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South Wind

by Norman Douglas

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Book Description
1929. Contains two volumes in one. English novelist and travel writer, Douglas lived for years on the island of Capri and in Italy and other Mediterranean countries and made these the settings for his books. The book begins: The bishop was feeling rather seasick. Confoundedly seasick, in fact. This annoyed him. For he disapproved of sickness in every shape or form. His own state of body was far from satisfactory at that moment; Africa-he was Bishop of Bampopo in the Equatorial Regions-had played the devil with his lower gastric department and made him almost an invalid; a circumstance of which he was nowise proud, seeing that ill-health led to inefficiency in all walks of life. There was nothing he despised more than inefficiency. Well or ill, he always insisted on getting through his tasks in a businesslike fashion. That was the way to live, he used to say. Get through with it. Be perfect of your kind, whatever that kind may be. Hence his sneaking fondness for the natives-they were such fine, healthy animals.

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And even after Florence! Do you know why? Because mankind dominates in Tuscany. The land is encrusted with ephemeral human conceits. That is not altogether good for a youngster; it disarranges his mind and puts him out of harmony with what is permanent. Just listen a moment. Here, if you are wise, you will seek an antidote. Taken in over-doze, all these churches and pictures and books and other products of our species are toxins for a boy like you. They falsify your cosmic values. Try to be more of an animal. Try to extract pleasure from more obvious sources. Lie fallow for a while. Forget all these things. Go out into the midday glare. Sit among rocks and by the sea. Have a look at the sun and stars for a change; they are just as impressive as Donatello. Find yourself!



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