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Yatsik knew about itself everything. He was not thin — emaciated. His sticking out collar-bones and shoulder-blades threatened to break through a pale peeling skin. In babyhood he was ill a scrofula and measles and already here, in boarding-school, two times recovered with a scab in an insulator. In spite of the fact that Yatsik was little, all parts of his body were out of proportion to large: loggerhead, large sticking out ears, large nose. He also had eyes large — beautiful, blue. But nobody, probably, never saw their color, because Yatsik walked, constantly looking down, and unbended only then, when nobody was nearby. It smelled urine from him.

Seemed, he had been saturated with this smell. Nobody sit with him in a classroom. In a bedroom his bed stood separately, moved away in the farthest corner.

Yatsik was written. Therefore above him could banter every, to whom not laziness, or it is simple to kick under the back, if it did not have time to clear the way. He was always engaged in the dirtiest job. And Yatsik lived, trying not meet on eyes to the class-mates. Yatsik knew that he worse than other. Knew that if he was not Yatsik, but by somebody else, strong and independent, then necessarily there was other Yatsik. And he would wrinkle a nose, passing by. Educators belonged to Yatsik variously: one hid the grimace of disgust only, other tried to protect him. But from this help more frequent did not turn out next to nothing. There was enough tender-hearted teacher turned away, as in the back Yatsik flew:

— U-u, stsykun... — Or simply kick.

A father hurried round their house with a torch... He yelled, that would setting fire all their serpentine nest... If they will not admit him... Then he did something with a mother... Yelled...

Eyes glazed for a mother...

— A-a-a! — Yatsik began to cry and woke up.

The wet sheet oppositely stuck to to the back, and he, compressing, lay yet some time not moving, gathering oneself up before opposite and heavy work. And it is meantime needed it was to hurry. After windows grizzled.

Though Yatsik and been the death with the permanent feeling of humility, somewhere deeply a hope to become such glimmered into him, as all. Therefore between him and a class was string a secret duel — who will outwit. Yatsik was written and tried to hide tracks, and class-mates at mornings inverted his bed upside down. And if found the wet sheets, could, for example, to begin to shake in them Yatsik, as a doll...

Carefully, trying not to creak an armour net, Yatsik got up from a bed and lay down on the floor. The large wet spot began at his bed and stretched, meandering a thin trickle, through a passage-way under a neighbouring bed, where and formed a puddle.

Second of Yatsik meditated. After a rag to go it was far, and unsafely. Anybody will wake up necessarily. Then Yatsik pulled off hanging down on the back of bed towel for feet and accepted, creeping on a floor, wring out tin. Soon a towel was wet and no longer absorbed moisture. Yatsik in despair took own socks. When a puddle, finally, was wiped, he crumpled socks and towel and, trying not to squeeze them, laid down in a passage-way. Whether ot a cold — a shirt and shorts were wet, — whether ot fear, that anybody will find him after this employment, Yatsik was covered a goose skin. The shallow exhausting trembling shook him from finger-tips up and about to the top.

Now there was most difficult. Trying not to make noise, slowly-slowly Yatsik rolled mattress together with sheets in one large roll and put it into a passage-way between beds. Inward stuck the wet towel and socks. Taking off a bedspread from the back, he neatly covered a naked net and in the head of a bed put, as fixed, a pillow.

Only now Yatsik took the liberty a little to relax. Taking a seat on convolute mattress, he looked around once again. All is quiet. All sleep. Seems, it will be lucky for him this time.

Drawing a breath, Yatsik raised a package and on a tiptoe trudged along beds to the output. Now could decide all. It was enough anybody to open slightly eyes... But it is not... Closing after itself the door of bedroom, Yatsik quickly crossed a playing room. Here doors went out at once four scorched.

After windows already quite day is breaking. From a minute to the minute is wake up. Quick on a stair downward. A heavy package draws off hands. The wet shirt seems quite icy. All is a ground of the ground floor. Compressing, Yatsik does a step on a corridor, yet step... Back dear it is not anymore. Ahead of lobby and from one side door in a dryer. After a dinner-wagon in the corner of lobby, where a duty educator sits usually, nobody is present.

