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Title: Katia
Author: Tolstoy, Leo, graf, 1828-1910
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Katia" ***

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Internet Archive)



                                 KATIA

                                   BY

                           COUNT LÉON TOLSTOÏ

           Author of "War and Peace," "What I Believe," etc.

                      _TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH_

                         --AUTHORIZED EDITION--

                                NEW YORK

                   WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER, PUBLISHER

                            11 MURRAY STREET

                                  1887

         Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1887

                       BY WILLIAM S. GOTTSBERGER

       in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington



                                 KATIA.



CHAPTER I.


We were in mourning for our mother, who had died the preceding autumn,
and we had spent all the winter alone in the country--Macha, Sonia and
I.

Macha was an old family friend, who had been our governess and had
brought us all up, and my memories of her, like my love for her, went as
far back as my memories of myself.

Sonia was my younger sister.

The winter had dragged by, sad and sombre, in our old country-house of
Pokrovski. The weather had been cold, and so windy that the snow was
often piled high above our windows; the panes were almost always cloudy
with a coating of ice; and throughout the whole season we were shut in,
rarely finding it possible to go out of the house.

It was very seldom that any one came to see us, and our few visitors
brought neither joy nor cheerfulness to our house. They all had mournful
faces, spoke low, as if they were afraid of waking some one, were
careful not to laugh, sighed and often shed tears when they looked at
me, and above all at the sight of my poor Sonia in her little black
frock. Everything in the house still savored of death; the affliction,
the horror of the last agony yet reigned in the air. Mamma's chamber was
shut up, and I felt a painful dread and yet an irresistible longing to
peep furtively into the chill, desolate place as I passed it every night
on my way to bed.

I was at this time seventeen years old, and the very year of her death
Mamma had intended to remove to the city, in order to introduce me into
society. The loss of my mother had been a great sorrow to me; but I must
confess that to this grief had been added another, that of seeing
myself--young, beautiful as I heard from every one that I
was,--condemned to vegetate during a second winter in the country, in a
barren solitude. Even before the end of this winter, the feeling of
regret, of isolation, and, to speak plainly, of ennui, had so gained
upon me that I scarcely ever left my own room, never opened my piano,
and never even took a book in my hand. If Macha urged me to occupy
myself with something I would reply: "I do not wish to, I cannot," and
far down in my soul a voice kept asking: "What is the use? Why 'do
something'--no matter what--when the best of my life is wearing away so
in pure loss? Why?" And to this "Why?" I had no answer except tears.

I was told that I was growing thin and losing my beauty, but this gave
me not the slightest concern. Why, and for whom, should I take interest
in it? It seemed to me that my entire life was to drift slowly away in
this desert, borne down by this hopeless suffering, from which, given up
to my own resources alone, I had no longer the strength, nor even the
wish, to set myself free.

Towards the end of the winter Macha became seriously uneasy about me,
and determined come what might to take me abroad. But for this, money
was essential, and as yet we knew little of our resources beyond the
fact that we were to succeed to our mother's inheritance; however, we
were in daily expectation of a visit from our guardian, who was to
examine the condition of our affairs.

He came at last, late in March.

"Thank Heaven!" said Macha to me one day, when I was wandering like a
shadow from one corner to another, perfectly idle, without a thought in
my head or a wish in my heart: "Sergius Mikaïlovitch has sent word that
he will be here before dinner.--You must rouse yourself, my little
Katia," she added; "what will he think of you? He loves you both so
much!"

Sergius Mikaïlovitch was our nearest neighbor, and though much his
junior had been the friend of our dead father. Besides the pleasant
change which his arrival might cause in our life, by making it possible
for us to leave the country, I had been too much accustomed, from my
childhood, to love and respect him, for Macha not to divine while
urging me to rouse myself, that still another change might be worked and
that, of all my acquaintances, he was the one before whom I would be
most unwilling to appear in an unfavorable light. Not only did I feel
the old attachment for Sergius Mikaïlovitch which was shared by every
one in the house, from Sonia, who was his god-daughter, down to the
under-coachman, but this attachment had derived a peculiar character
from a few words Mamma had once let fall before me. She had said that he
was just the husband that she would have wished for me. At the moment
such an idea had appeared to me very extraordinary and even somewhat
disagreeable; the hero of my imagination was totally different. My own
hero was to be slender, delicate, pale, and melancholy. Sergius
Mikaïlovitch, on the contrary, was no longer young, he was tall and
large, full of vigor, and, so far as I could judge, had an extremely
pleasant temper; nevertheless my mother's remark had made a strong
impression on my imagination. This had happened six years before, when
I was only eleven, when he still said "_thou_" to me, played with me,
and gave me the name of _La petite violette_, yet ever since that day I
had always felt some secret misgivings whenever I had asked myself the
question what I should do if he should suddenly take a fancy to marry
me?

A little before dinner, to which Macha had added a dish of spinach and a
sweet _entre mets_ Sergius Mikaïlovitch arrived. I was looking out of
the window when his light sledge approached, and as he turned the corner
of the house I hastily drew back into the drawing-room, not wishing to
let him see that I had been watching for him the least in the world. But
upon hearing sounds in the ante-chamber, his strong voice, and Macha's
footsteps, I lost patience and went myself to meet him. He was holding
Macha's hand, and talking to her in a raised voice, smiling. When he
perceived me, he stopped and looked at me for some moments without
saluting me; it embarrassed me a good deal, and I felt myself blush.

"Ah! is it possible that this is you, Katia?" he said in his frank,
decided tone, disengaging his hand and approaching me.

"Can people change so! How you have grown! Yesterday a violet! To-day
the full rose!"

His large hand clasped mine, pressing it so cordially, so strongly, that
he almost hurt me. I had thought he might kiss me, and bent a little
towards him; but he only caught it a second time, and looked me straight
in the eyes with his bright, steady glance.

I had not seen him for six years. He was much changed, older, browner,
and his whiskers, which he had allowed to grow, were not particularly
becoming to him; but he had the same simple manners, the same open,
honest face, with its marked features, eyes sparkling with intelligence,
and smile as sweet as a child's.

At the end of five minutes he was no longer on the footing of a mere
visitor, but on that of an intimate guest with us all, and even the
servants manifested their joy at his arrival, by the eager zeal with
which they served him.

He did not act at all like a neighbor who, coming to a house for the
first time after the mother's death, thinks it necessary to bring with
him a solemn countenance; on the contrary, he was gay, talkative, and
did not say a single word about Mamma, so that I began to think this
indifference on the part of a man standing in such near relation to us
very strange, and rather unseemly. But I soon saw that it was far from
being indifference, and read in his intention a considerateness for
which I could not help being grateful.

In the evening Macha gave us tea in the drawing-room where it had been
usually served during Mamma's lifetime. Sonia and I sat near her;
Gregory found one of Papa's old pipes, and brought it to our guardian,
who began to pace up and down the room according to his old fashion.

"What terrible changes in this house, when one thinks of it!" said he,
stopping suddenly.

"Yes," replied Macha with a sigh; and replacing the top of the samovar,
she looked up at Sergius Mikaïlovitch, almost ready to burst into
tears.

"No doubt you remember your father?" he asked me.

"A little."

"How fortunate it would be for you, now, to have him still!" he observed
slowly, with a thoughtful air, casting a vague glance into vacancy over
my head. And he added more slowly still:

"I loved your father very much...."

I thought I detected a new brightness in his eyes at this moment.

"And now God has taken away our mother also!" exclaimed Macha. Dropping
her napkin on the tea-tray, she pulled out her handkerchief and began to
cry.

"Yes, there have been terrible changes in this house!"

He turned away as he spoke.

Then, a moment after: "Katia Alexandrovna," he said, in a louder voice,
"play me something!"

I liked the tone of frank, friendly authority with which he made this
request; I rose and went to him.

"Here, play me this," said he, opening my Beethoven at the adagio of the
sonata, _Quasi una fantasia_. "Let us see how you play," he continued,
taking his cup of tea to drink in a corner of the room.

I know not why, but I felt it would be impossible either to refuse or to
put forward a plea of playing badly; on the contrary, I submissively sat
down at the piano and began to play as well as I could, although I was
afraid of his criticism, knowing his excellent taste in music.

In the tone of this _adagio_ there was a prevalent sentiment which by
association carried me away to the conversation before tea, and, guided
by this impression, I played tolerably well, it seemed. But he would not
let me play the _scherzo_.

"No, you will not play it well," said he, coming to me, "stop with that
first movement,--which has not been bad! I see that you comprehend
music."

This praise, certainly moderate enough, delighted me so that I felt my
color rise. It was something so new and agreeable to me to have the
friend, the _equal_ of my father, speak to me alone, seriously, and no
longer as though he were talking to a child as he used to do.

He talked to me about my father, telling me how they suited each other,
and what a pleasant life they had led together while I was occupied
solely with my playthings and school-books; and what he said revealed my
father to me in a light quite new to me, for the first time I seemed to
know fully his simple goodness. My guardian questioned me as to what I
liked, what I read, what I intended doing, and gave me advice. I had no
longer beside me the gay talker, delighting in badinage, but a man
serious, frank, friendly, for whom I felt involuntary respect, while at
the same time I was conscious of being in perfect sympathy with him.
This consciousness was pleasing to me, nevertheless there was a certain
tension in conversing with him. Every word I uttered left me timid; I
wished so much to deserve in my own person the affection which at
present I only received because I was my father's daughter!

After putting Sonia to bed, Macha rejoined us, and began to pour out to
Sergius Mikaïlovitch her lamentations on the score of my apathy, which
resulted she complained in my rarely having a single word to say.

"Then she has not told me the most important thing of all," he answered,
smiling, and shaking his head at me with an air of reproach.

"What had I to tell?" I replied: "that I was bored?--but that will pass
away." (And indeed it now seemed to me, not only that my ennui would
pass away, but that it was something already gone by, which could not
return.)

"It is not well not to know how to bear solitude:--is it possible that
you are truly a 'grown young lady'?"

"I believe so!" I answered smiling.

"No, no, or at least a naughty young lady, who only lives to be admired,
and who, when she finds herself isolated, gives way, and no longer
enjoys anything; all for show, nothing for herself."

"You have a lovely idea of me, it seems!" I answered, to say something.

"No," he returned, after a moment's silence; "it is not in vain that you
have that resemblance to your father; _there is something in you_!"

Again those kind, steadfast eyes exerted their charm over me, filling me
with strange emotion.

I noticed for the first time at this moment that the face which to a
casual glance seemed so gay, the expression, so peculiarly his own,
where at first one seemed to read only serenity, afterwards revealed
more and more clearly, a reserve of deep thought and a shade of sadness.

"You should not feel ennui," he said, "you have music, which you are
able to understand, books, study; you have before you a whole life, for
which the present is the only moment to prepare yourself, so that
hereafter you may not have to repine. In a year it will be too late."

He spoke to me like a father or an uncle, and I understood that he was
making an effort to come to my level. I was a little offended that he
should think me so much below him, and on the other hand, it was
gratifying to feel that he cared to make the effort for my sake.

The rest of the evening was devoted to a business conversation between
him and Macha.

"And now, good-night, my dear Katia," said he, rising, approaching me,
and taking my hand.

"When shall we see each other again?" asked Macha.

"In the spring," he replied, still holding my hand; "I am now going to
Danilovka" (our other estate); "I must look into matters there and make
some necessary arrangements, then I have to go to Moscow upon business
of my own, and later--or in the summer--we shall see each other again."

"Why do you go for so long a time?" I asked, dejectedly; for I was
already hoping to see him every day, and it was with a sudden sinking of
my heart that I thought of again battling with my ennui. Probably my
eyes and voice let this be guessed.

"Come, occupy yourself more; drive away the blues!" he said in a voice
that seemed to me too placid and cold. "In the spring I will hold an
examination," he added, dropping my hand without looking at me.

We accompanied him to the ante-chamber, where he hurriedly put on his
pelisse, and again his eyes seemed to avoid mine.

"He is taking very useless trouble!" I said to myself, "can it be
possible that he thinks he is giving me too great a pleasure by looking
at me!--An excellent man--Perfectly good.... But that is all."

We remained awake a long time that night talking, not of him, but of the
employment of the ensuing summer, of where and how we should spend the
winter. Mighty question, yet why? To me it appeared perfectly simple and
evident that life was to consist in being happy, and in the future I
could imagine nothing but happiness, so suddenly had our sombre old
dwelling at Pokrovski filled itself with life and light.



CHAPTER II.


The spring came. My former ennui had disappeared, and in exchange I felt
the dreamy vernal sadness, woven of unknown hopes and unslaked desires.
But my life was no longer the existence I had led during the early
winter; I occupied myself with Sonia, with music, with studies, and I
often went into the garden, to spend a long, long, time in wandering
alone through the shady walks, or in sitting motionless upon some quiet
bench. God knows what I was thinking, what I was wishing, what I was
hoping! Sometimes for whole nights, especially if it was moonlight, I
would remain kneeling at my window with my elbows on the sill; morning
would find me there; and sometimes, without Macha's knowing it, I would
steal down into the garden again after I was in my simple night-dress,
and fly through the dew to the little pond; once I even went out into
the fields, and spent the rest of the night roaming alone about the
park.

Now it is difficult for me to recall, still less to comprehend, the
reveries which at this period filled my imagination. If I can succeed in
remembering them, I can hardly believe that these reveries were my own,
so strange were they, so outside of real life.

At the end of May, Sergius Mikaïlovitch, as he had promised, returned
from his journey.

The first time he came to see us was in the evening, when we were not
expecting him at all. We were sitting on the terrace, preparing to take
tea. The garden was in full verdure, and at Pokrovski nightingales had
their homes on all sides in the thick shrubbery. Here and there, large
clumps of lilacs raised their heads, enamelled with the white or pale
purple of their opening flowers. The leaves in the birch alleys seemed
transparent in the rays of the setting sun. The terrace lay in
refreshing shade, and the light evening dew was gathering upon the
grass. In the court-yard behind the garden were heard the sounds of
closing day, and the lowing of cows returning to their stable; poor
half-witted Nikone came along the path at the foot of the terrace with
his huge watering-pot, and soon the torrents of cool water traced in
darkening circles over the newly-dug earth of the dahlia beds. Beside us
on the terrace, the shining samovar hissed and sputtered on the white
cloth, flanked by cream, pancakes, and sweetmeats. Macha, with her plump
hands, was dipping the cups in hot water like a good housekeeper. As to
me, with an appetite sharpened by my late bath, I could not wait for
tea, but was eating a crust of bread soaked in fresh, rich cream. I had
on a linen blouse with loose sleeves, and my damp hair was bound in a
handkerchief.

Macha was the first to perceive him.

"Ah! Sergius Mikaïlovitch!" she cried; "we were just talking about you."

I rose to run in and change my dress; but he met me as I reached the
door.

"Come, Katia, no ceremony in the country," said he, smiling, and looking
at my head and my handkerchief, "you have no scruples before
Gregory,--I can be Gregory to you."

But at the same time it darted into my mind that he was not looking at
me precisely as Gregory would have done, and this embarrassed me.

"I will be back directly," I replied, drawing away from him.

"What is wrong about it?" he exclaimed, following me, "one might take
you for a little peasant girl!"

"How strangely he looked at me," I thought, as I hastened up-stairs to
dress myself. "At last, thank Heaven, here he is, and we shall be
gayer!" And with a parting glance at the mirror I flew down again, not
even trying to conceal my eager delight, and reached the terrace, out of
breath. He was sitting near the table, talking to Macha about our
business matters. Noticing me, he gave me a smile, and went on talking.
Our affairs, he said, were in very satisfactory condition. We had
nothing to do but to finish our country summer, and then we could go,
either to St. Petersburg for Sonia's education, or abroad.

"That would be very well, if you would come abroad with us," said Macha,
"but by ourselves we should be like people lost in the woods."

"Ah! would to Heaven I could go around the world with you," was the
half-jesting, half-serious answer.

"Well and good," said I, "let us go around the world then!"

He smiled and shook his head.

"And my mother? And my business? Come, we will let the tour of the world
alone, now, and you can tell me how you have passed your time. Can it be
possible that you have had the blues again?"

When I told him that I had been able, without him, to employ myself and
not to yield to ennui, and Macha had confirmed the good account, he
praised me, with the same words and looks of encouragement he would have
used to a child, and as if he had a perfect right to do so. It seemed to
me quite natural that I should tell him frankly and minutely everything
I had done that was right, and also, on the contrary, own to him, as if
in the confessional, whatever I had done that might deserve his censure.
The evening was so beautiful that, when the tea-tray was carried away,
we remained upon the terrace, and I found the conversation so
interesting that I only gradually became aware that all the sounds from
the house were ceasing around us. Upon all sides arose the penetrating
night perfume of flowers, the turf was drenched with heavy dew, the
nightingale in a lilac bush near us was executing his roulades, stopping
abruptly at the sound of our voices. The starry sky seemed to stoop
close above our heads.

What warned me that night had come, was the swift, heavy rush of a bat
beneath the awning of the terrace, and its blind, terrified circling
around my white dress. I fell back against the wall, and almost cried
out, but with another dull swoop it was off again and lost in the
blackness of the garden.

"How I love your Pokrovski," said Sergius Mikaïlovitch, interrupting the
conversation.... "One could linger for a lifetime on this terrace!"

"Well," said Macha, "linger!"

"Ah, yes! linger; but life--does not pause!"

"Why do you not marry?" continued Macha; "you would make an excellent
husband!"

"Why?" he repeated, smiling. "People long ago, ceased to count me a
marriageable man!"

"What!" replied Macha, "thirty-six years old, and already you pretend to
be tired of living?"

"Yes, certainly, and even so tired that I desire nothing but rest. To
marry, one must have something else to offer. There, ask Katia," he
added, pointing me out with a nod "Girls of her age are the ones for
marriage. For us ... our rôle is to enjoy their happiness."

There was a secret melancholy, a certain tension in the tone of his
voice, which did not escape me. He kept silence a moment; neither Macha
nor I said anything.

"Imagine now," he resumed, turning towards the table again, "if all at
once, by some deplorable accident, I should marry a young girl of
seventeen, like Katia Alexandrovna! That is a very good example, and I
am pleased that it applies so well to the point ... there could not be
a better instance."

I began to laugh, but I could not at all understand what pleased him so
much, nor to what it applied so well.

"Come, now, tell me the truth, 'hand on heart,'" he went on, turning to
me with a bantering air, "would it not be a great misfortune for you, to
bind your life to a man already old, who has had his day, and wants
nothing except to stay just where he is, while you,--Heaven knows where
you would not want to run off to, as the fancy took you!"

I felt uncomfortable, and was silent, not knowing very well what to say
in reply.

"I am not making a proposal for your hand," said he, laughing, "but,
now, tell us the truth are you dreaming of such a husband, as you wander
through your alleys in the evening, and would he not be a great
misfortune?"

"Not so great a misfortune ..." I began.

"And not so great a boon, either," he finished for me.

"Yes ... but I may be mistaken...."

He interrupted me again.

"You see?... she is perfectly right.... I like her honesty, and am
delighted that we have had this conversation. I will add that--to me--it
would have been a supreme misfortune!"

"What an original you are! you have not changed in the least!" said
Macha, leaving the terrace to order supper to be served.

After her departure we were silent, and all was still around us. Then
the solitary nightingale recommenced, not his abrupt, undecided notes of
early evening, but his night song, slow and tranquil, whose thrilling
cadence filled the garden; and from far down the ravine came for the
first time a response from another nightingale. The one near us was mute
for a moment, listening, then burst out anew in a rapture of song,
louder and clearer than before. Their voices resounded, calm and
supreme, amid that world of night which is their own and which we
inhabit as aliens. The gardener went by, on his way to his bed in the
orange-house, we heard his heavy boots on the path as he went farther
and farther from us. Some one in the direction of the mountain blew two
shrill, quick notes on a whistle, then all was still once more. Scarcely
a leaf was heard to move; yet all at once the awning of the terrace
puffed out slowly, stirred by a breath of air, and a more penetrating
perfume stole up to us from below. The silence embarrassed me, but I did
not know what to say. I looked at him. His eyes, bright in the darkness,
were fixed upon me.

"It is good to live in this world!" he murmured.

I know not why, but at the words I sighed.

"Well?" he questioned.

"Yes, it is good to live in this world!" I repeated.

Again the silence fell upon us, and again I felt ill at ease. I could
not get it out of my head that I had hurt him, by agreeing with him that
he was old; I would have liked to console him, but did not know how to
set about it.

"But good-bye!" he said, rising, "my mother expects me to supper. I
have hardly seen her to-day."

"I would have liked to play you my new sonata."

"Another time," he replied coldly, at least so it seemed to me; then,
moving off a step, he said with a careless gesture: "Good-bye!"

I was more than ever convinced that I had given him pain, and this
distressed me. Macha and I went with him, as far as the porch, and stood
there awhile looking down the road where he had disappeared. When we no
longer caught the slightest echo from his horse's feet, I began to walk
about the terrace and watch the garden, and I remained a long time
there, amid the heavy mist that deadened all the sounds of night, busy
seeing and hearing whatever my fancy chose to make me see and hear.

He came a second time, a third time, and the little embarrassment caused
by our strange conversation soon vanished, and never returned.

Throughout the whole summer he came to see us two or three times a week;
I was so accustomed to him that, when a longer time than usual passed
without his coming, it seemed to me painful to live alone; I was
secretly indignant with him, and thought he was behaving badly in thus
deserting me. He transformed himself for me, as it were, into a friendly
comrade; inducing the most sincere frankness on my part, giving me
advice and encouragement, scolding me sometimes, checking me when
necessary. But despite these efforts to remain always upon my level, I
was conscious that, besides all I knew of him, there existed within him
an entire world, to which I was a stranger, and he did not think it was
necessary to admit me; and this, more than anything else, tended to keep
up my feeling of deference, and at the same time to attract me towards
him. I knew from Macha and the neighbors that, besides his attentive
care of his old mother, with whom he lived, besides his agricultural
interests, and our guardianship, he had also on hand certain matters
affecting all the nobles, which caused him much trouble and annoyance;
but how he faced this complex situation, what were his thoughts, his
plans, his hopes, I could never discover from him. If I endeavored to
lead the conversation to his own affairs, a certain line appeared upon
his brow, which seemed to say: "Stop there, if you please; what is that
to you?" And he would immediately speak of something else. At first this
offended me, then I grew so accustomed to it that we never talked of
anything but what concerned me; which I finally came to think quite a
matter of course.

