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The Cook's Wedding and Other Stories

Kashtanka
(A Story)
I
Misbehaviour
A YOUNG dog, a reddish mongrel, between a dachshund and a "yard-dog," very like a
fox in face, was running up and down the pavement looking uneasily from side to side.
From time to time she stopped and, whining and lifting first one chilled paw and then
another, tried to make up her mind how it could have happened that she was lost.
She remembered very well how she had passed the day, and how, in the end, she had
found herself on this unfamiliar pavement.
The day had begun by her master Luka Alexandritch's putting on his hat, taking
something wooden under his arm wrapped up in a red handkerchief, and calling:
"Kashtanka, come along!"
Hearing her name the mongrel had come out from under the work-table, where she slept
on the shavings, stretched herself voluptuously and run after her master. The people Luka
Alexandritch worked for lived a very long way off, so that, before he could get to any one
of them, the carpenter had several times to step into a tavern to fortify himself. Kashtanka
remembered that on the way she had behaved extremely improperly. In her delight that
she was being taken for a walk she jumped about, dashed barking after the trains, ran into
yards, and chased other dogs. The carpenter was continually losing sight of her, stopping,
and angrily shouting at her. Once he had even, with an expression of fury in his face,
taken her fox-like ear in his fist, smacked her, and said emphatically: "Pla-a-ague take
you, you pest!"
After having left the work where it had been bespoken, Luka Alexandritch went into his
sister's and there had something to eat and drink; from his sister's he had gone to see a
bookbinder he knew; from the bookbinder's to a tavern, from the tavern to another
crony's, and so on. In short, by the time Kashtanka found herself on the unfamiliar
pavement, it was getting dusk, and the carpenter was as drunk as a cobbler. He was
waving his arms and, breathing heavily, muttered:
"In sin my mother bore me! Ah, sins, sins! Here now we are walking along the street and
looking at the street lamps, but when we die, we shall burn in a fiery Gehenna. . . ."
Or he fell into a good-natured tone, called Kashtanka to him, and said to her: "You,
Kashtanka, are an insect of a creature, and nothing else. Beside a man, you are much the
same as a joiner beside a cabinet-maker. . . ."
 
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