He had a vest which cost fifteen rubles and boots with dress tops. For these reasons she had fallen in love with him, and he became her “creditor.” And when he became her creditor, he made it his business to take away from her the money which her other friends gave to her for bonbons, and, getting drunk on this money, he would fall to beating her; but that would have been nothing if he hadn`t also begun to “run after” other girls before her very eyes.
“Now, wasn`t that an insult? I am not worse than the others. Of course that meant that he was laughing at me, the blackguard. The day before yesterday I asked leave of my mistress to go out for a bit, went to him, and there I found Dimka sitting beside him, drunk. And he, too, was half seas over.
I said, `You scoundrel, you!` And he gave me a thorough hiding. He kicked me and dragged me by the hair. But that was nothing to what came after. He spoiled everything I had on left me just as I am now! How could I appear before my mistress? He spoiled everything… my dress and my jacket too it was quite a new one; I gave a fiver for it… and tore my kerchief from my head.
Oh, Lord! What will become of me now?” she suddenly whined in a lamentable, overstrained voice.
The wind howled, and became ever colder and more boisterous. Again my teeth began to dance up and down, and she, huddled up to avoid the cold, pressed as closely to me as she could, so that I could see the gleam of her eyes through the darkness.
“What wretches all you men are! I`d bum you all in an oven; I`d cut you in pieces. If any one of you was dying I`d spit in his mouth, and not pity him a bit. Mean skunks! You wheedle and wheedle, you wag your tails like cringing dogs, and we fools give ourselves up to you, and it`s all up with us! Immediately you trample us underfoot miserable loafers!”
She cursed us up and down, but there was no vigor, no malice, no hatred of these “miserable loafers” in her cursing that I could hear. The tone of her language by no means corresponded with its subject- matter, for it was calm enough, and the gamut of her voice was terribly poor.
Yet all this made a stronger impression on me than the most eloquent and convincing pessimistic books and speeches, of which I had read a good many and which I still read to this day. And this, you see, Was because the agony of a dying person is much more natural and violent than the most minute and picturesque descriptions of death.
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