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15. CHAPTER XV
I remember, too, how, without moving from her place, or changing her attitude, she gazed into my face.
"I have won two hundred thousand francs!" cried I as I pulled out my last sheaf of bank-notes. The pile of paper currency occupied the whole table. I could not withdraw my eyes from it. Consequently, for a moment or two Polina escaped my mind. Then I set myself to arrange the pile in order, and to sort the notes, and to mass the gold in a separate heap. That done, I left everything where it lay, and proceeded to pace the room with rapid strides as I lost myself in thought. Then I darted to the table once more, and began to recount the money; until all of a sudden, as though I had remembered something, I rushed to the door, and closed and double-locked it. Finally I came to a meditative halt before my little trunk.
"Shall I put the money there until tomorrow?" I asked, turning sharply round to Polina as the recollection of her returned to me.
She was still in her old place--still making not a sound. Yet her eyes had followed every one of my movements. Somehow in her face there was a strange expression--an expression which I did not like. I think that I shall not be wrong if I say that it indicated sheer hatred.
Impulsively I approached her.
"Polina," I said, "here are twenty-five thousand florins--fifty thousand francs, or more. Take them, and tomorrow throw them in De Griers' face."
She returned no answer.
"Or, if you should prefer," I continued, "let me take them to him myself tomorrow--yes, early tomorrow morning. Shall I?"
Then all at once she burst out laughing, and laughed for a long while. With astonishment and a feeling of offence I gazed at her. Her laughter was too like the derisive merriment which she had so often indulged in of late--merriment which had broken forth always at the time of my most passionate explanations. At length she ceased, and frowned at me from under her eyebrows.
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