Short summary - The Feudal Lord or Il feudatario - Carlo Goldoni

Italy literature summaries - 2023

Short summary - The Feudal Lord or Il feudatario
Carlo Goldoni

The community council of Montefosco, represented by three deputies of the community - Nardo, Cecco and Mengone, as well as two elders - Pasqualotto and Marcone, gathered on a very important occasion: the old Marquis Ridolfo Montefosco had died, and now his son, the Marquis Florindo, was going to their land to take ownership accompanied by his mother, the widow Marquise Beatrice. The venerable members of the council had to decide how best to meet and greet the new gentlemen.

The deputies themselves were not much of a language, their daughters and wives, too, in general, did not shine with education and upbringing, so at first it seemed natural to everyone to entrust the meeting of the Marquis with the Marquis to Signor Pantalone dei Bisognosi, a Venetian merchant who had long lived in Montefosco as a farmer of income the marquis, and the young signora Rosuare brought up in his house. But according to sound reasoning, both candidates were rejected: Signor Pantalone - as a stranger, who grew rich on the sweat and blood of the Montefoscan peasants, and Signora Rosaura - as an arrogant person who built herself - with full, however, and no one from the village disputed right - noble.

This same Signora Rosaura was in fact the legitimate, but bypassed by fate, heir to both the title and the possessions of the Marquises of Montefosco. The fact is that the marquisate was a major property, and Rosaura's father, in the presence of direct heirs, had no right to sell it. But at the time of the transaction, he did not suspect that his wife was expecting a child, and besides, the old marquis died six months before the birth of Rosaura. The buyer of Montefosco, the late Marquis of Ridolfo, did honor to the girl - he gave Pantalona an impressive amount for her upbringing, education, and even a small dowry, so Rosaura had nothing to complain about. But as she grew older, the thought that someone else was using her title, power and money began to haunt her. Rosaura could start a process, but it required a lot of money, and old Pantalone persuaded the girl not to spoil the lives of people who had treated her nobly.

Since the castle was in a state of disrepair, the new gentlemen had to stay at Pantalone's house. Marquise Beatrice turned out to be a noble and prudent lady, but her son, young Florindo, could only think about one thing - about women, and the very entry into the possession of Montefosco pleased him solely because among the new subjects, as he believed, there must certainly be a fair number of beauties. So when the delegates of the community came to Florindo, he barely allowed them to say a few words, but being alone with Rosaura, he immediately came to life and, without wasting time, strongly advised the girl not to be an idiot and quickly indulge in the delights of love with him.

Rosaura unpleasantly struck the Marquis with her intractability, but he did not leave his rude searches until the appearance of Signora Beatrice put an end to them. She put her son out, and started a serious conversation with Rosauro about how to settle an annoying property conflict to everyone's pleasure. Rosaura promised to reasonably help all her undertakings, as she saw in the Marquis a worthy person, who, in addition to her own son, also loves truth and justice.

Having suffered a fiasco with Rosaura, Florindo, however, quickly consoled himself: in the next room, where his mother put him out, a delegation of Montefosco women was waiting for an audience with the Marquise. Giannina, Olivette and Gitte liked the young Marquis, handsome and merry, and each of them readily gave him their address. Florindo also liked them very much, which cannot be said about his mother, who was somewhat disappointed that she was met by not very polished girls from the lower strata. The definition of “from the lower strata” of the delegates, amused by this signora Beatrice, was unexpectedly taken as a compliment - still, they say, of course they are from the valley, and not some savages from the mountains. With the Marquise Beatrice, the girls, to the best of their ability, carried on a conversation that was refined according to their concepts, but when Rosaura joined the society, they greeted her emphatically boorishly. The Marquise took pity on the orphan, forced to live in such a terrible environment, with all her noble birth, and she had a plan: in order to allow Rosaura to lead a life worthy of her, stop Florindo's madness and settle the dispute over the rights to Montefosco, it is necessary to marry the young Marquis to Rosaura.

Florindo reacted coolly to his mother's plan, but promised to think it over; old, experienced Pantalone warmly supported her. When Signora Beatrice outlined her plans to Rosaura, she angrily declared that it was absolutely impossible for her to marry a young man who, along with the village girls, sang obscene songs about her, Rosaura.

