Kiryak seized Marya by the arm, dragged
her towards the door, and bellowed like an animal in order to seem still more terrible; but at that moment
he suddenly caught sight of the visitors and stopped.
"Oh, they have come,..." he said, letting his wife go; "my own brother and his family...."
Staggering and opening wide his red, drunken eyes, he said his prayer before the image and went on:
"My brother and his family have come to the parental home... from Moscow, I suppose. The great
capital Moscow, to be sure, the mother of cities.... Excuse me."
All the lads of Zhukovo who could read and write
were packed off to Moscow and hired out as butlers or waiters (while from the village on the other side
of the river the boys all became bakers), and that had been the custom from the days of serfdom long ago
when a certain Luka Ivanitch, a peasant from Zhukovo, now a legendary figure, who had been a waiter
in one of the Moscow clubs, would take none but his fellow-villagers into his service, and found jobs for
them in taverns and restaurants; and from that time the village of Zhukovo was always called among the
inhabitants of the surrounding districts Slaveytown. Nikolay had been taken to Moscow when he was
eleven, and Ivan Makaritch, one of the Matvyeitchevs, at that time a headwaiter in the "Hermitage"
garden, had put him into a situation. And now, addressing the Matvyeitchevs, Nikolay said emphatically:
The Witch And Other Stories
"Ivan Makaritch was my benefactor, and I am bound to pray for him day and night, as it is owing to him
I have become a good man."
Kiryak had a fearful headache after his drinking bout, and was ashamed to face his brother.
"What vodka does! Ah, my God!" he muttered, shaking his aching head. "For Christ's sake, forgive me,
brother and sister; I'm not happy myself."