Figarello, Emelio

Object ID: 2012-007-493

State: Italy


But there was another Assistant Commandant there for a few months during the early part of the school year with whom I could pass what little time I had off duty, which incidentally was not a great deal. I was always up before reveille and I had to make inspections of barracks after taps and in between time I was kept pretty busy.This chap to whom I refer was a captain of cavalry in the Italian army, on leave. Emelio Figarello, Count de Gropello, was a great big overgrown boy; a lovable chap who could never understand us or our ways and who, when gauged by the narrow provincialism of a small American private school in those days, could not be understood by us.To the boys of the corps he was a standing joke because of his hysteric excitability and his lack of knowledge of our language. He horrified the members of the faculty by his casual references to natural phenomena, which in those days were not mentioned in the presence of ladies. He and I ate together at a lonely little table in the messhall, where we could watch the cadets and keep them from enjoying their meals, and it was then, as I perceived Emelio’s table manners, that I reconstructed all my previously conceived conceptions of European nobility. Now, after the passing of years and a broader experience of people, I realize that he was, perhaps, the only human being among us. I know that he had a heart of gold and I imagine that at home he was some pumpkins.His family owned a whole town and he had a most gorgeous watch that had been presented to him personally by the King of Italy. When he left us he went to South America and I have often wondered what became of him.From the Edgar Rice Burroughs Autobiography