Our Friend Manso

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

XXXII
A CLOUD WAS HOVERING BETWEEN MY BROTHER AND ME

WOULD IT PRODUCE a bolt of lightning? I was resolved to avoid that at all cost. I spoke about it to Lica, who in the short space of one day had fallen back into her worries and her sorrows. The reconciliation between wife and husband had been of such slight effect that the specter of discord was quick to destroy it, usurping dethroned Hymenaeus' place on love's altar. Throughout the whole day following my trivial argument with José, I stayed with my sister-in-law, listening patiently to her interminable complaining. Yes; he wasn't going to deceive her any more. She was catching on to his vileness. No longer would he bamboozle her with a few sweet words and a caress or two . . . She was convinced there was something in her husband's life that was driving her mad. José was no longer his old self.

In jeremiads like these we whiled away the hours of the afternoon and the evening, desolate hours because Lica had canceled the usual gathering and was receiving no one. José María appeared in the house only for a few brief moments because he had recived his certificate of election. He had presented it in Parliament, taken his oath, and been elected chairman of the Molasses Committee. The worthy representative of his nation, dedicated body and soul to the sacred duties of parliamentary and political paternity, had no time for anything. Four days went by in this fashion, dreary and annoying ones for me because Irene had not sent the promised bidding to visit her, and I, scrupulous creature that I am, didn't wish to infringe at all upon the terms of a message that seemed a command. So I spent most of each day with the forgotten but worthy wife of José María. In among the monotonous chants of a wronged wife, she made use of my prolonged presence there to try to interest me in marrying her sister, thus becoming doubly her relative. A kind intention, but an impossible one as well! I was second to none in my apprecia-

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