The Invaders, and Other Stories : Part 3, Chapter 3

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1887

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(1828 - 1910) ~ Father of Christian Anarchism : In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "You are surprised that soldiers are taught that it is right to kill people in certain cases and in war, while in the books admitted to be holy by those who so teach, there is nothing like such a permission..." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)
• "It is necessary that men should understand things as they are, should call them by their right names, and should know that an army is an instrument for killing, and that the enrollment and management of an army -- the very things which Kings, Emperors, and Presidents occupy themselves with so self-confidently -- is a preparation for murder." (From : "'Thou Shalt Not Kill'," by Leo Tolstoy, August 8,....)
• "...the dissemination of the truth in a society based on coercion was always hindered in one and the same manner, namely, those in power, feeling that the recognition of this truth would undermine their position, consciously or sometimes unconsciously perverted it by explanations and additions quite foreign to it, and also opposed it by open violence." (From : "A Letter to a Hindu: The Subjection of India- Its....)

(? - 1935)
Nathan Haskell Dole (August 31, 1852 – May 9, 1935) was an American editor, translator, and author. He attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and graduated from Harvard University in 1874. He was a writer and journalist in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. He translated many works of Leo Tolstoy, and books of other Russians; novels of the Spaniard Armando Palacio Valdés (1886–90); a variety of works from the French and Italian. Nathan Haskell Dole was born August 31, 1852, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He was the second son of his father Reverend Nathan Dole (1811–1855) and mother Caroline (Fletcher) Dole. Dole grew up in the Fletcher homestead, a strict Puritan home, in Norridgewock, Maine, where his grandmother lived and where his mother moved with her two boys after his father died of tuberculosis. Sophie May wrote her Prudy Books in Norridgewock, which probably showed the sort of life Nathan and his older brother Charles Fletcher Dol... (From : Wikipedia.org.)

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Part 3, Chapter 3

On that very evening, while the elders had come together at the office to settle upon a recruit, and while their voices were heard amid the chill darkness of the October night, Polikéï was sitting upon the edge of his bed at the table, and was triturating in a bottle some veterinary medicament, the nature of which he himself knew not. It was a mixture of corrosive sublimate, sulfur, Glauber's salts, and grass, which he was compounding, under some impression that this grass was good for broken wind and other ailments.

The children were already abed; two on the stove, two on the couch, one in the cradle, beside which sat Akulína with her spinning. The candle-end, which remained from some of his mistress's that had not been properly put away, and Polikéï had taken care of, stood in a wooden candlestick on the window; and in order that her husband might not be disturbed in his important task, Akulína got up to snuff the candle with her fingers. There were conceited fellows who considered Polikéï as a worthless horse-doctor, and a worthless man. Others—and they were in the majority—considered him worthless as a man, but a great master of his calling. Akulína, notwithstanding the fact that she often berated and even beat her husband, considered him beyond a peradventure the first horse-doctor and the first man in the world.

Polikéï poured into the hollow of his hand some* spice. (He did not use scales, and he spoke ironically of the Germans who used scales. "This," he would say, "is not an apothecary-shop.") Polikéï hefted the spice in his hand, and shook it up; but it seemed to him too little in quantity, and, for the tenth time, he added more. "I will put it all in, it will have a better effect," he said to himself. Akulína quickly looked up as she heard the voice of her lord and master, expecting orders; but seeing that it was nothing that concerned her, she shrugged her shoulders. "Ho! great chemist! Where did he learn it all?" she thought to herself, and again took up her work. The paper from which the spice was taken fell under the table. Akulína did not let this pass.

"Aniutka!"[5] she cried, "here, your father has dropped something: come and pick it up."

Aniutka stuck out her slender bare legs from under the dress that covered her, and, like a kitten, crept under the table, and picked up the paper.

"Here it is, papa," said she, and again plunged into the bed with her cold feet.

"Stop pushing me," whimpered her younger sister, in a sleepy voice, hissing her s's.

"I'll give it to you," said Akulína, and both heads disappeared under the wrapper.

"If he will pay three silver rubles," muttered Polikéï, shaking the bottle, "I will cure his horse. Cheap enough," he added. "I've racked my brains for it. Come now, Akulína, go and borrow some tobacco of Nikíta. We will pay it back to-morrow."

And Polikéï drew from his trousers a linden-wood pipe, that had once been painted, and that had sealing-wax for a mouthpiece, and began to put it in order.