«Drove!» — Yatsik was happy and bustled in a dryer. To decompose matrats on thick hot pipes was the matter of one minute. Here he spread a sheet and socks. And suddenly after the back of Yatsik heard somebody's breathing. He looked around scared... Dim Dimych stood in doors, or, as he was called for eyes, Kontuzhenyy.

He was elderly, and, apparently, him indeed once on war contused, in any event, so boys fluttered. Therefore now every time, when Dim Dimych was nervous, his grey head convulsively had twitched upwards - downward, as if he wanted someone to say: «Yes - yes - yes - yes». Boys often specially teased him, observe, as Dim Dimych will peck a nose. Although, if honestly, he was loved , that he knew and able to tell the great number of histories.

— Went!

Yatsik shriveled and went, feverishly finding acquittals, why he getting up appeared in a dryer...

Dim Dimych led Yatsik in an educate, little neat small room with a bed, arm-chair, large lamp under a beautiful green lamp-shade. Here a duty educator while away night.

Yatsik stopped at a door, not deciding to take a step on the territory forbidden for him.

— What does cost? Sit down, — Dim Dimych nodded on an arm-chair. Yatsik on a tiptoe passed in a depth a room and carefully, trying not to touch the wet shirt of the back of arm-chair, sat down on an edge.

— And all royal rat'... — said of thoughtfully Dim Dimych, from top to bottom intently looking over shriveling Yatsik.

«Got off from a mind», — Yatsik was languidly scared, remembering everything, that heard ot boys about Dim Dimych. Especially as Dim Dimych head was suddenly begun to shake and he pulled off a jerk from a bed covered, so, that a pillow flew away on the floor. Yatsik rose, yet not deciding on your own — to hurry him or remain. Meantime Dim Dimych similarly, by a jerk, tore off from a bed a blanket and covered by him Yatsik. And then, pushing in a breast, pressed in an arm-chair:

— Sit!

Then he started to climb somewhere in a corner and obtained a large thermos. Did unscrew a lid, dropping something metallic are spoons? — extracted from a closet a cup and fill there strong-smelling hot tea. And, hardly not spilling, Yatsik stuck:

— Drink!

Resoundingly furnace. Awake. The first steps were heard in corridors. Yatsik sat, convulsively seizing in a hot cup, and thought that a wonderful, warm, fleecy blanket will be saturated with now his opposite stinking smell.

— Drink, — began to shake the head of Dim Dimych and smiled suddenly. Yatsik in reply also poorly smiled and made attempt drink, but his teeth knocked on the edge of cup, and he in any way could not leave off to think that now all: both blanket and this cup, and arm-chair — all will smell urine.

Dim Dimych sat down on a bed right opposite Yatsik and also began to drink tea from the lid of thermos.

After a door educate somebody's steps rumbled heavily. Yatsik gave start involuntarily — steps belonged to director of boarding-school Scherba.

— Awake!!! — his scream was heard.

Yatsik presented how Scherba bursts in chambers and pulls off on the floor those, whoever had time to wake up. And their matratsy together with pillows and sheets fly in a stairwell.

— I am a weak-willed man, — suddenly Dim Dimych pronounced and smiled. Yatsik surprised raised eyes.

— Yes, I am a weak-willed man, — Dim Dimych repeated, breathing. — I must get up in five mornings, as doctors advise, to do charging, then run not less half-hour, after is a contrasting shower. Otherwise. — Dim Dimych stumbled. — But I need a partner. I live here, on Aviation, not far away. Tomorrow in five I wait you on a stadium. Do You agree?

Not to that expressing a consent, but rather ot the surprise of suggestion of Yatsik nodded a head.

Dim Dimych refilled itself and Yatsik from a thermos expecting:

— But look, — Dim Dimych squinted, — persuasion is more dear than money. Right?

— Right, — Yatsik said of, yet disbelieving in the seriousness of suggestion.

— And that you accidentally not oversleep, I will abandon duty educators a message and will wake you. And how it? I will get up neither light nor sunset, and you are not present. Badly?

— Badly, — Yatsik said.

Dim Dimych, stretching a hand, pulled about him on a top, and, perchance, first in life of Yatsik forgot to think, that now a palm of Dim Dimycha will be something to smell.


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