“The senator and the tour of inspection were invented to deceive you. In January, just as now, he did not go away, but stayed at Pekarsky’s, and I saw him every day and took part in the deception. He was weary of you, he hated your presence here, he mocked at you…. If you could have heard how he and his friends here jeered at you and your love, you would not have remained here one minute! Go away from here! Go away.”
“Well,” she said in a shaking voice, and moved her hand over her hair. “Well, so be it.”
Her eyes were full of tears, her lips were quivering, and her whole face was strikingly pale and distorted with anger. Orlov’s coarse, petty lying revolted her and seemed to her contemptible, ridiculous: she smiled and I did not like that smile.
“Well,” she repeated, passing her hand over her hair again, “so be it. He imagines that I shall die of humiliation, and instead of that I am … amused by it.
There’s no need for him to hide.” She walked away from the piano and said, shrugging her shoulders: “There’s no need…. It would have been simpler to have it out with me instead of keeping in hiding in other people’s flats. I have eyes; I saw it myself long ago…. I was only waiting for him to come back to have things out once for all.”
Then she sat down on a low chair by the table, and, leaning her head on the arm of the sofa, wept bitterly. In the drawing-room there was only one candle burning in the candelabra, and the chair where she was sitting was in darkness; but I saw how her head and shoulders were quivering, and how her hair, escaping from her combs, covered her neck, her face, her arms…. Her quiet, steady weeping, which was not hysterical but a woman’s ordinary weeping, expressed a sense of insult, of wounded pride, of injury, and of something helpless, hopeless, which one could not set right and to which one could not get used. Her tears stirred an echo in my troubled and suffering heart; I forgot my illness and everything else in the world; I walked about the drawing-room and muttered distractedly:
“Is this life?… Oh, one can’t go on living like this, one can’t…. Oh, it’s madness, wickedness, not life.”