A HEART AND AN ATTIC by Carlo Collodi – published in the strenna Garibaldi 1863

This publication of the strenna Garibaldi was immediately seized, then legally published.

Text version:





h! Virginia, you are beautiful as an angel - he said one evening Paul, rolling his eyes and

fixing them in the face of the girl 'thoughts.

This exclamation, accompanied by a big sigh and a languid abandonment of the whole

person, showed clearly that Paul harbored a great love for Virginia - and a

very mediocre estimate for the beauty of the children of the sky.

Virginia did not answer.

She lowered her timid eyes - he did everything to blush - and not finding words to respond to such

affection, drew from his pocket an 'orange Portugal and there he put the candidissimi teeth ....

Simple, ma eloquent pantomime!That ... can only be understood by those who had sky

the gift of being able to taste the sweetness of love - and dell'arance Portugal.

After three minutes of modesty, the girl lifted her head again.





His black eyes met those greenish-clear dell'implume youth!Paul ...

did not fall - because he was sitting; but a shiver ran through his bones and his hands were cold,

as a program of the City Hall, the National Guard!

Meanwhile, as if they were pulled by magnetic force, the heads of the two lovers began to approach.

Even the hair of Virginia touched the forehead of the young man - already the tips of two noses were coming

touching - already among the fiery lips of the girl and the half-open mouth of Paul, remained

As soon as the distance of a kiss!…

Innocent maidens 1862, cuopritevi face ... that distance was filled!…




Oh! the first kiss, at eighteen!…

Paul believed to be in heaven! A vague music, divine, indefinite whispered softly to

ears - her nostrils, voluptuously dilated, breathed the breath of fire, all redolent of

heavenly ambrosia - a thousand columns lapislazzuoli and gold glittered before the eyes.

– One, tu sei mia!…

– It is your, son’io!…

– Oh! Dio!…

– Oh! Dio!…

And God really knows what this ecstasy would last, if Paul had not been called up to the harsh

reality of the things of this world by a hand that screanzata, suddenly, came to rest

violently on his left cheek.



The specific weight of the five fingers and excessive vivacity of gesture, Paul - without looking -

immediately recognized that the hand belonged to his father.

The surprise was great - but unfortunately, the pain was great - so much so that the young

lover, instead of being stunned and speechless, cast out one of those interjections, that no


are written in no grammar - but you learn only from the voice of the boys


The girl - caught the meantime - disappeared like a flash, and crossed the landing of the staircase,

returned in the door of his house.


Who was Paul?

Paul was the son of a manufacturer, in bulk, wax shoe.

Endowed by nature with a lymphatic temperament - and not working - had sucked the milk a

invincible hatred for the industry fatherly.

In vain the author of his days had striven, several times, to dissuade him from this deplorable

fixation - in vain had put in place the threats, topics horned and all those means more or

less persuasive, with which it is used to prove similar contingencies in the so-called parental authority.

Paul stood firm!

In spite of all the reasons and all the flowers of oratory, he was now convinced, the bottom

soul, that the future of shoe polish would never be a color-of-pink!

Finally his vocation triumphed. Left free to choose a profession and of yearning

reach the beautiful destinies, to which he felt called, Paul; with all the impetus of its

eighteen, embraced the stormy career of young study.

Luck smiled on him hyperplasia.

After a year, just, practices and novitiate, the son of the merchant of shoe polish, had

the satisfaction of being able to say to themselves << – Paul! you gain a pound a week - not

including gratuities! ->>




In the same house of Paul and the same plane, lived two women: mother and daughter.

Virginia - it was called the daughter - was a nice young man, from sixteen to seventeen: hair

raven: small eyes and clever: smiling mouth: Elegant Personalized, and quick as the palm tree.

On the profession it was to Dressmaker - Word that does not come - as perhaps some might

believe - from the greek word: Modesty.

Appearing solely, up of little girl, reading classic novels and books for music, Virginia

He is expecting at any moment, some prince that the kidnap, some that Baron

would lead to the thalamus, some Boyard, that making his, He proclaimed the lady of a castle

any near Moscow or Petersburg.



