Fathers and Children
by Ivan Turgenev
FATHERS AND CHILDREN
[Frontispiece: AVENUE AT SPASSKOE, TURGENEV'S ESTATE]
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction [From Vol. 19] Selected by
Charles W. Eliot Ll.D.
FATHERS AND CHILDREN
Translated by Constance Garnett
Edited with Notes and Introductions by William Allan Neilson Ph.D.
P. F. Collier &Son New York
Published under special arrangement with The Macmillan Company
Copyright, 1917 By P. F. Collier &Son
Ivan Sergyevitch Turgenev came of an old stock of the Russian
nobility. He was born in Orel, in the province of Orel, which lies more
than a hundred miles south of Moscow, on October 28, 1818. His
education was begun by tutors at home in the great family mansion in
the town of Spask, and he studied later at the universities of Moscow,
St. Petersburg, and Berlin. The influence of the last, and of the
compatriots with whom he associated there, was very great; and when he
returned to Moscow in 1841, he was ambitious to teach Hegel to the
students there. Before this could be arranged, however, he entered the
Ministry of the Interior at St. Petersburg. While there his interests
turned more and more toward literature. He wrote verses and comedies,
read George Sand, and made the acquaintance of Dostoevsky and the
critic Bielinski. His mother, a tyrannical woman with an ungovernable
temper, was eager that he should make a brilliant official career; so,
when he resigned from the Ministry in 1845, she showed her disapproval
by cutting down his allowance and thus forcing him to support himself
by the profession he had chosen.
Turgenev was an enthusiastic hunter; and it was his experiences in
the woods of his native province that supplied the material for A
Sportsman's Sketches, the book that first brought him reputation. The
first of these papers appeared in 1847, and in the same year he left
Russia in the train of Pauline Viardot, a singer and actress, to whom
he had been devoted for three or four years and with whom he maintained
relations for the rest of his life. For a year or two he lived chiefly
in Paris or at a country house at Courtavenel in Brie, which belonged
to Madame Viardot; but in 1850 he returned to Russia. His experiences
were not such as to induce him to repatriate himself permanently. He
found Dostoevsky banished to Siberia and Bielinski dead; and himself
under suspicion by the government on account of the popularity of A
Sportsman's Sketches. For praising Gogol, who had just died, he was
arrested and imprisoned for a short time, and for the next two years
kept under police surveillance. Meantime he continued to write, and by
the time that the close of the Crimean War made it possible for him
again to go to western Europe, he was recognized as standing at the
head of living Russian authors. His mother was now dead, the estates
were settled, and with an income of about $5,000 a year he became a
wanderer. He had, or imagined he had, very bad health, and the eminent
specialists he consulted sent him from one resort to another, to Rome,
the Isle of Wight, Soden, and the like. When Madame Viardot left the
stage in 1864 and took up her residence at Baden-Baden, he followed her
and built there a small house for himself. They returned to France
after the Franco-Prussian War, and bought a villa at Bougival, near
Paris, and this was his home for the rest of his life. Here, on
September 3, 1883, he died after a long delirium due to his suffering
from cancer of the spinal cord. His body was taken to St. Petersburg
and was buried with national honors.
The two works by Turgenev contained in the present volume are
characteristic in their concern with social and political questions,
and in the prominence in both of them of heroes who fail in action.
Turgenev preaches no doctrine in his novels, has no remedy for the
universe; but he sees clearly certain weaknesses of the Russian
character and exposes these with absolute candor yet without
unkindness. Much as he lived abroad, his books are intensely Russian;
yet of the great Russian novelists he alone rivals the masters of
western Europe in the matter of form. In economy of means,
condensation, felicity of language, and excellence of structure he
surpasses all his countrymen; and Fathers and Children and A House
of Gentlefolk represent his great and delicate art at its best.
W. A. N.
CRITICISMS AND INTERPRETATIONS
I. BY EMILE MELCHIOR, VICOMTE DE
Ivan Sergyevitch (Turgenev) has given us a most complete picture of
Russian society. The same general types are always brought forward;
and, as later writers have presented exactly similar ones, with but few
modifications, we are forced to believe them true to life. First, the
peasant: meek, resigned, dull, pathetic in suffering, like a child who
does not know why he suffers; naturally sharp and tricky when not
stupefied by liquor; occasionally roused to violent passion. Then, the
intelligent middle class: the small landed proprietors of two
generations. The old proprietor is ignorant and good-natured, of
respectable family, but with coarse habits; hard, from long experience
of serfdom, servile himself, but admirable in all other relations of
The young man of this class is of quite a different type. His
intellectual growth having been too rapid, he sometimes plunges into
Nihilism. He is often well educated, melancholy, rich in ideas but poor
in executive ability; always preparing and expecting to accomplish
something of importance, filled with vague and generous projects for
the public good. This is the chosen type of hero in all Russian novels.
Gogol introduced it, and Tolstoy prefers it above all others.
The favorite hero of young girls and romantic women is neither the
brilliant officer, the artist, nor rich lord, but almost universally
this provincial Hamlet, conscientious, cultivated, intelligent, but of
feeble will, who, returning from his studies in foreign lands, is full
of scientific theories about the improvement of mankind and the good of
the lower classes, and eager to apply these theories on his own estate.
It is quite necessary that he should have an estate of his own. He will
have the hearty sympathy of the reader in his efforts to improve the
condition of his dependents.
The Russians well understand the conditions of the future prosperity
of their country; but, as they themselves acknowledge, they know not
how to go to work to accomplish it.
In regard to the women of this class, Turgenev, strange to say, has
little to say of the mothers. This probably reveals the existence of
some old wound, some bitter experience of his own. Without a single
exception, all the mothers in his novels are either wicked or
grotesque. He reserves the treasures of his poetic fancy for the young
girls of his creation. To him the young girl of the country province is
the corner-stone of the fabric of society. Reared in the freedom of
country life, placed in the most healthy social conditions, she is
conscientious, frank, affectionate, without being romantic; less
intelligent than man, but more resolute. In each of his romances an
irresolute man is invariably guided by a woman of strong will.
Such are, generally speaking, the characters the author describes,
which bear so unmistakably the stamp of nature that one cannot refrain
from saying as he closes the book, These must be portraits from life!
which criticism is always the highest praise, the best sanction of
works of the imagination.From Turgenev", in The Russian Novelists,
translated by J. L. Edmands (1887).
II. BY WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS
Turgenev was of that great race which has more than any other fully
and freely uttered human nature, without either false pride or false
shame in its nakedness. His themes were oftenest those of the French
novelist, but how far he was from handling them in the French manner
and with the French spirit! In his hands sin suffered no dramatic
punishment; it did not always show itself as unhappiness, in the
personal sense, but it was always unrest, and without the hope of
peace. If the end did not appear, the fact that it must be miserable
always appeared. Life showed itself to me in different colors after I
had once read Turgenev; it became more serious, more awful, and with
mystical responsibilities I had not known before. My gay American
horizons were bathed in the vast melancholy of the Slav, patient,
agnostic, trustful. At the same time nature revealed herself to me
through him with an intimacy she had not hitherto shown me. There are
passages in this wonderful writer alive with a truth that seems drawn
from the reader's own knowledge: who else but Turgenev and one's own
most secret self ever felt all the rich, sad meaning of the night air
drawing in at the open window, of the fires burning in the darkness on
the distant fields? I try in vain to give some notion of the subtle
sympathy with nature which scarcely put itself into words with him. As
for the people of his fiction, though they were of orders and
civilizations so remote from my experience, they were of the eternal
human types whose origin and potentialities every one may find in his
own heart, and I felt their verity in every touch.
I cannot describe the satisfaction his work gave me; I can only
impart some sense of it, perhaps, by saying that it was like a
happiness I had been waiting for all my life, and now that it had come,
I was richly content forever. I do not mean to say that the art of
Turgenev surpasses the art of Björnson; I think Björnson is quite as
fine and true. But the Norwegian deals with simple and primitive
circumstances for the most part, and always with a small world; and the
Russian has to do with human nature inside of its conventional shells,
and his scene is often as large as Europe. Even when it is as remote as
Norway, it is still related to the great capitals by the history if not
the actuality of the characters. Most of Turgenev's books I have read
many times over, all of them I have read more than twice. For a number
of years I read them again and again without much caring for other
fiction. It was only the other day that I read Smoke through once
more, with no diminished sense of its truth, but with somewhat less
than my first satisfaction in its art. Perhaps this was because I had
reached the point through my acquaintance with Tolstoy where I was
impatient even of the artifice that hid itself. In Smoke I was now
aware of an artifice that kept out of sight, but was still always
present somewhere, invisibly operating the story.From My Literary
III. BY K. WALISZEWSKI
The second novel of the series, Fathers and Children, stirred up a
storm the suddenness and violence of which it is not easy, nowadays, to
understand. The figure of Bazarov, the first Nihilistthus baptized
by an inversion of epithet which was to win extraordinary successis
merely intended to reveal a mental condition which, though the fact had
been insufficiently recognized, had already existed for some years. The
epithet itself had been in constant use since 1829, when Nadiéjdine
applied it to Pushkin, Polevoï, and some other subverters of the
classic tradition. Turgenev only extended its meaning by a new
interpretation, destined to be perpetuated by the tremendous success of
Fathers and Children. There is nothing, or hardly anything, in
Bazarov, of the terrible revolutionary whom we have since learnt to
look for under this title. Turgenev was not the man to call up such a
figure. He was far too dreamy, too gentle, too good-natured a being.
Already, in the character of Roudine, he had failed, in the strangest
way, to catch the likeness of Bakounine, that fiery organiser of
insurrection, whom all Europe knew, and whom he had selected as his
model. Conceive Corot or Millet trying to paint some figure out of the
Last Judgment after Michael Angelo! Bazarov is the Nihilist in his
first phase, in course of becoming, as the Germans would say, and he
is a pupil of the German universities. When Turgenev shaped the
character, he certainly drew on his own memories of his stay at Berlin,
at a time when Bruno Bauer was laying it down as a dogma that no
educated man ought to have opinions on any subject, and when Max
Stirner was convincing the young Hegelians that ideas were mere smoke
and dust, seeing that the only reality in existence was the individual
Ego. These teachings, eagerly received by the Russian youth, were
destined to produce a state of moral decomposition, the earliest
symptoms of which were admirably analysed by Turgenev.
Bazarov is a very clever man, but clever in thought, and especially
in word, only. He scorns art, women, and family life. He does not know
what the point of honour means. He is a cynic in his love affairs, and
indifferent in his friendships. He has no respect even for paternal
tenderness, but he is full of contradictions, even to the extent of
fighting a duel about nothing at all, and sacrificing his life for the
first peasant he meets. And in this the resemblance is true, much more
general, indeed, than the model selected would lead one to imagine; so
general, in fact, that, apart from the question of art, Turgenevhe
has admitted it himselffelt as if he were drawing his own portrait;
and therefore it is, no doubt, that he has made his hero so
sympathetic.From A History of Russian Literature (1900).
IV. BY RICHARD H. P. CURLE
But for the best expression of the bewilderment of life we have to
turn to the portrait of a man, to the famous Bazarov of Fathers and
Children. Turgenev raises through him the eternal problemHas
personality any hold, has life any meaning at all? The reality of this
figure, his contempt for nature, his egoism, his strength, his mothlike
weakness are so convincing that before his philosophy all other
philosophies seem to pale. He is the one who sees the life-illusion,
and yet, knowing that it is the mask of night, grasps at it, loathing
himself. You can hate Bazarov, you cannot have contempt for him. He is
a man of genius, rid of sentiment and hope, believing in nothing but
himself, to whom come, as from the darkness, all the violent questions
of life and death. Fathers and Children is simply an exposure of our
power to mould our own lives. Bazarov is a man of astonishing
intellecthe is the pawn of an emotion he despises; he is a man of
gigantic willhe can do nothing but destroy his own beliefs; he is a
man of intense lifehe cannot avoid the first, brainless touch of
death. It is the hopeless fight of mind against instinct, of
determination against fate, of personality against impersonality.
Bazarov disdaining everyone, sick of all smallness, is roused to fury
by the obvious irritations of Pavel Petrovitch. Savagely announcing the
creed of nihilism and the end of romance, he has only to feel the calm,
aristocratic smile of Madame Odintsov fixed on him and he suffers all
the agony of first love. Determining to live and create, he has only to
play with death for a moment, and he is caught. But though he is the
most positive of all Turgenev's male portraits, there are others
linking up the chain of delusion. There is Rudin, typical of the unrest
of the idealist; there is Nezhdanov (Virgin Soil"), typical of the
self-torture of the anarchist. There is Shubin (On the Eve"), hiding
his misery in laughter, and Lavretsky (A House of Gentlefolk"), hiding
his misery in silence. It is not necessary to search for further
examples. Turgenev put his hand upon the dark things. He perceived
character, struggling in the clutch of circumstances, the tragic
moments, the horrible conflicts of personality. His figures have that
capability of suffering which (as someone has said) is the true sign of
life. They seem like real people, dazed and uncertain. No action of
theirs ever surprises you, because in each of them he has made you hear
an inward soliloquy.From Turgenev and the Life-Illusion, in The
Fortnightly Review (April, 1910).
V. BY MAURICE BARING
Turgenev did for Russian literature what Byron did for English
literature; he led the genius of Russia on a pilgrimage throughout all
Europe. And in Europe his work reaped a glorious harvest of praise.
Flaubert was astounded by him, George Sand looked up to him as to a
master, Taine spoke of his work as being the finest artistic production
since Sophocles. In Turgenev's work, Europe not only discovered
Turgenev, but it discovered Russia, the simplicity and the naturalness
of the Russian character; and this came as a revelation. For the first
time Europe came across the Russian woman whom Pushkin was the first to
paint; for the first time Europe came into contact with the Russian
soul; and it was the sharpness of this revelation which accounts for
the fact of Turgenev having received in the west an even greater meed
of praise than he was perhaps entitled to.
In Russia Turgenev attained almost instant popularity. His
Sportsman's Sketches and his Nest of Gentlefolk made him not only
famous but universally popular. In 1862 the publication of his
masterpiece Fathers and Children dealt his reputation a blow. The
revolutionary elements in Russia regarded his hero, Bazarov, as a
calumny and a libel; whereas the reactionary elements in Russia looked
upon Fathers and Children as a glorification of Nihilism. Thus he
satisfied nobody. He fell between two stools. This, perhaps, could only
happen in Russia to this extent; and for that same reason as that which
made Russian criticism didactic. The conflicting elements of Russian
society were so terribly in earnest in fighting their cause, that
anyone whom they did not regard as definitely for them was at once
considered an enemy, and an impartial delineation of any character
concerned in the political struggle was bound to displease both
parties. If a novelist drew a Nihilist, he must be one or the other, a
hero or a scoundrel, if either the revolutionaries or the reactionaries
were to be pleased. If in England the militant suffragists suddenly had
a huge mass of educated opinion behind them and a still larger mass of
educated public opinion against them, and some one were to draw in a
novel an impartial picture of a suffragette, the same thing would
happen. On a small scale, as far as the suffragettes are concerned, it
has happened in the case of Mr. Wells. But if Turgenev's popularity
suffered a shock in Russia from which it with difficulty recovered, in
western Europe it went on increasing. Especially in England, Turgenev
became the idol of all that was eclectic, and admiration for Turgenev a
hallmark of good taste....
Fathers and Children is as beautifully constructed as a drama of
Sophocles; the events move inevitably to a tragic close. There is not a
touch of banality from beginning to end, and not an unnecessary word;
the portraits of the old father and mother, the young Kirsanov, and all
the minor characters are perfect; and amidst the trivial crowd Bazarov
stands out like Lucifer, the strongestthe only strong characterthat
Turgenev created, the first Nihilistfor if Turgenev was not the first
to invent the word, he was the first to apply it in this sense.
Bazarov is the incarnation of the Lucifer type that recurs again and
again in Russian history and fiction, in sharp contrast to the meek,
humble type of Ivan Durak. Lermontov's Pechorin was in some respects an
anticipation of Bazarov; so were the many Russian rebels. He is the man
who denies, to whom art is a silly toy, who detests abstractions,
knowledge, and the love of Nature; he believes in nothing; he bows to
nothing; he can break, but he cannot bend; he does break, and that is
the tragedy, but, breaking, he retains his invincible pride, and
not cowardly puts off his helmet,
and he dies valiantly vanquished.
In the pages which describe his death Turgenev reaches the
high-water mark of his art, his moving quality, his power, his reserve.
For manly pathos they rank among the greatest scenes in literature,
stronger than the death of Colonel Newcome and the best of Thackeray.
Among English novelists it is, perhaps, only Meredith who has struck
such strong, piercing chords, nobler than anything in Daudet or
Maupassant, more reserved than anything in Victor Hugo, and worthy of
the great poets, of the tragic pathos of Goethe and Dante. The
character of Bazarov, as has been said, created a sensation and endless
controversy. The revolutionaries thought him a caricature and a libel,
the reactionaries a scandalous glorification of the Devil; and
impartial men such as Dostoevsky, who knew the revolutionaries at first
hand, thought the type unreal. It is impossible that Bazarov was not
like the Nihilists of the sixties; but in any case as a figure in
fiction, whatever the fact may be, he lives and will continue to
live....From An Outline of Russian Literature (1914).
LIST OF CHARACTERS
NIKOLAI PETROVITCH KIRSANOV, a landowner.
PAVEL PETROVITCH KIRSANOV, his brother.
ARKADY (ARKASHA) NIKOLAEVITCH (or NIKOLAITCH), his son.
YEVGENY (ENYUSHA) VASSILYEVITCH (or VASSILYITCH) BAZAROV,
friend of Arkady.
VASSILY IVANOVITCH (or IVANITCH), father of Bazarov.
ARINA VLASYEVNA, mother of Bazarov.
FEDOSYA (FENITCHKA) NIKOLAEVNA, second wife of Nikolai.
ANNA SERGYEVNA ODINTSOV, a wealthy widow.
KATYA SERGYEVNA, her sister.
PORFIRY PLATONITCH, her neighbor.
MATVY ILYITCH KOLYAZIN, government commissioner.
EVDOKSYA (or AVDOTYA) NIKITISHNA KUKSHIN, an emancipated
VIKTOR SITNIKOV, a would-be liberal.
PIOTR (pron. P-yotr), servant to Nikolai.
PROKOFITCH, head servant to Nikolai.
DUNYASHA, a maid servant.
MITYA, infant of Fedosya.
TIMOFEITCH, manager for Vassily.
FATHERS AND CHILDREN A NOVEL
'Well, Piotr, not in sight yet?' was the question asked on May the
20th, 1859, by a gentleman of a little over forty, in a dusty coat and
checked trousers, who came out without his hat on to the low steps of
the posting station at S. He was addressing his servant, a chubby
young fellow, with whitish down on his chin, and little, lack-lustre
The servant, in whom everythingthe turquoise ring in his ear, the
streaky hair plastered with grease, and the civility of his
movementsindicated a man of the new, improved generation, glanced
with an air of indulgence along the road, and made answer:
'No, sir; not in sight.'
'Not in sight?' repeated his master.
'No, sir,' responded the man a second time.
His master sighed, and sat down on a little bench. We will introduce
him to the reader while he sits, his feet tucked under him, gazing
His name was Nikolai Petrovitch Kirsanov. He had, twelve miles from
the posting station, a fine property of two hundred souls, or, as he
expressed itsince he had arranged the division of his land with the
peasants, and started 'a farm'of nearly five thousand acres. His
father, a general in the army, who served in 1812, a coarse,
half-educated, but not ill-natured man, a typical Russian, had been in
harness all his life, first in command of a brigade, and then of a
division, and lived constantly in the provinces, where, by virtue of
his rank, he played a fairly important part. Nikolai Petrovitch was
born in the south of Russia like his elder brother, Pavel, of whom more
hereafter. He was educated at home till he was fourteen, surrounded by
cheap tutors, free-and-easy but toadying adjutants, and all the usual
regimental and staff set. His mother, one of the Kolyazin family, as a
girl called Agathe, but as a general's wife Agathokleya Kuzminishna
Kirsanov, was one of those military ladies who take their full share of
the duties and dignities of office. She wore gorgeous caps and rustling
silk dresses; in church she was the first to advance to the cross; she
talked a great deal in a loud voice, let her children kiss her hand in
the morning, and gave them her blessing at nightin fact, she got
everything out of life she could. Nikolai Petrovitch, as a general's
sonthough so far from being distinguished by courage that he even
deserved to be called 'a funk'was intended, like his brother Pavel,
to enter the army; but he broke his leg on the very day when the news
of his commission came, and, after being two months in bed, retained a
slight limp to the end of his days. His father gave him up as a bad
job, and let him go into the civil service. He took him to Petersburg
directly he was eighteen, and placed him in the university. His brother
happened about the same time to be made an officer in the Guards. The
young men started living together in one set of rooms, under the remote
supervision of a cousin on their mother's side, Ilya Kolyazin, an
official of high rank. Their father returned to his division and his
wife, and only rarely sent his sons large sheets of grey paper,
scrawled over in a bold clerkly hand. At the bottom of these sheets
stood in letters, enclosed carefully in scroll-work, the words, 'Piotr
Kirsanov, General-Major.' In 1835 Nikolai Petrovitch left the
university, a graduate, and in the same year General Kirsanov was put
on to the retired list after an unsuccessful review, and came to
Petersburg with his wife to live. He was about to take a house in the
Tavrichesky Gardens, and had joined the English club, but he died
suddenly of an apoplectic fit. Agathokleya Kuzminishna soon followed
him; she could not accustom herself to a dull life in the capital; she
was consumed by the ennui of existence away from the regiment.
Meanwhile Nikolai Petrovitch had already, in his parents' lifetime and
to their no slight chagrin, had time to fall in love with the daughter
of his landlord, a petty official, Prepolovensky. She was a pretty and,
as it is called, 'advanced' girl; she used to read the serious articles
in the 'Science' column of the journals. He married her directly the
term of mourning was over; and leaving the civil service in which his
father had by favour procured him a post, was perfectly blissful with
his Masha, first in a country villa near the Lyesny Institute,
afterwards in town in a pretty little flat with a clean staircase and a
draughty drawing-room, and then in the country, where he settled
finally, and where in a short time a son, Arkady, was born to him. The
young couple lived very happily and peacefully; they were scarcely ever
apart; they read together, sang and played duets together on the piano;
she tended her flowers and looked after the poultry-yard; he sometimes
went hunting, and busied himself with the estate, while Arkady grew and
grew in the same happy and peaceful way. Ten years passed like a dream.
In 1847 Kirsanov's wife died. He almost succumbed to this blow; in a
few weeks his hair was grey; he was getting ready to go abroad, if
possible to distract his mind ... but then came the year 1848. He
returned unwillingly to the country, and, after a rather prolonged
period of inactivity, began to take an interest in improvements in the
management of his land. In 1855 he brought his son to the university;
he spent three winters with him in Petersburg, hardly going out
anywhere, and trying to make acquaintance with Arkady's young
companions. The last winter he had not been able to go, and here we
have him in the May of 1859, already quite grey, stoutish, and rather
bent, waiting for his son, who had just taken his degree, as once he
had taken it himself.
The servant, from a feeling of propriety, and perhaps, too, not
anxious to remain under the master's eye, had gone to the gate, and was
smoking a pipe. Nikolai Petrovitch bent his head, and began staring at
the crumbling steps; a big mottled fowl walked sedately towards him,
treading firmly with its great yellow legs; a muddy cat gave him an
unfriendly look, twisting herself coyly round the railing. The sun was
scorching; from the half-dark passage of the posting station came an
odour of hot rye-bread. Nikolai Petrovitch fell to dreaming. 'My son
... a graduate ... Arkasha ...' were the ideas that continually came
round again and again in his head; he tried to think of something else,
and again the same thoughts returned. He remembered his dead wife....
'She did not live to see it!' he murmured sadly. A plump, dark-blue
pigeon flew into the road, and hurriedly went to drink in a puddle near
the well. Nikolai Petrovitch began looking at it, but his ear had
already caught the sound of approaching wheels.
'It sounds as if they're coming sir,' announced the servant, popping
in from the gateway.
Nikolai Petrovitch jumped up, and bent his eyes on the road. A
carriage appeared with three posting-horses harnessed abreast; in the
carriage he caught a glimpse of the blue band of a student's cap, the
familiar outline of a dear face.
'Arkasha! Arkasha!' cried Kirsanov, and he ran waving his hands....
A few instants later, his lips were pressed to the beardless, dusty,
sunburnt-cheek of the youthful graduate.
'Let me shake myself first, daddy,' said Arkady, in a voice tired
from travelling, but boyish and clear as a bell, as he gaily responded
to his father's caresses; 'I am covering you with dust.'
'Never mind, never mind,' repeated Nikolai Petrovitch, smiling
tenderly, and twice he struck the collar of his son's cloak and his own
greatcoat with his hand. 'Let me have a look at you; let me have a look
at you,' he added, moving back from him, but immediately he went with
hurried steps towards the yard of the station, calling, 'This way, this
way; and horses at once.'
Nikolai Petrovitch seemed far more excited than his son; he seemed a
little confused, a little timid. Arkady stopped him.
'Daddy,' he said, 'let me introduce you to my great friend, Bazarov,
about whom I have so often written to you. He has been so good as to
promise to stay with us.'
Nikolai Petrovitch went back quickly, and going up to a tall man in
a long, loose, rough coat with tassels, who had only just got out of
the carriage, he warmly pressed the ungloved red hand, which the latter
did not at once hold out to him.
'I am heartily glad,' he began, 'and very grateful for your kind
intention of visiting us.... Let me know your name, and your father's.'
'Yevgeny Vassilyev,' answered Bazarov, in a lazy but manly voice;
and turning back the collar of his rough coat, he showed Nikolai
Petrovitch his whole face. It was long and lean, with a broad forehead,
a nose flat at the base and sharper at the end, large greenish eyes,
and drooping whiskers of a sandy colour; it was lighted up by a
tranquil smile, and showed self-confidence and intelligence.
'I hope, dear Yevgeny Vassilyitch, you won't be dull with us,'
continued Nikolai Petrovitch.
Bazarov's thin lips moved just perceptibly, though he made no reply,
but merely took off his cap. His long, thick hair did not hide the
prominent bumps on his head.
'Then, Arkady,' Nikolai Petrovitch began again, turning to his son,
'shall the horses be put to at once? or would you like to rest?'
'We will rest at home, daddy; tell them to harness the horses.'
'At once, at once,' his father assented. 'Hey, Piotr, do you hear?
Get things ready, my good boy; look sharp.'
Piotr, who as a modernised servant had not kissed the young master's
hand, but only bowed to him from a distance, again vanished through the
'I came here with the carriage, but there are three horses for your
coach too,' said Nikolai Petrovitch fussily, while Arkady drank some
water from an iron dipper brought him by the woman in charge of the
station, and Bazarov began smoking a pipe and went up to the driver,
who was taking out the horses; 'there are only two seats in the
carriage, and I don't know how your friend' ...
'He will go in the coach,' interposed Arkady in an undertone. 'You
must not stand on ceremony with him, please. He's a splendid fellow, so
simpleyou will see.'
Nikolai Petrovitch's coachman brought the horses round.
'Come, hurry up, bushy beard!' said Bazarov, addressing the driver.
'Do you hear, Mityuha,' put in another driver, standing by with his
hands thrust behind him into the opening of his sheepskin coat, 'what
the gentleman called you? It's a bushy beard you are too.'
Mityuha only gave a jog to his hat and pulled the reins off the
'Look sharp, look sharp, lads, lend a hand,' cried Nikolai
Petrovitch; 'there'll be something to drink our health with!'
In a few minutes the horses were harnessed; the father and son were
installed in the carriage; Piotr climbed up on to the box; Bazarov
jumped into the coach, and nestled his head down into the leather
cushion; and both the vehicles rolled away.
'So here you are, a graduate at last, and come home again,' said
Nikolai Petrovitch, touching Arkady now on the shoulder, now on the
knee. 'At last!'
'And how is uncle? quite well?' asked Arkady, who, in spite of the
genuine, almost childish delight filling his heart, wanted as soon as
possible to turn the conversation from the emotional into a commonplace
'Quite well. He was thinking of coming with me to meet you, but for
some reason or other he gave up the idea.'
'And how long have you been waiting for me?' inquired Arkady.
'Oh, about five hours.'
'Dear old dad!'
Arkady turned round quickly to his father, and gave him a sounding
kiss on the cheek. Nikolai Petrovitch gave vent to a low chuckle.
'I have got such a capital horse for you!' he began. 'You will see.
And your room has been fresh papered.'
'And is there a room for Bazarov?'
'We will find one for him too.'
'Please, dad, make much of him. I can't tell you how I prize his
'Have you made friends with him lately?'
'Yes, quite lately.'
'Ah, that's how it is I did not see him last winter. What does he
'His chief subject is natural science. But he knows everything. Next
year he wants to take his doctor's degree.'
'Ah! he's in the medical faculty,' observed Nikolai Petrovitch, and
he was silent for a little. 'Piotr,' he went on, stretching out his
hand, 'aren't those our peasants driving along?'
Piotr looked where his master was pointing. Some carts harnessed
with unbridled horses were moving rapidly along a narrow by-road. In
each cart there were one or two peasants in sheepskin coats,
'Yes, sir,' replied Piotr.
'Where are they going,to the town?'
'To the town, I suppose. To the gin-shop,' he added contemptuously,
turning slightly towards the coachman, as though he would appeal to
him. But the latter did not stir a muscle; he was a man of the old
stamp, and did not share the modern views of the younger generation.
'I have had a lot of bother with the peasants this year,' pursued
Nikolai Petrovitch, turning to his son. 'They won't pay their rent.
What is one to do?'
'But do you like your hired labourers?'
'Yes,' said Nikolai Petrovitch between his teeth. 'They're being set
against me, that's the mischief; and they don't do their best. They
spoil the tools. But they have tilled the land pretty fairly. When
things have settled down a bit, it will be all right. Do you take an
interest in farming now?'
'You've no shade; that's a pity,' remarked Arkady, without answering
the last question.
'I have had a great awning put up on the north side over the
balcony,' observed Nikolai Petrovitch; 'now we can have dinner even in
the open air.'
'It'll be rather too like a summer villa.... Still, that's all
nonsense. What air though here! How delicious it smells! Really I fancy
there's nowhere such fragrance in the world as in the meadows here! And
the sky too.'
Arkady suddenly stopped short, cast a stealthy look behind him, and
said no more.
'Of course,' observed Nikolai Petrovitch, 'you were born here, and
so everything is bound to strike you in a special'
'Come, dad, that makes no difference where a man is born.'
'No; it makes absolutely no difference.'
Nikolai Petrovitch gave a sidelong glance at his son, and the
carriage went on a half-a-mile further before the conversation was
renewed between them.
'I don't recollect whether I wrote to you,' began Nikolai
Petrovitch, 'your old nurse, Yegorovna, is dead.'
'Really? Poor thing! Is Prokofitch still living?'
'Yes, and not a bit changed. As grumbling as ever. In fact, you
won't find many changes at Maryino.'
'Have you still the same bailiff?'
'Well, to be sure there is a change there. I decided not to keep
about me any freed serfs, who have been house servants, or, at least,
not to intrust them with duties of any responsibility.' (Arkady glanced
towards Piotr.) 'Il est libre, en effet,' observed Nikolai
Petrovitch in an undertone; 'but, you see, he's only a valet. Now I
have a bailiff, a townsman; he seems a practical fellow. I pay him two
hundred and fifty roubles a year. But,' added Nikolai Petrovitch,
rubbing his forehead and eyebrows with his hand, which was always an
indication with him of inward embarrassment, 'I told you just now that
you would not find changes at Maryino.... That's not quite correct. I
think it my duty to prepare you, though....'
He hesitated for an instant, and then went on in French.
'A severe moralist would regard my openness, as improper; but, in
the first place, it can't be concealed, and secondly, you are aware I
have always had peculiar ideas as regards the relation of father and
son. Though, of course, you would be right in blaming me. At my age....
In short ... that ... that girl, about whom you have probably heard
'Fenitchka?' asked Arkady easily.
Nikolai Petrovitch blushed. 'Don't mention her name aloud,
please.... Well ... she is living with me now. I have installed her in
the house ... there were two little rooms there. But that can all be
'Goodness, daddy, what for?'
'Your friend is going to stay with us ... it would be awkward ...'
'Please don't be uneasy on Bazarov's account. He's above all that.'
'Well, but you too,' added Nikolai Petrovitch. 'The little lodge is
so horridthat's the worst of it.'
'Goodness, dad,' interposed Arkady, 'it's as if you were
apologising; I wonder you're not ashamed.'
'Of course, I ought to be ashamed,' answered Nikolai Petrovitch,
flushing more and more.
'Nonsense, dad, nonsense; please don't!' Arkady smiled
affectionately. 'What a thing to apologise for!' he thought to himself,
and his heart was filled with a feeling of condescending tenderness for
his kind, soft-hearted father, mixed with a sense of secret
superiority. 'Please, stop,' he repeated once more, instinctively
revelling in a consciousness of his own advanced and emancipated
Nikolai Petrovitch glanced at him from under the fingers of the hand
with which he was still rubbing his forehead, and there was a pang in
his heart.... But at once he blamed himself for it.
'Here are our meadows at last,' he said after a long silence.
'And that in front is our forest, isn't it?' asked Arkady.
'Yes. Only I have sold the timber. This year they will cut it down.'
'Why did you sell it?'
'The money was needed; besides, that land is to go to the peasants.'
'Who don't pay you their rent?'
'That's their affair; besides, they will pay it some day.'
'I am sorry about the forest,' observed Arkady, and he began to look
The country through which they were driving could not be called
picturesque. Fields upon fields stretched all along to the very
horizon, now sloping gently upwards, then dropping down again; in some
places woods were to be seen, and winding ravines, planted with low,
scanty bushes, recalling vividly the representation of them on the
old-fashioned maps of the times of Catherine. They came upon little
streams too with hollow banks; and tiny lakes with narrow dykes; and
little villages, with low hovels under dark and often tumble-down
roofs, and slanting barns with walls woven of brushwood and gaping
doorways beside neglected threshing-floors; and churches, some
brick-built, with stucco peeling off in patches, others wooden, with
crosses fallen askew, and overgrown grave-yards. Slowly Arkady's heart
sunk. To complete the picture, the peasants they met were all in
tatters and on the sorriest little nags; the willows, with their trunks
stripped of bark, and broken branches, stood like ragged beggars along
the roadside; cows lean and shaggy and looking pinched up by hunger,
were greedily tearing at the grass along the ditches. They looked as
though they had just been snatched out of the murderous clutches of
some threatening monster; and the piteous state of the weak, starved
beasts in the midst of the lovely spring day, called up, like a white
phantom, the endless, comfortless winter with its storms, and frosts,
and snows.... 'No,' thought Arkady, 'this is not a rich country; it
does not impress one by plenty or industry; it can't, it can't go on
like this, reforms are absolutely necessary ... but how is one to carry
them out, how is one to begin?'
Such were Arkady's reflections; ... but even as he reflected, the
spring regained its sway. All around was golden green, alltrees,
bushes, grassshone and stirred gently in wide waves under the soft
breath of the warm wind; from all sides flooded the endless trilling
music of the larks; the peewits were calling as they hovered over the
low-lying meadows, or noiselessly ran over the tussocks of grass; the
rooks strutted among the half-grown short spring-corn, standing out
black against its tender green; they disappeared in the already
whitening rye, only from time to time their heads peeped out amid its
grey waves. Arkady gazed and gazed, and his reflections grew slowly
fainter and passed away.... He flung off his cloak and turned to his
father, with a face so bright and boyish, that the latter gave him
'We're not far off now,' remarked Nikolai Petrovitch; 'we have only
to get up this hill, and the house will be in sight. We shall get on
together splendidly, Arkasha; you shall help me in farming the estate,
if only it isn't a bore to you. We must draw close to one another now,
and learn to know each other thoroughly, mustn't we!'
'Of course,' said Arkady; 'but what an exquisite day it is to-day!'
'To welcome you, my dear boy. Yes, it's spring in its full
loveliness. Though I agree with Pushkindo you remember in Yevgeny
'To me how sad thy coming is,
Spring, spring, sweet time of love!
'Arkady!' called Bazarov's voice from the coach, 'send me a match;
I've nothing to light my pipe with.'
Nikolai Petrovitch stopped, while Arkady, who had begun listening to
him with some surprise, though with sympathy too, made haste to pull a
silver matchbox out of his pocket, and sent it to Bazarov by Piotr.
'Will you have a cigar?' shouted Bazarov again.
'Thanks,' answered Arkady.
Piotr returned to the carriage, and handed him with the match-box a
thick black cigar, which Arkady began to smoke promptly, diffusing
about him such a strong and pungent odour of cheap tobacco, that
Nikolai Petrovitch, who had never been a smoker from his youth up, was
forced to turn away his head, as imperceptibly as he could for fear of
wounding his son.
A quarter of an hour later, the two carriages drew up before the
steps of a new wooden house, painted grey, with a red iron roof. This
was Maryino, also known as New-Wick, or, as the peasants had nicknamed
it, Poverty Farm.
No crowd of house-serfs ran out on to the steps to meet the
gentlemen; a little girl of twelve years old made her appearance alone.
After her there came out of the house a young lad, very like Piotr,
dressed in a coat of grey livery, with white armorial buttons, the
servant of Pavel Petrovitch Kirsanov. Without speaking, he opened the
door of the carriage, and unbuttoned the apron of the coach. Nikolai
Petrovitch with his son and Bazarov walked through a dark and almost
empty hall, from behind the door of which they caught a glimpse of a
young woman's face, into a drawing-room furnished in the most modern
'Here we are at home,' said Nikolai Petrovitch, taking off his cap,
and shaking back his hair. 'That's the great thing; now we must have
supper and rest.'
'A meal would not come amiss, certainly,' observed Bazarov,
stretching, and he dropped on to a sofa.
'Yes, yes, let us have supper, supper directly.' Nikolai Petrovitch
with no apparent reason stamped his foot. 'And here just at the right
moment comes Prokofitch.'
A man about sixty entered, white-haired, thin, and swarthy, in a
cinnamon-coloured dress-coat with brass buttons, and a pink
neckerchief. He smirked, went up to kiss Arkady's hand, and bowing to
the guest retreated to the door, and put his hands behind him.
'Here he is, Prokofitch,' began Nikolai Petrovitch; 'he's come back
to us at last.... Well, how do you think him looking?'
'As well as could be,' said the old man, and was grinning again, but
he quickly knitted his bushy brows. 'You wish supper to be served?' he
'Yes, yes, please. But won't you like to go to your room first,
'No, thanks; I don't care about it. Only give orders for my little
box to be taken there, and this garment, too,' he added, taking off his
'Certainly. Prokofitch, take the gentleman's coat.' (Prokofitch,
with an air of perplexity, picked up Bazarov's 'garment' in both hands,
and holding it high above his head, retreated on tiptoe.) 'And you,
Arkady, are you going to your room for a minute?'
'Yes, I must wash,' answered Arkady, and was just moving towards the
door, but at that instant there came into the drawing-room a man of
medium height, dressed in a dark English suit, a fashionable low
cravat, and kid shoes, Pavel Petrovitch Kirsanov. He looked about
forty-five: his close-cropped, grey hair shone with a dark lustre, like
new silver; his face, yellow but free from wrinkles, was exceptionally
regular and pure in line, as though carved by a light and delicate
chisel, and showed traces of remarkable beauty; specially fine were his
clear, black, almond-shaped eyes. The whole person of Arkady's uncle,
with its aristocratic elegance, had preserved the gracefulness of youth
and that air of striving upwards, away from earth, which for the most
part is lost after the twenties are past.
Pavel Petrovitch took out of his trouser pocket his exquisite hand
with its long tapering pink nails, a hand which seemed still more
exquisite from the snowy whiteness of the cuff, buttoned with a single,
big opal, and gave it to his nephew. After a preliminary handshake in
the European style, he kissed him thrice after the Russian fashion,
that is to say, he touched his cheek three times with his perfumed
moustaches, and said, 'Welcome.'
Nikolai Petrovitch presented him to Bazarov; Pavel Petrovitch
greeted him with a slight inclination of his supple figure, and a
slight smile, but he did not give him his hand, and even put it back
into his pocket.
'I had begun to think you were not coming to-day,' he began in a
musical voice, with a genial swing and shrug of the shoulders, as he
showed his splendid white teeth. 'Did anything happen on the road.'
'Nothing happened,' answered Arkady; 'we were rather slow. But we're
as hungry as wolves now. Hurry up Prokofitch, dad; and I'll be back
'Stay, I'm coming with you,' cried Bazarov, pulling himself up
suddenly from the sofa. Both the young men went out.
'Who is he?' asked Pavel Petrovitch.
'A friend of Arkasha's; according to him, a very clever fellow.'
'Is he going to stay with us?'
'That unkempt creature?'
Pavel Petrovitch drummed with his finger tips on the table. 'I fancy
Arkady s'est dégourdi,' he remarked. 'I'm glad he has come
At supper there was little conversation. Bazarov especially said
nothing, but he ate a great deal. Nikolai Petrovitch related various
incidents in what he called his career as a farmer, talked about the
impending government measures, about committees, deputations, the
necessity of introducing machinery, etc. Pavel Petrovitch paced slowly
up and down the dining-room (he never ate supper), sometimes sipping at
a wineglass of red wine, and less often uttering some remark or rather
exclamation, of the nature of 'Ah! aha! hm!' Arkady told some news from
Petersburg, but he was conscious of a little awkwardness, that
awkwardness, which usually overtakes a youth when he has just ceased to
be a child, and has come back to a place where they are accustomed to
regard him and treat him as a child. He made his sentences quite
unnecessarily long, avoided the word 'daddy,' and even sometimes
replaced it by the word 'father,' mumbled, it is true, between his
teeth; with an exaggerated carelessness he poured into his glass far
more wine than he really wanted, and drank it all off. Prokofitch did
not take his eyes off him, and kept chewing his lips. After supper they
all separated at once.
'Your uncle's a queer fish,' Bazarov said to Arkady, as he sat in
his dressing-gown by his bedside, smoking a short pipe. 'Only fancy
such style in the country! His nails, his nailsyou ought to send them
to an exhibition!'
'Why of course, you don't know,' replied Arkady. 'He was a great
swell in his own day, you know. I will tell you his story one day. He
was very handsome, you know, used to turn all the women's heads.'
'Oh, that's it, is it? So he keeps it up in memory of the past. It's
a pity there's no one for him to fascinate here though. I kept staring
at his exquisite collars. They're like marble, and his chin's shaved
simply to perfection. Come, Arkady Nikolaitch, isn't that ridiculous?'
'Perhaps it is; but he's a splendid man, really.'
'An antique survival! But your father's a capital fellow. He wastes
his time reading poetry, and doesn't know much about farming, but he's
a good-hearted fellow.'
'My father's a man in a thousand.'
'Did you notice how shy and nervous he is?'
Arkady shook his head as though he himself were not shy and nervous.
'It's something astonishing,' pursued Bazarov, 'these old idealists,
they develop their nervous systems till they break down ... so balance
is lost. But good-night. In my room there's an English washstand, but
the door won't fasten. Anyway that ought to be encouragedan English
washstand stands for progress!'
Bazarov went away, and a sense of great happiness came over Arkady.
Sweet it is to fall asleep in one's own home, in the familiar bed,
under the quilt worked by loving hands, perhaps a dear nurse's hands,
those kind, tender, untiring hands. Arkady remembered Yegorovna, and
sighed and wished her peace in heaven.... For himself he made no
Both he and Bazarov were soon asleep, but others in the house were
awake long after. His son's return had agitated Nikolai Petrovitch. He
lay down in bed, but did not put out the candles, and his head propped
on his hand, he fell into long reveries. His brother was sitting long
after midnight in his study, in a wide armchair before the fireplace,
on which there smouldered some faintly glowing embers. Pavel Petrovitch
was not undressed, only some red Chinese slippers had replaced the kid
shoes on his feet. He held in his hand the last number of Galignani, but he was not reading; he gazed fixedly into the grate, where a
bluish flame flickered, dying down, then flaring up again.... God knows
where his thoughts were rambling, but they were not rambling in the
past only; the expression of his face was concentrated and surly, which
is not the way when a man is absorbed solely in recollections. In a
small back room there sat, on a large chest, a young woman in a blue
dressing jacket with a white kerchief thrown over her dark hair,
Fenitchka. She was half listening, half dozing, and often looked across
towards the open door through which a child's cradle was visible, and
the regular breathing of a sleeping baby could be heard.
The next morning Bazarov woke up earlier than any one and went out
of the house. 'Oh, my!' he thought, looking about him, 'the little
place isn't much to boast of!' When Nikolai Petrovitch had divided the
land with his peasants, he had had to build his new manor-house on four
acres of perfectly flat and barren land. He had built a house, offices,
and farm buildings, laid out a garden, dug a pond, and sunk two wells;
but the young trees had not done well, very little water had collected
in the pond, and that in the wells tasted brackish. Only one arbour of
lilac and acacia had grown fairly well; they sometimes had tea and
dinner in it. In a few minutes Bazarov had traversed all the little
paths of the garden; he went into the cattle-yard and the stable,
routed out two farm-boys, with whom he made friends at once, and set
off with them to a small swamp about a mile from the house to look for
'What do you want frogs for, sir?' one of the boys asked him.
'I'll tell you what for,' answered Bazarov, who possessed the
special faculty of inspiring confidence in people of a lower class,
though he never tried to win them, and behaved very casually with them;
'I shall cut the frog open, and see what's going on in his inside, and
then, as you and I are much the same as frogs, only that we walk on
legs, I shall know what's going on inside us too.'
'And what do you want to know that for?'
'So as not to make a mistake, if you're taken ill, and I have to
'Are you a doctor then?'
'Vaska, do you hear, the gentleman says you and I are the same as
frogs, that's funny!'
'I'm afraid of frogs,' observed Vaska, a boy of seven, with a head
as white as flax, and bare feet, dressed in a grey smock with a
'What is there to be afraid of? Do they bite?'
'There, paddle into the water, philosophers,' said Bazarov.
