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FATHERS AND CHILDREN
[Frontispiece: AVENUE AT SPASSKOE, TURGENEV'S ESTATE]
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction [From Vol. 19] Selected by Charles W. Eliot Ll.D.
FATHERS AND CHILDREN
Translated by Constance Garnett
Edited with Notes and Introductions by William Allan Neilson Ph.D.
P. F. Collier & Son New York
Published under special arrangement with The Macmillan Company
Copyright, 1917 By P. F. Collier & Son
CRITICISMS AND INTERPRETATIONS: I. BY EMILE MELCHIOR, VICOMTE DE VOGUE II. BY WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS III. BY K. WALISZEWSKI IV. BY RICHARD H. P. CURLE V. BY MAURICE BARING
LIST OF CHARACTERS
Ivan Sergyevitch Turgenev came of an old stock of the Russian nobility. He was born in Orel, in the province of Orel, which lies more than a hundred miles south of Moscow, on October 28, 1818. His education was begun by tutors at home in the great family mansion in the town of Spask, and he studied later at the universities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Berlin. The influence of the last, and of the compatriots with whom he associated there, was very great; and when he returned to Moscow in 1841, he was ambitious to teach Hegel to the students there. Before this could be arranged, however, he entered the Ministry of the Interior at St. Petersburg. While there his interests turned more and more toward literature. He wrote verses and comedies, read George Sand, and made the acquaintance of Dostoevsky and the critic Bielinski. His mother, a tyrannical woman with an ungovernable temper, was eager that he should make a brilliant official career; so, when he resigned from the Ministry in 1845, she showed her disapproval by cutting down his allowance and thus forcing him to support himself by the profession he had chosen.
Turgenev was an enthusiastic hunter; and it was his experiences in the woods of his native province that supplied the material for "A Sportsman's Sketches," the book that first brought him reputation. The first of these papers appeared in 1847, and in the same year he left Russia in the train of Pauline Viardot, a singer and actress, to whom he had been devoted for three or four years and with whom he maintained relations for the rest of his life. For a year or two he lived chiefly in Paris or at a country house at Courtavenel in Brie, which belonged to Madame Viardot; but in 1850 he returned to Russia. His experiences were not such as to induce him to repatriate himself permanently. He found Dostoevsky banished to Siberia and Bielinski dead; and himself under suspicion by the government on account of the popularity of "A Sportsman's Sketches." For praising Gogol, who had just died, he was arrested and imprisoned for a short time, and for the next two years kept under police surveillance. Meantime he continued to write, and by the time that the close of the Crimean War made it possible for him again to go to western Europe, he was recognized as standing at the head of living Russian authors. His mother was now dead, the estates were settled, and with an income of about $5,000 a year he became a wanderer. He had, or imagined he had, very bad health, and the eminent specialists he consulted sent him from one resort to another, to Rome, the Isle of Wight, Soden, and the like. When Madame Viardot left the stage in 1864 and took up her residence at Baden-Baden, he followed her and built there a small house for himself. They returned to France after the Franco-Prussian War, and bought a villa at Bougival, near Paris, and this was his home for the rest of his life. Here, on September 3, 1883, he died after a long delirium due to his suffering from cancer of the spinal cord. His body was taken to St. Petersburg and was buried with national honors.
The two works by Turgenev contained in the present volume are characteristic in their concern with social and political questions, and in the prominence in both of them of heroes who fail in action. Turgenev preaches no doctrine in his novels, has no remedy for the universe; but he sees clearly certain weaknesses of the Russian character and exposes these with absolute candor yet without unkindness. Much as he lived abroad, his books are intensely Russian; yet of the great Russian novelists he alone rivals the masters of western Europe in the matter of form. In economy of means, condensation, felicity of language, and excellence of structure he surpasses all his countrymen; and "Fathers and Children" and "A House of Gentlefolk" represent his great and delicate art at its best.
W. A. N.
CRITICISMS AND INTERPRETATIONS
I BY EMILE MELCHIOR, VICOMTE DE VOGUE
Ivan Sergyevitch (Turgenev) has given us a most complete picture of Russian society. The same general types are always brought forward; and, as later writers have presented exactly similar ones, with but few modifications, we are forced to believe them true to life. First, the peasant: meek, resigned, dull, pathetic in suffering, like a child who does not know why he suffers; naturally sharp and tricky when not stupefied by liquor; occasionally roused to violent passion. Then, the intelligent middle class: the small landed proprietors of two generations. The old proprietor is ignorant and good-natured, of respectable family, but with coarse habits; hard, from long experience of serfdom, servile himself, but admirable in all other relations of life.
The young man of this class is of quite a different type. His intellectual growth having been too rapid, he sometimes plunges into Nihilism. He is often well educated, melancholy, rich in ideas but poor in executive ability; always preparing and expecting to accomplish something of importance, filled with vague and generous projects for the public good. This is the chosen type of hero in all Russian novels. Gogol introduced it, and Tolstoy prefers it above all others.
The favorite hero of young girls and romantic women is neither the brilliant officer, the artist, nor rich lord, but almost universally this provincial Hamlet, conscientious, cultivated, intelligent, but of feeble will, who, returning from his studies in foreign lands, is full of scientific theories about the improvement of mankind and the good of the lower classes, and eager to apply these theories on his own estate. It is quite necessary that he should have an estate of his own. He will have the hearty sympathy of the reader in his efforts to improve the condition of his dependents.
The Russians well understand the conditions of the future prosperity of their country; but, as they themselves acknowledge, they know not how to go to work to accomplish it.
In regard to the women of this class, Turgenev, strange to say, has little to say of the mothers. This probably reveals the existence of some old wound, some bitter experience of his own. Without a single exception, all the mothers in his novels are either wicked or grotesque. He reserves the treasures of his poetic fancy for the young girls of his creation. To him the young girl of the country province is the corner-stone of the fabric of society. Reared in the freedom of country life, placed in the most healthy social conditions, she is conscientious, frank, affectionate, without being romantic; less intelligent than man, but more resolute. In each of his romances an irresolute man is invariably guided by a woman of strong will.
Such are, generally speaking, the characters the author describes, which bear so unmistakably the stamp of nature that one cannot refrain from saying as he closes the book, "These must be portraits from life!" which criticism is always the highest praise, the best sanction of works of the imagination.—From "Turgenev", in "The Russian Novelists," translated by J. L. Edmands (1887).
II BY WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS
Turgenev was of that great race which has more than any other fully and freely uttered human nature, without either false pride or false shame in its nakedness. His themes were oftenest those of the French novelist, but how far he was from handling them in the French manner and with the French spirit! In his hands sin suffered no dramatic punishment; it did not always show itself as unhappiness, in the personal sense, but it was always unrest, and without the hope of peace. If the end did not appear, the fact that it must be miserable always appeared. Life showed itself to me in different colors after I had once read Turgenev; it became more serious, more awful, and with mystical responsibilities I had not known before. My gay American horizons were bathed in the vast melancholy of the Slav, patient, agnostic, trustful. At the same time nature revealed herself to me through him with an intimacy she had not hitherto shown me. There are passages in this wonderful writer alive with a truth that seems drawn from the reader's own knowledge: who else but Turgenev and one's own most secret self ever felt all the rich, sad meaning of the night air drawing in at the open window, of the fires burning in the darkness on the distant fields? I try in vain to give some notion of the subtle sympathy with nature which scarcely put itself into words with him. As for the people of his fiction, though they were of orders and civilizations so remote from my experience, they were of the eternal human types whose origin and potentialities every one may find in his own heart, and I felt their verity in every touch.
I cannot describe the satisfaction his work gave me; I can only impart some sense of it, perhaps, by saying that it was like a happiness I had been waiting for all my life, and now that it had come, I was richly content forever. I do not mean to say that the art of Turgenev surpasses the art of Bjornson; I think Bjornson is quite as fine and true. But the Norwegian deals with simple and primitive circumstances for the most part, and always with a small world; and the Russian has to do with human nature inside of its conventional shells, and his scene is often as large as Europe. Even when it is as remote as Norway, it is still related to the great capitals by the history if not the actuality of the characters. Most of Turgenev's books I have read many times over, all of them I have read more than twice. For a number of years I read them again and again without much caring for other fiction. It was only the other day that I read "Smoke" through once more, with no diminished sense of its truth, but with somewhat less than my first satisfaction in its art. Perhaps this was because I had reached the point through my acquaintance with Tolstoy where I was impatient even of the artifice that hid itself. In "Smoke" I was now aware of an artifice that kept out of sight, but was still always present somewhere, invisibly operating the story.—From "My Literary Passions" (1895).
III BY K. WALISZEWSKI
The second novel of the series, "Fathers and Children," stirred up a storm the suddenness and violence of which it is not easy, nowadays, to understand. The figure of Bazarov, the first "Nihilist"—thus baptized by an inversion of epithet which was to win extraordinary success—is merely intended to reveal a mental condition which, though the fact had been insufficiently recognized, had already existed for some years. The epithet itself had been in constant use since 1829, when Nadiejdine applied it to Pushkin, Polevoi, and some other subverters of the classic tradition. Turgenev only extended its meaning by a new interpretation, destined to be perpetuated by the tremendous success of "Fathers and Children." There is nothing, or hardly anything, in Bazarov, of the terrible revolutionary whom we have since learnt to look for under this title. Turgenev was not the man to call up such a figure. He was far too dreamy, too gentle, too good-natured a being. Already, in the character of Roudine, he had failed, in the strangest way, to catch the likeness of Bakounine, that fiery organiser of insurrection, whom all Europe knew, and whom he had selected as his model. Conceive Corot or Millet trying to paint some figure out of the Last Judgment after Michael Angelo! Bazarov is the Nihilist in his first phase, "in course of becoming," as the Germans would say, and he is a pupil of the German universities. When Turgenev shaped the character, he certainly drew on his own memories of his stay at Berlin, at a time when Bruno Bauer was laying it down as a dogma that no educated man ought to have opinions on any subject, and when Max Stirner was convincing the young Hegelians that ideas were mere smoke and dust, seeing that the only reality in existence was the individual Ego. These teachings, eagerly received by the Russian youth, were destined to produce a state of moral decomposition, the earliest symptoms of which were admirably analysed by Turgenev.
