'Not at all! replied Rudin; 'that is rather the comic side of love. ... The question must be put in an altogether different way... one must attack it more deeply.... Love! he pursued, 'all is mystery in love; how it comes, how it develops, how it passes away.
He was annoyed with himself, he reproached himself for his unpardonable precipitancy, his boyish impulsiveness. Some one has justly said: there is nothing more painful than the consciousness of having just done something stupid. Rudin was devoured by regret. 'What evil genius drove me, he muttered between his teeth, 'to call on that squire! What an idea it was!
'You should not say that, Natalya Alexyevna; your playing is not at all inferior to mine. 'Do you know Schubert's "Erlkonig"? asked Rudin. 'He knows it, he knows it! interposed Darya Mihailovna. 'Sit down, Konstantin. You are fond of music, Dmitri Nikolaitch? Rudin only made a slight motion of the head and ran his hand through his hair, as though disposing himself to listen.
'You will laugh at it, Mihail. 'Why should I? No, I will not laugh. 'We resolved to make a river in the K province fit for navigation, said Rudin with an embarrassed smile. 'Really! This Kurbyev was a capitalist, then? 'He was poorer than I, responded Rudin, and his grey head sank on his breast. Lezhnyov began to laugh, but he stopped suddenly and took Rudin by the hand.
Sometimes it comes all at once, undoubting, glad as day; sometimes it smoulders like fire under ashes, and only bursts into a flame in the heart when all is over; sometimes it winds its way into the heart like a serpent, and suddenly slips out of it again.... Yes, yes; it is the great problem. But who does love in our days? Who is so bold as to love? And Rudin grew pensive.
It was not the complacent effort of the practised speaker, but the very breath of inspiration that was felt in his impatient improvising. He did not seek out his words; they came obediently and spontaneously to his lips, and each word seemed to flow straight from his soul, and was burning with all the fire of conviction. Rudin was the master of almost the greatest secret the music of eloquence.
Sometimes he had not even a cup of tea to offer to his friends, and his only sofa was so shaky that it was like being on board ship. But in spite of these discomforts a great many people used to go to see him. Every one loved him; he drew all hearts to him. You would not believe what sweetness and happiness there was in sitting in his poor little room! It was in his room I met Rudin.
He would have taken his leave on one occasion, on the ground that all his money was spent; she gave him five hundred roubles. He borrowed two hundred roubles more from Volintsev. Pigasov visited Darya Mihailovna much less frequently than before; Rudin crushed him by his presence. And indeed it was not only Pigasov who was conscious of an oppression.
Natalya uttered all this in an even, almost expressionless voice. 'And you, Natalya Alexyevna, what did you answer? asked Rudin. 'What did I answer? repeated Natalya.... 'What do you intend to do now? 'Good God, good God! replied Rudin, 'it is cruel! So soon... such a sudden blow!... And is your mother in such indignation? 'Yes, yes, she will not hear of you. 'It is terrible!
It would be difficult to define the feelings of these two men when they pressed each other's hands like friends and looked into each other's eyes. Bassistoff continued to adore Rudin, and to hang on every word he uttered. Rudin paid him very little attention.