There was a silence. She began crying quietly.
“I set you free from the necessity of lying and keeping up pretences,” Nikolay Yevgrafitch continued. “If you love that young man, love him; if you want to go abroad to him, go. You are young, healthy, and I am a wreck, and haven’t long to live. In short . . . you understand me.”
He was agitated and could not go on. Olga Dmitrievna, crying and speaking in a voice of self-pity, acknowledged that she loved Riss, and used to drive out of town with him and see him in his rooms, and now she really did long to go abroad.
“You see, I hide nothing from you,” she added, with a sigh. “My whole soul lies open before you. And I beg you again, be generous, get me a passport.”
“I repeat, you are free.”
She moved to another seat nearer him to look at the expression of his face. She did not believe him and wanted now to understand his secret meaning. She never did believe any one, and however generous were their intentions, she always suspected some petty or ignoble motive or selfish object in them. And when she looked searchingly into his face, it seemed to him that there was a gleam of green light in her eyes as in a cat’s.
“When shall I get the passport?” she asked softly.
He suddenly had an impulse to say “Never”; but he restrained himself and said:
“When you like.”
“I shall only go for a month.”
“You’ll go to Riss for good. I’ll get you a divorce, take the blame on myself, and Riss can marry you.”
“But I don’t want a divorce!” Olga Dmitrievna retorted quickly, with an astonished face. “I am not asking you for a divorce! Get me a passport, that’s all.”
“But why don’t you want the divorce?” asked the doctor, beginning to feel irritated. “You are a strange woman. How strange you are! If you are fond of him in earnest and he loves you too, in your position you can do nothing better than get married. Can you really hesitate between marriage and adultery?”
“I understand you,” she said, walking away from him, and a spiteful, vindictive expression came into her face. “I understand you perfectly. You are sick of me, and you simply want to get rid of me, to force this divorce on me. Thank you very much; I am not such a fool as you think. I won’t accept the divorce and I won’t leave you—I won’t, I won’t! To begin with, I don’t want to lose my position in society,” she continued quickly, as though afraid of being prevented from speaking. “Secondly, I am twenty-seven and Riss is only twenty-three; he’ll be tired of me in a year and throw me over. And what’s more, if you care to know, I’m not certain that my feeling will last long . . . so there! I’m not going to leave you.”
“Then I’ll turn you out of the house!” shouted Nikolay Yevgrafitch, stamping. “I shall turn you out, you vile, loathsome woman!”
“We shall see!” she said, and went out.