Best Russian Short Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 283 pages of information about Best Russian Short Stories.

“Yegor Fiodorych, I have a favour to ask of you.”

“What is it?”

“There’s a young man from my village here, a good boy He’s without a job.”

“Well?”

“Wouldn’t you take him?”

“What do I want him for?”

“Use him as man of all work round the place.”

“How about Polikarpych?”

“What good is he?  It’s about time you dismissed him.”

“That wouldn’t be fair.  He has been with me so many years.  I can’t let him go just so, without any cause.”

“Supposing he has worked for you for years.  He didn’t work for nothing.  He got paid for it.  He’s certainly saved up a few dollars for his old age.”

“Saved up!  How could he?  From what?  He’s not alone in the world.  He has a wife to support, and she has to eat and drink also.”

“His wife earns money, too, at day’s work as charwoman.”

“A lot she could have made!  Enough for kvas.”

“Why should you care about Polikarpych and his wife?  To tell you the truth, he’s a very poor servant.  Why should you throw your money away on him?  He never shovels the snow away on time, or does anything right.  And when it comes his turn to be night watchman, he slips away at least ten times a night.  It’s too cold for him.  You’ll see, some day, because of him, you will have trouble with the police.  The quarterly inspector will descend on us, and it won’t be so agreeable for you to be responsible for Polikarpych.”

“Still, it’s pretty rough.  He’s been with me fifteen years.  And to treat him that way in his old age—­it would be a sin.”

“A sin!  Why, what harm would you be doing him?  He won’t starve.  He’ll go to the almshouse.  It will be better for him, too, to be quiet in his old age.”

Sharov reflected.

“All right,” he said finally.  “Bring your friend here.  I’ll see what I can do.”

“Do take him, sir.  I’m so sorry for him.  He’s a good boy, and he’s been without work for such a long time.  I know he’ll do his work well and serve you faithfully.  On account of having to report for military duty, he lost his last position.  If it hadn’t been for that, his master would never have let him go.”

IV

The next evening Gerasim came again and asked: 

“Well, could you do anything for me?”

“Something, I believe.  First let’s have some tea.  Then we’ll go see my master.”

Even tea had no allurements for Gerasim.  He was eager for a decision; but under the compulsion of politeness to his host, he gulped down two glasses of tea, and then they betook themselves to Sharov.

Sharov asked Gerasim where he had lived before end what work he could do.  Then he told him he was prepared to engage him as man of all work, and he should come back the next day ready to take the place.

Gerasim was fairly stunned by the great stroke of fortune.  So overwhelming was his joy that his legs would scarcely carry him.  He went to the coachman’s room, and Yegor said to him: 

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Best Russian Short Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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