PORTUGAL: Housewarming

Bella Vista was named by an optimist. The outlook from the white cubical villa, surmounted by four grotesque chimneys, is gloomy. Ancient, vine-tangled trees surround it like careless sentinels. The great cast-iron gate is rusty."

A Portuguese retainer was trying to encourage a kitchen fire with damp wood when the little family arrived. The children goggled at the medieval stove, whimpered and wept. (Maria had forgotten her pet poodle and a friend in Lisbon had given her a strange setter; Mamma had forgotten her passport, but that had been taken care of, too.) There was no central heating or electricity¬óBella...

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