“Figurez-vous, que moi, j’ai aussi remarque cet etrange visage. Comme si je l’ai deja vu ... est-ce en reve? ... en demi-delire? Ou dans sa petite enfance?” [Footnote: “Just imagine, I, too, have remarked this strange face. But where have I seen it ... was it in a dream? ... in semi-delirium? Or in her early infancy?”]
“Ne vous donnez pas la peine de chercher dans vos souvenirs, baronne,” Tamara suddenly interposed insolently. “Je puis de suite vous venir aide. Rappelez-vous seulement Kharkoff, et la chambre d’hotel de Koniakine, l’entrepreneur Solovieitschik, et le tenor di grazzia ... A ce moment vous n’etiez pas encore m-me la baronne de ... [Footnote: “Don’t trouble to strain your memory, baroness. I will come to your aid at once. Just recall Kharkov, a room in Koniakine’s hotel, the theatrical manager, Solovieitschik, and a certain lyrical tenor ... At that time you were not yet baroness de ...”] However, let’s drop the French tongue ... You were a common chorus girl and served together with me.”
“Mais, dites-moi, au nom de dieu, comment vous trouvez vous ici, Mademoiselle Marguerite.” [Footnote: “But tell me, in God’s name, how you have come to be here, Mademoiselle Marguerite?”]
“Oh, they ask us about that every day. I just up and came to be here ...”
And with an inimitable cynicism she asked:
“I trust you will pay for the time which we have passed with you?”
“No, may the devil take you!” suddenly shouted out Little White Manka, quickly getting up from the rug.
And suddenly, pulling two gold pieces out of her stocking, she flung them upon the table.
“There, you! .. I’m giving you that for a cab. Go away right now, otherwise I’ll break up all the mirrors and bottles here...”
Rovinskaya got up and said with sincere, warm tears in her eyes:
“Of course, we’ll go away, and the lesson of Mlle. Marguerite will prove of benefit to us. Your time will be paid for—take care of it, Volodya. Still, you sang so much for us, that you must allow me to sing for you as well.”
Rovinskaya went up to the piano, took a few chords, and suddenly began to sing the splendid ballad of Dargomyzhsky:
“We parted then with
Neither with sighs nor words
Proffered I thee reproach of jealousy ...
We went apart for aye,
Yet only if with thee
I might but chance to meet! ..
Ah, that with thee I might but chance to meet!
“I weep not nor complain—
To fate I bend my knee...
I know not, if you loved,
So greatly wronging me?
Yet only if with thee
I might but chance to meet! ...
Ah, that with thee I might but chance to meet!”
This tender and passionate ballad, executed by a great artiste, suddenly reminded all these women of their first love; of their first fall; of a late leave-taking at a dawn in the spring, in the chill of the morning, when the grass is gray from the dew, while the red sky paints the tips of the birches a rosy colour; of last embraces, so closely entwined, and of the unerring heart’s mournful whispers: “No, this will not be repeated, this will not be repeated!” And the lips were then cold and dry, while the damp mist of the morning lay upon the hair.