Part 2 - Fathers and Sons Audiobook by Ivan Turgenev (Chs 11-18)

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Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 11
He was filled with melancholy thoughts.
For the first time he saw clearly the distance separating him from his son and he
foresaw that it would grow wider every day.
So they were spent in vain, those winters in Petersburg, when sometimes he had pored
for whole days on end over the latest books; in vain had he listened to the talk
of the young men, and rejoiced when he
succeeded in slipping a few of his own words into heated discussions.
"My brother says we are right," he thought, "and laying aside all vanity, it even seems
to me that they are further from the truth than we are, though all the same I feel
they have something behind them which we
lack, some superiority over it youth?
No, it can't only be that; their superiority may be that they show fewer
traces of the slaveowner than we do."
Nikolai Petrovich's head sank despondently, and he passed his hand over his face.
"But to renounce poetry, to have no feeling for art, for nature..."
And he looked round, as though trying to understand how it was possible to have no
feeling for nature.
It was already evening; the sun was hidden behind a small clump of aspens which grew
about a quarter of a mile from the garden; its shadow stretched indefinitely across
the motionless fields.
A little peasant on a white pony was riding along the dark narrow path near the wood;
his whole figure was clearly visible even to the patch on his shoulder, although he
was in the shade; the pony's hoofs rose and fell with graceful distinctness.
The sun's rays on the farther side fell full on the clump of trees, and piercing
through them threw such a warm light on the aspen trunks that they looked like pines,
and their leaves seemed almost dark blue,
while above them rose a pale blue sky, tinged by the red sunset glow.
The swallows flew high; the wind had quite died down, some late bees hummed lazily
among the lilac blossoms, a swarm of midges hung like a cloud over a solitary branch
which stood out against the sky.
"How beautiful, my God!" thought Nikolai Petrovich, and his favorite verses almost
rose to his lips; then he remembered Arkady's Stoff und Kraft--and remained
silent, but he still sat there, abandoning
himself to the sad consolation of solitary thought.
He was fond of dreaming, and his country life had developed that tendency in him.
How short a time ago he had been dreaming like this, waiting for his son at the
posting station, and how much had changed since that day; their relations, then
indeterminate, had now been defined--and how defined!
His dead wife came back to his imagination, but not as he had known her for so many
years, not as a good domesticated housewife, but as a young girl with a slim
waist, an innocent inquiring look and a
tightly twisted pigtail on her childish neck.
He remembered how he had seen her for the first time.
He was still a student then.
He had met her on the staircase of his lodgings, and running into her by accident
he tried to apologize but could only mutter "Pardon, Monsieur," while she bowed,
smiled, then suddenly seemed frightened and
ran away, glanced quickly back at him, looked serious and blushed.
Afterwards the first timid visits, the hints, the half-smiles and embarrassment;
the uncertain sadness, the ups and downs and at last that overwhelming joy...where
had it all vanished away?
She had been his wife, he had been happy as few on earth are happy..."But," he mused,
"those sweet fleeting moments, why could one not live an eternal undying life in
He made no effort to clarify his thoughts, but he felt that he longed to hold that
blissful time by something stronger than memory; he longed to feel his Marya near
him, to sense her warmth and breathing;
already he could fancy her actual presence...
"Nikolai Petrovich," came the sound of Fenichka's voice close by.
"Where are you?"
He started. He felt no remorse, no shame.
He never admitted even the possibility of comparison between his wife and Fenichka,
but he was sorry that she had thought of coming to look for him.
Her voice had brought back to him at once his grey hairs, his age, his daily
The enchanted world arising out of the dim mists of the past, into which he had just
stepped, quivered--and disappeared. "I'm here," he answered; "I'm coming.
You run along."
"There they are, traces of the slaveowner," flashed through his mind.
Fenichka peeped into the arbor without speaking to him and went away again; and he
noticed with surprise that night had fallen while he was dreaming.
Everything around was dark and hushed, and Fenichka's face had glimmered in front of
him, so pale and slight.
He got up and was about to go home, but the emotions stirring his heart could not be
calmed so soon, and he began walking slowly about the garden, sometimes meditatively
surveying the ground, then raising his eyes
to the sky where multitudes of stars were twinkling.
He went on walking till he was almost tired out, but the restlessness within him, a
yearning vague melancholy excitement, was still not appeased.
Oh, how Bazarov would have laughed at him if he had known what was happening to him
then! Even Arkady would have condemned him.
He, a man of forty-four, an agriculturist and a landowner, was shedding tears, tears
without reason; it was a hundred times worse than playing the cello.
Nikolai Petrovich still walked up and down and could not make up his mind to go into
the house, into the cosy peaceful nest, which looked at him so hospitably from its
lighted windows; he had not the strength to
tear himself away from the darkness, the garden, the sensation of fresh air on his
face, and from that sad restless excitement.
At a turn in the path he met Pavel Petrovich.
"What is the matter with you?" he asked Nikolai Petrovich.
"You are as white as a ghost; you must be unwell.
Why don't you go to bed?" Nikolai said a few words to his brother
about his state of mind and moved away.
Pavel Petrovich walked on to the end of the garden, also deep in thought, and he, too,
raised his eyes to the sky--but his beautiful dark eyes reflected only the
light of the stars.
He was not born a romantic idealist, and his fastidiously dry though ardent soul,
with its tinge of French scepticism, was not addicted to dreaming...
"Do you know what?"
Bazarov was saying to Arkady that very night.
"I've had a splendid idea.
Your father was saying today that he had received an invitation from that
illustrious relative of yours. Your father doesn't want to go, but why
shouldn't we be off to X?