Bazarov is a very clever man, but clever in thought, and especially in word, only. He scorns art, women, and family life. He does not know what the point of honour means. He is a cynic in his love affairs, and indifferent in his friendships. He has no respect even for paternal tenderness, but he is full of contradictions, even to the extent of fighting a duel about nothing at all, and sacrificing his life for the first peasant he meets. And in this the resemblance is true, much more general, indeed, than the model selected would lead one to imagine; so general, in fact, that, apart from the question of art, Turgenev—he has admitted it himself—felt as if he were drawing his own portrait; and therefore it is, no doubt, that he has made his hero so sympathetic.—From "A History of Russian Literature" (1900).
IV BY RICHARD H. P. CURLE
But for the best expression of the bewilderment of life we have to turn to the portrait of a man, to the famous Bazarov of "Fathers and Children." Turgenev raises through him the eternal problem—Has personality any hold, has life any meaning at all? The reality of this figure, his contempt for nature, his egoism, his strength, his mothlike weakness are so convincing that before his philosophy all other philosophies seem to pale. He is the one who sees the life-illusion, and yet, knowing that it is the mask of night, grasps at it, loathing himself. You can hate Bazarov, you cannot have contempt for him. He is a man of genius, rid of sentiment and hope, believing in nothing but himself, to whom come, as from the darkness, all the violent questions of life and death. "Fathers and Children" is simply an exposure of our power to mould our own lives. Bazarov is a man of astonishing intellect—he is the pawn of an emotion he despises; he is a man of gigantic will—he can do nothing but destroy his own beliefs; he is a man of intense life—he cannot avoid the first, brainless touch of death. It is the hopeless fight of mind against instinct, of determination against fate, of personality against impersonality. Bazarov disdaining everyone, sick of all smallness, is roused to fury by the obvious irritations of Pavel Petrovitch. Savagely announcing the creed of nihilism and the end of romance, he has only to feel the calm, aristocratic smile of Madame Odintsov fixed on him and he suffers all the agony of first love. Determining to live and create, he has only to play with death for a moment, and he is caught. But though he is the most positive of all Turgenev's male portraits, there are others linking up the chain of delusion. There is Rudin, typical of the unrest of the idealist; there is Nezhdanov ("Virgin Soil"), typical of the self-torture of the anarchist. There is Shubin ("On the Eve"), hiding his misery in laughter, and Lavretsky ("A House of Gentlefolk"), hiding his misery in silence. It is not necessary to search for further examples. Turgenev put his hand upon the dark things. He perceived character, struggling in the "clutch of circumstances," the tragic moments, the horrible conflicts of personality. His figures have that capability of suffering which (as someone has said) is the true sign of life. They seem like real people, dazed and uncertain. No action of theirs ever surprises you, because in each of them he has made you hear an inward soliloquy.—From "Turgenev and the Life-Illusion," in "The Fortnightly Review" (April, 1910).
V BY MAURICE BARING
Turgenev did for Russian literature what Byron did for English literature; he led the genius of Russia on a pilgrimage throughout all Europe. And in Europe his work reaped a glorious harvest of praise. Flaubert was astounded by him, George Sand looked up to him as to a master, Taine spoke of his work as being the finest artistic production since Sophocles. In Turgenev's work, Europe not only discovered Turgenev, but it discovered Russia, the simplicity and the naturalness of the Russian character; and this came as a revelation. For the first time Europe came across the Russian woman whom Pushkin was the first to paint; for the first time Europe came into contact with the Russian soul; and it was the sharpness of this revelation which accounts for the fact of Turgenev having received in the west an even greater meed of praise than he was perhaps entitled to.
In Russia Turgenev attained almost instant popularity. His "Sportsman's Sketches" and his "Nest of Gentlefolk" made him not only famous but universally popular. In 1862 the publication of his masterpiece "Fathers and Children" dealt his reputation a blow. The revolutionary elements in Russia regarded his hero, Bazarov, as a calumny and a libel; whereas the reactionary elements in Russia looked upon "Fathers and Children" as a glorification of Nihilism. Thus he satisfied nobody. He fell between two stools. This, perhaps, could only happen in Russia to this extent; and for that same reason as that which made Russian criticism didactic. The conflicting elements of Russian society were so terribly in earnest in fighting their cause, that anyone whom they did not regard as definitely for them was at once considered an enemy, and an impartial delineation of any character concerned in the political struggle was bound to displease both parties. If a novelist drew a Nihilist, he must be one or the other, a hero or a scoundrel, if either the revolutionaries or the reactionaries were to be pleased. If in England the militant suffragists suddenly had a huge mass of educated opinion behind them and a still larger mass of educated public opinion against them, and some one were to draw in a novel an impartial picture of a suffragette, the same thing would happen. On a small scale, as far as the suffragettes are concerned, it has happened in the case of Mr. Wells. But if Turgenev's popularity suffered a shock in Russia from which it with difficulty recovered, in western Europe it went on increasing. Especially in England, Turgenev became the idol of all that was eclectic, and admiration for Turgenev a hallmark of good taste....
"Fathers and Children" is as beautifully constructed as a drama of Sophocles; the events move inevitably to a tragic close. There is not a touch of banality from beginning to end, and not an unnecessary word; the portraits of the old father and mother, the young Kirsanov, and all the minor characters are perfect; and amidst the trivial crowd Bazarov stands out like Lucifer, the strongest—the only strong character—that Turgenev created, the first Nihilist—for if Turgenev was not the first to invent the word, he was the first to apply it in this sense.
Bazarov is the incarnation of the Lucifer type that recurs again and again in Russian history and fiction, in sharp contrast to the meek, humble type of Ivan Durak. Lermontov's Pechorin was in some respects an anticipation of Bazarov; so were the many Russian rebels. He is the man who denies, to whom art is a silly toy, who detests abstractions, knowledge, and the love of Nature; he believes in nothing; he bows to nothing; he can break, but he cannot bend; he does break, and that is the tragedy, but, breaking, he retains his invincible pride, and
"not cowardly puts off his helmet,"
and he dies "valiantly vanquished."
In the pages which describe his death Turgenev reaches the high-water mark of his art, his moving quality, his power, his reserve. For manly pathos they rank among the greatest scenes in literature, stronger than the death of Colonel Newcome and the best of Thackeray. Among English novelists it is, perhaps, only Meredith who has struck such strong, piercing chords, nobler than anything in Daudet or Maupassant, more reserved than anything in Victor Hugo, and worthy of the great poets, of the tragic pathos of Goethe and Dante. The character of Bazarov, as has been said, created a sensation and endless controversy. The revolutionaries thought him a caricature and a libel, the reactionaries a scandalous glorification of the Devil; and impartial men such as Dostoevsky, who knew the revolutionaries at first hand, thought the type unreal. It is impossible that Bazarov was not like the Nihilists of the sixties; but in any case as a figure in fiction, whatever the fact may be, he lives and will continue to live....—From "An Outline of Russian Literature" (1914).
LIST OF CHARACTERS
NIKOLAI PETROVITCH KIRSANOV, a landowner.
PAVEL PETROVITCH KIRSANOV, his brother.
ARKADY (ARKASHA) NIKOLAEVITCH (or NIKOLAITCH), his son.
YEVGENY (ENYUSHA) VASSILYEVITCH (or VASSILYITCH) BAZAROV, friend of Arkady.
VASSILY IVANOVITCH (or IVANITCH), father of Bazarov.
ARINA VLASYEVNA, mother of Bazarov.
FEDOSYA (FENITCHKA) NIKOLAEVNA, second wife of Nikolai.
ANNA SERGYEVNA ODINTSOV, a wealthy widow.
KATYA SERGYEVNA, her sister.
PORFIRY PLATONITCH, her neighbor.
MATVY ILYITCH KOLYAZIN, government commissioner.
EVDOKSYA (or AVDOTYA) NIKITISHNA KUKSHIN, an emancipated lady.
VIKTOR SITNIKOV, a would-be liberal.
PIOTR (pron. P-yotr), servant to Nikolai.
PROKOFITCH, head servant to Nikolai.
DUNYASHA, a maid servant.
MITYA, infant of Fedosya.
TIMOFEITCH, manager for Vassily.
FATHERS AND CHILDREN A NOVEL
'Well, Piotr, not in sight yet?' was the question asked on May the 20th, 1859, by a gentleman of a little over forty, in a dusty coat and checked trousers, who came out without his hat on to the low steps of the posting station at S——. He was addressing his servant, a chubby young fellow, with whitish down on his chin, and little, lack-lustre eyes.
The servant, in whom everything—the turquoise ring in his ear, the streaky hair plastered with grease, and the civility of his movements—indicated a man of the new, improved generation, glanced with an air of indulgence along the road, and made answer:
'No, sir; not in sight.'
'Not in sight?' repeated his master.
'No, sir,' responded the man a second time.
His master sighed, and sat down on a little bench. We will introduce him to the reader while he sits, his feet tucked under him, gazing thoughtfully round.
