Sergeant Numskilov slumped against Lieutenant Firkovich drunkenly, the exhale after each snore producing a powerful effect of garlic which quickly fumigated the entire compartment. Fourteen more hours of this on the train from Lubova to Schmertzylvania-- it was intolerable. Firkovich propped Numskilov up with his own rifle, tucked against his cheek. With any luck it would blow his brains out the next time the train ran over a deer or a peasant.
He stepped into the passageway, which was full of toothless old crones squatting on the floor, clutching the one chicken they had left, and cursed the misfortune that had brought him to this place instead of where he belonged, amid the lights and gaiety of gleaming Snerdsk, the capitol. So he had taken the regional governor's wife as his mistress-- who had not done such a thing in Snerdsk, if he were as handsome and wealthy as Firkovich?
What was the point of being in the army, of cutting such a fine figure in his dress uniform, with his elegantly waxed mustache and his dark, piercing eyes, if not to steal away a minx like Greta from her fat clod of a husband? What chance had he of satisfying the fire that burned within such a woman, of appreciating the refinement and skill she, raised in Paris, brought to the art of lovemaking? Was it to be expected that once a month, lying on her back in a nightgown raised to her stomach while her whale of a husband thrust four or five times inside her, would quench her desires? Of course not-- and yet now here he was, fleeing to the hinterlands to escape the scandal which had engulfed them both.
The passageway was full to its end, and so he opened the door between the cars, the bitter winter wind cutting through his coat for the instant he was outside. Inside the next car he started to make his way down the hallway-- and as he did a door opened and a large woman with the stern look of a governess suddenly appeared in his way. Given the ample and boxy winter garments she wore, it was impossible to judge her exact shape, but there was certainly enough of her and coats to fill the passageway and block Firkovich entirely. Seeing him, she suddenly locked herself into position and gave him a baleful glare.
Firkovich smiled. "Well, one of us is going to have to go back the way he or she came."
The governess said nothing, but only glared at him through the small round spectacles squeezed into the puffy skin around her nose. It seemed as if the pulled-back braids on her head tightened further.
"Madam, perhaps if you step back into your compartment for one moment, we may each go on our way."
"Do they not teach courtesy to the fairer sex in the army these days, lieutenant?"
Firkovich resisted the temptation to say that he had not realized that Gorgon was a fairer sex than his own, and simply replied, "Madam, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to make way, but unfortunately the aisle behind me is full of peasants all the way back to my own compartment. In this case, it would be far easier for you to simply step back into your compartment for a moment, and you would have my eternal gratitude."
She sniffed. "Impossible. The baby is sleeping with the wet-nurse and cannot be disturbed. I must attend to other business. Please allow me to pass."
Now Firkovich, disdainful of the fate to which his appetites had brought him, no longer cared if he acted the gentleman or not. "Very well, madam, you force my hand." He pushed his way past her, turning her aside with his shoulder as he attempted to squeeze through the passageway. She gasped at his impertinence-- and then disaster struck. Squeezed against the window, pinning her with his body against her compartment, somehow he became stuck-- it felt as if a part of his uniform had caught on the window latch, perhaps. However it happened, the two of them in their massive, unwieldy winter garments were wedged together like a cork in a bottle.
She glared at him with utter hatred. He laughed at the sheer, humiliating mockery the gods were making of him. "My sincere apologies, madam," he said, tipping his hat and then giving the end of his mustache a rakish flick. She harumphed again and looked away.
He tugged at his coat, but it failed to release him. An idea occurred to him-- if he could raise her, slightly, the rest of him would probably slide by. It was a dreadful impertinence to touch her, but scarcely worse than the alternative, which was to be stuck with her all the way to Schmertzylvania. What the hell, he thought, and he grabbed her under each armpit and tried to hoist her upward.
She shrieked in horror, and seemed ready to faint, but at the same time the practical side of her seemed to sense that he had hit upon the only solution, and so, gritting her teeth and muttering a prayer to St. Volodymyr under her breath, she closed her eyes and let him continue. He gave her a tug upward; nothing. He tried several more times, putting the whole of his body into the effort.
And as he did so he began to sense the shape of the woman underneath all those garments. It was absurd, but he suddenly began to realize that in her roundish, pepper-pot way, the severe governess actually had quite a curvaceous, womanly figure. And something else happened as he threw his whole body into the act of trying to force her upward-- her breath began to become shorter, her head rolled back, and her face flushed as she anticipated each upward thrust of his torso. And then he felt her hands grasp his back, squeezing him with each thrust.
Now he felt her breasts, round and massive, under the coat. She squeezed his muscular buttocks. He planted a kiss on her round, flat face and she answered it hungrily, shoving her tongue into his mouth-- what, did she study in Paris too? He desperately wished to be somewhere less public than the aisle but feared that succeeding in his aim of dislodging the pair of them would break the spell of the only diversion the long train ride had offered.