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Title: Fathers and Sons
Author: Turgenev, Ivan Sergeevich
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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available by the Bodleian Library, Oxford)



FATHERS AND SONS

BY

IVAN S. TURGENEV

Translated from the Russian by C.J. Hogarth


LONDON & TORONTO

PUBLISHED BY J.M. DENT & SONS LTD & IN NEW YORK

BY E.P. DUTTON & CO

1921



INTRODUCTION


In this masterly unromantic novel, Turgenev drew a character, Bazarov,
who served to express what he taught us to call Nihilism, and made
a movement into a man. In Russia itself the effect of the story was
astonishing. The portrait of Bazarov was immediately and angrily
resented as a cold travesty. The portraits of the "backwoodsmen," or
retired aristocrats, fared no better. Turgenev had indeed roused the
ire of both sides, only too surely.

The Petrovitchs, typical figures as he designed them of the Russian
nobility, were intended he confessed to breathe "feebleness,
nonchalance, narrowness of mind." His sense of fitness made him paint
with extreme care these choice representatives of their class. They
were the pick, and if they were humanly ineffective, what of their
weaker kind? "Si la crême est mauvaise, que sera le lait?" as he
put it. The bitterest criticism came, however, from the side of the
revolutionaries and incompatibles. They felt in Turgenev the sharper
artistry and the intimate irony as if he had only used these qualities
in dealing with the specific case of Bazarov; whereas they were
temperamental effects of his narrative art. He was ready to assert
himself one of the party of youth. He was at one with Bazarov, he
declared, in nearly all his ideas, a chief exception being Bazarov's
ideas on art, which in truth are apt to be more crudely delivered than
the rest of that iconoclast's destructive opinions. Bazarov, he said
once and again, was his favourite child.

It is nearly forty years now (in 1921) since the novel appeared in
_The Russian Messenger_, a weekly which was the recognised exponent
of the new movement. That proverbial period has lent a softer cast
to the lineaments of the people in the group, as time touches the
canvas of the pictures in an old country-house gallery. But the
interesting thing is to find that history in the large has terribly and
irresistibly confirmed the history in little that Turgenev drew, with a
sure instinct, for the potential anticipations of his saga.

But we should be wrong if we mistook its clear pervading realities
for those of a tract-novel, or a document of any one particular
generation. It is as its title declares in a sense another fable of
the inevitable coil and recoil of the two generations. The sympathetic
power of Turgenev is shown in his instinctive understanding of them
both. An aristocrat by training, he was saved as Tolstoi was from
sterilising his imaginative and dramatic powers by any sense of caste
and privilege. He loved the play of human nature, knew how to reckon
with its foibles, its pride, habitual prejudices, and all tragic and
comic susceptibilities. So he drew Bazarov, as a protagonist of the
revolt against the old order and the protective habit of age. When
Bazarov enters the house of Arkady's father, he is like Don Quixote
entering the inn of his direst probation. If the parallel seems a
trifle fantastic, it was yet one that Turgenev would let pass, since he
affirmed that Don Quixote himself was, in his inimitable extravagance,
a type of the eternal spirit of revolution. And one would like, if
there were room for it, to print as preamble to _Fathers and Sons_, the
essay in which its writer has compared the deeper essentials of Hamlet
and Quixote.

We must be satisfied instead to recall the direct event of the novel,
as it falls in his own record. The present writer, some years ago,
spent a spring at Ventnor in the Isle of Wight, and found the house
on the sea-brink in which he stayed had been occupied by Turgenev at
one time. Then and there it was, in 1860 and at Ventnor, that he had
the first idea of this novel; and it is scarcely being too fanciful
to think that he imagined the home environment and the spacious vista
of the Russian provinces more fondly and more freely, because of his
being at a long remove from them in that small and confined seaside
nook of Ventnor. Already, we must remember, the liberation of the serf
had taken place; and the ferment of liberal ideas was working in the
new generation. As we look back, we see in our wisdom after the event,
having realised Turgenev for the novelist he was--an artist who was
for ever adjusting the moment to the permanent in art--that it was
inevitable he should write this book, this tragi-comedy of age and
youth, of the old order and the new, the conservating fathers and the
revolutionary sons.

E. R.

The following is the list of Turgenev's chief works:

/#
      ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS OF WORKS: Russian Life in the Interior:
      or, the Experiences of a Sportsman, from French version, by
      J. D. Meiklejohn, 1855; Annals of a Sportsman, from French
      version, by F. P. Abbott, 1855; Tales from the Notebook of a
      Sportsman, from the Russian, by E. Richter, 1895; Fathers and
      Sons, from the Russian, by E. Schuyler, 1867, 1883; Smoke:
      or, Life at Baden, from French version, 1868, by W. F. West,
      1872, 1883; Liza: or, a Nest of Nobles, from the Russian, by
      W. R. S. Ralston, 1869, 1873, 1884; On the Eve, a tale, from
      the Russian, by C. E. Turner, 1871; Dimitri Roudine, from
      French and German versions, 1873, 1883; Spring Floods, from the
      Russian, by S. M. Batts, 1874; from the Russian, by E. Richter,
      1895; A Lear of the Steppe, from the French, by W. H. Browne,
      1874; Virgin Soil, from the French, by T. S. Perry, 1877, 1883,
      by A. W. Dilke, 1878; Poems in Prose, from the Russian, 1883;
      Senilia, Poems in Prose, with a Biographical Sketch of the
      Author, by S. J. Macmillan, 1890; First Love, and Punin and
      Baburin, from the Russian, with a Biographical Introduction,
      by S. Jerrold, 1884; Mumu, and the Diary of a Superfluous Man,
      from the Russian, by H. Gersoni, 1884; Annouchka, a tale,
      from the French version, by F. P. Abbott, 1884; from the
      Russian (with An Unfortunate Woman), by H. Gersoni, 1886; The
      Unfortunate One, from the Russian, by A. R. Thompson, 1888 (see
      above for Gersoni's translation); The Watch, from the Russian,
      by J. E. Williams, 1893.

      WORKS: Novels, translated by Constance Garnett, 15 vols.,
      1894-99, 1906, 1921. Novels and Stories, translated by Isabel
      F. Hapgood, with an Introduction by Henry James, 1903, etc.

      LIFE: See above, Biographical Introductions to Poems in Prose
      and First Love; E. M. Arnold, Tourguéneff and his French
      Circle, translated from the work of E. Halperine-Kaminsky,
      1898; J. A. T. Lloyd, Two Russian Reformers: Ivan Turgenev, Leo
      Tolstoy, 1910.
#/



I


"Well, Peter? Cannot you see them yet?" asked a _barin_[1] of about
forty who, hatless, and clad in a dusty jacket over a pair of tweed
breeches, stepped on to the verandah of a posting-house on the 20th
day of May, 1859. The person addressed was the _barin's_ servant--a
round-cheeked young fellow with small, dull eyes and a chin adorned
with a tuft of pale-coloured down.

Glancing along the high road in a supercilious manner, the servant
(in whom everything, from the turquoise ear-ring to the dyed, pomaded
hair and the mincing gait, revealed the modern, the rising generation)
replied: "No, _barin_, I cannot."

"Is that so?" queried the _barin_.

"Yes," the servant affirmed.

The _barin_ sighed, and seated himself upon a bench. While he is
sitting there with his knees drawn under him and his eyes moodily
glancing to right and left, the reader may care to become better
acquainted with his personality.

His name was Nikolai Petrovitch Kirsanov, and he owned (some fifteen
versts from the posting-house) a respectable little property of about
two hundred souls (or, as, after that he had apportioned his peasantry
allotments, and set up a "farm," he himself expressed it, a property
"of two thousand _desiatini_"[2]). His father, one of the generals
of 1812, had spent his life exclusively in military service as the
commander, first of a brigade, and then of a division; and always he
had been quartered in the provinces, where his rank had enabled him to
cut a not inconspicuous figure. As for Nikolai Petrovitch himself, he
was born in Southern Russia (as also was his elder brother, Paul--of
whom presently), and, until his fourteenth year, received his education
amid a circle of hard-up governors, free-and-easy aides-de-camp, and
sundry staff and regimental officers. His mother came of the family of
the Koliazins, and, known in maidenhood as Agathe, and subsequently as
Agathoklea Kuzminishna Kirsanov, belonged to the type of "officer's
lady." That is to say, she wore pompous mobcaps and rustling silk
dresses, was always the first to approach the cross in church, talked
volubly and in a loud tone, of set practice admitted her sons to kiss
her hand in the morning, and never failed to bless them before retiring
to rest at night. In short, she lived the life which suited her. As
the son of a general, Nikolai Petrovitch was bound--though he evinced
no particular bravery, and might even have seemed a coward--to follow
his brother Paul's example by entering the army; but unfortunately,
owing to the fact that, on the very day when there arrived the news of
his commission, he happened to break his leg, it befell that, after
two months in bed, he rose to his feet a permanently lamed man. When
his father had finished wringing his hands over the mischance, he sent
his son to acquire a civilian education; whence it came about that
Nikolai, at eighteen, found himself a student at the University of
St. Petersburg. At the same period his brother obtained a commission
in one of the regiments of Guards; and, that being so, their father
apportioned the two young men a joint establishment, and placed it
under the more or less detached supervision of Ilya Koliazin, their
maternal uncle and a leading _tchinovnik_.[3] That done, the father
returned to his division and his wife, and only at rare intervals
sent his sons sheets of grey foolscap (scrawled and re-scrawled in
flamboyant calligraphy) to which there was appended, amid a bower of
laborious flourishes, the signature "Piotr Kirsanov, Major-General."
In the year 1835 Nikolai Petrovitch obtained his university degree;
and in the same year General Kirsanov was retired for incompetence
at a review, and decided to transfer his quarters to St. Petersburg.
Unfortunately, just as he was on the point both of renting a house
near the Tavritchesky Gardens and of being enrolled as a member of
the English Club, a stroke put an end to his career, and Agathoklea
Kuzminishna followed him soon afterwards, since never had she succeeded
in taking to the dull life of the capital, but always had hankered
after the old provincial existence. Already during his parents'
lifetime, and to their no small vexation, Nikolai Petrovitch had
contrived to fall in love with the daughter of a certain _tchinovnik_
named Prepolovensky, the landlord of his flat; and since the maiden was
not only comely, but one of the type known as "advanced" (that is to
say, she perused an occasional "Science" article in one newspaper or
another), he married her out of hand as soon as the term of mourning
was ended, and, abandoning the Ministry of Provincial Affairs to which,
through his father's influence, he had been posted, embarked upon
connubial felicity in a villa adjoining the Institute of Forestry.
Thence, after a while, the couple removed to a diminutive, but in
every way respectable, flat which could boast of a spotless vestibule
and an icy-cold drawing-room; and thence, again, they migrated to the
country, where they settled for good, and where, in due time, they
had born to them a son Arkady. The existence of husband and wife
was one of perfect comfort and tranquillity. Almost never were they
parted from one another, they read together, they played the piano
together, and they sang duets. Also, she would garden or superintend
the poultry-yard, and he would set forth a-hunting, or see to the
management of the estate. Meanwhile Arkady led an existence of equal
calm and comfort, and grew, and waxed fat; until, in 1847, when ten
years had been passed in this idyllic fashion, Kirsanov's wife breathed
her last. The blow proved almost more than the husband could bear--so
much so that his head turned grey in a few weeks. Yet, though he sought
distraction for his thoughts by going abroad, he felt constrained, in
the following year, to return home, where, after a prolonged period of
inaction, he took up the subject of Industrial Reform. Next, in 1855,
he sent his son to the University of St. Petersburg, and, for the same
reason, spent the following three winters in the capital, where he
seldom went out, but spent the greater part of his time in endeavouring
to fraternise with his son's youthful acquaintances. The fourth winter,
however, he was prevented by various circumstances from spending in St.
Petersburg; and thus in the May of 1859 we see him--grey-headed, dusty,
a trifle bent, and wholly middle-aged--awaiting his son's home-coming
after the elevation of the latter (in Nikolai's own footsteps) to the
dignity of a graduate.

Presently either a sense of decency or (more probably) a certain
disinclination to remain immediately under his master's eye led the
servant to withdraw to the entrance gates, and there to light a pipe.
Nikolai Petrovitch, however, continued sitting with head bent, and his
eyes contemplating the ancient steps of the verandah, up which a stout
speckled hen was tap-tapping its way on a pair of splayed yellow legs,
and thereby causing an untidy, but fastidious-looking, cat to regard
it from the balustrade with marked disapproval. Meanwhile the sun
beat fiercely down, and from the darkened interior of a neighbouring
granary came a smell as of hot rye straw. Nikolai Petrovitch sank
into a reverie. "My son Arkady a graduate!"--the words kept passing
and repassing through his mind. Again and again he tried to think of
something else, but always the same thought returned to him. Until
eventually he reverted to the memory of his dead wife. "Would that she
were still with me!" was his yearning reflection. Presently a fat blue
pigeon alighted upon the roadway, and fell to taking a hasty drink from
a pool beside the well. And almost at the instant that the spectacle of
the bird caught Nikolai Petrovitch's eye, his ear caught the sound of
approaching wheels.

"They are coming, I think," hazarded the servant as he stepped forward
through the gates.

Nikolai Petrovitch sprang to his feet, and strained his eyes along the
road. Yes, coming into view there was a _tarantass_,[4] drawn by three
stagehorses; and in the _tarantass_ there could be seen the band of a
student's cap and the outlines of a familiar, well-beloved face.

"Arkasha, Arkasha!" was Kirsanov's cry as, running forward, he
waved his arms. A few moments later he was pressing his lips to the
sun-tanned, dusty, hairless cheek of the newly-fledged graduate.


[1] Gentleman or squire.

[2] The _desiatin_ = 2.86 acres.

[3] Civil servant.

[4] A species of four-wheeled carriage.



II


"Yes, but first give me a rub down, dearest Papa," said Arkady in a
voice which, though a little hoarsened with travelling, was yet clear
and youthful. "See! I am covering you with dust!" he added as joyously
he returned his father's caresses.

"Oh, but that will not matter," said Nikolai Petrovitch with a loving,
reassuring smile as he gave the collar of his son's blue cloak a
couple of pats, and then did the same by his own jacket. Thereafter,
gently withdrawing from his son's embrace, and beginning to lead the
way towards the inn yard, he added: "Come this way, come this way. The
horses will soon be ready."

His excitement seemed even to outdo his son's, so much did he stammer
and stutter, and, at times, find himself at a loss for a word. Arkady
stopped him.

"Papa," he said, "first let me introduce my good friend Bazarov, who is
the comrade whom I have so often mentioned in letters to you, and who
has been kind enough to come to us for a visit."

At once Nikolai Petrovitch wheeled round, and, approaching a tall man
who, clad in a long coat with a tasselled belt, had just alighted from
the _tarantass_, pressed the bare red hand which, after a pause, the
stranger offered him.

"I am indeed glad to see you!" was Nikolai Petrovitch's greeting, "I am
indeed grateful to you for your kindness in paying us this visit! Alas,
I hope that, that----But first might I inquire your name?"

"Evgenii Vasiliev," replied the other in slow, but virile, accents
as, turning down the collar of his coat, he revealed his face more
clearly. Long and thin, with a high forehead which looked flattened
at the top and became sharpened towards the nose, the face had large,
greenish eyes and long, sandy whiskers. The instant that the features
brightened into a smile, however, they betokened self-assurance and
intellect.

"My dearest Evgenii Vasiliev", Nikolai Petrovitch continued, "I trust
that whilst you are with us you will not find time hang heavy upon your
hands."

Bazarov gave his lips a slight twitch, but vouchsafed no reply
beyond raising his cap--a movement which revealed the fact that the
prominent convolutions of the skull were by no means concealed by the
superincumbent mass of indeterminate-coloured hair.

"Now, Arkady," went on Nikolai Petrovitch as he turned to his son,
"shall we have the horses harnessed at once, or should you prefer to
rest a little?"

"Let us rest at home, Papa. So pray have the horses put to."

"I will," his father agreed. "Peter! Bestir yourself, my good fellow!"

Being what is known as a "perfectly trained servant," Peter had neither
approached nor shaken hands with the young _barin_, but contented
himself with a distant bow. He now vanished through the yard gates.

"Though I have come in the _koliaska_," said Nikolai Petrovitch, "I
have brought three fresh horses for the _tarantass_."

Arkady then drank some water from a yellow bowl proffered by the
landlord, while Bazarov lighted a pipe, and approached the ostler, who
was engaged in unharnessing the stagehorses.

"Only two can ride in the _koliaska_," continued Nikolai Petrovitch;
"wherefore I am rather in a difficulty to know how your friend will----"

"Oh, he can travel in the _tarantass_," interrupted Arkady. "Moreover,
do not stand on any ceremony with him, for, wonderful though he is, he
is also quite simple, as you will find for yourself."

Nikolai Petrovitch's coachman brought out the horses, and Bazarov
remarked to the ostler:

"Come, bestir yourself, fat-beard!"

"Did you hear that, Mitiusha?" added another ostler who was standing
with his hands thrust into the back slits of his blouse. "The _barin_
has just called you a fat-beard. And a fat-beard you are."

For answer Mitiusha merely cocked his cap to one side and drew the
reins from the back of the sweating shafts-horse.

"Quick now, my good fellows!" cried Nikolai Petrovitch. "Bear a hand,
all of you, and for each there will be a glassful of _vodka_."

Naturally, it was not long before the horses were harnessed, and then
father and son seated themselves in the _koliaska_, Peter mounted the
box of that vehicle, and Bazarov stepped into the _tarantass_, and
lolled his head against the leather cushion at the back. Finally the
cortège moved away.



III


"To think that you are now a graduate and home again!" said Nikolai
Petrovitch as he tapped Arkady on the knee, and then on the shoulder.
"There now, there now!"

"And how is Uncle? Is he quite well?" asked Arkady--the reason for the
question being that though he felt filled with a genuine, an almost
childish delight at his return, he also felt conscious of an instinct
that the conversation were best diverted from the emotional to the
prosaic.

"Yes, your uncle is quite well. As a matter of fact, he also had
arranged to come and meet you, but at the last moment changed his mind."

"Did you have very long to wait?" continued Arkady.

"About five hours."

"Dearest Papa!" cried Arkady as, leaning over towards his father, he
imprinted upon his cheek a fervent kiss. Nikolai Petrovitch smiled
quietly.

"I have got a splendid horse for you," he next remarked. "Presently you
shall see him. Also, your room has been entirely repapered."

"And have you a room for Bazarov as well?"

"One shall be found for him."

"Oh--and pray humour him in every way you can. I could not express to
you how much I value his friendship."

"But you have not known him very long, have you?"

"No--not very long."

"I thought not, for I do not remember to have seen him in St.
Petersburg last winter. In what does he most interest himself?"

"Principally in natural science. But, to tell the truth, he knows
practically _everything_, and is to become a doctor next year."

"Oh! So he is in the Medical Faculty?" Nikolai Petrovitch remarked;
after which there was silence for a moment.

"Peter," went on Nikolai, pointing with his hand, "are not those
peasants there some of our own?"

Peter glanced in the direction indicated, and saw a few waggons
proceeding along a narrow by-road. The teams were bridleless, and in
each waggon were seated some two or three _muzhiks_ with their blouses
unbuttoned.

"Yes, they are some of our own," Peter responded.

"Then whither can they be going? To the town?"

"Yes--or to the tavern." This last was added contemptuously, and with
a wink to the coachman that was designed to enlist that functionary's
sympathy: but as the functionary in question was one of the old school
which takes no share in the modern movement, he stirred not a muscle of
his face.

"This year my peasants have been giving me a good deal of trouble,"
Nikolai Petrovitch continued to his son. "Persistently do they refuse
to pay their tithes. What ought to be done with them?"

"And do you find your hired workmen satisfactory?"

"Not altogether," muttered Nikolai Petrovitch. "You see, they have
become spoilt, more's the pity! Any real energy seems quite to have
left them, and they not only ruin my implements, but also leave the
land untilled. Does estate-management interest you?"

"The thing we most lack here is shade," remarked Arkady in evasion of
the question.

"Ah, but I have had an awning added to the north balcony, so that we
can take our meals in the open air."

"But that will give the place rather the look of a villa, will it not?
Things of that sort never prove effectual. But oh, the air here! How
good it smells! Yes, in my opinion, things never smell elsewhere as
they do here. And oh, the sky!"

Suddenly Arkady stopped, threw a glance of apprehension in the
direction of the _tarantass_, and relapsed into silence.

"I quite agree with you," replied Nikolai Petrovitch. "You see, the
reason is that you were born here, and that therefore the place is
bound to have for you a special significance."

"But no significance can attach to the place of a man's birth, Papa."

"Indeed?"

"Oh no. None whatsoever."

Nikolai Petrovitch glanced at the speaker, and for fully half a verst
let the vehicle proceed without the conversation between them being
renewed. At length Nikolai Petrovitch observed:

"I cannot remember whether I wrote to tell you that your old nurse,
Egorovna, is dead."

"Dead? Oh, the poor old woman! But Prokofitch--is _he_ still alive?"

"He is so, and in no way changed--that is to say, he grumbles as much
as ever. In fact, you will find that no _really_ important alterations
have taken place at Marino."

"And have you the same steward as before?"

"No; I have appointed a fresh one, for I came to the conclusion that
I could not have any freed serfs about the place. That is to say,
I did not feel as though I could trust such fellows with posts of
responsibility." Arkady indicated Peter with his eyes, and Nikolai
Petrovitch therefore subdued his voice a little. "He? Oh, _il est
libre, en effet_. You see, he is my valet. But as regards a steward,
I have appointed a _miestchanin_,[1] at a salary of 250 roubles a
year, and he seems at least capable. But"--and here Nikolai Petrovitch
rubbed his forehead, which gesture with him always implied inward
agitation--"I ought to say that, though I have told you that you will
find no alterations of importance at Marino, the statement is not
strictly true, seeing that it is my duty to warn you that, that----"
Nikolai Petrovitch hesitated again--then added in French: "Perhaps by a
stern moralist my frankness might be considered misplaced; yet I will
not conceal from you, nor can you fail to be aware, that always I have
had ideas of my own on the subject of the relations which ought to
subsist between a father and his son. At the same time, this is not to
say that you have not the right to _judge_ me. Rather, it is that at my
age----Well, to put matters bluntly, the girl whom you will have heard
me speak of----"

"You mean Thenichka?" said Arkady.

Nikolai Petrovitch's face went red.

"Do not speak of her so loudly," he advised. "Yes, _she_ is living with
us. I took her in because two of our smaller rooms were available. But
of course the arrangement must be changed."

"Why must it, Papa?"

"Because this friend of yours is coming, and also because--well, it
might make things awkward."

"Do not disturb yourself on Bazarov's account. He is altogether
superior to such things."

"Yes, so you say; but the mischief lies in the fact that the wing is so
small."

"Papa, Papa!" protested Arkady. "Almost one would think that you
considered yourself to blame for something; whereas you have _nothing_
to reproach yourself with."

"Ah, but I have," responded Nikolai Petrovitch. His face had turned
redder than ever.

"No, you have _not_, Papa," repeated Arkady with a loving smile, while
adding to himself with a feeling of indulgent tenderness for his good,
kind father, as well as with a certain sense of "superiority": "Why is
he making these excuses?"

"I beg of you to say no more," he continued with an involuntary feeling
of exultation in being "grown up" and "emancipated." As he did so
Nikolai Petrovitch glanced at him from under the fingers of the hand
which was still rubbing his brows. At the same moment something seemed
to give his heart a stab. Mentally, as before, he blamed himself.

"Here our fields begin," he observed after a pause.

"I see," rejoined Arkady. "And that is our forest in front, I suppose?"

"It is so. Only, only--I have sold it, and this year it is to be
removed."

"Why have you sold it?"

"Because I needed the money. Moreover, the land which it occupies must
go to the peasants."

"What? To the peasants who pay you no tithes?"

"Possibly. But some day they will pay me."

"I regret the forest's loss," said Arkady, and then resumed his
contemplation of the landscape.

The scenery which the party were traversing could not have been called
picturesque, for, with slight undulations, only fields, fields, and
again fields, stretched to the very horizon. True, a few patches of
copse were visible, but the ditches, with their borderings of low,
sparse brushwood, recalled the antique land-measurement of Katherine's
day. Also, streams ran pent between abruptly sloping banks, hamlets
with dwarfed huts (of which the blackened roofs were, for the most
part, cracked in half) stood cheek by jowl with crazy grinding-byres
of plaited willow, empty threshing-floors had their gates sagging,
and from churches of wood or of brick which stood amid dilapidated
graveyards the stucco was peeling, and the crosses were threatening at
any moment to fall. As he gazed at the scene Arkady's heart contracted.
Moreover, the peasants encountered on the road looked ragged, and were
riding sorry nags, while the laburnum trees which stood ranged like
miserable beggars by the roadside had their bark hanging in strips,
and their boughs shattered. Lastly, the lean, mud-encrusted cows which
could be seen hungrily cropping the herbage in the ditches were so
"staring" of coat that the animals might just have been rescued from
the talons of some terrible, death-dealing monster; and as one gazed at
those weak, pitiful beasts, almost one could fancy that one saw uprisen
from amid the beauty of spring, the pale phantoms of Winter--its storms
and its frost and its snow.

"Evidently this is not a rich district," reflected Arkady. "Rather,
it is a district which gives one the impression neither of abundance
nor of hard work. Yet can it be left as it is? No! Education is what
we need. But how is that education to be administered, or, for that
matter, to be introduced?"

Thus Arkady. Yet, even as the thought passed through his mind, Spring
seemed once more to regain possession of her kingdom, and everything
around him grew golden-green, and trees, shrubs, and herbage started
to wave and glimmer under the soft, warm breath of the vernal zephyrs,
and larks took to pouring out their souls in endless, ringing strains,
and siskins, circling high over sunken ponds, uttered their cry, then
skimmed the hillocks in silence, and handsome black rooks stalked
among the tender green of the short corn-shoots, or settled among the
pale-white, smokelike ripples of the young rye, whence at intervals
they protruded their heads.

Arkady gazed and gazed; and gradually, as he did so, his late thoughts
grew dimmer and disappeared, and, throwing off his travelling-cloak,
he peered so joyously, with such a boyish air, into his father's face
that Nikolai Petrovitch bestowed upon him yet another embrace.

"We have but little further to go now," he remarked. "In fact, when
once we have topped that rise the house will come into view. And what
a time we are going to have together, Arkasha! For you will be able
to help me with the estate (if you care to, that is to say?), and you
and I will draw nearer to one another, and make one another's better
acquaintance."

"We will!" cried Arkady. "And what splendid weather for us both!"

"Yes; specially for your home-coming is spring in all its glory. Yet I
am not sure that I do not agree with Pushkin where he says, in _Eugène
Onegin_:

/$
    "How sad to me is your coming,
     O spring, spring, season of love!"
$/

"Arkady," shouted Bazarov from the _tarantass_, "please send me a match
or two, for I have nothing to light my pipe with."

Instantly Nikolai Petrovitch ceased quoting poetry, and Arkady (who
had listened with considerable surprise, though also with a certain
measure of sympathy, to his father) hastened to produce from his pocket
a silver matchbox, and to dispatch the same by the hand of Peter.

"In return, would you care to have a cigar?" called Bazarov.

"I should," replied Arkady.

The result was that when Peter returned to the _koliaska_ he handed
Arkady not only the matchbox, but also a fat black cigar. This Arkady
lit at leisure, and then proceeded to diffuse around him so strong and
acrid an odour of tobacco that Nikolai Petrovitch (a non-smoker from
birth) found himself forced to avert his nose (though he did this
covertly, for fear of offending his son).

A quarter of an hour later the vehicles drew up at the steps of a new
wooden mansion, painted grey, and roofed with red sheet-iron. The
mansion was Marino, or Novaia Sloboda, or, to quote the peasants' name,
"Bobili Chutor."


[1] A member of the trading or shopkeeping class.



IV


There issued on to the verandah to greet the arrivals no throng of
household serfs--only a solitary girl of twelve. Presently, however,
she was joined by a young fellow much resembling Peter, but dressed
in a grey livery coat to which embossed, silver-gilt buttons were
attached. This was Paul Kirsanov's valet. In silence he opened the door
of the _koliaska_, and unhooked the apron of the _tarantass_; whereupon
the three gentlemen alighted, passed through a dark, bare hall (the
face of a young woman peered at them for a moment from behind a door),
and entered a drawing-room upholstered in the latest fashion.

"So here we are at home again!" exclaimed Nikolai Petrovitch, taking
off his cap, and shaking back his hair. "Let us have supper, and then
for bed, bed!"

"Yes, something to eat would undoubtedly be welcome," remarked Bazarov
as, yawning, he seated himself upon a sofa.

"Quite so; I will have supper served at once." Nikolai Petrovitch,
for no apparent reason, tripped over his own feet. "And here comes
Prokofitch," he added.

As he spoke entered a man of about sixty who, white-haired, and of
thin, swarthy features, was wearing a cinnamon-coloured tail-coat
with brass buttons and a crimson collar. He smiled with delight as he
approached and shook hands with Arkady. Then, with a bow to the guest,
he retired to the doorway, and folded his hands behind his back.

"So here is the young master, Prokofitch!" said Nikolai Petrovitch.
"He is home at last. And how, think you, is he looking?"

"Very well, very well," the old man said with another smile. The next
moment, however, he knit his shaggy brows, and suggested: "Shall I lay
the table?"

"If you please, if you please." Nikolai Petrovitch turned to Bazarov.

"Before supper," he said, "would you care to go to your room?"

"I thank you, no. But please have my trunk conveyed thither, and also
this wrap." And Bazarov divested himself of his cloak.

"Certainly. Prokofitch, take the gentleman's cloak."

The old butler received the garment gingerly, held it well away from
him with both hands, and left the room on tiptoe.

"And you, Arkady?" continued Nikolai Petrovitch. "Do you not wish to go
to your room?"

"Yes; for a wash I should be thankful," was Arkady's reply as he moved
towards the door. At that moment it opened to admit a man of medium
height who was dressed in a dark English suit, a fashionably low
collar, and a pair of patent leather boots. This was Paul Petrovitch
Kirsanov. Although forty-five, he had close-cropped grey hair of the
sheen of new silver, and his sallow, unwrinkled face was as clear-cut
and regular of outline as though carved with a light, fine chisel.
Still retaining traces of remarkable comeliness, his bright, black,
oblong eyes had a peculiar attraction, and his every well-bred, refined
feature showed that symmetry of youth, that air of superiority to the
rest of the world which usually disappears when once the twenties have
been passed.

Drawing from his trouser pocket a slender hand the long, pink nails
of which looked all the slenderer for the snowy whiteness of the
superimposed cuff and large opal sleeve-link, he offered it to his
nephew; after which, this prefatory European "handshake" over, he
thrice kissed Arkady in the Russian fashion--that is to say, touched
his nephew's cheek with his perfumed moustache, and murmured: "I
congratulate you."

Next Nikolai Petrovitch presented to him Bazarov. Inclining his supple
figure with a faint smile, Paul Petrovitch this time did not offer his
hand. On the contrary, he replaced it in his pocket.

"I was beginning to think that you never meant to arrive," he said with
an amiable hoist of his shoulders and a display of some beautiful white
teeth. "What happened to you?"

"Nothing," replied Arkady, "except that we lingered a little. For the
same reason are we as hungry as wolves; so pray tell Prokofitch to be
quick, Papa, and I shall be back in a moment."

"Wait; I will go with you," added Bazarov as he rose from the sofa; and
the two young men left the room together.

"Who is your guest?" asked Paul Petrovitch.

"A friend of Arkady's, and, according to Arkady's showing, a man of
intellect."

"He is going to stay here?"

"He is."

"A long-haired fellow like that?"

"Certainly."

In that particular direction Paul Petrovitch said no more, but, tapping
the table with his finger-nails, added:

"_Je pense que notre Arkady s'est dégourdi._[1] And in any case I am
pleased to see him back again."

At supper little was said. In particular did Bazarov scarcely speak,
though he ate heartily; and only Nikolai Petrovitch proved garrulous as
he related various incidents in what he termed his "agricultural life,"
and gossiped of forthcoming administrative measures, committees,
deputations, the need of introducing machinery, and other such topics.

For his part, Paul Petrovitch paced the room (he never took supper),
and sipped a glassful of red wine, and occasionally interjected some
such remark--rather, exclamation--as "Ah!" or "Oh, ho!" or "H'm!"
Arkady's contribution consisted of a little St. Petersburg gossip, even
though, throughout, he was conscious of a touch of that awkwardness
which overtakes a young man when, just ceased to be a boy, he returns
to the spot where hitherto he has ranked as a mere child. In other
words, he drawled his phrases unnecessarily, carefully avoided the use
of the term "Papasha,"[2] and, once, even went so far as to substitute
for it the term "Otety"[3]--though, true, he pronounced it with some
difficulty. Lastly, in his excessive desire to seem at his ease, he
helped himself to more wine than was good for him, and tasted some of
every brand. Meanwhile Prokofitch chewed his lips, and never removed
his eyes from his young master.

Supper over, the company dispersed.

"A queer fellow is that uncle of yours," Bazarov said to Arkady as,
clad in a dressing-gown, he seated himself by his friend's bed, and
sucked at a short pipe. "To think of encountering such elegance in the
country! He would take a prize with his finger-nails."

"You do not know him yet," said Arkady. "In his day he was a leading
lion, and some time or another I will tell you his history. Yes, many
and many a woman has lost her head over his good looks."

"Then I should think that he has nothing to live on save memories,"
observed Bazarov. "At all events, there is no one _here_ for him to
enslave. I looked him over to-night, and never in my life have beheld
a collar of such marvellous gloss, or a chin so perfectly shaven. Yet
such things can come to look ridiculous, do not you think?"

"Yes--perhaps they can. But he is such an excellent fellow in himself!"

"Oh, certainly--a truly archangelic personage! Your father, too, is
excellent; for though he may read foolish poetry, and though his ideas
on the subject of industry may be few, his heart is in the right place."

"He is a man with a heart of gold."

"Nevertheless, did you notice his nervousness to-night?"

Arkady nodded as though to himself such a weakness was a perfect
stranger.

"Curious indeed!" commented Bazarov. "Ah, you elderly Romanticists!
You over-develop the nervous system until the balance is upset. Now,
good-night. In my room there is an English washstand, yet the door
will not shut! But such things (English washstands I mean) need to be
encouraged: they represent 'progress.'"

And Bazarov departed, while Arkady surrendered himself to a sensation
of comfort. How pleasant was it to be sinking to sleep in one's
comfortable home, and in one's own familiar bed, and under a well-known
coverlet worked by loving hands--perhaps those of his good, kind,
tireless old nurse! And at the thought of Egorovna he sighed, and
commended her soul to the Heavenly Powers. But for himself he did not
pray.

Soon both he and Bazarov were asleep; but certain other members of the
household there were who remained wakeful. In particular had Nikolai
Petrovitch been greatly excited by his son's return; and though he went
to bed, he left the candle burning, and, resting with his head on his
hands, lay thinking deeply.

Also, his brother sat up in his study until nearly midnight. Seated
in an ample armchair before a corner where a marble stove was
smouldering, he had effected no alteration in his costume beyond
having exchanged his patent leather boots for a pair of heelless, red
felt slippers. Lastly, he was holding, though not reading, the latest
number of _Galignani_, and his eyes were fixed upon the stove, where
a quivering blue spurt of flame kept alternately disappearing and
bursting forth again. Whither his thoughts were wandering God only
knows; but that they were not meandering through the past alone was
proved by the fact that in his expression there was a concentrated
gloom which is never in evidence when a man's mind is occupied with
memories and no more.

Finally, seated on a chest in a small room at the back of the house,
and wearing a blue dressing-jacket and, thrown over her dark hair,
a white scarf, was the girl Thenichka. As she sat there she kept
listening, and starting, and gazing towards an open door which at once
afforded a glimpse of an infant's cot and admitted the sound of a
sleeping child's respiration.


[1] "I think that our friend Arkady has acquired some polish."

[2] Dear Papa.

[3] Father.



V


Next morning Bazarov was the first to awake and go out of doors.

"Ah," thought he to himself as he gazed about him, "this is _not_ much
of a place to look at."

When apportioning allotments to his peasantry, Nikolai Petrovitch had
found himself forced to exclude from the new "farm" four _desiatins_
of level, naked land, and upon this space had built himself a house,
quarters for his servants, and a homestead. Also, he had laid out
a garden, dug a pond, and sunk two wells. But the young trees had
fared badly, very little water had risen in the pond, and the wells
had developed a brackish taste. The only vegetation to attain robust
growth was a clump of lilacs and acacias, under the shade of which the
household was accustomed to take tea or to dine. Within a few minutes
Bazarov had traversed all the paths in the garden, visited the stables
and the cattlesheds, and made friends with two young household serfs
whom he happened to encounter, and with whom he set forth to catch
frogs in a marsh about a verst from the manor.

"For what do you want frogs, _barin_?" asked one of the lads.

"To make them useful," replied Bazarov (who possessed a peculiar gift
for winning the confidence of his inferiors, even though he never
cozened them, but, on the contrary, always treated them with asperity).
"You see, I like to open them, and then to observe what their insides
are doing. You and I are frogs too, except that we walk upon our hind
legs. Thus the operation helps me to understand what is taking place in
ourselves."

"And what good will that do you?"

"This. That if you should fall sick, and I should have to treat you, I
might avoid some mistakes."

"Then you are a doctor?"

"I am."

"Listen to that, Vasika! The _barin_ says that you and I too are frogs.
My word!"

"I don't like frogs," remarked Vasika, a barefooted boy of seven with
a head as white as tow, and a costume made up of a grey blouse and a
stiff collar.

"_Why_ don't you like them?" asked Bazarov. "Do you think they will
bite you? Nay! Into the water, my young philosophers!"

Nikolai Petrovitch too had left his bed, and, on going to visit Arkady,
found him fully dressed; wherefore father and son proceeded to repair
to the terrace, and there seated themselves under the shade of the
awning. Amid nosegays of lilac, a tea-urn was simmering on a table
by the balustrade, and presently there appeared upon the scene also
the damsel who, on the previous night, had met the arrivals on the
verandah. She announced in shrill tones:

"Theodosia Nikolaevna is not very well this morning, and cannot come to
breakfast. So she has told me to ask you whether you will pour out tea
for yourselves, or whether she is to send Duniasha?"

"I will pour it out myself," Nikolai Petrovitch replied with some
haste. "Will you have cream or lemon in your tea, Arkady?"

"Cream," he replied. After a pause he continued:

"Papasha----"

Nikolai Petrovitch glanced confusedly in his direction.

"Yes?" said he.

Arkady lowered his eyes.

"Pardon me if my question should seem to you indiscreet," he began,
"but, owing to your frankness of last night, I am emboldened to return
it. You will not take offence, will you?"

"Oh no! Pray go on."

"Then I feel encouraged to ask you whether it--whether it is because
I am here that she--that is to say, Thenichka--has not joined us at
breakfast?"

Nikolai Petrovitch slightly averted his face.

"It may be so," he said at length. "At all events, I presume that--that
she prefers, she prefers--in fact, that she is shy."

Arkady glanced at his father.

"But why should she be shy?" he inquired. "In the first place, you know
my views" (he uttered the words with no little complacency), "and, in
the second place, surely you cannot suppose that I would by a hair's
breadth intrude upon your life and your habits? No; sure am I that
never could you make a bad choice; and if you have asked this girl
to reside under your roof, that is tantamount to saying that she has
well deserved it. In any case, moreover, it is not for a son to summon
his father to judgment--least of all for me, who possess a father
like yourself, a father who has never restricted his son's freedom of
action."

At first Arkady's voice had trembled a little, since not only did he
feel that he was doing the "magnanimous," but also he knew that he
was delivering something like a "lecture" to his father; but such an
effect does the sound of his own voice exercise upon a human being that
towards the end Arkady pronounced his words firmly, and even with a
certain degree of _empressement_.

"I thank you, Arkady," Nikolai Petrovitch said faintly as his fingers
began their customary perambulation of his forehead. "Nor is your
conjecture mistaken, for if this girl had not deserved the invitation,
I should not, of course, have--in other words, as you imply, this is no
frivolous whim on my part. Nor need I have spoken of the matter, were
it not that I desired you to understand that she might possibly have
felt embarrassed at meeting you on the very day after your arrival."

"Then let _me_ go and meet _her_," exclaimed Arkady with another access
of "magnanimity" as he sprang from his chair. "Yes, let _me_ go and
explain to her why she need not shun me."

Nikolai Petrovitch also rose.

"Arkady," he began, "pray do me a favour. Hitherto I had not warned you
that----"

But, without listening to him, Arkady darted from the terrace. For
a moment or two Nikolai Petrovitch gazed after him--then, overcome
with confusion, relapsed into a chair. His heart was beating rapidly.
Whether or not he was picturing to himself a strangeness of future
relations with his son; whether he was imagining that, had his son
refrained from interfering, the latter might have paid him more respect
in future; whether he was reproaching himself for his own weakness--it
is difficult to say what his thoughts were. Probably in them there was
a combination of the feelings just indicated, if only in the form of
apprehensions. Yet those apprehensions cannot have been deeply rooted,
as was proved by the fact that, for all the beating of his heart, the
colour had not left his face.

Soon hasty footsteps were heard approaching, and Arkady reappeared on
the terrace.

"I have made her acquaintance!" he shouted with a kindly,
good-humoured, triumphant expression. "That Theodosia Nikolaievna is
not well to-day is a fact; but also it is a fact that she is going to
appear later. And why did you not tell me that I had a little brother?
Otherwise I should have gone and kissed him last night, even as I have
done this moment."

Nikolai Petrovitch tried to say something--to rise and to make an
explanation of some sort; but Arkady cut him short by falling upon his
neck.

"What is this? Again embracing?" said Paul Petrovitch behind them.

As a matter of fact, neither father nor son was ill-pleased to see
him appear, for, however touching such situations may be, one may be
equally glad to escape from them.

"At what are you surprised?" asked Nikolai Petrovitch gaily. "Remember
that I have not seen Arkesha for several centuries--at all events, not
since last night!"

"Oh, I am not surprised," said Paul Petrovitch. "On the contrary, I
should not mind embracing him myself."

And Arkady, on approaching his uncle, felt once more upon his cheek the
impression of a perfumed moustache. Paul Petrovitch then sat down to
table. Clad in an elegant morning suit of English cut, he was flaunting
on his head a diminutive fez which helped the carelessly folded tie to
symbolise the freedom of a country life. At the same time, the stiff
collar of the shirt (which was striped, not white, as best befitted
a matutinal toilet) supported with its usual rigour an immaculately
shaven chin.

"Well, Arkady?" said he. "Where is your new friend?"

"Out somewhere. He seldom misses going for an early morning walk.
But the great thing is to take no notice of him, for he detests all
ceremony."

"So I have perceived." And with his usual deliberateness Paul
Petrovitch began to butter a piece of bread. "Will he be staying here
very long?"

"Well, as long as he may care to stay. As a matter of fact, he is going
on to his father's place."

"And where does his father live?"

"Some eighty versts from here, in the same province as ourselves. I
believe he has a small property, and used to be an army doctor."

"H'm! Ever since last night I have been asking myself where I can have
heard the name before. Nikolai, do you remember whether there was a
doctor of that name in our father's division?"

"Yes, there used to be."

"Then that doctor will be this fellow's father. H'm!" And Paul
Petrovitch twitched his moustache. "What exactly is your Bazarov?" he
enquired of Arkady.

"What _is_ he?" Arkady repeated smiling. "Do you really want me to tell
you what he is, Uncle?"

"If you please, my nephew."

"He is a Nihilist."

"A what?" exclaimed Nikolai Petrovitch, while even Paul Petrovitch
paused in the act of raising a knife to the edge of which there was a
morsel of butter adhering.

"A Nihilist," repeated Arkady.

"A Nihilist?" queried Nikolai Petrovitch. "I imagine that that must
be a term derived from the Latin _nihil_ or 'nothing.' It denotes,
I presume, a man who--a man who--well, a man who declines to accept
_anything_."

"Or a man who declines to _respect_ anything," hazarded Paul Petrovitch
as he re-applied himself to the butter.

"No, a man who treats things solely from the critical point of view,"
corrected Arkady.

"But the two things are one and the same, are they not?" queried Paul
Petrovitch.

"Oh no. A Nihilist is a man who declines to bow to authority, or to
accept any principle on trust, however sanctified it may be."

"And to what can that lead?" asked Paul Petrovitch.

"It depends upon the individual. In one man's case, it may lead to
good; in that of another, to evil."

"I see. But we elders view things differently. We folk of the
older generation believe that without principles" (Paul Petrovitch
pronounced the word softly, and with a French accent, whereas Arkady
had pronounced it with an emphasis on the leading syllable)--"without
principles it is impossible to take a single step in life, or to draw a
single breath. _Mais vous avez changé tout cela._ God send you health
and a general's rank, Messieurs Nihil--how do you pronounce it?"

"Ni-hi-lists," said Arkady distinctly.

"Quite so (formerly we had Hegelists, and now they have become
Nihilists)--God send you health and a general's rank, but also let us
see how you will contrive to exist in an absolute void, an airless
vacuum. Pray ring the bell, brother Nikolai, for it is time for me to
take my cocoa."

Nikolai Petrovitch did as requested, and also shouted for Duniasha;
but, instead of the latter, there issued on to the terrace Thenichka
in person. A young woman of twenty-three, she was pale, and
gentle-looking, with dark eyes and hair, a pair of childishly red,
pouting lips, and delicate hands. Also, she was clad in a clean
cotton gown, a new blue kerchief was thrown lightly over her rounded
shoulders, and she was carrying in front of her a large cup of cocoa.
Shyly she placed the latter before Paul Petrovitch, while a warm, rosy
current of blood suffused the exquisite skin of her comely face, and
then she remained standing by the table, with lowered eyes and the
tips of her fingers touching its surface. Yet, though she looked as
though she were regretting having come, she looked as though she felt
that she had a right to be there.

Paul Petrovitch frowned, and Nikolai Petrovitch looked confused.

"Good morning, Thenichka," the latter muttered.

"Good morning," she replied in a low, clear voice. Then she glanced
askance at Arkady, and he smiled at her in friendly fashion. Finally
she departed with a quiet step and slightly careless gait--the latter a
peculiarity of hers.

Silence reigned on the terrace. For a while Paul Petrovitch drank his
cocoa. Then he suddenly raised his head, and muttered:

"Monsieur Nihilist is about to give us the pleasure of his company."

True enough, Bazarov could be seen stepping across the flowerbeds. On
his linen jacket and trousers was a thick coating of mud, to the crown
of his ancient circular hat clung a piece of sticky marshweed, and in
his hand he was holding a small bag. Also, something in the bag kept
stirring as though it were alive. Approaching the terrace with rapid
strides, he nodded to the company and said:

"Good morning, gentlemen! Pardon me for being so late. I shall be back
presently, but first my captures must be stowed away."

"What are those captures?" Paul Petrovitch inquired. "Leeches?"

"No, frogs."

"Do you eat them? Or do you breed them?"

"I catch them for purposes of experiment," was Bazarov's only reply as
carelessly he entered the house.

"In other words, he vivisects them," was Paul Petrovitch's comment. "In
other words, he believes in frogs more than in principles."

Arkady threw his uncle a reproachful look, and even Nikolai Petrovitch
shrugged his shoulders, so that Paul Petrovitch himself felt his _bon
mot_ to have been out of place, and hastened to divert the subject to
the estate and the new steward.



VI


Bazarov, returning, seated himself at the table, and fell to drinking
tea. The brothers contemplated him in silence. Arkady glanced covertly
from his father to his uncle, and back again.

"Have you walked far this morning?" at length Nikolai Petrovitch
inquired.

"To a marsh beside an aspen coppice. By the way, Arkady, I flushed five
head of woodcock. Perhaps you would like to go and shoot them?"

"Then you yourself are no sportsman?"

"No."

"That is to say, you prefer physics to anything else?" This from Paul
Petrovitch.

"Yes, I prefer physics--in fact, the natural sciences in general--to
anything else."

"Well, I am told that the _Germanics_ have made great strides in that
department?" (Paul Petrovitch used the term "Germanics" instead of
"Germans" ironically, but no one noticed it.)

"True," was Bazarov's careless reply. "In fact, the Germans are, in the
same respect, our masters."

"You think highly of the Germans?" Paul Petrovitch's tone was now
studiously polite, for he was beginning to feel irritated with the
man--his aristocratic nature could not altogether stomach Bazarov's
absolute lack of ceremony, the fact that this doctor's son not only
knew no diffidence, but actually returned snappish and reluctant
answers, and infused a _brusquerie_ akin to rudeness into his tone.

"At least the savants of that part of the world have some energy in
them," retorted Bazarov.

"Quite so. And your opinion of our Russian savants is--well, perhaps
less flattering?"

"It is, with your leave."

"That constitutes a piece of laudable modesty on your part," Paul
Petrovitch observed with a slight hitch of his figure and a toss of his
head. "But how comes it about that Arkady has just told us that you
recognise no authorities whatsoever? Do you not trust authorities?"

"Why should I? Is anything in the world trustworthy? Certainly, should
I be told a fact, I agree with it, but that is all."

