Princess Vera Nikolaevna Sheina, wife of the leader of the nobility, already lived with her husband for a while at the dacha, because there was a repair of their city apartment. Today was the day of her name-day, and therefore guests were supposed to come. The first to appear was Vera’s sister Anna Nikolaevna Friesse, who was married to a very rich and very stupid man who did not do anything, but was registered with some charitable society and had the title of a junker chamber. A grandfather, General Anosov, who sisters are very fond of coming, must come. The guests began to gather after five hours. Among them the famous pianist Jenny Reiter, friend of Princess Vera at the Smolny Institute, Anna’s husband brought with him Professor Speshnikov and local vice-governor von Szek. With his prince Vasily Lvovich comes his widowed sister Lyudmila Lvovna. Lunch is very fun,
Vera Nikolayevna suddenly noticed that the guests were thirteen. This frightened her a little. Everybody sat down to play poker. Vera did not want to play, and she went to the terrace, where she was laid for tea, when a maid beckoned her with a somewhat mysterious air. She handed her the package, which the messenger brought half an hour ago.
Vera opened the package – under the paper was a small jewelry case of red plush. It had an oval gold bracelet, and inside it was a carefully folded note. She unfolded it. The handwriting seemed familiar to
Meanwhile, the evening was on its way. Prince Vasily Lvovich showed his sister, Anosov and brother-in-law a homemade humorous album with hand-written drawings. Their laughter drew everyone else. There was a story: “Princess Vera and the telegraphist in love”. “I do not need it better,” said Vera, touching softly to the shoulder of her husband. But he either did not hear, or did not attach importance. He humorously retells the old letters of a man who is in love with the Faith. He wrote them when she was not yet married. Prince Vasily calls the author a telegraph operator. The husband says everything and says… “Gentlemen, who wants tea?” asked Vera Nikolaevna.
General Anosov tells the goddaughter about love, which he had in his youth in Bulgaria with one Bulgarian. When the troops had time to leave, they gave each other an oath in eternal mutual love and said goodbye forever. “And that’s it?” Lyudmila Lvovna asked disappointedly. Later, when the guests were almost all gone, Vera, accompanying her grandfather, said quietly to her husband: “Come see… there is a red case in my drawer in the box, and there is a letter in it.” Read it. “
It was so dark that I had to grope my feet groping my feet. The general led Vera under his arm. “This funny Lyudmila Lvovna,” he suddenly said, as though continuing aloud the course of his thoughts: “And I want to say that people in our time have forgotten how to love, I do not see true love, and in my time did not see it!” Marriage, in his opinion, does not mean anything. “Take at least Vasya and me.” Is it possible to call our marriage unhappy? ” asked Vera. Anosov was silent for a long time. Then he stretched out reluctantly: “Well, well… let’s say – an exception.” Why do people get married? As for women, they are afraid to stay in the girls, they want to be a mistress, a lady, an independent… Men have other motives. Fatigue from a bachelor life, from disorder in the house, from tavern dinners… Again, the thought of children… There are sometimes thoughts about dowry. And where is love? Love is selfless, selfless, not expecting a reward? “Wait, wait, Vera, do you want me again now about your Vasya? I really love him, he’s a good guy.” How much do you know, maybe the future will show his love in the light of great beauty. But do you understand what love I say that love should be a tragedy, the greatest mystery in the world! No comfort in life, calculations and compromises should touch it. ” “Have you ever seen such love, grandfather?” “No,” the old man replied emphatically, “I really do know two cases like that…” The greatest mystery in the world! No life comforts, calculations and compromises should touch it. “” Have you ever seen such love, grandfather? “” No, “the old man answered emphatically. “I really do know two cases like that…” The greatest mystery in the world! No life comforts, calculations and compromises should touch it. “” Have you ever seen such love, grandfather? “” No, “the old man answered emphatically. “I really do know two cases like that…”
In one regiment of our division… was the wife of a regimental commander… Bony, red, thin… In addition, a morphist. And one day, in the autumn, they send a regiment of newly-minted ensign to them… just from a military school. A month later, this old horse completely mastered him. He’s a page, he’s a servant, he’s a slave… By Christmas, he’s already tired of her. She returned to one of her former… passions. But he could not. She follows her like a ghost. Exhausted all, emaciated, blackened… And then one day in the spring, they arranged for some kind of May Day or picnic in the regiment… They came back at night on foot on the railroad track. Suddenly a freight train is coming towards them… she suddenly whispers in her ear to the ensign: “You all say that you love me, but if I order you, you probably will not rush under the train.” And he, not a word without answering, ran – and under the train. He is, they say, correctly calculated… so it would be carefully halved and cut. But some idiot decided to keep him and push him away. Yes, did not master. Ensign, how he clung to the rails with his hands, so both his brushes and chopped off… And the man disappeared… in the meanest way… “
The general tells one more case. When the regiment went to war and the train started, the wife shouted loudly to her husband: “Remember, take care of Volodya [your lover]! If anything happens to him – I’ll leave home and never return.” And I’ll take the children. ” At the front, this captain, a brave soldier, took care of this coward and loafer Vishnyakov, like a nanny, as a mother. Everyone was glad when they found out that Vishnyakov had died in a hospital for typhus…
The general asks Vera what this story is with the telegraph operator. Vera described in detail about some madman who began to pursue her with his love two years before her marriage. She never saw him and does not know his name. He subscribed to GS Zh. Once he mentioned that he serves in a state institution as a small official, he did not mention a telegraph. Probably, he constantly watched her, because in his letters he pointed out exactly where she was in the evenings… and how she was dressed. At first his letters were somewhat vulgar, although they are quite chaste. But one day Vera wrote to him so that he would not bother her any more. Since then, he began to limit himself to congratulations on holidays. Princess Vera told us about the bracelet and about the strange letter of her mysterious admirer. “Yes,” the general said at last. “Maybe,
Brother Vera Nikolai and Vasily Lvovich are concerned that an unknown person boasts that Princess Vera Nikolaevna Sheina receives gifts from him, then she sends something else, then she sits for embezzlement, and the princes of Schein will be summoned as witnesses… They decided, that it should be found, return the bracelet and read the notation. “For some reason I felt sorry for this unfortunate person,” Vera said hesitantly.
