Page:Nalkowska - Kobiety (Women).djvu/67

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the surface. What harm had it ever done? Possibly it was put to death because its life of a day or two had made it the instrument of some wrong done!

"Janka, I hate life!"

"Listen," I say, casting my eyes down. "I—I don't know how to begin; that is, I wanted to tell you that it may be I am leaving you only for a short time. In a few weeks, I shall perhaps be here again."

"I wish you would," she replies. "Janusz is in a pitiful state."

Another pause ensues. I am thinking how far indeed I am from such a wish; and I feel something rising in my throat. Suddenly I decide to speak now.

"Martha," I say, "tell me the reason why you refused Imszanski." She starts, and stares at me with eyes like a frightened deer's.

"Fear nothing," I say, reassuringly. "You must not think I shall inflict compassion on you; I am only calmly and objectively interested. Tell me: can you possibly not be in love with so amazingly handsome a man?"

She is silent a while, debating with herself; and then: