The Schoolmistress, and other stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about The Schoolmistress, and other stories.

And she had burst into tears.

“The place is simply taking up room,...”  Andrey Andreyvitch had thought, looking blankly at the ravines, not understanding his daughter’s enthusiasm.  “There is no more profit from them than milk from a billy-goat.”

And she had cried and cried, drawing her breath greedily with her whole chest, as though she felt she had not a long time left to breathe.

Andrey Andreyitch shook his head like a horse that has been bitten, and to stifle painful memories began rapidly crossing himself....

“Be mindful, O Lord,” he muttered, “of Thy departed servant, the harlot Mariya, and forgive her sins, voluntary or involuntary....”

The unseemly word dropped from his lips again, but he did not notice it:  what is firmly imbedded in the consciousness cannot be driven out by Father Grigory’s exhortations or even knocked out by a nail.  Makaryevna sighed and whispered something, drawing in a deep breath, while one-armed Mitka was brooding over something....

“Where there is no sickness, nor grief, nor sighing,” droned the sacristan, covering his right cheek with his hand.

Bluish smoke coiled up from the censer and bathed in the broad, slanting patch of sunshine which cut across the gloomy, lifeless emptiness of the church.  And it seemed as though the soul of the dead woman were soaring into the sunlight together with the smoke.  The coils of smoke like a child’s curls eddied round and round, floating upwards to the window and, as it were, holding aloof from the woes and tribulations of which that poor soul was full.

IN THE COACH-HOUSE

IT was between nine and ten o’clock in the evening.  Stepan the coachman, Mihailo the house-porter, Alyoshka the coachman’s grandson, who had come up from the village to stay with his grandfather, and Nikandr, an old man of seventy, who used to come into the yard every evening to sell salt herrings, were sitting round a lantern in the big coach-house, playing “kings.”  Through the wide-open door could be seen the whole yard, the big house, where the master’s family lived, the gates, the cellars, and the porter’s lodge.  It was all shrouded in the darkness of night, and only the four windows of one of the lodges which was let were brightly lit up.  The shadows of the coaches and sledges with their shafts tipped upwards stretched from the walls to the doors, quivering and cutting across the shadows cast by the lantern and the players....  On the other side of the thin partition that divided the coach-house from the stable were the horses.  There was a scent of hay, and a disagreeable smell of salt herrings coming from old Nikandr.

The porter won and was king; he assumed an attitude such as was in his opinion befitting a king, and blew his nose loudly on a red-checked handkerchief.

“Now if I like I can chop off anybody’s head,” he said.  Alyoshka, a boy of eight with a head of flaxen hair, left long uncut, who had only missed being king by two tricks, looked angrily and with envy at the porter.  He pouted and frowned.

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Project Gutenberg
The Schoolmistress, and other stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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