One Autumn Night part 8

But, ugh! it was impossible for me to think that, for cold drops of rain were dripping down upon me, the woman was pressing close to me, her warm breath was fanning my face, and despite a slight odor of vodka it did me good. The wind howled and raged, the rain smote upon the skiff, the waves splashed, and both of us, embracing each other convulsively, nevertheless shivered with cold. All this was only too real, and I am certain that nobody ever dreamed such an oppressive and horrid dream as that reality.

Beneath the influence

But Natasha was talking all the time of something or other, talking kindly and sympathetically, as only women can talk. Beneath the influence of her voice and kindly words, a little fire began to burn up within me, and something inside my heart thawed in consequence.

Then tears poured from my eyes like a hailstorm, washing away from my heart much that was evil, much that was stupid, much sorrow and dirt which had fastened upon it b

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One Autumn Night part 7

I felt really wretched more from cold than from the words of my neighbor. I groaned softly and ground my teeth.

Almost at the same moment I felt two little arms about me one of (Item touched my neck and the other lay upon my face and at the lame time an anxious, gentle, friendly voice uttered the question:

“What ails you?”

I was ready to believe that someone else was asking me this and not Natasha, who had just declared that all men were scoundrels, and expressed a wish for their destruction. But she it was, and now she began peaking quickly, hurriedly.

“What ails you, eh? Are you cold? Are you frozen? Ah, what a one are, sitting there so silent like a little owl! Why, you should have Id me long ago that you were cold.

Gome… lie on the ground stretch yourself out and I will lie… there! How’s that? Now put your arms round me?… tighter! How’s that? You shall be warmer soon now… And then we’ll lie bac

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One Autumn Night part 6

He had a vest which cost fifteen rubles and boots with dress tops. For these reasons she had fallen in love with him, and he became her “creditor.” And when he became her creditor, he made it his business to take away from her the money which her other friends gave to her for bonbons, and, getting drunk on this money, he would fall to beating her; but that would have been nothing if he hadn’t also begun to “run after” other girls before her very eyes.

“Now, wasn’t that an insult? I am not worse than the others. Of course that meant that he was laughing at me, the blackguard. The day before yesterday I asked leave of my mistress to go out for a bit, went to him, and there I found Dimka sitting beside him, drunk. And he, too, was half seas over.

I said, ‘You scoundrel, you!’ And he gave me a thorough hiding. He kicked me and dragged me by the hair. But that was nothing to what came after. He spoiled everything I had on left me just as I am now! H

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One Autumn Night part 5

Our position beneath the shelter of the skiff was utterly devoid of comfort; it was narrow and damp, tiny cold drops of rain dribbled through the damaged bottom; gusts of wind penetrated it. We sat in silence and shivered with cold. I remembered that I wanted to go to sleep. Natasha leaned her back against the hull of the boat and curled herself up into a tiny ball.

Embracing her knees with her hands, and resting her chin upon them, she stared doggedly at the river with wide- open eyes; on the pale patch of her face they seemed immense, because of the blue marks below them. She never moved, and this immobility and silence I felt it gradually produced within me a terror of my neighbor. I wanted to talk to her, but I knew not how to begin.

It was she herself who spoke.

“What a cursed thing life is!” she exclaimed plainly, abstractedly, and in a tone of deep conviction.

Certain conclusion

But this was no complaint. In these words

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One Autumn Night part 4

In a monotonous tone she set about calculating our discoveries.

“A basketful of bottles thick furs a sunshade an iron pail.”

All this was uneatable. I felt that my hopes had vanished.

But suddenly she exclaimed vivaciously:

“Aha! here it is!”

“What?”

“Bread… a loaf… it’s only wet… take it!”

A loaf flew to my feet and after it herself, my valiant comrade. I had already bitten off a morsel, stuffed it in my mouth, and was chewing it….
“Come, give me some too!… And we mustn’t stay here.

Where shall we go?” She looked inquiringly about on all sides.

It was dark, wet, and boisterous.

“Look! there’s an upset canoe yonder… let us go there.”

Feared Nobody

“Let us go then!” And off we set, demolishing our booty as we went, and filling our mouths with large portions of it. The rain grew more violent,

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One Autumn Night part 3

The girl looked at me, and the terror in her eyes gradually died out.
She shook the sand from her hands, adjusted her cotton head-gear, cowered down, and said:

“I suppose you, too, want something to eat? Dig away then! My hands are tired. Over there” she nodded her head in the direction of a booth “there is bread for certain… and sausages too. That booth is still carrying on business.”

I began to dig. She, after waiting a little arid looking at me, sat down beside me and began to help me.

Proprietorship

We worked in silence. I cannot say now whether I thought at that moment of the criminal code, of morality, of proprietorship, and all the Other things about which, in the opinion of many experienced persons, one ought to think every moment of one’s life. Wishing to keep as close to the truth as possible, I must confess that apparently I was so deeply engaged in digging under the crate that I completely forgot about everythi

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One Autumn Night part 2

The evening was approaching, the rain was falling, and the wind blew violently from the north. It whistled in the empty booths and shops, blew into the plastered window-panes of the taverns, and whipped into foam the wavelets of the river which splashed noisily on the sandy shore, casting high their white crests, racing one after another into the dim distance, and leaping impetuously over one another’s shoulders.

It seemed as if the river felt the proximity of winter, and was running at random away from the fetters of ice which the north wind might well have flung upon her that very night. The sky was heavy and dark; down from it swept incessantly scarcely visible drops of rain, and the melancholy elegy in nature all around me was emphasized by a couple of battered and misshapen willow-trees and a oat, bottom upwards, that was fastened to their roots.

The overturned canoe with its battered keel and the miserable old trees rifled by the cold wind everything arou

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One Autumn Night part 1

Maxim Gorky (1868-1936)

Alexei Maximovitch Pyeshkov, known as Gorky, which signifies “bitter,” was born at Nijni Novgorod in 1868. He was orphaned at nine, and was then apprenticed to a bootmaker. He ran away and wandered all over Russia, plying various trades, and reading greedily all the books he could obtain. His experiences gave him a fund of material for his remarkable stories; stories which are filled with the vigour and pathos, the gentleness and bitterness of Russian life. At the height of his career he was exiled, and did not return to his native country until after the war.

Gorky specialized in the description of the class of outcasts which he knew best. Most of his short stories deal with these people.

The present version has been reprinted from Thomas Seltzer’s Best Russian Short Stories, Boni & Liveright, New York, by permission of Jarrolds, publishers, in whose volume, Stories from Gorki, it first appeared. The translator is R.

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