Vain hopes! Wait today, expected tomorrow, and no Boyard, no Baron, no prince

He is seen walking under the windows of the beautiful girl.

Tired of so much delay, Virginia, She was a good girl, finally persuaded that the man

- If necessary - can not help but marry - but the woman can not help but take


It is a matter of prudence. Women - and especially women of spirit - they need

a husband, like newspapers pounced need a managing editor. There's no denying.




-Closeness is half kinship!

Supported the authority of this ancient proverb, Paul and Virginia, incontrandosi un bel

day for the stairs, they saw - they heard themselves - they loved.

Love - eighteen - reflects little but walking very.

– Paul!…


– Virginia!…

– I really love?

– Love is you!!

– But really, for real?…

– God m'accechi, It is ...

– Oh! What happiness!... Even our names are a good omen!…

E li, so they said, and so did, that, all’ultimo, ended by persuading in good faith that they had been

apposta creative one for the other.

And the creator probably did not know about!!







It was a black day day ...., luttuoso, disastrous, in which the father of Paul noticed this passion.

Havoc on the whole line.

The two lovers were brutally divided, under the specious pretext, that they could not marry, for lack of means, in order to provide for their existence.

Prosaic parents!…. courage with which you dare talk about mattresses, of beds, FIBC and Household Expenses, two souls in love, that disdainful accommodation and edible, feel capable of living dew and singing, as the cicadas in the burning sun of August?….


For good luck, love - when he says really - is full of talent.

Intercepted communications directed, the beautiful maiden began singing in his chambers, half tone above, cavatina Guild, in Rigoletto:

Mr, born Principe

I would not

I feel that poor

I feel that poor (to.)

I should love.

And Paul, gently moved by the poor, who referred to him, He responded Room, Tenor:

Thalamus will be the arena

Del Deserto interim

It will be the cry of the Hyena

The song of love.

After a short interval, Virginia resumed:

I saw you fatal youth

I saw you and the joy disappeared.

And in paul A flat:

Will you sull'aure

My ardent sighs

You will hear in March that whispers ...


Arrived at these words, the singer suddenly silent. He probably remembered, that, domiciled at a distance of sixty miles from the Mediterranean, that had not see anything with the sea.

Poor devil! in its condition of lover of mainland, could not continue the passionate song Edgardo, in Lucia!


– After bad weather, returns the good!

And in fact, passed the rigors of the first days, the two lovers began to be able to see again - but always furtively and with the ghost of his father five fingers before his eyes.

Virginia is vented with Paul.

Paul poured his troubles in the white breast of Virginia.

O reader! if you do not have a soul capable of understanding - as would a Ortis of fourteen – all the solemnity of that moment ineffable, in which two lovers are repeated spirits: – t’amo tanto - If you have a heart that can feel, – as would a crestajna of our times, – all the poetry of two hairstyles that blend, of two mouths approaching, two sighs that cross, two hands shaking each other convulsively, then hop on both feet this chapter - this chapter is not made for you.

I dedicate it to the fibers that they know to be moved - the eyes which can weep - fantasies that they know and understand color! It,

per caso, among my readers there were tigers, lions, from

polar bears and hosts ... that they should be waiting for the next chapter - and perhaps c'intenderemo.

– Barbarians parents - said Virginia, sobbing and looking Paul - they want to divide and besides ..., because ... because they say that we have no means of fortune.

– Wretched! as if happiness consisted in gold!…

– I prefer your love all the treasures of Monte Cristo.

– Adored Virginia!... Te, or death.

– We do not want nor palaces or mansions: two hearts that love just an attic.

– Even a cellar; ma with you, – always with you – forever with you!

– A piece of bread and a kiss, not true?

– One ; My angel: an onion and two strokes, will be our gala dinners!

At this meeting held behind a long break - interrupted occasionally by sobs and kisses.

