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Notes from the Underground

VIII
It was some time, however, before I consented to recognise that truth.
Waking up in the morning after some hours of heavy, leaden sleep, and
immediately realising all that had happened on the previous day, I was
positively amazed at my last night's sentimentality with Liza, at all those
"outcries of horror and pity." "To think of having such an attack of
womanish hysteria, pah!" I concluded. And what did I thrust my address
upon her for? What if she comes? Let her come, though; it doesn't
matter .... But obviously, that was not now the chief and the most
important matter: I had to make haste and at all costs save my reputation
in the eyes of Zverkov and Simonov as quickly as possible; that was the
chief business. And I was so taken up that morning that I actually forgot
all about Liza.
First of all I had at once to repay what I had borrowed the day before
from Simonov. I resolved on a desperate measure: to borrow fifteen
roubles straight off from Anton Antonitch. As luck would have it he was
in the best of humours that morning, and gave it to me at once, on the
first asking. I was so delighted at this that, as I signed the IOU with a
swaggering air, I told him casually that the night before "I had been
keeping it up with some friends at the Hotel de Paris; we were giving a
farewell party to a comrade, in fact, I might say a friend of my childhood,
and you know--a desperate rake, fearfully spoilt--of course, he belongs
to a good family, and has considerable means, a brilliant career; he is
witty, charming, a regular Lovelace, you understand; we drank an extra
'half-dozen' and ..."
And it went off all right; all this was uttered very easily,
unconstrainedly and complacently.
On reaching home I promptly wrote to Simonov.
To this hour I am lost in admiration when I recall the truly gentlemanly,
good-humoured, candid tone of my letter. With tact and good-
breeding, and, above all, entirely without superfluous words, I blamed
myself for all that had happened. I defended myself, "if I really may be
allowed to defend myself," by alleging that being utterly unaccustomed
to wine, I had been intoxicated with the first glass, which I said, I had
drunk before they arrived, while I was waiting for them at the Hotel de
Paris between five and six o'clock. I begged Simonov's pardon especially;
I asked him to convey my explanations to all the others, especially to
Zverkov, whom "I seemed to remember as though in a dream" I had
insulted. I added that I would have called upon all of them myself, but
my head ached, and besides I had not the face to. I was particularly
pleased with a certain lightness, almost carelessness (strictly within the
bounds of politeness, however), which was apparent in my style, and
better than any possible arguments, gave them at once to understand that
I took rather an independent view of "all that unpleasantness last night";
 
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