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A Tale of 1852The farther Olenin traveled from Central Russia the farther he left his memories behind, and the nearer he drew to the Caucasus the lighter his heart became. "I'll stay away for good and never return to show myself in society," was a thought that sometimes occurred to him. "These people whom I see here are NOT people. None of them know me and none of them can ever enter the Moscow society I was in or find out about my past. And no one in that society will ever know what I am doing, living among these people." And quite a new feeling of freedom from his whole past came over him among the rough beings he met on the road whom he did not consider to be PEOPLE in the sense that his Moscow acquaintances were. The rougher the people and the fewer the signs of civilization the freer he felt. Stavropol, through which he had to pass, irked him. The signboards, some of them even in French, ladies in carriages, cabs in the marketplace, and a gentleman wearing a fur cloak and tall hat who was...

In the reign of Iván Vasílevich the Terrible there were the rich merchants, the Stroganóvs, and they lived in Perm, on the river Káma. They heard that along the river Káma, in a circle of 140 versts, there was good land: the soil had not been plowed for centuries, the forests had not been cut down for centuries. In the forests were many wild animals, and along the river fish lakes, and no one was living on that land, but only Tartars passed through it. The Stroganóvs wrote a letter to the Czar: "Give us this land, and we will ourselves build towns there and gather people and settle them there, and will not allow the Tartars to pass through it." The Czar agreed to it, and gave them the land. The Stroganóvs sent out clerks to gather people. And there came to them a large number of roving people. Whoever came received from the Stroganóvs land, forest, and cattle, and no tenant pay was collected. All they...

A Comedy in Four ActsLEONÍD FYÓDORITCH ZVEZDÍNTSEF. A retired Lieutenant of the Horse Guards. Owner of more than 60,000 acres of land in various provinces. A fresh-looking, bland, agreeable gentleman of 60. Believes in Spiritualism, and likes to astonish people with his wonderful stories. ANNA PÁVLOVNA ZVEZDÍNTSEVA. Wife of Leoníd. Stout; pretends to be young; quite taken up with the conventionalities of life; despises her husband, and blindly believes in her doctor. Very irritable. BETSY. Their daughter. A young woman of 20, fast, tries to be mannish, wears a pince-nez, flirts and giggles. Speaks very quickly and distinctly. VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH ZVEZDÍNTSEF. Their son, aged 25; has studied law, but has no definite occupation. Member of the Cycling Club, Jockey Club, and of the Society for Promoting the Breeding of Hounds. Enjoys perfect health, and has imperturbable self-assurance. Speaks loud...

It happened in the ‘seventies in winter, on the day after St. Nicholas’s Day. There was a fete in the parish and the innkeeper, Vasili Andreevich Brekhunov, a Second Guild merchant, being a church elder had to go to church, and had also to entertain his relatives and friends at home. But when the last of them had gone he at once began to prepare to drive over to see a neighboring proprietor about a grove which he had been bargaining over for a long time. He was now in a hurry to start, lest buyers from the town might forestall him in making a profitable purchase. The youthful landowner was asking ten thousand rubles for the grove simply because Vasili Andreevich was offering seven thousand. Seven thousand was, however, only a third of its real value. Vasili Andreevich might perhaps have got it down to his own price, for the woods were in his district and he had a long-standing agreement with the other village dealers that no one should run up the price...

Chapter III DISTURBING THOUGHTS LIFE went on. Each day brought new conflicting thoughts and emotions. The feature which affected me most was the inequality I witnessed in my immediate environment. I learned that the rations issued to the tenants of the First House of the Soviet (Astoria) were much superior to those received by the workers in the factories. To be sure, they were not sufficient to sustain life--but no one in the Astoria lived from these rations alone. The members of the Communist Party, quartered in the Astoria, worked in Smolny, and the rations in Smolny were the best in Petrograd. Moreover, trade was not entirely suppressed at that time. The markets were doing a lucrative business, though no one seemed able or willing to explain to me where the purchasing capacity came from. The workers could not afford to buy butter which was then 2,000 rubles a pound, sugar at 3,000, or meat at 1,000. The inequality was most apparent in th...

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