A short passage this time, which introduces us to Grushnitsky and Princess Mary, of whom there will be more later. The narrator, of course, is Pechorin himself.
Taking on a serious face, I replied: “Yes, she is rather good-looking . . . Only be careful, Grushnitsky! Russian young ladies for the most part go in only for Platonic love with no intention of marriage, and Platonic love is the most disturbing. It seems to me that Princess Mary is one of those women who wish to be amused. If she is bored for two minutes in your company, you are doomed forever. Your silence must arouse her curiosity, your conversation must never completely satisfy her. You must keep her in a state of suspense all the time. Ten times she will defy public opinion for your sake and call it sacrifice, and in return she will begin to torment you and end up saying simply that she cannot tolerate you. If you don’t get the advantage over her, even her first kiss will not give you the right to a second. She’ll flirt with you to her heart’s content and a year or two later marry an ugly man in obedience to her mother’s will; then she will begin to assure you that she is unhappy, that she had loved only one man–that is, you–but that fate had not ordained that she be joined to him because he wore a soldier’s overcoat, though beneath that thick gray garment there beat an ardent and noble heart . . . .”