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Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/19

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7
THE CAPTAIN'S DAUGHTER.

its youth" My mother, in tears, bid me take care of my health, and ordered Savelitch to "look after the child." A small touloup[1] of hare skin was put on me, and over it a pelisse of fox fur. I sat in the kibitka next to Savelitch, and set out on my journey, crying bitterly.

That same night we reached Simbirsk, where I was to remain twenty-four hours, for Savelitch had been instructed to purchase all sorts of necessaries. I alighted at the inn—Savelitch started early to do his shopping. I got tired of looking out of the window into the dirty alley, so I began to explore the house. On entering the billiard-room I found a tall gentleman of about five-and-thirty years of age, in a dressing gown, wearing a long black moustache, with a cue in his hand, and a pipe in his mouth. He was playing with the marker, who was to empty a glass of vodka[2] at the end of each game he won, but who was obliged to crawl on all fours under the billiard-table whenever he happened to lose. I stayed and watched their play. As it progressed, the crawling on all fours became more frequent, until at last the marker remained under the table altogether. The gentleman pronounced over him a few vigorous expressions, a sort of funeral oration, and invited me to have a game. I declined, not knowing how to play. This evidently appeared strange to him. He looked on me as it were with compassion; nevertheless, we continued to converse. I learned that his name was Ivan Ivanovitch[3] Zourine, that he was a captain in the —— hussars, that he was

  1. A short coat lined with fur.—Tr.
  2. A glass of spirits.—Tr.
  3. John, the son of John.—Tr.