"Oh! Then the Germans confine themselves solely to facts?" Paul
Petrovitch's face had now assumed an expression of detachment, as
though he had suddenly become withdrawn to the ultimate heights of the
empyrean.

"No, not all Germans," replied Bazarov with a passing yawn. Clearly
he had no mind to continue the controversy. Meanwhile Paul Petrovitch
glanced at Arkady as much as to say: "Admit that your friend has
beautiful manners!"

"For my own part," he continued, ostentatiously, and with an effort,
"I, a fallible mortal, do _not_ favour the Germans. Of course, I am not
including in that category the _Russo_-Germans, who, as we know, are
birds of passage. Rather, it is the Germans of Germany proper whom I
cannot abide. Once upon a time they used to produce men like Schiller
and like--what's his name?--Goethe: for both of which authors my
brother has a marked predilection. But now the German nation has become
a nation solely of chemists and materialists."

"A good chemist is worth a score of your poets," remarked Bazarov.

"Quite so." Paul Petrovitch hitched his eyebrows a little, as though he
had come near to falling asleep. "Er--I take it then that you decline
to recognise art, but believe only in science?"

"I have told you that I believe in nothing at all. What after all, is
science--that is to say, science in the mass? A science may exist, even
as a trade or a profession may exist; but with regard to science in the
mass, there is no such thing."

"Very good. And, with regard to such other postulates as usually are
granted in human affairs, the attitude which you adopt is negative in
the same degree?"

"What is this?" suddenly countered Bazarov. "Is it an examination in
tenets?"

Paul Petrovitch turned pale, and Nikolai Petrovitch thought it time to
intervene in the dispute.

"Nay, we will debate the subject later," he said. "And then, while
recognising your views, good Evgenii Vasilitch, we will state our own.
Individually speaking, I am delighted that you should be interested in
the natural sciences. For instance, I am told that recently Liebig[1]
has made some surprising discoveries in the matter of the improvement
of soils. Consequently you might be able to help me in my agricultural
labours, and to give me much useful advice."

"Always I shall be at your service, Nikolai Petrovitch," replied
Bazarov. "But what has Liebig to do with us? First the alphabet should
be learnt before we try to read books. We have not even reached the
letter A."

"You are a Nihilist--that is plain enough," reflected Nikolai
Petrovitch; while aloud he added: "Yet allow me to seek your occasional
assistance. Brother Paul, I believe it is time that we interviewed our
steward."

Paul Petrovitch rose from his chair.

"Yes," he said, without looking at any one in particular, "it is indeed
a terrible thing to have lived five years in the country, and to have
stood remote from superior intellects! If one is _ab origine_ a fool,
one becomes so more than ever, seeing that, however much one may try
not to forget what one has learnt, there will dawn upon one, sooner
or later, the revelation that one's knowledge is all rubbish, that
sensible men have ceased to engage in such futilities, and that one has
lagged far behind the times. But, in such a case, what is one to do?
Evidently the younger generation know more than we do."

And, slowly turning on his heel, he moved away as slowly, with Nikolai
Petrovitch following in his wake.

"Does Paul Petrovitch always reside here?" asked Bazarov when the door
had closed upon the pair.

"Yes, he does. But look here, Evgenii. You adopted too sharp a tone
with my uncle. You have offended him."

"What? Am I to fawn upon these rustic aristocrats, even though their
attitude is one purely of conceit and subservience to custom? If such
be Paul Petrovitch's bent, he had better have continued his career in
St. Petersburg. Never mind him, however. Do you know, I have found a
splendid specimen of the water beetle _dytiscus marginatus_. Are you
acquainted with it? I will show it you."

"Did I not promise to tell you his history?" observed Arkady musingly.

"Whose history? The water beetle's?"

"No; my uncle's. At least you will see from it that he is not the man
you take him for, but a man who deserves pity rather than ridicule."

"I am not prepared to dispute it. But how come you to be so devoted to
him?"

"Always one ought to be fair."

"The connection I do not see."

"Then listen."

And Arkady related the story to be found in the following chapter.


[1] Justus Freiherr von Liebig (1803-1873), the great German
chemist--in particular, the founder of agricultural chemistry.



VII


"Like his brother, Paul Petrovitch Kirsanov received his early
education at home, and entered the Imperial Corps of Pages.
Distinguished from boyhood for his good looks, he had, in addition,
a nature of the self-confident, quizzical, amusingly sarcastic type
which never fails to please. As soon, therefore, as he had received
his officer's commission, he began to go everywhere in society, to
set the pace, to amuse himself, to play the rake, and to squander his
money. Yet these things somehow consorted well with his personality,
and women went nearly mad over him, while men called him 'Fate,' and
secretly detested him. Meanwhile he rented a flat with his brother, for
whom, in spite of their dissimilarity, he had a genuine affection. The
dissimilarity in question lay, among other things, in the fact that,
while Nikolai Petrovitch halted, had small, kindly, rather melancholy
features and narrow black eyes, and was of a disposition prone to
reading omnivorously, to bestirring himself but little, and to feeling
nervous when attending social functions, Paul Petrovitch never spent a
single evening at home, but was renowned for his physical dexterity and
daring (he it was who made gymnastics the rage among the gilded youth
of his day), and read, at most, five or six French novels. Indeed, by
the time that he reached his twenty-eighth year Paul had risen to be
a captain, and before him there seemed to lie a brilliant career; but
everything suddenly underwent a change, as shall be related forthwith.

"Among the society of St. Petersburg of that period there was
accustomed to appear, and to disappear, at irregular intervals a
certain Princess R. whose memory survives to this day. Though wedded to
a highly placed and very presentable (albeit slightly stupid) husband,
she had no children, and spent her time between making unexpected
visits abroad and unexpected returns to Russia. In short, she led a
very curious life, and the world in general accounted her a coquette,
in that she devoted herself to every sort of pleasure, and danced at
balls until she could dance no more, and laughed and jested with young
men whom she received before dinner in the half-light of a darkened
drawing-room. Yet, strangely enough, as the night advanced she would
fall to weeping and praying and wringing her hands, and, unable to
rest, would pace her room until break of day, or sit huddled, pale and
cold, over the Psalter. But no sooner would daylight have appeared than
she would once more become a woman of the world, and drive, and laugh,
and chatter, and fling herself upon anything which seemed to offer
any sort of distraction. Also, her power to charm was extraordinary;
for though no one could have called her a beauty (seeing that the one
good feature of her face lay in her eyes--and even then it was not the
small, grey eyes themselves which attracted, but the glance which they
emitted), she had hair of the colour and weight of gold which reached
to her knees. That glance!--it was a glance which could be careless to
the point of daring or meditative to the point of melancholy; a glance
so enigmatical that, even when her tongue was lisping fatuous nonsense,
there gleamed in her aspect something intangible and out of the common.
Finally, she dressed with exquisite taste.

"This woman Paul Petrovitch met at a ball; and at it he danced a
mazurka with her. Yet, though, during the dance, she uttered not a
single word of sense, he straightway fell in love with her, and, being
a man accustomed to conquests, attained his end in this case also.
Yet, strangely enough, the facility of his triumph in no way chilled
him, but led him on to become more and more resolutely, more and more
painfully, attached, and that though she was a woman in whom, even
after she had made the great surrender, there still remained something
as immutably veiled, as radically intangible, as before--something
which no one had yet succeeded in penetrating. What was in that soul
God alone knows. Almost would it seem as though she were subservient
to a mysterious force of which the existence was absolutely unknown
to her, but which sported with her as it willed, and whose whims
her mentality was powerless to control. At all events, her conduct
constituted a series of inconsistencies, and even the few letters which
she wrote to Paul Petrovitch--missives which would undoubtedly have
aroused her husband's suspicions had he seen them--were written to a
man who was practically a stranger to her. And in time her love began
to be succeeded by fits of despondency; she ceased to smile and jest
with the lover whom she had selected, and looked at him, and listened
to his voice, with reluctance. In fact, there were moments--for the
most part, unexpected moments--when this reluctance bordered upon chill
horror, and her face assumed a wild, corpse-like expression, and she
would shut herself up in her bedroom, whence her maid, with ear glued
to the keyhole, would hear issue sounds as of dull, hopeless sobbing.
Paul Petrovitch himself frequently found that, when returning home
after one of these tender interviews, there was naught within his
breast save the bitter, galling sensation which comes of final and
irrevocable failure. 'What more could I want?' he would say to himself
in his bewilderment; yet always he spoke with an aching heart.

"It happened that on one occasion he gave her a ring having a stone
carved in the figure of the Sphinx.

"'What?' she exclaimed. 'Do you offer me the Sphinx?'

"'I do,' he replied. 'The Sphinx is yourself.'

"'I?' she queried with a slow lift of her enigmatical eyes. 'You are
indeed flattering!'

"With the words went the ghost of a smile, while her eyes looked
stranger than ever.

"Even during the time that the Princess loved him things were difficult
for Paul Petrovitch; but when she cooled in her affection for him (as
soon happened) he came near to going out of his mind. Distracted with
jealousy, he allowed her no rest, but followed her to such an extent
that at length, worn out with his persistent overtures, she betook
herself on a tour abroad. Yet even then Paul Petrovitch listened to
neither the prayers of his friends nor the advice of his superior
officers, but, resigning his commission, set out on the Princess's
track. Thus four years were spent in hunting her down, and losing sight
of her again: and though, throughout, he felt ashamed of his conduct,
and disgusted with his lack of spirit, all was of no avail--her image,
the baffling, bewitching, alluring image which ever flitted before
his eyes, had implanted itself too deeply in his breast. At last--it
was at Baden--the pair once more came together; and though it seemed
that never had she loved him as she did now, before a month was over
another rupture had occurred, and, this time, a final one, as, with a
last flicker, the flame died down and went out. True, that the parting
would come he had foreseen; yet still he sought to be friends with her
(as though friendship with such a woman could have been possible!), and
only the fact that she quietly withdrew from Baden, and thenceforth
studiously avoided him, baffled his purpose. Returning to Russia, he
endeavoured to resume his former mode of life: but neither by hook nor
crook could he regain the old rut. As a man with a poisoned system
wanders hither and thither, so did he drive out, and retain all the
customs of a society _habitué_. Nay, he could even have boasted of
two or three new conquests. But no. What he wanted was obtainable
neither through himself nor others, since his whole power of initiative
was gone, and his head gradually growing grey. To sit at his club,
to consume his soul in jaundice and _ennui_, to engage in bachelor
disputes which failed to interest him--such was now become his sole
occupation. And, as we know, it is an occupation which constitutes the
worst of signs. Nor, for that matter, seems he to marriage to have
given a thought.

"Thus ten years elapsed in colourless, fruitless pursuits. Yet Paul
found time pass swiftly, indeed, with amazing swiftness, for nowhere
in the world does it fly as it does in Russia (in prison only is its
passage said to be still swifter); wherefore there came at length a
night when, while dining at his club, he heard that the Princess was
dead--that she had died in Paris in a state bordering upon insanity.
Rising from the table, he fell to pacing the rooms of the club with a
face like that of a corpse, and only at intervals halting to watch the
tables of the card-players; until, his usual time for returning home
having arrived, he departed. Soon after he had reached his flat there
was delivered for him a package containing the ring which he had given
to the Princess. The Sphinx on it was marked with a mark like the sign
of the cross, and enclosed also was a message to say that through the
cross had the enigma become solved.

"These things took place just at the time (early in '48) when Nikolai
Petrovitch had lost his wife, and removed to St. Petersburg; and
since, also, the period of Nikolai's marriage had coincided with the
earlier days of Paul's acquaintance with the Princess, Paul had not
seen his brother since the day when the latter had settled in the
country. True, on returning from abroad, Paul had paid Nikolai a visit
with the intention of staying with him for a couple of months, as a
congratulatory compliment on his happiness; but the visit had lasted
a week only, since the difference in the position of the two brothers
had been too great, and even now, though that difference had diminished
somewhat, owing to the fact that Nikolai Petrovitch had lost his wife,
and Paul Petrovitch his memories (after the Princess's death he made
it his rule to try and forget her)--even now, I say, there existed the
difference that, whereas Nikolai Petrovitch could look back upon a
life well spent, and had a son rising to manhood, Paul Petrovitch was
still a lonely bachelor, and, moreover, entering upon that dim, murky
period when regrets come to resemble hopes, and hopes are beginning to
resemble regrets, and youth is fled, and old age is fast approaching.
To Paul Petrovitch that period was particularly painful, in that, in
losing his past, he had lost his all.

"'I shall not invite you to come to Marino,' were Nikolai Petrovitch's
words to his brother. 'Even when my wife was alive, you found the place
tedious; and now it would kill you.'

"'Ah, but in those days I was young and foolish and full of vanity,'
replied Paul Petrovitch. 'Even though I may not have grown wiser, at
least am I quieter. So, if you should be willing, I will gladly come
and make your place my permanent home.'

"For answer Nikolai Petrovitch embraced him; and though a year and a
half elapsed before Paul Petrovitch decided to carry out his intention,
once settled on the estate, he has never left it--no, not even during
the three winters spent by Nikolai Petrovitch with his son in St.
Petersburg. Meanwhile he has taken to reading books--more especially
English books, and, in general, to ordering his life on the English
pattern. Rarely, also, does he call upon his neighbours, but confines
his excursions, for the most part, to attending election meetings,
where, as a rule, he holds his tongue, but occasionally amuses himself
by angering and alarming the older generation of landowners with
Liberal sallies. From the representatives of the younger generation he
holds entirely aloof. Yet both parties, though they reckon him haughty,
accord him respect. They do so because of his refined, aristocratic
manners, and of what they have heard concerning his former conquests,
and of the fact that he dresses with exquisite taste, that he always
occupies the best suites in the best hotels, that he dines sumptuously
every day, that once he took dinner with the Duke of Wellington at the
Court of Louis Philippe, that invariably he takes about with him a
silver _nécessaire_ and a travelling bath, that he diffuses rare and
agreeable perfumes, that he is a first-rate and universally successful
whist-player, and that his honour is irreproachable. The ladies too
look upon him as a man of charming melancholy: but with their sex he
has long ceased to have anything to do.

"You see, then, Evgenii," wound up Arkady, "that you have judged my
uncle very unfairly. Moreover, I have omitted to say that several times
he has saved my father from ruin by making over to him the whole of
his money (for they do not share the estate), and that he is always
ready to help any one, and, in particular, that he stands up stoutly
for the peasants, even though, when speaking to them, he pulls a wry
face, and, before beginning the interview, scents himself well with
eau-de-Cologne."

"We all know what nerves like his mean," remarked Bazarov.

"Perhaps so. Yet his heart is in the right place; nor is he in any
way a fool. To myself especially has he given much useful advice,
especially on the subject of women."

"Ah, ha! 'Scalded with milk, one blows to cool another's water.' That
is a truism."

"Finally, and to put matters shortly," resumed Arkady, "he is a man
desperately unhappy, not one who ought to be despised."

"_Who_ is despising him?" exclaimed Bazarov. "All that I say is that a
man who has staked his whole upon a woman's love, and, on losing the
throw, has turned crusty, and let himself drift to such an extent as
to become good for nothing--I say that such a man is not a man, a male
creature at all. He is unhappy, you say; and certainly you know him
better than I do; but it is clear also that he has not yet cleansed
himself of the fool. In other words, certain am I that, just because he
occasionally reads _Galignani_, and because, once a month, he saves a
peasant from distress for debt, he believes himself really to be a man
of action."

"But think of his upbringing!" expostulated Arkady. "Think of the
period in which he has lived his life!"

"His upbringing?" retorted Bazarov. "Why, a man ought to _bring
himself_ up, even as I had to do. And with regard to his period,
why should I, or any other man, be dependent upon periods? Rather,
we ought to make periods dependent upon _us_. No, no, friend!
Sensuality and frivolity it is that are at fault. For of what do the
so-called mysterious relations between a man and a woman consist? As
physiologists, we know precisely of what they consist. And take the
anatomy of the eye. What in it justifies the guesswork whereof you
speak? Such talk is so much Romanticism and nonsense and unsoundness
and artificiality. Let us go and inspect that beetle."

And the two friends departed to Bazarov's room, where he had already
succeeded in creating a medical-surgical atmosphere which consorted
well with the smell of cheap tobacco.



VIII


At his brother's interview with the steward (the latter was a tall,
thin man of shifty eyes who to every remark of Nikolai's replied in
an unctuous, mellifluous voice: "Very well, if so it please you")
Paul Petrovitch did not long remain present. Recently the system of
estate-management had been reorganised on a new footing, and was
creaking as loudly as an ungreased cartwheel or furniture which has
been fashioned of unseasoned wood. For the same reason, though never
actually giving way to melancholy, Nikolai Petrovitch often indulged
in moodiness and sighing, for the reason that it was clear that his
affairs would never prosper without money, and that the bulk of the
latter had disappeared. As for Arkady's statement that frequently Paul
Petrovitch had come to his brother's assistance, it had been perfectly
true, for on more than one occasion had Paul been moved by the sight of
his brother's perplexity to walk slowly to the window, to plunge a hand
into his pocket, to mutter, "_Mais je puis vous donner de l'argent_,"
and, lastly, to suit the action to the word. But on the day of which
we are speaking Paul had no spare cash himself; wherefore he preferred
to remove himself elsewhere, and the more so in that the _minutiæ_ of
estate-management wearied him, and that he felt certain that, though
powerless to suggest a better way of doing business than the present
one, he knew at least that Nikolai's was at fault.

"He is not sufficiently practical," would be his reflection. "He lets
these fellows cheat him right and left."

On the other hand, Nikolai had a high opinion of Paul's practicality,
and always sought his advice.

"I am a weak, easy-going fellow," he would say, "and have spent the
whole of my life in retirement; whereas you cannot have lived in the
world for nothing--you know it well, and have the eye of an eagle."

To this Paul Petrovitch would make no reply: he would merely turn away
without attempting to undeceive his brother.

After leaving Nikolai Petrovitch's study, Paul traversed the corridor
which separated the front portion of the house from the rear, and, on
reaching a low doorway, halted in seeming indecision, tugged at his
moustache for a moment, then tapped with his knuckles upon the panels.

"Who is there?" replied Thenichka from within. "Pray enter."

"It is I," said Paul Petrovitch as he opened the door.

Springing from the chair on which she had been seated with her baby,
she handed the latter to the nurse-girl (who at once bore it from the
room), and hastened to rearrange her bodice.

"Pardon me for having disturbed you," said Paul Petrovitch without
looking at her, "but my object in coming here is to ask you (for I
understand that you are sending in to the town to-day) if you would
procure me a little green tea for my own personal use."

"I will," replied Thenichka. "How much ought I to have ordered?"

"I think that half a pound will suffice. But what a change!" he went on
glancing around the room with an eye which included also in its purview
Thenichka's features. "It is those curtains that I am referring to,"
he explained on seeing that she had failed to grasp his meaning.

"Yes--those curtains. They were given me by Nikolai Petrovitch himself,
and have been hung a long while."

"But it is a long time, remember, since last I paid you a visit. The
room looks indeed comfortable, does it not?"

"Yes, thanks to Nikolai Petrovitch's kindness," whispered Thenichka.

"And you find things better here than in the wing?" continued Paul
Petrovitch politely--also, without the least shadow of a smile.

"I do."

"And who is lodged in the wing in your place?"

"The laundry women."

"Ah!"

Paul Petrovitch relapsed into silence, while Thenichka thought to
herself: "I suppose he will go presently." So far from doing so,
however, he remained where he was, and she had to continue standing
in front of him with her fingers nervelessly locking and unlocking
themselves.

"Why have you had the little one taken away?" at length he inquired. "I
love children. Pray show him to me."

Thenichka reddened with confusion and pleasure; and that though Paul
Petrovitch was accustomed to make her nervous, so seldom did he address
her.

"Duniasha!" she cried (Duniasha she addressed, as she did every one
in the house, in the second person plural[1]). "Bring Mitia here, and
be quick about it! But first put on his clothes." With that she moved
towards the door.

"Never mind, never mind," said Paul Petrovitch.

"But I shall soon be back." And she disappeared.

Left alone, Paul looked about him with keen attention. The small,
low room in which he was waiting was clean and comfortable, and
redolent of balm, camomile, and furniture polish. Against the walls
stood straight-backed, lyre-shaped chairs which the late General had
purchased during the period of the Polish campaign; in one corner
stood a bedstead under a muslin coverlet, with, flanking it, a large,
iron-clamped, convex-lidded chest; in the opposite corner burnt a
lamp before a massive, smoke-blackened _ikon_ of Saint Nikolai the
Miracle Worker--the Saint's halo suspended by a red riband, and a tiny
china egg resting on his breast; on the window-sills were ranged some
carefully sealed jars of last year's jam, which filtered the light to
green, and of which the parchment covers were inscribed, in Thenichka's
large handwriting, "Gooseberry"--a jam of which Nikolai Petrovitch
was particularly fond; from the ceiling hung, by a long cord, a cage
containing a short-tailed siskin which kept up such a perpetual
twittering and hopping that its cage rocked to and fro as it sang, and
stray hemp seeds came pattering lightly to the floor; on the wall space
above a small chest of drawers hung a few poorly executed photographs
of Nikolai Petrovitch in various attitudes (the work of a travelling
photographer); alongside these photographs hung a very unsuccessful one
of Thenichka herself, since it revealed nothing but an eyeless face
peering painfully from a dark frame; and, lastly, above the portrait
of Thenichka hung a picture of Ermolov in a big cloak and a portentous
frown--the latter directed principally towards a distant mountain range
of the Caucasus, while over the forehead of the portrait dangled a
silken pincushion in the shape of a shoe.

For five minutes or so there came from the adjoining room a sound as of
rustling and whispering. From the chest of drawers Paul Petrovitch took
up a greasy, dog's-eared volume of Masalsky's _The Strielitsi_, and
turned over a few of its pages. Suddenly the door opened, and Thenichka
entered with Mitia, whom she had now vested in a red robe and beaded
collar, while his little head had been brushed, and also his face
washed. Though he was breathing stertorously, and wriggling his whole
body about, and twitching his tiny arms after the manner of all healthy
children, the dainty robe had had its effect, and his face was puckered
with delight. Also, Thenichka had tidied her own hair, and rearranged
her bodice--well enough though she would have done as she was. For,
in all the world, is there a more entrancing spectacle than that of a
young, handsome mother with, in her arms, a healthy child?

"What a little beauty!" Paul Petrovitch exclaimed indulgently as he
tickled Mitia's double chin with the tip of his forefinger. The baby
fixed its eyes upon the siskin, and smiled.

"This is Uncle," said Thenichka as she bent over the boy and gave him
a gentle shake. For fumigating purposes Duniasha deposited upon the
window-sill a lighted candle, and, beneath it, a two-kopeck piece.

"How old is he?" asked Paul Petrovitch.

"Six months. On the eleventh of this month he will be seven."

"No, eight, will he not, Theodosia Nikolaievna?" timidly corrected
Duniasha.

"No, seven."

Here the infant crowed, fixed his eyes upon the chest in the corner,
and suddenly closed his five tiny fingers upon his mother's mouth and
nose.

"The little rascal!" she said, without, however, freeing her features
from his grasp.

"He is very like my brother," commented Paul Petrovitch.

"Whom else should he be like?" she thought.

"Yes," he continued, half to himself. "Undoubtedly I see the likeness."
He gazed pensively, almost mournfully, at the young mother.

"This is Uncle," again she said to the child: but this time she said it
under her breath.

"Oh, here you are, Paul!" cried Nikolai Petrovitch from behind them.

Paul Petrovitch faced about and knit his brows. But so joyously, and
with such a grateful expression, was his brother regarding the trio
that Paul could only respond with a smile.

"He is a fine little fellow, this baby of yours," the elder brother
observed. Then, glancing at his watch, he added: "I came here merely to
arrange about the purchase of some tea." With which he assumed an air
of indifference, and left the room.

"He came here of his own accord, did he?" was Nikolai Petrovitch's
first inquiry.

"Yes, of his own accord," the girl replied. "He just knocked at the
door and entered."

"And what of Arkasha? Has he too been to see you?"

"No, Nikolai Petrovitch. By the way, might I return to the rooms in the
wing of the house?"

"Why do you want to?"

"Because they suit me better than these."

"I think not," said Nikolai Petrovitch, rubbing his forehead with an
air of indecision. "Before there was a reason for your being there, but
that reason no longer exists."

"Good morning, little rascal!" was his next remark as, with a sudden
access of animation, he approached and kissed the baby's cheek. Then,
bending a little, he pressed his lips to Thenichka's hand--a hand,
against the red of Mitia's robe, as white as milk.

"Why have you done that, Nikolai Petrovitch?" she murmured with
downcast eyes. Yet when she raised them, their expression, as she
glanced from under her brows and smiled her caressing, but slightly
vacant, smile, was charming indeed!

Of the circumstances of Nikolai Petrovitch's first meeting with
Thenichka the following may be related. Three years ago it had fallen
to his lot to spend a night at an inn in a remote country town; and,
while doing so, he had been struck with the cleanliness of the room
assigned him, and also with the freshness of the bed-linen. "Clearly,"
he had thought to himself, "the landlady must be a German." But, as it
had turned out, she was not a German, but a Russian of about fifty,
well-dressed, and possessed both of a comely, intelligent countenance
and of a refined manner of speaking. When breakfast was over, he had
had a long conversation with her, and conceived for her a great liking.
Now, as fate would have it, he had just removed to his new house, and,
owing to a reluctance to continue keeping bonded serfs, was on the
look-out for hired domestics; while she, for her part, was in despair
over the question of the hard times, which caused only a limited
number of visitors to resort to the town. In the end, therefore,
Nikolai Petrovitch proposed to her to come to his house as housekeeper;
and to this proposal, (since her husband was dead, and her family
consisted only of a young daughter named Thenichka) she eventually
agreed. Accordingly, within two weeks Arina Savishna (such was the
new housekeeper's name) arrived at Marino with her child, and took up
her abode in the wing of the new manor-house; nor was it long before
she had put the place to rights. To Thenichka, however, then a girl
of sixteen, she never referred; and few people even caught a glimpse
of the maiden, since she lived a life so modest and retired that only
on Sundays could Nikolai Petrovitch contemplate the delicate profile
of her face in an aisle of the parish church. More than a year thus
elapsed.

But one morning Arina entered his study, bowed to him as usual, and
requested him to be so good as to come and help her with her daughter,
one of whose eyes had been injured with a spark from the stove. It so
happened that, like most men of sedentary habit, Nikolai Petrovitch had
picked up a smattering of medicine--nay, he had even compiled a list
of homoeopathic remedies for one and another emergency; wherefore he
hastened to order Arina to produce the sufferer. As soon as she heard
that the _barin_ had sent for her, Thenichka turned very nervous, but
followed her mother as in duty bound; whereupon Nikolai Petrovitch
led her to the window, took her head in his hands, and, after an
inspection of the red, inflamed eye, wrote out a prescription for a
lotion, compounded the stuff himself, and, lastly, tore off a portion
of his handkerchief, and showed her how best the eye could be bathed.
Meanwhile Thenichka listened attentively, and then tried to leave the
room. "But the idea of going away without kissing the _barin's_ hand,
foolish one!" cried Arina; whereupon, in lieu of offering the girl
his hand, Nikolai Petrovitch felt so embarrassed that in the end he
himself kissed her bent head at the spot where the hair lay parted.
Soon Thenichka's eye healed, but the impression produced upon Nikolai
Petrovitch did not pass away so quickly. Continually there flitted
before him a pure, tender, timidly upturned face; continually he could
feel between the palms of his hands soft coils of hair; continually
appearing to his vision there would be a pair of innocent, half-parted
lips between which a set of pearl-like teeth flashed back the sunlight.
Consequently he began to observe the girl more in church, and to try
to engage her in conversation. But shyness always overcame her, and,
on one occasion when she happened to meet him on a narrow path through
a rye field, she turned aside, and plunged into the mass of tall
grain and undergrowth of cornflowers and wormwood. Yet, despite her
endeavours to escape, his eye discerned her head amid the golden mesh
of cornblades, and he called to her, as she gazed at him with wild eyes:

"Good morning, Thenichka! I shall not hurt you."

"Good morning, _barin_!" she whispered in reply, but did not leave her
retreat.

As time went on, however, she grew more accustomed to his presence; and
by the time that she was beginning really to get over her bashfulness,
her mother died of cholera. Here was a dilemma indeed! For what was
to be done with the young Thenichka, who had inherited her mother's
love of orderliness, and also her mother's good sense and natural
refinement? In the end, she was so young and lonely, and Nikolai
Petrovitch was so good-hearted and modest, that the inevitable came
about. The rest need not be related.

"So my brother has been to you?" he inquired again. "You say that he
just knocked at the door and entered?"

"Yes, he just knocked at the door and entered."

"Good! Now, hand me Mitia."

And Nikolai Petrovitch fell to tossing the baby up and down towards the
ceiling--a proceeding which greatly delighted the little one, but as
greatly disquieted the mother, who, at each upward flight, stretched
her hands in the direction of the infant's naked toes.

Meanwhile Paul Petrovitch returned to his study, of which the walls
were lined with a paper of red wild roses, and hung with weapons; the
floor was covered with a striped Persian carpet; and the furniture,
consisting of a Renaissance bookcase in old black oak, a handsome
writing-table, a few bronze statuettes, and a stove, was constructed,
for the most part, of hazelwood, and upholstered in dark-green velvet.
Stretching himself upon a sofa, he clasped his hands behind his head,
and remained staring at the ceiling. Did presently the thoughts which
were passing through his mind need to be concealed even from the walls,
seeing that he rose, unhooked the heavy curtains from before the
windows, and replaced himself upon the sofa?


[1] Used, as in French, in formal speech or that of a person addressing
a social superior.



IX


The same day also saw Bazarov make Thenichka's acquaintance. This was
when he was walking in the garden with Arkady, and discussing the
question of why certain trees in the garden, especially oaks, had not
prospered as they might have done. Said he:

"You ought to plant the place with as many silver poplars as you can,
and also with Norwegian firs--limes too, if loam should first be added.
For instance, the reason why this clump has done so well is that it is
made up of lilacs and acacias, of which neither require much room. But
hullo! There is some one sitting there!"

The persons seated in the arbour were Thenichka, Duniasha, and little
Mitia. Bazarov halted, and Arkady nodded to Thenichka as to an old
acquaintance. Then the pair passed on again, and Bazarov inquired of
his companion:

"Who was she?"

"To whom are you referring?"

"You know to whom. My word, she _is_ good-looking!"

Arkady explained, with a touch of embarrassment, the identity of
Thenichka.

"Ah!" Bazarov remarked. "Then your father has not at all bad taste.
Indeed, I commend it. But what a young dog he is! I too must be
introduced."

And he turned back in the direction of the arbour.

"Evgenii!" exclaimed Arkady nervously as he followed his friend. "For
God's sake be careful what you do!"

"You need not be alarmed. I know what is what. I am no rustic."

And, approaching Thenichka, he doffed his cap.

"Allow me to introduce myself," he said with a polite bow. "I am a
friend of Arkady's, and a perfectly harmless individual."

Rising from her seat, Thenichka gazed at him in silence.

"Oh, and what a fine baby!" he continued. "Pray do not disturb
yourself. Never yet have I cast upon a child an evil spell. But why are
his cheeks so red? Is he cutting teeth?"

"Yes," replied Thenichka. "He has now cut four of them, and the gums
are a little swelled."

"Then let me see them. Do not be afraid. I am a doctor."

With that he took the baby into his arms, and both Thenichka and
Duniasha were astonished at the fact that it made no resistance, showed
no fear.

"I see," he continued. "Well, everything is going right with him, and
he will have plenty of teeth. Nevertheless, should he in any way ail,
please let me know. Are you yourself well?"

"Yes, thank God!"

"'Thank God,' say I too, for health on the part of the mother is
the chief point of all. And you?" he added, turning to Duniasha.
The latter, ultra-prim of demeanour in the drawing-room, and
ultra-frivolous of behaviour in the kitchen, answered with a giggle.

"Well, you _look_ all right. Here! Take your hero back again."

He replaced the baby in Thenichka's arms.

"How quiet he has been with you!" she exclaimed under her breath.

"Always children are quiet with me," he remarked. "You see, I know how
to handle them."

"And _they_ know when people are fond of them," put in Duniasha.

"True," assented Thenichka. "Though it is seldom that Mitia will go to
any one's arms but mine."

"Would he come to me?" ventured Arkady, who, until now standing in
the background, at this moment came forward towards the arbour. But
on his attempting to wheedle Mitia to his arms, the infant threw back
its head, and started to cry--a circumstance which greatly perturbed
Thenichka.

"Another time--when he has come to be more used to me," said Arkady
indulgently. And the two friends departed.

"What is her name?" asked Bazarov.

"Thenichka--Theodosia," replied Arkady.

"And her patronymic?"

"Nikolaievna."

"_Bene_! What I like about her is her total absence of shyness. True,
that is a _trait_ which some might have condemned in her, but I say,
'What rubbish!' For why need she be bashful? She is a mother, and
therefore justified."

"I agree," said Arkady. "And my father----"

"Also is justified," concluded Bazarov.

"No, I do not agree in that respect."

"You do not altogether welcome a superfluous heir?"

"For shame, Evgenii!" cried Arkady heatedly. "How can you impute such
motives? What I mean is that my father is not justified from _one_
point of view. That is to say, he ought to marry her."

"Oh, ho!" said Bazarov quietly. "How high and mighty we are getting! So
you still attribute importance to the marriage rite? This I should not
have expected of you."

For some paces the friends walked on in silence. Then Bazarov
continued:

"I have been inspecting your father's establishment. The cattle look
poor, the horses seem broken-down, the buildings have a tipsy air, the
workmen manifest a tendency to loaf, and I cannot yet determine whether
the new steward is a fool or a rogue."

"You are censorious to-day?"

"I am; and the reason is that these good peasants are cheating your
father--exemplifying the proverb that 'The Russian _muzhik_ will break
even the back of God.'"

"Soon I shall have to agree with my uncle in his opinion that you think
but poorly of Russia."

"Rubbish! The Russian's very best point is that he holds a poor opinion
of _himself_. Two and two make four. Nothing but that matters."

"And is nature also rubbish?" queried Arkady with a musing glance at
the mottled fields where they lay basking in the soft, kindly rays of
the morning sun.

"Nature _is_ rubbish--at least in the sense in which _you_ understand
her. She is not a church, but a workshop wherein man is the labourer."

At this moment there came wafted to their ears the long-drawn strains
of a violoncello, on which a sensitive, but inexperienced, hand was
playing Schubert's _Erwartung_. Like honey did the voluptuous melody
suffuse the air.

"Who is the musician?" asked Bazarov in astonishment.

"My father."

"What? Your father plays the 'cello?"

"He does."

"At his age?"

"Yes--he is only forty-four."

Bazarov burst out laughing.

"Why do you laugh?" asked Arkady.

"Pardon me, but the idea that your father--a man of forty-four, a
paterfamilias, and a notable in the county--should play the 'cello!"

And he continued laughing, though Arkady, for all his reverence for his
mentor, failed to accomplish even a smile.



X


During the next two weeks life at Marino pursued its normal course.
Arkady took things easily, and Bazarov worked. In passing, it may be
said that, for all his careless manner and abrupt, laconic speech, the
latter had become an accepted phenomenon in the house. In particular
had Thenichka so completely lost her shyness of him that one night
she sent to awake him because Mitia had been seized with convulsions;
whereupon Bazarov arrived, and, half-joking, half-yawning, according
to his usual manner, helped her for two hours in the task of attending
to the baby. Only Paul Petrovitch disliked the man with the whole
strength of his soul, for he accounted him a proud, cynical, conceited
plebeian, and suspected him not only of failing to respect, but even of
holding in contempt, the personality of Paul Petrovitch Kirsanov. Also,
Nikolai Petrovitch stood in slight awe of the young Nihilist, since he
doubted the likelihood of any good accruing from Bazarov's influence
over Arkady. Yet always he would listen with pleasure to Bazarov's
discourses, and gladly attend the chemical or physical experiments with
which the young doctor (who had brought a microscope with him) would
occupy himself for hours at a stretch. On the other hand, in spite of
Bazarov's domineering manner, all the servants had become attached
to him, for they felt him to be less a _barin_ than their brother;
and in particular did Duniasha readily joke and talk with him, and
throw him many meaning glances as she sped past in quail-like fashion,
while Peter himself, though a man full of conceit and stupidity, with
a forehead perpetually puckered, and a dignity which consisted of a
deferential demeanour, a practice of reading journals syllable by
syllable, and a habit of constantly brushing his coat; even Peter,
I say, would brighten and strike an attitude when he was noticed
by Bazarov. In fact, the only servant to disapprove of Bazarov was
old Prokofitch, the butler, who looked sour whenever he handed the
young doctor a dish, and called him a "sharper" and a "flaunter," and
declared that, for all his whiskers, Bazarov was no better than "a
dressed-up pig," whereas he, Prokofitch, was practically as good an
aristocrat as Paul Petrovitch himself.

In the early days of June, the best season of the year, the weather
became beautiful. True, from afar there came threatenings of cholera,
but to the local inhabitants such visitations had become a commonplace.
Each day Bazarov rose early to set forth upon a tramp of some two or
three versts; nor were those tramps undertaken merely for the sake of
the exercise (he could not abide aimless expeditions), but, rather,
for the sake of collecting herbs and insects. Sometimes, too, he would
succeed in inducing Arkady to accompany him; and whenever this was the
case the pair would, on the way back, engage in some dispute which
always left Arkady vanquished in spite of his superior profusion of
argument.

One morning the pair lingered considerably by the way, and Nikolai
Petrovitch set out across the garden to meet them. Just as he reached
the arbour, he heard their voices and brisk footsteps approaching,
though he himself was invisible to the returning friends.

"You do not understand my father," Arkady was saying.

Nikolai Petrovitch halted instead of revealing himself.

"Oh, he is a good fellow enough," replied Bazarov. "But also he is a
man on the shelf, a man whose song has been sung."

Though Nikolai Petrovitch strained his ears, he failed to catch
Arkady's reply. So the "man on the shelf" lingered for a minute or
two--then walked slowly back to the house.

"For the past three days I have noted him reading Pushkin," continued
Bazarov. "You ought to explain to him that no good can come of that,
for he is no longer a boy, and ought to have shaken himself free of
such fiddlesticks. Who would desire to be a Romanticist? Give him
something _practical_."

"For instance?"

"Let me consider. For a start, give him Büchner's[1] _Stoff und Kraft_."

"Good!" Arkady's tone was approving. "_Stoff und Kraft_ is at least
written in a popular style."

The same day Nikolai Petrovitch was sitting with his brother. At length
he said:

"I find that you and I are men on the shelf, that our songs have been
sung. Eh? And perhaps Bazarov is right. Yet I confess that one thing
hurts me: and that is that, though I had hoped to draw nearer to
Arkady, I am being left in the rear, and he is for ever marching ahead.
No longer do he and I understand one another."

"And why is he for ever marching ahead?" asked Paul Petrovitch
indignantly. "How comes he to stand at such a distance from us? The
reason is simply the ideas which that precious 'Nihilist' is putting
into his head. For myself, I detest the fellow, and think him a
charlatan. Also, I am certain that, in spite of his frogs, he is making
no real progress in physics."

"We ought not to say that, brother. For my own part, I look upon him as
a man of culture and ability."

"If so, a detestably conceited one."

"Perhaps he _is_ conceited," Nikolai Petrovitch allowed. "But then it
would appear that nothing can be done without something of the kind.
What I cannot make out is the following. As you know, I have done
everything possible to keep up with the times--I have organised my
peasantry, I have set up such a farm that throughout the province I am
known as 'Fine Kirsanov,' persistently I read and educate myself, in
general I try to march abreast of the needs of the day. Yet, though I
do all this, I am now given to understand that my day is past and gone!
And, brother, I do not say that I am not partially inclined to accept
that view."

"For what reason?"

"For the following. To-day, as I was reading Pushkin (I think it was
'The Gipsies' that I had lighted upon), there suddenly entered the room
Arkady. Silently, and with an air of kindly regret, and as gently as a
child, he withdrew the book from my hand, and laid before me another
book--a German production of some kind. That done, he gave me another
smile, and departed with my volume of Pushkin under his arm."

"Good gracious! And what might be the book which he has given you?"

"This."

Nikolai Petrovitch extracted from the tail pocket of his frock-coat a
copy (ninth edition) of Büchner's well-known work.

Paul Petrovitch turned it over in his hands.

"H'm!" he grunted. "Arkady does indeed seem solicitous for your
education! Have you tried reading the book?"

"Yes."

"And how do you like it?"

"Well, either I am a fool or the thing is rubbish. Of the two views,
the former seems to me the most probable."

"It is not because you have forgotten your German, I suppose?"

"Oh no. I understand the language perfectly."

Again Paul Petrovitch turned over the book, and again he glanced at his
brother from under his brows. A moment's silence ensued.

"By the way," continued Nikolai Petrovitch with an evident desire to
change the conversation, "I have received a letter from Koliazin."

"From Matvei Ilyitch?"

"From the same. It seems that he has just arrived at ----, for the
purpose of carrying out the Revision[2] of the province, and he writes
very civilly that, as our kinsman, he would be glad to see Arkady and
you and myself."

"Do you intend to accept his invitation?" asked Paul Petrovitch.

"I do not. Do you?"

"No. We have no need to drag ourselves fifty versts to eat blanc-mange.
The good Mathieu wants to show off a little--that is all. He can
do without us. But what an honour to be a Privy Councillor! Had I
continued in the Service, continued hauling at the old tow-rope, I
myself might have been Adjutant-General! As it is, I, like yourself, am
on the shelf."

"Yes, brother. Clearly it is time that we ordered our tombstones, and
folded our hands upon our breasts."

A sigh concluded Nikolai Petrovitch's speech.

"But _I_ do not intend to give in so soon," muttered his brother.
"There is first going to be a skirmish between that chirurgeon of
Arkady's and myself. That I can see beyond a doubt."

And, sure enough, the "skirmish" occurred the same evening. Ready for
battle as soon he repaired to the drawing-room for tea, Paul Petrovitch
entered angrily, but firmly, and sat waiting for an excuse to advance
upon the foe. Yet for a while that excuse hung fire, since Bazarov
never said much in the presence of "the old Kirsanovs," and to-night
was feeling out of spirits, and drank his tea in absolute silence.
However, Paul Petrovitch was so charged with impatience that his wish
was bound to attain fulfilment.

It happened that the conversation became turned upon a neighbouring
landowner.

"He is just a petty aristocrat," Bazarov drily remarked (it seemed that
he and the landowner had met in St. Petersburg).

"Allow me," put in Paul Petrovitch, his lips quivering. "In your view,
do the terms 'good-for-nothing' and 'aristocrat' connote the same
thing?"

"I said '_petty_ aristocrat,'" replied Bazarov as he lazily sipped his
tea.

"Quite so. Then I take it that you hold the same opinion of aristocrats
as of 'petty aristocrats'? Well, I may remark that your opinion is not
mine. And to that I would add that, while I myself possess a reputation
for Liberal and progressive views, I possess that reputation for the
very reason that I can respect _real_ aristocrats. For instance, my
dear sir" (the latter term was so heatedly uttered that Bazarov raised
his eyebrows), "for instance, my dear sir, take the aristocracy of
England. While yielding upon their rights not an iota, they yet know
how to respect the rights of others. While demanding fulfilment of
obligations due to themselves, they yet fulfil their own obligations.
And for those reasons it is to her aristocratic caste that England
stands indebted for her freedom. It is because the English aristocratic
caste itself supports that freedom."

"A tale which we have heard many times before!" commented Bazarov. "But
what are you seeking to prove?"

"I am seeking to prove this," replied Paul Petrovitch. "That without
a certain sense of personal dignity, without a sense of self-respect
(both of which senses are inborn in the true aristocrat), the social
edifice, the _bien public_, cannot rest upon a durable basis. It is
_personality_ that matters, my dear sir: and the human personality
requires to be as firm as a rock, in that there rests upon it the
entire structure of society. For example, I know that you ridicule
my customs, my dress, my fastidious tastes. Yet do those very things
proceed from that sense of duty--yes, of duty, I repeat--to which I
have just alluded. In other words, I may live in the depths of the
country, yet I do not let myself go. For I respect in myself the man."

"Allow me, Paul Petrovitch," said Bazarov. "You say that you respect
yourself. Very good. Yet you can sit there with your hands folded!
How will _that_ benefit the _bien public_, seeing that inaction would
scarcely seem to argue self-respect?"

Paul Petrovitch blanched a little.

"That is another question altogether," he said. "However, I do not
feel called upon to explain the reason why I sit with my hands folded
(according to your own estimable term). It will suffice merely to
remark that in the aristocratic idea there is contained a _principle_,
and that nowadays men who live without principles are as destitute of
morality as they are of moral substance. The same thing did I say to
Arkady on the day after his arrival, and I say it now to you. You agree
with me, Nikolai, do you not?"

Nikolai Petrovitch nodded assent, while Bazarov exclaimed:

"The aristocratic idea, forsooth! Liberalism, progress, principles!
Why, have you ever considered the vanity of those terms? The Russian of
to-day does not need them."

"Then what, in your opinion, does he need? To listen to you, one would
suppose that we stood wholly divorced from humanity and humanity's
laws; whereas, pardon me, the logic of history demands----"

"What has that logic to do with us? We can get on quite well without
it."

"How can we do so?"

"Even as I have said. When you want to put a piece of bread into your
mouth do you need logic for the purpose? What have these abstractions
to do with ourselves?"

Paul Petrovitch waved his hand in disgust.

"I cannot understand you," he said. "You seem to me to be insulting
the Russian people. How you or any one else can decline to recognise
principles and precepts is a thing which passes my comprehension. For
what other basis for action in life have we got?"

Arkady put in a word.

"Both I and Bazarov have told you," he said, "that we recognise no
authority of any sort."

"Rather, that we recognise no basis for action save the useful,"
corrected Bazarov. "At present the course most useful is denial.
Therefore we deny."

"Deny everything?"

"Deny everything."

"What? Both poetry and art and--I find it hard to express it?----"

"I repeat, _everything_," said Bazarov with an ineffable expression of
_insouciance_.

Paul Petrovitch stared. He had not quite expected this. For his part,
Arkady reddened with pleasure.

"Allow me," interposed Nikolai Petrovitch. "You say that you deny
everything--rather, that you would consign everything to destruction.
But also you ought to construct."

"That is not our business," said Bazarov. "First must the site be
cleared."

"Yes; for the present condition of the people demands it," affirmed
Arkady. "And that demand we are bound to fulfil, seeing that no one
has the right merely to devote himself to the satisfaction of his own
personal egotism."

With this last Bazarov did not seem altogether pleased, since the
phrase smacked too much of philosophy--rather, of "Romanticism," as
Bazarov termed that science; but he did not trouble to confute his
pupil.

"No, no!" Paul Petrovitch exclaimed with sudden heat. "I _cannot_
believe that gentlemen of your type possess sufficient knowledge of the
people to be rightful representatives of its demands and aspirations.
For the Russian people is not what you think it to be. It holds
traditions sacred, and is patriarchal, and cannot live without faith."

"I will not dispute that," observed Bazarov. "Nay, I will even agree
that you are right."

"And, granting that I am right----"

"You have proved nothing."

"Yes, proved nothing," echoed Arkady with the assurance of a
chess-player who, having foreseen a dangerous move on the part of his
opponent, awaits the attack with expert composure.

"But how have I proved nothing?" muttered Paul Petrovitch, rather taken
aback. "Do you mean to say that you are opposed to, not in favour of,
the people?"

"Good gracious! Do not the common folk believe, when it thunders, that
the Prophet Elijah is going up to Heaven in his chariot? You and I do
not agree with that? The point is that the people is Russian, and that
I am the same."

"Not after what you have just said! Henceforth must I decline to
recognise you as any countryman of mine."

With a sort of indolent _hauteur_ Bazarov replied:

"With his own hand did my grandfather guide the plough. Ask, therefore,
of your favourite peasant which of us two--you or myself--he rates most
truly as his countryman. Why, you do not know even how to speak to him!"

"And you, while speaking to him, despise him."

"Should he merit contempt, yes. Reprobate, therefore, my views as much
as you like, but who told you that they have come to me fortuitously
rather than been derived from the very national spirit of which you are
so ardent an upholder?"

"Phaugh! We need you Nihilists, do we not?"

"Not ours is it to decide the need or otherwise, seeing that even a man
like yourself considers that he has a use."

"Gentlemen, gentlemen!" interposed Nikolai Petrovitch as he rose to his
feet. "I beg of you to indulge in no personalities!"

Paul Petrovitch smiled. Then, laying his hand upon his brother's
shoulder, he forced him to resume his seat.

"Do not be alarmed," he said. "That very sense of dignity at which this
gentleman pokes such bitter fun will keep me from forgetting myself."

And he turned to Bazarov again.

"Do you suppose your doctrine to be a new one?" he continued. "If so,
you are wasting your time. More than once has the Materialism which you
preach been mooted; and each time it has been proved bankrupt."