His name was Nikolai Petrovitch Kirsanov. He had, twelve miles from the posting station, a fine property of two hundred souls, or, as he expressed it—since he had arranged the division of his land with the peasants, and started 'a farm'—of nearly five thousand acres. His father, a general in the army, who served in 1812, a coarse, half-educated, but not ill-natured man, a typical Russian, had been in harness all his life, first in command of a brigade, and then of a division, and lived constantly in the provinces, where, by virtue of his rank, he played a fairly important part. Nikolai Petrovitch was born in the south of Russia like his elder brother, Pavel, of whom more hereafter. He was educated at home till he was fourteen, surrounded by cheap tutors, free-and-easy but toadying adjutants, and all the usual regimental and staff set. His mother, one of the Kolyazin family, as a girl called Agathe, but as a general's wife Agathokleya Kuzminishna Kirsanov, was one of those military ladies who take their full share of the duties and dignities of office. She wore gorgeous caps and rustling silk dresses; in church she was the first to advance to the cross; she talked a great deal in a loud voice, let her children kiss her hand in the morning, and gave them her blessing at night—in fact, she got everything out of life she could. Nikolai Petrovitch, as a general's son—though so far from being distinguished by courage that he even deserved to be called 'a funk'—was intended, like his brother Pavel, to enter the army; but he broke his leg on the very day when the news of his commission came, and, after being two months in bed, retained a slight limp to the end of his days. His father gave him up as a bad job, and let him go into the civil service. He took him to Petersburg directly he was eighteen, and placed him in the university. His brother happened about the same time to be made an officer in the Guards. The young men started living together in one set of rooms, under the remote supervision of a cousin on their mother's side, Ilya Kolyazin, an official of high rank. Their father returned to his division and his wife, and only rarely sent his sons large sheets of grey paper, scrawled over in a bold clerkly hand. At the bottom of these sheets stood in letters, enclosed carefully in scroll-work, the words, 'Piotr Kirsanov, General-Major.' In 1835 Nikolai Petrovitch left the university, a graduate, and in the same year General Kirsanov was put on to the retired list after an unsuccessful review, and came to Petersburg with his wife to live. He was about to take a house in the Tavrichesky Gardens, and had joined the English club, but he died suddenly of an apoplectic fit. Agathokleya Kuzminishna soon followed him; she could not accustom herself to a dull life in the capital; she was consumed by the ennui of existence away from the regiment. Meanwhile Nikolai Petrovitch had already, in his parents' lifetime and to their no slight chagrin, had time to fall in love with the daughter of his landlord, a petty official, Prepolovensky. She was a pretty and, as it is called, 'advanced' girl; she used to read the serious articles in the 'Science' column of the journals. He married her directly the term of mourning was over; and leaving the civil service in which his father had by favour procured him a post, was perfectly blissful with his Masha, first in a country villa near the Lyesny Institute, afterwards in town in a pretty little flat with a clean staircase and a draughty drawing-room, and then in the country, where he settled finally, and where in a short time a son, Arkady, was born to him. The young couple lived very happily and peacefully; they were scarcely ever apart; they read together, sang and played duets together on the piano; she tended her flowers and looked after the poultry-yard; he sometimes went hunting, and busied himself with the estate, while Arkady grew and grew in the same happy and peaceful way. Ten years passed like a dream. In 1847 Kirsanov's wife died. He almost succumbed to this blow; in a few weeks his hair was grey; he was getting ready to go abroad, if possible to distract his mind ... but then came the year 1848. He returned unwillingly to the country, and, after a rather prolonged period of inactivity, began to take an interest in improvements in the management of his land. In 1855 he brought his son to the university; he spent three winters with him in Petersburg, hardly going out anywhere, and trying to make acquaintance with Arkady's young companions. The last winter he had not been able to go, and here we have him in the May of 1859, already quite grey, stoutish, and rather bent, waiting for his son, who had just taken his degree, as once he had taken it himself.
The servant, from a feeling of propriety, and perhaps, too, not anxious to remain under the master's eye, had gone to the gate, and was smoking a pipe. Nikolai Petrovitch bent his head, and began staring at the crumbling steps; a big mottled fowl walked sedately towards him, treading firmly with its great yellow legs; a muddy cat gave him an unfriendly look, twisting herself coyly round the railing. The sun was scorching; from the half-dark passage of the posting station came an odour of hot rye-bread. Nikolai Petrovitch fell to dreaming. 'My son ... a graduate ... Arkasha ...' were the ideas that continually came round again and again in his head; he tried to think of something else, and again the same thoughts returned. He remembered his dead wife.... 'She did not live to see it!' he murmured sadly. A plump, dark-blue pigeon flew into the road, and hurriedly went to drink in a puddle near the well. Nikolai Petrovitch began looking at it, but his ear had already caught the sound of approaching wheels.
'It sounds as if they're coming sir,' announced the servant, popping in from the gateway.
Nikolai Petrovitch jumped up, and bent his eyes on the road. A carriage appeared with three posting-horses harnessed abreast; in the carriage he caught a glimpse of the blue band of a student's cap, the familiar outline of a dear face.
'Arkasha! Arkasha!' cried Kirsanov, and he ran waving his hands.... A few instants later, his lips were pressed to the beardless, dusty, sunburnt-cheek of the youthful graduate.
'Let me shake myself first, daddy,' said Arkady, in a voice tired from travelling, but boyish and clear as a bell, as he gaily responded to his father's caresses; 'I am covering you with dust.'
'Never mind, never mind,' repeated Nikolai Petrovitch, smiling tenderly, and twice he struck the collar of his son's cloak and his own greatcoat with his hand. 'Let me have a look at you; let me have a look at you,' he added, moving back from him, but immediately he went with hurried steps towards the yard of the station, calling, 'This way, this way; and horses at once.'
Nikolai Petrovitch seemed far more excited than his son; he seemed a little confused, a little timid. Arkady stopped him.
'Daddy,' he said, 'let me introduce you to my great friend, Bazarov, about whom I have so often written to you. He has been so good as to promise to stay with us.'
Nikolai Petrovitch went back quickly, and going up to a tall man in a long, loose, rough coat with tassels, who had only just got out of the carriage, he warmly pressed the ungloved red hand, which the latter did not at once hold out to him.
'I am heartily glad,' he began, 'and very grateful for your kind intention of visiting us.... Let me know your name, and your father's.'
'Yevgeny Vassilyev,' answered Bazarov, in a lazy but manly voice; and turning back the collar of his rough coat, he showed Nikolai Petrovitch his whole face. It was long and lean, with a broad forehead, a nose flat at the base and sharper at the end, large greenish eyes, and drooping whiskers of a sandy colour; it was lighted up by a tranquil smile, and showed self-confidence and intelligence.
'I hope, dear Yevgeny Vassilyitch, you won't be dull with us,' continued Nikolai Petrovitch.
Bazarov's thin lips moved just perceptibly, though he made no reply, but merely took off his cap. His long, thick hair did not hide the prominent bumps on his head.
'Then, Arkady,' Nikolai Petrovitch began again, turning to his son, 'shall the horses be put to at once? or would you like to rest?'
'We will rest at home, daddy; tell them to harness the horses.'
'At once, at once,' his father assented. 'Hey, Piotr, do you hear? Get things ready, my good boy; look sharp.'
Piotr, who as a modernised servant had not kissed the young master's hand, but only bowed to him from a distance, again vanished through the gateway.
'I came here with the carriage, but there are three horses for your coach too,' said Nikolai Petrovitch fussily, while Arkady drank some water from an iron dipper brought him by the woman in charge of the station, and Bazarov began smoking a pipe and went up to the driver, who was taking out the horses; 'there are only two seats in the carriage, and I don't know how your friend' ...
'He will go in the coach,' interposed Arkady in an undertone. 'You must not stand on ceremony with him, please. He's a splendid fellow, so simple—you will see.'
Nikolai Petrovitch's coachman brought the horses round.
'Come, hurry up, bushy beard!' said Bazarov, addressing the driver.
'Do you hear, Mityuha,' put in another driver, standing by with his hands thrust behind him into the opening of his sheepskin coat, 'what the gentleman called you? It's a bushy beard you are too.'
Mityuha only gave a jog to his hat and pulled the reins off the heated shaft-horse.
'Look sharp, look sharp, lads, lend a hand,' cried Nikolai Petrovitch; 'there'll be something to drink our health with!'
In a few minutes the horses were harnessed; the father and son were installed in the carriage; Piotr climbed up on to the box; Bazarov jumped into the coach, and nestled his head down into the leather cushion; and both the vehicles rolled away.
'So here you are, a graduate at last, and come home again,' said Nikolai Petrovitch, touching Arkady now on the shoulder, now on the knee. 'At last!'
'And how is uncle? quite well?' asked Arkady, who, in spite of the genuine, almost childish delight filling his heart, wanted as soon as possible to turn the conversation from the emotional into a commonplace channel.
'Quite well. He was thinking of coming with me to meet you, but for some reason or other he gave up the idea.'
'And how long have you been waiting for me?' inquired Arkady.
'Oh, about five hours.'
'Dear old dad!'
Arkady turned round quickly to his father, and gave him a sounding kiss on the cheek. Nikolai Petrovitch gave vent to a low chuckle.
'I have got such a capital horse for you!' he began. 'You will see. And your room has been fresh papered.'
'And is there a room for Bazarov?'
'We will find one for him too.'
'Please, dad, make much of him. I can't tell you how I prize his friendship.'
'Have you made friends with him lately?'
'Yes, quite lately.'
'Ah, that's how it is I did not see him last winter. What does he study?'
'His chief subject is natural science. But he knows everything. Next year he wants to take his doctor's degree.'
'Ah! he's in the medical faculty,' observed Nikolai Petrovitch, and he was silent for a little. 'Piotr,' he went on, stretching out his hand, 'aren't those our peasants driving along?'
Piotr looked where his master was pointing. Some carts harnessed with unbridled horses were moving rapidly along a narrow by-road. In each cart there were one or two peasants in sheepskin coats, unbuttoned.
'Yes, sir,' replied Piotr.
'Where are they going,—to the town?'
'To the town, I suppose. To the gin-shop,' he added contemptuously, turning slightly towards the coachman, as though he would appeal to him. But the latter did not stir a muscle; he was a man of the old stamp, and did not share the modern views of the younger generation.
'I have had a lot of bother with the peasants this year,' pursued Nikolai Petrovitch, turning to his son. 'They won't pay their rent. What is one to do?'
'But do you like your hired labourers?'
'Yes,' said Nikolai Petrovitch between his teeth. 'They're being set against me, that's the mischief; and they don't do their best. They spoil the tools. But they have tilled the land pretty fairly. When things have settled down a bit, it will be all right. Do you take an interest in farming now?'
'You've no shade; that's a pity,' remarked Arkady, without answering the last question.
'I have had a great awning put up on the north side over the balcony,' observed Nikolai Petrovitch; 'now we can have dinner even in the open air.'
'It'll be rather too like a summer villa.... Still, that's all nonsense. What air though here! How delicious it smells! Really I fancy there's nowhere such fragrance in the world as in the meadows here! And the sky too.'
Arkady suddenly stopped short, cast a stealthy look behind him, and said no more.
'Of course,' observed Nikolai Petrovitch, 'you were born here, and so everything is bound to strike you in a special——'
'Come, dad, that makes no difference where a man is born.'
'No; it makes absolutely no difference.'
Nikolai Petrovitch gave a sidelong glance at his son, and the carriage went on a half-a-mile further before the conversation was renewed between them.
