In the sala

A day so happy (to get the erudite allusion out of the way right off). I spent it in my sala, which is a steep tiled roof on four massive trunks and stands perched up on top of a small hillock, my garden's highest point. It has views towards distant mountains and a nearly constant easterly breeze. There I lay on my couch, sprawled oriental and decadent fashion, facing west, towards the hills, reading and listening to audio books by turns, dozing off, and staring at the flowering trees and the distant views and listening to the birds. I listened to Le Temps' first chapter some half a dozen times, falling asleep each time, and then waking and falling asleep again, until from the various bits heard and remembered, or sort-of remembered, I got a pretty good impression of what it is about, which is, of course, dozing off. Then I read in Kangxi's autobiography, so cleverly put together from fragments of his edicts by Spence, and was, as always, deeply moved by it: I have known and liked the man for so many years now and, always, the more I learned about him, the more I liked and admired him. Interesting, cultured and decent, men do on occasion arise within our species; odds are, of course, that we will never meet one in the flesh; but the invention of writing allows us to meet them in their words, at least; and when we read them, we know that such men are possible; and therefore that the species is not entirely a waste. There is a warm feeling about the heart. As I lay there on my couch, gradually the day's heat wore off, it leaned towards the evening, the sun set behind the hills without much ado, and darkness began to gather in the air. I lay there absolutely still, waiting for the night. At length the world turned black; a strange bird began to caw; and then I saw a flickering light approaching through the trees: it was my servant coming to collect me and take me home.


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