about with wines and edibles in the vestibule and the buffet. Choruses were standing under the windows. The officer was led up to a door, and he saw all at once all the most important generals in the army, among them the big, impressive figure of Yermolov. All the generals were standing in a semicircle, laughing loudly, their uniforms unbuttoned, and their faces flushed and animated. In the middle of the room a handsome, short general with a red face, was smartly and jauntily executing the steps of the trepak.

“Ha, ha, ha! Bravo, Nikolay Ivanovitch! ha, ha! …”

The officer felt doubly guilty in breaking in at such a moment with important business, and he would have waited; but one of the generals caught sight of him, and hearing what he had come for, told Yermolov. The latter, with a frowning face, came out to the officer, and hearing his story, took the papers from him without a word.

“Do you suppose it was by chance that he was not at home?” said a comrade of the officer’s who was on the staff, speaking of Yermolov that evening. “That’s all stuff and nonsense; it was all done on purpose. To play a trick on Konovnitsyn. You see, there’ll be a pretty kettle of fish to-morrow!”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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