of limbs which could be used at will either as arms or
After tea we all went into the drawing- room.
"Are you satisfied with my obedience, Vera?" I said as I was passing her.
She threw me a glance full of love and grati- tude. I have grown accustomed to such glances; but at one time they constituted my felicity. The Princess seated her daughter at the piano- forte, and all the company begged her to sing. I kept silence, and, taking advantage of the hubbub, I went aside to the window with Vera, who wished to say something of great import- ance to both of us. . . It turned out to be -- nonsense. . .
Meanwhile my indifference was vexing Princess Mary, as I was able to make out from a single angry, gleaming glance which she cast at me. . . Oh! I understand the method of conversation wonderfully well: mute but expressive, brief but forceful! . . .
She began to sing. She has a good voice, but she sings badly. . . However, I was not listening.
Grushnitski, on the contrary, leaning his elbows on the grand piano, facing her, was devouring her with his eyes and saying in an undertone every minute: "Charmant! Delicieux!"
"Listen," said Vera to me, "I do not wish you to make my husband's acquaintance, but you must, without fail, make yourself agreeable to the Princess; that will be an easy task for you: you can do anything you wish. It is only here that we shall see each other" . . .
"You know that I am your slave: I have never been able to resist you . . . and I shall be punished for it, you will cease to love me! At least, I want to preserve my reputation . . . not for myself -- that you know very well! . . . Oh! I beseech you: do not torture me, as before, with idle doubts and feigned coldness! It may be that I shall die soon; I feel that I am growing weaker from day to day. . . And, yet, I cannot think of the future life, I think only of you. . . You men do not understand the delights of a glance, of a pressure of the hand . . . but as for me, I swear to you that, when I listen to your voice, I feel such a deep, strange bliss that the most passionate kisses could not take its place."