Horizon was here altogether unrecognizable; he was majestically negligent and condescendingly jocose. On the other hand, cringing ingratiation sounded in every word addressed to him by his female clients. But he, having looked over all of them—this strange mixture of Roumanians, Jewesses, Poles and Russians—and having assured himself that all was in order, gave orders about the sandwiches and majestically withdrew. At these moments he very much resembled a drover, who is transporting by railroad cattle for slaughter, and at a station drops in to look it over and to feed it. After that he would return to his Coupe and again begin to toy with his wife, and Hebrew anecdotes just poured from his mouth.
At the long stops he would go out to the buffet only to see about his lady clients. But he himself said to his neighbours:
“You know, it’s all the same to me if it’s TREIF or kosher. I don’t recognize any difference. But what can I do with my stomach! The devil knows what stuff they’ll feed you sometimes at these stations. You’ll pay some three or four roubles, and then you’ll spend a hundred roubles on the doctors curing yourself. But maybe you, now, Sarochka”—he would turn to his wife—“maybe you’ll get off at the station to eat something? Or shall I send it up to you here?”
Sarochka, happy over his attention, would turn red, beam upon him with grateful eyes, and refuse.
“You’re very kind, Senya, only I don’t want to. I’m full.”
Then Horizon would reach out of a travelling hamper a chicken, boiled meat, cucumbers, and a bottle of Palestine wine; have a snack, without hurrying, with appetite; regale his wife, who ate very genteelly, sticking out the little fingers of her magnificent white hands; then painstakingly wrap up the remnants in paper and, without hurrying, lay them away accurately in the hamper.
In the distance, far ahead of the locomotive, the cupolas and belfries were already beginning to sparkle with fires of gold. Through the Coupe passed the conductor and made some imperceptible sign to Horizon. He immediately followed the conductor out to the platform.
“The inspector will pass through right away,” said the conductor, “so you’ll please be so kind as to stand for a while here on the platform of the third class with your spouse.”
“Nu, Nu, Nu!” concurred Horizon.
“And the money as agreed, if you please.”
“How much is coming to you, then?”
“Well, just as we agreed; half the extra charge, two roubles eighty kopecks.”
“What?” Horizon suddenly boiled over. “Two roubles eighty kopecks? You think you got it a crazy one in me, what? Here’s a rouble for you and thank God for that!”
“Pardon me, sir. This is even absurd—didn’t you and I agree?”
“Agree, agree! ... Here’s a half more, and not a thing besides. What impudence! I’ll tell the inspector yet that you carry people without tickets. Don’t you think it, brother—you ain’t found one of that sort here!”