The first kiss, I gave you as coldly as I would have put my name to a contract; the second, I gave with enormous curiosity to analyze you and myself, but in fact, I didn't analyze anything and understood nothing, as I was still feeling a kind of timidity that froze me; at the third kiss, and those which came after it, I could feel in my arms the sweet girl I had been searching for, and all that was left of my youth. Now, I understand the whole business less and less; what's certain is that my powers as analyst are not what I thought they were. I don't know the color of your eyes, your hair often surprises me, and I still don't really know your kisses. Mine too have a strange quality; not passionate warmth, to be sure, because I'm careful, very careful, that they shall not be more than you allow them to be. I don't want to be violent, I want to be gentle and kind. My greatest pleasure lies in feeling that I've changed -- I don't care to say grown young again.
-- letter from Italo Svevo to Livia Veneziani (from "Memoir of Italo Svevo" Marlboro Press, 1991).