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The Gambler

✒ Author
📖 Pages 209
⏰ Reading time 10 hours 30 minutes
💡 Originally published 1866
🌏 Original language Russian
📌 Type Novels
📌 Genres Drama , Prose , Psychological , Realism , Philosophical
📌 Sections Psychological novel , Realistic novel , Philosophical novel

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CHAPTER I

I’VE FINALLY COME BACK from my twoweek absence. Our people have already been in Roulettenburg for three days. I thought they would be waiting for me God knows how eagerly, but I was mistaken. The general had an extremely independent look, spoke to me condescendingly, and sent me to his sister. It was clear they had got hold of money somewhere. It even seemed to me that the general was a little ashamed to look at me. Marya Filippovna was extremely busy and scarcely spoke with me; she took the money, however, counted it, and listened to my whole report. Mezentsov, the little Frenchman, and some Englishman or other were expected for dinner; as usual, when there’s money, then at once it’s a formal dinner; Moscowstyle. Polina Alexandrovna, seeing me, asked what had taken me so long, and went off somewhere without waiting for an answer. Of course, she did it on purpose. We must have a talk, however. A lot has accumulated.
I’ve been assigned a small room on the fourth floor of the hotel. It’s known here that I belong to the general’s suite . Byall appearances, they’ve managed to make themselves known. The general is regarded by everyone here as a very rich Russian grandee. Before dinner he managed, among other errands, to give me two thousandfranc notes to have changed. I changed them in the hotel office. Now they’ll look at us as millionaires for at least a whole week. I was about to take Misha and Nadya for a walk, but on the stairs I was summoned to the general; he had seen fit to inquire where I was going to take them. The man is decidedly unable to look me straight in the eye; he would very much like to, but I respond each time with such an intent–that is, irreverent–gaze, that he seems disconcerted. In a highly pompous speech, piling one phrase on another and finally becoming totally confused, he gave me to understand that I should stroll with the children somewhere in the park, a good distance from the vauxhall.{1} He finally became quite angry and added abruptly: “Or else you might just take them to the vauxhall, to the roulette tables. Excuse me,” he added, “but I know you’re still rather lightminded and perhaps capable of gambling. In any case, though I am not your mentor, and have no wish to take that role upon myself, I do at any rate have the right to wish that you not, so to speak, compromise me…”
“But I don’t even have any money,” I said calmly. “To lose it, you have to have it.”
“You shall have it at once,” the general replied, blushing slightly. He rummaged in his desk, consulted a ledger, and it turned out that he owed me about a hundred and twenty roubles.
“How are we going to reckon it up?” he began. “It has to be converted into thalers. Here, take a hundred thalers, a round figure–the rest, of course, won’t get lost.”
I silently took the money.
“Please don’t be offended by my words, you’re so touchy…If I made that observation, it was, so to speak, to warn you, and, of course, I have a certain right to do so…”
Coming back home with the children before dinner, I met a whole cavalcade. Our people had gone to have a look at some ruins. Two excellent carriages, magnificent horses! Mlle Blanche in the same carriage with Marya Filippovna and Polina; the little Frenchman, the Englishman, and the general on horseback. Passersby stopped and looked; an effect was produced; only it won’t come to any good for the general. I calculated that with the four thousand francs I had brought, plus whatever they had evidently managed to get hold of here, they now had seven or eight thousand francs. That is too little for Mlle Blanche.
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Download the free e-book by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, «The Gambler» , in English. You can also print the text of the book. For this, the PDF and DOC formats are suitable.

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