`You know papa's received the order of Alexandre Nevsky today?'

`To be sure I do! People have already been here to congratulate him.'

`And is he glad?'

`Glad at the Czar's gracious favor? I should think so! It's a proof he's deserved it,' said the porter sternly and seriously.

Seriozha fell to musing, gazing up at the face of the porter, which he had thoroughly studied in every detail, especially at his chin, which hung down between the gray whiskers - never seen by anyone but Seriozha, who saw him only from below.

`Well, and has your daughter been to see you lately?'

The porter's daughter was a ballet dancer.

`When is she to come on weekdays? They've their lessons to learn, too. And you've your lesson, sir; run along.'

On coming into the room Seriozha, instead of sitting down to his lessons, told his tutor of his supposition that what had been brought him must be a toy railway. `What do you think?' he inquired.

But Vassilii Lukich was thinking of nothing but the necessity of learning the grammar lesson for the teacher, who was coming at two.

`No, do just tell me, Vassilii Lukich,' he asked suddenly, when he was seated at their worktable with the book in his hands, `what is greater than the Alexandre Nevsky? You know papa's received the Alexandre Nevsky?'

Vassilii Lukich replied that the Vladimir was greater than the Alexandre Nevsky.

`And higher still?'

`Well, highest of all is the Andrei Pervozvanny.'

`And higher than the Andrei?'

`I don't know.'

`What - you don't know?' And Seriozha, leaning on his elbows, sank into deep meditation.

His meditations were of the most complex and diverse character. He imagined his father's having been suddenly presented with both the Vladimir and the Andrei today, and in consequence being much better tempered at his lesson; and dreamed how, when he was grown up, he would himself receive all the orders, and what might be invented higher than the Andrei. Directly any higher order were invented, he would win it. They would make a higher one still, and he would immediately win that too.

The time passed in such meditations, and when the teacher came, the lesson about the adverbs of place and time and manner of action was not ready, and the teacher was not only displeased, but hurt. This touched Seriozha. He felt he was not to blame for not having learned the lesson; however much he tried, he was utterly unable to do it. As long as the teacher was explaining to him, he believed him and seemed to comprehend, but as soon as he was left alone, he was positively unable to recollect and to understand that the short and familiar word `suddenly' is an adverb of manner of action. Still he was sorry that he had disappointed the teacher, and he was anxious to comfort him.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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