The system of signals that you are being given has become, for the space of a few words, extremely clear, but, because the fiancée doesn't have a human presence outside that outline of a flag, your response is (I believe mine was) possibly more intellectual than emotional, assuming that the amount of intellect in a response can be reliably measured against the amount of emotion, which it probably can't. Yet I can write sentences like that and you probably know what I mean by them.
It seems uncanny to me, my ability to write these more or less gibberish sentences, but I am a reader who is in the habit of feeling uneasy whenever I come across one nebulous thing being compared confidently to another nebulous thing, as when people say, "The sight filled him equally with joy and sorrow," or when William Dalrymple in the Financial Times decides that the biographer whose work he is reviewing "has written a lovely admiring account of his life which is as full of joie de vivre as its subject." (A Man of Gifts, November 12, 2012)
William Dalrymple, then, has the power of discerning accurately the amount of joie de vivre in a book and the amount of joie de vivre in a human being (even more eerily, he does not seem to have ever met the subject of the biography in person; what's more his measurement is being made posthumously) and, oh God, he can compare them with pinpoint accuracy; what a science fiction story I think, sitting here gloomily in front of this banquet, what magical powers we mimic in our depressing lust for brevity, ease and certainty, if that is what it is, I think, rolling my head against the desk.
So I felt relieved when I was reading Porius by John Cowper Powys and as I crossed the boundaryline between pages 503 and 504 I saw that he is another one confronted by my own problem of things that can't be measured:
And it was accompanied by the rapid arrival upon the scene from the direction of Cader Idris of a wet, cold, clammy, straw-coloured mist, a most that was unmistakably of the kind that can only be described poetically, since any scientific description would require a lifetime of chemical analysis based on minute daily physiognomic observation.
I know it is not the same thing, since at least there is some hope of measuring the mist physically whereas joie de vivre is unphysical, but I am happy that he is being dazzled, confounded and crushed, as I am, by the idea of measuring anything at all unless it is extremely obvious in front of me, like the square of a frame around a painting, or the temperature of ice.