بخش 45کتاب: پدرخوانده / فصل 45
- زمان مطالعه 23 دقیقه
- سطح سخت
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
Apollonia still had not touched her present. Her mother held it up for her to see and she raised those long lashes for a moment and then she looked directly at Michael, her doe-like brown eyes grave, and said, “Grazie.” It was the first time he had heard her voice.
It had all the velvety softness of youth and shyness and it set Michael’s ears ringing. He kept looking away from her and talking to the father and mother simply because looking at her confused him so much. But he noticed that despite the conservative looseness of her dress her body almost shone through the cloth with sheer sensuality. And he noticed the darkening of her skin blushing, the dark creamy skin, going darker with the blood surging to her face.
Finally Michael rose to go and the family rose too. They said their good-byes formally, the girl at last confronting him as they shook hands, and he felt the shock of her skin on his skin, her skin warm and rough, peasant skin. The father walked down the hill with him to his car and invited him to Sunday dinner the next week. Michael nodded but he knew he couldn’t wait a week to see the girl again.
He didn’t. The next day, without his shepherds, he drove to the village and sat on the garden terrace of the café to chat with her father. Signor Vitelli took pity on him and sent for his wife and daughter to come down to the café to join them. This meeting was less awkward. The girl Apollonia was less shy, and spoke more. She was dressed in her everyday print frock which suited her coloring much better.
The next day the same thing happened. Only this time Apollonia was wearing the gold chain he had given her. He smiled at her then, knowing that this was a signal to him. He walked with her up the hill, her mother close behind them. But it was impossible for the two young people to keep their bodies from brushing against each other and once Apollonia stumbled and fell against him so that he had to hold her and her body so warm and alive in his hands started a deep wave of blood rising in his body. They could not see the mother behind them smiling because her daughter was a mountain goat and had not stumbled on this path since she was an infant in diapers. And smiling because this was the only way this young man was going to get his hands on her daughter until the marriage.
This went on for two weeks. Michael brought her presents every time he came and gradually she became less shy. But they could never meet without a chaperone being present. She was just a village girl, barely literate, with no idea of the world, but she had a freshness, an eagerness for life that, with help of the language barrier, made her seem interesting. Everything went very swiftly at Michael’s request. And because the girl was not only fascinated by him but knew he must be rich, a wedding date was set for the Sunday two weeks away.
Now Don Tommasino took a hand. He had received word from America that Michael was not subject to orders but that all elementary precautions should be taken. So Don Tommasino appointed himself the parent of the bridegroom to insure the presence of his own bodyguards. Calo and Fabrizzio were also members of the wedding party from Corleone as was Dr. Taza. The bride and groom would live in Dr. Taza’s villa surrounded by its stone wall.
The wedding was the usual peasant one. The villagers stood in the streets and threw flowers as the bridal party, principals and guests, went on foot from the church to the bride’s home. The wedding procession pelted the neighbors with sugar-coated almonds, the traditional wedding candies, and with candies left over made sugary white mountains on the bride’s wedding bed, in this case only a symbolic one since the first night would be spent in the villa outside Corleone. The wedding feast went on until midnight but bride and groom would leave before that in the Alfa Romeo. When that time came Michael was surprised to find that the mother was coming with them to the Corleone villa at the request of the bride. The father explained: the girl was young, a virgin, a little frightened, she would need someone to talk to on the morning following her bridal night; to put her on the right track if things went wrong. These matters could sometimes get very tricky. Michael saw Apollonia looking at him with doubt in her huge doe-brown eyes. He smiled at her and nodded.
And so it came about that they drove back to the villa outside Corleone with the mother-in-law in the car. But the older woman immediately put her head together with the servants of Dr. Taza, gave her daughter a hug and a kiss and disappeared from the scene. Michael and his bride were allowed to go to their huge bedroom alone.
Apollonia was still wearing her bridal costume with a cloak thrown over it. Her trunk and case had been brought up to the room from the car. On a small table was a bottle of wine and a plate of small wedding cakes. The huge canopied bed was never out of their vision. The young girl in the center of the room waited for Michael to make the first move.