You know the man invites you as well. You see what fine weather it is; we'll
stroll around and look at the town. Let's have a jaunt for five or six days, no
"And you'll come back here afterwards?" "No, I must go to my father's.
You know he lives about twenty miles from X.
I've not seen him or my mother for a long time; I must cheer the old people up.
They've been good to me, my father particularly; he's awfully funny.
I'm their only one.
"Will you stay long with them?" "I don't think so.
It will be dull, of course. "And you'll come to us again on your way
"I don't know...we'll see. Well, what do you say?
Shall we go?" "If you like," answered Arkady languidly.
In his heart he was overjoyed by his friend's suggestion, but thought it a duty
to conceal his feeling. He was not a nihilist for nothing!
The next day he set off with Bazarov to X.
The younger members of the household at Maryino were sorry about their departure;
Dunyasha even wept...but the older people breathed more freely.
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 12
TO WHICH OUR FRIENDS SET OFF WAS UNDER THE jurisdiction of a governor, who was still a
young man, and who was at once progressive and despotic, as so often happens with
Before the end of the first year of his governorship, he had managed to quarrel not
only with the marshal of nobility, a retired guards-officer, who kept open house
and a stud of horses, but even with his own subordinates.
The resulting feuds at length grew to such proportions that the ministry in Petersburg
found it necessary to send a trusted official with a commission to investigate
everything on the spot.
The choice of the authorities fell on Matvei Ilyich Kolyazin, the son of that
Kolyazin under whose protection the brothers Kirsanov had been when they were
students in Petersburg.
He was also a "young man," that is to say, he was only just over forty, but he was
well on the way to becoming a statesman and already wore two stars on his breast--
admittedly, one of them was a foreign star and not of the first magnitude.
Like the governor, upon whom he had come to pass judgment, he was considered a
"progressive," and though he was already a bigwig he was not altogether like the
majority of bigwigs.
Of himself he had the highest opinion, his vanity knew no bounds, but his manners were
simple, he had a friendly face, he listened indulgently and laughed so good-naturedly
that on first acquaintance he might even have been taken for "a jolly good fellow."
On important occasions, however, he knew, so to speak, how to make his authority
"Energy is essential," he used to say then; "l'energie est la premiere qualit, d'un
homme d' tat" yet in spite of all that, he was habitually cheated, and any thoroughly
experienced official could twist him round his finger.
Matvei Ilyich used to speak with great respect about Guizot, and tried to impress
everyone with the idea that he did not belong to the class of routine officials
and old-fashioned bureaucrats, that not a
single phenomenon of social life escaped his attention...He was quite at home with
phrases of the latter kind.
He even followed (with a certain casual condescension, it is true) the development
of contemporary literature--as a grown-up man who meets a crowd of street urchins
will sometimes join them out of curiosity.
In reality, Matvei Ilyich had not got much further than those politicians of the time
of Alexander I, who used to prepare for an evening party at Madame Svyechin's by
reading a page of Condillac; only his methods were different and more modern.
He was a skillful courtier, and extremely cunning hypocrite, and little more; he had
no aptitude for handling public affairs, and his intellect was scanty, but he knew
how to manage his own affairs successfully;
no one could get the better of him there, and of course, that is a most important
Matvei Ilyich received Arkady with the amiability, or should we say playfulness,
characteristic of the enlightened higher official.
He was astonished, however, when he heard that both the cousins he had invited had
stayed at home in the country.
"Your father was always a queer fellow," he remarked, playing with the tassels of his
magnificent velvet dressing gown, and turning suddenly to a young official in a
faultlessly buttoned-up uniform, he shouted with an air of concern, "What?"
The young man, whose lips were almost glued together from prolonged silence, came
forward and looked in perplexity at his chief...But having embarrassed his
subordinate, Matvei Ilyich paid him no further attention.
Our higher officials are fond of upsetting their subordinates, and they resort to
quite varied means of achieving that end.
The following method, among others, is often used, "is quite a favorite," as the
English say: a high official suddenly ceases to understand the simplest words and
pretends to be deaf; he asks, for instance, what day of the week it is.
He is respectfully informed, "Today's Friday, your Excellency."
"Eh? What?
What's that? What do you say?" the great man repeats
with strained attention. "Today's Friday, your Excellency."
"Eh? What?
What's Friday? What Friday?"
"Friday, your Excellency, the day of the week."
"What, are you presuming to teach me something?"
Matvei Ilyich remained a higher official, though he considered himself a liberal.
"I advise you, my dear boy, to go and call on the governor," he said to Arkady.
"You understand I don't advise you to do so on account of any old-fashioned ideas about
the necessity of paying respect to the authorities, but simply because the
governor is a decent fellow; besides, you
probably want to get to know the society here...
You're not a bear, I hope? And he's giving a large ball the day after
"Will you be at the ball?" inquired Arkady. "He gives it in my honor," answered Matvei
Ilyich, almost pityingly. "Do you dance?"
"Yes, I dance, but not well."
"That's a pity! There are pretty women here, and it's a
shame for a young man not to dance.
Of course I don't say that because of any old conventions; I would never suggest that
a man's wit lies in his feet, but Byronism has become ridiculous-- il a fait son
"But, uncle, it's not because of Byronism that I don't..."
"I'll introduce you to some of the local ladies and take you under my wing,"
interrupted Matvei Ilyich, and he laughed a self-satisfied laugh.
"You'll find it warm, eh?"
A servant entered and announced the arrival of the superintendent of government
institutions, an old man with tender eyes and deep lines round his mouth, who was
extremely fond of nature, especially on
summer days, when, to use his words, every little busy bee takes a little bribe from
every little flower." Arkady withdrew.