At first, too, I felt some displeasure, (while afterwards, on the
contrary, it had a kind of charm,) in seeing the perfect indifference, I
might almost say contempt, which he showed for my appearance. Never, by
word or look, did he give the least idea that he thought me pretty; far
from it, he frowned and began to laugh if any one remarked before him
that I was "not bad-looking." He even took pleasure in criticizing the
defects in my face, and teasing me about them. The fashionable dresses,
the coiffures, with which Macha delighted to adorn me on our holidays,
only excited his raillery, which chagrined my good Macha not a little,
and at first disconcerted me. Macha, who had settled in her own mind
that I was pleasing to Sergius Mikaïlovitch, could not at all comprehend
why he did not prefer that a woman whom he admired should appear at her
best. But I soon discovered what was the matter. He wished to believe
that I was not coquettish. As soon as I understood this there no longer
remained a trace of coquetry in my dress, hair, or manner; it was
replaced--usual and shallow little trick--by another coquetry, the
assumption of simplicity, before I had attained the point of really
being artless. I saw that he loved me: whether as a child or woman I had
not hitherto asked myself: this love was dear to me, and feeling that he
considered me the best girl in the world, I could not help wishing that
the delusion might continue to blind him. And indeed I deceived him
almost involuntarily. But in deluding him, I was nevertheless growing
more what he thought me. I felt that it would be better and more worthy
of him to unveil to him the good points of my soul rather than those of
my person. My hair, my hands, my face, my carriage, whatever they might
be, whether good or bad,--it seemed to me he could appreciate at one
glance, and that he knew very well that, had I desired to deceive him, I
could add nothing at all to my exterior. My soul, on the contrary, he
did not know: because he loved it, because just at this time it was in
full process of growth and development, and finally because in such a
matter it was easy to deceive him, and that I was in fact deceiving him.
What relief I felt in his presence, when once I comprehended all this!
The causeless agitation, the need of movement, which in some way
oppressed me, completely disappeared. It seemed to me henceforth that
whether opposite or beside me, whether standing or sitting, whether I
wore my hair dressed high or low, he looked at me always with
satisfaction, that he now knew me entirely; and I imagined that he was
as well pleased with me, as I myself was. I verily believe that if,
contrary to his custom, he had suddenly said to me as others did that I
was pretty, I should even have been a little sorry. But, on the other
hand, what joy, what serenity, I felt in the depth of my soul, if, upon
the occasion of my expressing some thought or letting fall a few words,
he looked at me attentively and said in a moved tone which he strove to
render light and jesting:

"Yes, yes, there is _something_ in you! You are a good girl, and I ought
to tell you so."

And for what did I receive this recompense which filled my heart with
joy and pride? Perhaps because I had said that I sympathized with old
Gregory's love for his little daughter, perhaps because I had been
affected to tears while reading a poem or a romance, perhaps for
preferring Mozart to Schuloff! I was amazed by this new intuition, which
enabled me to divine what was good and what one ought to like, though as
yet I had no positive knowledge of either. Most of my past habits and
tastes were displeasing to him, and a look or an imperceptible movement
of his eyebrows was enough to make me understand his disapproval of what
I was about to do; while a certain air of slightly disdainful pity,
which was peculiar to him, would at once make me believe that I no
longer liked what had formerly pleased me. If the thought of giving me
advice upon any subject, occurred to him, I knew beforehand what he was
going to say to me. He questioned me with a glance, and already this
glance had drawn from me the thought he wished to ascertain. All my
thoughts, all my feelings during that time, were not my own; they were
his, which suddenly became mine, penetrating and illuminating my life.
In a manner insensible to me, I began to see everything with other eyes,
Macha, my servants, Sonia, as well as myself and my own occupations. The
books which formerly I had read only in order to ward off ennui appeared
to me all at once one of the greatest charms of life, and for no reason
except that we talked, he and I, of books, that we read them together,
that he brought them to me. Hitherto I had considered my work with
Sonia, the lessons I gave her, as a painful obligation, only fulfilled
from a sense of duty; now that he sometimes came to assist at these
lessons one of my delights was to observe Sonia's progress. To learn an
entire piece of music had always seemed impossible, and now, knowing
that he would listen and perhaps applaud it, I thought nothing of going
over the same passage forty times in succession, poor Macha would end by
stopping her ears with cotton wool, while I would not consider the
performance at all tiresome. The old sonatas spoke out under my fingers
in a very different and very superior voice. Even Macha, whom I had
always known and loved as myself, seemed totally changed. It was only
now that I understood that nothing had compelled her to be what she had
been to us, a mother, a friend, a slave to our whims and fancies. I
comprehended all the abnegation, all the devotion, of this loving
creature, I realized the greatness of my obligations to her, and loved
her so much the more. He had already taught me to regard our people, our
peasants, our droroviés,[A] our men and women servants, in a totally
different light. It is an odd fact, but at seventeen years of age, I was
living in the midst of them a far greater stranger to them than to
people I had never seen; not once had it crossed my mind that they were
beings capable like myself of love, desires, regrets. Our garden, our
woods, our fields, which I had known ever since I was born, suddenly
became quite new to me, and I began to admire their loveliness. There
was no error in the remark which he so often made, that, in life, there
was but one certain happiness: to live for others. This had appeared
strange to me, and I had not been able to understand it; but the
conviction, unknown even to my own mind, was penetrating little by
little into the depths of my heart. In short, he had opened before me a
new life, full of present delights, without having in any wise changed
or added to my old existence, save by developing each of my own
sensations. From my infancy everything around me had remained buried in
a sort of silence, only awaiting his presence to lift up a voice, speak
to my soul, and fill it with happiness.

Often, in the course of this summer, I would go up to my chamber, throw
myself upon my bed, and there, in place of the old anguish of the
spring, full of desires and hopes for the future, I would feel myself
wrapped in another emotion, that of present happiness. I could not
sleep, I would get up and go and sit on the side of Macha's bed, and
tell her that I was perfectly happy,--which, as I look back upon it
to-day was perfectly needless; she could see it well enough for herself.
She would reply that neither had she anything more to wish for, that she
too was very happy, and would embrace me. I believed her, so entirely
natural and necessary did it seem to me for every one to be happy. But
Macha had her night's rest to think of, so, pretending to be angry, she
would drive me away from her bed, and drop off to sleep; I, on the
contrary, would lie for a long time running over all my reasons for
being gladsome. Sometimes I would rise, and begin my prayers a second
time, praying in the fulness of my heart that I might thank God better
for all the happiness He had granted me. In my chamber all was peaceful;
there was no sound save the long-drawn regular breathing of the
sleeping Macha, and the ticking of the watch by her side; I would return
to bed, murmur a few words, cross myself, or kiss the little cross
hanging at my neck. The doors were locked, the shutters fast over the
windows, the buzzing of a fly struggling in a corner came to my ear. I
could have wished never to leave this room; desired that morning might
never come to dissipate the atmosphere impregnated with my soul, that
enveloped me. It seemed to me that my dreams, my thoughts, my prayers,
were so many animated essences which in this darkness lived with me,
fluttered about my pillow, hovered above my head. And every thought was
his thought, every feeling his feeling. I did not yet know what love
was, I thought that it might always be thus--that it might give itself
and ask nothing in return.



CHAPTER III.


One day, during the grain harvest, Macha, Sonia, and I, went into the
garden after dinner, to our favorite bench under the shade of the
linden-trees at the head of the ravine, whence we could see the fields
and the woods. For three days Sergius Mikaïlovitch had not been to see
us, and we looked for him all the more confidently to-day, as he had
promised our intendant to visit the harvest fields.

About two o'clock we saw him coming over the rising ground in the middle
of a rye field. Macha, giving me a smile, ordered a servant to bring out
some peaches and cherries, which he was very fond of, then stretched
herself upon the bench and was soon fast asleep. I broke off a little
linden bough, its leaves and bark fresh with young sap, and, while I
fanned Macha, went on with my reading, not without turning every instant
to watch the field-path by which he must come to us. Sonia had
established herself on a linden root, and was busy putting up a green
arbor for her dolls.

The day was very warm, without wind, it seemed as if we were in a
hot-house; the clouds, lying in a low circle upon the horizon, had
looked angry in the morning, and there had been a threat of storm,
which, as was always the case, had excited and agitated me. But since
mid-day the clouds had dispersed, the sun was free in a clear sky, the
thunder was only muttering at a single point, rolling slowly through the
depths of a heavy cloud which, seeming to unite earth and heaven,
blended with the dust of the fields, and was furrowed by pale zig-zags
of distant lightning. It was evident that for us at least there was no
more to be dreaded for that day. In the part of the road running behind
the garden there was continual sound and motion, now the slow, long
grind of a wagon loaded with sheaves, now the quick jolt of the empty
telégas[B] as they passed each other, or the rapid steps of the
drivers, whose white smocks we could see fluttering as they hurried
along. The thick dust neither blew away nor fell, it remained suspended
above the hedges, a hazy background for the clear green leaves of the
garden trees. Farther off, about the barn, resounded more voices, more
grinding wheels; and I could see the yellow sheaves, brought in the
carts to the enclosure, being tossed off into the air, and heaped up,
until at length I could distinguish the stacks, rising like oval
sharp-roofed buildings, and the silhouettes of the peasants swarming
about them. Presently, there were new _telégas_ moving in the dusty
fields, new piles of yellow sheaves, and in the distance the wheels, the
voices, the chanted songs.

The dust and heat invaded everything, except our little favorite nook of
the garden. Yet on all sides, in the dust and heat, the blaze of the
burning sun, the throng of laborers chattered, made merry, and kept in
continual movement. As for me, I looked at Macha, sleeping so sweetly on
our bench, her face shaded by her cambric handkerchief; the black juicy
cherries on the plate; our light, dazzlingly clean dresses, the carafe
of clear water, where the sun's rays were playing in a little rainbow;
and I felt a sense of rare comfort. "What must I do?" thought I;
"perhaps it is wicked to be so happy? But can we diffuse our happiness
around us? How, and to whom, can we wholly consecrate
ourselves--ourselves and this very happiness?"

The sun had disappeared behind the tops of the old birch-trees bordering
the path, the dust had subsided; the distances of the landscape stood
out, clear and luminous, under the slanting rays; the clouds had
dispersed entirely, long ago; on the other side of the trees I could
see, near the barn, the pointed tops rise upon three new stacks of
grain, and the peasants descend from them; finally, for the last time
that day, the _telégas_ passed rapidly, making the air resound with
their noisy jolts; the women were going homewards, singing, their rakes
on their shoulders, and their binding withes hanging at their girdles;
and still Sergius Mikaïlovitch did not come, although long ago I had
seen him at the foot of the mountain. Suddenly he appeared at the end of
the path, from a direction where I had not been looking for him at all,
for he had to skirt the ravine to reach it. Raising his hat he came
towards me, his face lighted up with sudden joy. At the sight of Macha,
still asleep, his eyes twinkled, he bit his lip, and began tip-toeing
elaborately. I saw at once that he was in one of those fits of causeless
gayety which I liked so much in him, and which, between ourselves, we
called "_le transport sauvage_." At such times he was like a boy just
let out of school, his whole self from head to foot instinct with
delight and happiness.

"How do you do, little violet, how goes the day with you? Well?" said
he, in a low voice, coming near and pressing my hand.... "And with me?
oh, charmingly, also!" he replied to my similar question, "to-day I am
really not over thirteen years old; I would like to ride a
stick-horse,--I want to climb the trees!"

"_Le transport sauvage!_" I commented, looking into his laughing eyes,
and feeling this _transport sauvage_ take possession of me also.

"Yes," he murmured, at the same time raising his eyebrows with an
enquiring glance, and keeping back a smile. "But why are you so furious
with our poor Macha Karlovna?"

In fact I then became conscious that, while I was gazing up at him and
continuing to brandish my linden bough, I had whipped off Macha's
handkerchief, and was sweeping her face with the leaves. I could not
help laughing.

"And she will say she has not been asleep," I said, whispering, as if
afraid of waking her; but I did not do it altogether for that,--it was
so delightful to whisper when I spoke to him!

He moved his lips in almost dumb show, imitating me, and as if he, on
his side, was saying something that no one else must hear. Then, spying
the plate of cherries, he pretended to seize it and carry it off by
stealth, running away towards Sonia, and dropping on the grass under the
linden-tree in the midst of her accumulation of dolls. Sonia was about
to fly into a little rage, but he made peace with her by proposing a
new game, the point of which lay in seeing which of the two could devour
the most cherries.

"Shall I order some more?" I asked, "or shall we go gather them for
ourselves?"

He picked up the plate, piled Sonia's dolls in it, and we all three
started for the cherry orchard. Sonia, shouting with laughter, trotted
after him, tugging at his coat to make him give her back her family. He
did so; and turning gravely to me:

"Come, how can you convince me that you are not a violet?" he said,
still speaking very low, though there was now no one for him to be
afraid of waking; "as soon as I came near you, after having been through
so much dust and heat and fatigue, I seemed to perceive the fragrance of
a violet, not, it is true, that violet with the powerful perfume, but
the little early one, you know, which steals out first, still modest, to
breathe at once the expiring snow and the springing grass...."

"But, tell me, is the harvest coming on well?" I put in hastily, to
cover the happy confusion his words caused me.

"Wonderfully! what excellent people these all are,--the more one knows
them, the more one loves them."

"Oh, yes!--A little while ago, before you came, I sat watching their
work, and it really went to my conscience to see them toiling so
faithfully, while I was just idly taking my ease, and...."

"Do not play with these sentiments, Katia," he interrupted, with a
serious manner, giving me at the same time a caressing glance, "there is
holy work there. May God guard you from _posing_ in such matters!"

"But it was only to you that I said that!"

"I know it.--Well, and our cherries?"

The cherry orchard was locked, not a single gardener was to be found (he
had sent them all to the harvest fields). Sonia ran off to look for the
key; but, without waiting for her return, he climbed up at a corner by
catching hold of the meshes of the net, and jumped down inside the
wall.

"Will you give me the plate?" he asked me, from within.

"No, I want to gather some, myself; I will go get the key, I doubt if
Sonia can find it."

But at that moment a sudden fancy seized me, to find out what he was
doing there, how he looked, in short his demeanor when he supposed no
one could see him. Or rather, honestly, perhaps just then I did not feel
like losing sight of him for a single instant. So on my tip-toes,
through the nettles, I made a circuit around the little orchard and
gained the opposite side, where the enclosure was lower; there, stepping
up on an empty tub, I found the wall but breast-high, and leaned over. I
made a survey of everything within; looked at the crooked old trees, the
large serrated leaves, the black, vertical clusters of juicy fruit; and,
slipping my head under the net, I could observe Sergius Mikaïlovitch
through the twisted boughs of an old cherry-tree. He was certainly
confident that I had gone, and that no one could see him.

With bared head and closed eyes he was sitting on the mouldering trunk
of an old tree, absently rolling between his fingers a bit of
cherry-gum. All at once, he opened his eyes, and murmured something,
with a smile. The word and smile were so little in keeping with what I
knew of him that I was ashamed of having watched him. It really seemed
to me that the word was: Katia! "That cannot be!" I said to myself.
"Dear Katia!" he repeated lower, and still more tenderly. And this time
I heard the two words distinctly. My heart began to beat so fast, I was
so filled with joyful emotion, I even felt, as it were, such a kind of
shock, that I had to hold on to the wall with both hands, to keep myself
from falling, and so betraying myself. He heard my movement, and glanced
behind him, startled; then suddenly casting down his eyes he blushed,
reddening like a child. He made an effort to speak to me, but could not,
and this failure made his face grow deeper and deeper scarlet. Yet he
smiled as he looked at me. I smiled at him too. He looked all alive with
happiness; this was no longer, then,--oh, no, this _was_ no longer an
old uncle lavishing cares and caresses upon me; I had there before my
eyes a man on my own level, loving me and fearing me; a man whom I
myself feared, and loved. We did not speak, we only looked at each
other. But suddenly he bent his brows darkly; smile and glow went out of
his eyes simultaneously, and his bearing became again cold and fatherly,
as if we had been doing something wrong, as if he had regained control
of himself and was counselling me to do the same.

"Get down from there, you will hurt yourself," said he. "And arrange
your hair; you ought to see what you look like!"

"Why does he dissemble so? Why does he wish to wound me?" I thought,
indignantly. And at the moment came an irresistible desire to move him
again, and to try my power over him.

"No, I want to gather some cherries, myself," I said; and grasping a
neighboring bough with my hands, I swung myself over the wall. He had
no time to catch me, I dropped to the ground in the middle of the little
space.

"What folly is this?" he exclaimed, flushing again, and endeavoring to
conceal his alarm under a semblance of anger. "You might injure
yourself! And how are you going to get out?"

He was much more perturbed than when he first caught sight of me; but
now this agitation no longer gladdened me, on the contrary it made me
afraid. I was attacked by it in my turn; I blushed, moved away, no
longer knowing what to say to him, and began to pick cherries very fast,
without having anything to put them in. I reproached myself, I repented,
I was frightened, it seemed to me that by this step I had ruined myself
forever in his eyes. We both remained speechless, and the silence
weighed heavily upon both. Sonia, running back with the key, freed us
from our embarrassing situation. However, we still persistently avoided
speaking to each other, both preferring to address little Sonia instead.
When we were again with Macha, (who vowed she had not been asleep, and
had heard everything that had gone on,) my calmness returned, while he,
on his side, made another effort to resume his tone of paternal
kindness. But the effort was not successful, and did not deceive me at
all. A certain conversation that had taken place two days before still
lived in my memory.

Macha had announced her opinion that a man loves more easily than a
woman, and also more easily expresses his love. She added:

"A man can say that he loves, and a woman cannot."

"Now it seems to me that a man neither ought nor can say that he loves,"
was his reply.

I asked him why.

"Because it would always be a lie. What is this discovery that a man
_loves_? As if he had only to pronounce the word, and there must
immediately spring from it something extraordinary, some phenomenon or
other, exploding all at once! It seems to me that those people who say
to you solemnly: 'I love you,' either deceive themselves, or, which is
worse, deceive others."

"Then you think a woman is to know that she is loved, without being
told?" asked Macha.

"That I do not know; every man has his own fashion of speech. But such
feelings make themselves understood. When I read a novel, I always try
to imagine the embarrassed air of Lieutenant Crelski or Alfred, as he
declares: 'Eléonore, I love thee!' which speech he fancies is going to
produce something astounding, all of a sudden,--while in reality it
causes nothing at all, neither in her nor in him: features, look,
everything, remain precisely the same!"

He spoke jestingly, but I thought I detected an undertone of serious
meaning, which might have some reference to me; and Macha never allowed
even playful aspersions upon her heroes of romance.

"Always paradoxes!" she exclaimed. "Come now, be honest, have you
yourself never said to a woman that you loved her?"

"Never have I said so, never have I bowed a knee," he replied laughing,
"and never will I!"

"Yes, he need not tell me that he loves me!" I thought, now vividly
recalling this conversation. "He does love me, and I know it. And all
his efforts to seem indifferent cannot take away this conviction!"

During the whole evening he said very little to me, but in every word,
in every look and motion, I felt love, and no longer had any doubts. The
only thing that vexed and troubled me was that he should still judge it
necessary to conceal this feeling, and to feign coldness, when already
all was so clear, and we might have been so easily and so frankly happy
almost beyond the verge of possibility. Then, too, I was tormenting
myself as though I had committed a crime, for having jumped down into
the cherry orchard to join him, and it seemed as if he must have ceased
to esteem me, and must feel resentment against me.

After tea, I went to the piano, and he followed.

"Play something, Katia, I have not heard you for a long time," he said,
joining me in the drawing-room.

"I wished ... Sergius Mikaïlovitch!" And suddenly I looked right into
his eyes. "You are not angry with me?"

"Why should I be?"

"Because I did not obey you this afternoon," said I, blushing.

He understood me, shook his head, and smiled. And this smile said that
perhaps he would willingly have scolded me a little, but had no longer
the strength to do so.

"That is done with, then, isn't it? And we are good friends again?" I
asked, seating myself at the piano.

"I think so, indeed!"

The large, lofty apartment was lighted, only by the two candles upon the
piano, and the greater portion of it was in semi-darkness; through the
open windows we beheld the luminous stillness of the summer night. The
most perfect calm reigned, only broken at intervals by Macha's footfall
in the adjoining room, which was not yet lighted, or by an occasional
restless snort or stamp from our visitor's horse, which was tied under
one of the casements. Sergius Mikaïlovitch was seated behind me, so
that I could not see him, but in the imperfect darkness of the room, in
the soft notes that filled it, in the very depths of my being, I seemed
to feel his presence. Every look, every movement, though I could not
distinguish them, seemed to enter and echo in my heart. I was playing
Mozart's Caprice-sonata, which he had brought me, and which I had
learned before him and for him. I was not thinking at all of what I
played, but I found that I was playing well and thought he was pleased.
I shared his enjoyment, and without seeing him, I knew that from his
place his eyes were fixed on me. By a quite involuntary movement, while
my fingers continued to run over the keys, unconscious of what they were
doing, I turned and looked at him; his head stood out in dark relief
against the luminous background of the night. He was sitting with his
brow resting on his hand, watching me attentively with sparkling eyes.
As mine met them, I smiled, and stopped playing. He smiled also, and
made a motion with his head towards my notes, as if reproaching me and
begging me to keep on. Just then the moon, midway in her course, soared
in full splendor from a light cloud, pouring into the room waves of
silvery radiance which overcame the feeble gleam of our wax candles, and
swept in a sea of glory over the inlaid floor. Macha said that what I
had done was like nothing at all, that I had stopped at the very
loveliest part, and that, besides, I had played miserably; he, on the
contrary, insisted that I had never succeeded better than this evening,
and began pacing about restlessly, from the dim drawing-room into the
hall, from the hall back again into the drawing-room, and every time he
passed he looked at me and smiled. I smiled too though without any
reason; I wanted to laugh, so happy was I at what had taken place that
day, at that moment even. While the door hid him from me for an instant
I pounced upon Macha and began to kiss her in my pet place on her soft
throat under her chin, but when he reappeared I was perfectly grave,
although it was hard work to keep from laughing.

"What has happened to her, to-day?" Macha said.

He made no answer, but began to tease and make laughing conjectures. He
knew well enough what had happened to me!

"Just see what a night!" he said presently, from the door of the
drawing-room, opening on the garden balcony.

We went and stood by him, and indeed I never remember such a night. The
full moon shone down upon us from above the house with a glory I have
never seen in her since; the long shadows of the roof, of the slender
columns and tent-shaped awning of the terrace stretched out in oblique
foreshortening, over the gravel walk and part of the large oval of turf.
The rest lay in brilliant light, glistening with dew-drops turned by the
moon's rays to liquid silver. A wide path, bordered with flowers, was
diagonally cut into at one edge by the shadows of tall dahlias and their
supporting stakes, and then ran on, an unbroken band of white light and
gleaming pebbles until it was lost in the mist of distance. The glass
roof of the orangery sparkled through the trees, and a soft vapor
stealing up the sides of the ravine grew denser every moment. The tufts
of lilac, now partially faded, were pierced through and through by the
light; every slender foot-stalk was visible, and the tiny flowers,
freshened by the dew, could easily be distinguished from each other. In
the paths light and shadow were so blended that one would no longer have
said there were trees and paths, but transparent edifices shaken with
soft vibrations. On the right of the house all was obscure, indistinct,
almost a horror of darkness. But out of it sprang, more resplendent from
the black environment, the fantastic head of a poplar which, by some
strange freak, ended abruptly close above the house in an aureole of
clear light, instead of rising to lose itself in the distant depths of
dark blue sky.