Virginia finally raised his head briskly, as a filly in the spring months, and taking his friend by the hand, He said in a resolute tone:

– Paul!... The wrath of mortals we would split - but we have to challenge it.

– Namely?…

– That is, let's get married right away ...!

– Oh dio! marry?…but how, if my father does not want to?..

– Rapiscimi!

– Oh dio! RAPIRE?... And if he knew the Delegation?….

– Viiiile!!... He cried Virginia, with muffled gasp of a first stage actress day - if you do not hold the heart, I will, I who rapirò .....

– Oh dio! kidnap me!... North, Virginia please ... .piuttosto rapiamoci .... One, rapiamoci, let us fly together.

– When?

– Tomorrow I'll tell you everything.

– Oh! Gioia! besides united forever, not true?

– Forever! ( e which, Paul, instead of an admiration mark, put a kiss).

– Even an attic, but with you - said Virginia.

– Even a piece of bread, but divided in your company - he answered Paul - ( here and elsewhere on the usual spelling ).


Two days after this conversation, Paul and Virginia entered a Church- e là, before the priest of the parish, solemnly declared to be husband and wife.

Police - informed of the incident - locked up in a convent the bride - and granted Paul thirty days in jail - so he could reflect more comfortably on minchioneria that had made.

The police - in some cases - is an exquisite politeness.

After the expiration of the term of the enclosure, Paul and Virginia met again - and they met with the frantic joy, indescribable, entire, trying two doves in love, they were divided by twenty-four hours by a cruel hurricane.


It is now proven that two doves - when you really love - they need a nest - and Paul and Virginia fabricated their nest in a small room, in a fifth floor - with oriel roof.

I will not deny that the diverse landscape of the tiles, the fireplaces and the tips of the bell towers have also its artistic side

- Maximum in the eyes of the swallows and sparrows - but he is also an undeniable fact that for two animals, which - strictly speaking - do not belong to the ornithological, that view, repeating every day, He can not help but succeed a little monotonous and unpleasant.



Virginia was the first - after a few weeks of experience - to be convinced of this bitter truth.

It is located at a hundred meters above the sea level, she was obliged to prove against his will

... .., how hard a road

The descent and climb to many stairs,

maximum then in early marriage.

Paul - maybe neck to console somehow his partner - had occasionally poetic recrudescence, with which wanted to show that love - in a rooftop room - is more romantic - ethereal - closer to the stars.

– One,you - replied Virginia - everything is fine; but when I climbed hundred twenty-six stairs, I just have not even breath to tell you that I love you. –

And these words were accompanied by a mischievous scrollatine shoulders.

Poor Paul, humiliated on live - not knowing what to answer - he is vented to nail biting - nourishment, it's true, no substantial, but universally recognized for quite cheap and indecent!….


They had just spent four months, the wedding day, when one morning and - almost without realizing it - the two pigeons began to yawn.



The yawn is to love - like the moth wing zephyr cloth - like the moth to the soft wood casket.

When love yawns, is a sign that has already made the trunks, and is about to give way to his first cousin - the boredom.

Paul froze.

The unfortunate had believed the poor love life - how you believe an article of faith - but now it is proved, as four four makes eight, that the poor love is nothing but a bad taste scioccheria, specially invented by novelists and poets - perhaps through his guilty aims to increase the statistics of unhappy marriages.

Love and misery never get along. On the character and temperament diametrically opposed, where there is one o'clock, the other can not be accommodated.

Misery is sad, restless, grumpy - love, instead, generally speaking, It has the serene face, the passionate soul, the tender and expansive heart.

A similarity Bee and Silkworm, love is his aristocratic and gentle nature - like sofas, feathers, the elegant neighborhoods, the fragrance of flowers, the eggs alla cocca and fibrin substances.

For charity! not compel him to live in damp rooms or unhealthy: that you do not have to sleep on a poor mattress, between two sheets a long time unaware of any laundry - not cibate, evening and morning, legumes, herring and edible forbid - perocchè in a few days, fat and jolly that he was, you will see him become taciturn, ingiallire, going to hurt and pining slowly like a candle wax and white superfine.


