life is nothing (Lbovshchina)

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life is nothing (Lbovshchina)


1. About what beeps of Motovilikha Plant roared

Over the river, over gloomy coast of the stiffened Kama, in five versts from Perm the working settlement — Motovilikh was stretched on abrupt hills…

On the night of December 13, 1905 this settlement could not be registered being a part of the Great Russian Empire because in a day before it he spat in a face of this empire lead of rifle bullets at all, was fenced off from it by barricades from the broken-out fences and vyvorochenny gate and looked sparks of the stretched lodges.

Sensitively peered eyes of the sentries freezing at intersections down, at darkness where black frosty night floatingly hid dark papakhas of the Cossack group.

Workers of the gun plant, having broken into tens, occupied hills, occupied intersections of the broken streets, and skeletons of the shapeless, hastily hammered together obstacles all night long crackled and grew. And hasty sleepless shadows risen in this mad on rise and on energy night darted about.

At the Small checkpoint ten esdek strong sat down, at the corner of Kama Social Revolutionaries threw out a red flag, and in the dark the red flag seemed a black black wing of a trepykhayushchy bird.

And on Visim, on the mountain, fires shone, the dumped logs continually tyukhatsya boomingly.

On Visim the barricade grew too, it was heavy, clumsy.

But it is strong and the Visimsky barricade was strong.

— Throw!. — throw time!. Two… Well, enough, so far will be enough.

Fire flame, having fluttered from wind, lit up the piled heap of logs and a face of the tall black person who leaned against one of vyvorochenny boards. The person, probably, was tired to potter with a barricade, hard and often breathing, he wiped a hand a wet forehead, then nervously spat and approached a fire.

— Sit down, Sashka, — offered him someone, — take rest a little, you, the devil, since the morning did not guzzle anything.

But the black tired person answered nothing. Having leaned the elbows on a barrel of the old Berdan rifle, he silently looked down, downhill, and filtered quietly, through clenched teeth:

— To die to me if they easily make the way here tomorrow.

On the night of December 13 it is disturbing sang cable wires Perm St. Petersburg.

On the night of December 13 the Perm governor did not sleep. At two o’clock reported on it that horunzhiya of the seventh Ural regiment Astrakhankin and the motovilikhinsky police officer Kosowski expect it in a reception.

The governor left. It was more kind, than ever because the good name of the good governor was now entirely in hands of the officers soldered in shoulder straps. He shook hands with them, but is not identical, is slightly stronger to the commander of group of Ingushs — to horunzhy Astrakhankin and is slightly weaker to the police officer Kosowski because he believed in organization and fighting capacity of police a little.

The conversation was short and continued no more than ten minutes after which heels tinkled spurs and from a porch of the governor’s house the sledge with the police officer’s trotters — to the right and shadows of two riders — on the left hasty dashed away.

And from the dawn, clasping a holster of the revolver and trying finally a checker hilt, horunzhy Astrakhankin got up and before approaching a horse, was late for a minute, took out from a side pocket a card of the very young blond girl in a pelerine of the St. Petersburg institution for young ladies, sighed and put it back in a pocket.

It was just that minute when on tone to the party the black person threw the last log on a barricade and told loudly:

— It is over, children! Well, now let go…

And on friable, friable snow dark points of the Ingushs who are wrapped up in bashlyk spread.

Silently, without shots, on streets of the settlement, on intersections, on attics, on kitchen gardens workers of the gun plant were scattered by ambushes and waited.

But so was not long. Just while fingers on «doggies» of the loaded rifles strained springs when too it became silent and too tiresome, with rattle and klokoty beeps of silently frowned plant and over dead Kama, over the Zakamsk wood began to roar suddenly, over the rebelled settlement rushed a heavy and disturbing echo.

And to spite of silence, to spite of tiresome I howl beeps, boomingly burst a nervous trembling and the first shot was scattered, he was supported by another, and in reply at once, chaotic fire houses, attics and fences of Motovilikhi snapped…

To evening of a barricade ceased, and Cossacks rushed already on streets, and the broken fighting teams hasty ran up away.

At this time at the black person the collar of a greasy blouse was open, and on the head of it there was no cap, and strong nuts squeezed lips. It stopped at gate of some hibarka, the last boss put and quickly looked back: on the empty street was nobody. The mad smile warped his strong screwed up lips, he rushed on the left and round the corner, almost face to face, faced horse and gendarme patrol.

— Stop! — one shouted, having flashed a checker, — throw a rifle, the devil’s son.

The black person banged in an emphasis from the Berdan rifle in the attacking policeman, a huge jump jumped on a fence and shouted from there:

— Yours took while, swine, but we did not terminate yet!

The bullet screamed over a fence and rushed by, for Kama because the person jumped aside and head over heels rolled down a steep slope, snow, down.

— There is a devil, — one of policemen with astonishment spoke, — and as jumped. Who is it?

