“Well, he knew it, that’s all. Because he was an ordinary man of the world, a nobleman, and only became a monk afterwards. He had seen a lot in his life. Then he again left the monks. But, however, here’s everything about him written in detail in front of this book.”
He read the biography of Abbe Prevost to her. Liubka heard it through attentively, shaking her head with great significance; asked over again about that which she did not understand in certain places, and when he had finished she thoughtfully drawled out:
“Then that’s what he is! He’s written it up awfully good. Only why is she so low down? For he loves her so, with all his life; but she’s playing him false all the time.”
“Well, Liubochka, what can you do? For she loved him too. Only she’s a vain hussy, and frivolous. All she wants is only rags, and her own horses, and diamonds.”
Liubka flared up and hit one fist against the other.
“I’d rub her into powder, the low-down creature? So that’s called her having loved, too! If you love a man, then all that comes from him must be dear to you. He goes to prison, and you go with him to prison. He’s become a thief, well, you help him. He’s a beggar, but still you go with him. What is there out of the way, that there’s only a crust of black bread, so long as there’s love? She’s low down, and she’s low down, that’s what! But I, in his place, would leave her; or, instead of crying, give her such a drubbing that she’d walk around in bruises for a whole month, the varmint!”
The end of the novel she could not manage to hear to the finish for a long time, and always broke out into sincere warm tears, so that it was necessary to interrupt the reading; and the last chapter they overcame only in four doses.
The calamities and misadventures of the lovers in prison, the compulsory despatch of Manon to America and the self-denial of de Grieux in voluntarily following her, so possessed the imagination of Liubka and shook her soul, that she even forgot to make her remarks. Listening to the story of the quiet, beautiful death of Manon in the midst of the desert plain, she, without stirring, with hands clasped on her breast, looked at the light; and the tears ran and ran out of her staring eyes and fell, like a shower, on the table. But when the Chevalier de Grieux, who had lain two days near the corpse of his dear Manon, finally began to dig a grave with the stump of his sword—Liubka burst into sobbing so that Soloviev became scared and dashed after water. But even having calmed down a little, she still sobbed for a long time with her trembling, swollen lips and babbled:
“Ah! Their life was so miserable! What a bitter lot that was! And is it possible that it’s always like that, darling Soloviev; that just as soon as a man and a woman fall in love with each other, in just the way they did, then God is sure to punish them? Dearie, but why is that? Why?”