Ivan Dmitritch, a middle-class man who lived with his family on an income of 1,200 a year and was very well satisfied with his lot, sat down on the sofa after supper and began reading the newspaper.
“I forgot to look at the newspaper today,”his wife said to him as she cleared the table. “Look and see whether the list of drawings is there.”
“Yes, it is. What is the number?”said Ivan Dmitritch.
“Series 9499, number 26.”
“All right. We will look...”
Ivan Dmitritch had no faith in lottery luck, and would not, as a rule, have consented to look at the lists of winning numbers, but now, as he had nothing else to do and as the newspaper was before his eyes, he passed his finger downwards along the column of numbers. And immediately, as though in mockery of his scepticism, no further than the second line from the top, his eye was caught by the figure 9499! Unable to believe his eyes, he hurriedly dropped the paper on his knees without looking to see the number of the ticket, and, just as though some one had given him a douche of cold water, he felt an agreeable chill in the pit of the stomach; tingling and terrible and sweet!
“Masha, 9499 is there!”he said in a hollow voice.
His wife looked at his astonished and panic-stricken face, and realized that he was not joking.
“9499? And the number of the ticket?”she asked, turning pale and dropping the folded tablecloth on the table.
“Oh yes! There’s the number of the ticket too. But stay... wait! No, I say! Anyway, the number of our series is there! Anyway, you understand...”
Looking at his wife, Ivan Dmitritch gave a broad, senseless smile, like a baby when a bright object is shown it.
“It is our series,”said Ivan Dmitritch, after a long silence. “So there is a probability that we have won. It’s only a probability, but there it is!”
“Well, now look!”
“Wait a little. It’s on the second line from the top, so the prize is 75,000.”
The husband and wife began laughing and staring at one another in silence. The possibility of winning bewildered them; they could not have said, could not have dreamed, what they both needed that 75,000 for, what they would buy, where they would go. They thought only of the figures 9499 and 75,000 and pictured them in their imagination.
Ivan Dmitritch, holding the paper in his hand, walked several times from corner to corner, and only when he had recovered from the first impression began dreaming a little.
“And if we have won,”he said, “It will be a new life, it will be a transformation! The ticket is yours, but if it were mine I should, first of all, of course, spend 25,000 on real property in the shape of an estate; 10,000 on immediate expenses, new furnishing, traveling, paying debts, and so on. The other 40,000 I would put in the bank and get interest on it.”
“Yes, an estate, that would be nice,”said his wife, sitting down and dropping her hands in her lap.
And pictures came crowding on his imagination, each more gracious and poetical than the last. And in all these pictures he saw himself well-fed, serene, healthy! Here, after eating a soup, cold as ice, he lay on his back on the burning sand close to a stream... His little boy and girl are crawling about near him, digging in the sand or catching ladybirds in the grass. He dozes sweetly, thinking of nothing, and feeling all over that he need not go to the office today, tomorrow, or the day after. Or, tired of lying still, he goes to the hayfield, or to the forest for mushrooms, to take longer walks beside the river.
Ivan Dmitritch pictured to himself autumn with its rains. It rains day and night, the bare trees weep, the wind is damp and cold. There is nowhere to walk; one can’t go out for days together; one has to pace up and down the room, looking despondently at the grey window. It is dreary!
Ivan Dmitritch stopped and looked at his wife.
“I should go abroad, you know, Masha.”he said.
And he began thinking how nice it would be in late autumn to go abroad somewhere to the South of France... to Italy... to India!
“I should certainly go abroad too,”his wife said. “But look at the number of the ticket!”
He walked about the room and went on thinking. It occurred to him: what if his wife really did go abroad? It is pleasant to travel alone, or in the society of light, careless women who live in the present, and not such as think and talk all the journey about nothing but their children, sigh, and tremble with dismay over every farthing.
She would begrudge me every farthing, he thought, with a glance at his wife. The lottery ticket is hers, not mine! Besides, what is the use of her going abroad? What does she want there?
And for the first time in his life his mind dwelt on the fact that his wife had grown elderly and plain, and that she was saturated through and through with the smell of cooking, while he was still young and healthy, and might well have got married again.
Ivan Dmitritch thought of her relations. All those wretched brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles would come crawling about as soon as they heard of the winning ticket, would begin whining like beggars, and fawning upon them with oily, 2hypocritical smiles. Wretched, detestable people! If they were given anything, they would ask for more; while if they were refused, they would swear at them, slander them, and wish them every kind of misfortune.
Ivan Dmitritch remembered his own relations, and their faces, at which he had looked impartially in the past, struck him now as repulsive and hateful.
They are such reptiles! He thought.
And his wife’s face, too, struck him as repulsive and hateful. Anger surged up in his heart against her, and he thought m alignantly:
She knows nothing about money, and so she is stingy. If she won it she would give me 100 roubles, and put the rest away under lock and key.
And he looked at his wife, not with a smile now, but with hatred. She glanced at him too, and also with hatred and anger. She had her own daydreams, her own plans, her own reflections; she understood perfectly well what her husband’s dreams were. She knew who would be the first to try to grab her winnings.
It’s very nice making daydreams at other people’s expense is what her eyes expressed. No, don’t you dare!
Her husband understood her look; hatred began stirring again in his breast, and in order to annoy his wife he glanced quickly, to spite her at the fourth page on the newspaper and read out triumphantly:
“Series 9499, number 46! Not 26!”
Hatred and hope both disappeared at once, and it began immediately to seem to Ivan Dmitritch and his wife that their rooms were dark and small and low-pitched, that the supper they had been eating was not doing them good, but lying heavily on their stomachs, that the evenings were long and wearisome...
“What the devil’s the meaning of it?”said Ivan Dmitritch, beginning to be ill-humored. “Wherever one steps there are bits of paper under one’s feet, crumbs, husks. The rooms are never swept! One is simply forced to go out. Damnation take my soul entirely! I shall go and hang myself on the first aspen tree!”
2011-02-11 10:35 编辑：kuaileyingyu