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Should I tell you of the short front, half hidden by the indocile tufts of his black hair? I would love to speak to you of the mischievous grace with which he wore a garland of vitalba, or of another similar flower, at the top of his head. And more I would like to talk to you (but you should do it well) of his cheeks florid, shiny and soft like ripe peaches; open and protruding cheeks, which gave prominence to two big black eyes, marvelously fringed with black eyelashes and eyebrows. Those were the real talking eyes, and they said, when she turned her head a little, to look at you from above, a glimpse of things, naturally advising you of a multitude of madness. And those tumidette lips, coralline, dewy! And those tiny teeth, luminous in their milky brightness! Oh, finally, I do not want you to lose your mind, like our friend Damiano. I will tell you briefly that a miracle of beauty, of health, of youth was from the head to the plants; that you could see and feel in her all the native elegances that one dreams to imagine today in the American creole, and which in fact are not lacking even in Europe, although here another type prevails.

Damiano was amazed. But you know that these bewilderments do not put a man on the ground; on the contrary, they add to his strength, reviving, stimulating, sharpening all his faculties. He spoke to everyone and to all, saying those short sentences with which we usually accompany the gesture, when we know that only from this and for this we can be understood. And here and there he turned, talking and gesticulating with as much grace as he could; but he turned to the guise of the lovers, who, after having turned well with their eyes, always fall to look at one point, and they seem to have looked elsewhere, if not to describe the half circle, and to resume at that point.

The beautiful creature had understood all that wise artifice of looks. And when the guest’s looks, after having turned well here and there, came to rest, to gather lovingly on her, she became confused, lowering her eyelashes. And then the two black fringes hung like veils, to shade the top of the cheeks. But soon they got up again, and beneath those flaps flashed a bluish white double ray, which went straight to the guest’s eyes, and from the eyes to the heart, to light his blood.

That was a language between the two, which had no interpetre skills. And if in life we ​​could always talk about that, we sincerely confess that none of us would like to learn foreign languages, nor waste time on that woody, tormenting and foolish device, which is grammar.

What did they give Damiano that day? He did not notice it; he sent down, paying no attention to it. Moreover, he ate very little. What did they give him to drink? It must have been one of those usual liquors, which bite the tongue, burn the palate, and send the fumes to the brain. But he barely tasted it. The landlord undoubtedly found that his host did not like the fermented drinks of Haiti, because at some point, made approaching a large pumpkin, poured water into the bowl. And then Damiano swallowed all that water, which was fresh and tasty, demanding the other’s so soon. And he drank, from that moment on, he drank wide and frequent. The lovers, you know, always drink a lot of water. They do not need exciting drinks, by golly; rather than refrigerants, which extinguish, together with thirst, the excessive ardors of blood.

Was he therefore left in the habit of the young Indian? I already told you. He had made up his mind to fall in love with, and fall in love with, a red skin. And he kept his promise, ran his fortune, was subject to his fate.

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Strange whim of luck! They had put that beautiful creature next to him. But was it then to see a whim of fortune, or rather a choice, more or less judicious, but always meditated, of the landlords? It could be a delicacy of custom, not rare among savages, to place beside the guest the most beautiful woman in the house, as if to prepare the most precious food on the table. Fors was also a ritual, that the youngest woman was given to the stranger as a companion, until he lived under the hospitable roof. In short, they could be many things and many others; and Damiano could not imagine them all, nor try to look for them. Even if they had all flashed into his mind, he would not have been able to extract a construct in the state of mind he was in, and in the utter ignorance of savage uses. Now, of things that are not known, a mediocre science teaches not to look for the how and why.

He, after all, was not a man to brain himself. She had that charming little creature, and took advantage of the closeness to turn to her, now with an excuse, now with another, to look her in the eyes. And he spoke to her again, courteously offering her the best pieces of food that were placed on the cutting board, or on the cassava focaccia that served as a cutting board, a plate, all that will seem best to you. But talking to her with so much greater freedom, how much more sure she was not understood, she was careful not to tell her the only word of her language, which he knew by heart. Taorib, do you remember? But this kept her for a private conversation. In that large brigade his taorib would have been heard by everyone. Love has its verecondia, its retention. And that time Damiano was in love for real; indeed, he told himself that he had never loved before.

The beautiful creature was listening to him, never understanding it, but certainly guessing it often. Maybe I say badly; perhaps she always guessed the talk of Damian, meaning that he spoke at random, and for no other reason than to be able to look into her eyes. And she laughed at every sentence of him, showing him between her two tender coral lips the beautiful little teeth, luminous in their candor; and with his customary gesture, he looked at him from under the half-closed eyelids, beneath those fringed veils that you know, and which, raised in the middle, like strips of mysterious curtains, seemed to say: here does not penetrate an importing ray of sun, nor jealous eye of rival; Come.

And those soft cheeks, that tender throat, that gentle neck! … Damiano looked, and thought; and his thought could be expressed to such an expression: Good Lord God! what a wonderful thing you have done on the last day of your creations! You understand that to make it so beautiful, you have kept it for the last one. For us, see, good lord God? for us, it is the first, without contrast the first. Ah, poor us, meanwhile! But think, merciful as you are, that if we lose our mind, it is still and always for the admiration of your works; and do not want to make an accusation, in the very last day.

The banquet had come at that time when all the guests dissolve Giordano. It should be a dog; but it is the scilinguagnolo. In that hour everyone begins to say what he wants, imagining that everyone listens to him; and nobody listens, or, if he listens, he does not understand anything. Damiano began to speak; and since he was the guest, the white man, the son of heaven, the diners did not let the landlord give voice, to pay a benevolent attention to the speaker. But these, who had only drunk water, were not deceived, as at that hour any other speaker would have been deceived. He knew very well that no one would understand it; but he did not care at all. He spoke, for the sake of speaking, to be heard by that dear child who sat on his right. Neither would she have understood it: but what did that matter, by then? The dear child would have heard the sound of her voice, and guessed by certain signs, by certain frequent clues, that the speech was all for her.

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“See, dear savages?” Damiano said. “You are good people, and I love you. Not for your faces, oh no. You inspire me a modest affection. Are you my neighbor? I do not know. To get a glimpse of it, I should at least know that you are descended from Cam, from Sem, or from Jafet. Because, I do not hide it from you, our next is enclosed in this biblical tern, multiplied by fifty centuries and more, according to the ancient rule and accepts. But you are good people, I repeat, and I do not want to make you wrong, by banning you from the human family. How could I do it, anyway? You have among you a beautiful creature, which will not be next to me, but it is close to me, and yet it still seems to me too far away. Where did you catch it? Where and how was born this marvelous flower, which is called …. What is your name, loved nearby? I ignore him. And it hurts me that it is not here, to ask you, the wise interpetre Cusqueia.

-Cusqueia! “One of the diners shouted, hearing the first word of which he could understand something.

-Cusqueia: Cusqueia! -Revolved several.

And everyone laughed, repeating that name. Damiano, there at first, was baffled.

“I understand,” he said, after a moment’s pause, “the name of the natural of Cuba will mean something ridiculous, as is the case with so many names in the old world. Well, it does not matter, let’s get on with it. We do not want to spoil the blood for a wild name. I will return to the beautiful creature that is on my right side, and it already occupies all of my left side. A beautiful little woman in a society is the hand of God. Nothing is worth a pretty little woman; neither riches, nor honors, nor youth, nor health. In the old world, for a beautiful woman, two peoples have quarreled for ten years, extensively bleeding two palms of earth; and the first poet of Greece sang it very long, in the manner of the orbs. Honor to him, who was not oblivious to the beauty of Elena! There is in the beautiful woman the great quid of existence. Why do you live, finally? why do you study? why do we all try to appear, better than we can, at the cost of a hundred sacrifices, and a thousand? As long as we are young, and the eyes sparkle, and the cheeks are red, and the hair … blacks (some men have them blond, but, believe me, blond hair is not worth a damn), we love with confidence, sure to be loved, or so. Then …. because there is a then, ambition clings to the heart; we want to have the honors, conquer the riches. But why? To appear again, to always appear, to be loved, if it succeeds. There is nothing but this, in the world, or, if there is anything else, it is not valid. You, for example, savages of my soul, are worth a little. I would not pay anything, because you, old councilor of Guacanagari, minister, old man, or whatever you are, I went away from here: and with you all your people, less this dear child, that makes me turn my head as if you had drunk your liqueurs. But already, close to these beauties, even the water drunk.

Gesticulated talking. And they were all listening to that speech in an unknown language, looking at each other from time to time, and laughing stupidly, as always happens, when we laugh without knowing what. But someone tried to talk, answering him; naturally out of tone. And they laughed even more, but at least knowing what they were laughing at. Soon they all talked, alternately from before, and then all together, doing a passerio.

-Yes, good, talk a little to others, -said Damiano.-I could not yet more. Talk a lot, up to squash. And do not listen to me, above all. Let me talk to this pretty neighbor, who turns my head upside down, with such a languid gesture, and looks at me beneath those black fringes. What do you want to tell me with those big eyes, wild of my soul, that I would be so willing to put up with myself, like a fresh egg? You will tell me that it is not courteous, in a guest, after having drank, to welcome thoughts and wishes from a fasting stomach. But what can I do if you’re so beautiful? and if you must, how beautiful you are, be good? Ah, finally, do you go, you others? You want to leave me with this sweet taorib.-

Did Taorib have the same magical power of Sesame in Haiti in the eastern novel of Ali Baba? Probably it was only a coincidental coincidence. But meanwhile, Damiano’s guests began to leave the room; a few minutes later, there were no longer the two landlords. These, however, did not withdraw in the guise of others; they turned back several times, looking at Damiano, then winking at each other, as if they wanted to say, like a father and a mother of Europe; poor guys! let them talk; they will have many things to say to each other!

-Taorib!-Damiano murmured, leaning over his waist, towards the wild wilderness-Taorib! -Requested, putting in the word all the sweet and deep intensity of his vocal cords.

-Mara Taorib; -you answered, shaking his head.-Ada turey taorib.

-Mara! -Claimed Damiano.-What is this stuff? But let’s see. I told her beautiful, and she replies to me …. What would you answer in such cases a forty of old Europe? Ah, I understand. Mara taorib, as if to say: nothing beautiful. But what will then say Ada turey, which is also taorib? Tell me, child, “he said, making the face of the clumsy man-what does Ada turey mean?

The beautiful savage laughed at the anguish in which her poor interlocutor was. Then, raising his arm, and describing with his forefinger a half-circle in the air, as high as he could tell him: turey.

“Heaven?” He asked.

And to make himself better understood, after having described with both hands the vault of the firmament, he made the act, to bend himself, praying. The beautiful wild beating the palms, she repeated twice: turey.

-I want to have understood the first part of your speech, as I understand the second part. In fact, what does heaven have to do here … which is beautiful? You do not want to tell me: I’m not beautiful, but is the son of heaven nice? And therefore, divine creature, I am the taorib? me, the taorib, is not it? –

And repeating the word, Damiano repeatedly brought his forefinger to his chest. The beautiful wild promptly made an affirmative nod.

-Ada turey taorib; -soggiunse, confirming the gesture with a gesture of the hand, which addressed to his interlocutor.

Here, then, it was Damian who clapped palm to palm, rejoicing in that first victory.

-Thank you! -She said.-But this language is very easy. I will do miracles, from the first, lesson. Now, or taorib, as we are so well initiated, I would like to know your name. ”

This was the trouble. How to be, understand? But our Damian had warmed himself up to the game, and nothing would have seemed difficult now.

– Let’s see a little, – he said to himself.

Then, hinting at her with the gesture, of being about to make a supreme effort, he asked and easily obtained all the attention of the beautiful savage.

“I,” he said, turning his forefinger to his chest, -io taorib Damiano. Damiano! “He said, repeatedly marking himself.” And you? “He went on, quickly turning his finger to her.” And you? ”

But the beautiful wild did not understand that monosyllable. And he showed he did not understand it, looking long at Damiano with his arched eyelashes.

-I put the cart forward to the oxen, -said Damiano to himself ….- Let’s study another.-

Then, pointing with his hand out of the hut, he said to his neighbor:

-Guacanagari! –

She understood; and it was not difficult for him to understand the first, for he uttered the name of the tribe’s cacìco. And he answered, nodding his head:


Damiano, then, putting his hand to his cheek and making it slide in caress under the chin, he began again:

-Cacique Guacanagari …. taorib?

The beautiful wild laughed, and answered him:

-Nala nala.

“It must be so-so!” Thought Damiano. “Yeah, I did not even need to ask him; because I saw it, the cacìco, and it did not seem to me anything delicious. ”

Then, still hinting outside the hut, in the direction of the square, he repeated:


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And immediately turning the index to himself, he added:

-Damiano; I Damiano, I.-

Here, as the reader intends to be light, the index repeatedly beats his chest.

The beautiful wild looked at him with a lot of eyes. And it is understood that she had a great desire to understand.

Damiano resumed his double work, gesture and voice, pointing to the distant with the name of the cacìco, and himself with his own name, adding the epithet to him.

“Damiano,” he said, “Damiano taorib.”

A flash of joy, flashed by the pupils of that charming creature, told our Damian that he had finally been understood. And two words of her still told him:

-Taorib …. Damiana.-

But this did not like him too much.

“Damiana!” He burst out. “Mara Damiana! Damiano! Damiano! -Repeat, beating on the final.-Do not change the sex you too, killer creature!

-Damiano, -repets the wild, with a dismissed accent.

-Ah well! -Required then.-See that head! This wild learn things on the fly.-

But it was not yet enough that she knew his name. It was necessary that he knew her name. And therefore our Damian led the solemn gesture that invited the attention; then he said, always helping himself with the gesture of the index:

-Io Taorib Damiano; and you, taorib …. taorib ….-

But she did not mean. And Damiano began to despair, when a bright idea came to his mind.

“Let’s see,” he told himself, “if a raid on the wild calendar could help me.” In the old world, whoever asks a woman his name by pronouncing that of another, would be slapped, to say the least. But here we must come out of a difficult step. We run the risk, per bacco.-

And he resumed his sentence, still accompanying it with the gesture of the index:

-Io Taorib Damiano; and you? … taorib Samana? Caritaba taorib?

-Mara Samana; -received the savage.-Mara Caritaba. Abarima!

-Abarima! -Damiano shouted.-Abarima, you? is your name, Abarima? Taorib Abarima! You are all my thoughts on top. Up to your feet this heart is good. Let your lips kiss a warm kiss … on those of you, your own eyes of indigo, first … that he exalts your woman in prose and rhyme. Abarima! or sweet Abarima! –

He did not dare to accostar the lips to the indigo he had mentioned. He contented himself with taking her hand, and kissing the top of his fingers with chivalrously.

“See, Abarima?” He said, commenting on his act. “We start here in our countries; ordinarily from the little finger; then up, slowly, or quickly, according to the cases, proceed to the back of the hand. There are also very knowledgeable men who with a sweet violence turn you over a beautiful hand, from the back to the palm; so you see, so ….-

Abarima laughed; but in the meantime he withdrew his hand from the game, and slammed it on his face; almost to punish him, but not too badly, for his impertinence.

“As in the old world!” Damiano exclaimed, repeating the right hand of Abarima. “Oh God! are not we of the same lineage? rather, are not you women, all daughters of Eve in one way? And so, from a buffet, from a fake, take the opportunity to get acquainted with our monster. Abarima! I love you. Will you let it be said that you have the eyes of indigo? and the soft, perfumed cheeks, like the September peaches? Will you come to Europe? I swear to you, I will marry you before all the parish priests of Christendom.-

He chatted, chatted, well, meaning that she would not understand it. But the words gave him courage to look at her closely in the eyes and to caress her hand. She had begun to laugh: and she had laughed again, giving him that faint note. But he no longer laughed. He looked timidly, became confused, lowered the black fringes on his cheeks, quivered and remained silent. Nobody, meanwhile, was there.

