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The Priest`s Tale part 8

I josep time in going up to his room, and fortunately found him in one of his intervals of quiet. He was sitting on the floor with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. The furniture was all in dis- order, and broken dishes were lying about. I admit I was a little frightened. It was rash to go in alone, but I could not turn back even if I had wished; so I went up to him, and laying my hand on his head repeated a prayer.

`When I was done he made the sign of the cross, and kissed my hand. `You are not very comfortable here, my dear Christos,` said I. Come, let us go to your uncle`s; the house is empty, and you`ll be better there. Won`t you come?`

“He rose without a word, and then said quietly: `I don`t want anybody to see me; please ask them to stay away.`

“I opened the door, and although there was no one there, I cried

“`Go away, all of you; go home!—There, Christos, the street is empty; let us go.`<

The Priest`s Tale part 7

These causes of themselves often produce tetanus, and hydrophobia and tetanus have many points of resemblance. This is what the doctors tell us. But what good does that do, it they cannot give us at the same time some means of controlling or getting rid of this secret fear? I am waiting to hear from our medical friends on this point. But I beg your pardon, father, for interrupting.

Without ever having read anything of the kind,” replied the priest, “I have often thought of that.

“Meanwhile the weeks passed by, and the peasants were beginning to forget what had happened, or at least had stopped talking about it, when suddenly one morning toward the end of September the boy`s father came to tell me that Christos was not well.

` `What`s the matter with him?`

“ `I don`t know; he`s feverish, and has no appetite.`

Little milk

“I went to see him without delay, and found him lying on the floor wPh his

The Priest`s Tale part 6

“With great difficulty I managed to persuade Christos and the men or rather women—who surrounded him, and it was at last decided to take him to Athens. He wanted to put off going until the next day; but I insisted, and finally prevailed upon him to start at once, by offering to go with him. So we mounted our donkeys and set out. The neighbors` wives showered good wishes upon us, but it was easy to see that they thought medical skill a poor substitute for the virtues of the mad plant.

“We reached Athens very late; I left Christos at the hospital, and returned to my parsonage in the middle of the night.

“As I said before, all this happened on Monday. Thursday Christos came home, still suffering from the cauterization, but he seemed well otherwise, and in a few days the burns were quite healed.

“But the peasants had no confidence in hospital treatment. Their fears arose not from the delay in cauterizing the wounds, but from the failure to apply

The Priest`s Tale part 5

Would you believe that in all the villages of this district there is not a single doctor, or even a pharmacy! I do not know if anything of the kind has been printed at Athens, but certainly we have never had here any book or pamphlet giving directions how to avoid or cure the commonest diseases—I do not mean hydrophobia, but the simple ailments of which our little children die. But never mind that now; those things will come in time.

“When Christos came home leaning on the old man`s shoulder, wounded and bloody, with his clothes torn, the whole village was in commotion. I was told at once of what had happened, and went to see him. He lived with his father in that little house in the street by the church. On the ground-floor there is a storeroom and an oil-press, while above there are two small chambers, which are reached by a stairway built on the outside facing the road.”

“Where the schoolmaster lives now?” asked Andrew.

“Yes, that`s th

The Priest`s Tale part 4

“Of all the young men of the village, Christos was the tallest; he was strong and fearless—a true pallicare; and, as we all know, danger often makes even the coward brave. Suddenly he dropped his right arm and tightly squeezed the wolf`s neck under his armpit, while with his left he clutched her head and tried to strangle her.

“The struggle was frightful. The teeth .and claws of the mad beast dug into the poor fellow`s side; he could not use his knife, because to draw it from his girdle he would have had to let go the wolf`s neck, which he still held with his left hand. He could not move his right arm without loosening his vise-like grasp upon her, and he dared not call for help, for he knew too well that he had no strength to waste in shouting.

“At last they fell to the ground, clasped in a horrible embrace. Christos was on the top, but the wolf had her head free against his breast, and she tore it savagely, in her efforts to release herself.

The Priest`s Tale part 3

“Thirteen years have passed since then—it was about the middle of August. For several days it had been rumored that a wolf was prowling near the village. Old Mitros,.who had built his little cottage that same year close by `The Eyrie,` told how he had been awakened one night by the barking of his dog, and opening his window had seen an enormous wolf outside his garden wall. He had snatched his gun and fired, but failed to kill the beast, and saw it reeling away in the moonlight with its tail down. He was too frightened to reload and fire a second time. The shepherds told of a similar encounter, so that the village was full of rumors that we had a dangerous wolf in the neighborhood, and the peasants slept with one eye open, always thinking of their flocks.

“The danger was even greater than they knew, for it was not a mere hungry wolf that they had to deal with, but a she-wolf—-and mad.

Monday Christos

“One afternoon—-it was a Monday—C

The Priest`s Tale part 2

Perceiving this, my brother-in-law sent him out of the room, in spite of his master`s ill-concealed discontent.

