Full Online Books
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWithout Dogma - 1 June to 30 June
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
Without Dogma - 1 June to 30 June Post by :infinet Category :Long Stories Author :Henryk Sienkiewicz Date :May 2012 Read :938

Click below to download : Without Dogma - 1 June to 30 June (Format : PDF)

Without Dogma - 1 June to 30 June

1 June.

Yesterday I received news from Gastein. The rooms for Pani Celina and Aniela are ready. I sent them the particulars, together with a parcel of books by Balzac and George Sand. To-day is Sunday, and the first day of the races. My aunt has arrived from Ploszow and taken up her abode with me. That she went to the races is a matter of course, she is altogether absorbed in them. But our horses, Naughty Boy and Aurora, which arrived here two days ago with the trainer Webb and Jack Goose, the jockey, are on the list for Thursday; therefore my aunt's attendance at the Sunday races was merely a platonic affair. The goings on here are past all description. The stables have been converted into a kind of fortress. My aunt fancies the jockeys of other racing studkeepers shake in their shoes at the very mention of Naughty Boy, and are ready to use every means to prevent his running; consequently in every orange boy or organ grinder that comes into the yard, she sees an enemy in disguise, bent upon some evil practice. The Swiss porter and the servants have strict orders to keep an eye upon everybody that comes in. In the stables, the precautions taken are still stricter. The trainer Webb, being an Englishman, remains impassive, but the unfortunate Jack Goose, a native of Burzany, and whose name is a literal translation from the Polish Kuba Gonsior, fairly loses his head; my aunt scolds him and the grooms, natives also of Burzany, whenever she fancies things are going wrong. She was so much at the stables that I did not see much of her, and only when departing she told me that Aniela was to come for the races. I suppose Pani Celina consented to this in order to please my aunt; besides, she can very well remain alone for one day, with the doctor and the maids to look after her. Aniela, who is walled up at Ploszow day after day, really wants a little change. For me this is joyful news indeed. The very thought that she will be under my roof has a singular charm for me. Here I began to love her and maybe her heart kept beating a little faster after that entertainment my aunt gave here in her honor. Everything here will remind her of the past.


2 June.

It is fortunate I did not have the rooms altered to suit a museum. I have an idea to give a dinner-party after the races. In this way I shall be able to keep her here a few hours longer,--and besides, she will understand that it is all for her.


3 June.

I ordered a cartload of plants and flowers to put along the staircase and in the rooms. Aniela's room remains exactly as it was when she occupied it. I suppose the ladies will arrive in the morning and Aniela will want to change her dress. I had a large mirror put there, and every requisite for a lady's toilet. Aniela will meet everywhere proofs of thoughtfulness, memory, and faithful love. Only now, while writing, it strikes me how much easier I feel when occupied with something, when outward activity takes me out of the enchanted circle of reflection and pondering over myself. Even driving nails into the wall for the pictures of the future museum would be better than twisting one idea around another. Why cannot I be a simple-minded man? If I had been that in times gone by I should be now the happiest man in the world.


4 June.

I went to-day to invite the Sniatynskis and several other people to dinner. Sniatynski has spread the news of my founding a museum for the public, and I am at present the hero of the day. All the papers write about it, improving the occasion as usual by pitching into those that waste their substance abroad instead of doing good to the country. I know their style so well, and it amuses me. There are the usual phrases about a citizen's duties and "noblesse oblige," but it suits my purpose. I gathered the whole packet to show my aunt and Aniela.


5 June.

The races have been fixed a day sooner because of to-morrow's holiday. Aniela and my aunt arrived this morning with a maid and sundry boxes containing their racing toilets. The first glance at Aniela filled me with terror. She does not look well at all; her face is wan and has lost its former warm color; it seems smaller too, and there is something misty about her that reminds me of Puvis de Chawannes' figures. My aunt and her mother do not notice it, because they see her every day; but to me, after the absence of a few days, the change is very remarkable. I am seized with contrition and sincere pity. It is evident that the inward struggle is telling upon her. If she would only end it, and follow the dictates of a heart that is mine,--a hundred times mine and pleads for me,--all her troubles would cease and happiness begin. I am getting deeper and deeper into the quicksands. It seemed to me that I knew her so well; every detail and every feature stands out before my eyes when I do not see her, and yet when I meet her, after a few days' absence, I discover a new charm, and find something new I like in her. How she satisfies my every taste, and I am deeply conscious that she is my type,--my only affinity. This consciousness gives me a belief, half mystic, half approaching the natural hypothesis, that she was meant for me. When hearing the sound of wheels, I ran down to meet her, and again had the sensation one might call falling under the spell; again the reality seemed to me more perfect than the picture I carry in my heart. She was dressed in a dust-cloak of Chinese silk; a long gray veil was twisted round her hat and tied under her chin, and from amid that frame the dear face, always more like a girl's than a married woman's, smiled at me. Her greeting was more cheerful and more frank than usual; it was evident the morning drive and the prospect of a little pleasure had brightened her spirits; this filled me with delight. I thought, "She is glad to see me again, and Ploszow appears to her dull and empty without me." I offered one arm to my aunt and the other to Aniela, as the staircase is wide enough for three persons, and led them upstairs. At the sight of all the plants and flowers she uttered a little cry of wonder.

"It is my surprise," I said.

I pressed her arm slightly, so slightly that it might have passed for an accidental movement, and then turning to my aunt, said:--

"I am giving a dinner in honor of the Ploszowski success."

My aunt was deeply gratified with my belief in that event. Ah! if she knew how little I care for Naughty Boy, and all the races the Ploszow horses might win on all the race-courses of Europe. Aniela evidently guessed something of this, but she was in such spirits that she only cast a passing glance at me, and bit her lips to hide a smile.

I well-nigh lost my head. In the covert smile I saw a shade of coquetry I had never noticed there before. It is impossible, I thought, that she should have no vanity whatever, and not feel flattered in the least, on perceiving that all I am doing is done through her and for her sake.

My aunt divested herself of her travelling-wraps, and without delay went to inspect Naughty Boy and Aurora, and I showed Aniela the list of the invited guests.

"I tried to bring together people you like; but if there is anybody else you would like to have, I will go myself, or send an invitation."

"Show it to aunty;" replied Aniela, "let her decide."

"No; aunty will sit at the head of the table, and we shall go to her with our congratulations or condolences, as the case may be; but the part of lady of the house I have assigned to you."

Aniela blushed a little, and, trying to change the conversation, said:--

"Leon, I do hope Naughty Boy will win; aunty has set her heart upon it, and will be so vexed if it should turn out otherwise."

"I have won already, because I have as guest under my roof a certain small person who is sitting opposite me."

"You are making fun; but I am really anxious about it."

"My aunt," I replied, more seriously, "will have some compensation if she loses. My collections will be in Warsaw in a few weeks, and this has been the dearest wish of her life. She always tried to make my father give them to the town. All the papers are full of it, and praise me to an extent you have no idea of."

The dear face lit up with pleasure.

"Show me; read it to me," she said eagerly.

I had a desire to kiss her hands for that glimpse of brightness. It was a new proof. If I were indifferent to her, would she rejoice so much when I am praised?

"Not now," I replied. "I will read it when my aunt comes back, or rather she must read it, and I will hide my blushes behind you; you, at least, shall not see how foolish I look."

"Why should you look foolish?"

"Because the thing is not worth all the fuss, and if there be any merit in it, it is yours, not mine. They ought to praise you. I would give a good deal if I could tell those journalists: 'If you think well of it, go _en masse and kneel at certain little feet and pour out your gratitude there!'"

"Leon! Leon!" interrupted Aniela.

"Now do not say a word, lest I should feel tempted to divulge the great secret."

Aniela did not know what to say. The words were those of a man in love; but the tone was so playful and jesting that she could not possibly receive them in a tragic spirit.

I was glad I had discovered a way by which I could convey a deeper meaning without absolutely frightening her. But I did not take too much advantage of it, and presently, in a more serious tone, began telling her about the projected changes in the house.

"The whole story is to be given up to the collections, with the exception of the room in which you lived last winter. This remains as it was. I have only permitted myself to adorn it a little for your reception."

Saying this I led her to the door. Standing on the threshold she exclaimed with astonishment:--

"Oh, what lovely flowers!"

I said in a low voice:--

"And you the most lovely among them!"

Then added, earnestly:--

"You believe me, Aniela, if I tell you that it is in this room I wish to die some day!"

Oh, how much sincerity there was in these words. Aniela's face grew misty; all the radiance had gone. I saw that my words had touched a chord, as all words do that come from the depth of the soul. For a moment her whole body swayed as if some inward power pushed her towards me. But she resisted still. She stood before me, her eyes veiled by the long lashes, and said, with mournful dignity:--

"Let me be at ease with you, Leon; do not sadden me."

"Very well, Aniela; I will not say anything more; here is my hand upon it."

I gave her my hand, and she pressed it warmly, as if by that pressure she wanted to say all she forbade her lips to utter. It indemnified me for all I had suffered, and almost made me stagger on my feet. For the first time I felt distinctly that I was taking for my own this being,--body and soul. It was a sensation of such immeasurable happiness as to cause me almost pain. New, unknown worlds began to open for me. From this moment I grew quite convinced that her resistance was only a question of time.

My aunt returned from the stables in excellent humor; no attempt had been made upon Naughty Boy's precious health. The trainer, Webb, to all inquiries, had the same answer,--"All right." Jack Goose was animated by the boldest spirit. We went to the window to see the future conquerors come from the stables; for it was time they went to the Mokotoff Field, there to pace around until their turn arrived. A few minutes later we saw the grooms leading them into the yard, encased from top to bottom as in a pillow-slip. Only the soft eyes were visible through the slit; and from below, the shapely feet that seemed wrought in steel. They were followed by Webb and our little home-bred Englishman, Jack Goose, in a new overcoat, which concealed his silks and jockey-boots. I called out to him through the open window:--

"Mind, and don't get beaten, Kuba!"

