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That the business, of course, was not what it had been in the days of her husband, who had a great gift for the confectionery line. Gemma listened to her mother, and at one minute laughed, then sighed, then patted her on the shoulder, and shook her finger at her, and then looked at Sanin; at last, she got up, embraced her mother and kissed her in the hollow of her neck, which made the latter laugh extremely and shriek a little. Pantaleone too was presented to Sanin.
It appeared he had once been an opera singer, a baritone, but had long ago given up the theatre, and occupied in the Roselli family a position between that of a family friend and a servant. In spite of his prolonged residence in Germany, he had learnt very little German, and only knew how to swear in it, mercilessly distorting even the terms of abuse.
He spoke Italian with a perfect accent—for was he not by birth from Sinigali, where may be heard ' lingua toscana in bocca romana '! Emilio, obviously, played the invalid and indulged himself in the pleasant sensations of one who has only just escaped a danger or is returning to health after illness; it was evident, too, that the family spoiled him.
Sanin was compelled to drink two large cups of excellent chocolate, and to eat a considerable number of biscuits; no sooner had he swallowed one than Gemma offered him another—and to refuse was impossible! He soon felt at home: the time flew by with incredible swiftness.
He had to tell them a great deal—about Russia in general, the Russian climate, Russian society, the Russian peasant—and especially about the Cossacks; about the war of , about Peter the Great, about the Kremlin, and the Russian songs and bells. Both ladies had a very faint conception of our vast and remote fatherland; Signora Roselli, or as she was more often called, Frau Lenore, positively dumfoundered Sanin with the question, whether there was still existing at Petersburg the celebrated house of ice, built last century, about which she had lately read a very curious article in one of her husband's books, ' Bellezze delle arti.
When the conversation touched on Russian music, they begged him at once to sing some Russian air and showed him a diminutive piano with black keys instead of white and white instead of black. He obeyed without making much ado and accompanying himself with two fingers of the right hand and three of the left the first, second, and little finger he sang in a thin nasal tenor, first 'The Sarafan,' then 'Along a Paved Street.
Then the ladies went into ecstasies. Frau Lenore positively discovered in Russian a wonderful likeness to the Italian. Even the names Pushkin she pronounced it Pussekin and Glinka sounded somewhat familiar to her. Frau Lenore sat down to the piano and sang with Gemma some duets and 'stornelle. But it was not Gemma's voice—it was herself Sanin was admiring. He was sitting a little behind and on one side of her, and kept thinking to himself that no palm-tree, even in the poems of Benediktov—the poet in fashion in those days—could rival the slender grace of her figure.
When, at the most emotional passages, she raised her eyes upwards—it seemed to him no heaven could fail to open at such a look! Even the old man, Pantaleone, who with his shoulder propped against the doorpost, and his chin and mouth tucked into his capacious cravat, was listening solemnly with the air of a connoisseur—even he was admiring the girl's lovely face and marvelling at it, though one would have thought he must have been used to it!
Pantaleone promptly put on a displeased air, frowned, ruffled up his hair, and declared that he had given it all up long ago, though he could certainly in his youth hold his own, and indeed had belonged to that great period, when there were real classical singers, not to be compared to the squeaking performers of to-day! Afterward, to be sure, there came.
A volcano, signori miei, a volcano, un Vesuvio! I had the honour and the happiness of singing with him in the opera dell' illustrissimo maestro Rossini—in Otello! Garcia was Otello,—I was Iago—and when he rendered the phrase':— here Pantaleone threw himself into an attitude and began singing in a hoarse and shaky, but still moving voice:.
The theatre was all a-quiver, signori miei! And all of a sudden, he crashed like lightning, like a tiger: Morro! At that point he made. Only Emil laughed ruthlessly. Sanin tried to soothe the aged singer and began talking to him in Italian— he had picked up a smattering during his last tour there —began talking of ' paese del Dante, dove il si suona.
Then Emil, with a faint momentary blush, such as one so often sees in spoilt children, addressing his sister, said if she wanted to entertain their guest, she could do nothing better than read him one of those little comedies of Malz, that she read so nicely. Gemma laughed, slapped her brother on the arm, exclaimed that he 'always had such ideas!
Malz was a writer flourishing at Frankfort about , whose short comedies, written in a light vein in the local dialect, hit off local Frankfort types with bright and amusing, though not deep, humour. It turned out that Gemma really did read excellently—quite like an actress in fact.
She did not herself laugh during the reading; but when her audience with the exception of Pantaleone: he had walked off in indignation so soon as the conversation turned o quel ferroflucto Tedesco interrupted her by an outburst of unanimous laughter, she dropped the book on her knee, and laughed musically too, her head thrown back, and her black hair dancing in little ringlets on her neck and her shaking shoulders.
When the laughter ceased, she picked up the book at once, and again resuming a suitable expression, began the reading seriously. Sanin could not get over his admiration; he was particularly astonished at the marvellous way in which a face so ideally beautiful assumed suddenly a comic, sometimes almost a vulgar expression. Sanin did not notice how the evening was flying by, and only recollected the journey before him when the clock struck ten.
He leaped up from his seat as though he had been stung. Gemma looked at him, half closed her eyes, and laughed, while her mother scolded her: 'The young gentleman has paid away his money for nothing, and you laugh! Will you have some lemonade? Sanin rose to take leave. It would be no nicer in any other town. Sanin made no reply, and reflected that considering the emptiness of his purse, he would have no choice about remaining in Frankfort till he got an answer from a friend in Berlin, to whom he proposed writing for money.
He could not come to-day, as he was very busy at his shop. Well, he is the manager there. But he will be delighted to call on you himself. Sanin—heaven knows why—was slightly disconcerted by this piece of information. He looked at Gemma, and fancied he detected an ironical look in her eyes. He began saying good-bye. Emil, Pantaleone, and the poodle Tartaglia accompanied him to the corner of the street.
Pantaleone could not refrain from expressing his displeasure at Gemma's reading. She mouths and whines, una caricatura! She ought to represent Merope or Clytemnaestra—something grand, tragic—and she apes some wretched German woman! I can do that. Tartaglia began barking at him, while Emil burst out laughing. The old man turned sharply back. Sanin went back to the White Swan he had left his things there in the public hall in a rather confused frame of mind.
All the talk he had had in French, German, and Italian was ringing in his ears. But what did I stay for? He had not finished dressing, when a waiter announced the arrival of two gentlemen. The irreproachable perfection of his get-up was on a level with the dignity of his deportment, with the elegance—a little affected and stiff, it is true, in the English style he had spent two years in England —but still fascinating, elegance of his manners! It was clear from the first glance that this handsome, rather severe, excellently brought-up and superbly washed young man was accustomed to obey his superior and to command his inferior, and that behind the counter of his shop he must infallibly inspire respect even in his customers!
Of his supernatural honesty there could never be a particle of doubt: one had but to look at his stiffly starched collars! Such a voice was peculiarly fitted to give orders to assistants under his control: 'Show the crimson Lyons velvet! Then he proceeded to explain in the choicest German that he was anxious to express his respect and his indebtedness to the foreign gentleman who had performed so signal a service to his future kinsman, the brother of his betrothed; as he spoke, he waved his left hand with the hat in it in the direction of Emil, who seemed bashful and turning away to the window, put his finger in his mouth.
Sanin, with some difficulty, replied, also in German, that he was delighted. Emil , who had continued to stand with his face to the window, even after Sanin's invitation to him to sit down, turned round directly his future kinsman had gone out, and with a childish pout and blush, asked Sanin if he might remain a little while with him.
You won't be in the least in my way,' Sanin cried at once. Like every true Russian he was glad to clutch at any excuse that saved him from the necessity of doing anything himself. Emil thanked him, and in a very short time he was completely at home with him and with his room; he looked at all his things, asked him about almost every one of them, where he had bought it, and what was its value.
He helped him to shave, observing that it was a mistake not to let his moustache grow; and finally told him a number of details about his mother, his sister, Pantaleone, the poodle Tartaglia, and all their daily life. He lost no time in confiding all his secrets to Sanin. To measure out cloth—and cheat the public, extorting from it Narren—oder Russen Preise fools'—or Russian prices —that was his ideal! We 'll go to the post—and from there to our place. Gemma will be so glad to see you!
You must have lunch with us. Gemma certainly was delighted to see him, and Frau Lenore gave him a very friendly welcome; he had obviously made a good impression on both of them the evening before. Emil ran to see to getting lunch ready, after a preliminary whisper, 'don't forget!
Frau Lenore was not quite well; she had a sick headache, and, half-lying down in an easy chair, she tried to keep perfectly still. Gemma wore a full yellow blouse, with a black leather belt round the waist; she too seemed exhausted, and was rather pale; there were dark rings round her eyes, but their lustre was not the less for it; it added something of charm and mystery to the classical lines of her face.
It was very hot out-of-doors; after lunch Sanin was about to take leave, but they told him that on such a day the best thing was to stay where one was, and he agreed; he stayed. In the back room where he was sitting with the ladies of the household, coolness reigned supreme; the windows looked out upon a little garden overgrown with acacias. Multitudes of bees, wasps, and humming beetles kept up a steady, eager buzz in their thick branches, which were studded with golden blossoms; through the half-drawn curtains and the lowered blinds this never-ceasing hum made its way into the room, telling of the sultry heat in the air outside, and making the cool of the closed and snug abode seem the sweeter.
Sanin talked a great deal, as on the day before, but not of Russia, nor of Russian life. He was not surprised at Frau Lenore's standing up for commerce—he had expected that; but Gemma too shared her opinion. Second-rate's worse than nothing; and who can tell if one will arrive at being first-rate?
To tell the truth, his arguments were somewhat feeble; he kept expatiating for the most part on the necessity, before all things, of possessing ' un certo estro d'inspirazione ' —a certain force of inspiration! Frau Lenore remarked to him that he had, to be sure, possessed such an ' estro ' —and yet. Thereupon Frau Lenore became much agitated, and began to implore her daughter to refrain at least from turning her brother's head, and to content herself with being such a desperate republican herself!
Frau Lenore groaned as she uttered these words, and began complaining of her head, which was 'ready to split. Gemma began at once to wait upon her; she moistened her forehead with eau-de-cologne, gently blew on it, gently kissed her cheek, made her lay her head on a pillow, forbade her to speak, and kissed her again. Then, turning to Sanin, she began telling him in a half-joking, half-tender tone what a splendid mother she had, and what a beauty she had been.
Look, look, what eyes! Her mother obeyed; Gemma cried out in ecstasy Frau Lenore's eyes really were very beautiful , and rapidly sliding the handkerchief over the lower, less regular part of the face, fell to kissing her again. Frau Lenore laughed, and turning a little away, with a pretence of violence, pushed her daughter away. She too pretended to struggle with her mother, and lavished caresses on her—not like a cat, in the French manner, but with that special Italian grace in which is always felt the presence of power.
At last Frau Lenore declared she was tired out. Then Gemma at once advised her to have a little nap, where she was, in her chair, 'and I and the Russian gentleman—" avec le monsieur russe' "—will be as quiet, as quiet. Gemma quickly dropped down on a bench beside her and did not stir again, only from time to time she put a finger of one hand to her lips—with the other hand she was holding up a pillow behind her mother's head—and said softly, 'sh-sh!
