Day 16The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
Chapter 11 (through p.193: “keep track of it.")
March 8, 2023 by Michael F. Moore
“Like a pack of bloodhounds that, having chased a hare in vain, return to their master, humiliated, heads hanging and tails between their legs, the bravi returned to Don Rodrigo’s palace on that night of tricks and treachery.”
To underscore that image, another engraving by Gonin, with a “C” for the first word, “Come” (Like):
“‘It ain’t easy,’ answered Griso, one foot still on the first step, ‘it ain’t easy getting reprimanded after trying your loyal best to do your duty and risking your neck while you’re at it.’”
“L'è dura, - rispose il Griso, restando con un piede sul primo scalino, - l'è dura di ricever de' rimproveri, dopo aver lavorato fedelmente, e cercato di fare il proprio dovere, e arrischiata anche la pelle.”
In his voice I hear the Lombard accent, the shortened “ü,” the regional use of the enclitic pronoun “le,” which surrounded me during the many years I lived in Milano and Como. Which gave me the green light to go full-on colloquial.
See how the rumors fly, and how no one can keep a secret:
“One of the greatest consolations in life is friendship. And one of the consolations of friendship is having someone in whom to confide a secret. But friends don’t come in pairs, like married couples. Each of us generally has more than one, which forms a chain whose end no one can trace.”
Side note: Attilio calls the mayor a “galantuomo,” a word that recurs throughout the novel, but with a variety of meanings. “Man of honor” comes to mind, in the way that mafiosi indicate their respect for each other. Not to mention Mark Antony’s ironic description of Brutus as an “honorable man” in Julius Caesar. Today we might say “stand-up guy” or “mensch”—too anachronistic for this novel. I opted for “honest man” here, which is the literal meaning of the word, with the heavy irony that it implies.