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June 27th

  • MY DEAREST MAKAR ALEXIEVITCH—Thedora tells me that, should I wish, there are
  • some people who will be glad to help me by obtaining me an excellent post as
  • governess in a certain house. What think you, my friend? Shall I go or not? Of
  • course, I should then cease to be a burden to you, and the post appears to be
  • a comfortable one. On the other hand, the idea of entering a strange house
  • appals me. The people in it are landed gentry, and they will begin to ask me
  • questions, and to busy themselves about me. What answers shall I then return?
  • You see, I am now so unused to society—so shy! I like to live in a corner to
  • which I have long grown used. Yes, the place with which one is familiar is
  • always the best. Even if for companion one has but sorrow, that place will
  • still be the best… . God alone knows what duties the post will entail. Perhaps
  • I shall merely be required to act as nursemaid; and in any case, I hear that
  • the governess there has been changed three times in two years. For God's sake,
  • Makar Alexievitch, advise me whether to go or not. Why do you never come near
  • me now? Do let my eyes have an occasional sight of you. Mass on Sundays is
  • almost the only time when we see one another. How retiring you have become! So
  • also have I, even though, in a way, I am your kinswoman. You must have ceased
  • to love me, Makar Alexievitch. I spend many a weary hour because of it.
  • Sometimes, when dusk is falling, I find myself lonely—oh, so lonely! Thedora
  • has gone out somewhere, and I sit here and think, and think, and think. I
  • remember all the past, its joys and its sorrows. It passes before my eyes in
  • detail, it glimmers at me as out of a mist; and as it does so, well-known
  • faces appear, which seem actually to be present with me in this room! Most
  • frequently of all, I see my mother. Ah, the dreams that come to me! I feel
  • that my health is breaking, so weak am I. When this morning I arose, sickness
  • took me until I vomited and vomited. Yes, I feel, I know, that death is
  • approaching. Who will bury me when it has come? Who will visit my tomb? Who
  • will sorrow for me? And now it is in a strange place, in the house of a
  • stranger, that I may have to die! Yes, in a corner which I do not know! … My
  • God, how sad a thing is life! … Why do you send me comfits to eat? Whence do
  • you get the money to buy them? Ah, for God's sake keep the money, keep the
  • money. Thedora has sold a carpet which I have made. She got fifty roubles for
  • it, which is very good—I had expected less. Of the fifty roubles I shall give
  • Thedora three, and with the remainder make myself a plain, warm dress. Also, I
  • am going to make you a waistcoat—to make it myself, and out of good material.
  • Also, Thedora has brought me a book—"The Stories of Bielkin"— which I will
  • forward you, if you would care to read it. Only, do not soil it, nor yet
  • retain it, for it does not belong to me. It is by Pushkin. Two years ago I
  • read these stories with my mother, and it would hurt me to read them again. If
  • you yourself have any books, pray let me have them—so long as they have not
  • been obtained from Rataziaev. Probably he will be giving you one of his own
  • works when he has had one printed. How is it that his compositions please you
  • so much, Makar Alexievitch? I think them SUCH rubbish!
  • —Now goodbye. How I have been chattering on! When feeling sad, I always like
  • to talk of something, for it acts upon me like medicine—I begin to feel easier
  • as soon as I have uttered what is preying upon my heart. Good bye, good-bye,
  • my friend—Your own
  • B. D.