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Day 48

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

Chapter 37

April 9, 2023 by Michael F. Moore

The reprieve of nature:

“A few impetuous drops drummed and bounced off the dry white road, raising a cloud of fine dust. A moment later, those drops became a shower, and before he could even reach the alley, the rain started coming down in torrents.”

Not only does the rain wash away the pain of the past two years, it also washes away the plague.

Renzo returns to Agnese with the happy news. But in a gesture we will all unfortunately recognize, he takes protective measures when they sit down to talk:

“I’ve just come from Milan and, as you’ll hear, I was in the plague up to my ears. Yes, I’ve changed my clothes, from head to toe, but it’s a nasty disease. It sticks to you, sometimes, like a curse.”

We learn the terrible fate of Sœur Gertrude:

“After much raging and struggling, she had repented and confessed. Her current life was a voluntary punishment so severe that no one could imagine anything worse, short of death.”

I wonder at the expression “voluntary punishment” (“supplizio volontario”).

And of the end met by Don Ferrante, a pedant to the end:

His fretus—meaning, on the basis of these arguments—he took no precautions against the plague. He caught it and went to bed to die, like an operatic hero, blaming it on the stars.”

There’s a cruel irony to Manzoni’s use of Latin here, in a book that is constantly pointing to how language and literacy are used to deceive and oppress the lower classes. (Not to mention Don Ferrante’s library, which ends up at the kinds of book stalls one sees lining the Seine in Paris today.)

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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