Poor Folk/August 11
O Barbara Alexievna, I am undone--we are both of us undone! Both of us are lost beyond recall! Everything is ruined--my reputation, my self-respect, all that I have in the world! And you as much as I. Never shall we retrieve what we have lost. I-- I have brought you to this pass, for I have become an outcast, my darling. Everywhere I am laughed at and despised. Even my landlady has taken to abusing me. Today she overwhelmed me with shrill reproaches, and abased me to the level of a hearth-brush. And last night, when I was in Rataziaev's rooms, one of his friends began to read a scribbled note which I had written to you, and then inadvertently pulled out of my pocket. Oh beloved, what laughter there arose at the recital! How those scoundrels mocked and derided you and myself! I walked up to them and accused Rataziaev of breaking faith. I said that he had played the traitor. But he only replied that I had been the betrayer in the case, by indulging in various amours. "You have kept them very dark though, Mr. Lovelace!" said he-- and now I am known everywhere by this name of "Lovelace." They know EVERYTHING about us, my darling, EVERYTHING--both about you and your affairs and about myself; and when today I was for sending Phaldoni to the bakeshop for something or other, he refused to go, saying that it was not his business. "But you MUST go," said I. "I will not," he replied. "You have not paid my mistress what you owe her, so I am
not bound to run your errands." At such an insult from a raw peasant I lost my temper, and called him a fool; to which he retorted in a similar vein. Upon this I thought that he must be drunk, and told him so; whereupon he replied: "WHAT say you that I am? Suppose you yourself go and sober up, for I know that the other day you went to visit a woman, and that you got drunk with her on two grivenniks." To such a pass have things come! I feel ashamed to be seen alive. I am, as it were, a man proclaimed; I am in a worse plight even than a tramp who has lost his passport. How misfortunes are heaping themselves upon me! I am lost--I am lost for ever!