And now that he had her alone, now that he legally possessed her, now that there was no barrier to his enjoying that body and face he had dreamed about every night, Michael could not bring himself to approach her. He watched as she took off the bridal shawl and draped it over a chair, and placed the bridal crown on the small dressing table. That table had an array of perfumes and creams that Michael had had sent from Palermo. The girl tallied them with her eyes for a moment.
Michael turned off the lights, thinking the girl was waiting for some darkness to shield her body while she undressed. But the Sicilian moon came through the unshuttered windows, bright as gold, and Michael went to close the shutters but not all the way. the room would be too warm.
The girl was still standing by the table and so Michael went out of the room and down the hall to the bathroom. He and Dr. Taza and Don Tommasino had taken a glass of wine together in the garden while the women had prepared themselves for bed. He had expected to find Apollonia in her nightgown when he returned. already between the covers. He was surprised that the mother had not done this service for her daughter. Maybe Apollonia had wanted him to help her to undress. But he was certain she was too shy, too innocent for such forward behavior.
Coming back into the bedroom. he found it completely dark, someone had closed the shutters all the way. He groped his way toward the bed and could make out the shape of Apollonia’s body lying under the covers, her back to him, her body curved away from him and huddled up. He undressed and slipped naked beneath the sheets. He stretched out one hand and touched silky naked skin. She had not put on her gown and this boldness delighted him. Slowly, carefully. he put one hand on her shoulder and pressed her body gently so that she would turn to him. She turned slowly and his hand touched her breast, soft, full and then she was in his arms so quickly that their bodies came together in one line of silken electricity and he finally had his arms around her, was kissing her warm mouth deeply, was crushing her body and breasts against him and then rolling his body on top of hers.
Her flesh and hair taut silk, now she was all eagerness. surging against him wildly in a virginal erotic frenzy. When he entered her she gave a little gasp and was still for just a second and then in a powerful forward thrust of her pelvis she locked her satiny legs around his hips. When they came to the end they were locked together so fiercely, straining against each other so violently, that falling away from each other was like the tremble before death.
That night and the weeks that followed. Michael Corleone came to understand the premium put on virginity by socially primitive people. It was a period of sensuality that he had never before experienced, a sensuality mixed with a feeling of masculine power. Apollonia in those first days became almost his slave. Given trust, given affection, a young full-blooded girl aroused from virginity to erotic awareness was as delicious as an exactly ripe fruit.
She on her part brightened up the rather gloomy masculine atmosphere of the villa. She had packed her mother off the very next day after her bridal night and presided at the communal table with bright girlish charm. Don Tommasino dined with them every night and Dr. Taza told all his old stories as they drank wine in the garden full of statues garlanded with blood-red flowers, and so the evenings passed pleasantly enough. At night in their bedroom the newly married couple spent hours of feverish lovemaking. Michael could not get enough of Apollonia’s beautifully sculpted body, her honey-colored skin, her huge brown eyes glowing with passion. She had a wonderfully fresh smell, a fleshly smell perfumed by her s@x yet almost sweet and unbearably aphrodisiacal. Her virginal passion matched his nuptial lust and often it was dawn when they fell into an exhausted slumber. Sometimes, spent but not yet ready for sleep, Michael sat on the window ledge and stared at Apollonia’s naked body while she slept. Her face too was lovely in repose, a perfect face he had seen before only in art books of painted Italian Madonnas who by no stretch of the artist’s skill could be thought virginal.
In the first week of their marriage they went on picnics and small trips in the Alfa Romeo. But then Don Tommasino took Michael aside and explained that the marriage had made his presence and identity common knowledge in that part of Sicily and precautions had to be taken against the enemies of the Corleone Family, whose long arms also stretched to this island refuge. Don Tommasino put armed guards around his villa and the two shepherds, Calo and Fabrizzio, were fixtures inside the walls. So Michael and his wife had to remain on the villa grounds. Michael passed the time by teaching Apollonia to read and write English and to drive the 5_ù along the inner walls of the villa. About this time Don Tommasino seemed to be preoccupied and poor company. He was still having trouble with the new Mafia in the town of Palermo, Dr. Taza said.
