“You will get well in a week here,” said Granny, addressing Sasha. “Only you must eat more. What do you look like!” she sighed. “You are really dreadful! You are a regular prodigal son, that is what you are.”
“After wasting his father’s substance in riotous living,” said Father Andrey slowly, with laughing eyes. “He fed with senseless beasts.”
“I like my dad,” said Andrey Andreitch, touching his father on the shoulder. “He is a splendid old fellow, a dear old fellow.”
Everyone was silent for a space. Sasha suddenly burst out laughing and put his dinner napkin to his mouth.
“So you believe in hypnotism?” said Father Andrey to Nina Ivanovna.
“I cannot, of course, assert that I believe,” answered Nina Ivanovna, assuming a very serious, even severe, expression; “but I must own that there is much that is mysterious and incomprehensible in nature.”
“I quite agree with you, though I must add that religion distinctly curtails for us the domain of the mysterious.”
A big and very fat turkey was served. Father Andrey and Nina Ivanovna went on with their conversation. Nina Ivanovna’s diamonds glittered on her fingers, then tears began to glitter in her eyes, she grew excited.
“Though I cannot venture to argue with you,” she said, “you must admit there are so many insoluble riddles in life!”
“Not one, I assure you.”
After supper Andrey Andreitch played the fiddle and Nina Ivanovna accompanied him on the piano. Ten years before he had taken his degree at the university in the Faculty of Arts, but had never held any post, had no definite work, and only from time to time took part in concerts for charitable objects; and in the town he was regarded as a musician.
Andrey Andreitch played; they all listened in silence. The samovar was boiling quietly on the table and no one but Sasha was drinking tea. Then when it struck twelve a violin string suddenly broke; everyone laughed, bustled about, and began saying good-bye.
After seeing her fiance out, Nadya went upstairs where she and her mother had their rooms (the lower storey was occupied by the grandmother). They began putting the lights out below in the dining-room, while Sasha still sat on drinking tea. He always spent a long time over tea in the Moscow style, drinking as much as seven glasses at a time. For a long time after Nadya had undressed and gone to bed she could hear the servants clearing away downstairs and Granny talking angrily. At last everything was hushed, and nothing could be heard but Sasha from time to time coughing on a bass note in his room below.