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The Beggar Man
by [?]

Translated From The Russian
By Isabel Hapgood

I was passing along the street when a beggar, a decrepit old man, stopped me.

Swollen, tearful eyes, blue lips, bristling rags, unclean sores…. Oh, how horribly had poverty gnawed that unhappy being!

He stretched out to me a red, bloated, dirty hand…. He moaned, he bellowed for help.

I began to rummage in all my pockets…. Neither purse, nor watch, nor even handkerchief did I find…. I had taken nothing with me.

And the beggar still waited … and extended his hand, which swayed and trembled feebly.

Bewildered, confused, I shook that dirty, tremulous hand heartily….

“Blame me not, brother; I have nothing, brother.”

The beggar man fixed his swollen eyes upon me; his blue lips smiled–and in his turn he pressed my cold fingers.

“Never mind, brother,” he mumbled. “Thanks for this also, brother.–This also is an alms, brother.”

I understood that I had received an alms from my brother.

February, 1878.