Our Friend Manso

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

XLIX
I FELL ILL THAT DAY

WHAT A COINCIDENCE! . . . I'm referring to the day of the wedding. I chose not to attend. Let's just say that I was confined to my bed with a heavy cold. It was raining hard. A gray sadness was dropping in cold threads from the sky, and whispering as it struck the ground. Through Doña Javiera, who came up to see me once everything was over, I learned that nothing unusual had happened beyond the obligatory ceremony, the blessing in Latin, the curiosity of the guests, the lunch at the new house, and the departure of the blissful pair for I don't know where . . . I think it was Biarritz, or Burgos, or Bordeaux. Some place beginning with a B. Where they went doesn't really matter. I got up at once, fully recovered. This astounded Doña Javiera, who told me she'd decided to live in the new house beginning the next day. We spoke of Irene, and my neighbor admitted that she was beginning to find her easy to get on with; and that I had perhaps been right to praise her; and that if her son was happy she couldn't be too concerned for much else. She told me that all the girls looked at Manolo in envy of Irene . . . A mother's vanity hurts no one! After lunch the pair had gone to the station alone, in her new carriage, all nicely tucked into fur rugs . . . Manolo was so handsome! So much better than her! You could set your watch by Manolo! That rascal of a schoolteacher must have had more tricks up her sleeve than Merlin, for she'd hooked the best-looking, most worthy boy in all the Spains.

Blessed Mother, Doña Cándida just wept and wept! My brother José had also caught cold that day, and couldn't attend. M'lady the Marchioness (I mean Lica) was there, along with her mamma and sister, and besides them, a lot of other notable persons. I wasn't much impressed with all that notability, and said so bad-humoredly to my neighbor. She insisted on classifying as eminent all the people who came; we disputed the point, and I ended up asking her:

"And I'll just bet little black Ruperto was there, too?"

-252-

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