Se ‘E Porcaie

As the ship neared the tropics and the heat, boredom and gossip intensified, so too did the tensions, both alimentary and sexual. The filth in first class was as bad as it was in the third - from the shy newlyweds who kept half the ship awake by “reciting Spanish verbs” in their cabin at night, to the opera tenor who cruised the lower decks for peasant beauties, to the Swiss-Italian woman in black silk stockings who gaily betrayed her bookish husband with the Argentinian politician, the Tuscan adolescent and the opera tenor. As the old hunchback commented in despair, “Se ‘e porcaie pesassan, saiescimo zà a fondo”: “If filth was heavy, we’d be on the bottom already.”

John Dickie