Meanwhile Nikolai Petrovitch too had waked up, and gone in to see
Arkady, whom he found dressed. The father and son went out on to the
terrace under the shelter of the awning; near the balustrade, on the
table, among great bunches of lilacs, the samovar was already boiling.
A little girl came up, the same who had been the first to meet them at
the steps on their arrival the evening before. In a shrill voice she
'Fedosya Nikolaevna is not quite well, she cannot come; she gave
orders to ask you, will you please to pour out tea yourself, or should
she send Dunyasha?'
'I will pour out myself, myself,' interposed Nikolai Petrovitch
hurriedly. 'Arkady, how do you take your tea, with cream, or with
'With cream,' answered Arkady; and after a brief silence, he uttered
Nikolai Petrovitch in confusion looked at his son.
'Well?' he said.
Arkady dropped his eyes.
'Forgive me, dad, if my question seems unsuitable to you,' he began,
'but you yourself, by your openness yesterday, encourage me to be open
... you will not be angry ...?'
'You give me confidence to ask you.... Isn't the reason, Fen ...
isn't the reason she will not come here to pour out tea, because I'm
Nikolai Petrovitch turned slightly away.
'Perhaps,' he said, at last, 'she supposes ... she is ashamed.'
Arkady turned a rapid glance on his father.
'She has no need to be ashamed. In the first place, you are aware of
my views' (it was very sweet to Arkady to utter that word); 'and
secondly, could I be willing to hamper your life, your habits in the
least thing? Besides, I am sure you could not make a bad choice; if you
have allowed her to live under the same roof with you, she must be
worthy of it; in any case, a son cannot judge his father,least of
all, I, and least of all such a father who, like you, has never
hampered my liberty in anything.'
Arkady's voice had been shaky at the beginning; he felt himself
magnanimous, though at the same time he realised he was delivering
something of the nature of a lecture to his father; but the sound of
one's own voice has a powerful effect on any man, and Arkady brought
out his last words resolutely, even with emphasis.
'Thanks, Arkasha,' said Nikolai Petrovitch thickly, and his fingers
again strayed over his eyebrows and forehead. 'Your suppositions are
just in fact. Of course, if this girl had not deserved.... It is not a
frivolous caprice. It's not easy for me to talk to you about this; but
you will understand that it is difficult for her to come here, in your
presence, especially the first day of your return.'
'In that case I will go to her,' cried Arkady, with a fresh rush of
magnanimous feeling, and he jumped up from his seat. 'I will explain to
her that she has no need to be ashamed before me.'
Nikolai Petrovitch too got up.
'Arkady,' he began, 'be so good ... how can ... there ... I have not
told you yet ...'
But Arkady did not listen to him, and ran off the terrace. Nikolai
Petrovitch looked after him, and sank into his chair overcome by
confusion. His heart began to throb. Did he at that moment realise the
inevitable strangeness of the future relations between him and his son?
Was he conscious that Arkady would perhaps have shown him more respect
if he had never touched on this subject at all? Did he reproach himself
for weakness?it is hard to say; all these feelings were within him,
but in the state of sensationsand vague sensationswhile the flush
did not leave his face, and his heart throbbed.
There was the sound of hurrying footsteps, and Arkady came on to the
terrace. 'We have made friends, dad!' he cried, with an expression of a
kind of affectionate and good-natured triumph on his face. 'Fedosya
Nikolaevna is not quite well to-day really, and she will come a little
later. But why didn't you tell me I had a brother? I should have kissed
him last night, as I have kissed him just now.'
Nikolai Petrovitch tried to articulate something, tried to get up
and open his arms. Arkady flung himself on his neck.
'What's this? embracing again?' sounded the voice of Pavel
Petrovitch behind them.
Father and son were equally rejoiced at his appearance at that
instant; there are positions, genuinely affecting, from which one longs
to escape as soon as possible.
'Why should you be surprised at that?' said Nikolai Petrovitch
gaily. 'Think what ages I have been waiting for Arkasha. I've not had
time to get a good look at him since yesterday.'
'I'm not at all surprised,' observed Pavel Petrovitch; 'I feel not
indisposed to be embracing him myself.'
Arkady went up to his uncle, and again felt his cheeks caressed by
his perfumed moustache. Pavel Petrovitch sat down to the table. He wore
an elegant morning suit in the English style, and a gay little fez on
his head. This fez and the carelessly tied little cravat carried a
suggestion of the freedom of country life, but the stiff collars of his
shirtnot white, it is true, but striped, as is correct in morning
dressstood up as inexorably as ever against his well-shaved chin.
'Where's your new friend?' he asked Arkady.
'He's not in the house; he usually gets up early and goes off
somewhere. The great thing is, we mustn't pay any attention to him; he
doesn't like ceremony.'
'Yes, that's obvious.' Pavel Petrovitch began deliberately spreading
butter on his bread. 'Is he going to stay long with us?'
'Perhaps. He came here on the way to his father's.'
'And where does his father live?'
'In our province, sixty-four miles from here. He has a small
property there. He was formerly an army doctor.'
'Tut, tut, tut! To be sure, I kept asking myself, Where have I
heard that name, Bazarov? Nikolai, do you remember, in our father's
division there was a surgeon Bazarov?'
'I believe there was.'
'Yes, yes, to be sure. So that surgeon was his father. Hm!' Pavel
Petrovitch pulled his moustaches. 'Well, and what is Mr. Bazarov
himself?' he asked, deliberately.
'What is Bazarov?' Arkady smiled. 'Would you like me, uncle, to tell
you what he really is?'
'If you will be so good, nephew.'
'He's a nihilist.'
'Eh?' inquired Nikolai Petrovitch, while Pavel Petrovitch lilted a
knife in the air with a small piece of butter on its tip, and remained
'He's a nihilist,' repeated Arkady.
'A nihilist,' said Nikolai Petrovitch. 'That's from the Latin,
nihil, nothing, as far as I can judge; the word must mean a
man who ... who accepts nothing?'
'Say, who respects nothing,' put in Pavel Petrovitch, and he set
to work on the butter again.
'Who regards everything from the critical point of view,' observed
'Isn't that just the same thing?' inquired Pavel Petrovitch.
'No, it's not the same thing. A nihilist is a man who does not bow
down before any authority, who does not take any principle on faith,
whatever reverence that principle may be enshrined in.'
'Well, and is that good?' interrupted Pavel Petrovitch.
'That depends, uncle. Some people it will do good to, but some
people will suffer for it.'
'Indeed. Well, I see it's not in our line. We are old-fashioned
people; we imagine that without principles, taken as you say on faith,
there's no taking a step, no breathing. Vous avez changé tout cela. God give you good health and the rank of a general, while we will be
content to look on and admire, worthy ... what was it?'
'Nihilists,' Arkady said, speaking very distinctly.
'Yes. There used to be Hegelists, and now there are nihilists. We
shall see how you will exist in void, in vacuum; and now ring, please,
brother Nikolai Petrovitch; it's time I had my cocoa.'
Nikolai Petrovitch rang the bell and called, 'Dunyasha!' But instead
of Dunyasha, Fenitchka herself came on to the terrace. She was a young
woman about three-and-twenty, with a white soft skin, dark hair and
eyes, red, childishly-pouting lips, and little delicate hands. She wore
a neat print dress; a new blue kerchief lay lightly on her plump
shoulders. She carried a large cup of cocoa, and setting it down before
Pavel Petrovitch, she was overwhelmed with confusion: the hot blood
rushed in a wave of crimson over the delicate skin of her pretty face.
She dropped her eyes, and stood at the table, leaning a little on the
very tips of her fingers. It seemed as though she were ashamed of
having come in, and at the same time felt that she had a right to come.
Pavel Petrovitch knitted his brows severely, while Nikolai
Petrovitch looked embarrassed.
'Good morning, Fenitchka,' he muttered through his teeth.
'Good morning,' she replied in a voice not loud but resonant, and
with a sidelong glance at Arkady, who gave her a friendly smile, she
went gently away. She walked with a slightly rolling gait, but even
that suited her.
For some minutes silence reigned on the terrace. Pavel Petrovitch
sipped his cocoa; suddenly he raised his head. 'Here is Sir Nihilist
coming towards us,' he said in an undertone.
Bazarov was in fact approaching through the garden, stepping over
the flower-beds. His linen coat and trousers were besmeared with mud;
clinging marsh weed was twined round the crown of his old round hat; in
his right hand he held a small bag; in the bag something alive was
moving. He quickly drew near the terrace, and said with a nod, 'Good
morning, gentlemen; sorry I was late for tea; I'll be back directly; I
must just put these captives away.'
'What have you thereleeches?' asked Pavel Petrovitch.
'Do you eat themor keep them?'
'For experiment,' said Bazarov indifferently, and he went off into
'So he's going to cut them up,' observed Pavel Petrovitch. 'He has
no faith in principles, but he has faith in frogs.'
Arkady looked compassionately at his uncle; Nikolai Petrovitch
shrugged his shoulders stealthily. Pavel Petrovitch himself felt that
his epigram was unsuccessful, and began to talk about husbandry and the
new bailiff, who had come to him the evening before to complain that a
labourer, Foma, 'was deboshed,' and quite unmanageable. 'He's such an
Æsop,' he said among other things; 'in all places he has protested
himself a worthless fellow; he's not a man to keep his place; he'll
walk off in a huff like a fool.'
Bazarov came back, sat down to the table, and began hastily drinking
tea. The two brothers looked at him in silence, while Arkady stealthily
watched first his father and then his uncle.
'Did you walk far from here?' Nikolai Petrovitch asked at last.
'Where you've a little swamp near the aspen wood. I started some
half-dozen snipe; you might slaughter them; Arkady.'
'Aren't you a sportsman then?'
'Is your special study physics?' Pavel Petrovitch in his turn
'Physics, yes; and natural science in general.'
'They say the Teutons of late have had great success in that line.'
'Yes; the Germans are our teachers in it,' Bazarov answered
The word Teutons instead of Germans, Pavel Petrovitch had used with
ironical intention; none noticed it however.
'Have you such a high opinion of the Germans?' said Pavel
Petrovitch, with exaggerated courtesy. He was beginning to feel a
secret irritation. His aristocratic nature was revolted by Bazarov's
absolute nonchalance. This surgeon's son was not only not overawed, he
even gave abrupt and indifferent answers, and in the tone of his voice
there was something churlish, almost insolent.
'The scientific men there are a clever lot.'
'Ah, ah. To be sure, of Russian scientific men you have not such a
flattering opinion, I dare say?'
'That is very likely.'
'That's very praiseworthy self-abnegation,' Pavel Petrovitch
declared, drawing himself up, and throwing his head back. 'But how is
this? Arkady Nikolaitch was telling us just now that you accept no
authorities? Don't you believe in them?'
'And how am I accepting them? And what am I to believe in? They tell
me the truth, I agree, that's all.'
'And do all Germans tell the truth?' said Pavel Petrovitch, and his
face assumed an expression as unsympathetic, as remote, as if he had
withdrawn to some cloudy height.
'Not all,' replied Bazarov, with a short yawn. He obviously did not
care to continue the discussion.
Pavel Petrovitch glanced at Arkady, as though he would say to him,
'Your friend's polite, I must say.' 'For my own part,' he began again,
not without some effort, 'I am so unregenerate as not to like Germans.
Russian Germans I am not speaking of now; we all know what sort of
creatures they are. But even German Germans are not to my liking. In
former days there were some here and there; they hadwell, Schiller,
to be sure, Goethe ... my brotherhe takes a particularly favourable
view of them.... But now they have all turned chemists and materialists
'A good chemist is twenty times as useful as any poet,' broke in
'Oh, indeed,' commented Pavel Petrovitch, and, as though falling
asleep, he faintly raised his eyebrows. 'You don't acknowledge art
then, I suppose?'
'The art of making money or of advertising pills!' cried Bazarov,
with a contemptuous laugh.
'Ah, ah. You are pleased to jest, I see. You reject all that, no
doubt? Granted. Then you believe in science only?'
'I have already explained to you that I don't believe in anything;
and what is sciencescience in the abstract? There are sciences, as
there are trades and crafts; but abstract science doesn't exist at
'Very good. Well, and in regard to the other traditions accepted in
human conduct, do you maintain the same negative attitude?'
'What's this, an examination?' asked Bazarov.
Pavel Petrovitch turned slightly pale.... Nikolai Petrovitch thought
it his duty to interpose in the conversation.
'We will converse on this subject with you more in detail some day,
dear Yevgeny Vassilyitch; we will hear your views, and express our own.
For my part, I am heartily glad you are studying the natural sciences.
I have heard that Liebig has made some wonderful discoveries in the
amelioration of soils. You can be of assistance to me in my
agricultural labours; you can give me some useful advice.'
'I am at your service, Nikolai Petrovitch; but Liebig's miles over
our heads! One has first to learn the a b c, and then begin to read,
and we haven't set eyes on the alphabet yet.'
'You are certainly a nihilist, I see that,' thought Nikolai
Petrovitch. 'Still, you will allow me to apply to you on occasion,' he
added aloud. 'And now I fancy, brother, it's time for us to be going to
have a talk with the bailiff.'
Pavel Petrovitch got up from his seat.
'Yes,' he said, without looking at any one; 'it's a misfortune to
live five years in the country like this, far from mighty intellects!
You turn into a fool directly. You may try not to forget what you've
been taught, butin a snap!they'll prove all that's rubbish, and
tell you that sensible men have nothing more to do with such
foolishness, and that you, if you please, are an antiquated old fogey.
What's to be done? Young people, of course, are cleverer than we are!'
Pavel Petrovitch turned slowly on his heels, and slowly walked away;
Nikolai Petrovitch went after him.
'Is he always like that?' Bazarov coolly inquired of Arkady directly
the door had closed behind the two brothers.
'I must say, Yevgeny, you weren't nice to him,' remarked Arkady.
'You have hurt his feelings.'
'Well, am I going to consider them, these provincial aristocrats!
Why, it's all vanity, dandy habits, fatuity. He should have continued
his career in Petersburg, if that's his bent. But there, enough of him!
I've found a rather rare species of a water-beetle, Dytiscus
marginatus; do you know it? I will show you.'
'I promised to tell you his story,' began Arkady.
'The story of the beetle?'
'Come, don't, Yevgeny. The story of my uncle. You will see he's not
the sort of man you fancy. He deserves pity rather than ridicule.'
'I don't dispute it; but why are you worrying over him?'
'One ought to be just, Yevgeny.'
'How does that follow?'
'No; listen ...'
And Arkady told him his uncle's story. The reader will find it in
the following chapter.
Pavel Petrovitch Kirsanov was educated first at home, like his
younger brother, and afterwards in the Corps of Pages. From childhood
he was distinguished by remarkable beauty; moreover he was
self-confident, somewhat ironical, and had a rather biting humour; he
could not fail to please. He began to be seen everywhere, directly he
had received his commission as an officer. He was much admired in
society, and he indulged every whim, even every caprice and every
folly, and gave himself airs, but that too was attractive in him. Women
went out of their senses over him; men called him a coxcomb, and were
secretly jealous of him. He lived, as has been related already, in the
same apartments as his brother, whom he loved sincerely, though he was
not at all like him. Nikolai Petrovitch was a little lame, he had
small, pleasing features of a rather melancholy cast, small, black
eyes, and thin, soft hair; he liked being lazy, but he also liked
reading, and was timid in society.
Pavel Petrovitch did not spend a single evening at home, prided
himself on his ease and audacity (he was just bringing gymnastics into
fashion among young men in society), and had read in all some five or
six French books. At twenty-eight he was already a captain; a brilliant
career awaited him. Suddenly everything was changed.
At that time, there was sometimes seen in Petersburg society a woman
who has even yet not been forgotten. Princess R. She had a
well-educated, well-bred, but rather stupid husband, and no children.
She used suddenly to go abroad, and suddenly return to Russia, and led
an eccentric life in general. She had the reputation of being a
frivolous coquette, abandoned herself eagerly to every sort of
pleasure, danced to exhaustion, laughed and jested with young men, whom
she received in the dim light of her drawing-room before dinner; while
at night she wept and prayed, found no peace in anything, and often
paced her room till morning, wringing her hands in anguish, or sat,
pale and chill, over a psalter. Day came, and she was transformed again
into a grand lady; again she went out, laughed, chattered, and simply
flung herself headlong into anything which could afford her the
slightest distraction. She was marvellously well-proportioned, her hair
coloured like gold and heavy as gold hung below her knees, but no one
would have called her a beauty; in her whole face the only good point
was her eyes, and even her eyes were not goodthey were grey, and not
largebut their glance was swift and deep, unconcerned to the point of
audacity, and thoughtful to the point of melancholyan enigmatic
glance. There was a light of something extraordinary in them, even
while her tongue was lisping the emptiest of inanities. She dressed
with elaborate care. Pavel Petrovitch met her at a ball, danced a
mazurka with her, in the course of which she did not utter a single
rational word, and fell passionately in love with her. Being accustomed
to make conquests, in this instance, too, he soon attained his object,
but his easy success did not damp his ardour. On the contrary, he was
in still more torturing, still closer bondage to this woman, in whom,
even at the very moment when she surrendered herself utterly, there
seemed always something still mysterious and unattainable, to which
none could penetrate. What was hidden in that soulGod knows! It
seemed as though she were in the power of mysterious forces,
incomprehensible even to herself; they seemed to play on her at will;
her intellect was not powerful enough to master their caprices. Her
whole behaviour presented a series of inconsistencies; the only letters
which could have awakened her husband's just suspicions, she wrote to a
man who was almost a stranger to her, whilst her love had always an
element of melancholy; with a man she had chosen as a lover, she ceased
to laugh and to jest, she listened to him, and gazed at him with a look
of bewilderment. Sometimes, for the most part suddenly, this
bewilderment passed into chill horror; her face took a wild, death-like
expression; she locked herself up in her bedroom, and her maid, putting
her ear to the keyhole, could hear her smothered sobs. More than once,
as he went home after a tender interview, Kirsanov felt within him that
heartrending, bitter vexation which follows on a total failure.
'What more do I want?' he asked himself, while his heart was heavy.
He once gave her a ring with a sphinx engraved on the stone.
'What's that?' she asked; 'a sphinx?'
'Yes,' he answered, 'and that sphinx is you.'
'I?' she queried, and slowly raising her enigmatical glance upon
him. 'Do you know that's awfully flattering?' she added with a
meaningless smile, while her eyes still kept the same strange look.
Pavel Petrovitch suffered even while Princess Rloved him; but
when she grew cold to him, and that happened rather quickly, he almost
went out of his mind. He was on the rack, and he was jealous; he gave
her no peace, followed her about everywhere; she grew sick of his
pursuit of her, and she went abroad. He resigned his commission in
spite of the entreaties of his friends and the exhortations of his
superiors, and followed the princess; four years he spent in foreign
countries, at one time pursuing her, at another time intentionally
losing sight of her. He was ashamed of himself, he was disgusted with
his own lack of spirit ... but nothing availed. Her image, that
incomprehensible, almost meaningless, but bewitching image, was deeply
rooted in his heart. At Baden he once more regained his old footing
with her; it seemed as though she had never loved him so passionately
... but in a month it was all at an end: the flame flickered up for the
last time and went out for ever. Foreseeing inevitable separation, he
wanted at least to remain her friend, as though friendship with such a
woman was possible.... She secretly left Baden, and from that time
steadily avoided Kirsanov. He returned to Russia, and tried to live his
former life again; but he could not get back into the old groove. He
wandered from place to place like a man possessed; he still went into
society; he still retained the habits of a man of the world; he could
boast of two or three fresh conquests; but he no longer expected
anything much of himself or of others, and he undertook nothing. He
grew old and grey; spending all his evenings at the club, jaundiced and
bored, and arguing in bachelor society became a necessity for hima
bad sign, as we all know. Marriage, of course, he did not even think
of. Ten years passed in this way; they passed by colourless and
fruitlessand quickly, fearfully quickly. Nowhere does time fly past
as in Russia; in prison they say it flies even faster. One day at
dinner at the club, Pavel Petrovitch heard of the death of the Princess
R. She had died at Paris in a state bordering on insanity.
He got up from the table, and a long time he paced about the rooms
of the club, or stood stockstill near the card-players, but he did not
go home earlier than usual. Some time later he received a packet
addressed to him; in it was the ring he had given the princess. She had
drawn lines in the shape of a cross over the sphinx and sent him word
that the solution of the enigmawas the cross.
This happened at the beginning of the year 1848, at the very time
when Nikolai Petrovitch came to Petersburg, after the loss of his wife.
Pavel Petrovitch had scarcely seen his brother since the latter had
settled in the country; the marriage of Nikolai Petrovitch had
coincided with the very first days of Pavel Petrovitch's acquaintance
with the princess. When he came back from abroad, he had gone to him
with the intention of staying a couple of months with him, in
sympathetic enjoyment of his happiness, but he had only succeeded in
standing a week of it. The difference in the positions of the two
brothers was too great. In 1848, this difference had grown less;
Nikolai Petrovitch had lost his wife, Pavel Petrovitch had lost his
memories; after the death of the princess he tried not to think of her.
But to Nikolai, there remained the sense of a well-spent life, his son
was growing up under his eyes; Pavel, on the contrary, a solitary
bachelor, was entering upon that indefinite twilight period of regrets
that are akin to hopes, and hopes that are akin to regrets, when youth
is over, while old age has not yet come.
This time was harder for Pavel Petrovitch than for another man; in
losing his past, he lost everything.
'I will not invite you to Maryino now,' Nikolai Petrovitch said to
him one day, (he had called his property by that name in honour of his
wife); 'you were dull there in my dear wife's time, and now I think you
would be bored to death.'
'I was stupid and fidgety then,' answered Pavel Petrovitch; 'since
then I have grown quieter, if not wiser. On the contrary, now, if you
will let me, I am ready to settle with you for good.'
For all answer Nikolai Petrovitch embraced him; but a year and a
half passed after this conversation, before Pavel Petrovitch made up
his mind to carry out his intention. When he was once settled in the
country, however, he did not leave it, even during the three winters
which Nikolai Petrovitch spent in Petersburg with his son. He began to
read, chiefly English; he arranged his whole life, roughly speaking, in
the English style, rarely saw the neighbours, and only went out to the
election of marshals, where he was generally silent, only occasionally
annoying and alarming land-owners of the old school by his liberal
sallies, and not associating with the representatives of the younger
generation. Both the latter and the former considered him 'stuck up';
and both parties respected him for his fine aristocratic manners; for
his reputation for successes in love; for the fact that he was very
well dressed and always stayed in the best room in the best hotel; for
the fact that he generally dined well, and had once even dined with
Wellington at Louis Philippe's table; for the fact that he always took
everywhere with him a real silver dressing-case and a portable bath;
for the fact that he always smelt of some exceptionally 'good form'
scent; for the fact that he played whist in masterly fashion, and
always lost; and lastly, they respected him also for his incorruptible
honesty. Ladies considered him enchantingly romantic, but he did not
cultivate ladies' acquaintance....
'So you see, Yevgeny,' observed Arkady, as he finished his story,
'how unjustly you judge of my uncle! To say nothing of his having more
than once helped my father out of difficulties, given him all his
moneythe property, perhaps you don't know, wasn't dividedhe's glad
to help any one, among other things he always sticks up for the
peasants; it's true, when he talks to them he frowns and sniffs eau de
'His nerves, no doubt,' put in Bazarov.
'Perhaps; but his heart is very good. And he's far from being
stupid. What useful advice he has given me especially ... especially in
regard to relations with women.'
'Aha! a scalded dog fears cold water, we know that!'
'In short,' continued Arkady, 'he's profoundly unhappy, believe me;
it's a sin to despise him.'
'And who does despise him?' retorted Bazarov. 'Still, I must say
that a fellow who stakes his whole life on one carda woman's
loveand when that card fails, turns sour, and lets himself go till
he's fit for nothing, is not a man, but a male. You say he's unhappy;
you ought to know best; to be sure, he's not got rid of all his fads.
I'm convinced that he solemnly imagines himself a superior creature
because he reads that wretched Galignani, and once a month saves
a peasant from a flogging.'
'But remember his education, the age in which he grew up,' observed
'Education?' broke in Bazarov. 'Every man must educate himself, just
as I've done, for instance.... And as for the age, why should I depend
on it? Let it rather depend on me. No, my dear fellow, that's all
shallowness, want of backbone! And what stuff it all is, about these
mysterious relations between a man and woman? We physiologists know
what these relations are. You study the anatomy of the eye; where does
the enigmatical glance you talk about come in there? That's all
romantic, nonsensical, æsthetic rot. We had much better go and look at
And the two friends went off to Bazarov's room, which was already
pervaded by a sort of medico-surgical odour, mingled with the smell of
Pavel Petrovitch did not long remain present at his brother's
interview with his bailiff, a tall, thin man with a sweet consumptive
voice and knavish eyes, who to all Nikolai Petrovitch's remarks
answered, 'Certainly, sir,' and tried to make the peasants out to be
thieves and drunkards. The estate had only recently been put on to the
new reformed system, and the new mechanism worked, creaking like an
ungreased wheel, warping and cracking like homemade furniture of
unseasoned wood. Nikolai Petrovitch did not lose heart, but often he
sighed, and was gloomy; he felt that the thing could not go on without
money, and his money was almost all spent. Arkady had spoken the truth;
Pavel Petrovitch had more than once helped his brother; more than once,
seeing him struggling and cudgelling his brains, at a loss which way to
turn, Pavel Petrovitch moved deliberately to the window, and with his
hands thrust into his pockets, muttered between his teeth, 'mais je
puis vous de l'argent,' and gave him money; but to-day he had none
himself, and he preferred to go away. The petty details of agricultural
management worried him; besides, it constantly struck him that Nikolai
Petrovitch, for all his zeal and industry, did not set about things in
the right way, though he would not have been able to point out
precisely where Nikolai Petrovitch's mistake lay. 'My brother's not
practical enough,' he reasoned to himself; 'they impose upon him.'
Nikolai Petrovitch, on the other hand, had the highest opinion of Pavel
Petrovitch's practical ability, and always asked his advice. 'I'm a
soft, weak fellow, I've spent my life in the wilds,' he used to say;
'while you haven't seen so much of the world for nothing, you see
through people; you have an eagle eye.' In answer to which Pavel
Petrovitch only turned away, but did not contradict his brother.
Leaving Nikolai Petrovitch in his study, he walked along the
corridor, which separated the front part of the house from the back;
when he had reached a low door, he stopped in hesitation, then pulling
his moustaches, he knocked at it.
'Who's there? Come in,' sounded Fenitchka's voice.
'It's I,' said Pavel Petrovitch, and he opened the door.
Fenitchka jumped up from the chair on which she was sitting with her
baby, and giving him into the arms of a girl, who at once carried him
out of the room, she put straight her kerchief hastily.
'Pardon me, if I disturb you,' began Pavel Petrovitch, not looking
at her; 'I only wanted to ask you ... they are sending into the town
to-day, I think ... please let them buy me some green tea.'
'Certainly,' answered Fenitchka; 'how much do you desire them to
'Oh, half a pound will be enough, I imagine. You have made a change
here, I see,' he added, with a rapid glance round him, which glided
over Fenitchka's face too. 'The curtains here,' he explained, seeing
she did not understand him.
'Oh, yes, the curtains; Nikolai Petrovitch was so good as to make me
a present of them; but they have been put up a long while now.'
'Yes, and it's a long while since I have been to see you. Now it is
very nice here.'
'Thanks to Nikolai Petrovitch's kindness,' murmured Fenitchka.
'You are more comfortable here than in the little lodge you used to
have?' inquired Pavel Petrovitch urbanely, but without the slightest
'Certainly, it's more comfortable.'
'Who has been put in your place now?'
'The laundry-maids are there now.'
Pavel Petrovitch was silent. 'Now he is going,' thought Fenitchka;
but he did not go, and she stood before him motionless.
'What did you send your little one away for?' said Pavel Petrovitch
at last. 'I love children; let me see him.'
Fenitchka blushed all over with confusion and delight. She was
afraid of Pavel Petrovitch; he had scarcely ever spoken to her.
'Dunyasha,' she called; 'will you bring Mitya, please.' (Fenitchka
did not treat any one in the house familiarly.) 'But wait a minute, he
must have a frock on,' Fenitchka was going towards the door.
'That doesn't matter,' remarked Pavel Petrovitch.
'I will be back directly,' answered Fenitchka, and she went out
Pavel Petrovitch was left alone, and he looked round this time with
special attention. The small low-pitched room in which he found himself
was very clean and snug. It smelt of the freshly painted floor and of
camomile. Along the walls stood chairs with lyre-shaped backs, bought
by the late general on his campaign in Poland; in one corner was a
little bedstead under a muslin canopy beside an iron-clamped chest with
a convex lid. In the opposite corner a little lamp was burning before a
big dark picture of St. Nikolai the wonder-worker; a tiny porcelain egg
hung by a red ribbon from the protruding gold halo down to the saint's
breast; by the windows greenish glass jars of last year's jam carefully
tied down could be seen; on their paper covers Fenitchka herself had
written in big letters 'Gooseberry'; Nikolai Petrovitch was
particularly fond of that preserve. On a long cord from the ceiling a
cage hung with a short-tailed siskin in it; he was constantly chirping
and hopping about, the cage was constantly shaking and swinging, while
hempseeds fell with a light tap on to the floor. On the wall just above
a small chest of drawers hung some rather bad photographs of Nikolai
Petrovitch in various attitudes, taken by an itinerant photographer;
there too hung a photograph of Fenitchka herself, which was an absolute
failure; it was an eyeless face wearing a forced smile, in a dingy
frame, nothing more could be made out; while above Fenitchka, General
Yermolov, in a Circassian cloak, scowled menacingly upon the Caucasian
mountains in the distance, from beneath a little silk shoe for pins
which fell right on to his brows.
Five minutes passed; bustling and whispering could be heard in the
next room. Pavel Petrovitch took up from the chest of drawers a greasy
book, an odd volume of Masalsky's Musketeer, and turned over a
few pages.... The door opened, and Fenitchka came in with Mitya in her
arms. She had put on him a little red smock with embroidery on the
collar, had combed his hair and washed his face; he was breathing
heavily, his whole body working, and his little hands waving in the
air, as is the way with all healthy babies; but his smart smock
obviously impressed him, an expression of delight was reflected in
every part of his little fat person. Fenitchka had put her own hair too
in order, and had arranged her kerchief; but she might well have
remained as she was. And really is there anything in the world more
captivating than a beautiful young mother with a healthy baby in her
'What a chubby fellow!' said Pavel Petrovitch graciously, and he
tickled Mitya's little double chin with the tapering nail of his
forefinger. The baby stared at the siskin, and chuckled.
'That's uncle,' said Fenitchka, bending her face down to him and
slightly rocking him, while Dunyasha quietly set in the window a
smouldering perfumed stick, putting a halfpenny under it.
'How many months old is he?' asked Pavel Petrovitch.
'Six months; it will soon be seven, on the eleventh.'
'Isn't it eight, Fedosya Nikolaevna?' put in Dunyasha, with some
'No, seven; what an idea!' The baby chuckled again, stared at the
chest, and suddenly caught hold of his mother's nose and mouth with all
his five little fingers. 'Saucy mite,' said Fenitchka, not drawing her
'He's like my brother,' observed Pavel Petrovitch.
'Who else should he be like?' thought Fenitchka.
'Yes,' continued Pavel Petrovitch, as though speaking to himself;
'there's an unmistakable likeness.' He looked attentively, almost
mournfully, at Fenitchka.
'That's uncle,' she repeated, in a whisper this time.
'Ah! Pavel! so you're here!' was heard suddenly the voice of Nikolai
Pavel Petrovitch turned hurriedly round, frowning; but his brother
looked at him with such delight, such gratitude, that he could not help
responding to his smile.
'You've a splendid little cherub,' he said, and looking at his
watch, 'I came in here to speak about some tea.'
And, assuming an expression of indifference, Pavel Petrovitch at
once went out of the room.
'Did he come of himself?' Nikolai Petrovitch asked Fenitchka.
'Yes; he knocked and came in.'
'Well, and has Arkasha been in to see you again?'
'No. Hadn't I better move into the lodge, Nikolai Petrovitch?'
'I wonder whether it wouldn't be best just for the first.'
'N ... no,' Nikolai Petrovitch brought out hesitatingly, rubbing his
forehead. 'We ought to have done it before.... How are you, fatty?' he
said, suddenly brightening, and going up to the baby, he kissed him on
the cheek; then he bent a little and pressed his lips to Fenitchka's
hand, which lay white as milk upon Mitya's little red smock.
'Nikolai Petrovitch! what are you doing?' she whispered, dropping
her eyes, then slowly raising them. Very charming was the expression of
her eyes when she peeped, as it were, from under her lids, and smiled
tenderly and a little foolishly.
Nikolai Petrovitch had made Fenitchka's acquaintance in the
following manner. He had once happened three years before to stay a
night at an inn in a remote district town. He was agreeably struck by
the cleanness of the room assigned to him, the freshness of the
bed-linen. Surely the woman of the house must be a German? was the idea
that occurred to him; but she proved to be a Russian, a woman of about
fifty, neatly dressed, of a good-looking, sensible countenance and
discreet speech. He entered into conversation with her at tea; he liked
her very much. Nikolai Petrovitch had at that time only just moved into
his new home, and not wishing to keep serfs in the house, he was on the
look-out for wage-servants; the woman of the inn on her side complained
of the small number of visitors to the town, and the hard times; he
proposed to her to come into his house in the capacity of housekeeper;
she consented. Her husband had long been dead, leaving her an only
daughter, Fenitchka. Within a fortnight Arina Savishna (that was the
new housekeeper's name) arrived with her daughter at Maryino and
installed herself in the little lodge. Nikolai Petrovitch's choice
proved a successful one. Arina brought order into the household. As for
Fenitchka, who was at that time seventeen, no one spoke of her, and
scarcely any one saw her; she lived quietly and sedately, and only on
Sundays Nikolai Petrovitch noticed in the church somewhere in a side
place the delicate profile of her white face. More than a year passed
One morning, Arina came into his study, and bowing low as usual, she
asked him if he could do anything for her daughter, who had got a spark
from the stove in her eye. Nikolai Petrovitch, like all stay-at-home
people, had studied doctoring and even compiled a homoeopathic guide.
He at once told Arina to bring the patient to him. Fenitchka was much
frightened when she heard the master had sent for her; however, she
followed her mother. Nikolai Petrovitch led her to the window and took
her head in his two hands. After thoroughly examining her red and
swollen eye, he prescribed a fomentation, which he made up himself at
once, and tearing his handkerchief in pieces, he showed her how it
ought to be applied. Fenitchka listened to all he had to say, and then
was going. 'Kiss the master's hand, silly girl,' said Arina. Nikolai
Petrovitch did not give her his hand, and in confusion himself kissed
her bent head on the parting of her hair. Fenitchka's eye was soon well
again, but the impression she had made on Nikolai Petrovitch did not
pass away so quickly. He was for ever haunted by that pure, delicate,
timidly raised face; he felt on the palms of his hands that soft hair,
and saw those innocent, slightly parted lips, through which pearly
teeth gleamed with moist brilliance in the sunshine. He began to watch
her with great attention in church, and tried to get into conversation
with her. At first she was shy of him, and one day meeting him at the
approach of evening in a narrow footpath through a field of rye, she
ran into the tall thick rye, overgrown with cornflowers and wormwood,
so as not to meet him face to face. He caught sight of her little head
through a golden network of ears of rye, from which she was peeping out
like a little animal, and called affectionately to her
'Good-evening, Fenitchka! I don't bite.'
'Good-evening,' she whispered, not coming out of her ambush.
By degrees she began to be more at home with him, but was still shy
in his presence, when suddenly her mother, Arina, died of cholera. What
was to become of Fenitchka? She inherited from her mother a love for
order, regularity, and respectability; but she was so young, so alone.
Nikolai Petrovitch was himself so good and considerate.... It's
needless to relate the rest....
'So my brother came in to see you?' Nikolai Petrovitch questioned
her. 'He knocked and came in?'
'Well, that's a good thing. Let me give Mitya a swing.'
And Nikolai Petrovitch began tossing him almost up to the ceiling,
to the huge delight of the baby, and to the considerable uneasiness of
the mother, who every time he flew up stretched her arms up towards his
little bare legs.
Pavel Petrovitch went back to his artistic study, with its walls
covered with handsome bluish-grey hangings, with weapons hanging upon a
variegated Persian rug nailed to the wall; with walnut furniture,
upholstered in dark green velveteen, with a renaissance bookcase
of old black oak, with bronze statuettes on the magnificent
writing-table, with an open hearth. He threw himself on the sofa,
clasped his hands behind his head, and remained without moving, looking
with a face almost of despair at the ceiling. Whether he wanted to hide
from the very walls that which was reflected in his face, or for some
other reason, he got up, drew the heavy window curtains, and again
threw himself on the sofa.
On the same day Bazarov made acquaintance with Fenitchka. He was
walking with Arkady in the garden, and explaining to him why some of
the trees, especially the oaks, had not done well.
'You ought to have planted silver poplars here by preference, and
spruce firs, and perhaps limes, giving them some loam. The arbour there
has done well,' he added, 'because it's acacia and lilac; they're
accommodating good fellows, those trees, they don't want much care. But
there's some one in here.'
In the arbour was sitting Fenitchka, with Dunyasha and Mitya.
Bazarov stood still, while Arkady nodded to Fenitchka like an old
'Who's that?' Bazarov asked him directly they had passed by. 'What a
'Whom are you speaking of?'
'You know; only one of them was pretty.'
Arkady, not without embarrassment, explained to him briefly who
'Aha!' commented Bazarov; 'your father's got good taste, one can
see. I like him, your father, ay, ay! He's a jolly fellow. We must make
friends though,' he added, and turned back towards the arbour.
'Yevgeny!' Arkady cried after him in dismay; 'mind what you are
about, for mercy's sake.'
'Don't worry yourself,' said Bazarov; 'I know how to behave
myselfI'm not a booby.'
Going up to Fenitchka, he took off his cap.
'Allow me to introduce myself,' he began, with a polite bow. 'I'm a
harmless person, and a friend of Arkady Nikolaevitch's.'
Fenitchka got up from the garden seat and looked at him without
'What a splendid baby!' continued Bazarov; 'don't be uneasy, my
praises have never brought ill-luck yet. Why is it his cheeks are so
flushed? Is he cutting his teeth?'
'Yes,' said Fenitchka; 'he has cut four teeth already, and now the
gums are swollen again.'
'Show me, and don't be afraid, I'm a doctor.'
Bazarov took the baby up in his arms, and to the great astonishment
both of Fenitchka and Dunyasha the child made no resistance, and was
'I see, I see.... It's nothing, everything's as it should be; he
will have a good set of teeth. If anything goes wrong, tell me. And are
you quite well yourself?'
'Quite, thank God.'
'Thank God, indeedthat's the great thing. And you?' he added,
turning to Dunyasha.
Dunyasha, a girl very prim in the master's house, and a romp outside
the gates, only giggled in answer.
'Well, that's all right. Here's your gallant fellow.'
Fenitchka received the baby in her arms.
'How good he was with you!' she commented in an undertone.
'Children are always good with me.' answered Bazarov; 'I have a way
'Children know who loves them,' remarked Dunyasha.
'Yes, they certainly do,' Fenitchka said. 'Why, Mitya will not go to
some people for anything.'
'Will he come to me?' asked Arkady, who, after standing in the
distance for some time, had gone up to the arbour.
He tried to entice Mitya to come to him, but Mitya threw his head
back and screamed, to Fenitchka's great confusion.
'Another day, when he's had time to get used to me,' said Arkady
indulgently, and the two friends walked away.
'What's her name?' asked Bazarov.
'Fenitchka ... Fedosya,' answered Arkady.
'And her father's name? One must know that too.'
'Bene. What I like in her is that she's not too embarrassed.
Some people, I suppose, would think ill of her for it. What nonsense!
What is there to embarrass her? She's a mothershe's all right.'
'She's all right,' observed Arkady,'but my father.'
'And he's right too,' put in Bazarov.
'Well, no, I don't think so.'
'I suppose an extra heir's not to your liking?'
'I wonder you're not ashamed to attribute such ideas to me!'
retorted Arkady hotly; 'I don't consider my father wrong from that
point of view; I think he ought to marry her.'
'Hoity-toity!' responded Bazarov tranquilly. 'What magnanimous
fellows we are! You still attach significance to marriage; I did not
expect that of you.'
The friends walked a few paces in silence.
'I have looked at all your father's establishment,' Bazarov began
again. 'The cattle are inferior, the horses are broken down; the
buildings aren't up to much, and the workmen look confirmed loafers;
while the superintendent is either a fool, or a knave, I haven't quite
found out which yet.'
'You are rather hard on everything to-day, Yevgeny Vassilyevitch.'
'And the dear good peasants are taking your father in to a dead
certainty. You know the Russian proverb, The Russian peasant will
cheat God Himself.'
'I begin to agree with my uncle,' remarked Arkady; 'you certainly
have a poor opinion of Russians.'
'As though that mattered! The only good point in a Russian is his
having the lowest possible opinion of himself. What does matter is that
two and two make four, and the rest is all foolery.'
'And is nature foolery?' said Arkady, looking pensively at the
bright-coloured fields in the distance, in the beautiful soft light of
the sun, which was not yet high up in the sky.
'Nature, too, is foolery in the sense you understand it. Nature's
not a temple, but a workshop, and man's the workman in it.'
At that instant, the long drawn notes of a violoncello floated out
to them from the house. Some one was playing Schubert's Expectation
with much feeling, though with an untrained hand, and the melody flowed
with honey sweetness through the air.
'What's that?' cried Bazarov in amazement.
'It's my father.'
'Your father plays the violoncello?'
'And how old is your father?'
Bazarov suddenly burst into a roar of laughter.
'What are you laughing at?'
'Upon my word, a man of forty-four, a paterfamilias in this
out-of-the-way district, playing on the violoncello!'
Bazarov went on laughing; but much as he revered his master, this
time Arkady did not even smile.
About a fortnight passed by. Life at Maryino went on its accustomed
course, while Arkady was lazy and enjoyed himself, and Bazarov worked.
Every one in the house had grown used to him, to his careless manners,
and his curt and abrupt speeches. Fenitchka, in particular, was so far
at home with him that one night she sent to wake him up; Mitya had had
convulsions; and he had gone, and, half joking, half-yawning as usual,
he stayed two hours with her and relieved the child. On the other hand
Pavel Petrovitch had grown to detest Bazarov with all the strength of
his soul; he regarded him as stuck-up, impudent, cynical, and vulgar;
he suspected that Bazarov had no respect for him, that he had all but a
contempt for himhim, Pavel Kirsanov!
Nikolai Petrovitch was rather afraid of the young 'nihilist,' and
was doubtful whether his influence over Arkady was for the good; but he
was glad to listen to him, and was glad to be present at his scientific
and chemical experiments. Bazarov had brought with him a microscope,
and busied himself for hours together with it. The servants, too, took
to him, though he made fun of them; they felt, all the same, that he
was one of themselves, not a master. Dunyasha was always ready to
giggle with him, and used to cast significant and stealthy glances at
him when she skipped by like a rabbit; Piotr, a man vain and stupid to
the last degree, for ever wearing an affected frown on his brow, a man
whose whole merit consisted in the fact that he looked civil, could
spell out a page of reading, and was diligent in brushing his
coateven he smirked and brightened up directly Bazarov paid him any
attention; the boys on the farm simply ran after the 'doctor' like
puppies. The old man Prokofitch was the only one who did not like him;
he handed him the dishes at table with a surly face, called him a
'butcher' and 'an upstart,' and declared that with his great whiskers
he looked like a pig in a stye. Prokofitch in his own way was quite as
much of an aristocrat as Pavel Petrovitch.
The best days of the year had comethe first days of June. The
weather kept splendidly fine; in the distance, it is true, the cholera
was threatening, but the inhabitants of that province had had time to
get used to its visits. Bazarov used to get up very early and go out
for two or three miles, not for a walkhe couldn't bear walking
without an objectbut to collect specimens of plants and insects.
Sometimes he took Arkady with him.
On the way home an argument usually sprang up, and Arkady was
usually vanquished in it, though he said more than his companion.
One day they had lingered rather late; Nikolai Petrovitch went to
meet them in the garden, and as he reached the arbour he suddenly heard
the quick steps and voices of the two young men. They were walking on
the other side of the arbour, and could not see him.
'You don't know my father well enough,' said Arkady.
'Your father's a nice chap,' said Bazarov, 'but he's behind the
times; his day is done.'
Nikolai Petrovitch listened intently.... Arkady made no answer.
The man whose day was done remained two minutes motionless, and
stole slowly home.
'The day before yesterday I saw him reading Pushkin,' Bazarov was
continuing meanwhile. 'Explain to him, please, that that's no earthly
use. He's not a boy, you know; it's time to throw up that rubbish. And
what an idea to be a romantic at this time of day! Give him something
sensible to read.'
'What ought I to give him?' asked Arkady.
'Oh, I think Büchner's Stoff und Kraft to begin with.'
'I think so too,' observed Arkady approving, 'Stoff und Kraft
is written in popular language....'
'So it seems,' Nikolai Petrovitch said the same day after dinner to
his brother, as he sat in his study, 'you and I are behind the times,
our day's over. Well, well. Perhaps Bazarov is right; but one thing I
confess, makes me feel sore; I did so hope, precisely now, to get on to
such close intimate terms with Arkady, and it turns out I'm left
behind, and he has gone forward, and we can't understand one another.'
'How has he gone forward? And in what way is he so superior to us
already?' cried Pavel Petrovitch impatiently. 'It's that high and
mighty gentleman, that nihilist, who's knocked all that into his head.
