Translated by Constance Garnett
that your visit that time was not much to your taste; but I hope for all that you'll agree to my proposal ... that you won't refuse me my request!'
'What is it?' inquired Aratov.
'Well, do you see,' pursued Kupfer, getting more and more heated: 'there is a society here of amateurs, artistic people, who from time to time get up readings, concerts, even theatrical performances for some charitable object.'
'And the princess has a hand in it?' interposed Aratov.
'The princess has a hand in all good deeds, but that's not the point. We have arranged a literary and musical matinée ... and at this matinée you may hear a girl ... an extraordinary girl! We cannot make out quite yet whether she is to be a Rachel or a Viardot ... for she sings exquisitely, and recites and plays.... A talent of the very first rank, my dear boy! I'm not exaggerating. Well then, won't you take a ticket? Five roubles for a seat in the front row.'
'And where has this marvellous girl sprung from?' asked A
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