But she simply continued to repeat “No... No...” Then, as he urged her still further, she begged him to go away. She said that he simply didn’t know what Grogoff would do if he returned and found him, and although he’d gone to a meeting he might return at any moment. Then, as though to urge upon him Grogoff’s ferocity, in little hoarse whispers she let him see some of the things that during these weeks she’d endured. He’d beaten her, thrown things at her, kept her awake hour after hour at night making her sing to him... and, of course, worst things, things far, far worse that she would never tell to anybody, not even to Vera! Poor Nina, she had indeed been punished for her innocent impetuosities. She was broken in body and soul; she had faced reality at last and been beaten by it. She suddenly turned away from him, buried her head in her arm, as a tiny child does, and cried....
It was then that he discovered he loved her. He went to her, put his arm round her, kissed her, stroked her hair, whispering little consoling things to her. She suddenly collapsed, burying her head in his breast and watering his waistcoat with her tears....
After that he seemed to be able to do anything with her that he pleased. He whispered to her to go and get her hat, then her coat, then to hurry up and come along.... As he gave these last commands he heard the door open, turned and saw Masha, Grogoff’s old witch of a servant, facing him.
The scene that followed must have had its ludicrous side. The old woman didn’t scream or make any kind of noise, she simply asked him what he was doing there; he answered that he was going out for a walk with the mistress of the house. She said that he should do nothing of the kind. He told her to stand away from the door. She refused to move. He then rushed at her, caught her round the waist, and a most impossible struggle ensued up and down the middle of the room. He called to Nina to run, and had the satisfaction of seeing her dart through the door like a frightened hare. The old woman bit and scratched and kicked, making sounds all the time like a kettle just on the boil. Suddenly, when he thought that Nina had had time to get well away, he gave the old woman a very unceremonious push which sent her back against Grogoff’s chief cabinet, and he had the comfort to hear the whole of this crash to the ground as he closed the door behind him. Out in the street he found Nina, and soon afterwards an Isvostchick. She crouched up close against him, staring in front of her, saying nothing, shivering and shivering.... As he felt her hot hand shake inside his, he vowed that he would never leave her again. I don’t believe that he ever will.
So he took her home, and his Knight Errantry was justified at last.
These events had for a moment distracted my mind, but as soon as I was alone I felt the ever-increasing burden of my duty towards Markovitch.