'I don't recollect whether I wrote to you,' began Nikolai Petrovitch, 'your old nurse, Yegorovna, is dead.'
'Really? Poor thing! Is Prokofitch still living?'
'Yes, and not a bit changed. As grumbling as ever. In fact, you won't find many changes at Maryino.'
'Have you still the same bailiff?'
'Well, to be sure there is a change there. I decided not to keep about me any freed serfs, who have been house servants, or, at least, not to intrust them with duties of any responsibility.' (Arkady glanced towards Piotr.) 'Il est libre, en effet,' observed Nikolai Petrovitch in an undertone; 'but, you see, he's only a valet. Now I have a bailiff, a townsman; he seems a practical fellow. I pay him two hundred and fifty roubles a year. But,' added Nikolai Petrovitch, rubbing his forehead and eyebrows with his hand, which was always an indication with him of inward embarrassment, 'I told you just now that you would not find changes at Maryino.... That's not quite correct. I think it my duty to prepare you, though....'
He hesitated for an instant, and then went on in French.
'A severe moralist would regard my openness, as improper; but, in the first place, it can't be concealed, and secondly, you are aware I have always had peculiar ideas as regards the relation of father and son. Though, of course, you would be right in blaming me. At my age.... In short ... that ... that girl, about whom you have probably heard already ...'
'Fenitchka?' asked Arkady easily.
Nikolai Petrovitch blushed. 'Don't mention her name aloud, please.... Well ... she is living with me now. I have installed her in the house ... there were two little rooms there. But that can all be changed.'
'Goodness, daddy, what for?'
'Your friend is going to stay with us ... it would be awkward ...'
'Please don't be uneasy on Bazarov's account. He's above all that.'
'Well, but you too,' added Nikolai Petrovitch. 'The little lodge is so horrid—that's the worst of it.'
'Goodness, dad,' interposed Arkady, 'it's as if you were apologising; I wonder you're not ashamed.'
'Of course, I ought to be ashamed,' answered Nikolai Petrovitch, flushing more and more.
'Nonsense, dad, nonsense; please don't!' Arkady smiled affectionately. 'What a thing to apologise for!' he thought to himself, and his heart was filled with a feeling of condescending tenderness for his kind, soft-hearted father, mixed with a sense of secret superiority. 'Please, stop,' he repeated once more, instinctively revelling in a consciousness of his own advanced and emancipated condition.
Nikolai Petrovitch glanced at him from under the fingers of the hand with which he was still rubbing his forehead, and there was a pang in his heart.... But at once he blamed himself for it.
'Here are our meadows at last,' he said after a long silence.
'And that in front is our forest, isn't it?' asked Arkady.
'Yes. Only I have sold the timber. This year they will cut it down.'
'Why did you sell it?'
'The money was needed; besides, that land is to go to the peasants.'
'Who don't pay you their rent?'
'That's their affair; besides, they will pay it some day.'
'I am sorry about the forest,' observed Arkady, and he began to look about him.
The country through which they were driving could not be called picturesque. Fields upon fields stretched all along to the very horizon, now sloping gently upwards, then dropping down again; in some places woods were to be seen, and winding ravines, planted with low, scanty bushes, recalling vividly the representation of them on the old-fashioned maps of the times of Catherine. They came upon little streams too with hollow banks; and tiny lakes with narrow dykes; and little villages, with low hovels under dark and often tumble-down roofs, and slanting barns with walls woven of brushwood and gaping doorways beside neglected threshing-floors; and churches, some brick-built, with stucco peeling off in patches, others wooden, with crosses fallen askew, and overgrown grave-yards. Slowly Arkady's heart sunk. To complete the picture, the peasants they met were all in tatters and on the sorriest little nags; the willows, with their trunks stripped of bark, and broken branches, stood like ragged beggars along the roadside; cows lean and shaggy and looking pinched up by hunger, were greedily tearing at the grass along the ditches. They looked as though they had just been snatched out of the murderous clutches of some threatening monster; and the piteous state of the weak, starved beasts in the midst of the lovely spring day, called up, like a white phantom, the endless, comfortless winter with its storms, and frosts, and snows.... 'No,' thought Arkady, 'this is not a rich country; it does not impress one by plenty or industry; it can't, it can't go on like this, reforms are absolutely necessary ... but how is one to carry them out, how is one to begin?'
Such were Arkady's reflections; ... but even as he reflected, the spring regained its sway. All around was golden green, all—trees, bushes, grass—shone and stirred gently in wide waves under the soft breath of the warm wind; from all sides flooded the endless trilling music of the larks; the peewits were calling as they hovered over the low-lying meadows, or noiselessly ran over the tussocks of grass; the rooks strutted among the half-grown short spring-corn, standing out black against its tender green; they disappeared in the already whitening rye, only from time to time their heads peeped out amid its grey waves. Arkady gazed and gazed, and his reflections grew slowly fainter and passed away.... He flung off his cloak and turned to his father, with a face so bright and boyish, that the latter gave him another hug.
'We're not far off now,' remarked Nikolai Petrovitch; 'we have only to get up this hill, and the house will be in sight. We shall get on together splendidly, Arkasha; you shall help me in farming the estate, if only it isn't a bore to you. We must draw close to one another now, and learn to know each other thoroughly, mustn't we!'
'Of course,' said Arkady; 'but what an exquisite day it is to-day!'
'To welcome you, my dear boy. Yes, it's spring in its full loveliness. Though I agree with Pushkin—do you remember in Yevgeny Onyegin—
'To me how sad thy coming is, Spring, spring, sweet time of love! What ...'
'Arkady!' called Bazarov's voice from the coach, 'send me a match; I've nothing to light my pipe with.'
Nikolai Petrovitch stopped, while Arkady, who had begun listening to him with some surprise, though with sympathy too, made haste to pull a silver matchbox out of his pocket, and sent it to Bazarov by Piotr.
'Will you have a cigar?' shouted Bazarov again.
'Thanks,' answered Arkady.
Piotr returned to the carriage, and handed him with the match-box a thick black cigar, which Arkady began to smoke promptly, diffusing about him such a strong and pungent odour of cheap tobacco, that Nikolai Petrovitch, who had never been a smoker from his youth up, was forced to turn away his head, as imperceptibly as he could for fear of wounding his son.
A quarter of an hour later, the two carriages drew up before the steps of a new wooden house, painted grey, with a red iron roof. This was Maryino, also known as New-Wick, or, as the peasants had nicknamed it, Poverty Farm.
No crowd of house-serfs ran out on to the steps to meet the gentlemen; a little girl of twelve years old made her appearance alone. After her there came out of the house a young lad, very like Piotr, dressed in a coat of grey livery, with white armorial buttons, the servant of Pavel Petrovitch Kirsanov. Without speaking, he opened the door of the carriage, and unbuttoned the apron of the coach. Nikolai Petrovitch with his son and Bazarov walked through a dark and almost empty hall, from behind the door of which they caught a glimpse of a young woman's face, into a drawing-room furnished in the most modern style.
'Here we are at home,' said Nikolai Petrovitch, taking off his cap, and shaking back his hair. 'That's the great thing; now we must have supper and rest.'
'A meal would not come amiss, certainly,' observed Bazarov, stretching, and he dropped on to a sofa.
'Yes, yes, let us have supper, supper directly.' Nikolai Petrovitch with no apparent reason stamped his foot. 'And here just at the right moment comes Prokofitch.'
A man about sixty entered, white-haired, thin, and swarthy, in a cinnamon-coloured dress-coat with brass buttons, and a pink neckerchief. He smirked, went up to kiss Arkady's hand, and bowing to the guest retreated to the door, and put his hands behind him.
'Here he is, Prokofitch,' began Nikolai Petrovitch; 'he's come back to us at last.... Well, how do you think him looking?'
'As well as could be,' said the old man, and was grinning again, but he quickly knitted his bushy brows. 'You wish supper to be served?' he said impressively.
'Yes, yes, please. But won't you like to go to your room first, Yevgeny Vassilyitch?'
'No, thanks; I don't care about it. Only give orders for my little box to be taken there, and this garment, too,' he added, taking off his frieze overcoat.
'Certainly. Prokofitch, take the gentleman's coat.' (Prokofitch, with an air of perplexity, picked up Bazarov's 'garment' in both hands, and holding it high above his head, retreated on tiptoe.) 'And you, Arkady, are you going to your room for a minute?'
'Yes, I must wash,' answered Arkady, and was just moving towards the door, but at that instant there came into the drawing-room a man of medium height, dressed in a dark English suit, a fashionable low cravat, and kid shoes, Pavel Petrovitch Kirsanov. He looked about forty-five: his close-cropped, grey hair shone with a dark lustre, like new silver; his face, yellow but free from wrinkles, was exceptionally regular and pure in line, as though carved by a light and delicate chisel, and showed traces of remarkable beauty; specially fine were his clear, black, almond-shaped eyes. The whole person of Arkady's uncle, with its aristocratic elegance, had preserved the gracefulness of youth and that air of striving upwards, away from earth, which for the most part is lost after the twenties are past.
Pavel Petrovitch took out of his trouser pocket his exquisite hand with its long tapering pink nails, a hand which seemed still more exquisite from the snowy whiteness of the cuff, buttoned with a single, big opal, and gave it to his nephew. After a preliminary handshake in the European style, he kissed him thrice after the Russian fashion, that is to say, he touched his cheek three times with his perfumed moustaches, and said, 'Welcome.'
Nikolai Petrovitch presented him to Bazarov; Pavel Petrovitch greeted him with a slight inclination of his supple figure, and a slight smile, but he did not give him his hand, and even put it back into his pocket.
'I had begun to think you were not coming to-day,' he began in a musical voice, with a genial swing and shrug of the shoulders, as he showed his splendid white teeth. 'Did anything happen on the road.'
'Nothing happened,' answered Arkady; 'we were rather slow. But we're as hungry as wolves now. Hurry up Prokofitch, dad; and I'll be back directly.'
'Stay, I'm coming with you,' cried Bazarov, pulling himself up suddenly from the sofa. Both the young men went out.
'Who is he?' asked Pavel Petrovitch.
'A friend of Arkasha's; according to him, a very clever fellow.'
'Is he going to stay with us?'
'That unkempt creature?'
