Razumov, thus left to himself, took the direction of the gate. But on this day of many conversations, he discovered that very probably he could not leave the grounds without having to hold another one.
Stepping in view from beyond the lodge appeared the expected visitors of Peter Ivanovitch: a small party composed of two men and a woman. They noticed him too, immediately, and stopped short as if to consult. But in a moment the woman, moving aside, motioned with her arm to the two men, who, leaving the drive at once, struck across the large neglected lawn, or rather grassplot, and made directly for the house. The woman remained on the path waiting for Razumovs approach. She had recognized him. He, too, had recognized her at the first glance. He had been made known to her at Zürich, where he had broken his journey while on his way from Dresden. They had been much together for the three days of his stay.
She was wearing the very same costume in which he had seen her first. A blouse of crimson silk made her noticeable at a distance. With that she wore a short brown skirt and a leather belt. Her complexion was the colour of coffee and milk, but very clear; her eyes black and glittering, her figure erect. A lot of thick hair, nearly white, was done up loosely under a dusty Tyrolese hat of dark cloth, which seemed to have lost some of its trimmings.
The expression of her face was grave, intent; so grave that Razumov, after approaching her close, felt obliged to smile. She greeted him with a manly handgrasp.
What! Are you going away? she exclaimed. How is that, Razumov?
I am going away because I havent been asked to stay, Razumov answered, returning the pressure of her hand with much less force than she had put into it.
She jerked her head sideways like one who understands. Meantime Razumovs eyes had strayed after the two men. They were crossing the grass-plot obliquely, without haste. The shorter of the two was buttoned up in a narrow overcoat of some thin grey material, which came nearly to his heels. His companion, much taller and broader, wore a short, close-fitting jacket and tight trousers tucked into shabby top- boots.
The woman, who had sent them out of Razumovs way apparently, spoke in a businesslike voice.
I had to come rushing from Zürich on purpose to meet the train, and take these two along here to see Peter Ivanovitch. Ive just managed it.
Ah! indeed, Razumov said perfunctorily, and very vexed at her staying behind to talk to him. From Zürichyes, of course. And these two, they come from
She interrupted, without emphasis
From quite another direction. From a distance, too. A considerable distance.
Razumov shrugged his shoulders. The two men from a distance, after having reached the wall of the terrace, disappeared suddenly at its foot as if the earth had opened to swallow them up.
Oh, well, they have just come from America. The woman in the crimson blouse shrugged her shoulders too a little before making that statement. The time is drawing near, she interjected, as if speaking to herself. I did not tell them who you were. Yakovlitch would have wanted to embrace you.
Is that he with the wisp of hair hanging from his chin, in the long coat?
Youve guessed aright. Thats Yakovlitch.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|