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Full text of "I Promessi Sposi: (The Betrothed)"

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/ 




'Hi sprang up smpetuous/y in his btd'^ 

— Page 361 
(Frem the painting by G, Previati) 



THE JIARVARD CLASSICS 

KdlTED fiV CHARLCa W ELIOT LL tì 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 

(THE BETROTHED) 
BY ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

WITH IXTRODUCTIOK AND NOTES 
VOLUME 21 




r F COUJER & SON COMPAKY 
NEW YORK 



Copyright, 1909 
Bt P. P. Collebb & SON 

MANXTFACTUBBD IN U. S. A. 



447504 



• • t • 



Deaiffned. Prtnted, and Bound at* 




CONTENTS 

9àaM 
Chatxek I 7 

Cbafter n # , .... 25 

CejtnxR III *.*-.* 39 

Cbafter rV 55 

CHAm» V * 71 

Chaftee vi 86 

Cbaftzs Vn p 100 

CBATrm Vili iig 

Chaftzs IX 141 

Cbaj>tes X , .... 162 

Cbafter XI * , 185 

Cbaftee Xn 204 

Chaptee Xiri 219 

CHAPTtK XIV ...*-. 235 

Chaftib XV p ........ 251 

CHAPrat XVI ...-.--.-.-....... 268 

Cbafto XVII 285 

Chaitcr XVIII . . - 302 

CHAFreR XIX 318 

CHAFTtt XX 333 

CHAFrat XXI 348 

Chapter XXII 364 

CHAFint XXIII 377 

Charter XXIV 396 

Chapter XXV 423 

Charter XXVI 438 

CBAPns XXVU 454 

BO 1 1— Voi. 21 



2 OONTSMTS 

nuss 

Chaptex XXym 470 

Charxr XXIX 493 

CHAPint XXX So8 

CHAPint XXXI 521 

CHAPint XXXII 539 

Chapt» XXXIII 557 

Charxr XXXIV 578 

CbaptirXXXV 6oo 

Chapier XXXVI 614 

Chapter XXXVII 635 

cbafz» xxxvm 6&t> 



ÌNTRODUCTORY NOTE 



Coairr AmtàMBO ìlhTftmm tvas bom al Mihn, Italy, March 
V tfBS^ H# iMf fdmcmtié ai Lugamù, MUan^ and p0t^, and afUr 
$ùkimg kif d^ifrre he jomid ku m&ther in Paris, whtre he fùténd 
Jbcr m là# circU cf Mm** Condor ut and the 4urfn7/ìng ratìonatisis 
»/ ik$ §ÌgkUinìk cemtury. The se oswciaHons Ud him for a lififf 
iteptkùm, but hf was hUr €QnvifUd io Catholkism, and 
wt mm mid m Hi^dftui adh§rtni ùf thai faith tilt his dmlh^ dt- 
femdimf ii m hit tvrìHngs agaimt tkf ProUslant kistùrian Sis- 
pumdi. Mtt^Mùni ttas a mmm% sympathittr wiih the ^pirations 
0f kkM lem^itty to^ward pùlUical indep^^ndencf, bui kt look no vir^ 
mtiime pari im pmblit ^iiaiion. H^k^n ìialy was ut tasi fftÉ^ k§ 
WCM miùdi 9 Simaiùt ond awardfd a pfmiorK H€ dkd &i Mit&n, 

Mmms9m*4 nwst important tii^rary producHans ùrw in pQffry, 
imam^ amd tki navit. im ike firit gfQUp kt wrgie tomi hymns, 
rn^lobU for the m^rml Jb cf r^iV reHgious s£n timoni, and Pmo odes, 
n trm^mt tm^gio*^ «ni ''MarMo jÌ^l*^ Tke former af tkist, om 
[iàr death ef Sùpx?Uan^ first broughi him fame, His dramaiic 
Moni, "Il C^nU di C^rmagnQlù'* and **Adtkki,'* rfpffsrnt 
pi t4f fff* iiailan drama from ih* restrainls of ikg 
thMticml €smt*enHoHs, b»t neithgr wrJ wttk generai approvai in 
tigfy. G0€ih€, hcwtvif, nviiwed lA# éarlier in the mosi favùr- 
Bbh Ì0rms* In a prefatofy ets^^ Monsoni madr an importane 
amiwihmom lo 1^ ri^mattti^ protest ùgmnit the restrìciions of ihg 
dmmsHc "wii/i^x" of th^ ttaiskat drama. Bui iA# Itatians were 
•^ K^ Pfep0* iiih in the ireatment of human naiure 

m ph£€ af jt :nd cùnventhnaì form, , 

Tkg retfpHon fftp§n 1^ Mansomi's master pie ce , "ì Fremessi 
Sp^iT (tSJS-^) was very diiferenì. in form a hisiofkat novii^ 
wniUm ai ^ timé when tkt vo§n€ of tki Wax*ett$y Nùvels haà 
Miimmhi0d t^- ^- ' twn of tkis form of fteiion tkrom^koui 
Bmenpe^ ike > ; '*The Betroihed/* as U is nsiiaUy calte^d 

im BmfUnd, is ralhsr pffckotù^i^ and ttntimemtaf than exiemaL 
The setm£ it kM im L^mbawdy hstwetH s6^ ond iójti, amd ike 
piai détiU witk iké ikwarHnff af iks hff€ ùf two peamnts by a 
heml ifrmHi, Th4 manièffs of tkt tùms are presented wilh great 
9i9édei€s$ mtd ^kmr^sqmnéss; om of iki maxi naiobh eUmemu 

3 






• INTRODUCnON 

and IA# ilU§aKty and monstrosity of thi wholi procttdhg weri 
attributabU io a court éager fot a eonvicHon at ali costs io 
gratify ih0 thirst for blood of a madden$d and ignorant populaci. 
The incid0nt is rtlaUd by ManMoni with cons%d€rabl€ di/Fusi- 
n0ss and much technical argumfnt; but thf frightfnl nature of 
tkf €v$nts and the exhìhition of the psychology of a panie 
sfrkken mcb give the production a gruesome interest. 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



ÌM$tb4 

p 



CHAPTER I 

THAT brandì of the ìake of Como, whìch extendj 
towards the soutli. b endosed by two unbroken chains 
of naotmtains, which, as thty advance and recede, 
^Ttrafy its shorts wrth numerous bays aud ìnlets. Sud- 
4cnl3r Ihe lakc contracts iiìelf, aixd takes the coursc and 
kfm of a rivcf, betw^ca a promootory on the right, and a 
vìée ofCD fthore on ùic opponile side. The bridge which therc 
JM$ the n»o baxtks seenis to render this trans formation more 
to the cye. mné oiarks the point where the lake end% 
Adda again begins — ^soon to resumé the name of tlw 
mhete Ibe batiks receding afresh, aUow the wat^ Id 
aad sproid itself in ncw gulfs and bays. 
Tbe open country, borderìng the lake, formed of the aflii* 
mi écpostts of thrce grcat torreots, redines upon the rooU 
di hM> contigtiaijs motintains» one named San Martino, the 
«4tr« in iKc Lombard dsaJect, Il Rtsegontf because of ks 
■wy picaks sccn in prozie, which m truth rcsemble the teeth 
«f t uw »o fimch so, thai rio one at first sìght, viewiog it in 
ircst (as^ for exampk, from the northem bastions of Mitan)» 
tmùì fati ti) dt&tioguisJi it by this simpìe dedcrìpUoti, from 
t&e otbrr mouotait^ of more oh&cure name and ordinar^ 
htm m tbat lonj; aitd vast ch&in. Por a consìdetable distaace 
teecnuitry rlsca mìh m gcntle and condmioits asceiit;%fter- 
^ifds il b brolccn imo hìtl and dale, icrraccs and ekvatcd 
fiatai, fenned by ihe iatcrtwining of the roots of the two 
«ocniaiiìi, and the action oi the waters. The shore ìtself» iii- 
Unectcd bv the tori en* ' r the most part of gravd 

and large fiinU: the r< \ ut 6ekb aod vineyardii 

imer*per»ed with toi^ other parte 

e dmlMd wìtit wooti L^uumaln. 

f 








ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



Lecco^ Uie prlncipa] ot tbese towns, giving ìts name te tha 
terntory, is at a short distanec freni the bridge^ and so cloae 
u|>on ihe shore, ibat, when the watcrs are high, lì scema to 
stand in the lake itsclf* A large town evea oow, it prootisei 
Sóon to becomc a city. At the t ime the events happaied which 
wc undeftakc lo recount» this town, already af cotiàidembte 
importance» was alsa a place of de f enee, and fot that reason 
baci the honour of lodging a coniniatidcr, and t!ie advanut^ 
of po&sessing a fixed garrison of Spanìsh coldicrs, who tanghi 
modesty to the damacls and niatrons of the country; bestowed 
from timc to lime marks of their Cavour on the $boulder ol ft 
husband or a father ; and never failcd, in autumn, to disperse 
themselves in the vineyards, to thìn t!ie grap<e% &fid Itghlcn 
for the peasant the labours of the vititage, 

From one to the oiher of ihese lown^ from the hti^ts to 
the !ake, from one height to anothcr. down through the little 
vallcys which lay hetwcen, tliere ran many narrow lancs or 
mule-paths, (and ihey stili cxi&t.) ooc wliile abnipt tnd 
•teep, another level, another pteasantly sloping, in mott pkocs 
cnebsed by walls built of ìarge f^tntiì, SLnd clotlsed bere aitd 
tbere with ancicnt ivy, wbìch, eaiing wiih its roots into the 
cementa usurps ìts place, and bitids logcther the Wall it ren* 
dcrs verdant. For some dtatance thcse lanes are hidden» and 
as It were buried betwcen the watis, so that the pa^senger, 
looklng upwards, can see noiJung bui the sky and the peaks 
of some neighbouring mountain: in otììer places tJiey ire 
terraced: sometimes thcy skirt the edgc of a piaìn, or proj^t 
from the face of a decltvlty, Itkc a Ioni? dtaircajtc, upbeld hf 
wftlli which flaiik the hlllaides like bastiona, but in tlie patii» 
way rise only the hcìght of i parapct — and ^' t-ye ol 

ìM traveller can range over varied and most A pro^ 

pects. Olì one side he cominands the aiiire snrface of the I 
and the loverted tma^e of the rural banks rcjìected in 
pladd wave ; on the other, the Adda, scarcely e^eapcd from the ' 
irehes of the bridge, cxpand§ h--'^^ ---w tnto a little lalcc^ 
thtìi h again contraeteci and [ to the horiioa Ìts 

brifht wtndiags; upward, — the Qiav;ivc piletof the moantaiits» 
fivtrbitiiflnit the head of the f^ier : below.'-llie cttltirated ter- 
race, tlie champ^ig' oppotite, — the fnrther bank 

of the lakc, and, ri .. ihe mountain boundary. 



I PROMESSI SPOSI e 

Ahsog onc of these oarrow lanes, in the evening of the 
jtìi of November, io the year 1628, Don Abbondio . , ., 
corste of ooe of the towns alludcd to above, was lelsnrdy 
moittiQg home from a waìk, (our anthor does not mentioii 
die laiBC of the town— two blanks already 1 ) He was quieti/ 
rtpeadsg bis office, and 00 w and thcn, between one psalm 
lad aoother, he would shut the breviary upon the fore*fingef 

MS r;.rrUf hiHi^, kcepìng it there for a mark; theo, putting 
! '5i bchtnd his back; the right (with the eìosed 

) ' of the left, he pursued his way with down- 

e . from (ime to lime, towards the wall the 

%fc'hicb 1 inTibling-blocks in the path. Thtis he 

faire more nn 1 audience to the idle thoughts whlch 

liid come to tenipt his spirìt, whilc his hps repeated, of their 
ewa accord, his cvenin>j prayers, Escaping from these 
tei^lHSp he raised bis eyes to tlie mountain which rose 
Uffoaiit; :knd mechanically gaicd on the gleaming of the 
mmety set snn, whidi, making its way through the ctefts 
of the oppositc motintain, was thrown upon the projecting 
^caks in hirgc unrrjuul mas&es o£ rosc-coloured ìight The 
fcfcriary open again, aod another poriion recited, he reachcd 
atnm, wherc he al\%^ys tised to raise his eyes and look for- 
tini; and «o he did to-day. After the tum, the road ran 
icrmt^Hl fonvard about sixty yards, and then divided into 
tuo iand, Y fashian^ — the right band path ascended towards 
ibt nioiifitaìn^ and ted to ihe parsonage: the left branch 
incef!«kd tbfvwgh the vallev lo a torreot: and on this side 
Ihc r iliaii aboLit two feet. Tlie ìnner 

iralb tcad of meeting so as to forni aiì 

acfk, cnded tn a Jiitle chapcl, on whidi wcre dcpicted cer* 
égart* ^"-if^ wavtng, and tentiinatingin a point. These, 
tbe hi : the artbt, and to the eyes of the neìgh- 

inn^nnaiits, fepfescntcd flames* Alteriuitely with 
tames werc oiher fignres — mdcscribabte, rneant for wo^ 
h pcTfatory, fonU and flamcs of brìck-colour an a grey 
pfmd enltveoed mìùi patches of tbe natura! wall, whcre the 
plaster was gwic» The cnrate, having twmed the corner, 
aod f'*i^f-'t fnrwftrf! -s vvì^ hiS ctistopi, lowafds the ehapel, 
Wiei and one he would not willìngly 

ha.rt morij. i ^ V luni, MMc opposìtc the other, wcre atatioutd 





ÌÙ 



ALESSANDEO MANZONI 



at die cofiiltieiioet so to ^f, o! Ihe tuvo wmyi; one of tiieiii 
wms stttlng across the low wall, with otac leg dangling; oa the 
outer fiidep aod Uie other supportiiig him in the path: hk 
Companlon w&s standing up, kaniiig agiJitst the wall, with 
his arm& croa^ed oti his brcasL Their dress, tbcìr carriage, 
and so mucb of their cxprcxsìoii ai cotild bc digtìEiguisHed 
at the distatici ai whìdi the curat': ittood, Itft no do»bi 
their condìtion, Each had a grecai nel cu hh head, 
fell upon the tcft shoulder^ i^nó endcd^in a targe tas£el* Their 
long hair^ appearmg in ojie large lock upon the forehemd; 
pn the upper lip two bng niustachios, curkd at tbe end: their 
donblets, confmed by brìght leathern girdlcBi, (tom whidl 
hung a brace of pistols: a little hom of powder, dang&ig 
round their necks, and falitng on their brcasts Itlce a nedc- 
lace: on tbe right side of tlielr large aod looae pacilalo<»fia, 
a pocket, and from the pocket the handfe af a dagger: i 
sword hanging on the tctt, with a large basketbiit of braia. 
carved in ci[>her. poHshed and gleaming:-— ali, at a gtanc^ 
ditcovered ihcm to he individwals af the specie» hraPù. 

Thh ordcr» tiow quite cxtinct, was thcn most flourUUl^^ 
in Lombardy» and alrcady of cansidcrablc nntiquity, Has aoy 
one no elear idea of it ? Mere are some aitth^niie iketehi 
whìch may givc bini a distincl nofion of ' -tal chi 

terìsticii, of the meaii» put in force to dt , , aod o£ 
obstinate vitahty. 

Oh tbe 8th of Aprii. 15S3, the most Itkistriom and Excel- 
leni Signor Don Carlo d'Arasron, Prìnce of Castel vetrame 
Duke of Terranuova, ^^ ' * mt of Burgcttv 

grand Adndral, and gri . CòVi^nìor ol 

Milan, and Captatn-Gener^l 01 11 '^ty in 

Italy. being fuUy informcd of tkt ùii. wkkk 

Ikis city óf Afilim kas ìain, and dces tif, by reason 0/ bramft 
and vo§ùhandi, puhUshes a ban agaìnst tlient, drclares ani 
étUntf aU th<fse io br inciuded in ikis ban, and to be keH 
brmf^s and T%ifiahonds who, wkHher fortigncrs or noHtftt, 
kavt ma ocenpatton, or ftavimff it da mpt employ themschts 
m $t , ^ ^ bmt unikoui mtary, or witk, en^jge tkems€ÌPa$t 
ta any cavùiimir cr gentUman» oMcer or mrnkamt . . , 
§0 nmder tk^m aid and strtHcr, cr ratktt^ as may bt pte^ 
in !i%y waii agmtut otktrs ... ali these he 






I PnOMESSl SFOtil 



11 



that, withm ihe term of six dajSi they sliouid 

fli lilmft th« coantry, threatens the gallega to the refractory, 
àoA grmiits tu M o^dais tiie most strangeJy ampie and ìndeà- 
nife pcmer oi excctititig the ordcr» But tlie followiog ycar, 
no t^.*- sjth tìf AtiH!, this aame Sìgrior, perceiving Ma* //lif 
fuU ùf Hìc saie bravoes • * , retumfd 
rt) in'c as tm-j nud lived before^ their customs wkùlly un- 
rknmgM, nnd ihnr nufnbers undiminished^ ìsstiea another 
bue r more vìgorous and marlced, in which, atnoiìg 

mhex ces. he prc^scribes — Thai whatsoever persona 

Of weii ùs imh4JÌiìtùnt of ihis city as a forcign^r, who by ihe 
jrtfirm.^Hu cf tw0 witn€ssfs, sHould uppear to be htld and 
r^pulrd a bruirò, and to have thut nume^ aUhougk 
^r liT^Mu '- - - - ieteé of hainng commiitcd any crime . . ♦ 
;V thit -n of being a bravo alone ^ wiihout any 

ofW ^rooj\ itfiu; , by ihe Sùtd judgcs, and hy every indhndtml 
*f ihim, be put tu the rack and torture, far process ùf 
hf^rmaliùH , ♦ , and ùUìwugh he canfess no crime fukat- 
mttwéthsianding, he shall be setti ta the g^lteys far 
§ié ihrre years, far the sole reputa tion and name of 
W, ùS afùresùid. Ali tliis and more which is omitted, 
: ìiii BxeeUency is resolvtd to be obeyed by every one, 
hearing it*ch brave atid conrrdent words of so grcat a 
r, accomr.'^nfcd too with many pcnaltieSp one fcels mudi 
od to SI .t, at the ccho of their rumbiings, ali 

ivots h-,.. ^ -:tipeared for evtf, But the testìtnony 
^Sliroof rtoi !es9 aulhoritative, oor less endowed with 
^' -"5 US to belie?c citiitc the contrar>^ The rao&t 
] most Excelleni Signor Juan Fernaadez de 
CòiiAtftble of Castiic* Grand Chanjherlam of hls 
Dtikc oi iJie city oi Friag» Count of Haro and 
rd of the Hou<e of Vclasco, and that of the 

.is ùf Lara, Govemor of the State of Milan* 

on ihe 5lh of )tinc, I595, he also, fuMy ìnformcd ol 

'i.w Ond deslntciiùn - - . brava es and vaga* 

cause, and tif ihe mischie f such sari of ptapie 

■■'^te of justier, wartiB 

jx days, ihey are to 

word for word, the 

.r. On flir 2^td of 



12 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



May, in a subscquatt ycar, iS^$ M^ff tmfarméd, with ma 
UiiU dispieasure of miné^ (hai . * , et^ery day, in thii 
tity and siate, ihc numhcr nf th^ie p^oplt (bravoes and 
vagabottds) is ùH the increase, and day and nigki natfrm^ 
ù heard of them hit murder, h<mncide^ robhery, end crim^^ 
Qf rvtry kind, fot which tkcrt is greaier faciliiy, bccaust 
ih€S€ bravùts are cùnfidtni of hcing suppQfifd by thtir 
greaì tmployers . , , lic prescribcs ancw Ihe aame rnn- 
edies, increasing the dose, &s tticn do in obstinate maladies. 
LH evcry onc, then, bc concludcs» he whùlly 0n kh guarà 
against c<fniravemng in lite leasi the preseni proctamaticn; 
fot, insiead of experiencing the demetury of His Ejtcclìeney, 
he tvtìl experience the rigour of his anger . . . he beinfi 
resoived and detcrmined thai this shail be the hst and fer* 
emptùty admoniiiùn, 

Not, howcvcr, af thìs opiiiian was tbc masi Itltistrioiti 
and moKt Excdlent Signor, II Signor Don Pietro Enriques 
de Acevedo, Cotint of FucnicSp Capuìn and Governor of the 
State of Milan ; not al thìs opinion was he, smd for good 
feasons. Bcing fully informed ùf the misery in nrhich tkit 
€ity and state ìies by rcason of the great number of bravaes 
v/hich aboimd in i f , ♦ , and hring resoived u*hoUy to eX' 
tir paté a plani so /, \ oii the 5lh of Dcccm* 

ber, 1600, a ncw a t severe penaltie»^ uiih 

firm pur pose, that, unth ali rigour, and withaut any hopt af 
remissiom, they shall be fully carricd ohL 

VVc must tilievc, bowevcr, tliat he did noi apply liixii' 
telfto this inaiter with that hearty good will which he 
loiew how to cmploy in conlrivinjj cahab and excttinjf cnc- 
mles agahist In TTenry IV. History in formi 

uà ihit be ^i!f ' against that kitig tbc Duke 

of Sn r.mvrd iitin io insc a city» He sycceeded alio 

in ^nz „ .. i"^ Duke of Biron on bis bebalf, and caufled 
bhn Co lose bb liead; but as lo this pernicioti^ pbnt of 

bravoefi. eertatn it is tbat it cr^-*^^ ^ *- x.^. .....*» *nì ^^ 

aand of Scptetnber, 1612. On '• »» 

Sipnor Don Cr *" a^ 

Gcnthman, Sls *>£ 

CsaJrpntìng ìt lo thì Hi 

corrccttd and c!ilarg«2, - ^l- 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



mssocittted prìnters to His Majesi^j with orders t# 

il lo the tlestruGtion of the bravoes. Yet they lived 

receivc on the 24th oi Deccmbcr, 1618, sttnìlar and more 

hlovrs irom the most Ilhistrtous and most ExccUent 

f, ihc Signor Don Gomcz Snarcz dì Figueroa, Duke of 

ttfÌM, &e* Govcmor» ikc* MoreoveT, thcy not being hcreby 

éw< to d<ratit, the most lllustrious and most Excetlent Sigrior, 

Sijpityr GonJ^ala Fcrnaridez di Cordova, (under whose 

pvtmmctit these cvcnts happened to Don Abbondio,) had 

himsdf obliged to fccorrect and republish the usumI 

tliùu against the bravocs, 011 the 5th day of October, 

fi u f* one year ooc month an<l two days before thìs 

lille cvcnL 

Nor was thìs the last ptiblication. We do not feel boitnd* 

IwìrCTCr, to make mentiad of thosc wfnch ensued, as thcy 

iit fieyond the period of our story. Wc wìM notice only 

>f the ijth of February, 1632, in which the most 

and most Exccllent Signor the Duke of Feria, 

9d liine govcfuor, sìgriifìcs to us thai the ^eatest out- 

are causté by fhose denominated bravoes, 

Thil str^es lo make it prctty certain, that at the tijne 

^ itluch wc treat, thcre was as yet no lack of bravoes. 

Thal the twodcscribed abovc werc on the lookout for some 
stie, was biit too cvidcnt; biit what nK>re alarmed Don Ah- 
loùdio wa«, ihat he was a^stired by certaìn signs that he was 
r»n otpectcd; for, the moment he appeared, thcy 
gtances, raidng their hcads wìth a movement 
cxprcF!^d that both at once had exclaimeA 
Min f ' He who beslrode the wall got up, and 
: into the patii: hts companton teft 
id hoth bcgan to walk lowards him* 
: the brrviary open beforc hìm, as if 
'lance for%vard to watch their move* 
n advancing: straight towards htm: 
" ' vded upon hìm; with 
nnv p^thway tO the 
lìd the ' quickfy 
\i abasty 1, todis- 
otnc great ni-in, some vinólc^ 
....^ mooìcni of alann, the cooaol* 




M ALK:f^\NPRO XAKZOKI 

in^ t^nmcnr of con<ci«K* Kwiewhai Kassnred him. Metn- 
whìte the hni>vc,< òrcw i«sjir, cy^ìnjr him fix«d1y. He ptit 
the t\>rc tìn^ì^r a^xi !v.u:vi> ftn$>rr vn* hi$ lett hand np to his 
colUr* «5 ìt to 5ei:k' ì:. At^d ninning the two àngers ronnd 
hi» ucvK he tumex) his h;N&.: NicXwanis at the same tìme, 
twì5iì!t$ h:5 nK^uth in the sJiiv.e directioiu and looked out of 
the vvroer oi hi5 e> es a* ixr xs he could. io see whether any 
oiìe wa5 vvr.*.:n^: bnt he :?a\r lu"» one. He cast a glance 
over the low wa*! ::::o rhi* nck'sì — ro one: another. more sub- 
dwevi. aKv*5 she ;\3nh t>r\\Arò — l'.o o:ìe b;:: the bravoes. \\*hat 
ì$ to be di>ne? tv.r', back? U is io late. Rtm? It was the 
satr.e as to «y. lor.ow t^e, or >»-orse. Since he coiild not 
e5cape the òa::5:.*r. he \ve-t tv^ r.*e<t ìt. Thesc tnoments 
cf uncertaìr.ty worc A'^ìfAv^y 5^> pAÌnfii!. he desired onhr to 
shonen thew. \lc s-.iioVenev'. hi< ivace, recited a verse in a 
leader tone, cx":v:v"<aì l:Ì5 tAoe to a rran^cil and careless 
expre^on. as wc-! ,\s he cov.M, i:<evi even- eì?ort to bave a 
sniìle reaviy: ar.d when he tVur.d h:r\selt in the presente 
ot :*'c two <^XHÌ r.:c"\ exc!a?t:ùr.j r'.er,TaIh\ 'bere we are!* 
he ^:^^^d s;:". ' SìtT'or Cura:v>!' *aiv'. one. staring in his 
face. 

' \\>.o cv^rv,v..;:^:s r*.c ? ' *;uick!y answvrr^ IVn .\bbondio. 
raÌMiì»: his c>cs trv^uì the Nx>k. a::d hokiinj it open in 
bt^th hAr.v?^ 

• Vois :r.!e::v!/ <\v-:::i;:<nJ the othcr. w?;h the threatening 
anj:n- br^^w ot onc who has CAv.jih: An interior committing 
soiue p-icwus fa::':. '>o:! ?v,:cv..:. :\v.r.vrrow. to marry Remo 
TrAnìAj:Ii:*o aitd 1.i:cìa Mo:ìv-c'.*a! * 

' ThAt Is . . .* repHcd IXvi AhX^r.v':v\ with a quirer- 
ins: W'oe. — ^' That is » . . Voì:. jio:*' V-.vc'.\ are men of 
Ibe vrorJJ. a-.^J know \>o!ì Sn\ :Vo-r thiiì,:^ «rcv A poor 
Cnraie has not'^v'»: ^> *\^ \\::S thr." "hev patch tip theìr 
littV treatù-^ Niww^^ !hcv.*>v"N\-<, xw.-. !hc.ì , . . thcn, ihey 
cor.v K^ US* as or. e ijws !o the \;mv to «uVe a demand; 
an ^l w-e . , , \\ e a re se r\ A«t s o t ! b ^' cn"* w.*' ••: 'i i :^■ . * 

• Mark wt^ll* <a*J ibe brawv •■• a lo^er \oioe hot with 
a solemn ^^^ìe ot \v^'.ìr.»A:sr 'thU v.rAniaije U iv^t u> he per- 
fomte^l tKM hvnvrrv^^ft. «or ew» 

• Put, jcemìen\en/ ivphev! l\vì \bS*«sb\\ \fcith the sootb- 
ing, mìM tone ot chw wb^^ >i^\Hftkl iviMia^W an ir.::\i::tnr 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 




sa kiad as put )rourselYés in my place If the thìng 
mimato on ice , . * you &ee pìmnìy that it is no a4* 
taniafe to me , , / 

^Cùtùt, come/ internipUd the bravo; 'if the thing werc 
b b« ded4ed hy prating, rou inight soon più our heads in a 
pok& We know noiiiìiig about it, aiid we don^t want to 
bow more. A waroed nian * . . yeti understand/ 

* Bcjt gcnilcmcn Hke you are too just, too rcaionablp . * / 

* Bm,' (f* ■ ■ e the othcr companion brokc in, who had 
Qot hithcT n) — ^*but Uic niarriage is not to he per- 
iofoed, or ♦ . / hrre a i^reat oath — * or he who per- 
ii will ocver repent, because he shaU bave no 

il . . .* another oath. 

silencc/ replicd the first orator: *the Signor 
Curato knows the way of the world, and v-e are good sort 
f»f mei^ vrbo don't wish to do htm any barm, if he will ad 
liltea wisc man. Signor Curato, the Ilhistrìous Sigitor Don 
Kù&i^, Olir master, sends hh kind respeets/ 

To the vdnd of Don Abbondio this name was Ulte the 
ìi^mmg flash in a storni at i^tght, whìch, iUuminating for 
a aioment and cottfusing ali objects^ incTeases the terror. 
M bj mstinct he iliade a low bow, and saìd, * If you could 

*Oli! m$§gtst h tot you who know Latin/ agaìn inter- 
rqpttd tbr bravo, with a sitiitc bctwcen awkwardness and 
fomeìty; * ìt is ali "ntty weil for you. Hat, abovc ali. let 
«et 1 word be whispered about this not ice that we bave 
fiven yno for your good, or * , . Ehem ! - . • il wìB bc 
^n mmt as maming thcm* — Wcll, what will your Rever- 
iin^f «,^ ^j fQr yot, lo the Illustrìous Signor Don 



f Curato/ 
Dupc*M:d * . , always disposed to obedience*' 
barin g laid thcac word», he did not himself well know 
ber be had givcn a promise, or wliether he had 
Jl an ordtnary eomplìmcnt. The bravoes look it, 
Dwed that thry look it. In the more scrious meaning, 
well^-'food evening. Signor Curato»' saìd one of 
a, kftdlng hti compaiùnn a sray. 




At.T.S5AVT?:o VAvrov: 



;>rr.". "..■» "fc*:*r.cd 

. :r^;M:. —ir. viin 

e ^vr:ch he rad 

." ■ r. ji ?■ '. *»-r:i"'"c L Tii.. i»i wri!on I 

• .«. ■ ."'."•" ^. r>.".i.r >:>.x: :or 

. ." . ' .* > ' i T'Z T imTZi'C ÀT.z ir*L'n 

- - - - :.:>h:^->?. a-d 

:,.'.- t. : r i >cr.>:.:: .'••. of 

- —....■ ^.^ ... ,y. •••^ 

. . ; • : : r; ; i~r.: >.".:• e w r.at 
- :•. >.. -:^. ;.-: .-: the sor: of 

' : • : . . -r- r-r^i :: .-."rcsiv 

.- : . - :■. > /?r> ::^:>. 'rem 

-. - ■ : ^, :.r.'rf -k. a> :':'..i: of 

. - :r-.-:'^ vh^^h ve:. 



vr -.. . cr.-"C5 

. :.- :•■.'* \-:y ; 

:■:: '.*;:c v.o: 

: :". CASi\ ai 

■ • .' C". ,■ : ci 
::r : r.-.: -.ruc 



- '.'.:. hv 



PROMESSI SPOSI 



mtonchcd, or at Itrsist tinmovcd, by thesc proclamaHons, 
Sqch werc tbe asyliiiiis, such wcrc the privikges of certam 
dmsses, privilcgcs partly rtcognìtaì by law. partly home 
^" ' -US silcncc, or dccricd wilh vaiti proUsts, but kept 

L {, aiìd guarded liy ifiese dasscs» and by almost 

ev. r.idual in them. with ìiitt^restcd activity and punc- 

ti: JoQsy. Now* impimity o£ ibis kìntJ, tbreatened and 

h Ut nat dcstrciyed hy ibc firnclamations, was natu- 

ra. ^e<l, oa cvery ncw tiircat and iiisult, lo put m force 

iiéw powcrs and ncw scliemes to prescrvc ìts own cxistence. 
Sa tt (cU mtt in faci ; and on the appcarance of a proclama- 
tioo for the festraint of tbc vio'.crit, ihese sought in their 
power ncw mcans more npt in effecting that which tbe 
pcDcJantattonÀ forbade. The proclanialions, ìndced, could 
leccmpUsli ai every step the molestaiion of good sort of 
mm^ who had tieithcr power tìitrmselves jior protection from 
0I1»ot; bccause, m order to bave every person under their 
htflds, to prricnt or punisb tvcry crime, tbey subjccted cvery 
iporement of privale life to the arbitrary will of a tbousand 
mi|»Ì£L li executives, Bnt wboever, before coinmit- 

ttng :. tad taken meaaures to sccure bis escape in 

Etne tu j, or a pa!acc. wbere tbe hìrri" had never 

dared to e i-icvcr (without any othcr measurcs) bore 

a lÌTery witicb cailed to bis defence tbe vanity and iiaterest 
q! a powcrfni famìiy or order, such an onc was free to do 
u be plca^cd, and cooJd sci at nougbt the clamour of tbe 
irodamatìons. Ot tbosc very persona to wbom tbe en forc- 
ali» of tbcm wa:t crjininhted, some belonged by birtb lo tbe 



priviki^i^d 

Otte .inH f' 
h 



4 



it on ìtj as clicnts; botb 

^"St^ habit. aiid imiiation, 

«1*, and would bave takcti good care 

. : sake of a piece of paper pastcd ofi 

of tbe *itrceL5^ Tlie men aitmstcd wìtJi the im' 

.,..*; ,, ♦ .k.. t-..-^,.^ ii^j ^j^^ ^^n enterprising 

il dci'oted as martyrs^ coiild 

ib cy were in num- 

V* biren cngaged in 

tly abaadooed. 

,,, or (so to say) 



18 ALESSANDRO ICAKZONI 

in theory, set them to work. But besides this, these men 
were, generally, chosen from the lowest and most raacallj 
classes of those times: their office was held base even by 
those who stood most in fear of it, and their title a reproach. 
It was therefore but naturai that they, instead of risldng, 
or rather throwing away, their lives in an impracticable un- 
dertaking, should take pay for inaction, or even connivance 
at the powerful, and reserve the exerdse of their execrated 
authority and diminished power for those occasions, where 
they could oppress, without danger, t. e. by anno3ring pacific 
and defenceless persons. 

The man who is ready to give and expecting to receive 
ofìfence every moment, naturally seeks allies and companions. 
Hence the tendency of individuals to unite into classes was 
in these times carried to the greatest excess; new societies 
were formed, and each man strove to increase the power of 
bis o\^*n party to the greatest degree. The dergy were 
on the watch to defend and extend their immunities; the 
nobility their privileges, the military their exempticms. 
Tradespeople and artisans were enroUed in subordinate con- 
f ratemities, lawyers constituted a leagne, and even doctors a 
corporation. Each of these little oligarchies had its own pecu- 
liar power; in each the individuai foond it an advantage to 
avail himself, in proportioo to dieir authority and vigour, 
of the united force of the many. Hooest men avaiied them- 
selves of this advantage for defence; die evil-disposed and 
sharp-witted made use of it to accomplish deeds of violence, 
for which their personal means were tnsuffident, and to 
ensure themsehres impunity. The power, however, of these 
varìous combinatioQS was very tmequal; and eq>ecial}y in 
the country, a rich and violcnt nobility, having a band of 
bravoes, and surrounded by a peasantry accustomed by im- 
memorìal tradition, and compeDed by interest or force, to 
look upon themselves as soldiers of tìicir lords, exercised a 
power against which no other kagne could have maintained 
eflectual resistance, 

Our Abbondio, not noble, not neh, not coorageons. was 
therefore accustomed from hb very infancy to k)ok npon 
himself as a vessel of fragile earthenware. obUged to joor- 
ncy in company with maay vessds of iroo. Hence be had 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



easOx acquìesced in hìs pareots' wish to niake htm m 
pricst. To say the tnith, he had not reflcctcd nriuch od the 
OliHgattoiss and nobJe cnds of the ministry to which he was^ 
dcdicatiDg hìmselt: to ensure somethiog to live upoo witb 
comfort, and to ptace htm self in a class revcred and power* 
fui, secmed io him two sufficìent reasons for his choice* Btit 
m» class whatcvcr provides for an individuai, or secures bini, 
lie}*und a certain poinf : and oone dbpenses him irom form- 
tDg hii owti particuìar system. 

Duo Abbondio, contìnoaliy absorbed in thoiights about his 
<wtii sectirity, cared Jiot at afJ for those advantages whieh 
liiked a little to i;FCurc a great deal His system was to 
etCMpù ail opposition, and to yìeld where he conld not 
CKftpe. In ali ihe frequent con test s e arri ed on around 
him between the dergy and ìaity» In the perpetua! collìsion 
betwecn odtcìals and the nobility, belween the nobility and 
iragtstrates^ bctween hravoes and soldìers, down to the 
pitdied battJe between two rustles. arising from a word, and 
decida ^'ith fi^ts or ponlards, an unarmcd neutrality was 
his e- TU If he were absolutely obliged to takc 

A par ed iJie stronger, always, however, with a 

iwerre, and an cndcavour to show the other that he was 
n-^f ^ Mìlfti^ly bi^ enemy. li seemed às i£ he would say. * Why 
e 'A manale to bc Ihe stronger? I would ha ve taken 

yonr m^:c theu/ Keeping a tespectful dìstance from the 
powerful; silciitly bearing thcir scorn, whcn capricmtìsly 
thtmn in passtng i answcrìng with subintsaion wheo 

it Wf-titned 3 n-rer and decided forni; ohliging, by 

Il 'ectful sahitatk>nSp the most surly 

* -,, -- : -- - LJ a smile, when he niet them by 

1 tfic poor msku had performed the voyage of sixty 

yr*ii ♦ •Mihout rjcperìmcing any vcry violent tenipests. 

Tt was noi th^ii he had not too bis own little poriion of 
V ^' ' ' 



^ tbis continuai cxcrcisc of cndur- 
^ 4 reasoiis to other s, these niaiiy 

bitti^f m* J ilnwn in silence, had so far exas* 

eraf'id ■ e not had an opportunity sometìmcs 

n way, his heallh would certainly 
..... ..^. ..... iherc wcre in the worid, dose 

him, K»me few pcfions whom he knew wdl to be 



20 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

incapable of hurting, upon them he was able now and then 
to let out the bad humour so long pent up, and take upon 
himself (even he) the right to he a little fantastic, and to 
scold unreasonably. Besides, he was a rigid censor of those 
who did not guide themselves by bis rules ; that is, when the 
censure could be passed without any, the most distant, dan- 
ger. Was any one beaten ? he was at least imprudent ; — any 
one murdered? he had always been a turbulent meddler. If 
any one, having trìed to maintain bis right against some 
power fui noble, carne off with a broken head. Don Abbondio 
always knew how to discover some fault; a thing not diffi- 
cult, since right and wrong never are divided with so clean 
a cut, that one party has the whole of either. Above ali, he 
declaimed against any of bis brethren, who, at their own 
risk, took the part of the weak and oppressed against the 
power fui oppressor. This he called paying for quarrels, and 
giving one's legs to the dogs: he even pronounced with 
severity upon it, as a mixing in profane things, to the loss 
of dignity to the sacred ministry. Against such men he dis- 
coursed (always, however, with bis eyes about him, or in a 
retired corner) with greater vehemence in proportion as he 
knew them to be strangers to anxiety about their personal 
safcty. He had, finally, a favourite sentence, with which 
he always wound up discourses on these matters, that a 
respcctable man who looked to himself, and minded bis own 
business, could always keep clear of mischievous quarrels. 

My five-and-twenty readers may imagine what impression 
such an encounter as has been related above would make on 
the mind of this pitiable being. The fearful aspect of those 
faces; the great words; the threats of a Signor known for 
never threatening in vain; a system of living in quiet, the 
2)aticnt study of so many ycars, upsct in a moment; and, in 
prospect, a path narrow and ruggcd, from which no exit 
could be seen. — ali thesc thoughts buzzed about tumultuously 
in the downcast head of Don Abbondio. ' If Renzo could 
be dismissed in pcace with a mere no, it is ali plain ; but he 
would want reasons; and what am I to say to him? and — 
and — and he is a lamb, quiet as a lamb if no one touches him, 
but if he were contradicted . . . whew ! and thcn— out of his 
senses about this Lucia, in love over head and . . . These 



I PBOMESSI SPOSI 



n 



yorac <»e»t wbo fall m !ove for want of somethln^ to do, will 
be ' ik fiothìn^ itbout other pcople, fhcy 4o not 

ci^ ic trnuhle they bring iipon a poor curate* 

Ualortiuàate m< l What posi^tble business had thesc two frìght- 
fui fi^res to ptit ihcmscìvcs in my patii , and interfere wìth 
wuf Is U I wbo want to be tìiarried? Why did Ifaey oot 
iTiiin». rr^ and talk with , . , , Lct me see: what a great 
«il ìt h tiiat ihe righi pian nevcr comcs iato my 

hc3i] tu: il 15 tao latcl If I had but tlioiigbt of suggestìng 
to thcm to carrv thAr messai^e to . ^ / But at this point 
It occurrcd io ^ t of not having been aider 

and abcttor in i. f iniqyhous; and he tumed 

Itìs Mngry thoughis u|>on tlie man who hact come, in this 
ammer, to rob hìm of bis peace. He kncw Don Rodrigo 
ootjr by sight and hy Tepori; fior bad he had to do with him 
farthcr than io makr a lowly revertncc wbcn he had chanced 
to meet hìm, It had fallen to him sevcral times to de f end 
th? ^' against ibrDse who» with subdued voice and lóoks 

' ol hcd ili to ttomc of bis cntcrpriscs. He had saìd 

a hundrcd ticjcs that he wa* a rcspectable cavalicr • but at 
thb ::i':mcfìt he bcstowcd upon him ali thosc cpithets which 
bc r bcard applied by others wìthotit an exclaosatioti 

rof wi^.ijj^r> -jbatioiL Aniid the ttimtjU of tlicse thowghts he 
Ireached bis own door — bastily applicd the key which he held 
' io li« liandf opt?ned. ftjterefì, carcitally closed it behind him, 
wssà anxìoDS to ftnd hirn&clt in trust-worthy company, called 
quìckly, ' Perpetua, f Vrpctua ì * as he went towards the 
^tni^foofii» whcrc he was sure to find Perpetua laying the 
dotfa for stippcr. 

Perpcttia, as cvcry ooe al ready kiiows, was Don Abbondio^a 
ienraiit, a senratit affectionate and faithfuJ, who kncw 
bo« Iti ol»ey aiMÌ cotnmand in ìurn as occasion recjuired 
— ifi bear, m season. ibe ^ttnhlin<7S and fancìes of ber 
m:: : 



paused ih e sim^ai at;e oì lor smgic, bccàu^c, a? 

xiìJ KrTKlf, 5hc ìiMÌ rei- .rs, or because %he 

:ouQd any onc goose cnougb to bare bcr< w ber 

UiLii MltL 

'tMm coming»' retjlkd Perpttaa, puUtag dowo m ita usuai 




I PROMESSI SPOSI 



hdp: 



ol nqr care for you, because I wish to bc abìc io 



villi 



► j-^tt, to give yovk good addice, and to comfort you.' 
Tbe fact wa&» Don Abbondio was» pertiaps, just as anxious 
U> fet rìd of bis burdensome secret, as Perpetua was to know 
ÉL In eoasequence, after having rebutted, always more 
leebljr^ her reiterated and more vigorous assauhs^ after 
farrag roade her vow more than once not to breathe the 
wbjcict^ with many sighs and many dolcful exclamations, he 
relatcd at last the aiiserable event, Whcn he carne to the 
lernbte nainc, ti was n ecessar y Cor Perpetua to make 
aivd more soteotn vows of silencc; and Don Abbondio^ hav^^ 
Eiccd tbis name, sank back on the chair, lifting 
Dds io act at once of command and cntreaty — exclaìm^l 
hcavcn*» sake ! ' 
' Mcrcy J ' exclaìmed Perpetua, * Oh, what a wretch ! Oh, 

l a tyranl ! Oh, what a godless man ! * 
*Win you hold your tnnguc? or do you wUh to ruin me 
"ikofc^rr?' 

•\VTiy, we're ali alone; no one can bear us. Bui what 
^wiS you do, «r? Ob, my poor master I ' 

' Yoa ICC now, you see/ said Don Abbondio, in an angry 
'what good advicc thìs wonian can gì ve mei Sbe 
aad aàks me wbai sìmll I do, what shaJl 1 do, as if 
die werc in a quandary» and it wcrc my place to help ber out/ 
*" I could cven gt\ tz my poor opinion ; but then , * / 

tkm, kt Uh bear/ 

' My advice m^ould bc, hìnct, as everybody says, our Arch* 

bfaop ìs a saint, a bold-heartcd man, and one who h not 

•fnid fif an ugly face, and one who glorie* in upbolding a 

. |»r cnraie against these tyrants, when he hae an oppor- 

I tìttàtj»*-ì shanld say. and I do say, that you ihouid write m 

'ikeletter lo bform him how that. • / 

'Wniyou hold your coitpie? wilf you he sileni? H Uils 
ailricc in gì ve a poor man? Whcn a btillet w^s TodgedJ 
my back, (Hcaven de f end me!) would the Ardihbho 
ilodge ìt?' 

* Wby ! buDas doo't By in sbowers likc comfits/ Woc to 
ni tf theie dogi could bite whcficver they bark« And I bive 



eu*i«i» la luly. dutwa the ciimivvlp f«r Irkiiib lo 
kàmwut qì confiti» «§ thitf pMi la H 



24 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

always taken notice that whoever knows how to show his 
tccth, and makes use of them, is treatcd with respect; and 
just because master will never give his reasons, we are come 
to that pass, that every one comes to us, if I may say 
it to . . .' 

' Will you hold your tonguc? ' 

* I will directiy ; but it is, however, certain, that when ali 
the world sees a man always, in every cncounter, ready to 
yield the . . .' 

' Will you hold your tongue? Is this a time for sudi non- 
sensical words?' 

' Very well : you can think about it to-night; but now, don't 
be doing any mischief to yourself ; don't be making yourself 
ili — ^take a mouthful to eat' 

'Think about it, shall I?' grumbled Don Abbondio, *to 
be sure I shall think about it Fve got it to think about;' 
and he got up, going on; 'I will take nothing, nothing: I 
bave something else to do. I know, too, what I ought to 
think about it. But, that this should bave come on my 
head!' 

' Swallow at least this other little drop,' said Perpetua, 
pouring it out ; * you know, sir, this always streng^ens your 
stomach.' 

*Ah, we want another strengthener — another — another — * 

So saying, he took the candle, and constantly grumbling, 
'A nice little business to a man like me ! and to-morrow, what 
is to be done?' with other like lamentations, went to his 
chamber, to lie down. When he had reached the door, he 
paused a moment, tumed round and laid his finger on his 
lips, pronouncing slowly and solemnly, ' For Heaven's sake t * 
and disappeared* 



CHAPTER n 



IT ts related that the Prince Condé slept soiindty the 
night befcire the batti e of Rocroi. But. in the first 
placc^ he was vety tìred, aixd, secondly, he had gì veti 
ali needfuì prcvious orders» and arranged what was to be 
done on the morrow. Don Abbondio, on the other band, 
as yet knew nothing, except that the morrow woold be a 
ciay of battle: hence great part of the night was spent by 
hìin in anxioiis and harassing deliberations. To take no notice 
of the lawless ìntimation, and proceed with the marriage, 
was a pian on whìch he would not even expeod a thought. 
To cdifide the occurrcnce to Renzo, and seek with him some 
means , * , he dreaded the thought! *he must not let a 
wTord cscape * * • othen^ Ise - , * ehm ! ' : thus one of the 
bravoe<5 had spoken, and at the re-echoing of this ehmf 
Don Abbondio, far from thinkìng of transgressing such a 
law, began to rcpent of having revealed it to Perpetua. Must 
he fly J Wliither ? And then, how many annoyances, how 
many reasons to gì ve! As he rejected pian after pian, the 
mi fortunate man tossed from side to side in bed. The course 
whìch $eemed best io him was to gain ti me, hy imposing on 
Renzo. He opportunely remembcred that it wanted only 
a few days of the tinie when weddings were prohibited.' — 
'And i£ I can only put him off for these few days, 1 bave 
then two montbs before me, and in two months great things 
may bc done/ — He rum inai ed over varioas pretexts to 
bring loto play: and though tbey appeared to him rather 
slight, yet he reassured bìmself with the thought that hià 
authority added to them wootd make them appear of suf- 
ficient weight, and then his practised expertence would 
give Wm great advantage over an fgnorant youth, ' Let 
US see/ he said to himself. ' he thinks of bis love, but I 
of my li fé: I am more mterested than he: heside that I 
am cleverer, My dear child, ìf you feei your back smart* 
mg* I know not what to say ; but I will not put my f oot ia 

1 1« r. Leal 



26 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

ìt.' — ^His mind being thus a little scttlcd to delìberation, 
he was able at last to dose bis eyes : but what sleep ! What 
dreams! Bravoes, Don Rodrìgo, Renzo, pathways, rocks, 
flight, chase, crìes, muskets! 

The moment of first awaking after a misfortune, while 
stili in peq>!exit\% is a bitter one. The mind scarcely re- 
stored to consciousncss, retums to the habitual idea of 
former tranquillity: but the thought of the new state of 
things soon presents itself witfa rude abmptness; and 
our misfortune is most trying in this moment of contrast 
Dolefully Don Abbondio tasted the bittemess of this mo- 
ment, and then began hastily to recapitulate the designs 
of the night, confirmed himself in them, arranged them 
anew, arose, and waited for Renzo at once with fear and 
im{>atience. 

Lorenzo, or, as every one caUed him. Renzo, did not 
keep him long ì^-aiting. Scarcely had the honr arrived 
at which he thought he could with proprìety present him- 
self to the Curate, when he set o£F with the light step 
of a man of twenty. who was on that day to esponse ber 
whom he loved. He had in early yonth bcen deprìved 
of his parents. and carried on the trade of silk-weaver, 
hereditary. so to say. in his f amily ; a trade hicratxve enongfa 
in former years, but even then beginning to decline, yct 
not to such a degree. that a clever workman was not able 
to make an honest livelihood by ìl Work became more 
scarce from ilay to diy. but the continuai emigration of 
the workmen, a:iraciec io the neighbouring states by prom- 
ises. prììi-ileges. and lar^e wages, left snffident occupatioa 
for ihose whv^ rc:r.air.e-Ì in the country. Renzo possessed, 
besides, a pio: ci U-s?. which he culti vated. working In it 
hiirself when he was «iisongaged from his silk-weaving, so 
ih.\t in his station he nvigh: tv ca'led a rich man. Althougb 
this year w?.> o-':e of ^eater scircit^k- ihan those whidi had 
prece\ic\l it. ar»».^ rra! war.t K --lar^ to be feh already, yet he, 
having beconic a saver of r. .:::cy e%*er sinoe he had cast 
hi> eyes upon Lucia, founJ hi:rs:'t sutBciently fumished whh 
provisions, and had no newJ lo fc^ his breflKL He appcared 
Nriore Don Abbondio in gay brìdal ««urne, with feathcrs 
et varioua coloim in his cap. with ao ocnamfnral-hilKd 



I PROMESSI SPOST 



éafger in hfs |Kieket; and %vìth an air of feativity^ and af 
the same timc of defiancc> commoa at that timc evcn to 
men the niost qtiiet The h esita tì^ng and mysterious reception 
of Don Abbondio fomied a slrange contrast with the joy- 
ous and resolcite hearing of the young man. 

He must bave got some notion in hìs head, thought 
Renio lo himself, and then sald: M have come, Signor 
Cnrate, to know at what botir it wUl sult yoa for us to he 
at church/ 

* What day are yoii speaklng of?' 

' How ! of what day ì Don't yeti rcmemher, sir, that thls 
ÌB the day fijted upon? ' 

*To-day?* repUed Don Abbondio, as if he now hcard 
it spokeo of for the first tirae* *To-day^ to-day . • . 
don't be impatient, but to-day I cannot/ 

' To-day yoti cannot I What bas bappcned, sir? * 

' First of ali, I do not fcel well, you see.* 

*I am very sorry, but what you have to tìo, sir, la SQ 
tooQ don e, and so little fatiguìn^ ^ ^ ,f 

*Aiid then, and then, and then * . ^ 

'And then what. Signor Curate?' 

* And then, there are difficnlties/ 
^Diffioikìesl What difficulties ean there be?' 

* You need to stand in our shoes, to understand what 
pcrplexities we have in these matters, what reasons to 
give. I am too soft-hearted, I think of nothing but how 
lo remo ve obstacles^ and make ali easy, and arrange thìngs 
to please others; 1 negleet my duty, and then I am sub- 
ject to reproofs, and worsc' 

' But m Heaven's name, don't keep me so on the stretch 
— ^tell me at once what is the matter ? ' 

*Do you know how many, many formalities are neces- 
sary to jierform a marriage regularly ? * 

* I ought to know a little about it,* said Renzo, b eginn ing 
to bc warm, ' for you, sir, have puzxled my head enough 
about it» the last few days back. But now is not every*thing 
made dear ? Is not everything done that had to he donc ?* 

'AH, ali, on your part: therefore, have patienee; an 
ass I am to negleet my duty th?ìt I may not give pain to 
people. We jpoor curates are between the anvil and the 



so ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

wrath, he turned his thoughts on the late conversation, and 
more and more strange it seemed to him. The cold and 
constrained greeting of Don Abbondio ; his guarded and yet 
impatient words, his grey eyes, which, as he spoke, glanced 
inquisiti vely here and there, as if afraid of coming in con- 
tact with the words which issued from his mouth, the making 
a new thing, as it were, of the nuptials so expressly dctcr- 
mined, and above ali, the Constant hinting at some great oc- 
currence, without ever saying anything decided, — ali theie 
things put together made Renzo think that there was some 
overhanging mystery, different from that which Don Ab- 
bondio would bave had him suppose. The youth was just 
on the point of tuming back, to oblige him to speak more 
plainly; but raising his eyes, he saw Perpetua a little way 
before him, entering a garden' a few paces distant from the 
house. He gave ber a cali to open the garden door for him, 
quickened his pace, came up with ber, detained ber in the 
door-way, and stood stili to bave a conversation with ber, 
intcnding to discover something more positive. 

* Good morning. Perpetua : 1 hoped we should bave been 
merry to-day altogether.' 

* But! as Heaven wills, my poor Renzo . . .' 

^ I want you to do me a kindness. The Signor Curate has 
been making a long story of ccrtain reasons. which I can- 
not understand ; will you explain to me better why he cannot 
or will not marry us to-day?' 

*OhI is it likely I know my master's secrets?' 
-—I said there was some hidden mystery, thought Renzo; 
and to draw it forth to the light, he continued: 'Come, 
Perpetua, we are friends; teli me what you know, help an 
un fortunate youth.' 

* It is a bad thing to be bom poor, my dear Renzo.' 
'That is true/ replied he, stili confirming himself in 

his suspicions, and secking to come nearer the question, 
*that is true; but is it for a priest to deal hardly with 

the poor?' 

•Listen, Renzo. I can teli you nothing; because . , . 
I know nothing; but what you may assure yourself of, ia, 

■ To tmderttand thli •cene fuUy. the reader muit be«r in mind that the 
Italian SrdSJ^nOmotl tafwSAl», •urrounded by a wall ■tYcn or tight 
itti bigL 



l PROMESSI SPOSI fi 

taf msiter does oot wtsh to ill-treat yoa, or anybody ; 

it 19 fxn hì« fault/ 

Whose fault is it ihco ì ' deoiand^d Renio, ivith an air 
indiffercocc, btit witli an atixioiis heart, and ears on thf 




' • Wbiii I teli you I know ooUung * . - In def enee of my 
mailer I cati ^eak; tiecaiue I ean't bear to bear that he 
ia re^y to do ili to any one. Poor mao! if he does wrong^ 
fa is from too good natufc. Thcre certainly are some 
wretcfics in the world» overbearing tyrants, roen without 
the few of God , , .' 

-^Tyrantsl wretchest thought Renzo: are not these th^ 
fTtat meo? 'Come/ said he, with dtfficulty hiding his in- 
creasìjig agìtatton, ' come, teli me who ìt is.' 

' Oh, oh ! you want to make me speak ; and I cannot 
ipcaic, becausc . * . I know uothìng: when I kuow nodi- 
is the same as if I had taken an oath not to telL 
iglit piti me to the rack, and you would gei nothing 
niy moutii. Good-bye; it is lost timc for you and 
me botb,' 

So laytng, sbe quìckty cntcred the garden, and shut the 
door. Renxo^ hartng return ed ber farcwelt, turned back^ 
villi 1 quìet step« tJsat sti>e mtght not bear whtch way he 
t; but wbeo he got beyond reacb of tbe good womans 
he qutckcncd hì« pace; in a niomerit he was at Don 
Ibboniiio's door, cntered, want stratght to the rooni 
io whkit he had left hlni, fonnd him there, and went 
lowanli hiiD with a rtckless hearing, and eye$ glancing 

ti ebl wfuu new thm^ is thìs?' said Don Abbondio. 

fi ihat tvrant/ said Reni^fo, with tbe voice of a man 
ts i! I to obtaìn .1 precise reply, ' who is the 

who ... .....viUing tbat I iihould marry Lucia?' 

Whatf wbat? what?* siammercd the astonishcd poor 
his face in a moment bcC' * ' ' . iilourlesa aa 

_frag jtut CQietged from the \ itili ilaia* 

nerinc* he tnade a start fr u-cii^ir, lo Jan towards 

dcior. But Renio, whi ^ uave expcctcd thb movc- 
waii un tbe alert, sprang thcre before hiia^ locked 
ftod pm tlie k^ in fili pocket 



jLLZS^.orrac Xjj^zcfsi 



•Ai* i:r ~~ -ni 




2j£S 11^7 "WiaSl >'.!£ 2116 



2^7.- 



TCICt. 



Li :- -■- :ai. T^rrru -5 ^■'Tir-rcr rtirn:^ rvir"i rf 21 be ìaid 

ini ;■: uze uTr .f ^r.: iu-^^ot^ vHiTt 3r"r_TiC2ri L jbl bis 

_■. — ■•-: ^ -r ^- ' -— ^: l'eli Juii3cixi2i£.. 5c & fedik 






. i ■ ' .- 1 -r-u 



TltZ-lji* "•i 



— ■-i:'*'" r :*j.: '7,-.- Aiccc'Sr cccJi no 



A: v:ì 't-v ^1 ir-L-d:c- _':r A:cc-±.\ -rEi* ih-e face 



v:.-:^" 



:* r— ?<_ic cerate. 



rwu'.r,:/ >. r ;ir. ^* *\^,\*i i*rfr sjllaile-s, and r'.iiìnì: cv«" the 
O'/f* V/r. i • \. y.'^'j * >. 'o-:gh ^ ;- ' : : i:t3*::t, ptnl y beci:i5e ex- 
tr\hÌT.y^ *'r.': '.r*>, \"A'J!z:.'^,\ -Czj^ -u^i left hin, r:> 5:eer his 
%"4'/ V-^aìz*. •'<; f»ro ftiri, it zz.'^ZTfd 'Jia: he wislied 
lo ìvitr.^rriv/ *h': v/ord ir.-: ms^ke k invisible at the vcry 
tOfAntrtX h«; wii </yr.itràine>d to gì ve urterance to it. 
Ile 1— Volsi 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



33 



*Ah, dog?* shouted Renmo; *atid how lias he done it? 
And what has he said to . . - ? ' 

* How, eh ? how ? ' repUcd Doo Abbondio, in an indignant 
voice» as it were; feeling after so great a sacrifice, that he 
had^ in a manncr, becomc a crediton 'How, eh? I wìsh 
it had happened to yon, as it has to me, who have not put 
my foot in it for nothing; for then, certainly, you would not 
bave so many crotchets in your head.* And here he began 
to dcpict in dreadful colours the terrible enconnter, As he 
proceeded in the descrìptjon, he began to reali^e the wrath 
which hithcrto had been concealed» or changed into fear; 
and perceiving at the same lime that Renzo, bctween anger 
and confusion, stood motionless, with hìs head downwards, 
he contintied triumphantly : * You have done a pretty deed I 
Ntce treatment you bave given me! To serve stich a trick 
to an hotiest man, to yonr curate — in bis own house'— in a 
sacred place ! You have done a fine action, to force f rom my 
lips my own min and yours, that which I concealed from 
yotì in prudcnce for your own good! And now^ when you 
do know it, how much wiser are you? 1 should like to know 
wbat you would bave done to me I No joking here, no ques- 
tioa of right and wrong^ but mere force. And this morn- 
ing, wbcn 1 gave you good advice . . , chi in a ragc 
dircctly. I had judgment enough for myself, and you too; 
but how docs it go now? Open the door, however; give 
me my key/ 

'1 may have been wrong/ replied Renzo, with a voice 
soficned towards Don Abbondio, but in which suppressed 
rage against bis newly discovered enemy might be perceìved ; 
*I may have been wrong; but put your hand to your heart^ 
and think whether in my case . , .* 

So saying, he took the key from hts pocket, and went to 
open the doon Don Abbondio stood behiud ; and while Renzo 
lumed the key In the lock, he carne besìde him, and with a 
seriotis and anxjous face, holding up three fingers of hia 
right hand, as if to help hìm in bis tum, ' Swear at least 
* * / said he, 

* I may have been wrong, and I beg your pardon, 
sìr/ answered Ren^o^ opening the door^ aud preparing to 
go out 

BQ a— Volsi 



Il ALESSANDRO MANWNI 

'Swear , , / replied Poti Abbondio, »ehmg hbn 6y tbe 
ann with a tremblìng band 

'I may Iiave beta wrong/ repcated Renzo, bs ht ex* 
tn'cated himself froiti him, aiul departeU wtth veh^iiMiil 
hastc, thus cutting short a Jiicussion which, likc matsv & 
qucstion of phììosQpliy, or Ii(er«tuf«i or somclhing 
migbi bave be<^ti prolonged mx eenturk^, mnct èacb ^^n/ 
dld nothing but repeat hU ow^i argitmentB. 

•perpetuai — Ptrrp^stual' cried Don Abbondio, liter lsa| 
ìng in vaili callcd back the fugitive Perpetua ^fi^wcrrinc 
Don Abbgndio tben loBt ali ctmsciousncss •■ - he wa*. 

It bas happeijcd more than once to |k: „ ^ oi mudi 
greatcr importane^ than Don Abbondio, to tiod thrtnscivci 
in cj&tri^aùties m tryìng to ihc Hesh, in liuch perplcxity q| 
pianti* that it bas appearcd lo thcm tbeir bc&t rcsource to fH 
to hed with a fevt^r, This resource Dan Abbtiodio hai) noi 
to scck for, bccause it ofìcrccì itsctf to him of its own accord* 
The fright of the day bcforr, the harassing slcqilcsstietjs of 
the Tìightp tho additional f righi in the iiìoniing, atixtety abotit 
the fu iure, bad produccd this cfìfcct. PerptcKcd and b#- 
wildercd, tic refitcd himsclf on his arm-cbair: he bc^n 
feci a cerialn qnaking of the l)oncs; he looked at bis nati 
und stghed, and called from timc to time, witb a tremnbtj 
and auxious voice—' Perpetua 1 ' Perpetua arrived at lengtl 
with a great cabhage under ber artn, and a hn^ 
face, as if nothiii^ bad hetn the matter. I spare t^ 
the lamentatjoni, condoiences» «ccui^ations, dcfetiee», tlie^ 
* Yoa only eaji bave spoken/ and the — * l bave not spokeai *-^ 
mi] tbe recrijninations, tn tbort, of thi& colìoquy* Let it 
iufficc to say« that Don Abbondio ordered Perpetua to faitc 
the dooTS well; not to pm foot outsidc; and ì! any 
knockod, to aniwcr from the window, that the curate 
confincfl to hi* bcd with a fever. Ile tlicti slowly aseendcd 
the ìitatrs, rcpcating al cvcfy thìrd Mq), 'I bave ctangbt iti* 
and rcally went to bcd^ irbero we wiil leave bim* 

Remo, meanwhile, walked witli an oedted itep 
home, witboot havìng determioed what he oagitt to ót^^ 
with a mad hnging to do iocoeihing strmngc and terni 
Tbe unjtist and q>prc««ive, ali tboje, in faci, who irrop 
otliera» are guilty, oot ooljr of the evU tbe/ <lo« but alap 



1 FROMESai SPOSI 



penrefsion M mine they cause tn tHose whom thcy 

'mttend. V :ì ^omig tnftn of peaceful diaposition^ 

sud aver 5 ; Macere, andone who abhorred deceit ; 

biit ac liu& Bioiuetii, hjj he&it fianted lor murder: hi3 mind 

was occupied ooly io dembg a [>lot He wouid have wished 

lo hastei to Don Rodrìgo*s boyse» to seize htm by the throat, 

and , . * bui he remembered that his hou^e was like a fort- 

TCS5, garriioncd with bravoes within^ and guarded wìlhout; 

that ooJy fricnds and servantSi wcil known, cauld cntcr 

ireciy. witbout htìng searched itom head to foot; tbat au 

aritsam» H unknown, could poi put foot wìthin it wìlhout 

an exammsuoa; aod that he» above ali , , . he probably 

mtnììd be loo weìl known* He thcn fancìed himself taking 

Us lOwliDg-piece^ plaoting himseJf behind a bedge^ looking 

ottt whcthtf bis cnemy would ever, ever pass by, unaccom- 

putied; and dwelltnf wtth ferocìous complacency on this 

tfaoQgiii, Ile imafined tìie sound of a step; at thb sotmd be 

fàtics bis bcad wìtbotit ooìsc; recognizcs ihe wretch, raises 

the low>i«g-p«cce, takes aìm — 5res; sces him fall and ftrug- 

ik» bestows a malediction on him, and escapes m safety 

iKTond the bofders^^And Lucia ?—Sca re ely had thìs word 

oo«ne across tbese dreadftii phantastes, when tbe better 

^onghis. with wliich Remo was famìliarixed, crowded imo 

hiÈ mind. He recalkd the dyiag charge of bis parents. The 

tfMMifbi of God, of tlie Blessed Virgin, and of tbe samts« 

raarmd ttpois him; he remembered the consoìatìon be had 

m ùtten cacpericnced from the recollection that he was free 

Kcriiaet; be rettiembeted the horror with which be had 
eti rccdifcd the news of a murder ; and he awoke from 
ream of blood witlj fear» with remorse, and yct with a 
watt Of Joy that be bad but Imagined It. But the thought of 
Lscta — hciw maoy thoughtìi it hrotight aJong witii it! So 
Bway hopes» so maciy promises, a future so brtght, so secare, 
aad tKIt day so loitged for I And how, with what words a»- 
ocHmee to Hcr stsdì news? And afterwards, what was to 
be dofie? How were tbeìr plans to be accomplished, in spite 
of this pcm—^^t^t -.«,1 ttT;.4ed cnemy? Aìong with al) dib, 
aor a de6 i tormentiog shadow dstted cvery 

thToi:gn in . uyiu*L 7*hjs ovcrbcaring act of Don 
oouUi liave no laotim bai a lawleaa |»a8sioa lor 




ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



Lucìa. And Lucia I coiiìd $b€ have given htm the nmatlctl 
Lencouragcracnt, the most dìstant hopfì Tt was a thoti 
[ Whicb could liot dwcll for an iti stani in his tnìnd. Bui 
[sbe awane of it? Could he have coiiccived thh mia 

ìion wtlhout ber perceiviog it? Could he have cam« 
matters so far, without h^ving madc an aitenipt ta 
fitbcr maniier? And Lucia had never mcntiottcd a word ol 
it to bim» hcr bctrothcd ì 

Ovcrcomc by thesc thoughts, he passcd by his &wn ho 
whtch was sittiaicd m the nìiddle of the village. and 
.ceeding through ìt, carne to that oi Lucia, vvhich slood at the" 
FOpposite cod This cotta^^c had a littìe R^arflcn in front, wbich_ 
separated it from the road; and the garden wa^ surrounci 
by a iow walL As Renzo cntcrcd the gardcti* he beard aP' 
^conttised and continuai murmur of voices (rom an upper 
room* He supposcd it was friend s and conipanions conm] 
to greet Lucia ^ and he did not wi»h to show bimself to thì| 
^company wilb the sad news Iie had lo conimunicate dstble i 
liia face. A little girl who happencd to be in the gardeo^ 
to incct biiti, crying, 'The bf idegroof» ! tbc brtde^ 
lì' 

*Gcntly, Bettina, gently!* said Renzo. 'Come bene; go 
op to Lucia, take her on onc side and wHspct In ber catj 
, , « but mitid no onc hcars, or suspecu . , . teli ber I 
1^ speak to ber^ and thai Vm wattlng tu iht down-stalrs ; 
nd that shc mtrst come innnediatrly.* Tbe cbtld ran qnìekil 
vp-stairs, dellgbted and proud to he entmsted with a secret, 
Lticia had just cot»e forth adomed from head to foot by 
be bands of her toother. Her f rtcnds were steaUttf glancet 
l tbc brtde^ and forcing ber to show heradf; wbitc the, wuli^ 
tbe somewhat warlike modesty of a nssttc, was endeavoarini 
Lio esc^>e, nslng ber armi as a shield for ber face, aitd 
n^ ber head dovmwards* ber Uack pcocilled 
eembig to Irowo^ whilr ber lit» were smithig. Iter 

Ittaewriasit haiTt dlvided oa ber forriicad witb a wbtte 
sartow partlof, waa tinitcd bebiod in raanjrn 
af«, i^eroed with tonu dlvcr PÌn?. cHTponcd aroand, 
as to looik like ajt or laìntl à fasbioa itHl titl 

jue among tbc M* -**- *- ,.ca5aiit-gu^ — iod ber neclc ili 
a ncckkce of fameu, alternatcd with bemlt of aitg 



I PROMESSI SPOSI m 

Shc fpore a pretty bodtce of flowered brocade, Iace4 

1 ribbons, a short gowti of embroidcred sìlk» 

'*<• and mmtite folds, scarlct stockiai^s, and a 

ì of embrotdered silk. Besides thcse, whicb 

ornaments of ber weddmg-day, Lncta had 

ic crcry-day ornament of a modest beauty» displaycd at 

and ijicr€ased by the varied feelings wbich were 

ber face : joy tenipered by a slight confwsion, that 

'__ cxrcasionally shows itself on the face 

oC m t^H^BBHHHlDtit injuring her beauty, gtires it an air 
^ccnllar to Itself* xhe little Bettina made her way among 
the talkcrs, came dose up to Lucìa» clcverly made her un* 
derstaod that she had somethìng io communìcate, and wbìs* 
pered feer little message in ber ear. * I am goìng for a 
tmifaent, and will bc back directly,' said Lucia to ber friends» 
ami hattìly dcscended the staìrs, 

On seetng the changcd look and the lanquiet manner of 
Eetuo, 'What ìs the matter?' ghe exclauned, oot witbout a 
ntiment of terror* 
^Luda!' rcplied Renzo, 'it i& ali up for to-day; and God 

rfi wbtn we can be man and wife.' 

'Wlmt?* aaìd Lucìa^ aJtogethcr amazed. Renzo brìefly 

lo ber tbc cvcnts of the mornmg; she lìstened in 

di stress; and when she heard the name of Don 

*Ah ! * sht txdàiracd, blushìng and tiembling, ' has 

teocne to this pomi I ' 

* Tfacn ytm kncw it ? - . .* said Renzo, 
*Iiuleetl too wcll/ anfwcred Lucìa, * but to this pouitt* 

• What did you know about it?' 
*Dcn*t niakc i»e speak now, don*t make ine cry* I will 

and catl my mothcr, and send away tbc girla* We mtist 
«Ione/ 

Whtk ilte was going, Renzo manoured, ' You never eold 
e anythinj^ u!>ont tt/ 

*Aìi. Rcnr.i * ' replìcd Lucia, tumìng round for a ttioment 

Renzo tioderstcod very well that bis name 

Lucia, at thai moment, in auch a toue, mcant 

lo %^ foabt that I coald bc sìknt, except on just 

Bj this tinie the good Agnese— (£0 Lucia's mother w»s 



38 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



named), incited to suspicion and curìosity hy the whisper 
in her ear, — had come down to see what was the matter. 
Her daughter, leaving her wlth Renzo, returaed to the aa- 
sembled maidens, and, composing her voice and manner as 
well as she could, said, ' The Signor Curate is in, and nothing 
will be done to*day/ This said, she hastily bid them good- 
bye, and went down agam. The company departed, and dia- 
persed themselvea through the village, to recount what had 
happened, and to discover whether Don Abbondio was reallj 
ili. The truth of the fact cut short ali the conjectures wht^ 
had already begun to work in their minds, and to be dia» 
oovered undefined aad mysterìouaty in their worda. 



CHAPTER m 



IflLE Renzo was rdating wiih pam what Agnese 
wiilj pam lUtened to. Lucia cntereci the rooiit. 
l'hey hoìh turned towa.rds ber: ahc indeed knew 
iDùreaboiil k ihan lliey, and qÌ her they awaiitd an explana- 
^ IJQP wHich eould not but be dtstr^ssing. In the midst of 
Mk^ iorrow they both. accordtng to tiie dtfFercnt nature 
^^^B^ bvc they bore Lucìa, discovered m tlietr own manner 
^Vd^roe of anger that ehc had conceaìed anything from 
pVkefD, especìatly of such a nature. Agiieset although anxious 
lo bc»r hcr daaghter speak, couid not refrain from a sUght 
tt * To t ay nothing to your mother in sudi a case I * 
Kow I will teli ycm ali/ answered Lucia, as she dried her 
uvith her aproit. 

le. speak I— Speak* speak 1 * at once cried both motber 

er, 

Holjr Vifgin ! ' exclaimed Lucia, * who could bave 

tCe¥cd ti woold bave come to this 1 ' Then wiih a voice 

Iffnmìoui wìlh weeping, she relatcd how» ae she was rc- 

tviiinf frotn her spiiiniDg, and bad loitered behind her com- 

Don Rodrigo, in company wjth another gentleman, 

by ber; that he had tri ed to engagé her in foDlUh 

Nk, aa fbe called it ; but she, witbout giràg him an answer, 

fcid qtuckened her pace, aad josned hcr companlons ; ihcn 

ik hid heard the other gentleman laugh loudly, and Don 

•ay, ' Vìi Jay you a wag er/ The ncxt day they wcre 

OR the road» but Luda was in ilie midst of her com- 

' ' vcs on the ground; wben tbe other gentle- 

[>on Rmirigo said, ' We shail see, we shall 

cominued Lucia, * thank God, was the 

ijf* I rclated inirnediately , , / 

it you lold it to?* demanded Agnese, wnìting» 

a little di^plea«urc, ior the name of the con- 

id bcen preferred. 

- ir Cristoforo, rn confcssion, mamisui^' repUed 

wnh a mect tone of apotogy. 'I rclaied iJie vriioto 

39 





40 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

lo him, the last time we went to church together, at the 
convent: and if you noticed, that tnoming I kept putting 
my band to one thing and another, to pass the time tiÙ other 
people were on the road, that we might go in company with 
them: because, after that meeting, the roads make me so 
frightencd.' 

At the reverend name of father Cristoforo, the wrath of 
Agnese subsided. 'You did well/ said she; 'but why not 
teli ali to your mother also? ' 

Lucia had had two good roasons: one not to distress and 
frìghten the good woman, about an event against which she 
could bave found no remedy; the other not to rrni the risk 
of a stor>' travelling from mouth to mouth, which she wished 
to be kopt with jcalous silence: the more so because Lucia 
hopcd tliat her marriage wouid bave cut short at the begtn- 
ning this abominated persecution. Of these two reasons 
she allcged only the first. 'And io you/ said she, tuming to 
Renzo, with that tene which reminds a friend that he is un- 
reasonable: 'And to you could I speak about this? Surely 
you know toc much of it now ! ' 

'Aiìd what did the father say to you?' asked Agnese. 

' He told me that I must tr^* to hasten the wedding as 
much a5 I could. and in the mean time to keep myself within- 
doors : that I shouid pray to the Lord : and he hoped that this 
man. if he did not see me. would not care any more about 
me. And i: wa^ then that 1 forced mvselt.* continued she, 
tuming aj:aìn towards Remo, without howcver raising her 
eyes, and Ku^Jiin^ to the templcs. * it \va$ then that I put 
on a KH> ■ v!d face, and begged you tv> vjet it done soon, 
and bave it c\>nc1udevl before the &xevl time. Wlio knows 
what vou must bave thought of me! Bui I did it for good, 
and il was advised me. and I iboughi for certain . . . and 
this momi:*.^ I was Sv> far from ihì-.ikin^ . , .* 

Here l.ucia's words wenf cu: short by a violent burst of 
lears. 

•Ah. rasca! ! wreich ? murderer ? * cxcbiiv.cvl Renzo, strìd- 
ine: Ivickwards a:sd fv>nfcarv!s acrv^s* lite rvxnn. and grasping 
ìtst'.w :i!::e io time the bill oi hi* dai:>:er. 

' Oh. heaven». what a lurv ! ' excUii«st\! .\gne4e. The 
jotmg man suddeuly drcw hiui^clf up beicc« Lucia, who 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



4L 



weeping, looked at her with an anxtoiis and cmbtttered 
tendcmess, antj satd, ' This is the last deed thìs assassbi 
shall do/ 

'Ah, fio» Renzo, far Heaven's sake \ * cried Lucìa ; ' no, 
far Heaven'a salce I God is on die side of the poor, and 
can we expcct him to help us if we do wrongF' 
'No, no, fof Hcavco's sake! ' echo^^d AgriMe, 
^Reazo/ said Lucia, wìtii an air of hopc anji more tran- 
quii rcsolotion, *you bave a trade» and 1 kniow how to work; 
kt tts go so far off ihat this man wlll hcar no more abotit us/ 
*Ati, Lncia ! and wlmt tlien ? We are oot yet tnan and 
wìfc! Witl the curate give us a certificate of no impedi- 
meckU sttch a man as he is? If we were married, oh 
thcol - . / 

Lu^ia b^gan lo weep agaln« and ali thfce remained sileni, 
51 ' -m which contrasted strangcly with 

ih LT dress, 

my chiidieu; atta]d to me/ said Agnese, after 

Wùii.^ icnU; *1 came into the world long bcfore you; 

and I know somcthing about the world. You nced not 
£rì|fhtcn yoorselvcs too iiìuch: things are not so bad as 
pcople makc out To us poor people the skein secms more 



eataQ^lcd bccause we 
socoHiiiics a piece of 
wbo lias gol leani ìng 
mr 
K 



hold of the rìght ej5d; but 
ce, a Httle talk with a man 
1 kni^w well enough what I would 
Do as 1 teli you. Renxo; go to Lecco, seek for Dr 
irbagli,* teli hira ali about tt,— but tnìnd you 
,^» Lìm so, for IleaveJi*s sakc : it*s a nìck-name. You 
lei] tiic Signor Doctor — What in the world do they cai! 
Oh dcar! I don't koow bis righi name: ererybody 
c*n«i him lio. Never nitnd» seelc for thss doetor; he is tali, 
dih a red note and a raspber ry-coloured mole on 



fi imoir said Renzo, 

►Well,' ^ ,rìrse, *he is a man! T bave seen 

thao one pcrson, hothcrcd likc a cbicken in a bundic 
111 tiatifv and wiio did not know wbere to put bis head, and 
alter hàn% an hour nose to nose with t!ie Pr Azzecca- 
Garbugli^ (talee good care xou don't cali btm so}-^I ba%*e 



42 



ALESSANDEO MANZOKl 



iecn him, I lay, niake a jokt of II Take thcA^ four ciponi,1 
poor creaturcsl whose necka I oaght to bave wrung fori 
tonili ght's suppcr, and carry thcm to hi tu; because we illiut 
nevcr go cmpiy-handed to thcsc gendcmen. RcUtc ta bini 
ali thai hat happened, atid yon'ìi £ee he wìU tdl you, in a 
twìnklìng; things which would noi come Inio our head» il 
we were to think about tlicm for a year/ 

Hen^o wìilingly embraced thii cotuiBi*!; Lucia apprdved 
tt; apd Agaesc» proud of havìng g^iven it, took the poor i 
creatures onc by onc from the hcn-coop, united Uieir d$fKt^ 
lefs, as one makes tip a btineb of Howcrs* tied them iip wìtb 
a piece of strini^, aiid consigned them to the haiids of Rouo, 
wbo, after giving aiìd rccciving words of cucourageioetit 
^uul hope, went out by a little gate from the garden^ that he 
jfbt escapc the ob&ervatìoa of the boys, who would bave 
after hiin* cryin^, * The bridcfroom ! the brktegroom ! * 
^tis, having crossed the ficlds, or, as ihey caO them there* 
iht f^U€*$^ he continiied hìs route aiocig Darrow laties, g^vingi 
mterance to bis bitter thouglits^ as be reBectcd on his mis* 
fortuae» and oonstdering whai he mtist say to the Dr AjEtcc- 
ca-Garbtigli. I teave tt to the readcr to tKtxtk how die 
jotiniqr was enjoyed by chose poor creaturea^ so bauod to> 
r, atiid beld iy the fect with thcir heads downwarda^ in 
band of a tnan who, agitate^ b>* so many paasioiia, ac- 
with appropriate gesiures the ^ougtits whìch| 
titBniltttoysly througb hU mìnd; and iti mocnenu of I 
' ut deterainadod^ ttiddeoJy ociendmg hia ann, inflicicd | 

Ics npon theia, mad caused thotc Ioar peód 
i to tub vìoleiiily » if we otay be aQovrcd the 
itft toeaiiwbile. TigorcMisly a^p^riog tlmadYet to pcdc < 
ber, aa too often bappeni aoioiig frkada io adrersi^. 
Arriirltig at the Titlàfe, be inqmwl fer the Doetor^a ] 

wben tt was potnted out to biin, (|itìddy loade hia wàfì 
On apiuóaehkg tt, bowerer, he btgaa to itd tbat] 
ifobteis so uioal with the poor aad ifoorani io tho' 
of a gentleman or man of leaming, and forgai alt 
' ìbe Sue apecdiea be had prepared: bot a glance at the ciiielt* 
eoa ho cutfni m hìi band r e t o red hia cottrafe. He 
I the Idtefaen» and aahed the maìd-ftervant tf he i30«ld 
StsDor Docior* Tbe wooMui looàed ax die birda» 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



43 



WM if aocQStoiiicd to sueh prescnts, was about to take them iti 
hcr band, >«« Reozo htìé them back, becausc be wanted the 
Oocior to ice he had brought sotnethitig wìth htm. Just al 
th» ixMMtiQQt, the wiibed-for per^^onage made bis appcarance, 
aa the ierrafit waa &ayiii£^, ' Gìve them here, and go fot ward 
lo the sli»dy,' Raiso made a law bow to the Doctor , wha 
g^racioufily Ud him 'Come iii, my son/ and took htm ìnto 
bis atudjr. It waj a large room, decorated on three aìdes 
with ponralu of the tWelve Cariars ; the remaitimg wall wa» 

I ftiddcn bf a Urge bookcase, fili ed with old and dusty books; 
io Iht middle ol the room stood m table covcred with extracts, 
pititiaila, libeb, and proclamatlons : three or four chairs 
wenc acattered around, and on oae side was a large arm- 
chaìr» witb a high square back, terminatine at the comers 

I tn two bom*&haf^d omaments of wood, and covered with 
kather, fasteoed down witb large naìls. Some of these bad 
falicn oot, sa thai the leather curled up bere and there at 
fdcAiiìte, leaving the corner s unencumbcred. The Doctor 
wma in hia drestslng-gown ; that is to say^ he had on a fadcd 
robc# whkh had served him for many years to bar angue in 
OH days of state, wheo he went to Miian on any itupoTtani 
cause. Haricg sh«i the door, he re-animated the young 
ataa's oOdMenee with the&e words: 'Teli me your case, 
i^y aocL' 

* I wÌMh to sptàk a word to you b confidcnce/ 
' Vm ready— «peak/ replicd the Doctor. seating himself on 

tua ann-chaìn 

Jtmzù siood before the table* and twìrling hli hai w3ib 
hia rigbt hand round the other, cominiied; * l witU to know 
' - -* -ftm, wbo have studied . • / 

. the caie oa it is/ ìnterruptcd the Docton 

~ iipxcuae foe^ Signor Doctor : we poor pcople don't know 
kem lo speak properly. I want, tben, to know . . / 

* B1ci»Dd ael yoii arel You are ali alike, Initead of re* 
latifif jfoiir eiiie, you aik questiona, becayse youVe already 

up yoitr Riinds.* 
*T k..^ trttff ^r.fon^ Signor Doctor, I want to know il 
Ih* icot lof iJireàiening a ctirate, and for- 

bldcin: 

* I tu ' « virho hi truth bad ooi 



ALB8SAKOE0 MANZONI 

intderstoad; 'I uudcr&tand* He then put oti a scriouK facei 
but it was a scrìotisness mfnglcd wìtli an air oÌ conipassioci~^ 
and importance: ;md. prcssinir hb lìps, he uttcred an ifiar* 
tkukte aourul hctokcntn^ a seuHmenl, aCterwar ' 
dearly expresscd in hh lìrst wnrds. 'A seriou^i r / 

son. Tlicre are laws to tlic poinL Yau hav*! donc wclJ toj 

■^eonie to nac* Il h a clear case, recogmijc^d in a hitndrc 
^roclamation^, and . . • siay ! in an cdict of the !ajct yearJ 
hy the prcsent Signor Govcmon Vìi kt you scc tt anfl 

t Bandlc it dircctly/ 

So sa^ing* he rose from hh seai. and hunted througb 
chaos 0< papers, shatrilmg the lowcr onci* uppcriDOSI wilJ 
hjs hands, as if he wcrc tlirowìng coni ioto a tweasure* 
•Wbcre can it be? Come nenrrr, come ncarer One Ìa_ 

lobltged to bave $0 many tlung» in hand ! But it ntui^t sure 

'lie bere, for it is m proclamation of importance. Ah! beri 
tt K% bere it ni* He took ìt, unfolded it, looked at the <tatia 
and wtth a stili more scnotis face, contìntied, *The '*^' 'hi 
nf October. 1627. Ccrtaitily: it U lan yettr^s; a fri 
lamatton: tt is these tbat cause sticb lear. Can you riM4, 

^ my son ? ' 

•A little. Signor Dr^ctor/ 

' Very well, follow me witb ytmr cye, and you shall sec* 

[And holding the edict display ed in tbc air, be bcgan to 

read, rapidty muttertnir some pas»ages« and pausing dia* 

lincily, with markcd empbaais, opon otliers^ as the caae re- 

qoìred 

^AUhmgh in ihe frocìamatìùm pubHshed H m4er ùf ihe 

^Si^ùr Duke of Frria, the ì4fk Defemb* ^nd co 

firmud hy ike Most ÌUusirious and Mosi / .Vr.;fi,>f 

the Signor Gonxaic Ftmandtg de Cordoli, &c,^ r ti 

^pravision nmde, hy esfrn-^'^^*'^^'v and rigmtrpm m^ 

I ifgoinst 0ppressions, r^ifi and tynmnicét orfi ih 

seni ' ' ^rVQlfd s^^ 

fy, <&T, 

toncurrmce of ihr Smair md a Cm^nal^ énf,, he liot r^ 
I solved to ^hlisk thf^ t^esmi tdìct 

* And, to htgin mth tyramniccl acts, tJtpÉfimce 



1 PBOMKSSl SPOSI 



a 



fAiti manf, OS wtU in citics, as in the country. Do you hcar? 
esciie af$mmùtions (n this state by molence, and epprcss the 
tvcak in various ways, as, for exampie, by cùmfi^Uing thi-m 
U> moke hard bargóins in punhascs, renfs, &c., whcre am 
I? ahi bere! look— /o fcrform or noi to pcrfùrm mar- 
wiages; ch!^ 

' That is fiiy cise/ sald Renzo. 
• Listcti, Ii$ten; there h plcnty more; and thcn we shaO 
»c« Ihc penalty. To give niàence, cr noi io give evidencc; 
compeUin^ ont to leave his homc^ &c., anothcr to pay a dcbt: 
ai! MO do wjth its. Ah! we ha ve it here; 

iki rrfarm that io which he is obUged by his 

0Acr« ùr io do ihmgs tiékh do nof b elong to hitn. Eh ! * 
^ It sccitis as il tlìey ime made the cdkt exactly for me/ 
'Eh! is h not so? Ihtcn, li sten: and sintUar oppressione, 
Iwk^her ^rpelratté by feudatories, the nobility, middle 
1 f tm èf , ìower oréers, or pUbeions. No onc cscapes: they are 
afl t is like the valley of Jehoshaphat, Llsten now 

to Ity, AU these, and ofher snch like criminal acts, 

I oithmgh ihey are prohibited, nei^erthtkss, it being nccessory 
io use greaier rigour, his Exceìlency, not rdenting in this 
froclam^stion, &c,, enjoins and tommmtds that against ali 
offenéers under any of the above-mcntioned heads, or ihe 
Uke, aU the ordinary magisfraies of the siate shalì proceed 
ky pecmniary and corporal pmiishmcnt, hy banishment or the 
golìeyt, and et^en by deatk ... a mere bagateìlel at the 
frin of his Excellency or of the Settate, oecorditig io the char- 
aeter of lise eases, persons, and circurnstances. And this tr- 
W->ijs-fii*aLr, and udih att rigour, &c, There's pleuty of it 
And sce, hef c's the signatore r Ganzato Femandes 
r: and lower down; Fiatonus: and here again: 
"rerrer: Uicr«*ji uothing wanting/ 

the Doctor was readìng, Renzo slowly foltowed 



^hhn with hi 



trv'npr to draw out the simj>le meaning. 



to bchuld for liimsclf those hlrsscd words» whIch he 
?ed wcre to render him nsjii.stance. The Doctor, sec- 
hi» dicnt more attenti ve tbajì alarmed, was greatly 
Hr mii*t bc matriciilat<-d, saìd he to htmself** 
added he aloud; ' you ha ve heen nhlìged to 
lilii ;he lock. Yoii bave beco prudente however you 



IS 



AI^BSSANDHO MAZZONI 



need nùì bave ddtie so, whcn putting yi^tirsclf uadcr tnf 
'hands. The ca§« js serious; biiL you don*l know wliat I 
Eluve eourage to do in a ttme of nccd.' 

To under&tand thts niistakc of tljc it muti be 

Pfcnowni that at that lime» bravocs by pr u and vilbint 

ol cverj kind, used to wcar a long lock oÌ hair, whkb ' 
ihcy drcw o%^cr tlie face Ilice u vìmr on meeting auy onc, 
when the occasion \v«s one which rcndercd disguisc aecet* 
^ary, and tbc uiiderlakìng such as requircd bolh force tad 
circumspectìon* 

The proclamatlon had net beco silent with reg^ard lo 
ihls iiiaiten 'His Extreliency (tJie Marquis of 1^ Hyno- 
^o^3i)commands that whosùiver shaU wiar His kmr ùf fuek \ 
I ii'ni^th OS io cover his for^hfad as far m the eyfbrows oniy, 
or shall Wéar irrssi^s either before or behind ihe tùrs, shaìl 
incur the penalty af tkree hundrcd crownsi or m €asg af 
inahUiiy, thne years in the galkys for the first offemcét 
tmd far thi secùnd, b^sides the ahùve, a stver&r pé$miiy sìitit 
ai thi wUl ùf his Bscflkncy. 

'H^mwcr, in case of baidness or oiher rtasonaUe asmsé^ 
m a mark or wound, he gkfes permission to smK for their 
^reaier decorum or hcalih^ tu wcar their hair so iomg as may 
be mcessary to cover such faiUngs, and nù more; wammg 
ihem w^ll io bcwaré of txcecding ihe limits of duty amd* 
fure nfctssity, thai they may noi incur ihe penalty impasti 
mpon other diss^mbters. 

*And he alsó comìnands ali barbers, under penalty of a 
hundred croums, or three stripes^ to he gna^n them in pubìic, 
and even greatvr cor por al pttnishment, at the ttill of his 
Escetieney, as above, that they tcave not on thase wkam 
they shatfc, any kind of the saia (resses, heks, curisi or hmr, 
hngtr thmì umaL rithcr on the f&rehead, temptes, or he- 
hind the ears; bui thai they shall he aU ùf eifual length, as 
abavt. escepi in aìse of baidness, or other dtfecis, as aìready 
described/ The bck, then, might almoyt bc coosidercd a 
in of the annour, and a dbtinciive mark of bravoes und 
alidi; so ihat thc$e character» vcry coBuaotily bore 
Gi€ nanic of CiuM^ Tìm ttxm U itili uscd^ witli a mltì^ 
ijgiiificatk>i}, in the dialcct o! tbc country; and, per- 



I ritoKfEssi SPOSI 







it mie of Olir Milanese readers who does noi 
mg it said of hìm, in hi* diiJclhood« eitbéf 

Bjr 1i!s relati ves, bis tutor, ar some family friend, *Hc is 

a Ciuffo; he is a Ciuffetto* 

* Oh tilt word of a poor youtb/ replied Remo, * I oaver 
[wai*^ • lode in inj Ufe.' 

* 1 cao do fiothing/ replied the Doctor, shaking Ma head, 
with a amile bet^-een maltce and itnpatìence* ' 1 1 you don't 
trust me, I eaii do nothìng. He wfao tcUs lies lo the lawyer, 
do you «ec^ mf son, is a fool wbo will teli the truth to the 
jt»dg«, People must relate matters clearly to the advoca(e: 
it ia ottr boainesa to make them intricate. If yóu wish me to 

' help >*oiit yois must teìl me ali from o to z, with your heart in 
yoiir band, aa if to your coiifcssor. Voti must name the 
periOn wbo ha» emplnyed you. He will most likciy be a 
persoli of coiiseqocnce; and, in that case, I will go to hfm 
to pcrfonn an «et of duty* I shan't, however, teli him, 
4o yott tee, that yc»u told me he had sent you« trust me. 

|l will teli him 1 come to ìmplore h!» protection fot a 
flardered youth, and wilì lake ali necessary meas^ 
tirct with him to fmisb the affair commendably. You 
amkrslajid, that, in securing hìmaell, be will also secure 
yott, Evei ìf the scrape be ali your own, 1 won*t go 
bade; I bare extricated oihers fmro wofse predicaments. 
And If you bave not ofiended a person of qualhy, you 
«ndestttad, I wtll engagé to gct you out of the diffi* 

^ enlly— ^Wttii a little expcnse, you undergtand. You must 
tcQ ine who il the ofifended party, as they say; and ac* 
oofifinf to the condition^ rank, and temper of the person, 
w« abili »ce whcther it will be bettcr to bring him lo 
raMin by offers of protection, or, in some way, to ertui» 
tnate him, and |>ut a flea in his ear; becatise, you »ee, I 
lenow very weìl how to manafe these edìets; no one must 
b^ gmltyt and n*> ♦t^'^ mti^t lie innoeerit» As to the ai rate. 

Ili he has any .he wtll kecp in the hack-ground; 

Il he \% a nìm|( will dispose of him too. One ean 

»pe from a- net but it rcquìres onc to act likc 

\ V ■ IS, I àay, serious; 

tfcf werc to bc decidcd 

lMtwc« jtt«uc« atid yoii, tà aa^ Uic UuiX U would go hard 




«8 



AlMSBAìmnO MANZONI 



with yotL I speak to yoii as 31 fricmS. One mtist p«/ Cor 
pranks; tf you wixh to gel off clcar, moctey ant! frimloiess 
— trojit yourseU lo onc who wishcs you wcll ; obey, and do ali 
thai 13 suggcatcd to you/ 

While the Doctor pourcd forili this t Retilo 

lookìng al him, with the spcU-bouivu . nri of m 

ibourìng man watching a juggter in the Street, wlva, aifer 
'^thruaiing into his moyth handful after hAndfut oif tow, 
draws fonh th<'r>cc rihbon^ribbon — ribboti — sccmingly wilh- 
out end. Whcn, at last, he midcrstoocl '' -^ 

was sayìng, and the stranie mistakc he h. 
short the rìbbon in bis motith with thesc wartl&; ' Oii, 1 
Signor Doctor* how have you understood me? The caj« 
ts exactly the olber way. I havc tlircatened no one; I 
never do sudi lliings» not I; ask ali niy neìghbours, and 
you wiU bear I bave never had aitylhìng to do with the 
law. The triek has bcen pbyed upon me; and I carne lo 
ask you what I must do lo gel juailce, and I am vcry glad \ 
that I bave aceti this cdict' 

*IIang hitn ! * cxclamied the Dodor, openbg Ms cyca^ ' 
' Wbai a mcdley you bave madel So it is: you are ali 
alikc; h it possibte you don"! know how to teli thtngs 
plainly ? ' 

* I beg your pardon, Signor Doctor, you didn't gire me 
litnc; now I will retate the case as it is» You must know, 
hen, that I wan to ba%*c tnarried to-day/ anJ hrre Rcnzo*s 

oice became ticmulous — ' I wis io fiavc married to^day | 
m young woman to whotn 1 bave paìd tny addreaac^ sìnce 
the beginntng o( summei-; ami thia was the day, ai I naìd/ 
that was fixcd with the Signor Carafe, and evcrythiog 
was ready. Well, Ihis moniing, the Signor Curate liegmn 
lo ihrow out some cxcuse» . * • howcver, noi to tire jotu 
I will onty say. T mjtde hltn speak^ a.^ waj» but jun; and 
he confeised that be hské bcen fort»ìddea under putii ni 
deaUi, to celebrate thia tnarrlage. Thti tyraxit of a Don 
Rodrigo . . / 

*Get you gtuiel' quickly tntemtp^ted the Doctor, rals^i 
Eig his cychrows^ wrinkhng bis red Dose» and liÌBrortEog^ ^ 
mouth; •gct you gonc! Why do you come bere to 
tujr liram vìtli Ihiesc Uca? Talk in thia wmy to your 



1 PEOMESSI SPOSI 



49 



ÌÌ0Q3, who don'i know the meaning of words, and 
^dcwi*t come and ullcr thtm to a gentleaiao who know» 
weU what tbcy are wonh. Go away^ go away; you don'c 
?w wbat ycm are taikìrig about; 1 doii't meddle wìlh 
^; I éoù't waat io bear talk of Uiis sort; talk in tbc air/ 

* 1 wiii take an oaih , . / 
*Gct j0a gone, 1 teli you; what do I earc for your 

»! [ won't enter imo the basiness; 1 wash my haiid^ 

And he began rubbing and twìrling thcm one over 

tbe other, aa t£ be were really wasbing tbencu ^Leam 
how to speak; aod don'l come and take a geatleman thus 
Igr sorpris^/ 

* Bui Ijstcn— boi listeo/ irainly repeatcd Renzo. The 
(lOTimg ali the time» pushed him towards the door, 

on readung it, set it wide open, called tbe senrant, 
said, * Be qvtkk and give this man what he bfotight. 
T want oóthìng* I want nmhtng.* The womati had never 
beiore ^ccutcd a siniilaf order ali the timc &he had bcen 
the Doctor's senricc; byt it was pronounced in so res- 
Dlote a manf)er« that she did not hesitate to obcy. So, 
taking the fonr poor btrds, she gave iìmm to Renzo, with 
a look o£ contemptyons cooipassìon, which scemcd to say^ 
^yoo mast tndeed havc made a grand blunder/ Renzo 
\k ccrcmonìous, bat the Doctor was inexorable ; and 
lippy vvigbt, astonished and bewildered, and more 
I wrathtaJ than cver» was cooipclled to take back the restored 
|Tktims, and return to the country to relate the pìeasing 
It of his expedttlou to Agnese and Lucia, 
DuTÌng bis ab^ence, after sorrowful!y dianging their 
ntiptlaJ ro1>ea for tJic httmble dailj dress, they had set thcm* 
Jvcs to coGSult anew. Lucia sobbing, Agnese sighing mouni' 
Ily, froin timc to titne. When Agnese had suffictenlly en- 
ttpdo the gTcat cfifects they migbt bopc for frotn the 
-** adv^ke. Lucìa remarked, that they ougbt to try 
nethod Ukely to assist ihcm; that Fatlier Cristoforo 
a m^n nùt only to advise, but afso to render more 
e^^ectu^ ajyiiftance* whtre tt concemcd the poor and un- 

' ' be a good thing i£ they could 
ned, 
li wooldt iiHÌciod,' repikd Agnese ; and tbey begia im- 



)( 



SD 



ALB^ANDUO MAKZONI 



mcdiAtely io contHve togeth^r some pì^n io &e<!«izitili 
il; silice, IO go themiielves tD Ihe convcnt, dtsiant, perhftpl^l 
JiWO miles, wa« an undcrtaking they wauid rather oùt rl^k] 
ìhaf day; and, certainly» no ooe with any judgment wouldi 
havc advtscd thctn io do so. Whik, howcvcr, they were! 
thus cngaged ia v ' the dlffercnl aidea of the ^ 
Cthty hcard a kn^ i^* door; and at the same i 

|!ft low bui distinti Deù Graiias. Lucia, wondrrin - .no iti 
9uld be» fan to open U, and liDmedktely, niakru^ ;i lowi 
[Ikiw, there cntercd a ìay Capuchin collector, his bag han|>{ 
lifig over hli left sbouldcr, and the tnouth of it twist ed mni 
Ibdd tight in hisi two bands^ over hls breast * Oh, broiheir| 
Saldino r exclaimcd the two women. 'Tlic Lord be wiih 
frou/ said the friar j ' I have come to btg fof the nuta.* 

*Go and feteb the nuti foF the Fathers,' satd Agfie8t,J 

Lucia arose, and tnoved cowmrds the other roomj bui. béJ 

rfore entering it, shc panscd hehind the friar*» back, wbof 

temained Mandìriji In cxactly tlie sajne poftition; aod pul 

ting her fore-finger on ber lipa, gave ber mother a 

^deniandìng sccrccy, in whìch we re tningkd tcndcntcia^ itipi-^ 

elicali on, atid even a certain air of authotity. 

The collector, ■ \gTieae at a distance 

»atd« ' And this It waa to have beta' 

dayj bui I noticed a stii m the ncighbourhood, a« if itt- 
rdicatìng sometbing new. Wbat ha» happened? ' 

•The Signor Curate ts ili, and wc are obllfed to poH* 
,jjone it," hastily rcplicd Agnese- Probably th« aiitwer 
|lttiglit liave been very differente if Lucia had not f^ytetì her 
hitiL VAnd bow docs the colle^tion go onf' addcd 
^l»hinjr to change Ihe conversa lion. 
F od wonmn, badly. TI 'Tt bere/ ^ 

lyi rj rik the wallet off hi» ^ and tos^' \ 

bis banda Inlo the air. 'They are ali bere: and to 
^noct ihì» tnighCy abundance, I bave Had to knock at ceo 
doti/ 

* But ibe ycar i§ icarcc. bfother Gàldino; and wbcn onc 
hai to sttrug^Tlc ^>r hread, one niMiatirea evefythiag ac- 
eordtnf to ti v/ 

* And wha- *lin rtood womao, lo make beUer tltxiea| 
reiura? Give abna. Doo't yoo know the mltade of 



I PROMESSI stosi si 

st hIlppcn<^d nmny ytars ago in oor Concai of 

Jo, Inóctd ì Idi mtf 

yoo muKt know. then, that in our conventi thefe 
wai a boJy FiUher, whose name was Falhef Macaria. One 
day, in wiaicrt walkmg along a narrow path, in a fìetd be- 
Umf^mt^ to oae of otir benelactors — a good iiian also— 
FalJier MacarÌQ saw Iiìm standing near a largc walntil-tree, 
and focir peasants, wrth axes lìpraìsed, aboti t to (eli il, ha vi ng 

jhud bare tts roots to the sun, *' What are you doing to 
tltls poof trtc?" askcd Father Macario. *' Wby, Father, 
H has bcroc no fniit far tnaoy years, so now I wiU make 

^firfaig of iC* "Leave tt, Icave it;* said the Father; "be 
aamrsd tbrs ycar it % 'M produce more fruii than kaves.*' 
The benefactor, kwovvmg who it was that had uttered 
tK^e wofKis, Imnvediately ordcred the workmen to throw the 
ni] ispon the roots again* and calliug to the Father, wbo 
cOQtinuecI bis waìk, said, ** Father Macario, half of the crop 
ibaD bc for the convcnt" The report of the prophccy 
spread» and rvcry onc flocked to sce the tree, Spring, tu 
very ixuth, brought blossoms without number, and then fol* 
loiwed nuts— ni Utr. The good benefactor 

bid not the bau <vg them, for he weot belore 

the harvest to reccn e the reward of bis charlty. But the 
miTacle was, m consequcncc, so much the greater> as you 

I wìD hcar, This wnrthy man Icft bchìnd him a son of 
vttf dtflfercnt character. Well, then, at the time of gather- 
fasf, the collcctor wcnt to reccive the nioiely belongìng to the 
ccMirer ' ' tended pcrfect ignorance of the mat- 

ter, an . ^o reply^ that he had ne ver heard that 

Capuciùn^ kriiiw huw to gathcr nuts. What do you think 
happcnrd then? Otie day, (listen to this/) the knave was 
enierutniog a party of bis frienda, of the samc genus as 
hiniielf, and while tnaklnf merry, he rclated the story of the 
walnttta, and rfdìcuied the friars. Uh jovial frìends wished 
lo fD iee this wonderful heap of nuts, and he conducted them 
lo th« itore botile, But lìsteii oow; he opencd tlie door^ 
w mcr where tlte i;rcat heap had b^en Iaid« 

ac I-ook/' be lookcd Wtnsclf, and »aw— 

what «lo you think ?<--a tnagniBcent beap o£ withertd wal^ 




S2 ALB5SANDHD MANZONI 

fsut-leaveil Thii was a ks5f)n for brm? aod the i 

ìnatcad of bang a Joscr by tbc dcnittl tahm, gaincd ? ^ ; 

for, after so great a mirack, ihc contrìbutlon of niits in- 
crcased to such a dcgrcc. that a baicfactofp movcd wìtli ptty 
for the pnor collcctor, made a preacjit lo Ihc con v cut of ao 

,ass, to assist in carrying the nuts home. And so mticfa 

pn^as madiv ib.it ali the poor in the neighbourtiood came andl 
Imd as mnch ad thcy rcquircd; for wc are Ukc the »ea,| 
which rccdvcs water from ali qtìartcrs, and rctufos it 
to ht agaia distrlbuted through ihe rivers/ 

At thìs moment Lucia rcturncd, hcr aproo so laden with 
iiulu» that H was wIth difficulty she crmld manage It, holdingl 
tire two comcrs streichcd out at arm's length, wMIc ih 
fnar Galdtno lìfted the sack off hh .nhotilder^, and pnttìnfl 

, it on ihe ground, opened the moiith for the reception of tti4 

'abundant gift, Agnese glanced towards Lucia a surpriJ 
and rqjroachful look fof her prodipality; hot Luda re- 
tnrncd a gJancc whtch seemcd to say, * I wtlJ justify myscIL* 
The friar hrokc forth into praijcs, prognosticati ons» promi- 
ics, and cxprc^siona of gratittidc, and replacing ht» bag, watij 

^about to deparr. Biit Lncla, rccalting him, said, ' I want 708 
to do me a kindneis; I watii you lo teli 1^'ather Cristofor<l| 
that we earnesily whh to speak to him, atid ask him to 

[IO good as come to ns poor people qu]ckJy--dtrcctly; for 

^I cannot go to the church.' 

*If tht» al!? It shall aot be as bmr beforc Fatfaer 
Cristoforo knows your wtsh/ 

* I beli ève you** 

• You nced not f car/ And so taykig, he depftftodt fitlwr 
nuore btirilencd and a little better aatiafied than whea he 
entered the house. 

Lct no one thtnk, on hearing tliat a poor girl aent t©_ 
ask will] mch confidenec for Father Crttloforo, and 
Uic collcetor acccptcd the commissioti without woiider 
ivtthout dìfficulty— let no onc, I say. suppose that thts Crts 
^ foro wa» a mean friar — a persoti of no iinporiance. He 

th€ contrary. a man who had great authority amonfj 
h\% friqidi, 'I; bnt, tudi wai the' 

conditìofi o: ìng appeared lo tbem 

either too tiigb or Uk> k>w* lo taùkiater to the baftcsi, and 



I PEOMESSI SPOSI 



53 



to bc mtnisterfd lo bjr the most powerful; to etiter palaces 
or hov* * * he samc deportmeut of humilily and securtty ; 
to be ^ ili the sam« house the objcct of ridicale and 

m perso» wiihaut i^hom nolhiiig couJd bc decided; to mììdt 
MÌms cvcrjrwhcre, and distribute them to ali those who 
begi^ed at tlie conventi — a Capuchin was accustomcd to 
aU Uicsc Travefsing the road, he was cqually Hable to meet 
a noble wbo would reverently kiss the end of the rope 
roand bis wmistj or a crowd of wickcd boys, who, pretcnd- 
io^ to he quarrcllitig among themselves, wouJd Hìng at bis 
be- nr! mire. The word frate was pronotmced in those 

da\ lic greatesl respect, and again with the biiterest 

caoicTTtpt ; and the Capuchins, perhaps, more than any other 
«leder, werc the objecti of two directly opposìtc sentimenls, 
ftod shared two dircctly opposite kìnds of treatment ; because, 
-fng no property, wearing a more than ordinarìly dis- 
habit, and makìng more open professions of humili* 
they cxposcd themselves more directly to the vener- 
», or the contiiracly- which these circmiistances woald 
te* according to the different tempers and different 
ioions of oieiL 

Ab «oon a» the fnar had Icft, — ^'AII those ntitsT ex- 
aed Agnese; * and in sudi a year tool* 
I beg pardon, molher/ replied Lucia: 'bitt if we had 
Itke other s, brother Caldino woald bave had 
at no one knows how long, he f ore his wallet 
bave been filkd; and we cannot teli whcn he wotild 
have rcttimed to the convent; besldes, what mth cbattlng 
bere and thcre, he wonld very likely bave forgotten , . ,* 
* Ahi you thought wisely; and, after ali, charity always 
ìgi a good reward,' said Agnese, who, sptte of ber 
it •''"*" '♦s, was a good woman ; and woyld bave given 
he 0¥med fof ihb only daughter, whom sbc 
ixiui tbe ! * ' afifection, 
At tM« naon o arrivcd, and, cjitcring wtth an 

t Efid Q'i 'oancc, thrcw the ehickens on 

^r: nn-? i laat sad vidssitude the poor 

cni that day. 
... ...,u- yon gave me!* «ald be lo Agnese 'You 

me IO a mke gentleman^ to onc who really bclps the tio* 



ALBSeAKDRD MANZONI 

ioittìTiatel' And he liegao immediatcly io rekte hti t^ 
ccf^lion àt the DoctorV Poor Agti€ae« astonbhcd at bis 
ni suGceiB, cndeavourcd to prove tJtiat her ad vice had bcen 
goodi une that Renio had noi gone ftbout the buiinefi 
deverly, bui Lucia intcrrupted tlie qauiìon, by ati* 
nouactng that shf hoped thcy fiad fcund a bctter helper, 
^Bcazo welcomed the hopc as most people do who are in 
oisfortune and perpìcjtìty. • But if the F^^ther/ stiid ht^ 
''does not fisid us a t t vfiìl find onc mméiùw nti 

other/ The woincn r ded peaee, patioict, md prn^I 

dence, 'To-morrow/ aaici Lucia» * Father CfhtùiùTO wlQ 
certftioly come, and youUl &ce he wUJ Md some kelp tbai 
w© poor people can*t evcn ìmagiiie.* 

*I hope se.' iiJd Remo; •but in *ny case T wìU get re* 
Iresft, or find some one to ]^et tt for me. There must b« 

pistiee fa the end, even in ibis world! * 

In iuch melanchoty dhcourse, and iti ttich Ciccurrcnces 
te bave been describcd, the day wore away, aiid began to 
dedìfie. 

*Good night/ gaid Lucìa, aorrowfully, to Renzo, who» 
couid not make up bis mìnd to Icavc htr. 'Good night»' 
rcplìed he, stili more moumfully. 

* Some Saint will help us/ added sheÉ * Be pnidcnt, and 
try lo b© re«fgncd/ Agneit added other advice of thel 
ne kìnd, and the brtdegroom went away with fury in bti 
beiiti repeatEng ali the while those strange wonl^, * There 
ftQfit bt jiittlce at UiU cvcn \n ìhh wùtìdV So tnid il il 
that a man overwhelincd with grcat ioirowi kùomn not 
wbat he is saymg. 



CHAPTER IV 



THE stiit had scarcely rìsen above the horizon, wlicu 
Fathcr Cristo foro left the convcnt of Pescarenico, 
and procecdcd towards the cottage where he was ex- 
pedéd. Fescaretiko h a litilc town on the left bank of the 
Adda, or raiher, we should say, of the lake^ a few paces 
bdow ùt€ bridge ; a group of houscs, inhabìted for the most 
p«ft by Eshénxìeii, and tdomed herc and there wìth tiets 
QQPg out to dry. The convent was situated (and the building 
itìi] remains) outstde the town, facing the en trance* on the 
ro«d tiiai leads f fom Lecco to Bergamo, The sky was serene, 
.«od a» the sun gradually emerged froni behind the mountain, 
[ttc %ltt deseended from the summit oÌ the opposite range, 
jg itself rapìdly over the steeps and through the 
while a soft auttimnal breeze» shaking frora the 
the vrithered leaves of the mtilbcrry, carried them 
away to fall ai some distane e frora the tree. In the vine- 
yard» nn etther h^né^ the rcd leaves of varions shades 
rcd on the stili fcstooned branchcs; and the newly made 
mppeared dark and dìstinct among tlie fields of white 
ile spisrkiing io the dew. The scaie was brighi ; but the 
sight of a human figure moving therein dìspelled 
the cbeerinl ihoughis whieh the scene was calculated to 
liupife. At every step ooe met with pale and emacìated 
heggarm. cither gfown old in the business, or reduced by the 
oeoesdJty of the tlmes to ask alms, Thcy locked piteously 
jat Fathcr Cristoforo as thcy silently passed him; and al- 
^thotigtì, *» ^ Captidiin never had any money, thcy had 
flolhiiig to hope frotn him, yct they gave him a bow of grati* 
lode fo? the alms which tl^ey had recetved, or were goìng 
tu itìKcJt, at the cotn'enL The sìght of the labourers seattered 
over the nclds had in it somcthing stili more maurniul 
Soote were aowing secd, hut niggardly and unwillingly, lìke 
a man whu riski »omethrng he highly prizes; others couid 
wiih dìScnhy wfc the ^pade, and wearily overtumed the 
mdi. The lulf-fttarved chUd, holding by a cord the thia 

SS 



ALUSANDEO MANZONI 

'mtagre cow, and boking narrow!/ around, hastily xtooped td . 
stcal from Jt some licrb as food far the famjly, which tmnj;er| 
had uu^'ht thcni couid be ascd to sustain lì (e. Sudi tight 
as thcac at cvcry step increascd the sadncss of the friar,^ 

i who cven now Imd a preseotimeot in hi5 licart ihat he 
gotng to bear of some misfortune, 

Btit why did he take so much thought for Lucìa? Andl 
why, at the first intiniatìon o( liei* wiiih, did he atteml 10 i 
it iO diligcntly» as tf lì were a cali from tlie Father Pro* 
nndal? And who was this Fatlier Cmtoforo?— Il will be 
necessary to a^swer ali ihc&c tnquirief. 

Father Cristoforo of ^ • * wa* a tnan nearer ?*ixty than 
lìfty years oC age. Hts shaven head, circlcd with a narron 
line of hatr, like a crown, according to the fashkm of the' 
Capucbin tonsure, wns raised from timc to time will» a 
movetncnt Ihat brtrayed somewhat of drMÌ.iin and dis 
quictiidv, and tben quickly satik agaìn in tlioughts of low-1 
lincAs and huniilily. His long, gray beard, cover mg bis 
chccks and chiti, contrastcd markcdly with the promincnt 
feafures ni the upper part of hìs face, to which a luivt; and 
habitual abstfncncc h ^ ^ givcn an air of gravity, thaiij 

effaceci the nntural :t. Hh sunken eye», tULuallji 

beot oo the ground» swiictimcs brightcncd up wkh a morncn- 
tary fire, like two npiritcd horses, under the band of a driver 

[whom they know by exj^erience thcy cannot ovcrcomc; ycl 
occaì5Ìonat1y thcy indulge in a few gambol* and pnwiclng», 
for which they are quickly rcpaid hy a wuart jerk of 
the hk. 

Father Cristoforo had noi always becn thus: nor had he 
always bcen Cristoforo: his haptisninl namc was LudovicQ 
He was the »on of a merehant ni * • ♦, (thcse asteris 
are ali itiserted by the circurnspcction of our anooyniG 
anthori) who, m his lattcr year», betng considcrahly weallli 
and haviitg only one son, had givcn up trade, and rctire 
as an Independer^ * - - - 

In hi* ncw AUr he be^an to entertaìn a grcat 

: money» 
i-c Ui-ed cvc 
ivour lo PI. lorget tiiat he had been a mi 

i; in fact, Le . ..,.»^ to forgct h btmidt Bttt limi 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



SI 



ihe bales, the journal, the measiire, were for cver 
ng upon bis mìnd, like the shadc of Banquo to Mac* 
belli, e veli aitiidst the hoootìrs of tlie tabi e and the smUes 
ol Eaitercrs. It h impossible te descrìbe the care of these 
poor morìMh to avoid cvcry word that might appear like an 
aUusJOQ to the forraer condition of their patron. One day, 
iDefition a single instance, towards the end of dinncr, in 
ì mocDcnt of liveìiest and most unrestrained festivity, whcn 
mrotiJd bc difiicalt to say which was the merriest, the com- 
f who emptkd the table, or the host who filled it, he 
rallyifig: with friendly super ìority one of his guests, the 
prodìgious caler in the world. He, meaning to return 
tlie jokc, vvith the frankncss of a child, and without the Icast 
ibftde of malice, replied, * Ah, Im listeiiing like a merchant/' 
TI» poor offender was at once conscious of the unfortunate 
tliat bad escaped his lips ; he cast a diffideni glance 
rds his patron s clotided face, and each wouid gladly 
ive re»umed his former cxpression; but it was impossi ble, 
TIm» oìhct guests occupicd theniselvcs, each in hìs own mind^ 
in dorìsing some pian of rcmedying the mistake, and making 
a dhrersìon; but the silence t!ius occasioned only made the 
crror more apparente Each individuai endeavoured to avoid 
mcc-ttn^ hU companion's eye; each fcU that ali were occupied 
iti t .:ht they wished to conceaL Cheerfulness and 

mÓHuui.Y ri ad ficd for that day, and the poor uiaUp not so 
fcoch imprudent a» unfortunate, never agaìn rcceivcd an 
ìsTÌtatìon* In this manner, Ludovico'! faiher passed his 
hHcr ytSLTSf eontiimaUy subject to anuoyances, and perpetu- 
MJfy òk dreftd of bcìng despised ; never reflecting that it was 
no niore oontempttsoas to seti than to buy« and that the 
boitne^s ol which he uras now so much ashamed, had been 
on for many years before the public wìtliout regrct, 
ire his lon an expensìve educai ion, according to the 
al of ^ djnes, and as far as he was permstted by 
i lawi and nsttoms of the country ; he procurcd hìm mas- 
ter» io the differcnt branebes of liierature and in exercìses 
_of horsemanship. aod at last dled, leavìng the youth heir 
a large fortune. Ludovico had acquired gentlcmaaly 




*I p«r Bo «tisfilà^B IO jroia,* ivbkti quJte Im«ì i^ 



I ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

( li&blts and fcelings. atid the flattcrcr» by whom tie had 1 
mirroundect had accustomed htnt io he trcated >rtUi the 
f r€at<it respect. liut whcn ho cndeavourcd to mix witii th« 
first mcn of the city, he inet with very ditTerent ireaimc 
to what he had becn accustomed to» and he began to *^Mrr-»k*e'^ 
that, tf he would bc admittcd into thcir society, a* h* ', 

he must learn, in a ric-w school^ lo be patient atul sfubtnt* iiv«;,,J 
and cvery mommi to bc looked down tipon and tlci^pised^ 

Such a mode of life acci^rded ntlUier with the cdticatìci 
of Ludovico, nor with hh diaposKìotv. and he wiihdrew fr 
it, high!y jiiqucd. Stili he abiented himself «nwìtlingty; ft 
appeared tu him that these ought rcally to bave heeii hU 
companìons» only he wantcd ihcm to be a little more irac- 
tabie. With thU mlxtureof dislike and incìtnation, noi betO| 

^abl€ to make them hls famììiar aB^ociatcs, yet wishiitg 
80m« way to bc connectcd with thcm, he cndeavourcd 
rivai them in »how and magtiificence, tbtia purchasing f€ 
hìfnseìf eninily, jealousy, and rldictile. His di&poaitlon, < 
and at the sanie tline violent, had occasionally engaged 
In more serlous coiitentìons* He had a naturai aiid ti 
horror of fraud and oppressione— a horror rendercd itili i 
vivid by the rank of tliose whom he saw daily coiomit 
them— exactly ihe person» he hated. ì'o appcate or to cxclte 
ili iheie passjoris at once, he readlly took the part of the 
wcak and opprcssed, assumcd the office of arbìtnitor, 
Inlertneddllng in ane dispute, drew himsteU Into oihers; 
that by degrtea he cilabbshcd his charactcr as a protectc 
of lh« oppressed, and a vindicator o£ injurtei. Tlte empby 
etueot, howcver, was troublcaome ; an*i it necd not bc askc 
whether poor Ludovico met with ' * " ' i 

dents, and v^xaiìona of gpiriu B^ 

bad to ' he waji conlinuiiU> hi^as^icd Uy ir*t«ni^ 

Itrìfes; rder to carry cut hit itndertakinga, (not 

•peak of such as ticver wcre carricd out,) he wai offe 
oblifed to make iw« of snbterfu^a, and bave recourtc u 
viotence which bla oon$c{enc« oouKd not approve. He wat 
compelled to keep around hlm a great number of bnivoca| 
andi ai mtich for hin own aecurtty as to enture viErorou 
aaaifltanoe, he had to cfaoo^* ' ' ring, m, * fi 

iworda» the moit tmprìfidpled, live wiil. jj 



t PBOBrBSSf SFOfiI 



fot the tikc of juitice. Yet on more than one oocaston, 
ctlher dis<;ouraKed hy ìli ayccess, or disquicted by unmìaent 
dangcr, wearie^ by a state of Constant defence, disgustcd 
with his companions, and in apprehension ot dUstpating hìs 
property, wliich wos daily drawn upon largely» dther in a 
good catt»e or in support of hìs bold enterpriseSj — more thaa 
once he had laken a fajicy to turn Criaf ; £or in these tlmes» 
diìa waa the comuìcmest way of escaping difficulties. This 
Ì4^ woyJd probably ha ve been onJy a fancy ali his li fé* had 
il noi been cìianged te a resoluiioTi by a niore serioua and 
tcrrìbte accìdeot thaa he liad yet met with. 

He was walking ose d^ along the streets, iti company 
with a former shopkecper, whom hìs lather had raised to 
Ihc office of steward, and was followed by two bravoes. The 
steward^ wìiose name was Cristoforo, was about fifty yetra 
old, dcToted f rotti ehildhood to hìs master, whom he had 
known from his bìithi and by whose wages and liberality 
he was hìmself supported, with his wìle and eìght children. 
Lodovico p«rceìvó] a gentleman ai a distance, an arrogane 
i ax)d Of efbcaring man, whom he had never spokcn to in his 
I Ufe* b<£t bla cofdlaì enemy, lo whom Ludovico heartily re- 
|iim«d tbe batred; for it is a stjigular advantage of this 
world» thll tnen aiay hate and be hated withont knowing eacb 
ctfacr* The Signor^ folìowed by four bravoes, advanced 
haughtìly with a protid step, his fiead raised, and his moutb 
oc^rreastvc o£ insoìence and contcmpt They both walked 
nesrt to the wall, whìch (be it observed) was on Ludovico's 
ri^ttt hand ; and this, accordtng to custom, gave htm the right 
(fcaw far pcople will go to pursue tlie rtght of a easel) of 
noi movìng from the said wall to gtve place to any one» to 
wMch custom ai that time, great importance was attaehed. 
1>*. ^'icrr^.^r *^r^ *hr contfary» in virtiie of another custom* 
hci ooght to be conceded to hìm in constd- 

M .uiK, and that it waa Ltidovieo's pare to give 

way. 1 thit* aa it bappens in many othcr cases. two 

opl>oiiii^ tu^;v,itii clathed, the qiiestion of which was to bave 
the prefcreucc rciuaining undeddcd, thiis giving occasions 
of diipuie, wheneycr otie hard head chanced to come m 
contact with aiiother of the aamc nature. The foe^ ap« 
pmai^liid eacb othcr» both dote to the wall, like two waUdug 




ALSSSÌLK01IO IIAK7^KI 

[driggctl to the convcm aInio«t witbout knowinjf wherc h« 
[was, or what tlicy wcre doing to hìm, and wbai his naemory 
jfotunied, he found htmsdf on a lied iti llic tnfìrmary, at- 
hendod ìxy a àuritcon-friar, (for the C^ptichtn» gcnerJiily huéì 
0(39 in eich convcnt,) wbo was appl>iuf; line and bandai^eal 
to ihc two wòimdìt he had rcceivcd in ihc contcst A fathcr, j 
wbo se special ofbcc ìt wa» Iti attend upon the dyinj:, and who 
' had frcqucnUy bccn callcd upon to «^xc^cisc bis duttes in 
the itrcftt, wa* quickly^ summancd to tbc place ai conibat 
He returaed a few mtnule* afterward», arid cnter ìng tliftj 
I infìnnary, approoched the bcd whert Ludovko lay. * Com-J 
iort yoitraell/ aaid he, ' he h'A% at least died calitdy, and hi 
I charged me lo ask your yiardon, and to convey his to yott** 
These words aroused poor LudovìcOp and awakened enormi 
vlridly and diiitinctly the ieelings whkh conftiftediy crowde 
^ U[lon hi» mind; sorrow fot hts friend, constematioii and re*^ 
tiiQrse for the blow that had escaped bis band, and ai the 
aame ttme a bitterly paiitfal cotnpaiiìon for the nian he i 
»latn. VVnd the otber?* anxicrasly domaoded li« of 
friar- 
* The other had cKpirwl whea I arriTed* 
In the niran whìie, the gates and precincta of the oonrent 
iwanued wìth tdlc and icuiiiititiye people; but on the arH% 
^ of a body of ooitstaUei^ they dii|>tr»ed the cfpwd, Mnd plac 
lhem»elvef in ambusli at a thort cHttmnce from the «teir 
*io thal none nngbl go out miobscnred A brothcr of llij 
deccAicdi howcYer, accoinpanìed by two of hi and 

an ag«d tincle, came, armed cap-à-fU, with a pou ^ . . t »^«t^ 

of bra^oc^. and began to make the cìrcuìt of thv 
ii^tchlnij wìth look* and j^estures of threatetting cunrcn3| 
the tdle by-standcrs« who did oot dare lay. He ìs o<itt 
your naachf ibough tbcy had H wriiten on tbdr facei^ 

As iooa as LÒdovieo coiild eollcct hls acattered tl)oii| 
bt askad for a Father Conf^ior, and bcgfod tbnt he wonl 
tede (Ile widow of Criittoforo, wùn fo r g i v ciie « a in bit nan 
for his havbig liccn the tnvoluniary canse of her desotaiìofl 
Md at ^^*- "•^'^ time assire ber ihai he woi-*^ * - 
, to pro' \ìti deititute faixiihr. In ref!^ 

[Ifewn cl^ ' tf> becnf ì\i^d' 

Ik bis sBÌod. ^oroQ 



I PROMBSS! SPOSI 



63 



fluid etmestntas; tt secmed ts ìi God hìm^df, hy brtngtng 
him to a coavcnt just at this juncturc, had put it tti bis 
way, and gtvtn him a sign o£ Hìs will, and his resolution 
wa^ He thefcforc called the g^ardian* and told him 

of i.^ aon. The superior repUed, thai he iiitist beware 

of formittg precipitate resolution s, but that >(, on consìder- 
ion, he pefsiiicd in his destre he wouid noi be refused. He 
testi ior a nolary, and madc an assi^ment of the wbole 
if bh propcrty (whìch was no insignìficant amopnt) to 
ie family of Cristoforo, a ccrlam sum ta the widow^ 
it it were an eniailed dowry» and the remainder to the 
lildreo* 

The retolQtion ci Ludovico carne very aprQpas for hia 
8» who were in a sad dilemma on his account . To scnd 
imway tmm the conventi and thus exposé him lo juittce, 
)U to say, lo the vengeance of his enemies, was a course 
rhich they would not for a tnoment bcstow a thougbt. 
Jd havc been to give up thcir proper privilegcs, dis- 
:,|J*e con V eli t in the eyes of the people, draw tipon thcm* 
:vcrsion of ali the Capuchins in the universo 
tr ir comnion rights to be infringed upoo, and 

ali ihc ecclesiastica! authorities, who at that lime 
red them^elvc* the lawltil guardians of thcse rights. 
in other haad, the kiitdred of the slaìn, powerful them- 
and strong in adherents» were preparcd to take vcn^ 
Ifcmice. and denounced as thcir enemy any one who should 
pm aa ob^tacle in ibeir way. The hiitory does not teli us 
tJtat ntich grief was felt for the loss of the deceased, nof 
orm tbit a single tear wia ahcd over him by any of bis re- 
laiioni: it tnarcly «ays that they were ali on firc to bave th« 
murderer, dead or livtng, in their power. But Ludovico'» 
anonitog ihe habtt of a Capuchtn scttled ali these difficulties; 
hm made atoiicmetit In a manner, imposed a penancc on 
knoielf, lacttiy comfes&cd bimself in fault, and withdrcw 
barn the eontcst; he wa«, in fact» an cnemy laying down 
kti arms. The relative» of the dead couiii aho, il they 
believe maà make it their hoasi that he had turtied 
tn detpair, and through dread of their rengeanct. 
^ta any ca&e^ tn oblìgc a man to rclinfiuiBb bis propef^, 
hja head, and walk barefoot, to Bleep un ilraw» and 




ALES9ANDE0 MAKZOKl 

the presence of many ol Ma eoemlcfl; thtt ww «m fnjury; 
this is rcparation,'— So, with tbc Fathcr, bis companìon* al 
hta fide, and his eycs beni on the ground, he (las^ed the 
tiare»hold, travcrscd the cotirt-yard among n crowd who eyu 
him with very tincerfinioitious curioslty, ascended the stairf 
mnd in ihc midst cf Another crowd of noblea, who fav 
way at hb approach, was wshcred, with s thonsind 
tìpon hinj, ìnto the prcsence oÌ the master o£ tht mamli 
who, aurrouuded by hìs ntarcst rchiìve»^ stood ili the^ 
centre of the room wiih a downcasi look, i^atptnif fai hb 
left hand ihe hih of hiR sword, whììc with the right he folded 
the collftr of his cloak over hÌ9 brea&t 

Thcrc is ioii:fttimcii in the face and behaviour of a pcr^ 
•on so direct an exprcsston, such an e0uabti, so tf ;t*'*V, 
vi ihc internai sotil, that in a crowd of spectstori t I 

be bui ooé judgment and opinion of ÌiÌiil So wa< u wteìi 
Friar Cnstoforci; hi» face and bchavionr pkinly expressed 
to the 1* r had not hecome a t' ' 

mitied i :i, from the fear of - 

discovcry ìnitticdiàtely conciliai ed atl bearti. Un pcrccH 
mg the offended Signor, he quickened his sieps. fell on hi 
knees at hh (etU Cfossed hi a band» on tiii« brea^t, and 
bendtng hi» shaved head, said. * I ani the nnirdcrer of your 
brother* Go4 knows how j^ladly I would rratarc htm to yuu 
at the price of my own blood, but it cannot bc : 1 can onl; 
inake inedicaciouM and tardy cxcus^es, and implorc you 
accept theni for God's sake*' Ali cyes wcrc imnìtryabl^ 
fijted ujjon the novìce and the illustrùìtjs pcr^onagc 
WAS addreisin^ ; ali ears were attentivi : ig; and wli 

Friar CH»tofciro ccased, there was a _ -a of comp 
Sion and respect thraughout the room. The gaitleman, wh 
stood in an attitude ol forced conde^cenaton and restraine 
anger, waa much moved at ihesc wordi, and bending 
towardi the mippltcant, 'Rise/ ' < \ in ait altercd 

ione *Thc o6Fcnce — the act ccr: ut the h^ibit voti 

iKar — not only ao, tiut also youi^elf — KJaev Fa' 
brother— I cannai deny it— was a caralier— wa» 
•^-|vrccipitate man — rather hasty. Bttt ali happoii by 
appointment. Speak of it no more * . * But, Fathc 
you most not renaio tn tM» posture.' And takinjg him by 



I pnoMEssT SPOSI m 

the arni, tic compcned liiin to me* The Iriar, stimdiTig 
Wfth hlg head bowed, and hSs eyes fixed oo the groun<ì 
rc|>licd, *1 may hopc thcn that 1 ha ve your forgìveness? 
Anci if l obtaJn Ìi frooi yoUf from whom inay T lìot hope 
Oh! if I might hear frcm your llps that o«e word-— 

^•Pardon!' saìd the gentleman. * Yoti no longer need it 
B«st itDC€ jrou detirc it, cerminJy . . . certamly, I pardon 
jroii witli my whole heart, and ali . , / 

• Ali! sili ' irxdaìnied the by-standers, wìth one voice. The 
coutil efusice o£ the friar expanded with grate fui Joy, tstider 
wKw'K ^olV(ve^, iniifht he traced an hiimble and deep com- 
; for the e VÌI which the forgi ve negs of mcn could 
nnt rrpssir. The gentleman, overcorae by this deportmen^ 
9s%à arfed fonrard by the general feeling, threw bis arm« 
roond CHflCoforo's nedc, and gave and reeeived the kis3 
of peacc- 

* Bravo ! wcll done I * bnrst forth from al! parts of the 
rrinrtì r^trfc wa$ a general movement, and ali gathered round 

Servants immediatcly cniercd^ bringing abuiid- 

'^ ^hment. The Signor, agatn addressiog Cristo* 

: prcpnrmg to retlre, said, * Fathcr, !efe me give 

uf thesc iriflcs; a fiord me this proof of your 

: * nnd waa on the pnini of he!ping him before any 

he, drawiriit,^ back wWi a kind OÉ friendly^ 

tJiing!-,* ì.aid he, * are no longer for me; 

t I shotild rcfiisc your gifts. I am abottl 

start wn tn^ jmimey! aDow me so tàke a loaf o£ bread» 



it I fsuy he able to say I have ihared your charity, 
"«acm of nd rccdved a tokeo of your forgi vc- 

1 intids affectcd* ordcred it to bo 

Iroi^ht, and shortiy lì v^iitcr cnti-rcd in full dreas, beanng 
tfcc lo<af on a stlvcr di'h, and preaciuted it to the Faiher, 
wficj toofc it with niany thaidcs, and put it in bis basket, 

..:..:., r, tQ depart, he bade farewel! to 

.1 tliote who stood ncarcst to him, 

ape as they endcavoured for 

fgrciii; wbile, in the aote- 

iru^it! lo irce hìin^àcìf frocn the scnrants, 

•: kravoc^, who ktj^-d the licm of hia gar- 



ALESSANDRO MAN20KI 



mcnt» his rope, and his hoo<L At Iwt he nracficd the strtct, 
home aloiig as in triumph, and accompanied by a crowd 
of peoplc as far as the gate of the city, from whcncc he 
ctìmmenced his pedestrian joumcy towards the place ol his 
mivitiate* 

The brother and othcr relatives of the dcccascd, who 
bad been i)rc|>arcd in the moniing to eiijoy the »ad trtomph 
of pride, wcre left instead iu\l of the serene Joy of a for- 
gìving and hcncvolent dìspositioth The cumpany cntcrtamcd 
them&elvcs some linjc longcr, with fcclings of miu&ual kìnd- 
ocss and cordtahty, in disc^sision!* of a vcrj* difìfcrent char- 
acter to what thcy had antidpaicd on aAsemUliiig, In-»- -' 
o£ satbfaction cnforccd, inswlts avengcd, and oblig 
dìscharged, pnuse» of tJie novice, recoiiciliation, and meck- 
ness, werc the toptcs of cnnveriiaHnn. And hr whn, for 
the fiftieth ttme, would havr m^ 

liis fathcr, had strved the .\ 

hoastftJÌ man, àJt every onc i^ awarc,) i« a wHI-] 
counier of the samc kind, rclated, mstead. the 4.1 
and wondcrfol paticnce of onc Friar Sitnune, who 
died many years bcforc. \Vlim the party had '^ 
the Signor, stili considcrably agitatcd. rcconsid 
surprise what he had heard and had him^elf *^ i ; 

miittcrcd bctwccn his teeth, * The devi? of a v. ^ 

must record his exact words) 'The dcvil ot a friar! — 
li he had knelt thcre a few moment^i longcr, ! sbotild 
aijnost bave begged his j>ardon for hU baving mardered 
my brothcr.* — Onr story cxprestily notr» that from tlut day 
forward he beeamc a little less itnpetuous, and rather more 
tractable. 

Father Cristoforo pursuH Hit wty wkh a pf»c« of mind 
aucJi a* he had nevcr e t. 

to nmke atooeroent for \ •» 

to bc consecrated. He mamtained the silence usualiy ìm- 
posed tipofi novices unthont diflSetilty, heìng cntirely 
absorbed iti the thonght of the laboors, privatlons, and 
hitiiiJftatÌQiif he would ttave to undergo for the cxpiation 
ot hit fault At the tisu»1 honr of refre^UmMmt^ he 
IlOpped at the hou*c of .3 and p jnKHt 

irdractously of the bciyid oi ncti, tv how- 



..ce 
had 



I puoBressi SPOSI 



m 



r, a smalì jiieec^ wliich he kept in bis basket as a perpetuai 
cmcnibraiicer. 

It « noe ouT intcntion (o write the histoiy of bis cloistra! 
fc: ìc will syÉice to say, Uiat whilc he willingly and 
fuOv fulfiUed the dutics ctistomarily assigned to 
to prcach luid to attend ìipon the dying, he uè ver suf- 
red an Qpportunhy to pass of cxecutiag two other officcf 
rhich bc Had ìmposed upoii himsclf — the composing of 
iffcrcocc», and the protectioii of the oppressed, WIthout 
re of It, he eiitered upon these undertakings wlth 

ioo of his formcr zeal, and a slfght remnant ol that 

conrageoos spiri l wbich humiliation and morti fcations had 
^101 beco ablc eniirely to ^ubdue. Hh manner of speaking 
Habitually meck aiid hunihle; but wheii truth and justice 
ifcr" ^» -T ^^e, he was immetlìatcly animated wìth hls formef 
war: ich» mingkd with aod niodified by a soleran em* 

t-^i^ liciiiired in preaching, Imparted to bis knguage ;*. 
ry marked cbaracter. His whole countenance and deport- 
ncnl indkatcd a loog-continued struggk bctwccn a natttrally 
f, passionate temper, and an oppositig and habitualiy 
rious win, ever on the watch, and direct ed by the hìghest 
^iVt nitd motives* One of the brotherhoo4 hls friend, 
ni well, likened hìm, ou one occasioti, to thosc 
htr^jiv o.rc words^too escpressìve^ that is^ in their nat- 
urai stale, whidi some persons, well^bchaved enough on 
rdinary occastoos, pronounce, whea overcoroe by anger, in 
> balf-acuHialf sort o( way, with a slight change of letters — 
wbkb evcn thiis transformed bear aboitt them mmh 
ir primitive cnergy. 
fi ont tmknoim to hitn, in Lacia's sad condition, had 
[iptcìred tJ>e aid of Father Cristoforo, he woyld imni«rcU- 
t^ bave attendcd to tljc rcqticst ■ when it concerned Liicia^ 
re ver. he hastcocd to hcr with tlouble solici tndc, sincc 
Ile iairw and admtrf?*! hi^r iniìocenee He h^iì already trcni^ 
tkd {or ber the base 

perf^^^i^i'iT Ics ibis, 

be * ^ay nothing abont tt, and 

k^ ..,.. .1 ihe cause of $ome sad 

ttm ^at 113 tliis case tlierc was added 

io m^ ittnu ^Jiciiode, wbich wu^ aa it werc, naturai 




70 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



to him, that scnipulous perplexity which often torments the 
innocent 

But whilc wc bave becn rclatìng the early history of 
Father Cristoforo, he has arrived at the village, and reached 
the door; and the women, leaving the harsh-toned spinning- 
wheel at which they were engaged, have rìsen and exclaimed 
^th one voice, ' Oh, Father Cristoforo! God reward youl ' 



CHAFTER V 

FATHER CRISTOFORO stopped on the tlireslióld, 
suid qiiìekìy percdved, by a glaiice at the wotncn, 
tJtat his prcscfllìnicnti had not been unfotitidcd. 
Whllc rmising his bcard. by a sliglit niovement of the head 
fxickwards. be s^id, m lìmi bitertogativc tone whlch atiiic- 
tpate< a taoiirnful reply, *WeU?' Lucia answered hy a 
flood of tcars. Hcr mot ber begajì to apobgize for havhig 
dared . , * bui he adv^aced and seated himielf on a ihree- 
legf^ tt€K>l, and cut short ali ber cxcuses, by sayìng to 
* Caha yoursclft my poor daughtiT. And you/ con- 
he, tuming to Agnese, * teli me what has happcned.* 
good wtxnaci rclated the melancholy story as welì as 
Jd» while the frì^r changcd coìoor a thotisand tinics, 
se mofueitt raitirtg his cyes to heaveiu the next, klckmg 
is hceis OQ the ground. At the concluston of the recha1« 
cotered HU face with hij hands, and exclalmed* ' Oh« 
Lnrdf how ìongi . , / But, whhout ^nìshing the 
fec?- igaìn to the wonien. * Pgor thìngsT 

ìeed visited you. Poor Lucia!' 
Ìqq will not tontake us, Father?' sobhcd Lucia. 
Pòraake you t * repUed he, * Grcat God ! wIth what face 
coutd 1 agatti make rcqueit to Hi ni. il I should forsake 
yoa? Yoa hi ihi* state! You whom He confides to mei 
DoQ*t iiesfpair: He will help you. He sees ali: He can 
make tue e^exi of such an < ^rnl as I am 

to ooofound a • . • Let tu :^ \ hat I can do 

lor yoo.* 
Sii ^ytfig, he kanrd hia lefi cfbow on his kaee, lald his 
! on hia band, and with the rìgbt gra&pcd his beard 
- *^ to ooncéotrate aud bofd f^ atl che powers 



\hc r ' caujiider ' tv served to thow 

dhtuìL '^CY atj . 'cy of the case, 

how few, hxjvv .1 and ìu>. * the 

tue^tiiif it. tyuae iotj , uaé 
71 



72 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



itjake hjtn icnsible of how much he is failiug in hh duty] 
Shaune and iluty are ncnhìn^ to him, whcn orerwhelm 
irtth fcar. Inspìrc him with fears? How caa I stiggest 
eoe ihat wouM ov erbai ance the drcad he alrcady han ni a 
muakct? Inform ihc Cardinal- A rchhìshop oÌ ali, and in- 
%*okc his aiilhority ? ThU requi •• ■ and in the nican 

whilc what might noi hapjjcn? rwards, supposi 

cvcn this unbappy innocent werc marricd, would that he 
ctirb to such a man? . ♦ . Who knowt lo witat Icol 
he might procecd? And resisi bini? How? Aii 1 if I couid/ 
thotight the iKìùT frìar: *i( I eotild bui engagé tn ihÌHi cause 
my brcthrai bere and at MìUn ! Bui tt h not a common 
a^alr, and I shijuld bc abandnncd» Don Rodrigo pretenda 
to be a friend to ibe converit, mìd profes&cs hìniseH a 
favourer oi the Capuchins; and bis fdlowcrs bave more than 
once laken rcfuge with us. I should fìnd mjrseU alone In 
the undertakìng; I shouid be opposed by mcddlìng, quarrel* 
»ome persons; and, wliat is wor^c, I shou3d« pcrhap», by 
an tll-timcd endeavour, only render ihe condì lion of iliU 
poor girl more hopcIcAs/ Harìng ^ ' ' vtcw 

of the question, ilìe best course see: front 

Don Rodrigo bimseU, and tty, by rrors 

of the lifc lo come, and evcn of ìh> werc 

possible, to dissuade htm from bis iniamous purpose. 
At least, he could by this tncan» ascertain wiirti^r he* 
contìnued obstinaicly beni oa bis wicked d' t — 

somcthing more of hr -* *inns, and act accorMjnf;i> v\ mie 
the friar was thns \ Renzo, who for reasoiis that 

cvcry onc cxin div^ine, onild not k>ng absent bimsclf, made 
hia appearance al ihe door ; bui seeing tlie Father absorbcd 
in thous^dii, and thv women beckoning to bìm noi to inlcr- 
rupt him, he stond stlent on llic thrcsbold Raising hii head 
to commtintcate bii design to the womeo. the friar pcr- 
ceìvcd Renzo, and $aluled him wiiN hi* r*'-^ - ^TT^ctiofi* In- 
crcaaed and rendercd more intense by a i^ 

* Have they lold yon . , . Faihcr?* aiKca RoxOf io 
$n auitated ton**- 

* ' init for that reajKTn I am hcre.* 
' ; lo tlic rascal?' 

* What do you wis^ me io say of him? He ii far w 



1 



X PROMESSI SPOSI 



73 



ftod my woftli wùuld be of na use. Bui I say to you, 
Rcfwo, ìrmt in God. and He will not forsake you/ 
' Wh*u hkssed words 1 * exclatmed the youth, If^ou are 
of ihose who always wrong the poor. But tJie 
i Curate, and tbat Signor Doctor . * / 
ft fi ^c scetica» Renzo, whJcti only serve to 

itale you .. I am a poor frìar; but I repeat what 

5atd tu these poor womea: poor as I am, I wììì not 
r$ake you.' 

*AJit you are not like tBe worId*s friend^! Good-for- 
filili: Cfcatures that thcy arel Vou would not beiieve 
the protestai irms thcy ciadc me In prosperity. Ha! hai 
were ready to gìvc ilieir lives for me; they would 
ivc dcfcnded me ag^ainst the dcvil, ii I had had an enemy 
I had orily to let tbem know it, and I shouid bave 
beoì fjuickJy rid of liim I And now, H yon werc to sec how 
ihcy draw bade , , / At tbis moment Renzo percelvcd, 
OD naUIng bis eyes to those of bis auditor, that the good 
friar*s face wai cloodcd, and he felt that he had uttercd 
sooxlhinj^ trrong. He onjy addcd to bis perplcxities, how- 
KttT, and made niatters worse, by trying to remedy them: 
*l * - say . . * I doii*t at ali mcan . . . that ts, I 

* What did you meait to say ? Have you, then, bcgiin to 
fpott roy wofk bcforc I bave undertaken it? It is well Cor 
you that yxm bave becn undeceived in timc. aliati you 
wctit m search of friends, , , and siich frftndj! , * . 
who coiatd not tiavc belped yon» had they becn witling; and 
yon fcrrgol lo scek the only Ooe who can aod wUl assist 
il CX> you not know that God is the friend of the af* 
who pnt their trust iti Htm? Do yon not know that 
iifminu and coiitcniion gain notblng for the wcak? 
ercn ìf • • .* Herc he forcìbly gntspcd Renio's arro: 
conntenane^, witJjont losing any of Ìls authorily, ex» 
pmtscd a solcfim contrition ; he cast bis eyes ©n the grotind, 
V !>ecanjc ftlow and alni osi sepnlcbral: * Evcn if 
gj4 s .1 trrnlilr o.iln " Rliizo! wIll you trust to me? 

mortai, a poor friar? No; 

*Oii fcii* rcplied Renzo; Mie is in trulh the Lord' 



AUSaAKDBO MANEOfa 



*Venr well; pramisc ine that you will not tttack— 
that you will ttot proiroke — atty oiie; iliiit you wìU be 
gtiidcd by me' 

* I premise you/ 

Lticìs drcw a long breMh, a$ if sbc werc relieved {rom 
a Rrcat wciglit ; and A^cae exelatmcd. * Bravo, my «so I * 

*Ustcn, my chtldrcn/ ccntimicd Friar Cristoforo; *l wtU 
go to^ay and speak Ui thìs niaii. li ìt ptcase God to touch 
hu heart, and gìvc force to my words, wcìì; but, l( not» 
He will abow y» sumc oihtr remcdy, You, in the rneso 
whjici bc quict and rctircd; avoid gossip, atid don't show 
yourselv^s. To-night, or to-tnorrow momìng, at ihc latcat» 
you «hall ace me a^ain/ So sayiriff, he cut nhmi ali thrìt 
thanks and bcTi , and dcpartcd. He ^t 

to ibe cotivcol, V arrived in lime io j.. i,i 

iti chanting, dìncd, and ihcii set ofT on his way lowards tht 
dcn of ìhi: wild b<;ast he had utjdcrtakcn to lame. 

The small but clcg^ant palaee of Don Rodrigo stood 
by itsdf, rìsing Itke a ca^itlc from the summit nf onc of the 
àbrupt cliffs by whìch th« abore of the lake was hroken and 
divcff^ìfitd. Our anonymous author onìy add^ to thi» in- 
dicatiun, that ilic site (it wottld ha ve bcen bcttiT to hnve 
i;iven the iiame In full) was rather nn the $idc adj; t* 

country oÌ the BctroUiisd, about thrcc milcs dii^t ; i 

tbcm, and four froni the cnnvcnt. At the baie of the chlt. 
on the ftide loaktnt; toward^i the lake, lay a ^roup of tot 
tagcs, Ifihabttèd by the pcasantry in the «endice of Don R< 
rigo, ih ' ' nf his Utile 

quìtc £t h tt to be a 

acier and ^ ^ 

ilie lower - 
jwiw hauging Oli ih« v 
hats^ neu, and powd . ... 
wltere might l>c scen power fui, ri 
a Urge lock, tuntcd back ti|v * 
a i»et ; old meo, who, hav^i; ' 
fit the slightest prov 
inaBCttlin e a pj^eara ti . 
to come In to the aid ot thctr i 
Evcn die vciy ddldfcrL olayiog 



1 



y . Ca^tiag o 

^:ippcn to i; 

«, spadcs, rakcs, straiif 

f rnnfttsion. Every- 

:ueit, weartnf 

.Kid cnclosed in 

'i, appcared ready* 

tfums; womcfi, of 

V ?irm5, pn:par^ 

rìccasitiiL 

t!aye<! to 



I PE0MES8I SPOSI 



75 



tbtìr countmatices and behaviour a certam air of provo- 
cation ^né d^^^ancc* 

Fathcr Cristoforo passed throtigh this hamkt, and ascertded 
d wtncUng foot-path to a small level plot of ground, ui front 
of the pàJace^ Tbe door was shui— a sign that the tna&tcf 
of the msmskm was diuingp and would not be disttirbcd* Tbe 
lew Sfoall Windows that lookcd ìnto tbe road, tbe frame- 
Works of which were dtsjointed, and decayed with agc, wcrt 
dcfendcd hy largc iron bars: and those of the ground-floor 
werc so htglt, that a man could scarcely f each thcm by stand* 
tii^ oo the sboulders of auotber. Pcrfect silence rdgTied 
aroinid; ^nd a j>asser-by niigbt bave deemed it a de»ated 
loansion. bad not four creaturcs, two animate, and two in* 
mimate, dispósed opposhe each other, outside, given some 
ioilicatton of tnhabitants. Two great vultures, with extended 
wing$ ajid pcndent fieads — one atripped of its feathers, and 
tmìi coosumcd by titne; the other stili feathered, and m a 
Hate of prcservatjon, wcre nailed, one on each post of the 
masdve door-way; and two bravoes, stretcbed at full lenfth 
OH tbe befìches to tbe Hgbt and left, were on guard, and 
expeetìfig tlieif cali to partake of the reniatns of the Signor's 
table* The Father stood stili, m the atiitude of one who 
w^5 prepared to walt; but one of tbe bravoes rose, and 
cmOed to him ; * Father, Father» coinè forward, we don't make 
Capuchins watt bere; we are Irtends of tbe eoovent; and 
1 liave sometìfiies been wìtbio it when tbe air outèide was 
noi very good for me, and wben» tf tbe door had been clo^ed 
^jpon me, I shtiuld bave fared badly/ So saying, be gave 
two ftrokes of the knockcr* which wcre answercd imttiedi* 
atciy from witbin» by tlac bowling and yelliJig of raastiffs» 
an^' nr t ptnd m a few cnoments by an old grtnfsbling servant; 
bi iJie Father, be made bini a low bow, qnicted the 

animili^ with band and voice, introduced tbe visitor luto a 
narrow fMMage, and elosed the door again. He tbeii con^ 
da^ed him tn!o a amali apartroent, and, regardinjfj him with 
a sttrprìsed and re^pcctf ul look, said, ' Are you oot • • • 
Faiher Cristoforo o£ Pescarenico?' 

* I ifn/ 

re?' 

t^u i€^ iQjr good man,' 




76 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



* It must bc io do good, then* Good»' cofiUntied he, mot- 
tering bctwccn liis tcclh, as he stili led the way ; *good mayj 
he dooe anywhere/ 

Haiviiig passcd throogh twa or thr« dark apartmoits, thcy 

8t 1*1^ rcachcd the dcKir of the dining-room, where thcy wcrc 

[grccted with a lotid and confuscd notsc of knivcs. forks» i 

lg!;i5scs, jKwter tV ' nj, ubo ve ali, of di set ^' ^ icei 

akeroatcly cndc^ì 'o take the ]*!ftd io . lOtuJ 

fTlie friar wishc<i io ' :vtin>; ai ihc door^ 

^with the servarli, ariJ ^ . ^ lo waU in some 

corocr of the house till dtnner was over, when the doar 
01>etted A certain Couni Attilio, who was slttìng opposite» 
(he was a cousìn of Doo Rodrigo, ;ind wc havc alreadfl 
mentìoned him wiihout givin^ ìu% name,) seeing a &havedj 
*|iead and moìik's haliit» and pcrceiving the modest inlcfi*i 
jtions of the good frtar, e> * Ahaì ahat You shaVt 

Imake your cscape, revci ler; fonvard^ forward!* 

|Don Rodrigo, wtthout precÌ5cly divitntig tlic ohjcct of ihi$i 
risiti had a sort of prescntitncnt of what awaited hint, and 
(wouid have heen glad ta avoid it; but smoc AttìHo had 
ìiodghtJtvisTy given this hliint ìnvitaibn, he was obligcd to 
IWcotid tt, and f^aid, * Come in, I-athcr, eomc in,' The friar 
fldvanccd, making a low liow to the host^ and fespcctfully 
tspondrd lo thr %nhììnìlon% of the ?ftic^t«. 
It is V 

cent in li ^ ^ , 

in air of !iru:unty, an rcd hean, «nd a ready laciJìty 

of exprc^iioru In rc::;,.^, ., ^vevcr, many rìrctmutances are 

rcqiiircd to produce ihìs bchaviotir, whìch are rarely niet 

>^wtth in combinat ion, It vrill not, t* ' . be wondcred at* 

libai Friar Cristoforo, with the ^ of a ^ood con- 

[scimcr, and a 6nn per suasion of rbc luso, 

[he had come to advncate» tc^ether %% iinf 

lof horror and contpas&ion far T>tm Rodrigo^ atood, never* 

theless, wìlh a ccitain air of tituì IIiv anj mibaii^v^naii» , 

iti tlic pre^nce of ihis saine who was s^ate 

bcfore him in an arm-diair, : -* -- • rmu' 

[^state, surronnded by hts frf< of 

^;;iritb every bomage yàià ì'j >: i an 

coontcìtaiice that wtitild at < the 



1 FHOl^rESST SPOSì 



tnaking of a rw]Tiesr, much more the givinf advJce, correo- 
tion, or reproof, On hi? n^ht, sat Count Attilio, bis cousin, 
aod, It is nc^lesii lo s^)% hts companion tn libertìnism and 
cppression, who had cottie from Milan to spend a few days 
wilh hiin. To his left, aod on the other side of the table, 
was scatod, whh a profoond rcspcct, tempered, howcver, 
with a certaio air of sectirity, and cven arrogance, the Signor 
Podestà;* the pcrson whose business it was^ professcdly, to 
admmbter justìce to Kcnzo Tramaglino, and inflict ypoo 
Dea Eodfigo oac of the appointed penalties* Oppositc the 
Podestà, io an attitude of the purest, most unboimded ser- 
inUty, mi our Docior, Assecca-Garbugìi, with his black cap, 
asd mor« than ysuaìiy red no se; and facing the cousins 
wcrc two obscurc guest s, of whoni our story merely records 
tbai tJicy àia nothing bnt cat. how tbcrr heads, and smile 
approva! al everythbg uticrcd by a fclbw*giiest^ proirìded 
ait ] not contradict it 

* .^. - .-ie Fatber a scat/ saìd Don Rodrigo, A servant prc- 
tenled a chair, and Father Cristoforo sat down, maklng some 
Gceuse to the Signor for coming at so inopportnne an honr, 

* 1 wisK to speak with you alone, on a metter of ira- 
p- added the friar, in a lower voice^ in Don Rod- 
ri». 

aiy well* I will attcnd yon/ replled he: *btit in the 
wluk, bring the Father soraetJiing to drink' 
The Fatber tricd to cxcusc himself; but Don Rodrigo, 
imiaing his voice above the re-commeocing tumult» cried, 
00, you sball liot do me tbis wrong ; it sball never bc 
a Captichtn left this hotise without tastìng my wine, 
iDSoleot eredi tor the wood of my forests/ Thcse 
\ werc foltowcd by n general laugh^ and, for a moment, 
mtermpted tlie que&tion tbat was heing wannly agitated 
iisoftg the guests, A «ervant then brought in a bottlc of 
wme, OQ a uay, and a tali glass, in the shape of a chalice» 
and pre*ented tbeni to the Father, who, miwilling lo refuse 
Ijj^ - "- • ' ^ *ian of noe he so touch wlshcd to prop!* 
^ te to pour some oo^ and began slowly 

I lo u^ Ih'j IV me 

— p99^ te ft •BiJDcr mnimit. 




ALESSA KDUO MANZONI 



*Tlie lutbority of Tasso will not serve your fmi 
re&pcctcd St|rnor Potlestà; h even milìtates againi^t 
rcsumcd Cotmt AÈtilìo, tu a tbundeniig voice; * for ili 
Icarncd, ìhM grre^t mmi, who pcrfcctly understood ali 
niks of diivalry, hm niade Uie incsscngcr of Argaate ask 
kaire of the picr -ne, before ddìvcnog the chaHesige 

to iht Christian 

' Biit thia/ rcplicd the vociferatine oo lesa v 

meritly, * thh h a liberty, n : lijerty, a paeiical ortumv,,, , 

Biiice ati ambassador is, ìQ his nature, ìnviokble by the law 
òf nàlionjt, fure geni htm, But, witliout scckinK «o far, ihc 
provtfrb &ay9, Amhascialùf non porta pena; and proverbi, 
you knowi contaìn the wt'sdoni of the human race, Besìdcs» 
the messenger havìn,?^ nlt<-rrd fif>thìn^ in lib own name, bui 
mXy presented the ti t . , / 

' But whcn will yi iL ihia mefaeQftr waa 

an inconsiderate n^\ whn didn't know the firjt? . • / 

' With your Icavc» ffcntlcmen/ interrnpted Don Rodrigo, 
wHo was afraid nf the qncstion hcing carrìed loo far, 
^we will refcr ìt to Father Cristoforo, and abide by ìx\% 
aentetice.* 

'Well-vcry weU/ sai-T " 
the idea of retcmng a *] 
while the niore eager Pocksu \m 

excitcd fcelings, and a shrti^ of e -^ , . 

iay — Absurdiiy I 

* BtJt, front what I bave faeard/ said the Father^ ' theac are 
matterà I know Dotliìug of.' 

' As ttsital, the modcst c^rciises of the Faihcrs/ said Don 
Rodrigo; 'btit you shaU not fret off »n ea<4ÌH-. Ccim**. imw, 
ire know wall en t 

m eowl OH your 
waya. Sce bere ; this ts ihc qucsiion . • *' 

*Tht case U thi«/ bejfan Count Attilio. 

' Lei me teH tt« who .im ncutrul. cousirt/ rcpiied Don Rod* 
riga *TWj ti the ttory, A Spanbh caralier seni a e' 
lenge to a Milaitiese cavaliere the bearer* not findinitr hu 
at hnme^ dt ^ " : ^ 

reading it, l 
dij|>ute ti . . 



I 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



79 



*One good i rvt* another; cried Count Aitilia 

rit was rcally r ^ n , , / 

*Of the devil/ added th€ Podestà. *To beat an ambassa* 
dor! — a man who&c [lerson is sacrcd? Even you, Falhcr, 
wili sa>* wfietlier this was a knightiy decd,' 

*yes. Signor, knighdy/ cricd the Count, *and yoM will 
allcyw i»ir xo tay sa, who ought to anderstand what relates to 
a ciiralicr. Oh, il tbey had beai blows, it would he atiotiier 
mattcr ; but a cudgel defiks nobody's bandi. What puzzles 
me U, why yoti think so much of the shoulderi of a mean 
seoundrcL* 

' VVbo said aoythitig abom bis sboulders. Signor Count? 

(e '] make out 1 had taìked tionsense such as never 

mtcìd* 1 Bpoke of hh office, not of bis thoulders; 

111 ^m iiùw consktcrifig the iaws of thivatry. Be so good 
m ^^ teli me whetber the heralds that tJie ancient Romans 
*: ^ dcfiancc to other natìons asked kavc to annoimce 

th^.. — -igcj and find me onc writer who mentions that 
« berald was cver beatene 

* Wbat bave the officcrs of the ancient Ronians to do with 
dmpttì tiatìoTi, and in these things far, far behind tis? 

to the laws of modem cbivalry, which are 
|r rmc\ l aiBrm and maìntain that a messenger 

who dar ed to place a clialleogc m the band of a knight with* 
ocit havtng ^^d hit pernH&&Ìan, ts ari ìncautìous foci, who 
b« beaten, and who richly deserves it* 

* Antwer me ihis syUogistn ♦ » .* 

* No, no, nothing/ 
L* iiat liUen, Usten* To strfke an unatmed person is a 

idicfuus acL Atqui the niessengcr d^ quo was witbottt 
Im^ Hrgo . . ,* 
^Geiìtlv. Lftntly, Signor Podestà,' 



....... . .^y: what are you talking about? It Is an ad 

of treadiery to give a man a blow with a sword behind 
bi'^ ■ * -m in the back; and to tbis even thcr« 

ar Ufi , . , but we will keep to the potnt. 

1 y generaliy b< called an act of treadiery; 

Wc: blows oa a paltry f dlow tike bitn t It 

imOit ha?e beai a Itkdy Ùàùg ta say: Take care I dom't 



80 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

beat yoo, as ooe says to a gentleman: Draw your sword 
And you, respected Signor Doctor, instead of smiling at me 
there, and giving me to miderstand yon are of my opinion, 
why don't you support my posìtion with your capital powers 
of argument, and help me to drive some reason into the head 
of this Signor ? ' 

'I . . .' replied the Doctor, in confusion. 'I enjqy this 
leamed dispute, and am glad of the accidcnt that has given 
occasion to so agreeable a war of genius. But it does not 
belong to me to give sentence: his illustrious lordship has 
already delegated a judge ... the Father here . . .' 

' Tnie/ said Don Rodrigo ; * but how is the judge to speak 
when the disputants will not be silent ? ' 

' I am dumb/ said Count Attilio. The Podestà made a sign 
that he would not speak. 

*Ah, at last! What do you say, Father?' asked Don 
Rodrigo with half-jesting gravity- 

•I bave already excused myself by saying I dont under- 
stand the matter/ replied Friar Cristoforo, retuming the 
wine-glass to a servant, 

' Poor cxcuses/ cried the two cousins. ' We must bave 
your sentence/ 

* Sincc you wish it, my humble opinion is that there should 
be neither challenges, bearers, nor blows.' 

The gucsts interchanged looks of unfeigned astonishment 
' Oh, this is too bad 1 ' exclaimed Count Attilio. ' Pardon 

me, Father, but this is too bad. It is easy to see you know 

nothing of the world.' 

* He? ' said Don Rodrigo. * Ha ! ha ! he knows it, cousin» 
as well as you do : isn't it true, Father ? ' 

Instead of rcplying to this courteous interrogation, the 
Father said to himself : — This is aimed at you; but remem- 
ber, friar, that you are not here for yourself ; and that which 
affects you only is net to be taken into the account. 

' It may be,' said the cousin ; ' but the Father . . . what is 
his name ? ' 

* Father Cristoforo,' replied more than one. 

' But, Father Cristoforo, most reverend Father, with your 
principles you would turn the world upside down. Without 
challenges 1 Without blows 1 Farewell to the point o£ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



SI 



boooiir ; ìmpimity for ali villains* Fortunately, howeverj the 
suppositjoD is impossible/ 

* Up, Doctór^ up/ broke in Don Rodrigo, wbo always tried 
lo dÌYttt the argument from tiie originai disputanls. ' You 
are the man ta argtie on any matter» Let us see what you 
will do m cUscussìng thts question witii Father Cristoforo** 

' Really/ replied the Doctor, brandtshing his fork in the 
air, and tiirning to the Father^ ' really 1 cannot under stand 
how Father Cristoforo, who is at once the pcrfect devotfcc 
and a man of the worid, shouid not remembcr that bis sen- 
tence, gCiod, cxcellent, and of just weight, as it Is in the 
puJpit, is of no vai uè (wìth due respect be it spoken) in a 
questiofi of chivalry, But the Father knows, bettcr than 
I, that everything is good in its place; and I thmk that tiiis 
tìjne he has only endeavoured the escape by a Jest from the 
difficuUy of giving senlence/ 

What can one reply to reasonings deduced from a wisdom 
so aocient, yet so new ? Nothing ; and so thought our f riar. 

But Don Rodrigo, wishing to cut short this dispute, prò- 
ceeded to suggest another, ' Apropos/ said he ; * 1 bear there 
are nimours of an accommodatìon at Milan/ 

The reader must know that, at this time, there was a con- 
test for the suceession to the Ducliy of Mantua, which, on 
the death of Vincenzo Gonzaga, who left no male issue, 
bad fallen into the possession of the Duke of Ncvers, 
Goniaga's nearest relation. Louis XI IL, or rather Car- 
dinal Richelieu, wished to support him on account of bis 
being welJ-dìsposed toward the French. Philip IV., or rather 
ihc Count D^Olivares, comnionly called the Count Duke^ 
opposed him for the same reason, and had declared war 
against him, As the Ducby was a fief of the empire, the 
two partles made interest, by intrigue, threats, and solicita- 
tions, at the court of the Emperor Ferdinand IL; the former 
tirging him to grant the investiture to the new Duke, the 
latte r ta refuse it, and even assist in banishing him from tlie 
State, 

* I am Inclined to thìnk/ said Count Attilio, * that matterà 
may he adjusted I bave certa in reasons . . .' 

*Don*t believe it. Signor Count, don't believe it/ inter- 
fupted the Podestà; ' even in this corner of the world I haire 



82 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

means of ascertaìning the state of things; for the Spanish 
governor of the casUe, who condescencis lo make me his 
friend, and who being the son of onc of tlic Count Duke's 
depcndcnts, is informed of everythìng. , . / 

*I teli you, I have opportunity every day at Milan of 
talking with great men; and I know, on good authority, that 
the Pope Ì6 highly interested in the restoration of peace, and 
has made propositions . . .' 

.. ' So it ought to be, the thing is according to rule, and his 
Holincss does his duty ; a Pope ought always to mediate be- 
tween Christian Princes; but the Count Duke has his own 
policy, and . . .' 

* And, and, and — do you know, my good Signor, what the 
Emperor thinks of it at this moment ? Do you think there is 
no other place in the world besidcs Mantua? There are 
many things to be looked after, my good Signor. Do you 
know, for cxample, how far the Emperor can, at this moment, 
confide in that Prince Valdistano, or Vallestai, or whatever 
thcy cali him ; and whether . . .' 

* Ilis right name in German,' again interrupted the Podestà, 
' is Vaglienstcino, as I have of ten heard it pronounced by our 
Spanish Signor, the governor of the castle. But bc of good 
couragc, for . . ,' 

'Will you teach me?' exclaimed the Count, angrily; but 
Don Rodrigo motioned to him with his knee, for his sake, 
to ccase contradiction. He therefore remained silent; and 
the Podestà, like a vessel discngaged from a sand-bank, 
continued, with wide-spread sails, the course of his elo- 
quence. * Vagliensteino gives me little concem, because the 
Count Duke has his eyes on cverything, and in every place ; 
and if Vaglienstcino chooses to play any tricks, he will set 
him right with fair words or foul. He has his eye every- 
whcre, I say, and long arms; and if he has rcsolved, as he 
justly has, like a good politician, that the Signor Duke of 
Nevers shall not take root in Mantua, the Signor Duke of 
Nevcrs will not take root there, and the Cardinal Richelieu 
will sink in the water. It makcs me smile to see this 
worthy Signor Cardinal contcnding with a Count Duk^— 
with an Olivares. I should like to rise again. after a lapse 
of two hundred years, to bear what posterity will say of thcao 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



SS 



le pretensione. It requires n :; more than envy: 

Aere must be a hcid ; and ot he- ^at of a Count Duke 

ihcrc is but <mc in tbe worid. Ihe Count Duke» my good 
Signori/ contmued the Podestà» sailing beforc the wìitd, and 
a little turprìsed at not encouTitering ooe shoal, * the Count 
Duke tfi an siged fox, (speaking wìth ali respeet,) wbo ean 
ntike aaybody lo&c hie track; when he aims at the right, we 
inay be stire h^^ ^ the Icft ; so that no one can boast of 

Imowing hifi if , and even they who execute thcm, 

aod Ùity who wnte his despatches, under^tand nothing gf 
thoSL I can speak with some knowlcdge of the circuni- 
slancci; lor that worthj map, the Govemor of the Gasile» 
deìgns lo place iotue confidence in me. The Count Duke. 
on the othcr band, knows exactly what 13 goìng forward in 
M tbe otlier Courts, and their great polìHcians — many of 
wbotx^ it canno! bc deiilcd, are very upright men — havtì 
scarccly iniagincd st design before the Count Duke has dis* 
covered ÌK wiih that clcver head of bis, hìs underhand wayi, 
and hi* nets cverywhere sprcad. That poor man» the Cardinal 
Richelien, makes an attcmpt here, busics himself there; he 
loils. he strìvcs; aiid whai for? When he has succeeded lo 
diggtng a minc^ he finds a counterminc already completed by 
tbe Coont Duke . , : 

in ooe knows when the Podestà wotUd bave eome aahorei 
l noi Don RodrigOi urged by the suggestious of bis cousin, 
ordered a serrani to bring him a ceriain Ijottlc o£ wine, 

• e;. r» .^...♦A * ^^ \j^^ *unó geniieraeii: a toa^t to the 

C ni witl then teli me whethcr the wtnc is 

WorUiy ut Ulti pcjioa/ The Podestà replied by a bow, iti 
wfeicb mighf ttf tìfscemed an expreasion of particular ac- 
loKywle^gn - aU that was said or done in houour of the 

DnkCf he I . in pan, as done to Itimsclf, 

' Loog live Dod Gasparo Gu^nsan. Count of OUvares, Duke 
of San Lucar, grand Pri%*ate of the King, Don Philip the 
Great, oor Sorereig;i ) ' exclainied Don Rodrigo, raising hli 



Pfitwài (fnr the ìnfonnation of tho»e who knovir it not) 
waa the u'tle tifted in those days to aìgnify the favotiriteof a 
frtace^ 

* Ijonip live the Cooat I ' rtiplied aU. 



81 AI.ESSANDEO MAKZONI 

' Hdp the Fatber/ said Don Rodrigo, 
'Excuse me,* rcplicd the Fathcr; *biit l htve alrea^ 1 
gtLÌIt>' of B brcach of iliaci j>Iinc, and I cannot . * * 

* Wbat ! ■ sjaid Don Rodrigo ; * ti h a toast io the Cotmt Dulee»^ 
Will y*>u makc 115 brlkvc thai >-ou ìnM with the Navarriiics?* 

Thu« ibey contemptuoualy styled the Frcnch Princc» of 
Navarrc, who lud bcgun lo reign over ihem in the dine of 
Hmry IV. 

On «tich an adjuration, he was obligcd to tastc the wlnc 
Ali the Kucsis broke cut in cxdaniatións aiid ciicamlu 
upon it, cxccpt the Doctor, who, hy ihc gc sture of his headp^ 
the glancc of hi* cycs^ and the cnmjjresfiion of hi^ Jips, cx- 
pressed mudi more than he coyld bave donc by words. 

* Whar do yùu say of it» eh, Dottor? ' asked Don Rodrigo. 
Withdrawtng frora the wine-glas» a no se more nr*^ ^' ^ 

bright thati itaeif, the Doctor rcpiied, with markcd ^ 

iipon cvery syllable: *I say, pronounce, and affirm 
li the Olivarcs of wine*; cenJiHf et in cam ivi scntem 1 1 

its cqual cannot he foiind in the twcnty two ktngdotns of 
King, our Sovereign, whom God dcfcnd! I declare 
detcrmine tbat the dìnners of tlie tnost noble Signor Don 
Rodrigo excel the lupper;» of HcIJogabaluìi, and that Camini 
is perpctually bantshed aod cxcluded from this place, wher 
splendoiif reìgns and ha* its abodc/ 

* Weìl said ì well delincd ! * cricd the gnesttp with ooe voice; 
but the word famìnc, wbich he had uttercd by chance, 
once directed the mìrids of ali to this mnurnfiil siibjcct, and 
cvery onc »poke of the famine. In this niatter tbey were 
ali agreetl at least on the osaiii poini; but Uie uprodir watj 
grcater, perhaps. than if thefe had bccn a divcrsìty of opin 
ioct, AJJ spokc at once- * Tbcrc 1% no famtnc,* i«iid one: * it 

' b ibt monofkoHsis . . ; 

'And the bakers/ aaid anolhcr, * who htde the grain. liani 
them, tay V 

•Yca, yes, liang them ^tthont mercy/ 

' Upon fair trial/ cricti the Podestà. 

^TpW?* cricd Colini Attilio, more londly. *Siiinniaf3r 
Jniticc, I aay. Talee tv or ibc. of thoa 

who are acknowledgi to be the 

iod moat avafictutta» Mia. iùiig ik^m*' 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



15 



'Examplesl examples! — ^without examples, nothing can be 

* llang tiicm I baog thtm I and grain will flow out In abim- 
daoce*' 

Wliocver, in passing tlirougli a fair, has had the p1ea«ure 
of hearing die hariiioay produced by a party of 6ddlers, whei^ 
bclwccn ofi€ air and aiiolher, each one ttities his instrument» 
makiti ' loud as possible, that he may the more 

distiD' the midst of, and above, tlte stirrounding 

nprt>af^ u&^y taugiiic what wodd be tlic harmony of these 
(if ooc may so say) disco ur se s. The party conUiiucd pour- 
tiig out ai>d dritikitig the winc, whilc the praises of il were 
mingled^ as was bui juàt, wtth senlenees of ecoiiomical juiis- 
prudefice: so thai the loudest, and niost frequently heard, 
words celar, mìe hang than. 

Don ', in tlic mcan while, glanccd from time to time 

towar> lar» and always saw bini in the samc statioo, 

giving s of irnpàtience or hurry, witljout a niovemeal 

tgiwitiag lo remind him that he was waiting bis Jcistire, boi 
witii the air of ooc who was detcnumed not to dcpart tìJ] he 
bad had a hearing* He wouid gìadly bave sent him away» 
and cscapcd tbc interview ; but to dismiss a Capuchb with- 
oot having givcn him audifnce, was tiot accordmg to the 
mlcs of hi* polìcy the annoying duty could 

not bc avoided, be t itge it at once^ and frce 

hioiself from tlic obiigaiton. He iherefore rose frotn tht 
table. and with hìm ali the CKcited party, withom eeasing 
thcir damoar. Hanng asked Icavc of bis gucsts, he ad- 
vanced in a haughty niaiincr towarda tlie friar, who had im- 
laedtatcly riferì with the resi; and fcayitig to bini, 'At your 
cotmnand, Failicr/ conducted him luto aaothcr apartment 



H 



CHAPTER VI 

'OW can ! c*be)* yoti? * «aid Dr^ti Rodrigo. %tr n 

ihc middle of the room. Ilis words wcic t: . ij 
the tonc in which thcy wcre pronounccd, clcarlj 
tnrant to Kay, retti ember bcfore wfjom you are statiding, Uke 
he<^d tó yotir words, and be expediiious. 

Thcre was no surcr or f|tiickr- ' • ' 'rj 

Cri Mo foro with rowragc, than fn i 

ness* He 1 ^ waveriT ai a los* IW wt>rd| 

I>a5»in{^ tbr< ,, finjfcrs ■ h of the rosary tha 

hung at !iis girdle. as if he hopcd to tmd in some of tliem an 
introdifctìott to his spccch; but at ibis behavìour of Don 
Rodrigo*», thefe ittHtantly rose to hi» mbd more to «ay 
llian he had want of Imm " ' ' vever» n-i 
how ìmportant it wa? nnt tn or. whr 

worsc, the work hr J 
and ttuttpcrcd the la. 
mlnd« and saìd, with cautions humilityj 
to you an act of justìce» to supplicale 
Some men of bad character bave made use of the tiame of 
your ittti!itrìaiì5 lord^hip, to alarm a poor curate, and dissvui< 
Wto from pctfontuiif: hJs dnty. and to oppr**s^ two innoc< 
persona* You can ' -n hy a 

to order, and rrlievr re $o $h, igei 

You are abtc to do it ; and being abte * • * conydcoce, hoo* 
oor . . / 

* You wìi) bc good enough to tatk of ixiy cociKience whai 
I aak your advfee aboul n. As to my honour, T l)eg to infoi 
yoit, T am th<* i^iardtan of it, and I only* and that whoc\' 
da: i IO share the g^n ^p with me, 

rcK . ^'^hn nffcnds a^j. 

Friar Cristoforo, ; i? from thefc mr* r .i the 

Sjjffi.^^ ..^TWTf,t ».. t.itf ,^ , ^ cofiMruction on ali iti i '^^^T 

lo * imo a dispute, ao as to pr 

• bo pfttlent, tnsult be mi^ui [.< 



ì come to propose 
a dced of mcrcy. 



I PROMESSI SPOSI m 

I, in a subdued ione, * I( I htvc 
s-a , ,1 . Il, 1 certatnly dìd not ìntend it 

Correct me, reprove me, if I do not speak becomingly, hut 
deigq tx> listcn in me* For Heaven's sake — Cor the sake of 
that God m whose preseuce we must ali appear « • ,' and m 
sa- - - ^^:5, he took betwecn bis hands the Utile erosa of wood 
a; ili his rosary, and held it up before the eyes of tuft 

i' fr>r; 'he noi obstinateiy resolvcd to refme an 

a^ j easy and so due to the poor. Remembcr that 

Gciii s cye i% €vcr over them, and that their ìmprecations are 
bcard abave, Innocetiee is powerful in His . . / 

'Ahal fathcrl' sharply jnterrupted Don Rodrigo; 'the 
respcct I bear to your hafeit is great; but if ajiythiug could 
make ine {orget it, it %\ou!d be to see it on one wHo darti to 
aa a spy imo my house/ 
Tticie wf»rd« hronght a crimsoti glow upon the cheeks of 
ihe countenance of otie who swallows a 
e, he replied, * You do noi thìnk I deserrc 
ic, You feci in your heart that the act I am now 
, u ,,,,;i|^(»,. wicked nor contemptible. Listen to me, 
■o; and Heaven grant a day may noi come 
in wfiicM ^^A\ vi liave to repent of not having Ustencd to 
mei I wiU not j : !! your houour — ^WTiat honour. Signor 
Don Rodrigo I wJtat honour in the sight of men! what bonnur 
io the ^ight of God ! You bave much in your power, but . . / 
• Doci*! you know/ said Don Rodrigo» izìternjptìng hìm In 
ao a^tated tone* the min gì ed elTect of anger and rem orse, 
'don*l you know that whcn the faocy takes me io bear a 
irr^ — ^ T .... g^ |Q clmrch like olher peoplc? But in my 
Ci 1 ' contioued he, with a forced smilc of mock- 

er>; ' V^;. ■ thangh I wcre of higher rank than 

I am. It -s who bave a prcacher in tlicir owfi 



the f 



* Aod that God nbo requlres pr inces to render an account 
f»f Ibe word preached to them iti thctr palaces, that Goà 
^L v^,*. ., , ..^^^ ^ tcjif^^ pf ljÌ5 merey, by sctiding 

1/ d a poor and onworthy one, to 



on Rodrigo, preparing to go, 'I 
<fe» I know wtoi /iiu iiM:*àa : 1 can only $uppo»e there mtut 



40 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

bowed hi9 head and departed. leaving Don Rodrigo tO 
measure, with excitcd stcps, the field of battle. 

When the friar had closed the door behind him, he per- 
ccived some one in the apartnient he had entercd, stealing 
softly along the wall, that he might not he seen f rom the room 
of conference ; and he instantly recognized the aged servant 
who had received him at the door on his arrivai. This man 
had lived in the family for forty years, that is, since be- 
fore Don Rodrigo's birth, having bcen in the servicc of 
his fàther, who was a very diffcrent kind of man. On his 
death, the new master dismissed ali the household, and hired 
a fresh set of attendants, retaining, however, this one ser- 
vant, both because he was old, and because, although of a 
temper and habits widely differcnt from his own, he made 
amends for this defect by two qualifications — a lofty idea of 
the dignity of the house, and long cxperience in its cere- 
monials; with the raost ancient traditions and minute par- 
ticulars of which he was better acquainted than any one 
else. In the presence of his master, the poor old man never 
venturcd a sign, stili less an exprcssion, of his disapprobation 
of what he saw around him evcry day ; but at times he could 
scarcely refrain from some exclamation — some reproof mur- 
mured between his lips to his fellow-servants. They, highly 
diverted at his rcmarks, would sometimes urge him to con- 
versation, provoking him to find fault with the present state 
of things, and to sound the praises of the ancient way of 
living in the family. His censures only came to his master*s 
ears accompanied by a relation of the ridicule bestowed upon 
them, so that they merely succeeded in making him an object 
of contempt without resentment. On days of ccremony and 
entertainment, however, the old man became a person of 
serious importance. 

Fathcr Cristoforo looked at him as he passed, salutcd him, 
and was about to go forward: but the old man approached 
with a mysterious air, put his forc-finger on his lips. and 
thcn beckoned to him, with the said fore-finger. to accom- 
pany him into a dark passage, whcre in an under tonc, 
he said, 'Father, I havc heard ali and I want to speak 
to you.* 

'' Speak up then» at once, my good man.' 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



91 



^.%o: nerel woe to us if tbc master saw us! Bui I can 
Icam nmch, and wiU try to come lo-tnorrow to the convcm/ 

* Is tbere some project ? * 

• Somethtng'* in tìie wmd, tliat's certaùi: I had aJrcady 
ssspectcd tt ; bui now I wil! bc on tlic watch, and wiì] find 
«ut aìl. Lcave it to me, 1 happcti to sce and hear ihiiìgs . , , 
ctrftjige ihidgsl I aiQ In a house I . « . But I wÌ5h io save 
Wf hOfuV 

*God bless you!* saìd the friar, softly pronouncing the 
àicftcdkttcn, a5 ' Ms hnnd on the &ervant's head, wbo, 

iboagh mt3cb C( u hmisclf, beni before him wìtli the 

respect of a soa* ' God will reward jou/ comtnwcd the friar: 
' dìua*t f aìl to come to me lo-morrow.* 

JJ. will bc stire lo come/ repUcd the scrvaiit ; * bui do yoùX 
UD cpiìckk, and . . * for Hcav€n*s sakc , . • don*t bciray \ 
me.' So 5Aymg, and looking caittióuàly around, he wcnl oul, 
at iBe oiher end of th. bio a ball ihat led to tbc 

coi3rt-\*t^r*i : and scdri^* *:lcar, bcckcmed to the good 

Ìt ic face 1 tu the lasi injuTictìon more 

pi ri -i any pn' s could havc dfinc. The old man 

paifited to the door, and the ffiar dcpartcd without further 

$etvwtìt had bcen Hsteaing at hìs master's door. Had 
Dr a- ne rii^hi? And was Father Cristoforo rfght in prais- 
mg htm (or il ? Accordtng lo the commoncst and raost gcn- 
er was a very dishonesl act ; bm might 

IH 1 as aa cxceptioti ? And are thcrc not 

excepiìotis io ihc mosi-gctietally-r«:ctvcd rules? 

Trtf-f -ATt' itticstions which we Icavc the rcadcr to rcsolve 
at Wc do not prcteod to give judgmcnt : li h 

rclatc facts, 
icd tiie road, and ttarned liis back npon ibU 

''• 

iài;7iiét agìtaàc\l ami e ' le 

IH'! r^.ìlil r.llì l*tc UTT ^ , ^'f 

to htm; it scemcd a* if 
cif tt* proiectioo* Here 
ha& put trito my hatidfti 






, thai r 



lift ìJ^M vcTj liuu^c^ mot una \vi;uvai my evtii dreamiQg of 



92 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

looking for one! Engaged in such thoughts, he raised his 
eycs towards the west, and secing the setting sun already 
touching the summit of the mountain, was reminded that the 
day was fast drawing to a dose. He therefore quickened 
his steps, though weary and weak, after the many annoyances 
of the day, that he might ha ve time to carry back his intelli- 
gence, such as it was, to his protégés and arrive at the con- 
vent before night; f^or this was one of the most absolute and 
strictly-enforccd rules of the Capuchin discipline. 

In the mean time, there had been plans proposed and de- 
bated in Lucia's cottage, with which it is necessary to ac- 
quaint the reader. After the departure of the f riar, the three 
friends remained some time silent; Lucia, with a sorrowful 
heart, preparing the dinner; Renzo, irresolute, and changing 
his position evcry moment, to avoid the sight of hcr moum- 
ful face, yet without heart to leave ber; Agnese, apparently 
intent upon the reel she was winding, though, in fact, she 
was deliberating upon a pian ; and when she thought it suffi- 
ciently matured, she broke the silence with these words : — 

' Listen, my children. If you bave as much courage and 
dexterity as is rcquired; if you will trust your mother, (this 
your mother, addressed to both, made Lucia's heart bound 
within her,) I will undertake to get you out of this difficulty, 
better, pcrhaps, and more quickly than Father Cristoforo, 
though he is a man.' Lucia stopped and looked at her 
mother with a face more expressive of wonder than of 
confidence in so magnificent a promise; and Renzo hastily 
exclaimed, 'Courage? dexterity? — teli me, teli me, what 
can we do ? ' 

* If you were marrìed,' continued Agnese, ' it would be the 
great difficulty out of the way — wouldn't it? and couldn*t wc 
easily find a remedy for ali the rest ? ' 

*Is there any doubt?' said Renzo: *if we were married. 
. . . One may live anywhere ; and, at Bergamo, not far f rom 
bere, a silk-weaver would be received with open arms. You 
know how often my cousin Bortolo has wanted me to go and 
live with him, that I might make a fortune as he has done; 
and if I bave nevcr listened to him, it is . . . you know, be- 
cause my heart was bere. Once married, we would ali go 
thither together, and live in blessed peace, out of this villain's 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



93 



1 



aad Ht froQi temptatton ta do a rash de^ Isn't 

* Ycs,* saìd Lticia ; ' but how? . . / 

* As I bave told you/ replied Agnese. ' Be bold aod exp€T%~ 
and die thiii|f is easy.' 

' Easy ì' at tlie same moment exclaìmed the two lovers, to 
«bom li had become so strangely and sadly difficili U 

*£a^, if you koow how to go about it/ replied Agnese. 
* Lìsten attentively to rae, and I mill try and makc you under- 
stand ìl I have heard &ay^ by people who ought to knoWt 
aad I bare seeo ìt myself in one case, that to soleniniie a 
maniag^ a curate, of coursCp ìs necessary, but not his good* 
wtll or consent; il is enough if he is present/ ^M 

' How can this be ? * asked Renzo. ^B 

* Listen, and you shall bear. Tbcrc must be two witnesses, 
aiflibJe and well agrecd They must go to the priest; the 
polist is to take him by surprìse, that he mayn*t have time to 

P cscape. The man says, '* Signor Curate, this is my wif e ;'' 
• wofBan says, *' Signor Curate, this is my husband" It is 
faeces&ary tliat the curate and the witnesses bear it, and then 
marrtage is just as vaìid and sacred as if the Pope had 
Iblcised it When once the words are spoken, the curate may 
ifret, and fumé, and storm» but it will do no good; you are « 
im^M and wife/ ■ 

* Is it possible ? * exclaimed Lucia, 

' Wbat 1 * said Agnese, * do you think I have ìeamt nothmg 
ni the thirty ycars I was in the ifl^orld before you ? The thìng 
^ is just as I told you ; and a friend of mine is a proof of it, 
Fbo, wìshìng to be married against the will of ber parents, 
llid as I was saying, and gaìned ber end, Tbe curate sus* 
pccted it, and was on the watch ; but they knew so well how 
^fo go about it, that they arrived just at the rigbt moment, 
the words, and became tnan and wife; thougb she, poor 
ig ! reptìited of it before three days were over/ 
It was, in fact, as Agnese had represented it; marnages 
contracted tn this manne r were then, and are even to this 
^day, acknowledged valida As, howeyer, this expedient was 
rcr resorted to but by those who had met with some obstacle 
' or refusai in the ordinary method, the priest took great care 
lo avoid sucb forced co-operation ; and if one o£ them bap- 



ALSSS ANDRO MANZONI 



pened to he «tirprbcd by a couple, Acconipaiiìeil wIlH witites^es, 
he t ricci cvcry nieans of csciipc, likc Protcus in the handi of 
thtjse wbu wàuld have made hlm prophcsy by forcr, 

' H it were truc» Lucìa 1 ' said Rrnzo, fixing bis eyc* 
* hcr with a look of ìmpbrinj^ c^pcctation* 

• Whai I if It wrre irtic ? ' rcphed A Kncie. * Yuii ihink. ihcn, | 
I teli IÌC4I, [ do my bcst for you, and nm not bclievcd : vciy ^ 
welJ ; ifct out o( the dìfHculty us ytm can : 1 wash my hjuids 
of it/ 

• Ah, no I doii*fr for^ak^ up/ crlcd Renio. • I taid no be* 
pCauie il app^ ti place tnyself in yoiirJ 

hands, and w mi wcrc rcally my tnoiher/i 

Thc*c wordn ini^tantty dispelJed the mtmientary indigT)atÌói].j 
'of Ajrucsc, and madc hcr forget a rcsolutioa whkh, la rcality^ ^ 
had only bcen iti word» 

• But why, then, mother/ Kaid Lucia, in her nmaà genflt 
marintr, Vhy didn*t ihi!i pian come into Fathcr CHstofofx>'a 
mindr 

*Inrn hh mmd?* f epiteti Aj^ew*; * do yott think H 4UÌn*i 
coni mind? Hiit he wouldn^t »pcak of il/ 

* \\ .., . ^cmmtidcd thcy both at once, 
'Bcoiiiie . . , l>«c«usc, il you oiutt kziow it» tbe frlart 

thipk that it It nnT ^- -^ - - ropt?r tbsng.* 

* Huw can il bt ^m, and tìdjtg weìl éùn^ when 
it U donc ! ' u, 

* How can i ? * repIJed Agncf*. * Otber people have 
k inada the Uw a» tiicy pteased* and we poor peopk cati 
IfUiid ali And thai, how itiany thtngs , . . Sce; ti ^ 
[fivitif a ChrUtiafi a btow* It iiu't righi, but whcn il is otioe 

flint, noi rv&ì the Pt>|te can recali iL* 
'UH iin't rinht/ taid Lucìa. * uve oiight not tt> do II/ 

• What I • taM Agnese, * wouki I |fhre y<m ad :ri 
to the fear c»f C^mìì If it w«re a^ifi^il 0ie 

^ parr r ^^ « ' ^n 1 èàìii >ktU6eil|| 

ami ti. aitd I ikes aU thb 

lurbance li - gnor curate . . / 

'ItiiiacL». -. .,,^ „ '* R.^.-o. 

* Otte oeecl tiot ipeak tu foro, befor^ dofnf W 
niaed Agncie; *lnii f^ncn u i5 cn^cc doo€, and hai w^j 

wluu do yira ihii^ liia Fttìàm wiU «y tu yimi 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



95 



Ah, daufhterl k was » sad error, but k h donc. Thè friars^ 
yott knoWt mtist talk so. But trust me^ in his heatt he will be 
ver? well satìsfied/ 

Without heing ablc to aoswf r stich reasoning. Lucia did 
not ihink it apiieared vc^ry convmdng; but Renso, quitc cn* 
icaoraged, «ald, * Sìnce it is thus, tbc tbing ìs donc/ 

* GepUy/ said Agnese. 'The wilnesses, whcrc are they 
to bc fcKOMi? Then. bow wi?l }oii manage to get at the Signor 
" raic, wbo has becn sbut up in hìs house two days? And 

EDàkc bini stand whcn you do gct at bìm? fot tbough 
Klsiireifllty enough naturally, 1 dare verunre to say, wben he 
\ ymt make yoiir appearance in such ^ guise, he will become 
Idi nbnble a^ a cat^ and fìee Hke tbc deTÌl from hoìy water/ 
' I bav^c fouiid a way — rvc found onc/ crìcd Ecnzo, strik* 
«1^ tbc table witb bis clenched band, tiH be inade the dinner- 
^ings quiver and raitle witli the blow ; aad he proccedcd lo 
tlatc his design^ Tji?bich Agnti^t enttrcly appro%*cd 

* Ir ì% lU coofitsEon/ f.atd Lucia ; * it is not peri ectly bonestt 
rCff lìfìW wt bave aìways acted sinccrely; Ict us go on in 

Tid God wttl belp us; Father Cbrìstoforo said so. Do 
LI bjs adirìce/ 

* Be gulded 1^ thosc wbo know bel ter than you/ said 
p. gravely. *\Vl3at nccd h there to ask advice? God 

bflda u» bdp ourseivcs, and then Ile will bcip us, We will teli 
Fatber ali about tt wben il h over/ 
'Lucia/ saìd Rcn^o, * wìll you fati me now? Havc m*e not 
fdofieaUlike w to bave lic«n 

I and %^T ' Jay and bour ? 

And wl u It, li we are nuw ubUgcd lo use a little 

otitnlng . _ o: yott won't fail me. I am going, and will 

ojmc back wtth an answer/ So saying, he gavc Lucia an tm- 
look, and Agnese a rery knowing gUncc» aod baj^tiljr 
depanufe. 

" sbarpcns the wìf ; and Renio, wbo» 

tgbtforward paih he had hiiheito 

<ca5ion Mìy grcal 

tince» pi-1 i3t would 

a iawyer. He wcni dircctly, as he had 

« . "iijc near at band, bclangiTig to a certain 

ut he lound Uu^y ^ ^<= kitcheii, with on/e loiee 



Te 



06 AI.ESSANDRO MANZONI 

resting on the stand of a chafing-dish, holding in his right 
hand the handle of a saucepan, that stood on the burning 
embers, and stirring with a brokcn rolling-pin, a little grey 
polenta,^ of Turkey flour. The mother. brother, and wife of 
Tonio, were seated at the table ; and thrce or f our little chil- 
dren stood around, waiting, with eyes eagcrly fixed on the 
saucepan, till the gruel should be ready to pour out. But the 
plcasurc was wanting which the sight of dinncr usually 
givcs to those who bave earned it by hard labour. The 
quantity of the polenta was rathcr in proportion to the times 
than to the nuniber and inclinations of the houschold; and 
each one eyeing the common food with envious looks of strong 
desire, secmcd to bc mcasuring the cxtent of appetite likely 
to survive it. Whilc Renzo was exchanging salutations with 
the family, Tonio pourcd out the polenta into the wooden 
trenchcr that stood ready to receive it, and it looked like a little 
moon in a large circlc of vapour. Ncverthelcss, the women 
courteously said to Renzo, * Will you take some with us ? * — a 
conipliment that the Lombard peasant nevcr fails to pay to 
any one who finds him at a meal, even though the visitor 
were a rich glutton just risen from table, and he were at the 
last mouthful. 

* Thank you,' rcplied Renzo ; ' I only came to say a word or 
two to Tonio; and if you like, Tonio, not to disturb your 
family, we can go dine at the inn, and talk there.' This pro- 
posai was as accoptablc to Tonio as it was unexpccted; and 
the women, not unwilling, saw one competitor for the polenta 
removed, and that the most formidable. Tonio did not require 
a second asking, and thcy set off together. 

Arrivcd at the village inn, they sat down at their case, 
perfectly alone, since the prevailing povcrty had banished 
ali the usuai frcqucntcrs of this scene of mirth and joviality. 
Thcy callcd for the littlo that was to be had, and having 
empticd a glass of winc. l\onzo addressed Tonio with an air 
of mystery; * If you will do me a small favour, I will do you 
a great one/ 

' What is i* ? — teli me ! T'm at your service/ rcplied Tonio^ 
pouring out anothcr glass; * l'm ready to go into the firc for 
you to-day/ 

* A tbick grucl, made of flour and water, bofled together. 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



m 



• You are in dcbt tw<rnty-fìvc lìvrcs to the Sigi^or Curate fof 
the rcnt of hls field tlial you workcd last ycar/ 

*Ah, Renio, Renzo! youVe spoiled your kmdtiess. Wliy 
did VOI ' me of it now? YouVe put to flight ali my 

§ood V. ris you,* 

• li l rcroipiicd you ni your debt/ said Renzo, ' it is bec&tise 
[ I inteiid, il you Iti e, to givo you tJic lueans of paying it' 

• Do you rcally mean so?' 

• f €k> really. Well, are you coutent?* 

• Cofitent? I should think so, indeed I if it were for no other 
re«i40ti than to gct rid of those tormenting looks and shakes 

[of t)ie head the Signor Curate gives me evcry tinie I nicct 

Ihlixi. And thcn it is ahvays — "Tornio, rememher: Tonio, wben 
sfiati I fi€c you tu settle tbis btisitìess? '' He goes so far^ thatj 
wben Ile fixes bis eyes upon jne in preacbmg, l'm half afraid 
he wUl say ptiblicly : Those twenty-five lìvres ! I wish the 

Itwenty-five Hvrcs vere far away! And then he will bave to 
gtve me back my wife's gold iiccklace, and I could change it 

|tiito so touch fQlcnìUn But . . / 

• filiti il yo«*n do me a little service, the twcnty-five livrea 
ar^ ready,' 

h ali my heart; go on/ 
.^L ! , • / said ReRxOj laying bis finger across bis lips, 
(Keed yon tcU me tliat? You kBow me,* 
'The Signor Curate has l>eeii startmg scmt abstird objec- 
tlooa, to delay my marriage, They teli me for certain, that 
if we go bclore him with two witne^ses, and I say, This ìs my 
^ wife; and Lucia, This is ray husb^id; the marriage is valida 
Do yoa undcfstand me?' 

• Vrm want me to go as a wjtness?' 



you wìll pay the iwenty-five livrea for me?' 
: ts wbat I mcan/ 
W% a goose that wouM faìL' 
^6m we must find nnother wìtuess.^ 
*I bave hhnt That young ctownisb brothcr of mine» 
GcTTii^ir wH' fo .-iitvihiQg I bid him* You*U pay bim with 

/ repHcd Renzo. " WcTl hrtng htm here 
I ID make mcrr> w \\h us. But will jc know wbai do do? ^ 

90 4r^H^U. 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

* m teach hlm. Yo« kno w I bave got bis sbare of brabifl/ 
'To-morrow , ♦ / 

* Towardi evening * . / 

• Vcry well/ 

'Btit! . . .* saìd Renzo, again puttlng hìs finger oo his 
Itps. 

* Poh r replicd Tonio, bciiding bis bead on bis ri^ht sboul* 
dcfj and raisìng hìs left band, wHh a look that aeemed to sajr^j 
Do you doubt me? 

*Uni ìf your wìfe questiona you^ ai without doubt shc 
vrììl . . : 

• I owe my wife some liti, and so many, tbat I don*t 
if I shall evcr managc to balance the account, 111 find somc^ 
Idle Mory to \mì ber heart at rest, I warrant you/ 

'To-morrow/ safd Renzo, 'wc will make arrangcsnaits, tba 
' tverytbing may go on stno<Jthly; 

So layinjr* they Uh ibc inn, Tonio bcnding hh steps boTn« 
wards, and contrivìng some tale io rclaic to the women, andl 
Reiuto to give an account of the concert ed arraogements. 

In the mean while, Agnese had bccn \^inly endea^roiirmgj 
to convince ber daughtcr. To cvery argumeni, Lucia < 
onc «idc or other of ber dilemma ; ciiher tbe thbig h wrongpl 
ajid we ought not to do it, or it is poi wrong, and whj not^ 
teli II to Fatber Cristoforo? 

Renzo arrìved quite triumphant, and reported bis fuceest» 
jififijshbìg wìth a ahnf-^VL Milanese tnterjeclion wbich stgtii-^ 
fic»-"Am I a man or not? can you find a bettcr pian? wouid 
it tver bave entered your bead? and a bundred otber auc 
tbiogs. 

Lucia sbook ber bead doiibtfnljy ; bwt the otber two co- 
|thua{asts paid little atiention to tt, m one does to a child. 
'wbeo one despairs of makìng it understaod ali the reajoni' 
of a tbjng, and dttcrmineiE to ìndiice it hy entreaUea or 
autbonty to éa as it Ìs rcqulred. 

• It gocs on well/ said Agnese, * very wcll ; bat . . . yoii 
liaven't tbougtit of everytbmg/ 

• What h wantbsg? * repUcd Reneo. 

* Perpetua! — ^you havm'i ibotight of Pcrpcltiai bhe wtll 
admit 1 onio and hU hrothcr wcU cooagh, bot yotì— yoo tuo» 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



99 



lust Uiink ! You wJU havc to kecp hcr at a dìstance^ as ose 
kceps a boy from a pcar-tree full of ripe fruii/ 

* How sÈaJl w^ manager ' said Renzo, begìnning to Uiìok. 

* Sec. now ! / bave thoiight of tT^at, too ; 1 will go with you; 
and ! bave a secret that wiU dr<-rtr her away, and engagé hcr, 
so lliat she sha*o't sce you^ aod you can go in. TU cali her 
niit iind wiU touch a chord . , . Vou &hall scc/ 

i>s you I * exclaimed Renzo ; * I always said you are our 
ijci|j nt éifcryihfag,* 

* Bui aJl ihh is oÌ no use/ said Agnese, * unlesa we can per- 
sitade Lucia, who persìsts m sayiiTg ìt is a sin/ 

Rentó hrougin in ali his eloqaence to his aid, but Lucia 
oonlmoed tmmovable, 

*I cannot answer ali your arguments/ said shc; *but I ice 
that, lo do what you want, we shall be obliged to use a great 
deal of disgube, fai sebood, and deceìt. Ali^ Renzo 1 we didn't 
befin so. 1 wish to be yotir wife* — and she could never 
prooot^r ■ ' word, or glvtt expression to this desire, with-* 

' oat 1 0' ^ overspreading her cheek — * I wJsh to be youf 

wife, bat ia tbc rigbt way--in the fear of God, at the aitar. 
Lei US Icave ali to Him who is above. Do you think He can- 

\noi fiad means to hclp uà bctter ihan we, with ali these deccit- 
fttl ways? And why makc a mystery of it to Father 
Cristoforo ? * 

The ' vas stili prolonged, and seemed not likely to 

cocDc ti > V conclusioni when the hasty tread of sandals, 

ajid the M»imd of a rustling cassock, resembling the ncise 
produced by repcated gusts of wind in a ilackened sail, an- 
Dounccd the approach of Father Cristoforo, Tbere was 

I ìoitant silcoce, and Agnese had scarcely tltne to whìsger in 

iLi^da's emr, ' Bc sure you say eothiog about tt.' 



CHAPTER Vn 

FATHEE CRISTOFORO arrivcd wilh the air of a ^Oùi\ 
general, who havtng lost su important battlc, withoat 
any fault oii his pan,— distrcitsed, but noi éì^coìit^ 
agcd: thoughtfal, but noi confoimdcd; rctrcatiiig, but oot 
[put to flight; turns bis stcps wbcre ncccssity calls for hia 
Ipresetice, forti fying thrcatmccl quaners, re^ulatìng liis 
^troops, and giving ncw ordcrs. 

* Peace bc wttb yow I ' said he, zs bc cntered* * Tlicrc Iti 
notbing lo hopc from man; yoii bave tliercforc more necd • 
to trust in (x>d, and 1 bave ab-eady had a plcdge of HIs 
pmicction/ 

Althoiigb none of the party had anticipatcd much fronti 
' Fatbcr Cristofofo's attempi, (*tnce, to Kfc a powerful noble- ^ 
'jnan dciiifìt froiu an act of opprcisìon, unlcss bc wcre over- 
comc by a supcrior power» from rcgard to the entreatics of ] 
a disarmed suppììant, was rathcr an unheard-of, than a rare,] 
|€>ccurr<?nce,) yci the mclancboly certainty carne as a blowj 
npcm tbcm ali Tbcir hcads Involuntarily droopcd, bui 
ingcr quickly prevatlcd over deprcssion In ReojEo'a miiid. 
I announcctneni found bim al ready woundcd and irritatcd 
fym succcasion of painful suqìrive», {allackms atteinpts, and* 
ilsappointed hopcs. and, ab ove ali, ex aspe rat ed at thts 
noment by the repul,%e$ of Lucia, 

* I should likc to know.* said he, goashìni; bis lectlt andj 
raijting bin vnicc as he had ncvtr before done in the prci' 
enee of Father Cristoforo; *I abould likc to know whot 
r thfs dog gives for assertìng . . » for assertmg iJiat 

ì jbhould not he my bride?* 

i'uyr R«?niof' rr^r , wìtb a look atid accent , 

[of pity ih:^' k-nfHv r*- ice^ahlcness ; ' Jf the pow- 

lerful wli wrrc always obltged| 

to givc ti , : ,, .: be as they are/ 

' Did the dog theti aay that he woold not, btemuf he wouM 
•ot?' 

* He didn't even tiy that, my poor fcllow I II woukl bo 

m 



f tBOMESSI SPOSI 



101 



Ifometfaln^, il «o eommll im^^iwty^ thcy wcre obliged openly 
to confess tt* ' * t, , • 

* Btit he musi have told you lomtHio^i. what dld this sn* 
fernal ikthnnà say ? * - : / 

• I heard his wortis, but I cannot répéat ìitttc. to yoit 
Tlic vrords of a power fui wicked man are viokiit, >>wt ''on- 
tradictory. He caii be angry that you are suspÌciou> 
miid at the samc timc make you feci that your su ^ 
are wcU-fóuniicd; he can insult you, and cali biinself| 
dffcndcd; ridicok you, and ask your opinion; threaten^ andl 

iJain; bc insolent, and ifreprehenstblc, Ask no isiore^ 
le BcUhcr iticntloned the naiiìe of thìs ìnnocent, nor your 
I ; he did not even appear to Imow you, iior did he say he 
dgned '; biit . , , but I understood too well that 

U tfni However, confjdence in God, you poor 

ituresl' luming to Agnese and Lucia, 'don't givc «p in 
lir t And you, Renxa • , , oh ! belteve me, I can put 
elf in your place; I can feel what passcB in your heart 
Swt, patìcnce; it h a poor word, a bitter ooc to those who 
bayc no f aith ; but you — will you not allow God one day, two 
daiys, or - lime He niay please to takc to clear you 

at^ Ifivc i e ? The titnc is His ; and He has promised 

MB mach. Leavc Hiiii to work, Renzo; and . , • belJeve me, 
ilrcady havc a due that may lead to something for your 
Jpu 1 cannot teli you more at ptesent To-morrow I 
tK>t come here; I must bc at the convent ali day, for 
fOtt. You, Renxo. try to come to me; or il, hy mny un- 
lorcfcen accidente you cannot, send a trustworthy man, or 
a Uid of Ulscretion, by whom 1 may !ct you know what may 
l»ppcfL It grows dark ; I shall bave to make baste to reach 
llie con^enL Faith, couragc, and good night/ 

HaWog said this^ he hastily left thcm, and madc bla 

way rapidly along a erookcd, stony by-path, that he might 

not bc late at the convent, and run the rlsk of a severe 

primandt or, what wonfd bave grievcd liìm more, the tn- 

jon of a pcnancc, wlikh nììglit havc dlsnblcd hìm on the 

from any undcriaking which the cervice of Ws 

protfgéìi mìght reqtiire. 

'•Did you 1 he said about . . , I don't know what 

,.. aboul a ^...^ ..it he hcld in band to heìp us?* said 



102 



ALESSANDRO MAKZOKX 



Lucìa. ' It li bttt lo trust jit hitti > he h a msn who^ If ht 
promiscs tcn • * . ' : ' * 

' 1 kjiow therr h mt hls likr/ iuternipied Agnese; Mitit he 
OUght lo ha ve spukcn ino re clearly, or, at Icast» takcn me 
*"»lde nii4 toW me' what It was/ 

'Idlccifatfèg! ni ptit an end to if, that I wilU ' ijiter- 
tiijiV:<i * Renio, in bis tam, ss h© paccd furJousIy up and 
down the rooni, with à look ami tonc that le fi no doubt 
aj lo the nieajiiQ^ of his words, 

*Oh» Renzo!* exdaimcd Luc'^- 

* What dù you nit-ar» ? ' cfied Agnese 

* Why pfrfd I teli you? tll put an end to it ! Thotigh he 
Jias a hui^ired, a ihousand «levili in hi»i soul, he*i f!eih and 
"^^ciod, after ali/ 

* No, no t for Heave*ì*a «ake ! . . / began Lucia, but icari 
chokrd hcr utteraucc, 

' This il not proper language, tvtn in jm* replied Apitae, 

*Io jcstì* cncd Retiso, plaotiUK hìmstU direclly belora 

Agnese, m the aat, and fixing on hcr two fcarful-looking 

cycs. ' In Jesi I you shall see whether I atn in jeit or not' 

'Ah, Rcnxol' satd Lucia, tcarccly ablc to articiilate for 

iob», * 1 ncvcr saw you so bcfore.* 

* Don't talk so, for Hcavcn*» lakc l ' rcpiicd Agnese, hai- 
tily, lowering her voice* ' Doo^t you rcmcoiber how many 
ami» he hai at hit hidding? And then, there ìs always 
justice to be had against the poor * . , God defend them ! ' 

' I will get juttice for myself. I will. It is titne now* 
The ihing Iin't easy, I know. The ruffian is well defcndcd, 
dog ihat he ts! ì know how it ii: but never mind. Patìence 
and rciolutioti . , , and the tiuie will loon arrive. Yea, I 
will get just ice. 111 frce the country, and poople will blesi 
•ne ! And tbcn in four botinds , , / 

The horror of Lucia at thcse expticit d«i!larationi re* 
pressed her nùh%, and intpircd hrr witli rourmge tti speak* 
Kaising ffoni ber haods f' - * mi tears. sbc id- 

drcAsed Renio in a monr^i tene: 'Yoii no 

longer care, ihen^ abc-i wifc? I prom- 

iscd my^lf to a ytmth ; God: but a maa 

who has . . . were he safe frooi ali juitìce and vestgemcev 
wete he ihe son of a Idng • • .' 



I PROMESSI snm 



109 



•Very wdlf * critd Renio, tiis face inore thao cver con- 
valsrd whh fury ; * I won'l have you, thcn ; but he iha*ii*t 
dtlier. I wUI bc here without yóu, aiid he in thè ft!)Od€ 

"Ah, no. for p!ty*s Sike, dòn't say so; don't look so fufióusJ 
Io, no, i cannot bear to see you tbus/ cxcJainicd Lucia, 
"wcepìngf and jorning ber hands in an aitittide of earnest 
iitpplìCatton : whilt Agnese repeatedly called htm by tiaoae. 
ifid sdscd bold of hii shoulders, hit ^tnn, and his hand^, 
to padfy him- He stood immovable, thoughtfu], almost 
c»t«ftDfae at the sight of Lncìa's ìmplorìng countenaoce; 
thoi» saddenìy gaiscd at ber stemly. drew back, stretched oyt 
his ^rm. arni pomiing with bis finger towards ber, burst 
foflh: ' Hcr J yen, he wants herf He must die I ' 

*And /, wbat hano bave I done you, that you ihould kilt 
mwt* aaìd Lucia, ihrowmg berseli on ber knee» 

'You!* nld he, wìtJi a voice cscpressivc of anger, though 
of m (mr «HflTcrent nattife; 'you ! what good do you whh me? 
What prOof bave you given me? Haven't I begged, and 
bcgged, aod btggcd? . « . Have I been able to obtain . . / 

* Ycs, yefc/ replied &he, precìpìtately ; * I will go io tht 
Coratt's to-iDorrow; I will go now, if you lìke. Only he 
^cmrdell agam, I will go/ 

' You prooiUe mtf* satd Renso» hls irolce and eaE^^eision 
~ 1 in an tnsdant more human. 

Iirofntie you/ 

* Yott have promiied me ? * 

* Tlianks he to Tbce« O Lord t * exclaimed Agnese, doubly 
Isfied. 
Dld Renao^ in the inidst of hìs anger, dìscern the advan- 

taife Ihat mlght be takcn of Lucìa^g teiror? And did he noi 
practtic a tìttlc anìfice to increate it, that be mighl use this 
idiraataga? Our autlior protesti be knows noUiinf about 
tha inailar; nor, I lhink« did evcn Renru htmseH know very 
wcIL At any rate, he was uodoubtcdly enraged beyond 
measore with Don Rodrigo, and ardently desired Ladaki 
00fi«ent ; and whtn iwo powerful passiona etniggle together 
io a man*» mtnd, no one, not even the niost patient, can 
aV - - -» --t . lii^em one voice frotn the othcr, or aay^ with 
e b of ihcni predonniiatea* 



104 



ALESSANDItO MANXOKl 



'l have promised you/ rcpHcd Lucia, witli an accent 
ìt timid and aflfcctìcmate rcfiroof; *but you havt also i 
promised not to makc any dtstartianc&^-to submlt yourselC ' 
Pathcr . - ; 

*Comc, now, for whose sake did I gct into a passion? Do- 
m waiit la draw bade? And wiJl you oblìge me; to do a ' 
isb thmg?* 

'No, no/ said Lucia, ready to rdapse into her fonncr 
' I ha% e promised, and I will oot draw back. But 
^wm how you bave madc me promise ; God forbid that • . / 

* Why will you proplicsy cvil^ Lucia ? God knows w€ do 
DO wrong lo anybody/ 

' Promise me, at leastp ibis shall bc the last timc/ 

* I promise you, upoii my word/ 
' But this once you wiìl stand by him/ satd Agnese;. 
Here the auUior coiifesses hi» ignorancc o( another mal»] 

ter^ and that 1% whctbcr Lucia was absolutely^ aod oo cv«y 
account, dissatisòcd at being obìigcd to give ber cooaent. 
Wc follow bis ejcample, and lea%'e the pomt undedded, 

Renzo wouJd wìlltngly bave prolonged the conversatìoo^ 
and allotteft thcir severa! parU in the pr(Keedings of the 
morrow; but it was alrcady dark, and the wonien wishcd 
hlm goód night, as they thought it «carccly decorous that 
he shouJd reniain aiiy lotiger wilh them at so late an hour. 

The night was passed by ali thrct as well as coald be tx- 
pected, considering that it lotbwed a day of sueh exctte- 
EDcnt and mia fortune, and prcccded one fixed opon for an 
important undertaking of doubtful issue. Resixo inade his 
appeftraitce early next moroìng, and concerted with tlic 
woineti» or ratber with Agnese, the grand operaiio'ns of the 
^cvetting, ahernately jcuggcMìng and removing dìiSctiKieSi 

refleemg obstacJes, and both bcginaing, by twms, to de* 

riVc the «cene a» il they wcre relating a pajfl cvent. Liida I 
H&tened; and, wtihoiit approvii^c in words what she coald i 
not agree to in ber hcart, promised to do «a w«U àM the 
wataUe. 

*A^<^ yoa going - - - Crìato- 

foro, ai he bsd yi" '^^- 

' Not 1/ replicd he; you know whai ihc 

•albùf hai: hv wjlt rtac! hi niv luaLn. ten 



I PEOMESSt SPOSI 



ro5 



Io a book^ that therc's something m the wind: and if lie 
bcfìns lo qucstion me, I can't gel off ìt easìly. And, besìdcs, 
1 fmist stay hcrc io arrange matters, It will bc better for 
jfOfl fo stné somebody/ 

*1 will scrìd Menico/ 

•Vcry wetV replied Renzo; and he set off to arrange 

itlcrs, as he had said. 

Agnese went lo a neighbouring cottage to ask for Menico» 

sprifhtly and very scnsible lad for his age, who, tlirough 
the medium of coiisìns and sisters-in-law, carne to be a sort 
of nephcw to the dame. She asked his parents for him, as 
for a loan^ aod begged she mìght kecp him tlie whole day, 
• for a partfcular service»* saìd she* Havtng obtatried per- 
msisjoti, sJie led him to ber kitchen, gave hìm his breakfast, 
Bud bW him go to Pescarenico, and present htmself to Father 
Cristoforo, who wouid send hira back with a message at t!ie 
rti^ht timc. • Father Cristoforo, that fine old man, jou know, 
hith p ■ ''i-ard^ who h called the Saint . , / 
r* I ^. ìd/ said Metrico; * he who speaks so kindly to 

Ihe chiidrcn, and sonaetiincs give^ tbem pictures/ 

'Just so, Memca And if he bids you wait some lime at 
the convefir, don't wander away; and he siire you don't go 
ydùì otlier boys lo the lake to throw stones iute the water, 
oor to watdi them fìsh, nor to play wìth the nets hung up to 
dr^Tp nor * ^ •* 

* Pdht iont; I aiti no fctiger a chìfd' 

*VVd!, bc prtident; and when yom come feaek with the 
aaswer . . • ìook; thcje two fine ncw parptigliolc are for 

*GÌve me them now, that . . / 

• No, no, yoa will play with thctn. Go, and bchave wéH 
yoti may bave some more/ 

llie coorte of this long morntng many strangc thlngs 
-icd which rir)ii«'d m\\ a little suspfcion in the already- 
disturbcd minds of Agneso and Lucia, A beggar, iicithef 
thin nor ragged, as thcy gcncralìy wcrc, and of somcwhat 
dark and tlnlster a^pect, carne and a^ked alms, in God'» 
male, al the «ime time looking narrowly tround* A pìcce 
of bretd wa» gtren htm, which he recchcd, and placed in 
tb biaicet« with Ul-dìiAemblcd indlfferecicc. He thcn loitercd. 



MO ALEaSANDHO MANZONI 

and macie mzny iin^titric», wlth a fnìxcd air of ttnpudtnce 
imnd hcsitation, to whìdi Agneac atdeavoured to makc replica^ 
^exactly coniraty to the mitii. Whcn aboat to depart, hM 
prctcfìdcd to mistakc the door, and wetit la that tt the foolT 
of tlie stairs, glaocing hastily tipwards, as wdl ai he cotildi 
On thcir ealling btm back^* Hty I bey 1 where are you gomg, j 
my good man ? — ibis way I * ht turncd and wcnt out by the 
|door ihat wms pouited out tu hìm, exaising bimieìf wìtb a 
kiubinii«ion. and an afìfectcd humilìty, that ili «ccordcd with 
Itht fierce and hard ftaturca of hi» face- After hiai dopjir-j 
hm^t thcy contintied to mark, Iroin timc to time» othcr sufi] 
^pìdtmi and itnmgc fìgurcs, It wab not eait>' to discern whatj 
kind of m«n they were; yet ttiìJ they eould not believt tbeai| 
lo be th« unpretending passem-by they wiihed to appear. 
One wotild enter under preterite o( asking tlie way; othera, 
arriving at the door, slacketicd tbeir pace, and peeped. 
Ihrough the little yard into the roonif as H wisbing to 
rwiihout esurttìng »uiptcJon« At lait, towarda noon^ the 
[innoytng aitd alartnttsg appearances coaaad, Agnese got upl 
loccasìonalty, and croi&ed the little yard to tlte itrcetdoor, [ 
to recofinoìtre ; and after looking anxioualy aroiuid on cillicr 
side, rfttttmtd with the tntelUgcncc, *There*s nobody;' 
words wbicb ahe utlercd with pleasure, and Lucia beard witJi 
kaiiitfaGtioo^ ncitber one nor tbr otbcr knowing ezactly tha 
rcason why. But an undcJined dtinjuìetudc hauuted thcir j 
steps, and, with Lucia cspcciaUy» in tome dtgrce cooied the* 
Còttrage they had &umtnoned up for the proceedtngs of tii< 
evtnlng* 

The reader. however, must bc told »omcthtng more definhf | 
aboul ihese myatertons wand^rera; and to ftlate il in order^ 
Wt ditet turn back a step c^r two, and find Don Rodrign 
*wboQi wc left yestcrday after dinner by htm»elf^ tn otie 
^tbe rùoms ni bis palaee, after tlìt depaittue of Faiber^ 
Criftoforo* 

Don RòcHfo, as we bave tald. paced badcwardi and f or* 
wafds with long atrides in thia spaeloas apartmeni« mir 
roanded on ali s^ides by the famik portralti of many gf^era*^ 
tioiif. Wben be resacbod tlte wall and tumed round, hti 
cye refted upoa tha figure of one of hit wariike ancestoriy 
Lfbe tcnror of hta cnemiai» and of hia onm soldìars ; wbo, wiC 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



im 



k stem gTii» touotetiance* hia short hair standing erect froin 
hx$ forehcad, hts large ^harp whiskers covering hìs cheeks, 
aiid bis hooked chin, stood like ^ warrior, clotlied in a com- 
plete sult o£ Steel armour, with bis righi band pressing bis 
fiide^ and ibe ìcft grasping die bilt of bis sword Don 
Rodrigo gajEed ypoa it, and wben be arrived beneatb it, 
imA turiied ba^k, behdd before him anotbcr o£ bis fore- 
fatbers, a magistrate, and the terror o£ Uttgants, seatcd in 
a high cbair, covcrcd with cnmson velvet, envelopcd m an 
ami>ìe biade robe, so that he was entireìy biade, exceptlng 
fof a white collar, with two large bands, and a lìnìng of 
«ab!«, tumed wrong side otitwards, (this was the distinctive 
mark of senators, but only woro in wtntcr ; for wbich reason 
tbc picturc of a senator in sumnier-dothtog is never niet 
with.) squalid, and ftowning; he held in bis band a memo* 
rial, and seemed to be saytng, 'We shall see/ On the oae 
band was a matron, the terror of ber matds ; on the otbcr, 
an abbot, the terror of bis monks; in short, tbey wcrc ali 
persoQS who had been objects of terror whiìe alive, and 
wbo i>ow tiìsptred dread by thetr lìkenesses. In the presence 
o£ sudi remembrancerSj Don Rodrigo became enragcd and 
jubaniied, as ht reAected diat a frìar bad dared to come to 
him with the parable of Nathan: and bis nitnd could fìnd 
PO pesce. He would form a pian of revenge» and thcn aban- 
don it; seek bow» at the same lime, to satisfy bis passion« 
and what he callcd bis hotiour; and sometimes, hearing tbe 
bdimiing of the propìiecy resounding in bis eara, be would 
mfotuntarily shudder, and he almost indincd to gtve up the 
idea of the two satisfactions. At last, for tbe sake of doing 
MMnethìng, he caìied a servant, and desìred bim to niake 
an apology for him In tbe company» and to say tbat he was 
deiaiodd hy wrgcjH business. Tlic scrv^ant retiirned with the 
Imdligiaioe tbat tbe gctilleniext, having kfl thesr compii* 
BiaitSk had taken tbeir leave. 

•And Cotmt Altìlìo?' askcd Don Rodrigo, stili pacing the 
room. 

* He Uft with tbe centlemen, ilhistrious Signor.* 

' Vcry wcll: six follower* to accompany me— «itiiddy | ingf 
Wmonì, cJoak and bat, imiiKdialdy ! * 

Tbe servant rcpliod by a bow and witlkdfcw, retumiiig 




ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

shortlj wìth a ricb sword« which hh mastef kicklecl on» ft 
doak which !ic thrcw over hi? slioaldcrs^ and a hat, onia- 
m et] ter! wìth lolty plumcit, which he placcd on hir. head, and 
fastcned wiih a haughty air. He thcn movcd forward, and 
found the *Ì3E bravuc!* at tlic tlmir, conipktely nrmcdt who* 
making way for him, wìth a low bow. folbwcd as his trafn. 
More surly, more haugrhty, iind mare supcrcilious than usualp 
li e Icft his pakce^ and tcjok ih e way towarda Lecco, amtdtt 
the *alutatiofis and profaund how» of tlie pcas^isitJ he tmp- 
pcned to mcct ; and the ill-maiincred wight who would havc 
vcnturcd to pass wìthoiit takìng ofìF hi» hut, mtght considcr 
he had purcha»ed the cxcmption at a dirap rute, b;id the 
hravocs in the train becn contcntcd mercly to cn force rcspect 
hy a blow on Ihc head, To thcsc sahitatian» Don Rodrigo 
made no acknowledjjment ; hut to mcn of highcr rank^ thoa){tt 
fttlll indispulably infcrior to his own, he replicd XHhh con- 
Straìned courtesVi !Ic did noi rhancr* th»?c time^ tnit whcn 
he did happcn to mect wì r, the Cov- 

ernor of the Castle, the t 'ìy profound 

ofi both sidcs; ìt was likc Ihe lìicetiT ■r\"«. who 

have nothìng to ihart' ì^'f^^i-. ti d . nìc tu .- 

^lake, pay reipcct lo ' 

time, and» by the sigbl ni i.ir «untT'/nt mt-'/s uru] iir[M\-u,nir, 

to bantiih the tma^c of the frìar, which conlintially haiititi*d 
hts mi lui» Doti Rodrigo entercd a house wh^ :c party 

was a!»*ien5l«Ied, and where he waii receivccl \', tfhdoiis 

and n-^pcctfid cordìality rcservcd for ibose wfao are greatly 
court cfl» and greath' feared* Late at night he rcttirned to 
hts own paface. and fotind tliat Comit AltJUo had just ar* 
rivcd; ami thcy sat down to supptr togvtficr» Don Rodrigo 
barieil in thouf|rlit« and %'cry silent 

*CotiJiin, wl " you pay yoar wagcr?' asked Conni 

AliillOp tn a I . ^nd at the Rame tinte rallying, tone» 

Si toofi aa Uie tablc was deared, aod the servants haft 
departed. 

'St Martin has not yct passed' 

' Wel], remcntber yon wUt liave to pay H sood ; for aO tbo 
Eiu in the calcntEar wìU pass before . • / 

*Tliii bas lo he »cen yeL* 

*CùUAÌn, you waat to ptay the poUddan; bmt I taideritaiid i 



I PROMESSI BTOm 



109 



and I aro ^ tttt^n of haraig won my wager, that ! am 
ady to lay anothcr/ 
•Whnt?' 

*T cr . * . the Fathcr • . , I mcan, in short, 

tbàt ^ > ccmvertcd you*' 

* It is a mere fancy of yottr own/ 

• CoRTcrted, coùsin ; conierted, I ssy. I, Cor my pari» 9m 
éeligtited at it What a fine sight It will be to sce yoti qoite 
penitenti with downcast eyesl And what triumph for thia 
Fathcr! How proudly he must bave retumed to the con- 
Tenti You are not siich fish as they catch cvery day, nor 
in cvery net You inay be aure they will bring you forward 
is ao eacaitipìc ; and when they go on a missioti to some little 
diitiiice, they will talk of your acts. I can fancy I hear 
llient' And, ipeaking through his nose, accompanying the 
wtmb with c^ricatiired gestures, he continued, ii! a sermon- 
like toae> *' In a certaia part of the worid, which from 
mottres 01 high respect we forbear to name, there lived, my 
desr hesrers, and there stili lives, a dissolute gentleman» the 
friend of w«w«en ratlier than of good men, who, accustomed 
m oiake no disttnctions, had set his cycs upon , . .** 

*That will do . . . enough/ interruptcd Don Rodrigo, hall 
aarajcd and halt amioycd: ' If you wi$h to repeat the wager^ 
I am ready, toc* 

•Indcedl perhapd^ then, yau bave converted the Father?' 

•Doo*t talk to tnc about him: and as to the bet, Saint 
Martin will decide/ The cuflostiy of the Count was aroiised; 
li€ pnt oiimberle«s questiotis, but Don Rodrigo coatrivcd to 
evade tbctn ali» referting èvcr>'t!iitjg to the day of decision^ 
and ttiiwilling to communicate designa which wcre neithcf 
brgttn nor absolutcly dcteniiined upon. 

Noci morning, Don Rodrigo was himsclf again. The slight 
eampQOcrtion tliat ^a day wUl come' had awakened m bis 
anod, had vanialied wttb tlte dream!?: n( * « ; and notb- 

ti^ renmtncd but a feeling of dcq* ii n, rcfidered 

«are vtvW by remorse Inr his pAssing weakncss, Tlie re* 
ncmbranee of bis late altiio&ttf mtnphant w^k, of the pro- 
fofind safittation», and the rcceptions he bad met wlih, 
lùfetlter with the rally ìng of his cotiftìn, had contrìbuted 
ttH a little to rcnew bis former aptrit» H&rdly riacD» te 



uo 



ALEMANDRO MANKftKI 



icnt for Griso —Somcthing tmportant.— thought the terrjmt 
to whom the ordcr was given; for the tnan who bore this 
assumed namc was no Icss a pcrscimge than tht bcad of 
tbe bravoes^ lo whom the boldest and most daageroua entcr- 
prises wcre confided, who was the most tnisted by hi» mas- 
ter, und was dcvotcd to htm, at ali risks, by gratiuìde and 
interest Guilty of murder» he had »oyght the protection 
of Don Rodrigo, to escapc th<? pursiiit of justscc; and he, 
by takìng him ìnUt bis servir e, had .iheltered him from the 
rcach of pcrs cent IOTI, He re, by engagtfig in cven* rriine 
that wa* rtqnired of him, he was secured from th 
rnent of llie first fatilt To Doti Rodrigo the acqtii -1 

becTì of no small unportance; fot this Griso, beeides being 
imdoubiedly the toost courafeous of tìic household, wms m\m 
1 itpccinieii of what hi* master had becn ab!c to attempt wilh 
impunlty agiiin§t ihe Ia%va; so that Dan Rodrigrt*s power wa$ 
aggraodlied both in reality and in common opinion. 

' Griso ! ' taid Don Rodrigo* * iti this emcrgenqr it will 
be seen what you are worth. Before to-morrow, Lucia must 
he in thi& palace/ 

' It »hall ne^er be sald thal Griso shrank from the com* 
mand of his noble protoctor/ 

* Take as many men aj( you waiit, dispose and order tbeitt 
&5 you thìnk hest, only ]et the thing succeed wdl Btlt, 
abo\'e ali, he fure you do hcr no harm/ 

' Signor, a Httle fright. that she niay not make too mocb 
QOiSc . . * one cannot do lesa.* 

' Fca? « . » f see * • • ìs ìncvitable. But doni you toticli 
8 hair of ber head; and, above aJJ, trcat ber with the gr«at- 
est respect« Do you understand ? ' 

•Signor, I couJd not pluck a flowcr from ita atalk, atid 
brliif it to your lord^hìp, without toucliìiig It a little. But 
I wtU do no more than ia neccssary/ 

* Beware you do nou And . . . bow wiU you manage?* 

' I was thinking, Signor. It ta fortunate that the house 
is at the end of the village. We »hall want a place to eoii<» 
ccftT ourselves in: and a* ^ ^i"^-" AUf.^nr,^ ^'^ *'fe*s tliat isnin* 
habitrd building in Uie t liSt tioose « , ^ 

btsl your lordihìp knows i Tn:n.;:t . , a tiouae 

diat waa kumt down i - ; and ihere bave btm 



I PEO^IE^t SPOSI 



lU 



Rad 



is lo irbiiild li, so tt is forisaken^ and is liauoted 
iches; bui It b not Satunlay, tnd I doni caro for ìhtttu 
The vilìago"» are so soperstitious, they wouldn*t eater it any 
night of die week for a treasure, so we tnay safdy dbpose 
cmrsftlires there^ wtihout any lear of beìiig diittirbed In our 
pJàns.' 

* Vciy good: juid what theaT 

Hcrc Gneo wcnt cn to proposei «ad Doti Rodrigo to d^i- 
i^c t.if tjiuy iijicj^ togcthcr, conccrtcd a way to brìn^ the 

t e to 4ti end without a trace of ks anthors femaìn- 

1 ncy cvcn coiìtrived means to turn ali the tuaptcìons, 
màking false indicatìons, apon another quarter ; to import 
alluce upcm poor Agneie; to inspire Renzo with such fear 
a$ wouid overbalance hia grìcl, efface the ttiowght of haviitg 
moourte to the law, and cven the wìih to complaìiì; and 
iged ali the other foìnor viliainics ncccssary to the sue* 
of this principa! ooe, We will omit the aecount of 
esc consultations, however, because, as the reader witl 
cdve> they are tiot necess&ry to the comprehension of 
V and tt will only be tediotis, both to him and us, 
io ouiéelves for any Icngth of time with the dis- 
etmiocia of these two detestable villams. It wìU suSEee to 
iay that, as Griso was on the pcint of leavtng the room, to 
go abooi tht execution of hìg tmdertakiug at once. Don 
Rodrigo called him back» aod satd» ' Listen : si by any chance 
tlits fash down ifaould molest you to-ntght, it would not bi 
amila 41 you wcre to give him somethLag to remember, on 
hia aliouldtra» by way of antìdpation, By thìs means, the 
eoramand to keep qtilet^ whìch shall be intìmated to him to- 
norrow. will more surely take effect But don't go to look 
foc ìdm, Icst yon shonld tpoil what is of more Importance, 
you understand me?* 

* Leave it to me,* replJed Griso, bowtxig with an obseqtiiotii 
oftentatloui air, as fit departed* 

Tbe morntng was ipent In reeomnoitring the neighbovir» 
btiod The fdjjned beggar who had intrcded him self 90 
pcTtlDaciouity ìnto Agnese's htimble cottage, wa» no oiher 
lliaii GriftOi who had i^ime to get an idea ci tJie pian of the 
boQSe by sìght; the pret^tded pa«5engers wcrc his vite fol* 
lowerc» wht», operatinif under hit ordert^ requind a 




m 



Af^F^l^ANIIHO MAN7X)N1 



Liniaute acquaintancc with the place* Thdr ob^crvatians : 

^bciitg made, thty witlidrew from notice, Icst ihcy iihould ' 
txcììt too much sitspicion, 
' Whcn they retiimcd to the pàlmce, Gri»o made fii» rqjort, 

^arran^cd ddinitcty tlic pian of the entcrprisc^ asstgticd lo^ 
cadi hià dififercnt part» and gavc bis inatnictions. Ali thia 
could wot be transacted wiihout ihc old scn*ant*s obsucrvatioii, 
who^ with his cyca and eara CQnstantJy on the alcrt, dt«- 
covcrcd that they were plottìng some grcat under laking. By 
dìnt of watching and qtic gctting half a hìtit liere, 

and another hnlf thcrr, * ^ng in his own mind on 

limbigiiaus infercnces, and intcrpreting myi»tcritm» dq>ar* 
tures, he at Ien|;^h catue to a prctty clcar knowledgc of 
ali the dcsigns of the evening* But whcn he was assurcd 
of thcm, li was vcry ncar the timc» and alrcady a smaU; 
detachiuent of bravocs had Icft the palacc, and set off te 

'COiictal thcmsclves tii tbc niincd building. The poor old 

[ man^ althouijh he wcll knew what a dangerous game he 
was playing, and fearcd, hesidcs* that he was doing tio 
cfiictcnt scrvice, yet failtd not to fiilfii hts engageiB^f^' ^^e 
went out^ under pretctice of laking the air, and j 1 1 

In great baste to the convent, to give FaUier CrUin 

[pronused informatiofu Shorlly afternard*» a «ceri 

' of hravoes were «enl out, one or two at a liitìc» f 
tiiight not appcar to be onc company. Griso mmh 
rcar, and thcn nothing remai ned behìtid but a Ittter, vrhtc 
was to be broaght to the place of rendezvoui after dark 
Whcn tlicy were ali a^sembled there^ Griso dcspatcbed ilire 
of them to tJic ino m ibe vi!f: - wajs to pbce him&ell 

|jlt the door, to watch the rtn in the slrecl, and tei 

give notjce when ali il 

oilicr Iwo were to r» 
if cnjoyiog tbctnseke»» but were also to be on the lookoat; 
if anything waa to be »cen, Griso, with die bi>dy of 
troop, waìted in aixLbitsc&de ili] tfie tìme of action ahci 
arrive- 

The poor old fnaD was ititi on hh way, the three Koati 
had arrived «t tbeir pont, ai * as settlng, wh« 

Reruo entered the cottage, u.. <* wouien* ' Todìi 

rMd Gervaie are bere oatatde: l ém ^uìiì^ with tbem to 



1 PHOMESSI SPOSI 



113 



al t né inn : ami at the soun^J of the A% e -Mar la, we will come 
to fctch jro». Come* Lucìa, courage; ali dcpcnds tipon a 
momcnC Lucìa sighcd» and replicd, * Oh yes, courage ! * wìth 
^ tnn^ ihat beli ed ber words. 

a Renzo and hh two companìoni reached the iun, 
li] tv* lound the bravo already there on the watch^ leaaing 
witii bis back agaiost odc of t!ie jambs of the doorway» so 
às tu ocaxpy half its width, bis arms folded across bis breast» 
and gìancmg with a prylng look to the rtght and kit, show- 
ing akumately the blacks and whites of two grìffin-hke cyes, 
A fiat cap of crimson \*elvet, put on sideways, co%^cred half 
the k>ck of hair which, partcd oo a dark forehead, tcrminated 
m tresses confined by a comb at the back of the head. He 
bdd in one hand a short cudgel; his weapons, properly 
speaking« werc not visible, but one had only to look at his 
face, and e%*en a child wouid bave guessed thai he had as 
fittiiy tiiider bis dotlies as he could carry. When Remo, 
the foremost ol the three, approaclied him and secmed pre- 
pfared to cntcr, tbc bravo fixed his eycs upon him> wìtbout 
ilt^-f-irtir.T to make way; but tbc youtb, intent on avoiding 
ar 'ns or dispules, as people generally are who bave 

an nun rtc undertakìng in band, did not even stop to say 
*inake room;* btit gratìng the otbcr door-post, pushed, sidc- 
fof he opening left by this Caryatides. His 

Cfy :4iged to practise the same manoeuvre, if 

ihcy wtshcd to ciitcr. When tbey got in, they saw the others 
wHoic voiccs thcy had heard outside, sittmg at a table, play- 
iniC ai Mora.* botb cxclatmitig at once, and altcrnately pour- 
tng oat something to drink f rom a farge flask placed between 
them. They fixed iheir eyes steadily on the new comers; and 
ime of thent, espccially, holding ìm right band extended In 
the air, with thri*'!^ irnonnous fìngcrs just shoi forth, and 
his OK' cf the word 'six/ which burst forth 

at the Tizo fram head to foot^ and glanced 

firM at his cotnpanion, and then at the one at the door, 

*TliÌi U a i'-— * -'- ■ — *■ ^^ty«i hy unr -' *^— ^'jddenly estvndìA^ 
«or mmah^ ■■■ ^it^ utd caI »ame moment far 

"i<? ^t*^^*>' ■ ''*'' ►ip »t once, by 



mità in muLi . 

^CBt litmifttt «mong %ht ìLsmMk petMiitnr* 



U he 
tàe «peakcTi 



1ÌI 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



who rcpiicd with a nod of hh head. Renm» suspìciotii and 
doubtfut, looJccd ut hin friend», as tf seekiog iti Ihctr coan- 
teoaricci an interprctaUuti of ali these gestttres; but tlieir 
couiìtamricfis indicutcd nothìog; beyond a jood apprtite« The 
landlortl approach^d tti rcccìvc liii ordcrs, and Remo tnade 
Mm acconìpany him mto mn adjdntng roonii and ordered 
some attppen 

* Who are thosc straijgers? ' aslced he, in a low voice, when 
.bJs host rcttirncd wtth a coane tab]c*eloth under hU arm^ 

aod a bottk in hit band. 

* I don't know thcm/ rcpHcd the host, sprcading Ihe 
tal ik- dodi, 

* What I none of them ? * 

*Yoy know," rcpliud he, again smoothing the cloth on 
the Ublc with both hìs hands, ' that the first ntle of our 
basìntEs ÌÉ not to pry into othcr pcople's affair»; eo that 
cren ouf womcn are not inquisitive. It would he hard wf>rk« 
imitli the multi tudc of folk that come and go: aiways tUce 
harbour — whcn the time» are good, i mcan; bui let us 
iccr up now, for there may come bettcr dayj. AH we care 
for ist %vhethef our custoiiier» are honcst fcllows; wbo tbcy 
or are not^ beyond that, is nolhing to uk But, ccxnel 
'^Hl brìng you a dtsh of Jiash, the likc of whicb youve 
ncvcr tastcd/ 

* How do you know , * *? ' Rcnxo was beginnìng: feut tàe 
landlordt alrcady on bis way to the kitchen, paid no attentioa 
to hii inqutry. Here, while he wai taking up the stiewiog- 
pan 111 wbìch was tiic abovcmentioned ha«h, tbe bmvo who - 
had eycd cmr youth so cIoKely accotted the ho»tf and ia!il« 
bt an underionc, ' Who are tbo§e good meo ? * 

* Wonhy pt*opte of the vltlage/ repMed he^ pourtùg l3m 
hoAli *oto the dish, 

* Vcry weìl: btit what are tbey cftUed? Who are theyf 
l^insiated he* hi a »harp tone. 

' One is calJed Rot^o/ r^lied the hoit, speaking tu a low 
ì% votiih rcckoncd— a ailk weavcr, who onder- , 

I i V well. The ofher Is a peasant of the name 

M Ionio, a goud jovbl cotnrude; pity he tias su [tv 
il alJ bere. The third ta a ilmpletocu who ci- 
{ty wbatcvef ia set before lììm. By yotir laaire' 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



115 



Ith these words and a slight bow, he passed twtweea 
«tovc and ih€ intctrogator, aud carried the dish Into the 
iscxt rootiL * How do jrou know/ resumed Renzo, wh<^n lie 
saw him reappear , * that tliey are honcst tnen, if you dòit*t 

* By tbdr actions, tny good felbw — mefi are knowti by 
thdr acUcnis* Those who drink wine without criUctzing it: 
wiiEn show the face ol the King upon the counter wìthoul 
prating; who don't quartcl wìth othcr customers; and il they 
owc a hJow to any one, go nutside and away from the imi 

givc ìt, so that Uie poor ìandlord isn't brought tnto the 
ipc;— thcsc are honcst men* However, tf onc couìd know 
y*body to he honest, as wc four know one anotìier, It 
wotUd be better, But why are you so inquisitive on thes^ 
matte 1 you are a brldegroom, and ought to hstvt 

odicr in your head? and with this hash hefore you, 

enotjgh to make the dead rise agatn ? ' So saying, he retumed 
to the kitchen 

Ottr autfìor, remar king upon the difìferent tnanner in whtch 
tba landlord satìsficd these various inqttiries, sayB he was 
oae who in word» made fcreat prof essi ons of friendship for 
boo^t men in general but who !n practice paid much more 
atlention to thosc wha had the charactet and appearmoce of 
knvca. He was, as every onc must percelve, a man of 
•bg^tilAT eharacter. 

The supper was net very hKtliesome. The two mvited 
gticstx wofuid bave dcliberately en^oved the tinusua! grati- 
ficatiocu but the invitcr, prc-occupied by — the rcader knows 
what ^ and isncasy at the strange bchaviour of theie 

fecok -^ impatjent for the tinte of depmrtiire* He 

wgckc la aii underton^ out of rcspect to the strangers, and 
in brokcn and hurried words. 

*V\1iat a fine thtng/ suddenly cscdaitned Gervase, *that 
Reiuo ^^ntn lo marry, and is obltged , . . ! * Renxo gavc 
lini a savage look, and Tonio exclaimed, * Hold your tongue» 
^npldon ! * acconr-^ ^- "^ epithet wìth a knock of hts 
dbow* Tlie eonv -ed tiU the end of the meal 

Beo? ^"ricof, maoiged lo belp 

Mi § as to insptre tbem wìth 

taSdent Mdncss» wiihout making them giddy and he* 



I 



llfl 



ALESSANDUO MANTONI 



wildercd. Supper Heing over, and the bill havitig becn patd 

by the onc whc> hiuì donc the teast cxecutkm, thcy had aj^min 

Lio pans under the scrutini zìng eyes of the threc bravoes, 

vho gaz ed carnestly at Rcuìco, as ihcy had don e on bis 

aitrauce. Whcn he had proccctlcd a few pacca from the 

uni, he looked round, Juid saw thai he was lollowcd by tlic 

two bravocf whom bc had Icft iiltlng m the kìtchen ; so he 

«tood stili wllh his companions, as mudi as lo «ay, 'Lei 

[na ace what tficsc fcllowa wani with me* On pereeiTing, 

Ihowevcr, that they werc obscrved» thcy al«o stoppcd short,, 

[mìa speakbig to cach othcr hi a supprcssed voice, lurncd' 

[back agatn. Had Rcn^o bcen ncar cuough to Tiave hcard 

llheir wotds^ the followìnig^ woutd bave ntnick him as vcry 

[itrange: ' Il will he a fine thing; howcver, wtthotit oountms 

tbc drinktng-rnoncy,* «aid cme of the villaiiis, *if wc can 

rehtc, oo our return to the palate, tliat we made thcm lay 

their arma in a htirfy;— by ourselres, too, witboutj 

^Signor Grbo hcrc to givi! onIcr»r 

'And >pot1 the princìpal business ! ' replted tJir othcr, 
*Scc, they Ve discovcred something; they are *toppìug to 
look at tis. Oh, I wìih it waa latcrf I^ u» turn 
or they'll surcly suspect us! Don'l yoa see peopte are' 
coming in tvcry direction? Let u» wait tilt theyVe ali gone 
to lied; 

Therc was, in fact, that atimng— that roti fiT«ed huxa--> 
which h n%nMy hrard in a villaKe on ' of e» 

Ing, and wbich sJiortly afterwards gT\ e «ole 

stiline** of night. Womcn arrived frotn the li cidi, 
their infanta oa tJieJr backs, and holdìn{£ by the band thi 
elder ehildreo* wboot ihey werc lieariug rcpeat thdr cventni 
* * * — 'ore on thetr «bouìdcrt tltcìr apule 
hltt)^ of htisbattdry. On the openlof 

'the ^ righi gleam of lì^bt iparkied from tli 

fift , "led to prepare their humbfe evcniii 

In the Street inliclìt he heard laltifations excbange 
'lofelt^ with brief and !iad rerti^^lt r,n the fcarelty ol 
tlie harvest, and the poverty of ti while, abcjvr 

rciotinded t* ^ - « .^ i - i*- ^f ^^^ i^^^^ 

which anno ti«o law that 

hÌB iwo indtÀcrcet luilavicia Uad riitiitU, bc eootiituol hta 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



117 



fwny ^imid the iiscreaaing darkness, occasIonaUy, !n a low 

[ione, rclr editing the memories of one or other of the brothers 

some poiat of thetr dutics they might bc likciy to lorget. 

'Wbcn be arrtved at Ltìcia's cottage, the night had quile 

do^ed m. 

* Betwees die actlng of a dfeadful thing/ 
^ uys 1 fomgD vrriter, wha was not wanting in discemment, 

* Asd tbe irst ntotìoii» ali the mterìm ts 

hzà atiffered for several hours the horrors of such 

a dream; and Agnese — Agnese herself, the author of the 

design, was tmrìcd in thought, and eould scareely find words 

to e&courage hcr daugìitcr* Bui at tlie moment of awaking, 

3t ihe moment when one h called upon to begin the drcaded 

, tindertakiiig, the nihid is instantly trans formed* A ncw 

Iterroi' and a new couragc sticcced those which bcfore strug- 

Ifìcd wtthtn; the cnterprise prcsaits iiself to the intnd h'kc a 

[^lre*b apparitJon: that whìch at first sight, was most dreadcd, 

somctimcs renclered easy in a motiicnt ; and, on the 

hand, an obstack* which, at first, was scarcely noticed. 

5tiKs fontiidablc; the imagination shrinks back alarmtd. 

Hmbs refnse to iuìùì their ofBce, and the heart rcvokes 

Itile fwomiscs that werc made with the greatest confìdeace. 

lAt Renxo*s smoihered knock* Lucia was $e]2cd with such 

llciTOr, that, at the moment* she resolvcd to sufifer snything, 

ili Ile F^ ' n hìm for ever rathcr Ihan execute the 

retotuti . :adc; bui when he had stood before ber, 

and Itftd &aid, ' Ikrc 1 am. lei us go' — ^when ali were ready 

fu accompany htm without he^ìtatìon^ as a fixed and irre- 

thing, Lueta had oeithcr tittie «or heart to interpose 

*.aea; and, almost dragged along, shc tremblingly took 

; ano o( her mother, and one of hcr betrothed» and «et 

turesomc party, 

1 the dark, and with slow ateps, they pasied 

ok the road thnt led out of the vìllage- 

>ould bave heen to bave gone tbrougU 

Don Abi>oDdio*s house, at the other et^d ; but they 

kmger csmrse, as befng the most retired. After 

alocif Utile narrow roads Ihat ran between g:ardefis 



ALESSANDRO MAN20K1 

'»nd ficlds, thc>^ arrived ncar the house, and fiere thcy 
Ldmded* The two lovers remamed hiddca bchind a corner 
|of ìht lìuìldtng; Agut&e was with tbcm* but stood a little 
'forwardef, thit she niight be ablc io run iti tinic lo mcet 
Perpetua» and tnkc possession of her. Ionio, with bis block* 
head o£ a brother, Gervase, who knew how to do aotlibg hy ' 
iBìmseìf, and without whom nothìng could be done, baateitcd 
(boldly forward, atid knockcd at the door; 

*Who's thcrc, at siicb aa hour?' cricd a voice from «J 
ivindow, that was tbrown open at the moment: it was the 
voice of Perpeltia. ' There's nobody ìli, Uiat I know of. 
jBut, perhaps, some accidctit has happencd?* 

*It is 1/ replied Tonio» 'with my brotlier; we want to 
speak to the Signor Curate/ 

*h thìs an hour for ChristiaDS?' rcplfed Perpetua, shariH 
ìy. * You ve no eoosideratioiu Come agaìn to-morrow/ 

'Listen; lìl come again, or net, just as you likc; IVa 
icrapcd togethcr nobody knows how much money» and carne 
to sctile ihat little debt you know of, Here, I had tìve*and-i 
twcnty fine ncw berlinghe: but il one cannot pay, ne ver 
[ mind ; l know well enough how to spend thcse, and TU corno 
again, when Tve got togcther some more** 

* Wait, wait I ni go, and bc back in a moment But wby 
come at sudi an hour? ' 

* if you can change the botir, IVc no obj^tion ; as for iii«^.j 
bere I am ; and if you don*t want me, Vl\ go.' 

•No, no; watt a moment; HI bc back with the answtr^ 
directly/ 
So saying, sht fibut the wlndow agaln, At ihh tnstantgl 
ncfte left the lovers, and saytng, in a low voice to Lucii 
^Ccurage! it is but a moment; it's onty like dniwiog 
looth/ joined the two brotlicrs at ihc door, and began gott3{|K| 
ing with Tonto, so that^ when Perpetua should return 
&ec hetp sbc mtgbt think shc wos ju&t passing by^ and 
Tonio had dctaiucd her (or a tnomeoL 



CHAPTER Vin 



CARNEADESI who was he?— thought Don Abbondio 
io hinisdf, Bs he sat in hìs arm-chair^ in a room up- 
&taìrij whli a tìfnall volume lyìng open before him, 
just ai Perpetua rntered to bring him the message, — Car- 
Dcadesì I ? ave heard or read thla name; k must b« 

Écmt man «j ig — foiDe grcat scholar o£ antiqui ty; b is 

jim like onc of thdr names ; but whoever was he ? — So far 
waa the poor man from foreseetng the itorm tbat w&$ gather- 
ÌD|^ov«rhÌsfipad. 

Tbo r«a4er must know that I>on Abbondio was very food 
cif i^adlag a UltJe every day; and a neighbouring Curate, 
wto |K>s8eii€d )g of E library, lent him one book 

after another, akmg the first that carne to band. 

T!i€ work widi which LMin Abbondio was now engaged (bcìng 
ilready convalescent, after hìs fever and fears, and even 
more advanccd in his recovery from the fcver than he wlghcd 
sbotild be believed) was a panegync in honour of San Carlo, 
which had becn deli ver ed with much eamestness, and llstened 
lE» with grcat r ^n, in the Cathedra! of Milan, two 

fCKn bcforc. t had been compared, on account of 

tua love of study^ to Archimedea : and so far Don Abbondio 
had mct with no «tambling -block : because Archimedes has 
cxecnted *tich grcat work5, and hat rendered hìs naoie so 
famoua, that it requircd no vcry vast fund of enidition to 
Imow somcthingr abotit him, But after Archìmcdes, the orator 
ato compare* his saint to Cameade», and bere ihe reader 
net yv^ih n check* At th'- poìnt, Perpetua annoiinced the 
fi io. 

,. hourl* exelaimcd Don Abbondio, also, natyr^ly 

OKltl|[lu 

'\Vhat wouW you bave, sir? Tbey bave no consideration, 

tsdecil; but tf ytm don'i take htm whoi you can get hha , . / 

'li I don't takc him now» wfao knows wben I can? Lei 

U8 




130 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



him come in . . , Hcyl hey !— Perpetua, tre you quitc ture 
k ir Tonio ? • 

' Diavolo I ' repHed Perpetua ; and going dowit-sUirs, sbe 
opoicd the door, and said. 'Whcre are you?' Tonb ad- 
vanced, and, at the samc monient, Agnese showed hcfielfi 
md &alt]tcd Perpetua by name. 

*Good cvcntng, Agnese,' «aid Perpetua; *wherc are you 
contfng from at this hour?* 

* 1 am eomtng from • * ♦ mentioning a neìglibòurlog 
viUage. ' And if you knew , , , * continucd she; * Itve bccn 
kept late |uBt for yont sake.' 

•What for?' asked Perpetua; aiid turntng to the l¥ro 
brothcrs, ' Go in/ said slie, * and 11! folìow/ 

* Bccausc/ rcplicd Agneaic, *a gossìping womant wlio 
knows nothing about tbc aiattcr . . . wouid you bclieve tt? 
persists in saybig that you were not eiarried to Beppo 
Siiolavccchla, nor to Anselmo Luiighigna, bccau&c lliey 
wouldn*! bave you! I maintaincd tliat you bad refused 
botb one and tbc otbcr . . / 

*Tù bc sure* Oh» what a fa1«c-tongued woman! Who 

*Don't ask me; I dcus't want to make miscbief/ 

* You sball teli me ; you intist teli me, I say she'a Z 
false body/ 

* Well, wcll • . . but you ^ lìnk hnw vcxaì I was 
Uiat I didn*t know tbc wb y, that I migbt bave 
piit brr down/ 

* It h an aljominablc falsdiood/ aaid Perpetua — 'a mo&t 
ìnfamous falscboodJ As to Beppo. everybody knows, and 
mtjibt bave sccn . , , ìicy ì Tonio ; just dose the door, and 
go Dp-stairs ti 11 I come/ 



T 
cai 

Stf 

tlVL 

A* 

m Li 



1 ber 



'it 



entefi frmn within^ and Perpetua 
n. hi ffnni nf Tì'm Abbondio** *l 
nnly con 

tumcd T , 

it torw.T thU Mrrct, as il sbe wouW go 

Jc to spc..,. ... ffccly, and P^^ft^^^t^r. f.,n..t»,.4, 

Wbcn they bad turncd tljp corner, and re;i e 

tbey rouhi no longcr see wliat bappcitefl ' i- 

cUo*t house, Agnese cot^hed badly. Tli 1; 



1 



I FROMBSSI SPOSI 



121 



Reazo hcard tt, and re-ammatkg Ltida by prcssmg her arto, 
tìiey tttmed the corner togetber on tiptoe, crept very softly 
dose aloog the walI, rcach«d the <loor, and gently pushed it 
open^ quiet, and ttooping low, thcy wcrc quickly in the 
fiassa^; mni! bere the two brothers were walting for theim 
Rsizo very gcniJy let down the latch o! the doof, and they 
atl four asceuded tfae staìrs, makmg scarcely noise enoiigli 
for two. On reachlng the landiog, the two brothers advanced 
lovanls tlie dc>or of the room al the side of the staircase, and 
llie lo ver s stood dose against the walL 

*Deù gratia^' said Tonio, in an expLanatory ione. 

*Eli, Tonio! is ÌÉ you? Come in T repHed the voice 
irìtitia* 

Tonio cpened the door, scarcely wide cnough to admtt 
lilmfldf and bis brothcr one at a time. The ray of Jight 
Chat Middenly shone through the opening, and crossed the 
dark Hoor oÌ tlie landbg, made Lucia tremble, as ì£ %h^ 
were «Hscovered. Wben tlie brothers had entered, Tonio 
closed tlie door Inside; the lovers stood tnotionless tn the 
dmrk, their ears intently on the alert, and holding their 
breath; the loudett nojsc was the beating of poor Lucia's 
bcart 

Don Abbondio was seated^ as we bave saìd, in aji old 
anD«<hair, cnvclopcd m an antiqtiatcd drcssmg*gown» and 
ina head bnried in a ababby capp the sbape of a tiara, which, 
by tfa« fatnt Itght of a small lamp, formcd a sort of cornice 
ali ro4znd his face, Two thick locks, whlch escaped from 
bettcath hU haid-dfess« two tbìck cye^browa, two thick mus- 
tadtios» and a tbtck tuft om the chin, ali of them grey, and 
tcattered over Ms dark and %%*riiikled %nsage, might be com- 
pared to busbes ooya-ed with soow, projectìng from the face 

a diff, ài seen by mooolight. 

* Aha l * was hìs satiitmtìon, as he took off bla spectacieSp 
and laid them on hi$ book* 

• T» - ^-^wr Curate will say I ain come very fate.* said 
Tm a low bow, which Gervase awkwardly imilated, 

' LtirTiiiTjiy, it ìa late— iate evcrr way, Don't you know 

voy 90Try Cor it' 
u masi bave bcard I waa Uh and didn't know wboi 




ISÌ 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



But why h«ve yoa 



•^viili the fìgniT of 
u, ijrawmg a little 



I fhotild he Mt iù see urtybody . 
brought Ihìj— thìs boy with yau?' 

' Fot company, Signof CurMc/ 

' Vcry wdl; let us sfsc* 

' Hcro are tweiUy-five nevr òr- 
Saint Ambroic on horseback/ Ba 
pftrcri cut of hl$ pocket* 

' Lct US see/ aaid Don Abbondio; ami lic touk »^ - ^^-i^-fl, 
put on hì8 specUdcs agmin, opcnc^d it, look cut thr r, 

turntd them over and over^ counied them, and founn uicm 
irrq^rcheniìbfa 

' Nowj Signor Curate, you win V:|acc/ 

* You are riglit/ rcpHed Don : to a 
eupboaitt, he took out a key, looking round «» if tei «^rf ^hat 
ali prybiìg apectàlori wtrt al a proper disi ance, openrd one 
of the doorl^ and fili mg up the apert\irc wìth bis ptrson, 
lotrocluc^ bis head to see. and hii arm to reacb. the plcdge i 
thtn drawing II out, he i^liiit the cupboard, unwrappcd the 
paper, and saylng, * li» that tight f folded it up agatn» and 
banded tt to 1 onio. 

*Now/ aaìd TonlOi 'wtll you please to put it in black 
and wbite ? ' 

* Not tiatitlìed ytt I ' sali! Don AbbontUo. * I declare thcy 
know evcryihiiig« £h 1 how KUtpicioua the world has bitcomt I 
Don't yoti tniit me ? ' 

' What I Signor Curale ! Don*t I trust yo«? Yoii do me 
wroD^. But as my name h in your biade booki, on ihe 
debtDf's tide * . » tlieii, aìisce yoa bave had the trotible of 
writìng once« io . , . from tifo co deatb , , / 

* Wdl wdl/ iotcrrupted Don Abbondio; and mutterinf be» 
tween bii tecth, he drcw out one of the tablcKlrawera* took 
thcnce pen, hìk, mid paper* and bc|^n to write, repcatìng the 
wonJa aloud» m they proceeded from his peo. In the mcan 
time, Tonio, and at hit rìde, Genrasse, placed thcmadvei 
standing beibre tJie table in sudi a nianner as to ooncsat tbe 
door ttma tbe view of the writer, and befan to abulie thelr 
feei abolii on the flooTi ai if tn mere idkness» btii» in rtality, 
a« a iìgi%al lo those wtthout to cnltr, and, ai the ì:imv limtt 
lo drown the noise of thcir footitepa. Don Abboi it 
BfQQ bla wrìtiaK» nodced nodibag else. At tbe noU. ^. ,. .ir 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



1^ 



fcct. Rcnxo took Lojcia's ann, pressing it In an encouragtng 
iiiaim«r^ and wtnt forward, altnost dragg^ing her along; for 
ibe tr^nibled to mch a degree, th^t, withoiit hls help. &hc 
must hare Bmk tu l!ie ground* Entering rery sofUy, on 
tiptoe, and boldiog thdr breath, thej placed tliemsclves 
behitid the tmo brottiers. In the mean time, Don Abbondio, 
having finished writiog, rcad over the paper attentively, wilh* 
om fmì&ing hit €ytM; he thcn foldcd it up, sayìng, 'Are you 
content now?' snd taking ofT bis spectacles with one band, 
banded ibe paper to Tonio wìth tbe otber, and looked up, 
Toaio, exieiicijng Mb righi band to raceive ìt, rctired on otic 
vide, and Gervase, at a sìgn from hìm, on the other^ and 
béboid! as at tbe sbìfting of a scene, Renzo and Lucia stood 
bctwttn tbent Don Abbondio saw indistinctly— saw clearly 
— was tcrrified» astoni shed, enraged, buried in tbought^ carne 
to a rcsolution ; and ali tbis, wbile Remo uttered tbe wordà, 
* Signor Ctirate» in tbe presente of tbese witnesses, tbr» Is 
tof wifc' Before^ bowever, Lucia's lips could lorm the 
reply, Don Abbondio dropped the receipt, sciied the larap 
wtth bis lefc hand« and raised it in tbe air, catight hold of 
the doih with bis right, and dragged tt furiously off tbe 
tibie, bringing to the ground In ita fall, hook, paper, ink- 
and sandbox; and* springtng bet%*e^ the chatr and 
ile, advanced towards Lncia. The poor girl, with ber 
gentle voice, trembling violently^ had scarcely tittered 
Ibe W^<b, * And tltlt . . / when Don Abbondio threw the 
doch mdaly oier ber head and face, to prevent her prò* 
aoundng the cnttre forninK Thcn, Ictting tbe ligbt fall 
ftom bis othcr liaod, he etnployed both to wrap tbe doth 
roond ber face, till «Jte was wcU ntgh smothcred. «hoiit- 
iog in the mean while, at tbe stretdi of hi^ voice, like a 
wo^pded bull ; ' Perpetua ! Perpetua f— — hdp ! ' 

Ughty jiiat gftmmenng on the grountJ, Jim and 

ray upoti Ltjcìa, who, in utter con&ternation, made 
:einpt f^ r!«.^*^«T^g^ hersclf, and ntight he cotnpared to 
a fiatile §n: n diafk, over which tlie artificer had 

^owQ a wei cR^iiu WTien tlie lighl died away, Don Ab- 
bondio i|uitted the poor girU and wetit groping about to 
ened iiUo Bn hiner room; and Itaviog 
tcd and ahut hims^f in, twoeaàmz:ly 



H^Rbi 



IH 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



cxckiiiitng, * Pcrprhial trcadicry, hclpl Oirt of the boosel 
out of the house ! ' 

Io the othcr rootn ali was eonlusioTi: R«n£0, seeking to 
lay fiotti of the Curate, and feeling witti hìs hanclSi ft§ tf 
playbg at bljnd-tnan'a bufT, had rcaclicd the door, and kick* 
ing against il, was crying, 'Opcit, o[>cn; don't make iuch 
a noisc ! * Lucia, calling te Rcn/o, in a f cebi e voice, »aid, 
bcsecchtngly, ' Lct us go, let us go, for God's sakc' Tonio 
was crawllng od his knccs» and feeling wìth hh hands on 
the ground to recovcr his lost reccipt. The tcrrified Gervasc 
was cfying and juniping about, and seeking Cor the door 
af the staìrs, so as to make his t*seape in safety. 

In the inidst of this uproar, wc cannot but stop a moment 
to makc a reflcctian, Renzo, who was causing dislur1>ancc 
at night m ant^thcr person*fi house, who had «-ffiTted an 
cntrauce by stealth^ and who had hlockadcd th hitfi- 

seJf in one ol hìs own rooms, bas ali the appi '>t an 

oppressor ; whìic in faci he was tlm opprca&ecL Don Abboa- 
dio, taken by surprisc^ terrificd and put to Dtghti whìle 
pcaceably cugaged in his own affaire, appcars the victim; 
whcn in rcaltty tt wnn he who did the wrong. Thuj^ fre- 
qucnily goes the world . * * or rathcr, we shouid say, thus 
ft went in the «cvcnteenth ceutury. 

The bcsieged, finding that the enetny gavc no stgiis of 
alandoning the entcrprisc, opcned a window t!iat lotiked into 
the chtirchyard, aud ihotilcd out : * Help I hcip ! * Tlicre was 
a most lovely mooti ; the shadow of the church, and, a little 
bcyond, tlie kmg, aìiarp shadow of the bdJHowcr, lay dark, 
stili, and wcll*dcfined, on the brii?ht gra&sy leve! of the 
sacred . : ali ohjects wer^ ' almosl ai by day. 

But lov> way you wouid, |>carcd no sign of 

U\4ng pef»on, Adjóining the lateral witll of the chwrch, oo 
tlie side next the Parsonage, was a stnall dwcUing where 
ihc «cxton »lept, Arou«cd by thb umiMuàl cry, he >prang up 
in hi§ hed, jumpcd out hi grcat baste, threw open the saah 
of hh little window, put hta head out wtUi bis eyclid* ghicd 
together ali the while, and cried out: ' VVliat'» the tnaUcr?* 

'Run, Ambrogio! hHpl people in the houfct* answcred 
Don Abbondta *C plìed he, as he drew 

in ÌÙB head and shu; i altliotigh Imlf oalecp 



1 



I FROMESSI SPOSI 



125 




iod more than hall terrified, an expcdicnt quickly occurred 
lo him that would bring more aid than had been ask^d, 
wi^oiit draggtng ^tm mto the affray, whatevcr it tnight be. 
S^iztng bis breedies that lay npon the bed, he tucked iJiem 
QBder hìs ami like a gala hat^ and bounditig down-statrs by 
a little wooden laddcr, lan to the belfry. caught hold of the 
ropc that was attached to the larger of the two belh^ and 
pitUed vigorously. 

ToD« ton, ton» ton ' the peasant sprang up m bis bed; 
the boy strctched in the bay- loft list en ed eagcrly, and leapt 
opoo bis fcet, *\Vhat*s the matter? what*s the mattef? 
The bell*s ringingt Pire? Thieves? Eanditti?' Many of 
the wpmen advised— begged thdr hiisbands not to stir — 
lo tei others ritti; some got up and wau to the window; 
diose who were cowards. as if ytelding to cntrcaty, quietly 
sBppcd tinder the bed-clothes agam : wliiJe the more inquisi- 
tive and courageous sprang up and armed tbcmselvcf wìth 
pitdi^forks and pistois, to nin to the uproar; others wajtcd 
to scc the end. 

Bui before these wcre ali ready, and even beiore they 
were well awake, the noise bad reached the ears, and arrested 
the attentìon, of some others oot very far dlstant, who were 
boih dreased and oii their feet; the bravoes in one place; 
Agnese »od Perpetua in another, We wìU first briefly relate 
the roovements of the bravoes since we left them;^ — some 
tfi ibe old building, and iome at the iniL 

The threc at the inn» as sooti as they saw ali the doors 
ihut and the Street deserted, went out, pretending to be going 
tome distance; but they only quietly look a short turo in tlie 
vìUage to be assurcd that ali had retìrcd to test; and in fact, 
they mct not one Uving creature, nor hcard the least noise. 
They al&o passed» stili more softly, bcforc Lucìa's little 
cottage, which was the quietest of al)^ since there was no one 
Urith^ They ihen went direct to the old house, and reportcd 
llidr ohiervaiiom io Signor Gri$o. Hastily putting on a 
riodched hai, with a pilgrim*s drcss of sackciotb, seattered 
orer with eoe"' ' "' and taking in hts band a pi!^niii*s 
almi!, he said : . us act Hke good bravoes ; qulet, and 

aitenttve to order à/ So ^yiiig« he moved forward, foflowed 
by the refi, aiul In a few momeots reached the cottage by 



ALSSSANIIIIO MANZONI 

liie opposite wny to ìht one otir little party had taJnsi wbdtj 
seitirifr ^^^ cut their expeditìon. Grl»o ordered his fotlowc 
lo retiiAtn a few pncts behlttd, whìle he wcnl forwftrd ft]on< 
to cjcplorc; and iìndmg ali outaicJc dcscricd and stili, 
beckotied to iwo of them to fidvance, otdt^r^d ihxrm quieti) 

'to scale the wail that surrounded the court*yard, and whc 
ihey had descended, to conccal tljemselvcs in a ctirner behbid 
a thick 6g-trcc that he had noticcd iti die mctnìng. Thiiì 
dcine» he knoclctd gently at the door, irith the intcrìtion of 
saymg that he was a pilgrim who Itad losi hb way, aodi 

|bcfged E lodging Cor the night. No otie rcplied; he kooeke 
m little more loudJy ; not a whispcn He therelorc calJed a 

j third bravo, and made hira de^cead into the yard as Uic ©ihcf 

jtwo had done, with orders to uof«tstcn the bolt inside ver 
carefuUy, so that he mìght have free Ingress and egre 
AH was execmed with the grealcst caution and the mos 
prosperous success, He thcn wcnt to cali the rc«t| and 

i bidding them enter with hlm, seni them to lilde In the corner 
with the others, closed the door ^^Slìh very softly, place 
two sentlnels inside, and went up to the door of the houae 

iHere also he knocked-^-walted ; and long enougb he inlj 
wait. He then as gently as possìble opcned this door ; oob 
withiii sai<l. Who*a there ; no one wa» to bc heard. Noth^g 
could bc better, Forward then ; * Come on,* crìcd he to tbo««1 
t^hind the fig-tree, and he cntered with them Imo that very 
room where in the inorning he had so baaely obiaincd the 

' piece of bread Drawing frotn htit pocket a pìcce of «tccl. 
a tlint^ Kotne tinder and a few he Hi a sinall lanter 

he had provi ded, and stepped next rootn to atsii 

himsclf that ali was quiet: no one wa* Ihere. He retur 
went to the loot of tiic stafrs, looked tip» listcncd; ali wi 
folitude and sUcnc^. Lcaring two more scntincls in tli 
lower foom, he bfd Grignapoco foUow Idm, a bravo ite 
the distrtct of Bergamo, whote office it was to tbrcstc 

, appeaae, and command; to b^ fai short, the spokesEoiaii, 
that hls diatect mfght gtvt Agneae the idea that tb^ 
tion caine from bis neighbourhacMl. With thii 
At Ma itide, and the rest behind Um, Grtjo T^y 

[ftacendcd the statrs, curstng io bis hcart evcry itep that un* 
Uy creaktd» every tread of thcae villaiiii that ma/de Ùm 



1 PEOMESSl BVrni 



127 



nobe. At last he rcaches the top, Here ts the clanger* 

e gtntìy pushes the éoor that leads into the first room; 

ykldf; to his touch ; he openi^ it a Utile and looks In ; ali is 

le; he Hstcns attentivcly» pcrchancc. he may hear a moririg, 

breath, a atirr ìng within ; noihing. Forward then ; he puìs 

lantcm he f ore his face, so as to see without belng seeo, 

peni the doór wtde; perceives a bed; looks upon ìt; tlie 

is nuwie and smooih, with the clothes ttirned down and 

imuiged upon the pitlow* He shrtig^ hìa ahoulders, turns 

to hii eotnpanloas, lieckons to tliem ihat he U goìng to look 

tH« olher room^ and ihat ihey must keep quiet where they 

t; he goes forward, tises the sanie precautions, mceta 

lljc same success, 'Whatcver can this mean?* ex- 

he boldly: *some traitorous dog must have been 

as spy/ They then began to look about thcm with 

less caistion, aad to pry into every corner, tuming the house 

vfMc down, 

While the party upstairs wcre thus cngaged, the two 
wbo werc on guard at the strcet-door heard hasty and re* 
peated footsteps approaehmg a!ong the road that led mio 
die viDairc, and imaginìng that whoever it was, he would 
pass !^, they kept quiet, their ears. howevcr, atteotively on 
the watcb. Bot t>ehold ! the foolsteps stopped exactly at the 
doof* Il was Menico arrìving in great haste, sent by Father 
Tiftofofx) to bid the two women, for Heaven's sake, to make 
cìf escape as quickly ss possible from their cottage, and 
reflue in the convent, because , . , the * hecaase * the 
ìef kf>ow-t He took hold of die handlc of the lateh, and 
!? hand» tmfasicncd and brokcn open. What 
he, às he puahed open the door in some 
alami; and pmting onc foot inside with considerable nm* 
pidon» he felt himscK seized in a moment by hutJi arms, and 
beard two sniothered voiees^ on his right and left, saying 
IO 1 ' ning tonc: 'Huah! hold your tongue, 

PI y contrar>% fiowercr, he uttcred a shrill 

upun %^li*<Ji une of tlì k ìì\m a gfcat blow on the 

, and the othcr tm.i ji a brge kntfc to terrily 

The poor chtld trembled iikc a Icaf, and did not at- 
a sccond cry; bct alt at once^ in his stcad, and with 
a far dilTcrent toae, btirst forth the Erst sound of the beli 




128 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



hcforc d€scrtbcd, and Imiiiediatrly after niajìy llmiiclerìti 
peak in quiek succcsslon. * lì the c;ip ftts, put it oOi* sayt \ 
Milanese provcrb; each of the villa bi secmed lo bear In" 
ihcnc pc;ils hts namc, surtianir, and nick-namc; ihcy lei ifo 
of Menko's arms> haàtily ilroppcd thcir own, gaxed at cach 
otlicr's faccs in mute astoDishmtmt, and thcn ran inlo the 
hpus€ where was the bulk cif thcir compnntans, Menico took 
lo hts Icgs» and flcd, by way of the fitlds, towards Uve bcKr;^ 
where he felt surc therc wotild bc some jieopk ai»seiiibl< 
On the other ruffiani, wbo wcrc nuomai^tRg the house frou 
top to bottom. the tcrriblc beD onde the iswne tmpressioa; 
confused and alarmed, ihey ran agaìr ' f-r, in at- 

tenjpting:, cadi one for himself, lo fiìi vi way of 

reachìng the stret:t-door. Thotigh mcn ot appruved eoaragc^ 
and accustotucd ne ver lo turn tlicìr backs on known perii, 
ihey could not stand agatnst an indefinite danger» vrhich had 
net been viewed at a little distance bcfore coni in g upon 
thcm, It requlrcd ali the autharity of Griso in kcej! tlieni 
to|^fchei^ so Ihat \i might be a rctreat and noi a flight Just 
as a dogf tiTgìng a drove of pìgs; runs herc and thcre after 
tho5c that break the rank», seizes onc by the ears, and dra^s 
bini hiio the berd^ propela anoihcr wiih hrs nose, barks at 
a tbird tbat Icavcs the Une at the samc moment, so the 
pilgrim laid hold of onc of hi» troop juist |>&SBÌn£^ the thrcsh- 
old, and drcw back, dctained with hls sta^ some who 
were fi-. . knew not wbitlier* and fm " ctcdcd in 

BMembi ; ali in the middle o! thr i ^. * Halt ì 

hatt ! pii»ujl±» ili hand, daggrrs in - ni . tir. jintl 

then we*l l bcji^o ne, We ni n s t u j , . > j .. r . Vv i . 1 1 e a r e 

wc for the bclls ringing» if we are at) tugcther» yoii com . 
Bui if we let ibcm catch us one by onc, even tJic vilU.. . . 
wìll give US it. For «harae ! Fall bchind, and Vecp togcther .* 
After this brìcf bar angue, he placcd himseU in the franta 
and ted the way out. The cottage, ai we bave said, was 
at tl»e extremity of the viUagc :~ • «ok the road that 

Icd out of it, and the rot followc good order. 

