3052. The larger problem was the feeling that he had to accomplish some great task before Easter, but the very notion made it impossible to do anything. Meanwhile, even if he had been able to come up with a grand plan, all of his time seemed to be consumed by the strange Jailer, who kept on using up all of his precious hours. Faldoni was a polite person, and would never have asked the Jailer to leave him is peace so he could work. He was not that kind of a person.
I hope you are not becoming too annoyed with this Jailer. I think it
was wrong of him to waste Faldoni’s precious time pretending to teach
him to read and write, but perhaps he had his reasons. Now that the
prisoner wanted to paint, the Jailer began to insist that he learn how
to add and subtract. Once that was done, they would go on to
multiplication and division.
3054. The Jailer said to Faldoni,
“Most likely in the next world you will not need to be able to read and
write, but it seems to me that being unable to add and subtract would
he a hindrance even if one ends up in Hell itself.” Faldoni did not reply to this observation.
3055. I suppose that if you are interested in historic and famous jailers the greatest one who comes to mind is the nameless jailer who administers the poison to Socrates. He only appears for a short moment in the story in order to give Socrates his cup of hemlock to drink. His friends suggest a libation to the Gods, but the jailer says it is not possible because only enough has been prepared to accomplish the task. Then the jailer bursts into tears as he leaves.