First Love

The party had long ago broken up. The clock struck half-past twelve. There was left in the room only the master of the house and Sergei Nikolaevitch and Vladimir Petrovitch.

The master of the house rang and ordered the remains of the supper to be cleared away. “And so it’s settled,” he observed, sitting back farther in his easy-chair and lighting a cigar; “each of us is to tell the story of his first love. It’s your turn, Sergei Nikolaevitch.”

Sergei Nikolaevitch, a round little man with a plump, light-complexioned face, gazed first at the master of the house, then raised his eyes to the ceiling. “I had no first love,” he said at last; “I began with the second.”

“How was that?”

“It’s very simple. I was eighteen when I had my first flirtation with a charming young lady, but I courted her just as though it were nothing new to me; just as I courted others later on. To speak accurately, the first and last time I was in love was with my nurse when I was six years old; but that’s in the remote past. The details of our relations have slipped out of my memory, and even if I remembered them, whom could they interest?”

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