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the corner of his eye

the corner of his eye

He tore the handkerchief from her head, and in his fury caught her by the hair. His blows awoke her whole spirit of opposition, and all that was worst in her; and the feeling of this anger gave her real pleasure, thrilled every fibre of her soul. Instead of quenching his jealousy with a few conciliatory words, she fed it all the more, whilst she smiled in his face with a peculiarly meaning smile. His rage grew more and more furious, and he beat her unmercifully.

But in the night, when she, with her bruised and ill-used body, lay groaning by his side, he would watch her from
, and sigh heavily. His conscience troubled him, and he felt a painful feeling of shame, as he realized that there was not the smallest foundation for his jealousy, and that he had once more unjustly beaten his wife.

"Now then, stop sobbing!" he said in a remorseful tone. "Is it my fault if I have that sort of character?... And it's a great deal your fault.... Instead of speaking to me quietly, you try and aggravate me. What is it makes you behave like that?"

She did not answer, though she was quite conscious why she acted thus. She knew that she was looking forward to the pitying and passionate caresses with which he would seal her forgiveness. For the sake of these caresses she was prepared to allow herself to be beaten every day till the blood flowed, and she shed precious tears in the sole expectation of this joy of reconciliation.

"How do you feel now?... Come now, be quiet, Motrja! Come, my treasure, forgive me?... do forgive me now!"

He stroked her hair, kissed her tenderly, whilst he ground his teeth with the bitterness which was eating into his soul.

The window of their room stood open, but the sky was hidden by the thick wall of the neighbouring houses, and in the cellar it was, as usual, dark, damp, and sticky  the scene of a violent and murderous attack..

"Ah! this life; it's a veritable prison!" whispered Grischka, unable to put into words all the pain that was oppressing his soul, "This hole that we live in is the cause of it all, Motrja! Whatever do we stay here for?... It's just as if we were buried alive!"

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