Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse/June

Fráňa Šrámek2707262Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse — June1919Paul Selver



Mrs. Ledynska
Lidka her children

(A modestly furnished room; the tawdry atmosphere of concealed poverty is betrayed by a few inferior ornaments. A sense of warm and intimate snugness fills this nook ta the ticking of a large grandfather's clock. The golden vapour of the afternoon sun sweeps through the window like a glorious cloud, which is the fore-runner of a dream of happiness. Behind the white thin curtain at the window LidkA is sitting with her sewing; a quivering patch of sunshine rests on her lap like the fondled head of some pet animal, which blinks its big happy eyes, while it enjoys endearments and nestles into the cosy warmth of the lap. Old Mrs. Ledynska, with the tender smile of autumm in all her features, is sitting in an old leather settee by the table reading the newspaper; from time to time she straightens her spectacles with a trembling hand and nods her head).

LIDKA (drops her sewing into her lap; her eyes are as heavy as poppies at noon; then coming to the close of some dream or other, she whispers): There . . . there it must be altogether different . . . there . . . (She moves her head across the back of the chair, and passes her tongue wistfully over her burning and half-opened lips. Then suddenly she raises her head again and as if she were speaking to somebody, she says, in a soft and reproving tone): Do you really like me so much?—
MRS. LEDYNSKA (with a start): Did you say something?
LIDKA (with a startled and jerky voice): No, nothing . . . I only just . . . only just said something to myself. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA (smiling in a kindly manner): Like a little bird. It chirps and chirps . . without knowing why. It only just chirps. (After a pause.) And I'm just reading something that really is so touching. Our countrymen have been in France again, and they were received there like brothers. The President himself made them sit down next to him, and spoke such nice words about us Czechs. And in the street, too,—Frenchman upon Frenchman, all calling out: "Long live the Czechs!" Like a tree shaking blossoms upon our deputies. . . . (nodding her head). Like a poor relation paying a visit to a rich man, and the rich man giving him the place of honour and greeting him in front of all the rest. . . Ah, the French. . . the French. . . One can't help liking them (folding up the newspaper). Remind me, Lidka,—I must read that to Jenik. . .
LIDKA: No, mother . . . Jenik had better not read it.
MRS. LEDYNSKA: What. . . why shouldn't he read it?
LIDKA: Why. . . well. You know he laughs at things like that.
MRS. LEDYNSEA (somewhat offended):. . .he laughs, he . . .
LIDKA (suppressing a smile): It always strikes me like a peasant walking on a carpet. You know how he talks? (she imitates a male voice). Aha, the thermometer's crawling up. Let's bandage it in ice. . . Mother, do take this syrup away,—it makes my teeth chatter . . . (bursts out laughing). That's just how he talks. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA (forcing herself to laugh as well): Why, yes. . . you take him off quite well . . . (then in deep thought about something). But sometimes it quite makes my eyes swim, when once he starts. As if he dragged everything up by the roots.
LIDKA (in sudden embarrasament) : Mother!
LIDKA: Are . . . are the others just like Jenik?
MRS. LEDYNSKA (pretending to be angry): Tut, tut . . . like him, indeed. They have claws instead of a tongue, and they never wear their heart on their sleeve (growing calmer). Well . . . Jenik knows a lot, he's learnt a lot. (Looking at the clock,) But he is having his sleep out to-day; it's getting on towards four. . . Still, it was quite broad daylight when he came home. I expect he had a proper good time again. Well, he is taking a good nap. I almost think I ought to wake him up. (She goes to the door of the side-room.)
LIDKA (dreamily): They never wear their heart on their sleeve. . . (From the door of the little room Jenik comes violently towards Mrs, Ledynska. He is already dressed, and his face is flushed from sleep, suffused, as it were, with a surplus of energy: in stockings.)
JENIK: Morning, all!
MRS. LEDYNSKA (surprised): He comes flying in like a demon . . . why, we didn't even hear you get up. Well . . . well, you have been sleeping a time.
