gall and gumption

Monday, October 24, 2005

Angry People III -- More Kleist

Piachi may well be the angriest man ever. The foundling who he adopted has grown up into a scoundrel who tricked and seduced Piachi's wife, causing her to die, and who then recruits the help of some shady monks to swindle Piachi out of his house.

Only the previous day Piachi had buried the unhappy Elvira who as a result of the recent episode had fallen into a burning fever and died. Maddened by this double blow he went into the house with the injunction in his pocket, and with rage lending him strength he felled Nicolo, who was of weaker build, to the floor, and crushed out his brains against the wall. No one else in the house noticed his presence until the deed was already done; by the time they found he he was holding Nicolo between his knees and stuffing the injunction into his mouth. Having done so he stood up, surrendered all his weapons, and was then imprisoned, tried and condemned to death by hanging.

In the Papal State there is a law by which no criminal may be led to his death before he has received absolution. This Piachi, when his life had been declared forfeit, stubbornly refused to do. After all the arguments of religion had been vainly adduced to convince him of the heinousness of his behaviourr, he was led out to the gallows in the hope that the sight of the death that awaited him might frighten him into penitence. On one side stood a priest who in a voice like the last trump described to him all the terrors of hell in to which his soul was about to be plunged; opposite stood another, holding in his hand the Body of Christ, the sacred means of redemption, and spoke to him of the glorious abodes of eternal peace. ‘Will you accept the blessed gift of salvation?’ they both asked him. ‘Will you receive the sacrament?’ ‘No,’ replied Piachi. ‘Why not?’ ‘I do not want to go to saved. I want to go down into the deepest pit of hell, I want to find Nicolo again — for he will not be in heaven — and continue my vengeance on him which I could not finish here to my full satisfaction.’ And so saying he ascended the ladder and called upon the hangman to perform his duty,.

In the end the execution had to be stayed and the wretched man taken back to prison, for the law protected him. On three successive days similar attempts were made and every time without avail. On the third day, forced once more to come down from the ladder unhyanged, he raised his fists in a gesture of bitter rage and cursed the inhuman law that forbade him to go to hell. He called upon the whole legion of devils to come and fetch him, swore he had no other wish but to be doomed and damned, and vowed he would throttle the first priest who came to hand if by so doing he might get to hell and lay hold of Nicolo again!’


I really can't think of anything to say about this. It's yer genuine grotesque. I like it. It's got a funky beat.

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This needed to be somewhere on the Web. It might as well be here. I'm feeling more ornery already.

 
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