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The Forged Coupon and Other Stories

by Leo Tolstoy

previous: III


AN hour after the boys were gone Eugene Mihailovich, the owner of the shop, came home, and began to count his receipts.

"Oh, you clumsy fool! Idiot that you are!" he shouted, addressing his wife, after having seen the coupon and noticed the forgery.

"But I have often seen you, Eugene, accepting coupons in payment, and precisely twelve rouble ones," retorted his wife, very humiliated, grieved, and all but bursting into tears. "I really don't know how they contrived to cheat me," she went on. "They were pupils of the school, in uniform. One of them was quite a handsome boy, and looked so comme il faut."

"A comme il faut fool, that is what you are!" The husband went on scolding her, while he counted the cash. . . . When I accept coupons, I see what is written on them. And you probably looked only at the boys' pretty faces. "You had better behave yourself in your old age."

His wife could not stand this, and got into a fury.

"That is just like you men! Blaming everybody around you. But when it is you who lose fifty-four roubles at cards-that is of no consequence in your eyes."

"That is a different matter

"I don't want to talk to you," said his wife, and went to her room. There she began to remind herself that her family was opposed to her marriage, thinking her present husband far below her in social rank, and that it was she who insisted on marrying him. Then she went on thinking of the child she had lost, and how indifferent her husband had been to their loss. She hated him so intensely at that moment that she wished for his death. Her wish frightened her, however, and she hurriedly began to dress and left the house. When her husband came from the shop to the inner rooms of their flat she was gone. Without waiting for him she had dressed and gone off to friends-a teacher of French in the school, a Russified Pole, and his wife-who had invited her and her husband to a party in their house that evening.

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