"You are right. Certainly, there are people who cannot understand how it is possible to feel sad, so long as no harm is done them. But for us, life itself is an evil; it harms us."
"Because of the work we have to do."
"Then don't you like your work?"
"On the contrary. I should like it, but …"
"Well, but what?"
"In general, I can work with a pretty good will; but just now I am so weary and so upset. …"
We are now in front of the house where Nierwiska is living. As we take leave of each other, I draw her into the doorway, and ask her in a whisper:
"You are in love, are you not?"
She starts away from me in a flutter of shyness. 1 stroke her hand soothingly.
"And things don't go smoothly, eh? Tell me."
She hangs her head, and replies, in an earnest childlike tone:
"No, they do not."
"What! does he not love you?"
"Perhaps he does—just a little. But I must tell you, with me, self-respect comes first of