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White Nights - XVIII

White Nights - XVIII

2 mins 8.4K 2 mins 8.4K

“I can’t. I can’t! It would seem as though I were forcing myself on him.... ”

“Ah, my good little Nastenka,” I said, hardly able to conceal a smile; “no, no, you have a right to, in fact, because he made you a promise.

Besides, I can see from everything that he is a man of delicate feeling; that he behaved very well,” I went on, more and more carried away by the logic of my own arguments and convictions. “How did he behave? He bound himself by a promise: he said that if he married at all he would marry no one but you; he gave you full liberty to refuse him at once. . . . Under such circumstances you may take the first step; you have the right; you are in the privileged position — if, for instance, you wanted to free him from his promise. . . . ”

“Listen; how would you write?”

“Write what?”

“This letter.”

“I tell you how I would write: ‘Dear Sir.’ . . . ”

“Must I really begin like that, ‘Dear Sir’?”

“You certainly must! Though, after all, I don’t know, I imagine. . . . ” “Well, well, what next?”

“‘Dear Sir — I must apologize for ——’ But, no, there’s no need to apologize; the fact itself justifies everything. Write simply:—

“‘I am writing to you. Forgive me my impatience; but I have been happy for a whole year in hope; am I to blame for being unable to endure a day of doubt now? Now that you have come, perhaps you have changed your mind. If so, this letter is to tell you that I do not repine, nor blame you. I do not blame you because I have no power over your heart, such is my fate!

“‘You are an honourable man. You will not smile or be vexed at these impatient lines. Remember they are written by a poor girl; that she is alone; that she has no one to direct her, no one to advise her, and that she herself could never control her heart. But forgive me that a doubt has stolen— if only for one instant — into my heart. You are not capable of insulting, even in thought, her who so loved and so loves you.”


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