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Title: A Nobleman's Nest
Author: Turgenev, Ivan Sergeevich, 1818-1883
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Nobleman's Nest" ***

                           A NOBLEMAN'S NEST


                       THE NOVELS AND STORIES OF
                            IVÁN TURGÉNIEFF

                  Published by CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

                 A NOBLEMAN'S NEST
                 ON THE EVE
                 FATHERS AND CHILDREN
                 VIRGIN SOIL
                 MEMOIRS OF A SPORTSMAN
                 THE JEW, AND OTHER STORIES


                           A NOBLEMAN'S NEST
                            IVÁN TURGÉNIEFF
                           ISABEL F. HAPGOOD
                                NEW YORK
                        CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS


                          Copyright, 1903, by
                        CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS


                Printed in the United States of America


                           A NOBLEMAN'S NEST


                           A NOBLEMAN'S NEST

The brilliant, spring day was inclining toward the evening, tiny
rose-tinted cloudlets hung high in the heavens, and seemed not to be
floating past, but retreating into the very depths of the azure.

In front of the open window of a handsome house, in one of the outlying
streets of O * * * the capital of a Government, sat two women; one
fifty years of age, the other seventy years old, and already aged.

The former was named Márya Dmítrievna Kalítin. Her husband, formerly
the governmental procurator, well known in his day as an active
official--a man of energetic and decided character, splenetic and
stubborn--had died ten years previously. He had received a fairly good
education, had studied at the university, but, having been born in a
poverty-stricken class of society, he had early comprehended the
necessity of opening up a way for himself, and of accumulating money.
Márya Dmítrievna had married him for love; he was far from uncomely in
appearance, he was clever, and, when he chose, he could be very amiable.
Márya Dmítrievna (her maiden name had been Péstoff) had lost her
parents in early childhood, had spent several years in Moscow, in a
government educational institute, and, on returning thence, had lived
fifty versts from O * * *, in her native village, Pokróvskoe, with
her aunt and her elder brother. This brother soon removed to Petersburg
on service, and kept his sister and his aunt on short commons, until his
sudden death put an end to his career. Márya Dmítrievna inherited
Pokróvskoe, but did not live there long; during the second year after
her marriage to Kalítin, who succeeded in conquering her heart in the
course of a few days, Pokróvskoe was exchanged for another estate, much
more profitable, but ugly and without a manor-house, and, at the same
time, Kalítin acquired a house in the town of O * * *, and settled
down there permanently with his wife. A large garden was attached to the
house; on one side, it joined directly on to the open fields, beyond the
town. Kalítin,--who greatly disliked the stagnation of the country,--had
evidently made up his mind, that there was no reason for dragging out
existence on the estate. Márya Dmítrievna, many a time, in her own mind
regretted her pretty Pokróvskoe, with its merry little stream, its broad
meadows, and verdant groves; but she opposed her husband in nothing, and
worshipped his cleverness and knowledge of the world. But when, after
fifteen years of married life, he died, leaving a son and two daughters,
Márya Dmítrievna had become so wonted to her house, and to town life,
that she herself did not wish to leave O * * *.

In her youth, Márya Dmítrievna had enjoyed the reputation of being a
pretty blonde, and at the age of fifty her features were not devoid of
attraction, although they had become somewhat swollen and indefinite in
outline. She was more sentimental than kind, and even in her mature age
she had preserved the habits of her school-days; she indulged herself,
was easily irritated, and even wept when her ways were interfered with;
on the other hand, she was very affectionate and amiable, when all her
wishes were complied with, and when no one contradicted her. Her house
was one of the most agreeable in the town. Her fortune was very
considerable, not so much her inherited fortune, as that acquired by her
husband. Both her daughters lived with her; her son was being educated at
one of the best government institutions in Petersburg.

The old woman, who was sitting by the window with Márya Dmítrievna, was
that same aunt, her father's sister, with whom she had spent several
years, in days gone by, at Pokróvskoe. Her name was Márfa Timoféevna
Péstoff. She bore the reputation of being eccentric, had an independent
character, told the entire truth to every one, straight in the face, and,
with the most scanty resources, bore herself as though she possessed
thousands. She had not been able to endure the deceased Kalítin, and as
soon as her niece married him, she retired to her tiny estate, where she
lived for ten whole years in the hen-house of a peasant. Márya
Dmítrievna was afraid of her. Black-haired and brisk-eyed even in her
old age, tiny, sharp-nosed Márfa Timoféevna walked quickly, held
herself upright, and talked rapidly and intelligibly, in a shrill,
ringing voice. She always wore a white cap and a white jacket.

"What art thou doing that for?--" she suddenly inquired of Márya
Dmítrievna.--"What art thou sighing about, my mother?"

"Because," said the other.--"What wonderfully beautiful clouds!"

"So, thou art sorry for them, is that it?"

Márya Dmítrievna made no reply.

"Isn't that Gedeónovsky coming yonder?"--said Márfa Timoféevna,
briskly moving her knitting-needles (she was knitting a huge, motley-hued
scarf). "He might keep thee company in sighing,--or, if not, he might
tell us some lie or other."

"How harshly thou always speakest about him! Sergyéi Petróvitch is
an--estimable man."

"Estimable!" repeated the old woman reproachfully.

"And how devoted he was to my dead husband!" remarked Márya
Dmítrievna;--"to this day, I cannot think of it with indifference."

"I should think not! he pulled him out of the mire by his ears,"--growled
Márfa Timoféevna, and her knitting-needles moved still more swiftly in
her hands.

"He looks like such a meek creature,"--she began again,--"his head is all
grey, but no sooner does he open his mouth, than he lies or calumniates.
And he's a State Councillor, to boot! Well, he's a priest's son: and
there's nothing more to be said!"

"Who is without sin, aunty? Of course, he has that weakness. Sergyéi
Petróvitch received no education,--of course he does not speak French;
but, say what you will, he is an agreeable man."

"Yes, he's always licking thy hand. He doesn't talk French,--what a
calamity! I'm not strong on the French 'dialect' myself. 'T would be
better if he did not speak any language at all: then he wouldn't lie. But
there he is, by the way--speak of the devil,--" added Márfa Timoféevna,
glancing into the street.--"There he strides, thine agreeable man. What a
long-legged fellow, just like a stork."

Márya Dmítrievna adjusted her curls. Márfa Timoféevna watched her
with a grin.

"Hast thou not a grey hair there, my mother? Thou shouldst scold thy
Paláshka. Why doesn't she see it?"

"Oh, aunty, you're always so...." muttered Márya Dmítrievna, with
vexation, and drummed on the arm of her chair with her fingers.

"Sergyéi Petróvitch Gedeónovsky!" squeaked a red-cheeked page-lad,
springing in through the door.


There entered a man of lofty stature, in a neat coat, short trousers,
grey chamois-skin gloves, and two neckties--one black, on top, and the
other white, underneath. Everything about him exhaled decorum and
propriety, beginning with his good-looking face and smoothly brushed
temple-curls, and ending with his boots, which had neither heels nor
squeak. He bowed first to the mistress of the house, then to Márfa
Timoféevna, and slowly drawing off his gloves, took Márya Dmítrievna's
hand. After kissing it twice in succession, with respect, he seated
himself, without haste, in an arm-chair, and said with a smile, as he
rubbed the very tips of his fingers:

"And is Elizavéta Mikhaílovna well?"

"Yes,"--replied Márya Dmítrievna,--"she is in the garden."

"And Eléna Mikhaílovna?"

"Lyénotchka is in the garden also. Is there anything new?"

"How could there fail to be, ma'am, how could there fail to be,"--returned
the visitor, slowly blinking his eyes, and protruding his lips. "Hm! ...
now, here's a bit of news, if you please, and a very astounding bit:
Lavrétzky, Feódor Ivánitch, has arrived."

"Fédya?"--exclaimed Márfa Timoféevna.--"But come now, my father, art
not thou inventing that?"

"Not in the least, ma'am, I saw him myself."

"Well, that's no proof."

"He has recovered his health finely,"--went on Gedeónovsky, pretending
not to hear Márfa Timoféevna's remark:--"he has grown broader in the
shoulders, and the rosy colour covers the whole of his cheeks."

"He has recovered his health,"--ejaculated Márya Dmítrievna, with
pauses:--"that means, that he had something to recover from?"

"Yes, ma'am,"--returned Gedeónovsky:--"Any other man, in his place,
would have been ashamed to show himself in the world."

"Why so?"--interrupted Márfa Timoféevna;--"what nonsense is this? A man
returns to his native place--what would you have him do with himself? And
as if he were in any way to blame!"

"The husband is always to blame, madam, I venture to assure you, when the
wife behaves badly."

"Thou sayest that, my good sir, because thou hast never been married
thyself." Gedeónovsky smiled in a constrained way.

"Permit me to inquire," he asked, after a brief pause,--"for whom is that
very pretty scarf destined?"

Márfa Timoféevna cast a swift glance at him.

"It is destined"--she retorted,--"for the man who never gossips, nor uses
craft, nor lies, if such a man exists in the world. I know Fédya well;
his sole fault is, that he was too indulgent to his wife. Well, he married
for love, and nothing good ever comes of those love-marriages,"--added the
old woman, casting a sidelong glance at Márya Dmítrievna, and
rising.--"And now, dear little father, thou mayest whet thy teeth on
whomsoever thou wilt, only not on me; I'm going away, I won't
interfere."--And Márfa Timoféevna withdrew.

"There, she is always like that,"--said Márya Dmítrievna, following her
aunt with her eyes:--"Always!"

"It's her age! There's no help for it, ma'am!" remarked
Gedeónovsky.--"There now, she permitted herself to say: 'the man who
does not use craft.' But who doesn't use craft nowadays? it's the spirit
of the age. One of my friends, a very estimable person, and, I must tell
you, a man of no mean rank, was wont to say: that 'nowadays, a hen
approaches a grain of corn craftily--she keeps watching her chance to get
to it from one side.' But when I look at you, my lady, you have a truly
angelic disposition; please to favour me with your snow-white little

Márya Dmítrievna smiled faintly, and extended her plump hand, with the
little finger standing out apart, to Gedeónovsky. He applied his lips to
it, and she moved her arm-chair closer to him, and bending slightly
toward him, she asked in a low tone:

"So, you have seen him? Is he really--all right, well, cheerful?"

"He is cheerful, ma'am; all right, ma'am," returned Gedeónovsky, in a

"And you have not heard where his wife is now?"

"She has recently been in Paris, ma'am; now, I hear, she has removed to
the kingdom of Italy."

"It is dreadful, really,--Fédya's position; I do not know how he can
endure it. Accidents do happen, with every one, in fact; but he, one may
say, has been advertised all over Europe."

Gedeónovsky sighed.

"Yes, ma'am; yes, ma'am. Why, she, they say, has struck up acquaintance
with artists, and pianists, and, as they call it in their fashion, with
lions and wild beasts. She has lost her shame, completely...."

"It is very, very sad,"--said Márya Dmítrievna:--"on account of the
relationship; for you know, Sergyéi Petróvitch, he's my nephew, once

"Of course, ma'am; of course, ma'am. How could I fail to be aware of
everything which relates to your family? Upon my word, ma'am!"

"Will he come to see us,--what do you think?"

"We must assume that he will, ma'am; but I hear, that he is going to his
country estate."

Márya Dmítrievna cast her eyes heavenward.

"Akh, Sergyéi Petróvitch, when I think of it, how circumspectly we
women must behave!"

"There are different sorts of women, Márya Dmítrievna. Unfortunately,
there are some of fickle character ... well, and it's a question of age,
also; then, again, the rules have not been inculcated in their
childhood." (Sergyéi Petróvitch pulled a checked blue handkerchief out
of his pocket, and began to unfold it).--"Such women exist, of course,"
(Sergyéi Petróvitch raised a corner of the handkerchief to his eyes,
one after the other),--"but, generally speaking, if we take into
consideration, that is.... There is an unusual amount of dust in town,"
he concluded.

"_Maman, maman_"--screamed a pretty little girl of eleven, as she rushed
into the room:--"Vladímir Nikoláitch is coming to our house on

Márya Dmítrievna rose; Sergyéi Petróvitch also rose and bowed:--"Our
most humble salute to Eléna Mikhaílovna," he said, and withdrawing into
a corner, out of propriety, he began to blow his long and regularly-formed

"What a splendid horse he has!--" went on the little girl.--"He was at
the gate just now, and told Liza and me, that he would ride up to the

The trampling of hoofs became audible; and a stately horseman, on a fine
brown steed, made his appearance in the street, and halted in front of
the open window.


"Good afternoon, Márya Dmítrievna!"--exclaimed the horseman, in a
ringing, agreeable voice.--"How do you like my new purchase?"

Márya Dmítrievna went to the window.

"Good afternoon, _Woldemar_! Akh, what a magnificent horse! From whom did
you buy it?"

"From the remount officer.... He asked a high price, the robber!"

"What is its name?"

"Orlando.... But that's a stupid name; I want to change it.... _Eh bien,
eh bien, mon garçon_.... What a turbulent beast!" The horse snorted,
shifted from foot to foot, and tossed his foaming muzzle.

"Pat him, Lénotchka, have no fears...."

The little girl stretched her hand out of the window, but Orlando
suddenly reared up, and leaped aside. The rider did not lose control,
gripped the horse with his knees, gave him a lash on the neck with his
whip, and, despite his opposition, placed him once more in front of the

"_Prenez garde! prenez garde!_"--Márya Dmítrievna kept repeating.

"Pat him, Lyénotchka,"--returned the rider,--"I will not permit him to
be wilful."

Again the little girl stretched forth her hand, and timidly touched the
quivering nostrils of Orlando, who trembled incessantly and strained at
the bit.

"Bravo!"--exclaimed Márya Dmítrievna,--"and now, dismount, and come

The horseman turned his steed round adroitly, gave him the spurs, and
after dashing along the street at a brisk gallop, rode into the yard. A
minute later, he ran in through the door of the anteroom into the
drawing-room, flourishing his whip; at the same moment, on the threshold
of another door, a tall, graceful, black-haired girl of nineteen--Márya
Dmítrievna's eldest daughter, Liza--made her appearance.


The young man, with whom we have just made the reader acquainted, was
named Vladímir Nikoláitch Pánshin. He served in Petersburg, as an
official for special commissions, in the Ministry of the Interior. He had
come to the town of O * * * to execute a temporary governmental
commission, and was under the command of Governor-General Zonnenberg, to
whom he was distantly related. Pánshin's father, a staff-captain of
cavalry on the retired list, a famous gambler, a man with a crumpled
visage and a nervous twitching of the lips, had passed his whole life in
the society of people of quality, had frequented the English Clubs in
both capitals, and bore the reputation of an adroit, not very
trustworthy, but charming and jolly fellow. In spite of his adroitness,
he found himself almost constantly on the very verge of indigence, and
left behind him to his only son a small and impaired fortune. On the
other hand, he had, after his own fashion, taken pains with his
education: Vladímir Nikoláitch spoke French capitally, English well,
and German badly; but it is permissible to let fall a German word in
certain circumstances--chiefly humorous,--"_c'est même très chic_," as
the Petersburg Parisians express themselves. Vladímir Nikoláitch
already understood, at the age of fifteen, how to enter any drawing-room
whatever without embarrassment, how to move about in it agreeably, and to
withdraw at the proper time. Pánshin's father had procured for his son
many influential connections; as he shuffled the cards between two
rubbers, or after a successful capture of all the tricks, he let slip no
opportunity to drop a nice little word about his "Volódka" to some
important personage who was fond of social games. On his side, Vladímir
Nikoláitch, during his stay in the university, whence he emerged with
the rank of actual student, made acquaintance with several young men of
quality, and became a frequenter of the best houses. He was received
gladly everywhere; he was extremely good-looking, easy in his manners,
entertaining, always well and ready for everything; where it was
requisite, he was respectful; where it was possible, he was insolent, a
capital companion, _un charmant garçon_. The sacred realm opened out
before him. Pánshin speedily grasped the secret of the science of
society; he understood how to imbue himself with genuine respect for its
decrees; he understood how, with half-bantering gravity, to busy himself
with nonsense and assume the appearance of regarding everything serious
as trivial; he danced exquisitely, he dressed in English style. In a
short time he became renowned as one of the most agreeable and adroit
young men in Petersburg. Pánshin was, in reality, very adroit,--no less
so than his father: but he was, also, very gifted. He could do
everything: he sang prettily, he drew dashingly, he wrote verses, he
acted very far from badly on the stage. He had only just passed his
twenty-eighth birthday, but he was already Junior Gentleman of the
Emperor's bedchamber, and had a very tolerable rank. Pánshin firmly
believed in himself, in his brains, in his penetration; he advanced
boldly and cheerfully, at full swing; his life flowed along as on oil. He
was accustomed to please everybody, old and young, and imagined that he
was a judge of people, especially of women: he did know well their
everyday weaknesses. As a man not a stranger to art, he felt within him
both fervour, and some enthusiasm, and rapture, and in consequence of
this he permitted himself various deviations from the rules: he caroused,
he picked up acquaintance with persons who did not belong to society,
and, in general, maintained a frank and simple demeanour; but in soul he
was cold and cunning, and in the midst of the wildest carouse his clever
little brown eye was always on guard, and watching; this bold, this free
young man could never forget himself and get completely carried away. To
his honour it must be said, that he never bragged of his conquests. He
had hit upon Márya Dmítrievna's house immediately on his arrival in
O * * *, and had promptly made himself entirely at home there. Márya
Dmítrievna fairly adored him.

Pánshin amiably saluted all who were in the room, shook hands with Márya
Dmítrievna and Lizavéta Mikhaílovna, lightly tapped Gedeónovsky on the
shoulder, and whirling round on his heels, caught Lyénotchka by the head,
and kissed her on the brow.

"And you are not afraid to ride such a vicious horse?"--Márya
Dmítrievna asked him.

"Good gracious! it is a very peaceable beast; but I'll tell you what I am
afraid of: I'm afraid to play preference with Sergyéi Petróvitch; last
night, at the Byelenítzyns', he won my last farthing."

Gedeónovsky laughed a shrill and servile laugh: he fawned on the
brilliant young official from Petersburg, the pet of the governor. In his
conversations with Márya Dmítrievna, he frequently alluded to
Pánshin's remarkable capacities. "For why should not I praise him?" he
argued. "The young man is making a success in the highest sphere of life,
discharges his service in an exemplary manner, and is not the least bit
proud." Moreover, even in Petersburg Pánshin was considered an energetic
official: he got through an immense amount of work; he alluded to it
jestingly, as is befitting a fashionable man who attaches no particular
importance to his labours, but he was "an executor." The higher officials
love such subordinates; he never had the slightest doubt himself, that,
if he so wished, he could become a Minister in course of time.

"You are pleased to say that I beat you at cards,"--remarked
Gedeónovsky:--"but who was it that won twelve rubles from me last week?
and besides...."

"Villain, villain," Pánshin interrupted him, with a caressing but almost
disdainful carelessness, and without paying any further attention to him,
he stepped up to Liza.

"I have not been able to find the overture of 'Oberon' here," he
began:--"Mme. Byelenítzyn was merely boasting, that she had all the
classical music,--as a matter of fact, she has nothing except polkas and
waltzes; but I have already written to Moscow, and within a week I shall
have that overture. By the way,"--he continued,--"I wrote a new romance
yesterday; the words also are my own. Would you like to have me sing it
for you? I do not know how it has turned out; Mme. Byelenítzyn thought
it extremely charming, but her words signify nothing,--I wish to know
your opinion. However, I think it will be better later on...."

"Why later on?"--interposed Márya Dmítrievna:--"Why not now?"

"I obey, ma'am,"--said Pánshin, with a certain bright, sweet smile,
which was wont to appear on his face, and suddenly to vanish,--pushed
forward a chair with his knee, seated himself at the piano, and after
striking several chords, he began to sing, clearly enunciating the words,
the following romance:

       The moon floats high above the earth
         Amid the clouds so pale;
       But from the crest of the sea surge moveth
         A magic ray.
       The sea of my soul hath acknowledged thee
         To be its moon,
       And 't is moved,--in joy and in sorrow,--
         By thee alone.
       With the anguish of love, the anguish of dumb aspirations,
         The soul is full;
       I suffer pain.... But thou from agitation art as free
         As that moon.

Pánshin sang the second couplet with peculiar expression and force; the
surging of the waves could be heard in the tempestuous accompaniment.
After the words: "I suffer pain...." he heaved a slight sigh, dropped his
eyes, and lowered his voice,--_morendo_. When he had finished, Liza
praised the motive, Márya Dmítrievna said: "It is charming;"--while
Gedeónovsky even shouted: "Ravishing! both poetry and harmony are
equally ravishing!..." Lyénotchka, with childish adoration, gazed at the
singer. In a word, the composition of the youthful dilettante pleased all
present extremely; but outside of the door of the drawing-room, in the
anteroom, stood an elderly man, who had just arrived, to whom, judging by
the expression of his downcast face and the movement of his shoulders,
Pánshin's romance, charming as it was, afforded no pleasure. After
waiting a while, and whisking the dust from his boots with a coarse
handkerchief, this man suddenly screwed up his eyes, pressed his lips
together grimly, bent his back, which was already sufficiently bowed
without that, and slowly entered the drawing-room.

"Ah! Christofór Feódoritch, good afternoon!"--Pánshin was the first of
all to exclaim, and sprang hastily from his seat.--"I had no suspicion
that you were here,--I could not, on any account, have made up my mind to
sing my romance in your presence. I know that you do not care for
frivolous music."

"I vas not listening," remarked the newcomer, in imperfect Russian, and
having saluted all, he remained awkwardly standing in the middle of the

"Have you come, Monsieur Lemm,"--said Márya Dmítrievna,--"to give a
music lesson to Liza?"

"No, not to Lisaféta Mikhaílovna, but to Eléna Mikhaílovna."

"Ah! Well,--very good. Lyénotchka, go upstairs with Monsieur Lemm."

The old man was on the point of following the little girl, but Pánshin
stopped him.

"Do not go away after the lesson, Christofór Feódoritch,"--he
said:--"Lizavéta Mikhaílovna and I will play a Beethoven sonata for
four hands."

The old man muttered something, but Pánshin went on in German,
pronouncing his words badly:

"Lizavéta Mikhaílovna has shown me the spiritual cantata which you
presented to her--'tis a very fine thing! Please do not think that I am
incapable of appreciating serious music,--quite the contrary: it is
sometimes tiresome, but, on the other hand, it is very beneficial."

The old man crimsoned to his very ears, cast a sidelong glance at Liza,
and hastily left the room.

Márya Dmítrievna requested Pánshin to repeat the romance; but he
declared, that he did not wish to wound the ears of the learned German,
and proposed to Liza that they should occupy themselves with the
Beethoven sonata. Then Márya Dmítrievna sighed, and in her turn,
proposed to Gedeónovsky that he should take a stroll in the garden with
her.--"I wish,"--she said, "to talk and take counsel with you still
further, over our poor Fédya." Gedeónovsky grinned, bowed, took
up--with two fingers, his hat, and his gloves neatly laid on its brim,
and withdrew, in company with Márya Dmítrievna. Pánshin and Liza were
left alone in the room; she fetched the sonata, and opened it; both
seated themselves, in silence, at the piano.--From above, the faint
sounds of scales, played by Lyénotchka's uncertain little fingers, were
wafted to them.


Christopher-Theodore-Gottlieb Lemm was born in the year 1786, in the
kingdom of Saxony, in the town of Chemnitz, of poor musicians. His father
played the French horn, his mother the harp; he himself, at the age of
five, was already practising on three different instruments. At eight
years of age he became an orphan, and at the age of ten he began to earn
a bit of bread for himself by his art. For a long time he led a wandering
life, played everywhere--in inns, at fairs, and at peasant weddings and
at balls; at last, he got into an orchestra, and rising ever higher and
higher, he attained to the post of director. He was rather a poor
executant; but he possessed a thorough knowledge of music. At the age of
twenty-eight he removed to Russia. He was imported by a great gentleman,
who himself could not endure music, but maintained an orchestra as a
matter of pride. Lemm lived seven years with him, in the capacity of
musical conductor, and left him with empty hands; the gentleman was
ruined, and wished to give him a note of hand, but afterward refused him
even this,--in a word, did not pay him a farthing. People advised him to
leave the country: but he was not willing to return home in poverty from
Russia, from great Russia, that gold-mine of artists; he decided to
remain, and try his luck. For the space of twenty years he did try his
luck: he sojourned with various gentry, he lived in Moscow and in the
capitals of various governments, he suffered and endured a great deal, he
learned to know want, he floundered like a fish on the ice; but the idea
of returning to his native land never abandoned him in the midst of all
these calamities to which he was subjected; it alone upheld him. But it
did not suit Fate to render him happy with this last and first joy: at
the age of fifty, ill, prematurely infirm, he got stranded in the town of
O * * * and there remained for good, having finally lost all hope of
quitting the Russia which he detested, and managing, after a fashion, to
support his scanty existence by giving lessons. Lemm's external
appearance did not predispose one in his favour. He was small of stature,
round-shouldered, with shoulder-blades which projected crookedly, and a
hollow chest, with huge, flat feet, with pale-blue nails on the stiff,
unbending fingers of his sinewy, red hands; he had a wrinkled face,
sunken cheeks, and tightly-compressed lips, that he was incessantly
moving as though chewing, which, added to his customary taciturnity,
produced an almost malevolent impression; his grey hair hung in elf-locks
over his low brow; his tiny, motionless eyes smouldered like coals which
had just been extinguished; he walked heavily, swaying his clumsy body
from side to side at every step. Some of his movements were suggestive of
the awkward manner in which an owl in a cage plumes itself when it is
conscious that it is being watched, though it itself hardly sees anything
with its huge, yellow, timorously and dozily blinking eyes. Confirmed,
inexorable grief had laid upon the poor musician its ineffaceable seal,
had distorted and disfigured his already ill-favoured figure; but for any
one who knew enough not to stop at first impressions, something unusual
was visible in this half-wrecked being. A worshipper of Bach and Handel,
an expert in his profession, gifted with a lively imagination, and with
that audacity of thought which is accessible only to the German race,
Lemm, in course of time--who knows?--might have entered the ranks of the
great composers of his native land, if life had led him differently; but
he had not been born under a fortunate star! He had written a great deal
in his day--and he had not succeeded in seeing a single one of his
compositions published; he had not understood how to set about the matter
in the proper way, to cringe opportunely, to bustle at the right moment.
Once, long, long ago, one of his admirers and friends, also a German and
also poor, had published two of his sonatas at his own expense,--and the
whole edition remained in the cellars of the musical shops; they had
vanished dully, without leaving a trace, as though some one had flung
them into the river by night. At last Lemm gave up in despair; moreover,
his years were making themselves felt: he had begun to grow rigid, to
stiffen, as his fingers stiffened also. Alone, with an aged cook, whom he
had taken from the almshouse (he had never been married), he lived on in
O * * *, in a tiny house, not far from the Kalítin residence; he
walked a great deal, read the Bible and collections of Protestant psalms,
and Shakespeare in Schlegel's translation. It was long since he had
composed anything; but, evidently, Liza, his best pupil, understood how
to arouse him: he had written for her the cantata to which Pánshin had
alluded. He had taken the words for this cantata from the psalms; several
verses he had composed himself; it was to be sung by two choruses,--the
chorus of the happy, and the chorus of the unhappy; both became
reconciled, in the end, and sang together: "O merciful God, have mercy
upon us sinners, and purge out of us by fire all evil thoughts and
earthly hopes!"--On the title-page, very carefully written, and even
drawn, stood the following: "Only the Just are Right. A Spiritual
Cantata. Composed and dedicated to Miss Elizavéta Kalítin, my beloved
pupil, by her teacher, C. T. G. Lemm." The words: "Only the Just are
Right," and "Elizavéta Kalítin," were surrounded by rays. Below was
added: "For you alone,"--"Für Sie allein."--Therefore Lemm had crimsoned
and had cast a sidelong glance at Liza; it pained him greatly when
Pánshin spoke of his cantata in his presence.


Pánshin struck the opening chords of the sonata loudly, and with
decision (he was playing the second hand), but Liza did not begin her
part. He stopped, and looked at her. Liza's eyes, fixed straight upon
him, expressed displeasure; her lips were not smiling, her whole face was
stern, almost sad.

"What is the matter with you?"--he inquired.

"Why did not you keep your word?" said she.--"I showed you Christofór
Feódoritch's cantata on condition that you would not mention it to him."

"Pardon me, Lizavéta Mikhaílovna, it was a slip of the tongue."

"You have wounded him--and me also. Now he will not trust me any more."

"What would you have me do, Lizavéta Mikhaílovna! From my earliest
childhood, I have never been able to endure the sight of a German:
something simply impels me to stir him up."

"Why do you say that, Vladímir Nikoláitch! This German is a poor,
solitary, broken man--and you feel no pity for him? You want to stir him

Pánshin was disconcerted.

"You are right, Lizavéta Mikhaílovna,"--he said. "My eternal
thoughtlessness is responsible for the whole thing. No, do not say a
word; I know myself well. My thoughtlessness has done me many an ill
turn. Thanks to it, I have won the reputation of an egoist."

Pánshin paused for a moment. No matter how he began a conversation, he
habitually wound up by speaking of himself, and he did it in a charming,
soft, confidential, almost involuntary way.

"And here in your house,"--he went on:--"your mother likes me, of
course,--she is so kind; you ... however, I do not know your opinion of
me; but your aunt, on the contrary, cannot bear me. I must have offended
her, also, by some thoughtless, stupid remark. For she does not like me,
does she?"

"No," said Liza, with some hesitation:--"you do not please her."

Pánshin swept his fingers swiftly over the keys; a barely perceptible
smile flitted across his lips.

"Well, and you?"--he said:--"Do I seem an egoist to you also?"

"I know you very slightly,"--returned Liza:--"but I do not consider you
an egoist; on the contrary, I ought to feel grateful to you...."

"I know, I know, what you mean to say,"--Pánshin interrupted her, and
again ran his fingers over the keys:--"for the music, for the books which
I bring you, for the bad drawings with which I decorate your album, and
so forth and so on. I can do all that--and still be an egoist. I venture
to think, that you are not bored in my company, and that you do not
regard me as a bad man, but still you assume, that I--how in the world
shall I express it?--would not spare my own father or friend for the sake
of a jest."

"You are heedless and forgetful, like all worldly people,"--said
Liza:--"that is all."

Pánshin frowned slightly.

"Listen," he said:--"let us not talk any more about me; let us play our
sonata. One thing only I will ask of you,"--he said, as with his hand he
smoothed out the leaves of the bound volume which stood on the
music-rack:--"think what you will of me, call me an egoist even,--so be
it! but do not call me a worldly man: that appellation is intolerable to
me.... _Anch'io son pittore._ I also am an artist,--and I will
immediately prove it to you in action. Let us begin."

"We will begin, if you please,"--said Liza.

The first adagio went quite successfully, although Pánshin made more
than one mistake. He played his own compositions and those which he had
practised very prettily, but he read music badly. On the other hand, the
second part of the sonata--a rather brisk allegro--did not go at all: at
the twentieth measure, Pánshin, who had got two measures behind, could
hold out no longer, and pushed back his chair with a laugh.

"No!"--he exclaimed:--"I cannot play to-day; it is well that Lemm does
not hear us: he would fall down in a swoon."

Liza rose, shut the piano, and turned to Pánshin.

"What shall we do now?"--she asked.

"I recognise you in that question! You cannot possibly sit with folded
hands. Come, if you like, let us draw, before it has grown completely
dark. Perhaps the other muse,--the muse of drawing ... what's her name?
I've forgotten ... will be more gracious to me. Where is your album? Do
you remember?--my landscape there is not finished."

Liza went into the next room for her album, and Pánshin, when he was
left alone, pulled a batiste handkerchief from his pocket, polished his
nails, and gazed somewhat askance at his hands. They were very handsome
and white; on the thumb of the left hand he wore a spiral gold ring. Liza
returned; Pánshin seated himself near the window, and opened the album.

"Aha!"--he exclaimed:--"I see that you have begun to copy my
landscape--and that is fine. Very good! Only here--give me a pencil--the
shadows are not put on thickly enough.... Look."

And Pánshin, with a bold sweep, prolonged several long strokes. He
constantly drew one and the same landscape: in the foreground were large,
dishevelled trees, in the distance, a meadow, and saw-toothed mountains
on the horizon. Liza looked over his shoulder at his work.

"In drawing, and in life in general,"--said Pánshin, bending his head
now to the right, now to the left:--"lightness and boldness are the
principal thing."

At that moment, Lemm entered the room, and, with a curt inclination, was
on the point of departing; but Pánshin flung aside the album and pencil,
and barred his way.

"Whither are you going, my dear Christofór Feódoritch? Are not you
going to stay and drink tea?"

"I must go home,"--said Lemm in a surly voice:--"my head aches."

"Come, what nonsense!--stay. You and I will have a dispute over

"My head aches,"--repeated the old man.

"We tried to play a Beethoven sonata without you,"--went on Pánshin,
amiably encircling his waist with his arm, and smiling brightly:--"but we
couldn't make it go at all. Just imagine, I couldn't play two notes in
succession correctly."

"You vould haf done better to sing your romantz,"--retorted Lemm, pushing
aside Pánshin's arm, and left the room.

Liza ran after him. She overtook him on the steps.

"Christofór Feódoritch, listen,"--she said to him in German, as she
accompanied him to the gate, across the close-cropped green grass of the
yard:--"I am to blame toward you--forgive me."

Lemm made no reply.

"I showed your cantata to Vladímir Nikoláitch; I was convinced that he
would appreciate it,--and it really did please him greatly."

Lemm halted.

"Zat is nozing,"--he said in Russian, and then added in his native
tongue:--"but he cannot understand anything; how is it that you do not
perceive that?--he is a dilettante--and that's all there is to it!"

"You are unjust to him,"--returned Liza:--"he understands everything, and
can do nearly everything himself."

"Yes, everything is second-class, light-weight, hasty work. That pleases,
and he pleases, and he is content with that--well, and bravo! But I am
not angry; that cantata and I--we are old fools; I am somewhat ashamed,
but that does not matter."

"Forgive me, Christofór Feódoritch,"--said Liza again.

"It does not mattair, it does not mattair," he repeated again in
Russian:--"you are a goot girl ... but see yonder, some vun is coming to
your house. Good-bye. You are a fery goot girl."

And Lemm, with hasty strides, betook himself toward the gate, through
which was entering a gentleman with whom he was not acquainted, clad in a
grey coat and a broad-brimmed straw hat. Courteously saluting him (he
bowed to all newcomers in the town of O * * *; he turned away from his
acquaintances on the street--that was the rule which he had laid down for
himself), Lemm passed him, and disappeared behind the hedge. The stranger
looked after him in amazement, and, exchanging a glance with Liza,
advanced straight toward her.


"You do not recognise me,"--he said, removing his hat,--"but I recognise
you, although eight years have passed since I saw you last. You were a
child then. I am Lavrétzky. Is your mother at home? Can I see her?"

"Mamma will be very glad,"--replied Liza:--"she has heard of your

"Your name is Elizavéta, I believe?"--said Lavrétzky, as he mounted the
steps of the porch.


"I remember you well; you had a face, at that time, such as one does not
forget; I used to bring you bonbons then."

Liza blushed and thought, "What a strange man he is!" Lavrétzky paused
for a minute in the anteroom. Liza entered the drawing-room, where
Pánshin's voice and laughter were resounding; he had imparted some
gossip of the town to Márya Dmítrievna and Gedeónovsky, who had
already returned from the garden, and was himself laughing loudly at what
he had narrated. At the name of Lavrétzky, Márya Dmítrievna started in
utter trepidation, turned pale, and advanced to meet him.

"How do you do, how do you do, my dear _cousin_!"--she exclaimed, in a
drawling and almost tearful voice:--"how glad I am to see you!"

"How do you do, my kind cousin,"--returned Lavrétzky; and shook her
proffered hand in a friendly way:--"how does the Lord show mercy on you?"

"Sit down, sit down, my dear Feódor Ivánitch. Akh, how delighted I am!
Permit me, in the first place, to present to you my daughter Liza...."

"I have already introduced myself to Lizavéta Mikhaílovna,"--Lavrétzky
interrupted her.

"Monsieur Pánshin.... Sergyéi Petróvitch Gedeónovsky.... But pray sit
down! I look at you, and I simply cannot believe my eyes. How is your

"As you see, I am blooming. And you, cousin,--I don't want to cast the
evil eye on you--you have not grown thin during these eight years."

"Just think, what a long time it is since we saw each other,"--remarked
Márya Dmítrievna, dreamily.--"Whence come you now? Where have you left
... that is, I meant to say"--she hastily caught herself up--"I meant to
say, are you to be with us long?"

"I have just come from Berlin,"--returned Lavrétzky,--"and to-morrow I
set out for my estate--probably to remain there a long time."

"Of course, you will live at Lavríki?"

"No, not at Lavríki, but I have a tiny village about twenty-five versts
from here; I am going there."

"The village which you inherited from Glafíra Petróvna?"

"The same."

"Good gracious, Feódor Ivánitch! You have a splendid house at

Lavrétzky scowled slightly.

"Yes ... but in that little estate there is a small wing; and, for the
present, I need nothing more. That place is the most convenient for me
just now."

Márya Dmítrievna again became so perturbed, that she even straightened
herself up, and flung her hands apart. Pánshin came to her assistance,
and entered into conversation with Lavrétzky. Márya Dmítrievna
recovered her composure, leaned back in her chair, and only interjected a
word from time to time; but, all the while, she gazed so compassionately
at her visitor, she sighed so significantly, and shook her head so
mournfully, that the latter, at last, could endure it no longer, and
asked her, quite sharply: was she well?

"Thank God, yes,"--replied Márya Dmítrievna,--"why?"

"Because it seemed to me that you were not quite yourself."

Márya Dmítrievna assumed a dignified and somewhat offended aspect.--"If
that's the way you take it,"--she said to herself,--"I don't care in the
least; evidently, my good man, nothing affects thee any more than water
does a goose; any one else would have pined away with grief, but it
swells thee up more than ever." Márya Dmítrievna did not stand on
ceremony with herself; she expressed herself more elegantly aloud.

As a matter of fact, Lavrétzky did not resemble a victim of fate. His
rosy-cheeked, purely-Russian face, with its large, white brow, rather
thick nose, and broad, regular lips, fairly overflowed with native
health, with strong, durable force. He was magnificently built,--and his
blond hair curled all over his head, like a young man's. Only in his
eyes, which were blue and prominent and fixed, was there to be discerned
something which was not revery, nor yet weariness, and his voice sounded
rather too even.

In the meantime, Pánshin had continued to keep up the conversation. He
turned it on the profits of sugar-refining, concerning which two French
pamphlets had recently made their appearance, and with calm modesty
undertook to set forth their contents, but without saying one word about

"Why, here's Fédya!" suddenly rang out Márfa Timoféevna's voice in the
adjoining room, behind the half-closed door:--"Actually, Fédya!" And the
old woman briskly entered the room. Before Lavrétzky could rise from his
chair, she clasped him in her embrace.--"Come, show thyself, show
thyself,"--she said, moving back from his face.--"Eh! What a splendid
fellow thou art! Thou hast grown older, but hast not grown in the least
less comely, really! But why art thou kissing my hands,--kiss me myself,
if my wrinkled cheeks are not repulsive to thee. Can it be, that thou
didst not ask after me: 'Well, tell me, is aunty alive?' Why, thou wert
born into my arms, thou rogue! Well, never mind that; why shouldst thou
have remembered me? Only, thou art a sensible fellow, to have come. Well,
my mother,"--she added, addressing Márya Dmítrievna,--"hast thou given
him any refreshments?"

"I want nothing,"--said Lavrétzky, hastily.

"Come, drink some tea, at least, my dear little father. O Lord my God! He
has come, no one knows whence, and they don't give him a cup of tea! Go,
Liza, and see about it, as quickly as possible. I remember that, as a
little fellow, he was a dreadful glutton, and he must be fond of eating
even now."

