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Day 33

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

Chapter 26

March 25, 2023 by Michael F. Moore

Despite his faults, especially considering the damage his refusal to perform the marriage would cause, there seems to be a shifting of sympathies here, starting with Manzoni’s own interjection:

“At this, Don Abbondio, who had struggled to answer less pointed questions, was left speechless. And, to tell the truth, even I—manuscript before me and pen in hand, contending only with words and fearing only the criticism of my readers—even I feel a certain reluctance to go on. For there is something unsettling about this effortless deploying of so many fine exhortations: to fortitude and charity, to diligent caring for others and boundless self-sacrifice. But when I realize that all this was said by a man who actually practiced them, I forge bravely ahead.”

At the center of Cardinal Borromeo’s exhortation is a single word: love. I was tempted to use the biblical word, Charity, but its meaning today has shifted, and we are more inclined to interpret it as the giving of alms, helping the poor.

“Even if they had provoked you, offended you, tormented you, I would still tell you (would I have to?) to love them for this very reason. To love them because they have suffered, because they still suffer, because they are your children, because they are weak, because you need forgiveness, and their prayers will help you immensely to receive it.”

Lucia finally confesses to her mother that she made a vow to the Blessed Mother, and cannot marry Renzo. For once, it’s Agnese criticizing her daughter for being venal:

“Listen to me. People who need money are happy to get it, but this money isn’t going to make Renzo any better off.”

Page 438. And where is poor Renzo? He’s had to change his name and his workplace to avoid arrest. Notice that here Manzoni states, “Now for the facts,” signaling a transition to the historical narrative that will animate the next few chapters.

But he cannot resist a comic note. Renzo’s new boss,

“thought the youth a bit dim-witted at first, since whenever he called out, ‘Antonio,’ he didn’t always get an answer.”

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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