Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, European Fiction Series)
The Marchesa Orsola was determined that Don Franco Maironi, her grandson, should marry a woman of birth and money. Franco, however, was in love with Luisa Rigey, a gentle girl of the neighborhood who had neither wealth nor position. Because the marchesa had forbidden him to see Luisa, her mother had tried to please the powerful old lady by keeping the young people apart. Then, when the mother knew that she was dying, she was so anxious to see her daughter settled that she gave her permission for a secret marriage.
His marriage meant that Franco would be cut off without a cent, for the marchesa controlled the Maironi fortune and was not one to relent once her mind was made up. The young people, however, would be supported by Luisa’s uncle, Piero Ribera, a government engineer. He had supported his sister and her daughter for many years and considered it a privilege to do so. Franco was an imaginative youth who had never worked and seemed unlikely ever to do so. Although he had studied law in order to be free of his grandmother’s power, he spent most of his time playing the piano and composing poetry.
At the time the provinces that would one day be Italy were trying to throw off the yoke of Austrian power. There had been several minor revolutions, but each one had been put down and the patriots imprisoned or killed. At last other European countries were becoming interested in the struggle for Italian independence, and they were willing to...
(The entire section is 1199 words.)
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