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Malcolm Gair

The Burning of Troy

Collins 1958
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Malcolm Gair

THE SUN WAS HOT and bright, and the tourists were putting on their dark glasses. Already, early in the year, Venice was full of tourists. They filled the launches and the gondolas, the churches and the cafes and the hotels and the restaurants; they fed the pigeons in the Piazza San Marco. They were all kinds: elderly English ladies, fat middle-aged Germans, a group of club women from Columbus, Ohio, Indians in saris. They were all different, yet in a way they were all the same. You couldn't tell one from another. Any one of them, taken singly, was in a way invisible . . . The young man was dressed in pale blue trousers, and a white shirt. The sleeves were folded back over his forearms, Italian style, and not right back above his elbows, as the foreigners wore them. But he was big for an Italian, and the hair on his husky brown forearms was golden in the sun. On the right forearm there was a tattooed anchor, blue, with a pink chain coiled twice round it.

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