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Hide and Seek

Fiodor Sologub



Several days passed. Lelechka caught cold. The fever came upon her at
night. When Serafima Aleksandrovna, awakened by Fedosya, came to
Lelechka and saw her looking so hot, so restless, and so tormented,
she instantly recalled the evil omen, and a hopeless despair took
possession of her from the first moments.

A doctor was called, and everything was done that is usual on such
occasions—but the inevitable happened. Serafima Aleksandrovna tried
to console herself with the hope that Lelechka would get well, and
would again laugh and play—yet this seemed to her an unthinkable
happiness! And Lelechka grew feebler from hour to hour.

All simulated tranquillity, so as not to frighten Serafima
Aleksandrovna, but their masked faces only made her sad.

Nothing made her so unhappy as the reiterations of Fedosya, uttered
between sobs: "She hid herself and hid herself, our Lelechka!"

But the thoughts of Serafima Aleksandrovna were confused, and she
could not quite grasp what was happening.

Fever was consuming Lelechka, and there were times when she lost
consciousness and spoke in delirium. But when she returned to herself
she bore her pain and her fatigue with gentle good nature; she smiled
feebly at her mamochka, so that her mamochka should not see how
much she suffered. Three days passed, torturing like a nightmare.
Lelechka grew quite feeble. She did not know that she was dying.

She glanced at her mother with her dimmed eyes, and lisped in a
scarcely audible, hoarse voice: "Tiu-tiu, mamochka! Make tiu-tiu,

Serafima Aleksandrovna hid her face behind the curtains near
Lelechka's bed. How tragic!

"Mamochka!" called Lelechka in an almost inaudible voice.

Lelechka's mother bent over her, and Lelechka, her vision grown still
more dim, saw her mother's pale, despairing face for the last time.

"A white mamochka!" whispered Lelechka.

Mamochka's white face became blurred, and everything grew dark
before Lelechka. She caught the edge of the bed-cover feebly with her
hands and whispered: "Tiu-tiu!"

Something rattled in her throat; Lelechka opened and again closed her
rapidly paling lips, and died.

Serafima Aleksandrovna was in dumb despair as she left Lelechka, and
went out of the room. She met her husband.

"Lelechka is dead," she said in a quiet, dull voice.

Sergey Modestovich looked anxiously at her pale face. He was struck by
the strange stupor in her formerly animated handsome features.