Joe was a Swiss Border Italian whose parents came from the northeast shore of Lago Maggiore, where the scenery is gorgeous but as he said to me once you cant eat the rocks. Though born in Boston his first language was the local patois, a kind of latinate old- fashoned French; in the cities people spoke "Roman Italian" or Milanese Italian, considered ever so slightly self aggrandizing South of the Lombards and such the people were considered Moors ; "Africa begins at Rome" was less a racial statementt than an ideological one; Federigo II had a Moslem army that he first defeated, then housed on Lucera on the mainland as mercenary shock troops; they were not defeated until his son and heir was.
(Although that Emperor was Sicilian to the core, he was also half German- a Hohenstaufen- and half Norman, a Hauteville. He also ran wild as a street urchin in Sicily til the pope decided at his majority to bend him to his will. THAT was a plan always likely to work with the son of Constance and the grandson of Barbarossa...)
I promise I will get back to Frederic. But we are talking about my dad here. First the language. I recently read that most of La France Profonde before 1870, especially the South, spoke something "more like Italian" than Parisian French than they did; something like my grandparent' tongue. It also recalls Villon in the 1200's-- the ing and ung endings- Ving for wine, "pung" for bread. Pierre Stoyanovivich, Fabre's heir and a serious lepidopterist himself, though a (very rich but un-fancy) rich peasant ("un sale paysan, avec les mains sale, led doigts sale", in the greatly distressed word of Teocchi, the Italian- Parisian bureaucrat who ran the Harmas, Fabre's old farm, for the government and wanted his specimen and letters- he was trying to get me to support his views to some German tourists, but my loyalty was elsewhere. Stoyanovich-- he was 7/8 Provencal -- not only looked like my Dad -- he had his gestures, and my grandparents' language. Why not? They were only some 200 miles apart!
Stoyanovich and The Priest, his old Resistance brother and rival; several versions of Dad