Page:Nalkowska - Kobiety (Women).djvu/60

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48
Kobiety

sides, I feel this: that I am sorry to go away—sorry for Janusz. Something there is within me, tearing at my soul—tearing it to bits, to shreds, to tatters.

I hear Janusz coming, take up an easy recumbent attitude, without rising from the sofa, and arrange my hair.

"What! you here already?" I remark in a peevishly flippant tone of inquiry.

He does not reply, but draws near with noiseless reverent steps, in an attitude of supreme worship, such as an idolator may pay to the idol he distractedly adores. Kneeling down before me, he gently takes my hands and presses them to his brow. I do not withdraw them. I lean forwards instinctively.

"Janka, listen," he says tenderly, in a voice that trembles with suppressed emotion; "say that you will be my wife; say so, my dear. … You know what you have made of me. … You laughed at me for my sober-mindedness, my shallow outlook upon life, my thoughtless joie de vivre. Now I am quite different. … Now I am like you, and like the rest of your set. … Could I ever, in the old days, have thought it possible that I should become like a child—cry-