"Another foreign term!" muttered Bazarov. He was now beginning to lose
his temper, and his face had turned a dull, copperish tint. "In the
first place, we Nihilists preach nothing at all. For to preach is not
our custom."

"What, then, is your custom?"

"To proclaim facts such as that our civil servants accept bribes, that
we lack highways, commerce, and a single upright judge, and that----"

"Of course, of course! In other words, you and yours are to act as our
'censors' (I believe that to be the correct term?). Well, I agree with
many of your censures, but----"

"Other tenets which we hold are that to chatter, and to do nothing but
chatter, concerning our differences is not worth the trouble, seeing
that it is a pursuit which merely leads to pettiness and doctrinairism;
that beyond question are our so-called leaders and censors not worth
their salt, seeing that they engage in sheer futilities, and waste
their breath on discussions on art and still life and Parliamentarism
and legal points and the devil only knows what, when all the time it is
the bread of subsistence alone that matters, and we are being stifled
with gross superstition, and all our commercial enterprises are failing
for want of honest directors, and the freedom of which the Government
is for ever prating is destined never to become a reality, for the
reason that, so long as the Russian peasant is allowed to go and drink
himself to death in a dram-shop, he is ready to submit to any sort of
despoilment."

"You have decided, then, you feel conscious, that your true _métier_ is
to apply yourselves seriously to nothing?"

"Even so," came the sullen reply, for Bazarov had suddenly become vexed
with himself for having exposed his mind with such completeness to this
_barin_.

"You have decided merely to deny everything?"

"We have decided merely to deny everything."

"And that you call Nihilism?"

"That we call Nihilism." In Bazarov's repetition of Paul Petrovitch's
words there echoed, this time, a note of pride.

Paul Petrovitch knit his brows.

"So, so!" he said in a voice that was curiously calm. "Nihilism
is designed to combat our every ill, and you alone are to act as
our saviours and our heroes! Well, well! But in what consider you
yourselves and your censorious friends to excel the rest of us? For you
chatter as much as does every one else."

"No, no!" muttered Bazarov. "At least we are not guilty of _that_,
however we may err in other ways."

"You do things, then? At all events, you are preparing to do things?"

Bazarov did not reply, although, in his excitement, Paul Petrovitch had
started up and then quickly recovered his self-command.

"H'm!" continued Paul Petrovitch. "With you to act is to demolish.
But how is such demolition to benefit when you do not even know its
purpose?"

"We demolish because we are a force," interposed Arkady.

Paul Petrovitch stared--then smiled.

"And a force need render account to no one," added Arkady with a
self-conscious straightening of his form.

"Fool!" gasped Paul Petrovitch. Evidently he could contain himself
no longer. "Have you ever considered _what_ you are maintaining with
your miserable creed? Even an angel would lose patience! 'A force,'
forsooth! You might as well say that the wild Kalmuck, or the barbaric
Mongol, represents a force. What boots such a force? Civilisation and
its fruits are what we value. And do not tell me that those fruits
are to be overlooked, seeing that even the meanest _barbouilleur_,[3]
the meanest piano-player who ever earned five kopecks a night, is of
more use to society than you. For men of that kind at least stand for
culture rather than for some rude, Mongolian propelling-power. Yes, you
may look upon yourselves as 'the coming race,' yet you are fit but to
sit in a Kalmuck shanty. 'A force,' forsooth! Good and 'forceful' sirs,
I beg to tell you that you number but four men and a boy, whereas those
others number millions, and are folk of the kind who will not permit
such as _you_ to trample upon their sacred beliefs, but will first
trample upon your worthy selves."

"Let them trample upon us," retorted Bazarov. "We are more in number
than you think."

"What? You really believe that you will succeed in inoculating the
nation as a whole?"

"From a little candle," replied Bazarov, "there arose, as you know, the
conflagration of Moscow."[4]

"A pride almost Satanic in its nature, and then banter! And thus you
would seek to attract our youth, _thus_ you would attempt to win the
inexperienced hearts of our boys! For sitting beside you is one of
those very boys, and he is absolutely worshipping you!" (Upon this
Arkady knit his brows, and averted his head a little.) "Yes, the
canker has spread far already. For instance, they tell me that in Rome
our artists decline to enter the Vatican, and look upon Raphael as
next-door to a fool, just because he is an 'authority'! Yet those very
artists are themselves so barren and impotent that their fancy cannot
rise above 'Girls at Fountains,' and so forth, villainously executed!
And such artists you account fine fellows, I presume?"

"Like those artists," said Bazarov, "I consider Raphael to be worth not
a copper groat. And as for the artists themselves, I appraise them at
about a similar sum."

"Bravo, bravo!" cried Paul Petrovitch. "Listen, O Arkady--listen to
the way in which the young men of the present day ought to express
themselves! Surely our youth will now rally to your side? For once upon
a time they had to go to school, since they did not like to be taken
for dunces, and therefore worked at their studies; but now they have
but to say: 'Everything in the world is rubbish,' and, behold! the
trick is done. They consider that delightful--and naturally! In other
words, the blockheads of former days are become the Nihilists of the
present."

"Your self-sufficiency--I mean, your self-respect--is carrying you
away," Bazarov remarked nonchalantly (as for Arkady, his eyes had
flashed, and his whole form was quivering with indignation). "But our
dispute has gone far enough. Let us end it. Whenever you may feel that
you can point out to me a single institution in our family or our
public life which does not call for complete and unsparing rejection, I
shall be pleased to accept your view."

"Of institutions of that kind I could cite you millions," exclaimed
Paul Petrovitch. "For example, take the village commune."

Bazarov's lips twisted themselves into a contemptuous smile.

"The village commune," said he, "is a subject which you would do better
to discuss with your brother, since he is learning by experience the
meaning of that commune, and of its circular guarantee, and of its
enforced sobriety and other contrivances."

"Take the family, then--yes, take the family, since at least among the
peasantry it is still a surviving institution."

"And that question, too, I should imagine were best not dissected by
you in detail. But see here, Paul Petrovitch. Allow yourself a minimum
of two days to think over these things (you will need quite that amount
of time to do so); and cite to yourself in succession our various
social conditions, and give them your best attention. Meanwhile Arkady
and myself will go and----"

"Go and make sport of everything, I presume?"

"No, go and dissect frogs. Come, Arkady! _Au revoir_, gentlemen."

And the two friends departed. Left alone, the brothers looked at one
another.

"So," at last said Paul Petrovitch, "you see the young men of the
day--you see our successors!"

"Our successors--yes," re-echoed Nikolai Petrovitch despondently.
Throughout the conversation he had been sitting simply on pins and
needles; throughout it he had dared do no more than throw an occasional
pained glance at Arkady. "My brother, there came to me just now a
curious reminiscence. It was of a quarrel which once I had with my
mother. During the contest she raised a great outcry, and refused to
listen to a single word I said; until at length I told her that for
her to understand me was impossible, seeing that she and I came of
different generations. Of course this angered her yet more, but I
thought to myself: 'What else could I do? The pill must have been a
bitter one, but it was necessary that she should swallow it.' And now
_our_ turn is come; now is it for _us_ to be told by our heirs that we
come of a different generation from theirs, and must kindly swallow the
pill."

"You are too magnanimous and retiring," expostulated Paul Petrovitch.
"For my part, I feel sure that we are more in the right than these
two youngsters, even though we may express ourselves in old-fashioned
terms, and lack their daring self-sufficiency. Indeed, what a puffed-up
crowd is the youth of to-day! Should you ask one of them whether he
will take white wine or red, he will reply, in a bass voice, and with
a face as though the whole universe were looking at him: 'Red is my
customary rule.'"

"Should you like some more tea?" interrupted Thenichka, who had been
peeping through the doorway, but had not dared to enter during the
progress of the dispute.

"No," was Nikolai Petrovitch's reply as he rose to meet her. "So you
can order the _samovar_ to be removed."

Meanwhile, with a brief "_Bon soir_," Paul Petrovitch betook himself to
his study.


[1] Ludwig Büchner (1824-1899), German physician and materialist
philosopher.

[2] _i.e._ the census-taking of the serf population.

[3] Scribbler.

[4] In 1812.



XI


Half an hour later Nikolai Petrovitch sought his favourite arbour.
Despondent thoughts were thronging through his brain, for the rift
between himself and his son was only too evident. Also, he knew that
that rift would widen from day to day. For nothing had he spent whole
days, during those winters in St. Petersburg, in the perusal of modern
works! For nothing had he listened to the young men's discourses! For
nothing had he been delighted when he had been able to interpolate a
word into their tempestuous debates!

"My brother says that we are more in the right than they," he
reflected. "And certainly I too can say without vanity that I believe
these young fellows to stand at a greater distance from the truth than
ourselves. Yet also I believe that they have in them something which
we lack--something which gives them an advantage over us. What is that
something? Is it youth? No, it is not youth alone. Is it that there
hovers about them less of the _barin_ than hovers about ourselves?
Possibly!"

Bending his head, he passed his hand over his face.

"Yet to reject poetry!" he muttered. "To fail to sympathise with art
and nature!"

And he gazed around as though he were trying to understand how any
one could be out of sympathy with the natural world. Evening was just
closing in, and the sun sinking behind a small aspen copse which,
situated half a verst from the garden, was trailing long shadows over
the motionless fields. Along the narrow, dark track beside the copse
a peasant on a white pony was trotting; and though the pair were
overshadowed by the trees, the rider was as clearly visible, even to a
patch on his shoulder, as the twinkling legs of his steed. Piercing
the tangled aspens, the sun's beams were bathing the trunks in so
brilliant a glow that trunks and beams were one bright mass, and only
the foliage on the boughs above formed a dusky blur against the lighter
tints of the flame-coloured sky. Overhead bats were whirling; the wind
had sunk to rest; a few late-homing bees were buzzing somnolently,
sluggishly amid the lilac blossoms; and a pillared swarm of gnats was
dancing over a projecting bough.

"O God, how fair!" was Nikolai's involuntary thought as his lips
breathed a favourite couplet.

Suddenly he remembered Arkady and _Stoff und Kraft_; and though
he continued to sit where he was, he quoted poetry no more, but
surrendered his mind wholly to the play of his lonely, irregular,
mournful thoughts. At all times he was a man fond of dreaming; and
to this tendency his life in the country had added confirmation. To
think of what only a short while ago he had been dreaming as he waited
for his son on the post-house verandah! For since that hour a change
had come about, and in the vague relations between himself and his
son there had dawned a more definite phase. Next, he saw before him
his dead wife. Yet he saw her, not as she had appeared to him during
the later years of her life--that is to say, as a kindly, thrifty
_châtelaine_--but as a young girl slim of figure and innocently
inquiring of eye. Yes, there flitted before his vision a picture only
of neatly plaited tresses falling over a childish neck. And he thought
of his first meeting with her when, as a student, he had encountered
her on the staircase leading to his suite of rooms. He remembered how,
having accidentally brushed against her, he had stopped to apologise,
but had only succeeded in muttering "Pardon, _monsieur_"; where-upon
she had bowed, and smiled, and fled as in sudden alarm--but only
to turn, the next moment, at the bend of the staircase, to look
swiftly back, and then, as swiftly, to blush, and assume a more demure
demeanour. Ah, those first timid meetings, those half-spoken words,
those bashful smiles, those alternate fits of rapture and despair, that
courtship that was destined to be crowned with swooning joy! Whither
was it all fled? True, she had become his wife, and had conferred upon
him such happiness as falls to the lot of few men on earth; but ever
the thought recurred to him, and recurred again: "Why could those days
of sweetness not have lasted for ever, so that we might have lived a
life which should never have known death?"

He made no attempt to co-ordinate his thoughts. The predominant feeling
in his mind was that he would give worlds to be able to connect himself
with those blessed days by something stronger than the mere power of
memory. He wanted to feel his Maria near him once more, to scent her
dear breath. A curious mood had him in its grip.

"Nikolai Petrovitch!" came the voice of Thenichka from a spot somewhere
in the vicinity. "Where are you?"

As he heard the call, a feeling that was neither vexation nor shame
passed over him. No comparison between his dead wife and Thenichka was
possible, yet he gave a start, and felt a passing regret that Thenichka
had seized _that_ moment to seek him. For in some way did the sound
of her voice bring back to him his grey hairs, his old age, all that
constituted the present. So for an instant the enchanted world which
he had just entered, and which he had just seen emerge from the misty
waves of the past, quivered--then disappeared.

"I am here, Thenichka," he called. "Please go away. I will come
presently."

"Another reminder that I am a _barin_," he reflected.

Thenichka retired, and suddenly he became aware of the fact that since
the moment when he had sunk into a reverie nightfall had come. Yes,
all around him there lay a motionless obscurity, with, gleaming amid
it, as a small, pale blur, Thenichka's face. Rising, he started to
return to the house, but his unstrung nerves could not calm themselves,
and, glancing now at the ground, now towards the heavens where there
swarmed myriads of twinkling stars, he fell to pacing the garden. He
continued this pacing until he was almost worn out; for still did the
vague, despondent, insistent sense of agitation refuse to leave his
breast. Could Bazarov have divined his thoughts, how the Nihilist would
have laughed! And even Arkady would have condemned him. For from the
eyes of Nikolai Petrovitch--from the eyes of a man of forty-four who
was the proprietor of an estate and a household--there were welling
slow, uncalled-for tears. This was a hundred times worse than the
'cello-playing!

And still he continued his pacing, for he could not make up his mind
to enter the peaceful, inviting retreat which beckoned to him so
cheerfully with its lighted windows, and to leave the darkness of the
garden, to forego the touch of fresh air upon his face, to throw off
his present mood of sadness and emotion.

At a turn in the path he encountered Paul Petrovitch.

"What is the matter with you?" Paul inquired. "You are looking as white
as a ghost. Are you ill? Why not go to bed?"

Nikolai Petrovitch explained to him in a few words his frame of
mind--then moved towards the house. Paul Petrovitch sauntered down
towards the other end of the garden, and ever and anon, as he did so,
indulged in wrapt contemplation of the heavens. Yet, save for the
reflection of the starlight, there was nothing to be seen in his dark,
handsome eyes; for he had not been born a Romanticist, and his drily
fastidious, passionate, Frenchified, misanthropic soul was incapable
of castle-building.

"I tell you what," Bazarov said to Arkady the same night. "A splendid
idea has come into my head. You know that to-day your father said that
a certain eminent relation had sent him an invitation which he had no
intention of accepting. Well, how would it be if you and I were to
accept it, seeing that you too have been included in the honour? The
weather has turned beautiful, and we might drive over and look at the
town, and thus, incidentally, secure a few days' uninterrupted talk
together."

"Should you then return here?"

"No. I should go on to my father's. You see, he lives thirty versts
away only, and it is a long time since last I saw either him or my
mother. Moreover, the old folk deserve to be humoured a little, seeing
that they have been very good to me--especially my father--and that I
am their only son."

"And shall you stay long?"

"No. Staying in that place is dull work."

"Then pay us a second visit on your way back?"

"I will if possible. We will go, then, eh?"

"At your pleasure," Arkady replied with a show of indifference. But, as
a matter of fact, he was delighted with Bazarov's proposal; and only
the thought that he must keep up his "Nihilism" prevented him from
manifesting his feelings.

So, the next day, the pair set out for the town of ----; while with one
consent the youth of Marino broke into lamentations over their going,
and Duniasha even went so far as to weep. Only their elders breathed
more freely.



XII


The town of ----, whither our friends now proceeded, lay under the
dominion of one of those young, progressive, despotic provincial
governors who afflict Russia in an unending sequence. As early as the
first year of his rule this particular potentate had succeeded in
quarrelling, not only with the President of the Provincial Council (who
was a retired staff officer, a horse breeder, and an agriculturist),
but also with his whole gubernatorial staff of _tchinovniks_: with
the result that at the time of our story the commotion therefrom had
attained a pitch which had just necessitated the sending down of
a commissary empowered to hold an investigation. The Government's
choice for this purpose had fallen upon Matvei Ilyitch Koliazin, the
son of the Koliazin who had once acted as guardian to the brothers
Kirsanov, and a man of the younger school--that is to say, a man who,
though a little over forty, still aimed at attaining the dignity of a
statesman, and having a breast covered with stars (including at least
one of a foreign minor order), and who, also like the Governor whom
he had come to examine, was accounted a Progressive, and held a high
opinion of himself. Yet never did Matvei allow his boundless vanity
to prevent him from affecting a stereotyped air of simplicity and
good humour, or from listening indulgently to anything that might be
said to him, or from cultivating so pleasant a laugh that everywhere
he contrived to pass for "not a bad sort of a fellow." True, he could
on important occasions (if I may quote the trite saying) "make dust
fly" ("Energy is indispensable for a State worker," was a frequent saw
of his--"_L'énergie est la première qualité d'un homme d'état_");
yet almost invariably did he end by being set down as a fool, while
_tchinovniks_ of more experience rode roughshod over him. Amongst other
things, he had a custom of expressing a great respect for Guizot,[1]
and also of striving to convince every one that he (Koliazin) was not
one of "your men of routine, your retired bureaucrats," but, rather, a
man who noted "every new and more important phenomenon of our social
life." In fact, such phrases he had at his finger ends, and also he
studied (though with a sort of careless pomposity only) the development
of contemporary literature. Lastly, it not seldom befell that, on
meeting a street procession of students, he would, though maturer of
years than the majority of its members, add himself to its ranks. In
short, only his circumstances and his epoch caused Matvei Ilyitch in
any way to differ from those officials of the Alexandrine period who,
before setting out to attend a reception at Madame Svietchin's[2] (then
resident in St. Petersburg), would read a few pages of Condillac's[3]
works. Yet, though an adroit courtier, Matvei was a mere glittering
fraud, since, save that he knew how to hold his own against all comers
(though, certainly, that is a great achievement in life), he was, in
all matters of State, a complete stranger to common sense.

On the present occasion he welcomed Arkady with all the _bonhomie_,
all the jocosity, of an "enlightened" bigwig. Nevertheless his face
fell a little when he learned that the other relatives whom he had
invited had preferred remaining in the country. "Your father always
was a queer fish," he remarked as he parted the tails of a velvet
"cutaway." And, having said this, he turned to a young _tchinovnik_ in
a tightly buttoned uniform, and asked him irritably what he wanted;
at which onslaught the young _tchinovnik_ (whose lips looked as
though a confirmed habit of keeping their own counsel had gummed them
permanently together) straightened himself with a sharp, apprehensive
look at his superior. But, once Matvei had effected this "settling" of
his subordinate, the great man paid the little one no further attention.

In passing, I may observe that to most of our bigwigs is this species
of "settling" very dear, and that many are the expedients resorted
to for its achievement. Particularly is the following method "quite
a favourite," as the English say--in other words, much in request.
Suddenly a given bigwig will cease to be able to grasp with his
intelligence even the simplest sentence, and assume an air of abysmal
density. For example, he will inquire what the day of the week may be,
and be told (with great and stammering deference) that the day is, say,
Friday.

"What?" will roar the bigwig with an air of being forced to strain his
ears to the utmost. "Eh? what do you say?"

"I-It is F-Friday, your E-E-Excellency."

"Eh, what? Friday? What mean you by Friday?"

"Y-Your Excellency, F-Friday is, is--F-F-Friday is a day in the week."

"Come, come! You need not have taken so much time to tell me _that_."

Matvei Ilyitch was just such a bigwig, although he called himself a
Liberal.

"My good fellow," he now continued to Arkady, "I should advise you to
go and leave your card upon the Governor. Of course you understand that
my reason for counselling you to adopt this procedure is, not that I
in any way hold with any bygone ideas about kow-towing to authority,
but, rather, because the Governor is a good fellow, and I know that you
would like to see a little society. For you too are not a bear, I hope?
No? Well, the Governor is giving a grand ball the day after to-morrow."

"And shall you be there?" asked Arkady.

"I shall, of course, receive tickets for it," replied Matvei Ilyitch
with an assumed air of regret. "You dance, I presume?"

"I do--though very badly."

"Never mind, never mind. There exists here plenty of good society, and
it would never do for a young fellow like yourself to be a non-dancer.
Again I say this, not because I in any way revere antiquated notions,
nor yet because I think that intellect ought to go kicking its heels
about, but because Byronism has become absurd--_il a fait son temps_."

"But I belong to neither the Byronists nor----"

"Well, well! I will introduce you to some of our ladies--I myself will
take you under my wing." And Matvei Ilyitch smiled in a self-satisfied
way. "In fact, you shall have a gay time here."

At this point a servant entered to announce the President of the
Provincial Treasury. The latter, a mild-eyed veteran with wrinkles
around his lips and a great love for nature, was accustomed to remark
on summer days that "of every little flower each little bee is now
taking its toll." So Arkady seized the occasion to depart.

He found Bazarov at the hotel where the pair were putting up, and had
great difficulty in persuading him to join in the projected call upon
the Governor.

"Well, well!" eventually said Bazarov. "I have laid a hand upon the
tow-rope, so it ill becomes me to complain of its weight. As we are
here to inspect the local lions, let us inspect them."

To the young men the Governor accorded a civil enough welcome, but
neither bade them be seated nor set the example himself. A man in
a perpetual hurry and ferment, he, on rising in the morning, was
accustomed to don a tight uniform and stiff collar, and then to give
himself up to such an orgy of orders-giving that he never finished
a single meal. As the result, he was known throughout the province
as "Bardeloue"--in reference, be it said, not to the great French
preacher,[4] but to _burda_, fermented liquor. After inviting Arkady
and Bazarov to the coming ball, the Governor, two minutes later,
repeated the invitation as though he had never given it; while likewise
he mistook the pair for brothers, and addressed them throughout as "the
Messieurs _Kaiserov_."

Subsequently, as the pair were proceeding homewards, a man of small
stature, and dressed in a "Slavophil" costume, leapt from a passing
_drozhki_, and, with a cry of "Evgenii Vasilitch!" flung himself upon
Bazarov.

"Is that you, Herr Sitnikov?" remarked Bazarov without even checking
his stride. "What chance brings you hither?"

"A pure accident," was the other's reply as, turning to the _drozhki_,
he signed to the coachman to follow at a foot's pace. "You see, I had
business to do with my father, and he invited me to pay him a visit."
Sitnikov hopped across a puddle. "Also, on learning of your arrival,
I have been to call at your place." (True enough, on subsequently
reaching the hotel, the two friends found awaiting them Sitnikov's
visiting-card, with the corners turned down, and one side of it
inscribed with his name in the French fashion, and the other with his
name in Slavonic characters.)

"You are from the Governor's, I suppose?" continued the little man. "I
sincerely hope not, however."

"Your hopes are vain."

"Then I too, alas, must pay him my _devoirs_. But first introduce me to
your friend."

"Sitnikov--Kirsanov," responded Bazarov without halting.

"Delighted!" minced Sitnikov as he stepped back, struck an attitude,
and hurriedly doffed his super-elegant gloves. "I have heard much of
you, Monsieur Kirsanov. I too am an old acquaintance--I might even say,
an old pupil--of Evgenii Vasilitch's. Through him it was that I came by
my spiritual regeneration."

Arkady glanced at Bazarov's "old pupil," and saw that he had small,
dull, pleasant, nervous features; also that his narrow, sunken eyes
expressed a great restlessness, and that his lips were parted in a
perpetual smile of a wooden and ingratiating order.

"Do you know," Sitnikov continued, "when Evgenii Vasilitch first told
me that we ought to ignore every species of authority I experienced
a sense of rapture, I felt as though I had suddenly ripened. 'Ah,' I
thought, 'at last have I found my man!' By the way, Evgenii Vasilitch,
you _must_ come and see a certain lady of my acquaintance--one who,
beyond all others, is the person to understand you, and to look upon
your coming as a red-letter event. Perhaps you have heard of her
already?"

"No. Who is she?" asked Bazarov reluctantly.

"A Madame Kukshin--a Madame, I should say, _Evdoksia_ Kukshin. And she
is not merely a remarkable character and a woman of light and leading;
she is also representative of the _émancipée_, in the best sense of the
word. But look here. How would it be if all three of us were to go and
see her? She lives only two steps away, and she would give us luncheon.
You have not lunched already, I presume?"

"No, we have not."

"Then the arrangement would suit us all. By the way, she is
independent, but a married woman."

"Good-looking?" queried Bazarov.

"N-No--one could not exactly say that."

"Then why ask us to go and see her?"

"Ah, ha! You _will_ have your jest, I see. But remember that she will
stand us a bottle of champagne."

"The practicality of the man!"

Sitnikov gave a shrill giggle.

"Shall we go?" he added.

"I cannot decide."

Here Arkady put in a word.

"We have come to inspect the local people," he remarked, "so let us
inspect them."

"True enough," seconded Sitnikov. "And, of course, _you_ must come,
Monsieur Kirsanov. We could not go without you."

"What? Are all three of us to descend upon her?"

"What matter? She herself is an odd person."

"And you say that she will stand us a bottle of champagne."

"Yes; or even a bottle apiece," asserted Sitnikov. "I will go bail upon
that."

"Go bail with what?"

"With my head."

"Your purse would have been better; but lead on."


[1] François Pierre Guillaume Guizot (1787-1874), the great French
minister, ambassador, _littérateur_, and educationalist.

[2] Madame Svietchin (1782-1857), wife of the Russian General
Svietchin. For more than forty years she maintained a famous salon.

[3] Etienne Bonnot de Mably de Condillac (1715-1780), a French
philosopher who based knowledge solely upon the physical senses.

[4] Louis Bourdaloue (1632-1704), a professor in the Jesuit College of
Bourges.



XIII


The villa in which Avdotia, or Evdoksia, Nikitishna Kukshin resided
was one of the usual Moscow pattern, and stood in one of the recently
consumed streets (for as we know, every fifth year sees each of our
provincial capitals burnt to the ground) of the town of ----. Beside
the front door there hung (over a cracked, crooked visiting-card)
a bell-handle, while in the hall the visitors were met by a female
who constituted, not exactly a maidservant, but a mob-capped "lady
companion." And it need hardly be added that these two phenomena, the
bell-handle and the "lady companion," constituted clear evidence of the
"progressiveness" of the hostess's views.

On Sitnikov inquiring whether Avdotia Nikitishna were within, a shrill
voice interrupted him from an adjoining room:

"Is that you, Victor? Pray enter."

The female in the mob-cap disappeared.

"I have not come alone," Sitnikov responded as, after an inquiring
glance at Arkady and Bazarov, he divested himself of his greatcoat, and
revealed thereunder a sort of sack jacket.

"Never mind," the voice replied. "_Entrez, s'il vous plaît._"

The young men did as bidden, and found themselves in a room which
resembled a workshop rather than a parlour. On tables were piled
promiscuous papers, letters and Russian magazines (most of the
latter uncut); everywhere on the floor were to be seen gleaming the
fag-ends of cigarettes; and on a leather-padded sofa a lady--youngish,
flaxen-haired, and clad in a _négligée_ soiled silk gown--was lolling
in a semi-recumbent position. About her stumpy wrists were clasped a
large pair of bracelets, and over her head was thrown a lace mantilla.
Rising, she draped her shoulders carelessly in a velvet tippet with
faded ermine trimming, and, saying indolently, "Good day, Victor,"
pressed Sitnikov's hand.

"Bazarov--Kirsanov," he said in abrupt imitation of the former;
whereupon she responded, "How do you do?" and then added, as she
fixed upon Bazarov a pair of large eyes between which glimmered a
correspondingly small, pink, upturned nose: "I have met you before."

That said, she pressed his hand even as she had done Sitnikov's.

Bazarov frowned, for though the plain, insignificant features of
the emancipated lady contained nothing actually to repel, there was
something in their mien which produced upon the beholder the sort of
unpleasant impression which might have inclined him to ask her: "Are
you hungry, or bored, or afraid? At all events, what is it you want?"
Also, like Sitnikov, she kept pawing the air as she spoke, and her
every word, her every gesture, revealed such a lack of control as at
times amounted to sheer awkwardness. In short, though she conceived
herself to be just a simple, good-hearted creature, her bearing was of
the kind to lead the beholder to reflect that, no matter what she did,
it was not what she had intended to do, and that everything was done
(to use the children's term) "on purpose"--that is to say, non-simply
and non-naturally.

"Yes, I have met you before, Bazarov," she repeated (like many other
contemporary females of Moscow and the provinces, she had adopted the
fashion of calling men by their surnames alone on first introduction).
"Will you have a cigar?"

"I thank you," interposed Sitnikov (who had deposited his person in an
armchair, and crossed his legs). "Also, pray give us some luncheon,
for we are absolutely ravenous. Also, you might order us a bottle of
champagne."

"You Sybarite!" exclaimed Evdoksia with a smile (a smile always brought
her upper gum prominently into view). "Is he not, Bazarov?"

"No; it is merely that I love the comforts of life," protested Sitnikov
pompously. "Nor need that in any way prevent me from being a Liberal."

"But it does, it does," cried Evdoksia. However, she gave orders to
her servant to see both to the luncheon and to the champagne. "What is
_your_ opinion on the matter?" she added, turning to Bazarov. "I feel
convinced that you share mine."

"No, I do not," he replied. "On the contrary, I think that, even from
the chemical point of view, a piece of meat is better than a piece of
bread."

"Then you study chemistry?" she exclaimed. "Chemistry is _my_ passion
also. In fact, I have invented a special liniment."

"A liniment? You?"

"Yes, I. And please guess its use. It is for making unbreakable dolls
and pipe-bowls. You see that, like yourself, I am of a practical turn
of mind. But, as yet, I have not completed my course of study. It
still remains for me to read up my Liebig. _Apropos_, have you seen an
article in the _Viedomosti_ on Woman's Work--an article by Kisliakov?
If not, you should read it (for I presume that you take an interest in
the Feminine Question, and also in the Question of the Schools?). But
what is your friend's line? _Apropos_, what is his name?"

These questions Madame Kukshin, as it were, mouthed, and did so with an
affected carelessness which waited for no reply, even as a spoilt child
propounds conundrums to its nurse.

"My name is Arkady Nikolaievitch Kirsanov," Arkady answered for
himself. "And my particular line is doing nothing at all."

Evdoksia tittered.

"How nice!" she exclaimed. "Then you do not even smoke? Victor, I am
furious with you!"

"Why?" enquired Sitnikov.

"Because I have just heard that you are again standing up for Georges
Sand, that played-out woman. How is she even to be compared (that
creature, who lacks a single idea on education or physiology or
anything else) with Emerson? In fact, I believe that never in her life
has she so much as _heard_ of embryology--though in these days no one
can get on without it." The speaker flung out her arms in an expressive
gesture. "But what a splendid article was that of Elisievitch's!
He is indeed a talented gentleman!" (This was another habit of
Evdoksia's--the habit of persistently using the term "gentleman" for
the ordinary word "man"). "Bazarov, pray come and sit beside me on the
sofa. You may not know it, but I am dreadfully afraid of you."

"Why are you afraid of me (if you will forgive my curiosity)?"

"Because you are a dangerous gentleman--you are a critic so caustic
that in your presence my confusion leads me to begin speaking like
a lady-landowner of the Steppes. _Apropos_, I am a lady-landowner
myself; for, though I employ a local steward named Erothei (a sort of
Cooper's 'Pathfinder,' but compounded with a blend of independence in
his composition), I retain the ultimate reins of management in my own
hands. But how unbearable this town is!--yes, even though I have made
it my permanent home, seeing that nothing else was to be done!"

"The town is what a town always is," remarked Bazarov indifferently.

"But its interests are so petty!" continued Evdoksia.

"_That_ is what troubles me. Once upon a time I used to winter in
Moscow, but now good Monsieur Kukshin has to dwell there alone. And
Moscow itself is, is--well, not what it used to be. As a matter of
fact, I contemplate going abroad. I have spent the whole year in making
my preparations for the journey."

"You will go to Paris, I presume?"

"Yes, and to Heidelberg."

"Why to Heidelberg?"

"Because there the great Herr Bunsen[1] has his home."

Bazarov could not think of a suitable reply.

"Do you know Pierre Sapozhnikov?" continued she.

"No, I do not."

"He is always to be found at Lydia Khostatov's."

"Even with her I am not acquainted."

"Well, Sapozhnikov is going to escort me on my travels. For at least I
am free--I have no children, thank God! Why I should have put in that
'Thank God!' I scarcely know."

She rolled another cigarette between her nicotine-stained fingers,
licked it, placed it between her lips, and struck a match. The servant
entered with a tray.

"Ah! Here comes luncheon! Will you have some? Victor, pray uncork the
bottle. It is your function to do so."

"Mine, yes, mine," he hummed; then gave another of his shrill giggles.

"Have you any good-looking ladies in this town?" Bazarov asked after a
third glassful of champagne.

"Yes," replied Evdoksia. "But uniformly they are futile. For example, a
friend of mine, a Madame Odintsov, is not bad-looking, and has nothing
against her except a doubtful reputation (a thing of no consequence
in itself); but, alas! she combines with it such a complete lack of
freedom, or of breadth of view, or, in fact, of anything! The system
of bringing up women needs a radical change. I myself have given much
thought to the matter, and come to the conclusion that our women are
ill-educated."

"Yes; the only thing to be done with them is to hold them in contempt,"
agreed Sitnikov. To him any opportunity of despising, of expressing
scornful sentiments, was the most agreeable of sensations. Yet, though
he thus chose women for his especial censure, he little suspected that
before many months were over he himself would be grovelling at the feet
of a wife--and doing so merely for the reason that she had been born a
Princess Durdoleosov!

"No, to none of them would our conversation convey anything," he
continued. "Nor is there a single one of them upon whom the attention
of a serious-minded man would be anything but thrown away."

"Scarcely need they _desire_ to have anything conveyed to them by our
conversation," remarked Bazarov.

"Of whom are you speaking?" interposed Evdoksia.

"Of the smart women of the day."

"What? I suppose you agree with Proudhon's[2] opinion on the subject?"

Bazarov drew himself up.

"I agree with no man's opinions," he remarked. "I have some of my own."

"_A bas les autorités!_" cried Sitnikov, delighted at this unlooked-for
opportunity of showing off in the presence of the man whom he
worshipped.

"But even Macaulay----" began Madame Kukshin.

"_A bas_ Macaulay!" roared Sitnikov. "How can you defend those dolls of
ours?"

"I am not defending them at all," said Madame Kukshin. "I am merely
standing up for the rights of women--rights which I have sworn to
defend to the last drop of my blood."

"_A bas_----" began Sitnikov--then paused. "I do not reject them," he
added in a lower tone.

"But you _do_ reject them, for you are a Slavophil, as I can see very
clearly."

"On the contrary, I am _not_ a Slavophil; although, of course, I----"

"But you _are_ a Slavophil: you believe in the principles of the
_Domostroi_,[3] and would like always to be holding over women a
scourge."

"A scourge is not a bad thing in its proper place," observed Bazarov.
"But, seeing that we have reached the last drop of, of----"

"Of what?" said Evdoksia.

"Of champagne, most respected Avdotia Nikitishna--not of your blood."

"Never when I hear my sex abused can I listen with indifference,"
resumed Evdoksia. "It is all too horrible, too horrible! Instead of
attacking us, people ought to read Michel's[4] _De l'Amour_. What a
wonderful work it is! Let us talk of love."

She posed her arm gracefully upon the tumbled cushions of the sofa.

There fell a sudden silence.

"What is there to say concerning love?" at length said Bazarov. "In
passing, you mentioned a certain Madame Odintsov (I think that was the
name?). Who is she?"

"A very charming woman," squeaked Sitnikov, "as well as clever, rich,
and a widow. Unfortunately, she is not sufficiently _developed_, and
a closer acquaintance with our Evdoksia would do her a world of good.
Evdoksia, I drink to your health! Let us sing the honours. 'Et toc, et
toc, et tin, tin, tin! Et toc, et toc, et tin, tin, tin!'"

"You scamp, Victor!"

The luncheon proved a lengthy affair, for to the first bottle of
champagne there succeeded a second, and to the latter a third, and to
that a fourth. Meanwhile Evdoksia kept up an unceasing flow of chatter,
and received effective assistance from Sitnikov. In particular did
the pair discuss the nature of marriage ("the outcome of prejudice
and vice"), the question whether people are born "single," and the
consistency of "individuality." Then Evdoksia seated herself at the
piano, and, red in the face with wine which she had drunk, clattered
her flat finger-nails upon the keys, and essayed hoarsely to sing,
first of all some gipsy ditties, and then the ballad, "Dreaming Granada
lies asleep"; while, throwing a scarf over his head to represent the
dying lover, Sitnikov joined her at the words "Your lips meet mine in a
burning kiss."

At length Arkady could stand it no longer.

"Gentlemen," he exclaimed, "this is sheer Bedlam!"

As for Bazarov, he yawned, for he had done little more than interject
a satirical word or two--his attention had been devoted, rather, to
the champagne. At length he rose, and, accompanied by Arkady, left the
house without so much as a word of farewell to the hostess. Sitnikov
pursued the pair.

"Ah, ha!" he exclaimed as he skipped about the roadway. "Did I not tell
you that she would prove a most remarkable personality? Would that more
of our women were like her! In her way, she is a moral phenomenon."

"And your father's establishment?" remarked Bazarov as he pointed
to a tavern which they happened to be passing. "Is that also a moral
phenomenon?"

Sitnikov vented another of his shrill giggles. But, being also ashamed
of his origin, he felt at a loss whether to plume himself upon, or to
take offence at, Bazarov's unexpected pleasantry.


[1] Robert Wilhelm Bunsen (1811-1899), chemist and physicist; inventor
of Bunsen's burner and magnesium light; and originator (with Kirchhov)
of spectrum analysis.

[2] Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865), a French doctrinaire who taught
that anarchy is the culmination of all social progress.

[3] A curious old sixteenth-century work which, usually attributed to
the monk Sylvester, purports to be a "guide to household management,"
and, incidentally, gives a terrible picture of the power of the Russian
husband over his wife.

[4] Louise Michel (1830-1906), a French anarchist long resident in
London.



XIV


A few days later, the ball was held at the Governor's, and Matvei
Ilyitch figured thereat as the guest of honour. For his part, the
President of the Provincial Council (who was at loggerheads with the
Governor) explained at large that only out of respect for Matvei had
he deigned to be present, while the Governor continued, even when
stationary, his usual process of orders-giving. With Matvei's suavity
of demeanour nothing could be compared save his pomposity. Upon every
man he smiled--upon some with a hint of superciliousness, upon others
with a shade of deference; whilst to the ladies he bowed and scraped
_en vrai chevalier français_, and laughed, throughout, the great,
resonant, conspicuous laugh which a bigwig ought to do. Again, he
clapped Arkady upon the back, addressed him loudly as "young nephew,"
and honoured Bazarov (who had been with difficulty coaxed into an
ancient tail-coat) both with a distant, yet faintly condescending,
glance which skimmed that individual's cheek, and with a vague,
but affable, murmur in which there could be distinguished only the
fragments "I," "Yes," and "'xtremely." Lastly, he accorded Sitnikov
a finger and a smile (in the very act, turning his head away), and
bestowed upon Madame Kukshin (who had appeared minus a crinoline and
in dirty gloves, but with a bird of paradise stuck in her hair) an
"_Enchanté_!" The throng present was immense; nor was a sufficiency
of cavaliers lacking. True, most of the civilian element crowded
against the walls, but the military section danced with enthusiasm,
especially an officer who, being fresh from six weeks in Paris, where
he had become acquainted with daring cries of the type of "Zut!"
"Ah, fichtrrre!" "Pst, pst, mon bibi!" and so forth, pronounced these
quips to perfection, with true Parisian _chic_; while also he said
"_Si j'aurais_" for "_Si j'avais_," and "_absolument_" in the sense of
"certainly." In short, he employed that Franco-Russian jargon which
affords the French such intense amusement whenever they do not think it
more prudent to assure their Russian friends that the latter speak the
tongue of France _comme des anges_.

As we know, Arkady was a poor dancer, and Bazarov did not dance at all;
wherefore the pair sought a corner, and were there joined by Sitnikov.
Summoning to his visage his accustomed smile of contempt, and emitting
remarks mordantly sarcastic in their nature, the great Sitnikov glanced
haughtily about him, and appeared to derive some genuine pleasure from
thus striking an attitude. But suddenly his face underwent a change.
Turning to Arkady, he said in a self-conscious way: "Here is Madame
Odintsov just entering."

Looking up, Arkady beheld, halted in the doorway, a tall woman in
a black gown. In particular was he struck with the dignity of her
carriage, and with the manner in which her bare arms hung beside
her upright figure. From her gleaming hair to her sloping shoulders
trailed sprays of fuchsia flowers, while quietly, intelligently--I say
_quietly_, not dreamily--there gazed, with a barely perceptible smile,
from under a white and slightly prominent forehead a pair of brilliant
eyes. In general, the countenance suggested latent, but gentle, kindly
force.

"Do you know her?" Arkady inquired.

"I do--intimately," replied Sitnikov. "Shall I introduce you?"

"If you please; but only when this quadrille has come to an end."

Bazarov's attention also had been caught by this Madame Odintsov.

"What a face!" he exclaimed. "No other woman in the room has one
anything like it."

As soon, therefore, as the quadrille was over, Sitnikov conducted
Arkady to Madame Odintsov; and though at first--whether through the
excessive "intimacy" of Sitnikov's acquaintance, or whether through the
fact that he happened to stumble over his words--she gazed at him with
a shade of astonishment, she no sooner heard Arkady's family name than
her face brightened, and she inquired whether he was the son of Nikolai
Petrovitch.

"I am," replied Arkady.

"Then I have twice had the pleasure of meeting your father. Also, I
have heard much about him, and shall be most glad to know you."

At this point an aide-de-camp sidled up, and requested the honour of a
quadrille: which request she granted.

"Then you dance?" exclaimed Arkady, but with great deference.

"I do. What made you think that I do not? Is it that I look too old?"

"Oh no, pardon me! By no means! Then perhaps I too might ask for a
mazurka?"

Smiling indulgently, she replied, "If you wish," and then looked at him
not so much in a "superior" manner as in that of a married sister who
is regarding a very, very young brother. Though she was not greatly
older than Arkady (she had just attained her twenty-ninth year), her
presence made him feel the veriest schoolboy, and caused the difference
of years to seem infinitely greater than it was. Next, Matvei Ilyitch
approached her with a majestic air and a few obsequious words;
whereupon Arkady moved away a little, while continuing to observe her.
In fact, not until the quadrille was over did he find himself able
to withdraw his eyes from her bewitching person. Throughout, her
conversation with her partner and the guest of honour was accompanied
with small movements of the head and eyes, and twice she uttered a
low laugh. True, her nose erred a little on the side of thickness
(as do those of most Russian women), nor was the colour of her skin
unimpeachable; yet Arkady came to the conclusion that never in his life
had he encountered a woman so charming of personality. Continuously
the sound of her voice murmured in his ears, and the very folds of her
dress looked different from those of other women--they seemed to hang
straighter and more symmetrically, and her every movement was smooth
and natural.

Nevertheless, when the strains of the mazurka struck up, and, reseating
himself beside his partner, he prepared to enter into conversation
with her, he felt a distinct touch of diffidence. Nor, though he kept
passing his hand over his hair, could he find a word to say. However,
this timidity, this state of agitation, did not last long, for soon her
calmness infected him, and within a quarter of an hour he was talking
to her of his father, his uncle, and life in St. Petersburg and the
country. For her part, she listened with kindly interest, while gently
opening and closing her fan. Thus only at moments when other cavaliers
came to ask her for dances (Sitnikov did this twice) did Arkady's
chatter become interrupted; and whenever she returned to her place,
to reseat herself with her bosom heaving not a whit more rapidly than
it had done before, he would plunge into renewed conversation, so
delighted was he at the fact that he had found some one to sympathise
with him, to whom he could talk, at whose beautiful eyes and forehead
and gentle, refined, intellectual features he could gaze at leisure.
She herself said little, but her every word showed a knowledge of life
which pointed to the fact that already this young woman had thought and
felt much.

"Who was the man with you before Sitnikov brought you to me?" she
inquired.

"So you noticed my friend?" exclaimed Arkady. "Has he not a splendid
face? His name is Bazarov."

And, once launched upon the subject, Arkady descanted so fully, and
with such enthusiasm, that Madame Odintsov turned to observe his friend
more closely. But soon the mazurka began to draw to a close, and Arkady
found himself regretting the prospect of losing the companion with whom
he had spent such a pleasant hour. True, he had felt, throughout, that
he was being treated with condescension, and ought to be grateful; but
upon young hearts such an obligation does not press with any great
weight.

The music stopped with a jerk.

"_Merci_!" said Madame Odintsov--then rose. "You have promised to come
and see me. Also, bring with you your friend, for I am filled with
curiosity to behold a man who has the temerity to believe in nothing."

Next, the Governor approached Madame with a distraught air and an
intimation that supper was ready; whereupon she took his proffered arm,
and, as she departed, turned with a last smile and nod to Arkady, who,
in answer, bowed and stood following her with his eyes. How straight
her figure looked under the sheen of her black gown!

"Already she will have forgotten my existence," he thought to himself,
while an exquisite humility pervaded his soul. Then he rejoined Bazarov
in their joint corner.

"Well?" his friend said. "Have you enjoyed yourself? Some man or other
has just been telling me that the lady in question is---- But in all
probability the man was a fool. What do _you_ think of her?"

"The allusion escapes me," replied Arkady.

"Come, come, young innocence!"

"Or at all events your informant's meaning escapes me. Madame is nice,
but as cold and formal as, as----"

"As a stagnant pool," concluded Bazarov. "Yes, we all know the sort of
thing. You say that she is cold, but that is purely a matter of taste.
Perhaps you yourself like ice?"

"Perhaps I do," the other muttered. "But of such things I am no judge;
and in any case she wishes to make your acquaintance as well as mine,
and has asked me to bring you with me to call."

"The description of me which you gave is easily imagined! On the other
hand, you did rightly to offer her us both, for no matter who she may
be--whether a provincial lioness or only an '_émancipée_' like the
Kukshin woman, she has at least such a pair of shoulders as I have not
seen this many a day."

Arkady recoiled from this cynicism, yet, as often happens in such
cases, started to reproach his friend for something wholly unconnected
with the utterance which had given umbrage.

"Why do you refuse women freedom of thought?" he asked under his breath.

"For the reason, dear sir, that, according to my observation of life,
no woman, unless she be a freak, thinks _with_ freedom."

And here the conversation terminated, for supper had come to an end,
and the friends departed. As they left the room Madame Kukshin followed
them with a nervous and wrathful, yet slightly apprehensive, smile in
her eyes. The reason of this was that she felt wounded in her conceit
at the fact that neither of the young men had taken any notice of her.
Nevertheless, she remained at the ball until most of the rest of the
company had left; whereafter, it being four o'clock in the morning, she
danced a polka-mazurka, _à la Parisienne_, with Sitnikov, and with this
edifying spectacle brought the Governor's fête to a close.



XV


"Now let us see to what category of mortals to assign this young
person," said Bazarov to Arkady as, on the following day, the pair
mounted the staircase of the hotel where Madame Odintsov was staying.
"Somehow I seem to scent impropriety in the air."

"You surprise me!" burst forth Arkady. "Do _you_, Bazarov, do _you_
hold with the narrow-minded morality which----"

"Idiot!" exclaimed Bazarov contemptuously. "Do you not know that
both in our jargon and in the understanding of the ordinary person
the term 'improper' has now come to mean the same as 'proper'? In
any case I seem to scent money here. You yourself told me, did you
not, that Madame's marriage was a very strange one?--though, for my
part, I look upon marrying a rich old man as anything but a strange
proceeding--rather, as a measure of prudence. True, I place little
reliance upon the gossip of townsfolk, but at least I prefer to suppose
that that gossip has, as our cultured Governor would say, 'a basis in
fact.'"

Arkady did not respond, but knocked at the door of Madame's suite;
and, the door having been opened, a liveried man-servant ushered the
visitors into a large, hideously furnished room of the type which
is always to be found in Russian hotels--the only exception in the
present case being that the apartment was adorned with flowers.
Presently Madame herself entered, clad in a plain morning gown, and
looking even younger in the spring sunlight than she had done in the
ballroom. Arkady duly presented Bazarov, and, as he did so, remarked
with surprise that his friend seemed confused, while Madame was as
imperturbable as ever. This _gaucherie_ on his part Bazarov realised,
and felt vexed at.

"Phaugh!" he thought to himself. "The idea that I should be afraid of a
woman!"

Yet, like Sitnikov, he could only subside into a chair, and fall to
talking with an exaggerated emphasis to the woman who sat with her
brilliant eyes riveted with such attention upon him.

