The Secret City eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 371 pages of information about The Secret City.

That, however, was not now my immediate business—­enough of that presently.  My immediate business, as I very quickly discovered, was to pluck up enough strength to drag my wretched body home.  The events of the week had, I suppose, carried me along.  I was to suffer now the inevitable reaction.  I felt exactly as though I had been shot from a gun and landed, suddenly, without breath, without any strength in any of my limbs in a new and strange world.  I was standing, when I first realised my weakness, beside the wooden booths in the Sadovaya.  They were all closed of course, but along the pavement women and old men had baskets containing sweets and notepaper and red paper tulips offered in memory of the glorious Revolution.  Right across the Square the groups of people scattered in little dusky pools against the snow, until they touched the very doors of the church....  I saw all this, was conscious that the stars and the church candles mingled... then suddenly I had to clutch the side of the booth behind me to prevent myself from falling.  My head swam, my limbs were as water, and my old so well-remembered friend struck me in the middle of the spine as though he had cut me in two with his knife.  How was I ever to get home?  No one noticed me—­indeed they seemed to my sick eyes to have ceased to be human.  Ghosts in a ghostly world, the snow gleaming through them so that they only moved like a thin diaphanous veil against the wall of the sky...  I clutched my booth.  In a moment I should be down.  The pain in my back was agony, my legs had ceased to exist, and I was falling into a dark, dark pool of clear jet-black water, at the bottom of which lay a star....

The strange thing is that I do not know who it was who rescued me.  I know that some one came.  I know that to my own dim surprise an Isvostchick was there and that very feebly I got into it.  Some one was with me.  Was it my black-bearded peasant?  I fancy now that it was.  I can even, on looking back, see him sitting up, very large and still, one thick arm holding me.  I fancy that I can still smell the stuff of his clothes.  I fancy that he talked to me, very quietly, reassuring me about something.  But, upon my word, I don’t know.  One can so easily imagine what one wants to be true, and now I want, more than I would then ever have believed to be possible, to have had actual contact with him.  It is the only conversation between us that can ever have existed:  never, before or after, was there another opportunity.  And in any case there can scarcely have been a conversation, because I certainly said nothing, and I cannot remember anything that he said, if indeed he said anything at all.  At any rate I was there in the Sadovaya, I was in a cab, I was in my bed.  The truth of the rest of it any one may decide for himself....

II

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Project Gutenberg
The Secret City from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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