What was it? A dream? And how came he to be in it? The bell tinkled at the outer door. A young peasant lad in a fur cap and a red waistcoat came into the shop from the street. Not one customer had looked into it since early morning. She was still asleep; Gemma was afraid to take her arm from the pillow, and whispered to Sanin: 'You go, and mind the shop for me!
Sanin weighed out a quarter of a pound, found some paper, twisted it into a cone, tipped the peppermints into it, spilt them, tipped them in again, spilt them again, at last handed them to the boy, and took the money. The boy gazed at him in amazement, twisting his cap in his hands on his stomach, and in the next room. Gemma was stifling with suppressed laughter. Before the first customer had walked out, a second appeared, then a third. The second customer wanted a glass of orangeade, the third, half-a-pound of sweets.
Sanin satisfied their needs, zealously clattering the spoons, changing the saucers, and eagerly plunging his fingers into drawers and jars. On reckoning up, it appeared that he had charged too little for the orangeade, and taken two kreutzers too much for the sweets.
Gemma did not cease laughing softly, and Sanin too was aware of an extraordinary lightness of heart, a peculiarly happy state of mind. A fourth customer asked for a cup of coffee; Pantaleone had to be appealed to. Sanin went and sat by Gemma again. Frau Lenore still went on sleeping, to her daughter's great delight. Sanin began talking—in a whisper, of course, as before—of his minding the shop; very seriously inquired the price of various articles of confectionery; Gemma just as seriously told him these prices, and meanwhile both of them were inwardly laughing together, as though conscious they were playing in a very amusing farce.
Gemma started. When he came back, Gemma thanked him with a little nod of the head, and with a pensive smile she began herself just audibly humming the beautiful melody of Weber's, in which Max expresses all the perplexities of first love. From Weber the conversation glided off on to poetry and romanticism, on to Hoffmann, whom every one was still reading at that time. And Frau Lenore still slept, and even snored just a little, and the sunbeams, piercing in narrow streaks through the shutters, were incessantly and imperceptibly shifting and travelling over the floor, the furniture.
Gemma's dress, and the leaves and petals of the flowers. It appeared that Gemma was not very fond of Hoffmann, that she even thought him. The fantastic, misty northern element in his stories was too remote from her clear, southern nature. But there was one of his stories, the title of which she had forgotten, which she greatly liked; more precisely speaking, it was only the beginning of this story that she liked; the end she had either not read or had forgotten.
The story was about a young man who in some place, a sort of restaurant perhaps, meets a girl of striking beauty, a Greek; she is accompanied by a mysterious and strange, wicked old man. The young man falls in love with the girl at first sight; she looks at him so mournfully, as though beseeching him to deliver her.
He goes out for an instant, and, coming back into the restaurant, finds there neither the girl nor the old man; he rushes off in pursuit of her, continually comes upon fresh traces of her, follows them up, and can never by any means come upon her anywhere. The lovely girl has vanished for him for ever and ever, and he is never able to forget her imploring glance, and is tortured by the thought that all the happiness of his life, perhaps, has slipped through his fingers.
Hoffmann does not end his story quite in that way; but so it had taken shape, so it had remained, in Gemma's memory. It was the first time he had referred to him; he had not once remembered him till that instant. Gemma was silent in her turn, and sank into thought, biting the nail of her forefinger and fixing her eyes away. Then she began to speak in praise of her betrothed, alluded to the excursion he had planned for the next day, and, glancing swiftly at Sanin, was silent again.
Emil ran in noisily and waked Frau Lenore. Sanin was relieved by his appearance. Frau Lenore got up from her low chair. Pantaleone came in and announced that dinner was ready. The friend of the family, ex-singer, and servant also performed the duties of cook. Sanin stayed on after dinner too.
They did not let him go, still on the same pretext of the terrible heat; and when the heat began to decrease, they proposed going out into the garden to drink coffee in the shade of the acacias. He felt very happy. In the quietly monotonous, smooth current of life lie hid great delights, and he gave himself up to these delights with zest, asking nothing much of the present day, but also thinking nothing of the morrow, nor recalling the day before.
How much the mere society of such a girl as Gemma meant to him! He would shortly part from her and, most likely, for ever; but so long as they were borne, as in Uhland's song, in one skiff over the sea of life, untossed by tempest, well might the traveller rejoice and be glad. And everything seemed sweet and delightful to the happy voyager.
Frau Lenore offered to play against him and Pantaleone at 'tresette,' instructed him in this not complicated Italian game, and won a few kreutzers from him, and he was well content. Pantaleone, at Emil's request, made the poodle, Tartaglia, perform all his tricks, and Tartaglia jumped over a stick 'spoke,' that is, barked, sneezed, shut the door with his nose, fetched his master's trodden-down slippers; and, finally, with an old cap on his head, he portrayed Marshal Bernadotte, subjected to the bitterest upbraidings by the Emperor Napoleon on account of his treachery.
Tartaglia sat before his sovereign, all huddled up, with dejected tail, and eyes blinking and twitching in confusion, under the peak of his cap which was stuck on awry; from time to time when Napoleon raised his voice, Bernadotte rose on his hind paws.
All the spectators laughed, and Sanin more than all. Gemma had a particularly charming, continual, soft laugh, with very droll little shrieks. Sanin was fairly enchanted by that laugh—he could have kissed her for those shrieks! Night came on at last. He had in decency to take leave!
