Wedding Banquet

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Wedding banquet. Emilia Pardo Bazan

One night of Carnival, several friends who had gone to the dance and returned bored as it usually returns from those empty and noisy parties, where the unexpected and the romancesque are sought and only the vulgarity and the most unbearable duck are found, resolved, seeing that it was a very clear day, not to go to bed and have breakfast at the Retiro, with milk and buns. The walk cleared their heads and calmed their nerves adorned, giving them back that spontaneous joy that is the best garment of youth. Sitting at the iron table, breathing the pure air and the vague, germinal smell of the first shoots of plants and trees, they spoke of the tedium of single life, and three of the four who met there manifested tendencies to bend their necks under their saint. The fourth – the oldest in age, Saturio Vargas – as he heard the marriage named, made a mohín of displeasure, or rather of disgust, which his companions celebrated with the jokes of drawer and with intentional questions. Then Saturius, between sips of rich milk, announced that he was going to tell the cause of the antipathy inspired by him only the name and the idea of the conjugal bond.
It is one of the things, he said, that cannot be justified by reasons, and I do not pretend that you approve of me, but that there, inwardly, you understand me… There are stronger and more decisive impressions than all the reasoning in the world; I have suffered one of these… and I obey her and will obey her until the last hour of my life. Be certain that I will die with palm… Single.
I received such an impression when I lived in the province, under the wing of my mother. I was eighteen years old, I do not know if I was at least old, when one morning my mother announced to me that the next day a cousin of ours was getting married, whom her tutor had brought from a convent in Compostela, where she was educated, and that we were invited to the ceremony in the church and to the wedding meals, at the groom’s house, certain notary already mature. Cheerful as a boy to whom I expected a day of rest and revelry; I matured, and I placed myself in the church so that I would not lose detail. When the bride arrived, among the run run of the crowd that moved away to make way for her, and I saw her from the front, I was surprised at how beautiful she was, and especially at her candid and angelic air, and at her great youth—a girl rather than a woman. He did not wear white; such a custom did not yet exist in Marineda; he wore a suit of black silk, a mantilla of Spanish blonde and on his chest a sprig of artificial orange blossom; but her pink face and big, sweet blue eyes looked more with classic Spanish headdress, which they would wear under the veil of Mechelen.

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