After a while, my nervousness passes away, and I can hear myself asking him about his voyage, about England, about the sea; the calm indifference of my own voice is a surprise to me.
The first coherent thought which strikes me is—that I am a handsome woman: that I must be handsome. Roslawski is talking to Obojanski; it is a long time since they met, and they must be left to themselves a little while. I get up from my arm-chair and go towards Smilowicz, who stands silently by, looking at a new book on one of the shelves. Cool, majestic, with head erect and bright eyes shining serenely in the gas-light, I walk by, close to Roslawski. I see myself as from without, clad in a clinging black dress, wearing a great soft and quaintly designed autumn hat; with outlines that form a graceful silhouette, slow movements, picturesque in their indolence, the outcome of a superfluity of latent vital force, kept down and subdued by the will.
For the first time now I cast my eyes upon him, and meet that cold, critical glance of his. No one but myself has ever hitherto been able to look at me in such wise.
I am standing by Smilowicz, and stoop