* * * * *
We are at the district capital. We get out at the railway station.
Wanda throws off her furs and places them over my arm, and goes
to secure the tickets.
When she returns she has completely changed.
“Here is your ticket, Gregor,” she says in a tone which supercilious
ladies use to their servants.
“A third-class ticket,” I reply with comic horror.
“Of course,” she continues, “but now be careful. You won’t get on
until I am settled in my compartment and don’t need you any longer.
At each station you will hurry to my car and ask for my orders. Don’t
forget. And now give me my furs.”
After I had helped her into them, humbly like a slave, she went to
find an empty first-class coupe. I followed. Supporting herself on
my shoulder, she got on and I wrapped her feet in bear-skins and placed
them on the warming bottle.
Then she nodded to me, and dismissed me. I slowly ascended a third-class
carriage, which was filled with abominable tobacco-smoke that seemed
like the fogs of Acheron at the entrance to Hades. I now had the leisure
to muse about the riddle of human existence, and about its greatest
riddle of all–woman.