The Horseman on the Roof

The Horseman on the Roof

The Horseman on the Roof

The Horseman on the Roof

Excerpt

Dawn found Angelo mute and yawning but awake. The brow of the hill had protected him from the slight dew that falls in these regions in summer. He rubbed his horse down with a handful of heather and rolled his saddlebag.

The birds were stirring in the valley into which he descended. It was not cool, even in the hollows still covered by the darkness of the night. The whole sky was lit by shafts of gray. At last the red sun, smothered in a thicket of dark clouds, emerged from the forests.

Despite the already stifling heat, Angelo longed for something hot to drink. As he descended into the middle valley separating the hills on which he had spent the night from another, higher and wilder range, two or three leagues ahead of him, where the first rays of the sun were burnishing the bronze of the tall oak woods, he saw a small farm building by the roadside and, in the field, a woman in a red skirt, picking up the washing that she had spread out in the evening dew.

He drew near. Her shoulders and arms were bare above a coarse linen bodice, which also displayed enormous, deeply sunburned breasts.

"Excuse me, madame," he said, "but will you let me have a little coffee? I'll pay for it. . . ."

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