Chapter 20

Vronsky was staying in a roomy, clean, Finnish hut, divided into two by a partition. Petritsky lived with him in camp too. Petritsky was asleep when Vronsky and Iashvin came into the hut.

`Get up, don't go on sleeping,' said Iashvin, going behind the partition and giving Petritsky, who was lying with ruffled hair and with his nose in the pillow, a prod on the shoulder.

Petritsky jumped up suddenly onto his knees and looked around.

`Your brother's been here,' he said to Vronsky. `He waked me up, the devil take him, and said he'd look in again.' And pulling up the rug he flung himself back on the pillow. `Oh do quit that, Iashvin!' he said, getting furious with Iashvin, who was pulling the rug off him. `Quit that!' He turned over and opened his eyes. `You'd better tell me what to drink; I've such a nasty taste in my mouth that...'

`Vodka's better than anything,' boomed Iashvin. `Tereshchenko! Vodka for your master and cucumbers,' he shouted, obviously taking pleasure in the sound of his own voice.

`Vodka, do you think? Eh?' queried Petritsky, blinking and rubbing his eyes. `And you'll drink something? All right then, we'll have a drink together! Vronsky, have a drink?' said Petritsky, getting up and wrapping the tiger-striped bedcover round him. He went to the door of the partition wall, raised his hands, and hummed in French: ``there was a king in Thu-u-le.'' Vronsky, will you have a drink?'

`Go along,' said Vronsky, putting on the coat his valet handed him.

`Where are you off to?' asked Iashvin. `Oh, here is your troika,' he added, seeing the carriage drive up.

`To the stables, and I've got to see Briansky, too, about the horses,' said Vronsky.

Vronsky had as a fact promised to call at Briansky's, some ten verstas from Peterhof, and to bring him money owing for some horses; and he hoped to have time to get that in too. But his comrades were at once aware that that was not the only place he was going.

Petritsky, still humming, winked and made a pout with his lips, as though he would say: `Oh, yes, we know your Briansky!'

`Mind you're not late!' was Iashvin's only comment; and, to change the conversation: `How's my roan? Is he doing all right?' he inquired, looking out of the window at the shaft horse, which he had sold to Vronsky.

`Stop!' cried Petritsky to Vronsky, just as he was going out. `Your brother left a letter and a note for you. Wait a bit; where are they?'

Vronsky stopped.

`Well, where are they?'

`Where are they? That's just the question!' said Petritsky solemnly, sliding his forefinger upward along his nose.

`Come, tell me; this is silly!' said Vronsky smiling.

`I haven't lighted the fire. They must be here somewhere.'

`Come, enough fooling! Where is the letter?'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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