' We will let thein go, and return a step or Iwo co find 
Agnese and Perpetua, wliom wt had just comhiirtcd round 
the corner of a certain road Agnese had cndravom 
mUurc ber cocnpanton as far «way liom Don Abbo.uir.^^ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



129 



boase ms possible, and up ta a certain point had succeeded 
J very wclL But ali ou a syddeu the servant rcmembered that 
Ishe had kft the door open, and &he watited to go back, 
iThcrc was nothtng lo bc saìd : Agnese, to avoid excitingany 
iBH^ptciori in hvr mtiid. was ùbtìgcd lo turn and vvaSk whh 

be' ' to dctaìn her whenever she saw ber 

g the issue ot stteh and sucb courtships» 
'Shc prciended to be paying very great aitetition, and evcry 
Inow mtid thcn. by way of showìng that she was Usteniag, or 

ta anitxuitc ihc flagging conversation. woald say i *Certaitily : 
■uow I under&tand: that was capital: that is plain : and 

tbcQ? aod he ? and you ?* while ali the timc she was kecping 
Itip a Terr diffcreitt discourse in her own mind.— *I wonder 
fi! thcy aie out by ibis time? or will they be stilt in the 

house ? What gecsc we ali were not to arrange any sìgnal 
,lo Ict me know when it was over! It was really very 
I stupidi But it can*t be helped: and the best thing I can 
^do now is lo keep ber lottcring bere as long as I can: let 

llic worst come lo the worsi, lì will only be a little time 

lost/ — Thus, uith sundry pauses and varìous deviations 

frofn the straight path, they were brongbt back again ta 

whhtn a very short distance from Don Abbondio*s house, 
. whtch, however, could not be seen on account of the corner 
|intcrcrpting the view, and Perpetua finding herself at an 
lloiponant part of ber narratìon, had sufifcred berseli to be 
Idetalned without resistance» and even wìthout beìng aware 
lof r liey suddenly beard* echoing tbrough fbe vacant 

[txtr r atttiosphere, and the dead stlence of ntght^ the 

]oild and disordered cry of Abbondio: *He!p ! help!' 
TUcfcyl what bas happened?* cried Perpetua, beginning 

to ntiL 
'Wfaat UH? what is it?' said Agnese, holding her btck 

hf the ^own. 

replied she, slnigglitig. 
repeatcd Agnese, seìdng ber 
Ih e ami 
'Wreich t . .- , ...claimed Perpetua» pushiag her 

iwmy tu frxe hcmclf and to run. At thìs moificnt, fni>rc 
'dbtmnt^ more sbrill, more Ìnstantan«oti#, wai heard tfa« 

scxcam of Menico. 
ma §— voL 21 



m 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



' Mercy ! ' cried Agnese a! so : and they ran off togetber. 
They had scarcely, however, gone a step, when the beli 
sound ed one stroke, then two, three and a successlofi of 
peals, such as would bave sdmulated them to run had there 
been no other inducement. Perpetua arri v ed first by iwo 
steps; while she raised ber hand to the door to open it, 
beholdt ìt was opened from within, and on the threshold 
stood, Tonio, Gervase, Renzo» and Lucia, who havìng found 
the stairs had come down more rapidìy than they went up; 
and at the sound of that terrìblc beli, were making their 
escape in baste to rea eh a place of safety. 

'What's the matter? what's the matter?' deraanded the 
panting Perpetua of the brothers ; but they only replìed with 
a violent push, and pa5sed on. *Artd you ! How 1 what are 
you doing bere ? ' said she to the other couple on recognizìng 
them, But they too made their escape without answering 
her, Without, therefore, asking any more questiona, and 
directing ber steps where she was most wanted, she rushed 
impetuously into the passage, and went groping atout as 
quickly as she couid to find the stairs. 

The betrothed, stili only betrotbed, now fell in with 
Agnese, who arrived weary and out of breath. ' Ah I bere 
you are I ' said she, scarcely able to speak. * How has tt 
gone ? What is the beli ringing for ? I thought I heard . . / 

*Home! home!' cried Renzo, 'before anybody comes/ 
And they moved forward; but at this moment Menico ar- 
ri ved, r unii in g as fast as hìs legs could carry him; and 
recognizìng them, he threw bìmself in their way, and stili 
ali in a tremble and scarcely able to draw bis brcath, ex- 
claimed : ' Where are you going ? back^ back l This way, 
to the conventi 

* Are you ? , . / began Agnese. 

* What is it ? ' asked Renzo* Lucia stood by, trembling 
and silent, in utter dìsmay, 

* There are devils in your house/ replied Menico, panting. 
*l saw them myself; they wanted to murder me: Father 
Cristoforo said so: antl even you, Renzo, he said, were to 
come quickly: — and besìdes, T saw them myself: — ^it*s provi- 
dential you are ali bere:— I will teli you the rest wheti we 
get out of the village,' 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



131 



• 



Renzo, who bad more of bis senses about Itìoi than the 
rest, remembered that they liad better make their cscape 
one way or another before the crowds assembied; and thaÈ 
the best pian would he io do as Menico advìsed, nay, com- 
manded with the authority of one in terror* When once on 
thelr way, and cut of the tumult and danger, he could ask 
a cieaf er explanation f rom the boy, * Lead the way,' saìd 
he to Menico ; and addressìng the women, saìd, ' Let us go 
with hìmJ They therefore quickly turned their steps 
towards the church, crossed the churcbyard, where, by the 
favour of Heaven, thcre was not yet a livìng creature, cn- 
tered a little Street that ran between the church and Don 
Abbondio's house ^ turned into the first alley they carne to - 

and then took the way of the fields, ^^ 

They had not perhaps gone fifty yards, when the crowd^^"'^ 
began to collect in the ehurch-yard. and rapidly increased ^ 
every luomcnL They looked inquiringly in each other*s ^ 
faces; every one had a questi on to ask, but no one could 
return an answer. Those who arrived first, ran to the 
church-door; it was locked. They then ran to the belfry 
outsìde ; and one of them, putting bis mouth to a very small 
window, a sort of loop-hole, cried, * What ever is the mat- 
ter?' As soon as Ambrogio recognized a known voice, he 
let go of the bell-rope^ and being assured by the buxz that 
many peopìe had assembled, replied; * 111 open the door»' 
Hastily slipptng on the appare! he had carried under hìs arm, 
he went inside the church» and open ed the door. 

*What is a!l this hubhub? — What is it? — Where is it?^ 
Who ìs it?' 

* Why, who is it? * said Ambrogio, layìng one band on the 
doo riposi, and with the other holding up the habillment he 
had put on in such baste : * What t don't you know ? People 
m the Signor Curate's house, Up, boys : help 1 * Hearing 
this, they ali turned to the house, looked up^ approached it in 
a body, looked up agaiu, lìstened: ali was qui et Some ran 
to the street-door; it was shut and bolted; they glanced up- 
wards: not a window was open; not a whisper was to bc 
beard, 

'Who Is within? — Hol Heyl — Signor Curate! — ^Sìgnor 
Curate r 




132 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

Don Abbondio who, scarcely aware of the flight of the 
invaders, had retired from the window, and closed it, and 
who at this moment was reproaching Perpetua in a low 
voice for having left him alone in this confusion, was 
obliged, when he heard himself called upon by the voice 
of the assembled people, to show himself again at the win- 
dow; and when he saw the crowds that had come to bis 
aid, he sorely repented having called them. 

*What has happened? — What bave they done to you?— 
Who are they? — Where are they?' burst forth from fifty 
voices at once. 

* There's nobody bere now ; thank you : go home again/ 

*But who has been bere? — Where are they gone? — what 
has happened?' 

*Bad people, people who go about by night; but the/re 
gone: go home again: there is no longer anything: another 
time, my children : I thank you for your kindness to me.' So 
saying, he drew back, and shut the window. Some of the 
crowd began to grumble, some to joke, others to curse ; some 
shrugged their shoulders and took their departure: when 
one arrived, endeavouring but scarcely able to speak from 
want of breath. It was the person who lived in the house 
opposite Agnese's cottage, who having gone to the window 
at the noise, had seen in the court-yard the assembly of 
bravoes, when Griso was striving to re-unite bis scattered 
troops. On recovering bis breath, he cried : ' What are you 
doing bere, my good fellows ? the devil isn't bere ; he's down 
at the end of the village, at Agnese Mondella's house ; armed 
men are within, who seem to be murdering a pilgrim; who 
knows what the devil is doing I ' 

'What? — what? — ^what?' and a tumultuous consultation 
began. 'We must go. — ^We must see. — How many are 
there? — How many are we? — Who are we? — ^The con- 
stable ! the constable ! ' 

'l'm bere,' replied the constable from the middle of the 
crowd : ' l'm bere ; but you must help me, you must obey. 
Quick : where is the sexton ? To the beli, to the beli. Quick f 
Somebody to run to Lecco for help: ali of you come 
bere . . / 

Some ran, some slipped between their fellows and made 



I FROMBSSl SPOSI 



139 



their escsipe: and the tumuli was at Ita greatest hdght, when 
aiìother nmncr arrived wlio had seeu Griso and his party 
goi«g *>^ i^ ^«ch lia^te, and crìcd m tum : * Run, my good 
'ftlìows: ihìcvcs or biiTiditt», who are carrying off a pilgnm: 
"bey are alrcady out of the village. Onì after them 1 * At 
kh inforuiatìoLi, they moved off in a body in grcat coofuSion 
irds the ficlds, without waitiiig their generars orderSp 
Ima ìht crowd procccded, many of the vanguard slaekened 
tfcdr pace» to kt the others advance, and retircd into the 
bc»dy of th€ battalìon* those in the rear pushtng eagerly for- 
ward, until at last the disorderly muUìtude reached iheir 
pbcc of destination. Traces of the recent invasìon werc 
manifest: the door opencd, the locks torn off- but the tn- 
vadcrs had dìsappeared. The crowd entered the court- 
yard, and wetil to the room door; thb, too, was burst open: 
hcy callcd: 'Agnese! Lucia! the Pìlgrim ! \Vhefe it the 
Itgrtui? Stefano must bave been dream in g abotit the 
tm.-^No, no: CarìanJrca saw him also. Ho! bey! pil- 
1 1 — Agnese l Lucia * * No onc replied. * They Ve rnn 
way with them ! TbcyVe run away with them ì * Therc 
re thcB some who raised theìr voices and proposed ta 
l>now the robl3ers; said it was a helnous crime» and that 
wotild bc a disgrace to the village, ìf cvcry villain couid 
come and carry off womeo wtth impunity, as a kitc carrier 
chlckens from a descned baro-6oor. Theo rose a f resh 
more tamuìtyoiis coasuJtation; hut somebody, (and it 
ficver certainlv known who,) caìied ont in the crowd 
Agnese and laicia were in safety in a hoyse- The 
«r sprcad rspìdly ; it galned belìef, and no onc spelte 
of giving diase to the fugitives; the multitudc dis- 
J, and eveiy one went to his own house, There was a 
nctal whbpeHng, a nolse, ali over the village, a knocking 
opcning of door5, and appearìng and dì^appearìng of 
Ighis, a que^lioiitng of women from the wìndows, an 
erfnET fr^^m T^^ ^treets. When ali otit^ide was deserted 
cid ^^atinn con t in ned in the liouses, and 

'*h t ntily to he renewcd on the morrow, 

took piace, cxcepting that on the 
U.U.; VI irat pj. iivw, the constablc was standing is 
ùtUìt wJlh his chta rcstlng on his hands, hts handJ 



/ 



194 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

on the handle of the spade, which was half stuck into 
the ground, and one foot on the iron rest affixed to the 
handle; speculating in his mind, as he thus stood, on the 
mysteries of the past night, on what would reasonably be 
expected of him, and on what course it would be best for 
him to pursue, he saw two men approaching him with very 
fierce looks, wearing long hair, like the first race of French 
kings, and otherwise hearing a strong resemblance to the 
two who, five days before, had confronted Don Abbondio, 
if, indeed they were not the same men. These with stili less 
ceremony than had been used towards the Curate, intimated 
to the constable that he must take right good care not to 
make a deposition to the Podestà of what had happened, not 
to teli the truth in case he was questioned, not to gossip, and 
not to encourage gossiping among the villagers, as he val- 
ued his li fé. 

Our fugitives walked a little way at a quick pace in 
silence, one or other occasionally looking back to see if they 
were followed, ali of them wearied by the fatigue of the 
flight, by the anxiety and suspense they had endured, by 
grief at their ili-success, and by confused apprehensions of 
new and unknown danger. Their terror, too, was increased 
by the sound of the beli which stili continued to follow 
them, and seemed to become heavier and more hoarse the 
further they left it behind them, acquiring every moment 
something more moumful and ominous in its tone. At last 
the ringing ceased Reaching then a deserted field, and not 
hearing a whisper around, they slackened their pace, and 

! Agnese, taking breath, was the first to break the silence, by 
asking Renzo how matters had gone, and Menico, what was 

' the demon in their house. Renzo briefiy related his melan- 
choly story; and then, ali of them tuming to the child, he 
informed them more expressly of the Father's advice, and 
narrated what he had himself witnessed and the hazards 
he had run, which too surely confirmcd the advice. His 
auditors, however, understood more of this than did the 
speaker ; they were seized with new horror at the discovery, 
and for a moment paused in their walk, exchanging mutuai 
looks of fear; then with an unanimous movement they laid 
their hands, some on the head, others on the shoulders of 



T PHO^raSSI SPOSI 



m 



the boy, fts i( to caress hlm, and tadtly tu thank him for 
havtng bcen lo them a guarcSian angel; at the same time 
signi fyìng tiic compassion they feìt for him, and almost 
ftpologfatng for the terror he had eodured and the daoger 
be bad undergonc cn iheir accoimt, * New go home, that 
yonr family may not he anxious about you mty lartger/ saìd 
Agnese: and rcmembermg the two promUed farpagiiole, 
alictook out four, and gave thcm to him, adding: * That will 
do; pray the Lord that we may meet again soon; and then 
* , / Renro gavc him a new berlinga, and begged hioi to 
my nothtng of the message he had brought from the Fatbcr: 
Loda agam earessed him, bade him fareweU with a sorrow- 
fu) voice, and the boy, almost overcome, wished them good- 
bye, and tumed back. The melancholy trio continued their 
Walk» the women taklog the lead, and Remo behind lo act 
as guard. Lucia clung closcly to her tnother's aim, kindly 
and dexterously avoiding the proflfered assìstancc of the 
jotith Et the didìcult passes of this unfrequented ptthi feeU 
mg ashamed of herself, even in such trotibtes, for having 
already been so long and so famitiarly alone with him, while 
«flC|iecting in a few momeiits to be his wife. Now that this 
vision hatl bcen so sorrowfuUy dispelled, she repented having 
proceeded Uius far ; and, amidst so may catises of fcar, she 
feared even for ber modesty. — not such modcsty as arises 
from the sad knowledge of evi], hut for that which is igno- 
lant of ila own cxisteoce; — Hke the dread of a child who 
tnsnUcs in the dark, he knows not why. 

•Attd the house?" suddenly e^daimed Agnese. But how- 
c?er imponant the object might be whìcb extortcd this cx- 
dnmation, no une replted, because no one could do so satit- 
lactorily. They therefore continued theìr walk in siìence, 
ani! m :i !:ttìe while, rcached the square bcforc the churdi 
u 

,vv..*.- .v.wtDced to the door of the chtirch, and gently 
poahed it open* The moon that cntere<l thruugh tlje apcr- 
Iure» fdl upoii the pale face and silvery beard of Fathcf 
CmtofoTO, who was standing bere expecting thcm; and 
having loeii that no one waa nuislngi *God be prai^edf 
said he; beckonlog to thetn to enter. By hh &ide stood 
anotber Capocbtn^ the lay sexton, wbom he had po-fuaded. 



138 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

* Ecfore you go,' said the Father, 'let us pray ali to- 
gether that the Lord .may bc with you in this your joumcy, 
and for evcr; and, above ali, that He may give you strength, 
and a spirit of love, to enable you to dcsirc whatever He 
has willed.' So saying, he knelt down in the middle of the 
church, and thcy ali followed his example. After praying 
a few moments in silente, with low but distinct voice he 
pronounced these words: *We beseech Thee, also, for the 
unhappy person who has brought us to this state. We shouM 
he unworthy of Thy mercy, if we did not, from our hearts, 
implore it for him; he needs it, O Lordi We, in our sor- 
row, bave this consolation, that we are in the path where 
Thou hast placed us; we can offer Thee our griefs, and 
they may become our gain. But he is Thine enemy ! Alas, 
wretched man! he is striving with Thee! Ha ve mercy 
on him, O Lord; touch his heart; reconcile him to Thyself, 
and give him ali those good things we could desire for our- 
selves.' 

Rising then in baste, he said, 'Come, my children, you 
bave no time to lose; God defend you; His angel go with 
you ; — f arewell ! ' And while they set off with that emotion 
which cazmot find words, and manifests itself without them, 
the Father added, in an agitated tone, 'My heart tells me 
we shall meet again soon.' 

Certainly, the heart, to those who listen to it, has always 
something to say on what will happen; but what did his 
heart know? Very little, truly, of what had already hap- 
pened. 

Without waiting a reply, Father Cristoforo retired with 
hasty steps ; the travellers took their departure ; and Father 
Fazio shut the door after them, bidding them f arewell with 
even his voice a little faltering. 

The trio slowly made their way to the shore they had 
been directed to ; where they espied the boat, and exchanging 
the pass-word, stepped in. The waterman, planting one oar 
on the land, pushed off ; then took up the other oar, and row- 
ing with both hands, pulled out and made towards the op- 
posite beach. Not a breath of wind was stirrìng; the lake 
lay bright and smooth, and would bave appeared motionless 
but for the tremulous and gentle undulation of the moon- 



I PEOMESSI SPOSI 



Ui 



beafnf, whieh gleamed upon ìt frocn the zetiìtfi. No sotinds^ 
wcre heard btit the muffled and sbwly measured bfeaking 
i>f the surge upon the pebbly shore, the more distant giir* 
' fiìng of the troubied waters dashing among the piles o£ the 
idie, and the even plash of the Hght seulls, as, rhìng with a 
harp sound of the dripping biade, aiid quìckly plunged] 
beneath, they cut the azere surface of the lakc The 
iv«8^ divided by the prow, and re-uniting bchìnd the little 
irk, trackcd out a curlmg line, which cxtended itself to 
shore. The stlcnt traveIJers, with their faces turned 
kwsrds, gazed upon the mountaìns and the country, 
llafpined by the pale lìght of the moon, and diversìfied bere 
md there with vast sbadows, They conld distingnish the | 
vjlfages, the houses, and the little cabins: the paiate of Don 
RodrifO» with hs Siqnarc tower, rising above the group of 
at the base of the promontofy, looked llke a savage 
ling in the dark, and meditating some evi! deed» while 
guard over a company of reclfning sleepcrs. Lucìa ^ 
lì and ilmddercd; then drawmg her eye along thei 
cìWlty till she reacbcd her native village, she fixed her ga2« 
tl^ cxtrcmity, sou^bt for her own cottage, traced out the 
thtck head of the fig-tree ivhicb towered abovc the wall of 
the co«Tt-yard, discovered the window of her own room ; 
and, bdng seated In the bottoni of the boat, she leaned her 
dbow on the cdge, laìd hcf forehead on her arm, aa If 
Were sleeping, and wept in secret 
Farewcll, yc mountaìns» rising from the watcra, and point< 
Hg to the hcavens! ye varied snmmjts, famìliar to him who 
has been brought up among you« and impressed upon his 
mind as dcarly as the countenance of his dearest friends ì 
ye torrcnts, who&e munnur he recogni^es like the sound 
^f the iroìces nf homel ye villages, scattcred and glistcmng 
the decISvity, llke flocks of grazlng sheepl fareweìll 
f moftmfu] is the step of hina who, brought tip amìdat 
scenes, is compclled to Ica ve you ! Even in the imaghi- 
ol o«e who wìllingly deparis, attractcd by the hopc of 
ng a fortune clscwherc, the dreams of wealih at tini 
lo«c thdr chartns; he wondcrs he could form sudi i 
Ffèaohition, and conld even now tiim back, bui for Ihe bop© j 
day retuming wìUi m ricb abuudance. As he ad* 



140 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

vances into the plain, his eye becomes wearied with its 
uniform extent; the atmosphere feels heavy and lifeless; he 
sadly and listlessly enters the biisy cities, where houses 
crowded upon houses, and streets intersccting streets, seem 
to take away his breath ; and, before edifices admired by the 
stranger, he recalls with restless longing the fields of his own 
country, and the cottage he had long ago set his heart upon, 
and which he resolves to purchase when he rcturns en- 
riched to his own mountains. 

But what must he feel who has never sent a passing 
wish beyond these mountains, who has arranged among them 
ali his designs for the future, and is driven far away by 
an adverse power! who, suddenly snatched away from his 
dearest habits, and thwarted in his dearest hopes, leaves 
these mountains to go in search of strangers whom he 
never desired to know, and is unable to look forward to 
a fixed time of return ! 

Farewell ! native cottage, where, indulging in unconscious 
thought, one learnt to distinguish from the noise of com- 
mon footsteps, the approach of a tread expected with mys- 
terious timidity! Farewell! thou cottage, stili a stranger, 
but so often hastily glanced at, not without a blush, in pass- 
ing, in which the mind took delight to figure to itself the 
tranquil and lasting home of a wife ! Farewell ! my church, 
where the heart was so often soothed while chanting the 
praises of the Lord ; where the preparatory rite of betrothal 
was performed; where the secret sighing of the heart was 
solcmnly blessed and love was inspired, and one fcit a hal- 
lowing influence around, farewell ! He who inipartcd to you 
such gladness is every where; and He never disturbs the 
Joy of his children, but to prepare them for one more cer- 
tain and durable. 

Of such a nature, if not exactly these, were the reflec- 
tions of Lucia; and not very dissimilar were thosc of the 
two othcr wandcrers, while the little bark rapidly approached 
the right bank of the Adda. 



CHAPTER IX 



THE strik ìng of the boat agaìnst the shorc aroiised 
Luda, wbo, after secrctly drying her tears, raiscd ber 
he^ as if shc were just aw-aking. Remo Jumped otìt 
fifft* and gavc his haiid succesiìvely to Agnese and Lucia; 
and thcn they ali lufned, and sorrowfully thanked the boat* 
man* * Kotluwg, nothiof ; we are placed bere to bclp one 
another/ anEwcrcd he; and he wiihdrew his haud, almost 
with a inovemrut of horror^ as ìf tt bad been propeseci to bini 
[lo rob, wbcn Renzo tried to slip io one or two of the coins 
'he had about him, and which he had brought in his pocket 
with the tntention of generously requìting Don Abbondio, 
iwhen b ihough agaìnst bis willt havc tefidercd the 

Idciiretl ^e. The cart stood waìting for thcm; the 

Idfiver safuted the thrce expectcd travellcrs, and bid tbem 
'gei in; and thcn» wilb bis voice nnd a stroke of the wbip, he 
started the aiìimal and set forward. 

Our awthor docs not descrìbe tbls nccturna! Joumey, and 
Fit tìlent as to the nani e of the town to whicb the little com- 
pany werc directing their steps; or tather, he expressly says, 
he wilJ not give the name. In the coiirse of the stoiy, the 
of ali this mystery appears* The adventures of 
FLocia in tlus abodc io voi ve a dark intrìgue of a person he* 
loQging to a family stili powerful, as it appcars. at the time 
aothor wrote* To account for the strange conduci of 
person in the partrcular tnstance he relatcs, he bas 
obligH cbiefly in rccmint ber early life; and tbere the 
(amily makes tbe figure which our readers will see. Hcnce 
tlic poof tsan^i grcat circurnspectìon. And yet f bow people 
tomediDes forgtc ihemsclvcs!) he htmsetf, wìthout being 
Uware of il. has opened a way of dtscovering, with certainty, 
^what he had taken toch great pains to keep concealed. In 
one piart of tbe account, whkh wc wììì omiT s^ not being 

the Stnr n% to «y 

'■ni and n h, whkh 

wasiicd nothini; bat the aame to be a dty; Ite iboi Inad- 

HI 



142 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

vertcntly mentions that the river Lambro runs througb it: 
and, again, that it was the seat of an arch-presbyter. With 
these indications, there ìs not in ali Europe a moderately- 
learned man, who will not instantly exclaim, ' Monza I ' We 
could also propose some very well-fotmded conjectures in 
the name of the family; but, although the object of our con- 
jectures has been some timc cxtinct, we consider it bettcr 
to be silent on this head, not to run the risk of wronging even 
the dead, and to leave some subject of research for the 
leamed 

Our travellers reached Monza shortly after sun-rise; the 
driver tumed into an inn, and, as if at home in the place 
and well acquaintcd with the landlord, ordered a room for 
the newly-arrived guests, and accompanied them thither. 
After many acknowledgments, Renzo tried to induce him 
to receive some reward; but he, like the boatman, had in 
view another, more distant, but more abundant recompense: 
he put bis hands behind him, and making bis escape went to 
look after bis borse. 

After such a night as we have described, and as every one 
may imagine, the greatest part spent in moumful thoughts, 
with the Constant dread of some unforcseen misfortune, 
in the melancholy silence of night, in the sharpness of a 
more than autumnal air, and amid the frequent jolts of the 
incommodious vehicle, which rudely shook the weary frames 
of our travellers, they soon felt themselves overpowered 
with sleep, and availed themselves of a sofà that stood in 
an adjoining room to take a little repose. They then par- 
took togetbcr of a frugai meal, such as the povcrty of the 
times would allow, and scanty in proportion to the contingent 
wants of an uncertain future, and their own slender appetite. 
One after another they remembered the banquet which, two 
days beforc, they had hopcd to cnjoy ; and cach in tum heavcd 
a deep sigh. Renzo would gladly have stayed there, at least 
for that day, to bave seen the two women provided for, and 
to have given them bis services, but the Father had recom- 
mcnded them to send him on bis way as quickly as possible. 
They alleged, thcrefore, these orders, and a hundred othcr 
reasons; — people would gossip— the longer the separation 
was delaycd, the more painful it would be— he could come 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



148 



I 



i^n soon, to gì ve and leam news;— so that, at last, the 
yomìi dctermined to ^o. Tfietr plans werc then more 
deKnitelj arranged; Lucia did not attempi to hidc hcf tears; 
RetUEO conia scarcely rcstrain hb; and, warmly pressing 
Agne^'s band, he said, in an almoàt choked voice, ' Farc- 
well, titl we mcet aj^ain ! ' and set off. 

The women wouid bave found themsclves inuch at a loss^ 
had it QOt bcen for the good driver, who had orders to guide 
tliem to the conveut, and to give them any direction and assist- 
ance they might stand in need of , With this escort, thcn, they 
took their way to the convent. wbich, as every one loiows, 
wms a short dtstance outsidc the town of Monza. Arrived 
al the door, tlieir couductor rang the bdl, and asked for the 
gtiardian» uho quickly made hìs appearance, and reccived 
the Ictter. 

* Oh brother Cristoforo!' said he, recognizing the hand^ 
wtitingt the tone of his voice and the expresston of hìs face 
cvìdenlly indicating that he uttcred the name of an intimate 
friend- It might casily be scen, too, that our good friar had 
ifi thts letter warmly rccomusended the women, and relatcd 
tbeir case wilh much feeling^ for the guardian kept making 
gestUfés of iurprtse and indignatloo. and raìsing hìs eyes froiu 
tiic paper, he woold fix them upon the wotnen with a certaìn 
expres&ion of pity and intercsL VVhen he had finìshed read- 
igg it, he fitood fot a little while thoughtfnl. and then said to 
himsclf, *There is no one bui the Si^ora— if the Signora 
woold take ypon herself thìs charge/ He then drew Agnese 
a few steps aside in the little squatc helore the convent ; asked 
hcr a few qucstions, which she answered satisfactorily, and 
then, turni ng towards Lucia, addressed them both : * My good 
wttuicn, I will try; and I hope I shall be able lo find you a 
r*-*' * --re than secure» more than honourabk, until tt shall 
p to provitJc for you in some hetter way, Wiil you 

Ojnic wiiJ: me?* 

The women revcrenily bowcd assent, and the friar con- 
ttiraed: * Come with me to the convent of the Signora, Kecp, 
bowever, a few »teps behind me» bccause people delight to 
ipeak cvìl, and no one knows what 6ne stories they wouId 
makc otit^ il tJicy wcrc lo sec tlie Faihcf -guardian walkìng 
wllh a beautiful youag girl . . . with wom^, I mean io say/ 



144 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

So saying, he moved forward. Lucia blushed, their guide 
smiled, and glanced at Agnese, who betrayed, also, a mo- 
mentary smile, and when the friar had gone a few steps, they 
followed him at about ten yards distance. The women then 
asked their guide what they did not dare say to the Fathcr- 
guardian, who was the Signora. 

' The Signora/ replied he, ' is a nun ; but she is not like 
the other nuns. Not that she is either the Abbess, or the 
Prioress ; for, f rom what they say, she is one of the youngest 
there: but she is from Adam's rib, and she is of an ancient 
and high family in Spain, where some of them now are 
princes ; and therefore they cali her the Signora, to show that 
she is a great lady : and ali the country cali her by this name, 
for they say there never was her equal in this monastery 
before ; and even now, down at Milan, her family ranks very 
high, and is held in great esteem ; and in Monza stili more so, 
because her father, though he docs not live bere, is the first 
man in the country ; so that she can do what she pleases in the 
convent ; and ali the country-pcople bear her a great respect ; 
and if she undertakes a business she is sure to succeed in it; 
so that if this good monk before us is fortunate enough to get 
you into her hands, and she takes you under her protection, I 
dare venture to say you will be as safe as at the aitar.' 

On reaching the gate of the town, flanked at that time by 
an ancient ruined tower, and a fragment of a demolished 
castle, which, perhaps, some few of my readers may stili re- 
member to have seen standing, the guardian stoppcd, and 
looked behind to see if they wcre following; he then passed 
through, and went on to the convent, and when he reached it, 
stopped again at the doorway, and waited for the little party. 
He then begged the guide to come again to the convent, to 
take back a reply ; he promised to do so, and took bis leave 
of the women, who loadcd him with thanks and messages to 
Father Cristoforo. The guardian, bidding them go into the 
first court of the monastery, ushcred them into the apartments 
of the portrcss, to whom he recommended them, and went 
forward alone to make bis request. After a few moments, he 
retumed, and, with a joyful manner, told them to come with 
him; and bis reappearance was just à-propos, for they were 
beginning to find it difficult to ward off the pressing inter- 



I PROHESST SPOSI 



145 



TT'" ' rtress* Whìlc travcrslng- tlie mncr comtt 

lì _d the women how they must behavc to 

the Signora. ' Shc ts well-dìsposed towards jo%' said he, 
* aod msty bc of mach service to you. Bc humblc and re- 
speciful, reply wilh frankncsi to the questions she may please 
lo put; and whcn you are tiot questioncd^ leave it to me.* 
Tbey tben passtd tbroygh a lower room to the parlour of the 
CQCivetìt: and before entermg, the guardìan, pointing to the 
fScMsr. said to the women in an undertone, * She is there;' 
as If lo fcinìnd thcm of the lessons he had been giving, 
Ldcia, who had nevcr before secn a monastery» looked round 
Ibc rootxv o» éoiertng» for the Signora to whom she was to 
make obei^nce, and perceìving no one, she stood perplcxed; 
but smiìg the Father advance, and Agnese following, sbe 
looked in ihat direction, and obscrved an almost square apcr- 
hire, iikc a halt-window, gratcd wìth two large thick iron 
bars, distant Irom e^ch other about a span, and behìnd this a 
ntm was standing. Her coyntenajiee, which showed ber to 
be abolii twcnty^fivc ycars old, gave the impression, at a ftrst 
glance. of beauty, but of beauty wom, faded, and, one itiight 
almo^t say, spoiled A black veli, stiffened and strctchcd 
qoite fiat upon hcr head^ feli on each side and stood out a 
Hltlc way irom her face; under the veìl, a very white lìnea 
band Ital! corered a forehcad of diilerent but not inferior 
wfutetiess; a sccond band, in folds, down each side of the 
face, cro&sed under the chìn^ encìrcled the neck, and was 
spfead a little over the brcast to cooceal the opening of a 
black dre^s. But thìs forehead was wrinkled every now and 
tbeii, as if by some pam fui eraotion, accompanied by the rapid 
inovcment nf two ict-black c>ebrow&. Sometimes she would 
tx twni f^s on another's face with a pìercing look 

of haD' lion, ami thcn agaìn would hastiìy lower 

thcm, as ti i^cking a hi ding- place* Ooe monicnt, an attenti ve 
obfterrer would ìmagtne ttiey were solicitlng afTeetìon, tnter- 
coorsr, pitj ; ai another, he would gather ihencc a momcntary 
revetation ^^ — -- -* ^fl smotbercd hatred— of some inde- 
serìbable, tV mn; and when they remained im- 

movab' some might havr d 

a ptùiì> . wouìd bave su?^- e 

lÉboarag oi some secret thougbt, the overpowering do* 



I 



146 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

minion of an idea f amiliar to her mind, and more engrossiiig 
than surrounding objects. Her pale cheeks were delicately 
formed, but much altered and shnink by a graduai extenua- 
tion. Her lips, though scarcely sufTused with a f aint tinge of 
the rose, stood out in contrast with this paleness, and, like 
her eyes, their movements were sudden, quick, and full of 
expressìon and mystery. The well-formed tallness of her 
figure disappeared in the habitual stoop of her carriage, or 
was disfigured by certain quick and irregular starts, which 
betrayed too resolute an air for a woman, stili more for a 
nun. In her very dress, there was a display of either par- 
ticularity or negligence, which betokened a nun of singular 
character; her head-dress was arranged with a kind of 
worldly carefulness, and from under the band around her 
head the end of a curi of glossy black hair appeared upon her 
tempie, bctraying either forgctfulness, or contempt of the 
mie which required them always to keep the hair dosely 
shaven. It was cut off first at the solemn ceremony of their 
admission. 
^.^^TTiesc things made no impression on the minds of the 
" two women; inexperìenced in distinguishing nun from 
nun; and the Father-guardian had so frequently seen the 
Signora before, that he was already accustomed, like 
many others, to the singularities in manner and dress which 
she displayed. 

She was standing, as we bave said, near the grated win- 
dow, languidly leaning on it with one band, twining her 
delicately-white fingers in the interstices, and with her 
head slightly bent downwards, surveying the advancing party. 
'Rcverend mother and most illustrious Signora/ said the 
guardian, bowing bis head, and laying bis right band upon 
his breast, 'this is the poor young girl to whom you bave 
encouraged me to hope you will extcnd your valuable prò- 
tection; and this is her mother.* 

Agnese and Lucia reverently curtseyed: the Signora 
beckoning to them with her band that she was satisfied. 
said, tuming to the Father, 'It is fortunate for me that 
I bave it in my power to serve our good fricnds the 
Capuchin Fathers in any matter. But,' continued she, ' will 
you teli me a little more particularly the case of this young 



I PROMESSI SPOST 



1J7 



gfrìp so tìiat I niiy know better what I ought to do fot 
ber?* 
Ltìci^i blushed, and licld down htt head. 

* You must know^ reverend mother , . / begati Agnese ; 
bui tilt ^mrdinn silcnccd her with a g lance, aiid replìed, 
* Tbis youiig girl, most ilhistrìous lady, has been reoom- 
foended to me, as I told you, by a brother friar, She has 
beco compclled secretìy to leave her countr)' to avoìd great 
dangers, and want» an asyliim for some lime where she 
may live retifed, and where no one wHl dare tnolest ber, 
rrcn when . . / 

*W1iat dangers?' internipted the Signora, ' Be good 
iotigh, Father, not to teli me the case so enigmaticaily. 
foa know that we nims like to bear stories mintitely/ 

* Thcy are dangers,* replìed the gnardian» * which scarcely 
msght to bc mentioned ever so delicately in the pure ears 
of the reverend mot her , , *' 

' Ott, ccTlamly t ' replìed the Signora, hastily, ajid sligbtiy 
Golottrmg* Was It modcsty? Otie who would bave oh- 
ped the momentary expressioo of vexation which 
tcnmpantcd this blush might bave cntenaincd some donbt 
if ii^ espccially if he had compared il with that which dif- 
ftued ttjelf from lime lo ttrne on the cheeks of Lucìa. 

* U ìs enough/ rcsumed the gnardian, * that a power! ni 
tiobicmaji , . , not ali of the great people of the worid use 
the gifta of God to bis glory and For the good of tbeìr neigh- 

«rs, as yotir illystnous ladyship bas done ... a power in! 
ftTalìcr^ after havin^ for some tlme persecuted thìs poor 
ri with base tìattcìies, seettig that tbey were useless, had 
the hcart opcnly to persccute ber by force, so that the poor 
thiog has been obliged to fly from ber home/ 

*Cofnc nrar, young girl,* saìd the Signora to Lucia, bedc- 

CNiIng to ber wltb ber band. *I know tliat the Father* 

aardìan is truih itscU; bnt no one can he bcttcr informed 

iiiis btiitnesit than yourself. It rests with you to sajr 

ihcthcr tbts cairaller waa an odìous persecutor/ 

Ai to ftpproaehtog^ Luda instantJy obeycd, btit to answcr* 

aoiother mattcr» An inquiry on this subjcct cven wben 

by an equal, wonld haw put ber into confusione 

ut mide by tbe Slgoora, and wiib a ceitain air o£ malidoua 



X ffTii-i* Ji Ter r 




-'imii n^^ "T" 

ar isr» ictt: — \r -zsLirrt ti 2ek Ji%g!ìrstt iityrriiiffc. 
«sramir 3it letr L^m nfgj kiìc ier:. irar ihuuiili: IuikIC 
j» i f i n i j.>-g ÌTi nmtnr «raa ujm, "JLìigr Umki: in» 5a|fiìnaL* 
SBft 31BL I rox Jìsiir ftxil rtsaxxamr -Use mr ihu^fiuc 3aoEd 
rfns spruicr, e- -he arri jaas JinTr icaxssr. 3 idunilS nr, 
oe Ì5 die ier-TÌ nmsef: ine ynt '^oL rx^itm mf iì I ^eak 
Biiiii i i jci r fnr t» ir- iwtnr àiit xe ijtX. maiti la. Tfcc 
case :s ':fns TTiSr ut* imir jpc 'vof jeuxiiiisL 7£ £ yzvA si 
Skt TW3. gannn, i scsun 3iaii; miL me -wìir isarf ijtuc.: ani 
sf -ite fì^ncr-'I.innr "aait 'hbss niiac ì» m^ric tt ìe - - - 

sua aft 'v*:! n^ ut mii -nari ±1: nar ^ac? ^oC e^ làd* 
' y VI ir* ' V - -11:7 t: «g^rxk -wTtàinxc Vrìnj: sicfc-r tJs.' 

an^r»r ir, •/•» -.«-.".i^ if *-r'*ir rir:Iifr'i!i T " 

«Tì^ 4 n-y.T*wu^.* '•^f :-:f.f bearl ±a: sr» -wos :be ziccseot to 
•rvt^ h-»r r//m^*, aryf =ct to kart ber pccr ractbcr in 

' R^v*r*ri/1 lA/f// «i^ Lrx£a^ * wriat et gi x <Ler bas told 
yrm i% *-/^^M/ *:.^. fr:*h. Tilt yozr± who'yaid fcis aàiresscs 
lo m*-' (i^rA \,frt xht crA^j^T^ criaisor.ì 'I chose with 
tny frvn ^^'^A -mW Vf/ryy/^ rrt. ii I speak too bo!dhr. bnt 
h ì% th;»f yf^i TfiM/ ufA. fK:nk i" or my raother. And as to 
ih\% y>'r/jUfr, (f,fA ioryy/f. h::r !; I wouid rather die than 
fall ifi*o h\% ììUTi/U. Afi'I if yo*: do us the kindness to put 
fin w K'tfffy, «tir.^/- w^ 'afi: fM^^tA to the necessm- of asking 
a pbr/- of r/ fnjf/-, and of inconveriiencing woithy people, 
(fifit O/^'l't; will \t". doncf; ht assured, lady, that no one 
wlll \ìtny Un ytrtt more earnestly and heartily than we poor 

'f bf*IUve you/ naid the Signora, in a softened tone. 




1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



*Btjt I should like to talk to you alone, Not that I require 

furtlier information, nor any othcr motivcs to attend to 
the wishcs of the Fatile regnar diari/ added she, hasttly; and 
tuming towards him with studicd politeness. * Indced/ 
continued she, *I have already thotight about it; and this 
ìs the best pian I can thtnk of for the present. The portress 
o£ the convent has, a few days ago, settled her last daugh- 
ter in the world. These women can occtipy the room she 
haa left at liberty, and suppty hcr place in the trifling servìces 
the perfonned in the monastcry. In truth » • . * and here 
she beckoned to the gnardian to approach the grated win- 
dow, and continued, in an under-voìce i * In truth, on account 
of the scarcity of the times, it was not intended to substi- 
tute any one in the place of tliat young woman; but 1 will 
speak to the Lady Abbess; and at a word from me . , . at 
the request of the Father-guardìan < , , in short, I give the 
place as a settled thìng.* 

The gnardian began to return thanks, byt the Signora 
interrupted him : ' Thcre is no need of cerenrony : in a case 
of necessity I should not hcsitate to apply for the assistance 
of the Capachin Fathers, In fact/ contìnned she, with a 
smile, in which appeared an indescribable air of mockery 
and bìtterness ; ' in fact, are we not brothers and sisters ? ' 

So saying, she called a lay-sister, (two of whom were, 
by a singnlar distinction, assìgned to her private service,) 
and desìred her to inform the Abbess of the cìrcumstance; 
th«s sending for the portress to the door of the cloister, 
she concerted with her and Agnese the necessary arrange- 
ments. Dismissìng hcr, she bade farewell to the guardi an, 
and detained Lucia. The guardian accompanied Agnese to 
the door, gìving hcr new instructìons by the way* and went 
to write his letter of report to his friend Cristoforo. 'An 
cxtraordinary character, that Signora 1/ thought he, as he 
walked home : * Very curious I But one who knows the right 
way to go to work, can make her do whatevcr he plcases, 
My good friend Cristoforo certainly does not expect that 
I can serve him so quickly and so well. That noble fellow ! 
Tbere is no help for it: he must always bave something in 
hand. But he is doing good. It is well for hìm this time, 
that he bas f ound a friend who has brought the affair to a 



Uaforuj 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



6so 

good condosjon in a twinkliìig, wìthaut so tnuch aoise» so 
Imuch prcptration, wo mudi ado. Tbis good Cristoforo will 
[iorely he satisfìed, aisd see tfamt evcn W€ hcre are good fot 
' iomethlng/ 

The Signora, who, ìii the prcscTicc of a Captldiin of ad-* 
j^vanced agc, hné stiidicd hcr actioms and words, uow, wtica^ 
tft hH^-à'icie wUh aii mcxperìeDC^ country girl, no longer 
kttempted to rcstraìD berseli ; and hcr con versai ion hccame 
by dcgrces so strange, that, instead of rclatiiijj tt, wc thhik 
. k bctter hriefly to narrate the prcvious history of UiU no- 
(liappy pcrsoa: so much, tiiat is, as will stiflfìce Co account for 
tbc unusti^l and tnystcrioiis conduci wc bave wltncAicd in 
hef, and to explam the motivcs of hcr bchariour in the facls 
wbicJjuJifiC »hall bc oblìged to Telate, i 

S3te was the >*oimge5t daughter of the Princc • • •» m] 
Ilili2iese noblcman, ^ho was esteemed one of the rtch< 
mtn of the city. But the unbotmdcd idea he entertatned of " 
bis tJtle madc bis property appcar scarccly suScient, nay, 
^O^en too hmited to maintain a proper appearance; and aU 
► hU attcniion wa* lurned lowards keeping il, al !eait^ such i 
|ti was, in one line» so far as ti dcpended upon himaelf. How 
ktnany childrm he baci doe« not appear from hittory: tt 
Inierèly rtcofds tbat he bad desi^cd ali the younger bfmiicliea| 
iDf bcrtb sesces for the cloister that he mti^bt Irave hi^ property I 
Itntire to the eldcst «ori, destined lo perpetuate the famllyi| 
tbat is« bring up chììdren tbat he might tontient hiins^ 
in tormentìng thern after bii fathcr*5 examplew Olir isn* 
I happy Signora was yct unbom whcn 1^' nn was iire^i 

kvocably tletermined upon. ft oiily i to deddOT 

Iwhcthcr shc shoutd be a monk or a nua, a dccision, for 
' whicli, oot ber aiisetit» bwt ber prctencc, was reqtrired. When 
sbc was Ijom^ the Prince, ber fatlicr, wishtng to ^vc ber a 
name tbat w*pald always fntmediatcly snggest the idea of 
a cloister and widcb bad be«n berne by a saint of high 
^hmUf^ caOed ber ' fé. DoUs dressed Itke naos wer€ , 
first playthlof: i ber bands; tben bnages in nuns* 

jts, aecompaiiying Uie gift witb admonitiona to prl^a 
I ldghfy« ai irery proetoui thbi(^ and wttli ihai afltmiaiiva \ 
mterrogatìott. ' Beantifut, eh?' Wien the IVmce^ «r the 
Priocetii» or tba yoimg prince^ the ooly noe cif tlie aooa 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



151 



brouj^t tip at iKune, wou!d repTeseni the happy prospeets 
of ihc child, il secmed as if they couid find no other way of 
€3Cpressm^ iheir ideas than by the words, * What a lady^ 
a1>bessl ' No ooc, howevcr, directly said to hcr. ' You mtiat 
become a finn/ It was an tntcntion tindcrstood and totiched 
QpoQ Inddcrttally in every con\ ersation relattng to ber future 
desiioy. If at auy timc the little Gertrude ìndulged io re- 
bcllious or ìmperiou^ behavìour. to which hcr naturai dìs- 
fiasiliafi easily ìnclmed her, ' You are a naughty little gifl/ 
ihcy wouJd say to ber : ' this behaviour is very unbecomlng. 
Wben you are a lady-abbess, you shall then command with 
the rod: you can then do as you pleasc/ On another ooca* 
«on, the Princc repro%*ìng her far her too free and familiar 
mamiers. imo which she easily fell; *Heyl bey! ' he mcd; 
*tfacy are not beconiing to one of ycur rank, If you wish 
tome day to engagé the respcct that is due to you, leam 
ftom hcuceforth to he more rcserved: remember you ougbt 
everythiiig the first in the monastery^ because you 
ìyonr raiik whercver you go/ 

nguage Imbued the itiind of the little girl with the 
II! i'ja that she was to he a nim ; but her father*s words 

ind more cffect upon her than ali the others put together. 
The nianners cif the Prince wcre habitually thosc of ati 
llifttere master, but when treating of the future prospects 
of his children, therc shone forth in every word and ione 
aa tizmuivahiltty of rcsohition which inspired the idea of a 
fual nece&sity. 

A» alx yean of age, Gertrude was placed for educatìon, 
lad slUJ more as a preparatory step towards the vocatloQ 
tafKksed uport ber, in die monastery where we havc seeo 
ber; and the sclcction of the place was not without design* 
The wwthy guide of the twa woitien has said that the father 
of the Sign«>ra wajt ihe first man in Monza ; and, eomparlng 
tUi testiiDony, whatcver it may he worth, with some other 
todkations which out anonymous amhor unintentionally 
tnffert to eicapc bere and thcre, we niay very easily a&sert 
that Ile was the fciidal head of iliai country* lìowcver it 
laajr be, he enjoycd bere very grcat authority, and thought 
tltttt hcre, bcHcr than elucwhere, bis datighter would he 
trtated witJi that di^linctioii and deference whicii mtght 



I 



à 



152 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

induce her to choose this monastery as her perpetuai abode. 
Nor was he deceived : the then abbess and several intriguing 
nuns, who had the management of afTairs, fìnding them- 
selves entangled in some disputes with another monastery, 
and with a noble family of the country, were very giad 
of the acquisition of such a support, received with much 
gratitude the honour bestowed upon them, and fully entered 
into the intentions of the Prince conceming the permanent 
settlement of bis daughter; intentions on every account en- 
tirely consonant with their interests. Immediately on Ger- 
trude's entering the monastery, she was called by Antono- 
masia, the Signorina/ A separate place was assigned her 
ai table, and a private sleeping apartment; her conduct was 
proposed as an example to others; indulgences and caresses 
were bestowed upon her without end, accompanied wifli that 
respectful familiarity so attractive to children when observed 
in those whom they see treating other children with an 
habitual air of superiority. Not that ali the nuns had con- 
spired to draw the poor child into the snare; many there 
were of simple and undesigning minds, who would bave 
shrunk with horror from the thought of sacrificing a child 
to interested views; but ali of them being intent on their 
several individuai occupations, some did not notice ali these 
manoeuvres, others did not discem how dishonest they were ; 
some abstained from looking into the matter, and others 
were silent rather than give useless offencc. Thcre was one, 
too, who, remembering how she had been induced by sim- 
ilar arts to do what she afterwards repentcd of, felt a deep 
compassion for the poor little innocent. and showed that 
compassion by bestowing on her tender and melancholy 
caresses, which she was far from suspecting were tending to- 
wards the same result ; and thus the affair proceeded. Per- 
haps it might bave gone on thus to the end. if Gertrude had 
been the only little girl in the monastery: but among her 
school-fellows, there were some who knew they were de- 
signed for marriage. The little Gertrude, brought up with 
high ideas of her superiority, talked very magnificently of 
her future destiny as abbess and principal of the monastery; 
she wished to be an object of cnvy to the others on every 
^The sroitiiff ladr. 



I PROMESSI SPOSt 



153 



account, ^nd saw wìth astonlshmenl and vexaiion that 
iotne of them paìd no atioitìon lo ali her boa&tìng. Te the 
majestic, but circumscribed aod cold. images the hcadshìp 
of a monastery could fumìsb, tbey opposed the iraried and 
brigbt pkturcs of a hujsband, gxiesU, routs, towns, touma- 
Bietìt&, retinues, dress, aad equjpages. Sucb gliuering 
TÌsiofis roused in Gertrude's m'md that exciteni^nt and ar- 
dotir which a large basket- full of fresbly gatiicred fiowera 
WOiild |xrodtice if placed before a bec-hive, Her parents and 
teaidiers had culti vatcd and increased her naturai vanity, 
to rccoocile her io the cloisters; but wbcn this passìon 
was excitcd by ìdeas so niuch caìculated to stimulaie it, she 
qoidcty cntered mio them with a more lively and spontane- 
OQS ardour. That &he might tiot be below !ier conipanionSt 
and inUiieoeed at the same lime by ber ncw tum of mitidt 
sbe replied that. at the tìme of the decìsi on, nò one cotild 
compe! ber to take the veil witliout her conscnt; that she 
too» eodd laarry, Jive in a palace, enjoy the world, and that 
bctter Utan any of them ; that she cauid if she wìshed tt, 
that she woutd if she wtshed tt; and that, in fact* she did 
wish IL The idea of the neccsslty of her conscnt, whìch 
futherto had bcen, as it were, unnoticed, and hidden in a 
corner of ber mtnd, now unfolded and dì splay ed ttself tn ali 
ita importance, On cvery occasìon she called it to ber aid, 
tbat she mìght enjoy in trami u ìli ìty *'*^ iinagcs of a self- 
chofcn future. Together with this idea, however. there 
igtvmiiab!y appeared another; tbat the refusai of this consent 
bnroh^ed rebcllbn against her fathen wha al ready belicved 
it, or pretcnded to believe it, a decided thing; and at tbli 
reroembrance, the child*» mind was very far frora feeìliìf 
the confidence whìch ber words proclainicd She wouìd then 
compare berseli with her co: ;, whose confidence wai 

of a far dìffcrent ktnd, ^md t : d lamcfitably that cnvy 

of their condition whìch, at first, she endcavonred to awaken 
in IheiH. Frotn en%7 she changcd to hatrcd; whìeh she dis- 
playcd in contcmpt, rndi-nes?, and fareastle speeches: whìle, 
^^.^*: .t,- -""^nrmJty of ber inclinattons and hopcs with 
th i-r spite, and crcated in her an apparent 

Miid 1: ìonging to enjoy some* 

tbia^ : ci a compTacency ni tiie 




m 



ALESSAKDBO MANZONI 



distinctiòns accordcd io htr, and makc otbers sensn>te 
this supcrìofitv ; and thcii, again, utiable tu tolerate the 
solitadc of ber icurs and desirrs» sht would go in &carch ai 
her companions, her haughliness appeaisedi almost, ìndeed« 
tfnpfonng of thcm kmdfsrss, co un set, and tncouragemcnt lo 
the midst of sodi pitiable warlarc with hcrsdf and uUiera, 
she pasied hcr childhood, and cntcred upon that criticai 
age at which an alniost mystcrious power scema lo takc pò»- 
seasìon of the somJ, arousiug, refreshìng, ìnvigorating ali 
the inclinatións and ideai, and sometimcd transfontnng them^ 
or turn mg ìhcm into some unlookcd-for channel- That 
wBich. until aow, Gertrude had ttioist diatincdy figured in 
thesc dreams of the futurcp was external splcndour and 
potnp; a someihing sooihing and kìndly, which, from the 
fir^t, was Hghtiy, and, as it wcrc, mistily» diffu&cd over her 
tnindt now began to spread ttself and predominate in ber 
imagination. It took possessìon of the tnosi secret recesses 
of ber heart» as of a gorgeous retreat; Iiither she rcdred 
from prescnt objccts; bere shc entertaincd varìous pcr- 
sonages strangely compaundc<J of the confused remcm- 
brances of cbildhood, the liulc shc had aeen of the extemal 
world« aftd what she had gathcred in conTersatfons witb ber 
Companions ; sbc entertained berdclf with tbein, talked to 
tbem, and replied in tbetr namc; bere sbc gavc commands^ 
and bere shc reeeived homagc of evcry kind, At tìmes, the 
thoughts of rellgion woald come to distisrb tbe«e briUiant 
atld tollsome revcls, Byt religion, «ucb ai; it had beco taught 
to this poor girl, and such as sbe bad icccivcd it» did ool 
prohtbit pridc. but ratlier aanctìficd it» and projwscd it as a 
Bieatis of Dbtatning cartbly fclicity. Robbcd tlius of_its 
essenee, it wti no longer rellgion, bot a phantom like tho' 
test In tbc iniervals in wbìcb thU phantom occupied the 
Erst place, and niled in Ortmde's fancy» the unhappy giri, 
oppressed by confiiJie<I terrors, aod urged by an indefinite 
idea of dutY tmagincd that her repttgnancc to the cloistefi 
and ber resistancc to tlsc wisbei of her ttiperior» iti the 
choice dì ber lutate of li fé, was a faatt; and the resolved 
in ber hcart to exptatc it, by votimtarily taking the veil 

It was a rule, that, before a yoitDg persoti ooutd be re- 
edved at a nuti, fbc thould bc exambed by an eedc ' 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



ISI 



caflcd the Ticar of t!ie ntins» or by some one depiited by liim ; 

tliar il Diìght bc seen wbether tlie lot were her deliberate 

eboice or not; and this examinatiort could not take place 

fot a year after she baci, by a wrìtten reqoest» signified ber 

tfiire to tbc vkan Tbose nuns who had taken upon them- 

^sdves the sad office of ìnducing Gertrude to bind berseli 

fot cvcr witb tbc leait possible consciousness of wbat sbe 

óotng, sciiEed one of the momenti we bave dcscrfbed to 

ersuadè her to write and sìgn sueh a fnemoriaU And, in 

ùtécr the moro casiìy to persuade her to such a coursc» 

bpy faiied not to aiììrni and inipress upon ber, what, in de ed, 

ras qui le ime, tJiat, after ali, it was a mere forma li tv, wbich 

bave no effect, without otber and posterior steps, de- 

ling eoiirely upon her own wilL Neverthtless the 

memoria] had scarcely reacbed its destìnation, belore G^r- 

^Imde repeoted havìng wrìtten it Then she repented of 

repentances; and thus day 9 and months were spent in 

'mn iiiccssant altemadon of wishes and rcgrets, For a long 

wbile »be coneealed tJns act from ber companions; some- 

Umes from fear of exposing ber good resolution to opposi- 

liofi and contradiction, at otbers from shame at reveaJing 

licf error; but, at last, the desìre of unburdening her tnìnd, 

%ó Qt steektng ad vi ce and encouragement, conquercd* 

Anotber ruìe was this: that a young girl was not to be 

Fadmtttetl to tbts examination upon the course of life sbe 

liad chosen^ mitiì she had residcd for at Icast a montb out 

of the convent whcrc she bad been educated. A year had 

_mlmost passcd stnce the preseutation of tìih memortal ; and 

beai signtfìed to Gcrlrude that she would shortty be 

£nxo the raonastcìy, and scnt to her father's house, 

for this o«itr montb. thcrc to take ali tbc neces^tary stcps to- 

|W:mìit the complction of ihe work sbe had really bcgun. The 

Prioce; and the rest of the family, considcrcd ìt an assure<l 

aa if it had already taken place. Not ao, howevcr, 

kdaofhter: instead of takìng frcsb steps, she was cn- 





V sbe COI 


Iraw the first. In 




'V^cd ta 


mind to one of 


€<h: 


ino5t ?« 


1 aJways the rcadìest 


riirc :, .- 


- __.ìcc, Sht _-i . 


-li Gertfiidc 10 Inlorro 



htr lather« by leiter, tbat »bc had clianged bcf mtod, since 



256 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

shc had not the courage to pronouncc to bis face, at the 
proper timc, a bold / will not. And as gratuitous advice in 
this world is very rare, the counsellor made Gertrude pay 
for this by abundance of raillery upon ber wajit of spirit 
The letter was agreed upon with three or four confidantes, 
written in private, and despatched by means of many deeply- 
studied artifices. Gertrude waited with great anxiety for 
a reply; but none carne; exccpting that, a few days after- 
wards, the Abbess, taking her aside, with an air of mystery, 
displeasure, and compassion, let fall some obscure hints 
about the great anger of her father, and a wrong step she 
must bave bcen taking ; leaving her to understand, however, 
that if she behaved well, she might stili hope that ali would 
be forgotten. The poor young girl understood it, and dared 
not venture to ask any further explanation. 

At last, the day so much dreaded, and so ardently wished 
for, arrived. Although Gertrude knew well enough that 
she was going to a great struggle, yet to leave the monas- 
tcry, to pass the bounds of those walls in which she had 
been for eight years immured, to traverse the open country 
in a carriage, to see once more the city and her home, filled 
her with scnsations of tumultuous joy. As to the struggle, 
with the direction of her confidantes, she had already taken 
her measures, and concerted her plans. Either they will 
force me, thought she, and then I will be immovable — I 
will be humble and respectful, but will refuse; the chief 
point is not to pronounce another * Yes/ and I will not 
pronounce it. Or they will catch me with good words ; and 
I will be better than they ; I will weep, I will implore, I will 
move them to pity ; at last, will only entreat that I may not 
be sacrificed. But, as it oftcn happens in similar cascs of 
foresight, neither one nor the other supposition was realized. 
Days passed, and neither her father, nor any one else, spoke 
to her about the petition, or the recantation; and no pro- 
posai was made to her, with either coaxing or threatening. 
Her parents were serioils, sad, and morose, towards ber, 
without ever giving a reason for such behaviour. It was 
only to be understood that they regarded her as faulty and 
unworthy ; a mysterious anathema seenied to bang over her, 
and divide her from the rest of ber family, mcrely suffering 



I PROMBSSI SPOSI 



W 



I 



m modi lutercourse as was ncccssary to tnake her feef 
licr sabjectìon. Seldom. aod onìy at certain fixcd hours, wa» 
alle admitted to the company of her parents and elder 
firotlier In the conversatioiis of these three tbere appcared 
lo rdgn a great confidetice, which reodered the exclusioo 
of Gennide doubly sensìbk and pahifuJ. No one addressed 
ber; and if slic venturcd timidly to make a remarle» iinless 
Tcry evidently called for, her words m^ere either unnoiìced, 
or wcrc responded to by a carclcss, contemptuous, or severe 
look. If uitable aoy longer to endure so bitter and humil- 
iattog a dìstifiction* shc sought and cndcavoured to tuingle 
wìlb tli€ fanilly, and ìmplored a little afìfection; she soon 
bcard some bdirect but clcar hìnt thrown out about her 
choicc of a monastic Ufe, and was gi\ en to understand that 
tbere waso»e way of regaming ibe affectìon o£ the faraily; 
and since she would noi aeccpt of tt on these conditions, she 
waa obìiged to draw back, to re fuse the first advances to- 
wards the kindness she so mueh deàired, and to continue «l 
ber state of excoinmunìcation ; continue in tt, too« witb 
A eertain apt>earance of bdng to blame. 

Stiàì imprcssions from sarroundiDg objects paìnftiJly con- 
Irmdicted tJie brigbt visions with which Gertrude had been 
•o mudi occupied, and wìiich she stili sccretly indwigcd in 
ber beait. She had hoped that, in her splcndld and much- 
frequefited home, she shoyld bave enjoycd at Icast sonie 
rea! m^^ of the plcasures she had so long tmagined; but 
Ar her self woefuHy deceivcd. The con6n<?ment was 

m 'd dose at home as in the convcnt ; to walk out 

for rccreation %vas never even ^poken of; aud a gallery 
that led from the house to an adjotntng church, obviated 
the iole necessity thcre might bave bccn to go loto the 
Street* The company was more nninteresting, more scarce, 
and le» varied than in the monastery. At every announce- 
ment of a visitor^ Gertrude was obliged to go up-stairs, and 
reauLin with 9on>e old woman in the scrvice of the family; 
and bere the dìned whenever therc was company. The 
domestlc scnranks ronairred in behaviour and language 
witb the cifamplc ani! tfiicntion?i of tbcir master; and Ger- 
titide, who by iricltnation would bave trcated thcm wllb 
Iady*h1ce unaècctcd familiarity; aBd who, in the rank In 



1S8 



ALE3SANDEO MANZONI 



wbich ahe was placed, would bave cstcancd it a favoar 
if they had Aown hcr any little mark of kìnflneis a« an 
cqnal, and cven bave stoopcd to ask it, was now btuoblf ' 
and annoyed at bcìng trcatcd with a mani f est indifìfercnee^^ 
althongh accDmpanìcd by a slight óbsequiausfifa» of lar- 
mality, Sbe could not, Ìiowcvct, but obscrve, tbat odo of 

[•the&e servanUp a page, appeared to bear ber a rcspcci irery 
diffcrciit to tbc otlier», and to ite a pcculiar kind of co 
passion for ber, Tbc bcbaviotir of this yoiith approachc 
more nearly iban anytbìng sbe bad yet scen to «' 
of thing» tbat Gertrude had pictixrcd to ber imn 

l^fid more reseinbled the doìngrt of ber ideal chafacter*. By 
degrees, a strange trans format ìon was disccmìble in the 
manners of tbc young girl ; tberc appeared a ncw trati* 
quillity, and al the sanie time a rcstkssncss, difTcring from^ 
hcr usuai disqiiietude ; hcr conduct was tbat of one who ha 
lound a trcasure which opprcsses biro, wliìch he ìncessant 

iwatebcs, and hidci from the vicw of otbers. Gertrude kc 
ber eycs on tbi« page more cJosely thim cver; and, how^ 
ever it carne to pa&a, the was surprised one unlucky momìni 
by a ehamber-maid^ wbìle sccretly fdding up a Ictter, in 
wbìcb it would bave becn bcttiT bad she writte» tiotltìiig^ 
After a brief altefcation, the maid got post^easton of 
kttcr, and carried it lo ber master. The terror of Ger 
at the sound of bis footsteps, may be more tasi tv tmagmc 
than dcscribed. It was her father; be was i 
tbc felt berseli guitty. But wbrn be stood bci 
Ihat frowning brow, and tbc ili fatcd Ictler in ìu> band 
she would gladly bave bi*en a bundred feet under ground 
itot IO aay in a do iste r. Uh word» were few, bui terriblej 
the panishmcnt nattied at the tìme was only to be confine 
in ber own roora under the ebarge of the maid who had madf 
tbc diacovcfy; but this was mcrely a foretasie, a teuiporar 
pTOvition; he threatencd, and left a vaguc promise of sotm 
otber obscitre, unde^ned, and tberefore more drcadfur 
punishment 

The page wis^ of course, ìmmedìately di»mlised, and wi 
tneiiac<si with something terrible, if ever be frh^nl'T hmili^ 
t lyllable aijout the past. In giviitg hun tlm n 
PrìiBC« accooded it with two ioleiiui biow% to afiji«ji:idbc i& 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



158 



wtth this adventure a remembrancc Uiat would 
fonove even^ temptatfon to make a boast of ft, 
kind of pretext to account for the dismissa! of a page 
^ras not dìfficult to 6nd; as to the young lady, it was rqKJited 
that she was iti 

She was riow left to her fears, her shamc. ber remorse, 
aad ber dre-ad ol the future: with the sole company of thìs 
wofoan. whom ^hc hated as the witness of her gmlt, and 
the cause of ber disgrac«. She, in her tum, hated Gertrude» 
hy w!iooi the was reduced, she ktiew not for how long, to 
tbc wearisoine li fé of a jaììer, and had become for ever the 
guardian of a dangerous secret. 

The first confnsed tuiiiult of tliese feelings lubsìded hy 
degrces; but each renienibrance recurrttig by tums to her 
tmnd, vrm nourished tliere, and remamed to lorment her 
DOre distrnctly» and at leisure. Wìiatever cnuld the punish* 
Heot be, so mystertously thrcàtened? Many» various, and 
^c, were the ideas that Eug^gested theniseivei to the 
and inexperleuced itnaginadon of Gertrude. The 
rt that appcarcd most probable was, tiiat she would 
be taken back to the nioimstery at Monza, no bngcr to 
appcar as the Signorina, but as a guìlty person, to ti shut 
iherc — who knew how tongi who knew with what kimJ , 
treatment ! Aniotig the many atuioyances of such a course, 
^thc! most annoying was the dread of the sbaine she 
ci. The cxpressions, the words, the very commas 
fc ktter, were tumed over and over tn her 
memary ied them noticed and weìghed by a reader 

fo oncTc; 1) dlfferent from the one to whom they 

Wtrm de rcply : she imagined that they might bave 

eomc tinijrr the vrew of her mother, ber brother, or indeed 
tny one fl^r ; and by compari son, ali the rest secmed to her . 
a mere nothing- The image of hini who had becn the i 
iry cause of ali thìs offerire falled not also frequenti/ [ 
the pt»r recluse : and ìt h impossìble to dcscribe i 
^ftraiiffe contrae thit pliant*ism prescated to those around I 
r; so dissimilar, so tcrious, reserved, and !hreatcning,J 
Bm, itace àhc ctmld not scp;tr:itc hh ttnagr ir** nor 

for a tnomcnt tn thoìic transietit già ìva, with- 

oiit her prescni sorrowi» as Che copsequcnce oi theni« 9U^ 



160 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

gesting themselves to her mind, she began, by degrees, to 
recali them Icss frcquently, to repel the remembrance o£ 
them, and wean herself from sudi thoughts. She no longer 
willingly indulged in the bright and splendid fancies of 
her earlier days; they were too much opposed to her real 
circumstances, and to every probability for the future. The 
only castle in which Gertrude could conceive a tranquil 
and honourable retreat, which was not in the air, was the 
monastery, if she could make up her mind to enter it for 
ever. Such a resolution, she could not doubt, would bave 
repaired everything, atoned for every fault, and changed 
her condition in a moment. Opposed to this proposai, it is 
true, rose up the plans and hopes of her whole childhood; 
but times were changed ; and in the depths to which Gertrude 
had fallen, and in comparison of what, at times, she so much 
dreaded, the condition of a nun, rcspected, revered, and 
obeyed, appearcd to her a bright prospcct. Two sentiments 
of very different character, indeed, contributed at intervals, 
1 to overcome her former aversion : sometimes remorse for a 
fault, and a capricious sensibility of devotion; and at other 
times, ber pride embittered and irritated by the manncrs of 
her jailer, who (often, it must be confessed, provoked to it) 
revengcd herself now by terrifying her with the prospect 
of the threatened punishmcnt, or taunting her with the dis- 
grace of her fault. Whcn, however, she chose to be 
benign, she would assume a tone of protection, stili more 
odious than iiisult. On these different occasions, the wish 
that Gertrude fclt to escape from her clutches, and to raise 
herself to a condition above cithcr her anger or pity, be- 
came so vivid and urgent, that it made everything which 
could lead to such an end appear pleasant and agreeablc. 

At the end of four or five long days of confinement, Ger- 
trude, disgusted and exasperated beyond measure by one 
of these sallies of her guardian, went and sat down in a 
corner of the room, and covering her face with ber hands, 
remained for some time secretly indulging her rape. She 
tfien felt an overbearing longing to see some other faces, 
to bear some other words, to be treated differcntly. She 
thought of her father, of her family ; and the idea made hei 
shrink back in horror. But she remembered that it oalj^ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



161 



depended upon her to make them her frìends; and this 
remembrance awakened a momentary joy. Then there 
followed a confused and unusual sorrow for her fault, and 
an equal desire to expiate it Not that her,will was already 
determined upon such a resolution, but she had never before 
approached it so near. She rose from her seat, went to the 
table, took up the fatai pen, and wrote a letter to her father, 
full of enthusiasm and humiliation, of afiliction and hope» 
implorìng his pardon, and showing herself indefinitely ready 
to do anything that would please him who alone could 
grant ìt 



HC 



e— VoL2l 



CHAPTER X 

THERE are timeB when the mind, of the yoting tÉ^ 
pecially, is so disposed, that any external influence, 
however slight, suffices to cali forth whatever has the 
appearance of virtuous self-sacrifice; as a scarcely expanded 
flower abandons itself negligently to its fragile 6tem, ready 
to yield its fragrante to the first breath of the zephyrs that 
float around. These moments, which others should regard 
with reverential awe, are exactly those which the wily and 
interested eagerly watch for, and seize with avidity, to fetter 
an unguarded will. 

On the perusal of this letter the Prince * * * instantly saw 
a door opened to the fulfilment of his early and stili cherished 
views. He therefore sent to Gertrude to come to him, and 
prepared to strike the iron while it was hot. Gertrude had 
no sooner made her appearance, than, without raising her 
eycs towards her father, she threw herself upon her knees, 
scarcely able to articulate the word * Pardon.' The Prince 
beckoned to her to rise, and then, in a voice little calculated 
to reassure her, replied, that it was not sufficient to desire 
and solicit forgiveness, for that was easy and naturai enough 
to one who had been convicted of a fault, and dreaded its 
punishment; that, in short, it was necessary she should de- 
serve it. Gertrude, in a subdued and trembling voice, asked 
what she must do. To this question the Prince (for we can- 
not find in our heart at this moment to give him the title of 
father) made no direct reply, but proceeded to speak at some 
length on Gertrude's fault, in words which grated on the f eel- 
ings of the poor girl like the drawing of a rough band over a 
wound. He then went on to say, that even if . . . supposing 
he ever . . . had had at the first any intention of settling her 
in the world, she herself had now opposed an insuperable 
obstacle to such a pian; since a man of honour, as he was, 
could never bring himself to give to any gentleman a daughter 
who had shown such a specimen of her character. His 
wretched auditor was completely overwhelmed; and then the 

162 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



US 



_Prtiicet gradu^tlf softcnbg hls voice and langijàge, procecded 

&ay, ihsLt lor evcry fault there was a reniedy and a hope 

^ercy : that hcrs was one the remtdy for whkh was vcry 

"ictly mdicated; that she ougiit to see In thÌ3 sad cvent a 

[]g, as it were, tliat a worldly life was too full of danger 

hcr * , , 

i, ytBÌ* e%claiined Gertrude, excited by Icar, subdtied 

« of shame. and overcome at ihe iiistani by a mo» 

sientary tendentess of spirii. 

• Ah : you see it too/ replied the Prince, instantly taking up 
ber wofda, * Well, let u& say no more of what is past : aU ia 
caocellcd. You bave taken the only hoootirable and suitable 
coarse that reioamed for yoM ; but, since you have choseo it 
wiUuigly atìd cheerfully, it rests with me io makc it pteaaant 
to yoti in evcry possible way. I bave ^c power of turning it 
to yotir advantage, aod givtng alJ the merit of the action to 
ytitiTself. and Fll engagé to do it for you,* So ^ying, he 
raog a little beli that stood on the table, and said to the ser- 
vant wbo answcred it,— * The Princess and ihc young Prince 
umncdìately/ Then turning to Gertrude, he continued: *I 
wiflh them to share in my satìsf action at once; and I wish 
you immedia tely to be treated by ali as ìs fìt and proper^ You 
bave cxpcficnced a little of the severe parent, but from henoe>- 
forth you &bal1 find me an affectìonate father/ 

Gertrude stood thunderstruck at these words, One mo- 
iBCQt shc wondcrcd how tJiat ' ycs/ which liad escaped ber 
Bpa, coiild be made to mean so much : then she thougbt, was 
i no way of retracting — of reatrieting the sense; but the 
ace'i convietion sccmcd so unsbaken, his joy so sensi ti vely 
, aod bis benigni ty so conditional, that Gertrude dared 
ter a word to disturb thcm in the slightest dcgrec. 
lir partìes sumcnoncd qulckly made their appeardnce, and^ 
00 teetog Ceftrtsde, regarded ber with an expreatton of stir- 
prtic and itnccrtiJnty. Bm the Prince, with a cheerful and 
bvinip eounteoance» wbJch imniediately mei wtih an answer- 
mg look froni thcm, said, — * Behold the wandcring sbeep: 
and 1 tfitend thl^ to be tlae laat mord that sbalì awaketi sad 
remembrances. Ochold the consolation of the famjlyf Gct- 
tmtit ' '-rs« for she has voluntarily cbo^en 

good Sbe has detcnaiacd— ilie 





ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



Ofue!* exclaimed he- ' you are tumiitg your back un aOI 
[i«se foIHes» — yoìi are onc of the saints; wc poor worldlyJ 
fellows are catìght in the sn^xtt, bm yoia are going to losdj 
ft rcligjous IHe, axid go to heavcji in your carrlage,* 

As cvening upprcachccl they rctumed hanic. and tlse 
iVants, husHIy <1csccndìng to meet thetn with lights, atinotttie«4] 
lieveral visitors who were awaitttig Uieir return. Th« i 
(itmd iprtnd, and fricnds and rel&tfons crov^ded to pay 
|irespects. On entcrìng the drawing-rnom the yoxsng bride b^^ 
f carne the tdol— the sole object of altemion 
ivcry otte wished to have her lo hìmself; onc \r r 

plcftsures, — another vistts ; one »poke of Madn' llsis, h«r r^ 
Itimi, — another o£ Madre that, an aequaintance ; one extoUed 
the cltmatc of Monza, — ^another cnlar^ed wìtli great eli>- 
^fócnee upon the djstinctìons she would there cnjoy. Othci^,. 
io had not yct succeeded in tpproachìnff Hertnide whjle j 
thus besiegcd, stood watching thetr o| fr« 

her, ami felt a kitid of regret mitil thcv htàrj 

duty in tliii matter. By dcgrees the party dispersed, Bnà\ 
Gertnidc rcmained alone with the family. 

* At ìast/ said the Prjncc« ' t have had the pleastire of 
^•eelng my daughter treated as become» her tank. 1 

ifesa ihat $he hat conductcd hersclf very well and basi 
lioiini that ihe wtU not he prevented making the ùtn ^i^re^ \ 
ad tnràitaìiimg the dìgiìity of the family:* Thcy then wcni 
flipper, m ns lo retire early, that they mìghk be ready in 

lime in the momtng. 
Gertrude, annoyed» pi<)ued, and at the laine lime a little 
fed up by the compliinenta and ceremonic* of ihe day, at 
\ tnoment reniembered ali she had luffercd Irom her jailer; 
ad ^u r falher fio ready lo grati fy Ti * rythìnjt 

at i rcsotved to ntmkc use ci ihi» dj im ih e 

lindtitgcncc of at Icast one ol the paiaiofia which tormesife 
ber. She dlspkyed i great unwìllingnets «gain to be lefti 
ilone with her maid, and eofOptaiiiGd bitferly of ber treat» 
^weiit, 

* Whatr said the l*rince; * did she not treai you with «• 
spcct? To-mofrow I wlll rcward hrr - -^ - deserves. tesare 
il to me, and l will get ytm cniifc n. In the mean 
wb0e, a duld wHh whoni I am ao wcii pieaied nsiiai noi tw 



1 PUOMmBT SPOSI 



1S7 



attended by a person the dìsUke^,* So «ayin^, he catlcd ap- 
odier servaitt, aod gave hcr ordem to wait upoo Gertrude, 
who, ihough certainly enjoyìng the iatisf action she re<celved, 
was aitonished at finding it so triflinf , in comparison with 
.the caitiest wishcs she liad felt beforehand The thought 
that, in ipite of hcr unwillingness, predomìnated in tier kn* 
natlofi* H*as the retncmbrance of the fearful progress sha 
this day made towards htr eloistra) 11 fé, and the con* 
»ts3 that to draw back now wotiJd requìre a far» far 
greaier degree of courage and resolytìoiì than wouid bave 
anfilced a few days before, and which^ evcn theUt ihc felt àhc 
iBd not pos«(es3. 

The woman appóititcd to attend hcr was an old servanl of 

^thc family, who had formcrly been the yoimg Princc's gover- 

havdng receìvcd htm from the arros of bis nurse, and 

bim up until he was atmost a young man. In bioi 

f cenired ali ber pteasures, ail her hopes^ ali ber prìde. 

^^s delightéd at tlrb day*s decìsion, as if it had beco ber 

OWR good fortune ; and Gertrude, at the elosc of the day, was 

obSiged to lifiten to tlje cong^rattilaiions, prabes, and advicc of 

, Ihìa old woman. She told ber of some of her aun ts and near 

itlocii who had been very happy as nuns« because, being 

' io high a family, ihcy had always cnjoyed the first honotirs, 

asid had bc»t»n able to havc a good deal of influence beyond the 

Untli fjf 1 : so that, from tlietr parfour, thcy had 

come *^^ Il imdertakings in which the firet ladies 

kof : I tiuite fotlcd. Sbe talked to ber about 

Ithe . receive; she wonM some day be aeeliig 

[the Signor Princc with bis bride, who must certainly be some 

^noble lady; and then not only the monastery, btit the who) a 

country wcmld be tn excit^^nient» The old woman talked while 

xm<^ r- V *:^d after she had lain down, and 

erti Gertrude wat aaleqi, Youth 

and faiigue b^J be^ti fuore powerful than care;:. Her «leep 

,waa troubicd, distiirbed, and full of tormentbg dreams, bui 

tmbrc^cen, «ntil tJie shrill voice of the old woman 

ber to prepare for her joumey to Monca. 
]pt tip. Signara bride ; it h broad day^ligbt, and yon vrtU 
at leaBC an bour to dresa and arrangc yourself. The 
»ra PriaccM h geitJng up; thajr avroka her tour licnira 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



rller tliajt usuai The young Prmcc has aircaciy bc en ' 
l«0 ihe siaWes and come back, and h readv lo ^tart whaicv«r^ 
are. T!ie creature ìs as brisk as a bare ! but he was al- 
iVtrays so f roiiy a child : I bave a righi to say so who bave 
Durscd bim in my arms. But whcn he's once sci a-coing, it 
von't éo io oppose bim; for. i3 b Ihe l> > rcd. 

erealure in ihe world, h^; s- geU h; undj 

stornis. Paor fcllow ! onc must pii) him; il is -ili ihc e0cctj 
of bis tcmperamcnt ; and Ue-H(dcSj thb tinie tbcr« ìs 
reason in ii^ because he ìs goìng to ali iJiis troublr fot yotL 
People must Uke care how thcy touch bim at such limcs ! h^ 
mbìdB no one except the Signor Prince But some day he 
will be ibc Prince bìmself ; miay it bc a* long as possible firft^J 
howcver. Qtiick, quick. Signorina, why do you look at meiiF^ 
if you werc bewìtchcd? You ougbt lo bc out of yoar ncsi al 
Ibis bour,* 

Al the idea oC the tmpatient Prince» ali the otber dioitglila 
which had crowdcd mìo Gertrude's mìnd on awaktng, ran- 
isbcd bcforc it, Uke a Eoek o( sparrow& on Uxc sudden appcar- 
ance ol a acarecrow. She initanlly obeycd, dresscd berseli 
m baste, and, after snbnnitìng to the dccoralìon of ber hair 
and person, wtnc down to the saloon* whcrc ber parcnis and 
brotber werc as-sembied* Sbe wa» tbcn Icd to an arnKbair* 
aild a Clip o£ cbocolate was broiight to ber, which in tboae i 
days waa a ccrcmony simiìiar to that formexly in use aìQOiig 
the Romans, of prcscnting the taga virilis, 

Whcn Ibc earriage was at the door, the Prince drcw hia 
daugbter aside, and said: * Come, Gertrude, yestcfday you ha4 
cvery attcnùon paid you; lo-day you muat overcoinc your- | 
self. The puìnì H now to inake a propcr appetifimce fai the 
moiiasleTy :ni re dea- 

tined to take t (Il ts 

unnece^sary io %:{y that the Ì'ti; ] a mciotage 

the prcceding day to the Lady A: ,.rc cxpectlui^ 

ytni. and ali eycs wilI be upon you, You mn»l malntain dig- 
aity and an easy manoer» The Abbe** will ask yiMi what 
you wUb^ according to the u»ual forni, You must rcfU? tbai 
yùu request to bc he veil in die mt 

wbere you havc'br ^cated. and bave - 

%o mawy kindnetees» whidi u ù%c ààmplc inrth* You wiU yno^ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



IS9 



r 



fioixoce tJtcsc words wnth an «nembarrasscd air; for I would 
oot bave it said that you bave bccn drawn tu, and that you 
doti*t know how ta answer for yourself. These good niothers 
ktiow nolhmg of the past: it b a secret which must remaln 
for cver btirìed in tbe family, Takc care you don't put on m 
iorrowltil or dubious countenance, which might excìtc aoy 
sa»[MCf**n* Sbow of what bJood you are: be coiirteoiis and 
TOC t remember that there, a way front the famlly, thcrc 

wii .idy abovc you/ 

Wttbout m^iring for a reply, tbe Prince led the way, Ger- 
trude, Uie PrmcesSp and the youug Prince, following; and, 
^mg down-staìri» they seated themselves in the carriage. 
The snarcs ami vexatiofìs o£ the world^ aod the happy, blessed 
life of tlie cloister» more cspecially for young peoplc of noble 
birth, werc the subjccts of conversatton during llic drive. Oo 
ftpproaching tlicir dt?stÌnatÌon tJie Prince renewed bis instnic- 
tìofis to his daughter, and rcpcatcd over to ber scveral tìmes 
tbe prcscribed fonn of reply. On entering tbìs ncighbour- 
hood^ Gertrude felt her heart beat violcotly ; but her aitenlion 
was suddenly arrcstcd by scveral gcntlemen, who stopped the 
caiTÌa|[e and addressed numbcrless compHments tt> ber, Then 
conlSQir , tbey drovc slowly up to the monastery, 

iiDoa^> , ve gazes of tbe crowds who had collected 

ttpon the road, VVhcn the carriage stopped bcfore Ihcse weU- 
koown waìls, and that dreaded door, Gertrude'^ heart beat 
itin more violently. Tbey aligbtcd betwecn two wings of by- 
itauiders, whocn the servante werc endeavourtng to keep back, 
aod the conscìousness that the eycs of ali werc upon her, coni* i 
pellcd the un fortunale girl closcly lo study hcr bcbaviour; 
imi, nVȴc ali, thnse of ber fathcr kcpt hcr in awe; for, ?5pite 
of * ' shc had of ihem, she could not help cvery mo- 

mei ^ hcr eyes to bis, and. likc in%nsiblc rcins, they 

regalatcd cvcry movcment and cxpression of her counie- 
nance. After travcrsing the first court, they entercd tlie sec- 
ond, whcre the door of the interior cloister was held open, 
mad ctmiplclcly bU}ckadc%l bv nuns. In the first row stood the 
*, surrotinde-i hy ihi^ clde«r of the sisterhood; bebiod 
thcycun^*"^ ^ and soitie on 

and, b- ted on stools. 

fere ami thcrc amoog liicm werc seco liie glancmg of certain 



m 



MaSSgAKDRO MANZONI 



brighi eycs nnd tome little facca peeping out frotn 
the cowls: they wcrc the ino»t activc and daring of the 
pupils, who, crceping: in and pushing their way between min 
luid nuiip had sticceèdctl in makìng an open in ^ whefc M#y 
fnlght abo sce somcthing. Many wcre tire acclamatiotis 
Ihii crowd, and many the hands hcld wp in token of welc 
and exultatbn. They reaclitnl the door, and Gertrtide foe 
hcraelf fltandìng beforc the Lady Abbcae, After the Gr 
compir meo ts, the s^penor. with an air bctwcen cbcerfulnfi 
and solcnmity, asked her what shc wtnted in that placc;,^ 
^wherc there was no one who wouid dcny her anything. 

* I aiii here , . / began Gertrude; httt, oh the polnt of | 
notineing the words which would almost irrevocably de 
htff lale, fihe hcsitatcd a moment, and remai > her i 

Ex ed on the crowd before her. At thia in e catj 

the eye of one of ber old conipaninnft, whrt Umlccd at her with 
a mlxed air of conipassìon and rnalice which fleemed to «ayf 
ah ? the boaitcr is canght- Thi« «ight, awakening more viv- 
idly in ber niind her old fceling?i. rentorcd to her alfo a Uttl 

I ef her former courage ; and the was on tìie point of f ramio| 

I I rqdy far dilTcrcnt to the one whìch had heen dictated 
tber, when» raising ber eycs tf> ber fatbet'ft face, almost, a$ 
Iwere to try ber iiraigth, shc cncoiiniefed thcrc &nch a 

diBqniemde, such a thrcatening hnpatìcnce, tbat, urged 
fear, she continucd with great prccipitation, at if fiybg fro 
some lerrlhlc objtcì : ' I ain bere io reqoesi permisiion lo I 
the religiouR hahlt in this monasterv, wherc I havi- beco 
t ' ' .!/ The Ahb. ■ *' ' ' r sb 

\ ^ fliis bstant bad 

jlscr ^atc reply, v, i cofiuì frora ihi 

gtiì< ' sistcrs, and i > she mtitt obtJ 

pcrniJ^sion from her supcriors,* that, ncvertheless, Gert 
kncw wcll enough the fcelingn entcrtatnetl towardtf her tn^ 
tbat ptace, to forcM»e what {he aoswer would he ; and thai, ìn 
the meao whilc, no rcguhticm prr-. ' ' **' 

lilsterhood from manifeiting ihe i 

[in hearbg ber makc siich a n 
fc eonfused mtirmiir of eoni 
Prr^ently, In: > wcre broughi hlled 

ajid wef€ ofi ^ *<> tbe brtdev and a; -. -^ 



1 FHOMESSI SPOSI 



in 



psrents, Whìle some of the nuns 3p[)TOic1ieé to grcet Ger- 
trude, othcrs compUmenting ber mother, and othcrs the 
yottisf Priiict, tti€ Abbess reqyested the Prince to repatr to 
the grate of the parlour of conference^ nvhere she would waìt 
upùn ìùm* She was accotnpanied by two elders, and on his 
«ppearmg, 'Signor Prìnce; said she: ' to obey the regula* 
tions . . < lo perform an itidispcnsable formaUtyp tliough io 
tbifi case . . . neverthekss I must teli you . . . that whea- 
tver a yoimg person asks to be admitted to take the veil» 
. , . the tupcrior, which I am nnwonhily , , . b obliged to 
wam the parents . . . that if by any chance . , . thcy should 
hare constraìncd the will of their daughter, tlicy are liable to 
^Lcooimuiiìcatìoti, Yoii will excuse me * . / 

*0h! certaioly, certainly, revercnd mother. I admìre 
jPKMsr exactEiess; il b onJy tight . . ^ But you need not 
dCNnlt f . * 

•Ohi tMale^ Signor Prince • , , I only spoke from abso- 
lute dtity * • . f or the r est . . *' 

* Certamly, certaìnly. Lady Abbcss/ 

p,. :.. , r.xchanged thcsc few words, the two ioterlocutors 
ree bowed and departed^ as if neither of thein Iclt 

wilirng lo prolotig the ìiìtcrvtew, each retirìng to hig ovm 
fHUty» tlie one outsidc, the other within the threshold of the 
cloi^rter. 'Now thoi Jet us go/ sald the Prince; 'Gertrude 
will soofi hmve plenty of opporttmity of enjoyìng as much at 
dM plcases the society of these good mothers. For the pres- 
enta we have ptit them io enough inconvcnience/ And, mak- 
tog a low bow» he «Igni jìcd his wish to return : the party broke 
iqi, CKchanged salutationt, and departed* 

I>ttriiig 3ie drive home Gertrude fdt little inclination to 
apeak. Alarmed at the step she had taken« ashaoìed at her 
want ol spirit. and vexed wìth otlicrs as wcll as hcrself, she 
tried to etinmerate the opportimities which stili rcmaincd o£ 
«ying no, and bnguìdly and cofifusedJy resolved in her own 
mind that in tliia, or that, or the other instance she wauld 
be more open and cotirageoos. Yet, in the niidst of thcse 
tboitfbta, her drcad of her father's frown stili hdd its inìì 
iRray; »o that once, whcn, by m tìcaUhy glance at bis face, 
die waa fuDy assured thal not a vcsiige of anger remained^ 
whcn «be evec «iw that be wit perfocUy satisSed with her» 



172 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

she felt quite chccred, and expcrienced a real but tranricot 
Joy. 

On their arrivai, a long toilette, dinner, visits, walks, % 
conversazione and supper, followed each other in rapid tiio- 
cession. After supper the Prince introduced another subject 
— the choice of a godmother. This was the title of the persoo 
who, being solicited by the parents, became the guardian and 
escort of the young novice, in the interval between the request 
and the admission; an interval frcquently spcnt in visiting 
churches, public palaces, conversasioni, villas, and temples; 
in short, everything of note in the city and its environs; so 
that the young peoplc, before pronouncing the irrevocable 
vow, might be fully aware of what they were giving up. 

* We must think of a godmother/ said the Prince ; ' for to- 
morrow the vicar of the nuns will be bere for the usuai for^ 
mality of an examination, and shortly afterwards Gertrude 
will be proposed in council for the acceptance of the nuns/ 

In saying this he turned towards the Princess, and she, 
thinking he intended it as an invitation to ber to make some 
proposai, was beginning : * There should be . . / But the 
Prince interrupted ber. 

* No, no, Signora Princess ; the godmother should be ac- 
ceptablc above ali to the bride ; and though universal custom 
gives the selection to the parcnts, yet Gertrude has so much 
judgment, and such excellent discernment, that she richly de- 
serves to be made an cxception/ And bere, turning to Ger- 
trude, with the air of one who was bestowing a singular 
favour, he continued: * Any one of the ladies who were at the 
conversasione this evening possesses ali the necessary quali- 
fications for the office of godmother to a pcrson of your 
family; and any one of them, I am willing to bclieve, wUI 
think it an honour to be made choice of. Do you choose for 
yourself/ 

Gertrude was fully sensible that to make a choice was but 
: to rcnew her consent ; yet the proposition was made wiih so 
much dignity, that a refusai would bave home the appearance 
of contcmpt, and an cxcusc, of ignorance or fastidiousness. 
She therefore took this step also, and namcd a lady who had 
chiefly takcn ber fancy that evening; that is to say, one who 
Had paid her the most attention, who had most appìauded ber, 



I PEOMEBST SPOSI 



173 



[ircàted ber with tliosc fainHìar, affectìonaf^, and 

lificrs, whìch, nn tbe Erst acquaintanceshìp, coim- 

:^ of long standing, * An cxcelJent choice,* 

lice, who had exactly wished and exp^ted 

1t Whcther by art or chance, it happcned just as whcn a 

'-^rVl -player, holding up to view a pack o£ cards, bìd^ the 

-ator think of one, and then wilì teli him which ìt ìs» 

' rrcviotìsly dtsposed them in such a way that but one 

m bc ^een. This lady had been so much with Ger- 

■ali tilt evenìng» and had so endrely engaged her attcn- 

that ìt would have reqntred an cffort of ìmag^natìon to 

think of anotìicr, These attendons, however, had not becn 

piàid withotit a moti ve; the lady had for some timc fixed her 

cyes upoD the young Prince as a dcstrable son-m-Iaw: hence 

rcgmrdcd everythìng bdonging to the family as her own; 

thcrefore it was naturai enough that she should interest 

If for her dcar Gertrude, na less than for her nearest 

Ott the morrow, Gertrude awoke with the image of the 
ctiing exaniination before her cyes; and, while she was 
•ing if and how she could seìze tliis móst decisive op- 
to draw back, she was sunimoned by the Princc. 
, my child/ said he: ' until now you havc bchaved 
atT.tr.in y, and il oiily remams to-day to crown the work. 
Jl that ha* heen donc hitherto has becn dfinc with your con- 
•ent, is mlctva!, any doubts had ansen in your mmd, 

anv ?, or yoiilhfiil rcgrets. you ought to have ex* 

bot at the poìnt at which we have now arrived, 
the lime to play the clvìld. The worthy man 
to yon tliìs morntrjg, will ask you a hundred 
iitKJUt your electìon, and wbether you go of your 
^^^ will and why, and how, and what not bcsìdes, Tf 
I ttntafixc ' "ur repHes, he will kcep you under cx- 

asninaijon f ri how long. It would he an annoyancc 

and a w ■:.: u; and it migbt produce a stili more 

citurt. /\ : .iti the public dcmonstrations that have 
ade^ evcry linfe hc^itation you may display will risk 
rjofur, une may make pcople think that I have takai a 
mcmimtary fancy of yours for a setlìcd resofutìon — that I 
Isve niahed hcadlong inio the biisi£]es»--4lmt I bave . . 



174 



ALMSAKHKO MANZONI 



whtt ttot? Tfi thi» case, 1 shjill he reduced to th« 
of choosing hctwecn iwo palnftil altematlves; citlitr to tei 
tlie world forin a dcrogatory judg^mcnt of fny condtjet*^^ 
course which 1 alrsolmdy c;infi(Jt takc in jnstice to mysclf — 
or In reveal llic truc moti ve of yotir rcsolution, and » . / 
Btìt ber e. obscrving that Gf-rtrud»! colnurcd crini^ioo, ihat hcr 
cycs bccamc inflamctl. anil hrr face coiìtratted like. the petaU 
ol a ftowcr in tlic sultfy hcat that prcccdcs a slonn, he bfoke 
off thts !itrairt, and conirnutd wìth a serene face: * Conic, 
ccttie, ali dcpoìd» upon yoursdf — upon your judg:ment 1 
know lUftt you are n^ ' tu in ìi^ and that you are not a 
chiid» lo go «poil a \, icTtakipi: jtist at the condusion ; 

bili 1 must forcscc atid (iruvidc £or aU coaiingendea, Lct u* 
say tici more about it; only let me Itd aasured Ihat you will 
reply wìth franknc!»» »o as not to exdtc su*picton in tlie 
mind óf ihis wcrthy man. Thus you, also, will be &tt at lib* 
erty the sooner;' Thrn, after suggcjsting a few answers lo 
ihe probable tntefrogations that would bc put, he entcred 
ypon the ysiial topic of the pleasnres and <*ninymenfs prepared 
for GeriniHe at the monasttr>% and ^ ' to detain ber 

on thiji siibject tifi a &ervatil announeL ival of the ot- 

aftìiner. After a ha^ity rcpcution of the most important hinu* 
he left his daughter alotie witli hitn, accordine to the visual 
custom. 

The good man came with a ft!ight pre<onceivcd opini 
ihat Gertrude had a slrotig delire for a clotstral ìtCe, bécai 
the Princc had told him #o, when he went to rcqtiMt bis 
^attendancc, It b trae that the good priL^at, who kiicw well 
enDugh that mistriist was one of the most neces«ary TÌftuea 
of hii office, bcld ai4 a maxim that he should be vcry slow io 
beHevtng «neh protestaiions, and shoiild be on hì9 i^afd 
against pte'Conceptionjs ; b«t it %f Idom happens ibat the posi* 
tive aflirmations of a persoti of Mich autborky, in whatcver 
maticr, do not givc a htaa to ti vho hcar them. 

After the uttiai lalutations: " -, * ! fifn rf^m* 

ing to act the part of the tetti]>i t^ 

doubti where your reqtiest cxprc- t- 

cukies before your cyci, and to assnre myselt wlicther you 
hmve wclì constdercd thcm. Will you allow noe to aak you 
eottie fiuesticnif' 




I PROMESSI SPOSI 



175 



•Proceeti,* ropìied Gertrude. 
The woTihy priest then began to question ber In the usuai 
fif escrìbed fornis, * Do you feci in yoyr heart a free, voluti- 
*iy resolution to become a min? Have no threatenbigs, no 
Il^tterìci bcen resorted to ? Has no authority becn made use 
persuade you to thi& step? Speak witbout reserve and 
p^rfcct fine eri ry to a man wbosc duty it is to aseertaìE 
' mbìased wiU. ihat he may prevent your bctng compclled 
tny cxcrcise of force to take such a course»' 
The tme answcr to such a dematid rose up before Ger- 
Jes mind with fearid distinctncss, Btit to make that 
;ily, she lìiust come to an explanation; she mtist disdose 
irhat 5he had been threatened with. and rclate a story . . , 
The uiihappy girl ilinink back in horror from such an Idea, 
aad tried to find some other reply. which wouid tnore speedily 
^felease ber froiii this unpleaiant inter view. * I wish to take 
" br veil/ said sbc» concealìng ber agltatioti — * I wish to take 
veiJ at my own desìre, voluntarily/ 
• How long bave yoti had tbis desire F ' agam demanded the 
prte^t 
[ have always fcit it, replied Gertrude, rendered after thig 
ft«p more tinscrupuloiis about speaking ibe trutb. 
'Bui wbat is the principal motivc that induces you to 

ì a nm ì * 
The good priest lìtUe knew what a tertible chord he 
was toucbing; and Gertrude had to inake a gjeat efTort not 
to bctray in ber countenanct the effect ^'hicb thc^e wofds 
prodac€d on bc^r mind, a& sbe rcptìed : ' My motive ts io 
•crve God. and ta Hy the perils of the world.* 

•May there not bave been some di^gustT Some 
tiQCU«e me ♦ ♦ t some caprke? Tl^ere are ttme^ whcn a 
^a&ijiif cause may Kiakr ari tnipre&sìon Uiat seem» at tbe 
nunDcnf ture to he lasting; but aftcrwards, when the cause 
removed. and the mind catmed, then . , ,* 
'No, no/ replied Gertrude, precipitately, *the reauoit Is 
tly what I bave tnJd you/ 

viear, ratbcr lo discbarge bis diity faithfully ihau 
Hought it nrccssary, persisted in bis ir ■ 
\'i was resolvt'd to dcceivc htm. Be 
b&TTor #iie ieit al the thougbt of makmg him acqu^micd 



176 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

with her weakness, when he seemed so far from snspectiiig 
her of anything of the kind, the poor girl thought that 
though he could certainly easily prevent her taking the 
veil, yet that there was the end of his authority over her, or his 
power of protection. When once he had gone, she would bc 
left alone with the Prince, and of what she would then bave 
to endure in that house, the worthy priest could know noth- 
ing; or, even if he did, he could only pity her. The examiner 
was tired of questioning, before the unfortunate girl of 
deceiving him; and, finding ber replies invariably consistent, 
and having no reason to doubt their sincerity, he at last 
changed his tonc, and said ali he could to confirm her in 
her good resolution; and, after congratulating her, he took 
his leave. Passing through one of the apartments, he met 
with the Prince, who appeared to fall in with him acci- 
dently, and congratulated him on the good dispositions his 
daughter had di splay ed. The Prince had been waiting in 
a very wearisome state of suspense, but, on rcceiving this ac- 
count, he breathed more freely, and, forgetlìng his usuai 
gravity, he almost ran to Gertrude, and loaded her with 
commendations, caresses, and promises, with cordial satis- 
faction, and a tenderness of manner to a grcat degree sincere. 
Such a strange medlcy is the human heart! 

We will not follow Gertrude in her continuai round of 
sights and amusements, nor will we dcscribe, cither gen- 
erally or particularly, the feelings of ber mind during this 
period; it would be a history of sorrows and fluctuations 
too monotonous, and too much resembling what we bave 
already related. The beauty of the surrounding seats, the 
continuai variety of objects, and the plcasant excursions in 
the open air, rendered the idea of the place where she must 
shortly alight for the last timc, more odious to her than 
ever. Stili more painful wcrc the impressions made upon 
her by the assemblics and amusements of the city. The 
sight of a bride, in the more obvious and common sense of 
the word, aroused in ber envy and anp^uish, to a degree 
almost intolerable; and sometimes the sight of some other 
individuai made her feel as if to bear that title given to 
herself would be the height of felicity. There were even 
times when the pomp of palaces, the splendour of orna* 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



177 



nt€tlti, ftnd tli€ excitement and clamorous lcsti%lty of the 
ecnversasìùnc, so hifaiuated lier, and arous^d in ber such 
an aittent desire to lead a gay li fé, that fih« rcsolved io 
rccant, and to sufFer anythitig rather tban tura to the coìd 

land deaib-Iike shade of tlie claister. But ali ihese rcsolu- 
Bs vanished mìo air, on the calmer comideratton of the 
iilties of socli a course, or on merely raising her eycs 
td ihc Prioce's face. Somctimes, too, the t!iought that she 
must for ever abandon tbese enjoyments, madc cveti this 
little tastc of thcin bitter and wearisomc to beri as the 
paijent, suffering with thirst, cyes wìth vexation, and almost 
refuscs wIth contcmpt, Uie spoonf«1 of water the physician 
tmwilìmgly allows him. In tjie mcanwhìle, the vicar oC the 
mais itad despatehed the ncccs^ary atteslatìoti, and permis- 
doci aTTived. to hold the conference for the electìoo of 
Gcitrode. The meeting was called; two-thirds of the secret 
YOtes, whlch werc requtred by the regulations, were given^ 
n% was to be expected. and Gertrude was accepted. She 
heractf, wcaried wìth tliis long stmggle^ begged for ìm- 
meémìe admission into the monastery, and no onc carne 
iorw^rd to oppose such i request. She was therefore 
gratlficd in her wish: and, after being pompously condocted 
to the inonastcfy, she as&tnned the babit. After twclve 
Biocitbs of novitìate, full of alternate regret and rcpenl- 
hngs, the titne of public confession arrivcd; that is to say, 
the lime when she must either utter a * no,' more strange» 
inofe unoepected, and more disgraceful than evcr; or pro- 
fUTuncc a "yes/ akeady so often repeated: she pronotinced 

' it, and became a rum for ever. 

It il one of the pecnliar and incoramtinicahlc propcrties 
of the Christian religion, tliat *he C4in afford guidance and 
rep09e to ali who, under w li a te ver circumstances, or in 
wbatercr cxitjencc. bave recoursc to ben If there is a 
remedy for the payt» she prescrìbes it. admtnisters it, and 

[lemii Ughi and cnerj^ to put ìt in force, at whatevcr cost; 
there is none, she tcachcs bow to do that effecttiatly and 
realtty, which the world prescrìbes proverbially, — ^make 

'a virliie of oeeesslty, She tcachcs how to continue with 
discretiofi what is tho«ghtle*i!y undcrtaken: she inclincs 

lille otiiKl to deavc steadfastty to what was Imposed upoo it 




178 ALB88ANDRO MANZONI 

by authority ; and imparts to a choice which, thottf h rash at 
the time, is now irrevocable, ali the sanctity, ali the ad- 
visedness, and, let us say it boldly, ali the cheerfulness of 
a lawful calling. Here is a path so constnicted that, let a 
man approach it by what labyrinth or precipice he may» he 
sets himself, from that moment, to walk in it with securìty 
and readiness, and at once begins to draw towards a joyful 
\ end. By this means, Gertrude might bave proved a holy 
and contented nun, however she had becoroe one. But, 
instcad of this, the unhappy girl stniggled under the yoke, 
and thus felt it heavier and more galling« An incesaant 
recurrence to ber lost liberty, abhorrence of ber present 
condition, and a wearìsome clinging to desires which could 
never be satisfied: these were the principal occupations of 
ber mind She recalled, over and over aj^in, the bitter- 
aess of the past, rearraftged in ber mind ali the circum- 
stances by which she had reached ber pro$ent situation. and 
tmdid in tbought a thousand timcs what she had done in 
act. She accusod herself of want of spirit. and others of 
tyranny and perhdy, and pìned in secret: she idolized and, 
at the same tinie, bowailed ber beauty; deplorcd a youth 
destined to struggle in a prolonged martyrdom: and envied, 
at timcs, any woman, in whatever rank. with whatever 
acquiremcnts, who could frecly enjoy these gifts in the 
world. 

The sight of those nuns who had co-operated in bringing 
ber biiher was liateful to ber: she remenibered the arta 
and contrìvances they had made use of. and repaìd them 
with incivilities, caprìces. and even with open reproachea. 
These they were oUiged u> bear in silence; for though 
the Prince' was willing enou^h to tyrannire over bis daugh* 
ter wben he found it necessari* io force ber into ihe clois- 
ter, yet having once olnained bis purpi>so, he w»uki noi so 
wìUingly allow others io assume authority over one of bis 
famih-;'and any little rumour that mi^i bave reached bis 
ears would bave been an occasìon of ibeir Iv^sìng bis prò- 
tection« or perbaps^ unfortunaieh\ of changing a proiector 
into an enemy. It would aeem ihat she mìgbt bave feh 
some kind of leanìng towanls tK>se ocher sìster» who had 
noe lent a band in thia ioul system of intrigue. and who^ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



m 



withotft haviiìf dcsired hcr for a compsnìoit, loved her as 
such; atid, a1wayì£ good, bus>% aiid cheerfu!, showed hcr, 
hf ibeir cxanipk. that bere too, il was possìhle not only to 
liw, twit to be happy: but these, alào, were hatcful to her, 
fof aiiothcr rcason: their tcnisistent ptcty and cofitentmcnt 
scemod to cnsr a ri^prooC upon ber disquietudc aod way- 
Wftrdisess; so that sbe ncver stiffered an cppartimtty to 
e$capc of deriding ibem hehlnd thelr badts as blgotj, or 
reviling them as hypacrìtes. Pcrhaps she vvould have been 
leaa averee to t!iem, had she ktiown. or guesscd, that the 
few biade balls fouod in the um whìch dccìded her accept- 
■nce^ bad been put therc by these very sistcrs, 

She nometimcs felt a little sattsf action in commandinf, 
in being courtcd hy those wtthiti the monastery and visited 
mmt tìatterììigly t^ those without» in accomplishing some 
ufMlertaking^ in extending her protection, in hearing herself 
styfed ihe Signora; but what consolattons were ihese? The 
tiiliid which feets tbeif insui&cicncy wnuid gladly, at times, 
add (o tht'nr, and enjoy wtth them, the consolations of re- 
tìcoli : yet the one cannot be obtained by renouncìng the 
o<Jier ; as a shipwreckcd saiIor> who would cliiig to the plank 
whieh I» to bring him safely to shore, mutt relinquish hÌB 
tiold on the unsnbstantial sca-weed which itattiral instmct 
had t::ii * ' 1 to grasp. 

Shcr r finally takini: the veìl, Gertrude had been 

apfioiiiltd ti:aizhef of the young people who aftended the 
eoDvenr for cdycation, and ìt niay easily he ima gin ed what 
wodld be theJr sìtuatlon under mch disdptme- Her early 
eompaniona had ali left» hot the pansrons callcd tnto exer- 
eUe by thcm Btill reniaiiicd ; and» in cne way or the other, the 
pollila were compelled to feel their full weight. When she 
fCDicfnbcred that many of thena were de^tincd to that courae 
al li fé of which she had lost every hope, she induTged 
agairut the poor chìldren a feeling of rancour, which 
almon amounted to a desire of vengeance. Thh fed- 
iof ahr tìKinlfcsted by kcepìng them under, irrltating them, 
aad d g in antìdpation the p!ca*ure» which ibey 

r! ' ♦ > enjoy. Any one who had hcanl with 

Wtiat ì rasure she rehuked theai ai sud) times 

lor any niuc lauit, wcmld bave ìmagined Iter a woman of 



180 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

undisciplined and injudicious temper. On other occasiona^ 
the same hatred for the rulcs and discipline of the doister 
was displayed in fits of temper entirely differenti thcn, she 
not only supported the noisy diversions of her pupils, but 
excited them; she would mingle in their games, and make 
them more disorderly; and, joining in their conversations, 
would imperceptibly lead them far beyond their intended 
limits. If one of them happened to allude to the Lady 
Abbess's love of gossiping, their tcacher would imitate it at 
length, and act it like a scene in a comedy; would mimic 
the expression of one nun and the manncrs of another ; and 
on these occasions would laugh immodcrately ; but her laugh- 
ter came not from her heart Thus she passcd several years 
of her li fé, with neither leisure nor opportunity to make any 
change, until, to her misfortune, an occasion unhappily 
presented itself. 

Among othcr privileges and distìnctions accorded to her 
as a compcnsation for her not bcing abbcss. was the special 
grant of a bed-chamber in a separate part of the monastery. 
This side of the building adjoincd a house inhabited by a 
young man of professcdly abandoned character; one of the 
many who, in those days, by the hclp of their retinues of 
bravoes. and by combinations with other villains, were 
enablcd. up to a ccrtain point, to set at dcfìance public force, 
and the authority of the laws. Our manuscript merely 
gives him the n.inic of Egidio. This man, having, from a 
Uttlc window which overlooked the court-yard, seen Ger- 
trude occasionally passing, or idly loitering there, and al- 
lared, rathcr than intimidatod, by the dangers and impiety 
of the act, vcnturcd one day to address her. The miserable 
girl replied. At first she experienced a Hvely. but not un- 
mixed satisf action. luto the paintul void of her soni was 
infused a powerful and continuai stimulus; a fresh principle, 
as it were, of vitality; but this enioyment was like the 
restorativc draught wliich the ingcnious cruelty of the 
ancicnts presented to a condemned criminal, to strcngthen 
him to bear the agonica of niartyrdom. A groat change, at 
the same tìmc, was ohscrvahlc in ber wliole depi^rtmcnt; 
she became ali at once more rcgular and tranquil. less 
bitter and sarcastic, and cvcn showcd herself friendly and 



I FBOMBSSI SPOSI 



ISl 



miMùi 80 ifaat the tisters congratulated eacli oiher on Ihe 
hmppy change; 90 far werc thcy from ìmaginitig the reali 
caitse» anc! from utidcrstaiìdlo^ ihai this new virtwe was/ 
Ithing cl&c Uian hvpocrisy adcJcd lo hcr fornier failings^l 
^' im prò veni eli!, howcver, tlùs cxtemal cleansìng, so lo 
Jastcd byt a short tìmc, at least wìth any steadincss 
steiic>% Stte sDon rctumed lo her accustomed scom 
and capricc, aod renewed lier imprecations and raUlery 
•gaìitst Hcr doi&tral prison, cxpressed somctimes in lan- 
fUftge bìtJierto imhcard in that place, and freni those ìips, 
Ncverthelcss, a scjason of repentance succcedcd each out- 
httàk, and aii eiidcavotir to atone tor ìt and wipe cut ks 
TODCinbrance ^ *n*nl coiìrtesics atid kindness. The 

stttcrs were ci bear ali these vkìssilydes as th^ 

bcst couTd, and aUrìuL»tcd tbcm lo tlie wayward and fìckle ^, 
ifispostUon of the Sigtiora, 

Fot some timc no ooe seeraed to think any longer about 
tbesc matiers; bui one éd^y the Signora, having had a dis- 
paté with a lay-sjstcr for some trìding irre^ilarìty, con- 
tiottcd to tnsntt hcr so ìong beyond her uso al bounds, that 
the sister, after having for some liine gnawed the bit in 
sikncr, could no longcr kccp hcr patience, and ihrew out a 
Wnt that she knew somcthing, and wouid reveal it wbcn 
ftn opponunity occiirred From that moment the Signora 
tiad no peate, li was not long after that^ one morning, 
llie sisicr was in vaiii cxpccied at ber usuai cmployment; 
$iie was sought In her celi, but fruitìessly; she was cali ed 
ioodly by many voices, but therc was no rcply; she was 
bunted antl sou^ht for diligcntly, he re and there, above, 
bdow» from ilìc celiar to the rool; but %hc was nowhcre 
to bc foiind. And who knows what coiìjcctures might bave 
becn made, tf, in searching for ber, it had not happcned 
that a large holc was disco ver ed in the garden wafi, whìch 
inchiced every one to Uiìak that she had made her e scape 
thence. Mcssengcrs were immedìatcly despatchcd in varìous 
dìrectiODa to overtakc hcr an ' ' ber back; evcry 

tnquiry waa m^^ in tlic surr> .ountry; bcit there 

wa» nevrr the sligh;rst infonni;i«ni aboitt her. Pcrhaps 
thcy mighi bave knoi^n more of ber fate, had thcy, Insieàd 
of icddng at a dtstancc» diig np the ground near at band. 



ut ALESSANDRO HANZOKI 

After raany tnprtmtmB o! ^urprtse, because they » 
thought hcr a likcly woman for sach a dced; after mai 
SLfgumcnts, they conciud^d ihat she must hav£ fled to somi 
very great disUntc : &iid hecausc a si&ter happaicd om 
to say» ' She must certainly have taken refuge in V- 
it was e ver after said and malntatncd in the m 
that fihe bad flcd to Holbnd. The Signora, how i 

nat lieem to be of this opinion. Not that she nir. 1 

any disbeUef, or opposed tbe prevailing idea with ber 
particular reasona; it she bad any, ccrtainly never wcre 
irajions bcttcr conceaied; nor was therc mnytWmg froi 
which she mare wìllingly tbstaìned, than fmm alUidiitf td' 
this cvetit, nor any mattar in whicb sbe was lesa deairoits 
to come tn the bottoni of the mystery. But the Icss al 
spoke of it, the more did it occupy ber tboughtSw H< 
often diiring the day did the tmage of the ni-fated nuil mail 
nnhìddrn into ber mlnd, and fix itsrìf therc, not easily to 
l>e removed I Hmv often did she long to see the real and 
livìng bcing bcforc her, rathcf than bave ber always in ber 
tboughts, rather than he day and night in tbe company of 
that empty, terriblc, impassthle formi How often won!d 
abe gtadly bave lìstened to hcr real voice, and bornc l»ef 
rehiikes, whatever thcy might thrraten, ratber tban be for 
ever baunted in tbe depths of ber menta! car hy tbe im* 
aginary whisperings^f tliat sanie voice, and bear words to 
wbich it was iiseless to repty, repeated witb a pertntacity 
and an indefatigablc pcfseverance o£ which no Hving beittj 
ma ever capabTc! 

It wa» about a year after thi* cvent, tbat LucJa was pre* 
«ented to tbe Signora, and had the intervlew witb ber whtch 
we bave descrihed. The Signora mnltSpbed ber inquiries 
ahout Don Rodfigo*ii pcrsecution, and entered into pai 
tJcufars witb a boldness whicb must bave appcarcd wor! 
than novcl to Tancia, who bad never imagìned that tbe 
ruriofity of ntm* cmild be exerclsed on ««eh Mibjects. The 
Dpinjons also wbich were mtn^led witb tbe*e Jnffuìries, or 
^ whicb ^ht allowetl h * 

ieemed aImo>t to d e 

iioblemait, and askcd whcther be were n- tbat bo 

txcfted sa ntadi fcar; and wonld bivi* .* ^ r r^Mr- 



I rBOMBSSl SPOSI 



183 



dtsposhton almoil trratìonal and &bsurd« if the had tiot 
Wforchajid ^vfifs the prcfcrencc to Retilo. And on tbis 
dlOtce« tCN5, she multiplied quesdons which astonishcd the 
poor fi ri. and put her to ilie bìush. Pcrceiving. howcver, 
ftfterwmrdSp ihat shc had given too frcc expression to ber 
lilttginmtiait, she tried to correct nnd interpret her langyage 
differcotty ; but she could not divcst Ltieia's miod ai a 
disa^eeable wondcr» and coiifused dread. No sooncr dìd 
the poor gir! fitid bersclf alone with ber mother» tlian she 
opened ber wbole niind to ber; but Agnese, beìng more 
experienccd, in a very few words quteted ber doubts, and 
solved the mystery. * Don't be surprised/ said she ; * when 
yoti ItJlow the worid as wel! as I^ you'tl not think it any* 
ihtng Tcry wonderfii!, Great people — some more, some 
lc*s, some one way, and some another,^ — ^have ali a little 
odidìty, We mus^t let ihem talk, partieularly when wc bave 
ntté of ihetn; we must pretcnd to be lìstening to them 
serìoudy. as If they were saying very bright things. Didn*t 
yfw bear how she &ilenced me, almost as ìf I bad uttered 
sofoe grcai nonsen&e? X was oot a bit surprbed at it 
Tbcy are ali so. Howcver, Heaven be prat^, that shc 
ieetns lo bave taken such a fancy to you, and wiU rcally 
protcct OS. As to the rcst. ìf you live, my child, and it 
^b tn yoiir lot to bave anytbing more to do with gcntlc- 
mcn, yotJÌl under stand it, you' 11 undersiand iL' 

A desire to oblige the Father-guardtan ; the pleasure of i 
Otendbtg protection; the tbought of the go<Kl opbions 
that would resuk from so charitable an exercìse of that 
protection; a certain inclinati on for Lucia, added to a kind' 
of relicf flhe would feel in doing a kindness to an innocent 
creature, and mi assisting and comforting the oppressed, 
were the indtieemcms which had really inclined the Signora 
lo takc an interest tn tlte fate of thcae two poor fugrittves. 
In nbedtmcc to the orders she gave, and frora regard to 
tlic aiixJcty she displayed. they were ìodgert in the apart- 
moiis of the portress, adjoinmg the clofstcr, and Ireated 
ai if thcy were admitlcd into the servtce of the monastery* 
Both mochcr and daughtcr congratulateti thenisclves on 
having so soon foiind a iiecure and hnnour;:ibk asylum, 
and woald gladly bave remaincd imknown hy cvcry onc; 





18t 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



but this was not easy in a monastery, more especially when 
there was a man determined to get information about one 
of them; in whose mind vexation at having been foiled 
and deceived was added to his former passions and desires. 
Leaving the two women, then, in thcir retreat, we will 
return to this wretch's palace, while he was waiting the 
result of his iniquitous undertaking. 



CHAPTER XI 

à S a pack of hounds, after in vain tracking a hare, rettmi 
uk tlcsponding io their master, wìth hcads hung down, 
^A. and droopìng lails, so, on this dìsastrous nìghu dld tbe 
bravots retitrn to the palace of Don Rodrigo. He was list- 
lessly paciti|r to and fro, in an unoccupied rootti up-stairi 
tliat overlooked the terrace. Now and then he would stop 
to Hsten, or to pcep through the chtnks in the decayed win- 
dow'lramés^ full of impatiencc, and not entirely frec frotn 
dÌMialetudc^tìOt only lor the doubtfulDess of success, but 
allo lor the possible consequences of the enterpnse: UiÌ3 
bcutg the boldest and most hazardous in which our valtant 
eavalìer had evcr engaged He endeavoured, howevcr. to 
reassurc himsclf wìth th€ thought of the precautions he had 
taken tbat not a trace of the perpetrator should be Icft, 'As 
to itupidoDB, T care nothing for theni, I should Hke to know 
wlio wotrJd be inclined to come hithcr, to ascertaìn if there 
te a young girl here or not. Let him dare to come — the 
raifa fool^-and he ahall bc well rcceivedl Let the friar 
come, if he pleascs. The old woman ? She shall be off to 
Bergamo* Justicc? Poh! Justice! Th^ Podestà is neiihcr 
m chiM fior a fool And at Milana Who will care for these 
ptt»file ai Milan? Who wiii Itsten to tbem? Who knows 
efeo what tbey are? They are like lost people in the world, 
«^tliqf haven't even a master: they belong to no one. Come, 
C!OBi«, oever fcar, How Attilio wùl be silenced to-morrow I 
He «hall s>ee whcthcr I am a mzn to talk and boast. And 
fhcn ... If any diilìcuky should ensiic * * , Wbat do l 
kaow? Any cnemy who would seiic thts oocasion , , . 
Attilio wiU bc able io advi^ me; he ìs pled^ to 
il for the honoisr of ihe whole faniily/ Btil the idea 
oo which he dwelt most. bccau!^c he found tt both a 
loother ot bis doubts and a nouri^bcr of bis predominating 
p^sìoft^ was the ibotight of the flatteries and promii^jt bc 
'>1oy lo gain over Luda. * She will bc so terrified 
^^^rseif bere alone, rn tbe midst of tiiesc fao^ that 



ìm 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



> . * in trtrth, mine is the most human amongf t!u!ni 
that she will look to me, wìll throw hcfself opoti ber knc 
to pray; and ti shc prays • • * 

While indulging in theftc fine aniiclpatìnns, tre hcars 
fùotstep, gpcs to the window, opcns it a little, and pcef 
tltroagh: ■ It is ihey. And the litter! — VVhcre i$ the lltterl 
Three. five, eìght; ihey are ali ihcrc; lhere*« Griao toof 
litter's not thcre : — Griso shàll give me an account of tJtla.* 

VVlien thcy rcached the house, Griso depo^itcd Iii9 stsf 
cap, and pilgrim^s habtt, in a corner of the grmmd-^ 
apariment, and, as il carrying a burden whieh no one 
the moment cnvied hìm, ascended to render hìs accoc 
Èù Don Rodrigo. He was waiting for him at the h«ad of 
fbe ftiirs; and on hi* approaching with the foolisli and awl 
ward air of a detudcd rlllain. * \Ve!l/ «Id, or ratbi 
vodferated, he, 'Signor Booster, Signor Captalo, Stj 

*It h hard/ rcpltcd Griso* restini^ onc ioot on ihm k 
5tep, * it is hard to be greeted with reproache» after bav 
laboured faiihfully. and endeavonred lo do odit^a doty, 
tbc ride of one*s ti le/ 

* How bai tt gooc ? Let uà Hear, lei us hcar/ sald 
[Itodrìgo; and* tumtng towards his room^ Griso folloi 
lUai» and bricfly related how he had arranged, what he 
^ikme» >ecn and noi aeen, heard, fcared, and rttrtev^; 

tatbig it wtth thai order and lltat coctftislon« that dolnouafiea 
lind Ùmt aatonisluncsit, wlticli must oee«iiarily Imre logother' 
ftakai posae^on òf Ma kteaa. 

* You are not io blame, and bave dona yùor li«it/ aaìd 
Rodrigo. * Yot] ha ve done wliat you eould ; hot , . . 
If under ihis roof there be a spy t If there be, if I 
in diteoirenng htm (and yoti nuiy reil asaured TU 
btm If he'j bere), IH aettla maitara wkh hiin; 1 pr 
jfoo, Omo, m pay him a» lie ' 

'The sane soi^feloa, Sipr ed he, *ba« 

imrf sdnd; and if tt be troe^ md we ducover a viUaltt ef i 
mt* fnn^fi-r ■hookl pttl ft Ìnto iDy Haoda. One wbo 

by maldnf me paat pikIs a night as ihìftj 
ft iB mv Du-iJTic^ to pay Win for it. Howerer, ali 
(«naidcred. It aens WMj there muf hafe beeii mmu 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



m 



\ puTpown, which tiùw w€ cannot fathorn, Tomorrow, 
Signor^ to*itiorrow we shall be in clear water** 
* Do >^u think you bave been recogni^ed ? * 
Griso rtplied that he hoped not ; and the concluaion of the 
intervicw was, that Don Rodrigo ordered him to do threc 
tìtltsgs ncxt day, which he would bave tliought of weQ 
oiough hy himsclf. One was, to despatch two mcn» tu good 
tìme in the momiiig. to the constable, witb the intìmation 
wliicli we bave alresdy noticed ; two others to the old house» 
lo raffilile abont, and keep at a proper dlitanee any lotterer 
whù mghl happen to come tbere, and to cooecal the littcr 
trom cvcry cye ttll nij^htlall, wben they woufd send to fetcb 
it, slnec it would not do to excite su&ptcton by any fmlhcr 
nicfiumres at present ; and lasily, to go himsetf on a tour of 
diicovery, and despateh scveral ctliers, of the masi dexterttj 
and good scnsc, on the same errand, that he might Icaro 
fiometliing of the canses and itane ol the conftision of the 
ntgliL Havmg given Ihese orders, Don Rodrigo retired lo 
btd, IcftTtiig Griso to follo w' bis example, bidding him good 
mgbt, uid loading him witb prabes, through which appeared 
u e%'ìcki]| dcsift to make some atooement. and in a raanncf 
to apolagjxe for the precipitate baste witb which he had 
rcproachcd him on bis arrivai. 

Goj take some rett, poor Griso, lor tbou must surely 
oeed ìL Poor Griiot Labounng hard al! day, labouring 
hsrd lialf the fii>hL vHthout counting the dangcr of falling 
ibe hsi' flains, or of having a price set upon thy 

*f0r r iff of an hontst woman,* in addkion lo 

thòMC already latd npon thc^, and then to be rcceived in ibis 
Bftiifier f btit thos men often reward tlicir f clJows. Tbou 
[migbtcit, nevcrtheìcss, sce in tbis instance, that somctimes 
according to mcrit, and that nialterB are ad- 

in tbis world, Go, rcst awhiìc: for soctie day 

fosyefi be caUcd upon to gjve another and more con- 
sidcrablc proof of thy faitbiulness, 

riitnf« Griso wa» agaln snrrnunded witb business 
Oli - i _injA. whitn Don Rodrigo rose. This noblcmaii 
quickly foagbt Comit Attilia, wbo, the moment be eaw him 
approat^ .. n. f ^^i i^ ^j^,^ ^i^ ^ }qqi^ imj gcstureol rail^ 
taiy, -. irtiar 



188 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

' I flave nothing to say/ replied Don Rodrigo, fts he drew 
near : ' I will pay the wager ; but it is net this that vexes me 
most I told you nothing about it, because, I coofess, I 
thought to surprise you this moming. But . . . stay, I will 
teli you ali/ 

' That f riar has a hand in this business.' said his cousin, 
after having listencd to the account with suspense and 
wondennent, and with more serìousness than could bave 
been expected froni a man of his temperamenL ' I always 
thought that friar, with his dissembling and out-of-the-way 
answers, was a knavè and a h>'pocrite. And you never 
opened yourself to me, — ^you never told me plainly what 
happened to entertain you the other day.' Don Rodrigo re- 
lated the conversation. *And did you submit to that?* cx- 
claimed Count Attilio. *Did you let him go away as he 
carne?' 

'Would you bave me draw upon myself ali the Capu- 
chins of Italy ? * 

*I don't know/ said Attilio, *whether I shonld bave re- 
membered, at that moment, that there was another Capuchin 
in the world except this daring knave; but surely, even 
under the rules of prudence, there must be some way of get- 
ting satisfaction even on a Capuchin! \Ve must manage 
to redouble civilities deverly to the whole body, and then 
we can give a blow to one member with impunity. However, 
the f ellow has escaped the punishment he best deser\'ed ; bot 
ni take him under my protection, and bave the gratificatioQ 
of teaching him how to talk to gentlcmen such as we are.' 

* Don*t make matters worse for me.' 

' Trust me for once, and 1*11 serve >*ou like a relation and 
a friend.' 

• WTiat do you intend to do?* 

' I don*t know yet : but rest assured 1*11 pay off the f riar. 
ni think about it. and . . . my uncle. the Signor Count of 
the Privy Conncil, will be the man to help me. Dear onde 
Count ! How fine it is. when I can make a poHtician of his 
stamp do ali my work for me! The day after to-morrow 
I shall be at Milan« and, in one way or other, the frìar shall 
be rewarded.* 

In the mean while breakfast was aanounced» which, hoir- 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



189 



«Ter, mttde no intcrrtrption in the distmssion of an affair o£ 
so much Importance. Count Attilio talked about It frccly; 
a&d ihough he took that side which bis friendship to bis 
coQsìn and the honour o£ hls natne required, tccordmg to 
EU ideas of fricndship and honour, yct he coold not hetp 
occasionaily finding somethio^ to laugh at in the ili-success 
of hU relative and friend. But Don Rodrigo, who fclt it 
was bis own cause, and who had so stgnally fajled whcfl 
boping qutedy to strike a great blow^ was agitated by 
Strofìger passi ons, and distracted by more vexatìous thaughts, 
• Fine talk/ said he, * thcse rascals will make in the neigh- 
botirbood. But what do I care? As to just ice, I laugh at it: 
tbere is no proof agaìnst nae, aod even if thcre wcre, I 
abotdd ^re for it just as little: tfie constable was wamed 
Chìs tnommg to takc good hccd, at the risk of hh li fé, that 
he makes no deposttioa of what has happened, Nothing will 
follow frolli it ; but gosstpmg, when carried to any lengtli, is 
irety aftnoytQg to me. lt*s i|uitc enotìgh that 1 bave been 
bittlied so nomerei fully/ 

•You did qnite rightiyp' replied Count Attilio. ' Yoor 
Po4esli . , , an obstinate, empty-pated, prosing fdlow. that 
Pùdeali , - , is nevcrthekss a gentleman, a man who knows 
iijs diìty; and ìt is just when we have to do with such people, 
that wc must take care not to bring them into dtfficulties* It 
tbat rascal of a D^nstable shouìd make a deposition, the 
Flodesti, bowever welNintentiotied, would be obliged . . / 

•But you/ interrupted Don Rodrigo, with some warrath, 
*ycni tpoil ali my afìairs by contradicting hira in everything, 
hf siJeiicing blm, and laugbìng at htm on every oceasion* 
Why eannot a Podestà bc an obstinate fool, wbcn at the 
same tbnc he i& a genlleman ? ' 

* I>o yoti know^ cousin/ said Count Attilio, glanctng to- 
urards htm a loolc of raìllrry and surprisc ; ' do you kiiow 
ÙiMt I bcgin to tiiink you are half afraid? In eamcst^ you 
vny reft asis^ored that the Podestà . . .* 

*WelI, wcll. didn't you yaur»e]f say tlìat we mmi be 
earcful . . •?* 

' I Sd : and when h ts a serinus inatter, FU ìct yen 
tliat Vm noi a child. Do >oii kiK>w ali that I have courage 
tu do for yvQ P I am ready to go tn person to this Signor 



190 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



Podestà. Aha! how proud he wìll bc of ih<! honotirl Asd 
I am ready, mor cover, to let him talk for half ait houf abolii^ 
the Count D«ke, and the Spanish Signor, the governar oli 
the castlc, and to give an car to evcrytbin^, evrn when hol 
tajks so inightily aboui these pcoplc. Theo I wili throw in' 
a few words about my uncle, the Signor Couut of U 
Council^ and you wilI sec what effect the*e words hi i 
of the Signor Podestà will produce. After ali, he ha» 
need of our protection than you of hìs condescenstoo. I wUI' 
do my best. and will go to him, and^eave bini better dìs- 
poscd towards you than cver.' 

After these, and a few sinaìlar words, Coofit AttiHo let off 
OH hit expedition, and Don Rodrigo remained awaìting 
^ jpoxiety Grtso's return. Towards dinner-titne he made 

ice, and reportcd the soccess of bla reeotmoiterÌQg 
ar. 

The lumuìì of the preceding night had been so ctamofoui» 

disappearancc of thrce personi from a village wai m^ 

age an occurrence, that the inqutries, both from tiiter« 

ad €urjosity« would naturally he many, cagtr» and perteYcr^ 

and, ofi the other band» tbose «ho kxiew some 

[wcre too numeroua to agree m roalntainiiig sìleisoe oo 

Pcrpeti» coidd not $ct fool otit of doors wttl 

assalled by on6 or another to kaow what ti waa 

so alarmed her master, and she ber&etf^ reviewing aod] 

Qparifig aO the drcunistanees of the ca*c, and pcrceivii 

sbe had beco iispofed ttpon by Agnese, f eli to 
Sgnattoo ai the act of pèrèdf. that tlie waa ever 
i gtve ¥ent to ber f ecitngaM Hot that the oomplaioed lo i 
rcftr that persùo of the manraer hi whìch ahe «aa ìm^ 
upoQ : o«t thìs subject she did not breathe a syìUhle : bui 
i^trkk played opon her poor nuuter ahe ooald not altogdhe 

over la silcxice; cspecialìy aa aocb a trick had 

(cQQCcrted and attenpced by thiìt genile creature, that 

, and that worthy widow. Don ÀSikiméih, fndeed, < 

foirhid ber, and cafncally cn*^ to bt fiknt;| 

abe eoold ostly eootigh reply th:i waa no 

i urge npon ber what wai to ckar and evìdcnt; bot < 
ìm that anch a secret in the poor woinan^s bmast wat 1 
Qcw wioe in aa old Mmì bidly hoo|^ cadi» mìéàk lef^ 



f PROMÉSSI BP08Ì 191 

meiits, and twibbkf» and boi!*, and ìf it does noi seod the 
Imiig into the air, worVs ìtself about till it tssucs in froth. 
ftnd |>«ietrate9 betwcen the staves, and oores out in drops 
bere and there, m that one can taste ìt, and almoat decide 
whmt Mnd of wine it h. Gcrvase, who could scarcely beticYe 
tbat for onc« he was better informed tban bis ncigbbourg, 
Wbo thoogbt It no little glory to bave bteii a sb;ircT in stich 
a scene of terror, and whó fancìed himself a man Itke the 
Hthers» from having lent a band in an enterprise that bore 
llie at>P*^'^'^^^ ^^ criminality, was dying to make a boast of 
Il And though Tonio, who thougbt witb some dread of the 
itiqttìrtes, the possible processes, and the account that wou!d 
bave to bc fender ed, gave him many injunctìons with bìs 
finger tipon bis Hps, yet it was not possiblc to silencc every 
Mfd. Even Tonio hfmsclf, after bavbig been absent front 
liotD^ that night at an itniisual hour, and returning witb an 
imiittiaì step and air, and an cxciietnent of mind that dis- 
posed him io candonr.'^^veti be could not dissimulate the 
matier with hì& wife; and she was not dumb» The person 
wto taiked Icast was Menico: for no sooner had be rehted 
Ifv bis partati! 5 Tb<- hì^^iory artd the objcct of bis expedition, 
Ikiji ì I S.O ter ribìc a thjng that theif son had 

Imo t , r rating an undertaking of Don Rod- 

tip>% that t)iey scar cely suiFered the boy to finish bis narra- 
Thcy then gave him most strenuoiis and tbreatenìng 
lo lake good beed that he dld not give the leàst him 
at anytltìng; and the next tnoming, not yet feeling suffi- 
ciesitly coviÉdeiìl in him, they resolved to Iceep him sbnt up 
in the hoQse for it least that day, and perbaps even Tonger, 
BtoE what tbtìi? They tbemselves aftefwards. in cbattìng 
with thrir neighboiirif, witboiit wisbing to show that thcy 
knew more iban otbers, yet when they carne to that nmttf ì- 
MS point w the flight of the three ftigitives, and the how, and 
the why^ and the wherc. added, almost as a well-known thtng, 
that thcy liad fled to Pescarenico, Thus this circumstance 
also waj feneraUy noised abroad. 

With ali ihesé derapa of tnformatlon, piit together and 
omifared z% * if with the r rnents natnrally 

atiacbed to sl unt, therc ^ ,, Jids for a story 

of more €crtaìnty ancl cteameis than cotmnon, and $uch ai 



M 



ALfiSSANDEO MANZONI 



rime on thè way. if everybody tiftd liut two friertH», the Ofi€ 
wbo tells hinu and the onc lo whom hr 'he 

injuìiction of §iii:rice. But sorac highly t urc 

are who reckcws Ihete blcssrngs by the hundred, and whca 
tlie secret comes tnto ihe hands of one of thcse^ the ctrcks 
multlpty so rapìdiy that ìt Is go lortger po&sibte m piìt»ì/t 
thtm. 

Our auihor has been tinable to certi fy tbmugb haw mtmj 
mouths the secret had fiasaed whicb Griso was ordcred 
to discover, but certaiti it is tbat the good mzn ^bo h»d 
eaeorted tbe wotnen to Monza, rctuniing in : j Pes- 
carenico, towards evenìng, bappencd/before i ^ bofsc, 

to light upon one of thcse trnstworthy frlcnds, to whom he 
reUted, in confidence, the good work he bad just coinf>1etc4 
and its sequel ; and it is eqtially certain th;it, two honn aftcf* 
wards, Griso was ab!e to return to the palace, and ìnfona 
Dmi Rodrigo that Lucia and ber mot ber bad foiind refugt 
in a convent at Monia^ and tbat Renzo bad jnirstied hb way 
to Milan. 