He raised his cap, and pointing with it at Naughty Boy, replied in the purest, not London, but Bursany, dialect:--

"Bedom prosz jasnie hrabiego widzieli, ale ino jegozad." (They will see him, my lord, but only his hind-quarters.)

We sat down to a hurried lunch; nevertheless my aunt had time to read what the papers had to say about the future museum. It is strange how sensitive women are to public applause for their nearest mankind. My aunt fairly beamed at me through her spectacles, and was incomparable when she now and then, interrupting the reading, glanced keenly at Aniela, and then said in her most dogmatic tone:--

"They do not exaggerate the least bit. He was always like that."

Praise heaven there was not another sceptic mind present, otherwise I should have looked foolish indeed.

It was time for the ladies to dress. Before leaving the room my aunt turned to me and said with the most innocent expression of face:--

"We must be quick, for I promised to call for Panna Zawilowski; she was going with her father, but as he is suffering from an attack of gout I shall have to chaperon her."

With this she went to her room. We looked at each other, Aniela and I; the corners of her mouth twitched with merriment. "Aniela, it is a new matrimonial scheme, what shall I do?" She put a finger to her lips in warning that I spoke too loud, and disappeared within her room; presently the lovely head peeped out through the half-open door.

"I just remembered you have not asked Miss Hilst," she said.

"No, I have not asked her."


"Because I love her on the sly," I retorted, laughing.

"Seriously, why did you not invite her?"

"If you wish I will invite her now."

"It is as you wish," she replied, and disappeared again.

But I preferred not to invite Miss Hilst.

An hour later we were driving in the Belvederski Avenue. Aniela wore a cream-colored dress trimmed with lace. I have such a knack of saying with my eyes what my lips must not utter, that Aniela read in them my rapture. I recognized it in her face, that looked half-pleased, half-vexed. We stopped on the way before the Zawilowski villa, and before I had time to ring, the door opened, and Panna Zawilowska herself came out. She stood before me a vision in silver gray, rather a cold vision, as she barely nodded to me before going to my aunt. She is rather plain than pretty,--a blond with steely blue eyes and studied manners. She is considered a very pattern of distinction, and with good reason; that is, if distinction means the same as stiffness. Her treatment of me is as cold as her eyes, too cold even to be quite natural. If this is a method adopted on purpose to chafe my vanity, it is very foolish, for it only bores me, and does not provoke me in the least. I am rather glad of it, as it permits me to pay her only such attentions as simple politeness exacts.

To-day I paid her a little more attention; she served me in fact as a screen to avert any suspicion from Aniela. Presently we drove on again, but very slowly, as in front and in rear as far as the eye could reach, all sorts of vehicles were moving in the same direction. Before us and behind, there was a perfect stream of sunshades; the various colors of which shone in the sun and created a warmly tinted shadow from beneath which peeped forth, women's heads with delicate and refined features. There was the average number of pretty faces, but they expressed a want of temperament. I did not even see it in the financial world, which, besides many other things, puts on temperament rather than possesses it in reality. Among the carriages not a few displayed considerable taste, and the bright toilets changing and gleaming in the sun on a background of green trees, the crowds of fine people and fine horses gave the whole show a highly civilized appearance, not lacking either in picturesqueness. I was glad to see Aniela pleased with the motion and turmoil. Replying to my casual remarks she looked at me with gratitude as if it were I that had arranged it all for her pleasure. Sitting opposite, I could look at her without constraint, but I turned oftener towards Panna Zawilowska, from whom blew a cold air, as from a decanter of iced water, which began to amuse me; her words and manner seemed to imply that she agreed to my society, because politeness did not permit her to do otherwise. I treated her with a certain good-humored courtesy that seemed to irritate her not a little.

We arrived at last on the Mokotoffskie Pola. There was a reserved place near the grand stand for my aunt's carriage, and presently various acquaintances with tickets stuck on their hats came up and congratulated her upon the promising appearance of Naughty Boy. One of the greatest horsebreeders said to her that the horse was a splendid animal, though not sufficiently trained; but as the turf was soft from yesterday's rain, a strong animal like Naughty Boy stood a fair chance of coming in a winner.

It seemed to me that he spoke a little ironically, which made me feel uneasy. Naughty Boy's defeat would spoil the day for my aunt, and indirectly for me, too, as her bad humor would damp our pleasure. In the mean while I looked around me at the field, and searched for known faces. The race course was thronged with people. The grand stand looked like a dark, compact mass, relieved by bright female toilets. The course was surrounded by rows after rows of spectators; even the town walls were alive with them. On either side of the grand stand stood a long line of carriages; each separately looked like a flower-basket. Not very far from where I stood I became suddenly aware of a pink face and aggressive little nose that could not belong to anybody but Pani Sniatynska. I went up to her and she told me her husband had just left her to look for Miss Hilst; and then, almost in one breath, asked me how my aunt was, whether Aniela was at the races, how the ladies would manage their journey to Gastein since Pani Celina could not walk, whether I thought Naughty Boy would win the race, and what we would do if he lost, and how many people had I invited to dinner. While standing near her carriage I noticed what a sweet expression her face has, and the pretty foot that peeped forth from the carriage; but as to answering all the questions, I should have to borrow Gargantua's mouth, as Shakspeare says. Replying to one or two of the questions and saying I hoped to see her after the races, I followed Sniatynski's track in search of Clara. I found her carriage not far from my aunt's. Clara looked like a hill covered with heliotrope blossoms. I found her surrounded by a host of admirers and artists, conversing gayly with them. Her face clouded when she saw me, and my reception was of the coolest. A friendly word from me would have changed all that, but I remained cold; after a quarter of an hour's polite and ceremonious conversation, I went farther, exchanging here and there a few words with people I knew, and then turned toward our own carriage. The first two races had taken place, and Naughty Boy's turn came at last.

I looked at my aunt; the expression of her face was very solemn; she evidently tried her best to keep cool. On the contrary, Aniela's face showed evident uneasiness. We had to wait some time before the horses came out, because the weighing lasted unusually long. Suddenly Sniatynski came running up, gesticulating with both hands, and showing some bits of paper.

"I have put a pot of money on Naughty Boy," he exclaimed; "if he betrays me, I shall have to throw myself upon your well-known charity."

"I trust--" began my aunt, with all her dignity.

But she did not finish her sentence, as at this moment from amid the dark mass of people there rose the varicolored caps and silks of the jockeys. The horses were slowly trotting along. Some of them, finding themselves in the open, quickened their pace; others followed more leisurely. At the start they passed us in a group and not very fast, so as to save their horses' strength, the race being a double one. But at the second turn they were drawn out in a line. It looked as if the wind had scattered the petals of some flowers along the road. The first was a jockey in white, closely followed by another in pale blue and red, then two together, one in red, the other in red and yellow; our Kuba in orange and black was last but one, followed by a jockey in white and blue. This order did not last long. When the horses had reached the other side of the course, there arose some commotion in the carriages. The more excited ladies climbed up on the seats so as not to lose the least part of the race; their example was followed by my aunt, who evidently could not sit still any longer.

Aniela offered her place to Panna Zawilowska, who, after some ceremonious protests, accepted it; and I helped Aniela to the back seat, and, as she had nothing to hold on by, offered her my hand. I confess that I did not think of the race so much as of the dear little hand that rested so trustingly in mine.

My aunt's back obscured the view a little; but raising myself on tiptoe, I swept the whole field with my eyes, and saw the jockeys drawing near the curve of the other side. Seen from this distance, they looked like bright-colored beetles flying through the air; the motion appeared slow, and the throwing out of the horses' fore and hind legs almost mechanical. But in spite of the apparent slowness, they cleared the ground very swiftly.

The order of the riders was changed again. The white was still leading, followed by the red; but our Kuba was third now. The others remained behind, and the distance between them grew wider every moment. Naughty Boy was evidently not the worst among them. For a moment I lost sight of him, and presently saw him again as they passed us. The red was close upon the white, and Kuba gaining ground. I now observed for the first time that the white would have no chance, as the horse's flanks shone with moisture, as if water had been poured over him. It was clear the race would lie between the red and orange and black. At the worst, Naughty Boy would be second, and the defeat not so complete. What inspired me with confidence was the horse's pace; he threw out his legs so evenly, as if he performed a daily task. The spectators' excitement became greater every moment.

"Has Naughty Boy lost?" asked Aniela, in a low, excited voice, seeing the order in which the horses came past the stand.

"No, dear; they have still another round," I replied, pressing her hand slightly. She did not withdraw her hand; it is true that her whole attention was absorbed in the race. When the horses came to the other side, Kuba was second, the white was so exhausted that he had to fall back, and the three following riders came up to him. It was now a race between the two, and there were only five or six lengths between them. Suddenly a loud murmur from the stand told us that something unusual had happened; Kuba was coming up to his adversary. The murmurs on the stand grew into a tumult. Aniela was so carried away by excitement that she squeezed my hand nervously, and asked every moment, "What are they doing now?" The riders were on the left side of the field. The red, by the help of his whip, had gained a little; but presently Naughty Boy almost touched him with his nose. In this furious pace they came both on a line with the stand, where we lost sight of them again. The struggle would be over now in a few seconds. On the stand there was a momentary silence, which suddenly changed into loud, prolonged cheering. Many people were running along the lines which hide the road, and at this moment we saw the red nostrils; the horse's head, stretched out like a cord, orange and black, was carried along as if by a hurricane. The bell rang on the grand stand,--the victory was ours.

