Writing "Love" (part 2)


by Souri

You were sitting with some friends at the next table, regarding me with an admiring glance. I trembled, and my hand shook so violently that I nearly let my wineglass fall. Fortunately my companions did not notice my condition, for their perceptions were confused by the noise of laughter and music.
My cheeks were flushed, and I talked at random. You could not help noticing the effect your glance had on me.

You made an inconspicuous movement of the head, to suggest my coming into the anteroom for a moment. Then, having settled your bill, you took leave of your associates, and left the table, after giving me a further sign that you intended to wait for me outside. I shook like one in the cold stage of a fever. I could no longer answer when spoken to, could no longer control the tumult of my blood. Standing up, I told my friend that I would be back in a moment, and followed you.

You were waiting for me in the lobby, and your face lighted up when I came. With a smile on your lips, you hastened to meet me. It was plain that you did not recognise me, neither the child, nor the girl of old days. Again, to you, I was a new acquaintance.
“Tell me when we can meet,”you said. “When ever you like,”I replied, for I knew nothing of shame where you were concerned.

You looked at me with a little surprise, with a surprise which had in it the same flavour of doubt mingled with curiosity which you had shown before when you were astonished at the readiness of my acceptance. “Now?”You enquired, after a moment’s hesitation. “Yes,”I replied, “let’s go.”
There was a car at the door, and we drove to your room. Once more I could listen to your voice, once more I felt the ecstasy of being near you, and was almost as intoxicated with joy and confusion as I had been so long before. But I cannot describe it all to you, what I had felt ten years earlier was now renewed as we went up the well-known stairs together; how I lived simultaneously in the past and in the present.

In your rooms, little was changed. There were a few more pictures, a great many more books, one or two additions to your furniture——but the whole had the friendly look of an old acquaintance. On the writing-table was the vase with the roses——my roses, the ones I had sent you the day before as a memento of the woman whom you did not remember, whom you did not recognise, not even now when she was close to you, when you were holding her hand and your lips were pressed on hers. But it comforted me to see my flowers there, to know that you had cherished something that was an emanation from me, was the breath of my love for you. you asked me to stay for breakfast......

over the tea, which an unseen hand had discreetly served in the dining room, we talked quietly. as of old, you displayed a cordial frankness; and, as of old, there were no tactless questions, there was no curiosity about myself. You did not ask my name, nor where I lived. To you I was, as before, a casual adventure, a nameless woman, an ardent hour which leaves no trace when it is over. Standing at the glass, I saw in it—I was overcome with shame and horror—that you were surreptitiously slipping a couple of banknotes into my muff. I could hardly refrain from crying out; I could hardly refrain from slapping your face.

You were paying me for the night I had spent with you, me who had loved you since childhood, me the mother of your son. To you I was only a prostitute picked up at a dancing-hall. It was not enough that you should forget me; you had to pay me, and to debase me by doing so. I hurried away, for my eyes were filling with tears, and I did not want you to see.

In the entry, as I precipitated myself from the room, I almost cannoned into John, your servant. Embarrassed but zealous, he got out of my way, and opened the front door for me. Then, in this fugitive instant, as I looked at him through my tears, a light suddenly flooded the old man’s face. In this fugitive instant, I tell you, he recognised me, the man who had never seen me since my childhood. I was so grateful, that I could have kneeled before him and kissed his hands. I tore from my muff the banknotes with which you had scourged me, and thrust them upon him. He glanced at me in alarm—in this instant I think he understood more of me than you have understood in your whole life.

Everyone, everyone, has been eager to spoil me; everyone has loaded me with kindness. But you, only you, forgot me. You, only you, never recognised me. My boy, our boy, is dead. I have no one left to love; no one in the world, except you. But what can you be to me—you who have never, never recognised me; you who stepped across me as you might step across a stream, you who trod on me as you might tread on a stone; you who went on your way unheeding, while you left me to wait for all eternity?

I shall not summon you in my last hour; I shall go my way leaving you ignorant of my name and my appearance. Death will be easy to me, for you will not feel it from afar. I could not die if my death were going to give you pain. I cannot write any more. My head is so heavy; my limbs ache; I am feverish. I must lie down. Perhaps all will soon be over. Perhaps, this once, fate will be kind to me, and I shall not have to see them take away my boy. . . . I cannot write any more. Farewell, dear one, farewell. All my thanks go out to you. What happened was good, in spite of everything. I shall be thankful to you till my last breath.

