An odd town, Venice has always drawn oddities to itself. Feel displaced, unwanted, unappreciated, come to Venice. Too contemptuous, indolent or poor to wash, shave or dress in one of the ninety more or less acceptable modes of the day, come to Venice. Want your nullity glamorized, your vacuity filled, your stupidity mistaken for wit, your silence for sagacity, come to la Serenissima. Bums, thieves, con men, frauds, every kind of poseur and viper, they’re all in this beautiful, watery zoo.

Something like this is one of George Share’s summer tunes. For twenty years, Venice has been one of his pick-me-ups. Not this summer. Not the fault of the summer companion. Bug Venerdy is reasonable, good-humored, grateful, patient, calmly enthusiastic, unaggressively amusing. Young enough to be—and often taken for—his daughter, she supports laughs, looks and Italian insinuations with easy grace. She is also lovely to regard, touch, pass all kinds of time with. George had brought her mother here twenty-two years earlier.