“Furthermore! ... I was just now talking about a lover. I dare not forbid you this pleasure, but let us be prudent: let him not appear here, or appear as rarely as possible. I will give you days for going out, when you will be perfectly free. But it’s best if you would get along without him entirely. It will serve your benefit too. This is only a drag and a yoke. I am telling you this from my own personal experience. Wait a while; after three or four years we will expand this business so, that you will have substantial money already, and then I vill take you into the business as a partner with full rights. After ten years you will still be young and handsome, and then take and buy men as much as you want to. By that time romantic follies will go out of your head entirely, and it will not be you who will be chosen already, but you who will be choosing with sense and with feeling, as a connoisseur picks out precious stones. Do you agree with me?”
Tamara cast down her eyes, and smiled just the least trifle.
“You speak golden truths, Emma Edwardovna. I will drop mine, but not at once. For that I will need some two weeks. I will try not to have him appear here. I accept your proposition.”
“And that’s splendid!” said Emma Edwardovna, get ting up. “Now let us conclude our agreement with one good, sweet kiss.”
And she again embraced and took to kissing Tamara hard; who, with her downcast eyes and naive, tender face, seemed now altogether a little girl. But, having freed herself, finally, from the proprietress, she asked in Russian:
“You see, Emma Edwardovna, that I agree in everything with you, but for that I beg you to fulfill one request of mine. It will not cost you anything. Namely, I hope that you will allow me and the other girls to escort the late Jennie to the cemetery.”
Emma Edwardovna made a wry face.
“Oh, if you want to, my darling Tamara, I have nothing against your whim. Only what for? This will not help the dead person and will not make her alive. Only sentimentalism alone will come out of it ... But very well! Only, however, you know yourself that in accordance with your law suicides are not buried, or—I don’t know with certainty—it seems they throw them into some dirty hole beyond the cemetery.”
“No, do allow me to do as I want to myself. Let it be my whim, but concede it to me, my darling, dear, bewitching Emma Edwardovna! But then, I promise you that this will be my last whim. After this I will be like a wise and obedient soldier at the disposal of a talented general.”
“Is’ Gut!” Emma Edwardovna gave in with a sigh. “I can not deny you in anything, my child. Let me press your hand. Let us toil and labour together for the common good.”
And, having opened the door, she called out across the drawing room into the entrance-hall: “Simeon!” And when Simeon appeared in the room, she ordered him weightily and triumphantly: