“I’m not coming! I can’t sleep; what’s the use? Come, for the last time.…”

Two feminine voices sang a musical phrase, the finale of some song.

“Oh, it’s exquisite! Well, now go to sleep, and there’s an end of it.”

“You go to sleep, but I can’t,” responded the first voice, coming nearer to the window. She was evidently leaning right out of the window, for he could hear the rustle of her garments and even her breathing. All was hushed and stonily still, like the moon and its lights and shadows. Prince Andrey dared not stir for fear of betraying his unintentional presence.

“Sonya! Sonya!” he heard the first voice again. “Oh, how can you sleep! Do look how exquisite! Oh, how exquisite! Do wake up, Sonya!” she said, almost with tears in her voice. “Do you know such an exquisite night has never, never been before.”

Sonya made some reluctant reply.

“No, do look what a moon!…Oh, how lovely it is! Do come here. Darling, precious, do come here. There, do you see? One has only to squat on one’s heels like this—see—and to hold one’s knees—as tight, as tight as one can—give a great spring and one would fly away.… Like this—see!”

“Mind, you’ll fall.”

He heard sounds of a scuffle and Sonya’s voice in a tone of vexation: “Why, it’s past one o’clock.”

“Oh, you only spoil it all for me. Well, go to bed then, go along.”

All was hushed again; but Prince Andrey knew she was still sitting there. He heard at times a soft rustle, and at times a sigh.

“O my God! my God! what does it mean?” she cried suddenly. “To bed then, if it must be so!” and she closed the window with a slam.

“And nothing to do with my existence!” thought Prince Andrey while he had been listening to her talk, for some reason hoping and dreading she might say something about him. “And she again! As though it were on purpose!” he thought. All at once there stirred within his soul such a wholly unexpected medley of youthful hopes and ideas, running counter to the whole tenor of his life, that he made haste to fall asleep, feeling incapable of seeing clearly into his own state of mind.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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