Our Friend Manso

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

XVII
I CARRIED HER WITH ME

IT WAS AS IF her nature had been miraculously engrafted into my own. I could feel her within me, spirit next to spirit, and I felt a joy which became even livelier that evening when I went to the Thursday gathering. This radiant joy poured forth from me like something inspired and sparkling. it burst from my lips, my eyes, and even from my pores, I think. I was suddenly filled with optimism akin to the delirium of a feverish person, and everything seemed beautiful and pleasing to me, like a projection of myself I conversed with everyone and everyone was transfigured in my eyes, which, like Don Quixote's, made castles out of country inns. My brother seemed another Bismarck to me; Cimarra far outpaced Cato; the poet eclipsed Homer; Pez was a Malthus in statistics and a J. S. Mill in political ideas; and my sister-in-law Manuela was the most aristocratic, refined, elegant, distinguished woman ever to tread upon a carpet. To give a clear idea of the extent of the diseased aberrations into which my wild optimism led me, I need only say that even the poet heard benevolent words from my lips, and that I almost promised to devote some attention to his poems in a forthcoming book of literary criticism. This rendered him widly ecstatic, and as the conversation turned from one celebrity to another, he affirmed that I left Kant and Schelling and all the fathers of philosophy far behind me. His unmerited flattery opened my eyes and acted as a corrective to my optimistic debility. I believe there was some physical disorder inside me, some unknown softening of those organs most closely related to one's strength of character. Sáinz del Bardal gave me an interminable solo regarding the enormous progress being made by the Society for Industrial Invalids, and this also was very useful in restoring me to my normal state. In the service of said Society the poet was performing at a feverish, demented level of activity. He was in several places at the same time, trying to organize the work, increase the number of members, and obtain official government recognition. He had managed to recruit three ex-ministers and another well-known Madrid per-

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