Selected Works of Ba Jin 3

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He led Miss Anna to the terrace in the garden.It was autumn, and a moonlit night.The terrace overlooked the River Neva glittering silently in the moon light.Enchanting music floated from the hall.It wasthen that he poured out all his love for her.The beautiful maiden quivered like an aspen leaf in his embrace as she first accepted his love and his kisses.How won-derful was first love! He felt then the beginning of his ambition to conquer the world.
Life is beautiful after all!" He was moved to exclaim.But then the scene before his eyes suddenly changed.Before him stood the waiter, who smiled and said, "General, are you drunk already? It's a cold night.Would you care for another bottle?"
The music, the moonlight, the ball, all vanished.
Only this desolate little cafe, and a fool ofa waiter."It's not cold.It never gets cold here in your country!" He wanted to say, to assert himself.But another feeling got the better oflum, so he shook his head and sighed, "No, no more.I'm drunk, quite drunk!" He suddenly felt very old.
"General, is the soil all black where you came from?" the Chinese waiter asked curiously when he didn't say much in response.
He muttered something in reply.He was still searching his memory for a trace of the young maiden's face.The waiter interrupted:
"I saw a countryman of yours once.He used to come here with a cloth bag.He would come in, sit in a corner, order his coffee, and pour out the contents of the bag...Guess what he had in there, General?" The Chinese waiter laughed, then, with a twisted smile, answered his own question: "Just soil, black soil.He poured the soil on the table and wept staring at it.So once I asked him what it was, his answer was very strange.He said, 'This is black soil, Mother Russia's black soil.' He even brought soil out of his country! Such a fool! "

Selected Works of Ba Jin 3