He found Bazarov at the inn where they were staying, and took a long time to persuade
him to accompany him to the governor's. "Well, it can't be helped," said Bazarov at
"It's no good doing things by halves. We came to look at the landowners, so let
us look at them!"
The governor received the young men affably, but he did not ask them to sit
down, nor did he sit down himself.
He was perpetually fussing and hurrying; every morning he put on a tight uniform and
an extremely stiff cravat; he never ate or drank enough; he could never stop making
He invited Kirsanov and Bazarov to his ball, and within a few minutes he invited
them a second time, taking them for brothers and calling them Kisarov.
They were on their way back from the governor's, when suddenly a short man in
Slav national dress jumped out of a passing carriage and crying "Evgeny Vassilich,"
rushed up to Bazarov.
"Ah, it's you, Herr Sitnikov," remarked Bazarov, still walking along the pavement.
"What chance brought you here?"
"Just fancy, quite by accident," the man replied, and returning to the carriage, he
waved his arms several times and shouted, "Follow, follow us!
My father had business here," he went on, jumping across the gutter, "and so he asked
me to come...I heard today you had arrived and have already been to visit you."
(In fact on returning home the friends did find there a card with the corners turned
down, bearing the name Sitnikov, in French on one side, and in Slavonic characters on
the other.)
"I hope you are not coming from the governor's."
"It's no use hoping. We've come straight from him."
"Ah, in that case I will call on him, too...Evgeny Vassilich, introduce me to the...." "Sitnikov, Kirsanov," mumbled Bazarov,
without stopping.
"I am much honored," began Sitnikov, stepping sideways, smirking and pulling off
his overelegant gloves.
"I have heard so much...I am an old acquaintance of Evgeny Vassilich and I may
say--his disciple. I owe to him my regeneration..."
Arkady looked at Bazarov's disciple.
There was an expression of excited stupidity in the small but agreeable
features of his well-groomed face; his little eyes, which looked permanently
surprised, had a staring uneasy look, his
laugh, too, was uneasy--an abrupt wooden laugh.
"Would you believe it," he continued, "when Evgeny Vassilich for the first time said
before me that we should acknowledge no authorities, I felt such
eyes were opened!
By the way, Evgeny Vassilich, you simply must get to know a lady here who is really
capable of understanding you and for whom your visit would be a real treat; you may
have heard of her?"
"Who is it?" grunted Bazarov unwillingly. "Kukshina, Eudoxie, Evdoksya Kukshina.
She's a remarkable nature, mancipe, in the true sense of the word, an advanced woman.
Do you know what?
Let us all go and visit her now. She lives only two steps from here...We
will have lunch there. I suppose you have not lunched yet?"
"No, not yet."
"Well, that's splendid. She has separated, you understand, from her
husband; she is not dependent on anyone." "Is she pretty?"
Bazarov broke in.
"N--no, one couldn't say that." "Then what the devil are you asking us to
see her for?" "Ha! You must have your joke...she will
give us a bottle of champagne."
"So that's it. The practical man shows himself at once.
By the way, is your father still in the vodka business?"
"Yes," said Sitnikov hurriedly and burst into a shrill laugh.
"Well, shall we go?" "You wanted to meet people, go along," said
Arkady in an undertone.
"And what do you say about it, Mr. Kirsanov?" interposed Sitnikov.
"You must come too--we can't go without you."
"But how can we burst in upon her all at once?"
"Never mind about that. Kukshina is a good sort!"
"Will there be a bottle of champagne?" asked Bazarov.
"Three!" cried Sitnikov, "I'll answer for that."
"What with?"
"My own head." "Better with your father's purse.
However, we'll come along."
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 13
Evdoksya Kukshina, stood in one of those streets of X. which had been lately burnt
down (it is well known that our Russian
provincial towns are burnt down once every five years).
At the door, above a visiting card nailed on at a slant, hung a bell handle, and in
the hall the visitors were met by someone in a cap, not quite a servant nor quite a
companion--unmistakable signs of the
progressive aspirations of the lady of the house.
Sitnikov asked if Avdotya Nikitishna was at home.
"Is that you, Viktor?" sounded a shrill voice from the other room.
"Come in!" The woman in the cap disappeared at once.
"I'm not alone," said Sitnikov, casting a sharp look at Arkady and Bazarov as he
briskly pulled off his cloak, beneath which appeared something like a leather jacket.
"No matter," answered the voice.
"Entrez." The young men went in.
The room which they entered was more like a working study than a drawing room.
Papers, letters, fat issues of Russian journals, for the most part uncut, lay
thrown about on dusty tables; white cigarette ends were scattered all over the
A lady, still young, was half lying on a leather-covered sofa; her blonde hair was
disheveled and she was wearing a crumpled silk dress, with heavy bracelets on her
short arms and a lace kerchief over her head.
She rose from the sofa, and carelessly drawing over her shoulders a velvet cape
trimmed with faded ermine, she murmured languidly, "Good morning, Viktor," and held
out her hand to Sitnikov.
"Bazarov, Kirsanov," he announced abruptly, successfully imitating Bazarov's manner.
"So glad to meet you," answered Madame Kukshina, fixing on Bazarov her round eyes,
between which appeared a forlorn little turned-up red nose, "I know you," she
added, and pressed his hand.
Bazarov frowned. There was nothing definitely ugly in the
small plain figure of the emancipated woman; but her facial expression produced
an uncomfortable effect on the spectator.
One felt impelled to ask her, "What's the matter, are you hungry?
Or bored? Or shy?
Why are you fidgeting?"
