The snow fell faster.
'How beautiful the snow is, sisters...'
Three women sat at the window of their lonely house, looking out at the white Uberwald* winter.
'And how cold the vind** is,' said the second sister.
The third sister, who was the youngest, sighed. 'Why do we always talk about the weather?'
'What else is there?'
'Well, it's either freezing cold or baking. I mean, that's it, really.'
'That is how things are in Mother Uberwald,' said the oldest sister, slowly and sternly. 'The vind and the snow and the boiling heat of summer...'
'You know, I bet if we cut down the cherry orchard we could put in a roller-skating rink-'
'How about a conservatory? We could grow pineapples.'
'If we moved to Bonk*** we could get a big apartment for the cost of this place-'
'This is our home, Irina,' said the oldest sister. 'Ah, a home of lost illusions and thwarted hopes...'
'We could go out dancing and everything.'
'I remember when we lived in Bonk,' said the middle sister dreamily. 'Things vere better then.'
'Things vere alvays better then,' said the oldest sister.
The youngest sister sighed and looked out of the window. She gasped. 'There's a man running through the cherry orchard!'
'A man? Vot could he possibly vant?'
The youngest sister strained to see. 'It looks like he wants... a pair of trousers...'
'Ah,' said the middle sister dreamily. 'Trousers ver better then.'
He'd been running for half an hour....
The inside of the barn was... barn-like....
He spun round, clutching the sack to him, and saw three very sombrely dressed women watching him carefully. One of them was holding a kitchen knife in a trembling hand.
'Have you come here to ravish us?' she said.
'Madam! I'm being pursued by werewolves!'
The three looked at one another. To Vimes the sack suddenly seemed far too small.
'Er, vill that take you all day?' said one of the women.
Vimes held the sack more tightly. 'Ladies! Please! I need trousers!'
'Ve can see that.'
'And a weapon, and boots if you've got them! Please?'
They went into another huddle.
'We have the gloomy and purposeless trousers of Uncle Vanya,' said one, doubtfully.
'He seldom wore them,' said another.
'And I have an axe in my linen cupboard,' said the youngest. She looked guiltily at the other two. 'Look, just in case I ever needed it, all right? I wasn't going to chop anything down.'
'I would be so grateful,' said Vimes. He took in the good but old clothes, the faded gentility, and played the only card in his hand. 'I am His Grace the Duke of Ankh****, although I appreciate this fact is not evident at the-'
There was a three-fold sigh.
'You haf a magnificent opera house and many fine galleries.'
'Such vonderful avenues!'
'A veritable heaven of culture and sophistication and unattached men of quality!'
'Er, I said Ankh-Morpork,' said Vimes. 'With an A and an M.'
'Ve have always dreamed of going there.'
'I'll have three coach tickets sent along immediately I get home,' said Vimes, his mind's ear hearing the crunch of speeding paws over snow. 'But, dear ladies, if you could fetch me those things-'
They hurried away, but the youngest lingered by the door.
'Do you have long cold winters in Ankh-Morpork?' she said.
'Just muck and slush, usually.'
'Any cherry orchards?'
'I don't think we have any, I'm afraid.'
She punched the air. 'Yesss!'
* Uberwald - местность, в которой живут сёстры
** В этих краях говорят с немецким акцентом
*** Bonk - единственный городок в Uberwald
**** Ankh-Morpork - столица столиц, большой-пребольшой город