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- A House of Gentlefolk - 35/35 -


"Play away, be gay, grow strong, vigorous youth!" he thought, and there was no bitterness in his meditations; "your life is before you, and for you life will be easier; you have not, as we had, to find out a path for yourselves, to struggle, to fall, and to rise again in the dark; we had enough to do to last out--and how many of us did not last out?--but you need only do your duty, work away, and the blessing of an old man be with you. For me, after to-day, after these emotions, there remains to take my leave at last,--and though sadly, without envy, without any dark feelings, to say, in sight of the end, in sight of God who awaits me: 'Welcome, lonely old age! burn out, useless life!'"

Lavretsky quietly rose and quietly went away; no one noticed him, no one detained him; the joyous cries sounded more loudly in the garden behind the thick green wall of high lime-trees. He took his seat in the carriage and bade the coachman drive home and not hurry the horses.

"And the end?" perhaps the dissatisfied reader will inquire. "What became of Lavretsky afterwards, and of Lisa?" But what is there to tell of people who, though still alive, have withdrawn from the battlefield of life? They say, Lavretsky visited that remote convent where Lisa had hidden herself--that he saw her. Crossing over from choir to choir, she walked close past him, moving with the even, hurried, but meek walk of a nun; and she did not glance at him; only the eyelashes on the side towards him quivered a little, only she bent her emaciated face lower, and the fingers of her clasped hands, entwined with her rosary, were pressed still closer to one another. What were they both thinking, what were they feeling? Who can know? who can say? There are such moments in life, there are such feelings . . . One can but point to them--and pass them by.


A House of Gentlefolk - 35/35

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