Giulio shouted to his brother :
– Wake up, Niccolo!
The latter gave a grunt, swore, pulled down the brim of his hat and closed his eyes again. He was squatting in a chair, with his hands in his trouser-pockets and his head leaning against one of the shelves of the bookcase ; near by was an antique wooden chest, covered with vases, china plates and paintings, kept there on view for strangers.
– Here ! Aren’t you ashamed to be asleep, and all the morning too ! You irritate me !
At this Niccolo grinned and opened his eyes to look at his brother.
– Well, and why not ? Until meal-time comes, I like to sleep !
– I wanted to tell you that I must go to the bank. There’s a renewal this morning.
Niccolo snorted impatiently and replied :
– Well, go ! You needn’t wake me up to say that.
– And who is to take care of the shop ?
– No fool is coming in to buy books at this time of day. Go along. I’ll look after it.
While Giulio searched for his top-hat, Niccolo got up and bounded hastily to the door, as if he intended to run out ; then returned and resumed his seat. He was tall and stout, with a small grizzled beard, large lips and grey eyes.
Since Giulio would go to the bank himself, instead of sending him or their other brother, Niccolo looked at him and asked, with studied earnestness :
– Where is Enrico? Must we always do everything for him too ?
– I dare say he is out for a walk now. Where else can he be? You know that he always feels he must take a stroll at this time of day.
– And ‘then you blame me because I stay here and sleep !
Giulio wanted to smile ; but he put on his spectacles, inspected the signature on the promissory note, and said :
“Just look ! Don’t you think it has turned out very well?
Niccolo shrugged his shoulders without replying, while Giulio repeated, with a kind of admiration growing less and less involuntary :
– I think it turned out very well indeed !
His brother bent his head and grunted again, then he began to beat a hasty tattoo with his foot, while the wooden chest, with all that stood upon it, trembled.
– Stop it ! You’ll break everything !
– Perhaps it would be just as well.
Giulio, scratching his chin, looked at him almost with surprise.
– It’s no use trying to get you to understand ! As things are now, my dear fellow, even if we wanted to stop them, it would be too late ! Rather let’s hope we find the money there to meet these bills.
– And suppose the bank discovers first that you that we are forging the signatures ?
( Federigo Tozzi, Three crosses – 1920 )