'Mmm. . . . Mmm. . . . From top to bottom it 's all rotten,' observed Gubaryov, without raising his voice, however. 'In that case punishment is not . . . that needs . . . other measures.'
'But is it really true?' commented Litvinov.
'Is it true?' broke in Madame Suhantchikov. 'Why, that one can't even dream of doubting . . . can't even d — d — d — ream of it.' She pronounced these words with such energy that she was fairly shaking with the effort. 'I was told of that by a very trustworthy man. And you, Stepan Nikolaitch, know him — Elistratov, Kapiton. He heard it himself from eyewitnesses, spectators of this disgraceful scene.'
'What Elistratov ?' inquired Gubaryov. 'The one who was in Kazan?'
'Yes. I know, Stepan Nikolaitch, a rumour was spread about him that he took bribes there from some contractors or distillers. But then who is it says so? Pelikanov! And how can one believe Pelikanov, when every one knows he is simply — a spy!'
'No, with your permission, Matrona Semyonovna,' interposed Bambaev, 'I am friends with Pelikanov, he is not a spy at all.'
'Yes, yes, that 's just what he is, a spy!'
'But wait a minute, kindly——'
'A spy, a spy!' shrieked Madame Suhantchikov.