Neighbor part 4

Husband! He had never thought of that.
Suddenly a cold sweat appeared on his brow. He went out and roamed until dawn
around the quiet, moonlit lake, filled with the reflection of bright stars
which resembled greenish sparkling fireflies.

He was just about to lie down, when a tap,
tap, tap sounded on the window pane. His charming neighbor appeared, just like
the dawn, golden and blushing, rose-like and white, in a lace morning gown, her
lovely blue eyes still heavy with sleep. She held a little finger to her red,
sinful lips, luscious and sanguine, as a sign of silence.

“I found no peace throughout the night,” he
whispered, pale and weary.

“Do not fear. I understand you. Do not fear,
Peter; I am true to you alone!”

And only the trembling of a flower from her
breath remained, as Tkalac extended his hungry arms towards the quiet, blooming
window, lit by the first rays of the sun, while from above was heard the
unpleasant voice of a man, s

Neighbor part 3

“Be righteous, Pero, not being successful
as a soldier. Even be a laborer, but remain honest as all your ancestors. Here
is a revolver which may be of use to you, even for yourself, in case of any
shame you may commit, to yourself or to me. It is better to die honorably than
to live in disgrace.”

And Tkalac found, in the disorder of his
luggage, which was like that of a gipsy’s, a photograph, and although it was
quite dark, a lady, somewhat gray-haired, stepped out of the picture—she was
still of a girlish build, pale, attractive, dark-eyed, with a permanent, sad
smile—and this foreigner, after two years of dissipation, pressed this dear,
lifeless relic to his lips, weeping like a child before going to sleep, great
big tears; and consoled by the shadow of his dead mother, he fell asleep
without so much as removing his clothes.

He was abruptly awakened by a tapping on the window. Knowing every emotion except fear, he was greatly surprised and thought he

Neighbor part 2

From the huge yard, transformed into a garden, was wafted an agreeable breeze. A canary was heard singing from a nearby window, and elsewhere a sweetly grieving strain from a Chopin ballad was audible. Tkalac followed the curling smoke of his cigarette, dreaming, with eyes open, like a savage. Suddenly he winced. On his bare, perspiring neck, he felt some drops. He wiped them off with his hand-kerchief, but, alas, rain again, and from a clear June sky. The young man turned his head, and above, from the upper window among the flower-pots and blossoms, there blushed a beautiful woman who lacked words to excuse herself and was powerless to turn her eyes from his confused countenance.

Foreign French

“Along with your beautiful flowers, you are
also watering nettle, madame,” he finally said in his foreign French which,
reminding them so much of a child’s prattle, caused him to be well liked by the

“I am too far away to be hurt,” she

Neighbor part 1


ANTUN GUSTAV MATOS – (1873-1914)

Antun Gustav Matos was the son of a village schoolmaster. Shortly after his birth he was taken to Zagreb, where he received his early education. Later he went to Vienna and studied veterinary medicine, but as that failed to interest him he went to Prague. Being without a degree, he was drafted into the army as a private. He was sent to prison for violating some military rule, but escaped to Belgrade, where he played in the orchestra of the Royal Theatre. After many wanderings through Europe, he was pardoned and returned to Zagreb, where he worked as a journalist and teacher. There he did a great deal of miscellaneous writing. He died of cancer in 1914. Matos was a literary radical and a “Realist.” As critic, teacher, and novelist, he did more than any other prose writer to develop a native Croatian literature.

The Neighbor is one of his most vivid short
stories. It is here published for the first t