Our Friend Manso

By Benito Pérez Galdós; Robert Russell | Go to book overview

XIV
GOOD GOD, HOW DID I CONCEIVE SUCH A PLAN?

WAS IT BORN OF EMOTION or of reason? Even today I can't be sure, although I do try to plumb the depths of the problem, assisted by the serenity of mind which I now enjoy.

"That young woman is a treasure," I said to my brother and to Lica, who were both very pleased with the children's progress.

On fine days, Irene and the three little ones went out for a stroll. I took great care that this habit should not be broken, since it's such a healthful practice. I added myself to that good company most afternoons, sometimes because I had planned to do so, and others because I would meet theme-- whether by coincidence I do not know--in the street. These coincidences occurred with such infallible regularity that they ceased being coincidences. As I conversed with Irene, I noticed that she was not a woman of any pretensions to great learning, but that she did possess the culture appropriate to her sex, unquestionably superior to any which might be demonstrated by the women of our times. She had the rudiments of some sciences, and whenever she spoke of her studies she did it with such accuracy that one admired her more for what she didn't wish to know than for what she had indeed learned.

Our talks during those pleasant strolls were about general topics, likes and dislikes, tastes, and sometimes, the level of education women should be given. She agreed with me, and dissociated herself from the judgment of so many half-baked pamphleteers; i.e., she rejected the idea that women should become full-fledged professionals, exercising the callings proper only to men. At the same time, however, she heaped scorn upon the ignorance, superstition, and backwardness in which most Spanish women five. All of

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