Not a member?     Existing members login below:
Holidays Offer
 

The Schoolmaster and Other Stories

A Play
"PAVEL VASSILYEVITCH, there's a lady here, asking for you," Luka announced.
"She's been waiting a good hour. . . ."
Pavel Vassilyevitch had only just finished lunch. Hearing of the lady, he frowned and
said:
"Oh, damn her! Tell her I'm busy."
"She has been here five times already, Pavel Vassilyevitch. She says she really must see
you. . . . She's almost crying."
"H'm . . . very well, then, ask her into the study."
Without haste Pavel Vassilyevitch put on his coat, took a pen in one hand, and a book in
the other, and trying to look as though he were very busy he went into the study. There
the visitor was awaiting him--a large stout lady with a red, beefy face, in spectacles. She
looked very respectable, and her dress was more than fashionable (she had on a crinolette
of four storeys and a high hat with a reddish bird in it). On seeing him she turned up her
eyes and folded her hands in supplication.
"You don't remember me, of course," she began in a high masculine tenor, visibly
agitated. "I . . . I have had the pleasure of meeting you at the Hrutskys. . . . I am Mme.
Murashkin. . . ."
"A. . . a . . . a . . . h'm . . . Sit down! What can I do for you?"
"You . . . you see . . . I . . . I . . ." the lady went on, sitting down and becoming still more
agitated. "You don't remember me. . . . I'm Mme. Murashkin. . . . You see I'm a great
admirer of your talent and always read your articles with great enjoyment. . . . Don't
imagine I'm flattering you--God forbid!--I'm only giving honour where honour is due. . . .
I am always reading you . . . always! To some extent I am myself not a stranger to
literature-- that is, of course . . . I will not venture to call myself an authoress, but . . . still
I have added my little quota . . . I have published at different times three stories for
children. . . . You have not read them, of course. . . . I have translated a good deal and . . .
and my late brother used to write for The Cause."
"To be sure . . . er--er--er----What can I do for you?"
"You see . . . (the lady cast down her eyes and turned redder) I know your talents . . . your
views, Pavel Vassilyevitch, and I have been longing to learn your opinion, or more
exactly . . . to ask your advice. I must tell you I have perpetrated a play, my first-born --
pardon pour l'expression!--and before sending it to the Censor I should like above all
things to have your opinion on it."
 
Remove