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85
THE COSSACKS

"Please, I have been ordered to put out the lights," said the sleepy lackey who had heard the last conversation, and was ruminating why it was gentlemen eternally talked of one and the same thing. "Against whom shall the bill be charged? Against you?" he added, turning to the tall gentleman, knowing in advance who it would be.

"Against me," said the tall man. "How much is it?"

"Twenty-six roubles."

The tall man mused for awhile, but said nothing, and placed the bill in his pocket.

The other two continued their conversation.

"Good-bye, you are a fine fellow!" said the short, homely man with the gentle eyes.

Tears stood in the eyes of both. They walked out to the entrance.

"Oh, yes!" said the departing man, blushing, and turning to the tall gentleman. "You will fix the bill with Chevalier, and then write to me about it."

"All right, all right," said the tall gentleman, putting on his gloves. "How I envy you!" he added, quite unexpectedly, as they walked out to the entrance.

The departing man seated himself in his sleigh, wrapped himself in his fur coat, and said, "Well, we will start," and moved in his seat to give a place to him who had said that he envied him; his voice was trembling.

The friend who saw him off said, "Good-bye, Mítya, may God grant you—" He did not wish anything but that he should leave as soon as possible, and so he could not finish what it was he wished him.

They were silent. Again somebody said, "Good-bye!"

Somebody said, "Go!" and the driver started his horses.

"Elizár, the carriage!" shouted one of these who had seen him off.

The cabmen and the coachman stirred, called to their