But who, ah who, will now send you white roses on your birthday? The vase will be empty. No longer will come that breath, that aroma, from my life, which once a year was breathed into your room. I have one last request—the first, and the last. Do it for my sake. Always on your birthday—get some roses and put them in the vase.

Only in you do I wish to go on living—just one day in the year, softly, quietly, as I have always lived near you. Please do this, my darling, please do it. . . . My first request, and my last . . . . Thanks, thanks. . . . I love you, I love you. . . . Farewell. . . .


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more from Souri
Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

Thank you for sharing

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

Until now I had never heard of this author. Thank you for introducing me to his writing.


ebi amirhosseini

Azarin Jaan

by ebi amirhosseini on

Bandeh haghir,read the book while listening to Beethoven.

You should try that.


Ebi aka Haaji

Azarin Sadegh

"Musical novel"!

by Azarin Sadegh on

I love the term "Musical Novel"! Now I remember that the similarity between Jean Christophe and Beethoven's life, was one of the main reasons I fell in love with Jean Chrisptophe, and with literature in general.

Actually, the first book of Rolland that I had read was his Beethoven's biography and I think I was around 9-10 years old. At that time, Beethoven was my favorite composer and my only wish was to become a pianist. But we couldn't really afford to buy a piano, and to have piano lessons, etc...That's why Jean Chrisptophe's story moved me so much. As I could identify my own love for music with his struggle and passion...

Thank you so much Souri jan for this wonderful thread! I better stop, otherwise I can write forever about this subject! 

Anahid Hojjati

I love this thread

by Anahid Hojjati on

Dear Souri, Azarin, Ebi, this thread is one of the best I have read in a while.  We need more of these.  Thanks Souri. 

ebi amirhosseini

Souri jaan

by ebi amirhosseini on

Unfortunately some European writers are not well known in America & Zweig is one of them,though in recent years some publishers are publishing more of his works in America.I read only one of his books(beware of pity) a long time ago.

Ebi aka Haaji


Thanks ebi, I didn't know that

by Souri on

And this reminded me of another fact about Zweig, too! 

He is also the author of the opera "The Silent woman" by Strauss.

The story is fascinating. One of the reason for Zweig's paranoia which finally drove him to suicide. Zweig thought that Hitler's hate of Jews was because of him.

PS: I am really starting to love this conversation :)

I'd copied a short part about that famous opera, here for you:

Zweig also provided the libretto for the 1934 opera Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman) by his friend Richard Strauss.
Strauss famously defended him from the Nazi regime, by refusing to
remove Zweig's name from the posters for the work's première in Dresden. As a result, Hitler
refused to attend as planned, and the opera was banned after three
performances. Zweig later would collaborate with Joseph Gregor, to
provide Strauss with the libretto for one other opera, Daphne, in 1937. At least one other work by Zweig received a musical setting: the pianist and composer Henry Jolles, who like Zweig had fled to Brazil to escape the Nazis, composed a song, "Último poema de Stefan Zweig",[2] based on "Letztes Gedicht", which Zweig wrote on the occasion of his 60th birthday in November 1941.[3]

ebi amirhosseini

German Musician,the....

by ebi amirhosseini on

main charachter(Jean Christophe),is based on Beethoven,as RR says the novel is more of a "musical novel".

Ebi aka Haaji


Isn't it just wonderful?

by Souri on

Azarin aziz

I'm so proud of you and the friends who are still devoted to the literature, more than religion bashing and politics and other topics which make these pages full of darkness and black color of the human spirit.

Your post, revived the lost memories for me. Those lines were graved in my mind for decades....I loved that part. So true:

"How small everything showed by the side of this reality, the only
reality--death! Was it worth while to suffer so much, to desire so
much, to be so much put about to come in the end to that!.

Thank you.

Azarin Sadegh

Thank you!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear Souri,

No wonder I loved so much your blog about Zweig!

As I've told you before I love Romian Rolland and his Jean Christophe was the book that totally changed my life. There are a few books which have been so important and influential during my teen years...Jean Christophe was the first one that created this crazy idea in my mind: the idea of becoming a writer.

What I liked the best in Rolland was his attractive, passionate, and lovable characters, and his scenes which were written almost like a painting. Even his "mean" characters were not that bad, and it made hs work believable...because it is how life is.