Don Rodrigo feìt a tnaltciotis ^iatisf action on hearing of 
tfais separation, and a revival of hope tbat be mìghi ai teagtli 
accotnpHsh hìi wicked dcsigns. He spcnt gre;it part of the 
flight fai mcdiiating on bin p!ans, and arose carly in lite tnora- 
ing with two project* in bis mind, the one dHrrmìned npon, 
the otber otily roughìy sketcbed oot* Tbe (tr- H* 

itely lo despatdi Grl»o lo Monza, to Icarn « i iar 

tidings of Lucie, and to koow wbat {li anything) he mìgfat 
attenijn. He tbereforc in»tantly sntnmoncd tliis faitbful ier» 
rant, pliced in hi» band four crowns, again commcndcd him 
for the ability by which he bud camed tbesn, and gave him tbe 
Ofder he had been preraeciitatìnjj. 

• Signor . . .' said Gt' ig bis way, 

* Whal?havefi*c I npi ^^'y?* 

* n you would send iomebody . . / 
•Howf 

• Mo*t illiwtrioui? Signor, 1 ain ready to gtve my li fé (or 
my master : It is tny dtity ; but I know atso voci vnmìd not tie 
witHng unnecessarilr to ri.ik that of your depe(idetit&.' 

'Your tUasirtotti lordsbip biowf vcry wrfl 



I PBOMESSI SP09I 



195 



are already set upon my head; aiid . . . here I am 
ttnOer tlj<; protectìon of your lordshìjji we are a partjr; the 
Signor Fodera is m friend of the faruily; the bailiifs bear me 
some rcspect ; and I, too * . , it is a thing ihat doe^ me little 
hooour— but to live tjuietJy _ . I treat thera as fficnds, Ift 
Milati^ ymir Iordshìp*s livery is known ; but III Montai l atti 
knot^Ti therc ìiisiead* And is your lordship aware that — I 
don r to makc a boast of myself^ — tbat any oiie who 

co;ì me over fa justicc, or deliver in my head, would 

Ittrike a great b!oW. A hundred crowas at once, ajid the 
rpftTitege o£ hberattiig two bandittl' 

*V^*^atr exdaimed Don Rodrigo, with an oatb: *y0tl 

, shcming yotifself a vile cur that has scarcely courage ko fly 

hat the leg* of a passer*by, looking behìnd hiin fot f esr they 

thmdd shut tlie doot npon bìm, and net daring to leave H 

yioo r yards ! ' 

' thÌTìlv. Signor patron^ that I have givcn proof , , / 
lienr 
^Thrti/ frankly repHcd Griso, when thus brought to the 
%ì^ ' tben your k^rdahip wiil he good etiough to reckon 
if 1 had never spokeo : hcart of a iloti, legs of a bare, and 

• ' -CI off; 

say yoii shottld go alone. Take with yoti 
;W4> t>: est ... Io Sfregiato/ and il Tiradritto:' ^o 

vìth a *, and be our own Griso. What t three faces 

v^sing by, who do you thfnk wouldti't be 
^ ^ ci The bailifìfs al Mon^a ranst needs be 
weary of li fé to stake agaìnst lì a hundred crowns in to 
bmzardotxt a gttme. And, bcstdes, don*t you think I am so 
tàttEtìf unkiiown there, that a servaiit of mine would be 

COtr ' 

ìT Griso a Ultle, he ptoceeded to gire hliii 
iiirr particidar tnstnictions. Gn-^o look his two 

ooir, j «;t off with a checrftj! and hardy look, btlt 

carmtng. in the bottoni of his hcart, Monza, and interdicts» 
Mai wof*>*^ '■'^^ the fanclei: of patrona: he walked on likc a 
f ¥' -^d b\* htmger, his body cinaciated, and the 

5 ^T nr rìbs foipri * '>iì bis grey hide, de^cnds 
the naouiuatni^ whc: hing ìè covered with iaow, 





196 



ALESSANDRO MAN20OT 



I 



I 



proceeds suspiciously aJong the plain, stops, f lom lime to timc^ 
witb uplifted foot, and wa%^cs his haìrless tai] ; 

■ Rolses his no^, and snuffs the faìthkss iriiitL* 

if perchance it tnay bring him the scent of man or beast; 
erects his sharp ears, and rolls around two sanguinary eyes, 
from which shbe forth both eagcmess for the prey and tcrror 
of ptirsult. If the reader wishcs to know whence I bave got 
thìs fìne line, ìt >s taken from a small unpublished work oa 
Crusaders and LombardB, which wilt shordy be publishedf 
and male e a great stir; and I bave borro wed it because ìt 
suited my ptirpose, and told where I got it, tbat I might not 
take credit due to others : so let tio one think it a pian of mine 
to proclaim ihat the author of this little hook and I are like 
brothers, and that T nimmage at will among his maniiscripts. 
The other project of Don Rodrigo's, was the devising of 
some pian to prevent Ren2o*s agaìn rejoining Lucia^ or setting 
foot in tbat part of the country. He therefore resolved to 
spread abroad nimours of threats and snares^ which, coming 
to his hearing through some friend, might deprive him of any 
wish to return to that neighbourhood He thought, however, 
that the surest way of dotng this would be to procure his ban- 
ishment by the state; and to succeed in his project, he felt 
that law would be more Likely to answer his purpose than 
force. He could, for example, give a little cotouring to the 
attempt made at tìie parsonage, paint it as an aggressive atid 
sedìtious act, and, by means of the doctor, sìgnify to the 
Podestà that this was an opportuni ty of issuìng an appre- 
henston against Renzo. But our deliberator quickly perceìved 
that it would not do fot him to meddle iti this infamous 
fiegotiation ; and, without pondering over it any longer. he 
resolved to open his mìnd to Doctor Azzecca-Garbugli ; so 
far, that is, as was necessary to make htm acquaijited with 
his desire. — There are so many edicts ! thought Don Rodrigo : 
and the Doctor's not a goose: he will be sure to find some- 
thing to suit my purpose— some quarrel to pick with this 
rascally fellow of a weavcrt otherwise he must give up hii 
name,^ — But (how stran gè ly matters are brought about in this 
worldt) while Don Rodrigo was thus fixing upon the doctor, 
RS the man most able to serve him, ano±er person, one that 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



197 



ndboóy woiald ìmagine, even Renzo himself, wes labouring, so 
to say, with ali his heart, to serve him, in a far more certaìti 
and expeditious way than any the doctor could possibly have 
devised, 

I have often seen a childj more active, certamly, than needs 
be, but at every movement giving eamest of becoming, some 
day^ a brav« man : I have often, I say, seen such a one busied, 
towards cvening, in driving lo cover a drovc of little Indìan 
pigs* which had been allowed alt day to ramble about in a 
fidd or orcbard. He wouid try to make them ali enter die fold 
In a drovc ; but it was labour in vain : one would strike off to 
the rìght^ and while the little drover was running to bring 
hìm back into the herd, another, or two, or three, would start 
off to the left, in every direction. So that, after getting out 
of ali patience, he at last adapted himself to their ways, first 
driving in those which were nearest to the entrance, and then 
going to fetch the others, one or two at a time, as tbey hap- 
p«ned to have strayed away. A sìmìlar game we are obliged 
to play with our characters ; — havìng sheltered Lucia, wc ran 
to Don Rodrigo, and now we must leave him to receive Renzo, 
who meets us in our way, 

After the moumful s epa rati on we have related, he pro- 
ceeded from Monza towards Mibn^ in a state of mìnd our 
readers can easily imagine. To leave bis own dwelling ; and, 
wbat was worse, bis native village: and, what was worse 
stili, Lucia; to find himself on the high road, without know» 
ing where he was about to lay his head, and ali on account of 
that vìUainl \Mien this ìmage presented itself to Renzo's 
mind, he would he quite swallowed up with rage and the de- 
sire of vengeance ; but then he would recoUect the prayer 
which he had joined in offering up with the good friar in the 
church at Pescarenico, and repent o£ bis anger; then he would 
again he roiìsed to indtgnation; but seesng an image in the 
Wall, he would take off bis hat, and stop a moment to repeat 
a prayer; so that during this journey he had killed Don 
Rodrigo, and raiscd hìm to lì fé again, at least twenty times* 
The road bere was completely buri ed between two high banks, 
muddy, stony, furrowed with deep cart-ruts^ which, after a 
shower, became perfect strearas; and where these dìd not 
form a suiBcient bed for the water, the whole road was ia- 



198 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

undated and reduced to a pool, so as to be almost ittipassable. 
At such places, a steep foot-path, in the forni of steps, up 
the bank, Indicated that other passengers hàd made à trftdr 
in the fields. Renzo mounted by one of thcse passes to the 
more elevated ground, and, looking around him, beheld the 
noble pile of the cathedra! towcring alone above the plani, 
not as if standing iti the midst of a city, btit rathef as thougfa 
it rose from a desert. He paused, forgetful of ali his sor- 
rows, and contcmplated thns at a distancc that cighth Wonder 
of the world, of which he had heard so much from his In- 
fancy. But turning round, after a moment or two, he beheld 
along the horizon that rugged ridge of mountains : he beheld, 
distinct and elevated among these, his own Resegone, and 
felt his blood curdle within him; then indulging for a feW 
minutes in a moumful look in that direction, he slowly aild 
sadly turncd round, and continued his way. By dcgrees, he 
began to disccm belfrics and towers, cupolas and roofs; then 
descending into the road, he walked forward for a long timc; 
and, when he found that he was near the city, accosted a 
passcnger, and making a low bow. with the bcst politeness 
ile was master of, said to him, * Will you be kind enougfa. 
Signor . . .?' 

' What do you want, my brave youth ? ' 

* Can you direct me the shortest way to the Capuchin 
Convent where Father Bonaventura lives ? ' 

The person to whom Renzo addressed himself was $i 
wealthy resident in the neighbourhood. who having bccn 
that moming to Milan on business, was returning with- 
out having done anything. in grcat baste to reach his home 
before dark, and thercfore quitc willing to escape this dc- 
tention. Xevertheless. without beirayiri: any impatiencc, 
he courteously rcplied: * My ecol fricr.d. there are many 
more convents than one: you r:u>! tc!^ rr.e more clearly 
which one you are sccking.' Rerzo :::er. drcw from his 
boscm Father Cri>ioforo's Ictter. and sh-rwed it to the 
gentleman, who having read the addre?? : * Porta Orientale/ 
said he. returr.ini; it to him: *ycu are fonunate. yomig 
man: the convent you want is net far hence. Takc thiS 
narrow Street to the left: it is a by-way: net far off you 
will come to the corner of a long and low building: *Jik il 



I PnOMESSl SPOiI 



Lazaretto; folTow the moat that stirroimdi Jt, and ytm 
ili come Oilt at the Porta Orientale. Enter the gate, and 
or four himdred yards further, you wìll sec a little 
afe surrmiiidet! by elms; tlierc is the convent, and yon 
ot mi3takc it. God be with you, my brave yoath/ 
i, aeeampnnying the last words with a cotirteoiis wave 
of the hand, he coniìnued his way* Renoso sto od stirprised 
and cdiiied at the affable manners ©f the cHìzcns towards 
strang^rs, and knew not that it was an tinusua! day — a day 
f ' *( the Spanìsh cloak had to stocrp before the doublet. 
: A ed the path that had becn pointcd out, une arrived 

at the Porta Orientale. The reader, however, must not 
allow the scene now associated with this narae to present 
tfcsell io hìs mindr the wide and slraight Street flanked whh 
vnril:ir^ oiit^ide; the spadous ópening between two piles 
^ ^g» begun, al least, with some pretensions; on first 

riuerujv' these two lateral mounds at the base of the bai* 
tk>nf« rcgtilarly sloped, levelled at the top, and edged with 
tfecs; liiat gafdcti on one side, and further on, tliose palaees 
on tlie righi and Icft of the priticipal Street of the suburbi 
When Renzo cntered by that gate, the Street outsìdc ran 
straight along the whole length of the Lazarctto, it betnf 
iitipofiible for it, for that distancc, to do otherwise; thea 
h coofinued tfOQkcd and narrow between the two hedget. 
The gate consisted of two pillars with a rooing above to 
protect t! :>oats, a»d on one side a smaU cottage fof 

the oMttf officcrs. The bases of the bastions were 

of trregr and the pavement was a rougb and 

tincqunl M Jibish and fragnìents of broken vessel» 

Ihruwn tbere t?y chance. The Street of the subnrb which 
aed to the view of a person cntering the Porta Orien* 
bore no bad resenjblance to that now facing iht 
Itrance of the Porta Tosa. A smatl ditch ran along the 
ile, till withìn a few yards of the gate, and thus didded 
rwo windì jw streets, eorered with dutt or 

ficcordinj: t* ^^on* At the spot wbere was, and 

U, Street called the BorgheJto, thìi ditch 

ied i: 1 a scwer, and thcnce into the othcr ditch 

wa&bes the walts. Here itood a colunsn iiirmounted 
> entmt cmBmà tlio Column of Sao Dionigi : oa tbe rtght 



aOD ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

and left were garden s enclosed by hcdgcs, and at intervab 
a few small cottages. iiihabited chicfly by washerwomen. 
Renzo cntered the gate, and pursued bis way; none of the 
custom-house officers spoke to bini, wbich appeared to him 
the more wonderful, since the few iti tbis country who could 
boast of having been at Milaii, bad related marvellous 
stories of the examinations and interrogations to which ali 
tho.^o who entered were snbjectcd. The Street was deserted; 
so inuch so. that bad he not heard a distant buzz indicating 
some grcat movemcnt, he woiild bave fancied he was cntcr- 
ing a forsakcn town. Advanciiig forward, without knowing 
what to make of tbis, he saw on the pavenient certain 
whitc streaks. as wbìte as snow; but snow it could not bc, 
since it does not fall in streaks. nor usually at tbis season. 
He advanced to o!ìe of those, looked at it. toucbed it, and 
felt assured that it was tlour. — A great abundance, thou^t 
he, ihore must bc in MìIliii. il tbcy scatter in tbis manner 
the gifts of God. They gavo us to understand that there 
was a great f ani ine evorywberc. See how they go about 
to makc us poor pcoplo qui et. — Going a few steps further, 
and coniins: up to the col-.mri. !io saw at its foot a stili 
strangcr sight: scatterei! about on the steps of the pedestal 
were ibings wbich ceriainly were not stoncs, and, bad they 
bccn on a baker*s counter, he woulJ noi bave hesitated a 
moment to cali thom loavcs. i»ut Renro would not so readily 
trust bis eyes: bccauso. lorsootlil tbis was not a likely 
place for bread. — Le: us >oo what those thìngs can be. — said 
he again to himsc^f; and. sioinv; to the cvMumn. he stoopcd 
dowTT. and look ono in bis hav.d: it was rcally a round, very 
white Ioal. and >ucb a.* Kcn:'0 was u'.uiociistomed to eat, 
exccpt on boly days — li is roal'v bro:idI s^nd he aloud. so 
grea: was bis a>tor.i>h:v.c::t :— is :*:•> tV.o w,u- ihcy scatter it 
in thì? cvni:ì:r>-? in s'.'.cl: a yc^r loo: zr:\ i!or:*i they even 
givc tbcmselves the troub-o to pi^k i:i^ \v>.a! f.i'!>: this must 
be the land of the Cv.oc;;cn.'. I* A::cr u:*. tv.r'os' wa!k in the 
fresb moming air, tV.i> bro.u!. w^o:i ho V;.I rocovered his 
se 1 X - pò >se ssion, a rou > ov! ì ■ s a y r*o : i : o - S : ■ .; W I t a \ o ìt ? de- 
liberated he: poh! they bave lo-i •: lioro to the disoretion 
of dogs. and sure'y a Christian "mv :a>:c it. And. after 

*Tbe luaie qì ah ì«ÌeAl cvuacrv. *Jf.<-iicvj a*.! Mrt» ci ^vfAsmL 



I FEOMBSSI SPOSI 



201 



«li. Il tìie owfifr cornea forward. I wiU pay hìm.— Thus 
reasoomiTt J^e pni t!ie Ioaf he held in bis hand into one 
ì)Ocket, look trp a sccfmd and ptit it tnlo the other, and m 
tliird, which he began lo eat, and theo proceedtd on his 
way, more tmcertala than ever, and langiiig to have tliis 
strange mystery clcared up, Scar^fely had he started, whcn 
saw peoplc Issuing from the ititcrìor of the city, and he 
tood stìil to watch those who first appeared, They were a 
1^ a woman, and, a little way behind, a boy; ali three 
ring a Ioad on their backs which seemed beyond their 
"strcogth, and ali three in a tuost csctraordlnary condition. 
Their dress, or rather their rags» covered wiih flour, their 
§$C€3 Qoored, and, at the sarac titne, distorted and mucb 
beat ed; they walked not only as if wearìed by tlicif Ioad, 
b«it tremblmg m if tiicir lìmbs had bccti bcatcn and bmls^ 
[le man staggered under the weight of a large sack of 
>iir, whjcb, bere and there io holes, scauered a shower 
at very sttimble, at every distiirbance of hb eqtiili- 
But the igure of the vvoman was stili more awfc- 
wsrd: an unwieldy bnìk, two cxtctidcd arnis which seemed 
to bear it tip with dilHciiity, and looked lìke two carved 
handks from the ncck to the wìdest part cf a large kilder* 
and bcneatli tbis enormotis body, two legs, naked up 
the knees. which could scarcely totter along. Renzo 
ied fteadily at this great bulk, and dìseovered thàt it 
tbe woman*s gown tumed «p around hcrs with as much 
r in il as it couM hold, and rather more, so that from 
tiaie to tìme It was scattcrcd in handfais over the g^omiA 
Tbe boy hcid with hoth hands a basket full of bread upon 
it head; bfit, from havìng shorter legs than bis parents, 
krpt falltng bchìmj by degrees, and in running fotward 
oreruke them^ the basket Jo&t jts balance, and a few 
oavea fetU 

Il voti lei anotber fall, yoti vile, helpless , • / said th« 
iier, gnasbing ber tccth at the chtld, 
don*t Ict them faDj tbe>* fall thetnselves, How can t 
[ft?* repbwl he. 

ì\ it't wcll for yofi that I bave my bands engagted/ 

*"-4 the wooum, ihakmi; ber usi, as if shc would bave 

e poor ciiild tt blow; and with this tnovemcnt shn 



ao2 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



scnt forih a fresh cloud ol flour, enough tó bave 
more tlmn the two Ioavcs the boy had let fall 

'Come, come/ said the taaii, *we will go back 
to pick thcm up^ or somebody will do h for iis: we Ìì 
a long while in want; now that we have got a liule 
dance, let us enjoy it in^bìesscd peace/ 

In the meati tfme pcople arrived from withotil; and onc 
of thcm, accostìng the woman, * Whcrc tnusi we go to g« 
brcad?* atkcd he. 'Forward, forw:ird,' wai her rfifi]| 
and wbcn they wttt a few yards past. ahe addéci 
ingr 'These blackguard peasants wtU come and 11^ 

the bakehoa&es and mag&zines, and tliere wìll te nothitig 
left for us/ 

*There's a h'ttle for evcrybody, magpie/ said ihc htit- 
band ; * plenty, plcnty/ 

From thia and cimila r sceiics whieh Renoso hcard and 
witnessed, he bcgan la gathcr that he had come lo a city 
a siate of rnsurrection^ and thal this was a day of vio 
tory ; that h to say, wben cvcry onc bel ped hi m self in' 
proportioti to bis indtoatjoa and power, givìnjf bIow5 tn 
paymcnt. Howcvcr we may desire tn make our poor m 
tatneer appesir to the l^est advaolage, y«^ htsiorìca] accui *-^^ 
obligee US to say, that his gmt feeling was that of satini 
tion. He had m little to rejoic^ at in the orduiary eotir 
of things, that he was incliiìed to approve of anything thi 
inigbt make a cbange, wbatevcr it mìght he, 
not beìng a man stiperio? to hts age, he tr-i 

iCOmnton opinion, or ■ i\ that the scarcity ! 

^DVt* produccd by rrn- ^ -; and bakers: and r< 
he esteem every method i»ftifiab1c of ref^Cmr 
grasp the food, which thcy, accordtng to thi; ..j....,..., ^, 
cniclly dcnied to the htmgrr of a whi)lc people. He rc- 
jolved» however. lo v ' ( the tittrjiiU, and rejokcff a 

[lieing dtrccted to a < who would rive him shelte 

fand good advjce, Euiiagcd m «tich r- : lookit 

aboui hìm at the fre»h victnrs who Um witì 

npotl, he look the sborl road that atiil rcoiiupcd to reach 
the coovent 

On the pretcfit site of a noblc pabce« wìtb iti besutìfii 
portico^ ihere waa foroierJy, and till within a vrrx- r-^l 



I PHOMESSl SPOSI 



203 



ytArs, a small square, and at the furthcst side of thìs, the 
chttrch anti conveat of the Capuchms, with lour large 
diDS standiof before thenu Wc congratulate, not without 
«vy, ihose o! Olir readers wha bave not seen Milan ms 
thtis dcscrìbedi tliat ts, because they must bc very young, 
and bave not had inucb time lo comniit many foUies. Renzo 
wctit straifbt to the door, put into hìs bosom the remaìn- 
ing hall Ioaf, look out bis letter and held k ready in bis 
J, ajid rang the beli A small wìcket was opened at the 
aons, and the face of the poiter appeared at the grate 
wbo was there, 
* One frooi the country, bringing an tmportant letter to 
ther Bonaventura froin Father Cristoforo/ 
*Give it me/ said the porter, putting bis band tbrougfa 

grate. 
'No, 00/ sald Rensco, 'I must gìvc it into hìs own 



it not In the Convent/ 
i'Ltt aie come in. then, and I will wait for him,' repUed 
ttnzo. 

'Fotlow njy advice/ rejoined the friar; 'go and wait in 
ili» cbttrch, wbcre you may be employing yourself profit- 
àbff* Vou cannot be admitted itito the eonvent at pre^ent/ 
So saytng, he cjosed the wtcket, 

^ '- %ìood irresoluie, with the lettcf in his band He 

:' : a few steps towards the door of the churcb, to 

:^w tiie ad vice of tJie porter» but thcught he wouid first 

ftve inother glance at the stir outsidc. He crosscd 

•quare, reacbed the side of tbc road, and itood wtth 

urm^ erossed on bis hrca^t to walch the tbickc*t and 

notsy pan oi the crowd that wai i&guing frotn the 

. . ior of the city. The vortcx attraeteti our spettato r — 

Id uj go and pee ihougbt he; and agaìn taking out the 

of brcad, he began lo eat, and advanced towards the 

WbiJc he was walking thitbcf, we mìì relaic, a$ 

Sy aa posstble, tbc cause^ and beginnitigs of ibis oproan 



CHAPTER XII 

THIS was the second year of the scarcity. In the pre- 
ccding ycar, the surplus rcmaining from formcr sca- 
sons had more or less supplicd the deficiency ; and the 
people, neither satiated nor famishcd, but certainly sufr 
ciently unprovided for, had reached the harvest of 1628, in 
which our story finds us, Now, this har\'cst, so long and 
eagerly looked forward to, proved stili less productive than 
the formcr, partly on account of the ad verse character 
of the season (and that not only at Milan, but. in great 
mcasurc. in the surroundin? cciurury?, ar.«i partly by the 
agency r.f man. >i:ch werc Oie ni' a^c^ v.rA havoc 
of the war — liiat air. labi e war to which wc V.ave ai ready 
alludcd — that in the jp.ns < •" t'.o c« ::^:^y >.''■].— ire on its 
scene, nrjch n^rre land than i:^i:a! r.-.a^nci v-ncv.'iivated 
and deser*cù by the pL-risants. v.'r.o i::*ic:i'I e: \v...rking to 
provi de locd for thon-.sclvcs and other?. were cbliged to 
wander about as bce?ars. I have sa: 1. more than usuai, 
because the insupportable taxc>. levied with unequalled 
cupidity and folly — the habitual co::!v.ct, evcn in perfect 
peace. of the station ary troops.— conti u et which the moum- 
ful docim:ents of the agc compare to tha: 01 an in- 
vading enemy — and othcr reasons. which thi? i? not the place 
to enumerate, had for some lime becn prcfucin;: this sad 
cfFect throughoi:t the whole e: the Milanese : :ho panicular 
drcumstances, of which we are ncw 5:>eakinì:. being but the 
sudden exacerbation cf a chr«-nic «!i?c2fo N- sooner had 
this dpf^cient harvest bcen ca-'-'c : i" :*'-n th: provi sions 
for the anry. ard the waste w''-ich a'v..-. > r.rc t 7 ani: 5 thcm, 
made s-jch a fearf-jl void in i:. :ha: >carc:r.- ruicV'y made 
itself fe't. ard w:*h 5ca'-::y ::? r-.c'in.-r 'v. v-- --crtable, 
as weT- ae inev:tab>. eroct. a ri -e •?: ^ricv? 

R-.Tt when th* r'ice ^f :*-:•- r:a:*::^ a e --i:-: ^ in:. :herc 
a!ways ari>es 'a: ka?:. '-'•''-.:'■ ^ •: '-.i. -.' \:.- i an^i'-. : and 
if it !5 SO 5ti!l. a::er a!: :'--: hai S:;n '.^-:::e" by >? n-any 
kamcd men, what must ì: have betn in :h:>e òiy> ! .— :herc 

20C 



I PHOirESSI SPOSI 



2m 



opinion among the many that !t h not the 
'. They forget that thcy had lorcsccn and 
prciflctcd SQch an issue; they stiddenly fancy that therc is 
ptenty ai coro, and that the evil proceeds from therc oot 
being as uiuch distributcd as is required for consumption ; 
pfopodtions syificiently prepost e rotìs, but whìch fìatter hoth 
llirìr ing^ atìd iheir hopes, Corn raotiopolists» either rea! 
or imaginary, largc landholders, the bakers who purdiased 
eom^ all^ m shorts who had either little or much. or were 
thought to bave any, \verc charged wilh bdng tlie causes 
of the searctty and dcaroess of proi^isions: thcy werc the 
objecis ùi tmivef saJ coti) piai nt, and of the hatrcd of the mul^ 
litude of cvery rank* The populacc could teli with certaìoty 
vrho'e thcre wcre inaga/ines and granaries full atid over- 
flowlng with com, and eveti rcqtiiring to be propped vtp; 
thcy ttidicated luost extravagant numbers of sacks; they 
tàSkeà with certainty of the immense quantitìes of grain 
seeredy despatthed to othcr placcs, where, probably^ it waa 
asserted wìih eqoal assuratice and equa! excitcment, that the 
corn gTOwn tbere was transported to Milan. Tlicy implored 
irom the magistrates those precaudons which always appear^ 
or a£ Jeastj ha ve always hi ih erto appcared, so equitable, so 
almiile; so capable of drawitig forth the com whìch thcy 
«ffirtn to be secreted, walled up» or brtned, and of reatoring 
to thcm abundance. The magistrates, therc f ore, busied thein- 
^?cs m fixing the highcst price that was to be charged 
itpon every comiDodity; in thrcatcning punishtweot to any 
Ode who should refase io scll; and making other regulatìons 
of a similar nature. As» however, ali human prccautìons, 
IwfW vigorous socver, can ncithcr diminish the necessify of 
food, nor prodticc cnjps out of seasnn: and as these ia* 
dhrìdtu] prccamiooi otTercd no vcfy inviting terms to other 
oountrìei wherc ihcrc mìght he a superahtmdance, the evil 
[«tintied atid increa sed The multi tu de attributed such an 
to the dcarcity and feeblcness of the remedie*, and 
^y ...i;...t.,.f ,,.„,., ifiore spiritcd and deeiiive measures. 
j«d a man after tlieir own heart, 

-Tior, Dnn ' ' '" ndC2 

ì over 1 4to, 

liil^h CiiAncilli^c AiiiQuio Ferrcr, Jii^ a Spazia (Up 6U|h 



wm 



ALM8ANCB0 MANZONI 



plied hìs place «t Mjlan. Tlirs man saw (4nd who eoald kdp 
Bering it?) tbat il miKl<:r£ite pricc oit brcad 13 in itsetf » 
nioit dfsjrabtcì ihing; and h< ihougbt (here was his tuistikt) 
that an ordcr irom bìm wogld soffice to produce il He fis«d 
iht lioiìt (lù m€ta, by which fiajnc the tarifìf was disungttjilifd 
in artjcTei oi food.) at the price tJiat bread woiiìd have had, 
H the oorn had becn gcnerally sotd at thirty>thf€c livrei 
the bushel* &nd ihey sold it m ìùgh as ei^hty. Ile ictcd 
hice the otd woman who thought lo tnake berself ycting acain 
by changiog ber bapHsmal fakh. 

Regulations leti ìrrationat ajid Ics» un just had, on more 
thftn ane occasiona by the reaUtance of actyal circumilaiie 
fematned unexecuted; bui that this shotild be ciittìtà h 
effect was undcnakcfi by the multitude, who, ^eclng: 
demaiids at laat convencd into a law, wuuld not buffer 
to be a mere fonti. They immrdirttcly ran to the bai 
houses, to demand bread at the fixcd price: and thcy r« 
qutrcd it witU that air of threatening resohition whidi pa»^ 
itoti, force» and law unitod could impart* Il ticc<] noi 
a&ked if the bakcrs rcststcd* Witb ^Iccves tarnod up» ibc 
wcrc bu{sied in carryìjig, fmitiQg into the oven, and takìm 
out ihence, without intermiaaion ; for the peoplc, ba^ing 
cofifuied idea that It waa Ick» vjolent aia attempt to la^t 

'lonir, bfikgcd the bake-bouaes Inceisantly, to enjoy thdr^ 
tcniporary good fortune; and every rcader cau tmagiiie 
a plcaaure tt uiìtst havc been to drudge like a »ia%*c, 
cxpoat one'fi aclf more thati usuajly to an attack of pleurìaf j 
to he, after ali, a toner io oonyeqoiaice. 0ut with maginirat 
on Due i$id«' threa^rning pontshmcntt, and the peoplc 
the . fuurnJtinng at every dciay that 

' inlt' 1 ; thcm, anH rtifff fìnitely mcnacing somC 

one m oibcr ot thvir eh -'•^ are aJwaya the 

ìumuì tltat are ìoflìcted 1 re waa no help^ 

for it; dnidge they must; they wcro forced to cmiily ^M 
replcuiih thetr ovcns. artd lell* Howevcr, to keep them ti| 
lo auch eiuployment, h was of little a vai! to impone iirtc 
nrck-rs, and keep thrm in eimitant fean It wai a qoeatic 
of absolute practicabtfìty ; and Itad the thìng laaied a ]j||]< 

i|iMig€rt they toulé bave don e no more. They remn 

liDeeaaantty agmioii the intquiiotii acid infupporlAble wc 



I PBOMESSl SPOSI 



107 



pd upon thein, and protestcd they wetild 
lac shovcl irito the ovèo, ami take thcir 
ìftìircs'indV^t thfy continucd to pers«verc as they could, 
teogiil^, boping, that som^ day or otlier, the High Chaa- 
^tlor wonJd come to hts senses. But Antonio Fcrrer, wha 
what would now he cailed a man of character, replìcd 
it die bakeri had tnade enonnous profits in past times: 
h^t they would eqiially make great gatns in better times to 
urne, tiiat, tiiercforc, il was both reasonable and neccseary 
ficy shoiild make some compensation to the public, and that, 
in iJie tnean while, they must gel ofi ai they could* Whether 
he wer« rcally convinced of the truth of those reasons he 
to othcrs* or whether, perceivìng, from its effects, 
sfiossibilily of mamtainiiig this r^ulation^ he was 
%g to leave to others the odium of revoking st ; £or who 
can now look itito Antonio Ferreria mind? yet certaìn it is 
he dìd oot relax one iota of what he bad e^tabtisbed. At 
leugih, Uie decurioni (a m unici pai magistracy composed of 
tioÙefi, ssiìkh lasied UH the nincty-sixth year of the lafit 
cmtitry) informed the Govemor, by Ictter, of the state in 
wbkh matters stood, boping he mlght be able to saggtsl 
bc^me remedy. 

Don Ganzalo, buried over head in the affairs of war» did 
wliat tbe readcr will certainly imaginc: he notnìiiated a 
CoQociJ, whjch he endowed wich full muthority to fìx such 
a prìce upon bread as eould becotne current, thns dotng 
justicc to both parties. The deputles assembled, or it was 
OcpflK^ied, after the Spanish fashion, in the j argon of ih ose 
the limta met; and, afier a hundred bowings, com- 
preambles, sigfas, whisperings, airy proposltions» 
'loiittrfiigeSf urged, by a necessity which al! feli, to 
ae to «mie determination, conscious that they were cast- 
"wf ui imponant die, but aware that there was no other 
eoora^ to bc takrn, they at lenglh agrced to aitgment the 
pnoe of bread. The bakers once more br^ithed, bitt the 
le rmvcd. 
The evcnlng preceding the day in which Remo arrived at 
in^ the strccta and s^narcs ^warmcd witJi meo, who, 
ifported with indignation, and swayed by a prevaiilng 
aaatnbM^whether a^naìotancea or strmnger»^ 



206 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

in knots and parties without any previous concert, and al- 
most without being aware of it, like raìn-drops on a hill- 
sidc Every conversation increased the general belief, and 
roused the passions of both hearer and speaker. Amongst 
the many excited ones, there were some few of cooler tcm- 
perament, who stood quietly watching with great satisfac- 
tion the troubling of the water, who busied themselves in 
troubling it more and more, with such reasonings and stories 
as rogues know how to invent. and agitated minds are so 
ready to believe, and who determined not to let ic cairn 
down without first catching a little fish. Thousands went 
to rest that night with an indeterminate feeling that some- 
thing must and would be done. Crowds assembled before 
day-break: children, women, men, old pcople, workmen, 
beggars, ali grouped together at random; here was a con- 
fused whispering of many voices: there. one declainicd to 
a crowd of applauding bystandcrs: this ano askod his near- 
est fellow the sanie question that had just bcon put to him- 
self; that other rcpcated the exclamation that he heard 
resounding in his ears; evcrywhcre were disputos. threats, 
wonderings; and ver>' few words niade up the materials 
of so many conversations. 

There only wanted something to lay hold of: some bc- 
ginning, some kind of impetus to reduce words to deeds, 
and this was not long wanting. Towards daybreak. little boys 
issued from the bakcrs* shops. carr>ing basket s of brcad to 
the houses of their usuai customers. The first appoarance 
of one of these unlucky boys in a crowd of poople. was like 
the fall of a lighted squib in a gunpowdcr magazine. 'I.ct us 
see if there's bread here I ' cxclainied a hundred voicos. in 
an instant. *Ay, for the tyrants who roll in ahundance, 
and would let us die of hunger/ saìd one. approachinij the 
boy; and, raising his band to the oilf'c of the basket, he 
snatched at it, and exclaimed. ' I.et vrc sce!' The boy col- 
oured, turned pale, tremhled. and triM to say, 'Let mo go 
ok;' but the words died betwcen his lips, and slackcning 
his arms, he endeavoured to diseiigage tliem hastily from 
the straps. 

* Down with the basket ! * was the instantaneons cry. 
Many hands seized it, and brought it to the ground; they 



1 PROMESSI SFOSI 



thei Uircw the doih that eovered it ipto the aìn A tcpid 

fragraTice was diffuscd around • Wc, too, are Christlans ; 

Lwc must bave brcad to eat/ said the first He took oui a 

lloaf, and, raising it in the vìtw of the crowd, begati tt> eat: 

fin an tn^tant ali hands were in the basket, and in less urne 

one can relate it, ali had dtBappeared. Those who 

gol none of the spoil, ìrritatcd at the sight of what ihe 

rs had gaincd, and animated by the facìHty of the enter- 

firise* moved off hj parties in quest of other straytng baskets^ 

which were no sooner met wUh than they wcre pHlaged 

fimincdiatcly, Nor was it necessary to attack the bearers: 

tliQse who unforttinately were on thelr way, as soon as they 

saw which way the wind blew» voluntanly laid down their 

burdeni, and took to their heels, Nevertheless, thosc who 

fcm&in cd withoiit a sypply were, beyond comparison. the 

Fpart; nor were the victors hall satìsfied with such 

cant spoii; and some there wcre mìngled in the 

[crowds whft had resolved upon a much bel ter regni at ed at- 

|tadL * To the bake house, to the bakc-house ! ' was the aj. 

In the Street callcd La Cùrsia de' Servi was a bake-house, 

' vhtch is stili there, hearing the same nanie, — a natne that, 

in Tuscan, tueans * The Bakei^ of the Crutchcs,* and, in 

l^ifanese^ is composed of words so extravagant, so whìm- 

cai» so out-of-the-way, ihai the alphabet of the Italian 

je does not afford letters to express its sound/ In 

direction the crowd advanced* The peop!e of the shop 

hiisy questioning (he poor boy who had rctufocd «n- 

laden^ and lie, pale wIth terror, and ^catly discomposed, 

wms tinmtelligibly rclatìng bis un fortunate ad venture, when, 

ienly, they hcard a notse as of a crowd In motion; it 

cases atid approaches; the forenmners of the erowd are 



lock up: qnick, quick:' one runi to beg asslstance 
ffrom the sberif!'; ihe othcrs hastily jihut up tlie shop, and 
;ilt and b;ir the dfvor^ inside. The muftttudes begln to in- 
se wirhout, and the cries redouble of— 'Bread! breadl 
t f nptn 1 ' 
At thii iimcture the «iherlff arrived, in the mldst of i 
troof^ of Iialbrrdiers. ' Make room, roake room, niy boy» ; 
' £3 ipintlD di »ft*"** 




810 ALB88ANDRO MANZONI 

go home, go home: make room for the sheriffl* ciied he; 

The throng, not too mudi crowded, gave way a lìtUe, ao 

that the halberdiers could advance and get dose to the door 

of the shop, though not in a very orderly manner. 'Bat» 

my friends/ said the sheriff, addressing the people from 

thence, 'what are you doing here? Go home, go home. 

Where is your fear of God? What will our master the 

King say? We don't wish to do you any harm, but go 

home, like good fellows. What in the world can you do 

here, in sudi a crush? There is nothing good to be got 

bere, either for the soul or body. Go home, go homel* 

But how were those next the speaker, who saw bis face 

and could bear bis words, evcn had they been willing to 

obey — ^how were they to accomplisb it, urged forward as 

they were, and almost trampled upon by those bebind; 

who, in their turn, were trodden upon by othcrs, like wave 

upon wave, and step upon step, to the very edge of the 

rapidly increasing throng? The sheriff began to fcel a little 

alarmed 'Make them give way, that I may get a little 

breath/ said he to bis halberdiers; * but don*t hurt any- 

body. Let us try to get into the shop. Knock ; make thera 

give way I ' 

' Back I back I ' cried the halberdiers, throwing themsclves 
in a body upon their nearcst neighbours, and pushing them 
back with the point of their weapons. The people replied 
with a grumbling shout, and retreated as they could, dis- 
persing blows on the breast and stomach in profusion, and 
treading upon the tocs of those bebind ; wbile sudi was the 
general rush, the squeezing and trampling, that those who 
were in the middle of the throng would bave given any- 
thing to bave been elsewbere. In the mcan wbile, a small 
space was cleared before the house; the sheriff knocked 
and kicked against the door, calling to those within to open 
it: these, seeing from the window how things stood, ran 
down in baste and admitted the sherìfT, followed by the 
halberdiers, who crept in one after another, the last repuls- 
ing the crowd with their weapons. ^\^ìcn ali were secured, 
they re-bolted the door, and. running up-stairs, the sheriff 
displayed himsclf at the window. We leave the reader to 
imagine the outcry I 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



tn 



ftlmàsV cried he; many looked up. 'Uy frìencte! 
nc^ A general pardon io ali who go home at once ! * 

• Bread ì br ead I Open ! open I ' were the most conspicuoue 
Word$ in the sav^age voci ferations the crowd sent forth in reply. 

' Jusiìc€, my f rfoids ! i<ikc care ; you bave yet timc givcn 

you. Come, gct away; return to your hou&cs» You shaìl 

bave br«ad; but this h not the way to get ìt. Eh! . . • ehi 

Ewluit are you doing down tlicre? Ehi «t thie door? Fk, 

[fie upoa you I I see, I see: ju»tkel take care! It ìb % great 

I cf ìiDc* Vm cópiing- to yoUp Eh f eh ! away with tho^ irons ; 

pdowf) with t' ds! Flel yi>u Milanese, who are talked 

!>f ali over li for peaceableneaB l U&t«ji! Hsteo 1 you 

>vc always heen good sub . , . Ah, you rasoils ! * 

Thìs raptd tran siti on of &tyk wa^ eatised by a stonep whidi, 

DRiifig froni the hauds of one of thc^e gooé «qbjects, struck 

forehead of the sheriff, on the left protuberatice oC hìs 

finetaphyiical profunditìes. *RascabI rancala I' continucd 

the window in a ragCj and reti ring from vicw. 

f e had shouted to the cxtent of the powers of hìs 

Ihrpat, Uu wovd$, bf>th goorì and bad, had vanìshcd and con- 

iuiucd in thin air, repulsed by the cries which carne from 

l»«low. The objccts th»t now, as he afterwards d^scrìbed* 

tilcd them&elves to his view% were stoncs and tron bars, 

[^the first they could by hold of by the way,) with which 

Ined to force opea the doors and wmdows; and tlicy 

àf had made considerable progress in thdr work* 

fu tlie mean timc, the master s and $hop-boyg appeared at 

bc! upper Windows, armed with stones, (they had probably 

fuopaved the yard,) and eryiug out lo those helow. with hor- 

rible looks and gesture»» to let them alone, they show«d th«ir 

weap<Mis, and threatened to let fly among ihem, Seetog that 

inothìjig else wonJd avafl, ihey bcgan to tbrow at them m 

Irralìty. Not onc feti in vaìn, slncc the prcs* wa» such that 

^cvcti a |?nihi of com, as the saying was^ could not bave 

I reached the ground. 

* Ah J you grcat \^jjfabrjntls 1 you grcat vìllaìns \ Is this the 
Itrtad you gtve io poor i)eop!c ? Ah ! alas ! oh ! Now, now, at 
[tu? ' was nii»cd from bclow. More than ona was injurcd, and 

two boy» were killcd. Fory ìncreascd the ^trcngtji of th« pco- 
pie : the doon and bars gavc v^y ; and the crowd p&ured into 



fl2 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



he passagcs in torrcnts. Thosc wìthin. perctìving thdr dan- 
peTp took refuge in ihe garrcls: the shcriil, the halberdicrSg 

[and a few of the boushnlfi gathcred togcthcr hcre lo a comcrj 
adcr the slates ; aod others, cscapìng by the sky^Ughts» wan- 
Icred about on the roof Uke cala. 

Ttic sight o( the spoti made the victors forget thrir dc-i 
iìgns of saoguìnary vcngcancc* Thcy flcw tipon Uie larga] 
diests^ and instantly pìUaged them. Others, Instcad, hastcned] 
to tear open the counter, selzed the tiUs, look out by hatidfuls, j 
pockcted and set off with, the money, to return for bread] 
aftcrwards, if ihere remaìned any. The crowd dispcr 
themsclves through the intcnor magazinci. Some latd 
of the sacks and drcw ihem out; otJiers tiirnet! them wrongl 
Side ypwards, and untyiiig the mouth, to reduce them to al 
wt-'ight which ihey could manage to carry* s!iook out some ol 
the flour; others crying out, ' Stay, stay I * carne tmdemeath 
to prevent this waste, by catdiìng tt in their clothe* and 

l^^aprons; others, agairi. fcll upon a kueading-trough, and 
Bei^ed the dough^ which ran over their hands and escaped 
their grasp on cvery side: bere, one who had aita t eh ed up aJ 
meal-sieve, carne brandishtfig tt In Ih e air. Some come, sofnttl 
9ùm€ handler mcn, w^ojuen, children, swarm arotindH 
^ushes, blows, and erics are bandied about; and a wtiilél 
powder diat nscs in clouds and deposits itself in cvery dtrcc* 
tlon, tnvotves the whole proceeding in a thick mìst. Out^ìde; 
ìs a crowd composcd of two re verse processiona, which alter- 
nately separate and intcrmingle, some going out with their 
prcy, others cnt ering to share the spoil 

While thts bake^house was being thus phindercd, 
the others wcrc quiet and free from danger; but at n- 
the people asscmbled in stich numbcf^ as to be very darìng^J 
In some, the masttrr^ had collected a few auxiliaries, and 
stood tipon their de ferite : others, le*» strong in niimbers, or 
more ter? ificd, carne to some ktnd of agreement ; tbey dis^ 
tributcd bread to tho*ie who had betrnn io crowd around thcir 
ihops, if they would be cof(ì Those. 

^ho dtd withdraw, did so j ^-re con* I 

Éentcd wilh their aequbìltoni*, crs andj 

aUce» keeping at a distance u ■ -^enc afe. 

I Bake-house of the Crutclics, appcarcd^ nevcflhdets^ ciao- 



I PROMESSI SPOST 



tu 



wtiere tj ^jj^p fent force to kecp fn twe these smaller pariies 
, oi mutinffS^By ibis means, the confusion and concotirse con- 
I tinued to augroenl at Ihis firU unforttmatc bake-house ; for ali 
[tIio§c wtìose fingéfs itched to bc at work, and whose hearts 
rw^re set opon doing some great deed, repaircd thither^ where 

iheir friends wcrc iti grcate^t nombers, and impunity was 

Such was the state of thìngs, when Renzo» finìshlng^ as wc 
bave relat*;d, hh piece of bread, carne to the snburb ol the 
[Porta Orientale, and set off, wìthout being aware of it, ex- 
'actly to the centrai scene of the tumuh, He contìnucd bis 
way, now urged forward, now bindered, by the crowd; and as 
1 he walkcd, he watched and listened, to gatber f rom the con- 
1 (tiied murmurs of voìces some more positive information ol 
[the state of ihings. The foUowing are ncarly the words he 
[canght DQ bis way. 

'Now,' said Olle, *tbe infamous imposture of tbesc vìllaìns 
Ili dUco veraci, who saJd the re w;ìs no more bread, nor fìour, 
ìnot com* Now we sce tliings clearly and distìnctly, and they 
Jean no longcr deccive ns as they bave done. Hurrah for 
I filcnty ! * 

" I! ali this just goes for notbìng/ said another ; * !t is 
I onl iking a hole in water; so tbat it will be the worse 

for u^. il we don't get full justìce done ns. Bread will be 
^tol d at 31 low price: hut they will put poison in it to kìl! ns 
pcople like f1ic5, They 've said a f ready that we are too 
tiy : they saìd so in the councìl ; and I know it for certain, 
because I beard it with these cars from an acquaintance of 
mine, who Is the friend of a relation of a scullion of one of 
theM? lords.' 

* They are not tlungs to be laugbed at/ said another poor 
wretch^ who was foamtng at the mouth. and holding up to 
htf blccding head a ragged pocket*handkcrcbief ; some neigh- 
bour^ by way of consolation» cehamg bis remark. 

* Make way, gentlemen : pray be good etiongh to make way 
1 for a pOùT f aiher of a f amìly, who is carrying something to 

tal to five famisbcd cbildr en/ Tbcse were the words of one 
wbo carne st^i^'gcrtng under the weight of a hirgc sack of 
floitr: and everybody iitstanily dfew back to attcod to ìm 
fioquesL 



I 





ALB5SAKDH0 MAN20H1 

* I,* said atiathcr, alinosi in m tmdttAont^ to hli coiiii>«ii|Oii« 
sh^l take my departiìre. I am a mm o! the world, and I 
w how these things go, Thesc cÌowds wlxo now mike fo 

ìnucb nojse, to-morrow or next day will be sii ut up in Utclr 
houses, cowerbg with fcar, I havc already notjced some 
faces, some worlhy feUows, who are going about as «pies, 
and taktng note of tbose who are here and «at hcrc ; and whoi 
ali is over thcy will reiider in a» account, and briog pimbh* 
mcnt on thosc wbo doscrvt it' 

*He who protects the bakers/ erìed a sonorpu^ voie^ 
whìch attracted Ren^o's attention, ' b the supcrustoidect ùi 
provisiona.' 

* Thcy are aJI rascals/ said a by-standcr. 

' Ve5 ; bui he is ai the head o£ thei»,' replied tb^ first 

The superili tendcnt of provisions, eìccted cvcry ycar by iJic 
govcrnor, from a list of stx nobles, formed by the cotmcil of 
d^cHripni, wa$ the prc&idcnt of ibis council, as well ai of the 
court of provtsiofK, whidi> composcd of twelvc noblntico» 
bad, togethef wìth other dutìes, that of overlooking the di** 
tributioo of corn in the city. 

The pcrson who occupied this post must, necessarily, tn 
Umes of scarcity aud ignorance, bave been rcgarded as 
the author of the evìl^ unless he had acted likc Ferrer— > 
a cour^e wbieh wa& noi in hìs power, evcn had the Ideft 
«itered Uh mind 

VRasealfl* e%cbinicd anotlier: 'could thcy én worif^ 
Thcy havc actually dared to say that the high ehanceilor is 
an old fool, to rob hìm of bis credit, and get the goventiDefit 
iato iheìr owxi hands. Wt ought lo ixiake a farge hen-coop« 
and ptit thcm in, to live upon vctehes and coekl«^weed« at 
they would trcat m* 

* Bread, eh ! * said ooe who w- -^ -ni ai great hitstc ai 

he coali * Bread? Blows wtti i a poimd wetght-* 

stoneft fallCng pJtiiDp^ that camc Uo^a likt basi And fuch 
brealdng of rfl»I I iofig lo be al my own boaseL' 

Atnong iddi Mntcfieet aa thesc, hy whìch it h dtSSciill to 
aay whethcr bt were more infonned or perpJexed, and amoog 
otinibcrlca knocka and ptsahea, Renzo ai la^i arrìved opposite 
the bake-hou»c« The crowds bere had considcraUy diiper»ed, 
ao that he conld contemplate the diimal accne of receot eoo* 





I PROMESSI spoei 



215 



lem— the walls impbstered and defaced with stones and 
rìcks, the wtodows brokeii, and the door destroyed. 
• Tfaede tre do very fine doiiigs,* thoyght Renzo to himscHi 
* if th^ trcat ali the bake-houses in this way, where will they 
mnke bretd ? In the ditches ? * 

From time to dme somebody woiild issue frotiì the house^ 
carrying pan of a btn, of a tub, or of «i bolting hutch, th€ 
polc of a kneading ìnstniment. a bench, a basket, a jotimat, 
a waste-book» or somethrng betongmg to this un fortunate 
hUc^house ; and shouiing * Make room, make room/ wouid 
poiss OD throiif h the crowd. AU thcse, he observed, went in 
the samc direction» and to some fixcd place. Renzo, deter- 
mioed to find out the meaning of this procedure, followed 
behìnd m man who, ha%^ng tied togetber a bundle of broken 
^Eanka tsd chips, carried it off on hìs back, and, like the 
otbera, took the road that nins along the northem side of the 
eathedral, and rcccìves its n^me from the flight of siepi 
which was ihen in cxi&tence, and has only lateìy been re* 
moved The wish of observing what happened, did not pre* 
veni our motmtaìnccr, on arriving io sight of this noble pile^ 
from stoppmg to gaxc npwards, with open motith. He then 
ikkencd bis paee to overtake bis self-chosen guide; and, ofl 
imtng the corner, gave another glance at the front of the 
Aildìng, at tJiat time in a rude and far- from- finished state, 
rping ali the whilè dose behìnd hìs leader, who advanccd 
p»*mrdfl the middle of tlie sqoare. The crowds became more 
as he went forward, biit they made way for the car- 
rier; and whìic he clcft the waves of pcople, Renxo, follow- 
tng in Ili* wakc. arrìved with him in the very centre of the 
Ihrotiif, Here was a spacc, and in the tnidst a bonire, a heap 
abers, tJ»c reHcs of the implementi bcfore mentioned, 
»dt the people were dancing and clapping thelr bandi, 
[ing in the uproar a thonsand ghouts of trmmph and im- 

ftttOQ. 

The man w ' undle iipset it info the embers; oihcrs> 

wttJj a Innir h. jjolc, gathcred them up sud raked them 

loget the xifìfts aofl undemcath: the smokc increased 

mnd L, ...... -.d, the fìame agaìn burst forth, and with it, tht 

reiSoubtcd erics of the by-standcrs: ' Hurrah for plentyt 
Dcaih Un tho«c wbo wouJd starve us I Awa/ with the faioine l 




218 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



agreement already concluded, than the acceptance of a i>ro- 
posai. *To the superintendent's ! to the superintendent's I * 
was the oaly cry that could be heard. The crowd moved for- 
ward with unanimous fury towards the Street where the 
house, named at such an ill-fated moment, was situated. 



CHAPTER xni 



pr^HK ujì fortunate superintetident was at thi* t^otnetìt 
I digcstiDg a pmr and scaiity dmner, unwiìlinglj 
J- caten witli a Intlc stale brcad, and awaiting, wìtb 
th suipens^, the tennination oi tbis storni, far frotrt 
cHfig that it wns about io fall wilh such violencc upon 
head. Some bcncvolent pcrson precedcd the crowd 
ta urging baste, and entcred the house io warn bim of hia 
pres^iing dangcr. The scrvants. already atiracted to the 
door by the itoise, wete lookirtg wnh much alarm yp llie 
ftrettp ih the dìrcctioo of the approacbmg tuttmìt Whitc 
Ititenìng to the wammg, the vanguard carne in sighf ; ihey 
rttt m batte autl terror to inform tbeir master, and while 
be wàs ddìberatlng whether he sbould fiy, and how he 
Uiould «cconapUsh it» some one else arrived to teli htm there 
Wms bO lon^r time for flight. Scarcely was tbcre ti me lor 
thè scfyanis to secvire the door, They, howcveTj barred 
&IUÌ lDcke<l it, and then ran to fasten the Windows, aa when 
t violetil slorm tt threatening» and the haìl h escpeeted to 
come down cvcry moment. The increasing howls of the 
peopte, faUlnf Uke & thunder*clap, resounded through the 
«mpty yard; eirtry corner of the house re-echoed it: and 
tu the mjdst of the iremendous àitd mingied uproar, Were 
bcafdL loudly and repeatedly, the blows of stones upon t]ie 
dwir, 

'The superinteodem I The tyrantl The fellow who 
Woaid flarve us l We'll have him, dead or alive ! * 

The poof man wandered from room to room, pale and 
aliDOst brcathlcs» with terror, jitriking hts hands together, 
cotnn^emlittg htmaelf to God, and ìmploring Iris servante to 
Huul irm< and find him some way of making bis escape. 
Bm how, and wbcrc? n * l- garret, and tbcre* 

throngh an aperture 1 ug ^nf] the tilct» 

looked scndously ìnlo tht- Street, and mw it with 

the enrmfed popnlace; more terrified tlian tben 

wilbdrew to seek the moit secore and secret hiding-place he 

ZÌ9 




220 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

could find. Here he crouched down and listened whetber 
the awful burst of fury would ever subside, and the tumult 
ever abate; but hearing that the uproar rather became 
more savage and outrageous, and the blows against the 
door more rapidly repeated, bis heart sank within him, 
and he hastily stopped bis ears. Then, as if beside himself, 
gnashing bis teeth and distorting bis countenance, he im- 
petuously extended bis arms, and sbook bis fists, as if he 
would keep the door secure in spite of ali the pushes and 
blows. At last^ in absolute despair, he sank down upon 
the floor, and remained terrified and almost insensible, 
expecting bis death. 

Renzo found himself tbis time in the thickest of the 
confusion, not now carried there by the tbrong, but by 
his own deliberate will. At the first proposai of blood- 
sbedding, he felt his own curdle within bim; as to the 
plunderingy he had not exactly determined whetber, in tbis 
instance, it were right or wrong; but the idea of murder 
arouscd in bim immediate and unfeigned horror. And al- 
thougb, by that fatai submission of excited minds to the ex- 
cited affirmations of the many, he felt as fully persuaded 
that the superintendent was an oppressive villain, as if he 
had known, with certainty and minuteness, ali that the un- 
happy man had done, omitted, and thought; yet he had ad- 
vanced among the foremost, with a determined intention of 
doing his best to save bim. With tbis resolution, he had ar- 
rived close to the door which was assailcd in a bundred ways. 
Some, with flìnts, were hammering at the nails of the look 
to break it open; otbers, with stakes, chisels, and bammers, 
set to work with more method and regularity. Otbers, 
again, with sharp stones, blunted knives, broken pieces of 
iron, nails, and even their finger-nails, if they had nothing 
else, pulled down the plaster and dcfaced the walls, and 
laboured hard to loosen the bricks by degrees, so as to make 
a breacb. Those wbo could not lend a band, encouraged 
the otbers by their cries; but, at the same time, by the 
pressure of their pcrsons they contributed to impede the 
work already considerably obstructcd by the disorderly con- 
tentions of the workers: for, by the favour of Heaven, it 
lometinies bappens in evil undertakings, as too often in 



1 PROMBS^ SPOSI 



m 



thai the raost ardcnt abettors of a work become Jts 
rea test imjyediinentjt. 
The firil magislrates who had notice of the insurrectlon 
nroediatdy scnt ofT to the cotti man der of the castle, which 
bore the naine of Porta G io via, for the assistauce of 
troops; and he quickly dcspatched a band of inen* 
what with the information, and the orders, and the 
Ming, aiid gctting on their way, and their march, the 
30ps did oot arrìve till the house was completely $ur- 
roimded by an tmmeme army of besiegers and they» thcre- 
lore. hahiKi at a safficient distance from tt, at the exlremity 
of the crowd The officer who commanded thein kiiew not 
what courae to pur su e. Herc was nothing bnt an assembly 
of idle and unarmed people, of cvery age and both sexes. 
Oh oixicTs heìng given to disperse and tnake way, iliey 
replìed by a deep and prolonged murmur ; bnt no one moved. 
To fire down upon the crowd seemed to the officer not only 
ertiel, bui a dangerous, course, which, whìle it offendei 
less formidablep would irritate the more violenta besides, 
! had received no such uistmctions. To push through thi» 
assembly, overthrow them right and Icft, and go for- 
wmrd lo carry war where it was giyen» would have been the 
best ; but how to succced was the point. Who kncw whcther 
ihe soldiers would he ablc to procced, united and in order? 
JoT ii, iostcad of breaking through the crowd, they should 
routed oit entering. they would be left to tlie mercy of 
le people, after baving exasperated them* The irresolu- 
of the commander, and the inactìvlty of Uie soìdJerSj 
•ppeared, wbcther jusiij or not, to procced from fear. 
Ttiosc wlio stood next to them contcntcd themsclves with 
looking them in the face witii an air, as the Milanese say» 
of I-4oii't-care-for-you ; ihosc who stood a little fartlier off> 
couid not refrain from provoking them, by tnakiog faccs 
at them, and by cries of mockery ; farthcr on. few knew or 
cared who was there; the spoilcrs continued to batter the 
* r thought than of snccccding quickìy 
UIC speciaiors ceased not to animate 

bese appeared ooe, who wiis bìmself a spectaicle^ 
ao dH ai]d half-starvcd man, who, rolling abont two stmkoi 




m ALfiSdAKDftO MANZONI 

and fìery eyes, composing his wrinkied face to a smile of 
diabolica! complacency, and with his hands raised above 
his infamous, hoary head, was brandishing in the air a 
hammer, a rope, and four large nails, with which he said 
he meant to nail the vicar to the posts of his own door, alive 
as he was. 

* Fle upon you ! for shame ! ' burst f orth f rom Renzo, 
horrified at sudi words, and at the sight of so many faces 
betokening approbation of tliem; at the same time encour- 
aged by seeing others, who, although silent, betrayed in their 
countenances the same horror that he fdt. *For shame I 
Would you take the executioner's business out of his band? 
Murder a Christian! How can you expect that God will 
give US food, if we do such wicked things ? He will send us 
thunder>bolts instead of bread ! ' 

*Ah, dog ! traitor to his country ! ' cricd onc of those who 
could bear, in the uproar, these sacred words, turning to 
Renzo, with a diabolica! countcnance. ' Wait, wait ! He 
Ì8 a servant of the superintendent*s, drcsscd likc a peasant; 
he is a spy ; give it him ! give it him ! ' A hundred voices 
echoed the cry. * What is it ? where is he ? who is he ? — A 
servant of the superintcndent ! — A spy ! — The superìntendent 
disguised as a peasant, and making his escape! — Where is 
he ? where is he ? give it him ! give it him ! * 

Renzo became dumb, shrank into a mere nothing, and 
endcavoured to make his escapo: some of his neighbours 
helped him to conceal himself, and, by loudcr and different 
cries, attempted to drown these advcrse and homicidal shouts. 
But what was of more use to him than anything else, was a 
cry of * Make way, make way ! ' which was heard dose at 
himd : * Make way ! bere is hdp : make way ; ho, bey ! ' 

^Tiat was it? It was a long ladder. that some persons 
were bfinging to rear against the house, so as to gain an 
entrance through one of the Windows, But by great good 
fortune this means, which would bave rendered the thing 
easy, was not, in itself, so easy of execution. The bearers, 
who at each end, and bere and thcre at ìntervals. supported 
it, pushed it about and impedcd by the crowd. rcelcd to and 
ffo like waves; one, with his head betwccn two «tcps and 
the sides resting on his shouMers, groaned bcneath the 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



2iS 



tight, as ttnder a gallina yoke ; anotber was sepamted f r ooi 

btt burdcn by a violent push ; the abandoiiéd mach me bruised 
bcads, shotildefS* and arms: and the reader must imagine 
Ibc compia! nts and nmrtmifs of those who tbus suffcrcd, 
tbcrs, raisbg the dead weìgbt with their bands. crept utider- 
»eath it, and cairfed h on their backs, crying, * It is our turn ; 
pct tjs go r The fatai machine advanced by boufids and ex- 
rjgcs — now stralgbtforward, now obliquety, It carne, how* 
fV in lime to distraci aiid div^crt the attention of Reozo's 

ters, and he profitcd by thìs confusion within con fu* 

Bùn; crecping qaietly atong at first, and tlien elbowing hìa 
vzy as wetl as he could. he withdrcw f rom the post wliere he 
fotind himsc!f in stich a pertlDUS situation, wieh the intention 
of making the best of his escapc from the tuiiìuk* and of 
gotngp in real eamest, to find or to wait for Father Bona- 

AH on a siiddeil, a movement, begun at one ejctreinity. ex- 
sded itici f tbrougb the crowd, and a cry was echoed frora 
Fmofiitlt to mouth, in choriis: * Ferrer 1 Ferrer 1 " Surprise, ex- 
pressione of favour or contcmpt» Joy and anger, burst forth 
mrfierevcr the namc was beard : some echoed it, some tried 
^a drown it ; sotne affirmed, some denled, iome blessed, some 

*Is Ferrer bere?— Il Un't true, it isn't tniet— Yes, yesl 
fig Uve Ferrer; he wbo gtves bread at a !qw price ! — No» 
no! — He's bere, he*s bere, in bis carriage.— What is this 
fellow gotng to do? Why does he meddlc in it? We don't 
winl anybwly !— Ferrer ì long live Ferrer! the friend of 
poor pcoplc f he's come to take the snperintendent to prìson. 
^ — No, no: wc wiM get justice onrselves: back, back!— Yes, 
iì Ferrer! let Ferrer come! off with tlie superi ntendent 
f prison ! ' 

And crcrybody, standing on ttptoe. ttimcd towards the 

in where tlie unexpected ncw arriva! was annom3C€d But 

riaybwfT H^tng, they saw neithcr more nor tess than 

had ali remained standing as they wcre; yet so it 

^ arosc. 

In fact, at tJic cKtrcmlty of ilic crowd, on the opfN>sÌte 

Ig wherc the soTdiers were f^tationcd* Antonio Ferrer, 

! itigh diancelbf, was a]*proae!iing in bis carriage; feeling 



224 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

conscious, probably, that by bis mistakes and obstinacj, he 
was the cause, or, at any rate, the occasion, of this outbreak, 
fie now carne to try and allay ìt, and to avert, at least, the 
most terrible and irreparable efifects: he carne, in short, to 
employ worthily a popularity unworthily acquìred. 

In popular tumults there is always a certain number of 
men, who, either from overheated passions, or from fanatical 
persuasion, or from wicked design s, or from an exccrable 
love of destruction, do ali they can to push matters to the 
worst ; they propose or sccond the most inhuman advice, and 
fan the flame whcnever it secms to be sinking: nothing is 
ever too much for them, and they wish for nothing so much 
as that the tumult should bave ncithcr limits nor end. But, 
by way of counterpoise, there is always a certain number 
of very dififerent men, who, perhaps, with equal ardour and 
equal perseverance, are aiming at a contrary efTect : some in- 
fluenced by friendship or partiality for the threatened ob- 
jects; others, without further impulse than that of a pious 
and spontaneous horror of bloodshcd and atrocious deeds. 
Heaven blesses such. In each of thcse two opposite parties, 
even without antecedent concert, conformity of inclination 
creates an instantancous agreement in opcration. Those 
who make up the mass, and almost the matcrials of the 
tumult besides, are a mixed body of men, who, more or less, 
by infinite gradations, hold to one or the othcr extrcme: 
partly incensed, partly knavish, a little inclined to a sort 
of justice, according to their idea of the word, a little de- 
sirous of witnessing some grand act of villainy; prone to 
ferocity or compassion, to adoration or cxccration, accord- 
ing as opportunities present thcmsclvcs of indulging to the 
full one or other of these sentiments ; craving every moment 
to know, to believe, some gross absurdity or improbability. 
and longing to shout, applaud, or revile in somebody's train. 
' Long live,' and * Down with,' are the words most rcadily 
uttered ; and he who has succecded in pcrsuading them that 
such an one does not deserve to be quartercd, has nced of 
very few words to convince them that he dcscrvcs to be 
carried in triumph : actors, spectators, instrumcnts, obstaclcs, 
whichcver way the wind blows ; ready evcn to be silent, whcn 
there is no longer any one to givc them the word ; to dcsist. 



I FUOMESSI SPOSI 



insdgators fati; to disperse, when many concordant 
aod uticootradicted voìees bave pronouneed, ' Let us go;* 

and to remrn to thetr own homcs, demanding of each other — 

What hm happtncd ? Sirice, however, this body has, hencCj 

ihc grcatest power, nay, U, la faci, tlie power itsdf; so, 

cach of the two activc parties uses every efìdcavour to btìng 

tt to ila own sitje^ to cngross its s«rvices : they are, as it werc, 

two advcrse spirits, struggling^ which shaJl gct possesston 

of, and aiiHiiate, this huge body. It depends upon which 

side cau difftise a cry the tnost apt to cxdte the passioos^ 

and direct thcir motioos ili favout of ìts own schetiics : cas 

most scasonahly find inlormatioii which wtll arotise or allay 

tlicir indigiiaijoti. and cxdte cìthcr thcir terror or thcir 

h0pe$; and can give the word, which, repeaied more asid 

tnore vchcniently, will at once express, attesi, and create 

die vote of the majority ìn Cavour of one or the other party* 

AU ihese remarks are intended as an introductìon to the 

Information tliat, in the stniggle of the two parties who 

wcre contcoding for the suErages of the populace crowdcd 

arouiid the house of the superin tendente the appearance of 

fiìo Fcrrer instantly gave a great advantage to the 

mf_>derate side, which had cvidently been kcpt in awe, 

the succour been a little longer delaycd» would bave 

icr power nor scope for combat This person was 

acceptable to tlie muhimde on account of the tarifìf of hts 

in tv Ti sppointmcnt, which had been so favourable to pur* 

r», and also for bis hcroic re^isiance to every argu^ 

mrnt Ofl thc contrary side, Minds alrcady thus biased were 

mote than e ver capti vai ed by the bold con fi de u ce of 

tlie old man, who, witbnot gtiards or relìnue, venlnred thus 

to scek aiid coti front an ang^ry and ungovcrned multitiide. 

The nient al so that he camc to take the superìn- 

ade , rier produccd a wonderful efTcct; so that the 

entcrtaìned towards the un fortunate man, which wouJd 

been rendered tnore violent, wlioever had come to 

h without making any concesstons, was now, wilh 



promise of 
preasioci, with thi 
i&ade way for f 
llie mkiL 
Ilo 



on, and, lo tiae a Mìlanci^e ck- 
ihcìr inouih* a little allayed, and 
far differcsit s^ which 

^eatcr part of vd. 



22S 



ÀLfiKANDEO MANZONI 



The favourefs ol peate, havtng rceovcrcd tiidr breath» 
secotided Ferrcr in u liunrlri^fl ways : thosc who werc ncxt to 
hìm, by cxcilìtig ànd rc'cxcìtitig the erics ol gcner»! ap- 
plause by thcir own, and rndcavcurìng at the samc tiroc to 
repube ili e peoplc so as to makc a clear passai for the 
carriag^e; the others, by applauding, repcaiing, sind «pmd* 
ing hi» worda, or what appeared to thcm the brst he could 
utter by sileBcìng the furious and obsdnate, and turtiifig 
agaìnst them the ncw passions of the ficklc asscmbly. * \V1mj 
h there that woii't say, ** Long Uve Fcrrer?** Doo't you 
m%\ì brcad to be sold cheap, eh? They are ali rascab wlio 
don't wish for justice lìke Christian»: they want to loakd 
as mtìch noìse as they can, to Jet the victr escape. To 
prison wìth the vicari Long live Fcrrcfl Make rooin for 
Fcrrerl' As thosc who talkcd in thìs Ktratn contitiued (o 
incrcase, the courage of the oppostte party rapldly cooM; 
io thnt the former proceeded from reprimands so far as to 
lay hands tipon the demoliahcrs, to repulse them, and even 
to snatch the wcapons Iroiu thcir grasp. Tliese jrT^Tn*?ltd» 
threatened, and endeavoured to regain their ini ; 

bui the eause of blockl had given way, and the pred- _ .14 

crles were^* PriiOtì ! Ju»ticet Ferrera After a little 
itmgglr, they were driven back: the others paste^sed them- 
ielves of the door, both to dcfeod It from further a,^sau]ti, 
and to secure access for Ferrer; and some of them, cmllìtif 
to those wtthìn (aperiures for such a purpose w^-rr not 
wanting) informcd tiirm of the a!isi5tancc that hn f, 

and bid thcm get the superintendent ready, *to g \y 

. , . to prison, cheni, do you bear I ' 

* Ts this the Ferrcr who helpa to make otit proclamatfons?^ 
demandcd our fnenil, Renio, of a new neiKhbotir, re 
berìng the Vidit Ftrrer tliat the doctor had pointed otrt 
him at the bottnm of one of thcsc cdict», and whkh he had 
resonnded so perse^' * " *ri his ears. 

* Ye«; the high ci. wai the reply. 
*ììc ì% a worthy man, isa't he?' 
' More than that f it is he who fixed bread at a low prlce; 

and thry wouldn't bave it m ; and now he is eio«De lo ulce 

the ttiperintendent priaooer, who ha« not dcah jtu^ice to ut/ 

It Ié unnecessaf7 ta say that Reiueo waa initantly fot 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



m 



» 



«iTcr* He wi slied to gct a sìght of hìm dircctly, ì>ut thìs 
wa» lio easy maner; jet, with the hclp of s un dry breastings 
and eibcìwitigSf Lìke a true Alpine, he succeeded in forcing a 
paisiige and reachiog the forcmost ranks next to the side 
of the carrìage. 

Tbc recide had pmceeded m Httlc ì^ay into the cfowd. 
itld was Et ttiis moment at a stand- stili, by one of thoae 
im^vitible impc^ilniciits so frequent tu a joumey of thts 
.Sort. The SLgt^ Ferrer presented hlmself now at one win- 
of ibc carriage, now at another with a countencncc 
of homility» a§ability, and bencvolence — a couiUcnaocc 
wliich he had mlwmys reierved, perchance he should ever 
hare an mterriew with Don Filippo IV*; biit he wa& com- 
petied lo display it also on this occasion. He lalked too; 
bitt the noi se and mttrmttr of so many votees, and the Long 
Uff^s wbich were addressed to him^ allowed only few of his 
words to be heard. He therefore had recoorsc to gestyres, 
now layfng bis Imgers on hìs lìps to receive « kiss» whìch 
his Kands, on quìckly cxtendìng ihem, distributed righi and 
kit. ms an acknowledgmeot of uhanks fof tbcse public 
deii»QDftratlons of kindness; now spreading ihem and wav- 
iii|[ llictn slowly otiiside the Windows to heg a little room; 
now politcly lowermg them to request a moment's gilence, 
When he had p&nJf succeeded tu obiaintng tt, the nearest 
lo Ihe cttiTiage hcanl mnd repeated bis words: ' Bread* ahun^ 
dtoce; I come to gire yon justice: a linle rtjom» ìf you 
|ilc««e.' Thtn ovetcome, and» ai it were, smothered with 
ihe biisting of %o niany voices, the sight of so niany crowded 
fiacef, uid the conscioosness of so many eyes fixed upon 
hha, he drew back for a moment, pufìFed out his cheeks, seni 
foTth a kmg-drawn breath, and saìd to hìmself, Por mi vida, 
que et gtnitt* 

* Long Uve Ferrer | Don*t be afraid. You are a worthy 
mait Bread, bread ! * 

*Yct: brr:id, brrad/ replied Fcircr; ' ahuTidance : 1 
pffomlie yotj/ and he !:iì(! bis haiid on bis heart. * A little 
room,' fl4dcd he, in st voice: ' 1 am roming lo take 

hh» to pHsoQ, and ^.,^ . .u Just punishment:' continwìng, 
io in tmder-tone, * si està tuifubk.'^ Thm bendi ng Corwa^ 



228 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

towards the coachman, he said, hastily» * Adelaide, Pedro^ 
si pucdcs/ • 

The driver himself also smiled with gracious condescen- 
sion on the multitudes, as if he were some great persooage; 
and, with inefìfable politcness, waved his whip slowly to the 
rìght and left, to beg his incommodious neighbours to re- 
strain themselves, and retire a little on either side. 'Be 
good enough, gentlemen/ said he, at last, 'to make a little 
room, a very little; just enough to let us pass.* 

The most active and benevolent now exerted thanselves 
to make the passage so courteously rcquested; some 
before the horses made the people retire by civil words, by 
putting their hands on their breasts, and by sundry gontle 
pushes: * There, there, a little room, gentlemen/ Others 
pursued the same pian at the sidcs of the carriage, so that 
it mìght proceed withont cnishing toes. or infrìnging upon 
mustachios; for. bcsidcs injur)- to otV.crs, thcse accidents 
would expose the reputation of Antonio Ferrer to great 
rìsk. 

Attor ha\nng stood a few moment s adniiring the behaviour 
of the old man. who. ihoiijjh asntaicti by pcrplexity and 
overcome with fat irrise, was yo: ar.ìmatcvi with solicitude» 
and adv^med. so to say. with tl:e hv'^pc of rcsouing a fello w- 
creature froni mortai an^sish. Renro put a side e very thought 
of gv^ing awav. and rcsv^lved to lend a band to Ferrer, and 
not to leave him untìl he h;\^! obtAÌne\i his purpose. Xo 
sooner said than dv^ne : he ioined with -.he ro:st in endea\^ar- 
ing to clear a passage. and cenainlv was not a:ron^ the least 
«BÌcient. A space was olearev! : ' Now ^.v.r.e tor^vard.' said 
more than one to the cvvichn^n. retirir.j: or gvMr.f before 
to make room funher on. ^AJcljxmU. f-^Af.vv *\»ii •hiVù'».'* 
said his master, and the o.'irr-.ij^r :v.n*ev! v>p.. Ferrer. in the 
midst of salutanons whìch he !aYÌsh<\^ *t rA-ix'.v*r.! on the 
muxtitude, nrtumed mar.v partiov.'Ar ao'v.»vm\ \x*.jr"e'-s irith 
a solile of marked r.otice. to :>.o<e w***^ Vv" ^yiw :n;ere$t- 
ing themselres for hir:: arJ, o: sV^<«r sr.-.\-< v.x^re than 
one fell to Renro's share. wh.^ ir;K*.x>.^ :v.«r!"*!ir*,*. :he:x and 
rendered nK*nf a^àstanoe :o the hìi:V. ohA"^""^*.vT" iha: day 
iha:: the braresi of his «vreuHes c\''-.'.'v; hji^e vk>ne Tbie 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



tÌ9 



ag inountàlncer, dclig^hled with thcse marks of disttnc- 
tion, almost lanci ed he had made acquuititajice wìth ADlonlo 
FciTcr* 

The carnale, once more on its way, cotitinued to advanc^ 
more or Icss slowly, and noi wÌLhout some furi he r trifting 
dciays. The distance to be traverscd was not perhaps above 
a slone's ihrow; but with rcspect io the lime ti occupied, It 
might bave appeared a little joumey evcn to one who was 
mot in tìieh urgent baste as Ferren The crowds movcd 
onwmrìd, bcfore» behind, and on each side of the carriage, 
Uke the migbty biUows around a vesscl advanciog through 
the mkist of a storm. The noise was more shrill. more dìs- 
cordant, more sìxmmng^ even thaa the whistling and bowling 
•of a storni itself. Fcrrer, looìdng oot first at one side and 
ihen at the other, bcckoning and roaking ali sorts ol geslures 
to the peopie^ eodcavoured to catch somcthing to which he 
loight accommodate bis replìes ; he tried as wcll as he couid 
to hold a little dialogue with this crowd of friends; but ìt 
was a difìeult task, the most diffictilt, perhaps, tbat he had 
yet mct wìth duiing so raaoy years of his high chanccllor* 
aJiip, From time to timci howcvcr, a single word, or occa- 
slonaUy scoine broken sentence, rcpeated by a group in bis 
pas<age, made ìLself heard, as the report of a large squib ts 
beard above tJie continued crackUng and whizzing of a dis- 
play of fireworks, Now eodeavouring to give a satisfactory 
aikswcr to these cries, now toudly ejaculating the words that 
he knew wotild be most acceptabk, or tbat some instant 
oece^sity seemed to reqitire, he, too» continued to talk tlie 
wholc way, * Yes» gcntlcnieB ; bread, abundance — I will con- 
diiet him to prison: be shall he punished— jt està cuifabte. 
Yct,yes: I will command: bread atalowpriee, A si es. . * , 
So tt ìs. 1 mean lo s;ty: tbe King otir master would not wiall 
sucli faithfnl suhjects to syfTer from bimger, Osf oxt 
§uord4ias: takc care we do not hurt you, gentlcroen, Fedrùt 
i/f. con jmdo. Plcnty, plcnty! A little room» for 

"s Mike, Brcad, bread To prÌ5on, to prisoit, Wbat?* 
dciTi ' ' St? of one wbo bad thrust half bis body 

^ugb !aw to shcnit in bis car some ad vice or 

^tìliost or appiayse^ or whatever tt might he •" 
rmkboai having time to bear the * wbat? ' was fordbl 



230 



AI.ES9ANDR0 MANZONI 



back by om wbo saw hlm on the polni cf befm^f mn wtr 
by the wlicels, With such speechcs and anioiig ~ 

iiiccssàiit acclamaiioos, and some itw gn: 
tion, wliich wcrc dlstingiiishable hcr^ and tlierc, bili 
qulckly sileiiccd, Fcrrer at last reached the hoysc, prìncif: 
hy the aid of thcse good auxillanes. 

The rest, who, as wc bave before rclat«d, werc aire 
herc with ihe same good intentions, had in the mean wiiii 
laboured to makc and mamtain a clear spacc. Thfy btg 
oihorlcd, threatened; and stamping, trampling, and 
np nnd down, wkh that mcreased ardouf atid renen 
strength which the near approach of a dcsired resylt usuali 
ejccites, had succceded in dlviding the crowd into two, and 
then in reprcssing the two parties* so that whcn the c8rr*^or 
Btopped before the docr, there wai left betw«en it an ! 
house a small empty space. Renio, who» by acttng a Ìhtj«_ 
both as a scout and gtiide. had arrìved with tlie carri* 
managed to place himself in one of the two front ier» of 
worthy people, who served at once both as wtngs to the 
carriagc, and as a rampart lo ihe too eagtr crowd of gazifig 
by^standers. And belpìug to restraiii one of thc«c with hi« 
owa power fui shouldera^ he wai also conveniently placed 
for sceing. 

Ferrcf drew a long deep breath on perceiving thii amali 
open space, and the door stili shiit. * Shut/ herc means not 
open ; far, a» to the rest, the hmgeft wcre alniost wrenched 
out of the pilUrs; the door-posts shìvered to pieccs, cniihed, 
fofced, and diasevercd; and throngh a l^irge hole in the éoot 
might be scen a piece of a chain, twisted, bent, and almoit 
broken in two, whlch, if wc may say so^ utili held them 
togethcr. Some kind-bearted pcrson had placed him&etf at 
tlti» opcniiìg to cali to tbosc within ; another ran tu lei down 
the stcps of the carriage: the old man rose, put out bis 
head, and Itytng bis tight hand on the arni of thii worthy 
ai$iitant, carne out and #tood on the top §tep. 

The crowd on cadi lide »tretched thetxuclyet ttp lo aee 1 
a tbousand faees, a Ihotisand beards pressed f orward ; atul i 
gttiaral eurioiity and attcnticm produced a tnoment ot generi 
aileace, Ferrcfi standitig for ihat moment on the step, cast 
glattce aiound» saluted the [>cople with a bow. at tf from i 




I PROMESSI SPOST 



mi 



» 



ad layrns: his left hand on his heart, cried: ' Bread 

;' tìitn hoìd, upright, and in his robes, he descended 

Ist acclamations which rent the skirs. 

Tbose witlim bad, in the mean whilc, opened the door, or, 
lo speak more correctly, hadEnished the work o! wrestiog out 
the diaìn* tog^ther wiih the already more than half-lcfosened 
Staples. They made an opening. to admii so ardently-desired 
a guest, taking, however, great care to limit the aperture to a 
space that his person wouid occupy. * Quick, quick,* said he : 
* open il Wide, aiid let me in : aod yoii, lìke brave fellows, keep 
back the people ; don*t let thcm follow me, for Heaven's sake I 
liake ready a passage, for by aiid by ... Eh ! eli ! gcntlemea» 
Olle moment/ said he to tliose within : ' softly with thls door, 
Ict toc pass : oh ! nìy ribs : take care o( my ribs. Shut it now : 
oo, eh ! eh 1 my gown, my gown ! ' It wouìd ha ve remaitied 
caught in the door, if Ferrer had not dexterously withdrawn 
the traìn^ which disappeared ivom the out side like the tati of 
a saake that sUps into a hìdlng-place when pursued. 

The door pnshcd to. and closed as it best could he, was then 
pfOfiped up with bars within, Outside, those who constituted 
llicsisetTes Ferrers body-guard lalionred with ahouldcrs, 
arms, and cries. to keep the space clear, praymg Irom the 
boftom of their hearts that he wouId bc expedittous. 

' Be quick, be qtiick/ said he, also, as he stood witlìtiì the 
portico, to the sennmts who had gathered roond biiD« and 
wto, aìmost out of brtath, were exclaiming: 'Bksstags on 
yotil ab, yoor Excellency! oh, your Excellency! tih, yoar 
Excelkiiiqr ! * 

* Quicic, qdck,* repeated Ferrer; ' wherc k this poor man ? ' 
Tlic syperìntendcnt canie dow-n-staìrs, half draggcd along, 

and half earricd by his sertrajits, as whitc as a sheet, When 
be saw bis kind hclper, he once loore breathed frecJy: his 
prulse agatn beat, a iìttle li fé rctumed inio his lìmbs. ^nd a 
BttJc CQ*our iato bis cheeks: he haatcticd towards Ferrer, say- 
tng^ *I am in T of God and your Excetkncy. Bot 

bow shall wc t' this house? It h surroimded by the 

wol^ vho ^' K.' • 

• V^nga i ^. :d,^ and bc of good conrage: fny car» 
dage lÀ ootside ; ijuìck, quick 1 ' And taktng his band* he led 

* dime mUh me* Mt* 



AUISSANDRO MANZONI 



hìm towards Uve door, daing bis bcst to cncoujj 
but in his heart thinl^ing, Aqm està et busillis! . 
valga .'* 

The door opened: Fcrrer led the way, followcd by his coib-_ 
paniofi* who, crccping along^^ clmig to 111 e toga of hU ikli^ 
crcr, hke a little child to its mother's fown, Those who 
kept the space clear , now raised their handà and hat» sa as \ 
form a kind of net or cloucl to screen the siiperintcndent frouf 
the peribtis ga^e of the populace, and allow bini lo ciitcr tlic 
'<caiTÌage, whcre he coDCeakd himselfp by croaching i 
, ncr* Ferrcr then got in, and the door was shut T!i 
kncw or guesscd what had happencd, and seot forth a 
fused shout of applauses and imprecations. 

It niay secm that the most difficult and hazardcus pan ol 
the journey stili rematned to he perCornied; btit tlrr r.ti^Mi; 
desire of lettiog the iuperintendcnt bc carricd to pri 
sufficiently e%^ident; and during the stay of the diaru i - 14 
the house, many of those who had facilitated his arri .1 [idj 
so basì ed themsclves in preparing aijd maintainin^^ 1 j 
through the midst of the crowd, that on its return ti i _ c.-.in^^^tì 
[could prt>ceed at a quicker pace, and without ftirther dda; 
Ai fast as it advanccd» the two crowdg» rcpcilcd on both sii 
(eli back and mingi ed a gain bchind it. 

As soon as Ferrcr h.ad seatcd himself, he bent down, aod 

advised tlie vicar to kceo himself wcll conceaied in the 

corner, and not show hìniseU for Heaven's sake; bui lh< 

; wa» no necessity for this waming. He, on the contrary, 

I obitged to display himself at the window, to attract ani 

\ engagé the attcntion f the mìittttttde : and tiiroygh the who' 

I ^uf&e of this drive he was occupìcd, as before» in maki 

to bis changeahle audience, the inost Icnglheoed and mi 

iinconncctcd hamngiic that cver was nttcred ; only intcì 

ing it occasionally with some Spanish word or two, whi 

he turncd to wliìsper hastily in the ear of bis squaiiing com- 

panjon. * Yes, ijentlcmen, brcad and justice. To the culJi 

to prison^ under my giiard. Thank you, tbank you; a thi 

sand fhanks. No, no ; he »ha!l not Por ahl^méi 

li is 100 just; wc will examint% wt . I alao ^irUb 

ivell^ fcnllcmen. A severe puniiìhmcnt. EitQ io diga /«r jH 

*Bcfc li ik* afl«iil» ptttoL God àtlp uit ' It u to 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



233 



who^ 




}mk tari^, a fair limit» and ptmishmetit to those 

ti slarve you. Stand asìdc, I beg of yoii.^Yes, yes, 

I am afi hoQest mao, a friend nf the people. He shall be 

ptxnisjied. It is tme, he is a rogue, a taseaL Perdona 

mtidf It will go ili with liim, ìt wìll go ili with hlm « . . 

5^1 està cuipt^ie.** Ycs, yes ; we wilI makc the hakeri plough 

^raìghtfot^^rd Loog live tlie kìn^, and the good Milanese, 

his most faithful suhject«E It is bad, very bad Animo; 

estamùs ya quasi afueraS ** 

1 bey had, in fact, traversed the thiekest part of tbe crowdl, 

ad wefc now just on the point of i^suìng into the open 

rect Hcre Ferrer, as he began to givc his lungs a little 

mei bis tardy .ilìieis^ those Spanish ioldiers, wbo, 

the end. had not becn c|iiite iiseless, since, supported 

_ id difcctcd by loaie citizen, they had assist ed to disperse 

m few 0! the mob in quieta and to keep open a passage for 

the final eacìt On tlte arrivai of the carriage, they made way 

and presented anns to tlic high chancdlor, who returned the 

acknowiedgxnent by a bow to the right and lelt ; and to the 

eSeer who approacbcd nearcr to salute him, be said, accom- 

pBEtytng the worda with a wave of his right band 'Beso à 

ustté Ì41S manosi'^ which tbe officer took for what it really 

ni^ifìi — You bave givcn me fine assistance! In reply, ho 

another low bow, and shmgged his sboulders. It 

\ hav<5 heen appropriate enongh lo add, Ceéùnf arma 

imi Ferref was noi at tliat moment in a humour for 

-: and had he becn, bis wards would bave beco 

- the winds, for the officer did not onderstatid Latin, 

Fedro regained bis andent sph^it in passing bctwcen tbesc 

twa filea of puppets and these muskcts so respectfutjy de- 

vated. Havìng recovcred f rom bis cnnstematìon, be remem- 

bered who be was, and whom b# was drìving; and shouting 

•Ohey \ ohey ! * without tbe addition of other compUmentary 

ifieeches lo the mob, now suffidently rcdticcd in number to 

aDow of bis vcntnring on socb treatment, he whtpped on bis 

hofies, and took lise road lowards tbe ^^tle, 

'LcviiHicsc, Uiwiictc; estamùs ùfutra/^ sild Fcrrcr to 



I mr èbim fat your f«>ód 
V 




^ ^xntt^ tam, tir. *»1Ì hth^ ittH^y, 
xoor li«D^* 



234 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

the superintendent, who, reassured by the cessation of die 
crìes, by the rapid tnotion of the carriage, and by these 
words, uncovered and stretched himself, rose, and reoov- 
ering himself a little^ began to overwhelm his liberator with 
thanks. Ferrer, after having condoled with him on hit 
perìlous situation, and congratulated him on his safety, ex- 
daimed, ninning the pahn of his band over his bald paté, 
'Ah, que dirà de esto su Exceìencia^*^ who is already beside 
himself, for this cursed Casale, that won't surrender? Qut 
dirà ci Conde Duque,^ who starts with fear if a leaf makes 
more noise than usuai ? Que dirà el Rey nuestro seUor^ who 
will be sure to bear something of a great tumult? And when 
will it be over? Dios lo sahe?^ 

'Ah ! as to myself, I will meddle no more in the businesi,' 
said the superintendent : 'I wash my hands of it; I resign 
my office into your Excellcncy's hands, and will go and live 
in a cave, or on a mountain, like a hcrmit, far, far away 
from this inhuman rabbie.' 

'Usted will do what is bcst por el servicio de su Magestad^ 
gravely replied the chancellor. 

'His Majesty does not desire my death,' answered the 
superintendent. ' In a cave, in a cave, far from these people.' 
What followed aftcrwards upon this proposai is not recorded 
by our author, who, after accompanying the poor man to the 
castle, makes no further mention of his proceedings. 

^* What wUl hit Exeelleney tur of this? » What will the Crant Dal» 

ni »What wlll the Kìttu our master say? ''God ' 

^ Yoa wiU do» tir. what ia beat fot the aanrica o£ Uà IlaJMlaF» 



CHAPTER XTV 

THE erowd tliat wa.s Uh behìnd bcgan to éhpetw^ 
aad lo brandì oìì la the righi and left aiong Uic dif- 
fercnt strccts. Oac wcnt home to attend to hii 
business; anodi e r depàrted that he mìght breathe the fresh 
air m a little liberty, after so many hours ol crowded con* 
finement; wbik a third set off in scarch ol acquaìntances, 
wiUi whom he mìght bave a little chat about the doìngs of 
the day* The same dhpersion was going on ai the other 
end of the Street, where the crowd was sufficiently thitined 
lo allow the tmop of Spari tards to advatice, and approach 
Ihc ftipenntenHcnt's house, without havlng to fìght their way. 
Afouiid llils, the drega, so to ^ay, ol the tnsurgetits were stili 
congrcfated— a band fui of rascals who. discontented with 
IO qiiiot ànd imperfrct a lermitiation to such great prepara- 
tions, gmiubled* cursed, and consulted, to encourage tbcm'- 
seJves in «ekìng il something further ntight tiot be iindcr- 
tileent and, by way of experi meni, hegan beaiing and 
ptmnélng at the un fortunate door, which had been again 
barr^ md propped np wìthin. On the arrivai of the troop> 
ibe^Ct without prcvious cotisultatìon, but with a tìuanimaus 
resùtution, moved off, and depàrted by the oppostte side, 
leav^ng the post Ifee lo the soldkrs, who took passessìon 
of it, and cflcainped as a guard to the hoii^e and Street. Bui 
tlic ncaghbourlng Street s and S(]uares were stUJ full of icat- 
ttred groops; where two or thrce were standing, three» four, 
twcnty other^ wnuld stop: some would depart, others arrìvc: 
like ihose httle stragfjting clouds that somettmes re* 
f^ftcattered and shtftinir over the azure sky after a storni» 
■^tnake one gay, oii looking upwards, The weather U 
tettila yet There was heard a confused and varying 
of voices: one was relating with much energy the 
alar incidente he bad u-itnessed; anotber recounted 
he himself 1 ^ congrat^lated hi» ndgb* 

on ibi* pea i, applauded Ferrer, and 

prognooicatcd dire eriis about to fati on Ihe iupcrìntendcntj 

29S 



236 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

others lauglied at the idea, and asserted that no harm wodd 
be done him, because a wolf does not prey upon a wolf; 
while others more angrily munnured because things had not 
bcen managed properly— said that it was ali a hoax, and 
that they were fools to bave made such a hubbub, only to 
allow themselves, after ali, to be cozened in this manner. 

Meanwhile, the sun had set, and twilight spread its uni- 
form sombreness over ali objects. Many, wearìed with the 
exertions of the day, and tired of gossiping in the dark, rc- 
turned to their respective homes. Our youth, after having 
assisted the progress of the carriage so long as there was 
need of assistance, and having followed it even between the 
two files of soldiers, as in triumph, was satisfied when he 
saw it rolling along, uninterruptedly, out of danger; and 
accompanying the crowd a little way, he soon deserted it by 
the first outlet, that he might breathe a little fresh air in 
quiet. After taking a few steps at large, in the midst of 
much agitation from so many new scenes, so many passions, 
and so many recent and confused remembrances, he began 
to feci bis need both of food and rest ; and kept looking up 
from side to side, in hopes of sceing a sign of some inn, since 
it was too late to go to the convent. As he thus proceeded, 
gazing upwards, he suddenly lit upon a group of gossips; 
and slopping to listcn, he heard them, as they talked, making 
conjccturcs, proposals, and designs for the morrow. After 
listening a moment or two, he could not resist putting in 
bis word, thinking that he who had donc so much might, 
without presumption, join a little in the conversation. Pcr- 
suaded, from what he had seen during the day, that to 
accomplish anything, it was only necessary to suggest it to 
the populace, * My good sirs,* cried he, by way of exordium : 
•may I. too, give my poor opinion? ^Iy poor opinion Ì9 
this: that thcrc are other iniqiiities hcsides this of bread. 
Kow wc'vc socn plaìn cnoii(»h to-day that wc can pet justice 
!)y making onrsclvcs fclt. Then let u? proceed until ali 
Ih e se gricvance? aro curcd, that the wor'd may move for- 
ward in a little more Christian fashion. Isn't it truc, gentlc- 
nion, that there's a set of tyrants who set at nought the Tcn 
Comnìandmcnts. and scarch out poor periplo, (who don*t 
trouble their heads about them.) just to do them ereiy 



I PHOIHESSI SPOSI 



W 



sctiief thcy can; and yet tbcyVe aluvays to tìic right? 

ay, wlien they'vc been actìng the r^scal more than usuala 

itn ho)d their heads higher than at otlicr timcs? Ycs» and 

tn Milan has ìis sharc of them*' 

* Too maoy,* said a voice* 

*So I gay/ fcjoiaed Renzo: 'the aceotmts of them have 
&I ready reached our ears* And, besìdesj xht thlng speaks 
for itselL Lct us suppose» for instance, tiiat onc of iho6e 
I ani tallcing abotit should bave one ioot outside and one 
tu Milan: ti he's a dcvil there, he won'i be an auge] hcre» 

kfancy. Yet just teli me, sirs, wbether you*ve ever seca 
e of tbesc mcn behind the grattng ì And the wor&t o( it 
(and this I can affimi wiUi certa.mty), there are prodama^ 
«s in plcnty publisbcd, to punìsJi them; and those not 
proclamatìoos without meaning, bui well drawn out; you 
can't find anything better done; there are ali sorts of vii- 
liAtea ckarly mentioned. exactly as tbey liappcn, and to eacb 
cwie tts proper ptmisbment. It says : " Whoever it may be, 
ignoble or plebcians " and wbat not besidea. Now, just ga 
^Md m$k doctors^ scrìbcs, and phartsees» to see justice done 
^^^b f*oti, as the procJamation warrants» and they will g:ive you 
^^K mnch ear as the Pope does to vagabonds : it'ii enough to 
^JLake any honest fcUow Inm desperate. It is plain enough, 
^Wpch, that the king, and those who command under him^ 
are desirous that kiiaves should be duly punished; but 
Aotbtng is donc becan^c tbere is some Icague between tbcm* 
Wc, thcrcforej ougbt to break It ; we should go lo-morrow 
mofciing to Ferrer, who is a worthy man» and a tractahle 
flgDor; we saw to-day how glad he was to be amongst the 
peoplc, and bow he tried io bear whàt was said to him, 
i ì with such co adesca nsjon. We shonld go to 

Il bini bow things stand; and I, for my part, 
doings; for I saw wtth niy own eycs 
ver so mJiny arms at the top, which 
liad been madc by thrcc of the ruJers» far there was the name 
of «ich ol them prTi?*td plain bclow. and one ol these names 
wai Ferrer, secn by me with my own eyes; now, this edict 
i and a doctor. to whom I appHed for 
itf intcnticin of ihese llirtc gentlemcn, 
acK^ag wh<u» w^ l'crrer htmadf, Uiis signor doctor, who 



238 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

had himself shown me the proclamation, and a fine one it il^ 
aha ! thought that I was talking to him like a madman ! l'in 
sure that when thìs worthy old fellow hears some of tbtie 
fine doings, for he cannot know ali, particularly those in dia 
country, he won't be wilHng to let the worid go on tfais 
way, but will find some remedy for it. And besides, thcy 
who make the proclamations ought to wish that they shoald 
be obeyed; for it is an insult to count as nothing an edict 
wìth thcir name fixcd to it. And if the powerful ones wont 
lowcr their heads, and will stili play the fool, we are ready 
to make them, as weVe done to-day. I don't say that he 
shouid go about in bis carriage, to carry off every powerful 
and overbearing rascal : eh; eh ! it would require Noah*s ark 
for that But he ought to command ali those whose busincM 
it is, not only in Milan, but everywhere, to do thìngs as tbe 
proclamations require; and draw up an indictment against 
ali those who bave committed these iniquities; and where k 
says, prison, — ^to prison; where it says, galleys, — to the gal- 
leys; and bid the podestà do bis duty; if he won't, send him 
about his business, and put a better man in bis place; 
and then besidcs, as I said, we shouid be ready to lend 
a band. And he ought to order the lawyers to listen to 
the poor, and to talk reasonably. Don't I say right, my 
good sirs?' 

Renzo had talked so eanicstly, that from the beginning 
a great part of the assemblage had stopped ali other con- 
versation, and had tumcd to listen to him; and, up to a 
ccrtain point, ali had continucd his auditors. A confused 
clamour of applause, of * Bravo ; certainly, he is right ; it is 
too trae ! ' followed his harangùe. Critics, however, werc 
not wanting. ' Oh, yes/ said one, * listen to a mountaineer : 
they are ali advocates ;* and he went away. ' Now,' muttered 
another, 'every ragamuffin must put in his word; and what 
with having too many Irons in the firc, we sha'n't bave bread 
sold cheap, which is what we'vc madc this stir for.' Renzo, 
howcvcr, heard nothing but compliments, one taking him by 
this band, another by that, ' I will see yon to-niorrow. — 
Where?— At the square of the CathedraL—Vcry well.— Vcry 
wcll. — And something will be done. — And something will 
be done.' 



I FEO^IESST SPOSI 230 

* Whìcli o£ thcse good gentlenieii wilj direct me to an iim, 
wherc 1 can get somcthing to cat, and a lodging for the 
night, thal witl suit a poor youtb's f^ockct? * said Renzo, 

* I am Zi youT servicc, my brave fcllow/ said one who 
bad listened attentìvely to his barangue* and had not yet 
sald a word, * I know an tnn that will just suit you; 
and I will lotrodoce you to tlie landbrd, wbo is my frteQd« 
and a vety worthy maru' 

' Ncar at band? ' a&ked Renilo. 

* Only a little way off/ replied he. 

The a&^enibly dtspersed; and Renxo, after severa! warm 
shalces of the band from strangcrs, went off wtth bis new 
acquaintance, thankttig bini hcarlìly for bis kìndness, 

' Not a word, not a word/ saìd he: * one band wasbes the 
Olhcf. and both the face, Is it noi one's duty to serve one's 
nclt-hbour ? ' And as he walked» he kept màking of Renzo, 
e course o! conver&ation, first one and tbcn another io» 
.^i*xir. 'Not out of curiosity ahoot your doings; but you 
scem lired : wbere do you come from ? * 

* I come,' reputa Renzo, * as far as from Lecco,' 

* Frùto Lecco l Are you a native of Lecco? * 
*Of Lecco . , - that is, of tbe tcrritory/ 

*Poor fcllow! from what l ha%*e gathered in your con* 
▼ersation, you sccni to have becn badly trcated/ 

* Eh ! iny dear fellow, I was obliged to speak rather care^ 
folly, that I Qiigbt not ptihlish my affair s to the worid; hut 
* , . it*s cnough : some day it will be known, and thcn . • , 
But I sce a ^ign of an itin bere: and, to say the trufb, I 
am oot incUncd to go any fnrtber/ 

*No, no: come where I told yoit: it's a very Bttìc way 
furthcr/ saìd the g\jide: * bere voti won't he comfortahle.* 
"in wetl/ replied the youih: ' Frti not a gentleman. 
d to down, thougb : somethlng gnod to supply the 
ja. **>.,.*, and a Straw tnattress, are enotsgh for me: and 
what I moét want is to find both directJy* Here we are, 
fcirttinately/ And he enterctl a sbabby-lookìng doctway» 
over whìch bung tbe sign of Tbe Full Moon, 

* Wdf; I win lead you bere, since you wish it/ tald the 
ito; and he followed bim iti, 

l'Doii'l trouhie younclf any lurther/ replied Rouow 



t4ù ALE«AKDRO MANZONI 

' Ilowever/ zMtó ht, ' yfm will do me the favour of 
A kU»« with me/ 

' 1 accept your kind ofTer/ replied he ; and he advanced, as 
MtìiC li^-tier a<yjuainted with the place, before Renzo, throai^ 
a h'ftle court, apf^roached a glass door, lifted up the latdb. 
and, oprnini^ ìt, entered with his companion into the Idtcfaen. 

'l wo lif^htt illuminated the apartment, suspended from 
Iwo fiookti fixed in the beam of the ceiling. Many persoos» 
ali of whoni were en|(af;ed, were lounfi^ing on bcnches whidi 
r.frrtrfird alon^ Ixjth Kifli"» of a narrow, dirty table, occupyin^ 
ahiioftt fhe whole of oiic Btde of the room: bere and there 
a rloth waM »pr<*;i<l, and a few dishe» set out; at intervals, 
curdi! were playrd, and dice cast, and f>:athercd up; and 
rvrrywhcre were bottlc8 and glasse». On the wct table were 

10 Ut- firrn berlinghe, reali, and parpagliolc^ which, could they 
havr npokrn, wotild probably bave said: This morning we 
Wfir in a bakrr'H fili, or in the pocket» of some of the 
«prclators of the tiinmlt ; for evcry one, intcnt on watching 
liow puhiic inattrrs wc-nt, forgot to look after thcir own 
pi Iva Ir interest s. The claniour was great. A boy was going 
iiaekward.s and forwards in baste and biistle, waiting upon 
thi» table and Mundry ohess boards : the host was sitting upon 

11 .iniall bench inider the cbiinney piece, occupied, apparently, 
in makiiiK nini tni niaking certain figures in the ashcs with 
the ton^^h: bnt, in reality, inteiit on ali that was going on 
uroiuul bini. Ile rose at the sonnd of the latcb, and ad- 
vuneed towanU the new cotners. Wben he saw the guide. — 
C'nrried fellow ! thonght he: — you are always coming to 
pluK^*^ "*«*• wben 1 lenst wanl yoii ! — Then. bastily glancing 
nt Renzo, he ajjain said to liiinself:> 1 don't know you; but, 
ounìnj: with sueh a bunter, ytni must be either a dog or a 
Imre: wben von bave said two words. 1 sball know which. — 
Ibiwever, lu^tbinj; of this mute soIìKmiuv appeared in the 
ImidloidN oountrnanoe. which was as ìnìniova!>le as a pie- 
ture: a rtMUìd iind sbinin^ face, with a tbìck reddish board, 
and Iwo brip.bl and Marini; e\cs. 

• What <ur your ctuniuanils, j:enllenìen? * said he. 

• Kìrsit of ali, a phhI tìask of wine/ said Ren/o, 'and then 
MMUCtbini: to caX' ^sy >a\\\\^. he sai down on a Iwicb towards 

^ IHAnml kindi oi S|Mini»ti «itU MiUnc^c cv\àa«w 



I PROMESSI SPCXSl 



Ul 



md of the tab!e, and uttercd a sonorous 'Ah l * which 
6cemc4 to say : il does onc good to sh down after havìng bcca 
sa long standing and working so hard. Bot tmoiediatcly 
the recollection of the bcnch and the table at which he had 
l^t sat wjth Lucìa and Agnese, nished to hts mind, and 
lorced from him a sigh. He shook hìs head to drive away 
the diought, atid then saw the host coming with the wine. 
~ìh eompanion had sat down opposi te to Renio, who poured 
otit a gbss, and pushed it towards hìm, saying : * To 
9Ìsten your lips.' And filling the othcr glass^ he cmptied 
rit at one draught 

* What can yon gìve nie to cat ? * then dcmanded he of the 
landlord 

'A good bit of stewed meat ? ' a^ked he. 

* YeSg sìf ; a bit of stewed meat/ 
' You shaJ! he scrved dircctly/ sald the host to Renzo ; aod 

aitig to the boy : ' Attend to thÌ3 si ranger,' 
And he retreated to tlie fire-place. ' Btat . . * resumed he^ 
tnmlng agaìn towards Renzo: *wt bave no hrcad Eaday/ 

*As to bread/ said Renzo, m a loud voice and langbing, 
'Providcnce has provìded that.* And drawing from his 
kct the ihird and last loaf which he had picked up under 
^e Cross of San Dionigi, he raised it in the air, exclaiming: 
' Behold the bread of Providcnce ! * Many tunied on hearing 
exclamation ; and, seeing such a trophy in the air, some- 
ly called out : * Hurrah for bread al a low price ! * 
'At à !ow prtcc? * said Renzo: 'Gratis et afncre.' 

* Better stili, bctter stili.' 
' But,* added he, immediately, ' I should not like these gen- 

aen io think ili of me. 1 ha%*e not. as thcy say, stolcn it: 
fóund it on the ground ; and il I could find its owner, I am 
idy to pay him for it* 

* Bravo ! bravo ! ' cried bis companlons, langhlng more 
Uy, without its enferìng into one of iheir nitnds that these 

words scrìously - l a rcal fact and intention. 

'They think ì'v ; , but it*s just so/ said Rcn^o, to bis 

guide; Sknd, tumiog the Ioaf over in hh band, he added: * See 
thc>'Ve cTOihed it ; it looks like a cakc : but thcrc werc 
^leaty dose by ìtt tf any of tbem had bad vcry tender bones 
ìiey'd haire come buUy qE* Then, biting ùS MXkd devourtng 



su ALESSANDBO MANZONI 

ihre^ or lour utotithfaU» he swallowed iwothcr glass of wlit. 
ftod addcd, ' Tbii bread won't ga dov^ n alone. I ncver kad 
«J dry 3 throBt A grcat shotitinf thcre was t ' 

'Prcpàrc a good bcd for this hanest fcllow/ said ibc 
guide; ' for he ìntcttds to «kep fiere* 

'Do yoii wiih a bed?* asked iHc landlord of Renic^ ad^ 
vancjng towards the tabi e, 

*Certainly/ replied ber Va bcd, lo he swe; only Ict the 
beeis be clcan; for, though Vm but a poor lad. Fin zccm^ 
ftomed to cleanliTiesa/ 

' Ob f aa to that,' said the boat: and going to a counter tini 
fttood tu a corner of the Icltcben, he retumed with an inlc»^ 
stand and a little bit of wrhmg-paper in one band, aod a ] 
in the other. 

'What does tbis niean?' exelalnsed Ren«o, gulplng down 

nioiithfuì of the stcw that the boy bad set before him, 
ken smlling in astonishmcnt : * Is ùiis the white s^beet* eh?*' 

Wìthout makìng any reply, the landlord laìd the paper on 
'the tablc, and pnt the ìnk^tand by the paper: then staopìng 
forwar4 he rcsted Illa leffc arm on the table and hls rig;kt 
elbow. and holding ihe pen in the air, with bis face raìscd 
towardt Rcnxo^ said to him : * Will you bc good ennugh to 
teJl me your name, surname, and country? * 

* What?* said Renzo : ' What has M thU to do with my bed?* 
'I do Eny duty,* said the hostp looking towaixU the guide ti 

Ve are oblìged io give an acconnt and relation of ercqpj 
one tliat coment to sleep in our house : namt and summmt, dMi 
of what naiion he M, on what business he ccmeSp if he has 
any arms with him . , « how long he iniends iù Jttay in Èhis 
dty . . . They are the vtfy words of the proelatnatioiL* 

Before rcpjyini^, Renzo *wiilfnwe4 anothef glasa; ft waa 
the third» and frora this t ' I fear we sbafi iiot 

bc ablc to coant thcm 11^ \h ! «b ! you bave the 

proclamation ! And I pride my»ej| upoo belng a doctor of 
law ; so I know well enoiif h what importante la «ttached to 
edicta.' 

• I speak lo earr * * "ri the lawlUml, keepiof Wt qrc on 
Rento'i nfnt9 cor and frinir again lo the cotmter. 

! drew ' V of the proclamatioci, 

nd cani'j • et. 




l PROMESSI SPOSI 



313 



*Ati! feci* oxelftlmcd ihe youth* rdtlng the re-filkd glass 
onc haiid. and qiiickìy emptyìiig it» wliìle he strctched out 
cjlhcT, and pointed with his finger towards the unfolded 
prtoclanuiuoii : 'Look at that fine $htti, lìke a mbsal Vm 
dcfiglited lo see k. I know those arms ; and I know what that 
heretlea] face mcans, wkh the noose round ìts neck/ (At the 
head ol the cdicts the arms o£ tlie govemor were usuaUy 
plftoed* and in thosc; o£ Don Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordova ^ 
appeared a Moorish ktng^ chaìned by the throat.) 

* TbaI face nieans : Command who ean» and obey wbo wtll, 

icn that face shali ha ve sent to the gaìkys Signor doa 

never luind, I know who: as another parchment says, 

e this: wheti it has provided that an honest youth may 

arry an honest girl who ts willing to bc married to him, 

i€n f will teli my name to thìi face, and witl give ft a ki3S 

to lite bargain. I may bave vcry food reasons lor not tell- 

tng my name. Oh, truly! And ìt a rascal, who had under 

hit command n handftjl tnorc of rascak; for if he were alone 

— ' — ' Hcre he finished his sentence with a gesttjre: * I f a raa- 

cal waiit«d to know where I am, to do me an lU tum, I ask U 

fice wotUd raove ìtstìi to heJp me, Vm to teli my busi- 

Thli h liometliing new. Supposing 1 had come to 

to cotifess. I should wìih lo con fesa to a Capudtin 

Fathcr, ì beg to say, and not to a Umdlofd.* 

The host was sileni, and looked towards the gnìdt, wfio 
gava no loken of notìcing what passed* Renzo» we grìcve 
lo aay, swallov^ed anofhcr gla^s, and continued : * I wlll 
jrfve you a rrason, my dear bndlord, which will aatisfy you* 
if iho«t proclamai long which speak In favoìir of good Chrìs- 
lanit are worth nothing, those which speak agatnst them are 
stili Irss. So carry away ali these bothering things, 
^rìng tia lnitead another flask; for this h broken/ So 
f, he tapped it Hghtty wtlh his knuckles, and added: 
how It sowndi? like a cracked bottle*' 

langtiage had agaln attracted lise attention of 

; and whcn he cea&ed, there arose a general murmur 

khatloQ* 

i^hat must I do? ^ s^aid the host, looking at th^ incognito» 

was> however, no si ranger to him. 

*Away, away with lhem«* erìed many of the gne^ta; ' thta 




346 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

Renzo, indivldually. He, therefore, tumcd to him» «ad re- 
newed the conversation about bread ; and after a few of tiioae 
expressions which had been, for some time, in everyboéfs 
mouth, he began to give bis own opinion. * Eh ! tf I wcre 
niling/ taid he, * I would fìnd a way of making things rigfat' 
' How would you do ? ' asked Renzo, fixing on him tuo 
eyes more sparkling than usuai, and twisting bis mouth away, 
as it were to be more attentive. 

* How would I do? ' said he; ' I would bave bread for ali: 
for poor as well as rich.' 

'Ah I so far well,' said Renzo. 

' See how I would do. First, I would fix a moderate prìce^ 
that everybody couid reach. Then I would distribute bread 
according to the number of mouths: for there are some in- 
considerate gluttons who would bave ali to themselves, and 
strìve who can get the most, buying at a high price, and thns 
there isn't bread enough for the poor people. Therefore, dist 
tribute bread. And how should that be done ? See : give a 
note to every family, in J)roportion to the number of mouths^ 
to go and gct bread at the bakehouses. To me, for example^ 
they should give a note of this kind: — Ambrogio Fusella, by 
trade a sword-cutler, with a wife and four children, ali 
of an age to cat bread (note that well) : let them bave se 
much bread; and pay so many pencc. £ut to do thinga 
juatly it must always be in proportion to the number of 
mouths. You, we wtU suppose, ought to bave a note for 
. . . your name ? ' 

' Lorenzo Tramaglino,* said the youth ; who, dclighted with 
the pian, never rccollected that it was entircly founded on 
papcr, pcn and ink, and that to put it in exccution the first 
thing must be to gct cverybody's namc. 

* Very well,' said the stranger; 'bui bave you a wife and 
-hildren?' 

•I ought, indeed . . . childrcn, no . . . too soon . . . but 
a wife . . . if the world wcnt as it ought . . .' 

* Ah ! you are single ! Well, bave paticpce ; but a smaller 
portion . . / 

* ^'ou are right; but if soon, as I hope . . . and by the 
help of God . . . Enough; and when Tve a wife too?' 

* Then change the note, and increase the quantity. As I 



I FBOMESSI 9P0Sr 



Itd; aiways in propordoo to the ntnnber of mmiths,* sàìd 
be unknown* rhìng from his Btnt 

Tirai is ali very good,' cried Renxo; and ht contintied 
:sly, as he struck hts hand upon the table: 'And why 
y make a law ol this kìnd ? * 
iiyw cao i teli? But I must bìd you good night, and be 
off: fcir l i^tìcy my wife and diildren ha ve bceti looking oui 
far me thìs good whiJc/ 
* Just another little drop — another little drop/ cried Renzo^ 
^lily filling hh glass: and, rlsing quickly, he scized the skift 
his doublet, and tried to force hiin to sit down ag^atn. *An- 
_04her little drop; don't do me this bsuU.' 

But his friend disengagcd himself with a sadden jcrk, and 
ivìag Renzo to ìndalgc in importttnìty and rcproaches as 
ì pleased, agaiii saìd: * Good night/ and wcnt away, Renzo 
diouted after him when he had cven reached the Street, and 
thcn sank back upon his seat He cyed the glass that he 
ad j'Jst fillcd ; and sccìng^ the boy passing the table, he de- 
^int^ì htm witb a beckon o£ his band, as if he had some 
|e&s to conirnutiìcate to him ; he thcn pointed to the glass, 
leh a slow and grave cnunciatbn, and pronoimcing the 
in a pcculiar manner, saldi * See, 1 had prcpared it 
for that wonhy gaitlcmaii: do you see? full to the brim» 6t 
for a friend; but he wouidn't bave ìt; people bave very odd 
i«, i;ometìmes* I couldìi*t do otherwise; I let him see my 
ad tnteolÌoit$. Now, thcn, sincc the thing is done, I mus'n*t 
it go lo wastc/ So iaying« he took it^ and cmptied it 
at a draugbt 
*I Bnderst.1 ' *! the boy, going away. 
•Ah* vmi ut, do you?* rcplied Renio; * then it 

Is tri n leaMJtis are scnsìblc! . . .* 

N-^ >?? tban our love of truthftdness wottld Induce 

tti IO pro^ecutc a faithiul account whicb does so little credit 

#» «> importaot a pcrson, wc may almost say, to the principaf 

, of Olir «tory. From this same moti ve ol impartialtty, 

r t also state, that thi^ was the first time that 

ntd to Renzo; and it h just because he was 

LÌ to such excesftcs tliat bis first attcmpt suc- 

alJy, The few gfasses that he had swallowcd 

one alter another^ at first» cootrary to his usuai habi ti, partJy 




248 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

to cool his parched throat, partly from a sort of excitement 
of mlnd which gave him no liberty to do anything in modera- 
tion, quickly went to his head ; a more practised drinker would 
probably nevcr bave felt them. Our anonytnous author hcrc 
makes an observation which we repeat for the benefit of 
those of our readers who know how to value it. Temperate 
and honest habits, says he, bring with them this advantage; 
that the more they are stablìshed and rooted in a man, so 
much the more easily, when he acts contrary to them, does he 
immediately feel the in jury or inconvenience, or, to say the 
least, the disagreeability of such an action: so that he has 
something to remember for a time; and thus even a slight 
fault serves him for a lesson. 

However this may be, certain it is that when these first 
fumes had mounted to Renzo's brain, wine and words con- 
tinued to flow, one down, the other up, without measure or 
reason : and at the point where we bave left him, he had got 
quite beyond his powers of self-government. He felt a great 
desi re to talk : auditors, or at least mcn present whom he could 
imagine such, were not wanting; and for some time also 
words had readily occurred to him, and he had bcen able 
to arrange them in some sort of order. But by degrees his 
power of connecting sentences began woefully to fail. The 
thought that had presented itself vividly and definiti vcly to 
his mind, suddenly clouded over and vanished ; while the word 
he wanted and waited for, was, when it occurred to him, in- 
applicable and unseasonable. In this perplexit}-, by one of 
those false instincts that so often min men, he would again 
bave recourse to the flagon; but any one with a grain of 
sense will be able to imagine of what use the flagon was to 
him then. 

We will only relatc some of the many words he uttered in 
this disastrous evening; the others which we omit would be 
too unsuitable; for they not only had no meaning, but made 
no show of having any — a neccssary requisite in a printed 
book. 

*Ah, host. host/ resumed he, following him with his eye 
round the table, or under the chimney-piece : sometimes 
gazing at him where he was not. and talking ali the time in 
the midst of the uproar of the party: ' What a landlord yon 



l PHOMESSl SPOST 



249 



canjiot swallow ìhh , . , thts trìck about the name, 
marne, imti business, To a youth llkc me ! . . . You bave 
mot bebaved welL Whai sattslaction now, what advantage, 
wliat pleasure ^ . . lo put upoo paper a poor youth? Doii*t 
I speak sense, gentlemeci ? Landlords ought to stand by good 
yoQths , . , Listen, Ustcn, landlord; I wiìl compare you * . - 
beeause ... Do you laugh, eh ! I am a little too far gone, 
I kiiow , , . bui tbe reasons 1 would give are right enough, 
Jost teli me, now, who is it that keeps up your trade? Poor 
feUows, ìsn*t it? See if any of these genilemen of the proci» 
matìoQs evtT come bere to wct their Hps/ 

• Thcy are ali people that drink water/ said one of ReiisoV 

^^■'Thcy wajit to bave their heads clear/ added anolher, *fo 

^Ht abk to tetl lies cJeverly/ 

^■^^'Ah 1 * cried Renzo. * That was the poet who spoke Ihen, 
^Thoi you also imtlerstand my reason. Answer me, tlieo, 
tandiord ; luid Ferrer* who is the bcst of ali, has he cver come 
hcTc to drink a toast, or to spend a quarter of a farlhing? 
Alid that dog of a vtllaìn, Don . . . TU hold my tonguc, bc- 
cause Vm a careful fellow. Ferrer and Father Cr-r-r . . * 
I know, Ihey are two worthy nien ; but there are so few worthy 
mai in the world. The old are worse than the young ; and the 
young . . . worsc agatn than the old. Howevcr, I am glad 
there has been no raurdering; fye; cruelties that should bc 
for the hangman's hands. Bread: oh yesl I got some 



It pushes, but 
plr^nty 1 long live ì • 
words in Latin , 
trìck I Long Uvei 
jrd»! . * * There 



I gave some away too. Roomt 
. Howcver, cvcn Ferrer , - . some few 
• siés buraòs trapolorum . . . Cursed 
. . justicct bread! Ah, illese are fair 
we wanted these comrades . * . wbcr 
AC cursed ton, too, too, broke fortJi. and then agmin too, toa 
\Vc did not fice thcn, do you see, io kccp that signoi 
tbcrc ... 1 know what Vm thinkìog about! * 

words bc hcnt down bis head, and remained some 
absorbed in sonie idea ; he then hcaved a deep stgh, 
a face with two piteous*lookìng eyes, and such 
,F*^.,.>ti of disagrceahlc and stupid gricf, that wve to 
ìàm i ! cct of il could bave scoi bìm at tbat niomcot. 

tue wicKcd meo around htm, wha tiad al ready begus 



250 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

to divert themselves with the impassioned and confnsed éf> 
quence of Renzo, now hastened to ridicale bis countenanoe 
tinctured with remorse; the nearest to him said to the others: 
* Look at him ; ' and ali tumed towards the poor f ellow, so 
that he became the laughing-stock of the unruly comjMuiy. 
Not that ali of them were in their perfect senses, or in thdr 
ordinary senses, whatever they might he; but, to aay the 
tnith, none of them had gone so far as poor Renzo : and stili 
more, he was a countryman. They began, first one and then 
another, to provoke him with foolish and unmannerly ques- 
tions, and jesting ceremonies. One moment he would seem 
to he offended, the next, would take the treatment in joke; 
now, without taking notice of ali these voices, he would talk 
of something quite differente now replying, now interrogattng, 
but always by starts and blunders. Fortunately, in ali this 
extravagance, he had preserved a kind of instinctive careful- 
ness not to mention the names of persons, so that even that 
which was most likely to be firmly fixed in bis memory was 
not once uttered ; for deeply it would bave grieved us if that 
name for which even we entertain a degree of respect and 
affection, had been bandied about, and become the sport of 
these abandoned wretches. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE laodlord, sccing die game was ìmtmg too tong, 
and héing carried loo fmn had approacSal Rettro, 
and, wìtb ihc gfeaiest politeriess, requesting the 
others to Icavc him alone, began shakìng hirn by the ano, 
and tried lo make liim underàtand. and persuade him ihat 
he had bctter go to bed, But Renzo cauM not forgel the 
old fubjcct of the name. and sumame, the proclamations, and 
rorthy youthi. Howeiref, the words *bed' and 'sleep/ 
eatcd in hii ear, wrought some kind of impressìon on 
miod; thcy made him feei a little more distinctJy bis 
of what they sìgnified, and produced a monientary 
interval* The little sense that retumed to his mind, 
!ilni^ in some degree, sensible that most of hts com- 
ns had gone: as the last glimmerìng torch in an 
tination ^hows alt the others extingiiished. He made 
reiolutioii; placed hìs open hands tipon the table; tried 
ace or twice to raìse hìmself ; sighed, staggercd, and at 
ihird attempt, supported by hi& host, he stood upon hii 
The landlord, ftteadying him a^ he wmiked along, 
him (fom betweeti the bench and the table. and tak- 
"mg a lamp in otie band, partly conducted, and partly 
dragged him \vith the othcr^ towards the door of the staìts, 
Herc, Remo, on heiring the noise of the salutations whkh 
shotitcd after htm by the company, hastiJy tiirned 
nd, aiid if hii supporter had not bcen very a!ert. and 
him by the arm» tJie cvolution would bave ended In a 
ivy fillt howevet, he managed to turo back, and, wìth 
'lili tmconfìned ami, ^eg^Ln figuring and describfng m thè 
jjir stindry aalutes hke a running knoi. 

-et US go to bed; to be<l/ said the tandlord, pisshiii; 

forward through the door; and with stili tnote dU» 

r drawing him to the top of the narrow wooden fltalr^ 

and then into fhe rootn he had pfejiared fof Wna. 

rejoiccd on ^eeing bis lied feady; he looked g?a- 

tipon hìs boti, with ey^s whJcb one moment gtiitened 

2Sl 



252 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

more than ever. and the ncxt faded away, like two fire-flies: 
he cndeavoured to steady himself on his legs, and stretched 
out his hand toward his host's check to take it between his 
first and middle fingcrs, in token of friendship and grati- 
tude, but he could not succecd. 'Brave landlord,* he at 
last managed to stammer out: 'now I see that you are a 
worthy fellow: this is a kiud deed, to give a poor youth a 
bed ; but that trick about the name and sumame, that wasn't 
like a gentleman. By good luck, I saw through it . • / 

The landlord, who little thought he could havc uttered 
anything so connected, and who knew, by long experience, 
how men in such a condition may be induced more easily 
than usuai, suddcnly to change their minds, was determined 
to take advantage of this lucid interval, to make another 
attcmpt. 

' My dcar fellow,' said he, with a most coaxing tone and 
look, ' I didn't do it to vex you, nor to pry into your affairs. 
What would you have? There are the laws, and we must 
obey them; otherwise we are the first to suffer the punish- 
mcnt. It is bctter to satisfy them, and . . . After ali, what 
is it ali about? A great thing, certainly, to say two words! 
Not, however, for them, but to do me a favour. Herc, 
between ourselves, face to face, Ict us do our business : teli me 
your name . . . and then go to bed with a quiet mind/ 

' Ah rascal ! ' exclaimed Renzo : ' Cheat I you are again 
return ing to the charge, with that infamous name, sumame, 
and business I ' 

'Hold your tongue, simpleton, and go to bed,' said the 
landlord. 

But Renzo pursued more vehemently: 'I understand: 
you are one of the league. Wait, wait, and FU settle it/ 
And directing his voice towards the head of the stairs, he 
began to shout more vocifcrously than ever, * Fricnds ! the 
landlord is of the . . .' 

• I only said it in a jokc/ cried he, in Renzo's face, repuls- 
ing him, and pushing him towards the bed — 'In joke: 
didn't you understand that I only said it in joke?' 

'Ah! in joke: now you speak sensibly. When you say 
in joke . . . They are just the things to make a joke oV 
And he sank upon the bed. 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



^$ 



ere* nwùrtss yaurself, and be quick/ said the host, 

ding assistance io hts mévice; aod therc was nced of it, 

Wheit Renzo bàd succeeded In getting off his waistcoat, 

landiord took it« and pai his hands in the fiockeis lo 

il there were any money in them. Hts search was 

ccessfut; and Ihinking that his guest would bave some- 
III in g else to do than to pay him on the morrò w, and that 
this money would proba bly fall itilo hands whence a land- 
lord would not easily be able to recover any share, he 
resolved to risk another attempt 

' You are a good youth, and an honest inan, arenai you?' 
said he. 

*Good youth, and honest man** replied Renzo, valnly 
ctfdeavouring to undo the buitons o! the clothes whicb 
he hàd not yet been able to take ofif. 

* Very weil/ rcjoincd the host: 'just settle, then, ibis 
^^fttk acooiint; for to*niorrow I must fo out on some 

^^ 'Tbat's oiily fair; said Renzo: ' I*m a fool, but l'm honest 
i. * , fi ut the money? Am I to go look for money 

* Ifs bere,' said the innkeeper ; and calling up ali his 
practice, paticnce, and skill, he succecded in settling tlse 
account, and securing the reckoning, 

*Lend me a band to finish tuidresslng, landìord^* said 
Reiuo: *Vm begiiming to feci very sleepy/ 

The landiord performed the reqnired office: he thcn spread 

the quìlt over bim, and, almost before he had tìme to say. 

ditdainltiBy, *Good night!' Renzo was snoring fast 

asleepu Yct, with that sort of attraction whieb sometimes 

iodncei tis to contemptate axt object of dtsiike as well as 

of afFcciion, and wbieh, perhaps, h nothtng else tban a 

delire of knowing what operates *o forcìbly on otir mìnd, 

Ile patued, for a moment, to contemplate so aniìoyìng a 

guest, holding the lamp towards bis face, and tbrowtng the 

Tìcrt^f T,r«.n ff with a strnng reiection, by screening it witli 

>st In the attitudc m whicb Fsycbe is depictcd» 

' rrìing the fcatiircs of ber unknowtl 

ad!— said Ììc, in bis mind, to the 

poot iJccpcr,— you'vc ccrtainly takcn the way to look for 




ut 



ALBS9AN0BO MANZONI 



it, To*fnorrow yoall Uè able io teli me how yoti*Ye tìked 
it, ClowtiJ?, who will stroll over tlie worlcU mUWnl Jhifftffi 
ffijr whtrcabouts ike lun riscs, just to briitg theawclvei sud 
thdr neìghbotira mio troublc l^~ 

So fayitig, or rather thinkin^» he withcìrcw the Bfht, 
and Icft the room. loekìn}^ the door behmd htm. On die 
lànding-placc at the top of ihe stairs, he called tlie tasid» 
lady, afid bade her leavc the chìidren under the care of 1 
ymmg servaiit girl, and go down inio the kìtchen, to ptt- 
side and keep giiard in hh stead 'I must go out, tJiatiks 
to 1 ^traiiger who has arrived here, to my ini sfortuna laM 
he; and he bricfly rcfated the ar i_ircuniilance. He 

then addcd: *Have your eyes i^ ^ t- and, above ali, 

be pmdent thts un fortunate day. 1 hcre^s a group of Kcea* 
tious fellows down below, who, between drink and ihOT 
own indination» are ready enotijE^h to talk, and wtti say 
anything, It will be enough, if a rash . , ,' 

*Oh» Vm not a child; and I know well enough wbat*l 
to be done. l thmk you can't aay tliat» up to tbts ttroc . , / 

•Well, wcl!; and be sur e they pay; and prete od not to 
lìtar anything they »ay about the supcrlntendeni ol prò- 
viiiont, and ihe govenior. and Fcrrer, and the decufianù 
and ihe eavaller», and Spaìn, and France» and such fool^ 
eries; fof if you contradìet tliem, you*!! come off badly 
«fireetly; imd if yoti agree ¥nth them, you m;iy fare hmàfy 
aftcrwards: and ytfu know well cnough, that somednìtt 
Ihosc who stay the wor*t things . . . But enough; mhvn 
yon bear ceriaìn sayìngs, turn away ytmr head, and cry^ " Vm 
cominjf/* at if stnnebody was ca!lin|f yim frotn the other 
side; ni come back a» qulck as T can/ 

So iaybg, he went down with her into tlie kitchen* and 
ga¥« a glancc round* to tee tf there wis aoyt!itng new crf 
consequtnce : took down hia bat and doak fmm a peg^ 
reached a short, thick stick aut of thr corner, fommed 
Qp, in one glance at hi* wife* the ì«m .... ^ 

her, and vr^ril nuf. R«t durtnij the* 1 

affiti ' ' the Uirrad of the >i\^ Lci^oii at 

Rtftto'* ; and cuntinued it^ nle proceedìlic 

OH hti waìk» 

^Obitiiiate fetlow of o moiiittaÌLierrr--For^ 



f PROMESSI SPOST 



2i! 



determlned to conccal his condltioit» thh quaU- 
ion had bctraycd itsclf in his word*, pron linciati on, 
q>pearaiicc, and actions, — Such a day as this, hy good 
polÌ<^^ and judgmtnt, I thought to Iiave come off clear: and 
yoii musi jast come in al the end of il, to spoil the cgg In the 
hiitcbtng* Were there no othcr imts in MiJan, that you musi 
just light upon mine ? Would that you had cven Iti upon it 
icl 1 would then have shut my cye^ to it to-cighi. and 
_ -morrow mornìng would have gìveo you a hint, But, my 
"good «ir, no^ you must come in company; and, to do bettcr 
stili* in company wtth a sheriff. — 

At tvcry step the ìmikceper met ckhcr with soHtary 
passengeri, o? persons in groups of thrce or tour» whispcr- 
ìng togetber. At this stage of hh mute soliloquy, he saw 
A patrol of Boldiers approachìng, and« going a little sksìót, 
peepedai them from under the corner of his eye as they pa^sed, 
and continued to himself :^-There go the fool-cbastisers, 
Aud you* great ass, becatise you saw a few people rambUng 
about ind maktng a nolsc, it must even come into your 
braitt that the world is turning itpside down. And on tbis 
ine fotindation you have ruincd your self» and are trying 
to nun me too: tliis isn't fair. I did my best to save you; 
md you* you fool, in return, have vefy neariy made a dis- 
tsirbance in my inn, Kow you must get your self out of the 
icrapc; and I will loolc to my own business. A§ if I wanted 
lo lòiow your name out of curtosity f What does it matter 
lo «e, whcthcr it be Thaddeus or Bartholomew? A mighty 
destre I have to take the pen iiì hand; but you are not the 
oaly people who would have thìngs ali their own way. I 
know, aa wetl as you, that there are prcclamations whkh 
fO for nothing: a fine novclty^ that a motmtainecr sbould 
carne io teli me that! But you don't know that proclama^ 
tìons against landìords are good for somethìng. And you 
pretend to trave] over the land* and speak; and don't know 
that, If eoe wodd bave one*s own way, and carry the 
proclamattotts In one'i pocket, the first thlng requisite is 
aot to «peak agatrist ihcm in pubh'c* And for a poor Inà- 
keeper who was of your opinion, and dìdn^t ask Ihe name 
of any one who happcns to favour him w^ith hia company, 
do ftm kooWi you lool, what good ihings are in store for 



256 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



film? Under pain of three hunéred crawns ta oHf 
ùf the afortrsaid land! ordì, tavcrn*keepcrs, and otkers^ as 
ebove: the re are thrcc liimdred crowns hatched; auid iww 
to spend tlietn welh to bc appUfd, two-ihirdj tu the rayal 
chambrr, and the other tkird to the accuser or informtr: 
what a fine baiti And in case ùf inabiltty, Uve ycars in 
the galieys, and greater punishment, pecuniary or corfw^, 
ai the wiil of his Exeeikncy. Much obligcd for ali hii 
favours. — 

Al thesc words the landlord reached the door ci the court 
of the hjgh'sheriflf. 

Hcre, as at ali the other secretaries* oflfices, mtich bori- 
ness was going forward. Evcrywhere thcy were enga^ 
in giving such orders as secmed niost likely to pre-occupy 
the following day, to takc away every pretesct for discon* 
tent. to overcomc the boldness of those who wcre 
anxìous for fresh tuniults, and to confi rm p^wer in ùkt 
hands of those accustonied to exerclse it. The soldjery 
round the house of the superintendent were increased, and 
the ends of the Street were blockaded with tlmbcr. and 
barricadcd with carts* Thcy commandcd ali the baken 
lo make bread withonl latermìssìon, and despaiched couriers 
to the surroimding coiintry, with orders to scnd corn into 
the city; whiie oobleinen were statìoncd al every bake- 
hou^, who repaired thithrr carty in the tuortiing to mpcr- 
tntend the dìslribution, and to feltrai ti the faetious» by 
fair wor ds^ and the a ut ho ri tv of their preseticc. Btil lo 
givc, as the saytng is, onc blow to the hoop amd mnother 
to the e^k, and to render their cajoUngs inore efficleot 
by a liillc awe, ihey thonght also of taktng measures to 
seiie some aoe of the seditioiisr and tJtis wa* prjndpalty 
the busincsfi of the high-^heriff, whose tcmpcr towards tlie 
insurrection tnd ilie insurgeiUs ihe reader tnay ima-*— 
when he ts in forni ed of the vcgeiable fomenta tioo v, 
it wa* fotiod fiecessary to apply to onc of the orgaiu ot lus 
rnetaphytical proftiiulity, il\% blood-lwiunds hatd beai hi 
the fidd from the bci^mning of the Hot: and thts self-styled 
Ambrofìo Fttsetla was, as the laodlord &aìd^ a disgui%ed 
iindcr-shcriff, sent ahotit for the exprcsi parpose nf catch* 
ing in ìhc art some oijc whoiu he CiJtiId tpraln rrco^hec^ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



7sr 



motioQs he could watch, and whom lie could kcq? in 
nd, so as io sckc, eitber in ih e iioìet ol the cvctiing or 
~ri He had not heard four words of Renzo's 

J >re he had fixed upoti hitn as a capital objcct^ 

y hi 9 man* Fiiidiiìg* aftcrwards, that he was jast 
1 I frooi the country, he had attempted the master-stroke 

I 01 conductiDg him at once to the prison, as the safcst Ina 
I in the citvj biit here he failed, as we have related. He 
I collida however, brìng back ccrtain ìnfarmation of bis 
I name, soma me. and country ; be^ìdes a hundred other fine 
Icoftjcctural pieces of information; so that when the ino- 
■^ecper arrivcd bere to teli what he knevv of Renzo, ihcy 
^■ftre already bctter ac^-jtiainted w:th him than he. He 
«ìtered the tisual apartment. and deposed that a stranger 
Iwd arrived at bis house to lodge, who could not bc per- 
stiaded to dee lare bis name, 

* You've done your duty in gfving us this infonnatioo,* 
aatd a criminal notaiy, laying down his pen : * But wc know 
il already,' 

— A frange mystery !—thought the host; — ^thcy mnst be 
wocKkrftdIy clever! — 

* And we feiow, loo/ continued the notaty, ' this revered 
nante!^ 

— The name. tool how have tbey tnanaged iti — ^tbougbt 
tbc Utidlord agaln. 

