A Hero of Our Time May 29

I haven’t once diverted from my plan during all these days. The young princess has started to like my conversation; I have recounted several of my life’s bizarre events to her, and she has started to see a rare person in me. I make fun of everything in the world, especially feelings: this has started to frighten her. She doesn’t dare start up a sentimental debate with Grushnitsky in front of me and has already several times replied to his escapades with a mocking smile. But every time Grushnitsky comes up to her, I adopt a meek attitude and leave them alone. The first time she was glad of this or tried to seem so. The second time she became angry with me, and the third time—with Grushnitsky.

“You have very little self-regard!” she said to me yesterday. “Why do you think it is more fun for me to be with Grushnitsky?”

I responded that I am sacrificing my own pleasure to the happiness of a friend . . .

“And mine, too,” she added.

I looked at her intently and assumed a serious air. Then I didn’t say a word to her for the rest of the day . . . In the evening she was pensive; and this morning by the well she was even more pensive. When I went up to her she was absentmindedly listening to Grushnitsky, who, it seems was delighting in nature, but as soon as she saw me, she started laughing loudly (very inappropriately), making it seem as if she had not noticed me. I went on a bit further and started to observe her stealthily: she turned from her interlocutor and yawned twice.

Grushnitsky has absolutely bored her.

I won’t speak to her for another two days.