Addiction as Transmissible Disease

“You, Ilka, think so,” said the baron, “just because you do not know the life. You have recently told me that you are miserable; and yet you just have an outlook on life as sybarite that cannot distinguish copper from iron. How old are you? Seventeen? Beauty, it’s time to know the life! Life – it’s such a disgusting, nasty, sticky nonsense, such vulgar, aimless, unexplained staff that cannot resist a comparison even to a cesspit digged for being filled with any muck. It’s time to know! What do you want from life? You want it to smile, strew you flowers or gold coins? So? So do you want?”
Fon Zaynits blushed and put down his hand into his great hunting bag.
“If so, then you want impossible things! Life on Earth can only be an unbearable burden. If you want the unbearable things, piss off to the afterlife. Poison is always at your service… You child, that’s what you are! Silly you!”
A wicker bottle appeared out of the bag. Baron quickly raised it to his lips and greedily took a few sips.
“Life is disgusting!” He continued. “Its law is an abomination, an unwavering, constant position. It is given to a man as a punishment for his vulgarity… Sweet babe! If I were not so deeply aware of my vulgarity, I would have gone to the afterlife long ago. It would have been enough bullets… Suffer Arthur, I say to myself! You are worthy of these torments. Get, Arthur, your tribute! And you, girl, learn to philosophise by herself in such a way. It easier to live with such skill…”
Arthur took two sips.
“There is one element in the universe, reconciling slightly humans with their lives. This element, they say, is created by the devil, but… so be it! It removes thorns from my soul, for a limited period of time, of course. This element – in my bottle… Drink, Ilka! Took one sip! This is a good vodka…”
The Unnecessary Victory by Anton Chekhov



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