little saffron coloured butterfly which came and met me at the bar in
Dinard square and brought me (so it seemed to me) news from you, will
have been returned anymore since my leaving in that little cold and
windy square? It was unlikely the algid Breton summer would exite from
numb gardens so many equal sparks all painted with the same colour.
Maybe I didn't meet one of Dinard's butterflies but the Dinard's butterfly
and the question to solve was whether the mourning visitor came and
met exactly me or whether it ignored other bars on purpose because I
was exactly al that one (at Cornouailles') or whether that little corner
was simply on its mechanic and daily route. In conclusion was it a mourning
walking or a secret message? To answer this question the day before
my coming back I decided to leave a good pourboire and my Italian address
to my maid. She would have written to me "yes" or "no"
whether the butterfly had come back after my leaving or if it hadn't
returned anymore. I waited for the butterfly to alight on a vase of
flowers, then I took a hundred note, a sheet of paper and a pencil and
I called for my maid. Talking in a more unsteady than usual French and
stammering, I explained her the case; I didn't explained all the case,
only a part of it.
I was an amateur entomologist and I wished to know if the butterfly
would have come back again and how much it would have longed with all
that cold. Then I became silent, sweaty and terrified.
"Un papillon? Un papillon jaune?" said the graceful Filli
opening her Grenze eyes wide. "On that vase? I can see nothing.
Look better. Merci bien, Monsieur".
She pocketed the hundred note and went away holding a coffee filter.
I bowed my head and when I raised it again I saw the butterfly wasn't
on the dahlias vase anymore.
(Eugenio Montale, La farfalla di Dinard,
translated by I.V.)