1 Moscow lies silent. From time to time screeching wheels echo in the wintry streets. Lights no longer burn in the windows, and the streetlamps have gone out. The ringing of church bells rolls over the sleeping city, warning of the approach of dawn. The streets are empty. The narrow runners of a nighttime sleigh mix sand and snow as the driver pulls over to a corner and dozes off, waiting for a fare. An old woman walks past on her way to church, where candles, sparse and red, are already burning asymmetrically, throwing their light onto the golden icon stands. The workers of the city are waking after the long winter night and preparing to go to work. But fashionable young gentlemen are still out on the town. Light flickers illegally from behind the closed shutters in one of Chevalier's windows. A carriage, sleighs, and cabs are huddling in a line by the entrance. A troika is waiting to leave. A porter, bundled in a heavy coat, stands crouching behind the corner of the house as if hiding from someone. "Why do they keep blathering, on and on?" a footman sitting in the hall at Chevalier's wonders, his face drawn. "And always when it's my shift!" From the brightly lit room next to the hall come the voices of three young men. One is small, neat, thin, and ugly, and gazes with kind, weary eyes at his friend, who is about to leave on a journey. The second, a tall man, is twiddling his watch fob as he lies on a sofa next to a table covered with the remains of a banquet and empty wine bottles. The man about to leave on a journey is wearing a new fur jacket and is pacing up and down the room. From time to time he stops to crack an almond with his thick, strong fingers, whose nails are meticulously clean. For some reason he is continually smiling. A fire burns in his eyes. He speaks passionately, waving his arms. But it is clear that he is searching for words, and that the words which come to him seem inadequate to express what has moved him. He is constantly smiling. "Now I can tell you everything!" he says. "It's not that I am trying to justify myself, but I want you, of all people, to understand me as well as I understand myself--I don't want you to see things the way a vulgar person would. You say that I have done her wrong!" He turns to the small man, who is gazing at him with kindly eyes. "Yes, you have done her wrong," the small, ugly man answers, and it seems that even more kindness and weariness are reflected in his eyes. "I know your point of view," the man about to leave continues. "You feel that there is as much happiness in being the object of love as there is in loving--and that if you attain it once, it's enough for a lifetime!" "Oh yes, quite enough, my dear fellow! More than enough!" the small, ugly man says with conviction, opening his eyes wide and then closing them. "But why not experience love oneself?" the man setting out on a journey says. He becomes pensive for a moment and then looks at his friend as if pitying him. "Why not love? I don't mean 'Why not be loved?' No, being loved is a misfortune! It's a misfortune because you feel guilty that you cannot return the same feelings, that you cannot reciprocate. Lord!" He waves his hand disparagingly. "If only this could all happen reasonably. But it seems to have a will of its own. It's as if I had made her fall in love with me. I know that's what you think--I know you do. Don't deny it! But will you believe me if I tell you that of all the bad and foolish things I have done in my life, this is the only one I do not and cannot repent of! I did not lie to her, not at the beginning and not later! I really thought I had finally fallen in love, but then I realized that the whole thing was an unintentional lie, that one cannot love that way. So I simply couTolstoy, Leo is the author of 'Cossacks' with ISBN 9780679431312 and ISBN 0679431314.