My Ten Years’imprisonment

Author: Silvio Pellico

Chapter XXXI.

I am unable to form an estimate of the evils which afflict others; but, as respects myself, I am bound to confess that, after close examination, I found that no sufferings had been appointed me, except to some wise end, and for my own advantage. It was thus even with the excessive heat which oppressed, and the gnats which tormented me. Often have I reflected that but for this continual suffering I might not have successfully resisted the temptation of falling in love, situated as I was, and with one whose extremely affectionate and ardent feelings would have made it difficult always to preserve it within respectful limits. If I had sometimes reason to tremble, how should I have been enabled to regulate my vain imagination in an atmosphere somewhat inspiring, and open to the breathings of joy.

Considering the imprudence of Angiola’s parents, who reposed such confidence in me, the imprudence of the poor girl herself, who had not an idea of giving rise to any culpable affection on my part, and considering, too, the little steadfastness of my virtue, there can be little doubt but the suffocating heat of my great oven, and the cruel warfare of the gnats, were effectual safeguards to us both.

Such a reflection reconciled me somewhat to these scourges; and I then asked myself, Would you consent to become free, and to take possession of some handsome apartment, filled with flowers and fresh air, on condition of never more seeing this affectionate being? I will own the truth; I had not courage to reply to this simple question.

When you really feel interested about any one, it is indescribable what mere trifles are capable of conferring pleasure. A single word, a smile, a tear, a Venetian turn of expression, her eagerness in protecting me from my enemies, the gnats, all inspired me with a childish delight that lasted the whole day. What most gratified me was to see that her own sufferings seemed to be relieved by conversing with me, that my compassion consoled her, that my advice influenced her, and that her heart was susceptible of the warmest devotion when treating of virtue and its great Author.

When we had sometimes discussed the subject of religion, she would observe, "I find that I can now pray with more willingness and more faith than I did." At other times, suddenly breaking off some frivolous topic, she took the Bible, opened it, pressed her lips to it, and then begged of me to translate some passages, and give my comments. She added, "I could wish that every time you happen to recur to this passage you should call to mind that I have kissed and kissed it again."

It was not always, indeed, that her kisses fell so appropriately, more especially if she happened to open at the spiritual songs. Then, in order to spare her blushes, I took advantage of her want of acquaintance with the Latin, and gave a turn to the expressions which, without detracting from the sacredness of the Bible, might serve to respect her innocence. On such occasions I never once permitted myself to smile; at the same time I was not a little perplexed, when, not rightly comprehending my new version, she entreated of me to translate the whole, word for word, and would by no means let me shy the question by turning her attention to something else.


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Chicago: Silvio Pellico, "Chapter XXXI.," My Ten Years’imprisonment, ed. CM01B10.Txt - 149 Kb, CM01B10.Zip - 56 Kb and trans. Roscoe, Thomas, 1791-1871 in My Ten Years’imprisonment (New York: The Modern Library Publishers, 1918), Original Sources, accessed August 18, 2019,

MLA: Pellico, Silvio. "Chapter XXXI." My Ten Years’imprisonment, edited by CM01B10.Txt - 149 Kb, CM01B10.Zip - 56 Kb, and translated by Roscoe, Thomas, 1791-1871, in My Ten Years’imprisonment, New York, The Modern Library Publishers, 1918, Original Sources. 18 Aug. 2019.

Harvard: Pellico, S, 'Chapter XXXI.' in My Ten Years’imprisonment, ed. and trans. . cited in 1918, My Ten Years’imprisonment, The Modern Library Publishers, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 18 August 2019, from