A dog's heart (A Monstrous Story) / Собачье сердце (Чудовищная история). Книга для чтения на английском языке. Михаил Булгаков. Читать онлайн. Newlib. NEWLIB.NET

Автор: Михаил Булгаков
Издательство: КАРО
Серия: Russian Modern Prose
Жанр произведения: Советская литература
Год издания: 1925
isbn: 978-5-9925-1439-1
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      Soft staccato bells jingled throughout the apartment, and in the distance voices sounded frequently in the entrance. The telephone rang. Zina vanished.

      Filipp Filippovich tossed his cigarette butt in the bucket, buttoned his coat, smoothed his luxurious moustache in the mirror on the wall and called the dog.

      “Phweet, phweet… come on, come on, it’s fine! Let’s go receive.”

      The dog got up on unsteady legs, swayed and trembled, but quickly got his bearings[23] and followed the fluttering coat-tails of Filipp Filippovich. Once again the dog crossed the narrow corridor, but now he saw that it was brightly lit from above. When the lacquered door opened, he followed Filipp Filippovich into the office, which blinded the dog with its interior. First of all, it was blazing with light: it burned on the plaster ornamented ceiling, it burned on the desk, it burned on the wall and in the cupboard glass. Light poured over a myriad of objects, of which the most amusing was an enormous owl, sitting on a branch on the wall.

      “Stay,” ordered Filipp Filippovich.

      The carved door opposite opened and the bitten man came in, and now in the bright light revealed as a very handsome young fellow with a pointy beard, and handed over a piece of paper, muttering, “The previous.”

      He vanished silently, while Filipp Filippovich smoothed the tails of his lab coat and sat behind the huge desk, thereby becoming incredibly important and imposing.

      “No, this isn’t a hospital, I’ve landed in some other place,” the dog thought in confusion and flopped on the carpet by the heavy leather sofa, “and we’ll figure out that owl too.”

      The door opened softly and someone came in, astonishing the dog enough to make him yap, but very diffidently.

      “Quiet! Well, well, well! You’re unrecognizable, dear fellow.”

      The newcomer bowed very respectfully and awkwardly to Filipp Filippovich.

      “Hee-hee! You are a magician and sorcerer, professor,” he muttered in embarrassment.

      “Take off your pants, dear fellow,” Filipp Filippovich commanded and stood up.

      “Jesus!” thought the dog. “What a fruitcake!”

      The fruitcake’s head was covered with completely green hair, and at the back it had a rusty tobacco shimmer. Wrinkles spread out on the fruitcake’s face, but his complexion was as pink as a baby’s. His left leg couldn’t bend and he had to drag it along the carpet, but the right one jerked like a toy nutcracker. On the lapel of his magnificent jacket, a precious stone protruded like an eye.

      The dog was so interested that his nausea passed.

      “Yip, yip,” he barked softly.

      “Quiet! How are you sleeping, dear fellow?”

      “Hee-hee… Are we alone, professor? It’s indescribable,” the visitor said in embarrassment. “Parole d'honneur[24], I’ve seen nothing like it for twenty-five years!” The subject touched the button of his trousers. “Can you believe it, Professor? Every night there are herds of naked girls. I am positively delighted. You are a sorcerer!”

      “Hmmm,” grunted Filipp Filippovich in concern, peering into his guest’s pupils.

      The latter had finally mastered the buttons and removed his striped trousers. Beneath them were unimaginable underpants. They were cream-coloured, with embroidered black silk cats, and they smelt of perfume. The dog couldn’t resist the cats and barked, making the subject jump.


      “I’ll whip you! Don’t be afraid, he doesn’t bite.” “I don’t bite?” the dog was surprised.

      A small envelope, with a picture of a beautiful girl with loosened tresses, fell out of the trousers pocket onto the floor. The subject jumped up, bent over, picked it up and blushed a deep red.

      “You’d better watch it,” Filipp Filippovich warned grimly, wagging his finger, “Do be careful not to abuse it!”

      ‘I’m not abu…” the subject muttered in embarrassment, still undressing. “This was just an experiment, dear Professor.”

      “Well, and what were the results?” Filipp Filippovich asked sternly.

      The subject waved his arm ecstatically.

      “In twenty-five years, I swear to God, Professor, there was nothing like it! The last time was in 1899 in Paris on the Rue de la Paix[25].”

      “And why have you turned green?”

      The visitor’s face darkened.

      “That damned Zhirkost![26] You cannot imagine what those useless louts fobbed off on me instead of dye. Just look,” he babbled, his eyes searching for a mirror. “It’s terrible! They should be punched in the face,” he added, growing angrier. “What I am supposed to do now, Professor?” he asked snivelling.

      “Hm… Shave it all off.”

      “Professor!” the visitor exclaimed piteously, “It will grow back grey again! Besides which, I won’t be able to show my face at work, I’ve been out three days now as it is. The car comes for me and I send it away. Oh, Professor, if you could discover a way of rejuvenating hair as well!”

      “Not right away, not right away, dear fellow,” muttered Filipp Filippovich.

      Bending over, he examined the patient’s bare belly with glistening eyes. “Well, it’s lovely, everything is perfectly fine… I didn’t expect such a fine result, truth to tell. ‘Lots of blood and lots of songs!’. Get dressed, dear fellow!”

      “‘And for the loveliest of all!..’ the patient sang the next line in a voice as resonant as a frying pan and, glowing, started dressing. Having brought himself back to order, hopping and exuding perfume, he counted out a wad of white banknotes for Filipp Filippovich and tenderly pressed both of his hands.

      “You need not return for two weeks,” Filipp Filippovich said, “but I do ask that you be careful.”

      “Professor!” from beyond the door, in ecstasy, the guest exclaimed. “Do not worry in the least.” He giggled sweetly and vanished.

      The tinkling bell flew through the apartment, the lacquered door opened, the bitten one entered, handing Filipp Filippovich a piece of paper and announced: “The dates are incorrectly given. Probably 54–55. Heart tones low.”

      He vanished and was replaced by a rustling lady with a hat at a rakish angle and a sparkling necklace on her flabby and wrinkled neck. Terrible black bags sagged beneath her eyes, but her cheeks were a doll’s rouge colour.

      She was very agitated.

      “Madam! How old are you?” Filipp Filippovich asked very severely.

      The lady took flight and even paled beneath the crust of rouge.

      “I, Professor… I swear, if you only knew, my drama…”

      “How old, Madam?” Filipp Filippovich repeated even more severely.

      “Honestly. well, forty-five-”

      “Madam!” Filipp Filippovich cried out. “People are waiting! Don’t hold me up, please, you are not the only one!”

      The lady’s bosom heaved mightily.

      “I’ll tell you alone, as a luminary of science, but I swear, it is so terrible-”

      “How old are you?” Filipp Filippovich demanded angrily and squeakily, and his glasses flashed.

      “Fifty-one,” the lady replied, cowering in fear.

      “Take off your pants, Madame[27],” Filipp Filippovich said in relief and indicated a tall white


got his bearings – собрался


Parole d’honneur – (фр.) Честное слово


Rue de la Paix – Рю де ла Пэ (улица в центре Парижа)


Zhirkost – «Жиркость» (советское учреждение по изготовлению косметических средств)


Madame – (фр.) госпожа, сударыня