Only Yesterday

By S. Y. Agnon; Barbara Harshav | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINE
In the Workers' Club

1

A meager light illuminated the two rooms of the club. The tables and chairs and other furnishings weren't the kind of accoutrements that expand the mind. Some were bought from those who descended Outside the Land and some came from volunteers, and sometimes a person comes to the club and sits on a chair he loathed in his own house and here he was glad to sit on it, for the other chairs were even worse.

That night was an ordinary night. There were no conferences or assemblies. Our comrades sat there, some were drinking tea, some were reading newspapers, some were talking with one another. Some weren't reading or drinking or talking, but were sitting by themselves and thinking. They were thinking about this, that, and the other. About yesterday that had passed and about tomorrow that was to come. Many are the days here, and every day is as turgid as sooty glass that muddies the lamplight. Was the woman at the buffet so busy she didn't have time to clean the lamp, or because she doesn't have anything to do, she doesn't do what she has to do.

At the end of the table sat Gorishkin, reading a book. Gorishkin sat and didn't think, neither trivial things nor sublime things, but just sat and read. Gorishkin isn't one of those who think a man dredges everything up out of himself, but he knows that anyone who wants to be a writer has to read a lot and study a lot and expand the scope of his knowledge. Gorishkin has already left behind all his own thoughts and wants only to be the writer of the Land of Israel. A new life is taking shape in the Land and it needs its writer. He hasn't yet started writing because he doesn't have a corner of his own, for he

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