Among the extensive list of arrested on business of «an armed revolt in Motovilikh» one of its active participants — the working cannon shop of Alexander Lbov did not appear. Several times the police received data that it hides in Motovilikh, several times gendarmes did an ambush in the apartment of his wife, but everything is ineffectual.

One night, when the police officer was knocked at a door, the shot was distributed from there, then the window which is knocked out with a frame tinkled, and by one of policemen the shadow which, despite of the risen firing, was behind turn flew.

There was a frosty, foggy night when on the pressed-down settlement after the revolt several rifle shots boomingly gasped. Their disturbing echo reached to sleeping, and the wife of one of workers, scaredly swelling up from a bed, pulled the husband’s hand.

— Get up, Nikolay, Kolka… Yes get up, the devil damned, hear, shoot.

That turned the head and asked by a sleepy, senseless voice:

— Where?

— Yes get up you, an idol. How much I know where? My God and what is it becomes?!

But shots of a zatakala it is so disturbing and is so close that Nikolay Smirnov jumped and, hasty pulling trousers, spoke quickly:

— Gate at us are locked? Run look. Yes do not light fire, the silly woman, about policemen, perhaps, missed! A billeting, furnish the clue from a case, there I have which-what papers, so it is necessary to throw out in a snowdrift so far, and that is not equal as gendarmes.

In the dark the key did not get in any way to the well especially as the hand slightly shivered. At last the door swung open, he just gave a hand behind papers as his wife screamed, and he shuddered, turned pale and froze: someone knocked on a window.

— Who there? — in a whisper the wife asked it.

— I do not know, — Nikolay answered, — has to be, police. No, it is not police, — he added, jumping, is someone from ours.

The knock repeated. Bystry, but not loud. In it there was a nervous haste, but there was no imperious roughness of a gendarme fist.

— Who here? — through a window Smirnov asked, peering into a dark silhouette of the person. And, without having waited for the answer, with astonishment screamed, rushed to an outer entrance hall and hasty opened a door.

— What, the devil, long as dawdled? — slightly interrupted for fatigue, but by a quiet voice the comer asked.

— Lbov! — with astonishment Smirnov shouted. — Alexander, needle you in soul! From where you undertook?

— Later, — that waved a hand, — later. — And itself looked back, left in a shade, pushed something, then returned back again.

— Move up Kadushka with cabbage to a door. A lock at you bad, at once it is possible to break. — Then kept silent and added: — You make to yourself a good lock, and that, you know if to perish, so that was for what, and so, because of a rusty hook to vanish, is not necessary.

Lit an oil lamp, and its light lit up Lbov who was gloomy beetle-browed the person, and its red beams mixed up with the blood which spread on the hand which is cut up by glass, ruby sparkles falling on a floor… But as if felt nothing Foreheads, he sat down at a window and, having stared in a dark corner, long sat silently, and only his eyes, at the slightest rustle quickly turning aside, a heavy, lingering look penetrated darkness.

— It is over, — he told at last in a low voice and as if slightly grinned.

— What is over? — Smirnov asked it.

— Everything, the brother, is over. Both the revolt is ended, and my head too now washed-up because to turn back late and any is not present hunting to turn back. Every day beep and every Day the machine — both so without the beginning and endlessly.

He became silent.

Dawn did not come long. From the dawn some more people came to a log hut, the companions who escaped from a party underground came also the silent Stolnikov who is tired out, badgered, wanted came. And long discussed how to be and what now to do.

It was decided — to send for the period of a fever Lbov and Stolnikov to the wood, to one of сторожек versts in ten from Motovilikhi so far.

— In the wood so in the wood, — grinned Foreheads, — but only, I think that now not for a while, and for all the time.

— How so? — someone asked.

— And so.

And he grinned again. It had a strange, bystry smile: his eyes slightly squinted at once, lips densely, breakthrough, clenched, and before it was possible to catch a shade of expression of his face, everything was on the place, and from a smile there was no trace left also.

— Listen, Foreheads, — one of underground workers asked its, — tell on the truth what party you consider yourself?

— I for revolution, — he shortly answered and became silent.

— Well you never know who for revolution — both Bolsheviks, and even Mensheviks, but same not the answer.

— I for revolution, — shortly and stubborn he repeated, — for revolution which is done by force. And beating gendarmes from a Mauser and to talk less… How it, you read to me in the book? — he addressed one of workers.

— About what? — that asked, without understanding.

— Well, about these most… about mittens… and that it is impossible to do revolts, without having soiled them.

— Yes not about mittens, — that corrected, — there it was written so: «revolution cannot be done in white gloves».

