Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A young man, traveling in Italy, writes to me of his passion

They are still making my mistakes,
I find, yet I've seamlessly declared,
without false valour, that they were
marvelous beyond price. A youth tells
me, his Italian journey has acquainted
him with a girl who's gone to New Zea-
land, and that he must dash home to
northern Virginia to amass funds to
commit himself to a permanent reloca-
tion. And, by the way, would I recom-
mend him to colleagues there in agri-
culture, for the usual reasons?

I wouldn't mention it, but his note
happens to reach me on the anniversary
of a wedding in which I was a princi-
pal, which I was expecting to observe
this evening with customary discretion.
Just now my English Cocker is gnawing
a post-prandial rawhide, with more than
enough concentration to revive the high-
lights of that occasion, its indifferent
aspects suspended by the little fellow's
startling pleasure.

I'll not reproach this lad for conduct
he exults in confessing now, for I was
not even cognisant of it, then. I refer
to that abrogation of all ties in the
pursuit of the betrothed. People who've
written about it outnumber the rest of
us in that particular, only. Nor is this
merely a male trait, either by destiny
or cultural tradition. My shatteringly
Jamesian wife committed it, too, very
much on time. And of course youth has al-
most nothing to do with it, for all the

I've cited too much Lamb, lately, so I
won't bog you down this evening with A
Bachelor's Complaint. Mine is not the
bachelor's. It's the spouse's dawning
comprehension of subscribing to adieux
almost on the scale of renunciation:
forsaking all others, almost disowning
them. (I thought, Damon and Affleck got
this very well, in their undergraduate
masterpiece). Of course there is always 
hope for a rare exception or two, to 
those dismissals. They are the trustees
of our truest, constant love.

I had mine, possibly he will, too.

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