Devout , orthodox and plain like a family she might meet in Brooklyn or Malta or Ireland . But Carla's eyes were on Agnese whose glowing face and softening eyes gave her a look of warmth and happiness . And Carla , watching in wonder , turned to Sam . `` It means so much to her . It's like a flame , I guess '' , she said in a dreamy tone .