The story about how our business started.
He wrote to Olga that he had taken a slight chill in the Summer Gardens — wherefore he must stay at home for a couple of days; but that he hoped soon to be better, and to see her on the following Sunday. In reply she wrote that he must take the greatest care of himself; that even on Sunday he must not come should he not be well enough; and that a whole week’s separation would be bearable to her if thereby he were enabled to avoid risking his health. This excuse for omitting the Sunday visit Oblomov gladly seized upon; wherefore he sent back word that, as a matter of fact, a few days’ additional convalescence would be no more than prudent.
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Day succeeded day throughout the week. He read, he walked about the streets, and, occasionally, he looked in upon his landlady for the purpose of exchanging a couple of words and drinking some of her excellent coffee.A Person
So comfortable did she make him that he even thought of giving her a book to read; but when he did so she merely read the headings of a chapter or two, and then returned him the volume, saying that later she would get her little girl to read the work to her. That very day he was to come. Yet three o’clock arrived—four o’clock—and no Oblomov. By half-past five the beauty and the freshness of her features had begun to fade. Insensibly her form assumed a drooping posture, and as she sat at the table her face was pale. Yet no one noticed this. The rest of the guests consumed the dishes which she had prepared for him alone, and carried on a desultory, indifferent chatter of conversation. Until ten o’clock she vacillated between hope and despair. Then, on the arrival of that hour, she withdrew to her room. At first she showered upon his head all the resentment that was seething within her. Not a word of mordant sarcasm in her vocabulary would she not have devoted to his punishing, had he been present. But after a while her mind passed from fierceness to a thought which chilled it like ice.
Meanwhile Olga received unexpected news. This was to the effect that a lawsuit with regard to her property had ended in her favour, and that within a month’s time she would be able, should she wish, to enter into actual possession. But of this, and of her other plans for the future, she decided not to tell Oblomov, but to spend the present hour in dreams of the happiness that was to be hers and his when she had seen love complete its revolution in his apathetic soul, and the slothfulness fall from his shoulders.