"My respects, Márfa Timoféevna,"--said Pánshin, approaching the angry
old woman from one side, and bowing low.

"Excuse me, sir,"--retorted Márfa Timoféevna,--"I did not notice you
for joy.--Thou hast grown to resemble thy mother, the darling,"--she went
on, turning again to Lavrétzky:--"only, thy nose was and remains like
thy father's. Well--and art thou to be long with us?"

"I am going away to-morrow, aunty."


"Home, to Vasílievskoe."



"Well, if it must be to-morrow, it must. God be with thee,--thou knowest
best. Only, see here, thou must come to say farewell."--The old woman
tapped him on the cheek.--"I did not think I should live to see thee; and
that not because I was preparing to die; no--I am good for another ten
years, probably: all we Péstoffs are tenacious of life; thy deceased
grandfather used to call us double-lived; but the Lord only knew how much
longer thou wouldst ramble about abroad. Well, but thou art a dashing
fine fellow, a fine fellow; thou canst still lift ten puds in one hand as
of yore, I suppose? Thy deceased father, excuse me, was cranky in some
respects, but he did well when he hired a Swiss for thee; thou
rememberest, how thou and he had fistfights; that's called gymnastics,
isn't it?--But why have I been cackling thus? I have only been keeping
Mr. Panshín" (she never called him Pánshin, as she ought) "from
arguing. But we had better drink tea; let us go and drink it on the
terrace, my dear; our cream--is not like what you get in your Londons and
Parises. Let us go, let us go, and do thou, Fédiusha, give me thy arm.
O! how thick it is! There's no danger of falling with thee."

All rose and betook themselves to the terrace, with the exception of
Gedeónovsky, who quietly departed. During the entire duration of
Lavrétzky's conversation with the mistress of the house, Pánshin, and
Márfa Timoféevna, he had sat in a corner, attentively blinking, and
sticking out his lips, in childish curiosity: he now hastened to carry
the news about the new visitor throughout the town.

                    *       *       *       *       *

On that same day, at eleven o'clock in the evening, this is what was
going on at Mme. Kalítin's house. Down-stairs, on the threshold of the
drawing-room, Vladímir Nikoláitch, having seized a favourable moment,
was saying farewell to Liza, and telling her, as he held her hand: "You
know who it is that attracts me hither; you know why I am incessantly
coming to your house; what is the use of words, when everything is so
plain?" Liza made him no reply, and without a smile, and with eyebrows
slightly elevated, and blushing, she stared at the floor, but did not
withdraw her hand; and up-stairs, in Márfa Timoféevna's chamber, by the
light of the shrine-lamp, which hung in front of the dim, ancient holy
pictures, Lavrétzky was sitting in an arm-chair, with his elbows on his
knees, and his face in his hands; the old woman, standing before him, was
silently stroking his hair, from time to time. He spent more than an hour
with her, after taking leave of the mistress of the house; he said almost
nothing to his kind old friend, and she did not interrogate him.... And
what was the use of talking, what was there to interrogate him about? She
understood everything as it was, and she sympathised with everything
wherewith his heart was full to overflowing.


Feódor Ivánovitch Lavrétzky (we must ask the reader's permission to
break the thread of our narrative for a time) was descended from an
ancient family of the nobility. The ancestral founder of the Lavrétzkys
had come out of Prussia during the princely reign of Vasíly the Blind,
and had been granted two hundred quarters[1] of land, on Byezhétsk
Heights. Many of his descendants were members of various branches of the
public service, and sat under princes and distinguished personages in
distant governorships, but not one of them ever rose above the rank of
table-decker at the Court of the Tzars, or acquired any considerable
fortune. The most opulent and noteworthy of all the Lavrétzkys had been
Feódor Ivánitch's great-grandfather, Andréi, a harsh, insolent,
clever, and crafty man. Down to the day of which we are speaking, the
fame of his arbitrary violence, of his fiendish disposition, his mad
lavishness, and unquenchable thirst had not died out. He had been very
stout and lofty of stature, swarthy of visage, and beardless; he lisped,
and appeared to be sleepy; but the more softly he spoke, the more did
every one around him tremble. He obtained for himself a wife to match.
Goggle-eyed, with hawk-like nose, with a round, sallow face, a gipsy by
birth, quick-tempered and revengeful, she was not a whit behind her
husband, who almost starved her to death, and whom she did not survive,
although she was eternally snarling at him.

Andréi's son, Piótr, Feódor's grandfather, did not resemble his
father: he was a simple squire of the steppes, decidedly hare-brained, a
swashbuckler and dawdler, rough but not malicious, hospitable, and fond
of dogs. He was more than thirty years old when he inherited from his
father two thousand souls in capital order; but he speedily dispersed
them, sold a part of his estate, and spoiled his house-servants. Petty
little people, acquaintances and non-acquaintances, crawled from all
sides, like black-beetles, to his spacious, warm, and slovenly mansion;
all these ate whatever came to hand, but ate their fill, drank themselves
drunk, and carried off what they could, lauding and magnifying the
amiable host; and the host, when he was not in a good humour, also
magnified his guests--as drones and blackguards--but he was bored without
them. Piótr Andréitch's wife was a meek person: he took her from a
neighbouring family, at his father's choice and command; her name was
Anna Pávlovna. She never interfered with anything, received visitors
cordially, and was fond of going out herself, although powdering her
hair, according to her own words, was death to her. They put a felt hood
on your head, she was wont to narrate in her old age, combed your hair
all up on top, smeared it with tallow, sprinkled on flour, stuck in iron
pins,--and you could not wash yourself afterward; but to go visiting
without powder was impossible--people would take offence;--torture!--She
was fond of driving after trotters, was ready to play cards from morning
until night, and always covered up with her hand the few farthings of
winnings set down to her when her husband approached the card-table; but
she gave her dowry and all her money to him, and required no accounting
for its use. She bore him two children: a son, Iván, Feódor's father,
and a daughter, Glafíra.

Iván was not brought up at home, but at the house of a wealthy old aunt,
Princess Kubenskóy; she had designated him as her heir (had it not been
for that, his father would not have let him go); she dressed him like a
doll, hired every sort of teacher for him, provided him with a governor,
a Frenchman, a former abbé, a disciple of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a
certain M. Courtin de Vaucelles, an adroit and subtle intriguer,--the
most _fine fleur_ of the emigration, as she expressed it,--and ended by
marrying this "fine-fleur" when she was almost seventy years of age; she
transferred to his name her entire fortune, and soon afterward, rouged,
scented with amber, _à la Richelieu_, surrounded by small negroes,
slender-legged dogs, and screeching parrots, she died on a crooked little
couch of the time of Louis XV, with an enamelled snuff-box, the work of
Petitot, in her hands,--and died, deserted by her husband: the sneaking
M. Courtin had preferred to retire to Paris with her money.

Iván was only in his twentieth year when this blow (we are speaking of
the Princess's marriage, not of her death) descended upon him; he did not
wish to remain in his aunt's house, where from a wealthy heir he had
suddenly been converted into a parasite; in Petersburg, the society in
which he had been reared, was closed to him; to service, beginning with
the lowest ranks, difficult and dark, he felt repugnance (all this took
place at the very beginning of the reign of the Emperor Alexander). He
was compelled, perforce, to return to the country, to his father. Dirty,
poor, tattered did his native nest appear to him: the dulness and soot of
existence on the steppes offended him at every step; he was tormented
with boredom; on the other hand, every one in the house, with the
exception of his mother, looked upon him with unfriendly eyes. His father
did not like his habits of the capital; his dress-suits, frilled shirts,
books, his flute, his cleanliness, in which, not without reason, they
scented his fastidiousness; he was constantly complaining and grumbling
at his son.--"Nothing here suits him," he was wont to say: "at table he
is dainty, he does not eat, he cannot endure the odour of the servants,
the stifling atmosphere; the sight of drunken men disturbs him, and you
mustn't dare to fight in his presence, either; he will not enter
government service: he's frail in health, forsooth; phew, what an
effeminate creature! And all because Voltaire sticks in his head!"

The old man cherished a particular dislike for Voltaire, and for the
"fanatic" Diderot, although he had never read a single line of their
writings: reading was not in his line. Piótr Andréitch was not mistaken:
Diderot and Voltaire really were sticking in his son's head, and not they
only,--but Rousseau and Raynal and Helvetius, and many other writers of
the same sort, were sticking in his head,--but only in his head. Iván
Petróvitch's former tutor, the retired abbé and encyclopedist, had
contented himself with pouring the whole philosophy of the XVIII century
into his pupil in a mass, and the latter went about brimful of it; it
gained lodgment within him, without mingling with his blood, without
penetrating into his soul, without making itself felt as a firm
conviction.... And could convictions be demanded of a young fellow of
fifty years ago, when we have not even yet grown up to them? He also
embarrassed the visitors to his father's house: he loathed them, and they
feared him; and with his sister, Glafíra, who was twelve years older than
he, he did not get on at all.

This Glafíra was a strange being; homely, hunchbacked, gaunt, with
stern, staring eyes and thin, tightly compressed lips; in face, voice,
and quick, angular movements, she recalled her grandmother, the gipsy,
the wife of Andréi. Persistent, fond of power, she would not even hear
of marriage. The return of Iván Petróvitch did not please her; so long
as the Princess Kubenskóy had kept him with her, she had cherished the
hope of receiving at least half of the parental estate: she resembled her
grandmother in her avarice. Moreover, Glafíra was envious of her
brother: he was so cultivated, he spoke French so well, with a Parisian
accent, while she was scarcely able to say: "_bon jour_," and "_comment
vous portez vous_?" To tell the truth, her parents did not understand any
French at all,--but that did not render it any the more pleasant for her.

Iván Petróvitch did not know what to do with himself for tedium and
melancholy; he spent nearly a year in the country, and it seemed to him
like ten years.--Only with his mother did he relieve his heart, and he
was wont to sit, by the hour, in her low-ceiled rooms, listening to the
simple prattle of the good woman, and gorging himself with preserves. It
so happened, that among Anna Pávlovna's maids there was one very pretty
girl, with clear, gentle eyes and delicate features, named Malánya, both
clever and modest. She pleased Iván Petróvitch at first sight, and he
fell in love with her: he fell in love with her timid walk, her shy
answers, her soft voice, her gentle smile; with every passing day she
seemed to him more charming. And she became attached to Iván Petróvitch
with her whole soul, as only Russian girls can become attached--and gave
herself to him.

In the country manor-house of a landed proprietor, no secret can be kept
long: every one soon knew of the bond between the young master and
Malánya; the tidings of this connection at last reached Piótr
Andréitch himself. At any other time, he would, in all probability, have
paid no heed to such an insignificant matter; but he had long been in a
rage with his son, and rejoiced at the opportunity to put to shame the
Petersburg philosopher and dandy. Tumult, shrieks, and uproar arose:
Malánya was locked up in the lumber-room; Iván Petróvitch was summoned
to his parent. Anna Pávlovna also hastened up at the outcry. She made an
effort to pacify her husband, but Piótr Andréitch no longer listened to
anything. Like a vulture he pounced upon his son, upbraided him with
immorality, with impiety, with hypocrisy; incidentally, he vented on him
all his accumulated wrath against the Princess Kubenskóy, and
overwhelmed him with insulting epithets. At first, Iván Petróvitch held
his peace, and stood firm, but when his father took it into his head to
threaten him with a disgraceful chastisement, he lost patience. "The
fanatic Diderot has come on the stage again," he thought,--"so just wait,
I'll put him in action; I'll astonish you all."

Thereupon, in a quiet voice, although trembling in every limb, Iván
Petróvitch announced to his father, that there was no necessity for
upbraiding him with immorality, that, although he did not intend to
justify his fault, yet he was ready to rectify it, and that the more
willingly because he felt himself superior to all prejudices--in short,
he was ready to marry Malánya. By uttering these words, Iván
Petróvitch did, undoubtedly, attain his object: he astounded Piótr
Andréitch to such a degree, that the latter stared with all his eyes,
and was rendered dumb for a moment; but he immediately recovered himself,
and just as he was, clad in a short coat lined with squirrel-skin, and
with slippers on his bare feet, he flung himself with clenched fists upon
Iván Petróvitch, who that day, as though expressly, had his hair
dressed _à la Titus_, and had donned a new blue English dress-coat,
boots with tassels, and dandified chamois trousers, skin-tight. Anna
Pávlovna shrieked at the top of her voice, and covered her face with her
hands, but her son ran through the whole house, sprang out into the yard,
rushed into the vegetable garden, across the garden, flew out upon the
highway, and kept running, without looking behind him, until, at last, he
ceased to hear behind him the heavy tramp of his father's footsteps, and
his violent, broken shouts.... "Stop, rascal!" he roared,--"stop! I'll
curse thee!"

Iván Petróvitch hid himself in the house of a neighbouring peasant
proprietor, while Piótr Andréitch returned home utterly exhausted and
perspiring, and announcing almost before he had recovered his breath,
that he would deprive his son of his blessing and his heritage, ordered
all his idiotic books to be burned, and the maid Malánya to be sent
forthwith to a distant village. Kind people turned up, who sought out
Iván Petróvitch and informed him of all. Mortified, enraged, he vowed
that he would take revenge on his father; and that very night, lying in
wait for the peasant cart in which Malánya was being carried off, he
rescued her by force, galloped off with her to the nearest town, and
married her. He was supplied with money by a neighbour, an eternally
intoxicated and extremely good-natured retired naval officer, a
passionate lover of every sort of noble adventure, as he expressed it. On
the following day, Iván Petróvitch wrote a caustically-cold and
courteous letter to Piótr Andréitch, and betook himself to an estate
where dwelt his second cousin, Dmítry Péstoff, and his sister, Márfa
Timoféevna, already known to the reader. He told them everything,
announced that he intended to go to Petersburg to seek a place, and
requested them to give shelter to his wife, for a time at least. At the
word "wife" he fell to weeping bitterly, and, despite his city breeding
and his philosophy, he prostrated himself humbly, after the fashion of a
Russian beggar, before the feet of his relatives, and even beat his brow
against the floor. The Péstoffs, kind and compassionate people, gladly
acceded to his request; he spent three weeks with them, in secret
expectation of a reply from his father; but no reply came,--and none
could come. Piótr Andréitch, on learning of his son's marriage, had
taken to his bed, and had forbidden the name of Iván Petróvitch to be
mentioned in his presence; but his mother, without the knowledge of her
husband, borrowed five hundred rubles from the ecclesiastical supervisor
of the diocese, and sent them to him, together with a small holy picture
for his wife;[2] she was afraid to write, but she gave orders that Iván
Petróvitch was to be told, by the lean peasant her envoy, who managed to
walk sixty versts in the course of twenty-four hours, that he must not
grieve too much, that, God willing, everything would come right, and his
father would convert wrath into mercy; that she, also, would have
preferred a different daughter-in-law, but that, evidently, God had so
willed it, and she sent her maternal blessing to Malánya Sergyéevna.
The lean little peasant received a ruble, requested permission to see his
new mistress, to whom he was related as co-sponsor at a baptism, kissed
her hand, and hastened off homeward.

And Iván Petróvitch set off for Petersburg with a light heart. The
unknown future awaited him; poverty, perhaps, menaced him, but he had
bidden farewell to the life in the country which he detested, and, most
important of all, he had not betrayed his teachers, he really had "put in
action" and justified in fact Rousseau, Diderot, and _la déclaration des
droits de l'homme_. A sense of duty accomplished, of triumph, of pride,
filled his soul; and his separation from his wife did not greatly alarm
him; the necessity of living uninterruptedly with his wife would have
perturbed him more. That affair was ended; he must take up other affairs.
In Petersburg, contrary to his own expectation, fortune smiled on him:
Princess Kubenskóy--whom Monsieur Courtin had already succeeded in
abandoning, but who had not yet succeeded in dying,--by way, in some
measure, of repairing the injury which she had done to her nephew,
recommended him to the good graces of all her friends, and gave him five
thousand rubles,--almost her last farthing,--and a Lepíkovsky watch with
his coat of arms in a garland of cupids. Three months had not elapsed,
when he had already obtained a place in the Russian mission to London,
and he went to sea on the first English ship which sailed (there was no
thought of steamers in those days). A few months later, he received a
letter from Péstoff. The kind-hearted squire congratulated Iván
Petróvitch on the birth of a son, who had made his appearance in the
world, in the village of Pokróvskoe, on August 20, 1807, and was named
Feódor, in honour of the holy martyr, Feódor the Strategist. Owing to
her extreme weakness, Malánya Sergyéevna added only a few lines; but
those few lines astonished Iván Petróvitch: he was not aware that
Márfa Timoféevna had taught his wife to read and write. However, Iván
Petróvitch did not give himself up for long to the sweet agitation of
paternal emotions: he was paying court to one of the most famous Phrynes
or Laïses of the period (classical appellations were still flourishing
at that epoch); the peace of Tilsit had just been concluded, and
everybody was making haste to enjoyment, everything was whirling round in
a sort of mad whirlwind. He had very little money; but he played luckily
at cards, he picked up acquaintances, he took part in all the
merrymakings,--in a word, he was dashing along under full sail.


  [1] An ancient land-measure, varying in different localities; the average
      "quarter" being about thirty by forty fathoms.--Translator.

  [2] That is to say, she sent her maternal blessing.--Translator.


It was long before old Lavrétzky could forgive his son for his marriage;
if, after the lapse of half a year, Iván Petróvitch had presented himself
in contrition, and had flung himself at his feet, he would, probably, have
pardoned him, after first scolding him roundly, and administering a few
taps with his crutch, by way of inspiring awe; but Iván Petróvitch was
living abroad, and, evidently, cared not a rap.--"Hold your tongue! Don't
dare!" Piótr Andréitch kept repeating to his wife, as soon as she tried
to incline him to mercy: "He ought to pray to God for me forever, the pup,
for not having laid my curse upon him; my late father would have slain him
with his own hands, the good-for-nothing, and he would have done right." At
such terrible speeches, Anna Pávlovna merely crossed herself furtively. As
for Iván Petróvitch's wife, Piótr Andréitch, at first, would not allow
her to be mentioned, and even in reply to a letter of Péstoff, wherein the
latter alluded to his daughter-in-law, he gave orders to say to him, that
he knew nothing whatever about any daughter-in-law of his, and that it was
prohibited by the laws to harbour runaway maids, on which point he regarded
it as his duty to warn him; but later on, when he learned of the birth of a
grandson, he softened, gave orders that inquiries should be made on the sly
concerning the health of the young mother, and sent her, also as though it
did not come from him, a little money. Fédya had not reached his first
birthday, when Anna Pávlovna was seized with a fatal illness. A few days
before her end, when she could no longer leave her bed, she declared to her
husband, in the presence of the priest, that she wished to see and bid
farewell to her daughter-in-law, and to bestow her blessing on her
grandchild. The afflicted old man soothed her, and immediately sent his own
equipage for his daughter-in-law, for the first time calling her Malánya
Sergyéevna.[3] She came with her son and with Márfa Timoféevna, who
would not let her go alone on any terms, and would not have allowed her to
be affronted. Half dead with terror, Malánya entered Piótr Andréitch's
study. The nurse carried Fédya after her. Piótr Andréitch gazed at her
in silence; she approached to kiss his hand; her quivering lips hardly met
in a noiseless kiss.

"Well, new-ground, undried noblewoman,"--he said at last:--"how do you
do; let us go to the mistress."

He rose and bent over Fédya; the baby smiled, and stretched out his
little, white arms. The old man was completely upset.

"Okh," he said,--"thou orphan! Thou hast plead thy father's cause with
me; I will not abandon thee, my birdling!"

As soon as Malánya Sergyéevna entered the bedchamber of Anna Pávlovna,
she knelt down near the door. Anna Pávlovna beckoned her to the bed,
embraced her, blessed her son; then, turning her countenance, ravaged by
disease, to her husband, she tried to speak....

"I know, I know what entreaty thou desirest to make,"--said Piótr
Andréitch:--"do not worry: she shall stay with us, and I will pardon
Vánka for her sake."

Anna Pávlovna, with an effort, grasped her husband's hand, and pressed
it to her lips. On that same evening she died.

Piótr Andréitch kept his word. He informed his son, that, for the sake
of his mother's dying hour, for the sake of baby Feódor, he restored to
him his blessing, and would keep Malánya Sergyéevna in his own house.
Two rooms were set apart for her use in the entresol, he introduced her
to his most respected visitor, one-eyed Brigadier Skuryókhin, and to his
wife; he presented her with two maids and a page-boy for errands. Márfa
Timoféevna bade her farewell; she detested Glafíra, and quarrelled with
her thrice in the course of one day.

At first the poor woman found her situation painful and awkward; but
afterward, she learned to bear things patiently, and became accustomed to
her father-in-law. He, also, became accustomed to her, he even grew to
love her, although he almost never spoke to her, although in his caresses
a certain involuntary disdain toward her was perceptible. Malánya
Sergyéevna had most of all to endure from her sister-in-law. Glafíra,
already during her mother's lifetime, had succeeded in getting gradually
the entire house into her hands: every one, beginning with her father,
was subject to her; not a lump of sugar was given out without her
permission; she would have consented to die, rather than to share the
power with any other mistress of the house! Her brother's marriage had
angered her even more than it had Piótr Andréitch: she took it upon
herself to teach the upstart a lesson, and from the very first hour
Malánya Sergyéevna became her slave.

And how could she contend with the self-willed, arrogant Glafíra, she
who was mild, constantly agitated, and terrified, and also weak in
health? Not a day passed, that Glafíra did not remind her of her former
position, did not praise her for not forgetting her place. Malánya
Sergyéevna would gladly have reconciled herself to these reminders and
praises, however bitter they might be ... but they took Fédya away from
her: that was what broke her heart. Under the pretext that she was not
competent to take charge of his education, she was hardly permitted to
see him; Glafíra took this matter upon herself; the child passed under
her full control. Malánya Sergyéevna began, out of grief, to entreat
Iván Petróvitch, in her letters, to come home as speedily as possible;
Piótr Andréitch himself wished to see his son; but he merely wrote in
reply, thanking his father about his wife, and for the money sent, and
promising to come soon,--and did not come. The year '12 recalled him, at
last, to his fatherland from abroad.

On meeting again, for the first time, after their six years' separation,
the father and son exchanged embraces, and did not allude, by so much as
a word, to their former dissensions; they were not in the mood for it
then: all Russia had risen against the enemy, and both of them felt that
Russian blood was flowing in their veins. Piótr Andréitch, at his own
expense, clothed an entire regiment of soldiers. But the war came to an
end, the danger passed; again Iván Petróvitch began to feel bored,
again he longed for far-away places, for the world to which he had grown
fast, and where he felt himself at home. Malánya Sergyéevna could not
hold him back; she counted for too little with him. Even her hopes had
not been realised: her husband, also, deemed it much more fitting that
Fédya's education should be entrusted to Glafíra. Iván Petróvitch's
poor wife could not withstand this blow, could not endure this second
parting: without a murmur, in a few days she expired. During the whole
course of her life, she had never been able to offer resistance, and she
did not combat her malady. She could no longer speak, the shadows of the
tomb had already descended upon her face, but her features, as of old,
expressed patient perplexity, and the steadfast gentleness of submission;
with the same dumb humility she gazed at Glafíra, and, like Anna
Pávlovna on her deathbed, she kissed the hand of Piótr Andréitch, and
pressed her lips to Glafíra's hand also, entrusting to her, Glafíra,
her only son. Thus ended its earthly career a kind and gentle being,
torn, God alone knows why, from its native soil and immediately flung
aside, like an uprooted sapling, with its roots to the sun; it faded
away, it vanished, without a trace, that being, and no one mentioned it.
Those who grieved for Malánya Sergyéevna were her maid and Piótr
Andréitch. The old man missed her silent presence. "Forgive--farewell,
my patient one!" he whispered, as he made her the parting reverence in
church. He wept as he threw a handful of earth into the grave.

He did not long survive her--not more than five years. In the winter of
1819, he died peacefully in Moscow, whither he had removed with Glafíra
and his grandson, and left orders in his will, that he should be buried
by the side of Anna Pávlovna and "Malásha." Iván Petróvitch was in
Paris at the time, for his pleasure; he had resigned from the service
soon after 1815. On hearing of his father's death, he decided to return
to Russia. It was necessary to consider the organisation of the estate
... and Fédya, according to Glafíra's letter, had reached the age of
twelve years, and the time had arrived for occupying himself seriously
with the boy's education.


  [3] Serfs were not addressed with their patronymic by their superiors.


Iván Petróvitch returned to Russia an Anglomaniac. His closely-clipped
hair, starched neckcloth, long-skirted, yellowish-gray overcoat with a
multitude of capes, his sour expression of visage, a certain harshness
and also indifference of demeanour, his manner of talking through his
teeth, a wooden, abrupt laugh, the absence of smiles, a conversation
exclusively political and politico-economical, a passion for bloody roast
beef and port wine,--everything about him fairly reeked of Great Britain;
he seemed thoroughly imbued with her spirit. But--strange to say! while
he had turned into an Anglomaniac, Iván Petróvitch had simultaneously
become a patriot; at all events, he called himself a patriot, although he
was but badly acquainted with Russia, was not wedded to a single Russian
habit, and expressed himself queerly in Russian: in ordinary
conversation, his speech was clumsy and pithless, studded all over with
Gallicisms; but no sooner did the discussion touch upon important topics,
than Iván Petróvitch instantly brought out such expressions as: "to
show new proofs of self-zeal,"[4] "that doth not agree with the nature of
the circumstances," and so forth. Iván Petróvitch brought with him
several manuscript plans touching the organisation and amelioration of
the empire; he was extremely dissatisfied with everything he saw,--the
absence of system, in particular, stirred up his bile. On meeting his
sister, he announced to her, with his very first words, that he intended
to introduce radical reforms, that henceforth everything on his estate
should proceed upon a new system. Glafíra Petróvna made no reply to
Iván Petróvitch, but merely set her teeth, and said to herself: "And
what is to become of me?"--But when she reached the country estate, in
company with her brother and her nephew, she speedily regained her
composure. In the house, several changes actually took place: the female
hangers-on and drones were subjected to instant expulsion; among their
number two old women suffered, one who was blind and the other crippled
with paralysis, also a decrepit Major of the Otchakóff period, who, on
account of his truly astonishing voracity, was fed on nothing but black
bread and lentils. A decree was also issued, that the former guests were
not to be received: they were superseded by a distant neighbour, a
fair-haired, scrofulous baron, a very well educated and very stupid man.
New furniture from Moscow made its appearance; cuspidors, and bells, and
wash-stands were introduced and they began to serve the noon breakfast
differently; foreign wines took the place of vódka and homemade
liqueurs; new liveries were made for the servants; the motto, "in recto
virtus," was added to the family coat of arms.... But, in reality,
Glafíra's power was not diminished: all the disbursements and purchases
depended on her, as before; the imported Alsatian valet made an attempt
to vie with her--and lost his place, in spite of the fact that his master
took his side. So far as the management, the administration, of the
estates was concerned (Glafíra Petróvna entered into all these
matters), despite Iván Petróvitch's frequently expressed intention "to
infuse new life into this chaos," everything remained as of yore, except
that, here and there, the quit-rents were augmented, and the
husbandry-service became more oppressive, and the peasants were forbidden
to apply directly to Iván Petróvitch. The patriot heartily despised his
fellow-citizens. Iván Petróvitch's system was applied, in its full
force, to Fédya only: his education actually was subjected to "radical
reform"; his father had exclusive charge of it.


  [4] That is to say, he used such fundamentally national words as occur
      only in the Old Church Slavonic, well-nigh untranslatable here, also
      employed upon occasions of ceremony.--Translator.


Up to the time of Iván Petróvitch's return from abroad, Fédya had
been, as we have already said, in the hands of Glafíra Petróvna. He was
less than eight years of age when his mother died, he had not seen her
every day, and he had loved her passionately: the memory of her, of her
pale and gentle face, her melancholy glances and timid caresses, had
forever imprinted itself upon his heart; but he dimly comprehended her
position in the house; he was conscious that between him and her there
existed a barrier which she dared not and could not overthrow. He shunned
his father, and Iván Petróvitch never petted him; his grandfather
occasionally stroked his head, and permitted him to kiss his hand, but he
called him and considered him a little fool. After the death of Malánya
Sergyéevna, his aunt took him in hand definitively. Fédya feared
her,--feared her bright, keen eyes, her sharp voice; he dared not utter a
sound in her presence; it sometimes happened that when he had merely
fidgeted on his chair, she would scream out: "Where art thou going? sit
still!" On Sundays, after the Liturgy, he was permitted to play,--that is
to say, he was given a thick book, a mysterious book, the work of a
certain Maxímovitch-Ambódik, entitled: "Symbols and Emblems." This book
contained about a thousand in part very puzzling pictures, with equally
puzzling explanations in five languages. Cupid, with a plump, naked body,
played a great part in these pictures. To one of them, labelled "Saffron
and Rainbow," was appended the explanation: "The action of this is great
..."; opposite another, which represented "A Heron flying with a violet
blossom in his mouth," stood the inscription: "All of them are known unto
thee." Cupid and a bear licking its cub was designated as: "Little by
little." Fédya contemplated these pictures; he was familiar with the
most minute details of them all; some of them--always the same ones--set
him to thinking and excited his imagination; he knew no other diversions.
When the time came to teach him languages and music, Glafíra Petróvna
hired, for a paltry sum, an elderly spinster, a Swede, with frightened,
hare-like eyes, who spoke French and German indifferently, played the
piano after a fashion, and, in addition, knew how to salt cucumbers in
first-class style. In the society of this instructress, of his aunt, and
of an old chambermaid, Vasílievna, Fédya passed four whole years. He
used to sit in the corner with his "Emblems"--and sit ... and sit ...
while the low-ceiled room smelled of geraniums, a solitary tallow candle
burned dimly, a cricket chirped monotonously, as though it were bored,
the little clock ticked hastily on the wall, a mouse stealthily scratched
and gnawed behind the wall-hangings, and the three old maids, like the
Parcæ, moved their knitting-needles silently and swiftly to and fro, the
shadows cast by their hands now flitted, again quivered strangely in the
semi-darkness, and strange thoughts, also half-dark, swarmed in the
child's head. No one would have called Fédya an interesting child: he
was quite pallid, but fat, awkwardly built, and clumsy,--"a regular
peasant," according to Glafíra Petróvna's expression; the pallor would
speedily have disappeared from his face if he had been permitted to go
out of doors more frequently. He studied tolerably well, although he
frequently idled; he never wept; on the other hand, at times a fierce
obstinacy came over him; then no one could do anything with him. Fédya
loved none of the persons around him.... Woe to the heart which loves not
in its youth!

Thus did Iván Petróvitch find him, and without loss of time he set to
work to apply his system to him.--"I want to make a man of him first of
all, _un homme_,"--he said to Glafíra Petróvna:--"and not only a man,
but a Spartan." Iván Petróvitch began the execution of his intention by
dressing his son in Highland garb: the lad of twelve began to go about
with bare knees, and with a cock's feather in his crush-cap; the Swede
was superseded by a young Swiss man, who had learned gymnastics to
perfection; music, as an occupation unworthy of a man, was banished
forever; the natural sciences, international law, mathematics, the
carpenter's trade after the advice of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and
heraldry, for the maintenance of knightly sentiments--these were the
things wherewith the future "man" was to occupy himself; he was waked at
four o'clock in the morning, was immediately drenched with cold water,
and made to run around a tall pillar, at the end of a rope; he ate once a
day, one dish, rode on horseback, practised firing a cross-bow; on every
convenient opportunity he exercised his strength of will, after the model
of his parent, and every evening he noted down in a special book an
account of the past day and his impressions; and Iván Petróvitch, on
his side, wrote him precepts in French, in which he called him _mon
fils_, and addressed him as _vous_. In Russian Fédya called his father
"thou," but he dared not sit down in his presence. The "system"
bewildered the boy, introduced confusion into his head, squeezed it; but,
on the other hand, the new mode of life acted beneficially on his health:
at first he caught a fever, but soon recovered, and became a fine,
dashing fellow. His father was proud of him, and called him, in his
strange jargon: "A son of nature, my product." When Fédya reached the
age of sixteen, Iván Petróvitch regarded it as his duty to instil into
him betimes scorn for the fair sex,--and the youthful Spartan, with
timidity in his soul, with the first down upon his lips, full of vigour,
strength, and blood, attempted to appear indifferent, cold, and harsh.

Meanwhile, time passed and passed. Iván Petróvitch spent the greater
part of the year at Lavríki (that was the name of his paternal estate),
and in the winters he went alone to Moscow, stopped at an inn, diligently
frequented the club, orated and set forth his plans in drawing-rooms, and
conducted himself more like an Anglomaniac, a grumbler, and a statesman
than ever. But the year 1825 arrived, and brought with it much woe.[5]
Iván Petróvitch's intimate friends and acquaintances were subjected to
severe trials. Iván Petróvitch made haste to retreat to his country
estate, and locked himself up in his house. Another year elapsed, and
Iván Petróvitch suddenly grew feeble, weakened, declined, his health
deserted him. A free-thinker--he took to going to church, and to ordering
services of prayer; a European--he began to steam himself at the bath, to
dine at two o'clock, to go to bed at nine, to fall asleep to the chatter
of the aged butler; a statesman--he burned all his plans, all his
correspondence, trembled before the governor, and fidgeted in the
presence of the rural chief of police; a man with a will of iron--he
whimpered and complained when an abscess broke out on him, when he was
served with a plate of cold soup. Glafíra Petróvna again reigned over
everything in the house; again clerks, village bailiffs, common peasants,
began to creep through the back entrance to the "ill-tempered old
hag,"--that was what the house-servants called her. The change in Iván
Petróvitch gave his son a great shock; he was already in his nineteenth
year, and had begun to reason and to free himself from the weight of the
hand which oppressed him. He had noticed, even before this, a discrepancy
between his father's words and deeds, between his broad and liberal
theories and his harsh, petty despotism; but he had not anticipated such
a sudden break. The inveterate egoist suddenly revealed himself at full
length. Young Lavrétzky was getting ready to go to Moscow, to prepare
himself for the university,--when an unforeseen, fresh calamity descended
upon the head of Iván Petróvitch: he became blind, and that hopelessly,
in one day.

Not trusting in the skill of Russian physicians, he began to take
measures to obtain permission to go abroad. It was refused. Then he took
his son with him, and for three whole years he roamed over Russia, from
one doctor to another, incessantly journeying from town to town and
driving the physicians, his son, his servants, to despair by his
pusillanimity and impatience. He returned to Lavríki a perfect rag, a
tearful and capricious child. Bitter days ensued, every one endured much
at his hands. Iván Petróvitch calmed down only while he was eating his
dinner; he had never eaten so greedily, nor so much; all the rest of the
time he never gave himself or others any peace. He prayed, grumbled at
fate, railed at himself, reviled politics, his system,--reviled
everything which he had made his boast and upon which he had prided
himself, everything which he had held up as an example for his son; he
insisted that he believed in nothing, and then prayed again; he could not
bear to be left alone for a single moment, and demanded from the members
of his household, that they should sit uninterruptedly, day and night,
beside his arm-chair, and amuse him with stories, which he incessantly
interrupted with the exclamation: "You are inventing the whole of
it--what trash!"

Glafíra Petróvna had a particularly hard time; he positively could not
get along without her--and to the end she complied with all the invalid's
whims, although sometimes she could not make up her mind on the instant
to answer him, lest the sound of her voice should betray her inward
wrath. In this manner he lingered on two years, and died in the beginning
of May, when he had been carried out upon the balcony, in the sunshine.
"Gláshka, Gláshka! the bouillon, the bouillon, you old foo ..." lisped
his stiffening tongue, and without finishing the last word, it became
silent forever. Glafíra Petróvna, who had just snatched the cup of
bouillon from the hands of the butler, stopped short, stared her brother
in the face, crossed herself slowly and broadly, and withdrew in silence;
and his son, who was present, said nothing, either, but leaned against
the railing of the balcony, and gazed for a long time into the garden,
all fragrant and verdant, all glittering in the rays of the golden sun of
spring. He was twenty-three years old; how terribly, how imperceptibly
fast those three and twenty years had sped past!... Life was opening
before him.


  [5] At the accession to the throne of Nicholas I.--Translator.


After having buried his father, and entrusted to the immutable Glafíra
Petróvna the management of the farming and the oversight over the
clerks, young Lavrétzky betook himself to Moscow, whither he was drawn
by an obscure but powerful sentiment. He recognised the defects of his
education, and intended to repair omissions, so far as possible. During
the last five years, he had read a great deal, and had seen some things;
many thoughts had been seething in his brain; any professor might have
envied him some of his knowledge, but, at the same time, he did not know
much with which every gymnasium lad has long been familiar. The
Anglomaniac had played his son an evil trick; his whimsical education had
borne its fruits. For long years, he had abased himself before his father
without a question; but when, at last, he had divined him, the deed was
done, the habits had become rooted. He did not know how to make
acquaintance with people: at twenty-three years of age, with an
indomitable thirst for love in his shame-stricken heart, he did not dare
to look a single woman in the eye. With his clear, solid but somewhat
heavy sense, with his inclination to stubbornness, contemplation, and
indolence, he ought, from his earliest years, to have been cast into the
whirlpool of life, but he had been kept in an artificial isolation....
And now the charmed circle was broken, yet he continued to stand in one
spot, locked up, tightly compressed in himself. It was ridiculous, at his
age, to don a student's uniform; but he was not afraid of ridicule: his
Spartan training had served its turn to this extent at least, that it had
developed in him scorn for other people's remarks,--and so, unabashed, he
donned the uniform of a student. He entered the physico-mathematical
department. Healthy, rosy-cheeked, with a well-grown beard, taciturn, he
produced a strange impression upon his comrades; they did not suspect
that in this surly man, who punctually drove to the lectures in a roomy
country sledge and pair, there was concealed almost a child. He seemed to
them some sort of wise pedant; they did not need him and did not seek his
society, he avoided them. In the course of the first two years which he
spent at the university, he came into close contact with only one
student, from whom he took lessons in Latin. This student, Mikhalévitch
by name, an enthusiast and a poet, sincerely loved Lavrétzky, and quite
innocently became the cause of an important change in his fate.

One day, at the theatre (Motcháloff was then at the height of his fame,
and Lavrétzky never missed a performance), he saw a young girl in a box
of the _bel-étage_,--and, although no woman ever passed his surly figure
without causing his heart to quiver, it never yet had beaten so
violently. With her elbows resting on the velvet of the box, the young
girl sat motionless; alert, young life sparkled in every feature of her
pretty, round, dark-skinned face; an elegant mind was expressed in the
beautiful eyes which gazed attentively and softly from beneath slender
brows, in the swift smile of her expressive lips, in the very attitude of
her head, her arms, her neck; she was charmingly dressed. Beside her sat
a wrinkled, sallow woman, forty-five years of age, with a toothless smile
on her constrainedly-anxious and empty countenance, and in the depths of
the box an elderly man was visible, wearing an ample coat and a tall
neckcloth, with an expression of feeble stateliness and a certain
obsequious suspicion in his little eyes, with dyed moustache and
side-whiskers, an insignificant, huge forehead, and furrowed cheeks,--a
retired General, by all the signs. Lavrétzky could not take his eyes
from the young girl who had startled him; all at once, the door of the
box opened, and Mikhalévitch entered. The appearance of that man, almost
his sole acquaintance in all Moscow,--his appearance in the company of
the only young girl who had engrossed his whole attention, seemed to
Lavrétzky strange and significant. As he continued to gaze at the box,
he noticed that all the persons in it treated Mikhalévitch like an old
friend. The performance on the stage ceased to interest Lavrétzky;
Motcháloff himself, although that evening he was "in high feather," did
not produce upon him the customary impression. In one very pathetic
passage, Lavrétzky involuntarily glanced at his beauty: she was bending
her whole body forward, her cheeks were aflame; under the influence of
his persistent gaze, her eyes, which were riveted on the stage, turned
slowly, and rested upon him.... All night long, those eyes flitted before
his vision. At last, the artificially erected dam had given way: he
trembled and burned, and on the following day he betook himself to
Mikhalévitch. From him he learned, that the beauty's name was Varvára
Pávlovna Koróbyn; that the old man and woman who had sat with her in
the box were her father and mother, and that he himself, Mikhalévitch,
had made their acquaintance a year previously, during his stay in the
suburbs of Moscow, "on contract service" (as tutor) with Count N. The
enthusiast expressed himself in the most laudatory manner concerning
Varvára Pávlovna--"My dear fellow," he exclaimed, with the impetuous
harmony in his voice which was peculiar to him,--"that young girl is an
amazing, a talented being, an artist in the genuine sense of the word,
and extremely amiable to boot."--Perceiving from Lavrétzky's question
what an impression Varvára Pávlovna had produced upon him, he himself
proposed to introduce him to her, adding that he was quite at home in
their house; that the General was not at all a proud man, and the mother
was so stupid that she all but sucked a rag. Lavrétzky blushed, muttered
something unintelligible, and fled. For five whole days he wrestled with
his timidity; on the sixth day the young Spartan donned a new uniform,
and placed himself at the disposition of Mikhalévitch, who being his own
valet, confined himself to brushing his hair,--and the two set out for
the Koróbyns'.


