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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 215 pages of information about The Darling and Other Stories.

She sobbed bitterly, and he saw that she was hurt; and not knowing what to say, dropped down on the carpet before her.

“That’s enough; that’s enough,” he muttered.  “I insulted you because I love you madly.”  He suddenly kissed her foot and passionately hugged it.  “If only a spark of love,” he muttered.  “Come, lie to me; tell me a lie!  Don’t say it’s a mistake! . . .”

But she went on crying, and he felt that she was only enduring his caresses as an inevitable consequence of her mistake.  And the foot he had kissed she drew under her like a bird.  He felt sorry for her.

She got into bed and covered her head over; he undressed and got into bed, too.  In the morning they both felt confused and did not know what to talk about, and he even fancied she walked unsteadily on the foot he had kissed.

Before dinner Panaurov came to say good-bye.  Yulia had an irresistible desire to go to her own home; it would be nice, she thought, to go away and have a rest from married life, from the embarrassment and the continual consciousness that she had done wrong.  It was decided at dinner that she should set off with Panaurov, and stay with her father for two or three weeks until she was tired of it.

XI

She travelled with Panaurov in a reserved compartment; he had on his head an astrachan cap of peculiar shape.

“Yes, Petersburg did not satisfy me,” he said, drawling, with a sigh.  “They promise much, but nothing definite.  Yes, my dear girl.  I have been a Justice of the Peace, a member of the local Board, chairman of the Board of Magistrates, and finally councillor of the provincial administration.  I think I have served my country and have earned the right to receive attention; but—­would you believe it?—­I can never succeed in wringing from the authorities a post in another town. . . .”

Panaurov closed his eyes and shook his head.

“They don’t recognise me,” he went on, as though dropping asleep.  “Of course I’m not an administrator of genius, but, on the other hand, I’m a decent, honest man, and nowadays even that’s something rare.  I regret to say I have not been always quite straightforward with women, but in my relations with the Russian government I’ve always been a gentleman.  But enough of that,” he said, opening his eyes; “let us talk of you.  What put it into your head to visit your papa so suddenly?”

“Well. . . .  I had a little misunderstanding with my husband,” said Yulia, looking at his cap.

“Yes.  What a queer fellow he is!  All the Laptevs are queer.  Your husband’s all right—­he’s nothing out of the way, but his brother Fyodor is a perfect fool.”

Panaurov sighed and asked seriously: 

“And have you a lover yet?”

Yulia looked at him in amazement and laughed.

“Goodness knows what you’re talking about.”

It was past ten o’clock when they got out at a big station and had supper.  When the train went on again Panaurov took off his greatcoat and his cap, and sat down beside Yulia.

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