Translated by W.R.S. Ralston.
she suddenly asked. "What are you sighing about?"
"Nothing," replied Maria Dmitrievna. "What lovely clouds!"
"You are sorry for them, I suppose?"
Maria Dmitrievna made no reply.
"Why doesn't Gedeonovsky come?" continued Marfa Timofeevna, rapidly plying her knitting needles. (She was making a long worsted scarf.) "He would have sighed with you. Perhaps he would have uttered some platitude or other."
"How unkindly you always speak of him! Sergius Petrovich is--a most respectable man."
"Respectable!" echoed the old lady reproachfully.
"And then," continued Maria Dmitrievna, "how devoted he was to my dear husband! Why, he can never think of him without emotion."
"He might well be that, considering that your husband pulled him out of the mud by the ears," growled Marfa Timofeevna, the needles moving quicker than ever under her fingers. "He looks so humble," she began anew after a time. "His head is quite grey, and yet he never opens his mouth but to lie or t