Part 1 - Fathers and Sons Audiobook by Ivan Turgenev (Chs 1-10)

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Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 1
WAS THE QUESTION ASKED ON 20th May, 1859, by a gentleman of about forty, wearing a
dusty overcoat and checked trousers, who came out hatless into the low porch of the
posting station at X.
He was speaking to his servant, a chubby young fellow with whitish down growing on
his chin and with dim little eyes.
The servant, in whom everything--the turquoise ring in his ear, the hair
plastered down with grease and the polite flexibility of his movements--indicated a
man of the new improved generation, glanced
condescendingly along the road and answered, "No, sir, definitely not in
sight." "Not in sight?" repeated his master.
"No, sir," replied the servant again.
His master sighed and sat down on a little bench.
We will introduce him to the reader while he sits, with his feet tucked in, looking
thoughtfully around.
His name was Nikolai Petrovich Kirsanov.
He owned, about twelve miles from the posting station, a fine property of two
hundred serfs or, as he called it--since he had arranged the division of his land with
the peasants--a "farm" of nearly five thousand acres.
His father, a general in the army, who had served in 1812, a crude, almost illiterate,
but good-natured type of Russian, had stuck to a routine job all his life, first
commanding a brigade and later a division,
and lived permanently in the provinces, where by virtue of his rank he was able to
play a certain part.
Nikolai Petrovich was born in south Russia, as was his elder brother Pavel, of whom we
shall hear more; till the age of fourteen he was educated at home, surrounded by
cheap tutors, free-and-easy but fawning
adjutants, and all the usual regimental and staff people.
His mother, a member of the Kolyazin family, was called Agatha as a girl, but as
a general's wife her name was Agafoklea Kuzminishna Kirsanov; she was a domineering
military lady, wore gorgeous caps and
rustling silk dresses; in church she was the first to go up to the cross, she talked
a lot in a loud voice, let her children kiss her hand every morning and gave them
her blessing at night--in fact, she enjoyed
her life and got as much out of it as she could.
As a general's son, Nikolai Petrovich-- though so far from brave that he had even
been called a "funk"--was intended, like his brother Pavel, to enter the army; but
he broke his leg on the very day he
obtained a commission and after spending two months in bed he never got rid of a
slight limp for the rest of his life. His father gave him up as a bad job and let
him go in for the civil service.
He took him to Petersburg as soon as he was eighteen and placed him in the university
there. His brother happened at the same time to
become an officer in a guards regiment.
The young men started to share a flat together, and were kept under the remote
supervision of a cousin on their mother's side, Ilya Kolyazin, an important official.
Their father returned to his division and to his wife and only occasionally wrote to
his sons on large sheets of grey paper, scrawled over in an ornate clerkly
handwriting; the bottom of these sheets was
adorned with a scroll enclosing the words, "Pyotr Kirsanov, Major-General."
In 1835 Nikolai Petrovich graduated from the university, and in the same year
General Kirsanov was put on the retired list after an unsuccessful review, and came
with his wife to live in Petersburg.
He was about to take a house in the Tavrichesky Gardens, and had joined the
English club, when he suddenly died of an apoplectic fit.
Agafoklea Kuzminishna soon followed him to the grave; she could not adapt herself to a
dull life in the capital and was consumed by the boredom of retirement from
regimental existence.
Meanwhile Nikolai Petrovich, during his parents' lifetime and much to their
distress, had managed to fall in love with the daughter of his landlord, a petty
official called Prepolovensky.
She was an attractive and, as they call it, well-educated girl; she used to read the
serious articles in the science column of the newspapers.
He married her as soon as the period of mourning for his parents was over, and
leaving the civil service, where his father had secured him a post through patronage,
he started to live very happily with his
Masha, first in a country villa near the Forestry Institute, afterwards in
Petersburg in a pretty little flat with a clean staircase and a draughty drawing
room, and finally in the country where he
settled down and where in due course his son, Arkady, was born.
Husband and wife lived well and peacefully; they were hardly ever separated, they read
together, they sang and played duets together on the piano, she grew flowers and
looked after the poultry yard, he busied
himself with the estate and sometimes hunted, while Arkady went on growing in the
same happy and peaceful way. Ten years passed like a dream.
Then in 1847 Kirsanov's wife died.
He hardly survived this blow and his hair turned grey in a few weeks; he was
preparing to travel abroad, if possible to distract his thoughts...but then came the
year 1848.
He returned unwillingly to the country and after a rather long penod of inactivity he
began to take an interest in improving his estate.
In 1855 he brought his son to the university and spent three winters in
Petersburg with him, hardly going out anywhere and trying to make acquaintance
with Arkady's young comrades.
The last winter he was unable to go, and here we see him in May, 1859, already
entirely grey-haired, plump and rather bent, waiting for his son, who had just
taken his university degree, as once he had taken it himself.
The servant, from a feeling of propriety, and perhaps also because he was anxious to
escape from his master's eye, had gone over to the gate and was smoking a pipe.
Nikolai Petrovich bowed his head and began to stare at the crumbling steps; a big
mottled hen walked sedately towards him, treading firmly with its thick yellow legs;
a dirty cat cast a disapproving look at
him, as she twisted herself coyly round the railing.
The sun was scorching; a smell of hot rye bread was wafted from the dim entrance of
the posting station.
Nikolai Petrovich started musing. "My son...a graduate...Arkasha..."
kept on turning round in his mind; he tried to think of something else, but the same
thoughts returned.
He remembered his dead wife. "She did not live to see it," he murmured
A plump blue pigeon flew on to the road and hurriedly started to drink water from a
puddle near the well.
Nikolai Petrovich began to watch it, but his ear had already caught the sound of
approaching wheels...
"It sounds as if they're coming, sir," announced the servant, emerging from the
gateway. Nikolai Petrovich jumped up and fixed his
eyes on the road.
A carriage appeared with three posting horses abreast; inside it he caught a
glimpse of the band of a student's cap and the familiar outline of a dear face...
Arkasha!" cried Kirsanov, and he ran out into the road, waving his arms...A few
moments later his lips were pressed to the beardless dusty sunburnt cheek of the young
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 2
traveling but boyish and resonant, as he responded gaily to his father's greetings;
"I'm covering you with dust."
"Never mind, never mind," repeated Nikolai Petrovich, smiling tenderly, and struck the
collar of his son's cloak and his own greatcoat with his hand.
"Let me have a look at you; just show yourself," he added, moving back from him,
and then hurried away towards the station yard, calling out, "This way, this way,
bring the horses along at once.
Nikolai Petrovich seemed much more excited than his son; he was really rather confused
and shy. Arkady stopped him.
"Daddy," he said, "let me introduce you to my great friend, Bazarov, about whom I
wrote to you so often. He has kindly agreed to come to stay with
Nikolai Petrovich turned round quickly and going up to a tall man in a long, loose
rough coat with tassels, who had just climbed out of the carriage, he warmly
pressed the ungloved red hand which the latter did not at once hold out to him.
"I am delighted," he began, "and grateful for your kind intention to visit us; I
hope--please tell me your name and patronymic."
"Evgeny Vassilyev," answered Bazarov in a lazy but manly voice, and turning back the
collar of his rough overcoat he showed his whole face.
It was long and thin with a broad forehead, a nose flat at the base and sharper at the
end, large greenish eyes and sand-colored, drooping side whiskers; it was enlivened by
a calm smile and looked self-confident and intelligent.
"I hope, my dear Evgeny Vassilich, that you won't be bored staying with us," continued
Nikolai Petrovich.
Bazarov's thin lips moved slightly, but he made no answer and merely took off his cap.
His fair hair, long and thick, did not hide the prominent bumps on his broad skull.
"Well, Arkady," Nikolai Petrovich began again, turning to his son, "would you
rather have the horses brought round at once or would you like to rest?"
"We'll rest at home, Daddy; tell them to harness the horses."
"At once, at once," his father exclaimed. "Hey, Pyotr, do you hear?
Get a move on, my boy."
Pyotr, who as a perfectly modern servant had not kissed his master's hand but only
bowed to him from a distance, vanished again through the gates.
"I came here with the carriage, but there are three horses for your tarantass also,"
said Nikolai Petrovich fussily, while Arkady drank some water from an iron bucket
brought to him by the woman in charge of
the station, and Bazarov began smoking a pipe and went up to the driver, who was
unharnessing the horses. "There are only two seats in the carriage,
and I don't know how your friend..."
"He will go in the tarantass," interrupted Arkady in an undertone.
"Don't stand on ceremony with him, please. He's a splendid fellow, so simple--you will
Nikolai Petrovich's coachman brought the horses round.
"Well, make haste, bushy beard!" said Bazarov, addressing the driver.
"Do you hear, Mitya," chipped in another driver, standing with his hands behind him
thrust into the slits of his sheepskin coat, "what the gentleman just called you?
That's just what you are--a bushy beard."
Mitya only jerked his hat and pulled the reins off the steaming horses.
"Hurry up, lads, lend a hand!" cried Nikolai Petrovich.
"There'll be something to drink our health with!"
In a few minutes the horses were harnessed; father and son took their places in the
carriage: Pyotr climbed on to the box; Bazarov jumped into the tarantass, leaned
his head back against the leather cushion-- and both vehicles rolled away.
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 3
touching Arkady now on the shoulder, now on the knee.
"At last!"
"And how is uncle?
Is he well?" asked Arkady, who in spite of the genuine, almost childish joy which
filled him, wanted as soon as possible to turn the conversation from an emotional to
a more commonplace level.
"Quite well. He wanted to come with me to meet you, but
for some reason he changed his mind." "And did you have a long wait for me?"
asked Arkady.
"Oh, about five hours." "You dear old daddy!"
Arkady turned round briskly to his father and gave him a resounding kiss on the
Nikolai Petrovich laughed quietly. "I've got a splendid horse for you," he
began. "You will see for yourself.
And your room has been freshly papered."
"And is there a room ready for Bazarov?" "We will find one all right."
"Please, Daddy, be kind to him. I can't tell you how much I value his
"You met him only recently?" "Quite recently."
"That's how I didn't see him last winter. What is he studying?"
"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," remarked
Nikolai Petrovich, and fell silent.
"Pyotr," he went on, stretching out his hand, "aren't those our peasants driving
along?" Pyotr looked aside to where his master was
A few carts, drawn by unbridled horses, were rolling rapidly along a narrow side-
track. In each cart were seated one or two
peasants in unbuttoned sheepskin coats.
"Just so, sir," replied Pyotr. "Where are they going--to the town?"
"To the town, I suppose--to the pub," Pyotr added contemptuously, and half turned
towards the coachman as if including him in the reproach.
But the latter did not turn a hair; he was a man of the old type and did not share the
latest views of the younger generation.
"The peasants have given me a lot of trouble this year," went on Nikolai
Petrovich, turning to his son. "They won't pay their rent.
What is one to do?"
"And are you satisfied with your hired laborers?"
