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The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
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MY LIFE cannot claim the dignity of an autobiography. Nameless, in the crowd of nameless ones, I have merely caught and reflected a little of the light from that dynamic thought or ideal which is drawing humanity towards better destinies.

I was born on June 11, 1888, of G. Battista Vanzetti and Giovanna Vanzetti, in Villafalletto, province of Cuneo, in Piedmont. The town, which arises on the right bank of the Magra, in the shadows of a beautiful chain of hills in primarily an agricultural community. Here I lived until the age of thirteen in the bossom of my family.

I attended the local schools, and loved study. My earliest memories are of prizes won in school examinations, including second prize in the religious catechism. My father was undecided whether to let me prosecute studies or to appropriate me to some artisan. One day he read in the Gazetta del Popolo that in Turin forty-two lawyers had applied for a position paying 35 lire monthly. The news item proved decisive in my boyhood, for it left my father determined that I should learn a trade and become a shop-keeper.

And so in the year 1901 he conducted me to Signor Conino, who ran a pastry shop in the city of Cuneo, and left me there to taste, for the first time, the flavor of hard, relentless labor. I worked for about twenty months there - from seven o'clock each morning until ten at night, every day, except for a three-hour vacation twice a month. From Cuneo I went to Cavour and found myself installed in the bakery of Signor Coitre, a place that I kept for three years. Conditions were no better than in Cuneo, except that the fortnightly free period was of five hours duration.

I did not like the trade, but I stuck to it to please my father and because I did not know what else to chose. In


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