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“My darling! I’m in terrible trouble, Ivan Petrovitch! All last night and all today I’ve been crying . . . but there! . . . I’ll tell you about it afterwards. How many times I began hinting to him to forgive her; I daren’t say it right out, so I begin to hint at it, in a tactful way. And my heart’s in a flutter all the time: I keep expecting him to get angry and curse her once for all. I haven’t heard a curse from him yet . . . well, that’s what I’m afraid of, that he’ll put his curse upon her. And what will happen then? God’s punishment falls on the child the father has cursed. So I’m trembling with terror every day. And you ought to be ashamed, too, Ivan Petrovitch, to think you’ve grown up in our family, and been treated like a son by both of us, and yet you can speak of her being delightful too. But their Marya Vassilyevna knows better. I may have done wrong, but I asked her in to coffee one day when my good man had gone out for the whole morning. She told me all the ins and outs of it. The prince, Alyosha’s father, is in shocking relations with this countess. They say the countess keeps reproaching him with not marrying her, but he keeps putting it off. This fine countess was talked about for her shameless behaviour while her husband was living. When her husband died she went abroad: she used to have all sorts of Italians and Frenchmen about her, and barons of some sort — it was there she caught Prince Pyotr Alexandrovitch. And meantime her stepdaughter, the child of her first husband, the spirit contractor, has been growing up. This countess, the stepmother, has spent all she had, but the stepdaughter has been growing up, and the two millions her father had left invested for her have been growing too. Now, they say, she has three millions. The prince has got wind of it, so he’s keen on the match for Alyosha. (He’s a sharp fellow! He won’t let a chance slip!) The count, their relative, who’s a great gentleman at court you remember, has given his approval too: a fortune of three millions is worth considering. ‘Excellent’, he said, ‘talk it over with the countess.’ So the prince told the countess of his wishes. She opposed it tooth and nail. She’s an unprincipled woman, a regular termagant, they say! They say some people won’t receive her here; it’s very different from abroad. ‘No,’ she says, ‘you marry me, prince, instead of my stepdaughter’s marrying Alyosha.’ And the girl, they say, gives way to her stepmother in everything; she almost worships her and always obeys her. She’s a gentle creature, they say, a perfect angel! The prince sees how it is and tells the countess not to worry herself. ‘You’ve spent all your money,’ says he, ‘and your debts you can never pay. But as soon as your stepdaughter marries Alyosha there’ll be a pair of them; your innocent and my little fool. We’ll take them under our wing and be their guardians together. Then you’ll have plenty of money, What’s the good of you’re marrying me?’ He’s a sharp fellow, a regular mason! Six months ago the countess wouldn’t make up her mind to it, but since then they say they’ve been staying at Warsaw, and there they’ve come to an agreement. That’s what I’ve heard. All this Marya Vassilyevna told me from beginning to end. She heard it all on good authority. So you see it’s all a question of money and millions, and not her being delightful!”
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Uh-oh! Better get to a casino, Paul. You must know the old saying, "unlucky in love, lucky in cards".


I know that feeling, dear Paul, I really do.

You've been on my mind a lot lately the past few months. We need to catch up, methinks.

I'll email you privately with my number (although, I still have yours).

The now anonymous author of Juggs
(formerly Origin of Soul/Frankensoul)

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