"Yes," said Nikolai Petrovich between his teeth.
"But they're being set against me, that's the worst of it, and they don't really work
properly; they spoil the tools. However, they've managed to plough the
We shall manage somehow--there will be enough flour to go round.
Are you starting to be interested in agriculture?"
"What a pity you have no shade," remarked Arkady, without answering the last
"I have had a big awning put up on the north side over the veranda," said Nikolai
Petrovich; "now we can even have dinner in the open air."
"Won't it be rather too like a summer villa?...But that's a minor matter.
What air there is here! How wonderful it smells.
Really it seems to me no air in the world is so sweetly scented as here!
And the sky too..." Arkady suddenly stopped, cast a quick look
behind him and did not finish his sentence.
"Naturally," observed Nikolai Petrovich, "you were born here, so everything is bound
to strike you with a special----" "Really, Daddy, it makes absolutely no
difference where a person is born."
"Still----" "No, it makes no difference at all."
Nikolai Petrovich glanced sideways at his son, and the carriage went on half a mile
farther before their conversation was renewed.
"I forget if I wrote to you," began Nikolai Petrovich, "that your old nurse Yegorovna
has died." "Really?
Poor old woman!
And is Prokovich still alive?" "Yes, and not changed a bit.
He grumbles as much as ever. Indeed, you won't find many changes at
"Have you still the same bailiff?" "Well, I have made a change there.
I decided it was better not to keep around me any freed serfs who had been house
servants; at least not to entrust them with any responsible jobs."
Arkady glanced towards Pyotr.
"Il est libre en effet," said Nikolai Petrovich in an undertone, "but as you see,
he's only a valet. My new bailiff is a townsman--he seems
fairly efficient.
I pay him 250 rubles a year.
But," added Nikolai Petrovich, rubbing his forehead and eyebrows with his hand (which
was always with him a sign of embarrassment), "I told you just now you
would find no changes at Maryino,...That's
not quite true...I think it my duty to tell you in advance, though...."
He hesitated for a moment and then went on in French.
"A severe moralist would consider my frankness improper, but in the first place
I can't conceal it, and then, as you know, I have always had my own particular
principles about relations between father and son.
Of course you have a right to blame me.
At my age...To cut a long story short, that--that girl about whom you've probably
heard...." "Fenichka?" inquired Arkady casually.
Nikolai Petrovich blushed.
"Don't mention her name so loudly, please...Well, yes...she lives with me now.
I have installed her in the house...there were two small rooms available.
Of course, all that can be altered."
"But why, Daddy; what for?' "Your friend will be staying with
will be awkward." "Please don't worry about Bazarov.
He's above all that."
"Well, but you too," added Nikolai Petrovich.
"Unfortunately the little side-wing is in such a bad state."
"For goodness' sake, Daddy," interposed Arkady.
"You needn't apologize. Are you ashamed?"
"Of course, I ought to be ashamed," answered Nikolai Petrovich, turning redder
and redder. "Enough of that, Daddy, please don't..."
Arkady smiled affectionately.
"What a thing to apologize for," he thought to himself, and his heart was filled with a
feeling of indulgent tenderness for his kind, soft-hearted father, mixed with a
sense of secret superiority.
"Please stop that," he repeated once more, instinctively enjoying the awareness of his
own more emancipated outlook.
Nikolai Petrovich looked at his son through the fingers of the hand with which he was
again rubbing his forehead, and a pang seized his heart...but he immediately
reproached himself for it.
"Here are our own meadows at last," he remarked after a long silence.
"And that is our forest over there, isn't it?" asked Arkady.
"Yes. But I have sold it.
This year they will cut it down for timber."
"Why did you sell it?" "We need the money; besides, that land will
be taken over by the peasants."
"Who don't pay their rent?" "That's their affair; anyhow they will pay
it some day." "It's a pity about the forest," said
Arkady, and began to look around him.
The country through which they were driving could not possibly be called picturesque.
Field after field stretched right up to the horizon, now gently sloping upwards, then
slanting down again; in some places woods were visible and winding ravines, planted
with low scrubby bushes, vividly
reminiscent of the way in which they were represented on the old maps of Catherine's
They passed by little streams with hollow banks and ponds with narrow dams, small
villages with low huts under dark and often crumbling roofs, and crooked barns with
walls woven out of dry twigs and with
gaping doorways opening on to neglected threshing floors; and churches, some brick-
built with the stucco covering peeling off in patches, others built of wood, near
crosses fallen crooked in the overgrown graveyards.
Gradually Arkady's heart began to sink.
As if to complete the picture, the peasants whom they met were all in rags and mounted
on the most wretched-looking little horses; the willows, with their broken branches and
trunks stripped of bark, stood like
tattered beggars along the roadside; lean and shaggy cows, pinched with hunger, were
greedily tearing up grass along the ditches.
They looked as if they had just been snatched out of the clutches of some
terrifying murderous monster; and the pitiful sight of these emaciated animals in
the setting of that gorgeous spring day
conjured up, like a white ghost, the vision of interminable joyless winter with its
storms, frosts and snows..."No," thought Arkady, "this country is far from rich, and
the people seem neither contented nor
industrious; we just can't let things go on like this; reforms are indispensable...but
how are we to execute them, how should we begin?"
Such were Arkady's thoughts...but even while he was thinking, the spring regained
its sway.
All around lay a sea of golden green-- everything, trees, bushes and grass,
vibrated and stirred in gentle waves under the breath of the warm breeze; from every
side the larks were pouring out their loud
continuous trills; the plovers were calling as they glided over the low-lying meadows
or noiselessly ran over the tufts of grass; the crows strutted about in the low spring
corn, looking picturesquely black against
its tender green; they disappeared in the already whitening rye, only from time to
time their heads peeped out from among its misty waves.
Arkady gazed and gazed and his thoughts grew slowly fainter and died away...He
flung off his overcoat and turned round with such a bright boyish look that his
father hugged him once again.
"We're not far away now," remarked Nikolai Petrovich.
"As soon as we get to the top of this hill the house will be in sight.
We shall have a fine life together, Arkasha; you will help me to farm the land,
if only it doesn't bore you. We must draw close to each other now and
get to know each other better, mustn't we?"
"Of course," murmured Arkady. "But what a wonderful day it is!"
"To welcome you home, my dear one. Yes, this is spring in all its glory.
Though I agree with Pushkin--do you remember, in Evgeny Onegin,
"'To me how sad your coming is, Spring, spring, sweet time of love!
"Arkady," shouted Bazarov's voice from the tarantass, "give me a match.
I've got nothing to light my pipe with."
Nikolai Petrovich fell silent, while Arkady, who had been listening to him with
some surprise but not without sympathy, hurriedly pulled a silver matchbox out of
his pocket and told Pyotr to take it over to Bazarov.
"Do you want a cigar?" shouted Bazarov again.
"Thanks," answered Arkady.
Pyotr came back to the carriage and handed him, together with the matchbox, a thick
black cigar, which Arkady started to smoke at once, spreading around him such a strong
and acrid smell of cheap tobacco that
Nikolai Petrovich, who had never been a smoker, was forced to turn away his head,
which he did unobtrusively, to avoid hurting his son's feelings.
A quarter of an hour later both carriages drew up in front of the porch of a new
wooden house, painted grey, with a red iron roof.
This was Maryino, also known as New Hamlet, or as the peasants had nicknamed it,
Landless Farm.
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 4
twelve-year-old girl, and behind her a young lad, very like Pyotr, came out of the
house; he was dressed in a grey livery with
white armorial buttons and was the servant of Pavel Petrovich Kirsanov.
He silently opened the carriage door and unbuttoned the apron of the tarantass.
Nikolai Petrovich with his son and Bazarov walked through a dark and almost empty
hall, through the door of which they caught a glimpse of a young woman's face, and into
a drawing room furnished in the most modern style.
"Well, here we are at home," said Nikolai Petrovich, removing his cap and shaking
back his hair.
"Now the main thing is to have supper and then to rest."
"It wouldn't be a bad thing to have a meal, certainly," said Bazarov, stretching
himself, and he sank on to a sofa.
"Yes, yes, let us have supper at once," exclaimed Nikolai Petrovich, and for no
apparent reason stamped his foot. "Ah, here comes Prokovich, just at the
right moment."
A man of sixty entered, white-haired, thin and swarthy, dressed in a brown coat with
brass buttons and a pink neckerchief.
He grinned, went up to kiss Arkady's hand, and after bowing to the guest, retreated to
the door and put his hands behind his back.
"Here he is, Prokovich," began Nikolai Petrovich; "at last he has come back to
us...Well? How do you find him?"
"As well as could be," said the old man, and grinned again.
Then he quickly knitted his bushy eyebrows. "Do you want supper served?" he asked
"Yes, yes, please. But don't you want to go to your room
first, Evgeny Vassilich?" "No, thanks.
There's no need.
Only tell them to carry my little trunk in there and this garment, too," he added,
taking off his loose overcoat. "Certainly.
Prokovich, take the gentleman's coat."
(Prokovich, with a puzzled look, picked up Bazarov's "garment" with both hands, and
holding it high above his head went out on tiptoe.)
"And you, Arkady, are you going to your room for a moment?"
"Yes, I must wash," answered Arkady, and was just moving towards the door when at
that moment there entered the drawing room a man of medium height, dressed in a dark
English suit, a fashionable low cravat and
patent leather shoes, Pavel Petrovich Kirsanov.
He looked about forty-five; his closely cropped grey hair shone with a dark luster
like unpolished silver; his ivory-colored face, without wrinkles, had exceptionally
regular and clear features, as though
carved by a sharp and delicate chisel, and showed traces of outstanding beauty;
particularly fine were his shining, dark almond-shaped eyes.
The whole figure of Arkady's uncle, graceful and aristocratic, had preserved
the flexibility of youth and that air of striving upwards, away from the earth,
which usually disappears when people are over thirty.
Pavel Petrovich drew from his trouser pocket his beautiful hand with its long
pink nails, a hand which looked even more beautiful against the snowy white cuff
buttoned with a single large opal, and stretched it out to his nephew.
After a preliminary European hand shake, he kissed him three times in the Russian
style; in fact he touched his cheek three times with his perfumed mustache, and said,
Nikolai Petrovich introduced him to Bazarov; Pavel Petrovich responded with a
slight inclination of his supple body and a slight smile, but he did not give him his
hand and even put it back in his pocket.
"I began to think that you weren't coming today," he began in a pleasant voice, with
an amiable swing and shrug of the shoulders; his smile showed his splendid
white teeth.
"Did anything go wrong on the road?" "Nothing went wrong," answered Arkady.
"Only we dawdled a bit. So now we're as hungry as wolves.
Make Prokovich hurry up, Daddy; I'll be back in a moment."
"Wait, I'm coming with you," exclaimed Bazarov, suddenly pulling himself off the
Both the young men went out. "Who is he?" asked Pavel Petrovich.