— There now, — shook the head of Foreheads, — I for this most «am impossible». Understood? he spoke, getting up, and carried out by the hand ornamented by patterns of clotted blood on a forehead. — Here I for this most, — he repeated sharply and precisely objected someone. — And if all decided at the same time that life is to hell necessary if everything goes not our way… if each person when saw before himself the policeman, either the gendarme, or the district police officer, then would shoot at him and if to shoot nothing, then would beat with a stone and if there is no stone nearby, then would smother hands then long ago the end would be to this most… as it. — He faltered and squeezed lips. Looked on people around. — Well, how it? — he shouted and slightly knocked a rifle butt about a floor.

— To capitalism, — someone prompted.

— To capitalism, — repeated Foreheads and broke. Then threw a rifle for a shoulder and told with bitterness: — Eh, and why it is people such shkurnik? The main thing, all the same you will die, well so die you though for something, than for anything.

There was dawn when horse travel of policemen saw near that coast of Kama two figures which are quickly sliding on skis It Foreheads and Stewards went to the wood. Because of deep snow it was impossible to pursue on horses fugitives. Policemen cried out, pursued on the coast, gave after several aimless shots and calmed down.

The sun winter red beams cut through tops of the hardened wood just that minute when two shadows stopped and, having turned back, looked once again back. There, where the foggy city and stone walls, where at stone walls the governor’s house with a three-colored flag, and under a three-colored flag — the Cossack horunzhy Astrakhankin with a card of the blond maiden on a breast and with one hundred Ingushs for. There, where, fastened with gilded small screws of official buttons, the city cozy zanavesochka of frosty windows smiled.

And two shadows silently grinned and disappeared in the wood…

2. Why it was boring for Rita Neyberg

On a ring finger of Rita the ring — a simple ring from pure gold with a big drop of blood in which the spark shone shone. Because of this ruby knickknack Rita already several times quarreled with the father because he considered bad form to carry deliberately roughly worked ring on fingers of the twenty-year-old girl, besides only recently graduated the St. Petersburg institute.

Fingers at Rita — thin and long, and the person — opaque. Rita is able to order remarkably the person For example, today, when she left by a lunch, the father nearly shuddered, having looked at her eyes, and asked with a fright:

— What there is with you, my child?

But Rita answered nothing And only when he repeated a question three times and reddened even for nervousness, she spoke, without looking to it in eyes, without looking at walls and in general without looking anywhere:

— It is boring for me.

— Well, here, here still, — at once having become cheerful, the father started talking, — as it so, for the young girl it can be boring? Listen, Yury, — he addressed the entered young guardsman, the son, — listen, — and he with astonishment and tenderly shrugged shoulders, — well why for it it could be boring?

— In marriage hunting, here and boringly, — that will answer. — Here, daddy, such time; I knew one Pole, so she sixteen years…

— You are a fool, Yury, and an example at you always foolish, and in addition you have misfortune to repeat on ten times! — Rita flashed.

Skin on her cheeks became even more swarty, and white teeth angrily sparkled through a cut of the flexible, broken by strelochka lips.

By a lunch horunzhy Astrakhankin came, he sat down near Rita and told her couple of amusing jokes which sense, by the way, Rita did not understand. And then, obviously wishing to tell it something pleasant, having bent, whispered in a low voice in ear:

— You know, Rita when I the other day remembered you, almost before the firefight with motovilikhinsky rebels, I took out your card and, know that I with it made?

— Tied to the lanyard of your checker? — derisively Rita asked.

— No, — it bent to it even closer, — I kissed her, and it inspired me

But Rita hated deliberate underlining of intimacy, she cast away the head back and asked loudly, only to spite of it:

— And on what it was to be inspired here? They say, they had no cartridges at all, and they from some antediluvian guns shot then. Also tell, please, — she suddenly sharply, — added what the manner to drag a card on different gendarme operations is?

Astrakhankin answered nothing, he reddened and felt that Rita treats it as he with the school student, slowly turned the head, put a hand on a hilt of the Caucasian checker trimmed with silver and thought: that to make it to force Rita to see in it a horunzhy seventh Ural regiment, but not the grammar-school boy of the last class? He otkashlyanutsya, being going to tell something clever, but by some strange accident clever in the head, as ill luck would have it, nothing came, and all one nonsense climbed.

But it was helped out by the young guardsman who, chewing a piece of roast beef, asked it:

— And tell, at the Cossack saddle stirrups on two or on three fingers move forward?

— On two, on two, — that, happy answered that he found a subject for an interesting conversation. — But at me, for example, on three — it is more beautiful. Of course, here plays a large role as far as will tighten a dzhigitnik, and then if a mare, for example, zhereby…

Rita angrily looked at horunzhy and got up.

She went to herself to the room and tried to read the new novel which was hotly praised highly yesterday to it by the cousin. But from first lines the novel grinned a playful and sugary smile and for the second minute, rejected with a force, departed to a corner.

Rita moved to herself the local newspaper where the announcement that «the young man, single, looks for the place of the managing director» was evident her

«My God, how everything is boring, — Rita thought, — really there is nothing new?.»

