Horizon cast down his eyes, rubbed his head, and said:
“You see, I’ve a wife ... You’ve almost guessed it.”
“So. But why almost?”
“I’m ashamed to confess, that she—how shall I say it ... she is my bride ...”
Barsukova gaily burst into laughter.
“You know, Horizon, I couldn’t at all expect that you’re such a nasty villain! Let’s have your wife, it’s all the same. But is it possible that you’ve really refrained?”
“A thousand?” asked Horizon seriously.
“Ah! What trifles; a thousand let’s say. But tell me, will I be able to manage her?”
“Nonsense!” said Horizon self-assuredly. “Let’s again suppose that you’re my aunt, and I leave my wife with you. Just imagine, Madam Barsukova, that this woman is in love with me like a cat. And if you’ll tell her, that for my good she must do so and so and thus and thus—then there won’t be no arguments!”
Apparently, there was nothing more for them to talk over. Madam Barsukova brought out a promissory note, whereon she with difficulty wrote her name, her father’s name, and her last name. The promissory note, of course, was fantastic; but there is a tie, a welding, an honour among thieves. In such deals people do not deceive. Death threatens otherwise. It is all the same, whether in prison, or on the street, or in a brothel.
Right after that, just like an apparition out of a trapdoor, appeared the friend of her heart, the master of the cabaret, a young little Pole, with moustaches twirled high. They drank some wine, talked a bit about the fair, about the exposition, complained a little about bad business. After that Horizon telephoned to his room in the hotel, and called out his wife. He introduced her to his aunt and his aunt’s second cousin, and said that mysterious political reasons were calling him out of town. He tenderly kissed Sarah, shed a tear, and rode away.
With the arrival of Horizon (however, God knows how he was called: Gogolevich, Gidalevich, Okunev, Rosmitalsky), in a word, with the arrival of this man everything changed on Yamskaya Street. Enormous shufflings commenced. From Treppel girls were transferred to Anna Markovna, from Anna Markovna into a rouble establishment, and from the rouble establishment into a half-rouble one. There were no promotions: only demotions. At each change of place Horizon earned from five to a hundred roubles. Verily, he was possessed of an energy equal, approximately, to the waterfall of Imatra! Sitting in the daytime at Anna Markovna’s, he was saying, squinting from the smoke of the cigarette, and swinging one leg crossed over the other:
“The question is ... What do you need this same Sonka for? It’s no place for her in a decent establishment. If we’ll float her down the stream, then you’ll make a hundred roubles for yourself, I twenty-five for myself. Tell me frankly, she isn’t in demand, is she, now?”