The Material Question

‘This wager interested Vitvitskaia so seriously that she not only decided to stay with me to see how I would fulfil it, but even undertook to help me. So, instead of going on to Andijan, she got off the train with me at Ashkhabad.

‘I must admit that the fulfilment of this accidentally arisen and complicated task which I had taken upon myself, interested me so much that I was fired with a passionate obstinacy to carry it out whatever the consequences, and even to surpass the set conditions.

‘While still in the train I thought out a general plan of action, and as a first step I then and there drew up the following advertisement:

in its passage
will stop here for a very short time

‘ “Hurry, and give your orders and bring everything you have to be repaired or remodelled.
‘ “We repair sewing-machines, typewriters, bicycles, gramophones, music­ boxes, electric, photographic, medical and other apparatus, gas and oil lamps; clocks; all kinds of musical instruments—accordions, guitars, violins, taris and so on.
‘ “We repair locks and weapons of all sorts.
‘ “We repair, remodel, upholster and refinish any piece of furniture whatever, either in our workshop or at your own house.
‘ “We repair, varnish and tune upright and grand pianos and harmoniums.
‘ “We install and repair electric lighting, bells and telephones.
‘ “We mend and re­cover umbrellas.
‘ “We repair children’s toys and dolls, and rubber articles of all kinds.
‘ “We wash, clean and mend rugs, shawls, tapestries, furs, etc.
‘ “We remove all kinds of stains.
‘ “We restore pictures, porcelain and all kinds of antiques.
‘ “The workshop has a well-equipped galvano-plastic cabinet for gold­plating, silver-plating, nickel-plating, bronzing and oxidizing.
‘ “Any article relined with white metal; samovars relined and nickel­plated in twenty-four hours.
‘ “Orders taken for all kinds of embroidery—cross-stitch, satin-stitch, chenille, with beads, feathers, plush and so on.
‘ “We stamp anything you wish on wood, leather and cloth.