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August 14th

  • What is the matter with you, Makar Alexievitch? Surely you cannot fear the
  • Lord God as you ought to do? You are not only driving me to distraction but
  • also ruining yourself with this eternal solicitude for your reputation. You
  • are a man of honour, nobility of character, and self-respect, as everyone
  • knows; yet, at any moment, you are ready to die with shame! Surely you should
  • have more consideration for your grey hairs. No, the fear of God has departed
  • from you. Thedora has told you that it is out of my power to render you
  • anymore help. See, therefore, to what a pass you have brought me! Probably you
  • think it is nothing to me that you should behave so badly; probably you do not
  • realise what you have made me suffer. I dare not set foot on the staircase
  • here, for if I do so I am stared at, and pointed at, and spoken about in the
  • most horrible manner. Yes, it is even said of me that I am "united to a
  • drunkard." What a thing to hear! And whenever you are brought home drunk folk
  • say, "They are carrying in that tchinovnik." THAT is not the proper way to
  • make me help you. I swear that I MUST leave this place, and go and get work as
  • a cook or a laundress. It is impossible for me to stay here. Long ago I wrote
  • and asked you to come and see me, yet you have not come. Truly my tears and
  • prayers must mean NOTHING to you, Makar Alexievitch! Whence, too, did you get
  • the money for your debauchery? For the love of God be more careful of
  • yourself, or you will be ruined. How shameful, how abominable of you! So the
  • landlady would not admit you last night, and you spent the night on the
  • doorstep? Oh, I know all about it. Yet if only you could have seen my agony
  • when I heard the news! … Come and see me, Makar Alexievitch, and we will once
  • more be happy together. Yes, we will read together, and talk of old times, and
  • Thedora shall tell you of her pilgrimages in former days. For God's sake
  • beloved, do not ruin both yourself and me. I live for you alone; it is for
  • your sake alone that I am still here. Be your better self once more—the self
  • which still can remain firm in the face of misfortune. Poverty is no crime;
  • always remember that. After all, why should we despair? Our present
  • difficulties will pass away, and God will right us. Only be brave. I send you
  • two grivenniks for the purchase of some tobacco or anything else that you
  • need; but ,for the love of heaven, do not spend the money foolishly. Come you
  • and see me soon; come without fail. Perhaps you may be ashamed to meet me, as
  • you were before, but you NEED not feel like that—such shame would be
  • misplaced. Only do bring with you sincere repentance and trust in God, who
  • orders all things for the best.
  • B. D.