Pavel Petrovitch drummed with his finger tips on the table. 'I fancy Arkady s'est degourdi,' he remarked. 'I'm glad he has come back.'
At supper there was little conversation. Bazarov especially said nothing, but he ate a great deal. Nikolai Petrovitch related various incidents in what he called his career as a farmer, talked about the impending government measures, about committees, deputations, the necessity of introducing machinery, etc. Pavel Petrovitch paced slowly up and down the dining-room (he never ate supper), sometimes sipping at a wineglass of red wine, and less often uttering some remark or rather exclamation, of the nature of 'Ah! aha! hm!' Arkady told some news from Petersburg, but he was conscious of a little awkwardness, that awkwardness, which usually overtakes a youth when he has just ceased to be a child, and has come back to a place where they are accustomed to regard him and treat him as a child. He made his sentences quite unnecessarily long, avoided the word 'daddy,' and even sometimes replaced it by the word 'father,' mumbled, it is true, between his teeth; with an exaggerated carelessness he poured into his glass far more wine than he really wanted, and drank it all off. Prokofitch did not take his eyes off him, and kept chewing his lips. After supper they all separated at once.
'Your uncle's a queer fish,' Bazarov said to Arkady, as he sat in his dressing-gown by his bedside, smoking a short pipe. 'Only fancy such style in the country! His nails, his nails—you ought to send them to an exhibition!'
'Why of course, you don't know,' replied Arkady. 'He was a great swell in his own day, you know. I will tell you his story one day. He was very handsome, you know, used to turn all the women's heads.'
'Oh, that's it, is it? So he keeps it up in memory of the past. It's a pity there's no one for him to fascinate here though. I kept staring at his exquisite collars. They're like marble, and his chin's shaved simply to perfection. Come, Arkady Nikolaitch, isn't that ridiculous?'
'Perhaps it is; but he's a splendid man, really.'
'An antique survival! But your father's a capital fellow. He wastes his time reading poetry, and doesn't know much about farming, but he's a good-hearted fellow.'
'My father's a man in a thousand.'
'Did you notice how shy and nervous he is?'
Arkady shook his head as though he himself were not shy and nervous.
'It's something astonishing,' pursued Bazarov, 'these old idealists, they develop their nervous systems till they break down ... so balance is lost. But good-night. In my room there's an English washstand, but the door won't fasten. Anyway that ought to be encouraged—an English washstand stands for progress!'
Bazarov went away, and a sense of great happiness came over Arkady. Sweet it is to fall asleep in one's own home, in the familiar bed, under the quilt worked by loving hands, perhaps a dear nurse's hands, those kind, tender, untiring hands. Arkady remembered Yegorovna, and sighed and wished her peace in heaven.... For himself he made no prayer.
Both he and Bazarov were soon asleep, but others in the house were awake long after. His son's return had agitated Nikolai Petrovitch. He lay down in bed, but did not put out the candles, and his head propped on his hand, he fell into long reveries. His brother was sitting long after midnight in his study, in a wide armchair before the fireplace, on which there smouldered some faintly glowing embers. Pavel Petrovitch was not undressed, only some red Chinese slippers had replaced the kid shoes on his feet. He held in his hand the last number of Galignani, but he was not reading; he gazed fixedly into the grate, where a bluish flame flickered, dying down, then flaring up again.... God knows where his thoughts were rambling, but they were not rambling in the past only; the expression of his face was concentrated and surly, which is not the way when a man is absorbed solely in recollections. In a small back room there sat, on a large chest, a young woman in a blue dressing jacket with a white kerchief thrown over her dark hair, Fenitchka. She was half listening, half dozing, and often looked across towards the open door through which a child's cradle was visible, and the regular breathing of a sleeping baby could be heard.
The next morning Bazarov woke up earlier than any one and went out of the house. 'Oh, my!' he thought, looking about him, 'the little place isn't much to boast of!' When Nikolai Petrovitch had divided the land with his peasants, he had had to build his new manor-house on four acres of perfectly flat and barren land. He had built a house, offices, and farm buildings, laid out a garden, dug a pond, and sunk two wells; but the young trees had not done well, very little water had collected in the pond, and that in the wells tasted brackish. Only one arbour of lilac and acacia had grown fairly well; they sometimes had tea and dinner in it. In a few minutes Bazarov had traversed all the little paths of the garden; he went into the cattle-yard and the stable, routed out two farm-boys, with whom he made friends at once, and set off with them to a small swamp about a mile from the house to look for frogs.
'What do you want frogs for, sir?' one of the boys asked him.
'I'll tell you what for,' answered Bazarov, who possessed the special faculty of inspiring confidence in people of a lower class, though he never tried to win them, and behaved very casually with them; 'I shall cut the frog open, and see what's going on in his inside, and then, as you and I are much the same as frogs, only that we walk on legs, I shall know what's going on inside us too.'
'And what do you want to know that for?'
'So as not to make a mistake, if you're taken ill, and I have to cure you.'
'Are you a doctor then?'
'Vaska, do you hear, the gentleman says you and I are the same as frogs, that's funny!'
'I'm afraid of frogs,' observed Vaska, a boy of seven, with a head as white as flax, and bare feet, dressed in a grey smock with a stand-up collar.
'What is there to be afraid of? Do they bite?'
'There, paddle into the water, philosophers,' said Bazarov.
Meanwhile Nikolai Petrovitch too had waked up, and gone in to see Arkady, whom he found dressed. The father and son went out on to the terrace under the shelter of the awning; near the balustrade, on the table, among great bunches of lilacs, the samovar was already boiling. A little girl came up, the same who had been the first to meet them at the steps on their arrival the evening before. In a shrill voice she said—
'Fedosya Nikolaevna is not quite well, she cannot come; she gave orders to ask you, will you please to pour out tea yourself, or should she send Dunyasha?'
'I will pour out myself, myself,' interposed Nikolai Petrovitch hurriedly. 'Arkady, how do you take your tea, with cream, or with lemon?'
'With cream,' answered Arkady; and after a brief silence, he uttered interrogatively, 'Daddy?'
Nikolai Petrovitch in confusion looked at his son.
'Well?' he said.
Arkady dropped his eyes.
'Forgive me, dad, if my question seems unsuitable to you,' he began, 'but you yourself, by your openness yesterday, encourage me to be open ... you will not be angry ...?'
'You give me confidence to ask you.... Isn't the reason, Fen ... isn't the reason she will not come here to pour out tea, because I'm here?'
Nikolai Petrovitch turned slightly away.
'Perhaps,' he said, at last, 'she supposes ... she is ashamed.'
Arkady turned a rapid glance on his father.
'She has no need to be ashamed. In the first place, you are aware of my views' (it was very sweet to Arkady to utter that word); 'and secondly, could I be willing to hamper your life, your habits in the least thing? Besides, I am sure you could not make a bad choice; if you have allowed her to live under the same roof with you, she must be worthy of it; in any case, a son cannot judge his father,—least of all, I, and least of all such a father who, like you, has never hampered my liberty in anything.'
Arkady's voice had been shaky at the beginning; he felt himself magnanimous, though at the same time he realised he was delivering something of the nature of a lecture to his father; but the sound of one's own voice has a powerful effect on any man, and Arkady brought out his last words resolutely, even with emphasis.
'Thanks, Arkasha,' said Nikolai Petrovitch thickly, and his fingers again strayed over his eyebrows and forehead. 'Your suppositions are just in fact. Of course, if this girl had not deserved.... It is not a frivolous caprice. It's not easy for me to talk to you about this; but you will understand that it is difficult for her to come here, in your presence, especially the first day of your return.'
'In that case I will go to her,' cried Arkady, with a fresh rush of magnanimous feeling, and he jumped up from his seat. 'I will explain to her that she has no need to be ashamed before me.'
Nikolai Petrovitch too got up.
'Arkady,' he began, 'be so good ... how can ... there ... I have not told you yet ...'
But Arkady did not listen to him, and ran off the terrace. Nikolai Petrovitch looked after him, and sank into his chair overcome by confusion. His heart began to throb. Did he at that moment realise the inevitable strangeness of the future relations between him and his son? Was he conscious that Arkady would perhaps have shown him more respect if he had never touched on this subject at all? Did he reproach himself for weakness?—it is hard to say; all these feelings were within him, but in the state of sensations—and vague sensations—while the flush did not leave his face, and his heart throbbed.
There was the sound of hurrying footsteps, and Arkady came on to the terrace. 'We have made friends, dad!' he cried, with an expression of a kind of affectionate and good-natured triumph on his face. 'Fedosya Nikolaevna is not quite well to-day really, and she will come a little later. But why didn't you tell me I had a brother? I should have kissed him last night, as I have kissed him just now.'
Nikolai Petrovitch tried to articulate something, tried to get up and open his arms. Arkady flung himself on his neck.
'What's this? embracing again?' sounded the voice of Pavel Petrovitch behind them.
Father and son were equally rejoiced at his appearance at that instant; there are positions, genuinely affecting, from which one longs to escape as soon as possible.
'Why should you be surprised at that?' said Nikolai Petrovitch gaily. 'Think what ages I have been waiting for Arkasha. I've not had time to get a good look at him since yesterday.'
'I'm not at all surprised,' observed Pavel Petrovitch; 'I feel not indisposed to be embracing him myself.'
Arkady went up to his uncle, and again felt his cheeks caressed by his perfumed moustache. Pavel Petrovitch sat down to the table. He wore an elegant morning suit in the English style, and a gay little fez on his head. This fez and the carelessly tied little cravat carried a suggestion of the freedom of country life, but the stiff collars of his shirt—not white, it is true, but striped, as is correct in morning dress—stood up as inexorably as ever against his well-shaved chin.
'Where's your new friend?' he asked Arkady.
'He's not in the house; he usually gets up early and goes off somewhere. The great thing is, we mustn't pay any attention to him; he doesn't like ceremony.'
'Yes, that's obvious.' Pavel Petrovitch began deliberately spreading butter on his bread. 'Is he going to stay long with us?'
'Perhaps. He came here on the way to his father's.'
'And where does his father live?'
'In our province, sixty-four miles from here. He has a small property there. He was formerly an army doctor.'
'Tut, tut, tut! To be sure, I kept asking myself, "Where have I heard that name, Bazarov?" Nikolai, do you remember, in our father's division there was a surgeon Bazarov?'
