Hamlet by Alexander Kuprin

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin – Hamlet – Contents

< < < . VI .
. VIII . > > >


The fourth act commenced. As soon as Ophelia came on to the stage in her white dress, adorned with flowers and straw, her eyes wide open and staring, a confused murmur ran through the audience, and was followed by an almost painful silence.

And when Ophelia sang her little songs about her dear love, in gentle, naïve tones, there was a strange breathing among the audience as if a deep and general sigh had burst from a thousand breasts:

“How should I your true love know,
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.”

“Oh, poor Ophelia! What are you singing?” asked the queen sympathetically.

The witless eyes of Ophelia were turned on the queen in wonder, as if she had not noticed her before.

“What am I singing?” she asked in astonishment. “Listen to my song:

“‘He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.’”

No one in the theatre could look on with indifference, all were in the grip of a common feeling, all sat as if enchanted, never moving their eyes from the stage.

But more persistently, and more eagerly than anyone else, Kostromsky stood in the wings and watched her every movement. In his soul, his sick and proud soul, which had never known restraint or limit to its own desires and passions, there now blazed a terrible and intolerable hatred. He felt that this poor and modest girl-student had definitely snatched from his hands the evening’s success. His drunkenness had, as it were, quite gone out of his head. He did not yet know how this envious spite which boiled in him could expend itself, but he awaited impatiently the time when Ophelia would come off the stage. “I hope all will be well. We must be patient; but I cannot choose but weep to think they should lay him in the cold ground,”

he heard Ophelia say, in a voice choked with the madness of grief. “My brother shall know of it, and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach! Good-night, ladies; good-night, sweet ladies; good-night, good-night.”

Yureva came out in the wings, agitated, breathing deeply, pale even under her make-up. She was followed by deafening cries from the audience. In the doorway she stumbled up against Kostromsky. He purposely made no way for her, but she, even when her shoulder brushed against his, did not notice him, so excited was she by her acting and the rapturous applause of the public.

“Yureva! Yureva! Brav-o-o!”

She went back and bowed.

As she returned again to the wings she again stumbled against Kostromsky, who would not allow her to pass. Yureva looked at him with a terrified glance, and said timidly:

“Please allow me to pass!”

“Be more careful please, young person!” answered he, with malicious haughtiness. “If you are applauded by a crowd of such idiots, it doesn’t mean you can push into people with impunity.” And seeing her silent and frightened, he became still more infuriated, and taking her roughly by the arm he pushed her on one side and cried out:

“Yes, you can pass, devil take you, blockhead that you are!”

< < < . VI .
. VIII . > > >

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin -Hamlet – Contents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

If you liked this site, subscribe , put likes, write comments!

Share on social networks

Check out Our Latest Posts

© 2023 Akirill.com – All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s