Under Western Eyes eBook

Joseph M. Carey
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 332 pages of information about Under Western Eyes.
Her affection for her children was expressed by the suppression of all signs of anxiety.  She maintained a heroic reserve.  To Nathalie Haldin, her brother with his Petersburg existence, not enigmatical in the least (there could be no doubt of what he felt or thought) but conducted a little mysteriously, was the only visible representative of a proscribed liberty.  All the significance of freedom, its indefinite promises, lived in their long discussions, which breathed the loftiest hope of action and faith in success.  Then, suddenly, the action, the hopes, came to an end with the details ferreted out by the English journalist.  The concrete fact, the fact of his death remained! but it remained obscure in its deeper causes.  She felt herself abandoned without explanation.  But she did not suspect him.  What she wanted was to learn almost at any cost how she could remain faithful to his departed spirit.

IV

Several days elapsed before I met Nathalie Haldin again.  I was crossing the place in front of the theatre when I made out her shapely figure in the very act of turning between the gate pillars of the unattractive public promenade of the Bastions.  She walked away from me, but I knew we should meet as she returned down the main alley—­unless, indeed, she were going home.  In that case, I don’t think I should have called on her yet.  My desire to keep her away from these people was as strong as ever, but I had no illusions as to my power.  I was but a Westerner, and it was clear that Miss Haldin would not, could not listen to my wisdom; and as to my desire of listening to her voice, it were better, I thought, not to indulge overmuch in that pleasure.  No, I should not have gone to the Boulevard des Philosophes; but when at about the middle of the principal alley I saw Miss Haldin coming towards me, I was too curious, and too honest, perhaps, to run away.

There was something of the spring harshness in the air.  The blue sky was hard, but the young leaves clung like soft mist about the uninteresting range of trees; and the clear sun put little points of gold into the grey of Miss Haldin’s frank eyes, turned to me with a friendly greeting.

I inquired after the health of her mother.

She had a slight movement of the shoulders and a little sad sigh.

“But, you see, I did come out for a walk...for exercise, as you English say.”

I smiled approvingly, and she added an unexpected remark—­

“It is a glorious day.”

Her voice, slightly harsh, but fascinating with its masculine and bird-like quality, had the accent of spontaneous conviction.  I was glad of it.  It was as though she had become aware of her youth—­for there was but little of spring-like glory in the rectangular railed space of grass and trees, framed visibly by the orderly roof-slopes of that town, comely without grace, and hospitable without sympathy.  In the

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Under Western Eyes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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