S.S. Koteliansky - Goussiev (Chap. 4) lyrics

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S.S. Koteliansky - Goussiev (Chap. 4) lyrics

Two days pa**ed. Pavel Ivanich no longer sat up, but lay full length; his eyes were closed and his nose seemed to be sharper than ever. "Pavel Ivanich!" called Goussiev, "Pavel Ivanich." Pavel Ivanich opened his eyes and moved his lips. "Aren't you well?" "It's nothing," answered Pavel Ivanich, breathing heavily. "It's nothing. No. I'm much better. You see I can lie down now. I'm much better." "Thank God for it, Pavel Ivanich." "When I compare myself with you, I am sorry for you ... poor devils. My lungs are all right; my cough comes from indigestion ... I can endure this hell, not to mention the Red Sea! Besides, I have a critical attitude toward my illness, as well as to my medicine. But you ... you are ignorant.... It's hard lines on you, very hard." The ship was running smoothly; it was calm but still stifling and hot as a Turkish bath; it was hard not only to speak but even to listen without an effort. Goussiev clasped his knees, leaned his head on them and thought of his native place. My God, in such heat it was a pleasure to think of snow and cold! He saw himself driving on a sledge, and suddenly the horses were frightened and bolted.... Heedless of roads, dikes, ditches they rushed like mad through the village, across the pond, past the works, through the fields.... "Hold them in!" cried the women and the pa**ers-by. "Hold them in!" But why hold them in? Let the cold wind slap your face and cut your hands; let the lumps of snow thrown up by the horses' hoofs fall on your hat, down your neck and chest; let the runners of the sledge be buckled, and the traces and harness be torn and be damned to it! What fun when the sledge topples over and you are flung hard into a snow-drift; with your face slap into the snow, and you get up all white with your moustaches covered with icicles, hatless, gloveless, with your belt undone.... People laugh and dogs bark.... Pavel Ivanich, with one eye half open looked at Goussiev and asked quietly: "Goussiev, did your commander steal?" "How do I know, Pavel Ivanich? The likes of us don't hear of it." A long time pa**ed in silence. Goussiev thought, dreamed, drank water; it was difficult to speak, difficult to hear, and he was afraid of being spoken to. One hour pa**ed, a second, a third; evening came, then night; but he noticed nothing as he sat dreaming of the snow. He could hear some one coming into the ward; voices, but five minutes pa**ed and all was still. "God rest his soul!" said the soldier with the bandaged hand. "He was a restless man." "What?" asked Goussiev. "Who?" "He's dead. He has just been taken up-stairs." "Oh, well," muttered Goussiev with a yawn. "God rest his soul." "What do you think, Goussiev?" asked the bandaged soldier after some time. "Will he go to heaven?" "Who?" "Pavel Ivanich." "He will. He suffered much. Besides, he was a priest's son, and priests have many relations. They will pray for his soul." The bandaged soldier sat down on Goussiev's hammock and said in an undertone: "You won't live much longer, Goussiev. You'll never see Russia." "Did the doctor or the nurse tell you that?" asked Goussiev. "No one told me, but I can see it. You can always tell when a man is going to die soon. You neither eat nor drink, and you have gone very thin and awful to look at. Consumption. That's what it is. I'm not saying this to make you uneasy, but because I thought you might like to have the last sacrament. And if you have any money, you had better give it to the senior officer." "I have not written home," said Goussiev. "I shall die and they will never know." "They will know," said the sailor in his deep voice. "When you die they will put you down in the log, and at Odessa they will give a note to the military governor, and he will send it to your parish or wherever it is...." This conversation made Goussiev begin to feel unhappy and a vague desire began to take possession of him. He drank water—it was not that; he stretched out to the port-hole and breathed the hot, moist air—it was not that; he tried to think of his native place and the snow—it was not that.... At last he felt that he would choke if he stayed a moment longer in the hospital. "I feel poorly, mates," he said. "I want to go on deck. For Christ's sake take me on deck." Goussiev flung his arms round the soldier's neck and the soldier held him with his free arm and supported him up the gangway. On deck there were rows and rows of sleeping soldiers and sailors; so many of them that it was difficult to pick a way through them. "Stand up," said the bandaged soldier gently. "Walk after me slowly and hold on to my shirt...." It was dark. There was no light on deck or on the masts or over the sea. In the bows a sentry stood motionless as a statue, but he looked as if he were asleep. It was as though the steamer had been left to its own sweet will, to go where it liked. "They are going to throw Pavel Ivanich into the sea," said the bandaged soldier. "They will put him in a sack and throw him overboard." "Yes. That's the way they do." "But it's better to lie at home in the earth. Then the mother can go to the grave and weep over it." "Surely." There was a smell of dung and hay. With heads hanging there were oxen standing by the bulwark—one, two, three ... eight beasts. And there was a little horse. Goussiev put out his hand to pat it, but it shook its head, showed its teeth and tried to bite his sleeve. "Damn you," said Goussiev angrily. He and the soldier slowly made their way to the bows and stood against the bulwark and looked silently up and down. Above them was the wide sky, bright with stars, peace and tranquillity—exactly as it was at home in his village; but below—darkness and turbulence. Mysterious towering waves. Each wave seemed to strive to rise higher than the rest; and they pressed and jostled each other and yet others came, fierce and ugly, and hurled themselves into the fray. There is neither sense nor pity in the sea. Had the steamer been smaller, and not made of tough iron, the waves would have crushed it remorselessly and all the men in it, without distinction of good and bad. The steamer too seemed cruel and senseless. The large-nosed monster pressed forward and cut its way through millions of waves; it was afraid neither of darkness, nor of the wind, nor of space, nor of loneliness; it cared for nothing, and if the ocean had its people, the monster would crush them without distinction of good and bad. "Where are we now?" asked Goussiev. "I don't know. Must be the ocean." "There's no land in sight." "Why, they say we shan't see land for another seven days." The two soldiers looked at the white foam gleaming with phosphorescence. Goussiev was the first to break the silence. "Nothing is really horrible," he said. "You feel uneasy, as if you were in a dark forest. Suppose a boat were lowered and I was ordered to go a hundred miles out to sea to fish—I would go. Or suppose I saw a soul fall into the water—I would go in after him. I wouldn't go in for a German or a Chinaman, but I'd try to save a Russian." "Aren't you afraid to die?" "Yes. I'm afraid. I'm sorry for the people at home. I have a brother at home, you know, and he is not steady; he drinks, beats his wife for nothing at all, and my old father and mother may be brought to ruin. But my legs are giving way, mate, and it is hot here.... Let me go to bed."