The girl (II)
On a bench along an avenue sat a girl. All around her lay gardens with charming houses inside, and the girl, you might say, was lovely to look at.
Everyone who saw her sitting quietly on her own had a desire to engage her in conversation. Soon someone stepped up and offered her a book to read. Thanking him, she turned down his offer, however, saying she wished nothing more than to sit quietly.
The rejected one withdrew, and then another courteous individual approached to ask whether he might have the pleasure of inviting her to dinner.
Her response to this generous petition was to reply that she had no desire to eat, she was luxuriating in the simplicity of her wants, which afforded her complete satisfaction with herself and the world around her. She thought it more pleasant to sit quietly than go to a restaurant.
When the inquirer had left, there appeared before her attractive face a person who tried to persuade her to venture a gondola ride with him.
Such an excursion would lead to something else unnecessary, she instructively brought forth, adding she would rather think quietly upon her bench about some arbitrary matter than be prevailed upon to amuse herself.
When the chivalrous one had left the scene of his efforts to be gallant and generous, she was offered a bouquet of flowers. She shook her head, stating she wished to sit quietly and not so much as stir a finger to accept this small tribute, which might allow her to give herself airs.
Small birds were trilling in the treetops, the sun shone down the avenue, people strolled to and fro, and water swam past the girl.
She was grateful to the sun, the twittering she found delightful, and the people she compared to the water that came and went.
(Robert Walser, trans. Susan Bernovsky)