One night in the garden an old village woman who worked in the house as a servant brought a dish of fresh olives and then turned to Michael and said, “Is it true what everybody is saying that you are the son of Don Corleone in New York City, the Godfather?”
Michael saw Don Tommasino shaking his head in disgust at the general knowledge of their secret. But the old crone was looking at him in so concerned a fashion, as if it was important for her to know the truth, that Michael nodded. “Do you know my father?” he asked.
The woman’s name was Filomena and her face was as wrinkled and brown as a walnut, her brown-stained teeth showing through the shell of her flesh. For the first time since he had been in the villa she smiled at him. “The Godfather saved my life once,” she said, “and my brains too.” She made a gesture toward her head.
She obviously wanted to say something else so Michael smiled to encourage her. She asked almost fearfully, “Is it true that Luca Brasi is dead?”
Michael nodded again and was surprised at the look of release on the old woman’s face. Filomena crossed herself and said, “God forgive me, but may his soul roast in hell for eternity.”
Michael remembered his old curiosity about Brasi, and had the sudden intuition that this woman knew the story Hagen and Sonny had refused to tell him. He poured the woman a glass of wine and made her sit down. “Tell me about my father and Luca Brasi,” he said gently. “I know some of it, but how did they become friends and why was Brasi so devoted to my father? Don’t be afraid, come tell me.”
Filomena ‘s wrinkled face, her raisin-black eyes, turned to Don Tommasino, who in some way signaled his permission. And so Filomena passed the evening for them by telling her story.
Thirty years before, Filomena had been a midwife in New York City, on Tenth Avenue, servicing the Italian colony. The women were always pregnant and she prospered. She taught doctors a few things when they tried to interfere in a difficult birth. Her husband was then a prosperous grocery store owner, dead now poor soul, she blessed him, though he had been a card player and wencher who never thought to put aside for hard times. In any event one cursed night thirty years ago when all honest people were long in their beds, there came a knocking on Filomena’s door. She was by no means frightened, it was the quiet hour babes prudently chose to enter safely into this sinful world, and so she dressed and opened the door. Outside it was Luca Brasi whose reputation even then was fearsome. It was known also that he was a bachelor. And so Filomena was immediately frightened. She thought he had come to do her husband harm, that perhaps her husband had foolishly refused Brasi some small favor.
But Brasi had come on the usual errand. He told Filomena that there was a woman about to give birth, that the house was out of the neighborhood some distance away and that she was to come with him. Filomena immediately sensed something amiss. Brasi’s brutal face looked almost like that of a madman that night, he was obviously in the grip of some demon. She tried to protest that she attended only women whose history she knew but he shoved a handful of green dollars in her hand and ordered her roughly to come along with him. She was too frightened to refuse.
In the street was a Ford, its driver of the same feather as Luca Brasi. The drive was no more than thirty minutes to a small frame house in Long Island City right over the bridge. A two-family house but obviously now tenanted only by Brasi and his gang. For there were some other ruffians in the kitchen playing cards and drinking. Brasi took Filomena up the stairs to a bedroom. In the bed was a young pretty girl who looked Irish, her face painted, her hair red; and with a belly swollen like a sow. The poor girl was so frightened. When she saw Brasi she turned her head away in terror, yes terror, and indeed the look of hatred on Brasi’s evil face was the most frightening thing she had ever seen in her life. (Here Filomena crossed herself again.) To make a long story short, Brasi left the room. Two of his men assisted the midwife and the baby was born, the mother was exhausted and went into a deep sleep. Brasi was summoned and Filomena, who had wrapped the newborn child in an extra blanket, extended the bundle to him and said, “If you’re the father, take her. My work is finished.”
