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Romance

I

When you are seventeen you aren't really serious. - One fine evening, you've had enough of beer and lemonade! - You go walking beneath the green lime trees of the promenade.

The lime trees smell good on fine evenings in June! The air is so soft sometimes, you close your eyelids; the wind, full of sounds - the town's not far away - carries odours of vines, and odours of beer...

II

- Then you see a very tiny rag of dark blue, framed by a small branch, pierced by an unlucky star which is melting away with soft little shivers, perfectly white...

June night! Seventeen! - You let yourself get drunk. The sap is champagne and goes straight to your head... You are wandering; you feel a kiss on your lips which quivers there like something small and alive...

III

Your mad heart goes Crusoeing through all the romances - when, under the light of a pale street lamp passes a yound girl with charming little airs, in the shadow of her father's terrifyingly stiff collar...

And because you strike her as absurdly naif, as she trots along in her little ankle boots, she turns, wide awake, with a brisk movement... And then cavatinas die on your lips...

IV

You're in love. Taken until the month of August. You're in love - Your sonnets make HEr laugh, all your friends disappear, you are not quite the thing. - Then your adored one, one evening, condescends to write to you!...

That evening... - you go back again to the dazzling cafes, you ask for beer, or for lemonade... You are not really serious when you are seventeen, and there are lime trees in leaf on the promenade.

23 September 1870