Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Chelkash Maxim Gorky

Chapter I

Page 7 of 8

Table Of Contents: Creatures That Once Were Men

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

"That's not my way of doing business, mate! A bird in the hand for me."

Chelkash threw himself into his part.

"Don't argue, wait a bit! Come into the restaurant."

And they went down the street side by side, Chelkash with the dignified air of an employer, twisting his mustaches, the youth with an expression of absolute readiness to give way to him, but yet full of distrust and uneasiness.

"And what's your name?" asked Chelkash.

"Gavrilo!" answered the youth.

When they had come into the dirty and smoky eating-house, and Chelkash going up to the counter, in the familiar tone of an habitual customer, ordered a bottle of vodka, cabbage soup, a cut from the joint, and tea, and reckoning up his order, flung the waiter a brief "put it all down!" to which the waiter nodded in silence,--Gavrilo was at once filled with respect for this ragamuffin, his employer, who enjoyed here such an established and confident position.

"Well, now we'll have a bit of lunch and talk things over. You sit still, I'll be back in a minute."

He went out. Gavrilo looked round. The restaurant was in an underground basement; it was damp and dark, and reeked with the stifling fumes of vodka, tobacco-smoke, tar, and some acrid odor. Facing Gavrilo at another table sat a drunken man in the dress of a sailor, with a red beard, all over coal-dust and tar. Hiccupping every minute, he was droning a song all made up of broken and incoherent words, strangely sibilant and guttural sounds. He was unmistakably not a Russian.

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

Behind him sat two Moldavian women, tattered, black-haired sunburned creatures, who were chanting some sort of song, too, with drunken voices.

And from the darkness beyond emerged other figures, all strangely dishevelled, all half-drunk, noisy and restless.

Gavrilo felt miserable here alone. He longed for his employer to come back quickly. And the din in the eating-house got louder and louder. Growing shriller every second, it all melted into one note, and it seemed like the roaring of some monstrous boast, with hundreds of different throats, vaguely enraged, trying to struggle out of this damp hole and unable to find a way out to freedom.

Gavrilo felt something intoxicating and oppressive creeping over him, over all his limbs, making his head reel, and his eyes grow dim, as they moved inquisitively about the eating-house.

Chelkash came in, and they began eating and drinking and talking. At the third glass Gavrilo was drunk. He became lively and wanted to say something pleasant to his employer, who--the good fellow!--though he had done nothing for him yet, was entertaining him so agreeably. But the words which flowed in perfect waves to his throat, for some reason would not come from his tongue.

Page 7 of 8 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Creatures That Once Were Men
Maxim Gorky

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004