“You see, you see! Go on!”
“. . . a registration clerk of the name of Dmitry Kuldarov, coming from the beershop in Kozihin’s buildings in Little Bronnaia in an intoxicated condition. . .”
“That’s me and Semyon Petrovitch. . . . It’s all described exactly! Go on! Listen!”
“. . . intoxicated condition, slipped and fell under a horse belonging to a sledge-driver, a peasant of the village of Durikino in the Yuhnovsky district, called Ivan Drotov. The frightened horse, stepping over Kuldarov and drawing the sledge over him, together with a Moscow merchant of the second guild called Stepan Lukov, who was in it, dashed along the street and was caught by some house-porters. Kuldarov, at first in an unconscious condition, was taken to the police station and there examined by the doctor. The blow he had received on the back of his head. . .”
“It was from the shaft, papa. Go on! Read the rest!”
“. . . he had received on the back of his head turned out not to be serious. The incident was duly reported. Medical aid was given to the injured man. . . .”
“They told me to foment the back of my head with cold water. You have read it now? Ah! So you see. Now it’s all over Russia! Give it here!”
Mitya seized the paper, folded it up and put it into his pocket.
“I’ll run round to the Makarovs and show it to them. . . . I must show it to the Ivanitskys too, Natasya Ivanovna, and Anisim Vassilyitch. . . . I’ll run! Good-bye!”
Mitya put on his cap with its cockade and, joyful and triumphant, ran into the street.
FYODOR PETROVITCH the Director of Elementary Schools in the N. District, who considered himself a just and generous man, was one day interviewing in his office a schoolmaster called Vremensky.
“No, Mr. Vremensky,” he was saying, “your retirement is inevitable. You cannot continue your work as a schoolmaster with a voice like that! How did you come to lose it?”
“I drank cold beer when I was in a perspiration. . .” hissed the schoolmaster.
“What a pity! After a man has served fourteen years, such a calamity all at once! The idea of a career being ruined by such a trivial thing. What are you intending to do now?”
The schoolmaster made no answer.
“Are you a family man?” asked the director.
“A wife and two children, your Excellency . . .” hissed the schoolmaster.
A silence followed. The director got up from the table and walked to and fro in perturbation.
“I cannot think what I am going to do with you!” he said. “A teacher you cannot be, and you are not yet entitled to a pension. . . . To abandon you to your fate, and leave you to do the best you can, is rather awkward. We look on you as one of our men, you have served fourteen years, so it is our business to help you. . . . But how are we to help you? What can I do for you? Put yourself in my place: what can I do for you?”