Read online “The Caucasus” by Ivan Bunin – RuLit – Page 1.

Read online “The Caucasus” by Ivan Bunin – RuLit – Page 1.
Bunin Ivan Alekseevich.
Arriving in Moscow, I thievishly stopped in inconspicuous rooms in an alley near Arbat and lived languidly, a recluse – from meeting to goodbye to her. I had it only three times in these days and every time I entered hurriedly, with the words:
“I’m only for one minute.”
She was pale with the beautiful pallor of a loving, agitated woman, her voice broke, and the way she threw an umbrella anywhere, hurried to pick up the veil and hug me, shook me with pity and delight.
“It seems to me,” she said, “that he suspects something, that he even knows something – maybe he read some of your letter, picked up the key to my table. I think that he is capable of anything with his cruel, selfish nature. Once he told me directly: “I will not stop at anything, protecting my honor, the honor of my husband and officer!” Now he for some reason watches literally every step I take, and to make our plan a success, I must be terribly careful. He already agrees to let me go, so I told him that I would die if I did not see the south, the sea, but, for God’s sake, be patient!
Our plan was bold: to go on the same train to the Caucasian coast and live there in some absolutely wild place for three or four weeks. I knew this coast, I once lived near Sochi for a while, young and lonely, I remembered those autumn evenings among the black cypresses, in the cold gray waves. And she paled when I said: “And now I’ll be there with you, in the mountain jungle, by the tropical sea.” We did not believe in the implementation of our plan until the last minute – it seemed to us too great a happiness.
It was cold rains in Moscow, it seemed that the summer had already passed and would not return, it was dirty and gloomy, the streets were wet and black shone with the open umbrellas of passers-by and the upraised cabs of cab drivers fluttering on the run. And there was a dark, disgusting evening, when I went to the station, everything inside of me was frozen with alarm and cold. At the station and on the platform, I ran running, pushing my hat over my eyes and burying my face in the collar of my coat.
In a small compartment of the first class, which I ordered in advance, it was noisily pouring rain on the roof. I immediately lowered the window curtain and, as soon as the porter, wiping his wet hand on his white apron, picked it up and went out, locked the door. Then he slightly opened the curtain and froze, keeping his eyes on the diverse crowd, back and forth again with things along the car in the dark light of the railway street lamps. We agreed that I would arrive at the station as soon as possible, and she as late as possible, so that I might somehow Do not run into her and with him on the platform. Now it was time for them to be. I looked more and more tense – they were all gone. The second bell struck – I froze with fear: late or at the last minute he suddenly did not let her go! But immediately after that he was struck by his tall figure, officer’s cap, a narrow overcoat and a hand in a suede glove, which he strode broadly to hold her by the arm. I recoiled from the window, fell into the corner of the couch. Next to it was a second-class car – I could see how economically he went into it with her, looked around – did the porter well arrange it – and took off his glove, took off his cap, kissed her, baptizing her. The third bell deafened me, the moving train plunged into a stupor. The train parted, waving, swaying, then began to carry exactly, in all pairs. The conductor, who led her to me and carried her things, I put a ten-ruble note with an ice hand.
Entering, she did not even kiss me, only smiled pitifully, sitting down on the couch and taking off, unhooking her hat from her hair.
“I could not eat at all,” she said. – I thought that I could not stand this terrible role to the end. And I’m terribly thirsty. Give me the narzan, “she said, telling me for the first time. “I am convinced that he will follow me.” I gave him two addresses, Gelendzhik and Gagry. Well, he will be in three or four days in Gelendzhik. But God be with him, death is better than these torments.
In the morning, when I went out into the corridor, it was sunny, stuffy, there was a smell of soap, cologne and everything that smells like a busy car in the morning. Beyond the cloudy dust and heated windows there was an even burnt-out steppe, dusty wide roads, arbas drawn by oxen, flashing railway booths with canary circles of sunflowers and scarlet mallows in the front gardens. Then went the boundless expanse of naked plains with mounds and burial grounds, an unbearable dry sun, a sky like a dust cloud, then the ghosts of the first mountains on the horizon.

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