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|Page 122 of 123|
Pavel Ivanitch went out of the arbour, and beside himself with rage, strode rapidly to his villa. Even the sight of the table laid for supper did not soothe him.
"Once in a lifetime such a chance has turned up," he thought in agitation; "and then it's been prevented! Now she is offended . . . crushed!"
At supper Pavel Ivanitch and Mitya kept their eyes on their plates and maintained a sullen silence. . . . They were hating each other from the bottom of their hearts.
"What are you smiling at?" asked Pavel Ivanitch, pouncing on his wife. "It's only silly fools who laugh for nothing!"
His wife looked at her husband's angry face, and went off into a peal of laughter.
"What was that letter you got this morning?" she asked.
"I? . . . I didn't get one. . . ." Pavel Ivanitch was overcome with confusion. "You are inventing . . . imagination."
"Oh, come, tell us! Own up, you did! Why, it was I sent you that letter! Honour bright, I did! Ha ha!"
Pavel Ivanitch turned crimson and bent over his plate. "Silly jokes," he growled.
"But what could I do? Tell me that. . . . We had to scrub the rooms out this evening, and how could we get you out of the house? There was no other way of getting you out. . . . But don't be angry, stupid. . . . I didn't want you to be dull in the arbour, so I sent the same letter to Mitya too! Mitya, have you been to the arbour?"
Mitya grinned and left off glaring with hatred at his rival.
***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK Love and Other Stories***