The father of Varvára Pávlovna, Pável Petróvitch Koróbyn,
Major-General on the retired list, had spent his whole life in
Petersburg, in the service; had borne the reputation, in his youth, of
being an accomplished dancer and officer of the line; found himself,
owing to poverty, the adjutant of two or three ill-favoured Generals;
married the daughter of one of them, receiving twenty-five thousand
rubles as her dowry; acquired, in its finest details, the love of drills
and reviews; toiled, and toiled hard, for his livelihood, and at last, at
the end of twenty years, attained to the rank of General, and received a
regiment. It was time for him to rest, and without delay to establish his
prosperity on a firm basis; this was what he calculated on doing, but he
managed the matter somewhat incautiously: he hit upon a new method of
putting the coin of the realm into circulation,--the method proved to be
a capital one, but he did not get out in season: a complaint was made
against him; a more than unpleasant, an ugly scandal ensued. The General
managed to wriggle out of the scandal, after a fashion, but his career
was ruined: he was advised to resign. He hung about in Petersburg for a
couple of years longer in the hope that some snug little place would get
stranded on him: but the place did not strand on him, and his daughter
came out of the government school, and his expenses increased every
day.... Repressing his wrath, he decided to remove to Moscow for the sake
of economy, hired a tiny, low-roofed house on Old Stable Street, with a
coat of arms a fathom tall on the roof, and began to live the life of a
Moscow General on the retired list, spending 2750 rubles a year. Moscow
is a hospitable town, glad to welcome everybody who comes along, and more
particularly, Generals; Pável Petróvitch's heavy figure, which yet was
not lacking in military mien, speedily began to make its appearance in
the best drawing-rooms of Moscow. His bald nape, with tufts of dyed hair,
and the dirty ribbon of the order of St. Anna on a neckcloth the hue of
the raven's wing, began to be well known to all the easily bored and
pallid young men who morosely hovered around the gambling-tables while
dancing was in progress. Pável Petróvitch understood how to place
himself in society; he talked little, but, by force of old habit, through
his nose,--of course, not with individuals belonging to the higher ranks;
he played cards cautiously, at home he ate sparingly, but when visiting
he ate for six. Concerning his wife, there is hardly anything to say: her
name was Kalliópe Kárlovna; a tear oozed from her left eye, by virtue
of which Kalliópe Kárlovna (she was, moreover, of German extraction)
regarded herself as a woman of sentiment; she lived in constant fear of
something, never seemed to have had quite enough to eat, and wore tight
velvet gowns, a turban, and dull bracelets of hollow metal. Varvára
Pávlovna, the only daughter of Pável Petróvitch and Kalliópe
Kárlovna, had just passed her seventeenth birthday when she came out of
the * * * Institute, where she had been considered, if not the greatest
beauty, certainly the cleverest girl and the best musician, and where she
had received the _chiffre_;[6] she was not yet nineteen when Lavrétzky
beheld her for the first time.


  [6] In the Government Institutes for girls, the chief prize is the
      Empress's initial, in jewels.--Translator.


The legs of the Spartan gave way beneath him when Mikhalévitch conducted
him into the rather shabbily furnished drawing-room of the Koróbyns, and
presented him to the master and mistress of the house. But the feeling of
timidity which had taken possession of him promptly disappeared: in the
General the kindliness of nature innate in all Russians was greatly
increased by that special sort of courtesy which is peculiar to all
besmirched people; the Generaless soon disappeared, somehow; as for
Varvára Pávlovna, she was so calm and self-possessedly amiable, that
any one would immediately have felt himself at home in her presence;
moreover, from the whole of her enchanting person, from her smiling eyes,
from her innocently-sloping shoulders and faintly-rosy hands, from her
light and, at the same time, rather languid gait, from the very sound of
her voice, which was low and sweet,--there breathed forth an insinuating
charm, as intangible as a delicate perfume, a soft and as yet modest
intoxication, something which it is difficult to express in words, but
which touched and excited,--and, of course, excited something which was
not timidity. Lavrétzky turned the conversation on the theatre, on the
performance of the preceding evening; she immediately began, herself, to
speak of Motcháloff, and did not confine herself merely to exclamations
and sighs, but uttered several just and femininely-penetrating remarks
concerning his acting. Mikhalévitch alluded to music; without any
affectation she seated herself at the piano, and played with precision
several mazurkas by Chopin, which had only just come into fashion. The
dinner-hour arrived; Lavrétzky made a motion to depart, but they kept
him; at table, the General treated him to good claret, for which the
General's lackey had galloped in a cab to Depré's. Late at night,
Lavrétzky returned home, and sat for a long time, without undressing,
his eyes covered with his hand, in dumb enchantment. It seemed to him,
that only now had he come to understand why life was worth living; all
his hypotheses, his intentions, all that nonsense and rubbish, vanished
instantaneously; his whole soul was merged in one sentiment, in one
desire, in the desire for happiness, possession, love, the sweet love of
woman. From that day forth, he began to go often to the Koróbyns'. Six
months later, he declared himself to Varvára Pávlovna, and offered her
his hand. His proposal was accepted; the General had long since, almost
on the eve of his first visit, inquired of Mikhalévitch how many serfs
he, Lavrétzky, had; and Varvára Pávlovna also, who, during the whole
period of the young man's courtship and even at the moment of his
declaration, had preserved her habitual tranquillity and clearness of
soul,--Varvára Pávlovna also was well aware that her lover was rich;
and Kalliópe Kárlovna said to herself: "Meine Tochter macht eine
schöne Partie"--and bought herself a new turban.


So his proposal was accepted, but on certain conditions. In the first
place, Lavrétzky must immediately leave the university: who marries a
student? and what a dreadful idea,--for a landed proprietor, rich, and
twenty-six years old, to take lessons like a school-boy! In the second
place, Varvára Pávlovna took upon herself the labour of ordering and
purchasing the trousseau, even of choosing the bridegroom's gifts. She
had a great deal of practical sense, much taste, much love for comfort,
and a great knack for securing for herself that comfort. This knack
particularly astonished Lavrétzky when, immediately after the wedding,
he and his wife set out in a commodious carriage, which she had bought,
for Lavríki. How everything which surrounded him had been planned,
foreseen, provided for by Varvára Pávlovna! What charming travelling
requisites, what fascinating toilet-boxes and coffeepots, made their
appearance in divers snug nooks, and how prettily Varvára Pávlovna
herself boiled the coffee in the mornings! But Lavrétzky was not then in
a mood for observation: he was in a beatific state, he was intoxicating
himself with happiness; he gave himself up to it like a child.... And he
was as innocent as a child, that young Alcides. Not in vain did witchery
exhale from the whole being of his young wife; not in vain did she
promise to the senses the secret luxury of unknown delights; she
fulfilled more than she had promised. On arriving at Lavríki, in the
very hottest part of the summer, she found the house dirty and dark, the
servants ridiculous and antiquated, but she did not find it necessary
even to hint at this to her husband. If she had been making preparations
to settle down at Lavríki, she would have made over everything about it,
beginning, of course, with the house; but the idea of remaining in that
God-forsaken corner of the steppes never entered her mind for one moment;
she lived in it, as though camping out, gently enduring all the
inconveniences and making amusing jests over them. Márfa Timoféevna
came to see her nursling; Varvára Pávlovna took a great liking for her,
but she did not take a liking for Varvára Pávlovna. Neither did the new
mistress of the house get on well with Glafíra Petróvna; she would have
left her in peace, but old Koróbyn wanted to feather his nest from his
son-in-law's affairs; "it was no shame, even for a General," said he, "to
manage the estate of so near a relative." It must be assumed that Pável
Petróvitch would not have disdained to busy himself with the estate of
an entire stranger. Varvára Pávlovna conducted her attack in a very
artful manner: without thrusting herself forward, and still, to all
appearances, wholly absorbed in the felicity of the honeymoon, in quiet
country life, in music and reading, she little by little drove Glafíra
Petróvna to such a state, that one morning the latter rushed like a
madwoman into Lavrétzky's study, and, hurling her bunch of keys on the
table, announced that it was beyond her power to occupy herself with the
housekeeping, and that she did not wish to remain in the country. Having
been properly prepared in advance, Lavrétzky immediately consented to
her departure.--Glafíra Petróvna had not expected this. "Very well,"
said she, and her eyes grew dark,--"I see that I am not wanted here! I
know who it is that is driving me hence--from my native nest. But do thou
remember my words, nephew: thou shalt never be able to build thyself a
nest anywhere, thou must wander all thy life. That is my legacy to
thee."--That very day she departed to her own little estate, and a week
later General Koróbyn arrived, and with agreeable melancholy in his gaze
and movements, took the management of the entire estate into his hands.

In September, Varvára Petróvna carried her husband off to Petersburg. She
spent two winters in Petersburg (they removed to Tzárskoe Seló for the
summer), in a beautiful, light, elegantly furnished apartment; they made
many acquaintances in middle-class and even in the higher circles of
society, they went out and received a great deal, and gave most charming
musical and dancing parties. Varvára Pávlovna attracted guests as a flame
attracts moths. Such a dissipated life did not altogether please Feódor
Ivánitch. His wife advised him to enter the service; owing to his father's
old memories, and his own conceptions, he would not serve, but to please
his wife he remained in Petersburg. But he speedily divined that no one
prevented his isolating himself, that it was not for nothing that he had
the quietest and most comfortable study in all Petersburg, that his
solicitous wife was even ready to help him to isolate himself,--and from
that time forth all went splendidly. Once more he took up his own
education, which, in his opinion, was unfinished, once more he began to
read, he even began to study the English language. It was strange to see
his mighty, broad-shouldered figure, eternally bent over his writing-table,
his full, hairy, ruddy face half concealed by the pages of a dictionary or
an exercise-book. Every morning he spent in work, dined capitally (Varvára
Pávlovna was an excellent housewife), and in the evening he entered an
enchanting, fragrant, brilliant world, all populated with young, merry
faces,--and the central point of that world was also the zealous hostess,
his wife. She gladdened him with the birth of a son, but the poor boy did
not live long: he died in the spring, and in the summer, by the advice of
the physicians, Lavrétzky took his wife abroad, to the baths. Diversion
was indispensable to her, after such a bereavement, and her health required
a warm climate. They spent the summer and autumn in Germany and
Switzerland, and in the winter, as might have been expected, they went to
Paris. In Paris Varvára Pávlovna blossomed out like a rose, and managed
to build a little nest for herself as promptly and as adroitly as in
Petersburg. She found an extremely pretty apartment, in one of the quiet
but fashionable Paris streets; she made her husband such a dressing-gown as
he had never owned before; she hired a trim maid, a capital cook, a smart
footman; she got an enchanting carriage, a charming little piano. A week
had not passed before she crossed a street, wore her shawl, opened her
parasol, and put on her gloves in a style equal to that of the
purest-blooded Parisienne. And she soon provided herself with
acquaintances. At first, only Russians went to her house, then Frenchmen
began to make their appearance, very amiable, courteous, unmarried, with
beautiful manners and euphonious family names; they all talked fast and
much, bowed with easy grace, and screwed up their eyes in a pleasing way;
all of them had white teeth which gleamed beneath rosy lips,--and how they
did understand the art of smiling! Every one of them brought his friends,
and "la belle Madame de Lavretzki" soon became known from the Chaussée
d'Antin to the Rue de Lille. In those days (this took place in 1836), that
tribe of feuilleton and chronicle writers, which now swarm everywhere, like
ants in an ant-hill which has been cut open, had not multiplied; but even
then, a certain M----r Jules presented himself in Varvára Pávlovna's
salon, a gentleman of insignificant appearance, with a scandalous
reputation, insolent and base, like all duellists and beaten men. This M--r
Jules was extremely repulsive to Varvára Pávlovna, but she received him
because he scribbled for various journals, and incessantly alluded to her,
calling her now _"Mme. de L * * * tzki_," now "_Mme. de * * * cette
grande dame Russe si distinguée, qui demeure rue de P._"; narrating to all
the world, that is to say, to a few hundred subscribers, who cared nothing
whatever about "_Mme. de L * * * tzki_," how that pretty and charming
lady was a real Frenchwoman in mind (_une vraie française par
l'esprit_),--there is no higher encomium for the French,--what a remarkable
musician she was, and how wonderfully she waltzed (Varvára Pávlovna, in
reality, did waltz in such a manner as to draw all hearts after the hem of
her light, fluttering gown) ... in a word, he spread her fame throughout
the world,--and assuredly that is agreeable, say what you will. Mlle. Mars
had already left the stage, and Mlle. Rachel had not yet made her
appearance; nevertheless, Varvára Pávlovna diligently frequented the
theatres. She went into ecstasies over Italian music, and laughed at the
ruins of Odra, yawned decorously at the Comédie Française, and wept at
the acting of Mme. Dorval in some ultra-romantic melodrama or other; but,
chief of all, Liszt played a couple of times at her house, and was so nice,
so simple--it was delightful! In such pleasant sensations passed a winter,
at the end of which Varvára Pávlovna was even presented at Court. Feódor
Ivánitch, on his side, was not bored, although life, at times, weighed
heavily on his shoulders,--heavily, because it was empty. He read the
newspapers, he listened to lectures at the Sorbonne and the Collège de
France, he kept track of the debates in parliament, he undertook the
translation of a well-known scientific work on irrigation. "I am not
wasting time,"--he said to himself,--"all this is useful; but next winter I
must, without fail, return to Russia and set to work." It is difficult to
say, whether he was clearly conscious in what that work consisted, and God
knows whether he would have succeeded in returning to Russia for the
winter,--in the meantime, he went with his wife to Baden-Baden.... An
unexpected event destroyed all his plans.


One day, on entering Varvára Pávlovna's boudoir in her absence,
Lavrétzky beheld on the floor a tiny, carefully-folded scrap of paper.
He mechanically picked it up, mechanically unfolded it, and read the
following, written in French:

    Dear angel Betsy! (I cannot possibly bring myself
    to call thee Barbe or Varvára). I waited in vain for
    thee at the corner of the Boulevard; come to-morrow,
    at half-past one, to our little apartment. Thy good
    fatty (_ton gros bonhomme de mari_) generally buries
    himself in his books at that hour; again we will sing
    the song of your poet Puskin (_de votre poète Pouskine_)
    which thou hast taught me: 'Old husband, menacing
    husband!'--A thousand kisses on thy hands and
    feet! I await thee.

Lavrétzky did not, on the instant, understand what sort of thing it was
he had read; he perused it a second time--and his head reeled, the floor
swayed beneath his feet, like the deck of a steamer when it is
pitching--he cried out, and sobbed and wept simultaneously.

He lost his senses. He had so blindly trusted his wife, that the
possibility of deception, of treachery, had never presented itself to his
mind. That Ernest, that lover of his wife's was a fair-haired,
good-looking boy of three and twenty, with a small snub nose and thin
moustache, almost the most insignificant of all her admirers. Several
minutes passed, half an hour passed; Lavrétzky still stood, crushing the
fatal missive in his hand and staring senselessly at the floor; through a
sort of dark whirlwind, visions of pale faces flitted before him; his
heart sank within him, in anguish; it seemed to him that he was falling,
falling, falling ... and that there was no end to it. The light, familiar
rustle of a silken robe aroused him from his state of stupefaction;
Varvára Pávlovna, in bonnet and shawl, had hastily returned from her
stroll. Lavrétzky trembled all over, and rushed out of the room; he felt
that at that moment he was capable of tearing her to pieces, of beating
her until she was half dead, in peasant fashion, of strangling her with
his hands. The astonished Varvára Pávlovna tried to stop him; he could
only whisper: "Betsy"--and fled from the house.

Lavrétzky took a carriage, and ordered the man to drive him out of town.
The entire remainder of the day, and the whole night long until the
morning, he roamed about, incessantly halting and wringing his hands: now
he raged, again it seemed rather ridiculous to him, even rather amusing.
In the morning he was chilled through, and entered a wretched suburban
inn, asked for a room, and seated himself on a chair by the window. A
convulsive yawning seized hold upon him. He could hardly stand on his
feet, his body was exhausted,--but he was conscious of no fatigue,--yet
fatigue claimed its rights: he sat and stared, and understood nothing; he
did not understand what had happened to him, why he found himself alone,
with benumbed limbs, with a bitterness in his mouth, with a stone on his
breast, in a bare, strange room; he did not understand what had made her,
Várya, give herself to that Frenchman, and how she had been able,
knowing herself to be unfaithful, to be as calm, amiable, and confiding
toward him as before! "I understand nothing!" whispered his parched lips.
"Who will guarantee me now, that in Petersburg...." And he did not finish
the question, and yawned again, quivering and writhing all over. The
bright and the dark memories tormented him equally; it suddenly occurred
to him, that a few days previously, in his presence and in that of
Ernest, she had seated herself at the piano and had sung: "Old husband,
menacing husband!" He recalled the expression of her face, the strange
glitter of her eyes, and the flush on her cheeks,--and he rose from his
chair; he wanted to go and to say to them: "You have made a mistake in
trifling with me; my great-grandfather used to hang the peasants up by
the ribs, and my grandfather himself was a peasant"--and kill them both.
Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to him, that everything which was taking
place with him was a dream, and not even a dream, but merely some
nonsense or other: that all he had to do was to shake himself, to look
about him.... He did look about him, and as the hawk buries his claws in
the bird he has captured, anguish pierced more and more deeply into his
heart. To crown all, Lavrétzky was hoping at the end of a few months to
become a father.... The past, the future, his whole life was poisoned. He
returned, at last, to Paris, put up at a hotel, and sent Varvára
Pávlovna the note of M--r Ernest, with the following letter:

  "The accompanying document will explain everything to you. I will
  say to you, by the way, that I did not recognise you: you, always
  such a precise person, to drop such an important paper!" (This
  phrase poor Lavrétzky had prepared and cherished for the space of
  several hours.) "I can see you no more; I assume that you, also,
  cannot wish to meet me. I have assigned fifteen thousand francs a
  year to you; I cannot give more. Send your address to the office of
  the estate. Do what you will, live where you please. I wish you
  happiness. No answer is necessary."

Lavrétzky wrote to his wife, that no answer was necessary ... but he
waited, he thirsted for an answer, an explanation of this incomprehensible,
this incredible affair. Varvára Pávlovna, that very day, sent him a long
letter in French. It made an end of him; his last doubts vanished,--and he
felt ashamed that he had still cherished doubts. Varvára Pávlovna did not
defend herself: she merely wished to see him, she entreated him not to
condemn her irrevocably. The letter was cold and constrained, although the
traces of tears were visible here and there. Lavrétzky uttered a bitter
laugh, and bade the messenger say that it was all very good. Three days
later, he had quitted Paris: but he went, not to Russia, but to Italy. He
himself did not know why he had chosen Italy, in particular; in reality, it
made no difference to him whither he went,--provided it were not home. He
sent instructions to his peasant-steward in regard to his wife's pension,
ordered him, at the same time, to take all matters pertaining to the estate
instantly out of the hands of General Koróbyn, without awaiting the
surrender of the accounts, and to make arrangements for the departure of
His Excellency from Lavríki; he formed a vivid picture to himself, of the
consternation, the fruitless haughtiness of the ejected General, and, with
all his grief, he felt a certain malicious satisfaction. Then he invited
Glafíra Petróvna, in a letter also, to return to Lavríki, and sent her a
power of attorney. Glafíra Petróvna did not return to Lavríki, and
herself published in the newspapers that she had destroyed the power of
attorney, which was quite superfluous. Hiding himself in a small Italian
town, it was a long time still before Lavrétzky could force himself not to
watch his wife. He learned from the newspapers, that she had quitted Paris,
as it was supposed, for Baden-Baden: her name soon made its appearance in
an article written by that same M'sieu Jules. In this article, a sort of
friendly condolence pierced through the customary playfulness; Feódor
Ivánitch's soul was in a very ugly state when he read that article. Later
on, he learned that a daughter had been born to him; at the end of a couple
of months, he was informed by his peasant-steward, that Varvára Pávlovna
had demanded the first third of her allowance. Then more and more evil
reports began to arrive; at last, a tragicomic tale made the
rounds--creating a sensation--of the newspapers, wherein his wife played an
unenviable part. All was at an end: Varvára Pávlovna had become "a

Lavrétzky ceased to follow her career; but he was not able speedily to
conquer himself. At times, he was seized with such a longing for his
wife, that it seemed to him, he would give everything--he would even, if
necessary ... forgive her--if only he might again hear her caressing
voice, again feel her hand in his hand. But time went on, and not in
vain. He was not born to be a martyr; his healthy nature asserted its
rights. Much became clear to him; the very blow which had assailed him,
no longer seemed to him unforeseen; he understood his wife,--one
understands a person who is near to one, when parted from him. Again he
was able to occupy himself, to work, although with far less zeal than of
yore: scepticism, for which the way had been prepared by the experiences
of life, by his education, definitively took possession of his soul. He
became extremely indifferent to everything. Four years elapsed, and he
felt himself strong enough to return to his native land, to meet his own
people. Without halting either in Petersburg or Moscow, he arrived in the
town of O * * * where we took leave of him, and whither we now beg the
indulgent reader to return with us.


On the morning following the day which we have described, at nine
o'clock, Lavrétzky ascended the porch of the Kalítin house. Liza
emerged to meet him, in hat and gloves.

"Where are you going?" he asked her.

"To church. To-day is Sunday."

"And do you really care to go to the Liturgy?"

Liza said nothing, but gazed at him in amazement.

"Pardon me, please,"--said Lavrétzky,--"I ... I did not mean to say
that. I came to say good-bye to you: I am going to my country place an
hour hence."

"It is not far from here, is it?"--inquired Liza.

"Twenty-five versts."

Lyénotchka made her appearance on the threshold of the door, accompanied
by a maid.

"See that you do not forget us,"--said Liza, and descended the steps.

"And do not you forget me. And see here,"--he added,--"you are going to
church: pray for me also, by the way."

Liza paused and turned toward him.

"Certainly,"--she said, looking him straight in the face:--"I will pray
for you. Come along, Lyénotchka."

Lavrétzky found Márya Dmítrievna alone in the drawing-room. An odour
of eau de cologne and mint emanated from her. She had a headache,
according to her own account, and she had passed a restless night. She
welcomed him with her customary languid amiability, and gradually got to

"What an agreeable young man Vladímir Nikoláitch is," she inquired:--"is
he not?"

"What Vladímir Nikoláitch?"

"Why, Pánshin, you know,--the one who was here yesterday evening. He
took an immense liking to you; I will tell you, as a secret, _mon cher
cousin_, he is simply beside himself over my Liza. What do you think of
that? He comes of a good family, he discharges his service splendidly, he
is clever, well, and a Junior Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and if it be
God's will.... I, on my side, as a mother, shall be very glad. It is a
great responsibility, of course: up to the present time, whether it be
for good or evil, you see, I am always, everywhere, entirely alone: I
have reared my children, I have taught them, I have done everything ...
and now I have ordered a governess from Mme. Bolius...."

Márya Dmítrievna launched out into a description of her toils, her
efforts, and her maternal feelings. Lavrétzky listened to her in
silence, and twirled his hat in his hands. His cold, heavy gaze
disconcerted the loquacious lady.

"And how do you like Liza?"--she asked.

"Lizavéta Mikhaílovna is an extremely beautiful girl,"--replied
Lavrétzky, rose, bowed, and went to Márfa Timoféevna. Márya Dmítrievna
gazed after him with displeasure, and said to herself: "What a dolt, what a
peasant! Well, now I understand why his wife could not remain faithful to

Márfa Timoféevna was sitting in her own room, surrounded by her suite.
It consisted of five beings, almost equally near to her heart: a
fat-jowled trained bullfinch, which she loved because he had ceased to
whistle and draw water; a tiny, very timorous and peaceable dog, Róska;
an angry cat Matrós (Sailor); a black-visaged nimble little girl of
nine, with huge eyes and a sharp little nose, who was named Schúrotchka;
and an elderly woman, fifty years of age, in a white cap, and a light
brown, bob-tailed jacket over a dark gown, by name Nastásya Kárpovna
Ogárkoff. Schúrotchka was of the petty burgher class, a full orphan.
Márfa Timoféevna had taken charge of her out of pity, as she had of
Róska: she had picked up both the dog and the girl in the street; both
were thin and hungry, both were being drenched by the autumnal rain, no
one had hunted up Róska, and Schúrotchka's uncle, a drunken shoemaker,
who had not enough to eat himself, and who did not feed his niece, though
he beat her over the head with his last, gladly surrendered her to Márfa
Timoféevna. With Nastásya Kárpovna, Márfa Timoféevna had made
acquaintance on a pilgrimage, in a monastery; she herself had gone up to
her in church (Márfa Timoféevna liked her because, to use her own
words, "she prayed tastily"), had herself begun the conversation, and had
invited her to come to her for a cup of tea. From that day forth, she had
never parted with her. Nastásya Kárpovna was a woman of the merriest
and gentlest disposition, a childless widow, member of a poverty-stricken
family of the petty nobility; she had a round, grey head, soft white
hands, a soft face, with large, kindly features, and a rather ridiculous
snub nose; she fairly worshipped Márfa Timoféevna, and the latter loved
her greatly, although she jeered at her tender heart: Nastásya Kárpovna
felt a weakness for all young people, and involuntarily blushed like a
girl at the most innocent jest. Her entire capital consisted of twelve
hundred paper rubles; she lived at the expense of Márfa Timoféevna, but
on equal terms with her: Márfa Timoféevna would not have tolerated

"Ah, Fédya!" she began, as soon as she caught sight of him:--"last
night, thou didst not see my family: admire it. We are all assembled for
tea; this is our second, feast-day tea. Thou mayest pet all: only
Schúrotchka will not allow thee, and the cat scratches. Art thou going
away to-day?"

"Yes,"--Lavrétzky seated himself on a narrow little chair.--"I have
already said farewell to Márya Dmítrievna. I have also seen Lizavéta

"Call her Liza, my father,--why should she be Mikhaílovna to thee! And
sit still, or thou wilt break Schúrotchka's chair."

"She has gone to church,"--pursued Lavrétzky. "Is she pious?"

"Yes, Fédya,--very. More than thou and I, Fédya."

"But are not you pious?"--remarked Nastásya Kárpovna, in a whisper.
"And to-day: you did not get to the early Liturgy, but you will go to the
later one."

"Not a bit of it--thou wilt go alone: I am lazy, my mother,"--retorted
Márfa Timoféevna,--"I am pampering myself greatly with my tea."--She
called Nastásya _thou_, although she lived on equal terms with her,--she
was not a Péstoff for nothing: three Péstoffs are recorded with
distinction in the Book of Remembrance of Iván Vasílievitch, the
Terrible;[7] Márfa Timoféevna knew it.

"Tell me, please,"--began Lavrétzky again:--"Márya Dmítrievna has just
been talking about that ... what's his name ... Pánshin. What sort of a
person is he?"

"What a chatterbox, the Lord forgive her!"--grumbled Márfa
Timoféevna:--"I suppose she imparted to you, as a secret, what a fine
suitor has turned up. She might do her whispering with her priest's son;
but no, that is not enough for her. But there's nothing in it, as yet,
and thank God for that! but she's babbling already."

"Why 'thank God'?"--asked Lavrétzky.

"Why, because the young fellow does not please me; and what is there to
rejoice about?"

"He does not please you?"

"Yes, he cannot fascinate everybody. It's enough that Nastásya Kárpovna
here should be in love with him."

The poor widow was thoroughly startled.

"What makes you say that, Márfa Timoféevna? You do not fear God!"--she
exclaimed, and a blush instantly suffused her face and neck.

"And he certainly knows the rogue,"--Márfa Timoféevna interrupted
her:--"he knows how to captivate her: he presented her with a snuff-box.
Fédya, ask her to give thee a pinch of snuff; thou wilt see what a
splendid snuff-box it is: on the lid is depicted a hussar on horseback.
Thou hadst better not defend thyself, my mother."

Nastásya Kárpovna merely repelled the suggestion with a wave of her

"Well,"--inquired Lavrétzky,--"and is Liza not indifferent to him?"

"Apparently, she likes him,--however, the Lord only knows. Another man's
soul, thou knowest, is a dark forest, much more the soul of a young girl.
Now, there's Schúrotchka's soul--try to dissect that! Why has she been
hiding herself, and yet does not go away, ever since thou camest?"

Schúrotchka snorted with suppressed laughter and ran out of the room,
and Lavrétzky rose from his seat.

"Yes,"--he said slowly:--"a maiden's soul is not to be divined."

He began to take leave.

"Well? Shall we see thee again soon?"--asked Márfa Timoféevna.

"That's as it may happen, aunty; it is not far off."

"Yes, but thou art going to Vasílievskoe. Thou wilt not live at
Lavríki:--well, that is thy affair; only, go and salute the tomb of thy
mother, and the tomb of thy grandmother too, by the bye. Thou hast
acquired all sorts of learning yonder abroad, and who knows, perchance
they will feel it in their graves that thou hast come to them. And don't
forget, Fédya, to have a requiem service celebrated for Glafíra
Petróvna also; here's a silver ruble for thee. Take it, take it, I want
to pay for having a requiem service for her. During her lifetime I did
not like her, but there's no denying it, the woman had plenty of
character. She was a clever creature; and she did not wrong thee, either.
And now go, with God's blessing, or thou wilt grow weary of me."

And Márfa Timoféevna embraced her nephew.

"And Liza shall not marry Pánshin,--don't worry about that; that's not
the sort of husband she deserves."

"Why, I am not worrying in the least," replied Lavrétzky, and withdrew.


  [7] Ivan the Terrible left a long record of his distinguished victims,
      for the repose of whose souls he ordered prayers to be said in
      perpetuity. "Book of Remembrance" contains the names of persons who
      are to be prayed for at the general requiem services, and so forth.


Four hours later, he was driving homeward. His tarantás rolled swiftly
along the soft country road. There had been a drought for a fortnight; a
thin milky cloud was diffused through the air, and veiled the distant
forests; it reeked with the odour of burning. A multitude of small, dark
cloudlets, with indistinctly delineated edges, were creeping across the
pale-blue sky; a fairly strong wind was whisking along in a dry,
uninterrupted stream, without dispelling the sultriness. Leaning his head
against a cushion, and folding his arms on his breast, Lavrétzky gazed
at the strips of ploughed land, in fan-shape, which flew past, at the
willow-trees slowly flitting by, at the stupid crows and daws gazing with
dull suspicion askance at the passing equipage, at the long strips of
turf between the cultivated sections, overgrown with artemisia, wormwood,
and wild tansy; he gazed ... and that fresh, fertile nakedness and
wildness of the steppe, that verdure, those long hillocks, the ravines
with stubby oak bushes, the grey hamlets, the flexible birch-trees,--this
whole Russian picture, which he had not seen for a long time, wafted into
his soul sweet and, at the same time, painful sensations, weighed on his
breast with a certain agreeable oppression. His thoughts slowly roved
about; their outlines were as indistinct and confused as the outlines of
those lofty cloudlets, which, also, seemed to be roving. He recalled his
childhood, his mother; he remembered how she died, how they had carried
him to her, and how she, pressing his head to her bosom, had begun to
sing feebly over him, but had cast a glance at Glafíra Petróvna--and
had relapsed into silence. He recalled his father, at first alert,
dissatisfied with every one, and with a brazen voice,--then blind,
tearful, and with a dirty grey beard; he recalled how, one day, at table,
after drinking an extra glass of wine, and spilling the sauce over his
napkin, he had suddenly burst out laughing, and had begun, winking his
sightless eyes and flushing crimson, to tell stories of his conquests; he
recalled Varvára Pávlovna,--and involuntarily screwed up his eyes, as a
man does from momentary inward pain, and shook his head. Then his
thoughts came to a pause on Liza.

"Here," he thought, "is a new being, who is only just entering upon life.
A splendid young girl, what will become of her? She is comely. A pale,
fresh face, such serious eyes and lips, and an honest and innocent gaze.
It is a pity that she seems to be somewhat enthusiastic. A splendid
figure, and she walks so lightly, and her voice is soft. I greatly like
to see her pause suddenly, listen attentively, without a smile, and then
meditate, and toss back her hair. Really, it strikes me that Pánshin is
not worthy of her. But what is there wrong about him? She will traverse
the road which all traverse. I had better take a nap." And Lavrétzky
closed his eyes.

He could not get to sleep, but plunged into the dreamy stupor of the
road. Images of the past, as before, arose in leisurely fashion, floated
through his soul, mingling and entangling themselves with other scenes.
Lavrétzky, God knows why, began to think about Robert Peel ... about
French history ... about how he would win a battle if he were a general;
he thought he heard shots and shrieks.... His head sank to one side, he
opened his eyes.... The same fields, the same views of the steppe; the
polished shoes of the trace-horse flashed in turn through the billowing
dust; the shirt of the postilion, yellow, with red gussets at the
armpits, puffed out in the wind.... "A pretty way to return to my native
land"--flashed through Lavrétzky's head; and he shouted: "Faster!"
wrapped himself up in his cloak, and leaned back harder against his
pillow. The tarantás gave a jolt: Lavrétzky sat upright, and opened his
eyes wide. Before him, on a hillock, a tiny hamlet lay outspread; a
little to the right, a small, ancient manor-house was to be seen, with
closed shutters and a crooked porch; all over the spacious yard, from the
very gates, grew nettles, green and thick as hemp; there, also, stood a
small oaken store-house, still sound. This was Vasílievskoe.

The postilion turned up to the gate, and brought the horses to a
standstill; Lavrétzky's footman rose on the box, and, as though
preparing to spring down, shouted: "Hey!" A hoarse, dull barking rang
out, but not even the dog showed himself; the lackey again prepared to
leap down, and again shouted: "Hey!" The decrepit barking was renewed,
and, a moment later, a man ran out into the yard, no one could tell
whence,--a man in a nankeen kaftan, with a head as white as snow;
shielding his eyes with his hand, he stared at the tarantás, suddenly
slapped himself on both thighs, at first danced about a little on one
spot, then ran to open the gate. The tarantás drove into the yard, the
wheels rustling against the nettles, and halted in front of the porch.
The white-headed man, very nimble, to all appearances, was already
standing, with his feet planted very wide apart and very crooked, on the
last step; and having unbuttoned the apron, convulsively held up the
leather and aided the master to descend to the earth, and then kissed his

"Good-day, good-day, brother,"--said Lavrétzky,--"I think thy name is
Antón? Thou art still alive?"

The old man bowed in silence, and ran to fetch the keys. While he was
gone, the postilion sat motionless, bending sideways and gazing at the
locked door; but Lavrétzky's lackey remained standing as he had sprung
down, in a picturesque pose, with one hand resting on the box. The old
man brought the keys, and quite unnecessarily writhing like a serpent,
raising his elbows on high, he unlocked the door, stepped aside, and
again bowed to his girdle.

"Here I am at home, here I have got back,"--said Lavrétzky to himself,
as he entered the tiny anteroom, while the shutters were opened, one
after the other, with a bang and a squeak, and the daylight penetrated
into the deserted rooms.


The tiny house where Lavrétzky had arrived, and where, two years
previously, Glafíra Petróvna had breathed her last, had been built in
the previous century, out of sturdy pine lumber; in appearance it was
decrepit, but was capable of standing another fifty years or more.
Lavrétzky made the round of all the rooms, and, to the great
discomfiture of the aged, languid flies, with white dust on their backs,
who were sitting motionless under the lintels of the doors, he ordered
all the windows to be opened; no one had opened them since the death of
Glafíra Petróvna. Everything in the house remained as it had been: the
small, spindle-legged couches in the drawing-room, covered with glossy
grey material, worn through and flattened down, vividly recalled the days
of Katherine II; in the drawing-room, also, stood the mistress's
favourite chair, with a tall, straight back, against which, even in her
old age, she had not leaned. On the principal wall hung an ancient
portrait of Feódor's great-grandfather, Andréi Lavrétzky; the dark,
sallow face was barely discernible against the warped and blackened
background; the small, vicious eyes gazed surlily from beneath pendent,
swollen lids; the black hair, devoid of powder, rose in a brush over the
heavy, deeply-seamed brow. On the corner of the portrait hung a wreath of
dusty immortelles. "Glafíra Petróvna herself was pleased to weave it,"
announced Antón. In the bedchamber rose a narrow bed, under a tester of
ancient, striped material, of very excellent quality; a mountain of faded
pillows, and a thin quilted coverlet, lay on the bed, and by the head of
the bed hung an image of the Presentation in the Temple of the All-Holy
Birthgiver of God, the very same image to which the old spinster, as she
lay dying alone and forgotten by every one, had pressed for the last
time, her lips which were already growing cold. The toilet-table, of
inlaid wood with brass trimmings and a crooked mirror with tarnished
gilding, stood by the window. Alongside the bedroom was the room for the
holy pictures, a tiny chamber, with bare walls and a heavy shrine of
images in the corner; on the floor lay a small, threadbare rug, spotted
with wax; Glafíra Petróvna had been wont to make her prostrations upon
it. Antón went off with Lavrétzky's lackey to open the stable and
carriage-house; in his stead, there presented herself an old woman,
almost of the same age as he, with a kerchief bound round her head, down
to her very brows; her head trembled, and her eyes gazed dully, but
expressed zeal, and a long-established habit of serving with assiduity,
and, at the same time, a certain respectful commiseration. She kissed
Lavrétzky's hand, and paused at the door, in anticipation of orders. He
positively was unable to recall her name; he could not even remember
whether he had ever seen her. It turned out that her name was Apraxyéya;
forty years before, that same Glafíra Petróvna had banished her from
the manor-house service, and had ordered her to attend to the fowls;
however, she said little,--as though she had outlived her mind,--and only
looked on cringingly. In addition to these two old people, and three
potbellied brats in long shirts, Antón's great-grandchildren, there
dwelt in the service-rooms of the manor a one-armed little old peasant,
who was exempt from compulsory service; he made a drumming noise like a
woodcock when he spoke, and was not capable of doing anything. Not much
more useful than he was the decrepit dog, who had welcomed Lavrétzky's
home-coming with his bark: it had already been fastened up for ten years
with a heavy chain, bought by order of Glafíra Petróvna, and was barely
in a condition to move and drag its burden. After inspecting the house,
Lavrétzky went out into the park, and was satisfied with it. It was all
overgrown with tall grass, burdock, and gooseberry and raspberry bushes;
but there was much shade in it: there were many old linden-trees, which
surprised the beholder by their huge size and the strange arrangement of
their branches; they had been too closely planted, and at some time or
other--a hundred years before--had been pollarded. The park ended in a
small, clear pond, with a rim of tall, reddish reeds. The traces of human
life fade away very quickly: Glafíra Petróvna's farm had not succeeded
in running wild, but it already seemed plunged in that tranquil dream
wherewith everything on earth doth dream, where the restless infection of
people does not exist. Feódor Ivánitch also strolled through the
village; the women stared at him from the thresholds of their cottages,
each with her cheek propped on one hand; the peasant men saluted him from
afar; the children ran away; the dogs barked indifferently. At last he
felt hungry, but he did not expect his servants and cook until toward
evening; the cart with provisions from Lavríki had not yet arrived,--he
was compelled to appeal to Antón. Antón immediately arranged matters:
he caught an old hen, cut its throat, and plucked it; Apraxyéya rubbed
and scrubbed it for a long time, and washed it, like linen, before she
placed it in the stew-pan; when, at last, it was cooked, Antón put on
the table-cloth and set the table, placed in front of the plate a
blackened salt-cellar of plated ware on three feet, and a small faceted
carafe with a round glass stopper and a narrow neck; then he announced to
Lavrétzky, in a chanting voice, that the meal was ready,--and took up
his post behind his chair, having wound a napkin around his right fist,
and disseminating some strong, ancient odour, which resembled the odour
of cypress wood. Lavrétzky tasted the soup, and came upon the hen; its
skin was all covered with big pimples, a thick tendon ran down each leg,
its flesh had a flavour of charcoal and lye. When he had finished his
dinner, Lavrétzky said that he would like some tea, if.... "This very
moment, sir, I will serve it, sir,"--interrupted the old man,--and he
kept his promise. A pinch of tea was hunted up, wrapped in a scrap of red
paper, a small but very mettlesome and noisy samovár was searched out,
also sugar, in very tiny bits, that seemed to have been melted around the
edges. Lavrétzky drank his tea out of a large cup; he remembered that
cup in his childhood: playing-cards were depicted on it, only visitors
drank out of it,--and he now drank out of it, like a visitor. Toward
evening, his servants arrived; Lavrétzky did not wish to sleep in his
aunt's bed; he gave orders that a bed should be made up for him in the
dining-room. Extinguishing the candle, he stared about him for a long
time, and meditated on cheerless thoughts; he experienced the sensation
familiar to every man who chances to pass the night, for the first time,
in a place which has long been uninhabited; it seemed to him that the
darkness which surrounded him on all sides could not accustom itself to
the new inhabitant, that the very walls of the house were waxing
indignant. At last he sighed, drew the coverlet up over him, and fell
asleep. Antón remained afoot longer than the rest; for a long time he
whispered with Apraxyéya, groaned in a low tone, and crossed himself a
couple of times. Neither of them expected that the master would settle
down among them at Vasílievskoe, when, near at hand, he owned such a
magnificent estate, with a capitally-organised manor-house; they did not
even suspect that it was precisely that manor-house which was repugnant
to Lavrétzky: it evoked in him oppressive memories. After having
whispered his fill, Antón took his staff, and beat upon the board at the
store-house which had long been hanging silent,[8] and immediately lay
down for a nap in the yard, without covering up his grey head with
anything. The May night was tranquil and caressing--and the old man
slumbered sweetly.