Brasi glared at her, malevolent, insanity stamped on his face. “Yes, I’m the father,” he said. “But I don’t want any of that race to live. Take it down to the basement and throw it into the furnace.”
For a moment Filomena thought she had not understood him properly. She was puzzled by his use of the word “race.” Did he mean because the girl was not Italian? Or did he mean because the girl was obviously of the lowest type; a whore in short? Or did he mean that anything springing from his loins he forbade to live. And then she was sure he was making a brutal joke. She said shortly, “It’s your child, do what you want.” And she tried to hand him the bundle.
At this time the exhausted mother awoke and turned on her side to face them. She was just in time to see Brasi thrust violently at the bundle, crushing the newborn infant against Filomena’s chest. She called out weakly, “Luc, Luc, I’m sorry,” and Brasi turned to face her.
It was terrible, Filomena said now. So terrible. They were like two mad animals. They were not human. The hatred they bore each other blazed through the room. Nothing else, not even the newborn infant, existed for them at that moment. And yet there was a strange passion. A bloody, demonical lust so unnatural you knew they were damned forever. Then Luca Brasi turned back to Filomena and said harshly, “Do what I tell you, I’ll make you rich.” Filomena could not speak in her terror. She shook her head. Finally she managed to whisper, “You do it, you’re the father, do it if you like.” But Brasi didn’t answer. Instead he drew a knife from inside his shirt. ‘I’ll cut your throat,” he said.
She must have gone into shock then because the next thing she remembered they were all standing in the basement of the house in front of a square iron furnace. Filomena was still holding the blanketed baby, which had not made a sound. (Maybe if it had cried, maybe if I had been shrewd enough to pinch it, Filomena said, that monster would have shown mercy.)
One of the men must have opened the furnace door, the fire now was visible. And then she was alone with Brasi in that basement with its sweating pipes, its mousy odor. Brasi had his knife out again. And there could be no doubting that he would kill her. There were the flames, there were Brasi’s eyes. His face was the gargoyle of the devil, it was not human, it was not sane. He pushed her toward the open furnace door.
At this point Filomena fell silent. She folded her bony hands in her lap and looked directly at Michael. He knew what she wanted, how she wanted to tell him, without using her voice. He asked gently, “Did you do it?” She nodded.
It was only after another glass of wine and crossing herself and muttering a prayer that she continued her story. She was given a bundle of money and driven home. She understood that if she uttered a word about what had happened she would be killed. But two days later Brasi murdered the young Irish girl, the mother of the infant, and was arrested by the police. Filomena, frightened out of her wits, went to the Godfather and told her story. He ordered her to keep silent, that he would attend to everything. At that time Brasi did not work for Don Corleone.
Before Don Corleone could set matters aright, Luca Brasi tried to commit suicide in his cell, hacking at his throat with a piece of glass. He was transferred to the prison hospital and by the time he recovered Don Corleone had arranged everything. The police did not have a case they could prove in court and Luca Brasi was released.
Though Don Corleone assured Filomena that she had nothing to fear from either Luca Brasi or the police, she had no peace. Her nerves were shattered and she could no longer work at her profession. Finally she persuaded her husband to sell the grocery store and they returned to Italy. Her husband was a good man, had been told everything and understood. But he was a weak man and in Italy squandered the fortune they had both slaved in America to earn. And so after he died she had become a servant. So Filomena ended her story. She had another glass of wine and said to Michael, “I bless the name of your father. He always sent me money when I asked, he saved me from Brasi. Tell him I say a prayer for his soul every night and that he shouldn’t fear dying.” After she had left, Michael asked Don Tommasino, “Is her story true?” The capo-mafioso nodded. And Michael thought, no wonder nobody wanted to tell him the story. Some story. Some Luca.
The next morning Michael wanted to discuss the whole thing with Don Tommasino but learned that the old man had been called to Palermo by an urgent message delivered by a courier. That evening Don Tommasino returned and took Michael aside. News had come from America, he said. News that it grieved him to tell. Santino Corleone had been killed.
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