Hamlet by Alexander Kuprin

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin – Hamlet – Contents

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“Well, little father, don’t you think he’s fine?” said a young actor-student to Yakovlef, the patriarch of provincial actors, who was taking the part of the king.

The two were standing together on the staircase which led from the dressing-rooms to the stage.

Yakovlef pursed and bit his full thick lips.

“Fine! Fine! But all the same, he acts as a boy. Those who saw Mochalof play Hamlet wouldn’t marvel at this. I, brother, was just such a little chap as you are when I had the happiness of seeing him first. And when I come to die, I shall look back on that as the most blessed moment of my life. When he got up from the floor of the stage and said:

“‘Let the stricken deer go weep’

the audience rose as one man, hardly daring to breathe. And now watch carefully how Kostromsky takes that very scene.”

“You’re very hard to please, Valerie Nikolaitch.”

“Not at all. But you watch him; to tell you the truth, I can’t. Do you think I am watching him?”

“Well, who then?”

“Ah, brother, look at Ophelia. There’s an actress for you!”

“But Valerie Nikolaitch, she’s only a student.”

“Idiot! Don’t mind that. You didn’t notice how she said the words:

“‘He spoke to me of love, but was so tender,
So timid, and so reverent.’[1]

Of course you didn’t. And I’ve been nearly thirty years on the stage, and I tell you I’ve never heard anything like it. She’s got talent. You mark my words, in the fourth act she’ll have such a success that your Kostromsky will be in a fury. You see!”

[1]Perhaps—“He hath, my lord, of late made many
Of his affection to me.”

The Russian lines do not clearly correspond to any of Shakespeare’s.—ED.

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Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin -Hamlet – Contents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

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