One morning, which was in May, and the street flashed from one end to the other, Signor Riotti, plump, majestic, with a pair of glasses set on his swollen nose, making a move between the scientist and the joker, he had come to the door of the shop to light his pipe. And since, in fact, the previous evening, he had been listening to the “Rigoletto” – an evening at popular prices – so, between one puff and the other of the smoke that a beautiful blue cloud made around him, he went away humming:
“Where did they hide it? …
Ta-rin ta-ran ta-rin ta-ran ta-ra! ”
He was waiting for an early customer to throw him, between a citrate of magnesia and a powder of calomel, some affable sentences about the decadence of Italian opera, recalling the good times of the cartel tenorons and the prima donna «those yes! who extracted certain spun notes from you that gave goosebumps to a satanasso of Turk! ” And talk about more: medicine, politics, literature …. He was, unfortunately, the abhorred encyclopedic pharmacist and knew a little of everything.
Since Riotti and del Ferrante were shop after shop, and indeed inside they overlooked the same courtyard, the eldest son of the Arrigo, with his satchel under his arm, was on his way to school.
“Where did they hide it?”
Where will they have hidden it … ”
hummed the placid pharmacist.
“Good morning, Mr. Riotti,” said the child, in his voice so well-mannered, which lacked the rage.
“There, Rigoletto! …” the pharmacist exclaimed carelessly. And the nickname, from that day, remained there, in the neighborhood.
Arrigo was a really nice boy: he kept himself very clean, studied well, showed respect for everyone; but what harmed him was an immoderate and childish vanity of his, which betrayed itself in all the things of his little life. At school, for example, – a private school run by a priest – he dealt only with children from aristocratic families, and returning to his father’s back room he appointed them for their titles of counts and marquises with a certain complacency in thinking of them. ‘friend. So too he was not a little ashamed of having to walk home, following a ruffled and poor servant girl, while they had servants and armored carriages waiting for them. It had been the first mistake in his education, to get him to attend a gentry school rather than send him with other urchins to public courses. But the good del Ferrante, in his modest shopkeeper’s role, could not completely forget his distant origins, and kept his eldest son for miraculous destinies. Little Arrigo also had excessive care for himself and for dressing; he was already chewing himself up like a little baby octopus, making a fuss to wear Sunday clothes on weekdays and slicing with all the manners of a beardless marquis. He was quick-witted, flexible, shrewd; he had a truly surprising spirit of observation and imitation; he would say with the air of the perfect connoisseur of this or that thing: “Oh! … I don’t think” chic! …. “; he had learned some French words and used some with Little Arrigo also had excessive care for himself and for dressing; he was already chewing himself up like a little baby octopus, throwing up his tantrums to wear Sunday clothes on weekdays and slicing with all the manners of a beardless marquis. He was quick-witted, flexible, shrewd; he had a truly surprising spirit of observation and imitation; he would say with the air of the perfect connoisseur of this or that thing: “Oh! … I don’t think” chic! …. “; he had learned some French words and used some with Little Arrigo also had excessive care for himself and for dressing; he was already chewing himself up like a little baby octopus, throwing up his tantrums to wear Sunday clothes on weekdays and slicing with all the manners of a beardless marquis. He was quick-witted, flexible, shrewd; he had a truly surprising spirit of observation and imitation; he would say with the air of the perfect connoisseur of this or that thing: “Oh! … I don’t think” chic! …. “; he had learned some French words and used some with he had a truly surprising spirit of observation and imitation; he would say with the air of the perfect connoisseur of this or that thing: “Oh! … I don’t think” chic! …. “; he had learned some French words and used some with he had a truly surprising spirit of observation and imitation; he would say with the air of the perfect connoisseur of this or that thing: “Oh! … I don’t think” chic! …. “; he had learned some French words and used some with much complacency; he criticized the little sisters’ toilettes, at school he called the one who brought him the snack basket ‘miss’, and in order not to confess to his noble friends that he was the son of a spectacle, he said of his father with haughtiness: professor of optics. ” With the children of the court he did not deal willingly and spoke of them with visible dislike.
