“You can go, but I can’t. I am in the position of a married man now.”
“She is a dear, she won’t be angry. My dear chief, come along! It’s glorious weather; there’s snow and frost. . . . Upon my word, you want shaking up a bit; you are out of humour. I don’t know what the devil is the matter with you. . . .”
Orlov stretched, yawned, and looked at Pekarsky.
“Are you going?” he said, hesitating.
“I don’t know. Perhaps.”
“Shall I get drunk? All right, I’ll come,” said Orlov after some hesitation. “Wait a minute; I’ll get some money.”
He went into the study, and Gruzin slouched in, too, dragging his rug after him. A minute later both came back into the hall. Gruzin, a little drunk and very pleased, was crumpling a ten-rouble note in his hands.
“We’ll settle up to-morrow,” he said. “And she is kind, she won’t be cross. . . . She is my Lisotchka’s godmother; I am fond of her, poor thing! Ah, my dear fellow!” he laughed joyfully, and pressing his forehead on Pekarsky’s back. “Ah, Pekarsky, my dear soul! Advocatissimus—as dry as a biscuit, but you bet he is fond of women. . . .”
“Fat ones,” said Orlov, putting on his fur coat. “But let us get off, or we shall be meeting her on the doorstep.”
“’Vieni pensando a me segretamente,’” hummed Gruzin.
At last they drove off: Orlov did not sleep at home, and returned next day at dinner-time.
Zinaida Fyodorovna had lost her gold watch, a present from her father. This loss surprised and alarmed her. She spent half a day going through the rooms, looking helplessly on all the tables and on all the windows. But the watch had disappeared completely.
Only three days afterwards Zinaida Fyodorovna, on coming in, left her purse in the hall. Luckily for me, on that occasion it was not I but Polya who helped her off with her coat. When the purse was missed, it could not be found in the hall.
“Strange,” said Zinaida Fyodorovna in bewilderment. “I distinctly remember taking it out of my pocket to pay the cabman . . . and then I put it here near the looking-glass. It’s very odd!”
I had not stolen it, but I felt as though I had stolen it and had been caught in the theft. Tears actually came into my eyes. When they were seated at dinner, Zinaida Fyodorovna said to Orlov in French:
“There seem to be spirits in the flat. I lost my purse in the hall to-day, and now, lo and behold, it is on my table. But it’s not quite a disinterested trick of the spirits. They took out a gold coin and twenty roubles in notes.”
“You are always losing something; first it’s your watch and then it’s your money . . .” said Orlov. “Why is it nothing of the sort ever happens to me?”
A minute later Zinaida Fyodorovna had forgotten the trick played by the spirits, and was telling with a laugh how the week before she had ordered some notepaper and had forgotten to give her new address, and the shop had sent the paper to her old home at her husband’s, who had to pay twelve roubles for it. And suddenly she turned her eyes on Polya and looked at her intently. She blushed as she did so, and was so confused that she began talking of something else.