But this afternoon he lay stretched out in an armchair, one leg crossed over the other, a book in his hand, with the fixed determination of reading. The book was interesting; yet, new and strange as it may seem, the reader had become very absent-minded. In fact, he was more than that; he was nervous and restless. He never turned a page, because after reading a couple of lines the letters seemed to leave their printed places, to dance about, become confused, disappear. Roberto had involuntarily taken a journey into the unknown regions of thought.
Papa is satisfied, my aunts all have sent me their blessings, my girl cousins are angry, my friends at the cafis congratulate me ironically, my true friends clasp my hand; therefore I am doing well to marry.
I can not deny that Lulu is very pretty; when she fixes her eyes so full of mischief upon me, when she laughs and shows her little white teeth, I want to take her charming little head between my hands and kiss her over arid over again. And she has an excellent disposition, a character of gold, always merry, good-natured, ready for a jest, witty, full of pranks, never melancholy. We shall agree excellently.
She appears my intelligence
I can not endure serious looks, especially in people I love. It always seems to me that such looks conceal a secret grief, a grief with which I am unacquainted, and which I cannot alleviate, or of which I am perhaps the involuntary cause. Sofia, my future sister-in-law, has the faculty of irritating me with her cold, impassive face. Whenever she appears my intelligence seems to shrivel up, the smile leaves my lips; and even should the most beautiful spring sun be shining, for me it turns into a gray November day.
I no longer have the courage to joke even with Lulu; that Sofia drives all joy away. She may have noticed the unpleasant impression she makes upon me, for she speaks to me without looking at me, does not shake hands, answers in the fewest possible words. She has noticed my dislike for her. Perhaps she is offended by it.
“Lulu always laughs. She is very young. She never says a serious word to me, and even if she wishes to, it always seems as though she were ridiculing. She loves me, but not madly. To be frank, mine is not a mad passion either; better so. For my part, I have two theories firmly established in my mind: an engaged couple should be of like dispositions, and, secondly, they should never begin with a violent passion. This is our case, and Lulu and I will be very happy.
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