'I believe there was.'
'Yes, yes, to be sure. So that surgeon was his father. Hm!' Pavel Petrovitch pulled his moustaches. 'Well, and what is Mr. Bazarov himself?' he asked, deliberately.
'What is Bazarov?' Arkady smiled. 'Would you like me, uncle, to tell you what he really is?'
'If you will be so good, nephew.'
'He's a nihilist.'
'Eh?' inquired Nikolai Petrovitch, while Pavel Petrovitch lilted a knife in the air with a small piece of butter on its tip, and remained motionless.
'He's a nihilist,' repeated Arkady.
'A nihilist,' said Nikolai Petrovitch. 'That's from the Latin, nihil, nothing, as far as I can judge; the word must mean a man who ... who accepts nothing?'
'Say, "who respects nothing,"' put in Pavel Petrovitch, and he set to work on the butter again.
'Who regards everything from the critical point of view,' observed Arkady.
'Isn't that just the same thing?' inquired Pavel Petrovitch.
'No, it's not the same thing. A nihilist is a man who does not bow down before any authority, who does not take any principle on faith, whatever reverence that principle may be enshrined in.'
'Well, and is that good?' interrupted Pavel Petrovitch.
'That depends, uncle. Some people it will do good to, but some people will suffer for it.'
'Indeed. Well, I see it's not in our line. We are old-fashioned people; we imagine that without principles, taken as you say on faith, there's no taking a step, no breathing. Vous avez change tout cela. God give you good health and the rank of a general, while we will be content to look on and admire, worthy ... what was it?'
'Nihilists,' Arkady said, speaking very distinctly.
'Yes. There used to be Hegelists, and now there are nihilists. We shall see how you will exist in void, in vacuum; and now ring, please, brother Nikolai Petrovitch; it's time I had my cocoa.'
Nikolai Petrovitch rang the bell and called, 'Dunyasha!' But instead of Dunyasha, Fenitchka herself came on to the terrace. She was a young woman about three-and-twenty, with a white soft skin, dark hair and eyes, red, childishly-pouting lips, and little delicate hands. She wore a neat print dress; a new blue kerchief lay lightly on her plump shoulders. She carried a large cup of cocoa, and setting it down before Pavel Petrovitch, she was overwhelmed with confusion: the hot blood rushed in a wave of crimson over the delicate skin of her pretty face. She dropped her eyes, and stood at the table, leaning a little on the very tips of her fingers. It seemed as though she were ashamed of having come in, and at the same time felt that she had a right to come.
Pavel Petrovitch knitted his brows severely, while Nikolai Petrovitch looked embarrassed.
'Good morning, Fenitchka,' he muttered through his teeth.
'Good morning,' she replied in a voice not loud but resonant, and with a sidelong glance at Arkady, who gave her a friendly smile, she went gently away. She walked with a slightly rolling gait, but even that suited her.
For some minutes silence reigned on the terrace. Pavel Petrovitch sipped his cocoa; suddenly he raised his head. 'Here is Sir Nihilist coming towards us,' he said in an undertone.
Bazarov was in fact approaching through the garden, stepping over the flower-beds. His linen coat and trousers were besmeared with mud; clinging marsh weed was twined round the crown of his old round hat; in his right hand he held a small bag; in the bag something alive was moving. He quickly drew near the terrace, and said with a nod, 'Good morning, gentlemen; sorry I was late for tea; I'll be back directly; I must just put these captives away.'
'What have you there—leeches?' asked Pavel Petrovitch.
'Do you eat them—or keep them?'
'For experiment,' said Bazarov indifferently, and he went off into the house.
'So he's going to cut them up,' observed Pavel Petrovitch. 'He has no faith in principles, but he has faith in frogs.'
Arkady looked compassionately at his uncle; Nikolai Petrovitch shrugged his shoulders stealthily. Pavel Petrovitch himself felt that his epigram was unsuccessful, and began to talk about husbandry and the new bailiff, who had come to him the evening before to complain that a labourer, Foma, 'was deboshed,' and quite unmanageable. 'He's such an Aesop,' he said among other things; 'in all places he has protested himself a worthless fellow; he's not a man to keep his place; he'll walk off in a huff like a fool.'
Bazarov came back, sat down to the table, and began hastily drinking tea. The two brothers looked at him in silence, while Arkady stealthily watched first his father and then his uncle.
'Did you walk far from here?' Nikolai Petrovitch asked at last.
'Where you've a little swamp near the aspen wood. I started some half-dozen snipe; you might slaughter them; Arkady.'
'Aren't you a sportsman then?'
'Is your special study physics?' Pavel Petrovitch in his turn inquired.
'Physics, yes; and natural science in general.'
'They say the Teutons of late have had great success in that line.'
'Yes; the Germans are our teachers in it,' Bazarov answered carelessly.
The word Teutons instead of Germans, Pavel Petrovitch had used with ironical intention; none noticed it however.
'Have you such a high opinion of the Germans?' said Pavel Petrovitch, with exaggerated courtesy. He was beginning to feel a secret irritation. His aristocratic nature was revolted by Bazarov's absolute nonchalance. This surgeon's son was not only not overawed, he even gave abrupt and indifferent answers, and in the tone of his voice there was something churlish, almost insolent.
'The scientific men there are a clever lot.'
'Ah, ah. To be sure, of Russian scientific men you have not such a flattering opinion, I dare say?'
'That is very likely.'
'That's very praiseworthy self-abnegation,' Pavel Petrovitch declared, drawing himself up, and throwing his head back. 'But how is this? Arkady Nikolaitch was telling us just now that you accept no authorities? Don't you believe in them?'
'And how am I accepting them? And what am I to believe in? They tell me the truth, I agree, that's all.'
'And do all Germans tell the truth?' said Pavel Petrovitch, and his face assumed an expression as unsympathetic, as remote, as if he had withdrawn to some cloudy height.
'Not all,' replied Bazarov, with a short yawn. He obviously did not care to continue the discussion.
Pavel Petrovitch glanced at Arkady, as though he would say to him, 'Your friend's polite, I must say.' 'For my own part,' he began again, not without some effort, 'I am so unregenerate as not to like Germans. Russian Germans I am not speaking of now; we all know what sort of creatures they are. But even German Germans are not to my liking. In former days there were some here and there; they had—well, Schiller, to be sure, Goethe ... my brother—he takes a particularly favourable view of them.... But now they have all turned chemists and materialists ...'
'A good chemist is twenty times as useful as any poet,' broke in Bazarov.
'Oh, indeed,' commented Pavel Petrovitch, and, as though falling asleep, he faintly raised his eyebrows. 'You don't acknowledge art then, I suppose?'
'The art of making money or of advertising pills!' cried Bazarov, with a contemptuous laugh.
'Ah, ah. You are pleased to jest, I see. You reject all that, no doubt? Granted. Then you believe in science only?'
'I have already explained to you that I don't believe in anything; and what is science—science in the abstract? There are sciences, as there are trades and crafts; but abstract science doesn't exist at all.'
'Very good. Well, and in regard to the other traditions accepted in human conduct, do you maintain the same negative attitude?'
'What's this, an examination?' asked Bazarov.
Pavel Petrovitch turned slightly pale.... Nikolai Petrovitch thought it his duty to interpose in the conversation.
'We will converse on this subject with you more in detail some day, dear Yevgeny Vassilyitch; we will hear your views, and express our own. For my part, I am heartily glad you are studying the natural sciences. I have heard that Liebig has made some wonderful discoveries in the amelioration of soils. You can be of assistance to me in my agricultural labours; you can give me some useful advice.'
'I am at your service, Nikolai Petrovitch; but Liebig's miles over our heads! One has first to learn the a b c, and then begin to read, and we haven't set eyes on the alphabet yet.'
'You are certainly a nihilist, I see that,' thought Nikolai Petrovitch. 'Still, you will allow me to apply to you on occasion,' he added aloud. 'And now I fancy, brother, it's time for us to be going to have a talk with the bailiff.'
Pavel Petrovitch got up from his seat.
'Yes,' he said, without looking at any one; 'it's a misfortune to live five years in the country like this, far from mighty intellects! You turn into a fool directly. You may try not to forget what you've been taught, but—in a snap!—they'll prove all that's rubbish, and tell you that sensible men have nothing more to do with such foolishness, and that you, if you please, are an antiquated old fogey. What's to be done? Young people, of course, are cleverer than we are!'
Pavel Petrovitch turned slowly on his heels, and slowly walked away; Nikolai Petrovitch went after him.
'Is he always like that?' Bazarov coolly inquired of Arkady directly the door had closed behind the two brothers.
'I must say, Yevgeny, you weren't nice to him,' remarked Arkady. 'You have hurt his feelings.'
'Well, am I going to consider them, these provincial aristocrats! Why, it's all vanity, dandy habits, fatuity. He should have continued his career in Petersburg, if that's his bent. But there, enough of him! I've found a rather rare species of a water-beetle, Dytiscus marginatus; do you know it? I will show you.'
'I promised to tell you his story,' began Arkady.
'The story of the beetle?'
'Come, don't, Yevgeny. The story of my uncle. You will see he's not the sort of man you fancy. He deserves pity rather than ridicule.'
'I don't dispute it; but why are you worrying over him?'
'One ought to be just, Yevgeny.'
'How does that follow?'
'No; listen ...'
And Arkady told him his uncle's story. The reader will find it in the following chapter.
Pavel Petrovitch Kirsanov was educated first at home, like his younger brother, and afterwards in the Corps of Pages. From childhood he was distinguished by remarkable beauty; moreover he was self-confident, somewhat ironical, and had a rather biting humour; he could not fail to please. He began to be seen everywhere, directly he had received his commission as an officer. He was much admired in society, and he indulged every whim, even every caprice and every folly, and gave himself airs, but that too was attractive in him. Women went out of their senses over him; men called him a coxcomb, and were secretly jealous of him. He lived, as has been related already, in the same apartments as his brother, whom he loved sincerely, though he was not at all like him. Nikolai Petrovitch was a little lame, he had small, pleasing features of a rather melancholy cast, small, black eyes, and thin, soft hair; he liked being lazy, but he also liked reading, and was timid in society.
