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The Party eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 210 pages of information about The Party.
the expression of his face and voice like a real actor.  He laughed with delight at one moment in a deep bass, and at another, on a high shrill note, clasped his hands and clutched at his head with an expression which suggested that it was just going to burst.  Anna Akimovna listened enthralled, though she had already read the novel, and it seemed to her ever so much finer and more subtle in the lawyer’s version than in the book itself.  He drew her attention to various subtleties, and emphasized the felicitous expressions and the profound thoughts, but she saw in it, only life, life, life and herself, as though she had been a character in the novel.  Her spirits rose, and she, too, laughing and clasping her hands, thought that she could not go on living such a life, that there was no need to have a wretched life when one might have a splendid one.  She remembered her words and thoughts at dinner, and was proud of them; and when Pimenov suddenly rose up in her imagination, she felt happy and longed for him to love her.

When he had finished the story, Lysevitch sat down on the sofa, exhausted.

“How splendid you are!  How handsome!” he began, a little while afterwards in a faint voice as if he were ill.  “I am happy near you, dear girl, but why am I forty-two instead of thirty?  Your tastes and mine do not coincide:  you ought to be depraved, and I have long passed that phase, and want a love as delicate and immaterial as a ray of sunshine—­that is, from the point of view of a woman of your age, I am of no earthly use.”

In his own words, he loved Turgenev, the singer of virginal love and purity, of youth, and of the melancholy Russian landscape; but he loved virginal love, not from knowledge but from hearsay, as something abstract, existing outside real life.  Now he assured himself that he loved Anna Akimovna platonically, ideally, though he did not know what those words meant.  But he felt comfortable, snug, warm.  Anna Akimovna seemed to him enchanting, original, and he imagined that the pleasant sensation that was aroused in him by these surroundings was the very thing that was called platonic love.

He laid his cheek on her hand and said in the tone commonly used in coaxing little children: 

“My precious, why have you punished me?”

“How?  When?”

“I have had no Christmas present from you.”

Anna Akimovna had never heard before of their sending a Christmas box to the lawyer, and now she was at a loss how much to give him.  But she must give him something, for he was expecting it, though he looked at her with eyes full of love.

“I suppose Nazaritch forgot it,” she said, “but it is not too late to set it right.”

She suddenly remembered the fifteen hundred she had received the day before, which was now lying in the toilet drawer in her bedroom.  And when she brought that ungrateful money and gave it to the lawyer, and he put it in his coat pocket with indolent grace, the whole incident passed off charmingly and naturally.  The sudden reminder of a Christmas box and this fifteen hundred was not unbecoming in Lysevitch.

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