HE began talking about music, about Lisa, then of music again. He seemed to enunciate his words more slowly when he spoke of Lisa. Lavretsky turned the conversation on his compositions, and half in jest, offered to write him a libretto.
Hm, a libretto! replied Lemm; no, that is not in my line; I have not now the liveliness, the play of the imagination, which is needed for an opera; I have lost too much of my power But if I were still able to do something,I should be contented with a song; of course I should like to have beautiful words
Ye stars, pure stars, repeated Lemm. You look down upon the righteous and the guilty alike but only the pure in heart,or something of that kindcomprehend youthat is, nolove you. But I am not a poet. Im not equal to it! Something of that kind, though, something lofty.
And you too, he continued, his voice gradually sinking, ye know who loves, who can love, because ye, pure ones, ye alone can comfort No, thats not it at all! I am not a poet, he said, but something of that sort.
That is beautiful music you have set to Fridolin, Christopher Fedoritch, he said aloud, but what do you suppose, did that Fridolin do after the Count had presented him to his wife became her lover, eh?
The stars had begun to grow paler and the sky had turned grey when the carriage drove up to the steps of the little house in Vassilyevskoe. Lavretsky conducted his guest to the room prepared for him, returned to his study and sat down before the window. In the garden a nightingale was singing its last song before dawn. Lavretsky remembered that a nightingale had sung in the garden at the Kalitins; he remembered, too, the soft stir in Lisas eyes, as at its first notes, they turned towards the dark window. He began to think of her, and his heart was calm again. Pure maiden, he murmured half-aloud: pure stars, he added with a smile, and went peacefully to bed.
But Lemm sat a long while on his bed, a music-book on his knees. He felt as though sweet, unheard melody was haunting him; already he was all aglow and astir, already he felt the languor and sweetness of its presence but he could not reach it.