"Oh, I know that some people think him handsome," continued the hostess, unmoved; "but _I_ say that he is nothing of the kind--that, in particular, his nose is perfectly odious."
"Yes, but let me finish what I was saying." The guest's tone was almost piteous in its appeal.
"You cannot imagine my state of mind! You see, this morning I received a visit from Father Cyril's wife--the Archpriest's wife--you know her, don't you? Well, whom do you suppose that fine gentleman visitor of ours has turned out to be?"
"The man who has built the Archpriest a poultry-run?"
"Oh dear no! Had that been all, it would have been nothing. No. Listen to what Father Cyril's wife had to tell me. She said that, last night, a lady landowner named Madame Korobotchka arrived at the Archpriest's house--arrived all pale and trembling--and told her, oh, such things! They sound like a piece out of a book. That is to say, at dead of night, just when every one had retired to rest, there came the most dreadful knocking imaginable, and some one screamed out, 'Open the gates, or we will break them down!' Just think! After this, how any one can say that the man is charming I cannot imagine."
"Well, what of Madame Korobotchka? Is she a young woman or good looking?"
"Oh dear no! Quite an old woman."
"Splendid indeed! So he is actually engaged to a person like that? One may heartily commend the taste of our ladies for having fallen in love with him!"