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Can’t help myself: I am hooked!

Otrazhenie

( by Nikolay Leskov, 1879.
Abridged. )

( by Petr Shmelkov )

The ritual of chasing out the devil can be observed nowhere else than in Moscow, and then only if you have particularly good luck and special patronage.

I witnessed it from beginning to end thanks to a fortunate concurrence of circumstances, and I wish to record it for the benefit of those who really know and love the serious and sublime aspects of our national customs.

Although on my father’s side I come of gentry stock, on the other side I am close to the ‘people’: my mother’s family were merchants. She came of a wealthy household, but fell in love with my father and eloped with him. My late father was a ladies’ man, and if he set his cap at a girl, usually got his way. So it was with mama, but her parents paid…

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