– Ah! Virginia you do not love me any more as it once was - he said one evening Paul, after a succession of bitter reflections.

– T'inganni: I'm always the same - replied Virginia, putting a hand to her mouth and plugging the output to a cheeky yawn.

– So you still love me? and it would be true?….

– On! that hot! finish this once with these childish.


At this word avvilitivi, Paul felt something, as who should say, a shower of ice water, that crept by the neck, he had fallen along the vertebrae to the northern part of the back.

When he recovered from the first astonishment, He stood resolutely standing, and looking at the ceiling with eye rather sinister - broke out in a gesture of dark despair.

Virginia, Without looking, he had seen it all - ( difficult art known only to women ) - He understood that it was time to cry - and lifted from his pocket a small white handkerchief, if to her eyes nonchalantly, and eyes made him discendre nose.

General rule: – a woman who needs to cry and does not cry, for the usual haunts the nose.

Take in a drama, a tragedy, to someone, in short, of the many shows, where the public likes to suffer ( all tastes are tastes, said the turkish who was impaled ) and you feel that I noses of women are the first to give the sign of the general commotion audience.

If I were not too indiscreet I would, about this, They knew that the physiologists say which sympathetic nerves exist between

your heart and your nose - and why it is that the poetic bowels - seat of emotions and passions - is in direct correspondence with the protuberance are cartilaginous, of the form and extent of infinitely variable, which divides into two segments, more or less equal, the surface of the human countenance.


Paul and Virginia spent four long days - without getting a word and without taking a good day.

Finally Paul - in its dual capacity as a husband and as a member belonging to the stronger sex - was obliged to give in first, and - agreeing to have me wrong - he said to the sullen wife:

– I understand, Virginia, that this life is a martyrdom for you: But how is it done?... We had thought of it before ....

– This is a speech more! I do not I've never regretted the step I took - would go back to do it tomorrow ....

– Really?... .cuore Noble and generous!... .amiamoci, and the ecstasy of our love, we will find a relief to so many hardships .....

– Let us love as well - replied Virginia with sent thunder - but I need a boots pajo.

– You will make them ....

– I do not have a decent hat to leave the house.

– I'll let you ....

– This dress falls to me to pieces ....

– I'll even dress ....

– I'll, I'll always I'll. I will make a horn - finally said Virginia, turning tantrum with his back to the mortified wife.

– My Angiolo! - he answered with affectionate calm - hast yet another little 'patience

– Patience is the VRTU the beast, said Guerrazzi.

– I do not want to contradict Mr. Guerrazzi - Paul added, with a humble tone - but you know that for now my earnings will not let me ....

– I know nothing - interrupted Virginia, revolting like an adder - I know that when we are poor, you should help but take a wife.

– But I….

– In a few months, They are aged fifteen.

– But I….

– When I finish losing health, I'll have to rot in a hospital background. This is a life as devils - dog - I do not hold it anymore - I can not last any longer; no, no, and besides a thousand times no - he began shouting Virginia, weeping bitterly and stamping their feet on the ground.

In vain the poor Paolo he strove to bring it to terms of reason.

Virginia seemed an obsessive! Struck by the sudden desperation, He went running on the landing of the stairs, and - out of the window facing the street, It was about to take a grim picture - but then thinking that the paving stones of Florence is not too complacent even with the fair sex, estimated thing well done to put the flight on the following Tuesday.


Tuesday was finally fatal, and Virginia - left alone - it poses quietly watering his pot of burning bush and to sing in a low-entry:

The recipe is my little face

In these eyes is the elixir:

A tender glance at

A smile, a caress…

In the meantime, He was knocked lightly on the door.

Virginia opened. Shoemaker was reporting a pair of boots, di marrocchino dorè worked the last taste.

– I command?…- said the shoemaker, after trying the boots, for which - to put it as they say - returning a real painting!

