'Ah, voo, ah, voo, mossoo Verdevv, mossoo Verdew,' sighed another lady, whose birthplace was Arzamass.
'Trainquillisez-vous, mesdames,' interposed Ratmirov. 'Monsieur Verdier m'a promis de venir se mettre à vos pieds.'
'He, he, he!'—The ladies fluttered their fans.
The waiter brought some glasses of beer.
'Baierisch-Bier?' inquired the general with whiskers, assuming a bass voice, and affecting astonishment— ' Guten Morgen.'
'Well? Is Count Pavel still there?' one young general inquired coldly and listlessly of another.
'Yes,' replied the other equally coldly, 'Mais c'est provisoire. Serge, they say, will be put in his place.'
'Aha!' filtered the first through his teeth.
'Ah, yes,' filtered the second.
'I can't understand,' began the general who had hummed the song, 'I can't understand what induced Paul to defend himself—to bring forward all sorts of reasons. Certainly, he crushed the merchant pretty well, il lui a fait rendre gorge . . . well, and what of it? He may have had his own motives.'
'He was afraid ... of being shown up in the newspapers,' muttered some one.