Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated September 5, 2023.

There is no justice in Corsica

These words of a sailor greatly interests Lydia, who has just met Orso. As the sailor goes on to explain, Corsica is a corrupt land where the law courts are more influenced by bribery than justice. A person cannot take an enemy to court, but must either fight him or flee from him.

Orso seemed to her a sort of Fieschi, who hid mighty designs under an appearance of frivolity, and, though it is less noble to kill a few rascals than to free one’s country, still a fine deed of vengeance is a fine thing, and besides, women are rather glad to find their hero is not a politician.

Lydia's sense of romance excites her interest—and the beginning of her falling in love with—Orso, who previously she had dismissed. She begins to notice his good looks and realizes he is well educated and seemingly from a good class of society.

Then with a precision and a clearness which were astonishing, considering the passion of sorrow that shook her, she related that, a few days previously, her father had received a letter from his son, which he had burned, but that before doing so he had written Orso’s address (he had just changed his garrison) in the note-book with his pencil. Now, his address was no longer in the note-book, and Colomba concluded that the mayor had torn out the leaf on which it was written, which probably was that on which her father had traced the murderer’s name . . . .

The novella moves from a romantic revenge saga to a careful mystery when the fiery Colomba is able to carefully and rationally discuss the missing page in her father's notebook. Evidence and reason come into play during the discussion of the bloodstained book. The idea of following a trail of clues begins to excite the reader's curiosity.

“I had to have them both!” answered Colomba, speaking low and in the Corsican dialect. “The branches are topped off! If the stem had not been rotten, I would have torn it up! Come! make no moan. You will not suffer long! I suffered for two years!”

Justice and revenge meet as Colomba confronts the dying murderer with the fact that Orso killed both his sons. Ever the hot-blooded Corsican, Colomba feels no pity for him and no remorse that he has lost both his offspring.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access