Day 29The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
March 21, 2023 by Michael F. Moore
The Conversion. This chapter is filled with quotes from the New Testament, in line with its theme that salvation is possible for even the greatest sinner.
“Let us leave the ninety-nine sheep,” replied the Cardinal, “they are safe on the mountain. Now I wish to spend some time with the one that went astray.”
Unrepentant, by contrast, is our old friend, Don Abbondio:
“It was all Don Abbondio could do to hide how annoyed, irritated, and bitter this proposal—this order—had made him. With no time to compose his face or wipe away the frown that had already formed on it, he hid his feelings by bowing his head in a gesture of obedience.”
He is forced to perform an act of goodness without feeling it in his heart:
“‘What should I say to him?’ he thought. ‘Should I repeat, ‘I couldn’t be happier’? Happy about what? That, after a lifetime of doing the devil’s work, you’ve finally decided to become an honest man like everyone else? Some compliment! . . . No matter how I put it, that’s all my congratulations will end up meaning. And how do I know he really has suddenly turned into an honest man, out of the blue! Plenty of people put on an act in this world, and for plenty of reasons! How am I supposed to know what’s true?”