The Party eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 210 pages of information about The Party.

“Pavel, are you asleep?” she whispered.

“No; why?”

“Go into your study, darling, and lie on the sofa.  I am going to put Olga Kirillovna here, in your bed.  Do go, dear!  I would put her to sleep in the study, but she is afraid to sleep alone. . . .  Do get up!”

Zaikin got up, threw on his dressing-gown, and taking his pillow, crept wearily to the study. . . .  Feeling his way to his sofa, he lighted a match, and saw Petya lying on the sofa.  The boy was not asleep, and, looking at the match with wide-open eyes: 

“Father, why is it gnats don’t go to sleep at night?” he asked.

“Because . . . because . . . you and I are not wanted. . . .  We have nowhere to sleep even.”

“Father, and why is it Olga Kirillovna has freckles on her face?”

“Oh, shut up!  I am tired of you.”

After a moment’s thought, Zaikin dressed and went out into the street for a breath of air. . . .  He looked at the grey morning sky, at the motionless clouds, heard the lazy call of the drowsy corncrake, and began dreaming of the next day, when he would go to town, and coming back from the court would tumble into bed. . . .  Suddenly the figure of a man appeared round the corner.

“A watchman, no doubt,” thought Zaikin.  But going nearer and looking more closely he recognized in the figure the summer visitor in the ginger trousers.

“You’re not asleep?” he asked.

“No, I can’t sleep,” sighed Ginger Trousers.  “I am enjoying Nature . . . .  A welcome visitor, my wife’s mother, arrived by the night train, you know.  She brought with her our nieces . . . splendid girls!  I was delighted to see them, although . . . it’s very damp!  And you, too, are enjoying Nature?”

“Yes,” grunted Zaikin, “I am enjoying it, too. . . .  Do you know whether there is any sort of tavern or restaurant in the neighbourhood?”

Ginger Trousers raised his eyes to heaven and meditated profoundly.

TYPHUS

A YOUNG lieutenant called Klimov was travelling from Petersburg to Moscow in a smoking carriage of the mail train.  Opposite him was sitting an elderly man with a shaven face like a sea captain’s, by all appearances a well-to-do Finn or Swede.  He pulled at his pipe the whole journey and kept talking about the same subject: 

“Ha, you are an officer!  I have a brother an officer too, only he is a naval officer. . . .  He is a naval officer, and he is stationed at Kronstadt.  Why are you going to Moscow?”

“I am serving there.”

“Ha!  And are you a family man?”

“No, I live with my sister and aunt.”

“My brother’s an officer, only he is a naval officer; he has a wife and three children.  Ha!”

The Finn seemed continually surprised at something, and gave a broad idiotic grin when he exclaimed “Ha!” and continually puffed at his stinking pipe.  Klimov, who for some reason did not feel well, and found it burdensome to answer questions, hated him with all his heart.  He dreamed of how nice it would be to snatch the wheezing pipe out of his hand and fling it under the seat, and drive the Finn himself into another compartment.

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Project Gutenberg
The Party from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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