I hate that doctor fellow; in my opinion, he's simply a quack; I'm
convinced, for all his tadpoles, he's not got very far even in
'No, brother, you mustn't say that; Bazarov is clever, and knows his
'And his conceit's something revolting,' Pavel Petrovitch broke in
'Yes,' observed Nikolai Petrovitch, 'he is conceited. But there's no
doing without that, it seems; only that's what I did not take into
account. I thought I was doing everything to keep up with the times; I
have started a model farm; I have done well by the peasants, so that I
am positively called a Red Radical all over the province; I read, I
study, I try in every way to keep abreast with the requirements of the
dayand they say my day's over. And, brother, I begin to think that it
'I'll tell you why. This morning I was sitting reading Pushkin.... I
remember, it happened to be The Gipsies ... all of a sudden
Arkady came up to me, and, without speaking, with such a kindly
compassion on his face, as gently as if I were a baby, took the book
away from me, and laid another before mea German book ... smiled, and
went away, carrying Pushkin off with him.'
'Upon my word! What book did he give you?'
'This one here.'
And Nikolai Petrovitch pulled the famous treatise of Büchner, in the
ninth edition, out of his coat-tail pocket.
Pavel Petrovitch turned it over in his hands. 'Hm!' he growled.
'Arkady Nikolaevitch is taking your education in hand. Well, did you
try reading it?'
'Yes, I tried it.'
'Well, what did you think of it?'
'Either I'm stupid, or it's allnonsense. I must be stupid, I
'Haven't you forgotten your German?' queried Pavel Petrovitch.
'Oh, I understand the German.'
Pavel Petrovitch again turned the book over in his hands, and
glanced from under his brows at his brother. Both were silent.
'Oh, by the way,' began Nikolai Petrovitch, obviously wishing to
change the subject, 'I've got a letter from Kolyazin.'
'Yes. He has come toto inspect the province. He's quite a bigwig
now; and writes to me that, as a relation, he should like to see us
again, and invites you and me and Arkady to the town.'
'Are you going?' asked Pavel Petrovitch.
'No; are you?'
'No, I shan't go either. Much object there would be in dragging
oneself over forty miles on a wild-goose chase. Mathieu wants to
show himself in all his glory. Damn him! he will have the whole
province doing him homage; he can get on without the likes of us. A
grand dignity, indeed, a privy councillor! If I had stayed in the
service, if I had drudged on in official harness, I should have been a
general-adjutant by now. Besides, you and I are behind the times, you
'Yes, brother; it's time, it seems, to order a coffin and cross
one's arms on ones breast,' remarked Nikolai Petrovitch, with a sigh.
'Well, I'm not going to give in quite so soon,' muttered his
brother. 'I've got a tussle with that doctor fellow before me, I feel
sure of that.'
A tussle came off that same day at evening tea. Pavel Petrovitch
came into the drawing-room, all ready for the fray, irritable and
determined. He was only waiting for an excuse to fall upon the enemy;
but for a long while an excuse did not present itself. As a rule,
Bazarov said little in the presence of the 'old Kirsanovs' (that was
how he spoke of the brothers), and that evening he felt out of humour,
and drank off cup after cup of tea without a word. Pavel Petrovitch was
all aflame with impatience; his wishes were fulfilled at last.
The conversation turned on one of the neighbouring landowners.
'Rotten aristocratic snob,' observed Bazarov indifferently. He had met
him in Petersburg.
'Allow me to ask you,' began Pavel Petrovitch, and his lips were
trembling, 'according to your ideas, have the words rotten and
aristocrat the same meaning?'
'I said aristocratic snob,' replied Bazarov, lazily swallowing a
sip of tea.
'Precisely so; but I imagine you have the same opinion of
aristocrats as of aristocratic snobs. I think it my duty to inform you
that I do not share that opinion. I venture to assert that every one
knows me for a man of liberal ideas and devoted to progress; but,
exactly for that reason, I respect aristocratsreal aristocrats.
Kindly remember, sir' (at these words Bazarov lifted his eyes and
looked at Pavel Petrovitch), 'kindly remember, sir,' he repeated, with
acrimony'the English aristocracy. They do not abate one iota of their
rights, and for that reason they respect the rights of others; they
demand the performance of what is due to them, and for that reason they
perform their own duties. The aristocracy has given freedom to England,
and maintains it for her.'
'We've heard that story a good many times,' replied Bazarov; 'but
what are you trying to prove by that?'
'I am tryin' to prove by that, sir' (when Pavel Petrovitch was angry
he intentionally clipped his words in this way, though, of course, he
knew very well that such forms are not strictly grammatical. In this
fashionable whim could be discerned a survival of the habits of the
times of Alexander. The exquisites of those days, on the rare occasions
when they spoke their own language, made use of such slipshod forms; as
much as to say, 'We, of course, are born Russians, at the same time we
are great swells, who are at liberty to neglect the rules of
scholars'); 'I am tryin' to prove by that, sir, that without the sense
of personal dignity, without self-respectand these two sentiments are
well developed in the aristocratthere is no secure foundation for the
social ... bien public ... the social fabric. Personal
character, sirthat is the chief thing; a man's personal character
must be firm as a rock, since everything is built on it. I am very well
aware, for instance, that you are pleased to consider my habits, my
dress, my refinements, in fact, ridiculous; but all that proceeds from
a sense of self-respect, from a sense of dutyyes, indeed, of duty. I
live in the country, in the wilds, but I will not lower myself. I
respect the dignity of man in myself.'
'Let me ask you, Pavel Petrovitch,' commented Bazarov; 'you respect
yourself, and sit with your hands folded; what sort of benefit does
that do to the bien public? If you didn't respect yourself,
you'd do just the same.'
Pavel Petrovitch turned white. 'That's a different question. It's
absolutely unnecessary for me to explain to you now why I sit with
folded hands, as you are pleased to express yourself. I wish only to
tell you that aristocracy is a principle, and in our days none but
immoral or silly people can live without principles. I said that to
Arkady the day after he came home, and I repeat it now. Isn't it so,
Nikolai Petrovitch nodded his head.
'Aristocracy, Liberalism, progress, principles,' Bazarov was saying
meanwhile; 'if you think of it, what a lot of foreign ... and useless
words! To a Russian they're good for nothing.'
'What is good for something according to you? If we listen to you,
we shall find ourselves outside humanity, outside its laws. Comethe
logic of history demands ...'
'But what's that logic to us? We call get on without that too.'
'How do you mean?'
'Why, this. You don't need logic, I hope, to put a bit of bread in
your mouth when you're hungry. What's the object of these abstractions
Pavel Petrovitch raised his hands in horror.
'I don't understand you, after that. You insult the Russian people.
I don't understand how it's possible not to acknowledge principles,
rules! By virtue of what do you act then?'
'I've told you already, uncle, that we don't accept any
authorities,' put in Arkady.
'We act by virtue of what we recognise as beneficial,' observed
Bazarov. 'At the present time, negation is the most beneficial of
alland we deny'
'What? not only art and poetry ... but even ... horrible to say ...'
'Everything,' repeated Bazarov, with indescribable composure.
Pavel Petrovitch stared at him. He had not expected this; while
Arkady fairly blushed with delight.
'Allow me, though,' began Nikolai Petrovitch. 'You deny everything;
or, speaking more precisely, you destroy everything.... But one must
construct too, you know.'
'That's not our business now.... The ground wants clearing first.'
'The present condition of the people requires it,' added Arkady,
with dignity; 'we are bound to carry out these requirements, we have no
right to yield to the satisfaction of our personal egoism.'
This last phrase obviously displeased Bazarov; there was a flavour
of philosophy, that is to say, romanticism about it, for Bazarov called
philosophy, too, romanticism, but he did not think it necessary to
correct his young disciple.
'No, no!' cried Pavel Petrovitch, with sudden energy. 'I'm not
willing to believe that you, young men, know the Russian people really,
that you are the representatives of their requirements, their efforts!
No; the Russian people is not what you imagine it. Tradition it holds
sacred; it is a patriarchal people; it cannot live without faith ...'
'I'm not going to dispute that,' Bazarov interrupted. 'I'm even
ready to agree that in that you're right.'
'But if I am right ...'
'And, all the same, that proves nothing.'
'It just proves nothing,' repeated Arkady, with the confidence of a
practised chess-player, who has foreseen an apparently dangerous move
on the part of his adversary, and so is not at all taken aback by it.
'How does it prove nothing?' muttered Pavel Petrovitch, astounded.
'You must be going against the people then?'
'And what if we are?' shouted Bazarov. 'The people imagine that,
when it thunders, the prophet Ilya's riding across the sky in his
chariot. What then? Are we to agree with them? Besides, the people's
Russian; but am I not Russian too?'
'No, you are not Russian, after all you have just been saying! I
can't acknowledge you as Russian.'
'My grandfather ploughed the land,' answered Bazarov with haughty
pride. 'Ask any one of your peasants which of usyou or mehe'd more
readily acknowledge as a fellow-countryman. You don't even know how to
talk to them.'
'While you talk to him and despise him at the same time.'
'Well, suppose he deserves contempt. You find fault with my
attitude, but how do you know that I have got it by chance, that it's
not a product of that very national spirit, in the name of which you
wage war on it?'
'What an idea! Much use in nihilists!'
'Whether they're of use or not, is not for us to decide. Why, even
you suppose you're not a useless person.'
'Gentlemen, gentlemen, no personalities, please!' cried Nikolai
Petrovitch, getting up.
Pavel Petrovitch smiled, and laying his hand on his brother's
shoulder, forced him to sit down again.
'Don't be uneasy,' he said; 'I shall not forget myself, just through
that sense of dignity which is made fun of so mercilessly by our
friendour friend, the doctor. Let me ask,' he resumed, turning again
to Bazarov; 'you suppose, possibly, that your doctrine is a novelty?
That is quite a mistake. The materialism you advocate has been more
than once in vogue already, and has always proved insufficient ...'
'A foreign word again!' broke in Bazarov. He was beginning to feel
vicious, and his face assumed a peculiar coarse coppery hue. 'In the
first place, we advocate nothing; that's not our way.'
'What do you do, then?'
'I'll tell you what we do. Not long ago we used to say that our
officials took bribes, that we had no roads, no commerce, no real
'Oh, I see, you are reformersthat's what that's called, I fancy. I
too should agree to many of your reforms, but ...'
'Then we suspected that talk, perpetual talk, and nothing but talk,
about our social diseases, was not worth while, that it all led to
nothing but superficiality and pedantry; we saw that our leading men,
so-called advanced people and reformers, are no good; that we busy
ourselves over foolery, talk rubbish about art, unconscious
creativeness, parliamentarism, trial by jury, and the deuce knows what
all; while, all the while, it's a question of getting bread to eat,
while we're stifling under the grossest superstition, while all our
enterprises come to grief, simply because there aren't honest men
enough to carry them on, while the very emancipation our Government's
busy upon will hardly come to any good, because peasants are glad to
rob even themselves to get drunk at the gin-shop.'
'Yes,' interposed Pavel Petrovitch, 'yes; you were convinced of all
this, and decided not to undertake anything seriously, yourselves.'
'We decided not to undertake anything,' repeated Bazarov grimly. He
suddenly felt vexed with himself for having, without reason, been so
expansive before this gentleman.
'But to confine yourselves to abuse?'
'To confine ourselves to abuse.'
'And that is called nihilism?'
'And that's called nihilism,' Bazarov repeated again, this time with
Pavel Petrovitch puckered up his face a little. 'So that's it!' he
observed in a strangely composed voice. 'Nihilism is to cure all our
woes, and you, you are our heroes and saviours. But why do you abuse
others, those reformers even? Don't you do as much talking as every one
'Whatever faults we have, we do not err in that way,' Bazarov
muttered between his teeth.
'What, then? Do you act, or what? Are you preparing for action?'
Bazarov made no answer. Something like a tremor passed over Pavel
Petrovitch, but he at once regained control of himself.
'Hm! ... Action, destruction ...' he went on. 'But how destroy
without even knowing why?'
'We shall destroy, because we are a force,' observed Arkady.
Pavel Petrovitch looked at his nephew and laughed.
'Yes, a force is not to be called to account,' said Arkady, drawing
'Unhappy boy!' wailed Pavel Petrovitch, he was positively incapable
of maintaining his firm demeanour any longer. 'If you could only
realise what it is you are doing for your country. No; it's enough to
try the patience of an angel! Force! There's force in the savage
Kalmuck, in the Mongolian; but what is it to us? What is precious to us
is civilisation; yes, yes, sir, its fruits are precious to us. And
don't tell me those fruits are worthless; the poorest dauber, un
barbouilleur, the man who plays dance music for five farthings an
evening, is of more use than you, because they are the representatives
of civilisation, and not of brute Mongolian force! You fancy yourselves
advanced people, and all the while you are only fit for the Kalmuck's
hovel! Force! And recollect, you forcible gentlemen, that you're only
four men and a half, and the others are millions, who won't let you
trample their sacred traditions under foot, who will crush you and walk
'If we're crushed, serve us right,' observed Bazarov. 'But that's an
open question. We are not so few as you suppose.'
'What? You seriously suppose you will come to terms with a whole
'All Moscow was burnt down, you know, by a farthing dip,' answered
'Yes, yes. First a pride almost Satanic, then ridiculethat, that's
what it is attracts the young, that's what gains an ascendancy over the
inexperienced hearts of boys! Here's one of them sitting beside you,
ready to worship the ground under your feet. Look at him! (Arkady
turned away and frowned.) And this plague has spread far already. I
have been told that in Rome our artists never set foot in the Vatican.
Raphael they regard as almost a fool, because, if you please, he's an
authority; while they're all the while most disgustingly sterile and
unsuccessful, men whose imagination does not soar beyond 'Girls at a
Fountain,' however they try! And the girls even out of drawing. They
are fine fellows to your mind, are they not?'
'To my mind,' retorted Bazarov, 'Raphael's not worth a brass
farthing; and they're no better than he.'
'Bravo! bravo! Listen, Arkady ... that's how young men of to-day
ought to express themselves! And if you come to think of it, how could
they fail to follow you! In old days, young men had to study; they
didn't want to be called dunces, so they had to work hard whether they
liked it or not. But now, they need only say, Everything in the world
is foolery! and the trick's done. Young men are delighted. And, to be
sure, they were simply geese before, and now they have suddenly turned
'Your praiseworthy sense of personal dignity has given way,'
remarked Bazarov phlegmatically, while Arkady was hot all over, and his
eyes were flashing. 'Our argument has gone too far; it's better to cut
it short, I think. I shall be quite ready to agree with you,' he added,
getting up, 'when you bring forward a single institution in our present
mode of life, in family or in social life, which does not call for
complete and unqualified destruction.'
'I will bring forward millions of such institutions,' cried Pavel
Petrovitch'millions! Wellthe Mir, for instance.'
A cold smile curved Bazarov's lips. 'Well, as regards the Mir,' he
commented; 'you had better talk to your brother. He has seen by now, I
should fancy, what sort of thing the Mir is in factits common
guarantee, its sobriety, and other features of the kind.'
'The family, then, the family as it exists among our peasants!'
cried Pavel Petrovitch.
'And that subject, too, I imagine, it will be better for yourselves
not to go into in detail. Don't you realise all the advantages of the
head of the family choosing his daughters-in-law? Take my advice, Pavel
Petrovitch, allow yourself two days to think about it; you're not
likely to find anything on the spot. Go through all our classes, and
think well over each, while I and Arkady will ...'
'Will go on turning everything into ridicule,' broke in Pavel
'No, will go on dissecting frogs. Come, Arkady; good-bye for the
The two friends walked off. The brothers were left alone, and at
first they only looked at one another.
'So that,' began Pavel Petrovitch, 'so that's what our young men of
this generation are! They are like thatour successors!'
'Our successors!' repeated Nikolai Petrovitch, with a dejected
smile. He had been sitting on thorns, all through the argument, and had
done nothing but glance stealthily, with a sore heart, at Arkady. 'Do
you know what I was reminded of, brother? I once had a dispute with our
poor mother; she stormed, and wouldn't listen to me. At last I said to
her, Of course, you can't understand me; we belong, I said, to two
different generations. She was dreadfully offended, while I thought,
There's no help for it. It's a bitter pill, but she has to swallow
it. You see, now, our turn has come, and our successors can say to us,
You are not of our generation; swallow your pill.'
'You are beyond everything in your generosity and modesty,' replied
Pavel Petrovitch. 'I'm convinced, on the contrary, that you and I are
far more in the right than these young gentlemen, though we do perhaps
express ourselves in old-fashioned language, vieilli, and have
not the same insolent conceit.... And the swagger of the young men
nowadays! You ask one, Do you take red wine or white? It is my
custom to prefer red! he answers in a deep bass, with a face as solemn
as if the whole universe had its eyes on him at that instant....'
'Do you care for any more tea?' asked Fenitchka, putting her head in
at the door; she had not been able to make up her mind to come into the
drawing-room while there was the sound of voices in dispute there.
'No, you can tell them to take the samovar,' answered Nikolai
Petrovitch, and he got up to meet her. Pavel Petrovitch said 'bon
soir' to him abruptly, and went away to his study.
Half an hour later Nikolai Petrovitch went into the garden to his
favourite arbour. He was overtaken by melancholy thoughts. For the
first time he realised clearly the distance between him and his son; he
foresaw that every day it would grow wider and wider. In vain, then,
had he spent whole days sometimes in the winter at Petersburg over the
newest books; in vain had he listened to the talk of the young men; in
vain had he rejoiced when he succeeded in putting in his word too in
their heated discussions. 'My brother says we are right,' he thought,
'and apart from all vanity, I do think myself that they are further
from the truth than we are, though at the same time I feel there is
something behind them we have not got, some superiority over us.... Is
it youth? No; not only youth. Doesn't their superiority consist in
there being fewer traces of the slaveowner in them than in us?'
Nikolai Petrovitch's head sank despondently, and he passed his hand
over his face.
'But to renounce poetry?' he thought again; 'to have no feeling for
art, for nature ...'
And he looked round, as though trying to understand how it was
possible to have no feeling for nature. It was already evening; the sun
was hidden behind a small copse of aspens which lay a quarter of a mile
from the garden; its shadow stretched indefinitely across the still
fields. A peasant on a white nag went at a trot along the dark, narrow
path close beside the copse; his whole figure was clearly visible even
to the patch on his shoulder, in spite of his being in the shade; the
horse's hoofs flew along bravely. The sun's rays from the farther side
fell full on the copse, and piercing through its thickets, threw such a
warm light on the aspen trunks that they looked like pines, and their
leaves were almost a dark blue, while above them rose a pale blue sky,
faintly tinged by the glow of sunset. The swallows flew high; the wind
had quite died away, belated bees hummed slowly and drowsily among the
lilac blossom; a swarm of midges hung like a cloud over a solitary
branch which stood out against the sky. 'How beautiful, my God!'
thought Nikolai Petrovitch, and his favourite verses were almost on his
lips; he remembered Arkady's Stoff und Kraftand was silent,
but still he sat there, still he gave himself up to the sorrowful
consolation of solitary thought. He was fond of dreaming; his country
life had developed the tendency in him. How short a time ago, he had
been dreaming like this, waiting for his son at the posting station,
and what a change already since that day; their relations that were
then undefined, were defined nowand how defined! Again his dead wife
came back to his imagination, but not as he had known her for many
years, not as the good domestic housewife, but as a young girl with a
slim figure, innocently inquiring eyes, and a tight twist of hair on
her childish neck. He remembered how he had seen her for the first
time. He was still a student then. He had met her on the staircase of
his lodgings, and, jostling by accident against her, he tried to
apologise, and could only mutter, 'Pardon, monsieur,' while she
bowed, smiled, and suddenly seemed frightened, and ran away, though at
the bend of the staircase she had glanced rapidly at him, assumed a
serious air, and blushed. Afterwards, the first timid visits, the
half-words, the half-smiles, and embarrassment; and melancholy, and
yearnings, and at last that breathing rapture.... Where had it all
vanished? She had been his wife, he had been happy as few on earth are
happy.... 'But,' he mused, 'these sweet first moments, why could one
not live an eternal, undying life in them?'
He did not try to make his thought clear to himself; but he felt
that he longed to keep that blissful time by something stronger than
memory; he longed to feel his Marya near him again to have the sense of
her warmth and breathing, and already he could fancy that over him....
'Nikolai Petrovitch,' came the sound of Fenitchka's voice close by
him; 'where are you?'
He started. He felt no pang, no shame. He never even admitted the
possibility of comparison between his wife and Fenitchka, but he was
sorry she had thought of coming to look for him. Her voice had brought
back to him at once his grey hairs, his age, his reality....
The enchanted world into which he was just stepping, which was just
rising out of the dim mists of the past, was shakenand vanished.
'I'm here,' he answered; 'I'm coming, run along.' 'There it is, the
traces of the slave owner,' flashed through his mind. Fenitchka peeped
into the arbour at him without speaking, and disappeared; while he
noticed with astonishment that the night had come on while he had been
dreaming. Everything around was dark and hushed. Fenitchka's face had
glimmered so pale and slight before him. He got up, and was about to go
home; but the emotion stirred in his heart could not be soothed at
once, and he began slowly walking about the garden, sometimes looking
at the ground at his feet, and then raising his eyes towards the sky
where swarms of stars were twinkling. He walked a great deal, till he
was almost tired out, while the restlessness within him, a kind of
yearning, vague, melancholy restlessness, still was not appeased. Oh,
how Bazarov would have laughed at him, if he had known what was passing
within him then! Arkady himself would have condemned him. He, a man
forty-four years old, an agriculturist and a farmer, was shedding
tears, causeless tears; this was a hundred times worse than the
Nikolai Petrovitch continued walking, and could not make up his mind
to go into the house, into the snug peaceful nest, which looked out at
him so hospitably from all its lighted windows; he had not the force to
tear himself away from the darkness, the garden, the sense of the fresh
air in his face, from that melancholy, that restless craving.
At a turn in the path, he was met by Pavel Petrovitch. 'What's the
matter with you?' he asked Nikolai Petrovitch; 'you are as white as a
ghost; you are not well; why don't you go to bed?'
Nikolai Petrovitch explained to him briefly his state of feeling and
moved away. Pavel Petrovitch went to the end of the garden, and he too
grew thoughtful, and he too raised his eyes toward the heavens. But in
his beautiful dark eyes, nothing was reflected but the light of the
stars. He was not born an idealist, and his fastidiously dry and
sensuous soul, with its French tinge of cynicism was not capable of
'Do you know what?' Bazarov was saying to Arkady the same night.
'I've got a splendid idea. Your father was saying to-day that he'd had
an invitation from your illustrious relative. Your father's not going;
let us be off to X; you know the worthy man invites you too. You
see what fine weather it is; we'll stroll about and look at the town.
We'll have five or six days' outing, and enjoy ourselves.'
'And you'll come back here again?'
'No; I must go to my father's. You know, he lives about twenty-five
miles from X. I've not seen him for a long while, and my mother
too; I must cheer the old people up. They've been good to me,
especially my father; he's awfully funny. I'm their only one too.'
'And will you be long with them?'
'I don't suppose so. It will be dull, of course.'
'And you'll come to us on your way back?'
'I don't know ... I'll see. Well, what do you say? Shall we go?'
'If you like,' observed Arkady languidly.
In his heart he was highly delighted with his friend's suggestion,
but he thought it a duty to conceal his feeling. He was not a nihilist
The next day he set off with Bazarov to X. The younger part of
the household at Maryino were sorry at their going; Dunyasha even cried
... but the old folks breathed more easily.
The town of Xto which our friends set off was in the
jurisdiction of a governor who was a young man, and at once a
progressive and a despot, as often happens with Russians. Before the
end of the first year of his government, he had managed to quarrel not
only with the marshal of nobility, a retired officer of the guards, who
kept open house and a stud of horses, but even with his own
subordinates. The feuds arising from this cause assumed at last such
proportions that the ministry in Petersburg had found it necessary to
send down a trusted personage with a commission to investigate it all
on the spot. The choice of the authorities fell upon Matvy Ilyitch
Kolyazin, the son of the Kolyazin, under whose protection the brothers
Kirsanov had once found themselves. He, too, was a 'young man'; that is
to say, he had not long passed forty, but he was already on the high
road to becoming a statesman, and wore a star on each side of his
breastone, to be sure, a foreign star, not of the first magnitude.
Like the governor, whom he had come down to pass judgment upon, he was
reckoned a progressive; and though he was already a bigwig, he was not
like the majority of bigwigs. He had the highest opinion of himself;
his vanity knew no bounds, but he behaved simply, looked affable,
listened condescendingly, and laughed so good-naturedly, that on a
first acquaintance he might even be taken for 'a jolly good fellow.' On
important occasions, however, he knew, as the saying is, how to make
his authority felt. 'Energy is essential,' he used to say then, '
l'énergie est la première qualité d'un homme d'état;' and for all
that, he was usually taken in, and any moderately experienced official
could turn him round his finger. Matvy Ilyitch used to speak with great
respect of Guizot, and tried to impress every one with the idea that he
did not belong to the class of routiniers and high-and-dry
bureaucrats, that not a single phenomenon of social life passed
unnoticed by him.... All such phrases were very familiar to him. He
even followed, with dignified indifference, it is true, the development
of contemporary literature; so a grown-up man who meets a procession of
small boys in the street will sometimes walk after it. In reality,
Matvy Ilyitch had not got much beyond those political men of the days
of Alexander, who used to prepare for an evening party at Madame
Svyetchin's by reading a page of Condillac; only his methods were
different, more modern. He was an adroit courtier, a great hypocrite,
and nothing more; he had no special aptitude for affairs, and no
intellect, but he knew how to manage his own business successfully; no
one could get the better of him there, and, to be sure, that's the
Matvy Ilyitch received Arkady with the good-nature, we might even
call it playfulness, characteristic of the enlightened higher official.
He was astonished, however, when he heard that the cousins he had
invited had remained at home in the country. 'Your father was always a
queer fellow,' he remarked, playing with the tassels of his magnificent
velvet dressing-gown, and suddenly turning to a young official in a
discreetly buttoned-up uniform, he cried, with an air of concentrated
attention, 'What?' The young man, whose lips were glued together from
prolonged silence, got up and looked in perplexity at his chief. But,
having nonplussed his subordinate, Matvy Ilyitch paid him no further
attention. Our higher officials are fond as a rule of nonplussing their
subordinates; the methods to which they have recourse to attain that
end are rather various. The following means, among others, is in great
vogue, 'is quite a favourite,' as the English say; a high
official suddenly ceases to understand the simplest words, assuming
total deafness. He will ask, for instance, What's to-day?'
He is respectfully informed, 'To-day's Friday, your Ex-s-s-s-lency.'
'Eh? What? What's that? What do you say?' the great man repeats with
'To-day's Friday, your Exsslency.'
'Eh? What? What's Friday? What Friday?'
'Friday, your Exssslency, the day of the week.'
'What, do you pretend to teach me, eh?'
Matvy Ilyitch was a higher official all the same, though he was
reckoned a liberal.
'I advise you, my dear boy, to go and call on the Governor,' he said
to Arkady; 'you understand, I don't advise you to do so because I
adhere to old-fashioned ideas of the necessity of paying respect to
authorities, but simply because the Governor's a very decent fellow;
besides, you probably want to make acquaintance with the society
here.... You're not a bear, I hope? And he's giving a great ball the
day after to-morrow.'
'Will you be at the ball?' inquired Arkady.
'He gives it in my honour,' answered Matvy Ilyitch, almost
pityingly. 'Do you dance?'
'Yes; I dance, but not well.'
'That's a pity! There are pretty girls here, and it's a disgrace for
a young man not to dance. Again, I don't say that through any
old-fashioned ideas; I don't in the least imagine that a man's wit lies
in his feet, but Byronism is ridiculous, il a fait son temps.'
'But, uncle, it's not through Byronism, I ...'
'I will introduce you to the ladies here; I will take you under my
wing,' interrupted Matvy Ilyitch, and he laughed complacently. 'You'll
find it warm, eh?'
A servant entered and announced the arrival of the superintendent of
the Crown domains, a mild-eyed old man, with deep creases round his
mouth, who was excessively fond of nature, especially on a summer day,
when, in his words, 'every little busy bee takes a little bribe from
every little flower.' Arkady withdrew.
He found Bazarov at the tavern where they were staying, and was a
long while persuading him to go with him to the Governor's. 'Well,
there's no help for it,' said Bazarov at last. 'It's no good doing
things by halves. We came to look at the gentry; let's look at them!'
The Governor received the young men affably, but he did not ask them
to sit down, nor did he sit down himself. He was in an everlasting fuss
and hurry; in the morning he used to put on a tight uniform and an
excessively stiff cravat; he never ate or drank enough; he was for ever
making arrangements. He invited Kirsanov and Bazarov to his ball, and
within a few minutes invited them a second time, regarding them as
brothers, and calling them Kisarov.
They were on their way home from the Governor's, when suddenly a
short man, in a Slavophil national dress, leaped out of a trap that was
passing them, and crying, 'Yevgeny Vassilyitch!' dashed up to Bazarov.
'Ah! it's you, Herr Sitnikov,' observed Bazarov, still stepping
along on the pavement; 'by what chance did you come here?'
'Fancy, absolutely by chance,' he replied, and returning to the
trap, he waved his hand several times, and shouted, 'Follow, follow us!
My father had business here,' he went on, hopping across the gutter,
'and so he asked me.... I heard to-day of your arrival, and have
already been to see you....' (The friends did, in fact, on returning to
their room, find there a card, with the corners turned down, bearing
the name of Sitnikov, on one side in French, on the other in Slavonic
characters.) 'I hope you are not coming from the Governor's?'
'It's no use to hope; we come straight from him.'
'Ah! in that case I will call on him too.... Yevgeny Vassilyitch,
introduce me to your ... to the ...'
'Sitnikov, Kirsanov,' mumbled Bazarov, not stopping.
'I am greatly flattered,' began Sitnikov, walking sidewise,
smirking, and hurriedly pulling off his really over-elegant gloves. 'I
have heard so much.... I am an old acquaintance of Yevgeny Vassilyitch,
and, I may sayhis disciple. I am indebted to him for my
Arkady looked at Bazarov's disciple. There was an expression of
excitement and dulness imprinted on the small but pleasant features of
his well-groomed face; his small eyes, that seemed squeezed in, had a
fixed and uneasy look, and his laugh, too, was uneasya sort of short,
'Would you believe it,' he pursued, 'when Yevgeny Vassilyitch for
the first time said before me that it was not right to accept any
authorities, I felt such enthusiasm ... as though my eyes were opened!
Here, I thought, at last I have found a man! By the way, Yevgeny
Vassilyitch, you positively must come to know a lady here, who is
really capable of understanding you, and for whom your visit would be a
real festival; you have heard of her, I suppose?'
'Who is it?' Bazarov brought out unwillingly.
'Kukshina, Eudoxie, Evdoksya Kukshin. She's a remarkable
nature, émancipée in the true sense of the word, an advanced
woman. Do you know what? We'll all go together to see her now. She
lives only two steps from here. We will have lunch there. I suppose you
have not lunched yet?'
'No; not yet.'
'Well, that's capital. She has separated, you understand, from her
husband; she is not dependent on any one.'
'Is she pretty?' Bazarov cut in.
'N-no, one couldn't say that.'
'Then, what the devil are you asking us to see her for?'
'Fie; you must have your joke.... She will give us a bottle of
'Oh, that's it. One can see the practical man at once. By the way,
is your father still in the gin business?'
'Yes,' said Sitnikov, hurriedly, and he gave a shrill spasmodic
laugh. 'Well? Will you come?'
'I don't really know.'
'You wanted to see people, go along,' said Arkady in an undertone.
'And what do you say to it, Mr. Kirsanov?' Sitnikov put in. 'You
must come too; we can't go without you.'
'But how can we burst in upon her all at once?'
'That's no matter. Kukshina's a brick!'
'There will be a bottle of champagne?' asked Bazarov.
'Three!' cried Sitnikov; 'that I answer for.'
'My own head.'
'Your father's purse would be better. However, we are coming.'
The small gentleman's house in the Moscow style, in which Avdotya
Nikitishna, otherwise Evdoksya, Kukshin, lived, was in one of the
streets of X, which had been lately burnt down; it is well known
that our provincial towns are burnt down every five years. At the door,
above a visiting card nailed on all askew, there was a bell-handle to
be seen, and in the hall the visitors were met by some one, not exactly
a servant, nor exactly a companion, in a capunmistakable tokens of
the progressive tendencies of the lady of the house. Sitnikov inquired
whether Avdotya Nikitishna was at home.
'Is that you, Victor?' sounded a shrill voice from the
adjoining room. 'Come in.'
The woman in the cap disappeared at once.
'I'm not alone,' observed Sitnikov, with a sharp look at Arkady and
Bazarov as he briskly pulled off his overcoat, beneath which appeared
something of the nature of a coachman's velvet jacket.
'No matter,' answered the voice. 'Entrez.'
The young men went in. The room into which they walked was more like
a working study than a drawing-room. Papers, letters, fat numbers of
Russian journals, for the most part uncut, lay at random on the dusty
tables; white cigarette ends lay scattered in every direction. On a
leather-covered sofa, a lady, still young, was half reclining. Her fair
hair was rather dishevelled; she wore a silk gown, not perfectly tidy,
heavy bracelets on her short arms, and a lace handkerchief on her head.
She got up from the sofa, and carelessly drawing a velvet cape trimmed
with yellowish ermine over her shoulders, she said languidly,
'Good-morning, Victor,' and pressed Sitnikov's hand.
'Bazarov, Kirsanov,' he announced abruptly in imitation of Bazarov.
'Delighted,' answered Madame Kukshin, and fixing on Bazarov a pair
of round eyes, between which was a forlorn little turned-up red nose,
'I know you,' she added, and pressed his hand too.
Bazarov scowled. There was nothing repulsive in the little plain
person of the emancipated woman; but the expression of her face
produced a disagreeable effect on the spectator. One felt impelled to
ask her, 'What's the matter; are you hungry? Or bored? Or shy? What are
you in a fidget about?' Both she and Sitnikov had always the same
uneasy air. She was extremely unconstrained, and at the same time
awkward; she obviously regarded herself as a good-natured, simple
creature, and all the while, whatever she did, it always struck one
that it was not just what she wanted to do; everything with her seemed,
as children say, done on purpose, that's to say, not simply, not
'Yes, yes, I know you, Bazarov,' she repeated. (She had the
habitpeculiar to many provincial and Moscow ladiesof calling men by
their surnames from the first day of acquaintance with them.) 'Will you
have a cigar?'
'A cigar's all very well,' put in Sitnikov, who by now was lolling
in an armchair, his legs in the air; 'but give us some lunch. We're
awfully hungry; and tell them to bring us up a little bottle of
'Sybarite,' commented Evdoksya, and she laughed. (When she laughed
the gum showed above her upper teeth.) 'Isn't it true, Bazarov; he's a
'I like comfort in life,' Sitnikov brought out, with dignity. 'That
does not prevent my being a Liberal.'
'No, it does; it does prevent it!' cried Evdoksya. She gave
directions, however, to her maid, both as regards the lunch and the
'What do you think about it?' she added, turning to Bazarov. 'I'm
persuaded you share my opinion.'
'Well, no,' retorted Bazarov; 'a piece of meat's better than a piece
of bread even from the chemical point of view.'
'You are studying chemistry? That is my passion. I've even invented
a new sort of composition myself.'
'A composition? You?'
'Yes. And do you know for what purpose? To make dolls' heads so that
they shouldn't break. I'm practical, too, yon see. But everything's not
quite ready yet. I've still to read Liebig. By the way, have you read
Kislyakov's article on Female Labour, in the Moscow Gazette?
Read it please. You're interested in the woman question, I suppose? And
in the schools too? What does your friend do? What is his name?'
Madame Kukshin shed her questions one after another with affected
negligence, not waiting for an answer; spoilt children talk so to their
'My name's Arkady Nikolaitch Kirsanov,' said Arkady, 'and I'm doing
Evdoksya giggled. 'How charming! What, don't you smoke? Victor, do
you know, I'm very angry with you.'
'They tell me you've begun singing the praises of George Sand again.
A retrograde woman, and nothing else! How can people compare her with
Emerson! She hasn't an idea on education, nor physiology, nor anything.
She'd never, I'm persuaded, heard of embryology, and in these
dayswhat can be done without that?' (Evdoksya even threw up her
hands.) 'Ah, what a wonderful article Elisyevitch has written on that
subject! He's a gentleman of genius.' (Evdoksya constantly made use of
the word 'gentleman' instead of the word 'man.') 'Bazarov, sit by me on
the sofa. You don't know, perhaps, I'm awfully afraid of you.'
'Why so? Allow me to ask.'
'You're a dangerous gentleman; you're such a critic. Good God! yes!
why, how absurd, I'm talking like some country lady. I really am a
country lady, though. I manage my property myself; and only fancy, my
bailiff Erofay's a wonderful type, quite like Cooper's Pathfinder;
something in him so spontaneous! I've come to settle here finally; it's
an intolerable town, isn't it? But what's one to do?'
'The town's like every town,' Bazarov remarked coolly.
'All its interests are so petty, that's what's so awful! I used to
spend the winters in Moscow ... but now my lawful spouse, Monsieur
Kukshin's residing there. And besides, Moscow nowadays ... there, I
don't knowit's not the same as it was. I'm thinking of going abroad;
last year I was on the point of setting off.'
'To Paris, I suppose?' queried Bazarov.
'To Paris and to Heidelberg.'
'Why to Heidelberg?'
'How can you ask? Why, Bunsen's there!'
To this Bazarov could find no reply.
'Pierre Sapozhnikov ... do you know him?'
'No, I don't.'
'Not know Pierre Sapozhnikov ... he's always at Lidia
'I don't know her either.'
'Well, it was he undertook to escort me. Thank God, I'm independent;
I've no children.... What was that I said: thank God! It's no
Evdoksya rolled a cigarette up between her fingers, which were brown
with tobacco stains, put it to her tongue, licked it up, and began
smoking. The maid came in with a tray.
'Ah, here's lunch! Will you have an appetiser first? Victor, open
the bottle; that's in your line.'
'Yes, it's in my line,' muttered Sitnikov, and again he gave vent to
the same convulsive laugh.
'Are there any pretty women here?' inquired Bazarov, as he drank off
a third glass.
'Yes, there are,' answered Evdoksya; 'but they're all such
empty-headed creatures. Mon amie, Odintsova, for instance, is
nice-looking. It's a pity her reputation's rather doubtful.... That
wouldn't matter, though, but she's no independence in her views, no
width, nothing ... of all that. The whole system of education wants
changing. I've thought a great deal about it, our women are very badly
'There's no doing anything with them,' put in Sitnikov; 'one ought
to despise them, and I do despise them fully and completely!' (The
possibility of feeling and expressing contempt was the most agreeable
sensation to Sitnikov; he used to attack women in especial, never
suspecting that it was to be his fate a few months later to be cringing
before his wife merely because she had been born a princess
Durdoleosov.) 'Not a single one of them would be capable of
understanding our conversation; not a single one deserves to be spoken
of by serious men like us!'
'But there's not the least need for them to understand our
conversation,' observed Bazarov.
'Whom do you mean?' put in Evdoksya.
'What? Do you adopt Proudhon's ideas, then?'
Bazarov drew himself up haughtily. 'I don't adopt any one's ideas; I
have my own.'
'Damn all authorities!' shouted Sitnikov, delighted to have a chance
of expressing himself boldly before the man he slavishly admired.
'But even Macaulay,' Madame Kukshin was beginning ...
'Damn Macaulay,' thundered Sitnikov. 'Are you going to stand up for
the silly hussies?'
'For silly hussies, no, but for the rights of women, which I have
sworn to defend to the last drop of my blood.'
'Damn!'but here Sitnikov stopped. 'But I don't deny them,' he
'No, I see you're a Slavophil.'
'No, I'm not a Slavophil, though, of course ...'
'No, no, no! You are a Slavophil. You're an advocate of patriarchal
despotism. You want to have the whip in your hand!'
'A whip's an excellent thing,' remarked Bazarov; 'but we've got to
the last drop.'
'Of what?' interrupted Evdoksya.
'Of champagne, most honoured Avdotya Nikitishna, of champagnenot
of your blood.'
'I can never listen calmly when women are attacked,' pursued
Evdoksya. 'It's awful, awful. Instead of attacking them, you'd better
read Michelet's book, De l'amour. That's exquisite! Gentlemen,
let us talk of love,' added Evdoksya, letting her arm fall languidly on
the rumpled sofa cushion.
A sudden silence followed. 'No, why should we talk of love,' said
Bazarov; 'but you mentioned just now a Madame Odintsov ... That was
what you called her, I think? Who is that lady?'
'She's charming, charming!' piped Sitnikov. 'I will introduce you.
Clever, rich, a widow. It's a pity, she's not yet advanced enough; she
ought to see more of our Evdoksya. I drink to your health, Evdoxie!
Let us clink glasses! Et toc, et toc, et tin-tin-tin! Et toc, et
toc, et tin-tin-tin!!!'
'Victor, you're a wretch.'
The lunch dragged on a long while. The first bottle of champagne was
followed by another, a third, and even a fourth.... Evdoksya chattered
without pause; Sitnikov seconded her. They had much discussion upon the
question whether marriage was a prejudice or a crime, and whether men
were born equal or not, and precisely what individuality consists in.
Things came at last to Evdoksya, flushed from the wine she had drunk,
tapping with her flat finger-tips on the keys of a discordant piano,
and beginning to sing in a hoarse voice, first gipsy songs, and then
Seymour Schiff's song, 'Granada lies slumbering'; while Sitnikov tied a
scarf round his head, and represented the dying lover at the words
'And thy lips to mine
In burning kiss entwine.'
Arkady could not stand it at last. 'Gentlemen, it's getting
something like Bedlam,' he remarked aloud. Bazarov, who had at rare
intervals put in an ironical word in the conversationhe paid more
attention to the champagnegave a loud yawn, got up, and, without
taking leave of their hostess, he walked off with Arkady. Sitnikov
jumped up and followed them.
'Well, what do you think of her?' he inquired, skipping obsequiously
from right to left of them. 'I told you, you see, a remarkable
personality! If we only had more women like that! She is, in her own
way, an expression of the highest morality.'
'And is that establishment of your governor's an expression of the
highest morality too?' observed Bazarov, pointing to a ginshop which
they were passing at that instant.
Sitnikov again went off into a shrill laugh. He was greatly ashamed
of his origin, and did not know whether to feel flattered or offended
at Bazarov's unexpected familiarity.
A few days later the ball at the Governor's took place. Matvy
Ilyitch was the real 'hero of the occasion.' The marshal of nobility
declared to all and each that he had come simply out of respect for
him; while the Governor, even at the ball, even while he remained
perfectly motionless, was still 'making arrangements.' The affability
of Matvy Ilyitch's demeanour could only be equalled by its dignity. He
was gracious to all, to some with a shade of disgust, to others with a
shade of respect; he was all bows and smiles 'en vrai chevalier
français' before the ladies, and was continually giving vent to a
hearty, sonorous, unshared laugh, such as befits a high official. He
slapped Arkady on the back, and called him loudly 'nephew'; vouchsafed
Bazarovwho was attired in a rather old evening coata sidelong
glance in passingabsent but condescendingand an indistinct but
affable grunt, in which nothing could be distinguished but 'I ...' and
'very much'; gave Sitnikov a finger and a smile, though with his head
already averted; even to Madame Kukshin, who made her appearance at the
ball with dirty gloves, no crinoline, and a bird of Paradise in her
hair, he said 'enchanté.' There were crowds of people, and no
lack of dancing men; the civilians were for the most part standing
close along the walls, but the officers danced assiduously, especially
one of them who had spent six weeks in Paris, where he had mastered
various daring interjections of the kind of'zut,' 'Ah,
fichtr-re,' 'pst, pst, mon bibi,' and such. He pronounced
them to perfection with genuine Parisian chic, and at the same
time he said 'si j'aurais' for 'si j'avais,' '
absolument' in the sense of 'absolutely,' expressed himself, in
fact, in that Great Russo-French jargon which the French ridicule so
when they have no reason for assuring us that we speak French like
angels, 'comme des anges.'
Arkady, as we are aware, danced badly, while Bazarov did not dance
at all; they both took up their position in a corner; Sitnikov joined
himself on to them, with an expression of contemptuous scorn on his
face, and giving vent to spiteful comments, he looked insolently about
him, and seemed to be really enjoying himself. Suddenly his face
changed, and turning to Arkady, he said, with some show of
embarrassment it seemed, 'Odintsova is here!'
Arkady looked round, and saw a tall woman in a black dress standing
at the door of the room. He was struck by the dignity of her carriage.
Her bare arms lay gracefully beside her slender waist; gracefully some
light sprays of fuchsia drooped from her shining hair on to her sloping
shoulders; her clear eyes looked out from under a rather overhanging
white brow, with a tranquil and intelligent expressiontranquil it was
precisely, not pensiveand on her lips was a scarcely perceptible
smile. There was a kind of gracious and gentle force about her face.
'Do you know her?' Arkady asked Sitnikov.
'Intimately. Would you like me to introduce you?'
'Please ... after this quadrille.'
Bazarov's attention, too, was directed to Madame Odintsov.
'That's a striking figure,' he remarked. 'Not like the other
After waiting till the end of the quadrille, Sitnikov led Arkady up
to Madame Odintsov; but he hardly seemed to be intimately acquainted
with her; he was embarrassed in his sentences, while she looked at him
in some surprise. But her face assumed an expression of pleasure when
she heard Arkady's surname. She asked him whether he was not the son of
'I have seen your father twice, and have heard a great deal about
him,' she went on; 'I am glad to make your acquaintance.'
At that instant some adjutant flew up to her and begged for a
quadrille. She consented.
'Do you dance then?' asked Arkady respectfully.
'Yes, I dance. Why do you suppose I don't dance? Do you think I am
'Really, how could I possibly.... But in that case, let me ask you
for a mazurka.'
Madame Odintsov smiled graciously. 'Certainly,' she said, and she
looked at Arkady not exactly with an air of superiority, but as married
sisters look at very young brothers. Madame Odintsov was a little older
than Arkadyshe was twenty-ninebut in her presence he felt himself a
schoolboy, a little student, so that the difference in age between them
seemed of more consequence. Matvy Ilyitch approached her with a
majestic air and ingratiating speeches. Arkady moved away, but he still
watched her; he could not take his eyes off her even during the
quadrille. She talked with equal ease to her partner and to the grand
official, softly turned her head and eyes, and twice laughed softly.
