Best Russian Short Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 283 pages of information about Best Russian Short Stories.
Zorich, if I remember rightly.  He was in despair.  My grandmother, who was always very severe upon the extravagance of young men, took pity, however, upon Chaplitzky.  She gave him three cards, telling him to play them one after the other, at the same time exacting from him a solemn promise that he would never play at cards again as long as he lived.  Chaplitzky then went to his victorious opponent, and they began a fresh game.  On the first card he staked fifty thousand rubles and won sonika; he doubled the stake and won again, till at last, by pursuing the same tactics, he won back more than he had lost ...

“But it is time to go to bed:  it is a quarter to six already.”

And indeed it was already beginning to dawn:  the young men emptied their glasses and then took leave of each other.

II

The old Countess A——­ was seated in her dressing-room in front of her looking—­glass.  Three waiting maids stood around her.  One held a small pot of rouge, another a box of hair-pins, and the third a tall can with bright red ribbons.  The Countess had no longer the slightest pretensions to beauty, but she still preserved the habits of her youth, dressed in strict accordance with the fashion of seventy years before, and made as long and as careful a toilette as she would have done sixty years previously.  Near the window, at an embroidery frame, sat a young lady, her ward.

“Good morning, grandmamma,” said a young officer, entering the room. “Bonjour, Mademoiselle Lise.  Grandmamma, I want to ask you something.”

“What is it, Paul?”

“I want you to let me introduce one of my friends to you, and to allow me to bring him to the ball on Friday.”

“Bring him direct to the ball and introduce him to me there.  Were you at B——­’s yesterday?”

“Yes; everything went off very pleasantly, and dancing was kept up until five o’clock.  How charming Yeletzkaya was!”

“But, my dear, what is there charming about her?  Isn’t she like her grandmother, the Princess Daria Petrovna?  By the way, she must be very old, the Princess Daria Petrovna.”

“How do you mean, old?” cried Tomsky thoughtlessly; “she died seven years ago.”

The young lady raised her head and made a sign to the young officer.  He then remembered that the old Countess was never to be informed of the death of any of her contemporaries, and he bit his lips.  But the old Countess heard the news with the greatest indifference.

“Dead!” said she; “and I did not know it.  We were appointed maids of honour at the same time, and when we were presented to the Empress...”

And the Countess for the hundredth time related to her grandson one of her anecdotes.

“Come, Paul,” said she, when she had finished her story, “help me to get up.  Lizanka, where is my snuff-box?”

And the Countess with her three maids went behind a screen to finish her toilette.  Tomsky was left alone with the young lady.

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Best Russian Short Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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