“Hm ... To-day ... I don’t vouch for it—we will hardly manage it ... But here is my memorandum book. Well, take even this page, where are my friends under the letter T—just write the very same way: Tamara, and your address. In two hours I will give you an answer. Does that suit you? But I repeat again, that probably you will have to postpone the burial till to-morrow ... Then—pardon my unceremoniousness—is money needed, perhaps?”
“No, thank you!” refused Tamara. “I have money. Thanks for your interest! ... It’s time for me to be going. I thank you with all my heart, Ellen Victorovna! ...”
“Then expect it in two hours,” repeated Ryazanov, escorting her to the door.
Tamara did not at once ride away to the house. She turned into a little coffee-house on Catholicheskaya Street on the way. There Senka the Depot was waiting for her—a gay fellow with the appearance of a handsome Tzigan; not black—but blue-haired; black-eyed, with yellow whites; resolute and daring in his work; the pride of local thieves—a great celebrity in their world, the first leader of experience, and a constant, all-night gamester.
He stretched out his hand to her, without getting up. But in the way in which he so carefully, with a certain force, seated her in her place could be seen a broad, good-natured endearment.
“How do you do, Tamarochka! Haven’t seen you in a long time—I grew weary ... Do you want coffee?”
“No! Business first ... To-morrow we bury Jennka ... She hanged herself...” “Yes, I read it in a newspaper,” carelessly drawled out Senka through his teeth. “What’s the odds? ...”
“Get fifty roubles for me at once.”
“Tamarochka, my sweetheart—I haven’t a kopeck! ...”
“I’m telling you—get them!” ordered Tamara, imperiously, but without getting angry.
“Oh, my Lord! ... Yours, now, I didn’t touch, like I promised; but then, it’s Sunday ... The savings banks are closed...”
“Let them! ... Hock the savings book! In general, it’s up to you!”
“Why do you need this, my dearie?”
“Isn’t it all the same to you, you fool? ... For the funeral.”
“Oh! Well, all right then!” sighed Senka. “Then I’d best bring it to you myself in the evening ... Right, Tamarochka? ... It’s so very hard for me to stand it without you! Oh, my dearie, how I’d kiss and kiss you; I wouldn’t let you close your eyes! ... Shan’t I come? ...”
“No, no! ... You do as I ask you, Senechka ... Give in to me. But you mustn’t come—I’m housekeeper now.”
“Well, what d’you know about that! ...” drawled out the astonished Senka and even whistled.
“Yes. And don’t you come to me in the meantime. But afterwards, afterwards, sweetheart, whatever you desire ... There will be an end to everything soon!”
“Oh, if you wouldn’t make me suffer so! Wind things up as soon as you can!”