"A friend of Arkasha's; according to him a very clever young man."
"Is he going to stay with us?"
"Yes." "That unkempt creature!"
"Well, yes." Pavel Petrovich drummed on the table with
his finger tips.
"I fancy Arkady s'est d gourdi," he observed.
"I'm glad he has come back." At supper there was little conversation.
Bazarov uttered hardly a word, but ate a lot.
Nikolai Petrovich told various anecdotes about what he called his farming career,
talked about the forthcoming government measures, about committees, deputations,
the need to introduce new machinery, etc.
Pavel Petrovich paced slowly up and down the dining room (he never ate supper),
occasionally sipping from a glass of red wine and less often uttering some remark or
rather exclamation, such as "Ah! aha! hm!"
Arkady spoke about the latest news from Petersburg, but he was conscious of being a
bit awkward, with that awkwardness which usually overcomes a youth when he has just
stopped being a child and has come back to
a place where they are accustomed to regard 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 between his teeth; with exaggerated
carelessness he poured into his glass far
more wine than he really wanted and drank it all.
Prokovich did not take his eyes off him and kept on chewing his lips.
After supper they all separated at once.
"Your uncle's a queer fellow," Bazarov said to Arkady, as he sat in his dressing gown
by the bed, smoking a short pipe. "All that smart dandyism in the country.
Just think of it!
And his nails, his nails--they ought to be sent to an exhibition!"
"Why, of course you don't know," replied Arkady; "he was a great figure in his day.
I'll tell you his story sometime.
He was extremely handsome, and used to turn all the women's heads."
"Oh, that's it! So he keeps it up for the sake of old
What a pity there's no one for him to fascinate here!
I kept on looking at his astonishing collar, just like marble--and his chin, so
meticulously shaved.
Come, come, Arkady, isn't it ridiculous?" "Perhaps it is, but he's a good man
really." "An archaic survival!
But your father is a splendid fellow.
He wastes his time reading poetry and knows precious little about farming, but he's
kindhearted." "My father has a heart of gold."
"Did you notice how shy he was?"
Arkady shook his head, as if he were not shy himself.
"It's something astonishing," went on Bazarov, "these old romantic idealists!
They go on developing their nervous systems till they get highly strung and irritable,
then they lose their balance completely. Well, good night.
In my room there's an English washstand, but the door won't fasten.
Anyhow, that ought to be encouraged-- English washstands--they stand for
Bazarov went out, and a sense of peaceful happiness stole over Arkady.
It was sweet to fall asleep in one's own home, in the familiar bed, under the quilt
which had been worked by loving hands, perhaps the hands of his old nurse, those
gentle, good and tireless hands.
Arkady remembered Yegorovna, and sighed and wished, "God rest her soul"...for himself
he said no prayer.
Both he and Bazarov soon fell asleep, but others in the house remained awake much
longer. Nikolai Petrovich was agitated by his son's
He lay in bed but did not put out the candles, and propping his head in his hands
he went on thinking.
His brother was sitting till long after midnight in his study, in a wide armchair
in front of the fireplace, in which some embers glowed faintly.
Pavel Petrovich had not undressed, but some red Chinese slippers had replaced his
patent leather shoes.
He held in his hand the last number of Galignani, but he was not reading it; he
gazed fixedly into the fireplace, where a bluish flame flickered, dying down and
flaring up again at intervals...God knows
where his thoughts were wandering, but they were not wandering only in the past; his
face had a stern and concentrated expression, unlike that of a man who is
solely absorbed in his memories.
And in a little back room, on a large chest, sat a young woman in a blue jacket
with a white kerchief thrown over her dark hair; this was Fenichka; she was now
listening, now dozing, now looking across
towards the open door, through which a child's bed was visible and the regular
breathing of a sleeping infant could be heard.
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 5
"Ugh!" he thought, "this isn't much of a place!"
When Nikolai Petrovich had divided his estate with his peasants, he had to set
aside for his new manor house four acres of entirely 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 flourished, very little water had
collected in the pond, and the well water had a brackish taste.
Only one arbor of lilac and acacia had grown up properly; the family sometimes
drank tea or dined there.
In a few minutes Bazarov had explored all the little paths in the garden; he went
into the cattle yard and the stables, discovered two farm boys with whom he made
friends at once, and went off with them to
a small swamp about a mile from the house in order to search for frogs.
"What do you want frogs for, sir?" asked one of the boys.
"I'll tell you what for," answered Bazarov, who had a special capacity for winning the
confidence of lower-class people, though he never cringed to them and indeed treated
them casually; "I shall cut the frog open
to see what goes on inside him, and then, as you and I are much the same as frogs
except that we walk on legs, I shall learn what is going on inside us as well."
"And why do you want to know that?"
"In order not to make a mistake if you're taken ill and I have to cure you."
"Are you a doctor, then?" "Yes."
"Vaska, did you hear that?
The gentleman says that you and I are just like frogs; that's queer."
"I'm frightened of frogs," remarked Vaska, a boy of seven with flaxen hair and bare
feet, dressed in a grey smock with a high collar.
"What are you frightened of?
Do they bite?" "There, paddle along into the water, you
philosophers," said Bazarov.
Meanwhile Nikolai Petrovich had also awakened and had gone to see Arkady, whom
he found dressed.
Father and son went out on to the terrace under the shelter of the awning; the
samovar was already boiling on the table near the balustrade among great bunches of
A little girl appeared, the same one who had first met them on their arrival the
evening before.
In a shrill voice she said, "Fedosya Nikolayevna is not very well and she can't
come; she told me to ask you, will you pour out tea yourself or should she send
"I'll pour myself, of course," interposed Nikolai Petrovich hurriedly.
"Arkady, how do you like your tea, with cream or with lemon?"
"With cream," answered Arkady, then after a brief pause he muttered questioningly,
"Daddy?" Nikolai Petrovich looked at his son with
"Well?" he said. Arkady lowered his eyes.
"Excuse me, Daddy, if my question seems to you indiscreet," he began; "but you
yourself by your frank talk yesterday encouraged me to be won't be
"Go on." "You make me bold enough to ask you, isn't
the reason why Fen...isn't it only because I'm here that she won't come to pour out
Nikolai Petrovich turned slightly aside. "Perhaps," he at length answered, "she
supposes...she feels ashamed." Arkady glanced quickly at his father.
"She has no reason to feel ashamed.
In the first place, you know my point of view," (Arkady much enjoyed pronouncing
these words) "and secondly, how could I want to interfere in the smallest way with
your life and habits?
Besides, I'm sure you couldn't make a bad choice; if you allow her to live under the
same roof with you, she must be worthy of it; in any case, it's not for a son to
judge his father--particularly for me, and
with such a father, who has always let me do everything I wanted."
Arkady's voice trembled to start with; he felt he was being magnanimous and realized
at the same time that he was delivering something like a lecture to his father; but
the sound of his own voice has a powerful
effect on any man, and Arkady pronounced the last words firmly and even
"Thank you, Arkasha," said Nikolai Petrovich thickly, and his fingers again
passed over his eyebrows. "What you suppose is in fact quite true.
Of course if this girl hadn't's not just a frivolous fancy.
It's awkward for me to talk to you about this, but you understand that it's
difficult for her to come here in your presence, especially on the first day of
your arrival."
"In that case I'll go to her myself!" exclaimed Arkady, with a fresh onrush of
generous excitement, and he jumped up from his seat.
"I will explain to her that she has no need to feel ashamed in front of me."
Nikolai Petrovich got up also. "Arkady," he began, " is it
I haven't told you yet..." But Arkady was no longer listening to him;
he had run off the terrace. Nikolai Petrovich gazed after him and sank
into a chair overwhelmed with confusion.
His heart began to throb...Did he realize at that moment the inevitable strangeness
of his future relations with his son?
Was he aware that Arkady might have shown him more respect if he had never mentioned
that subject at all? Did he reproach himself for weakness?
It is hard to say.
All these feelings moved within him. though in the state of vague sensations only, but
the flush remained on his face, and his heart beat rapidly.
Then came the sound of hurrying footsteps and Arkady appeared on the terrace.
"We have introduced ourselves, Daddy!" he cried with an expression of affectionate
and good-natured triumph on his face.
"Fedosya Nikolayevna is really not very well today, and she will come out a little
later. But why didn't you tell me I have a
I should have kissed him last night as I kissed him just now!"
Nikolai Petrovich tried to say something, tried to rise and open wide his arms.
Arkady flung himself on his neck.
"What's this? Embracing again!" sounded the voice of
Pavel Petrovich behind them.
Father and son were both equally glad to see him at that moment; there are
situations, however touching, from which one nevertheless wants to escape as quickly
as possible.
"Why are you surprised at that?" said Nikolai Petrovich gaily.
"What ages I've been waiting for Arkasha. I haven't had time to look at him properly
since yesterday."
Arkady went up to his uncle and again felt on his cheeks the touch of that perfumed
mustache. Pavel Petrovich sat down at the table.
He was wearing another elegant English suit with a bright little fez on his head.
That fez and the carelessly tied little cravat suggested the freedom of country
life, but the stiff collar of his shirt-- not white, it is true, but striped, as is
correct with morning dress--stood up as
inexorably as ever against his well-shaved chin.
"Where is your new friend?" he asked Arkady.
"He's not in the house; he usually gets up early and goes off somewhere.
The main thing is not to pay any attention to him; he dislikes ceremony."
"Yes, that's obvious," Pavel Petrovich began, slowly spreading butter on his
bread. "Is he going to stay long with us?"
He came here on his way to his father's." "And where does his father live?"
"In our province, about sixty-five miles from here.
He has a small property there.
He used to be an army doctor." "Tut, tut, tut!
Of course. I kept on asking myself, 'Where have I
heard that name before, Bazarov?'
Nikolai, don't you remember, there was a surgeon called Bazarov in our father's
division." "I believe there was."
So that surgeon is his father. Hm!"
Pavel Petrovich pulled his mustache. "Well, and Monsieur Bazarov, what is he?"
he asked in a leisurely tone.
"What is Bazarov?" Arkady smiled.
"Would you like me to tell you, uncle, what he really is?"
"Please do, nephew."
"He is a nihilist!" "What?" asked Nikolai Petrovich, while
Pavel Petrovich lifted his knife in the air with a small piece of butter on the tip and
remained motionless.
"He is a nihilist," repeated Arkady. "A nihilist," said Nikolai Petrovich.
"That comes from the Latin nihil, nothing, as far as I can judge; the word must mean a
man who...who recognizes nothing?"
"Say--who respects nothing," interposed Pavel Petrovich and lowered his knife with
the butter on it. "Who regards everything from the critical
point of view," said Arkady.
"Isn't that exactly the same thing?" asked Pavel Petrovich.
"No, it's not the same thing.
A nihilist is a person who does not bow down to any authority, who does not accept
any principle on faith, however much that principle may be revered."
"Well, and is that good?" asked Pavel Petrovich.
