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    "Is there anything you really want?  I could… - delta_november

Oct. 20th, 2007

10:06 pm

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    "Is there anything you really want?  I could get it in the morning.  Cipriani would loan me the money."
    "No," she said.  "I do not want anything but I notice that you never give me presents."
    "You are much richer than I am.  I bring you small things from the PX and I buy you drinks and meals."
    "And take me in gondolas and to lovely places in the country."
    "I never thought you wanted presents of hard stones."
    "I don't.  It is just the thought of giving and then one looks at them and thinks about them when they are worn."
    "I'm learning," the Colonel said.  "But what could I buy you on Army pay that would be like your square emeralds?"
    "But don't you see.  I inherited them.  They came from my grandmother, and she had them from her mother who had them from her mother.  Do you think it is the same to wear stones that come from dead people?"
    "I never thought about it."
    "You can have them if you like, if you like stones.  To me they are only something to wear like a dress from Paris.  You don't like to wear your dress uniform, do you?"
    "No."
    "You don't like to carry a sword, do you?"
    "No, repeat, no."
    "You are not that kind of soldier, and I am not that sort of girl.  But sometime give me something lasting that I can wear and be happy each time I wear it."
    "You learn fast about things you do not know," the girl said.  "And you make lovely quick decisions.  I would like you to have the emeralds and you could keep them in your pocket like a lucky piece, and feel them if you were lonely."

-- Hemingway, Ernest, Across the River and Into the Trees, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1950, Chapter XI.

I'm back to reading proper books, after a bit of a fantasy binge.  This section struck me.  It encompasses many of my thoughts on the subject of meaningful gifts.