The red had lost by a dozen lengths.

I must say for my aunt that she never lost her self-possession. Nobody but me noticed the few drops of perspiration which stood on her forehead; she fanned with her pocket-handkerchief. Aniela was excited, amused, and happy. We both congratulated our aunt; even Panna Zawilowska said a few French sentences, stiff and proper, as if taken from a copy-book. Presently a crowd of acquaintances thronged around our carriage, and my aunt's triumph was complete.

I was also intoxicated, but by something quite different; namely, the pressure of Aniela's hand. In vain I said to myself that it was nothing but the excitement of the moment; because it occurred to me that a woman's resistance often passes a crisis in such moments of exaltation, when carried beside herself by some amusement, beautiful view, or other circumstance different from the even tenor of every-day life. Then a certain relaxation of the nerves takes place, in presence of which a loss of the usual balance is easily explained. Taking into account this special state of Aniela's mind, I arrived at the conclusion that she did not fight against her feeling any longer; and I resolved to put an end to it.

I suppose at Ploszow there will be no difficulty about a chance. We go back to-morrow. To-day's entertainment, the dinner, the conversation, and the excitement are so many drops of narcotic. She does not even suppose what happiness there is in store for us; but she must surrender her soul to me, wholly and unconditionally.

Though my aunt had notified Pani Celina that we might remain at Warsaw until the next day, we really intended going back after dinner,--when something occurred that prevented our starting. Dinner and tea afterwards lasted until ten o'clock. When the last of our guests had departed somebody came to tell my aunt that Naughty Boy had been taken ill. There was a great confusion. The vet was sent for in a hurry, but it was midnight before he arrived. My aunt would not think of going so late as that.

Aniela wanted to go very much, but knew I would have to go with her; and she is still afraid of me. My aunt told her she would only rouse the whole house, disturbing thereby her mother, and wound up by saying:--

"Leon does not mind my looking at his house as my own; consequently you are my guest. It would be the same if I gave up Ploszow to him; I should live there, and you with me,--at least, so long as Celina has not recovered her health."

And finally Aniela had to remain.

It is now three o'clock in the morning. It is already growing light; but lanterns are still flitting across the yard near the stables, where they are busy with Naughty Boy.

My aunt, when wishing us good-night, announced that she intended to remain a day longer at Warsaw; whereupon I said that I had left some papers at Ploszow, and would go and fetch them, and see Aniela home at the same time. We shall be alone, and I will hesitate no longer. The blood rushes to my heart at the thought that I shall travel, though only a short distance, with the dear love close to my heart, and listen to her confession that she loves me as much as I love her.

The sky is clouded, and it has begun to rain. A few hours only divide me from the moment when a new life is to begin for me. Of course I do not sleep; I could not sleep now for anything in the world. There is no heaviness on my eyelids,--I write, and recall memories. I still seem to feel the pressure of her hand on mine. I made that soul, educated, developed it, and prepared it for love. I am like the head of an army, who has foreseen all chances, arranged and calculated everything, and does not sleep on the eve of the day that will decide his fate. But Aniela sleeps peacefully on the other side of the house; and even her dreams plead for me, for my love. When I think of this, all my nerves are vibrating.

In that ocean of trouble, evil, foolishness, uncertainties, and doubts we call life, there is one thing worth living for, as certain and as strong as--nay, stronger than--death; and that is love. Beyond it there is nothingness.


6 June.

I went with Aniela, and am even now asking myself, "Have I gone mad?" I did not hold her close to my heart, did not hear an avowal of love. I was spurned without a moment's hesitation; all her modesty risen in arms, she reduced me to a mere nothing. What is it? Am I a fool without brains, or has she no heart? What am I fighting against? What are the obstacles in my way? Why does she spurn me? My head is in such a chaotic state that I can neither think, write, nor reason. I only repeat to myself, over and over again, "What is it that bars my way?"


7 June.

I have made an enormous mistake somewhere; there is something in Aniela I have not observed or taken into account. For two days I have tried to understand what has happened to me, but my head was in such a whirl that I could not think. Now I am collecting my thoughts, pulling myself together to look the situation in the face. It would be clear enough if Aniela were guarded by a strong love for her husband. I could understand then the offended modesty and indignation with which a being, so meek and sweet-tempered usually, spurned me from her feet. But I cannot even suppose such a thing. I have still enough brains left to know that it is a mistake to see things too black, as it is a mistake to see them too rose-colored. Where should her love for Kromitzki have come from? She married him without love. In the short time they lived together, he deceived her and sold the land so dear to both of those women, and injured her mother's health. They have no child; besides, a child does not teach a woman to love her husband; it only teaches her to take him into account; it makes her safer,--that is to say, it strengthens the union of hands, not of hearts. Aniela besides does not belong to that kind of women to whom love comes suddenly, as a revelation after marriage; women like that pine more after their husbands, or more readily take a lover. I speak of all this in such a matter of fact way that it hurts me; but why should I spare myself? Finally, I am convinced she has no feeling even approaching to love for Kromitzki,--what is more, does not even respect him; she does not permit herself to despise him, that is all. I consider that as proved, otherwise I should be blind.

Then if her heart at the moment of my return was a _tabula rasa I must have contrived to write something on it, I who managed this in other conditions, and was more bent on it than I ever was on anything in my life, who worked upon her feelings of friendship, touched the chords of pity and memories of the past, not neglecting anything, considering every trifle, and moreover am possessed of the power a strong, earnest feeling gives. I take myself by the shoulders: "Man, whatever you may be, you are not a provincial lion, that considers himself irresistible to any woman chance throws in his way; have you not deluded yourself into the belief that she loves you?"

What speaks in favor of its being a delusion?

At the first glance, her resistance.

But I never supposed for a moment that she would not resist. I fancy to myself any other married woman, desperately in love with another man; can one suppose she would not resist and struggle against it and the loved one, until her strength gave way? Resistance is not the outcome of love, but since those two forces can exist side by side like two birds in a nest, one does not exclude the other.

I write this diary not only because it has become my second nature, my passion, not only because it gives an outlet for my pent-up feelings, but still more because it gives me a clear view and keeps account of all that is passing. I read over again the pages where I have written down my and Aniela's history from the time of my arrival at Ploszow. I have taken note of well-nigh every glance, every smile and tear, caught every tremor of her heart; and no! I do not deceive myself, the analysis is not wrong! Hers were the tears, the words, the glances and smiles of a woman--maybe unhappy--but not indifferent. I must have influenced her, made an impression upon her. I am not blind; it tears my heart day after day to see how her face is getting smaller, the hands more transparent--and it makes my hair stand on end to think she is paying out her life in this struggle. But all these are invincible proofs. Her heart, her thoughts belong to me. For that very reason she is unhappy--perhaps even more unhappy than I.

I read over what I wrote a moment ago,--that I did not even suppose she would not resist. I thought so soon after my return to Ploszow, but lately and when she was at Warsaw I fancied that I saw signs of yielding. I was wrong. She did not give way in the least, showed no sign of pity; my words to which she would not even listen seemed blasphemy to her. I saw in her eyes sparks of anger and resentment; she tore away her hands I covered with kisses, and the words: "You insult me!" were continually on her lips. Her energy daunted me the more as I had least expected such an explosion of wrath. Ah me! She threatened to leave the carriage and go on foot in the pelting rain to Ploszow. The word "divorce" acted upon her as a red-hot iron. I obtained nothing, nothing, nothing with all my eloquence and audacity; neither my entreaties nor my love moved her; she took everything as an insult to her womanhood, spurned my love and trampled on it. To-day when I see her so meek and sweet-tempered it seems like a horrid dream, and I can scarcely believe that it is the same woman. I cannot hide it from myself; I have met with a defeat so complete and decisive that if I had the strength, or anything else to live for I ought to go away at once.

Supposing she does love me, what good can it be to me if that feeling is to remain for ever imprisoned within her own heart, and never show itself--either in word or deed? I might as well be loved by Greek Helen, Cleopatra, Beatrice, or Mary Stuart. Such must be the feeling which does not desire anything, exact anything, and is sufficient unto itself. Maybe her heart belongs to me, but it is a faint heart, incapable of any action.

Possibly she poses before herself as a lofty soul, sacrificing her love upon the altar of duty--and pleases herself in that pose. It is a satisfaction worth doing something for. Be it so! Sacrifice me; but if you think you sacrifice much in immolating your feeling, and feed your duty upon it, you are mistaken. I cannot, I cannot either think or write calmly.


8 June.

A coquette is like a usurer, giving very little and exacting upon it a high percentage. To-day, as I am growing more composed and can think again, I must render Aniela justice; she never encouraged me or exacted anything. What I mistook for a touch of coquetry at Warsaw was mere joyfulness of a youthful spirit that had shaken itself momentarily free from all trouble. All that has happened was brought on by me. I made mistake after mistake, and it is all my fault.

To know something, and to make it a matter of calculation are two different things. We account to ourselves for unknown factors which act upon the soul of a given individual, but in dealing with the same we generally take ourselves as a point of issue. This happened to me. I knew, or at least was conscious of the fact, that Aniela and I are as different from each other as if we were the inhabitants of two separate planets, but I did not always remember it. Involuntarily I counted upon her acting in a certain position as I should have acted.

In spite of the consciousness that we two are the most dissimilar beings under the sun, as opposite as the poles, I note it down with a certain surprise, and seem not able to get used to the thought. And yet it is true. I am a thousand times more like Laura Davis than Aniela.

And now I begin to understand why I failed.

The rock I split against is the want of that which has vanished within me, thereby freeing my thoughts, but bringing instead of it the mortal disease that has become my tragedy; it is the catechismal simplicity of the soul.

