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An odd, unsettling, well-known Russian tale.
⁓The Voice before the Void
“The White Dog”
translated from the Russian by John Cournos
Everything grew irksome for Alexandra Ivanovna in the workshop of this out-of-the-way town — the patterns, the clatter of machines, the complaints of the managers; it was the shop in which she had served as apprentice and now for several years as seamstress. Everything irritated Alexandra Ivanovna; she quarrelled with every one and abused the innocent apprentices. Among others to suffer from her outbursts of temper was Tanechka, the youngest of the seamstresses, who had only recently become an apprentice. In the beginning Tanechka submitted to her abuse in silence. In the end she revolted, and, addressing herself to her assailant, said, quite calmly and affably, so that every one laughed:
“You, Alexandra Ivanovna, are a downright dog!”
Alexandra Ivanovna felt humiliated.
“You are a dog yourself!” she exclaimed.
Tanechka was sitting sewing. She paused now and then from her work and said in a calm, deliberate manner:
“You always whine . . . Certainly, you are a dog . . . You have a dog’s snout . . . And a dog’s ears . . . And a wagging tail . . . The mistress will soon drive you out of doors, because you are the most detestable of dogs, a poodle.”
Tanechka was a young, plump, rosy-cheeked girl with an innocent, good-natured face, which revealed, however, a trace of cunning. She sat there so demurely, barefooted, Continue reading