Her noselike almost all Russian noseswas a little thick; and her
complexion was not perfectly clear; Arkady made up his mind, for all
that, that he had never before met such an attractive woman. He could
not get the sound of her voice out of his ears; the very folds of her
dress seemed to hang upon her differently from all the restmore
gracefully and amplyand her movements were distinguished by a
peculiar smoothness and naturalness.
Arkady felt some timidity in his heart when at the first sounds of
the mazurka he began to sit it out beside his partner; he had prepared
to enter into a conversation with her, but he only passed his hand
through his hair, and could not find a single word to say. But his
timidity and agitation did not last long; Madame Odintsov's
tranquillity gained upon him too; before a quarter of an hour had
passed he was telling her freely about his father, his uncle, his life
in Petersburg and in the country. Madame Odintsov listened to him with
courteous sympathy, slightly opening and closing her fan; his talk was
broken off when partners came for her; Sitnikov, among others, twice
asked her. She came back, sat down again, took up her fan, and her
bosom did not even heave more rapidly, while Arkady fell to chattering
again, filled through and through by the happiness of being near her,
talking to her, looking at her eyes, her lovely brow, all her sweet,
dignified, clever face. She said little, but her words showed a
knowledge of life; from some of her observations Arkady gathered that
this young woman had already felt and thought much....
'Who is that you were standing with?' she asked him, 'when Mr.
Sitnikov brought you to me?'
'Did you notice him?' Arkady asked in his turn. 'He has a splendid
face, hasn't he? That's Bazarov, my friend.'
Arkady fell to discussing 'his friend.' He spoke of him in such
detail, and with such enthusiasm, that Madame Odintsov turned towards
him and looked attentively at him. Meanwhile, the mazurka was drawing
to a close. Arkady felt sorry to part from his partner; he had spent
nearly an hour so happily with her! He had, it is true, during the
whole time continually felt as though she were condescending to him, as
though he ought to be grateful to her ... but young hearts are not
weighed down by that feeling.
The music stopped. 'Merci,' said Madame Odintsov, getting up.
'You promised to come and see me; bring your friend with you. I shall
be very curious to see the man who has the courage to believe in
The Governor came up to Madame Odintsov, announced that supper was
ready, and, with a careworn face, offered her his arm. As she went
away, she turned to give a last smile and bow to Arkady. He bowed low,
looked after her (how graceful her figure seemed to him, draped in the
greyish lustre of the black silk!), and thinking, 'This minute she has
forgotten my existence,' was conscious of an exquisite humility in his
'Well?' Bazarov questioned him, directly he had gone back to him in
the corner. 'Did you have a good time? A gentleman has just been
talking to me about that lady; he said, She'soh, fie! fie! but I
fancy the fellow was a fool. What do you think, what is she?oh, fie!
'I don't quite understand that definition,' answered Arkady.
'Oh, my! What innocence!'
'In that case, I don't understand the gentleman you quote. Madame
Odintsov is very sweet, no doubt, but she behaves so coldly and
'Still waters ... you know!' put in Bazarov. 'That's just what gives
it piquancy. You like ices, I expect?'
'Perhaps,' muttered Arkady. 'I can't give an opinion about that. She
wishes to make your acquaintance, and has asked me to bring you to see
'I can imagine how you've described me! But you did very well. Take
me. Whatever she may bewhether she's simply a provincial lioness, or
advanced after Kukshina's fashionany way she's got a pair of
shoulders such as I've not set eyes on for a long while.'
Arkady was wounded by Bazarov's cynicism, butas often happenshe
reproached his friend not precisely for what he did not like in him ...
'Why are you unwilling to allow freethinking in women?' he said in a
'Because, my boy, as far as my observations go, the only
freethinkers among women are frights.'
The conversation was cut short at this point. Both the young men
went away immediately after supper. They were pursued by a nervously
malicious, but somewhat faint-hearted laugh from Madame Kukshin; her
vanity had been deeply wounded by neither of them having paid any
attention to her. She stayed later than any one at the ball, and at
four o'clock in the morning she was dancing a polka-mazurka with
Sitnikov in the Parisian style. This edifying spectacle was the final
event of the Governor's ball.
'Let's see what species of mammalia this specimen belongs to,'
Bazarov said to Arkady the following day, as they mounted the staircase
of the hotel in which Madame Odintsov was staying. 'I scent out
something wrong here.'
'I'm surprised at you!' cried Arkady. 'What? You, you, Bazarov,
clinging to the narrow morality, which ...'
'What a funny fellow you are!' Bazarov cut him short, carelessly.
'Don't you know that something wrong means something right in my
dialect and for me? It's an advantage for me, of course. Didn't you
tell me yourself this morning that she made a strange marriage, though,
to my mind, to marry a rich old man is by no means a strange thing to
do, but, on the contrary, very sensible. I don't believe the gossip of
the town; but I should like to think, as our cultivated Governor says,
that it's well-grounded.'
Arkady made no answer, and knocked at the door of the apartments. A
young servant in livery, conducted the two friends in to a large room,
badly furnished, like all rooms in Russian hotels, but filled with
flowers. Soon Madame Odintsov herself appeared in a simple morning
dress. She seemed still younger by the light of the spring sunshine.
Arkady presented Bazarov, and noticed with secret amazement that he
seemed embarrassed, while Madame Odintsov remained perfectly tranquil,
as she had been the previous day. Bazarov himself was conscious of
being embarrassed, and was irritated by it. 'Here's a go!frightened
of a petticoat!' he thought, and lolling, quite like Sitnikov, in an
easy-chair, he began talking with an exaggerated appearance of ease,
while Madame Odintsov kept her clear eyes fixed on him.
Anna Sergyevna Odintsov was the daughter of Sergay Nikolaevitch
Loktev, notorious for his personal beauty, his speculations, and his
gambling propensities, who after cutting a figure and making a
sensation for fifteen years in Petersburg and Moscow, finished by
ruining himself completely at cards, and was forced to retire to the
country, where, however, he soon after died, leaving a very small
property to his two daughtersAnna, a girl of twenty, and Katya, a
child of twelve. Their mother, who came of an impoverished line of
princesthe Hshad died at Petersburg when her husband was in his
heydey. Anna's position after her father's death was very difficult.
The brilliant education she had received in Petersburg had not fitted
her for putting up with the cares of domestic life and economy,for an
obscure existence in the country. She knew positively no one in the
whole neighbourhood, and there was no one she could consult. Her father
had tried to avoid all contact with the neighbours; he despised them in
his way, and they despised him in theirs. She did not lose her head,
however, and promptly sent for a sister of her mother's Princess
Avdotya Stepanovna H, a spiteful and arrogant old lady, who, on
installing herself in her niece's house, appropriated all the best
rooms for her own use, scolded and grumbled from morning till night,
and would not go a walk even in the garden unattended by her one serf,
a surly footman in a threadbare pea-green livery with light blue
trimming and a three-cornered hat. Anna put up patiently with all her
aunt's whims, gradually set to work on her sister's education, and was,
it seemed, already getting reconciled to the idea of wasting her life
in the wilds.... But destiny had decreed another fate for her. She
chanced to be seen by Odintsov, a very wealthy man of forty-six, an
eccentric hypochondriac, stout, heavy, and sour, but not stupid, and
not ill-natured; he fell in love with her, and offered her his hand.
She consented to become his wife, and he lived six years with her, and
on his death settled all his property upon her. Anna Sergyevna remained
in the country for nearly a year after his death; then she went abroad
with her sister, but only stopped in Germany; she got tired of it, and
came back to live at her favourite Nikolskoe, which was nearly thirty
miles from the town of X. There she had a magnificent, splendidly
furnished house and a beautiful garden, with conservatories; her late
husband had spared no expense to gratify his fancies. Anna Sergyevna
went very rarely to the town, generally only on business, and even then
she did not stay long. She was not liked in the province; there had
been a fearful outcry at her marriage with Odintsov, all sorts of
fictions were told about her; it was asserted that she had helped her
father in his cardsharping tricks, and even that she had gone abroad
for excellent reasons, that it had been necessary to conceal the
lamentable consequences ... 'You understand?' the indignant gossips
would wind up. 'She has gone through the fire,' was said of her; to
which a noted provincial wit usually added: 'And through all the other
elements?' All this talk reached her; but she turned a deaf ear to it;
there was much independence and a good deal of determination in her
Madame Odintsov sat leaning back in her easy-chair, and listened
with folded hands to Bazarov. He, contrary to his habit, was talking a
good deal, and obviously trying to interest heragain a surprise for
Arkady. He could not make up his mind whether Bazarov was attaining his
object. It was difficult to conjecture from Anna Sergyevna's face what
impression was being made on her; it retained the same expression,
gracious and refined; her beautiful eyes were lighted up by attention,
but by quiet attention. Bazarov's bad manners had impressed her
unpleasantly for the first minutes of the visit like a bad smell or a
discordant sound; but she saw at once that he was nervous, and that
even flattered her. Nothing was repulsive to her but vulgarity, and no
one could have accused Bazarov of vulgarity. Arkady was fated to meet
with surprises that day. He had expected that Bazarov would talk to a
clever woman like Madame Odintsov about his opinions and his views; she
had herself expressed a desire to listen to the man 'who dares to have
no belief in anything'; but, instead of that, Bazarov talked about
medicine, about homoeopathy, and about botany. It turned out that
Madame Odintsov had not wasted her time in solitude; she had read a
good many excellent books, and spoke herself in excellent Russian. She
turned the conversation upon music; but noticing that Bazarov did not
appreciate art, she quietly brought it back to botany, even though
Arkady was just launching into a discourse upon the significance of
national melodies. Madame Odintsov treated him as though he were a
younger brother; she seemed to appreciate his good-nature and youthful
simplicityand that was all. For over three hours, a lively
conversation was kept up, ranging freely over various subjects.
The friends at last got up and began to take leave. Anna Sergyevna
looked cordially at them, held out her beautiful, white hand to both,
and, after a moment's thought, said with a doubtful but delightful
smile. 'If you are not afraid of being dull, gentlemen, come and see me
'Oh, Anna Sergyevna,' cried Arkady, 'I shall think it the greatness
'And you, Monsieur Bazarov?'
Bazarov only bowed, and a last surprise was in store for Arkady; he
noticed that his friend was blushing.
'Well?' he said to him in the street; 'are you still of the same
opinionthat she's ...'
'Who can tell? See how correct she is!' retorted Bazarov; and after
a brief pause he added, 'She's a perfect grand-duchess, a royal
personage. She only needs a train on behind, and a crown on her head.'
'Our grand-duchesses don't talk Russian like that,' remarked Arkady.
'She's seen ups and downs, my dear boy; she's known what it is to be
'Any way, she's charming,' observed Arkady.
'What a magnificent body!' pursued Bazarov. 'Shouldn't I like to see
it on the dissecting-table.'
'Hush, for mercy's sake, Yevgeny! that's beyond everything.'
'Well, don't get angry, you baby. I meant it's first-rate. We must
go to stay with her.'
'Well, why not the day after to-morrow. What is there to do here?
Drink champagne with Kukshina. Listen to your cousin, the Liberal
dignitary?... Let's be off the day after to-morrow. By the way, toomy
father's little place is not far from there. This Nikolskoe's on the
Sroad, isn't it?'
'Optime, why hesitate? leave that to fools and prigs! I say, what a
Three days later the two friends were driving along the road to
Nikolskoe. The day was bright, and not too hot, and the sleek
posting-horses trotted smartly along, switching their tied and plaited
tails. Arkady looked at the road, and not knowing why, he smiled.
'Congratulate me,' cried Bazarov suddenly, 'to-day's the 22nd of
June, my guardian angel's day. Let's see how he will watch over me.
To-day they expect me home,' he added, dropping his voice.... 'Well,
they can go on expecting.... What does it matter!'
The country-house in which Anna Sergyevna lived stood on an exposed
hill at no great distance from a yellow stone church with a green roof,
white columns, and a fresco over the principal entrance representing
the 'Resurrection of Christ' in the 'Italian' style. Sprawling in the
foreground of the picture was a swarthy warrior in a helmet, specially
conspicuous for his rotund contours. Behind the church a long village
stretched in two rows, with chimneys peeping out here and there above
the thatched roofs. The manor-house was built in the same style as the
church, the style known among us as that of Alexander; the house too
was painted yellow, and had a green roof, and white columns, and a
pediment with an escutcheon on it. The architect had designed both
buildings with the approval of the deceased Odintsov, who could not
endureas he expressed itidle and arbitrary innovations. The house
was enclosed on both sides by the dark trees of an old garden; an
avenue of lopped pines led up to the entrance.
Our friends were met in the hall by two tall footmen in livery; one
of them at once ran for the steward. The steward, a stout man in a
black dress coat, promptly appeared and led the visitors by a staircase
covered with rugs to a special room, in which two bedsteads were
already prepared for them with all necessaries for the toilet. It was
clear that order reigned supreme in the house; everything was clean,
everywhere there was a peculiar delicate fragrance, just as there is in
the reception rooms of ministers.
'Anna Sergyevna asks you to come to her in half-an-hour,' the
steward announced; 'will there be orders to give meanwhile?'
'No orders,' answered Bazarov; 'perhaps you will be so good as to
trouble yourself to bring me a glass of vodka.'
'Yes, sir,' said the steward, looking in some perplexity, and he
withdrew, his boots creaking as he walked.
'What grand genre!' remarked Bazarov. 'That's what it's
called in your set, isn't it? She's a grand-duchess, and that's all
'A nice grand-duchess,' retorted Arkady, 'at the very first meeting
she invited such great aristocrats as you and me to stay with her.'
'Especially me, a future doctor, and a doctor's son, and a village
sexton's grandson.... You know, I suppose, I'm the grandson of a
sexton? Like the great Speransky,' added Bazarov after a brief pause,
contracting his lips. 'At any rate she likes to be comfortable; oh,
doesn't she, this lady! Oughtn't we to put on evening dress?'
Arkady only shrugged his shoulders ... but he too was conscious of a
Half-an-hour later Bazarov and Arkady went together into the
drawing-room. It was a large lofty room, furnished rather luxuriously
but without particularly good taste. Heavy expensive furniture stood in
the ordinary stiff arrangement along the walls, which were covered with
cinnamon-coloured paper with gold flowers on it; Odintsov had ordered
the furniture from Moscow through a friend and agent of his, a spirit
merchant. Over a sofa in the centre of one wall hung a portrait of a
faded light-haired manand it seemed to look with displeasure at the
visitors. 'It must be the late lamented,' Bazarov whispered to Arkady,
and turning up his nose, he added, 'Hadn't we better bolt ...?' But at
that instant the lady of the house entered. She wore a light barège
dress; her hair smoothly combed back behind her ears gave a girlish
expression to her pure and fresh face.
'Thank you for keeping your promise,' she began. 'You must stay a
little while with me; it's really not bad here. I will introduce you to
my sister; she plays the piano well. That is a matter of indifference
to you, Monsieur Bazarov; but you, I think, Monsieur Kirsanov, are fond
of music. Besides my sister I have an old aunt living with me, and one
of our neighbours comes in sometimes to play cards; that makes up all
our circle. And now let us sit down.'
Madame Odintsov delivered all this little speech with peculiar
precision, as though she had learned it by heart; then she turned to
Arkady. It appeared that her mother had known Arkady's mother, and had
even been her confidante in her love for Nikolai Petrovitch. Arkady
began talking with great warmth of his dead mother; while Bazarov fell
to turning over albums. 'What a tame cat I'm getting!' he was thinking
A beautiful greyhound with a blue collar on, ran into the
drawing-room, tapping on the floor with his paws, and after him entered
a girl of eighteen, black-haired and dark-skinned, with a rather round
but pleasing face, and small dark eyes. In her hands she held a basket
filled with flowers.
'This is my Katya,' said Madame Odintsov, indicating her with a
motion of her head. Katya made a slight curtsey, placed herself beside
her sister, and began picking out flowers. The greyhound, whose name
was Fifi, went up to both of the visitors, in turn wagging his tail,
and thrusting his cold nose into their hands.
'Did you pick all that yourself?' asked Madame Odintsov.
'Yes,' answered Katya.
'Is auntie coming to tea?'
When Katya spoke, she had a very charming smile, sweet, timid, and
candid, and looked up from under her eyebrows with a sort of humorous
severity. Everything about her was still young and undeveloped; the
voice, and the bloom on her whole face, and the rosy hands, with white
palms, and the rather narrow shoulders.... She was constantly blushing
and getting out of breath.
Madame Odintsov turned to Bazarov. 'You are looking at pictures from
politeness, Yevgeny Vassilyitch,' she began. That does not interest
you. You had better come nearer to us, and let us have a discussion
Bazarov went closer. 'What subject have you decided upon for
discussion?' he said.
'What you like. I warn you, I am dreadfully argumentative.'
'Yes. That seems to surprise you. Why?'
'Because, as far as I can judge, you have a calm, cool character,
and one must be impulsive to be argumentative.'
'How can you have had time to understand me so soon? In the first
place, I am impatient and obstinateyou should ask Katya; and
secondly, I am very easily carried away.'
Bazarov looked at Anna Sergyevna. 'Perhaps; you must know best. And
so you are inclined for a discussionby all means. I was looking
through the views of the Saxon mountains in your album, and you
remarked that that couldn't interest me. You said so, because you
suppose me to have no feeling for art, and as a fact I haven't any; but
these views might be interesting to me from a geological standpoint,
for the formation of the mountains, for instance.'
'Excuse me; but as a geologist, you would sooner have recourse to a
book, to a special work on the subject, and not to a drawing.'
'The drawing shows me at a glance what would be spread over ten
pages in a book.'
Anna Sergyevna was silent for a little.
'And so you haven't the least artistic feeling?' she observed,
putting her elbow on the table, and by that very action bringing her
face nearer to Bazarov. 'How can you get on without it?'
'Why, what is it wanted for, may I ask?'
'Well, at least to enable one to study and understand men.'
Bazarov smiled. 'In the first place, experience of life does that;
and in the second, I assure you, studying separate individuals is not
worth the trouble. All people are like one another, in soul as in body;
each of us has brain, spleen, heart, and lungs made alike; and the
so-called moral qualities are the same in all; the slight variations
are of no importance. A single human specimen is sufficient to judge of
all by. People are like trees in a forest; no botanist would think of
studying each individual birch-tree.'
Katya, who was arranging the flowers, one at a time in a leisurely
fashion, lifted her eyes to Bazarov with a puzzled look, and meeting
his rapid and careless glance, she crimsoned up to her ears. Anna
Sergyevna shook her head.
'The trees in a forest,' she repeated. 'Then according to you there
is no difference between the stupid and the clever person, between the
good-natured and ill-natured?'
'No, there is a difference, just as between the sick and the
healthy. The lungs of a consumptive patient are not in the same
condition as yours and mine, though they are made on the same plan. We
know approximately what physical diseases come from; moral diseases
come from bad education, from all the nonsense people's heads are
stuffed with from childhood up, from the defective state of society; in
short, reform society, and there will be no diseases.'
Bazarov said all this with an air, as though he were all the while
thinking to himself, 'Believe me or not, as you like, it's all one to
me!' He slowly passed his fingers over his whiskers, while his eyes
strayed about the room.
'And you conclude,' observed Anna Sergyevna, 'that when society is
reformed, there will be no stupid nor wicked people?'
'At any rate, in a proper organisation of society, it will be
absolutely the same whether a man is stupid or clever, wicked or good.'
'Yes, I understand; they will all have the same spleen.'
'Precisely so, madam.'
Madame Odintsov turned to Arkady. 'And what is your opinion, Arkady
'I agree with Yevgeny,' he answered.
Katya looked up at him from under her eyelids.
'You amaze me, gentlemen,' commented Madame Odintsov, 'but we will
have more talk together. But now I hear my aunt coming to tea; we must
Anna Sergyevna's aunt, Princess H, a thin little woman with a
pinched-up face, drawn together like a fist, and staring
ill-natured-looking eyes under a grey front, came in, and, scarcely
bowing to the guests, she dropped into a wide velvet covered arm-chair,
upon which no one but herself was privileged to sit. Katya put a
footstool under her feet; the old lady did not thank her, did not even
look at her, only her hands shook under the yellow shawl, which almost
covered her feeble body. The Princess liked yellow; her cap, too, had
bright yellow ribbons.
'How have you slept, aunt?' inquired Madame Odintsov, raising her
'That dog in here again,' the old lady muttered in reply, and
noticing Fifi was making two hesitating steps in her direction, she
Katya called Fifi and opened the door for him.
Fifi rushed out delighted, in the expectation of being taken out for
a walk; but when he was left alone outside the door, he began
scratching and whining. The princess scowled. Katya was about to go
'I expect tea is ready,' said Madame Odintsov.
'Come gentlemen; aunt, will you go in to tea?'
The princess got up from her chair without speaking and led the way
out of the drawing-room. They all followed her in to the dining-room. A
little page in livery drew back, with a scraping sound, from the table,
an arm-chair covered with cushions, devoted to the princess's use; she
sank into it; Katya in pouring out the tea handed her first a cup
emblazoned with a heraldic crest. The old lady put some honey in her
cup (she considered it both sinful and extravagant to drink tea with
sugar in it, though she never spent a farthing herself on anything),
and suddenly asked in a hoarse voice, 'And what does Prince Ivan
No one made her any reply. Bazarov and Arkady soon guessed that they
paid no attention to her though they treated her respectfully.
'Because of her grand family,' thought Bazarov....
After tea, Anna Sergyevna suggested they should go out for a walk;
but it began to rain a little, and the whole party, with the exception
of the princess, returned to the drawing-room. The neighbour, the
devoted card-player, arrived; his name was Porfiry Platonitch, a
stoutish, greyish man with short, spindly legs, very polite and ready
to be amused. Anna Sergyevna, who still talked principally with
Bazarov, asked him whether he'd like to try a contest with them in the
old-fashioned way at preference? Bazarov assented, saying 'that he
ought to prepare himself beforehand for the duties awaiting him as a
'You must be careful,' observed Anna Sergyevna; 'Porfiry Platonitch
and I will beat you. And you, Katya,' she added, 'play something to
Arkady Nikolaevitch; he is fond of music, and we can listen, too.'
Katya went unwillingly to the piano; and Arkady, though he certainly
was fond of music, unwillingly followed her; it seemed to him that
Madame Odintsov was sending him away, and already, like every young man
at his age, he felt a vague and oppressive emotion surging up in his
heart, like the forebodings of love. Katya raised the top of the piano,
and not looking at Arkady, she said in a low voice
'What am I to play you?'
'What you like,' answered Arkady indifferently.
'What sort of music do you like best?' repeated Katya, without
changing her attitude.
'Classical,' Arkady answered in the same tone of voice.
'Do you like Mozart?'
'Yes, I like Mozart.'
Katya pulled out Mozart's Sonata-Fantasia in C minor. She played
very well, though rather over correctly and precisely. She sat upright
and immovable, her eyes fixed on the notes, and her lips tightly
compressed, only at the end of the sonata her face glowed, her hair
came loose, and a little lock fell on to her dark brow.
Arkady was particularly struck by the last part of the sonata, the
part in which, in the midst of the bewitching gaiety of the careless
melody, the pangs of such mournful, almost tragic suffering, suddenly
break in.... But the ideas stirred in him by Mozart's music had no
reference to Katya. Looking at her, he simply thought, 'Well, that
young lady doesn't play badly, and she's not bad-looking either.'
When she had finished the sonata, Katya without taking her hands
from the keys, asked, 'Is that enough?' Arkady declared that he could
not venture to trouble her again, and began talking to her about
Mozart; he asked her whether she had chosen that sonata herself, or
some one had recommended it to her. But Katya answered him in
monosyllables; she withdrew into herself, went back into her shell.
When this happened to her, she did not very quickly come out again; her
face even assumed at such times an obstinate, almost stupid expression.
She was not exactly shy, but diffident, and rather overawed by her
sister, who had educated her, and who had no suspicion of the fact.
Arkady was reduced at last to calling Fifi to him, and with an affable
smile patting him on the head to give himself an appearance of being at
Katya set to work again upon her flowers.
Bazarov meanwhile was losing and losing. Anna Sergyevna played cards
in masterly fashion; Porfiry Platonitch, too, could hold his own in the
game. Bazarov lost a sum which, though trifling in itself, was not
altogether pleasant for him. At supper Anna Sergyevna again turned the
conversation on botany.
'We will go for a walk to-morrow morning,' she said to him; 'I want
you to teach me the Latin names of the wild flowers and their species.'
'What use are the Latin names to you?' asked Bazarov.
'Order is needed in everything,' she answered.
'What an exquisite woman Anna Sergyevna is!' cried Arkady, when he
was alone with his friend in the room assigned to them.
'Yes,' answered Bazarov, 'a female with brains. Yes, and she's seen
'In what sense do you mean that, Yevgeny Vassilyitch?'
'In a good sense, a good sense, my dear friend, Arkady Nikolaevitch!
I'm convinced she manages her estate capitally too. But what's splendid
is not her, but her sister.'
'What, that little dark thing?'
'Yes, that little dark thing. She now is fresh and untouched, and
shy and silent, and anything you like. She's worth educating and
developing. You might make something fine out of her; but the
other'sa stale loaf.'
Arkady made no reply to Bazarov, and each of them got into bed with
rather singular thoughts in his head.
Anna Sergyevna, too, thought of her guests that evening. She liked
Bazarov for the absence of gallantry in him, and even for his sharply
defined views. She found in him something new, which she had not
chanced to meet before, and she was curious.
Anna Sergyevna was a rather strange creature. Having no prejudices
of any kind, having no strong convictions even, she never gave way or
went out of her way for anything. She had seen many things very
clearly; she had been interested in many things, but nothing had
completely satisfied her; indeed, she hardly desired complete
satisfaction. Her intellect was at the same time inquiring and
indifferent; her doubts were never soothed to forgetfulness, and they
never grew strong enough to distract her. Had she not been rich and
independent, she would perhaps have thrown herself into the struggle,
and have known passion. But life was easy for her, though she was bored
at times, and she went on passing day after day with deliberation,
never in a hurry, placid, and only rarely disturbed. Dreams sometimes
danced in rainbow colours before her eyes even, but she breathed more
freely when they died away, and did not regret them. Her imagination
indeed overstepped the limits of what is reckoned permissible by
conventional morality; but even then her blood flowed as quietly as
ever in her fascinatingly graceful, tranquil body. Sometimes coming out
of her fragrant bath all warm and enervated, she would fall to musing
on the nothingness of life, the sorrow, the labour, the malice of
it.... Her soul would be filled with sudden daring, and would flow with
generous ardour, but a draught would blow from a half-closed window,
and Anna Sergyevna would shrink into herself, and feel plaintive and
almost angry, and there was only one thing she cared for at that
instantto get away from that horrid draught.
Like all women who have not succeeded in loving, she wanted
something, without herself knowing what. Strictly speaking, she wanted
nothing; but it seemed to her that she wanted everything. She could
hardly endure the late Odintsov (she had married him from prudential
motives, though probably she would not have consented to become his
wife if she had not considered him a good sort of man), and had
conceived a secret repugnance for all men, whom she could only figure
to herself as slovenly, heavy, drowsy, and feebly importunate
creatures. Once, somewhere abroad, she had met a handsome young Swede,
with a chivalrous expression, with honest blue eyes under an open brow;
he had made a powerful impression on her, but it had not prevented her
from going back to Russia.
'A strange man this doctor!' she thought as she lay in her luxurious
bed on lace pillows under a light silk coverlet.... Anna Sergyevna had
inherited from her father a little of his inclination for splendour.
She had fondly loved her sinful but good-natured father, and he had
idolised her, used to joke with her in a friendly way as though she
were an equal, and to confide in her fully, to ask her advice. Her
mother she scarcely remembered.
'This doctor is a strange man!' she repeated to herself. She
stretched, smiled, clasped her hands behind her head, then ran her eyes
over two pages of a stupid French novel, dropped the bookand fell
asleep, all pure and cold, in her pure and fragrant linen.
The following morning Anna Sergyevna went off botanising with
Bazarov directly after lunch, and returned just before dinner; Arkady
did not go off anywhere, and spent about an hour with Katya. He was not
bored with her; she offered of herself to repeat the sonata of the day
before; but when Madame Odintsov came back at last, when he caught
sight of her, he felt an instantaneous pang at his heart. She came
through the garden with a rather tired step; her cheeks were glowing
and her eyes shining more brightly than usual under her round straw
hat. She was twirling in her fingers the thin stalk of a wildflower, a
light mantle had slipped down to her elbows, and the wide gray ribbons
of her hat were clinging to her bosom. Bazarov walked behind her,
self-confident and careless as usual, but the expression of his face,
cheerful and even friendly as it was, did not please Arkady. Muttering
between his teeth, 'Good-morning!' Bazarov went away to his room, while
Madame Odintsov shook Arkady's hand abstractedly, and also walked past
'Good-morning!' thought Arkady ... 'As though we had not seen each
other already to-day!'
Time, it is well known, sometimes flies like a bird, sometimes
crawls like a worm; but man is wont to be particularly happy when he
does not even notice whether it passes quickly or slowly. It was in
that way Arkady and Bazarov spent a fortnight at Madame Odintsov's. The
good order she had established in her house and in her life partly
contributed to this result. She adhered strictly to this order herself,
and forced others to submit to it. Everything during the day was done
at a fixed time. In the morning, precisely at eight o'clock, all the
party assembled for tea; from morning-tea till lunch-time every one did
what he pleased, the hostess herself was engaged with her bailiff (the
estate was on the rent-system), her steward, and her head housekeeper.
Before dinner the party met again for conversation or reading; the
evening was devoted to walking, cards, and music; at half-past ten Anna
Sergyevna retired to her own room, gave her orders for the following
day, and went to bed. Bazarov did not like this measured, somewhat
ostentatious punctuality in daily life, 'like moving along rails,' he
pronounced it to be; the footmen in livery, the decorous stewards,
offended his democratic sentiments. He declared that if one went so
far, one might as well dine in the English style at oncein tail-coats
and white ties. He once spoke plainly upon the subject to Anna
Sergyevna. Her attitude was such that no one hesitated to speak his
mind freely before her. She heard him out; and then her comment was,
'From your point of view, you are rightand perhaps, in that respect,
I am too much of a lady; but there's no living in the country without
order, one would be devoured by ennui,' and she continued to go her own
way. Bazarov grumbled, but the very reason life was so easy for him and
Arkady at Madame Odintsov's was that everything in the house 'moved on
rails.' For all that, a change had taken place in both the young men
since the first days of their stay at Nikolskoe. Bazarov, in whom Anna
Sergyevna was obviously interested, though she seldom agreed with him,
began to show signs of an unrest, unprecedented in him; he was easily
put out of temper, and unwilling to talk, he looked irritated, and
could not sit still in one place, just as though he were possessed by
some secret longing; while Arkady, who had made up his mind
conclusively that he was in love with Madame Odintsov, had begun to
yield to a gentle melancholy. This melancholy did not, however, prevent
him from becoming friendly with Katya; it even impelled him to get into
friendly, affectionate terms with her. 'She does not appreciate
me? So be it!... But here is a good creature, who does not repulse me,'
he thought, and his heart again knew the sweetness of magnanimous
emotions. Katya vaguely realised that he was seeking a sort of
consolation in her company, and did not deny him or herself the
innocent pleasure of a half-shy, half-confidential friendship. They did
not talk to each other in Anna Sergyevna's presence; Katya always
shrank into herself under her sister's sharp eyes; while Arkady, as
befits a man in love, could pay attention to nothing else when near the
object of his passion; but he was happy with Katya alone. He was
conscious that he did not possess the power to interest Madame
Odintsov; he was shy and at a loss when he was left alone with her, and
she did not know what to say to him, he was too young for her. With
Katya, on the other hand, Arkady felt at home; he treated her
condescendingly, encouraged her to express the impressions made on her
by music, reading novels, verses, and other such trifles, without
noticing or realising that these trifles were what interested him too.
Katya, on her side, did not try to drive away melancholy. Arkady was at
his ease with Katya, Madame Odintsov with Bazarov, and thus it usually
came to pass that the two couples, after being a little while together,
went off on their separate ways, especially during the walks. Katya
adored nature, and Arkady loved it, though he did not dare to
acknowledge it; Madame Odintsov was, like Bazarov, rather indifferent
to the beauties of nature. The almost continual separation of the two
friends was not without its consequences; the relations between them
began to change. Bazarov gave up talking to Arkady about Madame
Odintsov, gave up even abusing her 'aristocratic ways'; Katya, it is
true, he praised as before, and only advised him to restrain her
sentimental tendencies, but his praises were hurried, his advice dry,
and in general he talked less to Arkady than before ... he seemed to
avoid him, seemed ill at ease with him.
Arkady observed it all, but he kept his observations to himself.
The real cause of all this 'newness' was the feeling inspired in
Bazarov by Madame Odintsov, a feeling which tortured and maddened him,
and which he would at once have denied, with scornful laughter and
cynical abuse, if any one had ever so remotely hinted at the
possibility of what was taking place in him. Bazarov had a great love
for women and for feminine beauty; but love in the ideal, or, as he
expressed it, romantic sense, he called lunacy, unpardonable
imbecility; he regarded chivalrous sentiments as something of the
nature of deformity or disease, and had more than once expressed his
wonder that Toggenburg and all the minnesingers and troubadours had not
been put into a lunatic asylum. 'If a woman takes your fancy,' he used
to say, 'try and gain your end; but if you can'twell, turn your back
on herthere are lots of good fish in the sea.' Madame Odintsov had
taken his fancy; the rumours about her, the freedom and independence of
her ideas, her unmistakable liking for him, all seemed to be in his
favour, but he soon saw that with her he would not 'gain his ends,' and
to turn his back on her he found, to his own bewilderment, beyond his
power. His blood was on fire directly if he merely thought of her; he
could easily have mastered his blood, but something else was taking
root in him, something he had never admitted, at which he had always
jeered, at which all his pride revolted. In his conversations with Anna
Sergyevna he expressed more strongly than ever his calm contempt for
everything idealistic; but when he was alone, with indignation he
recognised idealism in himself. Then he would set off to the forest and
walk with long strides about it, smashing the twigs that came in his
way, and cursing under his breath both her and himself; or he would get
into the hay-loft in the barn, and, obstinately closing his eyes, try
to force himself to sleep, in which, of course, he did not always
succeed. Suddenly his fancy would bring before him those chaste hands
twining one day about his neck, those proud lips responding to his
kisses, those intellectual eyes dwelling with tendernessyes, with
tendernesson his, and his head went round, and he forgot himself for
an instant, till indignation boiled up in him again. He caught himself
in all sorts of 'shameful' thoughts, as though he were driven on by a
devil mocking him. Sometimes he fancied that there was a change taking
place in Madame Odintsov too; that there were signs in the expression
of her face of something special; that, perhaps ... but at that point
he would stamp, or grind his teeth, and clench his fists.
Meanwhile Bazarov was not altogether mistaken. He had struck Madame
Odintsov's imagination; he interested her, she thought a great deal
about him. In his absence, she was not dull, she was not impatient for
his coming, but she always grew more lively on his appearance; she
liked to be left alone with him, and she liked talking to him, even
when he irritated her or offended her taste, her refined habits. She
was, as it were, eager at once to sound him and to analyse herself.
One day walking in the garden with her, he suddenly announced, in a
surly voice, that he intended going to his father's place very soon....
She turned white, as though something had given her a pang, and such a
pang, that she wondered and pondered long after, what could be the
meaning of it. Bazarov had spoken of his departure with no idea of
putting her to the test, of seeing what would come of it; he never
'fabricated.' On the morning of that day he had an interview with his
father's bailiff, who had taken care of him when he was a child,
Timofeitch. This Timofeitch, a little old man of much experience and
astuteness, with faded yellow hair, a weather-beaten red face, and tiny
tear-drops in his shrunken eyes, unexpectedly appeared before Bazarov,
in his shortish overcoat of stout greyish-blue cloth, girt with a strip
of leather, and in tarred boots.
'Hullo, old man; how are you?' cried Bazarov.
'How do you do, Yevgeny Vassilyitch?' began the little old man, and
he smiled with delight, so that his whole face was all at once covered
'What have you come for? They sent for me, eh?'
'Upon my word, sir, how could we?' mumbled Timofeitch. (He
remembered the strict injunctions he had received from his master on
starting.) 'We were sent to the town on business, and we'd heard news
of your honour, so here we turned off on our way, that's to sayto
have a look at your honour ... as if we could think of disturbing you!'
'Come, don't tell lies!' Bazarov cut him short. 'Is this the road to
the town, do you mean to tell me?' Timofeitch hesitated, and made no
answer. 'Is my father well?'
'Thank God, yes.'
'And my mother?'
'Anna Vlasyevna too, glory be to God.'
'They are expecting me, I suppose?'
The little old man held his tiny head on one side.
'Ah, Yevgeny Vassilyitch, it makes one's heart ache to see them; it
'Come, all right, all right! shut up! Tell them I'm coming soon.'
'Yes, sir,' answered Timofeitch, with a sigh.
As he went out of the house, he pulled his cap down on his head with
both hands, clambered into a wretched-looking racing droshky, and went
off at a trot, but not in the direction of the town.
On the evening of the same day, Madame Odintsov was sitting in her
own room with Bazarov, while Arkady walked up and down the hall
listening to Katya's playing. The princess had gone upstairs to her own
room; she could not bear guests as a rule, and 'especially this new
riff-raff lot,' as she called them. In the common rooms she only
sulked; but she made up for it in her own room by breaking out into
such abuse before her maid that the cap danced on her head, wig and
all. Madame Odintsov was well aware of all this.
'How is it you are proposing to leave us?' she began; 'how about
Bazarov started. 'What promise?'
'Have you forgotten? You meant to give me some lessons in
'It can't be helped! My father expects me; I can't loiter any
longer. However, you can read Pelouse et Frémy, Notions générales de
Chimie; it's a good book, and clearly written. You will find
everything you need in it.'
'But do you remember; you assured me a book cannot take the place of
... I've forgotten how you put it, but you know what I mean ... do you
'It can't be helped!' repeated Bazarov.
'Why go away?' said Madame Odintsov, dropping her voice.
He glanced at her. Her head had fallen on to the back of her
easy-chair, and her arms, bare to the elbow, were folded on her bosom.
She seemed paler in the light of the single lamp covered with a
perforated paper shade. An ample white gown hid her completely in its
soft folds; even the tips of her feet, also crossed, were hardly seen.
'And why stay?' answered Bazarov.
Madame Odintsov turned her head slightly. 'You ask why. Have you not
enjoyed yourself with me? Or do you suppose you will not be missed
'I am sure of it.'
Madame Odintsov was silent a minute. 'You are wrong in thinking
that. But I don't believe you. You could not say that seriously.'
Bazarov still sat immovable. 'Yevgeny Vassilyitch, why don't you
'Why, what am I to say to you? People are not generally worth being
missed, and I less than most.'
'I'm a practical, uninteresting person. I don't know how to talk.'
'You are fishing, Yevgeny Vassilyitch.'
'That's not a habit of mine. Don't you know yourself that I've
nothing in common with the elegant side of life, the side you prize so
Madame Odintsov bit the corner of her handkerchief.
'You may think what you like, but I shall be dull when you go away.'
'Arkady will remain,' remarked Bazarov. Madame Odintsov shrugged her
shoulders slightly. 'I shall be dull,' she repeated.
'Really? In any case you will not feel dull for long.'
'What makes you suppose that?'
'Because you told me yourself that you are only dull when your
regular routine is broken in upon. You have ordered your existence with
such unimpeachable regularity that there can be no place in it for
dulness or sadness ... for any unpleasant emotions.'
'And do you consider I am so unimpeachable ... that's to say, that I
have ordered my life with such regularity?'
'I should think so. Here's an example; in a few minutes it will
strike ten, and I know beforehand that you will drive me away.'
'No; I'm not going to drive you away, Yevgeny Vassilyitch. You may
stay. Open that window.... I feel half-stifled.'
Bazarov got up and gave a push to the window. It flew up with a loud
crash.... He had not expected it to open so easily; besides, his hands
were shaking. The soft, dark night looked in to the room with its
almost black sky, its faintly rustling trees, and the fresh fragrance
of the pure open air.
'Draw the blind and sit down,' said Madame Odintsov; 'I want to have
a talk with you before you go away. Tell me something about yourself;
you never talk about yourself.'
'I try to talk to you upon improving subjects, Anna Sergyevna.'
'You are very modest.... But I should like to know something about
you, about your family, about your father, for whom you are forsaking
'Why is she talking like that?' thought Bazarov.
'All that's not in the least interesting,' he uttered aloud,
'especially for you; we are obscure people....'
'And you regard me as an aristocrat?'
Bazarov lifted his eyes to Madame Odintsov.
'Yes,' he said, with exaggerated sharpness.
She smiled. 'I see you know me very little, though you do maintain
that all people are alike, and it's not worth while to study them. I
will tell you my life some time or other ... but first you tell me
'I know you very little,' repeated Bazarov. 'Perhaps you are right;
perhaps, really, every one is a riddle. You, for instance; you avoid
society, you are oppressed by it, and you have invited two students to
stay with you. What makes you, with your intellect, with your beauty,
live in the country?'
'What? What was it you said?' Madame Odintsov interposed eagerly.
'With my ... beauty?'
Bazarov scowled. 'Never mind that,' he muttered; 'I meant to say
that I don't exactly understand why you have settled in the country?'
'You don't understand it.... But you explain it to yourself in some
'Yes ... I assume that you remain continually in the same place
because you indulge yourself, because you are very fond of comfort and
ease, and very indifferent to everything else.'
Madame Odintsov smiled again. 'You would absolutely refuse to
believe that I am capable of being carried away by anything?'
Bazarov glanced at her from under his brows.
'By curiosity, perhaps; but not otherwise.'
'Really? Well, now I understand why we are such friends; you are
just like me, you see.'
'We are such friends ...' Bazarov articulated in a choked voice.
'Yes!... Why, I'd forgotten you wanted to go away.'
Bazarov got up. The lamp burnt dimly in the middle of the dark,
luxurious, isolated room; from time to time the blind was shaken, and
there flowed in the freshness of the insidious night; there was heard
its mysterious whisperings. Madame Odintsov did not move in a single
limb; but she was gradually possessed by concealed emotion.
It communicated itself to Bazarov. He was suddenly conscious that he
was alone with a young and lovely woman....
'Where are you going?' she said slowly.
He answered nothing, and sank into a chair.
'And so you consider me a placid, pampered, spoiled creature,' she
went on in the same voice, never taking her eyes off the window. 'While
I know so much about myself, that I am unhappy.'
'You unhappy? What for? Surely you can't attach any importance to
Madame Odintsov frowned. It annoyed her that he had given such a
meaning to her words.
'Such gossip does not affect me, Yevgeny Vassilyitch, and I am too
proud to allow it to disturb me. I am unhappy because ... I have no
desires, no passion for life. You look at me incredulously; you think
that's said by an aristocrat, who is all in lace, and sitting in a
velvet armchair. I don't conceal the fact: I love what you call
comfort, and at the same time I have little desire to live. Explain
that contradiction as best you can. But all that's romanticism in your
Bazarov shook his head. 'You are in good health, independent, rich;
what more would you have? What do you want?'
'What do I want,' echoed Madame Odintsov, and she sighed, 'I am very
tired, I am old, I feel as if I have had a very long life. Yes, I am
old,' she added, softly drawing the ends of her lace over her bare
arms. Her eyes met Bazarov's eyes, and she faintly blushed. 'Behind me
I have already so many memories: my life in Petersburg, wealth, then
poverty, then my father's death, marriage, then the inevitable tour in
due order.... So many memories, and nothing to remember, and before me,
before mea long, long road, and no goal.... I have no wish to go on.'
'Are you so disillusioned?' queried Bazarov.
'No, but I am dissatisfied,' Madame Odintsov replied, dwelling on
each syllable. 'I think if I could interest myself strongly in
'You want to fall in love,' Bazarov interrupted her, 'and you can't
love; that's where your unhappiness lies.'
Madame Odintsov began to examine the sleeve of her lace.
'Is it true I can't love?' she said.
'I should say not! Only I was wrong in calling that an unhappiness.
On the contrary, any one's more to be pitied when such a mischance
'Falling in love.'
'And how do you come to know that?'
'By hearsay,' answered Bazarov angrily.
'You're flirting,' he thought; 'you're bored, and teasing me for
want of something to do, while I ...' His heart really seemed as though
it were being torn to pieces.
'Besides, you are perhaps too exacting,' he said, bending his whole
frame forward and playing with the fringe of the chair.
'Perhaps. My idea is everything or nothing. A life for a life. Take
mine, give up thine, and that without regret or turning back. Or else
better have nothing.'
'Well?' observed Bazarov; 'that's fair terms, and I'm surprised that
so far you ... have not found what you wanted.'
'And do you think it would be easy to give oneself up wholly to
'Not easy, if you begin reflecting, waiting and attaching value to
yourself, prizing yourself, I mean; but to give oneself up without
reflection is very easy.'
'How can one help prizing oneself? If I am of no value, who could
need my devotion?'
'That's not my affair; that's the other's business to discover what
is my value. The chief thing is to be able to devote oneself.'
Madame Odintsov bent forward from the back of her chair. 'You
speak,' she began, 'as though you had experienced all that.'
'It happened to come up, Anna Sergyevna; all that, as you know, is
not in my line.'
'But you could devote yourself?'
'I don't know. I shouldn't like to boast.'
Madame Odintsov said nothing, and Bazarov was mute. The sounds of
the piano floated up to them from the drawing-room.
'How is it Katya is playing so late?' observed Madame Odintsov.
Bazarov got up. 'Yes, it is really late now; it's time for you to go
'Wait a little; why are you in a hurry?... I want to say one word to
'What is it?'
'Wait a little,' whispered Madame Odintsov. Her eyes rested on
Bazarov; it seemed as though she were examining him attentively.
He walked across the room, then suddenly went up to her, hurriedly
said 'Good-bye,' squeezed her hand so that she almost screamed, and was
gone. She raised her crushed fingers to her lips, breathed on them, and
suddenly, impulsively getting up from her low chair, she moved with
rapid steps towards the door, as though she wished to bring Bazarov
back.... A maid came into the room with a decanter on a silver tray.
