"Well, Kapitonitch?" said Seryozha, coming back rosy and good-humored from his walk the day before his birthday, and giving his
overcoat to the tall old hall porter, who smiled down at the
little person from the height of his long figure. "Well, has the
bandaged clerk been here today? Did papa see him?"
"He saw him. The minute the chief secretary came out, I
announced him," said the hall porter with a good-humored wink.
"Here, I'll take it off."
"Seryozha!" said the tutor, stopping in the doorway leading to
the inner rooms. "Take it off yourself." But Seryozha, though
he heard his tutor's feeble voice, did not pay attention to it.
He stood keeping hold of the hall porter's belt, and gazing into
"Well, and did papa do what he wanted for him?"
The hall porter nodded his head affirmatively. The clerk with
his face tied up, who had already been seven times to ask some
favor of Alexey Alexandrovitch, interested both Seryozha and the
hall porter. Seryozha had come upon him in the hall, and had
heard him plaintively beg the hall porter to announce him, saying
that he and his children had death staring them in the face.
Since then Seryozha, having met him a second time in the hall,
took great interest in him.
"Well, was he very glad?" he asked.
"Glad? I should think so! Almost dancing as he walked away."
"And has anything been left?" asked Seryozha, after a pause.
"Come, sir," said the hall-porter; then with a shake of his head
he whispered, "Something from the countess."
Seryozha understood at once that what the hall porter was
speaking of was a present from Countess Lidia Ivanovna for his
"What do you say? Where?"