"Let us go to walk," said I.

Macha consented, but added that I must put on my galoshes.

"It is not necessary," I said; "Sergius Mikaïlovitch will give me his
arm."

As if that could keep me from getting my feet wet! But at that moment,
to each of us three, such absurdity was admissible, and caused no
astonishment. He had never given me his arm, and now I took it of my own
accord, and he did not seem surprised. We all three descended to the
terrace. The whole universe, the sky, the garden, the air we breathed,
no longer appeared to me what I had always known.

As I looked ahead of me in the path we were pursuing, I began to fancy
that one could not go beyond, that there the possible world ended, and
that all there would abide forever in its present loveliness.

However, as we went on, this enchanted wall, this barrier built of pure
beauty, receded before us and yielded us passage, and I found myself in
the midst of familiar objects, garden, trees, paths, dry leaves. These
were certainly real paths that we were pursuing, where we crossed
alternate spaces of light and spheres of darkness, where the dry leaves
rustled beneath our feet, and the dewy sprays softly touched my cheek as
we passed. It was really he, who walked by my side with slow, steady
steps and with distant formality, allowed my arm to rest upon his own.
It was the real moon, high in the heavens, whose light came down to us
through the motionless branches.

Once I looked at him. There was only a single linden in the part of the
path we were then following, and I could see his face clearly. He was so
handsome; he looked so happy....

He was saying: "Are you not afraid?" But the words I heard, were: "I
love thee, dear child! I love thee! I love thee!" His look said it, and
his arm said it; the light, the shadow, the air, and all things repeated
it.

We went through the whole garden, Macha walked near us, taking short
steps, and panting a little, she was so tired. She said it was time to
go in, and I was so sorry for the poor creature. "Why does not she feel
like us?" I thought. "Why is not everybody always young and happy? How
full this night is of youth and happiness,--and we too!"

We returned to the house, but it was a long time before Sergius
Mikaïlovitch went away. Macha forgot to remind us that it was late; we
talked of all sorts of things, perhaps trivial enough, sitting side by
side without the least suspicion that it was three o'clock in the
morning. The cocks had crowed for the third time, before he went. He
took leave of us as usual, not saying anything particular. But I could
not doubt that from this day he was mine, and I could no longer lose
him. Now that I recognized that I loved him, I told Macha all. She was
delighted and touched, but the poor woman got no sleep that night; and
as for me, after walking a long, long time up and down the terrace, I
went to the garden again, seeking to recall every word, every incident,
as I wandered through the paths where we had so lately passed together.
I did not go to bed, that night, and, for the first time in my life, I
saw the sun rise and knew what the dawn of day is. Never again have I
seen such a night and such a morning. But I still kept asking myself why
he did not tell me frankly that he loved me. "Why," thought I, "does he
invent such or such difficulties, why does he consider himself old,
when everything is so simple and so beautiful? Why lose thus a precious
time which perhaps will never return? Let him say that he loves, let him
say it in words, let him take my hand in his, bend down his head and
say: "I love." Let his face flush, and his eyes fall before me, and then
I will tell him all. Or, rather, I will tell him nothing, I will only
hold him fast in my arms and let my tears flow. But if I am
mistaken?--if he does not love me?" This thought suddenly crossed my
mind.

I was terrified by my own feeling. Heaven knows where it might have led
me; already the memory of his confusion and my own when I suddenly
dropped down into the cherry orchard beside him, weighed upon me,
oppressed my heart. The tears filled my eyes, and I began to pray. Then
a thought, a strange thought, came to me, which brought me a great
quietness, and rekindled my hope. This was, the resolution to commence
my devotions, and to choose my birthday as my betrothal day.

How and why? How could it come to pass? That I knew nothing about,--but
from this moment I believed that it would be so. In the meantime, broad
day had come, and every one was rising as I returned to my chamber.



CHAPTER IV.


It was the _Carême de l'Assomption_,[C] and consequently no one was
surprised at my commencing a season of devotion.

During this whole week Sergius Mikaïlovitch did not once come to see us,
and far from being surprised, alarmed, or angry with him, I was content,
and did not expect him before my birthday. Throughout this week I rose
very early every day, and while the horses were being harnessed I walked
in the garden, alone, meditating upon the past, and thinking what I must
do in order that the evening should find me satisfied with my day, and
proud of having committed no faults.

When the horses were ready, I entered the droschky, accompanied by Macha
or a maid-servant, and drove about three versts to church. In entering
the church, I never failed to remember that we pray there for all those
"who enter this place in the fear of God," and I strove to rise to the
level of this thought, above all when my feet first touched the two
grass-grown steps of the porch. At this hour there were not usually in
the church more than ten or a dozen persons, peasants and droroviés,
preparing to make their devotions; I returned their salutations with
marked humility, and went myself, (which I regarded as an act of
superior merit,) to the drawer where the wax tapers were kept, received
a few from the hand of the old soldier who performed the office of
staroste,[D] and placed them before the images. Through the door of the
sanctuary I could see the altar-cloth Mamma had embroidered, and above
the iconstase[E] two angels spangled with stars, which I had considered
magnificent when I was a little girl; and a dove surrounded by a gilded
aureole which, at that same period, often used to absorb my attention.
Behind the choir I caught a glimpse of the embossed fonts near which I
had so often held the children of our droroviés, and where I myself had
received baptism. The old priest appeared, wearing a chasuble cut from
cloth which had been the pall of my father's coffin, and he intoned the
service in the same voice which, as far back as I could remember, had
chanted the offices of the Church at our house, at Sonia's baptism, at
my father's funeral service, at my mother's burial. In the choir I heard
the familiar cracked voice of the precentor; I saw, as I had always seen
her, a certain old woman, almost bent double, who came to every service,
leaned her back against the wall, and, holding her faded handkerchief in
her tightly clasped hands, gazed with eyes full of tears at one of the
images in the choir, mumbling I knew not what prayers with her toothless
mouth. And all these objects, all these beings,--it was not mere
curiosity or reminiscence which brought them so near to me; all seemed
in my eyes great and holy, all were full of profound meaning.

I lent an attentive ear to every word of the prayers I heard read, I
endeavored to bring my feelings into accord with them, and if I did not
comprehend them, I mentally besought God to enlighten me, or substituted
a petition of my own for that which I had not understood. When the
penitential prayers were read, I recalled my past, and this past of my
innocent childhood appeared to me so black in comparison with the state
of serenity in which my soul was, at this time, that I wept over myself,
terrified; yet I felt that all was forgiven me, and that even if I had
had many more faults to reproach myself with, repentance would only have
been all the sweeter to me.

At the conclusion of the service, at the moment when the priest
pronounced the words: "May the blessing of the Lord our God be upon
you," I seemed to feel within me, instantaneously communicated to all my
being, a sense of even, as it were, physical comfort, as if a current of
light and warmth had suddenly poured into my very heart.

When the service was over, if the priest approached me to ask if he
should come to our house to celebrate vespers, and what hour would suit
me, I thanked him with emotion for his offer, but told him that I would
come myself to the church either on foot or in the carriage.

"So you will yourself take that trouble?" he asked.

I could not answer, for fear of sinning from pride. Unless Macha was
with me, I sent the carriage home from the church, and returned on foot,
alone, saluting humbly all whom I met, seeking occasion to assist them,
to advise them, to sacrifice myself for them in some way; helping to
lift a load or carry a child, or stepping aside into the mud to yield a
passage.

One evening I heard our intendant, in making his report to Macha, say
that a peasant, Simon, had come to beg for some wood to make a coffin
for his daughter, and for a silver rouble to pay for the mortuary
service, and that his request had been complied with.

"Are they so poor?" I enquired.

"Very poor, my lady; they live without salt,"[F] replied the intendant.

I was distressed, yet, at the same time, in a manner rejoiced to hear
this. Making Macha believe that I was going for a walk, I ran upstairs,
took all my money (it was very little, but it was all I had,) and,
having made the sign of the cross, hurried off, across the terrace and
garden, to Simon's cottage in the village. It was at the end of the
little cluster of houses, and, unseen by anyone, I approached the
window, laid the money upon the sill and tapped gently. The door opened,
some one came out of the cottage and called to me; but I, cold and
trembling with fear like a criminal, ran away home. Macha asked where I
had been, what was the matter with me? But I did not even understand
what she was saying, and made no reply.

Everything at this moment appeared to me so small, and of so little
consequence! I shut myself up in my chamber, and walked up and down
there alone, for a long time, not feeling disposed to do anything, to
think anything, and incapable of analyzing my own sensations. I imagined
the delight of the whole family, and what they would all say about the
person who had placed the money upon their window, and I began to regret
that I had not given it to them myself. I wondered what Sergius
Mikaïlovitch would have said, if he had known what I had done, and I was
delighted to think that he never would know it. And I was so seized with
joy, so filled with a sense of the imperfection in myself and in all,
yet so inclined to view with gentleness all these others, as well as
myself, that the thought of death offered itself to me as a vision of
bliss. I smiled, I prayed, I wept, and at this instant I suddenly loved
every creature in the world, and I loved myself with a strange ardor.
Searching my prayer-book, I read many passages from the Gospel, and all
that I read in this volume became more and more intelligible; the story
of that divine life, appeared to me more touching and simple, while the
depth of feeling and of thought revealed to me, in this reading, became
more terrible and impenetrable. And how clear and easy everything
seemed, when, on laying aside the book, I looked at my life and
meditated upon it. It seemed impossible not to live aright, and very
simple to love every one and to be loved by every one. Besides, every
one was good and gentle to me, even Sonia, whom I continued to teach,
and who had become totally different, who really made an effort to
understand, and to satisfy me, and give me no annoyance. What I was
trying to be to others, others were to me.

Passing then to my enemies, from whom I must obtain forgiveness before
the great day, I could not think of any except one young lady in the
neighborhood, whom I had laughed at before some company, about a year
before, and who had ceased to visit at our house. I wrote a letter to
her, acknowledging my fault, and begging her pardon. She responded by
fully granting it, and asking mine in return. I shed tears of pleasure
while reading these frank lines, which seemed to me full of deep and
touching sentiment. My maid wept when I asked her pardon also. Why were
they all so good to me? How had I deserved so much affection? I asked
myself. Involuntarily I began to think about Sergius Mikaïlovitch. I
could not help it, and besides I did not consider it a light or
frivolous diversion. True I was not thinking about him at all as I had
done on that night when, for the first time, I found out that I loved
him; I was thinking of him just as of myself, linking him, in spite of
myself, with every plan and idea of my future. The dominating influence
which his presence had exercised over me, faded away completely in my
imagination. I felt myself to-day his equal, and, from the summit of the
ideal edifice whence I was looking down, I had full comprehension of
him. Whatever in him had previously appeared strange to me was now
intelligible. To-day, for the first time, I could appreciate the thought
he had expressed to me, that happiness consists in living for others,
and to-day I felt in perfect unison with him. It appeared to me that we
two were to enjoy a calm and illimitable happiness. No thought entered
my mind of journeys to foreign lands, guests at home, excitement, stir,
and gayety; it was to be a peaceful existence, a home life in the
country, perpetual abnegation of one's own will, perpetual love for
each other, perpetual and absolute thankfulness to a loving and helpful
Providence.

I concluded my devotions, as I had purposed, upon the anniversary of my
birth. My heart was so overflowing with happiness, that day, when I
returned from church, that there resulted all kinds of dread of life,
fear of every feeling, terrors of whatever might disturb this happiness.
But we had scarcely descended from the droschky to the steps before the
house, when I heard the well-known sound of his cabriolet upon the
bridge, and in a moment Sergius Mikaïlovitch was with us. He offered me
his congratulations, and we went into the drawing-room together. Never
since I had known him, had I found myself so calm, so independent in his
presence, as upon this morning. I felt that I bore within myself an
entire new world, which he did not comprehend and which was superior to
him. I did not feel the least agitation in his society. He may, however,
have understood what was passing within me, for his gentleness to me was
peculiarly delicate, almost, as it were, a religious deference. I was
going towards the piano, but he locked it and put the key in his pocket,
saying:

"Do not spoil the state of mind I see you are in; there is sounding, at
this moment, in the depths of your soul, a music which no harmony of
this earth can approach!"

I was grateful to him for this thought, yet, at the same time, it was a
little displeasing to me that he should thus understand, too easily, and
too clearly, what was to remain secret from all, in the kingdom of my
soul.

After dinner he said that he had come to bring me his congratulations
and to say farewell, as he was going to Moscow on the following day. He
was looking at Macha when he said this, but he gave me a quick
side-glance as if he was afraid of noticing some emotion upon my
countenance. But I showed neither surprise nor agitation, and did not
even ask if his absence would be long. I knew that he said so, but I
knew that he was not going. How? I cannot, now, explain it in the least;
but on this memorable day it appeared to me that I knew all that had
been, and all that would be. I was in a mood akin to one of those happy
dreams, where one has a kind of luminous vision of both the future and
the past.

He had intended going immediately after dinner, but Macha had left the
table, to take her siesta, and he was obliged to wait until she awoke in
order to take leave of her.

The sun was shining full into the drawing-room, and we went out upon the
terrace. We were scarcely seated, when I entered upon the conversation
which was to decide the fate of my love. I began to speak, neither
sooner nor later, but at the first moment that found us face to face
alone, when nothing else had been said, when nothing had stolen into the
tone and general character of the conversation which might hinder or
embarrass what I wished to say. I cannot myself comprehend whence came
the calmness, the resolution, the precision of my words. One would have
said that it was not I who was talking, and that something--I know not
what--independent of my own volition, was making me speak. He was
seated opposite to me, and, having drawn down to him a branch of lilac,
began to pluck off its leaves. When I opened my lips, he let go the
little branch, and covered his face with his hand. This might be the
attitude of a man who was perfectly calm, or that of a man yielding to
great agitation.

"Why are you going away?" I began, in a resolute tone; then stopped, and
looked him straight in the eyes.

He did not reply at once.

"Business!" he articulated, looking down on the ground.

I saw that it was difficult for him to dissemble in answering a question
I put so frankly.

"Listen," said I, "you know what this day is to me. In many ways it is a
great day. If I question you, it is not only to show my interest in you
(you know I am used to you, and fond of you), I question you because I
must know. Why are you going away?"

"It is excessively difficult to tell you the truth, to tell you why I am
going away. During this week I have thought a great deal of you and of
myself, and I have decided that it is necessary for me to go. You
understand ... why? And if you love me, do not question me!"

He passed his hand across his brow, and, covering his eyes again with
the same hand, he added:

"This is painful to me.... But you understand, Katia!"

My heart began to beat hard in my breast.

"I cannot understand," said I, "_I cannot do it_; but _you_, speak to
me, in the name of God, in the name of this day, speak to me, I can hear
everything calmly."

He changed his attitude, looked at me, and caught the branch of lilac
again.

"Well," he resumed, after a moment's silence, in a voice which vainly
struggled to appear firm, "though it may be absurd, and almost
impossible to translate into words, and though it will cost me much, I
will try to explain to you;"--and as he uttered the words there were
lines on his brow, as if he was suffering physical pain.

"Go on," I said.

"You must suppose there is a gentleman,--A. we will call him,--old,
weary of existence; and a lady,--Madame B. we will say,--young, happy,
and as yet knowing neither the world nor life. In consequence of family
relations A. loved B. like a daughter, with no fear of coming to love
her differently."

He was silent, and I did not interrupt him.

"But," he suddenly pursued, in a brief, resolute voice, without looking
at me, "he had forgotten that B. was young, that for her life was still
but a game, that it might easily happen that he might love her, and that
B. might amuse herself with him. He deceived himself, and one fine day
he found that another feeling, weighty to bear as remorse, had stolen
into his soul, and he was startled. He dreaded to see their old friendly
relations thus compromised, and he decided to go away before these had
time to change their nature."

As he spoke, he again with seeming carelessness passed his hand across
his eyes, and covered them.

"And why did he fear to love differently?" I said, presently, in a
steady voice, controlling my emotion; but no doubt this seemed to him
mere playful banter, for he answered with the air of a deeply wounded
man:

"You are young; I am no longer so. Playing may please you, for me more
is necessary. Only, do not play with me, for I assure you it will do me
no good,--and you might find it weigh on your conscience! That is what
A. said," he added,--"but all this is nonsense; you understand, now, why
I am going; let us say no more about it, I beg you...."

"Yes, yes, let us speak of it!" said I, and tears made my voice tremble.
"Did she love him or not?"

He did not reply.

"And if he did not love her," I continued, "why did he play with her as
if she were a child?"

"Yes, yes, A. had been culpable," he replied interrupting me; "but all
that is over, and they have parted from each other ... good friends!"

"But this is frightful! And is there no other end?" I exclaimed,
terrified at what I was saying.

"Yes, there is one." And he uncovered his agitated face, and looked at
me steadily. "There are even two other ends, quite different. But, for
the love of God, do not interrupt me, and listen to me quietly. Some
say," he went on, rising, and giving a forced, sad smile, "some say that
A. went mad, that he loved B. with an insane love, and that he told her
so.... But that she only laughed at him. For her the matter had been but
a jest, a trifle; for him,--the one thing in his life!"

I shivered, and would have broken in, to tell him that he should not
dare to speak for me; but he stopped me, and, laying his hand upon mine:

"Wait!" he said, in a shaking voice: "others say that she was sorry for
him, that she fancied--poor little girl, knowing nothing of the
world--that she might actually love him, and that she consented to be
his wife. And he--madman--he believed,--believed that all his life was
beginning again; but she herself became conscious that she was
deceiving him and that he was deceiving her.... Let us talk no more
about it!" he concluded, indeed evidently incapable of farther speech,
and he silently sat down again opposite me.

He had said, "Let us talk no more about it," but it was manifest that
with all the strength of his soul he was waiting for a word from me.
Indeed I tried to speak, and could not; something stopped my breath. I
looked at him, he was pale, and his lower lip was trembling. I was very
sorry for him. I made another effort, and suddenly succeeding in
breaking the silence which paralyzed me. I said, in a slow, concentrated
voice, fearing every moment it would fail me:

"There is a third end to the story" (I stopped, but he remained silent),
"and this other end is that he did not love her, that he hurt her, hurt
her cruelly, that he believed he was right to do it, that he ... that he
went away, and that, moreover, moreover, he was proud of it. It is not
on my side, but on yours, that the trifling has been, from the first day
I loved you; I loved you," I repeated, and at the word "loved" my voice
involuntarily changed from its tone of slow concentration to a kind of
wild cry which appalled myself.

He was standing up before me, very pale, his lip trembled more and more,
and I saw two heavy tears making their way down his cheeks.

"This is dreadful!"--I could barely get out the words, choked with anger
and unshed tears.--"And why?..." I jumped up hastily, to run away.

But he sprang towards me. In a moment his head was upon my knees, my
trembling hands were pressed again and again to his lips, and I felt hot
drops falling upon them.

"My God, if I had known!" he was murmuring.

"Why? why?" I repeated mechanically, my soul in the grasp of that
transport which seizes, possesses, and flies forever, that rapture which
returns no more.

Five minutes afterwards, Sonia went dashing upstairs to Macha, and all
over the house, crying out that Katia was going to marry Sergius
Mikaïlovitch.



CHAPTER V.


There was no reason to delay our marriage, and neither he nor I desired
to do so. It is true that Macha longed to go to Moscow to order my
trousseau, and Sergius' mother considered it incumbent upon him before
marrying to buy a new carriage and more furniture and have the whole
house renovated, but we both insisted that this could all be done quite
as well afterwards, and that we would be married at the end of the
fortnight succeeding my birthday, without trousseau, parade, guests,
groomsmen, supper, champagne, or any of the traditional attributes of a
wedding. He told me that his mother was unwilling to have the great
event take place without the music, the avalanche of trunks, the
refurnished house, which, at a cost of thirty thousand roubles, had
accompanied her own marriage; and how, without his knowledge, she had
ransacked for treasures all the chests in the lumber rooms, and held
sober consultations with Mariouchka, the housekeeper, on the subject of
certain new carpets and curtains, quite indispensable to our happiness.
On our side, Macha was similarly employed, with my maid Kouzminicha. She
could not be laughed out of this; being firmly persuaded that when
Sergius and I ought to have been discussing our future arrangements, we
wasted our time in soft speeches (as was perhaps natural in our
position); while of course, in fact, the very substance of our future
happiness was dependent upon the cut and embroidery of my dresses, and
the straight hems on our table-cloths and napkins. Between Pokrovski and
Nikolski, every day and several times a day, mysterious communications
were exchanged as to the progressing preparations; and though apparently
Macha and the bridegroom's mother were upon the tenderest terms, one
felt sure of the constant passage of shafts of keen and hostile
diplomacy between the two powers.

Tatiana Semenovna, his mother, with whom I now became more fully
acquainted, was a woman of the old school, starched and stiff, and a
severe mistress. Sergius loved her, not only from duty as a son, but
also with the sentiment of a man who saw in her the best, the most
intelligent, the tenderest, and the most amiable woman in the world.
Tatiana had always been cordial and kind to us, particularly to me, and
she was delighted that her son should marry; but as soon as I became
betrothed to him it appeared to me that she wished to make me feel that
he might have made a better match, and that I ought never to forget the
fact. I perfectly understood her, and was entirely of her opinion.

During these last two weeks, Sergius and I saw each other every day; he
always dined with us and remained until midnight; but, though he often
told me--and I knew he was telling the truth--that he could not now live
without me, yet he never spent the whole day with me, and even, after a
fashion, continued to attend to his business matters. Our outward
relations, up to the very time of our marriage, were exactly what they
had been; we still said "_you_" to each other, he did not even kiss my
hand, and not only did he not seek, but he actually avoided occasions of
finding himself alone with me, as if he feared giving himself up too
much to the great and dangerous love he bore in his heart.

All these days the weather was bad, and we spent most of them in the
drawing-room; our conversations being held in the corner between the
piano and the window.

"Do you know that there is one thing I have been wishing to say to you
for a long time?" he said, late one evening, when we were alone in our
corner. "I have been thinking of it, all the time you have been at the
piano."

"Tell me nothing, I know all," I replied.

"Well then, we will say no more about it."

"Oh, yes, indeed, tell me; what is it?" I asked.

"It is this. You remember me telling you that story about A. and B.?"

"As if I could help remembering that foolish story! How lucky that it
has ended so...."

"A little more, and I would have destroyed my happiness with my own
hand; you saved me; but the thing is, that I was not truthful with you,
then; it has been on my conscience, and now I wish to tell you all."

