102 THE GOLOSHES OF FORTUNE
said the man ; and the councillor, who was well acquainted with the events of 1801, joined in manfully against the English. The rest of the talk, however, did not pass over so well; every moment there was a contradiction. The good bachelor was terribly ignorant, and the simplest assertion of the councillor seemed too bold or too fantastic. They looked at each other, and when it became too bad, the bachelor spoke Latin, in the hope that he would be better understood ; but it was of no use.
' How are you now ? ' asked the hostess, and she plucked the councillor by the sleeve.
Now his recollection came back : in the course of the conversation he had forgotten everything that had happened.
' Good heavens ! where am I ? ' he said, and he felt dizzy when he thought of it.
1 We'll drink claret, mead, and Bremen beer,' cried one of the guests, ' and you shall drink with us.'
Two girls came in. One of them had on a cap of two colours. They poured out drink and bowed : the councillor felt a cold shudder running all down his back. * What's that ? what's that ? ' he cried ; but he was obliged to drink with them. They took possession of the good man quite politely. He was in despair, and when one said that he was tipsy he felt not the slightest doubt regarding the truth of the statement, and only begged them to procure him a droshky. Now they thought he was speaking Muscovite.
Never had he been in such rude vulgar company.
' One would think the country was falling back into heathenism,' was his reflection. ' This is the most terrible moment of my life.'
But at the same time the idea occurred to him to bend down under the table, and then to creep to the door. He did so ; but just as he had reached the entry the others discovered his intention. They seized him by the feet; and now the goloshes, to his great good fortune, came off, and—the whole enchantment vanished.
The councillor saw quite plainly, in front of him, a lamp burning, and behind it a great building ; everything looked familiar and splendid, It was East Street, as we know