“Now it’s all clear,” said Klotchkov when he had finished. “You sit like that and don’t rub off the crayon, and meanwhile I’ll learn up a little more.”
And the student again began walking to and fro, repeating to himself. Anyuta, with black stripes across her chest, looking as though she had been tattooed, sat thinking, huddled up and shivering with cold. She said very little as a rule; she was always silent, thinking and thinking. . . .
In the six or seven years of her wanderings from one furnished room to another, she had known five students like Klotchkov. Now they had all finished their studies, had gone out into the world, and, of course, like respectable people, had long ago forgotten her. One of them was living in Paris, two were doctors, the fourth was an artist, and the fifth was said to be already a professor. Klotchkov was the sixth. . . . Soon he, too, would finish his studies and go out into the world. There was a fine future before him, no doubt, and Klotchkov probably would become a great man, but the present was anything but bright; Klotchkov had no tobacco and no tea, and there were only four lumps of sugar left. She must make haste and finish her embroidery, take it to the woman who had ordered it, and with the quarter rouble she would get for it, buy tea and tobacco.
“Can I come in?” asked a voice at the door.
Anyuta quickly threw a woollen shawl over her shoulders. Fetisov, the artist, walked in.
“I have come to ask you a favour,” he began, addressing Klotchkov, and glaring like a wild beast from under the long locks that hung over his brow. “Do me a favour; lend me your young lady just for a couple of hours! I’m painting a picture, you see, and I can’t get on without a model.”
“Oh, with pleasure,” Klotchkov agreed. “Go along, Anyuta.”
“The things I’ve had to put up with there,” Anyuta murmured softly.
“Rubbish! The man’s asking you for the sake of art, and not for any sort of nonsense. Why not help him if you can?”
Anyuta began dressing.
“And what are you painting?” asked Klotchkov.
“Psyche; it’s a fine subject. But it won’t go, somehow. I have to keep painting from different models. Yesterday I was painting one with blue legs. ‘Why are your legs blue?’ I asked her. ’It’s my stockings stain them,’ she said. And you’re still grinding! Lucky fellow! You have patience.”
“Medicine’s a job one can’t get on with without grinding.”
“H’m! . . . Excuse me, Klotchkov, but you do live like a pig! It’s awful the way you live!”
“How do you mean? I can’t help it. . . . I only get twelve roubles a month from my father, and it’s hard to live decently on that.”
“Yes . . . yes . . .” said the artist, frowning with an air of disgust; “but, still, you might live better. . . . An educated man is in duty bound to have taste, isn’t he? And goodness knows what it’s like here! The bed not made, the slops, the dirt . . . yesterday’s porridge in the plates. . . Tfoo!”