Lichonin raised the shade. There were the usual furnishings of a poor student: a sagging, unmade bed with a crumpled blanket; a lame table, and on it a candlestick without a candle; several books on the floor and on the table; cigarette stubs everywhere; and opposite the bed, along the other wall, an old, old divan, upon which at the present moment was sleeping and snoring, with mouth wide open, some young man with black hair and moustache. The collar of his shirt was unbuttoned and through its opening could be seen the chest and black hair, the like of which for thickness and curliness could be found only on Persian lambs.
“Nijeradze! Hey, Nijeradze, get up!” cried Lichonin and prodded the sleeper in the ribs. “Prince!”
“May your race be even accursed in the person of your ancestors and descendants! May they even be exiled from the heights of the beauteous Caucasus! May they even never behold the blessed Georgia! Get up, you skunk! Get up you Aravian dromedary! Kintoshka! ...”
But suddenly, unexpectedly for Lichonin, Liubka intervened. She took him by the arm and said timidly:
“Darling, why torture him? Maybe he wants to sleep, maybe he’s tired? Let him sleep a bit. I’d better go home. Will you give me a half for a cabby? To-morrow you’ll come to me again. Isn’t that so, sweetie?”
Lichonin was abashed. So strange did the intervention of this silent, apparently sleepy girl, appear to him. Of course, he did not grasp that she was actuated by an instinctive, unconscious pity for a man who had not had enough sleep; or, perhaps, a professional regard for the sleep of other people. But the astonishment was only momentary. For some reason he became offended. He raised the hand of the recumbent man, which hung down to the floor, with the extinguished cigarette still remaining between its fingers, and, shaking it hard, he said in a serious, almost severe voice:
“Listen, now, Nijeradze, I’m asking you seriously. Understand, now, may the devil take you that I’m not alone, but with a woman. Swine!”
It was as though a miracle had happened: the lying man suddenly jumped up, as though some spring of unusual force had instantaneously unwound under him. He sat down on the divan, rapidly rubbed with his palms his eyes, forehead, temples; saw the woman, became confused at once, and muttered, hastily buttoning his blouse:
“Is that you, Lichonin? And here I was waiting and waiting for you and fell asleep. Request the unknown comrade to turn away for just a minute.”
He hastily pulled on his gray, everyday student’s coat, and rumpled up with all the fingers of both his hands his luxuriant black curls. Liubka, with the coquetry natural to all women, no matter in what years or situation they find themselves, walked up to the sliver of a mirror hanging on the wall, to fix her hair-dress. Nijeradze askance, questioningly, only with the movement of his eyes, indicated her to Lichonin.