Spring in Fialta
How we cite our quotes:
….the blurred Mount St George is more than ever remote from its likeness on the picture postcards which since 1910… (1)
Setting is hugely important in "Spring in Fialta." In this case, we start the story on a note of transience. Things change. This theme will then get translated to Victor’s relationship with Nina. Stay tuned.
Her fiancé was a guardsman on leave from the front, a handsome heavy fellow, incredibly well-bred and stolid, who weighed every word on the scales of the most exact common sense and spoke in a velvety baritone, which grew even smoother when he addressed her; his decency and devotion probably got on her nerves; and he is now a successful if somewhat lonesome engineer in a most distant tropical country. (10)
Nina’s tendency to change men at the drop of a hat is a big part of her character. This is a double-edged sword for Victor; it means she will never be able to commit to him, but it also means that her marriage is an open one.
How familiar to me were her hesitations, second thoughts, third thoughts mirroring first ones, ephemeral worries between trains. She had always either just arrived or was about to leave, and of this I find it hard to think without feeling humiliated by the variety of intricate routes one feverishly follows in order to keep that final appointment which the most confirmed dawdler knows to be unavoidable. (17)
This ominous "final appointment" and the later mention of an "eternal sleeping car" hint at Nina’s eventual death. Her "ephemeral" characteristics, as Victor describes them, are matched by the transient nature of her existence. Anything can come and go with trains, even a human life.