Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/193

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M'sieu Luzhin smirked. 'Quick must it be, or quickly?' he queried.

The countess did not understand him. ' Mais oui, a crab,' she repeated, ' une écrevisse!'

'Eh? what is it? a crab? a crab?' the Countess S. broke in harshly. The absence of M. Verdier irritated her; she could not imagine why Irina had not invited that most fascinating of Frenchmen. The ancient ruin, who had long since ceased understanding anything—moreover she was completely deaf—only shook her head.

'Oui, оui, vous allez voir. M'sieu Luzhin, please. . . .'

The young traveller bowed, went out, and returned quickly. A waiter walked behind him, and grinning from ear to ear, carried in a dish, on which a large black crab was to be seen.

'Voici, madame,' cried Luzhin; 'now we can proceed to the operation on cancer. Ha, ha, ha!' (Russians are always the first to laugh at their own witticisms.)

'He, he, he!' Count Kokó did his duty condescendingly as a good patriot, and patron of all national products.

(We beg the reader not to be amazed and indignant; who can say confidently for himself that sitting in the stalls of the Alexander Theatre, and infected by its atmosphere, he has not knocked off even worse puns?)