Sea and Sardinia describes a brief excursion undertaken in January 1921 by D.H. Lawrence and Frieda, his wife a.k.a. Queen Bee, from Taormina in Sicily to the interior of Sardinia. They visited Cagliari, Mandas, Sorgono, and Nuoro. Despite the brevity of his visit, Lawrence distils an essence of the island and its people.
«I gave him three francs. He looked at it as if it were my death-warrant. He peered at the paper in the light of the lamp. Then he extended his arm with a gesture of superb insolence, flinging me back my gold without a word. “How!” said I. “Three francs are quite enough.” “Three francs—two kilometers—and three pieces of luggage! No signore. No! Five francs. Cinque franchi!” And averting his pallid, old mud-larking face, and flinging his hand out at me, he stood the image of indignant repudiation. And truly, he was no taller than my upper waistcoat pocket. The brat! The brat! He was such an actor, and so impudent, that I wavered between wonder and amusement and a great inclination to kick him up the steps. I decided not to waste my energy being angry. “What a beastly little boy! What a horrid little boy! What a horrid little boy! Really—a little thief. A little swindler!” I mused aloud. “Swindler!” he quavered after me. And he was beaten. “Swindler” doubled him up: that and the quiet mildness of my tone of invocation. Now he would have gone with his three francs. And now, in final contempt, I gave him the other two. He disappeared like a streak of lightning up the gangway, terrified lest the steward should come and catch him at his tricks. For later on I saw the steward send other larks flying for demanding more than one-fifty. The brat.»