The Darling and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 215 pages of information about The Darling and Other Stories.

In the evening she dressed a little more smartly and went to the evening service.  But there were only poor people in the church, and her splendid fur coat and hat made no impression.  And it seemed to her that there was some change in the church as well as in herself.  In old days she had loved it when they read the prayers for the day at evening service, and the choir sang anthems such as “I will open my lips.”  She liked moving slowly in the crowd to the priest who stood in the middle of the church, and then to feel the holy oil on her forehead; now she only waited for the service to be over.  And now, going out of the church, she was only afraid that beggars would ask for alms; it was such a bore to have to stop and feel for her pockets; besides, she had no coppers in her pocket now—­nothing but roubles.

She went to bed early, and was a long time in going to sleep.  She kept dreaming of portraits of some sort, and of the funeral procession she had met that morning.  The open coffin with the dead body was carried into the yard, and brought to a standstill at the door; then the coffin was swung backwards and forwards on a sheet, and dashed violently against the door.  Yulia woke and jumped up in alarm.  There really was a bang at the door, and the wire of the bell rustled against the wall, though no ring was to be heard.

The doctor coughed.  Then she heard the servant go downstairs, and then come back.

“Madam!” she said, and knocked at the door.  “Madam!”

“What is it?” said Yulia.

“A telegram for you!”

Yulia went out to her with a candle.  Behind the servant stood the doctor, in his night-clothes and greatcoat, and he, too, had a candle in his hand.  “Our bell is broken,” he said, yawning sleepily.  “It ought to have been mended long ago.”

Yulia broke open the telegram and read: 

“We drink to your health.—­YARTSEV, KOTCHEVOY.”

“Ah, what idiots!” she said, and burst out laughing; and her heart felt light and gay.

Going back into her room, she quietly washed and dressed, then she spent a long time in packing her things, until it was daylight, and at midday she set off for Moscow.

XII

In Holy Week the Laptevs went to an exhibition of pictures in the school of painting.  The whole family went together in the Moscow fashion, the little girls, the governess, Kostya, and all.

Laptev knew the names of all the well-known painters, and never missed an exhibition.  He used sometimes to paint little landscape paintings when he was in the country in the summer, and he fancied he had a good deal of taste, and that if he had studied he might have made a good painter.  When he was abroad he sometimes used to go to curio shops, examining the antiques with the air of a connoisseur and giving his opinion on them.  When he bought any article he gave just what the shopkeeper liked to ask for

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The Darling and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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