"Ah, please do not!"

"Do not be afraid," he said, smiling, "it is only that I must justify
myself. When I began to talk to you, I wished to debate the question."

"Why debate?" said I, "that is never necessary."

He looked at me in silence, then went on.

"In regard to the end of that story,--what I said to you, then, was not
nonsense; clearly there was something to fear, and I was right to fear
it. To receive everything from you, and give you so little! You are yet
a child, yet an unexpanded flower, you love for the first time, while
I...."

"Oh, yes, tell me the truth!" I exclaimed. But all at once I was afraid
of his answer. "No, do not tell me!" I added.

"Whether I have loved before? is that it?" he said, instantly divining
my thought. "It is easy to tell you that. No, I have not loved. Never
has such a feeling.... So, do you not see how imperative it was for me
to reflect, before telling you that I loved you? What am I giving you?
Love, it is true...."

"Is that so little?" I asked, looking into his face.

"Yes, that is little, my darling, little for you. You have beauty and
youth. Often, at night, I cannot sleep for happiness; I am incessantly
thinking how we are going to live together. I have already lived much,
yet it seems to me that I have but just now come to the knowledge of
what makes happiness. A sweet, tranquil life, in our retired corner,
with the possibility of doing good to those to whom it is so easy to do
it, and who, nevertheless, are so little used to it; then work,--work,
whence, you know, some profit always springs; recreation, also, nature,
books, music, the affection of some congenial friend; there is my
happiness, a happiness higher than I ever dreamed of. And beyond all
that, a loved one like you, perhaps a family; in one word, all that a
man can desire in this world!"

"Yes," said I.

"For me, whose youth is done, yes; but for you ..." he continued. "You
have not yet lived; perhaps you might have wished to pursue your
happiness in some other path, and in some other path perhaps you might
have found it. At present it seems to you that what I speak of is indeed
happiness, because you love me...."

"No, I have never desired nor liked any but this sweet home life. And
you have just said precisely what I think, myself."

He smiled.

"It seems so to you, my darling. But that is little for you. You have
beauty and youth," he repeated, thoughtfully.

I was beginning to feel provoked at seeing that he would not believe me,
and that in a certain way he was reproaching me with my beauty and my
youth.

"Come now, why do you love me?" I asked, rather hotly: "for my youth or
for myself?"

"I do not know, but I do love," he replied, fixing upon me an observant
look, full of alluring sweetness.

I made no response, but involuntarily met his eyes. All at once, a
strange thing happened to me. I ceased to see what was around me, his
face itself disappeared from before me, and I could distinguish nothing
but the fire of the eyes exactly opposite mine; then it seemed to me
that these eyes themselves were piercing into me, then all became
confused, I could no longer see anything at all, and I was obliged to
half close my eyelids to free myself from the mingled sensation of joy
and terror produced by this look.

Towards evening of the day previous to that appointed for our marriage,
the weather cleared. After the heavy continuous rains of the summer we
had the first brilliant autumnal sunset. The sky was pure, rigid, and
pale. I went to sleep, happy in the thought that the next day would be
bright, for our wedding. I woke in the morning with the sun upon me, and
with the thought that here already was the day ... as if it astonished
and frightened me. I went to the garden. The sun had just risen, and was
shining through the linden-trees, whose yellow leaves were floating down
and strewing the paths. There was not one cloud to be seen in the cold
serene sky.

"Is it possible that it is to-day?" I asked myself, not venturing to
believe in my own happiness. "Is it possible that to-morrow I shall not
wake here, that I shall open my eyes in that house of Nikolski, with its
columns, in a place now all strange to me! Is it possible that
henceforward I shall not be expecting him, shall not be going to meet
him, shall not talk about him any more in the evenings, with Macha?
Shall I no longer sit at the piano in our drawing-room at Pokrovski,
with him beside me? Shall I no longer see him go away, and tremble with
fear for him because the night is dark?" But I remembered that he had
told me, the night before, that it was his last visit; and, besides,
Macha had made me try on my wedding-dress. So that, by moments, I would
believe, and then doubt again. Was it really true that this very day I
was to begin to live with a mother-in-law, without Nadine, without old
Gregory, without Macha? That at night I would not embrace my old nurse,
and hear her say, making the sign of the cross, as she always did;
"Good-night, my young lady?" That I would no longer hear Sonia's
lessons, or play with her, or rap on the partition wall in the morning
and hear her gay laugh? Was it possible that it was really to-day that I
was to become, in a measure, an alien to myself, and that a new life,
realizing my hopes and my wishes, was opening before me? And was it
possible that this new life, just beginning, was to be for ever? I
waited impatiently for Sergius, so hard it was for me to remain alone
with these thoughts. He came early, and it was only when he was actually
there that I was sure that to-day I was really going to be his wife, and
no longer felt frightened at the thought.

Before dinner we went to church, to hear the service for the dead, in
commemoration of my father.

"Oh, if he were still in this world!" thought I, as I was returning
home, leaning silently on the arm of the man who had been his dearest
friend. While the prayers were being read, kneeling with my brow pressed
upon the cold flag-stones of the chapel floor, my father had been so
vividly brought before my mind, that I could not help believing that he
comprehended me and blessed my choice, and I imagined that, at the
moment, his soul was hovering above us, and that his benediction rested
upon me. These remembrances, these hopes, my happiness and my regrets,
blended within me into a feeling at once solemn and sweet, which seemed,
as it were, to be set in a frame of clear quiet air, stillness, bare
fields, pale heavens whose brilliant but enfeebled rays vainly strove to
bring the color to my cheek. I persuaded myself that my companion was
understanding and sharing my feelings. He walked with slow steps, in
silence, and his face, which I glanced into from time to time, bore the
impress of that intense state of the soul, which is neither sadness nor
joy, and which perfectly harmonized with surrounding nature and with my
heart.

All at once, he turned towards me, and I saw that he had something to
say to me. What if he were not going to speak of what was in my
thoughts? But without even naming him he spoke of my father, and added:

"One day he happened to say to me, laughingly, 'You will marry my little
Katia!'"

"How glad he would have been, to-day," I responded, pressing closer to
the arm on which I leaned.

"Yes, you were then but a child," he went on, looking deep into my eyes;
"I kissed those eyes and loved them simply because they were so like
his, and I was far from thinking that one day they would be so dear to
me in themselves."

We were still walking slowly along the field-path, scarcely traceable
among the trodden and scattered stubble, and heard no sound save our own
footsteps and voices. The sun poured down floods of light that gave no
warmth. When we spoke, our voices seemed to resound and hang suspended
above our heads in the motionless atmosphere. We might have thought we
two were alone upon the earth, alone beneath that blue vault vibrating
with cold scintillations from the sun.

When we arrived at the house, we found his mother already there, with
the few guests whom we had felt obliged to invite, and I was not again
alone with him until we had left the church and were in the carriage on
our way to Nikolski.

The church had been almost empty. At one glance I had seen his mother,
standing near the choir; Macha, with her wet cheeks and lilac
cap-ribbons; and two or three _droroviés_, who were gazing at me with
curious eyes. I heard the prayers, I repeated them, but they had no
meaning for me. I could not pray, myself, I only kept looking stupidly
at the images, the wax tapers, the cross embroidered on the chasuble the
priest had on, the iconostase, the church windows, but did not seem able
to understand anything at all; I only felt that something very
extraordinary was being done to me. When the priest turned towards us
with the cross, when he gave us his congratulations, and said that he
had baptized me and that now God had permitted him also to marry me;
when Macha and Sergius' mother embraced us, when I heard Gregory's voice
calling the carriage, I was astonished and frightened at the thought
that all was finished, though no marvellous change, corresponding with
the sacrament which had just been performed over me, had taken place in
my soul. We kissed each other, and this kiss appeared to me so odd, so
out of keeping with ourselves, that I could not help thinking: "It is
only _that_?" We went out upon the parvise, the noise of the wheels
echoed loudly within the arch of the church; I felt the fresh air upon
my face, and was conscious that, Sergius with his hat under his arm, had
assisted me into the carriage. Through the window I saw that the moon
was shining in her place in the frosty sky. He took his seat beside me,
and shut the door. Something, at this moment, seemed to strike through
my heart, as if the assurance with which he did this had given me a
wound. The wheels glanced against a stone, then began to revolve upon
the smooth road, and we were gone. Drawn back into a corner of the
carriage, I watched the fields flooded with light, and the flying road.
Nevertheless, without looking at him, I was feeling that there he was,
beside me. "Here, then, is all that this first moment from which I have
expected so much, brings me?" I thought, and all at once I had a sense
of humiliation and offence at finding myself seated thus alone with him
and so close to him. I turned towards him, intending to say something,
no matter what. But no word would come from my lips; one would have said
that no trace of my former tenderness lingered within my heart, but that
it was entirely replaced by this impression of alarm and offence.

"Up to this moment, I still dared not believe that this might be!" he
softly responded to my glance.

"And I ... I am afraid ... I know not why!"

"Afraid of me, Katia?" he said, taking my hand, and bending his head
over it.

My hand rested within his, lifeless; my heart stopped beating.

"Yes," I murmured.

But, at the same moment, my heart suddenly began to beat again, my hand
trembled and clasped his, warmth returned to me; my eyes, in the dim
light, sought his eyes, and I felt, all at once, that I was no longer
afraid of him; that this terror had been but a new love, yet more tender
and strong than the old. I knew that I was wholly his, and that I was
happy to be wholly in his power.



CHAPTER VI.


The days, the weeks, two entire months of lonely country life slipped
away, imperceptibly, it appeared to us; but the sensations, the
emotions, and the happiness of these two months would have sufficed to
fill a whole life. My dreams, and his, concerning the mode of organizing
our joint existence were not realized exactly as we had anticipated.
But, nevertheless, the reality was not below our dreams. This was not
the life of strict industry, full of duties, abnegation, and sacrifices,
which I had pictured to myself when I became his betrothed; on the
contrary, it was the absorbing and egotistical sentiment of love, joys
without reason and without end, oblivion of everything in the world. He
would, it is true, sometimes retire to his study and occupy himself with
something demanding attention; sometimes he went to the city on
business, or overlooked his agricultural matters; but I could see how
hard it was for him to tear himself away from me. Indeed, he himself
said that whenever I was not present, things appeared to him so devoid
of interest that the wonder was that he could attend to them at all. It
was precisely the same on my side. I read, I busied myself with my
music, with Mamma, with the schools; but I only did so because all these
employments were in some way connected with him, and met with his
approbation, and the instant the thought of him ceased to be in some
manner, direct or indirect, associated with anything whatever that I was
doing, I would stop doing it. To me, he was the only person in the
universe, the handsomest, noblest human being in the wide world; of
course, therefore, I could live for nothing but him, could strive for
nothing but to remain in his eyes what he considered me. For he honestly
considered me the first and highest of women, gifted with every
excellence and charm; and my one aim was to be in reality for him this
highest and most complete of all existing creatures.

Ours was one of those old country homes, where generation after
generation of ancestors had lived, loved each other, and peacefully
passed away. The very walls seemed to breathe out happy household
memories, and no sooner had I set my foot upon the threshold, than these
all appeared to become memories of my own. The arrangement and order of
the dwelling were old-fashioned, carefully kept so by Tatiania
Semenovna. No one could have said that anything was handsome or elegant,
but everything, from the attendance to the furniture and the food, was
proper, solid, regular, and seemed to inspire respect. In the
drawing-room, tables, chairs, and divans were symmetrically ranged, the
walls were hidden by family portraits, and the floor was covered with
ancient rugs and immense landscapes in linen. In the small parlor there
was an old grand piano, two chiffoniers of different shapes, a divan,
and one or two tables decorated with wrought copper. My private room,
adorned by Tatiana Semenovna, was honored with all the finest pieces of
furniture, irrespective of varying styles and dates, and, among the
rest, with an old mirror with doors, which at first I hardly dared to
raise my eyes to, but which afterwards became like a dear old friend to
me. Tatiana's voice was never heard, but the household went on with the
regularity of a well-wound clock, although there were many more servants
than were necessary. But all these servants, wearing their soft heelless
slippers (for Tatiana Semenovna insisted that creaking soles and
pounding heels were, of all things in the world, the most disagreeable),
all these servants appeared proud of their condition, trembling before
the old lady, showing to my husband and me a protecting good-will, and
seeming to take special satisfaction in the discharge of their
respective duties. Every Saturday, regularly, the floors were scoured,
and the carpets shaken; on the first day of every month, a _Te Deum_ was
chanted, and holy water sprinkled; while upon every recurring fête-day
of Tatiana Semenovna and her son, and now also upon mine (which took
place this autumn, for the first time), a feast was given to all the
neighborhood. And all this was performed precisely as in the oldest
times that Tatiana Semenovna could remember.

My husband interfered in nothing concerning the management of the house,
confining himself to the control of the estate, and the affairs of the
peasants, which fully occupied him.

He rose very early, even during the winter, so that he was always gone
when I woke. He generally returned for tea, which we took alone
together; and at these times, having finished the troubles and
annoyances of his agricultural matters, he would often fall into that
particularly joyous light-hearted state of mind, which we used to call
_le transport sauvage_. Often, when I asked him to tell me what he had
been doing all the morning, he would relate such perfectly absurd
adventures, that we would almost die of laughing; sometimes when I
demanded a sober account, he would give it to me, making an effort to
restrain even a smile. As for me, I watched his eyes, or the motion of
his lips, and did not understand a word he said, being entirely taken up
with the pleasure of looking at him and hearing his voice.

"Come, now, what was I saying?" he would ask; "repeat it to me!"

But I never could repeat any of it.

Tatiana Semenovna never made her appearance until dinner time, taking
her tea alone, and only sending an ambassador to wish us good-morning. I
always found it hard not to burst out laughing, when the maid entered,
took her stand before us with her hands crossed one upon the other, and,
in her measured tones informed us that Tatiana Semenovna desired to know
whether we had slept well, and whether we liked the little cakes we had
for tea. Until dinner time we seldom remained together. I played, or
read, alone; he wrote, or sometimes went out again; but at four o'clock
we went down to the drawing-room for dinner. Mamma came out of her
chamber, and then the poor gentle-folk and pilgrims who happened to be
lodging in the house, usually two or three in number made their
appearance. Regularly every day my husband, following the ancient
custom, offered his arm to his mother, to conduct her to the
dining-room, and she requested him to take me upon his other arm. Mamma
presided at dinner, and the conversation was of a serious, thoughtful
turn, not altogether without a shade of solemnity. The simple every-day
talk between my husband and myself was the only agreeable diversion in
the grave aspect of these table sessions. After dinner, Mamma took her
seat in a large arm-chair in the salon, and cut open the leaves of any
newly-arrived books; we read aloud, or went to the piano in the small
drawing-room. We read a great deal together during those two months, but
music continued to be our supreme enjoyment, for every day it seemed to
strike some new chord in our hearts, whose vibrations revealed us to
each other more and more wholly. When I was playing his favorite airs he
retired to a divan at some distance, where I could scarcely see him, and
with a kind of modesty of sentiment tried to conceal from me the emotion
my music produced; but, often, when he least expected it, I rose from
the piano and ran to him, to try to surprise upon his countenance the
traces of this deep feeling and to catch the almost supernatural light
in the humid eyes which he vainly strove to conceal from me. I presided
over our late tea in the large drawing-room, again all the family were
gathered round the table, and for a long time this formal assembling
near the samovar, as in a tribunal, with the distribution of the cups
and glasses, discomposed me very much. It always seemed to me that I was
not yet worthy of these honors, that I was too young, too giddy, to turn
the faucet of that stately samovar, set the cups on Nikita's tray and
say: "For Peter Ivanovitch; for Maria Minichna," and ask: "Is it sweet
enough?" And afterwards give out the lumps of sugar for the white-haired
nurse and the other old servants. "Perfect, perfect," my husband would
often tell me; "quite a grown-up person!" and then I would feel more
intimidated than ever.

After tea Mamma played patience, or she and Maria Minichna had a game of
cards together; then she embraced us both and gave us her blessing, and
we withdrew to our own apartment. There, however, our evening
_tête-à-tête_ was usually prolonged until midnight, for these were our
pleasantest hours in the twenty-four. He told me about his past life, we
made plans, occasionally we philosophized, all the time talking in a low
tone lest we might be overheard. We lived, he and I, almost upon the
footing of strangers in this huge old house, where everything seemed to
be weighed upon by the severe spirit of ancient times and of Tatiana
Semenovna. Not only she herself, but also the servants, all these old
men and women, the furniture, the pictures, all inspired me with respect
and a kind of fear, and at the same time with the consciousness that my
husband and I were not exactly in our own place there and that our
conduct must be extremely circumspect. As well as I remember, now, this
severe order and the prodigious number of idle, inquisitive men and
women about our house were very hard to bear: but even this sense of
oppression only served to vivify our mutual love. Not only I, but he
also, made an effort not to let it be seen that anything in our home was
displeasing to us. Sometimes this calmness, this indulgence, this
seeming indifference to everything, irritated me, and I could not help
looking upon such conduct as weakness, and telling him so.

"Ah, dear Katia," he replied, once, when I was expressing my annoyance,
"how can a man show that anything, no matter what, is displeasing to
him, when he is as happy as I am? It is a great deal easier to yield,
than to make them yield, I have long been convinced of that,--and,
moreover, of the fact there is no situation where one cannot be happy.
Everything goes so well with us! I do not even know, any longer, how to
get angry; for me, just now, there is nothing at all that is bad, there
are only things that are either dull or droll. But, above all, 'let well
enough alone.' You may hardly believe me, but whenever I hear a ring at
the door-bell, whenever I receive a letter, actually whenever I wake in
the morning, a fear takes hold of me, fear of the obligations of life,
fear that something may be going to change; for nothing could be better
than this present moment!"

I believed him, but I could not understand him. I was happy, but it
seemed to me that all was as it ought to be, and could not be otherwise;
that it was the same with every one else, and that somewhere there were
other joys still, not greater ones, but quite different.

Thus two months passed by, bringing us to the cold, stormy winter, and
although he was with me, I began to feel somewhat alone; I began to feel
that life was doing nothing but repeating itself, as it were; that it
offered nothing new either for me or for him; that, on the contrary, we
seemed to be forever treading over and over again in our own footsteps.
He was more frequently occupied with business matters away from me, than
he had been at first, and once more I had the old feeling that far down
in his soul lay a world, hidden and reserved, to which he would not
admit me. His unalterable serenity irritated me. I loved him no less
than formerly, was no less happy in his love; but my love remained
stationary and did not seem to grow any more, and besides this love a
new sentiment, full of anxiety, came creeping into my heart. Continuing
to love seemed to me so small a thing after that great transport of
first loving him; I felt as if my sentiments ought to include agitation,
danger, sacrifice of myself. There were in me exuberant forces finding
no employment in our tranquil existence, fits of depression which I
sought to conceal from him as something wicked, fits of impetuous
tenderness and gaiety which only alarmed him. He still had his old habit
of watching me and studying my moods, and one day he came to me with a
proposal to move to the city for a time; but I begged him not to go, not
to alter anything whatever in our mode of life, not to touch our
happiness. And, really and truly, I was happy; but I was tormenting
myself because this happiness brought me no labor, no sacrifice, while,
I felt all the powers of sacrifice and labor dying away within me. I
loved him, I knew that I was entirely his; but I wished every one to see
our love, wished that some one would try to prevent my loving him,--and
then to love him all the same! My mind, and even my sentiments, found
their field of action, but yet there was something--the sense of youth,
with its need of movement--which had no sufficient satisfaction in our
placid life. Why did he tell me that we could go to the city whenever
the fancy seized me to do so? If he had not said this, perhaps I might
have understood that the feeling which oppressed me was a pernicious
chimera, a fault of which I was guilty.... But the thought kept coming
into my head that simply by going to the city, I could escape from my
ennui; but then, on the other hand, this would be withdrawing him from a
life that he loved; I was ashamed to do this, but it cost me something
not to do it.

Time went on, the snow piled higher and higher against the walls of the
house, and we were always alone, still alone, always with each other,
while away yonder,--I knew not where, but yonder somewhere,--in stir and
motion, in splendor and excitement, was the crowd, feeling, suffering,
rejoicing, amusing itself, without one thought of us and our vanished
existence. Worst of all to me was the consciousness that day by day the
chain of habit was binding and pressing our life closer into its narrow
mould, that our love itself would enter into bondage and become subject
to the monotonous and dispassionate law of time. To be cheerful in the
morning, respectful at dinner, affectionate in the evening! "To do
good!" I said to myself, it is all very well and admirable to do good,
and to live a worthy life, as he says; but we have yet time enough for
that; there are other things for which, to-day, I feel powers within me.
This is not what I wanted; what I wanted was combat, struggle; was to
feel that love is our guide in life, not that life guides our love. I
could have wished to draw near to the abyss with him, to say to him:
"One more step, and I dash myself down, one more movement and I perish;"
he, while paling on the brink of this abyss, he would have seized me
with his powerful hand, held me there suspended above the gulf, my heart
faint with fear,--and then he might have borne me whithersoever he
would!

This mood of my soul began to tell upon my health, my nerves began to
be out of order. One morning I felt even more upset than usual, and
Sergius returned home in rather a bad temper, which was an extremely
rare occurrence with him; I noticed it at once, and asked him what was
the matter, but he would not tell me, only remarking that it was not
worth while. As I afterwards learned, the ispravnik,[G] from ill-will to
my husband, had summoned several peasants, made some illegal exaction of
them, and had even uttered menaces against him. My husband had not yet
been able to look into the matter and, moreover, as it was but a piece
of absurd impertinence he had not cared to tell me of it; but I imagined
that his not telling me was because he considered me a child, and that
in his eyes I was incapable of understanding what interested him. I
turned from him in silence, without saying a word; he went into his
study, gravely, and shut his door after him. When I could no longer hear
him, I sat down on a divan, almost crying. "Why," said I to myself,
"does he persist in humiliating me by his solemn calmness, by being
always in the right? Am I not in the right also, when I am wearied, when
everywhere I feel emptiness, when I long to live, to move, not to stay
forever in one place and feel time walk over me? I wish to go onward,
each day, each hour; I wish for something new, while he,--he wants to
stand still in one spot, and keep me standing there with him! And yet
how easy it would be for him to satisfy me! He need not take me to the
city, it would only be necessary for him to be a little like me, for him
to stop trying to constrain and crush himself with his own hands, for
him to live naturally. That is what he is always advising me, and it is
he who is not natural, that is all."

I felt my tears getting the mastery of me, and my irritation against him
increasing. I was afraid of this irritation, and I went to find him. He
was sitting in his study, writing. Hearing my steps, he turned for an
instant, looked at me with a calm and indifferent air, and continued
writing; this look did not please me, and instead of going up to him, I
stopped near the table where he was writing and, opening a book, began
to run my eyes over the page. He turned then, a second time, and looked
at me again:

"Katia, you are not as bright as usual!"

