Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/138

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gluttony. First, they trotted out all the ancient stories of Lukin, of the deacon who ate three hundred and three herrings for a wager, of the Uhlan colonel, Ezyedinov, renowned for his corpulence, and of the soldier who broke the shin-bone on his own forehead; then followed unadulterated lying. Pishtchalkin himself related with a yawn that he knew a peasant woman in Little Russia, who at the time of her death had proved to weigh half a ton and some pounds, and a landowner who had eaten three geese and a sturgeon for luncheon; Bambaev suddenly fell into an ecstatic condition, and declared he himself was able to eat a whole sheep, 'with seasoning' of course; and Voroshilov burst out with something about a comrade, an athletic cadet, so grotesque that every one was reduced to silence, and after looking at each other, they took up their hats, and the party broke up. Litvinov, when he was left alone, tried to occupy himself, but he felt just as if his head was full of smouldering soot; he could do nothing that was of any use, and the evening too was wasted. The next morning he was just preparing for lunch, when some one knocked at his door. 'Good Lord,' thought Litvinov, 'one of yesterday's dear friends again,' and not without some trepidation he pronounced: