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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 210 pages of information about The Party.

“My precious! my delight!” he whispered, kissing the nape of her neck; “be sincere; come to me at once!”

She slipped out of his arms and raised her head to give vent to her indignation and anger, but the indignation did not come off, and all her vaunted virtue and chastity was only sufficient to enable her to utter the phrase used by all ordinary women on such occasions: 

“You must be mad.”

“Come, let us go,” Ilyin continued.  “I felt just now, as well as at the seat in the wood, that you are as helpless as I am, Sonia . . . .  You are in the same plight!  You love me and are fruitlessly trying to appease your conscience. . . .”

Seeing that she was moving away, he caught her by her lace cuff and said rapidly: 

“If not today, then tomorrow you will have to give in!  Why, then, this waste of time?  My precious, darling Sonia, the sentence is passed; why put off the execution?  Why deceive yourself?”

Sofya Petrovna tore herself from him and darted in at the door.  Returning to the drawing-room, she mechanically shut the piano, looked for a long time at the music-stand, and sat down.  She could not stand up nor think.  All that was left of her excitement and recklessness was a fearful weakness, apathy, and dreariness.  Her conscience whispered to her that she had behaved badly, foolishly, that evening, like some madcap girl—­that she had just been embraced on the verandah, and still had an uneasy feeling in her waist and her elbow.  There was not a soul in the drawing-room; there was only one candle burning.  Madame Lubyantsev sat on the round stool before the piano, motionless, as though expecting something.  And as though taking advantage of the darkness and her extreme lassitude, an oppressive, overpowering desire began to assail her.  Like a boa-constrictor it gripped her limbs and her soul, and grew stronger every second, and no longer menaced her as it had done, but stood clear before her in all its nakedness.

She sat for half an hour without stirring, not restraining herself from thinking of Ilyin, then she got up languidly and dragged herself to her bedroom.  Andrey Ilyitch was already in bed.  She sat down by the open window and gave herself up to desire.  There was no “tangle” now in her head; all her thoughts and feelings were bent with one accord upon a single aim.  She tried to struggle against it, but instantly gave it up. . . .  She understood now how strong and relentless was the foe.  Strength and fortitude were needed to combat him, and her birth, her education, and her life had given her nothing to fall back upon.

“Immoral wretch!  Low creature!” she nagged at herself for her weakness.  “So that’s what you’re like!”

Her outraged sense of propriety was moved to such indignation by this weakness that she lavished upon herself every term of abuse she knew, and told herself many offensive and humiliating truths.  So, for instance, she told herself that she never had been moral, that she had not come to grief before simply because she had had no opportunity, that her inward conflict during that day had all been a farce. . . .

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