“Oblige me by sending by bearer the hundred roubles you lost to me yesterday. I want money dreadfully.
There was nothing for it. I assumed a look of indifference, and, addressing myself to Saveliitch, I bid him hand over a hundred roubles to the little boy.
“What—why?” he asked me in great surprise.
“I owe them to him,” I answered as coldly as possible.
“You owe them to him!” retorted Saveliitch, whose surprise became greater. “When had you the time to run up such a debt? It is impossible. Do what you please, excellency, but I will not give this money.”
I then considered that, if in this decisive moment I did not oblige this obstinate old man to obey me, it would be difficult for me in future to free myself from his tutelage. Glancing at him haughtily, I said to him—
“I am your master; you are my servant. The money is mine; I lost it because I chose to lose it. I advise you not to be headstrong, and to obey your orders.”
My words made such an impression on Saveliitch that he clasped his hands and remained dumb and motionless.
“What are you standing there for like a stock?” I exclaimed, angrily.
Saveliitch began to weep.
“Oh! my father, Petr’ Andrejitch,” sobbed he, in a trembling voice; “do not make me die of sorrow. Oh! my light, hearken to me who am old; write to this robber that you were only joking, that we never had so much money. A hundred roubles! Good heavens! Tell him your parents have strictly forbidden you to play for anything but nuts.”
“Will you hold your tongue?” said I, hastily, interrupting him. “Hand over the money, or I will kick you out of the place.”
Saveliitch looked at me with a deep expression of sorrow, and went to fetch my money. I was sorry for the poor old man, but I wished to assert myself, and prove that I was not a child. Zourine got his hundred roubles.
Saveliitch was in haste to get me away from this unlucky inn; he came in telling me the horses were harnessed. I left Simbirsk with an uneasy conscience, and with some silent remorse, without taking leave of my instructor, whom I little thought I should ever see again.
My reflections during the journey were not very pleasant. According to the value of money at that time, my loss was of some importance. I could not but confess to myself that my conduct at the Simbirsk Inn had been most foolish, and I felt guilty toward Saveliitch. All this worried me. The old man sat, in sulky silence, in the forepart of the sledge, with his face averted, every now and then giving a cross little cough. I had firmly resolved to make peace with him, but I did not know how to begin. At last I said to him—
“Look here, Saveliitch, let us have done with all this; let us make peace.”