In the Graveyard
The wind has got up, friends, and it is beginning to get dark. Hadnt we better take ourselves off before it gets worse?
The wind was frolicking among the yellow leaves of the old birch trees, and a shower of thick drops fell upon us from the leaves. One of our party slipped on the clayey soil, and clutched at a big grey cross to save himself from falling.
Yegor Gryaznorukov, titular councillor and cavalier he read. I knew that gentleman. He was fond of his wife, he wore the Stanislav ribbon, and read nothing. His digestion worked well. His life was all right, wasnt it? One would have thought he had no reason to die, but alas! fate had its eye on him. The poor fellow fell a victim to his habits of observation. On one occasion, when he was listening at a keyhole, he got such a bang on the head from the door that he sustained concussion of the brain (he had a brain), and died. And here, under this tombstone, lies a man who from his cradle detested verses and epigrams. As though to mock him his whole tombstone is adorned with verses. There is someone coming!
A man in a shabby overcoat, with a shaven, bluish-crimson countenance, overtook us. He had a bottle under his arm and a parcel of sausage was sticking out of his pocket.
Where is the grave of Mushkin, the actor? he asked us in a husky voice.
We conducted him towards the grave of Mushkin, the actor, who had died two years before.
You are a government clerk, I suppose? we asked him.
No, an actor. Nowadays it is difficult to distinguish actors from clerks of the Consistory. No doubt you have noticed that. Thats typical, but its not very flattering for the government clerk.
It was with difficulty that we found the actors grave. It had sunken, was overgrown with weeds, and had lost all appearance of a grave. A cheap, little cross that had begun to rot, and was covered with green moss blackened by the frost, had an air of aged dejection and looked, as it were, ailing.
forgotten friend Mushkin we read.
Time had erased the never, and corrected the falsehood of man.
A subscription for a monument to him was got up among actors and journalists, but they drank up the money, the dear fellows sighed the actor, bowing down to the ground and touching the wet earth with his knees and his cap.
How do you mean, drank it?
Thats very simple. They collected the money, published a paragraph about it in the newspaper, and spent it on drink. I dont say it to blame them. I hope it did them good, dear things! Good health to them, and eternal memory to him.
Drinking means bad health, and eternal memory nothing but sadness. God give us remembrance for a time, but eternal memorywhat next!
You are right there. Mushkin was a well-known man, you see; there were a dozen wreaths on the coffin, and he is already forgotten. Those to whom he was dear have forgotten him, but those to whom he did harm remember him. I, for instance, shall never, never forget him, for I got nothing but harm from him. I have no love for the deceased.
What harm did he do you?
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