  [8] It is the duty of the night-watchman to beat upon the board at
      regular intervals, to show that he is vigilant.--Translator.


The next morning Lavrétzky rose quite early, had a talk with the
overseer, visited the threshing-floor, ordered the chain to be removed
from the watch-dog, who only barked a little, but did not even move away
from his kennel;--and on his return home, sank into a sort of peaceful
torpor, from which he did not emerge all day. "I have sunk down to the
very bottom of the river now," he said to himself more than once. He sat
by the window, made no movement, and seemed to be listening to the current
of tranquil life which surrounded him, to the infrequent noises of the
country solitudes. Yonder, somewhere beyond the nettles, some one began to
sing, in the shrillest of voices; a gnat seemed to be chiming in with the
voice. Now it ceased, but the gnat still squeaked on; athwart the
energetic, insistently-plaintive buzzing of the flies resounded the
booming of a fat bumble-bee, which kept bumping its head against the
ceiling; a cock on the road began to crow, hoarsely prolonging the last
note; a peasant cart rumbled past; the gate toward the village creaked.
"Well?" suddenly quavered a woman's voice.--"Okh, thou my dear little
sweetheart," said Antón to a little girl of two years, whom he was
dandling in his arms. "Fetch some kvas," repeats the same female
voice,--and all at once a deathlike silence ensues; nothing makes any
noise, nothing stirs; the breeze does not flutter a leaf; the swallows
dart along near the ground, one after the other, without a cry, and
sadness descends upon the soul from their silent flight.--"Here I am, sunk
down to the bottom of the river," Lavrétzky says to himself again.--"And
life is at all times tranquil, leisurely here," he thinks:--"whoever
enters its circle must become submissive: here there is nothing to agitate
one's self about, nothing to disturb; here success awaits only him who
lays out his path without haste, as the husbandman lays the furrow with
his plough." And what strength there is all around, what health there is
in this inactive calm! Yonder now, under the window, a sturdy burdock is
making its way out from among the thick grass; above it, the lovage is
stretching forth its succulent stalk, the Virgin's-tears[9] toss still
higher their rosy tendrils; and yonder, further away, in the fields, the
rye is gleaming, and the oats are beginning to shoot up their stalks, and
every leaf on every tree, every blade of grass on its stalk, spreads
itself out to its fullest extent. "My best years have been spent on the
love of a woman," Lavrétzky pursued his meditations:--"may the
irksomeness here sober me, may it soothe me, prepare me so that I may
understand how to do my work without haste"; and again he began to lend an
ear to the silence, expecting nothing,--and, at the same time, as it were
incessantly expecting something: the silence enfolds him on all sides, the
sun glides quietly across the calm blue sky, a cloud floats gently in its
wake; it seems as though they know whither and why they are floating. At
that same moment, in other spots on earth, life was seething, bustling,
roaring; here the same life was flowing on inaudibly, like water amid
marsh-grass; and until the very evening, Lavrétzky could not tear himself
from the contemplation of that life fleeting, flowing onward; grief for
the past melted in his soul like snows of springtime,--and, strange to
say!--never had the feeling of his native land been so deep and strong
within him.


  [9] This plant bears round seed-pods of mottled-grey, which are often
      used to make very pretty rosaries.--Translator.


In the course of a fortnight, Feódor Ivánitch brought Glafíra
Petróvna's little house into order; cleaned up the yard, the garden;
comfortable furniture was brought to him from Lavríki, wine, books,
newspapers from the town; horses made their appearance in the stables; in
a word, Feódor Ivánitch provided himself with everything that was
necessary and began to live--not exactly like a country squire, nor yet
exactly like a recluse. His days passed monotonously, but he was not
bored, although he saw no one; he occupied himself diligently and
attentively with the farming operations, he rode about the neighbourhood
on horseback, he read. He read but little, however: it was more agreeable
for him to listen to the tales of old Antón. As a rule, Lavrétzky would
seat himself with a pipe of tobacco and a cup of cold tea near the
window; Antón would stand near the door, with his hands clasped behind
him, and begin his leisurely stories of olden times,--of those fabulous
times--when the oats and barley were sold not by measures but by huge
sacks, at two or three kopéks the sack; when in all directions, even
close to the town, stretched impenetrable forests, untouched steppes.
"And now," wailed the old man, who was already over eighty years of
age:--"they have felled and ploughed up everything until there is no
place to drive through." Antón, also, related many things concerning his
mistress Glafíra Petróvna: how sagacious and economical she had been;
how a certain gentleman, a youthful neighbour, had attempted to gain her
good-will, had taken to calling frequently,--and how she had been
pleased, for his benefit, even to don her cap with rose-purple ribbons,
and her yellow gown of tru-tru levantine; but how, later on, having flown
into a rage with her neighbour, on account of the unseemly question:
"What might your capital amount to, madam?" she had given orders that he
should not be admitted, and how she had then commanded, that everything,
down to the very smallest scrap, should be given to Feódor Ivánitch
after her death. And, in fact, Lavrétzky found all his aunt's effects
intact, not excepting the festival cap, with the rose-purple ribbons, and
the gown of yellow tru-tru levantine. The ancient papers and curious
documents, which Lavrétzky had counted upon, proved not to exist, with
the exception of one tattered little old book, in which his grandfather,
Piótr Andréitch, had jotted down, now--"Celebration in the city of
Saint Petersburg of the peace concluded with the Turkish Empire by his
Illustriousness Prince Alexánder Alexándrovitch Prozoróvsky"; now a
recipe for a decoction for the chest, with the comment: "This instruction
was given to Generaless Praskóvya Feódorovna Saltykóff, by Feódor
Avkséntievitch, Archpriest of the Church of the Life-giving Trinity";
again, some item of political news, like the following: "In the '_Moscow
News_,' it is announced that Premier-Major Mikhaíl Petróvitch
Kolýtcheff has died. Was not he the son of Piótr Vasílievitch
Kolýtcheff?" Lavrétzky also found several ancient calendars and
dream-books, and the mystical works of Mr. Ambódik; many memories were
awakened in him by the long-forgotten but familiar "Symbols and Emblems."
In Glafíra Petróvna's toilet-table Lavrétzky found a small packet,
tied with black ribbon, and sealed with black wax, thrust into the
remotest recesses of the drawer. In the packet, face to face, lay a
pastel portrait of his father in his youth, with soft curls tumbling over
his brow, with long, languid eyes, and mouth half opened,--and the almost
effaced portrait of a pale woman in a white gown, with a white rose in
her hand,--his mother. Glafíra Petróvna had never permitted her own
portrait to be made.--"Dear little father Feódor Ivánitch,"--Antón was
wont to say to Lavrétzky:--"although I did not then have my residence in
the manor-house of the masters, yet I remember your great-grandfather,
Andréi Afanásievitch,--that I do; I was eighteen years of age when he
died. Once I met him in the garden,--my very hamstrings shook; but he did
nothing, only inquired my name,--and sent me to his chamber for a
pocket-handkerchief. He was a real gentleman, there's no gainsaying
that,--and he recognised no superior over him. For I must inform you,
that your great-grandfather had a wonderful amulet,--a monk from Mount
Athos gave him that amulet. And that monk said to him: 'I give thee this
for thine affability, Boyárin; wear it--and fear not fate.' Well, and of
course, dear little father, you know, what sort of times those were; what
the master took a notion to do, that he did. Once in a while, some one,
even one of the gentry, would take it into his head to thwart him; but no
sooner did he look at him, than he would say: 'You're sailing in shoal
water'--that was his favourite expression. And he lived, your
great-grandfather of blessed memory, in a tiny wooden mansion; but what
property he left behind him, what silver, and all sorts of supplies,--all
the cellars were filled to the brim! He was a master. That little carafe,
which you were pleased to praise,--belonged to him: he drank vódka from
it. And then your grandfather, Piótr Ivánitch, built himself a stone
mansion; but he acquired no property; with him everything went at sixes
and sevens; and he lived worse than his papa, and got no pleasure for
himself,--but wasted all the money, and there was none to pay for
requiems for his soul; he left not even a silver spoon behind him, so it
was lucky that Glafíra Petróvna brought things into order."

"And is it true,"--Lavrétzky interrupted him,--"that she was called an
ill-tempered old hag?"

"Why, surely, some did call her that!"--returned Antón, in displeasure.

                    *       *       *       *       *

"WELL, little father,"--the old man one day summoned the courage to
ask;--"and how about our young mistress; where is she pleased to have her

"I have separated from my wife,"--said Lavrétzky, with an effort:--"please
do not inquire about her."

"I obey, sir,"--replied the old man, sadly.

After the lapse of three weeks, Lavrétzky rode into O * * * on
horseback, to the Kalítins', and passed the evening with them. Lemm was
there; Lavrétzky conceived a great liking for him. Although, thanks to
his father, he did not play on any instrument, yet he was passionately
fond of music,--intelligent, classical music. Pánshin was not at the
Kalítins' that evening. The Governor had sent him off somewhere, out of
town. Liza played alone, and with great precision; Lemm grew animated,
excited, rolled a piece of paper into a baton, and beat time. Márya
Dmítrievna laughed, at first, as she watched him, and then went off to
bed; as she said, Beethoven was too agitating for her nerves. At
midnight, Lavrétzky escorted Lemm to his lodgings, and sat with him
until three o'clock in the morning. Lemm talked a great deal; his bent
shoulders straightened up, his eyes opened widely and sparkled; his very
hair stood upright above his brow. It was such a very long time since any
one had taken an interest in him, but Lavrétzky evidently did take an
interest, and interrogated him solicitously and attentively. This touched
the old man; he ended by showing his visitor his music, he even played
and sang to him, with his ghost of a voice, several selections from his
compositions,--among others, the whole of Schiller's ballad "Fridolin,"
which he had set to music. Lavrétzky lauded it, made him repeat portions
of it, and invited him to visit him for a few days. Lemm, who was
escorting him to the street, immediately accepted, and shook his hand
warmly; but when he was left alone, in the cool, damp air of the day
which was just beginning to dawn, he glanced around him, screwed up his
eyes, writhed, and went softly to his tiny chamber, like a guilty
creature: "Ich bin wohl nicht klug" (I'm not in my right mind),--he
muttered, as he lay down on his hard, short bed. He tried to assert that
he was ill when, a few days later, Lavrétzky came for him in a calash;
but Feódor Ivánitch went to him, in his room, and persuaded him. The
circumstance which operated most powerfully of all on Lemm was, that
Lavrétzky had ordered a piano to be sent to his country-house from the
town: a piano for his--Lemm's--use. Together they went to the Kalítins',
and spent the evening, but not so agreeably as on the former occasion.
Pánshin was there, had a great deal to narrate about his journey, and
very amusingly mimicked and illustrated in action the country squires he
had seen; Lavrétzky laughed, but Lemm did not emerge from his corner,
maintained silence, quietly quivered all over like a spider, looked glum
and dull, and grew animated only when Lavrétzky began to take his leave.
Even when he was seated in the calash, the old man continued to be shy
and to fidget; but the quiet, warm air, the light breeze, the delicate
shadows, the perfume of the grass, of the birch buds, the peaceful gleam
of the starry, moonless heaven, the energetic hoof-beats and snorting of
the horses, all the charms of the road, of spring, of night,--descended
into the heart of the poor German, and he himself was the first to
address Lavrétzky.


He began to talk of music, of Liza, then again of music. He seemed,
somehow, to utter his words more slowly when he spoke of Liza. Lavrétzky
turned the conversation on his compositions, and, half in jest, proposed
to write a libretto for him.

"H'm, a libretto!"--rejoined Lemm:--"no, that is beyond me: I have not
that animation, that play of fancy, which is indispensable for an opera;
I have already lost my powers.... But if I could still do something,--I
would be satisfied with a romance; of course, I should like some good

He relapsed into silence, and sat for a long time motionless, with his
eyes raised heavenward.

"For example," he said at last:--"something of this sort: 'Ye stars, O ye
pure stars'?"...

Lavrétzky turned his face slightly toward him and began to stare at him.

"'Ye stars, ye pure stars,'"--repeated Lemm.... "'Ye gaze alike upon the
just and upon the guilty ... but only the innocent of heart,'--or
something of that sort ... 'understand you,' that is to say, no,--'love
you.' However, I am not a poet ... how should I be! But something in that
style, something lofty."

Lemm pushed his hat back on the nape of his neck; in the delicate gloom
of the light night, his face seemed whiter and more youthful.

"'And ye also,'"--he went on, with a voice which gradually grew
quieter:--"'ye know who loves, who knows how to love, for ye are pure,
ye, alone, can comfort.'... No, that's not right yet! I am not a
poet,"--he said:--"but something of that sort...."

"I regret that I am not a poet,"--remarked Lavrétzky.

"Empty visions!" retorted Lemm, and huddled in the corner of the calash.
He closed his eyes, as though preparing to go to sleep.

Several moments elapsed.... Lavrétzky listened.... "'Stars, pure stars,
love,'"--the old man was whispering.

"Love,"--Lavrétzky repeated to himself, became thoughtful, and his soul
grew heavy within him.

"You have written some very beautiful music for 'Fridolin,' Christofór
Feódoritch,"--he said aloud:--"and what think you; did that Fridolin,
after the Count had led him to his wife, become her lover--hey?"

"That is what you think,"--returned Lemm: "because, probably,
experience...." He suddenly fell silent, and turned away in confusion.
Lavrétzky laughed in a constrained way, turned away also, and began to
stare along the road.

The stars had already begun to pale, and the sky was grey, when the
calash rolled up to the porch of the little house at Vasílievskoe.
Lavrétzky conducted his guest to the chamber which had been assigned to
him, returned to his study, and sat down by the window. In the park, a
nightingale was singing its last lay before the dawn. Lavrétzky
remembered that a nightingale had been singing in the Kalítins' garden
also; he recalled, too, the tranquil movement of Liza's eyes when, at the
first sounds of it, they had turned toward the dark window. He began to
think of her, and his heart grew calm within him. "Pure little star,"--he
said to himself, in a low tone:--"pure stars,"--he added, with a smile,
and calmly lay down to sleep.

But Lemm sat, for a long time, on his bed, with a book of music-paper on
his knees. It seemed as though a strange, sweet melody were about to
visit him: he was already burning and growing agitated, he already felt
the lassitude and sweetness of its approach ... but it did not come.

"I am not a poet, and not a musician!"--he whispered at last....

And his weary head sank back heavily on the pillow.


On the following morning, host and guest drank tea in the garden, under
an ancient linden-tree.

"Maestro!"--said Lavrétzky, among other things:--"you will soon have to
compose a triumphal cantata."

"On what occasion?"

"On the occasion of the marriage of Mr. Pánshin to Liza. Did you notice
how he was paying court to her last evening? It seems as though
everything were going smoothly with them."

"That shall not be!" exclaimed Lemm.

"Why not?"

"Because it is impossible. However,"--he added, after a pause:--"everything
is possible in this world. Especially here, with you, in Russia."

"Let us leave Russia out of the question for the present; but what evil
do you see in that marriage?"

"All is evil, all. Lizavéta Mikhaílovna is an upright, serious maiden,
with exalted sentiments,--but he ... he is a di-let-tante, in one word."

"But surely she loves him?"

Lemm rose from the bench.

"No, she does not love him, that is to say, she is very pure in heart,
and does not know herself what 'love' means. Madam von Kalítin tells
her, that he is a nice young man, and she listens to Madam von Kalítin,
because she is still a perfect child, although she is nineteen years of
age: she says her prayers in the morning, she says her prayers in the
evening,--and that is very praiseworthy; but she does not love him. She
can love only the fine, but he is not fine; that is, his soul is not

Lemm uttered this whole speech coherently and with fervour, pacing back
and forth, with short strides, in front of the tea-table, and with his
eyes flitting over the ground.

"My dearest Maestro!"--exclaimed Lavrétzky all at once:--"it strikes me,
that you are in love with my cousin yourself."

Lemm came to a sudden halt.

"Please,"--he began in an uncertain voice:--"do not jest thus with me. I
am not a lunatic."

Lavrétzky felt sorry for the old man; he entreated his forgiveness.
After tea, Lemm played him his cantata, and at dinner, being instigated
thereto by Lavrétzky himself, he again began to talk about Liza.
Lavrétzky listened to him with attention and curiosity.

"What think you, Christofór Feódoritch,"--he said at last--"everything
appears to be in order with us now, the garden is in full bloom.... Shall
not we invite her here for the day, together with her mother and my old
aunt,--hey? Would that be agreeable to you?"

Lemm bent his head over his plate.

"Invite her,"--he said, almost inaudibly.

"And Pánshin need not be asked?"

"He need not,"--replied the old man, with a half-childlike smile.

Two days later, Feódor Ivánitch set out for the town, to the Kalítins.


He found them all at home, but he did not immediately announce to them
his intention: he wished, first, to have a talk alone with Liza. Chance
aided him: they were left alone together in the drawing-room. They fell
into conversation: she had succeeded in getting used to him,--and, in
general, she was not shy of any one. He listened to her, looked her
straight in the face, and mentally repeated Lemm's words, and agreed with
him. It sometimes happens, that two persons who are already acquainted,
but not intimate, suddenly and swiftly draw near to each other in the
course of a few minutes,--and the consciousness of this approach is
immediately reflected in their glances, in their friendly, quiet smiles,
in their very movements. Precisely this is what took place with
Lavrétzky and Liza. "So that's what he is like," she thought, gazing
caressingly at him; "so that's what thou art like," he said to himself
also. And therefore, he was not greatly surprised when she, not without a
slight hesitation, however, announced to him, that she had long had it in
her heart to say something to him, but had been afraid of annoying him.

"Have no fear; speak out,"--he said, and halted in front of her.

Liza raised her clear eyes to his.

"You are so kind,"--she began, and, at the same time, she said to
herself:--"'yes, he really is kind' ... you will pardon me, but I ought
not to speak of this to you ... but how could you ... why did you
separate from your wife?"

Lavrétzky shuddered, glanced at Liza, and seated himself beside her.

"My child," he began,--"please do not touch that wound; your hands are
tender, but nevertheless I shall suffer pain."

"I know,"--went on Liza, as though she had not heard him:--"she is
culpable toward you, I do not wish to defend her; but how is it possible
to put asunder that which God has joined together?"

"Our convictions on that point are too dissimilar, Lizavéta
Mikhaílovna,"--said Lavrétzky, rather sharply;--"we shall not
understand each other."

Liza turned pale; her whole body quivered slightly; but she did not hold
her peace.

"You ought to forgive,"--she said softly:--"if you wish to be forgiven."

"Forgive!"--Lavrétzky caught her up:--"Ought not you first to know for
whom you are pleading? Forgive that woman, take her back into my
house,--her,--that empty, heartless creature! And who has told you, that
she wishes to return to me? Good heavens, she is entirely satisfied with
her position.... But what is the use of talking about it! Her name ought
not to be uttered by you. You are too pure, you are not even in a
position to understand what sort of a being she is."

"Why vilify her?"--said Liza, with an effort. The trembling of her hands
became visible. "It was you yourself who abandoned her, Feódor

"But I tell you,"--retorted Lavrétzky, with an involuntary outburst of
impatience:--"that you do not know what sort of a creature she is!"

"Then why did you marry her?"--whispered Liza, and dropped her eyes.

Lavrétzky sprang up hastily from his seat.

"Why did I marry? I was young and inexperienced then; I was deceived, I
was carried away by a beautiful exterior. I did not know women, I did not
know anything. God grant that you may make a happier marriage! But,
believe me, it is impossible to vouch for anything."

"And I may be just as unhappy,"--said Liza (her voice began to break):
"but, in that case, I must submit; I do not know how to talk, but if we
do not submit...."

Lavrétzky clenched his fists and stamped his foot.

"Be not angry; forgive me!"--ejaculated Liza, hastily.

At that moment, Márya Dmítrievna entered. Liza rose, and started to
leave the room.

"Stop!"--Lavrétzky unexpectedly called after her. "I have a great favour
to ask of your mother and of you: make me a visit to celebrate my new
home. You know, I have set up a piano; Lemm is staying with me; the
lilacs are now in bloom; you will get a breath of the country air, and
can return the same day,--do you accept?"

Liza glanced at her mother, and Márya Dmítrievna assumed an air of
suffering, but Lavrétzky, without giving her a chance to open her mouth,
instantly kissed both her hands. Márya Dmítrievna, who was always
susceptible to endearments, and had not expected such amiability from
"the dolt," was touched to the soul, and consented. While she was
considering what day to appoint, Lavrétzky approached Liza, and, still
greatly agitated, furtively whispered to her: "Thank you, you are a good
girl, I am to blame."... And her pale face flushed crimson with a
cheerful--bashful smile; her eyes also smiled,--up to that moment, she
had been afraid that she had offended him.

"May Vladímir Nikoláitch go with us?"--asked Márya Dmítrievna.

"Certainly,"--responded Lavrétzky:--"but would it not be better if we
confined ourselves to our own family circle?"

"Yes, certainly, but you see...." Márya Dmítrievna began. "However, as
you like," she added.

It was decided to take Lyénotchka and Schúrotchka. Márfa Timoféevna
declined to make the journey.

"It is too hard for me, my dear,"--she said,--"my old bones ache: and I
am sure there is no place at your house where I can spend the night; and
I cannot sleep in a strange bed. Let these young people do the

Lavrétzky did not succeed in being alone again with Liza; but he looked
at her in such a way, that she felt at ease, and rather ashamed, and
sorry for him. On taking leave of her, he pressed her hand warmly; when
she was left alone, she fell into thought.


When Lavrétzky reached home, he was met on the threshold of the
drawing-room by a tall, thin man, in a threadbare blue coat, with frowzy
grey side-whiskers, a long, straight nose, and small, inflamed eyes. This
was Mikhalévitch, his former comrade at the university. Lavrétzky did
not recognise him at first, but embraced him warmly as soon as he
mentioned his name. They had not seen each other since the Moscow days.
There was a shower of exclamations, of questions; long-smothered memories
came forth into the light of day. Hurriedly smoking pipe after pipe,
drinking down tea in gulps, and flourishing his long arms, Mikhalévitch
narrated his adventures to Lavrétzky; there was nothing very cheerful
about them, he could not boast of success in his enterprises,--but he
laughed incessantly, with a hoarse, nervous laugh. A month previously, he
had obtained a situation in the private counting-house of a wealthy
distiller, about three hundred versts from the town of O * * *, and,
on learning of Lavrétzky's return from abroad, he had turned aside from
his road, in order to see his old friend. Mikhalévitch talked as
abruptly as in his younger days, was as noisy and effervescent as ever.
Lavrétzky was about to allude to his circumstances, but Mikhalévitch
interrupted him, hastily muttering: "I've heard, brother, I've heard
about it,--who could have anticipated it?"--and immediately turned the
conversation into the region of general comments.

"I, brother,"--he said:--"must leave thee to-morrow; to-day, thou must
excuse me--we will go to bed late--I positively must find out what are
thy opinions, convictions, what sort of a person thou hast become, what
life has taught thee." (Mikhalévitch still retained the phraseology of
the '30s.) "So far as I myself am concerned, I have changed in many
respects, brother: the billows of life have fallen upon my breast,--who
the dickens was it that said that?--although, in important, essential
points, I have not changed; I believe, as of yore, in the good, in the
truth; but I not only believe,--I am now a believer, yes--I am a
believer, a religious believer. Hearken, thou knowest that I write
verses; there is no poetry in them, but there is truth. I will recite to
thee my last piece: in it I have given expression to my most sincere
convictions. Listen."--Mikhalévitch began to recite a poem; it was
rather long, and wound up with the following lines:

      "To new feeling I have surrendered myself with all my heart,
      I have become like a child in soul:
      And I have burned all that I worshipped.
      I have worshipped all that I burned."

As he declaimed these last two lines, Mikhalévitch was on the verge of
tears; slight convulsive twitchings, the signs of deep feeling--flitted
across his broad lips, his ugly face lighted up. Lavrétzky listened and
listened to him; the spirit of contradiction began to stir within him:
the ever-ready, incessantly-seething enthusiasm of the Moscow student
irritated him. A quarter of an hour had not elapsed, before a dispute
flared up between them, one of those interminable disputes, of which only
Russians are capable. After a separation of many years' duration, spent
in two widely-different spheres, understanding clearly neither other
people's thoughts nor their own,--cavilling at words and retorting with
mere words, they argued about the most abstract subjects,--and argued as
though it were a matter of life and death to both of them: they shouted
and yelled so, that all the people in the house took fright, and poor
Lemm, who, from the moment of Mikhalévitch's arrival, had locked himself
up in his room, became bewildered, and began, in a confused way, to be

"But what art thou after this? disillusioned?"--shouted Mikhalévitch at
one o'clock in the morning.

"Are there any such disillusioned people?"--retorted Lavrétzky:--"they
are all poor and ill,--and I'll pick thee up with one hand, shall I?"

"Well, if not a _disillusioned_ man, then a _sceptuik_, and that is still
worse." (Mikhalévitch's pronunciation still smacked of his native Little
Russia.) "And what right hast thou to be a sceptic? Thou hast had bad
luck in life, granted; that was no fault of thine: thou wert born with a
passionate, loving soul, and thou wert forcibly kept away from women: the
first woman that came in thy way was bound to deceive thee."

"And she did deceive me,"--remarked Lavrétzky, gloomily.

"Granted, granted; I was the instrument of fate there,--but what nonsense
am I talking?--there's no fate about it; it's merely an old habit of
expressing myself inaccurately. But what does that prove?"

"It proves, that they dislocated me in my childhood."

"But set thy joints! to that end thou art a human being, a man; thou hast
no need to borrow energy! But, at any rate, is it possible, is it
permissible, to erect a private fact, so to speak, into a general law,
into an immutable law?"

"Where is the rule?"--interrupted Lavrétzky,--"I do not admit...."

"Yes, it is thy rule, thy rule," Mikhalévitch interrupted him in his

"Thou art an egoist, that's what thou art!"--he thundered, an hour
later:--"thou hast desired thine own personal enjoyment, thou hast
desired happiness in life, thou hast desired to live for thyself

"What dost thou mean by personal enjoyment?"

"And everything has deceived thee; everything has crumbled away beneath
thy feet."

"What is personal enjoyment,--I ask thee?"

"And it was bound to crumble. For thou hast sought support where it was
not to be found, for thou hast built thy house on a quicksand...."

"Speak more plainly, without metaphors, because I do not understand

"Because,--laugh if it pleases thee,--because there is no faith in thee,
no warmth of heart; mind, merely a farthing mind; thou art simply a
pitiful, lagging Voltairian--that's what thou art!"

"Who--I am a Voltairian?"

"Yes, just the same sort as thy father was, and dost not suspect it

"After that,"--cried Lavrétzky,--"I have a right to say that thou art a

"Alas!"--returned Mikhalévitch, with contrition:--"unhappily, as yet I
have in no way earned so lofty an appellation...."

"Now I have discovered what to call thee,"--shouted this same
Mikhalévitch, at three o'clock in the morning;--"thou art not a sceptic,
not a disillusioned man, not a Voltairian,--thou art a trifler, and thou
art an evil-minded trifler, a conscious trifler, not an ingenuous
trifler. Ingenuous triflers lie around on the oven and do nothing,
because they do not know how to do anything; and they think of nothing.
But thou art a thinking man,--and thou liest around; thou mightest do
something--and thou dost nothing; thou liest with thy well-fed belly
upward and sayest: 'It is proper to lie thus, because everything that men
do is nonsense, and twaddle which leads to nothing.'"

"But what makes thee think that I trifle,"--insisted Lavrétzky:--"why
dost thou assume such thoughts on my part?"

"And more than that, all of you, all the people of your sort,"--pursued
the obstreperous Mikhalévitch:--"are erudite triflers. You know on what
foot the German limps, you know what is bad about the English and the
French,--and your knowledge comes to your assistance, justifies your
shameful laziness, your disgusting inactivity. Some men will even pride
themselves, and say, 'What a clever fellow I am!--I lie around, but the
others, the fools, bustle about.' Yes!--And there are such gentlemen
among us,--I am not saying this with reference to thee, however,--who
pass their whole lives in a sort of stupor of tedium, grow accustomed to
it, sit in it like ... like a mushroom in sour cream," Mikhalévitch
caught himself up, and burst out laughing at his own comparison.--"Oh,
that stupor of tedium is the ruin of the Russians! The repulsive trifler,
all his life long, is getting ready to work...."

"Come, what art thou calling names for?"--roared Lavrétzky, in his
turn.--"Work ... act ... Tell me, rather, what to do, but don't call
names, you Poltáva Demosthenes!"

"Just see what a freak he has taken! I'll not tell thee that, brother;
every one must know that himself," retorted Demosthenes, ironically.--"A
landed proprietor, a nobleman--and he doesn't know what to do! Thou hast
no faith, or thou wouldst know; thou hast no faith--and there is no

"Give me a rest, at any rate, you devil: give me a chance to look around
me,"--entreated Lavrétzky.

"Not a minute, not a second of respite!"--retorted Mikhalévitch, with an
imperious gesture of the hand.--"Not one second!--Death does not wait,
and life ought not to wait."...

"And when, where did men get the idea of becoming triflers?"--he shouted,
at four o'clock in the morning, but his voice had now begun to be rather
hoarse: "among us! now! in Russia! when on every separate individual a
duty, a great obligation is incumbent toward God, toward the nation,
toward himself! We are sleeping, but time is passing on; we are

"Permit me to observe to thee,"--said Lavrétzky,--"that we are not
sleeping at all, now, but are, rather, preventing others from sleeping.
We are cracking our throats like cocks. Hark, isn't that the third

This sally disconcerted and calmed down Mikhalévitch. "Farewell until
to-morrow,"--he said, with a smile,--and thrust his pipe into his
tobacco-pouch. "Farewell until to-morrow," repeated Lavrétzky. But the
friends conversed for an hour longer. However, their voices were no
longer raised, and their speeches were quiet, sad, and kind.

Mikhalévitch departed on the following day, in spite of all Lavrétzky's
efforts to detain him. Feódor Ivánitch did not succeed in persuading
him to remain; but he talked with him to his heart's content. It came
out, that Mikhalévitch had not a penny in the world. Already, on the
preceding evening, Lavrétzky, with compassion, had observed in him all
the signs and habits of confirmed poverty; his boots were broken, a
button was missing from the back of his coat, his hands were guiltless of
gloves, down was visible in his hair; on his arrival, it had not occurred
to him to ask for washing materials, and at supper he ate like a shark,
tearing the meat apart with his hands, and cracking the bones noisily
with his strong, black teeth. It appeared, also, that the service had
been of no benefit to him, that he had staked all his hopes on the
revenue-farmer, who had engaged him simply with the object of having in
his counting-house "an educated man." In spite of all this, Mikhalévitch
was not dejected, and lived on as a cynic, an idealist, a poet, sincerely
rejoicing and grieving over the lot of mankind, over his own
calling,--and troubled himself very little as to how he was to keep
himself from dying with hunger. Mikhalévitch had not married, but had
been in love times without number, and wrote verses about all his
lady-loves; with especial fervour did he sing the praises of one
mysterious "panna" with black and curling locks.... Rumours were in
circulation, it is true, to the effect that the "panna" in question was a
plain Jewess, well known to many cavalry officers ... but, when you come
to think of it,--does that make any difference?

Mikhalévitch did not get on well with Lemm: his vociferous speeches, his
harsh manners, frightened the German, who was not used to such things....
An unfortunate wretch always scents another unfortunate wretch from afar,
but rarely makes up to him in old age,--and this is not in the least to
be wondered at: he has nothing to share with him,--not even hopes.

Before his departure, Mikhalévitch had another long talk with
Lavrétzky, prophesied perdition to him, if he did not come to a sense of
his errors, entreated him to occupy himself seriously with the existence
of his peasants, set himself up as an example, saying, that he had been
purified in the furnace of affliction,--and immediately thereafter,
several times mentioned himself as a happy man, compared himself to the
birds of heaven, the lilies of the field....

"A black lily, at any rate,"--remarked Lavrétzky.

"Eh, brother, don't put on any of your aristocratic airs,"--retorted
Mikhalévitch, good-naturedly:--"but thank God, rather, that in thy veins
flows honest, plebeian blood. But I perceive, that thou art now in need
of some pure, unearthly being, who shall wrest thee from this apathy of

"Thanks, brother,"--said Lavrétzky:--"I have had enough of those
unearthly beings."

"Shut up, _cuinuik!_"--exclaimed Mikhalévitch.

"Cynic,"--Lavrétzky corrected him.

"Just so, _cuinuik_,"--repeated Mikhalévitch, in no wise disconcerted.

Even as he took his seat in the tarantás, to which his flat, yellow,
strangely light trunk was carried forth, he continued to talk; wrapped up
in some sort of a Spanish cloak with a rusty collar, and lion's paws in
place of clasps, he still went on setting forth his views as to the fate
of Russia, and waving his swarthy hand through the air, as though he were
sowing the seeds of its future welfare. At last the horses started....
"Bear in mind my last three words,"--he shouted, thrusting his whole body
out of the tarantás, and balancing himself:--"religion, progress,
humanity!... Farewell!" His head, with its cap pulled down to the very
eyes, vanished. Lavrétzky remained standing alone on the porch and
staring down the road until the tarantás disappeared from his sight.
"But I think he probably is right,"--he said to himself, as he reentered
the house:--"probably I am a trifler." Many of Mikhalévitch's words had
sunk indelibly into his soul, although he had disputed and had not agreed
with him. If only a man be kindly, no one can repulse him.


  [10] Polish for "gentlewoman."--Translator.


Two days later, Márya Dmítrievna arrived with all her young people at
Vasílievskoe, in accordance with her promise. The little girls
immediately ran out into the garden, while Márya Dmítrievna languidly
traversed the rooms, and languidly praised everything. Her visit to
Lavrétzky she regarded as a token of great condescension, almost in the
light of a good deed. She smiled affably when Antón and Apraxyéya, after
the ancient custom of house-serfs, came to kiss her hand,--and in an
enervated voice, through her nose, she asked them to give her some tea. To
the great vexation of Antón, who had donned white knitted gloves, the
newly-arrived lady was served with tea not by him, but by Lavrétzky's
hired valet, who, according to the assertion of the old man, knew nothing
whatever about proper forms. On the other hand, Antón reasserted his
rights at dinner: firm as a post he stood behind Márya Dmítrievna's
chair--and yielded his place to no one. The long-unprecedented arrival of
visitors at Vasílievskoe both agitated and rejoiced the old man: it
pleased him to see, that his master knew nice people. However, he was not
the only one who was excited on that day: Lemm, also, was excited. He put
on a short, snuff-coloured frock-coat, with a sharp-pointed collar, bound
his neckerchief tightly, and incessantly coughed and stepped aside, with
an agreeable and courteous mien. Lavrétzky noted, with satisfaction, that
the close relations between himself and Liza still continued: no sooner
did she enter, than she offered him her hand, in friendly wise. After
dinner, Lemm drew forth, from the back pocket of his coat, into which he
had been constantly thrusting his hand, a small roll of music, and pursing
up his lips, he silently laid it on the piano. It was a romance, which he
had composed on the preceding day to old-fashioned German words, in which
the stars were alluded to. Liza immediately seated herself at the piano
and began to decipher the romance.... Alas, the music turned out to be
complicated, and disagreeably strained; it was obvious that the composer
had attempted to express some passionate, profound sentiment, but nothing
had come of it: so the attempt remained merely an attempt. Lavrétzky and
Liza both felt this,--and Lemm understood it: he said not a word, put his
romance back in his pocket, and in reply to Liza's proposal to play it
over again, he merely said significantly, with a shake of his head:
"Enough--for the present!"--bent his shoulders, shrank together, and left
the room.

Toward evening, they all went fishing together. The pond beyond the
garden contained a quantity of carp and loach. They placed Márya
Dmítrievna in an arm-chair near the bank, in the shade, spread a rug
under her feet, and gave her the best hook; Antón, in the quality of an
old and expert fisherman, offered his services. He assiduously spitted
worms on the hook, slapped them down with his hand, spat on them, and
even himself flung the line and hook, bending forward with his whole
body. That same day, Márya Dmítrievna expressed herself to Feódor
Ivánitch, with regard to him, in the following phrase, in the French
language of girls' institutes: "_Il n'y a plus maintenant de ces gens
comme ça comme autrefois._" Lemm, with the two little girls, went
further away, to the dam; Lavrétzky placed himself beside Liza. The fish
bit incessantly, the carp which were caught were constantly flashing
their sides, now gold, now silver, in the air; the joyous exclamations of
the little girls were unceasing; Márya Dmítrievna herself gave vent to
a couple of shrill, feminine shrieks. Lavrétzky and Liza caught fewer
than the others; this, probably, resulted from the fact that they paid
less attention than the rest to their fishing, and allowed their floats
to drift close inshore. The tall, reddish reeds rustled softly around
them, in front of them the motionless water gleamed softly, and their
conversation was soft also. Liza stood on a small raft; Lavrétzky sat on
the inclined trunk of a willow; Liza wore a white gown, girt about the
waist with a broad ribbon, also white in hue; her straw hat was hanging
from one hand, with the other, she supported, with some effort, the
curved fishing-rod. Lavrétzky gazed at the pure, rather severe profile,
at her hair tucked behind her ears, at her soft cheeks, which were as
sunburned as those of a child,--and said to himself: "O how charmingly
thou standest on my pond!" Liza did not turn toward him, but stared at
the water,--and half smiled, half screwed up her eyes. The shadow of a
linden-tree near at hand fell upon both of them.

