About Marriages

The practice of young women marrying old men run rampant in the modern world.

“My father was a poor clerk in the Service. He had a good heart and was not without intelligence; but the spirit of the age — of his environment — vous comprenez? — I do not blame my poor father. He drank, gambled, took bribes. My mother — but why say more? Poverty, the struggle for daily bread, the consciousness of insignificance — ah, do not force me to recall it! I had to make my own way.”

“I longed for glory, renown, success, like every — why affect modesty? — every nature above the commonplace. I yearned for something extraordinary, above the common lot of woman! And then — and then — there crossed my path — an old general — very well off. Understand me, Voldemar! It was self-sacrifice, renunciation! You must see that! I could do nothing else.”

“Yet how I suffered, how revolting, how loathsome to me were his embraces — though I will be fair to him — he had fought nobly in his day. There were moments — terrible moments — but I was kept up by the thought that from day to day the old man might die, that then I would begin to live as I liked, to give myself to the man I adore — be happy.”

“But at last the old man died. He left me something. I was free as a bird of the air. Now is the moment for me to be happy,(…)”

“I am wretched, wretched, wretched! Again there is an obstacle in my path! Again I feel that my happiness is far, far away! Ah, what anguish! — if only you knew what anguish!”

“But what — what stands in your way? I implore you tell me! What is it?”

“Another old general, very well off—-”

An Enigmatic Nature by Anton Chekhov


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