9:57 pm - Monday July 16, 2018

In The Dark-by Anton Chekhov-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name:In The Dark

Written by:Atnton Chekhov

Category: Classics, Fiction

Page 1:

A FLY of medium size made its way into the nose of the assistant procurator, Gagin. It may have been impelled by curiosity, or have got there through frivolity or accident in the dark; anyway, the nose resented the presence of a foreign body and gave the signal for a sneeze. Gagin sneezed, sneezed impressively and so shrilly and loudly that the bed shook and the springs creaked. Gagin’s wife, Marya Mihalovna, a full, plump, fair woman, started, too, and woke up. She gazed into the darkness, sighed, and turned over on the other side. Five minutes afterwards she turned over again and shut her eyes more firmly but she could not get to sleep again. After sighing and tossing from side to side for a time, she got up, crept over her husband, and putting on her slippers, went to the window.

It was dark outside. She could see nothing but the outlines of the trees and the roof of the stables. There was a faint pallor in the east, but this pallor was beginning to be clouded over. There was perfect stillness in the air wrapped in slumber and darkness. Even the watchman, paid to disturb the stillness of night, was silent; even the corncrake — the only wild creature of the feathered tribe that does not shun the proximity of summer visitors — was silent.

The stillness was broken by Marya Mihalovna herself. Standing at the window and gazing into the yard, she suddenly uttered a cry. She fancied that from the flower garden with the gaunt, clipped poplar, a dark figure was creeping towards the house. For the first minute she thought it was a cow or a horse, then, rubbing her eyes, she distinguished clearly the outlines of a man.

Then she fancied the dark figure approached the window of the kitchen and, standing still a moment, apparently undecided, put one foot on the window ledge and disappeared into the darkness of the window.

“A burglar!” flashed into her mind and a deathly pallor overspread her face.

And in one instant her imagination had drawn the picture so dreaded by lady visitors in country places — a burglar creeps into the kitchen, from the kitchen into the dining-room . . . the silver in the cupboard . . . next into the bedroom . . . an axe . . . the face of a brigand . . . jewelry. . . . Her knees gave way under her and a shiver ran down her back.

“Vassya!” she said, shaking her husband, “Basile! Vassily Prokovitch! Ah! mercy on us, he might be dead! Wake up, Basile, I beseech you!”

“W-well?” grunted the assistant procurator, with a deep inward breath and a munching sound.

“For God’s sake, wake up! A burglar has got into the kitchen! I was standing at the window looking out and someone got in at the window. He will get into the dining-room next . . . the spoons are in the cupboard! Basile! They broke into Mavra Yegorovna’s last year.”

“Wha–what’s the matter?”

“Heavens! he does not understand. Do listen, you stupid! I tell you I’ve just seen a man getting in at the kitchen window! Pelagea will be frightened and . . . and the silver is in the cupboard!”

“Stuff and nonsense!”

“Basile, this is unbearable! I tell you of a real danger and you sleep and grunt! What would you have? Would you have us robbed and murdered?”

The assistant procurator slowly got up and sat on the bed, filling the air with loud yawns.

“Goodness knows what creatures women are! he muttered. “Can’t leave one in peace even at night! To wake a man for such nonsense!”

“But, Basile, I swear I saw a man getting in at the window!”

“Well, what of it? Let him get in. . . . That’s pretty sure to be Pelagea’s sweetheart, the fireman.”

“What! what did you say?”

“I say it’s Pelagea’s fireman come to see her.”

“Worse than ever!” shrieked Marya Mihalovna. “That’s worse than a burglar! I won’t put up with cynicism in my house!”

“Hoity-toity! We are virtuous! . . . Won’t put up with cynicism? As though it were cynicism! What’s the use of firing off those foreign words? My dear girl, it’s a thing that has happened ever since the world began, sanctified by tradition. What’s a fireman for if not to make love to the cook?”

“No, Basile! It seems you don’t know me! I cannot face the idea of such a . . . such a . . . in my house. You must go this minute into the kitchen and tell him to go away! This very minute! And to-morrow I’ll tell Pelagea that she must not dare to demean herself by such proceedings! When I am dead you may allow immorality in your house, but you shan’t do it now! . . . Please go!”

“Damn it,” grumbled Gagin, annoyed. “Consider with your microscopic female brain, what am I to go for?”

“Basile, I shall faint! . . .”

Gagin cursed, put on his slippers, cursed again, and set off to the kitchen. It was as dark as the inside of a barrel, and the assistant procurator had to feel his way. He groped his way to the door of the nursery and waked the nurse.

“Vassilissa,” he said, “you took my dressing-gown to brush last night — where is it?”

“I gave it to Pelagea to brush, sir.”

“What carelessness! You take it away and don’t put it back — now I’ve to go without a dressing-gown!”

Filed in: Anton Chekhov, Classics, Fantasy, Fiction

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