– Thank you. Salute ...- said Virginia accompanying the last word with an imperceptible smile.

After a quarter of an hour was knocked back - was the Milliner who had cardboard in a nice hat.

Then came the Seamstress, and left a dark dress ermisino, small cubed white.

When Paul returned home, Virginia met him cheerfully, and without missing a minute of time, showed him the dress, hat and boots.

Paul remained salt.

Just got back the use of the word, asked his wife to know the magic wand, it had rained so much abundance in his poor attic.

Virginia, as is natural, wanted to be prayed and folded, intermezzando the scene with a thousand pretty coaxing, finally let himself be seduced - and told her husband how qualmente had guessed two numbers last drawing.

– Providence blessed! said Paul, looking up to the rafters of the room, in the act of thanksgiving ....

Oh! husbands!... Social evil!..

A few days later, while Paul was rummaging in the box of the table, he was made to put their hands on an elegant gold bracelet.

– Virginia!

– Friend!

– How is it that this bracelet is in our house?

– I won the lottery.

– And these buccole rubies?

– I buy glue of a winning both stated.

Paul this time - instead of thanking Providence - became melancholy and taciturn. She looked into the face of Virginia - perhaps to read what you can not read - and took the hat, left the house, muttering between his teeth:

– Or I'm wrong - or there are!




It was a Thursday morning between eleven thirty and noon.

Paul, after four hours of hard work - feeling languid stomach - decided to give a run at home, to eat - as they say - a mouthful.


A jealous husband of his peace, would rather die of hunger, rather than return home in one of those hours, in which he has every right not to be expected!

The time - in some cases such as this - is inviolable and sacred - as an article of the Statute.

Paolo bussò.

L’uscio, after a few minutes she opened, and Paul saw what he saw ...? - He saw a man, from forty-forties, elegantly dressed, which was lying with all his comfortable armchair in an old arm-.

– Mr. Marquis I present my husband - said Virginia, running his hands through his hair, almost doubted to be a bit 'untidy.

The Marquis in response - bowed his head slightly - and smiled at fio lip.


Released as soon as the Marquis, opened the floodgates and started the storm in the family.

The principle, cloudy blacks, as bales of coal, and the calm that precedes the left, for the usual, the bursting of the storm. Then some flash - then some big big drop - then the rumble of thunder - After the Thunder decided - then the thunderbolt, hail, and the fury of the hurricane - with accompanying chairs and tables on the floor.

When Paul, the storm ceased, could recover as much astonishment, you found a bruise on him more - and a lock of hair less - Curious compensation system, which, supposedly, He did not seem very much satisfied.

He looked Virginia - Virginia and was gone ...

Abyss and damnation!…

– What he is returned from his mother? - that Siasi refuge with my father? He has resolved to kill himself? - who has fled to a foreign land?

All these questions - the proposed one after another with frenzied speed - Paul could not solve in any other way, that giving themselves a hefty punch in the middle of the head.

Then he left the house, like a madman.

Racing here, Beyond races - he asked to friends - relatives - to lodgers. - The most benign they simply laugh in his face.

Then he thought of resorting to the police - as if the police were obliged to know everything - and was moved response of these cases it happening every day.


Finally, After seventy-two hours of unspeakable pains and vain pursuits, Paul received a letter for part of a Lawyer, he knew by name, in which the is made known and manifest:

1° What his wife had advanced lawsuit keystrokes and treatments evils.

2° That his wife asked formally act of separation, before the courts.

3° What renounced his wife - for now - to the rights of ec.ec foods. for having had the good fortune to have placed as ruler, at a respectable person of the City.

Paul, this shot, instead of dying - according to good classic rules - of a fulminating apoplexy, He took his hat and ran to the study of the Advocate.

therein come, so he asked, so he prayed, whether arrabattò, that finally he was able to know the name of the street and the house number, where his wife had retired to exercise the noble functions of governess.

A smile of revenge flashed ominously among those blond hair radissimi, who had not yet reached a quorum to call Moustache!

