Our Friend Manso

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

XXII
THINGS ARE MOVING

THINGS ARE GETTING STICKY," I thought as I departed. We are right in the middle of the complete unfolding of events; we are present at their natural development. To us is assigned the fatal duty of taking part in them, whether it be as mere witnesses, which isn't always so pleasant, or as victims, which is even less so. We are now faced with a situation in which moral energy--call it character if you will--acting within the small compass of a family circle or a group of acquaintances, has completed what we might call in the language of drama its protasis; and now that the said energy has matured and grown, its opposing elements begin to jostle and compete for space, starting with brushings, and then bumps, and later perhaps leading to furious frontal assaults. Let us remain calm and keep a sharp eye on things. Let us hold on to the serenity of spirit which is so useful in the midst of a battle. And if fate, or the suggestions of others, or our own self- interest should propel us into the role of commanding general, let us attempt to carry into the field all the tactics we have learned through study, and all the discernment we have acquired in observing the comparative topography of the human heart.

I couldn't sleep that night thinking about what was going on and speculating upon what might go on. The next day I hurried to my brother's house and said to Lica:

"You keep an eye on Doña Cándida, and I'll do the same with Irene."

Lica was surprised at my distrust of Caligula, and told me that she harbored no evil suspicions of such an affectionate and obliging friend.

"Do be careful with that woman," I replied, feeling that I was on firm ground. "Despite her being a protégée of this household, my gadfly's character has not been altered and she dreams up new necessities for herself every clay. Nothing is enough for her: the more she has the more she wants. Her hunger has been satisfied and now she longs for certain comforts she

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