Study Guide

The Leopard Chapter 2

By Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Chapter 2

  • Now that invading Italian soldiers are taking over Sicily, the Prince and his family decide to hightail it out of Palermo and stay in their country home in Donnafugata (not a real place, btw). They don't feel all that threatened, though, because the invading soldiers have already paid a visit and said that they're not going to threaten the Prince's family in any way.
  • One day, the general of the invading armies visits the family with Tancredi at his side. It looks like Tancredi has made quite a name for himself in the revolutionary army.
  • The Prince asks the general for a favor. All of the Jesuit priests are being expelled from Sicily, but the Prince wants his old buddy Father Pirrone could stay with the family. The general hems and haws about it, but eventually makes it happen.
  • After a tough three-day trip, the family reaches its country estate in Donnafugata. There's a big group of people waiting to greet them when they arrive. Everyone's impressed at how much Tancredi has changed since they last saw him. He used to be a weird kid, but now he seems like a refined young man.
  • The group heads to the cathedral to hear some music. Afterwards, the Princess invites a few of the local big wigs to come over for dinner that night.
  • The mayor agrees to come, but is sorry to say that his wife can't. Rumor has it that no one ever sees the mayor's wife because she's a beautiful woman with absolutely no brain. In other words, the mayor married her for her looks and feels embarrassed by her personality in public.
  • After the music concert, the Salina family splits off in different directions. The Prince takes a walk with the man who's been taking care of his country home and thanks him for his good work and loyalty. They stop to chat over tea, where the man tells the Prince that the local mayor, Don Calogero SedĂ ra, is soon going to be the richest man in town. Calogero doesn't have any fancy manners like the Prince, but he knows how to get money. Fabrizio knows deep down that this will be the kind of guy who succeeds in the future.
  • The Prince decides to take a bath and wash the day's dirt off. While he's in the bath, Father Pirrone comes rushing in before the Prince has time to get a towel on. Can you say awkward?
  • After he gets his bearings, Pirrone tells the Prince that his daughter Concetta has recently confessed that she is in love. It makes the Prince feel old to think that his children are old enough to fall in love, and he hopes Concetta won't ruin the family's vacation with crazy drama.
  • Here's what the situation boils down to: Concetta wants her father's permission to say yes in case Tancredi proposes to her one of these days. The Prince tells Pirrone they'll wait and see, then goes down into the garden. While he's there, he stares at a fountain with a sculpture of Neptune and Amphitrite having sex. Yup, sex statues in the garden. Oh well. That's classier than, say, velvet paintings of dogs playing poker.
  • Tancredi shows up and teases the Prince for staring at the statue. With no segue at all, Prince Fabrizio takes him to check out some fresh peaches that are growing on a nearby tree. The Prince says the peaches aren't ready, which is a shame, since he'd love to serve them to his guests that night. Oh well.
  • Later on, the Prince sits down at the dinner table and waits for his guests. His son Paolo runs up the stairs and announces that the mayor is coming "in tails," meaning that's he's wearing a fancy tuxedo coat with strips of fabric hanging down the back. The Prince is shocked by this, because only the best of the best are supposed to wear tails, and as far as Fabrizio is concerned, the mayor is still a nobody. It doesn't take him long to realize that this is a sign of Italy's future, which will be ruled by greedy, moneymaking men like the mayor.
  • Fabrizio gets to relax a little after he sees what a hatchet job that mayor's coat is. He comforts himself with the thought that no matter how much money the mayor has, he'll never have the style of an aristocrat.
  • While Fabrizio is reveling in the mayor's terrible coat, the mayor's daughter Angelica enters the room. Wham! Everyone is totally stunned by how beautiful she is, especially Fabrizio and Tancredi. The Prince jumps forward to welcome her and to say he hopes he'll be seeing a lot of her in the days to come. We wish we could hand him a towel to wipe away the drool.
  • The butler announces that dinner is ready and everyone heads into the dining room. The dinner is so good that half the people there forget about good manners and totally go to town on the meal.
  • Concetta senses almost immediately that her love, Tancredi, is looking at Angelica more than her. She feels like she's already lost him.
  • The mayor makes small talk about a man named Garibaldi who's led the invasion of The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It seems like the unification of Italy is a moot point. The Prince's response is still a solid "meh."
  • Tancredi tells everyone a story about him and his army buddies going into a convent to look for enemy soldiers. He laughs at how the old nuns thought they were going to be sexually assaulted.
  • The story is totally inappropriate, but Angelica laughs. Concetta scolds Tancredi for being rude, which doesn't really earn her any points with him. Besides, we all know what's really making her mad.
  • Before bed, Prince Fabrizio goes out on his balcony and looks at the stars. He feels his soul reaching toward them, wishing for something he doesn't have and probably never will. We have no clue what it is, and it sounds like he doesn't either.
  • The dog Bendicò comes running in and rubs against his knee. Fabrizio envies the dog for never having to stress about petty human things.
  • Tradition says that the day after arriving in Donnafugata, the Salina family has to visit a holy convent in the town. Fabrizio's the only man allowed to go inside because his ancestor founded the place. Tancredi wants to go in too, but the Prince says no way.
  • Back at the palace, the Prince goes onto his balcony and looks out on the town. He spies Tancredi in the distance sneaking toward the mayor's house with a servant carrying a box of the Prince's peaches. The same peaches that Fabrizio said weren't ready yet. Grrrrrr. They must be a present for the mayor's daughter, Angelica.