The Duel and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 272 pages of information about The Duel and Other Stories.

“The devil knows what to make of it!” he muttered.  “Listen.  I shan’t go away from here until I get the IOUs!”

“Ah, so much the better,” laughed Susanna.  “If you stay here for good, it will make it livelier for me.”

Excited by the struggle, the lieutenant looked at Susanna’s laughing, insolent face, at her munching mouth, at her heaving bosom, and grew bolder and more audacious.  Instead of thinking about the IOU he began for some reason recalling with a sort of relish his cousin’s stories of the Jewess’s romantic adventures, of her free way of life, and these reminiscences only provoked him to greater audacity.  Impulsively he sat down beside the Jewess and thinking no more of the IOUs began to eat. . . .

“Will you have vodka or wine?” Susanna asked with a laugh.  “So you will stay till you get the IOUs?  Poor fellow!  How many days and nights you will have to spend with me, waiting for those IOUs!  Won’t your fiancee have something to say about it?”

II

Five hours had passed.  The lieutenant’s cousin, Alexey Ivanovitch Kryukov was walking about the rooms of his country-house in his dressing-gown and slippers, and looking impatiently out of window.  He was a tall, sturdy man, with a large black beard and a manly face; and as the Jewess had truly said, he was handsome, though he had reached the age when men are apt to grow too stout, puffy, and bald.  By mind and temperament he was one of those natures in which the Russian intellectual classes are so rich:  warm-hearted, good-natured, well-bred, having some knowledge of the arts and sciences, some faith, and the most chivalrous notions about honour, but indolent and lacking in depth.  He was fond of good eating and drinking, was an ideal whist-player, was a connoisseur in women and horses, but in other things he was apathetic and sluggish as a seal, and to rouse him from his lethargy something extraordinary and quite revolting was needed, and then he would forget everything in the world and display intense activity; he would fume and talk of a duel, write a petition of seven pages to a Minister, gallop at breakneck speed about the district, call some one publicly “a scoundrel,” would go to law, and so on.

“How is it our Sasha’s not back yet?” he kept asking his wife, glancing out of window.  “Why, it’s dinner-time!”

After waiting for the lieutenant till six o’clock, they sat down to dinner.  When supper-time came, however, Alexey Ivanovitch was listening to every footstep, to every sound of the door, and kept shrugging his shoulders.

“Strange!” he said.  “The rascally dandy must have stayed on at the tenant’s.”

As he went to bed after supper, Kryukov made up his mind that the lieutenant was being entertained at the tenant’s, where after a festive evening he was staying the night.

Alexandr Grigoryevitch only returned next morning.  He looked extremely crumpled and confused.

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