A funny coincidence. I left St.Petersburg for Crimea, being sure that I would never return, and provided the “Apollo” magazine room on Razhezhey Street and my personal apartment at Ivanovskaya Street - with everything that remained in them, at full disposal (through the secretary of Lozinsky’s editorial office) to the Apollonians. As far as I know, almost the first to move into my apartment were Akhmatova with her friend - Shileiko, a scientist Assyriologist, an employee of “Apollo”, and someone, who I thought was long and hopelessly in love with her.
The melting snow on Ivanovskaya Street has turned into thick, dirty slush. As usual, I left the house about eleven and hailed a cab. Up drove up “Vanka”, an old man with a grey, matted beard who looks as if he is grown over with moss. See more
We had just agreed on the price and he was about to open the sledge for me when from the left, from the direction of Razyezzhaya Street, three characters came striding up to us dressed in leather, half-educated types by the look of them (clearly they were workers). They came up and proceeded to cut through the reins right next to the horse’s nose with a large pair of shears (the kind used to prune trees). They did this without a word.
My driver, also without saying a word, but with a meaningful glance at the strikers, got out of the sledge, pulling his long heavy coat after him, stood in the road next to the sledge and sank to his knees. Then he took off his fur hat, made the sign of the cross with an elaborate flourish, and bent his forehead to the ground, right into the slush. Straightening up again, but still on his knees, he intoned, in an unexpectedly loud and sonorous voice, given his wretched appearance:
“Thank you brothers! It has begun. God have mercy!”
And then, without a glance at any of us, he trotted away on his horse. And I went home.
I felt very clearly that “it” really has “begun”, and that it will not end well.