Both she and Sitnikov had the same nervous manner.
Her movements and speech were very unconstrained and at the same time awkward;
she evidently regarded herself as a good- natured simple creature, yet all the time,
whatever she did, it always struck one that
it was not exactly what she wanted to do; everything with her seemed, as children
say, done on purpose, that is, not spontaneously or simply.
"Yes, yes, I know you, Bazarov," she repeated.
(She had the habit--peculiar to many provincial and Moscow ladies--of calling
men by their bare surnames from the moment she first met them.)
"Would you like a cigar?"
"A cigar is all very well," interjected Sitnikov, who was already lolling in an
armchair with his legs in the air, "but give us some lunch.
We're frightfully hungry; and tell them to bring us up a little bottle of champagne."
"You sybarite," cried Evdoksya with a laugh.
(When she laughed the gums showed over her upper teeth.)
"Isn't it true, Bazarov, he's a sybarite?" "I like comfort in life," pronounced
Sitnikov gravely.
"But that doesn't prevent me from being a liberal."
"It does, though, it does!" exclaimed Evdoksya, and nevertheless gave
instructions to her maid both about the lunch and about the champagne.
"What do you think about that?" she added, turning to Bazarov.
"I'm sure you share my opinion."
"Well, no," retorted Bazarov; "a piece of meat is better than a piece of bread even
from the point of view of chemistry." "You are studying chemistry?
That's my passion.
I've invented a new sort of paste." "A paste? You?"
"Yes. And do you know what it's for? To make dolls' heads, so that they can't
I'm practical also, you see. But it's not quite ready yet.
I've still got to read Liebig. By the way, have you read Kislyakov's
article on female labor in the Moscow News?
Please read it. Of course you're interested in the woman's
question--and in the schools, too? What does your friend do?
What is his name?"
Madame Kukshina poured out her questions one after another, with affected
negligence, without waiting for the answers; spoilt children talk like that to
their nurses.
"My name is Arkady Nikolaich Kirsanov, and I do nothing."
Evdoksya giggled. "Oh, how charming!
What, don't you smoke?
Viktor, you know I'm very angry with you." "What for?"
"They tell me you've begun praising George Sand.
A backward woman and nothing else!
How can people compare her with Emerson? She hasn't a single idea about education or
physiology or anything.
I'm sure she's never even heard of embryology and in these days what can be
done without that? (Evdoksya actually threw up her hands.)
Oh, what a wonderful article Elisyevich has written about it!
He's a gentleman of genius. (Evdoksya constantly used the word
"gentleman" instead of the word "man.")
Bazarov, sit by me on the sofa. You don't know, perhaps, but I'm awfully
afraid of you." "And why, may I ask?"
"You're a dangerous gentleman, you're such a critic.
My God, how absurd! I'm talking like some provincial landowner-
-but I really am one.
I manage my property myself, and just imagine, my bailiff Yerofay--he's a
wonderful type, just like Fenimore Cooper's Pathfinder--there's something so
spontaneous about him!
I've come to settle down here; it's an intolerable town, isn't it?
But what is one to do?" "The town's like any other town," remarked
Bazarov coolly.
"All its interests are so petty, that's what is so dreadful!
I used to spend the winters in Moscow...but now my lawful husband Monsieur Kukshin
lives there.
And besides, Moscow nowadays--I don't know, it's not what it was.
I'm thinking of going abroad--I almost went last year."
"To Paris, I suppose," said Bazarov.
"To Paris and to Heidelberg." "Why to Heidelberg?"
"How can you ask! Bunsen lives there!"
Bazarov could find no reply to that one.
"Pierre you know him?" "No, I don't."
"Not know Pierre Sapozhnikov...he's always at Lydia Khostatov's."
"I don't know her either."
"Well, he undertook to escort me. Thank God I'm independent--I've no
children...what did I say? Thank God!
Never mind though!"
Evdoksya rolled a cigarette between her fingers, brown with tobacco stains, put it
across her tongue, licked it and started to smoke.
The maid came in with a tray.
"Ah, here's lunch! Will you have an ap ritif first?
Viktor, open the bottle; that's in your line."
"Yes, it's in my line," mumbled Sitnikov, and again uttered a piercing convulsive
laugh. "Are there any pretty women here?" asked
Bazarov, as he drank down a third glass.
"Yes, there are," answered Evdoksya, "but they're all so empty-headed.
For instance, my friend Odintsova is nice looking.
It's a pity she's got such a reputation...Of course that wouldn't
matter, but she has no independent views, no breadth of outlook, nothing...of that
The whole system of education wants changing.
I've thought a lot about it; our women are so badly educated."
"There's nothing to be done with them," interposed Sitnikov; "one ought to despise
them and I do despise them utterly and completely."
(The possibility of feeling and expressing contempt was the most agreeable sensation
to Sitnikov; he attacked women in particular, never suspecting that it would
be his fate a few months later to cringe to
his wife merely because she had been born a princess Durdoleosov.)
"Not one of them would be capable of understanding our conversation; not one of
them deserves to be spoken about by serious men like us."
"But there's no need whatsoever for them to understand our conversation," remarked
Bazarov. "Whom do you mean?" sad Evdoksya.
"Pretty women."
"What? Do you then share the ideas of Proudhon?"
Bazarov drew himself up haughtily. "I share no one's ideas; I have my own."
"Damn all authorities!" shouted Sitnikov, delighted to have an opportunity of
expressing himself boldly in front of the man he slavishly admired.
"But even Macaulay...," Madame Kukshina was trying to say.
