Wife of the wise man
The protagonist of the narrative, on whose behalf the story is narrated, comes to a seaside resort with the intention of staying there for a long time and fully enjoying the desired rest. He had just received his doctorate, and the young lady he was courting married to another. He feels that the whole chapter of his life is left behind, and this gives him confidence and peace. But suddenly an unexpected meeting breaks his plan to take a break from worries and anxieties. During the walk, he sees a young woman with a small son and recognizes her. This is Frederick, who disappeared from his life seven years ago. They remember each other, but the tone of their welcoming conversation is strained: Frederick clearly seeks to avoid further communication
Seven years later, he did not receive any news from her, and, having met accidentally at the resort, they did not dare to talk about that episode. They arrange a sailing trip to the island, and there is an explanation between them. Frederick admits that she loved him all these years, and reproaches the hero for years of silence, when she and her husband were waiting for news from him. The hero in perplexity: after an episode in his room, he was tormented for a long time by the fear of Friderici, who had seen her husband; how she does not understand that he could not write to them, and so easily reproaches him. Frederick tries to find out if he realized what made her send him away so suddenly, and the hero starts to guess what’s wrong. Frederica continues in the meantime: she thought she heard footsteps behind the door, but there was no one there, and her husband returned many hours after the hero’s flight. While she tells, he feels something cold in his chest. Instead of the beloved hero sees next to someone else’s woman. The hero thinks about the professor, that Fryderyk does not know and never knew that the husband saw her at his feet. He quietly left then and returned only a few hours later. All these years, the professor lived next to her, without giving himself a single word. The hero with horror realizes that her husband forgave her everything and she drags on till now the silent burden of his forgiveness. She suddenly ceases to be for him just a welcome woman, in her place he sees a ghost surrounded by an impenetrable shell of deep forgiveness. And he considers himself not entitled to open his eyes to Frederick, to remove from her this horror. Frederick does not suspect what is happening to the hero, and continues to cheerfully chirp about his love, and then appoints him a date for the evening. The shocked silence of the hero she takes for the expression of happiness, he could not look at her face. The same evening he leaves and on the train tries to imagine how she is waiting for him on the beach, but he does not see a living woman, but only an ethereal shadow.