Best Russian Short Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 355 pages of information about Best Russian Short Stories.

Then tears poured from my eyes like a hailstorm, washing away from my heart much that was evil, much that war, stupid, much sorrow and dirt which had fastened upon it before that night.  Natasha comforted me.

“Come, come, that will do, little one!  Don’t take on!  That’ll do!  God will give you another chance ... you will right yourself and stand in your proper place again ... and it will be all right...”

And she kept kissing me ... many kisses did she give me ... burning kisses ... and all for nothing...

Those were the first kisses from a woman that had ever been bestowed upon me, and they were the best kisses too, for all the subsequent kisses cost me frightfully dear, and really gave me nothing at all in exchange.

“Come, don’t take on so, funny one!  I’ll manage for you to-morrow if you cannot find a place.”  Her quiet persuasive whispering sounded in my ears as if it came through a dream...

There we lay till dawn...

And when the dawn came, we crept from behind the skiff and went into the town...  Then we took friendly leave of each other and never met again, although for half a year I searched in every hole and corner for that kind Natasha, with whom I spent the autumn night just described.

If she be already dead—­and well for her if it were so—­may she rest in peace!  And if she be alive ... still I say “Peace to her soul!” And may the consciousness of her fall never enter her soul ... for that would be a superfluous and fruitless suffering if life is to be lived...



An acquaintance of mine once told me the following story.

When I was a student at Moscow I happened to live alongside one of those ladies whose repute is questionable.  She was a Pole, and they called her Teresa.  She was a tallish, powerfully-built brunette, with black, bushy eyebrows and a large coarse face as if carved out by a hatchet—­the bestial gleam of her dark eyes, her thick bass voice, her cabman-like gait and her immense muscular vigour, worthy of a fishwife, inspired me with horror.  I lived on the top flight and her garret was opposite to mine.  I never left my door open when I knew her to be at home.  But this, after all, was a very rare occurrence.  Sometimes I chanced to meet her on the staircase or in the yard, and she would smile upon me with a smile which seemed to me to be sly and cynical.  Occasionally, I saw her drunk, with bleary eyes, tousled hair, and a particularly hideous grin.  On such occasions she would speak to me.

“How d’ye do, Mr. Student!” and her stupid laugh would still further intensify my loathing of her.  I should have liked to have changed my quarters in order to have avoided such encounters and greetings; but my little chamber was a nice one, and there was such a wide view from the window, and it was always so quiet in the street below—­so I endured.

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Best Russian Short Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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