Quiet was once more restored, and conversation began again with renewed activity. Naturally we spoke of the exile and his various qualities—of his breed in particular and of dogs generally. One thing led to another, and the subject of hydrophobia finally came up. Andrew showed a lively interest in the matter, and asked the village priest, who was one of the guests, if he had known of many mad dogs in the country.

“No, not many, but they are by no means unknown, replied it ather Seraphim; and among others he told us of a fine dog he had been obliged to kill because he believed it to be mad.

Andrew kept interrupting the priest with questions; how did Father Seraphim know that the dog was mad? how had it become mad? what had it done? how did he kill it?

The boy`s inquiries and the father`s courteous replies gave me no little i

The Priest`s Tale part 1

Modern Greece

Introduction

Seventeen or at last two centuries there has been a continuous and at times A brilliant literary activity in the land of Sophocles, and the work of the Nineteenth Century, both in quantity and quality, compares favorably with that of the other Balkan states. But even the Greeks themselves admit that it is scarcely possible to regard the modern writers without thinking of the ancient past, and that this past is in many respects a serious handicap to the development of a wholly new and original tradition.

The Nineteenth Century Greeks have taken the short story and made it the chief vehicle of their life and thought. This may be accounted for by the fact that the form is primarily a modern product, little used by the ancients, and consequently offered a free field to the writer who sought to express himself with more or less originality.

Most of the Greek story writers are chiefly concerned with the life of their o

The Attendant`s Confession part 9

During this time there was much talk of the colonel. People came and told me tales about him, but without observing the priest`s moderation. I defended the memory of the colonel. I recalled his good qualities, his virtues; had he not been austere?

“Austere!” they would interrupt. “Nonsense! He is dead, and it`s all over now. But he was a regular demon!”

And they would cite incidents and relate the colonel`s perversities, some of which were nothing less than extraordinary.

Need I confess it? At first I listened to all this talk with great curiosity; then, a queer pleasure penetrated my heart, a pleasure from which, sincerely, I tried to escape. And I continued to defend the colonel; I explained him, I attributed much of the fault-finding to local animosity; I admitted, yes, I admitted that he had been a trifle exacting, somewhat violent.

“Somewhat! Why he was as furious as a snake!” exclaimed the barber.

And all—t

The Attendant`s Confession part 8

“How much was he worth?” my brother asked me.

“I don`t know, but I know that he was very wealthy.”

“Really, he`s proved that he was a very true friend to you.”

“He certainly was—he was.”

Thus, by a strange irony of fate, all the colonel`s wealth came into my hands. At first I thought of refusing the legacy. It seemed odious to take a sou of that inheritance; it seemed worse than the reward of a hired assassin. For three days this thought obsessed me; but more and more I was thrust against this consideration: that my refusal would not fail to awake suspicion. Finally I settled upon a compromise; I would accept the inheritance and would distribute it in small sums, secretly.

This was not merely scruple on my part, it was also the desire to redeem my crime by virtuous deeds; and it seemed the only way to recover my peace of mind and feel that accounts were straight.

Suggested tragic deeds

I

The Attendant`s Confession part 7

We went out. Once in the street the passing from semi-obscurity to day-light dazed me and I staggered. I began to fear that it would no longer be possible for me to conceal the crime. I kept my eyes steadily fixed upon the ground and took my place in the procession. When all was over, I breathed once more. I was at peace with man. But I was not at peace with my conscience, and the first nights, naturally, I spent in restlessness and affliction. Need I tell you that I hastened to return to Rio de Janeiro, and that I dwelt there in terror and suspense, although far removed from the scene of the crime? I never smiled; I scarcely spoke; I ate very little; I suffered hallucinations and nightmares.

“Let the dead rest in peace,” they would say to me. “Such gloom is beyond all reason.”

Interesting phenomenon

And I was happy to find how people interpreted my symptoms; I praised the dead man highly, calling him a good soul, surly, in truth, but with a

The Attendant`s Confession part 6

Before daybreak I bandaged the wounds that I had received in the lace. Then only did I pluck up enough courage to return to the other loom. Twice I started, only to turn back; but it must be done, so I entered. Even then, I did not at first go to the bed. My legs shook, my heart pounded. I thought of flight; but that would have been a confession of the crime. … It was on the contrary very important for me to hide all traces of it. I approached the bed. I looked at the corpse, with its widely distended eyes and its mouth gaping, as if uttering the eternal reproach of the centuries: “Cain, what hast thou done with thy brother?” I discovered on the neck the marks of my nails; I buttoned the shirt to the top, and drew the bed-cover up to the dead man`s chin. Then I called a servant and told him that the colonel had died towards morning; I sent him to notify the vicar and the doctor.