It was already going to close the newspaper as her look fell to small, short record, in it it was said that the other day gendarmes fired at two unknown who managed to disappear nevertheless on skis in the wood.

Rita narrowed eyes, did not close, namely screwed up and imagined cold, silk down of snow, the trees and two shadows which hardened together with silence, silently and easily sliding on snow, — here where, has to be, breathe well. So frosty air, silent. Rita inhaled in herself, and to her went a smell of spicy and dreary spirits to the head, she sparkled eyes and saw before herself Yury and Astrakhankin.

— Who to you allowed to come here without having knocked? — angrily she asked.

— Do not get excited, the sister, — it is lazy the guardsman interrupted her, — we came to ask you, there will be you on a ball at the prosecutor today?

— No, I will not be, — Rita answered, quickly coming off a sofa, — and in general… — taking both frown, she added: — And in general, leave alone you me.

It turned and wanted to leave, and suddenly the soft smile slipped on her face, she looked at Astrakhankin and told it whimsically:

— You know that, I want that you got skis: to both me, and, and it. Why. I want, that’s all. We will ride.

Astrakhankin pleased with such happy turnover of business clicked heels, being scattered all in rings of a dagger, a checker, spurs, and told, being bent:

— Your desire — for me the law.

When they left, Rita took seat on a sofa, and in eyes the same short note got to her again. She turned the head to glass and long looked at fancy patterns of the frozen window. And on some unknown association it remembered for some reason at first the smooth, pomaded guardsman’s hair parting, then effective, but well-worn phrases of horunzhy Astrakhankin, then the Zakamsk wood, gloomy gray-haired, silent to a secret, and two dark, the running-away shadows somewhere and for some reason.

And for the first time for all day it became really boring for Rita Neyberg.

3. Unlucky day of the titular counselor Chebutykin

It was remarkable day. On continuation of thirty five years of life the serving Perm post office of the titular counselor Feofan Nikiforovich Chebutykin had no such bright and sated with various events day.

Even then, when his wife gave rise to twins, even then, when suddenly his mother-in-law from fright died, — even those remarkable days turn pale before what happened in today’s some fifteen hours.

First, at nine in the morning, hardly it came to post office and before he managed to undress, colleagues surrounded it with congratulations, the head of a desk called up to himself and showed it paper in which it appeared that the sovereign the emperor for blameless service favors it, Chebutykin, a bronze medal for carrying it on a breast.

Justice demands to note that, having received such diploma, Chebutykin became proud of long-awaited monarchical favor. But the same justice forces to note also that preprovoditelny paper from provincial board strongly damped its ardor because in it it was said that the cost of this medal, namely one ruble and forty kopeks have to be withheld from its thirty-ruble salary.

And in soul of the official a certain seditious thought such flashed what really at the emperor’s sovereign without these «1 rub 40 kopeks» is formed in treasury deficiency and what is, if one may say so, a gift when money takes for it moreover extremely expensively because to a round piece of bronze and a small ribbon a fifty-kopeck piece the maximum price?

But as the person of the sovereign of the emperor stood in his eyes above any suspicions, Chebutykin vzroptat on the ministers surrounding him and in general on the powers that be, accusing them of money-making and a self-interest Aloud stated to the neighbor, the bureaucrat Yepifanov, a wish that that stingy soul which invented this deduction choked with this ruble and forty kopeks.

But the bureaucrat Yepifanov, being a person positive, and also wishing to establish good relations with the administration, the chief of a table — to the chief of office, the chief of office — to the chief of post office reported on these shocking words on the chief of a table, and in twenty minutes the frightened Chebutykin was called to most.

Through thirty he left it red and uneasy, and through forty in the next order on establishment «for derzostny comments on the commanding persons and for willful political reasonings» the strict reprimand and warning was issued to the titular counselor Chebutykin.

«My God and what is it, — the dumbfounded Chebutykin thought, fifteen years sat without any attention, and suddenly in one day both an award, and a reprimand? And, main thing, what injustice».

And for the first time for [all] time Chebutykin, stronger than ordinary, stuck with a stamp on an envelope and, having felt deeply offended, thought about himself: «Yes… now I see who produces revolutionaries. Necessarily here you will become…»

But here it broke because the head of a desk stared at it. And the turned pale Chebutykin rendered thanks to the Lord for the fact that the head of a desk can read someone else’s letters, but is not allowed to read others thoughts to him yet.

At two o’clock bells of post couple rang out at a porch. Chebutykin put on the state sheepskin coat reaching to it heels over a uniform overcoat lifted the collar exposed on half of arshin over his head and, having taken a post bag, got into the wide, laid-out by hay sledge.

