Twenty-four hours from the life of a woman
Ten years before the war, the narrator rested on the Riviera, in a small boarding house. In a nearby hotel, a major scandal broke out. A young Frenchman arrived by day train, who immediately attracted everyone’s attention with his beauty and courtesy. He very quickly met all of them and, two hours after his arrival, he was already playing tennis with the daughters of the benevolent manufacturer from Lyon. The next morning he went fishing with the Dane, after dinner he spent about an hour in the garden with the wife of the Lyon factory owner Madame Henriet, in tennis with her daughters, and in the late afternoon talked in the hotel lobby with a German couple. About six o’clock the narrator met the Frenchman at
The daughter of rich landlords, who owned large factories and estates in Scotland, she married at eighteen, gave birth to two children and lived happily until she was forty. But suddenly her husband fell ill and died, the sons were adults, and she felt very alone. To disperse, she went to travel. And in the second year of her widowhood she came to Monte Carlo. There, she often went to the casino, having fun with what she was watching not by persons, but by the hands of players: this was taught her by her deceased husband. And then one day she saw on the gambling table amazing hands: white, beautiful, they rushed about in a green bosom like living beings, they had so much passion, so much power that Mrs. K. could not take their eyes off them. Finally, she decided to look into the face of the man who owned these magical hands. She had never seen such an expressive face. It was a young man of about twenty-five with gentle beautiful features. When he won, his hands and face radiated joy when he lost – his eyes faded, his hands fell on the table. At last his hands, pouring in his pockets, found nothing. He lost all the money. The young man jerked to his feet and staggered to the door. Mrs. K. immediately realized that he was going to commit suicide. She rushed after him. It was not love that moved – it was a fear of something terrible, an instinctive desire to help. The young man jerked to his feet and staggered to the door. Mrs. K. immediately realized that he was going to commit suicide. She rushed after him. It was not love that moved – it was a fear of something terrible, an instinctive desire to help. The young man jerked to his feet and staggered to the door. Mrs. K. immediately realized that he was going to commit suicide. She rushed after him. It was not love that moved – it was a fear of something terrible, an instinctive desire to help.
Coming out of the casino, the young man sank helplessly to the bench. Mrs. K. stopped in the distance, not daring to approach him. The downpour began. The young man continued to sit motionless on the bench, as if oblivious to him. Mrs. K. ran to him, pulled him by the sleeve and said: “Come!” Her only thought was to take the unfortunate man from this bench, drag him somewhere under the roof, where it was dry and warm. He took her for a cocotte and said that he does not have an apartment and he has nowhere to invite her. Mrs. K. called the crew and asked the coachman to take them to some hotel easier. There she wanted to give the young man a hundred francs, so that he paid for the room and went to Nice in the morning. But he refused money: he does not need anything, still his life is over, he can not be helped. Mrs. K. insisted, but the young man did not concede. At last he resolutely said: “Let’s go” – and dragged her along the stairs, and she, until then, only thinking about saving the unfortunate, obediently followed him. In the morning Mrs. K. woke up with a horrified memory of a crazy night, and burning with shame, she wanted to quietly leave, but, having looked at the very young face of a sleeping young man, she felt a tide of tenderness and joy because she saved him. When the young man woke up, Mrs. K. appointed him to meet at noon at the casino’s door and left. The joyful consciousness that she needed someone, worried her blood. looking at the child’s face of a sleeping young man, she felt a tide of tenderness and joy because she had saved him. When the young man woke up, Mrs. K. appointed him to meet at noon at the casino’s door and left. The joyful consciousness that she needed someone, worried her blood. looking at the child’s face of a sleeping young man, she felt a tide of tenderness and joy because she had saved him. When the young man woke up, Mrs. K. appointed him to meet at noon at the casino’s door and left. The joyful consciousness that she needed someone, worried her blood.
When she met the young man, Mrs. K. invited him to dinner together in a small restaurant. He told her what was going on from the old aristocratic family of Galician Poles. He studied in Vienna, and after successfully passed the exam, his uncle took him to Prater, and they together went on the run. Uncle won a large sum, and they went to dine at an expensive restaurant. The next day the young man again went on the run, and he was lucky: he trebled the amount received from his father. He was seized with a passion for the game. He could not think of anything else and quickly lost all the money. He stole the pearl earrings from an old aunt and laid them, sold his suitcase, clothes, umbrella, even a cross, donated by the godmother. Mrs. K. promised to give him money so that he could redeem the jewels until the theft was discovered and went home if he swears, that he will never play again. The young man looked at Mrs. K. with reverence and gratitude. In his eyes there were tears. Mrs. K. presented the young man with the necessary amount of money and promised after her visit to the cousin to come to the station to accompany him. When the young man left, Mrs. K. felt disappointed. He treated her like an angel-guardian, but he did not see a woman in her, while she longed for him to squeeze her in his arms; she was ready to follow him to the end of the world, despising a human fable, like Madame Henriet behind a barely familiar Frenchman. Mrs. C. stayed with the cousin for a short time: referring to a migraine, she returned to her hotel. She felt that she could not let go of the young man, that she should go with him to spend the night together, the next – as long as he wanted. She began feverishly to collect things. When she was about to leave, a cousin came to her, worried about her ailment. Mrs. K. could not get her cousin out, finally she could not stand it, and saying: “Good-bye, I need to leave,” she rushed to the exit, ignoring her puzzled look.
Mrs. K. was late: the train had already started. She stood on the platform, as if petrified. When she regained consciousness, she decided to go to the casino to find the table where the young man was sitting, when she first saw him to imagine his hands. When she entered the hall, she saw a young man in the same place as the day before. She decided that she had a hallucination, but it was not so – the young man did not leave, he came with her money in the casino and, while she was in despair, she was eager for him with all her heart, she played herself without ceremony. Mrs. K. was furious. She looked at him for a long time, but he did not notice her. When she touched his shoulder, he did not even recognize her at first. Intoxicated by the game, he forgot everything – his oath, Mrs. K. and the whole world. Mrs. K. reminded him that a few hours ago he had sworn to her never to play. A young man, ashamed, wanted to get up because of the gambling table, but then his gaze fell on the Russian general, who was just making a bet, and he asked permission to play one more game – he put it where the general was, and the general was lucky. Putting once, he again forgot about everything in the world and began to bet at the rate. When Mrs. K. touched his shoulder again, he angrily yelled at her that she was unhappy: when she was around, he always loses. He threw a few hundred-franc tickets to her: “Here’s your money! Now leave me alone!” Everyone looked at her, laughed, pointed a finger. Burned with shame and humiliation, she suddenly saw eyes in which horror was frozen: that was her cousin. Mrs. K. rushed out of the hall. Recalling that her belongings were already at the station, she decided to leave Monte Carlo immediately. When she returned to England and came to her son, everyone took care of her as a patient, and she gradually recovered from the shock. So when many years later she was introduced to the Pole, the attache of the Austrian Embassy, and she asked him about the fate of the young man, she did not even flinch when she heard that ten years ago, obsessed with a passion for gambling, he shot himself in Monte Carlo. Mrs. K. even calmed down: now she has nothing to fear that one day she will meet this man.
Mrs K. finished her story. Consolation words were not expected from the interlocutor. She said that she was glad that she could finally speak out, and she was grateful for the attention with which he listened to her. At parting, she held out her hand to his companion, and he kissed her respectfully.