The Horse-Stealers and Other Stories HTML version
A Happy Ending
LYUBOV GRIGORYEVNA, a substantial, buxom lady of forty who undertook
matchmaking and many other matters of which it is usual to speak only in whispers, had
come to see Stytchkin, the head guard, on a day when he was off duty. Stytchkin,
somewhat embarrassed, but, as always, grave, practical, and severe, was walking up and
down the room, smoking a cigar and saying:
"Very pleased to make your acquaintance. Semyon Ivanovitch recommended you on the
ground that you may be able to assist me in a delicate and very important matter affecting
the happiness of my life. I have, Lyubov Grigoryevna, reached the age of fifty-two; that
is a period of life at which very many have already grown-up children. My position is a
secure one. Though my fortune is not large, yet I am in a position to support a beloved
being and children at my side. I may tell you between ourselves that apart from my salary
I have also money in the bank which my manner of living has enabled me to save. I am a
practical and sober man, I lead a sensible and consistent life, so that I may hold myself up
as an example to many. But one thing I lack--a domestic hearth of my own and a partner
in life, and I live like a wandering Magyar, moving from place to place without any
satisfaction. I have no one with whom to take counsel, and when I am ill no one to give
me water, and so on. Apart from that, Lyubov Grigoryevna, a married man has always
more weight in society than a bachelor. . . . I am a man of the educated class, with
money, but if you look at me from a point of view, what am I? A man with no kith and
kin, no better than some Polish priest. And therefore I should be very desirous to be
united in the bonds of Hymen--that is, to enter into matrimony with some worthy
"An excellent thing," said the matchmaker, with a sigh.
"I am a solitary man and in this town I know no one. Where can I go, and to whom can I
apply, since all the people here are strangers to me? That is why Semyon Ivanovitch
advised me to address myself to a person who is a specialist in this line, and makes the
arrangement of the happiness of others her profession. And therefore I most earnestly beg
you, Lyubov Grigoryevna, to assist me in ordering my future. You know all the
marriageable young ladies in the town, and it is easy for you to accommodate me."
"I can. . . ."
"A glass of wine, I beg you. . . ."
With an habitual gesture the matchmaker raised her glass to her mouth and tossed it off
"I can," she repeated. "And what sort of bride would you like, Nikolay Nikolayitch?"
"Should I like? The bride fate sends me."