The talmi woman

– One hundred and fifty thousand rubles annual income. A view of the millions of an inherited uncle who rents the Ural gold washers. A palace on Newski Avenue. An apartment building near the Gwinnino dwor, full of goldsmiths. Magnificent holiday home on the island of Néwa. Forty thousand desjatin wheat-growing land near the Volga. Two thousand serfs. What did I say? One hundred and fifty thousand? If a man took matters into his own hands: the annual income could go to two hundred and fifty thousand rubles. I would take over carte blanche myself.

– That’s nice money.

– Then what connections! What kinship! An uncle is the CEO of all the Transurban Railways. His mother’s brother is the chief carrier of the Volhynia army. Her aunt is a court lady at the side of the czarné and a singing teacher of the czarewnák.

That’s a pretty nice company.

– Then what eyes! Blue like an ice cave illuminated with magnesium from the inside and above them-181-dense black eyebrows like a daurian rainforest. His face is as bright as the northern lights; scary beautiful. Not to mention her lips: because even a Siberian deportation for a kiss of them wouldn’t be big enough. I know that his teeth are real from the English dentist who once filled a tooth. But it also had a very small flaw. The rest is real. And that long stuffed hair that surrounds her head like a fairy tiara is quite a legitimate one: I have an objective certificate for that. I bribed her hairdresser to pull out a strand of hair for me. To my credit: it has a hair follicle on it.

– Well, she’s a pretty pretty lady.

– Well, I was just talking about his face. I’m not even talking about your stature. That’s what your photo is about. Do you want to see it like under the douche?

– Under the douche?

– Well, in the shower in the steam room.

“But how can such a photo be created?”

– Oh, you’re an innocent man! He seems to be coming from the province now. Well, it is known that we have a magnificent steam bath here, exclusively for the elegant world. Aristocracy and artistic celebrities go there. Well in the women’s bass there is a big wall clock à la regence: an antique masterpiece. In the middle of this is a big hole in which the minute-pendulum is ticking here and there. Behind this watch is a camera obscura with a camera. The clock is intact vis-à-vis the shower. At the right moment, when an unprotected beauty appears on the model stand: the clock ticking suddenly; and with that «one, two, three», the snapshot is ready. The extract is available the next day. It is true that it is expensive. They bribe a sheet for a hundred rubles, but they still have a rapid east.

“It’s a diabolical practice, sir!”

“At least you don’t buy a cat in a bag.” Do you want to see it?-182-

– I do not want to see it. I’m afraid I’ll lose my mind.

“Well, if a man loses his mind and wins a wife with two hundred thousand rubles: the balance is still in his favor.” I will say one more thing. This lady is looking at you with very good eyes.

– I’ve experienced that before.

“Ever since he danced with you at the yard ball, he doesn’t want to hear about any other man.” If you appear before him, you can tell what General Diebitsch Zabalkanszky said: «veni, vidie, vici».

“That’s what Julius Caesar said.”

– First! But you can tell, and it won’t be the last time. So what else are you thinking?

“I think this could be a very significant obstacle to your plan.”

– What could be the major hurdle?

– The fact that I already have a wife.

– Herring! You didn’t tell me about it.

– Nothing else. I got married from under Rangomon. Out of love. I married the daughter of a squid from Pskov.

– This is an old mistake. When did this misfortune happen?

– For two years already.

– Two years ago! Believe the sea time! Then surely there is already some reason why a divorce lawsuit can be initiated.

– There is nothing. My wife is a true biblical saint.

– But you’re not. And I would bet that if you had been Abraham, you would not have chased Hagar out into the wilderness; but Sarah.

Then they both laughed at that.

One was Alexievics Prokop, a boy from Pskow, a descendant of the former Streliczek: a landlord in a damaged state; and the other was his clerk, Zidor Samielic, the most diligent diligent in the Russian capital.

– Sebaj. I have already seen the spilled oil picked up from the ground without a spoon.-183-

– Were they allowed to freeze?

– Yes, they were allowed to freeze first. Let’s see how your spilled oil could be frozen. Do you want to see that photo?

– I want.

Zidor showed, Prokop looked.

“Well, stick to what I’m going to instruct now.”


Alexievics Prokop had in his pocket an invitation to the shiny thée dansantra that Anna Jelenowna had arranged in her magnificent palace, which was famous for its winter garden.

You have returned this response to the invitation:

«Madame. I love you with the deepest reverence. But honor is the lord of all lords. I have a woman who is a waist woman and loves me. My honor commands me to avoid the magic circle that engulfs me; even if my heart breaks after it. Etc. »

This letter has received the following return:

«Monsieur. So far, I have had a high opinion of your character; from now on i appreciate you even more. I’m sorry to lose your friendship. Introduce me to your wife; I will be his faithful girlfriend, and I will be happy if I can at least love him who loves you. ”

By the time Prokop sent this concluding message to the palm:

«Madame. Your spiritual nobility will crush you. I take your wish as an order. But I’m rightly worried about whether a simple, inexperienced creature like my Katinka won’t go about meeting you like the glass goes with the diamond to break it to pieces? I’ll bring him to your mercy. Your noble heart will save his faults; and I will be blessed to know that I can conquer your love at least through translation. Etc. »-184-

Both letters were dictated by Zid Samielic to Alexevich Prokop. That’s why they were so nicely used. That certainly would not have been the case.


Alexievics Prokop introduced his wife to Mrs. Anna Jelenowna three days later, just before the dance party.

Darinkowna Katinka was a blonde-haired beauty with a round red face attacking love dimples, a fit nose, and walnut-brown eyes hiding under her long lashes, her delicate jaw split in half, even helping her face smile. It was an eternal smile; especially if he started chatting. And he didn’t need much encouragement. At the first presentation, Jelenowna told Anna her entire life story: who was her father, her mother, her foster mother; that he met Alexievics Prokop; how much they love each other; what vow candles he had already given to the miracle patron that he wished they had a child! But he was mesmerized by a bad-eyed woman. Now the card-sister advised her to come up to St. Petersburg, go to St. Andrew’s Church in the morning, and to the steam bath in the afternoon,

Anna Jelenowna could barely suppress her laughter, while Alexiovics Prokop was chewing her mustache, pushing one by one with her foot on his wife’s foot to stop talking about such clumsiness.

Why not? In front of another woman and her own husband!

At the wedding, she shouted into Anna Prokop’s ear, “Your wife is a real diamond; he just lacks grinding. ”

Well such a diamond grinder is in St. Petersburg enough.-185-

The next night he brought his wife with him to Prokop Jelenowna’s dance party.

Katinka saw that this time she was dressed in a Parisian-fashioned dress for the first time: she always looked at her barge to see if she was left behind and managed the bouquet on her shoulders so as not to slip down; he barely dared to protrude the nose of his boot from the ruffles of his garment, and he used his fan to cover what the cut-out waistband had uncovered. When a man addressed her, she was embarrassed: she replied in French, even in a manner that would immediately reveal that she was walking at the first lessons, her eyes were lowered, and when they were complimented, she stared frightened as if looking for her husband to come to protect her. .

And her minor concern was greater than that of caring for his wife. He took himself to the buffet and held a dissertation on the topic of whether cognac is better with thea or rum.

Anna in Jelenowna had a cousin, Tódor Ivanovics, an imperial chariot captain.

Describe this bonmot.

– Ejnye te Tódor Ivanovics! said one of his companions, Thou hast served me ten years, and hast not adorned himself.

– I do not have; but there are husbands whom I dance with their wives.

Tódor Ivanovics asked Katinka for a walzer that evening.

Katinka replied blushing that she couldn’t dance Walzer: she only knew sarabande.

Tódor Ivanovics then offered his service so that he would teach him to dance the walzer, just lean on his shoulder and then let one foot after another shuffle.

Suddenly, a friend of Prokop rushes into the buffet with the news:

– Uczczu Prokop! Your wife, Tódor Ivanovics, just fell in the walzer.-186-

Prokop had the half-drunk champagne glass right at his mouth.

– Did you fall? Well, he’ll get up. And with that, he emptied the glass to the bottom.


Well then they just grinded the diamond further.

The blonde lady had already begun to lose her natural shyness, and had entered a stage in which childish awkwardness took on the role of the finest flirtation. – He loved going to a prom.

And her husband made her change more noticeable by the fact that when they went to the ball together, she was stuck in the ballroom, no longer looking for the pleasures of the buffet; but he drew himself in the shadow of a podocarpus, and from there he looked at the world, drawing large letters with his spur on the polished parquet.

“Look,” Anna Jelenowna once told her cousin, poor Alexievics Prokop, that she was bored. Maybe jealous?

– Certainly it is.

– Maybe you?

– Not me: it’s you.

– How about me?

“You’ve long known you were in love with you.”

– No view. She has a wife.

“My friend Alexievics Prokop is playing quite transparent cards.” He brought his new village innocence here to the new Babylon, with the sure hope that he would be seduced from it here and then be able to part with it.

– How do you think that? Go!

“Wow, you’re crazy after you too.” I would like to sweep the obstacles out of the way of your desires.

– Be mindful! I know Katinka Darinkowna. He is an unyielding faithful creature.-187-

“Well, since all wild pears are sour, the hoarfrost doesn’t pinch.” I think I will commit you.

– Do not speak wickedness before me. You just don’t want to do evil?

“Is it evil that all four people who are interested are successful?”

– But I deny it.

– Well, let’s bet.

– What?

– A Rubinstein feast.

– Well.

With this, Tódor Ivanovics went to Prokop Alexievics.

“What are you doing here?”

– I am dumb.

– That’s why you use your spur to write all the old “A’s” on the floor.

– You have damn eyes!

Prokop then left the pouting corner and asked Anna Jelenowna for the nearest French foursome. Tódor Ivanovics stood up vis-à-vis Katinka from Darinkowna. At the tour de mains, Anna Jelenowna’s hand was suddenly squeezed with extraordinary heat during the hand exchange by Darinkowna Katinka. Then he awkwardly waved an excuse.

“Ah, I’m sorry, I thought it was someone else’s hand.”


A gentleman’s evening in St. Petersburg, in which the world-famous artist also appeared, was called a feast for Rubinsteinos, and with his great piano playing he provided extraordinary pleasure to the upscale company.

The housewife was very lovable; the great artist not only did that he played after dinner beyond his program; he even took the courtesy so much that when he finished the game himself, he-188- he urged Anna Jelenowna to sit down at the piano as well, while persuading him, after great reluctance, to play a Chopin study, this time the infamous artist herself turned the note sheets in front of the charming lady.

Such heightened enjoyment of art is able to absorb the full attention of the whole gentlemanly company. Eyes and ears are nowhere other than on those magic keys and the fairy fingers dancing on them.

If some are missing from the company, no one will notice. And if he notices, he doesn’t write it down for himself.

After all, there are tanned souls not only in northern Paris, but in the real world, who do not leave the baccarat table there for all the stringed tools in the world. And gentlemen who sat at the end of the table after dinner and drank champagne with Ess-bouquet towards the end would be a shame to exclude them from their enjoyment.

Among the former was Alexievics Prokop; Tódor Ivanovics held with the latter. Amaz played cards, he drank.

Prokop had extraordinary fortune in baccarat.

“The parable worries,” Prokop growled. I have never had such great luck. The devil never Sleeps. Is that true? The one who wins the game, the loser in love! I need to know that.

He stopped playing, crumpled the banknotes into his heap: he said, thank you, no more, and he went over to the room where they played the piano.

He was looking for his wife; he didn’t see it anywhere.

Who asked, “Didn’t you see my wife?” he put his palm on his mouth, “Shut up! Chopin! »

– Chopin ide, Chopin there; i want to see my wife.

He ran to the restaurant. He had left his friend Tódor Ivanovics there recently.-189-

Its chair was empty.

– Where did Ivanovich Tódor go? his chair is empty.

“If your chair is empty, look under the table and sit in your seat.”

And since he didn’t want to sit down and have a glass with his friends, they grabbed him, filled the whole bottle of champagne in his collar, so that the juice came out on the fingers of his czamark.

It made him even angrier.

“I have to invent Ivanovich Tódor, if in hell!”

And he ran out into the hallway where he left his fur coat.

One of the drinking comrades ran after him: this was Zidam Samuel, the fiscus.

– Batyuskám! Do not look for Tódor Ivanovics in hell, but in the «ice paradise». There is.

– With my wife?

– Both of them.

– Come with me.

With that, they picked up their fur coats; they threw themselves into a sledge and drove him to the «ice paradise» in his horse death.

It is a charitable institution, the quality of which is the Closerie de Lilas in Paris.

There they did find the couple in love, among the most infallible phenomena of guilty conversation, as witnessed.

A bright big scandal is over. The two men rose to death, and the woman ran away.

The next day, the husband and the seducer fought.

Alexievics Prokop received a cut on his chest and arms, the latter rendering him incapacitated. He lay in it for a week, and during that time he was visited every day by a heavily veiled lady whose easy delicate fingers on the patient’s forehead made it easy to guess that it was none other than Anna Jelenowna.-190-

The unfaithful woman did not dare to show herself at her wounded husband’s bed. He might have been afraid of being shot dead.

As Prokop recovered from his wound, he immediately launched a divorce lawsuit against Katink Darinkowna.

He did not choose Zidor Samielics as his lawyer, Tódor Ivanovics had a lawyer.

The seducer is treated very strictly.

An elegant audience gathered at the jury hearing. Tickets could only be obtained with great protection.

Among the ladies there was also the certain veiled woman who cared for the wounded.

Surprising twists and turns came at the trial.

The first defendant, Tódor Ivanovics, defended himself by saying that in fact he was not seductive, but seduced. Nor did he have the mind to lead his neighbor’s wife on the path of sin; but it staggered him with his refined flirtation, it captivated him by his unbridled passion.

Anna Darinkowna, meanwhile, looked at her accomplice with her head bowed gently with a pleading face; however, when Tódor picked up the love letters that the fallen woman sent to substantiate his claims, he read only their address and signature, nothing else; that was enough: then the accomplice’s face caught fire, cutting his fan to his lover’s head: “you are a coward!”

The sympathy of the audience and the jurors still leaned toward the guilty woman.

At that time, however, Zidor Samielic came forward; and pulling out the documents collected from her wallet one by one, she made it clear to the jurors what kind of woman this Darinkowna Katinka is? Because this is a model of immorality. Not only this time, but she cheated on her husband countless times: with every man who was just at his fingertips. Finally a completely destructive letter-191- produced Darinkowna for Katinka, which he writes for an angel-making woman in Pskow. It dates back to her childhood.

By this the terror of the whole audience had already roared; the jurors clapped their hands, the women whispered:

“And did you come here to buy a dedicated bamboo from wax?”

Beating cheekiness.

And the accused woman? Well, when the last trumpet was cut out against him, he started laughing with laughter.

The jury unanimously declared him «guilty».

And it came to pass, that the accuser, the husband, who was wounded to death, came and said unto the judges,

– Gentlemen! Do not judge harshly over the unfortunate woman. His educators are sinners who have poisoned his soul with their bad example. I really loved him and I don’t want him to be punished. I know that with so much onerous testimony, the judge cannot award maintenance to the divorced woman by her husband. However, I listen to the word of my heart, and in memory of my lost happiness, I give this woman twenty thousand rubles. Live as you please.

At this noble-minded statement, Darinkowna Katinka began to sob and leaned over Prokop’s legs to hug them.

However, Prokop proudly rejected him on his own.

– Don’t approach me. I wish you to leave Russia immediately and immediately.

This wish was also promoted by the authority; deporting the legally separated woman beyond the German border.

Even that day he exchanged rings with the charming and rich Jelenowna Anna Alexievics Prokopp and their wedding was scheduled for the first Sunday after the Epiphany.


“Well, is it possible to pick up the spilled oil?” -192-even without a spoon? Samielic told Zidor Alexievic Prokop.

