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The Schoolmaster and Other Stories

The Album
KRATEROV, the titular councillor, as thin and slender as the Admiralty spire, stepped
forward and, addressing Zhmyhov, said:
"Your Excellency! Moved and touched to the bottom of our hearts by the way you have
ruled us during long years, and by your fatherly care. . . ."
"During the course of more than ten years. . ." Zakusin prompted.
"During the course of more than ten years, we, your subordinates, on this so memorable
for us . . . er . . . day, beg your Excellency to accept in token of our respect and profound
gratitude this album with our portraits in it, and express our hope that for the duration of
your distinguished life, that for long, long years to come, to your dying day you may not
abandon us. . . ."
"With your fatherly guidance in the path of justice and progress. . ." added Zakusin,
wiping from his brow the perspiration that had suddenly appeared on it; he was evidently
longing to speak, and in all probability had a speech ready. "And," he wound up, "may
your standard fly for long, long years in the career of genius, industry, and social self-
consciousness."
A tear trickled down the wrinkled left cheek of Zhmyhov.
"Gentlemen!" he said in a shaking voice, "I did not expect, I had no idea that you were
going to celebrate my modest jubilee. . . . I am touched indeed . . . very much so. . . . I
shall not forget this moment to my dying day, and believe me . . . believe me, friends, that
no one is so desirous of your welfare as I am . . . and if there has been anything . . . it was
for your benefit."
Zhmyhov, the actual civil councillor, kissed the titular councillor Kraterov, who had not
expected such an honour, and turned pale with delight. Then the chief made a gesture that
signified that he could not speak for emotion, and shed tears as though an expensive
album had not been presented to him, but on the contrary, taken from him . . . . Then
when he had a little recovered and said a few more words full of feeling and given
everyone his hand to shake, he went downstairs amid loud and joyful cheers, got into his
carriage and drove off, followed by their blessings. As he sat in his carriage he was aware
of a flood of joyous feelings such as he had never known before, and once more he shed
tears.
At home new delights awaited him. There his family, his friends, and acquaintances had
prepared him such an ovation that it seemed to him that he really had been of very great
service to his country, and that if he had never existed his country would perhaps have
been in a very bad way. The jubilee dinner was made up of toasts, speeches, and tears. In
short, Zhmyhov had never expected that his merits would be so warmly appreciated.
 
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