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

Platonov, who up to now had been speaking as though unwillingly, at a slow rate, suddenly grew heated: 

“A hundred times have I heard this opinion, a hundred times!  And it is entirely an untruth.  Underneath the coarse and obscene profession, underneath the foulest oaths—­about one’s mother—­ underneath the drunken, hideous exterior—­Sonechka Marmeladova still lives!  The fate of the Russian prostitute—­oh, what a tragic, piteous, bloody, ludicrous and stupid path it is!  Here everything has been juxtaposed:  the Russian God, Russian breadth and unconcern, Russian despair in a fall, Russian lack of culture, Russian naivete, Russian patience, Russian shamelessness.  Why, all of them, whom you take into bedrooms,—­look upon them, look upon them well,—­why, they are all children; why, each of them is but eleven years old.  Fate has thrust them upon prostitution and since then they live in some sort of a strange, fairy-like, toy existence, without developing, without being enriched by experience, naive, trusting, capricious, not knowing what they will say and do half an hour later—­altogether like children.  This radiant and ludicrous childishness I have seen in the very oldest wenches, fallen as low as low can be, broken-winded and crippled like a cabby’s nags.  And never does this impotent pity, this useless commiseration toward human suffering die within them ...  For example ...”

Platonov looked over all the persons sitting with a slow gaze, and suddenly, waving his hand despondently, said in a tired voice: 

“However ...  The devil take it all!  To-day I have spoken enough for ten years ...  And all of it to no purpose.”

“But really, Sergei Ivanich, why shouldn’t you try to describe all this yourself?” asked Yarchenko.  “Your attention is so vitally concentrated on this question.”

“I did try!” answered Platonov with a cheerless smile.  “But nothing came of it.  I started writing and at once became entangled in various ‘whats,’ ‘which’s,’ ‘was’s.’  The epithets prove flat.  The words grow cold on the page.  It’s all a cud of some sort.  Do you know, Terekhov was here once, while passing through ...  You know ...  The well-known one ...  I came to him and started in telling him lots and lots about the life here, which I do not tell you for fear of boring you.  I begged him to utilize my material.  He heard me out with great attention, and this is what he said, literally:  ’Don’t get offended, Platonov, if I tell you that there’s almost not a single person of those I have met during my life, who wouldn’t thrust themes for novels and stories upon me, or teach me as to what ought to be written up.  That material which you have just communicated to me is truly unencompassable in its significance and weightiness.  But what shall I do with it?  In order to write a colossal book such as the one you have in mind, the words of others do not suffice—­even though they be the most exact—­even observations, made with a little note-book and a bit of pencil, do not suffice.  One must grow accustomed to this life, without being cunningly wise, without any ulterior thoughts of writing.  Then a terrific book will result.’

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