What’s the matter? said Alex. I haven’t been sleeping, said Blurtso. Why not? said Alex. I keep thinking of Lizzy. Lizzy? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, a donkey I saw on campus. What’s so special about Lizzy? I’m not sure, said Blurtso, there’s just something about her… I think I’d give anything just to brush against her. Really? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, and it’s driving me mad. Like in the poem, said Alex. The poem? said Blurtso. Sure, said Alex, the sonnet by Shakespeare: “By day my limbs, by night my mind for thee and myself, no quiet find.” Yes, said Blurtso, that’s it. Shakespeare sure knew donkeys.
Hmm, I wonder what kind of donkey Lizzy likes? I wonder if she likes grey donkeys? Or brown donkeys? Brown donkeys are more colorful, but color isn’t everything. I wish I were a brown donkey. I wonder what else she likes? I wonder if size matters? I know I’m not tall, but I have big ears. I wonder if I’m handsome? I don’t think I’m ugly. Of course, there’s not much I can do, I am what I am. Maybe I should get a haircut…
I suppose when you see someone you like, and you don’t know them, you fill in the spaces with what you hope to find. Of course, you can make reasonable assumptions. For example, she was walking when I saw her, so she must enjoy going for long walks. And she was looking around, so she must like to sit and look at things. And of course, everybody likes pumpkin pie, and whipped cream, because everything’s better with whipped cream. I wonder if she likes to watch the ducks? This much is certain… she’s an attentive, pumpkin-pie eating donkey, who loves long walks, probably watches the ducks, and thinks everything is better with whipped cream. She also appeared to be simple, but intelligent, and unhurried and content—I think I detected a bounce in her step—and she was clearly enjoying the grass beneath her hooves. I wonder if she likes music? I wonder if she plays an instrument? Maybe she plays the trombone. If she plays the trombone we could play duets together, and travel the world earning our passage from place to place. I wonder what her favorite music is? It’s probably Für Elise. I wonder if that’s her name? Elise? Or Eliza? Or Liza? Or Lizzy? Yes, Lizzy is less pretentious. Hmm, I wonder what she reads? I wonder if she reads Shakespeare? Maybe she’ll join our barnyard company. Then we could stage “Twelfth Night,” and she’d be Viola and I’d be the Duke, and after many mishaps we would live happily ever after.
I can’t stop thinking about a jenny I saw at school yesterday. I saw her once, passing on the lawn, and I can’t get her out of my mind. I wonder who she is? I wonder if she’s a student? It’s exciting to think of her, but it’s tiresome, because there are so many other things to think of. But no matter what I do, all I can think of is her. And I don’t even know who she is. I’ve seen other jennies, here and there, and now and then, but none like her. I’m dying to keep thinking of her, but wish I could stop. I’ve been here all day, while the hours passed, with the birds and the trees and the shadows and sounds, and I haven’t seen a thing, not a single thing, because I can’t stop thinking of a jenny I saw once, and may never see again. It’s times like this that make me wonder… if any of us have control over anything we do.
I am mortified, said Blurtso. What? said Alex. Poor Jane, said Blurtso, and poor Mister Bingley. Who? said Alex. I never saw a more promising inclination, said Blurtso, he had grown quite inattentive toward other people, and is not general incivility the very essence of love? What? said Alex. I am mortified, said Blurtso, I am humbled, I am grieved, and hope against hope that Wickam and Lydia will be married. I have been so ungenerous to Mister Darcy, and now we owe the restoration of everything to him. What on earth are you talking about? said Alex. And what’s that book you’re reading? It’s Pride and Prejudice, said Blurtso, by Jane Austen. Oh, said Alex. You are too generous to trifle with me, said Blurtso, if you will take another cup of tea, please, tell me at once. Another cup? said Alex. Why yes, I shall accept your offer, with gratitude and pleasure.