Madame Odintsov stood still, told her she could go, and sat down again,
and again sank into thought. Her hair slipped loose and fell in a dark
coil down her shoulders. Long after the lamp was still burning in Anna
Sergyevna's room, and for long she stayed without moving, only from
time to time chafing her hands, which ached a little from the cold of
Bazarov went back two hours later to his bed-room with his boots wet
with dew, dishevelled and ill-humoured. He found Arkady at the
writing-table with a book in his hands, his coat buttoned up to the
'You're not in bed yet?' he said, in a tone, it seemed, of
'You stopped a long while with Anna Sergyevna this evening,'
remarked Arkady, not answering him.
'Yes, I stopped with her all the while you were playing the piano
with Katya Sergyevna.'
'I did not play ...' Arkady began, and he stopped. He felt the tears
were coming into his eyes, and he did not like to cry before his
The following morning when Madame Odintsov came down to morning tea,
Bazarov sat a long while bending over his cup, then suddenly he glanced
up at her.... She turned to him as though he had struck her a blow, and
he fancied that her face was a little paler since the night before. She
quickly went off to her own room, and did not appear till lunch. It
rained from early morning; there was no possibility of going for a
walk. The whole company assembled in the drawing-room. Arkady took up
the new number of a journal and began reading it aloud. The princess,
as was her habit, tried to express her amazement in her face, as though
he were doing something improper, then glared angrily at him; but he
paid no attention to her.
'Yevgeny Vassilyitch' said Anna Sergyevna, 'come to my room.... I
want to ask you.... You mentioned a textbook yesterday ...'
She got up and went to the door. The princess looked round with an
expression that seemed to say, 'Look at me; see how shocked I am!' and
again glared at Arkady; but he raised his voice, and exchanging glances
with Katya, near whom he was sitting, he went on reading.
Madame Odintsov went with rapid steps to her study. Bazarov followed
her quickly, not raising his eyes, and only with his ears catching the
delicate swish and rustle of her silk gown gliding before him. Madame
Odintsov sank into the same easy-chair in which she had sat the
previous evening, and Bazarov took up the same position as before.
'What was the name of that book?' she began, after a brief silence.
'Pelouse et Frémy, Notions générales,' answered Bazarov. 'I
might though recommend you also Ganot, Traité élémentaire de
physique éxpérimentale. In that book the illustrations are clearer,
and in general it's a text-book.'
Madame Odintsov stretched out her hand. 'Yevgeny Vassilyitch, I beg
your pardon, but I didn't invite you in here to discuss text-books. I
wanted to continue our conversation of last night. You went away so
suddenly.... It will not bore you ...'
'I am at your service, Anna Sergyevna. But what were we talking
about last night?'
Madame Odintsov flung a sidelong glance at Bazarov.
'We were talking of happiness, I believe. I told you about myself.
By the way, I mentioned the word happiness. Tell me why it is that
even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a fine evening, or a
conversation with sympathetic people, it all seems an intimation of
some measureless happiness existing apart somewhere rather than actual
happinesssuch, I mean, as we ourselves are in possession of? Why is
it? Or perhaps you have no feeling like that?'
'You know the saying, Happiness is where we are not,' replied
Bazarov; 'besides, you told me yesterday you are discontented. I
certainly never have such ideas come into my head.'
'Perhaps they seem ridiculous to you?'
'No; but they don't come into my head.'
'Really? Do you know, I should very much like to know what you do
'What? I don't understand.'
'Listen; I have long wanted to speak openly to you. There's no need
to tell youyou are conscious of it yourselfthat you are not an
ordinary man; you are still youngall life is before you. What are you
preparing yourself for? What future is awaiting you? I mean to
saywhat object do you want to attain? What are you going forward to?
What is in your heart? in short, who are you? What are you?'
'You surprise me, Anna Sergyevna. You are aware that I am studying
natural science, and who I ...'
'Well, who are you?'
'I have explained to you already that I am going to be a district
Anna Sergyevna made a movement of impatience.
'What do you say that for? You don't believe it yourself. Arkady
might answer me in that way, but not you.'
'Why, in what is Arkady ...'
'Stop! Is it possible you could content yourself with such a humble
career, and aren't you always maintaining yourself that you don't
believe in medicine? Youwith your ambitiona district doctor! You
answer me like that to put me off, because you have no confidence in
me. But, do you know, Yevgeny Vassilyitch, that I could understand you;
I have been poor myself, and ambitious, like you; I have been perhaps
through the same trials as you.'
'That is all very well, Anna Sergyevna, but you must pardon me for
... I am not in the habit of talking freely about myself at any time as
a rule, and between you and me there is such a gulf ...'
'What sort of gulf? You mean to tell me again that I am an
aristocrat? No more of that, Yevgeny Vassilyitch; I thought I had
proved to you ...'
'And even apart from that,' broke in Bazarov, 'what could induce one
to talk and think about the future, which for the most part does not
depend on us? If a chance turns up of doing somethingso much the
better; and if it doesn't turn upat least one will be glad one didn't
gossip idly about it beforehand.'
'You call a friendly conversation idle gossip?... Or perhaps you
consider me as a woman unworthy of your confidence? I know you despise
'I don't despise you, Anna Sergyevna, and you know that.'
'No, I don't know anything ... but let us suppose so. I understand
your disinclination to talk of your future career; but as to what is
taking place within you now ...'
'Taking place!' repeated Bazarov, 'as though I were some sort of
government or society! In any case, it is utterly uninteresting; and
besides, can a man always speak of everything that takes place in
'Why, I don't see why you can't speak freely of everything you have
in your heart.'
'Can you?' asked Bazarov.
'Yes,' answered Anna Sergyevna, after a brief hesitation.
Bazarov bowed his head. 'You are more fortunate than I am.'
Anna Sergyevna looked at him questioningly. 'As you please,' she
went on, 'but still something tells me that we have not come together
for nothing; that we shall be great friends. I am sure thiswhat
should I say, constraint, reticence in you will vanish at last.'
'So you have noticed reticence ... as you expressed it ...
Bazarov got up and went to the window. 'And would you like to know
the reason of this reticence? Would you like to know what is passing
'Yes,' repeated Madame Odintsov, with a sort of dread she did not at
the time understand.
'And you will not be angry?'
'No?' Bazarov was standing with his back to her. 'Let me tell you
then that I love you like a fool, like a madman.... There, you've
forced it out of me.'
Madame Odintsov held both hands out before her; but Bazarov was
leaning with his forehead pressed against the window pane. He breathed
hard; his whole body was visibly trembling. But it was not the tremor
of youthful timidity, not the sweet alarm of the first declaration that
possessed him; it was passion struggling in him, strong and
painfulpassion not unlike hatred, and perhaps akin to it.... Madame
Odintsov felt both afraid and sorry for him.
'Yevgeny Vassilyitch!' she said, and there was the ring of
unconscious tenderness in her voice.
He turned quickly, flung a searching look on her, and snatching both
her hands, he drew her suddenly to his breast.
She did not at once free herself from his embrace, but an instant
later, she was standing far away in a corner, and looking from there at
Bazarov. He rushed at her ...
'You have misunderstood me,' she whispered hurriedly, in alarm. It
seemed if he had made another step she would have screamed.... Bazarov
bit his lips, and went out.
Half-an-hour after, a maid gave Anna Sergyevna a note from Bazarov;
it consisted simply of one line: 'Am I to go to-day, or can I stop till
'Why should you go? I did not understand youyou did not understand
me,' Anna Sergyevna answered him, but to herself she thought: 'I did
not understand myself either.'
She did not show herself till dinner-time, and kept walking to and
fro in her room, stopping sometimes at the window, sometimes at the
looking-glass, and slowly rubbing her handkerchief over her neck, on
which she still seemed to feel a burning spot. She asked herself what
had induced her to 'force' Bazarov's words, his confidence, and whether
she had suspected nothing ... 'I am to blame,' she decided aloud, 'but
I could not have foreseen this.' She fell to musing, and blushed
crimson, remembering Bazarov's almost animal face when he had rushed at
'Oh?' she uttered suddenly aloud, and she stopped short and shook
back her curls.... She caught sight of herself in the glass; her head
thrown back, with a mysterious smile on the half-closed, half-opened
eyes and lips, told her, it seemed, in a flash something at which she
herself was confused....
'No,' she made up her mind at last. 'God knows what it would lead
to; he couldn't be played with; peace is anyway the best thing in the
Her peace of mind was not shaken; but she felt gloomy, and even shed
a few tears once though she could not have said whycertainly not for
the insult done her. She did not feel insulted; she was more inclined
to feel guilty. Under the influence of various vague emotions, the
sense of life passing by, the desire of novelty, she had forced herself
to go up to a certain point, forced herself to look behind herself, and
had seen behind her not even an abyss, but what was empty ... or
Great as was Madame Odintsov's self-control, and superior as she was
to every kind of prejudice, she felt awkward when she went into the
dining-room to dinner. The meal went off fairly successfully, however.
Porfiry Platonovitch made his appearance and told various anecdotes; he
had just come back from the town. Among other things, he informed them
that the governor had ordered his secretaries on special commissions to
wear spurs, in case he might send them off anywhere for greater speed
on horseback. Arkady talked in an undertone to Katya, and
diplomatically attended to the princess's wants. Bazarov maintained a
grim and obstinate silence. Madame Odintsov looked at him twice, not
stealthily, but straight in the face, which was bilious and forbidding,
with downcast eyes, and contemptuous determination stamped on every
feature, and thought: 'No ... no ... no.' ... After dinner, she went
with the whole company into the garden, and seeing that Bazarov wanted
to speak to her, she took a few steps to one side and stopped. He went
up to her, but even then did not raise his eyes, and said hoarsely
'I have to apologise to you, Anna Sergyevna. You must be in a fury
'No, I'm not angry with you, Yevgeny Vassilyitch,' answered Madame
Odintsov; 'but I am sorry.'
'So much the worse. Any way, I'm sufficiently punished. My position,
you will certainly agree, is most foolish. You wrote to me, Why go
away? But I cannot stay, and don't wish to. To-morrow I shall be
'Yevgeny Vassilyitch, why are you ...'
'Why am I going away?'
'No; I didn't mean to say that.'
'There's no recalling the past, Anna Sergyevna ... and this was
bound to come about sooner or later. Consequently I must go. I can only
conceive of one condition upon which I could remain; but that condition
will never be. Excuse my impertinence, but you don't love me, and you
never will love me, I suppose?'
Bazarov's eyes glittered for an instant under their dark brows.
Anna Sergyevna did not answer him. 'I'm afraid of this man,' flashed
through her brain.
'Good-bye, then,' said Bazarov, as though he guessed her thought,
and he went back into the house.
Anna Sergyevna walked slowly after him, and calling Katya to her,
she took her arm. She did not leave her side till quite evening. She
did not play cards, and was constantly laughing, which did not at all
accord with her pale and perplexed face. Arkady was bewildered, and
looked on at her as all young people look onthat's to say, he was
constantly asking himself, 'What is the meaning of that?' Bazarov shut
himself up in his room; he came back to tea, however. Anna Sergyevna
longed to say some friendly word to him, but she did not know how to
An unexpected incident relieved her from her embarrassment; a
steward announced the arrival of Sitnikov.
It is difficult to do justice in words to the strange figure cut by
the young apostle of progress as he fluttered into the room. Though,
with his characteristic impudence, he had made up his mind to go into
the country to visit a woman whom he hardly knew, who had never invited
him; but with whom, according to information he had gathered, such
talented and intimate friends were staying, he was nevertheless
trembling to the marrow of his bones; and instead of bringing out the
apologies and compliments he had learned by heart beforehand, he
muttered some absurdity about Evdoksya Kukshin having sent him to
inquire after Anna Sergyevna's health, and Arkady Nikolaevitch's too,
having always spoken to him in the highest terms.... At this point he
faltered and lost his presence of mind so completely that he sat down
on his own hat. However, since no one turned him out, and Anna
Sergyevna even presented him to her aunt and her sister, he soon
recovered himself and began to chatter volubly. The introduction of the
commonplace is often an advantage in life; it relieves over-strained
tension, and sobers too self-confident or self-sacrificing emotions by
recalling its close kinship with them. With Sitnikov's appearance
everything became somehow duller and simpler; they all even ate a more
solid supper, and retired to bed half-an-hour earlier than usual.
'I might now repeat to you,' said Arkady, as he lay down in bed, to
Bazarov, who was also undressing, what you once said to me, 'Why are
you so melancholy? One would think you had fulfilled some sacred duty.'
For some time past a sort of pretence of free-and-easy banter had
sprung up between the two young men, which is always an unmistakable
sign of secret displeasure or unexpressed suspicions.
'I'm going to my father's to-morrow,' said Bazarov.
Arkady raised himself and leaned on his elbow. He felt both
surprised, and for some reason or other pleased. 'Ah!' he commented,
'and is that why you're sad?'
Bazarov yawned. 'You'll get old if you know too much.'
'And Anna Sergyevna?' persisted Arkady.
'What about Anna Sergyevna?'
'I mean, will she let you go?'
'I'm not her paid man.'
Arkady grew thoughtful, while Bazarov lay down and turned with his
face to the wall.
Some minutes went by in silence. 'Yevgeny?' cried Arkady suddenly.
'I will leave with you to-morrow too.'
Bazarov made no answer.
'Only I will go home,' continued Arkady. 'We will go together as far
as Hohlovsky, and there you can get horses at Fedot's. I should be
delighted to make the acquaintance of your people, but I'm afraid of
being in their way and yours. You are coming to us again later, of
'I've left all my things with you,' Bazarov said, without turning
'Why doesn't he ask me why I am going, and just as suddenly as he?'
thought Arkady. 'In reality, why am I going, and why is he going?' he
pursued his reflections. He could find no satisfactory answer to his
own question, though his heart was filled with some bitter feeling. He
felt it would be hard to part from this life to which he had grown so
accustomed; but for him to remain alone would be rather odd. 'Something
has passed between them,' he reasoned to himself; 'what good would it
be for me to hang on after he's gone? She's utterly sick of me; I'm
losing the last that remained to me.' He began to imagine Anna
Sergyevna to himself, then other features gradually eclipsed the lovely
image of the young widow.
'I'm sorry to lose Katya too!' Arkady whispered to his pillow, on
which a tear had already fallen.... All at once he shook back his hair
and said aloud
'What the devil made that fool of a Sitnikov turn up here?'
Bazarov at first stirred a little in his bed, then he uttered the
following rejoinder: 'You're still a fool, my boy, I see. Sitnikovs are
indispensable to us. Ido you understand? I need dolts like him. It's
not for the gods to bake bricks, in fact!'...
'Oho!' Arkady thought to himself, and then in a flash all the
fathomless depths of Bazarov's conceit dawned upon him. 'Are you and I
gods then? at least, you're a god; am not I a dolt then?'
'Yes,' repeated Bazarov; 'you're still a fool.'
Madame Odintsov expressed no special surprise when Arkady told her
the next day that he was going with Bazarov; she seemed tired and
absorbed. Katya looked at him silently and seriously; the princess went
so far as to cross herself under her shawl so that he could not help
noticing it. Sitnikov, on the other hand, was completely disconcerted.
He had only just come in to lunch in a new and fashionable get-up, not
on this occasion of a Slavophil cut; the evening before he had
astonished the man told off to wait on him by the amount of linen he
had brought with him, and now all of a sudden his comrades were
deserting him! He took a few tiny steps, doubled back like a hunted
hare at the edge of a copse, and abruptly, almost with dismay, almost
with a wail, announced that he proposed going too. Madame Odintsov did
not attempt to detain him.
'I have a very comfortable carriage,' added the luckless young man,
turning to Arkady; 'I can take you, while Yevgeny Vassilyitch can take
your coach, so it will be even more convenient.'
'But, really, it's not at all in your way, and it's a long way to my
'That's nothing, nothing; I've plenty of time; besides, I have
business in that direction.'
'Gin-selling?' asked Arkady, rather too contemptuously.
But Sitnikov was reduced to such desperation that he did not even
laugh as usual. 'I assure you, my carriage is exceedingly comfortable,'
he muttered; 'and there will be room for all.'
'Don't wound Monsieur Sitnikov by a refusal,' commented Anna
Arkady glanced at her, and bowed his head significantly.
The visitors started off after lunch. As she said good-bye to
Bazarov, Madame Odintsov held out her hand to him, and said, 'We shall
meet again, shan't we?'
'As you command,' answered Bazarov.
'In that case, we shall.'
Arkady was the first to descend the steps; he got into Sitnikov's
carriage. A steward tucked him in respectfully, but he could have
killed him with pleasure, or have burst into tears.
Bazarov took his seat in the coach. When they reached Hohlovsky,
Arkady waited till Fedot, the keeper of the posting-station, had put in
the horses, and going up to the coach, he said, with his old smile, to
Bazarov, 'Yevgeny, take me with you; I want to come to you.'
'Get in,' Bazarov brought out through his teeth.
Sitnikov, who had been walking to and fro round the wheels of his
carriage, whistling briskly, could only gape when he heard these words;
while Arkady coolly pulled his luggage out of the carriage, took his
seat beside Bazarov, and bowing politely to his former
fellow-traveller, he called, 'Whip up!' The coach rolled away, and was
soon out of sight.... Sitnikov, utterly confused, looked at his
coachman, but the latter was flicking his whip about the tail of the
off horse. Then Sitnikov jumped into the carriage, and growling at two
passing peasants, 'Put on your caps, idiots!' he drove to the town,
where he arrived very late, and where, next day, at Madame Kukshin's,
he dealt very severely with two 'disgusting stuck-up churls.'
When he was seated in the coach by Bazarov, Arkady pressed his hand
warmly, and for a long while he said nothing. It seemed as though
Bazarov understood and appreciated both the pressure and the silence.
He had not slept all the previous night, and had not smoked, and had
eaten scarcely anything for several days. His profile, already thinner,
stood out darkly and sharply under his cap, which was pulled down to
'Well, brother,' he said at last, 'give us a cigarette. But look, I
say, is my tongue yellow?'
'Yes, it is,' answered Arkady.
'Hm ... and the cigarette's tasteless. The machine's out of gear.'
'You look changed lately certainly,' observed Arkady.
'It's nothing! we shall soon be all right. One thing's a bothermy
mother's so tender-hearted; if you don't grow as round as a tub, and
eat ten times a day, she's quite upset. My father's all right, he's
known all sorts of ups and downs himself. No, I can't smoke,' he added,
and he flung the cigarette into the dust of the road.
'Do you think it's twenty miles?' asked Arkady.
'Yes. But ask this sage here.' He indicated the peasant sitting on
the box, a labourer of Fedot's.
But the sage only answered, 'Who's to knowmiles hereabout aren't
measured,' and went on swearing in an undertone at the shaft horse for
'kicking with her head-piece,' that is, shaking with her head down.
'Yes, yes,' began Bazarov; 'it's a lesson to you, my young friend,
an instructive example. God knows, what rot it is? Every man hangs on a
thread, the abyss may open under his feet any minute, and yet he must
go and invent all sorts of discomforts for himself, and spoil his
'What are you alluding to?' asked Arkady.
'I'm not alluding to anything; I'm saying straight out that we've
both behaved like fools. What's the use of talking about it! Still,
I've noticed in hospital practice, the man who's furious at his
illnesshe's sure to get over it.'
'I don't quite understand you,' observed Arkady; 'I should have
thought you had nothing to complain of.'
'And since you don't quite understand me, I'll tell you thisto my
mind, it's better to break stones on the highroad than to let a woman
have the mastery of even the end of one's little finger. That's all
...' Bazarov was on the point of uttering his favourite word,
'romanticism,' but he checked himself, and said, 'rubbish. You don't
believe me now, but I tell you; you and I have been in feminine
society, and very nice we found it; but to throw up society like that
is for all the world like a dip in cold water on a hot day. A man
hasn't time to attend to such trifles; a man ought not to be tame, says
an excellent Spanish proverb. Now, you, I suppose, my sage friend,' he
added, turning to the peasant sitting on the box'you've a wife?'
The peasant showed both the friends his dull blear-eyed face.
'A wife? Yes. Every man has a wife.'
'Do you beat her?'
'My wife? Everything happens sometimes. We don't beat her without
'That's excellent. Well, and does she beat you?'
The peasant gave a tug at the reins. 'That's a strange thing to say,
sir. You like your joke.'... He was obviously offended.
'You hear, Arkady Nikolaevitch! But we have taken a beating ...
that's what comes of being educated people.'
Arkady gave a forced laugh, while Bazarov turned away, and did not
open his mouth again the whole journey.
The twenty miles seemed to Arkady quite forty. But at last, on the
slope of some rising ground, appeared the small hamlet where Bazarov's
parents lived. Beside it, in a young birch copse, could be seen a small
house with a thatched roof.
Two peasants stood with their hats on at the first hut, abusing each
other. 'You're a great sow,' said one; 'and worse than a little sucking
'And your wife's a witch,' retorted the other.
'From their unconstrained behaviour,' Bazarov remarked to Arkady,
'and the playfulness of their retorts, you can guess that my father's
peasants are not too much oppressed. Why, there he is himself coming
out on the steps of his house. They must have heard the bells. It's he;
it's heI know his figure. Ay, ay! how grey he's grown though, poor
Bazarov leaned out of the coach, while Arkady thrust his head out
behind his companion's back, and caught sight on the steps of the
little manor-house of a tall, thinnish man with dishevelled hair, and a
thin hawk nose, dressed in an old military coat not buttoned up. He was
standing, his legs wide apart, smoking a long pipe and screwing up his
eyes to keep the sun out of them.
The horses stopped.
'Arrived at last,' said Bazarov's father, still going on smoking
though the pipe was fairly dancing up and down between his fingers.
'Come, get out; get out; let me hug you.'
He began embracing his son ... 'Enyusha, Enyusha,' was heard a
trembling woman's voice. The door was flung open, and in the doorway
was seen a plump, short, little old woman in a white cap and a short
striped jacket. She moaned, staggered, and would certainly have fallen,
had not Bazarov supported her. Her plump little hands were instantly
twined round his neck, her head was pressed to his breast, and there
was a complete hush. The only sound heard was her broken sobs.
Old Bazarov breathed hard and screwed his eyes up more than ever.
'There, that's enough, that's enough, Arisha! give over,' he said,
exchanging a glance with Arkady, who remained motionless in the coach,
while the peasant on the box even turned his head away; 'that's not at
all necessary, please give over.'
'Ah, Vassily Ivanitch,' faltered the old woman, 'for what ages, my
dear one, my darling, Enyusha,' ... and, not unclasping her hands, she
drew her wrinkled face, wet with tears and working with tenderness, a
little away from Bazarov, and gazed at him with blissful and
comic-looking eyes, and again fell on his neck.
'Well, well, to be sure, that's all in the nature of things,'
commented Vassily Ivanitch, 'only we'd better come indoors. Here's a
visitor come with Yevgeny. You must excuse it,' he added, turning to
Arkady, and scraping with his foot; 'you understand, a woman's
weakness; and well, a mother's heart ...'
His lips and eyebrows too were twitching, and his beard was
quivering ... but he was obviously trying to control himself and appear
'Let's come in, mother, really,' said Bazarov, and he led the
enfeebled old woman into the house. Putting her into a comfortable
armchair, he once more hurriedly embraced his father and introduced
Arkady to him.
'Heartily glad to make your acquaintance,' said Vassily Ivanovitch,
'but you mustn't expect great things; everything here in my house is
done in a plain way, on a military footing. Arina Vlasyevna, calm
yourself, pray; what weakness! The gentleman our guest will think ill
'My dear sir,' said the old lady through her tears, 'your name and
your father's I haven't the honour of knowing....'
'Arkady Nikolaitch,' put in Vassily Ivanitch solemnly, in a low
'You must excuse a silly old woman like me.' The old woman blew her
nose, and bending her head to right and to left, carefully wiped one
eye after the other. 'You must excuse me. You see, I thought I should
die, that I should not live to see my da .. arling.'
'Well, here we have lived to see him, madam,' put in Vassily
Ivanovitch. 'Tanyushka,' he turned to a bare-legged little girl of
thirteen in a bright red cotton dress, who was timidly peeping in at
the door, 'bring your mistress a glass of wateron a tray, do you
hear?and you, gentlemen,' he added, with a kind of old-fashioned
playfulness, 'let me ask you into the study of a retired old veteran.'
'Just once more let me embrace you, Enyusha,' moaned Arina
Vlasyevna. Bazarov bent down to her. 'Why, what a handsome fellow you
'Well, I don't know about being handsome,' remarked Vassily
Ivanovitch, 'but he's a man, as the saying is, ommfay. And now I
hope, Arina Vlasyevna, that having satisfied your maternal heart, you
will turn your thoughts to satisfying the appetites of our dear guests,
because, as you're aware, even nightingales can't be fed on fairy
The old lady got up from her chair. 'This minute, Vassily
Ivanovitch, the table shall be laid. I will run myself to the kitchen
and order the samovar to be brought in; everything shall be ready,
everything. Why, I have not seen him, not given him food or drink these
three years; is that nothing?'
'There, mind, good mother, bustle about; don't put us to shame;
while you, gentlemen, I beg you to follow me. Here's Timofeitch come to
pay his respects to you, Yevgeny. He, too, I daresay, is delighted, the
old dog. Eh, aren't you delighted, old dog? Be so good as to follow
And Vassily Ivanovitch went bustling forward, scraping and flapping
with his slippers trodden down at heel.
His whole house consisted of six tiny rooms. One of themthe one to
which he led our friendswas called the study. A thick-legged table,
littered over with papers black with the accumulation of ancient dust
as though they had been smoked, occupied all the space between the two
windows; on the walls hung Turkish firearms, whips, a sabre, two maps,
some anatomical diagrams, a portrait of Hoffland, a monogram woven in
hair in a blackened frame, and a diploma under glass; a leather sofa,
torn and worn into hollows in parts, was placed between two huge
cupboards of birch-wood; on the shelves books, boxes, stuffed birds,
jars, and phials were huddled together in confusion; in one corner
stood a broken galvanic battery.
'I warned you, my dear Arkady Nikolaitch,' began Vassily Ivanitch,
'that we live, so to say, bivouacking....'
'There, stop that, what are you apologising for?' Bazarov
interrupted. 'Kirsanov knows very well we're not Croesuses, and that
you have no butler. Where are we going to put him, that's the
'To be sure, Yevgeny; I have a capital room there in the little
lodge; he will be very comfortable there.'
'Have you had a lodge put up then?'
'Why, where the bath-house is,' put in Timofeitch.
'That is next to the bathroom,' Vassily Ivanitch added hurriedly.
'It's summer now ... I will run over there at once, and make
arrangements; and you, Timofeitch, meanwhile bring in their things.
You, Yevgeny, I shall of course offer my study. Suum cuique.'
'There you have him! A comical old chap, and very good-natured,'
remarked Bazarov, directly Vassily Ivanitch had gone. 'Just such a
queer fish as yours, only in another way. He chatters too much.'
'And your mother seems an awfully nice woman,' observed Arkady.
'Yes, there's no humbug about her. You'll see what a dinner she'll
'They didn't expect you to-day, sir; they've not brought any beef?'
observed Timofeitch, who was just dragging in Bazarov's box.
'We shall get on very well without beef. It's no use crying for the
moon. Poverty, they say, is no vice.'
'How many serfs has your father?' Arkady asked suddenly.
'The estate's not his, but mother's; there are fifteen serfs, if I
'Twenty-two in all,' Timofeitch added, with an air of displeasure.
The flapping of slippers was heard, and Vassily Ivanovitch
reappeared. 'In a few minutes your room will be ready to receive you,'
he cried triumphantly. Arkady ... Nikolaitch? I think that is right?
And here is your attendant,' he added, indicating a short-cropped boy,
who had come in with him in a blue full-skirted coat with ragged elbows
and a pair of boots which did not belong to him. 'His name is Fedka.
Again, I repeat, even though my son tells me not to, you mustn't expect
great things. He knows how to fill a pipe, though. You smoke, of
'I generally smoke cigars,' answered Arkady.
'And you do very sensibly. I myself give the preference to cigars,
but in these solitudes it is exceedingly difficult to obtain them.'
'There, that's enough humble pie,' Bazarov interrupted again. 'You'd
much better sit here on the sofa and let us have a look at you.'
Vassily Ivanovitch laughed and sat down. He was very like his son in
face, only his brow was lower and narrower, and his mouth rather wider,
and he was for ever restless, shrugging up his shoulder as though his
coat cut him under the armpits, blinking, clearing his throat, and
gesticulating with his fingers, while his son was distinguished by a
kind of nonchalant immobility.
'Humble-pie!' repeated Vassily Ivanovitch. 'You must not imagine,
Yevgeny, I want to appeal, so to speak, to our guest's sympathies by
making out we live in such a wilderness. Quite the contrary, I maintain
that for a thinking man nothing is a wilderness. At least, I try as far
as possible not to get rusty, so to speak, not to fall behind the age.'
Vassily Ivanovitch drew out of his pocket a new yellow silk
handkerchief, which he had had time to snatch up on the way to Arkady's
room, and flourishing it in the air, he proceeded: 'I am not now
alluding to the fact that, for example, at the cost of sacrifices not
inconsiderable for me, I have put my peasants on the rent-system and
given up my land to them on half profits. I regarded that as my duty;
common sense itself enjoins such a proceeding, though other proprietors
do not even dream of it; I am alluding to the sciences, to culture.'
'Yes; I see you have here The Friend of Health for 1855,'
'It's sent me by an old comrade out of friendship,' Vassily
Ivanovitch made haste to answer; 'but we have, for instance, some idea
even of phrenology,' he added, addressing himself principally, however,
to Arkady, and pointing to a small plaster head on the cupboard,
divided into numbered squares; 'we are not unacquainted even with
Schenlein and Rademacher.'
'Why do people still believe in Rademacher in this province?' asked
Vassily Ivanovitch cleared his throat. 'In this province.... Of
course, gentlemen, you know best; how could we keep pace with you? You
are here to take our places. In my day, too, there was some sort of a
Humouralist school, Hoffmann, and Brown too with his vitalismthey
seemed very ridiculous to us, but, of course, they too had been great
men at one time or other. Some one new has taken the place of
Rademacher with you; you bow down to him, but in another twenty years
it will be his turn to be laughed at.'
'For your consolation I will tell you,' observed Bazarov, 'that
nowadays we laugh at medicine altogether, and don't bow down to any
'How's that? Why, you're going to be a doctor, aren't you?'
'Yes, but the one fact doesn't prevent the other.'
Vassily Ivanovitch poked his third finger into his pipe, where a
little smouldering ash was still left. 'Well, perhaps, perhapsI am
not going to dispute. What am I? A retired army-doctor, volla-too
; now fate has made me take to farming. I served in your grandfather's
brigade,' he addressed himself again to Arkady; 'yes, yes, I have seen
many sights in my day. And I was thrown into all kinds of society,
brought into contact with all sorts of people! I myself, the man you
see before you now, have felt the pulse of Prince Wittgenstein and of
Zhukovsky! They were in the southern army, in the fourteenth, you
understand' (and here Vassily Ivanovitch pursed his mouth up
significantly). 'Well, well, but my business was on one side; stick to
your lancet, and let everything else go hang! Your grandfather was a
very honourable man, a real soldier.'
'Confess, now, he was rather a blockhead,' remarked Bazarov lazily.
'Ah, Yevgeny, how can you use such an expression! Do consider.... Of
course, General Kirsanov was not one of the ...'
'Come, drop him,' broke in Bazarov; 'I was pleased as I was driving
along here to see your birch copse; it has shot up capitally.'
Vassily Ivanovitch brightened up. 'And you must see what a little
garden I've got now! I planted every tree myself. I've fruit, and
raspberries, and all kinds of medicinal herbs. However clever you young
gentlemen may be, old Paracelsus spoke the holy truth: in herbis
verbis et lapidibus.... I've retired from practice, you know, of
course, but two or three times a week it will happen that I'm brought
back to my old work. They come for adviceI can't drive them away.
Sometimes the poor have recourse to me for help. And indeed there are
no doctors here at all. There's one of the neighbours here, a retired
major, only fancy, he doctors the people too. I asked the question,
Has he studied medicine? And they told me, No, he's not studied; he
does it more from philanthropy.... Ha! ha! ha! from philanthropy! What
do you think of that? Ha! ha! ha!'
'Fedka, fill me a pipe!' said Bazarov rudely.
'And there's another doctor here who just got to a patient,' Vassily
Ivanovitch persisted in a kind of desperation, 'when the patient had
gone ad patres; the servant didn't let the doctor speak; you're
no longer wanted, he told him. He hadn't expected this, got confused,
and asked, Why, did your master hiccup before his death? Yes. Did
he hiccup much? Yes. Ah, well, that's all right, and off he set
back again. Ha! ha! ha!'
The old man was alone in his laughter; Arkady forced a smile on his
face. Bazarov simply stretched. The conversation went on in this way
for about an hour; Arkady had time to go to his room, which turned out
to be the anteroom attached to the bathroom, but was very snug and
clean. At last Tanyusha came in and announced that dinner was ready.
Vassily Ivanovitch was the first to get up. 'Come, gentlemen. You
must be magnanimous and pardon me if I've bored you. I daresay my good
wife will give you more satisfaction.'
The dinner, though prepared in haste, turned out to be very good,
even abundant; only the wine was not quite up to the mark; it was
almost black sherry, bought by Timofeitch in the town at a well-known
merchant's, and had a faint coppery, resinous taste, and the flies were
a great nuisance. On ordinary days a serf-boy used to keep driving them
away with a large green branch; but on this occasion Vassily Ivanovitch
had sent him away through dread of the criticism of the younger
generation. Arina Vlasyevna had had time to dress: she had put on a
high cap with silk ribbons and a pale blue flowered shawl. She broke
down again directly she caught sight of her Enyusha, but her husband
had no need to admonish her; she made haste to wipe away her tears
herself, for fear of spotting her shawl. Only the young men ate
anything; the master and mistress of the house had dined long ago.
Fedka waited at table, obviously encumbered by having boots on for the
first time; he was assisted by a woman of a masculine cast of face and
one eye, by name Anfisushka, who performed the duties of housekeeper,
poultry-woman, and laundress. Vassily Ivanovitch walked up and down
during the whole of dinner, and with a perfectly happy, positively
beatific countenance, talked about the serious anxiety he felt at
Napoleon's policy, and the intricacy of the Italian question. Arina
Vlasyevna took no notice of Arkady. She did not press him to eat;
leaning her round face, to which the full cherry-coloured lips and the
little moles on the cheeks and over the eyebrows gave a very simple
good-natured expression, on her little closed fist, she did not take
her eyes off her son, and kept constantly sighing; she was dying to
know for how long he had come, but she was afraid to ask him.
'What if he says for two days,' she thought, and her heart sank.
After the roast Vassily Ivanovitch disappeared for an instant, and
returned with an opened half-bottle of champagne. 'Here,' he cried,
'though we do live in the wilds, we have something to make merry with
on festive occasions!' He filled three champagne glasses and a little
wineglass, proposed the health of 'our inestimable guests,' and at once
tossed off his glass in military fashion; while he made Arina Vlasyevna
drink her wineglass to the last drop. When the time came in due course
for preserves, Arkady, who could not bear anything sweet, thought it
his duty, however, to taste four different kinds which had been freshly
made, all the more as Bazarov flatly refused them and began at once
smoking a cigarette. Then tea came on the scene with cream, butter, and
cracknels; then Vassily Ivanovitch took them all into the garden to
admire the beauty of the evening. As they passed a garden seat he
whispered to Arkady
'At this spot I love to meditate, as I watch the sunset; it suits a
recluse like me. And there, a little farther off, I have planted some
of the trees beloved of Horace.'
'What trees?' asked Bazarov, overhearing.
'Oh ... acacias.'
Bazarov began to yawn.
'I imagine it's time our travellers were in the arms of Morpheus,'
observed Vassily Ivanovitch.
'That is, it's time for bed,' Bazarov put in. 'That's a correct
idea. It is time, certainly.'
As he said good-night to his mother, he kissed her on the forehead,
while she embraced him, and stealthily behind his back she gave him her
blessing three times. Vassily Ivanovitch conducted Arkady to his room,
and wished him 'as refreshing repose as I enjoyed at your happy years.'
And Arkady did as a fact sleep excellently in his bath-house; there was
a smell of mint in it, and two crickets behind the stove rivalled each
other in their drowsy chirping. Vassily Ivanovitch went from Arkady's
room to his study, and perching on the sofa at his son's feet, he was
looking forward to having a chat with him; but Bazarov at once sent him
away, saying he was sleepy, and did not fall asleep till morning. With
wide open eyes he stared vindictively into the darkness; the memories
of childhood had no power over him; and besides, he had not yet had
time to get rid of the impression of his recent bitter emotions. Arina
Vlasyevna first prayed to her heart's content, then she had a long,
long conversation with Anfisushka, who stood stock-still before her
mistress, and fixing her solitary eye upon her, communicated in a
mysterious whisper all her observations and conjectures in regard to
Yevgeny Vassilyevitch. The old lady's head was giddy with happiness and
wine and tobacco smoke; her husband tried to talk to her, but with a
wave of his hand gave it up in despair.
Arina Vlasyevna was a genuine Russian gentlewoman of the olden
times; she ought to have lived two centuries before, in the old Moscow
days. She was very devout and emotional; she believed in
fortune-telling, charms, dreams, and omens of every possible kind; she
believed in the prophecies of crazy people, in house-spirits, in
wood-spirits, in unlucky meetings, in the evil eye, in popular
remedies, she ate specially prepared salt on Holy Thursday, and
believed that the end of the world was at hand; she believed that if on
Easter Sunday the lights did not go out at vespers, then there would be
a good crop of buckwheat, and that a mushroom will not grow after it
has been looked on by the eye of man; she believed that the devil likes
to be where there is water, and that every Jew has a blood-stained
patch on his breast; she was afraid of mice, of snakes, of frogs, of
sparrows, of leeches, of thunder, of cold water, of draughts, of
horses, of goats, of red-haired people, and black cats, and she
regarded crickets and dogs as unclean beasts; she never ate veal,
doves, crayfishes, cheese, asparagus, artichokes, hares, nor
water-melons, because a cut water-melon suggested the head of John the
Baptist, and of oysters she could not speak without a shudder; she was
fond of eatingand fasted rigidly; she slept ten hours out of the
twenty-fourand never went to bed at all if Vassily Ivanovitch had so
much as a headache; she had never read a single book except Alexis
or the Cottage in the Forest; she wrote one, or at the most two
letters in a year, but was great in housewifery, preserving, and
jam-making, though with her own hands she never touched a thing, and
was generally disinclined to move from her place. Arina Vlasyevna was
very kindhearted, and in her way not at all stupid. She knew that the
world is divided into masters whose duty it is to command, and simple
folk whose duty it is to serve themand so she felt no repugnance to
servility and prostrations to the ground; but she treated those in
subjection to her kindly and gently, never let a single beggar go away
empty-handed, and never spoke ill of any one, though she was fond of
gossip. In her youth she had been pretty, had played the clavichord,
and spoken French a little; but in the course of many years' wanderings
with her husband, whom she had married against her will, she had grown
stout, and forgotten music and French. Her son she loved and feared
unutterably; she had given up the management of the property to Vassily
Ivanovitchand now did not interfere in anything; she used to groan,
wave her handkerchief, and raise her eyebrows higher and higher with
horror directly her old husband began to discuss the impending
government reforms and his own plans. She was apprehensive, and
constantly expecting some great misfortune, and began to weep directly
she remembered anything sorrowful.... Such women are not common
nowadays. God knows whether we ought to rejoice!
On getting up Arkady opened the window, and the first object that
met his view was Vassily Ivanovitch. In an Oriental dressing-gown girt
round the waist with a pocket-handkerchief he was industriously digging
in his garden. He perceived his young visitor, and leaning on his
spade, he called, 'The best of health to you! How have you slept?'
'Capitally,' answered Arkady.
'Here am I, as you see, like some Cincinnatus, marking out a bed for
late turnips. The time has come nowand thank God for it!when every
one ought to obtain his sustenance with his own hands; it's useless to
reckon on others; one must labour oneself. And it turns out that Jean
Jacques Rousseau is right. Half an hour ago, my dear young gentleman,
you might have seen me in a totally different position. One peasant
woman, who complained of loosenessthat's how they express it, but in
our language, dysenteryI ... how can I express it best? I
administered opium, and for another I extracted a tooth. I proposed an
anæsthetic to her ... but she would not consent. All that I do
gratisanamatyer (en amateur). I'm used to it,
though; you see, I'm a plebeian, homo novusnot one of the old
stock, not like my spouse.... Wouldn't you like to come this way into
the shade, to breathe the morning freshness a little before tea?'
Arkady went out to him.
'Welcome once again,' said Vassily Ivanovitch, raising his hand in a
military salute to the greasy skull-cap which covered his head. 'You, I
know, are accustomed to luxury, to amusements, but even the great ones
of this world do not disdain to spend a brief space under a cottage
'Good heavens,' protested Arkady, 'as though I were one of the great
ones of this world! And I'm not accustomed to luxury.'
'Pardon me, pardon me,' rejoined Vassily Ivanovitch with a polite
simper. 'Though I am laid on the shelf now, I have knocked about the
world tooI can tell a bird by its flight. I am something of a
psychologist too in my own way, and a physiognomist. If I had not, I
will venture to say, been endowed with that gift, I should have come to
grief long ago; I should have stood no chance, a poor man like me. I
tell you without flattery, I am sincerely delighted at the friendship I
observe between you and my son. I have just seen him; he got up as he
usually doesno doubt you are aware of itvery early, and went a
ramble about the neighbourhood. Permit me to inquirehave you known my
'Since last winter.'
'Indeed. And permit me to question you furtherbut hadn't we better
sit down? Permit me, as a father, to ask without reserve, What is your
opinion of my Yevgeny?'
'Your son is one of the most remarkable men I have ever met,' Arkady
Vassily Ivanovitch's eyes suddenly grew round, and his cheeks were
suffused with a faint flush. The spade fell out of his hand.
'And so you expect,' he began ...
'I'm convinced,' Arkady put in, 'that your son has a great future
before him; that he will do honour to your name. I've been certain of
that ever since I first met him.'
'How ... how was that?' Vassily Ivanovitch articulated with an
effort. His wide mouth was relaxed in a triumphant smile, which would
not leave it.
'Would you like me to tell you how we met?'
'Yes ... and altogether....'
Arkady began to tell his tale, and to talk of Bazarov with even
greater warmth, even greater enthusiasm than he had done on the evening
when he danced a mazurka with Madame Odintsov.
Vassily Ivanovitch listened and listened, blinked, and rolled his
handkerchief up into a ball in both his hands, cleared his throat,
ruffled up his hair, and at last could stand it no longer; he bent down
to Arkady and kissed him on his shoulder. 'You have made me perfectly
happy,' he said, never ceasing to smile. 'I ought to tell you, I ...
idolise my son; my old wife I won't speak ofwe all know what mothers
are!but I dare not show my feelings before him, because he doesn't
like it. He is averse to every kind of demonstration of feeling; many
people even find fault with him for such firmness of character, and
regard it as a proof of pride or lack of feeling, but men like him
ought not to be judged by the common standard, ought they? And here,
for example, many another fellow in his place would have been a
constant drag on his parents; but he, would you believe it? has never
from the day he was born taken a farthing more than he could help,
that's God's truth!'
'He is a disinterested, honest man,' observed Arkady.
'Exactly so; he is disinterested. And I don't only idolise him,
Arkady Nikolaitch, I am proud of him, and the height of my ambition is
that some day there will be the following lines in his biography: The
son of a simple army-doctor, who was, however, capable of divining his
greatness betimes, and spared nothing for his education ...' The old
man's voice broke.
Arkady pressed his hand.
'What do you think,' inquired Vassily Ivanovitch, after a short
silence, 'will it be in the career of medicine that he will attain the
celebrity you anticipate for him?'
'Of course, not in medicine, though even in that department he will
be one of the leading scientific men.'
'In what then, Arkady Nikolaitch?'
'It would he hard to say now, but he will be famous.'
'He will be famous!' repeated the old man, and he sank into a
'Arina Vlasyevna sent me to call you in to tea,' announced
Anfisushka, coming by with an immense dish of ripe raspberries.
Vassily Ivanovitch started. 'And will there be cooled cream for the
'Cold now, mind! Don't stand on ceremony, Arkady Nikolaitch; take
some more. How is it Yevgeny doesn't come?'
'I'm here,' was heard Bazarov's voice from Arkady's room.
Vassily Ivanovitch turned round quickly. 'Aha! you wanted to pay a
visit to your friend; but you were too late, amice, and we have
already had a long conversation with him. Now we must go in to tea,
mother summons us. By the way, I want to have a little talk with you.'
'There's a peasant here; he's suffering from icterus....
'You mean jaundice?'
'Yes, a chronic and very obstinate case of icterus. I have
prescribed him centaury and St. John's wort, ordered him to eat
carrots, given him soda; but all that's merely palliative measures; we
want some more decided treatment. Though you do laugh at medicine, I am
certain you can give me practical advice. But we will talk of that
later. Now come in to tea.'
Vassily Ivanovitch jumped up briskly from the garden seat, and
hummed from Robert le Diable
'The rule, the rule we set ourselves,
To live, to live for pleasure!'
'Singular vitality!' observed Bazarov, going away from the window.
It was midday. The sun was burning hot behind a thin veil of
unbroken whitish clouds. Everything was hushed; there was no sound but
the cocks crowing irritably at one another in the village, producing in
every one who heard them a strange sense of drowsiness and ennui; and
somewhere, high up in a tree-top, the incessant plaintive cheep of a
young hawk. Arkady and Bazarov lay in the shade of a small haystack,
putting under themselves two armfuls of dry and rustling, but still
greenish and fragrant grass.
'That aspen-tree,' began Bazarov, 'reminds me of my childhood; it
grows at the edge of the clay-pits where the bricks were dug, and in
those days I believed firmly that that clay-pit and aspen-tree
possessed a peculiar talismanic power; I never felt dull near them. I
did not understand then that I was not dull, because I was a child.