"That depends, uncle dear. For some it is good, for others very bad."
Well, I see that's not in our line. We old-fashioned people think that without
principles, taken as you say on faith, one can't take a step or even breathe.
Vous avez chang, tout cela; may God grant you health and a general's rank, and we
shall be content to look on and admire your...what was the name?"
"Nihilists," said Arkady, pronouncing very distinctly.
"Yes, there used to be Hegelists and now there are nihilists.
We shall see how you will manage to exist in the empty airless void; and now ring,
please, brother Nikolai, it's time for me to drink my cocoa."
Nikolai Petrovich rang the bell and called, "Dunyasha!"
But instead of Dunyasha, Fenichka herself appeared on the terrace.
She was a young woman of about twenty-three with a soft white skin, dark hair and eyes,
childishly pouting lips and plump little hands.
She wore a neat cotton dress; a new blue kerchief lay lightly over her soft
She carried a large cup of cocoa and setting it down in front of Pavel
Petrovich, she was overcome with confusion; the hot blood rushed in a wave of crimson
under the delicate skin of her charming face.
She lowered her eyes and stood by the table slightly pressing it with her finger tips.
She looked as if she were ashamed of having come in and somehow felt at the same time
that she had a right to come. Pavel Petrovich frowned and Nikolai
Petrovich looked embarrassed.
"Good morning, Fenichka," he muttered through his teeth.
"Good morning," she replied in a voice not loud but resonant, and casting a quick
glance at Arkady, who gave her a friendly smile, she went quietly away.
She had a slightly swaying walk, but that also suited her.
For some minutes silence reigned on the terrace.
Pavel Petrovich was sipping his cocoa; suddenly he raised his head.
"Here is Mr. Nihilist coming over to visit us," he murmured.
Bazarov was in fact approaching through the garden, striding over the flower beds.
His linen coat and trousers were bespattered with mud; a clinging marsh
plant was twined round the crown of his old round hat, in his right hand he held a
small bag in which something alive was wriggling.
He walked quickly up to the terrace and said with a nod, "Good morning, gentlemen;
sorry I was late for tea; I'll join you in a moment.
I just have to put these prisoners away."
"What have you there, leeches?" asked Pavel Petrovich.
"No, frogs." "Do you eat them or keep them for
"For experiments," answered Bazarov indifferently, and went into the house.
"So he's going to cut them up," observed Pavel Petrovich; "he has no faith in
principles, but he has faith in frogs."
Arkady looked sadly at his uncle; Nikolai Petrovich almost imperceptibly shrugged his
Pavel Petrovich himself felt that his epigram had misfired and he began to talk
about farming and the new bailiff who had come to him the evening before to complain
that a laborer, Foma, was "debauched," and had become unmanageable.
"He's such an 'sop," he remarked.
"He announces to everyone that he's a worthless fellow; he wants to have a good
time and then he'll suddenly leave his job on account of some stupidity."
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 6
Both brothers watched him in silence, and Arkady glanced furtively from one to the
"Did you walk far this morning?" asked Nikolai Petrovich at last.
"To where you've got a little marsh near an aspen wood.
I scared away five snipe.
You might shoot them, Arkady." "So you're not a sportsman yourself?"
"No." "Isn't physics your special subject?" asked
Pavel Petrovich in his turn.
"Yes, physics, and natural science in general."
"They say the Teutons have lately had great success in that line."
"Yes, the Germans are our teachers in it," Bazarov answered carelessly.
Pavel Petrovich had used the word "Teutons" instead of "Germans" with an ironical
intention, which, however, no one noticed.
"Have you such a high opinion of Germans?" asked Pavel Petrovich with exaggerated
politeness. He was beginning to feel a concealed
Bazarov's complete nonchalance disgusted his aristocratic nature.
This surgeon's son was not only self- assured, he even answered abruptly and
unwillingly and there was something coarse and almost insolent in the tone of his
"Their scientists are a clever lot." "Ah, yes.
I expect you hold a less flattering opinion about Russian scientists."
"Very likely."
"That is very praiseworthy self-denial," said Pavel Petrovich, drawing himself up
and throwing back his head.
"But how is it that Arkady Nikolaich was telling us just now that you acknowledge no
authorities? Don't you even believe in them?"
"Why should I acknowledge them, or believe in them?
If they tell me the truth, I agree--that's all."
"And do all Germans tell the truth?" murmured Pavel Petrovich, and his face took
on a distant, detached expression, as if he had withdrawn to some misty height.
"Not all," answered Bazarov with a short yawn, obviously not wanting to prolong the
discussion. Pavel Petrovich looked at Arkady, as if he
wanted to say, "How polite your friend is."
"As far as I'm concerned," he began again with some effort, "I plead guilty of not
liking Germans.
There's no need to mention Russian Germans, we all know what sort of creatures they
are. But even German Germans don't appeal to me.
Formerly there were a few Germans here and there; well, Schiller for instance, or
Goethe--my brother is particularly fond of them--but nowadays they all seem to have
turned into chemists and materialists..."
"A decent chemist is twenty times more useful than any poet," interrupted Bazarov.
"Oh, indeed!" remarked Pavel Petrovich, and as if he were falling asleep he slightly
raised his eyebrows.
"So you don't acknowledge art?" "The art of making money or of advertising
pills!" cried Bazarov, with a contemptuous laugh.
"Ah, just so; you like joking, I see.
So you reject all that Very well. So you believe in science only?"
"I have already explained to you that I don't believe in anything; and what is
science--science in the abstract?
There are sciences, as there are trades and professions, but abstract science just
doesn't exist." "Excellent.
Well, and do you maintain the same negative attitude towards other traditions which
have become generally accepted for human conduct?"
"What is this, a cross-examination?" asked Bazarov.
Pavel Petrovich turned a little pale...Nikolai Petrovich felt that the
moment had come for him to intervene in the conversation.
"Sometime we should discuss this subject with you in greater detail, my dear Evgeny
Vassilich; we will hear your views and express our own.
I must say I'm personally very glad you are studying natural science.
I heard that Liebig made some wonderful discoveries about improving the soil.
You can help me in my agricultural work and give me some useful advice."
"I'm at your service, Nikolai Petrovich, but Liebig is quite above our heads.
We must first learn the alphabet and only then begin to read, and we haven't yet
grasped the a b c."
"You are a nihilist all right," thought Nikolai Petrovich, and added aloud, "All
the same I hope you will let me apply to you occasionally.
And now, brother, I think it's time for us to go and have our talk with the bailiff."
Pavel Petrovich rose from his seat.
"Yes," he said, without looking at anyone; "it's sad to have lived like this for five
years in the country, far from mighty intellects!
You turn into a fool straight away.
You try not to forget what you have learned--and then one fine day it turns out
to be all rubbish, and they tell you that experienced people have nothing to do with
such nonsense, and that you, if you please, are an antiquated old simpleton.
What's to be done? Obviously young people are cleverer than
Pavel Petrovich turned slowly on his heels and went out; Nikolai Petrovich followed
him. "Is he always like that?"
Bazarov coolly asked Arkady directly the door had closed behind the two brothers.
"I must say, Evgeny, you were unnecessarily rude to him," remarked Arkady.
"You hurt his feelings."
"Well, am I to humor them, these provincial aristocrats?
Why, it's all personal vanity, smart habits, and foppery.
He should have continued his career in Petersburg if that's his turn of mind...
But enough of him!
I've found a rather rare specimen of water beetle, Dytiscus marginatus--do you know
it? I'll show you."
"I promised to tell you his story..." began Arkady.
"The story of the beetle?" "Come, come, Evgeny--the story of my uncle.
You'll see he's not the kind of man you take him for.
He deserves pity rather than ridicule." "I don't dispute, but why do you worry
about him?"
"One should be just, Evgeny." "How does that follow?"
"No, listen..." And Arkady told him his uncle's story.
The reader will find it in the following chapter.
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 7
afterwards in the Corps of Pages.
From childhood he was distinguished by his remarkable beauty; he was self-confident,
rather ironical, and had a biting sense of humor; he could not fail to please people.
He began to be received everywhere directly he had obtained his commission as an
He was pampered by society, and indulged in every kind of whim and folly, but that did
not make him any less attractive. Women went crazy about him, men called him
a fop and secretly envied him.
He shared a flat with his brother, whom he loved sincerely although he was most unlike
Nikolai Petrovich was rather lame, had small, agreeable but somewhat melancholy
features, little black eyes and soft thin hair; he enjoyed being lazy, but he also
liked reading and was shy in society.
Pavel Petrovich did not spend a single evening at home, prided himself on his
boldness and agility (he was just bringing gymnastics into fashion among the young men
of his set), and had read in all five or six French books.
At twenty-eight he was already a captain; a brilliant career lay before him.
Suddenly all that was changed.
In those days there used to appear occasionally in Petersburg society a woman
who has even now not been forgotten-- Princess R.
She had a well-educated and respectable, but rather stupid husband, and no children.
She used suddenly to travel abroad and equally suddenly return to Russia, and in
general she led an eccentric life.
She was reputed to be a frivolous coquette, abandoned herself keenly to every kind of
pleasure, danced to exhaustion, laughed and joked with young men whom she used to
receive before dinner in a dimly lit
drawing room, but at night she wept and said prayers, finding no peace anywhere,
and often paced her room till morning, wringing her hands in anguish, or sat, pale
and cold, reading a psalter.
Day came and she turned again into a lady of fashion, she went about again, laughed,
chatted and literally flung herself into any activity which could afford her the
slightest distraction.
She had a wonderful figure; her hair, golden in color and heavy like gold, fell
below her knees, yet no one would have called her a beauty; the only striking
feature in her whole face was her eyes--and
even her eyes were grey and not large--but their glance was swift and deeply
penetrating, carefree to the point of audacity and thoughtful to the verge of
melancholy--an enigmatic glance.
Something extraordinary shone in those eyes even when her tongue was chattering the
emptiest gossip. She dressed equisitely.
Pavel Petrovich met her at a ball, danced a mazurka with her, in the course of which
she did not utter a single sensible word, and fell passionately in love with her.
Accustomed to making conquests, he succeeded with her also, but his easy
triumph did not damp his enthusiasm.
On the contrary, he found himself in a still closer and more tormenting bondage to
this woman, in whom, even when she surrendered herself without reserve, there
seemed always to remain something
mysterious and unattainable, to which no one could penetrate.
What was hidden in that soul--God alone knows!
It seemed as if she were in the grip of some strange powers, unknown even to
herself; they seemed to play with her at will and her limited mind was not strong
enough to master their caprices.
Her whole behavior was a maze of inconsistencies; the only letters which
could have aroused her husband's just suspicions she wrote to a man who was
almost a stranger to her, and her love had
always an element of sadness; she no longer laughed and joked with the man whom she had
chosen, but listened to him and looked at him in bewilderment.