* Bnt yotJ,* rcsumed the other. with a serìous face, *you 
don't teli ali candìdly/ 

* What more have I to say ? ' 
'Hat ha! we know vcry well that this fellow brougbt to 

yoor inn a fjuantìty of stolen bread — plundered, acqulred 
hy robbery and scdìtion/ 

•A man comcs, wìih one loaf in his pocket: do yon think 

know where be wcnt to gct tt? for, to speak as on my 

itb-bcd, I can positivcly aiBrm that I saw but one loaf/ 

Tlierc! always excusing and defending yourself: one 

Wcmid tliink, to bear you, evcrybody was honest How 

can voti prove thnt bis bread wa^si fairly obtaìned?' 

•\Vhy am I to prove it? I don*t mcddle with it: I am 
mnkeepcr/ 

Yoti cannot, however. deny that tbi^ cuatomcr of youra 
BQ •— v«L ti 



258 ALBSSANDRO MANZONI 

had the temerìty to utter injurìous words agftinst the 
proclamations, and to make improper and shameful jokci 
on the arms of his Exccllency.' 

' Pardon me, sir : how can he be called my customer, 
whcn this is the first time l've ever seen him? It was the 
dcvil (under your favour) that sent him to my houde: and 
if I had known him, you, sir, know well enough I should 
have had no occasion to ask his name.' 

* Well : in your inn, in your presence, inflammatoiy 
specchcs have been uttered, unadvised words, seditiou» 
propositions ; murmurs, ^^umbles. outcrics/ 

' How can you expect, my good sir, that I should attend 
to the extravagances which so many noisy fcllows, talking 
ali at the same time, niay chance to uttcr? I must attend 
to my interest, for l'm only badly ofif. And besides, youf 
worship knows well enough that those who are lavish of 
their tongues are generally ready with their fists too, par- 
ticularly when there are so many together, and . . .' 

* Ay, ay ; leave them alone to talk and fight : to-morrow 
you'll see if their tricks have gone out of their heads. 
What do you think?' 

' I think nothing about it.' 

'That the mob will have got the upper band in Milan?' 

'Oh, just so.' 

'We shall see, we shall see.' 

'I understand very well: the king will be always king; 
and he that is fined will be fìned: but the poor father of a 
family naturally wishes to escape. Your honours have tho 
power, and it belongs to you.' 

* Have you many people stili in your house?' 
' A world of them.' 

'And this customer of yours, what is he doing? Does 
he stili continue to be clamorous, to excite the people, and 
arouse sedition?' 

* That stranger, your worship means ; he's gone to bed.' 
' Then, you've many people . . . Well, take care not to 

let them go away.' 

— Am I to be a constable?— thought the landlord, with- 
out replying cither negatively or affirmativcly. 

' Go home again, and be careful/ resumed the notary. 



r PROMESfil SPOSI 



a$9 



* Vv€ alwav s been caref ul. Yotir honotir can say whcthcr 
I ha ve evcr made any opposhion to justsee/ 

'WeH well; and don't think that justicc has loft its 
power/ 
*I1 Por Hcavcn's sake: T think nothing: I only attoid 
my business/ 
I *Thc old song: you^vt; never anythmg else to say/ 

* W^at else woiild your worship ha ve me say ? truth ts 
but one/ 

* WcII. we will remember what you have deposed; t£ the 
eav^ ODiues on, you will bave la gfve more particular in* 

itìoo to juslice about wbatever they may choose to ask 

What can I depose further? I know nothìog. I bave 
ifccly head enough to atiend lo my own business/ 
Take care yoti don't kt hìin f o/ 

I hope that his worship the htgh-sherìff will be inforined 
it 1 carne immediatcly to discharge my duty. Your 
bnotir*s humble àen^anL* 

\By brcaJt of day. Renxo had been snoring for itboui 
bours, and wa^ siili, poor fellow, fast asleep, wheit 
ronfh shakeB at either arm, and a voice at the foot 
of the bcd. caihng, * Lorenio TramagUno I * recallcd ìnm 
to bis senses. He shook himself, stretehed bis arms, and 
witb diiBcuhy opening bis eyes, saw a man standing before 
bini al the foot of the bed, dressed tn black, and two others 
srmed, one on the light and the other on die Icft of hiii 
l^ìlow. Betufi*n ^urpriae» not being iuìly awrake, and the 
latiiptdtty occa^iofied by the wine of the night bcfore, he 
lay, for a moment, as if bewiMered: and then, thinkìng he 
tvm*; dreammgp and not betng very weTI pleased witb bis 
j. be fhook htmself so a* lo awake thotoughly, 
.\h1 Iiavc yoti hcard, for once, Lorenzo Tramaglino?' 
ad the man wtth the black cloak, ihe vefy nolary of the 
"re * Up ; up, thcn ; get up. and come witb ns,' 
o Tramaglino r saìd Renzo: 'What does thta 
ìì VVTiat do yott want with me? Wh&6 told you my 

ir 

talk, and up wJth you dlreetly/ fM one ni tho 
wbo slood at bis side, taking him agaiii by the arm. 



I T 



ALESSANDRO MAKXONI 



'Ah, eh! what oppressbn h this?* crted Retuo, wit^ 
drawing bis arni, ' LatjUIord f ho, lancilo rd f * 

' Shaìi wc càrry hìni off in hìs shirt?* eaid tlic biìBff 
again, lookìng towardi the nutary, 

'Dìd ynti bear ihat?' said tit to Renzo: ' tlieyH do vk 



if you doii't gct tip as n 
'And what fori* mi 

* The ufhai far you v, 

* r ? I nj an honcst . 
astornshed . * / 

* So much the bctier for voit 
you ; fot then you niay bc 

tnay go aboui your own ^" 

*Let me gp aow/ ni 
justice/ 

' Cùmfit. let US finbti i 



t^ht, and cofni: witli lift.' 



sO n 



word 5» i«ii 




imicT 



Li 00 




I PROMESS! SPOSI 



» 



^entlref^ suppresscd, or the bcgintiìng of a new one: the 

strceis wcr« full of people, some walking in parilcs, some 

sUndbg in groups. And now, withoiit sceming io do so, 

Lor al least iryìng not to show it, he was anxìously Hsten- 

|,{ng« and fancicd that the niurmur continued to incrcase. 

Thjs m%dQ htm desiroiis to get off: but he also wished 

take Renzo away willifigly and qujetly; since, if 

Itad dcdared war agaìnst him, hecould not have 

siire, on reachiag the Street, of not finding three 

|to one agabst htm, ?le» thereforcp winked at the baìiiffs 

have patiencc, and not to irritate the yotith, while he 

Iso cndeavoured to sooihc him with fair words. Renzo 

àeé himsclf, while drcssing as quickly as possible, in 

ilitng the confused rcmcmbrances of the day bcfore. and 

last conjectured, with tolerable certatnty, that the 

clamatlon, and the name and surnamc, must be the 

mse of this dtsagreeable occurrencc: but how ever did 

fcJlow know his name? And what on earth couid 

happened that night, for justlce to have gained such 

*e(m6ilence as to come and lay hands on one of those honest 
^oiilhs who, only the day beforc, had mch a voice tn the 
M}\ and who criuld noi ali be asteep now? for he aJso 
en*cd the increasing buale in die Street. He looked at 
countenance of the notary^ and the re perceived the 
solution which he vaiiìly cndeavoured to conceal. Al 
, ^s wcll to satisfy bis conjcctnres, and sound the 
Bcvr^. as to gain tituc, and cven atiempt a blow, he said, 
undcrstand wcll cnnugh the origin of ali thls; tt is ali 
a love tif the name and surname, Last night I certainly 
a little muddJcd: these landtords have sometimes very 
berons wines; and sometimes, as I say, you know, 
wine pasi^es throngh the medium of words, it wiU 
|vc its say too. But if ihis is ali, I am now ready lo gì ve 
f action: and. bcsidri-. you know my name 
m earth totd you it?* 
iVo, ti*> lr«Tv. bravo 1' replicd the notar\% coaxingly; 
you' ve .torr." ^en^e; and bclìeve me, who am in the 
busìn'ji.s, that } cr than mosL II is the best way 

jf grtting out e: ^ :ncnUy cjuìckly and eanily; and with 
l^ood dìspofiitians, in two word» you wLU be dismìsicd 



alsssakbho Manzoni 



md set tt Itbcfty* Bui I, do yoii s<c, my gix>d UfUm, 
my bands tìcd; I cannùt rckase you. as I sbould Ulte 
léo. Come, be quick, and come almig with a good heatt^ 
lof whcfi tbcy »cc who yon are , , , Sfìd tfacn I 
teli . . . Leave it lo me . . . Encmgti ; be qukk, my good 
felbw/ 

' Ah 1 yon oimot ! I miderstand/ taid Renzo ; smd he 

coDtinued to dress himsclf, repuUIiig, by slgiiA, the tot 

ttODB of ibe baiHffSi that thcy wcmid caiTf hìra o0 ìf 

were not wtty expecBtìous* 

' ShiH wr p9m bf tbe square of tbe cathedraJ?* asìced he, 

'Wbereir^ joa Ilice; the sbortest way, to let 3^00 the 

«ooner at liberty/ said tbe tiotary. vcxed in bis heart, 

l'Ile must let tbta inyxterbui tnqeiry of Kcnxo's pas», wl ^ 

•fsijght haire aerved ai tbe ftubject for a hsndred ÌDtemig^ 

'tnres- — VVben one is bora to be imfortutiatel — thoaglil li^ 

— Jojit *ec; a feBow fall» roto my hands, who, ptaintf 

ffiottgh, lìlces oothlng better than to tallc; and if be eouk 

have a little ttme^ he «ottld confess ali otie wanti* wttb« 

the aid of a rope — ertra fcrmam, to qieak academìcally,^ 

tu tbe way of frìendJy diit-cbat; the very maa to take to 

piitCMi ready examfaied« wtcliout bis bebg at a!I aware 

Jt; and be iDisst just fall loto my handfl at tbb tmfe 

Well 1 chere*! no hefp for it,— lie oontiittied« TìMc 
attenti vely, and tossing bis head bacfrvrards— there'» 
[Ttmedy: it's'llkely to be a worse day than yesterday,^ — 
Wliat fave rUe to thts thoagbt, waa an extraor 
noise he heard Iti the Street* and he tc/M not recisi 
iiif che iriiidow to take a peep at it He law that tt waa j 
igrot^ ol cMiena» wbo» oq being reqmred by a patfoi 
I loldiers to ^iperse, had at first fiveti aiigry wanh 
repfy» aod had fioally «eparated In mttfnmring dlasatii 
|tim; an4 what appeared to the oocary a fatai tlgn, the 
soldiers hefaaved to thciii with modi dviJItv TTavtfìer cTa*^ 
the window, he stood for a moment tn p 
be ftbotild fioiih hi* undedaidng. or Icavc n.rn 
taxm of the two haitìils, whtie be ran to ilia fatgh-ifacrill 
^ve bim aa accoimt of ht^ — thooght 

dlrcctly.— 4heyTl iet me dow . * base 

[«ho oi^(bi to cxecttte ordcra.K We are &ti tha haOr 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



263 



«fid tre must dance. Curse the throng ! What a tniienible 
business l — 

Renzo now stood betweco the two satellite^, havtng one 
OH cacli side; the notary beckoned lo them noi to use too 
much force« and said Co hìm, ' Coiitage, ìikt a good fetlow * 
US he off, and make hastc' 

Renzo, however, was fcelfng, lookìng, tUnking. He waa 
now enttrely dressed, excepting hb jacket, which he held 
onc band, and fediiig with the other in his pockets; 
Ilo ! * said he, looklng at the notary with a vcry signifi* 
cani cxpfcssìoii ; * bere tbere werc some fience, and a letteti 
taf good sir ! * 

*Everything shall be punctually reatored to you,' said 
the notary, * whcn these few formalities are properly eace- 
Ctited Let US go, let us go/ 

*No, no, no/ said Renzo, shakuig Ms head; *tJiat won*t 

te; I want ray money, niy good sir, l wiU give an account 

f my doings ; but I watit roy money." 

* ni show you that I trast yoii; bere, and be quick;* said 

Ihe noiar>% drawing ou! of his bosom the sequestei-ed 

aiticlcs, and h^nding thcm to Renzo with a sigh. Renio 

ved ihein, and put thrm mio his podcet« muttering 

his tecth: * Slafid otTl yonVc ai^Qciated so much 

th thieves» that you've learnt a little of thcir business.* 

baili0s could no bnger resirain iheir impatience, but 

notary curbcd tbeni with a glance, saying to biniseli — 

\ìf thou suGceedest in settiug foot within that threshold, 

thou shalt t>ay for this with interest, that thou shalt^ 

Whilc Renzo was pulting on bis jacket, and taking up 

ifi bat^ the notary beckoncd to one of the baiti ifìfs to lead 

the way down-stairs; the prisofier came next behind him, 

ttbeo the other kind friend, and he himself brought up the 

On reaching the kitchen, and while Renjso was say- 

*And tbis blcssed landlord, wherc Js be fled to?* tbc 

made a sigti to the two police officerà» who, seizìng 

a band, proceeded liastily to secnre hi* wrists widi 

oertatn in^tnimcuts, callcd, in the hypocriucaJ lignres of 

eupbeini&m, ruMts^ — in p!ain language, ttandcudTft. Tbesc 

.con^ii^ted — wc are sorry that wt are obliged to descend to 

s unworthy of bistorical graviiy, bui perspicui^ 




264 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

requires it — they consisted of a small cord, a little longtr 
than the usuai size of a wrist, having at the ends two 
little bìts of wood — two tallies, so to say — two small 
straight pegs. The cord encircled the wrist of the patient; 
the pieces of wood, passed through the middle and third 
finger s, were shut up in the hand of the captor, so that by 
twisting them, he could tighten the bandage at pleasure; 
and thus he possessed means, not only of securing bis 
prisoner, but also of torturing the rcfractory; to do whicb 
more effectually, the cord was full of knots. 

Renzo struggled, and cried, ' What trcachery is this? 
To an honest man! . . / 

But the notary, who had fair words at hand on every 
disagreeable occasion, replied» 'Have patience, they only 
do their duty. What would you bave? They are only 
formalities; and we can't always treat peoplc as we would 
wish. If we don't do as we're bid. it will fare badly with 
US, and worse with you. Have paticnce !' 

While he was spcaking, the two bailiffs gave a sudden 
twitch at the handcufTs. Renzo bore it as a restive borse 
bears the jcrk of a severe bit, and exclaimcd, 'Patiencel* 

' Brave youth ! * said the notary ; * this is the bcst way of 
getting off well. What would you have? It is an annoy- 
ance, I know; but if you bchave well, youll very soon be 
rid of it. And, since I see that you're well-disposed, and 
I feel inclincd to hclp you, TU give you another little piece 
of advice for your good. You niay believe me, for l'm 
practised in those niatters: — go straight forward, without 
looking about. or attracting obscrvation ; so no one will 
notice you, no one will observe what you are, and you will 
preserve your honour. An hour hence you will be set at 
liberty. There is so much to be done. that they, too. will 
be in a hurry to bave done with you; and, besides, I will 
speak . . . You shall go about your own business, and 
nobody will know that you'vc bcen in the hands of justice. 
And you,' continued he. turning to the two bailifTs with a 
severe countenance, * take care you don't do him any harm ; 
for I will protect him. You are obliged to do your duty; 
but reniember that this is an honest man, a cìvil youth, 
who will shortly be at liberty, and who has some regard 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



26S 



says 1 
^^ bis IH 



for lus feoDOur. Lct taothing: appcar bnt ihat you are thrce 
honest roen walkìng togetber," And, in an imperative Ione, 
ind wìtlt a threatcning look, he concluded: * You tindcrstand 
me?' He thcn turncd to Ken^o, his brow smoothed, and 
bis face rendered^ in an instante inore cheerfnl and pleas* 
ant^ which seemed to s^y, ' What capital f rknds wc are ! * 
and whispcred to him agatn. * Bc carefu!; do as I teli you; 
don't look about you; trust one who wishes you well; and 
now Jet U5 go.' Aod the convny moved olT. 

Rcn^o, liowever» believed oone o{ Lhese fine words; fior 
tbat the notary wishcd hiin wcll more tlian the bailififs, nor 
tbat he was so tnighty anxìons about bis reputation, 
nor that he had any intention oi belpìng him; not a word 
ol ali this did he believe: he tinderstood well enough that 
the good man, fearing sotne favourable opportunity for 
nmlcbig bis escape tnlgbt pre^nt ìtself m the way» ìaìd 
before him aU these flatterìng inducemenis, to dìvert bim 
ffom watcbmg for ind profiting by it. So that ali these 
exbonations served no otbcr piirpose thao lo detennine 
Renzo more decidedly on a coursc whkh be had indistinctty 
mcditated, vìz. to act cxactly contrary to tbeifu 

Let no onc hereby conclodc that the notary was an incx- 
perìeticed novice in bis trade, for he will bc mucb deceìvei 
Olir hbloriaii, wlio scema to have bccn among bis fricnds, 
ftays that he was a marrictilated knave ; but at this moment 
bis msiu! was greaily agitated. VVith a cairn mind. I ven- 
ture to say, he would bave laughcd at any ooe wbo, to 
e others lo do somelbing which he himself mistnjstedt 
id bave gone about to sugfest and inculcate it so 
3fcrfy, tinder the miserable pretencc of giving bim the 
dìsìntere^eed ad vice of a friend, But ii h a general len- 
deocy of mankind, whcn they are agitaicd and perplexed, 
ind discern what another can do to relieve ihem from 
their perplcxiiies» to implore It of him cagetly and perse- 
verfegly, and under ali ksnds of pretcxts: and wheti vUlains 
afe agitalcd and perplexcd» they abo fall under ihi» coio- 
laon mie, Hcnce it is that» iti similar circumstances, they 
generally make m fM>or a figure, Those majjterly liivcti* 
tioas, ihose cv.- ■ ìc», by wbtch tbey are acctts- 

to conqj ia¥e bccomc to ihem almost a 




266 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

second nature, and which, put in operation at the proper 
time, and conducted with the necessary tranquillity and 
serenity of mind, strike a blow so surely and secretly, and, 
discovered even after the success, receive such universal 
applause; these, when their unlucky employers are in 
trouble, are hastily and tumultuously made use of, without 
cither judgmcnt or dexterity; so that a third party, who 
observcs thcm labouring and busying themselves in this man- 
ner, is moved to compassion or provoked to laughter; and 
those whom they attempt to impose upon, though less crafty 
than themselves, easily perceive the game they are playing, and 
gain light from their artifices, which may bc tumed against 
them. It can never, therefore, be sufficiently inculcated 
upon knaves by profession, always to maintain their sang 
froid, or, what is better stili, never to get themselves into 
perplexing circumstances. 

No sooner, therefore, were they in the Street, than Renzo 
began to look eagerly in every direction, throwing himself 
about, bendino^ bis head forward, and listening attentively. 
There was, however, no extraordinary concourse; and 
though a ccrtain air of sedition might easily be discemed 
on the face of more than one passer-by, yet every onc went 
straight on bis way; and of sedition, properly speaking, 
there was none. 

* Prudencc ! prudence I ' murmured the notary, behind 
his back : * Your honour, your reputation, my good fellow ! ' 
But when Renzo, listening to three men who were approach- 
ing with excited looks, heard them speaking of a bake- 
housc, concealed flour, and justice, he bcgan to make signs 
at them by his looks, and to cough in such a way as indi- 
cated anything but a cold. These looked more attentively 
at the convoy, and then stopped; others who carne up, 
stopped also ; others who hadpassedby, tumed round on hearing 
the noise, and retracing their steps, joined the party. 

'Take care of yourself; prudence, my lad; it is worse 
for you, you see; don*t spoil ali: honour, reputation/ whis- 
pered the notary. Renzo was stili more intractablc. The 
bailifìfs, after consulting with each other by a look, and 
thinking they were doing quite right, (everybody is liable 
to err,) again twisted the manacles. 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



367 



•Ah! ah! ahi' crìed the torturcd victim: the by-standers 
^gathered dose round at the cry ; others arrived f rom evcry 
I»art of the Street, and the convoy carne to a stand. ' He is 
a dissolute felbw/ whispered the notary to ihosc who had 
gathered around: *A thìef taken in the act l Draw back 
and tnafcc way for justice ! ' But Renzo, secing this was the 
moitient^ — seeing the bailiffs turn white, or at least pale, — ^If 
I don*t help myself now,— thought he, — ìt's my own fault— 
Aiid he immediately cali ed oot, * My friend s ! they are 
drrying me off, because yesterday I shooted '* Bread and 
jntdcel" Fve done nothing; I am an hoiìest mani help 
mt; don't abandon me, my f rJends f 

A tnormar of approbation, followed by more explìcit 
cHes in his favorir, arose in reply; the bailiffs first eom^ 
manded^ ihen asked. ihen begged the nearest to makc wa> 
tnd let them pasi; but the crowd onty continued stili more 
to tram pie and push forward. The bailiffs, seeing their 
dmger. let go of the manacles, and only endeavou red to 
loie theoiselves in the throng, so as to escape v^nibout 
ob«ervation. The notary carnestly tonged to do the sanie; 
Imi this was more diflicult on account of hts black cloak. 
TliiC poor man, pale ìii face and dismaycd in heart. tried 
lo make htmself as dtmintirive as possihle. and wrìthcd his 
body abont so as to slip away thrangh the crovvd; but he 
could not raisc bis eyes, without sectng a storin gathering 
agmìost htm. He tncd every niethod of appeartng a 
Strmnger who, passfng tlicrc by chance, had fotind himself 
eilmngled in the crowd, like a bit of slraw in the ice; and 
«ncountering a man face to face, who looked at him fixedìy 
a more tettiblc countenance than the others, he, coni- 
ag hit face to a smile, with a look of great simplicity» 
ieniaodcd, *What is ali this stir?' 

• Uh ! yoti ugly raven I ' replìed the man. * A rav«n ì m 
mrtn t * resounded around. Pushes were added to erìcs, 
80 thai» in short, partly with his own Icgs, partly by the 
efbowK of nthrrs, he fihtatned what lay nearent to his hcart 
U thai moment, a sale exit from the pressing muhitude. 



CHAPTER XVI 

ESCAPE, escape, my good f ellow 1 here is a convent ; 
there is a church; this way, that way,' was heard 
by Renzo on evcry side. As to cscaping, the reader 
may judge whether he would have need of advice on this 
head. From the first moment that the hope of extricating 
himself from the talons of the police had crossed his mind, 
he had begun to form his plans, and resolved, if he sue- 
ceedcd in this one, to flee without delay, not only out of the 
city, but also out of the duchy of Milan. — For, — thought he, 
— they have my name on their black books, however on 
earth thcy've got it; and with my name and surname, they 
can scize me whcnever they like. — As to an asylum, he 
would not willingly have rccourse to one, unless, indeed, he 
were reduced to extremity; — For, if I can be a bird of the 
woods, — thought he again, — I won't bc a bird of the cage. 
— He had therefore designcd as his limit and place of 
refuge, a village in the territory of Bergamo, whcre his 
cousin Bortolo residcd, who, the reader may rcmembcr, had 
frequently solicited Renzo to rcmovc thithcr. But now the 
point was how to find his way there. Left in an unknown 
part of a city almost equally unknown, Renzo could not evcn 
teli by which gate he should pass to go to Bergamo; and 
when he had learnt this, he stili did not know the way to 
the gate. He stood for a moment in doubt whether to ask 
direction of his liberators; but as, in the short time he had 
had for reflection on his circumstances, many strong sus- 
picions had crossed his mind of that obliging sword-cutler, 
the father of four children. he was not much inclined to 
reveal his intentions to a larjre crowd. where there might 
be others of the same stamp; he quickly dccided. there- 
fore. to get away from that ncin:hhourhof>d as fast as he 
could ; and he might afterwards ask his way in a part where 
nobody would know who he was, or why he askcd 
it. Mcrely saying, then, to his dcliverers, * Thank you, 
thank you, my friends: blessings on you!' and escaping 

268 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



i 



tfiTOUgh the space that was tmmediately cle&red for him, 
he took to bis licei s, and off he wcnt^ up onc little Btreet, 
arid down anothcr, running for some lime wìtliout know- 
tng whithcr. When he ihought he was lar cnough off, 
he slackcned his pace, rtot to excìte suspìcìoti, and begati 
looking aroiind lo cboose some persoa oi wbcm he couid 
make inqtiirìes — some face that wouid inspire confidencc. 
Bm here* also, therc was need of cautlon. The inquiry 
itself was stispicìoysr tìme pressed; the bailiffs, mimC' 
iatcly on niaking thcir escape from this rencootre, wotild, 
ndoubteiily, rencw thetr search of the fugitive; the rumoiir 
hi his flight might cvcn bave reached hither: and in such 
a concourse, Renro might careCully scmtinìie a dozen phy- 
ilognomìes, he f ore he could mcet wilh a coutncnance that 
seezncd Itkely to siik hts pur pose. That fat fellow, standing 
at the door of bis shop, with legs extended» and bis hands 
bchind his back, the promtncnt corpulency of this person 
projecting beyond the doorway, and supporting bis grcat 
doitble chin; wbo, from mere idlcncss, was employing him- 
sclf in alternatcly raising bis tremendous bulk upon his toc*, 
letting it sìnk again upon bis beels— he looked too mttell 
e an inquisitive gossip, who vvould bave return ed interrog- 
lofies instead of repbes. Thai othcr, advancing with fixed 
eycs and a droopitig lip, instcad of being able expedìtiously 
lod satisfactorily to direct another in bis way, scarcely 
fecmcd to know his ow*n. That tali, stout boy, who, to say 
the iruih, certamly looked ìntelligent enough, appeared also 
er maliciouslv inclined, and probably would bave taken 
mischìevoys delight in sendìng a poor siranger exacily the 
te way lo the one he was inquirlng after. So tr^e ia 

it, to a man in perplexìty, almost everything seems to bc 

1 »cw perplcxity! At last, fixing bis eycs on one who was 
tpproachtng in evident baste, he thought that he, Iiaving 
probably some pressing business in band* woiild givc an 
iate and direct answer» to grt ntl of bim: and hearing 
ing to himself, he deemcd that he mmt he an linde- 
person. He, tbcreforc» accoi*ted bim with the ques* 
* Will >oa bc good enoughto teli mt^ sir, wliiebdirectioi] 
ihotUd takc to go to Bergamo? * 
*To go lo Bergamo? The P^ma Orientale.' 



lod 



"f 



270 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

'Thank yoti, sir: and to the Porta Orientale?* 

*Take this Street to the left; you will come out into the 
square of the cathedral ; then . . .' 

* That will do. sir ; I know the rest. Heaven reward you/ 
And on he went by the way that had been pointed out to 
him. His director looked after him for a moment, and com- 
paring in his mind his way of walking, with the inquiry, 
thought within himself, — Either he is after somebody, or 
somebody is after him. — 

Renzo reached the square of the cathedral, crossed it, 
passed by a heap of cinders and extinguished combustibles, 
and recognized the relics of the bonfire at which he had 
assisted the day before; he then passed along the flight of 
steps leading up to the cathedral, and saw again the bake- 
house of the Crutches half demoHshed, and guarded by sol- 
diers; stili he proceeded onward, and, by the Street which 
he had already traverscd with the crowd, arrived in front 
of the convent of the Capuchins. where, glancing at the 
square and the church-door, he said to himself with a deep 
sigh: — That friar ycsterday gave me good advice, when he 
bid me go wait in the church, and employ niyself profitably 
there. — 

Hcre he stoppcd a moment to rcconnoitre the gate through 
which he had to pass ; and sccing, evcn at that distancc, many 
soldicrs on guard, his imagination also being rather ovcr- 
strained, (one must pity him; for he had had enough to 
unsettle it,) he felt a kind of repugnance at encountering the 
passage. Here he was, with a place of re fu gè dose at band, 
where, with the Ictter of recommendation, he would bave 
been well reccived; and he felt strongly teniptcd to enter it. 
But he quickly summoned up his couragc, and thought: — A 
bird of the woods, as long as I can. Who knows me? Cer- 
tainly the bailiffs cannot bave divided themselvcs into enough 
picces to come and watch for me at every gate. — He looked 
bchind him to see if they were coming in that direction, and 
saw neither them, nor any one who sccmed to be taking notice 
of him. He, therefore, set off again. slackcned the pace of 
those tmfortunate legs which, with their own good will, would 
bave kept constantly on the run, when it was much better 
only to walk; and, proceeding leisurely along» whistling in 



I PKOMESSI SPOSI 



tn 



m^ier-tùne, ht arrivcd at the gate. Just at ihe cntrance 

(there was a party of polìcc-oRicfrs, together with a rein- 

f*irc€raent of Spanhh soldicrs: but these aìl had thcir alteo- 

don dtr<^ctcd to the otitslde^ lo forbid cntrancc to such as» 

Lbcarìng the news of an msorTection, W5uìd flock thithcr like 

riilturcs to a deserted ficld of battlc ; so that Ren^o, quielly 

ìkìng oHj with hìs eyes beni to the ground, and with a 

fgait hctwcen that of a traveller and a common passengerj 

passcd the threshold wtihout any one speak ing a word to 

ibim: but hls hcart beat violcntly, Scemg a little Street to 

Ne Tight, he took that way to ai'old the high road, and con* 

5ued hls course for some ttme beforc he vcnttired to look 

>nn4. 

Oh he wenlj he carne to collages and villages, whìch ht 
scd withoot asking tbeir oames: he felt certato of gctting 
mwsy froni Milan, and hopcd he was goìng towards Bergamo, 
aod this was enough for him at prcsent, From tlme to urne 
he kepi glancing behind hìm, while walking onwards, occa- 
laiontlly look ing at and nibbing one or other of bis wrists» 
^ich were sttlì a little benumbed, and marked with a red lioe 
the pressure of the nianacles. His tboughts were. as 
rery ooe may ìmagine, a confused medley o£ repentanccp 
disfmtes, disquietudc, rcvengc, aTid other more tender feel- 
iBgf ; it was a wearying endeavour to recali what he had 
iald and done the night before, to imrayel tfie ttiystcrious 
p»rt of his moumful adventures, and, above ali, how tbey 
had managed to discover bis name, His suspicions naturally 
fell on the sword-cutler, to whom he remembered having 
Bpoken very frankly. And retraeing the way in which he had 
dnwn him into conversai ion, together with hls whole be- 
haviour, and those proHers which always ended in wishing 
to kmm «omething about him, his suspicions were changcd 
ahsu^st to ccrtainty. He had, bestdes, some faìrit recoltection 
of oootinuìng to chatter after the dcparture of the ctitler; 
but wtth whora ? gucss K ye crickets : of what ? his meraory^ 
«pile of his effoTts, could not teli hiin ihts : it could only rc- 
hifn that he had noi bcen at a!l htm^eif that evenlng. 
feUow was lost in thcse speciilatìons; he waa like a 
who has afifbced hh signature io a number of bUnk Cor* 
and commirtcd thcni to the care ol aoe he ertecincd 




272 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

honest and honourable, and having discovcred him to be m 
shuffling meddler, wishes to asccrtain the state of hts affairs. 
What can he discover? It is a chaos. Another painful 
speculation was how to form some design for the fature that 
would not be a merely aèrial project, or at least a melancholj 
one. 

By and by, howevefy he became stili more anxious about 
finding bis way; and after walking for some distance at a 
venture, he saw the necessity of making some inquirìes. 
Yet he felt particularly reluctant to utter the word * Ber- 
gamo/ as if there were something suspicious or dangerous in 
the name, and could not bring himself to pronounce it He 
resolved, however, to ask direction, as he had before done at 
Milan, of the first passenger whose countcnance suited his 
fancy, and he shortly met with one. 

' You are out of the road/ replied his guide ; and having 
thought a moment, he pointed out to him, partly by words and 
partly by gestures, the way he should take to regain the high 
road. Renzo thanked him for his dircctions, and pretended 
to follow them, by actually taking the way he had indicated, 
with the intention of almost reaching the public road, and 
then.without losing sight of it. to kccp parallel with its course 
as far as possible, but not to set foot within it. The design 
was easicr to conceive than to effcct, and the result was, 
that, by going thus from right to left in a zigzag course, partly 
following the dircctions he obtained by the way, partly cor- 
recting them by his own judgment, and adapting thcm to his 
intentions, and partly allowing himself to be guided by the 
lanes he traversed, our fugitive had walked pcrhaps twelve 
miles, when he was not more than six distant from Milan; 
and as to Bergamo, it was a great chance if he were not 
going away from it. He began at last to perceive that by this 
method he would ne\'er come to an end. and determined to 
find out some remedy. The pian that occurred to his mind 
was to get the name of some villago bor^lcrins: on the con- 
fines. which he could reach by the ncighUniring roads : and 
by asking his wzy thithcr. he could coUect iniormation, with- 
out leaving bchind him the name of Bergamo, which sccmcd 
to him to savour so strongly of flight. esca:x\ and crime. 

Wbile ruminating on the best way of obtaining these 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



m 



'' iBStmctiofis wiAout exciting suspicion, he saw a btisH hang* 

ii^ over the door of a solitary cottage just autsìde a little 

villane. He had for some timc fdt the need of recnjiting 

bis stteogth, and thbking that this wotild be the place to 

serve two ptirposes at once, he entercd, Thcrr was no one 

withict but aw old woman, with her distai at her side, and the 

sptndle in her haod. He asked for something to eat* and 

was oficrcd a little stracchino^ and some good wine ; he gladly 

aciee|>ted the food^ but cxcused hiniself from taking any wine, 

feeling quite an abhorrence of it, after the crrors it had 

made him guilty of the night before ; and then sat down, beg* 

iging the old woman to make baste. She sened up bis meal 

Ila a moiìient, and then began to tease her customcr wlth in- 

'qolrles, both abont himself, and the grand doinga at Mìlan» the 

report of which had al ready rcachcd hcre. Remo not only 

Icontrivcd to parry and elude her inqtiiries wìth much dex- 

[terity, but even prohted by the difficuUy, and ni ade the curi- 

cslty of the old woman rtibservient to his ìntentions, wben she 

asked him whcre he was ^oing to. 

•I bave to go to inany places/ replied he: *and if I can 
find a moment of time, I want to pass a httle while at that 
▼lllage, rather a large one, on the road to Bergamo, near the 
tiorder» btit in the territory of Milan . . . WTiat do they cali 
it?' — There must be one there, surely, — ^thonght he, io the 
Isnean wbìle. 

* Gorgonzola you roean/ replied the old womaiL 

* Gorgonzola ! ' repeatcd Renzo, as tf to imprint the word 
better on his memory, * Is it very far from bere?* rcsumed 
Ile* 

*1 don't know exactly ; ìt raay be ten or twelve miles. Il 
ocie ol roy soos were bere, he couid tei! you.' 

* And do you think I can go by thcsc pleas^t ìanes wtthout 
Italnng the high road? There ts swch a dust ihere ! snch a 

shocking dust J It's m long siticc It rained ! * 

•1 fancy you can: you can ask at the first village you 
conic lo, after turning to the right/ And she namcd it 

* Tbal*« weU/ said Rcnzu ; and risiag, he look in bis band 
a piece of brcad remaining from his Kaniy meal, of a r^ty 

fercot qtialsfy to that which he had found the day beforfi 

«AModolMlli 



174 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



at the fooi of die cross ai San Dìanigi; and pxying Ite 
LTcckoning, he set off «gain, followìtig the roac! lo àifi 
ftiand. By taking care not t« wandcr f rom II mere than 
necdful, and with the name o£ Gorgontola in liis momh, he 
proceeded irom village to village, tmtil, abottt an hour before 
sunset, he arrived ihcre. 

During hìa walk, he had retolved to make another ilopj 
hefc. and to lakc some rather tnorc aubsmiiUal relreib*" 
nent His body aJso craved a little rest; but rather ihmJ 
ratify ihis desi re, Renzo wotild have sunk fn a ^woon ujym ' 
Ile ground* He prriposed gaìtiing some ii"' . 

in about the distance of the Adda, to asce 
li there wES any cros»*roatl that ]ed to il, an 
^ttgiin, even at this hour, hìimediately after his re, ., .. :, .,a 
and hrought tip at the second soiree, so to say, of this rtircr» 
he had ofteti heard it aaid, that at a certain poìnt, and for, 
some conssderahle distance, ìt served as a boundmry betwe 
the Milanese and Veiictian states: he had no very distìnct 
idea of whcre this boiindary commenced, or bow far it ex» 
tended; but, for the prcscnt, \m principaì object waa to 
beyond it, If he did noi succeed in reacbtng it that evtsaigi^/. 
he resolved to walk as long at the night aod his strengtb 
wouid allow him, and afierwards to wait the approacbing 
day in a 6eld, or a wilderncss, or whererer God plcased, fifo» 
vided it werc not an inn. 

After walking a few paces along the Street at Gorigon- 
zola, he noticed a sign, eiitered the inn, and on the laiìd- 
lord*» advancing to mcet htm* ordered somclhing to cat, 
and a small mcasure of winc: the atlditional niiU-s he had 
passed, and the lime of day, havtng overcomc his extrenic 
and fanatical hatred of this bcvcrage, *I must b«f ytm 
to be qnìck/ added he; ' for Vm obligcd lo go oo my way 
again very soon/ Thit he »atd not only becatue It was 
the trtitbp but also for fear the boft. iniaginrng that be 
wa$ goiof to pass the night tbere; ahoald eomc and aiic | 
him ht» name aod stiniame, and where be came from, aad< 
on what bufine»» . , . But enotsgh ! 

Tbe landloT ' that he fhotsld be waìted upon imoia^ 

dtately ; and K ^lown al the end of the Cable* near ibm 

door/tltc usuai place of tbe baihfui. 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



m 



Some leuogtrs oì the vìUage had assemblcd in tliìs room, 
fwho, after having argued over, and disciissed» and coni- 
mented upoo, the grand news from Milan of the preceding 
day, werc now longing to know a little how matters werc 
going on; the more so, as thcir first inforoiation was rather 
to irritate their curìosity than to satisfy it; a scdition, 
ktr subdued iior trìuniphant : suspended, rather than ter- 
Ited, by the approach of night; a defcctivc thìtig: the 
cODclusìon of an act» rather than of a drama, One of these 
dctached himself from the party, and seating hìmsdf hy the 
iiew còmcr, asked hkn li he carne from Mììan. 

* I ? ' said Renio, in a tone of surprtsc, to gain time f or a 
reply. 

* Yon, tf the questìon h MowMtJ 
RenxOi, shaking hh head, comprcssing his lìps, and uttering 

tnartietiUte sound. repUfd; 'Mllan, from what I hear 
, froro what they say aronnd . . , is Rot ex^ctly a place to 
go at present, unle!^^ in case of great necessity/ 

* Docj? the uproar continue, thcn, to*day?* demandcd his 
nqnisitive companìon more eagcdy. 

* 1 must hnvc been thcrc to know that,* said Rcnjo. 

* But you — don't yoy come from Milan? * 

* ì come from Liscatc/ re|3lied the youth^ promptly. wbo, 
the ifiean while, had dectded tJpon hts reply* Strictly 

ting. he had come frotn ihere, because he had passed tt; 
he had leamt the namc from a traveller on the road, who 
tneiujoned tliat village as the 6rst he must pass on his 
%ray to fjorgonxob. 

'Oh!* said hìs friend, in that tone which seems to say; 
rkvc ilnne lictter if you had come from Milan; hut 
[j ' And at Lisca te,' added he, 'did you hear nothing 

ubotif Milan ? * 

* There may very tikciy have beeo somebody who knew 
[imethtng about ìt/ rcpiied the mountaineer, * bnt l hcard 
Qthing/ And this was proffered in that particular manner 

aeems to mean: Tre finished. The r^uerist retumed 
I a moment afterwardà, tlic landlord carne 



•l 



ut 



rhe Adda ? ' asked Renzo, in an 
le who h bali :utecp, and aa 



276 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

indifferent manner, such as we have already seen him assume 
on some other occasions. 

* To the Adda — to cross it? ' said the host. 
' That is . . . yes . . . to the Adda/ 

' Do you watit to cross by the bridge of Cassano, or the 
Ferry of Canonica ? ' 

*0h, I don't mind where ... I only ask from curì- 
osity.' 

' Well, I mention these, because they are the places gentle- 
men generally choose, and people who can give an account 
of themselves.' 

* Very well ; and how far is it ? ' 

'You may reckon that to either one or the other, it is 
somewhere about six miles, more or less/ 

*Six miles! I didn't know that/ said Renzo. 'Well/ 
resumed he, with a stili greater air of indifTerence, almost 
amounting to affectation, *well, I suppose therc are other 
places for crossing, if anybody is inclined to take a short 
cut?' 

' There are, certainly,' replied the landlord, fixing his eyes 
upon him with a look full of malicious curiosity. This was 
enough to silence ali the other inquiries which our youth 
had ready on his lips. He drew his piate before him, and, 
looking at the small measure of wine which the landlord had 
set down on the table, said, * Is the wine pure ? * 

* As gold,' said the host ; ' ask ali the people of the village 
and neighbourhood, for they know it; and, besides, you can 
taste yourself/ So saying, he tumed towards his other cus- 
tomers. 

' Piagne on these landlords ! ' exclaimed Renzo in his heart; 
*thc more I know of them. the worsc I find them/ How- 
ever, he began to eat very heartily, listening at the same 
time, without appearing to pay any attcntion, to see what he 
could Icam, to discovcr what was the general impression bere 
about the great event in which he had had no little share; 
and, above ali, to ascertain if, amongst these talkers, there 
was one honest man, of whom a poor fellow might venture 
to make inquiries, without fear of getting into a scrape, and 
being forced to talk about his own doings. 

'But,' said one» 'this time, it seems dear the Milanese 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



277 



wazitcd to bring about a vcry gciod thing* Wdl ; to-m&rrow, 
ftt lai^su wt shall know sometbing,' 

• Vm sorry I didii*t go to Milati this mofoìfig,* said another. 
*If yùu go to*morrow, TU go with you/ saìd a tJurd; *so 

ili 1/ said another; 'and 1/ saìd another. 

*Wbai I want to know/ resumed the first, * is, whether 

bcse Milanese gentlcmen will think of us poor pcoplc out 

>f the city; or if theyUl only gel good laws made for them* 

Jves, Do you know how they do, eh ? Thcy are ali proud 

ìtkens. every one for himscH ; and we sirangers tnìghtn't be 

"Cliristians/ 

*WcV€ mouths, too, cither to eat, or to give our own 
[jinions/ said another, with a voice as modest as the propo* 
►itiofi was darbg; 'sud when things havc gonc a Utile 
furthcr , , / But he did not think fit to finish the sentcnce. 

*There's com hldden, not only at Milan/ another was 
beginning, with a dark and designing coantenance, whcn 
bey heard the trampling of a borse approaching; they ran 
the door, and having discovered who it was, they aìl went 
it to mcct him. It was a Milanese merchant who gè ne rally 
ed the night at this ine. in joumcying two or three times 
jrear lo Bergamo on business; and as he almost always 
the aame company there, they wcre ali his acquaint- 
accs. Thcy now crowded aroiind him ; one took his brìdle, 
lother his stirrup, and saltited him with, * Welcome/ 

• 1 m glad to scc yon.* 

• Have yoti had a good journey ? ' 
' Vcr>' good ; and how are yoa ali ? ' 
'Pretty welL pretta- well What news from Milan?' 
•Ahf yoa are always for news/ said the merchant, dJs- 

fnounitng, and leaving his borse in the care of a boy. * An4 

JUcside^/ contfntied he, entering the door with the rest of 

|hc party, * by this lime yon know it, perhaps, better tban I 



* I asstire yon we know nothing/ saìd more than one, lay- 
Bg his han ' v 

Jjj^ it po*i- lé merchant * Thcn you shall bear 

fine ♦ , . f^r nathcr, some bad news, Hcy» ìandlord^ is 
Fbtual bed at lìberiv ? \'cry wcll ; a gln^s of wine. and my 
ili meaJ ; be qukk, for I must go to bed early, and »et of! 



278 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 




t(>*KJorrow rtiorning very catly» so as to gct to Berfnmi 
hy difiner-time. And you/ continucd he, sittmg down at 
Ihe opposite end of the table to where Renzo was seatecL 
siìently but atterìtively Ibtening, 'you don*t know ibotil alt 
the diabolkai doings of ycsterday?* 
' Ycs. we heaxd somethmg about yesterday/ 

* You see now ì * rejotned the merchatit ; * yoo know the 
news. I thoughtj whcn you are stationed Iierc tll day, to 
watch and sound everybody that Comes by * * / 

' Btìt to-day : how bave mattcrs gone to-day ? * 

* Ah, to*day. Do yoii koow nothing abotit to-day?* 

* Nothing wb a te ver : nobody has come by/ 
*Then let me wet my lìps: and aftcrwards 111 teli 

àbout everything. You shall bear/ Having filled bt^ ^fni 
he took it in bis Hght band, and, lifting up hìs it s' 

with the first two fìngers nf bis left, and tbcn $rr ^ j* 
beanf with the palm, he drank it off, and conlinued:— 
• There was little wanting , my worthy f riends, to make I0- 
day as rough a day as yesterday, or worse. I can scarce^ 
belicve it true that I am bere to teli you about it : for I bad 
once put aside every tbnught of tny joumcy, to i^tay and takc 
care of tny itn fortunate shop* 

* What was the matter, then?* said one of hU atjditors. 
'What was the matter? you %hM bear/ And, 

the mcat that was set beforc hìm, he began to eat, at ti 
game tJmc continuing bis narration. The crowd, standmip 
at hoth sides of the lablc, listened to him with open fnouths; 
and Rento, apparently giving no heed to what he said, 
listened, perhaps, more eagerfy thnn sny of the otbcrs^ ai 
he slowly finblied the la-st few^ nmtithfuls. 

* Tbis iiiornìng, thcn. tbose rascals whn made suri i - 
ble uproar yesterday, rcpaired lo tlie appoìnted 1 i 
meeting (there was al ready an understandlng between theni« 
and evctythìng was arranged) ; thcy united together, and 
began agam the otd story of gobg froni Street to Street* 
Ahoutìng to eollect a erowd. You ' 't is lìkc whcn one 
sweeps a house — w^ilh r#**fpert hr • ^the heaf» nf dti^^t 
inerea^es aa one gr^c 1 
assembled eiough p( v^ ^ 
tbo iupennteiident of proviaion»; aa ti i; ^m tbey 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



179 



Vie htm ycsterday was not enougli, to a gentleman of his 

»ctcr— t2ie villainsi And the lies they told about himl 

ilivrriiions : he is a worthy. exact gentleman : and I niay 

ay so, forlajn very intimate with him» and serve hìm witli 

tlcitli lor his servante* livery. They proceedcd theii towards 

bis house; you otight to sce what a rabbie, and what fac^$: 

fancy their having passed tny shop» with faces that < . . 

bc Jcws of the K«n Crucis are nothing to thcni. And such 

blngs as they uttered ì cnough to make one stop one*s ears, if 

had not hecn that it mìght have tiimed to account in dis- 

avering one. They weitt forward ihen wtth the kind inten- 

iofi of pTunderìng the house, but . . / Here he raised his kft 

hand and extend^ it in the air, placing the end of his thumb 

OQ the point of his nose. 

* Btit? * said almo^t ali his audilors. 

* BtiC continued the merchant, ' they fotind the Street 
Mockaded with planks and carts, and bchind this barricadOi 
a good file of toldiers. with their guns levelled, and the butt* 
eiids rcuting on tbcir shotitdcrs. VVhen they saw thìs prepara* 
tjon , . . What would you have done f ' 

Turntd back/ 

•To he 6urc; and so did ihey, But just llsten if it wasn'l 

dcvìi that inspired them, They reachcd the Cordusiù, and 

re saw the bake*house which they wanted to plunder the 

.brfore: bere they were busy in distributing brcad to 

cu5toniers; i!iere were noblemcn theie, ay, the very 

of the nohiiity» to wntch that everjthìng went ©n in 

tofdcr; but the niob (ihoy had the devil within thein, I 

a, and l>esides, there were some whispering in their 

and urging ihem on). the mob nishcd io fnnoufily; 

awsy, and I wtll seize too:** in the tw*inkling of an 

^iióblemcn, bakeri, ctistomers, Ioaves. benehes, oounicrs, 

b, chc*ts, bags, sieves, bran, Hour, dougfa, al! wer* 

5e<l 11^ ' " ■•vTi ' 

! f rs?' 

* The soìiiitrr^ had the vicaria house to defeod; ooc CBitQOt 
Dg aod rarr\ the cros^ at the same tim& Il was ali dofia 

the tv f aj] eye, I telJ you: off and away; evcry- 

^ th-i V ->€ put to any use waj» cairied off, .\nd thcn 

proposcd again the beautiful scene of ycsterday— drag- 



raetjee 



ALESSANDRO MAKZOKI 

gìng the rcst to the square, and makìng a bonfirc* They had 
already begiin — the villains !— to carrj* some ^lìngs oui of 
the house, whcn ooe grcater vtliaìn than the re^t — what da 
yoy think was the proposal he madc?* 

•What?' 

' What I to make a pHc of cvcrything in the shop, aad ti? 
set fife to the heap and the house togciber. Ho soocier said 
Ihaa done . , .' 

•DJd they set fire to it?' 

* Wait. A worthy man of the oeighbourhood had ao in- 
spira tion from Heavcn. He ran np-stairs, songht (or a 
cracifix, found one,-and hting it in front of one of the Win- 
dows; then he took two candtcs which had bcen hkssed. Ut 
them, and set them outside, <m the wtndow*sÌlU one 00 cadi 
side of the crucifìx. The mob looked up* Il must be owned, 
there is stili some fear of God in Milaii; everybody carne 
their scn&es* At teast, 1 mean most of them ; thcrc were soe 
certainly, devils enough lo bave set fire lo Paradise» for th« 
sake of plunder; biit, fiiiding that the crowd was net of tJiCJT 
opinion, they were obliged to abandon their design, and 
keep quiet. Just faocy now who arrìved — ali their Gracti 
of the Cathedra!, in proeessioo, with the cross elcvatcd, and 
in their canonica] robcs; and my lord the Ardi prr-itivtrr 
bcgan preaching on one side, and my lord the Pei 

on tlie otiier, and oihers again, scattercd bere ami nti-rcij 
** But« good peopte; what would you do? is tliis the 
you set your childrcn? go home, go home; you shall hm% 
brcad at a low pricc; ìf you1l only look yon'U aee ihat 
rate is pasted up at cvcrv corner.*' * 

'Wasitso?' 

*\Vhat? was ìt so? Do yon thtnk tbat their Graces of 
the Cathedral would come, io their magnìfìccitt robes, to teli 
them falsehoods?" 

' And what did the people do?* 

* l'hey dispcrsed by degrees; some ran to the cornerà ef tha 
strccts« and for thofe who cotild read, ihere was the Sxcd 
rate, sure cnotigh. What do you ibtnk of it ? cight ouoees of 
bread for a penny ' 

* What good Inck ! * 
' The ffùùf ùf the ^ding it m the cutimg. How ' 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



mi 



► you tìiiiik ihcy have wasictl ycstcrday and thìs 
Eiìough to support ìhe Ducby for two months/ 
'Then thcyVe made no good laws fot us In the 
oimtry?' 

' What has bcen donc at Mìlaa is entirtly at the expense 
of the city. I don't know what to say to you ; it must be as 
_God wl!!s, Fortonately, the sedition is finishcd, for I 
àveii't told you ali yet; bere comes the best part' 
" " at is tberc bestdes?' 
iily, that, tast eventng, or thU morning, l'm oot surc 
many of the Icaders have been seixed, and Ioar of 
it is known, are to be hvmg directly. No sooner did 
Its get abroad, than cvcrybody wcnt home the shortest 
way, noe to mn the risk of becoming number five. WheQ 
I left Milan, it looked like a convent ol Iriars/ 
*But wtll they really bang them?' 
* Undoubledly, and quickly, too/ repHed the merchant 
*And what will tlic people do?* asked the samc inter- 
^fpgltor as had pnt the other question. 

'The people will go to see them/ said the merchant 
bey had such a desire to sce a Christian hanging in the 
air, that they wanied — ibe vagabonds! — ^to despatch 
superi ntendem of provislons in that way, By this €X- 
Cliange they will have four wrctches, attended with every 
formalìty, accompanted by Capnchins, and by friars of 
the tuona morie f bui they deserve it, It is an interferenee 
of Pro%'idcnce, you see; aod ìfs a neccssary thing, They 
wcTc already beginnìng to divert tb^Dselves by enicring 
shops, and helping themselves witbout paying; if tbcy'd 
them go on so, alter bread, winc woyld bave had Itt 
tiiiTU and so on from thing to thing. . . . Yoa may imaglne 
^hethcr they would abandon &o convenient a practice. of 
own ftee will. And I can teli you, that was no very 
it thought for an honest man keeping a shop/ 






HimlTy if'%^cn to the moniti of thr r-,ri^tT óf St* P»ll«, 

" i*f il mctU, «A 

% to Iure witli 

KtÀrr, V)r Iti 

' Touf 

ir la 

, _ ni« 

of dwth hujW% «jch 'ImI .11- itsc ubètj linea by tJa-'ir rtUUoOV 
to bf (wkbrjitcfl ÌQt tli«m.* 



282 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

' Certainly not/ said one of his hearers. * Certaitily noC 
replied the rest, in chorus. 

* And,' continued the merchant, wiping his beard with the 
table-cloth, *it had ali been project ed for some tirae: there 
was a league, you know/ 

* A league, was there ? ' 

* Yes, there was a league. Ali cabals formed by the 
Navarrines, by that French cardinal there, you know, with 
a half-Turkish name, who every day contrives something 
fresh to annoy the court of Spain. But, above ali, he aims 
at playing some trick in Milan; for he knows well enougfa 
— the knave — ^that the strength of the king lies there/ 

•Ay/ 

' Shall I give you a proof of it? Those who've made the 
greatest noise were strangers ; there were faces going about 
which had never before been seen in Milan. By the by, I 
forgot to teli you one thing which was told me for certain. 
The police had caught one of these fellows in an inn . . .* 
Renzo, who had not lost a single syllable of this conversa- 
tion, was taken with a cold shudder on hearing this chord 
touched, and almost slipped under the table before he 
thought of trying to contain himself. No one, however, 
perceived it; and the speaker, without interrupting his 
relation for a moment, had continued : * They don't exactly 
know where he came from, who sent him, nor what kind 
of man he was, but he was certainly one of the leaders. 
Yesterday, in the midst of the uproar, he play ed the very 
devil; and then, not content with that, he must begin to 
harangue the people, and propose — a mere trifle! — to mur- 
der ali the nobilityl The great rascal ! Who would 
support the poor if ali the nobles were killcd? The police, 
who had been watching him, laid hands upon him; they 
found on his person a great bundle of letters, and were 
leading him away to prison, but his companions, who were 
keeping guard round the inn, came in great numbers, and 
delivered him — the villain ! ' 

*And what became of him?' 

' It isn't known ; he may be fled, or he may be concealed 
in Milan : they are people who bave neither house nor home, 
and yet find lodging and a place of refuge every where; 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



HI I 



bowcver, tHough the dcvil can and wilJ help thcm, yct ìhty 
may fall into the hatids of justìce when they least expect 
it; lor whoi t^ic pear is ripe ìt must falU For the prescnt, 
tt iS weli knowiJ that the letters are in possessìon of gov- 
emoient, and ibat the wholc conspìracy is theretn de^crtbed ; 
anil ihey say that cnany people are implicated in it, This 
mueh ts ctrtaiti, that ihey have tunied Milan upsìde dowo, 
md would have done much worse, It is said that the bakers 
are rogues: I know they are; btit they ought to be huiig 
in the coiirse of j astice. They say there is coru hidden; 
ho doesn't know that? But it is the business of the gov- 
lìuent ta keep a good 1ook*out to brìng it to Hght, and 
hang the monopolists in conipany with the bakers. And 
if govcrnnient does nothbg, the city ought to remonstrate ; 
^nd ìf they don*t listen the first lime, remonstrate agatn; 
fot by dint of appcals they will get what they want; but 
noi adopt the villaLnous practice of furiously entering shops 
and warchouses to gei booty/ 

Een^o's amali njeal had turned into poison, It seemed 
tlke an age before he could gei out of, and away from^ the 
ion and the l'ìltage; and a dozen tìmes, at least» he had saìd 
lo hitnself: ' Now I may surely go,* But the fear of 
eaecìttng suspicion, now incrcased beyond nieasure, and 
pf^erailtng over every nther thought, had kept hi tu stili 
nailed to his seat. In this perplexity, he ihought the chat- 
Urct must at last stop talking about hitn, and determined in 
bb own mind to luake his escape as soon as another sub* 
ject was started. 

* For thts rcaaon,* said one of the party, ' knowing how 
tbcic things go, and that honest men fare but badly in sudi 
disturbanccs^ I wouidn't lei my curiosity cooqyer, and 
hiTC. t bere f ore, rcmained cjuietly at home** 

* Neither would l move, fot the same reason/ said 
anotber. 

* 1/ added a third» 'il I had happened by chance lo be 
it Milan, l would bave left any business whatever tnifin- 
tahed, and liavc teturned hoiue as quickly as possible, I 
bave a v ' * rhihlrcii ; anri, bcsides, lo teli ihe truth, I 
llaci't lik n: 

Al Ibi : . :it che tandlord, who had bcen cagerly 



284 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

listening with the rest, advanced towards the other end of 
the table to see what the stranger was doing. Renzo seized 
the opportunit>% and beckoning to the host, asked for his 
account, settled it without dispute, though his purse was 
by this time very low; and without further delay, wcnt 
directly to the door, passed the threshold, and taking care 
not to tum along the same road as that hy which he had 
arrived, set off in the opposite direction, trusting to the 
guidance of Providence. 



CHAPTER XVTT 

ONE wisli h often cnough to allow a man no pcacc; 
what, ihen, mtist two have becn— one at war with 
the other? Our poor Een^o, as the readcr knows, 
had had two such con^TCUng desìres in his mìnd fot sev- 
era! hours; the wish to makc his escape, witli the wish to 
reitiain undiscovered : and the unfortunate wordi ci the 
isiercbatst had increased both one and the other to an ex- 
travagant degree, His adventure, then, had got abroadì 
Therc werc means, ihcn, employcd, lo seke himl "WTio 
knew how many bailififs were in the field to give htm chaset 
or wbat orders had bcen forwarded to keep a watch in the 
Ytllifes^ at the imi, on the roadsl He reflected, howcver, 
Iftat, after ali, there were bitt two baitiffs who kncw him^ 
tad Ihat his nanie was tiot written upoti bis forehcad; but 
Ihcn, agatn, a himdred stories he had heard rushed into his 
flttnd, of fogitìves caught and discovcred in many strangc 
ways, recognized by their walk, by their suspicious air, 
tud other unthought of tokens: evetything exdted bis 
ilarm* Althoiigh, as he left Gorgonzola, the tolUitg of the 
Avemaria sounded in his ears, and the increasìng dark- 
iie$» every moment dimìnisbed his danger, yet it was very 
aawlUingly that he took the high road, proposing to follow 
tti€ first by*lane which seemed likely to bring him io the 
potnt he was so anxiotis to reach. At first, he occasionally 
met a traveìfer: but so full was his imaginatton of direftìl 
appre ben Sion s, that he had not eourage lo detain any one 
lo tDqtiire his way*— That innkeeper said sue mìles^ — 
tbcmght he. — If, by takiilg these foot-patha and by-!ancs» I 
iDake ihcm eight» or cven ten, my leg^ which ha ve bstéd 
so far» wil! menage thesc too. Vm cettainjy not go- 
towardà Milan, mù l must bc gomg towards the Adda. 
away« then; sooner or !atcr, I shall gei there* The 
bas a good voiee; and when once Vm near It, I 
"ihao't want aitybody io point it out to me ff any boat 
ere, riJ oroii directlyj If tiot, TU wait tiU osonilag» 

m 



286 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

in a ficld, or on a tree, like the sparrows: better on a trce 
than in prison. — 

Very soon, he saw a lane turning down to the left, and 
he pursued it. 

At this hour, il he had met with any one, he would no 
longer have hesitated to address him; but he heard not a 
footstep of living creature. He followed, therefore, the 
windings of the lane, indulging, the mean while, in such 
reflections as these: 

— I play the devil! I murder ali the nobility! A packet 
of lettera — I! My companions keeping guard around mei 
l'd give something to meet with that merchant face to 
face, on the other side of the Adda, (ah, when shall I gct 
across that blessed Adda?) Td make him stand, and ask 
him, at my convenience, where he had pickcd up ali this 
fine information. Just please to be informed, my dear 
sir, that the thing went so and so; aiid that ali the mis- 
chief I play ed was helping Ferrer, as if he had becn my 
brother: know, moreover, that those rascals who to bear 
you talk, one would think wcre my fricnds, because once 
I said a word or two, like a good Christian, wanted to 
play me a very rough trick; know, too. that while you 
were taking care of your own shop, I was cndangering 
my ribs to savc your signor, the superintcndent of pro- 
visions — a man I never either knew or saw in my life. 
Wait and see if I ever stir again to help gentlemen . . . 
It is true we ought to do it for our soul's good: they are 
our neighbours, too. And that great bundle of lettcrs, 
where ali the conspiracy was revealed. and which you 
know for certain is in the hands of govcmment; sure 
enough, I couldn't show it you bere without the help of 
the devil. Would you have any curiosity to sce this mighty 
packet? Look bere ... A siiìgle letter! . . . Yes. my 
good sir, one letter only; and this lettor, if you'd like to 
know, was written by a monk capable of instructing you 
in any point of doctrine you wish, — a monk, without doing 
you injustice, a single hair of whosc beard is worth ali 
yours put together; and this letter, I should like to teli you, 
is written, you see, to another monk, al so a man . . . 
Just see, now, who my rascally fricnds are. Lcarn, if you 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



how to talk another lime, particularly whcn yùu 
uc talking about a fcllow-crcamre.— 

After a little tiinc, howcver, ihese and simiiat re^ections 
gave way lo othcrs; his preseli t circiimsiances occupytng 
die whoìc attt^wtion of our poor traveller. The dread of 
bein^ parstied and discovcred. which had so ince&santly 
onbiUered liìs day*s journey, now no longer gavc him aiiy 
tmeasmess; but how many things made hb nìghlly wandcr- 
ings sufficiently iincomfortablc ! — darkness; solitiide; In* 
crcasJng, ajid now painful, {aURiie; a gentlc, but steady 
and picrchìg brecjrc, whìch tvould be far froni agrceable lo 
a man stUl dressed in the same clothes which he had put 
oo io g<i a Bhort dtstance to a wcddìng, and quJckly td 
rettirti in triitniph to his home» only a few steps off; and» 
what rendiifeil everythìng doubly ìrksome, walkìng at m 
venture, in scarch of a place oi rest and security, 

If he happened to pass through a village, he would walk 
it i|uictly and warily as possible, lest any of the doors 
*3M3tild be stili open ; but he saw no further signs of re- 
mg wakefubieds atnong iJie Inhabitants thati oecaston- 
^j > a ftancing light in one of the Windows. Wlieti on the 
Toad, away ftom evcry abode, he wouid pause, every no^ 
«ad llien, and ìistcn cagerly for the belovcd niurmur of the 
Adda; but in %ain. He beard no sounda but tJie distanl 
howllng of dogi at some §olÌtary dwelllngp wbkh floated 
tbrough the air, at once moumful and tbfcalentng- On 
sppfoachìng atiy of these abodes, the bowling was changed 
into an iiritatcdg angry barkj and in passing before the 
door, h>e heard, and almost fancicd he saw. the fiere* 
creatares^ with thcir beads at the crack of tlic door^ f eiter- 
alìiig thcir howls, This quickly retnoved ali temptatìon lo 
la>oek and ask shclter, and prnbably his courage wouId bave 
failcd bad there bcen no iuch obstacles In hl^ way. — Who*8 
ihere? — tfaouifht he t--^ what do you want at this hour? 
f^nw did you come bere? Teli who you are, Isn*t therc 
where you can get a bcd? This, at best. Is what 
wMI fcay to me, i£ I knock: cven tf it shouidn't be a 
ardly sleeper. who wouId bcgìn to shout out lustily, 
"•BeJpl Thjcves!* I mnst bave soojctliiug ready for ait 
i^iaawcy; and wbat could 1 8ay? Il anybody hean a aots<; 



280 ALESSANDRO MANMNI 

in tbe flight, nothing enters thcir hcads but robbef«, vinaio», 
and roguts: thcy uever think th;it an honest man may be 
beojghle4 not to say a gcmlciuaji in bis carriagc,— He 
det crmincd» thercforc* to reserve this pian as a lau rciatirce 
ni cEse of necessìty, aod contìniied his way, stili witli tbe 
bope of at least discovering the Adda, if net of crofStog' 
iti that night, and not beitig obliged again to go in «earch 
of ìt in broad dayligbt 

Oli, thercfore, he went, till he reacbed a part wbere tlie 
country changed from culti vated ficids info a hcaih of fcras 
and broom. This secnjcd, U not a sure indication, at Icast^ 
a kind of argiimcnt that therc was a ri ver in ihe ndgh*^^ 
bourhood; and be advanead across the common, pnrsttti4|^H 
tbe path whicb travcrsed it, After walking a few pac«^ 
he stopped to tìsten: but in vaio. The tedioiij^ness of tlte 
jounicy seemed to be increascd by the wìldne&5 of the 
place; not a nmlberry fior a vine was to be »een, nor ajif 
other signs of human culture, which, in the early part of 
his progress, seemed aìmost like baif-cotupanìons lo hlm. 
However, he stili went forward, beguìling the limei aiwl 
endeayouring to drive away the Imageu and appariiìunf whidi 
haunted bis mind — the relics of a bundred wondcf fui storicf 
he bad heard — by repeatlng, m he went along, some of the 
prayers for the dead. 

By degrees, be entered among larger patches of 
iffood, wild phim^trecs, dwarf oaks» and branibles. Ci 
tloulng hls way^ wtth more impali enee tban alacrity, he 
acattered oceasionally tliroughout tbcse paiches, a soHi 
tree; and, stilJ following the guldance of the footpatli, per* 
ceìved that be was cnterìng a wood He felt a kind 
feluctance to proceed; but he conquerrd it, and iinwllingl 
went forward* The furiher he went, the more thts tiiK 
willtngness tncreased. und the more did everythin^ he «»w 
vex and haras* hi» - um. The bushel he i 

befote him assiuncd iTiarvcìInus, and uncoi:' 

the shadnws of the top» oi the trfcx abmied hrm, 7< 
agitatèd by tbe hrecfe, they quivered on his path ;i ] 

by the pale light of the moon; the very rv^ 
withercd lcave«, a» he trantpled tbem under t'unì, nan m u 
aomethìjif bileful lo hit car. His limbs fclt a «tranisc tm* 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



/tifi rutt, and, at ihc sanie lime, sccmed searcely able 
'^dìifi^Oft liim. The cold night-bree^e blcw more chilly 
and sliarply againtt bis forehcad and ihroat; he fclt it 
licrdn^ through his thin clothes to hts skin, whicìi shivcred 
the blast, and» penetrafmg naare subtilciy to his vcry 
cxrtfoguishifig the last remains of vigour. At ooe 
tistie, the weariness and utidefincd liorror with which he had 
so long been straggling, had suddcnly almost overwhelmed 
htin* He nearly lo^t hìs telf-govcrnment ; bui teirified ahove 
ali things at his owii terror, he summaned up hts (ormtf 
spifits» and by a great effortj forced them to as stime their 
fiami sway* Thus fortjfìed for a niament, he stDod stili 
to dcirberate» and resolved to lea%^c the wood hy the samc 
paih as he had traversed, to go straight to the last village 
he had pass ed. to return once more among mankind, and 
thcre to seck sbcUer» cvcn at the inn, Whilc he thus stood, 
the rustìing of bis fcet among the leaves hashed, and, per- 
fectly sUeot arouiid bini, a noise reacbcd his ear, a nmnnur 
— ^ momiur of runnìng water He listens; aasures hùnseif; 
and cxclaims, *lì's the Adda!* It was like the rcstoration 
of a friciid, of a brother, of a delivcrer, His wearìneàs 
aìtiìost dÌL-appearrd» his pulse again beat ; he leit his blood 
circuiate frecly and warmly through ali his veins; his coa- 
idieoice increa&ed, the gloominess and opprcssion of his mind, 
in great part, vanished away; and he no longer be^jìtated to 
penetrate farther into the wood. towards the friendly murmur. 
At lait he reached the extremity of tbe fiat, at the edge 
of a steep declivity: and, pecping through the husbes that 
cvcf) wbere co ver ed its sur face, he discerned» at the bottoni, 
tJie iflitlerìng of the nmnmg water. Then, raising his cyes, 
l' he estensive plaìn on the opposite side, scattered 

beyond thls the hilìs, and on one of these a 
Li' 1 l 't^ In vrhidi he faticicd he couid distinginsh 

a Li'v— jv .^ I i, undoitbtedly. He descendcd tbe Mcep a 
Kttlc way, srparating and pnshing asidc the brushwood with 
hh hands and arms, and tooked down, to see if there were 
«ny boat moving on ibe water» or to lìstcn if he coiild hcar 
aplashìtig " bui he aaw and beard notlting. Had 

any than the Adda. Ken20 woiikl bave 

at uiicc iàiìd attempted to lord tt; bót tibia, be 

|»-Vil.2t 




IM 



ALESSAKOnO MANZONI 



well knew, in stich a river. was noi a mattcr of ytty gtH\ 

He therefore stood to constilt wilh himsdf w^at were l)e*t 
to Iie doiie. To clamber up ìnto si trcc, tind thrre ri.v.q^? the 
dawii of morning, in the chili iiiglU-brecsec, in a t r, 

and in \m preseiil dress^ was mare ih^n cnough l^- 
him ; to pace up and down, for Constant cxercise, ail ihiit tii 
besidejt th«t it would bave bcen a very incfìicacìoiì- * 
agafnst the severity of the temperature, waa alito ;. 'i 

mudi of those tififnrttmatc limbs whieh bcid e 

mucb more iban theìr dtily. Suddenly he renici ,g 

fieen m casciftotto in otic of the fìelds adjoinini; tlic unculli» 
vated down. Thus the peasaiits of tbe Milanese plaln tJe«i^ 
nate certain little cottagea, tbatched with siraw, cansinict«l 
of the trunks and brancbes of trces, fast en ed toj:^*^^-" -"^1 
fillcd np with mud» wberc tJiey are in the habìt of * 

their harvest durtng tbe summer scason» rcpairing iintiicf ai 
night to prolect it: dnring tbe rcst of the year ibry are 
itsually tmoccupicd. He quickly Exed iipon ibis aa ìua rest* 
mg-place for tbe night ; and aj^aln iiettin|f ni? on hh wsy, 
rt-pBi»ed tbe wood, llie tract of bushcs, and ihf^ heatb ; and 
tniering upon the cnltivated land, he quickly espied tht 
^asmnatto, and went towards it, A worm^eaten and lumble- 
down door, without lock or chain. blockcd up tbe «atra» 
R«iì£0 drew ìi towanls bim» and un cuterinir^ saw a bi 
lolendtd to serve tJie purpose of a hanit> ni 

Vhe air» and tupportcd by band?? formed - ^ 

did not, bowtver, make nse of h\ but &ecing a littic straW 
lyiiig on tbe ground, thought tbat, tvtn tHer«, 9^eq> woiM 
bt very welconìt* 

Refore stretrbtng bis wcary frame on tbe bed Proviilefiee 
k^ prtpared for bini, lit knett down to oifer up Uh tbanlei 
for thts bleMing, and for ali tbe lu&Utanoe he liad nK«lv«d 
iiat tcrrible day. He Ihen repeatwi h!i utual prayer^ ; aatl, 
BavinE^ fillished them, he^pfd pardon o! God f * 

«miittcd tbcm the evening before, and jjone lo fast, - 4, 

like a doig, or cren worsc. — And for thi^ rea«>n, — added he lo 
bimicJf r..<tf*,f.^. |,it bandi upon th^ »traw, and, fr-ni \cnt-t>^* 
ing» di § posture to lltat af Ixing,-— for t fi 

l ^aa awajce^A by auch agreeable trUitors in ibt sainuui^.» 



t FBOMBSSI SF06I 




WU9 mi 



He tlieo galhered up ali the Straw that was scatter ed around» 
&nd spread ic over him» so as to make the bcst covering 
bc could to securc hiinself froin the cold, whkh, even thcre, 
itlider shellcr, made itseU itifEciently fck; and crouchìng 
leath it, he trìed to get a litUe slerp, thiniing that he had 
led il, tliat 4^y, more dearly ihan usuai 
ely, fiowcvcr, had he closed his eycs, hcfore vSabns 
lo throtig bis memory, or bis fancy (I cannot under- 
tndicate the cxaci spot)— ^vision s so erowded, io in- 
eeSMut, diat tlicy qutdcly baoìshed every idea ol sleep. The 
ncrchant, the notary, the baitiflTs. the sword*ciltlef, the land- 
lord, Fcrrér» the siiperintendeiit, the party at the inn, the 
crowds in the streeis; then Doa Abboodìo. ihen Don Rod 
tifpi and» aniotig^ so many^ there werc none that did oot 
bring iOfne sad remcmbrances of misforttinc or aversìon. 

There wcrc biit threc images that preseoted themschrcfi to 
tua mtnd, divcsted of every bitter rccollectioii, citar of eveiy 
ideii, pleasing in evpry aspect; and two, pnncipally — 
Inly very dissimilar, but closely connccted in the heart 
Ol V —the black-iockcd Lucia, and the whìte-bearded 

Fat}:v toro. Yet the consolation he felt in csontcm- 

piatinif tv CD thcse object:«. was anything imi mimìxed and 
lr«iiqutl In picturing to hiniself the good friar, he felt more 
kttfiiy than ev<?r tiie disgrace of his faults, his ibanieful iii- 
t^ntpoancc, and his negìcct of the kind Father's patemal ad- 
dice; «ad ìtt ojnteniplatìng the imag^ of Lucia! wc wtll tiot 
aticmpc to dcscribe what he felt; the reader know$ the cir- 
mm^tmn cet, aod must imagìne it Himsetf. Neither dld he 
lorget th« poof Agnese; Agnese, wbo had cHosen htm for hrr 
na-ia-Uw, who had crìnstd^ed him altnost as one with her 
QBly danghter. sud before reeeiving fnjm httn ihe tttle of 
sothcfv Had assitmed the language and afTrction of one, and 
iisirated pareti tal soHdtude for htm by ber a et ioti s. But 
i$ an additiooal grief to btm» and not the least bitter one^ 
cxactly on account of lhe«c afifectianate and benevoletìt 
itions, the poor woman was now l ' and almofit 
e*p, tìneertaln ol the fnrufe, amj ^orrows and 

!' U he had hofied 

1 ig years. What 

night» poor HoazQ 1 whkh was to have been Ihe fif th of bis 



mi ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

nuptìals ! WTiat a room ! \^Tiat a matrimoniai couch ! And 
after sudi a day ! And to precede such a morrow, soch a 
successìon of days )— What God wìlls— replied he^ to the 
thoughts which most tormented him ; — What God wìlls. He 
knows what He does 1 It is for our good too, Let it be as a 
peìiance lor my sins. Lucia 13 so good I God, surely, will not 
let htT suffer for long*-^f or very long ! — 

Harassed by such thoughts as these^ despairing of obtainìng 
any slcep, and the piercing cold becomìng more and more in- 
sufìFerablc, so that from titne to time his whole frame sbook, 
and his teeth chattered in spi te of himself, Renzo longed for 
the approach of day, and itnpatiently measnrad the slow 
progress of the hours. I say. measured» because evcry half- 
hour he heard resounding through the deep sii enee, the 
Strokes of a large clock, proba bly that of Trezzo. The first 
time, the sound reached his ear so unexpectedly, witbout his 
having the least idea whence it carne, it brought with it some- 
thìng solemn and mysterlous to his mind; the feeling of a 
waming uttered in an unknown voice, by some invìsìblc 
person. 

When, at last, the clock bad tolled eleven»*^ — the bour Renzo 
had de termi ned to get up^^he rose, half benumbed with the 
cold, and fallìng upon his knees, repeated his matin prayers 
with more than ordinary devolton; then, standing up, he 
stretched bis limbs, and shook bis body, as if to settle and 
unite bis members^ wbich seetned al most di sseve red from each 
other, breathed upon his hands and rtsbbed them together, and 
tbeti opened the door of the cascinoìio, first taking the pre* 
caution to look warily about bim, per eh ance any one might 
be therc. No one being visible, he cast his eye round to 
discover the path be had followed the precedìng evening, and 
quickly recognizing it, much clearer and tnore distinct tban 
his menaory pictured it, he set off in that direction. 

The sky announced a beautiful day: tbe pale and rayless 
moon was yet visible near the horìzon, in the spaciotis field 
of azure, stili aoftened by a tinge of morning grey, which 



* !t must br bqrne ìn mina tiy the reader, that, accordine tu Itnlian oom- 
^t3Lti<iD of tìiBP, the first hour of the day is *even o*dock in the momm(t^ 
t«Q o'clock answerablc lo ciffat wkh u&, snd so on, ti 11 ^cvm o'eloclc in the 
evcttìjiE b«eatDea oae Agaia. Thìs arraiieeineiii would makc cl«r«i «"«lod^ 
io the M^ti thm Mine ss &Te o*cl0<d£ in th« nwmiaff in Ettglend» 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



20$ 



sliaded gradualty towards the cast, mto a rosy and primrosc 
hue. Stili nearcr the horizon, a few irregular clouds 
stretched oi3£, in leugthened waves, rather azure than grey, 
thcir lower sides edged wìth almost a strcak of flame, ha- 
comìng every moment more vivid and sbarply defined ; whilc, 
higher up, lìght and fìeecy cloud5, minglmg with each othur, 
and of a thousand nameless hucs, floated on the sur face of 
the placìd heavens; a true Lombard sky, so beautiful whcn 
ìt is beautiful — so brilliant, so cairn, ?Iad Renzo been bere 
to enjoy htmself, he wouid certainly ha ve looked upwards, 
and admired a dawii so different to what he had been ac- 
customed to see among his native mountains; but bis eyes 
were bent to the ground, and he walked on rapidly, both to 
regam a little warmth, and to reach the river as quìckly as 
he could. He rettaced the fìclds, the grove, the bushes; 
traversed the woodj with a kind of compassion, as he looked 
aromid and remenibered the horror he had felt there a few 
hours before ; reached the cdge of the precìpitous bank, and 
looking down through the crags and bushes, discovered a 
fisherraan's bark slowly making its way against the strcam, 
dose by the shore* He hastily descended the shortest way 
through the bushes^ stood upon the bank, and gently called to 
the ftsherman- and with the intention of appearing to ask 
a Cavour of little importance, but, without being awarc of it, 
in a half-supplicatory manner, beckoned to hìm to approach. 
The fisberman cast a glance along the shore, looked carefully 
both up and down the river, and ihen turning the prow 
towards Renzo, approached the side, Renzo, who stood at 
the very edg^ of the stream, almost with one foot in the water, 
seked the prow as tt drew near, and jumped into the boat. 

' Be good enough to take me acro ss to the other side, and 
ni pay you for it/ said he. The fishernian had al ready 
guessed his object, and had turned the prow to the opposite 
bank, Renzo, seeing another oar at the bottom of the boat, 
Btooped down and took it up. 

* Softly, softly,' said the owner ; but on seeing how dcx- 
terously the youth laid hold of the implement, and prepared 
to handle it, * Aha ! * added he, ' you know your business/ 

*A little,' rcpiied Renzo; and he began to row with a 
tìgour and skil! beyond those of an amateur. While thus 



AI.ESSANT3RO MANZONI 



cxcrtin^ htmself^ he cast an occaskmal <' 
Sahare he had jn^t Icft» aii<j ihcn a look oi r 

ihcy were approachiiig. He was annoyrd at h«ivtng to go ti 
ali down the stream : but the current bere wa» loo rapid lo 
cut directly across it ; so that the bark, parti)' ckavlo(* and 
partly foUowing the course of the water, was obliged t<^ *"^^ 
a diagooa] direction, As it happcns ia ali dark aod int 
undertakings, that diffictìhies prescnt thcmselve^ ir " i 

at first oniy in general, but in the cxecuiion of the . e 

are more minutety observable; «o, now that the Adda «^ai 
forded, so to say. Renio f elt a good dea! oÌ <li$qijietu<le at noi 
koowìtig for certain whcthcr here it was the boundary of tlif 
two States, or whether, when thìs ohstaclc wai overconie, 
there might not be others stili to surmount. Addrcsaing tlia 
fìsberman, therefore, and rioddìng with bis head towards ibé 
whkish spot which he had noticed the night before, and 
wbich now appcnred mtich more distinct, * l» that Bergamo?' 
said he—' that town ? * 

'The city of Bergamo/ rqilied the iìsberman. 

* And that shore. there, doea it bclong tn V,rrv:imo7* 

'The terrUory of St. Mark/ 

*Long live St. MarkT exclaimed Rcn/ti, 

The fisherman uiade tio reply. 

Thcy reached, at length, the oppoittc sh^ 
out npùtì itj and» thanking God in hts h- 
gratitude ìn words to the boatnian ; ilien p 
his pocket, he drcw owt thmcc a bcriin*: i- 
his circutnstance*, was no little lois li i it to 

the wofihy man, who, giving aiìoiìier t, - » - . .*Unetc 

shore, and along the ri ver tn eìther dircctJcm, streiched out 
hifi band, and receìved the gift. He put il into ? ■ ' t, 

and after compressi ng his lips, at the »ine timi? ì s 

forefingrr across thcm, with a «ignificant * 
tenance. said, 'A good iotirney to you ì * n 

That the reader may not l>c swrpnHed at ihc protiipt, yet 
caoiiciys, dvilJty of thi§ man lowardt « t.^Tfr^'t ^ì':^f^^'t-r^ 
It will be necei«ry to Inforni him that, fr 
to perfarm a stmilar fervnce t« — * - 
accustomed to do «o, ocit »o r ^ 

md uncertaifì ^ni which he nuglu thcrcby tiblam, as io 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



>elf enetnies atnonf tbese classe*. He af- 

tti: : Liìce whencvtfr he could aisure himself of 

noi being discovered by thr custom'hotis^ officers, bat1i0s, or 
?iei, Thus, without partkatarly favoyrbg one i*arty more 
aBDtlicr, he cndcavotrrcd to satisiy ali, with lliat im* 
irtialily usually cxercised by ihosc who are conipeIle4 lo 
tat wiih a certàin set of peoplc, while liable to gì ve account 

another. 

JCetizo patised a moment on the bank» to contemplate the 

Ite ehore — thai ground which just bcfore had almoit 

bt^neath bis (cet.^Ah ì 1 ani rcally out of it 5— wat his 

rst thoughi. — Haleful coutiiry that you are »— was bis soc* 

bidding it farrwell Bot the third recurred to th<ise 

he had le fi therc. Tben he crossed bis arms on bis 

%\cd a sigb, bcnt bis ejes oti tbc water wbitb flowed 

t» atid tbodght,— Il has passed mider the bridge (-• 

that a! l.ecco was gencrally calkd amnng bis fdlow 

len, by way of eminence.— Ah I baie fui worldl 

ciugh: v^batcver God wills. — 

He ttirncd his back tipon tbeee niournful objects, and weiit 
^rward, takìng. far a mark, the wbite iract on the side of the 
liti, uniU be mct with sotne ane to give bim more partkular 
direct ioiis iti bis way. It ^^ast amnsing to see with wbat care- 
lessness and disembarrassment he now accosted travcHerSj 
and how boldly he proncmnced the name of tiie viilage where 
bis cou*in rc^idcd, without besttatìoo or disgtìise, From the 
fifit perton who directed bini, he learni that he had yet nbie 
oiiles to travel 

Hiii jotimey was iiot very blitheaonie. Independent ol hif 
own troubìcs, bis eyes rested evcry moment on pìtiable ob* 
rnld bim that he would fimi tn the country he was 
[iOvertY hr had Icft in \m own. Ali along the 
Imi itiore p: in the vi!lage* and large towos, 

beggars hn. tlong, mcndicants rather from cir- 

tban prò fe5 Sion» who revcaled tlieir misery more 
c^"»^*'* -^Tices tban thetr clothing: peasantu, moitn* 
aeer», cntirc families, and a mìngied murniur of 

Ptreaijc5, ii-[«i irs, at ' * crìcs. Besidca the moumfnì 

ity that ìt awtike in tnind, tbij sight mlso aroiued 

IO the reiaeaiènmcc ui bi& owa circum&tftoeei» 



ALSaSANDRO MANZONI 



— Wha knows, — thouglu he, as he went along,^ — If I 
Ind anythìng to do? if therc ìs any work dow to bc got, 
therc uaed to be? Well; Bortolo ìs kimììy incìtnté %o me? 
he 15 a good feìlow; be has made some money, and his lo- 
vitcd me vcry often; he, surdy, won*t forsake me, Besidcf, 
Provìdeticc has helped me hitbcrto, and will help ine, I hape^ 
fot the future.-- 

In the meati while, his appetite, already con&tdenbljr 
sharpèiìedt became, as he went on his way, more and more 
craving; and though he fclt that he couid manage vcry wcfl 
to the end ol his joumey, which was nnw only aboui two 
miles, without great tnconvcnience, yet he reflected thal U 
woutd not bc exactly the thing to màke hia appcarance befórc 
hls cousìn ììkc a beggar, and addresi him with the &altjt;iiion, 
* Give me something to eat:* so drawing al! hh rìches frotn 
his pocket^ he cotinted thcm over on the pahn of hh band, to 
ascertain the amount. It was an «imount that reqnired little 
ealcubtion, yet itili there was more than cnough to inake 
a smaìl meal; he, thercfore, cntered an ino in get a little 
refreshment; and, on {>a>ing the account, found that he had 
atìU a few pene e r e main mg- 
Just ootside, lyhig in the Street, and so dose to the door 
that he wouìd have faUea over them hid he not been Uxxk- 
ing about him. Renio ftaw two women, one rather eldcfly, 
and the other a yotmger person, with an inlant ai her breail;i 
wbich, after vatnly cndcavourìng to iatisiy its hungcr, wai 
crying bitterly; they wcre alt three aii i^ale ai death; and 
ftanding by thon was a man, in whoie face and limi» tben^M 
mifbt atill be discerned tokens of former robnstnes^t, thou|^l|^| 
oow broken and aJmost destroyed by long poverty. The thrce 
befgart gtrelcbcd out tbeir bandi to Renzo, as bc left the ina 
witli a free stcp atid retnvigorated air, but none of them 
ipoke; what more could lanj^age bave expre^ed? 

*TheTe*f a God'«end for you!* satd Renzo, as be battlly 
tbrust his band tnto lììs pocke^t, and, takin^ out his lait penec, 
put them into the band that was nearest to bini, and went on 
his way- 

The refreiibment, and thia ^nad v,*nrk ffJTcthcr hincr wc 
are made of both soul and ìn ! 

ali bis thnughts. Certain it .. „._. ., _ _ _.t 



I PROMESSI SPOST 



Wl 



^^ Ih 



for the futtire freni having thus depri\*ed himself of his last 
pcnn>% iban if he had £ound ten sucb. For if Provìdcncc had 
kcpt ili fcserve, for the sitpport of thrce wrctched bcggars, 
almosl fainting cu the road, th« last farthing of a stranger, 
hìmsclf a fugidve, far f rom his o\vm home, aod tmcertaitt how 
ti> gel a living, could he think that that Providence wouid 
leave io destittitioti him whom He had made use of for this 
purposeg asid to whom He had gireii so vivid, so effectivCp so 
seli*abatidr»riTng ao incliiiation ? Such was, in getieral, the 
feeling of the yomh, though, probably, not so clcarly defined 
that which we bave cxpressed in words. During the re- 
der of his walk, as his mind reciirred to the dÌ0ereiit 
ircttsistanccs and contitìgendcs which had hitherto appeared 
the moat dark and perplexing, ali seemed to brighten. The 
famine and poverty must come to an end, for there was a 
harvest every year: in the meati time, he had his cotisln 
Bortolo, and bis own ahi liti es ; artd, as a h^\^ towards bis sup- 
|iort, a little store of money at home, whìcli he couJd eastly 
ftend fot. With this assistance, at the worst» he cotild live 
from day to day as economicatly as possible, till better times. 
*-Tbco, whcn good tìmes bare oome at last, — cotitinued 
Retilo, in !ris fanciftil drcaiBS^—^e demand far work will he 
rcnewed; masters will strive who shall get Milanese weav- 
ers, l>ccatise thcy know their trade b^t; the Mìlanete weaircrs 
wtll bold their heads high; tbey who waot clcver workoien 
aniat pay for thei»; we shall make something to liTe upoa 
lod «tìII baTe flome to spare; we can then furnisb a cottage, 
ami ¥irrite to tlie women to come. And besides, why watt so 
long? Sbouldfi't we bave Uved upon my little store at home, 
an tfaii wìuier? So we cao live bere. There are curates 
rvefywliere, ThoN^ two dear women might come oow% and 
we coiild keep house together. Oh, what a plcastire, to go 
wiUdug i31 tof cthcr on thìs very road I to go as far as the 
Adda, in a cari, and bave a pic*nic on the shorc; yes, just on 
the «bore! and l'd show thcm the place wbere I embarkedt 
the thortiy path I carne down, and the spot wbere I stood to 
look if there was a boat ! — 

Toigtb he reachcd bis consin's vilhge; and, jtist at the 
txm he fa re he set foot in it, dbtinguisbed a house 
ly bigher than the rest, wìth teverml rowi of loag 




296 



AI^SSANDRO MANZONI 



Windows, onc above auolher, and separ ated by a mudi mail 
■pace than the division* betwcen the dirìcr^ni &tortei 
qtiired: he 4t once rccognìied a sìlk-mìll ; and j^oìng in, ft»kfi 
tu 1 load voktt so as to l>e heard itmìds.t the noisc □( 
running water and the mftchiiiefy, if Bortolo CaitagneH U?t 
tiicrc. 

' Tltó Stgoar Bortolo ! He*a thert/ 

— Th« Signor! thiit*i a good tìgn, — thought Renxo; 
•^ng his cuastn» he ran towarcts him. Bartolo tumcd ro 
fécognìzcd his relation, as he exclainwd» * Mere I ani, mywtlt 
and received liim with an * Oh I * of sitrpriic, as ilwjy mutuafi 
threw thcir arni» round each oihcr's lìcdc, After the firi 
welcome, Borlolo took hi» coysin into anothcr roani, ap 
Iroin the noise q( the tnachincry and the eyc» of the cttrìu 
and grectcd him with, ' Fm vcry glad to sc< yoti; bui jou'fei 
prelty felhiw. iVe invited you so oftcn, and ytm never ' 
come; and now you arrivo in rather a troubltd tinte/ 

* Sin e e yoti will ha ve me teli yon, Tve not conte with mf 
own g(w\ will/ said Renzo; atìd tlicn, ai brtcfly as papisti) 
and nt>t withont some ftnotjnn, hr r^lTtrd his mr>nmf\il ator 

* That'a qutte an« r v *OK 
Ken2o! But yoivvc ' . . H not fnrsaM 
yoM, Ccrtarnly, there'si no great detnand for worl -Il 
nowt ìndccd, ifs ali we can do not to turn off tbosc 
and give itp the bnstincss; bnt ray matter Itkes me, and he 

got tome money. And, to teli you the trutf^ withom * x#5 

he moatìv owes it tn ine; he hn^jt the canital. and I r< 

abiì'' are. rmihehc^i'^ 

an«i, n yon und me, I : 

Pòot Lucia Mutidcllii ! 1 renicnihcr her as h wcie 1' 

day: a ^yod girl ihe wai l alwayi the be*t-bchavcd i- 

and whcncver one pasied hcr cottage , . , I $cc that cottaj 

in niy mind's e>'e, ootside tli« villafe, with a 6ne èg 

pecping over the wall , * J 

* No, no; ' " ' ns talk about ÌV 

* l wn« m ì0 «av, fhat whcfiever ooe patted that 
tot» ■ ' ''■■'' ì 

Iwt now iieS ieril «nitriglit, ir^m what ) 

fcific aj God ,,^, - :o takt Itii owm cottn«, \U.^ 



FROMESSI 



»aylitg. litre, tao, wc are sufifering a little from the 
f amine . . * Apropos, how are you for appetite?' 
\ * 1 fifot somcthing to eat, a liltJe whlle ago, on the road* 
I * And liow are you for money ? ' 

Reazo htìd out one of hU hands, and putttng it io his 
I mayth, gently pu0ed upon iL 

I • Ncvcr miad,' &aìd Bortolo: ' I*ve plcuty ; pluck up heart, 
for I bope things wiU soon change, plàase God ; and thco yen 
, can repay me, and !ay up also a little for j'ourself/ 

• Tve a triflicg sum at honie, and wiil seod for it' 

* Very wcll ; and, io the nicao lime, you may depend upon 
Die. God has g̥Cfi me wealth, that I tnight give to others; 

^^^nd wh crm should I serve so sooti as my own relations and 
^^pifsidi ì ' 

^H * I saìd f thould be provided for 1 ' exclaìmed Ranzo, affec- 
Hboiiatdy pressing his good cousin's band 
\ *T1icn/ rejotned his companion, * they*ve tiad a regalar iip- 
I foar at Milan ♦ I think theyTé ali a littk mad. The rumour 
' bad aiready reached Here: but I want you to teU me thlagi 
^^^Itle more particularJy. Ah ì weVe plenty to talk about- 
^^^B||b bowerer» you see^ we go about it more quietjy, and do 
^H|i^ wilb ratber more prudenee. The city purcha^ed tvto 
^^^omaand toads oi corn. Irom a merehatit wbo lives at Venica: 
^'fte eoTB carne from Turkey; btit when lìfc dcpcnds upon it, 
iDch tbtagi are lìot lookcd into very narrowly. See now what 
thii òecasioned : the governors of Veroaa aud Brescia stopped 
op tlìc pofses, and taid, ' No com shal! pass this way/ What 
did Ihe Bergamiscans do, think you ? Tbey despatdied a m&a 
lo \ enicc, who knew bow to talk The messenger we^t off lo 
baste, pre»ented bìmself to die Doge, and aaked htm what 
was the meantng of sucb a trick. And such a speech h# 
Iliade I they say, fit to bc printcd. WTiat a thing ìt is to bave 
A nwn wbo knows what to say I An ordcr was tmmedìately 
itftued fof i)ic free transìt ol com, requiring the gOTemoff 
not ooly to let ìt pass, but to asf^i^t in forwarding il ; and now 
it ts on ita way. Tliere i* proviaion abo for the surrotinding 
country. Anotiicr worthy man gave the tenate to umkrstand 
tliat the people in the country werc starving : and ibcy bave 
ordered ihcm four ihou!«nd bushel* of millct* TTits hetpt, 
yott koow, to osake br^d. And tbcsi I needn^t %m\\ thu ii 




mo 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



there isn't bread for us, we will eat nieatt God has given me 
wealth, as I told you. Now, then, ni takc you to my master: 
Fve often ttientioned you to him, and I know lie'll welcome 
you, Hc's a Bcrgamascan of the old sort, and a kind-hearted 
man. Certaiìily, he doesn't expect yotj just now ; but when he 
hears your hi story , , , And bcsidcs, he knows how to vai uè 
good workmen; for the famine must come to an end, and 
business will go on, But, first of ali, I must warn yoti of one 
thing. Do you know what they cali us Milanese, In this 
country? ' 

VNo; what is it?' 

' They cali us blockheads/ 

* That*s not a very nice name/ 

'So it is : whoever is born in the territory of Milan, and 
wouid make a living in that of Bergamo^ must bc content 
to bear it patiently* It is as common* among these people, to 
give the name of " blockhcad *' to a Milanese, as ** your illus^ 
trioiis lordship " to a cavalìer,* 

'They only say so, I fancy, to those who will put up 
with it.' ^ 

* My dear fellow, if you are not disposed continually to 
brook the tìtle, don't reckon that you can live bere. You 
would be obliged ahvays to bave a knife in your band; and 
when you bave kìlled, we will suppose, two, three, or four, 
of your neighbours, you'd meet with somebody who would 
felli you; and what a nice prospect, to have to appear be£ore 
God's tribunal with three or f our murders on your head ! * 

' And a Milanese who has a little - . / here he tapped bis 
forebead with hts forefini^er, as he had before done at the 
•ign of the Full Moon. ' I mean, one who understands bis 
business?' 

* It*s ali the same; he, too, would be a blockhead. Do you 
know what my master says when he's talking of me to bis 
f riends ? ** Hcaven has sent me this blockhead, to conduci 
my business; if it wcrc not for this blockhead, I should do 
very badly." It*s the custom to say so/ 

* It*s a very foolish custom* especially considering' what we 
do; for who was it, in fact, that brought the art bere, and 
now carries it on, but ns? Is it possible there's no belp 
lorit?' 



I PKOMESSI SPOSI 



3t)l 



* Not hitherto ; tliere itiay be, in the course ai time, among 
the yoimg people who are growing up ; but in this generation 
there is no remedy; theyVe acquired the habìt» and won*t 
leave it off. After ali, what ìs it ? If s notbing to the tricks 
theyVe play ed upon you, and that most of our precious 
fellow-countrymen would stili play upon you/ 

* Well, that*s truc: if there*s no other evil , ^ / 

' Now that you are persuaded of this, ali will go wdL 
Come, Ict US go to my master, and be of good heart/ 

Everything, in fact, did go well, and so exactly in accord- 
auce witli Bortolo *s promises, that it is needless to give any 
particular description. And ìt was truly an ordering of 
Providence ; for we shall soon see how little dependence was 
to be placed upon the smatl savings Renzo had left at hom& 



CHAPTER XVm 

THAT samc day, the I3th of Xovembcr, an express 
arrived to the Signor Podestà of Lecco, and prc- 
scnted him with a despatch from the Signor the 
high sherifT, containing an order to niake every possible 
strict invcstigation, to ascertain whether a ccrtain young 
man, hearing the namc of Lorenzo Tramaglino, silk-weaver, 
who had escapcd from the hands prtedicti cgregii domini 
capitanei, had retumed, palam vel cium, to his own country, 
ignoium the exact village, t'crum in territorio Leuci: quod 
si compertum fuerit sic esse, the Signor Podestà must en- 
dcavour, quanta maxima diligcntia fieri poterit, to get him 
ìnto his hands ; and having sufficiently sccured him, videlicct, 
with strong handciififs, (secing that the insufficiency of 
smallcr manaclcs for the aforc-mentioned person has been 
provcd), must cause him to he conducted to prison, and 
thcre detained under strong custody, until he be consigned 
to the officer, who shall be sent to take him: and in case 
eithcr of success, or non-success, acccdatis ad domum pra- 
diati Laurentii Tramaìini; et facta debita diligcntia, quid quid 
ad rem rcpcrtum fuerit auferatis; et informationes de illius 
prava qualitate, vita, et complicihiis, sumatis; and of ali his 
sayings and doings, what is fonnd and not found, what is 
taken and not takcn, diligcnter rcfcratis. After humanely 
assuring himsclf that the object of inquiry had not re- 
tumed home, the Signor Podestà summoned the village con- 
stable, and under his direction, procccded, with a large 
retinuc of notaries and bailiffs, to the abovc-mcntioned house. 
The door was locked, and eithcr no onc had the key, or 
he was not to be found. They, thereforc. forced the locks 
with ali due and praiseworthy zeal. wliich is cquivalent to 
saying that they procceded as if taking a city by assault. 
The rcport of this cxpedition immediatcly spread in the 
neighbourhood, and rcached the ears of Fathcr Cristo- 
foro, who, no Icss astonishcd than grieved, sought for some 
Information as to the cause of so unexpected an event 

302 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



90S 



ut *■ 



cvof^body he met with; he could anly, howei^er, 
_ mry eoiijecturci, and contradìctory rcpcns: and, &t 

laiit, Ihe^rcfore, wrote to Father Dan a ventura, from whora 
he imairìned he shouJd bc ablc to aeqmre some more precise 
uiformalion. In tlic mean while, Renzo's relatìons and 
Ificndfi were summoned to depose ali that theyknew about 
s d^prat^ird haUis: to bear the aame of Tramagitno became 
mìifortmiep a disgrace, a crime ; and die %illage was quite 
in a cotnrTTOtioiì, By degreea, it became knowti that Renio 
bad ascaptd from the hajii!s of justìce durtng the dt.«tiirb* 
ance ai Mlltn, and had noi since been seen. It was whispered 
•limit iHat he had been fuilty of some high crime and mis- 
dcixi«atiouf, but what it was no ocie could teli, or they 
lold it ili a hundred differwt ways» The more hcinous the 
effcnce with which he was charged, the less was it believed 
in the viJIage, where Ren^zo was unj%'er5al!y known as an 
feoatst, respeetabJe yoiith ; and many conjectured and spr«ad 
tiic rcpoft, that it was mcrely a machination set on foo^ by 
tba powerftil Don Rodrigo, io hring about the min of Hti 
im(<»tttnate rivai So trae ìa it that, jiidgìng only by 
ìnàmtìtm, and wìthout the necessary knowledge of facts^ 
cren the gresotest vi Haiti s are sometìmes wrongfuHy accused. 
But we, who havc the facts in otir possesslon, as the *ay- 
tng ts» ean affimi that» ìf Don Rodrigo had had no sharc 
ia R«fi20*8 fniifdrfuTTcs, yet that he rejoieed su them 
ai if they had bacn bis own work, and triumphed over them 

Eng hit confìdants» eipeclally with Count Attilio, Thìs 
|d, accofding to bis ftrst ttitention, should bave beeti, 
Iil9 lime» at Milan; but, on the first announccmeot of 
dlsturbanees that had ariseti there, and of the rabbie 
«n he might encounter in a far diflFerent mood than 
ely IO sttbniit to a beaitn^. he thoyght it expediem td 
poftpone hi» jonmry until he - Hctter acrotintt; aiid . 

Hit 0K>re so, heraui^e having many» he had good 

reaton to fftr that some who had remai ned passive only 
from impfìteocv, might now bc eneowraged by clrcumstance», 
atid judge it a favourable opporttinìty for taking tbeir re* 
vcnipe. The jotifTiey, bowevrr, waS not long dclayed; the 
iOrder de^patched from Milan for the exectition against 
a^ had alrcady givao ioase mdìcation that thtngt Iiad 




aOi ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

returned to their ordinary course, and the positive nodcd 
which followed quìck upon it, confirmed the truth of ttese 
appearances. Coimt Attilio set off immediately, enjoinfaig 
his cousin to persist in his undertaking, and bring it to u 
issuc, and promising, on his part. that he would use every 
mcans to i^ him of the friar, to whom the fortunate ac- 
cident of his cousin's beggarly rivai would be a wonderful 
blow. Scarccly had Attilio gone, when Griso arrived safe 
and sound from Monza, and related to his master what he 
had been able to gather: — that Lucia had found refuge in 
such a monastcry, under the protection of the Signora So- 
and-so; that she was concealed there as if she were a nun 
hersclf, never setting foot outside the threshold. and assist* 
ing at the services of the church behind a little grated win» 
dow : an arrangement which was unsatisfactory to many who, 
having heard some mention of her adventures, and great 
rcports of her beauty, were anxious, for once, to see what 
she was likc. 

This account inspired Don Rodrigo with evcry evil pas- 
sion, or, to speak more truly, rendcred stili more ungovem. 
ablc thosc with which he was already posscssed. So many 
circunistances favourable to his design, had only further 
inflamed that mixture of punctiHo, rage, and infamous desire 
of which his passion was composed. Renzo abscnt, banished, 
outlawed — so that any proccedings against him bccame law- 
fui; and even that his betrothed bride might be considered, 
in a mcasure. as the property of a rebel: the only man in the 
world who would and could interest himself for her, and 
make a stir that would bc noticed in hcad-quartcrs, and at 
a distance — ^the enraged friar — would himself, probably, be 
soon incapable of acting for her. Yet bere was a new 
impcdiment. which not only outweighed ali thcse ad- 
vantagcs, but rendercd thom, it might be said, un- 
availing. A monastery at Monza, even had tbcrc not been 
a princess in the way, was a bone too hard cvcn for the teeth 
of a Rodrigo; and wandor in his fancy round this retrcat 
as he would, he could dcvisc no way or mcans of assaulting 
it, cithcr by force or fraud. He was aìmost resolved to 
givc iip the enterprise, to go to Milan by a circuitous roiite, 
so as to avoid passing through Monza, and there to plunge 



* 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



3QS 



asdf ìnto the society of his fricnds, and thcìf recreatìons, 
^Bo as to dmwn, in thoughts of gaiety, the onc idea whith 
hné now become so tonacntìng. But, but, but, his f rìends ! — 
softly a little with thcse friends. Instead o£ diverting his 
mlnd, he might reasonably cxpect to find in their company 
in inccssant rencwal and memento of his vcxation: for 
Utillo would ccrtaìnJy bave published the affair, and put 
tiifin ali in expectation. Ève ry body would male e inqmnes 
atioiit the mountain girl, and he must g^ve some aiìswer. He 
had wished, he had tried; and how had he succteded? He 
had cngaged in an tindertaktng — ratber an unworthy one, 
ccrtaialy; but what of that? One cannot ahvays regiilate 
one's caprices ; the point is to satisfy therti ; and how had he 
collie ©ff in the cnterprise? How? Put down by a peasaiit^ 
and a friar! UliJ and whcn an unexpected turn of good 
fortune had rid him of one, and a skilfnl friend of the other^ 
wìthout any trouble on the part of the princìpal persoa 
CN>ncemed, he^ like a fool, knew not how to profit by the 
junctiire* and basely withdrew from the undertaking ! 
It woold be enough to make hìm never again dare to hold 
op bis head among men of spirit, or compel him always ta 
kcep bis band on his sword. And then, again, how could 
be e?er return to, how ever remain in, that village, and that 
country, where, let alone the incessant and bitter remem- 
braoces of bis passi on, he should always bear abont with him 
the disgrace of its faihire? ^here public hatrcd would 
havc increased, whtie his rcputatìon for power and su- 
pcrlofity would bave proportionably diminished? wbere he 
mlght rcad In the face of every rag:amufi5n, even thitmgh 
the veti of profound reveraices, a gaUing * You've be^ 
ftilfed, and Vm glad of iti' The path of iniquity, as ouf 
mamsscrìpt bere remarks, is broad. but that does not mean 
that it is easy; ìt has its stumbUng-blocks, and its thoms» 
aod its course is tcdious and wearisooie, thongh it be a 
downward course. 

In thjs pcfplcadiy, unwUIing cìther to gì ve up his pur* 
posep to go liack, or to stop, and unable by himsetf to go 
forward^ a pian occurred to Don Rodrìgo*s mind, by whlch 
he hoped to effeet bis design. Tliìs wa» to take as a part. 
aer and as«iilint in hit enterprìse^ one whose k<mds could 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



ohtn Tf^th beyotid Uic fiVtw ol oth«rs — a min at once, tnd 
dcvil, to whom the diflìcully ni an uncleriakbjt wai frc^ 
qiiently an ìticciuivc to engagc in it But ihis cours^? al.o 
h«f! iu iuconvcnicncea ntid its dangtrs: the more > 
tlie 1?3& tliey could be eEilciilated tipon h«larehaiid: >;n' 
was ìmpossìlile tu foreste where one tnight bc led, whcji 
tmbsrkcd in ati afìFair with this mini: a powerful aiixlltary/ 
^certaìaly, but a iiot lesi absohite and dangcroufi gìiidc. 
Thcie ihoughu kcpt Don Rodrisrii for atvcnd doys 
a sttt« of worft« than tcdious perpkxity. Io Uie me 
wbile, a Icttcr arnvcd Irom bis cousin, informìng hini thi 
the plot ^gainst t!)c friar was going on very welL Followin 
doie «pon the lightnitig btjrsts Umh the thimdcrdap; 
fine njarning, Don Rodrig^o heard thai Father Crisi0f<»ro i 
kft the conveìit at Pe»car«nica Tbi* luccesa, so pr 
rftnd so cjomplete, together wtth Attilio'^ letler, esiootirai 
^hini oiiwarct and ibreatening htm with intolerable ridìeiillì 
ìf he withdrcw, indi ned Don Rodrigo stili more to ha 
cvcry tbing rather than giv« tip; hot that whkh fiuiUy àù^ 
Itid^ hinij was the tmexpccted news thtt Agnese ha4 ny 
turnod bomc» tbus rèmoTing nne ob^tadc from arotsnd Locìi^j 
We wilJ rclate hoifir theae two circumitances werc 
i«botit. beginnmg with the la$t, 

The two unfofttinate women wtre «eareely Betiltd ift 
tth«ir retrrat, wben the report of the < :ci in Mila 

•pread raptdly over Manxa, and, cons^ . , throujth ihftl 

monaitery; and followmg the grand ncw». camc an infinite 
iucceision of partieulari, whkh mtiltiplied and vari^ erery 
moment. The portress, litiiated intt bctween tht tirchi and 
the inonaitery, was the channcl of inlormaiton hoth fr 
within and from without, mn4, m^rìy roceivfng iheM 
^ porla, relailed them at wìi t$, * Two. ibc, eifl 

jfbiir, icvcn, h?id bcen ii^i y would hanf^ thi 

[iome before the bakehouBe oj rhrs, sonw at the e 

i<of the Street where the Supci . i :t of provìsiona !b 

, < Ay, ay, jn*l liaten, now !— one »f them e*caped— * m 
iomewhèfe frotti Lecco, or Ibereabotìt*. I don't know tlii^ 
inanie: but tome one wtl) be T>^5Stne who will be able lo 
leJl rnc 1 ' " -'W him.* 

Tttii i ^xtr wJtb ibi drawatlMCt tbtt 



f PROMESSI SPOSI 



307 




Wùlàà just bave arrived at Milan on the fatai da>% 

Joficd a good deal of disquietudc to the women. ^nd 

mpecìMy to Lucia: but what must il havc bcen. wh«n the 

portrcsa carne to teli thcm— * It is a man f rom your very village 

who bus escaped beiri^ himg— a silk-weaver, of the tiime of 

ramaglma ; do you know him ? ' 

Lucia, who wa5 aittitig bctutning some needlework, ii»- 
iately let il fall from hcr hands; she bccame extremely 
le, nné changcd countenance so much, that the portress 
wotild cenainly bave obsrrved it, had she been nearer to ber. 
Foftunately, bowever, sbe was standing at the door wìth 
Agnese, who, thnugh much disturbed, yet not to such a de- 
ce as ber daughtcr, preserved a cairn countenatice, and 
ffccd brraclf to reply» that Iq a little villane, everybody 
«vcfybody; that she was acquatnted wttb him, anil 
ild acaicely bTÌng herself to belìeve that aoything of the 
Uik] luid bapf^ened to hìm, he was so pcaceable a youth. 
She theo asked il ìt wai known for eertatn that he had 
Mcaped, and wbithcr. 

'Every one says he bas escaped, wherc to, ihcy cannot 
•ay: it may bc thcy wiH catch him a^^ain, or it may he he is 
il aafety; but if they do get bold of him, your pcaceable 

JfOUtil * • / 

Fortunateiy, at this iuncture, the portress was called away, 
aod left tbem — the rcader niay imaginc in what state of 
^tbtd. For nsorc lltan a day werc the poor woman and 

Kaffljcted datjghier obliged to rematn in tbif painful iu*- 
e; imagtning the causes* ways, and conseqnencc§, of 
itnhappy eyeat* and commcDting. in thcir owtj mìnds, or 
ilaw voice with cich oiber, ofi th« terrible words thetr 
Nner had left nn^ished. 
At Ictigth, one Thwrsday, a man irrived at the inonaftery 
in learch of Agnese, ft wa^i a fi»hmanger, of Pescarenico/ 
going to Xfìtan. as usuai, to dispoiie of hh fish- and the 
|p>od Faiher Cn^tofom had rcquc^ted bini, in paisln^ 
throcigh Monia, to cali in at the monastery* to greci the' 
uromcn in bif! name, to teli tbem ali he knew aboyt thls 
' '' - - / T^ jQ*^^ 10 t)^fitecb them to bave patiencc, and 
God ; aiHl to antire tbem that he wonld * 
Luiiiy n&i XQfg^si theoit bai wouid watcb tiii oppontinìty 




308 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 




for rendering^ them assìstance ; and, in the mean tune, ^ 
not fail to send them ali the news he could collect ewtrjwtàt 
eithcr hy this means, or a similar one. The 
could teli nothing new or certain about Renzo, excepiof 
the execution put into his house, and the search that wm k- 
ÌTìg made for him ; but, at the same time, that this had htm 
hithcrto in vain, and that it was known for certain tliatke 
had reached the tcrritory of Bergamo. Such a certain^, 
it is unnecessary to say, was a balm to poor Lucia's wonndel 
heart: from that time her tears flowed more freely and 
calmly ; she felt more comforted in her secret bursts of fcd- 
ing with her mother; and expressions of thankfulness te- 
gan to be mìngled with her prayers. 

Gertrude frequently invited her into her private apart- 
ment, and sometimes detained her there a long while, fed- 
ing a pleasure in the ingenuousness and gentleness of the 
poor girl, and in hearing the thanks and blessings she pourcd 
upon her benefactress. She even related to her, in con- 
fidence, a part (the blamelcss part) of her history, and of 
what she had suffered, that she niight come there to 8u£Per, 
till Lucia's first suspicious astonishment gradually changed 
to conipassion. In that history she found reasons more than 
enough to explain what she thought rather strange in the be- 
haviour of her patroness, especially when she brought in tO 
her aid Agnese*s doctrine about the characters of the nobility. 
Nevertheless, though some times induced to return the con- 
fidence which Gertrude reposed in her, yet she carefuUy 
avoided any mcntion of her fresh causes of alarm, of her 
new misfortune, and of the ties which bound her to the 
escaped silk-weaver, lest she should run any risk of spreading 
a report so full of her shame and sorrow. She also parried, 
to the bcst of her ability, ali Gertrude's inquisitive questiona 
about hersclf previous to her bctrothal, but this was not 
so much from prudcntial motives, as because such an ac- 
count appeared to the simplc-minded girl more perplcxing, 
more difficult to relate, than ali she had hcard. or thought 
it possible to bear, from the Signora. In the history of that 
lady there was oppression, intrigue, sufìfering — sad and 
mournful things, but which, neverthelcss, could bc named: 
in her own there was a pervading sentimenti a word, which 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



309 



e did ttot fcd it possìbk to pronounce, whcn speaking 
i hersclf. and as a siibstìttite for which sbe couìd never 
d a pcriphrasis that did nat scem to ber mind indelieate: 
e! 

Gertftide was somctimes tcrapted to be angry at thcsc 
ilses; but there always appeared behind tbem so fnticli 
afìfection, so much respcct» so mach gratitude, and even so 
much trustfulness? Somelimes, perhaps, tbat modesty. so 
delicate, sensitive, and mysierìous, displcased ber stili roore , 
on anolfier account; btit ali was quickly forgotten in tbe 
sootìiiiif tbougbt that evcry moment recurred to ber mitid 
wben cantcmplating Lucìa:— I am doing ber good. — And 
Ibis was CTuej for, besides the asylum sbc bad providcd, 
tbcse convcrsatìons and ber familiar treatment were some 
tomfort to Lucia, Tbe poor girl also found anotber satis- j 
&ptÌoti in Constant employment; sbe always pctittoned for 
soiBcthing to do, and wben sbe weiit into the Signora *s 
furloar, generally tock a little ncedlcwork witb ber, to keep 
b«r fingers employcd : but wbai melancboly tbougbts crowdcd 
hcr mind, wherever sbe went ! While plying ber needle,— 
an occtipation to which bitherto sbe bad givcn little attcntion, 
— <her rcel constantly prescnted itscH to ber \itw; and with 
tbe rcel, how many otber tbìngs! 

Tbe second Thursday, the same» or anotber messenger ar- 

rived, bringìng salutatlons and encouragcment from Fatber 

Cristoforo, and an additional confirmation of Renzo's cscape; 

Jbm no more positive information abotit liis misfortnnes, 

^^Bhe reader may retnembcr tbat tbe Capucbin bad hoped 

^^H>r some account from bis brother-frìar at Milan, to wbom 

^^k b^d gìven Renzo a tetter of recommendatiou ; he only re- 

^^lei, bowtver, ibat be bad seen neitber letter nor person; 

that a «tranger from tbe country bad ccrtaìnìy been to the 

eonvent In tearch of bim, but fiodìnìj bìm out, had gone 

away, and had not agaìn made bis appcarance. 

Thr Ihird Tbursday, no messenger carne, wbicb was not 

depriTing tbe poor womcn of an anticipated and boped- 

source of cnn;soIatioti ; but, as tt usually bappcns» on 

trilitng occaFJon, to tbosc in sorrow and ^u.^pen^c, was 

a iiibject of mticb dt^quirtudc, and a bundred tormenl* 

Stti^cioiìs. Agnese had, for some time^ been mn* 



310 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



tcmplating a \nsit to hcr native village, and ihis tmaepettcd 
non-apfjrarance of tlte promiscd messenger, dctcnfiincd Ììkt 
iipon taktiig sudi a atep. Lucin fdt very itrsmt:' * '* 
thoii^ht of bctng lelt widiout the shelter of her 
wìng; hut tJie longing desire shc fck to know s^- I 

htT sensc of sccurìty in that guardcd and ì. i 
conquercd ber great unwillìng^css; and il \v . 
bctween them that Agnese showld %¥atch tii the 
fotJowing day tot the fishoiongcr, who must, n^ 
pass that way on his return from Milan, and that hìir \>m 
ask him to he so food as to gìve ber a seat in hi* cait^ 
take licr to ber own motintains, Slic mct with him, ao- 

'cordingly, and askrd tf Faihef Cristoforo had givcn him no 
comnaisston fot ber. The fishmotigcr said, that he had h 
cut fìshlng the wholc day hclore his departure, ajid had 
celved neither news nor njcssag:e from the Father. A|^ 
then madc hcr reqtiest, whkh bctng grantcd withotft h 
tatfon, she took her Icave of the Signora and her daughtefi 
with inany tears: and profnislng to send them some n 

, ioOft« and rettim as qntckly as possìhle, she set o0. 

The journey was performcd withont accident Tb 
pajied part oÌ the night in an ìnn on the road-side, oa o; 
mnd setting otT on their way beforc sun-rt*e, arrlvcd cari] 
in tht mornìfig at Peicarcnico, Agnese alightt:d on the liti" 
tquare before the convent. disniissed hcr conductor 
fnany thanki; and, «ince sbe was at the place, detenutili 
he (ore gdng home, to sce her benefaetor; the worthy 
She rang the beli: the peraon who carne to open ihe 
was fra Caldino, the nutscekcf. 

* Oh, my goófi wnman, what wind haj brotight you bere?* 

* t want to see Faihcr Cristoforo.* 
' Father Cristoforo? He's not bere.* 
*Oht will he be long before he come« back?* 
'I^ngT said the friar, shniggìng hi» ihouldera, so ti 

altnost to bitry hi^ shom head in bis bood 

* Wbere has he gone?' 
•To Rimtnì/ 
'To . . , ?' 
•To Riminì; 
•Whcre ii thil?* 



I FBOMESSl SFOST 



SII 



*Hi ! «Il ì eh f ' replicd the f riar, vertictlly waving bis csc- 
idcd haad in the air, to sigtiìfy a great distance. 
*Aìas me! But why has he gone away so suddcnlf?' 

* Becasise the Father provincial ordered ìt,' 

* Aad wliy have they stnt him away at ali, when he wmt 
doing so mucb good bere ? Ah, poor me I * 

* If sapcriora werc obtiged to render a reason for ali the 
orders they give, wb«re wodd be our obtdiencc, my good 

' Ycs ; Imt ttiis is my niin/ 

is ì% the wa>r ri wìlJ bc- They wìU liavc wanted a 
prcacliCT ai Riminì (tberc are ftome ewrywhcre, to bc 
btit somctìnies they waat a particular maji» on pur- 
pi»«e); the Father provincia! thcrc wilJ bave written to the 
^ather provrncial herc, to know if he had sach and sgch 
persoti : and the Father provincial wlll bave aaid. " Father 

ofciTo is the man for him : " as, in f act, you see it is/ 
•Oh, poof n%\ When did he go?* 
•The day beforc ycsterday/ 

* Sec now; if I had only donc as I first mshed. and come 
few days soonerl Arjd don't you kuow whcn he tnay 

return? Can*t you guess at ali?* 

* Eh. my good woman! Nobody knows« except ihe Father 
v ■ if cven he does. Whcn once onc of our fireaching 
i ' takcn ihe wmg, one can nevcf forenee on what 
branch he will finally alight They are sciught after bere. 

ìiere, and evcry where ; and we have convcnts in alt the 
larters of the globe. Rest assiircd, Father Cri^itoforo 
a grreat noise wtth bis coitrse of Loit sermons» at 
^^fof he doe5n*t always preach extempore, as he dfd 
the poor pcople mtjsjbt understand htm ; for the dty 
has hi «i ^veauttfyi wrìtten sermons.and hti best robet. 
The lam^' of this great preachcr will sprrad; and they may 
VLÙi for him at . , , I don't Imow wbere. fìefidei, we 
oiQght to give him up, for we live on the charity of the whole 
world, and tt t» but ju>t that we sbould aerve the whole 

dcar, dearl* ^^m cried A^ese, almost weepiaft: 

ean I do without him? He wa& like a father to oit 

ft the ondinxig of uà.* 



S!f 



ALESSANDRO MANTONI 



'Lìstcn, niy good woman; Father Cristoforo was oer- 
tàìnly an admirable man ; but wc havc others, you know, full 
of charity and abtlity, and wbo know how to dea] \intli 
eìthcr rich or poor. Will you bave Falhcf Atanasio? or 
Father Girolamo? or Father Zaccaria? Fathtr Zaccaria» 
you kiìow, ìs a man of g^reat worth* And don't jtm wondcf, 
as some ìgsiorant peopìe do, that he h so tbìn, and has tuch 
a weak voice, and sa eh a mi scribi e beard: I doi3*t aay that 
he ts a good prcacher» bccause cveryhody has hia partjcular 
gifts; biit he ìs just the man to givc advìcc» you know/ 

* Oh holy palicncc ! ' exclaimed A^csc, witli ihai mìxtiire 
of gratìtude nnd impatience that one fecls at an alfer 
In which Ihere ìs more guod nature than suitaMcness : * VNThat 
tlocs it matter to me what a man is or ss not, whcn tliat 
good man» who's no longcr bere» was he who kncw ali 
our afiTairs, and bad made preparations to help us?' 

'Thcn you must bave patìcncc* 

*I know that/ rcplJcd Agnese: ' forgi ve me for trotibling 
;y6u/ 

'Oh don't say a word, my good woman; I ani very sorry 
for you. And if you detcrminc upon Consulting any of 
the Fatbcrs» the convent i» bere, antl won't go away, I 
I shal! iee you soon, when I coUect the oìV 

* Good'byCg* saìd A^csc ; and sbc turncd towards b^ 
little vìUage, forlorn, perplcxcd* and discoucertcd, Itke « 
bimd man wbo has lo^^t bU staH. 

Ratber bette r informed than fra Galdmo, wc wUI fiùw 
rclatc hnw things bad really happened. ImmadiateJy oil 
^^ttìUo*!ì arrivai at Milan, he went. as he had promifed Don 
rigo, to pay a visit to thcir common uncle - 
clU (Tliis was a eonimlttee, composed, at 
thirtcen persons of rank, with wbom tbc govcmt»r 
consuitcd, and who. when he ettbcr died or resEgned lu . ...ov- , 
tcmporariJy assumed the command) Thcir tmclc, tJie Cotmt, 
I a robcd mctnber, and one of tbc nhJest of tbc CouncH, en- 
Hoyed tbere a c^rtaln autbority: bui m di«p1aymf thì^ a«* 
Itbority, and making it fclt hy ti 
*liìf rcjual, AmbìguouH Jangti^. 

IMiusci in apeaking, a wink of the cjc, that scctncd to ^y, 
'I may not speak/ flattcry wìtbout procnrKa, and forma] 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



3IS 



threatciììng&— ali were directcd to thh enó; and ali, more or 
less, prodoced the desired eHect; so tliat cvco the positive 
dcclaralton, * I can do nothing in this business/ pronounced 
aometimes in absolutc tnith, but pronounced so that it was 
not bcHeved, an!y scrved to !n<!reaic the idea, and, ihercfore 
he rcality, of bis power: like the japanned boxes whìch 
ftay stili be occaiiotially seeii in aii apothecary*s shop, with 
adry Arabie characters stamped upon them^ actually con- 
iining nothìng, yct servfng to kcep up the credit of the shop, 
of the Count, which had been for a long time in» 
rèa&ing, hy very graduai steps, had, at last, madc a giant'i 
Iride, as the saying is, on an extraordinary occasion; 
«dy, a jotime>' to Madrid, on an embassy to the Court, 
^cfc the reception that he met with should be related by 
'nimselL To inention nothing else the Count Duke had 
tr^atcd bini with partkular condescenston* and admitted 
iam iato bis confidence so far as to bave asked him, in tbe 
prcMficc, he mìght say» of balf the Court, bow be liked 
Madrid^ and to bave told him, anotber tìme, when standing 
in the rccess of a window, that the Cathedral of Miìan was 
lh« targ e9t Christian tempie in tbe king's dominìons. 

After paytng ali due ceremony to bis uncle, and delivcr- 
tog bis cousin*s compliments, Attilio addresscd him with a 
look of scriousness, such as be knew how and when to 
asstuse: 'I think I am only doìng my duty without betraying 
Rodrigp's coafidcncCp when I aoquaint my micie with ari 
a^air^ whkh, tinkss yoa interfere, may become serious, and 
produce consequences . * .' 

•Ooe ©f bis usuai scrapes, I suppose?' 
*I mn assure you tbat the fault is not on Rodrigo'» 
e, bue hts spirit li roused ; and, as I said, no one but you 
an • * * 

*Wefl, let U3 bear, let us bear.' 

•Tberc is a Capuchìn friar in that neighbourhood, wht 
a grudge agaiost tny couain; and things bave gone 
sudi a pitch that , . .* 

* How oficn bave ! lold you both to let Ibc monks fry ibeir 
fish? h iuflScirnt for tbosc to ba%*e to do i^*itli 

wbo ar'- . . - whosc buiiness it is * • / «ni 

bere he sigbcd. ' Bui you can avotd tbem . . / 



sii 



ALKSeANDBO MATOONI 



* Signor unclr, I ani botmd to tdl you that Rodrigo 
bave let thera ailone, had il bccu |KJB>ìb)e, It h ihc friar 
is deumiintd io quarrel witb him, and has tricd io ev«y wajr 
to provoke htm/ 

' What th€— — lias tliis friar to do with my ncphcw?* 

* First ai al), he >s well known aa a restkss spìriti who pddei 
hiniielC iipon quarrelUng with gentlcmcn* This felldW. too^ 
has taken under bis protection smd direction, and I don't 1 
whàt beiidea, a country ^ìri o£ the viJlage, whoio bc regard 
wttb an affection . . * an alfection , * , I doo't aay of 
kìnd; btit a very jcalous, suspidous, and suUen affectiofu* 

' I understand;* said the Couol, and a ray of ctmtii»g 
tclligence shot across the depth of duJness nature had 
upoo his counieìianet, now, however» partìally vdled 
the m^sk of a polìtician. 

^Now, fot some iìme* continued Attitk>> * thit friar has 
taken a lancy that Rodrigo has, I doo't know wbat deiijcm 
«pon this . . ; 

'Taken a fancy, eh, taken a faiiey? I know the Sig 
Don Rodrigo too well ; and it needs anothcr advocatc 
your bfdshlp to juatify him in these matterà/ 

* That Rodrigo, Signor unclCp may bave had «ome tdle jt 
ing with this girl, wben he met ber on tJic road, 1 can eas 
beUeve; he is young, and bcsidcs. not a Capitchin; btit the 
are mere nonsenseSf not wortli mentioning tu my noble unde 
the serioas part of the buainesa 1% that the frìar has bcgtso 1 
talk of Rodrigo as he would of a common fdlow, and 
Iried to instigate aU the country against him/ 

* And the other fnars?* 
*Thcy don't racddle with it» because they know him to be a 

hot^hcftded fool, and bear a great rcipect to Rodrigo: hot, < 
the other side, this nionk haa great rcputation amoitg III 
▼ilhgers as a s^tnr» and . . J 

*l fancy he doetn't know that Rodrigo h my ae|diew , ^ 

'Doesn't he, thougb? ]t ia juit ihia that ttrges him 
OQward/ 

*How?bowr 

'Because — and he scruplet not to ptd^hh li— be 
greater dehght in vexing Rodrigo, exactly because be bat i 
suturai iirotector of such anthority as your lorclship; 



1 PEOMESai SPOSI 



915 



hughi al ^reit p«ople ftod pòfitictaits, and says that the cord 
tì£ St Fra^ds binds cveo swords mné , * / 

* The rash %illalii I What b bis namc ? ' 

*Fra Cristoforo^ of * * ♦/ sald Atlflio; and his unefe^ 
takiog a tablet irom hi» desk, and considerabty inccnscd, rn- 
9CTÌbed whhÌTi it the unforttmate naine. In the me&o whilc 
Attilio conlinued: *T1ils fdlow has always had sisch a dis* 
pofidoa: his former Hfe is well ktiowti. He was a plebelan, 
who poeteseed a little money, and would, therefore, compete 
Witti the Doblonen of hh country; and out of ragc at not 
being able to make thcm ali yìeld to him, he kUled ooe, and 
th^Q turoed friar to eecape the gallows.' 

* Bnivo ! capital ! we will see, wc wììl see/ c?cclalined the 
Cotmt, pùnìhtg and puffing^ with an important air. 

* Lately/ contìnued Attilio, ' he is more enraged than ever, 
becauie he has failed in a design whìch he was very cager 
about; atid frorn this my nuble tiode wìll underMand what 
lort of man he is, This fellow wanted to marry his protcgée; 
wbethej* to retnove ber from tlic perìls of the worìd, you uo- 
dtrstand, or whaicver it might be, at any rate he was de* 
terattned io marry Iter; and he had foiind the . . . the man, 
ADOthcf of hÌ8 prolégés, a person whosc tiame my honoured 
onde may not tmprobabiy bave heard; for I dare say the 
Privy-cotindl bave had some transactiOBS with this worthy 
subject/ 

* A silk-w«iver, Lorenzo Tramaglij^o, he who • . / 
'Lorenzo Traiiiaf lino ! ' exclaiined his micie. 'Well done» 
> bfsvc friar f • . t , . , indeed , * . he had a Icttcr 
pa , . . A cri. ... But it matterà Hot : very weìl. 

And why dtd Don Rodrigo teli nie nothiog of ali chia; hut 
lei tliìngs go so far, without apiilying to one who is botb able 
9nti willtiig to cHrect and hcJp him ? ' 

* I will be candid with yon, On the one band, kmiwbig 
mstny intrigtie^ and afìfairs you had in your head . . * 

uncfc d ' ng breath, and p\it bis band to bis 

id, as If tu e the fatigut; be miderwcnt io ihc 

[ of so maiiy iiiiricatc undeftakings,) 'he fdt in a 
tKMtndt' eoiìlinued Attilio, ' oot to give you any addi- 
'tf^Ul trouUe. And boiides, I will tcU you the whote: from 



CHAPTER XI5t 

IF a weed bc discovered in a badly cultivated field, a fine 
root of sorrel, for exainple, and the spectator wish to 
ascertain with certainty whether it has sprung up from 
seed, cither ripened in the field itself, or wafted thither by 
the wind, or dropped thcre by a bird in its flight, let him 
think as he will about it, he will never come to a satisfactory 
conclusion. For the same reason we are unable to decide 
whether the resolution formed by the Count of making use 
of the Father provincial to cut in two, as the best and easiest 
method, this intricate knot, arose from bis own unassisted 
imagination, or from the suggestions of Attilio. Certain it 
is, that Attilio had not thrown out the hint unintentionally ; 
and howcver naturally he might expect that the jealous 
haughtiness of bis noble relative would recoil at so open an 
insinuation, he was determined at any rate to make the idea 
of such a resource flash beforc bis eyes, and let him know 
the course which he desired he should pursue. On the other 
band, the pian was so exactly consonant with bis uncle's dìs- 
position. and so naturally marked out by circumstances, that 
one might safely venture the assertion, that he had thought 
of, and embraced it, without the suggestion of any one. It 
was a most essential point towards the reputation of power 
which he had so much at heart, that one of bis nanie. a 
nephew of bis, should not bo worsted in a dispute of such 
notoriety. The satisf action that bis nephew would take for 
himself, would bave been a remedy worse than the disease, a 
foundation for future troubles, which it was nccessary to 
overthrow at any cost. and without loss of tiine. Command 
him at once to quit bis palace, and he would not obey : and, 
even should he submit, it would be a snrrendcring of the 
contest, a submission of their house to the superiority of a 
convent. Commands, legai force, or any terrors of that 
nature, were of no value against an adversary of such a 
character as Father Cristoforo: the rcgular and secular 
dergy were entirdy exempt, not only in thcir persons, but in 

318 



I PROMESSI ^POSI 



$ì% 



beir placcs oC abodc. from ali lay-jun'sdìction (as must bave 
cu (jt>serv<^ii cven by une who has read no ùilier story than 
ke otic btfore him) : mherwisc they would often havc farcd 
fti^ badly. Ali tliat couid be attempted against auch a rivai 
"^ l^ìB rcmovaU und the only means for obtaitimg thts was 
Father provincial, al whose pleasurc Fathcr Cristoforo 
sifi cither statioiiary, ar on the move. 
Bttween this Fathcr provincial and the Ccjunt of the 
rJvy-comicU tliere éxi§ted an aecjuaintanceshìp of long 
liìom saw each other, bui wheneiper they 
.reat demonslralions of frìendship, and re* 
ìtcrAted uiki*» oi senfice. It is Bometitties easicr to trans* 
act business Mdviititageousiy with a persan who presides over 
many indìvìdaals than wìth only one of tfiote %^mt indJvid^ 
ualt, who secs bnt bis own motives, fecis but his nwn pas* 
aions, seeka only dis own ends; whi!€ the former Instantìy 
perc€ives a hnndred relations, contLngencles, and intcreats, à 
htmdred objects to sectire or aroid, and ean, therefotc, b€ 
takcn on a hnndred dìfiferent sides, 

Whtn ali had hfén well arranged in hh tnlnd, the Coutit 
€fie day usvlied the Faihef provlnctal io diniìer, io meet a 
ctrcle of ^nt^th selcctcd willi snperktivc judgrnent :— an 
assofiblage of mtn oi the btgbesi rank, whost famlly alone 
bore a lofty titlc, and who by their carriage. by a certain 
natt¥e boldnesi, by a lordly air of disdaìn, and by talkìng of 
great tbJng& in familiar teniis, succecdcd. even wìthoul in- 
icndìng ti, in iuipressìng, and, on every occasìon^ keeping np, 
the idea of thcìr ^uperìorily and power; togcthef uith a few 
cifcnts boimd to the house by Un hcredhary dcvoiion, and 
to lìM head by tlie Rervitude of a whole life; wbo, begtnnitigf 
Wilb the K>up to say ' yess/ wìth their Hps, their eyes, their 
cara, their head, their whole body, and their whote heart, 
had made a mani by deisert-time, almost forgel how to 
my ' 00/ 

At taWc, the noble 
ti|Mcs Madrid. There 
flÉiiiini: ucie's objcct» aod he tried 

ODOit, the Count'diike, the mmiiteri^ aod the goveroor's 
Umìy\ of the bull-biiitfi, which he could accurately dcscrtbe, 
Ittvtiig bcao a «tp^tator from a yery advifttagcotis post; md 



led the convcrsatioii 
aia tucani of accom- 
alL Ile spoke of the 



AtES^ANDRO MANZONI 

ùi ihc Eseurial, of whìch he could give « minute ncocsuot. bfr 

I cause otìc of the Count-duke's pages had coi)diictt.nJ hlm 

throtigh every nook and corner of it For some timc the 

company contìnued like an audience, attentile to him alone; 

^kut, by dcgrees» they dividcd iiito sniaU groups of t&lkerab, 

ad he then proccedcd lo telate ftirther anecdotes of tliC 
Igreat tliings he had seen, as in coiifidcnce, io the Fither pro-l 
rtuctal, who was scated near hi ni. and who suffcred him tc»i 
talk on without interTuptton. Bat at a certain pomt he favai 
a turn to the conversaticm, aod, leaving Madrid, procecdc4 
from court to court, and from dignìtary to dignìtary, tiU he 
id brought upon the tapis Cardinal Bartierbì, a Capuchio, 
tid brother to the then reignJng Pbpe» Urban VIIL The 
^ount was at last obltged to cease taìktng for a whUcv 
fbe contcìit to listen, and reniembcr that. after a]l. th«rc 
some pcople in the world who were not bom to Uve aodl 
^act only for him. Shortly after Tcavlng die iable, he r^j 
luested the Father provindal to stcp wi^ him luto aooliier 
^ftpartment. 

