Volodya came with a friend home. Mother and aunt rushed to hug and kiss him. The whole family was overjoyed, even Milord, a huge black dog.
Volodya introduced his friend Chechevitsyn. He said he brought him to stay.
A little later, Volodya and his friend Chechevitsin, stunned by a noisy meeting, sat at a table and drank tea. The room was warm.
Three sisters Volodya, Katya, Sonya and Masha – the oldest of them were eleven years old – sat at the table and did not take their eyes off the new acquaintance. Lechevitsin was of the same age and height as Volodya, but not so swollen and white, and thin, swarthy, covered with freckles. His hair was bristly, his eyes narrow, his lips thick, he was generally very ugly, and if he did not have a gym jacket, he could be taken for the sake of his son’s cook. He was gloomy, he was silent all the time and never smiled. The girls immediately realized that this must be a very clever and learned man.
The girls noticed that Volodya, always cheerful and talkative, this time spoke little, did not smile at all and seemed not even glad that he had come home. He was also occupied with some thoughts, and, judging by the views he occasionally exchanged with his friend Chechevitsin, the boys had common thoughts.
After tea everyone went to the nursery. The father and the girls sat at the table and took up work, which was interrupted by the arrival of the boys. They made flowers and fringed fir-tree from multicolored paper. In his previous visits, Volodya also worked on preparations for a Christmas tree or ran to the courtyard to see how the coachman and shepherd made a snow mountain, but now he and Chechevitsin paid no attention to the colored paper and never even visited the stable, but sat by the window and they began to whisper something; Then they both opened the geographic atlas together and began to consider a map.
Absolutely incomprehensible words of Chechevitsyn and the fact that he was constantly whispering with Volodya, and the fact that Volodya was not playing, and all was thinking about something, all this was strange. And the two older girls, Katya and Sonya, began to keep an eye on the boys. In the evening, when the boys went to bed, the girls crept to the door and overheard their conversation. The boys were about to flee to America to get gold; they had everything ready for the road: a pistol, two knives, biscuits, a magnifying glass for fire, a compass and four
rubles of money. Myself, Chechevitsyn called this: “Montigomo Hawk Talon”, and Volodya – “my pale-faced brother.”
Early in the morning on Christmas Eve Katya and Sonya quietly got out of bed and went to see how the boys will flee to America. Volodya doubted, but nevertheless he went.
The next day a policeman came and wrote some paper in the dining room. Mother was crying. But at the porch the sledgeholes stopped, and steam fell from a troika of white horses.
It turned out that the boys were detained in the city, in the Gostiny Dvor. Volodya, as he entered the front hall, sobbed and threw himself at his mother’s neck. Papa led Volodya and Chechevitsyn to his office and talked with them for a long time.
They sent a telegram, and the next day the lady, the mother of Chechevitsyn, came and took her son away. When Lechevitsin left, his face was harsh, arrogant, and, saying goodbye to the girls, he did not say a single word; only took a notebook from Katya and wrote in memory of: “Montigomo Hawk Talon.”