* * * * *
Finally a day came when there were neither guests, nor theater, nor
other company. I breathed a sigh of relief. Wanda sat in the gallery,
reading, and apparently had no orders for me. At dusk when the
silvery evening mists fell she withdrew. I served her at dinner, she
ate by herself, but had not a look, not a syllable for me, not even
a slap in the face.
I actually desire a slap from her hand. Tears fill my eyes, and I
feel that she has humiliated me so deeply, that she doesn’t even find
it worth while to torture or maltreat me any further.
Before she goes to bed, her bell calls me.
“You will sleep here to-night, I had horrible dreams last night, and
am afraid of being alone. Take one of the cushions from the ottoman,
and lie down on the bearskin at my feet.”
Then Wanda put out the lights. The only illumination in the room was
from a small lamp suspended from the ceiling. She herself got into
bed. “Don’t stir, so as not to wake me.”
I did as she had commanded, but could not fall asleep for a long
time. I saw the beautiful woman, beautiful as a goddess, lying on her
back on the dark sleeping-furs; her arms beneath her neck, with a
flood of red hair over them. I heard her magnificent breast rise in
deep regular breathing, and whenever she moved ever so slightly. I
woke up and listened to see whether she needed me.
But she did not require me.
No task was required of me; I meant no more to her than a night-lamp, or
a revolver which one places under one’s pillow.