Now I can account for it clearly, perhaps not quite satisfactorily, for I am of so complex a disposition as to have lost the very instinct of simplicity. "I hear thy voice, but I see thee not." My spiritual sight suffers from Daltonian disease and cannot distinguish colors.

I cannot even understand how any one can accept a principle, however hallowed by ages, without looking at it from both sides, pulling it to pieces, into shreds and atoms, until it crumbles into dust and cannot be put together any more.

Aniela cannot understand that a principle once considered good, hallowed by religion, as well as by public opinion, could be considered otherwise than as a sacred duty.

It does not matter to me whether she is conscious of it, or it is instinctive impulse reasoned out by her intelligence, or merely acquired; it is enough that it has entered her very nature.

I had a glimpse of it the other day when I spoke about Pani Korytzka's divorce suit: "You can prove everything, and yet when one does wrong conscience tells us: 'It is wrong, it is wrong!'" I did not then attach the importance to these words that belonged to them. In Aniela there is no wavering, no doubt whatever. Her soul winnows the chaff from the grain with such precision that there can be no question about its purity. She does not try to find her own norma, but takes it ready-made from religion, general moral principles, and clings to them so strongly that they become her very own, for they permeate her system. The simpler the differential quality of good and evil, the more absolute and merciless it grows. In this ethical code there are no extenuating circumstances. As according to it the wife belongs to her husband, she who gives herself to another does wrong. There are no discussions, no considerations, or reflections,--there is the right hand for the righteous, the left for the sinners, God's mercy above all,--but nothing between, no intermediate place.

It is the code of the honest villager, so simple that people like me do not understand it. It seems to us that human life and human souls are too complex to find room in it. Unfortunately we have not found anything to replace it, and consequently we flutter here and there like stray birds, in loneliness and alarm.

The greater part of our women still hold fast to that code. Even those who occasionally stray from it do not permit themselves a momentary doubt as to its truth and sacredness. Where it begins, reasoning leaves off.

The poets erroneously represent woman as an enigma, a living Sphinx. Man is a hundred times more of an enigma and a Sphinx. A healthy woman that is not hysterical may be either good or bad, strong or weak, but she has more spiritual simplicity than man. Forever and all times the Ten Commandments are enough for her, whether she live according to their tenets, or through human frailty set them aside.

The female soul is so dogmatic that I have known a woman whose very atheism took the form of religion.

It is strange that this code of the honest villager does not exclude in women either keen intelligence, a subtle mind, or loftiness of ideas. Their soul seems to have something of the humming-bird which flits in and out the thickest shrubs, without getting entangled in their branches, or touching a single leaf.

This may be said especially in regard to Aniela. The greatest subtility of feeling and thought goes hand in hand with the utmost simplicity of moral ideas. Her Ten Commandments are the same as the village girls', with the exception that those of the latter are wrought on coarse linen, and hers on a web as fine as lace. Why do I discuss this question? Simply because it is a question of my happiness, almost my life; for I feel that with all my complex and intricate philosophy of love, I cannot get over the Ten Commandments. And how can I conquer them, since I do not even believe in that philosophy, while Aniela's faith in her principles is calm and unshaken?

Only the lips that have been drinking at the fountain of doubt opine that a forbidden kiss is not a sin. A religious woman may be carried away, as a tree is swept away by a hurricane, by forbidden love, but she will never acknowledge it.

Shall I ever be able to carry off Aniela? It is possible that my present state of despondency and discouragement is only a passing one, and to-morrow I shall feel more hopeful,--to-day all seems impossible.

I wrote once in this same diary that in certain families they inoculate their children with modesty as they inoculate for small-pox. The rule which says the wife shall belong to the husband, and in which Aniela believes so firmly, is strengthened by that modesty, so knitted into her being, so worked into the system, that I could sooner fancy Aniela cold and lifeless than baring her bosom in my presence.

And I can still delude myself with the idea that I may expect anything from her! It is simple idiocy!

What am I to do then? Go away?

No; I shall not go away. I will not, and cannot.

I will remain, and since my love is idiotic, I will do as idiots do. Enough of systems, calculations, forethought! Let things take their own way. My former ways did not lead to anything.


9 June.

She is not a bit happier than I am. What I saw to-day confirmed my suspicion that she is fighting a heavy battle, with nothing to help her except the truth of her own faith and convictions.

After the departure of Pan Zawilowski and his daughter, who had paid us a visit, my aunt, evidently with a certain purpose, began to enlarge upon the good qualities of Panna Zawilowska. I burst out into a sudden rage; I was tired, my nerves over-wrought by sleeplessness and irritated beyond measure. I exclaimed: "Have your way then! If it be a question of marriage only, and not of happiness, I will propose to-morrow to Panna Zawilowska. She or somebody else; what does it matter?"

Anybody might have seen it was merely irritation, not conviction, that dictated words I should never have acted upon. But Aniela had grown very white. She rose and without apparent reason began to unfasten the cords of the blind with trembling hands. Fortunately my aunt was so taken aback by the suddenness of my outburst that she did not notice her. She said something, I did not hear what, as all my attention was concentrated upon Aniela. It is true that by reasoning I had come to the conclusion that something must be going on in her heart, but to reason out a thing and to see it, are two different things. As long as I live I shall never forget that white face and those trembling hands. I had now a tangible proof, which, however I might explain it by the suddenness of my announcement, is still proof enough. Sudden news either of the death or marriage of anybody that is indifferent to us does not pale our cheeks.

I thought a few days ago: "Of what use is it to me that she loves me, if that love is to remain forever hidden in her breast?" and yet when I came to read, as I did now, the confirmation of it, my hope rose at once and all doubts vanished. Again a vision of possible victory flashed before my eyes,--alas! to be dissolved almost at once into nothing. My aunt, saying something, went out of the room, maybe to wipe away a furtive tear at my hardness, and I went up to Aniela.

"Aniela dear! I would not marry that girl for anything in the world, but you ought to enter a little in my position. I have troubles enough to bear, and even here they will not leave me in peace. You know best that I could never dream of such a step."

"On the contrary, I should be glad if that happened," she said, with evident effort.

"It is not true! I have seen you changing color,--I have seen it."

"Permit me to go away."

"Aniela mine! you love me! do not lie to me and to yourself; you love me!"

She grew white to her lips.

"No," she replied quickly; "but I am afraid I might learn to hate you."

And with that she left the room. I know that to a woman who fights with herself, a bitter and forbidden love often seems akin to hatred; and yet Aniela's words staggered me and extinguished the newborn hope, as one blows out a candle. There are many quite natural things in this world which we are strong enough to bear but for our nerves. I am struck by a truth not recognized by me formerly, not recognized generally,--that love for another man's wife, if only a pastime is the greatest vileness, and if real, the greatest misfortune that can happen to any man; the more worthy the woman the greater the misfortune. I have a burning curiosity within me, very bitter at the same time, as to what Aniela would do if I said to her: "Either put your arms round my neck and own that you love me, or I will blow out my brains here before your eyes!" I know it would be the meanest thing in the world, and I should never force her hand in that way; no! whatever I may be, I am not bad enough for that! But I cannot help thinking, "What would she do?" I am almost certain she would not survive the shock and the scorn of herself, but she would not yield. When I think of this I curse her and worship her at the same time; I hate her and love her more than ever. The worst is I do not see how I shall ever get out of this enchanted circle. Added to the passion of the senses this woman wakes in me, I have for her a dog-like affection. I envelop her with my eyes and thoughts, can never satiate myself with the sight of her, and at the same time she is the most desirable of women, and the very crown of my head. No other woman ever attached me to her so absolutely and in that twofold manner.

At times this influence of hers over me seems well-nigh incredible; then again I explain it, and as usual take the worst view of it. I have lived too quickly, passed already the zenith, and am going down hill, where it is dark and cold. I feel that in her I could recover my lost youth, vitality, and the desire for life. If she be lost to me, then truly nothing remains but to vegetate, and gloominess unutterable as the foretaste of decay. Therefore I love Aniela with the instinct of self-preservation,--not with my senses only, not with my soul, but also from the fear of annihilation.

Aniela does not know all this; but I suppose she pities me, just as I torture her, who would give my life to make her happy. And therefore I say again that the love for another man's wife is the greatest misfortune, since it leads the man to make her unhappy whose happiness he would ensure at the cost of his own. The result of this is that we are both unhappy. But you, Aniela, have at least your dogma to support you, whereas I am verily like a boat drifting without helm and oar.

I am not well in health either. I sleep very badly, or rather scarcely at all. I should like to fall ill and lie unconscious for a month without memories, without trouble--and rest. It would be a kind of holiday. Chwastowski examined me yesterday, and said I had the nerves of a decaying race, but had inherited a fair supply of muscular strength. I believe he is right; but for that I should have succumbed ere this to my nerves. Maybe to my very strength I may ascribe this present concentration of feeling; it had to find an outlet somewhere, and as it did not find it either in science or other useful work, it all got absorbed into love for a woman. But owing to my nervous system it is turbid, stormy, and crooked,--above all, crooked.

What sensations I pass through every day! Towards evening the dear old aunt came to me and began to apologize for praising Panna Zawilowska to me. I kissed both her hands, and in my turn asked her to forgive my momentary show of temper. She then said,--

"I promise never to mention her again. It is true, my dear Leon, I wish from all my heart to see you married, for you are the last of our race; but the Lord knows what is best. But believe me, dearest boy, it is not family pride, but your happiness I am thinking of."

I soothed her agitation as well as I could, and then said:--

"You must not mind me, dearest aunt; I am like a woman,--a nervous woman!"

