It was the familiar simpleton, who shuffled across the court-yard, clattering his wooden-soled shoes, to greet us with a howl or a laugh, I hardly know which, holding out his hand for a penny, and chuckling grossly when it was given him.
If they were at all in their lives like those who have come after them, the sun baked their bald brows in Summer, and their naked feet poor feet! clapping round in wooden-soled sandals over the frozen stones of Venice were swollen and gnawed with chilblains in winter; and no doubt some fat friar of their number, looking all the droller in his bare feet for the spectacles on his nose, came down Calle Falier then, as now, to collect the charity of bread and fuel, far oftener than the dwellers in that aristocratic precinct wished to see him.
The hard ground resounded beneath his wooden-soled shoes, and the blast froze the current of his reverie, which lingered on vague thoughts, on his luck of having, at any rate, met with a good and honest girl, on how cruelly he would have suffered had it been otherwise.
It was very early and the working-men had not yet turned out; at the morning coffee-rooms the shutters were just being taken down; warmly- clad tram-men were tramping through the streets in their wooden-soled boots; slipshod, tired women ran stumbling along to their early jobs, shivering with cold and weary of life, weary before they had begun their day.
"Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, We'll keep the red flag flying here." Young voices, impatient of the interim of waiting, sang the socialist song. The burden was taken up by the laborers, whose constant movement to keep a good view was attested by the hollow sound of their wooden-soled boots on the stone walks.
This state is here, in winter, marked by a clouded countenance, bare head, tatters, and wooden-soled shoes open at the heels; in summer by a preternatural purity of person, by abandon to the amphibious pleasure of leaping off the bridges into the canals, and by an insatiable appetite for polenta, fried minnows, and water-melons.
I know a boy who, when the red ball goes up in the street-cars, sneaks under his coat a pair of wooden-soled skates, with runners that curl up over the toes like the stems of capital letters in the Spencerian copy-book. He is ashamed of the old-fashioned things, which went out of date long and long before my day, but he says that they are better than the hockeys.
Between the forecastle and the bridge, in under the upper deck and the after, there is a swarm of people, a curiously stupid swarm, like sheep that get up on to one another's backs and look foolish. "What a cargo of cattle!" cries the fat pilot up to the captain, tramping delightedly on the breakwater with his wooden-soled boots.
Having made this clear, he hoped that the slight token of his displeasure might assure us of his intention to do his duty by us faithfully, and then, with the verse of a chanted psalm we were let go. Class by class defiled with rumble of boots and tramp of wooden-soled clogs, the boys first, the girls waiting till the outside turmoil had abated but, nevertheless, as anxious as any to be gone.
Gordon took no part in the baiting; he lit a cigar, snapped the match over his shoulder, carelessly watched his newest acquisition. A heavy, wooden-soled shoe shoved the dog forward. And Buckley Simmons, in an obvious improvement upon that manoeuver, kicked the animal behind the ear.
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