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Spring

‘Up till a few years ago the first sound in the morning in Moscow had been the cows coming out of the side-streets, where they were kept in stalls and backyards, and making their own way among the horse-trams to their meeting-point at the edge of the Khamovniki, where they were taken by the municipal cowman to their pasture, or, in winter, through the darkness, to the suburban stores of hay. Since the tram-lines were electrified, the cows had disappeared. The trams themselves, from five o’clock in the morning onwards, were the first sound, except for the church bells.

In February, both were inaudible behind the inner and outer windows, tightly sealed since last October, rendering the house warm and deaf.’

The Beginning of Spring
Penelope Fitzgerald