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The Snowstorm (1830) by Alexander Poushkin

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Author Topic: The Snowstorm (1830) by Alexander Poushkin  (Read 175 times)
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« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2009, 11:51:33 pm »

Bourmin found Maria Gavrilovna near the pond, under a willow-tree, with a book in her hands, and in a white dress: a veritable heroine of romance. After the first few questions and observations, Maria Gavrilovna purposely allowed the conversation to drop, thereby increasing their mutual embarrassment, from which there was no possible way of escape except only by a sudden and decisive declaration.

  And this is what happened: Bourmin, feeling the difficulty of his position, declared that he had long sought for an opportunity to open his heart to her, and requested a moment's attention. Maria Gavrilovna closed her book and cast down her eyes, as a sign of compliance with his request.

  "I love you," said Bourmin: "I love you passionately...."

  Maria Gavrilovna blushed and lowered her head still more. "I have acted imprudently in accustoming myself to the sweet pleasure of seeing and hearing you daily...." Maria Gavrilovna recalled to mind the first letter of St. Preux. "But it is now too late to resist my fate; the remembrance of you, your dear incomparable image, will henceforth be the torment and the consolation of my life, but there still remains a grave duty for me to perform -- to reveal to you a terrible secret which will place between us an insurmountable barrier...."

  "That barrier has always existed," interrupted Maria Gavrilovna hastily: "I could never be your wife."
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« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2009, 11:51:44 pm »

 "I know," replied he calmly: "I know that you once loved, but death and three years of mourning.... Dear, kind Maria Gavrilovna, do not try to deprive me of my last consolation: the thought that you would have consented to make me happy, if----"

  "Don't speak, for Heaven's sake, don't speak. You torture me."

  "Yes, I know, I feel that you would have been mine, but -- I am the most miserable creature under the sun -- I am already married!"

  Maria Gavrilovna looked at him in astonishment.

  "I am already married," continued Bourmin: "I have been married four years, and I do not know who is my wife, or where she is, or whether I shall ever see her again!"

  "What do you say?" exclaimed Maria Gavrilovna. "How very strange! Continue: I will relate to you afterwards.... But continue, I beg of you."

  "At the beginning of the year 1812," said Bourmin, "I was hastening to Vilna, where my regiment was stationed. Arriving late one evening at one of the post-stations, I ordered horses to be got ready as quickly as possible, when suddenly a terrible snowstorm came on, and the post-master and drivers advised me to wait till it had passed over. I followed their advice, but an unaccountable uneasiness took possession of me: it seemed as if someone were pushing me forward. Meanwhile the snowstorm did not subside; I could endure it no longer, and again ordering out the horses, I started off in the midst of the storm. The driver conceived the idea of following the course of the river, which would shorten our journey by three versts. The banks were covered with snow: the driver drove past the place where we should have come out upon the road, and so we found ourselves in an unknown part of the country.... The storm did not cease; I saw a light in the distance, and I ordered the driver to proceed towards it. We reached a village; in the wooden church there was a light. The church was open. Outside the railings stood several sledges, and people were passing in and out through the porch.
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« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2009, 11:51:59 pm »

 "'This way! this way!' cried several voices.

  "I ordered the driver to proceed.

  "'In the name of Heaven, where have you been loitering?' said somebody to me. 'The bride has fainted away; the pope does not know what to do, and we were just getting ready to go back. Get out as quickly as you can.'

  "I got out of the sledge without saying a word, and went into the church, which was feebly lit up by two or three tapers. A young girl was sitting on a bench in a dark corner of the church; another girl was rubbing her temples.

  "'Thank God!' said the latter, 'you have come at last. You have almost killed the young lady.'

  "The old priest advanced towards me, and said:

  "'Do you wish me to begin?'

  "'Begin, begin, father,' replied I, absently.
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« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2009, 11:52:15 pm »

  "The young girl was raised up. She seemed to me not at all bad-looking....Impelled by an incomprehensible, unpardonable levity, I placed myself by her side in front of the pulpit; the priest hurried on; three men and a chambermaid supported the bride and only occupied themselves with her. We were married.

  "'Kiss each other!' said the witnesses to us.

  "My wife turned her pale face towards me. I was about to kiss her, when she exclaimed: 'Oh! it is not he! it is not he!' and fell senseless.

  "The witnesses gazed at me in alarm. I turned round and left the church without the least hindrance, flung myself into the kibitka and cried: 'Drive off!'
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« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2009, 11:52:39 pm »

 "My God!" exclaimed Maria Gavrilovna. "And you do not know what became of your poor wife?"

  "I do not know," replied Bourmin; "neither do I know the name of the village where I was married, nor the post-station where I set out from. At that time I attached so little importance to my wicked prank, that on leaving the church, I fell asleep, and did not awake till the next morning after reaching the third station. The servant, who was then with me, died during the campaign, so that I have no hope of ever discovering the woman upon whom I played such a cruel joke, and who is now so cruelly avenged."

  "My God! my God!" cried Maria Gavrilovna, seizing him by the hand: "then it was you! And you do not recognize me?"

  Bourmin turned pale -- and threw himself at her feet.

(End.)

http://gaslight.mtroyal.ab.ca/gaslight/Snow.htm
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