National Geographic : 1923 Jan
THE ISLAND OF SARDINIA AND ITS PEOPLE him with a short rod when he stops (see illustration, page 22). The flour thus ground is screened through sieves made at home by the women of the household (see Color Plate III). This operation is often performed in the middle of the courtyard. The bran is stored to feed the fowls, which are in variably found either here and there in front of the lolla or perched upon the cart shaft, which they use as a roost. The contrast between the lolla full of flowers, with every comfort of modern life, elegant in appearance, and lighted during the night by electric lamps, and the other part of the courtyard, with its rural aspect, is both striking and interesting. The lollas of the Campidano are not always the fine verandas just described. In the houses of poor families the portico is primitive, with a battered, slovenly tiled roof, supported by rough wooden posts, which are sometimes replaced by pillars of masonry. Other lollas have no gar (lens in front; but always one finds flowers or a climbing plant, adding color to the wall of the house. Everywhere are evidences of the good housewife's efforts to beautify her lolla as best she can. TIHE MOTOR CAR VERSUS TIHE OXCART The courtyard of a Campidano home is always cluttered with quaint Sardinian carts, with their frames formed of long poles. The oxcart is still to be found on all Sardinian roads, in strange contrast with the speedy motor car, to which the slow Sardinian vehicle is often a serious hin drance, for the cart is usually loaded with fagots piled to an incredible height and spread so wide that the road is completely blocked. It is often quite useless to sound the horn. No one hears. The driver of the cart sleeps and the oxen, too. When, after a great amount of halloo ing, sounding of the horn, and shouting, the cart moves slowly aside, the motor car is rudely brushed by the bristling ends of the fagots. The roads of Sardinia, once deserted and silent, are now traversed by many motor busses. Nowadays every part of the island is easily reached in a public au tomobile, but the old-time cart is always there also. It moves slowly and takes days to reach a village, but now and then it avenges itself on its modern enemy, the automobile. The engine gets out of order, a spring is broken, or the magneto does not work and a ferocious sun shines over all the scene. Then the Sardinian cart takes in tow its dejected and humiliated enemy and the passengers gaze morosely at the scenery, knowing that the village is distant and that on country roads are neither inns nor hotels. In the central regions of the island the cart is smaller and has wheels of solid wood. It is just such a vehicle as was used by the Romans twenty centuries ago (see page 55). NO WINDOWS LOOK UPON THE STREET The house of the Campidano is almost always the one-storied building so com mon in Spanish countries. No windows look upon the street, a condition said to be due to the fact that in former days men were so jealous of their women that nobody would expose his wife or sister to the curious glances of strangers. This reserve and all these efforts to conceal the business of the household are so common in Anglo-Saxon life that read ers will not understand how it could be otherwise. Yet life in the southern part of Europe is so open to inspection that this characteristic of the villages of the Campidano deserves notice. The heroines in Mrs. Deledda's works are rude types, all flesh and blood, with strong passions, often unchecked by edu cation or religion. She describes the women of that small portion of the island which is called the Nuorese. In the Campidano nothing of the sort is to be found in the beautiful, quiet, open faces of the women, whose cares are all di rected to bringing up a family-women who have in their eyes the reflection of the broad green plains of their beloved Campidano and whose bucolic souls are free from any dangerous passion. In their lollas, full of sunshine and flowers, they superintend the household. Their men cultivate the fields and tend large tracts of vineyards, coming home at sunset. The large gate is opened wide to admit the cart loaded with casks of wine or bags of corn. Then the ample court yard with its lolla is inclosed again and the happy domestic life continues in the sanctuary of the family.