The Darling and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 267 pages of information about The Darling and Other Stories.

“What an idea to have pictures like that!”

And after that the gilt cornices, the Venetian looking-glasses with flowers on them, the pictures of the same sort as the one that hung over the piano, and also her husband’s and Kostya’s reflections upon art, aroused in her a feeling of dreariness and vexation, even of hatred.

Life went on its ordinary course from day to day with no promise of anything special.  The theatrical season was over, the warm days had come.  There was a long spell of glorious weather.  One morning the Laptevs attended the district court to hear Kostya, who had been appointed by the court to defend some one.  They were late in starting, and reached the court after the examination of the witnesses had begun.  A soldier in the reserve was accused of theft and housebreaking.  There were a great number of witnesses, washerwomen; they all testified that the accused was often in the house of their employer—­a woman who kept a laundry.  At the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross he came late in the evening and began asking for money; he wanted a pick-me-up, as he had been drinking, but no one gave him anything.  Then he went away, but an hour afterwards he came back, and brought with him some beer and a soft gingerbread cake for the little girl.  They drank and sang songs almost till daybreak, and when in the morning they looked about, the lock of the door leading up into the attic was broken, and of the linen three men’s shirts, a petticoat, and two sheets were missing.  Kostya asked each witness sarcastically whether she had not drunk the beer the accused had brought.  Evidently he was insinuating that the washerwomen had stolen the linen themselves.  He delivered his speech without the slightest nervousness, looking angrily at the jury.

He explained what robbery with housebreaking meant, and the difference between that and simple theft.  He spoke very circumstantially and convincingly, displaying an unusual talent for speaking at length and in a serious tone about what had been know to every one long before.  And it was difficult to make out exactly what he was aiming at.  From his long speech the foreman of the jury could only have deduced “that it was housebreaking but not robbery, as the washerwomen had sold the linen for drink themselves; or, if there had been robbery, there had not been housebreaking.”  But obviously, he said just what was wanted, as his speech moved the jury and the audience, and was very much liked.  When they gave a verdict of acquittal, Yulia nodded to Kostya, and afterwards pressed his hand warmly.

In May the Laptevs moved to a country villa at Sokolniki.  By that time Yulia was expecting a baby.


More than a year had passed.  Yulia and Yartsev were lying on the grass at Sokolniki not far from the embankment of the Yaroslav railway; a little distance away Kotchevoy was lying with hands under his head, looking at the sky.  All three had been for a walk, and were waiting for the six o’clock train to pass to go home to tea.

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