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Asbeïn From the Life of a Virtuoso   By: (1854-1934)

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1. Page scan source: http://www.archive.org/details/asbeinfromlifeof00schuiala

[Illustration: With hands lightly folded in her lap and head leaned back against her chair, Natalie has listened. In the beginning she had been carried out of herself by a feeling of painfully sweet happiness, but now she felt strangely oppressed. p. 36 .]

ASBEÏN

FROM THE LIFE OF A VIRTUOSO

BY OSSIP SCHUBIN

TRANSLATED BY ÉLISE L. LATHROP

NEW YORK WORTHINGTON CO., 747 BROADWAY 1890

Copyright, 1890, by WORTHINGTON CO.

Press of J.J. Little & Co., Astor Place, New York.

ASBEÏN.[1]

FIRST BOOK.

"But do you really not recognize me?" With these words, and with friendly, outstretched hands, a young lady hastened toward a man who, with gloomily contracted brow, wrapped in thought, went on his way without noticing either her or his surroundings. He was foolish, for his surroundings were picturesque Rome, near the Fontana di Trevi, on a bright March afternoon. And the young lady she was charming.

Although she had called to him in French, something about her one could scarcely have told what betrayed the Russian; everything, the pampered woman from the highest circles of society.

The young man whose attention she had sought to attract in such a violent and unconventional manner was just as evidently a Russian, but of quite a different condition. One could hardly decide to what fixed sphere of society he belonged, but one perceived immediately that his manners had never been improved, polished, softened by society discipline, that he was no man of the world. He was, evidently, a man who was apart from the rank and file, a man who stood far out from the conventional frame, a man whom no one could pass without twice looking after him. His form was large and somewhat heavy; his face, framed by dark, half curled hair, in spite of the blunt profile, reminded one of Napoleon Bonaparte, but Bonaparte in the first romantic period of his life, before he had become fat and accustomed to pose for the classic head of Cæsar.

She was the Princess Natalie Alexandrovna Assanow; he the fêted violin virtuoso and well known composer, Boris Lensky.

She had run herself quite out of breath to catch up with him; twice she had called to him before he heard her; then he looked around and lifted his hat.

"Boris Nikolaivitch, do you not really recognize me?" said she, now in Russian, laughing and breathless.

"You here, Princess! Since when? Why have you given me no sign of your existence?" and he took both the slender girlish hands, still outstretched to him, in his.

"We only arrived here yesterday from Naples."

"Ah! and I go there to day." His long drawn words betrayed very significantly a certain vexation.

"Yes, to give three concerts there. I know; it was in the newspapers," she nodded earnestly, and sighed.

"Hm!" he began; "then " he hesitated.

"Then you do not understand why I did not wait for the concerts?" said she, gayly; "it was impossible."

"Impossible?" said he with a short, defiant motion of the head, the motion of a too tightly checked race horse who impatiently jerks at the bridle. "How so impossible? What word is that from the mouth of a young lady who has nothing else in the world to do but amuse herself?"

"As if I were independent!" she sighed, with comic despair. "First, mamma could not leave Naples hm for family reasons. My sister is married there, you know... Continue reading book >>




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