The Kreutzer Sonata
I resumed mine, also. The lawyer and the lady whispered together. I was sitting beside Posdnicheff, and I maintained silence. I desired to talk to him, but I did not know how to begin, and thus an hour passed until we reached the next station.
There the lawyer and the lady went out, as well as the clerk. We were left alone, Posdnicheff and I.
“They say it, and they lie, or they do not understand,” said Posdnicheff.
“Of what are you talking?”
“Why, still the same thing.”
He leaned his elbows upon his knees, and pressed his hands against his temples.
“Love, marriage, family,—all lies, lies, lies.”
He rose, lowered the lamp-shade, lay down with his elbows on the cushion, and closed his eyes. He remained thus for a minute.
“Is it disagreeable to you to remain with me, now that you know who I am?”
“You have no desire to sleep?”
“Not at all.”
“Then do you want me to tell you the story of my life?”
Just then the conductor passed. He followed him with an ill-natured look, and did not begin until he had gone again. Then during all the rest of the story he did not stop once. Even the new travellers as they entered did not stop him.
His face, while he was talking, changed several times so completely that it bore positively no resemblance to itself as it had appeared just before. His eyes, his mouth, his moustache, and even his beard, all were new. Each time it was a beautiful and touching physiognomy, and these transformations were produced suddenly in the penumbra; and for five minutes it was the same face, that could not be compared to that of five minutes before. And then, I know not how, it changed again, and became unrecognizable.