Isaac Babel, “The Story of My Dovecot”

“At night there was the sound of shooting in the streets, and Mother did not want to let me go to the hunters’ market. Since early morning on 20 October the boys who lived next door had been flying a kite right opposite the police station, and our water carrier, having abandoned all his tasks, was walking down Rybnaya Street pomaded, with a red face. Then we saw the sons of the baker Kalistov haul a leather vaulting horse into the street and begin to do gymnastics in the middle of the roadway. No one tried to stop them; Semernikov the policeman was even egging them on to jump a bit higher. Semernikov was wearing a home-woven silk sash, and his boots had been more highly polished that day than they had ever been before. My mother was frightened, more than by anyone else, by a policeman not wearing his uniform; it was because of him that she would not let me go out, but I stole out through the backyard and ran all the way to the hunters’ market, which was situated a long way behind the station.”

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