Well, now I'm grown up, the talisman's lost its power.'
'How long did you live here altogether?' asked Arkady.
'Two years on end; then we travelled about. We led a roving life,
wandering from town to town for the most part.'
'And has this house been standing long?'
'Yes. My grandfather built itmy mother's father.'
'Who was heyour grandfather?'
'Devil knows. Some second-major. He served with Suvorov, and was
always telling stories about the crossing of the Alpsinventions
'You have a portrait of Suvorov hanging in the drawing-room. I like
these dear little houses like yours; they're so warm and old-fashioned;
and there's always a special sort of scent about them.'
'A smell of lamp-oil and clover,' Bazarov remarked, yawning. 'And
the flies in those dear little houses.... Faugh!'
'Tell me,' began Arkady, after a brief pause, 'were they strict with
you when you were a child?'
'You can see what my parents are like. They're not a severe sort.'
'Are you fond of them, Yevgeny?'
'I am, Arkady.'
'How fond they are of you!'
Bazarov was silent for a little. 'Do you know what I'm thinking
about?' he brought out at last, clasping his hands behind his head.
'No. What is it?'
'I'm thinking life is a happy thing for my parents. My father at
sixty is fussing around, talking about palliative measures, doctoring
people, playing the bountiful master with the peasantshaving a
festive time, in fact; and my mother's happy too; her day's so chockful
of duties of all sorts, and sighs and groans that she's no time even to
think of herself; while I ...'
'I think; here I lie under a haystack.... The tiny space I occupy is
so infinitely small in comparison with the rest of space, in which I am
not, and which has nothing to do with me; and the period of time in
which it is my lot to live is so petty beside the eternity in which I
have not been, and shall not be.... And in this atom, this mathematical
point, the blood is circulating, the brain is working and wanting
something.... Isn't it loathsome? Isn't it petty?'
'Allow me to remark that what you're saying applies to men in
'You are right,' Bazarov cut in. 'I was going to say that they
nowmy parents, I meanare absorbed and don't trouble themselves
about their own nothingness; it doesn't sicken them ... while I ... I
feel nothing but weariness and anger.'
'Anger? why anger?'
'Why? How can you ask why? Have you forgotten?'
'I remember everything, but still I don't admit that you have any
right to be angry. You're unlucky, I'll allow, but ...'
'Pooh! then you, Arkady Nikolaevitch, I can see, regard love like
all modern young men; cluck, cluck, cluck you call to the hen, but if
the hen comes near you, you run away. I'm not like that. But that's
enough of that. What can't be helped, it's shameful to talk about.' He
turned over on his side. 'Aha! there goes a valiant ant dragging off a
half-dead fly. Take her, brother, take her! Don't pay attention to her
resistance; it's your privilege as an animal to be free from the
sentiment of pitymake the most of itnot like us conscientious
'You shouldn't say that, Yevgeny! When have you destroyed yourself?'
Bazarov raised his head. 'That's the only thing I pride myself on. I
haven't crushed myself, so a woman can't crush me. Amen! It's all over!
You shall not hear another word from me about it.'
Both the friends lay for some time in silence.
'Yes,' began Bazarov, 'man's a strange animal. When one gets a side
view from a distance of the dead-alive life our fathers lead here,
one thinks, What could be better? You eat and drink, and know you are
acting in the most reasonable, most judicious manner. But if not,
you're devoured by ennui. One wants to have to do with people if only
to abuse them.'
'One ought so to order one's life that every moment in it should be
of significance,' Arkady affirmed reflectively.
'I dare say! What's of significance is sweet, however mistaken; one
could make up one's mind to what's insignificant even. But pettiness,
pettiness, that's what's insufferable.'
'Pettiness doesn't exist for a man so long as he refuses to
'H'm ... what you've just said is a common-place reversed.'
'What? What do you mean by that term?'
'I'll tell you; saying, for instance, that education is beneficial,
that's a common-place; but to say that education is injurious, that's a
common-place turned upside down. There's more style about it, so to
say, but in reality it's one and the same.'
'And the truth iswhere, which side?'
'Where? Like an echo I answer, Where?'
'You're in a melancholy mood to-day, Yevgeny.'
'Really? The sun must have softened my brain, I suppose, and I can't
stand so many raspberries either.'
'In that case, a nap's not a bad thing,' observed Arkady.
'Certainly; only don't look at me; every man's face is stupid when
'But isn't it all the same to you what people think of you?'
'I don't know what to say to you. A real man ought not to care; a
real man is one whom it's no use thinking about, whom one must either
obey or hate.'
'It's funny! I don't hate anybody,' observed Arkady, after a
'And I hate so many. You are a soft-hearted, mawkish creature; how
could you hate any one?... You're timid; you don't rely on yourself
'And you,' interrupted Arkady, 'do you expect much of yourself? Have
you a high opinion of yourself?'
Bazarov paused. 'When I meet a man who can hold his own beside me,'
he said, dwelling on every syllable, 'then I'll change my opinion of
myself. Yes, hatred! You said, for instance, to-day as we passed our
bailiff Philip's cottageit's the one that's so nice and cleanwell,
you said, Russia will come to perfection when the poorest peasant has a
house like that, and every one of us ought to work to bring it
about.... And I felt such a hatred for this poorest peasant, this
Philip or Sidor, for whom I'm to be ready to jump out of my skin, and
who won't even thank me for it ... and why should he thank me? Why,
suppose he does live in a clean house, while the nettles are growing
out of me,well what do I gain by it?'
'Hush, Yevgeny ... if one listened to you to-day one would be driven
to agreeing with those who reproach us for want of principles.'
'You talk like your uncle. There are no general principlesyou've
not made out that even yet! There are feelings. Everything depends on
'Why, I, for instance, take up a negative attitude, by virtue of my
sensations; I like to denymy brain's made on that plan, and that's
all about it! Why do I like chemistry? Why do you like apples?by
virtue of our sensations. It's all the same thing. Deeper than that men
will never penetrate. Not every one will tell you that, and, in fact, I
shan't tell you so another time.'
'What? and is honesty a matter of the senses?'
'I should rather think so.'
'Yevgeny!' Arkady was beginning in a dejected voice ...
'Well? What? Isn't it to your taste?' broke in Bazarov. 'No,
brother. If you've made up your mind to mow down everything, don't
spare your own legs. But we've talked enough metaphysics. Nature
breathes the silence of sleep, said Pushkin.'
'He never said anything of the sort,' protested Arkady.
'Well, if he didn't, as a poet he might haveand ought to have said
it. By the way, he must have been a military man.'
'Pushkin never was a military man!'
'Why, on every page of him there's, To arms! to arms! for Russia's
'Why, what stories you invent! I declare, it's positive calumny.'
'Calumny? That's a mighty matter! What a word he's found to frighten
me with! Whatever charge you make against a man, you may be certain he
deserves twenty times worse than that in reality.'
'We had better go to sleep,' said Arkady, in a tone of vexation.
'With the greatest pleasure,' answered Bazarov. But neither of them
slept. A feeling almost of hostility had come over both the young men.
Five minutes later, they opened their eyes and glanced at one another
'Look,' said Arkady suddenly, 'a dry maple leaf has come off and is
falling to the earth; its movement is exactly like a butterfly's
flight. Isn't it strange? Gloom and decaylike brightness and life.'
'Oh, my friend, Arkady Nikolaitch!' cried Bazarov, 'one thing I
entreat of you; no fine talk.'
'I talk as best I can.... And, I declare, its perfect despotism. An
idea came into my head; why shouldn't I utter it?'
'Yes; and why shouldn't I utter my ideas? I think that fine talk's
'And what is decent? Abuse?'
'Ha! ha! you really do intend, I see, to walk in your uncle's
footsteps. How pleased that worthy imbecile would have been if he had
'What did you call Pavel Petrovitch?'
'I called him, very justly, an imbecile.'
'But this is unbearable!' cried Arkady.
'Aha! family feeling spoke there,' Bazarov commented coolly. 'I've
noticed how obstinately it sticks to people. A man's ready to give up
everything and break with every prejudice; but to admit that his
brother, for instance, who steals handkerchiefs, is a thiefthat's too
much for him. And when one comes to think of it: my brother, mineand
no genius ... that's an idea no one can swallow.'
'It was a simple sense of justice spoke in me and not in the least
family feeling,' retorted Arkady passionately. 'But since that's a
sense you don't understand, since you haven't that sensation, you can't
judge of it.'
'In other words, Arkady Kirsanov is too exalted for my
comprehension. I bow down before him and say no more.'
'Don't, please, Yevgeny; we shall really quarrel at last.'
'Ah, Arkady! do me a kindness. I entreat you, let us quarrel for
once in earnest....'
'But then perhaps we should end by ...'
'Fighting?' put in Bazarov. 'Well? Here, on the hay, in these
idyllic surroundings, far from the world and the eyes of men, it
wouldn't matter. But you'd be no match for me. I'll have you by the
throat in a minute.'
Bazarov spread out his long, cruel fingers.... Arkady turned round
and prepared, as though in jest, to resist.... But his friend's face
struck him as so vindictivethere was such menace in grim earnest in
the smile that distorted his lips, and in his glittering eyes, that he
felt instinctively afraid.
'Ah! so this is where you have got to!' the voice of Vassily
Ivanovitch was heard saying at that instant, and the old army-doctor
appeared before the young men, garbed in a home-made linen pea-jacket,
with a straw hat, also home-made, on his head. 'I've been looking
everywhere for you.... Well, you've picked out a capital place, and
you're excellently employed. Lying on the earth, gazing up to heaven.
Do you know, there's a special significance in that?'
'I never gaze up to heaven except when I want to sneeze,' growled
Bazarov, and turning to Arkady he added in an undertone. 'Pity he
'Come, hush!' whispered Arkady, and he secretly squeezed his
friend's hand. But no friendship can long stand such shocks.
'I look at you, my youthful friends,' Vassily Ivanovitch was saying
meantime, shaking his head, and leaning his folded arms on a rather
cunningly bent stick of his own carving, with a Turk's figure for a
top,'I look, and I cannot refrain from admiration. You have so much
strength, such youth and bloom, such abilities, such talents!
Positively, a Castor and Pollux!'
'Get along with yougoing off into mythology!' commented Bazarov.
'You can see at once that he was a great Latinist in his day! Why, I
seem to remember, you gained the silver medal for Latin prosedidn't
'The Dioscuri, the Dioscuri!' repeated Vassily Ivanovitch.
'Come, shut up, father; don't show off.'
'Once in a way it's surely permissible,' murmured the old man.
'However, I have not been seeking for you, gentlemen, to pay you
compliments; but with the object, in the first place, of announcing to
you that we shall soon be dining; and secondly, I wanted to prepare
you, Yevgeny.... You are a sensible man, you know the world, and you
know what women are, and consequently you will excuse.... Your mother
wished to have a Te Deum sung on the occasion of your arrival. You must
not imagine that I am inviting you to attend this thanksgivingit is
over indeed now; but Father Alexey ...'
'The village parson?'
'Well, yes, the priest; he ... is to dine ... with us.... I did not
anticipate this, and did not even approve of it ... but it somehow came
about ... he did not understand me.... And, well ... Arina Vlasyevna
... Besides, he's a worthy, reasonable man.'
'He won't eat my share at dinner, I suppose?' queried Bazarov.
Vassily Ivanovitch laughed. 'How you talk!'
'Well, that's all I ask. I'm ready to sit down to table with any
Vassily Ivanovitch set his hat straight. 'I was certain before I
spoke,' he said, 'that you were above any kind of prejudice. Here am I,
an old man at sixty-two, and I have none.' (Vassily Ivanovitch did not
dare to confess that he had himself desired the thanksgiving service.
He was no less religious than his wife.) 'And Father Alexey very much
wanted to make your acquaintance. You will like him, you'll see. He's
no objection even to cards, and he sometimesbut this is between
ourselves ... positively smokes a pipe.'
'All right. We'll have a round of whist after dinner, and I'll clean
'He! he! he! We shall see! That remains to be seen.'
'I know you're an old hand,' said Bazarov, with a peculiar emphasis.
Vassily Ivanovitch's bronzed cheeks were suffused with an uneasy
'For shame, Yevgeny.... Let bygones be bygones. Well, I'm ready to
acknowledge before this gentleman I had that passion in my youth; and I
have paid for it too! How hot it is, though! Let me sit down with you.
I shan't be in your way, I hope?'
'Oh, not at all,' answered Arkady.
Vassily Ivanovitch lowered himself, sighing, into the hay. 'Your
present quarters remind me, my dear sirs,' he began, 'of my military
bivouacking existence, the ambulance halts, somewhere like this under a
haystack, and even for that we were thankful.' He sighed. 'I had many,
many experiences in my life. For example, if you will allow me, I will
tell you a curious episode of the plague in Bessarabia.'
'For which you got the Vladimir cross?' put in Bazarov. 'We know, we
know.... By the way, why is it you're not wearing it?'
'Why, I told you that I have no prejudices,' muttered Vassily
Ivanovitch (he had only the evening before had the red ribbon unpicked
off his coat), and he proceeded to relate the episode of the plague.
'Why, he's fallen asleep,' he whispered all at once to Arkady, pointing
to Yevgeny, and winking good-naturedly. 'Yevgeny! get up,' he went on
aloud. 'Let's go in to dinner.'
Father Alexey, a good-looking stout man with thick, carefully-combed
hair, with an embroidered girdle round his lilac silk cassock, appeared
to be a man of much tact and adaptability. He made haste to be the
first to offer his hand to Arkady and Bazarov, as though understanding
beforehand that they did not want his blessing, and he behaved himself
in general without constraint. He neither derogated from his own
dignity, nor gave offence to others; he vouchsafed a passing smile at
the seminary Latin, and stood up for his bishop; drank two small
glasses of wine, but refused a third; accepted a cigar from Arkady, but
did not proceed to smoke it, saying he would take it home with him. The
only thing not quite agreeable about him was a way he had of constantly
raising his hand with care and deliberation to catch the flies on his
face, sometimes succeeding in smashing them. He took his seat at the
green table, expressing his satisfaction at so doing in measured terms,
and ended by winning from Bazarov two roubles and a half in paper
money; they had no idea of even reckoning in silver in the house of
Arina Vlasyevna.... She was sitting, as before, near her son (she did
not play cards), her cheek, as before, propped on her little fist; she
only got up to order some new dainty to be served. She was afraid to
caress Bazarov, and he gave her no encouragement, he did not invite her
caresses; and besides, Vassily Ivanovitch had advised her not to
'worry' him too much. 'Young men are not fond of that sort of thing,'
he declared to her. (It's needless to say what the dinner was like that
day; Timofeitch in person had galloped off at early dawn for beef; the
bailiff had gone off in another direction for turbot, gremille, and
crayfish; for mushrooms alone forty-two farthings had been paid the
peasant women in copper); but Arina Vlasyevna's eyes, bent steadfastly
on Bazarov, did not express only devotion and tenderness; in them was
to be seen sorrow also, mingled with awe and curiosity; there was to be
seen too a sort of humble reproachfulness.
Bazarov, however, was not in a humour to analyse the exact
expression of his mother's eyes; he seldom turned to her, and then only
with some short question. Once he asked her for her hand 'for luck';
she gently laid her soft, little hand on his rough, broad palm.
'Well,' she asked, after waiting a little, 'has it been any use?'
'Worse luck than ever,' he answered, with a careless laugh.
'He plays too rashly,' pronounced Father Alexey, as it were
compassionately, and he stroked his beard.
'Napoleon's rule, good Father, Napoleon's rule,' put in Vassily
Ivanovitch, leading an ace.
'It brought him to St. Helena, though,' observed Father Alexey, as
he trumped the ace.
'Wouldn't you like some currant tea, Enyusha?' inquired Arina
Bazarov merely shrugged his shoulders.
'No!' he said to Arkady the next day. I'm off from here to-morrow.
I'm bored; I want to work, but I can't work here. I will come to your
place again; I've left all my apparatus there too. In your house one
can at any rate shut oneself up. While here my father repeats to me,
My study is at your disposalnobody shall interfere with you, and
all the time he himself is never a yard away. And I'm ashamed somehow
to shut myself away from him. It's the same thing too with mother. I
hear her sighing the other side of the wall, and if one goes in to her,
one's nothing to say to her.'
'She will be very much grieved,' observed Arkady, 'and so will he.'
'I shall come back again to them.'
'Why, when on my way to Petersburg.'
'I feel sorry for your mother particularly.'
'Why's that? Has she won your heart with strawberries, or what?'
Arkady dropped his eyes. 'You don't understand your mother, Yevgeny.
She's not only a very good woman, she's very clever really. This
morning she talked to me for half-an-hour, and so sensibly,
'I suppose she was expatiating upon me all the while?'
'We didn't talk only about you.'
'Perhaps; lookers-on see most. If a woman can keep up half-an-hour's
conversation, it's always a hopeful sign. But I'm going, all the same.'
'It won't be very easy for you to break it to them. They are always
making plans for what we are to do in a fortnight's time.'
'No; it won't be easy. Some demon drove me to tease my father
to-day; he had one of his rent-paying peasants flogged the other day,
and quite right tooyes, yes, you needn't look at me in such
horrorhe did quite right, because he's an awful thief and drunkard;
only my father had no idea that I, as they say, was cognisant of the
facts. He was greatly perturbed, and now I shall have to upset him more
than ever.... Never mind! Never say die! He'll get over it!'
Bazarov said, 'Never mind'; but the whole day passed before he could
make up his mind to inform Vassily Ivanovitch of his intentions. At
last, when he was just saying good-night to him in the study, he
observed, with a feigned yawn
'Oh ... I was almost forgetting to tell you.... Send to Fedot's for
our horses to-morrow.'
Vassily Ivanovitch was dumbfounded. 'Is Mr. Kirsanov leaving us,
'Yes; and I'm going with him.'
Vassily Ivanovitch positively reeled. 'You are going?'
'Yes ... I must. Make the arrangements about the horses, please.'
'Very good....' faltered the old man; 'to Fedot's ... very good ...
only ... only.... How is it?'
'I must go to stay with him for a little time. I will come back
'Ah! For a little time ... very good.' Vassily Ivanovitch drew out
his handkerchief, and, blowing his nose, doubled up almost to the
ground. 'Well ... everything shall be done. I had thought you were to
be with us ... a little longer. Three days.... After three years, it's
rather little; rather little, Yevgeny!'
'But, I tell you, I'm coming back directly. It's necessary for me to
'Necessary.... Well! Duty before everything. So the horses shall be
in readiness. Very good. Arina and I, of course, did not anticipate
this. She has just begged some flowers from a neighbour; she meant to
decorate the room for you.' (Vassily Ivanovitch did not even mention
that every morning almost at dawn he took counsel with Timofeitch,
standing with his bare feet in his slippers, and pulling out with
trembling fingers one dog's-eared rouble note after another, charged
him with various purchases, with special reference to good things to
eat, and to red wine, which, as far as he could observe, the young men
liked extremely.) 'Liberty ... is the great thing; that's my rule.... I
don't want to hamper you ... not ...'
He suddenly ceased, and made for the door.
'We shall soon see each other again, father, really.'
But Vassily Ivanovitch, without turning round, merely waved his hand
and was gone. When he got back to his bedroom he found his wife in bed,
and began to say his prayers in a whisper, so as not to wake her up.
She woke, however. 'Is that you, Vassily Ivanovitch?' she asked.
'Have you come from Enyusha? Do you know, I'm afraid of his not
being comfortable on that sofa. I told Anfisushka to put him on your
travelling mattress and the new pillows; I should have given him our
feather-bed, but I seem to remember he doesn't like too soft a bed....'
'Never mind, mother; don't worry yourself. He's all right. Lord,
have mercy on me, a sinner,' he went on with his prayer in a low voice.
Vassily Ivanovitch was sorry for his old wife; he did not mean to tell
her over night what a sorrow there was in store for her.
Bazarov and Arkady set off the next day. From early morning all was
dejection in the house; Anfisushka let the tray slip out of her hands;
even Fedka was bewildered, and was reduced to taking off his boots.
Vassily Ivanitch was more fussy than ever; he was obviously trying to
put a good face on it, talked loudly, and stamped with his feet, but
his face looked haggard, and his eyes were continually avoiding his
son. Arina Vlasyevna was crying quietly; she was utterly crushed, and
could not have controlled herself at all if her husband had not spent
two whole hours early in the morning exhorting her. When Bazarov, after
repeated promises to come back certainly not later than in a month's
time, tore himself at last from the embraces detaining him, and took
his seat in the coach; when the horses had started, the bell was
ringing, and the wheels were turning round, and when it was no longer
any good to look after them, and the dust had settled, and Timofeitch,
all bent and tottering as he walked, had crept back to his little room;
when the old people were left alone in their little house, which seemed
suddenly to have grown shrunken and decrepit too, Vassily Ivanovitch,
after a few more moments of hearty waving of his handkerchief on the
steps, sank into a chair, and his head dropped on to his breast. 'He
has cast us off; he has forsaken us,' he faltered; 'forsaken us; he was
dull with us. Alone, alone!' he repeated several times. Then Arina
Vlasyevna went up to him, and, leaning her grey head against his grey
head, said, 'There's no help for it, Vasya! A son is a separate piece
cut off. He's like the falcon that flies home and flies away at his
pleasure; while you and I are like funguses in the hollow of a tree, we
sit side by side, and don't move from our place. Only I am left you
unchanged for ever, as you for me.'
Vassily Ivanovitch took his hands from his face and clasped his
wife, his friend, as warmly as he had never clasped in youth; she
comforted him in his grief.
In silence, only rarely exchanging a few insignificant words, our
friends travelled as far as Fedot's. Bazarov was not altogether pleased
with himself. Arkady was displeased with him. He was feeling, too, that
causeless melancholy which is only known to very young people. The
coachman changed the horses, and getting up on to the box, inquired,
'To the right or to the left?'
Arkady started. The road to the right led to the town, and from
there home; the road to the left led to Madame Odintsov's.
He looked at Bazarov.
'Yevgeny,' he queried; 'to the left?'
Bazarov turned away. 'What folly is this?' he muttered.
'I know it's folly,' answered Arkady.... 'But what does that matter?
It's not the first time.'
Bazarov pulled his cap down over his brows. 'As you choose,' he said
at last. 'Turn to the left,' shouted Arkady.
The coach rolled away in the direction of Nikolskoe. But having
resolved on the folly, the friends were even more obstinately silent
than before, and seemed positively ill-humoured.
Directly the steward met them on the steps of Madame Odintsov's
house, the friends could perceive that they had acted injudiciously in
giving way so suddenly to a passing impulse. They were obviously not
expected. They sat rather a long while, looking rather foolish, in the
drawing-room. Madame Odintsov came in to them at last. She greeted them
with her customary politeness, but was surprised at their hasty return;
and, so far as could be judged from the deliberation of her gestures
and words, she was not over pleased at it. They made haste to announce
that they had only called on their road, and must go on farther, to the
town, within four hours. She confined herself to a light exclamation,
begged Arkady to remember her to his father, and sent for her aunt. The
princess appeared very sleepy, which gave her wrinkled old face an even
more ill-natured expression. Katya was not well; she did not leave her
room. Arkady suddenly realised that he was at least as anxious to see
Katya as Anna Sergyevna herself. The four hours were spent in
insignificant discussion of one thing and another; Anna Sergyevna both
listened and spoke without a smile. It was only quite at parting that
her former friendliness seemed, as it were, to revive.
'I have an attack of spleen just now,' she said; 'but you must not
pay attention to that, and come againI say this to both of
Both Bazarov and Arkady responded with a silent bow, took their
seats in the coach, and without stopping again anywhere, went straight
home to Maryino, where they arrived safely on the evening of the
following day. During the whole course of the journey neither one nor
the other even mentioned the name of Madame Odintsov; Bazarov, in
particular, scarcely opened his mouth, and kept staring in a side
direction away from the road, with a kind of exasperated intensity.
At Maryino every one was exceedingly delighted to see them. The
prolonged absence of his son had begun to make Nikolai Petrovitch
uneasy; he uttered a cry of joy, and bounced about on the sofa,
dangling his legs, when Fenitchka ran to him with sparkling eyes, and
informed him of the arrival of the 'young gentlemen'; even Pavel
Petrovitch was conscious of some degree of agreeable excitement, and
smiled condescendingly as he shook hands with the returned wanderers.
Talk, questions followed; Arkady talked most, especially at supper,
which was prolonged long after midnight. Nikolai Petrovitch ordered up
some bottles of porter which had only just been sent from Moscow, and
partook of the festive beverage till his cheeks were crimson, and he
kept laughing in a half-childish, half-nervous little chuckle. Even the
servants were infected by the general gaiety. Dunyasha ran up and down
like one possessed, and was continually slamming doors; while Piotr
was, at three o'clock in the morning, still attempting to strum a
Cossack waltz on the guitar. The strings gave forth a sweet and
plaintive sound in the still air; but with the exception of a small
preliminary flourish, nothing came of the cultured valet's efforts;
nature had given him no more musical talent than all the rest of the
But meanwhile things were not going over harmoniously at Maryino,
and poor Nikolai Petrovitch was having a bad time of it. Difficulties
on the farm sprang up every daysenseless, distressing difficulties.
The troubles with the hired labourers had become insupportable. Some
asked for their wages to be settled, or for an increase of wages, while
others made off with the wages they had received in advance; the horses
fell sick; the harness fell to pieces as though it were burnt; the work
was carelessly done; a threshing machine that had been ordered from
Moscow turned out to be useless from its great weight, another was
ruined the first time it was used; half the cattle sheds were burnt
down through an old blind woman on the farm going in windy weather with
a burning brand to fumigate her cow ... the old woman, it is true,
maintained that the whole mischief could be traced to the master's plan
of introducing newfangled cheeses and milk-products. The overseer
suddenly turned lazy, and began to grow fat, as every Russian grows fat
when he gets a snug berth. When he caught sight of Nikolai Petrovitch
in the distance, he would fling a stick at a passing pig, or threaten a
half-naked urchin, to show his zeal, but the rest of the time he was
generally asleep. The peasants who had been put on the rent system did
not bring their money at the time due, and stole the forest-timber;
almost every night the keepers caught peasants' horses in the meadows
of the 'farm,' and sometimes forcibly bore them off. Nikolai Petrovitch
would fix a money fine for damages, but the matter usually ended after
the horses had been kept a day or two on the master's forage by their
returning to their owners. To crown all, the peasants began quarrelling
among themselves; brothers asked for a division of property, their
wives could not get on together in one house; all of a sudden the
squabble, as though at a given signal, came to a head, and at once the
whole village came running to the counting-house steps, crawling to the
master often drunken and with battered face, demanding justice and
judgment; then arose an uproar and clamour, the shrill wailing of the
women mixed with the curses of the men. Then one had to examine the
contending parties, and shout oneself hoarse, knowing all the while
that one could never anyway arrive at a just decision.... There were
not hands enough for the harvest; a neighbouring small owner, with the
most benevolent countenance, contracted to supply him with reapers for
a commission of two roubles an acre, and cheated him in the most
shameless fashion; his peasant women demanded unheard-of sums, and the
corn meanwhile went to waste; and here they were not getting on with
the mowing, and there the Council of Guardians threatened and demanded
prompt payment, in full, of interest due....
'I can do nothing!' Nikolai Petrovitch cried more than once in
despair. 'I can't flog them myself; and as for calling in the police
captain, my principles don't allow of it, while you can do nothing with
them without the fear of punishment!'
'Du calme, du calme,' Pavel Petrovitch would remark
upon this, but even he hummed to himself, knitted his brows, and tugged
at his moustache.
Bazarov held aloof from these matters, and indeed as a guest it was
not for him to meddle in other people's business. The day after his
arrival at Maryino, he set to work on his frogs, his infusoria, and his
chemical experiments, and was for ever busy with them. Arkady, on the
contrary, thought it his duty, if not to help his father, at least to
make a show of being ready to help him. He gave him a patient hearing,
and once offered him some advice, not with any idea of its being acted
upon, but to show his interest. Farming details did not arouse any
aversion in him; he used even to dream with pleasure of work on the
land, but at this time his brain was swarming with other ideas. Arkady,
to his own astonishment, thought incessantly of Nikolskoe; in former
days he would simply have shrugged his shoulders if any one had told
him that he could ever feel dull under the same roof as Bazarovand
that roof his father's! but he actually was dull and longed to get
away. He tried going long walks till he was tired, but that was no use.
In conversation with his father one day, he found out that Nikolai
Petrovitch had in his possession rather interesting letters, written by
Madame Odintsov's mother to his wife, and he gave him no rest till he
got hold of the letters, for which Nikolai Petrovitch had to rummage in
twenty drawers and boxes. Having gained possession of these
half-crumbling papers, Arkady felt, as it were, soothed, just as though
he had caught a glimpse of the goal towards which he ought now to go.
'I mean that for both of you,' he was constantly whisperingshe had
added that herself! 'I'll go, I'll go, hang it all!' But he recalled
the last visit, the cold reception, and his former embarrassment, and
timidity got the better of him. The 'go-ahead' feeling of youth, the
secret desire to try his luck, to prove his powers in solitude, without
the protection of any one whatever, gained the day at last. Before ten
days had passed after his return to Maryino, on the pretext of studying
the working of the Sunday schools, he galloped off to the town again,
and from there to Nikolskoe. Urging the driver on without intermission,
he flew along, like a young officer riding to battle; and he felt both
frightened and light-hearted, and was breathless with impatience. 'The
great thing isone mustn't think,' he kept repeating to himself. His
driver happened to be a lad of spirit; he halted before every public
house, saying, 'A drink or not a drink?' but, to make up for it, when
he had drunk he did not spare his horses. At last the lofty roof of the
familiar house came in sight.... 'What am I to do?' flashed through
Arkady's head. 'Well, there's no turning back now!' The three horses
galloped in unison; the driver whooped and whistled at them. And now
the bridge was groaning under the hoofs and wheels, and now the avenue
of lopped pines seemed running to meet them.... There was a glimpse of
a woman's pink dress against the dark green, a young face from under
the light fringe of a parasol.... He recognised Katya, and she
recognised him. Arkady told the driver to stop the galloping horses,
leaped out of the carriage, and went up to her. 'It's you!' she cried,
gradually flushing all over; 'let us go to my sister, she's here in the
garden; she will be pleased to see you.'
Katya led Arkady into the garden. His meeting with her struck him as
a particularly happy omen; he was delighted to see her, as though she
were of his own kindred. Everything had happened so splendidly; no
steward, no formal announcement. At a turn in the path he caught sight
of Anna Sergyevna. She was standing with her back to him. Hearing
footsteps, she turned slowly round.
Arkady felt confused again, but the first words she uttered soothed
him at once. 'Welcome back, runaway!' she said in her even, caressing
voice, and came to meet him, smiling and frowning to keep the sun and
wind out of her eyes. 'Where did you pick him up, Katya?'
'I have brought you something, Anna Sergyevna,' he began, 'which you
certainly don't expect.'
'You have brought yourself; that's better than anything.'
Having seen Arkady off with ironical compassion, and given him to
understand that he was not in the least deceived as to the real object
of his journey, Bazarov shut himself up in complete solitude; he was
overtaken by a fever for work. He did not dispute now with Pavel
Petrovitch, especially as the latter assumed an excessively
aristocratic demeanour in his presence, and expressed his opinions more
in inarticulate sounds than in words. Only on one occasion Pavel
Petrovitch fell into a controversy with the nihilist on the
subject of the question then much discussed of the rights of the nobles
of the Baltic province; but suddenly he stopped of his own accord,
remarking with chilly politeness, 'However, we cannot understand one
another; I, at least, have not the honour of understanding you.'
'I should think not!' cried Bazarov. 'A man's capable of
understanding anythinghow the æther vibrates, and what's going on in
the sunbut how any other man can blow his nose differently from him,
that he's incapable of understanding.'
'What, is that an epigram?' observed Pavel Petrovitch inquiringly,
and he walked away.
However, he sometimes asked permission to be present at Bazarov's
experiments, and once even placed his perfumed face, washed with the
very best soap, near the microscope to see how a transparent infusoria
swallowed a green speck, and busily munched it with two very rapid sort
of clappers which were in its throat. Nikolai Petrovitch visited
Bazarov much oftener than his brother; he would have come every day, as
he expressed it, to 'study,' if his worries on the farm had not taken
off his attention. He did not hinder the young man in his scientific
researches; he used to sit down somewhere in a corner of the room and
look on attentively, occasionally permitting himself a discreet
question. During dinner and supper-time he used to try to turn the
conversation upon physics, geology, or chemistry, seeing that all other
topics, even agriculture, to say nothing of politics, might lead, if
not to collisions, at least to mutual unpleasantness. Nikolai
Petrovitch surmised that his brother's dislike for Bazarov was no less.
An unimportant incident, among many others, confirmed his surmises. The
cholera began to make its appearance in some places in the
neighbourhood, and even 'carried off' two persons from Maryino itself.
In the night Pavel Petrovitch happened to have rather severe symptoms.
He was in pain till the morning, but did not have recourse to Bazarov's
skill. And when he met him the following day, in reply to his question,
'Why he had not sent for him?' answered, still quite pale, but
scrupulously brushed and shaved, 'Why, I seem to recollect you said
yourself you didn't believe in medicine.' So the days went by. Bazarov
went on obstinately and grimly working ... and meanwhile there was in
Nikolai Petrovitch's house one creature to whom, if he did not open his
heart, he at least was glad to talk.... That creature was Fenitchka.
He used to meet her for the most part early in the morning, in the
garden, or the farmyard; he never used to go to her room to see her,
and she had only once been to his door to inquireought she to let
Mitya have his bath or not? It was not only that she confided in him,
that she was not afraid of himshe was positively freer and more at
her ease in her behaviour with him than with Nikolai Petrovitch
himself. It is hard to say how it came about; perhaps it was because
she unconsciously felt the absence in Bazarov of all gentility, of all
that superiority which at once attracts and overawes. In her eyes he
was both an excellent doctor and a simple man. She looked after her
baby without constraint in his presence; and once when she was suddenly
attacked with giddiness and headacheshe took a spoonful of medicine
from his hand. Before Nikolai Petrovitch she kept, as it were, at a
distance from Bazarov; she acted in this way not from hypocrisy, but
from a kind of feeling of propriety. Pavel Petrovitch she was more
afraid of than ever; for some time he had begun to watch her, and would
suddenly make his appearance, as though he sprang out of the earth
behind her back, in his English suit, with his immovable vigilant face,
and his hands in his pockets. 'It's like a bucket of cold water on
one,' Fenitchka complained to Dunyasha, and the latter sighed in
response, and thought of another 'heartless' man. Bazarov, without the
least suspicion of the fact, had become the cruel tyrant of her
Fenitchka liked Bazarov; but he liked her too. His face was
positively transformed when he talked to her; it took a bright, almost
kind expression, and his habitual nonchalance was replaced by a sort of
jesting attentiveness. Fenitchka was growing prettier every day. There
is a time in the life of young women when they suddenly begin to expand
and blossom like summer roses; this time had come for Fenitchka.
Dressed in a delicate white dress, she seemed herself slighter and
whiter; she was not tanned by the sun; but the heat, from which she
could not shield herself, spread a slight flush over her cheeks and
ears, and, shedding a soft indolence over her whole body, was reflected
in a dreamy languor in her pretty eyes. She was almost unable to work;
her hands seem to fall naturally into her lap. She scarcely walked at
all, and was constantly sighing and complaining with comic
'You should go oftener to bathe,' Nikolai Petrovitch told her. He
had made a large bath covered in with an awning in one of his ponds
which had not yet quite disappeared.
'Oh, Nikolai Petrovitch! But by the time one gets to the pond, one's
utterly dead, and, coming back, one's dead again. You see, there's no
shade in the garden.'
'That's true, there's no shade,' replied Nikolai Petrovitch, rubbing
One day at seven o'clock in the morning Bazarov, returning from a
walk, came upon Fenitchka in the lilac arbour, which was long past
flowering, but was still thick and green. She was sitting on the garden
seat, and had as usual thrown a white kerchief over her head; near her
lay a whole heap of red and white roses still wet with dew. He said
good morning to her.
'Ah! Yevgeny Vassilyitch!' she said, and lifted the edge of her
kerchief a little to look at him, in doing which her arm was left bare
to the elbow.
'What are you doing here?' said Bazarov, sitting down beside her.
'Are you making a nosegay?'
'Yes, for the table at lunch. Nikolai Petrovitch likes it.'
'But it's a long while yet to lunch time. What a heap of flowers!'
'I gathered them now, for it will be hot then, and one can't go out.
One can only just breathe now. I feel quite weak with the heat. I'm
really afraid whether I'm not going to be ill.'
'What an idea! Let me feel your pulse.' Bazarov took her hand, felt
for the evenly-beating pulse, but did not even begin to count its
throbs. 'You'll live a hundred years!' he said, dropping her hand.
'Ah, God forbid!' she cried.
'Why? Don't you want a long life?'
'Well, but a hundred years! There was an old woman near us
eighty-five years oldand what a martyr she was! Dirty and deaf and
bent and coughing all the time; nothing but a burden to herself. That's
a dreadful life!'
'So it's better to be young?'
'Well, isn't it?'
'But why is it better? Tell me!'
'How can you ask why? Why, here I now, while I'm young, I can do
everythinggo and come and carry, and needn't ask any one for
anything.... What can be better?'
'And to me it's all the same whether I'm young or old.'
'How do you meanit's all the same? It's not possible what you
'Well, judge for yourself, Fedosya Nikolaevna, what good is my youth
to me. I live alone, a poor lonely creature ...'
'That always depends on you.'
'It doesn't at all depend on me! At least, some one ought to take
pity on me.'
Fenitchka gave a sidelong look at Bazarov, but said nothing. 'What's
this book you have?' she asked after a short pause.
'That? That's a scientific book, very difficult.'
'And are you still studying? And don't you find it dull? You know
everything already I should say.'
'It seems not everything. You try to read a little.'
'But I don't understand anything here. Is it Russian?' asked
Fenitchka, taking the heavily bound book in both hands. 'How thick it
'Yes, it's Russian.'
'All the same, I shan't understand anything.'
'Well, I didn't give it you for you to understand it. I wanted to
look at you while you were reading. When you read, the end of your
little nose moves so nicely.'
Fenitchka, who had set to work to spell out in a low voice the
article on 'Creosote' she had chanced upon, laughed and threw down the
book ... it slipped from the seat on to the ground.
'I like it too when you laugh,' observed Bazarov.
'I like it when you talk. It's just like a little brook babbling.'
Fenitchka turned her head away. 'What a person you are to talk!' she
commented, picking the flowers over with her finger. 'And how can you
care to listen to me? You have talked with such clever ladies.'
'Ah, Fedosya Nikolaevna! believe me; all the clever ladies in the
world are not worth your little elbow.'
'Come, there's another invention!' murmured Fenitchka, clasping her
Bazarov picked the book up from the ground.
'That's a medical book; why do you throw it away?'
'Medical?' repeated Fenitchka, and she turned to him again. 'Do you
know, ever since you gave me those dropsdo you remember?Mitya has
slept so well! I really can't think how to thank you; you are so good,
'But you have to pay doctors,' observed Bazarov with a smile.
'Doctors, you know yourself, are grasping people.'
Fenitchka raised her eyes, which seemed still darker from the
whitish reflection cast on the upper part of her face, and looked at
Bazarov. She did not know whether he was joking or not.
'If you please, we shall be delighted.... I must ask Nikolai
'Why, do you think I want money?' Bazarov interposed. 'No; I don't
want money from you.'
'What then?' asked Fenitchka.
'What?' repeated Bazarov. 'Guess!'
'A likely person I am to guess!'
'Well, I will tell you; I want ... one of those roses.'
Fenitchka laughed again, and even clapped her hands, so amusing
Bazarov's request seemed to her. She laughed, and at the same time felt
flattered. Bazarov was looking intently at her.
'By all means,' she said at last; and, bending down to the seat, she
began picking over the roses. 'Which will you havea red one or a
'Red, and not too large.'
She sat up again. 'Here, take it,' she said, but at once drew back
her outstretched hand, and, biting her lips, looked towards the
entrance of the arbour, then listened.
'What is it?' asked Bazarov. 'Nikolai Petrovitch?'
'No ... Mr. Kirsanov has gone to the fields ... besides, I'm not
afraid of him ... but Pavel Petrovitch ... I fancied ...'
'I fancied he was coming here. No ... it was no one. Take it.'
Fenitchka gave Bazarov the rose.
'On what grounds are you afraid of Pavel Petrovitch?'
'He always scares me. And I know you don't like him. Do you
remember, you always used to quarrel with him? I don't know what your
quarrel was about, but I can see you turn him about like this and like
Fenitchka showed with her hands how in her opinion Bazarov turned
Pavel Petrovitch about.
Bazarov smiled. 'But if he gave me a beating,' he asked, 'would you
stand up for me?'
'How could I stand up for you? but no, no one will get the better of
'Do you think so? But I know a hand which could overcome me if it
'Why, don't you know, really? Smell, how delicious this rose smells
you gave me.'
Fenitchka stretched her little neck forward, and put her face close
to the flower.... The kerchief slipped from her head on to her
shoulders; her soft mass of dark, shining, slightly ruffled hair was
'Wait a minute; I want to smell it with you,' said Bazarov. He bent
down and kissed her vigorously on her parted lips.
She started, pushed him back with both her hands on his breast, but
pushed feebly, and he was able to renew and prolong his kiss.
A dry cough was heard behind the lilac bushes. Fenitchka instantly
moved away to the other end of the seat. Pavel Petrovitch showed
himself, made a slight bow, and saying with a sort of malicious
mournfulness, 'You are here,' he retreated. Fenitchka at once gathered
up all her roses and went out of the arbour. 'It was wrong of you,
Yevgeny Vassilyevitch,' she whispered as she went. There was a note of
genuine reproach in her whisper.
Bazarov remembered another recent scene, and he felt both shame and
contemptuous annoyance. But he shook his head directly, ironically
congratulated himself 'on his final assumption of the part of the gay
Lothario,' and went off to his own room.
Pavel Petrovitch went out of the garden, and made his way with
deliberate steps to the copse. He stayed there rather a long while; and
when he returned to lunch, Nikolai Petrovitch inquired anxiously
whether he were quite wellhis face looked so gloomy.
'You know, I sometimes suffer with my liver,' Pavel Petrovitch
Two hours later he knocked at Bazarov's door.
'I must apologise for hindering you in your scientific pursuits,' he
began, seating himself on a chair in the window, and leaning with both
hands on a handsome walking-stick with an ivory knob (he usually walked
without a stick), 'but I am constrained to beg you to spare me five
minutes of your time ... no more.'
'All my time is at your disposal,' answered Bazarov, over whose face
there passed a quick change of expression directly Pavel Petrovitch
crossed the threshold.
'Five minutes will be enough for me. I have come to put a single
question to you.'
'A question? What is it about?'
'I will tell you, if you will kindly hear me out. At the
commencement of your stay in my brother's house, before I had renounced
the pleasure of conversing with you, it was my fortune to hear your
opinions on many subjects; but so far as my memory serves, neither
between us, nor in my presence, was the subject of single combats and
duelling in general broached. Allow me to hear what are your views on
Bazarov, who had risen to meet Pavel Petrovitch, sat down on the
edge of the table and folded his arms.
'My view is,' he said, 'that from the theoretical standpoint,
duelling is absurd; from the practical standpoint, nowit's quite a
'That is, you mean to say, if I understand you right, that whatever
your theoretical views on duelling, you would not in practice allow
yourself to be insulted without demanding satisfaction?'
'You have guessed my meaning absolutely.'
'Very good. I am very glad to hear you say so. Your words relieve me
from a state of incertitude.'
'Of uncertainty, you mean to say.'
'That is all the same! I express myself so as to be understood; I
... am not a seminary rat. Your words save me from a rather deplorable
necessity. I have made up my mind to fight you.'
Bazarov opened his eyes wide. 'Me?'
'But what for, pray?'
'I could explain the reason to you,' began Pavel Petrovitch, 'but I
prefer to be silent about it. To my idea your presence here is
superfluous; I cannot endure you; I despise you; and if that is not
enough for you ...'
Pavel Petrovitch's eyes glittered ... Bazarov's too were flashing.
'Very good,' he assented. 'No need of further explanations. You've a
whim to try your chivalrous spirit upon me. I might refuse you this
pleasure, butso be it!'
'I am sensible of my obligation to you,' replied Pavel Petrovitch;
'and may reckon then on your accepting my challenge without compelling
me to resort to violent measures.'
'That means, speaking without metaphor, to that stick?' Bazarov
remarked coolly. 'That is precisely correct. It's quite unnecessary for
you to insult me. Indeed, it would not be a perfectly safe proceeding.
You can remain a gentleman.... I accept your challenge, too, like a
'That is excellent,' observed Pavel Petrovitch, putting his stick in
the corner. 'We will say a few words directly about the conditions of
our duel; but I should like first to know whether you think it
necessary to resort to the formality of a trifling dispute, which might
serve as a pretext for my challenge?'
'No; it's better without formalities.'
'I think so myself. I presume it is also out of place to go into the
real grounds of our difference. We cannot endure one another. What more
'What more, indeed?' repeated Bazarov ironically.
'As regards the conditions of the meeting itself, seeing that we
shall have no secondsfor where could we get them?'
'Exactly so; where could we get them?'
'Then I have the honour to lay the following proposition before you:
The combat to take place early to-morrow, at six, let us say, behind
the copse, with pistols, at a distance of ten paces....'
'At ten paces? that will do; we hate one another at that distance.'
'We might have it eight,' remarked Pavel Petrovitch.
'To fire twice; and, to be ready for any result, let each put a
letter in his pocket, in which he accuses himself of his end.'
'Now, that I don't approve of at all,' observed Bazarov. 'There's a
slight flavour of the French novel about it, something not very
'Perhaps. You will agree, however, that it would be unpleasant to
incur a suspicion of murder?'
'I agree as to that. But there is a means of avoiding that painful
reproach. We shall have no seconds, but we can have a witness.'
'And whom, allow me to inquire?'
'Your brother's valet. He's a man who has attained to the acme of
contemporary culture, and he will perform his part with all the
comilfo (comme il faut) necessary in such cases.'