I only responded by a cold glance, meant to convey: "And why? And why so
much amiability?" He shook his head at me, and smiled timidly and
tenderly; but, for the first time, my smile would not answer his.

"What was the matter with you this morning?" I asked, "why would you
tell me nothing?"

"It was a trifle! a slight worry," he replied. "I can tell you all about
it, now. Two peasants had been summoned to the city...."

But I would not let him finish.

"Why did you not tell me when I asked you?"

"I might have said something foolish, I was angry then."

"That was just the time to tell me."

"And why so?"

"What you think, then, is that I never can help you in anything?"

"What I think?" said he, throwing down his pen. "I think that without
you I could not live. In all things, in all, not only are you a help to
me, but it is by you that everything is done. You are literally to me
'well-fallen,'" he went on smiling. "It is in you alone that I live; it
seems to me nothing is good but because you are there, because you
must...."

"Yes, I know it, I am a nice little child who has to be petted and kept
quiet," said I, in such a tone that he looked at me in amazement. "But I
do not want this quieting; I have had enough of it!"

"Come, let me tell you about this morning's trouble," he said hastily,
as if he was afraid to give me time to say more: "let us see what you
think of it!"

"I do not wish to hear it now," I replied.

I really did want to hear it, but it was more agreeable to me, at this
moment, to disturb his tranquillity.

"I do not wish to play with the things of life; I wish to live," I
added; "like you."

His face, which always so clearly and so readily reflected every
impression, wore a look of suffering and intense attention.

"I wish to live with you in perfect equality...."

But I could not finish, such profound pain was on his face. He was
silent an instant.

"And in what do you not live with me on a footing of equality?" he said:
"it is I, not you, that is concerned in this affair of the ispravnik and
some drunken peasants."

"Yes, but it is not only this case," said I.

"For the love of God, do understand me, my darling," he continued; "I
know how painful a thing care is for us all; I have lived, and I know
it. I love you, therefore I would spare you every care. My life is
centred in my love for you; so do not prevent my living!"

"You are always right," said I, without looking at him.

I could not bear to see him once more serene and tranquil, while I was
so full of anger and a feeling somewhat resembling repentance.

"Katia! What is the matter with you?" said he. "The question is not in
the least which of us two is in the right, what we were talking about is
something entirely different! What have you against me? Do not tell me
at once; reflect, and then tell me all that is in your thoughts. You are
displeased with me, you have, no doubt, a reason, but explain to me in
what I am to blame."

But how could I tell him all that I had in the bottom of my heart? The
thought that he had seen through me at once, that again I found myself
as a child before him, that I could do nothing that he did not
comprehend and foresee, excited me more than ever.

"I have nothing against you," said I, "but I am tired, and I do not like
ennui. You say that this must be so, and, of course, once more you are
right!"

As I spoke, I looked in his face. My object was attained; his serenity
had disappeared; alarm and pain were stamped upon his face.

"Katia!" he began, in a low, agitated voice, "this is no jesting we are
engaged in, at this moment. Our fate is being decided. I ask you to say
nothing, only to hear me. Why are you torturing me thus?"

But I broke in.

"Say no more, you are right," said I, coldly, as if it were not I, but
some evil spirit speaking with my lips.

"If you knew what you are doing!" he exclaimed in a trembling voice.

I began to cry, and I felt my heart somewhat relieved. He was sitting
near me, silent. I was sorry for him, ashamed of myself, troubled by
what I had done. I did not look at him. I felt sure that he was looking
at me, and that his eyes were perplexed or severe. I turned; his eyes
were indeed fixed upon me, but they were kind and gentle and seemed
entreating forgiveness. I took his hand, and said:

"Pardon me! I do not know, myself, what I said."

"Yes, but I know what you said, and I know that you spoke the truth."

"What truth?" I asked.

"That we must go to St. Petersburg. This is no longer the place for us."

"As you wish."

He took me in his arms and kissed me.

"You forgive me?" he said, "I have been to blame concerning you...."

In the evening I was at the piano a long time playing for him, while he
walked up and down the room, repeating something in a low tone to
himself. This was a habit with him, and I often asked him what he was
murmuring thus, and he, still thoughtful, would repeat it again to me;
generally it was poetry, sometimes some really absurd thing, but even
the very absurdity would show me what frame of mind he was in.

"What are you murmuring there, now?" I asked after a time.

He stood still, thought a little, then, smiling, repeated the two lines
from Lermontoff:

    "And he, the madman, invoked the tempest,
     As if, in the tempest, peace might reign!"

"Yes, he is more than a man; he sees everything!" thought I; "how can I
help loving him!"

I left the piano, took hold of his hand, and began to walk up and down
with him, measuring my steps by his.

"Well!" he said, looking down at me with a smile.

"Well!" I echoed; and our two hearts seemed to spring to each other once
more.

At the end of a fortnight, before the fêtes, we were in St. Petersburg.



CHAPTER VII.


Our removal to St. Petersburg, a week in Moscow, visits to his relatives
and to my own, settling ourselves in our new apartment, the journey, the
new city, the new faces, all seemed to me like a dream. All was so
novel, so changeful, so gay, all was so brightened for me by his
presence, by his love, that the placid country life appeared to me
something very far off, a sort of unreal thing. To my great surprise,
instead of the arrogant pride, the coldness, I had expected to
encounter, I was welcomed by all (not only by our relatives, but by
strangers,) with such cordiality that it seemed as if they had no
thought of anything but me, and as if one and all had been longing for
my arrival to complete their own happiness. Contrary to my
anticipations, in the circles of society, even in those which seemed to
me most select, I discovered many friends and connections of my husband
whom he had never mentioned to me, and it often struck me as strange and
disagreeable to hear him utter severe strictures upon some of these
persons who seemed to me so good. I could not understand why he treated
them so coldly, or why he tried to avoid some acquaintances whose
intimacy I thought rather flattering. I thought that the more one knew
of nice people, the better it was, and all these were nice people.

"Let us see how we shall arrange things," he had said to me before we
left the country: "here, we are little Croesuses, and there we shall be
far from rich; so we cannot remain in the city longer than Easter, and
we cannot go much into society, or we shall find ourselves embarrassed;
and I would not like you...."

"Why go into society?" I had answered; "we will only visit our
relatives, go to the theatre and opera, and to hear any good music, and
even before Easter we can be at home again in the country."

But scarcely were we in St. Petersburg than all these fine plans were
forgotten. I had been suddenly thrown into a world so new, so happy, so
many delights had surrounded me, so many objects of heretofore unknown
interest were offered to me, that all in a moment, as it were, and
without being conscious of it, I disavowed all my past, I upset all the
plans formerly arranged. Until now there had been nothing but play; as
to life itself, it had not yet begun; but here it was now, the real, the
true,--and what will it be in the future? thought I. The anxieties, the
fits of depression, which came upon me in the country, disappeared
suddenly as if by enchantment. My love for my husband became calmer,
and, on the other hand, it never occurred to me, in this new life, to
think that he was loving me less than formerly. Indeed, it was not
possible for me to doubt this love; each thought was instantly
understood by him, each sentiment shared, each wish gratified. His
unalterable serenity had vanished, here, or perhaps it had only ceased
to cause me any irritation. I even felt that besides his old love for me
he seemed now to find some new charm in me. Often, after a visit, after
I had made some new acquaintance, or after an evening at home, when,
with secret misgiving lest I should commit some blunder, I had been
performing the duties of hostess, he would say to me:

"Well, my little girl! bravo! well done, indeed!"

This would fill me with delight.

A short time after our arrival he wrote to his mother, and, as he handed
me the letter to let me add a few words, he said I must not read what he
had written; I laughingly persisted in seeing it, and read:

"You would not recognize Katia, I hardly recognize her myself. Where
could she have acquired this lovely and graceful ease of manner, this
affability, this fascination, this sweet, unconscious tact? And still
always so simple, so gentle, so full of kindness. Every one is delighted
with her; and as for me, I am never tired of admiring her, and, if that
were possible, would be more in love with her than ever."

"This, then, is what I am?" I thought. And it gave me so much pleasure
and gratification that I felt as if I loved him more than ever. My
success with all our acquaintances was a thing absolutely unexpected by
me. On all sides I was told: here, that I had particularly pleased my
uncle, there, that an aunt was raving over me; by this one, that there
was not a woman in all St. Petersburg like me; by that one, that if I
chose there would not be a woman in society so sought after as myself.
There was one cousin of my husband especially, Princess D., a lady of
high rank and fashion, no longer young, who announced that she had
fallen in love with me at first sight, and who did more than any one
else to turn my head with flattering attentions. When, for the first
time, this cousin proposed to me to go to a ball, and broached the
subject to my husband, he turned towards me with an almost imperceptible
smile, and mischievous glance, and asked if I wanted to go. I nodded,
and felt my face flush.

"One would say, a little culprit, confessing a wish," he said, laughing
good-humoredly.

"You told me we must not go into company, and that you would not like
it," I responded, smiling also, and giving him an entreating glance.

"If you wish it very much, we will go."

"Indeed, I would rather...."

"Do you wish it, wish it very much?" he repeated.

I made no answer.

"The greatest harm is not in the world, society, itself," he went on;
"it is unsatisfied worldly aspirations that are so evil, so unhealthful.
Certainly we must go,--and we will go," he concluded, unhesitatingly.

"To tell you the truth," I replied, "there is nothing in the world I
long for so much as to go to this ball!"

We went to it, and my delight was far beyond all my anticipations. At
this ball, even more than before, it seemed to me that I was the centre
around which everything was revolving; that it was for me alone that
this splendid room was in a blaze of light, that the music was sounding,
that the gay throng was gathering in ecstasy before me. All, from the
hair-dresser and my maid to the dancers, and even the stately old
gentlemen who slowly walked about through the rooms, watching the
younger people, seemed to me to be either implying or telling me in
downright speech that they were wild about me. The impression which I
produced at this ball, and which my cousin proudly confided to me, was
summed up in the general verdict that I was not the least in the world
like other women, and that there was about me some peculiar quality
which recalled the simplicity and charm of the country. This success
flattered me so much that I frankly owned to my husband how I longed to
go to at least two or three of the balls to be given in the course of
the winter, "in order," I said, despite a sharp little whisper from my
conscience, "that I may be satiated, once for all!"

My husband willingly consented to this, and at first accompanied me,
with evident pride and pleasure in my success, apparently forgetting or
disavowing what he had formerly decided on principle.

But after awhile I could see that he was bored, and growing tired of the
life we were leading. However, this was not yet clear enough to my eyes
for me to understand the full significance of the grave, watchful look
he sometimes directed towards me, even if I noticed the look at all. I
was so intoxicated by this love which I seemed so suddenly to have
aroused in all these strangers, by this perfume of elegance, pleasure,
and novelty, which I here breathed for the first time; by the apparent
removal of what had hitherto, as it were, held me down, namely, the
moral weight of my husband; it was so sweet to me, not only to walk
through this new world on a level with him, but to find the place given
me there even higher than his, and yet to love him with all the more
strength and independence than before; that I could not understand that
he looked on with displeasure at my utter delight in this worldly
existence.

I felt a new thrill of pride and deep satisfaction, when upon entering a
ball-room, all eyes would turn towards me; and when he, as if disdaining
to parade before the multitude his rights of proprietorship, would
quietly and at once leave my side and go off to be lost in the mass of
black coats.

"Only wait!" I often thought, as my eyes sought him out at the end of
the room, and rested on his face, dimly seen from the distance between
us, but sometimes with a very weary look upon it; "wait! when we are at
home again you shall see and know for whom I have been glad to be so
beautiful and so brilliant, you shall know whom I love far, far above
all around me this evening." It seemed to me, very sincerely, that my
delight in my successes was only for his sake, and also because they
enabled me to sacrifice even themselves for him. "One thing alone," I
thought, "might be a danger to me in this life in the world: that is,
that one of the men I meet here might conceive a passion for me, and my
husband might grow jealous of him; but he had such confidence in me, he
appeared to be so calm and indifferent, and all these young men seemed
in my eyes so empty in comparison with him, that this peril, the only
one, as I thought, with which social life could threaten me, had no
terrors at all. Still, the attentions I received from so many persons in
society gave me such pleasure, such a sense of satisfied self-love that
I rather felt as if there was some merit in my very love for my husband,
while at the same time it seemed to impress upon my relation to him
greater ease and freedom.

"I noticed how very animated your manner was, while you were talking to
N. N.," I said to him, one evening, upon our return from a ball; and I
shook my finger at him as I named a well-known lady of St. Petersburg
with whom he had spent part of the evening. I only meant to tease him a
little, for he was silent, and had a wearied look.

"Ah, why say such a thing? And for you to say it, Katia!" he exclaimed,
frowning, and pressing his lips together as if in physical pain. "That
is not like you,--not becoming your position, or mine. Leave such
speeches to others; bad jests of that kind might entirely do away with
our good understanding,--and I still hope that this good understanding
may return."

I felt confused, and was silent.

"Will it return, Katia? What do you think?" he asked.

"It is not changed,--it will never change," I said, and then I firmly
believed my assertion.

"May God grant it!" he exclaimed, "but it is time we were going back to
the country."

This was the only occasion upon which he spoke to me in this way, and
the rest of the time it seemed to me that everything was going on as
delightfully for him as for me,--and as for me, oh! I was so
light-hearted, so joyous! If occasionally I happened to notice that he
was wearied, I would console myself by reflecting how long, for his
sake, I had been wearied in the country; if our relations seemed to be
undergoing some little alteration, I thought how speedily they would
resume their old charm when we should find ourselves again alone, in the
summer, at our own Nikolski.

Thus the winter sped away without my realizing it; and Easter came, and,
despite all our resolutions we were still in St. Petersburg.

The Sunday following, however, we were really ready to go, everything
was packed, my husband had made his final purchases of flowers, gifts,
things of all kinds which were needed for the country, and was in one of
his happiest, most affectionate moods. Shortly before we were to start,
we had an unexpected visit from our cousin, who came to beg us to
postpone our departure one week, so that we might attend a reception
given by Countess R. on Saturday. She reminded me that I had already
received several invitations from Countess R., which had been declined,
and told me that Prince M., then in St. Petersburg, had, at the last
ball, expressed a desire to make my acquaintance, that it was with this
object in view that he purposed attending this reception, and that he
was saying everywhere that I was the loveliest woman in Russia. The
whole city would be there,--in one word, I must go! It would be nothing
without me.

My husband was at the other end of the room, talking to some one.

"So you will certainly come, Katia?" said my cousin.

"We meant to leave for the country, day after to-morrow," I replied,
doubtfully, as I glanced at my husband. Our eyes met, and he turned away
abruptly.

"I will persuade him to stay," said my cousin, "and on Saturday we will
turn all heads,--won't we?"

"Our plans would be disarranged, all our packing is done," I objected
feebly, beginning to waver.

"Perhaps she had better go to-day, at once, to pay her respects to the
prince!" observed my husband from his end of the room, with some
irritation, and in a dictatorial tone I had never heard from him before.

"Why, he is getting jealous; I see it for the first time!" exclaimed our
cousin, ironically. "It is not for the prince alone, Sergius
Mikaïlovitch, but for all of us, that I want her. That is why Countess
R. is so urgent."

"It depends upon herself," returned my husband, coldly, as he left the
room.

I had seen that he was much more agitated than usual; this troubled me,
and I would not give a decided answer to my cousin. As soon as she was
gone, I went to look for my husband. He was thoughtfully walking up and
down his chamber, and neither saw nor heard me, as I stole softly in on
tiptoe.

"He is picturing to himself his dear Nikolski," thought I, watching him,
"he is thinking about his morning coffee in that light drawing-room, his
fields, his peasants, his evenings at home, and his secret little night
suppers! Yes," I decided, in my own mind, "I would give all the balls in
the world, and the flatteries of every prince in the universe, to have
again his bright joyousness and his loving caresses!"

I was about telling him that I was not going to the reception, that I no
longer cared to go, when he suddenly glanced behind him. At the sight of
me, his brow darkened, and the dreamy gentleness of his countenance
changed entirely. The well-known look came to his face, the look of
penetrating wisdom and patronizing calmness. He would not let me see in
him simple human nature: he must remain for me the demi-god upon his
pedestal!

"What is it, my love?" he enquired, turning towards me with quiet
carelessness.

I did not answer. I resented his hiding himself from me, his not
allowing me to see him as I best loved him.

"So you wish to go to this reception, on Saturday?" he continued.

"I did wish to go," I replied, "but it did not suit you. And then, too,
the packing is done," I added.

Never had he looked at me so coldly, never spoken so coldly.

"I shall not leave before Tuesday, and I will order the packing to be
undone," he said; "we will not go until you choose. Do me the favor to
go to this entertainment. I shall not leave the city."

As was his habit when excited, he went on walking about the room with
quick, irregular steps, and did not look at me.

"Most decidedly, I do not understand you," I said, putting myself in his
way, and following him with my eyes. "Why do you speak to me in such a
singular manner? I am quite ready to sacrifice this pleasure to you, and
you, with sarcasm you have never before shown, you require that I shall
go!"

"Come! come! You _sacrifice_ yourself" (he laid strong emphasis on the
word), "and I, I _sacrifice_ myself also! Combat of generosity! There, I
hope, is what may be called 'family happiness'!"

This was the first time I had ever heard from his lips words so hard and
satirical. His satire did not touch, and his hardness did not frighten
me, but they became contagious. Was it really he, always so opposed to
any debating between us, always so simple and straightforward, who was
speaking to me thus? And why? Just because I had offered to sacrifice
myself to his pleasure, which was really the supreme thing in my eyes;
just because, at this moment, with the thought, came the comprehension
of how much I loved him. Our characters were reversed; it was he who had
lost all frankness and simplicity, and I who had found them.

"You are so changed," said I, sighing. "Of what am I guilty in your
eyes? It is not this reception, but some old sin, which you are casting
up against me in your heart. Why not use more sincerity? You were not
afraid of it with me, once. Speak out,--what have you against me?"

"No matter what he may say," I thought, quickly running over the events
of the season in my mind, "there is not one thing that he has a right to
reproach me with, this whole winter."

I went and stood in the middle of the room, so that he would be obliged
to pass near me, and I looked at him. I said to myself: "He will come
close to me, he will put his arms around me and kiss me, and that will
be the end of it all;" this thought darted into my head, and it even
cost me something to let it end so, without my proving to him that he
was in the wrong. But he stood still at the end of the room, and,
looking in my face:

"You still do not understand me?" he said.

"No."

"Yet ... how can I tell you?... I am appalled, for the first time, I am
appalled at what I see--what I cannot but see." He stopped, evidently
frightened at the rough tone of his voice.

"What do you mean?" I demanded, indignant tears filling my eyes.

"I am appalled that, knowing the prince's comments on your beauty, you
should, after that, be so ready and willing to run after him, forgetting
your husband, yourself, your own dignity as a woman,--and then for you
not to understand what your husband has to feel in your stead, since you
yourself have not this sense of your own dignity!--far from it, you come
and declare to your husband that you will _sacrifice_ yourself, which is
equivalent to saying, 'To please His Highness would be my greatest
happiness, but I will _sacrifice_ it.'"

The more he said, the more the sound of his own voice excited him, and
the harder, more cutting and violent, became his voice. I had never
seen, and had never expected to see him thus; the blood surged to my
heart; I was frightened, but yet, at the same time, a sense of unmerited
disgrace and offended self-love aroused me, and I keenly longed to take
some vengeance on him.

"I have long expected this outbreak," said I, "speak, speak!"

"I do not know what you may have expected," he went on, "but I might
have anticipated still worse things, from seeing you day by day steeped
in this slime, this idleness, this luxury, this senseless society; and I
did anticipate.... I did anticipate this that to-day covers me with
shame, and sinks me in misery such as I have never experienced; shame
for myself, when your dear friend, prying and fumbling about in my heart
with her unclean fingers, spoke of my jealousy,--and jealousy of whom?
Of a man whom neither you nor I have ever seen! And you, as if
purposely, you will not understand me, you 'will sacrifice' to
me,--whom? Great God!... Shame on your degradation! Sacrifice!" he
repeated once more.

"Ah, this then is what is meant by the husband's authority," I thought.
"To insult and humiliate his wife, who is not guilty of the very least
thing in the world! Here then are 'marital rights;'--but I, for one,
will never submit to them!"

"Well, I sacrifice _nothing_ to you, then," I returned, feeling my
nostrils dilate, and my face grow bloodless. "I will go to the reception
on Saturday. I most certainly will go!"

"And God give you pleasure in it! Only--all is ended between us!" he
exclaimed, in an uncontrollable transport of rage. "At least you shall
not make a martyr of me any longer. I was a fool who...."

But his lips trembled, and he made a visible effort not to finish what
he had begun to say.

At this moment I was afraid of him and I hated him. I longed to say a
great many more things to him, and to avenge myself for all his insults;
but if I had so much as opened my lips, my tears could no longer have
been restrained, and I would have felt my dignity compromised before
him. I left the room, without a word. But scarcely was I beyond the
sound of his footsteps when I was suddenly seized with terror at the
thought of what we had done. It seemed to me horrible that, perhaps for
life, this bond, which constituted all my happiness, was destroyed, and
my impulse was to return at once. But would his passion have subsided
sufficiently for him to comprehend me, if, without a word, I should hold
out my hand to him, and look into his eyes? Would he comprehend my
generosity? Suppose he should regard my sincere sorrow as dissimulation?
Or should consider my voluntary right-doing as repentance, and receive
me on that score? Or grant me pardon, with proud tranquillity? And why,
when I have loved him so much, oh, _why_ should he have insulted me so?

I did not go back to him, but into my own room, where I sat for a long
time, crying, recalling with terror every word of our conversation,
mentally substituting other words for those we had used, adding
different and better ones, then reminding myself again, with a mingled
sense of fright and outraged feeling, of all that had taken place. When
I came down to tea, in the evening, and in the presence of C., who was
making us a visit, met my husband again, I was aware that from this day
forward there must be an open gulf between us. C. asked me when we were
going to leave the city. I could not answer her.

"On Tuesday," replied my husband, "we are staying for Countess R's
reception. You are going, no doubt?" he continued, turning to me.

I was frightened at the sound of his voice, although it seemed quite as
usual, and glanced at my husband. His eyes were fixed on me, with a hard
ironical look, his tone was measured, cold.

"Yes," I replied.

Later, when we were alone, he approached me, and holding out his hand:

"Forget, I entreat you, what I said to you."

I took his hand, a faint smile came to my trembling lips, and the tears
started to my eyes; but he quickly drew it away and, as if fearing a
sentimental scene, went and sat down in an arm-chair at some distance
from me. "Is it possible that he still believes himself right?" thought
I; and I had on my lips a cordial explanation, and a request not to go
to the reception.

"I must write to mamma that we have postponed our departure," said he,
"or she will be uneasy."