"You a woman?" she said, indignantly. "Everybody is liable to make mistakes. I only wish everybody had as much intelligence and character as you; the world would then be quite a different place!"

Ah, me! how can I dispel these illusions? Sometimes I grow quite desperate as I say to myself: "What business have I in this house, among these women who have taken a monopoly for saintliness? For me it is too late to convert myself to their faith; but how many troubles, disappointments, misfortunes may I not bring upon them?"


10 June.

To-day I received two letters,--one from my lawyer in Rome, the other from Sniatynski. The lawyer informs me that the difficulties the Italian government usually raises at the exportation of art treasures can be got over, my father's collections being private property and as such not under government control, and that they could be transported simply as furniture.

I shall have to see to the arrangement of the house, which I do unwillingly, as my heart is not any more in the scheme. What does it matter to me now, and what is the use of it? If I do not give it up altogether, it is only because I spread the news about it myself, and cannot possibly draw back. I have fallen back into that state of mind which possessed me during my wanderings after Aniela's marriage. Again I understand nothing, cannot act or look upon anything that has no direct bearing upon Aniela. The thoughts in which I do not see her image at the bottom are meaningless to me. It is a proof how far a man may sink his own self. I read this morning a lecture by Bunge called "Vitality and Mechanism," and I perused it with exceptional interest. He demonstrates scientifically that which has been in my mind more as a dim, shapeless idea than a definite conviction. Here science confesses scepticism in regard to itself, and, moreover, not only confirms its own impotence but clearly points to the existence of another world which is something more than matter and motion, which cannot be explained either physically or chemically. It does not concern me in the least whether that world be above matter or subject to it. It is a mere play of words! I am not a scientist; I am not bound to be careful in my deductions; therefore I throw myself headforemost into that open door, and let science prate and say a hundred times over that all is dark there. I feel it will be lighter than here. I read with almost feverish eagerness and great relief. Only fools do not acknowledge how materialism wearies and oppresses us, what secret fear lurks in the mind lest their science should prove true, what a dreary waiting for new scientific evolutions, and joy of the prisoners when they see a small door ajar through which they may escape into the open air. The worst of it is that the spirit is already so oppressed that it dares not breathe freely or believe in its own happiness. But I dared, and had a sensation as if I had escaped from a stifling cellar.

Perhaps this is only a momentary relief, for I understand well that Neo-Vitalism does not form an epoch in science; maybe to-morrow I shall go back to prison,--I do not know. In the meantime the breath of air did me good. I said to myself over and over again: "If it be possible that by way of scepticism one can arrive at the undoubted certainty of another world, mocking at mechanical explanation, being absolutely beyond all physico-chemical elucidation, then everything is possible,--every creed, every dogma, every mysticism! It is permissible then to think that, as there is infinite Space, there is also infinite Reason, infinite Good, enfolding the whole universe as in a vast cloak, under which we may find rest and shelter and protection. And if so, all is well! I shall know at least why I live and why I suffer. What an immense relief!"

I repeat once more that I am not obliged to be timid and wary in my deductions, and, as I said before, no one is so near mysticism as the sceptic. I realized it once more in myself when I began spreading my wings, like the bird which has been caged and delights in its new freedom. I saw before me endless space covered with new life. I did not know whether it was on another planet or farther still, beyond the planetary sphere,--enough that the space was different from ours, the light brighter and softer, the air cool and full of sweetness; the difference consisted mainly in the closer union of the individual spirit with the spirit of the universe; it was so close that it was difficult to understand where the individual ceased and the universe began. I felt at the same time it was upon that very dimness of the boundary that the happiness of this other life rested, as the being did not live in opposition or exclusion but in harmony with his surroundings, and thus lived with the whole power of universal life.

I do not say it was a vision; it was only a crossing of the narrow boundary beyond which reasoning leaves off and conscious feeling begins,--a feeling which as yet is only a conclusion of former premises, but carried so far as to be difficult to grasp, as a golden thread spun out to its utmost length. Moreover, I did not know how to incorporate myself with that new life and new space,--how to melt in it my own self. I had kept to a certain extent my own individuality, and there was something wanting near me,--something I searched for. Suddenly I became aware it was Aniela I was searching for. Of course, only her and always her. What could another life matter to me without her? I found her at last, and we roamed about together like the shadow of Paolo with the shadow of Francesca di Rimini. I write this down because I see in it an almost terrifying proof how far my whole being has been absorbed by this love.

What connection is there between Bunge's Neo-Vitalism and Aniela? Nevertheless, even when thinking of things far removed, it all brings me back to her. Science, art, nature, life,--all are carried back to the same denominator. It is the axis around which turns my world.

This is of great importance to me, for, in presence of all this, is it possible that I should ever listen to the advice of reason and that inward monitor that bids me to go away?

I know it all will end in ruin. But how can I go away; how summon strength and will and energy when all these have been taken from me? Tell a man deprived of his legs to go and walk about. On what? And from myself I add: "Why? whereto? My life is here."

Sometimes I feel tempted to let Aniela read this diary, but do not intend to do so. Her pity for me might be increased, but not her love. If Aniela be ever mine, she will want to look up to me for support, peace, and immovable faith for both; that is how it ought to be where happiness is at stake. Here she would find nothing but doubts. Supposing even she could understand all that has been and is going on in my mind, there are many things she could not sympathize with. We are too different from each other. For instance, when I plunge into mysticism, when I say to myself that everything is possible, even a future life, I do not shape it according to generally admitted ideas, and if those general ideas may be called a normal point of view, mine must needs be an abnormal one. Why? If everything is possible, then why not a hell, a purgatory, a heaven, or my subplanetary spaces,--and Dante's vision, which is far greater and more magnificent than mine? Then why? For a twofold reason. First, because my scepticism, which poisons itself by its own doubts, as the scorpion poisons itself with its own venom, is nevertheless strong enough to exclude the most simple and generally accepted ideas; secondly, I cannot fancy myself in the Dantean divisions with Aniela,--I do not desire such a life.

It is only part of myself that writes and thinks, the greater part is always with Aniela. At this moment I see a streak of light from her window resting on the barberry bushes. My poor love has sleepless nights too. I saw her dozing over her needle-work to-day. Seated in a deep armchair she looked to me so small, and she drew such a long breath as if from weariness. I had a feeling for her as if she were my child.


11 June.

They have sent me at last the Madonna by Sassoferrato. I handed it to Aniela in presence of the elder ladies, as a thing left to her in my father's will, and so she could not refuse it. Afterwards I hung it up myself in her little sitting-room, and it looks very pretty there. I am not fond of Madonnas by Sassoferrato, but this one is so simple and so serene in its clear shades. I like to think that as often as she looks at it she will remember that it was I who gave her that relic, gave it her because I love her. In this way the love she considers sinful must in her thought be united to holy things. It is a childish comfort, but he who has no other must be satisfied even with that.

I had another crumb of comfort to-day. When the picture had been hung in its place, Aniela came to thank me. As the armchair in which Pani Celina sits was at the other end of the room, I held for a moment the hand Aniela was about to withdraw, and asked in a low voice:--

"Is it true, Aniela, that you hate me?"

She only shook her little head, as if in sadness.

"Oh, no!" she replied quickly.

This one word expressed so much. It was a way of saying that if the feeling of the loved woman were always to remain hidden in her breast, it would be the same as not to be loved at all. No! it is not the same. Let me have it, if only that. I would not give it up for anything in the world. If this were taken from me, I should have nothing to live for any more.


12 June.

I am at Warsaw in consequence of the letter from Sniatynski, received the day before yesterday, in which he asked me to take part in a farewell dinner in honor of Clara Hilst. I did not go to the dinner, which took place yesterday, but said good-by to Clara at the station. I have just returned thence. The good soul was going away, most likely disappointed, and with some resentment against me in her heart, but upon seeing me, forgave me everything, and we parted the best of friends. I felt too that I should miss her, and that the loneliness around me would be greater still. On my mystic fields there will be no farewells. This one was truly sad,--in addition to it the sky was overcast, and there was a drizzling rain that looked as if it would last for days. In spite of that a great many people had come to see the last of the celebrated artist. Her sleeping-car was filled with bouquets and wreaths like a hearse; she will have to discard them unless she lets herself be suffocated. Clara, at the moment of departure, without taking into account what people might think or say, devoted herself to me as much as the bustle of the place would permit. I went into her carriage, and we conversed together like two old friends, not paying any attention to the old and always silent relative, or to the other people, who at last retired discreetly into the corridor. I held both Clara's hands, and she looked at me with those honest blue eyes of hers, and said in a moved voice:--

"It is only to you I say it openly, that I never was so sorry to go away from anywhere as from here. There is no time to say much, with all these people around us, but believe me, I am sorry to go. At Frankfurt I meet many people, great artists, scientists; only there is a difference,--you are like one of the more delicate instruments. As regards yourself, I will not say anything."

"You will let me write to you?"

"I will write too. I wanted to ask you that. I have my music, but it is not always sufficient now. I think you too will want to hear from me now and then; though you may have many friends, you have none more sincere and devoted than I. I am very foolish; anything upsets me, and it is time to go."

"We are both wanderers on the earth, you as an artist, I as a Bohemian; therefore it will not be farewell, but au revoir."

"Yes, au revoir, and that speedily. You too are an artist. You may not play or paint, but you are an artist all the same. I saw it the first moment I met you,--and also that you may seem happy, but are very sad at heart. Remember there is a German girl who will be always as a sister to you."

I raised her hand to my lip, and she, thinking I was going, said quickly:--

"There is still time, they have only rung the second bell!"