– You just have to wait for it to freeze.


On the day before the wedding, on Saturday, as usual, all his girlfriends and acquaintances came to say goodbye to the bride.

Some came themselves, others just handed over the visitor’s ticket to the doorman. The butler then brought the ticket on a silver tray to his mistress, who placed all the memorable tickets in a gold Japanese bowl belonging to his trousseau.

Suddenly you get this name:

Alexievics Prokopné
was born
Darinkowna Katinka.

Amazed in anger, Anna asked:

– Who brought this ticket here?

– A woman out there in the waiting room.

Anna tore the business card in half and tossed it into the presentation tray.

“Take her back and tell her that the threshold of my room is not crossed by women of this character.”

The butler came back a short time later; this time he took a photo on the tray.

“The stranger asks the Sudarina to look at this portrait.” Have you ever seen him?

That photo was a portrait of a young lady with black hair and long faces.

– I’ve never seen it.

“This is a portrait of the lady who sent in the ticket.”-193-

– Introduce me!

In Jelenowna Anna saw a completely foreign woman come in front of her in all black.

– Who are you?

– I am Katinka Darinkowna, the wife of Alexievics Prokop.

– That is impossible!

The black woman took her passport and marriage certificate from her sleeve and gave it to Anna to make sure that the description was the same and that the marriage still existed.

“I just found out,” she said slowly, that I had been legally separated from my husband because of adultery, in which I am innocent.

“Then who is the woman who was here?” who committed the scandal? to whom has everything proved? who was condemned? who is the woman?

– The woman: mademoiselle Fleur d’Orange, a chansonette singer in a wandering operetta company, who can play all kinds of roles very well.

– But the duel? Didn’t someone who didn’t have a fight fight for a tinsel woman?

“The duel was just like the woman’s.” They fought with unground swords. He didn’t get a wound, just a punch.

“And I watched by his bed there for nights!”

At Annaowna, Anna ordered calm on her face: she suppressed the tempers in her breasts.

The woman in the black dress continued in a whispered voice:

“I learned that Alexievics Prokop wants to swear to you tomorrow.” I hurried to discover your misfortune before your grace.

– Thank you. Come to the Isaac’s Temple tomorrow for my wedding.

– For your wedding? cried the woman in fright – do you still want to swear with her?-194-

– Don’t ask me again. Just come there. At noon the holy ceremony will take place; in the eastern chapel of the temple of Isaac. You need to get the truth – but me too!

The sad woman wanted to go.

– Wait for you. Take this invitation ticket with you; without it they will not be released.

And he himself wrote the name of Katink Darinkowna on the invitation.


The eastern chapel of Isaac’s Church was filled with an upscale wedding army the next day at noon.

There is no seat in the Russian church. They stand there or kneel.

The ceremony was bright: three priests participated.

Among the bright army appeared a figure dressed in a black robe, whose face was also covered with a thick veil; as it clung to it, this face looked as if it had been cast of shiny iron.

She watched motionless throughout the ceremony. Like golden crowns are placed on the head of a sworn couple. As they water them from a common goblet; as they cover them with a large light silk rug.

He let everything happen and listened.

The priests, the cantors sang, the organ hummed.

Then they took the consecrated party by the hand, two priests on either side, the third before them: thus they encircled the holy altar three times.

This is the last chapter of the swearing ceremony. The high priest says for the last time, «gospodi pomiluj!»

As this word was uttered, the bride yanked her hand out of her fiancé’s hand and still with the crown on her head, turning to the bridegroom, Prince **, governor of St. Petersburg, shouting, pointing to that other crowned figure:-195-

“And now seize, sir, this deceiver who knowingly committed bigamy.” His first wife is alive and not separated. There stands next to that pink column: that woman in the black dress.

At these words, and as the real woman lifted the veil from her face, the groom cut himself across the marble floor faintly. The golden crown rolled far from his head.


The joke about such a thing is not known in Russia. Ten days later Alexievics Prokop sledged to Tobolsk; and since then there has been a way to reflect on it while hunting that it is not good to joke with women.