"Damn Macaulay!" thundered Sitnikov. "Are you going to stand up for those silly
"Not for silly females, no, but for the rights of women which I have sworn to
defend to the last drop of my blood." "Damn...," but here Sitnikov stopped.
"But I don't deny you that," he said.
"No, I see you're a Slavophil!" "No, I'm not a Slavophil, though, of
course...." "No, no, no!
You are a Slavophil.
You're a supporter of patriarchal despotism.
You want to have the whip in your hand!" "A whip is a good thing," said Bazarov,
"but we've got to the last drop..."
"Of what?" interrupted Evdoksya. "Of champagne, most honored Avdotya
Nikitishna, of champagne--not of your blood."
"I can never listen calmly when women are attacked," went on Evdoksya.
"It's awful, awful. Instead of attacking them you should read
Michelet's book De l'Amour!
That's something exquisite! Gentlemen, let us talk about love," added
Evdoksya, letting her arm rest on the crumpled sofa cushion.
A sudden silence followed.
"No, why should we talk of love?" said Bazarov.
"But you mentioned just now a Madame Odintsov...That was the name, I think--who
is the lady?"
"She's charming, delightful," squeaked Sitnikov.
"I'll introduce you. Clever, rich, a widow.
It's a pity she's not yet advanced enough; she ought to see more of our Evdoksya.
I drink to your health, Eudoxie, clink glasses!
Et toc et toc et tin-tin-tin!
Et toc, et toc, et tin-tin-tin!" "Viktor, you're a rascal!"
The lunch was prolonged.
The first bottle of champagne was followed by another, by a third, and even by a
fourth...Evdoksya chattered away without drawing breath; Sitnikov seconded her.
They talked a lot about whether marriage was a prejudice or a crime, whether men
were born equal or not, and precisely what constitutes individuality.
Finally things went so far that Evdoksya, flushed from the wine she had drunk, began
tapping with her flat finger tips on a discordant piano, and singing in a husky
voice, first gipsy songs, then Seymour
Schiff's song Granada lies slumbering, while Sitnikov tied a scarf round his head
and represented the dying lover at the words
"And thy lips to mine In burning kiss entwine..."
Arkady could stand no more. "Gentlemen, this is approaching bedlam," he
remarked aloud.
Bazarov, who at rare intervals had thrown a sarcastic word or two into the
conversation--he paid more attention to the champagne--yawned loudly, rose to his feet
and without taking leave of their hostess, he walked off with Arkady.
Sitnikov jumped up and followed them.
"Well, what do you think of her?" he asked, hopping obsequiously from one side to
another. "As I told you, a remarkable personality!
If only we had more women like that!
She is, in her own way, a highly moral phenomenon."
"And is that establishment of your father's also a moral phenomenon?" muttered Bazarov,
pointing to a vodka shop which they were passing at that moment.
Sitnikov again gave vent to his shrill laugh.
He was much ashamed of his origin, and hardly knew whether to feel flattered or
offended by Bazarov's unexpected familiarity.
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 14
MATVEI Ilyich was the real hero of the occasion.
The marshal of nobility announced to all and sundry that he had come only out of
respect for him, while the governor, even at the ball, and even while he was standing
still, continued to "make arrangements."
The amiability of Matvei Ilyich's manner was equaled only by his dignity.
He behaved graciously to everyone, to some with a shade of disgust, to others with a
shade of respect, he was gallant, "en vrai chevalier francais," to all the ladies, and
was continually bursting into hearty
resounding laughter, in which no one else joined, as befits a high official.
He slapped Arkady on the back and called him "nephew" loudly, bestowed on Bazarov--
who was dressed in a shabby frock coat--an absent-minded but indulgent sidelong
glance, and an indistinct but affable grunt
in which the words "I" and "very" were vaguely distinguishable; held out a finger
to Sitnikov and smiled at him though his head had already turned round to greet
someone else; even to Madame Kukshina, who
appeared at the ball without a crinoline, wearing dirty gloves and a bird of paradise
in her hair, he said "enchant,."
There were crowds of people and plenty of men dancers; most of the civilians stood in
rows along the walls, but the officers danced assiduously, especially one who had
spent six weeks in Paris, where he had
mastered several daring exclamations such as--zut, Ah fichtre, pst, pst, mon bibi,
and so on.
He pronounced them perfectly with real genuine Parisian chic, and at the same time
he said "si j'aurais" instead of "si j'avais," and "absolument" in the sense of
"absolutely," expressed himself in fact in
that great Russo-French jargon which the French laugh at when they have no reason to
assure us that we speak French like angels- -"comme des anges."
Arkady danced badly, as we already know, and Bazarov did not dance at all.
They both took up their position in a corner, where Sitnikov joined them.
With an expression of contemptuous mockery on his face, he uttered one spiteful remark
after another, looked insolently around him, and appeared to be thoroughly enjoying
Suddenly his face changed, and turning to Arkady he said in a rather embarrassed
tone, "Odintsova has arrived." Arkady looked round and saw a tall woman in
a black dress standing near the door.
He was struck by her dignified bearing.
Her bare arms lay gracefully across her slim waist; light sprays of fuchsia hung
from her shining hair over her sloping shoulders; her clear eyes looked out from
under a prominent white forehead; their
expression was calm and intelligent--calm but not pensive--and her lips showed a
scarcely perceptible smile. A sort of affectionate and gentle strength
emanated from her face.
"Do you know her?" Arkady asked Sitnikov.
"Very well. Would you like me to introduce you?"
"Please...after this quadrille."
Bazarov also noticed Madame Odintsov. "What a striking figure," he said.
"She's not like the other females." When the quadrille was over, Sitnikov led
Arkady over to Madame Odintsov.
