page 202

from The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth

Ah! Lietenant Trotta did not understand women who see old age approaching. He did not know that she welcomed every present like a magic gift to make her younger, and that her intelligent and yearning eyes had a very different standard for assessing things! Frau von Taussig loved his helplessness, and the more evident his youth, the younger she herself became. And so, wise and imeptuous , she threw her arms around him, kissed him, kisssed him like a child of her own, wept because she was about to loose him, and also a little because the pearls were beautiful, and she said, through an intense and splendid flood of tears, “You’re sweet, very sweet, my boy!” She promptly regretted those words, especially “My boy.”  For they made her older than she actually was at that instant. Luckily she noticed right away that he was as proud as if he had been decorated by the Supreme Commander in Chief himslef. He’s too young, she thought, to now how old I am!

But to wipe out, root out her real age, scuttle it in the sea of her passion, she grabbed the shoulders of the young man whose warm, tender bones were confusing her hands and drew him to the sofa. She pounced on him with her stupendous yearning to be young. Passion erupted from her in violent sweeps of flame, chaining the lieutenant and subjugating him. Her eyes, blissful and grateful, blinked at the young man’s face above her face. Looking at him made her young again. And her lust to remain eternally young was as great as her lust to love. For a while she thought she could never let go of this lieutenant. But then a moment later she said, “Too bad you’re leaving today.”

“Won’t I ever see you again?” he asked, reverent, a young lover.

“Wait for me, I’ll be back!” And: “Don’t cheat on me!” she quickly added, with an aging woman’s dread of infidelity and another woman’s youth.

“You’re the only one I love!” answered the honest voice of a young man to whom nothing seems as important as fidelity.

That was how they said goodbye.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqgcDwdAAX4

about the book:

http://silverseason.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/joseph-roth-the-radetzky-march/

       

 

 

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