on a low pouffe with spasmodic springs Praskovya considers warning him to take

On a low pouffe with spasmodic springs praskovya

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on a low pouffe with spasmodic springs, Praskovya considers warning him to take another seat, but changes her mind when she realizes that such a warning would be inappropriate in her present condition. On her way toward the sofa, she catches her shawl on a carved table edge. Peter rises to detach it, but the springs of the pouffe, relived of his weight, rise also and push him forward. The widow begins detaching the shawl herself, and Peter sits down once again on the pouffe, "suppressing the rebellious springs." Yet the widow has still not managed to free herself. And Peter, amid the creaks and groans of the pouffe, rises again to help her detach the shawl. After the episode, the widow takes out a "clean cambric" handkerchief and begins to weep. Ivan's butler enters the room to report to Praskovya the price of Ivan's plot in the cemetery (220 rubles), and Peter overhears her inquiring into the prices of different plots. Having asked Peter to smoke several moments before, and noticing now that his cigarette ash is endangering the table, she passes him an ashtray. Praskovya then turns the conversation to Ivan's death. She mentions that he screamed incessantly for the last three days, an ordeal, she relates, that caused her unbelievable suffering. The thought of Ivan's suffering strikes Peter with horror, "despite an unpleasant consciousness of his own and this woman's dissimulation." The image of Ivan's face with its warning once again rises to Peter's mind, and he begins to feel afraid for himself. Yet the thought that it was Ivan who had died and not him, along with the image of Schwartz's resiliency and resistance to depression, reassures Peter and assuages his fear. After some more talk of Ivan's suffering, Praskovya gets down to business and begins probing Peter about possible strategies to squeeze the most possible money out of the government on the occasion of her husband's death. Finding Peter unable to devise a plan to obtain more money, she searches for a way to politely dismiss her visitor. Noticing this, Peter leaves the room. Just as he is about to pass into the death-chamber, Peter notices Ivan's son emerging from under the stairs. Peter then enters the death-chamber, sits through the service while managing to resist any depressing influence, and is one of the first to leave the room when the service ends. In the anteroom, Gerasim (the butler's assistant, and Ivan's sick nurse) helps Peter with his coat. When Peter mentions that the death and funeral are a sad affair, Gerasim responds, "It's God's will. We shall all come to it some day." Once outside, Peter feels refreshed by the cool air. He gets in his sledge, drives to meet Schwartz, and arrives at an opportune time to join the card game.

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