Chekhov - Ward
A week later it was suggested to Andrey Yefimitch that he should
have a rest -- that is, send in his resignation -- a suggestion
he received with indifference, and a week later still, Mihail
Averyanitch and he were sitting in a posting carriage driving to
the nearest railway station. The days were cool and bright, with
a blue sky and a transparent distance. They were two days
driving the hundred and fifty miles to the railway station, and
stayed two nights on the way. When at the posting station the
glasses given them for their tea had not been properly washed,
or the drivers were slow in harnessing the horses, Mihail
Averyanitch would turn crimson, and quivering all over would
"Hold your tongue! Don't argue!"
And in the carriage he talked without ceasing for a moment,
describing his campaigns in the Caucasus and in Poland. What
adventures he had had, what meetings! He talked loudly and
opened his eyes so wide with wonder that he might well be
thought to be lying. Moreover, as he talked he breathed in
Andrey Yefimitch's face and laughed into his ear. This bothered
the doctor and prevented him from thinking or concentrating his
In the train they travelled, from motives of economy,
third-class in a non-smoking compartment. Half the passengers
were decent people. Mihail Averyanitch soon made friends with
everyone, and moving from one seat to another, kept saying
loudly that they ought not to travel by these appalling lines.
It was a regular swindle! A very different thing riding on a
good horse: one could do over seventy miles a day and feel fresh
and well after it. And our bad harvests were due to the draining
of the Pinsk marshes; altogether, the way things were done was
dreadful. He got excited, talked loudly, and would not let
others speak. This endless chatter to the accompaniment of loud
laughter and expressive gestures wearied Andrey Yefimitch.
"Which of us is the madman?" he thought with vexation. "I, who
try not to disturb my fellow-passengers in any way, or this
egoist who thinks that he is cleverer and more interesting than
anyone here, and so will leave no one in peace?"
In Moscow Mihail Averyanitch put on a military coat without
epaulettes and trousers with red braid on them. He wore a
military cap and overcoat in the street, and soldiers saluted
him. It seemed to Andrey Yefimitch, now, that his companion was
a man who had flung away all that was good and kept only what
was bad of all the characteristics of a country gentleman that
he had once possessed. He liked to be waited on even when it was
quite unnecessary. The matches would be lying before him on the
table, and he would see them and shout to the waiter to give him
the matches; he did not hesitate to appear before a maidservant
in nothing but his underclothes; he used the familiar mode of
address to all footmen indiscriminately, even old men, and when
he was angry called them fools and blockheads. This, Andrey
Yefimitch thought, was like a gentleman, but disgusting.
First of all Mihail Averyanitch led his friend to the Iversky
Madonna. He prayed fervently, shedding tears and bowing down to
the earth, and when he had finished, heaved a deep sigh and
"Even though one does not believe it makes one somehow easier
when one prays a little. Kiss the ikon, my dear fellow."
Andrey Yefimitch was embarrassed and he kissed the image, while
Mihail Averyanitch pursed up his lips and prayed in a whisper,
and again tears came into his eyes. Then they went to the
Kremlin and looked there at the Tsar-cannon and the Tsar-bell,
and even touched them with their fingers, admired the view over
the river, visited St. Saviour's and the Rumyantsev museum.
They dined at Tyestov's. Mihail Averyanitch looked a long time
at the menu, stroking his whiskers, and said in the tone of a
gourmand accustomed to dine in restaurants:
"We shall see what you give us to eat to-day, angel!"