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My Fellow-Traveller Maxim Gorky

Chapter V

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We arrived in Kertch, as I have said, exhausted and hungry. It was late. We had to spend the night under a bridge, which joined the harbor to the mainland. We thought it better to conceal ourselves, as we had been told that just before our arrival all the tramps had been driven out of the town. This made us feel anxious, lest we might fall into the hands of the police; besides Shakro had only a false passport, and if that fact became known, it might lead to serious complications in our future.

All night long the spray from the sea splashed over us. At dawn we left our hiding place, wet to the skin and bitterly cold. All day we wandered about the shore. All we succeeded in earning was a silver piece of the value of ten kopecks, which was given me by the wife of a priest, in return for helping her to carry home a bag of melons from the bazaar.

A narrow belt of water divided us from Taman, where we meant to go, but not one boatman would consent to carry us over in his boat, in spite of my pleadings. Everyone here was up in arms against the tramps, who, shortly before our arrival, had performed a series of heroic exploits; and we were looked upon, with good reason, as belonging to their set.

Evening came on. I felt angry with the whole world, for my lack of success; and I planned a somewhat risky scheme, which I put into execution as soon as night came on.

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Creatures That Once Were Men
Maxim Gorky

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