Fatigue had already overcome everybody. The students, one after another, returned from the bedrooms; and separately from them, with an indifferent air, came their chance mistresses. And truly, both these and the others resembled flies, males and females, just flown apart on the window pane. They yawned, stretched, and for a long time an involuntary expression of wearisomeness and aversion did not leave their faces, pale from sleeplessness, unwholesomely glossy. And when they, before going their ways, said good-bye to each other, in their eyes twinkled some kind of an inimical feeling, just as with the participants of one and the same filthy and unnecessary crime.
“Where are you going right now?” Lichonin asked the reporter in a low voice.
“Well, really, I don’t know myself. I did want to spend the night in the cabinet of Isaiah Savvich, but it’s a pity to lose such a splendid morning. I’m thinking of taking a bath, and then I’ll get on a steamer and ride to the Lipsky monastery to a certain tippling black friar I know. But why?”
“I would ask you to remain a little while and sit the others out. I must have a very important word or two with you.”
“It’s a go.”
Yarchenko was the last to go. He averred a headache and fatigue. But scarcely had he gone out of the house when the reporter seized Lichonin by the hand and quickly dragged him into the glass vestibule of the entrance.
“Look!” he said, pointing to the street.
And through the orange glass of the little coloured window Lichonin saw the sub-professor, who was ringing at Treppel’s. After a minute the door opened and Yarchenko disappeared through it.
“How did you find out?” asked Lichonin with astonishment.
“A mere trifle! I saw his face, and saw his hands smoothing Verka’s tights. The others were less restrained. But this fellow is bashful.”
“Well, now, let’s go,” said Lichonin. “I won’t detain you long.”
Of the girls only two remained in the cabinet-Jennie, who had come in her night blouse, and Liuba, who had long been sleeping under cover of the conversation, curled up into a ball in the large plush armchair. The fresh, freckled face of Liuba had taken on a meek, almost childlike, expression, while the lips, just as they had smiled in sleep, had preserved the light imprint of a radiant, peaceful and tender smile. It was blue and biting in the cabinet from the dense tobacco smoke; guttered, warty little streams had congealed on the candles in the candelabras; the table, flooded with coffee and wine, scattered all over with orange peels, seemed hideous.
Jennie was sitting on the divan, her knees clasped around with her arms. And again was Platonov struck by the sombre fire in her deep eyes, that seemed fallen in underneath the dark eyebrows, formidably contracted downward, toward the bridge of the nose.