ora et in ora de nostra morte. Amen.
As Dr. Hermogenes had just excused himself for his delay in joining the game of cards at the Casino, a rather tall young man wearing short trousers down his knees showing his hairy legs -as it was common in the area at that time- and also so amazing to young girls, which often made them giggle in a malicious way, in seeing younsters’ so long hair all over their legs . No wonder elderly people were not shocked with if so many young people were wearing shorts so far, as it was supposed to be the best way to save material in the making of trousers. The trouble was that even in winter time when the weather was rough you could see the kids in the same corduory shorts walking up and down, shivering with the cold.
As soon as D. Aritophanus had spotted Abraham, the sexton, coming in, [he] stood up with no excuse at all and walked to him for words.
- The Badlegs is about to hand out the dish, D. Aristophanus, and his daughter want him to take “the viatico” before him to pass away.
The priest went back to the table where the game of cards was interrupted so as to excuse himself.
- There is a soul in town who needs spiritual comfort and went out at once in the company of the verger.
- Badlegs is in his last breath, D. Aristophanus, and we ought to be by his bedside in a rush.
They both had walked across the church square to come up to the church main entrance where the altar boy was waiting.
The sunlight ‘s last beams had vanished and the three bulbs hanging from the three corners of the square were switched on flashing in a poorly spell of orange light that together with the tiny breeze from the sunset that made the bulbs quiver, turned the place look somewhat spooky. The swifts were flying around the church building in a frenzied way again and again, as if they were announcing the breaking up of Badlegs with life.
The priest wearing a white embroidered top carrying the Cup with the Sacred Host, our Saviour, hidden in a piece of gold-pattern cloth, walked ahead between the sacristan, also in a purple church cassoak with a white embroidered top, was holding a big candle between his two hands singing out “memento homo” in latin, while the alter boy was shaking a handbell in a noisily way – high enough to make people on the way to stand by and show their respect to the Holy Cup.
The whole scene would make everyone shiver of fear, even the elderly who were supposed to be accustomed to its use: the little kids were so anxious that they walked backwards to give way to the procession so as to shelter themselves and stand up against the wall nearby. Everybody was aware that it was not the right time to make a rush in the search of the priest and kiss his golden ring.
All the people from the casino walked out to pay tribute to God Himself going past in front of them…D. Hermogénes had taken off his white black-ribboned hat he used to wear in order to match with his white thin [pin] -stripped suit and his white leather shoes, just an old-fashioned pair he had kept on wearing ever since his wedding day. Also his mohogany stick he needed not to use provided him with respectful look to the eyes of his ailings.
- I still wear them because you know the popular proverb – being as comfortable as old shoes. He would reply to any cunning sardonic criticism, the income for a GP at that time was scary though.
- Ms Irene is going to go crazy if you are not at supper on time, D. Hermógenes. You would rather hurry up, said one of the Kittens also at the Casino main entrance paying respect to the priest: although he was not a believer, he used to attend the Mass every Sunday.
D. Hermógenes cast him a fierce stare in hearing the Kitten’s irony, trying to be spiteful to him as if he had remembered about his stand off as a Red during the Civil war and his humble job as a local postman.