For example...I just found this scene (which is written so eloquently; simple but extremely intense!): 

"In the midst of a group of men talking in low voices, in the dark passage, lit only by the flickering light of a lantern, lying, just as his grandfather had done, on a stretcher, was a body dripping with water, motionless. Louisa was clinging to it and sobbing. They had just found Melchior drowned in the mill-race.

Jean-Christophe gave a cry. Everything else vanished; all his other sorrows were swept aside. He threw himself on his fathers body by Louisa's side, and they wept together.

Seated by the bedside, watching Melchior's last sleep, on whose face was now a severe and solemn expression, he felt the dark peace of death enter into his soul. His childish passion was gone from him like a fit of fever; the icy breath of the grave had taken it all away. Minna, his pride, his love, and himself.... Alas! What misery! How small everything showed by the side of this reality, the only reality--death! Was it worth while to suffer so much, to desire so much, to be so much put about to come in the end to that!...

He watched his father's sleep, and he was filled with an infinite pity..."  Jean Christophe Volume 1 page 191

Isn't it great?

Thank you so much Souri jan for this great discussion!




ebi jan

by Souri on

No wonder you are also a fan of Rolland. I could guess it :)

Azarin or yourself must blog about Roman Rolland one of these days. It worth it.

Jean-Christophe has changed many people's life....This book is also Azarin's favorite. While I'm always devoted to the "The Enchanted Soul".

Thanks for the note.


ebi amirhosseini

Anahid & Souri, salam

by ebi amirhosseini on

Big fan of Romain Rolland.All his works are great especially his nobel prize winner:




My pleasure Anahid jan

by Souri on

I love Roman Rolland too. Azarin is a fan too. I believe we have all been at the same school, before and right afte the revolutin (?) !!!

Anahid Hojjati

Dear Souri, thanks for introducing me to "Stefan Zweig"

by Anahid Hojjati on

Souri jan, thanks for info on Zweig.  I am curious to read his works since you wrote in your comment:".. and his writing style is very common to Roman Rolland."  I am a fan of Rolland, so I am now interested to read Zweig's books too.


Stefan Zweig

by Souri on

Dear friends: Tahirih, Javaneh, Mr Yassari and Azarin,

Thanks for your interest and the nice words. I'm glad you liked this short story.

Azarin aziz: Stefan Zweig is one of my favorite. He was better known in Iran (his name was spelled as : Eshtefan Tsw-a-yc) than in the North America. He was mostly impressed by Dostoyevsky and Balzac (I know you like them too) and his writing style is very common to Roman Rolland !! That's why you find his work so much interesting.

The first book I've read from Zweig was "Tarahom" in Persian,  which the original name is "Be ware of pity". A masterpiece!!! A must read. Sensitive soul that you have, I know you will cry more than once when you read this book.

The two others that I liked the most, are "Letter from unknown woman" and "24 hours in the life of a woman" which won (later on) many prizes in the realm of Feminism.

Another one of his bests is also "The burning secret".

I invite you to start by "Letter from unknown woman" which is not only a love story, but trough this, Zweig describes the miseries of a poor woman from a middle class who fall in love with a celebrity and will go trough so much pain and miseries, because of the inequality of the social classes. During her pregnancy and at the hospital, she will suffer so much from the poverty, that she will recognize that "the only way of living well in this world" is to be "rich" . She makes herself a promise to not let her son, know the miseries of poverty. She decides to become a courtesy woman, and will socialize with the "greater world"......This is mostly a humanistic novel.

Here's a short biography on Zweig. I'm sure, as a writer you will adore his style and admire his skill of description the "scene and the moments" trough his works: 





Azarin Sadegh

Nice choice!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thank you Souri jan for this great extrait!

I hadn't read anything from Stefan Zweig yet, but now I'm tempted to get my copy of "Letter from an Unknown Woman"!

Thank you for this lovely blog! Azarin 

Javad Yassari

Dear Souri Khanom:

by Javad Yassari on

Thank you very much for sharing this very nice story with us.

I believe you to be a writer, because at least once you have left a very engaging and witty comment on one of my humble posts, telling a sweet and funny story from your childhood. Of course, when we find another person's writing descriptive of our feelings and sentiments, we may not feel moved to attempt to surpass it. It was a pleasure reading your thoughtful contribution.


Thankx Souri ♥

by javaneh29 on

I'm getting into these 'love' writtings now



Ah, so sad but beautiful.

by Tahirih on

Thanks Souri Jan, I enjoyed it a lot.