Day 7The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
February 27, 2023 by Michael F. Moore
Don Rodrigo’s audacity pushes Padre Cristoforo over the edge, by claiming that Lucia can find protection in his palace. At that point the friar explodes. In Italian, “l'uomo vecchio si trovò d'accordo col nuovo; e, in que' casi, fra Cristoforo valeva veramente per due.” A rough translation would read, “the older man reached a pact with the younger; and in instances like that, Fra Cristoforo was truly two men in one.” I struggled with that first clause, which in a baggy literal version would be hard to decipher. So I adopted the militaristic vocabulary bandied around the table earlier and settled on the more compact but powerful, “His old self joined with the new.”
In another borrowing from English Gothic, an elderly servant steps out of the shadows. And while he is offering to keep Padre Cristoforo apprised of what is underfoot at the palace (thereby becoming the spy that Cristoforo had been accused of being), Agnese is at home cooking up yet another scheme so that her children can marry.