"Do you know,"--began Lavrétzky:--"I have been thinking a great deal
about my last conversation with you, and have come to the conclusion,
that you are extraordinarily kind."

"I did not mean it in that way at all ..." Liza began,--and was overcome
with shame.

"You are kind,"--repeated Lavrétzky. "I am a rough man, but I feel that
every one must love you. There's Lemm now, for example: he is simply in
love with you."

Liza's brows quivered, rather than contracted; this always happened with
her when she heard something disagreeable.

"I felt very sorry for him to-day,"--Lavrétzky resumed:--"with his
unsuccessful romance. To be young, and be able to do a thing--that can be
borne; but to grow old, and not have the power--is painful. And the
offensive thing about it is, that you are not conscious when your powers
begin to wane. It is difficult for an old man to endure these shocks!...
Look out, the fish are biting at your hook.... They say,"--added
Lavrétzky, after a brief pause,--"that Vladímir Nikoláitch has written
a very pretty romance."

"Yes,"--replied Liza;--"it is a trifle, but it is not bad."

"And what is your opinion,"--asked Lavrétzky:--"is he a good musician?"

"It seems to me that he has great talent for music; but up to the present
time he has not cultivated it as he should."

"Exactly. And is he a nice man?"

Liza laughed, and cast a quick glance at Feódor Ivánitch.

"What a strange question!"--she exclaimed, drawing up her hook, and
flinging it far out again.

"Why is it strange?--I am asking you about him as a man who has recently
come hither, as your relative."

"As a relative?"

"Yes. I believe I am a sort of uncle to you."

"Vladímir Nikoláitch has a kind heart,"--said Liza:--"he is clever;
mamma is very fond of him."

"And do you like him?"

"He is a nice man: why should not I like him?"

"Ah!"--said Lavrétzky, and relapsed into silence. A half-mournful,
half-sneering expression flitted across his face. His tenacious gaze
discomfited Liza, but she continued to smile. "Well, God grant them
happiness!"--he muttered, at last, as though to himself, and turned away
his head.

Liza blushed.

"You are mistaken, Feódor Ivánitch,"--she said:--"there is no cause for
your thinking.... But do not you like Vladímir Nikoláitch?"

"I do not."


"It seems to me, that he has no heart."

The smile vanished from Liza's face.

"You have become accustomed to judge people harshly,"--she said, after a
long silence.

"I think not. What right have I to judge others harshly, when I myself
stand in need of indulgence? Or have you forgotten that a lazy man is the
only one who does not laugh at me?... Well,"--he added:--"and have you
kept your promise?"

"What promise?"

"Have you prayed for me?"

"Yes, I have prayed, and I do pray for you every day. But please do not
speak lightly of that."

Lavrétzky began to assure Liza, that such a thing had never entered his
head, that he entertained a profound respect for all convictions; then he
entered upon a discussion of religion, its significance in the history of
mankind, the significance of Christianity....

"One must be a Christian,"--said Liza, not without a certain
effort:--"not in order to understand heavenly things ... yonder ...
earthly things, but because every man must die."

Lavrétzky, with involuntary surprise, raised his eyes to Liza's, and
encountered her glance.

"What a word you have uttered!"--said he.

"The word is not mine,"--she replied.

"It is not yours.... But why do you speak of death?"

"I do not know. I often think about it."



"One would not say so, to look at you now: you have such a merry, bright
face, you are smiling...."

"Yes, I am very merry now,"--returned Liza ingenuously.

Lavrétzky felt like seizing both her hands, and clasping them tightly.

"Liza, Liza!"--called Márya Dmítrievna,--"come hither, look! What a
carp I have caught!"

"Immediately, _maman_,"--replied Liza, and went to her, but Lavrétzky
remained on his willow-tree.

"I talk with her as though I were not a man whose life is finished," he
said to himself. As she departed, Liza had hung her hat on a bough; with
a strange, almost tender sentiment, Lavrétzky gazed at the hat, at its
long, rather crumpled ribbons. Liza speedily returned to him, and again
took up her stand on the raft.

"Why do you think that Vladímir Nikoláitch has no heart?"--she
inquired, a few moments later.

"I have already told you, that I may be mistaken; however, time will

Liza became thoughtful. Lavrétzky began to talk about his manner of life
at Vasílievskoe, about Mikhalévitch, about Antón; he felt impelled to
talk to Liza, to communicate to her everything that occurred to his soul:
she was so charming, she listened to him so attentively; her infrequent
comments and replies seemed to him so simple and wise. He even told her

Liza was amazed.

"Really?"--she said;--"why, I have always thought that I, like my maid
Nástya, had no words of my own. One day she said to her betrothed: 'Thou
must find it tiresome with me; thou always sayest such fine things to me,
but I have no words of my own.'"

"And thank God for that!" thought Lavrétzky.


In the meantime, evening drew on, and Márya Dmítrievna expressed a
desire to return home. The little girls were, with difficulty, torn away
from the pond, and made ready. Lavrétzky announced his intention to
escort his guests half way, and ordered his horse to be saddled. As he
seated Márya Dmítrievna in the carriage, he remembered Lemm; but the
old man was nowhere to be found. He had disappeared as soon as the
angling was over. Antón slammed to the carriage door, with a strength
remarkable for his years, and grimly shouted: "Drive on, coachman!" The
carriage rolled off. On the back seat sat Márya Dmítrievna and Liza; on
the front seat, the little girls and the maid. The evening was warm and
still, and the windows were lowered on both sides. Lavrétzky rode at a
trot by Liza's side of the carriage, with his hand resting on the
door,--he had dropped the reins on the neck of his steed, which was
trotting smoothly,--and from time to time exchanged a few words with the
young girl. The sunset glow vanished; night descended, and the air grew
even warmer. Márya Dmítrievna soon fell into a doze; the little girls
and the maid also dropped off to sleep. The carriage rolled swiftly and
smoothly onward; Liza leaned forward; the moon, which had just risen,
shone on her face, the fragrant night breeze blew on her cheeks and neck.
She felt at ease. Her hand lay on the door of the carriage, alongside of
Lavrétzky's hand. And he, also, felt at ease: he was being borne along
through the tranquil nocturnal warmth, never taking his eyes from the
kind young face, listening to the youthful voice, which was ringing even
in a whisper, saying simple, kindly things; he did not even notice that
he had passed the half-way point. He did not wish to awaken Márya
Dmítrievna, pressed Liza's hand lightly, and said:--"We are friends,
now, are we not?" She nodded, he drew up his horse. The carriage rolled
on, gently swaying and lurching: Lavrétzky proceeded homeward at a
footpace. The witchery of the summer night took possession of him;
everything around him seemed so unexpectedly strange, and, at the same
time, so long, so sweetly familiar; far and near,--and things were
visible at a long distance, although the eye did not comprehend much of
what it beheld,--everything was at rest; young, blossoming life made
itself felt in that very repose. Lavrétzky's horse walked briskly,
swaying regularly to right and left; its huge black shadow kept pace
alongside; there was something mysteriously pleasant in the tramp of its
hoofs, something cheerful and wondrous in the resounding call of the
quail. The stars were hidden in a sort of brilliant smoke; the moon, not
yet at the full, shone with a steady gleam; its light flooded the blue
sky in streams, and fell like a stain of smoky gold upon the thin
cloudlets which floated past; the crispness of the air called forth a
slight moisture in the eyes, caressingly enveloped all the limbs, poured
in an abundant flood into the breast. Lavrétzky enjoyed himself, and
rejoiced at his enjoyment. "Come, life is still before us," he
thought:--"it has not been completely ruined yet by...." He did not
finish his sentence, and say who or what had ruined it.... Then he began
to think of Liza, that it was hardly likely that she loved Pánshin; that
had he met her under different circumstances,--God knows what might have
come of it; that he understood Lemm, although she had no "words of her
own." Yes, but that was not true: she had words of her own.... "Do not
speak lightly of that," recurred to Lavrétzky's memory. He rode for a
long time, with drooping head, then he straightened himself up, and
slowly recited:

               "And I have burned all that I worshipped,
               I have worshipped all that I burned...."

but immediately gave his horse a cut with the whip, and rode at a gallop
all the rest of the way home.

As he alighted from his horse, he cast a last glance around him, with an
involuntary, grateful smile. Night, the speechless, caressing night, lay
upon the hills and in the valleys; from afar, from its fragrant depths,
God knows whence,--whether from heaven or earth,--emanated a soft, quiet
warmth. Lavrétzky wafted a last salutation to Liza, and ran up the

The following day passed rather languidly. Rain fell from early morning;
Lemm cast furtive glances from beneath his eyebrows, and pursed up his
lips more and more tightly, as though he had vowed to himself never to
open them again. On lying down to sleep, Lavrétzky had taken to bed with
him a whole pile of French newspapers, which had already been lying on
his table for two weeks, with their wrappers unbroken. He set to work
idly to strip off the wrappers, and glance through the columns of the
papers, which, however, contained nothing new. He was on the point of
throwing them aside,--when, all of a sudden, he sprang out of bed as
though he had been stung. In the feuilleton of one of the papers, M'sieu
Jules, already known to us, imparted to his readers "a sad bit of news":
"The charming, bewitching native of Moscow," he wrote, "one of the queens
of fashion, the ornament of Parisian salons, Madame de Lavretzki, had
died almost instantaneously,--and this news, unhappily only too true, had
only just reached him, M. Jules. He was,"--he continued,--"he might say,
a friend of the deceased...."

Lavrétzky dressed himself, went out into the garden, and until morning
dawned, he paced back and forth in one and the same alley.


On the following morning, at tea, Lemm requested Lavrétzky to furnish him
with horses, that he might return to town. "It is time that I should set
about my work,--that is to say, my lessons," remarked the old man:--"but
here I am only wasting time in vain." Lavrétzky did not immediately reply
to him: he seemed preoccupied. "Very well,"--he said at last;--"I will
accompany you myself."--Without any aid from the servants, grunting and
fuming, Lemm packed his small trunk, and tore up and burned several sheets
of music-paper. The horses were brought round. As he emerged from his
study, Lavrétzky thrust into his pocket the newspaper of the day before.
During the entire journey, Lemm and Lavrétzky had very little to say to
each other: each of them was engrossed with his own thoughts, and each was
delighted that the other did not disturb him. And they parted rather
coldly,--which, by the way, frequently happens between friends in Russia.
Lavrétzky drove the old man to his tiny house: the latter alighted, got
out his trunk, and without offering his hand to his friend (he held his
trunk in front of his chest with both hands), without even looking at
him,--he said in Russian: "Good-bye, sir!"--"Good-bye,"--repeated
Lavrétzky, and ordered his coachman to drive him to his own lodgings. (He
had hired a lodging in the town of O * * * in case he might require
it.) After writing several letters and dining in haste, Lavrétzky took
his way to the Kalítins. In their drawing-room he found no one but
Pánshin, who informed him that Márya Dmítrievna would be down directly,
and immediately entered into conversation with him, with the most cordial
amiability. Up to that day, Pánshin had treated Lavrétzky, not exactly
in a patronizing way, yet condescendingly; but Liza, in telling Pánshin
about her jaunt of the day before, had expressed herself to the effect
that Lavrétzky was a very fine and clever man; that was enough: the "very
fine" man must be captivated. Pánshin began with compliments to
Lavrétzky, with descriptions of the raptures with which, according to his
statement, Márya Dmítrievna's whole family had expressed themselves
about Vasílievskoe, and then, according to his wont, passing adroitly to
himself, he began to talk about his own occupations, his views of life, of
the world, of the government service;--he said a couple of words about the
future of Russia, about the proper way of keeping the governors in hand;
thereupon, merrily jeered at himself, and added, that, among other things,
he had been commissioned in Petersburg--"_de populariser l'idée du
cadastre_." He talked for quite a long time, with careless self-confidence
solving all difficulties, and juggling with the most weighty
administrative and political questions, as a sleight-of-hand performer
juggles with his balls. The expressions: "This is what I would do, if I
were the government"; "You, as a clever man, will immediately agree with
me"--were never absent from his tongue. Lavrétzky listened coldly to
Pánshin's idle chatter: he did not like this handsome, clever, and
unconstrainedly elegant man, with his brilliant smile, courteous voice,
and searching eyes. Pánshin speedily divined, with the swift
comprehension of other people's sentiments which was peculiar to him, that
he was not affording his interlocutor any particular pleasure, and made
his escape, under a plausible pretext, deciding in his own mind that
Lavrétzky might be a very fine man, but that he was not sympathetic, was
"_aigri_," and, "_en somme_," rather ridiculous.--Márya Dmítrievna made
her appearance accompanied by Gedeónovsky; then Márfa Timoféevna
entered with Liza; after them followed the other members of the household;
then came that lover of music, Mme. Byelenítzyn, a small, thin lady, with
an almost childish, fatigued and handsome little face, in a rustling black
gown, with a motley-hued fan, and heavy gold bracelets; her husband also
came, a rosy-cheeked, plump man, with huge feet and hands, with white
eyelashes, and an impassive smile on his thick lips; in company his wife
never spoke to him, but at home, in moments of tenderness, she was wont to
call him "her little pig"; Pánshin returned: the rooms became very full
of people and very noisy. Such a throng of people was not to Lavrétzky's
liking; Mme. Byelenítzyn particularly enraged him by constantly staring
at him through her lorgnette. He would have withdrawn at once, had it not
been for Liza: he wished to say two words to her in private, but for a
long time he was not able to seize a convenient moment, and contented
himself with watching her in secret joy; never had her face seemed to him
more noble and charming. She appeared to great advantage from the
proximity of Mme. Byelenítzyn. The latter was incessantly fidgeting about
on her chair, shrugging her narrow little shoulders, laughing, in an
enervated way, and screwing up her eyes, then suddenly opening them very
wide. Liza sat quietly, her gaze was direct, and she did not laugh at all.
The hostess sat down to play cards with Márfa Timoféevna, Mme.
Byelenítzyn, and Gedeónovsky, who played very slowly, was constantly
making mistakes, blinking his eyes, and mopping his face with his
handkerchief. Pánshin assumed a melancholy mien, expressed himself with
brevity, with great significance and mournfulness,--for all the world like
an artist who has not had his say,--but despite the entreaties of Mme.
Byelenítzyn, who was having a violent flirtation with him, he would not
consent to sing his romance: Lavrétzky embarrassed him. Feódor Ivánitch
also said little; the peculiar expression of his face had startled Liza,
as soon as he entered the room: she immediately felt that he had something
to communicate to her, but, without herself knowing why, she was afraid to
interrogate him. At last, as she passed into the hall to pour tea, she
involuntarily turned her head in his direction. He immediately followed

"What is the matter with you?"--she said, as she placed the teapot on the

"Have you noticed it?"

"You are not the same to-day as I have seen you heretofore."

Lavrétzky bent over the table.

"I wanted,"--he began,--"to tell you a certain piece of news, but now it
is not possible.--However, read what is marked with pencil in this
feuilleton,"--he added, giving her the copy of the newspaper which he had
brought with him.--"I beg that you will keep this secret; I will call on
you to-morrow morning."

Liza was surprised.... Pánshin made his appearance on the threshold of
the door: she put the newspaper in her pocket.

"Have you read Obermann, Lizavéta Mikhaílovna?"--Pánshin asked her

Liza gave him a superficial answer, left the hall, and went up-stairs.
Lavrétzky returned to the drawing-room, and approached the card-table.
Márfa Timoféevna, with her cap-ribbons untied, and red in the face,
began to complain to him about her partner, Gedeónovsky, who, according
to her, did not know how to lead.

"Evidently,"--she said,--"playing cards is quite a different thing from
inventing fibs."

Her partner continued to blink and mop his face. Liza entered the
drawing-room, and seated herself in a corner; Lavrétzky looked at her,
she looked at him,--and something like dread fell upon them both. He read
surprise and a sort of secret reproach in her face. Long as he might to
talk to her, he could not do it; to remain in the same room with her, a
guest among strangers, was painful to him: he decided to go away. As he
took leave of her, he managed to repeat that he would come on the morrow,
and he added that he trusted in her friendship.

"Come,"--she replied, with the same amazement on her face.

Pánshin brightened up after Lavrétzky's departure; he began to give
advice to Gedeónovsky, banteringly paid court to Mme. Byelenítzyn, and,
at last, sang his romance. But he talked with Liza and gazed at her as
before: significantly and rather sadly.

And again, Lavrétzky did not sleep all night long. He did not feel sad,
he was not excited, he had grown altogether calm; but he could not sleep.
He did not even recall the past; he simply gazed at his life: his heart
beat strongly and evenly, the hours flew past, but he did not even think
of sleeping. At times, only, did the thought come to the surface in his
mind: "But that is not true, it is all nonsense,"--and he paused, lowered
his head, and began again to gaze at his life.


  [11] A combination of music-room, ball-room, play-room, also used for all
       sorts of purposes, in all well-to-do Russian houses.--Translator.


Márya Dmítrievna did not receive Lavrétzky with any excess of
cordiality, when he presented himself on the following day. "Well, you
are making yourself pretty free of the house,"--she said to herself.
Personally, he did not greatly please her, and, in addition, Pánshin,
under whose influence she was, had sung his praises in a very sly and
careless manner on the preceding evening. As she did not look upon him in
the light of a guest, and did not consider it necessary to trouble
herself about a relative almost a member of the family, half an hour had
not elapsed before he was strolling down an alley in the garden with
Liza. Lyénotchka and Schúrotchka were frolicking a short distance away,
among the flower-beds.

Liza was composed, as usual, but paler than usual. She took from her
pocket and handed to Lavrétzky the sheet of newspaper, folded small.

"This is dreadful!"--said she.

Lavrétzky made no reply.

"But perhaps it is not yet true,"--added Liza.

"That is why I asked you not to mention it to any one."

Liza walked on a little way.

"Tell me,"--she began:--"you are not grieved? Not in the least?"

"I do not know myself what my feelings are,"--replied Lavrétzky.

"But, assuredly, you used to love her?"

"Yes, I did."

"Very much?"

"Very much."

"And you are not grieved by her death?"

"It is not now that she has died to me."

"What you say is sinful.... Do not be angry with me. You call me your
friend: a friend may say anything. To tell the truth, I feel
terrified.... Your face was so malign yesterday.... Do you remember, how
you were complaining of her, not long ago?--and perhaps, already, at that
very time, she was no longer alive. This is terrible. It is exactly as
though it had been sent to you as a chastisement."

Lavrétzky laughed bitterly.

"Do you think so?... At all events, I am free now."

Liza gave a slight start.

"Stop, do not talk like that. Of what use to you is your freedom? You
must not think about that now, but about forgiveness...."

"I forgave her long ago,"--interrupted Lavrétzky, with a wave of the

"No, not that,"--returned Liza, and blushed. "You did not understand me
rightly. You must take means to obtain forgiveness...."

"Who is there to forgive me?"

"Who?--God. Who else but God can forgive us?"

Lavrétzky caught her hand.

"Akh, Lizavéta Mikhaílovna, believe me,"--he exclaimed:--"I have been
sufficiently punished as it is. I have already atoned for everything,
believe me."

"You cannot know that,"--said Liza in a low voice. "You have
forgotten;--not very long ago,--when you were talking to me,--you were
not willing to forgive her...."

The two walked silently down the alley.

"And how about your daughter?"--Liza suddenly inquired, and halted.

Lavrétzky started.

"Oh, do not worry yourself! I have already despatched letters to all the
proper places. The future of my daughter, as you call ... as you say ...
is assured. Do not disquiet yourself."

Liza smiled sadly.

"But you are right,"--went on Lavrétzky:--"what can I do with my
freedom? Of what use is it to me?"

"When did you receive that newspaper?"--said Liza, making no reply to his

"The day after your visit."

"And is it possible ... is it possible that you did not even weep?"

"No. I was stunned; but where were the tears to come from? Weep over the
past,--but, you see, it is entirely extirpated in my case!... Her
behaviour itself did not destroy my happiness, but merely proved to me
that it had never existed. What was there to cry about? But, who
knows?--perhaps I should have been more grieved if I had received this
news two weeks earlier...."

"Two weeks?"--returned Liza. "But what has happened in those two weeks?"

Lavrétzky made no answer, and Liza suddenly blushed more furiously than

"Yes, yes, you have guessed it,"--interposed Lavrétzky:--"in the course
of those two weeks I have learned what a pure woman's soul is like, and
my past has retreated still further from me."

Liza became confused, and softly walked toward the flower-garden, to
Lyénotchka and Schúrotchka.

"And I am glad that I have shown you this newspaper,"--said Lavrétzky,
as he followed her:--"I have already contracted the habit of concealing
nothing from you, and I hope that you will repay me with the same

"Do you think so?"--said Liza, and stopped short. "In that case, I ought
to ... but no! That is impossible."

"What is it? Speak, speak!"

"Really, it seems to me that I ought not.... However," added Liza, and
turned to Lavrétzky with a smile:--"what is half-frankness worth?--Do
you know? I received a letter to-day."

"From Pánshin?"

"Yes, from him.... How did you know?"

"He asks your hand?"

"Yes,"--uttered Liza, and looked seriously in Lavrétzky's eyes.

Lavrétzky, in his turn, gazed seriously at Liza.

"Well, and what reply have you made to him?"--he said at last.

"I do not know what reply to make,"--replied Liza, and dropped her
clasped hands.

"What? Surely, you like him?"

"Yes, he pleases me; he seems to be a nice man...."

"You said the same thing to me, in those very same words, three days ago.
What I want to know is, whether you love him with that strong, passionate
feeling which we are accustomed to call love?"

"As _you_ understand it,--no."

"You are not in love with him?"

"No. But is that necessary?"

"Of course it is!"

"Mamma likes him,"--pursued Liza:--"he is amiable; I have nothing against

"Still, you are wavering?"

"Yes ... and perhaps,--your words may be the cause of it. Do you remember
what you said day before yesterday? But that weakness...."

"Oh, my child!"--suddenly exclaimed Lavrétzky--and his voice
trembled:--"do not argue artfully, do not designate as weakness the cry
of your heart, which does not wish to surrender itself without love. Do
not take upon yourself that terrible responsibility toward a man whom you
do not love and to whom you do not wish to belong...."

"I am listening,--I am taking nothing upon myself ..." Liza was

"Listen to your heart; it alone will tell you the truth,"--Lavrétzky
interrupted her.... "Experience, reasoning--all that is stuff and
nonsense! Do not deprive yourself of the best, the only happiness on

"Is it you, Feódor Ivánitch, who are speaking thus? You, yourself,
married for love--and were you happy?"

Lavrétzky wrung his hands.

"Akh, do not talk to me of that! You cannot even understand all that a
young, untried, absurdly educated lad can mistake for love!... Yes, and
in short, why calumniate one's self? I just told you, that I had not
known happiness ... no! I was happy!"

"It seems to me, Feódor Ivánitch,"--said Liza, lowering her voice (when
she did not agree with her interlocutor, she always lowered her voice;
and, at the same time, she became greatly agitated):--"happiness on earth
does not depend upon us...."

"It does, it does depend upon us, believe me," (he seized both her hands;
Liza turned pale, and gazed at him almost in terror, but with
attention):--"if only we have not ruined our own lives. For some people,
a love-marriage may prove unhappy; but not for you, with your calm
temperament, with your clear soul! I entreat you, do not marry without
love, from a sense of duty, of renunciation, or anything else.... That,
also, is want of faith, that is calculation,--and even worse. Believe
me,--I have a right to speak thus: I have paid dearly for that right. And
if your God...."

At that moment, Lavrétzky noticed that Lyénotchka and Schúrotchka were
standing beside Liza, and staring at him with dumb amazement. He released
Liza's hands, said hastily: "Pray pardon me,"--and walked toward the

"I have only one request to make of you,"--he said, returning to
Liza:--"do not decide instantly, wait, think over what I have said to
you. Even if you have not believed me, if you have made up your mind to a
marriage of reason,--even in that case, you ought not to marry Mr.
Pánshin: he cannot be your husband.... Promise me, will you not, not to
be in a hurry?"

Liza tried to answer Lavrétzky, but did not utter a word,--not because
she had made up her mind "to be in a hurry"; but because her heart was
beating too violently, and a sensation resembling fear had stopped her


As he was leaving the Kalítins' house, Lavrétzky encountered Pánshin;
they saluted each other coldly. Lavrétzky went home to his apartment,
and locked himself in. He experienced a sensation such as he had, in all
probability, never experienced before. Had he remained long in that state
of "peaceful numbness"? had he long continued to feel, as he had
expressed it, "at the bottom of the river"? What had altered his
position? what had brought him out, to the surface? the most ordinary,
inevitable though always unexpected of events;--death? Yes: but he did
not think so much about the death of his wife, about his freedom,
as,--what sort of answer would Liza give to Pánshin? He was conscious
that, in the course of the last three days, he had come to look upon her
with different eyes; he recalled how, on returning home, and thinking
about her in the silence of the night, he had said to himself: "If...."
That "if," wherein he had alluded to the past, to the impossible, had
come to pass, although not in the way he had anticipated,--but this was
little in itself. "She will obey her mother," he thought, "she will marry
Pánshin; but even if she refuses him,--is it not all the same to me?" As
he passed in front of the mirror, he cast a cursory glance at his face,
and shrugged his shoulders.

The day sped swiftly by in these reflections; evening arrived. Lavrétzky
wended his way to the Kalítins. He walked briskly, but approached their
house with lingering steps. In front of the steps stood Pánshin's
drozhky. "Come,"--thought Lavrétzky,--"I will not be an egoist," and
entered the house. Inside he met no one, and all was still in the
drawing-room; he opened the door, and beheld Márya Dmítrievna, playing
picquet with Pánshin. Pánshin bowed to him in silence, and the mistress
of the house uttered a little scream:--"How unexpected!"--and frowned
slightly. Lavrétzky took a seat by her side, and began to look over her

"Do you know how to play picquet?"--she asked him, with a certain
dissembled vexation, and immediately announced that she discarded.

Pánshin reckoned up ninety, and politely and calmly began to gather up
the tricks, with a severe and dignified expression on his countenance.
That is the way in which diplomats should play; probably, that is the way
in which he was wont to play in Petersburg, with some powerful dignitary,
whom he desired to impress with a favourable opinion as to his solidity
and maturity. "One hundred and one, one hundred and two, hearts; one
hundred and three,"--rang out his measured tone, and Lavrétzky could not
understand what note resounded in it: reproach or self-conceit.

"Is Márfa Timoféevna to be seen?"--he asked, observing that Pánshin,
still with great dignity, was beginning to shuffle the cards. Not a trace
of the artist was, as yet, to be observed in him.

"Yes, I think so. She is in her own apartments, up-stairs,"--replied
Márya Dmítrievna:--"you had better inquire."

Lavrétzky went up-stairs, and found Márfa Timoféevna at cards also:
she was playing _duratchkí_ (fools) with Nastásya Kárpovna. Róska
barked at him; but both the old ladies welcomed him cordially, and Márfa
Timoféevna, in particular, seemed to be in high spirits.

"Ah! Fédya! Pray come in,"--she said:--"sit down, my dear little father.
We shall be through our game directly. Wouldst thou like some preserves?
Schúrotchka, get him a jar of strawberries. Thou dost not want it? Well,
then sit as thou art; but as for smoking--thou must not: I cannot bear
thy tobacco, and, moreover, it makes Matrós sneeze."

Lavrétzky made haste to assert that he did not care to smoke.

"Hast thou been down-stairs?"--went on the old woman:--"whom didst thou
see there? Is Pánshin still on hand, as usual? And didst thou see Liza?
No? She intended to come hither.... Yes, there she is; speak of an

Liza entered the room and, on perceiving Lavrétzky, she blushed.

"I have run in to see you for a minute, Márfa Timoféevna," she

"Why for a minute?"--returned the old woman. "What makes all you young
girls such restless creatures? Thou seest, that I have a visitor: chatter
to him, entertain him."

Liza seated herself on the edge of a chair, raised her eyes to
Lavrétzky,--and felt that it was impossible not to give him to
understand how her interview with Pánshin had ended. But how was that to
be done? She felt both ashamed and awkward. She had not been acquainted
with him long, with that man who both went rarely to church and bore with
so much indifference the death of his wife,--and here she was already
imparting her secrets to him.... He took an interest in her, it is true;
she, herself, trusted him, and felt attracted to him; but, nevertheless,
she felt ashamed, as though a stranger had entered her pure, virgin

Márfa Timoféevna came to her assistance.

"If thou wilt not entertain him,"--she began, "who will entertain him,
poor fellow? I am too old for him, he is too clever for me, and for
Nastásya Kárpovna he is too old, you must give her nothing but very
young men."

"How can I entertain Feódor Ivánitch?"--said Liza.--"If he likes, I
will play something for him on the piano,"--she added, irresolutely.

"Very good indeed: that's my clever girl,"--replied Márfa
Timoféevna,--"Go down-stairs, my dear people; when you are through, come
back; for I have been left the 'fool,' and I feel insulted, and want to
win back."

Liza rose: Lavrétzky followed her. As they were descending the
staircase, Liza halted.

"They tell the truth,"--she began:--"when they say that the hearts of men
are full of contradictions. Your example ought to frighten me, to render
me distrustful of marriage for love, but I...."

"You have refused him?"--interrupted Lavrétzky.

"No; but I have not accepted him. I told him everything, everything that
I felt, and asked him to wait. Are you satisfied?"--she added, with a
swift smile,--and lightly touching the railing with her hand, she ran
down the stairs.

"What shall I play for you?"--she asked, as she raised the lid of the

"Whatever you like,"--replied Lavrétzky, and seated himself in such a
position that he could watch her.

Liza began to play, and, for a long time, never took her eyes from her
fingers. At last, she glanced at Lavrétzky, and stopped short: so
wonderful and strange did his face appear to her.

"What is the matter with you?"--she asked.

"Nothing,"--he replied:--"all is very well with me; I am glad for you, I
am glad to look at you,--go on."

"It seems to me,"--said Liza, a few moments later:--"that if he really
loved me, he would not have written that letter; he ought to have felt
that I could not answer him now."

"That is of no importance,"--said Lavrétzky:--"the important point is,
that you do not love him."

"Stop,--what sort of a conversation is this! I keep having visions of
your dead wife, and you are terrible to me!"

"My Lizéta plays charmingly, does she not, Valdemar?"--Márya
Dmítrievna was saying to Pánshin at the same moment.

"Yes,"--replied Pánshin;--"very charmingly."

Márya Dmítrievna gazed tenderly at her young partner; but the latter
assumed a still more important and careworn aspect, and announced
fourteen kings.


Lavrétzky was not a young man; he could not long deceive himself as to
the sentiments with which Liza had inspired him; he became definitively
convinced, on that day, that he had fallen in love with her. This
conviction brought no great joy to him. "Is it possible," he thought,
"that at the age of five and thirty I have nothing better to do than to
put my soul again into the hands of a woman? But Liza is not like _that
one_; she would not require from me shameful sacrifices; she would not
draw me away from my occupations; she herself would encourage me to
honourable, severe toil, and we would advance together toward a fine
goal. Yes," he wound up his meditations:--"all that is good, but the bad
thing is, that she will not in the least wish to marry me. It was not for
nothing that she told me, that I am terrible to her. On the other hand,
she does not love that Pánshin either.... A poor consolation!"

Lavrétzky rode out to Vasílievskoe; but he did not remain four
days,--it seemed so irksome to him there. He was tortured, also, by
expectancy: the information imparted by M--r. Jules required
confirmation, and he had received no letters. He returned to the town,
and sat out the evening at the Kalítins'. It was easy for him to see,
that Márya Dmítrievna had risen in revolt against him; but he succeeded
in appeasing her somewhat by losing fifteen rubles to her at
picquet,--and he spent about half an hour alone with Liza, in spite of
the fact that her mother, no longer ago than the day before, had advised
her not to be too familiar with a man "_qui a un si grand ridicule_." He
found a change in her: she seemed, somehow, to have become more
thoughtful, she upbraided him for his absence, and asked him--would he
not go to church on the following morning (the next day was Sunday)?

"Go,"--she said to him, before he had succeeded in replying:--"we will
pray together for the repose of _her_ soul."--Then she added, that she
did not know what she ought to do,--she did not know whether she had the
right to make Pánshin wait any longer for her decision.

"Why?"--asked Lavrétzky.

"Because,"--said she: "I am already beginning to suspect what that
decision will be."

She declared that her head ached, and went off to her own room up-stairs,
irresolutely offering Lavrétzky the tips of her fingers.

The next day, Lavrétzky went to the morning service. Liza was already in
the church when he arrived. She observed him, although she did not turn
toward him. She prayed devoutly; her eyes sparkled softly, her head bent
and rose softly. He felt that she was praying for him also,--and a
wonderful emotion filled his soul. He felt happy, and somewhat
conscience-stricken. The decorously-standing congregation, the familiar
faces, the melodious chanting, the odour of the incense, the long,
slanting rays of light from the windows, the very gloom of the walls and
vaulted roof,--all spoke to his ear. He had not been in a church for a
long time, he had not appealed to God for a long time: and even now, he
did not utter any words of prayer,--he did not even pray without words,
but for a moment, at least, if not in body, certainly with all his mind,
he prostrated himself and bowed humbly to the very earth. He recalled
how, in his childhood, he had prayed in church on every occasion until he
became conscious of some one's cool touch on his brow; "this," he had
been accustomed to say to himself at that time, "is my guardian-angel
accepting me, laying upon me the seal of the chosen." He cast a glance at
Liza.... "Thou hast brought me hither," he thought:--"do thou also touch
me, touch my soul." She continued to pray in the same calm manner as
before; her face seemed to him joyful, and he was profoundly moved once
more; he entreated for that other soul--peace, for his own--pardon....

They met in the porch; she greeted him with cheerful and amiable dignity.
The sun brilliantly illuminated the young grass in the churchyard, and
the motley-hued gowns and kerchiefs of the women; the bells of the
neighbouring churches were booming aloft; the sparrows were chirping in
the hedgerows. Lavrétzky stood with head uncovered, and smiled; a light
breeze lifted his hair, and the tips of the ribbons on Liza's hat. He put
Liza into her carriage, distributed all his small change to the poor, and
softly wended his way homeward.


Difficult days arrived for Feódor Ivánitch. He found himself in a
constant fever. Every morning he went to the post-office, with excitement
broke the seals of his letters and newspapers,--and nowhere did he find
anything which might have confirmed or refuted the fateful rumour.
Sometimes he became repulsive even to himself: "Why am I thus
waiting,"--he said to himself, "like a crow for blood, for the sure news
of my wife's death?" He went to the Kalítins' every day; but even there
he was no more at his ease: the mistress of the house openly sulked at
him, received him with condescension; Pánshin treated him with
exaggerated courtesy; Lemm had become misanthropic, and hardly even bowed
to him,--and, chief of all, Liza seemed to avoid him. But when she
chanced to be left alone with him, in place of her previous trustfulness,
confusion manifested itself in her: she did not know what to say to him,
and he himself felt agitation. In the course of a few days, Liza had
become quite different from herself as he had previously known her: in
her movements, her voice, in her very laugh, a secret trepidation was
perceptible, an unevenness which had not heretofore existed. Márya
Dmítrievna, like the genuine egoist she was, suspected nothing; but
Márfa Timoféevna began to watch her favourite. Lavrétzky more than
once reproached himself with having shown to Liza the copy of the
newspaper which he had received: he could not fail to recognise the fact,
that in his spiritual condition there was an element which was perturbing
to pure feeling. He also assumed that the change in Liza had been brought
about by her conflict with herself, by her doubts: what answer should she
give to Pánshin? One day she brought him a book, one of Walter Scott's
novels, which she herself had asked of him.

"Have you read this book?"--he asked.

"No; I do not feel in a mood for books now,"--she replied, and turned to

"Wait a minute: I have not been alone with you for a long time. You seem
to be afraid of me."


"Why so, pray?"

"I do not know."

Lavrétzky said nothing for a while.

"Tell me,"--he began:--"you have not yet made up your mind?"

"What do you mean by that?"--she said, without raising her eyes.

"You understand me...."

Liza suddenly flushed up.

"Ask me no questions about anything,"--she ejaculated, with vivacity:--"I
know nothing, I do not even know myself...." And she immediately beat a

On the following day, Lavrétzky arrived at the Kalítins' after dinner,
and found all preparations made to have the All-Night Vigil service held
there. In one corner of the dining-room, on a square table, covered with
a clean cloth, small holy pictures in gold settings, with tiny, dull
brilliants in their halos, were already placed, leaning against the wall.
An old man-servant, in a grey frock-coat and slippers, walked the whole
length of the room in a deliberate manner, and without making any noise
with his heels, and placed two wax tapers in slender candlesticks in
front of the holy images, crossed himself, made a reverence, and softly
withdrew. The unlighted drawing-room was deserted. Lavrétzky walked down
the dining-room, and inquired--was it not some one's Name-day? He was
answered, in a whisper, that it was not, but that the Vigil service had
been ordered at the desire of Lizavéta Mikhaílovna and Márfa
Timoféevna; that the intention had been to bring thither the
wonder-working _ikóna_, but it had gone to a sick person, thirty versts
distant. There soon arrived, also, in company with the chanters, the
priest, a man no longer young, with a small bald spot, who coughed loudly
in the anteroom; the ladies all immediately trooped in single file from
the boudoir, and approached to receive his blessing; Lavrétzky saluted
him in silence; and he returned the salute in silence. The priest stood
still for a short time, then cleared his throat again, and asked in a low
tone, with a bass voice:

"Do you command me to proceed?"

"Proceed, bátiushka,"--replied Márya Dmítrievna.

He began to vest himself; the chanter obsequiously asked for a live coal;
the incense began to diffuse its fragrance. The maids and lackeys emerged
from the anteroom and halted in a dense throng close to the door. Róska,
who never came down-stairs, suddenly made his appearance in the
dining-room: they began to drive him out, and he became confused, turned
around and sat down; a footman picked him up and carried him away. The
Vigil service began. Lavrétzky pressed himself into a corner; his
sensations were strange, almost melancholy; he himself was not able
clearly to make out what he felt. Márya Dmítrievna stood in front of
them all, before an arm-chair; she crossed herself with enervated
carelessness, in regular lordly fashion,--now glancing around her, again
suddenly casting her eyes upward: she was bored. Márfa Timoféevna
seemed troubled; Nastásya Kárpovna kept prostrating herself, and rising
with a sort of modest, soft rustle; Liza took up her stand, and never
stirred from her place, never moved; from the concentrated expression of
her countenance, it was possible to divine that she was praying
assiduously and fervently. When she kissed the cross, at the end of the
service, she also kissed the priest's large, red hand. Márya Dmítrievna
invited him to drink tea; he took off his stole, assumed a rather secular
air, and passed into the drawing-room with the ladies. A not over
animated conversation began. The priest drank four cups of tea,
incessantly mopping his bald spot with his handkerchief, and narrated,
among other things, that merchant Avóshnikoff had contributed seven
hundred rubles to gild the "cupola" of the church, and he also imparted a
sure cure for freckles. Lavrétzky tried to seat himself beside Liza, but
she maintained a severe, almost harsh demeanour, and never once glanced
at him; she appeared to be deliberately refraining from noticing him; a
certain cold, dignified rapture had descended upon her. For some reason
or other, Lavrétzky felt inclined to smile uninterruptedly, and say
something amusing; but there was confusion in his heart, and he went away
at last, secretly perplexed.... He felt that there was something in Liza
into which he could not penetrate.

