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The Old Man (29)

July 18, 2016

It was a cold but clear day. Stepanida Andrevna asked if I wanted to look at the garden for old times’ sake. This was almost a sacrifice on her part… The poor woman could scarcely walk, tumbling onto one foot, then the other like a duck, and our walk did not come to a good end.

“No, no, let’s go to the right!” Stepanida Andrevna said to me, with uncharacteristic liveliness, when I stepped onto the boardwalk that led to a grove that had been planted on the far side of the pond. “No, people aren’t to walk here.”

“Why is that?”

“The other side is infested with snakes.”

“Did ours move here from Politino, perhaps?”

“Do they have them in Politino too?”

I naively told her about the razing of the summer house and, of course, about the ghost that had appeared to me personally. Imagine my surprise when poor Stepanida Andrevna became very embarrassed at the end, turned red as a beet, and seemed to avoid looking at me. I was quite flustered myself; we said nothing for about five minutes. My companion made a quite inopportune complaint about the heat, and we headed home.

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День был холодный, но ясный. Степанида Андревна предложила мне, по старой памяти, взглянуть на сад. С ее стороны это была почти жертва…. Бедная женщина ходила с трудом, переваливаясь, как утка, с ноги на ногу, и не добром кончилась наша прогулка.

— Нет, нет, пойдемте направо! сказала мне с несвойственной ей живостью Степанида Андревна, когда я ступила на плотину, которая вела к роще, насаженной за прудом. — Нет, тут не ходят.

— А что?

— На той стороне развелись змеи.

— Уж не перешли ли сюда наши политинские?

— А разве есть они и в Политине?

Я, в простоте душевной, рассказала ей о сломанной беседке и, разумеется, о привидении, которое мне самой явилось. Каково же было мое удивление, когда бедная Степанида Андревна переконфузилась в конец, покраснела как рак, и видимо избегала на меня взглянуть. Я сама растерялась совершенно; мы помолчали минут пять. Моя спутница очень некстати пожаловалась на жару, и мы отправились домой.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2016 8:33 am

    I’m following this with interest and appreciating all the work you’re putting into it – thank you!

  2. July 23, 2016 4:30 pm

    7/23/16: “Are there any in Politino?” was changed to “Do they have them in Politino too?” to reflect the “и” in “и в Политине” (the sense of разве hopefully comes from the implied intonation).

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