Illya was following his nose. There was a wonderful aroma coming from somewhere nearby and he was determined to find its source. Napoleon could smell it too and also followed Illya’s nose.
“What do you think it is?” he said.
“I don’t care; I just like the smell – I expect it’s pesto. That’s what Genoa is famous for.”
It turned out to emanate from a small restaurant in a courtyard next to a narrow lane which linked the two main thoroughfares. Genoa being a busy port, the lane was full of prostitutes whom they skirted carefully, Illya with indifference, Napoleon with a critical eye.
“I shouldn’t try their wares, Napoleon,” Illya said drily, “you must know where they’ve been.”
“Partner, you wound me. I’m keeping my renowned judicious discrimination in practice.”
“No judicious discrimination is necessary. Try a better subject to practise on – like food,” Illya said austerely.
The restaurant fulfilled all expectations and more. There was certainly pesto genovese; there was also torta Pasqualina, made with artichokes; and there was a choice of delectable fish, caught that day. Illya’s happiness was complete.
There was also a pretty girl serving. Napoleon, applying the discrimination on which he prided himself, thought he might achieve a certain happiness later, too, though possibly not the complete kind. This was Italy and she was a nice girl.