On another occasion, Lavrétzky, as he sat in the drawing-room, and
listened to the insinuating but heavy chatter of Gedeónovsky, suddenly
turned round, without himself knowing why he did so, and caught a deep,
attentive, questioning gaze in Liza's eyes.... It was riveted on him,
that puzzling gaze, afterward. Lavrétzky thought about it all night
long. He had not fallen in love in boyish fashion, it did not suit him to
sigh and languish, neither did Liza arouse that sort of sentiment; but
love has its sufferings at every age,--and he underwent them to the full.


  [12] This service, consisting (generally) of Vespers and Matins, can be
       read in private houses, and even by laymen: whereas, the Liturgy,
       or Mass, must be celebrated at a duly consecrated altar, by a duly
       ordained priest.--Translator.


One day, according to his custom, Lavrétzky was sitting at the
Kalítins'. A fatiguingly-hot day had been followed by so fine an
evening, that Márya Dmítrievna, despite her aversion to the fresh air,
had ordered all the windows and doors into the garden to be opened, and
had announced that she would not play cards, that it was a sin to play
cards in such weather, and one must enjoy nature. Pánshin was the only
visitor. Tuned up by the evening, and unwilling to sing before
Lavrétzky, yet conscious of an influx of artistic emotions, he turned to
poetry: he recited well, but with too much self-consciousness, and with
unnecessary subtleties, several of Lérmontoff's poems (at that time,
Púshkin had not yet become fashionable again)--and, all at once, as
though ashamed of his expansiveness, he began, apropos of the familiar
"Thought," to upbraid and reprove the present generation; in that
connection, not missing the opportunity to set forth, how he would turn
everything around in his own way, if the power were in his hands.
"Russia," said he,--"has lagged behind Europe; she must catch up with it.
People assert, that we are young--that is nonsense; and moreover, that we
possess no inventive genius: X ... himself admits that we have not even
invented a mouse-trap. Consequently, we are compelled, willy-nilly, to
borrow from others. 'We are ill,'--says Lérmontoff,--I agree with him;
but we are ill because we have only half converted ourselves into
Europeans; that is where we have made our mistake, and that is what we
must be cured of." ("_Le cadastre_,"--thought Lavrétzky).--"The best
heads among us,"--he went on,--"_les meilleurs têtes_--have long since
become convinced of this; all nations are, essentially, alike; only
introduce good institutions, and there's an end of the matter. One may
even conform to the existing national life; that is our business, the
business of men ..." (he came near saying: "of statesmen") "who are in
the service; but, in case of need, be not uneasy: the institutions will
transform that same existence." Márya Dmítrievna, with emotion, backed
up Pánshin. "What a clever man this is,"--she thought,--"talking in my
house!" Liza said nothing, as she leaned against a window-frame;
Lavrétzky also maintained silence; Márfa Timoféevna, who was playing
cards in the corner with her friend, muttered something to herself.
Pánshin strode up and down the room, and talked eloquently, but with a
secret spite: he seemed to be scolding not the whole race, but certain
individuals of his acquaintance. In the Kalítins' garden, in a large
lilac-bush, dwelt a nightingale, whose first evening notes rang forth in
the intervals of this eloquent harangue; the first stars lighted up in
the rosy sky, above the motionless crests of the lindens. Lavrétzky
rose, and began to reply to Pánshin; an argument ensued. Lavrétzky
defended the youth and independence of Russia; he surrendered himself,
his generation as sacrifice,--but upheld the new men, their convictions,
and their desires; Pánshin retorted in a sharp and irritating way,
declared that clever men must reform everything, and went so far, at
last, that, forgetting his rank of Junior Gentleman of the Imperial
Bedchamber, and his official career, he called Lavrétzky a "laggard
conservative," he even hinted,--in a very remote way, it is true,--at his
false position in society. Lavrétzky did not get angry, did not raise
his voice (he remembered that Mikhalévitch also had called him a
laggard--only, a Voltairian)--and calmly vanquished Pánshin on every
point. He demonstrated to him the impossibility of leaps and supercilious
reforms, unjustified either by a knowledge of the native land or actual
faith in an ideal, even a negative ideal; he cited, as an example, his
own education, and demanded, first of all, a recognition of national
truth and submission to it,--that submission without which even boldness
against falsehood is impossible; he did not evade, in conclusion, the
reproach--merited, in his opinion--of frivolous waste of time and

"All that is very fine!"--exclaimed the enraged Pánshin, at last:--"Here,
you have returned to Russia,--what do you intend to do?"

"Till the soil,"--replied Lavrétzky:--"and try to till it as well as

"That is very praiseworthy, there's no disputing that,"--rejoined
Pánshin:--"and I have been told, that you have already had great success
in that direction; but you must admit, that not every one is fitted for
that sort of occupation...."

"_Une nature poétique_,"--began Márya Dmítrievna,--"of course, cannot
till the soil ... _et puis_, you are called, Vladímir Nikoláitch, to do
everything _en grand_."

This was too much even for Pánshin: he stopped short, and the
conversation stopped short also. He tried to turn it on the beauty of the
starry sky, on Schubert's music--but, for some reason, it would not run
smoothly; he ended, by suggesting to Márya Dmítrievna, that he should
play picquet with her.--"What! on such an evening?"--she replied feebly;
but she ordered the cards to be brought.

Pánshin, with a crackling noise, tore open the fresh pack, while Liza
and Lavrétzky, as though in pursuance of an agreement, both rose, and
placed themselves beside Márfa Timoféevna. They both, suddenly, felt so
very much at ease that they were even afraid to be left alone
together,--and, at the same time, both felt that the embarrassment which
they had experienced during the last few days had vanished, never more to
return. The old woman stealthily patted Lavrétzky on the cheek, slyly
screwed up her eyes, and shook her head several times, remarking in a
whisper: "Thou hast got the best of the clever fellow, thanks."
Everything in the room became still; the only sound was the faint
crackling of the wax candles, and, now and then, the tapping of hands on
the table, and an exclamation, or the reckoning of the spots,--and the
song, mighty, resonant to the verge of daring, of the nightingale, poured
in a broad stream through the window, in company with the dewy coolness.


Liza had not uttered a single word during the course of the dispute
between Lavrétzky and Pánshin, but had attentively followed it, and had
been entirely on Lavrétzky's side. Politics possessed very little
interest for her; but the self-confident tone of the fashionable official
(he had never, hitherto, so completely expressed himself) had repelled
her; his scorn of Russia had wounded her. It had never entered Liza's
head, that she was a patriot; but she was at her ease with Russian
people; the Russian turn of mind gladdened her; without any affectation,
for hours at a time, she chatted with the overseer of her mother's
estate, when he came to town, and talked with him as with an equal,
without any lordly condescension. Lavrétzky felt all this: he would not
have undertaken to reply to Pánshin alone; he had been talking for Liza
only. They said nothing to each other, even their eyes met but rarely;
but both understood that they had come very close together that evening,
understood that they loved and did not love the same things. On only one
point did they differ; but Liza secretly hoped to bring him to God. They
sat beside Márfa Timoféevna, and appeared to be watching her play; and
they really were watching it,--but, in the meanwhile, their hearts had
waxed great in their bosoms, and nothing escaped them: for them the
nightingale was singing, the stars were shining, and the trees were
softly whispering, lulled both by slumber and by the softness of the
summer, and by the warmth. Lavrétzky surrendered himself wholly to the
billow which was bearing him onward,--and rejoiced; but no word can
express that which took place in the young girl's pure soul: it was a
secret to herself; so let it remain for all others. No one knows, no one
has seen, and no one ever will see, how that which is called into life
and blossom pours forth and matures grain in the bosom of the earth.

The clock struck ten. Márfa Timoféevna went off to her rooms up-stairs,
with Nastásya Kárpovna; Lavrétzky and Liza strolled through the room,
halted in front of the open door to the garden, gazed into the dark
distance, then at each other--and smiled; they would have liked, it
appeared, to take each other by the hand, and talk their fill. They
returned to Márya Dmítrievna and Pánshin, whose picquet had become
protracted. The last "king" came to an end at length, and the hostess
rose, groaning, and sighing, from the cushion-garnished arm-chair;
Pánshin took his hat, kissed Márya Dmítrievna's hand, remarked that
nothing now prevented other happy mortals from going to bed, or enjoying
the night, but that he must sit over stupid papers until the morning
dawned, bowed coldly to Liza (he had not expected that in reply to his
offer of marriage, she would ask him to wait,--and therefore he was
sulking at her)--and went away. Lavrétzky followed him. At the gate they
parted; Pánshin aroused his coachman by poking him with the tip of his
cane in the neck, seated himself in his drozhky, and drove off.
Lavrétzky did not feel like going home; he walked out beyond the town,
into the fields. The night was tranquil and bright, although there was no
moon; Lavrétzky roamed about on the dewy grass for a long time; he came
by accident upon a narrow path; he walked along it. It led him to a long
fence, to a wicket-gate; he tried, without himself knowing why, to push
it open: it creaked softly, and opened, as though it had been awaiting
the pressure of his hand; Lavrétzky found himself in a garden, advanced
a few paces along an avenue of lindens, and suddenly stopped short in
amazement: he recognised the garden of the Kalítins.

He immediately stepped into a black blot of shadow which was cast by a
thick hazel-bush, and stood for a long time motionless, wondering and
shrugging his shoulders.

"This has not happened for nothing," he thought.

Everything was silent round about; not a sound was borne to him from the
direction of the house. He cautiously advanced. Lo, at the turn in the
avenue, the whole house suddenly gazed at him with its dark front; only
in two of the upper windows were lights twinkling: in Liza's room, a
candle was burning behind a white shade, and in Márfa Timoféevna's
bedroom a shrine-lamp was glowing with a red gleam in front of the holy
pictures, reflecting itself in an even halo in the golden settings;
down-stairs, the door leading out on the balcony yawned broadly, as it
stood wide open. Lavrétzky seated himself on a wooden bench, propped his
head on his hand, and began to gaze at the door and the window. Midnight
struck in the town; in the house, the small clocks shrilly rang out
twelve; the watchman beat with a riffle of taps on the board. Lavrétzky
thought of nothing, expected nothing; it was pleasant to him to feel
himself near Liza, to sit in her garden on the bench, where she also had
sat more than once.... The light disappeared in Liza's room.

"Good night, my dear girl," whispered Lavrétzky, as he continued to sit
motionless, and without taking his eyes from the darkened window.

Suddenly a light appeared in one of the windows of the lower storey,
passed to a second, a third.... Some one was walking through the rooms
with a candle. "Can it be Liza? Impossible!"... Lavrétzky half rose to
his feet. A familiar figure flitted past, and Liza made her appearance in
the drawing-room. In a white gown, with her hair hanging loosely on her
shoulders, she softly approached a table, bent over it, set down the
candle, and searched for something; then, turning her face toward the
garden, she approached the open door, and, all white, light, graceful,
paused on the threshold. A quiver ran through Lavrétzky's limbs.

"Liza!"--burst from his lips, in barely audible tones.

She started, and began to stare into the darkness.

"Liza!"--repeated Lavrétzky more loudly, and emerged from the shadow of
the avenue.

Liza, in alarm, stretched forth her head, and staggered backward. He
called her for the third time, and held out his arms toward her. She left
the door, and advanced into the garden.

"Is it you?"--she said.--"Are you here?"

"It is I ... I ... listen to me,"--whispered Lavrétzky, and, grasping
her hand, he led her to the bench.

She followed him without resistance; her pale face, her impassive eyes,
all her movements, were expressive of unutterable amazement. Lavrétzky
seated her on the bench, and himself took up his stand in front of her.

"I had no thought of coming hither,"--he began:--"I came hither by
chance.... I ... I ... I love you,"--he said, with involuntary terror.

Liza slowly glanced at him; apparently, she had only that moment
comprehended where she was, and that she was with him. She tried to rise,
but could not, and covered her face with her hands.

"Liza,"--said Lavrétzky:--"Liza,"--he repeated, and bowed down at her

Her shoulders began to quiver slightly, the fingers of her pale hands
were pressed more tightly to her face.

"What is the matter with you?"--Lavrétzky uttered, and caught the sound
of soft sobbing. His heart turned cold.... He understood the meaning of
those tears. "Can it be that you love me?"--he whispered, and touched her

"Rise," he heard her voice:--"rise, Feódor Ivánitch. What is this that
you and I are doing?"

He rose, and seated himself by her side on the bench. She was no longer
weeping, but was gazing attentively at him with her wet eyes.

"I am frightened: what are we doing?"--she repeated.

"I love you,"--he said again:--"I am ready to give the whole of my life
to you."

Again she shuddered, as though something had stung her, and raised her
gaze heavenward.

"All this is in God's power,"--she said.

"But do you love me, Liza? Shall we be happy?"

She dropped her eyes; he softly drew her to him, and her head sank upon
his shoulder.... He turned her head a little to one side, and touched her
pale lips.

                    *       *       *       *       *

Half an hour later, Lavrétzky was standing before the wicket. He found
it locked, and was obliged to leap across the fence. He returned to the
town, and walked through the sleeping streets. A sensation of great, of
unexpected happiness filled his soul; all doubts had died within him.
"Vanish, past, dark spectre," he thought: "she loves me, she will be
mine." All at once, it seemed to him that in the air, over his head,
wondrous, triumphant sounds rang out; the sounds rolled on still more
magnificently; in a chanting, mighty flood they streamed on,--and in
them, so it seemed, all his happiness was speaking and singing. He
glanced around him: the sounds were floating from two upper windows of a
tiny house.

"Lemm!"--cried Lavrétzky, and ran to the house.--"Lemm! Lemm!"--he
repeated loudly.

The sounds died away, and the figure of the old man in his dressing-gown,
with breast bare, and hair dishevelled, made its appearance at the

"Aha!"--he said, with dignity:--"is that you?"

"Christofór Feódoritch! what splendid music! For God's sake, let me

The old man, without uttering a word, with a majestic movement of the arm
flung the door-key out of the window into the street. Lavrétzky briskly
ran up-stairs, entered the room, and was on the point of rushing at Lemm,
but the latter imperiously motioned him to a chair; he said, abruptly, in
Russian: "Sit down and listen!" seated himself at the piano, gazed
proudly and sternly about him, and began to play. It was long since
Lavrétzky had heard anything of the sort: a sweet, passionate melody,
which gripped the heart from its very first notes; it was all beaming and
languishing with inspiration, with happiness, with beauty; it swelled and
melted away; it touched everything which exists on earth of precious,
mysterious, holy; it breathed forth deathless sadness, and floated away
to die in heaven. Lavrétzky straightened himself up and stood there,
cold and pale with rapture. Those sounds fairly sank into his soul, which
had only just been shaken with the bliss of love; they themselves were
flaming with love. "Repeat it,"--he whispered, as soon as the last chord
resounded. The old man cast upon him an eagle glance, struck his breast
with his hand, and saying deliberately, in his native language:--"I made
that, for I am a great musician,"--he again played his wonderful
composition. There was no candle in the room; the light of the rising
moon fell aslant through the window; the sensitive air trembled
resonantly; the pale, little room seemed a sanctuary, and the head of the
old man rose high and inspired in the silvery semi-darkness. Lavrétzky
approached and embraced him. At first, Lemm did not respond to his
embrace, he even repulsed it with his elbow; for a long time, without
moving a single limb, he continued to gaze forth, as before, sternly,
almost roughly, and only bellowed a couple of times: "Aha!" At last his
transfigured face grew calm, relaxed, and, in reply to Lavrétzky's warm
congratulations, he first smiled a little, then fell to weeping, feebly
sobbing like a child.

"This is marvellous,"--he said:--"that precisely you should now have
come; but I know--I know all."

"You know all?"--ejaculated Lavrétzky, in confusion.

"You have heard me,"--returned Lemm:--"have not you understood that I
know all?"

Lavrétzky could not get to sleep until the morning: all night long, he
sat on his bed. And Liza did not sleep: she prayed.


The reader knows how Lavrétzky had grown up and developed; let us say a
few words about Liza's bringing up. She was ten years old when her father
died; but he had paid little heed to her. Overwhelmed with business,
constantly absorbed in increasing his property, splenetic, harsh,
impatient, he furnished money unsparingly for teachers, tutors, clothing,
and the other wants of the children; but he could not endure, as he
expressed it, "to dandle the squalling brats,"--and he had no time to
dandle them: he worked, toiled over his business, slept little,
occasionally played cards, worked again; he compared himself to a horse
harnessed to a threshing-machine. "My life has rushed by fast," he said
on his deathbed, with a proud smile on his parched lips. Márya
Dmítrievna, in reality, troubled herself about Liza hardly more than did
the father, although she had boasted to Lavrétzky that she alone had
reared her children; she had dressed Liza like a doll, in the presence of
visitors had patted her on the head, and called her, to her face, a
clever child and a darling--and that was all: any regular care wearied
the lazy gentlewoman. During her father's lifetime, Liza had been in the
hands of a governess, Mlle. Moreau, from Paris, and after his death she
had passed into the charge of Márfa Timoféevna. The reader is
acquainted with Márfa Timoféevna; but Mlle. Moreau was a tiny, wrinkled
creature, with birdlike ways and a tiny, birdlike mind. In her youth she
had led a very dissipated life, and in her riper years she had but two
passions left--for dainties and for cards. When she was gorged, was not
playing cards, and not chattering, her face instantly assumed an almost
deathlike expression: she would sit, and gaze, and breathe, and it was
evident that no thought was passing through her head. It was not even
possible to call her good-natured: there are also birds which are not
good-natured. Whether it was in consequence of her frivolously-spent
youth, or of the Paris air, which she had breathed since her
childhood,--she harboured within her a certain cheap, general scepticism,
which is usually expressed by the words: "_tout ça c'est des bêtises_."
She talked an irregular, but purely Parisian jargon, did not gossip, was
not capricious,--and what more could be desired in a governess? On Liza
she had little influence; all the more powerful upon her was the
influence of her nurse, Agáfya Vlásievna.

The lot of this woman was remarkable. She sprang from a peasant family;
at the age of sixteen, they married her to a peasant; but there was a
sharp distinction between her and her sister-peasant women. For twenty
years her father had been the village elder, had accumulated a good deal
of money, and had petted her. She was a wonderful beauty, the most
dashingly-elegant peasant maid in all the country round about, clever, a
good talker, daring. Her master, Dmítry Péstoff, the father of Márya
Dmítrievna, a modest, quiet man, caught sight of her one day at the
threshing, talked with her, and fell passionately in love with her.

Soon afterward, she became a widow; Péstoff, although he was a married
man, took her into his house, and clothed her in the style of a
house-servant. Agáfya immediately accommodated herself to her new
position, exactly as though she had never lived in any other way. Her
skin became white, she grew plump; her arms, under their muslin sleeves,
became "like fine wheat flour," like those of a cook; the samovár stood
constantly on her table; she would wear nothing but velvet and silk, she
slept on a feather-bed of down. This blissful life lasted for the space
of five years; but Dmítry Péstoff died: his widow, a good-natured
gentlewoman, desirous of sparing her husband's memory, was not willing to
behave dishonourably toward her rival, the more so, as Agáfya had never
forgotten herself before her; but she married her to the cow-herd, and
sent her out of her sight. Three years passed. Once, on a hot summer day,
the lady of the manor went to her dairy. Agáfya treated her to such
splendid cold cream, bore herself so modestly, and was so neat in person,
and so cheerful and satisfied with everything, that her mistress
announced to her her pardon, and permitted her to come to the
manor-house; and six months later, she had become so attached to her,
that she promoted her to the post of housekeeper, and entrusted the
entire management to her. Again Agáfya came into power, again she grew
plump and white-skinned; her mistress had complete confidence in her. In
this manner, five more years elapsed. Again misfortune fell upon Agáfya.
Her husband, whom she had had raised to the post of footman, took to
drink, began to disappear from the house, and wound up by stealing six of
the family's silver spoons, and hiding them--until a convenient
opportunity--in his wife's chest. This was discovered. He was again
degraded to the rank of cow-herd, and a sentence of disgrace was
pronounced upon Agáfya; she was not banished from the house, but she was
reduced from the place of housekeeper to that of seamstress, and ordered
to wear a kerchief on her head, instead of a cap. To the amazement of
all, Agáfya accepted the blow which had overtaken her with humble
submission. She was then over thirty years of age, all her children had
died, and her husband did not long survive. The time had arrived for her
to come to a sense of her position; she did so. She became very taciturn
and devout, never missed a single Matins service, nor a single Liturgy,
and gave away all her fine clothes. Fifteen years she spent quietly,
peacefully, with dignity, quarrelling with no one, yielding to every one.
If any one spoke rudely to her,--she merely bowed, and returned thanks
for the lesson. Her mistress had forgiven her long since, had removed the
ban from her, and had given her a cap from her own head; but she herself
refused to remove her kerchief, and always went about in a dark-hued
gown; and after the death of her mistress, she became still more quiet
and humble. A Russian easily conceives fear and affection; but it is
difficult to win his respect: it is not soon given, nor to every one.
Every one in the house respected Agáfya; no one even recalled her former
sins, as though they had been buried in the earth, along with the old

When Kalítin became the husband of Márya Dmítrievna, he wished to
entrust the housekeeping to Agáfya; but she declined, "because of the
temptation"; he roared at her, she made him a lowly reverence, and left
the room. The clever Kalítin understood people; and he also understood
Agáfya, and did not forget her. On removing his residence to the town,
he appointed her, with her own consent, as nurse to Liza, who had just
entered her fifth year.

At first, Liza was frightened by the serious and stern face of her new
nurse; but she speedily became accustomed to her, and conceived a strong
affection for her. She herself was a serious child; her features recalled
the clear-cut, regular face of Kalítin; only, she had not her father's
eyes; hers beamed with a tranquil attention and kindness which are rare
in children. She did not like to play with dolls, her laughter was
neither loud nor long, she bore herself with decorum. She was not often
thoughtful, and was never so without cause; after remaining silent for a
time, she almost always ended by turning to some one of her elders, with
a question which showed that her brain was working over a new impression.
She very early ceased to lisp, and already in her fourth year she spoke
with perfect distinctness. She was afraid of her father; her feeling
toward her mother was undefined,--she did not fear her, neither did she
fondle her; but she did not fondle Agáfya either, although she loved
only her alone. Agáfya and she were never separated. It was strange to
see them together. Agáfya, all in black, with a dark kerchief on her
head, with a face thin and transparent as wax, yet still beautiful and
expressive, would sit upright, engaged in knitting a stocking; at her
feet, in a little arm-chair, sat Liza, also toiling over some sort of
work, or, with her bright eyes uplifted gravely, listening to what
Agáfya was relating to her, and Agáfya did not tell her fairy-stories;
in a measured, even voice, she would narrate the life of the Most-pure
Virgin, the lives of the hermits, the saints of God, of the holy martyrs;
she would tell Liza how the holy men lived in the deserts, how they
worked out their salvation, endured hunger and want,--and, fearing not
kings, confessed Christ; how the birds of heaven brought them food, and
the wild beasts obeyed them; how on those spots where their blood fell,
flowers sprang up.--"Yellow violets?"--one day asked Liza, who was very
fond of flowers.... Agáfya talked gravely and meekly to Liza, as though
she felt that it was not for her to utter such lofty and sacred words.
Liza listened to her--and the image of the Omnipresent, Omniscient God
penetrated into her soul with a certain sweet power, filled her with
pure, devout awe, and Christ became for her a person close to her, almost
a relative: and Agáfya taught her to pray. Sometimes she woke Liza
early, at daybreak, hastily dressed her, and surreptitiously took her to
Matins: Liza followed her on tiptoe, hardly breathing; the chill and
semi-obscurity of the dawn, the freshness and emptiness of the streets,
the very mysteriousness of these unexpected absences, the cautious return
to the house, to bed,--all this mingling of the forbidden, the strange,
the holy, agitated the little girl, penetrated into the very depths of
her being. Agáfya never condemned anybody, and did not scold Liza for
her pranks. When she was displeased over anything, she simply held her
peace; and Liza understood that silence; with the swift perspicacity of a
child, she also understood very well when Agáfya was displeased with
other people--with Márya Dmítrievna herself, or with Kalítin. Agáfya
took care of Liza for a little more than three years; she was replaced by
Mlle. Moreau; but the frivolous Frenchwoman, with her harsh manners and
her exclamation: "_tout ça c'est des bêtises_,"--could not erase from
Liza's heart her beloved nurse: the seeds which had been sown had struck
down roots too deep. Moreover, Agáfya, although she had ceased to have
charge of Liza, remained in the house, and often saw her nursling, who
confided in her as before.

But Agáfya could not get along with Márfa Timoféevna, when the latter
came to live in the Kalítin house. The stern dignity of the former
"peasant woman" did not please the impatient and self-willed old woman.
Agáfya begged permission to go on a pilgrimage, and did not return. Dark
rumours circulated, to the effect that she had withdrawn to a convent of
Old Ritualists. But the traces left by her in Liza's soul were not
effaced. As before, the latter went to the Liturgy as to a festival,
prayed with delight, with a certain repressed and bashful enthusiasm,
which secretly amazed Márya Dmítrievna not a little, although she put
no constraint upon Liza, but merely endeavoured to moderate her zeal, and
did not permit her to make an excessive number of prostrations: that was
not lady-like manners, she said. Liza studied well,--that is to say,
assiduously; God had not endowed her with particularly brilliant
capacities, with a great mind; she acquired nothing without labour. She
played well on the piano; but Lemm alone knew what it cost her. She read
little; she had no "words of her own," but she had thoughts of her own,
and she went her own way. It was not for nothing that she resembled her
father: he, also, had not been wont to ask others what he should do. Thus
she grew up--quietly, at leisure; thus she attained her nineteenth year.
She was very pretty, without herself being aware of the fact. An
unconscious, rather awkward grace revealed itself in her every movement;
her voice rang with the silvery sound of unaffected youth, the slightest
sensation of pleasure evoked a winning smile on her lips, imparted a deep
gleam and a certain mysterious caress to her sparkling eyes. Thoroughly
imbued with the sense of duty, with the fear of wounding any one
whatsoever, with a kind and gentle heart, she loved every one in general,
and no one in particular; God alone she loved with rapture, timidly,
tenderly. Lavrétzky was the first to break in upon her tranquil inner

Such was Liza.


At twelve o'clock on the following day, Lavrétzky set out for the
Kalítins'. On the way thither, he met Pánshin, who galloped past him on
horseback, with his hat pulled down to his very eyebrows. At the
Kalítins', Lavrétzky was not admitted,--for the first time since he had
known them. Márya Dmítrievna was "lying down,"--so the lackey
announced; "they" had a headache. Neither Márfa Timoféevna nor
Lizavéta Mikhaílovna was at home. Lavrétzky strolled along the garden,
in anxious hope of meeting Liza, but saw no one. He returned a couple of
hours later, and received the same answer, in connection with which the
lackey bestowed a sidelong glance upon him. It seemed to Lavrétzky
impolite to intrude himself upon them for a third time that day--and he
decided to drive out to Vasílievskoe, where, without reference to this,
he had business to attend to. On the way he constructed various plans,
each more beautiful than the other; but in his aunt's hamlet, sadness
fell upon him; he entered into conversation with Antón; the old man, as
though expressly, had nothing but cheerless thoughts in his mind. He
narrated to Lavrétzky, how Glafíra Petróvna, before her death, had
bitten her own hand,--and, after a short pause, he added: "Every man,
master--dear little father, is given to devouring himself." It was
already late when Lavrétzky set out on the return journey. The sounds of
the preceding day took possession of him, the image of Liza arose in his
soul in all its gentle transparency; he melted at the thought that she
loved him,--and drove up to his little town-house in a composed and happy
frame of mind.

The first thing which struck him on entering the anteroom was the scent
of patchouli, which was very repulsive to him; several tall trunks and
coffers were standing there. The face of the valet who ran forth to
receive him seemed to him strange. Without accounting to himself for his
impressions, he crossed the threshold of the drawing-room.... From the
couch there rose to greet him a lady in a black gown with flounces, and
raising a batiste handkerchief to her pale face, she advanced several
paces, bent her carefully-dressed head,--and fell at his feet.... Then
only did he recognise her: the lady was--his wife.

It took his breath away.... He leaned against the wall.

"Theodore, do not drive me away!"--she said in French, and her voice cut
his heart like a knife.

He glanced at her without comprehending, yet he immediately noticed that
she had grown pale and thin.

"Theodore,"--she went on, from time to time raising her eyes, and
cautiously wringing her wondrously-beautiful fingers, with rosy, polished
nails:--"Theodore, I am to blame toward you, deeply to blame,--I will say
more, I am a criminal; but do you listen to me; repentance tortures me, I
have become a burden to myself, I could not longer endure my position;
how many times have I meditated returning to you, but I feared your
wrath;--I have decided to break every connection with the past ... _puis,
j'ai été si malade_,--I have been so ill,"--she added, and passed her
hand across her brow and her cheek,--"I have taken advantage of the
rumour of my death which had got into circulation, I have abandoned
everything; without halting, day and night I have hastened hither; I have
hesitated, for a long time, to present myself before you, my
judge--_paraître devant vous, mon juge_,--but, at last, I made up my
mind, remembering your invariable kindness, to come to you; I learned
your address in Moscow. Believe me," she continued, softly rising from
the floor, and seating herself on the very edge of an arm-chair:--"I have
often meditated death, and I would have summoned up sufficient courage to
take my life--akh, life is now an intolerable burden to me!--but the
thought of my daughter, of my Ádotchka, held me back; she is here, she
is asleep in the adjoining room, poor child! She is weary,--you shall see
her: she, at least, is not guilty toward you,--and I am so unhappy, so
unhappy!"--exclaimed Mme. Lavrétzky, and burst into tears.

Lavrétzky came to himself, at last; he separated himself from the wall,
and moved toward the door.

"You are going away?"--said his wife, in despair:--"oh, this is
cruel!--Without saying one word to me, without even one reproach.... This
scorn is killing me, this is terrible!"

Lavrétzky stopped short.

"What is it that you wish to hear from me?"--he uttered, in a toneless

"Nothing, nothing,"--she caught him up with vivacity:--"I know that I
have no right to demand anything;--I am not a fool, believe me;--I do not
hope, I do not dare to hope for your forgiveness;--I only venture to
entreat you, that you will give me directions what I am to do, where I am
to live?--I will fulfil your command, whatever it may be, like a slave."

"I have no commands to give you,"--returned Lavrétzky, in the same
voice:--"you know, that everything is at an end between us ... and now
more than ever.--You may live where you see fit;--and if your allowance
is insufficient...."

"Akh, do not utter such dreadful words,"--Varvára Pávlovna interrupted
him:--"spare me, if only ... if only for the sake of that angel...." And,
as she said these words, Varvára Pávlovna flew headlong into the next
room, and immediately returned with a tiny, very elegantly dressed little
girl in her arms. Heavy, ruddy-gold curls fell over her pretty, rosy
little face, over her large, black, sleepy eyes; she smiled, and blinked
at the light, and clung with her chubby hand to her mother's neck.

"_Ada, vois, c'est ton père_,"--said Varvára Pávlovna, pushing the
curls aside from her eyes, and giving her a hearty kiss:--"_prie le avec

"_C'est ça, papa?_"--lisped the little girl, brokenly.

"_Oui, mon enfant, n'est ce pas, que tu l'aimes?_"

But this was too much for Lavrétzky.

"In what melodrama is it that there is precisely such a scene?"--he
muttered, and left the room.

Varvára Pávlovna stood for a while rooted to the spot, slightly
shrugged her shoulders, carried the little girl into the other room,
undressed her, and put her to bed. Then she got a book, sat down near the
lamp, waited for about an hour, and, at last, lay down on the bed

"_Eh bien, madame?_"--inquired her maid, a Frenchwoman, whom she had
brought from Paris, as she removed her corsets.

"_Eh bien, Justine_,"--she replied;--"he has aged greatly, but it strikes
me that he is as good-natured as ever.--Give me my gloves for the night,
prepare my high-necked grey gown for to-morrow; and do not forget the
mutton chops for Ada.... Really, it will be difficult to obtain them
here; but we must make the effort."

"_À la guerre, comme à la guerre_,"--responded Justine, and put out the


For more than two hours Lavrétzky roamed about the streets of the town.
The night which he had spent in the suburbs of Paris recurred to his
mind. His heart swelled to bursting within him, and in his head, which
was empty, and, as it were, stunned, the same set of thoughts kept
swirling,--dark, wrathful, evil thoughts. "She is alive, she is here," he
whispered, with constantly augmenting amazement. He felt that he had lost
Liza. Bile choked him; this blow had struck him too suddenly. How could
he so lightly have believed the absurd gossip of a feuilleton, a scrap of
paper? "Well, and if I had not believed it, what difference would that
have made? I should not have known that Liza loves me; she herself would
not have known it." He could not banish from himself the form, the voice,
the glances of his wife ... and he cursed himself, cursed everything in
the world.

Worn out, he arrived toward morning at Lemm's. For a long time, he could
produce no effect with his knocking; at last, the old man's head, in a
nightcap, made its appearance in the window, sour, wrinkled, no longer
bearing the slightest resemblance to that inspiredly-morose head which,
four and twenty hours previously, had gazed on Lavrétzky from the full
height of its artistic majesty.

"What do you want?"--inquired Lemm:--"I cannot play every night; I have
taken a decoction."--But, evidently, Lavrétzky's face was very strange:
the old man made a shield for his eyes out of his hands, stared at his
nocturnal visitor, and admitted him.

Lavrétzky entered the room, and sank down on a chair; the old man halted
in front of him, with the skirts of his motley-hued, old dressing-gown
tucked up, writhing and mumbling with his lips.

"My wife has arrived,"--said Lavrétzky, raising his head, and suddenly
breaking into an involuntary laugh.

Lemm's face expressed surprise, but he did not even smile, and only
wrapped himself more closely in his dressing-gown.

"You see, you do not know,"--went on Lavrétzky:--"I imagined ... I read
in a newspaper, that she was no longer alive."

"O--o, you read that a short time ago?"--asked Lemm.


"O--o,"--repeated the old man, and elevated his eyebrows.--"And she has

"Yes. She is now at my house; but I ... I am an unhappy man."

And again he broke into a laugh.

"You are an unhappy man,"--repeated Lemm, slowly.

"Christofór Feódoritch,"--began Lavrétzky:--"will you undertake to
deliver a note?"

"H'm. May I inquire, to whom?"

"To Liza...."

"Ah,--yes, yes, I understand. Very well. But when must the note be

"To-morrow, as early as possible."

"H'm. I can send Katrina, my cook. No, I will go myself."

"And will you bring me the answer?"

"Yes, I will."

Lemm sighed.

"Yes, my poor young friend; you really are--an unhappy man."

Lavrétzky wrote a couple of words to Liza: he informed her of his wife's
arrival, begged her to appoint a meeting,--and flung himself on the
narrow divan, face to the wall; and the old man lay down on the bed, and
tossed about for a long time, coughing and taking sips of his decoction.

Morning came: they both rose. With strange eyes they gazed at each other.
Lavrétzky wanted to kill himself at that moment. The cook, Katrina,
brought them some bad coffee. The clock struck eight. Lemm put on his
hat, and saying that he had a lesson to give at the Kalítins' at nine,
but that he would find a decent pretext, set out. Lavrétzky again flung
himself on the little couch, and again, from the depths of his soul, a
sorrowful laugh welled up. He thought of how his wife had driven him out
of his house; he pictured to himself Liza's position, closed his eyes,
and threw his hands behind his head. At last Lemm returned, and brought
him a scrap of paper, on which Liza had scrawled with pencil the
following words: "We cannot see each other to-day; perhaps--to-morrow
evening. Farewell." Lavrétzky quietly and abstractedly thanked Lemm, and
went to his own house.

He found his wife at breakfast; Ada, all curls, in a white frock with
blue ribbons, was eating a mutton chop. Varvára Pávlovna immediately
rose, as soon as Lavrétzky entered the room, and approached him, with
humility depicted on her face. He requested her to follow him to his
study, locked the door behind him, and began to stride to and fro; she
sat down, laid one hand modestly on the other, and began to watch him
with her still beautiful, although slightly painted eyes.

For a long time Lavrétzky did not speak: he felt that he could not
control himself; he perceived clearly, that Varvára Pávlovna was not in
the least afraid of him, but was assuming the air of being on the very
verge of falling into a swoon.

"Listen, madam,"--he began, at last, breathing heavily at times, grinding
his teeth:--"there is no necessity for our dissembling with each other; I
do not believe in your repentance; and even if it were genuine, it is
impossible for me to become reconciled to you, to live with you again."

Varvára Pávlovna compressed her lips and narrowed her eyes. "This is
disgust,"--she thought:--"of course! I am no longer even a woman to him."

"It is impossible,"--repeated Lavrétzky, and buttoned up his coat to the
throat.--"I do not know why you have taken it into your head to come
hither: probably, you have no money left."

"Alas! you are insulting me,"--whispered Varvára Pávlovna.

"However that may be,--you are, unhappily, my wife, nevertheless. I
cannot turn you out ... and this is what I have to propose to you. You
may set out, this very day, if you like, for Lavríki, and live there;
the house is good, as you know; you will receive all that is necessary,
in addition to your allowance.... Do you agree?"

Varvára Pávlovna raised her embroidered handkerchief to her eyes.

"I have already told you,"--she said, her lips twitching nervously:--"that
I shall agree to anything whatever you may see fit to do with me: on this
occasion, nothing is left for me to do, except to ask you: will you permit
me, at least, to thank you for your magnanimity?"

"No gratitude, I beg of you; it is better so,"--hastily returned
Lavrétzky.--"Accordingly,"--he went on, approaching the door:--"I may
count upon...."

"To-morrow I shall be at Lavríki,"--said Varvára Pávlovna, respectfully
rising from her seat.--"But, Feódor Ivánitch" (she no longer called him

"What do you want?"

"I know that I have, as yet, in no way earned my forgiveness; may I hope,
at least, in time...."

"Ekh, Varvára Pávlovna,"--Lavrétzky interrupted her:--"you are a
clever woman, and as I am not a fool, I know that that is quite
unnecessary for you. And I forgave you long ago; but there was always a
gulf between us."

"I shall know how to submit,"--replied Varvára Pávlovna, and bowed her
head. "I have not forgotten my fault; I should not be surprised to learn
that you were even delighted at the news of my death,"--she added gently,
pointing slightly with her hand at the copy of the newspaper which lay on
the table, forgotten by Lavrétzky.

Feódor Ivánitch shuddered: the feuilleton was marked with a pencil.
Varvára Pávlovna gazed at him with still greater humility. She was very
pretty at that moment. Her grey Paris gown gracefully clothed her willowy
form, which was almost that of a girl of seventeen; her slender, delicate
neck encircled with a white collar, her bosom which rose and fell evenly,
her arms devoid of bracelets and rings,--her whole figure, from her
shining hair to the tip of her barely revealed little boot, was so

Lavrétzky swept an angry glance over her, came near exclaiming: "Brava!"
came near smiting her in the temple with his fist--and left the room. An
hour later, he had already set out for Vasílievskoe, and two hours
later, Varvára Pávlovna gave orders that the best carriage in town
should be engaged, donned a simple straw hat with a black veil, and a
modest mantle, entrusted Ada to Justine, and set out for the Kalítins:
from the inquiries instituted by her servant she had learned that her
husband was in the habit of going to them every day.