He flew - and beat!

A waiter, liveried, She came to open the door

– What's in the house?... -domandò Paul with eyes frightened and panting.

– Who?

– My wife.

– And who is your wife?

– Virginia.

– Here we are not Virginie - shouted from the next room a loud voice - and almost at the same time, a man appeared in a dressing gown, posed as bad.

Paul, in that capacity chamber he recognized the Marchese, quell'identico Marquis that he had found in the house - days ago - lying comfortably in the old chair with armrests.

At this sight ...fiat lux, and light was made.

– put it out! - she shouted the man in the dressing gown to the servant - will be some pickpocket.

– But I come here ...

– Put it out there again: I do not want thieves to home ...

– But I come in the name of my right ... the right of the People ... of the human and divine law ...- and God knows the good things that he would continue to tell Paul, in that big occasion, if the waiter had not stopped at the climax, abruptly serrandogli the door on the face.





The next day, Paul received a letter from the post office.

Busta, sealing wax and seal revealed the aristocratic provenance.

The letter was written in a cerulean blue sheet satiny, released by fulling of Bath, and perfumed

of essence of roses.

The character was to Virginia.

Poor Paul!

His eyes veiled: the wrists and temples were beating strong: his heart throbbed

erratically and bumping.

Finally was able to read - and read:


"I am writing these two verses only to invite you to not want to repeat for a second time

sorry scene of yesterday.

"A man - for that is ignorant - must never be carried away to such an extent, also

commit a beccerata in the house of the other.

"I know you asked me - And to what end? - Perhaps direct me to reproach? - Name it

I would have accepted. Perhaps for me the prayers? - I could not hear.

"You - at this time - you have to know what are my intentions - I warn you for the avoidance of

molestie for ambo le parti, I am adamant, as fate.

"On the other hand,, I hope you'll be quite reasonable, to know me sympathize.

"Life is unhappy that I have been beating for five months with you, could not last longer.

"Either die or divide!

"In a few weeks, I had become a show of compassion to me the same.

"My health was declining day by day: – and small gifts, that I wanted to be the large

Providence, they went away one by one, like the leaves of the rose at the beginning of the stridency


“ Compatitemi, you repeat. A man may grow old before your time - can wither and lose

with impunity the freshness of the meat and the color - will always be a 'man.

"But a woman!…

"A woman is not a woman - but as long as you keep young and handsome! Without this

provided the woman becomes a gender-neutral - that is, a genre that is not the most feminine, and

that much less can claim to typically masculine.

"Maybe in the ravings of our first loves, I have said that I would have been content to live well

in an attic - but today I had to persuade me that there is much more comfortable and more beautiful,

when it is domiciled in a close-up.

"At eighteen - and when the soul feels imperiously the need to love - it's so easy


"It was up to you, and, it was up to you to make me change my mind from my fantasies - to recall to tough

Actually the poetic regions of 'My delirj - to persuade me that love and misery can not live

under the same roof!…

"And you instead - prompted by a brutal passion - rapiste me to the sweet embrace of a loving mother and

the joyous calm the home, to take me - innocent victim - before ara

of my sacrifice.

"May God forgive you - as I have already forgiven you - this excess of unprecedented barbarism.

"Today - far from the world and its entertainment liars - refuge with a person - of

specchiatissima honesty - and angelic costumes - I did about consecrate the remaining de '

my days at the monastic and contemplative life.

Home ec.




P.S. "Because the things contained in this letter, are of very little importance, so you can

save yourself the trouble of receipt accusarmene.



After the letter, Paul felt himself seized by an unspeakable disgust of life - and yearn for - with

Bitter sneer - the ghost of suicide.



But then - sleeping over it and thinking that many, many others, trovatisi pretty much identical in its

case, had not thought of little or no point in taking his own life; – saw fit to do so

the eccentric and continue to live safely - if only if - he said it with a sigh -

to serve as an instruction to those few deluded, who still believe in good faith that women

can really be content with a Heart and a Loft.





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