Posts Tagged 'classic'

The Dog – part 2

“Well, I went with him into his hut–and a hut it certainly was: poor, bare, crooked; only just holding together. On the wall there was an ikon of old workmanship as black as a coal; only the whites of the eyes gleamed in the faces. He took some round spectacles in iron frames out of a little table, put them on his nose, read the writing and looked at me again through the spectacles. ‘You have need of me?’ ‘I certainly have,’ I answered. ‘Well,’ said he, ‘if you have, tell it and we will listen.’ And, only fancy, he sat down and took a checked handkerchief out of his pocket, and spread it out on his knee, and the handkerchief was full of holes, and he looked at me with as much dignity as though he were a senator or a minister, and he did not ask me to sit down. And what was still stranger, I felt all at once awe-stricken, so awe-stricken… my soul sank into my heels. He pierced me through with his eyes and that’s the fact! I pulled myself together, however, and told him all my story. He was silent for a space, shrank into himself, chewed his lips and then questioned me just like a senator again, majestically, without haste. ‘What is your name?’ he asked. ‘Your age? What were your parents? Are you single or married?’ Then again he munched his lips, frowned, held up his finger and spoke: ‘Bow down to the holy ikon, to the honourable Saints Zossima and Savvaty of Solovki.’ I bowed down to the earth and did not get up in a hurry; I felt such awe for the man and such submission that I believe that whatever he had told me to do I should have done it on the spot!… I see you are grinning, gentlemen, but I was in no laughing mood then, I assure you. ‘Get up, sir,’ said he at last. ‘I can help you. This is not sent you as a chastisement, but as a warning; it is for your protection; someone is praying for your welfare. Go to the market now and buy a young dog and keep it by you day and night. Your visions will leave you and, moreover, that dog will be of use to you.’

Continue reading ‘The Dog – part 2’

Advertisements

The Dog – part 1

“But if one admits the possibility of the supernatural, the possibility of its participation in real life, then allow me to ask what becomes of common sense?” Anton Stepanitch pronounced and he folded his arms over his stomach.

Anton Stepanitch had the grade of a civil councillor, served in some incomprehensible department and, speaking emphatically and stiffly in a bass voice, enjoyed universal respect. He had not long before, in the words of those who envied him, “had the Stanislav stuck on to him.”

“That’s perfectly true,” observed Skvorevitch.

“No one will dispute that,” added Kinarevitch.

“I am of the same opinion,” the master of the house, Finoplentov, chimed in from the corner in falsetto.

“Well, I must confess, I cannot agree, for something supernatural has happened to me myself,” said a bald, corpulent middle-aged gentleman of medium height, who had till then sat silent behind the stove. The eyes of all in the room turned to him with curiosity and surprise, and there was a silence.

The man was a Kaluga landowner of small means who had lately come to Petersburg. He had once served in the Hussars, had lost money at cards, had resigned his commission and had settled in the country. The recent economic reforms had reduced his income and he had come to the capital to look out for a suitable berth. He had no qualifications and no connections, but he confidently relied on the friendship of an old comrade who had suddenly, for no visible reason, become a person of importance, and whom he had once helped in thrashing a card sharper. Moreover, he reckoned on his luck–and it did not fail him: a few days after his arrival in town he received the post of superintendent of government warehouses, a profitable and even honourable position, which did not call for conspicuous abilities: the warehouses themselves had only a hypothetical existence and indeed it was not very precisely known with what they were to be filled–but they had been invented with a view to government economy.

Continue reading ‘The Dog – part 1’

The Willows – Chapter IV, part 2

A wave of hysterical laughter seized me again, and this time spread to my friend too–great healing gusts of shaking laughter that brought a tremendous sense of relief in their train. We made our way back to the fire and put the wood on so that it blazed at once. Then we saw that the tent had fallen over and lay in a tangled heap upon the ground.

We picked it up, and during the process tripped more than once and caught our feet in sand.

“It’s those sand-funnels,” exclaimed the Swede, when the tent was up again and the firelight lit up the ground for several yards about us. “And look at the size of them!”

All round the tent and about the fireplace where we had seen the moving shadows there were deep funnel-shaped hollows in the sand, exactly similar to the ones we had already found over the island, only far bigger and deeper, beautifully formed, and wide enough in some instances to admit the whole of my foot and leg.

Neither of us said a word. We both knew that sleep was the safest thing we could do, and to bed we went accordingly without further delay, having first thrown sand on the fire and taken the provision sack and the paddle inside the tent with us. The canoe, too, we propped in such a way at the end of the tent that our feet touched it, and the least motion would disturb and wake us.

In case of emergency, too, we again went to bed in our clothes, ready for a sudden start.

Continue reading ‘The Willows – Chapter IV, part 2’

The Willows – Chapter IV, part 1

“It’s the willows, of course. The willows mask the others, but the others are feeling about for us. If we let our minds betray our fear, we’re lost, lost utterly.” He looked at me with an expression so calm, so determined, so sincere, that I no longer had any doubts as to his sanity. He was as sane as any man ever was. “If we can hold out through the night,” he added, “we may get off in the daylight unnoticed, or rather, undiscovered.”

“But you really think a sacrifice would–”

That gong-like humming came down very close over our heads as I spoke, but it was my friend’s scared face that really stopped my mouth.

“Hush!” he whispered, holding up his hand. “Do not mention them more than you can help. Do not refer to them by name. To name is to reveal; it is the inevitable clue, and our only hope lies in ignoring them, in order that they may ignore us.”

“Even in thought?” He was extraordinarily agitated.

“Especially in thought. Our thoughts make spirals in their world. We must keep them out of our minds at all costs if possible.”

Continue reading ‘The Willows – Chapter IV, part 1’

The Willows – Chapter III, part 3

The solitude of that Danube camping-place, can I ever forget it? The feeling of being utterly alone on an empty planet! My thoughts ran incessantly upon cities and the haunts of men. I would have given my soul, as the saying is, for the “feel” of those Bavarian villages we had passed through by the score; for the normal, human commonplaces; peasants drinking beer, tables beneath the trees, hot sunshine, and a ruined castle on the rocks behind the red-roofed church. Even the tourists would have been welcome.

Yet what I felt of dread was no ordinary ghostly fear. It was infinitely greater, stranger, and seemed to arise from some dim ancestral sense of terror more profoundly disturbing than anything I had known or dreamed of. We had “strayed,” as the Swede put it, into some region or some set of conditions where the risks were great, yet unintelligible to us; where the frontiers of some unknown world lay close about us. It was a spot held by the dwellers in some outer space, a sort of peep-hole whence they could spy upon the earth, themselves unseen, a point where the veil between had worn a little thin. As the final result of too long a sojourn here, we should be carried over the border and deprived of what we called “our lives,” yet by mental, not physical, processes. In that sense, as he said, we should be the victims of our adventure–a sacrifice.

It took us in different fashion, each according to the measure of his sensitiveness and powers of resistance. I translated it vaguely into a personification of the mightily disturbed elements, investing them with the horror of a deliberate and malefic purpose, resentful of our audacious intrusion into their breeding-place; whereas my friend threw it into the unoriginal form at first of a trespass on some ancient shrine, some place where the old gods still held sway, where the emotional forces of former worshippers still clung, and the ancestral portion of him yielded to the old pagan spell.

Continue reading ‘The Willows – Chapter III, part 3’


Month at a Glance

February 2018
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728  

Previously…

Filed Under:

Hit On Me!

  • 403,592 hits
Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: