Translated from the Italian by Douglas Ainslie B.A. (Oxon.)
t as though I had stumbled into the eighteenth century and were calling on Giambattista Vico. After a brief inspection by a young man with the appearance of a secretary, I was told that I was expected, and admitted into a small room opening out of the hall. Thence, after a few moments' waiting, I was led into a much larger room. The walls were lined all round with bookcases, barred and numbered, filled with volumes forming part of the philosopher's great library. I had not long to wait. A door opened behind me on my left, and a rather short, thick-set man advanced to greet me, and pronouncing my name at the same time with a slight foreign accent, asked me to be seated beside him. After the interchange of a few brief formulae of politeness in French, our conversation was carried on in Italian, and I had a better opportunity of studying my host's air and manner. His hands he held clasped before him, but frequently released them, to make those vivid gestures with which Neapolitans frequently clinch their phrase.
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