JENIK (flinging himself on the chair by the table): Like a top, mother, like a top. . . But I'm hungry,—my stomach's making most uncalled-for remarks. My goodness me, Lidka, do move yourself . . . kindly show some slight trace of feeling. . . The food's got to appear on the table, at once. . . Women, women. . . ye shall serve man, somebody once remarked in an enlightened moment . . . Vermicelli soup, mother, eh? I had a dream about vermicelli, last night. It looked like stay-laces, but it was vermicelli, for all that, ha, ha. . . Look alive, my dears, and I'll whistle to you. . . (He whistles a march, while Mrs. Ledynska puts plates on the table.)
LIDKA (who has run into the kitchen, calls out from there): The soup is still warm, but the cutlet—
MRS. LEDYNSKA: Shall we warm up the cutlet for you?
JENIK:. . . over here with it, I'll manage to warm it up somehow. (Tapping Mrs. Ledynska on the back), Mother, you've grown since yesterday. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA (laughing): Making fun of your mother. . .
JENIK: No, but really . . . (suddenly): Mother, have you got any bilberries? Let's have some bilberries to the cutlet.
MRS. LEDYNSKA: You have got an appetite to-day, again.
LIDKA (comes from the kitchen and pours soup on to a plate): Perhaps it'll be warm enough.
JENIK (catching hold of Lidka tight by the arm): Lidka, Lidka . . . our trees are sprouting heavenwards, ha, ha. .! A new species, northern type, fir-trees . . . or goodness knows what, d'you hear? Pop go the corks inside, out gushes the foaming purple, like a raging red plume . . oh . . . (he waves the spoon): Don't you think I've quite got the royal manner? (He begins to eat greedily.)
LIDKA: You're in an excellent humour to-day.
JENIK: Absolutely dazzling, what?
LIDKA: It suits you.
JENIK: Only not too much salt. You've put too much salt in the soup.
LIDKA: As if you knew anything about it. . .
JENIK: All right, I won't say another word.
MRS. LEDYNSKA (bringing a plate with cutlet and bilberries) : Shall Lidka go for some beer?
JENIK: I am thirsty, but . . . no, never mind . . .
LIDKA: I'll go and tidy up the room. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA: You stay where you are . . . I'll see about that myself. It's always a little amusement for me.
JENIK (pushing away the empty plate): I was reminded of you last night.
MRS. LEDYNSKA (affecting horror): Oh-h-h!!
JENIK: Ha, ha, it was really getting on for morning, though.
LIDKA: Now we're going to hear something. (Sits down at the table.)
JENIK (eating the cutlet): Well, we landed ourselves into one of those shanties. The youth of to-day—mother, won't you tell us something about the youth of today? Well then, in this shanty . . . yes, there were some partitious in this shanty. Tra-la-la-hop!
LIDKA (inquisitively): Well, and . . . what?
MRS. LEDYNSKA: Jenik, perhaps you'd better . . .
JENIK: Ha, Lidka is inquisitive.
LIDKA: You poke fun at everything—
JENIK: Well, let's stick to the truth: I do laugh. Without this salad I shan't digest a thing—
LIDKA (with expectant inquisitiveness): Well now, Jenik, what was there in this shanty?
MRS. LEDYNSKA: Don't ask him about it, it's a lot of nonsense, anyhow.
JENIK: There were, there were . . . partitions, and. . .ha, ha. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA (angrily): Just kindly keep these pleasant things to yourself. Nice places you are remembering . . .
JENIK: Stop, mother. . . You see Lidka's well on the way to blushing.
LIDKA (shrugging her shoulders): I don't understand it a bit.
JENIK (pointedly):. . . a very white blossom,ha, ha. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA: Jenik, I've told you to leave off. . . If you've nothing better to say.
JENIK: 'Pon my soul, I don't know. . . (After a while.) Those bilberries those bilberries. . . You scent the woods, the heather, the resin. . . your heart runs about bare-footed, and gets torn on the brambles . . . the cuckoo wails. . . (He pretends to hiccough and slaps himself on the back several times.) Ha, ha, here we have to put up with a sort of pocket edition of nature. And then you wonder that I laugh. Everything's faked up here, everything calls out: Make no mistake, old chap, I'm not butter, I'm—margarine.
LIDKA : Mother, that's our special department again. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA: It's all a lot of silly chatter. . .
JENIK (finishing the meal): I notice that the opinions vary . . . (With pathos.) Lidka, you enrol under my banner. Let youth keep together. Down with crinoline.
MRS. LEDYNSKA (with feigned anger): Get right into his clutches, Lidka.
LIDKA (excitedly taking in every movement of Jenik): Jenik's right down fervent to-day!
JENIK (pushing aside his plate, breathlessly): My . . . dear . . . good . . . people . . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA: There's something a little different about you to-day, Jenik. Your eyes are as bright as glow-worms. . .
JENIK: That's because it's June, and then—
LIDKA: And then. . .
JENIK (with a deep sigh): And then . . . then. (Dreamily.) Last night there was lightning about. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA: How you are rambling on, to be sure! (She laughs.)
LIDKA (after a pause; with a soft and timid voice): Were any girls there too. . .?
JENIK (suddenly glancing at her; then dryly): Why, of course; lots of girls. Coriandoli, Corso (feels in his pocket, takes out a handful of confetti, and throws it at Lidka). It was jolly. . .
LIDKA: But, Jenik (brushing away the shreds of paper) did you throw that at the girls. . .?
JENIK: And the girls at us.
LIDKA (pondering).
MRS. LEDYNSKA: Come, come. . . what is the meaning of this?
JENIK: Mother's just like Tolstoy. (Suddenly to Lidka): Have you finished "Anna Karenina" yet?
LIDKA (with a start): Yes; do you want it?
JENIK: I want to lend it to somebody.
LIDKA (after a while): But there was a lot I didn't understand. You know, Jenik. . . (she stops short for a moment) one can scarcely altogether condemn Anna. (Shyly.)
JENIK: Why . . . who wants to condemn her, then. . .? Who would cast the first stone. . .?
LIDKA: But when—
JENIK (sharply): But when . . . that'll do, if you please. I oughtn't to have given you the thing to read. There they scatter ashes on the red blossom, instead of pressing it fervently to their lips. But you don't understand that.
LIDKA (softly): I don't understand? (Suddenly.) Well, perhaps I ought to, then. . .?
JENIK (bursting into laughter): Lidka, Lidka . . . You must wait,—some day I'll explain it all to you.
MRS. LEDYNSKA: Now I'll go and tidy up meanwhile. But . . . do you remember, Jenik, you were going to take me to the Variété to-day?
JENIK: Hm, so I was. Well, I suppose we can go. I've got time to-day. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA: As long as you don't find some excuse again. I should like to go there for once. Lidka shall run down to Hořický's while we're away. . . Perhaps it wouldn't do for her.
JENIK (laughing): Very well, I don't mind. (Looking at the clock.) But hurry up . . . we must go soon. We'll stop at Novák's on the way and kill two birds with one stone. We'll have an evening snack, too, at some provision shop on the way.
MRS. LEDYNSKA: As you like. . . Well, I'll make haste. (Enters the side room.)
JENIK: Lidka, bring me the cigarettes from the little table! (Lidka hurries out and returns with a box of cigarettes. She lights one for Jenik. After a pause.)
LIDKA (timidly): Jenik, why are you like that to-day?
JENIK: Like what?
LIDKA: Why, you are so tender . . . so happy.
LIDKA: To-day, you haven't got your irritating laugh. You do laugh, but it's a different langh.
LIDKA: You know, I thought—
JENIK: . . . you thought. . .
LIDKA: Well. . .
JENIK: I'm getting quite inquisitive.
LIDKA: Well—that you had fallen in love.
JENIK (looks at her for a moment, then bursts out laughing): Why, Lidka, Lidka . . that's really great.
LIDKA: isn't it true, then?
JENIK (a trifle uneasily) : Oh, but. . .
LIDKA: Do tell me, do tell me, Jenik. . .
JENIK (somewhat forcedly): What in the name of goodness am I to tell you?
LIDKA (stroking his hand): I won't tell anybody . . . Jenik . . . I won't. You know, I think I should look upon you in quite a different way . . . that it would be such a nice thing.
JENIK (deep in thought): Hm . . . yes . . . yes . . .
LIDKA: Jenik, please do . . .
JENIK (fixing his eyes on her, then for a moment half-closing the lids in meditation; after which, suddenly): Come here, Lidka. . . (Draws her on to his knees; after a while): So I've got to confess, then . . .
LIDKA (passes her hands over his face; nods.)
JENIK (dreamily): How it did lighten last night.
LIDKA: And you are really happy?
JENIK: No, no. . . that's not it. Or perhaps it is, though. Happy as the month of June out of doors. Happy to stifling beneath the great burden of blossoms. As happy as that. Well, I don't know. I ask for no reasons, Lidka, none at all. If there's a flood, let there be a flood, then . . .(In a whisper.) Such a beautiful flood . . .
LIDKA (with a sob in the modulation of her voice; closing her eyes): Such a terribly beautiful flood.
JENIK: You women are so strange, Lidka. A hundred times we escape from you,—a hundred times we hold forth and declare solemnly that you drain our strength like sponges . . . and a hundred times we return to endure our June-tide. The devil is in us. No, no . . . Lidka, don't get angry, don't think about it. But . . . {after a moment) it is sweet to die, though, in the glow of a heat like that. . .
LIDKA: Jenik; (a wailing note comes into her voice) I felt June to-day too. I felt it there by the window.
JENIK: You must open your breast and ask nothing of why or of wherefore . . . June will come. . .
LIDKA (suddenly): Let me be, Jenik. I feel as if I were close on stifling, and . . .

(She stands up and bursts out sobbing; then she kneels down again by the chair and lays her head on the table.)

JENIK (looking at her in surprise): Lidka. (Then nodding his head and murmuring feebly): June is here, June. . .
LIDKA (raises her head and fires Jenik with a deep glance full of tears: suddenly she springs up and embraces him violently): Jenik, Jenik, Jenik. . . now you will be so dear to me. . . Now I know . . . now I know . . . You'll love her really, won't you, now? Ah, heavens, that must be beautiful, so beautiful.
JENIK (takes hold of her head and looks into her eyes; nodding his head ponderingly): Who is to still such longing as this? Lidka, I hope you may. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA (entering): My goodness me—
JENIK (joyfully): Mother, don't cross the threshold, or. . .
LIDKA (jumping up suddenly, embarrassed): Yes—
JENIK: You see, mother, Lidka is angry with you. She wanted to coax secrets out of me and now you've spoilt it. . .
LIDKA: Oh, no, mother, I know it. I know all about it now. . . Jenik has—
JENIK : Shhhh!
LIDKA: I know now. (She starts dancing, stops and bends suddenly out of the window into the street): My dears, what lovely air . . . June, June, June. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA: Something has come over you to-day—
JENIK (laughing): Don't you worry about that, mother.
MRS. LEDYNSKA: Well, now, I'm sure I don't begrudge it you.
JENIK: That was a very nice thing to say. Thank mother for it, Lidka.
LIDKA (looking out of the window): Wait a bit—who can that be? Jenik, there's some gentleman walking up and down in front of the window, and staring up here.
JENIK: Come away from the window now and stop looking out.
MRS. LEDYNSKA (taking some clothes from the wardrobe): I needn't put on much finery, eh, Jenik?
JENIK: Why, what for . . . in the gallery—
LIDKA: Jenik!
JENIK: Well, what is it?
LIDKA: That gentleman has such strange eyes—
JENIK: Come away from that window, I tell you!
LIDKA (softly): Gracious, that's funny, Jenik, he's waiting for somebody, come and have a look.
JENIK: Mother, Lidka has regularly got the fidgets. (Gets up and goes to the window): Well, now, who is it you're looking at, Lidka, you crazy girl? Why, hang it all, that's Loshan. He must be looking for me. (Calls out into the street): Hallo, old fellow! Are you looking for me? Don't cool your heels down there,—just pop up here a moment. (Coming from the window): And I'll receive him here. (Softly to Mrs. Ledynska): You know, he likes to do a bit of borrowing, so he's afraid to come straight up.
LIDKA (in some alarm): What's that you're saying, Jenik?
JENIK: Oh, nothing.
LIDKA (scared): And he's coming up here?
JENIK: Well, and what of it? Really, my dear girl. You've got the fidgets quite badly.
LIDKA (fingering at her dress with jerky movements, smoothing her hair, then leaning with her hands against the back of the chair; as if made rigid.)

The bell rings outside.