Pavel Petrovitch did not spend a single evening at home, prided himself on his ease and audacity (he was just bringing gymnastics into fashion among young men in society), and had read in all some five or six French books. At twenty-eight he was already a captain; a brilliant career awaited him. Suddenly everything was changed.
At that time, there was sometimes seen in Petersburg society a woman who has even yet not been forgotten. Princess R——. She had a well-educated, well-bred, but rather stupid husband, and no children. She used suddenly to go abroad, and suddenly return to Russia, and led an eccentric life in general. She had the reputation of being a frivolous coquette, abandoned herself eagerly to every sort of pleasure, danced to exhaustion, laughed and jested with young men, whom she received in the dim light of her drawing-room before dinner; while at night she wept and prayed, found no peace in anything, and often paced her room till morning, wringing her hands in anguish, or sat, pale and chill, over a psalter. Day came, and she was transformed again into a grand lady; again she went out, laughed, chattered, and simply flung herself headlong into anything which could afford her the slightest distraction. She was marvellously well-proportioned, her hair coloured like gold and heavy as gold hung below her knees, but no one would have called her a beauty; in her whole face the only good point was her eyes, and even her eyes were not good—they were grey, and not large—but their glance was swift and deep, unconcerned to the point of audacity, and thoughtful to the point of melancholy—an enigmatic glance. There was a light of something extraordinary in them, even while her tongue was lisping the emptiest of inanities. She dressed with elaborate care. Pavel Petrovitch met her at a ball, danced a mazurka with her, in the course of which she did not utter a single rational word, and fell passionately in love with her. Being accustomed to make conquests, in this instance, too, he soon attained his object, but his easy success did not damp his ardour. On the contrary, he was in still more torturing, still closer bondage to this woman, in whom, even at the very moment when she surrendered herself utterly, there seemed always something still mysterious and unattainable, to which none could penetrate. What was hidden in that soul—God knows! It seemed as though she were in the power of mysterious forces, incomprehensible even to herself; they seemed to play on her at will; her intellect was not powerful enough to master their caprices. Her whole behaviour presented a series of inconsistencies; the only letters which could have awakened her husband's just suspicions, she wrote to a man who was almost a stranger to her, whilst her love had always an element of melancholy; with a man she had chosen as a lover, she ceased to laugh and to jest, she listened to him, and gazed at him with a look of bewilderment. Sometimes, for the most part suddenly, this bewilderment passed into chill horror; her face took a wild, death-like expression; she locked herself up in her bedroom, and her maid, putting her ear to the keyhole, could hear her smothered sobs. More than once, as he went home after a tender interview, Kirsanov felt within him that heartrending, bitter vexation which follows on a total failure.
'What more do I want?' he asked himself, while his heart was heavy. He once gave her a ring with a sphinx engraved on the stone.
'What's that?' she asked; 'a sphinx?'
'Yes,' he answered, 'and that sphinx is you.'
'I?' she queried, and slowly raising her enigmatical glance upon him. 'Do you know that's awfully flattering?' she added with a meaningless smile, while her eyes still kept the same strange look.
Pavel Petrovitch suffered even while Princess R—— loved him; but when she grew cold to him, and that happened rather quickly, he almost went out of his mind. He was on the rack, and he was jealous; he gave her no peace, followed her about everywhere; she grew sick of his pursuit of her, and she went abroad. He resigned his commission in spite of the entreaties of his friends and the exhortations of his superiors, and followed the princess; four years he spent in foreign countries, at one time pursuing her, at another time intentionally losing sight of her. He was ashamed of himself, he was disgusted with his own lack of spirit ... but nothing availed. Her image, that incomprehensible, almost meaningless, but bewitching image, was deeply rooted in his heart. At Baden he once more regained his old footing with her; it seemed as though she had never loved him so passionately ... but in a month it was all at an end: the flame flickered up for the last time and went out for ever. Foreseeing inevitable separation, he wanted at least to remain her friend, as though friendship with such a woman was possible.... She secretly left Baden, and from that time steadily avoided Kirsanov. He returned to Russia, and tried to live his former life again; but he could not get back into the old groove. He wandered from place to place like a man possessed; he still went into society; he still retained the habits of a man of the world; he could boast of two or three fresh conquests; but he no longer expected anything much of himself or of others, and he undertook nothing. He grew old and grey; spending all his evenings at the club, jaundiced and bored, and arguing in bachelor society became a necessity for him—a bad sign, as we all know. Marriage, of course, he did not even think of. Ten years passed in this way; they passed by colourless and fruitless—and quickly, fearfully quickly. Nowhere does time fly past as in Russia; in prison they say it flies even faster. One day at dinner at the club, Pavel Petrovitch heard of the death of the Princess R——. She had died at Paris in a state bordering on insanity.
He got up from the table, and a long time he paced about the rooms of the club, or stood stockstill near the card-players, but he did not go home earlier than usual. Some time later he received a packet addressed to him; in it was the ring he had given the princess. She had drawn lines in the shape of a cross over the sphinx and sent him word that the solution of the enigma—was the cross.
This happened at the beginning of the year 1848, at the very time when Nikolai Petrovitch came to Petersburg, after the loss of his wife. Pavel Petrovitch had scarcely seen his brother since the latter had settled in the country; the marriage of Nikolai Petrovitch had coincided with the very first days of Pavel Petrovitch's acquaintance with the princess. When he came back from abroad, he had gone to him with the intention of staying a couple of months with him, in sympathetic enjoyment of his happiness, but he had only succeeded in standing a week of it. The difference in the positions of the two brothers was too great. In 1848, this difference had grown less; Nikolai Petrovitch had lost his wife, Pavel Petrovitch had lost his memories; after the death of the princess he tried not to think of her. But to Nikolai, there remained the sense of a well-spent life, his son was growing up under his eyes; Pavel, on the contrary, a solitary bachelor, was entering upon that indefinite twilight period of regrets that are akin to hopes, and hopes that are akin to regrets, when youth is over, while old age has not yet come.
This time was harder for Pavel Petrovitch than for another man; in losing his past, he lost everything.
'I will not invite you to Maryino now,' Nikolai Petrovitch said to him one day, (he had called his property by that name in honour of his wife); 'you were dull there in my dear wife's time, and now I think you would be bored to death.'
'I was stupid and fidgety then,' answered Pavel Petrovitch; 'since then I have grown quieter, if not wiser. On the contrary, now, if you will let me, I am ready to settle with you for good.'
For all answer Nikolai Petrovitch embraced him; but a year and a half passed after this conversation, before Pavel Petrovitch made up his mind to carry out his intention. When he was once settled in the country, however, he did not leave it, even during the three winters which Nikolai Petrovitch spent in Petersburg with his son. He began to read, chiefly English; he arranged his whole life, roughly speaking, in the English style, rarely saw the neighbours, and only went out to the election of marshals, where he was generally silent, only occasionally annoying and alarming land-owners of the old school by his liberal sallies, and not associating with the representatives of the younger generation. Both the latter and the former considered him 'stuck up'; and both parties respected him for his fine aristocratic manners; for his reputation for successes in love; for the fact that he was very well dressed and always stayed in the best room in the best hotel; for the fact that he generally dined well, and had once even dined with Wellington at Louis Philippe's table; for the fact that he always took everywhere with him a real silver dressing-case and a portable bath; for the fact that he always smelt of some exceptionally 'good form' scent; for the fact that he played whist in masterly fashion, and always lost; and lastly, they respected him also for his incorruptible honesty. Ladies considered him enchantingly romantic, but he did not cultivate ladies' acquaintance....
'So you see, Yevgeny,' observed Arkady, as he finished his story, 'how unjustly you judge of my uncle! To say nothing of his having more than once helped my father out of difficulties, given him all his money—the property, perhaps you don't know, wasn't divided—he's glad to help any one, among other things he always sticks up for the peasants; it's true, when he talks to them he frowns and sniffs eau de cologne.' ...
'His nerves, no doubt,' put in Bazarov.
'Perhaps; but his heart is very good. And he's far from being stupid. What useful advice he has given me especially ... especially in regard to relations with women.'
'Aha! a scalded dog fears cold water, we know that!'
'In short,' continued Arkady, 'he's profoundly unhappy, believe me; it's a sin to despise him.'
'And who does despise him?' retorted Bazarov. 'Still, I must say that a fellow who stakes his whole life on one card—a woman's love—and when that card fails, turns sour, and lets himself go till he's fit for nothing, is not a man, but a male. You say he's unhappy; you ought to know best; to be sure, he's not got rid of all his fads. I'm convinced that he solemnly imagines himself a superior creature because he reads that wretched Galignani, and once a month saves a peasant from a flogging.'
'But remember his education, the age in which he grew up,' observed Arkady.
'Education?' broke in Bazarov. 'Every man must educate himself, just as I've done, for instance.... And as for the age, why should I depend on it? Let it rather depend on me. No, my dear fellow, that's all shallowness, want of backbone! And what stuff it all is, about these mysterious relations between a man and woman? We physiologists know what these relations are. You study the anatomy of the eye; where does the enigmatical glance you talk about come in there? That's all romantic, nonsensical, aesthetic rot. We had much better go and look at the beetle.'
And the two friends went off to Bazarov's room, which was already pervaded by a sort of medico-surgical odour, mingled with the smell of cheap tobacco.
Pavel Petrovitch did not long remain present at his brother's interview with his bailiff, a tall, thin man with a sweet consumptive voice and knavish eyes, who to all Nikolai Petrovitch's remarks answered, 'Certainly, sir,' and tried to make the peasants out to be thieves and drunkards. The estate had only recently been put on to the new reformed system, and the new mechanism worked, creaking like an ungreased wheel, warping and cracking like homemade furniture of unseasoned wood. Nikolai Petrovitch did not lose heart, but often he sighed, and was gloomy; he felt that the thing could not go on without money, and his money was almost all spent. Arkady had spoken the truth; Pavel Petrovitch had more than once helped his brother; more than once, seeing him struggling and cudgelling his brains, at a loss which way to turn, Pavel Petrovitch moved deliberately to the window, and with his hands thrust into his pockets, muttered between his teeth, 'mais je puis vous de l'argent,' and gave him money; but to-day he had none himself, and he preferred to go away. The petty details of agricultural management worried him; besides, it constantly struck him that Nikolai Petrovitch, for all his zeal and industry, did not set about things in the right way, though he would not have been able to point out precisely where Nikolai Petrovitch's mistake lay. 'My brother's not practical enough,' he reasoned to himself; 'they impose upon him.' Nikolai Petrovitch, on the other hand, had the highest opinion of Pavel Petrovitch's practical ability, and always asked his advice. 'I'm a soft, weak fellow, I've spent my life in the wilds,' he used to say; 'while you haven't seen so much of the world for nothing, you see through people; you have an eagle eye.' In answer to which Pavel Petrovitch only turned away, but did not contradict his brother.
