schoolmaster, most unexpectedly; he had not so much as opened his mouth before.
This remark provoked general mirth, and the old fellow himself laughed loudest of the lot, but ended with a stupendous fit of coughing.
Nastasia Philipovna, who loved originality and drollery of all kinds, was apparently very fond of this old man, and rang the bell for more tea to stop his coughing. It was now half-past ten o’clock.
“Gentlemen, wouldn’t you like a little champagne now?” she asked. “I have it all ready; it will cheer us up — do now — no ceremony!”
This invitation to drink, couched, as it was, in such informal terms, came very strangely from