therapeutics and surgery produced, and so human life has
"Leave me," she said, in a scarcely audible voice.
I shrugged my shoulders, turned round, and walked away.
I SOMETIMES despise myself. . . Is not that the reason why I despise others also? . . . I have grown incapable of noble impulses; I am afraid of appearing ridiculous to myself. In my place, another would have offered Princess Mary son coeur et sa fortune; but over me the word "marry" has a kind of magical power. However passionately I love a woman, if she only gives me to feel that I have to marry her -- then farewell, love! My heart is turned to stone, and nothing will warm it anew. I am prepared for any other sacrifice but that; my life twenty times over, nay, my honour I would stake on the for- tune of a card . . . but my freedom I will never sell. Why do I prize it so highly? What is there in it to me? For what am I preparing myself? What do I hope for from the future? . . . In truth, absolutely nothing. It is a kind of innate dread, an inexplicable prejudice. . . There are people, you know, who have an unaccountable dread of spiders, beetles, mice. . . Shall I con- fess it? When I was but a child, a certain old woman told my fortune to my mother. She pre- dicted for me death from a wicked wife. I was profoundly struck by her words at the time: an irresistible repugnance to marriage was born with- in my soul. . . Meanwhile, something tells me that her prediction will be realized; I will try, at all events, to arrange that it shall be realized as late in life as possible.
YESTERDAY, the conjurer Apfelbaum ar- rived here. A long placard made its appear- ance on the door of the restaurant, informing the most respected public that the above-mentioned marvellous conjurer, acrobat, chemist, and opti- cian would have the honour to give a magnificent performance on the present day at eight o'clock in the evening, in the saloon of the Nobles' Club (in other words, the restaurant); tickets -- two rubles and a half each.
Everyone intends to go and see the marvellous conjurer; even Princess Ligovski has taken a ticket for herself, in spite of her daughter being ill.
After dinner to-day, I walked past Vera's win- dows; she was sitting by herself on the balcony. A note fell at my feet:
"Come to me at ten o'clock this evening by the large staircase. My husband has gone to Pyati- gorsk and will not return before to-morrow morn- ing. My servants and maids will not be at home; I have distributed tickets to all of them, and to the princess's servants as well. I await you; come without fail."
"Aha!" I said to myself, "so then it has turned out at last as I thought it would."