Sometimes this bewilderment would change suddenly into a cold horror; her face would
take on a wild, deathlike expression and she would lock herself up in her bedroom;
her maid, putting her ear to the keyhole, could hear her smothered sobs.
More than once, as he returned home after a tender meeting, Kirsanov felt within him
that heart-rending, bitter gloom which follows the consciousness of total failure.
"What more do I want?" he asked himself, but his heart was heavy.
He once gave her a ring which had a sphinx engraved in the stone.
"What is this?" she asked.
"A sphinx?" "Yes," he answered, "and that sphinx is--
you." "Me?" she asked, and slowly looked at him
with her enigmatic eyes.
"Do you know, that is very flattering," she added with a meaningless smile, while her
eyes still looked as strangely as before.
Pavel Petrovich suffered even while Princess R. loved him, but when she became
cold to him, and that happened quite soon, he almost went out of his mind.
He tortured himself, he was jealous, he gave her no rest but followed her
everywhere. She grew sick of his persistent pursuit of
her and went abroad.
He resigned from his regiment in spite of the entreaties of his friends and the
advice of his superior officers, and he followed the princess abroad; four years he
spent in foreign countries, at one time
pursuing her, at other times trying to lose sight of her; he was ashamed of himself, he
was indignant at his own lack of resolution--but nothing helped.
Her image--that incomprehensible, almost meaningless, but fascinating image--was too
deeply rooted in his heart.
In Baden he once more revived his former relationship with her; it seemed as though
she had never before loved him so passionately...but in a month it was all
over; the flame flared up for the last time and then died out forever.
Foreseeing the inevitable separation, he wanted at least to remain her friend, as if
lasting friendship with such a woman were possible...She left Baden secretly and from
that time permanently avoided meeting Kirsanov.
He returned to Russia and tried to live as before, but he could not adapt himself to
his old routine.
He wandered from place to place like one possessed; he still went out to parties and
retained the habits of a man of the world; he could boast of two or three more
conquests; but he no longer expected
anything from himself or from others, and he undertook nothing new.
He grew old and grey, spending all his evenings at the club, embittered and bored-
-arguing indifferently in bachelor society became a necessity for him, and that was a
bad sign.
Of course the thought of marriage never even occurred to him.
Ten years passed in this way, grey and fruitless years, but they sped by terribly
Nowhere does time fly as it does in Russia; in prison, they say, it flies even faster.
One day when he was dining at his club, Pavel Petrovich heard that Princess R. was
She had died in Paris in a state bordering on insanity.
He rose from the table and paced about the rooms for a long time, occasionally
standing motionless behind the cardplayers, but he returned home no earlier than usual.
A few weeks later he received a packet on which his name had been written; it
contained the ring which he had given to the princess.
She had drawn lines in the shape of a cross over the sphinx and sent him a message to
say that the solution of the enigma was the cross.
This happened at the beginning of the year 1848, at the same time as Nikolai Petrovich
came to Petersburg after the death of his wife.
Pavel Petrovich had hardly seen his brother since the latter had settled in the
country; Nikolai Petrovich's marriage had coincided with the very first days of Pavel
Petrovich's acquaintance with the princess.
When he returned from abroad, he went to the country, intending to stay two months
with his brother and to take pleasure in his happiness, but he could stand it for
only a week.
The difference between them was too great.
In 1848 this difference had diminished; Nikolai Petrovich had lost his wife, Pavel
Petrovich had abandoned his memories; after the death of the princess he tried not to
think about her.
But for Nikolai there remained the feeling of a well-spent life, and his son was
growing up under his eyes; Pavel, on the contrary, a lonely bachelor, was entering
into that indefinite twilight period of
regrets which resemble hopes and of hopes which are akin to regrets, when youth is
over and old age has not yet started.
This time was harder for Pavel Petrovich than for other people, for in losing his
past he lost everything he had.
"I won't ask you to come to Maryino now," Nikolai Petrovich said to him one day (he
had called his property by that name in honor of his wife); "you found it dull
there even when my dear wife was alive, and now, I fear, you would be bored to death."
"I was stupid and fidgety then," answered Pavel Petrovich.
"Since then I have calmed down, if not grown wiser.
Now, on the contrary, if you will let me, I am ready to settle down with you for good."
Instead of answering, Nikolai Petrovich embraced him; but a year and a half elapsed
after this conversation before Pavel Petrovich finally decided to carry out his
Once he was settled in the country, however, he would not leave it, even during
those three winters which Nikolai spent in Petersburg with his son.
He began to read, chiefly in English; indeed he organized his whole life in an
English manner, rarely met his neighbors and went only out to the local elections,
and then he was usually silent, though he
occasionally teased and alarmed landowners of the old school by his liberal sallies,
and he held himself aloof from members of the younger generation.
Both generations regarded him as "stuck up," and both respected him for his
excellent aristocratic manners, for his reputation as a lady killer, for the fact
that he was always perfectly dressed and
always stayed in the best room in the best hotel; for the fact that he knew about good
food and had once even dined with the Duke of Wellington at Louis Philippe's table;
for the fact that he took with him
everywhere a real silver dressing case and a portable bath; for the fact that he smelt
of some unusual and strikingly "distinguished" perfume; for the fact that
he played whist superbly and always lost;
lastly they respected him for his incorruptible honesty.
Ladies found him enchantingly romantic, but he did not cultivate the society of
"So you see, Evgeny," remarked Arkady, as he finished his story, "how unjustly you
judge my uncle.
Not to mention that he has more than once helped my father out of financial troubles,
given him all his money--perhaps you don't know, the property was never divided up--
he's happy to help anyone; incidentally he
is always doing something for the peasants; it is true, when he talks to them, he
screws up his face and sniffs eau de Cologne..."
"Nerves, obviously," interrupted Bazarov.
"Perhaps, but his heart is in the right place.
And he's far from stupid.
What a lot of useful advice he has given me...especially...especially about
relations with women." "Aha! If you burn your mouth with hot milk,
you'll even blow on water--we know that!"
"Well," continued Arkady, "in a word, he's profoundly unhappy--it's a crime to despise
him." "And who is despising him?" retorted
"Still, I must say that a man who has staked his whole life on the one card of a
woman's love, and when that card fails, turns sour and lets himself drift till he's
fit for nothing, is not really a man.
You say he's unhappy; you know better than I do; but he certainly hasn't got rid of
all his foibles.
I'm sure that he imagines he is busy and useful because he reads Galignani and once
a month saves a peasant from being flogged."
"But remember his education, the age in which he grew up," said Arkady.
"Education?" ejaculated Bazarov.
"Everyone should educate himself, as I've done, for instance...And as for the age,
why should I depend upon it? Let it rather depend on me.
No, my dear fellow, that's all emptiness and loose living.
And what are these mysterious relations between a man and a woman?
We physiologists know what they are.
You study the anatomy of the eye; and where does it come in, that enigmatic look you
talk about? That's all romanticism, rubbish, and moldy
We had much better go and examine the beetle."
And the two friends went off to Bazarov's room, which was already pervaded by a kind
of medical surgical smell, mixed with the reek of cheap tobacco.
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 8
tall, thin man with the soft voice of a consumptive and cunning eyes, who to all
Nikolai Petrovich's remarks answered,
"Indeed, certainly, sir," and tried to show up the peasants as thieves and drunkards.
The estate had only just started to be run on the new system, whose mechanism still
creaked like an ungreased wheel and cracked in places like homemade furniture of raw,
unseasoned wood.
Nikolai Petrovich did not lose heart but he often sighed and felt discouraged; he
realized that things could not be improved without more money, and his money was
almost all spent.
Arkady had spoken the truth; Pavel Petrovich had helped his brother more than
once; several times, seeing him perplexed, racking his brains, not knowing which way
to turn, Pavel Petrovich had moved towards
the window, and with his hands thrust into his pockets had muttered between his teeth,
"Mais je puis vous donner de l'argent," and gave him money; but today he had none left
himself and he preferred to go away.
The petty disputes of agricultural management wearied him; besides, he could
not help feeling that Nikolai Petrovich, with all his zeal and hard work, did not
set about things in the right way, although
he could not point out exactly what were his brother's mistakes.
"My brother is not practical enough," he would say to himself; "they cheat him."
On the other hand, Nikolai Petrovich had the highest opinion of Pavel Petrovich's
practical capacity and was always asking for his advice.
"I'm a mild, weak person, I've spent my life in the depths of the country," he used
to say, "while you haven't seen so much of the world for nothing; you understand
people, you see through them with an eagle's eye."
In answer to such words, Pavel Petrovich only turned aside but did not contradict
his brother.
Leaving Nikolai Petrovich in the study, he walked along the corridor which separated
the front portion of the house from the back; on reaching a low door he stopped and
hesitated for a moment, then, pulling at his mustache, he knocked on it.
"Who is there? Come in," called out Fenichka's voice.
"It is me," said Pavel Petrovich, and opened the door.
Fenichka jumped up from the chair on which she was sitting with her baby, and putting
him into the arms of a girl who at once carried him out of the room, she hastily
straightened her kerchief.
"Excuse me for disturbing you," began Pavel Petrovich without looking at her; "I only
wanted to ask they are sending into the town see that they buy
some green tea for me."
"Certainly," answered Fenichka, "how much tea do you want?"
"Oh, half a pound will be enough, I should think.
I see you have made some changes here," he added, casting a rapid look around and at
Fenichka's face. "Those curtains," he went on, seeing that
she did not understand him.
"Oh, yes, the curtains; Nikolai Petrovich kindly gave them to me, but they've been
hung up for quite a long time." "Yes, and I haven't been to see you for a
long time.
Now it is all very nice here." "Thanks to Nikolai Petrovich's kindness,"
murmured Fenichka.
"You are more comfortable here than in the little side-wing where you used to be?"
inquired Pavel Petrovich politely but without any trace of a smile.
"Certainly, it is better here."
"Who has been put in your place now?" "The laundrymaids are there now."
"Ah!" Pavel Petrovich was silent.
"Now he will go," thought Fenichka; but he did not go and she stood in front of him
rooted to the spot, moving her fingers nervously.
"Why did you send your little one away?" said Pavel Petrovich at last.
"I love children; do let me see him." Fenichka blushed all over with confusion
and joy.
She was frightened of Pavel Petrovich; he hardly ever spoke to her.
"Dunyasha," she called. "Will you bring Mitya, please?"
(Fenichka was polite to every member of the household.)
"But wait a moment; he must have a frock on."
Fenichka was going towards the door.
"That doesn't matter," remarked Pavel Petrovich.
"I shall be back in a moment," answered Fenichka, and she went out quickly.
Pavel Petrovich was left alone and this time he looked round with special
attention. The small, low room in which he found
himself was very clean and cosy.
It smelt of the freshly painted floor and of camomile flowers.
Along the walls stood chairs with lyre- shaped backs, bought by the late General
Kirsanov in Poland during a campaign; in one corner was a little bedstead under a
muslin canopy alongside a chest with iron clamps and a curved lid.
