My Life -
After bright warm weather came a spell of wet; all May it rained
and was cold. The sound of the millwheels and of the rain
disposed one to indolence and slumber. The floor trembled, there
was a smell of flour, and that, too, induced drowsiness. My wife
in a short fur-lined jacket, and in men s high golosh boots,
would make her appearance twice a day, and she always said the
"And this is called summer! Worse than it was in October!"
We used to have tea and make the porridge together, or we would
sit for hours at a stretch without speaking, waiting for the
rain to stop. Once, when Stepan had gone off to the fair, Masha
stayed all night at the mill. When we got up we could not tell
what time it was, as the rainclouds covered the whole sky; but
sleepy cocks were crowing at Dubetchnya, and landrails were
calling in the meadows; it was still very, very early. . . . My
wife and I went down to the millpond and drew out the net which
Stepan had thrown in over night in our presence. A big pike was
struggling in it, and a cray-fish was twisting about, clawing
upwards with its pincers.
"Let them go," said Masha. "Let them be happy too."
Because we got up so early and afterwards did nothing, that day
seemed very long, the longest day in my life. Towards evening
Stepan came back and I went home.
"Your father came to-day," said Masha.
"Where is he?" I asked.
"He has gone away. I would not see him."
Seeing that I remained standing and silent, that I was sorry for
my father, she said:
"One must be consistent. I would not see him, and sent word to
him not to trouble to come and see us again."
A minute later I was out at the gate and walking to the town to
explain things to my father. It was muddy, slippery, cold. For
the first time since my marriage I felt suddenly sad, and in my
brain exhausted by that long, grey day, there was stirring the
thought that perhaps I was not living as I ought. I was worn
out; little by little I was overcome by despondency and
indolence, I did not want to move or think, and after going on a
little I gave it up with a wave of my hand and turned back.
The engineer in a leather overcoat with a hood was standing in
the middle of the yard.
"Where's the furniture? There used to be lovely furniture in the
Empire style: there used to be pictures, there used to be vases,
while now you could play ball in it! I bought the place with the
furniture. The devil take her!"
Moisey, a thin pock-marked fellow of twenty-five, with insolent
little eyes, who was in the service of the general's widow,
stood near him crumpling up his cap in his hands; one of his
cheeks was bigger than the other, as though he had lain too long
"Your honour was graciously pleased to buy the place without the
furniture," he brought out irresolutely; "I remember."
"Hold your tongue!" shouted the engineer; he turned crimson and
shook with anger . . . and the echo in the garden loudly
repeated his shout.