A Hero of Our Time June 14

I sometimes despise myself . . . is that not why I despise others? I have become incapable of noble impulses. I am afraid to seem ridiculous to myself. Another person in my place would offer the princess son coeur et sa fortune.19 But the word “marry” has some sort of magical power over me. As passionately as I can love a woman, if she gives me to feel even slightly that I should marry her—good-bye love! My heart turns to stone, and nothing will warm it up again. I am prepared for every sacrifice but this one. I would place my life on a card twenty times over—and my honor too . . . but my freedom I will not sell. Why do I value it so much? What does it do for me? Where am I planning to go? What am I expecting of the future? Exactly nothing, really. It is some kind of inborn fear, an inexplicable sense of foreboding . . . There are people who are instinctively afraid of spiders, cockroaches, mice . . . And shall I admit the truth? When I was still a child, an old woman told my fortune to my mother. She predicted that I would die at the hands of an evil woman. At the time, this struck me deeply. An insuperable disgust toward marriage was born in my soul . . . Meanwhile, something tells me that her prediction will come true. I will try, at least, to make sure that it comes true as late as possible.