North & South1946At six o'clock we were waiting for coffee,waiting for coffee and the charitable crumbthat was going to be served from a certain balcony-like kings of old, or like a miracle.It was still dark. One foot of the sunsteadied itself on a long ripple in the river.The first ferry of the day had just crossed the river.It was so cold we hoped that the coffeewould be very hot, seeing that the sunwas not going to warm us; and that the crumbwould be a loaf each, buttered, by a miracle.At seven a man stepped out on the balcony.He stood for a minute alone on the balconylooking over our heads toward the river.A servant handed him the makings of a miracle,consisting of one lone cup of coffeeand one roll, which he proceeded to crumb,his head, so to speak, in the clouds-along with the sun.Was the man crazy? What under the sunwas he trying to do, up there on his balcony!Each man received one rather hard crumb,which some flicked scornfully into the river,and, in a cup, one drop of the coffee.Some of us stood around, waiting for the miracle.I can tell what I saw next; it was not a miracle.A beautiful villa stood in the sunand from its doors came the smell of hot coffee.In front, a baroque white plaster balconyadded by birds, who nest along the river,-I saw it with one eye close to the crumb-and galleries and marble chambers. My crumbmy mansion, made for me by a miracle,through ages, by insects, birds, and the riverworking the stone. Every day, in the sun,at breakfast time I sit on my balconywith my feet up, and drink gallons of coffee.We licked up the crumb and swallowed the coffee.A window across the river caught the sunas if the miracle were working, on the wrong balcony.