"It was a wonderful night, such a night as is only possible when we are young, dear reader. The sky was so starry, so bright that, looking at it, one could not help asking oneself whether ill-humoured and capricious people could live under such a sky. That is a youthful question too, dear reader, very youthful, but may the Lord put it more frequently into your heart!..."
"There is something inexpressibly touching in nature round Petersburg, when at the approach of spring she puts forth all her might, all the powers bestowed on her by Heaven, when she breaks into leaf, decks herself out and spangles herself with flowers."
"I walked along singing, for when I am happy I am always humming to myself like every happy man who has no friend or acquaintance to share his joy."
"Suddenly I had a most unexpected adventure. Leaning on the canal railing stood a woman with her elbows on the rail, she was apparently looking with great attention at the muddy water of the canal."
"I was not mistaken, the girl was crying, and a minute later I heard sob after sob. Good Heavens! My heart sank. And timid as I was with women, yet this was such a moment!... I turned, took a step towards her, and should certainly have pronounced the word "Madam!" if I had not known that that exclamation has been uttered a thousand times in every Russian society novel."
"But while I was seeking for a word, the girl came to herself, looked round, started, cast down her eyes and slipped by me along the embankment, crossed the road and walked along the pavement."
"Suddenly, without a word to any one, the gentleman set off and flew full speed in pursuit of my unknown lady...(t)he girl uttered a shriek...in a flash I was on the other side of the street."
"'Give me your arm', I said to the girl. 'And he won't dare annoy us further.'"
"'There, you see; why did you drive me away? If I had been here, nothing would have happened...' 'But I did not know you; I thought that you too...'"
"But tell me how did you find out that I was the sort of woman with whom ... well, whom you think worthy ... of attention and friendship ... in fact, not a landlady as you say? What made you decide to come up to me?"
"What made me? ... But you were alone; that gentleman was too insolent; it's night. You must admit that it was a duty...."
"Surely there was no harm in feeling brotherly compassion for you.... I beg your pardon, I said compassion....Well in short, surely you would not be offended at my involuntary impulse to go up to you?..."
"But here I am home; I must go down this turning, it's two steps from here....Good-bye, thank you!..."
"Surely....surely you don't mean... that we shall never see each other again? ... Surely this is not to be the end?"
"And we parted. I walked about all night; I could not make up my mind to go home. I was so happy .... Tomorrow!"
Excerpts from Fyodor Dostoevksy's short story "White Nights". Possibly three more nights to come, though, lordy, it does take a long time to do something like this...