Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 5

  • Boris had not succeeded in making a wealthy match in Petersburg, so with th_ame object in view he came to Moscow. There he wavered between the tw_ichest heiresses, Julie and Princess Mary. Though Princess Mary despite he_lainness seemed to him more attractive than Julie, he, without knowing why,
  • felt awkward about paying court to her. When they had last met on the ol_rince's name day, she had answered at random all his attempts to tal_entimentally, evidently not listening to what he was saying.
  • Julie on the contrary accepted his attentions readily, though in a manne_eculiar to herself.
  • She was twenty-seven. After the death of her brothers she had become ver_ealthy. She was by now decidedly plain, but thought herself not merely a_ood-looking as before but even far more attractive. She was confirmed in thi_elusion by the fact that she had become a very wealthy heiress and also b_he fact that the older she grew the less dangerous she became to men, and th_ore freely they could associate with her and avail themselves of her suppers,
  • soirees, and the animated company that assembled at her house, withou_ncurring any obligation. A man who would have been afraid ten years before o_oing every day to the house when there was a girl of seventeen there, fo_ear of compromising her and committing himself, would now go boldly every da_nd treat her not as a marriageable girl but as a sexless acquaintance.
  • That winter the Karagins' house was the most agreeable and hospitable i_oscow. In addition to the formal evening and dinner parties, a large company,
  • chiefly of men, gathered there every day, supping at midnight and staying til_hree in the morning. Julie never missed a ball, a promenade, or a play. He_resses were always of the latest fashion. But in spite of that she seemed t_e disillusioned about everything and told everyone that she did not believ_ither in friendship or in love, or any of the joys of life, and expecte_eace only "yonder." She adopted the tone of one who has suffered a grea_isappointment, like a girl who has either lost the man she loved or bee_ruelly deceived by him. Though nothing of the kind had happened to her sh_as regarded in that light, and had even herself come to believe that she ha_uffered much in life. This melancholy, which did not prevent her amusin_erself, did not hinder the young people who came to her house from passin_he time pleasantly. Every visitor who came to the house paid his tribute t_he melancholy mood of the hostess, and then amused himself with societ_ossip, dancing, intellectual games, and bouts rimes, which were in vogue a_he Karagins'. Only a few of these young men, among them Boris, entered mor_eeply into Julie's melancholy, and with these she had prolonged conversation_n private on the vanity of all worldly things, and to them she showed he_lbums filled with mournful sketches, maxims, and verses.
  • To Boris, Julie was particularly gracious: she regretted his earl_isillusionment with life, offered him such consolation of friendship as sh_ho had herself suffered so much could render, and showed him her album. Bori_ketched two trees in the album and wrote: "Rustic trees, your dark branche_hed gloom and melancholy upon me."
  • On another page he drew a tomb, and wrote:
  • La mort est secourable et la mort est tranquille.
  • Ah! contre les douleurs il n'y a pas d'autr_sile.[[68]](footnotes.xml#footnote_68) Julia said this was charming "There i_omething so enchanting in the smile of melancholy," she said to Boris,
  • repeating word for word a passage she had copied from a book. "It is a ray o_ight in the darkness, a shade between sadness and despair, showing th_ossibility of consolation." In reply Boris wrote these lines: Aliment d_oison d'une ame trop sensible, Toi, sans qui le bonheur me serait impossible,
  • Tendre melancholie, ah, viens me consoler, Viens calmer les tourments de m_ombre retraite, Et mele une douceur secrete A ces pleurs que je sen_ouler.[[69]](footnotes.xml#footnote_69) For Boris, Julie played most dolefu_octurnes on her harp. Boris read Poor Liza aloud to her, and more than onc_nterrupted the reading because of the emotions that choked him. Meeting a_arge gatherings Julie and Boris looked on one another as the only souls wh_nderstood one another in a world of indifferent people. Anna Mikhaylovna, wh_ften visited the Karagins, while playing cards with the mother made carefu_nquiries as to Julie's dowry (she was to have two estates in Penza and th_izhegorod forests). Anna Mikhaylovna regarded the refined sadness that unite_er son to the wealthy Julie with emotion, and resignation to the Divine will.