But he hardly seemed to know her at all, and stumbled over his words, while she
looked at him in some surprise.
But she looked pleased when she heard Arkady's family name, and she asked him
whether he was not the son of Nikolai Petrovich.
"I have seen your father twice and heard a lot about him," she went on.
"I am very glad to meet you." At this moment some adjutant rushed up to
her and asked her for a quadrille.
She accepted. "Do you dance then?" asked Arkady
respectfully. "Yes, and why should you suppose I don't
Do you think I'm too old?" "Please, how could I possibly...but in that
case may I ask you for a mazurka?" Madame Odintsov smiled graciously.
"Certainly," she said, and looked at Arkady, not exactly patronizingly but in
the way married sisters look at very young brothers.
She was in fact not much older than Arkady- -she was twenty-nine--but in her presence
he felt like a schoolboy, so that the difference in their ages seemed to matter
much more.
Matvei Ilyich came up to her in a majestic manner and started to pay her compliments.
Arkady moved aside, but he still watched her; he could not take his eyes off her
even during the quadrille.
She talked to her partner as easily as she had to the grand official, slightly turning
her head and eyes, and once or twice she laughed softly.
Her nose--like most Russian noses--was rather thick, and her complexion was not
translucently clear; nevertheless Arkady decided that he had never before met such a
fascinating woman.
The sound of her voice clung to his ears, the very folds of her dress seemed to fall
differently--more gracefully and amply than on other women--and her movements were
wonderfully flowing and at the same time natural.
Arkady was overcome by shyness when at the first sounds of the mazurka he took a seat
beside his parther; he wanted to talk to her, but he only passed his hand through
his hair and could not find a single word to say.
But his shyness and agitation soon passed; Madame Odintsov's tranquillity communicated
itself to him; within a quarter of an hour he was telling her freely about his father,
his uncle, his life in Petersburg and in the country.
Madame Odintsov listened to him with courteous sympathy, slowly opening and
closing her fan.
The conversation was broken off when her partners claimed her; Sitnikov, among
others, asked her to dance twice.
She came back, sat down again, took up her fan, and did not even breathe more rapidly,
while Arkady started talking again, penetrated through and through by the
happiness of being near her, talking to
her, looking at her eyes, her lovely forehead and her whole charming, dignified
and intelligent face.
She said little, but her words showed an understanding of life; judging by some of
her remarks Arkady came to the conclusion that this young woman had already
experienced and thought a great deal...
"Who is that you were standing with," she asked him, "when Mr. Sitnikov brought you
over to me?" "So you noticed him?" asked Arkady in his
"He has a wonderful face, hasn't he? That's my friend Bazarov."
Arkady went on to discuss "his friend."
He spoke of him in such detail and with so much enthusiasm that Madame Odintsov turned
round and looked at him attentively. Meanwhile the mazurka was drawing to a
Arkady was sorry to leave his partner, he had spent almost an hour with her so
Certainly he had felt the whole time as though she were showing indulgence to him,
as though he ought to be grateful to her...but young hearts are not weighed down
by that feeling.
The music stopped. "Merci," murmured Madame Odintsov, rising.
"You promised to pay me a visit; bring your friend with you.
I am very curious to meet a man who has the courage to believe in nothing."
The governor came up to Madame Odintsov, announced that supper was ready, and with a
worried look offered her his arm.
As she went out, she turned to smile once more at Arkady.
He bowed low, followed her with his eyes (how graceful her figure seemed to him, how
radiant in the sober luster of the black silk folds!) and he was conscious of some
kind of refreshing humility of soul as he
thought, "This very minute she has forgotten my existence."
"Well?" Bazarov asked Arkady as soon as he had
returned to the corner.
"Did you have a good time? A man has just told me that your lady is--
oh never mind what--but the fellow is probably a fool.
What do you think?
Is she?" "I don't understand what you mean," said
Arkady. "My goodness, what innocence!"
"In that case I don't understand the man you quote.
Madame Odintsov is very charming, but she is so cold and reserved that..."
"Still waters run deep, you know," interposed Bazarov.
"You say she is cold; that just adds to the flavor.
You like ices, I expect."
"Perhaps," muttered Arkady. "I can't express any opinion about that.
She wants to meet you and asked me to bring you over to visit her."
"I can imagine how you described me!
Never mind, you did well. Take me along.
Whoever she may be, whether she's just a provincial climber or an 'emancipated'
woman like Kukshina--anyhow she's got a pair of shoulders the like of which I
haven't seen for a long time."
Arkady was hurt by Bazarov's cynicism, but- -as often happens--he did not blame his
friend for those particular things which he disliked in him...
"Why do you disagree with free thought for women?" he asked in a low voice.
"Because, my lad, as far as I can see, free-thinking women are all monsters."
The conversation was cut short at this point.
Both young men left immediately after supper.
They were pursued by a nervously angry but fainthearted laugh from Madame Kukshina,
whose vanity had been deeply wounded by the fact that neither of them had paid the
slightest attention to her.
She stayed later than anyone else at the ball, and at four o'clock in the morning
she was dancing a polka-mazurka in Parisian style with Sitnikov.
The governor's ball culminated in this edifying spectacle.
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 15
Arkady the following day as they mounted the staircase of the hotel where Madame
Odintsov was staying.
"I can smell something wrong here." "I'm surprised at you," cried Arkady.
"What? You, of all people, Bazarov, clinging to
that narrow morality which..."
"What a funny fellow you are!" said Bazarov carelessly, cutting him short.
"Don't you know that in my dialect and for my purpose 'something wrong' means
'something right'?
