Rejection

When I meet a pretty girl and beg her: "Be so good as to come with me," and she walks past without a word, this is what she means to say:

"You are no Duke with a famous name, no broad American with a Red Indian figure, level, brooding eyes and a skin tempered by the air of the prairies and the rivers that flow through them, you have never journeyed to the seven seas and voyaged on them, wherever they may be, I don't know where. So why, pray, should a pretty girl like myself go with you?"

"You forget that no automobile swings you through the street in long thrusts; I see no gentlemen escorting you in a close half-circle, pressing on your skirts from behind and murmuring blessings on your head; your breasts are well laced into your bodice, but your thighs and hips make up for that restraint; you are wearing a taffeta dress with a pleated skirt such as delighted all of us last autumn, and yet you smile--inviting mortal danger--from time to time."

"Yes, we're both in the right, and to keep us from being irrevocably aware of it, hadn't we better just go our separate ways home?"

Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir



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