Zazvyakala bells, sledge began to jump on potholes of the Perm streets. Then, in the country, when the road went more exactly, Chebutykin suppressed by events of last day lowered the head and dozed off. He nearly woke up from a strong push, but decided what, has to be, the coachman stopped, having met somebody especially as in the sleep heard several abrupt phrases And again closed eyes and when sledge started, dozed off even more strong, without having sorted in what business.

Passed still some time, sledge suddenly again sharply stopped. Strongly shook Chebutykin, he put out the head from a collar and asked, being perplexed:

— What here it?

Chebutykin was faced by three gendarmes, they glanced in sledge, one stuck even a foot checker into hay and asked whether someone met them in way?

But Chebutykin answered that he saw nothing as he dozed off a little, maybe, the coachman saw somebody?

And the coachman answered that he really saw some two people on the road not really far from here and that people those waved to him a hand that it stopped, but he decided not to stop better.

Having heard such message, gendarmes, having jumped on horses, dashed away further, having left Chebutykin in considerable concern and nervousness.

— What is whom they look for? — he asked the driver. — Yes what you are silent, the fool?!

— Somebody is looked for, — the driver evasively answered. — It put them.

At a sound of this voice Chebutykin shuddered and looked at the driver.

«That it, — he thought, rubbing himself whisky, — as though when I left, the driver was at me growth less and it seems as it had red hair, and this — look…»

— Listen, the kind person, — with involuntary confusion spoke Chebutykin after several minutes of bystry driving, — listen where you so drive, and tell on favor: from where you undertook?

But the driver did not answer nothing, he with rage lapped horses, sledge rushed on the road, jumping through potholes so that to Chebutykin it became involuntarily terrible.

— Listen! — he shouted and became silent because the person turned back and answered it sharply:

— Sidi it is quiet, but you will receive not that.

And soul at Chebutykin became small, nearly fluttered out from sledge because the black person opened to a floor of a sheepskin fur coat and because of a belt the long and cold revolver looked out.

When because of a forest thick settlement lodges escaped suddenly towards, the coachman turned back, pulled the left hand reins and, constraining run of horses, told Chebutykin:

— Let’s enter now a log hut and that words. Understood? — and slightly shook an elbow slightly the bulged right side of a fur coat, and a shower at the dumbfounded Chebutykin became small-small again.

In a post log hut it was crowded and smoked. Through clouds of thick steam Chebutykin saw the policeman having tea near whom several people briskly talked.

Chebutykin made a step, but in the same second felt that his elbow got to some screwing-up vice. He nearly screamed from a perepug and stopped.

— Mail? — the policeman asked, taking a view of a uniform cap of Chebutykin. — And tell, mister, for the road happened nothing to you?

— Nothing, nothing, — he answered with the pressed-down voice.

— And tell whether horse gendarmes met to you?

— Met.

— And they with themselves conducted nobody?

Услыхав that policemen captured nobody and that anything special did not happen to mail, the policeman with astonishment shrugged shoulders and murmured about himself something like that: «Yes where these devils got to?»

Chebutykin wanted to shout again that though nobody gathered mail also a bag at him in hands, but that it is visibility one because…

But the elbow began to be clamped in pincers of a yamshchikovy hand again, and the coachman whispered it quietly in ear:

— Give, go.

Chebutykin helplessly looked at the policeman having tea and, having bent the head, went to an exit.

— Postoyte, mister, mister, — the policeman spoke, getting up and fastening a checker, — I after all will go with you. And that, not equally as there would be no what thin.

In the first second Chebutykin terribly was delighted, but almost now dejectedly hung the head and askance looked at the coachman.

— Give sit down, your nobleness, — that spoke, — the place in sledge is, and horses good, rather only, it is necessary to hurry.

The policeman and Chebutykin sat down nearby, the coachman jerked from the place at once. The coachman felt now that behind him the person with the revolver sits, and it constantly slightly turned the head back, without releasing a hand from under a short fur coat.

— Here drives! — with admiration the policeman told Chebutykin. — Good coachman.

But the good coachman, having reached to the first pothole, sharply turned horses, sledge turned over, and. before Chebutykin and the swearing policeman managed to move in a deep snowdrift, over their heads flashed thin and long as an osiny sting, a Mauser barrel, and the coachman told quietly:

— Stop not to move… and to lie quietly.

As both lay in a snowdrift, it, having jumped aside, got into snow behind the rejected post bag. Snow was deep, above a knee, and so far it got it, the policeman managed to jump on legs, rushed to a holster and snatched out the revolver from there.

But before he managed to aim, the heavy bag went to him to the head and again a sshibl from legs. Falling, the policeman at random shot, and almost at the same time black person flashed fire of the Mauser and nailed it a shot to snow.

The coachman grabbed a bag again, turned back back and, having noticed on the horizon of the gendarmes rushing on shots, obviously, come back, rushed to horses.

Strong abuse broke from his lips: the shaft of the sledge was broken. To run on the road it would be aimless, it is impossible to run because of deep snow aside. He jumped out on the road, turned back once again, thinking that it to make it.

