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А / Александр Степанович Грин /
Alexander Grin. Crimson sails

Alexander Grin. Crimson sails
A FANTASY (translated by Fainna Glagoleva)
Origin: "Алые паруса" Ў parusa.txt
Alexander Grin, "The Seeker of Adventure, Selected Stories",
М., Прогресс, 1978, 484 с.
OCR: Ivi ---------------------------------------------------------------

Presented and dedicated to Nina Nikolayevna Grin
by the AUTHOR
November 23,' 1922 Petrograd

Longren, a sailor of the Orion, a rugged, three-hundred ton brig on which he had served for ten years and to which he was attached more strongly than some sons are to their mothers, was finally forced to give up the sea.
This is how it came about. During one of his infrequent visits home he did not, as he always had, see his wife Mary from afar, standing on the doorstep, throwing up her hands and then running breathlessly towards him. Instead, he found a distraught neighbour woman by the crib, a new piece of furniture in his small house.
"I tended her for three months, neighbour," the woman said. "Here's your daughter."
Longren's heart was numb with grief as he bent down and saw an eight-month-old mite peering intently at his long beard. Then he sat down, stared at the floor and began to twirl his moustache. It was wet as from the rain.
"When did Mary die?" he asked.
The woman recounted the sad tale, interrupting herself to coo fondly at the child and assure him that Mary was now in Heaven. When Longren learned the details, Heaven seemed to him not much brighter than the woodshed, and he felt that the light of a plain lamp, were the three of them together now, would have been a joy unsurpassed to the woman who had gone on to the unknown Beyond.
About three months previously the young mother's finances had come to an abrupt end. At least half of the money Longren had left her was spent on doctors after her difficult confinement and on caring for the newborn infant; finally, the loss of a small but vital sum had forced Mary to appeal to Menners for a loan. Menners kept a tavern and shop and was considered a wealthy man. Mary went to see him at six o'clock in the evening. It was close to seven when the neighbour woman met her on the road to Liss. Mary had been weeping and was very upset. She said she was going to town to pawn her wedding ring. Then she added that Menners had agreed to lend her some money but had demanded her love in return. Mary had rejected him.
"There's not a crumb in the house," she had said to the neighbour. "I'll go into town. We'll manage somehow until my husband returns."
It was a cold, windy evening. In vain did the neighbour try to talk the young woman out of going to Liss when night was approaching. "You'll get wet, Mary. It's beginning to rain, and the wind looks as if it will bring on a storm."
It was at least a three hours' brisk walk from the seaside village to town, but Mary did not heed her neighb

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