That's just my advantage.
Didn't you tell me yourself this morning that she made a strange marriage, though,
to my mind to marry a rich old man is far from a strange thing to do--but on the
contrary, sensible enough.
I don't believe the gossip of the town, but I should like to think, as our enlightened
governor says, that it's just." Arkady made no answer, and knocked at the
door of the apartment.
A young servant in livery ushered the two friends into a large room, furnished in bad
taste like all Russian hotel rooms, but filled with flowers.
Madame Odintsov soon appeared in a simple morning dress.
In the light of the spring sunshine she looked even younger than before.
Arkady introduced Bazarov, and noticed with concealed astonishment that he seemed
embarrassed, while Madame Odintsov remained perfectly calm, as she had been on the
previous day.
Bazarov was himself conscious of feeling embarrassed and was annoyed about it.
"What an idea!
Frightened of a female," he thought, and lolling in an armchair, quite like
Sitnikov, he began to talk in an exaggeratedly casual manner, while Madame
Odintsov kept her clear eyes fixed on him.
Anna Sergeyevna Odintsova was the daughter of Sergei Nikolayevich Loktev, notorious
for his personal beauty, speculations and gambling, who after fifteen years of a
stormy and sensational life in Petersburg
and Moscow, ended by ruining himself completely at cards and was obliged to
retire to the country, where soon afterwards he died, leaving a very small
property to his two daughters--Anna, a girl
of twenty at that time, and Katya, a child of twelve.
Their mother, who belonged to an impoverished princely family, had died in
Petersburg while her husband was still in his heyday.
Anna's position after her father's death was a very difficult one.
The brilliant education which she had received in Petersburg had not fitted her
for the cares of domestic and household economy--nor for an obscure life buried in
the country.
She knew no one in the whole neighborhood, and there was no one she could consult.
Her father had tried to avoid all contact with his neighbors; he despised them in his
way and they despised him in theirs.
However, she did not lose her head, and promptly sent for a sister of her mother's,
Princess Avdotya Stepanovna X.--a spiteful, arrogant old lady who, on installing
herself in her niece's house, appropriated
the best rooms for herself, grumbled and scolded from morning till night and refused
to walk a step, even in the garden, without being attended by her one and only serf, a
surly footman in a threadbare pea-green
livery with light-blue trimming and a three-cornered hat.
Anna patiently put up with all her aunt's caprices, gradually set to work on her
sister's education and, it seemed, was already reconciled to the idea of fading
away in the wilderness...But fate had decreed otherwise.
She happened to be seen by a certain Odintsov, a wealthy man of forty-six, an
eccentric hypochondriac, swollen, heavy and sour, but not stupid and quite good-
natured; he fell in love with her and proposed marriage.
She agreed to become his wife, and they lived together for six years; then he died,
leaving her all his property.
For nearly a year after his death Anna Sergeyevna remained in the country; then
she went abroad with her sister, but stayed only in Germany; she soon grew tired of it
and came back to live at her beloved
Nikolskoe, nearly thirty miles from the town of X.
Her house was magnificent, luxuriously furnished and had a beautiful garden with
conservatories; her late husband had spared no expense to gratify his wishes.
Anna Sergeyevna rarely visited the town, and as a rule only on business; even then
she did not stay long.
She was not popular in the province; there had been a fearful outcry when she married
Odintsov; all sorts of slanderous stories were invented about her; it was asserted
that she had helped her father in his
gambling escapades and even that she had gone abroad for a special reason to conceal
some unfortunate consequences..."You understand?" the indignant gossips would
"She has been through fire and water," they said of her, to which a noted provincial
wit added "And through the brass instruments."
All this talk reached her, but she turned a deaf ear to it; she had an independent and
sufficiently determined character.
Madame Odintsov sat leaning back in her armchair, her hands folded, and listened to
Contrary to his habit, he was talking a lot and was obviously trying to interest her--
which also surprised Arkady.
He could not be sure whether Bazarov had achieved his object, for it was difficult
to learn from Anna Sergeyevna's face what impression was being made on her; it
retained the same gracious refined look;
her bright eyes shone with attention, but it was an unruffled attention.
During the first minutes of the visit, Bazarov's awkward manners had impressed her
disagreeably, like a bad smell, or a discordant sound; but she saw at once that
he was nervous and that flattered her.
Only the commonplace was repulsive to her, and no one would have accused Bazarov of
being commonplace. Arkady had several surprises in store for
him that day.
He had expected that Bazarov would talk to an intelligent woman like Madame Odintsov
about his convictions and views; she herself had expressed a desire to hear the
man "who dares to believe in nothing," but
instead of that Bazarov talked about medicine, about homeopathy and about
It turned out that Madame Odintsov had not wasted her time in solitude; she had read a
number of good books and herself spoke an excellent Russian.
She turned the conversation to music, but, observing that Bazarov had no appreciation
of art, quietly turned it back to botany, although Arkady was just launching out on a
discourse about the significance of national melodies.
Madame Odintsov continued to treat him as though he were a younger brother; she
seemed to appreciate his good nature and youthful simplicity--and that was all.
A lively conversation went on for over three hours, ranging freely over a variety
of subjects. At last the friends got up and began to
take their leave.
Anna Sergeyevna looked at them kindly, held out her beautiful white hand to each in
turn, and after a moment's thought, said with a diffident but delightful smile, "If
you are not afraid of being bored, gentlemen, come and see me at Nikolskoe."
"Oh, Anna Sergeyevna," cried Arkady, "that will be the greatest happiness for me."
"And you, Monsieur Bazarov?"
