“Oh, for a ride!” squeals Niura. “Oh, uncle! Oh you swell coachman!” she cries out, hanging over the window sill. “Give a poor little girlie a ride... Give us a ride for love.”
But the swell coachman laughs, makes a scarcely noticeable movement with his fingers, and immediately the white horse, as though it had been waiting just for that, starts from its place at a goodly trot, handsomely turns around and with measured speed floats away into the darkness together with the victoria and the broad back of the coachman.
“Pfui! What indecency!” the indignant voice of Emma Edwardovna sounds in the room. “Well, where did you see that respectable girls should allow themselves to climb out of the windows and holler all over the street. O, scandal! And it’s all Niura, and it’s always this horrible Niura!”
She is majestic in her black dress, with her yellow flabby face, with the dark pouches under her eyes, with the three pendulous, quivering chins. The girls, like boarding school misses, staidly seat themselves on the chairs along the walls, except Jennie, who continues to contemplate herself in all the mirrors. Two more cabbies drive up opposite, to the house of Sophia Vasilievna. Yama is beginning to liven up. At last one more victoria rattles along the paved road and its noise is cut short abruptly at the entrance to Anna Markovna’s.
The porter Simeon helps someone take off his things in the front hall. Jennie looks in there, holding on with both hands to the door jambs, but immediately turns back, and as she walks shrugs her shoulders and shakes her head negatively.
“Don’t know him, someone who’s an entire stranger,” she says in a low voice. “He has never been in our place. Some daddy or other, fat, in gold eye-glasses and a uniform.”
Emma Edwardovna commands in a voice which sounds like a summoning cavalry trumpet:
“Ladies, into the drawing room! Into the drawing room, ladies!”
One after the other, with haughty gaits, into the drawing room enter: Tamara, with bare white arms and bared neck, wound with a string of artificial pearls; fat Kitty with her fleshy, quadrangular face and low forehead—she, too, is in decollete, but her skin is red and in goose-pimples; Nina, the very newest one, pug-nosed and clumsy, in a dress the colour of a green parrot; another Manka—Big Manka, or Manka the Crocodile, as they call her, and—the last—Sonka the Rudder, a Jewess, with an ugly dark face and an extraordinarily large nose, precisely for which she has received her nickname, but with such magnificent large eyes, at the same time meek and sad, burning and humid, as, among the women of all the terrestrial globe, are to be found only among the Jewesses.
The elderly guest in the uniform of the Department of Charity walked in with slow, undecided steps, at each step bending his body a little forward and rubbing his palms with a circular motion, as though washing them. Since all the women were pompously silent, as though not noticing him, he traversed the drawing room and let himself down on a chair alongside of Liuba, who, in accordance with etiquette, only gathered up her skirt a little, preserving the abstracted and independent air of a girl from a respectable house.