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Hide and Seek

Fiodor Sologub



Lelechka was dressed, placed in a little coffin, and carried into the
parlour. Serafima Aicksandrovna was standing by the coffin and looking
dully at her dead child. Sergey Modestovich went to his wife and,
consoling her with cold, empty words, tried to draw her away from the
coffin. Seranma Aleksandrovna smiled.

"Go away," she said quietly. "Lelechka is playing. She'll be up in a

"Sima, my dear, don't agitate yourself," said Sergey Modestovich in a
whisper. "You must resign yourself to your fate."

"She'll be up in a minute," persisted Serafima Aleksandrovna, her eyes
fixed on the dead little girl.

Sergey Modestovich looked round him cautiously: he was afraid of the
unseemly and of the ridiculous.

"Sima, don't agitate yourself," he repeated. "This would be a miracle,
and miracles do not happen in the nineteenth century."

No sooner had he said these words than Sergey Modestovich felt their
irrelevance to what had happened. He was confused and annoyed.

He took his wife by the arm, and cautiously led her away from the
coffin. She did not oppose him.

Her face seemed tranquil and her eyes were dry. She went into the
nursery and began to walk round the room, looking into those places
where Lelechka used to hide herself. She walked all about the room,
and bent now and then to look under the table or under the bed, and
kept on repeating cheerfully: "Where is my little one? Where is my

After she had walked round the room once she began to make her quest
anew. Fedosya, motionless, with dejected face, sat in a corner, and
looked frightened at her mistress; then she suddenly burst out
sobbing, and she wailed loudly:

"She hid herself, and hid herself, our Lelechka, our angelic little

Serafima Aleksandrovna trembled, paused, cast a perplexed look at
Fedosya, began to weep, and left the nursery quietly.