Page:Korolenko - Makar's Dream and Other Stories.djvu/220

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down the middle of the street in the full light of the moon. And so they occasionally called out to him as he passed:

"Good evening, Mr. Miller! Aren't you coming from the priest's? Is it at his house you have been such a long time?"

Every one knew that he could not have been anywhere else, but the miller liked the question, and, slackening his pace, he would answer a little proudly each time:

"Yes, yes, I've made him a little visit!" and then he would walk on more puffed-up than ever.

On the other hand, some of the people sat as silent as mice under the eaves of their houses, and only hoped he would go by quickly and not see where they were hidden. But the miller was not the man to pass or forget people who owed him for flour or for grinding, or who simply had borrowed money from him. No use for them to sit out of sight in the dark, as silent as if they had taken a mouthful of water! The miller would stop in front of them every time and say:

"Good evening! Are you there? You can hold your tongues or not as you like, but get ready to pay me your debts, because your time will be up early to-morrow morning. And I won't wait for the money, I promise you!"

And then he would walk on down the street with his shadow running beside him, so black, so very black,