Study Guide

The Leopard Chapter 3

By Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Chapter 3

  • During his stay at Donnafugata, Prince Fabrizio goes out shooting for wild game with his buddy and loyal neighbor, Ciccio Tumeo. Tancredi's left Donnafugata to help his Italian buddies take over The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Once Fabrizio has a little time to stew, he gets nervous about his family's situation. He feels more and more like a dude in a book about history (psst, no one tell him that that's what he is).
  • Tancredi writes to Fabrizio often, declaring that he's in love with Angelica and that he'd like to marry her. It doesn't hurt that Angelica comes from a rich family and Tancredi is really poor, even though his uncle Fabrizio has always looked out for him.
  • Fabrizio does a huge face-palm because he doesn't want to go to Calogero on Tancredi's behalf to ask for Angelica's hand in marriage. He feels humiliated to be asking a favor from someone who's still a commoner.
  • He tells his wife about Tancredi's interest in Angelica. She's still mad that Tancredi won't be marrying their daughter Concetta. Now Tancredi is a double traitor in her eyes, in both the military sense and the romantic.
  • The Prince is pretty accepting about the whole thing. He knows that he and his wife can't stop what's happening. This is just the way the winds are blowing.
  • The Prince goes shooting again with his buddy Ciccio Tumeo. They talk for a moment about the recent "Plebiscite for the Unification of Italy." Basically, the invading armies are taking a vote from the people of Sicily to see if they want to join a united Italy. It's really just an empty gesture, since everyone knows that the joining is going to happen either way.
  • To make conversation, Fabrizio asks Ciccio how he'll vote. The guy doesn't quite know how to answer because he's afraid the Prince will be angry if he says yes. The Prince calms him by saying that he should probably vote yes. After all, Fabrizio doesn't really have any spirit for defending himself or the aristocracy. Plus he also doesn't want any of his buds to get into trouble for voting "no."
  • The next day, the Prince goes to vote in the Plebiscite. He votes "yes" to join Italy and to effectively end his family's claim to royalty. He notices when handing in his vote that the town hall has already hung up a picture of Garibaldi, leader of the invading forces, and Victor Emmanuel, who will soon be the first King of United Italy.
  • Later that night, Don Calogero (mayor) marches out of Town Hall and declares that 515 people voted "yes" to join Italy and 0 voted "no."
  • Fabrizio's friend Ciccio loses it because he voted "no" and he knows that the authorities have rigged the vote. It's especially insulting because everyone knows that the vote was going to be in favor of joining Italy either way. The fact that they lied and made it unanimous just shows how the whole Plebiscite was a hollow sham. What's that? Dishonesty in politics, you say? Gasp!
  • The Prince asks Ciccio what he thinks of the mayor, Don Calogero. Ciccio calls Calogero "the new man," meaning that he's a ruthless capitalist who will do anything to become richer. Ciccio considers this money-hungry attitude a "low" way of thinking and insults Calogero's wife by saying she's a trophy wife, "Good for bed, and that's all" (3.46).
  • Now that he's got a loose tongue, Ciccio goes on to talk about how hot he thinks Angelica is and imagines out loud what her bed sheets smell like. The Prince is offended by this. He tells Ciccio to watch what he says because Angelica might soon become his (the Prince's) niece through marriage to Tancredi.
  • Instead of apologizing, Ciccio criticizes the marriage because he thinks Angelica is beneath Tancredi. The Prince feels like punching the dude, but doesn't. They get up and head back to the house.
  • Later that day, Don Calogero shows up at the Prince's house. He's come to discuss the state of things between Tancredi and his daughter Angelica. The Prince says that as far as he knows, Tancredi is madly in love with her, which makes the mayor happy.
  • The Prince walks across the room and hugs Calogero right off the ground. Then he fills the guy in on the long and proud aristocratic tradition that Tancredi comes from. He hopes that the mayor will appreciate this, though it's not clear if the guy cares. Fabrizio also mentions that Tancredi won't bring much money to the marriage.
  • The mayor surprises Fab by answering that as long as Angelica and Tancredi love one another, he is happy. He also promises to give everything he has to Tancredi and Angelica. In his mind, love is all that matters, which is strange for a guy who's spent his whole life getting money.
  • As a gesture to Prince Fab, Calogero also claims the he can produce papers showing that Angelica is originally descended from aristocratic blood, even though their family has been poor for some time.
  • The Prince goes down to let his buddy Ciccio out of the gunroom. He's forced Ciccio to stay there so that the guy wouldn't give away the secret of Tancredi's marriage before the Prince had a chance to confirm things with Don Calogero. With that settled, he goes to tell his wife that there's going to be a wedding. She's not over the moon about this.