Elena did not even thank Bersenyev; there are services for which thanks are cruel and shameful. Only once at her fourth interview with him Insarov had passed a very bad night, the doctor had hinted at a consultation only then she reminded him of his promise. 'Very well, then let us go, he said to her. She got up and was going to get ready.
On the broad lagoon which separates Venice from the narrow strip of accumulated sea sand, called the Lido, a gondola was gliding swaying rhythmically at every push made by the gondolier as he leaned on the big pole. Under its low awning, on soft leather cushions, were sitting Elena and Insarov.
The few relations they had, made no sign to show they knew of their existence; but they were not without friends, and one of the first and truest of these was Volodia. "Don't trouble about this lawsuit, Elena Andreïevna," he said, on one of his frequent visits to the great house.
Massenet has told us that he borrowed right and left from his unpublished score, La Coupe du Roi de Thulé. That is what Gluck did with his Elena e Paride which had little success. I may as well confess that one of the ballets in Henry VIII came from the finale of an opéra-comique in one act.
"Thou wouldst marry whom our father told thee to marry, Elena," said her sister, severely. "What hast thou to say about it?" "I will marry a Spaniard," said Elena, rebelliously. "A Spaniard, and no other." "Thou wilt do what?" asked a cold voice from the door. The girls gave a little scream. Elena turned pale, even Francisca's hands twitched.
'Fancy, he began with a constrained smile, 'our Insarov has disappeared. 'Disappeared? said Elena. 'He has disappeared. The day before yesterday he went off somewhere and nothing has been seen of him since. 'He did not tell you where he was going? 'No. Elena sank into a chair.
But the perfume of the clove and the beauty of Elena in that moment took possession of his heart together, and straightway he forgot Dulcinea. As yet he knew not who Elena was. Nor is this wonderful; for the daughters of Venetian nobles were but rarely seen or spoken of.
He did not regret his plan of making Elena acquainted with Insarov, he felt the deep impression made on her by his account of the young Bulgarian very natural... had he not himself tried to deepen that impression! But a vague, unfathomable emotion lurked secretly in his heart; he was sad with a sadness that had nothing noble in it.
But, as it chanceth often that those, who have the most experience of things profound, are the soonest snared of love, even so it befell this Rinieri; for, having one day repaired, by way of diversion, to an entertainment, there presented herself before his eyes the aforesaid Elena, clad all in black, as our widows go, and full, to his judgment, of such beauty and pleasantness as himseemed he had never beheld in any other woman; and in his heart he deemed that he might call himself blest whom God should vouchsafe to hold her naked in his arms.
"But how can we all live with you, when we have no money?" said Elena. "Good, kind Volodia! It would not be fair for us to be a burden to you!" "How can you talk of burdens, Elena Andreïevna! It's quite wrong of you, and really almost makes me angry! Your grandfather gave me all the money with which I started in life, and it's no more than paying back a little of it. Besides, think of the honour!