“Trooo—too—too—too . . .” the lady’s voice sounded in his ears. “Troo—too—too . . . sh—sh—sh—sh . . .”
“I forgot to take my soda,” he thought. “What am I thinking about? Oh—my soda. . . . Most likely I shall have a bilious attack. . . . It’s extraordinary, Smirnovsky swills vodka all day long and yet he never has a bilious attack. . . . There’s a bird settled on the window . . . a sparrow. . . .”
Pavel Vassilyevitch made an effort to unglue his strained and closing eyelids, yawned without opening his mouth, and stared at Mme. Murashkin. She grew misty and swayed before his eyes, turned into a triangle and her head pressed against the ceiling. . . .
VALENTIN No, let me depart.
ANNA (in dismay): Why?
VALENTIN (aside): She has turned pale! (To her) Do not force me to explain. Sooner would I die than you should know the reason.
ANNA (after a pause): You cannot go away. . . .
The lady began to swell, swelled to an immense size, and melted into the dingy atmosphere of the study—only her moving mouth was visible; then she suddenly dwindled to the size of a bottle, swayed from side to side, and with the table retreated to the further end of the room . . .
VALENTIN (holding ANNA in his arms): You have given me new life! You have shown me an object to live for! You have renewed me as the Spring rain renews the awakened earth! But . . . it is too late, too late! The ill that gnaws at my heart is beyond cure. . . .
Pavel Vassilyevitch started and with dim and smarting eyes stared at the reading lady; for a minute he gazed fixedly as though understanding nothing. . . .
SCENE XI.—The same. The BARON and the POLICE INSPECTOR with assistants.
VALENTIN: Take me!
ANNA: I am his! Take me too! Yes, take me too! I love him, I love him more than life!
BARON: Anna Sergyevna, you forget that you are ruining your father . . . .
The lady began swelling again. . . . Looking round him wildly Pavel Vassilyevitch got up, yelled in a deep, unnatural voice, snatched from the table a heavy paper-weight, and beside himself, brought it down with all his force on the authoress’s head. . . .
* * * * *
“Give me in charge, I’ve killed her!” he said to the maidservant who ran in, a minute later.
The jury acquitted him.
ON the evening of Easter Sunday the actual Civil Councillor, Navagin, on his return from paying calls, picked up the sheet of paper on which visitors had inscribed their names in the hall, and went with it into his study. After taking off his outer garments and drinking some seltzer water, he settled himself comfortably on a couch and began reading the signatures in the list. When his eyes reached the middle of the long list of signatures, he started, gave an ejaculation of astonishment and snapped his fingers, while his face expressed the utmost perplexity.