with a slow and peculiar shuffle, as though he were trying to slink along unseen. Gubaryov had the habit of continually walking up and down, and constantly plucking and combing his beard with the tips of his long hard nails. Besides Gubaryov, there was also in the room a lady of about fifty, in a shabby silk dress, with an excessively mobile face almost as yellow as a lemon, a little black moustache on her upper lip, and eyes which moved so quickly that they seemed as though they were jumping out of her head; there was too a broad-shouldered man sitting bent up in a corner.
'Well, honoured Matrona Semyonovna,' began Gubaryov, turning to the lady, and apparently not considering it necessary to introduce Litvinov to her, 'what was it you were beginning to tell us?'
The lady (her name was Matrona Semyonovna Suhantchikov — she was a widow, childless, and not rich, and had been travelling from country to country for two years past) began with peculiar exasperated vehemence:
'Well, so he appears before the prince and says to him: "Your Excellency," he says, "in such an office and such a position as yours, what will it cost you to alleviate my lot? You," he says, "cannot but respect the purity of my ideas! And is it possible," he says, "in