“Well, what moral can be drawn from it? It’s a blizzard and that is all about it....”
At midday they had lunch, then wandered aimlessly about the house; they went to the windows.
“And Lesnitsky is lying there,” thought Lyzhin, watching the whirling snow, which raced furiously round and round upon the drifts. “Lesnitsky is lying there, the witnesses are waiting....”
They talked of the weather, saying that the snowstorm usually lasted two days and nights, rarely longer. At six o’clock they had dinner, then they played cards, sang, danced; at last they had supper. The day was over, they went to bed.
In the night, towards morning, it all subsided. When they got up and looked out of window, the bare willows with their weakly drooping branches were standing perfectly motionless; it was dull and still, as though nature now were ashamed of its orgy, of its mad nights, and the license it had given to its passions. The horses, harnessed tandem, had been waiting at the front door since five o’clock in the morning. When it was fully daylight the doctor and the examining magistrate put on their fur coats and felt boots, and, saying good-by to their host, went out.
At the steps beside the coachman stood the familiar figure of the constable, Ilya Loshadin, with an old leather bag across his shoulder and no cap on his head, covered with snow all over, and his face was red and wet with perspiration. The footman who had come out to help the gentlemen and cover their legs looked at him sternly and said:
“What are you standing here for, you old devil? Get away!”
“Your honor, the people are anxious,” said Loshadin, smiling naively all over his face, and evidently pleased at seeing at last the people he had waited for so long. “The people are very uneasy, the children are crying.... They thought, your honor, that you had gone back to the town again. Show us the heavenly mercy, our benefactors!...”
The doctor and the examining magistrate said nothing, got into the sledge, and drove to Syrnya.
A first-class passenger who had just dined at the station and drunk a little too much lay down on the velvet-covered seat, stretched himself out luxuriously, and sank into a doze. After a nap of no more than five minutes, he looked with oily eyes at his vis-a-vis, gave a smirk, and said:
“My father of blessed memory used to like to have his heels tickled by peasant women after dinner. I am just like him, with this difference, that after dinner I always like my tongue and my brains gently stimulated. Sinful man as I am, I like empty talk on a full stomach. Will you allow me to have a chat with you?”
“I shall be delighted,” answered the vis-a-vis.