Chapter 2: In Santa Croce with No Baedeker
A conversation then ensued, on not unfamiliar lines. Miss
Bartlett was, after all, a wee bit tired, and thought they had
better spend the morning settling in; unless Lucy would at all
like to go out? Lucy would rather like to go out, as it was her
first day in Florence, but, of course, she could go alone. Miss
Bartlett could not allow this. Of course she would accompany Lucy
everywhere. Oh, certainly not; Lucy would stop with her cousin.
Oh, no! that would never do. Oh, yes!
At this point the clever lady broke in.
"If it is Mrs. Grundy who is troubling you, I do assure you that
you can neglect the good person. Being English, Miss Honeychurch
will be perfectly safe. Italians understand. A dear friend of
mine, Contessa Baroncelli, has two daughters, and when she cannot
send a maid to school with them, she lets them go in sailor-hats
instead. Every one takes them for English, you see, especially if
their hair is strained tightly behind."
Miss Bartlett was unconvinced by the safety of Contessa
Baroncelli's daughters. She was determined to take Lucy herself,
her head not being so very bad. The clever lady then said that
she was going to spend a long morning in Santa Croce, and if Lucy
would come too, she would be delighted.
"I will take you by a dear dirty back way, Miss Honeychurch, and
if you bring me luck, we shall have an adventure."
Lucy said that this was most kind, and at once opened the
Baedeker, to see where Santa Croce was.
"Tut, tut! Miss Lucy! I hope we shall soon emancipate you from
Baedeker. He does but touch the surface of things. As to the true
Italy--he does not even dream of it. The true Italy is only to be
found by patient observation."
This sounded very interesting, and Lucy hurried over her
breakfast, and started with her new friend in high spirits. Italy
was coming at last. The Cockney Signora and her works had
vanished like a bad dream.