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His trees were now hung all over with scrawled pieces of paper and bits of cardboard with maxims from Seneca and Shaftesbury, and with various objects; clusters of feathers, church candles, crowns of leaves, women's corsets, pistols, scales, tied to each other in certain order. The Ombrosians used to spend hours trying to guess what those symbols meant: nobles, Pope, virtue, war? I think some of them had no meaning at all but just served to jog his memory and make him realize that even the most uncommon ideas could be right.


Italo Calvino

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