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Five feet of uneven and slimy sidewalk separated them. Waters looked up; a house-lamp was above, dull and steady as a foggy star; and it showed him, upon the box of the droschky, his enemy, the mainspring of all his troubles. He halted short. The istvostchik had recognized him likewise.

And then the tinder lighted. "Beating him!" intoned the istvostchik, mighty in his moment. "Beat." It was the last coherent syllable which he uttered in the affair. With a rush Waters cleared the sidewalk and was upon him, had him by the pulp of clothes which enveloped him and tore him across the wheel to the ground.

The istvostchik, even under his padding, was a biggish man and vicious with liquor; he grappled at his antagonist earnestly enough, to drag him down and bite and worry and kick in the manner of his kind. But the breast of the worn linen blouse ripped in his clutch and a pair of man-stopping punches on the mouth and the eye drove him backwards towards the wall. It was then he began to squeal.

Waters, with the mist of battle clearing, from his eyes, saw them all about him, dark, well-wrapped figures, watching him silently or whispering together. He sensed their profound disapproval of him and his proceedings. "That'll keep you quiet for a while," he spoke down to the wreck of the istvostchik. Only moans answered him; he grunted and turned to go.

He listened in fierce stillness while Waters put forward his request to be taken on. "It's you, is it?" he said then. "I know ye. When did they let ye out?" "Yesterday," answered Waters wearily. "Say, boss, it was only for beatin' up an istvostchik, and I got to have a job." The fiery monkey-face, pursed in sourest disapproval, did not relax a line. "Yesterday an' now ye come here!

"It was because he was seen to come this way," he argued. "He passed the next house and the dvornik this man here! saw him. He had committed an assault, an aggravated assault, on an istvostchik and evaded arrest. And he came this way." "He is not here, though," replied Miss Pilgrim steadily. "Nobody at all has been here this evening. I give you my word."

Startled, he turned; the istvostchiks, the padded, long-skirted drivers of the little waiting cabs, were gathered together in the roadway; their bearded and brutal faces, discolored with the cold, were agape and hideous with their laughter; and in the forefront of them, pointing with a great hand gloved to the likeness of a paw, stood and roared hoarsely the particular istvostchik on whose account he had suffered the protocol and the prison.

He made to go on and get away from it all; he started quickly. "Come back, jail-bird!" howled the istvostchik. "I haven't done with you, my golubchik, my little prison-rat. Come back here to me when I bid you. What, you won't? Get on, you!" The last was to the horse, accompanied by a rending slash with the whip.

He moved from the edge of the pavement to be clear of mud-splashes as it passed him, and heard, without further concern, the vehicle draw up level with him and the whistle and slap of the whip as the istvostchik light-heartedly tortured his feeble horse. "Her eyes are cornflowers," proclaimed the istvostchik melodiously; "her lips are-" He was abreast of Waters as he broke off.

The leading istvostchik, still pointing and bellowing, was inviting disaster; when from behind him, ploughing through the onlookers', came the overdue policeman, traffic baton in hand. "Circulate, circulate!" he cried to the loiterers, waving at them with his stick. "It is not permitted to congregate. Circulate, gentlemen!"