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Vladimir Nabokov

“Dear dad,
in consequence of a trivial altercation with a Captain Tapper, of Wild Violet Lodge, whom I happened to step upon in the corridor of a train, I had a pistol duel this morning in the woods near Kalugano and am now no more. Though the manner of my end can be regarded as a kind of easy suicide, the encounter and the ineffable Captain are in no way connected with the Sorrows of Young Veen. In 1884, during my first summer in Ardis, I seduced your daughter, who was then twelve. Our torrid affair lasted till my return to Riverlane; it was resumed last June, four years later. That happiness has been the greatest event in my life, and I have no regrets. Yesterday, though, I discovered she had been unfaithful to me, so we parted. Tapper, I think, may be the chap who was thrown out of one of your gaming clubs for attempting oral intercourse with the washroom attendant, a toothless old cripple, veteran of the first Crimean War. Lots of flowers, please!
Your loving son, Van

He carefully reread his letter – and carefully tore it up. The note he finally placed in his coat pocket was much briefer.

Dad,
I had a trivial quarrel with a stranger whose face I slapped and who killed me in a duel near Kalugano. Sorry!
Van”


Vladimir Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
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Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle by Vladimir Nabokov
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