Crambe repetita (26)
Down in the Chicken Market Harriet found a memorial service being held over the spot where Calinescu’s murderers had lain. The trembling old peasant who sold her a cabbage said that among the mourners were ‘the greatest men in the world’.
Who were they? she asked and was told: ‘Hitler, Mussolini, Count Ciano and the Emperor of Japan.’
After the ceremony the site was roped off and spread each day with fresh flowers, to the inconvenience of the market traffic (477).
* * *
Harriet next evening was a discomfited hostess. The bones of Pinkrose’s egotism remained visible despite his veil of sociability. She felt he intended they should remain visible. The represented protest. He was a guest, but an unwilling guest. He was making the barest of concessions to good manners.
That had been one of the mornings in which there was nothing in the market. ‘Nothing but cabbage,’ Despina said (505).
—Olivia Manning (The Balkan Trilogy)