It was a lovely night, one of those nights, dear reader, which can only happen when you are young. The sky was so bright and starry that when you looked at it the first question that came into your mind was whether it was really possible that all sorts of bad-tempered and unstable people could live under such a glorious sky. The mention of bad-tempered and unstable people reminds me that my behavior during the day and in fact during all other days has been reproachful.
When i woke up in the morning, i felt strangely depressed, as i did every morning. The disheveled hair covering my forehead, the reek of piss and vomit from my bed indicating that i didn't changed them since a week, and the disorderly state of my room completed the picture of a man depressed with his life and an enemy of himself. I must confess that i liked my room this way, for it made me aware of my conscience and i didn't trust the maid. She would barge into my room every morning to clean it which resulted in my cursing and swearing oaths at her till tears glistened in her eyes and i was forced to stop and let her clean it. Oh how a girl's tears have the ability to pierce the strongest of hearts!
I am spiteful. i am vile, base and impudent. I am a sick man. Forgive me, dear reader, as you must be cross at my disdainful demeanor but it really relieves me by expressing myself so. I have not been able to make a single acquaintance during all the years i have been living in Baltiysk, Russia. But what do i want an acquaintance for? I know the whole of Baltiysk without them. Every Sunday night i would go to Hob's market where half a million workers, men and women, with their children spill into the streets like a flood, flocking to certain parts of the town, all through the night, till five o' clock in the morning, eating and drinking like beasts. The people swarm round the open taverns and into the streets, eating and drinking everywhere. It was as though a ball had been prepared for them, the public houses were as gay as palaces. I, however, did not take part in the festivity and felicity but rather enjoy watching the expressions on their gleaming faces but at the same time feel sorry for my unhappy state.
Suddenly, new jobs were being available in the country and the whole town leaving for them. It terrified me to be left alone, and for three days i was racking my brains in trying to find if something was wrong with me. I would no longer see and meet the old familiar faces that i used to see every morning, and it hurt me to even think about it. It is true, i am a complete stranger to the people on the street, but they are not so to me, i know them rather intimately, for i have made a thorough study of their faces during my wanderings in the street. I am happy when they are happy, and i am sad when they are sad and downcast. This particular old beggar used to wave his cap and blanket at me whenever i left my house, and i did the same to him.
The houses too, are familiar to me. When i used to walk along the street, they seemed to be running before me. They would gaze through the windows and practically say to me, " Good morning, how are you? I am fine, thank-you They are going to add another storey to me in April", or " I was nearly burnt last night, oh how withered i am now, i was so terrified!"
It seemed as thought everyone and everything had left the city for good, as it looked like a desert now. Perhaps they had started to dislike my company and my presence After a day or two, the houses too, had lost their charm and gaiety with which they saluted me every morning and looked forlorn and sad. I had no excuse to go to the country, as i had no cottage or relative to go to.
Days and months flew by but the deafening silence which prevailed in the city was not broken, for i strained my ear against the window pane for the slightest sound of their arrival. During my lonely walks in the day, i noticed that even the birds had stopped singing, as if they were hurt that nobody liked them and had forsaken them because of their incessant noise.
After getting dressed in my usual clothes and an overcoat, i left the house in search of them. for it was impossible that they should forget me. I walked for hours and hours and, as usual had for some time been completely oblivious of my surroundings, when i found myself near the toll gate. I felt cheerful at once and stepping beyond the gate, walked along the road between fields of corn and lush grass, unconscious of any fatigue and feeling with every breath i drew that a heavy weight was being lifted from my heart. There is something incredibly moving in the way nature, with the coming of spring, suddenly reveals herself in all the glory, splendor and blossoms out with flowers....She reminds me of that girl, ailing and faded, upon whom you look with pity and compassionate affection, but who in the twinkling of an eye, becomes by some magic chance indescribably fair and beautiful, stunned and fascinated, you ask yourself what power it was that made the sad eyes gleam with fire? what caused the rush of blood to her pale face? What brought the passion to that sweet face? Why her bosom heaved so wildly? What was it that filled the face of the poor girl with life and vigor and forced it to light up with so brilliant a smile and so contagious a laugh? You look around and wonder who it could have been, you begin to suspect the truth. But the brief moment passes, and tomorrow perhaps you will encounter the same forlorn gaze, the same remorse in her eyes and traces of vexation in her movements. And you feel sorry that the beauty, so suddenly evoked, should have faded so irrevocably and so to little purpose that she did not even give time to fall in love with her.
Suddenly, a loud boom occurring at intervals reverberated across the land and shattered my reverie. It happened in a bell-tolling sequence, perhaps it was a bell tolling. A wedding? A hanging? It could be anything. A tear glistened in my eyes and the cheerful countenance which i had just now, faded away. I turned around and walked back the way i came, dejected and dispirited eyes downcast.
And so, i would always wander away in search of my dear friends and in search of solace, oblivious of my surroundings, drowned in my own thoughts, until the 'sound' would reach my ears and would force me to retire back to my home.