In the opposite corner a little lamp was burning in front of a big, dark picture of
St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker; a tiny porcelain egg hung over the saint's breast
suspended by a red ribbon from his halo; on
the window sills stood carefully tied greenish glass jars filled with last year's
jam; Fenichka had herself written in big letters on their paper covers the word
"Gooseberry;" it was the favorite jam of Nikolai Petrovich.
A cage containing a short-tailed canary hung on a long cord from the ceiling; he
constantly chirped and hopped about, and the cage kept on swinging and shaking,
while hemp seeds fell with a light tap onto the floor.
On the wall just above a small chest of drawers hung some rather bad photographs of
Nikolai Petrovich taken in various positions; there, too, was a most
unsuccessful photograph of Fenichka; it
showed an eyeless face smiling with effort in a dingy frame--nothing more definite
could be distinguished--and above Fenichka, General Yermolov, in a Caucasian cloak,
scowled menacingly at distant mountains,
from under a little silk shoe for pins which fell right over his forehead.
Five minutes passed; a sound of rustling and whispering could be heard in the next
Pavel Petrovich took 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 Fenichka came
in with Mitya in her arms.
She bad dressed him in a little red shirt with an embroidered collar, had combed his
hair and washed his face; he was breathing heavily, his whole body moved up and down,
and he waved his little hands in the air as
all healthy babies do; but his smart shirt obviously impressed him and his plump
little person radiated delight.
Fenichka had also put her own hair in order and rearranged her kerchief; but she might
well have remained as she was.
Indeed, is there anything more charming in the world than a beautiful young mother
with a healthy child in her arms?
"What a chubby little fellow," said Pavel Petrovich, graciously tickling Mitya's
double chin with the tapering nail of his forefinger; the baby stared at the canary
and laughed.
"That's uncle," said Fenichka, bending her face over him and slightly rocking him,
while Dunyasha quietly set on the window sill a smoldering candle, putting a coin
under it.
"How many months old is he?" asked Pavel Petrovich.
"Six months, it will be seven on the eleventh of this month."
"Isn't it eight, Fedosya Nikolayevna?"
Dunyasha interrupted timidly. "No, seven.
What an idea!"
The baby laughed again, stared at the chest and suddenly seized his mother's nose and
mouth with all his five little fingers. "Naughty little one," said Fenichka without
drawing her face away.
"He's like my brother," said Pavel Petrovich.
"Who else should he be like?" thought Fenichka.
"Yes," continued Pavel Petrovich as though speaking to himself.
"An unmistakable likeness." He looked attentively, almost sadly at
"That's uncle," she repeated, this time in a whisper.
"Ah, Pavel, there you are!" suddenly resounded the voice of Nikolai Petrovich.
Pavel Petrovich turned hurriedly round with a frown on his face, but his brother looked
at him with such delight and gratitude that he could not help responding to his smile.
"You've got a splendid little boy," he said, and looked at his watch.
"I came in here to ask about some tea..."
Then, assuming an expression of indifference, Pavel Petrovich at once left
the room. "Did he come here of his own accord?"
Nikolai Petrovich asked Fenichka.
"Yes, he just knocked and walked in." "Well, and has Arkasha come to see you
again?" "No. Hadn't I better move into the side-
wing again, Nikolai Petrovich?"
"Why should you?" "I wonder whether it wouldn't be better
just at first." "No," said Nikolai Petrovich slowly, and
rubbed his forehead.
"We should have done it sooner...How are you, little balloon?" he said, suddenly
brightening, and went up to the child and kissed him on the cheek; then he bent lower
and pressed his lips to Fenichka's hand,
which lay white as milk on Mitya's little red shirt.
"Nikolai Petrovich, what are you doing?" she murmured, lowering her eyes, then
quietly looked up again; her expression was charming as she peeped from under her
eyelids and smiled tenderly and rather stupidly.
Nikolai Petrovich had made Fenichka's acquaintance in the following way.
Three years ago he had once stayed the night at an inn in a remote provincial
He was pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness of the room assigned to him and
the freshness of the bed linen; surely there must be a German woman in charge, he
thought at first; but the housekeeper
turned out to be a Russian, a woman of about fifty, neatly dressed, with a good-
looking, sensible face and a measured way of talking.
He got into conversation with her at tea and liked her very much.
Nikolai Petrovich at that time had only just moved into his new home, and not
wishing to keep serfs in the house, he was looking for wage servants; the housekeeper
at the inn complained about the hard times
and the small number of visitors to that town; he offered her the post of
housekeeper in his home and she accepted it.
Her husband had long been dead; he had left her with an only daughter, Fenichka.
Within a fortnight Arina Savishna (that was the new housekeeper's name) arrived with
her daughter at Maryino and was installed in the side-wing.
Nikolai Petrovich had made a good choice.
Arina brought order into the household.
No one talked about Fenichka, who was then seventeen, and hardly anyone saw her; she
lived in quiet seclusion and only on Sundays Nikolai Petrovich used to notice
the delicate profile of her pale face somewhere in a corner of the church.
Thus another year passed.
One morning Arina came into his study, and after bowing low as usual, asked him if he
could help her daughter, as a spark from the stove had flown into her eye.
Nikolai Petrovich, like many homeloving country people, had studied simple remedies
and had even procured a homeopathic medicine chest.
He at once told Arina to bring the injured girl to him.
Fenichka was much alarmed when she heard that the master had sent for her, but she
followed her mother.
Nikolai Petrovich led her to the window and took her head between his hands.
After thoroughly examining her red and swollen eye, he made up a poultice at once,
and tearing his handkerchief in strips showed her how it should be applied.
Fenichka listened to all he said and turned to go out.
"Kiss the master's hand, you silly girl," said Arina.
Nikolai Petrovich did not hold out his hand and in confusion himself kissed her bent
head on the parting of the hair.
Fenichka's eye soon healed, but the impression she had made on Nikolai
Petrovich did not pass away so quickly.
He had constant visions of that pure, gentle, timidly raised face; he felt that
soft hair under the palms of his hands, and saw those innocent, slightly parted lips,
through which pearly teeth gleamed with moist brilliance in the sunshine.
He began to watch her very attentively in church and tried to get into conversation
with her.
At first she was extremely shy with him, and one day, meeting him towards evening on
a narrow footpath crossing a rye field, she ran into the tall, thick rye, overgrown
with cornflowers and wormwood, to avoid meeting him face to face.
He caught sight of her small head through the golden network of ears of rye, from
which she was peering out like a wild animal, and called out to her
affectionately, "Good evening, Fenichka.
I won't bite." "Good evening," murmured Fenichka, without
emerging from her hiding place.
By degrees she began to feel more at ease with him, but she was still a shy girl when
suddenly her mother, Arina, died of cholera.
What was to become of Fenichka?
She had inherited from her mother a love of order, tidiness and regularity, but she was
so young, so alone in the world; Nikolai Petrovich was so genuinely kind and
There is no need to describe what followed...
"So my brother came to see you?" Nikolai Petrovich asked her.
"He just knocked and came in?"
"Yes." "Well, that's good.
Let me give Mitya a swing."
And Nikolai Petrovich began to toss him almost up to the ceiling, to the vast
delight of the baby, and to the considerable anxiety of his mother, who
each time he flew upwards stretched out her arms towards his little bare legs.
Meanwhile Pavel Petrovich had gone back to his elegant study, which was decorated with
handsome blue wallpaper, and with weapons hanging from a multicolored Persian carpet
fixed to the wall; it had walnut furniture,
upholstered in dark green velvet, a Renaissance bookcase of ancient black oak,
bronze statuettes on the magnificent writing desk, an open hearth...He threw
himself on the sofa, clasped his hands
behind his head and remained motionless, looking at the ceiling with an expression
verging on despair.
Perhaps because he wanted to hide even from the walls whatever was reflected in his
face, or for some other reason, he rose, drew the heavy window curtains and again
threw himself on the sofa.
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 9
and explaining to him why some of the trees, particularly the oaks, were growing
"You would do better to plant silver poplars here, or firs and perhaps limes,
with some extra black earth.
The arbor there has grown up well," he added, "because it's acacia and lilac;
they're good shrubs, they don't need looking after.
Ah! there's someone inside."
In the arbor Fenichka was sitting with Dunyasha and Mitya.
Bazarov stopped and Arkady nodded to Fenichka like an old friend.
"Who's that?"
Bazarov asked him directly they had passed by.
"What a pretty girl!" "Whom do you mean?"
"You must know; only one of them is pretty."
Arkady, not without embarrassment, explained to him briefly who Fenichka was.
"Aha!" remarked Bazarov.
"That shows your father's got good taste. I like your father; ay, ay!
He's a good fellow. But we must make friends," he added, and
turned back towards the arbor.
"Evgeny," cried Arkady after him in bewilderment, "be careful what you do, for
goodness' sake." "Don't worry," said Bazarov.
"I'm an experienced man, not a country bumpkin."
Going up to Fenichka, he took off his cap. "May I introduce myself?" he began, making
a polite bow.
"I'm a friend of Arkady Nikolayevich and a harmless person."
Fenichka got up from the garden seat and looked at him without speaking.
"What a wonderful baby," continued Bazarov.
"Don't be uneasy, my praises have never brought the evil eye.
Why are his cheeks so flushed? Is he cutting his teeth?"
"Yes," murmured Fenichka, "he has cut four teeth already and now the gums are swollen
again." "Show me...don't be afraid, I'm a doctor."
Bazarov took the baby in his arms, and to the great astonishment of both Fenichka and
Dunyasha the child made no resistance and was not even frightened.
"I see, I see...It's nothing, he'll have a good set of teeth.
If anything goes wrong you just tell me. And are you quite well yourself?"
"Very well, thank God."
"Thank God, that's the main thing. And you?" he added, turning to Dunyasha.
Dunyasha, who behaved very primly inside the house and was frivolous out of doors,
only giggled in reply.
"Well, that's all right. Here's your young hero."
Fenichka took back the baby in her arms. "How quiet he was with you," she said in an
"Children are always good with me," answered Bazarov.
"I have a way with them." "Children know who loves them," remarked
"Yes, they certainly do," Fenichka added. "Mitya won't allow some people to touch
him, not for anything."
"Will he come to me?" asked Arkady, who after standing at a distance for some time
had come to join them.
He tried to entice Mitya into his arms, but Mitya threw back his head and screamed,
much to Fenichka's confusion.
"Another day, when he's had time to get accustomed to me," said Arkady graciously,
and the two friends walked away. "What's her name?" asked Bazarov.
"Fenichka...Fedosya," answered Arkady.
"And her father's name? One must know that, too."
"Nikolayevna." "Good.
What I like about her is that she's not too embarrassed.
Some people, I suppose, would think ill of her on that account.
But what rubbish!
Why should she be embarrassed? She's a mother and she's quite right."
"She is in the right," observed Arkady, "but my father..."
"He's right, too," interposed Bazarov.
"Well, no, I don't think so." "I suppose an extra little heir is not to
your liking." "You ought to be ashamed to attribute such
thoughts to me!" retorted Arkady hotly.
"I don't consider my father in the wrong from that point of view; as I see it, he
ought to marry her." "Well, well," said Bazarov calmly, "how
generous-minded we are!
So you still attach significance to marriage; I didn't expect that from you."
The friends walked on a few steps in silence.
"I've seen all round your father's place," began Bazarov again.
"The cattle are bad, the horses are broken down, the buildings aren't up to much, and
the workmen look like professional loafers; and the bailiff is either a fool or a
knave, I haven't yet found out which."
"You are very severe today, Evgeny Vassilich."
"And the good peasants are taking your father in properly; you know the 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 if that mattered!
The only good quality of a Russian is to have the lowest possible opinion about
himself. What matters is that twice two make four
and the rest is all rubbish."
"And is nature rubbish?" said Arkady, gazing pensively at the colored fields in
the distance, beautifully lit up in the mellow rays of the sinking sun.
"Nature, too, is rubbish in the sense you give to it.
Nature is not a temple but a workshop, and man is the workman in it."
At that moment the long drawn-out notes of a cello floated out to them from the house.
Someone was playing Schubert's Expectation with feeling, though with an untrained
hand, and the sweet melody flowed like honey through the air.
"What is that?" exclaimed Bazarov in amazement.
"My father." "Your father plays the cello?"
"And how old is your father?" "Forty-four."
Bazarov suddenly roared with laughter. "What are you laughing at?"
"My goodness!
A man of forty-four, a father of a family, in this province, plays on the cello!"
Bazarov went on laughing, but, much as he revered his friend's example, this time
Arkady did not even smile.
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 10
while Arkady luxuriously enjoyed himself and Bazarov worked.
Everyone in the house had grown accustomed to Bazarov, to his casual behavior, to his
curt and abrupt manner of speaking.
Fenichka indeed, felt so much at ease with him that one night she had him awakened;
Mitya had been seized by convulsions; Bazarov had gone, half-joking and half-
yawning as usual, had sat with her for two hours and relieved the child.
On the other hand, Pavel Petrovich had grown to hate Bazarov with all the strength
of his soul; he regarded him as conceited, impudent, cynical and vulgar, he suspected
that Bazarov had no respect for him, that
he all but despised him--him, Pavel Kirsanov!
Nikolai Petrovich was rather frightened of the young "Nihilist" and doubted the
benefit of his influence on Arkady, but he listened keenly to what he said and was
glad to be present during his chemical and scientific experiments.
Bazarov had brought a microscope with him and busied himself with it for hours.
The servants also took to him, though he made fun of them; they felt that he was
more like one of themselves, and not a master.
Dunyasha was always ready to giggle with him and used to cast significant sidelong
glances at him when she skipped past like a squirrel.
Pyotr, who was vain and stupid to the highest degree, with a constant forced
frown on his brow, and whose only merit consisted in the fact that he looked
polite, could spell out a page of reading
and assiduously brushed his coat--even he grinned and brightened up when Bazarov paid
any attention to him; the farm boys simply ran after "the doctor" like puppies.
Only old Prokovich disliked him; at table he handed him dishes with a grim
expression; he called him "butcher" and "upstart" and declared that with his huge
whiskers he looked like a pig in a sty.
Prokovich in his own way was quite as much of an aristocrat as Pavel Petrovich.
The best days of the year had come--the early June days.
The weather was lovely; in the distance, it is true, cholera was threatening, but the
inhabitants of that province had grown used to its periodic ravages.
Bazarov used to get up very early and walk for two or three miles, not for pleasure--
he could not bear walking without an object--but in order to collect specimens
of plants and insects.
Sometimes he took Arkady with him. On the way home an argument often sprang
up, in which Arkady was usually defeated in spite of talking more than his companion.
One day they had stayed out rather late.
Nikolai Petrovich had gone into the garden to meet them, and as he reached the arbor
he suddenly heard the quick steps and voices of the two young men; they were
walking on the other side of the arbor and could not see him.
"You don't know my father well enough," Arkady was saying.
"Your father is a good fellow," said Bazarov, "but his day is over; his song has
been sung to extinction." Nikolai Petrovich listened
intently...Arkady made no reply.
The man whose day was over stood still for a minute or two, then quietly returned to
the house. "The day before yesterday I saw him reading
Pushkin," Bazarov went on meanwhile.
"Please explain to him how utterly useless that is.
After all he's not a boy, it's high time he got rid of such rubbish.
And what an idea to be romantic in our times!
Give him something sensible to read." "What should I give him?" asked Arkady.
"Oh, I think Buchner's Stoff und Kraft to start with."
"I think so too," remarked Arkady approvingly.
"Stoff und Kraft is written in popular language..."
"So it seems," said Nikolai Petrovich the same day after dinner to his brother, as
they sat in his study, "you and I are behind the times, our day is over.
Well...perhaps Bazarov is right; but one thing, I must say, hurts me; I was so
hoping just now to get on really close and friendly terms with Arkady, and it turns
out that I've lagged behind while he has
gone forward, and we simply can't understand one another."
"But how has he gone forward? And in what way is he so different from
us?" exclaimed Pavel Petrovich impatiently.
"It's that grand seigneur of a nihilist who has knocked such ideas into his head.
I loathe that doctor fellow; in my opinion he's nothing but a charlatan; I'm sure that
in spite of all his tadpoles he knows precious little even in medicine."
"No, brother, you mustn't say that; Bazarov is clever and knows his subject."
"And so disagreeably conceited," Pavel Petrovich broke in again.
"Yes," observed Nikolai Petrovich, "he is conceited.
Evidently one can't manage without it, that's what I failed to take into account.
I thought I was doing everything to keep up with the times; I divided the land with the
peasants, started a model farm, so that I'm even described as a "Rebel" all over the
province; I read, I study, I try in every
way to keep abreast of the demands of the day--and they say my day is over.
And brother, I really begin to think that it is."
"Why is that?"
"I'll tell you why. I was sitting and reading Pushkin today...
I remember, it happened to be The Gypsies...Suddenly Arkady comes up to me
and silently, with such a kind pity in his face, as gently as if I were a baby, takes
the book away from me and puts another one
in front of me instead...a German book...smiles and goes out, carrying
Pushkin off with him." "Well, really!
What book did he give you?"
"This one." And Nikolai Petrovich pulled out of his hip
pocket the ninth edition of Buchner's well- known treatise.
Pavel Petrovich turned it over in his hands.
"Hm!" he growled, "Arkady Nikolayevich is taking your education in hand.
Well, have you tried to read it?"
"Yes, I tried." "What did you think of it?"
"Either I'm stupid, or it's all nonsense. I suppose I must be stupid."
"But you haven't forgotten your German?" asked Pavel Petrovich.
"Oh, I understand the language all right." Pavel Petrovich again fingered the book and
glanced across at his brother.
Both were silent. "Oh, by the way," began Nikolai Petrovich,
evidently wanting to change the subject-- "I've had a letter from Kolyazin."
"From Matvei Ilyich?"
"Yes. He has come to inspect the province. He's quite a bigwig now, he writes to say
that as a relation he wants to see us again, and invites you, me and Arkady to go
to stay in the town."
"Are you going?" asked Pavel Petrovich. "No. Are you?"
"No. I shan't go. What is the sense of dragging oneself forty
miles on a wild-goose chase.
Mathieu wants to show off to us in all his glory.
Let him go to the devil! He'll have the whole province at his feet,
so he can get on without us.
It's a grand honor--a privy councilor! If I had continued in the service, drudging
along in that dreary routine, I should have been a general-adjutant by now.
Besides, you and I are behind the times."
"Yes, brother; it seems the time has come to order a coffin, and to cross the arms
over one's chest," remarked Nikolai Petrovich with a sigh.
"Well, I shan't give in quite so soon," muttered his brother.
"I've got a quarrel with this doctor creature in front of me, I'm sure of that."
The quarrel materialized that very evening at tea.
Pavel Petrovich came into the drawing room all keyed up, irritable and determined.
He was only waiting for a pretext to pounce upon his enemy, but for some time no such
pretext arose.
As a rule Bazarov spoke little in the presence of the "old Kirsanovs" (that was
what he called the brothers), and that evening he felt in a bad humor and drank
cup after cup of tea without saying a word.
Pavel Petrovich was burning with impatience; his wishes were fulfilled at
last. The conversation turned to one of the
neighboring landowners.
"Rotten aristocratic snob," observed Bazarov casually; he had met him in
"Allow me to ask you," began Pavel Petrovich, and his lips were trembling, "do
you attach an identical meaning to the words 'rotten' and 'aristocrat'?"
"I said 'aristocratic snob,'" replied Bazarov, lazily swallowing a sip of tea.
"Precisely, but I imagine you hold the same opinion of aristocrats as of aristocratic
I think it my duty to tell you that I do not share that opinion.
I venture to say that I am well known to be a man of liberal views and devoted to
progress, but for that very reason I respect aristocrats--real aristocrats.
Kindly remember, sir," (at these words Bazarov lifted his eyes and looked at Pavel
Petrovich) "kindly remember, sir," he repeated sharply, "the English aristocracy.
They did not abandon one iota of their rights, and for that reason they respect
the rights of others; they demand the fulfillment of what is due to them, and
therefore they respect their own duties.
The aristocracy gave freedom to England, and they maintain it for her."
"We've heard that story many times; what are you trying to prove by it?"
"I am tryin' to prove by that, sir," (when Pavel Petrovich became angry he
intentionally clipped his words, though of course he knew very well that such forms
are not strictly grammatical.
This whim indicated a survival from the period of Alexander I.
The great ones of that time, on the rare occasions when they spoke their own
language, made use of such distortions as if seeking to show thereby that though they
were genuine Russians, yet at the same time
as grands seigneurs they could afford to ignore the grammatical rules of scholars)
"I am tryin' to prove by that, sir, that without a sense of personal dignity,
without self-respect--and these two
feelings are developed in the aristocrat-- there is no firm foundation for the
social...bien public...for the social structure.
Personal character, my good sir, that is the chief thing; a man's personality must
be as strong as a rock since everything else is built up on it.
I am well aware, for instance, that you choose to consider my habits, my dress,
even my tidiness, ridiculous; but all this comes from a sense of self-respect and of
duty--yes, from a sense of duty.
I live in the wilds of the country, but I refuse to lower myself.
I respect the dignity of man in myself."
"Let me ask you, Pavel Petrovich," muttered Bazarov, "you respect yourself and you sit
with folded hands; what sort of benefit is that to the bien public?
If you didn't respect yourself, you'd do just the same.
Pavel Petrovich turned pale. "That is quite another question.
There is absolutely no need for me to explain to you now why I sit here with
folded hands, as you are pleased to express yourself.
I wish only to tell you that aristocracy-- is a principle, and that only depraved or
stupid people can live in our time without principles.
