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The Secret of the Night

1. Gayety And Dynamite
"BARINIA, the young stranger has arrived."
"Where is he?"
"Oh, he is waiting at the lodge."
"I told you to show him to Natacha's sitting-room. Didn't you understand me, Ermolai?"
"Pardon, Barinia, but the young stranger, when I asked to search him, as you directed,
flatly refused to let me."
"Did you explain to him that everybody is searched before being allowed to enter, that it
is the order, and that even my mother herself has submitted to it?"
"I told him all that, Barinia; and I told him about madame your mother."
"What did he say to that?"
"That he was not madame your mother. He acted angry."
"Well, let him come in without being searched."
"The Chief of Police won't like it."
"Do as I say."
Ermolai bowed and returned to the garden. The "barinia" left the veranda, where she had
come for this conversation with the old servant of General Trebassof, her husband, and
returned to the dining-room in the datcha des Iles, where the gay Councilor Ivan
Petrovitch was regaling his amused associates with his latest exploit at Cubat's resort.
They were a noisy company, and certainly the quietest among them was not the general,
who nursed on a sofa the leg which still held him captive after the recent attack, that to
his old coachman and his two piebald horses had proved fatal. The story of the always-
amiable Ivan Petrovitch (a lively, little, elderly man with his head bald as an egg) was
about the evening before. After having, as he said, "recure la bouche" for these gentlemen
spoke French like their own language and used it among themselves to keep their
servants from understanding - after having wet his whistle with a large glass of sparkling
rosy French wine, he cried:
"You would have laughed, Feodor Feodorovitch. We had sung songs on the Barque* and
then the Bohemians left with their music and we went out onto the river-bank to stretch
our legs and cool our faces in the freshness of the dawn, when a company of Cossacks of