Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ivan S. Turgenev - Phantoms

For a long time I could not get to sleep, and kept turning from side to
side. 'Confound this foolishness about table-turning!' I thought. 'It
simply upsets one's nerves.'... Drowsiness began to overtake me at last....
Suddenly it seemed to me as though there were the faint and plaintive sound
of a harp-string in the room.
I raised my head. The moon was low in the sky, and looked me straight in
the face. White as chalk lay its light upon the floor.... The strange sound
was distinctly repeated.
I leaned on my elbow. A faint feeling of awe plucked at my heart. A minute
passed, another.... Somewhere, far away, a cock crowed; another answered
still more remote.
I let my head sink back on the pillow. 'See what one can work oneself up
to,' I thought again,... 'there's a singing in my ears.'
After a little while I fell asleep--or I thought I fell asleep. I had an
extraordinary dream. I fancied I was lying in my room, in my bed--and was
not asleep, could not even close my eyes. And again I heard the sound....
I turned over.... The moonlight on the floor began softly to lift, to rise
up, to round off slightly above.... Before me; impalpable as mist, a white
woman was standing motionless.
'Who are you?' I asked with an effort.
A voice made answer, like the rustle of leaves: 'It is I ... I ... I ... I
have come for you.'
'For me? But who are you?'
'Come by night to the edge of the wood where there stands an old oak-tree.
I will be there.'
I tried to look closely into the face of the mysterious woman--and suddenly
I gave an involuntary shudder: there was a chilly breath upon me. And then
I was not lying down, but sitting up in my bed; and where, as I fancied,
the phantom had stood, the moonlight lay in a long streak of white upon the

Continue at the source
Image taken from here

Book Choice: The Jew and Other Stories (Webster's Spanish Thesaurus Edition)

No comments: