"I wonder that with her sense--for she's not a fool, you know--
that she doesn't see how funny she is."
Everyone had something to say in censure or ridicule of the
luckless Madame Maltishtcheva, and the conversation crackled
merrily, like a burning faggot-stack.
The husband of Princess Betsy, a good-natured fat man, an ardent
collector of engravings, hearing that his wife had visitors, came
into the drawing room before going to his club. Stepping
noiselessly over the thick rugs, he went up to Princess Myakaya.
"How did you like Nilsson?" he asked.
"Oh, how can you steal upon anyone like that! How you startled
me!" she responded. "Please don't talk to me about the opera;
you know nothing about music. I'd better meet you on your own
ground, and talk about your majolica and engravings. Come now,
what treasure have yo been buying lately at the old curiosity
"Would you like me to show you? But you don't understand such
"Oh, do show me! I've been learning about them at those--what's
their names?...the bankers...they've some splendid engravings.
They showed them to us."
"Why, have you been at the Schuetzburgs?" asked the hostess from
"Yes, ma chere. They asked my husband and me to dinner, and told
us the sauce at that dinner cost a hundred pounds," Princess
Myakaya said, speaking loudly, and conscious everyone was
listening; "and very nasty sauce it was, some green mess. We had
to ask them, and I made them sauce for eighteen pence, and
everybody was very much pleased with it. I can't run to
"She's unique!" said the lady of the house.
"Marvelous!" said someone.