“I understand,” thought Damiano, who had noted the thing, “it is a costume of these countries. The host is master; the best of the house is for him. They say that it is so also in certain regions of Asia …. and in the India pastinaca of Luigi de Torres. And I do not mind, the costume here. In our old world, by this time, servants would have come to clear the table. Or, seeing each other look good, they would be caught up in twenty curious observing us. Old world, I abominate you, I accuse you and curse you. Abarima! sweet Abarima! listen, I would like to tell you something in my ear. ”

Abarima understood the gesture, and gave his ear naive.

“I love you,” Damiano whispered. “I love you.

-Ti …. a …. mo, -re set the wild, admired to be able to utter the words of the son of the sky.

He, then, helping himself with all the artifice of mimicry, explained the pronoun and the verb. For the pronoun, really, it was enough to indicate his pretty neighbor. But the verb …. the verb, as you know, is the great mystery of all languages. And the mysteries are understood on the fly, they feel, they catch each other with all the virtues of the intellect, but they are not explained by indications, by approximate signs. Nonetheless, since it was the verb par excellence, and of its indicative way, and of its present time, and of the first person, Damiano tried it with courage. Pointing to her several times, she caressed her face, twisting her eyes in a spasm; she pointed at her several other times, as if to tell her the caress she had given herself; finally he put his hands to his heart, and from his heart he stretched out to her in prayer, with desire, with all that which follows and which, for the sake of brevity, commits; finally, and continuing the passionate gestures, he repeated them gently, tenderly, languidly:

-I love you.-

She had been watching very carefully all the hard work, but clear in its intensity. He gave an Argentine laugh, moved his head as if to say: I understood, and translated the sentence into his tongue:


-And go to lessinitli, -rispose Damiano.-I will then tell you my complete sentence: Damiano lessinitli Abarima taorib.

Abarima closed his eyelids and waved his head in disbelief. Then, in a low voice, he said to him:

-Mara nala kini sindekì?

Damiano was hurt, to that question, shot so point blank. A poor devil who thinks he knows German because he has done the first two exercises of the Allendorf, and he is heard asking by a great-grandson of Arminio at what time the first direct train leaves, no longer remains disconcerted by what was left in front of Damiano to the wild one, so beautiful and so naughty.

-Mara ….? – he said, just to say.

-Mara nala kini sindekì? -Ripetè ella, laughing.

“My dear,” said Damiano, dejected, “this is Arab, Turkish, Egyptian, for your very humble servant. So, I believe, the master builders of the tower of Babel spoke when they began not to understand each other. Where are you going? said one; and the other answered: the onions. Sweet little girl, think about it well; I told you: Damiano lessinitli Abarima taorib; and you answer me ….

-Mara nala ….- said the beautiful wild.

-Yes, I understood, enough! “Damiano shouted.” For mara, I do not see any difficulty; it’s your way to say no. Nala, now that I think of it, you said it a moment ago, in the phrase: nala u nala, which I have interpetrated: so-so. But your kini Sindei clenched my teeth, beautiful girl. «Not so ….» What sentence can you start with these two words, and with a questioning accent, how did you do? “Not so …” Oh, look, I make one, Abarima taorib. You want to make fun of me; I will not break your words in your throat, which would be rude, with a woman; I’ll be happy to seal them in your mouth. ”

And he approached, as he had once done; but he did not mention the desire to speak to her.

An arm raised and an expressive look interrupted Damiano’s gesture. The arm raised, for truth, would have done little defense. The expressive look told him too clearly: stop, there is someone you see.

Damiano turned with a start, and glimpsed someone who had appeared at the door then. Abarima’s father, perhaps? or another of the family? No, a companion of Damian, and the most faithful, Cosma!

Medusa’s head would not have … But no, let’s leave the classic comparisons there. This, then, would not hold up either. Damiano was not stunned; at best it could be said that he, like a brick, got away there by the form, and kept a piece in the sun, remained quite … annoyed.

-Cosma! He exclaimed.