JENIK: Mother, open the door and ask him to come up.
MRS. LEDYNSKA: What am I to call him?
JENIK: Ha, ha, let it be Master Scapegrace. He does a bit of writing.
MRS. LEDYNSKA (hurrying out): There's always something to be learnt from you. . . (Outside.) Please come this way.
Enter LOSHAN (in his exterior there is an aggressive air of scornful unconcern; his eyes shift about in search of prey.)
JENIK: Come along inside. . . How are you, old chap? My mother. . . my sister. . . my friend, Loshan. . .
LOSHAN (bowing off-hand): Don't let me put you out. . .
JENIK (pushing a chair towards him): Take a seat.
LOSHAN (sitting down): I was walking about down there quite a long while . . .
JENIK: Lidka here made me come and look.
LOSHAN: Ah, indeed. Yes, the young lady was looking out of the window. (Drinks Lidka in with his eyes; from this moment his glances move continually in her direction and hold her with a peculiar kind of magnetism.)
JENIK: Why didn't you come up?
LOSHAN: Oh, I managed to work off my constitutional at the same time like that. Besides, I—had—nothing—important to come for. I wanted you to let me have (as if embarrassed for a moment); yes, I wanted Hamsum's "Pan."
JENIK: I think I can oblige you. Wait a bit, I'll just look. (Goes into his room.)
LOSHAN: I ought to be grateful to the young lady for relieving me from my long vigil . . .
LIDKA (gives a start when Loshan addresses her; her eyes assume a troubled and restless look): Yes, I thought at once, when you kept looking up at the window—
LOSHAN (with a quick glance in the direction of Mrs. Ledynska, who is taking the plates into the kitchen; then to Lidka, effectively muffling his voice): Yes, I did look. I had to look, just as we have to look when we are walking through a field and a sky-lark begins to sing above our heads. Ah, that's how it was: a sky-lark began to sing. I sought it with my eyes. . . I've never seen you before,—I suppose you never go out anywhere. . . That's how a man discovers America, by chance,—the fragrance of unknown shores shows him the way . . . until his head is dizzy with this fragrance. How peculiar it was: I was walking about, and just at that moment you ran to the window; never have I seen such eyes as you had at that instant; you were leaning out of the window, and your eyes were drinking everything in, in, in. . .
(As Mrs. Ledynska enters): I was just saying, madam, that I envy Jenik such an idyllic home.
MRS. LEDYNSKA: My gracious . . . but he doesn't appreciate it one bit. (Sitting down on the chair.)
LOSHAN (dejectedly): I've been alone for a long, longtime. (His glance turns aside and is fixed ravenously upon Lidka.)
JENIK (returning from his room with a book; laughing): Has Loshan been saying something frightfully rude to you? You know, he's—shall I tell them, Loshan? . . . You know, he's a most awfully rude fellow, and doesn't care a rap for anything. . .
LOSHAN (watching Jenik anxiously for a moment): You're only pulling my leg, Ledynský. . . .
JENIK: Ha, ha, ha!—Well, it won't do your leg any harm, at any rate . . . but . . . (with a twinkle in his eyes) . . . what do you want "Pan" for?
LOSHAN: Well, I hardly know how to put it? I should like to shake hands with Lieutenant Glahn once more—something of that sort.
JENIK: Stop up your ears, mother. And you, too, Lidka. I want to ask Loshan a little confidential question: weren't you smitten with a certain Edvarda. . .?
LOSHAN (casts unnoticed a glance at Lidka; a great thirst lurks in the morbid glitter of her eyes): I won't come out with the strong remarks you expect, but this I will say. . . But after all, what should I say. . .? It's utter nonsense. (Lidka rises and goes into the kitchen.) It's nonsense, Ledynsky. Absurdities like that will come into our minds. I'll tell you, some day, about just such a piece of absurdity. It'll make you langh, ha, ha. . . Such a very peculiar incident. Or perhaps it isn't such a very peculiar incident, after all. No, I'll tell you about it some day,—it will make you laugh, ha, ha! (Rising.)
JENIK: You're going already?
LOSHAN: And what about to-night,—aren'tyou going anywhere?
JENIK: I'm going with mother to the Variété to-day.
LOSHAN: You're going to the Variété, are you? (To Mrs. Ledynska) It will be a nice entertainment for you and the young lady, madam.
JENIK: Oh, no, Lidka isn't going,—she'll look after the house.
LOSHAN (his face twitches a little, imperceptibly, only with a slight overshadowing): The young lady will stay at home? Hang it, what was I going to say? Why, I believe it's clean gone out of my head. Well, it's of no consequence, after all. Thanks, Ledynsky, for the favour. I'll say good day, madam.
MRS. LEDYNSKA: I'm glad to have seen you, Pan Loshan.
JENIK: Good-bye, good-bye, old chap. Give us a look up another time. (Leads Loshan through the kitchen.)
JENIK (returning from outside): I'll wager my head he wanted to borrow money from me.
MRS. LEDYNSKA: What a curious person he is!
JENIK: He is curious.
MRS. LEDYNSKA: I'll go and put on my things in your room,—somebody else might pay us a call. (Takes the clothes and goes towards the side room.)
JENIK (goes after her and asks through the door): Mother, where's Lidka gone?
MRS. LEDYNSKA (from the room): Lidka? Where could she have gone? (At this moment Lidka enters from outside; she is pale, her gait is heavy, and her eyes are dilated and are fixed unsteadily upon some vague object.)
JENIK (goes up to her and takes her by the hands): Good heavens, Lidka, what's the matter with you? Where have you been?
LIDKA (shakes her head as if she were passing through mists: with an endeavour to smile): I've been down at Hořický's . . . I ran quickly up the stairs. . . I came over faint for a moment . . . But I'm all right again now.
JENIK (musingly): I oughtn't to have told you that.
LIDKA: What oughtn't you to have told me. .?
JENIK: Well, that it's June outside . . . and . . .
LIDKA (her face bursts into radiance, as it were, from within): That it's June outside. . .
JENIK: I've been whispering such curious things to you. . .
LIDKA (in suspense): And were they untrue?
JENIK: They weren't untrue, but . . .
LIDKA (joyfully, passionately): They weren't untrue, they weren't untrue! (Suddenly throwing her arms round Jenik's neck; softly): Jenik, do you know what I'm reminded of? When we were speaking about Anna Karenina to-day, you said: Who wants to condemn her, who wants to cast the first stone. . .? You remember saying that, don't you? Yes, now I know, now I know all. . .
JENIK (freeing himself from her embrace): What a young hoyden you are, Lidka. . .!
LIDKA: Are you angry with me for that?
JENIK: On the contrary. I like you for being so, but. . .
JENIK: Well, men are apt to squander such a store, when they find it in a woman.
LIDKA (interrupts him suddenly with a springlet of ice in her voice): Stop. . . Stop. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA (enters from the side-room): There, I'm all ready now.
JENIK: Mother, we came within an ace of losing Lidka!
MRS. LEDYNSKA (frightened): What's that you say?
JENIK: Oh, nothing . . . Lidka came over a bit faint, that's all. (He enters the side-room to fetch his hat and stick.)
MRS. LEDYNSKA: I was quite frightened for the moment.
LIDKA (forcing a smile): I was playing at being ill.
MRS. LEDYNSKA (concernedly) : But there's nothing the matter now, eh? Perhaps I'd better stay at home.
LIDKA (quickly): Nothing of the kind. What a willy idea to think of.
JENIK (returning with his hat on and lighting a cigarette): Well, take care of yourself, Lidka . . . I suppose you'll go down to Hořický's, won't you. . .?
MRS. LEDYNSKA: Keep the door well bolted when you go, Lidka . . . and stay down at Hořický's, we'll come and fetch you afterwards. . . (Exit.)
LIDKA (taking fright): Mother. . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA (in the door-way): Well, what is it?
LIDKA (in some depression): Perhaps after all you'd better . . .
MRS. LEDYNSKA: Shall I stay at home?
LIDKA (with a sudden burst of violent laughter): No . . . no . . . it only just occurred to me . . . no . . . you go now, Jenik's waiting.
JENIK (from outside): Come along, mother, do . . . bye, bye, Lidka.
MRS. LEDYNSKA: Come and bolt the door after us.

(Exeunt both.)

LIDKA (returns after a moment; runs in violently, stands still in the middle of the room, clasps her face in her hands): He said that he's coming . . .heavens . . . he's coming! (She runs to the window. Her eyes stare into the street, she clutches the window-sill convulsively; for a moment she remains in this position; suddenly she is shaken by a spasm. She runs out quickly, and can be heard opening the door outside. She returns, her lips distorted by a hysterical smile, her eyes melting with fire; she goes to the window, plucks a few sprigs of myrtle, and sinks down overwhelmed in the chair by the window. Then with unsteadily groping hands she twines a sprig of myrtle in her hair, and throws the other sprigs on the floor. Outside, somebody is coming up. The sound of coughing is heard. Lidka's eyes fasten upon the door with a dark look of feverish thirst, while her lips are parted vacantly. The door opens and Loshan enters. He catches sight of Lidka; a cynical smile disfigures his lips. . .)


 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1929.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1952, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 71 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

Public domainPublic domainfalsefalse


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1929.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1970, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 53 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

Public domainPublic domainfalsefalse