BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Bhagavad Gita

Anonymous


Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian


Marie

by Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin

Excerpt:

What a misfortune! what a misfortune! How can I appear before the eyes of my masters? What will they say, when they shall hear that their child is a drunkard and a gambler. To console dear old Saveliitch, I gave him my word, that for the future I would not dispose of a single kopeck without his consent. Little by little he became calm, which did not, however, prevent him from grumbling out, now and then shaking his head: "A hundred roubles! it is easy to talk!"

I drew near the place of my destination. Around me extended a desert, sad and wild, broken by little hills and deep ravines, all covered with snow. The sun was setting.

My kibitka followed the narrow road, or rather trace, left by peasants' sledges. Suddenly my coachman, looking at a certain point and addressing me, "My lord," said he, taking off his cap, "do you not command us to retrace our steps?"

"What for?"

"The weather is uncertain. There is some wind ahead; do you see it drive the snow on the surface?"

"What matter?"

"And do you not see what is over yonder?" pointing with his whip to the east.

"I see nothing more than the white steppes and the clear sky."

"There! there! that little cloud!"

I saw indeed upon the horizon a little white cloud that I had at first taken for a distant hill. My coachman explained to me that this little cloud foretold a chasse-neige—a snowdrift. I had heard of the drifting snows of this region, and I knew that, at times, storms swallowed up whole caravans. Saveliitch agreed with the coachman, and advised our return.

But to me the wind did not seem very strong. I hoped to arrive in time for the next relay of horses. I gave orders, therefore, to redouble our speed. The coachman put his horses to the gallop, and kept his eyes to-the east.

The wind blew harder and harder. The little cloud soon became a great white mass, rising heavily, growing, extending, and finally invading the whole sky. A fine snow began to fall, which suddenly changed to immense flakes. The wind whistled and howled. It was a chasse-neige—a snowdrift.

In an instant the somber sky was confounded with the sea of snow which the wind raised up from the earth. Every thing was indistinguishable.

"Woe, to us! my lord," cried the coachman, "it is a whirlwind of snow!"

I put my head out of the kibitka — darkness and storm. The wind blew with an expression so ferocious that it seemed a living creature.

The snow fell in large flakes upon us, covering us. The horses went at a walking pace, but very soon stood still.

'' Why do you not go on?" I said to the coachman.

"Go where?" he replied, as he got down from the kibitka. "God knows where we are now! There is no road; all is darkness."

I began to scold him. Saveliitch took up his defense:

"Why did you not listen to him," said he, angrily; "you could have returned, taken some tea and slept till morning; the storm would have been over, and we could then have set out. Why this haste? as if you were going to your wedding?"

Saveliitch was right. What was to be done? The snow continued to fall; it was heaped up around the kibitka; the horses stood motionless, now and then shivering. The coachman walked around them adjusting their harness, as if he had nothing else to do. Saveliitch grumbled.

I strained my eyes in every direction, hoping to see signs of a dwelling, or of a road, but I could only see the whirling of the snow-drift. All at once I thought I saw some thing black. "Halloo! coachman," I cried out, "what is that black thing yonder?"

The coachman looked attentively where I indicated. "God knows, my lord," he replied, re-mounting to his seat; "it is not a kibitka, nor a tree; it seems to be moving. It must be a wolf or a man!"


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