The day of the arrival of Lavrétzky's wife in town of O * * *, a
cheerless day for him, was also a painful day for Liza. She had not
succeeded in going down-stairs and bidding her mother "good morning,"
before the trampling of a horse's hoofs resounded under the window, and
with secret terror she beheld Pánshin riding into the yard: "He has
presented himself thus early for a definitive explanation,"--she
thought--and she was not mistaken; after spending a while in the
drawing-room, he suggested that she should go with him into the garden,
and demanded her decision as to his fate. Liza summoned up her courage,
and informed him that she could not be his wife. He listened to her to
the end, as he stood with his side toward her, and his hat pulled down on
his brows; courteously, but in an altered tone, he asked her: was that
her last word, and had he, in any way, given her cause for such a change
in her ideas? then he pressed his hand to his eyes, sighed briefly and
abruptly, and removed his hand from his face.

"I have not wished to follow the beaten path,"--he said, in a dull
voice,--"I have wished to find my companion after the inclination of the
heart; but, evidently, that was not destined to be. Farewell, dream!"--He
bowed profoundly to Liza, and returned to the house.

She hoped that he would immediately take his departure; but he went into
Márya Dmítrievna's boudoir, and sat with her for about an hour. As he
went away, he said to Liza: "_Votre mère vous appelle; adieu à jamais_
..." mounted his horse, and set off from the very porch at full gallop.
Liza went in to Márya Dmítrievna, and found her in tears: Pánshin had
communicated to her his misfortune.

"Why hast thou killed me? Why hast thou killed me?"--in this wise did the
mortified widow begin her complaints.--"Whom else didst thou want? What!
is not he a suitable husband for thee? A Junior Gentleman of the
Emperor's Bedchamber! not _interessant_! He might marry any Maid of
Honour he chose in Petersburg. And I--I had been hoping so! And hast thou
changed long toward him? What has sent this cloud drifting hither--it did
not come of itself! Can it be that ninny? A pretty counsellor thou hast

"And he, my dear one,"--pursued Márya Dmítrievna:--"how respectful, how
attentive, even in his own grief! He has promised not to abandon me. Akh,
I shall not survive this! Akh, I have got a deadly headache. Send
Palásha to me. Thou wilt be the death of me, if thou dost not change thy
mind,--dost thou hear?" And calling her an ingrate a couple of times,
Márya Dmítrievna sent Liza away.

She went to her own room. But before she had time to recover her breath
from her explanation with Pánshin and her mother, another thunderstorm
broke over her, and this time from a quarter whence she had least
expected it. Márfa Timoféevna entered her room, and immediately slammed
the door behind her. The old woman's face was pale, her cap was awry, her
eyes were flashing, her hands and lips were trembling. Liza was amazed:
never before had she seen her sensible and reasonable aunt in such a

"Very fine, madam,"--began Márfa Timoféevna, in a tremulous and broken
whisper: "very fine indeed! From whom hast thou learned this, my
mother?... Give me water; I cannot speak."

"Calm yourself, aunty; what is the matter with you?"--said Liza, giving
her a glass of water.--"Why, you yourself did not favour Mr. Pánshin."

Márfa Timoféevna set down the glass.

"I cannot drink: I shall knock out my last remaining teeth. What dost
thou mean by Panshín? What has Panshín to do with it? Do thou tell me,
rather, who taught thee to appoint rendezvous by night--hey? my mother?"

Liza turned pale.

"Please do not think of excusing thyself,"--continued Márfa
Timoféevna.--"Schúrotchka herself saw all, and told me. I have
forbidden her to chatter, but she does not lie."

"I have made no excuses, aunty,"--said Liza, in a barely audible voice.

"Ah, ah! Now, see here, my mother; didst thou appoint a meeting with him,
with that old sinner, that quiet man?"


"Then how did it come about?"

"I went down-stairs, to the drawing-room, for a book; he was in the
garden, and called me."

"And thou wentest? Very fine. And thou lovest him, dost thou not?"

"I do,"--replied Liza, in a tranquil voice.

"Gracious heavens! she loves him!"--Márfa Timoféevna tore off her
cap.--"She loves a married man! Hey? she loves!"

"He told me,"--began Liza....

"What did he tell thee, the darling, wha-at was it?"

"He told me that his wife was dead."

Márfa Timoféevna crossed herself.--"The kingdom of heaven be
hers,"--she whispered:--"she was a frivolous woman--God forgive her. So
that's how it is: then he's a widower. Yes, I see that he is equal to
anything. He killed off his first wife, and now he's after another. Thou
art a sly one, art thou not? Only, this is what I have to say to thee,
niece: in my time, when I was young, girls were severely punished for
such capers. Thou must not be angry with me, my mother; only fools get
angry at the truth. I have given orders that he is not to be admitted
to-day. I am fond of him, but I shall never forgive him for this. A
widower, forsooth! Give me some water.... But thou art my brave girl, for
sending Panshín off with a long face; only, do not sit out nights with
that goat's breed,--with men,--do not grieve me, an old woman! For I am
not always amiable--I know how to bite, also!... A widower!"

Márfa Timoféevna departed, but Liza sat down in the corner and began to
cry. She felt bitter in soul; she had not deserved such humiliation. Her
love had not announced its presence by cheerfulness; this was the second
time she had wept since the night before. That new, unexpected feeling
had barely come to life in her heart when she had had to pay so heavily
for it, when strange hands had roughly touched her private secret! She
felt ashamed, and pained, and bitter: but there was neither doubt nor
terror in her,--and Lavrétzky became all the dearer to her. She had
hesitated as long as she did not understand herself; but after that
meeting--she could hesitate no longer; she knew that she loved,--and had
fallen in love honourably, not jestingly, she had become strongly
attached, for her whole life; she felt that force could not break that


Márya Dmítrievna was greatly perturbed when the arrival of Varvára
Pávlovna was announced to her; she did not even know whether to receive
her; she was afraid of offending Feódor Ivánitch. At last, curiosity
carried the day. "What of it?"--she said to herself,--"why, she is a
relative also,"--and seating herself in her arm-chair, she said to the
lackey: "Ask her in!" Several minutes elapsed; the door opened, Varvára
Pávlovna approached Márya Dmítrievna swiftly, with barely audible
footsteps, and, without giving her a chance to rise from her chair,
almost went down on her knees before her.

"Thank you, aunty,"--she began in a touched and gentle voice, in Russian:
"thank you! I had not hoped for such condescension on your part; you are
as kind as an angel."

As she uttered these words, Varvára Pávlovna unexpectedly took
possession of one of Márya Dmítrievna's hands, and pressing it lightly
in her pale-lilac gloves, obsequiously raised it to her full, rosy lips.
Márya Dmítrievna completely lost her head, on beholding such a
beautiful, charmingly-dressed woman, almost on her knees at her feet; she
did not know what to do: she did not wish to withdraw her hand, she
wished to give her a seat, and to say something amiable to her; she ended
by rising, and kissing Varvára Pávlovna on her smooth, fragrant brow.
Varvára Pávlovna was perfectly dumfounded by this kiss.

"Good morning,--_bon jour_,"--said Márya Dmítrievna:--"of course, I had
no idea, ... however, of course, I am delighted to see you. You
understand, my dear,--it is not for me to sit in judgment between wife
and husband."

"My husband is wholly in the right,"--Varvára Pávlovna interrupted
her:--"I alone am to blame."

"That is a very praiseworthy sentiment,"--returned Márya
Dmítrievna:--"very. Have you been here long? Have you seen him? But sit
down, pray."

"I arrived yesterday,"--replied Varvára Pávlovna, meekly seating
herself on a chair; "I have seen Feódor Ivánitch, I have talked with

"Ah! Well, and how does he take it?"

"I was afraid that my sudden arrival would arouse his wrath,"--went on
Varvára Pávlovna:--"but he did not deprive me of his presence."

"That is to say, he did not.... Yes, yes, I understand,"--ejaculated
Márya Dmítrievna.--"He is only rather rough in appearance, but his
heart is soft."

"Feódor Ivánitch has not forgiven me; he would not listen to me.... But
he was so kind as to appoint Lavríki for my place of residence."

"Ah! A very fine estate!"

"I set out thither to-morrow, in compliance with his will; but I
considered it my duty to call on you first."

"I am very, very grateful to you, my dear. One must never forget one's
relatives. And, do you know, I am astonished that you speak Russian so
well. _C'est étonnant!_"

Varvára Pávlovna sighed.

"I have spent too much time abroad, Márya Dmítrievna, I know that; but
my heart has always been Russian, and I have not forgotten my native

"Exactly so, exactly so; that is the best of all. Feódor Ivánitch,
however, did not in the least expect you.... Yes; believe my experience;
_la patrie avant tout_. Akh, please show me,--what a charming mantle that
is you have on!"

"Do you like it?"--Varvára Pávlovna promptly dropped it from her
shoulders.--"It is a very simple thing, from Madame Baudran."

"That is instantly perceptible. From Madame Baudran.... How charming, and
what taste! I am convinced that you have brought with you a mass of the
most entrancing things. I should like to look them over."

"My entire toilette is at your service, my dearest aunt. If you will
permit, I can give your maid some points. I have a maid-servant from
Paris,--a wonderful seamstress."

"You are very kind, my dear. But, really, I am ashamed."

"Ashamed! ..." repeated Varvára Pávlovna, reproachfully.--"If you wish
to make me happy,--command me, as though I belonged to you."

Márya Dmítrievna thawed.

"_Vous êtes charmante_," she said.--"But why do not you take off your
bonnet, your gloves?"

"What? You permit?"--asked Varvára Pávlovna, clasping her hands, as
though with emotion.

"Of course; for you will dine with us, I hope. I ... I will introduce you
to my daughter."--Márya Dmítrievna became slightly confused. "Well!
here goes!"--she said to herself.--"She is not quite well to-day."

"Oh, _ma tante_, how kind you are!"--exclaimed Varvára Pávlovna, and
raised her handkerchief to her eyes.

A page announced the arrival of Gedeónovsky. The old chatterbox entered,
made his bows, and smiled. Márya Dmítrievna presented him to her
visitor. He came near being discomfited at first; but Varvára Pávlovna
treated him with such coquettish respect, that his ears began to burn,
and fibs, scandals, amiable remarks trickled out of his mouth like honey.
Varvára Pávlovna listened to him with a repressed smile, and became
rather talkative herself. She modestly talked about Paris, about her
travels, about Baden; twice she made Márya Dmítrievna laugh, and on
each occasion she heaved another little sigh, as though she were mentally
reproaching herself for her ill-timed mirth; she asked permission to
bring Ada; removing her gloves, she showed, with her smooth hands washed
with soap _à la guimauve_, how and where flounces, ruches, lace, and
knots of ribbon were worn; she promised to bring a phial of the new
English perfume, Victoria's Essence, and rejoiced like a child when
Márya Dmítrievna consented to accept it as a gift; she wept at the
remembrance of the feeling she had experienced when, for the first time,
she had heard the Russian bells;--"so profoundly did they stagger my very
heart,"--she said.

At that moment, Liza entered.

From the morning, from the very moment when, chilled with terror, she had
perused Lavrétzky's note, Liza had been preparing herself to meet his
wife; she had a presentiment that she should see her, by way of
punishment to her own criminal hopes, as she called them. She had made up
her mind not to shun her. The sudden crisis in her fate had shaken her to
the very foundations; in the course of about two hours her face had grown
haggard; but she did not shed a tear. "It serves me right!"--she said to
herself, with difficulty and agitation suppressing in her soul certain
bitter, spiteful impulses, which alarmed even herself:--"Come, I must go
down!"--she thought, as soon as she heard of Mme. Lavrétzky's arrival,
and she went.... For a long time she stood outside the door of the
drawing-room, before she could bring herself to open it; with the
thought: "I am to blame toward her,"--she crossed the threshold, and
forced herself to look at her, forced herself to smile. Varvára
Pávlovna advanced to meet her as soon as she saw her, and made a slight
but nevertheless respectful inclination before her.--"Allow me to
introduce myself,"--she began, in an insinuating voice:--"your _maman_ is
so indulgent toward me, that I hope you will also be ... kind." The
expression on Varvára Pávlovna's face, as she uttered this last word,
her sly smile, her cold and at the same time soft glance, the movement of
her arms and shoulders, her very gown, her whole being, aroused in Liza
such a feeling of repulsion, that she could make her no answer, and with
an effort she offered her hand. "This young lady despises me,"--thought
Varvára Pávlovna, as she warmly pressed Liza's cold fingers, and,
turning to Márya Dmítrievna, she said in an undertone: "_Mais elle est
délicieuse!_" Liza flushed faintly, insult was audible to her in this
exclamation; but she made up her mind not to trust her impressions, and
seated herself by the window, at her embroidery-frame. Even there,
Varvára Pávlovna did not leave her in peace: she went up to her, began
to praise her taste, her art.... Liza's heart beat violently and
painfully, she could hardly control herself, she could hardly sit still
on her chair. It seemed to her that Varvára Pávlovna knew everything,
and, secretly triumphing, was jeering at her. Fortunately for her,
Gedeónovsky entered into conversation with Varvára Pávlovna, and
distracted her attention. Liza bent over her embroidery-frame, and
stealthily watched her. "_He_ loved that woman,"--she said to herself.
But she immediately banished from her head the thought of Lavrétzky: she
was afraid of losing control over herself, she felt that her head was
softly whirling. Márya Dmítrievna began to talk about music.

"I have heard, my dear,"--she began:--"that you are a wonderful

"It is a long time since I have played,"--replied Varvára Pávlovna, as
she seated herself, in a leisurely manner, at the piano, and ran her
fingers in a dashing way over the keys.--"Would you like to have me

"Pray do."

Varvára Pávlovna played a brilliant and difficult étude of Herz in a
masterly style. She had a great deal of strength and execution.

"A sylph!"--exclaimed Gedeónovsky.

"Remarkable!"--assented Márya Dmítrievna.--"Well, Varvára Pávlovna, I
must confess,"--she said, calling her, for the first time, by her
name:--"you have amazed me; you might even give concerts. We have an old
musician here, a German, an eccentric fellow, very learned; he gives Liza
lessons; he will simply go out of his mind over you."

"Lizavéta Mikhaílovna is also a musician?"--inquired Varvára
Pávlovna, turning her head slightly in her direction.

"Yes, she plays quite well, and loves music; but what does that signify,
in comparison with you? But there is a young man here; you ought to make
his acquaintance. He is--an artist in soul, and composes very prettily.
He is the only one who can fully appreciate you."

"A young man?"--said Varvára Pávlovna.--"Who is he? Some poor fellow?"

"Good gracious,--he's our chief cavalier, and not among us only--_et à
Pétersbourg_. A Junior Gentleman of the Bedchamber, received in the best
society. You certainly must have heard of him,--Pánshin, Vladímir
Nikoláitch. He is here on a government commission ... a future Minister,
upon my word!"

"And an artist?"

"An artist in soul, and such a charming fellow. You shall see him. He has
been at my house very frequently of late; I have invited him for this
evening; I hope that he will come,"--added Márya Dmítrievna, with a
gentle sigh and a sidelong bitter smile.

Liza understood the significance of that smile; but she cared nothing for

"And is he young?"--repeated Varvára Pávlovna, lightly modulating from
one key to another.

"He is eight and twenty--and of the most happy personal appearance. _Un
jeune homme accompli_, upon my word."

"A model young man, one may say,"--remarked Gedeónovsky.

Varvára Pávlovna suddenly began to play a noisy Strauss waltz, which
started with such a mighty and rapid trill as made even Gedeónovsky
start; in the very middle of the waltz, she abruptly changed into a
mournful motif, and wound up with the aria from "Lucia": "Fra poco."...
She had reflected that merry music was not compatible with her situation.
The aria from "Lucia," with emphasis on the sentimental notes, greatly
affected Márya Dmítrievna.

"What soul!"--she said, in a low tone, to Gedeónovsky.

"A sylph!"--repeated Gedeónovsky, and rolled his eyes heavenward.

Dinner-time arrived. Márfa Timoféevna came down-stairs when the soup
was already standing on the table. She treated Varvára Pávlovna very
coolly, replying with half-words to her amiabilities, and not looking at
her. Varvára Pávlovna herself speedily comprehended that she could do
nothing with the old woman, and ceased to address her; on the other hand,
Márya Dmítrievna became more affectionate than ever with her guest: her
aunt's discourtesy enraged her. However, Varvára Pávlovna was not the
only person at whom Márfa Timoféevna refused to look: she never cast a
glance at Liza, either, although her eyes fairly flashed. She sat like a
stone image, all sallow, pale, with tightly compressed lips--and ate
nothing. Liza seemed to be composed; and, as a matter of fact, all had
become more tranquil in her soul; a strange insensibility, the
insensibility of the man condemned to death, had come upon her. At dinner
Varvára Pávlovna talked little: she seemed to have become timid once
more, and spread over her face an expression of modest melancholy.
Gedeónovsky alone enlivened the conversation with his tales, although he
kept casting cowardly glances at Márfa Timoféevna, and a cough and
tickling in the throat seized upon him every time that he undertook to
lie in her presence,--but she did not hinder him, she did not interrupt
him. After dinner it appeared that Varvára Pávlovna was extremely fond
of preference; this pleased Márya Dmítrievna to such a degree, that she
even became greatly affected, and thought to herself:--"But what a fool
Feódor Ivánitch must be: he was not able to appreciate such a woman!"

She sat down to play cards with her and Gedeónovsky, while Márfa
Timoféevna led Liza off to her own rooms up-stairs, saying that she
looked ill, that her head must be aching.

"Yes, she has a frightful headache,"--said Márya Dmítrievna, turning to
Varvára Pávlovna, and rolling up her eyes.--"I myself have such
sick-headaches...." Liza entered her aunt's room and dropped on a chair,
exhausted. Márfa Timoféevna gazed at her for a long time, in silence,
knelt down softly in front of her--and began, in the same speechless
manner, to kiss her hands, in turn. Liza leaned forward, blushed, and
fell to weeping, but did not raise Márfa Timoféevna, did not withdraw
her hands: she felt that she had not the right to withdraw them, had not
the right to prevent the old woman showing her contrition, her sympathy,
asking her pardon for what had taken place on the day before; and Márfa
Timoféevna could not have done with kissing those poor, pale, helpless
hands--and silent tears streamed from her eyes and from Liza's eyes; and
the cat Matrós purred in the wide arm-chair beside the ball of yarn and
the stocking, the elongated flame of the shrine-lamp quivered gently and
flickered in front of the holy picture,--in the adjoining room, behind
the door, stood Nastásya Kárpovna, and also stealthily wiped her eyes,
with a checked handkerchief rolled up into a ball.


And, in the meantime, down-stairs in the drawing-room preference was in
progress; Márya Dmítrievna won, and was in high spirits. A footman
entered, and announced the arrival of Pánshin.

Márya Dmítrievna dropped her cards, and fidgeted about in her chair;
Varvára Pávlovna looked at her with a half-smile, then directed her gaze
to the door. Pánshin made his appearance, in a black frock-coat, with a
tall English collar, buttoned up to the throat. "It was painful for me to
obey, but you see I have come." That was what his freshly-shaved,
unsmiling face expressed.

"Goodness, _Woldemar_,"--exclaimed Márya Dmítrievna:--"you always used
to enter without being announced!"

Pánshin replied to Márya Dmítrievna merely with a look, bowed
courteously to her, but did not kiss her hand. She introduced him to
Varvára Pávlovna; he retreated a pace, bowed to her with equal
courtesy, but with a shade of elegance and deference, and seated himself
at the card-table. The game of preference soon came to an end. Pánshin
inquired after Lizavéta Mikhaílovna, learned that she did not feel
quite well, and expressed his regrets; then he entered into conversation
with Varvára Pávlovna, weighing and chiselling clearly every word, in
diplomatic fashion, respectfully listening to her replies to the very
end. But the importance of his diplomatic tone had no effect on Varvára
Pávlovna, did not communicate itself to her. Quite the contrary: she
gazed into his face with merry attention, talked in a free-and-easy way,
and her delicate nostrils quivered slightly, as though with suppressed
laughter. Márya Dmítrievna began to extol her talent; Pánshin inclined
his head as politely as his collar permitted, declared that "he was
convinced of it in advance,"--and turned the conversation almost on
Metternich himself. Varvára Pávlovna narrowed her velvety eyes, and
saying, in a low tone: "Why, you also are an artist yourself, _un
confrère_,"--added in a still lower tone: "_Venez!_"--and nodded her
head in the direction of the piano. That one carelessly dropped word:
"_Venez!_"--instantaneously, as though by magic, altered Pánshin's
entire aspect. His careworn mien vanished; he smiled, became animated,
unbuttoned his coat, and repeating: "What sort of an artist am I, alas!
But you, I hear, are a genuine artist"--wended his way, in company with
Varvára Pávlovna, to the piano.

"Make him sing his romance:--'When the moon floats,'"--exclaimed Márya

"Do you sing?"--said Varvára Pávlovna, illuminating him with a bright,
swift glance.--"Sit down."

Pánshin began to decline.

"Sit down,"--she repeated, insistently tapping the back of the chair.

He sat down, coughed, pulled open his collar, and sang his romance.

"_Charmant!_"--said Varvára Pávlovna:--"you sing beautifully, _vous
avez du style_,--sing it again."

She walked round the piano, and took up her stand directly opposite
Pánshin. He sang his romance again, imparting a melodramatic quiver to
his voice. Varvára Pávlovna gazed intently at him, with her elbows
propped on the piano, and her white hands on a level with her lips.
Pánshin finished.

"_Charmant, charmante idée_,"--said she, with the calm confidence of an
expert.--"Tell me, have you written anything for the female voice, for a

"I hardly write anything,"--replied Pánshin;--"you see, I only do this
sort of thing in the intervals between business affairs ... but do you


"Oh! do sing something for us,"--said Márya Dmítrievna.

Varvára Pávlovna pushed back her hair from her flushed cheeks with her
hand, and shook her head.

"Our voices ought to go well together,"--she said, turning to
Pánshin:--"let us sing a duet. Do you know 'Son geloso,' or 'La ci
darem,' or 'Mira la bianca luna'?"

"I used to sing 'Mira la bianca luna,'"--replied Pánshin:--"but I have
forgotten it long ago."

"Never mind, we will try it over in an undertone. Let me come."

Varvára Pávlovna sat down at the piano. Pánshin stood beside her. They
sang the duet in an undertone, Varvára Pávlovna correcting him several
times; then they sang it aloud, then they repeated it twice: "Mira la
bianca lu...u...una." Varvára Pávlovna's voice had lost its freshness,
but she managed it very adroitly. Pánshin was timid at first, and sang
rather out of tune, but later on he warmed up, and if he did not sing
faultlessly, at least he wriggled his shoulders, swayed his whole body, and
elevated his hand now and then, like a genuine singer. Varvára Pávlovna
played two or three little things of Thalberg's, and coquettishly "recited"
a French ariette. Márya Dmítrievna no longer knew how to express her
delight; several times she was on the point of sending for Liza;
Gedeónovsky, also, found no words and merely rocked his head,--but all of
a sudden he yawned, and barely succeeded in concealing his mouth with his
hand. This yawn did not escape Varvára Pávlovna; she suddenly turned her
back to the piano, said: "_Assez de musique, comme ça_; let us chat,"--and
folded her hands. "_Oui, assez de musique_,"--merrily repeated
Pánshin--and struck up a conversation with her,--daring, light, in the
French language. "Exactly as in the best Parisian salon,"--thought Márya
Dmítrievna, as she listened to their evasive and nimble speeches. Pánshin
felt perfectly contented; his eyes sparkled, he smiled; at first, he passed
his hand over his face, contracted his brows, and sighed spasmodically when
he chanced to meet the glances of Márya Dmítrievna; but later on, he
entirely forgot her, and surrendered himself completely to the enjoyment of
the half-fashionable, half-artistic chatter. Varvára Pávlovna showed
herself to be a great philosopher: she had an answer ready for everything,
she did not hesitate over anything, she doubted nothing; it could be seen
that she had talked much and often with clever persons of various sorts.
All her thoughts, all her feelings, circled about Paris. Pánshin turned
the conversation on literature: it appeared that she, as well as he, read
only French books: Georges Sand excited her indignation; Balzac she
admired, although he fatigued her; in Sue and Scribe she discerned great
experts of the heart; she adored Dumas and Féval; in her soul she
preferred Paul de Kock to the whole of them, but, of course, she did not
even mention his name. To tell the truth, literature did not interest her
greatly. Varvára Pávlovna very artfully avoided everything which could
even distantly recall her position; there was not a hint about love in her
remarks: on the contrary, they were rather distinguished by severity toward
the impulses of passion, by disenchantment, by meekness. Pánshin retorted;
she disagreed with him ... but, strange to say!--at the very time when
words of condemnation, often harsh, were issuing from her lips, the sound
of those words caressed and enervated, and her eyes said ... precisely what
those lovely eyes said, it would be difficult to state; but their speech
was not severe, not clear, yet sweet. Pánshin endeavoured to understand
their mysterious significance, endeavoured to talk with his own eyes, but
he was conscious that he was not at all successful; he recognised the fact
that Varvára Pávlovna, in her quality of a genuine foreign lioness, stood
above him, and therefore he was not in full control of himself. Varvára
Pávlovna had a habit, while talking, of lightly touching the sleeve of her
interlocutor; these momentary touches greatly agitated Vladímir
Nikoláitch. Varvára Pávlovna possessed the art of getting on easily with
every one; two hours had not elapsed before it seemed to Pánshin that he
had known her always, and Liza, that same Liza, whom he loved,
nevertheless, to whom he had offered his hand on the preceding
day,--vanished as in a mist. Tea was served; the conversation became still
more unconstrained. Márya Dmítrievna rang for her page, and ordered him
to tell Liza to come down-stairs if her head felt better. Pánshin, on
hearing Liza's name, set to talking about self-sacrifice, about who was the
more capable of sacrifice--man or woman? Márya Dmítrievna immediately
became agitated, began to assert that woman is the more capable, declared
that she would prove it in two words, got entangled, and wound up by a
decidedly infelicitous comparison. Varvára Pávlovna picked up a
music-book, half-concealed herself with it, and leaning over in the
direction of Pánshin, nibbling at a biscuit, with a calm smile on her lips
and in her glance, she remarked, in an undertone: "_Elle n'a pas inventé
la poudre, la bonne dame._" Pánshin was somewhat alarmed and amazed at
Varvára Pávlovna's audacity; but he did not understand how much scorn for
him, himself, was concealed in that unexpected sally, and, forgetting the
affection and the devotion of Márya Dmítrievna, forgetting the dinners
wherewith she had fed him, the money which she had lent him,--he, with the
same little smile, the same tone, replied (unlucky wight!): "_Je crois
bien_,"--and not even: "_Je crois bien_," but:--"_Je crois ben!_"

Varvára Pávlovna cast a friendly glance at him, and rose. Liza had
entered; in vain had Márfa Timoféevna sought to hold her back: she had
made up her mind to endure the trial to the end. Varvára Pávlovna
advanced to meet her, in company with Pánshin, on whose face the former
diplomatic expression had again made its appearance.

"How is your health?"--he asked Liza.

"I feel better now, thank you,"--she replied.

"We have been having a little music here; it is a pity that you did not
hear Varvára Pávlovna. She sings superbly, _un artiste consommée_."

"Come here, _ma chérie_,"--rang out Márya Dmítrievna's voice.

Varvára Pávlovna instantly, with the submissiveness of a little child,
went up to her, and seated herself on a small tabouret at her feet.
Márya Dmítrievna had called her for the purpose of leaving her daughter
alone with Pánshin, if only for a moment: she still secretly cherished
the hope that the girl would come to her senses. Moreover, a thought had
occurred to her, to which she desired to give immediate expression.

"Do you know,"--she whispered to Varvára Pávlovna:--"I want to make an
effort to reconcile you with your husband: I do not guarantee success,
but I will try. You know that he has great respect for me."

Varvára Pávlovna slowly raised her eyes to Márya Dmítrievna, and
clasped her hands prettily.

"You would be my saviour, _ma tante_,"--she said, in a mournful
voice:--"I do not know how to thank you for all your affection; but I am
too guilty toward Feódor Ivánitch; he cannot forgive me."

"But is it possible that you ... really ..." began Márya Dmítrievna,
with curiosity.

"Do not ask me,"--Varvára Pávlovna interrupted her, and dropped her
eyes.--"I was young, giddy.... However, I do not wish to defend myself."

"Well, nevertheless, why not make the effort? Do not despair,"--returned
Márya Dmítrievna, and was on the point of patting her on the shoulder,
but glanced at her face--and grew timid. "She is a modest, modest
creature,"--she thought,--"and exactly like a young girl still."

"Are you ill?"--Pánshin was saying, meanwhile, to Liza.

"Yes, I am not very well."

"I understand you,"--he said, after a rather prolonged silence.--"Yes, I
understand you."

"How so?"

"I understand you,"--significantly repeated Pánshin, who simply did not
know what to say.

Liza became confused, and then said to herself: "So be it!" Pánshin
assumed a mysterious air, and fell silent, gazing severely to one side.

"But the clock has struck eleven, I think,"--remarked Márya Dmítrievna.

The guests understood the hint, and began to take their leave. Varvára
Pávlovna was made to promise that she would come to dinner on the
morrow, and bring Ada; Gedeónovsky, who had almost fallen asleep as he
sat in one corner, offered to escort her home. Pánshin solemnly saluted
every one, and at the steps, as he put Varvára Pávlovna into her
carriage, he pressed her hand and shouted after her: "_Au revoir!_"
Gedeónovsky seated himself by her side; all the way home, she amused
herself by placing the tip of her foot on his foot, as though by
accident; he became confused, and paid her compliments; she giggled and
made eyes at him when the light from a street-lantern fell on the
carriage. The waltz which she had herself played, rang in her head, and
excited her; wherever she happened to find herself, all she had to do was
to imagine to herself lights, a ball-room, the swift whirling to the
sounds of music--and her soul went fairly aflame, her eyes darkened
strangely, a smile hovered over her lips, something gracefully-bacchic
was disseminated all over her body. On arriving at home, Varvára
Pávlovna sprang lightly from the carriage,--only fashionable lionesses
know how to spring out in that way,--turned to Gedeónovsky, and suddenly
burst into a ringing laugh, straight in his face.

"A charming person,"--thought the State Councillor, as he wended his way
homeward to his lodgings, where his servant was awaiting him with a
bottle of eau de Cologne:--"it is well that I am a staid man ... only,
what was she laughing at?"

Márfa Timoféevna sat all night long by Liza's pillow.


Lavrétzky spent a day and a half at Vasílievskoe, and during nearly the
whole of that time he wandered about the neighbourhood. He could not
remain long in one place: anguish gnawed him; he experienced all the
torture of incessant, impetuous, and impotent impulses. He recalled the
feeling which had taken possession of his soul on the day following his
arrival in the country; he recalled his intentions at that time, and
waxed very angry with himself. What could have torn him away from that
which he recognised as his duty, the sole task of his future? The thirst
for happiness--once more, the thirst for happiness!--"Obviously,
Mikhalévitch is right," he thought. "Thou hast wished once more to taste
of happiness in life,"--he said to himself,--"thou hast forgotten what a
luxury, what an unmerited mercy it is when it has visited a man even
once. It was not complete, thou wilt say? But put forth thy claims to
complete, genuine happiness! Look about thee: who of those around thee is
blissful, who enjoys himself? Yonder, a peasant is driving to the
reaping; perchance, he is satisfied with his lot.... What of that?
Wouldst thou change with him? Remember thy mother: how insignificantly
small were her demands, and what lot fell to her share? Thou hast,
evidently, only been bragging before Pánshin, when thou saidst to him,
that thou hadst come to Russia in order to till the earth; thou hast come
in order to run after the girls in thine old age. The news of thy freedom
came, and thou didst discard everything, thou didst forget everything,
thou didst run like a little boy after a butterfly."... Liza's image
uninterruptedly presented itself before his thoughts; with an effort he
drove it away, as he did also another importunate image, other
imperturbably-crafty, beautiful, and detested features. Old Antón
noticed that his master was not himself; after heaving several sighs
outside the door, and several more on the threshold, he made up his mind
to approach him, and advised him to drink something warm. Lavrétzky
shouted at him, ordered him to leave the room, but afterward begged his
pardon; but this caused Antón to grow still more disconsolate.
Lavrétzky could not sit in the drawing-room; he felt as though his
great-grandfather Andréi were gazing scornfully from the canvas at his
puny descendant.--"Ekh, look out for thyself! thou art sailing in shoal
water!" his lips, pursed up on one side, seemed to be saying. "Can it
be,"--he thought,--"that I shall not be able to conquer myself,--that I
shall give in to this--nonsense?" (The severely-wounded in war always
call their wounds "nonsense." If a man could not deceive himself,--he
could not live on the earth.) "Am I really a miserable little boy? Well,
yes: I have beheld close by, I have almost held in my hand, the
possibility of happiness for my whole life--it has suddenly vanished; and
in a lottery, if you turn the wheel just a little further, a poor man
might become a rich one. If it was not to be, it was not to be,--and
that's the end of the matter. I'll set to work, with clenched teeth, and
I will command myself to hold my tongue; luckily, it is not the first
time I have had to take myself in hand. And why did I run away, why am I
sitting here, with my head thrust into a bush, like an ostrich? To be
afraid to look catastrophe in the face--is nonsense!--Antón!"--he called
loudly,--"order the tarantás to be harnessed up immediately. Yes,"--he
meditated once more,--"I must command myself to hold my tongue, I must
keep a tight rein on myself."...

With such arguments did Lavrétzky strive to alleviate his grief; but it
was great and powerful; and even Apraxyéya, who had outlived not so much
her mind as every feeling, even Apraxyéya shook her head, and
sorrowfully followed him with her eyes, when he seated himself in the
tarantás, in order to drive to the town. The horses galloped off; he sat
motionless and upright, and stared impassively ahead along the road.


Liza had written to Lavrétzky on the day before, that he was to come to
their house in the evening; but he first went up to his own quarters. He
did not find either his wife or his daughter at home; from the servants he
learned that she had gone with her to the Kalítins'. This news both
startled and enraged him. "Evidently, Varvára Pávlovna is determined not
to give me a chance to live,"--he thought, with the excitement of wrath in
his heart. He began to stride to and fro, incessantly thrusting aside with
his feet and hands the child's toys, the books, and the feminine
appurtenances which came in his way; he summoned Justine, and ordered her
to remove all that "rubbish."--"_Oui, monsieur_,"--said she, with a
grimace, and began to put the room in order, gracefully bending, and
giving Lavrétzky to understand, by every movement, that she regarded him
as an unlicked bear. With hatred he watched her worn but still "piquant,"
sneering, Parisian face, her white cuffs, her silken apron, and light cap.
He sent her away, at last, and after long wavering (Varvára Pávlovna
still did not return) he made up his mind to betake himself to the
Kalítins',--not to Márya Dmítrievna--(not, on any account, would he
have entered her drawing-room, that drawing-room where his wife was), but
to Márfa Timoféevna; he remembered that a rear staircase from the maids'
entrance led straight to her rooms. This is what Lavrétzky did. Chance
favoured him: in the yard he met Schúrotchka; she conducted him to Márfa
Timoféevna. He found her, contrary to her wont, alone; she was sitting in
a corner, with hair uncovered, bowed over, with her hands clasped in her
lap. On perceiving Lavrétzky, the old woman was greatly alarmed, rose
briskly to her feet, and began to walk hither and yon in the room, as
though in search of her cap.

"Ah, here thou art, here thou art,"--she began, avoiding his gaze, and
bustling about--"well, how do you do? Come, what now? What is to be done?
Where wert thou yesterday? Well, she has come,--well, yes. Well, we must
just ... somehow or other."

Lavrétzky dropped into a chair.

"Come, sit down, sit down,"--went on the old woman.--"Thou hast come
straight up-stairs. Well, yes, of course. What? thou art come to look at
me? Thanks."

The old woman was silent for a while; Lavrétzky did not know what to say
to her; but she understood him.

"Liza ... yes, Liza was here just now,"--went on Márfa Timoféevna,
tying and untying the cords of her reticule. "She is not quite well.
Schúrotchka, where art thou? Come hither, my mother, why canst thou not
sit still? And I have a headache. It must be from _that_--from the
singing and from the music."

"From what singing, aunty?"

"Why, of course, they keep singing--what do you call it?--duets. And
always in Italian: _tchi-tchi_, and _tcha-tcha_, regular magpies. They
begin to drag the notes out, and it's just like tugging at your soul.
Pánshin and that wife of yours. And all that has come about so quickly;
already they are on the footing of relatives, they do not stand on
ceremony. However, I will say this much: even a dog seeks a refuge; no
harm will come to her, so long as people don't turn her out."

"Nevertheless, I must confess that I did not expect this,"--replied
Lavrétzky:--"it must have required great boldness."

"No, my dear soul, that is not boldness; it is calculation. The Lord be
with her--I want nothing to do with her! They tell me that thou art
sending her to Lavríki,--is it true?"

"Yes, I am placing that estate at the disposal of Varvára Pávlovna."

"Has she asked for money?"

"Not yet."

"Well, it will not be long before she does. But I have only just taken a
good look at thee. Art thou well?"


"Schúrotchka,"--suddenly cried Márfa Timoféevna:--"go, and tell
Lizavéta Mikhaílovna--that is to say, no, ask her ... she's down-stairs,
isn't she?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Well, yes; then ask her: 'Where did she put my book?' She knows."

"I obey, ma'am."

Again the old woman began to bustle about, and to open the drawers of her
commode. Lavrétzky sat motionless on his chair.

Suddenly light footsteps became audible on the stairs--and Liza entered.
Lavrétzky rose to his feet, and bowed; Liza halted by the door.

"Liza, Lízotchka,"--said Márfa Timoféevna hastily;--"where is my book,
where didst thou put my book?"

"What book, aunty?"

"Why, my book; good heavens! However, I did not call thee.... Well, it
makes no difference. What are you doing there--down-stairs? See here,
Feódor Ivánitch has come.--How is thy head?"

"It is all right."

"Thou art always saying: 'It is all right.' What's going on with you
down-stairs,--music again?"

"No--they are playing cards."

"Yes, of course, she is up to everything. Schúrotchka, I perceive that
thou wishest to have a run in the garden. Go along."

"Why, no, Márfa Timoféevna...."

"Don't argue, if you please. Go! Nastásya Kárpovna has gone into the
garden alone: stay with her. Respect the old woman."--Schúrotchka left
the room.--"Why, where is my cap? Really, now, where has it got to?"

"Pray let me look for it,"--said Liza.

"Sit down, sit down; my own legs haven't given out yet. I must have left
it yonder, in my bedroom."

And, casting a sidelong glance at Lavrétzky, Márfa Timoféevna left the
room. She was on the point of leaving the door open, but suddenly turned
round toward it, and shut it.

Liza leaned against the back of her chair, and gently lifted her hands to
her face; Lavrétzky remained standing, as he was.

"This is how we were to meet again,"--he said, at last.

Liza took her hands from her face.

"Yes,"--she said dully:--"we were promptly punished."

"Punished?"--said Lavrétzky. "But what were you punished for?"

Liza raised her eyes to him. They expressed neither grief nor anxiety:
they looked smaller and dimmer. Her face was pale; her slightly parted
lips had also grown pale.

Lavrétzky's heart shuddered with pity and with love.

"You wrote to me: 'All is at an end,'"--he whispered:--"Yes, all is at an
end--before it has begun."

"We must forget all that,"--said Liza:--"I am glad that you came; I
wanted to write to you, but it is better thus. Only, we must make use, as
promptly as possible, of these minutes. It remains for both of us to do
our duty. You, Feódor Ivánitch, ought to become reconciled to your


"I implore you to do it; in that way alone can we expiate ... everything
which has taken place. Think it over--and you will not refuse me."

"Liza, for God's sake,--you are demanding the impossible. I am ready to
do everything you command; but become reconciled to her _now_!... I agree
to everything, I have forgotten everything; but I cannot force my heart
to.... Have mercy, this is cruel!"

"I do not require from you ... what you think; do not live with her, if
you cannot; but become reconciled,"--replied Liza, and again raised her
hand to her eyes.--"Remember your little daughter; do this for me."