But I really wished to leave. Oh, those wretched nerves of mine! Clara's companion wore a stiff mackintosh which rustled at her every motion; and that rustle, or rather swish of the india-rubber, set my very teeth on edge. Besides, we had only a few minutes left. I stepped aside to make place for Pani Sniatynska, who came rushing up.

"Hilst, Frankfurt," Clara called out after me; "at home they will forward my letters wherever I go!"

Presently I found myself on the platform under the window of her carriage, among all those who had come to see her off. Their farewells and good-bys mingled with the labored breathing of the locomotive and the shouts of the railway men. The window of the carriage was lowered, and I saw the friendly, honest face once more.

"Where are you going to spend the summer?" she asked.

"I don't know, I will write to you," I replied.

The panting of the locomotive grew quick, then came the last shrill whistle, and the train began to move. We gave Clara a loud cheer, she waved her hands to us, and then disappeared in the distance and the dusk.

"You will feel very lonely," said suddenly close to me Pani Sniatynska's voice.

"Yes, very," I said, and lifting my hat to her, I went home. And truly I had the feeling as if somebody had left, who in case of need would have given me a helping hand. I felt very despondent. Possibly the gloomy evening, the mist and drizzling rain, in the midst of which the street lamps looked like miniature rainbow arches, had something to do with it. The last spark of hope seemed to have died out. There was darkness not only within me, but it seemed to encompass the whole world, and weigh upon it as the atmosphere weighs upon us and permeates all nature.

I carried home with me a heaviness of feeling and great restlessness and a fear as if something unknown was threatening me. There woke up within me a sudden longing for the sun and brighter skies, for countries where there is no mist, no rain, and no darkness. It seemed to me that if I went where there was sun and brightness, it would shield me from some unknown danger.

Oh, to go away! The entire capacity of my thoughts was filled with that eager desire. Then suddenly another fear clutched at my heart: if I went away, Aniela would be exposed to that same impalpable danger from which I wanted to fly. I knew it was only a delusion of my brain, and that really my departure would be the best thing for her. Yet I could not get rid of the sensation that to desert her would be cowardice and meanness. All my reasoning cannot get over this. Besides, the going away is only an empty word; I may say it to myself a hundred times, but if I were to try to change it into fact I should find it altogether beyond my power. I have put so much of my life in that one feeling that it would be easier to cut me into pieces than to part me from it.

I possess so much control over my thoughts, such a consciousness of self that it seems to me impossible that I could ever lose my reason. I cannot even imagine it; but at moments I feel as if my nerves could not bear the strain any longer.

I am sorry Clara is gone. I have seen but little of her lately; but I liked to know that she was not far off; now Aniela will absorb me altogether, because I give to her that power which rules our likings, and makes us conscious of friendship.

When I returned home, I found there young Chwastowski, who had come to town in order to consult with his brother, the bookseller. They have some scheme in hand about selling elementary books. They are always scheming something, always busy, and that fills their life. I have come to such a pass that I rejoiced to see him as a child that is afraid of ghosts is glad to see somebody coming into the room. His spiritual healthiness seems to brace me. He said that Pani Celina was so much better that within a week she would be able to bear the journey to Gastein. Oh yes! yes! Anything for a change! I shall push that plan with all my powers. I will persuade my aunt to go too. She will do it for my sake, and in that case nobody will be astonished at my going. There is at least something I desire, and desire very much. I shall have so many chances of taking care of Aniela, and shall be nearer to her than at Ploszow. I feel somewhat relieved; but it has been a terrible day, and nothing oppresses me so much as dark, rainy weather. I still hear the drops falling from the waterspouts; but there is a rift in the clouds, and a few stars are visible.


12 June.

Kromitzki arrived to-day.


Gastein, 23 June.

We arrived at Gastein a week ago,--the whole family: Aniela, my aunt, Pani Celina, Kromitzki, and myself. I interrupted my diary for some time, not because I had lost the zest for it, nor because I did not feel the necessity for writing, but simply because I was in a state of mind which words cannot express. As long as a man tries to resist his fate, and wages war against the forces that crush him, he has neither brains nor time for anything else. I was like the prisoner in Sansson's memoirs, who when they tore his flesh and poured molten lead into the wounds shouted in nervous ecstasy, "Encore! encore!" until he fainted. I have fainted too, which means that I am exhausted and resigned.

A great hand seems to weigh upon me, as immense as the mountains that loom up before me. What can I do against it? Nothing but submit and remain passive while it crushes me. I did not know that one could find, if not comfort, at least some kind of peace in this consciousness of impotence and the looking straight at one's misery.

If only I could keep from struggling against it, and not disturb this state of quiescence. I could write then about things that happen to me as if they had happened to somebody else. But I know from experience that one day does not resemble another, and I am afraid of what the morrow will bring forth.


24 June.

Towards the end of my sojourn at Warsaw I put down these words: "Love for another man's wife, if only a pastime, is a great villany, and if real, is one of the greatest misfortunes that can happen to a man." Writing this before Kromitzki's arrival, I had not taken into account all the items which make up the sum of this misfortune. I also thought it nobler than it really is. Now I begin to see that besides great suffering, it includes a quantity of small humiliations, the consciousness of villany, ridicule, the necessity of falsehood, the doing of mean things, and the need of precautions unworthy of a man. What a bouquet! Truly the scent of it is enough to overpower any man.

God knows with what delight I would take such a Kromitzki by the throat, press him to the wall, and tell him straight in his face, "I love your wife!" Instead of that I must be careful lest the thought should enter his mind that she pleases me. What a noble part to play in her presence! What must she think of me? That too is one of the flowers in the bouquet.

As long as I live I shall not forget the day of Kromitzki's arrival. He had gone straight to my house. Coming home late at night, I found somebody's luggage in the anteroom. I do not know why it did not occur to me that it might be Kromitzki's. Suddenly he himself looked out from the adjacent room, and dropping his eyeglass rushed up with open arms to salute his new relative. I saw as in a dream that dry skull, so like a death's-head, the glittering eyes, and the crop of black hair. Kromitzki's arrival was the most natural thing in the world, and yet I felt as if I had looked into the face of death. It seemed to me like a nightmare, and the words, "How do you do, Leon?" the most fantastic and most improbable words I could have heard anywhere. Presently such a rage, such a loathing combined with fear, seized me that it took all my self-control to prevent me from throwing him down and dashing out his brains. I have sometimes felt such paroxysms of rage and loathing, but never combined with fear; it was not so much fear of a living man as horror of the dead. For some time I could not find a word to say. Fortunately he might suppose I had not recognized him at first, or was astonished that a man I scarcely knew should treat me so familiarly. It still irritates me when I think of it.

I tried to recover myself; he in the mean while readjusted his eyeglass, and shaking my hand once more, said:--

"Well, and how are you? How are Aniela and her mother? Old lady always ill, I suppose. And our aunt, how is she?"

I was seized with amazement and anger that this man should mention those nearest and dearest to me as if they belonged to him. A man of the world bears most things and hides his emotions, because he is trained from his earliest years to keep himself under control; nevertheless I felt that I could not bear it any longer, and in order to pull myself together and occupy my thoughts with something else, I called for the servant and told him to get tea ready.

Kromitzki appeared uneasy that I did not reply at once to his questions; the eyeglass dropped again, and he said, hurriedly:--

"There is nothing wrong, is there? Why don't you speak?"

"They are all well," I replied.

It suddenly struck me that my emotion might give the hateful man an advantage over me, and the thought restored all my self-possession at once. I led him into the dining-room, asked him to sit down, and then said:--

"How is it going with you? Have you come to make a long stay?"

"I do not know," he replied. "I was longing for Aniela; and I fancy she too must have been anxious to have me back again. We have only been a few months together, and for a newly married couple that is not much, is it?" and he burst out into one of his wooden laughs. "Besides," he added, "I have some business here to look after. Always business, you see."

Then he began a long-winded harangue about his affairs; of which I did not hear much, except the often repeated words "combined forces," observing meanwhile the motion of the eyeglass. It is a strange thing how in presence of some great calamity small things will thrust themselves into evidence. I do not know whether this be so with everybody, but in the present instance the reiterated words "combined forces" and the shifting of the eyeglass irritated me beyond endurance. In the earlier moments of the interview I was almost unconscious, and yet I could count how often that eyeglass dropped and was put up again. It always used to be thus with me, and it was so now.

After tea I conducted Kromitzki to the room he was to occupy for the night. He did not cease talking, but went on in the same strain while with the help of the servant he unpacked his portmanteau. Sometimes he interrupted his flow of words in order to show me some specimens brought from the East. He undid his travelling straps, unfolded two small Eastern rugs, and said:--

"I bought these at Batoum. Pretty things, are they not? They will do to put before our bed."

He got tired at last, and after the servant had gone he sat down in the armchair, and still continued to talk about his affairs, while I thought of something else. When we are not able to defend ourselves from a great misfortune, there is one safety-valve,--we may be able to grapple with some of its details. I was now mainly busy with the thought whether Kromitzki would go with us to Gastein or not. Therefore after some time I remarked:--

"I did not know you formerly; but I begin to think that you are the kind of man to make your fortune. You are not in the least flighty, and would never sacrifice important affairs for mere sentimentality."

He pressed my hand warmly. "You have no idea," he said, "how much I wish you to trust me."

At the moment I did not attach any special meaning to his words. I was too much occupied with my own thoughts, and especially with the reflection that in regard to Kromitzki I had already been guilty of a lie and a meanness,--a lie, because I did not believe in his business capacities at all; a meanness, because I flattered the man I should have liked to kill with a glance. But I was only anxious to induce him not to go to Gastein; therefore I went deeper and deeper into the quagmire.

"I see this journey does not suit you in the least," I said.