Anna Sergievna Odintsov had had for father one Sergei Nikolaievitch
Loktev, a well-known gambler, speculator, and beau. After fifteen years
of flaunting it in St. Petersburg and Moscow, and dissipating his whole
substance, he had been forced to retire to the country, where soon
afterwards he had died and left to his daughter Anna (aged twenty) and
his daughter Katerina (aged twelve) only a small joint competence.
As for the girls' mother (who had come of the impoverished house of
the Princes X.), she had expired during the heyday of her husband's
career in St. Petersburg. Anna's position after her father's death was
therefore a very difficult one, for the brilliant education which she
had received in the capital had in no way fitted her for the care of
a household and an estate, nor yet for the endurance of a life in the
country. Moreover, she possessed not a single acquaintance in that
country neighbourhood, nor any one to whom to turn for advice, since
her father had done his best to avoid associating with his neighbours,
in that he had despised them as much as they, in their several ways,
had despised him. Howbeit, Anna kept her head, and straightway sent
for her mother's sister, the Princess Avdotia Stepanovna X., who, a
malicious, presuming old woman, annexed, on the day of her arrival, all
the best rooms in the house, raged and stormed from morning till night,
and even declined to walk in the garden unless she could be accompanied
by her only serf, a sullen-looking lacquey who wore a faded green
livery, a blue collar, and a three-cornered hat. Nevertheless Anna put
up with these tantrums of her aunt's, superintended the education of
her sister, and resigned herself to the idea of living in seclusion for
the rest of her life. But fate had ordained otherwise. That is to say,
a certain Odintsov--a rich, bloated, unwieldy, soured, semi-imbecile
hypochondriac of forty-six who was, nevertheless, neither stupid nor
cruel--happened to see her, and became so enamoured that he offered her
marriage: and to this proposal she consented. For six years the pair
lived together, before the husband died, leaving her all his property.
The following year she spent in the country; after which she went
abroad with her sister--but only as far as Germany, since she quickly
wearied of foreign parts, and was only too thankful to return to her
beloved Nikolsköe, which lay some forty versts from the provincial town
of ----. At Nikolsköe she had at her disposal a splendid, tastefully
furnished mansion, a beautiful garden, and a range of orangeries (the
late Odintsov having denied himself in nothing); but inasmuch as she
made but rare appearances in the town, and then only on flying visits
connected with business, the provincial gentry conceived a grudge
against her, and took to gossiping of her marriage with Odintsov, and
relating such impossible tales as that she had assisted her father in
his nefarious schemes, that she had had her reasons for going abroad,
and that certain unfortunate results of that tour had had to be
concealed. "I tell you," the ardent retailer of such fables would say,
"that she has been through the mill right enough." Eventually these
rumours reached her ears, but she ignored them altogether, since her
nature was at once bold and independent.

Seating herself at full length in an armchair, and crossing one hand
over the other, she set herself to listen to Bazarov's harangue.
Contrary to his usual custom, he spoke without restraint, for he
was clearly anxious to interest his listener. Arkady again felt
surprised at this, though he failed to detect whether or not Bazarov
was succeeding in his aim, seeing that Anna Sergievna's face gave no
clue to the effect produced, so fixedly did her features retain their
faintly polite expression, so unvaryingly did her beautiful eyes
reflect unruffled attention. True, at first Bazarov's vehemence gave
her an unpleasant impression as of a bad smell or a jarring note; but
in time she began to understand that it came of his being ill at ease,
and she felt flattered at the fact. Only the paltry repelled her; and
no one could well have accused Bazarov of that quality. Indeed wonders
were never to cease for Arkady, since, though he had expected Bazarov
to talk to Madame Odintsov as to a woman of intellect--to speak to her
of his views and convictions (seeing that she had expressed a desire
to behold a man who had "the temerity to believe in nothing"), he
discoursed only on medicine, homoeopathy, and botany. At the same time,
Madame had not wasted her life of solitude, but had read a large number
of standard works, and could express herself in the best of Russian;
and though at one point she diverted the conversation to music, she
no sooner perceived that he declined to recognise the existence of
the art than she returned to botany, even though Arkady would gladly
have continued the discussion of the importance of national melodies.
In passing, her treatment of Arkady as a younger brother remained
the same. What she valued in him was, evidently, the good humour and
simplicity of youth--nothing more. Thus there was held, for three
hours, an animated, but intermittent, discursive conversation.

At length the friends rose to say farewell. With a kindly glance Anna
Sergievna offered them her beautiful white hand; then, after a moment's
reflection, said irresolutely, but with a pleasant smile:

"If neither of you fear finding the time tedious, will you come and pay
me a visit at Nikolsköe?"

"I should deem it the greatest pleasure!" cried Arkady.

"And you, Monsieur Bazarov?"

Bazarov merely bowed: which again surprised Arkady, while also he
noticed that his friend's face looked flushed.

"Well?" the younger man said as the pair issued into the street. "Are
you still of the opinion that she is, is----?"

"I cannot say. But what an icicle she has made of herself!" There was
a pause. "At all events, she is an imposing personage, a _grande dame_
who lacks but a train to her gown and a coronet to her head."

"But none of our _grandes dames_ speak Russian as she does," remarked
Arkady.

"No; for she has undergone a rebirth, and eaten of our bread."

"And what a charm is hers!"

"You mean, what a splendid body--the very thing for a dissecting
theatre!"

"Stop, stop, for God's sake! Her body differs from all other women's."

"No need to lose your temper, young innocent. Have I not said that she
stands in the front rank of women? Yes, we must pay her that visit."

"When?"

"The day after to-morrow. Nothing else is to be done here, for we
need not stay to drink champagne with the Kukshin woman, and listen
to the harangues of your kinsman, the Liberal bigwig. Not we! The day
after to-morrow, therefore, let us give the whole thing the go-by. _A
propos_, my father's place lies near Nikolsköe. For Nikolsköe is on the
---- road, is it not?"

"It is."

"_Optime!_ Then we shall gain nothing by delay: only fools and clever
people procrastinate. Her anatomy, I repeat, is splendid."

Within three days, in bright, but not too warm, weather, the two
friends were bowling along the road to Nikolsköe. With a will did the
well-fed stage horses trot out, and lightly swish their flanks with
their plaited, knotted tails; and as Arkady glanced along the road, he,
for some unknown reason, smiled.

"Congratulate me!" cried Bazarov of a sudden. "To-day is the 22nd of
June--the feast of my Patron Saint. Certainly he looks after me, does
he not?" Then the speaker added in a lower tone: "But to-day, also,
they are expecting me at home.... Well, let them expect me."



XVI


The manor-house in which Anna Sergievna resided stood on an open
hillock, and close to a yellow stone church with a green roof, white
columns, and an entrance surmounted by a fresco representative of Our
Lord's Resurrection--the latter executed in the "Italian" style, and
having as its most noticeable feature the figure of a swarthy warrior
whose rounded contours filled the entire foreground. Behind the church,
the village extended into two long wings, and had thatched roofs
surmounted by a medley of chimneys; while the manor-house itself was
built in a style homogeneous with the design of the church--that is
to say, in the style commonly known as "Alexandrine," and embracing
yellow-painted walls, a green roof, white columns, and a front
adorned with a coat-of-arms. In fact, both buildings had been erected
by a provincial architect to the order of the late Odintsov, a man
impatient (so he himself always expressed it) of "vain and arbitrary
innovations." Lastly, to right and left of the house there showed the
trees of an antique garden, while an avenue of clipped firs led the way
to the principal entrance.

The friends having been met in the hall by two strapping lacqueys in
livery, one of the latter immediately ran for the butler; who (a stout
man in a black tail-coat) proceeded to usher the guests up a carpeted
staircase, and into a room which contained a couple of beds and the
usual appurtenances of the toilet. Evidently neatness was the order of
the day in the establishment, for everything was both spotlessly clean
and as fragrant as the chamber wherein a Minister of State holds his
receptions.

"Anna Sergievna will be glad to see you in half an hour," the butler
said. "Meanwhile, have you any orders for me?"

"No, worthy one," replied Bazarov. "Except that you might so far
condescend as to bring me a small glassful of _vodka_."

"It shall be done, sir," said the butler with a shade of hesitation;
whereafter he departed with creaking boots.

"What grandeur!" commented Bazarov. "In your opinion, how ought our
hostess to be addressed? In the style of a duchess?"

"Yes, and of a very great duchess," replied Arkady. "The more so,
seeing that she has invited such influential aristocrats as ourselves
to visit her."

"I presume that you are referring to your humble servant--a future
doctor, the son of a doctor, and the grandson of a sexton? By the
way, are you aware that my grandparent was a sexton, even as was
Speransky's?"[1] A smile curled his lips. "Thus you see that the lady
is mistaken, woefully mistaken. We haven't such a thing as a tail-coat,
have we?"

Arkady shrugged his shoulders bravely; but he too was feeling a little
awe-stricken.

At the close of the half-hour the pair entered the drawing-room, which
they found to be a large, lofty apartment of rich, but tasteless,
appointments. Against the walls, in the usual affected style, stood
heavy, expensive furniture, the walls themselves were hung with brown
curtains to which were florid gilt borders (all these things the late
Odintsov had ordered through a Muscovite friend who kept a wineshop),
and above a divan in the centre of the room hung a portrait of a
wrinkled, sandy-haired individual who seemed to be regarding the
newcomers with extreme distaste.

"_He_," whispered Bazarov.

The hostess herself then entered. She was clad in a light dress, and
had her hair dressed behind the ears--a style which communicated to
her pure, fresh countenance an air of almost girlish juvenility.

"Thank you for having kept your promise," she said. "And now that you
are come, I think that you will find the time not altogether dull. For
one thing, I intend to introduce you to my sister, who is a skilful
piano-player (of course, Monsieur Bazarov, to you such things are a
matter of indifference, but you, Monsieur Kirsanov, I know, adore the
art of music). Also, an elderly aunt lives with me as my companion, and
at intervals a neighbour looks in for a game of cards. You see our home
circle. Now let us seat ourselves."

Madame delivered this little speech with the precision of a lesson
which she had learnt by heart, and then turned to converse with Arkady.
On finding that her mother had known his, and that the latter had
made the former her confidant during her love affair with Nikolai
Petrovitch, the lad fell to speaking enthusiastically of his dead
parent, while Bazarov applied himself to the inspection of some albums.

"What a domesticated individual I am!" thought he to himself.

Presently, with much pattering of paws, there burst into the room a
splendid Russian greyhound with a blue collar; and it was followed by
a young girl of eighteen with a dark complexion, dark hair, a round,
but pleasant, face, and small, dark eyes. She was carrying a basket of
flowers.

"My sister Katia," said Madame Odintsov, indicating the girl with her
head.

Katia seated herself beside Madame, and fell to arranging her flowers;
while the greyhound (whose name was Fifi) approached each of the guests
in turn, laid his cold nose in their hands, and wagged his tail.

"Have you gathered those flowers yourself?" asked Madame Odintsov.

"Yes, Anna Sergievna," the girl replied.

"And is your aunt going to join us at tea?"

"Yes."

These replies of Katia's were accompanied with a frank, but gentle
and bashful, smile, and an upward glance half grave, half sportive.
Everything in her betokened youth and freshness--her voice, the down on
her cheeks, her little pink hands with their white, dimpled palms, and
the slightly contracted shoulders. Also, she blushed without ceasing,
and drew her breath with a fluttering respiration.

Presently Madame Odintsov turned to Bazarov.

"Surely it is only out of politeness that you are looking at those
photographs?" she said. "They cannot possibly interest you. Pray move
nearer to us, and let us engage in an argument."

Bazarov approached her.

"What shall we argue about?" he inquired.

"About anything you like. But first let me warn you that I am a
redoubtable opponent."

"You?"

"Yes, certainly. You look surprised? Why so?"

"Because, so far as I can tell, your temperament is one of the cold and
lethargic order, whereas argument needs impulsiveness."

"How have you contrived so quickly to appraise me? To begin with, I am
both impatient and exacting. Ask Katia if I am not. Also, I am easily
moved to impulse."

Bazarov darted a glance at her.

"Possibly," he said. "Certainly you ought to know best. But, since
you desire to argue, let us argue. While looking at those views of
Saxon Switzerland, I heard you remark that they could not interest
me. This you said, I presume, because you suppose me to be lacking in
the artistic sense. Well, I am so. But might not those pictures be
interesting to me solely from the geological point of view--from the
standpoint of an observer, say, of the formation of mountains?"

"Pardon me, but, as a geologist, you would prefer to resort to some
special work on that science, not to a few pictures."

"Oh, not necessarily. For a picture may instantly present what a book
could set forth only in a hundred pages."

Anna Sergievna made no reply.

"Well," she resumed, leaning forward upon the table--a movement which
brought her face closer to Bazarov's, "since you possess not a grain of
the artistic instinct, how do you contrive to get on without it?"

"Rather, I would ask you: What is the artistic instinct able to effect?"

"It is able at least to help one to examine and to instruct one's
fellow man."

Bazarov smiled.

"In the first place," he retorted, "the prime requisite in that
connection is experience of life; and, in the second place, the study
of detached personalities is scarcely worth the trouble. For all we
human beings are alike, in body as in spirit. In each of us there is an
identical brain, an identical spleen, an identical heart, an identical
pair of lungs, an identical stock of the so-called moral qualities
(trifling variations between which we need not take into account).
Therefore from a single specimen of the human race may all the rest be
judged. In fact, human beings are like trees in a forest. You never
find a botanist studying its individual trunks."

Katia, who had been arranging her flowers, glanced at Bazarov in
amazement, and, in so doing, encountered his keen, contemptuous gaze,
and blushed to her ears. Anna Sergievna shook her head.

"Trees in a forest!" she exclaimed. "Think you, then, that there is no
difference between the wise man and the fool, the good and the bad?"

"No, I do not," replied Bazarov. "On the contrary, I believe that such
differences do exist. The point is that they exist only as between
the sound and the ailing. For instance, a consumptive's lungs are not
as yours and mine; yet they have been fashioned precisely as our own
have been. Also, whereas, to a certain extent, we know whence bodily
disorders arise, _moral_ disorders come of faulty education, the
thousand and one follies with which the human brain is afflicted, in
short, any irregular condition of the social body. Rectify that body,
and moral sickness will soon cease to be."

Speaking as though he were saying to himself, "Believe me or not as you
like, it is all one to me," Bazarov drew his long fingers through his
whiskers, while his eyes glowed like coals.

"Then you think," pursued Anna Sergievna, "that, once the social body
has been rectified, stupid and evil people will cease to exist?"

"At all events, once the social body is properly organised, the
fact that a man be wise or stupid, good or bad, will cease to be of
importance."

"Ah! I understand! That is because we all possess an identical spleen?"

"Precisely so, madam."

She turned to Arkady.

"And what is your opinion, Arkady Nikolaievitch?" she enquired.

"I agree with Evgenii," was his reply as, in his turn, he received a
glance of astonishment from Katia.

"I am surprised, gentlemen," said Madame. "However, I can hear my aunt
approaching, so let us spare her ears, and discuss this later."

Anna Sergievna's aunt--a small, spare woman with a mallet-shaped face,
a pair of narrow, malicious eyes, and a grey false front--bestowed
scarcely so much as a bow upon the guests, but at once relapsed into a
huge velvet armchair which no one but herself was allowed to use. And
even when Katia hastened to place for her a footstool, the old woman
did not thank her, nor even look at her, but chafed her hands under the
yellow shawl which covered the whole of her frail figure. Beyond all
things was she fond of yellow; wherefore she had had her cap trimmed
with ribands of the same hue.

"Have you slept well, Auntie?" Madame Odintsov inquired with a raising
of her voice.

"That dog is here again!" the old woman muttered on noticing that Fifi
was taking an irresolute step or two in her direction. "Turn the beast
out, I say! Out with it!"

Calling Fifi, Katia opened the door for the animal to leave the room;
whereupon, though it bounded out in joyous mood (under the impression
that it was about to be taken for a walk), it no sooner found itself
marooned outside than it fell to whining and scratching at the panels;
which caused the Princess to frown, and necessitated Katia's exit to
rectify matters.

"Tea is ready, I believe," Madame Odintsov continued. "Gentlemen, pray
come. Will you have some tea, Auntie?"

The Princess rose from her chair in silence, and headed a procession
to the dining-room, where a Cossack footman pulled a padded armchair
from under the table (like the last, it was reserved for the Princess
alone), and she subsided into its depths. Katia poured out tea, and
handed her aunt the first cup--a cup adorned with a coat-of-arms;
whereafter the old woman added some honey to the beverage (she looked
upon tea-drinking with sugar as a sin of extravagance, and the more
so since never at any time would she consent to spend an unnecessary
kopeck), and then asked hoarsely:

"What has Prince Ivan to say in his letter?"

No one answered, and in time Bazarov and Arkady apprised the fact that,
though treated, certainly, with respect, the old woman attracted no
one's serious attention.

"They keep her here for show," Bazarov reflected. "She is kept because
she comes of a princely house."

Tea over, Anna Sergievna proposed a walk; but since at that moment a
drop of rain came pattering down, the company (with the exception of
the Princess) returned to the drawing-room. Presently the neighbour
addicted to a game of cards came in, and proved to be one Porphyri
Platonitch--a stout, grey-headed, affable, diverting individual who,
in addition, could boast of a pair of legs as shapely as though turned
with a lathe. Anna Sergievna then inquired of Bazarov (with whom she
had again been in conversation) whether he would care to join them in
the old-fashioned game of "Preferences"; and he consented on the ground
that he could not too soon prepare himself for the post of a district
physician.

"But take care," remarked his hostess. "Porphyri Platonitch and I
are not unlikely to beat you. Meanwhile, do you, Katia, go and play
something on the piano for the benefit of Arkady Nikolaievitch. I know
that he loves music, and we too shall be glad to listen to you."

Reluctantly Katia approached the piano; nor, in spite of Arkady's
fondness for music, did he follow her any more eagerly.

The truth of it was that he felt himself to be being "got rid of" by
Madame Odintsov, and already there was simmering in his heart, as in
the heart of any young man of his age, that vague, oppressive feeling
which is the harbinger of love.

Raising the lid of the piano, Katia murmured under her breath, and
without looking at Arkady:

"What shall I play?"

"Anything you wish," he replied with indifference.

"But what sort of music do you _prefer_?" she persisted with unchanged
attitude.

"Classical music," was the reply delivered with equal nonchalance.

"Mozart?"

"Certainly--Mozart."

So Katia produced the Viennese master's Sonata-Fantasia in C minor.
She played it well, but coldly, and not with any excess of precision.
Likewise, she kept her lips compressed, her eyes upon the keys, and
her form erect and motionless. Only towards the close of the piece did
her face kindle at all, while at the same moment a tiny curl detached
itself from her loosely-bound hair, and fell over her dusky forehead.

Arkady also felt moved by the closing portion of the Sonata--the
portion where the charming, careless gaiety of the melody gives place
to sudden bursts of mournful, almost tragic lamentation. Yet the
thoughts which Mozart's strains aroused in him bore no relation to
Katia. He merely looked at her now and then, and reflected:

"She plays well; nor is she bad-looking."

The Sonata over, Katia inquired, without removing her hands from the
keyboard: "Is that enough?" and Arkady replied that he would not think
of troubling her further. Then he went on to talk of Mozart, and to
ask her whether she herself had selected the Sonata, or whether it had
been selected for her by some one. Katia answered in monosyllables, and
from time to time went into hiding, retired into herself; and on each
occasion of this sort she made her reappearance but reluctantly, and
with a face composed to a stubborn, almost a stupid, air. Yet she was
not timid so much as diffident and a trifle overawed by the presence of
the sister who had brought her up (not that the sister in question ever
suspected it). Finally, she returned to her flowers, and Arkady found
himself reduced to calling Fifi to his side, and stroking the dog's
head with a kindly smile.

As for Bazarov, he had to pay forfeit after forfeit, for Anna Sergievna
was fairly clever at cards, and Porphyri Platonitch was a player
fully able to look after himself. Consequently the young doctor rose
a loser, not by a considerable sum, but by one which, at all events,
was sufficient to be scarcely agreeable. After supper Anna Sergievna
started a discussion on botany.

"I wish you would take me for a walk to-morrow morning," she said. "I
want you to teach me the Latin names of our field flowers, and also
their characteristics."

"But how could the Latin names benefit you?" he inquired.

"System is in all things necessary," she replied.

"A truly wonderful woman!" Arkady commented the same evening, on
finding himself alone with his friend in the bedroom.

"Yes," replied Bazarov. "She certainly possesses brains. Also, she has
dreamed dreams."

"In what sense?"

"In the best sense, my friend--in the very best sense, O Arkady
Nikolaievitch. Certain also am I that she manages her property well.
But the marvellous phenomenon is not she, but her sister."

"What? That hoyden?"

"Yes, that hoyden. The hoyden contains an element of freshness and
virginity and timidity and reticence and anything else you like which
makes her really an object worthy of interest. Of the one you could
make whatsoever you might desire, whereas of the other there is
nothing to be said save that she represents a yesterday's loaf."

Arkady made no reply, and soon the two men were asleep and dreaming
their own dreams.

The same night Anna Sergievna devoted much thought to her two guests.
Bazarov she liked both for his total lack of affectation and for
the piquancy of his criticisms; so that she seemed to divine in him
something new, something which had hitherto remained unknown to her
experience. All of which excited her curiosity.

And she too was a strange being. Free from all prejudice, and devoid
of all strong beliefs, she rendered obeisance to nothing, and had
in view no goal. Again, though much was open to her sight, and much
interested her, nothing really satisfied her, and she had no wish
for such satisfaction, since her intellect was at once inquiring
and indifferent, and harboured doubts which never merged into
insensibility, and aspirations which never swelled into unrest. True,
if she had been dowered with less wealth and independence, she might
have plunged into the fray, and learnt the nature of passion; but, as
things stood, she took life unhastingly, and, though often finding
it tedious, spent her days in a deliberate, rarely agitated manner.
True, at times rainbow colours gleamed even before _her_ eyes; yet
no sooner had they faded than she would draw her breath as before,
and in no way regret their disappearance. Again, though, at times,
her imagination exceeded the bounds of what is considered permissible
by conventional morality, her blood still coursed tranquilly through
her lethargic and bewitchingly shaped frame; and only when she was
issuing in a warm and tender glow from her comfortable bathroom would
she fall to pondering upon the futility of life, its sorrow and toil
and cruelty, and feel her soul swell to sudden temerity, and begin to
seethe with noble aspirations. Yet even then, let but a draught happen
to blow in her direction from an open window, and at once she would
shrug her shoulders, commiserate herself, come very near to losing her
temper, and become conscious of nothing but the thought that the one
thing necessary was to ensure that by hook or by crook that abominable
draught should be averted.

Again, like all women who have never known what it is to fall in
love, she was sensible of a persistent yearning for something wholly
undefined. There was nothing that she actually lacked, yet she seemed
to lack everything. The late Odintsov she had merely tolerated (the
marriage having been one _de convenance_ only--though she would never
have consented to become his wife had he not also been kindly of
heart), and from the experience she had derived a certain aversion to
the male sex in general, which she conceived to be composed exclusively
of creatures slovenly, idle, wearisome, and weakly exacting in their
habits. In fact, only once had she met (it was somewhere abroad) a
man who had in any way attracted her. He had been a young Swede of a
knightly countenance, honest blue eyes, and an open brow; but, for all
the impression that he had made upon her, the impression in question
had not prevented her from shortly afterwards returning to Russia.

"A strange man, that Bazarov," she thought to herself as she reposed
in her magnificent bed with its lace-embroidered pillows and its light
silken coverlet. It may be said, that, in addition to having inherited
her late father's fastidious and luxurious tastes, she still cherished
for that wayward, but kindhearted, parent a considerable affection,
since during his lifetime he had not only adored her and cracked jokes
with her on equal terms, but also accorded her his whole confidence,
and made it his invariable custom to seek her advice. Of her mother she
had but the scantiest of remembrance.

"Yes, a strange man is that Bazarov," she repeated; after which she
stretched her limbs, smiled, clasped her hands behind her head, ran an
eye over the pages of two foolish French novels, let fall the second
of these volumes from her hands, and relapsed into slumber--a cold,
spotless figure in spotless, fragrant white.

When breakfast was over next morning, she set forth upon the botanising
expedition with Bazarov; to return home just before luncheon time.
Meanwhile Arkady did not leave the house, but spent an hour with Katia,
nor found the time wearisome, seeing that of her own accord Katia
volunteered to repeat the Sonata. Yet the instant that his eyes beheld
Madame Odintsov returning his heart leapt within him. She was crossing
the garden with a slightly tired step, but with her cheeks rosy of hue,
her eyes shining under her round straw hat with even greater brilliancy
than usual, and her fingers twirling between them the stalk of some
field flower. Also, her light mantilla had slipped to her shoulders,
and the broad ribands of her hat were floating over her bosom.
Behind her walked Bazarov with his usual air of superciliousness and
self-assurance, while on his face there was an expression cheerful, and
even good-humoured. Yet somehow, Arkady did not like that expression.

Muttering "Good-morning," Bazarov passed towards his room, while Madame
Odintsov accorded the young man a negligent handshake--then similarly
continued her way.

"'Good morning!'" thought Arkady to himself. "One would think that she
and I had made one another's acquaintance only to-day!"


[1] Robert Wilhelm Bunsen (1811-1899), chemist and physicist; inventor
of Bunsen's burner and magnesium light; and originator (with Kirchhov)
of spectrum analysis.



XVII


As we know, time either flies like a bird or crawls like a snail. Thus
a man is in best case when he fails to notice either the rapidity or
the slowness of its flight. Similarly did Bazarov and Arkady spend
their fortnight at Madame Odintsov's. Of this another contributory
cause was the fact that alike in her household and in her daily life
she maintained a _régime_ to which she herself strictly adhered, and
to which she constrained others to adhere; so that the daily domestic
round accomplished itself according to a fixed programme. At eight
o'clock the company would assemble for breakfast; whereafter, until
luncheon time, individuals could do whatsoever they chose (the hostess
herself devoting her attention to her steward--she administered her
estate on the _obrok_ or tithes system--her household servants, and her
head housekeeper). Next, before dinner, the company would reassemble
for conversation or for reading aloud; and the rest of the evening
would be devoted to a walk, to cards, or to music. Lastly, at half-past
ten Anna Sergievna would withdraw to her room, issue her orders for the
following day, and retire to bed.

But to Bazarov this measured, slightly formal regularity was not wholly
agreeable. "Somehow it reminds one of running on a pair of rails," he
used to declare; while so much did the sight of liveried lacqueys and
graded serfs offend his democratic instincts that once he averred that
one might as well dine in the English fashion outright, and wear white
ties and black tail-coats. These views he expressed to Anna Sergievna
(something in her always led men to lay bare their opinions in her
presence); and, after she had heard him out, she said: "From your
point of view, the matter is as you say, and perhaps I play the fine
lady too much; but in the country one cannot live anyhow; such a course
always leads one to grow slovenly."

So she continued her _régime_ as before. Yet, though Bazarov grumbled,
he and Arkady found that to that very formality they owed the fact that
everything in the establishment "ran as on rails." In passing it may be
mentioned that between the two young men there had taken place a change
which dated from the day of their arrival at Nikolsköe, and manifested
itself, as regards Bazarov (for whom Anna Sergievna evidently
entertained a liking, though seldom did she agree with his _dicta_), in
the form of an unwonted captiousness which led him easily to lose his
temper, to speak always with reluctance, to glare about him, and to be
as unable to sit still as though mines had been exploding beneath his
seat. As for Arkady (now come finally to the conclusion that he was in
love with Madame Odintsov), the change manifested itself, rather, in
his falling a prey to a melancholy which in no way prevented him from
making friends with Katia, and even helped him to maintain with her
kindly and cordial relations.

"Whereas Madame cares nothing for me," he would reflect, "_this_
good-hearted creature does not give me the cold shoulder."

And these reflections would cause his heart to taste once more the
sensuous joy of "magnanimity." Dimly Katia herself divined that
her society afforded him a sort of comfort; wherefore she saw no
reason to deny either him or herself the pleasure of this innocent,
half-diffident, half-trustful _camaraderie_. True, in the presence,
and under the keen eye, of the elder sister (who always caused Katia
to retire precipitately into her shell) the pair never exchanged a
single word (indeed, as a man in love, Arkady could not well have
paid attention to any one but the object of his adoration while in
the latter's vicinity); but as soon as he found himself alone with
Katia he began, to a certain degree, really to enjoy himself. That is
to say, whereas he knew himself to be incompetent to interest Madame
(seeing that whenever he found himself alone with her he blushed and
lost his head, while she, on her side, did not know what to say to him,
so jejune was his mind as compared with her own), in Katia's presence
he felt perfectly at home, and could treat her with condescension,
and let her expound to him the impressions which she derived from
music and the reading of tales, poems, and other "trifles." Nor did
he notice, nor would he have consented to recognise had he noticed,
the fact that those same "trifles" interested him as much as they did
Katia. At the same time, the latter in no way acted as a clog upon his
melancholy; wherefore, just as Madame was at her ease with Bazarov,
so the young man was at his with Katia, and, after a short period of
joint converse, the two couples would usually diverge. This happened
especially during walks, and the more readily in that, whereas Katia
adored nature, and Arkady too loved it (though he would never have
admitted the fact), to Madame and Bazarov the charms of the natural
world represented more or less a matter of indifference. Hardly need I
add that from this constant separation between Arkady and Bazarov there
flowed inevitable results which brought about in the relations of the
pair a gradual change. That is to say, Bazarov ceased to discourse on
Madame Odintsov--he ceased even to censure her for her "aristocratic
manners"; and while, with regard to Katia, he sang her praises as usual
(at the same time advising the placing of a check upon her sentimental
tendencies), he took to uttering these encomiums only in a half-hearted
and a perfunctory way, and, in general, to lecturing his pupil less
than he had formerly done. Rather, he seemed to avoid him, to feel in
some way uncomfortable in his presence.

These things Arkady duly noted, but kept his observations to himself.

The real cause of the innovation was the feeling which Madame Odintsov
inspired in Bazarov's breast, and which he found to be a torture and
a madness to him. Yet, had any one hinted to him, ever so distantly,
that what was taking place in his soul could ever have been possible,
he would have denied it with a contemptuous laugh and a cynical
imprecation, seeing that, though a great devotee of feminine society
and feminine beauty, he looked upon love in the ideal, the "romantic"
(to use his own term) aspect as unpardonable folly, and upon the
sentiment of chivalry as a sort of aberration or malady which moved
him frequently to express his astonishment that Toggenburg and his
Minnesingers and troubadours never ended by being clapped in a madhouse.

"Should a woman please you," he would say, "strive to attain your goal;
but if you cannot attain that goal, waste no further trouble--just turn
away. For the world does not rest upon a single keystone."

In similar fashion Madame Odintsov "pleased" Bazarov: yet, though the
widespread reports in circulation about her might, with the freedom
and independence of her views and the undoubted _penchant_ which she
entertained for himself, have been reckoned to tell in his favour, he
soon discovered that, in her case, the "goal" was _not_ to be attained.
Also, he found to his surprise that he could not "turn away"--rather,
that the mere thought of her made his blood boil. True, that symptom,
if it had been the only one, might have been dealt with; but there
became implanted in him something else--something which he had hitherto
refused to admit, something of which he had hitherto made sport,
but something which now aroused his pride. Therefore, although, when
conversing with Anna Sergievna, he poured added scorn upon everything
"romantic," he recognised, during his hours of solitude, that even
in his own personality there lurked an element of "Romanticism." And
at such times there was nothing for it but to rush out of doors into
the woods, and to stride along at a pace which snapped off chance-met
boughs, and found vent in curses at both them and himself. Or he would
seek a hayloft or stable, and, stubbornly closing his eyes, strive to
woo sleep, and almost invariably fail. Yet, as he sat there, there
would come to him delusions that those proud lips _had_ once responded
to his kisses, that those chaste arms _had_ embraced his neck, that
those soulful eyes _had_ gazed tenderly--yes, tenderly--into his: and
at such times his head would whirl, and for a second or two, and until
his discontent returned, he would relapse into a state of trance, and,
as though urged by a demon, think thoughts of unavowable import. Again,
there were times when he would conceive a change similar to his own to
have taken place in _her_, and the expression of her face already to
be charged with a special significance. Yet, this point reached, he
would end merely by stamping his feet, grinding his teeth, and mentally
shaking his fist at himself.

Once, when walking with her in the garden, he announced to her in curt,
gruff tones that he intended soon to depart for his father's place;
whereupon Anna Sergievna turned pale, as though something had pricked
her heart, and pricked it in such a manner as to surprise even herself,
and to leave her wondering what it could portend. Yet not for the sake
of testing her, nor of seeing what might possibly come of it, had he
mentioned his purposed departure (never at any time did he indulge
in "scheming"). Rather, the reason was that, earlier that morning,
he had had an interview with his father's steward, Timotheitch, a
rough, but quick-witted, old fellow who, in past days, had acted as
his nurse, and had now presented himself--with tousled, flaxen hair,
red, weather-beaten face, watery, sunken eyes, short, stout jacket of
grey-blue cloth, leathern girdle, and tarred boots--at Nikolsköe.

"Good-day to you, ancient!" had been Bazarov's greeting.

"Good-day to _you, batiushka_!" had responded the old man with a
gleeful smile which had covered his face with wrinkles.

"And how is it that I see you here?" Bazarov had continued. "Is it that
they have sent you to fetch me?"

"By no means, pardon me, _batiushka_!" Timotheitch had stammered out
this denial for the reason that he had suddenly recollected certain
strict injunctions imposed upon him before starting. "No, it is merely
that I am on my way to the town on affairs connected with the estate,
and turned aside a little to pay my respects to your honour. No, not to
disturb you at all--oh dear no!"

"Do not lie," Bazarov had said. "Is _this_ the way to the town?"

Timotheitch, cringing, had returned no reply.

"And how is my father?" Bazarov had continued.

"Quite well, thank God!"

"And my mother?"

"Your mother is the same, thank God!"

"And they are, I suppose, expecting me?"

The old man had cocked his head with a knowing air.

"Evgenii Vasilitch, why should they _not_ be expecting you? Yes, as God
is my trust, I know that their hearts are simply aching for a sight of
you."

"Well, well! Do not make too long a stay of it, but tell them that I
will come presently."

"I will, _batiushka_."

Yet it had been with a sigh that Timotheitch had replaced his cap
on his head with both hands, left the house, remounted the shabby
_drozhki_ which he had left waiting at the gates, and disappeared at a
trot--though _not_ in the direction of the town.

The same evening saw Madame sitting in her boudoir with Bazarov, and
Arkady pacing the salon, and listening to Katia's music. As for the
Princess, she had gone to bed, for she could not abide the presence
of guests--least of all, of "those upstarts and good-for-nothings" as
she termed our friends. In fact, though she confined herself, in the
drawing-room or the dining-room, to sulking, she resorted, when alone
with her maid in the bedroom, to abuse of Arkady and Bazarov which made
her cap and her false front fairly dance on her head. These things, of
course, Madame Odintsov knew.

"Why need you depart?" she said to Bazarov. "Have you forgotten your
promise?"

Bazarov started.

"What promise?" he asked.

"Then you _have_ forgotten it! I mean the promise to give me a few
lessons in chemistry?"

"How can I fulfil it? My father is expecting me at home, and I ought
not to stay a day longer. You had better read through _Notions
Générales de Chimie_, by Pelouse and Frémy. It is an excellent work,
and clearly written--the very thing you want."

"But you said that no book can adequately replace--I forget the exact
phrase you used, but you know what I mean, do you not?"

"I cannot help myself," he muttered.

"Nevertheless, why go?" She lowered her voice as she spoke. Bazarov
glanced at her as she leant back in her chair and crossed her arms
(which were bare to the elbow), and saw that by the light of the lamp
(softened with a shade of pleated paper) she was looking paler than
usual--also that the outlines of her figure were almost buried in a
soft white gown, from underneath which there peeped forth the tips of
her toes, posed crosswise.

"What reason should I have for remaining?" he replied.

She gave her head the faintest toss.

"What reason should you have?" she re-echoed. "Well, are you not happy
here? Do you think that there will be no one to regret your departure?"

"There will be no one. Of that I am certain."

"Then you are wrong," came the reply after a pause. "But I do not
believe you--I have an idea that you are not speaking seriously."

Bazarov said nothing.

"Why do you not answer me?" she persisted.

"What is there to say? In general, to regret people's absence is not
worth while, and, least of all, the absence of people like myself."

"Why, again?"

"Because I am a prosaic and eminently uninteresting individual. Nor do
I know how to talk."

"But you know how to play the esquire?"

"No, not even that. And, as you know, the softer aspect of life, the
aspect which you hold so dear, lies altogether beyond me."

Madame Odintsov nibbled the corner of her handkerchief.

"Think what you like," she said, "but at least _I_ shall find things
dull when you are gone."

"Arkady will remain," he hazarded.

She shrugged her shoulders.

"Nevertheless I shall find the time wearisome," she repeated.

"Not for long."

"Why not?"

"Because, as you have very truly said, things never seem dull to you
save when your _régime_ is infringed. In fact, with such faultless
regularity have you ordered your life that there abides in it no room
for dullness or depression or any other burdensome feeling."

"And I too am faultless, I suppose--I have ordered my life too
regularly ever to err?"

"I daresay. Take an example of it. In a few minutes it will be ten
o'clock; when, as I know by experience, you will request me to leave
your presence."

"Oh no, I shall not. You may remain. By the way, please open that
window. The room is simply stifling."

Bazarov rose and unfastened the casement, which swung backwards with a
snap, for the reason that he had not expected it to open so easily, and
that his hands were trembling. Into the aperture glanced the soft, warm
night with its vista of dark vault of heaven, faintly rustling trees,
and pure, free, sweet-scented air.

"Also, please pull down the blind, and then resume your seat. I wish to
have a little further talk with you before you go. Tell me something
about yourself--a person to whom, by the way, you never refer."

"I would rather converse with you on more profitable subjects."

"What modesty! Nevertheless I wish to learn something of you, and of
your family, and of the father for whose sake you are soon going to
abandon me."

"Why the word 'abandon'?" reflected Bazarov. Then he added aloud:
"Things of that kind interest no one--least of all you. I and my people
are obscure folk."

"Whereas I, you imagine, am an aristocrat?"

Bazarov looked up.

"Yes," he replied with emphasis.

She smiled.

"Then I can see that your knowledge of me is small," she remarked.
"But of course--you believe all human beings to be identical, and
therefore not worth the trouble of studying. Some day I will tell you
my history. But first tell me yours."

"You say that my knowledge of you is small?" queried Bazarov. "You may
be right. Possibly _every_ human being is an enigma. Let us take an
example of that. You have withdrawn from society, and find it irksome,
and limit your visitors' list to a couple of students. Yet why, with
your intellect and your beauty, do you live in the country?"

"Why?" came the sharp rejoinder. "But first be so good as to explain
what you mean by my 'beauty.'"

Bazarov frowned.

"That lies beside the point," he muttered. "The point is that I cannot
understand why you settle in a rural spot of this kind."

"You cannot understand it, you cannot explain it?"

"No. There is only one possible explanation: and that is that you
remain here because you are a person of self-indulgence who love
comfort and the amenities of life, and are indifferent to aught else."

Again Madame Odintsov smiled.

"Then you are still determined to believe that I am incapable of being
moved?" she said.

Bazarov glanced at her from under his brows.

"By curiosity, yes," he said. "But by nothing else."

"Indeed? Then I cease to wonder that you and I do not get on together.
You are exactly like myself."

"That you and I do not get on together?" echoed Bazarov vaguely.

"Yes. But I had forgotten--you must be longing to retire?"

Bazarov rose. The lamp was casting a dim light, while into the
fragrant, darkened, isolated room there came wafted at intervals, under
the swinging blind, the sensuous freshness of the night, and the sounds
of its mysterious whisperings. Madame Odintsov did not stir. Over her
was stealing the same strange agitation which had infected Bazarov.
Suddenly he realised that he was alone with a young and beautiful woman.

"Need you go?" she asked slowly.

He made no reply--he merely resumed his seat.

"Then you think me a spoilt, pampered, indolent person?" she continued
in the same slow tone as she fixed her eyes upon the window. "Yet this
much I know about myself: that I am very unhappy."

"Unhappy? For what reason? Because you attach too much importance to
petty slanders?"

She frowned. Somehow she felt vexed that he should have understood her
thus.

"No; things of that kind do not disturb me," she said. "Never should
I allow them to do so--I am too proud. The reason why I am unhappy is
that I have no wish, no enthusiasm, to live. I daresay you will not
believe me, and will think that a mere 'petty aristocrat,' a person who
is lapped in lace and seated in an armchair, is saying all this (and I
will not conceal from you that I love what you call 'the comforts of
life'): yet all the while I feel as though I had no desire to continue
my existence. Pray reconcile that contradiction if you can. But perhaps
you consider what I say 'Romanticism'?"

Bazarov shook his head.

"You are yet young," he said. "Also, you are rich and independent. What
more could you have? What more do you desire?"

"What more?" she re-echoed with a sigh. "I do not know. I only know
that I feel tired, antiquated; I feel as though I had been living a
long, long time. Yes, I am growing old," she continued as she drew
the ends of her mantilla around her bare shoulders. In doing so, she
glanced at Bazarov. Her eyes met his, and the faintest of blushes stole
into her face. "Behind me lie many memories--memories of my life in St.
Petersburg, of a period of wealth followed by poverty, of my father's
death, of my marriage, of my travels abroad--yes, many such memories
there are. Yet none of them are worth cherishing. And before me lies
only a weary road with no goal to it, along which I have no desire to
travel."

"You are disenchanted," said Bazarov.

"No," she replied with a shiver. "Rather, I am dissatisfied. Oh that I
could form a strong attachment of some kind!"

"To fall in love _might_ save you," remarked Bazarov. "But you are
incapable of that. That is where your misfortune lies."

Madame dropped her eyes upon the sleeve of her mantilla.

"I am incapable of falling in love?" she murmured.

"Not altogether. Moreover, I did wrong to call it a misfortune: for the
person most to be pitied is the person who meets with that experience."

"What experience do you mean?"

"The experience of falling in love."

"How come you to know that?"

"By hearsay," he replied irritably, while to himself he added: "You are
a mere coquette whom sheer idleness is leading to weary and madden me."
And his heart swelled within him.

"On the other hand," he went on, "it may be that you are too exacting?"

As he spoke he bent forward and fell to playing with the tassels of his
chair.

"Possibly I am," she agreed. "But, you see, I conceive that it ought to
be everything or nothing. 'A life for a life.' 'Take my all, give your
all, and put a truce to regrets and any thought of return.' That is the
best rule."

"Indeed?" queried Bazarov. "Well, it is not a bad rule, and I am
surprised that you should have failed to attain your desire."

"Self-surrender, you think, is an easy thing?"

"Not if one considers matters first, and appraises oneself, and
sets upon oneself a definite value. It is only surrender _without_
consideration that is easy."

"But how could one not value oneself? If one had value, no one would
desire one's surrender."

"That would not be your concern nor mine: some one else's business
would it be to determine our respective values. The one thing that
would immediately concern us would be to know _how_ to surrender."

Madame Odintsov sat up sharply.

"I still believe you to be speaking from experience," she said.

"No; words, idle words--words not meant to be taken personally."

"Then you yourself might be capable of surrendering?"

"I might. But in any case I should not care to boast."

Both remained silent for a moment. From the drawing-room came the notes
of the piano.

"How late Katia is playing!" remarked Anna Sergievna.

Bazarov raised his head.

"Yes, it _is_ late," he said. "Time for you to go to rest."

"Wait a moment, however. Why should you hurry away? I have something
more to say to you."

"What may it be?"

"Wait," she repeated. As she did so, her eyes gazed at him as though
studying his personality. For a few moments he paced the room--then
suddenly approached her, said "Good night," squeezed her hand until she
could have shrieked with the pain, and departed.

Raising her fingers to her lips, she blew after him a kiss. Then,
rising with an abrupt, convulsive movement, she ran towards the door
as though to call him back. But at that moment her maid entered with
a decanter on a silver tray, and Madame halted, bid the maid begone,
reseated herself, and sank into a reverie. Her hair, like a winding
black snake, had broken loose from its fastenings. Dimly illumined by
the lamp, she sat motionless, save that at intervals she chafed her
hands, for the night air was beginning to grow chilly.

Two hours later Bazarov re-entered his bedroom in a state of
dishevelment and despondency, and with his boots soaked with dew.
Arkady was seated, fully dressed, at the writing-table, with a book in
his hands.

"So you are not in bed yet?" Bazarov remarked irritably.

Arkady's only reply was to ask the counter-question:

"You have been sitting with Anna Sergievna, have you not?"

"I have," replied Bazarov. "I was sitting there while you and Katia
were playing the piano."

"Oh, _I_ was not playing," retorted Arkady. Then he stopped, for he
felt the tears to be very near his eyes, and had no wish to let them
fall in the presence of his satirical mentor.



XVIII


When Madame Odintsov entered the breakfast-room next morning, Bazarov
had been sitting over his cup for a considerable time. He glanced
sharply at her as she opened the door, and she turned in his direction
as inevitably as though he had signed to her to do so. Somehow her face
looked pale, and it was not long before she returned to her boudoir,
whence she issued again only at luncheon time. Since dawn the weather
had been too rainy to admit of outdoor expeditions, and therefore the
party adjourned to the drawing-room, where Arkady began to read aloud
the latest number of some journal, while the Princess manifested her
usual surprise at his conduct (as though it had been conduct of an
indecent nature!), and fixed upon him a gaze which, though one of
lasting malignancy, proved also to be one of which he took not the
slightest notice.

"Pray come to my boudoir, Evgenii Vasilitch," said Anna Sergievna. "I
have something to ask you. I think that last night you mentioned some
textbook or another?"

Rising, she moved towards the door, whilst the Princess stared around
the room as much as to say: "Dear, dear! This does surprise me!" Then
she brought her eyes back to Arkady, who, raising his voice, and
bending towards Katia (by whose side he was sitting), continued his
reading as before.

Meanwhile Madame Odintsov walked hurriedly to her boudoir, and Bazarov
followed with his eyes fixed upon the floor, and his ears open to
no sound but the faint rustling of a silk dress. Arrived at her
destination, Madame seated herself in the chair which she had occupied
overnight, and Bazarov also took a seat where he had sat on the
occasion in question.

"What is the title of the book?" she asked after a brief pause.

"_Notions Générales_, by Pelouse and Frémy. I can also recommend
Ganot's _Traité Élémentaire de Physique Expérimentale_, which is more
detailed in its plates than the other work, and, in general, is----"

But Madame Odintsov held up her hand.

"Pardon me," she interrupted. "I have not brought you here to discuss
textbooks. I have brought you here to renew our conversation of last
night, at the point where you left the room so abruptly. I hope that I
shall not weary you?"

"I am entirely at your service. What was it we were discussing?"

She glanced at him.

"Happiness, I think," she said. "In fact, I was speaking to you of
myself. The reason why I mention happiness is the following. Why is it
that when one is enjoying, say, a piece of music, or a beautiful summer
evening, or a conversation with a sympathetic companion, the occasion
seems rather a hint at an infinite felicity existent elsewhere than a
real felicity actually being experienced? Perhaps, however, you have
never encountered such a phenomenon?"

"'Where we are not, there do we wish to be,'--you know the proverb.
Last night you said that you are dissatisfied. Such a thought never
enters into my head."

"Is it that such thoughts seem to you ridiculous?"

"No--rather, that they never occur to me."

"Indeed? Well, to know what your thoughts _are_ is a thing which I
greatly wish to attain."

"I do not understand you."

"Then listen. For a long time past I have been wishing to have this out
with you. Do not tell me--you yourself know that it is useless to do
so--that you are a man apart. As a matter of fact, you are a man still
young, with all your life before you. I wish to know for what you are
preparing, and what future awaits you, and what is the goal which you
are seeking to reach, and whither you are travelling, and what you have
in your mind--in short, who and what you are."

"I am surprised! Already you know that I dabble in natural science;
while, as regards my future----"

"Yes? As regards your future?"

"I have told you that I purpose to become a district physician."

Anna Sergievna waved her hand impatiently.

"Why tell me that, when you yourself do not believe it? It is for
Arkady to return me such answers, not you."

"And is Arkady in any way----?"

"Wait. Do you mean to tell me that such a modest rôle will really
satisfy you, when you yourself have asserted that the science of
medicine does not exist? No, no! You have given me that answer for the
reason that you desire to keep me at arm's length, that you have no
faith in me. Then let me tell you that I _am_ capable of understanding
you, that I too have known poverty and ambition, that I too have had my
experiences."

"I daresay: yet pardon me when I intimate that I am not accustomed to
bare my soul. Moreover, there is fixed between you and me such a gulf
that----"

"A gulf? Do you again say that I am an aristocrat? Come, come, Evgenii
Vasilitch! Have I not already told you that I----?"

"Can it avail anything to discuss the future when, for the most part,
our futures are wholly independent of ourselves? Should the occasion
arise to be up and doing, well and good: but, should the occasion _not_
arise, at least let us leave ourselves room for thankfulness that we
did not waste time in useless chatter."

"What? You call a friendly talk 'useless chatter'? Then do you deem me,
as a woman, unworthy of your confidence, or do you despise all women?"

"You I do not despise: and that you know full well."

"I know nothing of the kind. Of course I can understand your reluctance
to speak of your future career; but as to what is taking place within
you at the present moment----"

"'Taking place within me at the present moment'?" Bazarov exclaimed.
"One would think I was a state or a community! Nor is it a process
which interests me; while, in addition, a man cannot always put into
words 'what is taking place within him.'"

"I do not see it. Why should you hesitate to express what may be in
your soul?"

"Could _you_ do as much?" asked Bazarov.

"I could," came the reply after a brief hesitation.

Bazarov bowed in an ironical manner.

"Then you have the advantage of me," he said.

