Upon that Boris wrote her the following verses in French:—

“Poisonous nourishment of a soul too sensitive,
Thou, without whom happiness would be impossible to me,
Tender melancholy, ah, come and console me,
Come, calm the torments of my gloomy retreat,
And mingle a secret sweetness with the tears I feel flowing.”

Julie played to Boris the most mournful nocturnes on the harp. Boris read aloud to her the romance of Poor Liza, and more than once broke down in reading it from the emotion that choked his utterance. When they met in general society Julie and Boris gazed at one another as though they were the only people existing in the world, disillusioned and comprehending each other.

Anna Mihalovna, who often visited the Karagins, took a hand at cards with the mother, and meanwhile collected trustworthy information as to the portion that Julie would receive on her marriage (her dowry was to consist of two estates in the Penza province and forests in the Nizhnigorod province). With tender emotion and deep resignation to the will of Providence, Anna Mihalovna looked on at the refined sadness that united her soul to the wealthy Julie.

“Still as charming and as melancholy as ever, my sweet Julie,” she would say to the daughter. “Boris says he finds spiritual refreshment in your house. He has suffered such cruel disillusionment, and he is so sensitive,” she would say to the mother.

“Ah, my dear, how attached I have grown to Julie lately,” she would say to her son, “I can’t tell you. But, indeed, who could help loving her! A creature not of this earth! Ah, Boris! Boris!” She paused for a moment. “And how I feel for her mother,” she would go on. “She showed me today the letters and accounts from Penza (they have an immense estate there), and she, poor thing, with no one to help her. They do take such advantage of her!”

Boris heard his mother with a faintly perceptible smile. He laughed blandly at her simple-hearted wiles, but he listened to her and sometimes questioned her carefully about the Penza and Nizhnigorod estates.

Julie had long been expecting an offer from her melancholy adorer, and was fully prepared to accept it. But a sort of secret feeling of repulsion for her, for her passionate desire to be married, for her affectation and a feeling of horror at renouncing all possibility of real love made Boris still delay. The term of his leave was drawing to a close. Whole days at a time, and every day he spent at the Karagins’; and each day Boris resolved, as he thought things over, that he would make an offer on the morrow. But in Julie’s presence, as he watched her red face and her chin, almost always sprinkled with powder, her moist eyes, and the expression of her countenance, which betokened a continual readiness to pass at once from melancholy to the unnatural ecstasies of conjugal love, Boris could not utter the decisive word, although in imagination he had long regarded himself as the owner of the Penza and Nizhnigorod estates, and had disposed of the expenditure of their several revenues. Julie saw the hesitation of Boris, and the idea did sometimes occur to her that she was distasteful to him. But feminine self-flattery promptly afforded her comfort, and she assured herself that it was love that made him retiring. Her melancholy was, however, beginning to pass into irritability, and not long before the end of Boris’s leave she adopted a decisive plan of action. Just before the expiration of Boris’s leave there appeared in Moscow, and—it need hardly be said—also in the drawing-room of the Karagins’, no less a person than Anatole Kuragin, and Julie, abruptly abandoning her melancholy, became exceedingly lively and cordial to Kuragin.

“My dear,” said Anna Mihalovna to her son, “I know from a trust-worthy source that Prince Vassily is sending his son to Moscow to marry him to Julie. I am so fond of Julie that I should be most sorry for her. What do you think about it, my dear?” said Anna Mihalovna.

Boris was mortified at the idea of being unsuccessful, of having wasted all that month of tedious, melancholy courtship of Julie, and of seeing all the revenues of those Penza estates—which he had mentally assigned to the various purposes for which he needed them—pass into other hands, especially into the hands of that fool Anatole. He drove off to the Karagins’ with the firm determination to make an offer. Julie

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