Giovani's War

In the 1860’s Italy, only the capture of Rome would make the Risorgimento complete. Giovanni Raggio’s young life holds many new experiences as he yearns to become a part of this momentous event. The people in his family, his home town, his priest, all have their own beliefs. He has yet to test his own.  The excerpts from this work can be viewed, incomplete, and on their own, much like Giovanni’s own life, as he travels through Italy, determined to be a part of a secret support to the cause.Although he had not known her well, barely more than a casual acquaintance, really, Francesco Trametti spoke with confidence to her father when asking for her hand. Under the edge of the table, his thick thumb and forefingers clenched together in a plump knot that concealed a slight twitching. He felt as though he carried a slightly sour odor, and worried that he should have washed up before he left his house. He had made up his mind, however, and sensing his moment, plunged ahead.


“I came here, Signor di Genesi to ask that you consider allowing me to marry your daughter Nicoletta. She is now old enough, and I am ready for a wife. I have observed her for several months, and I find her to be a good, healthy girl. I like her,” he added the last, noticing that his voice sounded unnaturally loud in his ears. Slow down.

“I am in a position to offer her a nice life, as the bakery is now proving successful. Please let me know If you would be in favor of this, and if you would give me your permission.” He slowed, and inhaled once, before laying out his coup de gras. “Would you also allow me the privilege to arrange everything — the dinner, the church banns, and the ceremony?

“I hope that,” he cleared his throat, which had gone dry: then his words again spilled out rapidly, despite his efforts, “you see the wisdom in the arrangement. I am a bit older than she, it is true, and because of that, I know better how to manage a girl with a fine, high spirit like Nicoletta. And,” he added with a hopeful smile, “she will never go hungry.”

Francesco paused to catch his breath, and to study the reaction in the face of his intended father-in-law. He could read nothing there, and so he spoke, aware that the blank face before him had not yet said anything optimistic. His future lay in changing the expression in front of him, he hoped, to one of enthusiastic approval, so he continued.

“She will want a steady, experienced man, and not a callow youth, a boy so thin that she would have trouble fattening him up, so young that she would have no one to teach her of the world. No, she would be unhappy in a week,” he added emphatically, patting his own rounded abdomen for emphasis. “Let her marry me, and we can set about making your grandchildren, who will never, God willing, want for their bread or a roof above their heads.” Silence.

“Papá,” he intoned charmingly, although a bit more desperately than he intended. “Let me be a son of the house, and the husband to your daughter.”