“Well, good-bye, Matryosha,” said Anatole, kissing her. “Ah, all my fun here is over! Give my love to Styoshka. There, good-bye! Good-bye, Matryosha; wish me happiness.”

“God grant you great happiness, prince,” said Matryosha, with her gypsy accent.

At the steps stood two three-horse sledges; two stalwart young drivers were holding them. Balaga took his seat in the foremost, and holding his elbows high, began deliberately arranging the reins in his hands. Anatole and Dolohov got in with him. Makarin, Hvostikov, and the valet got into the other sledge.

“Ready, eh?” queried Balaga. “Off!” he shouted, twisting the reins round his hands, and the sledge flew at break-neck pace along the Nikitsky Boulevard.

“Tprroo! Hi! … Tproo!!” Balaga and the young driver on the box were continually shouting.

In Arbatsky Square the sledge came into collision with a carriage; there was a crash and shouts, and the sledge flew off along Arbaty. Turning twice along Podnovinsky, Balaga began to pull up, and turning back, stopped the horses at the Old Equerrys’ crossing.

A smart young driver jumped down to hold the horses by the bridle; Anatole and Dolohov walked along the pavement. On reaching the gates, Dolohov whistled. The whistle was answered, and a maid-servant ran out.

“Come into the courtyard, or you’ll be seen; she is coming in a minute,” she said.

Dolohov stayed at the gate. Anatole followed the maid into the courtyard, turned a corner, and ran up the steps.

He was met by Gavrilo, Marya Dmitryevna’s huge groom.

“Walk this way to the mistress,” said the groom in his bass, blocking up the doorway.

“What mistress? And who are you?” Anatole asked in a breathless whisper.

“Walk in; my orders are to show you in.”

“Kuragin! back!” shouted Dolohov. “Treachery, back!”

Dolohov, at the little back gate where he had stopped, was struggling with the porter, who was trying to shut the gate after Anatole as he ran in. With a desperate effort Dolohov shoved away the porter, and clutching at Anatole, pulled him through the gate, and ran back with him to the sledge.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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