Her glance quickened into a note of interrogation.

"Very well," she said. "Yet I will venture to say that you and I
have not met in vain, and that we shall always remain good friends.
Moreover, I feel certain that in time your secretiveness and reserve
will disappear."

"Then have you noticed in me much such 'secretiveness and reserve'?"

"I have."

Bazarov rose, and moved towards the window.

"Do you really want to know the cause of that 'secretiveness, and
reserve'?" he asked. "Do you really want to know 'what is taking place
within' me?"

"I do," she replied. Yet even as she spoke she felt run through her a
tinge of apprehension for which she could not account.

"And you will not be angry with me if I tell you?"

"No."

"No?"

He approached her and halted behind her.

"Learn, then," he said, "that I love you with a blind, insensate
passion. You have forced it from me at last!"

She stretched out her arms before her, while Bazarov, turning, pressed
his forehead against the window-pane. His breath caught in his throat,
and his whole body was quivering. Yet this was not the agitation born
of the diffidence of youth, nor was it the awe inspired by a first
confession of love. Rather, it was the beating of a strong and terrible
emotion which resembled madness and was, perhaps, akin to it. As for
Madame Odintsov, a great horror had come over her--also a great feeling
of compassion for him.

"Evgenii Vasilitch!" she cried. In the words there rang an involuntary
note of tenderness.

Wheeling about, he devoured her with his glance. Then he seized her
hands in his, and pressed her to his bosom.

She did not free herself at once. Only after a moment did she withdraw
to a corner, and stand looking at him. He rushed towards her again, but
she whispered in hurried alarm:

"You have mistaken me!"

Had he taken another step, she would have screamed.

Biting his lips, he left the room.

Half an hour later her maid brought her a note. It consisted of a
single line only, and said: "Must I depart to-day, or may I remain
until to-morrow?"

To it Anna Sergievna replied: "Why depart? I have failed to understand
you, and you have failed to understand me--that is all."

But mentally she added: "Rather, I have failed to understand myself."

Until dinner time she remained secluded, and spent the hours in pacing
her room with her hands clasped behind her. Occasionally she would halt
before the window-panes or a mirror, to draw a handkerchief across a
spot on her neck which seemed to be burning like fire. And every time
that she did so she asked herself what had led her to force Bazarov's
confidence; also, whether or not she had had any suspicion that such a
thing might result.

"Yes, I _am_ to blame," she finally decided. "Yet I could not have
foreseen the whole _dénouement_."

Then she recalled Bazarov's almost animal face as he rushed to seize
her in his arms. And at the thought she blushed.

"Or is it that----?" Here she stopped, and shook back her curls. The
reason was that she had seen herself in a mirror, and, as in a flash,
had learnt from that image of a head thrown back, with a mysterious
smile lurking between a pair of half-parted lips and in a pair of
half-closed eyes, something which confounded her.

"No, no! Again no!" she cried. "Only God knows what might come of it.
Such things are not to be played with. Freedom from worry is the chief
thing in the world."

Nor had her _sangfroid_ really been shattered. Rather, she was a
little agitated--so little that, when, for some unknown reason, she
shed a tear or two, those tears owed their origin not to any deep
emotion, to the fact that she was wounded, but to a sense of having
involuntarily been at fault in permitting certain vague yearnings--a
certain consciousness of the transience of life, a certain desire for
novelty--to urge her towards the boundary line. And over that boundary
line she had peeped. And in front of her she had beheld, not an abyss,
but a waste, a sheer ugliness.



XIX


In spite of her self-command, in spite of her superiority to
convention, Madame Odintsov could not but feel a little uncomfortable
when she entered the dining-room for the evening meal. Nevertheless the
meal passed off without incident, and after it Porphyri Platonitch came
in, and related various anecdotes on the strength of a recent visit
to the neighbouring town--among other things, a story to the effect
that Governor "Bardeloue" had commanded his whole staff of officials
to wear spurs, in order that, if need be, he could dispatch them on
their errands on horseback! Meanwhile, Arkady talked in an undertone
to Katia, and also paid diplomatic attention to the Princess; while
Bazarov maintained such an obstinate, gloomy silence that Madame,
glancing at him (as she did twice, and openly, not covertly), thought
to herself, as she scanned his stern, forbidding face, downcast eyes,
and all-pervading expression of rigid contempt: "No, no! Again, no!"

Dinner over, she conducted her guests into the garden, and, perceiving
that Bazarov desired a word with her, walked aside a little, halted,
and waited for him. Approaching with his eyes on the ground, he said in
a dull way:

"I must beg your pardon, Anna Sergievna. Surely you must be feeling
extremely angry with me?"

"No, not angry so much as grieved," she replied.

"So much the worse! But I have received sufficient punishment, have I
not? My position now (I am sure that you will agree with me) is a very
awkward one. True, you wrote in your message: 'Why need you depart?'
but I cannot and will not remain. By to-morrow, therefore, I shall have
departed."

"But why need you, need you----?"

"Why need I depart?"

"No, I was going to have said something quite different."

"We cannot recover the past," he continued, "and it was only a question
of time before this should happen. I know only of one condition under
which I could remain. And that condition is never likely to arise. For
(pardon my presumption) I suppose you neither love me now nor could
ever do so?"

With the words there came a flash from under his dark brows.

She did not reply. Through her brain there flitted only the one
thought: "I am afraid of this man!"

"Farewell," he continued, as though he had divined that thought. Then
he moved away towards the house.

Entering the house a little later, Anna Sergievna called to Katia, and
took the girl by the arm: nor throughout the rest of the evening did
she once part from her. Also, instead of joining in a game of cards,
she sat uttering laugh after laugh of a nature which ill consorted with
her blanched and careworn face. Gazing at her perplexedly, as a young
man will do, Arkady kept asking himself the question: "What can this
mean?" As for Bazarov, he locked himself in his room, and only appeared
to join the rest at tea. When he did so, Anna Sergievna yearned to say
something kind to him, but could think of no words for the purpose. To
her dilemma, however, an unexpected incident put an end. This was the
entry of the butler to announce Sitnikov!

To describe the craven fashion in which the young Progressive
entered the room would be impossible. Although, with characteristic
importunity, he had decided to repair to the residence of a lady
with whom he was barely acquainted, and who had not accorded him an
invitation (his pretext for such presumption being that, according
to information received, she happened to be entertaining guests who
were both intellectual and "very intimate" with himself), he had since
felt his courage ebb to the marrow of his bones, and now, instead of
proffering all the excuses and compliments which he had prepared in
advance, blurted out some ridiculous story to the effect that Evdoksia
Kukshin had sent him to inquire after the health of Anna Sergievna,
and that Arkady Nikolaievitch had always spoken of him in terms of the
highest respect. But at this point he began to stammer, and so lost his
head as to sit down upon his own hat! No one bade him depart, however,
and Anna Sergievna even went so far as to present him to her aunt and
sister. Accordingly it was not long before he recovered his equanimity,
and shone forth with his accustomed brilliancy. Often the appearance
of the paltry represents a convenient phenomenon in life, since it
relaxes over-taut strings, and sobers natures prone to conceit and
self-assurance by reminding them of their kinship with the newcomer.
Thus Sitnikov's arrival caused everything to become duller and a trifle
more futile, but also rendered things simpler, and enabled the company
to partake of supper with a better appetite, and to part for the night
half an hour earlier than usual.

"Let me recall to you some words of your own," said Arkady when he had
got into bed, and Bazarov was still undressing. "I refer to the words:
'Why are you down-hearted? Have you just fulfilled a sacred duty?'"

Between the two there had become established those half-quizzical
relations which are always a sign of tacit distrust and a smouldering
grudge.

"To-morrow I intend to set out for my father's place," remarked
Bazarov, in disregard of what Arkady had said.

The latter raised himself on his elbow. Though surprised, he also, for
some reason, felt glad.

"Ah!" he exclaimed. "Then _that_ is why you are down-hearted?"

Bazarov yawned.

"When you are come to be a little older," he replied, "you will know
more."

"And what of Anna Sergievna?" continued Arkady.

"Well? What of her?"

"Is it likely that she will let you go?"

"I am not her hireling."

Arkady relapsed into thought, and Bazarov sought his bed, and turned
his face to the wall.

For a few moments silence reigned.

"Evgenii," said Arkady suddenly.

"Yes?"

"I too intend to leave to-morrow."

Bazarov made no reply.

"True, I shall be returning to Marino," continued Arkady, "but we might
bear one another company as far as Khokhlovskïe Viselki, and there you
could hire horses of Thedot. Of course, I should have been delighted to
make your family's acquaintance, but, were I to accompany you, I might
act as a source of constraint upon them and yourself alike. You must
pay us another visit at Marino later."

"I will. As a matter of fact, I have left some of my things there."
Bazarov still had his face turned to the wall.

"Why does he not ask _me_ the reason of _my_ departure--a departure as
sudden as his?" reflected Arkady. "Why is either of us departing, for
that matter?"

As he continued to reflect he realised that, while unable to return a
satisfactory answer to the question propounded, he seemed to have got
a heartache somehow, to be feeling that he would find it hard to part
with the life at Nikolsköe to which he was grown so accustomed. Yet he
could not remain there alone. That would be worse still.

"Between him and her there is something in the wind," he reflected.
"That being so, what would my sticking here avail after he had gone? I
should weary Anna Sergievna, and lose my last chance of pleasing her."

Then he began to draw a mental picture of the lady whom he had just
named: until there cut across the fair presentment of the young widow
another set of features.

"Katia too I shall miss," he whispered to his pillow (which had already
received one of his tears). At length, raising his curly poll, he
exclaimed:

"What, in the devil's name, brought that idiot Sitnikov here?"

He heard Bazarov stir under the bedclothes, then remark:

"You yourself are an idiot. We need the Sitnikovs of this world. Such
donkeys are absolutely necessary to us, to _me_. The gods ought not to
have to bake pots."

"Ah!" reflected Arkady. For, as in a flash, there had become revealed
to him the bottomless profundity of Bazarov's conceit.

"Then you and I are the gods?" he said aloud. "Or are you a god, and I
a donkey?"

"You are," came the gruff reply. "As yet, at all events, you are."

No particular astonishment was evinced by Madame Odintsov when, on
the following day, Arkady informed her that it was his intention to
accompany Bazarov. Rather, she looked distraught and weary. Katia
glanced at him gravely and in silence, and the Princess went so far as
to cross herself under her shawl--a precaution against the young men
observing the gesture. Sitnikov too was dumbfounded at having just
entered the breakfast-room in a new and most elegant suit (this time
_not_ of "Slavophil" cut, not to mention the fact that he had also had
the pleasure of amazing his temporary valet with the multitude of his
shirts), only to find himself confronted with the prospect of being
deserted by his comrades! He shuffled and wriggled like a hare driven
to the edge of a covert, and blurted out, almost in panic-stricken
fashion, that he too had a great mind to depart. Nor did Madame
Odintsov make any great effort to dissuade him.

"I have an exceedingly comfortable _koliaska_," the unfortunate young
man said to Arkady, "and I could give you a lift in it, and leave
Evgenii Vasilitch to use your _tarantass_, which would suit him better
than the _koliaska_."

"But I should not like to take you so far out of your way, for the
distance to my home is considerable."

"That would not matter, that would not matter. I have plenty of time to
spare, and also some business to do in that direction."

"What? Leasehold business again?" inquired Arkady disparagingly. But
Sitnikov was so distraught that he forbore to giggle in his usual
fashion.

"I can guarantee that the _koliaska_ is comfortable," he repeated.
"Indeed, it could hold all three of us."

"Do not vex Monsieur Sitnikov by refusing," put in Madame Odintsov.

So, with a meaning glance at her, Arkady nodded assent to Sitnikov.

Breakfast over, the guests departed. Anna Sergievna offered Bazarov her
hand.

"I hope we shall meet again?" she said.

"Only if you wish it," he replied.

"Then we _shall_ meet again."

The first to issue upon the verandah and enter Sitnikov's _koliaska_
was Arkady. The butler assisted him obsequiously, although Arkady could
with equal readiness have struck the man or burst into tears. As for
Bazarov, he took possession of the _tarantass_.

Khokhlovskïe Viselki reached, Arkady waited until Thedot, the local
posting-master, had harnessed fresh horses, and then, approaching the
_tarantass_, said to Bazarov with his old smile:

"Evgenii, take me with you. I should like to come to your place, after
all."

"Get in, then," muttered Bazarov.

This made Sitnikov, who had been walking up and down beside his
conveyance, and whistling, fairly gasp. Nevertheless the heartless
Arkady removed his luggage from the _koliaska_, seated himself beside
Bazarov, and, according his late fellow-traveller a courteous bow,
shouted: "Right away!" The _tarantass_ started, and soon was lost to
view. Much taken aback, Sitnikov gazed at his coachman. But the latter
was flicking the flanks of the trace horse with his whip, and therefore
Sitnikov had no choice but to leap into the vehicle, to shout to a
couple of peasants: "Off with your caps, you rascals!" and be driven
to the town, whither he arrived at a late hour, and where, on the
following day, he declared to Madame Kukshin that he had had enough of
"those odious churls and upstarts."

On Arkady seating himself beside Bazarov in the _tarantass_, he pressed
his hand, and Bazarov seemed to divine the meaning of the silent
hand-clasp, and to appreciate it. During the previous night the elder
man had never once closed his eyes. Also, for several days past he had
neither smoked a cigar nor eaten more than the merest scrap of food.
Indeed, as he sat in the _tarantass_, his fine-drawn profile, under the
overshadowing cap, looked sharper and grimmer than ever.

"Give me a cigar, will you?" he said. "Also, pray look at my tongue,
and tell me if it has a bilious appearance."

"Yes, it has," replied Arkady.

"I thought so, for this cigar seems tasteless. Moreover, the infernal
thing has come unrolled."

"You have changed a good deal of late?" hazarded Arkady.

"I daresay. But I shall be myself again, soon. The only thing now
troubling me is the fact that my mother is so good-naturedly fussy.
Should one's paunch not be projecting, or should one not eat at least
ten meals a day, she relapses into despair. My father, of course, is
different, for he has been all over the world, and knows what is what.
This cigar is simply unsmokable." And Bazarov consigned it to the dust
of the roadway.

"The distance to your place is twenty-five versts, I suppose?" queried
Arkady.

"It is so. But inquire of that sage there." And Bazarov pointed to the
peasant (an _employé_ of Thedot's) who was seated on the box.

The "sage" in question replied that he "could not say exactly," since
the verst-posts in those parts had not been measured out; after
which he went on to swear at the shaft horse for "kicking" its "jowl
about"--that is to say, jerking its head up and down.

"Aye, aye," commented Bazarov. "Take warning from me, my young friend.
An instructive example sits before you--an example of the vanity of
this world. By a single thread does the destiny of every man hang, and
at any moment there may open before him an abyss into which he and his
may plunge. For always he is laying up for himself misfortune."

"At what are you hinting?" asked Arkady.

"At nothing. I am merely saying outright that you and I have behaved
very foolishly. However, why talk of it? I have noticed that in
surgical operations it is the patient who fights against his hurt who
soonest gets well."

"I do not understand you," Arkady said. "So far as I can see, you have
nothing whatsoever to complain of."

"You cannot understand me? Well, mark this: that you had far better
go and break stones by the roadside than allow a woman to obtain
even the least hold over you. Such a thing is sheer" (he nearly said
"Romanticism," but changed his mind) "rubbish."

"Perhaps you do not believe me?" he went on. "Nevertheless, I tell you
that, though you and I have been cultivating feminine society, and
enjoying it, the sense of relief when such society is abandoned is like
taking a cold bath on a summer's day. Never ought a man to touch such
follies. Always he ought, as the excellent Spanish saying has it, 'to
remain as the beasts of the field.' Look here," he added to the peasant
on the box. "Do you, my man of wisdom, possess a wife?"

The peasant turned a portion of a flat, near-sighted visage in the
friends' direction.

"A wife?" he repeated. "Yes, I do. Why shouldn't I?"

"Never mind that. Do you ever beat her?"

"My wife? Sometimes. But never without good cause."

"Excellent! And does she ever beat _you_?"

The peasant gave his reins a jerk.

"What a thing, _barin_!" he exclaimed. "Surely you must be joking?"
Evidently the question had offended him.

"You hear that, Arkady Nikolaievitch?" said Bazarov. "You and I have
been similarly beaten. That is what comes of being gentry."

Arkady laughed in spite of himself, but Bazarov turned away, and did
not speak again until the end of the journey.

To Arkady the twenty-five versts seemed like fifty; but at length there
came into view, on the slope of a low hill, the homestead of the manor
where Bazarov's parents resided. On one side of it, amid a clump of
young birch trees, there could be seen the servants' quarters under
their thatched roofs; while at the door of the nearest hut a couple of
fur-capped peasants were engaged in a contest of mutual abuse.

"You are an old pig!" one of them said to the other. "And that is worse
than being a young one."

"Your wife is a witch," retorted the other.

"From the lack of restraint in their bearing," commented Bazarov, "as
well as from the playfulness of their terms of speech, you will gather
that my father's peasantry are not downtrodden. But here is my father
himself. I can see him stepping out on to the verandah. He will have
heard the sound of our collar-bells. Yes, it _is_ he! I recognise his
figure. But how grey he looks, poor old fellow!"



XX


Bazarov leant forward from the _tarantass_, and Arkady, peering
over his friend's shoulder, beheld, on the entrance steps of the
manor-house, a tall, thin man with dishevelled hair and a narrow,
aquiline nose. Clad in an old military tunic of which the front was
flying open, he was standing with legs apart, a long pipe in his mouth,
and eyes blinking in the glare of the sunlight.

The horses pulled up.

"So you have come at last!" exclaimed Bazarov's father, still
continuing to smoke (though, as he did so, the stem of the pipe was
rattling and shaking between his fingers). "Now, jump out, jump out!"

Again and again he embraced his son.

"Eniusha, Eniusha!"[1] the tremulous voice of an old woman also cried
as the door of the house opened and there appeared on the threshold
a short, rotund old dame in a white cap and a short striped blouse.
Gasping and staggering, she would have fallen had not Bazarov hastened
to support her. As he did so her fat old arms clasped him around the
neck, and her head sank upon his bosom. All then was still for a
moment. Only her convulsive sobs broke the silence. Meanwhile Bazarov
Senior breathed hard, and blinked more vigorously than ever.

"Enough, enough, Arisha!" he said at length with a glance at Arkady,
who had remained standing beside the _tarantass_ (and even the peasant
on the box-seat had turned away his head). "Pray cease, I tell you.
This is not necessary. I beg of you to cease."

"Ah, Vasili Ivanitch!" whimpered the poor old woman. "To think of the
long while since last I saw my Eniusha, my own, my darling boy!" Still
keeping her arms clasped around Bazarov, she withdrew her ruffled,
convulsed, tear-stained face from his breast, looked at him for a
moment with blissful, yet comical, eyes, and glued herself again to his
bosom.

"Yes, yes," said Vasili Ivanitch. "Such is in the nature of things. But
had we not better go indoors? See! Evgenii has brought a guest!"

With a slight scrape and a bow, he added to Arkady:

"Pray pardon us, sir, but you will understand the situation. A woman's
weakness--ahem!--and a mother's heart."

His lips, chin, and eyebrows too were working. Evidently he was
striving to master himself, and to appear totally indifferent. Arkady
responded to his bow with a like salutation.

"Yes, yes, dear mother; let us go indoors," said Bazarov. Leading
the shaking old lady into the house, he seated her in a cosy chair,
bestowed upon his father another hurried embrace, and then presented
Arkady.

"I am glad indeed to make your acquaintance!" said Vasili Ivanitch.
"I am glad indeed! But do not expect too much of us, my dear sir. My
establishment is organised on simple lines; it is placed on what I
might call 'a war footing.' Come, come, Arina! Pray calm yourself, and
attend to your duties as a hostess. Oh, fie, to give way in such a
manner! What will our guest think of you?"

"My dear, I do not know the gentleman's name," the old lady sobbed
through her tears.

"Arkady Nikolaievitch," prompted Vasili Ivanitch in an undertone, but
with great ceremony.

"Then pray pardon a foolish old woman, sir." Arina Vlasievna blew her
nose, inclined her head to right and left, and wiped each eye in turn
as she did so. "Yes, pray pardon me, but I had thought never again to
see my darling boy before I died."

"But, you see, we _have_ seen him again," said Vasili Ivanitch. "Here,
Taniushka!"--this to a barefooted serf girl of thirteen who, clad in a
bright red cotton frock, had been an interested, but timid, observer
in the doorway. "Bring your mistress a glass of water on a salver.
Do you hear? And you, gentlemen," he continued with old-fashioned
sprightliness, "will you be so good as to step into the study of a
retired veteran?"

"First another kiss, Eniusha," gasped Arina Vlasievna. Then, as Bazarov
bent over her form, she added: "How handsome you have grown!"

"Handsome or not, he is human," said Vasili Ivanitch. "Wherefore, now
that you have satisfied your mother's heart, I look to you to see also
to the satisfaction of our honoured guests. For than yourself no one
knows better that nightingales cannot be fed on air."

This caused the old lady to rise from her chair, and to exclaim:

"Yes, yes: in one moment, Vasili Ivanitch. The table shall be laid, and
I myself will hurry to the kitchen, and see that the _samovar_ be got
ready. Everything shall be done. Why, it must be three years since last
I gave Eniusha a meal."

"Yes, three years, dear wife. But now bustle about, and do not let
yourself get flurried. Gentlemen, accompany me, I beg of you. But here
is Timotheitch coming to pay you his respects. How delighted he looks,
the old rascal! Now, pray favour me with your company."

And he strode fussily ahead with much shuffling and creaking of
flat-soled slippers.

The Bazarovian establishment consisted of six small rooms, of which
one--the room to which Vasili Ivanitch was now conducting our
friends--was looked upon as the study. Between its two windows there
stood a fat-legged table, strewn with dusty, fusty papers; on the walls
hung a number of Turkish weapons, _nagaiki_,[2] and swords, a couple
of landscapes, a few anatomical plates, a portrait of Hufeland,[3] a
black-framed monogram done in hair, and a diploma protected with a
glass front; between two large birchwood cupboards stood a ragged,
battered leathern sofa; on shelves lay huddled a miscellany of books,
boxes, stuffed birds, jars, and bladders; and, lastly, in a corner
reposed a broken electric battery.

"Already I have warned you," said Vasili Ivanitch to Arkady, "that we
live here, so to speak, _en bivouac_."

"Make no excuses," put in Bazarov. "Kirsanov knows that you and I are
not Croesuses, and that no butler is kept. But where can we find Arkady
a bed? That is the question."

"We have an excellent room in the wing, where he would be most
comfortable."

"You have added a wing, then?"

"Yes, Evgenii Vasilitch," Timotheitch interposed. "At least, a
bathroom."

"But it is to a room _next_ the bathroom that I am referring," Vasili
Ivanitch hastened to explain. "However, that will not matter, since it
is now summer time. I will run up there at once, and see that it is
put in order. Meanwhile, Timotheitch, fetch in the luggage. To you,
Evgenii, I will allot the study. _Cuique suum._"[4]

"There!" said Bazarov to Arkady as soon as his father had left the
room. "Is he not just such a jolly, good-hearted, queer old fellow as
your own father, though in a different way? He chatters just as he
always used to do."

"Yes; and your mother seems an excellent woman."

"She is. Moreover, you can see that she does not attempt to hide her
feelings. Only wait and see what a dinner she will give us!"

"But as you were not expected to-day," put in Timotheitch, who had just
re-entered with Bazarov's portmanteau, "no beef has been got into the
house."

"Never mind. Let us dine _without_ beef--or, for that matter, without
anything at all. 'Poverty is no crime.'"

"How many souls[5] are there on your father's property?" asked Arkady.

"It is not his property; it is my mother's. The number of souls on it
is, I think, fifteen."

"No, twenty-two," corrected Timotheitch with an air of pride. The next
moment the sound of shuffling slippers was heard once more, and Vasili
Ivanitch re-entered.

"Your room will be ready for you in a few minutes," he announced
grandiloquently to Arkady. "Meanwhile, here is your servant." He
pointed to a close-cropped urchin who, clad in an out-at-elbows blue
_kaftan_ and an odd pair of shoes, had also made his appearance. "His
name is Thedika, and, for all my son's injunction, I had better repeat
to you not to expect too much of him--though certainly he will be able
to fill your pipe for you. I presume that you smoke?"

"I do, but only cigars."

"A commendable rule! I too prefer cigars, but find them extremely
difficult to procure in this isolated part of the country."

"Have done with bewailing your poverty," Bazarov good-naturedly
interrupted. "Rather, seat yourself on this sofa, and take a rest."

Vasili Ivanitch smilingly did as he was bidden. Extremely like his son
in features (save that his forehead was lower and narrower, and his
mouth a trifle wider), he was for ever on the move--now shrugging his
shoulders as though his coat cut him under the armpits, now blinking,
now coughing, now twitching his fingers. In this he was sharply
differentiated from his son, whose most distinguishing characteristic
was his absolute immobility.

"Have done with bewailing my poverty?" repeated the old man. "Why,
you cannot surely think that I would weary our guest with complaints
concerning our isolation? As a matter of fact, a man of brains need
_never_ be isolated, and I myself do everything in my power to avoid
becoming moss-grown, and falling behind the times."

Extracting from his pocket a new yellow handkerchief which he had
contrived to lay hands upon while proceeding to Arkady's room, he
continued, as he flourished the handkerchief in the air:

"Of the fact that, at some cost to myself, I have organised my
peasantry on the _obrok_ system, and apportioned them one-half, even
more, of my land, I will not speak, since I conceive that to have been
my duty, as well as a measure dictated by prudence (though no other
landowner in the neighbourhood would have done as much). Rather, I am
referring to scholarships and to science."

"I see that you have here _The Friend of Health_ for 1855," remarked
Bazarov.

"Yes, a friend sent it me," Vasili Ivanitch hastened to explain.
"Phrenology too we take into account" (he addressed this last to Arkady
rather than to Bazarov, while accompanying it with a nod towards a
small plaster bust of which the cranial surface was divided into a
series of numbered squares). "Yes indeed! Nor are we ignorant of
Schönlein[6] and Rademacher."

"In the province of ---- you still believe in Rademacher?" queried
Bazarov.

Vasili Ivanitch laughed.

"In the province of ---- we still believe in ----? Ah, gentlemen!
Hardly could you expect us to move as fast as you do. You find us in
a state of transition. In my day, the humoralist Hoffmann and the
vitalist Braun had already come to be looked upon with ridicule (and
their fulminations undoubtedly seem absurd); but now you have replaced
Rademacher with a new authority, and are making obeisance to that
authority exactly as though in twenty years' time he too will not have
fallen into contempt."

"Let me tell you, for your comforting," said Bazarov, "that we ridicule
all medicine, and render obeisance to no one."

"What? Do you not wish to become a doctor?"

"Yes; but the one thing does not preclude the other."

Vasili Ivanitch raked out his pipe until only a glowing morsel of ash
remained.

"Perhaps so, perhaps so," he said. "That point I will not dispute.
For who am I that I should dispute such things--I who am a mere
retired army doctor, _et voilà tout_--an army doctor who has taken to
agriculture?"

With that he turned to Arkady.

"Do you know, I served under your grandfather," he said. "He was then
in command of a brigade. Many and many a review have I seen. And the
society in which I mixed, the men whom I had as comrades! Yes, this
humble individual has felt the pulses of Prince Vitzentschein and
Zhukovsky, and also known all the leaders of the Southern Army of '14."
He pursed his lips impressively. "At the same time, of course, my
department was a separate one from theirs. It was the department of the
lancet, you understand. Your grandfather stood high in the esteem of
every one, and was a true soldier."

"We will agree that he was a decent old curmudgeon," drawled Bazarov.

"To think of speaking so, Evgenii!" exclaimed the old man. "General
Kirsanov was not one of those who----"

"Never mind him. As we were driving hither I greatly admired your birch
plantation. It is doing splendidly."

Vasili Ivanitch's face brightened instantly.

"Yes, and see what a garden I have made!" he exclaimed. "Every tree in
it has been planted with my own hands--orchard trees, and bush fruit
trees, and every sort of medicinal herb. Ah, young sirs, though you may
be wise in your generation, many a truth did old Paracelsus[7] discover
_in herbis et verbis et lapidibus_. For myself, I have now retired from
practice; yet twice a week am I given a chance to refurbish my ancient
store of knowledge, since folk come to me for advice, and I cannot well
turn them away. In particular do the poor seek my help, since there is
no other doctor hereabouts. Yet stay! A certain retired major dabbles
in the art. Once I asked him whether he had ever _studied_ medicine,
and he replied that he had not, that all that he did he did 'out of
philanthropy'! 'Out of philanthropy'! Ha, ha, ha! What think you of
that, eh? Ha, ha, ha!"

"Fill me a pipe, Thedika," said Bazarov curtly.

"And there was another doctor who came to visit a patient in this
neighbourhood," continued Vasili Ivanitch in a tone of mock despair.
"But by the time he arrived the patient had already joined his
forefathers, and the servant of the house would not admit the doctor,
saying that the latter's services were no longer required. This the
doctor had scarcely expected, and he was rather taken aback. 'Did the
_barin_ gasp before he died?' he inquired. 'He did, sir,' was the
reply. 'Very much?' 'Yes, very much.' 'Good!--And the doctor returned
home. Ha, ha, ha!"

Yet no one laughed except the old man himself. True, Arkady contrived
to summon up a smile, but Bazarov only stretched himself and yawned.
The conversation lasted about an hour, and then Arkady managed to
get away to his room, which he found to consist of the vestibule to
the bathroom, but at the same time to be clean and inviting. Soon
afterwards Taniushka arrived to announce dinner.

The meal, though hastily prepared, was excellent, and even sumptuous.
Only the wine proved to be rather of the "gooseberry" order--the
dark-coloured sherry procured by Timotheitch from a certain wine
merchant in the town smacking in equal parts of resin and of honey.
Also, in addition, the flies made themselves a nuisance, owing to the
fact that the page boy whose duty it was to keep them at bay with a
green whisk had, for the nonce, been banished, lest he should excite
too much comment on the part of the up-to-date visitors. Lastly, Arina
Vlasievna had robed herself in gala attire--that is to say, in a
high-peaked cap with yellow ribands and a blue, embroidered shawl. She
burst into renewed weeping on beholding her beloved Eniusha, but, this
time, gave her husband no occasion to chide her, so speedily did her
own fear of staining her shawl cause her to wipe away the tears. None
but the two young men ate anything, for the host and hostess had long
ago dined; while as waiters there officiated Thedika (much burdened
with the novelty of wearing shoes) and a woman of a masculine type of
face, and with a hump on her back, who was also accustomed to execute
the functions of housekeeper, keeper of the poultry, and sempstress.
During the meal Vasili Ivanitch paced to and fro, and discussed,
in cheerful, and even rapturous, terms, the grave fears which
Napoleon's[8] policy and the intricacy of the Italian question inspired
in his breast. Arina Vlasievna, for her part, quite disregarded Arkady,
and offered him not a single dish, but, seated with her hand supporting
her face (to which a pair of puffy, cherry-coloured lips and a few
moles communicated a kindly expression), kept her eyes fixed upon her
son, while her breath came in a succession of pants. Her great desire
was to ask her son how long he was going to stay, but she dared not
do so for fear he should reply: "Only for two days," or something
of the kind--which was a prospect of a nature to make her heart die
within her. On the roast being served, Vasili Ivanitch disappeared, and
returned, the next moment, with an uncorked bottle of champagne.

"See here," he exclaimed. "Rustic though we may be, we still keep
something to make merry with on state occasions."

That said, he filled three tumblers and a wine-glass, proposed a health
to "our inestimable guests," heel-tapped his glass in the military
fashion, and forced his wife to drain hers to the dregs. Presently the
pastry course supervened; during which, though Arkady could not bear
anything sweet, he deemed it his duty to partake of no less than four
out of the many confections which had been prepared for his benefit.
And this obligation he felt to be the more binding in that Bazarov
bluntly declined all, and lit a cigar. Lastly there appeared tea,
cream, biscuits, and butter; after which Vasili Ivanitch conducted the
party into the garden, in order that the guests might admire the beauty
of the evening. As he passed a certain bench he whispered in Arkady's
ear:

"This is where I love to sit and meditate as I watch the sun sinking.
It is just the spot for a hermit like myself. And, further on, I have
planted a few of Horace's favourite trees."

"What trees?" asked Bazarov, who had partially overheard.

"Acacia trees."

The other yawned, and, on observing this, Vasili Ivanitch hastened to
say:

"I expect that you travellers would like now to seek the arms of
Morpheus?"

"We should," Bazarov assented. "Yes, that is a true saying."

Upon which the son said "Good night" to his mother, and kissed her
on the forehead, while she bestowed upon him a threefold embrace and
(covertly) a blessing; while Vasili Ivanitch conducted Arkady to his
room, and wished him "such God-given rest as I myself used to enjoy
during the happier years of my life."

And certainly Arkady slept splendidly in the mint-scented annexe to
the bathroom, where the only sound to be heard was that of a cricket
chirping lustily against a rival from behind the stove.

Meanwhile, on leaving Arkady, Vasili Ivanitch repaired to the study,
where, squatting at the foot of the sofa, he was about to enter into a
discursive conversation with his son when the latter dismissed him, on
the plea that he desired, rather, to go to sleep. Yet never once did
Bazarov close his eyes that night, but lay staring into the darkness,
since his memories of childhood had less power to move him than had
the remembrance of the bitter experience through which he had recently
passed.

For her part, Arina Vlasievna said her prayers with an overflowing
heart, and then indulged in a long talk with Anfisushka; who, planted
like a block before her mistress, with her solitary eye fixed upon
the latter, communicated in a mysterious whisper her opinions and
prognostications on the subject of Evgenii Vasilitch. Finally Arina
Vlasievna's pleasurable emotion, coupled with the wine and the tobacco
smoke, so caused the old lady's head to start whirling that, when
her husband came to bed, he found himself obliged to moderate her
exuberance with a gesture.

Arina Vlasievna was a true Russian housewife of the old school. That
is to say, she ought to have lived a couple of hundred years earlier,
during the period when the ancient Muscovite Empire was in being.
At once pious and extremely nervous, she believed in every species
of portent, divination, proverb, and vision; also in such things as
_urodivïe_,[9] household demons, wood spirits, unlucky encounters,
spells, popular medicines, Thursday salt, and an ever-imminent end
to the world. Again, she placed much faith in such ideas as that, if
a lighted candle lasts through the night preceding Easter Day, the
buckwheat crops will come up well; that, should a human eye chance to
fall upon a mushroom during the process of its growth, such growth
will terminate forthwith; that the devil loves to be where-soever
there is water; and that all Jews bear on their breasts a blood-red
stain. Again, she stood in great awe of mice, adders, frogs, sparrows,
leeches, thunder, cold water, draughts, horses, billy-goats, fair
men, and black cats, and also looked upon crickets and dogs as
unclean creatures. Again, she never ate veal, pigeons, crabs, cheese,
asparagus, artichokes, hare, or water melons (the last-named for the
reason that, when split open, they reminded her of the head of John
the Baptist!). Nor could she ever speak of oysters without a shudder.
Again, though she loved eating, she observed every fast; though she
slept ten hours out of the twenty-four, she never even went to bed if
Vasili Ivanitch had got a headache; she read no books beyond _Alexis_
or _Siskins of the Forest_; she wrote, at most, two letters a year; she
knew every wrinkle as regards the departments of housekeeping, boiling,
and baking (and that even though she herself never laid a finger upon
anything, and hated even to have to stir from her place); she was
aware that there were certain folk in the world who must command, and
others who must serve--wherefore she loved servility and genuflexions;
she treated all her subordinates with kindness and consideration; she
sent never a beggar away empty; and she condemned no one for a fault,
although at times she had a tendency to talk scandal. Likewise, in
her youth she had been comely, and a player of the clavichord, and
able to speak a little French; but, owing to long residence with a
husband whom she had married purely for love, she had grown rusty in
those accomplishments, and forgotten alike her French and her music;
she loved and feared her son to a degree almost beyond expression; she
deputed the management of her property entirely to Vasili Ivanitch, and
never interfered with it, but would fall to gasping, and waving her
handkerchief about, and affrightedly raising her eyebrows, whenever
her helpmeet happened to broach some new plan or some necessary reform
which he had in his mind's eye; and, lastly, she was of so apprehensive
a temperament that she lived in constant fear of some unknown
misfortune, and would burst into tears should any one mention anything
of a mournful character.

Such women are now extinct; and only God knows whether we ought to be
glad of the fact.


[1] An endearing diminutive of Evgenii.

[2] Cossack whips.

[3] Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland (1762-1836), a well-known German
physicist whose treatise _Makrobiotik_, or _The Art of Prolonging
Life_, has been translated into almost every European language.

[4] "To each his own."

[5] _i.e._ serfs.

[6] Johann Lukas Schönlein (1793-1864), a noted German physician.

[7] Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541), most commonly
known by his self-coined name of Paracelsus, and a German-Swiss
traveller and physician.

[8] Napoleon III.

[9] _Urodivïe_, or "sacred imbeciles," were persons who, deficient of
intellect in the ordinary sense, were yet believed by ancient Russia
to enjoy particularly intimate communication with the divine and the
unseen.



XXI



When, in the morning, Arkady rose and opened the window, the first
object to greet his eyes was Vasili Ivanitch. Clad in a smock-frock,
and belted with a handkerchief, the old man was busily digging in his
vegetable garden. As soon as he noticed his young guest, he leaned upon
his spade, and cried:

"Good morning! How have you slept?"

"Splendidly," replied Arkady.

"And I, as you see, am imitating Cincinnatus, and preparing a bed of
late turnips. By the mercy of God do the times compel every man to
win his bread with his own hands. At all times, indeed, is it useless
to rely upon others: it is best to work oneself. Thus Jean Jacques
Rousseau was right. Half an hour ago, however, you would have seen me
in a very different rôle--first of all, injecting opium into a woman
who had come to me with what the peasants call I the goad,' and we
dysentery, and then pulling out some teeth for a second woman. And,
would you believe it, when I proposed administering ether to the second
woman she would have none of it! These things I do gratis, you know,
and as an amateur. Yet, let that not surprise you, for, after all, I am
but a plebeian, but a _homo novus_. Come downstairs to sit in the shade
and enjoy the freshness of the morning until breakfast shall be ready."

Arkady did as invited.

"You confer a favour upon me," said Vasili Ivanitch, raising his hand
in military fashion to the battered skull-cap which adorned his head.
"You see, I know you to be used to luxury and ease. Yet even the folk
of the great world need not disdain to snatch a brief respite under the
roof of a cottage."

"I neither belong to the great world nor am used to luxury," protested
Arkady.

"Come now!" Vasili Ivanitch indulged in an amiable affectation of
incredulity. "I myself, though I am now on the shelf, have rubbed about
in my time, and can tell a bird by its flight. Also, I dabble a little
in physiognomy and psychology. For that matter, I will not hesitate
to say that, had I _not_ enjoyed those advantages, I should long ago
have come to rack and ruin, for the reason that, being one of the small
fry, I should soon have been jostled out of the way by the crowd. Also,
without flattery, I may say that the friendship which I discern to
be existing between you and my son affords me the greatest pleasure.
Only this moment I was speaking to him; for (as probably you know) he
jumps out of bed at a very early hour, and goes careering all over the
countryside. M-might I make so bold as to ask you whether you have
known him long?"

"Only since last winter."

"Indeed? Also, might I make so bold as to ask whether--But sit you
down, will you not?--might I also, as his father, venture to ask your
frank opinion of him?"

"Your son is the most remarkable man that I have ever met," came the
enthusiastic reply.

Vasili Ivanitch's eyes closed suddenly, while his cheeks quivered, and
the spade slipped from his hand.

"Then you think?" he began.

"I do not _think_--I am certain that there lies before your son a
future which will make your name famous. I have felt certain of this
since the first moment I met him."

"Indeed? Indeed?" Vasili Ivanitch could scarcely articulate the words,
but on his capacious lips there had dawned, and become fixed, a smile
of triumph.

"Would you like to hear how our first meeting came about?"

"Indeed I should! And any other details you like."

Arkady therefore plunged into a discourse on Bazarov of the same ardour
and the same enthusiasm as he had displayed on the night of the mazurka
with Madame Odintsov. As Vasili Ivanitch listened, he blew his nose,
rolled his handkerchief into a ball, coughed, and ruffled his hair;
until, no longer able to contain himself, he reached over in Arkady's
direction, and pressed his lips to the young man's shoulder.

"You have indeed cheered my heart!" he exclaimed, still smiling. "I
simply idolise my son! But while my dear old wife is able to stand
on rather a different footing with Evgenii--she is his mother, you
know--I myself dare not express my whole feelings in his presence,
for the reason that he dislikes such things, and is opposed to any
manifestations of emotion. For the same reason some folk accuse him of
hardness of heart and pride and insensibility; but men like Evgenii
cannot be measured by ordinary standards, can they? For example, any
one but he would have gone on acting as a drag upon his parents; but,
would you believe it? never once since his birth has he asked us for a
_kopeck_ more than he absolutely needed! There, by God!"

"Yes, your son is a sincere, single-minded man," agreed Arkady.

"Yes, single-minded," affirmed Vasili Ivanitch. "And not only do I
idolise him--I am proud of him, and have as my one conceit the hope
that some day there may stand in his biography the following words: 'He
was the son of a plain military doctor who, nevertheless, had the wit
to divine the merits of the subject of this book, and to spare no pains
in his education.'"

The old man's voice faltered for a moment, but presently resumed:

"What think you? Will the field of medicine bring him the fame which
you have foretold?"

"Not the field of medicine alone--though in it, as elsewhere, he will
become a leader."

"What field, then, Arkady Nikolaievitch?"

"I could not say. But in any case he will rise to fame."

"'He will rise to fame'!" The old man relapsed into a state of ecstatic
contemplation.

Presently Anfisushka arrived with a large plate of raspberries and the
message:

"Arina Vlasievna has sent me to say that breakfast is ready."

Vasili Ivanitch started from his reverie.

"Bring us also some nice cool plums," he said.

"I will, sir."

"Yes, mind that they are cool. Arkady Nikolaievitch, do not stand on
ceremony, but help yourself. Is Evgenii Vasilitch yet back, Anfisushka?"

"I am," called Bazarov from Arkady's room.

Vasili Ivanitch wheeled about.

"Aha!" he cried. "So you have gone to pay your friend a visit? But you
are too late, _amice_: he and I have been having a long conversation
together, and it is now breakfast time, and your mother is calling us.
By the way, Evgenii, a word or two with you."

"Concerning what?"

"Concerning a peasant who is suffering from jaundice."

"Jaundice?"

"Yes, of a very chronic and stubborn kind. I have prescribed scurvy
grass and St. John's wort, and ordered the man to eat carrots, and
given him a dose of soda; but such things are mere palliatives--I want
something of a more drastic nature. That you laugh at medicine I am,
of course, aware; but none the less I feel certain that you could give
me some good, practical advice. But that you can do later. At the
present moment, let us go in to breakfast."

And he leapt from the bench on which he had been seated, trolling gaily
the couplet:

    "Let us take for our rule, for our rule let us take it,
    To live but for pleasure, and never forsake it!"

"What high spirits!" Bazarov remarked as he retired from the window.

Later, when the noontide sun was glowing from behind a thin canopy of
dense, pale vapour, and all was still save that the chirping of a few
birds in the trees lulled the hearer to a curious, drowsy lethargy, and
the incessant call of a young hawk on a topmost bough made the air ring
with its strident note, Arkady and Bazarov made for themselves pillows
of sweet, dry, fragrant, crackling hay, and stretched themselves in the
shadow of a rick.

"Do you see that aspen tree?" remarked Bazarov. "I mean the one growing
at the edge of a depression, where a brick kiln used to stand? Well,
when I was a boy I used to believe that, together, the depression and
the aspen tree constituted a special talisman, in that, when near them,
I never found time hang heavy upon my hands. Of course, the explanation
is that in those days I failed to understand that that immunity from
_ennui_ was due to the very fact of my being a boy. But, now that I am
grown up, the talisman seems to have lost its power."

"How long were you here in those days?"

"Only two years. After that we moved elsewhere. In fact, we led a
wandering life, and spent it mostly in towns."

"Is the house an old one?"

"It is. My maternal grandfather built it."

"Who was he?"

"The devil only knows! I think a major of some sort, a man who had
served under Suvorov,[1] and could tell all manner of tales about
crossing the Alps--though I daresay he told plenty of lies too."

"Ah! I noticed a portrait of Suvorov in the drawing-room.
Cheerful-looking old houses like this I simply love. Somehow they seem
to have a smell of their own."

"Yes--a smell of lamp-oil mingled with trefoil," agreed Bazarov with a
yawn. "But what flies they contain as well!"

There was a pause. Then Arkady resumed:

"Were you strictly kept when you were a boy?"

"You have seen for yourself what my parents are like. Surely they do
not seem very severe folk."

"And do you love them very much?"

"I do."

"Certainly they seem to love _you._"

Bazarov was silent. Presently, however, clasping his hands behind his
head, he asked:

"Do you know what is in my mind?"

"No. What?"

"I am thinking of the pleasant life that my parents must lead. To
think that at sixty my father can still fuss about, and talk of
'palliatives,' and doctor people, and do the bountiful to the peasants,
and, in short, enjoy himself, and that my mother has her days so
crammed full of occupations (including sighing and groaning) that she
does not know which to begin upon first! On the other hand, _I_----"

"Yes, you?"

"Am doing what you see--lying under a rick. The space occupied by my
body is small indeed compared with the surrounding immensity in which
it has neither part nor lot, and the portion of time allotted to me
here on earth is insignificant indeed compared with the eternity
which I have never known, and shall never enter! Yet in this same
atom, in this same mathematical point which I call my body, the blood
circulates, and the brain operates at will. A fine discrepancy for
you--a fine futility!"

"I would remark that what you have just said applies to every human
being in creation."

"True. What I mean is that my parents know not a single tedious
moment, nor are in the least distressed with the thought of their
insignificance--it is a thought which never stinks in their nostrils;
whereas _I_--well, I feel nothing but weariness and rancour in my
breast."

"Rancour? Why rancour?"

"How can you ask? Have you forgotten the recent past?"

"No: only, I do not recognise your right to be _angry_: unhappy,
perhaps, but not----"

"I perceive you to understand love as it is understood by all our
modern young men. That is to say, chirping 'Tsip, tsip, tsip!'
like pullets, you take to your heels as soon as ever you see love
approaching. I, however, am different.--But enough of this. What is
past help is best not talked about." Bazarov rolled over on to his
elbow. "Ah! Here is a young ant towing in its wake a half-dead fly.
Pull, brother, pull! Never mind that the fly hangs back, but avail
yourself of your animal right to abjure all sympathy, seeing that our
friend has only himself to thank for his trouble."

"Do not speak like that," expostulated Arkady. "How are you yourself to
thank for your trouble?"

Bazarov raised his head.

"Nay," he said, "I was but jesting. Never have I got myself into
trouble, and never shall any woman do it for me. Amen! I have spoken.
Never will you hear from me another word on the subject."

For a while the two friends lay without speaking.

"Yes," continued Bazarov, "man is a strange being. Contemplating from
a distance the dull life led by my parents, one would almost feel
inclined to say to oneself: 'What could be better than that, seeing
that in that existence one merely eats and drinks and knows oneself to
be acting in a sane and regular manner?' Yet a man will still become
depressed, and yearn for company, even though he may curse it when he
has got it."

"One ought so to order one's life that every moment in it shall be of
significance," said Arkady sententiously.

"Of course; but while the significant, and even the
pseudo-significant--yes, the absolutely insignificant as well--may be
bearable, it is trifles, trifles that matter."

"Unless a man recognise their existence, they do not exist."

"H'm! A contra-platitude."

"What is that?"

"This--that, should you say that education is useful, you will be
uttering a platitude; but, should you say that education is harmful,
you will be uttering a contra-platitude. The one is identical with the
other, except that they differ a little in elegance of expression."

"And which has right on its side?"

"'Which has right on its side?' I can only re-echo: 'Which?'"

"Come! You are out of spirits to-day."

"Am I? Then the sun must have touched me a little, or else I must have
eaten too many raspberries to be good for me."

"Then you would do well to have a sleep."

"I think you are right. Only, do not look at me while I sleep, for a
man cuts his very worst figure at such a time."

"Surely _you_ do not care for people's opinion?"

"I do, even though a man in the best sense of the term ought never to
trouble his head about such things, seeing that such a man is either
above criticism or too feared and hated for critics to wish to tackle
him."

"Curious! For I myself never hate any one."

"And I hate a great many people. You, you see, are a tender soul,
you are so much pap, and therefore hatred could never come within
your purview. People as retiring, as devoid of self-confidence as you
are----"

"What about your own self-confidence?" interrupted Arkady. "What about
your own opinion of yourself?"

Bazarov paused--then replied:

"As we were passing the hut of your _starosta_ to-day (what a neat,
pretty little place it looked!) you said to me: 'Not until every
peasant shall have come to own such a place as this, and every one of
us shall have contributed his mite to that end, will Russia attain
perfection.' But, for my part, I abominate the scurvy churl for whom
I am supposed to jump out of my skin, even though never a 'thank you'
should I get from him for doing so. For why should he thank me? His
_métier_ happens to be living in a white hut, and mine to be----"

"Come, come, Evgenii! One is almost forced to agree with those who
accuse us of being unprincipled."

