Chapter XVIII.
 

All the gamblers except the drunken Malinowsky had lost their interest in the game. They were intensely curious to know who the lady was that had come to see Sarudine, Those who guessed that it was Lida Sanina felt instinctively jealous, picturing to themselves her white body in Sarudine's embrace. After a while Sanine got up from the table and said:

"I shall not play any more. Good-bye."

"Wait a minute, my friend, where are you going?" asked Ivanoff.

"I'm going to see what they are about, in there," replied Sanine, pointing to the closed door.

"Don't be a fool I Sit down and have a drink!" said Ivanoff.

"You're the fool!" rejoined Sanine, as he went out.

On reaching a narrow side-street where nettles grew in profusion, Sanine bethought himself of the exact spot which Sarudine's windows overlooked. Carefully treading down the nettles, he climbed the wall. When on the top, he almost forgot why he had got up there at all, so charming was it to look down on the green grass and the pretty garden, and to feel the soft breeze blowing pleasantly on his hot, muscular limbs. Then he dropped down into the nettles on the other side, irritably rubbing the places where they had stung him. Crossing the garden, he reached the window just as Lida said:

"You mean to say that you still don't know?"

By the strange tone of her voice Sanine instantly guessed what was the matter. Leaning against the wall and looking at the garden, he eagerly listened. He felt pity for his handsome sister for whose beautiful personality the gross term "pregnant" seemed so unfitting. What impressed him even more than the conversation peas the singular contrast between these furious human voices and the sweet silence of the verdurous garden.

A white butterfly fluttered across the grass, revelling the sunlight. Sanine watched its progress just as intently as he listened to the talking.

When Lida exclaimed:

"You brute!" Sanine laughed merrily, and slowly crossed the garden, careless as to who should see him.

A lizard darted across his path, and for a long while he followed the swift movements of its little supple green body in the long grass.