THE NATIONS: Unsettled Weather

Since he was to sign the peace treaty for his beaten country, Italian plenipotentiary the Marchese Meli-Lupi di Soragna put on his best black tailcoat (now a little tight) and his striped pants (ever so slightly frayed at the cuffs). Outside, in the courtyard of the Italian Embassy, he patted his top hat, caressed his iron-grey mustache, and glanced at the clouded sky. To Paris Cop PauL Simon, on guard by the gate, Soragna remarked: "Some rain coming, I think," and after a pause, "I have a disagreeable task this morning." Cop Simon merely nodded cheerfully.

Soragna stepped into his...

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