What do I remember after those words of Rozanov? It was like a voice speaking to me across a great gulf of waters—but that voice was honest. I do not know what happened after his speech. I think there was a lot of talk. I cannot remember.
Only just before I was going I was near Nina for a moment.
She looked up at me just as she used to do.
“Durdles—is Vera all right?”
“She’s miserable, Nina, because you’re not there. Come back to us.”
But she shook her head.
“No, no, I can’t. Give her my—” Then she stopped. “No, tell her nothing.”
“Can I tell her you’re happy?” I asked.
“Oh, I’m all right,” she answered roughly, turning away from me.
But the adventures of that Easter Monday night were not yet over. I had walked away with Bohun; he was very silent, depressed, poor boy, and shy with the reaction of his outburst.
“I made the most awful fool of myself,” he said.
“No, you didn’t,” I answered.
“The trouble of it is,” he said slowly, “that neither you nor I see the humorous side of it all strongly enough. We take it too seriously. It’s got a funny side all right.”
“Maybe you’re right,” I said. “But you must remember that the Markovitch situation isn’t exactly funny just now—and we’re both in the middle of it. Oh! if only I could find Nina back home and Semyonov away, I believe the strain would lift. But I’m frightened that something’s going to happen. I’ve grown very fond of these people, you know, Bohun—Vera and Nina and Nicholas. Isn’t it odd how one gets to love Russians—more than one’s own people? The more stupid things they do the more you love them—whereas with one’s own people it’s quite the other way. Oh, I do want Vera and Nina and Nicholas to be happy!”
“Isn’t the town queer to-night?” said Bohun, suddenly stopping. (We were just at the entrance to the Mariensky Square.)
“Yes,” I said. “I think these days between the thaw and the white nights are in some ways the strangest of all. There seems to be so much going on that one can’t quite see.”
“Yes—over there—at the other end of the Square—there’s a kind of mist—a sort of water-mist. It comes from the Canal.”
“And do you see a figure like an old bent man with a red lantern? Do you see what I mean—that red light?”
“And those shadows on the further wall like riders passing with silver-tipped spears? Isn’t it...? There they go—ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen....”
“How still the Square is? Do you see those three windows all alight? Isn’t there a dance going on? Don’t you hear the music?”
“No, it’s the wind.”
“No, surely.... That’s a flute—and then violins. Listen! Those are fiddles for certain!”
“How still, how still it is!”