After saying good-bye several times over to every one, and repeating several times to ail, 'till to-morrow! We must, however, say a few words about Sanin himself. In the first place, he was very, very good-looking.
A handsome, graceful figure, agreeable, rather unformed features, kindly bluish eyes, golden hair, a clear white and red skin, and, above all, that peculiar, naively-cheerful, confiding, open, at the first glance, somewhat foolish expression, by which in former days one could recognise directly the children of steady-going, noble families, 'sons of their fathers,' fine young landowners, born and reared in our open, half-wild country parts,—a hesitating gait, a voice with a lisp, a smile like a child's the minute you looked at him.
And secondly, he was not stupid and had picked up a fair amount of knowledge. Fresh he had remained, for all his foreign tour; the disturbing emotions in which the greater part of the young people of that day were tempest-tossed were very little known to him. Of late years, in response to the assiduous search for 'new types,' young men have begun to appear in our literature, determined at all hazards to be 'fresh'.
Sanin was not like them. Since we have had recourse already to simile, he rather recalled a young, leafy, freshly-grafted apple-tree in one of our fertile orchards—or better still, a well-groomed, sleek, sturdy-limbed, tender young 'three-year-old' in some old-fashioned seignorial stud stable, a young horse that they have hardly begun to break in to the traces.
Those who came across Sanin in later years, when life had knocked him about a good deal, and the sleekness and plumpness of youth had long vanished, saw in him a totally different man. He began to hurry Sanin, telling him that there was not a minute to lose. He knocked at the door, came in, bowed with a bend from the waist, expressed his readiness to wait as long as might be desired, and sat down, his hat balanced elegantly on his knees.
The handsome shop-manager had got himself up and perfumed himself to excess: his every action was accompanied by a powerful whiff of the most refined aroma. He arrived in a comfortable open carriage—one of the kind called landau—drawn by two tall and powerful but not well-shaped horses. Madame Roselli resolutely refused to join the party; Gemma wanted to stay with her mother; but she simply turned her out.
I would send Pantaleone with you too, only there would be no one to mind the shop. Tartaglia immediately scrambled, with delighted struggles, on to the box and sat there, licking himself; it was obviously a thing he was accustomed to. Gemma put on a large straw hat with brown ribbons; the hat was bent down in front, so as to shade almost the whole of her face from the sun. The line of shadow stopped just at her lips; they wore a tender maiden flush, like the petals of a centifoil rose, and her teeth gleamed stealthily—innocently too, as when children smile.
The pale face of Frau Lenore appeared at the window; Gemma waved her handkerchief to her, and the horses started. Soden is a little town half an hour's distance from Frankfort. It lies in a beautiful country among the spurs of the Taunus Mountains, and is known among us in Russia for its waters, which are supposed to be beneficial to people with weak lungs. The road from Frankfort to Soden runs along the right bank of the Maine, and is planted all along with fruit trees.
While the carriage was rolling slowly along an excellent road, Sanin stealthily watched how Gemma behaved to her betrothed; it was the first time he had seen them together. She was quiet and simple in her manner, but rather more reserved and serious than usual; he had the air of a condescending schoolmaster, permitting himself and those under his authority a discreet and decorous pleasure.
Sanin saw no signs in him of any marked attentiveness, of what the French call ' empressement ' in his demeanour to Gemma. But his condescension never left him for an instant! Even during a long ramble before dinner about the wooded hills and valleys behind Soden, even when enjoying the beauties of nature, he treated nature itself with the same condescension, through which his habitual magisterial severity peeped out from time to time.
Gemma was not bored, and even, apparently, was enjoying herself; but Sanin did not recognise her as the Gemma of the preceding days; it was not that she seemed under a cloud—her beauty had never been more dazzling—but her soul seemed to have withdrawn into herself. With her parasol open and her gloves still buttoned up, she walked sedately, deliberately, as well-bred young girls walk, and spoke little.
Emil, too, felt stiff, and Sanin more so than all. He was somewhat embarrassed too by the fact that the conversation was all the time in German. Only Tartaglia was in high spirits! He darted, barking frantically, after blackbirds, leaped over ravines, stumps and roots, rushed headlong into the water, lapped at it in desperate haste, shook himself, whining, and was off like an arrow, his red tongue trailing after him almost to his shoulder.
At twelve o'clock the whole party returned to Soden to the best tavern there. They had to make arrangements about dinner. At some of the little tables, groups of visitors were already sitting. Gemma stood immovable, biting her lips and looking on the ground; she was conscious that Sanin was persistently and, as it were, inquiringly looking at her—it seemed to enrage her.
Skittles he played in masterly fashion; as he threw the ball, he put himself into amazingly heroic postures, with artistic play of the muscles, with artistic flourish and shake of the leg. In his own way he was an athlete—and was superbly built! His hands, too, were so white and handsome, and he wiped them on such a sumptuous, gold-striped, Indian bandana!
Who does not know what a German dinner is like? Watery soup with knobby dumplings and pieces of cinnamon, boiled beef dry as cork, with white fat attached, slimy potatoes, soft beetroot and mashed horseradish, a bluish eel with French capers and vinegar, a roast joint with jam, and the inevitable ' Mehlspeise, ' something of the nature of a pudding with sourish red sauce; but to make up, the beer and wine first-rate!
With just such a dinner the tavern-keeper at Soden regaled his customers. But at least everything was decorous and seemly. After dinner, coffee was served, thin, reddish, typically German coffee. But at this point suddenly something occurred, unexpected, and decidedly unpleasant, and even unseemly!