The fact is that, having got rid of his mother's instructions, Florindo immediately ran to the village and now had a good time with Giannina and Olivetta. Beatrice sent Pantalone to him with orders to return immediately from the village. Florindo did not even listen to the boring old man, although he, in addition to maternal anger, promised him beatings from offended village men.

On the way from Giannina and Olivetta to the beautiful Gitte, Florindo almost ran into something even worse than a cane. It so happened that he asked her husband Cecco, a hunter who never parted with a gun, the way to her house. This last served as a weighty argument that forced the marquis, even if only in words, to agree that the wives and daughters of subjects are not included in the income due to him from the estate.

Cecco did not limit himself to not letting Florindo see his wife: after making sure that he had gone home, he went to the community council, where the question of how best to entertain the new masters in the evening was being discussed. Reporting on the unworthy inclinations of Florindo, Cecco declared that the community needed to do something to maintain peace and piety. The first proposal was to shoot the young marquis, but was rejected as painfully bloody; the proposals to set fire to the house and to castrate the zealous aristocrat did not pass either. Finally, Nardo expressed an idea that met with general approval: it is necessary to act diplomatically, that is, to throw fishing rods at the marquise mother.

When the village diplomats came to signora Beatrice, she had already managed to conclude a strong alliance with Rosaura: the marquise promised the girl that she would become the heir by right of the estate and titles due to her if she married Florindo; Rosaura, for her part, trusted the Marquise in everything and refused the thought of a lawsuit. The speeches of the representatives of the community convinced Signora Beatrice that, in fact, Rosaura's friendship with her son was even more necessary than she thought: Nardo, Cecco and Mengone explained in very decisive terms that, firstly, they would stop at nothing in order to to stop the Marquis' attempts on their women, and that, secondly, they consider only Rosaura and will always consider their rightful mistress.

While these negotiations were going on, Florindo, disguised as a shepherd and taking Harlequin as his guide, a narrow-minded guy, like all the natives of Bergamo, again went in search of the beautiful Gitta. He found Gitta, but there was no sentry from Harlequin, so in the midst of an interesting conversation, Cecco covered the couple. Cecco did not resort to a gun this time either, but he beat Florindo wholeheartedly with a club.

Barely alive from the beatings and sworn in the future to even look in the direction of the village women of the Marquis, they found Signor Beatrice with Pantalone. No matter how the mother's heart bled, the Marquise could not but admit that her son nevertheless received what he deserved.

Representatives of the community, having learned about the beatings committed by Checco, were seriously afraid of the revenge of the young marquis and, in order to prevent it, decided to declare Rosaura their mistress, and then, having collected money from all over Montefosco, go to Naples and defend her rights in the royal court. The Marchesa Beatrice was indignant at the arrogance of her subjects, and when Rosaura tried to explain to her that the peasants had every reason to displease Florindo, she did not want to listen to the girl and called her an accomplice of the rebels. A major scandal was brewing, but just then they reported on the judicial commissioner and notary, who arrived to formally introduce Florindo into property rights.

The commissioner with the notary had already begun to draw up the necessary papers, when Nardo, on behalf of Rosaura, made a statement that only she was the legitimate heiress of Montefosco. Realizing that the contradictions of the parties promise him additional earnings, the commissioner ordered the notary to officially witness this statement. But then Rosaura, who, as the Marquise and owner of the local lands, did not need intermediaries, took the floor, and stunned everyone present, dictating to the official the renunciation of her rights in favor of the Marquis Florindo. Signora Beatrice, touched to the depths of her soul, in response ordered the notary to write down that the Marquis Florindo undertakes to marry Signora Rosaura. Rosaura wished that her consent to this marriage was also recorded in the papers.

Writing, to the great pleasure of the notary with the commissioner, who receives a separate fee from each act, could continue until the morning - followed by the official lowest apology of the members of the community for the insult inflicted on the Marquis, an equally official forgiveness from the owners, etc. - if Signora Beatrice did not ask the commissioner to postpone the preparation of documents and go along with everyone to take a walk at the wedding.