As suddenly he pricked up the ears, jumped aside and, having snatched out the Mauser, threw up it on the crackled roadside bushes.

Having softly slipped on snow, the slender girl captured by a gray, soft jersey with thin bamboo sticks in hands left from there. From bystry run she slightly was out of breath and now, having faced a Mauser, увидав the overturned sledge and the rolling people, slightly screamed and stopped.

— Give skis, — shortly told it Foreheads.

It threw up on it eyes and, without paying attention to a Mauser at all, as if not from under threat, and of own will, easily came off on the road and thrust sticks during snow.

— Take.

Belts were small, but to tie up them was once, and the person hardly put boots in an opening and grabbed sticks. Before making a start, it met the stranger’s eyes.

— I know you, — after easy fluctuation she told. — You Foreheads.

— I Foreheads, — he answered, — and I do not know you, — he looked at the thin, warm, densely captured it a figure jersey, on soft felt felt cloaks and added: — And I do not know and I do not want to know.

Zigzag fold the girl’s lips moved, she cast away the head back and asked:

— You impolite? I am Rita… Rita Neyberg.

— And me to spit, — he answered, — and in general, on everything to spit because gendarmes pursue me.

It a strong push straightened the compressed hands, and skis crashed into a thick of bushes. One more push — and it disappeared in the wood…

— The swine, — Rita in rage told, — took skis and though would tell thanks… And whom it it killed?. Even two.

Overcoming disgust, she with curiosity glanced for sledge.

— The young lady, — someone from a snowdrift called to her suddenly, — the young lady, it already left?

«One did not die still», — Rita thought and approached Chebutykin.

— It left?

— Left, left, — she answered, — and you are wounded?

— No, I am not wounded, and so.

— That is how it so? What you then the fool lie in a snowdrift? Rita shouted. — And as it was not a shame to you: together could not cope with one?

Chebutykin zabarakhtatsya, crept out of a snowdrift and, trying to enclose some persuasiveness in words, told it:

— We already resisted, but that we could?.

— You are silent, and words, — contemptuously Rita because since one end hasty on skis two lagged behind her satellites disturbed by shots came nearer through clenched teeth told, and with another — horse gendarmes rushed.

The winter sun slipped for the horizon just that second when policemen came off horses.

— Robbed!. — loudly one of policemen shouted. — And who it could think that it instead of the coachman… From the hands directly released. Your name? he asked Chebutykin.

Chebutykin with advantage turned off a fur coat that uniform buttons on a jacket were more visible, both wanted slowly and is sensible to answer, but the corporal did not allow it to finish and told sharply:

— On suspicion of complicity with the state criminal, the robber Lbov, you are arrested.

The corporal loved solemn phrases, but from this solemnity at the titular counselor Chebutykin took the breath away — he wanted to tell something, but could not and only thought: «My God, well and day… My God, and what is surprisingly damned day!»

4. In the dugout brought by snow

Having run five on skis of versts, Foreheads stopped. He wiped a mitten the got wet forehead and sat down on the tree dumped and swept up by snow. It was almost absolutely dark, snow became opaque, and trees merged in one strong, black shadow. Foreheads looked at a bag, wanted to open it, but the bag was locked, he took out a knife, being going to make an incision it, but changed mind because it was in the dark possible to drop something or to lose its contents then on the road.

«Great, — he thought and took out the revolver captured at the killed policeman from a pocket. — Smith, — he solved, — well and that is fine, it is useful». He turned several times a drum, put the revolver back, got up on skis and went further. In the dark branches whipped on the person, and often sprinkled the head with the fine snow dust falling from the stirred-up bushes.

In about one and a half hours it reached such thick that the spark of a dugout came up suddenly — only before the eyes.

Was at home stewards, he jumped out on the yard and shouted with astonishment:

— Sashka! From where you in such time? I thought, you in Motovilikh will spend the night.

— There was a business, — shortly answered Foreheads and, approaching an outer entrance hall, asked: — And we have who else?

— Two of ours, Stepan Bekmyashev and then one more — Fedor.

— What for Fedor? — with surprise asked Foreheads and frowned. He was careful and did not love when to it new strangers came.

— The person, come rather, you learn.

Foreheads entered, without greeting, sat down on a bench and, pointing a finger at the new person, asked directly Stepan:

— It who?

— From the St. Petersburg fighting organization, — Stepan answered not less directly and you do not think nothing, the crazy head, we warrant.

— I do not think, — spoke Foreheads and, having turned to Fedor, told shortly: — Well, speak!

The St. Petersburg companion with curiosity looked at Lbov.

— To you there will arrive four more persons soon.

— Why they to me? — And Foreheads shook the head.

— As why, together better! You will have then the real fighting group…

— Group, — repeated Foreheads and thought, precisely this word inspired in it some suspicion. — How you told — fighting group? And who in it will be?