"Very well,"--said Lavrétzky, through his teeth:--"I will do it; let us
assume that thereby I am fulfilling my duty. Well, and you--in what does
your duty consist?"

"I know what it is."

Lavrétzky suddenly started.

"Surely, you are not preparing to marry Pánshin?"--he asked.

Liza smiled almost imperceptibly.

"Oh, no!"--she said.

"Akh, Liza, Liza!"--cried Lavrétzky:--"how happy we might have been!"

Again Liza glanced at him.

"Now you see yourself, Feódor Ivánitch, that happiness does not depend
upon us, but upon God."

"Yes, because you...."

The door of the adjoining room opened swiftly, and Márfa Timoféevna
entered, with her cap in her hand.

"I have found it at last,"--she said, taking up her stand between
Lavrétzky and Liza.--"I had mislaid it myself. That's what it is to be
old, alack! However, youth is no better. Well, and art thou going to
Lavríki thyself, with thy wife?"--she added, addressing Feódor

"With her, to Lavríki?--I do not know,"--he said, after a pause.

"Thou art not going down-stairs?"

"Not to-day."

"Well, very good, as it pleases thee; but I think thou shouldst go
down-stairs, Liza. Akh, gracious goodness!--and I have forgotten to give
the bullfinch his food. Just wait, I'll be back directly...."

And Márfa Timoféevna ran out of the room, without putting on her cap.

Lavrétzky went quickly up to Liza.

"Liza,"--he began in a beseeching voice:--"we are parting forever, my
heart is breaking,--give me your hand in farewell."

Liza raised her head. Her weary, almost extinct gaze rested on him....

"No,"--she said, and drew back the hand which she had already put
forward--"no. Lavrétzky"--(she called him thus, for the first time)--"I
will not give you my hand. To what end? Go away, I entreat you. You know
that I love you,"--she added, with an effort:--"but no ... no."

And she raised her handkerchief to her eyes.

The door creaked.... The handkerchief slipped off Liza's knees.
Lavrétzky caught it before it fell to the floor, hastily thrust it into
his side pocket, and, turning round, his eyes met those of Márfa

"Lízotchka, I think thy mother is calling thee,"--remarked the old

Liza immediately rose, and left the room.

Márfa Timoféevna sat down again in her corner. Lavrétzky began to take
leave of her.

"Fédya,"--she suddenly said.

"What, aunty?"

"Art thou an honourable man?"


"I ask thee: art thou an honourable man?"

"I hope so."

"H'm. But give me thy word of honour that thou art an honourable man."

"Certainly.--But why?"

"I know why. Yes, and thou also, my benefactor, if thou wilt think it over
well,--for thou art not stupid,--wilt understand thyself why I ask this of
thee. And now, farewell, my dear. Thanks for thy visit; and remember the
word that has been spoken, Fédya, and kiss me. Okh, my soul, it is hard
for thee, I know: but then, life is not easy for any one. That is why I
used to envy the flies; here, I thought, is something that finds life
good; but once, in the night, I heard a fly grieving in the claws of a
spider,--no, I thought, a thundercloud hangs over them also. What is to be
done, Fédya? but remember thy word, nevertheless.--Go."

Lavrétzky emerged from the back entrance, and was already approaching
the gate ... when a lackey overtook him.

"Márya Dmítrievna ordered me to ask you to be so good as to come to
her,"--he announced to Lavrétzky.

"Say to her, my good fellow, that I cannot at present ..." began Feódor

"She ordered me to entreat you urgently,"--went on the lackey:--"she
ordered me to say, that she is at home."

"But have the visitors gone?"--asked Lavrétzky.

"Yes, sir,"--returned the lackey, and grinned.

Lavrétzky shrugged his shoulders, and followed him.


Márya Dmítrievna was sitting alone, in her boudoir, in a sofa-chair,
and sniffing eau de Cologne; a glass of orange-flower water was standing
beside her, on a small table. She was excited, and seemed to be timorous.

Lavrétzky entered.

"You wished to see me,"--he said, saluting her coldly.

"Yes,"--returned Márya Dmítrievna, and drank a little of the water. "I
heard that you went straight up-stairs to aunty; I gave orders that you
should be requested to come to me: I must have a talk with you. Sit down,
if you please."--Márya Dmítrievna took breath.--"You know,"--she went
on:--"that your wife has arrived?"

"That fact is known to me,"--said Lavrétzky.

"Well, yes,--that is, I meant to say, she came to me, and I received her;
that is what I wish to have an explanation about with you now, Feódor
Ivánitch. I, thank God, have won universal respect, I may say, and I
would not do anything improper for all the world. Although I foresaw that
it would be disagreeable to you, still, I could not make up my mind to
refuse her, Feódor Ivánitch; she is my relative--through you: put
yourself in my place--what right had I to turn her out of my house?--You
agree with me?"

"There is no necessity for your agitating yourself, Márya
Dmítrievna,"--returned Lavrétzky: "you have behaved very well indeed; I
am not in the least angry. I have not the slightest intention of
depriving Varvára Pávlovna of the right to see her acquaintances; I
only refrained from entering your apartments to-day because I wished to
avoid meeting her,--that was all."

"Akh, how delighted I am to hear that from you, Feódor
Ivánitch,"--exclaimed Márya Dmítrievna:--"however, I always expected
this from your noble sentiments. But that I should feel agitated, is not
wonderful: I am a woman and a mother. And your wife ... of course, I
cannot judge between her and you--I told her so myself; but she is such
an amiable lady, that she cannot cause anything but pleasure."

Lavrétzky laughed, and played with his hat.

"And this is what I wished to say to you, Feódor Ivánitch,"--went on
Márya Dmítrievna, moving a little nearer to him:--"if you had only seen
how modestly, how respectfully she behaves!--Really, it is touching. But
if you had heard how she speaks of you! 'I am wholly culpable with regard
to him,' she says; 'I did not know how to appreciate him,' she says; 'he
is an angel,' she says, 'not a man.' Truly, she did say that, 'an angel.'
She is so penitent.... I never beheld such penitence, I give you my

"Well, Márya Dmítrievna,"--said Lavrétzky:--"permit me to ask you a
question: I am told that Varvára Pávlovna has been singing for you; did
she sing during her repentance--or how?"...

"Akh, aren't you ashamed to talk like that! She sang and played merely
with the object of giving me pleasure, because I begged, almost commanded
her to do so. I perceive that she is distressed--so distressed, I wonder
how I can divert her. And I had heard that she had such a fine
talent.--Upon my word, Feódor Ivánitch, she is a completely crushed,
overwhelmed woman--ask Sergyéi Petróvitch if she is not, _tout à
fait_,--what have you to say to that?"

Lavrétzky simply shrugged his shoulders.

"And then, what a little angel that Ada of your is, what a darling!--How
pretty she is, how clever! how well she talks French; and she understands
Russian--she called me _tyótenka_ [aunty]. And do you know, as for being
shy, like nearly all children of her age,--there is no shyness about her.
She is awfully like you, Feódor Ivánitch. Her eyes, her brows ... well,
she's you all over again, your perfect image. I am not very fond of such
small children, I must confess; but I have simply lost my heart to your
little daughter."

"Márya Dmítrievna,"--exclaimed Lavrétzky, suddenly:--"allow me to ask
you why you are pleased to say all this to me?"

"Why?"--again Márya Dmítrievna sniffed at her eau de Cologne, and sipped
her water:--"I say it, Feódor Ivánitch, because ... you see, I am a
relative, I take the closest interest in you.... I know that you have the
very kindest of hearts. Hearken to me, _mon cousin_,--I am a woman of
experience, and I am not talking at random: forgive, forgive your
wife."--Márya Dmítrievna's eyes suddenly filled with tears.--"Reflect:
youth, inexperience ... well, perhaps, a bad example--she had not the sort
of a mother who might have put her on the right road. Forgive her, Feódor
Ivánitch; she has been sufficiently punished."

Tears trickled down Márya Dmítrievna's cheeks; she did not wipe them
away: she loved to weep. Lavrétzky sat as on hot coals. "My God,"--he
thought,--"what sort of torture, what sort of a day has fallen to my

"You do not answer,"--began Márya Dmítrievna again:--"what am I to
understand by that?--is it possible that you can be so cruel? No, I will
not believe that. I feel that my words have convinced you. Feódor
Ivánitch, God will reward you for your kindness of heart, and you will
now receive your wife from my hands...."

Lavrétzky involuntarily rose from his chair; Márya Dmítrievna also
rose, and stepping briskly behind a screen, led forth Varvára Pávlovna.
Pale, half-fainting, with eyes cast down, she seemed to have renounced
every thought, every impulse of her own--to have placed herself wholly in
the hands of Márya Dmítrievna.

Lavrétzky retreated a pace.

"You were here?"--he exclaimed.

"Do not blame her,"--said Márya Dmítrievna, hastily;--"she did not wish
to remain on any account whatever, but I ordered her to stay, and placed
her there behind the screen. She assured me that it would only make you
more angry; but I would not listen to her; I know you better than she
does. Receive your wife from my hands; go, Várya, be not afraid, fall at
your husband's feet" (she tugged at her hand)--"and my blessing on

"Wait, Márya Dmítrievna,"--Lavrétzky interrupted her, in a dull, but
quivering voice:--"you are, probably, fond of sentimental scenes,"
(Lavrétzky was not mistaken: Márya Dmítrievna had retained from her
boarding-school days a passion for a certain theatricalness); "they amuse
you; but others suffer from them. However, I will not discuss the matter
with you; in _this_ scene you are not the principal actor. What do _you_
want of me, madam?"--he added, addressing his wife. "Have not I done for
you all that I could? Do not retort, that you have not plotted this
meeting; I shall not believe you,--and you know that I cannot believe
you. What, then, do you want? You are clever,--you never do anything
without an object. You must understand that I am not capable of living
with you as I used to live; not because I am angry with you, but because
I have become a different man. I told you that on the day after your
return, and you yourself, at that moment, acquiesced with me in your own
soul. But you wish to reinstate yourself in public opinion; it is not
enough for you to live in my house, you want to live under one roof with
me,--is not that the truth?"

"I want you to forgive me,"--said Varvára Pávlovna, without raising her

"She wants you to forgive her,"--repeated Márya Dmítrievna.

"And not for my own sake, but for Ada's,"--whispered Varvára Pávlovna.

"Not for her sake, but for Ada's,"--repeated Márya Dmítrievna.

"Very good. You wish that?"--ejaculated Lavrétzky, with an effort. "As
you like, I agree to that."

Varvára Pávlovna cast a swift glance at him, and Márya Dmítrievna
cried out:--"Well, God be praised"--and again tugged at Varvára
Pávlovna's hand. "Now receive from me...."

"Wait, I tell you,"--Lavrétzky interrupted her. "I consent to live with
you, Varvára Pávlovna,"--he continued:--"That is to say, I will take
you to Lavríki, and I will live with you as long as my strength holds
out, and then I shall go away,--and return now and then. You see, I do
not wish to deceive you; but do not demand anything more. You yourself
would smile, were I to comply with the desire of your respected relative,
and press you to my heart, and assure you that ... there had been no
past, that the felled tree could burst into blossom once more. But I
perceive that I must submit. You will not understand that word; ... it
matters not. I repeat, I will live with you ... or, no, I cannot promise
that ... I will join you, I will regard you again as my wife...."

"But give her your hand on that, at least,"--said Márya Dmítrievna,
whose tears were long since dried up.

"Up to the present moment, I have not deceived Varvára
Pávlovna,"--returned Lavrétzky;--"she will believe me as it is. I will
take her to Lavríki;--and recollect, Varvára Pávlovna: our compact
will be regarded as broken just as soon as you leave that place. And now,
permit me to withdraw."

He bowed to both ladies, and hastily quitted the room.

"You are not taking her with you,"--called Márya Dmítrievna after
him.... "Let him alone,"--Varvára Pávlovna whispered to her, and
immediately threw her arms round her, began to utter thanks, to kiss her
hands, and to call her her saviour.

Márya Dmítrievna accepted her caresses with condescension; but in her
secret soul she was pleased neither with Lavrétzky nor with Varvára
Pávlovna, nor with the whole scene which she had planned. There had
turned out to be very little sentimentality; Varvára Pávlovna, in her
opinion, should have flung herself at her husband's feet.

"How was it that you did not understand me?"--she commented:--"why, I
told you: 'fall at his feet.'"

"It was better thus, dear aunty; do not disturb yourself--everything is
all right,"--insisted Varvára Pávlovna.

"Well, and he is as cold as ice,"--remarked Márya Dmítrievna. "Even if
you did not weep, why, I fairly overflowed before him. He means to shut
you up in Lavríki. The idea,--and you cannot even come to see me! All
men are unfeeling,"--she said, in conclusion, and shook her head

"On the other hand, women know how to value kindness and
magnanimity,"--said Varvára Pávlovna, and softly dropping on her knees
before Márya Dmítrievna, she embraced the latter's corpulent form with
her arms, and pressed her face against her. That face wore a quiet smile,
but Márya Dmítrievna's tears were flowing again.

And Lavrétzky went home, locked himself up in his valet's room, flung
himself on the divan, and lay there until the morning.


The next day was Sunday. The chiming of the bells for the early Liturgy
did not awaken Lavrétzky--he had not closed an eye all night long--but it
did remind him of another Sunday, when, at the wish of Liza, he had gone
to church. He hastily rose; a certain secret voice told him that he would
see her there again to-day. He noiselessly quitted the house, ordered
Varvára Pávlovna to be informed that he would return to dinner, and with
great strides wended his way thither, whither the monotonously-mournful
chiming summoned him. He arrived early: there was hardly any one in the
church; a chanter in the choir was reading the Hours; his voice,
occasionally broken by a cough, boomed on in measured cadence, now rising,
now falling. Lavrétzky took up his stand not far from the entrance. The
prayerfully inclined arrived one by one, paused, crossed themselves, bowed
on all sides; their footsteps resounded in the emptiness and silence,
distinctly re-echoing from the arches overhead. A decrepit little old
woman, in an ancient hooded cloak, knelt down beside Lavrétzky, and began
to pray assiduously; her yellow, toothless, wrinkled face expressed
intense emotion; her red eyes gazed fixedly upward at the holy picture on
the ikonostásis; her bony hand kept incessantly emerging from under her
cloak, and slowly but vigorously made a great, sweeping sign of the cross.
A peasant, with a thick beard and a surly face, tousled and dishevelled,
entered the church, went down at once on both knees, and immediately set
to crossing himself, hastily flinging back his head and shaking it after
every prostration. Such bitter woe was depicted on his countenance, and in
all his movements, that Lavrétzky made up his mind to approach and ask
him what was the matter. The peasant started back timidly and roughly, and
looked at him.... "My son is dead,"--he said, in hasty accents--and again
began to prostrate himself to the floor. "What can take the place, for
them, of the consolation of the church?"--Lavrétzky thought,--and tried
to pray himself; but his heart had grown heavy and hard, and his thoughts
were far away. He was still expecting Liza--but Liza did not come. The
church began to fill with people; still she did not come. The Liturgy
began, the deacon had already read the Gospel, the bell had pealed for the
hymn "Worthy"; Lavrétzky moved a little,--and suddenly caught sight of
Liza. She had arrived before him, but he had not descried her; crowded
into the space between the wall and the choir, she neither glanced around
nor moved. Lavrétzky did not take his eyes from her until the very end of
the Liturgy: he was bidding her farewell. The congregation began to
disperse, but she still stood on; she seemed to be awaiting Lavrétzky's
departure. At last, she crossed herself for the last time, and went away,
without looking round; she had only a maid with her. Lavrétzky followed
her out of the church, and overtook her in the street; she was walking
very rapidly, with her head bowed and her veil lowered over her face.

"Good morning, Lizavéta Mikhaílovna,"--said he, loudly, with forced
ease:--"may I accompany you?"

She said nothing; he walked along by her side.

"Are you satisfied with me?"--he asked her, lowering his voice.--"You
have heard what took place last night?"

"Yes, yes,"--she said in a whisper:--"you did well."

And she walked on faster than ever.

"You are satisfied?"

Liza only nodded her head.

"Feódor Ivánitch,"--she began, in a composed, but weak voice:--"I have
wanted to ask you: do not come to our house again; go away as speedily as
possible; we can see each other later on,--sometime, a year hence. But
now, do this for me; comply with my request, for God's sake."

"I am ready to obey you in all things, Lizavéta Mikhaílovna; but is it
possible that we are to part thus? will you not say a single word to me?"

"Feódor Ivánitch, here you are now, walking by my side. But you are
already far away from me. And not you alone, but also...."

"Finish, I entreat you!"--exclaimed Lavrétzky:--"what is it that you
mean to say?"

"You will hear, perhaps ... but whatever happens, forget ... no, do not
forget me,--remember me."

"I forget you!..."

"Enough; farewell. Do not follow me."

"Liza ..."--Lavrétzky was beginning.

"Farewell, farewell!"--she repeated, dropped her veil still lower, and
advanced almost at a run.

Lavrétzky gazed after her, and dropping his head, went back down the
street. He hit upon Lemm, who was also walking along, with his hat pulled
down on his nose, and staring at the ground under his feet.

They stared at each other in silence.

"Well, what have you to say?"--said Lavrétzky at last.

"What have I to say?"--returned Lemm surlily:--"I have nothing to say.
Everything is dead, and we are dead. (Alles ist todt und wir sind todt.)
You are going to the right, I think?"


"Then I go to the left. Good-bye."

On the following morning, Feódor Ivánitch and his wife set out for
Lavríki. She drove in front, in the carriage, with Ada and Justine; he
came behind, in his tarantás. The pretty little girl never quitted the
carriage-window during the whole journey; she was surprised at
everything: at the peasants, the peasant women, the wells, the
shaft-arches, the carriage-bells, at the multitude of jackdaws; Justine
shared her surprise. Varvára Pávlovna laughed at their comments and
exclamations.... She was in high spirits; before their departure from the
town of O * * * she had had an explanation with her husband.

"I understand your position,"--she had said to him,--and he, from the
expression of her clever eyes, was able to conclude that she did fully
understand his position,--"but you must do me the justice, at least, to
say that I am easy to live with; I shall not obtrude myself upon you,
embarrass you; I wanted to assure Ada's future. I need nothing further."

"Yes, and you have attained your object,"--said Feódor Ivánitch.

"My sole idea now is to shut myself up in the wilds; I shall forever
remember your good deed in my prayers...."

"Faugh!... enough of that,"--he interrupted her.

"And I shall know how to respect your independence, and your
repose,"--she completed her phrase, which she had prepared in advance.

Lavrétzky had made her a low bow. Varvára Pávlovna understood that her
husband, in his soul, was grateful to her.

On the second day, toward the evening, they reached Lavríki; a week
later, Lavrétzky set off for Moscow, leaving his wife five thousand
rubles for her expenses--and the day after Lavrétzky's departure,
Pánshin, whom Varvára Pávlovna had begged not to forget her in her
isolation, made his appearance. She gave him the warmest sort of a
welcome, and until late into the night the lofty rooms of the house and
the very garden rang with the sounds of music, singing, and merry French
speeches. Pánshin visited Varvára Pávlovna for three days; when he
took leave of her, and warmly pressed her beautiful hands, he promised to
return very soon--and he kept his promise.


  [13] That is--they figuratively begged the pardon of all whom they
       might have offended, before entering on the Church service.
       The officiating priest does the same.--Translator.

  [14] "Worthy and right is it, to bow down to the Father, and to the
       Son, and to the Holy Spirit, to the Trinity, consubstantial and
       indivisible"--at a very solemn point, and quite late in the


Liza had a separate little room, on the second story of her mother's
house, small, clean, bright, with a white bed, pots of flowers in the
corners and in front of the holy pictures, with a tiny writing-table, a
case of books, and a crucifix on the wall. This little chamber was called
the nursery; Liza had been born in it. On returning to it from church,
where she had seen Lavrétzky, she put everything in order, even more
carefully than usual, wiped the dust off everything, looked over and tied
up with ribbons her note-books and the letters of her friends, locked all
the drawers, watered the plants, and touched every flower with her hand.
She did all this without haste, without noise, with a certain touched and
tranquil solicitude on her face. She halted, at last, in the middle of
the room, slowly looked around her, and stepping up to the table over
which hung the crucifix, she knelt down, laid her head on her clasped
hands, and remained motionless.

Márfa Timoféevna entered, and found her in this position. Liza did not
notice her entrance. The old woman went outside the door, on tiptoe, and
gave vent to several loud coughs. Liza rose quickly to her feet, and
wiped her eyes, in which glittered clear tears which had not fallen.

"I see that thou hast been arranging thy little cell again,"--said Márfa
Timoféevna, and bent low over a pot containing a young rose-bush:--"what
a splendid perfume it has!"

Liza gazed thoughtfully at her aunt.

"What a word you have uttered!"--she whispered.

"What sort of a word, what word?"--interposed the old woman,
vivaciously;--"what dost thou mean?--This is dreadful,"--she said,
suddenly tearing off her cap, and seating herself on Liza's bed:--"this
is beyond my strength! today is the fourth day that I seem to be seething
in a kettle; I can no longer pretend that I notice nothing,--I cannot see
thee growing pale, withering away, weeping,--I cannot, I cannot!"

"Why, what is the matter with you, aunty?"--said Liza:--"I am all

"All right?"--exclaimed Márfa Timoféevna:--"tell that to others, but
not to me! All right! But who was it that was on her knees just now?
whose eyelashes are still wet with tears? All right! Why, look at
thyself, what hast thou done to thy face, what has become of thine
eyes?--All right! As though I did not know all!"

"It will pass off, aunty; give me time."

"It will pass off, but when? O Lord God, my Master! is it possible that
thou didst love him so? why, he is an old man, Lízotchka. Well, I do not
dispute that he is a good man, he does not bite; but what does that
signify? we are all good people: the world is large, there will always be
plenty of that sort."

"I tell you, that it will all pass off, it is all over already."

"Listen, Lízotchka, to what I have to say to thee,"--said Márfa
Timoféevna, suddenly, making Liza sit down beside her on the bed, and
adjusting now her hair, now her kerchief.--"It only seems to you, while
it is fresh, that your grief is beyond remedy. Ekh, my darling, for death
alone there is no remedy! Only say to thyself: 'I won't give in--so there
now!' and afterward thou wilt be amazed thyself--how soon, how well, it
will pass off. Only have patience."

"Aunty,"--replied Liza:--"it is already past, all is over already."

"Past--over--forsooth! Why, even thy little nose has grown pointed, and
thou sayest: 'It is over--it is over!'"

"Yes, it is over, aunty, if you will only help me,"--cried Liza, with
sudden animation, and threw herself on Márfa Timoféevna's neck.--"Dear
aunty, be my friend, help me; do not be angry, understand me."

"Why, what is this, what is this, my mother? Don't frighten me, please; I
shall scream in another minute; don't look at me like that: tell me
quickly what thou meanest?"

"I ... I want ..." Liza hid her face in Márfa Timoféevna's bosom.... "I
want to enter a convent,"--she said, in a dull tone.

The old woman fairly leaped on the bed.

"Cross thyself, my mother, Lízotchka; come to thy senses: God be with
thee, what dost thou mean?"--she stammered at last: "lie down, my
darling, sleep a little: this comes from lack of sleep, my dear."

Liza raised her head, her cheeks were burning.

"No, aunty,"--she articulated, "do not speak like that. I have made up my
mind, I have prayed, I have asked counsel of God; all is ended, my life
with you is ended. Such a lesson is not in vain; and it is not the first
time I have thought of this. Happiness was not suited to me; even when I
cherished hopes of happiness, my heart was always heavy. I know
everything, my own sins and the sins of others, and how papa acquired his
wealth; I know everything. All that must be atoned for by prayer--atoned
for by prayer. I am sorry for all of you--I am sorry for mamma, for
Lyénotchka; but there is no help for it; I feel that I cannot live here;
I have already taken leave of everything, I have made my reverence to
everything in the house for the last time; something is calling me hence;
I am weary; I want to shut myself up forever. Do not hold me back, do not
dissuade me; help me, or I will go away alone."

Márfa Timoféevna listened in terror to her niece.

"She is ill, she is raving,"--she thought:--"I must send for a doctor;
but for which? Gedeónovsky was praising some one the other day; he's
always lying,--but, perhaps, he told the truth that time." But when she
became convinced that Liza was not ill, and was not raving, when to all
her objections Liza steadfastly made one and the same reply, Márfa
Timoféevna became seriously frightened and grieved.--"But thou dost not
know, my darling,"--she began to try to prevail upon her;--"what sort of
a life they lead in convents! Why, my own one, they will feed thee with
green hemp-oil; they will put on thee coarse, awfully coarse linen; they
will make thee go about cold; thou canst not endure all that, Lízotchka.
All that is the traces of Agáfya in thee; it was she who led thee
astray. Why, she began by living her life, living a gay life; do thou
live thy life also. Let me, at least, die in peace, and then do what thou
wilt. And who ever heard of any one going into a convent, all on account
of such a goat's beard--the Lord forgive me!--on account of a man? Come,
if thy heart is so heavy, go away on a journey, pray to a saint, have a
prayer-service said, but don't put the black cowl on thy head, my dear
little father, my dear little mother...."

And Márfa Timoféevna began to weep bitterly.

Liza comforted her, wiped away her tears, but remained inflexible. In her
despair, Márfa Timoféevna tried to resort to threats: she would tell
Liza's mother everything; but even that was of no avail. Only as a
concession to the old woman's urgent entreaties, did Liza consent to
defer the fulfilment of her intention for six months; in return, Márfa
Timoféevna was compelled to give her her word that she would help her,
and obtain the permission of Márya Dmítrievna if, at the end of six
months, she had not changed her mind.

                    *       *       *       *       *

With the advent of the first cold weather, Varvára Pávlovna, despite
her promise to shut herself up in the depths of the country, after
providing herself with money, removed to Petersburg, where she hired a
modest but pretty apartment, which had been found for her by Pánshin,
who had quitted the Government of O * * * before her. During the
latter part of his sojourn in O * * * he had completely fallen out of
favour with Márya Dmítrievna; he had suddenly ceased to call upon her
and hardly ever quitted Lavríki. Varvára Pávlovna had enslaved him,
precisely that,--enslaved him; no other word will express her unlimited,
irrevocable, irresponsible power over him.

Lavrétzky passed the winter in Moscow, but in the spring of the
following year the news reached him that Liza had entered the B * * *
convent, in one of the most remote corners of Russia.


Eight years have passed. Spring has come again.... But first, let us say a
few words about the fate of Mikhalévitch, Pánshin, Mme. Lavrétzky--and
take our leave of them. Mikhalévitch, after long peregrinations, has
finally hit upon his real vocation: he has obtained the post of head
inspector in a government institution. He is very well satisfied with his
lot, and his pupils "adore" him, although they mimic him. Pánshin has
advanced greatly in rank, and already has a directorship in view; he walks
with his back somewhat bent: it must be the cross of the Order of
Vladímir, which has been conferred upon him, that drags him forward. The
official in him has, decidedly, carried the day over the artist; his still
youthful face has turned quite yellow, his hair has grown thin, and he no
longer sings or draws, but secretly occupies himself with literature: he
has written a little comedy, in the nature of "a proverb,"--and, as every
one who writes nowadays "shows up" some one or something, he has shown up
in it a coquette, and he reads it surreptitiously to two or three ladies
who are favourably disposed toward him. But he has not married, although
many fine opportunities of so doing have presented themselves: for this
Varvára Pávlovna is responsible. As for her, she lives uninterruptedly
in Paris, as of yore: Feódor Ivánitch has given her a bill of exchange
on himself, and bought himself free from her,--from the possibility of a
second, unexpected invasion. She has grown old and fat, but it is still
pretty and elegant. Every person has his own ideal: Varvára Pávlovna has
found hers--in the dramatic productions of Dumas fils. She assiduously
frequents the theatre where consumptive and sentimental ladies of the
frail class are put on the stage; to be Mme. Doche seems to her the very
apex of human felicity; one day, she declared that she desired no better
lot for her daughter. It is to be hoped that fate will deliver
Mademoiselle Ada from such felicity: from a rosy, plump child, she has
turned into a weak-chested, pale-faced young girl; her nerves are already
deranged. The number of Varvára Pávlovna's admirers has decreased; but
they have not transferred their allegiance: she will, in all probability,
retain several of them to the end of her life. The most ardent of them, of
late, has been a certain Zakurdálo-Skubýrnikoff, one of the retired
dandies of the Guards, a man of eight and thirty, of remarkably robust
build. The Frenchmen who frequent Mme. Lavrétzky's salon call him "_le
gros taureau de l'Ukraïne_"; Varvára Pávlovna never invites him to her
fashionable evening gatherings, but he enjoys her favour in the fullest

So ... eight years have passed. Again the sky is breathing forth the
beaming happiness of spring; again it is smiling upon the earth and upon
men; again, beneath its caress, everything has burst into blossom, into
love and song. The town of O * * * has undergone very little change in
the course of those eight years; but Márya Dmítrievna's house seems to
have grown young: its recently painted walls shine as in welcome, and the
panes of the open windows are crimsoning and glittering in the rays of the
setting sun. Through these windows, out upon the street, are wafted the
sounds of ringing young voices, of incessant laughter; the whole house
seems bubbling with life, and overflowing the brim with merriment. The
mistress of the house herself has long since gone to her grave: Márya
Dmítrievna died two years after Liza's profession as a nun; and Márfa
Timoféevna did not long survive her niece; they rest side by side in the
town cemetery. Nastásya Kárpovna, also, is dead; the faithful old woman
went, every week, for the space of several years, to pray over the ashes
of her friend.... Her time came, and her bones also were laid in the damp
earth. But Márya Dmítrievna's house has not passed into the hands of
strangers, has not left her family; the nest has not been destroyed:
Lyénotchka, who has become a stately, beautiful young girl, and her
betrothed, a fair-haired officer of hussars; Márya Dmítrievna's son, who
has just been married in Petersburg, and has come with his young wife to
spend the spring in O * * *; his wife's sister, an Institute-girl of
sixteen, with brilliantly scarlet cheeks and clear eyes; Schúrotchka, who
has also grown up and become pretty--these are the young folks who are
making the walls of the Kalítin house re-echo with laughter and chatter.
Everything about it has been changed, everything has been brought into
accord with the new inhabitants. Beardless young house-servants, who grin
and jest, have taken the places of the former sedate old servitors; where
overgrown Róska was wont to stroll, two setters are chasing madly about,
and leaping over the divans; the stable has been filled with clean-limbed
amblers, high-spirited shaft-horses, fiery trace-horses with braided
manes, and riding-horses from the Don; the hours for breakfast, dinner,
and supper have become mixed up and confused; according to the expression
of the neighbours, "an unprecedented state of affairs" has been

On the evening of which we are speaking, the inhabitants of the Kalítin
house (the oldest of them, Lyénotchka's betrothed, was only four and
twenty) were engaged in a far from complicated, but, judging from their
vigorous laughter, a very amusing game: they were running through the
rooms, and catching each other; the dogs, also, were running and barking,
and the canaries which hung in cages in front of the windows vied with
each other in singing at the tops of their voices, increasing the uproar
of ringing volleys of noise with their furious chirping. While this
deafening diversion was at its very height, a mud-stained tarantás drove
up to the gate, and a man of forty-five, clad in travelling garb,
descended from it, and stopped short in amazement. He stood motionless
for some time, swept an attentive glance over the house, passed through
the gate into the yard, and slowly ascended the steps. There was no one
in the anteroom to receive him; but the door of the "hall" flew wide
open; through it, all flushed, bounced Schúrotchka, and instantly, in
pursuit of her, with ringing laughter, rushed the whole youthful band.
She came to a sudden halt and fell silent at the sight of the stranger;
but the clear eyes fastened upon him were as caressing as ever, the fresh
faces did not cease to smile. Márya Dmítrievna's son stepped up to the
visitor, and courteously asked him what he wished.

"I am Lavrétzky,"--said the visitor.

A vigorous shout rang out in response--and not because all these young
people were so extremely delighted at the arrival of the distant, almost
forgotten relative, but simply because they were ready to make an uproar
and rejoice on every convenient opportunity. They immediately surrounded
Lavrétzky: Lyénotchka, in the quality of an old acquaintance, was the
first to introduce herself, and to assure him that, in another moment,
she certainly would have recognised him, and then she presented all the
rest of the company, calling each one of them, including her betrothed,
by his pet name. The whole throng moved through the dining-room to the
drawing-room. The hangings in both rooms were different, but the
furniture remained the same; Lavrétzky recognised the piano; even the
same embroidery-frame was standing in the window, in the same
position--and almost with the same unfinished bit of embroidery as eight
years previously. They made him sit down in a comfortable easy-chair; all
seated themselves decorously around him. Questions, exclamations, stories
showered down without cessation.

"But it is a long time since we have seen you,"--remarked Lyénotchka,
ingenuously:--"and we have not seen Varvára Pávlovna either."

"I should think so!"--interposed her brother, hurriedly. "I carried thee
off to Petersburg, but Feódor Ivánitch lived in the country all the

"Yes, and mamma has died since, you know."

"And Márfa Timoféevna,"--said Schúrotchka.

"And Nastásya Kárpovna,"--rejoined Lyénotchka.--"And M'sieu Lemm...."

"What? And is Lemm dead also?"--asked Lavrétzky.

"Yes,"--replied young Kalítin:--"he went away from here to Odessa--they
say that some one decoyed him thither; and there he died."

"You do not know--whether he left any music behind him?"

"I don't know,--it is hardly probable."

All fell silent, and exchanged glances. A cloud of sadness had descended
upon all the young faces.

"And Matróska is alive,"--suddenly remarked Lyénotchka.

"And Gedeónovsky is alive,"--added her brother.

At the name of Gedeónovsky a vigorous peal of laughter rang out in

"Yes, he is alive, and lies just as he always did,"--went on Márya
Dmítrievna's son:--"and just imagine, that naughty child there" (and he
pointed at his wife's sister, the Institute-girl) "put pepper in his
snuff-box yesterday."

"How he did sneeze!" exclaimed Lyénotehka:--and again a peal of
irrepressible laughter rang out.

"We received news of Liza recently,"--said young Kalítin,--and again
everything grew still round about:--"things are well with her,--her
health is now improving somewhat."

"Is she still in the same convent?"--asked Lavrétzky, not without an

"Yes, still in the same place."

"Does she write to you?"

"No, never; the news reaches us through other people."--A sudden,
profound silence ensued. "The angel of silence has flown past," all said
to themselves.

"Would not you like to go into the garden?"--Kalítin turned to
Lavrétzky:--"it is very pretty now, although we have rather neglected

Lavrétzky went out into the garden, and the first thing that struck his
eyes was the bench on which he had once spent with Liza a few happy
moments, never to be repeated; it had grown black and crooked; but he
recognised it, and his soul was seized by that feeling which has no peer
in sweetness and in sorrow,--the feeling of living grief for vanished
youth, for happiness which it once possessed. In company with the young
people, he strolled through the alleys: the linden-trees had not grown
much older and taller during the last eight years, but their shade had
become more dense; on the other hand, all the shrubs had sprung upward,
the raspberry-bushes had waxed strong, the hazel copse had become
entirely impenetrable, and everywhere there was an odour of thickets,
forest, grass, and lilacs.

"What a good place this would be to play at puss-in-the-corner,"--suddenly
cried Lyénotchka, as they entered a small, verdant glade, hemmed in by
lindens:--"by the way, there are five of us."

"And hast thou forgotten Feódor Ivánitch?"--her brother observed to
her.... "Or art thou not reckoning in thyself?"

Lyénotchka blushed faintly.

"But is it possible that Feódor Ivánitch, at his age, can..."--she

"Please play,"--interposed Lavrétzky, hastily:--"pay no heed to me. It
will be all the more agreeable to me if I know that I am not embarrassing
you. And there is no need for you to bother about me; we old fellows have
occupations of which you, as yet, know nothing, and which no diversion
can replace: memories."

The young people listened to Lavrétzky with courteous and almost mocking
respect,--exactly as though their teacher were reading them a
lesson,--and suddenly all of them flew away from him, and ran over the
glade; four of them took up their stand near the trees, one stood in the
centre,--and the fun began.

But Lavrétzky returned to the house, went into the dining-room,
approached the piano, and touched one of the keys: a faint, but pure
sound rang out, and secretly trembled in his heart: with that note began
that inspired melody wherewith, long ago, on that same blissful night,
Lemm, the dead Lemm, had led him to such raptures. Then Lavrétzky passed
into the drawing-room, and did not emerge from it for a long time: in
that room, where he had so often seen Liza, her image rose up before him
more vividly than ever; it seemed to him, that he felt around him the
traces of her presence; but his grief for her was exhausting and not
light: there was in it none of the tranquillity which death inspires.
Liza was still living somewhere, dully, far away; he thought of her as
among the living, but did not recognise the young girl whom he had once
loved in that pale spectre swathed in the conventual garment, surrounded
by smoky clouds of incense. Lavrétzky would not have recognised himself,
had he been able to contemplate himself as he mentally contemplated Liza.
In the course of those eight years the crisis had, at last, been effected
in his life; that crisis which many do not experience, but without which
it is not possible to remain an honourable man to the end: he had really
ceased to think of his own happiness, of selfish aims. He had calmed
down, and--why should the truth be concealed?--he had aged, not alone in
face and body, he had aged in soul; to preserve the heart youthful to old
age, as some say, is difficult, and almost absurd: he may feel content
who has not lost faith in good, steadfastness of will, desire for
activity.... Lavrétzky had a right to feel satisfied: he had become a
really fine agriculturist, he had really learned to till the soil, and he
had toiled not for himself alone; in so far as he had been able, he had
freed from care and established on a firm foundation the existence of his

Lavrétzky emerged from the house into the garden: he seated himself on
the familiar bench--and in that dear spot, in the face of the house,
where he had, on the last occasion, stretched out his hands in vain to
the fatal cup in which seethes and sparkles the wine of delight,--he, a
solitary, homeless wanderer,--to the sounds of the merry cries of the
younger generation which had already superseded him,--took a survey of
his life. His heart was sad, but not heavy and not very sorrowful: he had
nothing which he had need to regret or be ashamed of. "Play on, make
merry, grow on, young forces,"--he thought, and there was no bitterness
in his meditations:--"life lies before you, and it will be easier for you
to live: you will not be compelled, as we have been, to seek your road,
to struggle, to fall, and to rise to your feet again amid the gloom; we
have given ourselves great trouble, that we might remain whole,--and how
many of us have failed in that!--but you must do deeds, work,--and the
blessing of old fellows like me be upon you. But all that remains for me,
after to-day, after these emotions, is to make my final reverence to you,
and, although with sadness, yet without envy, without any dark feelings,
to say, in view of the end, in view of God who is awaiting me: 'Long live
solitary old age! Burn thyself out, useless life!'"

Lavrétzky rose softly, and softly went away; no one noticed him, no one
detained him; the merry cries resounded more loudly than ever in the
garden behind the green, dense wall of lofty lindens. He seated himself
in his tarantás, and ordered the coachman to drive home, and not to
press the horses hard.

                    *       *       *       *       *

"And the end?" perchance some dissatisfied reader will say. "And what
became of Lavrétzky? of Liza?" But what can one say about people who are
still alive, but who have already departed from the earthly arena,--why
revert to them? They say that Lavrétzky paid a visit to that distant
convent where Liza had hidden herself--and saw her. In going from one
choir to the other, she passed close to him--passed with the even,
hurriedly-submissive gait of a nun--and did not cast a glance at him;
only the lashes of the eye which was turned toward him trembled almost
imperceptibly, and her haggard face was bowed a little lower than
usual--and the fingers of her clasped hands, interlaced with her rosary,
were pressed more tightly to one another. What did they both think,--what
did they both feel? Who knows? Who shall say? There are moments in life,
there are feelings ... we can only indicate them,--and pass by.


  [15] The trotter as shaft-horse, and the galloping side-horses
       of a troïka.--Translator.

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