Two raen of authority, age, and consummate experìencc^l 
now found thettiselves standiog opposite to eadt othcr, Th«| 
notile lord requested the revercnd Father to take a »cai, 
jlactng htmseU at bis side, began as follows: 'CcmÀÌ4e 
fthe friendship that exjsi& between uà, I thought I migfit rm^ 
ture to speak a word to your Rcvereoce on a matter of 
muttial interest, whìch it wouìd bc betler to setile bctween 
oursefvcs* wìtJwut takiag aoy oiber course^i which nitglit| 
, , . Bnt, without further prefacc, I wtU caiìdidly teli yoilj 
lo what I allude, and I doobt noi you mi! immcdiately agKfl 
,with me. Teli me : in your convent of Pescarenico thtrc 
I certain Father Cristoforo of • • ♦ ? * 
The Provincia! bowed amijent, 

•Your Pateroìty will he good enough then, franUy» like 
a friend* to teli me . . < thls person , . . ibis Father . ♦ ♦ l 
don*t know hhti pef§onaT1y: I am acquainted wtth «evirral 
Capuchtn fathers, xealou^ pmdent, htasble men^ who ar« 
worth iheir weight in gold: I bave been a friend to Itej 
order from my hoyhciod , . . But io cvety rather nti 
ai}y . . . r^ s some individoaL some wild . 

iMi Fati ro^ l know by severml occurrciicta 



l rROMESSI SPOSI 



321 



Ile h a persoti . , . rather mdined to dìspiites . . . 
has GOt ali ihir pmdcncc* ali the circumspeGtion . . • I 
dare say he has more than once givcn your Patcrnity some 
xiety/ 

— I tinderstafid; thb ts a spedtìiai,— thought the Pro- 
cial in ihe meaii lime. — Il ts roy fatili; T knew that that 
$cd Cristoforo wms fitter to go about freni pulpit la pul- 
be set dowp for six months iti one place, specialty 
ry con ve ni, — 
* Oli ! ' said he aloud, ' 1 am really very sorry to bear Ihat 
«or Htgliness cniotauis sucb aii opinion of Father Cris- 
foi^; lor, as far as 1 know, he ts a most exemplary monk 
the coQveQt, axid h Keld in mach esteem also in the neigh- 
rhood/ 
*1 tinderstand perfectly; your Reverence ought . . . How- 
evcT, as a sincere friend, I wish to ìnform you of a thing 
which It is Important for you to know; and cven ìf you 
are already ac(|uainted with il, I think, wilhout exeeedìng 
itiy dtity, I should camion you against the (I only say) 
possible consequences. Do you know thai this Falhcr Cris- 
toforo hai taken under hb protection a man of that coun- 
try, a man , * • of whom your Paternity has doubtìess heard 
menfìeii : hiin wbo escapcd in such disgrace frani the hands 

(after havìng done thfngs on that terrible day of 
i . ni . , , tlùngs , . , Lorenzo Tramaglino?' 
— Ala^ì — thought the Provìncia!, as he repHed: * This 
Iftieubf is quite new to me, but yoitr Htghiiess is soffi- 
imtJy aware that it u a part of our office to seek those 
!io ha ve gone astray, to recali them * « / 
^Ycs» ycs; but intercoursc wìth offenders of a certain 
land! * • . U rathcr a danj^erous thing— a very delicate a0air 
♦ . / And here, instead of pufiTing out bis chceks and pant- 
hi^, he compressed bis Irps, and drew in as much air as he 
^^< acetuitomed to attnd forth wìth such profotind impor- 
He llien rcsumed : ' I thoujjbt it as we li to give yeti 

"' 1 \f gver bis Excellcncy . . He may have 

al Rome ... I don*t know, though . , . 

'l p for ibis informa* 

» but i Icd coQlàdait, tiial ii thcjr woold make inquiried 




32? 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



1 aih^r Crisiofofo 



oti thls subjcct, they would fiiul that Fai 
bad tìQ interccJiirsc wìih the pcrson you n 
tei try atid set him right agaìn. I know 

* Yuu ktiow, probably, alrcady, bcttcr than I do» whit 
kitid of a nmn he w&a as a layman, and the li f e he led k 
bis ytJuUì/ 

^* It ìs one of the glorìes of oiir hat^it. Signor Coitoti thit 
nao who has gìvcn evcr so much occasìofi in ihe world 
Ibf fuca to talk about hini, becomes a difTcrcni person whcQ 
he bas as&umt*tj ihis dress. And cvcr silice Faihcr Crtfltofoco 
hae worn tJie habìt . , ' 

* I would gladly bcllrvc iu 1 assure you— I would gbdlr 
bcUeve it; but somcUmea - , . as the provcrb *ay» . . , ••fc 
Ì£ not the cowl thal makes the frmr/' ' 

The provtrb was not cxactly to the purpose. bat tbe 
Coiint bad citcd ìt instcad of anotJicr, whkb had crossed 
jìiindr * The wolf dmnges iii> skin, but not ita n;itnrc/ 

*ì bave facts/ conlìnued he; * I bave ijositivc i>rrM)ff . 

*lf you know for ecrtain; intcrruptcd the Provincial 
'that thU friar has becn guiliy of any fault, (and we ife 
alt IJable lo crr,) you will do me a favour to inform ne ol 
il. I am bis supcrior, though unworthily; but il ii» thtrc* 
fore, my duty to corrcct and reprove.* 

* I will teli you ; togcttjcr wilh the unpltasìng drciiniflifioe 
of the favour thisi Fathtr dbpUys ^ *o«t I 
bave metitipncd, thcrc fs another gric * may 
. . , But we will scttie ali this bctwcai ourscivoi at odc«. 
Tbis samc Fathcr Cristofciro ba» be^un a quarrcl with lajf 
nephew, Don Rodrigo ♦ ♦ ♦* 

' Indced I I am vcry sorrv to bear lì I— very sorty Ì8^ 
deed ! * 

*My Rcphcw is young, and bot-tempered; he leda wlail 
bc i*j anfJ t^ nnt amintrutii'd tn hr prnvnked . , * 

* It »ball ' ry OH th« mlh 
ìcct As I l'j ai you nmit 
kuow, witb your grcat expertencc in the world» and yoiif 
noble judgmcnt, far bctter than l^ we are ali human, and 
liable to err . . . some une way, some ajiothcr; and If oor 
Fatfarr Criitoforo has Caìkd 



^ 



J 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



■Yoor Reverencc must perceive that these are matters, 
MS I said, wUich had bcttcr be settled between oursclvee^ 
mné remam buricci with us — things which, if nnich ineddlcd 
wilh» wìll only bc made worse. Yoy know how ìt ofleii 
happeiLs; these strifes and disputes frequcudy origiiìate from 
a mtft bagatelk; and become more and mare serious as 
the/ are suffercd io proceed* It is beticr to sirìke at ihc 
root bcforc they grow to a head, or becomc the causes of 
a àtmdred other contcntions. Siipprcss it, aiìd cut it short, 
wmM reverend Father; supprcss, and cut it short, My 
«lepbew h yOung ; ihe monk, from what I bear, has stili aU 
tìm spiritatali !be , , . inctmatìons of a youn^ nian; and it 
belonga to us who bave some ycars on our shoutders — (toa 
^aiiy« are tberc not, mo&t reverend Father?) it belong^ lo 
l say, to bave judgiiient fot tbe yotuig, and tT>' to 
iy their errors. Fortonatcly we are stili in good time : 
Ile matter bas made no stìr; it is stili a case o£ a good 
wcipiis obsta, Lct us reniove the Straw from the flame. 
man who has not don e wcU» or who may be a caaae of 
ae trouble in one place, somctioies gets on surpristiigly in 
BOthcf* Youf Paternity, doubtless, knows wherc to find 
convctiient post for this friar, Tbls wtll atso mcet the 
circuì nstancc of bis haviag, perhaps, f alien under the 
jona a( one , . , who would be very glad thal he 
be rcraoved; and thtis, by placing him at a little dis- 
tance. wc shall kill two birds with one stone; ali will be 
t ■ ' l or rather, therc will be no harm donc/ 

provincial had expectcd thfs canclusion from 
of rhe interview*— =Ay, ay( — thought he to 
ce wtll enough wbat you wouìd britig me to, 
It'i tlic usuai way: if a poor friar hast an encounlcr witlì 
•' "*- ^«^ith any one of you, or gives you any off enee, right 
the supcrior mtist makc him march immediaiely. — 
\% ' it was at last siici ' ' fiad puffed forlh 

k)i ith. whieh was •. ■ «o a fui! stop: 

1 the r'rwiiicial 'what your 

hcfore taking a step . . / 

Il ta a step, and it is not a step, most revcfcnd Father, 

a naturai thtng cnougli — a very c«>intnoQ occurraiQe ; 

it doei mot come to thii, aod qtUckly too» I forcsét 



324 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

a mountain of disorders — an Ilìad of woes. A mistake • . • 
my nephew, I do not bclicve . . . I am bere, for this . . . But, 
at the point at which matters bave now arrived, if we do 
not put a stop to it between ourselves, without loss of time^ 
by one decided blow, it is not possible that it should remain 
a secret . . . and tben, it is not only my nepbew . . . we raise 
a horaet's nest, most reverend Father. You know, wc 
are a power fui family — we bave adherents . . .' 

'Plainly enough . . .' 

' You understand me : tbcy are ali persons who bave 
some blood in tbcir veins, and wbo . . . count as somebody 
in the world. Tbcir bonour will come in; it will become a 
common affair; and thcn . . . even one wbo is a friend to 
peace . . . It will be a great grief to me to be obliged . . . to 
find myself ... I, wbo bave always bad so mucb kind feeling 
towards tbe Capucbin Fatbers! You reverend Fatbcrs, to 
continue to do good, as you bave bitberto done, witb so 
muéb edification among tbe people, stand in need of peace, 
sbould be frce from sfrifes, and in barmony witb tbose wbo 
. . . And, bcsides, you bave fricnds in tbe world . . . and 
tbese afifairs of bonour, if tbey go any Icngtb, extend tbem- 
selvcs, brancb out on every side, and draw in . . . balf the 
world. I am in a situation wbicb obligcs me to maintain 
a certain dignity . . . His Excellency . . . my noble col- 
leagues . . . it becomes quite a party matter . . . particularly 
witb tbat otber circumstance . . . You know bow tbese 
tbings go.* 

'Certainly,* said tbe Fatber provincial, ' Fatber Cristo- 
foro is a preacber; and I bad already some tbougbts ... I 
bave just becn asked . . . But at this juncture, and under 
tbe present circumstances, it might look like a punisbment; 
and a punisbment beforc having fully asccrtained . . .' 

' Pshaw I punisbment, psbaw I — merely a prudential ar- 
rangement — a convenient rcsource for preventing evils 
wbicb might ensue ... I bave cxplained myself.' 

* Between the Signor Count and me tbings stand in this 
Hght, I am aware; but as your Lordship has rclated the 
circumstances, it is impo.ssiblc, I should say, but that some- 
tbing is known in the country around. There are evcry- 
wbere firebrands, mischief-makcrs, or, at least, maliciotit 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



32$ 



iers, vrìXQ UiSce a mad dellfbt in seeing the noblHty and the 
yuB ordcrs at varìance; thcy observe ìt tmmedìately» 
it, and enlargc upon it . . . Evcrybody has his dtgnity 
fYìaintam: and I also, as Superior, (though uiiworthi!\%) 
ivc ;in express duty , , . The honotir of the habit . . . is not 
my private conccm . . . it is a deposit oC which . . . Your 
noblc ncphew, stnce he is so high-spirited ns your Lordshjp 
describcs hira, might takc il as a satisfaction offercd io him, 
aod ... I do not say boast o£ ìt, and triumph over hìm, 
fwit . . / 

* Is your Patcmity joking whh me? My nephew is a gcn* 
tleman of some eonsideration in the world . * . that is» ac- 
GOfdifig lo his rank and the daìms he has; but m niy pres- 
coce he h a mere boy; and will do ndther more nor less 
than I bìd him. I will go further, and teli yoii that my 
nephew shall know nothing aboist iL Why need wc give any 
ftccount of whai we do? It is al) transacted between our- 

ivci^ as old frìcnds, and never necd come to light Don*t 
_ re yourself a thought about ihis, I ought to be accus- 
tdcned to be sileni/ And he heaved a deep stgh, ' As to 
gosslps/ resumed he, * what do you suppose they cati say? 
The dcparturc of a monte to preach somewhcre else, is 
atiùng so very itncommon t And then, we wbo see - . . we 
foresee . , , wc who otjght , , , we necd not give our- 
Ivcs any conccm about gossiptngs.* 

* Al aay rate, it would bc well to try and prevcnt them 
"in thi» occasiona by your noble nephew 's maktng some dem- 

OQSttatioti, givìng some open proof of frtendship and 

defcrcncc ♦ . • not for oirr sakes» as individuals, but for the 
ke of the habit . , / 

' Ccrtatoty, ccrtainly, this is biU fair , . . Howcver, there 

hd necd of it; I ktiow that the Capuchms are always re- 

ived as thcy ought to bc by ay nephew. He does so from 

vatton ; ìf is quìte the dìsposiuoiì of tlic f amìly * and 

he know$ it is grati fying to me. In this tnstance, 

howcrer . . , something more marked * . * is only righi, 
ive tiieto aettle ìt, most rcvL-rend Fathcr; I will ordcr ray 
phcw . * . th*it ì$t I muM cai-tiniftlv sugge^t it to hijD, lest 
^ould »u*pect what has pas^s^cd betwcen tis. Il would not 

dov yoQ koowv to iay ^ pÙsler whcre there ìs cto wouod 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

And as to whit wc hive detcnnìned tiporu the cfuìckcr the 
fletter. If you can hnd some po&t at a little dìstmoce . « 
obviate cvery occasion , * / 

*l have just been asked fot a preadier at Rifcìtti; Sfl 
perhaps, even without any other rcason, 1 shauid have 
thought of . . / 

*Exactly aprùpos, cxa^tly aprùpùS. And when . . ,?' 

* Siocc the thing must bc donc, it had bcttcr bc donc at 
once/ 

' Directly, dìrectly, most revcrend Faiher; bel ter to*<lay 
ihau to-morrow* Aiid/ continyed he, as he roie from bis 
seat, *il I can do anythìng, I or my friertdsp Cor oiir wortliy 
Capuchin Fathers . . / 

*We know, by cxprnencc, tiie kìndticss of yoiir tlcntKt' 
said the Fatber provinciale also rifiing, and advmtteìng l 
the door, bchind Uis vanqiiUber. 

*We bave cxttnguìshed a spark/ said tlie Cmiiif, wa 
slowly forward; *a spark, tnost revcrend Fath*r ^^«s 
mìght have been fanned into a wide-sprcading ajid > 
flame. Between friends, two or three wordi will oiicn »eiti€" 
grcat thingss/ 

On reaehing the othcr apartmt!nt» he threw open ibe door, 
and insistcrì upnn the Father's first cntering; tb«n loBowiilg 
him in, ihcy mingled with the ren-t of the c^mpìiiiy. 

This noljleman einployed a atudìed poUteneas, grcat dex- 
terity, and fine word», to accouipli^h hìis dciign»; and tjicy 
produced corre*pnnding cffccts» In fact, he aucccedcd, 
the converaation we have relatcd, in makinpf Faiher Cr 
foro go, on loot, from Fc«c;trenico to Rimint, whicb ta a ir< 
tolerable di stane e. 

One evcnhg, a Cat>uchm arri v ed at ^ :co. frena 

Milan, with a dcspareh to the Fatbcr-,^ it con- 

tatned an order for Falber Cristoforo to repair ai once io 
RiTnini, H'here he waa appointed to preach the cmirse of 
Lent Serrnons* The tetter in the e^^ardian contained in* 
iinietioni to insinuate to ibe iaìd frtar, iliat he must gìy^ 
up ali thonghts of «ry business he mìgbt bave in band m tka 
ncìglilxmrbood he waa aboul to leave, ajìd waa oot io keep 
Ufi aoy correapondence therc : the bcarer would be his cooi* 
panion by iìtn way. The gisardian taid oothisig that dreoltif | 



I PROI^fESSI SPOSI 



SU 



hai uext morning he summotied Fathcr Crisftsforo, showed 
"liim the ctjmman<l, bidc hìm talee hìs vvallet, staff, manìplc, 
liid girdic, and, wìth thr Failicr whom he prcsented to htm 
a companion, ìmmcdìateJy set off on bis jowrney. 
What a blow this wotild be to the poor friar, the reader 
nwst imag^ioe. Renato, Lucm, Agtiese. instatiti/ rushed itito 
ih nùnd; and he excIaÌDì*rd, so tu say, to himsclf:^ — Oh my 
Zodì what wìll these poor ctcaturcs do, when 1 atn no bnger 
»! — Btit uìsuiitly ratsiiJg his eyts to hcàven, he re* 
ched himself (or wanl ol faith, and for having supposed 
""""[tras necessary in aoythtng. He crof^sed his banda 
reast, in token of obedience, and bowed hts head 
tfore the guardìan, who, taking him asìde, told hira the r€it 
>f Ihe messale, adding a few words of advice, and fomc 
liible preccpls, Fathcr Cristoforo theo went into hfs celi, 
et, and placcd ihercin his hrcviary, his sermons» 
id of forgi veness, tiotind round his walst M 
lesilhem girdlc, took kavc of his hrethren whom he fouad 
the ranvcnt, went to reqtiest the giiardian's blessing, and 
witli hh conìpaiilon, look the route which had bceti 
rcscribed for him, 

Wc bave naid tliat Don Rodrigo, mote than ever fcsolvcd 
*i hts praiscworthy iindenaking. had determbed 
asststaiice of a vcry fonnldabìc character. Of 
ipefMMiage wc can give neither the name, surnamc, nor 
; HOT can we even venture a conjecture on any one of 
which h the more remarkablc, as we fìnd niention of 
llbn in more than onc publìsbed book of those times. That 
is the samc pcrsonagc, the identity of facts Icaves no room 
9r dcmbt; but everywhcre a stadious endeavour may he 
lo eonccal lib name, as if the mention of it would 
tgnitird thf * !. Fran» 

Rivola, in * Borro- 

f ipcaking of thi» persoti, *ayH: ' A otii 
wcalih as rinstrìous by birth/ an 

Ri wUo, in the fiftb hook of the lifrh 

'^ -uà Pairiiì, makes more caceJuaive mentiOQ 

him a» * one/ ' ihb pcrson/ * tltat persoli/ 

, i:i,a personage/ * I vali retate,* «ys he, in hi» 

Latin, whtch we umiulate as followi^— ' tbe oise of 



328 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

one, who, bcinsf among the first of the grcat mcn of the city, 
took up his residence in the country; whcre, securing him- 
self by the force of crime, he set at nought justice and judges, 
ali magisterial, and even ali sovereign power. Situated on 
the very confines of the state, he led an independent lifc; a 
harbourer of outlaws, an outlaw at one time himself» and 
then safely returned . . / We will extract, in the sequel, 
some other passages from this writer, which will serve 
to confirm and elucidate the account of our anonymous 
author, with whom we are travelling onward, 

To do what was forbidden by the public laws, or rendered 
dìfficult by an opposing power; to be the arbiter, the judge 
in other peoplc's affairs, without further interest in them 
than the love of command; to be feared by ali, and to havc 
the upper band among those who were accustomed to hold 
the same station over others : such had ever been the princi- 
pal objects and dcsires of this man. From his youth he 
had always had a mingi ed feeling of contempt and impatient 
cnvy at the sight or report of the power, rencounters, strifes, 
or oppressive tyranny of others. Young, and living in a 
city, he omitted no opportunity, nay, even sought for them, 
of setting himself up against the most renowned of this 
profcssion, either entirely to subdue them, to struggle with 
them, and keep them in awe, or to induce them to solicit 
his friendship. Supcrior to most in riches and retinue, and, 
perhaps. to ali in presumption and intrepidity, he compelled 
many to retire from competition; some he treated with 
haughtiness or contempt, some he took as friends; not, 
however, on an cquality with himself, but, as alone would 
satisfy his proud and arrogant mind, as subordinate friends, 
who would be content to acknowledge thcir inferiority, and 
flse their hands in his service. In fact, however, he became 
at length the grand actor, and the instrument of his com- 
panions, who never failed to solicit the aid of so powerful 
an auxiliary in ali their undcrtakings, while for him to draw 
back, would be to forfeit his reputation, and come short of 
what he had assumed. He went on thus, till, on his own ser- 
vice and that of others, he had gonc to such a length, that 
neither his name, family, friends, nor even his own audacity, 
sufficed to sccure him against public proclamations and oùt* 



1 PROlvrESST SPOSI 



S29 



iiwry. mné he wms compelled io ^vc way and feave the state. 
I beltcve il is to tbif circurnstance that a remarkable ind- 
defit, relatcd hy Kipaniond^ refers, *On eoe occasion. whoi 
obliged lo qttit the couJìtr>% the sccrccy he tise4 and the 
rcspect and timidity he dispTayed. wcre such, that he rode 
tbrotigh the dty cm horseback, loìlowed hy a pack of hotinds, 
and accompanìed with the sound of the truinpet; and* in 
passing bcforc the palace of the court, left aa ìnsolent mes- 
sa gè with the iHJ^i'tis, fot the govemor,' 

During' his absetice he continued the same practices, not 
«ven intermittmg his co rrespoTi dente witli Ihose of his 
friends who remaincd united to hitn (to transtate literally 
from Ripamonti), 'in the secret alHance of atrodous con- 
sultatìons and fatai deeds/ It even appears that he engaged 

E the forciga courts in other ncw and forinidable undertak^ 
ings, of whicb the above-cited hlstorian speaks with myste- 
rious bre^ity. ' Some foreign princes scveral tiraes availed 
themselves of his assistaoce m important murders, and fre* 
fjnentJy «ent hìm reinforcements of soldiers, from a consid- 
erabte distance, to act tinder his orders/ 

At kngth (it is not exactly koown how long afterwards) 
diher the sentenee of banishnient against hini bemg with* 
drawn» by some powerful iotercesslon, or the audachy of 
Ihc man serving liim in place of any other liberation, he 
resolved to return home, and, in fect, did return; not, 
Ìi0wever, to Milan, but to a eastle on bis manor, situated 
Od the confines of tbe Bergamascan terrìtory» at that ttme» 
ai moat of our readers know, under Venetian govemraent; 
ftnd herc he fixed his abode, * Xhis dwel Hng/ we again 
quote Ripamonti, * waf , ai it werc, a dìspensary of san* 
gujnary mandatesi tJie servant» wcre outlaws and murder* 
«rs; liie very cooks and sculllons wcre not exempl from 
hoffnidde; the hands of the children were «t^iined with blood/ 
Be&ides iìiU amìabìe doraestic clrcìe, he haé, a^ the same 
lustorlan affirms, another set of de pendenti of a ^imilar 
charaeter disperseci abroad, and q^iartered, so to say, at dif- 
fercnt posts in the two statcs on tlie taorders of whìch he 
veti, who w*ere ahvays ready to exectite ^- --i— s^ 
Ali the lyrannical iiublctncii, for a coi distance 

Iia4 beai obtigcd^ on ane occation ur iinottier^ to 





S90 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

choose betwccn the friendship or the cnmity of this sttper- 
cminent tyrant. Those, however, who at first attempted to 
resist him, carne off so badly in the contest, that no one 
was ever induced to make a second trial. Ncithcr was it 
possible» by maintaining a neutral course, or standing, as 
the saying is, in their own shoes, to keep thcmselves inde- 
pendent of him. If a message arrived, intimating that such 
a person must desist from such an undertaking, or cease to 
molest such a debtor, or so forth, it was necessary to give 
a decided answer one way or other. When one party 
carne, with the homage of a vassal, to refer any business to 
his arbitration, the other party was reduced to the hard 
alternative of either abiding by his sentence, or publicly 
declaring hostih'ties; which was equivalent to being, as the 
saying is, in the last stage of consumption. Many who werc 
in the wrong had recourse to him that they might be right 
in efifect; many being in the right, yet resorted to him to 
pre-engage so powerful a patronage, and dose the way 
against their adversaries; thus both bad and good carne to 
be dependent upon him. It sometimes happened that the 
weak, oppresscd, harassed, and tyrannized over by some 
powerful lord, turned to him for protection; he wouid then 
take the part of the oppressed, and force the opprcssor to 
abstain from further injuries, to repair the wrongs he had 
commi tted, and even to stoop to apologies; or, in case of 
his proving stubborn and unbendinjj. he would completcly 
crush his power, constrain him to quit the place where he 
had exerciscd such un just influence, or even make him pay 
a more expcditious and more tcrrible penalty. In thcse 
cases, his name, usually so drcaded and abhorred. became, 
for a time, an objcct of blessìng: for (I will net say, this 
justice, but) this rcmedy, this recompense of some sort, 
•ould not bave bcen expected, under the circumstances of 
the times, from any other either public or private source. 
More frequently, and indeed ordinari ly. his power and 
authority ministcred to iniquitous desircs, atrocious revenge, 
or outragcous caprice. But the vcry opposite uses he made 
of this power produccd in the end the self-same cfTcct. that 
of imprcssing ali minds wilh a lofty idea of how much he 
could will and execute in spi te of equity or iniquity, those 



f PROMESSI SPOSI 



311 



,w1iìcfi tftterpose 9^ty many impedimmts tr- 
li of man** desirc^» and so often force 
io lom back» Tlie fame of ordinary oppressors was for thf 
no»* part rcstrictcd to the limìtcd tract of country wheta 
li«>' contìiiually or frequently exercised their oppression : 
districi had its owti tyrant ; and thcse so resetnbled 
Otber, that therf was no reasoii tliat ptople should 
rfcre with those from whom thcy stjetained neìthef 
^ijwf y «or moleetatioo, But the fame of ihis man had long 
becn difTused throughout cvery corntT of the Milanese: hit 
Uie W^s cTTcrywhcre the subject of popular stories; and hii 
vcry tiame tarrted wkh it the idea of &ometbing formidable, 
irk, and fabuIoMs. The susptctons that werc everywhere 
stertained of bt* confedcrates tnd tools of assas^tnattoa^ 
ntribtited to kcep alive a Constant memento of hiin, They 
rcre notbing more tJian suspiciorts; sin ce who wouJd bave 
ly «cknciwledKed $wcb a depeodcnce? but every tyrant 
It be bis aisociate, every robber one of hi» assassins; 
sud tlic very UDCcrtaìnty of tbe fact reiidefcd the optnìoti 
more general, and the terror more profound. At evcry ap* 
pearance of an unknown ruffian, more savage-looking tbao 
Uiual; at e%'ery enonnoii^ crime, the anthor of whkh conld 
oot be al firat pointed out or conjcctared, the name of tbÌB 
man was pronounced and whispered about, whom. thanks 
lo tb^ ttfibappy circMmipectìon, to gì ve ti no other epìtbet, of 
~?or i bc obh'^ed to designate The Unnamtd. 

Lcn his camtlc and the palacé of Don 
[ was not more tbao scven miles: aad no sooner had 
become a lord and tyrant than be could not belp 
eing that, at so short a dìstance from sucb a persoftage, 
not bc possiblc to carry on tbis profcssion witbout 
ccMning to blows, or watklng hand in band with him. 
ad, ibereforc, offered bimself and becn accepted, for a 
id, in the same way, that is. as the rest: he had ren* 
him more tban onc servtce (the maniiserlpt says 
fìg furtber) ; and had cach lime bcen rewarded bv 
ibd of requital and asiìstance tn any eases of emer- 
He look great pains, however, to conceal socii a 
bipr or at Ica^i of wbat nature and how strici it waj. 
Rodrigo likcti well cnough to play the tyrant. but not 



394 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



puf to the tmf, sirice no one who was not on good te 
vnth the owner af the cesile would venture to set foot withij 
jts w<il)s» or cven in the valley or its envimus* Th« 
who shotild bave chanced to be sccn therc would ha ve 
freatcfl fiko aa enemy's spy seìzed within the camp, Trag 
storics wcre rclated of the lasi who htd dtred to attempi l 
ijfidertakmg: btit thc>' wcre Ihcn tales Of by*gone dsfa; and 
none of the villagc youtlis could renicmbcr having ieen ont 
of this race of beings. either dead or allvt, 

Such is the descriptton otir anonytnous atitbor givts of 
the ptacc: noihing is said of the namc; and for fear of 
putting US hi the way of discovermR: ìt, he avoids M noti* 
of Don Rodrigo*s journey» hringing him at one jump htto 
^ intdst of the vaJlcy, and scttinjr hlm down at the foot of il 
ascent, just at the rntrancc of tlie steep and windin({ fo 
path. Here stood an inn. which mìght also be called a 
gtuard-house* An antique slgn suspendcd over ihf doof« 
displayed on cach side, in gtowing colon rs» a radiant Bttnf 
but ihe public voice, whleh aotnetimei -> \amtB ai ^ 

are firn pronounccd, and lometlmes i thtfn af 

ita own fashion, never deslgnated tlii» lavern bui hf tht 
title of iJie Malmoite,^ 

Ai the sound of a party approaching on horseback^ 
ÌJMooklng fati appcared at the door-way, well armcd wW 
knfvea and ptstfjls, and after ^viug a glance at them, re- 
entercd to mform three rufilaiis, who, seatwl at tmtile, 
playlng with a very dirly pack of card»^ reversed and 
.imt npon another like Jto mtmy tile*. Ile whn ^ 

Itile leader ro^t^ and advanclns^ towards the ^o^ 
a frìe!iid of hi» master'ji, and aaluted him with a bow. 
RodrifO, rrtuming the salutatton with (rreat politaìeaa, 
qiiircil if hi* mailer were tn the ra^tlr, and recelrfnff for 
an answer that he hcflrved «o, he dismounted from bis bc 
i throwing the refns to Tiradritto, mie of hi? retìnt>& The 
[laldtif; hii nmsket from hi* shouIdi?r, he handed it to M€ 
stanatolo* as tf to dUenctnnhcr hhn««'H nf a asetesa weig 
and rwìdff hi* ascent eatter; but * , brcatue !w knc 

WfH «nough that no one wa» pcrr mount that ale 

I wfao carrtod a gim. Then takiof otti of hii ptiraa iwo 

>Ilad KitM, 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



n$ 



brrHnghe, he ^tc theni to Tanabuso, iaylng: ' Wait 
tot m€ hcrc; and in the mean timc eojoy yoursclves with 
Ihese gpod people/ He Ihcn presented th« esdmable chìef 
of the fiàrty with i Uw gold coins, one half for hirnsflf, 
and the rest to be divided among his companions; and at 
lestgtb, in company with Griso, wbo had also laid aside bis 
weapons, began to asccnd the cJifF on fooL In the mcan 
whJle, the thrce above-mentioned bravoes, togethcr with 
their fourth eompaniOHi Squin terno ttOj (what amìable names 
to be preserved with so much care!) remaìned behind with 
the ihree players, and the un fortunate boy, who was iratn- 
mg for the gallows, to game^ drink, and relate by ttims their 
^^irariotis feats of prowess, 
^^É Anothcr bravo belonging to the Unnamed shortly over- 
^Hloofc Don Rodrigo in bis ascent; and after eying him for 
^Hm momentt recogni^cd a friend of bU master*»» *nd bore 
^^Bter company; by ibis me&ns, sparìng him the annoyance of 
l^^^^f hts name, and giving a further account of htmsetf, 
■^ to the many other» wbom he met, nné wiih whom he was 
tmacqtiaìntcd, On reaching the castle, and being admitted, 
(hmving left Griso, however, outtìde,) be was conducted a 
roimdabout way through dark corridore, and varlous apart- 
fMHU hctng with iDiiskets, &abres, and parttsans, in tach 
of which a bravo stood on guard : and after havitig waited 
ionie ttroe, wai at last ushered loto the room wbere th€ 
Uonafned was expecting him. 

Tlic Signor advanccd to nieet Don Rodrigo, fettirnìng bis 

•thitatìon, ind at the same tiine eying bim from head to 

foot witli the cIose?t scrutìny, according to hi$ usuai habit, 

»0fr aliiiost an in voi tinta ry one, towards any one who ap- 

proacbed bim, evtn towarda his oldest and tooirt tried 

friendjL He was tali, mm-biimr, and baJd ; and at first sigbt 

thii Ikaldneiti, tbe whiteness of bis few remalning hair^, and 

the wrioklea oq bis face, wouTd bave indticed the jtidgnìeni 

ihat be wtM coniiderably beyond tbe sixty years be bad 

ftcaroefy yet attalned: thotigb on a nearrr survey, bis car* 

liagc and roovement*. the cnttmg sftrcasm of bis featurea^ 

the dcep firc that «parkicd in hi» eye, indicatcd a vigonr 

body ftnd mtnd wbicb woold bave beco remarkabla eteii 

a yocmg maj>« 




V S96 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

■«^ . 

Don Rodrigo told him that he carne to soHcit his advioe 
and assistance; that, finding himself engaged in a difficuk 
undcrtaking, from which hìs honour would net now sufifer 
him to retire, he had called to mind the proniises of his noble 
friend, who never promised too much, or in vain; and he 
then proceeded to relate his infamous enterprìse. The 
Unnamed, who already had some indefinite knowledge of 
the affair, listened attentively to the recital, both because 
he was naturally fond of such stories, and because there was 
impHcated in it a name well known and exceedingly odious 
to him, that of Father Cristoforo, the open enemy of tyrants, 
not only in word, but, when possible, in deed also. The nar- 
rator then proceeded to exaggerate, in evidence, the difBcul- 
ties of the undertaking: — the distance of the place, a 
monastery, the Signora I . . . At thìs word, the Unnamed, 
as if a demon hidden in his heart had suggested it, abruptly 
interruptcd him, saying that he would talee the enterprise 
upon himself. He took down the name of our poor Lucia, 
and dismissed Don Rodrigo with the promise: *You shall 
shortly bear from me what you are to do/ 

If the reader remembers that infamous Egidio whose 
residence adjoined the monastery where poor Lucia had 
found a retrcat, we will now inform him that he was one 
of the nearcst and most intimate associatcs in iniquity 
of the Unnamed; and it was for this rcason that the latter 
had so promptly and resolutely taken upon him to pledge 
his word. Nevertheless, he was no sooncr left alone, than 
he began to feel, I will not say, repentance, but vcxation 
at having made the promise. For some time past he had 
cxperienced, not exactly remorsc, but a kind of wearìnesa 
of his wicked course of li fé. These feelings, which had 
accumulated rather in his memory than on his conscience, 
were renewed each time any new crime was committed, and 
each time they seemed more multiplied and intolerable: it 
was like const.mtly adding and adding to an already incom- 
modious weight. A certain repugnance experienccd on the 
commission of his earlier crimes. afterwards overcome and 
almost entirely excluded, again rcturncd to make itself felt 
But in his first misgivings, the imap:c of a distant and un- 
certain future, together with the consciousness of a vigorous 



I PEOMESSt SPOSI 



337 



» 



habit of body and a stitmf constìtution, had only confìnued 
him tn a suoline and prcsumptuoas cotifidence, Now, on the 
contrai^, it was the thoughts ol the future that embittered 
tJic rdroapect of the past— To grow old! To die! And 
thcti?^It is worthy of notice, that the Image of dcath^ 
whicti m prcsent danger, when facing an encmy, osually 
ooly ticrved his spirita and iiispircd him with impetuous 
courage, — this satuc image, when presented to his mind in 
the solemn stillness of night, and in the security of his own 
^&llei was atways accompanted wilh a feeling of unde» 
fined horror and alarni. It was not death thrcatened by 
an enemy who was himself mortai ; it was not to be rcpulsed 
fcy stTonger weapons, or a readìer arm ; ìt carne alone, it was 
iuggested from withìn; it might stili be distant, but cvcry 
iDOiiient brought it a stcp nearer^ and even whìle he waa 
bopclesaìy strtiggUng to banish the remembrance of thts 
dreaded enemy, !t was coming fast iipon him. In his early 
days, the frequent examples of violcnce, revcnge, and murder, 
wbjch wcre perpetually exhihited to his vlew, while they 
taspircd him with a dariog cmuktionj served at the same 
tìiac as a kind of authontj- against the voice of consctence: 
now an indistinct but terrìblc idea of individuai responsi- 
blJity, and judgnient independent of example, incessantly 
liattoted his mind; now the thought of his having Icft the 
ordiaary crowd of wiclccd doers. and surpassed them ali, 
sometinies impressed him with a feeling of dreadful solitude. 
Tbat GckI^ of whom he had once heard, but whom be had 
long ceased cither to deny or acknowledge, solely occupicd 
«9 he was in acting as ihough he existed not^ now, al ccnain 
mofneots of deprc^sion without cause» and terror wìthout 
daoger, he imagined he hcard repcatitig within him. * Nevef* 
IbeJess, I artu* In ihe first beat of youtliful passion, the 
Uws which he had heard announced io His name had only 
a|ypeare<l hatefui lo him: now, when they rettirncd un- 
Kiddco to his mind, he regarded them, in spile of himself, 
iS fomething which wouJd bave a ftillìlmcnt- But that he 
' nothing of thts new drsciniettjdc to he apparcot 

ird or deecl, he careftilly cndcavoùred lo cod- 

Ctó il under the inftsk of dccpcr and more vehcmcnt fcrocity ; 
and bjp tUs mcana also tm «ought to disgiiise it imm him- 




m ALESSAN^DRO MANZONI 

»df , or oitircty to stille it. Efivying (sìnce he cotiM neilbet 
annìitììate nor lorget ìhtm) the day» in whìdi he hi ' 
becn accuslomed to commi! inif|uìty WTlhoijf Tcinorfe, an 
wtthcnit furthcf solkitude ihan ior it» iiucce,%a, he mt 
every ciidcavour to recali thcm, anrl to retain or rccoiref"" 
hìs fortner unfettered, ilafing« and undÌAttirbed will» thit 
he niigbt cotivince liim^df he was stili thr same mAn. 

On thia occasion, therefore, he had Im«itily pledg^d bb 

word to Don Rodrigo, that he might dose the door «pi 

ali hrshation. Feeling, however, tm bis visitor** depar 

.a (ailing o£ Uie resotution tiiai he tiad aumoioned up 

tnake the promise» and gradually overwhclmed with thcni^ 

prcsenltnf thcjnstlvus io his mind, whlch tempted hlm II 

break hi* word, and which, if yielded to, wouid have midt'"' 

him sink very low in tlie eyes of hti friend, a secotidary 

accomplicei he rcsolved at once to cut ahorr the painfttl con» 

flìct. and ìuntmoticd Nibbio' to hia presaicc, <wie nf t> 

, most dexterous and venturesome mtntstera of h' 

and the one whoni he was acoistomed io cr 

I corre-spondeiicc with Egidio» Wilh a reso! iste ccunieiiancc he 

lordcrcd him immrdiatcly lo mount his lioritc, to j?o straìghlj 

p!o Monra, to inCortn Egidio of the etigagemcni he had mad 

and lo rrqiicist hi» couniscl and aJtMftanee in fulfilling il. 

The worthlcHJt messenger reiurned more expeditioufly 

Lthan hìs master cxpccted, with Egidio's rcply» that tlie tinder*J 

Haking was eaxy :ind fecure: d the Unnamed wouId *end 

[carriage whìch would not be loiown as hh, with two or threé] 

Well-dÌ5goÌBcd bravoe», Egidifi wotild undcrtake the diarj 

of ali the rcst» and would manage the wholc arifair* At tli 

announctftnent, the Unnamed, whatcver might he pastinf 

fn hi4 mind* hastilv gave orders to Nibbio to arrange ali 

Egidio required, " >o him^etf, with two othera whli 

^hename<! tif^ofi t! lìtion* 

l!ad I 1 to reckon only on ordtnaiy i 

for tbc . i the borrìhle serviee he had 

requested io undertakc» he certa itily would not thu» rradil] 
liave givcn to unhesitaiìng a prottdir. Bnt b that vety^ 
^hun» whcre it w«titd seem ali <mght to have been an 
"^Obitadei the atrodoui villa in had a resotirce koown oelj 



I PROMESSI SPOSI N9 

to hiiosdf *, and thit wliJch wouid hàve been the gtcatest 

diflkulr}' to others became an Instniment to hhii, We hare 

àlreadx rclated how the unhappy Signora on otie occ«siòn 

tenl an ear to hi$ addresses; and the r«adef may have under* 

slood ÙkM thh was not the last tirrìei— that ìt was but th€ 

fir«t $lqi in a career ol nbcimination aiid bloodshcd. The 

game voice, rcndcrcd imperative, and almost authoritaiive 

Jhroagii guilt, now imposed upon het the sacrifìce of the 

nnocent creature who had bc€ti commìtted to ber care. 

The proposai was f tight fui lo Gertrude, To lose Lucia 

«ji wnforeseen accident, and wrthoin any fault oo h^r 

irt. would bave geeemed to her a misfortutie, a bitter pun- 

^hmctit: b«t now shc was etijomcd to drprive herself ol her 

tv by a base act of pcrfidy. tnd to con veri a means of 

Ition ìnto a ire^h subje^t for remorsc- The un happy 

héy trite every metliod to cxtricatc herself from the horrible 

^oommand : — every method, excepi the only onc whìch would 

bcen infaliible^ and whtch stili remained in ber power* 

ji .. *. ^;^l^ ^^ snflexìble lyrant, against whom ali are 

T tbose who cnttrety rcbel* Oii ibis Gertrude 

Sci u'jl tu solve, and shc obeyed, 

1^^s ihe day fixcd; the appointed hour approached* 
rtrude retired with Lucia imo ber private apartment, 
1 there lavishcd upon ber more care^aes than lisual, whlch 
receivcd aiid returned with mcreasing afettloti: aa 
ambv tremhling under the band of Ihe ghepberd a? hft 
coajces and gtntly urge» it furward, lurns to lick that very 
band, unconscioui that the butcher waìts outside the ^beep* 
fòld» io wbom the shqihi^rd a motncnt before has Rold it, 

'I want voti lo do me a great service; onc that notiody 
bui >ou can <fo. I bave pleiity of persons ready to obey 
ine, hot none wbom ì dare trust, On «omc very ìmportant 
boatoess, whieh I wHl teli you ahoni afterwar<ls, ! wani lo 
«peak to the Father-giiardian of the Capuehtns wlio broogbt 
you bere to mct ray ponr Lucia ; hut it ìt absolutely itecessary 
that fio one shotdd koow I have §ent for htm. I have nobody 
bui yOtt who can «ecrctJy carry ibii message . . / 

Lucìa wa« i^rnfird at sueb a requcst; and wtth ber own 

oatiirc 1 ncìi vrithottt a strong expression of 

. iurf>rì»e, drcd to dissuade tier hy adductiig rat-* 



Si2 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

people who would probably be attraeteci by the enea. This 
man was one of Egidio's villains ; he had becn to watch oear 
the gate of the monastery, had sccn Lucia go out, had noticed 
her dress and figure, and had thcn run by a shorter way to 
ivait for her at the appointed spot. 

Who can represent the terror, the anguJsh of the unfortu- 
nate girl, or describc what was passing in her niind? Shc 
opened her terrificd eyes, from anxiety to ascertain her 
horriblc situation, and quickly closed them again with a 
ehudder of fear at the sight of the dreadful faces that met 
her view: she writhed her body, but found that she wii 
held down on ali sidcs; she collected ali her strength, and 
madc a desperate effort to push towards the door; but two 
sinewy arms held ber as if she were nailcd to the bottoni 
of the carriage, while four other powerful hands supported 
her there. At every signal she gavc of intcnding to utter 
a cry, the handkerchicf was ìnstantly stufTed into ber mouth 
to smother the sound, while threc infornai mouths, with 
voices more human than they were accustomed to utter, con- 
tinued to repeat: * Be stili, be stili; don*t be afraid, we don*t 
want to do you any harm.* After a few momcnts of agonized 
strugglc, she scemcd to bccome quieter; her arms sank 
by ber side, her head fell backwards, she half opened her 
cyelids, and her cycs became fixcd ; the horriblc faces which 
surrounded ber appcarcd to mingle and flock before her in 
one monstrous image ; the colour fled from her check ; a cold 
moisture overspread her face; ber consciousncss vanished, 
and she faintcd away. 

* Come, come, courage,' said Nibbio. ' Couragc, courage,' 
repeated the two other ruffians; but the prostration of every 
faculty preserved Lucia, at that moment, from hearing the 
consolations addressed to ber by thosc horriblc voices. 

'The ! she seems to be dead,' said one of them: *if 

sbe's really dead ! ' 

*Pshaw!' said the other: * It's only a swoon, such as 
women often fall into. I know well enough that when Tvc 
wanted to send another, be it man or woman. into the other 
world, it has required something more than this.' 

' Hold your tongues,' said Nibbio. *Attend to your own 
business, and mind nothing else. Take your muskets from 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



343 




der the neat, and kecp them in rcadiiicsa: fof libere are 
Iways some vitUins hi*icìcn in ìht wood wc ere cntering* 

fot tn youT haiids, the ! ptit thctn behìnd your backs, 

d kt thcm lie thcre; dc>n*t yoii see that she's a cowardly 
chickcn, who faints for nothing? If shc sces fire-arms^ it 
Mrill be enough to kìll htr outright. And whcn she rccovers, 
take good care you don't frighten ber ; don't touch ber unless 
I beckon to voti: I ani enough to tnanage ber. And bold 
yottr tongues : Icave me to talk to ber/ 

ili ibe mean whìle tbe carriage, whicb was proceediug mi 
a very raptd pace, entered tJie wood. 

After some tinie, tbe tmbappy Lucia gradutally begao to 
to ber senses, as li awakiitg from a profound and 
ìeé «leep, and slowly ope^ed ber eyes. At first sbe 
ìt difficult to dlstlngijish tbe glootny objects that sur- 
idcd ber» and collect ber scattered thougbts; but sbe 
tast sncceeded In recai Hng ber fearful situation. The 
ose sbe made óf ìjcr newly recovercd, though stili 
bk, powcrs. was to rusb towards the door, and attempt 
lo tiirow berseli ont ; but sbe was fordbly restrained, and 
bad onìy lime to get a glancc at tbe wi!d solittide of tbe 
place tbrougb whìcb tbey wcre passing. Sbe agaìn tstt«fed 
a cry; but Nibbio, holding up tbe bandkcrchief in bis 
dltftded liand, * Come/ sàid he, in the gentlest tone he could 
€OfmDafid, 'bc quiet, and it will be bctter for you, Wc 
ddd't want IO do you any barm ; but if you don*t bold your 
loagae. we'll inake you/ 

*I,ft me got Wbo afe you? Where are you takitig 
foe? Wby bave you seizcd me? Let me go» let me gol ' 

* 1 tc!I you, you «eedn*t be a irai d : you' re trot a baby, 
yi3\i ought to understand that we don't want to do you 

ly barm. Don*t you see tbat we raight bave niurdercd 
_ la a bundred times, tf wc bad any bad intcntions? — so bc 
quict* 

'No, no, let me go on nqr own businees; I dont fcnow 
you.' 

* We ktiow you, bowever / 

* O most boiy Virgin ! Let me go, for pily*ft sake Who 
are you ? W'by bave you takcii me ? ' 

* Becatisc wc bave bcen Md to do so/ 



^wa 




314 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



*\Vhoì Who? Wlio can have bW jrou?' 

*Hush!' said Nibbb, with a sttro look; 'you mQitnt 
ask me sodi c|uestians/ 

Lucia made a third attempi to ihrow heutìi suddeoly 
out ùi the window; but finding ìt iti vatfi, she again had 
recoufse to entreallcs; and wìth ber head beni, ber cliedcs 
bathed wilh tcars, ber voke intcrruptcd by sobs, and h^r 
hands ctasped bcfore hcr, * Ob ! ' cried sbe, ' (or ilie Jovc 
o! God and the most holy Virgin, Ict me gol Wbat harm 
bave I done? I am an ìnnoceni creature, ajid bave doae 
nobody any barm. I f0rg:Ìvc you the wrongs you bave doM 
me, (rom the bottom oi tiyy hcart, aiid wiU pray God for 
you* Il any of you bave a daugbler* a wìfc, a mothtr, ibmk 
wbat they would sufifer, if lliey werc in tbi» state. Re* 
mcmber thai wc must ali die, and tbat yoa wìll anc day 
want God to be merci fui towarda you. Lei ine go; leave 
me bere ; the Lord will teach me to find my way/ 

* We cannoi,* 

*You cannot! Oh my God! Wby caii*t you? Wlitrc 
are you taktng me? Wby?' , , , 

' We cannot : ÌVè no use asking. Don't bc af raid, for wt 
won't harm you : be qui et, ;ind nobodyH touch you/ 

Overcome wìtb dbircss, agony, and terror al fmdìng that 
ber words made no imprcssion, Lucia tumed to Him who 
holds the hearts of men in His band, and can, when ti 
pleascth Him, soften tbe most obdurate» Sbc tank back 
into the corner where she had been placed, crosact! ber 
arms on ber brenst, and prayed fer%'ently, from the bottoni 
of ber bcart; tben, drawitig out ber rosary, she bcgan to 
repeat the prayers with mare faitb and devotìon tban she 
had ever donc beforc in hcr li fé. From lime to tìme she would 
lum to cnlreat ber companions, in bopes that she r. 
gain the mercy &hc implorcd; buf. sbe implored in 
Then sbe fell back, and ;ii:^in hccamc ^enfcless, only tp 
awake to ncw anEruish. But we bave not Ibe beart to rebte 
the»e agonÌ2Ìng vicissitucìes more at kngth ; a feeling of 
overpowering compasisìon makcs us hasten to the eJose of 
tbi» moumfu] journey» which lasled for more tban foiir 
bours; succeeding whidi wi^ ubali bc oblìged to 
maiiy boari of suiti more bitter angui&h* We will 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



345 



elves to the castle where the tinhappy girl was «xpccted 
bc was awaìted by the Unnaincd with a soLicitudc and 
ticty of mind which were very unusuaì. Strangel thal 
wha had disposed of so inaiiy lives with an ìmperturbed 
who in so many undcrtakings had consldered as noth- 
ng the soiferings he infìictcd, imless it were sometimes lo 
glui bis appetite with the fierce enjoyraenl of revenge, should 
now feel a recoUIng, a regret — I luight ahnost say, a feeling 
of alarm^ at the authority he was exercising over thta 
Lucia,— a straoger, a poor peasatit-girl l From a lolty 
wtfìdow of his castìe he had been fot some lime watching 
the ciitrance of the vallcy ; by aod by the carriage made ìts 
appearance. slowly advandng along the road; for the rapìd 
pace at 'which they had at 6rst startcd had curbcd the 
!e and cooTed the ardour of the horses. And although, 
the post where he stood lo watch, the convoy laoked 
no larger than one of those diminutive vehicles with which 
chìldren are wont to aitrnse themselves, yet he hesitated 
QOt a tnoment to recognize it; and his heart began afresh 
IO beat violeotJy. 
^-Will she he there? — tbought he immediately : and he 
to say lo himseif: — What trouble ihis creature 
il I will frce myself from iL — 
he prepared to suminon one of his men, aod de spatch 
immediatcly to meet the carriage, with orders to Nibbio 
ttim round, and conduct her at once to Don Rodrigo's 
ilace. But an imperative no, ihat instan dy fìashed across 
his mind, made him at once abandon this design* Wearicd 
Icngih by the desire of ordering somcthtng to be donc, 
_ id intoterably tired of idly walting the approach of the 
carriage, as it advanced slowly, step by step, like a traitor 
hit puni>hment, he at length summoned an old woman 
hb houiehold 

TJiif pcnKrn was the daughter of a former keeper of the 

Je, hld been boni whhiii its walls, and spenl ali hcr 

there* Ali tliat she had «eeii and heard aratind her 

from hcr vcry infattcy, had contributcd io impress upon 

ber mtnd a lofty and terribk idea of the power of hcr 

-raiiters; and the prineri>al maxim that ^hc had acqulred 

JBstnKUoci aod examplc was, that thcy must bc obeyed 



$m 



AI-ESSANDRO MANXOKl 



In evcrjfthing, l>ecat:tse ihfy werc capablc of * 
great good or great hanu. The idea of lìvtiy. 
a gtrm in the hcarts ot ali mtn, and i 

sentimeli» of rcapcct, drcad, and i 

associaicd wtUi« aJid soleiy dirccted to^ the^c objccts^ Whcn 
the Unnamtd Eiecame her lord, and bcgan to tnake sodi 
terrible «se oi hi» power, she fclt, fram the first^ a klnd of 
horror, and, at the ^ame lime, a more ^rafoimd f ' f 

aubjection. In tÌDio she hccame habìtuatcd to l* 

daily saw and heard ground her: the putcnt ] 

will ol such a Signor wa% in her idea, a ki 
appoìnted by fate. Wheii sonicwhat advanced in ' 
3the had married a »ervaiit of the houschold^ wb-^ 
sent on some hazardous cxpeditbti, short 1y after ^ ■ 

hÌ3 bones on the htghway, and her a widow in ti]-.: - 
The vengeanee which the Signor qukkly took on t) 
strumenta of his dcath, yicldcd her a savage cj'ti i 
and increaied her pridc at bcìng: under mch pi - 
From thafe tbnc fonvard shc rarcly set loot cmtside iJic 
castie, and, by degrecs, rctaincd no other idem of baman 
lift than ì&uch as «he rcceived wiihin lls predncta. She 
was noi eoufjued ia any panicular branch of serrice, btit 
among such a crowd of rufEaus, one or othcr was ooch 
ttanily fìudlng her some thing to do, uhicb fumlshed her 
with a never-fatling xubject for grtimbUfig. Soroettoies 
ibc woiild bave ctot]ic& to repair, sometìmes a meal to 
vide in batte, for one who tiad retumed froin an exT^cHHtfii! 
and ioroclimcs she was calJed npon to exercise h' 1 

sfati in drcss^ìng a woumL The conimandf, repro;-^. .J 

thanks of these nifHans, werc ^^cneraìly seasoned with ji>kes 
and rude speechts: 'old vvoman ' w«u her u^iu! appella* 
Hon; whtlc the adiitnct» whlch werc pcrpetuaiK attaclMil 
to it, varied ac tn th*^ drav r 

of the speaker, thna tn her [ 

in her peevUU tanper, whIch were ber 
paiislons, she somcttmc^ retumed these l , :n 

langtiagc in whieh Satin mtgbt bave rccognìxed mora of 
hU own «pìrit than in that of ber tormentorn. 

•Ycni ^ee tbat carrìage down therc?' md tte Signor io 
tliia aoiiable spedata» of w^omati'^kind 



ì PROMESSI SPOSI 



317 



*T sec it' rcpHed she^ prolruding her sharp ehm, and 
»ring with hcr sunkcn eyes, as if trymg ta force ihcoi aul 
oi thcir sodcets. 
' Bìé tbem prepare a litter f mniecììatcly ; gct ìnto it your- 
L'If, and let it be carrìed to Mabnotte msiantìy, tbat you 
[lay gct Ibcrc bcfote the canriagc; it is comitig un at a 
funcral pace* In that carriage therc is , , , thcre ùughl to 
bc . . . a young girt If she's therc, leti Nìbbio li is my 
order that sbe shouid be put into tbe littcr, and that be 
Ernst come directly ta nic. You wi!I come up iii the littef 
vìth tbe , , , girl ; and when you are up bere, take ber tnto 
ar orni room* Tf she asks you whcrc yota are takiiig her, 
i?hofn tbe castle belongs to. takc care . . / 
■ Oh ! * saìd the otd womau. 

•But/ conttnucd tbc Uonamed, *tTy to eiicourage ber/ 
*\Vbat must I say to ber? ' 

'What must you say to ber? Tr>^ to encoutagc ber, I 

di you* Have you come to this age, and don*t kiiow hcw to 

^encouragc olhers when thcy want it ! Ha ve you evcr kuown 

sorrow QÌ beart? Havc you ne ver been afraìd? Don't 

ycm know what words soothe and comfort at sucb motnents? 

ly tliose words to ber; find them in ibc remembrancc of 

own sorrows, Go directly/ 

At «oon as ghe bad takcn ber depart^re, he stood for a 

rhite at tbe window, wttb bis cyts fixed on tbc carrfagc, 

"wblcli had afrcady considerably inercased in sìie: after- 

i^'ards be watched the- sun, at that moment sinking bebind 

" ^e maimtain: tlien he contemplated the fleccy douds scat* 

cred above the setting orb, atid froiti thcir usua] greyish 

kne almost inst^^ntaneousty assuming a fìery tìnge. He éf€ve 

ick, closed the wludow, and began to pace up and down 

be apafttncist wìtb the steg of n hurried traveller. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE old woman immediately hastened to obey, and io 
give commands, under the sanction of that name, 
which by whoxnsoever pronounced, always set the 
whole household on the alert ; f or it never entered the imagin- 
ation of any one, that another person woxild venture to use 
it unauthorized. She reached Malanotte shortly before the 
carriage arrived; and on seeing it approach, got out 
of the litter, beckoned to the driver to stop, advanced 
towards the door, and whispered to Nibbio, who put his 
head out of the window, the wishes of his master. 

Lucia aroused herself, on feeling the carriage stop, and, 
awaking from a kind of lethargy, was seized with renewed 
terror, as she wildly gazed around her. Nibbio had pushed 
himself back on the seat, and the old woman, with ber chin 
resting on the door, was looking at Lucia, and saying, 
' Come, my good girl ; come, you poor thing ; come with me, 
for I bave orders to treat you wcll, and try to comfort you.* 

At the sound of a female voice, the poor girl felt a ray of 
comfort — a momcntary flash of courage; but she qnickly 
relapsed into stili more terrible fears. 'Who are you?' 
asked she, in a trembling voice, fixing her astonished gaze 
on the old woman's face. 

' Come, come, you poor creature,' was the unvaried answer 
she received. Nibbio, and his two companions, gathering 
from the words, and the unusually softened tones of the old 
hag, what were the intentions of their lord, cndcavoured, 
by kind and soothing words, to persuade the unhappy girl 
to obey. She only continued, however, to stare wildly 
around; and though the unknown and savage character of 
the place, and the dose guardianship of her keepers, forbade 
her induiging a hope of relief, she nevertheless, attempted 
to cry out; but seeing Nibbio cast a glance towards the 
handkerchief, sìie stopped, trembled, gave a momentary 
ihudder, and was then seized, and placed in the litter. The 
old woman entered after her; Nibbio left the other two 

348 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



119 



"▼niatiss to folJow behìnd as an escort, while he hiinseU took 
tÌJ« sbortcst asceiìt to attend to tlie cali of bis master. 

' Who are you ? ' anxiousiy tienjaoded Lucia ot ber Tin- 
known aurd ugly-visaged compatì lon: ' Why atti I with yotl? 
Whcrc am I? Wherc are you taking me?' 

'To on« wbo wishes to do you good,* repUed the aged 
dame; 'to a great , . , Happy are they to whooi he wishes 
good 1 You art vcry Jucky, I can teli you. Don't be afraid — 
be dieeriul; he bìd me try to encourage yoa. You1l teli 
\xìm, w€m*t you, that l tried to comfort you?* 
'Who ts he? — wby?— what does he want whh me? I 
^don*t belong io hìmì Teli oie whcre I ami let me go! btd 
pcople let me go— bid them cam^ me to some cburch. 
>hl vou who are a woman, In the name of Mary the 

tls holy aod soothlug name^ once repcatcd with vcoera- 

tlon in ber earìy years, and now for so long a time unin* 
jfokeù^ and, perhaps, tjnheard, prodticed in the raìnd of the 
Èppy creature, on agaln reaching ber ear, a strange, con- 
ated, and distant rccollection, like the remembrance ol 
light and form In an aged person, wbo bas bcen blind Ifooi 
miUÈcy. 

In the tneanwbile, the Unnamed, standing at the door of 
bis castH was Fooking downwards, and watcbing the bttcr, 
as before he had watched die carriage, whìie it slowìy 
ascendcd» stcp by step; Nibbio rapidly advancing before ìt 
iit a distance wbich every moment became grcater. When 
he bad at Icngth attained the summit, * Come this way/ 
tfìtd the Signor; and taking the Icad, he entcred the castle, 
id wrnt mto ooe of the aparUnents* 
*V iid he, makÌTig a stand. 

*f !ìg escactly tight/ replied Nibbio, with a prò- 

Yotmd obeisance; 'the intclHgeoce in time* the girl in lime^ 
ly on the spot only one scream, nobody attracted by it, 
cotchman ready, the borses swift, nobody met withi 



_ what?' 

*Biit , . . I wiir tetl the tnith : T wattld rttii^r haTe beau 
aKumaiideil co ^ont ber in the back, withooft lieArfaig ber 
•petk^HiirttbocU sedog ber face.' 



950 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

*What? . . .what? . . . what do you mean?' 

' I mean that ali this time ... ali this time ... I hivt 
felt too much cotnpassion for her/ 

' Compassion I What do you know of compassion? WhAt 
is compassion ? * 

' I never understood so well what it was as this time ; it is 
something that rather resembles fear; let it once take pos- 
session of you, and you are no longer a man.' 

'Let me hear a little of what she did to exdte your 
compassion.' 

'O, most noble Signori such a time! . . . weeping, pray- 
ing, and looking at one with such eyes ! and becoming pale 
as death | and then sobbing, and praying again, and certain 
words . . / 

— I won't have this creature in my house, — ^thought the 
Unnamed, meanwhile, to himself. — In an evil hour, I cn- 
gaged to do it; but l've promised — l've promised. When 
she's far away , , . And raising his face with an imperious 
air towards Nibbio, ' Now,' said he, *you must lay aside 
compassion, mount your borse, take a companion — two, if 
you like — and ride away, till you gei to the palace of this 
Don Rodrigo, you know. Teli him to send immediatcly 
. . . immediately, or else . , / 

But another internai no, more imperative than the first, 
prohibited his finishing. ' No,' said he, in a resolute tone 
almost, as it wcre, to express to himself the command 
of this secret voice, 'No: go and take some rest; 
and to-morrow morning . . . you shall do as I will teli 
you/ 

— This girl must have some dcnion of her own, — ^thoughl 
he, when left alone, standing with his arnis crossed on his 
breast, and his gaie fixed upon a spot on the floor. where the 
rays of the moon, entering through a lofty window, traced 
cut a square of pale light, chequcred like a draught-board 
by the massive iron bars, and more minutely divided into 
smaller compartments by the little pancs of glass. — Some 
demon, or . . . some angel who protects her . . . Com- 
passion in Nibbio! . . . To-morrow morning — to-morrow 
morning, early she must bc off from this; she must go to 
ber place of dcstination; and she shall not be spoken of 



I PROMESar 5P05I 



851 



ait«l,-<oiitbiicd he lo himscU, wìth the resolutìoo 
tb wbicìi OH e gives a command lo a reb^llìous clàìd, 
jwing thst tt wìll nùt be obeyed;- — and shc sballi noi be 
thomght ol again, eilher* That animai of a Don Rodrigo 
nmst. tiot come to pester me with thrniks: for « , . I doo't 
want to bear bei" spoken of àiiy more. I bave served him 
becauee , * , because I proinised ; and I promised, beeausc 
. . • it was my desdny. Bat Vm determined the fe!low shall 
pay mn wcll Cor tbis piece of service. Let me see a 
little . . , — 

And be tried to devise some intricate undcnaklng, to 
inipose upon Don Rodrigo by way of compcngation, and 
altQOSt as a punUhment : but tlic words agaìn sbot across bis 
mind — Compassion In Nibbio! — Wliat can ihh girl bave 
donc?— <otitÌDUed he, folbwìng out the tbought; — I must 
5ce ber, Yct no — ^yes, I will sce ber. — 

He wenl from otse room to another, canie to the foot of 
a flight of stairs, and irresolutely ascending, proceeded to tbe 
old woiwan's apartment; bere he Imocked with bis foot at 
the doof. 
'VMio's ihercr 

• Open the door/ 

The old woman inade three bounds at the sound of hb 
Toice; the bolt was qnfckJy heard grating barshiy in llie 
staplrSp and the door was thrown wtde open. The Unnamcd 
oul a glance rotind the room, as he paused in the doorway; 
and by the ligbt of a lamp wbicli stood on a three>1egged 
tftbfe, discovcred Lucia crouclicd down oo the floor^ in the 
corner farthest from the entrance, 

* WTio bid you throw ber there, Hke a bag of rag§, you 
micml old beldame ? * said he to fbe aged matron, with an 
angry frown, 

*Shc chose it hcrsclf/ repUed ehe, in an btimbte tene. 
•l'vc don« my best to encwiragc ber; she can tctl you ao 
ber^elf; bui she won't nund f7ie/ 
*Get up/ satd he to Lucia, approachlng ber. But sbe, 
alfcaily tcrrififd rnSud bad ex^Kricnced a fresh and 
If -"- -Idition lo ber terror al tlie knocking, the open- 
or, hh footstcp. and hi^ voice, only gathered 
1 ttUiJ doarr imo the corner, and, with ber face burSed 




352 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

in her hands, remained perfectly motionless, excepCiii|M 
she trcmbled from head to foot. 

' Get up ; I will do you no hann • . . and I can do pt 
some good/ repeated the Signor . . . ' Get up I ' thondmi 
he forth at last, irritated at having twice commandel ■ 
vain. 

As if invigorated by fear, the unhappy girl instanti/ niiel 
herself upon ber knecs, and joining ber hands, as she «oqU 
bave knelt before a sacred image, liftcd her eyes to the ÒKt 
of the Unnamed, and instantly dropping them, said: *H«n 
I am, kill me if you will/ 

' I bave told you I would do you no harm/ replied tbe 
Unnamed, in a softened tone, gazing at ber agonized featuRS 
of grief and terror. 

'Courage, couragc/ said the old woman; 'if he himsdf 
tclls you he will do you no barm . . .' 

'And wby/ rcjoined Lucia, with a voice in which the 
daringness of despairing indignation was mingled with the 
tremor of fear, 'wby make me suffer tbe agonies of hcll? 
Wbat bave I donc to you ? . . / 

'Perhaps tbey bave treated you badly? Teli me . . / 

' Treated me badly ! Tbey bave seizcd me by treachery— 
by force! Wby — wby bave tbey seizcd me? Why am I 
bere? Wbere am I? I am a poor harmless girl. Wliat 
Lave I done to you? In tbe name of God . . / 

'God, Godi' interrupted tbe Unnamed, 'always God! 
Tbey wbo cannot de f end tbemselves — wbo bave net the 
strength to do it, must always bring forward tbis God, as if 
tbey had spoken to bim. Wbat do you expcct by tbis word? 
To make me? . . / and he Icft tbe scntence unfmisbed. 

' O Signor, expcct I Wbat can a poor girl likc me expcct. 
except that you sbould bave nicrcy upon me? God pardo n a 
so many sins for onc dced of mercy. Let me go; for 
charity's sake, let me gó. It will dò no good to onc who 
must die, to make a poor creature sufTer tbus. Oh! you 
wbo can give the command. bid tbem let me go! Tbey 
brought me bere by force. Bid tbem scnd me again 
with tbis woman, and take me to ♦ * * , wbere my motber 
is. Oh! raost boly Virgin! My motber! my motber! — fot 
pity's sake, my motber. Perhaps she is not far from bere 



I PHOMBSSI SPOSI 



3S3 



^ 1 saw my nmuntains, Whj do you give ine ali this 

^Ifcring? Bìd them take me to a cburch; I wtll pray for 
ali my life. What will it coft you to say one word? 
k, see! yoa are movcd io pity: say onc word, oh say iti 
pardon s ^ù^ many sms for one decd. of mcrcy 1 ' 
^h, why isii't she t!ic daughter of one óf-the rascalty 
js that outlnwcd me!— thoiight Uie Unnamed; — of one of 
vtllains tvho wish me dead; theo I sfeoutd cnjoy hcr 
terings: but insiead . , ,— 
I* Don*t drive away a good inspiratìon ! * eontìnued Lucia, 
rnestly, reanimated by sceing a certain air of hesìtaiion iti 
countenance and bchavioar of her oppressor. ' 1( you 
n't grant me this mercy, the Lord will do it for me. I shall 
le, and ali wtll be over with me ; but you . - . Pcrhaps, some 
«iay, even you . , . But no, no ; I will always pray the Lord to 
kccp you froin every evil Wiiat will it cost you to say ooe 
word? Tf you knew wbat it was to sufifer thìs agony ! * * / 

' Come, talee courage,* interrupted the Unnamed, wìth a 
gentloic^s that asionished the old woman. * Have I dooe 
you any harm? Have I threatened you?' 

* Db no f I see that you have a kind heart, and f eel some 
|>ity £or an tintiappy creature. If you chosc, you could 
tcrrtfy me more than ali the othcrs: you could kìll me with 
fcmr; but instead of that, you have . , , rather lightened my 
heart; God will rewmrd you for it. Finish your dced of 
mcrcy i »ct me free, set me free.* 

• To-morrow moming • , * 

' Oh f set me free now— uow , , / 

*Tn-morrow moming, I wtll see you «gain. I say. Com^ 
bc of good courage. Take a little resi ; 
iielhing to cat They shall bring you some- 
dtrectly/ 

i, no; I shall die, if anybody coincs bere; I sball dìei 
Take me to a church . • . God will reward you for that 
itep/ 

*A woman shalJ bring you something to cat,' said the 
Ufwiamcd; and Et:- f 5o, he stood wondcHng at hìm- 

•£lf how 5uch a t' >i cntcrcd bis mind, Mnd how the 

wbh had urisen to seck a remedy for the sorrows of a poor 
btlfllblc villiL-rr. 





iS4 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



* And you/ resunied he hastity» tumlng w the agcd tnaim, 
' persuaclc hcr to cat soniethiug, and lei her lic down to rtH 
on this lied; and if shc is willìng to havc you um a cet^ 
patiìon, well; tf not, you caii slecp well enoijgh for ow 
night on ihc floor, Encourage hcr, I &ay» and kcq> to 
cheerfiil. Beware that she has do cause to coinplalii oE 
you/ 

So sayìng, he moved quìddy towards the door. Locìa 
sprang up. and ran to detain him, aud rcuortr her ealr«atici; 
but he was gone. 

* Oh, poor roe ! Shut the door quickly.* Aad havtn^ heanl 
the door dosed» and the l^oU «gain drawn» sbr retumed tu 
seat herself in hcr corner. 'Oh, poor met' rcpcated shc; 
sobbing; ' whom shall l implore now? Wbere am 1? Dò 
you teli me— teli me, fur pity'» aakc, who h thi5 Slgùt^ ,.♦* 
he who has bcen speaking to nae?' 

* Who is he, eh? — ^^^*ho is he? Do you ihink I may teli 
yoti? Waif tilì he tdis you himsclf* You are proni ttt- 
eause he prolects you; and you want to be satjs6ed« ami 
makc me your go^bctwcen. Ask him yourscH* If 1 wtw 
to teli you Hiìs, 1 shouidn't gd the good words he hai just 
given you. J am an old woman, an old wonmri/ conlinucd *bc» 
muttering betwccn her teeth. * Ilang ihcse young folks, wfao 
may tnake a ùnti show of eìthcr bugliing or cryliig, jujfcl ai 
they Hkc, and yct are always in iJic right/ But heartog 
Lucìa's sobs and the commands of her master retumiiag in 
a thrcatcning manner to ber mcmory. shc stooped tow&rd the 
poor crouchin^ girl, and^ in a gcntJcr and more hunmjie 
tone, resuracd: 'Come, 1 bave salti no harm to you; bc 
chcerful. Doni ask me qucstions whtch IVe no busincsi 
to answcr; but pluek up hcart, my good girl Ahi if yott^ 
kncw how many pcoplc wouid 1k glad to bear him speak^ 
aa he has spoken to ynu 1 Be cheerful, lof he wili Keiid 



At 



'Il 
r iur mCt* 



you somcthing to cat just now; and I know 
he fipokep Vm aure it wili he somethini? ^ud. 
Ut down, and . * . you will 1. 
added shc, with an acccnt t^ 

* I dan't want to eal, ! dmi't waot tu skep. Let me a]oi)«; 
doni come nnar me; but you wo«*t Jeavc the roomf 

'No^ no, uot 1/ iaid tJte old ^*oiiiaii« dj^wing bade, aad 



l PROMESSI HPOSl 



3SS 



ag h«ridf on an old ann-chair, wbence sbe cast simdry 

tsi of al&rtn, &iicl &t tlic sainc linxc of envy, towiirds the 

poor g^irl Theo she looked ni the bcd, vcxed at the idea 

of bcjng, perliaps. cxduded from it for the wholc night, and 

grumblioir at the coìd. But &bc comforted hcfself with the 

bdught? of suppcf, and with the hopc tbat the re nught be 

t3e lo apare for her. Lucia vvas sensi ble of neìtbcr cold 

"fior biingcr, and, almost as t£ deprived of ber senses, had 

^l a LOiifused idea of ber very grìef and icttOT, like the 

Icfined objccts scen hy a ddirious patìcnt. 

Shc roused hersclf, whcn she beard a knocking al the 

door; and rabing ber head, exclaimed. in much alarm, 

bWbo's thef e ?— wbo's there? Don't Jet any one bl* 

[*Hobody, nobody; good news! ' said the old woman; *tt'a 

lartha hringing aomelhiiig to eat.' 

• Shut the door, s^but the door ì ' cried Liicla. 

* Ay* direct] y,' rt-*plìed the old wonian ; and takìng a 
el OHI of Martha 's band, she IjaMily nodded to ber, shut 

5r^ and carne and set the basket on a tabte, in the 
o! tiie room. Shc tben rcpeatedly invttcd Lucia to 
• and partake of the lenipting repast, and employing 
i, wbkb, according to ber ideas, wcrc roost Hkely to be 
cScacìouF in reste» ring the poor girV'a appetite, broke forth 
itito exclaniations on the excellencc of the food; — * Morseli 
whfch, wha) couiihùìi pcople bave onee got a taste, they 
; forget in a hirrry ! Wine, whicb ber tnaster drank with 
..-„ .riefwls . , , wben any of thctn happcncd to arrivc . . . 
aod thcy wanted to be memi Hcrn I ' But «eeing that ali 
tbcse cbartns prodoced no cttect^ — * li is yon who won't eal,' 
said shc. * Don*t you he &aying lo-morrow tbat I didn't try 
to pcTiuade you. Vìi eat something, howevcr; and tben 
tberc'lì be more thaa cnougb loft for you, whai you eooie 
lo rviiT Hen^e.1, and are willing: to do as yoti are bid/ 
So saying, she applted herself with avidìty to the refrcah- 
ments. Whra abe had satìsficd hersclf, she rose» advmaced 
raxds tlie corner, and bcndtng ovrr Lada, again tnvited 

to take soTnething» and then be down. 
' SOt oo, I doni want anything/ r^-plled sbe, with a Ceeble 
aliooit drowiy voice» Then M'ith more energy she con- 
*1j Ihe door locked?^a it w*:li secured?' An4 




AU^SSÀNDRO AIANZONI 



havtng looked around, she rose, and feeling wìth hcr 
walked wiih ft fU£picio(j& step towards the doon 

Tbe old woman sprang thither before hcr, strelclicd ©Ut 
hcr hand to tiìc lock, scìzcd the handle, shook it^ r^tlted the 
boli, and mttdt ìt graie agabst the staple ti>ai received aad 
sccured iL * Do you hcar ?— do you see?— is it wtU kxked? 
Are you content now?* 

*0h, contenti I content hcreF said Lncìa» sgBia ar- 
rangÌDg hersclf in ber corner, ' But the Lord know9 Vm 
hcrc I * 

* Come to bed ; what wonld yon do tlicrc^ crotiching likc a 
dog? Did ever anybody &ce a person refuse eomforts» 
he couid gct theoi?' 

' No* no ; let me alone/ 

* WeU, it's your own wish* See, 111 ieave you the 
place; l'm lying herc on the very edge; I ahall bc imcom- 
fortable enough, for your sakc, If you want to come lo be4 
you Imow what you bave to do» Remeinber, Tve askect yoo 
very oftcn/ So saying^ she crept, dressed as alle was, tsiider 
the coimterpane, and sooo ali was silcnt. 

Lucìa rciiiaincd motionlcss, »hrunk up into the corner, 
ber knces drawn cÌQat to her breast, ber bands icsting tia 
ber kneei, mnd ber face hxiried in ber bands. She w«s 
netther asieep nor awake, but worn out with a fipid me- 
ceasion — a tumuUuous alternatìoo, of thaughts, aoUcìpa- 
tioas, and heart-throhbìngs* Rccallcd, in aonie dcgree, lo 
eonicioufiìess, and recollectmg more distinctly the borrors 
she had secn and suffcred that tcrrìble day, sthe would now 
dwell njournfnlly on tlie dark and formidablc realìtìes in 
whidi sbe found hersclf involved; thcn. ber nund bcing car- 
ricd onward into a ntìll more obscurc rcgion, she bad lo 
stnig^lc against tlic phcìntoms conjured up by t:ncertatnty 
and terror* In tbià dbtres^tng state «he eontinued fof a 
long tlme, which wc would bere prcfer to pass orer rapUily ; 
but at fengtli, exbau»ted and overcotnie, she reìaiced her boM 
on ber tienumbed limbs, and sialdiig at futi Icngth upon lite 
floor, remaìned for socne tlme In a atate clo>ieljr resenililtllg 
rcal sleep. Btit suddenly awakiitg* as at docne mward caltp 
file tried tu arouse heritelf comptelely, to regain ber *cat- 
tered soi^fl^ and to reioesolicr where she wat, and bow^ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



3S7 



ifhy, Sft€ Hstased io some soufid that eaught her €ar ; it 
was die slow, dcep breathing of the old womao, She opened 
her eyes, aiid saw a faìol Ilght, now glimmering for a mo 
rocnt, and ihen agatn dying away: ìt was the wick of the 
lamp, which, almost ready to cxptrc, emlttcd a tremulous 
gleam, and quickly drcw ìt back, so to say, Hke the ebb 
and flow of a wavc oq the sea-shore ; and thus, wìlhdrawìiig 
frotn the surroonding objects ere tbere was titnc to display 
ihem ia disttnct coknirìng and relief. it nierely presented 
lo the cyc a successìoo of confused and indistinct glimpscs. 
But liie reccnt impressions she had reccived quickly retumed 
to ber mind, and assisted her in distìngnishìng what ap- 
peared so disorderly to her visual organs, When fully 
arotised^ tlie tmbappy girl recognbed her prison; ali the 
recolkctions of the iiorribk day that was fled. ali the uti- 
Certàlit tciTors of the future, rrished at once apon her mind; 
the very caliti In wbìch she now found herseif after so tnueh 
agttatioti, the sort of reposc she had just tasted, the dcser- 
liOQ m which she was left, ali combined to inspirc her with 
ncw dread, tilt overcoaie by alann, she earncstly longed for 
deatfa. But at this jtincture, she rememhered that she could 
stili pray ; and with that thought there seemcd to shìue forth 
m stiddca ray of corofort She once more took oot her 
fO^aury, aiMl began to repeat the prayers: and in proportìon 
MB the words fell from ber trcmbhng Itps, she felt an in- 
deiaite coofidiEig faitb takìag possession of her heart Sud* 
dcniy another thought nishcd into ber mìnd, that ber prayer 
inlght, perhaps, be more readtly acceptcd, and more cenainly 
heard, if she were to makc some off ering in her desolate 
ccmdition. She tried to remember what she most priied, or, 
railier« what she had once most prized ; for at this moment 
ber heart could feel no other afìfection llian that of fear, nor 
conceive any other desire than that of deli ve rane e. She did 
remeniber It^ and resoivcd at once to make the sactt^ce, 
Rltfng upou ber knees, ajtd cbspinu^er hands, from whenre 
I Ibc rosary wa» «ispended before her breast, she rai^ted ber 
faec and eyes to heaven, and said, ' O most hoìy Virgin ! 
^ou to whom 1 bave so often recommcnded myself, and wbo 
bast ao often eotiilorted me !— thou wbo hast home so man/ 
■Qfrowa» and art now so gìortou&l— tlioa wbo Iiait wroitgbt 




$S8 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

io mtny miracles for the poor and afilictcd» hdp mei 
Bring me out of ihh danger; brìn^ me safcly to in •^^, 
O Motlier oÌ our Lard; and I ^ow mito ihee to t 

virgitìt I renounce for tvcr my unfortunatc bctrothciJ, tìoì 
froiTi henceforth I may beìoiig ooly lo ihect* 

Ilavtng uttercd these words, she bowcd hcr head, aod 
placcd the beads around her tieck, almost as a toketi of hcr 
consecration, aiid, at the same timc, as a safcpjard, m pari cif 
the artiìour for the new warfare lo whìch ahe !iad devotcd 
herself. Seatìng herscìf agaìn on the floor, a kìnd of trac- 
quillìty, a more ddldlike reliance, gradua Ily diffuscd thtm* 
scivcs over her soni Tlie tù-mQfraw maming, repeated by 
the iinknown noblcman, carne io her mìnd, and seemed to ber 
car to convey a promise of deliverance. Her scfises, ureaHed 
by siich struggtcs, gradualty gave way bcforc tbcse soothtng 
tboughts; until ;it lengtb, towards day -break, and witb tbe 
Dime of hef protcdress upon her lips, Lacia sank info 1 
profound and unbrokeji slccp. 

But in Ibis same eastle thcre was one who wouid wlUtngly 
bave follo wed hcr cxaniplc, yct who iried in valn. After 
departing, or rather escaping, from Lucia, gìving ordcrs for 
ber stipperp and paymg bis customary visits to Jteveral pcut» 
In hìs castle, wiih her itiiage cver vJvMly bcforc bis eyeS^ 
and her words fesounding iti bis ears, the noblemàn bid 
basHIy rcttrcd to his cbamber, : * sbiti tJic door 

bebmd bim, and burriedly undu ^m down. Bui 

tbat imagc, whkh now more closcìy ììvmì evcr fiauntcd bis 
mbd, seentcd at that motucot to say: •Thow «ball nat 
slccp I ' — What absurd wotnanly curìosìty tempted me lo go 
see ber?— tbougbt be.— Tbat (ool vi a Nibbio was right; 
ooc h no loogcr a inaii; yes» one is no longer a mani . . • 
I ? , , . am I no longcr a man? What bas bappened? WTstt 
derii bas gol possession òI me? Wbat is thcrc ncw In ali 
tbis? Didn't I know, bcforc now, that women always wcep 
and implorc ? Even mcti do sometinics, whcn thcy havc net 
the power to rcbcL What tbc^^— I hate 1 ne ver bcard 
womcn cry bcforc?^- 

And bere, witbout gfving bunself moch troubte lo tadc 
hi* mcmory» it suggcstcd to hìni, of %ì% ow» accord. more 
thau OM inatance io whidi aeitfaer euirciiic^ twt lamcn* 



I PBOMESSI SPOSI 



^tatioits av^atled te* deter hìm from the completion of enttr- 
»riscs upon whicli he Itati once rcsoJvcd. But these rcmeni- 
braoces, ìiisieid o( inspìring hìm wttb liie couragé he now 
llc<^dGd to prosccmc his present dciigti ub ìt woiild seecn 
bc expected luid wìshtd they rnigiil, instcad of betpìng to 
ispel his icclings of cómpa^sioa, oiily addcd to ihciu those 
>l terrò r and consternation, until thcy coni peli ed hìm to re- 
to thai first image q( Lucia, against which he had beai 
tkìng to fortify his couragc, — Shc stili lives, — said he: — 
bc ts hcre; I ftni in tmic; I can yet say to her, Go, atid be 
appyt I can yei sce tluit coujitenaoce change: 1 can «veti 
«y* Ff>rgi>c me . » . Forgi ve me? I a^k f' ^? And 

a woioan, too? I? * . . Ah, howcver ! . ird, ritie 

word coul d do me go o4.,jaìiiki rid lu^ oi mv :ì i ui 
scs me» 1 would gay it ;_j ci^ i t^eì ui ,l f 
say ìt. ^0 -what àinl fmuc&TlVm no longer a 
iuicly, no longcr a man! . * • Away! — said he. tura- 
himself with impctuosìty oti the condì which had now 
im hard» under the coverìng which had now bccotne 
fcble a weii^dit : — Away ! these are foolcries which 
rms^ny a time passed through my h^d. This wlit take 
Bgbt too, — 
And lo efTcct such a rìdd^nce, he began seeking some 
'nt subject, some of the niany whicb oft^m so busity 
1 his mind, in liopes he might be entìrely etigrossed 
t>ut he sought in vain. AH appearcd ehanged: that 
once m09t urgcntly sttmulated his desires, now no 
^CT possessed stny chamis for him: his passlun% like a 
stiddenly become retrive at the aight of a shadow, 
lo carry him any ftirthcr. In refìecting oti entcr- 
en^agcd in» and not yet conclnded, in^tead ol aui- 
ag himself to thcir complctiofi, and feeling irritated at 
le» tntcrposcd, ffor anger at thij moment wt)nJ4 
bcen swect io hitn/V Iie feìt regret^ tiay» aJniost con- 
atiùn, at Ihc stv ^ !? takcn. His Hfc pre*cMcd 
la hi» mind di ali intercict, deprived of ali 

of eveiy ai:i*iin, and onty ladeo with ìnsa|H 
llecticRis; every lioar r&embling that wlttÀ 
rolled M> slowly atid heavily over his head He drew 
befofc hi» fiacy 9Jà his na&am in a kind ci batik* 



360 



ALESSANDRO MAK20KI 



array, and «xjuld contrive nolhing of importance in wMA 
to employ one of them; nay, tlie vcr>' idea of »ecing thcm 
agafn, and mixing among thcni, was an additional wrtght, 
a fresh objcct oF armayancc and dctcstation. And wheo 
he sought an oeciipation for tlie niorrow, a feasibk cmpky* 
metit, he could only retnember that oti tht taarroWi bt 
mlght liberate hìs un fortunate prisoncr. 

— I will set her freej yes, 1 will. I will fly to hcr by 
day-brcak, and bid ber depart safely* Shc shaÙ bc accosn* 
panted by . . , And my promise? My engagement? Don 
Rodrigo? . , , Who is Dan Rodrigo? — 

Like one siiddenly surprìsed by an unexpected and ein* 
barrassing question from a superior, the Ulìoanicd hastily 
sought for an answcr to the query he had just ptit to hiro* 
self, or rather wbicli had becn siiggcstcd to bini by that 
new voice which had ali at once madc ìtseli heard, aod 
sprung up to bc. as !t were, a judge of hls fom^er *e!t 
He tried to imagtne any reasons which cotild hav d 

him. almost before being rei|ucstcd^ lo engagé in ;g 

so much sufTering, wiihout any Inccntives of batred or Icar» 
on a poor unkiiown creature^ only to render a servtce to 
tlili man; hut tnstead of sucecedlng in discovcrmg mch 
motives as he would now bave dceincd sufficienl to excose 
the dced, he couìd oot even imagine how hi? had errr beea 
tnduced to uitderiakc it, Tbc^v ^e 

determina tion to do so^ had W- e 

of a mind obedient to iis ol*) i- 

sequence of a tliousand ante. . .. t 

for Ihis one deed, the unhappy selt 
self tnvolvcd in an exanùnation of U*. >>j,mm i, 
wards from year to year, from oigagement to a\ it, 

from hloodalied to bloodshed, from crime to cr \e 

stood before bis con?cience-stricktn fsotil, ih ic 

feelsngs which had indnced hìni to will and '■ :, and 

therefore appearìng in ali tis nioostrooiness. tlio4c 

fecltngs had^ at the timc, prerentcd bis pcrceiving. Tb^ 
wrre ali hi* own* they made up himjtctf; and the horror 
of this thought* renewcd with each fresh rettietnlirancc; 
ind clcaving to al), mcreated at bst to ' He 

q^ang np tmpctuously m hJs bed^ ca^ ì oal 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



3S1 



bis Kacid towards the wall at Uis side, touched a pìstoì^ 
gnfpcd it, reached it down, and , . . at the moment of 
finisbtng a Jìle wbidt had become ìnsiipportable, bis thotifhts, 
seìfed wiih terror and a (so to say) snperstitiotis dread, 
rushed fotward to tbe time which would stili contmtie to 
fiow OH after bis ctid* He pklured wilh boiror his dis- 
figurcd corpse, lying motìonless, and in the power of bis 
irilcst survivor; the astonìshmcnt» the o^nfusion of the 
caatìe m the moming: cverytbìng turaed upstde down; and 
he, power less and voiceless, tbrown asidc, he kncw not 
whitbeT. He Cancìed tbe riporta that would be spread, the 
convcr^tions to wbich it would give rise, botb in the castlCp 
the neigbbotirbood, and at a distancc, togcthcr ^^-ith the 
Tcjoicings of bis cnemfes. The darkness and snef>ce arotmd 
him presented death in a stili more moumful and frightful 
aspect; it seemed to bim that he vvould not bave btsitated 
in open day* out of doors, and in the presencc of spectators^ 
tlirow hiiTiself tiito the water, and vanisb, Absorbed in 
eh tonnenti ng reflectiotìs* he continued altemately snap- 
pmg and tinsnappirtg tbe cock of htj pistol with a convulsive 
rocvcmcatof bis thumb, whcn anolher ihought Eashed across 
tua tnind* — If this otber li fé, of whkh tbey told me when I 
was a boy, of wbich ever>*body talks now, as if it wcre 
a certain thing, tf tbere be not such a thing, if it be an 
tovention of the prtests ; what am I doing ? why shonld I die ? 
what matters ali that I bave done? what matters tt? It ts 
an absnrdìty, my . , , Bui K there rcaJly bc another 

At stich a donbtj at such a risk, he was seized with a 
hlacker and deeper deapair, froiu whìch cven death af* 
forded DO escape. He droppcd the pistol, aod lay wtth his 
fingerJt twmed among his hair, bis teeth chaUering, and 
Ifeinbling tn cvcry ììmb, Suddenly the words bc had bcard 
rcpeated a few hours bcforc rose to bis remcmbrance ; — 
God pardons so many sins for one dced of TOerc>M — Tbey 
did not come to him with that Ione o! btimblc iapplication 
in wbich thcy had t>e€n pronounced; thcy carne livìth a 
vntcc of anthority, wbich at the satnc time excited a distant 
itncrriiv: ò{ hope, It wa» a moment of rcltef : he raìaed 
ìiaiìih troni his tcmpks, and^ in a more composed at- 




\ 



362 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

titude, fixed his mind's cye on ber who had uttered tlie 
words; she seemed to him no longer like his prìsoner and 
suppliant, but in the posture of one who dìspenses mercy 
and consolation. He anxiously awaited the dawn of day, 
that he might fly to liberate ber, and to bear from ber Hps 
.otber words of alleviation and li fé, and even thougbt of 
'conducting ber bimself to ber motber. — And then? what shall 
I do to-morrow for the rest of the day? What shall I do 
the day after to-morrow? And the day after that again? 
And at night? the night which will return in twelve hours? 
Oh, the night! no, no, the night! — And falling again into 
the weary void of the future, he sought in vaìn for some 
employment of time, some way of living througb the days 
I and nights. One moment he proposed Icaving bis castle, 
and going into some distant country, whcre he had never 
been known or heard of; but he felt that he sbould carry 
bimself with him. Then a dark bope would arise that he 
sbould resumé his former courage and inclinations, and that 
this would prove only a transient delirium. Now he dreaded 
the light which would show him to bis followers so miserably 
changed; then he longed for it, as if it would bring light 
also to his gloomy thoughts. And, lo ! about break of day, a 
few moments after Lucia had fallen asleep. while he was 
seated motionless in his bed, a floating and confuscd mur- 
mur reachcd his ear, bringing with it something joyous 
and festive in its sound. Assuming a listcning posture, 
he distinguished a distant chiming of bclls; and, giving 
stili more attention, could hcar the mountain echo, cvery 
now and then, languidly rcpcating the harmony, and min- 
gling itself with it. Immediately afterwards his ear caught 
another, and stili nearer pcal: then another, and another. — 
What rejoicings are these? What are they ali so merry 
about? What is thcir cause of gladncss? — He sprang from 
his bed of thorns; and, half-drcssing bimself in baste, went 
to the window, threw up the sash, and lookcd out. The 
mountains wcre stili wrapt in gloom; the sky was not so 
much cloudy, as composed of one cntire lead-colourcd cloud ; 
but by the already glimmering light of day, he distinguished 
in the road, at the bottom of the vallcy. numbcrs of people 
passing eagerly along, — some Icaving their dwcllings wnó 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



$03 



^ovin^ on whh the crowd. and ali takitig ttie satMc direc- 
m toward& the outlet ol the vak on the right of the 
islle; he coiild cven distinguish the joyous bearing and holi- 

%y dtess of the passengers, — What the is the niatter 

ilh these fjeople ? What cause of merriment can thcrebe in 
this cursed ncighbourhootl ì — And ealling a confidenti al bravo 
who siepi in the adjoinìng room» he asked hìm what was the 
CAU&e of this movirmenL The man replied that he knew 
oo more ihan hìs master, but wouid go directly to makc 
^liìry. The Signor remai ned with bis eyes riveted upOD 
moving spectack» whìch increasing day rcndered every 
Boment more disti net He watched crowds pass by, and 
ncw crowds constantfy appearj tnen* wometit children, in 
odps, in conples, or alone; one, overtaktng another who 
_ u bcfore hini, walked tn company wUh hìm; another, just 
Icaving hh door, aec4:>mpanied the first he fell in wìth by the 
way; and «o they proceeded together, likc friends in a pre- 
coocertcd journey. Their behaviour evJdently indtcated a 
mn baste and joy ; and the unharnionious, but simul* 
30$ burst of the dififerent chimes, some more, some Icss 
iious and dìstinet, seemed, §o io say, the common 
i of these f cstures, and a supplemcnt to the words which 
not rcach hini from bclow* He looked and lookcd, 
he feh more than common curìosìty to know what couJd 
rumicate so unanimous a will, m general a festivity, 
SO maay dilfcrent peoplé. 



366 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

public road, it was a vcry differcnt matter. Thcre was a 
g^cneral whispcring among the first passengers who obsenred 
hitn, an exchange of suspicious looks, and an endeavonr on 
each side to get out of bis reach. For the whole lengtb of 
the way he could not take two steps by the side of another 
passengcr; for every one who found him qnickly gaining 
upon him, cast an tineasy look around, made him a low bow, 
and slackened bis pace so as to remain behind. On reaching 
the village, he found a large crowd assembled; bis name 
spraad rapidly from mouth to mouth, the moment he made 
his appearance, and the throng fell back to make way for 
him. He accosted one of these prudent gentry. and asked 
where the Cardinal was. ' In the Curate's house/ replied the 
addressed party, reverently, at the same timc pointing out 
the mansion. The Signor went forward, entered a little 
court, where many priests were assembled, ali of whom re* 
gardcd him with surpriscd and doubtful looks, and saw bc- 
fore him an open door, which gave admission into a small 
hall, where thcre was also collected a considerable number 
of priests. Taking his carabine from his shoulders, he de- 
posited it in one corner of the little court, and then entered 
the hall, where he was rctcivcd with significant glances, 
murmurs, and his oft-repeated name; then ali was sileni. 
Turning to one of those wno surroundcd him, he asked where 
the Cardinal was, and said that he wished to speak to him. 

*I am a strangcr,' replied the priest; but hastily glancing 
around, he callcd the chaplain and cross-bearer, who, seated 
in a corner of the hall, was saying, in an undcr-tone, to his 
companion, * This man ? this notorious character ? what can 
he bave to do bere ? Make way ! * However, at this cali, 
which resounded in the general silence, he was obliged to 
come forward; he made a lowly revercnce to the Unnamed, 
listened to his inquiry, raised his eycs with uneasy curiosity 
towards his face, and instantly bending them on the ground, 
stood hesitating for a moment, and then said, or rather 
stammered out : * I don*t know whether his illustrious Lord- 
ship . . , just now . . . is to be . . . can . . . may . . . But I 
will go and see.* And he very unwillingly carried the mes- 
sagc into the adjoining room, where the Cardinal was by 
himself. 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



367 



'Af this pofot ITI our story, we cannot éo Icss ttian pause 

fùf a little whilc; as the travdler, wearied and wom out witJi 

a lenglJiencd jonmey, througb a wild :ind iterile country, 

rctards bis pace^ and halts Cor a little tlme under the shadc 

of a noble tree, reclinmg oti tbe grassy bank of a stream of 

ing watcn Wc bave now faitcn tipon a petsofi, wbose 

and mcniofy, occurting when they will to the mind^ 

rh il with a c*ilm tmotion of revereucc^ and a ptead^ 

feeling of Fympathy; how miich mare^ tben, after so 

ifioumfii! picttircs — after tbe contetnplaiion of sueh 

ic.TjiuI ai3d hateftil depravity! On tbe bisiory of ibis 

personage, we must absolutcly expend a few words: he 

wbo cares not about hearing them, and is anxious lo pro- 

cccd with the story, niay pass on at once to tbe sncceccting 

chapter* 

Federigo Borromeo, bom tn 1564, was among those cbar* 
rare in whatever a gè, wbo bave employed einguìar 

leets, atl tbe resoiirccs of grcat wealtb, ali tbe advantages 
of prtrtlcged rank, and an imwearying diligence in the 
seareb and ex crei se of the high est objects and princjples. 
Hjs li fé resemble^ a rivulef, whtcb^ bsutng !impid from the 
tnck, flov.s U) a cr ,>-r|ts.s aud unrnffled, thongh lengiheiied 
cotirvr, throiigh \jtjoiis !ands, and» clear and Ilmpld stìU, 
filh at last irjto the ocean* Amidst coniforls and liixtiries, 
he attended, evrn from cbildbmìd, to those lessons of self- 
denial and hnmitity, and those maxims on the vanity of 
worldly pleasures, and the sinfulness of pride, on tme dig- 
nity and trnc ricbes, which» wbether acknowledged or not io 
the beart, bave been transmittcd from onc generation to an- 
Other in tbe most elcTncntary instruction m religion. He at- 
tended, I say, to these fessone and maxims; he reeeived them 
in rral eamest ; he trìrd them, and lotind them true : he saw, 
ihcfcfore, that otber and contrary lessons and niaximt coiild 
oot possìbly bc tnic, which yct were tran$mitted from age 
to age, wrtb the same asseveration, and sometlmes by the 
same Ijps; and he re&olved to take, as the mie of bis thoughtt 
ijid aettomt, thojie wbìch were indced right By tliese he 
lOKÌefstood that li fé was not deslgned to be a hurden to tnany, 
Hul m pSeaiiYire io only a few ; but was intended as a tlme of 
enifloyfiiesic for «II« ef wUcb cvcrjr 000 wotild bave to ftvt 




368 ALESSANDRO BIANZONI 

an account ; and he began f rom a child to consider how I» 
could render his useful and holy. 

In 1580 he dcclared his resolution of dedicating himsdf to 
the ministry of the Church, and received ordination from the 
hands of his cousin Carlo, whom long and universal suffrage 
had already signalized as a saint. Shortly afterwards, he 
entered the college founded by this relative in Pavia, which 
stili bcars the name of their house ; and bere, while zppìyìng 
himsclf with assiduity to the occupations which wcre prc- 
scribed, he added to them two othcrs of his own frec will; 
and these were, to give instruction to the most ignorant and 
neglected among the population, in the doctrines of the 
Christian religion; and to visit, assist, comfort, and relieve 
the sick and needy. He employed the authority conceded to 
him by ali around, in inducing his companions to second him 
in such Works of charity ; and set a noble example of spend- 
ing, in every honest and beneficiai employment, a pre-emi- 
nence which, considering his superior mind and talents, he 
would, perhaps, equally bave attained had he becn the lowest 
in rank and fortune. The advantages of a different nature^ 
which the circumstances of fortune could bave procured for 
bini, he not only sought not after, but studiously neglected. 
He kcpt a tablc rather meagre than frugai, and worc a dress 
rather mean than decent; while the whole tenor of his lifc 
and bebaviour was in conformity with these particulars. 
Nor did he think it neccssary to alter it, because some of his 
relatives cxclaimcd loudly against such a practice, and com- 
plained that by this means he would degrade the dignity of 
the house. He had also anothcr warfare to maintain against 
his instructors, who stealthily, and as it were by surprise, 
endcavoured to place bcforc, bchind, and around him, more 
noble appendagcs, something which might distinguish him 
from others, and niake him appear the first in the place: 
either thinking, by this means, to ingratiatc thcmselves with 
him in the long run ; or influenced by that servile attachment 
which prides itsclf in, and rejoices at, the splcndour of 
othcrs ; or being among the number of those prudent persons 
who shrink back with alarm from the extreme of virtue as 
well as vice, are for over proclaiming that perfection lies in 
a medium bctwecn the two, and fix that medium exactly at 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



S6d 



m 



tìic point fHiich thcy have reached, and wlicre Uiey foid 
themselves vtry rnuch at tbeir case. Federigo not otily re- 
fused thcse kméìy offices, btit rebuked the ofHcious inslru- 
mtnts : aod thal betwccn the ages of chil<Ihc>od and youth. 
That, durìng the lite of the Cardinal Carlo, bis senior 
twenty-six years, in bis authoritative and, so to say, solemìt^ 
jjresencc, surrounded by horaage and respectful silence, ìn- 
citcd by the fame, aod impressed with the tokens of sanctity,. 
Federigo, as a boy and a youth, should havc endeavoured 
conlorm himself to the behaviour and talents of sueb 
cousin, is ccrtatnly not to be wondcred at ; but it is, ìndeed 
mijch lo be able to say, that* after bis death, no one coulj 
perceivc that Federigo, tben twenty ycars of age, had lost 
guide aod censor. The incréasing fame of hìs talents, crudi- 
don, and pìety ; the relatianship and connection of more ihan 
one powerful Cardinal ; the credit of hh family ; bis very name, 
to which Carlo had almast annexed in peop1e> mtnds an 
idea of sanctity and sacerdotal pre-eminence ; ali that should, 
and^tll that could, lead men to ecelesìastical dignìties, cofi-j 
ctirred to predici them for him. But ht, persuaded in hearf^ 

f what no one who professes Cfinstlanity can dcny with 
he lips, that ihcre is no real Mipcriority of a man over his 
fello wmen, excepting in so far as he de\'otes himself to tbciri 
cervice, both dreaded exaltation» and sought to avoid It; 
noi, jndeed, that he might shrink frorti scrving others — for 
few llves bave been more devoted to this object than his 
owo — ^bul becausc he considered himself neither wortby 
coougb of so high and pcrìlous a sef\^ice. oor suffictently com* 
petent for it For these rcasons, the Arehbishopnc of Milani 
being offered to him io 1595, by CJemcm VTIL, he scemedl 

lach difiiirbed, and refiiscd the chargc without hesitatioiul 

e ytelded afterwards, howcver» to the express eommand 

! tJie Pope. 

Such demanstrations (who knows U not?) are neither 
h oor tincommon: and it requìres no greater cffort of 
for bypocrìsy to maVc thcm, than for mille ry to de* 
ihetn, and boW thctn cheap nn every oeeadion» But de>J 
7. therefore. cct»e lo be the naturai expression of a whtì 
d vìrtuoui principle? Onr*ji Itfc i-^ the tnnch^tone of pro-J 
lessioti ; and the profcssbo of this scotitaeiit» though it nia^ì 



sto 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



havo feeen on the tongiie oÌ ali the hnpOMors and ali the 
scoITcrs in the world, will e ver be wortiiy of iiilmtr«tÌQ 
wheo iireccded And Mìowtd by a ìifc of difimtercstcd BdU 
sacrificc. 

In Federigo, ts ArdibUhap, was apjiarent a remrnrteitilài 
atid Constant carefiilness io devate to himsclf no more o( hiil 
wealth, bis tìnie, liia carenili short, of hls whole s>eJi, ìhtm] 
was ahsoiutely neccssary. He said, a» cvcrybody says, 

.ecclesiastica] rcvcnties are ibe patrlmony of the poor; 

^he showed he understood such a rnuxìm in reality, wiO 
evident irom ìhh fact. He eaused an ottimate tu be takcol 
of the sum reqmreà for bis own cxpendìttìre, aad tbat ol 
those bi hh personal servicc; aiid l^cing told Ihat six hundredJ 
scudi wouid bc sufficiente (scadù was at tliat timc ihc Dame 
ol a golden coin which, retatning the sanie wcìgbt and valti^ 
was alterwards called a ':^ccchino,y he gave or«^ ' thìs| 
sum shnuld annually be set apart out of hfs p:i' et»! 

Utate, for t]\e expcnacs of the tablc. So spa^i-u i 'Ji>ti-| 

lous was he in his personal oiitlay, that be w i. rjinM!? dcver 
to leave off a dress whlch waì« not coitit*letcly wom oat; 
unttìng, howevcr, as was rccordcd by conte ni porary ¥vrjfcf»v 
to tbis habit of staplicìty, that of singubr neatncs»; two re* 

^tnarkable cpialitie», in fact, tn ibis age of ostentatton and 

icleanlintfts. That nothing^ agaìn, raight br wastcd of tha-j 

remnanis of Ma frugai table, he aaaigncd tJicm lo a hospital f 

lor the poor; one of whotn carne daily, by ht-^ nrd^r:«, to th«] 

aing apartnieiit, lo gather up ali that ! Sodi j 

rSnstancc* of economy might, perhap5, »«ggi Ica of 

dose, parsimonious, over-carcful virtue, of a mind wrapt up 
in attention lo minuti»» and incapable of ckvn**-^ ^i r:.„,. 
wcrc it not for tbe Ambredan Library, stili sta' 

^Federigo projected wìth such noblr magnìficeticc, 
pitcd, hnm the ftmndatìons npward*, vrlfh Mieh m 
rahty; to supply whieb Vk'nh books 
the prejientatton of !ho?5e he biid r^ i 

great labonr and expcnse, be aent etichi ot tbe inost leamed 
and expcfìenced men bc couid fìnd, lo makc purchases 
ibroughout Italy, Frante» Spaln, Germany, Flander*, Grcect, 



• Stqivia: 



lulka gold colo, worth »bout twn «tOlEisigi dt EofU^ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



371 



^et>aiion, tnd Temsalcra. By thii ine^is, he succeeded In 
l%^ihefìng togcther abcut thirty thoiisarid prtoted voUimefi, 
'and fotjTt««ii thousand inanuscTipt». To this library he imìitd 
a colica of doctors (mtic in nueiber at first, and main- 
taloed at bis diarge whiie he Itvcd; aftcrwards, tbe ordinary 
inconie not stiflkbg tot this cxpen^, they wcre reduced to 
Iwo). Thetr office was to ctiltivatc various brancbcs of 
stody, thcolog>% hiatary, polite Hteraiurc, and the Orientai 
Iftjiguages, obHging each onc to ptibHsh some work on ihc 
sobject assigned to hitn. To this he also added a collega ^ 
wtuch he called TriUngue, fot the stiady of the Greek, Latjrtgjj 
and Italìan languages; a college of puptls, for instructioTi in 
Uiese severa! facnllics and languages, that tbey might bc- 
come professori m thcit tura : a prmting-officc for the Ori- 
stal timgtiagei* for Hebrew, that is to say, Chaldaic. Arabie, 
['crsiaiit and Armcotan; a gallery of paintìngs» another of 
^and E Bchool for the ih ree prineipal arti of destgtt 
lant he cmild find professors al ready exittìng: hut 
Be resi, we bave sv ', it co«t hìtti to collectj 

i ifsd maniiscripts. l i wotild he iTJorc diffi- 

lih to 1:1 ect wììh types in those bngtiages, tbcn miich fes* 
thivat td io Europe thaii ibey are at preseti! ; atid itili tnore 
fdidictilt tban types, woiild bc men wbo utideratootl tJicin. 
Suflfice it to say, that» out of ninc profesisori» cight werc 
from among the young pupils of the semtnary; f rotti 
liitb efrcurnstaoce we niay infer what was bis opinion oIj 
bc 0c]iool» then cRtahlished, ;ind tbe eèlebrìty gai ned in thoséJ 
^ay»; ar h posterity seeitia] 

lui ve t I ne and the othcri 

sìiik ijito obìivion. Jn the rcguiaiions whicb he Icft for 
ti»c and gcjvernmcnt of tbe library, a provision for per- 
tJtìlity is conspicHOUS, not only admirahle in hself, 
"— "" particularsp jiidicion» and elegant, far beyond 
'^kas aiid habìts of the age. He reqiiired the 
tip a cnr. '. the most learned, 

hM he m atioii of the state | 

ut tJie best Works on any «objc 
and immedlately fmrehase tfatm»! 
le gavc him in e barge to point out to the stttdents tli 
orks whtch migbt assist tbeoi in tlieir dc&igus; aod Ofwl 



sn 



ALESSANDRO MAKZOKl 



d^red that the advantages of consultmg the warks bere prt^ 
servcd shoiild he open to ali, whclher citizfns or stnuifera, 
Such a regulation will now appear qmte naturai — cme aod 
the samc thing with the fcjundÒng of a library ; bot in tliose 
dayg it was noi so* In a history of the AmbfOfiian Libraty, 
written (with tlic prccision and clcganoe usuai in that af«) 
by onc Pier-paolo fìoicà, a libranaHf alter tb^ éeatb of 
Federigo, it is expresslj noCed as a rc^narkable faci* tbat, 
in this library, buiU by a private iadivldual almost cntirelf 
at his own expcnse» the bckoks wcrc acc«sìblc to the vicw of 
ali, and broyght to any one who should demaitd thcm» with 
liberty to sìt down and study theov ^d the provUkm of 
pen, ink, and paper^ to take notes; whlle, in some other 
celcbrated public libraries in Italy, the volumes wcrc noi 
only not vt&iblc, but conceaied in closets^ whcrc thcy wcre 
ncvcr dìsturbed, exccpt wbcn the bumanity» as he says, of 
the preiidents prompted tbem somelinies to display them for 
a moment As to accommoffarion and convenicnce* for sitidy 
provided for those who frequented it, thcy ha<i not the lea^ 
idea of such a thlng. So that, lo funiish such libraries, wai 
to wìthdraw boofcs from tlic use of the public; onc of tho%^ 
mcans of culti vatlon, many of whìch were, and stili are, em- 
ployed, that only serve to render the soil more sterile* 

It were useless to Inqttirc what were the efìfects of tiili 
fotitidation of Borroaieo on public education: ìt woiild bo 
easy cnough to demonstrate in two words, accordine to the 
general method of demonstraiioo, that tliey were miracolous, 
or that tbey were nothiug; but to Investigate Sknd expUin, 
tip to a certain poiut, what they really were, would be a 
work of mudi difficulty, little advantagc, and somewlmt 111- 
timed. Rather Jet us think what a generous, juilidòu^ bc^ 
nevolent, perscvcrìng lover of the ìmproveoicnt of fxiankind 
be must bave heen« who planned nudi an nndertaking — urbo 
pUnned it on so grand a scale, and wbo cxecuted it in the 
niìdAt of fgnorance, inertne^s, and general cosntentpt of ali 

Ltdtous application, and, conscquentJy. in spitc of ' JVhai 
^dors it malu*rT ' and ' Thtrc's jtdmef Ariti; fUe tu think mhùuif 
and, ' Whal a £ne int^ntiim f ' and, ' This was ctriainly fDaiil- 
\Jmg:' and simìUr remarkj^ whidi, undoubiedlj, wtH bave 

ecn more in number thaa the scuéi cxpeodod by btm m the 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



37S 



idertaktn^, amoonting te a hundrcd and Bvt tbousand^ tbe 
^greattsi part of bis propcrty. 

To styìe such a man beneficcnt and liberal in & higfi éG- 
gtwef h woold be imncccssary, pcrhaps» that he stiould ha ve 
^lent much in the immediate relief of the ncedy; and Uierc 
are, besfdes, manj in whose opifiion expenditurc oi the char* 
acter wc have de&cribed, and^ ìndeed, I may say ali expendU 
ture, is the best and more beneficiai almsgivtng. But in 
Fedcrigii's opinion, almsgivlng, propedy speaktng, was m 
IMTSunottnt dttty; and bere, as in cverjthing else, bis actìons 
were in aecordance wilh bis prìncìples. His lifc was onc 
eontinnal overflowing charity. On occasi on of thìs very 
scardly, to which our story has al ready allnded^ we shall 
bave prcsently to rclate several traits which will exhìbit tbe 
lndfgment and delìcacy he knew how to employ cv^n In bis 
Gberallty. Of the many remarkable examples which hls 
Uographers bave rccordcd of this virttie^ we will bere cite 
hit ©ne Having hcard tbat a certain noblcman was usìng 
mrtjfioes and compubion to force into a con veni one of bis 
d«Qg1iters who wished rather to be marrled, he had an mter- 
vicw with ber faUier; and drawing from him the acknowl- 
ed^ment Ihat the troe motive of ibis oppression was the 
Wtnl of tour thousand scudi, which, according to bis idea^ 
werc necessary towards marryìng bis daugbter suttahl/j 
Federigo immedìately presented the required dowry. Some 
may perbaps Ibink this an extravagant act of bounty» noi 
welHudgcd, and too condescending to the foolish caprices 
o{ a Tain nohleman; and that foiir thousand scudi migbt 
Iiave been better employcd tn this or thal manoer, To 
which we bave iiothing to answcr, excepting that it werc 
detfotttty to be wisbed that onc conld more frcquently sec 
«Dcesses of a vtrtne so unfcttcred by prevailing opinion^ 
(ercfy agc bas its own.) and so free from tbe gt-ncral tend- 
f, as in tbis tnstancc that must bave been, wfiich ìndnccd 
to gìve foiir thousand scudi, that a yonng perdon 
not be made a min* 
The mexbati!ttjble charity of tht» man appeared, not only 
in bis almi|ftvingp but in bi:i wbolc bchavicur. Easy of ac- 
cess lo M, he considercd a cheerful cnuntcnance and an 
alfectlonate ooartesy particiilarly due to tbose in tbe lower 



man 
^ght 



^^H 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



rànks oi ti fé; ancJ the more so in proportioD as thcy 
Httle thonght of by thr wortcl Herc, thcreforc, bc had 
combat wiih ihc gentlcnicn of the wf qmd nimis scb' ' ' 
wcre anxions lo keep him wìthin limìu, i, e,, wuì 
limits. One of thcse, on occasion of a vtsit ir» .\ ^ .i!,d| 
nio u 1 ni no as coun l tv » w h en !•' t- de r ìgo wa$ tt*:^ ; : i : >c ^ r i e 
oor childrcn, nnd dtiring th«i interrogattons an«i i-isrc'i'n^ 
'was fondly caressing llit?m, be^ought hìm to bc nr^r^- r 
In handling such cbiUJrcn* as thcy wcre dirty and r 
as if the worihy gentleman suppo&etl that F^erìgo . <au ì*^^, 
discernmcnt eoough to nmkc tbc discovety, or actttiKfi| 
enougb lo suggest ttus recotidìtc counsel Cor himiclf. Sue 
in certain cìrcumstanccs of tìmcs and tbmgs, h tbe mi«-^ 
r fortune of mcn exalted lo high statlons, ih;it v 
(ieldoin fiud any one to inforni tbcm of their f. 
is no Imck of pcrsons courageous enougb m Trprovc thcsQl 
for éoing rìght. But tbe good Bishop, noi without aiigerp] 
replied i * Tbcy are my lambs, and perbaps may ncvcr ftgatil'] 
sec my face; and would you not bave me caress thern?' 

Very seldom, bowevcr, did be exhibit any anger, bctof 
Idmired for bis mild and ìnipcrtwrbable gentlenes^ • 

kaviour, wbìcb m*^ht bc attribntcd to an cxtraor 
happy tempci * mind; while, in truth» H wa» the dj««i| 

or Constant *li over a natnratly bas-ty and psuaiofuili 

di^position, If ever he showed himsdf tevere, nay, t\tfi 
harsh, il was towards Ihosc pastors under his ■uthortty 
whom he dìscovcred guilty of avarice, or nejrlisicnce. or any j 
-0tbcr conduct opiKised to the «pirit of tbfir high vocattoiu 
"'Jpon wbat mtgbt aff^t hi* own interest or tempora! frlorv^i 
ht never betokened ciibcr ' 
wondcrful indecd if thrsr 

ì re wonderful ìf tir r, Not rnùj in n 

r . at wbich he had .■ i f^o, did bc acqtiire i 

tatiun ot havtng nevcr aapircd to that lofty po*t so dr."«irablfi 
to ambìtion, and so tcrriblc to pin*^ v.^^t .tm ->*,.< '«-^ -itin, 
whtn a colkauue. who ixissessed cm ^rti« 

to offcr bim bis vote and tbosc oi ms (^ -v. aia- i\ wa» 
termed) factlon» Federigo refuscd the prof*(?!ial in »acb a 
fDanncT tbat bis f- An4 

lumed hi» views ^ ca4 



I PROMESSI SPOST 



m 



of pre-emincnce, was equally apparent in the more corninoti 
occuTTcnccs of lifc. Ca refill and indefatigable ìn ordering 
and govcrolnf everythingf. where he considcred it hh diity 
to do so^ he alwayt shrank from intmding tiìto the affairs 
of others, and even when solicited, refused* H possibìe, to 
linterfere; — ^li&c^cdo^ and tcoipcrancc far from cocnzuoiì, M& 
rverybody knows, in meo zs ^eaìous in the cause of good i$ 
^Fcdcrift» was. 

Wcrc wc to allow oursclves to prosecute tlie pleasing task 
of collecting togciher the remarkable points in his character, 
the rcsTiU wontd certainly be a compi tcation of vìrttics m 
appareni opposttìon to cach other, and assuredlj difficiilt lo 
6iid combincd. We cannot, however, omit to notice one 
siorc e3tcellenc>* in bis cxcellent life; Teplcte as ìt was wuh 
icttoPt gOTemment, ftinctions, mstrnction^ audience^, dio- 
cetaiì irisitations, jotirneys, and controversies, be noi only 
lonnd timc (or sttidy, hot dcvoted as mnch to tliìs object as 
1 professor of Itlerattire wouid bave requìred Indeed, 
«mong many otber and various titles of comroendatlon, bc 
possessed in a hJgh degree, among bis contemporanea that 
of a man of leaming* 

We must Dot, however, conceal tbat he beld witb firm 
ptrstiasioD, and maintalned, ìn faci, with persevering con- 
Slancy^ some opìnions whicb, in tbe prescnt day, would 
afipcar to cvery one rathcr singular than ilMounded; even 
to sHiCb as wotiH be anxious to consìder tbem sound. For 
«ny one who vironld de f end him on this head, tbe re is tbe 
curreni and coramonly received excuse, tbat ihey were tbe 
^m of the agc, ratbcT tban bis own: an excuKc, to say 
trutb» whìcb, wben it resulti from tbe Tninutc consid- 
pOf facts, may bc valid and significant; biit which 
appliL^d 111 tlie usuai iiaked way, and as we must 
lo in this instancc» Comes in !br end to mean exactìy nolb- 
tng at alL Ami, Ijèsides, not wishing to reso? ve coniplicatcd 
quesiiofis with simple formula», we will venture to leave this 
>!veil; reìcting 5atis6ed with baring thus cursorily men- 
joaed, that in a charactcr so adniirable as a whole^ we do 
pretend to affirm tìvAt evrfy paxttcular was equaJly so, 
wc sbouid secm to bave ijitcnded makÌEig a funeiml 

ition. 



376 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

We shall not be doing injustice to our readers to suppose 
that some of them may inquire, whether this persoli has left 
any monument of so much talent and erudtdon. Whether 
he has left any ! The works remaining from him, great and 
amali, Latin and Italian, published and manuscrìpt, anxnmt 
to about a hundred volumes, preserved in the library he 
himself f ounded : moral treatises, discourses, dissertations on 
history, sacred and profane antiquities, literature, arts, and 
various other subjects. 

— And however does it happen, — this inquirer may ask, — 
that so many works are forgotten, or at least so little known, 
so little sought after? How is it, that with sudi talenta, 
such leaming, sudi experience of men and things, sudi prò- 
found thought, such a sense of the good and the beautiful, 
sudi purity of mind, and so many other qualittes whidi 
constitute the elegant author ; how is it, that out of a huadred 
works, he has not left cvcn one to bc considered exedlent 
by diose who approve not of the whole, and to be known by 
title even by those who bave never rcad it? How is it that 
ali of them togcthcr bave not sufficed, at least by their 
number, to procure for bis name a literary fame among 
posterity ? — 

The inquiry is undoubtedly reasonable, and the question 
sufficiently interesting: becausc the reasons of this phe- 
nomenon are to be found, or, at least, must bc sought for, 
in many general facts; and when found, would lead to the 
explanation of other similar phenomena. But they would 
be many and prolix: and what if they should not prove satis^ 
factory? if they should make the reader turn away in dis- 
gust ? So that it will be better to resumé our ' wak through ' 
the story, and instead of digressing more at Icngth on the 
character of this wonderful man, proceed to observe him tu 
action under the conduct of our anonymous author. 



CHAPTER XXItr 

CARDINAL FEDERIGO was cmpìoyed, accordmg to 
bis usuai custoni in cvcry leisurc interval, in study, 
until the hour arrìved Cor repatnng to the diurch £or 
the cckbratio» of Divine Strvìce, whcii the chaplain and 
cross bearer Cfitercd with a disiurbed and gloomy counte- 
nuscc. 

*A straoge visitor, my noblc Lord,— strange indcedf 
*Wbo?* askcd the Cardinal, 

* No less a personale than the Signor * • ** rcplied the 
cbaplaìn; and pronoynctng the syllables with a very sìgtiifi- 
cant tene, he uttered the name which we cannot give to our 

_rcadcrs. He then added : * He is bere outside in person ; and 
Jemandi nothing Icss than to be introduced to your ìllustrìoua 
7race/ 

* He l * said the Cardinal^ wìth an antmated look, shntting 
is bookt and rising from bis seat; ' let htm come ini— ìct 

come in directly t * 
^But , . .* rcjoiDed the chaplain, wìtbout aitempting to 
&ve^ *your ìlìustrìaus Lordshìp must aurcly bc aware wbo 

be U: tbat oyilaw, that (amous . . / 
•And is it not a most happy circumstance for a bishop, 

that sudi a man should feeJ a wish to come and $eek an in* 

tOT^Iew with bim?^ 

* But . . / insisted tlte chapkin, ' we may aevef speak ol 
In things, bccausc niy Lord says that it is aU nonscnse * 
wfaeia tt Comes to the point* I think ìt is a duty . . . Zea! 

ìccA many cncmles, my Lord ; and wc know positively that 
tfaan one niffian has dartd to boast that some day or 
otiicr . . / 

And wlrnt ha ve they donc?* interrupled the Cardinal 

^1 «ay that this man h a plotter of mischìef, a desperate 

r, wbo hoJds corrcspondcnce with the most iriolcnl 

&CS» and who mày be lent - - / 

"what di*^' rrupled Federigo, 

ipainig, 'for ib. general lo oow- 

377 



378 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

ardice? then resuming a grave and thoughtful air, he con* 
tinued : * Saint Carlo would not bave deliberated whether he 
ought to receive such a man: he would have gone to sede 
him. Let him be admitted direct!/: he has already waited 
toc long/ 

The chaplain moved towards the door, saying in bis heart: 
— There's no remcdy: these saints are ali obstinate. — 

Having opened the door, and surveycd the room where 
the Signor and bis companions were, be saw tbat the latter 
had crowded together on one side, where they sat whispering 
and cautiously peeping at their visitor, while be was left 
alone in one corner. The chaplain advanced towards him, 
eying him guardedly froni head to foot, and wondering what 
weapons be migbt have biddcn under tbat great coat ; tbink- 
ing, at the same time, tbat really, before admitting him, 
he ought at least to have proposed . . . but be could not re- 
solve what to do. He approached him, saying : / His Grace 
waits for your Lordship. Will you be good enough to come 
with me ? ' And as be preceded him through the little crowd, 
which instantly gave way for him, he kcpt casting glances 
on each side, which meant to say: What could I do? don't 
you know yourselves tbat he always has bis own way? 

On reaching the apartment, the chaplain opened the door, 
and introduced the Unnamed. Federigo advanced to meet 
him with a happy and serene look, and bis band extended, 
as if to welcome an expected guest, at the same time making 
a sign to the chaplain to go out, which was immediately 
obcyed. 

When thus left alone, they both stood for a moment sileni 
and in suspense, thougb from widcly different feelings. The 
Unnamed, who had, as it were, becn forcibly carried there 
by an inexplicable compulsion, ratber than led by a deter> 
minate intention, now stood there, also as it were by com- 
pulsion, tom by two contcnding feelings: on the one side, a 
desire and confused hope of meeting with some alleviation 
of bis inward torraent ; on the other. a feeling of self-rebuked 
sbame at having come thither, like a penitcnt, subdued, and 
wretched, to confess bimself guilty, and to make supplication 
to a man : he was at a loss for words, and, indeed, scarccly 
sought for them. Raising his eyes, however, to the Arch- 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



m 



hùp*B face. III? tjTcamc gradually fiUcd with a feeling of 
Vcneratlon, atithoritatlve, and at the same tiiiic soothing; 
witìch» while it increascd hi^ confidence, genily suMued bit 
iaiightincs». antl, wìthout offeiiding his pride, compeUcd it 
give way, and imposcd silcncc. 

The hearing of Federigo was^ In fact, one wbìcb an* 
3unced supcriority, and, at Use saine tmie, exdted love, It 
ras natura lly sedate, and almost involyntarìly comniandingi 
llis figure bdng noi in the least bowed or wasted by agc; 
rhile his solenm. yct spark Hng eye, his op^n and thoughiful 
>rchcàd, a kind of virginal floridness, which might bc dis- 
tìn^ished ev^n among grey locks, paJeness, and the irac«s 
|f . meditaiìon, and labour: in short, alt his fca* 

ed tbat they had once posse sscd that whicb ia 
strictly entitlcd beauty. The habit of scrious and bc- 
jlait tbougbt. the inward peace of a long life, the love 
lliat he felt towards his fellow-creatures, and the unlntef- 
rwpted enjoymeot of an inefrable hope* had now substituted 
the beauty (so to say) of old age, which shone lorth more 
iractively from the magnificent simplicity of the purpie. 
Ut fixed, for a moment, on the countenance of the Un- 
acd, a pciietratìiig Jook, long aecustotned to gather from 
itls Index what was passf ng in the niind ; and ùnagìning he 
discowted, under that dark and troobtcd mien^ something 
moment more eorrciponding with tbc hope he had con* 
eìved OH the first anooimcetnent of «neh a \"isit^ * Oh ! ' cried 
e» in an animaicd voice, * what a welcome visit ìs ibbl and 
>w thankful I oiigbt to he to you for takfng such a step, »1- 
»iigh ìt aiay convty to me a bilie reproof ! ' 

* Reproof I * exclaimed the Signor, much mirpHsed» but 
Dthed hy bis words and manner* and glad that tlie Car- 
li had broken the ice, and stsrted some sort of convcr- 

latioD, 

* Certainly, it conveys lo mt a reproof/ repHcd the Arch- 
blflhop, ' for allowiitg yoa to bc bcforehand wìth me whcn 
•o oftetu and for so loDg a time, I migbt and ougbt to have 

^ame to you myseJI,' 

You come lo me I Do yon know who I am ? Dld thcy 
cU%er in niy name righily?" 
' And the hapfniici^ I fed^ and whkh imiit suiely be evi* 



tm ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

ilect In my eoti&lcnaiice, óo jon tlmik I sbcMÌd feèl it ftt tìie 
aiHsoitllccfiìait aod visit of a slrang er? It is yoo who n»ke ^ 
iDe cs^wricnce ±t ; joii^ I sav, wbom I ouglit to lisve incipit;:! 
you wbom I bave, at least, lovcd axid we|it ov^ and for 
wbom I bave 50 olt^i prayed; you, amoog ali my chiìdreii, 
for cach cme l love from tfic bottom of my hcart, wbom 1 
ihoiild mou bave deslred to reca ve and embrace, ìf I had, 
tboiifht I ntigbt bof>e for siicb a thing. Bot God alooe| 
biotrs how to work woiiders, and £ti{>pljes tbe wtakmesa^ ai 
tardiness of His unwortby servants/ 

Tbe Unnamed stood astonished at tfais warm rcceptxotL, in 
language whieb correspooded so exactìy wìtb that whìcb 
he had not yet eacpresaed, fior, mdeed, had fully detcrmined 
to express; and, affected, but eacceedingly surprised, bc re- 
mslned sileat * Well ! ' resumcd Federigo, stiU more affec- 
tionately, ' yoti bave good news to teli me; and you keep 
me so long expectiag it?' 

' Good news I I bave beli ìa my beart ; and can I teU 
you aoy good tìdings? Teli me, tf you know, what goiKl 
news you can cxpect f rom such as I am ? ' 

* That God bas touchcd your beart, and would make you 
His own/ replicd the Cardinal, calmJy, 

•God! Codi Godi I£ 1 could sec Himl If I could 
bear Himl Whcre is tbis God?* 

' Do you ask tbis? you? And wbo bas Hira nearer tban 
you? Do you not feci Hìm in your beart, ovcrcoming, agi- 
tatìng you, ne ver leav mg yo« at easCj and at the samc tìrae 
drawing you fonvard, prescntuig to your view a hope of 
iranq utility and consolatìonj a consolatton whidi shall be full 
and boundless, as soon a& you recognize Him, acknowledge^ 
and implore Him ? ' 

* Oh, surely ! there is soTucthing witbin that oppresses, tbat 
consumes me! But Godi If tbis be God, if He be such as 
tbey say, what do you suppose He can do with me?' 

Thesc WDfds were uttered with an accent of despaìr; 
but Federigo, with a soleron tone, as of cairn inspiration» 
replled : ' Wbat can God do with you ? What would He 
wish to make of you? A token of His power and goodness: 
He wùuid acquire tbrough you a glory, such as others could 
aot give Him. Tbe worid has long cried out against yotj^ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



381 



ireds and tBousands o£ voices bave declared their de- 
testai tori of your deeds - - / (The Unnamed shuddered, and 
itìt fot a moment surprìsed at hearing such unusual lan- 
guage addresscd to him, and stili more surpnsed that he 
felt no anger, but rat he r, alraost a relief.) ' What glory/ 
pursued Federigo, *will thus redound to Godi They may 
be voices of alarm, of sei l'interest; of justice, perhap& — a 
justice so easy! so naturali Some perhaps, yea, toc many, 
may be voices of envy of your wretched power; of your 
hi th erto dcplorable sectirity of heart, But when you^ your- 
self, rise up to condemn your past li fé, to beco me your own 
acciiser^ thenf then, indeed, God will be glori ftedl And you 
ask what God can do with you* Who am I, a poor mortai, 
that I can teli you what use such a Being may choose hence- 
forth to make of you; how He can employ your impetuous 
will, your un wa ve ring perseverane e, when He shall bave 
animated and ìnvigorated them with love, vnth hope, with 
repentance? Who are you, weak man, that you should 
Imagine yourself capable of devising and executing greater 
deeds of evi!, than God can make you will and accomplish 
in the cause of good? What can God do with you? Par- 
don you ì sa ve you ! finish in you the work of redemption l 
Are not these thìngs noble and worthy of Him? Oh, just 
think ! if I, an humble and feeble creature, so worthless and 
full of myself — T, such as I am, long so ardently for your 
saivation, that, for its sake, I would joyfully give (and He 
19 my wìtnessl) the few days that stili remain to me; oh, 
think w^hat, and how great, must be the love of Htm, Who 
inspìres me with this iraperfect, but ardent afifection ; how 
must He love you, w*hat must He desire for you, Who has 
bid and etiabied me to regard you with a charity that con- 
sumes me I ^ 

While these words fell from bis Ups, bis face* bis ex- 
pressìon, hìs whole manner, evinced bis deep feeling of 
what he ut ter ed. The countenance of bis auditor changed, 
front a wild and convulsive look, first to astonisbment and 
attention, and then gradually yielded to deeper and less 
painful emotions; bis eyes, which from infancy had been 
«naccustomed to weep, became suffused; and when the 
I words ceased, he covcred bis face with bis hands, and burst 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



tntQ a floQd of tcars. It was ibc only ttad 
rcply> 

* Great snd good God I * exclauncd Federigo» raisici^ hii 
bandj and cyea lo Ueaven, * wliat Imve I cver tlooe, an un- 
profìtabk scrv^nt, «n idf€ sKcphcrd, thnt Thou shauldc^t ctlj 
me to ibb batiquec of gr^icel that Thou shoujdes^t makc me 
worthy of bcing an iiisirismeat in so Joy fui a iniradct ' So_ 
saying, he cxteiided his hand to f^kc that of the UnmaaiwL | 

* No ! * cried the peuitcjit nobktnaa ; * no ! keep away 
me: defiJe not fhat innocciit and bcneficcfit band, You 
know al] that the òne yoa would grasp has c^ — ' ^* 

*Suflfer me,* said Federigo» takmg il wuh afl^ v 

lencCi ' suffet me to press the band whìch u ili rc^r 
raany wTongs, di&pense sa many bciicfjts, coni fori so mi 
I afflicied, and bc extended, dìsarmed, pcacef idly» and humMy» 
to so mMiy eneniics/ 

* It is lOD much ! * said the Unnamtd, sobbing, * Ica ve 
my Lord; good Fcderiga, Icave mei A crgwdcd a&aemblj 

tawaits you; so m^ny good pcople, so many innocent ere 
turei* so maxif come ffom a distanee, to see you for ddccv' 
to hear yoy : and you are stayìng to talk , . , witb wbom ì ' 

* We wiU U-ave the ninety and nine shccp/ reptied 
Cardinal; * they are in «afcty, upon the motintaiii: I 

^to rcinain with tbat whicb was test» Tbetr minds are, 

ifaaps, now more satìsfìed thaxi if they wcre ^cctng the 

[poùr bishop, Perbaps God, Whu has wrouglU In you 

imiracle of mercy» h dhlusìng ia ihcir hcarts a joy of wl 

Ibey know not yct the reason* These pcopte are, |>crba(] 

htuiked lo US wiihout bang awarc of jt: pcrchan 

Imay bc instilling mto tbctr bearti; an undeEnt 

[cbarity, a p^tion whieb He will grani for you^ an uiic 

of gratitude of wbidi you are, a? yct, the unkiiown object* 

So saying^ he ihrew bis anns round the neck of the Vn- 

oained, who^ after attempiing lo .j- ^ ^.^t.* i,;.»ì«^if^ ^,,4 

linaking a momcntary reiÉUtaoce^ y over» 

[come by tbis vcbeoicnl cxprc»yon n: : * ' ^ 

ICardinal in bis tuni» and btirtcd in 1 

lltling and allercd face. ìì 

fltainless purple of Feden_ i 

the hoty btshop affcctiop at ciy preinod those tocmbcn^ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI m 

touchcid that garmcnt; which had beco accustomed to hold 
thv w<!apons of vìolence and trcachery. 

Dìscngaging hiiitsdl, at length, from this cnibrace, tli« 
JuuMmià agaio covered hls eyes wiih his h&nd, aiid raìsing 
ils face to heaveEij exclalmed : ' God is, inde^d, great 1 God 
tndeed^ good! I kiiow myself now, now I undentand 
rliat I am; my sins are prcsent beforc me, and l sliuddcr 
l^t the thotight qì mysclf : yeti . . * yet I feel an alleviationj 
Joy; yes, even a Joy, siicli as I bave never bcfore known 
aririg the wbole of mv horrible lìfc ì * 

* It h a tittlc tasto/ sald Federigo, ' whkb God gives you, 
IO meline yoit to Hts service. and encoiir^tge you rcsolutely 
lo eotcr upon tbe new course of Hfe whìch lies bcfore you, 

ud in whicb you will bave so much to undo, so much to 
ir, so much to monm over I ' 

* Unhappy man tbat I am ! ' exclaimed the Signor : * bow 
mny, oh, how many . . . things for wbich I can do nothing 
estdcx moumt Bm, at ìrast, I bave yndertakingi scarcely 
et OH foot wbich I cau break ofìf in the mìdsl, if notbing 
norc: one tbere h whicb I can quickly arresi, whicb I can 

sily titido^ and repatr/ 

Federigo Itstcìied aitentivcly, while the Uuoamed bricfly 
related, in terms of, pcrhaps» deepcr execration than we 
bave employed, hi* aiteiupi opon Lucia, the sufferìnga and 
terrors of the unhappy girl, ber importunate entreatict, the 
irtmy that thesc enlreaties bad aroused within him, and 
how sbc was stil! in the castle , . , 

* Ab, then ! Jet us lose no dme ! * exclaimed Federigo, 
tircathlest wiih cagemess and compaision. ' You are in* 

ecd blcssed ! This is an earnest of God's forgìveness! 
ie makcs you capable of becoming the instrument of safety 
omc wliom you Intended to rtim, God hless you! Nay, 
le has blessed you I Do you know where our tmhappy pro- 
f rr>m ? ' 

r jianied Ltieia*s vitlage. 

It^ not far from iliis/ laid tbe Cardinal *God bc 

; and probabJy . . / So saymg, he wcnt towards a 

ttbJe, and rang a bctl. The cro&s*beariiig chapiaìn 

liately attcndcd the suntmonA with a look of anxiety, 

ioitant]/ glaoocd towards the Uimamcd. At the sigili 



901 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



©I hls altered coutitenance, and hi» cyes stili tee wlth 
ìiìgf he tunicd un mquiring ^^zc upon the Cardinal; 
perceìving, aniidst th« jnvariaWe composurc of hU counte* 
nance» a look of soicmn pleasure and unusual solk*?*--*-' 
woiild bave stood with open nioiith» in a sorl ol ccs: ì| 

, not ihe Cardinal quickly arouscd hini from his contcfìii 
by asking^ whcthcr, among the pansh^prìests who w-ic a^^ 
senibled In the iicxl rooiu, therc wcre ooe irom • ♦ *. 
•Thcre is, yoiir illiistrious Grace/ repHcd the chapUln. 

* Let him come in dirfctly,' said Federigo, ' and with him 
the pric&t of ihis parish/ 

The chapiaìn quiited the room, and oo cntering the hall 
whcre the clcrgy wcre asacmblcd, ali eyes were imniediateljM 
tumcd upon him; whìle. with a look of blank astoni shiticnt 
and a countenancc in which was stili depictcd the raptu 
he had felt, he lifted up his hands, and waving thctn in ti 
aift exclaiined, * Signori ì Signori I ÌWr mutatiù dexterm 
celsi* And he stood for a moment without nttering anotbc 
word Then assuming the tonc and languagc of a mc*$ 
he addcd, ' His inost nobit and vcry rcvercnd Lordship et 
sites to Sjieak with the Signor Curate of thijt parish, tmi 
the Signor Curate of * ♦ ♦, 

The first party snmmoned immediately carne forward; 
and, at the sanie timc, die re issued from the midst of " 
crowd, an ' I * drawled forili with an iotonatioii of i;urpri$e 

* Are you not the Signor Curate of • ♦ •!! ' i^plted 
chapiaìn. 

'I am : but . . . 

•Hts tnost noblc and vcfy reverend Ijordship a$ki 
you/ 

'Me?' a^% ^ ':fd the same voice, clearly expressto 

in Ihis momi What can they want with me?' B« 

this tlme, lo^tihtf witii the voice, carne furlh iJie livlfi 
being. Don Abbondio himsclf, with an unwniing step, 
a countenance belween a^tonishment and disgu*t* The eli 
lain beckoned to him with his hand, as if he meant to say^ 
•Come, let u« go; U it ur vcry atarming?* and escorttnl 
them to the door, he opened it, and introdaced tlictn tnto^ 
\ the éipartmcnt. 

