The little bronze clock on which stood a cupid who had just shot his
bolt struck midnight.
I rose, and wanted to leave.
Wanda said nothing, but embraced me and drew me back on the ottoman.
She began to kiss me anew, and this silent language was so
comprehensible, so convincing–
And it told me more than I dared to understand.
A languid abandonment pervaded Wanda’s entire being. What a
voluptuous softness there was in the gloaming of her half-closed
eyes, in the red flood of her hair which shimmered faintly under the
white powder, in the red and white satin which crackled about her
with every movement, in the swelling ermine of the _kazabaika_
in which she carelessly nestled.
“Please,” I stammered, “but you will be angry with me.”
“Do with me what you will,” she whispered.
“Well, then whip me, or I shall go mad.”
“Haven’t I forbidden you,” said Wanda sternly, “but you are
“Oh, I am so terribly in love.” I had sunken on my knees, and was
burying my glowing face in her lap.
“I really believe,” said Wanda thoughtfully, “that your madness is
nothing but a demonic, unsatisfied sensuality. _Our unnatural way
of life must generate such illnesses._ Were you less virtuous, you
would be completely sane.”
“Well then, make me sane,” I murmured. My hands were running through
her hair and playing tremblingly with the gleaming fur, which rose
and fell like a moonlit wave upon her heaving bosom, and drove all
my senses into confusion.
And I kissed her. No, she kissed me savagely, pitilessly, as if she
wanted to slay me with her kisses. I was as in a delirium, and had
long since lost my reason, but now I, too, was breathless. I sought
to free myself.
“What is the matter?” asked Wanda.
“I am suffering agonies.”
“You are suffering–” she broke out into a loud amused laughter.
“You laugh!” I moaned, “have you no idea–”
She was serious all of a sudden. She raised my head in her hands,
and with a violent gesture drew me to her breast.
“Wanda,” I stammered.
“Of course, you enjoy suffering,” she said, and laughed again, “but
wait, I’ll bring you to your senses.”
“No, I will no longer ask,” I exclaimed, “whether you want to belong
to me for always or for only a brief moment of intoxication. I want
to drain my happiness to the full. You are mine now, and I would
rather lose you than never to have had you.”
“Now you are sensible,” she said. She kissed me again with her
murderous lips. I tore the ermine apart and the covering of lace and
her naked breast surged against mine.
Then my senses left me–
The first thing I remember is the moment when I saw blood dripping
from my hand, and she asked apathetically: “Did you scratch me?”
“No, I believe, I have bitten you.”