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<b>Ladies and Gentlemen,</b><br>
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<p>caught unawares, and at the first moment when she spoke to him of
her position, his heart had prompted him to beg her to leave her
husband. He had said that, but now thinking things over he saw
clearly that it would be better to manage to avoid that; and at
the same time, as he told himself so, he was afraid whether it
was not wrong.
"If I told her to leave her husband, that must mean uniting her
life with mine; am I prepared for that? How can I take her away
now, when I have no money? Supposing I could arrange.... But
how can I take her away while I'm in the service? If I say
that--I ought to be prepared to do it, that is, I ought to have
the money and to retire from the army."
And he grew thoughtful. The question whether to retire from the
service or not brought him to the other and perhaps the chief
though hidden interest of his life, of which none knew but he.
Ambition was the old dream of his youth and childhood, a dream
which he did not confess even to himself, though it was so
strong that now this passion was even doing battle with his love.
His first steps in the world and in the service had been</p>