At one of the tables near were sitting several officers of the garrison of the Maine. From their glances and whispering together it was easy to perceive that they were struck by Gemma's beauty; one of them, who had probably stayed in Frankfort, stared at her persistently, as at a figure familiar to him; he obviously knew who she was. He suddenly got up, and glass in hand—all the officers had been drinking hard, and the cloth before them was crowded with bottles—approached the table at which Gemma was sitting.
He was a very young flaxen-haired man, with a rather pleasing and even attractive face, but his features were distorted with the wine he had drunk, his cheeks were twitching, his blood-shot eyes wandered, and wore an insolent expression. Slightly unsteady on his legs, the officer stopped before Gemma, and in an unnaturally screaming voice, in which, in spite of himself, an inward struggle could be discerned, he articulated, 'I drink to the health of the prettiest confectioner in all Frankfort, in all the world he emptied his glass , and in return I take this flower, picked by her divine little fingers!
At first she was astonished, alarmed, and turned fearfully white. The officer must have been confused by this look; he muttered something unintelligible, bowed, and walked back to his friends. They greeted him with a laugh, and faint applause. Unheard of! Unheard of impertinence! Emil was simply shaking with rage. We will go inside, in the tavern! Gemma rose in silence; he offered her his arm, she gave him hers, and he walked into the tavern with a majestic step, which became, with his whole bearing, more majestic and haughty the farther he got from the place where they had dined.
Poor Emil dragged himself after them. As he uttered these words, Sanin threw his visiting-card on the table, and at the same moment hastily snatched Gemma's rose, which one of the officers sitting at the table had dropped into his plate. Sanin replied with a short bow, and hurriedly returned to his friends. Gemma too said nothing to Sanin, she did not even look at him; from her knitted brows, from her pale and compressed lips, from her very immobility it could be seen that she was suffering inwardly.
Only Emil obviously wanted to speak to Sanin, wanted to question him; he had seen Sanin go up to the officers, he had seen him give them something white—a scrap of paper, a note, or a card. The poor boy's heart was beating, his cheeks burned, he was ready to throw himself on Sanin's neck, ready to cry, or to go with him at once to crush all those accursed officers into dust and ashes!
He controlled himself, however, and did no more than watch intently every movement of his noble Russian friend. The coachman had at last harnessed the horses; the whole party seated themselves in the carriage. He especially insisted on the point that they had been wrong in not following his advice when he suggested dining in a shut-up summer-house.
There no unpleasantness could have occurred! He added, however, that he personally had the greatest respect for authority, and never. Then he made a few general observations on morality and immorality, good-breeding, and the sense of dignity. During all these lucubrations.
Towards the end of the drive she was positively wretched, and though, as before, she did not address a word to Sanin, she suddenly flung an imploring glance at him. This miserable partie de plaisir came to an end at last. As he helped Gemma out of the carriage at the confectionery shop, Sanin without a word put into her hand the rose he had recovered. She flushed crimson, pressed his hand, and instantly hid the rose. He did not want to go into the house, though the evening was only just beginning.
She did not even invite him. Moreover Pantaleone, who came out on the steps, announced that Frau Lenore was asleep. Emil took a shy good-bye of Sanin; he felt as it were in awe of him; he greatly admired him. The well-regulated German, for all his self-confidence, felt awkward.
And indeed every one felt awkward. It was replaced by a vague, but pleasant, even triumphant feeling. He walked up and down his room, whistling, and not caring to think about anything, and was very well pleased with himself. Sanin made haste to put on his coat, and told him to ask him up. Herr Richter turned out, contrary to Sanin's expectation, to be a very young man, almost a boy.
He tried to give an expression of dignity to his beardless face, but did not succeed at all: he could not even conceal his embarrassment, and as he sat down on a chair, he tripped over his sword, and almost fell. Sanin replied that he did not mean to apologise, but was ready to give him satisfaction. Then Herr von Richter, still with the same hesitation, asked with whom, at what time and place, should he arrange the necessary preliminaries.
Sanin answered that he might come to him in two hours' time, and that meanwhile, he, Sanin, would try and find a second. Herr von Richter got up and began to take leave. I will talk to your second,' he broke off, and went away.
Sanin dropped into a chair directly he had gone, and stared at the floor. How is it my life has taken such a turn all of a sudden? All the past, all the future has suddenly vanished, gone,—and all that's left is that I am going to fight some one about something in Frankfort. My little cucumber! My little love! Dance with me, my little dove! And he laughed and hummed as she used to: 'O my lieutenant! Dance with me, little dove! Gemma wrote to him that she was very anxious—about he knew what—and would be very glad to see him at once.
Sanin glanced at the old Italian, and pondered. A sudden idea flashed upon his brain. For the first instant it struck him as too absurd to be possible. Well, an officer has just this minute left me. That scoundrel challenges me to a duel. I have accepted his challenge. But I have no second. Will you be my second? Pantaleone looked down.
In that way you have shown yourself to be a real galant'uomo! But I must consider your proposal. The daughter of my benefactor is involved in this. And, therefore, I ought, I am bound, to reflect! In an hour, in three-quarters of an hour, you shall know my decision. Sanin took a sheet of paper, wrote on it, 'Set your mind at rest, dear friend; in three hours' time I will come to you, and everything shall be explained.
I thank you from my heart for your sympathy,' and handed this sheet to Pantaleone. He put it carefully into his side-pocket, and once more repeating 'In an hour! Great heart! Nobil giovanotto! Gran cuore! Sanin looked after him. But his eyes wandered in vain over the lines: he understood nothing.
An hour later the waiter came in again to Sanin, and handed him an old, soiled visiting-card, on which were the following words: 'Pantaleone Cippatola of Varese, court singer cantate di camera to his Royal Highness the Duke of Modena'; and behind the waiter in walked Pantaleone himself.