"You talk like your uncle. No such thing as principle exists. That
you seem never to have divined. Instincts only exist, and upon them
everything depends."

"How so?"

"Thus. We will take myself as an example. Owing to the nature of my
instincts, I am prone to deny--I am prone to deny because my brain
is so constituted. In the same way, if you were to ask me why I am
interested in chemistry, and why you like apples, I should reply that
the same reason holds good in each case--that our respective instincts
are what they are. In other words, there exists between your instincts
and mine a certain affinity. Deeper it is not given us to probe."

"Then is honour an instinct?"

"It is."

"Oh, Evgenii!" cried Arkady sorrowfully.

"Do you dislike the conversation? Then let us philosophise no more, but
'permit nature to waft upon us the silence of sleep,' to quote Pushkin."

"Pushkin never said any such thing," objected Arkady.

"Then, if he did not, he ought, being a poet, to have done so. Perhaps
he had served in the army?"

"Never did he serve in the army."

"Indeed? Why, in his every line we come across 'To battle, to battle,
for the honour of Russia!'"

"That is a mere invention on your part. The statement is an absolute
calumny."

"A calumny? What matters a calumny? What is there in the term to be
afraid of? Slander a man as much as you like, yet for himself he will
hear things twenty times worse."

"Suppose we sleep," said Arkady irritably.

"With pleasure," Bazarov replied.

Nevertheless neither succeeded in the effort, for almost every
sleep-destroying sentiment happened to be in the ascendant. So, after
five minutes of such ineffectual striving, both opened their eyes, and
lay mutely gazing about then.

"Look!" cried Arkady after a pause. "Do you see that withered maple
leaf fluttering to the ground? Are not its movements exactly like those
of a butterfly? Strange that an object so joyous and full of life
should be able so to counterfeit an object mournful and dead!"

"My friend," protested Bazarov, "let me make at least _this_ request of
you: that you do not talk in 'beautiful language.'"

"I talk as I am able. I decline to be domineered over. Should a thought
chance to enter my head, why should I not express it?"

"Similarly am I at liberty to express the thought that to talk in
'beautiful language' is sheerly indecent."

"Indecent? Then swearing is _not_ indecent?"

"Aha! I perceive you still to be minded to follow in your uncle's
footsteps. How the idiot would have rejoiced if he could have heard
you!"

"_What_ did you call Paul Petrovitch?"

"I called him merely what he is--merely an idiot."

"Have done!" shouted Arkady.

"Therein I detect the tie of blood," said Bazarov calmly. "It is a
very stubborn factor, I have noticed, in some people. A man may abjure
everything else, and cut himself adrift from every other prejudice,
yet still remain powerless to confess that the brother who habitually
steals his shirts is a thief. You see, the difficulty lies in the word
'my.' Is not that so?"

"No. It was from a sense of justice, rather than from a sense of
kinship, that I spoke. But since you have no understanding of the
former, as an instinct which you simply do not possess, you are not in
a position to pass judgment upon such a feeling."

"In other words, 'I, Arkady Kirsanov, am altogether above your
comprehension,' Well, I make mute obeisance to that."

"Come, come, Evgenii! We shall end by quarrelling."

"Oh that you _would_ do me the favour to quarrel! We could have a real
set-to _à outrance_, and with our coats off."

"To the end that----?"

"To the end that we might rend one another in pieces. Why not? Here,
amid the hay, in this idyllic setting, far from the madding crowd and
every human eye, it would be not at all a bad thing. No, you shall
_not_ make it up with me! Rather will I seize you by the throat!"

As he extended his long, sharp fingers, Arkady rolled over and prepared
jestingly to grapple with his assailant. But the next moment the sight
of Bazarov's face, with its expression of malice and the non-jesting
menace which lurked in the twisted smile and the flashing eyes, gave
him a shock, and filled him with involuntary awe.

"_This_, then, is where you have got to!" cried Vasili Ivanitch from
behind them as, vested in a home-made cotton pea-jacket and a home-made
straw hat, the old military doctor suddenly confronted the pair. "I
have been searching for you everywhere, and certainly you have chosen
a capital spot, and are engaged also in a capital occupation--in the
occupation of lying on the earth and gazing at the heavens. For my
part, I believe that such an occupation can have its uses."

"I gaze at the heavens only when I am going to sneeze," said Bazarov.
Then, turning to Arkady, he added in an undertone: "Forgive me if I
hurt you."

"Do not mention it," was Arkady's rejoinder in a similar undertone, as
covertly he pressed his friend's hand.

Shocks of such a kind, however, were bound, in time, to react upon
their friendship.

"As I look at you, young gentlemen," Vasili Ivanitch continued as,
nodding his head, he rested his hands upon a crooked stick, his
own manufacture, which had a Turk's head for a handle, "I cannot
sufficiently admire you. What strength you embody! How you speak of
the flower of youth, of capacity, and of talent! You resemble Castor
and Pollux themselves."

"To think of your flaunting your mythology like that!" said Bazarov.
"At the same time, you must have been a fine Latin scholar in your day.
In fact, did not you once receive a silver medal for an essay?"

"The Dioscuri, the Dioscuri themselves!" continued the old man
ecstatically.

"Come, come, father! Do not play the fool,"

"Ah, well! No, I have not sought you out to pay you compliments: I have
come to inform the pair of you that dinner is nearly ready, and also to
give you, Evgenii, a warning. I know that, as a man of sense, as well
as a man well versed in the world, you will be charitable. The case
is this. This morning your mother took it into her head to organise a
thanksgiving ceremony on the occasion of your return.--No, do not think
that I am inviting you to the ceremony: on the contrary, it is over.
All that I am going to say is that Father Alexis----"

"The priest?"

"Yes, and our private confessor. Well, this Father Alexis is going
to dine with us, even though I had not expected it, and it was
not my suggestion, but merely an arrangement which has come about
somehow--probably through his having failed to understand me aright.
Not that we look upon him as anything but a man of rectitude and good
sense."

"Surely you do not mean to imply that he is likely to devour my portion
of the food, do you?"

Vasili Ivanitch burst out laughing.

"Ha, ha, ha!" he cried.

"I feel easy, then," continued Bazarov. "In fact, never do I mind with
whom I sit at table."

Vasili Ivanitch's face brightened at once.

"I felt sure of that in advance," he said. "Yes, I knew that you, a
young man, are as superior to prejudice as I am at sixty-two" (Vasili
had none the less shrunk from confessing that he had wished for the
thanksgiving ceremony as much as his wife had, since his piety was
fully equal to hers). "In any case Father Alexis would like to make
your acquaintance; while you, for your part, will very likely take to
him, seeing that he not only plays cards, but also (though this is
quite between ourselves) smokes a pipe!"

"Indeed? After dinner, then, we will have a game, and I will despoil
him utterly."

"Ha, ha, ha! We shall see, we shall see."

"Then at times you hark back to old days?" Bazarov asked with a tinge
of surprise.

Vasili Ivanitch's bronzed cheeks took on a faint flush.

"For shame, Evgenii!" he muttered. "Remember that the past is the past.
Nevertheless, even in this gentleman's presence I am ready to confess
that in my youth I had my addictions, and that, since, I have paid for
them. But how hot the weather is! Let me seat myself beside you; though
I hope that, in doing so, I shall not interrupt your conversation?"

"By no means," replied Arkady with alacrity.

Vasili Ivanitch subsided with a grunt and the remark:

"Your _logement_ reminds me of my military bivouacking days--this rick
being a dressing-station." There followed a sigh. "Aye, many and many
an experience have I had in my time. For instance, let me tell you a
curious story about the black death in Bessarabia."

"When you received the order of St. Vladimir?" said Bazarov. "Yes, I
know the story. But why do you never wear the badge of the order?"

"As I have told you, I care not a jot for appearances," protested
Vasili Ivanitch (though only on the previous day had he had the red
riband of the order removed from his coat). He then embarked upon the
story.

"Evgenii has gone to sleep," presently he whispered to Arkady with a
good-humoured wink and a pointing finger. "Come, come, Evgenii!" he
added in a louder tone. "It is time to get up! Time for dinner!"

Father Alexis--a stout, good-looking man with thick, well-combed hair
and an embroidered girdle over a lilac cassock--proved a clever,
resourceful guest who, taking the initiative as regards shaking hands
with Arkady and Bazarov (somehow he seemed to divine that they did not
require his blessing), bore himself, in general, with complete absence
of restraint, and, while neither demeaning himself nor imposing general
constraint, made merry over scholastic Latin, defended his archbishop,
quaffed a couple of glasses of wine (refusing a third), and accepted
one of Arkady's cigars, though, instead of smoking it, he put it into
his pocket to take home with him. The only thing that was at all
unpleasant was the fact that every now and then, on raising a stealthy
hand to brush from his face a fly, he, in lieu of doing so, crushed the
insect flat!

Dinner over, he seated himself with modest zest at the card-table, and
ended by despoiling Bazarov of two-and-a-half roubles in paper money
(this rural establishment took no account of the system of computing
cash in silver). During the game the hostess sat beside her son with
her cheek resting on her hand as usual, and only rose from the table
when it became necessary to order further relays of refreshment. Yet
to caress Bazarov was more than she dared do; nor did he give her the
least encouragement in that direction; in addition to which Vasili
Ivanitch further restrained her ardour by whispering at intervals:
"Do not worry our Evgenii. Young men do not like that sort of thing."
Also, hardly need it be said that the dinner of which the company
had just partaken had been of the usual sumptuousness, seeing that at
break of day Timotheitch had set out for Circassian beef, and that
the _starosta_ also had galloped in quest of trout, eels, and crabs,
while a sum of forty-two kopecks had been paid to peasant women for
mushrooms. Arina Vlasievna's eyes, fixed immovably upon Bazarov, had in
them something more than tenderness and affection. In them there were
also sadness, curiosity, a touch of apprehension, and a kind of painful
deference. Yet never did he mark their expression, since never did he
turn in her direction, save to put to her the curtest of questions,
and, once, to ask her to lay her hand in his, "for luck." On the latter
occasion she slipped her plump fingers into his hard, capacious palm,
waited a little, and then asked him:

"Has that helped you at all in your play?"

"It has not," he replied with a contemptuous grimace. "On the contrary,
things are even worse than they were before."

"Yes, the cards seem to be against you," remarked Father Alexis with an
assumed air of sympathy as he stroked his handsome beard.

"But beware of the Code Napoleon, my father," observed Vasili Ivanitch
as he played an ace. "Beware of the Code Napoleon."

"Which, in the end, brought Napoleon to St. Helena," retorted the
father as he trumped the ace.

"A glass of currant wine, Eniushka dear?" asked Arina Vlasievna.

Bazarov replied with a shrug of his shoulders.

Next day he said to Arkady:

"To-morrow I must depart. The place wearies me, for I wish to work, and
it is impossible to do so here. I will come to your place, I think,
for all my chemical preparations are there. Moreover, one can at least
lock one's door at your place; whereas here, though my father keeps
saying, 'My study is entirely at your disposal, and no one shall
disturb you,' he himself is never absent for a moment. And, for that
matter, I should be ashamed to lock him outside, or my mother either.
Sometimes I can hear her groaning in the next room. Yet no sooner do I
go out to her than I find that I have not a word to say."

"She will be much distressed at your departure," said Arkady. "And so
will he."

"But I intend to return."

"Exactly when?"

"When I am on my way back to St. Petersburg."

"I am particularly sorry for your mother."

"Why so? Has she been stuffing you with fruit?" Arkady lowered his eyes.

"You do not know her," he said. "She is not only a good woman, but also
a very wise one. This morning I had half an hour's very practical and
interesting talk with her."

"A talk in which she told you all about me?"

"We spoke of other topics besides yourself."

"Possibly. Possibly, too, you, as an outsider, may see things clearer
than I do. Yet when a woman can talk for half an hour it is a good
sign, and I will depart as I have said."

"But you will not find it easy to break the news to her, for her plans
for us extend over a couple of weeks."

"No, it may not prove easy, as you say; and the less so since the devil
led me to vex my father this morning. It was like this. A few days ago
he had one of his serfs flogged, and therein did rightly. No, you need
not look at me with such indignation. I say my father did rightly for
the reason that the peasant in question had proved himself to be an
arrant thief and drunkard. Unfortunately, my father had not expected
me to get to hear of the occurrence; wherefore he was the more put
out when he found that I had done so. Well, now his vexation will be
twofold! However, no matter. He will get over it before long."

Yet, though Bazarov had said "No matter," he let the whole of the rest
of the day elapse before he could make up his mind to acquaint Vasili
Ivanitch with his intention. Finally, just as he was saying good-night
to his father in the study, he observed with a prolonged yawn:

"By the way, I had almost forgotten to request you to have our horses
sent forward to Thedot's."

Vasili Ivanitch looked thunderstruck.

"Then is Monsieur Kirsanov leaving us?" he inquired.

"Yes, and I am going with him."

Vasili Ivanitch fidgeted for a moment or two.

"You say that you are going with him?" he murmured.

"Yes. I _must_ go. So pray have the horses sent forward as requested."

"I--I will, I will," the old man stuttered. "So they are to go to
Thedot's? Yes, yes, very well. Only, only--is there any particular
reason for this change of plan?"

"There is. I am engaged to pay Arkady a short visit. That done, I will
return to you."

"Only to be a _short_ visit? Good!" And Vasili Ivanitch pulled out his
pocket-handkerchief, and blew his nose. In doing so, he bent his head
very low--almost to the ground. "Well, well! Things shall be as you
desire. Yet we had hoped that you would have stayed with us a little
longer. Three days only! Three days after three years of absence! Ah,
that is not much, Evgenii--it is not much!"

"But I tell you I intend to return soon. You see, I _must_ go."

"You have no choice, eh? Very well, very well. Of course, engagements
must be kept. Yes, yes; of course they must be kept. And I am to
send the horses forward? Very good. Naturally, Arina and I had not
altogether looked for this. Only to-day she has been to a neighbour to
beg flowers for your room."

Nor of the fact that, each morning, he had gone downstairs in his
slippers to confer with Timotheitch; nor of the fact that, producing,
with tremulous fingers, one ragged banknote after another, he had
commissioned his henchman to make various purchases with special
reference to the question of eatables (in particular, of a certain red
wine which he had noticed the young men to like); no, of none of these
facts did Vasili Ivanitch make any mention.

"The greatest thing in the world is one's freedom," he went on. "I,
too, make it my rule. Never should one let oneself be hampered or----"

A sudden break occurred in his voice, and he made for the door.

"I promise you that we will return soon, my father. I give you my word
of honour upon that."

But Vasili Ivanitch did not look round--he just waved his hand and
departed. Mounting to the bedroom, he found Arina asleep, so started to
say his prayers in an undertone, for fear of awaking her. But at once
she opened her eyes.

"In that you, Vasili Ivanitch?" she asked.

"Yes, mother."

"Have you just left Eniusha? Do you know, I am anxious about him. Does
he sleep comfortably on the sofa? To-day I told Anfisushka to lay him
out your travelling mattress and the new pillows. Also, I would have
given him our feather bed had he not disliked soft lying."

"Do not fret, mother dear. He is quite comfortable. 'Lord, pardon us
sinners!'" And Vasili Ivanitch went on with his prayers. Yet his heart
was full of an aching compassion for his old companion; nor did he
want to tell her overnight of the sorrow which was awaiting her on the
morrow.

Next day, therefore, Arkady and Bazarov departed. From earliest morn an
air of woe pervaded the household. Anfisushka let fall some crockery,
and Thedika's perturbation ended in his taking off his shoes. As for
Vasili Ivanitch, he fussed about, and made a brave show--he talked in
loud tones, and stamped his feet upon the floor as he walked; but his
face had suddenly fallen in, and his glance could not meet that of
his son. Meanwhile Arina Vlasievna indulged in quiet weeping. Indeed,
but for the fact that her husband had spent two hours that morning in
comforting her, she would have broken down completely, and lost all
self-control.

But at last, when, after reiterated promises to return within, at most,
a month, Bazarov had freed himself from the arms which sought to detain
him, and entered the _tarantass_; when the horses had started, and
their collar-bow had begun to tinkle, and the wheels to revolve; when
to gaze after the vehicle any longer had become useless, and the dust
had subsided, and Timotheitch, bent and tottering, had crawled back
into his pantry; when the old couple found themselves alone in a house
which seemed suddenly to have grown as dishevelled and as decrepit as
they--then, ah, then did Vasili Ivanitch desist from his brief show of
waving his handkerchief in the verandah, and sink into a chair, and
drop his head upon his breast.

"He has gone for ever, he has gone for ever," he muttered. "He has gone
because he found the life here tedious, and once more I am as lonely as
the sand of the desert!"

These words he kept repeating again and again; and, each time that he
did so, he raised his hand, and pointed into the distance.

But presently Arina Vlasievna approached him, and, pressing her grey
head to his, said:

"Never mind, my Vasia. True, our son has broken away from us; he is
like a falcon--he has flown hither, he has flown thither, as he willed:
but you and I, like lichen in a hollow tree, are still side by side, we
are not parted.... And ever I shall be the same to you, as you will be
the same to me."

Taking his hands from his face, Vasili Ivanitch embraced his old
comrade, his wife, as never--no, not even during the days of his
courtship--he had done before. And thus she comforted him.


[1] Alexander Vasilievitch Suvorov (1729-1800), the great Russian
general who, after defeating Napoleon in Italy, crossed the Alps to
join hands with Korsakov, but found the latter to have been routed by
Massena.



XXII



In silence, or merely exchanging a few unimportant words, the
travellers made their way to Thedot's posting-house. Arkady felt
anything but pleased with Bazarov, and Bazarov felt anything but
pleased with himself. Moreover, the younger man's heart was heavy with
the sort of unreasoning depression which is known only to youth.

The driver hitched his horses, and then, mounting to the box, inquired
whether he was to drive to the right or to the left.

Arkady started. The road to the right led to the town, and thence to
his father's house; while the road to the left led to Madame Odintsov's
establishment.

He glanced at Bazarov.

"To the left, Evgenii?" he queried.

Bazarov turned away his head.

"Why that folly again?" he muttered.

"Folly, I know," said Arkady, "but what does that matter? We need but
call in passing."

Bazarov pulled his cap over his eyes.

"Do as you like," he said.

"To the left, then," cried Arkady to the coachman; and the _tarantass_
started in the direction of Nikolsköe. Nevertheless, for all that the
friends had decided upon this foolish course, they remained as silent
and downcast as ever.

Indeed, Madame Odintsov's butler had not even made his appearance
upon the verandah before the pair divined that they had done unwisely
to yield to such an impulse. The fact that no one in the house had
expected them was emphasised by the circumstance that when Madame
entered the drawing-room they had already spent a considerable time
there in awkward silence. However, she accorded them her usual suave
welcome, though she seemed a little surprised at their speedy return,
and, at heart, not over-pleased at it. For this reason they hastened
to explain that theirs was a mere passing call, and that in about four
hours they would be continuing their journey to the town. In reply she
said nothing beyond that she requested Arkady to convey her greetings
to his father, and then sent for her aunt; and inasmuch as the Princess
entered in a state of having just overslept herself, her wrinkled old
face betokened even greater malignity than usual. Katia was not well,
and did not leave her room at all: and this caused Arkady suddenly to
realise that he would have been as glad to see her as Anna Sergievna.
The four hours were filled with a desultory conversation which Anna
Sergievna carried on without a single smile: nor until the very moment
of parting did her usual friendliness seem to stir within her soul.

"I am out of humour to-day," she said, "but that you must not mind.
Come again soon. I address the invitation to you both."

Bazarov and Arkady responded with silent bows, re-entered the
_tarantass_, and drove forward to Marino, whither they arrived, without
incident, on the following evening. _En route_, neither of the pair
mentioned Madame Odintsov, and Barazov in particular scarcely opened
his mouth, but gazed towards the horizon with a hard look in his eyes.

But at Marino every one was delighted to see them, for Nikolai
Petrovitch had begun to feel uneasy at the prolonged absence of his
son, and now leapt from the sofa with a cry of joy when Thenichka ran
to announce that "the young gentlemen" were arriving. Yes, even Paul
Petrovitch felt conscious of a touch of pleasant excitement, and smiled
indulgently as he shook hands with the wanderers. Ensued then much
talking and questioning, in which Arkady took the leading part, and
more especially during supper, which lasted far into the night, since
Nikolai Petrovitch ordered up several bottles of porter which had
just arrived from Moscow, and made so merry that his cheeks assumed a
raspberry tint, and he fell to venting half-boyish, half-hysterical
laughs. Moreover, the general enlivenment extended even to the kitchen,
where Duniasha kept breathlessly banging doors, and at three o'clock
in the morning Peter essayed to execute on the guitar a Cossack waltz
which would have sounded sweet and plaintive amid the stillness of the
night had not the performance broken down after the opening cadenza,
owing to the fact that nature had denied the cultured underling a
talent either for music or for anything else.

Indeed, of late, life at Marino had been far from comfortable. In
particular had poor Nikolai Petrovitch been in a bad way, for his
troubles in connection with the estate--troubles of an exclusively
futile and hopeless order--were growing greater from day to day. The
worst of them came of the system of hired labour, which enabled some
of the workmen to keep demanding either their discharge or an increase
of wages, and others to depart as soon as ever they had received their
earnest-money. Also, some of the horses had fallen sick, certain
implements had been burnt, all hands were performing their tasks in a
slovenly manner, a milling machine ordered from Moscow had turned out
to be useless owing to its weight, a second such machine had broken
down on its first being used, half the cattle sheds had disappeared
in a conflagration caused by a blind old serf woman "smoking" her cow
with a firestick during blustery weather (though she herself asserted
that the trouble had come of the _barin's_ manufacturing new-fangled
cheeses and lacteal products in general), and, lastly, the steward
had grown so fat and lazy (as do all Russians who fall upon "easy
times"), and permitted his dislike of Nikolai Petrovitch so to limit
his activities, that he had come to doing no more than bestowing an
occasional prod upon a passing pig, or threatening some half-naked
serf boy, while spending the rest of the time in bed. Again, such of
the peasants as had received allotments under the _obrok_ system had
failed to pay their dues, as well as applied themselves to stealing
timber to such an extent that, almost every night, the watchman had to
apprehend a culprit or two, as well as to impound horses which peasants
had turned out to graze in the meadows attached to the manor. For
illicit grazing of this sort Nikolai Petrovitch had decreed forfeiture
of the horses; but usually the matter ended in the animals being kept
for a day or two at the _barin's_ expense, and then restored to their
owners. Lastly, the peasants had taken to quarrelling among themselves,
through brothers conceiving the idea of demanding a share of each
other's earnings, and through their wives suddenly finding themselves
unable to get on in the same hut; wherefore feuds had arisen which
had caused whole households to spring to their feet as at a word of
command, and to flock to the portico of the estate office, where,
breaking in upon the _barin's_ privacy (very often with bruised faces
and drunken gait), they demanded justice and an immediate settlement,
while female sobs and whimperings mingled with the curses of the male
portion of the throng. Whenever this had happened Nikolai Petrovitch
had had to part the hostile factions from one another, and to shout
himself hoarse, even though he had known in advance that no equitable
decision was feasible. Finally, there had been a deficiency of hands
for the harvest, since a neighbouring _odnovorzty_[1] of benign aspect
who had undertaken taken to provide harvesters at two roubles per
_desiatin_ had cheated without compunction, and supplied women workers
who also demanded extortionate wages. Meanwhile the grain had rotted
in the fields, and, later on, the women had not got through the mowing
before the Board of Overseers had begun to press for immediate payment
of percentage dues and arrears.

"I can do nothing," would be Nikolai Petrovitch's despairing
exclamation "My principles forbid me either to contend with these
people or to send for the _stanovoi_[2] yet, without the power to
threaten punishment, one can make no headway with such folk."

"_Du calme, du calme_," Paul Petrovitch would advise. Then he would
growl, frown, and twist his moustache.

From these brawls Bazarov kept entirely aloof: nor, as a guest, was
he called upon to interfere in them, but was free, from the day of
his arrival, to apply himself solely to his frogs, infusoria, and
chemical compositions. On the other hand, Arkady considered himself
bound, if not to help his father, at all events to offer to help him;
wherefore he listened to Nikolai's complaints with patience, and on
one occasion even tendered him advice (though not advice meant to
be taken, but advice designed to manifest the interest felt by him,
Arkady, in current affairs). As a matter of fact, estate-management
was not wholly distasteful to him, and he could find pleasure in
thinking out agricultural problems; but his mind was filled with other
preoccupations. For one thing, he discovered to his surprise that his
thoughts were constantly turning in the direction of Nikolsköe; and
though there had been a time when he would have shrugged his shoulders
upon being told that he would ever come to find residence under the
same roof as Bazarov--least of all, when that roof was his father's--a
dull affair, he found time hang heavy on his hands, and his attention
easily stray elsewhere. So he tried the expedient of walking until
thoroughly worn out, but even this did not help him; until eventually
he learnt, in conversation with his father, that recently some letters
of great interest had been chanced upon--letters which Arkady's mother
had indited to the mother of Madame Odintsov. And from that moment
onwards he never rested until he had induced Nikolai Petrovitch to
re-discover the said letters, and to turn out, during the search, a
score of boxes and drawers. Then only, when the half-mouldy documents
had been dragged to light, did the young man feel easier in his soul,
and bear himself as though now he saw before him the goal of his
existence.

"'I address the invitation to both of you,'" he kept whispering to
himself. "Yes, that is what she said. Damn it, I will go."

But next there would recur to his memory the recent visit and its cold
reception; until once more he would be seized with his old timidity
and awkwardness. In the end, however, the spirit of adventurous youth,
aided by a secret desire to try his luck, to test his strength unaided,
and without a protector, contrived to win the day.

Ten days later, therefore, he invented a pretext, in the shape of a
desire to study the working of Sunday schools, to drive to the town,
and thence to Nikolsköe. As he drove, the manner in which he encouraged
his postilion communicated to his progress the character, rather,
of a young officer's trip to fight his first duel, for diffidence,
impatience, and delight were well-nigh choking him.

"Above all things," he kept reflecting, "I must not think too much of
myself." And though the postilion who had fallen to his lot was of the
type of rascal who pulls up at every tavern door, there hove in sight,
before long, the familiar, high-pitched roof of the mansion.

"But what am I doing?" now occurred to him the thought. "Indeed, would
it not be better to go back?"

Unfortunately, to the sound of the postilion's whistlings and
tongue-clickings the _troika_ of horses trotted bravely forward, and
presently the bridge thundered under the combined weight of the hooves
and wheels. Ah, _there_ was the avenue of clipped firs! Yes, and
_there_ was a glimpse of a pink dress amid some dark foliage! Yes, and
_there_ a glimpse of a young face peering from the shade of a silken
parasol! Yes, yes--it _was_ Katia! He had recognised her in an instant,
as she him! Bidding the postilion pull up, Arkady leapt from the
carriage, and approached the maiden.

"So it is you?" she exclaimed. And at the same moment a blush
overspread her face. "Let us go and look for my sister. She is in the
garden, and will be delighted to see you."

So she conducted him thither. How lucky that he had met her as he had
done! More pleased he could not have felt if she had been his own
sister. Yes, things were indeed fortunate! Now there would have to be
no butler, and no formal announcement of his arrival.

Of Anna Sergievna he caught sight at a turn in the path. She had
her back to him, but presently, on hearing the sound of approaching
footsteps, faced about.

Once more confusion seized Arkady in its grip. Yet no sooner had she
spoken than he felt his courage return.

"How do you do?" she said in her even, kindly way as she advanced to
meet him with a smile that was slightly tempered with the sun and wind.
"Where did you find him, Katia?"

"I have brought with me something which you are unlikely to have been
expecting," he said. "For I----"

"But you have brought me yourself," she rejoined. "And that is the best
bringing of all."


[1] A freeholder, a member of the class which, in the days of this
story, stood midway between the _pomiestchik_, or landowner, and the
_Krestianin_, or serf.

[2] Magistrate.



XXIII


After speeding Arkady on his way with satirical expressions of regret
(as well as giving him to understand that the satirist laboured under
no delusions as to the object of the young man's journey), Bazarov
withdrew into complete seclusion, since a perfect fever for work had
come upon him. Nor did he quarrel any longer with Paul Petrovitch,
and the less so since the latter had now come to adopt an exclusively
aristocratic attitude, and to express his sentiments only in
monosyllables, not in words. Once, and once only, did he allow himself
to engage in a controversy with Bazarov over the then current question
of the rights of the _dvoriané_. But suddenly he checked himself, and
said with an air of cold politeness:

"It is clear that we shall never understand one another. At all events
_I_ have not the honour to understand _you_."

"True," agreed Bazarov. "For a man may understand the precipitation
of ether, and be _au fait_ with what is taking place in the sun, yet,
confront him with the fact that another man blows his nose differently
from the manner in which he blows his own, and at once that man will
become lost in perplexity."

At the same time, there were occasions when Paul Petrovitch requested
permission to attend the other's experiments; and once he went so far
as to apply his perfumed, clean-shaven features to the microscope, for
the purpose of observing how a transparent infusorium could swallow a
greenish-looking particle, and then masticate the same with fang-like
protuberances which grew in its throat. Still more frequently was
Nikolai Petrovitch present in Bazarov's room. Indeed, but for the
counter-distraction of estate-management, he would have spent his whole
time in the process of what he called "self-improvement." Yet he never
hampered the young naturalist: on the contrary, he would seat himself
in a remote corner of the room, and, but for a guarded question or
two, confine himself solely to silently and absorbedly watching the
experiments. Also, at meal times he always endeavoured to turn the
conversation in the direction of physics or geology or chemistry, for
the reason that he divined in any other direction (that of industry,
or, still more, that of politics) there lay a greater danger of
collisions, or, at all events, of mutual soreness. For rightly did
he divine that his brother's enmity towards Bazarov had by no means
abated. And to this conclusion an incident which occurred at a juncture
when cholera had just made its appearance in the neighbourhood, and
carried off two victims from Marino itself, lent additional colour.
One night Paul Petrovitch happened to be seized with a fainting fit,
yet refused to apply to Bazarov for assistance; and when Bazarov, on
meeting him on the following day, inquired why such a course had not
been adopted, Paul Petrovitch--still pale, but as carefully brushed and
combed as ever--retorted: "Did not you yourself tell me that you have
no belief in medicine?"

Thus day followed day. Yet, though Bazarov devoted himself wholly to
work, there was one person in the house whom he did not hold at arm's
length, but was always willing to talk to. That person was Thenichka.
Mostly he encountered her in the early mornings, when she was walking
in the garden or the courtyard; but never did he enter her room, nor
did she ever come to his door, save once, for the purpose of asking
him to help her with Mitia's bath. And she not only trusted Bazarov;
she also held him in no awe, and allowed herself more freedom in
his presence than she did in that of Nikolai Petrovitch himself.
The reason is difficult to determine. Perhaps it was the fact that
unconsciously she detected in Bazarov none of the _dvorianin_ element,
none of that superiority which at once attracts and repels; the young
Nihilist, to her, was just a clever doctor, and no more. At all events,
she was so free from shyness in his presence that she would dandle her
child unabashed, and, on one occasion, when seized with a headache,
went so far as to accept at his hands a spoonful of medicine. True,
in Nikolai Petrovitch's presence she seemed to shun Bazarov; but this
was done more out of a sense of decorum than through subtlety. As for
Paul Petrovitch, she feared him as much as ever, for he had taken to
watching her with a keen, steady eye, and to making his appearance
behind her as though his figure, clad in its inevitable English
suit, and posed in its usual attitude of hands in trousers pockets,
had suddenly sprung from the floor. "Whenever I see him I feel cold
all over," once she complained to Duniasha; whereupon that maiden's
thoughts reverted longingly to another "unfeeling" individual who had,
all unwittingly, come to be "the cruel tyrant" of her heart.

Thenichka, therefore, liked Bazarov, and Bazarov liked Thenichka.
Indeed, no sooner did he speak to her than his face would undergo a
change, and, assuming a bright, almost a good-humoured, expression,
exchange its habitual superciliousness for something like playful
solicitude. Meanwhile she grew more beautiful daily. In the lives of
young women there is a season when they begin to unfold and bloom
like the roses in summer: and to that period Thenichka had just come.
Everything, even the July heat then prevalent, contributed to it.
Dressed in a gown of some light white material, she looked even lighter
and whiter than it; and though she escaped actual sunburn, the heated
air imparted to her cheeks and ears a faint tan, and, permeating her
frame with gentle indolence, imbued her exquisite eyes with dreamy
languor. No longer could she do any work; she could only let her hands
sink upon her lap, and there remain. Seldom going even for a stroll,
she spent the most of her time in a state of gently querulous and
panting, but not distasteful, inertia.

"You should go and bathe as often as you can," Nikolai Petrovitch said
to her one day (he had had a large, canopied bathing-place constructed
in one of the last few ponds on the estate).

"Ah!" she gasped. "Even to walk to the pond half-kills me: and to walk
back from it half-kills me again. There is no shade in the garden, you
see."

"True," he agreed, wiping his forehead.

At seven o'clock one morning, when Bazarov was returning from a walk,
he encountered Thenichka in the midst of a lilac clump which, though
past the season of flowering, was still green and leafy. As usual, she
had a white scarf thrown over her head, and beside the bench on which
she was sitting there was a bunch of red and white roses with the dew
yet glistening on their petals. He bade her good morning.

"It is you, then, Evgenii Vasilitch!" she exclaimed as she put aside a
corner of her scarf to look at him--a movement which bared her arm to
the elbow.

"What are you doing?" he asked as he seated himself beside her. "Is it
a nosegay you are making?"

"Yes, for the breakfast table. Nikolai Petrovitch is so fond of such
things."

"But breakfast is not yet. What a waste of flowers!"

"I know, but I gather them now because later the weather becomes too
hot for walking. This is the only time when it is possible even to
breathe. The heat makes me faint, and I am afraid of falling ill with
it."

"Mere fancy. Let me feel your pulse."

He took her hand in his, and found the pulse to be beating with such
regularity that he did not trouble even to count its throbs.

"You will live to be a hundred," he said as he relinquished her wrist.

"God preserve me from that!" exclaimed she.

"Why so? Surely you would like to live a long time?"

"Yes--I should; but not for a hundred years. You see, my grandmother
lived to be eighty-five, but suffered terribly. Long before she died
she had a constant cough, and was also blind and deaf and crooked, and
had become a burden to herself. What would be the use of a life like
that?"

"You think that it is better to be young?"

"I do. And why not?"

"How is it better? Tell me that."

"How is it better? Oh, as long as one is young one can do what one
wants to do--one can walk about, and carry things, and not be dependent
upon other folk. Is not that the best way?"

"I do not know. At all events _I_ care not whether I be young or old."

"What makes you say that? Surely you cannot mean it?"

"No? Well, think of what my youth means to me. I am a lonely man, a man
without home or--"

"But all depends upon yourself."

"No, it does not. I only wish that some one would take pity upon my
loneliness!"

She glanced at him, but said nothing. After a pause she resumed:

"What is that book of yours?"

"This? It is a learned, scholarly work."

"How you study! Do you never grow tired of it? By this time, I should
think, you must know everything."

"Indeed I do not.... But try reading a few lines of the book."

"I should never understand them. Is it a Russian book?" (She took the
heavily bound volume into her hands.)

"What a large book!" she continued.

"Yes. Also, it is a Russian book."

"Nevertheless I should not be able to understand it.

"I do not want you to understand it. I merely want to be able to watch
you as you read. For when you read you twitch your little nose most
charmingly!"

She began to read aloud a page "on Creosote," but soon burst out
laughing, and replaced the book upon the bench, whence it slipped to
the ground.

"I love to see you laugh," said Bazarov.

"Say no more," she interrupted.

"Also, I love to hear you speak. Your voice is like the bubbling of a
brook."

She turned away her head, and fell to sorting her flowers. Presently
she resumed:

"Why do you love to hear me speak? You must have talked to many much
finer and cleverer ladies?"

"I assure you, nevertheless, that all the I fine and clever ladies' in
the world are worth less than your little finger."

"Oh, come!" And she crossed her hands.

Bazarov picked up the book.

"It is a work on medicine," he observed. "Why did you throw it away?"

"It is a work on medicine?" she re-echoed, and turned to him again. "Do
you know, ever since you gave me those capsules--you remember them, do
you not?--Mitia has slept splendidly! I can never sufficiently thank
you. You are indeed good!"

"But the physician ought to be paid his fee," remarked he with a
smile. "Doctors never do their work for nothing."

Upon this she raised her eyes. They looked all the darker for the
brilliant glare which was beating upon the upper portion of her face.
As a matter of fact, she was trying to divine whether he was speaking
in earnest or in jest.

"Of course I should be delighted to pay you!" she said. "But first I
must mention the matter to Nikolai Petrovitch."

"What?" he exclaimed. "You really think it is _money_ I want? No, I do
not require of you money."

"What, then?" she queried.

"What? Well, guess."

"How can I guess?"

"Then I must tell you. I want, I want--I want one of those roses."

She burst into a peal of laughter, and clapped her hands with delight
at the request. Yet the laughter was accompanied with a certain sense
of relief. Bazarov eyed her.

"Ah, you must excuse my laughing, Evgenii Vasilitch," she said (bending
over the seat of the bench, she fumbled among the roses). "Which sort
should you prefer? A red rose or a white one?"

"A red one, and not too large."

"Then take this one," she said, sitting up again. Yet even as she spoke
she drew back her outstretched hand, and, biting her lips, glanced in
the direction of the entrance to the arbour, and listened intently.

"What is it?" asked Bazarov. "Do you hear Nikolai Petrovitch coming?"

"No. Besides, every one has gone out to the fields. Nor do I fear any
one except Paul Petrovitch. I merely thought that, that----"

"You thought what?"

"That some one _might_ be coming this way. It seems I was wrong. Take
this rose."

She handed Bazarov the gift.

"_Why_ do you fear Paul Petrovitch?" he asked.

"I do so because he frightens me--when I speak to him he returns me no
answer; he just stares at me in a meaning sort of way. You, too, do not
like him, I believe? It was with him that you had such a quarrel, was
it not? What it was all about I do not know, but at least I know that
you worsted him like, like With a gesture she signified the manner in
which she considered Bazarov to have routed Paul Petrovitch.

"And, had _he_ worsted _me_," he inquired, "would you have taken my
part?"

"How could I? We should have agreed no better than you and he."

"You think so? Then let me tell you that a certain little hand could
twist me around its little finger."

"Whose hand is that?"

"I expect you can guess. But smell this rose which you have just given
me."

She bent forward in the direction of the flower, and as she did so her
scarf slipped from her head to her shoulders, and revealed a mass of
dark, soft, fluffy, glossy hair.

"Wait," said Bazarov. "I, too, will smell the rose." And, reaching
forward, he kissed her full on her parted lips.

She started back, and pressed her hands against his breast as though
to repel him; but so weak was the act of repulsion that he found it
possible to renew and to prolong his kiss.

Suddenly there sounded from among the lilac bushes a dry cough, and
just as Thenichka darted to the other end of the bench Paul Petrovitch
appeared, bowed slightly to the pair, said with a sort of melancholy
acidity in his tone: "It is you, then?" and turned on his heel and
departed. The next moment Thenichka picked up her roses and rushed from
the arbour. As she passed Bazarov she whispered in his ear: "That was
indeed wrong of you, Evgenii Vasilitch!" And the words voiced a note of
reproach that was palpably genuine and unfeigned.

Instantly Bazarov's thoughts recurred to another scene in which he
had recently taken part, and he became conscience-stricken, as also
contemptuous of himself, and vexed. He shook his head, congratulated
himself ironically on his folly, and departed to his room.

As for Paul Petrovitch, he left the garden and walked slowly into the
forest. He remained there a considerable time; and, on returning to
breakfast, looked so dark of mien that Nikolai Petrovitch inquired
anxiously whether he were not ill.

"As you know," replied the other quietly, "I suffer habitually from
biliousness."



XXIV


Two hours later he knocked at Bazarov's door.

"I feel that I must apologise for disturbing you in your pursuits," he
said as he seated himself near the window and rested both hands upon
a fine ivory-headed cane which he had brought with him (as a rule he
did not carry one). "But the fact is that circumstances compel me to
request five minutes of your time."

"The _whole_ of my time is at your disposal," replied Bazarov, across
whose features, as Paul Petrovitch had crossed the threshold, there had
flitted a curious expression.

"No; five minutes will be sufficient. I have come to ask you a simple
question."

"And what might that question be?"

"Listen. When first you came to stay in my brother's house, and I had
not yet been forced to deny myself the pleasure of conversing with you,
it fell to my lot to hear you hold forth on many different subjects.
But, unless my memory deceives me, never once did the conversation
between you and myself, or in my presence, happen to fall upon the
subject of the duel or single combat. Would you, therefore, mind
putting yourself out to the extent of giving me the benefit of your
views on the subject mentioned?"

Bazarov, who had risen to receive his visitor, now reseated himself
upon the edge of the table, and folded his arms upon his breast.

"My views are as follows," he replied. "From the theoretical
standpoint, the duel is a sheer absurdity. From the practical
standpoint, it is another matter altogether."

"You intend to convey (if I have understood you aright?) that,
apart from your theoretical views on the duel, you would not, in
practice, allow yourself to be insulted without subsequently demanding
satisfaction?"

"You have guessed my meaning precisely."

"Good! It is a view which I am indeed glad to hear you express, in that
it delivers me from a dilemma."

"You mean, from a state of indecision?"

"They are one and the same thing. I express myself in this manner to
the end that you may understand me. I am not one of your college rats.
Consequently I repeat that through your words I am relieved of the
necessity of resorting to what would have been a painful expedient. To
speak plainly, I have made up my mind to fight you."

Bazarov raised his eyebrows a little.

"To fight me?" he said.

"Yes, to fight you."

"And for what reason--if you do not mind telling me?"

"For a reason which I might explain, but concerning which I prefer to
remain silent. Suffice it for me to intimate that your presence offends
me, that I detest and despise your person, and (should the foregoing be
insufficient) that I----"

"Enough!" interrupted Bazarov. His eyes had flashed even as Paul's had
done. "Further explanations would be superfluous. You have presumed to
whet upon me your chivalrous spirit; wherefore, though I might have
refused it, I will afford you satisfaction to the top of your bent."

"I have to express to you my sincere obligation. From the first did
I feel encouraged to hope that you would accept my challenge without
constraining me to resort to more forcible measures."

"In other words, and speaking without metaphor, to that cane?" said
Bazarov in a tone of supreme indifference.

"Well, that is fair enough. Further insults are not needed--nor would
you have found the offering of them altogether free from danger.
Pray, therefore, remain a gentleman. It is as one that I accept your
challenge."

"Good!" replied Paul Petrovitch; and he laid aside his cane. "Next, a
few words on the subject of the conditions of our duel. First, pray be
so good as to inform me whether or not you deem it necessary to resort
to the formality of some such small difference of opinion as might
serve as an ostensible excuse for my challenge?"

"I think that unnecessary. Such things are best done without
formalities of any kind."

"I agree--that is to say, I, like you, consider that to go into the
true reasons for our antagonism would be inexpedient. Let us therefore
allege to the world that we could not abide one another. What need
would there be to say more?"

"What indeed?" echoed Bazarov in a tone decidedly ironical.

"Also, with regard to the actual conditions of the duel. Inasmuch as we
have no seconds--for where could we find them?----"

"Quite so. Where indeed?"

"I have the honour to propose to you the following. Let us fight
to-morrow morning--say, at six o'clock: the rendezvous to be behind the
copse, the weapons to be pistols, and the distance ten paces."

"Ten paces. Quite so! You and I abhor each other even at ten paces."

"Eight, then, if you wish?"

"The same applies to eight."

"And the number of shots to be two apiece. Also, in case either of us
should fall, let each of us previously place in his pocket a letter
laying upon himself the entire blame for his demise."

"To that condition I wholly demur," said Bazarov.

"I think that you are straying into the pages of a French novel, and
away from reality."

"Possibly I am. But, also, you will agree that to incur an unmerited
suspicion of murder is a prospect not pleasant to contemplate?"

"I do. Yet still there remains another method of avoiding such an
awkward imputation. That is to say, though we shall have no seconds, we
can have a witness."

"Whom precisely, if I might ask?"

"Peter."

"Peter? What Peter?"

"Peter the valet, a man who stands at the apex of contemporary culture,
and could therefore play the rôle, and perform the functions, proper to
such an occasion pre-eminently _comme il faut._"

"I think that you are jesting, my good sir?"

"No, I am not. If you will deign to give my proposal consideration you
will speedily arrive at the conviction that it is as simple as it is
charged with good sense. Schiller it would be impossible to hide in a
bag, but I will undertake to prepare Peter for the part, and to bring
him to the rendezvous."

"Still you are pleased to jest," said Paul Petrovitch as he rose. "But
as you have so kindly met me, I have not the right to make further
claims upon your time. All is arranged, then? In passing, have you any
pistols?"

"How should I have any pistols? I am not a man of war."

"Then perhaps you will allow me to offer you some of mine? Rest assured
that they have not been fired by me for five years."

"A very comforting assurance!"

"Lastly," said Paul Petrovitch as he reached for his cane, "it only
remains for me to thank you, and to leave you to your pursuits. I have
the honour to bid you good-day."

"And I to say farewell until our pleasant meeting."

With which Bazarov escorted his visitor to the door.

Paul Petrovitch gone, Bazarov stood awhile in thought. Then he
exclaimed:

"Splendid indeed! Yet also unutterably stupid! What a comedy to play!
Talk of educated dogs dancing on their hind legs!... However, I could
not have refused him, for, otherwise, he would have struck me and
_then_"--Bazarov turned pale, for his pride had been aroused--"well,
_then_ I should have strangled him like a kitten!"

He returned to his microscope, but found his heart to be still
beating, and the coolness necessary to scientific observation to have
disappeared.

"I suppose he saw us this morning," he continued to himself. "Yet
surely he is not doing this on his brother's behalf? For what is there
in a kiss? No; something else is in the background. Bah! What if it
should be that he himself is in love with her? Yes, that is it. It is
as clear as day. What a mess! Truly a horrible mess, however it be
viewed! For first of all I am to have my brains blown out, and then I
am to be made to leave this place! And there is Arkady to consider, and
that old heifer Nikolai Petrovitch. Awkward! Awkward indeed!"

However, the day dragged its slow length along. Thenichka remained
practically non-existent (in other words, she kept to her room as
closely as a mouse to its hole), Nikolai Petrovitch walked about with
a careworn air (it had been reported to him that mildew had begun to
attack the wheat), and Paul Petrovitch's mien of icy urbanity succeeded
in damping the spirits of Prokofitch himself.

Presently Bazarov sat down to write a letter to his father, but tore it
up, and threw the pieces under the table.

"Should I be killed," he reflected, "my parents will hear of it soon
enough. But I shall _not_ be killed--I have yet far to wander about the
world."

Next he ordered Peter to call him at dawn; and inasmuch as the order
was accompanied with a mention of important business, Peter jumped
to the conclusion that it was Bazarov's intention to take him to St.
Petersburg. Bazarov then retired to rest. Yet, late though he had done
so, he was troubled with fantastic visions. Ever before him there
flitted Madame Odintsov, who was also his mother. And ever behind her
there walked a black cat, which was also Thenichka. For his part, Paul
Petrovitch figured as a forest which the dreamer was engaged to fight.

At length, when four o'clock arrived, Peter came to rouse him. Hastily
dressing himself, he left the house with the valet. The morning was
fine and fresh, and though a few wisps of cloud were trailing across
the pale-blue transparency of the zenith, a light dew had coated the
grass and foliage with drops, and was shining like silver on spiders'
webs. The steaming earth seemed still to be seeking to detain the
roseate traces of dawn in her embrace; but presently every quarter of
the sky became lit up, and resounded again to the songs of larks.

Bazarov walked straight ahead until he reached the copse--then seated
himself at the shadowy edge of the trees, and explained to Peter the
services which he looked to the latter to perform; upon which the
"cultured" menial came near to fainting, and was calmed only with
an assurance that he would but have to stand at a distance, as a
looker-on, and that in no case would responsibility attach to his
person.

"And think," Bazarov concluded, "in what an important rôle you are
about to figure!"

But Peter, extending his hands deprecatingly, only turned up his eyes,
became green in the face, and went and leant against a birch tree.

The copse was skirted by the road from Marino, and the light coating of
dust bore no mark of having been disturbed since the previous evening,
whether by wheel or by foot. Involuntarily Bazarov kept glancing along
this road as, plucking and chewing stems of grass, he repeated again
and again to himself: "What a piece of folly!" More than once, too,
the morning air made him shiver, and Peter gaze plaintively in his
direction; but Bazarov only laughed, for _he_ at least was no coward.

At length hoofs sounded along the road, and there came into sight from
behind the trees a peasant driving two horses with traces attached. As
the man passed Bazarov he looked at him inquisitively, but failed to
doff his cap; and this circumstance impressed Peter unfavourably, since
the valet considered it a bad omen.

