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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesOn The Eve: A Novel - Chapter 28
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On The Eve: A Novel - Chapter 28 Post by :dannyboy Category :Long Stories Author :Ivan Turgenev Date :May 2012 Read :1920

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On The Eve: A Novel - Chapter 28

Chapter XXVIII

Insarov read Elena's note, and at once began to set his room to rights;
asked his landlady to take away the medicine-glasses, took off his
dressing-gown and put on his coat. His head was swimming and his heart
throbbing from weakness and delight. His knees were shaking; he dropped
on to the sofa, and began to look at his watch. 'It's now a quarter to
twelve,' he said to himself. 'She can never come before twelve: I will
think of something else for a quarter of an hour, or I shall break down
altogether. Before twelve she cannot possibly come.'

The door was opened, and in a light silk gown, all pale, all fresh,
young and joyful, Elena came in, and with a faint cry of delight she
fell on his breast.

'You are alive, you are mine,' she repeated, embracing and stroking
his head. He was almost swooning, breathless at such closeness, such
caresses, such bliss.

She sat down near him, holding him fast, and began to gaze at him with
that smiling, and caressing, and tender look, only to be seen shining in
the eyes of a loving woman.

Her face suddenly clouded over.

'How thin you have grown, my poor Dmitri,' she said, passing her hand
over his neck; 'what a beard you have.'

'And you have grown thin, my poor Elena,' he answered, catching her
fingers with his lips.

She shook her curls gaily.

'That's nothing. You shall see how soon we'll be strong again! The storm
has blown over, just as it blew over and passed away that day when we
met in the chapel. Now we are going to live.'

He answered her with a smile only.

'Ah, what a time we have had, Dmitri, what a cruel time! How can people
outlive those they love? I knew beforehand what Andrei Petrovitch would
say to me every day, I did really; my life seemed to ebb and flow with
yours. Welcome back, my Dmitri!'

He did not know what to say to her. He was longing to throw himself at
her feet.

'Another thing I observed,' she went on, pushing back his hair--'I made
so many observations all this time in my leisure--when any one is very,
very miserable, with what stupid attention he follows everything that's
going on about him! I really sometimes lost myself in gazing at a fly,
and all the while such chill and terror in my heart! But that's all
past, all past, isn't it? Everything's bright in the future, isn't it?'

'You are for me in the future,' answered Insarov, 'so it is bright for

'And for me too! But do you remember, when I was here, not the last
time--no, not the last time,' she repeated with an involuntary shudder,
'when we were talking, I spoke of death, I don't know why; I never
suspected then that it was keeping watch on us. But you are well now,
aren't you?'

'I'm much better, I'm nearly well.'

'You are well, you are not dead. Oh, how happy I am!'

A short silence followed.

'Elena?' said Insarov.

'Well, my dearest?'

'Tell me, did it never occur to you that this illness was sent us as a

Elena looked seriously at him.

'That idea did come into my head, Dmitri. But I thought: what am I to be
punished for? What duty have I transgressed, against whom have I sinned?
Perhaps my conscience is not like other people's, but it was silent; or
perhaps I am guilty towards you? I hinder you, I stop you.'

'You don't stop me, Elena; we will go together.'

'Yes, Dmitri, let us go together; I will follow you.... That is my duty.
I love you.... I know no other duty.'

'O Elena!' said Insarov, 'what chains every word of yours fastens on

'Why talk of chains?' she interposed. 'We are free people, you and I.
Yes,' she went on, looking musingly on the floor, while with one hand
she still stroked his hair, 'I experienced much lately of which I had
never had any idea! If any one had told me beforehand that I, a young
lady, well brought up, should go out from home alone on all sorts
of made-up excuses, and to go where? to a young man's lodgings--how
indignant I should have been! And that has all come about, and I feel no
indignation whatever. Really!' she added, and turned to Insarov.

He looked at her with such an expression of adoration, that she softly
dropped her hand from his hair over his eyes.

'Dmitri!' she began again, 'you don't know of course, I saw you there in
that dreadful bed, I saw you in the clutches of death, unconscious.'

'You saw me?'


He was silent for a little. 'And Bersenyev was here?'

She nodded.

Insarov bowed down before her. 'O Elena!' he whispered, 'I don't dare to
look at you.'

'Why? Andrei Petrovitch is so good. I was not ashamed before him. And
what have I to be ashamed of? I am ready to tell all the world that I am
yours.... And Andrei Petrovitch I trust like a brother.'

'He saved me!' cried Insarov. 'He is the noblest, kindest of men!'

'Yes... And do you know I owe everything to him? Do you know that it
was he who first told me that you loved me? And if I could tell you
everything.... Yes, he is a noble man.'

Insarov looked steadily at Elena. 'He is in love with you, isn't he?'

Elena dropped her eyes. 'He did love me,' she said in an undertone.

