1. CHAPTER I
"But I don't think!"
"Here you have modesty, brother, silence, bashfulness, a savage virtue
. . . and yet she's sighing and melting like wax, simply melting! Save
me from her, by all that's unholy! She's most prepossessing . . . I'll
repay you, I'll do anything. . . ."
Zossimov laughed more violently than ever.
"Well, you are smitten! But what am I to do with her?"
"It won't be much trouble, I assure you. Talk any rot you like to her,
as long as you sit by her and talk. You're a doctor, too; try curing
her of something. I swear you won't regret it. She has a piano, and
you know, I strum a little. I have a song there, a genuine Russian
one: 'I shed hot tears.' She likes the genuine article--and well, it
all began with that song; Now you're a regular performer, a /maitre/,
a Rubinstein. . . . I assure you, you won't regret it!"
"But have you made her some promise? Something signed? A promise of
"Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of the kind! Besides she is not
that sort at all. . . . Tchebarov tried that. . . ."
"Well then, drop her!"
"But I can't drop her like that!"
"Why can't you?"
"Well, I can't, that's all about it! There's an element of attraction
"Then why have you fascinated her?"