He had changed his clothes from top to toe. He had on a black frock coat, reddish with long wear, and a white pique waistcoat, upon which a pinch-beck chain meandered playfully; a heavy cornelian seal hung low down on to his narrow black trousers. In his right hand he carried a black beaver hat, in his left two stout chamois gloves; he had tied his cravat in a taller and broader bow than ever, and had stuck into his starched shirt-front a pin with a stone, a so-called 'cat's eye. Sanin rose to meet him.
Do you want to fight to the death? I will not for any consideration take back my words—but I am not a blood-thirsty person! But come, wait a little, my opponent's second will be here directly. I will go into the next room, and you can make arrangements with him. Believe me I shall never forget your kindness, and I thank you from my heart. A cheap soul, and that's all about it! As for the conditions of the duel, I am your second, and your interests are sacred to me!
I was quite familiar with their whole code. And I used often to converse on these subjects with your principe Tarbuski too. Is this second to come soon? Pantaleone got up, looked at his watch, straightened his topknot of hair, and hurriedly stuffed into his shoe an end of tape which was sticking out below his trouser-leg, and the young sub-lieutenant came in, as red and embarrassed as ever.
Sanin presented the seconds to each other. Richter, sous-lieutenant, M. Cippatola, artiste! Oh, what would he have said had any one whispered to him at that instant that the 'artist' presented to him was also employed in the culinary art! But Pantaleone assumed an air as though taking part in the preliminaries of duels was for him the most everyday affair: probably he was assisted at this juncture by the recollections of his theatrical career, and he played the part of second simply as a part.
Both he and the sub-lieutenant were silent for a little. He flung himself on the bed and began thinking of Gemma. It was conducted in the French language; both maltreated it mercilessly, each after his own fashion. To Sanin's horror, he suddenly proceeded to talk of a certain young lady, an innocent maiden, whose little finger was worth more than all the officers in the world.
The sub-lieutenant at first made him no reply, but presently an angry quiver could be heard in the young man's voice, and he observed that he had not come there to listen to sermonising. Bravo giovanotto! You will be victor! A few minutes later they both set off to the Rosellis' shop.
Sanin, as a preliminary measure, had exacted a promise from Pantaleone to keep the affair of the duel a most profound secret. In reply, the old man had merely held up his finger, and half closing his eyes, whispered twice over, Segredezza! He was obviously in good spirits, and even walked with a freer step.
All these unusual incidents, unpleasant though they might be, carried him vividly back to the time when he himself both received and gave challenges—only, it is true,on the stage. Baritones, as we all know, have a great deal of strutting and fuming to do in their parts. Communicating all this information in a few seconds, he suddenly fell on Sanin's shoulder, kissed him impulsively, and rushed away down the street.
Gemma met Sanin in the shop; tried to say something and could not. Her lips were trembling a little, while her eyes were half-closed and turned away. He made haste to soothe her by the assurance that the whole affair had ended.
She gave him a smile of welcome, but warned him at the same time that he would be dull with her to-day, as she was not in a mood to entertain him. He sat down beside her, and noticed that her eyelids were red and swollen. I felt very low all of a sudden. I thought of Giovanni Battista. Then how quickly it had all passed away. I have grown old, my friend, and I can't reconcile myself to that anyhow. I feel I 'm just the same as I was. But you will get old too, my friend, and will find out how bitter it is!
He proposed a game of tresette, and he could have thought of nothing better. She agreed at once and seemed to get more cheerful. Sanin played with her until dinner-time and after dinner Pantaleone too took a hand in the game. Never had his topknot hung so low over his forehead, never had his chin retreated so far into his cravat! Every movement was accompanied by such intense solemnity that as one looked at him the thought involuntarily arose, 'What secret is that man guarding with such determination?
During the whole of that day he tried in every possible way to show the profoundest respect for Sanin; at table, passing by the ladies, he solemnly and sedately handed the dishes first to him; when they were at cards he intentionally gave him the game; he announced, apropos of nothing at all, that the Russians were the most great-hearted, brave, and resolute people in the world!
It was not that she avoided him. Then she came in again, and again seated herself in some corner, and sat without stirring, seeming meditative and perplexed. Frau Lenore herself noticed at last, that she was not as usual, and asked her twice what was the matter.
So passed all that long day, neither gaily nor drearily—neither cheerfully nor sadly. Had Gemma been different—Sanin. But as he did not once succeed in getting a word with Gemma, he was obliged to confine himself to striking minor chords on the piano for a quarter of an hour before evening coffee.
The time came for Sanin too to retire. He began saying good-bye to Gemma. He recollected for some reason Lensky's parting from Olga in Oniegin. He pressed her hand warmly, and tried to get a look at her face, but she turned a little away and released her fingers. It was bright starlight when he came out on the steps. What multitudes of stars, big and little, yellow, red, blue and white were scattered over the sky!
They seemed all flashing, swarming, twinkling unceasingly. There was no moon in the sky, but without it every object could be clearly discerned in the half-clear, shadowless twilight. Sanin walked down the street to the end. He did not want to go home at once; he felt a desire to wander about a little in the fresh air.
He rushed at once up to the window. She was leaning with her elbows on the window-sill, bending forward. Gemma was forced to stop at this word. She could not go on; something extraordinary happened at that instant. All of a sudden, in the midst of the profound stillness, over the perfectly unclouded sky, there blew such a violent blast of wind, that the very earth seemed shaking underfoot, the delicate starlight seemed quivering and trembling, the air went round in a whirlwind. The wind, not cold, but hot, almost sultry, smote against the trees, the roof of the house, its walls, and the street; it instantaneously snatched off Sanin's hat, crumpled up and tangled Gemma's curls.
