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The Servant

S.T. Semyonov

Overview I II III IV


Gerasim returned to Moscow just at a time when it was hardest to find
work, a short while before Christmas, when a man sticks even to a poor
job in the expectation of a present. For three weeks the peasant lad
had been going about in vain seeking a position.

He stayed with relatives and friends from his village, and although he
had not yet suffered great want, it disheartened him that he, a strong
young man, should go without work.

Gerasim had lived in Moscow from early boyhood. When still a mere
child, he had gone to work in a brewery as bottle-washer, and later as
a lower servant in a house. In the last two years he had been in a
merchant's employ, and would still have held that position, had he not
been summoned back to his village for military duty. However, he had
not been drafted. It seemed dull to him in the village, he was not
used to the country life, so he decided he would rather count the
stones in Moscow than stay there.

Every minute it was getting to be more and more irk-some for him to be
tramping the streets in idleness. Not a stone did he leave unturned in
his efforts to secure any sort of work. He plagued all of his
acquaintances, he even held up people on the street and asked them if
they knew of a situation—all in vain.

Finally Gerasim could no longer bear being a burden on his people.
Some of them were annoyed by his coming to them; and others had
suffered unpleasantness from their masters on his account. He was
altogether at a loss what to do. Sometimes he would go a whole day
without eating.