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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 283 pages of information about Best Russian Short Stories.
story in a volume of stories.  Who that has read The Darling can ever forget her—­the woman who had no separate existence of her own, but thought the thoughts, felt the feelings, and spoke the words of the men she loved?  And when there was no man to love any more, she was utterly crushed until she found a child to take care of and to love; and then she sank her personality in the boy as she had sunk it before in her husbands and lover, became a mere reflection of him, and was happy again.

In the compilation of this volume I have been guided by the desire to give the largest possible representation to the prominent authors of the Russian short story, and to present specimens characteristic of each.  At the same time the element of interest has been kept in mind; and in a few instances, as in the case of Korolenko, the selection of the story was made with a view to its intrinsic merit and striking qualities rather than as typifying the writer’s art.  It was, of course, impossible in the space of one book to exhaust all that is best.  But to my knowledge, the present volume is the most comprehensive anthology of the Russian short story in the English language, and gives a fair notion of the achievement in that field.  All who enjoy good reading, I have no reason to doubt, will get pleasure from it, and if, in addition, it will prove of assistance to American students of Russian literature, I shall feel that the task has been doubly worth the while.

Korolenko’s Shades and Andreyev’s Lazarus first appeared in Current Opinion, and Artzybashev’s The Revolutionist in the Metropolitan Magazine.  I take pleasure in thanking Mr. Edward J. Wheeler, editor of Current Opinion, and Mr. Carl Hovey, editor of the Metropolitan Magazine, for permission to reprint them.

[Signature:  Thomas Seltzer]

“Everything is subordinated to two main requirements—­humanitarian ideals and fidelity to life.  This is the secret of the marvellous simplicity of Russian literary art.”—­THOMAS SELTZER.

BEST RUSSIAN SHORT STORIES

THE QUEEN OF SPADES

BY ALEXSANDR S. PUSHKIN

I

There was a card party at the rooms of Narumov of the Horse Guards.  The long winter night passed away imperceptibly, and it was five o’clock in the morning before the company sat down to supper.  Those who had won, ate with a good appetite; the others sat staring absently at their empty plates.  When the champagne appeared, however, the conversation became more animated, and all took a part in it.

“And how did you fare, Surin?” asked the host.

“Oh, I lost, as usual.  I must confess that I am unlucky:  I play mirandole, I always keep cool, I never allow anything to put me out, and yet I always lose!”

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