Sanin's head was on a level with the window-sill; he could not help clinging close to it, and Gemma clutched hold of his shoulders with both hands, and pressed her bosom against his head. Like a flock of huge birds the revelling whirlwind darted revelling away. A profound stillness reigned once more. Sanin raised his head and saw above him such an exquisite, scared, excited face, such immense, large, magnificent eyes—it was such a beautiful creature he saw, that his heart stood still within him, he pressed his lips to the delicate tress of hair, that had fallen on his bosom, and could only murmur, 'O Gemma!
She sighed, looked around behind her into the room, and with a rapid movement pulling the now faded rose out of her bodice, she threw it to Sanin. He recognised the rose, which he had won back the day before. But already the window had slammed-to, and through the dark pane nothing could be seen, no trace of white. Sanin went home without his hat. He did not even notice that he had lost it. It was quite morning when he fell asleep. And no wonder! In the blast of that instantaneous summer hurricane, he had almost as instantaneously felt, not that Gemma was lovely, not that he liked her—that he had known before.
As suddenly as that blast of wind, had love pounced down upon him. And then this senseless duel! He began to be tormented by mournful forebodings. And even suppose they didn't kill him. What could come of his love for this girl, another man's betrothed?
Even supposing this 'other man' was no danger, that Gemma herself would care for him, or even cared for him already. What would come of it? How ask what! Such a lovely creature! He walked about the room, sat down to the table, took a sheet of paper, traced a few lines on it, and at once blotted them out. He recalled Gemma's wonderful figure in the dark window, in the starlight, set all a-fluttering by the warm hurricane; he remembered her marble arms, like the arms of the Olympian goddesses, felt their living weight on his shoulders.
Some one slapped him on the shoulder. He opened his eyes, and saw Pantaleone. Russians are always beforehand with their enemies! I have engaged the best carriage in Frankfort! Pantaleone was obviously putting a good face on it as he had done the day before; but when he was seated in the carriage with Sanin, when the coachman had cracked his whip and the horses had started off at a gallop, a sudden change came over the old singer and friend of Paduan dragoons.
He began to be confused and positively faint-hearted. I 'm a madman! All was going on so quietly, so well. I should think not indeed! And yet. Diavolo, diavolo! It was an exquisite morning. Suddenly at a turn in the road, a familiar figure came from behind a tall poplar, took a few steps forward and stood still. Sanin looked more closely. The carriage had got up to Emil. Sanin told the coachman to stop the horses, and called the 'wretched boy' up to him.
Emil approached with hesitating steps, pale as he had been on the day he fainted. He could scarcely stand. His teeth were chattering as in a fever. Emil, please, go home! Listen to me, my dear! You say you love me. Well, I beg you! Emil bent forward, sobbed, pressed it to his lips, and darting away from the road, ran back towards Frankfort across country. The old man shrank into the corner of the carriage.
He was conscious of his fault; and moreover, he felt more and more bewildered every instant; could it really be he who was acting as second, who had got horses, and had made all arrangements, and had left his peaceful abode at six o'clock? Besides, his legs were stiff and aching. Sanin thought it as well to cheer him up, and he chanced on the very thing, he hit on the right word. Where is 'il antico valor? SignorCippatola drew himself up and scowled ' Il antico valor?
After all, if you think of it, nothing is stronger in the world. The copse in which the duel was to take place was a quarter of a mile from Hanau. Sanin and Pantaleone arrived there first, as the latter had predicted; they gave orders for the carriage to remain outside the wood, and they plunged into the shade of the rather thick and close-growing trees.
They had to wait about an hour. The time of waiting did not seem particularly disagreeable to Sanin; he walked up and down the path, listened to the birds singing, watched the dragonflies in their flight, and like the majority of Russians in similar circumstances, tried not to think. He only once dropped into reflection; he came across a young lime-tree, broken down, in all probability by the squall of the previous night.
It was unmistakably dying. As for Pantaleone, he was grumbling, abusing the Germans, sighing and moaning, rubbing first his back and then his knees. He even yawned from agitation, which gave a very comic expression to his tiny shrivelled-up face. Sanin could scarcely help laughing when he looked at him. They heard, at last, the rolling of wheels along the soft road. A heavy dew drenched the grass and leaves, but the sultry heat penetrated even into the wood. Both the officers quickly made their appearance under its arched avenues; they were accompanied by a little thick-set man, with a phlegmatic, almost sleepy, expression of face—the army doctor.
He carried in one hand an earthenware pitcher of water—to be ready for any emergency; a satchel with surgical instruments and bandages hung on his left shoulder. Do you hear? The old man looked dejectedly at him, and nodded his head affirmatively. But God knows whether he understood what Sanin was asking him to do. The combatants and the seconds exchanged the customary bows; the doctor alone did not move as much as an eyelash; he sat down yawning on the grass, as much as to say, 'I 'm not here for expressions of chivalrous courtesy.
And Herr von Richter proceeded to act. He took the pistols out of the case, and squatting on his heels, he rammed in the bullets; in short, he fussed about and exerted himself to the utmost, continually mopping his perspiring brow with a white handkerchief. Pantaleone, who accompanied him, was more like a man frozen. During all these preparations, the two principals stood at a little distance, looking like two schoolboys who have been punished, and are sulky with their tutors.
The decisive moment arrived. But at this point Herr von Richter observed to Pantaleone that it was his duty, as the senior second, according to the rules of the duel, to address a final word of advice and exhortation to be reconciled to the combatants, before uttering the fatal 'one! Pantaleone, who had already succeeded in obliterating himself behind a bush, so as not to see the offending officer at all, at first made out nothing at all of Herr von Richter's speech, especially, as it had been delivered through the nose, but all of a sudden he started, stepped hurriedly forward, and convulsively thumping at his chest, in a hoarse voice wailed out in his mixed jargon: ' A la la la.