Leaving Nikolai Petrovitch in his study, he walked along the corridor, which separated the front part of the house from the back; when he had reached a low door, he stopped in hesitation, then pulling his moustaches, he knocked at it.
'Who's there? Come in,' sounded Fenitchka's voice.
'It's I,' said Pavel Petrovitch, and he opened the door.
Fenitchka jumped up from the chair on which she was sitting with her baby, and giving him into the arms of a girl, who at once carried him out of the room, she put straight her kerchief hastily.
'Pardon me, if I disturb you,' began Pavel Petrovitch, not looking at her; 'I only wanted to ask you ... they are sending into the town to-day, I think ... please let them buy me some green tea.'
'Certainly,' answered Fenitchka; 'how much do you desire them to buy?'
'Oh, half a pound will be enough, I imagine. You have made a change here, I see,' he added, with a rapid glance round him, which glided over Fenitchka's face too. 'The curtains here,' he explained, seeing she did not understand him.
'Oh, yes, the curtains; Nikolai Petrovitch was so good as to make me a present of them; but they have been put up a long while now.'
'Yes, and it's a long while since I have been to see you. Now it is very nice here.'
'Thanks to Nikolai Petrovitch's kindness,' murmured Fenitchka.
'You are more comfortable here than in the little lodge you used to have?' inquired Pavel Petrovitch urbanely, but without the slightest smile.
'Certainly, it's more comfortable.'
'Who has been put in your place now?'
'The laundry-maids are there now.'
Pavel Petrovitch was silent. 'Now he is going,' thought Fenitchka; but he did not go, and she stood before him motionless.
'What did you send your little one away for?' said Pavel Petrovitch at last. 'I love children; let me see him.'
Fenitchka blushed all over with confusion and delight. She was afraid of Pavel Petrovitch; he had scarcely ever spoken to her.
'Dunyasha,' she called; 'will you bring Mitya, please.' (Fenitchka did not treat any one in the house familiarly.) 'But wait a minute, he must have a frock on,' Fenitchka was going towards the door.
'That doesn't matter,' remarked Pavel Petrovitch.
'I will be back directly,' answered Fenitchka, and she went out quickly.
Pavel Petrovitch was left alone, and he looked round this time with special attention. The small low-pitched room in which he found himself was very clean and snug. It smelt of the freshly painted floor and of camomile. Along the walls stood chairs with lyre-shaped backs, bought by the late general on his campaign in Poland; in one corner was a little bedstead under a muslin canopy beside an iron-clamped chest with a convex lid. In the opposite corner a little lamp was burning before a big dark picture of St. Nikolai the wonder-worker; a tiny porcelain egg hung by a red ribbon from the protruding gold halo down to the saint's breast; by the windows greenish glass jars of last year's jam carefully tied down could be seen; on their paper covers Fenitchka herself had written in big letters 'Gooseberry'; Nikolai Petrovitch was particularly fond of that preserve. On a long cord from the ceiling a cage hung with a short-tailed siskin in it; he was constantly chirping and hopping about, the cage was constantly shaking and swinging, while hempseeds fell with a light tap on to the floor. On the wall just above a small chest of drawers hung some rather bad photographs of Nikolai Petrovitch in various attitudes, taken by an itinerant photographer; there too hung a photograph of Fenitchka herself, which was an absolute failure; it was an eyeless face wearing a forced smile, in a dingy frame, nothing more could be made out; while above Fenitchka, General Yermolov, in a Circassian cloak, scowled menacingly upon the Caucasian mountains in the distance, from beneath a little silk shoe for pins which fell right on to his brows.
Five minutes passed; bustling and whispering could be heard in the next room. Pavel Petrovitch took up from the chest of drawers a greasy book, an odd volume of Masalsky's Musketeer, and turned over a few pages.... The door opened, and Fenitchka came in with Mitya in her arms. She had put on him a little red smock with embroidery on the collar, had combed his hair and washed his face; he was breathing heavily, his whole body working, and his little hands waving in the air, as is the way with all healthy babies; but his smart smock obviously impressed him, an expression of delight was reflected in every part of his little fat person. Fenitchka had put her own hair too in order, and had arranged her kerchief; but she might well have remained as she was. And really is there anything in the world more captivating than a beautiful young mother with a healthy baby in her arms?
'What a chubby fellow!' said Pavel Petrovitch graciously, and he tickled Mitya's little double chin with the tapering nail of his forefinger. The baby stared at the siskin, and chuckled.
'That's uncle,' said Fenitchka, bending her face down to him and slightly rocking him, while Dunyasha quietly set in the window a smouldering perfumed stick, putting a halfpenny under it.
'How many months old is he?' asked Pavel Petrovitch.
'Six months; it will soon be seven, on the eleventh.'
'Isn't it eight, Fedosya Nikolaevna?' put in Dunyasha, with some timidity.
'No, seven; what an idea!' The baby chuckled again, stared at the chest, and suddenly caught hold of his mother's nose and mouth with all his five little fingers. 'Saucy mite,' said Fenitchka, not drawing her face away.
'He's like my brother,' observed Pavel Petrovitch.
'Who else should he be like?' thought Fenitchka.
'Yes,' continued Pavel Petrovitch, as though speaking to himself; 'there's an unmistakable likeness.' He looked attentively, almost mournfully, at Fenitchka.
'That's uncle,' she repeated, in a whisper this time.
'Ah! Pavel! so you're here!' was heard suddenly the voice of Nikolai Petrovitch.
Pavel Petrovitch turned hurriedly round, frowning; but his brother looked at him with such delight, such gratitude, that he could not help responding to his smile.
'You've a splendid little cherub,' he said, and looking at his watch, 'I came in here to speak about some tea.'
And, assuming an expression of indifference, Pavel Petrovitch at once went out of the room.
'Did he come of himself?' Nikolai Petrovitch asked Fenitchka.
'Yes; he knocked and came in.'
'Well, and has Arkasha been in to see you again?'
'No. Hadn't I better move into the lodge, Nikolai Petrovitch?'
'I wonder whether it wouldn't be best just for the first.'
'N ... no,' Nikolai Petrovitch brought out hesitatingly, rubbing his forehead. 'We ought to have done it before.... How are you, fatty?' he said, suddenly brightening, and going up to the baby, he kissed him on the cheek; then he bent a little and pressed his lips to Fenitchka's hand, which lay white as milk upon Mitya's little red smock.
'Nikolai Petrovitch! what are you doing?' she whispered, dropping her eyes, then slowly raising them. Very charming was the expression of her eyes when she peeped, as it were, from under her lids, and smiled tenderly and a little foolishly.
Nikolai Petrovitch had made Fenitchka's acquaintance in the following manner. He had once happened three years before to stay a night at an inn in a remote district town. He was agreeably struck by the cleanness of the room assigned to him, the freshness of the bed-linen. Surely the woman of the house must be a German? was the idea that occurred to him; but she proved to be a Russian, a woman of about fifty, neatly dressed, of a good-looking, sensible countenance and discreet speech. He entered into conversation with her at tea; he liked her very much. Nikolai Petrovitch had at that time only just moved into his new home, and not wishing to keep serfs in the house, he was on the look-out for wage-servants; the woman of the inn on her side complained of the small number of visitors to the town, and the hard times; he proposed to her to come into his house in the capacity of housekeeper; she consented. Her husband had long been dead, leaving her an only daughter, Fenitchka. Within a fortnight Arina Savishna (that was the new housekeeper's name) arrived with her daughter at Maryino and installed herself in the little lodge. Nikolai Petrovitch's choice proved a successful one. Arina brought order into the household. As for Fenitchka, who was at that time seventeen, no one spoke of her, and scarcely any one saw her; she lived quietly and sedately, and only on Sundays Nikolai Petrovitch noticed in the church somewhere in a side place the delicate profile of her white face. More than a year passed thus.
One morning, Arina came into his study, and bowing low as usual, she asked him if he could do anything for her daughter, who had got a spark from the stove in her eye. Nikolai Petrovitch, like all stay-at-home people, had studied doctoring and even compiled a homoeopathic guide. He at once told Arina to bring the patient to him. Fenitchka was much frightened when she heard the master had sent for her; however, she followed her mother. Nikolai Petrovitch led her to the window and took her head in his two hands. After thoroughly examining her red and swollen eye, he prescribed a fomentation, which he made up himself at once, and tearing his handkerchief in pieces, he showed her how it ought to be applied. Fenitchka listened to all he had to say, and then was going. 'Kiss the master's hand, silly girl,' said Arina. Nikolai Petrovitch did not give her his hand, and in confusion himself kissed her bent head on the parting of her hair. Fenitchka's eye was soon well again, but the impression she had made on Nikolai Petrovitch did not pass away so quickly. He was for ever haunted by that pure, delicate, timidly raised face; he felt on the palms of his hands that soft hair, and saw those innocent, slightly parted lips, through which pearly teeth gleamed with moist brilliance in the sunshine. He began to watch her with great attention in church, and tried to get into conversation with her. At first she was shy of him, and one day meeting him at the approach of evening in a narrow footpath through a field of rye, she ran into the tall thick rye, overgrown with cornflowers and wormwood, so as not to meet him face to face. He caught sight of her little head through a golden network of ears of rye, from which she was peeping out like a little animal, and called affectionately to her—
'Good-evening, Fenitchka! I don't bite.'
'Good-evening,' she whispered, not coming out of her ambush.
By degrees she began to be more at home with him, but was still shy in his presence, when suddenly her mother, Arina, died of cholera. What was to become of Fenitchka? She inherited from her mother a love for order, regularity, and respectability; but she was so young, so alone. Nikolai Petrovitch was himself so good and considerate.... It's needless to relate the rest....