*

Akulína pushed aside her flax-wheel, and went out without a word of reply, though it was a struggle for her. Polikéï opened the cupboard, put away his bottle, and applied to his mouth an empty jug. But the vodka was all gone. He scowled; but when his wife brought him the tobacco, and he had lighted his pipe, and began to smoke, sitting on the couch, his face gleamed with complacency and the pride that a man feels when he has ended his day's work.

He was even thinking how, on the morrow, he would seize the tongue of a horse, and pour into her mouth that marvelous mixture, or he was ruminating on the fact of how a man of importance met with no refusals, as was proved by Nikíta sending him the tobacco; and the thought was pleasant to him. Suddenly the door, which swung upon one hinge, was flung open; and into the room came a girl from the upper house,—not the second girl, but a small damsel employed to run of errands. (Everybody calls the manor-house upper, even though it may be built on a lower level.) Aksintka, as the damsel was called, always flew like lightning; and on this account her arms were not folded, but swung like pendulums, in proportion to the swiftness of her motions, not by her side, but in front of her body. Her cheeks were always redder than her pink dress; her tongue always ran as swiftly as her legs. She flew into the room, and holding by the stove, for some reason or other, she began to wave her arms; and as though she wished to utter not less than two or three words at once, and scarcely stopping to get breath, she suddenly broke out as follows, addressing Akulína:—

"Our lady bids Polikéï Ilyitch to come up to the house this minute,—she does. [Here she stopped,* and drew a long breath.] Yégor Mikháltch was at the house, and talked with our lady about the necruits; and they've took Polikéï Ilyitch.... Avdót'ya Mikolávna bids you come up this very minute.... Avdót'ya Mikolávna bids you [again a long breath] come up this minute."

For thirty seconds Aksiutka stared at Polikéï, at Akulína, at the children, who were asleep under the wrapper; then she seized a hazel-nut shell that was rolling around on the stove, and threw it at Aniutka, and once more repeating, "Come up this minute," flew like a whirlwind out of the room; and the pendulums, with their wonted quickness, outstripped the course of her feet.

Akulína got up again, and fetched her husband his boots. The boots were soiled and ripped: they had been made for a soldier. She took down from the stove a caftan, and handed it to him without looking at him.

"Ilyitch, are you going to change your shirt?"

"Nay," said Polikéï.

Akulína did not look into his face once while he silently put on his boots and coat, and she did well not to look at him. Polikéï's face was pale, his chin trembled, and in his eyes there came that expression of deep and submissive unhappiness, akin to tears, peculiar to weak and kindly men who have fallen into sin. He brushed his hair, and was about to go. His wife kept him back, and arranged his shirt-band, which hung below his cloak, and straightened his cap.

"Say, Polikéï Ilyitch, what does the mistress want of you?" said the voice of the joiner's wife on the other side of the partition.

The joiner's wife had, that very morning, been* engaged in a warm dispute with Akulína, in regard to a pot of lye which Polikéï's children had spilled; and, at the first moment, she was glad to hear that Polikéï was summoned to the mistress. It could not be for any thing good. Moreover, she was a sharp, shrewd, and shrewish woman. No one understood better than she how to use her tongue; at least, so she herself thought.

"It must be that they are going to send you to the city to be a merchant," she continued. "I suppose they want to get a trusty man, and so will send you. You must sell me then some tea for a quarter, Polikéï Ilyitch."

Akulína restrained her tears, and her lips took on an expression of bitter anger, as though she would have wound her fingers in the untidy hair of that slattern, the joiner's wife; but when she glanced at her children, and thought that they might be left orphans, and she a soldier's widow, she forgot the shrewish joiner's wife, covered her face with her hands, sat down on the bed, and leaned her head on the pillow.

"Mámuska, you are squeesing me," cried the little girl who hissed her s's, and she pulled away her dress from under her mother's elbow.

"I wish you were all of you dead! You were born for misfortune," cried Akulína; and she began to walk up and down the corner, wailing, much to the delight of the joiner's wife, who had not yet forgotten about the lye.

[5] Peasant diminutive for Anna.

(Source: Published by Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., New York, 13 Astor Place, 1887.)

From : Gutenberg.org

Chronology

November 30, 1886 :
Part 3, Chapter 3 -- Publication.

June 09, 2021 18:02:17 :
Part 3, Chapter 3 -- Added to https://www.RevoltLib.com.

June 09, 2021 18:54:48 :
Part 3, Chapter 3 -- Last Updated on https://www.RevoltLib.com.

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