He awoke long past noon, at two or three o’clock; at first could not come to himself for a long while; smacked his lips and looked around the room with glazed, heavy eyes. All that had happened during the night seemed to have flown out of his memory. But when he saw Liubka, who was quietly and motionlessly sitting on the bed, with head lowered and hands crossed on her knees, he began to groan and grunt from vexation and confusion. Now he recalled everything. And at that minute he experienced in his own person how heavy it is to see in the morning, with one’s own eyes, the results of folly committed the night before.
“Are you awake, sweetie?” asked Liubka kindly.
She got up from the bed, walked up to the divan, sat down at Lichonin’s feet, and cautiously patted his blanket-covered leg.
“Why, I woke up long ago and was sitting all the while; I was afraid to wake you up. You were sleeping so very soundly!”
She stretched toward him and kissed him on the cheek. Lichonin made a wry face and gently pushed her away from him.
“Wait, Liubochka! Wait; that’s not necessary. Do you understand— absolutely, never necessary. That which took place yesterday—well, that’s an accident. My weakness, let’s say. Even more, a momentary baseness, perhaps. But, by God, believe me, I didn’t at all want to make a mistress out of you. I want to see you my friend, my sister, my comrade ... Well, that’s nothing, then; everything will adjust itself, grow customary. Only one mustn’t fall in spirit. And in the meanwhile, my dear, go to the window and look out of it a bit; I just want to put myself in order.”
Liubka slightly pouted her lips and walked off to the window, turning her back on Lichonin. All these words about friendship, brotherhood and comradeship she could not understand with her brain of a hen and her simple peasant soul. That a student—after all, not just anybody, but an educated man, who could learn to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or a judge—had taken her for maintenance flattered her imagination far more ... And here, now, it turned out that he had just fulfilled his caprice, had gotten what he wanted, and was now trying to back out. They are all like that, the men!
Lichonin hastily got up, splashed a few handfuls of water in his face, and dried himself with an old napkin. Then he raised the blinds and threw open both window shutters. The golden sunlight, the azure sky, the rumble of the city, the foliage of the thick linden trees and the chestnuts, the bells of the horse trams, the dry smell of the hot, dusty street—all this at once burst into the tiny garret room. Lichonin walked up to Liubka and amicably patted her on the shoulder.
“Never mind, my joy ... What’s done can’t be undone, but it’s a lesson for the future. You haven’t yet asked tea for yourself, Liubochka?”
“No, I was waiting for you all the while. Besides, I didn’t know who to ask. And you’re all right, too. Why, I heard you, after you went off with your friend, come back and stand a while near the door. But you never even said good-bye to me. Is that right?”