The Workman And The Man With White Hands - A Dialogue - Poem by Ivan Turgenev
WORKMAN. Why do you come crawling up to us? What do ye want? You're none of
us…. Get along!
MAN WITH WHITE HANDS. I am one of you, comrades!
THE WORKMAN. One of us, indeed! That's a notion! Look at my hands. D'ye see
how dirty they are? And they smell of muck, and of pitch-but yours, see,
are white. And what do they smell of?
THE MAN WITH WHITE HANDS (
offering his hands
). Smell them.
THE WORKMAN (
sniffing his hands
). That's a queer start. Seems like a
smell of iron.
THE MAN WITH WHITE HANDS. Yes; iron it is. For six long years I wore chains
THE WORKMAN. And what was that for, pray?
THE MAN WITH WHITE HANDS. Why, because I worked for your good; tried to
set free the oppressed and the ignorant; stirred folks up against your
oppressors; resisted the authorities…. So they locked me up.
THE WORKMAN. Locked you up, did they? Serve you right for resisting!
Two Years Later
THE SAME WORKMAN TO ANOTHER. I say, Pete…. Do you remember, the year
before last, a chap with white hands talking to you?
THE OTHER WORKMAN. Yes;… what of it?
THE FIRST WORKMAN. They're going to hang him to-day, I heard say; that's
THE SECOND WORKMAN. Did he keep on resisting the authorities?
THE FIRST WORKMAN. He kept on.
THE SECOND WORKMAN. Ah!… Now, I say, mate, couldn't we get hold of a bit
of the rope they're going to hang him with? They do say, it brings good
luck to a house!
THE FIRST WORKMAN. You're right there. We'll have a try for it, mate.
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