The Cardinai rdinquìàhed the haad of the Unoamedt 



ì PROMESSI SPOSI 



3S5 



5; mcsmwline, he had bcen conccrting arraiigcmeots, and 
viithdrawing a Utile asìét, beckoned to tlic curate of the 
village* Briefly rclating the circatiistances, he askcd whelher 
he could tnaincdiatety find a trustwonhy woman who wouid 
be wìlling to go to the casilc in a Ihitr, and fetcli away Lucia ; 
a kind and clevcr pcrson, who wou!d know !ic>w to conduct 
fierscif in so Rovcl an cxpcditiofi, and who se maoncrs and 
la n glia gè would be oiost likcly lo encourage atid tranqwilize 
the a« fortunate girl, to whoni. after so much angniah aod 
alarm» even IibcraUon itself might he an additional cause of 
apprehension* After a moment's thoughl, tlic Curate said 
tiiat he kocw just Uie very person, and then took his de- 
parture. The Cardinal now caOhig to him the chaplaia^ 
dcsired him to ha ve a liltcr and bcarers immediately prepared 
and to so: that two rtmics wcre saddìed, fot riders; and as 
sooo MA he had quitted the iipartiuent, turned to Don Abbondio. 

Thìs woTthy getitleman, who had kept tolcrably dose to 
Archbiabop» that he niight he at a rcspcctful distance 
^^the otbcr Signor, and had, in the mcaii time, bcen cast- 
Ì€ gkuices, Brst to one, and then to the other, dubitating 
Sc~wliilc witbin btmfelf what ever ali this straiige manceu- 
vring miglit mean, now advsinced a slep forward» and, mak- 
ifif a respectftil bow, saìd, * I was told tJiat your iiiost 
trious Lordship wanted me: Ijut 1 tbink tJiere must be 

;ie misuoderitanding/ 

'Therc ìs no mtsunderstanding, I asstirc yow,' replted 
Federigo; 'I bave glad ntws to gì ve yoti, and a plcasant and 
most agrccabl« task to impose upon you. One of your par- 
tshtooscTs, whom yoy must bave lamcnted as losi. Lucìa 
Moodella^ ts agaìn found^ and h ncar at haiid, in the house 
of taf good friend bere ; and you wil! go now wìth him. and 
a woman, whom the Signor Curate of thì^ place has goiie lo 
«eek; y<m will go, I say» to fetcb thence one of your owa 
diìldreii, and accompany ber hitbcr,* 

Don Abbondio did bis hest to coticeal the vexation — the 
what shalt I $ay?— tbe alarm, the dì^may cxdted by this 
pcoposaL or 1 longer to refrain 

dismi&s al' tent àlready gatbcr- 

bis cotuitcnance, he iy hide it by a pmfottnd 

tt Jn token of obcd • ituner : nor dìd be afaiQ 

Ino la— v«i.ai 



aae 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



ralle hls face^ but to make another equally pfofotmd obcl^S7ì?r 
to the Utiiiamcdi with a pttcous look, whicb secnufd ' 
*l ani in your hands, havtr pily uimn me; Faretre .?jn 

The Cardinal tbcn askcd him wbat rdations ' i 

*Of «ear relation», with whom shc lives» or lii.^t^k uve, 
«he has only a mothcr/ repìied Don Abbondio. 

*Ii she at home?' 

* Ves, my Lord/ 

'Wcll/ replied Ferlcrìgo, * sincc ihìs poor not S" 

so directly rcstored to hcr own home, U will i t cxjo^ 

aolttiori to hcr to sec hcr mothcr as quickly .v i- j i I r^ 
il the Signor Curate of this vtHage dncsn't rcuiiu uviuii: I 
go to church, I rcrjucst you wìll idi bini lo fnid a cmrt, or 
some kind of conveyance, and despatch a persoti of dticrctiofi 
to fetch hcr rnoiher he re/ 

'Had not / betiet go?' said Don A!>bondio. 

*No, no, not yoti; IVe already rcqocitcd you to undertmke 
another commlssion/ repJIed the Cardinal 

'1 proposed ìt/ rejoined Don Abbondio, 'to prcpare hcr 
poor motlier for tJic news. Sbe ts a very sensitive womoOi 
and It reqiiifcs one wbo knows ber dUpoSitìon, and baw to 
go lo work with ber the righi way, or he wiO do ticr more 
harm than good»' 

'And tlierefure l bave requested you to acquaint the Signor 
Curate of my wish thit a proper person should bc choieft 
for this office: you will do bi^tter eUcwhcre/ replied tbe 
Cardìnah And he would wilUngly bave addc<l: XhtX 
poor girl at tfie ca&lìe bas far more need o£ sbortly (cetog m 
known and trust ed countcnmncc, after »o many bonrs of 
agorty, and in &uch terrìble iguornnce as io the future Bui 
this was not a reason to be so clcarty cxprcssed bcfore tbe 
preseut tbird |mrty< Indeed, the Cardinal ttiought it vcry 
stranie that It had not tmmcdiately occtirfifd to Don AbboiK 
dio; that he had not thought of nd the profifer 

be had made, and so warmly in^ L-med »o mudi 

out of plaee, tbat he could not hclp iuspccting thcrc must 
bc «oiiietbing hidden bcneath. He gaxed upon hi» face, and 
tJicre rcadìly detccted bii fcar o! joum^ytng with tbai terrìble 
pcr&on. and of bang hi« guest even for a fevv •%• 

Aoxioaj, tficrefore, entircty to dissipate tlicse oowa. ._ ^ 



T PROMESSI SPOSI 



bcnijons^ yet unwìning to dmw the curate astde and whiipcf 

WÌUj htm [il ^ecrei^ while hìs new friend fortued th^ third of 

thcir part>% he judgcd thar the hest pian woulti b« to do what» 

iiideed, he wotiìd ha ve don« wìtbout such a moti ve, tliAt Is^ 

addresa Iho Unnamcd himsclf ; and tbus Don Abbondio might 

at iength under stand, froni bis rcplies, tliat he was no longer 

aa object of fcar. Ile return ed, Ui ere Core, to the Unnamed» 

and addressìng hìm with that frank cordialità which mav he 

vvitii in a new and power fuJ a^ectioiij as well a^ in an 

icy of bng standing, * Don*% think^' said he, ' that I 

bc contcnt with iliis %'isit for to^ay. Yo^ will rciurn» 

..^-- 1 viju, with this wofthy clcrgyman?' 

* Will I return ? ' replied the Umuuned. * Sbould you refuse 
m^ 1 wotiìd cibsiìnaicly rcniain outsìdc your door, l£kt the 
beggiar. I wan! to talk with yoa; 1 waut to hear you, to se© 
joa; i deeply nccd youl ' 

Federigo look his band and pressed it, saying: 'Do the 

derg^rman of this %nllagc, thcn, and me, tbc favour of dining 

with Bà tCMiay. I >hM cxpcct you. In ihe mean whilc, I 

go to offer up prayers and praises with the people; 

*..^ yott to reap the first- fruita of mcrcy/ 

Don Abbondio, at thcse demonstrations, stood like i cow- 
anOy dùld, who watchcs a pcrsun boldly pelling and stroking 
mtarge, surly. shaggy dog, wÌUj ^Uring cycs^ and a notoriously 
bad name for biting :ind growli ng^ and he ars its master 
ttky Ùmì his dog is a t^^^^d and vcry quiet beast: he look^ 
ai the owner and oeither cotilraiiicls nor a&scnts; he looks 
al ihc animai, afraìd to approach bini for fcar the ' vcry 
gentle bca^t' should «how hu tecth, wcrc it only from habit; 
aiul eqtially afraìd to ruji away, lest he thouìd be ihotight 
a coward; and cara only uticr an internai asipiration: — 

V .: safe in my own house ! 

ipjjftmrfìt, in company with the U^named, 
V, A ihe CardtDal cast anotber gUmoe 

tij r : 1 ; M nalned behind» tookbg vcry awk- 

waf i and morUbcd, and with a dotefxi! expresslon of COISCH 
T'^ìnking tb '^ r .. fK|y ti 15 vexation a rose froas 
ly overl J le fi, as it werc^ in a corner, 

jc \i i . >-' j V i n con tnut \M : : T n o 1 1^ r * 1 1 1 1 1 v w e ked character 
bu wamUy rccdvcd aiii ivjIcuiijl l Le lumcd towardJi 




ALESSA?mRO TVrANtOKl 



hitn in passlfig, anJ hung^ back lor a TDOmcnt, aad sald t9 
him, with a friendly smilc : ' Sig^nor Cuiatc, ihou wcrt ciw 
with me in the lioit&e of our ktticl F.ithcr, but this . , . tllii 
one pericrai, et invenUts est/ 

* Oh. how gtad I am lo bear ìt I ' sald Don Abbondio, makiiif 
a profotmd rcvcrencc to the tvvo logether. 

The Archbtshop iheo went cn, g:i%*c a siigli ' -he 

doofp which waa immedia tcly open ed irom v ti 

scrvarits who stood oiitside, and the notablc paìr bUiOil b^iore 
the longìng tyts o( tlic clergy asseiubled in the apartxD«nl 
Thcy gazed with interest upon Iheir two coiintenaocti^ 
both oi which bore the traces of a very differeiit, but cquaHf 
profoiiMd emotion : a grate fui tenderncss, an humblc Joy, oo 
Federìgo*s venerablc featurcs; uiid on those of the UtmamcdL 
confuston, lempercd wilh coiisofaiiDn, a new aind imuAiat 
itiodesty, and a feeling^ of conlrltion, tbrough which the vlgour 
of his wild and fiery tcmper was, nevcrtliekss, suìì appou^esil. 
It was afterwarcb foimd that the pa5ìAage in the profklict 
Isaiah had occurrcd to more than onc of the spectatofi: 
The WQÌf and the tamò shaìl feed tùgfther, and ihe ìion jìnaH 
cai Straw Hke the buihck, (Isa, Ixr, 25.) Bchind tbem 
carne Don Abbondio, to whom no onc paid any atientiatt, 

When they had reached the middle of the room^ the Or- 
dinàl's groom of the chambcr cntered 011 tlic opposi te «ide, 
and informed his master that he had executcd ali 3 

communicated to him by ihe chaplaìn; that the id 

mitica were In readinejBai, and they only waitc^j the urtali 
of the feniale whom Uie curate was to brìng. Tlic Ounfiitil 
bid him teli the prie^tt» whe«i he carne back« that Don Abbondili 
wished to speak wiih !ilm : and theo ali ihe resi ww lefl 
under the direction of the latter and the Uonameit whdim 
the C&rdinai again shook warnily by the band on takhif 
Imvt, sayìng : * I «hall expcct yoti/ Then, tumhtg to salate 
Don Abbondio with a bow, he set o^ in the direction ol the 
ehureh^ foUowird by the dergy, half groopcd and half tu 
processtoiw while the felIow-traTeliers remained alone in the 
spartjxient 

The UnnaiDcd stood wrsft op in hi» owa thovgbtt, and 
ìmpftiìent for the moment when he wàghì ' ' " 'li 

Lacta from ber su^erìngs and oonfincn .a 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



:f*:::€:i^\ 



from that lo i^^htch shc was so tlie 
Itfs face cxprcssed a feeling of intense agita- 
tion, wfitch to Don Abbondio's suspicìous eye, migbt casily 
appéar somethin^ worse. He pecped and glaoced at him 
from the coroer of bis cyc, and loiiged to start some frìcndly 
CófiversaliOQ :^ — But what can 1 eay to him? — tbought he: — 
nmst I «ly agititi^ I am giad? Ciad of wbat? tliat having 
aiherto becn a devil, he has al last resolved to becorac a 
tntleman, like othcrs? A fine complinicnt, ìndeed! Eli, e^ 
eli ì howevcr I may tum tlic words^ i am ghd can mcan notti- 
iiig else. Ani after ali, will it be true ihai he has become 
a gentleman ? so on a suddcn I Tliere are so many displays 
niadc in the world. and from so many motivcs! What do I 
Imow about tt? And, in the mean time, I bave to go with 
him: and to that castle! oh, what a tale! wbat a tale t what 
a taJc \s thìs to teli ! who wouid bave told me ihis, thls moro- 
in g? Ah, if 1 can but escapc in safety, my lady Perpetua 
shan't soon bear the end of it from me, for having sciit me 
here by force, when there was no nccessìty for it, out of 
my own parisb: with ber fine plausible reasons, that ali the 
prìests, for many a milc round, would flock hithcr, evca 
those who were furtber off than I; and that I mnstn*i bc 
bcbintlhand; and thìs, tliat, and the othcr; and Uicu to em- 
bark me tn a business of this sort ! O, poor me ! But I must 
»ay soiiK'thing to ibis man,— And he had just tlaougbt of that 
somcthtng, and was on the potnt of opening bis mouth to 
É^j>^l nevtr antidpaied ihe pkasure of being thrown tato 
foch hotiourable company, — when the groom of the chamber 
cntered^ with the curate of tlie parlsh, who announccd that 
the woman was w^iting tn the htter; and tbeo tumed to Don 
Abbondio» to receive from hin ' ' rther commission of 
tbe CardìnaL Don Abbondio f bìmself aa wclJ as 

bdcoujd in tbe coninsion of minsi utjJa whic!i he was labour- 
iagf; and then, drawlng «p to the groom, saìd to hmi: * Pray 
giv« me, at Icast, a qulet beasi; lor, lo i«ll the tmth, I «m 
boi & poor borseman/ 
*Ycici roay ìmaginc/ replìcd ilic groom, wìtlì a hall smile: 
" . h the secretary's mule, who ìs a vcry Icamcd maiu' 
e That will do - - / r*rp!ìe4 Don Abbondio, and he con- 
io ruminate :--Hcavca »en4 me a good * 




300 ALESSANDRO WINZONI 

The Signor had readily set off the moment he hemrd the 
announcement ; but on reaching the door, and perceivinf 
that Don Abbondio was remaining behind, he stood stili to 
wait for him. When he carne up, hastily, with an apologiiinf 
look, the Signor bowed and made him pass on first» with a 
courteous and humble air, which somewhat reanimated the 
spirits of the miforttmate and tormented man. But scarcely 
had he set foot in the court-yard, when he saw a new object 
of alarm, which quickly dissipated ali his reviving conSdence; 
he beheld the Unnamed go towards the corner, take hoM 
of the barrel of his carabine with one band, and of the strip 
with the other, and with a rapid motion, as if performiag 
the military exercise, swing it over his shoulder. 

— ^Alas I alas ! woe is me ! — ^thought Don Abbondio : — ^wfaat 
would he do with that weapon? Suitable sackcloth, trolyl 
fine discipline for a new converti And supposing some 
f ancy should take him ? Oh, what an expedition I what an 
cxpedition ! — 

Could this Signor bave suspected for a moment what 
land of thoughts they were which were passing through 
his companion's mind, it is difficult to say what he wo^d 
not bave done to reassure him ; but he was far enough away 
from such a suspicion, and Don Abbondio carefully avoided 
any movement which would distmctly express — ^I don't trust 
your Lordship. — On reaching the door into the Street, they 
found the two animals in readiness: the Unnamed mounted 
one, which was held for him by an hostler. 

'Isn't it vicious?' said Don Abbondio to the valet, as he 
stood with one foot suspended on the stirrup, and the other 
stili resting on the ground. 

'You may go with a pcrfectly easy mind; it's a very 
lamb/ replicd the man, and Don Abbondio, grasping the 
saddle, and assistcd by the groom, gradually mounted up- 
wards, and, at last, fotmd himself safely seated on the 
creature's back. 

The litter. which stood a few paces in advance, and was 
borne by two mulcs, movcd forw-ard at the word of the 
attendant, and the party set off. 

They had to pass before the church. which was full to 
overfiowing with people; and through a little square, alSD 



I PROMBfiSI SPOSI 



391 



w 



wtth the Yillagcrs, and ocw!y arrived visitors» 
tbe building could ooi accotnniodate. Tbc gfad news 
•Ireadjr spr^ad; and on the appearance o£ the parl)^, 
and more cspccialiy of him wlio» onlf a few hours before 
had bccn an ubjcct of tciror aod cxecratlon, hai was oow 
die objcct of Joy fui wgtidcr^ ihere arose frotn the crowd 
almo»! a tnarmur of appbti^e; and as they made way for 
evcn tbcir cagernc&a wa» hu^hcd in the desire to oh- 
in a ncar vicw of him. The litter passcd on, the Unoatiicd 
Uowcd; aod wbmì fae arrived te f ore the open door of the 
iprcfa, took oiff bis bat, and bowcd his hitherto dreaded 
forehead^ ti II il ab:ost louched tlie ammars maoe» ami disi 
liie munntir of a htuidred voiccs, ejtclaimitig; *God bica» you ! ' 
Doa Abbondio» aiso, took oif bis hat, and b^ndtng low, rccom- 
meiided hiinsclf io Hcav^^i» ; but hearing the sylcmn hannoiij 
of bis brcthrcn, a^ tliey chanted in chorus, he was so over- 
come with a feeling of i^iivy, a moumful tenderneRs of spirìt, 
and a sudden fen'our of bcart, that it was with diffiaitty he 
air ' ' tears* 

Vi got beyoud ihe habìtatiofi» tnto the open coim- 

tJy. and in tbc oitcìi entìrcly descrted windìofs of tbc road, 
a iitli darker cìoud overipread hls tbottg hts. The only objcct 
om which bis cye couìd rest with any confideoce, was tbc 
atteudant oa ibe h'tier, wbo, belongiog to the Cardinal's 
boitaeliold, intisi certauily be an boncst man; and who, be- 
tides, did fiot Jòok llke a eoward From tjme to tljxie passen- 
gcrs «ppcaFed. sometimes cven in groups, wbo were docking 
to see the Cardinal, and tMs waa a great relief to Xkm 
Abbondio; it was» bowever, but transltory, and be was 
advancìng towards that tremendous vatley, ubere be sboyk] 
med none but the Tassali of his companion; and what vas- 
idB I H<! oow more iban cvcr tongrd to cntcr snto conversa- 
thm wtth thh cofnpaolon, both lo sound him a little ntor^ 
and to kccp htm in good bnniour; but cvcn thls wish 
vaniibed on seelng htm so co- absorbed in hi£ own 

tbotigbta. He orasi then talk <!lf : and we wtU pre« 

seni tJie readcr wilh a part ot Uic poor inan's soliloqyy 
Icg ììh jounicy» for it wouid requtre a volume to record 
whote» 
— It h a fine Ihmg, tnùf, that lafaita as weU at sfamata 



9B2 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

must have quicksilver in their compositìons, and cannot be 
content with fussing about and busytng themselves, but must 
also bring into the dance with them the whole worid, i£ 
they can; and that the greatest busy-bodies must just come 
upon me, who never meddle with anybody, and drag me by 
the hair into their affairs; me, who ask for nothing but to 
be left alone! That mad rascal of a Don Rodrigo! What 
does he want to make him the happicst man in the world, if 
he had but the least grain of judgment? He is rich, he is 
yotmg, he is respected and courted : he is sick with too much 
prosperity, and must needs go about making trouble for 
hlmself and bis neighbour. He might follow the ways of 
Saint Michael; oh, no! my gentleman doesn*t choose: he 
chooses to set up the trade of molcsting wonicn, the most 
absurd, the most vile, the most insane business in the world: 
he might ride to heavcn in bis carriagc, and chooses rather 
to walk halting to the devirs dwclling. And this man? 
. • . And bere he looked at him, as if he suspccted he could 
bear bis very thoughts. — This man ! after turning the world 
upside down with bis wickedness, now he turns it upside 
down with bis conversion . . . if it prove really so. In 
the mean while, it falls to me to make the trial ! ... So it 
is, that when people are born with this niadncss in their 
veins, they must always be making a noisc! Is it so diffi- 
cult to act an honest part ali onc's lifc, as I bave done? 
Oh, no, my good sir: they must kill and quartcr, play the 
devil ... oh, poor me! . . . and thcn comcs a great stir 
even when doing penance. Repen lance, when therc is an 
indination to it, can be pcrformcd at home, quietly, withont 
90 much show, without giving so much trouble to one's 
neighbours. And bis illustrious LordRliip, instantly, with 
open arms calling him bis dcar friend, bis dear friend; 
and this man listcns to ali he says as if he had scen bini 
work miracles; and then he must ali at once come to a 
resolution, and rush into it band and foot, onc minute bere, 
and the next tbcre; wc, at home, should cali this precipita- 
tìon. And to delivcr a poor curate into bis hands without 
the smallest security! this niay be called playing with a 
man at great odds. A holy bishop, as be is, oug ht to value 
his curates as the appio of bis eye. It seems to me there 



I PROMESSI SPOSI an 

night he 1 little moderation. a little pntdence, a tittk cliarity 
^MÌong with sanctity . . . Stippostrig this shouid bc atj a mere 
show? Who can teli ali the ineentiotis of rocn ? and particu- 
Urly of litidi a man as this? To think that it b my !ot ta 
go with him to his own house ! Thcrc may he some tinder- 
work of the devil hcre: oh, poor mei ìt is hcst not to thiok 
about it- How is Lucìa mixcd yp with ali this? It is plain 
Don Rodrigo had some dcsàgns upon hcr: what peopie: and 
Appose il b exactly thus^ how Ùìcn has this man got htr 
hjs chitches ? Who knows» I wondcr ? It Is ali a secret 
ith my Lord ; and to me, whom thcy are maldng trot abont 
thi* wav, tbev doni teli a word, I àon*t care aboui kiiow- 
^-^trs; hut wheti I have to risk my skm 
a righi to know something. If ìt be 
aly to go and tetch away this poor creature, patieficel 
agh he couid easily enough hrìng hcr straìgbt away liim* 
clL Afid lie-sides, If he is reatty converted. il he has becomc 
holy fathcr, what need is therc of nie? Oh, what a dtaos] 
Yell; it is Hcaven's will it shouid he thus: it wttl he a very 
i neon veni enee, hot patieneel I shall he glad^ too, for 
' poor Lncia : she al so must have escaped some temhle 
Heavcn knows what she must bare sufìfcred: I pi^ 
ber; bui she was bom to bc my ruin , . , At least, I wish 
I co^Id look into bis hcart» and sce wliat he is thinking aHout, 
Who can tmderstand hitn? Just look, oow; one minute he 
looks like Saiat Antony in the de^ert, the nesct he is Itke 
?f emes himselL Oh, poor me 1 poor me ! Well ; Hcaven 
Jet an ohiigation to bclp me, since I didn't get myself 
' thi^i fbnger with my own good wHl. — 
faet^ the thoughts of the Un nani ed might he seen, so 
passing over his countenance, as in a stormy day the 
flit aerosi the face of the sim, prodadng crery now 
alt aUernatìon oÌ da^zliog light and gloomy shade, 
, stili quite ahsorbed in rcftectiun upon Fcderigo's 
wor<U, ami. as it werc, rencwcd and made young 
irith r now rose wiiJi cheerfnl hope at the 

^of fner >. and love: and then apain sank bc- 

H, He tried tO 

li wcrc y Vblc, and 

which he ctmld stili arrcst io the midsi of thdr prog- 



' ; -fSA y '.'"."5 



■-* ^ • ^ 



^ . * * , 



: V 



/ .'• '■ 






i! ■.^■' A- » 



' ' ' "'■" »■ ••! ^' I ''■ ■ . j' j! -,*•* .^r: : wr.\\ -r-ì? 

• I ■ II.' M, II, ' '.\ I '...... !.«: . ' /. ;,| v.!:f,-'; C". uli ::::> 

'• •'/ '•• ■ ".. / I....I..I uA l^,!,'.-!, |.:t no r,ne r:ovcii. 

'•'••" ' •»• I» •// 1 j ili» f fiiiirii.tti/I \\x* j rrarj in his cyc and 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



Thcy cltmbed the asccnt, aod reacbed iht summit. The 
ravoes on the terrace and n>und the gate re tir ed on ctthcr 
side to makc room fot hirti ; the Unnaincd motioned to Uicm 
to retreat no farther, sptirted forward and passed before 
tbc littcr, bcckoncd to tbc driver and Don Abbondio to fot- 
low him, etitered an oulcr court, and thence into a second, 
wait towards a soiall posieni, madc sigiis to a bravo, who 
was hastcnlng to hold bis stirrtip, to keep back, aad said to 
ìilm, * You theie, and no onc ncarer,* He thcn dìsmounted» 
and holding the bridlc, advanced towards the littcr, ad- 
drc^^sed himself lo tbc f emale who had just drawn back the 
curtain, and said to ber in an undertone r * Comfort ber 
directly ; ict ber iiodcrstand at once ihtt shc ìs at liberty, and 
among tricnds. God will reward you for it/ He tben 
nrdcrcd ihc driver to open the door, and assist ber to gel 
dL Ad^'andng, tben, lo Don Abbondio, with a look of 
catcr screnity than the poor man bad yet scea, or tbouprht 
he could sce, on bis cctintetiaiicc, in whkh there 
_ be fraced joy at the good work which was at 
30 ncar iis compietion^ be Icnt bim bis arm to dis- 
aountr saying to bim at the ^ame timc, in a low voice: 
signor Curate, I rio not apoloipie for tbe trouble you bave 
id on my account ; you afe bearlBg il for One who rewards 
bountiriiljy, and for tbis His poor creature T 

took^ and thesc words, once more put some heart 

Don Abbondio; an4 drawing a long breath, which for 

Sfi bour past bad hcen striviog tncffectiially to find vcnt» 
he rephed, wbethcr or not in a submissive tone it ntcd not 
bc askcd: 'Is yotir JLordship jokiJig with me? But, hut, 
lM!t but ! t . / And, accepting the band which was so oour- 
ty ofìfcrcd, he slid down from tlie saddle as he best 
cT.*u d Tbc Unnamed look the hridk, and handed it with bis 
to the driver, biddin^j him wait thcre outside for them* 
"^*g a key from his fiocket, he open ed ihe poslern, ad- 
1 the curate and tbe woman, fnlfowcd tbcm m^ 
lo l(!ad the \va>% went to tlie foot of the staìrii 
;il! thrce asccndcd In sileacc» 



Tbii 




CHAPTER XXIV 

IUCIA had aroused hersclf only a short timc before^ 
. and part of that lime she had bcen striving to 
d awaken hcrself thoroughly, and to se ver the dis- 
turbed dreams of sleep from the remembrances and images 
of a reality which too much resembled the feverish visiona 
of sickness. The old woman quickly made up to her, and, 
with a constrained voice of humility, said: *Ah! bave yott 
slept? You might bave slept in bed: I told you so often 
enough last night/ And receiving no reply, she continued, 
in a tone of pettish entreaty: 'Just eat something; do be 
prudent. Oh, how wretched you look! You must want 
something to eat And then if, when he comes back, he's 
angry with me ! ' 

* No, no ; I want to go away. I want to go to my mother. 
Your master promised I should; he said, to-morrow mom- 
iftg, Where is he ? ' 

* He's gone out ; but he said he'd bc back soon, and would 
do ali you wished/ 

* Did he say so ? did he say so ? Very well ; I wish to go 
to my mother, directly, directly.' 

And bchold! the noise of footsteps was heard in the 
adjoining room; then a tap at the door. The old woman 
ran to it, and askcd, * Who*s there ? ' 

* Open the door/ replied the well-known voice, gcntly. 
The old wonian drew back the bolt, and, with a sligfat 

push, the Unnaniod half opened the door, bid ber come out, 
and hastily ushered in Don Abbondio and the good woman* 
He then nearly closod the door again. and waiting himself 
outside. sent the acrcd niatron to a distant part of the castle, 
as he had before disniisscd the othcr one, who was keeptng 
watch outside. 

Ali this bustle. the moment of expcctation. and the first 
appcarance of strango figures, made Lucia's heart bound 
with agitation; for. if hcr presont condition was intolerable, 
every change was an additional cause of alarm. She looked 

396 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



m 



ìxpi, aiwi t>chdd a prìest and a woman ; thb somewhat rcaol- 
attd ber; *he looked mofe closely; is il he or not? At 
SI, she Tccùgithcd Don Abbondio, and remained with ber 
eyes ixed, as if hy cneliaìitment Tbe femalc iben drcvir 
ncar, and bcoding over ber, loolccd at ber cotnpassionatcl/, 
takiof botb ber hands, as il to caress and ratse ber at the 
same timc, a»d aaytng: *OÌ\ mj poor girl! come witb us» 
eome wìtb msJ 

* Who are yoùì' demanded Lucia; bui withom lìstenìnf 
l0 the rcply. she again titmcd to Don Abbondio, who was 

ng two or threc yards disiant, evcn bis couittenance 
pressing some compa^sicn; shc gazed at hìm agaìn, and 
icclaitned; *yoii! Is ìt yow! The Signor Curate? Wbere 
wc? , , , Oh» pocr me ! I bave bsi my setises ! * 

• No, no/ repUcd Don Abbondio, * lì i« ìndeed I ; talee 
Don*t yoo sec we are bere to take you away? I 

your curate» come htthtr on purpose oo hors^ 



As if she had fttjddenly regained ali ber strength. Lucia 
precipitatcly spraog npon ber fect: ihen again fixing ber 
ires on thusc iwo faces, shc said : * Il ts the Madonna^ tbeo» 
tft&t has scnt you* 
* ì bclievc indeed it is,* said the good womaiL 
•But can we go away? Can w« really go away?' re- 
te Lticla, lowcring hcr voice, and assuming a timid 
atispidous lixik. 'And ali ibcite pcoplc? . , / contìnued 
Be, wilb ber lips comprcssed, and quivering witb fear and 
horror: 'And that Lord , • , thai man! , . * He did, in- 
deedt promise # * *' 

' He li bere hiinself in persoti, canie oo purpose witb us,* 
»id Don Abbondio ; * he is outslde wasting lor ns. Let tu 
go at once ; we niostn't kcep a man ìike blm waiting,' 

Al tbis moment, he of wbom thcy were ^eaking opened 
the lioor, and sbowing hunself at tltc entrancc, carne for- 
ward into the room* Lucia, who bnt just bclore bad wbbed 
far him, nay, baving no hope in any one else in the world, 
wisbed for none but bim, now» after haring scen Mné 
lo friendly faces and voìcts, couid not rcstiaio a 
sfaudder: ^ìe fftartcd, beld ber brcath, and tbrowing 
di on the good wtmtan's sbouJder, Luricd her fae« ia 




398 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

her bosom. At the first sight of that countenance, on whìeh, 
the evening before, he had bcen unable to maintain a seady 
gaze, now rendered more pale, languid and dejectcd, by 
prolonged suffering and abstinence, the Unnamed had sud- 
denly checked bis steps; now, at the sight of her impulse 
of terror, he cast bis eyes on the ground, stood for a moment 
silent and motionless, and then replying to what the poor 
girl had not expressed in words, 'It is true,' exclaimed he; 
* forgive me ! ' 

* He is come to set you f ree ; he*s no longer what he was ; 
he has become good; don't you bear him asking your for- 
giveness ? ' said the good woman, in Lucia's ear. 

' Could he say more? Come, lift up your head; don't be a 
baby : we can go directly,' said Don Abbondio. Lucia raised 
her face, looked at the Unnamed, and seeing bis head bent 
low, and bis embarrasscd and humble look, she was seized 
with a mingled feeling of comfort, gratitudc, and pity. as 
she replied, * Oh, my Lord ! God reward you for this deed 
of mercy ! ' 

'And you a thousandfold, for the good you do me by 
these words.' 

So saying, he tumed round, went towards the door, and 
led the way out of the room. Lucia, completely reassured, 
followed, leaning on the worthy female's arm, while Don 
Abbondio brought up the rear. They descended the stair- 
case, and reached the little door that led into the court. The 
Unnamed opened it, went towards the litter, and, with a 
mertain politeness, almost mingled with timidity, (two novel 
qualities in him,) offered his arm to Lucia, to assist her to 
get in; and afterwards to the worthy dame. He then took 
the bridles of the two mules from the driver's band, and 
gave his arm to Don Abbondio, who had approached his 
gentle steed. 

* Oh, what condescension ! ' said Don Abbondio, as he 
mounted much more nimbly than he had done the first time; 
and as soon as the Unnamed was also seated, the party 
resumed their way. The Signor's brow was raised: his 
countenance had regained its customary cxpression of 
authority. The ruffians whom they passed on their way, 
discovered, indeed, in his face the marks of deep tbouglU^ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



9m 



fìd an exlraordinary solicittide; but they neither under- 
tood, nor couid anderstand, more about it. Tbey kncw 
jlot yct aitything of the grcat changc whieh had taketi piaci* 
theif master; and» undoubtcdly, none of them woutd bave 
pivìned it mercly from conjectnre, 

Tbe gocd woman immedìately drtw tbe curtafns over the 

luJe Windows: and then, affectionaicly takmg l.ncia*s 

she appbcd hcrself to comfort ber with expressioris 

con^ratulatioti, and tendcrness* Seeing, then, ibat 

faiigue from tbe suffering sbe had undcrgonc, but 

(exity and obscorìty of atl tbat bad happcned, pre- 

^cnled the poor girl from being sensible oC the joy of ber 

Jcliver^ncc, sbe said ali she could ibink of moft Ukely to 

cali ber recollectìon, and lo clear np, and set to rigbts. so 

to say, ber poor scattered tbonghts. She narned the villagc 

the carne from» and to wbìcb they were now goinf. 

' Yesl ' saìd Lucia, who knew how short a dbttnce II wa^ 

[»in ber nwn. 'Ah, most boly MadoDoap I praise thect 

fy mother I my mother l * 

• Wc will send to fetch ber dìrectly/ said tbe food wotnan, 
knovrtng tbat il wa^ alrcady don e, 

• Ye», ye«» and reward you for it * * • And yoti^ 
rho are you? I. . you come > . .* 

*Ouf Curate gent me^' said tbe good wotnan, *because 
Cod hai louchcd ibis Sìgnor's bcart, (hle^scd bc Hi» name!) 
and he carne to our villane to speak to the Signor Cardinal 
ircbbi«hop, for he h there in bis visitatton, tbat boiy man 
^f God; and he had repcnted of his great sLns, and wìshcd 
to changc hì^ ìlftì and he totd the Cardinal that he had 
catiied a poor innocent to be seiied, meanìng you, at tbe 
n$tigmtton of anotber p^-rson, who had no fear of God; but 
1 Cttratc didn't teli me who it cotild be/ 
Lucìa raiscd ber eyes to beaven- 

■ Yoa know wbo it wa^» pcrhaps,' contmucd tbe good 
Wùtnan. 'Well; the Signor Cardinal thou^fbl that, as there 
was a yotmg g:irl tn the qni:«tjon, Ih ere onght to he a Iemale 
,Èù come baelf with ber; and he told the Curate to look for 
ne' in hi* goodn^ tn me . . / 

'( rnpen^e you r kindiicss 1 * 

• WeU« jtist ìisten to me» my poor emidi And the Signor 



400 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

Curate bid me encourage you, and try to comfort yoa 
directly, and point out to you how the Lord has save4 yon 
by a miracle . . / 

' Ah yes, by a miracle indeed ; through tlie intercession of 
the Madonna I ' 

'Well, that you should bave a right spirit, and torgive 
him who has done you this wrong, and be thankful that God 
has been merci fui to him, yes, and pray for him too; for, 
besides that you will be rewarded for it, you will also find 
your hcart lightened.' 

Lucia replied with a look which expressed assent as dearly 
as words could bave done, and with a sweetness which words 
could not bave convcyed. 

* Noblc girl ! ' rejoined the wonian. * And your Curate, 
too, being at our villagc, (for there are numbers assembled 
from ali the country round to elect four public officerà,) the 
Signor Cardinal thought it batter to scnd him with us; but 
he has been of little use : I had bcfore heard that he was i 
poor-spirited creature; but, on this occasion, I couldn't help 
sccing that he was as frightened as a chicken in a bundlc 
of hemp.' 

'And this man . . .' asked Lucia, 'this persoh who has 
bcconie good . . . who is he?' 

'Whatl don't you know him?' said the good woman, 
mentioning his nanic. 

' Oh, the niercy of the Lord ! ' exclaimed Lucia. How 
oftcn had she hcard that name repeatcd with horror in more 
than one story, in which it always appcared as, in other 
stories, that of the monster OrcusI And at the thought of 
having once been in his dreaded power, and being now 
under his merci fui protcction — at the thought of such fcar- 
ful danger, and such unlooked-for deliverance; and at the 
remembrance of whosc face it was that had at first appeared 
to ber so haughty, afterwards so agìtated, and then so hum- 
bled, she remaincd in a kind of ecstasy, only occasionally 
repeating, ' Oh, what a mercy ! ' 

' It is a great mercy, indeed ! ' said the good woman. ' It 
will be a grcat rclief to half tlie world, to ali the country 
round. To think how many pcople he kcpt in fcar; and now, 
as our Curate told me • • . and then, only to see bis 



! PROMESSI SPOSI 



101 



ce, tic ts bccomc a ^ìntl And the fruits are sceii so 
dircctly.* 

To assert Hits worfhy persoti dìd oot feci iniich ciiriosity 
to know nither more cxplicitly the wonderful cìrcuisistanccs 
in which &he was called upon to bear a part, would noi be 
the tnitlL Btrt we must say, to ber lionour, that, restrained 
by t rcspectful pìty Ìot Luck, and feeling, In a maimcr, the 
gravity and dignity of the charf e which had been entrustcd 
to ber, she never tvtn thougbt of putiing ìui indi&crcet or 
idk qiicstion; througliout tbc wholc jouniey, ber words 
were tbose of comfort and concern far tbe poar girl 

* Heaven knows bow long it h siace you bave caien any- 
thìng!' 

' I don't remembcr * . , not for some lime/ 
'Poor tbing! you must want sometbing to strcngthen 
you?' 

* Yes/ replicd Lucìa, in a fami voice. 

* Thank God» we shall get somethmg at home direcily, 
Take beart, for it*s nm far i^ow.* 

Ltid^ tbeii sank languidly lo the bottoni of tbe litter, as if 
overcotuc witb drowsin<^5$» and tbe good woman left ber 
qatetty to rcpose. 

To Don Abbondio tbe rctorn was ccrtainly not so harass* 
iof as tbc joumey tliilher oot long beforc; but, ncvertbelcss, 
eveo tliis was not a ride of pleastrre. Wben bis overwhelm- 
tng fears bad sutiiiided, be lek, at first, as ìf rclieved from 
CYcry biirdcn; bui vcry sbortly a bundred other fandes 
began to baunt bis imàg^atiòii; as tbe grotmd wbence a 
largc trce bai becn uprootcd rcmalii« bare and cmpty for a 
tìme, but is soon abundantly covcred witb wceds. He bad 
becomc more sensiti^^c io minor causes of alarm; and io 
tbougbta of tbc preactit as wcll as the future, faiìed not to 
fiiìd ocify too many matcrfals far self-toroietit He felt now, 
mucb more than in roiiiitig» the mconvcnìcnces of a mode 
oì tvg to \fhkh be was not at ali accu^tomed, and 

pùT y in tbc descem from the castle to the bottocq 

of the valley. The mule-driver, obedient to a sign ffora ibe 
Unoamed, drovc on tbc animab at a rapid pace; tbe two 
rkiers foìlowod in a line bebind, witb corrcsponding specd, 
ìd that, io aoodiy ttcep place», the uà fortunate Dksn Ab^ 




402 



ALESSAKBBO MANZONI 



bondiD, as if foftcd up by a lever bchind» rollcil forwaid» 
and was oblrgcd to keep himself steady by grasptn^ Ine 
pommd of the saddic; not daring to re*]uc5t a &!ow^ i>acc, 
and afixious, also, to gct out of the ncighhourhood as quiddt 
as he coukL Besìdcs this, whercvcf the road wa. 
cmtneiìcc, on the edgr of a stecp bank» tbe mule» aiv 
to ihc custom of ita species, sccmed as il aiming, out of 
contempi, always to keep on die otJtside, and to set itjt fert 
on the very bnnk; and Don Abbondio s<iw, almost pefpcu- 
dicnlarly beneath him, a good leap, or, as he thoughtt a 
precipicc^Even you, — said he to the animai, in bis hetrt — 
bave a curjied ìncUnafion to go In search ùÌ dairger ' 
there h snch a safc and widc path. — And he piiUcd iJi 
to the opposìtc side, but in valn; so that, gminbting wiih 
vexatton and fcar, lie ittìfìfered bimself, as usuaU to be g^ided 
at the will of others. The rtiffians no lon^cr gave him so 
omch alarm, now ihat he knew for certain how thcir niisler 
rcgardfd them,^ — But, — rcflected he, — if the news of ihij 
grand conversion should get abroad among them witilc we 
are stili bere, who knows how thc«c fellows wnnM talea tt? 
Who knows what might arise froni it? " 
gct an idea that I am come hithcr as a i 
preserie me! thcy wotild martjT me! — Ih v brow 

of the tlnnamcd gave hira no tineasìness.- . . ;p t!hn%c 

vìsages there in awc, — tbotight he, — it oeeds no lesa than 
thi« one herej I undertland that myself; hiit wHy haa U 
f alien to my lot to be thrown amongst stich |>eop1e?^ — 

Pnt cnough: tijey readied the foot of the de^cent, and 
at length alao isiitcd from the vallcy. The hrow of the Un- 

" lamed became gradually amoother. Don Al>hondio, too, 

isnmed a more naturai expression, released hh head some- 

what frmn impri.totimcnt betwcen hiii jthoulders, btrctdie*! hì$ 

lega and arma, tried to bc a little more at bis case, whicb» In 

tnith, made him look ìikc ft different cttaitcrc, drew hh hzrnih 

norc frecly, and, with a calraer miDd, proceed^d io ciintem* 

Rte other and remoter dan^rt.^ — ^wWt will that viitafn 

"if a Don Rf ? To ^ 

and open to ii ^.m fane^ 

ter dofte. Now\« the tinie whcn bc U plny the de vii liut- 
rìght* It rcinaui* t.t 1v «r^n whrtli rr he won*t he anerv wIth ' 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



m 



mt, hec^mt 1 ha ve beco tnixcd np vnììi this business, If 
he lias already choseo to send these two dcmotis to racct me 
oti the higli road with such an intimatinn. what will he do 
Tiow, Heaven ktiowst He can't quarrd with hts illustrìcms 
ÌjnnUìùp, ioT li€*s ralher otit of hb rcach ; he'll he obligcd 
to goaw ihc bit whh htm. Bui att the while the vcnoni will 
bc in hts vem5, and he'M be 5urc to vent it tipotì somcbody. 
How will ali tbcse things end? Tlic blow naust alway? fall 
I s<Miiewhere: the Ush musi bc iiplìfted. Of eourse, Iu5i iHus- 
trtous Lordship tntctids to place Lucia in safety: that other 
cmaie mìsgtiided youth ì$ beyond reach, and has al ready 
hh sihare; so behold the lash must fall upon my shoul' 
en. Il will ìndeed be cruci, if, after »ci mauy tticonventcnces 
and so mtich agitation, wìthotit my dcset^-ing it, too, in tlie 
Icaul, ì should bave to bear the ptmishment, What will bis 
ino^l nitutripus Grace do now to protect ine, after having 
[brotigbt me into the dance? Can he ensurc that ibis cursed 
tdi wofiH play me a worse trielc than beforc? And, 

n, he has so many things io think of : he puts bis band 

"io so tnany bustoesscs. How can be attend to ali ? Matters 

are somctiiact Jeft more efitangled than at first* Those who 

<b good, do it in the gross; whcn tbey bave enjoyed this 

, satisfactjoa, the>^Vc bad enougb, and won't troiiblc ihcm* 

IscItcs to look after the cooscqucnccs ; btit they who haire 

sttcb a faste for cvil*doifigs, are much more dÙlgent; thcy 

foUow it up to tbe end, and gìve thetnielv^ no rest^ beeausc 

, tìtey bave an e ver -de vou ring canker wilbin tbem* Must T go 

lant! say that I carne bere at tbc expre&s eontmand of his 

aiastrioiis Grace, and not with my own food vnìlì Tbat 

woold seem as if I favourcd ibe wieked side. Oh, sacred 

I Beaven ! I Cavour the wìckcd side ! For the pleasufc it 

^ves rne! Well; the hest pian will be to teli Perpettta tbe 

cajie a* it b, at)d tben Ica ve it to ber to circuiate it» provided 

my Lord doe-^r^'r take a faticy to make tbe whoJe inattef 

' pnblrc. and brìn^ e%*cn me fntc the «cene. At any rate^ as 

$oon ai erer we arrive, tf bc** out of cburcb, Vlì go and takc 

^iny Vavr .if hitn a^ qulrkly aa posslhle; it bc*s not» HI leave 

I m\ and go off home at once. Lucìa ìs well attended 

lo , i^ t ' no nced for ine ; and after to mnch troubfe, I, too. 

may claim a Utile repD&c. And be^ides . . . wbat if my 



I 




4oe 



ALB85AKDRO MAKZ0K1 



from hcr ncck, and Bolding it m hcr trcrnhltn^ ftfinf!, *1rp 
confirmed anc! rencwcd Uie vow, implorine» at ih 
^wìtb heanrendmg carnestness, that ^trcngth mi;, , i 

icr to fulfiU it; and that she might ht sparcd such * 

id occtirrences as wotild bc lUcdy» if not to dìsìuiu «cf 
^bdon, al Icast to harass her beyond ciKJtirance, The 
'^distance of Renio, without any probs^bìlity of return, thas, 
distatiipe whkh shc had bitJierto fdt m> pidtifiil, pnw ?ft?aicd] 
lo her a dfspensatìon of Providcoee, who had it^ :^frt^ 

cvents work togctlier (or the samc cr^d; and sli^ .^ ,r la 

ftod in the otie a motive of consolaticm for the other, Aod, 
foUowiiig up thìs tJiought^ she began reprcsentiui; to liendf 
ihat the &amc Provldence. to complete the wtsrlc, wcwldl 
know what meaiìs to cmpìoy to Induce Remo IV? *' i b^ 
resigtied, lo tliink no more . , , But acarcely 1 an 

idea cfitered hcr tntnd, when aJI was aj^ain overmriietL Thei 
poor gìrl^ feeling ber heart stili prone to regret the vow» 
agaìn had recourse to prayer, confirmation of the pmmhe, 
and inward smsggìcs, from which ahe arosc, if wc may bc 
albwed the «xprcflaion, like the wearkd and wottnded Ttcfoc 
from h!s fallco enemy* 

At this motncni she licard ap^iroaehfnf^ footstep$ and 
joyous eries. It wzs the little famlly rn cUurcll. 

Two little ^rls and a yonng boy bom hoii^, 

who, stoppi ng a moment to cast mn ^t 

Lucia, ran to their mothcr, ami gathtt . onc 

itiqutring the namc of the ttnknown gnest, and how, and 
why; am>tber attempting to reUte t!ie wondrrftil thmgs thcy 
bad just wttneesed; whilc the good woman replìed to each 
and ali, * Bc qwict. be qntet.' With ai' 
wtth cordial buerest depìcled tm bis eoi: 
of the house then enterrd, l!c was, if 
ao, the taìtnr i>f the vìllage and it* ir 
hood; a man who knew bow to read, who had. in faci, read 
more than once II Ltg^tnàariù de' ,9'^"^** '^^r\ T RcaH di 
Fmnciù, and who pa§jed among ht» ' rs as a 

Linan of ^-' * "^ i-.^. -^^ 

: ino de V 
'^ocadott, aiiil xliU, b:' 
of ao many othcra . , . 






I FEOMBSSI SPÓSI 



107 



creature in the world Having bcea prcseat 
was reqoestcd by the Curate !o imdertake ber 
tbadteble joumey, he had not only given hìs approbaticro, 
but wouJd also bave addcd hìs persuasion. had it beea iiecea* 
_5try. And now that the scrvices, the pomp, the concoarsCt 
3d above aO, the sermon of the Cardinal, had, as tììt saying 
, ekvated ali his bcst feelitigt, he returned home with eagcr 
adcipations, and an anxious delire to know how the thing 
1 s«ccc«:ded, aod to find the ìrmocent young creature safe, 
*See, therc she h ì* said his gCKJd wife, as he entered. 
^obiting to Lucia, who blushed, aod rose from ber seat, be- 
ginning to stammer forth some apology. B«t be, advancing 
towu^s her^ intemipled ber excuscs, congratulatlng her oa 
ber safety, and exclaiming, *WeIconie» welcome ! Yoii are 
tbe blessiog of Heaven in ìhìs house. How g lad 1 am to see 
m bere ! 1 was pretty sure you wouid be brought out 
if dy : tot Vvt ncvet foimd that the Lord began a nitrado 
brtngtng It to a good end : but Vm giad to sec you 
Poor girl t but it is indeed a great thing to bave re* 
1^ a miracle ! * 

Let it net be ti^ought that be wa* ttic only person who 
Ihus dcnOTOinated this eventi be^use be bad read the 
Legendiiy ; as long m the remembrance of it lasted, il was 
9poktii of in no other tenris in the whole village^ and 
tltrougfiout the neighbourboód. And» to say tmtb, consid- 
eriilg its attendanr une following consequences, no otber 
naoie tt - rlaie. 

Tlien» 1* to hts wife, who was taktng the ketlle 

off the hook over tlie fire, he whiipered, * Did everything gp 
well ?' 

'Very well; 111 teli you aftcrwards/ 
' Ycs, ycs, al your eonvcoiericr.* 

Diaoer now being quìckly served up, tbe mìstrcss of the 

up to Loefci, and leaditig ber to tlje table, made 

kc a len* : ìhen cutting off a wìnj: of the fowl *hc set 

ft hefofc : and ber hi ' domi, they 

ber ;^tritcd and ?>a -^ make her- 

, and lakc aotnctbtng to eat. n evtry 

taìiof l»egan to talk with gre., , -^rnc&s, in 

of the intcrruplioiis of the ehildrai, wba itood routtd 




K» 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



th« tabk to their meal, and who, in inith, had seett too tnany 
extraordinary tliing^s, to play, for any length of timc, the 
part of mere Usteners, He descrìbed the solemn ceremonieSs ^ 
ajid then passed on to the mìraculous conversione Bui tliat 
which had made the tnost ìtnpression upon him, and to whicli 
he most freqaently retumed, was the Cardinars seftnon- 

' To see hìm thcre beforc the aitar/ said he, * a gentleman 
like him, like a Cifrate , * / 

' And that gold thing he had on his head . . / said a little 
girl. 

' Htjsh. To thìnk, | say, that a gentleman like him, sucb 
a leamed man, too, that from what people say, he has readj 
ali the books there are ìn the worid; a thing whìeh nobodf 
else has ever done^ not even in Milan — ^to think that he knew 
how to say thin gs in such a way, that every one under- 
stood , - / 

' Even I imdcrstood very well/ said another little prattler, 

Hold yoar tonguc; what may you bave understood, I 
wondcr ? * 

' I imdcrstood that he w^ explaìning the Gospel, Instcad 
of the Signor Curate** 

'Well, he quiet. I don't say those who know somethìngj 
for then one is oblìged to understand; but cveo the duUest 
and most ignorant could foUow out the sense. Go now and 
ask them if they could repeat the words that he spoke; ITI 
engagé they could not remeniher one; but the meanìng they 
wiU bave in tbcir heads. And without ever mentionìng the 
name of that Signor, how easy it was to see that he was 
ali udì ng to hìm ! Besìdes, to under stand that, one had onlj , 
to observe htm with the tcars standing in his eye. And 
then the whole church bcgan to weep , • / 

'Yes, indeed, they did/ burst forth the little boy; 'but 
why were they ali crying in that way, like chìldren?* 

' Hold your tongue. Surely there are some hard hearts in 
this country. And he made us see so well, that though 
there is a f amine he re, we ought to thank God, and be ' 
content; do whatever we can, work industriously, hcip one 
another, and then he content, hecause it ìs no dtsgrace lo 
suffer and be poor; the disgrace is to do eviK And these 
are not only fine words- for everybody knows that he UveB 



I PEOMESSI SPOSI 



ino 



Iffce a poor man himsdf, and takes the bread cut of his 
own mouth to give to the hungry^ when he migli t bc cnjoy- 
ing gooó times b et ter than any one. Ah ! tben it gìves onc 
satisfactjon to bear a man preachr not Hke so many others: 
" Do what I say, and not what I do." And then he showed 
m that evcn those vvho are not what they cali gentlemen, 
if they have more than they actiialJy want, are bound to 
share ìt whh tbose wbo are suffermg/ 

Here he interrupted himself, as if checked by some 
thotight He bcsitated a moment; thea filling a platter ffom 
the severa! disbes on the table^ and adding a Ioaf of bread, 
he put it ìnto a cloth, and taking it by the four corners, said 
to bis eldest girl : ' Here, take this/ He then put into ber 
other band a little fìask of wine» and added : ' Go down to the 
widow Maria, leave her tbese things, and telJ her it is to make 
a little feast with her cbildren, But do it kindly and nicely, 
yoti know; that it may not secm as ìi you were dolng her a 
cbarity. And don*t say anything, if you meet any one; 
and take care you break notbing.* 

Lucia *s eyes glistencd, and ber heart glowed with tender 
emodon; as from the conversation she had already heard, 
&be had received more comfort than an expressly consola- 
tory sermon couìd possibly bave imparted to ber* Her 
mind, aUracted by thèse descriptions, these itnages of pomp, 
and these emotions of pìety and wonder, and sharing in 
the very enthusiasm of the narrator, was detached from the 
coostderation of its own sorrows ; and on retuming to them^ 
found ftself strengthened to contemplate them. Even the 
tbought of ber tremendous sacrifice» though ìt had not bst 
its bitter nessj brought with it something of austere and 
SOlcmn joy, 

Shortly afterwards, the Curate of the viUage entered, 
and said tliat he was sent by the Cardinal to inquìre after 
Lucia, and to inform ber tbat hìs Grace wished to see her 
some tìme during the day; and then, in his Lordship's 
name, he retumed many thanks to the vvortby couple, 
Surprised and agita ted, the thrce could scarcely find words 
to reply to such messages from so grcat a personage. 

'And your motlicr hasn*t yet arrived?* said the Curate 
to Lucìa* 



il» 



ALESSANDRO MAK^OMI 



'My inothcr!* cxclaimtd the poor girl Thcn bearlof 
from him how he had bccn scnt to fctch hcr by the ordcr and 
siigg^stion of the Arcbbishop, shc dtcw her apr^n cr.?r 
hcr cycs» ami gavc way to a flood of tears, which : 

to fiow ior some time after the Curale had taken iu> i^^t^ 
When, however, the lumuituoua fcelings which had beci 
exdted by siich ao atmoiinccmcnt bcgan to yicid to wn&tt 
tranquìi thoughts» the poor girl rcmcml)ercd that the now 
ddsely impeiiding happmes3 of iccing ber inotber aglio, 
a happitìcss so unhoped fot a few ho ars prev^iousi wa» what 
shc had expressly implorcd m those very hoiirs, Md mlmoist 
stlpulatcd as a condttion of ber vx>w. Brii$g m^ tu safttj 
to my mùthtr, ahe had staid; and tliese words now pro- 
sentcd themselvcs distinctly to her memory. She «treni 
cned herself more tljan e ver in the reioltttion to maintail 
ber promise, and afresh and more bitterly lameated tbe 
struggle and rcgret sihe bad (or a moment indut^d. 

Agnese, tndeed, wbjlc ihcy were talkiiig abo>ut hcr, 
btit a vef>* little way o0, It may eas&ily be tpiagin^d hi] 
the poor womao fclt at this imexpecied frumiiion», ajid at 
the announcemeotp uecessarily defective and confitaed, 
an escapcd bui fearCul datigeT.--^a» obstare evenir wli 
the messenger couìd neither ci remn intanfiate nor exph 
aiid of wbìdi she had noi the slightest gr<mnd of cxpl 
tìon in ber owd previou* thoiigbt{&. After tearing ber 
—after frequent ejcdamatiotui of * Mi, my Godi Ab, 
donna r — after puttìng varìous qucsiiotis to tlie me 
wbidi he bad noi the tneans of saitsfyitìg, abe threw beri 
iinpetuoualy info tlie veliicle, cotitinning to uttcr^ on 
way, mimberleis ejaculations and itselcss tnqiijrìcs. Bij 
at a certain point sbe met Don Abbondio, irudgìtig oti, stfl 
after siep, aod bcforc cacb step, bis walking-stick. Alle 
an * oh r from botb parti cs^ he stoppcd ; Agnc*c alio ìlùum 
and diamounted; and drawtng bini apan iato a 
grove on the roadside, &he there Icamt from l- 
bondìo ali that he bad been able to aicertatn and 
The thuig was not citar; but at laast Agnesie wai aituf 
that Lucia waa in aafety; and she agaui breathed freely. 

After tbis Dotn Abbondio tried to introduce another 
jéct» and give ber minute uiirnKtioas ai to bow tbt 



I FEOMBSSI SPOSI 



411 



r behare before the Archbìshop, ìf, as wss ìtktìy, ht shoold 

Isli to see her aiid ber day gh ter; and^ mbove aU^ Uiat it 
^ould fiot do to Eiìv a word about the weddtiig « > . But 
Agnese, pcrc«iving iliat he was only spealdiig for hÌ5 own 
intereat, ciaf blm short, vriUioot promisuig, tndeed witfaout 
propDsm^, mn^hingp lor shc bad iotueUiing else ta thìnk 
about; and imoediately resunicd ber journey* 

At loi^h the cart arrived, and siopped at the tailor's 
liouse. Lucia sprang up hastily: Agnese dismauuted and 
mtbed impctuoysiy in io tbc cottage^ and, in an instante they 
wcre lockcd in each other's arms. The good dame, who 
alone was presenta tri ed to encourage and cairn them, and 
ibared wttb them in ibelr joy; then^ with her usnal discrc- 
tion» ahe Icft thcm for a whilc alone, saying that she would 
go and prcpare a bed for them, lor v^hìdi, bdeed, she bad 
the mcans, ihough. In any case, both «he and ber hus- 
ba^jd would mudi ratber havc skpt upon the ground* tlian 
iuffcr theni to go in §earch of ^bclter elsewhere for ihat 
night. 

The first burst o£ sobs and etabraces being over, Agne$« 
longed to bear Lucia*s advcntures, and the latter began^ 
mournfuliy, to rclatc thcm, But, as the r cader is aware, 
it wa« a htstory wbidi no onc kncw fully; and ta Lucìa 
self thcre wcre some obacure passagcs, which were, in 
«juitc incxtrìcabic; more pardcuLarly the fatai coin- 
^ence of that terrible carrìagc bcing in ibe road, just 
wheai Lucia was pas&ing on an eKtraordìaary occation, 
On tliis polliti both mothcr and daugbter were lost in cun* 
jccture, without evcr hitting the mark, or even approach- 
jng tlie real cauiie. 

As to the prìncrpal author of the plot, ncttber one nor 
Uie other could for a moment doubt but thai it was Don 
Rodrigo. 

'Ab, the black TÌ!tatn! alt» the in Cerna! iirebrand!* <x- 
elaioied Agnese: *but bis hour wiìl come* Gad will rcwifd 
him according to hls works; asad tbrn he, too, will ie^ , , / 

'No, no, mol)ier; col' iiilerruptcd Lucia; *don't pr«- 
«Bct «uficring for htm; don't prtdict it to any onci If you 
biew wbai il was ta iu0cr! If yau had tricd iti No, noi 
imther Id uà pray God aod tbc Madonna £or him: thai God 



41« 



ALBS^ANDEO MANZONI 



over and over agaln, ' Make wiy for on^ wbo has a Hgbt to 

passr «>«ì ^ wcnt into tlic house. 
Agncic jmd Lucia heard an tiicreailn^ munnur in die 

Street, and wliik wonderìng^ wbat ìt could be, naw the doci^ 
I tbrown open^ and admit the purpte-ciad prelatei, and thel 
fpriest of the p«rish. 

* I» this ahe f ' demandod Federigo of the Curate; and 
receìving a aign in the aMmmtivc, he advinced toi 
Lucia, who was holding back with her tnother, both oi 

I jiiotìanless, and mute with surprisc and bashfub«a; 
the tonc of bis voice, the cotmtcnance, th- 
above ali, the wurds of Federigo, quickly 

r*PcM3r girl/ he began, *God has pertnitted you to bc 
to a freat trial; but He has surcly sbown you that 
eye was stili over yon» that He had not forgorten 
He hai restored you in saftty, and has madc u^ of yoif^ 

Ifor a great work, to show inlìnile nicrcy to one, and tu re* 

I lieve» at the same tlfne, many oihcrs/ 

Here the mìstrefii of Uie houì^e carne ìnto the aparijncnt* 
who, at the bissile outftìde, had gone to the wtuduw aj: 
and seeing who was entering the house, ha^tily rau dovn,1 
after sUgbtly arranging ber dress; and a)iiiù»t at the aame 
toomait the tailor madé hb appcarance at aDother door.j 
Seeing thdr guests cngaged in conver^ation, they qtiìctt] 

bwitbdrew tnto one corner, and waited tfierc *^i ' 

The Cardinal, ha^-ing courteoudy ifnif^ 

continiied lo talk to the womefi, tuìnglixii; wl' 
of comfort many in<jnirie«, chinkìng he ixitght p' 

^Irom thdr replica some way of dotng good to one who had 
^ndergone so much sufferìjig. 

* Il wouid he wetl if ali prJetts were ISke your LordihJ{t, 
il they wouId sometimcs takc tlie part of the t*oor« 
not belp io put theni tnto diflìcukìr^ to gi*t tlicmstelve* 

^aaid Agnese* cmboldejicd by the kmd and alTable beha^Sout 
fof Federigo, and annuyed at the thouglit that the I^ignuf | 

)on Abbondio, alter haring aacri^eed otliera on ève 
'occatioD, sbouìd now cvcn attempi to (othui tbrlr trUlnifl 
vent lo their feelings, and complatning lo 

in autbority over him, wbcn. by an unu^, w,,-».., 

&ion for «knng so preseoted ìtsell 



1 PEOKIESSI SFOSl 



US 



1 



'Jusl say M ihat you ìMnk,* saìd the Cardisial: 'speak 
trctìy: 

*1 oican lo say, that H our Signor Curate bad donc hìs 
dwty» thiiifs wonldn't have gonc as they hare/ 

Btit tlie Cardinal renewmg bis request tbat sbe sbould 
explam hersdf more fully, shc begaii to feci ratber per- 
phxeé at baving to rt;bt*! a story in wbìcb sbe* tuo, had 
bomc a part shc did not care to make known, cspccially 
to sydi a tnaiL However» she cOQtrived to manage il, whb 
tbe bclp of a little oiriailiag, She rclated tbc iutendcd 
matcb, and the refusai of Don Abbondio ; dot waa she sileni 
Od tbe pretexl of the sup^riors wbìch he bad brought for- 
wmrd (ab. Agnese t) ; and thcti she skipped on to Don Rod- 
rl£0*s attempt, and how, ha vìng been wamed of tt, thcy 
liad becn able lo make ihcir escape, * Bui Pideed«' added 
abCp in condusion, ' we only escaped to be again eaugbt in 
tbe ^are. If kstead, tbe Si gnor Curate had honestly told 
US tbe wbole, and bad immcdiately marrìed my poor chil- 
df cn, wc wotild bave goae away alf togelher dircctly, pri- 
ritely. and far e&ough ofiT, to a place wbere not even the 
wind would bave Known un. Btit^ ìa this way» time was 
lost; and aow has happ^^ticd what bas happened." 

*Tbc Signor Curate sball render me an accoiint of dila 
malter/ said the Cardinal 

*0b, no. Signor, no!' replied Agnese: T didii't *peak 
on tbat account : don't scold liim : for wbat is done^ is don e ; 
and. bcstdcs, it will do no good: il is bis nature; aad on 
occasion be would do just ihe sanie/ 
.iicia, dtssatiiiìed wìih tbìs way of relatiag the story, 
": * VVe h;ive also donr wrrmg: it shows Jt was noi tbe 
Lord's will that the pian sbould succecd/ 

*Wbat can you bave done wrong, my poor gir!?* a^ed 
Federigo. 

And, in spttc of the threatenitìg glances wbìch ber mothcr 
tricd lo giYe ber secretly. Lucìa» in ber tum, related the 
hislory of thetr atlentpt in Ekrn Abbondio's house; and 
oonckdcd by »aymg, ' We bave done wrotig, aod God haa 
puitiiJied U5 for tt/ 

* Talee, as f rota Hb band, Ute amdertnfs you hav^e under* 
gone. aod be of good ooursge/ saìd Federigo; 'for wbo 



416 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

have reason to rejoice and be hopeful, but those who bave 
suffered, and are ready to accuse themselvcs?' 

He then asked where was the Betrothed; and hearing 
from Agnese (Lucia stood silent, with ber head bent, and 
downcast eyes) how he had been outlawed, he felt and 
expressed surprise and dissatisfaction, and asked why it 
was. 

Agnese stammered cut what little she knew of Renzo's 
history. 

* I bave beard speak of this youth/ said the Cardinal ; ' but 
how bappens it that a man involved in affairs of this soft 
is in treaty of marriage with this young girl ? ' 

'He was a worthy youth/ said Lucia, blushing, but in 
a finn voice. 

'He was even too quiet a lad/ added Agnese; 'and you 
may ask this of anybody you like, even of the Signor Curate. 
Who knows what confusion they may have made down 
there, what intrigues? It takes little to make poor people 
seem rogues/ 

'Indced, it's too true/ said the Cardinal; TU certainly 
make inquiries about him;' and leaming the name and resi- 
dence of the youth, he made a memorandum of them on bis 
tablets. He added, that he cxpected to be at their village 
in a few days, that then Lucia might go thither without 
fear, and that, in the mcan while, he would think about pro- 
viding ber some secure retreat, till cverything was arranged 
for the best. 

Then, turning to the master and mistress of the house» 
who immediately carne forward, he rencwed the acknowl- 
edgment which he had already conveyed through the priest 
of the parish, and asked them whether they were willing 
to receive, for a few days, the gucsts which God had sent 
them. 

' Oh yes, sir ! ' rcplied the woman, in a tone of voice and 
with a' look which meant much more than the bare words 
seemed to c>:press. But ber hnsband, quìte excited by the 
presence of such an interrogator, and by the wish to do him 
honour on so important an occasion, anxiously sougbt for 
some fine reply. He wrinkled bis forehead, strained and 
squinted with bis eyes, compressed bis lips, stretched hit 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



417 



•Ite atmost €xtciit» stTt>%^e, fumbtcd about in hit 

bere foond an ovcrwhelttitiig medJey of unfìtiished 

Jcas and half-forincd wards: but tlmc presscd; Uic Cardinal 

MgTtìfied that he had al ready tnlerpreted his sllcncc; the 

poor man opeocd his inouth and pronounced the words, 

' Ydu may imaginel ' At this point noi another word would 

ccur to him. This failure ttot only dt&heartened aod vexed 

litti at ihe mcincnt, but the tormenting remembrance ever 

ifier spoiied his ccmpUiccncy in the great honour he had 

received. And how ofteu, in the thinking it over, and fancy- 

ng hitnsclf agafn in the same circuiiistaaces, did uumberlcss 

[words Cfowd upon his mitid, as ìt wcre, out of spite, any of 

i*hicb wotild bave bccn heiiet than that ^illy, You may 

magine! But are not the very ditcbes full of wtsdom-^too 

tt 

ke Cardinal took bis leave, saying, 'The blessing of 

tiùd he ijpon this house/ 

The sanie evcning he asked the Curate in what way he 
couUl bcst compcnstite to the tailor, who certainly coyld not 
rich, for the cxpcnses he raust ha%^e incurred, especially 
these rimcs, by his hospìtahty* The Curate replicd, that, 
Inilh, oeither the profits of lits business nor the produce 
»f some small fieids which the good tailor owned, would 
enough this year to allow oi hh being liberal to otbcrs; 
Mmt that^ having laid by a little in the prcceding years» he 
Wa* among the mo%i easy in circutnslances in the neigbbour- 
hood« and could afford to do a kindness without incon- 
Irenience, as he certainly would with ali bis heart ; and that, 
nder any circumstance&» he wouJd deem it an insult to be 
ùffered money in compensatton. 

He ' ^ / said the Cardinal, 'bave demanda 

cm peoj^. ^y ' 

*You iwiy Juu ' Lord: thcse 

ir pcoplc pay * \ ^t. Last ycar 

re wa» no overplus; and itiis one, evcrybody falls ^lort 

iti e 'il ut f* n »»*■' i*c n r I fM* 

h 1 Federigo, *I will take ali these debts 

' "" Tt? me the pìeasure of gcttfng 
and dÌKhargfaig them far me.* 

will bc a tcIcraUc aitau 

té— V«l.ll 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



' So iTiuch tlie bcttcr: and you will have, I dare lay, maiif 
more wretchcd, aud almosi destitutc a( dotliing, wbo hin 
no debtS| bccause ibey can gct no credit.' 

'Alas ! too many 1 One docs whnt one eoo ; hm bov cai 
we supply ali in Umcs like these ? ' 

* Teli hiti) to dcrtbe diein al tny cxf>cnse, ind pay htni wdL 
ReaJly, tbb year, al! tbat does itol go for bre^d »ceou a Ùad 
of robber)*; bat this ìs a particular ca&c/ 

We cannoi dose tbe history of tbis day, witboul tiridly 
relatìng how t!ic Unnamcd coiicluded ìt. 

Thii time tbe report of bis convcrslon bad preccikd hsfn 
In the vatley, and quickly spreadìng tbroughoul It^ had &S^ 
cìted among ali the InbablUnis coiistc-rnation, anxìcty. and 
angry wbìsperings. To the first bravocs or serviaitt (il 
maitered not wbicb) whom he met, bc made sìgns that tbcf 
should follow bìm; and so on, on citbcr band Ali fcB 
bebind witb unusua! perplcxtty of mhid, bui with ihdf »c- 
customed submissìon; so Lhat| wtth a coiuinually tmcrewiif 
train, he ai length rcached the Gasile* He beckuned to tiUMe 
wbo were loitcring about th^ gate to follow hìm wllh Ùm 
otbers ; entered the Ut si canrt, went toward^ the middle» simI 
bere, le^atcd àtl the while on bis &addtc, uttcred one oC Mi 
thnndering calli: it was the accuntomed sIgnaJ at which 
ali hls dcpcndents. who werc withìn bearing« unaMKliatelj 
Bocked towards liim* In a moment, ali those wfio were 
scattered tbroughoul the C^ ndcd to the sonimcMU^ 

and mingled witb the already -d party, gating eagerly 

at their mailer, 

' Go, and wait for me in the grtat hall/ said bc ; and. fri 
bis hìgher station on borscback, he watched fhcm al] mi 
off* He thcn dismounted, led the animai to the ^tables 
self, and repaircd to the room whcre he wa* cxpeeted, On 
his appearance, a loud whi&pcring was tnstantly hushed, 
and rctiring to one eidc, tbcy Jeft a large tp^ct in tbe hall 
quite clcar for hini: tbere may bave bcen, pethBp^ «boat 
ihirty. 

The Unnamcd raìscd bis band, as il to preserre t' e 

fiia prescnce had alrcady created^ r^ì^rA ìu<i head, v 
ercd abovc ali thosc of the assem" i said: * i 1 

of you^ and lei no onc speak onlc^ i uiu ìùm. My u i 



fro^ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



iid 



th w€ liavc hìthcrto followcd Icàds to the depths of 
[ do Hot mean to upbraid }o% I, who have becn forc- 
inost of yoa ali the worst of ali ; bui Usttn to what 1 hairc to 
say. The mtifciful God has cali ed me to change liiy Ufe; 
and I will change it, I have alrcady changed tt: so may 
He do wjtli you ali! Know, tlien, and bold it for certauìt 
tbai I am rcsolved rather to die liian to do anythiag more 
ag^st HIs holy laws. I rcvoke aìl the wicked commands 
yott toay any of you bave receivcd f rom me ; you uodcrstaxid 
loc; ìndccd, t command you not to do auything 1 have before 
commaodcd. And hold it equally ccitatn, ihat no one, from 
this lime forward» sball dg evil with niy &aiiclioii, in ray serv- 
ici* He who will Tcoiaìn with me under thesc condition* 
sUall be to fiìe as a son ; and I ahall feci happy at tbe dose 
o( that day in which I shall not have eaten, that I may »upply 
Ihc lasi of you with the last loaf I bave Icft in the house. 
[He who does not wish to remain, shaìl receìve what h due 
L<ll bis salary, and an addhional gift: be may go away, bui 
I must ìiever ag^ain set loot bere» imless it be to changc hi* 
I Ijfc; for this purpose he sball atways be receìved w*itb open 
ftfnis. Think about it to-night : to*niorrow moraing I will 
ade yoa onc by one for your reply» and will then give you 
llicw ordcrs- For the presejù rciire, every one to his post, 
I And God» who bas exercised such mercy towards me, incline 
to good resolutions ! * 
Hcre he ceased, and aU continued silent. How vartous 
aftd ttimnttuous soevcr migbt be tbe thoufbts at work in 
Itht- led mimls, tbey gave no outward demonsiraiìon 

[qì . Tbey were accustofntd to rcteivc the voice of 

master as the declaration of a will from which tberc 
no appeal: aod that voice» atvnouncìng that the will 
Jwai cbangcd. in no wisc denotcd that it was enfecbied. It 
'^i€%*cr crosscd the mtnd oC one of them tbat, bccauw be was 
convcrttd, thcy might thcrcforc assume over him, and rcply 
to bini as to anirther mail- Tlicy beheld in !uiu a iaìnt, but 
Cloe of those saints who are dcpictcd with a lofty hrow, and 
a swotd in tbctr hands, Besades the fear he tbey 

alBO cnicrtaincd for bim (espccially those boni vice, 

and thcy werc a large proportton) tlie aileciiua ol ^ubjccts; 
tfacy bad ali, bcsides, « kindly feeling of admìration for 





c.W ALBSSàNDBO kavzoni 

V-. — ^ ^ v^vricno^i in bis prcscficc a spcdcs of, I wfll €¥« 
>,. .VVX-. '"--iiiility, such as the nidest and most wantoa 
. > N sv» >ciore an authority which they bave once recog-. 

V^^ V^ain, the things they had just heard from his fipf 
^ ^ . , .:oc!>cIe$s odious to their ears, but ndther false, nor 
<^s. v.\ alien to their understandings : if they had a tfaonsand 
aiu^o rìJiculed them, it was not because they disbelieved 
'^xu : but to obviate, by rìdicole, the f ear which any serìotu 
^^^sìUeration of them wouid have awakened. And now, oa 
«e<ii^ the effect of this fear on a mind like that of dieir 
iM^^r» there was not one who did not dther more or kss 
iymj>athize with him, at least for a little while. In addition 
lo ali this, those among them who had first beard the grand 
news beyond the valley, had at the same time witnessed and 
fdated the joy, the exultation of the people, the new favonr 
with which the Unnamed was regarded, and the veneration 
so suddenly exchanged for their former hatred — ^their former 
terror. So that in the man whom they had always regarded, 
so to say, as a superior being, even while they, in a great 
measure, themselves constituted his strength, they now beheld 
the wonder, the idol of a multitude ; they beheld him exalted 
above others, in a different, but not less real, manner; evcr 
above the common throng, ever at the head. They stood 
now confounded, tmcertain one of another, and each one of 
himself. Some murmured; some began to pian whither they 
could go to find shelter and employment; some questioned 
with themselTcs whether they could make up their minds to 
become honest men ; some even, moved by his words, f elt a 
sort of inclination to do so; others, without resolving upoa 
anything, proposed to promise everything readily, to remain 
in the mean while where they could share the loaf so willingly 
offered, and in those days so scarce, and thus gain time 
for decision : no one, however, uttered a syllable. And when, 
at the dose of his speech, the Unnamed again raised his 
authoritative band, and beckoned to them to disperse, they 
ali moved off in the direction of the door as quietly as a flock 
of sheep. He followed them out, and placing himself in the 
middle of the courtyard, stood to watch them by the dim 
cvening light, as they separated from each other, and re- 
paired to their seveial posts. Then, retuming to fetch a 




I PROMESSI SPOSI 



lantern, he agafn traversed the courts, corridors, and halls, 
visited evei7 eiitrance, and after seeìng that ali was quiet, at 
length retired lo sleep. Yes, to sleep, becausc he was sleepy, 

Never» though he had always industrioiisly courted them, 
had he, in any conjunctiire, been so overburdened wlth in- 
tricate, and at the sanie time iirgent, affai rs, as at the present 
TDOment i yet he was sleepy. The re morse, wliich had robbed 
him of rest the night before^ was not on!y unsubdued, but 
even spoke more loudly, more sternly, more absolutely : yet he 
was slecpy. The order, the kind o£ government estabUshed by 
hira in that Castle for so many years, wìth so miich care, and 
such a singular union of rashness and perscverance, he had 
now himself overtiiraed by a few words; the uni imi t ed de- 
votion of bis dependents, their readiness for any underlaktng, 
their ruffian-like fidelity, on whìch he had long bcen accus- 
tomed to depettd, — these he had himself shaken; his various 
engagements had become a tissue of perpleKÌtics ; he had 
bronght confuslon and uncertainty tnto his household; yet 
he was sleepy* 

He went, therefore, into his chamber, approachcd that 
bedj which, the night before, he had found such a thorny 
couchj and knelt down at its side with the intention of pray- 
ing* He found, in fact, in a deep and hidden corner of his 
min4, the prayers he had been taught to repeat as a child; 
he began to recite them, and the words so long wrapped up, 
as it were, together, flowed one after another, as if emerging 
once more to tight He experienced in this act a mixture of 
undefined feelìngs ; a kind of soothing pleasure, in this actual 
return to the habits of inno cent childhood; a doubly bitter 
contrition at the thought of the gulf that he had placed be- 
tween those fonner days and the present; an ardent desire 
to atiain, by works of expiation» a clearer conscìence, a state 
more nearly resembling that of in noe enee, to which he cotild 
never return ; together wìth a feeling of deep gratìtude, and 
of confidence in that mercy w^hìch couid lead him towards it, 
and had already given so many tokens of willingness to do 
so, Then, rising from his knecs, he lay down, and was 
quìckly wrapt in sleep. 

Thus end ed a day stili so much celebrated when our anony- 
mous authof wrote: a day of which^ had he not written, oo^^ 



m 



ALIWANPRO NANZONI 



ing woqld have been known, at least nothing of Hio |iaiticih 
lars; for Ripamonti and Rivola, whom we bave qtiMd 
above, merely recorc^ that, after an interview witb Federigo^ 
this remarkable tyrant wonderfully cbanged bis coarse of 
life, and for ever. And bow few are tbere wbo bave read 
tbe Works of these authors ! Fewer stili are tbere wbo will 
read this of ours. Aqd wbo knows whether in tbc valley 
itself, if any one bad tbe inclination to seek, an4 tbe abili^ 
to fìnd it, tbere now remains tbe smallest trace, the iQOSt 
confused tradition, of sucb an event? $Q ma^y tbillgs bave 
taken place since tbat timet 



CHAPTER XXV 

NEXT day, tJicre was no onc sfioken of io Lueia*s vil- 
la gè. and ihroughoul the whale ter rt tory at Lccco^ 
but berseli, the Unnamed, the Archbishop. and oiic 
oUier f>erson, wlio* howevcr ambitious lo ha ve bis name in 
men's mouths, woiild willingly, on tbis occaston, bave dis- 
peiiscd wkh the honour: we mcari tbc Si^or Don Rodrigo, 

Not that bis doing^ bad not beforc becn talked aboat; 
iììcy were detacbedi secret conversaiions ; aiid that man 
bave bcen vtry weìl acqua in tcd with bis neighbour 

ho would bave ventured to discourse wtth hhn freely on 
•neh a subjeci, Nay, people did not €Vcn excrcise thosf 
ftf«lings on the subjcct o£ whicb they were capable; fot, 
gmrmJly spcaking, iwhcn mcn cannot give vcnt lo thcìr 
indignaiion withoiit imminent dangcr, tbcy not only show 
k&s ihan they ftd, or dii^guise it eiitirely, but tbcy fed less 
in rcality. But now, who cotild refrain froni inquìring siné 
TK^umìng about so notorìous an «veni, in wblch the band 
ói Hcavcn bad been seen, and in whicb two siicb pcreon- 
a^> ispicuòiis part? One, in wbom sucb a spìnted 

lov wa& unìted to so much authortty ; tbc othcr 

wbo, ^tiii ali his boklness, had becn tndttcedp as Ir were, to 
lay down bis arma, and subcntt, By th€ side of tbesc rivats^ 
IXm Rodrigo looked ratber ìnsigiìificanL Now< alt under$tood 
wliat it was to tormcnt innocente with tlie wisb io dìiboQOur 
il; to perfecnte it with sucb insolcnt perseverancef with auch 
atrocious violence, wilh stich abonunablc Ireacbcry, They 
re\irwtd, oo this occasfon, ali tlic othrr feàts of the Signor, 
and saìd wfaU tlie>^ thought aliottt a]J, eacb one ' n- 

boldcn«d by findlng tvtfyhodf elfi* of the sairr ci, 

There wcrc whi$perings, and general mnrfnurs; cautiou^ly 
ottered, howcvcf^ on account of tlic numbcrless bravoes he 
hatl around him* 

A Urge share of public antmadveraìoi] fell alio opon hia 
frìendi and Ratterer«. They taid of the Signor Podeili 
ivltat tic rìchly deaervrcli alway^ dcaf, and bitnd, ood titillilo^ 

423 



424 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

on the doiags of this tyrant ; but this also cautiouslyy for the 
Podestà had bailiffs. With the Doctor Assecca-Garbugli, 
who had no weapons but gossìping and cabals, and with other 
fiatterers like himself, they did not use so much ceremony; 
these were pointed at, and regarded with very contemptuous 
and suspicious glances, so that, for some time, they judged it 
expedicnt to keep as much within doors as possible. 

Don Rodrigo, astoundcd at this unlooked-for news, so 
difTerent to the tidings he had cxpected day after day, and 
hour after hour, remained ensconced in bis den-like palace, 
with no one to keep him company but bis bravoes, devourìng 
bis rage, for two days, and on the third set off for Milan. 
Had there been nothing else but the murmuring of the pcople, 
perhaps since things had gone so far, he would bave stayed 
on purpose to face it, or even to seek an opportunity of mak- 
ing an exaniple to others of one of the most daring ; but the 
certaìn intelligence that the Cardinal was coming into the 
neighbourhood fairly drovc him away. The Count, bis uncle, 
who kncw nothing of the story but what he had been told by 
Attilio, would certainly expect that on such an occasion, 
Don Rodrigo should bc the first to wait upon the Cardinal, 
and receive from him in public the most distinguished re- 
ception : evcry one must see how he was on the road to this 
consunimatioii ! The Count expected it, and would bave re- 
quircd a minute accoimt of the visit ; for it was an important 
opportunity of showing in what estecm bis family was held 
by one of the head powers. To cxtricate himself from so 
odious a dilemma. Don Rodrigo, rising one moming before 
the sun, thrcw himself into his carriage, Griso and some 
other bravoes outside, both in front and behind ; and leaving 
orders that tlie rest of his household should follow him, 
took his departure, like a fugitive — like, (it will, perhaps, bc 
allowed us to exalt our charactcrs by so illustrious a com- 
parison) — like Catiline from Rome, fretting and fuming, 
and swcaring to return very shortly in a dìfferent guise to 
execute his vcngeance. 

In the mean while, the Cardinal proceedcd on his visitation 
anioiig the parishes in the territory of Lecco, taking one 
each day. On the day in which he was to arrivc at Lucia's 
village, a large part of the inhabitants wcre carly on the 



I FEOMBSai SPOSI 



42S 



:>a<f lo mttì htm* At the entrane* of the vlllagc, dose by the 

boitage ot our two poof womcn, was crectcd a triymphal 

irch, constnictcd of upright stakes, atid polcs Uid cross- 

vht. covered witti Straw and mo$% aiid ornamcntcd mtli 

ccn boughs of hollr, distìngiilshable by its sc^irkt bernVs, 

ind other shrubs* The front of the dmrch was adorncd 

rith tapestry ; froin evcry window-!edge hyng extended qtiilts 

fànd sheeis, and inianis swaddliog'clotbcs, disposed lìke 

Mrapery; in short, ali the few nccessary articles which could 

he cotiverted^ either bodily or othcrwiac, ìnto the appearanc^ 

)f sometbìng supeHloous. Towarda cvenlng, (llìc hoor at 

rhich Federigo usiially arrivcd at the chiirch. on bis visita» 

-tours,) ali who had remamed within doors, old mai, 

and children, far the most pari, set off to meH him, 

iOdnc in procession, some in groups, headed by Don A ' 
who, in ih e midst of the rejoiciog, look ed dfsi 
cnottgh. both frcm the stutvnìng noise of the crowd, and die 
eotilintial hurrytng to and fro of the peoplc, which, as he him- 
clf expressed ìt, qyite dimmed bis S4ght, togetber wilb a 
ecret appreheiisìon that the womeii ml^hi bave hecn bnhbling 
Ind Ibat he m^ould bc callcd ypon to render an account of the 
"Hfeddiiig* 

At loigth the Cardinal carne in sìgbt, or, to speak more 

arrectly, the crowd in the midst of which he was carricd 

bis liiter, surroundcd by bis attendanis; for nothing could 

bc dÌ5tingtii^be<l of hìs whole party, but a sìgnal towering in 

bc air abovc tbe htads of the people, part of Ibe cross, 

rhtcb was home by tbe chaplatn, mountcd upon his mule, 

he cfowd, wbicb was dancing with Don *^bbonfHo, huriied 

forward in a disonlcrly manncr to join the approaching 

arty; whìte he, after ejaeulating threc or four tlnics^ 

[Gcntfy: in procession; wbat are you doing?' inrned back 

%*exation, and nrottcring to himsclf, * It's a pcrfect Babel, 

i*s a perfect Babel* went lo take rcfuge in the church until 

bry hmì dìspcr<cd; and bere be awatted the Cardinal. 

The bnly ^- ♦ ' in tbe n^- *iiJe advanced slowfy, 

bestowini* ti li with ' and rccciving theoi 

vn iht ' ' followers had 

kecp th^ As Luda*8 

iitrytnatt t^i^ vìllager » wcrc Àiixiutià tu reccive the Arch* 



426 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

bishop with more than ordinary honours, but this was no 
easy matter; for it had long been customary, wherever he 
went, for ali to do the most they could. At the very begin- 
ning of his episcopate, on bis first solenni entry into the 
cathedra!, the nish and crowding of the populace npon him 
were such as to excite fears for his life; and some of the 
gentlemen who were nearest to him, had actually drawn 
their swords to terrify and repulse the press. Snch were 
their violent and uncouth manners, that even in making 
demonstrations of kindly feeling to a bishop in church, and 
' attempting to regniate them, it was necessary almost to 
bave recourse to bloodshed. And that defence would not, 
perhaps, bave proved sufficient, had not two priests, strong 
in body, and bold in spirit, raised him in their arms, and 
carried him at once from the door of the tempie to the very 
foot of the high aitar. From that time forward, in the 
many episcopal visits he had to make, his first entrance into 
the church might, without joking, be reckoned among his 
pastora! labours, and sometimes even among the dangers 
he had incurred. 

On this occasion, he entered as he best could, went up 
to the aitar, and thence, after a short prayer, addressed, as 
was his custom, a few words to his auditors, of his affec- 
tion for them, his desire for their salvation, and the way 
in which they ought to prepare themsclvcs for the services 
of the morrow. Then reti ring to the parsonage, among 
many other things he had to consult about with the Curate, 
he questioned him as to the character and conduct of Renzo. 
Don Abbondio said that he was rather a brisk, obstinate, 
hot-headed fcllow. But, on more particular and precise in- 
tcrrogations, he was obligcd to admit that he was a worthy 
youth, and that he himself could not understand how he 
could bave played al! the mischievous tricks at Milan, which 
had been reported of him. 

* And about the young girl,' resumed the Cardinal ; * do 
you think she may now return in security to ber own home ? ' 

* For the present/ replied Don Abbondio, ' she might come 
and be as safe — the present, I say — as she wishes; but,' 
added he with a sigh, 'your illustrious Lordship ought to 
be always bere, or, at least, near at band.' 



1 PHOMBSSI SP09I 



ttf 



rte Lord h always oear/ sald the Cardinal: 'zs io 
the rett, I wtll ihitik about placing her in sAfeiy.* And he 
hastJljF fave orders that, ncxt morning carly, a Ùlter should 
bc desp^tched, with an attendaiit, to fetch ttie two womcn. 
Don Abbondio carne out from the iiiten*iew quìte de* 
|h(ed that the Cardinal had talked to him about the two 
_&tiilg peoplcj wìthout requiring an account of bis refusai 
to marry them, — Tben he knows iiothing about ìt, — laìd 
he to himself:— Agnese has hcid ber tongtie. Wonderfull 
They bave to sce him again ; but 1 wìll give them furthcf 
istructions, that I wìll. — ^^He knew not, poot man, tbat Fed- 
Hgo had not entered upon the discussione just b<?eause he 
itended to speak to htm about it more at length when they 
were djsengaged; and that he wìshed, before gÌTing him 
)rhat he deserved, to bear his side of the question. 
But the ifìtentions of the good prelatc fot the sa fé pladng 
Lucia had* in the tnean wìiile» been rendered unnecessary : 
fter he had left ber, other circumstances had occurred 
tbich we will now proceed to re late. 

The two women, dumg the few days which tbey had to 
pass in the taìlor's hospitable dweUlng, had tcsumed, as 
far a* tbey cculd, each her former and accusiomed manncr 
of liring. Lucia had very loon begged some cmpbymcnt; 
Éfi4 as at the monasiery, dillgently plled her needle in a 
iiDilt retired roani sbut out from the gaze of the people, 
Agnese oceàBionalty went abroad, and at other timcs sat 
sewfng wiih her daughten Thcir conversations were more 
mrlancholy, as well as more aff ectionate : both were pre- 
pared fùr a acparation : since the latub couìd not return to 
dwcll so near the wolfs den: and wheB and what wouid 
b«e the esid of this separation? The future wa^ dark, inex- 
if iea bìe ; for otie of them In particular. Agnese, never- 
Indulged in ber own mind ttiany cheerful anifci* 
%% Ihat Remo, if notbing evi! had happcned to hira, 
:)nld, sooticr or later, send some news of himself, and If 
had fottnd some employment to which he eould setlle, 
{and how couId it be doubted?) he stili tnlcndcd to kecp 
t with Lh' coukl th ^* umì live wtth him? 

mch h often ti 1 her daugbter. who 

it, it U diiietitt to «ay, whethcr more moufnful to 



428 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

listen to them, or painful to rq)ly. Her great secret she 
had always kept to berseli; and uneasy, certainly, at con- 
cealing anything from so good a mother, yet restrained, 
invincibly as it were, by shame, and the different fears we 
have before mentioned, she went from day to day without 
speaking. Her desigiis wcre very dilTerent from those of 
her mother, or rather, she had no designs; she had en- 
tirely given herself up to Providence. She always tbcre- 
fore endeavoured to divert or let drop the conversation ; or 
else said, in general terms, that she had no longer any hope 
or desire for anything in this world except to be soon re- 
stored to her mother ; more f requently, however, tears came 
opportunely instead of words. 

' Do you know why it appears so to you ? ' said Agnese ; 
'because you've sufifered so much, and it doesn't seem pos- 
sible that it can tum out for good to you. But leave it 
to God; and if . . . Let a ray come, but otte ray; and then / 
know whether you will always care about nothing.' Lucia 
kisscd her mother, and wcpt. 

Besides this, a great friendship quickly sprang up be- 
tween them and their hosts: where, indeed. should it exist, 
unless between benefactors and the benefitcd, when both 
one and the other are worthy, good people? Agnese, par- 
ticularly, had many long chats with the mistress of the 
house. The tailor, too, gave them a little amusement with 
his stories and moral discourses: and, at dinner especially, 
had always some wonderful anecdote to relate of Buovo 
d'Antona, or the Fathcrs of the Desert. 

A few miles from this village resided. at their country- 
house, a couple of some importance. Don Ferrante and 
Donna Prassede: their family, as usuai, is unnamed by 
our anonymous author. Donna Prassede was an old lady, 
very much inclined to do good. the most praise-worthy 
emplo>Tnent, certahily, that a person can undertake: but 
which, like every other, can he too easily abused. To do 
good, we must know how to do it ; and. like everything else, 
wc can only know this through the medium of our ovm 
passions, our own judgmont. our own idcas; which not un- 
frcqucntly are rathcr as corrcct as they are capnble of 
being, than as they ought to be. Donna Prassede acted 



t PROMESSI SPOSI 



«^ 



m hcr ìdeas as it is said onc ought to do towards one's 
Bils; Ebe had few of dicm; but to tbose few she was 
rery much atiachcd, Among the few, tbere were, onfortu- 
sately, inany dislurteti ooes ; tior wa» it thcse she loved llic 
east* Hcnce it bappencd, cither that shc pmposed to hersell 
a good end what was not such in fcality, or tmptoycd 
means which would railicr produce an apposite effcct, or 
thought them al ìoii^b le w litoti tbcy wcre not àt ali so» f rom a 
^enain vaguc suppósi don, that he who does more than his 
iff ^*y ^^^ B^ heyaniì his righi; it happencd that she 
not see in an eveiit what was acttially the re, or dtd 
Ice what was not therc; and many other similar things^ 
tfhich rnay and do happen to ali, not excepting the bcst; 
li to Donna Prassede far too oftcn» and, tiot unfrequenily. 
Il at once. 
On hearing Lucìa's wondcrful case, aod ali that was 
Pt I on this occasion of the young girl, she fclt a grcat 

U to $ee ber, and san a earriagc. wtih ao agcd ai- 

padani, to fctch bodì mothcr and daughter. The latter 
bhrugged her shonlders, and hesought tl»e tailor, who was 
tiie bearer of Ihe mcsssgep to find some so ri of cxcuse for 
^er. So long 35 it mly tclalcd tu the common people, who 
jed to makè acc^uaiiitaiice %ilh the young girl who had 
m the &ubjcct 01 a ini racle, the taìior had willingly reo- 
lered her that cervice; bui in tliis instance, resistancc scctncd 
his eyes a kmd of r e beli io n. He ma de so lùMiy faces, 
ICTcd so many exchtmations, nsed so maiiy argtiments — 
' that it wasn't customary to do so, aod that it was a grand 
botile, and that onc shotddn*! say *' No " to great pcoplc, and 
Lt it might be the tnaking of tbdr fortune, and tiiat the 
ara Donna Prassede, besìdes ali the resi» was a saìnt 
I* — in short, so many ihings, that Lncia was ohliged to 
re way: more espeeìally, as Agnese confìrmed ali tliese 
rea«mttigs with a correspondìtig number of ej.ictdatìons: 
^Ceitainly. sur ely/ 

Arrivcd m the ìadv*Q nr^^^enct^ sht rccetvcd th'^^ii M.;t?T 
ntich conncsy and fi > ctmgratulationx ; f|t] 

advìsing ihent wit-i a Kind of alnr^ ' t ir 
corrccted hy so tnany humble e5c;i i ^ - ì hy 

% mudt interest tu tfaeir behalf, and ^wcetencd Witti sa 



430 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

tnany expressions of piety, that Agnese, almost immediatdy, 
and Lucia not long afterwards, began to feel relieved from 
the oppressive sense of awe with which the presence of such 
a lady had inspired them; nay, they even found something 
attrattive in it. In short, hearing that the Cardinal had 
undertaken to find Lucia a place of retreat, and urged by a 
desire to second, and, at the same time, anticipate bis good 
intention. Donna Prassede proposed to take the young g^rl 
into ber own house, where no other services would bc re- 
quired of her than the use of ber needle, scissors, and 
spindle ; adding, that she would take upon herself the ebarge 
of informing bis Lordship. 

Beyond the obvious and immediate good in this work 
Donna Prassede saw in it, and proposed to herself anotber, 
perhaps a more considerable one in her ideas, that of direct- 
ing a young mind, and of bringing into the right way one 
who greatly needed it; for, from the first moment she had 
heard Lucia mentioned, she became instantly persuaded, 
that, in a young girl who could bave promised herself to a 
scoundrel, a villain, in short, a scape-gallows, there must bc 
some fault, some hidden wickedness lurking within: Teli 
me what company you keep, and VII teli you what you are. 
Lucia's visit had confirmed this persuasioni not that, on the 
whole, as the saying is, she did not seem to Donna Prassede 
a good girl ; but there were many things to f avour the idea, 
That head hung down till her chin was buried in her neck ; 
her not replying at ali, or only in broken sentences, as if by 
constraint, might indicate modesty; but they undoubtedly 
denoted a great deal of wilfulness: it did not require mucb 
discemment to discover that that young brain had its own 
thoughts on the subject. And those blushes every moment, 
and those suppressed sighs . . . Two such eyes, too, which 
did not please Donna Prassede at ali. She held it for cer- 
tain, as if she knew it on good grounds, that ali Lucia's mis- 
fortunes were a chastisement from Heaven for her attach- 
ment to a rascal, and a warning to her to give bim up 
entirely; and these premises being laid down, she proposed 
to co-operate towards so good an end. Because, as she often 
said both to herself and others, she madc it her object to 
second the will of Heaven ; but she often f eli into the mis« 



I PEOMESSI SPOSI 



4SI 



oOflee^ttOQ of talcinf for ihc wiU of Heaven the fandes of 
ber ovm braln. However* shc took care not lo ^ve the least 
hint of the second itiieniion wc havc named. It was ooc 
of hcr majcitns, that. to bring ^ good design to a useful issaCt 
the first requisite, in the grcatcr nutnbcr of ìnstances, is not 
lo Ict il be discovcred. 

The mother and daughter looked at cadi other. Consider- 

ag the mouruful necessity of tlicir sepa rating, the offcr 

eenscd to both of them raost acccptable, whcn they had no 

choìcc lor II, on account of the vìdnity of the residence to 

theif vilìage, whither» let the worst come to the worst» they 

i^ould return, and be able to raeet at the approachmg fcs- 

ivity. Seeing ai^ent exhibtted in each other's eyes, they 

oth tumed to Donna Prassede with siìch acknowiedginenis 

Fas ex p resse d the ir acceptance of the proposal. She renewed 

hcr kìnd affabillty and protnides, and said ihat they wotdd 

^ortly havc a lettcr to present to his Lordship. After the 

i^omcn had iaken thcir departure, she got Don Ferrame 

'lo cotiipose the letter. He, being a leamcd pcrson, as we 

fihall hcreafter relate more particularly, was always em- 

ployed hy her as secretary on occasiotid of importance. On 

le of such magnittide as this, Don Ferrante excrted his 

aofit stretch of ingenuity; and on dclivering the rough 

aghi to bis partner tn copy^ wartnty recommcnded the 

fiography to her noiice; ihìs befng one of the many things 

Tic had studied, and the few over whtch he had n nand 

in the house. Donna Prasscde eopìed it very d , and 

leo dcspatched the tetter tn the tailor's. *rhis was iwo or 

iree days bcfore the Cardinal acnt the litter to coovty the 

women home, 
Airiving at the viUage bcfore the Cardinal had gone to 
thtjrch, they alìghicd at the curate*^ hotise. There was an 
order to admit them Immedìately ; the chaplain, who was the 
first to aec them, exeeuted the order, only detalning them 
60 long OS was nccc5^sar>^ to «chool them very hastìly in the 
eeremomals they ought to observe towards bis Lórdship, 
ftod the titles by which they shouM addrcss hìm, his usua] 
^ractice wherct^er he could efìfcct it ankno\vti to bis Graee, 
was a continttal annoyance to tlie pcor man to sec the 
le ccrcmoiiy that was u^ed lowards the Cardinal in thia 




4S2 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

particular. 'AH/ said he to the rest of the househoU, 
* through the excess of kindncss of that saìntly man — from 
his great familiarìty/ And then he related how, with his 
own ears, he had more than once even heard the replj: 
' Ycs, sir/ and ' No, sir/ 

The Cardinal was, at this moment, busily talldng wìtfa Don 
Abbondio on some parish matters : so that the latter had not 
the desired opportunity of giving his instructions also to the 
women. He conld only bestow upon them in passing, as he 
withdrew and they carne forward. a glance. whìch meant to 
say how well-pleased he was with them, and conjurìng them, 
like good creatures, to continue silent. 

After the first kind greetings on one band, and the first 
revercnt salutations on the other. Agnese drcw the letter 
from ber bosom, and handed it to the Cardinal, saying : * It 
is from the Signora Donna Prassede. who says, she knows 
your most illustrious Lordship well. my Lord: it*s naturai 
enough, among such great pooplc. that they shouid know 
each other. When you bave read it. you'll sec.' 

* Very well,' said Federigo, when he had read the letter, 
and extracted the honey troni Don Fcrraiite's tlowcrs of 
rhetoric. ile kncw the famìly well onou^h to feci certain 
that Lucia had bccn invitcd thithcr with good intentions, and 
that there she would be securc from the niachinations and 
vioìence of ber persecutor. W'hat opinion he entenrined 
of Donna Prassede*s head, we bave no positive infomiatìon. 
Probably she was not the person whom he would bave chosen 
for such a purpose : but. as wc bave said, or binted. elsewbere, 
it was not bis custom to undo arrangement s made by those 
whose duty it was to make them, that he might do them 
over again better. 

Take this scparation also. and the uncertainty in which 
you are placed. calmly.' added be: 'trust that it will soon 
be over, and that Gixi will bring matters to that end to 
which He seems to bave dìrecte<! them: biu rest assured, 
that whatever He wills shaìl bappen, will be the best for 
you.* To Lucia, in panicular. be gnve some turtber kind 
advice: another word or two of comfort to Ivth: and ihen. 
be5to\Wng on them hi? hlessing, he let them 1:0. At the street- 
door they found tbemselves surrounddLby a crowd of friends 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



433 



of both sext&t t^^ who!e popalatiofi* we may almost say, who 
vare wraìting for thcm, and who conducted them home, as 
trìumph. AniQtig: the women there was qutte a rìvalry m 
jngratulations. synipathy, and inquiries; and ali cxclaìmed 
ith dissatisiactìun, on hearing that Lucia would leavc them 
ìc next day* The mcti vicd with each odicr in ofifering thcìr 
I-— cvery one wished to kecp gnard at the cottage 
t night Upon this fact, our anonymous author thinks 
Bl tò ground a prò ve ri» : ÌVould you hav( many ready to hetp 
yauf bt surc noi lo necd (hem. 

So many welcomes confoonded and almost stunned Lucia; 
ttoygh, on the whole, they did ber good, by somewhat dis- 
acting her niind froni those thonghts and recollectlons 
il, evcn in the mìdst of the busile and excilemerìt, rose 
a!y too rcadily oti crossing that threshold, on etttcrìng thosc 
rooms, at the sight o! evcry objcct. 
Whcn the bells bcgan lo ring, annotincing the appfoach 
die hour for Divine servicc, evcrybody moved towards 
be chuTch, and* to our ncwly -return ed fri end s, it was a 
cond triumpbal march. 

Service being over, Don Abbondio, who had hastened for- 
to sce if Perpetua had cvcrything well arrangcd for 
ner, was informed that the Cardinal wished to speak with 
He weiit immcdiatety lo bis noble guest's apartment* 
», waìting till he drew near; * Signor Curate,' he began — 
these words wrre uttered in such a way as to coQvcy 
the idea, that they were the prefacc to a long and scrious 
convetiation — ' Signor Curate, vvby did yoti not unite in 
inarrìage ibis Lucia with ber betrothed hushand?* 

— ^Those people hav^ eniptied die sack this raorning,^ — 
tbought Don Abbondio, as he stamtnered furth in rep!y, — 
*Your mosi illusirìous Lordshtp wìll, doubtlcs^, bave heard 
flpeak of the confusions which h;ivc arisen out of this affair: 
^^^ i nj] lj<.cfi so intricate, that, to this vcry day, one cannot 
ac*s way clearly in it: a^^i yottr illustriou^ Lordship may 
clf Còncltidc frotn this, that the young girl ts bere, 
so many accidente as it wcrc by tniraclr: and that the 
rootn, after odicr accidentB, ts nobody knows whcre.' 
^%sk,' rcpHed the Cardina!. * whrther it is tfue ihat, be- 
ali ibesc circttmstanccs look place, you refuscd to celo 



434 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

brate the marriage, when you were requested to do «)^ oo 
the appointed day ; and if so, why ? ' 

* Really • . • if your illustrious Lordship knew • . . whif 
inttmatlons • . . what terrible injunctions I have recdved 
not to speak . • / And he paused, without concluding, with 
a certain manner intended respectfully to insinuate, that tt 
would be indiscrect to wish to know more. 

' But/ said the Cardinal, with a voice and look much more 
serious than usuai, ' it is your Bishop who, for his own duty's 
sake, and for your justification, wishes to leam from yoo 
why you have not done what, in your regular duties, yoa 
were bound to do ? ' 

'My Lord,' said Don Abbondio, shrinking almost into a 
nut-shell, ' I did not like to say before . . . But it seemed 
to me that, things being so entangle^ so long gone by, and 
now irremcdiablc, it was uscless to bring them up again . . . 
However — however, I say, I know your illustrious Lordship 
will not betray one of your poor priests. For you see, my 
Lord, your illustrious Lordship cannot be everywhere at 
once; and I remain bere exposed . . . But, when you com- 
mand it, I will teli you ... I will teli you all' 

* Teli me : I only wish to find you f ree from blame.' 

Don Abbondio then began to relate the doleful history; 
but suppressing the principal name, he merely substituted 
a great Signor; thus giving to prudence the little that he 
could in snob an emergency. 

*And you had no other motive ? ' asked the Cardinal, having 
attentively heard the whole. 

* Perhaps I have not sufficiently explained myself,' replied 
Don Abbondio. ' I was prohibited, under pain of death, to 
perform this marriage.' 

'And does this appear to you a sufficient reason for omit* 
ting a positive dut>' ? ' 

* I have always endeavoured to do my dut>', even at very 
great inconvenience ; but when one's life is concemed . . .* 

*And when you presented yourself to the Church,' said 
Federigo, in a stili more solemn tone, *to receive Holy 
Orders, did she camion you about >*our life? Did she teli 
you that the duties belonging to the ministry were free from 
every obstade, exempt from every danger? or did she te& 



I FEOMBSSI SPOSI 



43$ 



>(i that whfrre danger begtns, there duty would end? Dìd 
be ncil cxprcssly say ih e contrary? Did she not warn you, 
fijit she S4int you lorth as a sheep among; wolves? Dsd you 
E)t kiìow that therc are vSolent opprcssors, to whotn wbat 
[>ij are coniinandcd to perform would be displcasing? He 
Tom whofn W€ bave rcecived teaching and cKample» in imita- 
tori of whom wc stiffcr ourselves to bc called, and cali our- 
tìteSf shcpherds ; when He descended upon earth to executc 
His office, did He lay down as a eooditton the safetj of His 
'fé? And to savc it, to preserve it, i say, a few days longer 
earth, ai the expensc of charity and duty, did he in- 
the holy onctJon, the imposi tion of hands^ the gì fi of 
iefthood? Leave it to the world lo teach this ìrìrtue, 
advocate this doctrme. What do I say? Oh, shame! 
H wofld Itself rejeets it: the world also makes its own 
s, which fix the limits of good and evil; it, too. has ìts 
ci* a gospe! of prìdc and hatred; and it wiU not havc 
that the love of li fé ii a rcason for transgressing tts 
It will not. ami it ìs obeyed. And we ! children 
Jairoers of the promise! What wonld the Churdi 
b, if snch langtiage as yours wcre that of ali your brcthrcn? 
/hcre wonld she fee, had she appeared in àe world with 
bc»e doctrincs?* 

Don Abbondio hun^ his head, His mind during these 
argumetits was like a chìcken in the talons of a hawk; whìeh 
bolds its prey clevated to an imknoim region, to an at- 
mosphtre it has ncver before breathed, Finding that he must 
make tome rcply, he said in an unconvinced tonc of sub* 
mìsston. * My Lord, I sball he to blame, When one is not 
to confìidcT onc*!! tife^ I don't know what to say, But when 
one has to do with some pcoplc, people who posse ss power» 
and won*t bear reason, 1 don't see what is to l>e gained by It, 
trt^ U one wtrre willing to play the bravo. This Signor is 
one whom it Is tmpos^iblc rithcr to conquer, or wìn over/ 

*And dnn't ymi ' - , - ,,ijsness* sake 

is otir mnqiicst ? v on prcach ? 

Whij : teacbrr me What h the (/aod news yon an- 

Qcnri L poof ? Who rcquircs from yon that you should 

eooquer force by force? Surdy yoti will not onc day bc 
aik«d, tf you ircj« atrie lo overcomc the povverful; (or 



-/ 



436 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

thÌ8 puipose neither your mission nor mie was given to 
yoiL But you will assuredly be demanded, whether you em- 
ployed the means you possessed to do what was required of 
you, even when they had the temerity to prohibit you/ 

— These saints are very odd, — ^thought Don Abbondio 
meanwhile: — in substance, to extract the plain meaning, he 
has more at heart the affections of two young people than the 
life of a poor priest. — ^And, as to himself, he would ha ve 
been very well satisfìed had the convcrsation ended bere; 
but he saw the Cardinal, at every pause, wait with the air 
of one who expects a reply, a confession, or an apology, — ^in 
short, something. 

* I repeat, my Lord,' answered he, therefore, ' that I shall 
be to blame . . . One can't give one's self courage.' 

*And why then, I might ask you, did you undertake an oflScc 
which binds upon you a continuai warfare with the passions 
of the world? But I will rather say, how is it you do not 
remcmbcr that, if in this niinistry, howcver you may bave 
been placed there, courage is necessary to fulfil your obliga- 
tions, there is One who will infallibly bestow it upon you, 
whcn you ask Him? Think you ali the millions of niartyrs 
naturally possessed courage? that they naturally held life in 
contenipt? So many young persons, just bcginning to enjoy 
it — so many aged ones, accustomed to regret that it is so near 
its end — so many children — so many mothers? Ali possessed 
courage. bccausc courage was necessary, and they relied upon 
God. Knowing your own weakness, and the duties to which 
you were callcd. bave you ever thought of preparing your- 
self for the difficult circumstances in which you might bc 
placed, in which you actually are placed at present? Ah! 
if for so many years of pastoral labours you bave loved your 
flock (and how could you not love them?) — if you bave 
placed in them your affections. your carcs, your happiness, 
courage ought not to fail you in the moment of necd: love 
is intrcpid. Now, surely. if you loved those who bave been 
committed to your spiritual care, those whom you cali chil- 
dren, when you saw two of them threatened. as well as your- 
self, ah, surely! as the weakness of the flcsh made you 
tremble for yourself, so love would bave made you trcmblc 
for them. You would feel humbled for your former 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



437 



fears, as the cffcct of your comipt nature; you would 
have implorcd strength to overcome them, to expel 
them as a temptation. But a holy and noble fear 
for others, for your children, this you would bave lis- 
tened to, this would bave given you no peace; tbis would 
bave incited — constrained you to tbink and do ali you could 
to avert tbe dangers tbat tbreatened tbem . . . Witb wbat 
bas tbis fear, this love, inspìred you? Wbat bave you done 
for tbem? Wliat bave you tbougbt for tbem?' 
And be ceased, in token of expectation. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

AT such a question, Don Abbondio, who had been 
/\ studying to fìnd some reply in the least precise tenns 
J^\. possible, stood without uttering a word. And, to 
speak the tnith, even wc, with the manuscript befote us, 
and pen in band, having nothing to contend with but words, 
nor an3rthing to fear but the criticisms of our readers, cvcn 
we, I say, feci a kind of repugnance in proceeding; we feci 
somewhat strangc in this setting forth, with so little trouble, 
such admirable precepts of fortitude and charity, of active 
solicitude for others, and unlimited sacrifìce of self. But 
remembering that these things were said by onc who also 
practised them, we will confidently procecd. 

* You give me no answer ! ' resumed the Cardinal. * Ah, 
if you had done, on your part, what charity and duty re- 
quired of you, however things had turned out, you would 
now bave something to answer! You see, then, yourself 
what you bave done. You bave obeyed the voice of In- 
iquity, unmindful of the requirements of duty. You bave 
obeyed her punctually : she showed berself to you to signi fy 
her desire; but she wished to remain concealed from those 
who could bave sheltered them sei ves from her reach, and 
been on their guard against ber ; she did not wish to resort 
to arms, she desired secrecy, to mature her designs of 
treachcry and force at leisure; she required of you trans- 
gression and silence. You bave transgressed, and kept 
silence. I ask you, now, whether you bave not done more ? — 
you will teli me whether it he true that you alleged false 
pretexts for your refusai, that you might not reveal the tnic 
motive.' And he paused awhile, awaiting a reply. 

— The tell-tales bave reported this too, — thought Don Ab- 
bondio; but as he gave no token in words of having any- 
thing to say, the Cardinal contìnued: * If it be true, then, 
that you told these poor people what was not the case, to 
kecp them in the ignorance and darkness in which iniquity 
wished them to be . . . I must believe it, thcn; it only re- 

438 



I FH0MBS91 SPOSI 



for me io Hush for it with you, and to hopc that 
1(1 wecp for it with me! See, thcn, fo what thìs 
le (good God! and but just Qow you adduced it as 
{fiction t) tilt» solkitude far your temperai Hfe has 
ytm! Il has led voa . , . rcpe! freely thcse wordSp If 
yoo think them imju5t: take iheoi as a salutary humiliation, 
if thcy are not , , , it ha§ led you to dcccive the wcak, to He 
to yotir own ehildf en/ 
—Just aee now how things go! — thought Don Abboodio 
min to himMJf: to tliat Scnó^ — meanmg the Unoamed,^ ^i^c^f 



ih arnis rouBd his neck: and to me, fnr ^ | P| l |-1^^| wh i>p<>rf 
l^-^tìte «>li»^pjr|)03e of gaving my Uit^ aiuim» -^itis and^^, 
i^' But they air awr sopencrs: they're always m the ^^ 

It'a my ÌU star that evcrybody sets tipon me; e%*cn 
lintSs^And, spcakin^ aloiid, he sald: *I bave donc wrong; 
*ee that Tvc don e wrong: but what could I do m an 
cxtrcmìty of that kìod?* 
'Do yoii stili ask thìs? Have not I to!d 3'oa already? 
ItiM l teli yoii again? You shotild have lovcd, my son; 
avcd and prayed. Then yoa would have fclt that iniquity 
ay, indeed^ bave threats to employ, blows to bestow, but 
Hot commands to give; yoti woutd have united, according 
the law of God, tho&e whom man wishcd to put asunder; 
oti wotild have extcnded towards thcsc tinhappy Innocenti 
mtnistry they had a right to claim from you- God Him- 
seU vi*on1d bave bccn swrety for liic conacquenccs, bceause 
you had followcd llis will: by following anothcr's, you have 
eoote In as answcrabk: and for v^^hat consequenees ! But 
ntpposinf ali human re^ources failed yf»ti, sopposbg no way 
ut cscape wa* open, w!icn you lookcd anxìously around yOU, 
tbotight about tt, sotjght for it? Then you mlght have 
known» that whcn your poor childrcn wcre married, they 
would thew^dve» have provided for tlieif eseapc, that they 
wcre ready to flee from tlie face of thcir powerftil encmy, 
and hMd alrradv dci^igncd a pbcc of refuge* Rut evcn with* 
otit ' 'cr that you had a nnperior? 

Ho%^ ■rity tti rrhnke you for havmcT 

fie€U w»i a ut y 

jmtelt f you in fi 

noi tbtnk of acqtiajnting your bishop with the im^e^^ 



M* 




440 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



■\ 



ment that infamous violence had placed in the way of tli6 
exercise of your ministry ? 

— The very advice of Perpetua ! — thought Don Abbondo, 
pettishly, who, in the midst of this conversatìon, had most 
vividly before bis eyes the image of the bravoes, and the 
thought that Don Rodrigo was stili alive and well, and that 
he would, some day or other, be retuming in glory and 
triumph, and furious with revenge. And though the pres- 
ente of so high a dignitary, together with bis countenance 
and language, filled him with confusion, and inspired him 
with fear; yet it was not such fear as completely to subdue 
him, or expel the idea of resistance: because this idea was 
accompanied by the recollection, that, after ali, the Cardinal 
employed neither musket, nor sword, nor bravoes. 

*Why did you not remember,' pursued the bishop. 'that 
if there were no other retreat open to these betrayed inno- 
cents, I at least was ready to receive them, and put thcm 
in safety, had you dirccted them to me — the desolate to a 
bishop, as belonging to him, as a precious part, I don*t say, 
of his charge, but of bis riches? And as to yourself, I 
should bave become anxious for you; I should not bave 
slcpt till I was sure that not a hair of your head would bc 
injured. Do you tliink I had not the means of securing your 
life ? Think you, that he who was so very bold, would bave 
remittcd nothing of his boldness, when he was aware that 
his plots and contrivances were known elsewhere, were 
known to me, that I was watching him, and was resolved to 
use ali the means within my power in your defence? Didn't 
you know that if men too often promise more than they can 
per forra, so they not unfrequently threaten more than they 
would attempt to executc? Didn't you know that iniquity 
depends not only on its own strcngth, but often also on the 
fcars and credulity of others?' 

— Just Perpetua's argument?, — again thought Don Abbon- 
dio, never reflecting that this singular concurrence of his 
servant and Federigo Borromeo, in deciding on what he 
might and should bave done, would teli very much against 
him. 

* But you,' pursued the Cardinal, in conclusion, ' saw 
nothing, and would sec nothing, but your own tempora! dan- 



1 PROMESSI SPOST 



441 



wbat won ^ * il ^ettiicd to you sufficicnt lo outweigh 

oHier e lui)?' 

*ìl WB3 |jec;tu--t l myself saw thosc trrribìc faces/ esc^iped 

froni DoQ Abbrjndto in ri*ply; *I mysdf Heard tlieir words* 

Your ìlìustrìons L^rdsTiìp cari ulk vcry well ; bui you ought 

be in a poor priesi's shoes, and fmd yourseU brought to 

le pome.' 

No sQOncr» however, had he uttcrcd the?c words, than he 
hìs tongite with vcxation; he saw tbat he had allowed 
Imself io bc too much carrted away by petti lance, and said 
IO liimsclf,— *Now Comes the storm I — But rai&ìng his eycs 
doablftillyj he was utterly astonished to sec the counlenance 
of tJiat tiian, mhom he never could succecd tu divioing or 
Cfwnprehending, pass from the solenm air of authority aud 
rebulec^ lo a sorrowftil atid pensi ve gravity, 

* TU tao tnie ! * said Federigo ; * smh is oar mlserable and 
temble cooditlon. We must rigoroiisly exact from others 
what Hml nnly knows whether we shoujd bc ready to yicld: 
wc t: e, corrcct, reprove; and God knows what we 

©ur<v iild do in the satne circumsiances, what we 

aliy ha ve donc in sìmllar ones ! But woe untò me, had 
to talee my own weaknc&s as the mcastue of oiher peoplc's 
cì^ or the ryle of my own teaching ! Yet I certainly ought 
tire a good cxamplc, as wcU as good instructìon. to others, 
not bc lìkc the Pharisecs, who ** ladc m^n with hurdens 
ffìevous to be bome, whìlc ihcy thcmsclvcs touch not the 
bardcn with one of thcir fingers/' Well then, my son. my 
brothcr; as the errors of thosc in authority are often bctier 
known to others than lo theroseJves; if you are awarc of my 
having. from pusillanjmity» or from any otlicr niotivCp failcd 
in any part of my duty, teli me of it candì dly, and hclp me to 
aniend ; so tbat wbere example has beco wantìng. conlessioii 
at least may supply its place. Remonstratc frecly with me 
on my weakncsses; and then niy worda wtll acqui re more 
vaine in my mnuth, becausc you will feci more vividly that 
thcy are not mine, but are the words of Him who can gtve 
lioUi lo you and me the neeessary strcngth lo do what thcy 
^escrtbe.' 

-^ti, lirhflt m lioly nianj but what i tormqUioT !— thoiight 
Don Abboa(Bo;«-be doetn^t even itpare ^hlixiself: that I 




442 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

should exatnine, interfere with, criticize, and Secttie 
himself — He then said aloud : ' Oh, my Lx)rd, you are joldng 
with me! Who does not know the fortitude of mind, the 
inlrepid seal of your illustrìous Lordsbtp? ' And in hi« beart 
he added — Even too much so. — 

' I did not ask you f or praise, which makes me trembk/ 
said Federigo ; ' for God knows my failings, and what I know 
of them myself is enough to confonnd me ; but I wished that 
we should humble ourselves together before Him, that wc 
might depend upon Him together. I would, for your own 
sake, that you should feel how your conduct has been, and 
your language stili is, opposed to the law you nevertbeless 
preach, and according to which you will be judged.' 

*AII f alls upon me/ said Don Abbondio : * but thesc people, 
who bave told you this, didn't probably, teli you, too, of their 
having introduced themselvcs treacherously into my house, 
to take me by surprise, and to contract a marriage contrary 
to the laws.' 

' They did teli me, my son : but it is this that grieves, that 
depresses me, to see you stili anxious to excuse yourself ; stili 
thinking to excuse yourself by accusing others ; stili accusing 
others of what ought to make part of your own confession. 
Who placed them, I don't say under the necessity, but under 
the temptation, to do what they bave done? Would they 
bave sought this irregular method, had not the legitimate 
one been closed against them ? Would they bave thought of 
snaring their pastor, had they been received to bis arms, as- 
sisted, adviscd by him? or of surprising him, had he not 
concealed himself? And do you lay the blame upon them? 
And are you indignant, because, after so many misfor- 
tunes, — what do I say? in the midst of misforttme, — they 
bave said a word or two, to give vent to their sorrows, 
to their and your pastor? That the appeals of the oppressed, 
and the complaints of the afflicted, are odious to the world, 
is only too true; but we! . . . But what advantage would 
it bave been to you, had they remained silent? Would it 
tum to your profit that their cause should bc left entirely 
to the judgment of God? Is it not a fresh reason why you 
should love these persons. (and you bave many already,) 
that they bave afforded you an opportunity of hearing the 



I PROMMSI SPO0I 



€13 



mnccre voice of yoiir pastor. that thcy have givcn you the 
means of knowlng more clcarly, aod Iti part discharging^ 
ptlie great dtht you owe ilitm? Ali ! ìf ihcy bave provokcd, 
pffended, annoycd you^ I would say to you, (mid need I say 
li?) love tbeui exactly for tbai reason. Love them, because 
ley hav€ sufFered^ becaitse they stili suffer, becausr thcy are 
^ours, because they are wcak» because you havi- necd of 
irdon, to obtain which, think of wbat efficacy tbcir prayer 
ay b€.' 

Don Abbondio was siktit, bui il was no longer an uncon- 

I sitid scorti fui ali enee: it was tliar of onc who has more 

tìngi to think aboui than to say. The words he had beard 

vere tme^pccted consequences, novel applicatiofis, of a doc- 

rioe bi had ocvenhclcss long believed in hh bcart, without 

lhoiit»bt of dìnputing it. Tbc misfonuncs of oiber^, from 

die ' 1 of whicb bis fcar of personal mis fortune 

Ittd rted bis niìnd, oow inade a new impre^sion 

uptm bim. 

And if he did not feel ali the contrìtton wbich the ad- 

re^i was inteodcd to produce (for this saioe fear was 

|ver al band to execute the office of defensive advocate)^ 

)ret he Mi it in some degrce; he cxperienoc d^ di^satisfactioR 

^ a kind of pity for oUiers,— a mtxture of cotn- 

i sbamc- li was, if we may bc aìlowed the cooi- 

liko the crushcd and humid wick of a catidlc, whicb, 

being preseoted tu the flanie of a large iorcb, at fir.Ht 

imokes, ipirts, cracklcs. and wiìl not ignite; but ìt ligbts 

Ut Icngth, and, well or ili, burtis. He would have accused 

iniself bittcrlvp be would e veti bave wept, had Jt noi bdcn 

rbougbt of Doti Rodrigo; and, as It was, betrayed 

: emotron to convince tbe C«rdiiia] tJiat his words 

noi bccn enlircly without cffect, 

' Now/ puriiuc<l hct * the otie a fugitive frotn hh home, 

otiwrr on the poiiu of abandoning il, botb with loo good 

»s for absetittng themielva», aiid without a probabttity 

^f ever itt«ettn$f airain herc* cvcn ii God purposcs lo re*unìte 

^^w, alas^ ' ' 'ìo Uu le need oi you, now yoti 

.Iteni any servicc; nor cati our 

\y l'or the future, Uut who knowi 

. aay noi be preparing tome for yoti ^ 



\ 



446 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

by anticipation, beheld with astonishment so many of thoie 
coins ali together, and ali hcr own, of which she had, perh^n^ 
never seen more than one at once before, and that but seldom; 
she counted them over, and then had some trouble in putting 
them together again, and making the whole hundred stand up 
upon their edges; for every now and then, they would jut 
out, and slide from under ber inexpert fìngers; at length, 
however, she succeeded in rolling them up, after a fashion, 
put them in a handkerchief, so as to make quite a large 
parcel, and wrapping a piece of cord several times round it, 
went and tucked it into a corner of ber Straw mattress. The 
rest of the day was spent in castle-building, devising plana 
for the future, and longing for the morrow. After going to 
bed, she lay for a long time awake, with the thought of the 
hundred scudi .she had beneath ber to keep ber company ; 
and wben asleep she saw them in hcr dreams. By break of 
day she arose, and set off in good time towards the villa 
where ber daughter was residing. 

Though Lucia's extreme reluctance to speak of ber vow 
was in no degree diminisbed, she had, on ber part, resolved 
to force berself to open hcr mind to ber molhcr in this intcr- 
view, as it would be the last they should bave for a long 
time. 

Scarcely were they left alone, wben Agnese, with a look 
full of animation, and, at the same time, in a suppressed tone 
of voice, as if there were some one present who she was 
afraid would bear, began: 'l've a grand thing to teli you;* 
and proceeded to relate ber unexpected good fortune. 

* God bless this Signor,' said Lucia : * now you bave 
enougb to be well off yourself, and you can also do good to 
others.' 

* Why I ' replied Agnese, * don't you sce bow many tbings 
we may do with so much money? Listcn; I bave nobody 
but you — but you two, I may say; for, from the time that 
he began to address you, Tve always consickred Renzo as 
my son. The whole depcnds upon wbcthcr any mi sfortune 
has happened to bim, secing be gives no sign of being alive: 
but oh ! surely ali won*t go ili with us? Wc'll hopc not. we'll 
hope not. For me, I should bave likcd to lay my boncs in 
my native country; but now that you can't be there, thanks 



I PROMBSai SPOSI 



447 



to that viììuìn I and whefi I remembcf thar tie !s acar, cvcn 
my country has bccome hateful to me; and with yoa two [ 
can be happy aoywhere, l was aìways inclmed to go wìth 
you both to the very end ol the world, and bave evcr becn 
to readiness; but how cotild we do it wtthout money? Do 

[ you understand. now? The liltle suiii that the poor fello w 
had bcen scarcely able to lay by, with ali hh frugality, just ice 
carne, and cieared ìt away ; but tìie Lord has sent u> a fortune 
to make up for it Wcit» when he has found a way of letting 
US know tbat he*s alt ve, where he h, and what are hts intoi* 

I tions, ni come to Milan and fctcU you; ay, FU come myseli. 
Once upon a ti me, T shouid bave thought twice abont such 
a tliing, btit misfortunes make one experimci^d aod ìnde- 
pendent ; IVc gonc àS far m Monia» and know what it h to 
travcl. rU bring with me a proper companion,— a relation, 
ai I naay say» — Alessio, of Maggìanko; for, to say the tnith, 
a Et person ìsn*t to be found in the country at ali FU come 
with bini; we will pay the expense, and . . , do you under- 
ataod?* 

8tit perceiving that, instead of checrìng np, Lucia be- 
carne mure and more dejectedp and onty exhibtted emotion 
Qfnfùxed wiih plcasure, she stopped abmptly in the midat 
of hcr speech, and said, ' But what*5 the mattcr with yoii ? 
Doo't you ice It?* 

* Foor maimna I ' exclaimed Lucia, throwing her arm 
roond ber neck, and burying her weeping face in ber 
bosom. 

* What is the matlcr?' again askcd her mothcr, anxiously. 
' I ought to bave toM you at first/ said Lucia, rabtng 

ber head, and composing berseff, 'but 1 nevcr had tlic heart 
to da it ; pity me/ 
' But teU me iben, now/ 

* I can no longer bc that poor fellow's wtfe I * 
•How? how?' 
Wfth head hung down, a beating heart, aiid tears roH» 

I tng down hcr chccks. likc one who relates somcthtng which^ 
agb m mtsfoi; 'nalterable. Lucia disdosed ber vow; 

, ai the lam- wsptng her hands, agatn besought ber 

forgiveitcd» luf haring bìtherto conccaled tt tttm 
implorcd ber noi to tpcak of i^uch a Ihìng to asy 



«0 



ALESSANDRO MAN^ONI 



God waiiH Ict US wmt Look out for the oppartianlty ol 
1 sale bcarer, and scnd ìt him; for Heavcn knows how 
mudi he wants k \ ' 

• Well, what do you tliink?' rcpliccl Agnese: "HI fk» 
itt indecd. Poof youthl VVhy do yoa thìnk I w»s ao flari 
of this money f Unì I , , , i ccruinly cmnc hcrc vcrjr gEad* 
io I diti. Well, rn scnd il hun; poor yomh! Bui Ile, UMi 
, , , l know whttt I would say ; ccrtainly, money givc« pttfat- 
urc to tliosc wbo want Ìt ; bui ìt tsfi't this that wtìl make htm 
rich.' 

Lucia thanked her motber for hcr ready and Ilbeml 
sent, with such dcep gratittidc and aifection, a» woiild 
conviticcd an observer tliat her heart stiìl aecretJy clung tt» 
Renxo. more, pcrhaps. than shc hcrsclf bclicvcd. 

' And what shull l^ a poor so!ii;try wotiian^ do wititout 
you?' said Agnese, wccping iti ber tum. 

* And I withoiu you^ my ptjor niothcr 1 and In a ittranfo^i 
homt l and down tbere in Mtlan ! * . . Bui the Lord i^ì 
with US both, and aftcrwarda will bring u$ togtther 
Bctwccn eighi and nine oionths hencc. we shall tee 
other once more bere ; and by tbat time, or even before it^ ! 
hope, He will bave disposed matterà lo oyr comfort. Ledivi* tt 
lo Him. I will ever, evcr besecch the Madonna for t ^ 

If J had anytbtng else to oHer ber» J would do it; i» 

so mcreiful, tbat shc wiIl obiaìn it for me as a gift/ 

With these, and other sìmìlar and oit^repeated wcmls ot 
lamentaiton aiid comfort, of opjiosiiion and reìiignatiott, of 
mterrogation and confident assurancc, with many tcars» snd 
Efttr teof ind renewcd embraccB, the women lorc iliati- 
seìves apart» promlsìng, by ttims, to »< 
ncxt autunui, at the latei*t; as il tlic d 
promìses dq^tnded npon themstlvct, and aa poople alwajff 
do^ neverlhelcss, in similar caiiea» 

Mranwhìlc» a conslderabfe time f^sscd away, aod 
nese couìd bear no lidiitgs of Renio. Keither kiter 
mesaage reached her f rom hìoi ; asid amoag ali tbose wboca 
ihe oontd aiik from Bergamo, or the ndgbbourliood, sii 
onc knew anythin}^ at ali about bìat 

NoT wa» %he the acily onc who matte hnitilfiefl in vmbuì 
Cariliiial Federigo^ who had not lold lt)« poor woiaao mcfcl^ 



1 PROMESSI sposr 



451 



of e it that he wouid sede for some iofonna- 

gcm conv iht mifortunate mail, had, m fact^ imme- 

tiately writtcn to obtain it, Havmg remmcd to Milan 
ifter bis vtsimtian, he recdved a rejily; in which he was m* 
iùxmcd, ihat the addrcss of ihc persoi» he had tiaiised coukl 
pot he asccrtainéd; tliat he had ccrUtrily made some stay 
such a place, wherc he had giveo oo occasioo fot any 

about binaseli; biit tfaat, cmc moraing, he had sud- 
denly disappearcd ; tliat a rclatÌTe of his, with wliato he had 
lodgcd ihcre, knew oot what had bccomc of bini, and couUI 
otily rcpcat ccrtain vague aiid contradictory rumours which 
were mfloiit, that the yotith had enhsted for the Levajit, 
had p&sscd into Gcnnany. or had perished in fording a rfver ; 
hiit that ilic writcr wouM not fall to be on tfic watch, aiid it 
acy beuer authcnticated tidings cafne to light, would tmoie- 
diatcìy convcy tìiem io his nio^t illustrious and vcry reVCTtml 
LofiUhtp. 

Tbesc, and varrous other reports» at length spread 
thnmghout the temtory of Lecco, and* conscquently. 
reachcd Uie cari of Agnese, The poor wooian did her 
ttitnoit to dtscover which wa5 the true account, aod to 
urive at the origin of ihis and ihai rumottr; bui &be nevcr 
socccedcd in tracing it further than tkty m% whldt^ eveti 
Et the preseni day, sniTìceis, by ttseH, to attest the trtilh of 
facts. Sotnetìmes shc had scarccly heard one tale, wheti 
aome one would come and tdl ber not a word of ìt was 
trac; only, howevcr, to give ber another in compeosation, 
eqaally strange and disastrotis. The tnith t£« ali thesc 
romouTS were alikc unfounded 

The GovcTnor of Milan, and CaptaiQ*Gcner&l m Italy, 
Don Goti ' '^ ' 'i Cordova, liad comphuned bitierly 

to the r, rcsidcnt at Milan, hccause «i 

rogve» mid [ a promoter of pltiuderìng and 

iiia$9acfe, tli^ renzo TramagHno, who, whìlc in 

the vcry hmda oi ju^iìce^ had exehed an tnsurrcctkm lo 
force bis eaotpe;, had bcen rccetvcd and harbotired in the 
Berganta«caa lerritory. The mùibter in rcUdeoce repUed, 

he kncw iwtbing about tt; he wotsld write to Vcoice, 

be mlght be able to gtire hb Kxcellency aoy cxpbma- 

' li ctitUd be procttrcd oa tbe sobject. 



452 



ALESflANDRO MANZONI 



It was a m^ixim of Venetian palrcy to set. - * -- ' 
tivate the indlnation of Milanese &ÌÌk-wcavcì 
into the Bergamascnn territory» and» with t 
pravide many advanlagea for ihciii, ìiiorc i. 
wilhout whlcli cvcry otbcr wm worthkss; .v ■ m. ni 
curity. As, howcver, wbcii two great diplomatisi^ du.|.iuu 
in howcvcr trifllng a mattcr, third lanics must ah 
bave a taste in the shape of consequenccs, Bortolo 
wamcd, iti confidcnce, it was not koowii by whoin, ihai 
Renzo was not sa fé in tliat neighbuurhocid, an4 tbat ll€ 
wauid do wiscly to place him In some other manti (acttire 
for a whilCp cvcn under a false name» Bortolo unrlrrstooct 
the htnt, raiscd no objcclions, cxplaincd the niaflcr to hb 
cousm, taok hlm with him in a carriagc. conv^ed him lo 
anotlìcr ncw silk*tml!, atiout fifleen mile» off, umì prc- 
licnted htm, tmdcr the nanie of Antr>nio Rivi>tta, lo the 
owner, who was a native of the Milanese, and an okt 
quaintance. This person» though the tìmcs were so 
nceded little entrcaty to reccivc a wòrkman who wa» re 
iiietukd to him as lioncst and ^kitful by an intdh|:cnt 
likc Bortob* On the trial of him aftcrwards, he fo 
he had only reaiOn to congratulate hims<:lf on the ac 
tion; cxccpting that. at fitht, he tbought the yotilh 
be naturally rather atupid, becausep when any one catled 
Antonio, he gcncrally did noi answer, 

Soon after, jin ordtr carne from Vimlcc, in peaeeable 
forni, to the sheriff of Bergamo, requiriiijj htm tn obtaiis 
and forward mformation» whcthcr» in bis jin' , ind 

tnorc cxpre^sly in sudi a vtlkge, such aii w. wa« 

to be fonnd The sheriff, having maijc the ne€c*s3ir>' re- 
searches in the manner he saw was dcstred, transmttifd 
f epty in the negative, wliich wa» tranamitted io the mtsistc 
at Milan, who transmiited it to Don Gonzalo Fcmandcz dC 
Cordova. 

There were not wantì 'sìtire peop!« wbr ij 

learo from Bortolo wliy \ li was no loniter J 

and where he had gone io the fi v he rcpli 

* Nay. be ha» disappesrcd 1 * bm afte: -. , m €ret rid of 
^e mosl pertioadoti^ without givlng thein a i m 'f 
what vn$ really the case, he contrìved to cnicfisun 




RE 



wtth onct some with another, o( the stories we bave 
e mcntiòned: alwayB, howcver, as uncertain rcports» 
he al so had heard rc!ated, without having any posa- 
Yc accounts. 

But wben inqutries carne to be made of htm by coin- 
froin the Cardinal, without mentioning hls name, 
with a certain show of importaiice ;ind mystery, lucrely 
htm to uitdcrstsmd that it was in the name of a great 
lage, Bortolo became the more guarded, and deenicd 
tlie more necessary to adhcre to tiis general method o£ 
nay, as a grcat personage was concerned, he gave 
Ihrt by Wholesale ali the stories whìch he had published, onc 
by ofie^ of his variotis dtsasters. 