Thereupon, egoist that he is, feeling things only in so far as they concern himself, he began to grumble at his mother-in-law.

"Of course it does not suit me," he said; "and between ourselves I do not see the necessity of it. There is a limit to everything, even to a daughter's affection for her mother. Once married, a woman ought to understand that her first duty is toward her husband. Besides, a mother-in-law who is always there, either in the same room or in the next, is a nuisance, and prevents a young married couple from drawing near to each other, and living exclusively for themselves. I do not say but that love for one's parents is a good thing, if not carried too far and made an impediment in one's life."

Once embarked upon that theme he gave expression to very commonplace and mean sentiments, which irritated me all the more that from his point of view there was certainly some truth in what he said.

"There is no help for it," he concluded; "I made a bargain, and must stick to it."

"Then you mean to go with them to Gastein?"

"Yes; I have some personal interest in the journey. I want to enter into closer relation with my wife's family and gain your confidence. We will speak of that later on. I am free for a month or six weeks. I left Lucian Chwastowski in charge of the business, and he is, as the English say, a 'solid' man. Besides, when one has a wife like Aniela one wants to stop with her a little while,--you understand, eh?"

Saying this he laughed, showing his yellow, decayed teeth, and clapped me on the knee. A cold shiver penetrated to my very brain. I felt myself growing pale. I rose and turned away from the light to hide my face, then made a powerful effort to collect myself and asked "When do you intend going to Ploszow?"

"To-morrow, to-morrow."


"Good-night," he replied, his eyeglass dropping once more. He put out both hands, adding: "I am tremendously glad to have the opportunity to get more acquainted with you. I always liked you, and I am sure we shall understand each other."

We understand each other! How intensely stupid the man is! But the more stupid he is, the more horrible to me is the thought that Aniela belongs to him, is simply a thing of his! I did not even try to undress that night. I never had seen so clearly that there may be situations where words come to an end, the power of reasoning ceases, even the power of feeling one's calamity,--to which there seems to be no limit. A truly magnificent life which is given unto us! It is enough to say that those former occasions when Aniela trampled upon my feelings, and when I thought I had reached the height of misery, appear now to me as times of great happiness. If then, if even now, the Evil One promised me in exchange for my soul that everything should remain as it was, Aniela forever to reject my love, but Kromitzki not to come near her,--I would sign the agreement without hesitation. Because in the man rejected by a woman there grows involuntarily a conviction that she is like a Gothic tower far out of his reach, to which he scarcely dares to lift his eyes. Thus I always thought of Aniela. And then comes a Pan Kromitzki, with two rugs from Batoum, and drags her from the height, that inexorable priestess, down to a level with those rugs. What a terrible thing it is, that imagination can bring it all so clear before us! And how repulsively mean he is, and how ridiculous withal!

Where are all my theories, my reasonings, that love is far above matrimonial bonds,--that I have a right to love Aniela? I still have my theories, while Kromitzki has Aniela. As the wind is tempered to the shorn lamb I thought the human being capable of carrying only a certain weight, and that if more were put upon his back he must needs break down. In my misery without bounds, and in my equally great foolishness and degradation, I felt that from the time of Kromitzki's arrival I was beginning to despise Aniela. Why? I could not justify it upon any common grounds. "One wife, one husband." This law I know by heart, like any other fool; but in relation to my own feelings it is a degradation for Aniela. What does it matter that it does not stand to reason? I know that I despise her, and it is more than I can bear. I felt that existence under these conditions would become simply impossible, and that necessarily there must be some change and the past be buried. What change? If my scorn could throttle my love, as a wolf throttles a lamb, it would be well. But I had a foreboding that something else would take place. If I did not love Aniela I could not despise her now; therefore my scorn is only another link in the chain, I understand perfectly that beyond Pani Kromitzka, beyond Pan Kromitzki and their relation to each other, nothing interests me,--nothing whatever; neither light nor darkness, war nor peace, nor any other thing. She, Aniela, or rather both she and her husband, and my part in their life, are my reason for existence. If for this same reason I cannot bear my existence any longer, what will happen then? Suddenly it came upon me, as a surprise, that I had not thought of the most simple solution of the problem,--death.

What a tremendous power there is in human hands,--the power of cutting the thread. Now I am ready. Evil genius of my life, do thy worst; pile weight upon weight,--but only up to a certain time, as long as I consent. If I find it too much I throw off the burden! "E poi eterna silenza," Nirvana, the "fourth dimension" of Zoellner--what do I know? The thought that it all depended upon me gave me an immense relief.

I remained thus an hour, stretched out on the couch, thinking how and when I would do it; and that very abstraction of my thoughts from Kromitzki seemed to calm me. Such a thing as the taking of one's life wants some preparation, and this also forced my thoughts into another groove. I remembered at once that my travelling revolver was of too small a calibre. I got up to look at it and resolved to buy a new one. I began to calculate ways and means to make it appear an accident. All this of course as a mere theory. Nothing was settled into a fixed purpose. I might call it rather a contemplating the possibility of suicide than a purpose. On the contrary, I was now certain it would not come to that soon. Now that I knew the door by which I could escape I thought I might wait a little to see how far my evils would extend, and what new tortures fate had in store for me. I was consumed by a burning and painful curiosity as to what would happen next, how those two would meet, and how Aniela would face me? I became very tired, and dressed as I was I fell into a troubled sleep, full of Kromitzkis, eyeglasses, revolvers, and all sorts of confused combinations of things and people.

I woke up late. The servant told me that Pan Kromitzki had gone to Ploszow. My first impulse was to follow and see them together. But when seated in the carriage I suddenly felt I could not bear it, that it would be too great a trial, and might hasten my escape through the open door into the unknown; and I gave orders to drive somewhere else.

The greatest pessimist instinctively avoids pain, and fights against it with all his might. He clutches at every hope and expects relief through every change. There awoke within me such a desire to make them go to Gastein as if my very life depended upon it. To make them leave Ploszow! The thought did not give me rest, and took such possession of me that I gave my whole mind to its realization. This did not present great difficulties. The ladies were almost ready to start. Kromitzki had come unexpectedly, evidently intending to give his wife a surprise. A few days later he would not have found us at Ploszow. I went to the railway office and secured places in a sleeping-car for Vienna; then sent a messenger with a letter to my aunt telling her I had bought tickets for the following day, as all the carriages were engaged for the following week, and we should have to go to-morrow.


26 June.

I still linger over the last moments spent at Warsaw. These memories impressed themselves so strongly on my mind that I cannot pass them over in silence. The day following Kromitzki's arrival I had a strange sensation. It seemed to me that I did not love Aniela any longer, and yet could not live without her. It was the first time I felt this--I might call it psychical dualism. Formerly my love went through its regular course. I said to myself, "I love her, therefore I desire her,"--with the same logic as Descartes employs in the statement, "I think, therefore I exist." Now the formula is changed into, "I do not love her, but desire her still;" and both elements exist in me as if they were engraved on two separate stones. For some time I did not realize that the "I do not love her" was merely a delusion. I love her as before, but in such a sorrowing manner, with so much bitterness and venom, that the love has nothing in common with happiness.

Sometimes I fancy that even if Aniela were to confess to me her love, if she were divorced or a widow, I should not be happy any more. I would buy such an hour at the price of my life, but truly I do not know whether I should be able to convert it into real happiness. Who knows whether the nerves that feel happiness be not paralyzed in me? Such a thing might happen. Really, what is life worth under such conditions?

The day before our departure, I went to a gunsmith's shop. It was a quaint old man who sold me the revolver. If he were not a gunsmith he might become a professor of psychology. I told him I wanted a revolver, no matter whose make, Colt's or Smith's, provided it were good and of a large calibre. The old man picked out the weapon, which I accepted at once.

"You will want cartridges, sir?"

"Yes, I was going to ask you for them."

"And a case, sir?" he said, looking at me keenly.

"Of course, a case."

"That's all right, sir; then I will give you cartridges of the same number as the revolver."

It was now my turn to look attentively at him. He understood the inquiring look, and said:--

"I have been in the trade over forty years, sir, and learned something about my customers. It often happens that people buy revolvers to blow out their brains. Would you believe it never happens that such a one buys a case? It is always this way: 'Please give me a revolver.' 'With the case?' 'No, never mind the case.' It is a strange thing that a man about to throw away his life should grudge a rouble for the case. But such is human nature. Everybody says to himself, 'What the devil do I want with a case?' And that's how I always find out whether a man means mischief or not."

"That is very curious indeed," I replied; and it seemed to me a very characteristic sign.

The gunsmith, with a slight twinkle in his eye, went on: "Therefore as soon as I perceive his drift I make a point of giving him cartridges a size too large. It is not a small thing, the taking away one's life; it requires a deal of courage and determination. I fancy many a man breaks into a cold perspiration as he finally says: 'Now for the revolver! Ah, the cartridges do not fit; the gunsmith made a mistake;' and he has to put it off until the following day. And do you think, sir, it is an easy thing to do it twice over? Many a man who has faced death once cannot do it again. There were some who came the next day to buy a case. I laughed in my sleeve and said: 'There's your case, and may it last you a long time.'"

I note down this conversation because everything relating to suicide has become of interest to me, and the old gunsmith's words appeared to contain a bit of philosophy worth preserving.