The husband and brother of Vera find the right apartment on the eighth floor, rising up the muddy, spit-laden staircase. The inhabitant of Jeltkov’s room was a man “very pale, with a gentle girlish face, with blue eyes and a stubborn child’s chin with a dimple in the middle, he must have been about thirty or thirty-five.” He silently takes back his bracelet, apologizes for his behavior. Learning that the gentlemen were going to turn to the authorities, Yeltsov laughed, sat down on the sofa and lit a cigarette. “Now is the most difficult moment in my life, and I must, Prince, speak with you beyond all conventions… Will you listen to me?” “I’m listening,” Shein said. Zheltkov said that he loves Shein’s wife. It is difficult for him to say this, but seven years of hopeless and polite love give him this right. He knows that he can not stop loving her forever. It is impossible for him to tear this feeling of his, except by death. Zheltkov asks permission to talk on the phone with Princess Vera Nikolaevna. He will give them the content of the conversation.
He returned in ten minutes. His eyes were shining and deep, as if filled with unsealed tears. “I am ready,” he said, “and tomorrow you will not hear anything about me, I seem to have died for you, but one condition is I tell you, Prince Vasily Lvovich, you see, I squandered the state money, and I after all, you have to flee this city. “” Will you allow me to write another last letter to Princess Vera Nikolaevna? ” Shein resolves.
In the evening at the dacha Vasily Lvovich told his wife in detail about the meeting with Zheltkov. He seemed to feel obliged to do it. At night Vera says: “I know that this man will kill himself.” Vera had never read a newspaper, but on that day for some reason she unfolded that sheet and came across that column where the official of the Control Chamber, GS Zheltkov, was reported to have committed suicide. The whole day she walked around the flower garden and the orchard and thought about a man she had never seen. Maybe it was the real, selfless, true love that Grandpa talked about?
At six o’clock the postman brought a letter from Zheltkov. He wrote: “It’s not my fault, Vera Nikolaevna, that it was God’s pleasure to send me, as a huge happiness, love for you… for me, the whole life is only in you… I am infinitely grateful to you only for the fact that you I checked myself – it’s not a disease, not a maniacal idea – it’s a love that God wanted for me to reward for something… Leaving, I say delightfully: “Hallowed be your name.” Eight years ago I saw you in a circus in a box, and then in the first second I said to myself: I love her because there is nothing like it in the world, there is nothing its better, there is no beast, no plants, no stars, no man is more beautiful than you and more affectionate. You seem to have embodied the whole beauty of the earth… I cut it all off, but still I think and I am even sure that you will remember about me. If you remember about me, then… play or order to play a sonata D-dur No. 2, op. 2 … God grant you happiness, and let nothing temporary and everyday worry your beautiful soul. I kiss your hands. G. S. J. “.
Vera goes to where he lived Zheltkov. The landlady of the apartment tells what a wonderful person it was. About the bracelet, she says that before writing a letter, he came to her and asked him to hang the bracelet on the icon. Vera enters the room where she lies on the table of Yolkts: “Deep importance was in his closed eyes, and his lips smiled blissfully and serenely, as if he had discovered before some parting with life some deep and sweet secret that had resolved all his human life. .. Vera… put a flower under his neck… At that moment she realized that the love that every woman dreams about passed her… And, pushing the hair on the forehead of the dead man in both directions, she clasped his hands tightly whiskey and kissed him in the cold, wet forehead with a long, friendly kiss. ” Before the departure of Vera, the hostess says that before asking Zheltkov,
After returning home late, Vera Nikolaevna was glad that neither her husband nor her brother was home. But she was waiting for Jenny Reuters, and she asked her to play something for her. She almost doubted for a second that Jenny would play the same place from the second sonata, which the dead man asked with the ridiculous name of Yoltkov. So it was. She learned from the very first chords this work. And words were written in her mind. They coincided in her thoughts with music, they were like couplets, which ended with the words: “Hallowed be your name.”
“I remember every step you took, a smile, a look, the sound of your gait.” My sweet memories are wrapped in a sweet sadness, a beautiful sadness… I’m leaving alone, silently, so it was God and fate: “Hallowed by your name.” Princess Vera hugged the trunk of the acacia, pressed against it and cried… And at this time the amazing music, as if submitting to her grief, continued:
“Calm down, dear, calm down, calm down. Do you remember me? Remember? You are my one and last love. Calm down, I’m with you. Think of me, and I will be with you, because we loved each other only for a moment, but for ever. Do you remember me? Remember? .. I can feel your tears. Calm down. To me to sleep so it is sweet… “Faith, all in tears, spoke:” No, no, he has forgiven me now. All is well”.