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June 11th

  • How I thank you for our walk to the Islands yesterday, Makar Alexievitch! How
  • fresh and pleasant, how full of verdure, was everything! And I had not seen
  • anything green for such a long time! During my illness I used to think that I
  • should never get better, that I was certainly going to die. Judge, then, how I
  • felt yesterday! True, I may have seemed to you a little sad, and you must not
  • be angry with me for that. Happy and light-hearted though I was, there were
  • moments, even at the height of my felicity, when, for some unknown reason,
  • depression came sweeping over my soul. I kept weeping about trifles, yet could
  • not say why I was grieved. The truth is that I am unwell—so much so, that I
  • look at everything from the gloomy point of view. The pale, clear sky, the
  • setting sun, the evening stillness—ah, somehow I felt disposed to grieve and
  • feel hurt at these things; my heart seemed to be over-charged, and to be
  • calling for tears to relieve it. But why should I write this to you? It is
  • difficult for my heart to express itself; still more difficult for it to
  • forego self- expression. Yet possibly you may understand me. Tears and
  • laughter! … How good you are, Makar Alexievitch! Yesterday you looked into my
  • eyes as though you could read in them all that I was feeling—as though you
  • were rejoicing at my happiness. Whether it were a group of shrubs or an
  • alleyway or a vista of water that we were passing, you would halt before me,
  • and stand gazing at my face as though you were showing me possessions of your
  • own. It told me how kind is your nature, and I love you for it. Today I am
  • again unwell, for yesterday I wetted my feet, and took a chill. Thedora also
  • is unwell; both of us are ailing. Do not forget me. Come and see me as often
  • as you can.—Your own,
  • BARBARA ALEXIEVNA.