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Day 32

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

Chapter 25

March 24, 2023 by Michael F. Moore

We’re back to Pescarenico, where the villagers now feel free to gossip about Don Rodrigo. Or do they. First a general consideration:

“When people cannot give vent to indignation without grave danger, they not only express it less (if at all), they actually feel it less. But who could resist asking and conversing about such a sensational event, in which the hand of God had been witnessed, and two such remarkable characters had made such a remarkable impression?”

And yet:

“Now his many other feats were criticized, and in their regard, encouraged by the general consensus, people said what they felt. But in a whisper, with a shudder, and from a distance, since he was still surrounded by bravi.”

Two new characters are introduced, an odd couple if there ever was one!

Donna Prassede,

“An elderly noblewoman with a strong propensity for good deeds, certainly the worthiest profession a person can exercise, but which can unfortunately—like all the others—also make matters worse.”

Here she is in the 1989 television adaptation.

And her husband, the pedant, Don Ferrante, with his perfect orthography. “Ortografia” is a word that gave me pause. Nowadays, when Italians talk about spelling, they call it “lo spelling.” Ortografia, like orthography, refers to “the art of writing words with the proper letters according to standard usage” (Merriam-Webster online dictionary). I could have simply said, “calligraphy” or “spelling,” but I felt that orthography was more suitable for a pedant. But more on Don Ferrante in Chapter 27.

Don Abbondio finally gets the dressing down he’s been fearing.

“‘Reverend Father.’ These words were uttered in a manner that left no doubt that they were the start of a long and serious conversation… ‘They must have spilled the beans this morning,’ Don Abbondio said to himself.”

In Italian, “Hanno votato il sacco stamattina coloro" - They emptied the bag this morning. As you can see, idiomatic expressions don’t always work in a literal translation. Luckily, English has plenty of idioms of its own. But two others in this chapter carry over pretty well:

“Did [the Church] not warn you that you were being sent forth as a lamb among wolves?”

And a few sentences later,

“In the middle of these arguments, [Don Abbondio’s] spirit was like a chick between the talons of a hawk.”

Remember the clay pot among iron kettles? He admits it openly:

“It’s hard to be brave when you’re not.”

Daily Reading

A Preview

A Preview

Day 1

Introduction & Chapter 1 (through pg. 13: "were still around.")

Day 2

Chapter 1 (to end)

Day 3

Chapter 2

Day 4

Chapter 3

Day 5

Chapter 4

Day 6

Chapter 5

Day 7

Chapter 6

Day 8

Chapter 7 (through p.108: “respective ranks.”)

Day 9

Chapter 7 (to end)

Day 10

Chapter 8 (through p.130: “the others filed behind him.”)

Day 11

Chapter 8 (to end)

Day 12

Chapter 9 (through p.151: “are also quite capable.”)

Day 13

Chapter 9 (to end)

Day 14

Chapter 10 (through p.174: “her closest relatives.”)

Day 15

Chapter 10 (to end)

Day 16

Chapter 11 (through p.193: “keep track of it.")

Day 17

Chapter 11 (to end)

Day 18

Chapter 12

Day 19

Chapter 13

Day 20

Chapter 14

Day 21

Chapter 15

Day 22

Chapter 16

Day 23

Chapter 17

Day 24

Chapter 18

Day 25

Chapter 19

Day 26

Chapter 20

Day 27

Chapter 21

Day 28

Chapter 22

Day 29

Chapter 23

Day 30

Chapter 24 (through p.396: “as soon as you’re ready.”)

Day 31

Chapter 24 (to end)

Day 32

Chapter 25

Day 33

Chapter 26

Day 34

Chapter 27

Day 35

Chapter 28 (through p.467: “their hands from hunger.”)

Day 36

Chapter 28 (to end)

Day 37

Chapter 29

Day 38

Chapter 30

Day 39

Chapter 31

Day 40

Chapter 32 (through p.534: “purpose of the conflict.”)

Day 41

Chapter 32 (to end)

Day 42

Chapter 33 (through p.554: “treatise on political economy.”)

Day 43

Chapter 33 (to end)

Day 44

Chapter 34 (through p.574: “the living were left.”)

Day 45

Chapter 34 (to end)

Day 46

Chapter 35

Day 47

Chapter 36

Day 48

Chapter 37

Day 49

Chapter 38

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