“Then why have you fascinated her?”

“I haven’t fascinated her; perhaps I was fascinated myself in my folly. But she won’t care a straw whether it’s you or I, so long as somebody sits beside her, sighing. … I can’t explain the position, brother … look here, you are good at mathematics, and working at it now … begin teaching her the integral calculus; upon my soul, I’m not joking, I’m in earnest, it’ll be just the same to her. She will gaze at you and sigh for a whole year together. I talked to her once for two days at a time about the Prussian House of Lords (for one must talk of something)—she just sighed and perspired! And you mustn’t talk of love—she’s bashful to hysterics—but just let her see you can’t tear yourself away—that’s enough. It’s fearfully comfortable; you’re quite at home, you can read, sit, lie about, write. You may even venture on a kiss, if you’re careful.”

“But what do I want with her?”

“Ach, I can’t make you understand! You see, you are made for each other! I have often been reminded of you! … You’ll come to it in the end! So does it matter whether it’s sooner or later? There’s the feather- bed element here, brother—ach! and not only that! There’s an attraction here—here you have the end of the world, an anchorage, a quiet haven, the navel of the earth, the three fishes that are the foundation of the world, the essence of pancakes, of savoury fish-pies, of the evening samovar, of soft sighs and warm shawls, and hot stoves to sleep on—as snug as though you were dead, and yet you’re alive—the advantages of both at once! Well, hang it, brother, what stuff I’m talking, it’s bedtime! Listen. I sometimes wake up at night; so I’ll go in and look at him. But there’s no need, it’s all right. Don’t you worry yourself, yet if you like, you might just look in once, too. But if you notice anything—delirium or fever—wake me at once. But there can’t be. …”

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.