I said as much to Arkady the day after he came home, and I repeat it to you now.
Isn't that so, Nikolai?" Nikolai Petrovich nodded his head.
"Aristocracy, liberalism, progress, principles," said Bazarov.
"Just think what a lot of foreign...and useless words!
To a Russian they're no good for anything!"
"What is good for Russians according to you?
If we listen to you, we shall find ourselves beyond the pale of humanity,
outside human laws.
Doesn't the logic of history demand..." "What's the use of that logic to us?
We can get along without it." "What do you mean?"
"Why, this.
You don't need logic, I suppose, to put a piece of bread in your mouth when you're
hungry. For what do we need those abstractions?"
Pavel Petrovich raised his hands.
"I simply don't understand you after all that.
You insult the Russian people. I fail to understand how it is possible not
to acknowledge principles, rules!
By virtue of what can you act?" "I already told you, uncle dear, that we
don't recognize any authorities," interposed Arkady.
"We act by virtue of what we recognize as useful," went on Bazarov.
"At present the most useful thing is denial, so we deny--"
"Everything." "What?
Not only art, poetry...but...the thought is appalling..."
"Everything," repeated Bazarov with indescribable composure.
Pavel Petrovich stared at him. He had not expected this, and Arkady even
blushed with satisfaction.
"But allow me," began Nikolai Petrovich. "You deny everything, or to put it more
precisely, you destroy everything...But one must construct, too, you know."
"That is not our business...we must first clear the ground."
"The present condition of the people demands it," added Arkady rather
sententiously; "we must fulfill those demands, we have no right to yield to the
satisfaction of personal egotism."
That last phrase obviously displeased Bazarov; it smacked of philosophy, or
romanticism, for Bazarov called philosophy a kind of romanticism--but he did not judge
it necessary to correct his young disciple.
"No, no!" cried Pavel Petrovich with sudden vehemence.
"I can't believe that you young men really know the Russian people, that you represent
their needs and aspirations!
No, the Russian people are not what you imagine them to be.
They hold tradition sacred, they are a patriarchal people, they cannot live
without faith..."
"I'm not going to argue with you," interrupted Bazarov.
"I'm even ready to agree that there you are right."
"And if I am right..."
"It proves nothing, all the same."
"Exactly, it proves nothing," repeated Arkady with the assurance of an experienced
chess player who, having foreseen an apparently dangerous move on the part of
his adversary, is not in the least put out by it.
"How can it prove nothing?" mumbled Pavel Petrovich in consternation.
"In that case you must be going against your own people."
"And what if we are?" exclaimed Bazarov.
"The people imagine that when it thunders the prophet Ilya is riding across the sky
in his chariot. What then?
Are we to agree with them?
Besides, if they are Russian, so am I." "No, you are not a Russian after what you
have said. I can't admit you have any right to call
yourself a Russian."
"My grandfather ploughed the land," answered Bazarov with haughty pride.
"Ask any one of your peasants which of us-- you or me--he would more readily
acknowledge as a fellow countryman.
You don't even know how to talk to them." "While you talk to them and despise them at
the same time." "What of that, if they deserve contempt!
You find fault with my point of view, but what makes you think it came into being by
chance, that it's not a product of that very national spirit which you are
"What an idea! How can we need nihilists?"
"Whether they are needed or not--is not for us to decide.
Why, even you imagine you're not a useless person."
"Gentlemen, gentlemen, no personalities, please!" cried Nikolai Petrovich, getting
Pavel Petrovich smiled, and laying his hand on his brother's shoulder, made him sit
down again.
"Don't be alarmed," he said, "I shan't forget myself, thanks to that sense of
dignity which is so cruelly ridiculed by our friend--our friend, the doctor.
Allow me to point out," he resumed, turning again to Bazarov, "you probably think that
your doctrine is a novelty? That is an illusion of yours.
The materialism which you preach, was more than once in vogue before and has always
proved inadequate...." "Yet another foreign word!" broke in
He was beginning to feel angry and his face looked peculiarly copper-colored and
coarse. "In the first place, we preach nothing;
that's not in our line..."
"What do you do, then?" "This is what we do.
Not long ago we used to say that our officials took bribes, that we had no
roads, no commerce, no real justice...."
"Oh, I see, you are reformers--that's the right name, I think.
I, too, should agree with many of your reforms, but..."
"Then we suspected that talk and only talk about our social diseases was not worth
while, that it led to nothing but hypocrisy and pedantry; we saw that our leading men,
our so-called advanced people and
reformers, are worthless; that we busy ourselves with rubbish, talk nonsense about
art, about unconscious creation, parliamentarianism, trial by jury, and the
devil knows what--when the real question is
daily bread, when the grossest superstitions are stifling us, when all our
business enterprises crash simply because there aren't enough honest men to carry
them on, while the very emancipation which
our government is struggling to organize will hardly come to any good, because our
peasant is happy to rob even himself so long as he can get drunk at the pub."
"Yes," broke in Pavel Petrovich, "indeed, you were convinced of all this and you
therefore decided to undertake nothing serious yourselves."
"We decided to undertake nothing," repeated Bazarov grimly.
He suddenly felt annoyed with himself for having been so expansive in front of this
"But to confine yourselves to abuse." "To confine ourselves to abuse."
"And that is called nihilism?"
"And that is called nihilism," Bazarov repeated again, this time in a particularly
insolent tone. Pavel Petrovich screwed up his eyes a
"So that's it," he murmured in a strangely composed voice.
"Nihilism is to cure all our woes, and you- -you are our saviors and heroes.
Very well--but why do you find fault with others, including the reformers?
Don't you do as much talking as anyone else?"
"Whatever faults we may have, that is not one of them," muttered Bazarov between his
teeth. "What then, do you act?
Are you preparing for action?"
Bazarov made no reply. A tremor passed through Pavel Petrovich,
but he at once regained control of himself. "Hm!...
Action, destruction..." he went on.
"But how can you destroy without even knowing why?"
"We shall destroy because we are a force," remarked Arkady.
Pavel Petrovich looked at his nephew and laughed.
"Yes, a force can't be called to account for itself," said Arkady, drawing himself
"Unhappy boy," groaned Pavel Petrovich, who could no longer maintain his show of
"Can't you realize the kind of thing you are encouraging in Russia with your shallow
doctrine! No, it's enough to try the patience of an
Force! There's force in the savage Kalmuk, in the
Mongol, but what is that to us?
What is dear to us is civilization, yes, yes, my good sir, its fruits are precious
to us.
And don't you tell me these fruits are worthless; the poorest dauber, un
barbouilleur, the man who plays dance music for five farthings an evening, even they
are of more use than you because they stand
for civilization and not for brute Mongolian force!
You fancy yourselves as advanced people, and yet you're only fit for the Kalmuk's
dirty hovel!
And remember, you forceful gentlemen, that you're only four men and a half, and the
others--are millions, who won't let you trample their sacred beliefs under foot,
but will crush you instead!"
"If we're crushed, that's in store for us," said Bazarov.
"But it's an open question. We're not so few as you suppose."
You seriously suppose you can set yourself up against a whole people?"
"All Moscow was burnt down, you know, by a penny candle," answered Bazarov.
First comes an almost Satanic pride, then cynical jeers--so that is what attracts the
young, what takes by storm the inexperienced hearts of boys!
Here is one of them sitting beside you, ready to worship the ground beneath your
feet. Look at him.
(Arkady turned aside and frowned.)
And this plague has already spread far and wide.
I am told that in Rome our artists don't even enter the Vatican.
Raphael they regard as a fool, because, of course, he is an authority; and these
artists are themselves disgustingly sterile and weak, men whose imagination can soar no
higher than Girls at a Fountain--and even the girls are abominably drawn!
They are fine fellows in your view, I suppose?"
"To my mind," retorted Bazarov, "Raphael isn't worth a brass farthing, and they're
no better than he." "Bravo, bravo!
Listen, Arkady...that is how modern young men should express themselves!
And if you come to think of it, they're bound to follow you.
Formerly young men had to study.
If they didn't want to be called fools they had to work hard whether they liked it or
But now they need only say 'Everything in the world is rubbish!' and the trick is
done. Young men are delighted.
And, to be sure, they were only sheep before, but now they have suddenly turned
into Nihilists."
"You have departed from your praiseworthy sense of personal dignity," remarked
Bazarov phlegmatically, while Arkady had turned hot all over and his eyes were
"Our argument has gone too far...better cut it short, I think.
I shall be quite ready to agree with you," he added, getting up, "when you can show me
a single institution in our present mode of life, in the family or in society, which
does not call for complete and ruthless destruction."
"I can show you millions of such institutions!" cried Pavel Petrovich--
Well, take the commune, for instance." A cold smile distorted Bazarov's lips.
"Well, you had better talk to your brother about the commune.
I should think he has seen by now what the commune is like in reality--its mutual
guarantees, its sobriety and suchlike." "Well, the family, the family as it exists
among our peasants," cried Pavel Petrovich.
"On that subject, too, I think it will be better for you not to enter into too much
detail. You know how the head of the family chooses
his daughters-in-law?
Take my advice, Pavel Petrovich, allow yourself a day or two to think it all over;
you'll hardly find anything straight away.
Go through the various classes of our society and examine them carefully,
meanwhile Arkady and I will----" "Will go on abusing everything," broke in
Pavel Petrovich.
"No, we will go on dissecting frogs. Come, Arkady; good-by for the present,
gentlemen!" The two friends walked off.
The brothers were left alone and at first only looked at each other.
"So that," began Pavel Petrovich, "that is our modern youth!
Those young men are our heirs!"
"Our heirs!" repeated Nikolai Petrovich with a weary smile.
He had been sitting as if on thorns throughout the argument, and only from time
to time cast a sad furtive glance at Arkady.
"Do you know what I was reminded of, brother?
I once quarreled with our mother; she shouted and wouldn't listen to me.
At last I said to her, 'Of course you can't understand me; we belong to two different
She was terribly offended, but I thought, 'It can't be helped--a bitter pill, but she
has to swallow it.'
So now our turn has come, and our successors can tell us: 'You don't belong
to our generation; swallow your pill.'" "You are much too generous and modest,"
replied Pavel Petrovich.
"I'm convinced, on the contrary, that you and I are far more in the right than these
young gentlemen, although perhaps we express ourselves in more old-fashioned
language--vieilli--and are not so
insolently conceited...and the airs these young people give themselves!
You ask one 'Would you like white wine or red?'
'It is my custom to prefer red,' he answers in a deep voice and with a face as solemn
as if the whole world were looking at him that moment..."
"Do you want any more tea?" asked Fenichka, putting her head in at the door; she had
not wanted to come into the drawing room while the noisy dispute was going on.
"No, you can tell them to take away the samovar," answered Nikolai Petrovich, and
he got up to meet her. Pavel Petrovich said "bonsoir" to him
abruptly, and went to his own study.