It was nearly four that afternoon before she got up to the baker’s
shop, and her uncle had already gone round to the coffee-house. Her
aunt was in the courtyard, sorting out wood for the night’s baking,
from a load which had been brought down from the hills the day
before. Mattina set to work to help her, and her aunt told her that her
uncle had said he was to be sent for as soon as she arrived, because
he meant to take them both out to see something, … “something,”
she added mysteriously, “that your eyes have never seen!” And then
she went off to send the boy to call her husband.
When Kyra Demetroula returned after a few minutes’ absence, it was to
find Mattina, who had come across a little sprig of thyme among the
firewood, holding it tightly between her hands, close to her face,
and smelling it with long indrawn breaths, the tears trickling down
Her aunt stared at her dumfounded. She had always been of the town.
“Are you mad, my child?” she exclaimed, throwing up her arms. “To be
spoiling your heart over a bit of old herb! Give it to me! Let me
throw it into the oven! What will your uncle say when he comes? He
will think I have been giving you stick! Look at your eyes!”
“Never mind! Let me keep it! Oh, let me keep it! I beg of you to let
me keep it, my aunt! Oh, it is so beautiful! It … it … brings
back Poros to me,” and Mattina gulped down her sobs and dried her
eyes on the back of her sleeve.
“Hush, now, I hear your uncle.”
He came in laughing, dressed in his Sunday best.
“Health to you, Mattina! You have been forgetting us for so long! And
if you only knew where we are going! If you only but knew!”
And it is true they went to a wonderful place.
In a broad street, up and down which the crowded street cars were
constantly running, they stopped at an entrance where a man sat behind
a tiny little window, and Mastro Anastasi paid some money to him. Then
they passed into a great big dimly lighted room, with many seats all
in a row placed from one end to another; and a great many people and
children were sitting in them. Mattina sat between her aunt and her
uncle, and waited.
“Why do we sit here?” she asked at last, “and why is it dark?”
Suddenly a little bell tinkled, and at one end of the hall it became
light; and then all sorts of extraordinary things passed before
She saw a motor car such as those which she had seen outside in the
streets, but this one climbed up the walls of houses. She saw a funny
short man running away, and a great number of people chasing him,
and he upset a woman carrying a bottle of wine, and the wine was all
spilt; and the woman was very angry, and got up, and followed after
him with the rest; and he upset two men on a ladder who were painting
a house, and all the paint ran over him, and they also chased him;
and he upset a cart laden with eggs, and all the eggs broke, and
the carter also ran after him, brandishing his whip; and he upset
a whole shop front of plates and dishes, and they all broke, too,
and came tumbling all over everyone; and when the people who were
chasing had nearly caught him, the man ran upon some railway lines,
and a railway train ran over him, and made him quite flat, but he
sprang up quite well again; and he came to a bridge, and he jumped
right into the water, and swam across to the other side, and all the
other people jumped in after him, but they could not swim and they
made a great splash in the water, and suddenly all the picture went
out and Mattina did not know what happened afterwards.
But she saw many other things.
She saw a little girl in a lovely frock of lace playing with a big
dog in a garden, and some men came and stole her and hid her in a
dark cellar, and a lady and a gentleman who came into the garden wept
and tore their hair, but the big dog sniffed the ground, and ran and
ran, and sniffed again, and jumped over walls and found the child,
and dragged her by her frock and brought her back to her father and
mother; and the last Mattina saw of them, they were all sitting in
the garden and patting and stroking the big dog.
Then she saw a seashore and rocks, in a place that her uncle told
them was called Spain, which was so like the second little bay on the
Monastery Road that she felt like crying again, but that picture went
out at once; and when she saw a man putting a lighted candle in his
mouth and swallowing it, she forgot to feel sad.
When at last they left the wonderful place, her uncle gave her a ten
“lepta” copper coin, and stopped a street car that was passing. He
told her to be sure to get out when she saw the grocer’s shop in
the Piræus Road at the corner of the street where her master lived,
and Mattina climbed into the car with a big sigh.