Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Semi-colons, Commas, and Bears! Oh My!

I spent the weekend concerned with punctuation and then on Monday morning, I read the opening paragraph of The Bear from Ivan Turgenev's A Sportsman's Notebook:

"One evening I was returning alone from shooting in my racing drozhky. I was still eight versts from home; my good trotting–mare was going smartly along the dusty road, snorting and fidgeting her ears from time to time; my tired dog maintained a position within a pace of the rear wheels, as if fastened to them. A thunderstorm was approaching. Ahead of me a huge lilac-coloured storm-cloud slowly rose from behind a forest; long grey clouds floated above me and towards me; there was anxious stir and murmur among the willows. The stifling heat suddenly gave way to a moist chill; swiftly the shadows gathered. I flicked the horse with the reins, went down into a ravine, crossed a dry stream-bed, completely overgrown with willow-bushes, climbed a hill and entered a forest. Ahead of me the road wound between thick clumps of hazel, already plunged in darkness; I made progress with difficulty. THe drozhky jolted over the hard roots of hundred-year-old oaks and limes, which kept on intersecting the deep ruts left by cartwheels; my mare began to stumble. All of the sudden, high above me, a strong wind whistled, the trees swayed violently, heavy raindrops splashed and smacked sharply on the leaves, lightning flashed, and the storm burst. Rain fell in the rivers. I drove on at a walk, and was soon compelled to stop: my mare was stuck, and I could see not an inch ahead of me. Somehow or other I found shelter under a spreading bush. Huddled together, with my face covered, I was patiently awaiting the end of the downpour, when, suddenly, in a flash of lightning, I thought I saw a tall figure in the road. I began staring that way—and the figure started right up out of the ground beside my drozhky."

1 comment:

Uncle Kihm said...

This is brilliant. Thank you.