What indication exists in the story to suggest that Vanka is afraid of being prevented from sending the letter?

An indication that Vanka is afraid of being prevented from sending the letter can be found in the very first paragraph of the story. Before he starts to write, Vanka looks around fearfully at the door and the windows several times. He's clearly worried that he's going to be caught by the shoemaker or his wife, who both treat him badly.

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The poor little waif Vanka has been so poorly treated by his master, the shoemaker, and his wife. They scold him, beat him, make him do all kinds of unpleasant chores, and generally treat him like a worthless piece of garbage.

Under the circumstances, it's no wonder that Vanka wants...

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The poor little waif Vanka has been so poorly treated by his master, the shoemaker, and his wife. They scold him, beat him, make him do all kinds of unpleasant chores, and generally treat him like a worthless piece of garbage.

Under the circumstances, it's no wonder that Vanka wants to get out of his current situation—and fast. So he sits down to write an SOS to Konstantin Makarich, the man he calls his grandfather and who had been a fellow servant of his at a country estate where Vanka lived a carefree, idyllic life.

But the simple act of writing a letter proves to be a profoundly troubling experience for the young lad. He's scared stiff that someone, especially his master or the master's wife, will catch him in the act and give him yet another beating. And that's the very last thing he wants.

Vanka has been so deeply traumatized by his experiences as the shoemaker's apprentice that he looks around fearfully several times at the door and the windows before he starts writing his letter.

For good measure, the boy glances at a religious icon, clearly in the hope that it will provide him with some divine assistance at this difficult time.

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