Che bestialita! Che diavolo? Andata a casa! The latter promptly ducked behind the bush again, and from there, all huddled together, his eyes screwed up, and his head turned away, he shouted at the top of his voice: ' Una. The first shot was Sanin's, and he missed. His bullet went ping against a tree. No one moved. Pantaleone uttered a faint moan. That's out of order. He moved uneasily, and hesitatingly held out his hand. Sanin went rapidly up to him and shook it. Both the young men looked at each other with a smile, and both their faces flushed crimson.
When he had exchanged bows with the officers, and taken his seat in the carriage, Sanin certainly felt all over him, if not a sense of pleasure, at least a certain lightness of heart, as after an operation is over; but there was another feeling astir within him too, a feeling akin to shame. The duel, in which he had just played his part, struck him as something false, a got-up formality, a common officers' and students' farce.
And afterwards when Pantaleone had paid him the four crowns due to him. Yes, Sanin was a little conscience-smitten and ashamed. Could he have left the young officer's insolence unrebuked? Not so Pantaleone—he was simply in his glory! He was suddenly possessed by a feeling of pride. A victorious general, returning from the field of battle he has won, could not have looked about him with greater self-satisfaction. Sanin's demeanour during the duel filled him with enthusiasm.
He called him a hero, and would not listen to his exhortations and even his entreaties. He compared him to a monument of marble or of bronze, with the statue of the commander in Don Juan! For himself he admitted he had been conscious of some perturbation of mind, 'but, of course, I am an artist,' he observed; 'I have a highly-strung nature, while you are the son of the snows and the granite rocks.
I could not! I waited for you here. Tell me how was it? With great verbosity, with evident pleasure, Pantaleone communicated to him all the details of the duel, and, of course, did not omit to refer again to the monument of bronze and the statue of the commander. He even rose from his seat and, standing with his feet wide apart to preserve his equilibrium, folding his arm on his chest and looking contemptuously over his shoulder, gave an ocular representation of the commander—Sanin!
Emil listened with awe, occasionally interrupting the narrative with an exclamation, or swiftly getting up and as swiftly kissing his heroic friend. The carriage wheels rumbled over the paved roads of Frankfort, and stopped at last before the hotel where Sanin was living. He recognised her eyes under the thick silk of her brown veil.
But now that's of no consequence,' he hurried to add eagerly, 'everything has ended so splendidly, and she has seen you well and uninjured! You get along now. I want to be alone. I 'm going to sleep. I 'm tired. You have fully earned it, noble signor! Come along, Emilio! On tip-toe! When he said he wanted to go to sleep, Sanin had simply wished to get rid of his companions; but when he was left alone, he was really aware of considerable weariness in all his limbs; he had hardly closed his eyes all the preceding night, and throwing himself on his bed he fell immediately into a sound sleep.
He slept for some hours without waking. Could I have foreseen such a thing? All of a sudden, like thunder from a clear sky. I know that too! You acted like an honourable man; but what an unfortunate combination of circumstances! I was quite right in not liking that excursion to Soden. But you know I am a widow, a lonely woman.
My daughter. Tears choked Frau Lenore's voice. Sanin did not know what to think. And what is he to be refused for? Because he did not defend his betrothed? Allowing that was not very handsome on his part, still, he's a civilian, has not had a university education, and as a solid business man, it was for him to look with contempt on the frivolous prank of some unknown little officer.
And what sort of insult was it, after all, Herr Dimitri? You're quite another matter; you are, like all Russians, a military man. She sighed, waved her hands, unwound her handkerchief again, and blew her nose. Simply from the way in which her distress expressed itself, it could be seen that she had not been born under a northern sky. It's utterly inconsistent!
And now I am to send him away! But what are we going to live on? Only consider; even without this, they 'll talk in the town about your duel. And all of a sudden, the marriage broken off! It will be a scandal, a scandal! Gemma is a splendid girl, she loves me; but she's an obstinate republican, she doesn't care for the opinion of others. You're the only person that can persuade her! That's why I have come to you; I could not think of anything else to do! You are so clever, so good!
But abuse is not an option. Darryl : They killed my baby. He got involved with that whole east coast-west coast thing, and being that he is so Chicago they BOTH banged on him! Sign In. Senseless R R 1h 33m. Play trailer Comedy Romance. Director Penelope Spheeris. Greg Erb Craig Mazin. Top credits Director Penelope Spheeris. See more at IMDbPro.
Trailer Official Trailer. Photos Top cast Edit. Brad Dourif Dr. Wheedon as Dr. Tamara Taylor Janice as Janice. Kenya Moore Lorraine as Lorraine. Patrick O'Neill Waiter 1 as Waiter 1. Ross Rayburn Waiter 2 as Waiter 2. Penelope Spheeris. More like this. Storyline Edit. Did you know Edit.
Trivia To date, this is the last movie directed by Penelope Spheeris to get a wide theatrical release. She said in an interview that working with the Weinsteins on this made her want to stop making mainstream Hollywood movies. She thought, "How the fuck did I get here? What am I doing? I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to work in this movie business anymore.
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Senseless Things. Pop punk  punk rock indie rock alternative rock. Retrieved 19 August Retrieved 27 July Retrieved 11 January Vinyl, LP, Album at Discogs". London: Guinness World Records Limited. ISBN Retrieved 21 June Fiction Book Review: Empire of the Senseless.
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