“Remember! of course I do. Only, what sort of a match would you be, Makar? You are nothing of a match. You’ve neither money nor position, your trade’s a paltry one.”
“And is Sheikin rich?”
“Sheikin is a member of a union. He has a thousand and a half lent on mortgage. So my boy . . . . It’s no good talking about it, the thing’s done. There is no altering it, Makarushka. You must look out for another bride. . . . The world is not so small. Come, cut away. Why are you stopping?”
Makar Kuzmitch is silent and remains motionless, then he takes a handkerchief out of his pocket and begins to cry.
“Come, what is it?” Erast Ivanitch comforts him. “Give over. Fie, he is blubbering like a woman! You finish my head and then cry. Take up the scissors!”
Makar Kuzmitch takes up the scissors, stares vacantly at them for a minute, then drops them again on the table. His hands are shaking.
“I can’t,” he says. “I can’t do it just now. I haven’t the strength! I am a miserable man! And she is miserable! We loved each other, we had given each other our promise and we have been separated by unkind people without any pity. Go away, Erast Ivanitch! I can’t bear the sight of you.”
“So I’ll come to-morrow, Makarushka. You will finish me to-morrow.”
“You calm yourself and I will come to you early in the morning.”
Erast Ivanitch has half his head shaven to the skin and looks like a convict. It is awkward to be left with a head like that, but there is no help for it. He wraps his head in the shawl and walks out of the barber’s shop. Left alone, Makar Kuzmitch sits down and goes on quietly weeping.
Early next morning Erast Ivanitch comes again.
“What do you want?” Makar Kuzmitch asks him coldly.
“Finish cutting my hair, Makarushka. There is half the head left to do.”
“Kindly give me the money in advance. I won’t cut it for nothing.”
Without saying a word Erast Ivanitch goes out, and to this day his hair is long on one side of the head and short on the other. He regards it as extravagance to pay for having his hair cut and is waiting for the hair to grow of itself on the shaven side.
He danced at the wedding in that condition.
PYOTR PETROVITCH STRIZHIN, the nephew of Madame Ivanov, the colonel’s widow—the man whose new goloshes were stolen last year,—came home from a christening party at two o’clock in the morning. To avoid waking the household he took off his things in the lobby, made his way on tiptoe to his room, holding his breath, and began getting ready for bed without lighting a candle.