— Two anarchists, one Social Revolutionary and one social democrat.

— I not about that ask, I ask: children are reliable?

— You will look — you will see. How at you about weapon?

— Badly, — answered instead of Lbov of Stewards, — there is a lot of revolvers, across Motovilikhe searches general, children direct everything to preservation here, and rifles — only one.

— Will bring, — Fedor told, — only money is necessary. You get money.

Foreheads thought for about a minute, then lifted a bag, opened a knife and carried out by it on skin. The whole pack of letters fell out on a table. Unpacked. Money there were about one thousand rubles. Three hundred Foreheads right there gave Fedora. Kept three hundred, and transferred the others to Stepan.

— It to you so far on underground, — he added, — will be from you, to you all the same on a talk.

— How on a talk? — And Fedor with astonishment exchanged glances with Stolnikov and Stepan.

— And so, on a talk, — repeated Foreheads. — I understand — to buy weapon, bombs; you tell that more bombs brought, a trouble as I love bombs — on it I understand and that in vain languages to fray. Say yes that to me cartridges brought to a Mauser, — he added, being again broken on a former thought, — it is more than cartridges, I very need good cartridges. — Then he kept silent and, precisely making finally some decision, added: — And good children are necessary too. Only such which on everything to spit.

— How to spit? — Fedor did not understand it.

— And so, in meaning of life.

Boiled tea, and over a cup of tea spoke much. Foreheads quickened, his dark deep eyes began to shine and, strong squeezing a hand of the St. Petersburg companion, he told:

— So let come, let surely come, we then such, it will arrange that they will shiver, dogs.

Then sat down on a bench and asked:

— You with yourself have no book?

— Is, — and Fedor gave it. — On, read so far.

— I cannot itself, — sharply answered Foreheads and with disappointment squeezed lips. — To study there is nobody was, — he added the evil.

He did not love when he had to remember the illiteracy. It was its sore point.

— I will read, give listen, children! — and Stepan took the book.

The lamp spark dimly shivered in crushed by the wood, in the dugout which is swept up by snow. And three bearded persons silently listened to the fourth, and hot ready words dropped out of the small worn-out book, ran out hot streamlets of the melted lines and burned down frowned the lost heads.

— Read, read, — occasionally spoke Foreheads when Stepan stopped to take rest, — begin with a former line again.

— «… the present government itself generates people who owing to need have to cross the law. And the government, with unprecedented cruelty, lashes and lashes tries to bridle these people and by that hardens them even more and forces them to decide: either to die, or to try to break the existing system…»

— It about us, — interrupted Foreheads, — it is written just about us which lived, worked and who have no place to go now. For which all roads, except as in prison, are locked until there are these prisons. Recently here you read something about the price…

— Values, — Fedor corrected.

— About value. This superfluous. And here about it about what you read, it is necessary to write. And then, get to me, dear friend, somewhere the book in which it is written how most to do bombs.

— Well, I will send, — the Petersburger told and with surprise looked at Lbov: how many in it energy, unorganized will and hatred.

And the St. Petersburg companion thought that it is good to install a particle of this deep, crude hatred in minds of workers of the capital; those which, squeezed by gendarme aiguilettes after the lost revolt, begin to hang the heads and to lose courage.

They long still spoke.

This snow, dark night the spark in a small window of a forest dugout long fluttered, and this night the thrown dugout grew from snowdrifts, grew and threw down a challenge to the city which stiffened over the coast of Kama.

But the city grinned in reply in hundreds of fires. He was chained in stone walls, he was rich with white silver of rifle bullets and red copper of the Cossack checkers.

The city grinned and did not accept a call.

5. Strange emergence…

With the first steamship six workers of the Sormovsky plant sentenced to death fled from Nizhny Novgorod to Motovilikhu. Several days they prattled with an accordion idle on streets, them коновод the Mityok Karpov was vociferous, and the black forelock was beaten out by the devil from the broken cap.

One night, when all crowd they were unsteady on streets, the horse-Cossack patrol met them and demanded production of documents. Also the accordion on a back was dexterously thrown, and quickly came up revolvers from depth of pockets, and six shots in a thick of the Cossack patrol loudly gasped.

The policeman Ingulov bent on one side and, falling, shot and прошиб a neck the Mityok to Karpov who was picked up by companions and under shots carried away away.

— Stop! — shouted around one from huts of Simka-sormovets. — They will overtake for us, give be knocked on these gate. Here the person lives.

The gate was unlocked by the hostess, and all six became hollow in a shade.

— Houses owner?

— No! No! — scaredly the hostess started talking. — Yes where you go, there foreign person sits.

— Stand, stand children… Who is foreign person?

— Some Jew asked to spend the night.

On the street footfall was heard, and panting, rumbling with checkers, policemen ran by.

