Letters from Ascona
Today it is cold, but there is some sun after yesterday’s endless rain. Having got up late after a middling night, I am sitting in my spacious digs, three or four flights up, with a view of the steeply rising little garden next to the house and of the lake. The room has two beds, a small closet, a chest, an old, broken-down cabinet, a large sofa for sleeping, a large table, a tin washstand, a night table, a few pre-historic easy chairs, an electric lamp, no bell (four flights up), an ancient oleograph, a mirror, a clothes tree, and the walls done in a yellow wash. With room go a small kitchen, a lavatory next to the bedroom, and everything can be locked during the day. So it is ideal for ‘a happy loving pair’ of Ascona back-to-nature [Naturmenschen] people who cook nothing more than some porridge. In front of the house there is a chaussee, then one steps down into a small, luxuriant garden by the lake with an intoxicating smell of violets. A chicken run, a little landing for boats. The husband, avvocato e notaio,3 is at his office in Locarno every day. His wife, once obviously beautiful and even now very good looking, is the large farmer’s wife type. She scrubs the floors together with the maid, trots off to the post office — in short, in rank she is the same as Signora Quattrini in the local tavern. It is a really filthy Italian hole [Italienernestchen], although the tavern has some class because of the people staying there.
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