27 June.

Now and then I remind myself that Aniela loved me, that I could have married her, that my life might have been made bright and happy, that it merely depended upon me, and that I wasted all that through my incapacity for action. Then I put to myself the question: "Is there any sign of insanity in me, and is it indeed true that I could have had Aniela forever?" It must be true, for how could I otherwise recall all the incidents from the time I met her first up to the present moment? And to think that she might have been mine, and as faithful and loyal to me as she is to that other one!--a hundred times more faithful, because she would love me from her whole soul. Innate incapacity?--yes, that is it. But even if it justifies me in my own eyes, what matters it to me, since it does not give me any comfort? The only thought that gives me comfort is that the descendants of decayed as well as of the most buoyant races have to go the same way,--to dust and ashes. This makes the difference between the weak and the strong a great deal less. The whole misfortune of beings like me is their isolation. What erroneous ideas have our novelists, and for the matter of that even our physiologists, about the decaying races. They fancy that inward incapacity must invariably correspond with physical deterioration, small build, weak muscles, anaemic brain, and weak intelligence. This may be the case now and then, but to regard it as a general principle is a mistake and a pedantic repetition of the same thing over and over again. The descendants of worn-out races have no lack of vital powers, but they lack harmony among these powers. I myself am physically a powerful man, and never was a fool. I knew people of my sphere built like Greek statues, clever, gifted, and yet they did not know how to fit themselves into life, and ended badly, exactly through that want of even balance in their otherwise luxuriant vital powers. They exist among us as in a badly organized society where nobody knows where the rights of the one begin and those of another cease. We live in anarchy, and it is a known fact that in anarchy society cannot exist. Each of the powers drags its own way, often pulling all the others with it; and this produces a tragic exclusiveness. I am now suffering from this exclusiveness, by reason of which nothing interests me beyond Aniela, nothing matters to me, and there is nothing else to which I can attach my life. But people do not understand that such a want of even balance, such anarchy of the vital powers, is a far greater disease than physical or moral anaemia. This is the solution of the problem.

Formerly the conditions of life and a differently constituted community summoned us, and in a way forced us, into action. Now, in these antihygienic times, when we have nothing to do with public life, and are poisoned by philosophy and doubts, our disease has grown more acute. We have come to this at last, that we are not capable of sustained action, that our vitality shows itself only in sudden leaps and bounds, and consequently the most gifted among us always end in some kind of madness. Of all that constitutes life there is only woman left for us; and we either fritter and squander ourselves away in licentiousness or cling to one love as to a branch that overhangs a precipice. As it is mostly an unlawful love we cling to, it carries within itself the elements of a tragedy. I know that my love for Aniela must end badly; and therefore I do not even try to defend myself from it. Besides, whether I resist or submit, it means ruin either way.


28 June.

The baths and especially the cool, bracing air are improving Pani Celina's health, and she is growing stronger day by day. I surround her with every care and think of her comforts as if she were my own mother. She is grateful for it, and seems to be growing very fond of me. Aniela notices it, and cannot help feeling a certain regret at this vision of happiness that might have been ours if things had turned out differently. I am quite certain now that she does not love Kromitzki. She is and will be faithful to him; but when I see them together I notice in her face a certain constraint and humiliation. I see it every time when he, whether really in love or only showing himself off as a doting husband, fondles her hands, smoothes her hair or kisses her brow. She would rather hide herself in the very earth than be forced to submit to these endearments in my and other people's presence. Nevertheless she submits, with a forced smile. I smile too, but as a diversion I mentally plunge my hands into my vitals and tear them to pieces. At times the thought crosses my mind that this priestess of Diana is more at ease and less reticent when alone with her husband. But I do not often indulge in thoughts like these, for I feel that one drop more and I shall lose my self-control altogether.

My relation to Aniela is terrible for me as well as for her. My love shows itself in the guise of hatred, scorn, and irony. It frightens Aniela and hurts her. She looks at me now and then, and her pleading eyes say, "Is it my fault?" And I repeat to myself, "It is not her fault;" but I cannot, God help me, I cannot be different to her. The more I see her oppressed and hurt, the fiercer becomes my resentment towards her, towards Kromitzki, myself, and the whole world. And yet I pity her from my whole heart, for she is as unhappy as I am. But as water, instead of subduing a conflagration, makes it rage all the fiercer, so my feelings are rendered fiercer by despair. I treat the dearest being with scorn, anger, and irony, and thereby hurt myself far more than I hurt her; for she is capable of forgiveness, but I shall never be able to forgive myself.


29 June.

That man notices there is some ill-feeling between me and his wife, and he explains it in a manner worthy of him. It seems to him that I hate her because she preferred him to me. He fancies that my resentment is nothing but offended vanity. Truly only a husband can look upon it in this light. Consequently he tries to make it up to her by his caresses, and treats me with the kind indulgence of a generous victor.

How vanity blinds some people! What a strange creature he is! He goes every day to the Straubinger hotel, watches the couples promenading on the Wandelbahn, and with a certain delight puts the worst construction upon their mutual relations. He laughs at the husbands who, according to his views, are deceived by their wives; every new discovery puts him into better humor, and his eyeglass is continually dropping out and put back again. And yet the same man who considers conjugal faithlessness such an excellent opportunity for making silly jokes, would consider it the most awful tragedy if it happened to himself. Since it is only a question of other people it is a farce; touching his own happiness it would cry out to heaven for vengeance. Why, you fool!--go to the looking glass, see yourself as you are, your Mongolian eyes, that hair like a black Astrachan cap, that eyeglass, those long shanks; enter into yourself and see the meanness of your intellect, the vulgarity of your character,--and tell me whether a woman like Aniela ought to remain true to you for an hour! How did you manage to get her, you spiritual and physical upstart? Is it not an unnatural monstrosity that you are her husband? Dante's Beatrice, marrying a common Florentine cad, would have been better matched.

I had to interrupt my writing because I felt I was losing my balance; and yet I fancied myself resigned! May Kromitzki rest easy; I do not feel that I am any better than he. Even if I supposed I was made of finer stuff than he, it would be small comfort, since my deeds are worse than his. He has no need of hiding anything, and I am obliged to play the hypocrite, take him always into account, conceal my real feelings, deceive and circumvent him. Can there be anything meaner than pursuing such a course of action, instead of taking him by the throat? I abuse him in my diary. Such underhand satisfaction even a slave may permit himself towards his master. Kromitzki never could have felt so small as I did in my own eyes when I committed a multitude of littlenesses, devised cunning plans to make him take separate lodgings and not stop in the same house with Aniela. And after all, I gained nothing. With the simple sentence, "I wish to be near my wife" he demolished all my plans. It is simply unbearable, especially as Aniela understands every movement of mine, every word and scheme. I fancy she must often blush for me. All this taken together makes up my daily food. I do not think I shall be able to bear it much longer, as I cannot be equal to the situation,--which simply means: I am not villain enough for the conditions in which I live.


30 June.

I overheard from the veranda the end of a conversation carried on in an audible voice between Kromitzki and Aniela.

"I will speak to him myself," said Kromitzki; "but you must tell your aunt the position I am in."

"I will never do it," replied Aniela.

"Not if such is my wish?" he said sharply.

Not desirous of playing the part of eavesdropper, I went into the room. I saw on Aniela's face an expression of pain, which she tried to hide upon seeing me. Kromitzki was white with anger, but greeted me with a smile. For a moment an unreasonable fear got hold of me that she had confessed something to her husband. I am not afraid of Kromitzki; my only fear is that he may take away Aniela and thus part me from my sorrows, my humiliations, and torments. I live by them; without them I should be famished. Anything rather than part from Aniela. In vain I racked my brain to guess what could have taken place between them. At moments I thought it probable that she had told him something; but then his manner towards me would have changed, and it was if anything even more polite than usual.

Generally speaking, but for my aversion to the man, I have no fault to find with him in so far as I am concerned. He is very polite and friendly, gives way to me in everything as if he were dealing with a nervous woman. He tries all means to gain my confidence. It does not discourage him in the least that I meet his advances at times brusquely or sarcastically, and without much consideration for his feelings show up his ignorance and want of refined nerves. I do not miss any opportunity to expose before Aniela how commonplace he is in heart and intellect. But he is wonderfully patient. Maybe he is so only with me. To-day I saw him for the first time angry with Aniela, and his complexion was of the greenish hue of people who are angry in cold blood and nurse their wrath long afterwards. Aniela is probably afraid of him, but she is afraid of everybody,--even of me. It is sometimes difficult to understand how this woman with the temper of a dove can at a given moment summon so much energy. There was a time when I thought her too passive to be able to resist me long. What a disappointment! Her resistance is all the stronger, the more unexpected it is. I do not know what was the question between her and Kromitzki, but if she says that she is not going to do what he asks her, she will shake with fear but will not yield. If she were mine, I would love her as the dog loves its mistress; I would carry her on my hands, and not allow the dust to touch her feet; I would love her until death.

If you like this book please share to your friends :

Without Dogma - 1 July to 30 July Without Dogma - 1 July to 30 July

Without Dogma - 1 July to 30 July
1 July.My jealousy would be a miserable thing if it were not at the same time the pain of the true believer who sees his divinity dragged in the dust. I would abstain even from touching her hand if I could place her on some inapproachable height where nobody could come near her. 2 July.I deluded myself as to my state of quiescence. It was only a temporary torpidity of the nerves, which I mistook for calmness. Besides, I knew it could not last. 3 July.Yes, something has passed between them. They hide some mutual offence, but I see it. For some days

Without Dogma - 4 May to 31 May Without Dogma - 4 May to 31 May

Without Dogma - 4 May to 31 May
4 May.My reason is now altogether subservient to feeling, and is, in truth, like the driver who passively clings to his box, and can do nothing but watch whether the vehicle will go to pieces. I went back to Ploszow a few days ago, and all I say and all I do are only the tactics of love. He is a clever doctor--is Chwastowski--to prescribe for Aniela exercise in the park. I found her there this morning. There are moments when the feeling in my heart--though I am always conscious of it--manifests itself with such extraordinary power that it almost frightens