The Chorus Girl and Other Stories
BIG raindrops were pattering on the dark windows. It was one of those disgusting
summer holiday rains which, when they have begun, last a long time--for weeks, till the
frozen holiday maker grows used to it, and sinks into complete apathy. It was cold; there
was a feeling of raw, unpleasant dampness. The mother-in-law of a lawyer, called
Kvashin, and his wife, Nadyezhda Filippovna, dressed in waterproofs and shawls, were
sitting over the dinner table in the dining-room. It was written on the countenance of the
elder lady that she was, thank God, well-fed, well-clothed and in good health, that she
had married her only daughter to a good man, and now could play her game of patience
with an easy conscience; her daughter, a rather short, plump, fair young woman of
twenty, with a gentle anæmic face, was reading a book with her elbows on the table;
judging from her eyes she was not so much reading as thinking her own thoughts, which
were not in the book. Neither of them spoke. There was the sound of the pattering rain,
and from the kitchen they could hear the prolonged yawns of the cook.
Kvashin himself was not at home. On rainy days he did not come to the summer villa, but
stayed in town; damp, rainy weather affected his bronchitis and prevented him from
working. He was of the opinion that the sight of the grey sky and the tears of rain on the
windows deprived one of energy and induced the spleen. In the town, where there was
greater comfort, bad weather was scarcely noticed.
After two games of patience, the old lady shuffled the cards and took a glance at her
"I have been trying with the cards whether it will be fine to-morrow, and whether our
Alexey Stepanovitch will come," she said. "It is five days since he was here. . . . The
weather is a chastisement from God."
Nadyezhda Filippovna looked indifferently at her mother, got up, and began walking up
and down the room.
"The barometer was rising yesterday," she said doubtfully, "but they say it is falling again
The old lady laid out the cards in three long rows and shook her head.
"Do you miss him?" she asked, glancing at her daughter.
"I see you do. I should think so. He hasn't been here for five days. In May the utmost was
two, or at most three days, and now it is serious, five days! I am not his wife, and yet I
miss him. And yesterday, when I heard the barometer was rising, I ordered them to kill a