"Why so? I don't see that. Allow me to believe that apart from
our connection you have for me, at least in part, the same
friendly feeling I have always had for you...and sincere esteem,"
said Stepan Arkadyevitch, pressing his hand. "Even if your worst
suppositions were correct, I don't--and never would--take on
myself to judge either side, and I see no reason why our
relations should be affected. But now, do this, come and see my
"Well, we look at the matter differently," said Alexey
Alexandrovitch coldly. "However, we won't discuss it."
"No; why shouldn't you come today to dine, anyway? My wife's
expecting you. Please, do come. And, above all, talk it over
with her. She's a wonderful woman. For God's sake, on my knees,
I implore you!"
"If you so much wish it, I will come," said Alexey
And, anxious to change the conversation, he inquired about what
interested them both--the new head of Stepan Arkadyevitch's
department, a man not yet old, who had suddenly been promoted to
so high a position.
Alexey Alexandrovitch had previously felt no liking for Count
Anitchkin, and had always differed from him in his opinions. But
now, from a feeling readily comprehensible to officials--that
hatred felt by one who has suffered a defeat in the service for
one who has received a promotion, he could not endure him.
"Well, have you seen him?" said Alexey Alexandrovitch with a
"Of course; he was at our sitting yesterday. He seems to know
his work capitally, and to be very energetic."
"Yes, but what is his energy directed to?" said Alexey
Alexandrovitch. "Is he aiming at doing anything, or simply
undoing what's been done? It's the great misfortune of our
government--this paper administration, of which he's a worthy