Spring in Fialta
How we cite our quotes:
I grew apprehensive because something lovely, delicate, and unrepeatable was being wasted, something which I abused by snapping off poor bright bits in gross haste while neglecting the modest but true core which perhaps it kept offering me in a pitiful whisper. (31)
These lines suggest that Nina does want to pursue a real relationship with Victor – or at least that he thinks so. When we look at Nina’s actions, though, we have to doubt that she is "offering" her "true core" in any way. Victor has reversed the roles, portraying himself in a position of power over her – but we’ve seen that this is simply not the case. If anything, Nina is the one calling the shots. Nina is the one rejecting Victor’s "pitiful whisper."
With an unbearable force, I relived (or so it now seems to me) all that had ever been between us beginning with a similar kiss; and I said (substituting for our cheap, formal "thou" that strangely full and expressive "you" to which the circumnavigator, enriched all round, returns), "Look here — what if I love you?" Nina glanced at me, I repeated those words, I wanted to add... but something like a bat passed swiftly across her face, a quick, queer, almost ugly expression, and she, who would utter coarse words with perfect simplicity, became embarrassed; I also felt awkward... "Never mind, I was only joking"… (41)
At this passage, we have to wonder how truthful Victor’s account of Nina has been so far. She clearly didn’t expect such a confession from him, so has he been exaggerating the significance of their relationship? Or has Victor just hopelessly misinterpreted all of his encounters with Nina?