Yesterday evening, then, as soon as Ambrogio returned to his desk and put on his glasses, he looked shocked; and after turning them over a few times in his hands, looking at them from every angle, and having breathed on them a few times and wiped them with his checkered handkerchief, he started to wail: "Oh God, Oh God, Oh God! What has happened to me? I can't see any more... I understand! It's because of the shock I had yesterday! I must be very ill... Woe is me! I am ruined!...."
He went to tell Maralli, and asked to be able to leave the office and go to a pharmacy, because he didn't think he could cope, and something awful was certainly about to happen.
This was one of the consequences. The other was stranger and more complicated.
This morning, Venanzio sat in his armchair to read Il Corriere della Sera [The Evening Courier] (which arrives in the morning), but as soon as he put his glasses on he started saying "Oh! My sight is fading! I can't see! My head is spinning! My time has come! Please, call a doctor at once... and a solicitor! A solicitor!"
There was a revolution in the house. Maralli ran to his uncle's side and, sticking the ear trumpet in his ear, started to say "Be brave, Uncle. I am here. Don't be afraid! I'll handle everything. Don't get upset - it will soon pass..."
But Venanzio had closed his eyes and had started to shake more and more.
The doctor arrived, and said the patient's condition was very serious. When he heard this, Maralli went lots of different colours all at once and couldn't keep still. He kept repeating "I am here, Uncle!"
To put an end to this tragic scene, I ran into the waiting room and took Ambrogio's glasses (which he had left on his desk the previous day), intending to take them to Venanzio, because they would have had the miraculous effect of curing him at once. But when I came back the door was closed, and my brother-in-law and Virginia were outside it.
Maralli was rather cheerful, and I heard him say "He told the solicitor it wouldn't take a moment. That's a good sign, because it means there won't be many beneficiaries..."
I was reaching for the door handle, but Maralli said "Stop! You can't go in.. the solicitor is there... my uncle is making his will."
Soon afterwards, my brother-in-law went into his studio because a client had arrived, and Virginia left as well, telling me to stay there and let her know as soon as the solicitor came out.
Instead, as soon as the solicitor came out, I went into the room, took the trumpet, and shouted to Venanzio "Don't pay any attention to the doctor! You were frightened because your glasses had stopped working.. but it's probably just a slight weakening of your sight. Try these glasses of Ambrogio's, which are stronger than yours" I put the glasses on his nose, and stuck the Correre della Sera in front of his eyes.
Venanzio, seeing that could see, calmed down at once, compared the two pairs of glasses, embraced me, and said "You're a marvel, my boy! You are wise beyond your years, and will certainly make something of yourself... Where is my nephew?"
"He was outside, but he's in his studio now"
"And what was he saying?"
"He said it was a good sign that you spent so little time with the solicitor, because it meant there wouldn't be many beneficiaries."
Hearing these words, the old man laughed louder than he can ever have laughed in his life before. He gave me his gold-framed glasses, now useless to him, and exclaimed "That's the funniest thing I've heard in ages... I'm only sorry about one thing, now.. not being able to come back from the dead to be present at the reading of my will. I'd die again, laughing!"