The count was in ... musical evening. The first artists of the capital paid for their art for the honor of the aristocratic reception; among the guests of Melk<ло> several writers and scholars; two or three fashionable beauties; several young ladies and old women and one officer of the Guards. About a dozen home-grown lions adorned the doorway a second living room and the fireplace; everything went on as usual; It was not boring, no fun.
At that very moment as the newcomers approached the singer at the piano and deploys notes ... one young woman yawning, I got up and went into the next room, at this time, the empty. She was wearing a black dress, It seems to mark the court of mourning. on shoulder, pinned to a blue ribbon, sparkled diamond monogram; She was of medium height, slim, slow and lazy in their movements; black, long, beautiful hair set off her still young right, but pale face, and on that face shone printing thoughts.
- Hello, Monsieur Lugin, - said Minsk someone; - I'm tired ... say something! - and she sank into a broad pate near the fireplace: the, to whom it is addressed, I sat down opposite her and did not answer. In the room there were only two, and cold silence Lugina showed clear, that he was not one of her admirers.
- Boring, - said Minsk and yawned again, - you see, I'm with you, without further ado! - she added.
- And I have a spleen! - ... I posted Lugin.
- You again want to Italy! - she said after a pause. - Is not it?
Lugin, in turn, did not hear the question; he continued, He crossed his legs and stared at the white marble eyes bezotchetlivo shoulders of his companion: - Imagine, some misfortune with me: What could be worse for a man, which the, like me, He has devoted himself to painting! - for two weeks, like all people I seem to be yellow, - and alone people! Welcome to all items; then would be harmony in the overall color scheme; I would think, that walk in the gallery of the Spanish school. so there! Everything else is as before; one person changed; I sometimes think, that people have a head lemons.
Minsk smiled. - call the doctor, - she said.
- The doctorś will not help - it spleen!
- Fall in love! – (The look, which was accompanied by the word, It expressed something similar to the following: "I would have liked it a little torment!»)
- in one?
- Though in me!
- Not! You do not even flirt with me, it would be boring - and then, I tell you frankly, no woman could love me.
- And this, I mean it as a, Italian countess, that followed you from Naples to Milan?..
- You see, - she replied thoughtfully Lugin, - I judge others by yourself and in this respect, sure, I am not mistaken. I happened exactly excite in other women all the signs of the passion - but since I know very well, that it is obliged only to art and habit of some way to touch the strings of the human heart, then I do not rejoice in the happiness; - I asked myself, I can fall in love with a bad? - came no; - I go far wrong - and, consequently, woman I love is not, it is clear: artistic feeling more developed in women, than us, they more often and longer than we are obedient to the first impression; if I was able to warm up in some the, what is called a whim, it cost me a tremendous effort and sacrifice - but since I knew of counterfeit feelings, I have instilled, and thanked him for only yourself, then he could not forget to complete, unaccountable love; my passion has always mingled with a bit of anger - all this is sad - but the truth!..
- What nonsense! - said Minsk, - but, casting a quick glance it, she involuntarily agreed with him.
Lugina appearance was in fact just as attractive. Despite, that in a strange look in his eyes it was a lot of fire and wit, you would not be met in all his being any of those conditions, that make a person a pleasant <в> society; He was awkward and rude complex; He spoke harshly and abruptly; sick and sparse hair at the temples, uneven complexion, permanent signs and secret illness, We made it to the kind of old, than he was in fact; He was treated for three years in Italy from hypochondria, - and although not cured, but at least I found a way to have fun with the use of; he became addicted to painting; unschooled talent, compressed service duties, It has evolved into a widely and freely under the invigorating air of the south, with wonderful monuments of the ancient teachers. He returned a true artist, although some friends only had the right to enjoy his wonderful talent. In his paintings always breathed some vague, but heavy feeling: they had printing of the bitter poetry, that our poor age sometimes squeezed out of the heart of her first propovednikov.1
Lugin already two months since returned to St. Petersburg. He had an independent state, few relatives and a few old acquaintances in the highest circles of the capital, where he wanted to spend the winter. He has been frequently in Minsk: her beauty, rare mind, The original view of things had to impress a man with intelligence and imagination. But the love between them was not in sight.
Their conversation ceased for a while, and they both, it seemed, After hearing the music. Stopping ballad singer sang Schubert's Goethe words: "Forest King". When she had finished, Lugin rose.
- Where are you going? - asked Minsk.
- It is too early.
He sat down again.
- Do you know, - he said with a sort of Importance, - I'm starting to go crazy?
- Seriously. You can say it, you will not be on me laugh. For the past few days, I hear a voice. Someone keeps telling me in my ear all day long - and how do you think that? - address: - here and now I hear: in carpentry lane, in Kokuškina bridge, House tityulyarnogo owl<тника> Stoss, apartment number 27. - And so briskly, briskly, - just in a hurry ... unbearable!..
he paled. But Minsk did not notice.
- you, but, not see that, who says? - she asked absently.
- Not. But sonorous voice, cutting, dishkant.
- When it started?
- to acknowledge? I can not say for certain ... I do not know ... it's, right, too much fun! - he said, a forced smile.
- You have the blood rushes to your head, and ringing in the ears.
- Not, not. learn, how do I get rid?
- The best tool, - said Minsk, after a moment, - go to the bridge Kokushkino, look for this number, and since, right, lives in it any cobbler or a watchmaker, - that for decency make him a job, and, returning home, go to bed, because ... you really are unwell!.. - she added, looking at his anxious face with.
- You're right, - he replied sullenly Lugin, - I will certainly go.
He got up, He took his hat and went out.
She looked at him with surprise vosled.