-Are you still burning, my precious bright light?-

"Lord! Lord!" he whispered, "...Why hast Thou given me so much?"

The following scene takes place in a winter house at Varykino where Yuri Zhivago and Lara are hiding from arrest. Yuri is writing in the middle of the night when the dialogue begins....

      ...This feeling relieved him for a time of self-reproach, of his dissatisfaction with himself, of the sense of his own insignificance. He looked up, he looked around him.

      He saw the two sleeping heads on their snow-white pillows. The purity of their features, and on the clean linen and the clean rooms, and of the night, the snow, the stars, the moon, surged through his heart in a single wave of meaning, moving him to a joyful sense of the triumphant purity of being.

      "Lord! Lord!" he whispered, "and all this is for me? Why hast Thou given me so much? Why hast Thou admitted me to Thy presence, allowed me to stray into Thy world, among Thy treasures, under Thy stars, and to the feet of my luckless, reckless, uncomplaining love, who fills my eyes with perpetual delight?"

      At three in the morning Yurii Andreievich looked up from his papers. He came back from his remote, selfless concentration, home to reality and to himself, happy, strong, peaceful. Suddenly the stillness of the open country stretching into the distance outside the window was broken by a mournful, plaintive sound.

      He went into the unlit adjoining room to look through the window, but while he had been working the glass had frosted over. He dragged away the roll of carpet that had been pushed against the front door to stop the draft, threw his coat over his shoulders, and went out.

      He was dazzled by the white glow playing on the shadowless, moonlit snow and could at first see nothing. Then the long, whimpering, deep-bellied howl sounded again, muffled by the distance, and he noticed four long shadows, no thicker than pencil strokes, at the edge of the clearing just beyond the gully.

      The wolves stood in a row, their heads raised and their muzzles pointing at the house, baying at the moon or at its silver reflection on the windows. but scarcely had Yurii Andreievich realized that they were wolves when they turned and trotted off like dogs, almost as if they had read his thoughts. He lost sight of them before he noticed the direction in which they had vanished.

      "That's the last straw!" he thought. "Is their lair quite close? Perhaps in the gully? How terrible! And Samdeivatov's horse in the barn! They must have scented it."

      He decided for the time being not to tell Lara, lest he upset her. Going back, he shut all the doors between the cold rooms and the heated part of the house, pushed rugs and clothes against the cracks to keep out the draft, and went back to his desk. The lamplight was bright and welcoming as before. But he was no longer in the mood to write. He couldn't settle down. He could think of nothing but wolves and of looming dangers and complications of every kind. Moreover, he was tired.

      Lara woke up. "Are you still burning, my precious bright light?" she whispered in a husky voice heavy with sleep. "Come and sit beside me for a moment. I'll tell you my dream."

      He put out the light.

Back to Pasternak Page