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The Witch and other stories
written by "Chekhov, Anton Pavlovich, 1860-1904"
... "Mitrofan Petrov.... Haven't you heard of him? He makes nets in our village and sells them to the gentry. He needs a lot of those nuts. Reckon a matter of ten for each net." "Listen. Article 1081 of the Penal Code lays down that every wilful damage of the railway line committed when it can expose the traffic on that line to danger, and the guilty party knows that an accident must be caused by it... (Do you understand? Knows! And you could not help knowing what this unscrewing would lead to...) is liable to penal servitude." "Of course, you know best.... We are ignorant people.... What do we understand?" "You understand all about it! You are lying, shamming!" "What should I lie for? Ask in the village if you don't believe me. Only a bleak is caught without a weight, and there is no fish worse than a gudgeon, yet even that won't bite without a weight." "You'd better tell me about the shillisper next," said the magistrate, smiling. "There are no shillispers in our parts.... We cast our line without a weight on the top of the water with a butterfly; a mullet may be caught that way, though that is not often." "Come, hold your tongue." A silence follows. Denis shifts from one foot to the other, looks at the table with the green cloth on it, and blinks his eyes violently as though what was before him was not the cloth but the sun. The magistrate writes rapidly. "Can I go?" asks Denis after a long silence. "No. I must take you under guard and send you to prison." Denis leaves off blinking and, raising his thick eyebrows, looks inquiringly at the magistrate. "How do you mean, to prison? Your honour! I have no time to spare, I must go to the fair; I must get three roubles from Yegor for some tallow!..." "Hold your tongue; don't interrupt." "To prison.... If there was something to go for, I'd go; but just to go for nothing! What for? I haven't stolen anything, I believe, and I've n...

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