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|The Gambler||Fyodor Dostoevsky|
|Page 3 of 10||
"I see they are," she replied with, as it were, the calmness of despair. "I see they are," she muttered again as she gazed straight in front of her, like a person lost in thought. "Ah well, I do not mean to rest until I have staked another four thousand."
"But you have no money with which to do it, Madame. In this satchel I can see only a few five percent bonds and some transfers--no actual cash."
"And in the purse?"
"A mere trifle."
"But there is a money-changer's office here, is there not? They told me I should be able to get any sort of paper security changed! "
"Quite so; to any amount you please. But you will lose on the transaction what would frighten even a Jew."
"Rubbish! I am DETERMINED to retrieve my losses. Take me away, and call those fools of bearers."
I wheeled the chair out of the throng, and, the bearers making their appearance, we left the Casino.
"Hurry, hurry!" commanded the Grandmother. "Show me the nearest way to the money-changer's. Is it far?"
"A couple of steps, Madame."
At the turning from the square into the Avenue we came face to face with the whole of our party--the General, De Griers, Mlle. Blanche, and her mother. Only Polina and Mr. Astley were absent.
"Well, well, well! " exclaimed the Grandmother. "But we have no time to stop. What do you want? I can't talk to you here."
I dropped behind a little, and immediately was pounced upon by De Griers.
"She has lost this morning's winnings," I whispered, "and also twelve thousand gulden of her original money. At the present moment we are going to get some bonds changed."
De Griers stamped his foot with vexation, and hastened to communicate the tidings to the General. Meanwhile we continued to wheel the old lady along.
"Stop her, stop her," whispered the General in consternation.
"You had better try and stop her yourself," I returned--also in a whisper.
"My good mother," he said as he approached her, "--my good mother, pray let, let--" (his voice was beginning to tremble and sink) "--let us hire a carriage, and go for a drive. Near here there is an enchanting view to be obtained. We-we-we were just coming to invite you to go and see it."
"Begone with you and your views!" said the Grandmother angrily as she waved him away.
"And there are trees there, and we could have tea under them," continued the General--now in utter despair.
"Nous boirons du lait, sur l'herbe fraiche," added De Griers with the snarl almost of a wild beast.
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