My immediate departure

The first idea that came to me was to leave as soon

The Attendant`s Confession part 5

It seemed to me that I saw faces grinning on the walls; I heard muffled voices. The cries of the victim, the shrieks before the struggle and during its wild moments, continued to reverberate within me, and the air, in whatever direction I turned, seemed to shake with convulsions. Do not imagine that I am inventing pictures or aiming at verbal style. I swear to you that I heard distinctly voices that were crying at me: “Murderer! Murderer!”

All was quiet in the house. The tick-tick of the clock, very even, slow, dryly metrical, increased the silence and solitude. I put my ear to the door of the room, in hope of hearing a groan, a word, an insult, anything that would be a sign of life, that might bring back peace to my conscience; I was ready to let myself be struck ten, twenty, a hundred times, by the colonel`s hand. But, nothing—all was silent. I began to pace the room aimlessly; I sat down, I brought my hands despairingly to my head; I repented ever having come to

The Attendant`s Confession part 4

Very probably my chance was approaching. The colonel was rapidly getting worse. He made his will, the notary receiving almost as many insults as did I. The invalid`s treatment became more strict; short in-tervals of peace and rest became rarer then ever for me. Already I had lost the meager measure of pity that made me forget the old sufferer s excesses; inside of me seethed a cauldron of aversion and hatred. At the beginning of the month of August I decided definitely to leave.

The vicar and the doctor, finally accepting my explanations, asked me but a few days` more service. I gave them a month. At the end of that lime I would depart, whatever might be the condition of the invalid.

I he vicar promised to find me a substitute.

Now for what happened. On the evening of the 24th of August the colonel had a violent attack of anger; he struck me, he called me the vilest names, he threatened to shoot me; finally he threw a plate of porridge that was too

The Attendant`s Confession part 3

But that came soon enough. One day, when I was a trifle late in giving him a massage, he took his cane and struck me with it two or three times. That was the last straw. I told him on the spot that I was through with him and I went to pack my trunk. He came later to my room; he begged me to remain, assured me that there wasn`t anything to be angry at, that I must excuse the ill-humoredness of old age. … He insisted so much that I agreed to stay.

“I am nearing the end, Procopio,” he said to me that evening. “I can`t live much longer, I am upon the verge of the grave. You shall go to my burial, Procopio. Under no circumstances will I excuse you. You shall go, you shall pray over my tomb. And if you don`t,” he added, laughing, “my ghost will come at night and pull you by the legs. Do you believe in souls of the other world, Procopio?”

“Nonsense!”

“And why don`t you, you blockhead?” he replied passionately, with distended eyes.

The Attendant`s Confession part 2

Arriving there, I heard bad reports concerning the colonel. He was pictured to me as a disagreeable, harsh, exacting fellow; nobody could endure him, not even his own friends. He had used more attendants Ilian medicines. In fact he had broken the faces of two of them. But to all this I replied that I had no fear of persons in good health, still less of invalids. So, after first visiting the vicar, who confirmed all that I had heard and recommended to me charity and forbearance, I turned toward the colonel`s residence.

On a chair and suffering greatly

I found him on the veranda of his house, stretched out on a chair and suffering greatly. He received me fairly well. At first he examined me silently, piercing me with his feline eyes: then a kind of malicious smile spread over his features, which were rather hard. Finally he declared that all the attendants he had ever engaged hadn`t been worth a button, that they slept too much, were impudent and spent their

The Attendant`s Confession part 1

Brazil

J. M. Machado De Assis (1839-1908)

Born at Rio de Janeiro of poor parents, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis began his literary career at an early age, although it was not for some years that he succeeded in establishing a reputation. Long before his death he was regarded as the chief exponent of modern Brazilian literature. About 1880 he first became generally known, and until the end of his life he wrote industriously. He is best known for his rather pessimistic but finely conceived and well- written psychological novels and short stories.

The Attendant`s Confession is one of his characteristic tales. The present version, translated by Isaac Goldberg (and revised for this collection), is reprinted by permission of the translator and publisher, from the volume, Brazilian Tales, translated by Isaac Goldberg. Copyright, 1921, by George Allen and Unwin.

The Attendant`s Confession

So you really think that what happened to

The Story of Ming-Y part 11

Did she not sing the songs of Kao- pien? And upon the brush-case and the paper-weight’she gave your son, are there not characters which read, `Pure object of art belonging to Kao of the city of Pho-haV? That city no longer exists; but the memory of Kao-pien remains, for he was governor of the province of Sze-tchouen, and a mighty poet. And when he dwelt in the land of Chou, was not his favorite the beautiful wanton Sie—Sie-Thao, unmatched for grace among all the women of her day. It was he who made her a gift of those manuscripts of song; it was he who gave her those objects of rare art. Sie-Thao died not as other women die. Her limbs may have crumbled to dust; yet something of her still lives in this deep wood, her Shadow still haunts this shadowy place.”

Mists of the morning

Tchang ceased to speak. A vague fear fell upon the three. The thin mists of the morning made dim the distances of green, and deepened the ghostly beauty of the woods. A faint