'I think you are joking, sir.'
'Not at all. If you think over my suggestion, you will be convinced
that it's full of common-sense and simplicity. You can't hide a candle
under a bushel; but I'll undertake to prepare Piotr in a fitting
manner, and bring him on to the field of battle.'
'You persist in jesting still,' Pavel Petrovitch declared, getting
up from his chair. 'But after the courteous readiness you have shown
me, I have no right to pretend to lay down.... And so, everything is
arranged.... By the way, perhaps you have no pistols?'
'How should I have pistols, Pavel Petrovitch? I'm not in the army.'
'In that case, I offer you mine. You may rest assured that it's five
years now since I shot with them.'
'That's a very consoling piece of news.'
Pavel Petrovitch took up his stick.... 'And now, my dear sir, it
only remains for me to thank you and to leave you to your studies. I
have the honour to take leave of you.'
'Till we have the pleasure of meeting again, my dear sir,' said
Bazarov, conducting his visitor to the door.
Pavel Petrovitch went out, while Bazarov remained standing a minute
before the door, and suddenly exclaimed, 'Pish, well, I'm dashed! how
fine, and how foolish! A pretty farce we've been through! Like trained
dogs dancing on their hind-paws. But to decline was out of the
question; why, I do believe he'd have struck me, and then ...' (Bazarov
turned white at the very thought; all his pride was up in arms at
once)'then it might have come to my strangling him like a cat.' He
went back to his microscope, but his heart was beating, and the
composure necessary for taking observations had disappeared. 'He caught
sight of us to-day,' he thought; 'but would he really act like this on
his brother's account? And what a mighty matter is ita kiss? There
must be something else in it. Bah! isn't he perhaps in love with her
himself? To be sure, he's in love; it's as clear as day. What a
complication! It's a nuisance!' he decided at last; 'it's a bad job,
look at it which way you will. In the first place, to risk a bullet
through one's brains, and in any case to go away; and then Arkady ...
and that dear innocent pussy, Nikolai Petrovitch. It's a bad job, an
awfully bad job.'
The day passed in a kind of peculiar stillness and languor.
Fenitchka gave no sign of her existence; she sat in her little room
like a mouse in its hole. Nikolai Petrovitch had a careworn air. He had
just heard that blight had begun to appear in his wheat, upon which he
had in particular rested his hopes. Pavel Petrovitch overwhelmed every
one, even Prokofitch, with his icy courtesy. Bazarov began a letter to
his father, but tore it up, and threw it under the table.
'If I die,' he thought, 'they will find it out; but I'm not going to
die. No, I shall struggle along in this world a good while yet.' He
gave Piotr orders to come to him on important business the next morning
directly it was light. Piotr imagined that he wanted to take him to
Petersburg with him. Bazarov went late to bed, and all night long he
was harassed by disordered dreams.... Madame Odintsov kept appearing in
them, now she was his mother, and she was followed by a kitten with
black whiskers, and this kitten seemed to be Fenitchka; then Pavel
Petrovitch took the shape of a great wood, with which he had yet to
fight. Piotr waked him up at four o'clock; he dressed at once, and went
out with him.
It was a lovely, fresh morning; tiny flecked clouds hovered overhead
in little curls of foam on the pale clear blue; a fine dew lay in drops
on the leaves and grass, and sparkled like silver on the spiders' webs;
the damp, dark earth seemed still to keep traces of the rosy dawn; from
the whole sky the songs of larks came pouring in showers. Bazarov
walked as far as the copse, sat down in the shade at its edge, and only
then disclosed to Piotr the nature of the service he expected of him.
The refined valet was mortally alarmed; but Bazarov soothed him by the
assurance that he would have nothing to do but stand at a distance and
look on, and that he would not incur any sort of responsibility. 'And
meantime,' he added, 'only think what an important part you have to
play!' Piotr threw up his hands, looked down, and leaned against a
birch-tree, looking green with terror.
The road from Maryino skirted the copse; a light dust lay on it,
untouched by wheel or foot since the previous day. Bazarov
unconsciously stared along this road, picked and gnawed a blade of
grass, while he kept repeating to himself, 'What a piece of foolery!'
The chill of the early morning made him shiver twice.... Piotr looked
at him dejectedly, but Bazarov only smiled; he was not afraid.
The tramp of horses' hoofs was heard along the road.... A peasant
came into sight from behind the trees. He was driving before him two
horses hobbled together, and as he passed Bazarov he looked at him
rather strangely, without touching his cap, which it was easy to see
disturbed Piotr, as an unlucky omen. 'There's some one else up early
too,' thought Bazarov; 'but he at least has got up for work, while we
'Fancy the gentleman's coming,' Piotr faltered suddenly.
Bazarov raised his head and saw Pavel Petrovitch. Dressed in a light
check jacket and snow-white trousers, he was walking rapidly along the
road; under his arm he carried a box wrapped up in green cloth.
'I beg your pardon, I believe I have kept you waiting,' he observed,
bowing first to Bazarov, then to Piotr, whom he treated respectfully at
that instant, as representing something in the nature of a second. 'I
was unwilling to wake my man.'
'It doesn't matter,' answered Bazarov; 'we've only just arrived
'Ah! so much the better!' Pavel Petrovitch took a look round.
'There's no one in sight; no one hinders us. We can proceed?'
'Let us proceed.'
'You do not, I presume, desire any fresh explanations?'
'No, I don't.'
'Would you like to load?' inquired Pavel Petrovitch, taking the
pistols out of the box.
'No; you load, and I will measure out the paces. My legs are
longer,' added Bazarov with a smile. 'One, two, three.'
'Yevgeny Vassilyevitch,' Piotr faltered with an effort (he shaking
as though he were in a fever), 'say what you like, I am going farther
'Four ... five.... Good. Move away, my good fellow, move away; you
may get behind a tree even, and stop up your ears, only don't shut your
eyes; and if any one falls, run and pick him up. Six ... seven ...
eight....' Bazarov stopped. 'Is that enough?' he said, turning to Pavel
Petrovitch; 'or shall I add two paces more?'
'As you like,' replied the latter, pressing down the second bullet.
'Well, we'll make it two paces more.' Bazarov drew a line on the
ground with the toe of his boot. 'There's the barrier then. By the way,
how many paces may each of us go back from the barrier? That's an
important question too. That point was not discussed yesterday.'
'I imagine, ten,' replied Pavel Petrovitch, handing Bazarov both
pistols. 'Will you be so good as to choose?'
'I will be so good. But, Pavel Petrovitch, you must admit our combat
is singular to the point of absurdity. Only look at the countenance of
'You are disposed to laugh at everything,' answered Pavel
Petrovitch. 'I acknowledge the strangeness of our duel, but I think it
my duty to warn you that I intend to fight seriously. A bon
'Oh! I don't doubt that we've made up our minds to make away with
each other; but why not laugh too and unite utile dulci? You
talk to me in French, while I talk to you in Latin.'
'I am going to fight in earnest,' repeated Pavel Petrovitch, and he
walked off to his place. Bazarov on his side counted off ten paces from
the barrier, and stood still.
'Are you ready?' asked Pavel Petrovitch.
'We can approach one another.'
Bazarov moved slowly forward, and Pavel Petrovitch, his left hand
thrust in his pocket, walked towards him, gradually raising the muzzle
of his pistol.... 'He's aiming straight at my nose,' thought Bazarov,
'and doesn't he blink down it carefully, the ruffian! Not an agreeable
sensation though. I'm going to look at his watch chain.'
Something whizzed sharply by his very ear, and at the same instant
there was the sound of a shot. 'I heard it, so it must be all right,'
had time to flash through Bazarov's brain. He took one more step, and
without taking aim, pressed the spring.
Pavel Petrovitch gave a slight start, and clutched at his thigh. A
stream of blood began to trickle down his white trousers.
Bazarov flung aside the pistol, and went up to his antagonist. 'Are
you wounded?' he said.
'You had the right to call me up to the barrier,' said Pavel
Petrovitch, 'but that's of no consequence. According to our agreement,
each of us has the right to one more shot.'
'All right, but, excuse me, that'll do another time,' answered
Bazarov, catching hold of Pavel Petrovitch, who was beginning to turn
pale. 'Now, I'm not a duellist, but a doctor, and I must have a look at
your wound before anything else. Piotr! come here, Piotr! where have
you got to?'
'That's all nonsense.... I need no one's aid,' Pavel Petrovitch
declared jerkily, 'and ... we must ... again ...' He tried to pull at
his moustaches, but his hand failed him, his eyes grew dim, and he lost
'Here's a pretty pass! A fainting fit! What next!' Bazarov cried
unconsciously, as he laid Pavel Petrovitch on the grass. 'Let's have a
look what's wrong.' He pulled out a handkerchief, wiped away the blood,
and began feeling round the wound.... 'The bone's not touched,' he
muttered through his teeth; 'the ball didn't go deep; one muscle,
vastus externus, grazed. He'll be dancing about in three weeks!...
And to faint! Oh, these nervous people, how I hate them! My word, what
a delicate skin!'
'Is he killed?' the quaking voice of Piotr came rustling behind his
Bazarov looked round. 'Go for some water as quick as you can, my
good fellow, and he'll outlive us yet.'
But the modern servant seemed not to understand his words, and he
did not stir. Pavel Petrovitch slowly opened his eyes. 'He will die!'
whispered Piotr, and he began crossing himself.
'You are right ... What an imbecile countenance!' remarked the
wounded gentleman with a forced smile.
'Well, go for the water, damn you!' shouted Bazarov.
'No need.... It was a momentary vertigo.... Help me to sit up
... there, that's right.... I only need something to bind up this
scratch, and I can reach home on foot, or you can send a droshky for
me. The duel, if you are willing, shall not be renewed. You have
behaved honourably ... to-day, to-dayobserve.'
'There's no need to recall the past,' rejoined Bazarov; 'and as
regards the future, it's not worth while for you to trouble your head
about that either, for I intend being off without delay. Let me bind up
your leg now; your wound's not serious, but it's always best to stop
bleeding. But first I must bring this corpse to his senses.'
Bazarov shook Piotr by the collar, and sent him for a droshky.
'Mind you don't frighten my brother,' Pavel Petrovitch said to him;
'don't dream of informing him.'
Piotr flew off; and while he was running for a droshky, the two
antagonists sat on the ground and said nothing. Pavel Petrovitch tried
not to look at Bazarov; he did not want to be reconciled to him in any
case; he was ashamed of his own haughtiness, of his failure; he was
ashamed of the whole position he had brought about, even while he felt
it could not have ended in a more favourable manner. 'At any rate,
there will be no scandal,' he consoled himself by reflecting, 'and for
that I am thankful.' The silence was prolonged, a silence distressing
and awkward. Both of them were ill at ease. Each was conscious that the
other understood him. That is pleasant to friends, and always very
unpleasant to those who are not friends, especially when it is
impossible either to have things out or to separate.
'Haven't I bound up your leg too tight?' inquired Bazarov at last.
'No, not at all; it's capital,' answered Pavel Petrovitch; and after
a brief pause, he added, 'There's no deceiving my brother; we shall
have to tell him we quarrelled over politics.'
'Very good,' assented Bazarov. 'You can say I insulted all
'That will do capitally. What do you imagine that man thinks of us
now?' continued Pavel Petrovitch, pointing to the same peasant, who had
driven the hobbled horses past Bazarov a few minutes before the duel,
and going back again along the road, took off his cap at the sight of
'Who can tell!' answered Bazarov; 'it's quite likely he thinks
nothing. The Russian peasant is that mysterious unknown about whom Mrs.
Radcliffe used to talk so much. Who is to understand him! He doesn't
'Ah! so that's your idea!' Pavel Petrovitch began; and suddenly he
cried, 'Look what your fool of a Piotr has done! Here's my brother
galloping up to us!'
Bazarov turned round and saw the pale face of Nikolai Petrovitch,
who was sitting in the droshky. He jumped out of it before it had
stopped, and rushed up to his brother.
'What does this mean?' he said in an agitated voice. 'Yevgeny
Vassilyitch, pray, what is this?'
'Nothing,' answered Pavel Petrovitch; 'they have alarmed you for
nothing. I had a little dispute with Mr. Bazarov, and I have had to pay
for it a little.'
'But what was it all about, mercy on us!'
'How can I tell you? Mr. Bazarov alluded disrespectfully to Sir
Robert Peel. I must hasten to add that I am the only person to blame in
all this, while Mr. Bazarov has behaved most honourably. I called him
'But you're covered with blood, good Heavens!'
'Well, did you suppose I had water in my veins? But this
blood-letting is positively beneficial to me. Isn't that so, doctor?
Help me to get into the droshky, and don't give way to melancholy. I
shall be quite well to-morrow. That's it; capital. Drive on, coachman.'
Nikolai Petrovitch walked after the droshky; Bazarov was remaining
where he was....
'I must ask you to look after my brother,' Nikolai Petrovitch said
to him, 'till we get another doctor from the town.'
Bazarov nodded his head without speaking. In an hour's time Pavel
Petrovitch was already lying in bed with a skilfully bandaged leg. The
whole house was alarmed; Fenitchka fainted. Nikolai Petrovitch kept
stealthily wringing his hands, while Pavel Petrovitch laughed and
joked, especially with Bazarov; he had put on a fine cambric
night-shirt, an elegant morning wrapper, and a fez, did not allow the
blinds to be drawn down, and humorously complained of the necessity of
being kept from food.
Towards night, however, he began to be feverish; his head ached. The
doctor arrived from the town. (Nikolai Petrovitch would not listen to
his brother, and indeed Bazarov himself did not wish him to; he sat the
whole day in his room, looking yellow and vindictive, and only went in
to the invalid for as brief a time as possible; twice he happened to
meet Fenitchka, but she shrank away from him with horror.) The new
doctor advised a cooling diet; he confirmed, however, Bazarov's
assertion that there was no danger. Nikolai Petrovitch told him his
brother had wounded himself by accident, to which the doctor responded,
'Hm!' but having twenty-five silver roubles slipped into his hand on
the spot, he observed, 'You don't say so! Well, it's a thing that often
happens, to be sure.'
No one in the house went to bed or undressed. Nikolai Petrovitch
kept going in to his brother on tiptoe, retreating on tiptoe again; the
latter dozed, moaned a little, told him in French, Couchez-vous,
and asked for drink. Nikolai Petrovitch sent Fenitchka twice to take
him a glass of lemonade; Pavel Petrovitch gazed at her intently, and
drank off the glass to the last drop. Towards morning the fever had
increased a little; there was slight delirium. At first Pavel
Petrovitch uttered incoherent words; then suddenly he opened his eyes,
and seeing his brother near his bed bending anxiously over him, he
said, 'Don't you think, Nikolai, Fenitchka has something in common with
'What Nellie, Pavel dear?'
'How can you ask? Princess R. Especially in the upper part of
the face. C'est de la même famille.'
Nikolai Petrovitch made no answer, while inwardly he marvelled at
the persistence of old passions in man. 'It's like this when it comes
to the surface,' he thought.
'Ah, how I love that light-headed creature!' moaned Pavel
Petrovitch, clasping his hands mournfully behind his head. 'I can't
bear any insolent upstart to dare to touch ...' he whispered a few
Nikolai Petrovitch only sighed; he did not even suspect to whom
these words referred.
Bazarov presented himself before him at eight o'clock the next day.
He had already had time to pack, and to set free all his frogs,
insects, and birds.
'You have come to say good-bye to me?' said Nikolai Petrovitch,
getting up to meet him.
'I understand you, and approve of you fully. My poor brother, of
course, is to blame; and he is punished for it. He told me himself that
he made it impossible for you to act otherwise. I believe that you
could not avoid this duel, which ... which to some extent is explained
by the almost constant antagonism of your respective views.' (Nikolai
Petrovitch began to get a little mixed up in his words.) 'My brother is
a man of the old school, hot-tempered and obstinate.... Thank God that
it has ended as it has. I have taken every precaution to avoid
'I'm leaving you my address, in case there's any fuss,' Bazarov
'I hope there will be no fuss, Yevgeny Vassilyitch.... I am very
sorry your stay in my house should have such a ... such an end. It is
the more distressing to me through Arkady's ...'
'I shall be seeing him, I expect,' replied Bazarov, in whom
'explanations' and 'protestations' of every sort always aroused a
feeling of impatience; 'in case I don't, I beg you to say good-bye to
him for me, and accept the expression of my regret.'
'And I beg ...' answered Nikolai Petrovitch. But Bazarov went off
without waiting for the end of his sentence.
When he heard of Bazarov's going, Pavel Petrovitch expressed a
desire to see him, and shook his hand. But even then he remained as
cold as ice; he realised that Pavel Petrovitch wanted to play the
magnanimous. He did not succeed in saying good-bye to Fenitchka; he
only exchanged glances with her at the window. Her face struck him as
looking dejected. 'She'll come to grief, perhaps,' he said to
himself.... 'But who knows? she'll pull through somehow, I dare say!'
Piotr, however, was so overcome that he wept on his shoulder, till
Bazarov damped him by asking if he'd a constant supply laid on in his
eyes; while Dunyasha was obliged to run away into the wood to hide her
emotion. The originator of all this woe got into a light cart, smoked a
cigar, and when at the third mile, at the bend in the road, the
Kirsanovs' farm, with its new house, could be seen in a long line, he
merely spat, and muttering, 'Cursed snobs!' wrapped himself closer in
Pavel Petrovitch was soon better; but he had to keep his bed about a
week. He bore his captivity, as he called it, pretty patiently, though
he took great pains over his toilette, and had everything scented with
eau-de-cologne. Nikolai Petrovitch used to read him the journals;
Fenitchka waited on him as before, brought him lemonade, soup, boiled
eggs, and tea; but she was overcome with secret dread whenever she went
into his room. Pavel Petrovitch's unexpected action had alarmed every
one in the house, and her more than any one; Prokofitch was the only
person not agitated by it; he discoursed upon how gentlemen in his day
used to fight, but only with real gentlemen; low curs like that they
used to order a horsewhipping in the stable for their insolence.
Fenitchka's conscience scarcely reproached her; but she was
tormented at times by the thought of the real cause of the quarrel; and
Pavel Petrovitch too looked at her so strangely ... that even when her
back was turned, she felt his eyes upon her. She grew thinner from
constant inward agitation, and, as is always the way, became still more
One daythe incident took place in the morningPavel Petrovitch
felt better and moved from his bed to the sofa, while Nikolai
Petrovitch, having satisfied himself he was better, went off to the
threshing-floor. Fenitchka brought him a cup of tea, and setting it
down on a little table, was about to withdraw. Pavel Petrovitch
'Where are you going in such a hurry, Fedosya Nikolaevna?' he began;
'are you busy?'
'... I have to pour out tea.'
'Dunyasha will do that without you; sit a little while with a poor
invalid. By the way, I must have a little talk with you.'
Fenitchka sat down on the edge of an easy-chair, without speaking.
'Listen,' said Pavel Petrovitch, tugging at his moustaches; 'I have
long wanted to ask you something; you seem somehow afraid of me?'
'Yes, you. You never look at me, as though your conscience were not
Fenitchka crimsoned, but looked at Pavel Petrovitch. He impressed
her as looking strange, and her heart began throbbing slowly.
'Is your conscience at rest?' he questioned her.
'Why should it not be at rest?' she faltered.
'Goodness knows why! Besides, whom can you have wronged? Me? That is
not likely. Any other people in the house here? That, too, is something
incredible. Can it be my brother? But you love him, don't you?'
'I love him.'
'With your whole soul, with your whole heart?'
'I love Nikolai Petrovitch with my whole heart.'
'Truly? Look at me, Fenitchka.' (It was the first time he had called
her that name.) 'You know, it's a great sin telling lies!'
'I am not telling lies, Pavel Petrovitch. Not love Nikolai
PetrovitchI shouldn't care to live after that.'
'And will you never give him up for any one?'
'For whom could I give him up?'
'For whom indeed! Well, how about that gentleman who has just gone
away from here?'
Fenitchka got up. 'My God, Pavel Petrovitch, what are you torturing
me for? What have I done to you? How can such things be said?'...
'Fenitchka,' said Pavel Petrovitch, in a sorrowful voice, 'you know
I saw ...'
'What did you see?'
'Well, there ... in the arbour.'
Fenitchka crimsoned to her hair and to her ears. 'How was I to blame
for that?' she articulated with an effort.
Pavel Petrovitch raised himself up. 'You were not to blame? No? Not
'I love Nikolai Petrovitch, and no one else in the world, and I
shall always love him!' cried Fenitchka with sudden force, while her
throat seemed fairly breaking with sobs. 'As for what you saw, at the
dreadful day of judgment I will say I'm not to blame, and wasn't to
blame for it, and I would rather die at once if people can suspect me
of such a thing against my benefactor, Nikolai Petrovitch.'
But here her voice broke, and at the same time she felt that Pavel
Petrovitch was snatching and pressing her hand.... She looked at him,
and was fairly petrified. He had turned even paler than before; his
eyes were shining, and what was most marvellous of all, one large
solitary tear was rolling down his cheek.
'Fenitchka!' he was saying in a strange whisper; 'love him, love my
brother! Don't give him up for any one in the world; don't listen to
any one else! Think what can be more terrible than to love and not be
loved! Never leave my poor Nikolai!'
Fenitchka's eyes were dry, and her terror had passed away, so great
was her amazement. But what were her feelings when Pavel Petrovitch,
Pavel Petrovitch himself, put her hand to his lips and seemed to pierce
into it without kissing it, and only heaving convulsive sighs from time
'Goodness,' she thought, 'isn't it some attack coming on him?'...
At that instant his whole ruined life was stirred up within him.
The staircase creaked under rapidly approaching footsteps.... He
pushed her away from him, and let his head drop back on the pillow. The
door opened, and Nikolai Petrovitch entered, cheerful, fresh, and
ruddy. Mitya, as fresh and ruddy as his father, in nothing but his
little shirt, was frisking on his shoulder, catching the big buttons of
his rough country coat with his little bare toes.
Fenitchka simply flung herself upon him, and clasping him and her
son together in her arms, dropped her head on his shoulder. Nikolai
Petrovitch was surprised; Fenitchka, the reserved and staid Fenitchka,
had never given him a caress in the presence of a third person.
'What's the matter?' he said, and, glancing at his brother, he gave
her Mitya. 'You don't feel worse?' he inquired, going up to Pavel
He buried his face in a cambric handkerchief. 'No ... not at all ...
on the contrary, I am much better.'
'You were in too great a hurry to move on to the sofa. Where are you
going?' added Nikolai Petrovitch, turning round to Fenitchka; but she
had already closed the door behind her. 'I was bringing in my young
hero to show you, he's been crying for his uncle. Why has she carried
him off? What's wrong with you, though? Has anything passed between
'Brother!' said Pavel Petrovitch solemnly.
Nikolai Petrovitch started. He felt dismayed, he could not have said
'Brother,' repeated Pavel Petrovitch, 'give me your word that you
will carry out my one request.'
'What request? Tell me.'
'It is very important; the whole happiness of your life, to my idea,
depends on it. I have been thinking a great deal all this time over
what I want to say to you now.... Brother, do your duty, the duty of an
honest and generous man; put an end to the scandal and bad example you
are settingyou, the best of men!'
'What do you mean, Pavel?'
'Marry Fenitchka.... She loves you; she is the mother of your son.'
Nikolai Petrovitch stepped back a pace, and flung up his hands. 'Do
you say that, Pavel? you whom I have always regarded as the most
determined opponent of such marriages! You say that? Don't you know
that it has simply been out of respect for you that I have not done
what you so rightly call my duty?'
'You were wrong to respect me in that case,' Pavel Petrovitch
responded, with a weary smile. 'I begin to think Bazarov was right in
accusing me of snobbishness. No dear brother, don't let us worry
ourselves about appearances and the world's opinion any more; we are
old folks and humble now; it's time we laid aside vanity of all kinds.
Let us, just as you say, do our duty; and mind, we shall get happiness
that way into the bargain.'
Nikolai Petrovitch rushed to embrace his brother.
'You have opened my eyes completely!' he cried. 'I was right in
always declaring you the wisest and kindest-hearted fellow in the
world, and now I see you are just as reasonable as you are
'Quietly, quietly,' Pavel Petrovitch interrupted him; 'don't hurt
the leg of your reasonable brother, who at close upon fifty has been
fighting a duel like an ensign. So, then, it's a settled matter;
Fenitchka is to be my ... belle soeur.'
'My dearest Pavel! But what will Arkady say?'
'Arkady? he'll be in ecstasies, you may depend upon it! Marriage is
against his principles, but then the sentiment of equality in him will
be gratified. And, after all, what sense have class distinctions au
'Ah, Pavel, Pavel! let me kiss you once more! Don't be afraid, I'll
The brothers embraced each other.
'What do you think, should you not inform her of your intention
now?' queried Pavel Petrovitch.
'Why be in a hurry?' responded Nikolai Petrovitch. 'Has there been
any conversation between you?'
'Conversation between us? Quelle idée!'
'Well, that is all right then. First of all, you must get well, and
meanwhile there's plenty of time. We must think it over well, and
'But your mind is made up, I suppose?'
'Of course, my mind is made up, and I thank you from the bottom of
my heart. I will leave you now; you must rest; any excitement is bad
for you.... But we will talk it over again. Sleep well, dear heart, and
God bless you!'
'What is he thanking me like that for?' thought Pavel Petrovitch,
when he was left alone. 'As though it did not depend on him! I will go
away directly he is married, somewhere a long way offto Dresden or
Florence, and will live there till I'
Pavel Petrovitch moistened his forehead with eau de cologne, and
closed his eyes. His beautiful, emaciated head, the glaring daylight
shining full upon it, lay on the white pillow like the head of a dead
man.... And indeed he was a dead man.
At Nikolskoe Katya and Arkady were sitting in the garden on a turf
seat in the shade of a tall ash tree; Fifi had placed himself on the
ground near them, giving his slender body that graceful curve, which is
known among dog-fanciers as 'the hare bend.' Both Arkady and Katya were
silent; he was holding a half-open book in his hands, while she was
picking out of a basket the few crumbs of bread left in it, and
throwing them to a small family of sparrows, who with the frightened
impudence peculiar to them were hopping and chirping at her very feet.
A faint breeze stirring in the ash leaves kept slowly moving pale-gold
flecks of sunlight up and down over the path and Fifi's tawny back; a
patch of unbroken shade fell upon Arkady and Katya; only from time to
time a bright streak gleamed on her hair. Both were silent, but the
very way in which they were silent, in which they were sitting
together, was expressive of confidential intimacy; each of them seemed
not even to be thinking of his companion, while secretly rejoicing in
his presence. Their faces, too, had changed since we saw them last;
Arkady looked more tranquil, Katya brighter and more daring.
'Don't you think,' began Arkady, 'that the ash has been very well
named in Russian yasen; no other tree is so lightly and brightly
transparent (yasno) against the air as it is.'
Katya raised her eyes to look upward, and assented, 'Yes'; while
Arkady thought, 'Well, she does not reproach me for talking finely.'
'I don't like Heine,' said Katya, glancing towards the book which
Arkady was holding in his hands, 'either when he laughs or when he
weeps; I like him when he's thoughtful and melancholy.'
'And I like him when he laughs,' remarked Arkady.
'That's the relics left in you of your old satirical tendencies.'
('Relics!' thought Arkady'if Bazarov had heard that?') 'Wait a
little; we shall transform you.'
'Who will transform me? You?'
'Who?my sister; Porfiry Platonovitch, whom you've given up
quarrelling with; auntie, whom you escorted to church the day before
'Well, I couldn't refuse! And as for Anna Sergyevna, she agreed with
Yevgeny in a great many things, you remember?'
'My sister was under his influence then, just as you were.'
'As I was? Do you discover, may I ask, that I've shaken off his
Katya did not speak.
'I know,' pursued Arkady, 'you never liked him.'
'I can have no opinion about him.'
'Do you know, Katerina Sergyevna, every time I hear that answer I
disbelieve it.... There is no man that every one of us could not have
an opinion about! That's simply a way of getting out of it.'
'Well, I'll say, then, I don't.... It's not exactly that I don't
like him, but I feel that he's of a different order from me, and I am
different from him ... and you too are different from him.'
'How can I tell you.... He's a wild animal, and you and I are tame.'
'Am I tame too?'
Arkady scratched his ear. 'Let me tell you, Katerina Sergyevna, do
you know, that's really an insult?'
'Why, would you like to be a wild'
'Not wild, but strong, full of force.'
'It's no good wishing for that.... Your friend, you see, doesn't
wish for it, but he has it.'
'Hm! So you imagine he had a great influence on Anna Sergyevna?'
'Yes. But no one can keep the upper hand of her for long,' added
Katya in a low voice.
'Why do you think that?'
'She's very proud.... I didn't mean that ... she values her
independence a great deal.'
'Who doesn't value it?' asked Arkady, and the thought flashed
through his mind, 'What good is it?' 'What good is it?' it occurred to
Katya to wonder too. When young people are often together on friendly
terms, they are constantly stumbling on the same ideas.
Arkady smiled, and, coming slightly closer to Katya, he said in a
whisper, 'Confess that you are a little afraid of her.'
'Her,' repeated Arkady significantly.
'And how about you?' Katya asked in her turn.
'I am too, observe I said, I am too.'
Katya threatened him with her finger. 'I wonder at that,' she began;
'my sister has never felt so friendly to you as just now; much more so
than when you first came.'
'Why, haven't you noticed it? Aren't you glad of it?'
Arkady grew thoughtful.
'How have I succeeded in gaining Anna Sergyevna's good opinion?
Wasn't it because I brought her your mother's letters?'
'Both that and other causes, which I shan't tell you.'
'I shan't say.'
'Oh! I know; you're very obstinate.'
'Yes, I am.'
Katya gave Arkady a sidelong look. 'Perhaps so; does that irritate
you? What are you thinking of?'
'I am wondering how you have come to be as observant as in fact you
are. You are so shy so reserved; you keep every one at a distance.'
'I have lived a great deal alone; that drives one to reflection. But
do I really keep every one at a distance?'
Arkady flung a grateful glance at Katya.
'That's all very well,' he pursued; 'but people in your positionI
mean in your circumstancesdon't often have that faculty; it is hard
for them, as it is for sovereigns, to get at the truth.'
'But, you see, I am not rich.'
Arkady was taken aback, and did not at once understand Katya. 'Why,
of course, the property's all her sister's!' struck him suddenly; the
thought was not unpleasing to him. 'How nicely you said that!' he
'You said it nicely, simply, without being ashamed or making a boast
of it. By the way, I imagine there must always be something special, a
kind of pride of a sort in the feeling of any man, who knows and says
he is poor.'
'I have never experienced anything of that sort, thanks to my
sister. I only referred to my position just now because it happened to
'Well; but you must own you have a share of that pride I spoke of
'For instance, youforgive the questionyou wouldn't marry a rich
man, I fancy, would you?'
'If I loved him very much.... No, I think even then I wouldn't marry
'There! you see!' cried Arkady, and after a short pause he added,
'And why wouldn't you marry him?'
'Because even in the ballads unequal matches are always unlucky.'
'You want to rule, perhaps, or ...'
'Oh, no! why should I? On the contrary, I am ready to obey; only
inequality is intolerable. To respect one's self and obey, that I can
understand, that's happiness; but a subordinate existence ... No, I've
had enough of that as it is.'
'Enough of that as it is,' Arkady repeated after Katya. 'Yes, yes,'
he went on, 'you're not Anna Sergyevna's sister for nothing; you're
just as independent as she is; but you're more reserved. I'm certain
you wouldn't be the first to give expression to your feeling, however
strong and holy it might be ...'
'Well, what would you expect?' asked Katya.
'You're equally clever; and you've as much, if not more, character
'Don't compare me with my sister, please,' interposed Katya
hurriedly; 'that's too much to my disadvantage. You seem to forget my
sister's beautiful and clever, and ... you in particular, Arkady
Nikolaevitch, ought not to say such things, and with such a serious
'What do you mean by you in particularand what makes you suppose
I am joking?'
'Of course, you are joking.'
'You think so? But what if I'm persuaded of what I say? If I believe
I have not put it strongly enough even?'
'I don't understand you.'
'Really? Well, now I see; I certainly took you to be more observant
than you are.'
Arkady made no answer, and turned away, while Katya looked for a few
more crumbs in the basket, and began throwing them to the sparrows; but
she moved her arm too vigorously, and they flew away, without stopping
to pick them up.
'Katerina Sergyevna!' began Arkady suddenly; 'it's of no consequence
to you, probably; but, let me tell you, I put you not only above your
sister, but above every one in the world.'
He got up and went quickly away, as though he were frightened at the
words that had fallen from his lips.
Katya let her two hands drop together with the basket on to her lap,
and with bent head she stared a long while after Arkady. Gradually a
crimson flush came faintly out upon her cheeks; but her lips did not
smile and her dark eyes had a look of perplexity and some other, as yet
'Are you alone?' she heard the voice of Anna Sergyevna near her; 'I
thought you came into the garden with Arkady.'
Katya slowly raised her eyes to her sister (elegantly, even
elaborately dressed, she was standing in the path and tickling Fifi's
ears with the tip of her open parasol), and slowly replied, 'Yes, I'm
'So I see,' she answered with a smile; 'I suppose he has gone to his
'Have you been reading together?'
Anna Sergyevna took Katya by the chin and lifted her face up.
'You have not been quarrelling, I hope?'
'No,' said Katya, and she quietly removed her sister's hand.
'How solemnly you answer! I expected to find him here, and meant to
suggest his coming a walk with me. That's what he is always asking for.
They have sent you some shoes from the town; go and try them on; I
noticed only yesterday your old ones are quite shabby. You never think
enough about it, and you have such charming little feet! Your hands are
nice too ... though they're large; so you must make the most of your
little feet. But you're not vain.'
Anna Sergyevna went farther along the path with a light rustle of
her beautiful gown; Katya got up from the grass, and, taking Heine with
her, went away toobut not to try on her shoes.
'Charming little feet!' she thought, as she slowly and lightly
mounted the stone steps of the terrace, which were burning with the
heat of the sun; 'charming little feet you call them.... Well, he shall
be at them.'
But all at once a feeling of shame came upon her, and she ran
Arkady had gone along the corridor to his room; a steward had
overtaken him, and announced that Mr. Bazarov was in his room.
'Yevgeny!' murmured Arkady, almost with dismay; 'has he been here
'Mr. Bazarov arrived this minute, sir, and gave orders not to
announce him to Anna Sergyevna, but to show him straight up to you.'
'Can any misfortune have happened at home?' thought Arkady, and
running hurriedly up the stairs, he at once opened the door. The sight
of Bazarov at once reassured him, though a more experienced eye might
very probably have discerned signs of inward agitation in the sunken,
though still energetic face of the unexpected visitor. With a dusty
cloak over his shoulders, with a cap on his head, he was sitting at the
window; he did not even get up when Arkady flung himself with noisy
exclamations on his neck.
'This is unexpected! What good luck brought you?' he kept repeating,
bustling about the room like one who both imagines himself and wishes
to show himself delighted. 'I suppose everything's all right at home;
every one's well, eh?'
'Everything's all right, but not every one's well,' said Bazarov.
'Don't be a chatterbox, but send for some kvass for me, sit down, and
listen while I tell you all about it in a few, but, I hope, pretty
Arkady was quiet while Bazarov described his duel with Pavel
Petrovitch. Arkady was very much surprised, and even grieved, but he
did not think it necessary to show this; he only asked whether his
uncle's wound was really not serious; and on receiving the reply that
it was most interesting, but not from a medical point of view, he gave
a forced smile, but at heart he felt both wounded and as it were
ashamed. Bazarov seemed to understand him.
'Yes, my dear fellow,' he commented, 'you see what comes of living
with feudal personages. You turn a feudal personage yourself, and find
yourself taking part in knightly tournaments. Well, so I set off for my
father's,' Bazarov wound up, 'and I've turned in here on the way ... to
tell you all this, I should say, if I didn't think a useless lie a
piece of foolery. No, I turned in herethe devil only knows why. You
see, it's sometimes a good thing for a man to take himself by the
scruff of the neck and pull himself up, like a radish out of its bed;
that's what I've been doing of late.... But I wanted to have one more
look at what I'm giving up, at the bed where I've been planted.'
'I hope those words don't refer to me,' responded Arkady with some
emotion; 'I hope you don't think of giving me up?'
Bazarov turned an intent, almost piercing look upon him.
'Would that be such a grief to you? It strikes me you have
given me up already, you look so fresh and smart.... Your affair with
Anna Sergyevna must be getting on successfully.'
'What do you mean by my affair with Anna Sergyevna?'
'Why, didn't you come here from the town on her account, chicken? By
the way, how are those Sunday schools getting on? Do you mean to tell
me you're not in love with her? Or have you already reached the stage
'Yevgeny, you know I have always been open with you; I can assure
you, I will swear to you, you're making a mistake.'
'Hm! That's another story,' remarked Bazarov in an undertone. 'But
you needn't be in a taking, it's a matter of absolute indifference to
me. A sentimentalist would say, I feel that our paths are beginning to
part, but I will simply say that we're tired of each other.'
'My dear soul, there's no great harm in that. One gets tired of much
more than that in this life. And now I suppose we'd better say
good-bye, hadn't we? Ever since I've been here I've had such a
loathsome feeling, just as if I'd been reading Gogol's effusions to the
governor of Kalouga's wife. By the way, I didn't tell them to take the
'Upon my word, this is too much!'
'I'll say nothing of myself; but that would be discourteous to the
last degree to Anna Sergyevna, who will certainly wish to see you.'
'Oh, you're mistaken there.'
'On the contrary, I am certain I'm right,' retorted Arkady. 'And
what are you pretending for? If it comes to that, haven't you come here
on her account yourself?'
'That may be so, but you're mistaken any way.'
But Arkady was right. Anna Sergyevna desired to see Bazarov, and
sent a summons to him by a steward. Bazarov changed his clothes before
going to her; it turned out that he had packed his new suit so as to be
able to get it out easily.
Madame Odintsov received him not in the room where he had so
unexpectedly declared his love to her, but in the drawing-room. She
held her finger tips out to him cordially, but her face betrayed an
involuntary sense of tension.
'Anna Sergyevna,' Bazarov hastened to say, 'before everything else I
must set your mind at rest. Before you is a poor mortal, who has come
to his senses long ago, and hopes other people too have forgotten his
follies. I am going away for a long while; and though, as you will
allow, I'm by no means a very soft creature, it would be anything but
cheerful for me to carry away with me the idea that you remember me
Anna Sergyevna gave a deep sigh like one who has just climbed up a
high mountain, and her face was lighted up by a smile. She held out her
hand a second time to Bazarov, and responded to his pressure.
'Let bygones be bygones,' she said. 'I am all the readier to do so
because, speaking from my conscience, I was to blame then too for
flirting or something. In a word, let us be friends as before. That was
a dream, wasn't it? And who remembers dreams?'
'Who remembers them? And besides, love ... you know, is a purely
'Really? I am very glad to hear that.'
So Anna Sergyevna spoke, and so spoke Bazarov; they both supposed
they were speaking the truth. Was the truth, the whole truth, to be
found in their words? They could not themselves have said, and much
less could the author. But a conversation followed between them
precisely as though they completely believed one another.
Anna Sergyevna asked Bazarov, among other things, what he had been
doing at the Kirsanovs'. He was on the point of telling her about his
duel with Pavel Petrovitch, but he checked himself with the thought
that she might imagine he was trying to make himself interesting, and
answered that he had been at work all the time.
'And I,' observed Anna Sergyevna, 'had a fit of depression at first,
goodness knows why; I even made plans for going abroad, fancy!... Then
it passed off, your friend Arkady Nikolaitch came, and I fell back into
my old routine, and took up my real part again.'
'What part is that, may I ask?'
'The character of aunt, guardian, mothercall it what you like. By
the way, do you know I used not quite to understand your close
friendship with Arkady Nikolaitch; I thought him rather insignificant.
But now I have come to know him better, and to see that he is
clever.... And he's young, he's young ... that's the great thing ...
not like you and me, Yevgeny Vassilyitch.'
'Is he still as shy in your company?' queried Bazarov.
'Why, was he?' ... Anna Sergyevna began, and after a brief pause she
went on: 'He has grown more confiding now; he talks to me. He used to
avoid me before. Though, indeed, I didn't seek his society either. He's
more friends with Katya.'
Bazarov felt irritated. 'A woman can't help humbugging, of course!'
he thought. 'You say he used to avoid you,' he said aloud, with a
chilly smile; 'but it is probably no secret to you that he was in love
'What! he too?' fell from Anna Sergyevna's lips.
'He too,' repeated Bazarov, with a submissive bow. 'Can it be you
didn't know it, and I've told you something new?'
Anna Sergyevna dropped her eyes. 'You are mistaken, Yevgeny
'I don't think so. But perhaps I ought not to have mentioned it.'
'And don't you try telling me lies again for the future,' he added to
'Why not? But I imagine that in this too you are attributing too
much importance to a passing impression. I begin to suspect you are
inclined to exaggeration.'
'We had better not talk about it, Anna Sergyevna.'
'Oh, why?' she retorted; but she herself led the conversation into
another channel. She was still ill at ease with Bazarov, though she had
told him, and assured herself that everything was forgotten. While she
was exchanging the simplest sentences with him, even while she was
jesting with him, she was conscious of a faint spasm of dread. So
people on a steamer at sea talk and laugh carelessly, for all the world
as though they were on dry land; but let only the slightest hitch
occur, let the least sign be seen of anything out of the common, and at
once on every face there comes out an expression of peculiar alarm,
betraying the constant consciousness of constant danger.
Anna Sergyevna's conversation with Bazarov did not last long. She
began to seem absorbed in thought, answered abstractedly, and suggested
at last that they should go into the hall, where they found the
princess and Katya. 'But where is Arkady Nikolaitch?' inquired the lady
of the house; and on hearing that he had not shown himself for more
than an hour, she sent for him. He was not very quickly found; he had
hidden himself in the very thickest part of the garden, and with his
chin propped on his folded hands, he was sitting lost in meditation.
They were deep and serious meditations, but not mournful. He knew Anna
Sergyevna was sitting alone with Bazarov, and he felt no jealousy, as
once he had; on the contrary, his face slowly brightened; he seemed to
be at once wondering and rejoicing, and resolving on something.
The deceased Odintsov had not liked innovations, but he had
tolerated 'the fine arts within a certain sphere,' and had in
consequence put up in his garden, between the hothouse and the lake, an
erection after the fashion of a Greek temple, made of Russian brick.
Along the dark wall at the back of this temple or gallery were placed
six niches for statues, which Odintsov had proceeded to order from
abroad. These statues were to represent Solitude, Silence, Meditation,
Melancholy, Modesty, and Sensibility. One of them, the goddess of
Silence, with her finger on her lip, had been sent and put up; but on
the very same day some boys on the farm had broken her nose; and though
a plasterer of the neighbourhood undertook to make her a new nose
'twice as good as the old one,' Odintsov ordered her to be taken away,
and she was still to be seen in the corner of the threshing barn, where
she had stood many long years, a source of superstitious terror to the
peasant women. The front part of the temple had long ago been overgrown
with thick bushes; only the pediments of the columns could be seen
above the dense green. In the temple itself it was cool even at
mid-day. Anna Sergyevna had not liked visiting this place ever since
she had seen a snake there; but Katya often came and sat on the wide
stone seat under one of the niches. Here, in the midst of the shade and
coolness, she used to read and work, or to give herself up to that
sensation of perfect peace, known, doubtless, to each of us, the charm
of which consists in the half-unconscious, silent listening to the vast
current of life that flows for ever both around us and within us.
The day after Bazarov's arrival Katya was sitting on her favourite
stone seat, and beside her again was sitting Arkady. He had besought
her to come with him to the 'temple.'
There was about an hour still to lunch-time; the dewy morning had
already given place to a sultry day. Arkady's face retained the
expression of the preceding day; Katya had a preoccupied look. Her
sister had, directly after their morning tea, called her into her room,
and after some preliminary caresses, which always scared Katya a
little, she had advised her to be more guarded in her behaviour with
Arkady, and especially to avoid solitary talks with him, as likely to
attract the notice of her aunt and all the household. Besides this,
even the previous evening Anna Sergyevna had not been herself; and
Katya herself had felt ill at ease, as though she were conscious of
some fault in herself. As she yielded to Arkady's entreaties, she said
to herself that it was for the last time.
'Katerina Sergyevna,' he began with a sort of bashful easiness,
'since I've had the happiness of living in the same house with you, I
have discussed a great many things with you; but meanwhile there is
one, very important ... for me ... one question, which I have not
touched upon up till now. You remarked yesterday that I have been
changed here,' he went on, at once catching and avoiding the
questioning glance Katya was turning upon him. 'I have changed
certainly a great deal, and you know that better than any one elseyou
to whom I really owe this change.'
'I?... Me?...' said Katya.
'I am not now the conceited boy I was when I came here,' Arkady went
on. 'I've not reached twenty-three for nothing; as before, I want to be
useful, I want to devote all my powers to the truth; but I no longer
look for my ideals where I did; they present themselves to me ... much
closer to hand. Up till now I did not understand myself; I set myself
tasks which were beyond my powers.... My eyes have been opened lately,
thanks to one feeling.... I'm not expressing myself quite clearly, but
I hope you understand me.'
Katya made no reply, but she ceased looking at Arkady.
'I suppose,' he began again, this time in a more agitated voice,
while above his head a chaffinch sang its song unheeding among the
leaves of the birch'I suppose it's the duty of every one to be open
with those ... with those people who ... in fact, with those who are
near to him, and so I ... I resolved ...'
But here Arkady's eloquence deserted him; he lost the thread,
stammered, and was forced to be silent for a moment. Katya still did
not raise her eyes. She seemed not to understand what he was leading up
to in all this, and to be waiting for something.
'I foresee I shall surprise you,' began Arkady, pulling himself
together again with an effort, 'especially since this feeling relates
in a way ... in a way, notice ... to you. You reproached me, if you
remember, yesterday with a want of seriousness,' Arkady went on, with
the air of a man who has got into a bog, feels that he is sinking
further and further in at every step, and yet hurries onwards in the
hope of crossing it as soon as possible; 'that reproach is often aimed
... often falls ... on young men even when they cease to deserve it;
and if I had more self-confidence ...' ('Come, help me, do help me!'
