Yama: the pit eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 474 pages of information about Yama.

It was remarkable, that he did not find in his profession anything criminal or reprehensible.  He regarded it just as though he were trading in herrings, lime, flour, beef or lumber.  In his own fashion he was pious.  If time permitted, he would with assiduity visit the synagogue of Fridays.  The Day of Atonement, Passover, and the Feast of the Tabernacles were invariably and reverently observed by him everywhere wherever fate might have cast him.  His mother, a little old woman, and a hunch-backed sister, were left to him in Odessa, and he undeviatingly sent them now large, now small sums of money, not regularly but pretty frequently, from all towns from Kursk to Odessa and from Warsaw to Samara.  Considerable savings of money had already accumulated to him in the Credit Lyonnaise, and he gradually increased them, never touching the interest.  But to greed or avarice he was almost a stranger.  He was attracted to the business rather by its tang, risk and a professional self-conceit.  To the women he was perfectly indifferent, although he understood and could value them, and in this respect resembled a good chef, who together with a fine understanding of the business, suffers from a chronic absence of appetite.  To induce, to entice a woman, to compel her to do all that he wanted, did not require any efforts on his part; they came of themselves to his call and became in his hands passive, obedient and yielding.  In his treatment of them a certain firm, unshakable, self-assured aplomb had been worked out, to which they submitted just as a refractory horse submits instinctively to the voice, glance, stroking of an experienced horseman.

He drank very moderately, and without company never drank.  Toward eating he was altogether indifferent.  But, of course, as with every man, he had a little weakness of his own:  he was inordinately fond of dress and spent no little money on his toilet.  Modish collars of all possible fashions, cravats, diamond cuff links, watch charms, the underwear of a dandy, and chic footwear constituted his main distractions.

From the depot he went straight to The Hermitage.  The hotel porters, in blue blouses and uniform caps, carried his things into the vestibule.  Following them, he too entered, arm in arm with his wife; both smartly attired, imposing, but he just simply magnificent, in his wide, bell-shaped English overcoat, in a new broad-brimmed panama, holding negligently in his hand a small cane with a silver handle in the form of a naked woman.

“You ain’t supposed to be here without a permit for your residence,” said an enormous, stout doorkeeper, looking down upon him from above and preserving on his face a sleepy and immovably-frigid expression.

“Ach, Zachar!  Again ‘you ain’t supposed to!’” merrily exclaimed Horizon, and patted the giant on his shoulder.  “What does it mean, ‘you ain’t supposed to’?  Every time you shove this same ’you ain’t supposed to’ at me.  I must be here for three days in all.  Soon as I conclude the rent agreement with Count Ipatiev, right away I go away.  God be with you!  Live even all by yourself in all your rooms.  But you just give a look, Zachar, what a toy I brought you from Odessa!  You’ll be just tickled with it!”

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Yama: the pit from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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