"Like ourselves, that peasant has risen early," thought Bazarov. "But
whereas _he_ has risen to work, _we_----!"

"Some one else is coming, I believe," whispered Peter.

Bazarov raised his head, and saw Paul Petrovitch, in a light check
jacket and a pair of snow-white trousers, walking briskly along the
road. Under his arm was a green, baize-covered box.

"Pardon me for having kept you waiting," he said with a bow to Bazarov,
and then one to Peter (for even to the latter he, for the nonce, seemed
to accord something of the respect due to a second). "As a matter of
fact, I was loth to arouse my valet."

"I beg that you will not mention it," replied Bazarov. "We ourselves
have only just arrived."

"So much the better!" And Paul Petrovitch glanced about him. "There
will be no one to see us or disturb us. Are you agreeable to
proceeding?"

"Quite."

"And I presume that you require no further explanations?"

"None whatsoever."

"Then kindly load these." Paul Petrovitch took from the box a brace of
pistols.

"No. Do you load, while I measure the distance--my legs are longer
than yours." This last Bazarov added with a dry smile. "Now, one, two,
three----"

"I beg your pardon, sir," gasped Peter, who was trembling as with ague.
"I beg your pardon, but might I move further away?"

"Four, five---- Certainly, my good fellow! Pray do so. You can go and
stand behind that tree there, and stop your ears--provided that you
do not also stop your eyes. Lastly, should either Monsieur Kirsanov
or myself fall, you are to run and pick up the fallen. Six, seven,
eight----" Bazarov halted. "That will do, I suppose?" he added to Paul
Petrovitch. "Or would you prefer me to add another couple of paces?"

"Do as you please," the other replied as he rammed home the second of
the two bullets.

"Then I will add those two paces." And Bazarov scratched a line in the
soil with his toe. "Here is the mark. _Apropos_, how many paces is each
of us to retire from our respective marks?"

"Ten, I presume," said Paul Petrovitch as he proffered Bazarov a brace
of pistols. "Will you kindly make choice of these?"

"I will. Nevertheless you will agree that our duel is singular, even to
the point of absurdity? For pray observe the countenance of our second!"

"It is still your pleasure to jest," Paul Petrovitch responded coldly.
"Of the singularity of our contest I make no denial. I merely consider
it my duty to warn you that I intend to right you in grim earnest. So,
_à bon entendeur, salut!_"

"Yet, even though we intend to exterminate one another, why should we
not enjoy our jest, and thus combine _utile_ with _dulce_? You have
spoken to me in French. I reply in Latin."

"I repeat that I intend to fight you in grim earnest," said Paul
Petrovitch; with which he moved to his place, and Bazarov, after
counting ten paces from his mark, turned, and halted.

"Are you ready?" inquired Paul Petrovitch.

"I am."

"Then engage."

Bazarov started to advance, and Paul Petrovitch did the same, with
his left hand thrust into his coat pocket, and his right gradually
elevating the muzzle of his pistol.

"The fellow is aiming straight for my nose," thought Bazarov to
himself. "And how the rascal is screwing up his eyes as he marches!
This is not a wholly pleasing sensation. I had better keep my eyes
fixed upon his watch-chain."

Past Bazarov's ear something suddenly whistled, while almost at the
same moment there came the sound of a report.

"I seemed to hear something, but no matter," was the thought which
flashed through Bazarov's brain. Then he advanced another step, and,
without aiming, pulled the trigger.

As he did so Paul Petrovitch gave a faint start, and clapped his hand
to his thigh, down the white trouser-leg of which there began to
trickle a thin stream of blood.

Bazarov threw aside his pistol and approached his antagonist.

"Are you wounded?" he inquired.

"Pray recall me to the mark," said Paul Petrovitch. "You have the right
so to do, and we are merely wasting time. The conditions of the contest
allow of a second shot apiece."

"Pardon me, that can be deferred," said Bazarov, catching hold of Paul
Petrovitch, who was beginning to turn pale in the face. "I am no longer
a duellist, but a doctor, and must examine your wound. Peter! Here!
Where the devil has the man got to?"

"This is sheer folly," gasped Paul Petrovitch. "I need no help. Let
us----" Yet, even as he tried to twirl his moustache, his arm fell to
his side, his eyes closed, and he collapsed in a swoon.

"Something new!" involuntarily cried Bazarov as he laid his antagonist
upon the grass. "A swoon! Let us see what is the matter with him."

Taking out his pocket-handkerchief, he wiped away the blood, and probed
the neighbourhood of the wound.

"The bone is intact," he muttered. "Yes, and the bullet has merely
pierced the flesh a little below the surface. Nothing but the _musculus
vastus externus_ is so much as touched. In three weeks' time we shall
have him trotting about again. A swoon! Oh these men of nerves! What
thin skins, to be sure!"

"Is--is he dead?" came in Peter's tremulous voice from behind.

Bazarov looked up.

"No," he said. "Run for a little water, and he will outlive us both."

Unfortunately the "perfect servant" did not understand what was said
to him, but remained stock still. In fact, even when, the next moment,
Paul Petrovitch opened his eyes Peter went on crossing himself and
repeating: "He is dying!"

"Monsieur Bazarov," the wounded man said with a twisted smile, "you
were perfectly in the right when you said that the face of that man was
the face of a fool."

"It is so," agreed Bazarov. "Damn you, will you fetch some water!" (The
latter to the valet.)

"There is no need," put in Paul Petrovitch. "It was only a passing
vertigo. Kindly assist me to sit up. That is it. A scratch like this
will require only to be bandaged for me to walk home again. There will
be no necessity to have the _drozhki_ sent. For that matter, the duel
need not be renewed unless you wish it. At least to-day you have acted
like a gentleman. Kindly note that I have said so."

"To the past we have no need to refer," said Bazarov. "And, as regards
the future, it calls for equally little remark, seeing that I intend
to leave here at once. Allow me to bind your leg. The wound is not
dangerous, but one of a nature which will make it as well to have the
blood staunched. But first I must restore that stuck pig to life."

Shaking Peter vigorously by the collar, he dispatched him in search of
the _drozhki._

"But see that you do not alarm my brother," was Paul Petrovitch's
injunction also to the man. "You are not to breathe a word of what has
happened."

Peter set off at full speed. During the time that he was hastening for
the _drozhki_, the two antagonists sat silently side by side on the
ground, while Paul Petrovitch tried his best not to look at Bazarov,
for the reason that he did not feel inclined to become reconciled with
him, while at the same time he felt ashamed alike of his impulsiveness,
his failure, and the scheme which had had this ending, though he
realised that it might have been worse.

"At least will the fellow swagger here no more," he thought to himself
by way of consolation. "And, for that, much thanks!"

The silence was a heavy, awkward silence, for neither of the pair felt
comfortable--each of them recognised that the other had taken his
measure. To friends, such a recognition may be very agreeable, but to
foes it is far from welcome--least of all, when neither explanations
nor a parting are feasible.

"I hope that I have not bound your leg too tightly?" said Bazarov at
last.

"Oh no," replied Paul Petrovitch. "As a matter of fact, it is doing
splendidly." After a pause he added: "But we cannot deceive my brother.
How would it be if we were to tell him that we fell out over politics?"

"Capital!" agreed Bazarov. "Tell him, for instance, that I started
cursing Anglomaniacs."

"A good idea! But what can that man be thinking of us? I cannot
imagine." The speaker pointed to the same peasant who, shortly before
the duel, had driven a pair of loose horses past Bazarov, and was
now shuffling homewards, while doffing his cap at the sight of the
gentlemen.

"Who can say?" replied Bazarov. "Probably he is thinking of nothing at
all. As Madame Radcliffe[1] frequently reminds us, the Russian _muzhik_
is an unknown quantity. Does _any_ one understand him? He does not even
understand himself."

"There you go again!" began Paul Petrovitch, but suddenly broke off to
say in a still louder tone: "See what that fool Peter has done! Here
comes my brother himself!"

Sure enough, on turning his head, Bazarov saw Nikolai Petrovitch's pale
face peering from the _drozhki._ Nor had the vehicle come to a halt
before Nikolai had sprung from the step, and rushed towards his brother.

"What is this?" he cried in agitated accents. "Evgenii Vasilitch, I beg
of you to tell me what has happened."

"Nothing has happened," replied Paul Petrovitch in Bazarov's stead.
"You are disturbing yourself to no purpose. I had a small quarrel with
Monsieur Bazarov, and have paid a penalty as small."

"But whence did it arise? For God's sake tell me!"

"What is there to say? It arose from the fact that Monsieur Bazarov
spoke in disrespectful terms of Sir Robert Peel. I would hasten to add
that, throughout, I alone was at fault, and that Monsieur Bazarov bore
himself admirably--I being the challenger."

"But look at the blood!"

"Pshaw! Did you suppose my veins to run with water? As a matter of
fact, the blood-letting will do me good. Is not that so, doctor? Help
me to mount the _drozhki_, and away with melancholy! By to-morrow I
shall be recovered. Splendid! That is the way to do it. Right away,
coachman!"

When on the point of starting homewards in the wake of the _drozhki_,
Nikolai Petrovitch perceived Bazarov to be for remaining behind.

"Evgenii Vasilitch," he said, "I would beg of you to attend my brother
until a doctor can be procured from the town."

Bazarov nodded in silence.

An hour later Paul Petrovitch was reposing in bed with his leg neatly
and artistically bandaged. The whole house was in a turmoil, Thenichka
greatly upset, and Nikolai able to do nothing but wring his hands. The
sick man, on the contrary, laughed and jested, especially with Bazarov,
and, to meet the occasion, had donned a fine linen shirt, an elegant
morning jacket, and a Turkish fez. Lastly, he forbade any one to close
the shutters, and kept venting humorous protests against the necessity
of abstaining from food.

Towards nightfall, however, fever supervened, and his head began to
ache; with the result that when the doctor arrived from the town
(Nikolai Petrovitch had disobeyed his brother in this respect, and
Bazarov also had consented to his doing so, in that, after paying the
patient a single visit, and that a very brief one, and being put to
the mortification of having to avoid Thenichka on two occasions when
he met her, he had felt that he preferred to spend the rest of the day
in loneliness, bitterness, and rancour)--when the doctor arrived from
the town he advised a cooling draught, but at the same time confirmed
Bazarov's opinion that no danger was to be apprehended. In passing, it
may also be mentioned that, on being informed by Nikolai Petrovitch
that Paul Petrovitch's wound had been self-inflicted through an
accident, the said doctor replied "H'm!"; to which, on receiving into
his hand a fee of twenty-five roubles, he added that of course things
of the kind often occurred.

No one in the house, that night, retired to bed, or even undressed,
but at intervals Nikolai Petrovitch would tiptoe into his brother's
room, and as silently withdraw. At intervals, too, Paul Petrovitch
would awake from a doze, sigh faintly, and say to Nikolai either
"_Couchez-vous_" or "Please give me a drink." But once it happened that
Nikolai sent the invalid a glass of lemonade by the hand of Thenichka;
and this time Paul Petrovitch scanned her long and searchingly before
draining the tumbler to the dregs. Towards morning the fever increased
a little, and a trace of lightheadedness made its appearance which
for a while caused the patient only to utter disconnected words.
But suddenly he opened his eyes, and, on seeing his brother bending
solicitously over the bed, murmured:

"Nikolai, do not you think that Thenichka slightly resembles Nelly?"

"What Nelly, Paul? Who is Nelly?"

"How can you ask? The Princess R., of course. In the upper portion of
the face especially Thenichka resembles her. _C'est de la même famille_."

Nikolai Petrovitch made no reply. He could only remain lost in wonder
that bygone fancies could so survive in the human consciousness.

"That _this_ should have cropped up again!" he reflected.

On another occasion Paul Petrovitch muttered as he clasped his hands
behind his head: "How I love this idle existence!" And again, a few
minutes later, he whispered: "I will not allow a single rascal to touch
me!"

Nikolai Petrovitch sighed. To whom the words referred he had not a
notion.

At eight o'clock next morning Bazarov entered Nikolai's room. His stock
of insects, birds, and frogs had either been packed up or liberated.

Rising to meet him, Nikolai said:

"So you have come to say good-bye?"

"I have."

"I understand your feelings, and I commend them. I know that my poor
brother alone was to blame, and is now paying the penalty. Also, I
gather from what he says that your position was such that you could not
possibly have acted otherwise than as you did--that for you to have
avoided this duel would have been impossible. That being so, we must
attribute the mischance to the--er--standing antagonism of your views"
(here Nikolai Petrovitch tripped over his words a little). "My brother
is one of the old school, a man of hot temper and great persistency.
Consequently we have God to thank that things have turned out no worse.
Finally I may say that every possible precaution against publicity has
been taken."

"Quite so," said Bazarov carelessly. "But I will leave my address with
you, in case of anything occurring."

"I hope that nothing _will_ occur. Indeed, my one regret is that your
stay in my house should have--should have terminated in such a fashion.
And I am the more grieved in that Arkady---"

"I expect to be seeing him very soon," interrupted Bazarov, whom
"explanations" or "speeches" of any kind always roused to fever pitch.
"On the other hand, should I _not_ do so, pray convey to him my
greetings and my regrets."

"I will," said Nikolai Petrovitch with a bow; but even before he had
finished Bazarov had left the room.

Paul Petrovitch, too, as soon as he heard that Bazarov was on the point
of departing, expressed a desire to see him, and to shake hands with
him. Yet Bazarov remained as cold as ice, for well he knew that Paul
Petrovitch's only aim was to make a show of "magnanimity," while to
Thenichka he did not say good-bye at all--he merely exchanged with her
a glance as she peeped from one of the windows. Her face looked to him
careworn.

"Before long she will either trip or elope," he reflected.

On the other hand, Peter was so moved at the prospect of parting
with his patron that he wept on the latter's shoulder until his
transports were cooled with the question: "Surely your eyes are not
made of water?" while Duniasha's emotion was such that she had to take
refuge in a thicket. Meanwhile the cause of all this grief mounted
the travelling-cart, and lit a cigar; and even when he had travelled
four versts, and reached a spot where a turn in the road brought
the Kirsanov farm into line with the new manor-house, he merely
expectorated some tobacco juice, and muttered, as he wrapped himself
closer in his cloak: "The cursed tomnoddies!"

Thenceforth Paul Petrovitch began to mend, but still was ordered to
keep his bed for another week. What he called his "imprisonment"
he bore with very fair patience, although he remained fussy in the
matter of his toilet, and constantly had himself sprinkled with
eau-de-Cologne. Meanwhile Nikolai Petrovitch read aloud to him the
newspapers, and Thenichka served him with soup, lemonade, scrambled
eggs, and tea. Yet she never entered the room without feeling a
mysterious nervousness come over her. Paul Petrovitch's unexpected
behaviour had frightened every one in the house, but her it had
frightened most of all. Only old Prokofitch seemed undismayed at the
occurrence, and kept asserting that, in his day, "the gentry used to
bore holes in one another right enough, but only the gentry. Jackanapes
like that Bazarov would have been ducked in the gutter for their pains."

Thenichka felt little pricking of conscience, but there were times when
the thought of the true cause of the quarrel rendered her at least
uneasy, and the more so because Paul Petrovitch's way of looking at
her was now so strange that, even when she turned her back to him, she
could still feel his eyes upon her. In combination, therefore, her
worries led to her growing thinner, and also (as often happens in such
circumstances) to her adding to her beauty.

At length, one morning, Paul Petrovitch felt so much better that he
left his bed, and removed to the sofa; while Nikolai Petrovitch, after
seeing that he had all he wanted, betook himself to the farm. Also,
it fell to Thenichka's lot to take the invalid a cup of tea; and when
she had placed it on the table, she was about to withdraw, when Paul
Petrovitch requested her to remain.

"Why should you hurry away?" he said. "Is it that you have other things
to do?"

"No--yes. That is to say, I have to go and pour out tea for the
servants."

"Duniasha can do that. Surely you will stay awhile with a sick man who
has something of great importance to say to you?"

Silently she seated herself on the edge of a chair.

"Listen," he continued, as he tugged at his moustache.

"For some time past I have been wanting to ask you why you are so
afraid of me?"

"Afraid of you?"

"Yes; for you never look at me. In fact, one would think that your
conscience was uneasy."

Her face reddened, but she looked Paul Petrovitch straight in the eyes.
Somehow his aspect struck her as peculiar, and her heart began to throb.

"Is your conscience clear?" he asked.

"Yes, Why should it not be?" she responded in a whisper.

"I do not know. Certainly I can recall no one against whom you can have
committed a fault. Against me? It is scarcely probable. Against others
in this house? That is as improbable. Against my brother? But him you
love, do you not?"

"I do."

"With your whole heart and soul?"

"With my whole heart and soul."

"Really and truly, Thenichka?" (never before had he addressed her
thus). "Look me in the eyes. To lie is a terrible sin. You know that,
of course?"

"But I am _not_ lying, Paul Petrovitch. Did I not love Nikolai
Petrovitch, I should not want to live."

"And you would exchange him for no one else?"

"_Whom_ should I exchange him for?"

"I do not know. Surely not for the gentlemen who has just left us?"

Thenichka rose to her feet.

"Why should you torment me in this way?" she cried. "What have I done
that you should speak to me so?"

"Thenichka," came the mournful reply, "I speak to you in this manner
for the reason that I saw----"

"You saw what?"

"I saw _you_--in the lilac arbour."

She blushed to her ears, to the very roots of her hair.

"But how was I to blame?" at length she contrived to say.

Paul Petrovitch raised himself on the sofa.

"You swear, do you, that you were _not_ to blame?" he said. "That you
were not in the slightest degree to blame? Not at all?"

"I love Nikolai Petrovitch," came the reply, delivered with sudden
energy and a rising sob, "and never shall I love any other man. As
for what you saw, before the Throne of Judgment I swear that I am
innocent, that I have always been so, and that I would rather die than
be suspected of having deceived Nikolai Petrovitch, my benefactor."

Her voice failed her. Then, behold! she felt Paul seize and press
her hand! Turning her head, she looked down at him--and stood almost
petrified. For his face was even paler than usual, his eyes were
glistening, and--most surprising thing of all!--a great tear was
trickling down his cheek!

"Thenichka," he whispered in a voice which hardly seemed his own, "I
beg of you always to love, and never to cease loving, my brother. He
is such a good, kind fellow as has not his equal in the world. Never
desert him for another; never listen to any tales which you may hear of
him, but reflect how terrible it would be for him to love and not to be
loved! Yes, think well, Thenichka, before ever you forsake him."

Thenichka's amazement caused her eyes almost to start from her
head, and her nervousness completely to vanish. Judge, also, of her
surprise when, though he did not draw her to himself, nor kiss her,
Paul Petrovitch raised her hand to his lips, and then burst into a
convulsive fit of sobbing!

"God in Heaven!" she thought to herself. "What if this should make him
have another fainting fit?"

Meanwhile, in that one moment Paul Petrovitch was living over again a
past phase of his ruined life.

Presently hurried footsteps were heard causing the staircase to creak;
and just as Paul pushed Thenichka away from him and replaced his head
upon the pillow, the door opened, and Nikolai Petrovitch--fresh, ruddy,
and smiling--entered with little Mitia. The latter, equally fresh and
ruddy, was leaping in Nikolai's arms, and pressing his tiny, naked feet
against the buttons of his father's rural smock.

Running to father and child, Thenichka threw her arms around both
alike, and sank her head upon the former's shoulder. This caused him to
halt in amazement, for never before had the bashful, reserved Thenichka
shown him any endearment in the presence of a third person.

"What is the matter?" he exclaimed. Then he glanced at Paul, handed
Mitia to Thenichka, and, approaching the bedside, inquired if his
brother were worse.

Paul's face was buried in his handkerchief, but he replied:

"Oh dear no. Not at all. If anything, I am better--yes, very much
better."

"Nevertheless you have been over-hasty in removing to the sofa," said
Nikolai Petrovitch; after which he turned to ask Thenichka why she was
leaving the room, but she departed abruptly, and closed the door behind
her.

"I had come to show you my little rascal," Nikolai continued. "He had
been pining for a sight of his uncle. But she has carried him away for
some reason. What is the matter? Has something occurred?"

"My brother," replied Paul Petrovitch--and as he uttered the words
Nikolai Petrovitch gave a start, and felt ill at ease, he knew not why.
"My brother, pray give me your word of honour that you will fulfil the
request which I am going to make."

"What request, Paul? I beg of you to continue."

"A request of the first importance. Upon it, I believe, your entire
happiness depends. Also, what I am going to say represents the fruit of
much thought. My brother, the request is that you will do your duty,
the duty of a good and honourable man. In other words, I beseech you to
put an end to this scandal and bad example, which is unworthy of you,
unworthy of a man who is the best of souls."

"To what do you refer, Paul?"

"To this. You ought to _marry_ Thenichka. She loves you, and is the
mother of your child."

Stepping back, Nikolai Petrovitch clasped his hands together.

"Do _you_ say this?" he exclaimed. "Do _you_ say this--_you_ whom I
have always understood to be opposed to such unions? Do _you_ say this?
Surely you know that solely out of respect for yourself have I hitherto
refrained from doing what rightfully you call my duty?"

"Wrongfully, then, have you respected me," said Paul Petrovitch with a
sad smile. "In fact, almost I am beginning to think that Bazarov was
right when he accused me of only feigning the aristocratic instinct.
For it is not enough for you and me to trouble ourselves about worldly
matters alone. We are old men past our prime, who ought to lay aside
all pettinesses, and to fulfil strictly our obligations. Nor forget
that, should we thus act, we shall receive an added measure of
happiness as our reward."

Nikolai Petrovitch flung himself upon his brother, and embraced him
again and again.

"You have opened my eyes," he cried. "When I described you as the best
man in the world I was not wrong: and now I perceive your wisdom to be
equal to your magnanimity."

"Quieter, quieter!" advised Paul. "Do not further inflame the leg of an
old fool who, at fifty, has fought a duel like a young ensign. Then the
matter is settled, and Thenichka is to become my _belle-soeur_?"

"Yes, my dearest Paul. But what will Arkady say?"

"Arkady? He will be delighted. True, marriage does not come within his
purview or principles, but at least his sense of social equality will
be tickled. And, in the nineteenth century, what does caste matter?"

"Paul, Paul, let me embrace you once more. You need not be afraid.
I will do it very carefully." And the two brothers flung their arms
around one another.

"Well?" continued Paul Petrovitch. "What think you? Shall we tell her
at once?"

"No, we need not be in too much of a hurry," replied Nikolai
Petrovitch. "As a matter of fact, you have been having a talk with her,
have you not?"

"I have been having a talk with her? _Quelle idée!_"

"However, your first business is to recover. Thenichka will not run
away, and in the meanwhile the affair must be carefully considered."

"Then you have decided upon it?"

"Certainly I have! And I thank you with all my heart. But I must
leave you for a while now, for you ought to have some rest, and any
excitement is bad for you. Matters can be discussed later. Go to sleep,
dearest of brothers, and may God restore you to health!"

"Why did he thank _me_?" thought Paul Petrovitch to himself after
Nikolai had gone." Does not the affair depend upon him alone, seeing
that, after the marriage, I myself shall have to depart elsewhere--to
Dresden or to Florence, and to abide there until I die?"

He bathed his forehead with eau-de-Cologne, and then closed his eyes.
As he lay with his handsome, refined head resting on the pillow, he
looked, in the clear light of the sun, like a corpse.


[1] Ann Radcliffe, _née_ Ward (1764-1823), an English novelist who
wrote _The Mysteries of Udolpho_ and other tales, and travelled
extensively.



XXV


In the shade of a tall ash tree in the garden at Nikolsköe Katia
and Arkady were seated on a bench. Beside them, on the ground, lay
Fifi--his lengthy body twisted into the curve known to sporting folk
as "the hare's crouch." Neither from Arkady nor from Katia was a word
proceeding. Arkady was holding in his hands a half-opened book, and she
was picking a few crumbs from a basket, and throwing them to a small
family of sparrows which, with the timid temerity of their tribe, were
chirping and hopping at her very feet. A faint breeze was stirring
the leaves of the ash tree, and dappling Fifi's tawny back and the
dark line of the pathway with a number of wavering circles of pale
golden light; but Arkady and Katia were wholly in shade, save that an
occasional streak glanced upon, and gleamed in, her hair. Just for the
reason that the pair were silent and side by side was there present
to their consciousness a _camaraderie_ which, while causing neither
to have the other definitely in mind, pleased each with the sense of
the other's propinquity. The expression of both is changed since last
we saw them. Arkady's face wears a staider air, and Katia looks more
animated and less retiring.

At length, however, Arkady spoke.

"Do you not think," he said, "that our Russian term _yasen_ is
particularly suitable to the ash tree? For no other tree cleaves the
air with such airy brightness."(1) Katia looked up.

"I agree," she replied, while Arkady proudly reflected: "At all events
_she_ does not reprove me for talking in 'beautiful language.'"

"By the way," Katia continued with a glance at the book in his hands,
"I cannot say that I always approve of Heine. I like him neither when
he is laughing nor when he is in tears--I like him only when he is
meditative and languid."

"Well, I like him when he is laughing," Arkady remarked.

"Then still there survives in you a trace of your old satirical
tendency. Still your reformation needs to be completed."

"Indeed?" thought Arkady. "My satirical tendency? Oh, that Bazarov
could have heard that!"

While aloud he said:

"Who is 'we'? Yourself?"

"Oh dear no! My sister, and Porfiri Platonitch, with whom you no longer
quarrel, and my aunt, whom, three days ago, you escorted to church."

"I did so only because I could not refuse. And as regards Anna
Sergievna, kindly remember that, in many things, she agrees with
Bazarov."

"Yes, she used to be greatly under his influence, and so did you."

"And so did I? Then am I now emancipated from that influence?"

Katia returned no reply.

"I know that you never liked him," Arkady continued.

"Did I not? It was not for me to judge him."

"Never do I hear that reply without declining to believe it. There is
not a person living whom _all_ of us have not the right to judge. A
disclaimer of that kind always represents an excuse."

"To tell the truth, I disliked him less than I felt him to be a
stranger to me--as complete a one as I to him--or you either, for that
matter."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that--well, how can I express it? That, whereas he was a wild
bird, you and I are tame ones."

"_I_ am a tame one?"

Katia nodded assent. Arkady scratched his ear.

"Look here," he said. "I may tell you that that constitutes, in
essence, an insult."

"Why so? Do you _want_ to be a wild bird?"

"Not necessarily a wild one, but at least one strong and energetic."

"You need wish no such thing. Your friend was both, yet he would rather
have been otherwise.

"H'm! You believe that he used to exercise a considerable influence
over Anna Sergievna?"

"Yes. But no one can hold a rein over her for long." Katia added this
last _sotto voce._

"What makes you think that?"

"The fact that she is very proud--rather, that she values her
independence."

"Who does not?" queried Arkady, while there flashed through his mind
the thought: "Why this mention of her?" Curiously enough, the same
thought occurred to Katia too. But this was not so curious as might
have been supposed, seeing that when young people meet in frequent and
amicable converse, identical thoughts are apt to enter their brains.

Arkady smiled, edged nearer to Katia, and said in a whisper: "Confess
that you are a little afraid of her."

"Of whom?"

"Of _her_" repeated Arkady meaningly.

"_Are you_ afraid of her?" countered Katia.

"I am. Please note that I believe you to be the same."

Katia raised a menacing finger.

"I am surprised at you!" she exclaimed. "Never at any time has my
sister been better disposed towards you than she is now. She likes you
considerably more than when you first came."

"Really?"

"Yes. And have you not noticed it? You ought to be pleased at the
notion."

Arkady reflected.

"How I have contrived to win Anna Sergievna's good graces I do not
know," at length he said. "Surely it cannot be because I brought her
those letters which were written by your mother?"

"It is, though, and because of other reasons as well--reasons which I
will forbear to mention."

"Why will you?"

"Because I will."

"Oh, I know your faculty for obstinacy."

"It is one which I possess."

"Also, your faculty for observing things."

Katia glanced at him. Then she inquired:

"Why lose your temper? What are you thinking of?"

"This: that I cannot understand how you come to possess those powers
of observation which undoubtedly are yours. I understand it the less
because you are so nervous and distrustful and shy of everybody and----"

"It is because I have lived such a lonely life. A life of that kind
leads one to reflect in spite of oneself. Am I shy of _every_ one,
though?"

Arkady bestowed upon her an appreciative glance.

"Never mind," he said. "At all events it is not often that people in
your position--I mean, people of your wealth--possess such a gift. To
them, as to the Tsars, truth penetrates hardly."

"But I am _not_ wealthy."

Arkady failed at first to follow her meaning, but reflected: "Certainly
the property belongs to her sister, not to her." Nor was the thought
wholly unpleasing--so little so that presently he added:

"You said that very prettily."

"I said what?"

"That you are not wealthy. You said it so simply, so without any
false shame, so without the least _arrière pensée. Apropos_, the
consciousness of the ordinary person who both knows and confesses that
he or she is poor always seems to me to contain more than the mere
words imply--it harbours also a touch of vanity."

"I have, thanks to my sister, had no experience of poverty. And as
for my possessions, I mentioned them only because the words came of
themselves to my lips."

"Quite so. Yet confess that you too harbour a grain of the vanity to
which I have alluded."

"Give me an example of my doing so."

"An example? Well, may I ask why you have not married a rich man?"

"Were I to love such a one very much, I----But no man of that sort has
come my way: wherefore I have made no such marriage."

"There, now!" cried Arkady. "But why should you not do so in the
future?"

"Because even the poets deprecate _mésalliances._"

"You mean that you wish either to rule or----?"

"Oh no! What good would that be? On the contrary, I am prepared to be
ruled, even though I believe that inequality in any form works badly. A
union of self-respect with submission--that is what I best understand,
that is what spells true happiness. A mere subordinate existence
is--well, something which I do not fancy."

"'Something which I do not fancy,'" commented Arkady. "Yes, you are of
the same blood as Anna Sergievna: you are as independent as she, and
you are even more secretive. In fact, however deep-rooted and sacred
a stock of sentiments you might hold, you would never, of your own
accord, give them utterance."

"Of course! How could you suppose anything else?"

"Also, you are clever, and have a measure of character equal to, if not
greater than, hers."

"I dislike being compared with my sister. You seem to have forgotten
that she is both 'beautiful' and 'intellectual' and---- Moreover, you,
above all people, ought not to say anything to her disparagement, and
still less to say it seriously."

"Why '_you_, above all people'? Do you think that I am jesting?"

"I am certain of it."

"Indeed? But what if I were to say that I really mean my words? What if
I were to say that, if anything, I have under-expressed what is in my
mind?"

"I fail to follow you."

"Do you? Your quickness of perception has been overrated."

"Why has it?"

Averting his head, Arkady returned no reply, while Katia fell to
searching for the last crumbs in her basket, and throwing them to the
sparrows. Unfortunately, the throw of her arm proved too strong, and
the birds flew away without even touching the food offered them.

"Katia," said Arkady, "it may be that you look upon these things as
matters of no moment. Kindly note, therefore, that neither for your
sister nor for any other person would I exchange Mademoiselle Katerina
Sergievna."

Rising, he walked away as though in sudden alarm at having allowed the
words to escape his lips. Meanwhile Katia, with her hands resting upon
the basket and her head bent, gazed after him. Gradually there crept
into her cheeks a rosy tint; and though her lips were not smiling, and
her dark eyes contained a hint of perplexity, there lurked also in her
expression another unexpressed feeling.

"Are you alone?" said Anna Sergievna's voice from behind her. "I
thought that Arkady came with you into the garden?"

Katia slowly raised her eyes to her sister (tastefully, and even
showily, dressed, the latter was standing on the path, and engaged in
stirring Fin's ears with the point of an open parasol), and as slowly
replied:

"Yes--I am alone."

"So I see," commented Madame with a smile. "He has gone indoors, I
suppose?"

"Probably."

"And you have been reading with him?"

"I have."

Anna Sergievna took Katia under the chin, and raised her face towards
her own.

"You have not quarrelled, I hope?" she said.

"Oh no," said Katia, and quietly put away her sister's hand.

"What solemn replies! Well, I came here to propose a walk, since he is
always asking me to go one. But, to pass to another subject, some shoes
have arrived for you from the town, so _you_ had better go and try them
on. Only yesterday I was noticing how shabby your old ones are. In
general, you do not take sufficient pains in such matters, for you have
charming feet, and also not ugly hands, even though a trifle too large.
You ought to take care of your feet. When you are here you do not do so
sufficiently."

Madame passed onwards with a light rustle of her handsome gown, while
Katia rose from the bench, and, taking the volume of Heine, departed in
another direction--though _not_ to try on the boots.

"'You have charming feet,'" she repeated to herself as she tripped up
the sun-baked steps of the terrace. "'You have charming feet.' Well,
before long some one shall be at them."

Confusion then overcame her, and she took the remaining steps at a
bound.

Meanwhile Arkady made for his room. As he was passing through the hall
he was overtaken by the butler, and informed that Monsieur Bazarov was
awaiting him above.

"Evgenii Vasilitch?" exclaimed Arkady in a tone very much as of alarm.
"Has he been here long?"

"A few minutes only. He instructed me not to announce him to Madame but
to take him straight to your room."

"I hope that nothing unfortunate has occurred at home," reflected
Arkady as he ran up the stairs and opened the door of the bedroom. But
the first sight of Bazarov's face reassured him, even though a more
experienced eye might have detected in the features of the unlooked-for
guest certain signs that inward turmoil underlay their usual rigidity.
Clad in a dust cloak and a travelling cap, he was seated on the
window-sill, and did not rise even when, rushing towards him with
exclamations of astonishment, and fussing to and fro like a man who
believes himself to be overjoyed, as well as desires other people to
believe it, Arkady cried:

"What a surprise! What has brought you here? Surely everything at home
is well, and all are in good health?"

"Everything at your home is well," said Bazarov; "but all are not in
good health. However, if your brains are not hopelessly wandering,
first tell them to bring me some _kvass_, and then sit down and listen
to my few but, I hope, well-chosen words."

This quieted Arkady, and upon that Bazarov told him of the duel with
Paul Petrovitch. The recital finished, Arkady stood amazed, as well as
distressed. But this he did not think it necessary to state--he merely
inquired whether his uncle's wound were really a harmless one, and, on
receiving the reply that it was of a nature uninteresting from every
but the medical point of view, forced a smile. Yet all the while he
felt secretly hurt, and also secretly ashamed. This Bazarov seemed to
divine.

"See," he said, "what comes of consorting with feudal folk! Should
one's lot be cast among them, inevitably one gets drawn into their
knightly tourneys. Being on my way to my parents' place, I have turned
aside to But no; I will not be guilty of a foolish and useless lie. The
real reason why I have turned aside is that--oh, the devil only knows
why! Times there are when a man ought to take himself by the scruff of
the neck, and uproot himself like a radish from a garden border. That
is what _I_ did when I was last here. But, since, a longing has come
upon me to take just another peep at all that I then forsook--to view
once more the border where I used to grow."

"By the words 'all that I then forsook' I hope that you do not mean
myself as well?" cried Arkady anxiously. "Do not say that you intend to
sever me also from your friendship?"

Bazarov looked at him. He did so fixedly, almost sharply.

"Would the eventuality distress you?" he inquired. "Rather, it is you
who have forsaken me, O verdant and transparent soul. _Inter alia_, I
hope that your affair with Anna Sergievna is progressing?"

"My 'affair with Anna Sergievna'?"

"For her sake, was it not, you came hither from the town? Ah, tender
young chicken of mine, what about those Sunday Schools? Come, come!
Do not tell me that you are not in love with her. Or have you at last
learnt to be secretive?"

"Always I have been frank with you, as you know; wherefore pray believe
me when I say--I call God to witness that it is true--that your
surmises are mistaken."

"Truly a new song!" remarked Bazarov _sotto voce._

"But do not disturb yourself: it is all one to me. Certainly, a
Romanticist would have said: 'Our roads are beginning to diverge'; but
I say no more than that clearly we have no further use for one another."

"Oh, Evgenii!"

"Dear lad, it is no misfortune. At all times is something in the world
finding out that it has no use for something else. So we must say
good-bye. Ever since I arrived in this place I have been feeling as
uncomfortable as a Governor's lady when she hears a work of Gogol's
read aloud. In fact, I did not order my horses to be unharnessed."

"But you cannot act like this!"

"Why not?"

"Because, apart from my own feelings, such a speedy departure would be
the height of rudeness to Anna Sergievna. I know that she would like to
see you."

"No, she would not."

"I am positive that she would. Why pretend like this? Are you going to
say that it is not for her sake alone that you are here?"

"You have grounds for that surmise, yet I say that you are wrong."

But Arkady proved to be right, for Anna Sergievna really desired to see
Bazarov, and, through the butler, sent him word to that effect. After
tidying his costume, therefore, and tucking his new great-coat under
his arm (in readiness to depart as soon as the interview should be
concluded), he went downstairs, and was received, not in the room where
he had unexpectedly disclosed his passion, but in the drawing-room.
Anna Sergievna's manner, as she offered him the tips of her fingers,
was pleasant enough, yet her face betrayed involuntary tension.

"To begin with," Bazarov hastened to say, "allow me to reassure you.
You see before you a corpse which has long returned to its senses, and
is also not destitute of hope that others have forgotten its folly. I
am unlikely to see you again for an extended period, but, though (as
you know) I am not given to sentiment, I feel that I should like to
bear away with me the thought that my image still fills your mind with
aversion."

She caught at her breath like a person who has just arrived at the
summit of a lofty mountain. Then her face lightened into a smile, and,
offering Bazarov her hand a second time, she allowed it to respond to
the pressure of his.

"When sorrow is asleep, do not wake it," she said. "And the less so
since my conscience convicts me, if not of coquetry on that occasion,
at all events of something else. One word more. Let us be friends
again. For it was all a dream, was it not? And who remembers dreams?"

"Who indeed? And love--well, love is a mere empirical sentiment."

"I am glad to hear you say so."

Thus Anna Sergievna, and thus Bazarov. And both conceived themselves to
be speaking the truth. But was it the truth?--at all events, the whole
truth? The speakers themselves did not know, and therefore the author
does not. Nevertheless both the man and the woman framed their words to
create an atmosphere of mutual confidence.

Next Anna Sergievna asked Bazarov how he had spent his time at the
Kirsanovs'; and though he came within an ace of telling her of the duel
with Paul Petrovitch, he checked himself in time, and replied that he
had been engaged in work.

"And I," she said, "have been, for some unknown reason, out of humour,
and meditating going abroad; but the fit is passing now (thanks to the
arrival of your friend Arkady Nikolaievitch), and already I find myself
relapsing into my old rut, and resuming my true rôle."

"And what is your true rôle?"

"The rôle of acting as aunt or preceptress or mother--call it what you
like--to my sister. In passing, I wonder if you are aware that once
upon a time I did not altogether understand your close friendship with
Arkady Nikolaievitch? Somehow he seemed too insignificant for you. But
now, I know him better, and have convinced myself that in his head
there is a brain. Above all things, he is young, young--not like you
and myself, Evgenii Vasilitch."

"But he is still shy in your presence?" queried Bazarov.

"He" began Anna Sergievna; then, checking herself, continued: "No; he
is gaining confidence, and has taken to talking to me quite freely;
whereas once upon a time, though I did not seek his company, he used
to flee whenever I came near him. By the way, he is great friends with
Katia."

Somehow this irritated Bazarov.

"Never can a woman forbear dissembling," was his reflection. Aloud he
said with a frigid smile: "Then you say that he used to flee from you?
But surely it cannot be a secret that formerly he cherished for you
_une grande passion?"_

"What? He too?"

"Yes, he too," affirmed Bazarov with a nod. "But I think that you knew
that? It was not a piece of news that I have just told you?"

Her eyes became fixed upon the floor.

"I believe you to be wrong," she observed.

"So do not I. But perhaps I ought not to have mentioned it?" To himself
he added: "And perhaps you will not, in future, play the hypocrite with
me."

"Why should you not have mentioned it?" she queried. "As a matter
of fact, I believe you to be attaching importance to a mere passing
impression, and shall soon think that you have a tendency to
exaggerate."

"Suppose we talk of something else?" he suggested.

"For what reason?"

However, of her own accord she diverted the conversation into another
channel. True, she had assured him, and she herself believed, that
everything was buried in the past; yet she felt ill at ease, and
conscious that, even while jesting or exchanging the merest of
_bagatelles,_ she had weighing upon her a nervous oppression. In fact,
it was akin to the case of passengers afloat. Though such folk will
laugh and talk with the same apparent indifference as on land, let but
the machinery stop, or the least sign of anything unusual appear, and
at once every face will display that peculiar expression of anxiety
which comes only of constant knowledge of ever-present danger.

Of similar sort was Anna Sergievna's interview with Bazarov; nor was
it prolonged, in that soon she began to feel so absent-minded, and to
answer with such vagueness, that she proposed a move to the hall, where
there were found Katia and the Princess.

"And where is Arkady Nikolaievitch?" inquired the hostess; and, on
being told that he had not been seen for over an hour, she sent
messengers to summon him. But this proved a lengthy task, seeing that
he had withdrawn to the remotest corner of the garden, and, sitting
with chin upon hands, was plunged in thought. Those thoughts were
important and profound, but not sad; and though he knew that Anna
Sergievna was alone with Bazarov, he felt none of his old jealousy,
but, rather, gazed before him with quiet cheerfulness--with an air as
though something had pleased and surprised him, and led him to arrive
at a certain decision.


[1] _ Yasen_ is derived from the adjective _yasni_, meaning clear or
bright.



XXVI


Although the late Monsieur Odintsov had disliked "innovations," he
had not been opposed to the indulgence of "a certain play of refined
taste," and had erected, in a space between the hothouses and the lake,
a building modelled in the style of a Greek temple, but consisting
of undeniable Russian bricks. Also, he had caused to be inserted in
the massive rear wall of this temple or gallery six niches for six
statues which were designed to represent Solitude, Silence, Thought,
Melancholy, Modesty, and Sensibility, and which he had purposed to
import from abroad; but only one of these, the statue of the Goddess
of Silence, with a finger to her lips, had actually been delivered and
erected; and even of that the household underlings had knocked off the
nose on the very day of the statue's arrival. True, a neighbouring
sculptor had offered to furnish the goddess with a nose "twice as good
as the last one," but Odintsov had none the less ordered her removal to
a corner of the millhouse, where for several years past she had acted
as a source of superstitious awe to the peasant women of the district.
Likewise, the front wall of the temple had become so overgrown with
bushes that only the capitals of the supporting columns remained
visible above the mass of verdure, and even at midday the interior
of the building was cool and pleasant; and though Anna Sergievna had
never really liked the place since the day when she had discovered an
adder there, Katia paid it frequent visits, and, seating herself on
a great stone bench which was fixed under one of the niches, would
read or work, or surrender herself to the influence of that perfect
restfulness which, known, probably, to every one, comes of a silent,
half-unconscious contemplation of the great waves of life as they
break for ever around and against us.

On the morning after Bazarov's arrival Katia was in her usual position
on the bench, and beside her was Arkady--he having specially asked her
to accompany him thither.

Though an hour was still wanting to luncheon time, the dew and the
freshness of the morning had already given place to the sultriness
and the aridity of noontide. Arkady's face yet bore the expression
of yesterday, but Katia's features were stamped with one, rather, of
depression. This was because after breakfast her sister had called
her into the boudoir, and to some of those blandishments which always
alarmed the girl had added a word of advice that Katia should observe
more caution in her converse with Arkady, and, above all things, avoid
such solitary _tête-à-têtes_ with him as appeared to have aroused
the attention of the household in general, and of the Princess in
particular. Since the previous evening Anna Sergievna had been out
of humour; and inasmuch as Katia's conscience was not wholly clear
of responsibility in the matter, she had intimated, when yielding to
Arkady's request, that it must be for the last time.

"Katia," he began with a sort of easy uneasiness, "since the day when I
had the good fortune to reside under the same roof as yourself I have
talked to you on many different subjects. But one particular question
has for me a paramount importance: nor upon that question have I yet
touched. Yesterday you said that during my stay here I have undergone
a process of reformation"--he neither sought nor avoided Katia's
eye--"and, to be frank, such a reformation has, in part at least, come
about. Better than any one else do you know that this is so--you to
whom, above all others, that remaking is due."

"To me?" she re-echoed.

"Yes, to you," Arkady repeated. "No longer am I the presumptuous lad
who came here a short while ago: not for nothing have I attained my
twenty-third year. And though I still wish to be of use in life, though
I still wish to consecrate the whole of my faculties to the service of
Truth, I no longer seek my ideals where I was wont to do--they appear
to me to stand much nearer home. Hitherto I have been in ignorance of
myself, hitherto I have set myself tasks beyond my powers; but now,
through a certain feeling which is within me, my eyes have become
opened. By the way, the manner in which I express myself may be lacking
in clarity, yet I venture to hope that I have made myself understood?"

Katia said nothing; but she ceased to look at the speaker.

"In my opinion," he went on in a tone of rising emotion, while in
a birch tree overhead a chaffinch started pouring forth a flood of
unstudied song, "in my opinion, it is the duty of an honourable man to
be frank with those who, with those who--in short, with those who stand
nearest to him in life. Consequently I, I am minded to--to---"

Here Arkady's eloquence failed him. He stumbled and stuttered and
had to pause for a moment. Meanwhile Katia's eyes remained lowered.
One would have thought that she did not in the least understand this
preamble, but was expecting to hear something quite of a different
nature.

"That I shall surprise you I know in advance," continued Arkady, once
more spurring his faculties. "And that surprise will be the greater
when I tell you that the feeling to which I have alluded concerns, to a
certain extent--yes, to a certain extent, yourself. For yesterday, you
will remember, you imputed to me a lack of gravity "--he was speaking
much like a man who, having blundered into a bog, feels that at each
step he sinks deeper and deeper, yet struggles on in the hope of
eventually extricating himself--"and such a reproach is all too often
levelled against, all too often falls upon, young people who have
ceased to deserve it. Were I but possessed of more self-confidence"
("God help me! God help me!" he thought despairingly, but Katia did not
even turn her head)--"had I but the right to hope that----"

"Did I but feel sure that you really mean what you say," broke in, at
this moment, the clear accents of Anna Sergievna.

Arkady became dumb, and Katia turned pale; for along a little path
which skirted the bushes screening the temple there were advancing
Bazarov and Madame! Katia and Arkady could not actually see the pair,
yet they could hear every word uttered, and even catch the sound of
their breathing, and the rustle of Anna Sergievna's dress. Advancing a
few more steps, the couple halted, and remained standing in front of
the building.

"It is like this," Anna Sergievna continued. "You and I have blundered
into an error. That is to say, while neither of us is in the heyday of
youth--I so least of the two--and both of us have lived our fives and
are weary, we are also (for I need not stand on ceremony) individuals
of intellect. Consequently, though, at first, we interested one
another, and felt our mutual curiosity aroused, it happened that
subsequently----"

"That subsequently I grew stale in your eyes," hazarded Bazarov.

"Oh no! That that was not the cause of the situation you are well
aware. But, whatever the cause, you and I have not a _compelling need_
of one another. Therein lies the point. In other words, both of us have
in us--how shall I express it?--both of us are too mutually _akin._ We
were slow to grasp that fact. Now, Arkady---"

"Have you a 'compelling need'--of him?" put in Bazarov.

"For shame, Evgenii Vasilitch! You yourself have averred that he is
not wholly indifferent to me; and I too have long suspected that he
cherishes for me at least a measure of admiration. As we are on the
subject, I will not attempt to conceal from you that of late the fact
that I am old enough to be his aunt has not prevented me from devoting
to him more of my thoughts than I used to do. In his fresh young
sentimentality there is a certain charm."

"The term 'fascination' comes handier in such cases," said Bazarov in
the deep, quiet tone which, with him, always signified sarcasm. "As a
matter of fact, I found Arkady secretive yesterday--he made but the
scantiest of references either to you or your sister. That constitutes
an important symptom."

"Katia and he are brother and sister to one another," said Madame.
"Indeed I am pleased to see it--though perhaps I ought not to connive
at so much familiarity."

"I presume that the element speaking in you is the sister?" drawled
Bazarov.

"Of course! But need we stand here? Let us move on. We hold curious
conversations, do we not? Indeed, to think of all the things which I
now say to you! Yet I still fear you a little, even though I trust you
as being, at heart, a good man."

"I am far from good; and you only call me so because I have lost all
significance in your eyes. Ill boots it to weave chaplets for the head
of a corpse."

"Evgenii Vasilitch, we cannot always command ourselves," came the sound
of Anna Sergievna's next words; but the next moment the wind soughed,
the leaves rustled, and the rest of what she was saying was carried
away into the distance. Nothing beyond it save (after a pause) "You are
free, are you not?" on the part of Bazarov could be distinguished.
Then the sound of their footsteps died away, and once more complete
silence reigned.

Turning to Katia, Arkady saw that she was sitting as before, but with
her head more bent.

