A Reckless Character eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 235 pages of information about A Reckless Character.

Clara gazed intently at him ... but her eyes, her features preserved their original thoughtfully-stern, almost displeased expression.  With precisely that expression she had presented herself on the platform upon the day of the literary morning, before she had caught sight of Aratoff.  And now, as on that occasion also, she suddenly flushed scarlet, her face grew animated, her glance flashed, and a joyful, triumphant smile parted her lips....

“I am forgiven!”—­cried Aratoff.—­“Thou hast conquered....  So take me!  For I am thine, and thou art mine!”

He darted toward her, he tried to kiss those smiling, those triumphant lips,—­and he did kiss them, he felt their burning touch, he felt even the moist chill of her teeth, and a rapturous cry rang through the half-dark room.

Platonida Ivanovna ran in and found him in a swoon.  He was on his knees; his head was lying on the arm-chair; his arms, outstretched before him, hung powerless; his pale face breathed forth the intoxication of boundless happiness.

Platonida Ivanovna threw herself beside him, embraced him, stammered:  “Yasha!  Yashenka!  Yashenyonotchek!!"[67] tried to lift him up with her bony arms ... he did not stir.  Then Platonida Ivanovna set to screaming in an unrecognisable voice.  The maid-servant ran in.  Together they managed somehow to lift him up, seated him in a chair, and began to dash water on him—­and water in which a holy image had been washed at that....

He came to himself; but merely smiled in reply to his aunt’s queries, and with such a blissful aspect that she became more perturbed than ever, and kept crossing first him and then herself....  At last Aratoff pushed away her hand, and still with the same beatific expression on his countenance, he said:—­

“What is the matter with you, Platosha?”

“What ails thee, Yashenka?”

“Me?—­I am happy ... happy, Platosha ... that is what ails me.  But now I want to go to bed and sleep.”

He tried to rise, but felt such a weakness in his legs and in all his body that he was not in a condition to undress and get into bed himself without the aid of his aunt and of the maid-servant.  But he fell asleep very quickly, preserving on his face that same blissfully-rapturous expression.  Only his face was extremely pale.

XVIII

When Platonida Ivanovna entered his room on the following morning he was in the same condition ... but his weakness had not passed off, and he even preferred to remain in bed.  Platonida Ivanovna did not like the pallor of his face in particular.

“What does it mean, O Lord!” she thought.  “There isn’t a drop of blood in his face, he refuses his beef-tea; he lies there and laughs, and keeps asserting that he is quite well!”

He refused breakfast also.—­“Why dost thou do that, Yasha?” she asked him; “dost thou intend to lie like this all day?”

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A Reckless Character from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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