"And when do you intend to leave?" I asked.

"On the Tuesday after the reception."

"I hope this is not on my account," said I, looking into his eyes, but
they only looked back into mine without telling me anything, as if they
were held far from me by some secret force. All at once, his face
appeared to me old and disagreeable.

We went to the reception, and seemingly our relations were again cordial
and affectionate, but in reality they were quite unlike what they had
been in the past.

At the reception I was sitting in the midst of a circle of ladies, when
the prince approached me, so that I was obliged to stand up and speak
to him. As I did so, my eyes involuntarily sought my husband; I saw him
look at me, from the other end of the room, and then turn away. Such a
rush of shame and sorrow came over me, that I felt almost ill, and I
knew that my face and neck grew scarlet under the eyes of the prince.
But I had to stand and listen to what he was saying to me, all the while
feeling him scrutinize me keenly from head to foot. Our conversation was
not long, there was not room near me for him to sit down, and he could
not help seeing how ill at ease I was with him. We talked of the last
ball, where I was to spend the summer, _etc._ Upon leaving me he
expressed a wish to make my husband's acquaintance, and in a little
while I saw them meet, at the other end of the room, and begin to talk
with each other. The prince must have made some remark concerning me,
for I saw him smile and glance in my direction.

My husband's face flushed darkly, he bowed, and was the first to
conclude the interview. I felt my color rise, also, for I was mortified
to think what opinion the prince must have formed of me, and more
especially of Sergius. It seemed to me that every one must have observed
my embarrassment while I was talking with the prince, and also his very
singular manner; "God knows," said I to myself, "what interpretation may
be put upon it; could any one happen to know of my wrangle with my
husband?" My cousin took me home, and on the way we were talking about
him. I could not resist telling her all that had passed between us in
regard to this unfortunate reception. She soothed me by assurances that
it was only one of those frequent quarrels, which signify nothing at all
and leave no result behind them; and in explaining my husband's
character from her point of view, she spoke of him as extremely reserved
and proud. I agreed with her, and it seemed to me that, after this, I
comprehended his character more clearly and much more calmly.

But afterwards, when we were again alone together, this judgment of mine
with regard to him appeared to me a real crime, which weighed upon my
conscience, and I felt that the gulf between us was widening more and
more.

From this day on, our life and our mutual relations suffered a complete
change. Being alone together was no longer a delight to us. There were
subjects to be avoided, and it was easier for us to talk to each other
in the presence of a third person. If in the course of conversation any
allusion chanced to be made, either to life in the country, or to balls,
dazzling wild-fire seemed to dance before our eyes and make us afraid to
look at each other; I knew that his embarrassment was as great as my
own; we both realized how far asunder we were thrust by that dividing
gulf, and dreaded drawing nearer. I was persuaded that he was passionate
and proud, and that I must be very careful not to run against his weak
points. And, on his part, he was convinced that I could not exist
outside of the life of the world, that a home in the country did not
suit me at all, and that he must resign himself to this unhappy
predilection. Therefore we both shunned any direct conversation upon
such subjects, and each erroneously judged the other. We had long
ceased to be respectively, in each other's eyes, the most perfect beings
in this world; on the contrary, we were beginning to compare each other
with those around us, and to measure with secret appreciation our own
characters.



CHAPTER VIII.


I had been very unwell before we left St. Petersburg, and instead of
going home we moved into a villa at a short distance from the city,
where my husband left me while he went to see his mother. I was then
quite well enough to accompany him, but he urged me not to do so,
alleging as his reason my state of health. I quite understood that he
was not really afraid of my health, but he was possessed by the idea
that it would not be good for us to be in the country; I did not insist
very strenuously, and remained where I was. Without him I felt myself
truly in the midst of emptiness and isolation; but when he returned I
perceived that his presence no longer added to my life what it had been
wont to add. Those former relations, when any thought, any sensation,
not communicated to him, oppressed me like a crime; when all his
actions, all his words, appeared to me models of perfection; when, from
sheer joy, we would laugh at nothing, looking at each other; those
relations had so insensibly changed into something quite different, that
we ourselves hardly admitted the transformation. But the fact was that
each of us had now separate occupations and interests, which we no
longer sought to share. We had even ceased to be at all troubled at thus
living in entirely distinct worlds, and entirely as strangers to each
other. We had become habituated to this thought, and at the end of a
year there was no longer the mutual embarrassment when our eyes chanced
to meet. His boyishness, his outbursts of light-hearted gaiety when with
me, were gone; gone, too, was that indulgent indifference, against which
I had so often risen in rebellion; nor had the penetrating look
survived, which, in other days, had at once disturbed and delighted me;
there were no more of the prayers, no more of the hours of exaltation
which we had so loved to share, and indeed we saw each other only very
rarely; he was constantly out, and I no longer dreaded remaining alone,
no longer complained of it; I was perpetually engrossed, on my side,
with the obligations of society, and never felt any need of him
whatever.

Scenes and altercations between us were quite unheard-of. I endeavored
to satisfy him, he carried out all my wishes, any one would have said
that we still loved each other.

When we were alone together, which was of rare occurrence, I felt
neither joy, agitation, nor embarrassment, in his presence, any more
than if I had been alone. I knew well that here was no new-comer, no
stranger, but on the contrary, a very excellent man, in short my
husband, whom I knew just as well as I knew myself. I was persuaded that
I could tell beforehand all that he would do, all that he would think,
precisely what view he would take of any matter, and if he did or
thought otherwise I only considered that he made a mistake; I never
expected anything at all from him. In one word, it was my husband, that
was all. It seemed to me that things were so, and had to be so; that no
other relations between us could exist, or indeed ever had existed. When
he went away, especially at first, I still felt terribly lonely, and
while he was absent I felt the full value of his support; when he came
home, I would even throw myself in his arms with joy; but scarcely had
two hours elapsed ere I had forgotten this joy, and would find that I
had nothing to say to him. In these brief moments, when calm, temperate
tenderness seemed to revive between us, it seemed to me that there never
had been anything but this; that this alone was what had once so
powerfully stirred my heart, and I thought I read in his eyes the same
impression. I felt that to this tenderness there was a limit, which he
did not wish to pass, and neither did I. Sometimes this caused me a
little regret, but I had no time to think about it seriously, and I
tried to put it out of my mind, by giving myself up to a variety of
amusements of which I did not even render a clear account to myself, but
which perpetually offered themselves to me. The life in the world,
which, at first, had bewildered me with its splendor and the
gratification it afforded to my self-love, had soon established entire
dominion over my inclinations, and become at once a habit and a bondage,
occupying in my soul that place which I had fancied would be the home of
sentiment. Therefore I avoided being alone, dreading lest it might force
me to look into and realize my condition. My whole time, from the
earliest hour in the morning till the latest at night, was appropriated
to something; even if I did not go out, there was no time that I left
free. I found in this life neither pleasure, nor weariness, and it
seemed to me it had always been thus.

In this manner three years passed away, and our relations with each
other remained the same, benumbed, congealed, motionless, as if no
alteration could come to them, either for better or worse. During the
course of these three years there were two important events in the
family, but neither brought any change to my own life. These events were
the birth of my first child, and the death of Tatiana Semenovna. At
first the maternal sentiment took possession of me with such power, so
great and unexpected a rapture seized upon me, that I imagined a new
existence was beginning; but at the end of two months, when I commenced
to go into society once more, this sentiment, which had been gradually
subsiding, had become nothing more than the habitual and cold
performance of a duty. My husband, on the contrary, from the day of this
son's birth, had become his old self, gentle, calm, and home-loving,
recalling for his child, all his former tenderness and gaiety. Often
when I went in my ball-dress into the child's nursery, to give him the
evening benediction before starting and found my husband there, I would
catch a glance of reproach, or a severe and watchful look fixed upon me,
and I would all at once feel ashamed. I was myself terrified at my
indifference towards my own child, and I asked myself: "Can I be so much
worse than other women?--But what is to be done?" I questioned. "Of
course I love my son, but, for all that, I cannot sit down beside him
for whole days at a time, that would bore me to death; and as for making
a pretence, nothing in the world would induce me to do such a thing!"

The death of my husband's mother was a great grief to him; it was very
painful to him, he said, to live after her at Nikolski, but though I
also regretted her and really sympathized with his sorrow, it would have
been at that time more agreeable, more restful to me, to return and make
our residence there. We had passed the greater part of these three years
in the city; once only had I been at Nikolski, for a visit of two
months; and during the third year we had been abroad.

We passed this summer at the baths.

I was then twenty-one years of age. We were, I thought, prosperous; from
my home life I expected no more than it had already given me; all the
people whom I knew, it seemed to me, loved me; my health was excellent,
I knew that I was pretty, my _toilettes_ were the freshest at the baths,
the weather was superb, an indefinable atmosphere of beauty and elegance
surrounded me, and everything appeared to me in the highest degree
delightful and joyous. Yet I was not, as light-hearted as I had been in
the old days at Nikolski, when I had felt that my happiness was within
myself, when I was happy because I deserved to be so, when my happiness
was great but might be greater still. Now all was different;
nevertheless the summer was charming. I had nothing to desire, nothing
to hope, nothing to fear; my life, as it seemed to me, was at its full,
and my conscience, it also seemed to me, was entirely clear.

Among the men most conspicuous at the baths during this season, there
was not one whom, for any reason whatever, I preferred above the others,
not even old Prince K. our ambassador, who paid me distinguished
attention. One was too young, another was too old, this one was an
Englishman with light curly hair, that one, a bearded Frenchman; I was
perfectly indifferent to all, but, at the same time, all were
indispensable to me. Insignificant as they might be, they yet belonged
to, and formed a part of, this life of elegance surrounding me, this
atmosphere in which I breathed. However, there was one among them, an
Italian, Marquis D. who, by the bold fashion in which he showed the
admiration he felt for me, had attracted my attention more than the
others. He allowed no occasion to escape him of meeting me, dancing with
me, appearing on horseback beside me, accompanying me to the casino, and
he was constantly telling me how beautiful I was. From my window I
sometimes saw him wandering around our house, and more than once the
annoying persistence of the glances shot towards me from his flashing
eyes had made me blush and turn away.

He was young, handsome, elegant; and one remarkable thing about him was
his extraordinary resemblance to my husband, especially in his smile and
something about the upper part of the face, though he was the handsomer
man of the two. I was struck by the likeness, in spite of decided
differences in some particulars, in the mouth for instance, the look,
the longer shape of the chin; and instead of the charm given to my
husband's face by his expression of kindness and ideal calmness, there
was in the other something gross and almost bestial. After a while I
could not help seeing that he was passionately in love with me; I
sometimes found myself thinking of him with lofty pity. I undertook to
tranquillize him, and bring him down to terms of cordial confidence and
friendship, but he repelled these attempts with trenchant disdain, and,
to my great discomfiture, continued to show indications of a passion,
silent, indeed, as yet, but momentarily threatening to break forth.
Although I would not acknowledge it to myself, I was afraid of this man,
and seemed, against my own will, as it were, forced to think of him. My
husband had made his acquaintance, and was even more intimate with him
than with most of our circle, with whom he confined himself to being
simply the husband of his wife, and to whom his bearing was haughty and
cold.

Towards the end of the season I had a slight illness, which confined me
to the house for two weeks. The first time I went out, after my
recovery, was to listen to the music in the evening, and I was at once
told of the arrival of Lady C. a noted beauty, who had been expected
for some time. A circle of friends quickly gathered around me, eagerly
welcoming me once more among them, but a yet larger circle was forming
about the new belle, and everybody near me was telling me about her and
her beauty. She was pointed out to me; a beautiful and bewitching woman,
truly, but with an expression of confidence and self-sufficiency which
impressed me unpleasantly, and I said so. That evening, everything that
usually seemed so bright and delightful was tiresome to me. The
following day Lady C. organized an expedition to the castle, which I
declined. Hardly any one remained behind with me, and the aspect of
affairs was decidedly changed to my eyes. All, men and things, seemed
stupid and dull; I felt like crying, and resolved to complete my cure as
soon as possible and go home to Russia. At the bottom of my heart lurked
bad, malevolent feelings, but I would not confess it to myself. I said
that I was not well, making that a pretext for giving up society. I very
seldom went out, and then only in the morning, alone, to drink the
waters, or for a quiet walk or drive about the environs with L. M., one
of my Russian acquaintances. My husband was absent at this time, having
gone, some days before, to Heidelberg, to wait there until the end of my
prescribed stay should allow our return to Russia, and he came to see me
only now and then.

One day Lady C. had carried off most of the company on some party of
pleasure, and after dinner L. M. and I made a little excursion to the
castle by ourselves. While our carriage was slowly following the winding
road between the double rows of chestnuts, centuries old, between whose
gray trunks we saw in the distance the exquisite environs of Baden,
lying in the purple light of the setting sun, we unconsciously fell into
a serious strain of conversation, which had never before been the case
with us. L. M., whom I had known so long, now for the first time
appeared to me as a lovely intelligent woman, with whom one could
discuss any topic whatever, and whose society was full of charm and
interest. We talked about family duties and pleasures, children, the
vacuous life led in such places as we were now in, our desire to return
to Russia, to the country, and we both fell into a grave, gentle mood,
which was still upon us when we reached the castle. Within its broken
walls all was in deep shadow, cool and still, the summits of the towers
were yet in the sunlight, and the least sound of voice or footstep
re-echoed among the arches. Through the doorway we saw the beautiful
stretch of country surrounding Baden,--beautiful, yet to our Russian
eyes, cold and stern.

We sat down to rest, silently watching the sinking sun. Presently we
heard voices, they grew more distinct, and I thought I caught my own
name. I listened involuntarily, and heard a few words. I recognized the
voices; they were those of the Marquis D. and of a Frenchman, his
friend, whom I also knew. They were talking about me and Lady C. The
Frenchman was comparing one with the other, and analyzing our beauty. He
said nothing objectionable, yet I felt the blood rush to my heart as he
spoke. He entered into detail as to what he found attractive in both
Lady C. and myself. As for me, I was already a mother, while Lady C. was
but nineteen years of age; my hair was more beautiful, but Lady C.'s was
more gracefully arranged; Lady C. was more the high born dame "while
yours," he said, alluding to me, "is one of the little princesses so
often sent us by Russia." He concluded by saying that it was very
discreet in me not to attempt to contest the field with Lady C., for, if
I did, I most assuredly would find Baden my burial-place.

This cut me to the quick.

"Unless she chose to console herself with you!" added the Frenchman with
a gay, cruel laugh.

"If she goes, I shall follow," was the coarse reply of the voice with
the Italian accent.

"Happy mortal! he can still love!" commented the other, mockingly.

"Love!" the Italian was silent a moment, then went on. "I cannot help
loving! Without love there is no life. To make of one's life a
romance,--that is the only good. And my romances never break off in the
middle; this one, like the others, I will carry out to the end."

"Good luck, my friend!" said the Frenchman.

I heard no more for the speakers seemed to turn the angle of the wall,
and their steps receded on the other side. They descended the broken
stairs, and in a few moments emerged from a side-door near us, showing
much surprise at the sight of us. I felt my cheeks flame when Marquis D.
approached me, and was confused and frightened at his offering me his
arm upon our leaving the castle. I could not refuse it, and following L.
M. who led the way with his friend, we went down towards the carriage. I
was indignant at what the Frenchman had said of me, though I could not
help secretly admitting that he had done nothing but put into language
what I myself had already felt, but the words of the marquis had
confounded and revolted me by their grossness. I was tortured by the
thought of having heard them, and at the same time I had suddenly lost
all fear of him. I was disgusted at feeling him so near me; without
looking at him, without answering him, trying, though I still had his
arm, to keep so far from him that I could not hear his whispers, I
walked on quickly, close behind L. M. and the Frenchman. The marquis was
talking about the lovely view, the unexpected delight of meeting me, and
I know not what besides, but I did not listen to him. The whole time I
was thinking about my husband, my son, Russia; divided feelings of shame
and pity took hold of me, and I was possessed by a desire to hurry home,
to shut myself up in my solitary room in the _Hôtel de Bade_, where I
might be free to reflect upon all that seemed so suddenly to have risen
up within my soul. But L. M. was walking rather slowly, the carriage was
still some distance away, and it seemed to me that my escort was
obstinately slackening our pace, as if he meant to be left alone with
me. "That shall not be!" I said to myself, quickening my steps. But he
undisguisedly kept me back, holding my arm with a close pressure; at
this moment L. M. turned a corner of the road, and we were left alone.
I was seized with alarm.

"Excuse me," said I coldly, drawing my arm out of his, but the lace
caught on one of his buttons. He stooped towards me to disengage it, and
his ungloved fingers rested on my arm. A new sensation--not fright,
certainly not pleasure--sent a chill shiver through me. I looked up at
him, meaning my glance to express all the cold contempt I felt for him;
but instead of this, he seemed to read in it only agitation and alarm.
His ardent, humid eyes were fixed passionately upon me, his hands
grasped my wrists, his half-open lips were murmuring to me, telling me
that he loved me, that I was everything to him, his hold upon me growing
stronger and closer with every word. I felt fire in my veins, my vision
was obscured, I trembled from head to foot, and the words I tried to
utter died away in my throat. Suddenly I felt a kiss upon my cheek; I
shivered, and looked into his face again, powerless to speak or stir,
expecting and wishing I knew not what.

It was only an instant. But this instant was terrible! In it I saw him
as he was, I analyzed his face at a glance: low brow, straight correct
nose with swelling nostrils, fine beard and mustache waxed and pointed,
cheeks carefully shaven, brown neck. I hated him, I feared him, he was a
stranger to me; nevertheless, at this moment, how powerfully the emotion
and passion of this detestable man, this stranger, was re-echoing within
me!

"I love you!" was the murmur of the voice so like my husband's. My
husband and my child,--hurriedly my mind flashed to them, as beings
dearly loved, once existent, now gone, lost, done with. But suddenly
from around the turn of the road I heard L. M.'s voice calling me. I
recovered myself, snatched away my hands without looking at him, and
almost flew to rejoin her. Not until we were in the caléche did I glance
back at him. He took off his hat, and said something to me--I know not
what--smiling. He little knew what inexpressible torture he made me
endure at that moment.

Life appeared so miserable, the future so desperate, the past so
sombre! L. M. talked to me, but I did not understand one word she was
saying. It seemed as though she was only talking to me from compassion,
and to hide the contempt she felt. I thought I read this contempt, this
insulting compassion in every word, every glance. That kiss was burning
into my cheek with cutting shame, and to think of my husband and child
was insupportable to me. Once alone in my chamber, I hoped to be able to
meditate upon my situation, but I found it was frightful to remain
alone. I could not drink the tea that was brought me, and without
knowing why, hurriedly I decided to take the evening train for
Heidelberg, to rejoin my husband. When I was seated with my maid in the
empty compartment, when the train was at last in motion, and I breathed
the fresh air rushing in through the empty windows, I began to be myself
again, and to think with some degree of clearness over my past and my
future. All my married life, from the day of our departure for St.
Petersburg, lay before me in a new light, that of awakened and accusing
conscience.

For the first time, I vividly recalled the commencement of my life in
the country, my plans; for the first time, the thought came to my mind:
how happy he was then! And I suddenly felt guilty towards him. "But
then, why not check me, why dissimulate before me, why avoid all
explanation, why insult me?" I asked myself. "Why not use the power of
his love? But perhaps he no longer loved me?"--Yet, whether he was to
blame or not, here was this on my cheek, this kiss which I still felt.
The nearer I came to Heidelberg, and the more clearly my husband's image
presented itself, the more terrible became the imminent meeting with
him. "I will tell him all, all; my eyes will be blinded with tears of
repentance," thought I, "and he will forgive me." But I did not myself
know what was this "all" that I was going to tell him, nor was I
absolutely sure that he would forgive me. In fact, when I entered his
room and saw his face, so tranquil despite its surprise, I felt no
longer able to tell him anything, to confess anything, to entreat his
forgiveness for anything. An unspeakable sorrow and deep repentance were
weighing me down.

"What were you thinking of?" he said: "I intended joining you at Baden
to-morrow." But a second glance at me seemed to startle him. "Is
anything wrong? What is the matter with you?" he exclaimed.

"Nothing," I replied, keeping back my tears. "I have come away ... I am
not going back ... Let us go--to-morrow if we can--home to Russia!"

He was silent for some time, watching me narrowly.

"Come, tell me what has occurred," he said, at length.

I felt my face grow scarlet, and my eyes sank. His were glittering with
an indefinable foreboding, and hot anger. I dreaded the thoughts which
might be assailing him, and, with a power of dissimulation of which I
could not have believed myself capable, I made haste to answer:

"Nothing has occurred,--but I was overwhelmed by weariness and
dejection; I was alone, I began to think of you, and of our life. How
long I have been to blame towards you! After this, you may take me with
you wherever you wish! Yes, I have long been to blame," I repeated, and
my tears began to fall fast. "Let us go back to the country," I cried,
"and forever!"

"Ah! my love, spare me these sentimental scenes," said he, coldly; "for
you to go to the country will be all very well, just now, for we are
running a little short of money; but as for its being 'forever,' that is
but a notion: I know you could not stay there long! Come, drink a cup of
tea,--that is the best thing to do," he concluded, rising to call a
servant.

I could not help imagining what his thoughts of me doubtless were, and I
felt indignant at the frightful ideas which I attributed to him as I met
the look of shame and vigilant suspicion which he bent upon me. No, he
will not, and he cannot comprehend me!... I told him that I was going
to see the child, and left him. I longed to be alone, and free to weep,
weep, weep....



CHAPTER IX.


Our house at Nikolski, so long cold and deserted, came to life again;
but the thing which did not come to life was our old existence. Mamma
was there no longer, and henceforth we were alone, we two alone with
each other. But not only was solitude no longer to us what it had once
been, but we found it a burden and constraint. The winter passed all the
more drearily for me from my being out of health, and it was not until
some time after the birth of my second son that I recovered my strength.

My relations with my husband continued cold and friendly, as at St.
Petersburg; but here in the country there was not a floor, not a wall,
not a piece of furniture, which did not remind me of what he had been
to me, and what I had lost. There stood between us, as it were, an
offence not forgiven; one would have said that he wished to punish me
for something, and that he was pretending to himself to be unconscious
of it. How could I ask forgiveness without knowing for what fault? He
only punished me by no longer entirely giving himself up to me, by no
longer surrendering to me his whole soul; but to no one, and under no
circumstances, was his soul surrendered, any more than if he had none.
It sometimes came into my head that he was only making a pretence of
being what he now was, in order to torment me, and that his feelings
were in reality what they had formerly been, and I tried to provoke him
into letting this be seen; but he invariably eluded all frank
explanation; one would have said that he suspected me of dissimulation,
and dreaded all manifestations of tenderness as attempts to ridicule
him. His looks and his air seemed to say: "I know all, there is nothing
to tell me; all that you would confide to me, I already know; I know
that you talk in one manner and act in another." At first I was hurt by
his apparent fear of being frank with me, but I soon accustomed myself
to the thought that in him this was not so much lack of frankness, as
lack of necessity for frankness.