  • "You are always charming and melancholy, my dear Julie," she said to th_aughter. "Boris says his soul finds repose at your house. He has suffered s_any disappointments and is so sensitive," said she to the mother. "Ah, m_ear, I can't tell you how fond I have grown of Julie latterly," she said t_er son. "But who could help loving her? She is an angelic being! Ah, Boris,
  • Boris!"—she paused. "And how I pity her mother," she went on; "today sh_howed me her accounts and letters from Penza (they have enormous estate_here), and she, poor thing, has no one to help her, and they do cheat he_o!" Boris smiled almost imperceptibly while listening to his mother. H_aughed blandly at her naive diplomacy but listened to what she had to say,
  • and sometimes questioned her carefully about the Penza and Nizhegorod estates.
  • Julie had long been expecting a proposal from her melancholy adorer and wa_eady to accept it; but some secret feeling of repulsion for her, for he_assionate desire to get married, for her artificiality, and a feeling o_orror at renouncing the possibility of real love still restrained Boris. Hi_eave was expiring. He spent every day and whole days at the Karagins', an_very day on thinking the matter over told himself that he would propos_omorrow. But in Julie's presence, looking at her red face and chin (nearl_lways powdered), her moist eyes, and her expression of continual readiness t_ass at once from melancholy to an unnatural rapture of married bliss, Bori_ould not utter the decisive words, though in imagination he had long regarde_imself as the possessor of those Penza and Nizhegorod estates and ha_pportioned the use of the income from them. Julie saw Boris' indecision, an_ometimes the thought occurred to her that she was repulsive to him, but he_eminine self-deception immediately supplied her with consolation, and sh_old herself that he was only shy from love. Her melancholy, however, began t_urn to irritability, and not long before Boris' departure she formed _efinite plan of action. Just as Boris' leave of absence was expiring, Anatol_uragin made his appearance in Moscow, and of course in the Karagins' drawin_oom, and Julie, suddenly abandoning her melancholy, became cheerful and ver_ttentive to Kuragin. "My dear," said Anna Mikhaylovna to her son, "I kno_rom a reliable source that Prince Vasili has sent his son to Moscow to ge_im married to Julie. I am so fond of Julie that I should be sorry for her.
  • What do you think of it, my dear?" The idea of being made a fool of and o_aving thrown away that whole month of arduous melancholy service to Julie,
  • and of seeing all the revenue from the Penza estates which he had alread_entally apportioned and put to proper use fall into the hands of another, an_specially into the hands of that idiot Anatole, pained Boris. He drove to th_aragins' with the firm intention of proposing. Julie met him in a gay,
  • careless manner, spoke casually of how she had enjoyed yesterday's ball, an_sked when he was leaving. Though Boris had come intentionally to speak of hi_ove and therefore meant to be tender, he began speaking irritably of feminin_nconstancy, of how easily women can turn from sadness to joy, and how thei_oods depend solely on who happens to be paying court to them. Julie wa_ffended and replied that it was true that a woman needs variety, and the sam_hing over and over again would weary anyone. "Then I should advise you… "
  • Boris began, wishing to sting her; but at that instant the galling though_ccurred to him that he might have to leave Moscow without having accomplishe_is aim, and have vainly wasted his efforts—which was a thing he never allowe_o happen. He checked himself in the middle of the sentence, lowered his eye_o avoid seeing her unpleasantly irritated and irresolute face, and said: "_id not come here at all to quarrel with you. On the contrary… " He glanced a_er to make sure that he might go on. Her irritability had suddenly quit_anished, and her anxious, imploring eyes were fixed on him with greed_xpectation. "I can always arrange so as not to see her often," thought Boris.
  • "The affair has been begun and must be finished!" He blushed hotly, raised hi_yes to hers, and said: "You know my feelings for you!" There was no need t_ay more: Julie's face shone with triumph and self-satisfaction; but sh_orced Boris to say all that is said on such occasions—that he loved her an_ad never loved any other woman more than her. She knew that for the Penz_states and Nizhegorod forests she could demand this, and she received wha_he demanded. The affianced couple, no longer alluding to trees that she_loom and melancholy upon them, planned the arrangements of a splendid hous_n Petersburg, paid calls, and prepared everything for a brilliant wedding.