Insarov pressed her hand warmly. 'Oh you Russians,' he said, 'you have
hearts of pure gold! And he, he has been waiting on me, he has not slept
at night. And you, you, my angel.... No reproaches, no hesitations...
and all this for me, for me----'

'Yes, yes, all for you, because they love you, Ah, Dmitri! How strange
it is! I think I have talked to you of it before, but it doesn't matter,
I like to repeat it, and you will like to hear it. When I saw you the
first time----'

'Why are there tears in your eyes?' Insarov interrupted her.

'Tears? Are there?' She wiped her eyes with her handkerchief. 'Oh, what
a silly boy! He doesn't know yet that people weep from happiness. I
wanted to tell you: when I saw you the first time, I saw nothing special
in you, really. I remember, Shubin struck me much more at first, though
I never loved him, and as for Andrei Petrovitch--oh, there was a moment
when I thought: isn't this he? And with you there was nothing of that
sort; but afterwards--afterwards--you took my heart by storm!'

'Have pity on me,' began Insarov. He tried to get up, but dropped down
on to the sofa again at once.

'What's the matter with you?' inquired Elena anxiously.

'Nothing.... I am still rather weak. I am not strong enough yet for such

'Then sit quietly. Don't dare to move, don't get excited,' she added,
threatening him with her finger. 'And why have you left off your
dressing-gown? It's too soon to begin to be a dandy! Sit down and I will
tell you stories. Listen and be quiet. To talk much is bad for you after
your illness.'

She began to talk to him about Shubin, about Kurnatovsky, and what she
had been doing for the last fortnight, of how war seemed, judging from
the newspapers, inevitable, and so directly he was perfectly well again,
he must, without losing a minute, make arrangements for them to start.
All this she told him sitting beside him, leaning on his shoulder....

He listened to her, listened, turning pale and red. Sometimes he tried
to stop her; suddenly he drew himself up.

'Elena,' he said to her in a strange, hard voice 'leave me, go away.'

'What?' she replied in bewilderment 'You feel ill?' she added quickly.

'No... I'm all right... but, please, leave me now.'

'I don't understand you. You drive me away?.. What are you doing?' she
said suddenly; he had bent over from the sofa almost to the ground,
and was pressing her feet to his lips. 'Don't do that, Dmitri....

He got up.

'Then leave me! You see, Elena, when I was taken ill, I did not lose
consciousness at first; I knew I was on the edge of the abyss; even in
the fever, in delirium I knew, I felt vaguely that it was death coming
to me, I took leave of life, of you, of everything; I gave up hope....
And this return to life so suddenly; this light after the darkness,
you--you--near me, with me--your voice, your breath.... It's more than
I can stand! I feel I love you passionately, I hear you call yourself
mine, I cannot answer for myself... You must go!'

'Dmitri,' whispered Elena, and she nestled her head on his shoulder.
Only now she understood him.

'Elena,' he went on, 'I love you, you know that; I am ready to give my
life for you.... Why have you come to me now, when I am weak, when I
can't control myself, when all my blood's on fire... you are mine, you
say... you love me------'

'Dmitri,' she repeated; she flushed all over, and pressed still closer
to him.

'Elena, have pity on me; go away, I feel as if I should die.... I can't
stand these violent emotions... my whole soul yearns for you ... think,
death was almost parting us.. and now you are here, you are in my
arms... Elena----'

She was trembling all over. 'Take me, then,' she whispered scarcely
above her breath.

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On The Eve: A Novel - Chapter 29 On The Eve: A Novel - Chapter 29

On The Eve: A Novel - Chapter 29
Chapter XXIXNikolai Artemyevitch was walking up and down in his study with a scowlon his face. Shubin was sitting at the window with his legs crossed,tranquilly smoking a cigar.'Leave off tramping from corner to corner, please,' he observed,knocking the ash off his cigar. 'I keep expecting you to speak;there's a rick in my neck from watching you. Besides, there's somethingartificial, melodramatic in your striding.''You can never do anything but joke,' responded Nikolai Artemyevitch.'You won't enter into my position, you refuse to realise that I am usedto that woman, that I am attached to her in fact, that her absence isbound to

On The Eve: A Novel - Chapter 27 On The Eve: A Novel - Chapter 27

On The Eve: A Novel - Chapter 27
Chapter XXVIIBersenyev's words turned out only partly true; the danger was over,but Insarov gained strength slowly, and the doctor talked of a completeundermining of the whole system. The patient left his bed for allthat, and began to walk about the room; Bersenyev went home to his ownlodging, but he came every day to his still feeble friend; and every dayas before he informed Elena of the state of his health. Insarov didnot dare to write to her, and only indirectly in his conversations withBersenyev referred to her; but Bersenyev, with assumed carelessness,told him about his visits to the Stahovs, trying, however,