Yama: the pit eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 367 pages of information about Yama.

“Ah, my God,” impatiently interrupted Rovinskaya; “when I was singing in London, there were many at that time paying court to me, and I did not hesitate to go and see the filthiest dens of Whitechapel in a choice company.  I will say, that I was treated there very carefully and anticipatingly.  I will also say, that there were with me at that time two English aristocrats; lords, both sportsmen, both people unusually strong physically and morally, who, of course, would never have allowed a woman to be offended.  However, perhaps you, Volodya, are of the race of cowards?”

Chaplinsky flared up: 

“Oh, no, no, Ellena Victorovna.  I forewarned you only out of love for you.  But if you command, then I’m ready to go where you will.  Not only on this dubious undertaking, but even very death itself.”

By this time they had already driven up to the most luxurious establishment in the Yamkas—­Treppel’s.  Ryazanov the lawyer said, smiling with his usual ironic smile: 

“And so, the inspection of the menagerie begins.”

They were led into a cabinet with crimson wall paper, and on the wall paper was repeated, in the “empire” style, a golden design in the form of small laurel wreaths.  And at once Rovinskaya recognized, with the keen memory of an artiste, that exactly the same paper had also been in that cabinet in which they had just been sitting.

Four German women from the Baltic provinces came out.  All of them stout, full-breasted, blonde, powdered, very important and respectful.  The conversation did not catch on at first.  The girls sat immovable, like carvings of stone, in order to pretend with all their might that they were respectable ladies.  Even the champagne, which Ryazanov called for, did not improve the mood.  Rovinskaya was the first to come to the aid of the party.  Turning to the stoutest, fairest German of all, who resembled a loaf, she asked politely in German: 

“Tell me, where were you born?  Germany, in all probability?”

“No, gnadige Frau, I am from Riga.”

“What compels you to serve here, then?  Not poverty, I hope?”

“Of course not, gnadige Frau.  But, you understand, my bridegroom, Hans, works as a kellner in a restaurant-automat, and we are too poor to be married now.  I bring my savings to a bank, and he does the same.  When we have saved the ten thousand roubles we need, we will open our own beer-hall, and, if God will bless us, then we shall allow ourselves the luxury of having children.  Two children.  A boy and a girl.”

“But, listen to me, mein Fraulein!” Rovinskaya was amazed.  “You are young, handsome, know two languages ...”

“Three, madam,” proudly put in the German.  “I know Esthonian as well.  I finished the municipal school and three classes of high school.”

“Well, then, you see, you see ...”  Rovinskaya became heated.  “With such an education you could always find a place with everything found, and about thirty roubles.  Well, in the capacity of a housekeeper, bonne, senior clerk in a good store, a cashier, let’s say ...  And if your future bridegroom ...  Fritz ...”

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Yama: the pit from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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