Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/299

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
SMOKE

gard me as a frivolous flirt, that I myself drew you on, that I have given you solemn promises. . . . I am full of horror, of hatred for myself, but I can't do otherwise, I can't, I can't. I don't want to justify myself, I won't tell you I was carried away myself . . . all that 's of no importance; but I want to tell you, and to say it again and yet again, I am yours, yours for ever, do with me as you will when you will, free from all obligation, from all responsibility! I am yours. . . . But run away, throw up everything . . . no! no! no! I besought you to save me, I hoped to wipe out everything, to burn up the past as in a fire . . . but I see there is no salvation for me; I see the poison has gone too deeply into me; I see one cannot breathe this atmosphere for years with impunity. I have long hesitated whether to write you this letter, I dread to think what decision you may come to, I trust only to your love for me. But I felt it would be dishonest on my part to hide the truth from you—especially as perhaps you have already begun to take the first steps for carrying out our project. Ah! it was lovely but impracticable. О my dear one, think me a weak, worthless woman, despise, but don't abandon me, don't abandon your Irina ! . . . To leave this life I have not the courage, but live it without you I cannot either. We soon

279