— Here those mummy is also vigorous, — scratching the head, spoke the Sim card, — and what now to do and on what devil let in it? Well all the same now you will not go outside, the wood goblin with it, with the woman.

To the Mityok entered into a hut. The black woman of years of thirty five with a flowing hair scaredly jumped from a bench when saw before herself six strangers and the blood spreading on a neck and a face of one of them.

— From where it? — she asked, wrapping up an open collar of a jacket.

— From there, — shortly answered the Sim card and swore. — Let’s the person a neck tie up something, you do not see Ali how its blood hlyshcht?

The woman quickly opened a traveling bag, took out bandage from there, cracked a glass test tube with iodine and skillfully began to tie up the wounded.

— See you, — with astonishment told the Sim card, — and from where it it, on our happiness, undertook? You who though such?

But before she managed to answer something, in a window knocked. Children grabbed revolvers. The door was opened, the owner of the apartment Smirnov, and with him Foreheads entered.

Foreheads entered, as if long ago was with all children a sign. Also started talking quickly:

— Give the wounded leave here, tomorrow to him the doctor will come. And all others — for me. And that the police here and is turned, I hardly broke.

At anybody in the head the thought did not flash even to disobey it, and all five went to an exit, but Foreheads suddenly quickly stepped forward, strong squeezed a hand of the unfamiliar woman and, having pulled it to light, asked with surprise the owner:

— And it who? From where still here such?

— I do not know, — that confusedly answered. — This is the woman without me someone let.

— Asked to perenochevit, gave ruble, here I also let in, — the wife heatedly answered. — At you, at the devil though the kopek is? To a zavtram there is nothing to guzzle, and you in what are engaged.

The husband did not answer nothing. Foreheads frowned eyebrows, got ten from a pocket, put on a table, then told:

— It is impossible to leave it here, the devil it knows that for the person, but also, women have long languages. Put on drag.

But the black, precisely turned Jew’s eyebrows did not even move — she silently threw with a coat, a bright color scarf and went outside.

Two times from traveling jumped aside all in darkness.

Not to draw police upon the left wounded, Foreheads deliberately avoided firefight.

On the bank of Kama he slightly whistled and became silent. Passed minutes was five nobody.

— You why you whistle? — asked it the Sim card.

— You will see, — shortly answered Foreheads, — I for nothing never whistle.

Splash was heard, from darkness the boat came up and moored to the coast. All seven sat down silently, and the boat a dark stain slid across Kama. Got down on that coast. On an edge while children lit, Foreheads approached the Jew, silently having taken seat aside on the cut-down tree, and asked:

— What are you silent and from where you on our head undertook? To kill you it seems as there is nothing, and in live it is impossible to leave too. And where I will put you?

And night was such star. And evening was such soft. The woman got up, threw off a scarf and suddenly unexpectedly embraced it for a neck.

— Darling, — she told in a whisper, — darling, take me with yourself.

Foreheads did not expect it in any way.

— There is a silly woman and as it you soon… Yes, on what you are necessary to me! — He wanted to push away her, but she clamped hands on his neck even more strong and, nestling on him all over, whispered:

— Or perhaps on something?

And night was such star, and evening was such spring. And Foreheads remembered that his own wife is fenced off by a barrier of the Cossack checkers now, and Foreheads unclenched her hands already more softly.

— You are a silly woman, — he told her.

And Simke-sormovtsu who stood nearby seemed that he smiled or maybe not — it was difficult to make out because night was spring, talkative, but dark.

But the fact that the woman smiled and flashed black eyes — it Simka-sormovets made out well.

6. Meeting

It was on the bank of Gayva’s rechonka, the very narrow muddy strip which cut through the Zakamsk wood.

Foreheads lay on the bank of the small river, and Simka-sormovets baked potato when not far suddenly sharp whistle was heard in coals.

— Bekmeshev came, — without turning the head spoke Foreheads. — Long ago I already wait for it, a devil. And well, whistle to it in reply.

But it was not Bekmeshev, but the fellow of years of sixteen. He came up because of bushes and told, slightly winding by bystry running:

— See where hid, and I looked for, looked for… To you, Foreheads, a note from Stepan. And it cannot, is busy with something.

— «Is busy»! — gloomy imitated Foreheads. — What is he busy there with? And well, give here!

He took a note, unpacked it, turned before eyes and put it to the Sim card.

— On, read!

Sim card read. There were several incoherent and unclear words: «Come as under the moon, to the ninth, four boss are».

But the sense of these words was, obviously, is clear to Lbov. He smiled, stood up from the earth, then squeezed lips and thought.

Still it affected the risk and absolutely one. Sormovsky children could not be considered, they were alien and changeable, and Stewards lately with any affairs did not interfere, he became some strange, all went, often clutched at the head and muttered some silly words. And now — who they are, these four with which it is necessary to ransack, attack and if it is necessary, then to die? Who are they?


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