sway of passion. She wasto look at her was enoughvery capable of being roused by an idea or simply by a person At least, so I judged with I believe an unbiassed mind; for clearly my person could not be the personand as to my ideas!
We became excellent friends in the course of our reading. It was very pleasant. Without fear of provoking a smile, I shall confess that I became very much attached to that young girl. At the end of four months I told her that now she could very well go on reading English by herself. It was time for the teacher to depart. My pupil looked unpleasantly surprised.
Mrs. Haldin, with her immobility of feature and kindly expression of the eyes, uttered from her armchair in her uncertain French, Mais lami reviendra. And so it was settled. I returnednot four times a week as before, but pretty frequently. In the autumn we made some short excursions together in company with other Russians. My friendship with these ladies gave me a standing in the Russian colony which otherwise I could not have had.
The day I saw in the papers the news of Mr. de Ps assassinationit was a SundayI met the two ladies in the street and walked with them for some distance. Mrs. Haldin wore a heavy grey cloak, I remember, over her black silk dress, and her fine eyes met mine with a very quiet expression.
We have been to the late service, she said. Natalka came with me. Her girl-friends, the students here, of course dont. With us in Russia the church is so identified with oppression, that it seems almost necessary when one wishes to be free in this life, to give up all hope of a future existence But I cannot give up praying for my son.
She added with a sort of stony grimness, colouring slight, and in French, Ce nest peut être quune habitude. (It may be only habit.)
Miss Haldin was carrying the prayer-book. She did not glance at her mother.
You and Victor are both profound believers, she said.
I communicated to them the news from their country which I had just read in a café. For a whole minute we walked together fairly briskly in silence. Then Mrs. Haldin murmured
There will be more trouble, more persecutions for this. They may be even closing the University. There is neither peace nor rest in Russia for one but in the grave.
Yes. The way is hard, came from the daughter, looking straight before her at the Chain of Jura covered with snow, like a white wall closing the end of the street. But concord is not so very far off.
That is what my children think, observed Mrs. Haldin to me.
I did not conceal my feeling that these were strange times to talk of concord. Nathalie Haldin surprised me by saying, as if she had thought very much on the subject, that the occidentals did not understand the situation. She was very calm and youthfully superior.
You think it is a class conflict, or a conflict of interests, as social contests are with you in Europe. But it is not that at all. It is something quite different.
It is quite possible that I dont understand, I admitted.
That propensity of lifting every problem from the plane of the understandable by means of some sort of mystic expression, is very Russian. I knew her well enough to have discovered her scorn for all the practical forms of political liberty known to the western world. I suppose one must be a Russian to understand Russian simplicity, a terrible corroding simplicity in which mystic phrases clothe a naïve and hopeless cynicism. I think sometimes that the psychological secret of the profound difference of that people consists
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