13 January

Now I want to go and ask Mr Venanzio for two lire.

Will he give them to me?

I waited for the right moment: my sister is out and Maralli is in his studio. I took the eartrumpet, stuck it in Mr Venanzio's ear and shouted:

"Could you lend me two lire, please?"

"A basket for going away?" he answered. "What basket?" I repeated my question as loudly as I could, and he replied: "Children should never have money". This time, he had understood! So I said "Virginia is right to say that you are a miser, then!"

Upon hearing this words, Mr Venanzio gave a jump in his chair and started to mutter: "Ah, she says that, does she, the horrible gossip? Heh! If she had money she'd spend it all on clothes and hats. Hah! She said I'm a miser, did she? Hah! Hah!"

To console him, I told him that Maralli has told her off for this, which was TRUE, and he, all happy, asked me "Ah, my nephew told her off? Just as well! I'm glad to hear it! My nephew is a good young man and has always been kind to me.. What did he say to her?"

"He said 'It's a good thing uncle is a miser. That way, he'll leave me more money.'"

Mr Venanzio went all red and started muttering so loudly that I thought he was having some kind of attack.

"Be careful!" I said to him. "Perhaps this is the apoplectic attack that Maralli says you are sure to have sooner or later."

He raised his arms in the air, muttered some more words, and finally took his wallet out of his pocket, removed a two-lire coin, and gave it to me, saying "Here are your two lire... and I'll give you more, and often, if you keep telling me what my nephew and your sister say about me... because they are things that I like to hear. You are a good boy, and you do the right thing in telling the truth!..."

It's a fact that it pays to be good and not to tell lies.

Now I'll think about getting a present for my brother-in-law, because he deserves it.

Next entry