Arkady was thinking, in desperation; but, as before, Katya did not turn
her head.) 'If I could hope ...'
'If I could feel sure of what you say,' was heard at that instant
the clear voice of Anna Sergyevna.
Arkady was still at once, while Katya turned pale. Close by the
bushes that screened the temple ran a little path. Anna Sergyevna was
walking along it escorted by Bazarov. Katya and Arkady could not see
them, but they heard every word, the rustle of their clothes, their
very breathing. They walked on a few steps, and, as though on purpose,
stood still just opposite the temple.
'You see,' pursued Anna Sergyevna, 'you and I made a mistake; we are
both past our first youth, I especially so; we have seen life, we are
tired; we are bothwhy affect not to know it?clever; at first we
interested each other, curiosity was aroused ... and then ...'
'And then I grew stale,' put in Bazarov.
'You know that was not the cause of our misunderstanding. But,
however, it was to be, we had no need of one another, that's the chief
point; there was too much ... what shall I say? ... that was alike in
us. We did not realise it all at once. Now, Arkady ...'
'So you need him?' queried Bazarov.
'Hush, Yevgeny Vassilyitch. You tell me he is not indifferent to me,
and it always seemed to me he liked me. I know that I might well be his
aunt, but I don't wish to conceal from you that I have come to think
more often of him. In such youthful, fresh feeling there is a special
'The word fascination is most usual in such cases,' Bazarov
interrupted; the effervescence of his spleen could be heard in his
choked though steady voice. 'Arkady was mysterious over something with
me yesterday, and didn't talk either of you or your sister.... That's a
'He is just like a brother with Katya,' commented Anna Sergyevna,
'and I like that in him, though, perhaps, I ought not to have allowed
such intimacy between them.'
'That idea is prompted by ... your feelings as a sister?' Bazarov
brought out, drawling.
'Of course ... but why are we standing still? Let us go on. What a
strange talk we are having, aren't we? I could never have believed I
should talk to you like this. You know, I am afraid of you ... and at
the same time I trust you, because in reality you are so good.'
'In the first place, I am not in the least good; and in the second
place, I have lost all significance for you, and you tell me I am
good.... It's like a laying a wreath of flowers on the head of a
'Yevgeny Vassilyitch, we are not responsible ...' Anna Sergyevna
began; but a gust of wind blew across, set the leaves rustling, and
carried away her words. 'Of course, you are free ...' Bazarov declared
after a brief pause. Nothing more could be distinguished; the steps
retreated ... everything was still.
Arkady turned to Katya. She was sitting in the same position, but
her head was bent still lower. 'Katerina Sergyevna,' he said with a
shaking voice, and clasping his hands tightly together, 'I love you for
ever and irrevocably, and I love no one but you. I wanted to tell you
this, to find out your opinion of me, and to ask for your hand, since I
am not rich, and I feel ready for any sacrifice.... You don't answer
me? You don't believe me? Do you think I speak lightly? But remember
these last days! Surely for a long time past you must have known that
everythingunderstand meeverything else has vanished long ago and
left no trace? Look at me, say one word to me ... I love ... I love you
... believe me!'
Katya glanced at Arkady with a bright and serious look, and after
long hesitation, with the faintest smile, she said, 'Yes.'
Arkady leapt up from the stone seat. 'Yes! You said Yes, Katerina
Sergyevna! What does that word mean? Only that I do love you, that you
believe me ... or ... or ... I daren't go on ...'
'Yes,' repeated Katya, and this time he understood her. He snatched
her large beautiful hands, and, breathless with rapture, pressed them
to his heart. He could scarcely stand on his feet, and could only
repeat, 'Katya, Katya ...' while she began weeping in a guileless way,
smiling gently at her own tears. No one who has not seen those tears in
the eyes of the beloved, knows yet to what a point, faint with shame
and gratitude, a man may be happy on earth.
The next day, early in the morning, Anna Sergyevna sent to summon
Bazarov to her boudoir, and with a forced laugh handed him a folded
sheet of notepaper. It was a letter from Arkady; in it he asked for her
Bazarov quickly scanned the letter, and made an effort to control
himself, that he might not show the malignant feeling which was
instantaneously aflame in his breast.
'So that's how it is,' he commented; 'and you, I fancy, only
yesterday imagined he loved Katerina Sergyevna as a brother. What are
you intending to do now?'
'What do you advise me?' asked Anna Sergyevna, still laughing.
'Well, I suppose,' answered Bazarov, also with a laugh, though he
felt anything but cheerful, and had no more inclination to laugh than
she had; 'I suppose you ought to give the young people your blessing.
It's a good match in every respect; Kirsanov's position is passable,
he's the only son, and his father's a good-natured fellow, he won't try
to thwart him.'
Madame Odintsov walked up and down the room. By turns her face
flushed and grew pale. 'You think so,' she said. 'Well, I see no
obstacles ... I am glad for Katya ... and for Arkady Nikolaevitch too.
Of course, I will wait for his father's answer. I will send him in
person to him. But it turns out, you see, that I was right yesterday
when I told you we were both old people.... How was it I saw nothing?
That's what amazes me!' Anna Sergyevna laughed again, and quickly
turned her head away.
'The younger generation have grown awfully sly,' remarked Bazarov,
and he too laughed. 'Good-bye,' he began again after a short silence.
'I hope you will bring the matter to the most satisfactory conclusion;
and I will rejoice from a distance.'
Madame Odintsov turned quickly to him. 'You are not going away? Why
should you not stay now? Stay ... it's exciting talking to you
... one seems walking on the edge of a precipice. At first one feels
timid, but one gains courage as one goes on. Do stay.'
'Thanks for the suggestion, Anna Sergyevna, and for your flattering
opinion of my conversational talents. But I think I have already been
moving too long in a sphere which is not my own. Flying fishes can hold
out for a time in the air; but soon they must splash back into the
water; allow me, too, to paddle in my own element.'
Madame Odintsov looked at Bazarov. His pale face was twitching with
a bitter smile. 'This man did love me!' she thought, and she felt pity
for him, and held out her hand to him with sympathy.
But he too understood her. 'No!' he said, stepping back a pace. 'I'm
a poor man, but I've never taken charity so far. Good-bye, and good
luck to you.'
'I am certain we are not seeing each other for the last time,' Anna
Sergyevna declared with an unconscious gesture.
'Anything may happen!' answered Bazarov, and he bowed and went away.
'So you are thinking of making yourself a nest?' he said the same
day to Arkady, as he packed his box, crouching on the floor. 'Well,
it's a capital thing. But you needn't have been such a humbug. I
expected something from you in quite another quarter. Perhaps, though,
it took you by surprise yourself?'
'I certainly didn't expect this when I parted from you,' answered
Arkady; 'but why are you a humbug yourself, calling it a capital
thing, as though I didn't know your opinion of marriage.'
'Ah, my dear fellow,' said Bazarov, 'how you talk! You see what I'm
doing; there seems to be an empty space in the box, and I am putting
hay in; that's how it is in the box of our life; we would stuff it up
with anything rather than have a void. Don't be offended, please; you
remember, no doubt, the opinion I have always had of Katerina
Sergyevna. Many a young lady's called clever simply because she can
sigh cleverly; but yours can hold her own, and, indeed, she'll hold it
so well that she'll have you under her thumbto be sure, though,
that's quite as it ought to be.' He slammed the lid to, and got up from
the floor. 'And now, I say again, good-bye, for it's useless to deceive
ourselveswe are parting for good, and you know that yourself ... you
have acted sensibly; you're not made for our bitter, rough, lonely
existence. There's no dash, no hate in you, but you've the daring of
youth and the fire of youth. Your sort, you gentry, can never get
beyond refined submission or refined indignation, and that's no good.
You won't fightand yet you fancy yourselves gallant chapsbut we
mean to fight. Oh well! Our dust would get into your eyes, our mud
would bespatter you, but yet you're not up to our level, you're
admiring yourselves unconsciously, you like to abuse yourselves; but
we're sick of thatwe want something else! we want to smash other
people! You're a capital fellow; but you're a sugary, liberal snob for
all thatay volla-too, as my parent is fond of saying.'
'You are parting from me for ever, Yevgeny,' responded Arkady
mournfully; 'and have you nothing else to say to me?'
Bazarov scratched the back of his head. 'Yes, Arkady, yes, I have
other things to say to you, but I'm not going to say them, because
that's sentimentalismthat means, mawkishness. And you get married as
soon as you can; and build your nest, and get children to your heart's
content. They'll have the wit to be born in a better time than you and
me. Aha! I see the horses are ready. Time's up! I've said good-bye to
every one.... What now? embracing, eh?'
Arkady flung himself on the neck of his former leader and friend,
and the tears fairly gushed from his eyes.
'That's what comes of being young!' Bazarov commented calmly. 'But I
rest my hopes on Katerina Sergyevna. You'll see how quickly she'll
console you! Good-bye, brother!' he said to Arkady when he had got into
the light cart, and, pointing to a pair of jackdaws sitting side by
side on the stable roof, he added, 'That's for you! follow that
'What does that mean?' asked Arkady.
'What? Are you so weak in natural history, or have you forgotten
that the jackdaw is a most respectable family bird? An example to
The cart creaked and rolled away.
Bazarov had spoken truly. In talking that evening with Katya, Arkady
completely forgot about his former teacher. He already began to follow
her lead, and Katya was conscious of this, and not surprised at it. He
was to set off the next day for Maryino, to see Nikolai Petrovitch.
Anna Sergyevna was not disposed to put any constraint on the young
people, and only on account of the proprieties did not leave them by
themselves for too long together. She magnanimously kept the princess
out of their way; the latter had been reduced to a state of tearful
frenzy by the news of the proposed marriage. At first Anna Sergyevna
was afraid the sight of their happiness might prove rather trying to
herself, but it turned out quite the other way; this sight not only did
not distress her, it interested her, it even softened her at last. Anna
Sergyevna felt both glad and sorry at this. 'It is clear that Bazarov
was right,' she thought; 'it has been curiosity, nothing but curiosity,
and love of ease, and egoism ...'
'Children,' she said aloud, 'what do you say, is love a purely
But neither Katya nor Arkady even understood her. They were shy with
her; the fragment of conversation they had involuntarily overheard
haunted their minds. But Anna Sergyevna soon set their minds at rest;
and it was not difficult for hershe had set her own mind at rest.
Bazarov's old parents were all the more overjoyed by their son's
arrival, as it was quite unexpected. Arina Vlasyevna was greatly
excited, and kept running backwards and forwards in the house, so that
Vassily Ivanovitch compared her to a 'hen partridge'; the short tail of
her abbreviated jacket did, in fact, give her something of a birdlike
appearance. He himself merely growled and gnawed the amber mouthpiece
of his pipe, or, clutching his neck with his fingers, turned his head
round, as though he were trying whether it were properly screwed on,
then all at once he opened his wide mouth and went off into a perfectly
'I've come to you for six whole weeks, governor,' Bazarov said to
him. 'I want to work, so please don't hinder me now.'
'You shall forget my face completely, if you call that hindering
you!' answered Vassily Ivanovitch.
He kept his promise. After installing his son as before in his
study, he almost hid himself away from him, and he kept his wife from
all superfluous demonstrations of tenderness. 'On Enyusha's first
visit, my dear soul,' he said to her, 'we bothered him a little; we
must be wiser this time.' Arina Vlasyevna agreed with her husband, but
that was small compensation since she saw her son only at meals, and
was now absolutely afraid to address him. 'Enyushenka,' she would say
sometimesand before he had time to look round, she was nervously
fingering the tassels of her reticule and faltering, 'Never mind, never
mind, I only' and afterwards she would go to Vassily Ivanovitch
and, her cheek in her hand, would consult him: 'If you could only find
out, darling, which Enyusha would like for dinner to-daycabbage-broth
or beetroot-soup?''But why didn't you ask him yourself?''Oh, he
will get sick of me!' Bazarov, however, soon ceased to shut himself up;
the fever of work fell away, and was replaced by dreary boredom or
vague restlessness. A strange weariness began to show itself in all his
movements; even his walk, firm, bold and strenuous, was changed. He
gave up walking in solitude, and began to seek society; he drank tea in
the drawing-room, strolled about the kitchen-garden with Vassily
Ivanovitch, and smoked with him in silence; once even asked after
Father Alexey. Vassily Ivanovitch at first rejoiced at this change, but
his joy was not long-lived. 'Enyusha's breaking my heart,' he
complained in secret to his wife; 'it's not that he's discontented or
angrythat would be nothing; he's sad, he's sorrowfulthat's what's
so terrible. He's always silent. If he'd only abuse us; he's growing
thin, he's lost his colour.''Mercy on us, mercy on us!' whispered the
old woman; 'I would put an amulet on his neck, but, of course, he won't
allow it.' Vassily Ivanovitch several times attempted in the most
circumspect manner to question Bazarov about his work, about his
health, and about Arkady.... But Bazarov's replies were reluctant and
casual; and, once noticing that his father was trying gradually to lead
up to something in conversation, he said to him in a tone of vexation:
'Why do you always seem to be walking round me on tiptoe? That way's
worse than the old one.''There, there, I meant nothing!' poor Vassily
Ivanovitch answered hurriedly. So his diplomatic hints remained
fruitless. He hoped to awaken his son's sympathy one day by beginning
à propos of the approaching emancipation of the peasantry, to talk
about progress; but the latter responded indifferently: 'Yesterday I
was walking under the fence, and I heard the peasant boys here, instead
of some old ballad, bawling a street song. That's what progress is.'
Sometimes Bazarov went into the village, and in his usual bantering
tone entered into conversation with some peasant: 'Come,' he would say
to him, 'expound your views on life to me, brother; you see, they say
all the strength and future of Russia lies in your hands, a new epoch
in history will be started by youyou give us our real language and
The peasant either made no reply, or articulated a few words of this
sort, 'Well, we'll try ... because, you see, to be sure....'
'You explain to me what your mir is,' Bazarov interrupted;
'and is it the same mir that is said to rest on three fishes?'
'That, little father, is the earth that rests on three fishes,' the
peasant would declare soothingly, in a kind of patriarchal,
simple-hearted sing-song; 'and over against ours, that's to say, the
mir, we know there's the master's will; wherefore you are our
fathers. And the stricter the master's rule, the better for the
After listening to such a reply one day, Bazarov shrugged his
shoulders contemptuously and turned away, while the peasant sauntered
'What was he talking about?' inquired another peasant of middle age
and surly aspect, who at a distance from the door of his hut had been
following his conversation with Bazarov.'Arrears? eh?'
'Arrears, no indeed, mate!' answered the first peasant, and now
there was no trace of patriarchal singsong in his voice; on the
contrary, there was a certain scornful gruffness to be heard in it:
'Oh, he clacked away about something or other; wanted to stretch his
tongue a bit. Of course, he's a gentleman; what does he understand?'
'What should he understand!' answered the other peasant, and jerking
back their caps and pushing down their belts, they proceeded to
deliberate upon their work and their wants. Alas! Bazarov, shrugging
his shoulders contemptuously, Bazarov, who knew how to talk to peasants
(as he had boasted in his dispute with Pavel Petrovitch), did not in
his self-confidence even suspect that in their eyes he was all the
while something of the nature of a buffooning clown.
He found employment for himself at last, however. One day Vassily
Ivanovitch bound up a peasant's wounded leg before him, but the old
man's hands trembled, and he could not manage the bandages; his son
helped him, and from time to time began to take a share in his
practice, though at the same time he was constantly sneering both at
the remedies he himself advised and at his father, who hastened to make
use of them. But Bazarov's jeers did not in the least perturb Vassily
Ivanovitch; they were positively a comfort to him. Holding his greasy
dressing-gown across his stomach with two fingers, and smoking his
pipe, he used to listen with enjoyment to Bazarov; and the more
malicious his sallies, the more good-humouredly did his delighted
father chuckle, showing every one of his black teeth. He used even to
repeat these sometimes flat or pointless retorts, and would, for
instance, for several days constantly without rhyme or reason,
reiterate, 'Not a matter of the first importance!' simply because his
son, on hearing he was going to matins, had made use of that
expression. 'Thank God! he has got over his melancholy!' he whispered
to his wife; 'how he gave it to me to-day, it was splendid!' Moreover,
the idea of having such an assistant excited him to ecstasy, filled him
with pride. 'Yes, yes,' he would say to some peasant woman in a man's
cloak, and a cap shaped like a horn, as he handed her a bottle of
Goulard's extract or a box of white ointment, 'you ought to be thanking
God, my good woman, every minute that my son is staying with me; you
will be treated now by the most scientific, most modern method. Do you
know what that means? The Emperor of the French, Napoleon, even, has no
better doctor.' And the peasant woman, who had come to complain that
she felt so sort of queer all over (the exact meaning of these words
she was not able, however, herself to explain), merely bowed low and
rummaged in her bosom, where four eggs lay tied up in the corner of a
Bazarov once even pulled out a tooth for a passing pedlar of cloth;
and though this tooth was an average specimen, Vassily Ivanovitch
preserved it as a curiosity, and incessantly repeated, as he showed it
to Father Alexey, 'Just look, what a fang! The force Yevgeny has! The
pedlar seemed to leap into the air. If it had been an oak, he'd have
rooted it up!'
'Most promising!' Father Alexey would comment at last, not knowing
what answer to make, and how to get rid of the ecstatic old man.
One day a peasant from a neighbouring village brought his brother to
Vassily Ivanovitch, ill with typhus. The unhappy man, lying flat on a
truss of straw, was dying; his body was covered with dark patches, he
had long ago lost consciousness. Vassily Ivanovitch expressed his
regret that no one had taken steps to procure medical aid sooner, and
declared there was no hope. And, in fact, the peasant did not get his
brother home again; he died in the cart.
Three days later Bazarov came into his father's room and asked him
if he had any caustic.
'Yes; what do you want it for?'
'I must have some ... to burn a cut.'
'What, yourself? Why is that? What sort of a cut? Where is it?'
'Look here, on my finger. I went to-day to the village, you know,
where they brought that peasant with typhus fever. They were just going
to open the body for some reason or other, and I've had no practice of
that sort for a long while.'
'Well, so I asked the district doctor about it; and so I dissected
Vassily Ivanovitch all at once turned quite white, and, without
uttering a word, rushed to his study, from which he returned at once
with a bit of caustic in his hand. Bazarov was about to take it and go
'For mercy's sake,' said Vassily Ivanovitch, 'let me do it myself.'
Bazarov smiled. 'What a devoted practitioner!'
'Don't laugh, please. Show me your finger. The cut is not a large
one. Do I hurt?'
'Press harder; don't be afraid.'
Vassily Ivanovitch stopped. 'What do you think, Yevgeny; wouldn't it
be better to burn it with hot iron?'
'That ought to have been done sooner; the caustic even is useless,
really, now. If I've taken the infection, it's too late now.'
'How ... too late ...' Vassily Ivanovitch could scarcely articulate
'I should think so! It's more than four hours ago.'
Vassily Ivanovitch burnt the cut a little more. 'But had the
district doctor no caustic?'
'How was that, good Heavens? A doctor not have such an indispensable
thing as that!'
'You should have seen his lancets,' observed Bazarov as he walked
Up till late that evening, and all the following day, Vassily
Ivanovitch kept catching at every possible excuse to go into his son's
room; and though far from referring to the cuthe even tried to talk
about the most irrelevant subjectshe looked so persistently into his
face, and watched him in such trepidation, that Bazarov lost patience
and threatened to go away. Vassily Ivanovitch gave him a promise not to
bother him, the more readily as Arina Vlasyevna, from whom, of course,
he kept it all secret, was beginning to worry him as to why he did not
sleep, and what had come over him. For two whole days he held himself
in, though he did not at all like the look of his son, whom he kept
watching stealthily, ... but on the third day, at dinner, he could bear
it no longer. Bazarov sat with downcast looks, and had not touched a
'Why don't you eat, Yevgeny?' he inquired, putting on an expression
of the most perfect carelessness. 'The food, I think, is very nicely
'I don't want anything, so I don't eat.'
'Have you no appetite? And your head?' he added timidly; 'does it
'Yes. Of course, it aches.'
Arina Vlasyevna sat up and was all alert.
'Don't be angry, please, Yevgeny,' continued Vassily Ivanovitch;
'won't you let me feel your pulse?'
Bazarov got up. 'I can tell you without feeling my pulse; I'm
'Has there been any shivering?'
'Yes, there has been shivering too. I'll go and lie down, and you
can send me some lime-flower tea. I must have caught cold.'
'To be sure, I heard you coughing last night,' observed Arina
'I've caught cold,' repeated Bazarov, and he went away.
Arina Vlasyevna busied herself about the preparation of the
decoction of lime-flowers, while Vassily Ivanovitch went into the next
room and clutched at his hair in silent desperation.
Bazarov did not get up again that day, and passed the whole night in
heavy, half-unconscious torpor. At one o'clock in the morning, opening
his eyes with an effort, he saw by the light of a lamp his father's
pale face bending over him, and told him to go away. The old man begged
his pardon, but he quickly came back on tiptoe, and half-hidden by the
cupboard door, he gazed persistently at his son. Arina Vlasyevna did
not go to bed either, and leaving the study door just open a very
little, she kept coming up to it to listen 'how Enyusha was breathing,'
and to look at Vassily Ivanovitch. She could see nothing but his
motionless bent back, but even that afforded her some faint
consolation. In the morning Bazarov tried to get up; he was seized with
giddiness, his nose began to bleed; he lay down again. Vassily
Ivanovitch waited on him in silence; Arina Vlasyevna went in to him and
asked him how he was feeling. He answered, 'Better,' and turned to the
wall. Vassily Ivanovitch gesticulated at his wife with both hands; she
bit her lips so as not to cry, and went away. The whole house seemed
suddenly darkened; every one looked gloomy; there was a strange hush; a
shrill cock was carried away from the yard to the village, unable to
comprehend why he should be treated so. Bazarov still lay, turned to
the wall. Vassily Ivanovitch tried to address him with various
questions, but they fatigued Bazarov, and the old man sank into his
armchair, motionless, only cracking his finger-joints now and then. He
went for a few minutes into the garden, stood there like a statue, as
though overwhelmed with unutterable bewilderment (the expression of
amazement never left his face all through), and went back again to his
son, trying to avoid his wife's questions. She caught him by the arm at
last and passionately, almost menacingly, said, 'What is wrong with
him?' Then he came to himself, and forced himself to smile at her in
reply; but to his own horror, instead of a smile, he found himself
taken somehow by a fit of laughter. He had sent at daybreak for a
doctor. He thought it necessary to inform his son of this, for fear he
should be angry. Bazarov suddenly turned over on the sofa, bent a fixed
dull look on his father, and asked for drink.
Vassily Ivanovitch gave him some water, and as he did so felt his
forehead. It seemed on fire.
'Governor,' began Bazarov, in a slow, drowsy voice; 'I'm in a bad
way; I've got the infection, and in a few days you'll have to bury me.'
Vassily Ivanovitch staggered back, as though some one had aimed a
blow at his legs.
'Yevgeny!' he faltered; 'what do you mean!... God have mercy on you!
You've caught cold!'
'Hush!' Bazarov interposed deliberately. 'A doctor can't be allowed
to talk like that. There's every symptom of infection; you know
'Where are the symptoms ... of infection Yevgeny?... Good Heavens!'
'What's this?' said Bazarov, and, pulling up his shirtsleeve, he
showed his father the ominous red patches coming out on his arm.
Vassily Ivanovitch was shaking and chill with terror.
'Supposing,' he said at last, 'even supposing ... if even there's
something like ... infection ...'
'Pyæmia,' put in his son.
'Well, well ... something of the epidemic ...'
'Pyæmia,' Bazarov repeated sharply and distinctly; 'have you
forgotten your text-books?'
'Well, wellas you like.... Anyway, we will cure you!'
'Come, that's humbug. But that's not the point. I didn't expect to
die so soon; it's a most unpleasant incident, to tell the truth. You
and mother ought to make the most of your strong religious belief;
now's the time to put it to the test.' He drank off a little water. 'I
want to ask you about one thing ... while my head is still under my
control. To-morrow or next day my brain, you know, will send in its
resignation. I'm not quite certain even now whether I'm expressing
myself clearly. While I've been lying here, I've kept fancying red dogs
were running round me, while you were making them point at me, as if I
were a woodcock. Just as if I were drunk. Do you understand me all
'I assure you, Yevgeny, you are talking perfectly correctly.'
'All the better. You told me you'd sent for the doctor. You did that
to comfort yourself ... comfort me too; send a messenger ...'
'To Arkady Nikolaitch?' put in the old man.
'Who's Arkady Nikolaitch?' said Bazarov, as though in doubt.... 'Oh,
yes! that chicken! No, let him alone; he's turned jackdaw now. Don't be
surprised; that's not delirium yet. You send a messenger to Madame
Odintsov, Anna Sergyevna; she's a lady with an estate.... Do you know?'
(Vassily Ivanovitch nodded.) 'Yevgeny Bazarov, say, sends his
greetings, and sends word he is dying. Will you do that?'
'Yes, I will do it.... But is it a possible thing for you to die,
Yevgeny?... Think only! Where would divine justice be after that?'
'I know nothing about that; only you send the messenger.'
'I'll send this minute, and I'll write a letter myself.'
'No, why? Say I sent greetings; nothing more is necessary. And now
I'll go back to my dogs. Strange! I want to fix my thoughts on death,
and nothing comes of it. I see a kind of blur ... and nothing more.'
He turned painfully back to the wall again; while Vassily Ivanovitch
went out of the study, and struggling as far as his wife's bedroom,
simply dropped down on to his knees before the holy pictures.
'Pray, Arina, pray for us!' he moaned; 'our son is dying.'
The doctor, the same district doctor who had had no caustic,
arrived, and after looking at the patient, advised them to persevere
with a cooling treatment, and at that point said a few words of the
chance of recovery.
'Have you ever chanced to see people in my state not set off
for Elysium?' asked Bazarov, and suddenly snatching the leg of a heavy
table that stood near his sofa, he swung it round, and pushed it away.
'There's strength, there's strength,' he murmured; 'everything's here
still, and I must die!... An old man at least has time to be weaned
from life, but I ... Well, go and try to disprove death. Death will
disprove you, and that's all! Who's crying there?' he added, after a
short pause'Mother? Poor thing! Whom will she feed now with her
exquisite beetroot-soup? You, Vassily Ivanovitch, whimpering too, I do
believe! Why, if Christianity's no help to you, be a philosopher, a
Stoic, or what not! Why, didn't you boast you were a philosopher?'
'Me a philosopher!' wailed Vassily Ivanovitch, while the tears
fairly streamed down his cheeks.
Bazarov got worse every hour; the progress of the disease was rapid,
as is usually the way in cases of surgical poisoning. He still had not
lost consciousness, and understood what was said to him; he was still
struggling. 'I don't want to lose my wits,' he muttered, clenching his
fists; 'what rot it all is!' And at once he would say, 'Come, take ten
from eight, what remains?' Vassily Ivanovitch wandered about like one
possessed, proposed first one remedy, then another, and ended by doing
nothing but cover up his son's feet. 'Try cold pack ... emetic ...
mustard plasters on the stomach ... bleeding,' he would murmur with an
effort. The doctor, whom he had entreated to remain, agreed with him,
ordered the patient lemonade to drink, and for himself asked for a pipe
and something 'warming and strengthening'that's to say, brandy. Arina
Vlasyevna sat on a low stool near the door, and only went out from time
to time to pray. A few days before, a looking-glass had slipped out of
her hands and been broken, and this she had always considered an omen
of evil; even Anfisushka could say nothing to her. Timofeitch had gone
off to Madame Odintsov's.
The night passed badly for Bazarov.... He was in the agonies of high
fever. Towards morning he was a little easier. He asked for Arina
Vlasyevna to comb his hair, kissed her hand, and swallowed two gulps of
tea. Vassily Ivanovitch revived a little.
'Thank God!' he kept declaring; 'the crisis is coming, the crisis is
'There, to think now!' murmured Bazarov; 'what a word can do! He's
found it; he's said crisis, and is comforted. It's an astounding
thing how man believes in words. If he's told he's a fool, for
instance, though he's not thrashed, he'll be wretched; call him a
clever fellow, and he'll be delighted if you go off without paying
This little speech of Bazarov's, recalling his old retorts, moved
Vassily Ivanovitch greatly.
'Bravo! well said, very good!' he cried, making as though he were
clapping his hands.
Bazarov smiled mournfully.
'So what do you think,' he said; 'is the crisis over, or coming?'
'You are better, that's what I see, that's what rejoices me,'
answered Vassily Ivanovitch.
'Well, that's good; rejoicings never come amiss. And to her, do you
remember? did you send?'
'To be sure I did.'
The change for the better did not last long. The disease resumed its
onslaughts. Vassily Ivanovitch was sitting by Bazarov. It seemed as
though the old man were tormented by some special anguish. He was
several times on the point of speakingand could not.
'Yevgeny!' he brought out at last; 'my son, my one, dear son!'
This unfamiliar mode of address produced an effect on Bazarov. He
turned his head a little, and, obviously trying to fight against the
load of oblivion weighing upon him, he articulated: 'What is it,
'Yevgeny,' Vassily Ivanovitch went on, and he fell on his knees
before Bazarov, though the latter had closed his eyes and could not see
him. 'Yevgeny, you are better now; please God, you will get well, but
make use of this time, comfort your mother and me, perform the duty of
a Christian! What it means for me to say this to you, it's awful; but
still more awful ... for ever and ever, Yevgeny ... think a little,
The old man's voice broke, and a strange look passed over his son's
face, though he still lay with closed eyes.
'I won't refuse, if that can be any comfort to you,' he brought out
at last; 'but it seems to me there's no need to be in a hurry. You say
yourself I am better.'
'Oh, yes, Yevgeny, better certainly; but who knows, it is all in
God's hands, and in doing the duty ...'
'No, I will wait a bit,' broke in Bazarov. 'I agree with you that
the crisis has come. And if we're mistaken, well! they give the
sacrament to men who're unconscious, you know.'
'Yevgeny, I beg.'
'I'll wait a little. And now I want to go to sleep. Don't disturb
me.' And he laid his head back on the pillow.
The old man rose from his knees, sat down in the armchair, and,
clutching his beard, began biting his own fingers ...
The sound of a light carriage on springs, that sound which is
peculiarly impressive in the wilds of the country, suddenly struck upon
his hearing. Nearer and nearer rolled the light wheels; now even the
neighing of the horses could be heard.... Vassily Ivanovitch jumped up
and ran to the little window. There drove into the courtyard of his
little house a carriage with seats for two, with four horses harnessed
abreast. Without stopping to consider what it could mean, with a rush
of a sort of senseless joy, he ran out on to the steps.... A groom in
livery was opening the carriage doors; a lady in a black veil and a
black mantle was getting out of it ...
'I am Madame Odintsov,' she said. 'Yevgeny Vassilvitch is still
living? You are his father? I have a doctor with me.'
'Benefactress!' cried Vassily Ivanovitch, and snatching her hand, he
pressed it convulsively to his lips, while the doctor brought by Anna
Sergyevna, a little man in spectacles, of German physiognomy, stepped
very deliberately out of the carriage. 'Still living, my Yevgeny is
living, and now he will be saved! Wife! wife!... An angel from heaven
has come to us....'
'What does it mean, good Lord!' faltered the old woman, running out
of the drawing-room; and, comprehending nothing, she fell on the spot
in the passage at Anna Sergyevna's feet, and began kissing her garments
like a mad woman.
'What are you doing!' protested Anna Sergyevna; but Arina Vlasyevna
did not heed her, while Vassily Ivanovitch could only repeat, 'An
angel! an angel!'
'Wo ist der Kranke? and where is the patient?' said the
doctor at last, with some impatience.
Vassily Ivanovitch recovered himself. 'Here, here, follow me,
würdigster Herr Collega,' he added through old associations.
'Ah!' articulated the German, grinning sourly.
Vassily Ivanovitch led him into the study. 'The doctor from Anna
Sergyevna Odintsov,' he said, bending down quite to his son's ear, 'and
she herself is here.'
Bazarov suddenly opened his eyes. 'What did you say?'
'I say that Anna Sergyevna is here, and has brought this gentleman,
a doctor, to you.'
Bazarov moved his eyes about him. 'She is here.... I want to see
'You shall see her, Yevgeny; but first we must have a little talk
with the doctor. I will tell him the whole history of your illness
since Sidor Sidoritch' (this was the name of the district doctor) 'has
gone, and we will have a little consultation.'
Bazarov glanced at the German. 'Well, talk away quickly, only not in
Latin; you see, I know the meaning of jam moritur.'
'Der Herr scheint des Deutschen mächtig zu sein,' began the
new follower of Æsculapius, turning to Vassily Ivanovitch.
'Ich ... gabe ... We had better speak Russian,' said
the old man.
'Ah, ah! so that's how it is.... To be sure ...' And the
Half-an-hour later Anna Sergyevna, conducted by Vassily Ivanovitch,
came into the study. The doctor had had time to whisper to her that it
was hopeless even to think of the patient's recovery.
She looked at Bazarov ... and stood still in the doorway, so greatly
was she impressed by the inflamed, and at the same time deathly face,
with its dim eyes fastened upon her. She felt simply dismayed, with a
sort of cold and suffocating dismay; the thought that she would not
have felt like that if she had really loved him flashed instantaneously
through her brain.
'Thanks,' he said painfully, 'I did not expect this. It's a deed of
mercy. So we have seen each other again, as you promised.'
'Anna Sergyevna has been so kind,' began Vassily Ivanovitch ...
'Father, leave us alone. Anna Sergyevna, you will allow it, I fancy,
With a motion of his head, he indicated his prostrate helpless
Vassily Ivanovitch went out.
'Well, thanks,' repeated Bazarov. 'This is royally done. Monarchs,
they say, visit the dying too.'
'Yevgeny Vassilyitch, I hope'
'Ah, Anna Sergyevna, let us speak the truth. It's all over with me.
I'm under the wheel. So it turns out that it was useless to think of
the future. Death's an old joke, but it comes fresh to every one. So
far I'm not afraid ... but there, senselessness is coming, and then
it's all up!' he waved his hand feebly. 'Well, what had I to say to
you ... I loved you! there was no sense in that even before, and less
than ever now. Love is a form, and my own form is already breaking up.
Better say how lovely you are! And now here you stand, so beautiful
Anna Sergyevna gave an involuntary shudder.
'Never mind, don't be uneasy.... Sit down there.... Don't come close
to me; you know, my illness is catching.'
Anna Sergyevna swiftly crossed the room, and sat down in the
armchair near the sofa on which Bazarov was lying.
'Noble-hearted!' he whispered. 'Oh, how near, and how young, and
fresh, and pure ... in this loathsome room!... Well, good-bye! live
long, that's the best of all, and make the most of it while there is
time. You see what a hideous spectacle; the worm half-crushed, but
writhing still. And, you see, I thought too: I'd break down so many
things, I wouldn't die, why should I! there were problems to solve, and
I was a giant! And now all the problem for the giant is how to die
decently, though that makes no difference to any one either.... Never
mind; I'm not going to turn tail.'
Bazarov was silent, and began feeling with his hand for the glass.
Anna Sergyevna gave him some drink, not taking off her glove, and
drawing her breath timorously.
'You will forget me,' he began again; 'the dead's no companion for
the living. My father will tell you what a man Russia is losing....
That's nonsense, but don't contradict the old man. Whatever toy will
comfort the child ... you know. And be kind to mother. People like them
aren't to be found in your great world if you look by daylight with a
candle.... I was needed by Russia.... No, it's clear, I wasn't needed.
And who is needed? The shoemaker's needed, the tailor's needed, the
butcher ... gives us meat ... the butcher ... wait a little, I'm
getting mixed.... There's a forest here ...'
Bazarov put his hand to his brow.
Anna Sergyevna bent down to him. 'Yevgeny Vassilyitch, I am here
He at once took his hand away, and raised himself.
'Good-bye,' he said with sudden force, and his eyes gleamed with
their last light. 'Good-bye.... Listen ... you know I didn't kiss you
then.... Breathe on the dying lamp, and let it go out ...'
Anna Sergyevna put her lips to his forehead.
'Enough!' he murmured, and dropped back on to the pillow. 'Now ...
Anna Sergyevna went softly out. 'Well?' Vassily Ivanovitch asked her
in a whisper.
'He has fallen asleep,' she answered, hardly audibly. Bazarov was
not fated to awaken. Towards evening he sank into complete
unconsciousness, and the following day he died. Father Alexey performed
the last rites of religion over him. When they anointed him with the
last unction, when the holy oil touched his breast, one eye opened, and
it seemed as though at the sight of the priest in his vestments, the
smoking censers, the light before the image, something like a shudder
of horror passed over the death-stricken face. When at last he had
breathed his last, and there arose a universal lamentation in the
house, Vassily Ivanovitch was seized by a sudden frenzy. 'I said I
should rebel,' he shrieked hoarsely, with his face inflamed and
distorted, shaking his fist in the air, as though threatening some one;
'and I rebel, I rebel!' But Arina Vlasyevna, all in tears, hung upon
his neck, and both fell on their faces together. 'Side by side,'
Anfisushka related afterwards in the servants' room, 'they dropped
their poor heads like lambs at noonday ...'
But the heat of noonday passes, and evening comes and night, and
then, too, the return to the kindly refuge, where sleep is sweet for
the weary and heavy laden....
Six months had passed by. White winter had come with the cruel
stillness of unclouded frosts, the thick-lying, crunching snow, the
rosy rime on the trees, the pale emerald sky, the wreaths of smoke
above the chimneys, the clouds of steam rushing out of the doors when
they are opened for an instant, with the fresh faces, that look stung
by the cold, and the hurrying trot of the chilled horses. A January day
was drawing to its close; the cold evening was more keen than ever in
the motionless air, and a lurid sunset was rapidly dying away. There
were lights burning in the windows of the house at Maryino; Prokofitch
in a black frockcoat and white gloves, with a special solemnity, laid
the table for seven. A week before in the small parish church two
weddings had taken place quietly, and almost without witnessesArkady
and Katya's, and Nikolai Petrovitch and Fenitchka's; and on this day
Nikolai Petrovitch was giving a farewell dinner to his brother, who was
going away to Moscow on business. Anna Sergyevna had gone there also
directly after the ceremony was over, after making very handsome
presents to the young people.
Precisely at three o'clock they all gathered about the table. Mitya
was placed there too; with him appeared a nurse in a cap of glazed
brocade. Pavel Petrovitch took his seat between Katya and Fenitchka;
the 'husbands' took their places beside their wives. Our friends had
changed of late; they all seemed to have grown stronger and better
looking; only Pavel Petrovitch was thinner, which gave even more of an
elegant and 'grand seigneur' air to his expressive features.... And
Fenitchka too was different. In a fresh silk gown, with a wide velvet
head-dress on her hair, with a gold chain round her neck, she sat with
deprecating immobility, respectful towards herself and everything
surrounding her, and smiled as though she would say, 'I beg your
pardon; I'm not to blame.' And not she aloneall the others smiled,
and also seemed apologetic; they were all a little awkward, a little
sorry, and in reality very happy. They all helped one another with
humorous attentiveness, as though they had all agreed to rehearse a
sort of artless farce. Katya was the most composed of all; she looked
confidently about her, and it could be seen that Nikolai Petrovitch was
already devotedly fond of her. At the end of dinner he got up, and, his
glass in his hand, turned to Pavel Petrovitch.
'You are leaving us ... you are leaving us, dear brother,' he began;
'not for long, to be sure; but still, I cannot help expressing what I
... what we ... how much I ... how much we.... There, the worst of it
is, we don't know how to make speeches. Arkady, you speak.'
'No, daddy, I've not prepared anything.'
'As though I were so well prepared! Well, brother, I will simply
say, let us embrace you, wish you all good luck, and come back to us as
quickly as you can!'
Pavel Petrovitch exchanged kisses with every one, of course not
excluding Mitya; in Fenitchka's case, he kissed also her hand, which
she had not yet learned to offer properly, and drinking off the glass
which had been filled again, he said with a deep sigh, 'May you be
happy, my friends! Farewell!' This English finale passed
unnoticed; but all were touched.
'To the memory of Bazarov,' Katya whispered in her husband's ear, as
she clinked glasses with him. Arkady pressed her hand warmly in
response, but he did not venture to propose this toast aloud.
The end, would it seem? But perhaps some one of our readers would
care to know what each of the characters we have introduced is doing in
the present, the actual present. We are ready to satisfy him.
Anna Sergyevna has recently made a marriage, not of love but of good
sense, with one of the future leaders of Russia, a very clever man, a
lawyer, possessed of vigorous practical sense, a strong will, and
remarkable fluencystill young, good-natured, and cold as ice. They
live in the greatest harmony together, and will live perhaps to attain
complete happiness ... perhaps love. The Princess Kis dead,
forgotten the day of her death. The Kirsanovs, father and son, live at
Maryino; their fortunes are beginning to mend. Arkady has become
zealous in the management of the estate, and the 'farm' now yields a
fairly good income. Nikolai Petrovitch has been made one of the
mediators appointed to carry out the emancipation reforms, and works
with all his energies; he is for ever driving about over his district;
delivers long speeches (he maintains the opinion that the peasants
ought to be 'brought to comprehend things,' that is to say, they ought
to be reduced to a state of quiescence by the constant repetition of
the same words); and yet, to tell the truth, he does not give complete
satisfaction either to the refined gentry, who talk with chic,
or depression of the emancipation (pronouncing it as though it
were French), nor of the uncultivated gentry, who unceremoniously curse
'the damned 'mancipation.' He is too soft-hearted for both sets.
Katerina Sergyevna has a son, little Nikolai, while Mitya runs about
merrily and talks fluently. Fenitchka, Fedosya Nikolaevna, after her
husband and Mitya, adores no one so much as her daughter-in-law, and
when the latter is at the piano, she would gladly spend the whole day
at her side.
A passing word of Piotr. He has grown perfectly rigid with stupidity
and dignity, but he too is married, and received a respectable dowry
with his bride, the daughter of a market-gardener of the town, who had
refused two excellent suitors, only because they had no watch; while
Piotr had not only a watchhe had a pair of kid shoes.
In the Brühl Terrace in Dresden, between two and four o'clockthe
most fashionable time for walkingyou may meet a man about fifty,
quite grey, and looking as though he suffered from gout, but still
handsome, elegantly dressed, and with that special stamp, which is only
gained by moving a long time in the higher strata of society. That is
Pavel Petrovitch. From Moscow he went abroad for the sake of his
health, and has settled for good at Dresden, where he associates most
with English and Russian visitors. With English people he behaves
simply, almost modestly, but with dignity; they find him rather a bore,
but respect him for being, as they say, 'a perfect gentleman.' With
Russians he is more free and easy, gives vent to his spleen, and makes
fun of himself and them, but that is done by him with great amiability,
negligence, and propriety. He holds Slavophil views; it is well known
that in the highest society this is regarded as très distingué!
He reads nothing in Russian, but on his writing table there is a silver
ashpan in the shape of a peasant's plaited shoe. He is much run after
by our tourists. Matvy Ilyitch Kolyazin, happening to be in temporary
opposition, paid him a majestic visit; while the natives, with whom,
however, he is very little seen, positively grovel before him. No one
can so readily and quickly obtain a ticket for the court chapel, for
the theatre, and such things as der Herr Baron von Kirsanoff. He
does everything good-naturedly that he can; he still makes some little
noise in the world; it is not for nothing that he was once a great
society lion;but life is a burden to him ... a heavier burden than he
suspects himself. One need but glance at him in the Russian church,
when, leaning against the wall on one side, he sinks into thought, and
remains long without stirring, bitterly compressing his lips, then
suddenly recollects himself, and begins almost imperceptibly crossing
Madame Kukshin, too, went abroad. She is in Heidelberg, and is now
studying not natural science, but architecture, in which, according to
her own account, she has discovered new laws. She still fraternises
with students, especially with the young Russians studying natural
science and chemistry, with whom Heidelberg is crowded, and who,
astounding the naïve German professors at first by the soundness of
their views of things, astound the same professors no less in the
sequel by their complete inefficiency and absolute idleness. In company
with two or three such young chemists, who don't know oxygen from
nitrogen, but are filled with scepticism and self-conceit, and, too,
with the great Elisyevitch, Sitnikov roams about Petersburg, also
getting ready to be great, and in his own conviction continues the
'work' of Bazarov. There is a story that some one recently gave him a
beating; but he was avenged upon him; in an obscure little article,
hidden in an obscure little journal, he has hinted that the man who
beat him was a coward. He calls this irony. His father bullies him as
before, while his wife regards him as a fool ... and a literary man.
There is a small village graveyard in one of the remote corners of
Russia. Like almost all our graveyards, it presents a wretched
appearance; the ditches surrounding it have long been overgrown; the
grey wooden crosses lie fallen and rotting under their once painted
gables; the stone slabs are all displaced, as though some one were
pushing them up from behind; two or three bare trees give a scanty
shade; the sheep wander unchecked among the tombs.... But among them is
one untouched by man, untrampled by beast, only the birds perch upon it
and sing at daybreak. An iron railing runs round it; two young
fir-trees have been planted, one at each end. Yevgeny Bazarov is buried
in this tomb. Often from the little village not far off, two quite
feeble old people come to visit ita husband and wife. Supporting one
another, they move to it with heavy steps; they go up to the railing,
fall down, and remain on their knees, and long and bitterly they weep,
and yearn and intently gaze at the dumb stone, under which their son is
lying; they exchange some brief word, wipe away the dust from the
stone, set straight a branch of a fir-tree, and pray again, and cannot
tear themselves from this place, where they seem to be nearer to their
son, to their memories of him.... Can it be that their prayers, their
tears are fruitless? Can it be that love, sacred, devoted love, is not
all-powerful? Oh, no! However passionate, sinning, and rebellious the
heart hidden in the tomb, the flowers growing over it peep serenely at
us with their innocent eyes; they tell us not of eternal peace alone,
of that great peace of 'indifferent' nature; tell us too of eternal
reconciliation and of life without end.