These noble habits somewhat tickled the pride of her parents, of her mother above all, who had remained a frivolous woman despite the maturing of the years. Arrigo singularly resembled her mother: she had luminous eyes and a delicate mouth, she sometimes had the warm accent, the quick gestures. But his father wanted to make him nothing less than a lawyer, since, for all middle-class families, having a son toga means today what he once meant to have a son, a priest or an officer. Therefore, families make great sacrifices of time and money, creating in our society a phalanx without number of the idle, the displaced and the sad, who for their whole life will have to repent of these paternal ambitions. But given such an overabundance of lawyers,
The pharmacist Riotti, who was systematically of the opinion contrary to that of his neighbor, did not think so, and with one of his freshest images he used to say “that professionalism is the gangrene of states, dead water in which the ship of human progress swamps. ”
If he had had a son, he would have made him a scientist or a speculator; he said that he himself, in person, had a marked tendency for all the sciences based on calculation and invention. But his life had distracted him from his right path and nature had been rude to him; instead of a male, in which he could see himself in the mirror, he had left his widowhood with a female, a beautiful and fat female, whom, certainly for veneration of the great Manzoni, he had imposed the name of Ermengarda. However, for the sake of brevity, he called her Eugenia; name that had been even that of his deceased wife: Riotti was, however, extremely boastful of this daughter, who was about the age of Arrigo, and did not cease to magnify with his neighbors the modest and industrious qualities, when the games or the screams of the Ferrante’s children came from the nearby court to disturb his peaceful meditations.
The apothecary was a portly man, who betrayed in the same manner as he dressed a certain what adorned majesty; his manners became greasy with whoever was above him, and doctoral or protective with those who believed less than his magnificent person. He had a bloody, shiny face with thick features, and a short sooty beard around his chin. He was a man he had read, learned a lot; read and learned above all in newspapers, in appendix novels or in some manual peregrine purchased at fairs.
But the man who reads his newspaper thoughtfully every day, from the first line to the last, as Riotti did, and with two pairs of glasses, can rightly call himself an erudite man, because the gazettes have become small nowadays. libraries of universal science and everything is spoken of in fine style, with admirable doctrine.
Although he was the most peaceful man in the world and had a temperament not at all amorous, Riotti had a strong predilection for the facts of blood and for the suicides of love. There was no servant poisoned with lipstick, sublimate or with the heads of matches from five years onwards, of which she did not remember the name, the lover she killed herself for, the house, the place and the time in which she was . These tragic lovers were exaggerating, exalting themselves in his warm fantasy, giving him a kind of frightening astonishment. She would not have wanted it after all … but if one had ever poisoned herself for him! … Crimes also thrilled him, but in another way: they seemed to be brutally beautiful acts to his shy heart. And of all the things that he read in the day he went in the evening to talk with his neighbor. In the beginning, glare at his neighbor, “that eyeglass with the beautiful wife,” as he called him maliciously. But having overcome the initial mistrust, and seeing above all that Ferrante was not a man to contend with for that kind of sovereignty that was tacitly recognized by all the shopkeepers of that suburban district, Riotti actually ended up taking him into affection and becoming his friend. Friend in his own way, of course; which he meant mixing, asked and unsolicited, in the affairs of others, giving advice, criticizing, spitting out judgments, scoring straight and backward, being curious, gossipy, arrogant and slanderous.
Stefano let him say. Humble and resigned as always, he tolerated a stranger getting into his house, doing the bills in his pocket, talking badly about his wife, slapping his children: and all this for the sake of peace. But Riotti, who was basically a good man, suffered terribly from having no family, he was bored, nor did he know how to give free rein to his tyrannical and overwhelming nature. So, little by little, the neighbor’s house became his. Every moment he entered it, either for the court or from the back room, under any pretext. Mostly it was the children who made too much noise: let them call them in, or he would finally complain to the landlord. And they knew well that it was enough for him to say a word! … Then he would get a reply from Donna Grazia,
But in that court, in fact, there was a great deal of noise. A true Dantesque bedlam, as the pharmacist said. There was a carpenter who was beating all day, there was a turner and planer, a small printing house with noisy machines, a bookbinder who was always half drunk and at a certain hour sang at the top of his voice; there was the concierge, always on the move with her broom and her terrible falsetto voice, and there was, on the first floor, the parrot of an old tenant, a merciless chatterer, who made all the noises and rehearsed all the songs of the neighborhood. He could have matched it! Parsley! Parsley! … And, above all this good thing, those brats had happened there of the optician, who trumpeted, blew, threw stones and made soldiers. They could see Eugenia, now, what a nice girl! …
«Oh, my dear Stefano, if you at least knew how to educate your children! … Of the first you will make a little cicisbeo, of the other and of the two females three brats, three naughty, because the character is seen from an early age. Then you gave birth to too many! … Four children! My old friend, it’s a luxury for a great lord. Not to mention that Donna Grazia is the kind of guy to grab a couple more! ”
And in his short sooty beard he added to himself with a fat laugh:
«It is true that you, poor fellow, are responsible for it up to a certain point … I would not put my hand on the fire even for the first one! …
One evening, however, as a precaution, she had neatly expounded Malthus’s theory.