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Has Tony Perkins Lost His Heart?

“Next? What’s next?” he asked. “Next . . . we go to one of the most famous cathedrals in Rome,” she answered, and took his hand to lead the way.

They spoke in halting English and Italian, pausing every once in awhile to translate for each other, and they smiled a great deal.

His name was Tony Perkins, and he was tall and dark and looked like an American college boy but happened to be a movie star. Her name was Natascia Mangano, and her eyes hid the hint of laughter, and she looked like the movie star who happened to be her sister Silvana. Six days of the week they had worked together on “This Bitter Earth,” a Columbia movie; on the seventh, they made a tour of Rome.

“I don’t do this for every American,” Natascia said in halting English, and with the hint of a smile.

“I should think not. You’d wear out too much shoe leather!” he answered, and they both laughed.

It was Tony’s last day in Italy. In a few hours, he would have to fly to New York. They held hands as they walked on the sun-baked Roman boulevards and stopped at an outdoor cafe for a lunch of spicy sausage pizza and glasses of red chianti wine. They saw the Bridge of the Angels and the Coliseum, and the Sistine Chapel and the basilica of St. Peter’s. In between, they talked of their homes and their families and their friends and their futures. And then, for awhile, there was no need to talk at all. The girl rested her head on his shoulder, and it was as natural as though it belonged there always.

In the crowded city square, Natascia proves to Tony that a girl (especially if she’s his guide) is sometimes worth looking up to

After pausing for refreshment, Tony and Natascia tossed pennies into Trevi fountain to insure his return someday

At the top of the long flight of steps of the Spanish Plaza, the Sistine Chapel—and a view of the city—waited to welcome them

The vendor in the flower market didn’t know a word of English but when Tony said, “I’ll take a dozen” somehow he understood him fine

They rode out to the Coliseum in a horse-drawn carriage that made automobiles seem surprisingly unromantic. With so much to talk about (and so little time) the drive back was all too short

In the park they rested and made friends with a stray puppy dog. It was the perfect way to end the day, for parks are meant for sweethearts

Too soon, it was time to part, time for oceans and a continent to separate them. But in Italian “arriverderci” means “so long,” never “good-bye”



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