Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/53

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SMOKE

kov burst out noisily all of a sudden. Bambaev had been relating something to her in a voice lowered out of respect for their host. Gubaryov turned round swiftly on his heels, and again began limping about the room.

Fresh guests began to arrive; towards the end of the evening a good many people were assembled. Among them came, too, Mr. Yevseyev whom Madame Suhantchikov had vilified so cruelly. She entered into conversation with him very cordially, and asked him to escort her home; there arrived too a certain Pishtchalkin, an ideal mediator, one of those men of precisely whom perhaps Russia stands in need — a man, that is, narrow, of little information, and no great gifts, but conscientious,

patient, and honest; the peasants of his district almost worshipped him, and he regarded himself very respectfully as a creature genuinely deserving of esteem. A few officers, too, were there, escaped for a brief furlough to Europe, and rejoicing — though of course warily, and ever mindful of their colonel in the background of their brains — in the opportunity of dallying a little with intellectual — even rather dangerous — people; two lanky students from Heidelberg came hurrying in, one looked about him very contemptuously, the other giggled spasmodically . . . both were very ill at ease;

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