Only Yesterday

By S. Y. Agnon; Barbara Harshav | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
Brief Commentary on the Preceding Chapter

1

This change, when did it begin? Perhaps the prologue was like this. One day she found him wearing new clothes. She glanced at him and she seemed to be looking at him affectionately, suddenly she said, There was a Hebrew teacher in our city, round as a herring barrel, who wore blue socks like the ones you're wearing. Isaac didn't understand that she intended to make fun of him, for what was there to make fun of blue socks, especially since in the Land of Israel, where people aren't fussy about the way they dress, especially with socks that are covered by trousers. When he sensed her mockery, he was offended by her words. And when she saw that he was offended, she didn't leave a stone unturned and there was nothing she didn't tease him about.

And still Sonya would come to him. Until that day when he waited for her and she didn't come. So he got up went to her. But she put on an amazed expression. And he went off and was insulted.

Isaac thought that Sonya would come and appease him, for she must have sensed that she hadn't behaved decently. He sat with a furious expression to teach her good manners. What did she do? She didn't come at all and didn't give him a chance to teach her good manners. He began to give in to her just so she would come. What did she do? She didn't come, and didn't give him a chance to show her he had given in. His face became pallid and he sat and waited for her. Now his anger was calmed and an affection he had never known throbbed in his heart, the affection that starts with yearnings and ends with madness. He sat all by himself and enumerated for himself some of her movements which, when she used to come to

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