Friday, September 7, 2012

Fabrizio's Mistresses by Marcel Proust

Fabrizio's mistress was intelligent and beautiful; he could not get over it. "She shouldn't understand herself!" he groaned. "Her beauty is spoiled by her intelligence. Could I still smitten by the Mona Lisa whenever I looked at her if I also had to hear a discourse by even a remarkable critic?"

He left her and took another mistress, who was beautiful and mindless. But her inexorable want of tact contantly prevented him from enjoying her charm. Moreover she aspired to intelligence, read a great deal, became a bluestocking, and was as intellectual as his first mistress, but with less ease and with ridiculous clumsiness. He asked her to keep silent; but even when she held her tongue, her beauty cruelly reflected her stupidity. Finally he met a woman who revealed her intelligence purely in amore subtle grace, who was content with just living and never dissipated the enchanting mystery of her nature in overly specific conversations. She was gentle, like graceful and agile animals with deep eyes, and she disturbed you like the morning's vague and agonizing memory of your dreams. But she did not bother to do for him what his other two mistresses had done: she did not love him.

from Fragments of Commedia Dell'Arte