A Daughter of Albion
A fine carriage with rubber tyres, a fat coachman, and velvet on the seats, rolled up to the house of a landowner called Gryabov. Fyodor Andreitch Otsov, the district Marshal of Nobility, jumped out of the carriage. A drowsy footman met him in the hall.
Are the family at home? asked the Marshal.
No, sir. The mistress and the children are gone out paying visits, while the master and mademoiselle are catching fish. Fishing all the morning, sir.
Otsov stood a little, thought a little, and then went to the river to look for Gryabov. Going down to the river he found him a mile and a half from the house. Looking down from the steep bank and catching sight of Gryabov, Otsov gushed with laughter . Gryabov a large stout man, with a very big head, was sitting on the sand, angling, with his legs tucked under him like a Turk. His hat was on the back of his head and his cravat had slipped on one side. Beside him stood a tall thin Englishwoman, with prominent eyes like a crabs, and a big bird-like nose more like a hook than a nose. She was dressed in a white muslin gown through which her scraggy yellow shoulders were very distinctly apparent. On her gold belt hung a little gold watch. She too was angling. The stillness of the grave reigned about them both. Both were motionless, as the river upon which their floats were swimming.
A desperate passion, but deadly dull! laughed Otsov. Good-day, Ivan Kuzmitch.
Ah is that you? asked Gryabov, not taking his eyes off the water. Have you come?
As you see And you are still taken up with your crazy nonsense! Not given it up yet?
The devils in it . I begin in the morning and fish all day . The fishing is not up to much to-day. Ive caught nothing and this dummy hasnt either. We sit on and on and not a devil of a fish! I could scream!
Well, chuck it up then. Lets go and have some vodka!
Wait a little, maybe we shall catch something. Towards evening the fish bite better . Ive been sitting here, my boy, ever since the morning! I cant tell you how fearfully boring it is. It was the devil drove me to take to this fishing! I know that it is rotten idiocy for me to sit here. I sit here like some scoundrel, like a convict, and I stare at the water like a fool. I ought to go to the haymaking, but here I sit catching fish. Yesterday His Holiness held a service at Haponyevo, but I didnt go. I spent the day here with this with this she-devil.
But have you taken leave of your senses? asked Otsov, glancing in embarrassment at the Englishwoman. Using such language before a lady and she
Oh, confound her, it doesnt matter, she doesnt understand a syllable of Russian, whether you praise her or blame her, it is all the same to her! Just look at her nose! Her nose alone is enough to make one faint. We sit here for whole days together and not a single word! She stands like a stuffed image and rolls the whites of her eyes at the water.
The Englishwoman gave a yawn, put a new worm on, and dropped the hook into the water.
I wonder at her not a little, Gryabov went on, the great stupid has been living in Russia for ten years and not a word of Russian! . Any little aristocrat among us goes to them and learns to babble away in their lingo, while they theres no making them out. Just look at her nose, do look at her nose!
Come, drop it its uncomfortable. Why attack a woman?
Shes not a woman, but a maiden lady .I bet shes dreaming of suitors. The ugly doll. And she smells of something decaying Ive got a loathing for her, my boy! I cant look at her with indifference. When she turns her ugly eyes on me it sends a twinge all through me as though I had knocked my elbow on
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