Let it not be imagined that stich à persoli as Don Gon- 
zalo bore any personal ainiily lo the i>oor mountain silk- 
weaver; that mformed, pcrhaps^ of hls irrcvcrence and tU- 
It^gnage towards his I^loorish king, chained by the tbroat, 
iC would bave wreaked his vengeancc iiiK>n him; or Uiat 
ic t ho tight him so dangerous a siihjcct as to be worth 
lursuini; evai in flight, and not sulTercd to live evcn at a 
^dtttancc, likc the Roman settate %vith Ilnnnihal, Don Gon- 
2Jllo had too many and loo im|x*nanl atiatrs in bis head to 
trouble himself about Rcn^o's doings; and tf it seems that 
he did troubk himself about them, ìt arose from a singtilar 
cocnbination of circumsunccs, by whkb the poor un fortu- 
nate lellow» without desifiòg it» and without being aware 
of it. either then, or ever aftcrwnrd^ found hìmsetf linked, 
as by a very suhtìle and itivi sible diain, to these same too 
manjr ind too ìmportant afTairii 




CHAPTER XXVtl 

IT has alrcacly occurred to us mori* tliJin ooct 
roake mention of tiic war wliich was al ihis little raglo^ 
for the succession to the slates of the Dtikc Vijictiuo 
Gonzaga, ùm ^econd of that aaine; bm it has afw»}^ 
currcd in a morncnt nf grrat hastc, ¥o that wc havc oc 
bcen ahie to give more than a cursory Jiint of it Ne 
howcvcr, for the due undcrstanding of our narrative, a more 
partkular ootlce of it is rcquircd. Thcy are matters whtdi 
any oiie who knows anythìfig ol history mtui \ìc aequaisitvd 
witb : hut as, from a just eatimate ol oursclves^ wc mvai 
suppose that Ihìs work can bc read hy none but tht ignorisi^ 
it witl not hti: amiss that we sbouid bere relatc as mach 
witl 5tiffice to gì ve some idea of thcm to ih ose who need iti 
We bave said that on the dcatb of thi^s dukc, the first* 
the lille of successioii, Carlo Gonzaga, head of a voimfi 
braiich now cstablishcd in Francc. whcrc he pò? 
ducbìes of Ncvcrs and Rhetel, had entcrcd upoti tm: |»c.*" 
session of Mautua, and we may now add, of MpntVrrat: for 
our hastc tnade tis leave this narne on the poìnt of ihc 
The Spanish minìstcr, who was rc^HvrfJ at any ccu 
promise (we bave said tbist too) to < he new 

from tbese iwo fiefs, and wbo, to exc •, wanied 

firctext (because wirs madc witbout any pretext woutd 
unjust), had declared himiself the upbolder of the eli 
whicb another Gonzaga Ferrante, princc of the Gaa 
prctended to bave iipnn Manti»a; and Carlo Emanuele 
duke of Savoy* and Margherita Gonzaga, duchri;» dov 
of Lorraine, upon Monfcrrat. Don Gonzalo, who vms 
the family of the grcat conimandcr, and bore hi$ nnmr, 
had already madc war in Flander** and waJ 
anxiotis to bring onc iato Italy, was i^^'t it^« tbr* r. 
nmde most «Hr that this might be i 

mean whilc. in? ~ *' 

ordcfA of the ;i 

with the Diake oi ^avay ii^v the ìuva;»imu aiid i^niUijn of 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



45$ 



Mofiferrat; itid aflerwards readily obtained a ratt^cadott 
of ìt from the Count Duke, by persuading Mm that tlie 
acquisitton of Casale woujd be vcry easy, wliich was the 
fiost strongly dcfcnded point of the portioo assfgncd Co the 
of Spain, He prottsted, howcver, in the kio^'s name, 
ast any intention of occiipytng the country further than 
the namc of a depoait, until Lbe sentence of the Em- 
pcror shoiild be declared; who, paitly ffotn the tnfluencc of 
olhersy partly from privale niotives of hU own, had, in the 
meaa whilc, dcnied the investiture to the ncw dtike, and 
Intiiciatec] to htm that he should j^ve up to hitn In seque^- 
tratioTì die controvcrted statcs: aftcrwards, having heard 
the diflferent aidc^, he would reslore them to hlm m^ho had 
the best claim. To thc^e conditions the Duke of Nevers 
would not Gonsent. 

He had, howcvcr, friends of some eminence in the Cardttial 
Richdìeu, the Vcnetian tioblemen, and the Pope. But 
"*- • of these, at that time engaged in the sicge of La 
\ and in a war with Enjfland, and thwarted hy the 
^ny ot Uie queen-motbcr, Maria de^ Medici» who. for cer- 
I rea &ons of ber own, was opposcd to t!if house of Neverip 
^ire nothtrig but hopcs. The Venetians wotiìd not 
even declare thcmsclves in bis favour» tmless a 
S^rench arniy were first brought toto Italy ; and whUe socrrtly 
Jding the dukc as they best couìd. tliey conlcnted iheixiselvc^ 
Hlh puiting off the Court of Madrid and the Govemor of 
yith protests, proposi t ioti s, and peaceabk or threat- 
' donltions, accortiinf to circumstances. Urban VIIL 
vers io 1' terceded Iti hìs favoar 

, and do. *^ of accommotlation ; 

wmild not hrar a word ol aien mìo the field. 

ihis nicana tbe two con: :; for offensive ineas- 

j wcfe euabled the more securely to begin thcìr concerted 
itioms, Carlo Emanuele invadcd Motifcrrat from bis 
Je; Doft Goinicaln wìlltngly laìd sieiB^e to Casale, but dJd not 
tnd in the tmderiakljig ali tbt ' ' > fion he had protnised 
U: far h unm nnt Iw- t rhnt wor h m. rose 

a thom* TIv b nearly 

i means he detna , anststed 

tuo miicit: that ts to say, after liaTtng taken his 



4S6 



A1.ESSANT>R0 ^MANZONI 



Ik IV «■«* 



portion, he went on to lake that which was n n 

King of Spatn. Don Gonzalo was enritgcci t xpr 

Sion; but fearing that, if he madc any noìse about it, tt 
dnke, as activc in ititrtgues and ficklc in ircaty. as bold 
valiant in arms» would revolt to the French, he waf oblt^ 
10 shut his cycs to ìt. gnaw the bit. and put on a aatìsii 
air. Tbe sìege, besidcs, wetit on badly, bcing protracted to 
a great length, and somctiines thrown back, ovring lo tlw 
steady, cautious, and resolulc bch;iviour ai ihc besàcged« the 
lack of sufifìcient nitmbcrs on the part of the bcsicgtrSy and, 
according to the rcport of some historian, the manv false 
$teps taken by Don Conialo; on which pomt wc 1 j 

to choose hcr own side» bcing inclincd evcn^ wcrc 
so> to consider ìt a vcry happy circurnstanee. if it wcrc 
cause that in this cnterpfisc tJicre werc some fewer ti 
usuai siain, beheadcd, or wounded; and. arirrif 
rather fcwer tilcs injurcd in Casale. In the mid*t of ti 
perplexities, the news of tlic scdltion at Milan arrived* 
the «cene of which he repaircd in persoiu 

Here, in the rcport which was givcn him. raeoilom 
atso made of the rebeUious and cJainorijus Hight of Renzo, 
and o! the rea! or supposed doings which had bccn the oc* 
casion of hi* arrc^^t i and thcy coiild aJ?tu inforni hìjn that 
this persoti had tokeii rcfugc ìn the tcrritory of Ber 
, This cìrcmnstancc arrestcd Don Gonjsalo'it attcntion. 
had bceii infonucd frora anothcr quarter* that great in ter 
had been fclt at Venìcc in the insurrectìon at Miìmn; ili 
they had supposed he wotild be obltgcd on this accoiiot to 
abaiìdon the siege ©I Casale; and that *^i 'v tfTv.i(jined he wai 
reduccd to grcat despondcncy and p* : ihoni it: the 

more so, as shortly after thiji cveni, llir: ihum^^^ had arrfvedL 
so miich desi r ed by the^c nnbfcmen, and dreaded br himself, 
of the surrcnder of La Rochclte. Fc' ' 
noycd, l>oth n$ a man and a politi- 

entertaìn such an opinion of hi- % he m^ugk 

every opportunity of undcccivfng t! < ^uadin^ tli 

by iiductìon. that he had losi none o< his foniier botdnc 
for to nay, expliculy, I bave ^" ^'''^ '^ ''''♦ *'^ **"' *^'^»»^' 
One good plajt ts lo show th o| 

CXpOituliltc: acCOrdingly, the VL'nci;;in iumia-iAatinr navu^i 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



457 



ite upon him to |>ay hi* rcspccts. and at the «amc tim* 

fe> rcad in his coimtenance and behaviour how he felt within, 

I>Dn Gonzalo, after having spoken lightly of the tiunult, 

llikc 9 man who had al ready provided a remedy far every- 

ithinf, luadc thosc complaints about Remo whìch the retdcr 

alrtady luiows; as he is also acquaìoted with what resiilled 

from thctn in conscqiicnce, From ihat time, he took no 

further ititcrcst in an affair of so little importancc, which, 

ai far as he was conctrncd. was tertiimatcd; and when, a 

ìonz timc afterwards, the reply camc to htm at the camp 

jai Casale, whhhcr he had rcturned, and where he had very 

IdifTercnt things to occupy his mind. he raised and threw 

hack his head, like a silkworm searcbing for a leaf ; reflectcd 

llor a rooitieni, to reca!l more dearty to his mcniory a fact 

[Of which he only rcUìncd a shadowy idea; rcmcmbered 

Ihc ctreimistance* had a vaglie and motnentary rccollcction 

li the pcr^on ; passed on to sorocfhing else, and thotig^ht no 

'more abotit II 

Bm Reti^to, who, from the little which he had darkly com- 
edy was far from supposìng so bcncvolent an in- 
re, had, for a timc, no othcr thought, or rather. to 
speak more correctly, no other care, tlian to keep himself 
acealcd, It niay be imagìncd whelher he did not ardctitly 
to send news of himself to the women, and receive 
from thi*m in exchangc; bnt tlicre werc two great 
àlliea In «he way. One was, that he also would havc 
force*! to tnist to an amatiuensis, lor the poor fellow 
knew not how to write, nor cven rcad, in the broad sense 
of the word; and ìf» when asked tlie questionp as the reader 
ay pcfhaps reincmbcr, by the Dncfor A^^ecca-Garbugli, 
he replicd in the affirmative, Ir was not, certainly, a boast, 
|¥ado, à% they say; ìt was the truth, that he couid 
\é pHnt, when he cotild take his timc over it: 
ft^'Bowever, was a diffcrcnt thitig. He wotild be 
obligcd, then, to tnake a thtrd party the detTOSitary of his 
affatrs, ;ind of :i *»t*crct so jcalousy piarded: and it was not 
^tmsy in tho5c times to find a man who ermld xisc hh pcn, 
in wliom confidencc coidd be placed, particularly in a 
llry whcfe he had no old acqnaintances. The other 
Jty wan to find a bearer; a man who was golng jtu* 



458 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

to the place he wanted, who wouid take charge of the letter, 
and really recollect to deliver it ; ali these, too, qualificatìons 
rather difficult to be met with in one individuai. 

At length, by dint of searching and sounding, he found 
somebody to wrìte for him; but ignorant where the wcmieii 
were, or whether they were stili at Monza, he judged it bet- 
ter to enclose the letter directed to Agnese under cover to 
Father Cristoforo, with a line or two also for hinu The 
writer undertook the charge, moreover, of forwarding the 
packet, and delivered it to one who would pass not far from 
Pescarenico; this person left it with many strict charges, at 
an inn on the road, at the nearest point to the monastery; 
and, as it was directed to a convent, it reached this destina- 
tion; but what became of it afterwards was never known. 
Renzo, receiving no reply, sent off a second letter, nearly 
like the first, which he enclosed in another to an acquaint- 
ance or distant relation of his at Lecco. He sought for 
another bearcr, and found one; and this time the letter 
reached the person to whom it was addressed. Agnese 
posted off to Maggianico, had it read and interpreted to her 
by her cousin Alessio ; concertcd with him a reply, which he 
put down in writing for her, and found means of sending it to 
Antonio Rivolta in his present place of abode : ali this, how- 
ever, not quite so cxpeditiously as we havc recountcd it. 
Renzo received the reply, and in time sent an answer to it. 
In short, a correspondence was set on foot betwecn the two 
parties, neither frequent nor regular, but stili kept up by 
8tarts, and at intervals. 

To form some idea, however, of this correspondence, it is 
necessary to know a little how such things wcnt on in those 
days — indecd, how they go on now; for in this particular, I 
believe, thcre is little or no variation. 

The peasant who knows not how to write, and finds him- 
self reduced to the necessity of communicating his ideas to 
the absent, has recourse to one who understands the art, 
taking him, as far as he can, from among those of his own 
rank, — for, with olhers, he is cither shamcfaced, or afraid 
to trust them; he infomis them, with more or less order 
and perspicuity, of past evcnts; and in the samc manner, 
describes to him the thoughts he is to express. The man of 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



4m 



tetters imderstands pati, mtsunderstands pari, gives ^ littìt 
mdvice, propotes some variation« saya, • Lea ve k io me;* ihen 
he tskoi the pcn, translcrs the idea he has recetvcd* as he 
bcsi cajl, from speaking to writin^, corrects it his own way, 
improres It, puts iti fiourishes, abbreviates, or even omits, 
ficconding as he dcems most suttahlc for his subject; for so it 
is, and thcre is no help for it, he who knows more than his 
nelghbours will not he a passive instrumeot in their bands; 
«Ad whcn he mterferes in othcr peoplc's afTairs, he wiU 
force thcm to do things hh own way. In additìon to ali this, 
k 18 r*ot always quite a matter of cotirse that the above- 
mmed lìterate himself expresscs ali ihat he intoided; nay, 
fometimes it happens just the reverse, as, indeed, it docs even 
0$ who wrhe for the press, When the Ictler thtis com* 
ptetcd reaches the hands of the corrcspondent, who ìs equally 
apracttscd in ìm a, b, e, he takes it to another learned 
Jiis of that tribe, who rcads and e%potmds it to him, 
tions arise on the matter of undersianding it, bccause 
cr«ofi interestcd, presuming npon his acqoainUnte wìth 
He antccedent drcumstances, asscrts that certain wordi 
^mean such and such a Uiing; the reader^ resting upon hia 
grcater experieiice in the art of composition, affirms that 
Jiey mean anotber. At last, the one who docs not know« is 
^hltged to put hiinself into the hands of the one who does, 
ad trust s to hrm the task of wrìting a reply ; whìch* cxe- 
ted lìke the formrr example, Is Hable to a simìlar stylc of 
ittrpretatìoiL If, in addition, the subject of the corre- 
ace bc a rather delicate topic, if secret mattrrs he 
(ted of in it, whkh il is desirable shouM not be understood 
third party, in case tlie letter should go astray; if wìth 
kh vicw there be a posiiive tntentìofi of not expressing 
jtnìnr.* rttilte dearly, then, bowever short a time the corre- 
e 1$ kept up, the parties invariably finish by imder- 
iiuiiimg cach otJier as well as the two sctioolmen who had 
for four hoors upon abstract mutations; not te 
"takt mir simile from livìng beings» lest we exposé oursehret 
to bare our cars boxcd 
Now» the case cif otif two corrcapondcnti was exactly 
U we bave describcd- The Erst letter writtcn in Renio's 
coQiaiiied many subjccts* Frimarìly^ bestdes an ac- 



460 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

cotint of the flight, by far more concise, but, at the 
time, more confuseci, than that which we have given, was a 
relation of his actual circumstances, from which both Agnese 
and her interpreter were very far from derìving any ludd 
or tolerably corrcct idea. Then he spoke of secret intelli- 
gence, change of name, his being in safety, but stili requir- 
ìng concealment; things in themselves not very familiar to 
their understandings, and related in the letter rather enig- 
matically. Then followed warm and impassioned inquiries 
about Lucia's situation, with dark and moumful hints of the 
rumours which had reached even his ears. There were, 
finally, uncertain and distant hopes and plans in reference to 
the future; and for the present promises and entreaties to 
keep their plighted faith, not to lose patience or courage, 
and to wait for better days. 

Some time passed away, and Agnese found a trusty mes- 
senger to convey an answer to Renzo, with the fifty scudi 
assigned to hini by Lucia. At the sight of so much gold, 
he knew not what to think; and, with a mind agitated by 
wonder and suspense, which left no room for gratifìcation, 
he set ofìf in search of his amanuensis, to make him interpret 
the letter, and find the key to so strange a mystery. 

Agnese's scrìbe, after lamcnting, in the letter, the want 
of perspicuit)' in Renzo's epistle, went on to describe, in a 
way at Icast quite as much to be lamentcd. the tremendous 
history of that person (so he expressed himself) ; and bere 
he accounted for the fifty scudi; then he went on to speak 
of the vow, employing much circumlocution in the cxpres- 
sion of it, but adding, in more direct and explicit terms, the 
advice to set his heart at rest, and think no more about it. 

Renzo very nearly qiiarrelled with the reader; he trem- 
bled, shuddered, bccamo enrac^cd with what he had under- 
stood, and with what he couid not understand. Three or 
four times did he makc him read over the melancholy 
writing, now comprchending better, now finding what had 
at first appeared clear, more and more incomprehensible. 
And, in.this fervour of passion, he insisted upon his aman- 
uensis immediately taking pcn in band, and writing a reply. 
After the strongest expressions imaginable of pity and horror 
Et Lucia's circumstances — ' Write/ pursued he, as he dictated 



I PHOMESSI SPOSI 



461 



tu bis s€crcUT>% * thiiì I won't set my hcart at rest* and Ihat 
I ncver will ; and that ihis h not advtce lo bc gtvlng to a lad 
Eke me; and that ì wmi*t touch the money; that 111 pui it 
bjrt «Jid kcq» il for the young gtrl's dowry ; that she already 
Wongs to me: and that I know nothiog ahout a vow; and 
that I ha ve often heard say that the Madonna ìnteresls her- 
sdf to he!p the afìlicted, and ohtaìns favotirs for them ; but 
that she cneourages them to desptse and break their word, 
I ncver heard; and that tbis tow can*t hold good; and that 
with tiiìs money we bave enough to keep house bere- and 
that I am somewbat in difiiculttes now, ìt's ottly a stomi 
whjcb wìll t^ukkly pass over;* and other slmìlar thlngs, 
Agnese received tlijs Ictter also, and repbed to it; and the 
eorrcspondencc continued in the manncr we bave described. 

Lucìa fctt greatly relieved whcn ber mother had con* 
trtred, by some mcans or olhen to Ict ber know that Rento was 
alive» sa fé, and acqnaìnted wìth her vow, and desired nolh- 
ìng more tban that he shouid forget her; or, to express it 
aore exactly, that he sbould tiy to forget ber» She, on her 
t, made a similar resolution a hundred times a day wìth 
ispect to him; and employed, toc, every mcans sbe could 
iink of to put tt imo cffecL She contintied to work inde- 
Itigably with ber necdlc, tryiog to apply ber wbole mind 
it; and when Renzo's Imagc prescoted itself to ber vicw, 
begin to rcpeat or chant some prayers to hcrseìf. But 
a.ge, just as il it were actuated by pure malice, did 
generally come so openly; it introduced itsell steallhily 
ad otbers, so that the mind might not he aware of baving 
luulHyured it, tìl! after It had been there for some time, 
Liicia's ttioughts were often with ber motbcr; how sbould 
le havc b«een otherwisc? and the ideal Renzo wonld gently 
creep in as a tbtrd i»arty, as the real person bad so often 
donc. So, wttb everybody» in evcry place, in every remem- 
bmnce of the past. he nevcr faikd to introduce bimself, 
Aod U tlie poor girl allowed ber self sometimes to penetrate 
in fancy into the cbscttrity of the funjre, there, too, he would 
nr, il ft were only to say: !, ten to one, shall not be 
lerc. However, if not to thiok of htm at alt were a bopeless 
Icing, yet lj3da i^uerccdec! tip to a certa in point, En 
Icss about him, and Icss intcnsely than ber beart 



462 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

would have wished. She would even bave succeeded Vdb^ 
ter, had she been alone in desiring to do so. But there wis 
Donna Prassede, who, bent on ber part, upon banisbing the 
youtb f rom ber thoughts, bad foiind no better expedient than 
constantly talking about him. ' Well/ she would say, ' bave 
you given up tbinking of bim?' 

' I am tbinking of nobody,' replied Lucia. 

Donna Prassede, bowevcr, noi to be appeased by so 
evasive an answer, replied that there must be deeds, not 
words; and enlarged upon the usuai practices of young 
girls, ' who/ said she, ' when they have set their bearts upon 
a dissolute fellow, (and it is just to such thcy bave a lean- 
V^Kf) won't consent to be separated from them. An honest 
and rational contract to a wortby man, a well-tried cbarac- 
ter, which, by some accident, happens to be frustrated,— 
they are quickly resigned; but let it be a villain, and it is 
an incurable wound.' And then she commenced a panegyric 
upon the poor absentce, the rascal who had come to Milan 
to plunder the town, and massacro the inhabitants: and 
tried to make Lucia confcss ali the knavìsh tricks be bad 
played in bis own country. 

Lucia, with a voice trcmulous wìth shamc, sorrow, and 
such indignation as couid fìiid place in ber gcntle breast and 
bumble condition, affirmcd and tcstified that the poor fellow 
bad done nothing in bis country to givc occasion for any- 
thing but good lo be said of him ; * she wished,' she said, 
'that some one wcre present trom bis neighbourhood, that 
the lady might bear bis testimony/ Even on his adventures 
at Milan, the particulars of which she could not learn, she 
defended him merely from the knowledge she had had of 
him and his behaviour, from his vcry childhood. She de- 
fended bim, or int^nded to defend him, from the simple duty 
of charity, from ber love of truth, and, to use just the cx- 
pression by which she described ber feelings to herself, as 
ber neighbour. But Donna Prassede drew frcsh arguments 
from thcse apologies, to convince Lucìa that she had quite 
lost ber heart to this man. And, to say the truth, in thesc 
moments it is difficult to say how the matter stood. The 
disgraceful picture the old lady drew of the poor youtb, 
revivedy from opposition, more vividly and distinctly than 



I phomessi sposi 



m 



mtf in the mind of the ycmtg girl, the idea whidi long hàbk 
hftd esttbtished therc; the recotkctians gbc had stifled by 
foff^, f€tufned in crowds upon ber; stverman «nd contaript 
recalìed ali hcr old molivi of eM^m and aympathy, and 
Jjnd and ^bleot hatred onìy cjtdted stron^cr feelings of 
ty* Wilh thcs€ fcelings, wlio can say how much thcre 
flg^ht or mighi not bc of another afFcction whkb follows 
'ufkoiì tbem, and introdyces ìtself so easily into the nnnd? 
Let il be imagified wbat it woutd do In otic whcncc it was 
attetnpted to cjcct tt by force. However it may be^ the con- 
vcrsation, oo Lucta's side, was ne ver carricd to any grcat 
^, for words were vcTy soon resolved tnto tears, 
Had Donna Prasscdc been ìnduccd to trcat ber in tlijt 
ly from some inveterate hatrcd towards hcr, thesc teart 
%ightt lierhaps, bave vanqatsbed and silenced hcr; bui as 
ibe Bptàiù wlth the intentioa of doìng ^ood, she went an 
witbool aJlowing herseU to be mored by them, as groans 
and imploring cries may arrest the wcapona ol an cnemyp 
not the uistrument of the surgeon. Having, howeycr, 
irgcd ber doty for tliat titne, she wouJd turn from 
roacbes a^d dentmdaitons to cxbortation and advicc« 
tweetened also by a little praise^ Ihtis desiignmg to temper 
the bitter with tbe sweet, the bctter to obtain ber purpose, 
by working upon the heart niider every state of feeling, 
Tbese quarrcls, however, (whtch had always ncarly tbc same 
bcginning» middle, and end,) left no rcsentmcnt, properly 
fpeakiog, IO the goo<i Luciana heart agaiitst the harsh ser- 
nsoDizer. who, after ali, treatcd hcr, in general, very kindly: 
and even to this tnstance, evinced a good intention, Yet they 
left hcr bì sudi agira tion, wìtl) so eh a tumult of thoaghtà and 
affecimns, that it required no little time, and much effort, to 
regato ber former dcgrec of calmness. 

It was well for ber that sh<r was not the only otte to 
whom Donna PrasM-de had lo do good; for, by thts means, 
tbefie di'^ptiics could not occur so freqiiently, Beaid^ the 
re$t of tfac family, ali of whom were pcrsons more or Icss 
Dccding anìemlment and guldance — bc«iidiis ali tlie other 
whìch offcrrd thcmscivcs to ber, or the coatrìved 
ame kind office, of ber tmn ftte 
le wat ìinéew no obUgitlocts; eh« 



464 ALESSANDRO BiANZONI 

had also five daughtcrs, none of whom were at home, hit 
who gave her much more to think about than if tfaey bad 
been. Three of these were nuns, two were marrìed: hcnce 
Donna Prassede naturally found berseli with three monas- 
teries and two houses to superintend; a vast and complicatcd 
undertaking, and the more arduous, because two husbands, 
backed by fathers, mothers, and brothers; three abbesses, 
supported by other dignitaries, and by many nuns, wculd net 
accept her superintendence. It was a complete warfare, 
alias five warfares, concealed, and cven courteous, up to a 
certain point, but ever active, ever vigilane There was in 
every one of these places a continued watchfulness to avoid 
her solidtude, to dose the door against her counsels, to 
ehide her inquirics, and to kccp her in the dark, as far as 
possible, on every undcrtaking. We do not mention the 
resistance, the difficulties she encountercd in the management 
of other stili more extraneous affairs: it is well known that 
one must generally do good to mcn by force. The place 
wherc her zeal could best excrcisc itsclf, and bave full play, 
.was in her own house : bere everybody was subject in every- 
thing, and for everything, to her authority, saving Don 
Ferrante, with whom things went on in a nianner entirely 
peculiar. 

A man of studious tum, he ncithcr lovcd to command 
nor obey. In ali household mattcrs, bis wifc was the mis- 
tress, with bis frec consent; but he would not submit to bc 
her slave. And if, when requested, he occasionally lent her 
the assistance of bis pcn, it was because it suited bis taste; 
and after ali, he knew how to say no, when he was not con- 
vinced of what she wished him to writc. ' Use your own 
sense,* he would say, in such cascs ; * do it yourself , since it 
seems so clear to you.' Donna Prassede, after vainly cn- 
deavouring for some timc to induce him to recant, and do 
what she wanted, would be obliged to content herself with 
murmuring frequently against him. with calling him one who 
hated trouble. a man who would bave bis own way, and a 
scholar: a title which, thou^h pronounced with contempt, 
was generally mixed with a little complaccncy. 

Don Ferrante passed many hours in bis study, where he 
had a considerable collection of books, scarcely less than 



I PBOMESSl SPOSI 



thrce handred voltimcs: adi of thcm choice works, and the 
most highly csteciued oo thcir ounictous severa! subjects. 
In each of whicli he was more or less verseti In astroìogy, 
he wns deservetlly considered as more than a dikttunte; 
r he not only posscssed the geoerical nolions aiid cotumon 
cabulary of «ifluenccs^ aspects, aiad conjunctions; but he 
how to talk vcry aptly, and as \t wcrc ex cathedra^ of 
\t twelyc houscs of t!ie heavcnà, ot tlie great drdes, of 
od atid obsciirc dcgrccs, of cxuìtiilioo and dcjcctìon. of 
sitions and revolntions — iij short, of the most assured 
d most recondite principlcs of the sdencc* And It was 
ity ycars that he r n^rl^ in long and 

|Ì. , the system of t against another 

anicil iua»* Wììo was staitnchJy aii^die<l to that of Alea- 
Ì2Ìo, from mere obstinacj* as Don Ferrante said; who^ 
dily aekiiowlcdgfng the superiority of the aneìents, could 
t, however, endure that itnwtUrngness to yield to the 
modcrns, even when ihey evidei» ily have rcason on thcir 
Bidè. He was also more than indiffercntly acquaìnted with 
the history of the science; he could, on aii occasion, quote 
lite BWtót ceiebraled prodictiotis which had becn verified, and 
clearly and Icamedly on other celebratcd predictions 
bad failed, showing tbat tbc fauU was not in the 
enee, but in ttiose who kncw not how to apply it. 
He had learnt as mudi of ancient philosophy as might 
- ~ '-^ced hìm, but stili went on acqniring more frolli 
oì Diogcnes Laerttus. As^ however, thesc sysiems, 
w beautiful socvcr the>- may be^ eannot ali be held at 
; and as, to be a philosophcr, it ts ncccssary to choose 
in atHliof, so Don Ferrante had chosen Arìstottc, who, he 
ttsed to say, was neìther aneiefit i^or modem; he was the 
pltiJo50pher, and nothtng more. Ile possessed also varions 
iirorks of the wisest and most tngcnian» disclples of ihat 
fchoot afucmg the modems: those of ìu tmpttgners be would 
ver read, not to throw away tìmc, as he saìd; nor buy, 
I to throw away money. Stireh% by way of cxeeptioa, did 
lud room in bis ^ ' >r those céltbrated two^and* 

iiy volmnej^ De -^ r, and fof «ome other anti- 

poipatetic %v<>rk of Cardano's, in eon»ideralìon of hi» valtie 
in astrology. He saìd, that he wbo could write the Ueatifie 





466 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

Dt Restituitone iempormn et motuum teelestium, and the 
hook Duodecim geniturarum, deserved to be listened to even 
when he erred; that the great defect of this man was, tfaat 
he had too much talent; and that no one could conceive what 
he xnight have arrived at, even in philosophy, had he kept 
himself in the right way. In short, although, in the jiidg- 
ment of the learned, Don Ferrante passed for a consum- 
mate peripatetic, yet he did not deem that he knew enoagh 
about it himself; and more than once he was obliged to con- 
fess, with great modesty, that essence, universals, the soul 
of the world, and the nature of things, were not so very 
clear as might be imagined. 

He had made a recreation rather than a study of naturai 
philosophy; the very works of Aristotle on this subject he 
had rather read than studied: yet, with this slight perusal, 
with the notices incidentally gathered from treatises on 
general philosophy, with a few cursory glances at the Magio 
naturale of Porta, at the three historics, lapidum, animalium, 
piantarum, of Cardano^ at the treatise on herbs, plants, and 
animals, by Albert Magnus, and a few other works of less 
note, he could entertain a party of leamed men, for a while, 
with dissertations on the most wondcrful virtues and most 
remarkable curiosities of many medicinal herbs; he could 
minutely describe the forms and habits of sirens and the 
solitary phoenix; and explain how the salamandcr exists in 
the fìre without burning; how the remora, that diminutive 
fish, has strength and ability completely to arrest a ship of 
any size in the high scas; how drops of dew become pearls 
in the shell; how the chameleon feeds on air; how ice, by 
being gradually hardencd, is formed tnto crystal, in the 
course of timc; with many other of the most wonderful 
secrets of nature. 

Into those of magic and witchcraft he had penetrated 
stili more deeply, as it was a science, says our anonymous 
author, much more necessary and more in vogue in those 
days, in which the facts were of far highcr importancc, and 
it was more within rcach to verify thcm. It is unnecessary 
to say that he had no other object in view in such a study, 
than to inform himself, and to become acquainted with the 
very worst arts of the sorcercrs^ in order that he might guard 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



407 



€ 



tbott and defend himseli Anà, by the gtmitncc 
\f ut the gr^at Martino Delfio (a leader of the 
t)f he was capabfe of discoursmg rjr professo npon 
the fasdnatiofi of love, the fascìoation of sleep, the {addita* 
twMi of hatred, and the infinite varietìes of thcsc thrce priiH 
dpal genijsea of enchanttnent, which are only too olteti, 
aglun says our anorrymoiis author, beheld in practice ait the 
pra^eot day, atteudcd by such lamerstabie effects. 
Not ìtu vast iiid profoond was hit knowledge of hta^ 
f5% pardeularty tmiversal history, in which bis aotbors 
ere Tarcagnota, Dolce, fìugattì. Campana, and Gtiaizo; 
short, ali the loost highly esteemed, 
'But whai if history; said Don Ferrante, freqtte^tly, 
*vrithont poUtics? — A giride who walks on and on, wìth no 
onc following to Icarn the road, and who conscquently throw» 
away bis ssteps,^ a« polttìcs whhotit history is one who 
s wjthoijt a guide/ There was thcrcforc a place as* 
ed to staltstics on bis shclves; wherc, among many of 
mbler rank and less renown, appeared, in ali their glory» 
Bcdino, Cavalcanti, Sansovino, Partita, and Boccaìinì, 
ere were two book?, however, whicb Don Ferrante in* 
tely preierred above ali oihers oo this subject: two which, 
to a ccnain timc. he n&cd to cali the first» withoot ever 
ablc to decide to wliich of the two this rank should 
ively bcloog ; one was the Principe and Discorsi of tfie 
ted Fiorentine secretary: *a great rmscal, certainly/ 
id Don Ferrante, * but profotmd f the other, the Ragion 
Siaiù o( (he no Ies$ celcbrated Giorannì Boterò; 'an 
hooest man, certainly/ said he again, 'but ahrewd/ Shortly 
after, bowevcr» jusit at the pcriod which our story cmbraces, 
a work eame to fJtrht n-bicb terminated the question of pre- 
inence. by suri '^ Works of eren thesc two Mafa^ 

rts, said Don i -; a hook in which was endoied 

coindcnscd evcry trick of the system» that it might bc 
- ' vìrtue, that it might bc practbed; a fcook 
small %h\ìì ali of poldt in one word, ih^ Statista 

nU C.L ìJun ' ' that most celebrated 

of whom ir the greate^t scholars 

-tCK, and the greateit 
cm; that maa, whom 



ALESSANPEO MANZONI 



Pope Urbati VITL hcrooured, as k wcll knowit, with 
njficeoi eiicomiunis; wliom the Cardinal Borghese and tlic' 
Viccroy of Naples» Don Pietro di Toledo, entrettal to rc- 
latc, — otic, t!te dotngs of Pope Paul V., the othcf, the 
oi bis Catholic Majesty in Italy, aiìd both in vab; Chat 
whoin Louis XIIL^ King of France, at the sas&eatioii of 
Cardinal de Rìchelicu, aomìnated his histnrìogrupher ; cwij 
whom Dtike Carlo Emanuele, of Sa voy, cooferred the saa 
office ; in praise of whom, not to mcotion other lofty 
tnantals, the Duchess Cristina, daughter of the most Christia 
King Henry IV,^ conld. in a diploma^ among rnany oli 
tiHcs» enumerate ' the certaiuty of the reptitation he ìs ot 
taiiiing in Italy of being the first wrìter of our tùncs.* 

But if, in ali the aboTe^mcnttoned scicnces, Tkm Fer- 
rante might he coustdcred a leamed man, one tliere wc* 
in which he merited and enjoyed the tìtle of Professor— 
the Science of chi¥a!ry. Not only did he argne on ìt in 
a really masterly manner, but» frcqucndy requesti ' 
ter fere in aiìfairs of honour, always gave some 
He had in his library, and otie niay gay, tndeed, in hia iie^d 
ihc Works of the most renowncd writcr« on this subjeclj 
Paris del Pozzo, Fausto da Longiano, Urrea, Mujcìo, Rocoe' 
Albergato, the first and second Forno of Torquato Ta^so,'' 
of whose other works, 'Jcrusalcm Dclivered/ as wdl a» 
'Jerusalera Taken/ he had ever in readiness» and cou 
quote from mcmory, on occasitiu, ali the pa^sages whic 
niight senre as a tcxt on the subjcct of chivalry. The ae 
thor, however, of ali a ut hors, in his c»tÌmation, waa 
celebrated Francesco Blrago, with wliom he was more 
once asstidated in givtng ;udgm cut on ca»es of honour; mn 
who, on bis side, spoke of Don Ferrante in terms of 
ticular cstcctn. And from the lime that the Discorsi Ca 
lercschi of this rcnowned writer ma<!c their appearance^ 
prc^Jicted, without hc?iitaiion* ihai this work would de 
the auihority of Olevano, and wmii*l rcmain, togcther 
its other noble sisters as a code of prtmary auihority 
posturity: and cvcry <mc rnny sec, says our anonynioiti 
thor. how this predictton ha» bccn verified. 

Front this he pa^^en on to the study of belle" ^-**' 
bui we begin to doubt whelher the r cader Itas ri 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



Am 



greàt wìsii to go (orward with «s in thìs revsew, mnd evcn 
to fear tliat we may alrcady hare woti the dtle of servile 
copyist for oarselves, aod that of a bore, to be shared wrth 
the anonymous author, fcr having foMowed Min out so 
sitnply, even thus far^ into a subjcct fore^ to the prìo- 
cìpal narrative, and in whicìi, probably, he was only so 
diiffuse, for the ptirpose of paradmg erudition, and show- 
iDg that he was not behind hÌ3 age. Howevcr, leaving 
writtcn what m written, diat wc may not lose onr labour. 
W€ will omìì the rest to resumé the thread of our story: 
the more wilhngly, as we have a long period to traverse 
without meeting with any of onr characters, and a longer 
Siili, bcfofc finding those m whose success the rcader wUl 
be most interested, i£ ajiyiMng in the whole story has in- 
tercited hira at alL 

Unti! the autumn of the followtng year, 1629» thcy ali re* 
mained, some willingly, some by force, almost in tìie state 
in which we ieft them, notliing happening to any onei and 
00 one doing anj-thing worthy of being recorded. The 
aittaiim at lengih approachcd, in which Agnese and Lucia 
had cminted upon meeting agaìn; but a grcat public event 
frustratcd that expectation: and this certainly was one o! 
its cnost trifling efFeets, Othcr great events followed, wbich, 
however, made no material change in the destinies of our 
dtaracters. At length, new drctnnstanccs, more general, 
more tn^uentlal, and more cjctcnmve^ reached even to them, 
—even to the lowest of tbem, according to the world*s scale. 
Il was Uke a vasi, swceping, and irrcsistible bnrrìcane, 
which, tiprootìng trees, tcaring off roofs, levelling battle^ 
mesits^ and scattering their fragments in every direction, stirs 
itp the straws hidden in the grass, pries into every corner 
for the light and withered leaves, which a gentler breeze 
WDUld only bave lodged there more securdy, and bears tfaem 
off in ils headlong coiirse of fury. 

Now* that the private cvents which yet rematn for us 
to relate may he rendered ìntelligible, ìt wìU be abso- 
Intety neccssaiy for ns, even hcrc. to premise some fcind 
of acconnt of thcse public ones, and thus isake 1 itili fnrtlier 
digressioa 



CHAPTER XXVin 

1 FTER the sedition of St. Martin^Sp and th^ 
£1 mg day, ìt secmed that abutidaiice Iiad rei 
«^A. MiJan, as hy enduuitment The brcad ì^hopt wc 
pteatlfuUx supplicd; the price às low as in the most proB 
[ years, and flour m proportioiL Tlicy who durtng iho«< ti 
days had employed themsclvca in shoutin^, or ddng 
tbtng worsc^ had uow (t'xcepUng a {cw who liad bccn aeued) 
.reason to congratulate thcmsclvci: and kt ìt nut he (nmgtfi 
' Ihat they spared thcse congratulations, after the first lei 
of beìng caphircd had subsidcd. In the squares» al tli 
corners of the atrc^ts, and in the tavems. there was undii 
guiscd rejoicing, a general niurmur of appUu^es^ and halfH 
uttered boasts of havtng found a way to n-daee br»ul to i^ 
moderate prìce* 

In the midst, howevcr, of this vauntiftg and festiviiya; 
there was (and how could it \ìt oiherwìse?) a secf et fcclin 
of di&quietudc* nnd pre^cntimcnt that the thrng couhi 
last long. They besieged the bakcrs and meal-sellcrs, 
Ihey had before donc So the fortner artificìal soìd transieni 
abundance procured by the first tarif! of Antonio Fcrrcrr' 
he who had a little money in advance, m%'ested tt io 
bread and floyr, which wcre itored np in chesfis, 
barrels, and ìron vessets. By thus emubting each othtr 
■ cnjoylng prescitt advantage, they rendered (1 de» not saf^ 
[its long duration impossible-, for such ìt was of ksHi already/ 
Pbut even) its cantinaance froni moment to moment eve^ 
more difficult* And lo! on the I5th Novemher. Antoiufl 
Ferrer, De ùrden éf su Ejrcelencut, ismed a proclamatic 
in which ali who had any corn or flotir in thcìr houses wc 
forbiddeo lo huy etihcr ooc or the other. and every 
jelse io purcha^ more than woulc! i 
lUfKfrr pain ùf ptcuniùry and co^- 
Ìm/M ùf his EsciU^ncy, It i abo» w 

the eldtra, (a kind of public _ . j and in: i 

ali otber peraoitfl» to inforni agatnat offestdeit; ordcrs to 

470 




imgtstratcs to m^t slrkt acftitii in ftny houses whicti itiiglit 
bc rcporlcd to tiiem; togtthcr with frcsh commands to the 
b«kers to keep thdr shops well fumlthed wjlh breadi KKié'r 
paiH, in case ùf failure, ùf iftv jpfori in rfce gaihys, ùr tmn 
greùttr penalHes, ai ihc wiU of his Exc€Ìiency. He wbo 
can iiia^fic such a proclamation exccated, must liavc a very 
ckvcr jmaginatioii ; and, certainly, had ali ihosc iaaticd at 
that ttmc takoi c0ectt the tlnchy o£ Milan would fiavc had 
at least as many peoplc on the seaa a^ Great Britain ìtseli 
may bave at prcsent 

At any rate, as ìhty ordered the bakcrs to tnake so 
mach bread, ìt was also ncccssary to gìve some orders that 
Utc inatcrìals for makitig it shouid noi faiL They had con- 
tri ved. (as, in litncs of scarcity, the endùavoof is always 
rcncwed to reduce into bread different alimcntary matertals, 
usuAlly consiimcd under anodi ef fonn,) thcy bad con- 
Irtvcd, I say, to Introduce rìce tnto a compostHon, cailed 
mlxed breadL On the 23rd Novenibcr, m edict was pub- 
lisbedt to ]ìmtt to the disposai of the superintendent^ and 
the twch*e iTJcnibtTs who constitiited the board of provìsion, 
one-halt of the dressed riee (risone h was tben, and is stili, 
calted there) whìcb cvcry ouc pos&csscd; wrth the threat, to 
any cr hoiild dtsprise of it wftbout the permissìon of 

Ihéit - i, of the loss c£ the ariìclc, and a fine of 

three crom ns a bushel. The honcsty of this próceedìng evcrv 
ope can apprcciate. 

Bui it was nece«sary to ^y for this rfce, and at a price 
▼cry disproportioncd to that of bread The burden o! 
jmpplvtni^ the enormou* {neqttality had l>een imposed npofi 
Ifi " +^ the Drcunani, who had undcr- 

tr. m bchalf of the city, deltberated 

the saxoe day, 23rd of Norctnber, ahout remonstratiug wtth 
the govemor on die impossihilìty of àny longer maìntaintag 
atich an engaferoent ; and the govemor, In a decrce of the 
yth December, fixed the price of tlie ahove*naroed rice at 
Iwtlvc Irrrea per bushel. To tho«e who shouid demand a 
111 ' ' i' who sbould refuse to scll, 

h* article, and a fine of equal 

Yalue^ twti/ f*rt0ier , and iven tartufai punithment^ 

\ing the gaU. ^ . t*m wiU of kis BxcMtncyt o€* 



04 



ALESSANDRO MAOTONl 



descrtbe gre&t cveats, than to note the eatises and 



itry. 






of tfiero,) a picturc ot the comi 
in the already advàiiced wtatcr, aiid 

the cause of the cvil, che dispropcMrtion, t. ^,, bciwteti food 
ifid the demànd far li, (whidi^ far from Ueing rcfnoved, 
was Gven ittcrcased, by the rcmedieft whkh tt ly 

suspeiided its cffects,) whcn the true cjiukc^ i «^4t, ^» ^.é« 
àc&rdty, or, to speak more corriictly, the scardty itselff 
Wli operaìing without a check* and cxcrtìng ìts iuiì forec U 
wat not evcn chccked by the introductioti of a mittddlt 
sttpply of corn froin without, io wKich rcme<ly wcrc oppOMd 
th© tnsufficiency of public and pf ivate tueana, the pcivcrty 
of tiie suiToutidlng countrics, the prevailÌDg taniine, tlie 
tedJousness and restrlctions ol commerce, and tlie ìskw% tHoOK 
selves, tending to the production and vtolcnl uialnteniisot 
of moderate prices, We will gire a iketch of the moumfnl 
plcture* 

Ai cvery step, the shop» closed; manufactortes for thi 
nio#t part de^erted ; the strects prescnt'mg aa indescrlbaUe 
spèctaete» an Incesiant traifi of inìsc'nesy a peri^etual abodi 
of sorrowSi Profe&scd beggars of long standing, oow b«* 
come the smallest mimbcr, mingJed smd loft io a new swarm, 
and samctimes rcdticcd io coiuend for altrui with 
from whom, iti former day% Ihey Itad bceo accustognod 
fecdve thetn, Apprt-nttces and dcr^ ■ j>s€d by 
kecpers and merchams, who, when ily profili _ 

minished, or eiitlrely faikd« were livìng »|>:trbg1y oq fhélf 
aavJngi* or on thdr capital; shopìeeepcrs and mrtchanti 
themiKelveìi, to whom the ccssatton of Wj^ine^ hu 
faihire and rcin ; workmen, bi every irtde and mri 
the Goromonest as wel] as tJie most refìned, the n 



•ary as wd! as tho^e more subscrvtcm tn 

froBi door to door, and from *fr«^-! tf> ftr 

the comcri, stretchcd upon ' 

mid churdiex. beggmg piteoT- 

and a stili tmstsbdued ìihame, cmaciated 

biing, from long fastrng, and the cc>l'^ *^^ ♦ 

their tattered and 5caoty ganncntìf, v- 

many tnstances, rctaintd tfaces of Havmg 

bctter oondltiofi; ai thdr preicot (dleiicfla and detponfdeoqr 



? l^ÌQ«l 

loset 

wwa/t 

wcak, and trfn* 

iH^cn oiuc m a 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



0B 






cala 

^Brilli 



iti disfutsed indìcations of former babtis of ìndostry and 
CóUrage* Minglcd in the dcplorabJe thmng, ima fonniiig no 
imall pari of it, wcre sci-vanU dismisscd by thdr masters, 
who ctthtr had sunk fmm mediocrity fnta pioverty, or olhcr* 
ise, from wealthy and noblc citkens, had become unablc 
«adi 31 year, to maintain their accuitomcd pomp of rcti- 
And for eàch onc, so to say, of thcse diìfercnt needy 
kjecU. waa a tnunbcr of oihcrs, accustooied, in pan, to Uve 
tbeir faìns; childrcn, womcn» and aged' relati ves, grouped 
arouod ihdr old suppone rs^ or dispcrsed in search of relief 
«tewhrre. 

Tlicrc were^ aÌ30> casily distlnguishable by their tangled 
locks, by the reltes of their sliowy dress, or even by some- 
tbing in fhcir carriagc and gestitreSi and by that exprc&tion 
which h;ihìts impresa iipon the coimtaiance, the more marked 
aiid distitict as the habits are strange and wniistial,*-many 
of that Vile race of bravoes, who, baving lost in the common 
cftlftniity their wickcdly acquired tub^tance, now went about 
»lonng it for dmrity. Subducd by hungcr, cooiending 
ìli] othcrs ooly in cmrcaties. and rcduecd in person, they 
agged themsclves along through the s^tteets, which Uiey 
so often iraversed wtth a toity brow» and a iuspìctotis 
'ànd fcrocÌQUS tQ^^ -il to stunptuous and fantastic Itv- 

edes, fumisbed li atios, plumcd, deck ed out, and 

perfumed: and hwmbjy cxtended the band which had so 
oliai been insolenti/ ratsed to tbreatesi, or ireachcrously» 
to wottnd* 

Bttt the tnoit freqtient, the most &qualid, the most hideous 
spectacJc. was that of the country people» alone, in coupleip 
m in cntSre familics; hu$bands and wtves, wilh infanti 
ir annSp or lied up in a bundlc upon their backs^ with 
draggcd along by the band, or with old people he* 
Some thcrc wcre who» bavìng had their houses in- 
and pillafed by the Mildiery, had fled tbithcr, cithcr as 
t% or paaseng ers, in a kind of desperation : and among 
tliere were •otne whn displayed «tronger incentiveg to 
mpassìoci, atid greaier diiClnction in misery, in the Mrara 
H^ bitiises frofQ the woondi they had recetval in tht* de f enee 
ew reoiainijig proviscions; whiJe otli*:^ .vajf 

Aoci bnttal licentioiitQeis. Others, ag ai x 



^1 



ALESSANDRO MAKZOKl 



by that paitìctilar icoarge, Imt driveti from thdr hoiDes by 
those two. from which the remotest cooicr was no* exemfitv 
steri lì ty ajid prices more ejcorbitattt thait cver, to mcci wfaat 
wcrc cali ed the necessiti es of war, had come, and wcre coo- 
tmtially pouring info the city, as to the ancioit seatt 
ti] ti mate asylum of plenty and ptous munificoice. The ne 
arrtved inight he distìnguìshed, mot onìy by a hesttatin^ ^^f? 
and novcl air, but stili more by a look of angry astotiish- 
ment» at finding such an accumulatiotij such aa cxccss, sych 
a rivalry of misery, in a place where they had hoped to ap- 
pear singular objects of compassìon, and to attract to them> 
selves ali assistati ce and noti ce. The othersj who, for more 
or lesa time, had hatinted the streets of the dty, prolonging 
Kfe by the scanty food obtained, as il werc, by chance, in 
such a dì spari ty between the supply and the demand, bore 
expressed in theìr Ioaks and carriage stili deepcr and more 
anxious constemation. Varions in drcss, (or rather ragsj 
as well as appearance. In the mldst of the common prostra- 
tion, therc were the pale faces of the marshy districts, the 
bronicd countenances of the open and hìUy countrj^ and the 
ruddy complexion of the mountaineer^ ali alike wasted and 
emacìated, with sunken eyes, a stare between stemn ess and 
idìocy, matted locks, and long and ghastly beards: bodies, 
once plump and ìnured to fatigue^ now exhausted by want; 
shrivellcd skin on their parched arms^ Icgs, and boey breasts* 
which appeared through theìr disordered and tattered gar- 
ments; wbile diilerent from, but not less melancholy than. 
this spectacle of wasted vigour, was that of a more quickJy 
subdued nature; of languor, and a more sell-abandoning de- 
biUty, in the weaker sex and age. 

He re and there, in the streets and cross-ways, aloiig 
the walls, and mider the eaves of the houses, were laycrs 
of trampied Straw and stubble, mix ed with dirty rags* 
Yet such revoltìng filth was the gift and provision of charìty; 
they were places of repose prepared for some of those mis- 
crable wretchea, where they might lay theìr heads at night 
Occasionali/, cven dnring the day^ some otte might be seen 
lying there, whom faintness and abstinence had robbed of 
breath^ and the power of supporting the welght of bis body^ 
Sometimcs thesc wretched couches bore a corpse; sometìmes 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



m 



a poor exhausted creature wouid suddenly sinlc to the ground, 

and rema io a lifeless body upon the pavcment 

Bendi ng over some of these prostrai ed sufferers, a neìgh- 
bour or passer-by mtght frequently be seen, attracted by a 
sudden impulse of compassione In some places assìstance 
was tendered, organi^cd witli more distant foresight, and 
procecding from a band rich in the means, and expcrienced 
m the exercise, of doing good on a large scale j — the band 
of the good Federigo- He bad ma de eh o ice of six priests, 
whose ready and persevering charity was unìted wìth, and 
minìstered to by, a robust constitution ; these he divided into 
pairs, and assigned to each a third part of the city to peram- 
bulate, followed by porters ladcn with varjous kinds of food, 
together with other more effective and more speedy re- 
storatives, and clothing. Every mornìng these threc pairs 
dispersed themselves through the streets in different direc- 
tìons, approached those whom they found strctched upon 
the ground, and admìnistered to each the assìstance he was 
capable of recelving. Some in the agonits of death, and 
no 1 ùnger ahi e to partake of nourishment, receivcd at their 
hands the last succours and consolations of religion. To 
those whom food might stiH benefit, they dispensed soup, 
eggs, bread, or wine; while to others, exhausted by longer 
abstinence, they offe re d jelUes and stronger wìnes, reviving 
them first, if need were, with cordials and powerfu! acids, 
At the same time they dìstributed garments to those wbo 
Were most indecorously and miserably dothed, 

Nor did their assi stane e end bere : it was the good bishop'a 
wish that, at least where it couTd be extended, efficacìous and 
more perraanent reUef shouid be ad min iste r ed, Those poor 
creatures, who felt sufficiently strengthened by the first reme- 
dies to stand up and walk, were also provided, by the same 
kindly minìstry, with a little money, that retoming need, 
and the failure of fnrther succour, might not bring them 
again immediately into their first condition ; for the rest, they 
sought sheltcr and maìntenancc in some of the neighbonring 
houses, Those among the inhabitants who were well off in 
the world, afforded hospitality out of charity, and on the 
recommendation of the Cardinal ; and where there was the 
willf without the means, the priests requested that the poor 



m 



ALESSANDRO MAN20KI 



creature mtglit be rcceivcd &s a boarder; agreed upoo 
terms, and immeiiiatcly dcfrayed m part of the cxpeosc, Tbey 
then gavc tioitcc oÌ tJiosc wbo were tliu» lo^gcd to the 
parìsh prìests, that they mìght go to sce thon ; «ad the^jF illesi* 
selves would also rettim to vbit tbem. 

It ìs unneccssary to say tbat Fcdcfigo did not coni 
bis care to this extreinity af aufTcrmg, nor wilìi |ÌU 
cvil had reaehcd its hcighi, bcfore accrtiog hìms^^r 
ardent and Yersatik charity must i^cl nll, bc emfilo^ed io 
ali, hastcn wbere it could not antì id take, ao to 

say, as many forms as thcre wcrc r of oeed. la 

fact, by bringing together a!l bis meansv saTèag with stJH 
more rigoroufi eciiooRiy^ and applying Mima destincd In 
otJier purposes of charity, naw, alasf rendcred o£ sccoodary 
importancc, be bad tried evcfy mcthod of makiiig maocy, 
to be expended entirely ha aUeviatìtig povcrty. He ande 
large purehases of com^ wbidi be despatcbisd to the moit 
iodigent parti of bis dioccsc : and aa the «ii<Toor? \v^Tf far 
from ecjualHng tbt: nccessity, he atso »cnt % 

of salt, *with whjch,* gays Ripacoottti, n i 
fitances, 'the hcrbs of tbe ficid, aod bark from the 
mlgbt be coiiverlcd imo human suiteniincc/ He alsti 
tribtited com and money to the clcrgy of the city; he hi 
viiiited it by di^t "spensbg alttis; he rclicrcd in 

many destittite iti the archiepbeopal pataoe 

quanti ties of rku wcrc dauly cookcd ; aiìd accordtng to ti 
account of a contcmporary writcr, (tbe pliy&ìdan, Atenaa* 
dro Tadino, in im Raggu^j^liQ, whtch wc ihaU freqaently 
bave occa&ion to quote in tbe sequela ) two Ihomaiid ptir- 
ringets of ibis food were hcrc distrìbuted cvcry ntonring. 

But tbesc frnits of chartty, wfiich wc may certatnly 
spedfy aa wondcrfnl, whcn wc c<^sider tbai tlicy pw* 
eeeded from one tndividuat, and from bia sole resouroes^ 
(for Federigo hat^tiialfy rnfuscd to bc madc a dl^Kflaer ot 
the Hberality of othcrs.) tliese, togctbar with the bounijr of 
otber private persona, if noi ao eoptoa% at leaat mora ciii* 
tncrous, and tbe «uhstdioi grantcd by tbe Cottncìt of tba 

Prcunont to meet ibis emergency, tJjc ' — ^^timi of -t*^--^- 

vraa catnmìtled to th«* Bosird of Prov- -t% after 

GODipartdoo of the demanda icaroe ana mAaeqitalei \\mi/ù 





I FIIOMBSST SPOBt 

few mcmntaineeri asd inhabitants of the vaUfys, nrfio 
reÈ,óy to die uf hunger, had their lives pfoìonged by 
the C*rdSiial*s assìstanet, gthers arrìved ai the cxtremest 
verge ot slarvatian; the fonner^ having consumed thcii 
meastired FUpplics. rcttjmed to the aame itale; iti other parts, 
i>ot fórgtitten, but constdered a£ tess straitetied by a charity 
wtikli %vas eompellcd to make distinctìons, the siifferings be* 
eame fatai ; in every dìreetÌDCi they perished^ fTom every di- 
rection thcy flocJced to the city. Here two thousand, we will 
say, of fojnishmg creattires, the sci-ongest and most skilftt 
in surmouBting cotnpetition, and makiog way for thanselves, 
obtainrd. pcrhaps» a bowl of soup, so a3 oot to die that day ; 
but matiy more thousands rcmaìned behind, cnvying those» 
shaU we say, more fortitnatc ones, wheii among them who 
remabed bchind, were oftcn theìr wives, chtldreo or par- 
enti? And while, m two or three parta of the dtv, some of 
the mo»t desti tute and reduced were raised from the ground, 
rctlvcd, recovcrcd, and provided for, for some tìme^ in a 
hundred other quarters, many more saiik, lang^uUhed, or even 
expired, wìthont assistance, wìthotit alleviation, 

Tferoaghotit the day a conftised humming of lamentablc 
entreatìes was to be heard in the strects; at night, a mur- 
mur of groanst broken now and then by howls, tuddenly 
btir^titig opon the ear, by !oiid atid long aeeents of com- 
plaùity or by deep toties of invocation, terminalbig in wild 
shneks. 

It is WDfthy of remark, tlut ui such ao extremis of want, 
ili such a varìcty of complaints, not one attempt was ever 
made^ tiot one nimour ever raised, to bring about ao msnr- 
rection: at kast, wc find not the kast tnention of swch a 
tliing, Yet, amnng those who llved and died in this way, 
ihcre was a greai numhrr ^f meo bronght up to nnvTTitng 
rather than patìcnt et there were, imi mi- 

ilreds^ those vcry sanJc :i\n who, on St iN Uy, 

tud made thcmseivcs so sensibly felt Nor must it be lui- 
agined that the example of those foiir unhappy men. who 
bore In thcir own pcrsons the penaNy of ali, wa» wbat now 
krpt thrjn in awc ' V ctiuld, not ti ' ' boi line 
rcmcmbraoce, of \ lavc, on the f a dia- 

perwd and reuniied mulùiude, who saw thciii^clvci eoa* 



im 



AtMSSAHOnO MANMNl 



demned, as it werc, to a prolonged punìshment, wbkh 
wcrc alrcady siifìferìug? But so constìttited are wc 
in general, Ihat we rebd iiidigoaiitly and vtoìcntly 
medium evils, and bow in silence under extrcmc oncs; 
bear, not wilh resigli a Hon, but stupef action, the w tight 
whai at first wc had called insupportable. 

The void daìiy created by mortali ly in this dcy 
multtiude, was every day more than replcnishcd: (here 
an incessant concourse, first, from the neighbotirin^ 
then froni ali the country» thcn from the cities of the sta 
to the vcry borders, even, of others. And in the ttiean wh 
old inhabitants were cvcry day leaving Mìlan; 
wìthdraw from the sight of so much suffering ; othcrs^ 1 
driven from the field, so to say, by ncw competìtors 
supporta in a last despcrate attempi to find sustenance 
whcrc, anywherc — anywìiere, at Icast, where the crowds 
rivalry tn begging were not so dense and importunate. 
oppositely bouud traveUcrs met cach other on ihcir different 
routes, ali spectacìcs of horror, and disastrous omens 
the fate that awaìted thcm at the end of thetr 
joumcys. Thcy prosecuted, howcvcr , the way thcy had 
undertakeu, if no longer with the hope o( changin^ il] 
coriclition, at least tiol to return to a scene whìch hld beco 
odious lo them, and lo avoid the mght of a place whcre ti 
had becn rcduced to de^^pair. Some, evcn, who&e lasl vital 
powers were dcstroycd by abstincnce, sank down by the way, 
and were Icft wherc they cxpircd, siili more fatai toketu lo 
their hrethren in condttion, — an object of horror, 
of reproach, to other passcngers, ' I saw/ writes Ripa 
'lying in the road siirrnvmding the wall, the oorpse of 
wonmn , ♦ , Half-eaten grasa was hanging out of hcr oiotitl 
and ber contamìn^ted lips stili made almost a canvttliril 
effort < . • She had a hundle at ber back, and, secured 
bands to hcr lx>soni, hung an infant, which with bitter 
was calUng for the hreairt , . * Some compassionate pers 
had come up. who, raìstng the miserablc little crrJittire fr 
the ground* brought it some taitenance, thus fulàtling io 
measurc the fintt matemal oIBce' 

The contnutt ef gay dothhi^ «nd rap, of * and 

liiÌ3cr/« the ordiTìarv *<pectaele of ordinary i-y ^l♦ ìa 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



«a 



m 



tb^se p^etjllar ònes^ eolifely ceas<;d, Rags and tniscry htd 
in^clciJ ólmast cvirry ranV; and wiiat now at ali distÌR« 
K«jsì»cd tljein was bui Sia app^arance of frugai medìocrity. 
Ttie nobili tv wcrc sccn walking in bccoming and modest, of 
e : some, becawse the commoa 

r ilietr forttmes lo tlus degree, 

Jiiiiid to forluties alrcady much 
r from fcar of provoking public 
speraiion by dispb}*, or from a feeling of sbamc at tbus in* 
Iting public calamity. Petty tymnts, once hated aod tooloed 
upon with awe, and acaistomed io wandcr abont with an Ui^ 
solcnl train of bra%*oes at ihcìr hecls, now walked almost unat- 
tendfKi. rrest-fatlen, aiìd witli a look which seemed to offer 
and r ?acc, Oibcrs who, in pros|K*nty also, had beca 

of tri' ine dfspnsiticm and more ci vii hearing, appcared 

ncvcrthekss c^: fi: >']. dìatractedj and, as il were, overpow- 
crcd by the c: ni i I vlcw of a Càlamity, wbfch cxcluded 
noi on!y the p ' hhy of reliefp but, wc may almost say, 
ihc j>owcrs of e^'iìiirjiseration, Thcy who wcrc able to a^ord 
any asi<>iitance, wcrc obltged to make a meìaticholy choice 
bctween hiiM>rer a[\d honger, betwcen cxtremìty and cx- 
iwnitv iti,] no MHmer wa.s a compassionate band seen to 
dfop iiTto the band of a wretcbed beggar. than a 

slnf irdy rose betwecn the other miserable wrctcbes; 

wlio relaiJied stili a little strength. pressed forward to 
t with more importuuìty ; the feeble, aged people, and 
rtn, cxtaided tbcir emaciatcd tiands; mothers, from 
ù ::rid, rafscd and IkUÌ out thctr weeping ìnfants, miserably 
ciud in their tattered swaddling-clolhes, and reclirung lan* 
itdiy in their arms. 

' Thiw pa^ed the winter and tlie sprìng: for some time the 
Board of Hcalfb hnd bcen remonstrating with the Board of 
Provtiion, on the danger of contagion which ihreaicncd the 
dty from so mudi tuffering, accitmulated in, and spread 

-t 1- . 1. , j^„^ j,^^l prtjpo-ited, that al! the vagabond meo- 

ì bc coUected tot-ether into the diffcrcnt hos* 
V\ hilc thi« pian wa« bcing del>atcd upon and ap- 
Yté: wfiJlc the m«^rì*, tnethods, and filares. wrre being 

p<lt ìt *rr IX^rp^Cil Diul t», 

brtogÌii„ iial mtmbcrs ^ lon 

0C i«— voL ai 



482 



ALESSAKBRO MANZONI 



tn this, foUawcd ali the other cofìcomttiuits of fattthiOE 
mtiery, aiid clanger* It was pfojr * " the Board of 
vision as more practicablc atid i ix, lo asfemti 

tile mendìcsmts, hcalthy or di^^eust-tl, iii une place, the Laj^ 
zSLrcrto, and ìhcrc to fccd and maintaiii thrm at the publk 
expensc^: and ìhi% cxpedient was rcsiolvcd upon^ in sj 
the Board of Health, which objccted that» hi aucli un a^.^... 
blage, the cvil would only bc incrcased which they wUbel 
to obviàle. 

The Laiiarctto at Mdan (perehanee thi* s^lory thcitilii 
fftB into the hands of any one ijv f 
by sìghi or deacriplion), h a quai 

lateral enei osa re. outs^ide the city, lo the Ictt of the fSic 
calJed tiie Pòrta Orientale^ and separated frxim the boJtióttt 
by the widih of the fosse, a road of eirciimvallatìan, and a 
smaìler moat runnìrtg round the btitiding rtKeIn llie tiiro 
brfer sides extcmi to aboiit the lenftJi of fi ve hundred fnees; 
the othcr two, pcrhaps. Eftcen less; ali, on the outside^ 
dìvidcd into little rocims on the ground floor; whilr, ntntrìng 
round three sides of ihe interior; h a continnons» vaniteti 
portico^ itipponed by small light pìllars. The ntimber of thtf 
rooms was once two hundred and eìghty^eijfht» some Urger 
^an others; but tn our days. a large aperture made 
Ihe middle, and a ^mailer one in one corner of the 
that flank» the hìghway, bave destroyed I know oot 
many. 

At the pcriod of our story there were only two entrancei, 
one in tht^ centre of the side which looked upon the city» 
will, the other facing h in the oppotìie side. In the mitUt 
of the clcar and open «pace within, rose a smafì ocia 
tempie, which is stili lo existencc* The prìniary object ( 
whole edificc, bc^n in the year 1489. with a private 1^ 
and afterwards continued with iJir publir money, 
of other testatore and donors, was. as tJie narne ti 
notes, tfi afford a place of n-fiijje, in cast»» of necc 
such as were ili of the plague ; which, for some ittiie hèfo 
that epoch, and for a long while after it, uMtiIly appe_ 
twxj, four, ìtìx, or eight times a century* oow in thb, now 
that Eumpeati country, ftometimes taking a grcat part of 
ioinediKiei even traverainf the whole, so to lay, froizi oc 



1 PROMESSI srosi 



tìie otber. At the lime of whìch wc are speakìng^ the 
zzaretto was luerely used a« a rcpository for goods su^ 
Icd oi cotJvcyìng infectiatK 

To preparc it on this occasion for its new destìnation, the 
uuì ioniììi wcrt' rapidly gone through; and haviiig tiastily 
ladc the neccssary cleauiìngs ATìd prcscribed cxpcruncrUs, 
ali the goods wer^ hiimediatdy Liberated Straw was sprcad 
oui ili cvcry room. purchases werc inadc of provisions, oi 
whatevcr kìnd and in whatevcr qoantìties they could be pro- 
cured; aod, hy a public edkt, ali beggars were invited to 
lakc shclicr the re, 
Many wiltingly acccpted the ofFcr; ali those who wcre 
irig ili in the strects or squarci werc carried ihither; atid 
in a few days tbere was aliogetber more than thrce thousand 
who had taketi refugc thcre* But far more were ihcy who 
rem a in ed behìnd. Whethcr it wcre that each one expected 
to see others go, and hoped that there would thus he a smalkr 
party left to sharc the relicf whìch could bc obtaincd io the 
city, or from a naturai rq>ugnarìce to con finemente or from 
the distrust felt by the poor of ali that ts proposed to tbcin 
thosc who posfess wealth or power (a distrust always 
oportioncd to the common ignoraiicc of those who feel 
it aiid those who tiispirc it^ — to the nuinber of the poor^ and 
the stTictncss of the rcgulatiotis), or from the actual knowl* 
i^^u of what the offercd benefit was iii reality. or whethcr 
it wcre ali thcse put together» or whatcver else ìt roight bc, 
oertain it ts that the ^cater numbcr, paying no aitcntioo 
lo the invitatiort, continvied to wander about beggìng through 
the city- This betng pcrccived, it was consldered advisable 
to pass ffom ìuvitation to force* Baili ff$ werc scnt round. 
who drove ali the niendicants to the Lazzaretto^ who cveii 
broaghi ihose bouud who inadc any resbtaace ; for each one 
wfaocn a premium of t^ SQtdf^ wa3 ax&igned to tbciu; ^ 
u it that, evcn in the scarccst timea^ public money may 
be loimd to bc ctnployed foolishty. Acid though, as 
h^^m imapitied, and eveti eic;M>esely ialcfided by the 

-gar* made thcir eàcmpc 

clsewhere, tf it werttwify 

meàomf yct the compiilsion wms such, that in a òhùtt 



ALBS0ANDRO MANZONI 



pìdjty« owtng to the accumulatlon of tkodie», wfalch 
rendered stili more disposed to receìve lì, irom thr increai* 
iog efficacy ot the other causcs ; whìclievef of tbejie cok 
jecturcs be the true one, the daiiy ututib^r of deadis in tht 
lazzaretto shortly cxcceded a hundred. 

Wliilt ftll the reat here wai languor, iiulTeringr fcar, laiiK 
entations, and horror, in the Board of Pro vision tlicre wn 
shame, stupcfaetton, irnd tncertìtudc. Thcy contuJted ftal 
listcìied to the advicc of the Board of HeaUh« iod eoM 
fiìid no othcr course ttian to uudo wltat had been ctonc wilb 
so mucli prepirsttion, so much escpeose, ind io oincli uawìll^ 
ing^esa* They open ed the La^zm^ettov and dismitsed iD 
who had any stfeogth reruaming,. who niade their cica|»e 
with à Innd of ftirious Joy. The city once more reaouiidcd 
wiih Its fomicr clamour, but more feeble aod lute i tuy t rt y 
it again saw that more diminiahod. and 'more mljer^Me* 
crowd, saya Ripatnofiti, when remcmberìng how it had 
thus diminishcd. The stck wcre transported 10 
Maria della Stella, at that ttme mn hospital for bc^g 
and here the grcatcr part perithed. 

In the tnean while» however, the hlcssed fìelds begin 
whiten* The mendicanl* from the country let off, eacb 
to hit own parts, for thts much-deiired harvest. The 
Federigo dismlssed them with a last cffort aod new iii- 
ventioii of cbtrity; to every countryman who presietit«d 
htmseU at the archiepiacopal palac9« he fave m giulia* and 
a r«aping sìckJe, 

With the harvest, the fcarcity at length ceaitd; 
mortali ty, however, whether epidemie or eoott|[ioit», tli 
decreaaiJig froin day to day, wa» protnctcd evcn into 
seaton of aotunui. Il was on the point of vanìihing, 
behold, a new scourgc made it» appearaoce. 

Mauy iinportani cvcats. of that lund whìdi àrr me 
pcciiHarly dtnominatcd hìstorioU facta, hid tal 
during this ìntcrvaJ. The Cardinal Rjchdieu h 
WG bave iaid, taken La Rocbcllc» ami having p^ 
an accomniodatìon with the King of lùiglaadt had p^u^iu^c 
and carried by bis potcntial voice in the Frefich QntoeEl 
ihai some cffcctiial sticeour «hould be rendered to tbc 



'A pìcer of 



; tu vilt» tWet licpviicc ififMagi 



I PROMESSI 8P06I 



4gt 



of Nevcrs» and had. at the same time, persoadcd th^ 
King himsdf to conduci the cxpedition in persoo. Wliile 
Dtaking ihe ncctssary preparations, the Cotmt de Nassau, 
tnipenal commissary, suggested ai Man tua to the ncw Duke, 
tliat he Jv€ up the statcs into Ferdinanda hané», 

»r tliat M 1 woyld send an army to occup)^ thcm. The 

Jitkc, who, in more desperate circumsianccs, had scortied 
acccpt so hard and Uttle-to-be-trustcd a eondìtton, and 
duraged now by the approadiing atd from France, sctmied 
ftO mudi tlic ingre; but in terms m v^hìch ttie na was 
^Tapp<^d up and kept at a di stane e, as much as mlght be^ 
pwilb even more apparente imi Ics» GO§tly« proposats of 
Sion* 
The coniniissary took hts depantire, tbrcataiing that 
iiey would come to dcddc it by force. In the month of 
March Uie Cardinal RkheJteu macìe a dcsccnt, wìtb the King, 
the head of an army; he demanded a passage from the 
uke of Savoy, cntcrcd npoii a Ircaty» whkli, however, wa» 
5t condudcd; and after r. ntcr, in which the Frcnch 

the advantagc, again i. 1 and cuncludcd an agree- 

iz) which the Duke ^lipuiatcd* among othcr ihì 
[Cordova should raise the siegc of Casale; pkdging 1 
ìf, in case of bis refusai, io join wiUi Uie Freirch, for the 
ustoii of the Diichy of Milao. Don Gonicalo* reckon* 
Eig il, 100, a very cheap bargaiii, withdrew !iis amiy (rom 
il<i which wat iintnedìately entered by a body of French 
retn force ili» farrtsoo. 

Vt wa* on * r^ion that AchilJini addresscd to King 

his fati- .icl: — 

•Sudate, o, tocbì, a prepataf metallf; * 

and another, in which he cxhorted liim té rcpair toimedi» 
idy to the ddjverance ol Temi-Saati. Bui there h a 
drcre^, th«if f hf* «dvic^ of pocts shoald not he foUowed ; 
he fotiod in hisiory. In eoa- 
s wc may »fdy ai&rtn thai 
werc rcsoìved upoii beforchand* The Cardinal Ridi* 
Jìeu deterniiiifd^ innead to retimi to France on affain 
|rhìch he cun^idcTcd more tirgenL Girolamo Sofaiua, tl»e 
^cùetian covuy, urgcd, tiidecd. oindi slitmgisr 



480 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

orders to march forward to Mantua, and, in the month of 
September, they entcred the Dachy of Milan. 

The military forces in those days were stili chiefly coni- 
posed of volunteers, enlisted under commanders by profes- 
sion, sometimes by commission from this or that prince; 
sometimes, also, on their own account, that they might 
dispose of thcmselves and their mcn together. These were 
attracted to this employment, much kss by the pay, than by 
the hopes of plunder, and ali the gratifications of military 
ficense. There is no fixed and universal discipline in an 
army so composed; nor was it possible easily to bring into 
concordance the independent authority of so many diflferent 
leaders. These too, in particular, were not very nice on the 
subjcct of discipline, nor, had they been willing, can we see 
how they could bave succeeded in establishing and maintain- 
ing it; for soldiers of this kind would either bave revolted 
against an innovating commandcr, who should bave taken 
it into bis head to abolish pillage, or, at least, would bave Icft 
bim by bimself to defend hìs colours. Bcsides, as the princcs 
who hired these troops sought rather to bave bands enough 
to secure their undertakings, than to proportion the number 
to their means of remuneration, which were generally very 
scanty, so the payments were for the most part late, on 
account, and by little at a time; and the spoìls of the coun- 
tries they were making war upon, or over-ran, becanie, as 
it were, a compcnsation tacitly accordcd to tbem. It was a 
saying of Wallenstein's, scarcely less cclebratcd than bis 
name, that it was easier to maintaìn an amiy of a bundred 
thousand men, than one of twclve thousand. And that of 
which we are speaking, was in grcat part, composed of mcn 
who, under bis command, had desolated Germany in that 
war, so celebrated among otber wars both for itself and for 
its effects, which afterwards took its name from the thirty 
years of its duration; it was then the cleventh year. There 
was, besides, bis own special regiment, conducted by one of 
bis licutenants; of the otber leaders, the greatest part had 
commanded under bim; and there were. also. more than one 
of those who, four years afterwards. had to assist in bringing 
him to that evil end whieh everybody knows. 

There were twenty-cight thousand foot, and seven thou* 



1 FROMESSI SPOiI 



101 



dd horse: an4 in dencefiding ìrom Valtdline to reach the 
' terrilory of Mantua. ihey had to follow, more or less dosely, 
the coarsf of the Adda where ìt forme two branches of a lakc, 
then again ai a ri ver to Ut junction with the Po, and after* 
ward» Cor some dìstanee aJong ilie baoks of thjs rìver; cm 
bc wholc tight days* march in the Duchy of Mitan* 
A great part of the hihabttants retired to the moimtains, 
king wìth thetn their most valuable effects, and driving their 
caule before thcm ; otJiers stayed behind, either lo tend upon 
ame sìck persoo, or to defend their houses from the fiames» 
ht to keep an cye upon preci ous things which they had con* 
eealed under-ground ; some because they had nothing to losc ; 
id a few vtllaitjs, also, to makc acquisitions, When the first 
jletachment arrived at the village where they were to halt, 
liey quickly spread themsctves through this and the ncigh- 
auring ones, and plundered thcm directly; ali that could be 
Men or carried off, disappeared: net to spcak of the de- 
^trucìiDti of the rest« of the fìdds !aid waste^ of the houses 
iveo to the flames, the blows, the wouods, the rapes» 
■ committed. 

AI! the expedients, ali the dcfences employed to savc prop- 
Y, ofteo proved uscìess, sotnetimes even more mjurious to 
s owTiers, The so!diers, far more practlsed in the stratagcms 
jif ihìs kìnd of war, too> nmimaged every corner of the dwelK 
Qgs; torc down walls; eastly disco ver ed in the gardcns the 
ncwly f!istxirhed soil; penetrated even to tlie hills, to carry 
pfì the calile ; went into cavcs, under the guidance of some 
if1at[i« as we have sald, in search of any wealthy inhabitant 
[might he concealcd thcre : despoiled his pcrsoa, dragged 
hishoiise, and, hy dìnt of threats and blows, corapclJed 
W point cut bis hMcicii ircasiirc. 
At ktigth, howcvcr, thcv tnfìk their departure, and the dis- 
dtjnds of ffrtims or tr raduaUy dk-tì away on fhe 

fthis wa.'i followcd hy :i irs of dcath-like cairn : and 

I E uew hatefiil cla^Lhlng of arms, a new hateful rumbling, 
accd another sfioadron. These. no longcr fìnding »ny- 
biog to plunder, applied thomselvcs with the more ftiry to 
ilcstnjctton and havoc of the rest, burning fumitarc, 
r-piMs^ hcams, easks, winc-vats, and sometimc^ evm the 
they scUcd ;ind Ul-used the inhabiiants irìlh doable 



402 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



ferocity; — and so on, from worse to worse, for twetity days; 
for into thi8 number of detachtnents the army was divìded. 

Colico was the fìret town of the Duchy invaded by these 
fiends; afterwards, they threw themselves into Belano ; thence 
they entered and spread themselves through Valsassina, and 
then poured down into the territory of Leooo, 



CHAPTER XXIX 



A" 



ND hcre we find that pcrsons of 
Aharers in the wide-spf 
One who savv tiot Don 
suddenly spread of the dc^^cn. 

'oich. atid destructive procecth 



' aicquAmtanóe wcrc 

I \ i!ie day thal tlie news 

1 tiic unny, of ìts nmr 

^^. knows vcry little of 



[what embarrassment and constcroation rcal!y are They ar€ 
Icomìng! therc are tiiirty, thcre lire forty, ihcre are fifty 
Ltliousand ! thcy are dcvils. hercrìcs» antichrtsts ! ihty'v^ sackcd 
Cor* etiti ava ! they've set fi re to Prima luna ! they've devastated 
Tntrobhio, Pasturo, Barsto ! lhey*ve bcen seeii al Balabbio ! 
jthey'U bc hcre io*morrow !— such wete the reports that passed 
Ifroni mouth to mouth ; some h\irryviig to and fro, «ithers stand- 
jing in little pnrtìes; together ^*ith tumultuous eonsitttations, 
lliesitation whether to fly or rcoiaìn, ihc womcn as<^embljng 
tilt gtoupB, and ali nltcrly al a lo&s what to do. Don Abbondio, 
Kvho hid rcsoìvcd licforc any one else, and mori- Ui;in any 
toti e elsCt to %, by any possìbtc mode of tìight, rinrl to any 
eivable place of reirt-at, di^covtred msypcr iclcs 

fearful dangers* * Wliat shall I do?* «: J he: 

'Wbere shall I go?* The moiint;iJn5. letting alone the difB* 
of gcttìng there, wcre not secure: it was well known 
Khat the Gcrrnan foot soldiers elimbcd thcm likc cats. wbrre 
ihey had the least ìndicatlon or bopc of fì * The 

lake uai^ widej therc was a rrry b^t'^h the 

grc-ater part of the boatmtn, 1 ì 

to convey soIdicTS or baggagL . i 

Ilo t]ie opp{>site side; the few that had remaincd, were f^ne 
■off overladen witJi pcopJe» iind 
and the %*iolencc of the storm 
levery momenL T 
lomiveynfie'' of ; 



-* ' V thcir OMin wdght 
-ed ui grreater perii 



Aiibc 



He wsiy. 

«O «rr^ 



The 



'*»*, i«ia[\ Ilio «iiJiLr'j ^4/iiivi ija.1 V L.n'1 ìhm im 



4d4 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

thither at a stretch; but a report had been already spread 
that a squadron of cappelletti had been despatched from 
Bergamo in baste, who wcre occupying the borders to kcep 
the German troops in order ; and those were neither more nor 
less devils incarnate than these, and on their part dtd the 
worst they could. The poor man ran through the house witli 
eyes starting from bis head, and half cut of bis senses; he 
kept following Perpetua to concert some pian with ber ; but 
Perpetua, busied in collecting the most valuable household 
goods, and hiding them xmder the floor, or in any other out- 
of-the-way place, pushed by hurriedly, eager and pre-occu- 
pied, with ber hands or arms full, and replied : ' I shall bave 
done directly putting these things away safely, and then well 
do what others do/ Don Abbondio would bave detained ber, 
and discussed with ber the different courses to be adopted; 
but she, what with ber business, and ber hurry, and the fear 
which she, too, felt within, and the vexation which that of 
ber master excited, was, in this juncture, less tractable than 
she had ever been before. * Others do the best they can ; and 
so will we. I beg your pardon : but you are good f or nothing 
but to hinder one. Do you tbink that others haven't skins 
to save, too ? That the soldiers are only coming to fight with 
you? You might even lend a band at such a time. instead 
of coming crying and bothering at one's feet.' With these 
and similar answers she at length got rid of liim, having al- 
ready determined, when this bustling operation was finished 
as well as might be, to take him by the arm like a child, and 
to drag him along to one of the mountains. Left thus alone, 
he retreated to the window, looked, listened ; or, seeing some 
one passing, cricd out in a half -crying and half-rcproachful 
tone : ' Do your poor Curate this kindness, to scek some borse, 
some mule, some ass, for him! Is it possiblc that nobody 
will help me ! Oh, what peoplc ! Wait for me, at least, that 
I may go with you! wait till you are fifteen or twenty, to 
take me with you, that I may not be quitc forsakcn ! Will 
you leave me in the band of dogs ? Don't you know they are 
nearly ali Lutherans, who think it a merìtorious deed to 
murder a priest? Will you leave me bere to be martyrcd? 
Oh, what a set ! Oh, what a set ! ' 
But to whom did he address these words? To mcn who 



I l>ROMESSl SPOSI 



a*s!ng alon^ b*ndìng undar tbe wcight of thelf linniMc 

ture, and tbclr fhota^hts ttimed towards that wttich tlicy 

wrrc leasing at home exposed lo plunder; one drivtng hefore 
him a young cow, another dragging after hmi his diildrai, 
also laden as heavily as they could bear, whitc his wife car- 
rled in hcr arms snch as were tinablc to walk« Sonic wcnt 
OH their way withotit replying or lookìng up; others sald* 
' Eb* tir, you too must do as yoti can ì happy you, who bave 
no family to think for! you must hclp yoursclf, and do die 
hest you can.' 

* OH, poor me f * exclalmcd Don Abbondio ; ^ ob, whal peo- 
ple! wbat bard bearts! There*s no cbanty: cverybody tbtnks 
of bimscll; but nobodyll think for me!* And he set off 
agalli In search of Perpetua, 

' Oh, I jmt wantcd you ! ' satd she. ' Your momey? ' 

*What sball we do?' 

*Gìve ìt me, and 111 go and bury ir ìn the garden bere by 
the house, togcther with the sìtvcr and knives and forks.' 

' But , , / 

*But» bot; give k bere; keep a few pcnce for wltatev«f 
may bappcn ; and thcn Ica ve ìt to me*' 

Don Abbondio obeyed, went to his trunk, took cut his little 
trea*^tire, and haitded it to Perpetua, who said : * I*ni golng 
to bury it in the gardcut al the foot of the flg-trce; * and went 
out. Soon aftcrwards she reappeared with a packet in ber 
hand containing some proviston for the appetite, and a smaìl 
empt>* basket, in the bottom of wbìch she basiily pfaccd 
m little lincn for berself and ber master, saying, at ihc eame 
lime* * You 'Il carry the breviarr, at least !* 

* But wbere are we golng ì ' 

* Whcrc are at! the rest going? First of aU, wc*tl gp into 
be Street ; and therc we shall tee aod bear wliat's best lo 

donr/ 

At Ibis moment Agnese entercd, also cMrrymg a basket 
slang over ber sbouidcr, and with the air of one who oomes 
to tmkt an important ptopoital 

Agne^ herielf, equally rrsoTved not to await guests of this 

alone as sbe was in the house, and with a little of the 

ìcy of the Unnamcd stili !cft, had becn hesitating for 

timo about a place of rctreat* The remainder of tbosa 




MI ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

studi, whirh in the: mcnths of famine had htcn of sodi 
lo h^r, wa«c now the principa! cause of hcr anxiety and 
ft/ilfifi/irt, irrtm havin^; hcard how, in the alrcady invaded 
rofirifrir^, ihfj\t. who harl any money had found themselTU 
in n wfiT'H' rondi tìon than any body else, cxposed alikc te ±e 
violnirr of the stran K«rs and the trcachcry of their fcl!ow- 
roiiritrytiK'ti. 'l'riir it was that shc had confidcd to no one. sa,rt 
l)nu Ahhnndio, thc! wcalth that had fallcn, so to say, imo her 
liip ; to hitii shr harl applied, from lime to timo, to change her 
u .fi ufin info Silver, always leavin^ him something to give t: 
nofiir Hill* whn wns poorcr than hcrself. But hidden riches. 
paitinihirly willi niu* who is iiot accustomed to handlc niuch. 
kri'p ihr possr-.'.or in ronlimial suspicion ol the suspìcicn ci 
olhrr.s. Whili-, hi»wcvvr, shr was j;f'"V-? al>out hiding hcre 
iiihl thetr, as slir hcst cimld, wliut shc coiild not manage te 
takr wilh hrr, and thiiikin^; ahout the scudi, which she kcpt 
M'wii iip in hrr Mays, she rcmcmhcrcd that, together wilh 
thriii. (hr llniiainrtl liad srnt hrr tlie iiiost ampie proftcrs of 
MMvii-r; slir ii-nn'inl>iMi'il wliat shc hail hoard relaiod about 
his r.istU''s W\u^ in si» si-curc a situai ion, whoro nothing 
cullili u'.u'li il. a^^ainst ils owiut's will. luu hirds; and shc 
U'solvi'd U^ m« .mil si'ok an asyluni ihcrc. W'oiulcrini; how 
slìo was !o niaki* lu*r>oll knuwn to ilio Signor. Don Abl)onJio 
ipiukU oi*riiM**d lo luT inind: who. atUT iho convcrsaiion 
\vo Imno n'iatod wilh ilio .\rchhi>hi^p. had alway> shown her 
]MituMilai inaiks rt kiiulnoss: ilic moro hcarti'^\ a> he c^iild 
*lo M» widìojit coniniiitìiVi: himsoll to a!!y o:*.o. a::d^ ihe-^o 
\\mnK pooplo Iviì'.j; lar ouou^!i o:ì\ \\\c yrcl\iV:'.::v was also 

i:v. wMcV. woi^Jlìavc 

:.>:. 7:':v.KÌr.c ihat 

i- >::V. :vorv '.^trrlexed 

s Ov^-.:r>i' Tvi^y-: appear 






\li>tant 


th.it .1 


ro.juost 


WOl 


'.Kl 


^0 ina< 


|MU tìù 


s Vv,u\ 


Mv'Nv lo , 


.; Vi' 


r\ 


v!a::^^ 


in xnoh 


0*M».tlS 


v'.on tho 


voor \r. 


.;:i \\v*. 


aiul %!i> 


u'..i\ v\! 


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. •* 


*■ ■ ■' 


. • • * ■ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI i0r 

Signor desires oothìng more than to benefit hls fcDow- 
Cfcatures; and Vvc no doubt he*il bc glad to receive us, 
Therc^ on the borders, and as il werc in the air, the soldicrs 
certa io ly won*t come And tlien» and thcn» wc shall find some- 
tJiitig to eat therc; for up in the mountaijis, whcn thb little 
storc is gonc/ and, so saying, she placed it in tJic basket opoa 
bc Itncn, * wc shotdd find oursclves very badly o£!/ 

* He s convertcxl, he's really convcrted. iso't he? * 

• Why shouSd we doubt tt any longer, after ali that's known 
3Ut hìm, nay, after what you yotirsclf have seen ? * 
'And supposìng we sliould be going lo put ourselves m 

^rison ? ' 

What prìson? I declare, wlth ali yotir silly objectìaos» 
[I bcg your pardon,) youM ne ver come to any conelnsion* 
JVclI done^ Agnese! il was certalnly a capitai thought of 
ti' And sctiiiig tlie basket on a table, she passed hcr 
tfartnigh the straps, and lifted ti npoo her back. 
' CottldnH we find some man/ said Don Abbondio, * who 
rotild come with us as a guard to his Curate? If we should 
any naifians» far thcre are plenty of thetn roving about» 
Wbat hdp CQuId you two gì ve me?' 
'A nothcr pian, to waste timc t ' exclaimed Perpetua* * To 
and look for a man, wlien everybody has to mind 
self! Up wiih you; go and get your breviary and hat, 
and 1i!t US set off,' 

Don Abbondio obeyed. and sooo retumed with the brcvtary 
nder hh arm, his hat on his head, aiid his staE in his hand; 
ind the thfce conipanions went out by a little door which led 
Jnto ihe churchyard. Perpetua tocked it after ber, rather 
lot to neglect an acc u than from any faith she 

ed in boks and ih i put the kcy In hcr pocket 

Abbondio cait a gbncc at the church in passing, and 
tered bctwecn his tecth : * It's the people's business to 
ke cafe of it, for tt's iltey who use it If they've the least 
re for their church, iheyll see to it; if ihcy've not, why, 
Jt's tlicir own look-ouU* 

Thcy took the road through the 6clds, cach stJmtly pur* 

^^ hì% wtiy. absorbed in thougfht on hU f^wn particular 

tkI lòoktnj^ rather n; i round; more 

5 Abbondio^ who was :. uual appfehcfH 



496 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

«on of the apparìtion of scxne suspidons fignre» or aoae- 
thing not to be tnisted. However, thcy cn c o m i tc wd no ooe: 
ali the people were either in their hotises to gustfd tfacm, to 
prepare hondles» and to put away goods, or on the nmés 
which led dìrcctly to the monntain-heights. 

After hea\nng a few deep sìghs, and then givmg vent to 
his veacation m an interjection or two. Don Abbondio began 
to gnimble more connectedly. He qaarrelled with the doke 
of Xevers, who might bave been enjoying himself in France, 
and playìng the prìnce there. yet iK*as determined to be duke 
of Mantua in spite of the ìK*orld: with the Emperor. who 
ought to bave sense for the follies of others, to let matters 
take their own course, and not stand so mudi ttpon panctilio: 
for, after ali. he would alwa>-s be Emperor, whether Tithis 
or Sempronius i;\*ere duke of Mantua: and. above ali, with 
the govemor. whose business it was to do eTerythiog he 
couid to avert these scourges of the country, while. in fiact 
he was the very person to invite them — ali from the pleasurc 
he took in making war. * I wish/ saìd he, * that these gentry 
were here to see and tr\- how pleasont it ìs. They will bave 
a fine account io render ? But, in the mean while, we kave 
to bear it who bave no blanie in the matter." 

* Do let these people alone, for theyll nevcr cca:e to help 
US,* said Perpetua, ' This is some of your u>v.a! rratìn^. *'I 
beg your pardon. > which just Comes to noihing. ^MKat 
raiher givcs rr.e uncasiness . . .* 

' WTiat's the roatter ? * 

Perpetua, who had been leisurehr going o\-er in ber cind. 
during their walk, her hast>- packing and siv^^wirc away. now 
began her lamentations at ha\-ing forgoKen 5uch a thing, and 
badh- concealed such another: here she kad !e:t traces which 
might serve as a due to the rohbers, there . . . 

' Well done ! * cried Don Abbondio, gradua! V sufficienthr 
reKeved from fear for hìs li fé to al-ow of anxiety for his 
worlvi- y goods ar. J chattels : * Well dcne ! Did yen realhr da 
so? Where was your head?* 

• \\*hat ! ' exclaimed Perpetua, comìrg to an a^^apt passe 
for a moment, and restìng her hmis cn her >:^?^s^ as well as 
the basket she carried \ix»u!d alk-^w : ' W>a: ' Jo >x»u begia 
now to scold me in this way, whcs it was yj^u who aln 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



■fity tìmn, instead of helping anfl cncotiraging toc? 
Steve Fvc lakcu more care of the thbgs of the house 
of my owd; Td not a crenture to IcDd ine a band; IVc 
lieen obltged to play iht* parts ùf botk M&riha and Magdalme : 
if anythmg goes wrong. IVe tiothtng io sty: Tve done more 
my duly now/ 
Agnese intcrnipted these dispute», by be^nìng, m licf 
am, to talk about her nwn gricvanccs i she laniented noi so 
[mch the troublc aiid damale, as findsng ali her hopes of 
7n meetmj; her Liicìn dashcd to the ground: for, the reader 
[lay renienih(?r, this was ihe very autumn on which they had 
long cakiilated. Il was oot at ali likelr that Donna Pras- 
ic woiild come to re»ide in her country -ho w se bi that neigli* 
ciurhood, under such drcumstances: on the contrary, she 
rouid more probably bave lef( it, bad shc happened to be 
ìierc» as ali the other rej^ìdcnts tn the cotintry were dolnf. 

The sight ' ■ 'fTfrcnt places they passed bfought thcse 
fhoughts to mind more vividly. and mcreased the 

irdotir of b^r de^ircs. T.eavmg the footpath through the 
pdds, they had taken the pubìk road» the very same along 
\ÈÌth A^e%e bad come whcn brlnging home her dattghter 
»i ^hort Ji time, after hjtvmg slayed wìth ber at the 
ar's. Tiìe vlllagc was alrcady in stgtit, 
*We wìll just say *'how d'yc do** to thesc good people/ 
MXdé Af^ese. 

'Yes» and rest ihere a little; fot I begto to bave had 
«ough of thh basket ; ;ind to get a mouthfut to cat too/ said 
eftta, 

* Òn condìticn we don't Tose Hme \ Cor we are not joumey* 
fig for our amtiscment/ conci udcd Don Abbondio. 

They were rccclved with open arma, and weìcoined with 
nuch ptrasiire: tt r^-minded them of a formrr deed of be- 
ai enee. ' ' my as yon can/ bere remarks 
ut aotbor, e more freqnently bappen to 
icet with eotinicnanec» wfnrh brtng yon pleasure/ 
At'ii.-^»- Tursi ìnto a flood of tears on embracing the good 
h wa? a great relicf to ber- and eouid only 
rr - Mibi to il*c questioits whldi she and ber husband 
:in! ^ ut Laeta. 

* Sbe ij belter off tban we afe»' aaid Don Abbondio; * ahe'i 



aoo 



ALESSAKDBO MAKtOKI 



ut Milan» ou% of ali dangcr, and far awsy ffx»iii thesc 
boHcal dangers/ 

* Are the Signor Curate, and bis ootDpanioiip maldiig i 
escape, then ? ' askcd the tailor. 

'Certaiiily/ replìed boih master and tenrint. Io 
breath, 

* Oli, bow I pity yoti both ì * 
*We are on our way/ said Don Abbondio* *m Ùm 

Castlc of ♦ * ♦ ' 

' That's a vcry good thotight ; yoti'll bc as safe 
in Paradise/ 

'And youVeno fear bere?' said Don Abbondio. 

' 111 teli you. Signor Curate : tbcy won*t bave to come bcfc 
to hall, or, as you know Uic saying is, in polite bugumge^ 
in ùspitasionc: wc are too niucb out of thcir roadt thi^ 
Heaven* At the worst, thereìl oniy be a little par* 
foragera, which God forbid !— but in any case, tbcre*» j 
of ttme, We shalt first bear the ìntelUgencc from ihc oifacr 
tinfortnnate towns, whcrc they go lo take up their qnartcr».* 

It was dctermincd io stop bere and takc a Utile resi; and 
Bs it was just the dinner*hour, * My fricfid*,* said ihe uulor, 
' will do me the favour of sharing my poor tablc; at any rate, 
you will bave a bearty welcome/ 

Perpetua said she bud bruugtit some refresbmenl vrììh 
tbein; and after exchangìng a few compUnientary 6pe«cbeft| 
they agreed to put ali togetber, and dine in company. 

The children gathercd wilb great glee round iJìdr 
Irlcnd Agnese Very soon, bowerer, the taìfor desired oo 
of bis little gìrls (the sanie that liad carrled tjiat gift of 
chartty to the widow Maria: who loiowf if any rcader 
members it f) to go and dicll a few early ehestmit^ whi 
were deposi te d in one corner, and then put thcm lo roBSL 

* And you/ said he to a little boy, * go ìnto the garden, and 
shake the peaeh-tree till some of the fmit fatls, and txring 
them al! bere; go. And yoti,' said he to inothcr, * "^ "^«-^^^ 
the fig^trec, and gatiicr a few of Ihe Hpefii 6g3^ \ 

Ibat business too wcll alfeady/ H^ h^sclf wcnt \* 
little barrel of wine; bis wlfc to fetch a dean tabl< 
Per r^k ont ibe pro%*tsiOQs; the tnT -f»rct«! 

na^' carthcoware piate were plaoed noce 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



sai 



|earat»!e seat for Doo Abbondio, with a knife and fork whìcb 
[Perpetua had in the ba^sket; the ditiner was dishedj aiid iHc 
party seated thcmsclves at ihc lable, and partook of the re* 
rpast, U ooi witli grcat merrìment, at least wìth miich moro 
than nny of the guests had anticipai ed enjoymg thai day. 
' What aay yoti* Signor Curate, to a tura cut of this soft?* 
lid the tailor ; * I could faiicy I was reading tbe hlstory of 
^ the Moors in Francc,' 

* What say I ? To think that evcn ibis trouble should fall 
|to tny lot I ' 

•Well, youVe cbosen a good aiylom/ resumed his host; 
*peopte wouid be pu^rled to gei up tliere by force. And 
^ou*U &tid company therc; h*s aJrcady reporled tfiat many 
flave retreatcd thither, and many more are daily arri v log.' 

'I woutd fain hope,* saìd Don Abbondio, ' that we shaJl bc 
well reccìved, I know this brave Signor ; and v\lien I once 
ihad the plcasure of bcing m his company^ he was so cxcced- 
agly iiolitc/ 

*And be sait word to me/ said Agnese, *by ìàs moBt 
strìous Lordshipf that if evcr I wamed anythtng, I had 

Jy to go lo him.* 

* A great and wcMiderfuì convcrsion I * resumed Don Ab- 
bondio: * and does he reatly continue to perset'^ere ? ' 

*Ob yci^* said tlie tailor; and he began to speak at some 
leoglb upon tbe holy Ufc of the Unnamed, and how, from 
bdng a scourgc to the country, be bad become its exani|»le 
and benefactor. 

' And aU those pcople he kcpt under him . , , that house- 
, bold . . / rcjoitied Don Abbondio* who had more than once 
llieard sotnethhig about tbcm, but had never been sitfficìently 
lassnrcd of the trath. 

* Thcy are most of Uicin distnissed,' repticd tbe tailor; • and 
who rcmain bave ahered thcir habits in a wonderfnl 

ri In short, this cajtif htìs become lìke the Tbebaid. 

fott, Si^or, underjtaui] ' '')gs* 

He theo bcgan to rcc^ gncsc^ the visit of tbe Car- 

' A great man/ Kiid hc^ *a grcat man ! Pity tbai be 

tifi 90 bastlly; for I dìd not, nnd conld itot, do him any 

honotir. llow often I wUh I coold speak to tùm agaia« a 

lUtitc more at my ca^e.' 



SOI ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

Having left the table, he made them obsenre an engrtvei 
llkeness of the Cardinal, which he kept hung up on one o{ 
the door-posts, in veneration for the penon, and also that he 
might be able to say to any visitor, that the portrait did aot 
resetnble him; for he himself had had an opportunity of 
studying the Cardinal, dose by, and at bis leisare, in that 
vcry room. 

' Did they mean this thing bere for him ? ' said Agnese. 
' It's like him in dress ; but . . .' 

•It doesn*t rcsemble him, does it?' said the tailor. *I al- 
ways say so, too ; but it bears bis name, if noihing more ; it 
servcs as a rcmembrance/ 

Don Abbondio was in a great hurry to be going ; the taitor 
undertook to find a conveyance to carry them to the foot of 
the asccnt, and having gone in search of one, shortiy re- 
tumed to say that it was coming. Then. tuming to Don 
Abbondio, he addcd, * Signor Curate, if you should ever like 
to take a hook with you up thcre to pass away the time, I 
shall be glad to serve >-ou in my poor way : for I sometimes 
amuse myself a little with reading. They*re not things to 
suit you, bcing ali in the vulgar tongue : but, perhaps . . / 

•Thank you. thank you/ replied Don Abbondio; 'under 
presont circunistaiiccs. one has hardly brains enough to 
attend to what wc are bid to read.* 

While ofìfertng and refusing thanks. and exchanging con- 
dolence. good wishes. imHtattons. and promises to make as- 
othor stay there on theìr return, the cart arrived at the froot 
door. PtUting in thcìr ha$ket5« the travellìng party moon t ed 
after them, and undertcH-^k. with rather nìore ca>e and tra»- 
qtiillity of mind. the seoond halt of theìr ìoumev. 

The tailor had relatcd the tnith to Don Abìvndio aKont 
the rnnamed. From the day on which we left him, he had 
steadìly perseverevl in the course he had pn>?v>5ed to htmself. 
atonini; for wr^-^np^ seekinp peace. rclJexHni: the pcv*r. and 
pcrformìng erery sr^xx! \*-ork for which an orcvmmìty pre- 
semcvi itself. The courage he had for.v.^r!y ::-.xnitest«d in 
otVonce and de t enee now <howc\1 itsc': in aSsrarr.ìng froon 
both one and the othcr. I{c Vr..i I.iivl v*v^w-r. a!! hÌ5 «neapoitt» 
and al\i^y$ u^!ke^4 a!or.e. >»-:*.::r.j :v> er.c\^ur:cr :>:e possìble 
OMì5c>;ucncc5 of the c:a.r.y dceÀ6 oc vk^knce be hai 



t PROMESSI SPOSI 



303 



Wittefl, and fM^r^uadcd that it wouid be ìht: cotnmìssioti of ati 
mddiliona! tmc io cmpfoy force ìn de f cuce of a !ife wìilch 
»w«d fo tniich to so many crcditors ; and perstiaded, too, that 
cvtl which inigln !>c done to litm wouM bc an ofifcncc 
[>ffcred to God, btit, wìtb respect to him^ielf, a just retribu- 
lioti ; a«d that he, above ali, had no rtght to coastitute him- 
Fclf SI pìmhhct of such offeDces, However, he had conti niied 
5t !rsB iinioktc than when he had kept in readiness fof bis 
ctjrìtv, so many armed banda, and hb own. The rcmem- 
rance oì bis fonner ferocity» and the iiigbt of hts present 
aeekness, one of wbich, ti mìght bave beeii cxpected, wouid 
bave kit so many tongìags for reveiigc, whilc the othcr reji- 
'nté that revenge so easy, conspfred, mstead. to procure and 
untain for bttn an admlratìon, whicb was the prtocipal 
irantce for bis safcty. He was that very man wbom no 
^otie couìd humhlc» and wbo had now htjnibled bitnaelf, 
Erery feeling of rancour, tberefore, formerly irrltated by 
" h coQleniptuou» bebavìour, and by the fears of others» van- 
shed before thlt oew bunuHty: thcy whom he had offetided 
bad now obtatned, bcyond atl eKpectatlon» and wlthout dai»* 
r, a tatlifaetìon wbicb they cotdd not bave promìsed thetn- 
elves from tbc most complete revenge — ^the satisf action of 
cerng' sticb a man motirniog over the wrongs he had eom- 
iitled, and partkìpating. so ta say, ìa thdf Indignatioa. 
lorc than one, whosc bittcrest and greatett sorr^w had 
for many years, that he saw no probabtiity of evef 
himseU, In any mstanee, stronger than thts pow^erful 
rssor, that he migbt revenge bìm^clf for some ifr'^*^ ^^^ 
meeting htm afterwardn a!^ì- ned, and wtth the 

of <Kie who wouid offer no rt felt only an liu- 

to salute him with demon5traiion& of respect. In bis 
Btary abajBcmettt, bis coimteiiaocc and bebaviour had ae- 
Ired, wìilsont bis bctng aware of H, something more lofty 
id nohte ; bccatiie therc wa.< fn ihem, more clearly than e ver, 
ahsence of ali fear. The most violent smé pertitiacious 
■ ' * ìi% it were, re*; traiti ed ami held In awe by the 
^tiofi for ^n rw^'iìttni and benefìcenf a man, ThÌ« 
Wii that he often found it diffkuJt 

to V ] of It wbidi was addrcMed lo 

him^ aod waa obliged to be carcfit! that he did not cvtoee too 



504 ALESSANDRO MANZONI 

plainly in his looks and actions the inward compunctioa lit 
felt, nor abuse himself too much, lest he should be too nrach 
exalted. He had sclected the lowest place in church, and 
woe to any one who should ha ve attempted to pre-occupy tt! 
it would have been, as it were, usurping a post of hraour. 
To have offended him, or even to have treated him disre- 
spectfully, would have appeared not so much a criminal or 
cowardly, as a sacrilegious act: and even they who would 
scarcely have been restrained by this feeling on ordinary oc- 
casions, participated in it, more or less. 

These and other reasons shcltered him also from the more 
remote animadversions of public authority, and procured for 
him, even in this quarter, the security to which he himself 
had never given a thought. His rank and family, which had 
at ali times been some protection to him, availed him more 
than ever, now that personal recommendations, the renown 
of his conversion, was added to his already illustrious and 
famous, or rathcr infamous, namc. Magistrates and nobles 
publicly rejoiced with the people at the change ; and it wonld 
have appeared very incongruous to come forward irrìtated 
against a man who w^as the subject of so many congratula- 
tions. Besidcs, a govemment occupied with a protracted, and 
often unprosperous, war against active and oft-renewed re- 
bellions, would have been very well satisfied to bc freed from 
the most indomitable and irksome, without going in search of 
another: the more so, as this conversion produced repara- 
tions which the authorities were not accustomed to obtain, 
nor even to demand. To molest a saint seemcd no very good 
means to ward ofif the reproach of having never been ablc to 
reprcss a villain ; and the example they would have made of 
him would have had no othcr cffect than to dissuade others, 
like him, from following his example. Probably, too, the 
share that Cardinal Federigo had had in his conversion, and 
the association of his name with that of the convert. scrved 
the latter as a sacrcd shield. And. in the state of things and 
idcas of those times, in the singiilar rehtions between the 
ecclesiastical authority and the civil power, which so fre- 
quently contended wiih each other without at ali aimtng at 
mutuai destruction« nay. wcrc alwa>-s minglìn^ expressions 
of acknowledgment, and protesUtions of deference, with hot* 



1 PROMESSI SPOSI 



50S 



iDides, and which not iinfrequcntly co-opcrated towards a 
toitiiDon end, without ever making peace, — in such a state of 
hingyi, it might alinosi scem, m a maiuxer, tliat ihc rcconcilia- 
lion of the fini carried aìoDg witìi it, if not the absolution, at 
[Itast ihe forge! fiilncsf, of the second; when the former alone 
liad becn employed to j^roduce an efTect equally desired by 
oth, 

Thys that verj^ individuai, who, had he fallcn from hb 
eminence, woiild havc excited ctnubtìon among small aod 
^reat in trainptin^ him under-foot, now, having spontanc- 
msìy liumbied bimscli to ihe dust» was reverenccd by many, 
id spared by ali 

Tnie tt is, that ihere were, inde ed, many to whom thls 

fTuch-talkcd-of cbange brought anyihing btjt sailsfactìon : 

[jany hired pcrpetratofs of crime, many other associates in 

^^ilt, who thcreby Test a great support on whtdi tliey bad 

"beco accustomed to depend, and who beheld the threads 

of a deeply-wovcn plot suddenly snappcd, at the moment, 

perbaps« when tbcy were expceting èie iiilelligence of its 

completton. 

But w€ bave alrcady seen what various scuUments were 

awmkened by the annoiiìiccmcnt of this conversion in the 

rufilans who were witb tlicir rnastef at the lime, and bcard it 

from hisown Itps: astoni ^hment» gricf^ depression, vcxation; 

a little, indecd, of evcnthing. cxcepi cotitenrpt and hatred. 

^Iie sanie was fclt by the others whom he kept dispcrsed at 

jiffcrctit posts^ and the sanie by hìs accotnplìces of higher 

whcn they first leamed the ternble tidings; and by ali 

|or the same rea^^ns, Much hatreti, howcrer, as we find in 

ile pasiage elsewhcre citcd from Ripamonti, fell to the sharc 

»f the Cardinal Federigo, They r :.- ' 1 bini as one who 

bad intmdccl Uke an cnemy into (! is; the Unnanicd 

r to the : and nobody bad 

.: to con^i|; 

i'rom lime to tiuie, the greatcr t fss in hls 

if^chold, tinahle io accommodate i new dis- 

jpltnc, and ?«ceing no probabiHty that it woisld ever change, 

adually look tbetr dcparttire. Some wcni in search of 

thcr ma^lent, and found employineiil, pcrchance, aniong the 

"old f ricada of the patron they tiad left; others enti^ted in 




S06 ALB8SANDRO ìfANZONI 

some terMO^ of Spain or Mantua, or any other belfigercot 
power; some infested the highways, to make war oo t 
smaller scale, and on thetr own account; and others, again, 
contented themselves with going about as beggars at liberty. 
The same courses were pursued by the rest who had acted 
under his orders in difTerent countries. Of those who had 
contrìved to assimilate themselves to his new mode of li fé, or 
had embraced it of their own free will, the greater nnxnber, 
natives of the valley, retumed to the fields, or to the trades 
which thcy had learnt in their early ycars, and had after- 
wards abandoned for a life of villany; the strangers re- 
mained in the castle as domestic servants; and both natives 
and strangers, as if blessed at the same time with their 
master, lived contentedly, as he did, neither giving nor re> 
ceiving injuries, unarmed, and rcspected. 

But when« on the descent of the German troops, several 
fugitives from the threatcned or invaded dominions arrivcd 
at his castle to request an asyUim, he, rcjoiced that the weak 
and oppressed sought refugc within his walls, which had so 
long been regarded by them at a dìstance as an enormous 
scarecrow, receivcd these exilcs with expressions of grati- 
tudc rather than courtesy ; he caused it to be proclaimed that 
his house would bc open to any one who should choose to 
take refuge there; and soon proposed to put. not only his 
castle, but the valley itsclf, into a state of de f enee, if e ver 
any of the German or Bergamascan troops should attempi to 
come thither for plunder. He assembled the servants who 
stili remaincd with him (like the verses of Torti, few and 
valiant) ; addressed them on the happy opportunity tl:at God 
was giving both to them and himself of employing them- 
selves for once in aid of their fellow-creatures, whom thcy 
had so often oppressed and terrified: and with that ancient 
tone of command which exprcssed a certainiy of bcìng 
obeyed, announced to them in j^cneral what he wi>hcd them 
to do. and, above ali, impresseci ujion them the necessity of 
keeping a restraint over themselves. that they who took 
refuge there might see in them only frienJs and protcciors. 
He then had brought down from one of the garnts a!l the 
fire-arms, and other warlike weapons. which haJ becn for 
^ A rtgiaient consittiiit of thm tbooaad «cl^ìcn. 



f PE0ME8SI SPOSI 



S07 



E depostted there, and distrlbiited Uiem amactg his 
hoiisehoìd ; ordexed ibat atl the peasants and tcnants of the 
valky, wbo wcrc willing to do so, should come with arms to 
the ca&de; pro^^ded tboae t^tHo had none with a sofficient 
sopply; sclected some tO act as officers, and placed others 
under ùìmr command; assigned to cach his post at the «i* 
trmocep and in various parta of the vaUey, on the as^ent, 
ftfld at Ui« gates of the catstlc ; aad cstablished the hours and 
metfaods of relìevìng the guarda, as in a camp, or as he had 
been accustoined to do ia that very place dtiring his Mt of 
rebdhon. 

In one corner of this garret, dìvided itom the rest, were 
the anns whkh he alotie bad borae, hìs famous carabine, 
tnuikets, swords, pisiols, hiigc knives, and poniards, eìther 
lying OH tlie ground» or set up against tJie wall. None of the 
icrvant^ laid a finger on Ihcm ; bui they delcrmined to ask 
tic Signor which he wishtd to be bfougbt to him* * Not one 
^1 thcm,* replied he; and whcthcr from a vow or intentional 
!ie fcinained the wholc tìme unarmcd» at the head of 
icsol garruoiL 
iie eniployed, at the samc tirne» other men snd women of 
li boosehold or dependents, in prepaiitig aarommodatìon in 
castlc for as many persons as possible, in erecting bed- 
Icadd, and arranging Straw beda, mattresses, and sacks 
stttffed with Straw, in the apartments which were now con- 
Tcrted ifìto dormitorie^. He aJso gave orders that largt 
Stores of provt^ions thould be brought in for the malntasaoce 
' the gnests wbr 1 s^rnd him* and wbo throngcd 

in daOy increa^ He, in the mcan while, was 

irer sitatiDn^iry ; in nnd nut nf the castle, tip aiid down the 
at, round aljout dirougli the yallcy» to establis^h. to forti fy, 
Tifctt the dìffercnt possts, to sec and to be seen* to put and 
• keep ali in order by hi.* directions, ovcrsight, and presence. 
s, and bv the wav, hr gave hcarty welcoincs to ali the 
,cor\. ' ' 1-4 lo iDcét: and ali, who had 

K* on Wf^rr, or now hcheld hiia 

£f^ ng (or a 

tlv? 3 cn iJieni 

T, aad ttimlog io look at hit», when, having tevered 
hi itom tbesn« he agaùi parsuod bis way. 



CHAPTER XXX 

THOUGH the greatest concourse was not f rom the qa«r- 
ter by which our three fugitives approached the vaUej, 
but rather at the opposite entrance ; yet in this second 
half of their journey, they began to meet with fellow-travel- 
lers, coxnpanions in misfortune, who, from cross-roads or 
by-patfis, had issued, or were issuing, into the main road. In 
circumstances like these ali who happen to meet each other 
are acquaintances. Every timo that the cart overtook a pedes- 
trìan traveller, there was an exchanging of questions and re- 
plies. Some had made their escape» like our f rìends, without 
awaìting the arrivai of the soldiers; some had heard the 
clanging of arms and kettle-drums ; while others had actually 
beheld them, and paintcd them as the terror-stricken usually 
paint the objects of their terror. 

'We are fortunate, however/ said the two women: 'Ict 
US thank Heaven for it. Our goods must go; but, at least, 
we are out of the way.' 

But Don Abbondio could not find so much to rejoice at; 
even this concourse, and stili more the far greatcr one which 
he hcard was pouring in from the opposite direction, began 
to throw a gloom over his mind. ' Oh, what a state of things !' 
muttered he to the women, at a moment when there was 
nobody at band : ' oh, what a state of things ! Don't you see, 
that to collect so many pcople into one place is just the same 
thing as to draw ali the soldiers bere by force ? Everybody is 
hiding, everybody carries off his things ! nothing's left in the 
houses : so they'll think there must be some treasures up bere. 
Theyll surely come ! Oh poor me I What bave I embarked 
in?' 

* What should they bave to come bere for ? ' said Perpetua : 
* they are obliged to go straìght on their way. And besides, 
IVe always heard say, that it's better to be a large party when 
there's any danger.' 

*A large party? a large party?' replicd Don Abbondio. 
'Foolish woman! Don't you know that a single German 

508 



1 PROMESSI srosi 



m 



[>I(fier could dcvour a htindrcd of siich as !he> ? And thcti, 
f il ihcy should take into thcir bcads to play any praiiks, it 
wouid bc a fine ihing, wouldn't it, to fimi ourselvcs in the raidst 
of a battJc? Oh poor me ! It wmM have bccn less dangeroua 
to have gone io lite mountains. Why slìould everybody choosc 
to go to one place? . * * Ti resome folks ! ' muttercd he in a 
stiU lowcr voice. *AU herc: stili coming, coming, comìng; 

ne after the other, like sheep that have no sense/ 

* In lliis way/ said Agnese, * they might say the satne of us/ 

* Hush, h«sh I ' said Don Abbondio, ' ali thìs talk does no 
I good. What's done ìs done : wc are here, and now we must 

stay bere It wìU be as Pmvidence willa: Heavcn send it may 
^begood! 

Btit bis horror was greatly increased when, at the enttanee 
»f the valley» be saw a largc body of armed meo, some at 
the door of a house, and others qnartered in the lower rooms. 
le cast a side glance at thetn • thcy were not the satne faees 
wìàdi it had been his lot to sce on bis forraer melancholy cn- 
[>ce. or if therc were any of the same. they were strajigely 
^Uered: but, witb ali thìs, it is impossihte to $ny what nneasi- 
icss this sigbt gavc hint— Oh poor me ! — iljougbt he. — Sce, 
BOWj if they won't play pranksf It isn't likely it coiild be 
^iherwìsc; I ougbt to bave exi^^cted it from a man of this 
ad Bui what will be want to do? VVill he tnake war? 
ili he play the king, eb ? Oh poor me I In circunistanccs 
tfhcn one would wi^b to bury oncsclf under -ground, and 
iL§ man sceks every way of makin^ hìmscU knoiATi, and 
Ittractingatteniion ; h seems as if he wished lo invite ihcm !^ — 

* Yon Sisc now, Si^or master/ said Pcrpelua, addressing 
Hns, *lhere are brave people bere who will koow how to 
lefend us. Let the soldiers come now : tbese people are not 
Ike our ebwns, who are good for nothing biit to drag their 

I after them/ 

old yonr tongtie/ said Don Abbondio, in a low and angry 

tocie, * bold yotir longue : yon don't ki»ow wbat yoii are talktng 
aboat. Pray Heavcn thal the soldiers may tnake baste» or 
that tliey may ne ver come to kncw wliat is doing bere, aod 

iKaf ihr* ì-iliirr r^ KtMni- ù riìi'i<',t l-!^r n furtrc-^,», Don*t TOH 

p ' Thcywish 



$Ì<Ì 



ALE6SAKDEO MANZONI 



to a wedding; ^cause ali thcy ficd thcy takc to clicffiselvei, 
and the inhabìtants ihty pul to ihe cdj^c of ihe av ^h 

poor mei Wcll, 111 surcly scc if thcrcif no way - ^ 

onesdf ia salety on &ome of thesc peaks* They woa t nach 
me ihcre in a batliel oh» thcy won'l rcach me there! ' 

' If you*r« afraid^ loo, of betng dcfeiided and hclped . . . 
Perpetua wes again bcginning; but Don A^bunclio «tiKfplj 
intcrroptcd her , thoygh stili in a supprcssed tonc : * Hold yotir 
tongtie; and takc good c:^ i what wcVe stid: 

woc unto ns il you do 1 l ino&i alw^ys pai 

on E pk&saot couijlcnancc liete, atid àpprovc ali wc s«^* 

At Malanotte they found anothcr watdi of armrd tncn. Li 
whom Don Abbondio submissivcly took oCf ìm ha!» 
the Diean while, in bis beari^ — Alas I «lai I Fvc ccrt;^ 
to an encampmcnt 1 — Hcre the cart stopped; they di- 
Don Abbondio hastily paid and dismìsscd the dp 
with bis two companions sìlently toountcd llic st. 
sight of those placca recalled to hìs ìmagtnatìon and iiuiigM 
with bis prcscnt troubks the remcmbrancc of tho*r wHich he 
had iuffered here once belorc* And Agnese, who had • 
seen these scenes, and who had drawn to berscH an jixiagu... ' 
ptcturc, which prc^cntcd itself to ber mind whcaevw sN 
thotjght of tlie drcuntstances that had occtirred htf% 
fe^ing tlicm now as they wcre in realìty, e3CpiTÌtnced a ne 
and more vivid feeling of these mourtifitl reconections^ 
Signor Curate I ' exclaimed she, ' to tbink tbat my poor 
has passed along this roadl . • / 

'Will you hold your tongue, you abstifd womaa?' etiti 
Don Abbondio in ber car* ' Are Ihose thing& to bc brtnging 
up bere? Don't you kisow we are tn his place? It i/raa weÙ 
for US nobody heard you ihen ; but if you talk in thìs way * . / 

*OhI' aaid Agnese ; 'now tliat be'» a «aintl » , / 

* VVell. bc quiet I ' replied Don Abbondio ar^tn 
t&r. ^Do you thmk one tuay say without 
10 stinti* ali tliat paf^sea througb otic's miad ? 
of tliatiking bim for bis goodoeas to ytm/ 

*Oh, IVc aìfoidy tbought of tbai: do you tliiak I docit 
kilow cren a Itltle civtlily?* 

'Civaity 1% Hot to ny thtnfi that may be dÌMsreeaUe 
to a persoli* partioukrfy fo oM wlici ti noi aoeiiloiDed 



tn iitr 



rathcr 



I FROMBSSI SPOSI 



SU 



hear thcoL And understand wcll, botti o{ you, that 

bis ìs noi a pbce io go chauerìng about* aiid saying 

hapfieii to come ìtito your heads. Il Is a 

fé house, you know thal aireadyr se e what a 

Acre is atl around: peojjlc of ali soris come 

bere: so bc prudcnt, if you can; wcigh your word»; and 

above sill^ lei there he few of diem. and only when there 

13 a nece^sity : Ofic can't gel wrong whai ane li sileni/ 

' Ydu do far worsc, with ali your • . / Perpetua be^an: 

at, * Huàh ! ' tri ed Don Abbondio, in a suppressed voici^ 

the sante lime haitily takìag oB hìs ìmu and niakìiig a 

ifouiìd bow: fot, on looking up. he had discovered the 

JnoaiDed eotoìog down to meet them* He, oit hìs part, 

DOticed and rccognizcd Don Abbondio, and was now 

RSteoing to welcome him, 

* Signor Curate/ said he, whoi he had reacbed him, ' I 
lld bave ttked to offcr yoti tny hoUi>c on a pleasantcr 

Bion; but, under any circiunttaitces, 1 ajn excecdìngly 
lo be able to be o£ some service lo yoy/ 

* Tnisting in your illustrious Lordships grcat kindoess/ 
Don Abbondio, *I bave venturcd to come, under 

melancholy drcumstances» lo intrude upon you: and« 
your illustrious Lordship sees^ I bave al 50 presumed 
bring company with me. This ii my hou&ekecper ^ . / 

* Shc is welcome/ said the Unnamcd. 

'Aitd thtt/ conlìnued Don Abbondio, *ts a woman to 
whofli your Lordship has alrcady bcen very good: the 
" «otber of that . . . of tìiat , . / 
•Of Lucia/ said Agnese. 

'Of Lucìa 1' exctabned the Uonamed^ tammg with 1 
of fthamc towards Agnese. * Boen very good, ! ì ìm* 
mrtMl God! You are v^- good to me^ to come bere , • < 
me . . . to ibta hociscu You are most h^artily wdeooaie. 
Y041 briEig a blcsstng with yen.* 

*0h» tir/ «aid Agnese* *ì come to givc yoo tronbte, I 
hxft, too/ cKMiCintted slie, going very dose lo bis ear, '10 
thatik you . . / 

The Unnamed interruptcd these words, by anxlously 
maidog inquide^ abotrt Lucia; and having heard the m- 
ÙÈ^ had lo gi?ep ba tuni«d to a ooo oy ai q r bui new 




ma 



ALESSANORO MANZONI 



etringen to each oiher» anJ dllTermg tn rank» haMl; msk 
and agc, no ciisturbance of any ifiumcnt occurrc<L TI» 
Uiuianied had plac^d guardi in varìous po$ts, ali of whooi 
cndcavotired ta ward off any unpleasanmess witJi ilie 
usually exhthìted by tboac wiio are Jield acccnmlablt 
any mìsdeTneanourSi 

He had aldo requested the clcrgy, and othcrt of 
autliority among thosc to wliom he aifordcd abcltcr. |9 
walk round the {xiaccj and krcp a watch; and^ ms ùtum 
as be could, he himself weut about to &ho«f Kimsttf tu 
every direction, while^ even in bis abs^nce* Use r&mau^ 
brancc of whij was tn the house scrved as a restraint U^ 
those who nccdcd ìt. Besidci, tliey wert ali pcople that 
bad fled from dangcr, and hcnce gcnerally tneliiic^ to peace: 
while the UiQughts of iheìr lioi»es and propcity. iiui m 
goiDe caseB, of relative^ atid frìcnds whom they had 
exposed to danger, and the ttdings thcy heard fn^cn wtt 
deppesiéd their spirita, and tbus maintained and cotiat 
iticrcased thìs dbposìtlon, 

Thcre were» liowt^vcr, some anburdcncd spirita^ some 
of firmer mould and stronger courage, wlio tricd to paci 
thcse days mcrrUy, They had abandoticd their homes bé> 
cause they wcrc not strong enough to defend thcin; boi 
they iaw no use In wcepìiig and aightng over Uiingi» Ibat 
could not he hclped^ or iti pìcturing to ihr V and coih 
tcmplating beforeband, in iinagination, tht: ;vcy waulrf 

only too soon witness with their own eyeà. Famllka ii^ 
qtiaìnted with each other had left their bomei al tha 
tìmtf and had met wkh each other agaiu in \hu retrc 
ttew f rieniJship» wcrc formed ; and the multitnde wer e divi* 
ÌQÌù parties, according tg their severa! liabJU and dis 
tfona. They who had money and consideration wcjii lo i 
down in the valley, whiere eaitng-bonses and inns bad 
basti ly nio up for the occasion: in 'sonv iuU wc 

interehanfed with hmentationa» or no but tbc 

Jtibfonitnas was allowed to be dtscuii^d; tn cnbcra, 
forumca wtre never retnembered, unless it were to 
tbat Ihcy must not thtnk about thctiL To tho»e who cìt 
could not, or wonld not, bear part of the expenses» 
«ouPf aiid urine wera diitiibut^ in tiie outte; li«ti<ka \ 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



ns 



IU1 



:h were laici out daily for those ¥fhùm the Signdt 
had cxpressly Invited to partake af ihcm i aad our acqiialnt* 
unccs were amonf this tmmbor. 

Agnese and Perpetua, noi to eat the bread of tdleness, 
had begged to be employcd in the sen'ices which, in ao 
Urge an establishment, must have been required; and in 
tbese occupations they spent a great part of the day, whtle 
the rest was passed in chat ti ng with some friends, whose 
aequabtance òiey had made, or with the un fortunate Don 
Abbondio. Thìs individuai, though he had nothing to do» 
wns, nevenheless, nevcr afflicted with ennui: his fears kept 
hioi company. The direct dread of an assault had, I belile 
sdbsided: or, il it stili remamed, it was one whìch gave him 
the least uneasiness ; beeausc, whenever he bestowed upon It 
the alightest thought, he eouid not help sceing how un* 
fotinded it wa». But the idea of the surrcmnding country, 
iimdated on both sìdes with bruta! soldìers, the armoor 
\d armed mcn he had constantly before bis eyes, the re* 
embrance that he wa« in a casile, logether with the thoufht 
oC the many thingi ihat might happen any moment in such 
:i n» ali contributed to kccp him in indisdnct, general, 

i lilarin; let alone the anxiety he feJl when he thought 

o! bis poor homt. During the whole time he remained in 
this afiylum, he never once went more timo a stone's throw 
from Uie building:, nor rffcr set foot on the desccot: bis 
aole watk was to go out upon the espbnade, and paco 
ììp aod down^ sometimea to one, aometimes to the otber 
aidt of tlie castle, thcr« to look down among the cHffa 
aad precipicesy In hopes o! diàcoverìng some practicable 
paasage. some kind of footpath, by which he might go in 
atarth of a hidìng-place, in case of being very ebsely 
preased On meeting any of his companions In this asylum, 
failed not to make a profotind bow, or respectful siJia- 
ion, but he assoclated with vcfy few; bis most fraqueot 
tiona were with the two women. as wc have rt** 
axsd lo chem he poured otit al! hts grlefs, al tho 
riak of beiog iomctimei silcnccd by Perpetua» and com- 
plately puf to ihame tvtn by Agnese. Al tat>te, howev«f, 
where he fcat bui little, and talked stili leis, he heard the 
WWi of the tcrrìbl4 isardi which arrìv«d daily mt the ea£tl% 



sia 



ALESSANDRO MANZONI 



dther reported from vilJage to vlUsge. and from mctjtb 
mouth, or broug!it thither hy some onc w!io hjid al 
detemiined to rcmain at hoinc, and had, after aU. made tà* 
etìcape, wìthout having bcen ablc to savc ; ' .% iful 
probably, also, after rcceivbg considerablc .;mait; 

and evcry day broufht with it some fresh tak of otbfùf- 
tunc. Some, who werc newsmongcrs by profcsKioo, diligeotff 
colleeted the diffcrcnt ruitiours, weighcd ali tlie vmnoof 
accounts, and thcn gave the substance of thcm to the otheta 
They disputed wbich were the most d estrudi ve reguneotii 
and whether tnfaiitry or cavalry were the worat; they «► 
ported^ as well m they could, the namea of tome of tba 
leaders; relatcd some of their past enterpriscs, specì&ed the 
places of ha!tini^, and the darly marches* Thai fiay soda 
a regiment would spread over such a distrìct: to-montrw. 
it wowtd ravag e such another, whcrc, in the meaxi 
aiiotìier had bcen playìng the vcty devìl, aiid worsc 
chiefly, however, sought Information and kept cottnt 
the regiments which from lime to time crossed the br _ 
of Lecco, beeauBc these might be eonsidercd aa fairly gane, 
and rcally cut of the territory. The cavalry of Wallen- 
stcin passed it, and the ìnfaatry of Marradas; the oivalry 
of An2lalt, and the infantrj^ under Brandcbiirgo ; the Iroops 
of MontccuccoH, then those of Ferrari; thcti foUowed 
Akringer, then Fitrstenburg, thcn Collorcdo: after theto 
carne the Croatians, Torqtaato Conti, and this, that* and tbc 
othcr leader; and last of ali. In Heaven*s good tìfne, camc 
I at length Galasso, The f!ying squadron of Venetìans niade 
their final €j«it; and the whok country, on cither haoil 
waa once more set at liberty* Thosc bclongtng to the lo- 
vaded vìUagcs which were first clcarcd of their ravafers, 
had already begrun to evacuate the ea»tle, and every day 
peoplc conttntied to Icave the place: as after an aottimsttl 
atorm* the birds m^y be aeen lasuisg on eveiy tide fron 
the leafy branches of m great trec^ where they had iociglil 
a ihelter from Ita fury, Onr three refugees vrtrt, periuipi^ 
the iast to take their dcparture, owing to DoQ Ab-I 
bondio's cxlreme reluctancc lo nm the n"?ik, il ther te- 
ttimed home immediately, of meeting some straggling soidtei9 
who might itili be loitering in the rear of Use anx^. Il 



I PROMESSI SPOSI 



sn 



nn^ repcated antl tnsisted* that the lOQger 

ne grcater opponnnitie^ they afforcied to the 

tbìeves of the neighboorhood lo enter the house and Eoìsb 

the business : whenever tlie safe^ of Hfe was at stakci Doa 

IlAbbondio mvariably gained the dsiy: tm!ess, Ìndec4 the 

'fnimmcTxce of the datiger were such as to deprtre hlm of 

the power o! sclf-defence. 

On the day fixed for iheir departure, the Unnamcd had 
a carriage in readincss at Mal^nolle, in which he had ai- 
ready placed a full supply of clothes for Agnese, r>rawìng 
hcf a little aside, he also forced her lo accept a small store 
of scudi, lo compensale for the damages she would find at 
.home: althottgh, striking ber breast, she kept repeating ihat 
|«shc had stili some of the first itìpply left, 

' When yon see your poor good Lucia . . / said he, the 
last ihing: 'I ani already convlnccd she pfayi for me* be* 
luse T have done her so mnch wrong; lell her, thcn, that 
thank ber, and trust in God ber prayers wUl reluni, also, 
in equa! blessings upon her own head/ 

He then msisted upon accompanyìng his tlirec guests 
lo ihe carriage. The obseqnious and extravagant acknowl- 
'edgtnents of Don Abbondio, and the compUmentary speeehes 
of Perpetua, we leave to the reader's iniagination. They 
6et off, made a short atay, according to agreement, at the 
tailor's oottage, and there heard a hondred partìculars of 
tnarch, the iisttal tale of theft, violence, destnicllon, 
obscenity; but there, fortunately, none of the soldìcry 
bad liecn seen. 

*Ah, Signor Curate!* said the tailor, as he olTered hìm 
Ms arm to assist him again into the earriage, *they11 bave 
ter enough for a prìnted book in a scene of destnictioo 
this.' 
U they advanced a Httk on their joumey, our travcllcrs 
/began to wittiess, wtth thelr own eyef^ somethjng of what 
had hcard descnbed; vineyards despoìled, not as by 
vintagcr, btit as tbotigh a siorm of wìnd and hail coni- 
lioed had exerte<I thctr utmost energies; branche^ strewfi 
carlh, broken off, and itampled under-foot; stakea 
the ground troddcn and coTcred with chlpSp 
and twigi; treea upfooted, or Ibelr bnmch«s loppedj 



51S 



ALM8AK0KO MANZONI 



hcdgei broketi down; stile* ouried «way. In the vili 
too. doors shiv^rod to pÌ<Tcs, Windows dcstroyed^ ttnw» 
rags, rulihUh qI aII kinds, ìyìng in heaps, or ncattercd iB 
over the pavcmeut; a dos« atmosphcre, md liorrid 
of a more rcvoUing nature procccding froin the hoii8««; i 
of the villagers hmy in sweeptng out tlie occirnìtilatìoii oÌ 
fìltìi withìti thtm ; othcrs In rcpaìring the doars aad wtndawi 
a^ ihey bc&t couid; some agaln weeping io grottps» and mr 
dulging in latncntations togcther ; «ad a& tht carrube étw% 
tìitovtgh, Imndi stretchcd oiit on both sides at the doorsof Ai 
vehick ìmptoring alms. 

Wìth thesc sc^nc», now befare his eyes, now picttit^ fa 
their mirkds, und whh the expectatìon of Endtng thmr 
own houses in just the samir state, tliry al leagtb arHved 
there, and iound that theìr cxpectations were md«cd realisel 

Agnese dcposited hcr byndles in one corner of hcr Httk 
yard, the cleancst spot that rematncd about tilt hooit] 
ahe then set berseli to sweep il thotonghlj, and colkci 
aiid rearrange the h*ttle fwmiturc which had been i-»»*^ ^'-'• 
ìhe got a earp^ter and blacksmith to come and 
doors and window frames, and tbcn* unpaddnf tnr itneo 
which had been givcn ber, and f^^HÌy coontinf oT«r ber 
fteéh store of cotns, abe exclaimed lo btritlf, — IVe fatkn 
apon my feet 1 God, and the Madocuta, and tbat food 
Signor, be thankedl I may laóecd say, Vyb falkxi opoQ 
twy feci!— 

Don Abbondio and Per|>etita cntered the boitie without 
tlic aìd of keys, and at every atep they took io the paasaga 
focotintered a fetid odoor, a fiaiaonoos dSitvia. wbidi ^* 
UMOSH dro\*t tbetn back Holdiiig ihér ooaes, ibey aihraiiQfld 
io Ih e kitchcn^loor; eatered oq dp-to^ earefully pk^àtg 
their way- to atoid the most dls^imbif parta of the iKfaf 
airaw which ooTcred the groood, aad cast a flaaoa aromd, 
Nodiing waa teft whole; bitt reficf and frafoicnt» of wbat 
imee had beeo. both here aad in other ^rta r* «^"^ ^Kise, 
were to bc teca in evrry corner : qnitb and : irom 

Perpetui*» fowk» scrapa of tinen^ katrs ont oi LK>n Ab- 
teodioV caìeidara. renuiants of Utcheo tilaia3& ; ali beapid 
tefitber, or scattcrtd m cotifmtiaa apno tba floor. O 



kaanb olsht be iBa^?cred 



M a riolom acc«*^ 



I PEOMBSSI SPOSI 



01» 



dcstrtjctiort, like a multlttidc cif ordinar^ idca^ scsttefed 
Khroygh n vriéeìy diffused pcriod by a professional orator* 
fThere wcre the veatìges of extingulshcd faggots and billeis 
jf wood^ which showed thcm lo bave beeri once tbe arm 
Fof a eh air, a tahle-foot, the door ol a cupboard, a bedpost, 
Of a Slave of the little cask wbìch coiitaincd the wlnc, so 
beneficiai to Doo Abbondio's stomach. The rest was cindcrs 
and coal; and with some of tbcse very coals, the spoìlera, 
by way of recreatton, had scrawled on the walls dinoned 
figures» doìng thetr beat, by tJie he!|> of sundry square caps, 
shaven crowns, and Urge bands, to represent prtetts stU' 
kljr exbibited in ali manner of horrible and ludicrons 
udes; an intentìon, certainly, in wbich such artisti eould 
possibìy bave failed, 
*Ah, the dirty pigs!' exelalmed Perpetua, 'Ah, the 
thicvesf ' cried Don Abbondio; and, as if making their es- 
pape, ihey went oui hy another door, that led into the gar- 
Bcii, Once more drawing their breath, they went straight 
Ip to the fig-tree; bnt, tvax bcfore rcaching it, they di&- 
tovercd ihat the ground had beat disturbcd* and both to* 
Wt uttcred an exclamation of dismay, and, on cotntng up, 
bey foond m tmth, instead of the dead, only the empty tcrniK 
Thts gare rise to some dlspute