And on my side, my tongue was no longer capable of telling him
impulsively, as in the old days, that I loved him, of asking him to read
the prayers with me, of calling him to listen to my music when I was
going to play; there seemed to be certain rules of formality tacitly
decreed between us. We lived our own lives; he, with his various
interests and occupations, in which I no longer claimed nor desired a
share; I, with my idle hours, about which he no longer seemed to trouble
himself. As for the children, they were still too young to be in any way
a bond between us.

Spring came. Macha and Sonia returned to the country for the summer; and
as Nikolski was undergoing repairs, we went with them to Pokrovski. The
same old home, the terrace, the out-of-door tea-table, the piano in the
half-lighted room, my own old chamber with its white curtains, and the
girlish dreams which seemed to have been left behind there, forgotten.
In this chamber were two beds; over one, which had been my own, I now
bent nightly to bless my sturdy Kokocha,[H] in the midst of his bedtime
frolics; in the other lay little Vasica,[I] his baby-face rosy with
sleep, under the soft white blankets. After giving the benediction, I
often lingered a long time in this peaceful chamber, and from every
corner of its walls, from every fold of its curtains, came stealing
around me forgotten visions of my youth; childish songs, gay choruses,
floated again to my ears. And what were they now,--these visions? Were
they sounding still, anywhere,--these glad and sweet old songs? All that
I had hardly dared to hope had come true. My vague and confused dreams
had become reality, and it was now my life, so hard, so heavy, so
stripped of joy. And yet here around me were not all things as before?
Was it not the same garden that I saw beneath my window, the same
terrace, the same paths and benches? Far off there, across the ravine,
the songs of the nightingales still seemed to rise out of the ripples of
the little pond, the lilacs bloomed as they used to do, the moon still
stood in white glory over the corner of the house, yet for me all was so
changed, so changed! Macha and I had our old quiet talks, sitting
together as of old in the salon, and we still talked of him. But Macha's
brow was grave, her face was wan, her eyes no longer shone with
contentment and hope, but were full of sad sympathy, and almost
expressed compassion. We no longer went into ecstasies over him, as in
the past; we judged him, now; we no longer marvelled at our great
happiness and wondered how it came to be ours, we no longer had the
impulse to tell all the world what we felt; we whispered in each other's
ear like conspirators; for the hundredth time we asked each other why
all was so sad, so changed. As for him, he was still the same, except
that the line between his brows was deeper, and his temples were more
silvery, and his eyes, watchful, deep, continually turned away from me,
were darkened by a shadow. I, too, was still the same, but I no longer
felt either love or desire to love. No more wish to work, no more
satisfaction with myself. And how far off, how impossible, now appeared
my old religious fervor, my old love for him, my old fulness of life! I
could not, now, even comprehend what in those days was so luminous and
so true: the happiness of living for others. Why for others? when I no
longer wished to live for myself....

I had entirely given up my music during our residence in St. Petersburg,
but now my old piano and my old pieces brought back the love for it.

One day when I was not feeling well, I stayed at home, alone, while
Macha and Sonia went with my husband to see the improvements at
Nikolski. The tea-table was set, I went down-stairs, and, while waiting
for them, seated myself at the piano. I opened the sonata _Quasi una
fantasia_, and began to play. No living creature was to be seen or
heard, the windows were open upon the garden; the familiar notes, so
sad and penetrating, resounded through the room. I concluded the first
part, and unconsciously, simply from old habit, I looked across to the
corner where he used to sit and listen to me. But he was no longer
there, a long-unmoved chair occupied his old place; from the side of the
open window a projecting branch of lilac stood out against the burning
west, the evening air stole quietly in. I leaned my elbows on the piano,
covered my face with both hands, and fell into a fit of musing. I
remained there a long time, mournfully recalling the old days,
irrevocably gone, and timidly looking at the days to come. But
hereafter, it seemed to me, there could be nothing, I could hope
nothing, desire nothing. "Is it possible that I have outlived all that!"
thought I, raising my head with horror, and in order to forget and to
cease thinking, I began to play again, and still the same old _andante_.
"My God!" I said, "pardon me if I am guilty, or give back to my soul
what made its beauty ... or teach me what I ought to do,--how I ought to
live!"

The sound of wheels echoed on the turf and before the door, then I heard
on the terrace steady steps, well-known to me, then all was quiet. But
it was no longer the old feeling which stirred in me at these familiar
footsteps. They came up behind me when I had finished the sonata, and a
hand was laid upon my shoulder.

"A happy thought, to play the old sonata!" he said.

I made no answer.

"Have not you had tea?"

I shook my head, without turning towards him, for I did not want him to
see the traces of agitation on my face.

"They will be here presently; the horses were a little unruly, and they
are coming home on foot, by the road," he continued.

"We will wait for them," I said, going out on the terrace, in the hope
that he would follow, but he inquired for the children, and went up to
see them. Once more, his presence, the sound of his voice, so kind, so
honest, dissuaded me from believing that all was lost for me. "What
more is there to desire?" I thought: "he is good and true, he is an
excellent husband, an excellent father, and I do not myself know what is
missing,--what I want."

I went out on the balcony, and sat down under the awning of the terrace,
on the same bench where I was sitting upon the day of our decisive
explanation long ago. The sun was nearly down, dusk was gathering; a
shade of spring softened the pure sky, where one tiny spark was already
gleaming. The light wind had died away, not a leaf or blade of grass
stirred; the perfume of the lilacs and cherry-trees, so powerful that
one might have thought all the air itself was in bloom, came in puffs
over garden and terrace, now faint and now full, making one feel an
impulse to close the eyes, to shut out all sight and sound, to banish
every sensation save that of inhaling this exquisite fragrance. The
dahlias and rose-bushes, yet leafless, stood in still lines in the
newly-dug black mould of their beds, lifting their heads above their
white props. From afar came the intermittent notes of the nightingales,
or the rush of their restless flight from place to place.

It was in vain that I strove to calm myself, I seemed to be waiting and
wishing for something.

Sergius came from up-stairs, and sat down beside me.

"I believe it is going to rain," he said, "they will get wet."

"Yes," I replied; and we were both silent.

In the meantime, the cloud, without any wind, had crept slowly and
stealthily above our heads; nature was yet more perfectly tranquil,
sweet, and still: suddenly one drop fell, and, so to speak, rebounded,
upon the linen of the awning, another rolled, a growing ball of dust,
along the path; then, with a sound like deadened hail, came the heavy
dash of rain, gathering force every moment. At once, as if by concert,
frogs and nightingales were silent; but the light plash of the fountain
was still heard beneath the beating of the rain, and far off in the
distance some little bird, no doubt safe and dry under a sheltering
bough, chirped in monotonous rhythm his two recurring notes. Sergius
rose to go into the house.

"Where are you going?" said I, stopping him. "It is so delightful here!"

"I must send an umbrella and some overshoes."

"It is not necessary, this will be over directly."

He assented, and we remained standing together by the balustrade of the
balcony. I put my hand on the wet slippery rail, and leaned forward into
the rain, the cool drops falling lightly on my hair and neck. The cloud,
brightening and thinning, scattered in shining spray above us, the
regular beat of the shower was succeeded by the sound of heavy drops
falling more and more rarely from the sky or from the trees. The frogs
resumed their croaking, the nightingales shook their wings and began
again to respond to each other from behind the glistening shrubs, now on
one side, now on another. All was serene again before us.

"How good it is to live!" he said, leaning over the balustrade and
passing his hand over my wet hair.

This simple caress acted on me like a reproach, and I longed to let my
tears flow.

"What more can a man need?" continued he. "I am at this moment so
content, that I feel nothing wanting, and I am completely happy!"

("You did not speak so to me when to hear it would have made my
happiness," I thought. "However great yours was, then, you used to say
that you wished for more of it, still more. And now you are calm and
content, when my soul is full of inexpressible repentance and
unsatisfied tears!")

"To me, too, life is good," said I, "and it is precisely because it is
so good to me, that I am sad. I feel so detached, so incomplete; I am
always wanting some other thing, and yet everything here is so good, so
tranquil! Can it be possible that for you no sorrow ever seems mingled
with your pleasure in life?--as if, for instance, you were feeling
regret for something in the past?"

He drew away the hand resting on my head, and was silent for a moment.

"Yes, that has been the case with me, formerly, particularly in the
spring," he said, as if searching his memory. "Yes, I also have spent
whole nights in longings and fears,--and what beautiful nights they
were!... But then all was before me, and now all is behind; now I am
content with what is, and that to me is perfection," he concluded, with
such easy frankness of manner, that, painful as it was to hear, I was
convinced that it was the truth.

"Then you desire nothing more?" I questioned.

"Nothing impossible," he replied, divining my thought. "How wet you have
made your head," he went on, caressing me like a child, and passing his
hand again over my hair; "you are jealous of the leaves and grass which
the rain was falling on; you would like to be the grass and the leaves
and the rain; while I--I enjoy simply seeing them, as I do seeing
whatever is good, young, happy."

"And you regret nothing in the past?" I persisted, with the dull weight
on my heart growing heavier and heavier.

He seemed to muse for a moment, keeping silent. I saw that he wished to
answer honestly.

"No!" he said, at length, briefly.

"That is not true! that is not true!" I cried, turning and facing him,
with my eyes fixed upon his. "You do not regret the past?"

"No!" he repeated. "I bless it, but I do not regret it."

"And you would not wish to go back to it?"

He turned away, looking out over the garden.

"I no more wish that than I would wish to have wings. It cannot be."

"And you would not re-make this past? And you reproach neither yourself,
nor me?"

"Never! all has been for the best."

"Listen!" said I, seizing his hand to force him to turn towards me.
"Listen! Why did you never tell me what you wished from me, that I might
have lived exactly as you desired? Why did you give me a liberty which
I knew not how to use? why did you cease to teach me? If you had wished
it, if you had cared to guide me differently, nothing, nothing would
have happened," I went on, in a voice which more and more energetically
expressed anger and reproach, with none of the former love.

"What is it that would not have happened?" said he with surprise,
turning towards me. "There has been nothing. All is well, very well," he
repeated smiling.

"Can it be possible," I thought, that he does not understand me? "or,
worse still, that he will not understand me?" and my tears began to
fall.

"This would have happened,--that, not having made me guilty towards you,
you would not have punished me by your indifference, your contempt," I
broke out. "What would _not_ have happened is seeing myself, with no
fault on my own part, suddenly robbed by you of all that was dear to
me."

"What are you saying, my darling?" he exclaimed, as if he had not
understood my words.

"No, let me finish! You have robbed me of your confidence, your love,
even of your esteem, and this because I ceased to believe that you still
loved me after what had taken place! No," I went on, checking him again
as he was about to interrupt me, "for once I must speak out all that has
been torturing me so long! Was I to blame because I did not know life,
and because you left me to find it out for myself?... And am I to blame
that now,--when at last I comprehend, of myself, what is necessary in
life; now, when for more than a year I have been making a struggle to
return to you,--you constantly repulse me, constantly pretend not to
know what I want? and things are so arranged that there is never
anything for you to reproach yourself with, while I am left to be
miserable and guilty? Yes, you would cast me back again into that life
which must make wretchedness for me and for you!"

"And how am I doing that?" he asked, with sincere surprise and alarm.

"Did not you tell me yesterday,--yes, you tell me so perpetually,--that
the life here does not suit me, and that we must go to St. Petersburg
again for the winter? Instead of supporting me," I continued, "you avoid
all frankness with me, any talk that is sweet, and real. And then if I
fall, you will reproach me with it, or you will make light of it!"

"Stop, stop," he said severely and coldly; "what you are saying is not
right. It only shows that you are badly disposed towards me, that you do
not...."

"That I do not love you! say it! say it, then!" I exclaimed, blind with
my tears. I sat down on the bench, and covered my face with my
handkerchief.

"That is the way he understands me!" I thought, trying to control my
choking sobs. "It is all over with our old love!" said the voice in my
heart. He did not come near me, and made no attempt to console me. He
was wounded by what I had said. His voice was calm and dry, as he began:

"I do not know what you have to reproach me with, except that I do not
love you as I used to do!"

"As you used to love me!..." I murmured under my handkerchief, drenching
it with bitter tears.

"And for that, time and ourselves are equally guilty. For each period
there is one suitable phase of love...."

He was silent.

"And shall I tell you the whole truth, since you desire frankness? Just
as, during that first year of our acquaintance, I spent night after
night without sleep, thinking of you and building up my own love, until
it grew to fill all my heart, so in St. Petersburg and while we were
abroad I spent fearful nights in striving to break down and destroy this
love which was my torment. I could not destroy it, but I did at least
destroy the element which had tormented me; I became tranquil, and yet I
continued to love you,--but it was with another love."

"And you call _that_ love, when it was nothing but a punishment!" I
replied. "Why did you let me live in the world, if it appeared to you
so pernicious that because of it you would cease to love me?"

"It was not the world, my dear, that was the guilty one."

"Why did you not use your power? Why did you not strangle me? Murder me?
That would have been better for me to-day than to have lost all that
made my happiness,--it would have been better for me, and at least there
would not have been the shame!"

I began to sob again, and I covered my face.

Just at that moment Macha and Sonia, wet and merry, ran up on the
terrace, laughing and talking; but at the sight of us their voices were
hushed, and they hurried into the house.

We remained where we were, for a long time, silent; after they were
gone, I sobbed on until my tears were exhausted and I felt somewhat
calmer. I looked at him. He was sitting with his head resting on his
hand, and appeared to wish to say something to me in response to my
glance, but he only gave a heavy sigh and put his head down again.

I went to him and drew his hand away. He turned then, and looked at me
thoughtfully.

"Yes," he said, as if pursuing his own thoughts, "for all of us, and
particularly for you women, it is necessary that we should ourselves
lift to our own lips the cup of the vanities of life, before we can
taste life itself; no one believes the experience of others. You had
not, at that time, dipped very deep into the science of those entrancing
and seducing vanities. Therefore I allowed you to plunge for a moment; I
had no right to forbid it, simply because my own hour for it was long
since over."

"Why did you let me live among these vanities, if you loved me?"

"Because you would not--nay, more, you could not--have believed me about
them; it was necessary for you to learn for yourself; and you have
learned."

"You reasoned a great deal," said I. "That was because you loved me so
little."

We were silent again.

"What you have just said to me is hard, but it is the truth," he
resumed, after a while, rising abruptly, and beginning to walk about the
terrace; "yes, it is the truth! I have been to blame," he went on,
stopping before me.... "Either I ought not to have let myself love you
at all, or I ought to have loved you more simply--yes!"

"Sergius, let us forget everything," said I, timidly.

"No, what is gone never comes again, there can be no turning back ..."
his voice softened as he spoke.

"It has already come again," said I, laying my hand on his shoulder.

He took the hand in his, and pressed it.

"No, I was not telling the truth, when I pretended not to regret the
past; no, I do regret your past love; I bitterly mourn over it,--this
love, which can no longer exist. Who is to blame? I do not know. Love
there may even yet be, but not the same; its place is still there, but
darkened and desolated; it is without savor and without strength; the
remembrance has not vanished, nor the gratitude, but...."

"Do not speak so," I interrupted. "Let it come to life again, let it be
what it was.... Might that be?" I asked, looking into his face. His eyes
were serene, quiet, and met mine without their old deep look.

Even as I asked the question I felt the answer, felt that my wish was no
longer possible to realize. He smiled; it seemed to me an old man's
smile, gentle and full of peace.

"How young you still are, and how old I am already!" he said. "Why
delude ourselves?" he added, still with the same smile.

I remained near him, silent, and feeling my soul grow more and more
tranquil.

"Do not let us try to repeat life," he went on, "nor to lie to
ourselves. But it is something, to have no longer, God willing, either
disquiet or distress. We have nothing to seek for. We have already
found, already shared, happiness enough. All we have to do now is to
open the way,--you see to whom...." he said, pointing out little Vania,
in his nurse's arms, at the terrace door. "That is necessary, dear
love," he concluded, bending over me and dropping a kiss on my hair.

It was no longer a lover, it was an old friend who gave the caress.

The perfumed freshness of night was rising, sweeter and stronger, from
the garden; the few sounds audible were solemn and far off, and soon
gave way to deep tranquillity; one by one the stars shone out. I looked
at him, and all at once I became conscious of infinite relief in my
soul; it was as if a moral nerve, whose sensitiveness had caused me keen
suffering had suddenly been removed. Quietly and clearly I comprehended
that the dominant sentiment of this phase of my existence was
irrevocably gone, as was the phase itself, and that not only was its
return impossible, but that it would be to me full of unendurable pain.
There had been enough of this time; and had it indeed been so
good,--this time, which to me had seemed to enclose such joys? And
already it had lasted so long, so long!

"But tea is waiting," he said, gently; and we went together to the
drawing-room.

At the door I met Macha, and the nurse with Vania. I took the child in
my arms, wrapped up the little bare feet, and, holding it close to my
heart, barely touched its lips with a light kiss. Almost asleep as it
was, it moved its little arms, stretched out the crumpled fingers, and
opened its bewildered eyes, as if trying to find or remember something;
all at once its eyes fell on me, a look of intelligence sparkled in
them, and the pink pursed-up lips lengthened in a baby smile. "You are
mine, mine!" thought I, with a delicious thrill running through me, and
as I strained it to my heart I was half afraid of hurting it with my
eager embrace. Over and over I kissed its cold little feet, its breast,
its arms, and head with the scant covering of down. My husband came up
to us, quickly drew the wrapping over the baby's face, then, drawing it
away again:

"Ivan Sergevitch!" he said with finger under the little chin.

But I, in my turn, covered up Ivan Sergevitch. No one should look at
him so long, except myself. I glanced at my husband, his eyes laughed as
they rested on mine, and it was long since I had met his with such happy
joy.

This day ended my romance with my husband. The old love remained, and
the dear remembrance of what could never come back to me; but a new love
for my children and my children's father, began another life and another
way of happiness, up to this hour unending ... for at last I know that
in home, and in the pure joys of home will be found--real happiness!

THE END.

       *       *       *       *       *

     =WAR AND PEACE.= A Historical Novel, by Count Leon Tolstoï,
     translated into French by a Russian Lady and from the French by
     Clara Bell. _Authorized Edition._ Complete, Three Parts in Box.
     Paper, $3.00. Cloth, $5.25. Half calf, $12.00.

     =Part I.= =Before Tilsit=, 1805-1807, in two volumes. Paper, $1.00.
     Cloth, $1.75 per set.

     =" II.= =The Invasion=, 1807-1812 in two volumes. Paper, $1.00. Cloth,
     $1.75 per set.

     =" III.= =Borodino, The French at Moscow--Epilogue=, 1812-1820, in two
     volumes. Paper, $1.00. Cloth, $1.75 per set.

OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.

"A story of Russia in the time of Napoleon's wars. It is a story of the
family rather than of the field, and is charming in its delineations of
quaint Russian customs. It is a novel of absorbing interest, full of
action and with a well managed plot; a book well worth
reading."--_Philadelphia Enquirer._

"The story of 'War and Peace' ranks as the greatest of Slavic historical
novels. It is intensely dramatic in places and the battle scenes are
marvels of picturesque description. At other points the vein is quiet
and philosophical, and the reader is held by the soothing charm that is
in complete contrast with the action and energy of battle."--_Observer,
Utica, N.Y._

"War and Peace is a historical novel and is extremely interesting, not
only in its description of the times of the great invasion eighty years
ago, but in its vivid pictures of life and character in
Russia."--_Journal of Commerce, New York._

"On general principles the historical novel is neither valuable as fact
nor entertaining as fiction. But 'War and Peace' is a striking exception
to this rule. It deals with the most impressive and dramatic period of
European history. It reproduces a living panorama of scene, and actors,
and circumstance idealized into the intense and artistic life of
imaginative composition, and written with a brilliancy of style and
epigrammatic play of thought, a depth of significance, that render the
story one of the most fascinating and absorbing."--_Boston Evening
Traveller._

_Wm. S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =THE COSSACKS.=--A Tale of the Caucasus in 1852, by =Count Leo
     Tolstoy=, from the Russian by Eugene Schuyler. One vol. Paper, 50
     cts. Cloth binding. $1.00.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The Cossacks" forms the culmination of the period in which he
photographed with miraculous realism and no definite purpose, detached
pictures of life and studies of the affections, and the period in which
he began to see and suggest the spiritual meaning of and the chain of
ultimate purpose binding together the panorama of human existence. The
book is an idyl of semi-barbarous life and yet the hero begins to
struggle with the problems that puzzled Sergius, that Levin half solved,
and from which Tolstoi himself escapes in a Quaker creed.

Olenin is a young Russian noble whose career has simulated outwardly
that of his companions, but whose soul has been unsatisfied and empty,
driving him finally to break away from his old associations and go for a
campaign in the Caucasus. With that campaign the story does not concern
itself, going on to its conclusion when the young man settles down in a
Cossack village to wait for his promotion. This portion of the book is
inimitable for the slight, almost imperceptible touches through which
Tolstoi has the power, greater than that of any one else, of reproducing
the actual scene he wishes to transcribe. This power can scarcely be
called realism. It might be better characterized as realization. It is
possible in this way to know the exact life of this brave, indolent,
good-tempered, healthful race of half-Russians, half-Circassians, and to
feel the charm they possessed for Olenin. It is a curious fact that the
most civilized natures are most akin to barbarism. The simple directness
of barbaric virtues, the healthy passion and aggressiveness of its vices
make the process of atavism easy to a nature that has risen above the
mere materialism of civilization. The process of this reversion in
Olenin is hastened, of course, by love for a Cossack woman, one of those
clean-minded girls who think no harm in a kiss or caress, but whose
virtue is an absolute and natural thing that admits of no question or
discussion. His love is not of the kind that could mean her dishonor,
and he asks for Marianka's hand in marriage, feeling helplessly and
hopelessly all the while that real union is impossible between
them--that though he can understand her and go down into her
semi-barbarism, she can never know him or appreciate the motives that
impel him to leave a state that she considers higher than her own. The
story ends abruptly and what is called by the professional novel-reader
"unsatisfactorily." Marianka clings in preference to her Cossack lover,
and Olenin feeling despairingly that this rude, simple, barbarous life
can never absorb, can only encyst him, goes rack to his duties at the
front.--_New York World._

       *       *       *       *       *

                                  THE

                             EBERS GALLERY

                       A COLLECTION OF PAINTINGS

                            ILLUSTRATING THE

                        ROMANCES OF GEORG EBERS

                        BY THE FOLLOWING ARTISTS

         L. ALMA-TADEMA, W. A. BEER, W. GENTZ, P. GROT-JOHANN,
             H. KAULBACH, FERD. KELLER, O. KNILLE, F. SIMM,
               LAURA TADEMA, E. TESCHENDORFF, P. THUMANN.