"Katerina Sergievna," he said tremulously, and with his hands clasped,
"I shall love you always, and beyond recall; nor shall I ever love
another woman. This is what I have been trying to say to you this
morning, in the hope that I might ascertain your views, and then beg
for your hand. I am not a rich man, but I would make any sacrifice for
your sake. Come, then! Will you answer me? Will you trust me? Surely
you do not think that I am speaking out of frivolity? Recall the past
few days: may you not rest assured now that my remaining self (you know
what I mean) is gone for ever? Come, look at me--look at me and speak
but a word, a single word. I love you, I love you! Do not refuse to
believe that I mean what I say."

Gravely, yet with a radiant look in her eyes, Katia raised her head,
and, after a moment's thought, said with the trace of a smile: "_Yes._"

Arkady leapt up.

"'Yes'? You have said 'Yes,' Katia! But what do mean by that word? Do
you mean that you believe in my love, or do you mean that----? No, no;
I dare not finish the sentence."

Katia repeated only the word "Yes," but this time she left no room for
misunderstanding. Arkady seized her large, but not unshapely, hands in
his, and, panting with rapture, strained her to his breast. He could
scarcely stand upon his feet--he could only keep repeating again and
again: "Katia! Katia!" Meanwhile she shed a few innocent tears at which
she smiled as they fell. The man who has not seen such tears in the
eyes of his beloved does not know the height of happiness to which,
with mingled joy and gratitude and modesty, a woman can attain.

Next morning Anna Sergievna sent for Bazarov to her boudoir; and when
he arrived she, with a forced smile, handed him a folded sheet of
notepaper. That sheet represented a letter from Arkady, a letter in
which he begged for her sister's hand.

Bazarov skimmed the epistle--then scarcely could forbear venting the
rancour which blazed for a moment in his breast.

"It is as I said, you see," he commented. "Only yesterday you were
telling me that his feeling for Katerina Sergievna was that of a
brother for a sister! And what are you going to do?"

"What would you advise me to do?" she said, still smiling.

"I presume"--he also was smiling, although he was feeling as wholly out
of spirits, as little inclined towards gaiety, as she was--"I presume
that we have no choice but to bestow our blessing upon the young
couple. In every respect it would be a good match, for his father has
a nice little property, Arkady is the only son, and the father is too
easy-going to be likely to raise any difficulty."

Madame Odintsov rose and paced the room for a moment or two--her face
alternately flushing and turning pale.

"So that is what you think?" she said. "Well, I too see no impediment.
Indeed, the affair rejoices me both for Katia's sake and for--yes, for
his. But first I must await his father's consent; and for that purpose
I will send Arkady himself to interview Nikolai Petrovitch. So I was
right yesterday, was I not? I was right when I said that you and I are
become elderly? How did I fail to foresee this? I am indeed surprised
at it!"

Again she smiled, but, in the very act of smiting, turned away.

"Our young folk are indeed cunning," remarked Bazarov. After a pause he
added:

"Good-bye now. I hope that the affair may develop Well. From a distance
I, too, shall rejoice."

She turned and faced him.

"Need you really go?" she asked. "Why not stay a little longer? Pray
stay, for I find talking to you a stimulant--it is like walking on the
edge of a precipice: at first one is afraid, then one gathers courage.
Do not go."

"I thank you for the proposal, as also for your flattering estimate of
my conversational powers," said Bazarov. "Nevertheless, I have tarried
overlong in a sphere which is alien to my personality. Only for a while
can flying fish support themselves in the air. Then they relapse into
their natural element. Allow me to flop back into mine."

Yet a bitter laugh was twisting his pale features. She saw it, and felt
sorry for him.

"The man still loves me," was her thought, and she extended a
sympathetic hand.

He understood her, however.

"No, no!" he exclaimed as he withdrew a step or two. "Though poor, I
have never yet accepted aims. Good-bye, and may your lot always be
happy."

"Yet we shall meet again," she replied with an involuntary gesture. "Of
that I am certain."

"Anything may occur in this world," he remarked--then bowed and was
gone.

That afternoon he said to Arkady as he knelt down to pack his trunk:

"I hear that you are going to make a nest for yourself? And why should
you not? It is an excellent course to take. But for you to dissemble
is useless, and I had scarcely expected that you would do so. Has the
preoccupation of it all deprived you of your tongue?"

"When I left you at Marino I had no thought of this," said Arkady. "You
are the dissembler, though, are you not? For when you say 'It is an
excellent course to take,' you dissemble, as well as waste your time,
seeing that I am well aware of your views on marriage."

"Merely my way of expressing myself. You see what I am doing at this
moment. In my trunk is a vacant space. I am packing it with straw.
And the same with life's trunk. To avoid leaving empty spaces therein
we pad the interstices. You need not be offended. You cannot fail
to remember what I really think of Katerina Sergievna. While some
maidens earn cheap reputations by merely smiling at right moments, your
_inamorata_ can show more--indeed, so much more that soon you will be
(and very properly) under her thumb."

Slapping down the lid of the trunk, Bazarov rose from the floor.

"Now, farewell," he said. "No, I will not deceive you: we are parting
for ever, and you know it. In my opinion you have acted wisely,
for you were not meant to live the hard, bitter, reckless life of
Nihilism--you lack at once the necessary coolness and the necessary
venom. But this is not to say that in you there is not a due measure of
youthful spirit. What I mean is that that asset alone is not sufficient
for the work. The _dvorianin_ is powerless to progress beyond either
well-bred effervescence or well-bred humility: and both sentiments
are futile. For example, you have not yet been blooded, yet already
you think yourself a man: whereas the two chief conditions of our
existence are battle and bloodshed. Yes, the dust from our heels hurts
your eyes, and the grime on our bodies makes you feel dirty. In other
words, although you derive a certain gratification from indulging in
self-criticism, and think no small beer of yourself, you have failed
to grow to our stature. To us such things are vanities. Tools' of an
altogether different kind are what we need for the task. Consequently
I repeat that, though a fine young fellow enough, you are also just a
little-minded, so-called 'liberal-minded' _baritch_[1]--what my father
calls a 'product of evolution.'"

"Evgenii," was Arkady's sad reply, "we are parting for ever, yet this
is all that you have to say to me!"

Bazarov scratched his head.

"Something else I could say, Arkady," he replied. "But I will not say
that something--it would savour too much of Romanticism. Get married
as soon as you can, line your nest, and beget plenty of offspring. Nor
will those offspring be altogether fools, seeing that they will be born
in due season, and not when you and I were.... My horses are ready and
I must depart. Of the rest of the household I have taken leave already.
Shall we embrace once more, eh?"

The tears gushed in torrents from Arkady's eyes as he flung himself
upon his old friend and mentor.

"Ah, youth, youth!" commented Bazarov. "See what comes of being young!
But before long, I know, Katerina Sergievna will have set things right.
Yes, she will console you."

With a last good-bye he mounted the travelling cart, and, in the act of
doing so, pointed to a pair of jackdaws which were sitting perched upon
the stable roof.

"See!" he cried. "_There's_ an instructive lesson for you!"

"What do you mean?" queried Arkady.

"What?" was Bazarov's ejaculation. "Are you so ignorant of, or so
forgetful of, natural history as not to know that the jackdaw is the
most respected of family birds? Mark the good example before you.
Farewell, señor!"

And with a clatter the cart started on its way.

Nor was Bazarov mistaken, for, even before nightfall, Arkady, deep
in conversation with Katia, had completely forgotten his vanished
instructor. Moreover, already the young fellow was beginning to play
second fiddle to his _fiancée_: which circumstance the girl, on
realising, in no way felt surprised at. So it was arranged that on the
following day he should depart for Marino to interview his father;
and in the meanwhile, Anna Sergievna, having no desire to hamper the
young couple, merely observed such a show of propriety as involved
her not leaving them together for long, but at the same time keeping
at a distance the Princess, who, since the tidings of the impending
union, had been in a state of lachrymose rancour. For herself, Anna
Sergievna had at first feared that the spectacle of the young people's
happiness would prove too much for her; but now the contrary proved to
be the case, and she not only failed to feel hurt at the spectacle,
but even found that it interested her and eventually softened her--a
consummation which brought both relief and regret.

"Bazarov was right," she reflected. "It was mere curiosity, mere love
of ease, mere egoism, mere----"

"Children, is love an empirical sentiment?" once she asked of Arkady
and Katia: but neither of the pair understood her meaning. Moreover,
they were fighting a little shy of her, since they could not altogether
forget the conversation which they had involuntarily overheard; but in
time Anna Sergievna succeeded in overcoming also this timidity, and
found the task the more easy to perform in that she had succeeded also
in overcoming her disappointment.


[1] A small squire.



XXVII


The old Bazarovs' delight at their son's return was the greater in
that the event was so unexpected. To such an extent did Anna Vlasievna
fuss and flounce about the house that Vasili Ivanitch likened her to a
hen partridge (no doubt the short tail of her blouse _did_ impart to
her rather a bird-like aspect); while, as regards Vasili himself, he
grunted, and sucked the amber mouthpiece of his pipe, and, grasping the
shank, inverted the bowl as though to make sure that it was secure,
and, finally, parted his capacious lips, and gave vent to a noiseless
chuckle.

"I am going to spend with you six whole weeks," said Bazarov. "But I
desire to work, and therefore must not be disturbed."

"Before we will disturb you, you shall forget what my face looks like,"
replied Vasili Ivanitch.

And he kept his word; for, after allotting his son the study, he not
only remained completely out of sight, but even prevented his wife from
manifesting the least sign of tenderness.

"When Evgenii last visited us," he said to her, "you and I proved a
little wearisome; so this time we must be more discreet."

Anna Vlasievna agreed, much as she lost by the arrangement, seeing that
now she beheld her son only at meal times, and feared, even then, to
speak to him.

"Eniushenka," she would begin--then, before he had had time to raise
his eyes, pluck nervously at the strings of her cap, and whisper: "Oh
no; it was nothing," and address herself, instead, to Vasili Ivanitch;
saying, for instance (with cheek on hand as usual): "My dear, which
would our darling Eniusha prefer for dinner--cabbage soup or beef with
horse-radish?" And when Vasili Ivanitch would reply: "Why should you
not ask him yourself?" she would exclaim: "Oh no, for that might vex
him."

But eventually Bazarov ceased to closet himself, in that there came an
abatement of the work fever, and to it succeeded fits of depression,
_ennui_, and an inordinate restlessness. In his every movement there
began to loom a strange discontent, from his gait there disappeared
its old firm, active self-confidence, and, ceasing to indulge in
solitary rambles, he took to cultivating society, to attending tea in
the drawing-room, to pacing the kitchen garden, and to joining Vasili
Ivanitch in a silent smoking of pipes. Nay, on one occasion he even
paid Father Alexis a visit!

At first the new order of things rejoiced Vasili Ivanitch's heart: but
that joy proved short-lived.

"Though I could not say why, Eniusha makes me anxious," he confided to
his spouse. "Not that he is discontented or ill-tempered--such things
would not have mattered: rather, it is that he is sad and brooding,
and never opens his lips. Would that he would curse you and me, for
instance! Also, he is thinner; nor do I like the colour of his face."

"O God!" whispered the old woman. "Yet I may not even put my arms
around his neck!"

From that time onwards Vasili Ivanitch began to make cautious attempts
to question Bazarov concerning his work, his health, and his friend
Arkady; but always Bazarov returned reluctant, indifferent replies, and
once, when his father was for introducing the foregoing topics, said
irritably:

"Why are you for ever tiptoeing around me? Your present manner is even
worse than your former one."

"There, there--I did not mean anything," was poor Vasili Ivanitch's
reply.

Political allusions proved equally fruitless. For instance, when Vasili
Ivanitch was seeking to engage his son's interest on the score of the
impending emancipation of the serfs and progress in general, the other
muttered carelessly:

"Yesterday, when passing through the courtyard, I heard some peasant
lads singing, not one of the good old songs, but I The age of truth is
coming in, when hearts shall glow with love.' There's progress for you!"

Occasionally Bazarov would repair to the village, and, in his usual
bantering fashion, enter into conversation with some peasant.

"Well," he said to a _muzhik_, "pray expound to me your views on life.
For they tell me that in you lie the whole strength and the whole
future of Russia--that you are going to begin a new epoch in our
history, and to give us both a real language and new laws."

The peasant made no reply at the moment. Then he said:

"We might do all that if first we had a new chapel here."

"Tell me something, though, about the world in general," Bazarov
interrupted. "The world stands on three fishes, does it not?"

"It does that, _batiushka_," the peasant replied with the quiet,
good-humoured sweetness of the patriarchal age. "But above it stands
the will of the masters. The _baré_ are our fathers, and the harder the
_barin_ drives, the better for the _muzhik_."

Shrugging his shoulders contemptuously at this statement, Bazarov
turned away, while the peasant slunk off homewards.

"What did he say?" asked a sullen-looking, middle-aged peasant who
had been standing at the door of his hut during the course of the
foregoing colloquy. "Was he talking of arrears of taxes?"

"Of arrears of taxes!" retorted the first peasant, his tone now
containing not a trace of its late patriarchal sweetness, but, rather,
a note of purely dry contempt. "He was chattering just for chattering's
sake--he likes to hear his own tongue wag. Do not all of us know what a
_barin_ and the likes of him are good for?"

"Aye," agreed the second peasant; whereafter, with much nodding of
caps and gesticulating of fists, they fell to discussing their own
affairs and requirements. So alas for Bazarov's scornful shrug of the
shoulders! And alas for that knowledge of the way in which the peasant
should be talked to whereof the young Nihilist had made such boast when
disputing with Paul Petrovitch! In fact, never had it dawned upon the
mind of the self-confident Bazarov that, in the eyes of the _muzhik_,
he was no better than a pease-pudding.

However, he succeeded in discovering for himself an occupation. This
was when, in bandaging a peasant's leg, Vasili Ivanitch's hands shook
a little through senility, and his son hastened to his assistance: and
from that time forth Bazarov acted as Vasili Ivanitch's partner, even
though he maintained unabated his ridicule both of the remedies which
he himself advised and of the father who hastened to put them into
practice. Yet in no way did his son's raillery annoy Vasili Ivanitch:
rather, it heartened the old man. Smoking his pipe, and drawing his
dirty overall in to his waist with both thumbs, he would listen
delightedly to the scoffer, and chuckle, and show his blackened teeth
the more in proportion as the sallies contained a greater measure of
venom. Nay, stupid or simply senseless as many of these witticisms
were, he would frequently catch them up, and repeat them. To take one
instance, he, for several days in succession, kept assuring every one
in the village and in the town that "we call this the nine o'clock
office"--the sole basis being the fact that once, on learning of his
(Vasili Ivanitch's) habit of attending Matins, Bazarov had made use of
the phrase in question.

"Thank God, Evgenii has ceased to mope," he confided in a whisper to
his wife. "In fact, you should have heard him rating me to-day!"

Also, the thought that he had such an assistant in his labours filled
the old man with pride.

"Yes, yes," he would say as he handed some peasant woman in a man's
jacket a phial of medicinal water or a pot of cold cream, "you ought
daily to thank God that my son happens to be staying with me, since
otherwise you could not possibly have been treated according to the
latest and most scientific methods. Do you understand? I say that even
Napoleon, the Emperor of the French, has not at his disposal a better
physician than my son."

And the peasant woman (who had come, it may be, to complain of "a
lifting with the gripes"--an expression which probably she herself
could not have explained) would bow, then proffer the three or four
eggs which would be tied up in a corner of her neckcloth.

Also, when Bazarov extracted a tooth from the jaw of a travelling
pedlar, Vasili Ivanitch could not allow even the very ordinary
character of the tooth to prevent him from preserving it as a rarity,
and showing it to Father Alexis.

"See what a fang!" he said. "And to think of the strength which Evgenii
must possess! He lifted the pedlar clean from the ground! It was like
uprooting an oak tree!"

"Splendid!" was Father Alexis' comment--he knew not what else to say,
nor, for that matter, how else to get rid of the enthusiastic veteran.

Lastly, there was an occasion when a peasant from a neighbouring
village brought his brother to be treated. Suffering from typhus,
the patient was lying face downwards on the straw in the cart, and
had reached the last stage, since already his body was covered with
spots of a hectic nature, and he had long lost consciousness. To an
expression of regret that resort had not sooner been had to medical
aid, Vasili Ivanitch could add no more than an intimation that no
hope was left: nor was he wrong, seeing that even before the peasant
succeeded in conveying his brother back to the village, the sick man
had breathed his last.

Three days later Bazarov entered his father's room with an inquiry for
some hell-stone.

"I have some," said Vasili Ivanitch; "but what do you want it for?"

"For the cauterisation of a wound."

"A wound on whom?"

"A wound on myself."

"On yourself? Let me see the place. Where is it?"

"There--on that finger. To-day I went to the village whence they
brought the typhus patient the other day; and though they tried to
conceal the body, I succeeded in discovering it. Not for a long time
had I had a chance of doing that sort of work."

"Yes?"

"And the sequel was that I cut myself, and, on repairing to the
district physician, found that he did not possess what I wanted."

Vasili Ivanitch went white to the lips. Hurrying, without a word, into
his study, he returned thence with some hell-stone. Bazarov was for
carrying it away forthwith.

"No, no!" cried Vasili Ivanitch. "For God's sake allow me to see to
this in person."

Bazarov smiled.

"You are indeed a keen practitioner," he commented.

"Do not jest, I beg of you. Show me the finger. No, it is not a large
wound. Am I hurting it at all?"

"Not in the least. Have no fear. You can press it harder still if you
like."

Vasili Ivanitch paused.

"Do you not think," he said, "that it would be better to cauterise the
finger with an iron?"

"No, I do not. Moreover, that ought, in any case, to have been done
sooner; whereas by now even the hell-stone is unlikely to prove
effectual, seeing that, as you know, once absorbed into the system, the
germ renders all remedies too late."

"How 'too late'?" gasped Vasili Ivanitch.

"What I say. Four hours have elapsed since the injury."

Vasili Ivanitch gave the wound a further cauterisation. "So the
district physician had no hell-stone?" he queried.

"None."

"God in heaven! To think of that man calling himself a doctor, yet
being without such an indispensable remedy!"

"You should have seen his lancets!" remarked Bazarov. Then he left the
room.

Throughout that evening and the next few days Vasili Ivanitch kept
making every possible excuse to enter his son's room; and though he
never actually referred to the wound--he even strove to confine his
conversation to purely extraneous subjects--his observation of his
son remained so persistent, his solicitude so marked, that at length
Bazarov, losing patience, bade him begone. Of course Vasili Ivanitch
promised not to repeat the intrusion; and as a matter of fact he
kept this promise the more religiously in that Arina Vlasievna (who
had had the matter carefully concealed from her) was beginning to
scent something in the wind, and to press for reasons why, during
the previous night, her husband had never once closed his eyes.
Accordingly, for the next two days Vasili Ivanitch faithfully observed
the undertaking he had given; and that although the covert observation
of his son's looks which he maintained showed them to be growing by
no means to his liking: but on the third day, during dinner, Vasili
Ivanitch could bear it no more, for Bazarov was sitting with his eyes
lowered and his plate empty.

"You are eating nothing, Evgenii?" he said with his face composed to
express absolute indifference. "In my opinion, the dinner is well
cooked."

"The only reason why I am eating nothing," replied Bazarov, "is that I
am not hungry."

"You have no appetite?" the old man queried timidly. "Also, is--is your
head aching at all?"

"Yes. Why should it not ache?"

Arina Vlasievna began to prick up her ears.

"Do not be angry, Evgenii," Vasili Ivanitch continued, "b-but might I
feel your pulse and examine you?"

Bazarov looked at him.

"You need not feel my pulse," he said. "Without that, I can tell that I
have a touch of fever."

"You feel shivery, eh?"

"Yes. I think I will go and lie down. Pray make me a little lime-juice
tea, for I seem to have caught a chill."

"Yes," Arina Vlasievna put in, "I heard you coughing last night."

"But it is only a chill," added Bazarov, and left the room.

So Arina Vlasievna set to work to make the lime-juice tea, and Vasili
Ivanitch went into an adjoining room and tore his hair.

Bazarov did not get up again that day, but passed the night in a state
of heavy coma. At one o'clock he opened his eyes with an effort, and,
on seeing his father's pale face in the lamp-light, bade him depart.
At once the other excused himself for the intrusion, but nevertheless
returned on tiptoe, and, concealing himself behind the open doors of
a cupboard, remained there to watch his son. Nor did Arina Vlasievna
go to bed, but at intervals set the study door ajar, in order that she
might "see how our Eniusha was sleeping" and look at Vasili Ivanitch:
for though nothing of the latter was to be discerned except a bowed,
motionless back, even that much afforded her a little comfort.

In the morning Bazarov attempted to rise, but his head swam, and blood
gushed from his nose, so he desisted from the attempt. In silence
Vasili Ivanitch tended him, and Arina Vlasievna came to ask him how he
felt. He replied "Better," then turned his face to the wall. Instantly
Vasili Ivanitch fell to gesticulating violently at his wife with both
hands: which proceeding proved so far successful that, by dint of
biting her lips, Arina Vlasievna contrived to force back the tears,
and leave the room. Of a sudden everything in the house had seemed to
turn dark. Everywhere faces looked drawn, and everywhere there was to
be observed a curious stillness of which one cause, among others, was
the fact that there had hastily been removed from the courtyard of the
village a vociferous cock which no reasoning had been able to convince
of the necessity of silence.

So Bazarov continued lying with his face to the wall. Once or
twice Vasili Ivanitch essayed a tentative question or two, but the
attempt only wearied Bazarov, and the old man at length subsided
into an armchair, and sat nervously twitching his fingers. Next,
Vasili repaired to the garden for a few minutes, and looked, as he
stood there, like a statue which has been struck with immeasurable
astonishment (never at any time was the expression of surprise absent
from his features); whereafter he returned to his son's room, in the
hope of evading questions on the part of his wife, but she took him by
the hand, and grimly, almost threateningly asked: "What is the matter
with our Eniusha?" and when Vasili strove to pull himself together, and
to force a smile, there issued, to his horror, not a smile at all, but
a sort of irresponsible laugh.

Earlier in the morning he had sent for a doctor to assist him;
wherefore he now considered that it would be well to advise his son of
the fact, lest Bazarov should lose his temper on discovering the fact
in question for himself.

Vasili Ivanitch explained the situation, and then Bazarov turned
himself about on the sofa, gazed at his father for a moment or two, and
asked to be given something to drink. Vasili Ivanitch handed him some
water, and seized the opportunity also to feel his son's forehead. It
seemed to be on fire.

"My father," said Bazarov in a hoarse, dragging voice, "I fear that my
course is run. The infection has caught me, and in a few days you will
be laying me in my grave."

Some one might have thrust Vasili Ivanitch violently backwards, so
sharply did he stagger.

"Evgenii," he gasped, "why say that? God have you in his keeping! It is
merely that you have caught a chill."

"Come, come!" interrupted Bazarov, but in the same dragging tone as
before. "It is useless to talk like that to a doctor. All the signs of
infection are present. That you know for yourself."

"But--but where are the signs of--of infection?"

"Look at these. What do they mean?"

And Bazarov pulled up the sleeve of his shirt. What he showed his
father was a number of red, angry-looking patches that were coming into
view.

Vasili Ivanitch started and turned cold with fear. At length he
contrived to stammer out:

"Yet--even supposing that, that there should be anything in the nature
of infection----"

"Of pyæmia, you mean," the son prompted.

"Anything in the nature of epidemic infec----"

"Of pyæmia, I repeat," grimly, insistently corrected Bazarov. "Have you
forgotten your textbooks?"

"Yes--well, have it your own way. But we will cure you, all the same."

"Fiddlesticks! But, apart from that question, I had scarcely looked to
die so soon. To be frank, I think it hard upon me. And now you and my
mother must fall back upon the fund of religious strength which lies
within you. The hour to put it to the test has arrived." He drank some
more water. "One particular request I desire to make while my brain is
yet clear, for, by to-morrow, or the day after, it will, as you know,
have failed, and even now I am not sure whether I am expressing myself
sensibly, seeing that, as I was lying here just now, I seemed to see
a pack of red dogs leaping around me, and yourself making a point at
me as a dog does at a partridge. Yes, it was like being drunk. Can you
understand what I say?"

"Yes, yes, Evgenii; you are talking quite sensibly."

"Very well. Now, I believe that you have sent for a doctor; and if the
fact will give you any comfort, I too shall be pleased. But also I beg
that you will send word to, to----"

"To Arkady Nikolaievitch?" the old man suggested.

"To whom? To Arkady Nikolaievitch?" re-echoed Bazarov bewilderedly.
"Oh, you mean that young cockerel of ours? No, no--do not disturb him,
for he has just joined the company of the jackdaws. You need not be
surprised at these words--they do not mean that delirium is setting in;
they are merely a metaphor. Well, it is to Madame Odintsov, the lady
landowner of this neighbourhood, that I desire a messenger to be sent.
I suppose you have heard of her?" (Vasili Ivanitch nodded assent.)
"All that the messenger need say is that Evgenii Vasilitch sends his
compliments, and is dying. Will you do this?"

"Of course I will, Evgenii! But why think that you are going to die?
Come, come! Were such a thing to happen, where would be the justice of
the world?"

"I could not say. I only know that I desire the messenger to be sent."

"He shall start at once, and I myself will write the letter."

"No, no: that will not be necessary. Merely let the messenger deliver
my greeting. That, and nothing more. Now I will return to my red dogs.
How curious it is that, though I strive to concentrate my thoughts upon
death, there results from them nothing--I see before me only a great
blur!"

And he turned his face wearily to the wall, while Vasili Ivanitch left
the room, ascended to the bedroom above, and fell upon his knees before
the sacred _ikons_.

"Pray, Arina, pray!" he moaned. "Our son is dying!"

On the doctor arriving, the latter proved to be the district physician
who had failed to produce hell-stone when required. After an
examination of the patient he prescribed a watching course, and also
added a few words as to a possible recovery.

"Have you ever known people in my condition _not_ set out for the
Elysian Fields?" asked Bazarov sharply as he caught hold of the leg
of a table which stood beside his sofa, and shook it until the table
actually altered its position. "See my strength!" he continued. "All
of it is still there, yet I must go hence! To think that, whereas an
old man has lost touch with life, I should----! Ah, however much you
may deny death, it never will deny _you_.... I hear some one weeping.
Who is it?" There was a pause. "Is it my mother? Poor soul! No one will
be left for her to stuff with her marvellous _borstchi_.[1] And you,
Vasili Ivanitch--are you too whimpering? Come, come! If Christianity
cannot help you, try to become a Stoic philosopher. You have often
enough boasted of being one."

"Aye, a fine philosopher I, to be sure!" sobbed poor old Vasili with
the tears hopping down his cheeks.

Thereafter Bazarov grew hourly worse, for the disease was taking the
rapid course inevitable under the circumstances. Yet his powers of
memory were unimpaired, and he understood everything that was said to
him, for as yet he was making a brave fight to retain his faculties.

"No, I must not let my senses fail," he kept whispering to himself as
he clenched his fists. "But oh, the folly of it all!" And then he would
repeat to himself, over and over again, some such formula as "Eight and
ten--what do they make?"

Meanwhile Vasili Ivanitch wandered about in a state bordering upon
distraction--proposing first one remedy, and then another, and
constantly covering up his son's feet.

"Suppose we wrap him in an ice-sheet?" he suggested once in a tone of
agony. "How, too, about an emetic, or a mustard plaster on his stomach,
or a little bloodletting?"

But to each and all of these remedies the doctor (whom Vasili Ivanitch
had begged to remain in the house) demurred. Likewise the doctor drank
the patient's lemonade, and then requested to be given a pipe and
"something warm and strengthening"--to wit, a glassful of _vodka_.
Meanwhile Arina Vlasievna sat on a chair by the door, and only at
intervals retired to pray. It seemed that a few days earlier she had
let fall, and broken, a toilet mirror, and that all her life long
she had looked upon such an occurrence as an evil omen. With her, in
silence, sat Anfisushka; while, as for Timotheitch, he had departed
with the message to Madame Odintsov.

That night Bazarov did not improve, for he was racked with high fever;
but as morning approached, the fever grew a little easier, and after
he had asked Arina Vlasievna to perform his toilet, and had kissed her
hand, he managed to swallow a little tea: which circumstance caused
Vasili Ivanitch to pluck up courage, and to exclaim:

"Thank God, the crisis has both come and gone!"

"Do not be too sure of that," rejoined Bazarov. "For what does the
term 'crisis' signify? Some one once invented it, shouted 'Crisis!'
and congratulated himself ever after. Extraordinary how the human
race continues to attach credence to mere words! For example, tell a
man that he is a fool, yet refrain from assaulting him, and he will
be downcast; but tell him that he is a man of wisdom, yet give him no
money, and he will be overjoyed."

So reminiscent of Bazarov's former sallies was this little speech that
Vasili Ivanitch's heart fairly overflowed.

"Bravo!" he cried, clapping his hands in dumb show. "Well said!"

Bazarov smiled a sad smile.

"Then you think," said he, "that the 'crisis' is either approaching or
retiring?"

"I know that you are better. That I can see for myself. And the fact
rejoices me."

"Well, it is not always a bad thing to rejoice. But have you sent word
to, to--to _her_? You know whom I mean?"

"Of course I have, Evgenii."

The improvement did not long continue, for to it there succeeded
attacks of pain. Vasili Ivanitch sat by the bed: and as he did so it
seemed as though something in particular were worrying the old man.
Several times he tried to speak, and each time he failed. But at length
he contrived to gasp out:

"Evgenii! Son! My dearest son! My own beloved son!"

Even Bazarov could not remain wholly indifferent to such an unwonted
appeal. Turning his head a little, and making an evident effort to
shake off the unconsciousness that was weighing him down, he murmured:

"What is it, my father?"

"This, Evgenii." And all of a sudden the old man fell upon his knees
beside the bed. "Evgenii, you are better now, and with God's help will
recover; but do, in any case, seize this hour to comfort me and your
mother by fulfilling all the duties of a Christian. Yes, though to say
this is painful for me, how much more terribly would it hurt me if--if
this chance were to pass for ever, Evgenii! Think, oh think of what----"

The old man could say no more, while over the son's face and closed
eyes there passed a curious expression. A pause followed. Then Bazarov
said:

"To comfort you, I will not altogether refuse your request; but, since
you yourself have said that I am better, surely there can be no need
for hurry?"

"Yes, you _are_ better, Evgenii--you _are_ better; but who can say what
may lie in the dispensation of God? Whereas, once this duty shall have
been fulfilled----"

"Yet I will wait a little," interrupted Bazarov. "This much, however, I
will concede: that, should you prove to be wrong in your surmise as to
my recovery, I will allow the Last Sacrament to be administered."

"And, Evgenii, I beg of you to----"

"I will wait a little, I repeat. And now let me go to sleep. Do not
disturb me."

And he replaced his head in its former position, while the old man rose
from his knees, reseated himself in the chair, rested his chin upon his
hands, and fell to biting his fingers.

Presently Vasili's ear caught the rumble of a light carriage--the sound
which is always so distinguishable in a quiet country spot. Nearer and
nearer came the sound of the wheels; nearer and nearer came the hard
breathing of horses. Springing from his chair, he rushed to the window.
Into the courtyard of the mansion there was turning a two-seated,
four-horsed buggy! Without stopping to think what this could mean, he
darted forward to the front door, where, transported with joy, he was
just in time to see a liveried footman open the door of the vehicle,
and assist thence a lady in a black cloak, with a veil of the same hue.

"I am Madame Odintsov," she said. "Is Evgenii Vasilitch still alive? I
presume you are his father? I have brought with me a doctor."

Even as she spoke the doctor in question--a German-looking little
individual in spectacles--descended in a slow and dignified manner from
the buggy.

"O angel of mercy!" cried Vasili Ivanitch as, seizing her hand, he
pressed it convulsively to his lips. "Yes, our Evgenii is still alive!
And now he will be saved! Wife! Wife! There is an angel come to us from
Heaven!"

"What?" responded the old woman with a gasp as she came running out
of the hall. So lost in bewilderment was she that, falling at Anna
Sergievna's feet, she actually began madly to kiss the hem of the
visitor's cloak.

"Come, come!" Madame exclaimed. "What does all this mean?"

But Arina Vlasievna was deaf to everything, and Vasili Ivanitch too
could only continue repeating:

"There is an angel come to us from Heaven! There is an angel come to us
from Heaven! There is an angel come to us from Heaven!"

"_Wo ist der Kranke_? (Where is the patient)?" asked the doctor with a
touch of impatience.

This restored Vasili Ivanitch to his senses.

"Come this way, come this way," he said. "Yes, pray follow me,
_Werthester Herr Kollega_" (titles based upon the strength of bygone
memories).

For answer the German exclaimed "Eh?", and pulled a not very gracious
smirk.

Vasili Ivanitch led the way to the study.

"Here is the doctor brought by Madame Anna Sergievna Odintsov," he said
as he bent over his son.

"She herself too is here."

Bazarov opened his eyes with a start.

"What do you say?" he asked.

"I say that Madame Anna Sergievna Odintsov is here, and that she has
brought with her this good doctor."

Bazarov peered around.

"Where is Anna Sergievna?" he murmured. "Do you say that she is here?
Then I wish to see her."

"You shall see her, Evgenii; but first of all I must have a chat with
this gentleman, and tell him the story of your illness: for Sidor
Sidorovitch" (that was the name of the district physician) "has gone
home, and a short consultation must be held."

Bazarov eyed the German.

"All right," he said. "Hold your consultation as soon as you like.
Only, do not speak in Latin, for I know the meaning of the words _Jam
moritur."_

"_Der Herr scheint des Deutschen mächtig zu sein_," the newly-arrived
disciple of Æsculapius remarked to Vasili Ivanitch.

"_Ich habe_----" the old man began; then added: "But perhaps we had
better speak in Russian, my dear sir?"

And the consultation followed.

Half an hour later Vasili Ivanitch conducted Anna Sergievna into the
study. As the doctor passed out he whispered to her that recovery was
hopeless.

She glanced at Bazarov, and halted as though petrified, so striking was
the bloodshot, deathlike face, with the dim eyes turned so yearningly
in her direction. Nevertheless her feeling was one merely of chill,
oppressive terror, while at the same moment there flashed through her
brain the thought that, if she had loved him, no such feeling could now
have been present.

"I thank you," he said with an effort. "I had not expected this, and
you have done a kind act in coming. So we meet once more, even as you
foretold!"

"Has not Madame Anna Sergievna indeed been kind?" put in Vasili
Ivanitch.

"Father, pray leave us," said Bazarov. "I know, Anna Sergievna, that
you will excuse him. For at such a time as this----" And he nodded
towards his weak, prostrate form.

Vasili Ivanitch left the room.

"A second time I thank you," continued Bazarov. "To have acted so is
worthy of the Tsars. For they say that even the Sovereign visits a
deathbed when requested."

"Evgenii Vasilitch, I hope that----"

"Let us speak plainly. My course is run. I am under the wheel, and
we need not think of the future. Yet how curious it is that to each
individual human being death, old though it is as an institution,
comes as a novelty!... Nevertheless, it shall not make me quail: and
then there will fall the curtain, and then--well, then they will write
_Fuit_." There followed a feeble gesture. "But what did I want to
say to you? That I have loved you? There was a time when the phrase
'I love' had for me no meaning; and now it will have less than ever,
seeing that love is a form, and that my particular embodiment of it is
fast lapsing towards dissolution. It Ah, how perfect you are! You stand
there as beautiful as---"

There passed over Anna Sergievna an involuntary shudder.

"Nay," he said. You need not be afraid. "But will you not sit down?
Seat yourself near me, but not too near, for my malady is infectious."

She crossed the room with a rapid step, and seated herself beside the
sofa on which he was lying.

"O woman of kind heart!" he whispered. "And to think that you are
beside me once more! To think that you, so pure and fresh and young,
are in this sorry room! Well, good-bye, and may you live long, and
enjoy your time while you may. Of all things in this world long life is
the most desirable: yet you can see for yourself what an ugly spectacle
I, a half-crushed, but still wriggling, worm, am now become. There was
a time when I used to say: 'I will do many things in life, and refuse
to die before I have completed those tasks, for I am a giant': but now
I have indeed a giant's task in hand--the task of dying as though death
were nothing to me.... No matter. I am not going to put my tail between
my legs."

He broke off, and groped for his tumbler. She handed it him without
drawing off her glove. Her breath was coming in jerks.

"It will not be long before you will have forgotten me," he went on.
"For a dead mortal is no companion for a living one. I daresay that my
father will tell you what a man is being lost to Russia; but that is
all rubbish. Nevertheless, do not undeceive him, for he is old, old.
Rather, comfort him as you would comfort a child, and also be kind to
my mother. Two such mortals as them you will not find in all _your_
great world--no, not though you search for them with a candle by
daylight.... Russia needs me, indeed! Evidently she does _not_ need me.
Whom, then, does she need? She needs shoemakers, tailors, butchers....
What does a butcher sell? He sells meat, does he not?... I think that I
am wandering--I seem to see before me a forest...."

He pressed his hand to his forehead, and Anna Sergievna bent over him.

"Evgenii Vasilitch," she said, "I am here."

With a combined movement he took her hand and raised himself a little.

"Good-bye," he said with a sudden spasm of energy and a last flash
of his eyes. "Good-bye.... I kissed you that time, did I not, when,
when----?... Ah, breathe now upon the expiring lamp, that it may go out
in peace."

She pressed her lips gently to his forehead.

"Enough," he murmured as he sank back upon the pillow. "Now let there
come--darkness."

She left the room quietly.

"Well?" whispered Vasili Ivanitch.

"He has gone to sleep," she replied in a voice that was scarcely
audible.

But Bazarov was not fated to go to sleep. Rather, as night approached
he sank into a state of coma, and, on the following day, expired.
Father Alexis performed over him the last rites of religion, and at
the moment when Extreme Unction was being administered, and the holy
oil touched his breast, one of the dying man's eyelids raised itself,
and over the face there seemed to flit something like an expression
of distaste at the sight of the priest in his vestments, the smoking
censer, and the candles before the _ikon._

Finally, when Bazarov's last breath had been drawn, and there had
arisen in the house the sound of "the general lamentation," something
akin to frenzy came upon Vasili Ivanitch.

"I declare that I protest!" he cried with his face blazing and
quivering with fury, and his fist beating the air as in menace of some
one. "I declare that I protest, that I protest, that I protest!"

Upon that old Arina Vlasievna, suffused in tears, laid her arms around
his neck, and the two sank forward upon the floor. Said Anfisushka
later, when relating the story in the servants' quarters: "There they
knelt together--side by side, their heads drooping like those of two
sheep at midday."

       *       *       *       *       *

Ah, but in time the heat of noontide passes, and to it there succeed
nightfall and dusk, with a return to the quiet fold where for the weary
and the heavy-laden there waits sleep, sweet sleep.


[1] Roast beef with horse-radish.



XXVIII


Since that time six months have passed, and there has fallen upon the
country a "white" winter--a winter of clear, keen, motionless frosts,
of deep, crackling snow, of pink-rimed trees, of pale-emerald heavens,
of smoke-capped chimneys, of puffs of vapour from momentarily opened
doors, of faces fresh and hard-bitten, of horses galloping headlong
to thaw their frozen limbs. It is now the close of a January day,
and the increasing chill of evening is nipping the still air in an
ever-tightening vice as the sun sinks downward into a sea of red.

But in the windows of Marino there are lights burning, and Prokofitch,
vested in a black tail-coat, a pair of white gloves, and a peculiar
atmosphere of solemnity, is laying the table with seven covers. This
is because a week ago there were solemnised in the tiny church of
the parish--solemnised quietly, almost without a witness--two sets
of nuptials: the nuptials of Arkady and Katia and those of Nikolai
Petrovitch and Thenichka. And to-day Nikolai Petrovitch is offering his
brother a farewell dinner, for the reason that Paul is on the point of
departing for Moscow, whither Anna Sergievna has already removed after
bestowing upon the younger of the two couples a handsome dowry.

At three o'clock precisely the company gathers around the board.
Mitia too is present with his _niania_ (in nurse's cap), while Paul
Petrovitch is seated between Katia and Thenichka, and the bridegrooms
are ranged one on either side of their newly-wedded spouses. A change
has taken place in our old acquaintances since last we saw them--they
have improved, as regards the younger ones, both in appearance and in
sedateness of demeanour. Only Paul Petrovitch looks thinner; though
the circumstance imparts, if anything, an added touch of refinement and
"grand-seignorishness" to his always expressive features. Thenichka,
in particular, is a different person from what she was. Clad in a
brand-new silken gown, and wearing a broad velvet band over her hair
and a necklace around her throat, she holds herself with an immovable
dignity, yet also with an immovable deference towards her surroundings.
And meanwhile she smiles, as much as to say: "Pardon me, but _I_ am not
responsible for this"; while the others respond with similar smiles,
as though they too would be glad to excuse themselves for their share
in the proceedings. Yet the fact that on every one present sits a
touch of gravity and embarrassment becomes the company no less than
do their other characteristics. Everywhere, too, there is to be seen
such an anxious solicitude for mutual wants that the company could seem
unanimously to be playing some simple-minded comedy; and though, of
the guests, the quietest is Katia, it is plain, from her confidence of
bearing, that, as a daughter-in-law, she has found favour in the eyes
of Nikaiai Petrovitch.

At length the meal comes to an end, and Nikolai, rising and grasping a
wine-glass, addresses Paul Petrovitch:

"Dearest brother, you are about to leave us. Yes, you are about to
leave us. But not for long must you be absent, since I, for one, could
never express to you how much I, how much I--that is to say, how much
we But, to tell you the truth, I am not good at making a speech.
Arkady, to you I depute the task."

"But I am not ready, Papa."

"Neither am I. However, Paul, I embrace you, and wish you every joy,
and beg of you to return to us soon."

Whereupon Paul Petrovitch exchanges greetings all round (not excluding
little Mitia), and, in particular, kisses Thenichka's hand (which she
has not learnt to offer in the right way), drinks a twice-filled glass
to the company at large, and says with a profound sigh: "May you all
be happy, my friends! Farewell![1]" And though the English terminal
flourish passes unnoticed, every one is touched with the benediction
which has preceded it.

"Yes, and I drink to the memory of Bazarov," whispers Katia to her
husband as she clinks glasses with him: but though, in response, he
squeezes her hand, he decides not to propose the toast in public.

       *       *       *       *       *

And here, apparently, there ought to follow the word _Finis_; but since
some of my readers may care to know how each of the characters in the
book is faring at the present day, I will satisfy that curiosity.

To take Anna Sergievna first, she has married--not for love, nor yet
out of a sense of duty--a rising young statesman who is an intelligent
legislator, a severely practical thinker, a man of strong will and
eloquence, and a lover with a temperament as cold as ice. Nevertheless
the pair reside on amicable terms, and may, in time, attain to
happiness--nay, even to love.

As for the Princess, she is dead, and her memory perished with her.

The Kirsanovs, father and son, are settled at Marino, and appear to be
righting their industrial affairs, in that Arkady has developed into a
capable manager, and the estate now brings in a fair income. Nikolai
Petrovitch, too, is constant in his endeavours to make peace on the
property, and, riding systematically round it, delivers long speeches
in the belief that only need the peasantry be "reasoned with"--that is
to say, plied with the same words over and over again--for the _muzhik_
gradually to become a tractable animal. Yet Nikolai earns the approval
neither of the educated gentry, who speak with affected jauntiness of
the coming "'mancipation"[2] (they invariably give the syllable "an" a
nasal inflection), nor of those uneducated landowners who roundly curse
what they term "that ----'_mun_cipation." In other words, for both
classes Nikolai Petrovitch is too "mild."

Katerina Sergievna has had a son born to her, and named him Kolia;
Mitia is now a big, active, volubly lisping boy; and Thenichka (rather,
Theodosia Nikolaievna) adores her daughter-in-law only less than her
husband and Mitia. In fact, that adoration reaches the point that,
should Katia sit down to the piano, Thenichka cannot leave her though
the playing continue all day.

Then a word concerning Peter the valet. As much a lump of mingled
stupidity and conceit as ever, he still pronounces his e's as u's, but
has taken unto himself a wife, and, with her, a respectable dowry. The
daughter of a market gardener of the neighbouring town, she had already
refused two eligible _partis_ solely on the ground that they did not
possess watches! But Peter possesses not only a watch, but also a pair
of patent leather pumps.

Again, any day on the Brühl Terrace, in Dresden, you may meet, between
two and four o'clock in the afternoon (the fashionable hour for a
promenade), a man of about fifty. Grey-headed, and afflicted with gout,
yet still handsome, he is elegantly dressed, and stamped with that air
of good breeding which comes only of long association with elevated
strata of society. That man is Paul Petrovitch. Having left Moscow for
foreign parts for his health's sake, he has settled in Dresden for
the reason that there he possesses the largest number of English and
nomad-Russian acquaintances. Towards the former he bears himself with
simplicity, and almost with modesty, but with a touch of _hauteur_;
and, in return, the English look upon him as a trifle tedious, but
respect him on the score of his being "quite a gentleman." In the
presence of the Russian element, however, Paul Petrovitch is more
free and easy--he gives rein unstintedly to his sarcasm, and rallies
both his compatriots and himself. Yet from _him_ such things come
pleasantly, and with a gay _insouciance,_ and in a becoming manner;
while, in addition, he holds Slavophil views--views which (as we all
know) invariably induce the great world to rate their holder a person
_très distingué_. True, never by any chance does Paul read a Russian
book; yet by way of compensation, there stands on his writing-table
a silver ash-tray shaped like a _muzhik's_ clog. Moreover, from some
of our Russian tourists he receives considerable attention when they
happen to be passing through the town; and even our old friend Matvei
Ilyitch Koliazin, on finding himself "in temporary opposition," has
paid him a visit while _en route_ to Bohemia for a course of the
waters. In fact, the only persons who show Paul no deference at all are
the native Germans, whose society he does not greatly cultivate. Yet
even they agree that, in the matter of obtaining tickets for the Court
Chapel or the theatre and so forth, none is so clever, so dexterous, as
"der Herr Baron von Kirsanov." In fact, always does he do "the right
thing" so far as he is able; and even yet he can create some stir,
owing to the fact that he has once, and to good purpose, been a social
lion. Yet life presses upon him not a little heavily--more heavily
than he himself is aware. Merely need one look at him as, huddled
against the aisle wall of the Russian church, he sits plunged in
thought, with his lips bitterly compressed, and continues sitting there
until, remembering his surroundings, he makes, almost imperceptibly,
the sign of the cross. In similar fashion, Madame Kukshin has gone
abroad--in her case, to Heidelberg, where she is engaged in studying,
not natural science, but architecture--a branch wherein she has,
according to herself, "discovered several new laws." Also, still she
is hail-fellow-well-met with students, more especially with some of
those Russian physicists and chemists who swarm in Heidelberg, and who,
though at first flabbergasting the simple-minded German professors with
the moderation of their views, subsequently proceed to flabbergast
those professors with the wholeheartedness of their sloth. In fact, it
is of two or three of those chemistry students who, though unable to
distinguish even oxygen from azote, are yet charged to the brim with
conceit and the spirit of "denial," that Madame Kukshin's circle is
chiefly composed.

Similarly, friend Sitnikov is preparing to become a great man. For
which purpose he is flaunting it in St. Petersburg, and (to quote
his own expression) "carrying on the work of the late Bazarov."
True, rumour declares that some one has recently given him a second
thrashing; as also that he (Sitnikov) has declined to face the
music--rather, that he has preferred to hint in an obscure article in
an equally obscure newspaper that his assailant is the coward; but to
this report Sitnikov merely attaches the epithet "ironical." For the
rest, his father continues to send him remittances, while his wife
accounts him equally a _littérateur_ and a fool.

Lastly, in a remote corner of Russia there lies a little country
cemetery. Like most cemeteries of the kind, it is depressing of aspect.
Over its fences dense masses of weed have grown, its drab wooden
crosses are rickety and turning mouldy under their blistered, painted
canopies, its stone paths have lost their alignment, and look as though
some one has displaced them from below, its two or three ragged trees
diffuse only the scantiest of shade, and sheep wander unhindered over
its tombs. But among those tombs there lies a grave which no man
molests and no animal tramples upon: only the birds perch upon it and
sing as evening falls. For around that grave stands an iron railing,
and at its head and foot are planted two young fir trees. It is the
grave of Evgenii Vasilitch Bazarov. Occasionally from the neighbouring
manor-house there come two aged and decrepit folk, a man and his wife.
Supporting one another with a step which ever grows heavier, they
approach the railing, sink upon their knees, and weep long, bitter
tears as they gaze at the dumb headstone where their son lies sleeping.
Then they exchange a word or two, dust the stone with assiduous care,
lay upon it a sprig of fir, and offer a last petition. Yet even then
they can scarce bear to tear themselves from the spot where they can
draw nearest to their son, and to their memories of him.

But are those tears, those prayers, all fruitless? Is that love, that
hallowed, selfless love, of theirs to be wholly unavailing? No, no,
and a thousand times no! For, though the heart which lies within that
tomb may have been passionate and wild and erring, the flowers which
bloom in that spot contemplate us with eyes of naught but peace and
innocence, and speak to us of naught but the eternal, mighty calm of
"unheeding" nature, as an image of the Eternal Reconciliation, and of
the Life which shall have no End.


[1] In the text this word is given in English.

[2] _i.e._ the emancipation of the serfs, which was carried out in 1861.





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