                         =TWENTY ILLUSTRATIONS=

                    _WITH DESCRIPTIVE LETTER-PRESS_

         _Printed from handsome large new type on plate-paper_

       Photographic Reproduction by Friedrich Bruckmann of Munich

  IN LOOSE SHEETS, in cloth covered box,                $22.50

  ONE VOL., FOLIO, bound in half morocco, gilt edges,
    by Alfred Matthews,                                  40.00

  ONE VOL., FOLIO, superbly bound in full morocco extra,
    by Alfred Matthews,                                  50.00

_William S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =THE BRIDE OF THE NILE=, A ROMANCE, BY =Georg Ebers=, from the German
     by CLARA BELL. _Authorized edition_, in two volumes. Price, paper
     covers, $1.00, cloth binding, $1.75 per set.

"This romance has much value, apart from its interest as a narrative.
The learned author, who has made the Land of the Nile an object of
special study and research, throws a clear, steady light on one of those
complicated periods of history when nationality seems submerged in the
conflicting interests of sects and factions. The history of Egypt
towards the middle of the seventh century, A. D., forms a sort of
historical whirlpool. The tide of Moslem invasion and the
counter-current of patriotism were temporarily swayed by the
intermingling currents of sectarianism, ecclesiasticism and individual
self-interest.

"All the leading characters are typical of these contending forces, and
also display an unreasoning impulsiveness in both love and hatred,
characteristic of a tropical clime.

"The Egyptian heathen, the Egyptian Christian, the Greek Christian, the
Moslem and Ethiopian show the feelings peculiar to their political
conditions by word and act, thus making their relationship to one
another very distinct, and though not an historical study, at least a
study of the probabilities of that epoch. It is also a reliable picture
of the manners, customs and civilization of a period less generally
known than those remote, and consequently more attractive periods of the
building of the pyramids, and of the Pharoahs.

"The portrayal of individual character and arrangement of incidents are
necessarily secondary to the higher aims of this entertaining and
instructive romance. It is only towards the end of the second volume
that the significance of the title becomes apparent. The 'Bride' was a
Greek Christian doomed by the superstitious authorities to be drowned in
the Nile as a sacrifice to appease the anger of the creative powers,
supposed to be withholding the usual overflow of its waters. She escaped
her watery fate, and her rival, an unprincipled heiress, became a
voluntary sacrifice through vanity and despair. This author has already
won much renown by previous romances founded on interesting epochs of
Egyptian history."--_Daily Alta, California._

_William S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =THE MARTYR OF GOLGOTHA=, by =Enrique Perez Escrich=, from the Spanish
     by Adèle Josephine Godoy, in two volumes. Price, paper covers,
     $1.00. Cloth binding, $1.75.

"There must always be some difference of opinion concerning the right of
the romancer to treat of sacred events and to introduce sacred
personages into his story. Some hold that any attempt to embody an idea
of our Saviour's character, experiences, sayings and teachings in the
form of fiction must have the effect of lowering our imaginative ideal,
and rendering trivial and common-place that which in the real Gospel is
spontaneous, inspired and sublime. But to others an historical novel
like the 'Martyr of Golgotha' comes like a revelation, opening fresh
vistas of thought, filling out blanks and making clear what had hitherto
been vague and unsatisfactory, quickening insight and sympathy, and
actually heightening the conception of divine traits. The author gives
also a wide survey of the general history of the epoch and shows the
various shaping causes which were influencing the rise and development
of the new religion in Palestine. There is, indeed, an astonishing
vitality and movement throughout the work, and, elaborate though the
plot is, with all varieties and all contrasts of people and conditions,
with constant shiftings of the scene, the story yet moves, and moves the
interest of the reader too, along the rapid current of events towards
the powerful culmination. The writer uses the Catholic traditions, and
in many points interprets the story in a way which differs altogether
from that familiar to Protestants: for example, making Mary Magdalen the
same Mary who was the sister of Lazarus and Martha, and who sat
listening at the Saviour's feet. But in general, although there is a
free use made of Catholic legends and traditions, their effort is
natural and pleasing. The romance shows a degree of a southern fervor
which is foreign to English habit, but the flowery, poetic
style--although it at first repels the reader--is so individual, so much
a part of the author, that it is soon accepted as the naive expression
of a mind kindled and carried away by its subject. Spanish literature
has of late given us a variety of novels and romances, all of which are
in their way so good that we must believe that there is a new generation
of writers in Spain who are discarding the worn-out forms and
traditions, and are putting fresh life and energy into works which will
give pleasure to the whole world of readers."--_Philadelphia American_,
March 5, 1887.

_William S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =THE KING'S TREASURE HOUSE.=--A Romance of Ancient Egypt, by =Wilhelm
     Walloth=, from the German by Mary J. Safford, in one vol. Paper, 50
     cts. Cloth, 90 cts.

"It deals, in the main, with the cruel bondage of the Israelites in
Egypt, and is remarkably varied in incident and impressive in dramatic
power. The interest is uncommonly exciting, and is sustained with great
skill to the very end. A fine poetic feeling pervades the narrative, and
the descriptive portions of the book often glow with picturesque
splendor. The work is also very attractive in the cleverness and the
vividness with which the manners and people of ancient Egypt are
depicted, showing in this aspect careful thought and study. The story
may take a foremost rank in the long line of German romances which have
aimed at reproducing the life of antiquity."--_Boston Saturday Evening
Gazette, May 23, 1886._

     =THE CHALDEAN MAGICIAN.=--An Adventure in Ancient Rome, by =Ernst
     Eckstein=, from the German by Mary J. Safford. One vol. Paper, 25
     cts. Cloth, 50 cts.

"The 'Chaldean Magician' is a tale of Rome in the days of the Emperor
Diocletian, and is an expose of the so-called magical art of that
period. The love story which runs through it will please the
sentimental, while the pictures given of Roman life and society will
interest the general reader."--_Chicago Evening Journal._

_William S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =QUINTUS CLAUDIUS.=--A Romance of Imperial Rome, by =Ernst Eckstein=,
     from the German by Clara Bell, in two vols. Paper, $1.00. Cloth,
     $1.75.

"We owe to Eckstein the brilliant romance of 'Quintus Claudius,' which
Clara Bell has done well to translate for us, for it is worthy of place
beside the Emperor of Ebers and the Aspasia of Hamerling. It is a story
of Rome in the reign of Domitian, and the most noted characters of the
time figure in its pages, which are a series of picturesque descriptions
of Roman life and manners in the imperial city, and in those luxurious
retreats at Baiae and elsewhere to which the wealthy Romans used to
retreat from the heats of summer. It is full of stirring scenes in the
streets, in the palaces, in the temples, and in the amphitheatre, and
the actors therein represent every phase of Roman character, from the
treacherous and cowardly Domitian and the vile Domitia down to the
secret gatherings of the new sect and their exit from life in the
blood-soaked sands of the arena, where they were torn in pieces by the
beasts of the desert. The life and the manners of all classes at this
period were never painted with a bolder pencil than by Eckstein in this
masterly romance, which displays as much scholarship as
invention."--_Mail and Express, N. Y._

"These neat volumes contain a story first published in German. It is
written in that style which Ebers has cultivated so successfully. The
place is Rome; the time, that of Domitian at the end of the first
century. The very careful study of historical data, is evident from the
notes at the foot of nearly every page. The author attempted the
difficult task of presenting in a single story the whole life of Rome,
the intrigues of that day which compassed the overthrow of Domitian, and
the deep fervor and terrible trials of the Christians in the last of the
general persecutions. The court, the army, the amphitheatre, the
catacombs, the evil and the good of Roman manhood and womanhood--all are
here. And the work is done with power and success. It is a book for
every Christian and for every student, a book of lasting value, bringing
more than one nation under obligation to its author."--_New Jerusalem
Magazine, Boston, Mass._

"_A new Romance of Ancient Times!_ The success of Ernst Eckstein's new
novel, 'Quintus Claudius,' which recently appeared in Vienna, may fairly
be called phenomenal, critics and the public unite in praising the
work."--_Grazer Morgenpost._

"'Quintus Claudius' is a finished work of art, capable of bearing any
analysis, a literary production teeming with instruction and interest,
full of plastic forms, and rich in the most dramatic changes of
mood."--_Pester Lloyd._

_William S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =PRUSIAS.=--A Romance of Ancient Rome under the Republic, by =Ernst
     Eckstein=, from the German by Clara Bell. Authorized edition. In two
     vols. Paper, $1.00. Cloth, $1.75.

"The date of 'Prusias' is the latter half of the first century B. C.
Rome is waging her tedious war with Mithridates. There are also risings
in Spain, and the home army is badly depleted. Prusias comes to Capua as
a learned Armenian, the tutor of a noble pupil in one of the
aristocratic households. Each member of this circle is distinct. Some of
the most splendid traits of human nature develop among these grand
statesmen and their dignified wives, mothers, and daughters. The ideal
Roman maiden is Psyche; but she has a trace of Greek blood and of the
native gentleness. Of a more interesting type is Fannia, who might,
minus her slaves and stola, pass for a modern and saucy New York beauty.
Her wit, spirit, selfishness, and impulsive magnanimity might easily
have been a nineteenth-century evolution. In the family to which Prusias
comes are two sons, one of military leanings, the other a student. Into
the ear of the latter Prusias whispers the real purpose of his coming to
Italy. He is an Armenian and in league with Mithridates for the
reduction of Roman rule. The unity which the Senate has tried to extend
to the freshly-conquered provinces of Italy is a thing of slow growth.
Prusias by his strategy and helped by Mithridates's gold, hopes to
organize slaves and disaffected provincials into a force which will
oblige weakened Rome to make terms, one of which shall be complete
emancipation and equality of every man before the law. His harangues are
in lofty strain, and, save that he never takes the coarse, belligerent
tone of our contemporaries, these speeches might have been made by one
of our own Abolitionists. The one point that Prusias never forgets is
personal dignity and a regal consideration for his friends. But after
all, this son of the gods is befooled by a woman, a sinuous and
transcendently ambitious Roman belle, the second wife of the dull and
trustful prefect of Capua; for this tiny woman had all men in her net
whom she found it useful to have there.

"The daughter of the prefect--hard, homely-featured, and hating the
supple stepmother with an unspeakable hate, tearing her beauty at last
like a tigress and so causing her death--is a repulsive but very strong
figure. The two brothers who range themselves on opposite sides in the
servile war make another unforgettable picture; and the beautiful slave
Brenna, who follows her noble lover into camp, is a spark of light
against the lurid background. The servile movement is combined with the
bold plans of the Thracian Spartacus. He is a good figure and
perpetually surprises us with his keen foresight and disciplinary power.

"The book is stirring, realistic in the even German way, and full of the
fibre and breath of its century." _Boston Ev'g Transcript._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =THE WILL.=--A NOVEL, by =Ernst Eckstein=, from the German by Clara
     Bell, in two vols. Paper, $1.00 Cloth, $1.75 per set.

"Since the appearance of 'Debit and Credit' we have not seen a German
novel that can rank, in the line struck out by that famous work, with
'The Will,' by Ernst Eckstein. It is a vivid picture of German city
life, and the characters, whether quaint, commonplace, tragical, or a
mixture of all three, are admirably drawn. All the German carefulness is
in Eckstein's work, but there is besides a sparkle and _verve_ entirely
French--and French of the best kind."--_Catholic Mirror, Baltimore._

"The chief value of the book is in its well-drawn and strong pictures of
life in both German cities and villages, and Clara Bell, has, as usual,
proved herself a mistress of the German Tongue."--_Sunday Star,
Providence._

"ERNST ECKSTEIN, hitherto known as a writer of classical romance, now
tries his hand upon a _genre_ story of German life. To our mind, it is
his most successful work."--_Bulletin, San Francisco, Cal._

"The present work is entitled 'The Will,' and is written by Ernst
Eckstein, the author of the striking historical novel, Quintus Claudius.
The name of Clara Bell as the translator from the German is assurance
enough of the excellence of its rendering into English. The plot of the
story is not a novel one, but it is skillfully executed, and the whole
tale is developed with much dramatic power."--_Boston Zion's Herald._

"'THE WILL,' by Eckstein, is the latest and best work of its author. The
scene, the people, the events of the story are new, the plot is
ingenious, and the action rapid and exciting enough to please the most
jaded novel reader. The character of schoolmaster Heinzius would alone
make the reputation of a new writer, and there are other sketches from
life none the less masterly. Ernst Eckstein excels in heroines, of whom
there are several in the book--all clearly defined--contending for the
sympathy of the reader."--_The Journal of Commerce, New York._

_William S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT.=--A Romance by =Anton Giulio Barrili=, from
     the Italian by Clara Bell, in one vol. Paper, 50 cts. Cloth, 90
     cts.

       *       *       *       *       *

"If Italian literature includes any more such unique and charming
stories as this one, it is to be hoped that translators will not fail to
discover them to the American public. The 'Eleventh Commandment' deals
with a variety of topics--the social intrigues necessary to bring about
preferment in political life, a communal order, an adventurous
unconventional heiress, and her acquiescent, good-natured uncle, and
most cleverly are the various elements combined, the whole forming an
excellent and diverting little story. The advent of a modern Eve in the
masculine paradise (?) established at the Convent of San Bruno is
fraught with weighty consequences, not only to the individual members of
the brotherhood, but to the well-being of the community itself. The
narrative of M'lle Adela's adventures is blithely told, and the moral
deducible therefrom for men is that, on occasion, flight is the surest
method of combating temptation."--_Art Interchange, New York._

"Very entertaining is the story of 'The Eleventh Commandment,'
ingeniously conceived and very cleverly executed."--_The Critic, New
York._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =A WHIMSICAL WOOING.=--By =Anton Giulio Barrili=, from the Italian by
     Clara Bell, in one vol. Paper, 25 cts. Cloth, 50 cts.

"If 'The Eleventh Commandment,' the previous work of Barrili, was a good
three-act play, 'A Whimsical Wooing' is a sparkling comedietta. It is
one situation, a single catastrophe, yet, like a bit of impressionist
painting of the finer sort, it reveals in a flash all the possibilities
of the scene. The hero, Roberto Fenoglio, a man of wealth, position, and
accomplishments, finds himself at the end of his resources for
entertainment or interest. Hopelessly bored, he abandons himself to the
drift of chance, and finds himself, in no longer space of time than from
midnight to daylight--where and how, the reader will thank us for not
forestalling his pleasure in finding out for himself."--_The Nation, New
York._

"'A Whimsical Wooing' is the richly-expressive title under which 'Clara
Bell' introduces a cleverly-narrated episode by Anton Giulio Barrili to
American readers. It is a sketch of Italian life, at once rich and
strong, but nevertheless discreet in sentiment and graceful in diction.
It is the old story of the fallacy of trusting to a proxy in love
matters."--_Boston Post._

_William S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =ERNESTINE.=--A Novel, by =Wilhelmine von Hillern=, from the German by
     S. Baring-Gould, in two vols. Paper, 80 cts. Cloth, $1.50.

       *       *       *       *       *

"'Ernestine' is a work of positive genius. An English critic has likened
the conception of the heroine in her childhood to George Eliot's Maggie
Tulliver, and truly there is a certain resemblance; but there is in the
piece a much stronger suggestion of George Eliot's calm mastery of the
secret springs of human action, and George Eliot's gift of laying bare
the life of a human soul, than of likeness between particular characters
or situations here and those with which we are familiar in George
Eliot's works."--_New York Evening Post._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =THE HOUR WILL COME.=--A Tale of an Alpine Cloister, by =Wilhelmine
     von Hillern=, from the German by Clara Bell, in one vol. Paper, 40
     cts. Cloth, 75 cts.

"'_The Hour Will Come_' is the title of a translation by Clara Bell from
the German original of Wilhelmine von Hillern, author of that beautiful
romance 'Geier-Wally.' 'The Hour Will Come' is hardly less interesting,
its plot being one of the strongest and most pathetic that could well be
imagined. The time is the Middle Ages, and Frau von Hillern has achieved
a remarkable success in reproducing the rudeness, the picturesqueness
and the sombre coloring of those days. Those who take up 'The Hour Will
Come' will not care to lay it down again until they have read it
through."--_Baltimore Gazette._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =HIGHER THAN THE CHURCH.=--An Art Legend of Ancient Times, by
     =Wilhelmine von Hillern=, from the German by Mary J. Safford, in one
     vol. Paper, 25 cts. Cloth, 50 cts.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mary J. Safford translates acceptably a very charming short story from
the German of Wilhelmine von Hillern. If it was not told by the
sacristan of Breisach, it deserves to have been. It has the full flavor
of old German and English love tales, such as have been crystallized in
the old ballads. The Emperor, the gifted boy, his struggles with the
stupidity of his townsmen, his apparently hopeless love above him; these
form the old delightful scene, set in a Düreresque border. There are
touches here and there which refer to the present. The sixteenth century
tale has a political moral that will appeal to Germans who believe that
Alsatia, once German in heart as well as in tongue, ought to be held by
force to the Fatherland till she forgets her beloved France."--_N. Y.
Times._

_William S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =ASPASIA.=-A Romance, by =Robert Hamerling=, from the German by Mary J.
     Safford, in two vols. Paper, $1.00. Cloth, $1.75.

"We have read his work conscientiously, and, we confess, with profit.
Never have we had so clear an insight into the manners, thoughts, and
feelings of the ancient Greeks. No study has made us so familiar with
the age of Pericles. We recognize throughout that the author is master
of the period of which he treats. Moreover, looking back upon the work
from the end to the beginning, we clearly perceive in it a complete
unity of purpose not at all evident during the reading."

"Hamerling's Aspasia, herself the most beautiful woman in all Hellas, is
the apostle of beauty and of joyousness, the implacable enemy of all
that is stern and harsh in life. Unfortunately, morality is stern, and
had no place among Aspasia's doctrines. This ugly fact, Landor has
thrust as far into the background as possible. Hamerling obtrudes it. He
does not moralize, he neither condemns nor praises; but like a fate,
silent, passionless, and resistless, he carries the story along, allows
the sunshine for a time to silver the turbid stream, the butterflies and
gnats to flutter above it in rainbow tints, and then remorselessly draws
over the landscape gray twilight. He but follows the course of history;
yet the absolute pitilessness with which he does it is almost
terrible."--_Extracts from Review in Yale Literary Magazine._

"No more beautiful chapter can be found in any book of this age than
that in which Pericles and Aspasia are described as visiting the poet
Sophocles in the garden on the bank of the Cephissus."--_Utica Morning
Herald._

"It is one of the great excellencies of this romance, this lofty song of
the genius of the Greeks, that it is composed with perfect artistic
symmetry in the treatment of the different parts, and from the first
word to the last is thoroughly harmonious in tone and coloring.
Therefore, in 'Aspasia,' we are given a book, which could only proceed
from the union of an artistic nature and a thoughtful mind--a book that
does not depict fiery passions in dramatic conflict, but with dignified
composure, leads the conflict therein described to the final
catastrophe."--_Allgemeine Zeitung._ (Augsburg).

_William S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =ELIZABETH=; OR THE EXILES OF SIBERIA.--From the French of =Mme.
     Sophie Cottin=, one vol. Paper, 25 cents. Cloth, 50 cents.

"A new edition of the English translation of that famous old story
'Elizabeth; or the Exiles of Siberia,' which used to be the standard
French reader in private schools, where many a tender-hearted
school-girl cried not only over the hard task of rendering the difficult
French phrases into her own tongue, but also over the misfortunes of
this generous-souled heroine. There are few French tales so full of deep
pure feeling as this, by Mme. Sophie Cottin (born 1773, died 1807), and
although it seems almost too well known to create a fresh sensation, it
will always be one of the few books that mothers can safely place into
the hands of their young daughters, knowing at the time that the perusal
of them will not only amuse but waken tender and generous feelings in
the young heart, that perhaps needed a story like this to make them
spring into life."--_Albany Times._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =ELIANE.=--A Novel, by =Mme. Augustus Craven=, from the French by Lady
     Georgiana Fullerton, in one vol. Paper, 50 cents. Cloth, 90 cents.

"It is not only pure, but is, we believe, a trustworthy description of
the dignified French life of which it is a picture. 'Eliane' is one of
the very best novels we have read for one or two seasons past"--_The
American Literary Churchman, Baltimore._

"'Eliane' is interesting not only because it is such a record of the
best kind of French life and manners as could only have been written by
a person thoroughly at home in the subject, but also because of the
delicate drawing of character which it contains."--_London Sat. Review._

       *       *       *       *       *

     =RANTHORPE.=--A Novel, by =George Henry Lewes=, in one vol. Paper, 40
     cents. Cloth, 75 cents.

"There is a good deal of wisdom in it that is not without its
use."--_Popular Science Monthly._

"'Ranthorpe' is a reprint of a novel written in 1842, by George Henry
Lewes, the well-known husband of George Eliot. It belongs to the
psychological class, and is keenly introspective throughout. The style
is well adapted to the work, displaying the versatility of a mind whose
natural bent was towards metaphysics and the exact sciences."--_Montreal
Star._

_William S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

                              GEORG EBERS'

                         ROMANCES & BIOGRAPHIES

                              COMPRISING:

                        _AN EGYPTIAN PRINCESS_,
                              TWO VOLUMES

                        _THE BRIDE OF THE NILE_,
                              TWO VOLUMES

                       _THE BURGOMASTER'S WIFE_,
                               ONE VOLUME

                               _SERAPIS_,
                               ONE VOLUME

                             _THE EMPEROR_,
                              TWO VOLUMES

                                _UARDA_,
                              TWO VOLUMES

                              _HOMO SUM_,
                               ONE VOLUME

                             _THE SISTERS_,
                               ONE VOLUME

                             _A QUESTION_,
                               ONE VOLUME

                         _A WORD, ONLY A WORD_,
                               ONE VOLUME

                         _LORENZ ALMA-TADEMA_,
                               ONE VOLUME

                           _RICHARD LEPSIUS_,
                               ONE VOLUME


  ROMANCES, 14 volumes, cloth, in case,                   $11.00
      "     and BIOGRAPHIES, 16 volumes, cloth, in case,   13.00
      "      "       "        " half calf extra, in case,  32.00


FOOTNOTES:

[A] Peasants attached to the household, and not to the soil.

[B] Russian cart, consisting of a flat frame-work of bark, between four
wheels.

[C] This expression, peculiar to Russia, corresponds to what in
Catholic countries is called: Making a preparatory retreat.

[D] In the Greek Church the staroste acts as church-warden, collector
of alms, _etc._

[E] Screen, upon which are the images.

[F] Strong Russian phrase, to express great poverty.

[G] Justice of the peace, of the district.

[H] Diminutive of Nicolas.

[I] Yvan.

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical error corrected by the etext transcriber:

tête-à-tête=> tête-à-tete {pg 104}





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