Bazarov only bowed--and Arkady had yet another surprise; he noticed that his
friend was blushing. "Well," he said to him in the street, "do
you still think she's..."
"Who can tell!
Just see how frozen she is!" answered Bazaroy; then after a short pause he added,
"She's a real Grand Duchess, a commanding sort of person; she only needs a train
behind her, and a crown on her head."
"Our Grand Duchesses can't talk Russian like that," observed Arkady.
"She has known ups and downs, my lad; she's been hard up."
"Anyhow, she's delightful," said Arkady.
"What a magnificent body," went on Bazarov. "How I should like to see it on the
dissecting table." "Stop, for heaven's sake, Evgeny!
You go too far!"
"Well, don't get angry, you baby! I meant it's first-rate.
We must go to stay with her." "When?"
"Well, why not the day after tomorrow.
What is there to do here? Drink champagne with Kukshina?
Listen to your cousin, the liberal statesman?...Let's be off the day after
By the way--my father's little place is not far from there.
This Nikolskoe is on the X. road, isn't it?"
"Excellent. Why hesitate?
Leave that to fools--and intellectuals. I say--what a splendid body!"
Three days later the two friends were driving along the road to Nikolskoe.
The day was bright and not too hot, and the plump post horses trotted smartly along,
flicking their tied and plaited tails.
Arkady looked at the road, and, without knowing why, he smiled.
"Congratulate me," exclaimed Bazarov suddenly.
"Today's the 22nd of June, my saint's day.
Let us see how he will watch over me. They expect me home today," he added,
dropping his voice..."Well, they can wait-- what does it matter!"
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 16
far from a yellow stone church with a green roof, white columns, and decorated with a
fresco over the main entrance, representing
The Resurrection of Christ in the Italian style.
Especially remarkable for its voluminous contours was the figure of a swarthy
soldier in a helmet, sprawling in the foreground of the picture.
Behind the church stretched a long village street with chimneys peeping out here and
there from thatched roofs.
The manor house was built in the same style as the church, the style now famous as that
of Alexander I; the whole house was painted yellow, and it had a green roof, white
columns and a pediment with a coat of arms carved on it.
The provincial architect had designed both buildings according to the instructions of
the late Odintsov, who could not endure--as he expressed it--senseless and arbitrary
The house was flanked on both sides by the dark trees of an old garden; an avenue of
clipped pines led up to the main entrance,
Our friends were met in the hall by two tall footmen in livery; one of them ran at
once to fetch the butler.
The butler, a stout man in a black tail coat, promptly appeared and led the
visitors up a staircase covered with rugs into a specially prepared room in which two
beds had been arranged with every kind of toilet accessory.
It was evident that order reigned in the house; everything was clean, and there was
everywhere a peculiar dignified fragrance such as one encounters in ministerial
reception rooms.
"Anna Sergeyevna asks you to come to see her in half an hour," the butler announced.
"Have you any orders to give meanwhile?"
"No orders, my good sir," answered Bazarov, "but perhaps you will kindly trouble
yourself to bring a glass of vodka."
"Certainly, sir," said the butler, looking rather surprised, and went out, his boots
"What grand genre," remarked Bazarov, "that's what you call it in your set, I
think. A Grand Duchess complete."
"A nice Grand Duchess," answered Arkady, "to invite straight away such great
aristocrats as you and me to stay with her."
"Especially me, a future doctor and a doctor's son, and grandson of a village know that, I suppose...a village priest's grandson, like the
statesman Speransky," added Bazarov, after a brief silence, pursing his lips.
"Anyhow, she gives herself the best of everything, this pampered lady!
Shan't we soon find ourselves wearing tail coats?"
Arkady only shrugged his shoulders...but he, too, felt a certain embarrassment.
Half an hour later Bazarov and Arkady made their way together into the drawing room.
It was a large lofty room, luxuriously furnished but with little personal taste.
Heavy expensive furniture stood in a conventional stiff arrangement along the
walls, which were covered in a buff wall paper decorated with golden arabesques.
Odintsov had ordered the furniture from Moscow through a wine merchant who was a
friend and agent of his.
Over a sofa in the center of one wall hung a portrait of a flabby fair-haired man,
which seemed to look disapprovingly at the visitors.
"It must be the late husband," whispered Bazarov to Arkady.
"Shall we dash off?" But at that moment the hostess entered.
She wore a light muslin dress; her hair, smoothly brushed back behind her ears,
imparted a girlish expression to her pure, fresh face.
"Thank you for keeping your promise," she began.
"You must stay a little while; you won't find it so bad here.
I will introduce you to my sister; she plays the piano well.
That's a matter of indifference to you, Monsieur Bazarov, but you, Monsieur
Kirsanov, are fond of music, I believe.
Apart from my sister, an old aunt lives with me, and a neighbor sometimes comes
over to play cards. That makes up our whole circle.
And now let us sit down."
Madame Odintsov delivered this whole little speech very fluently and distinctly, as if
she had learned it by heart; then she turned to Arkady.
It appeared that her mother had known Arkady's mother and had even been her
confidante in her love for Nikolai Petrovich.
Arkady began to talk with warm feeling about his dead mother; meanwhile Bazarov
sat and looked through some albums. "What a tame cat I've become," he thought.
A beautiful white wolfhound with a blue collar ran into the drawing room and tapped
on the floor with its paws; it was followed by a girl of eighteen with a round and
pleasing face and small dark eyes.
In her hands she held a basket filled with flowers.
"This is my Katya," said Madame Odintsov, nodding in her direction.
Katya made a slight curtsey, sat down beside her sister and began arranging the
The wolfhound, whose name was Fifi, went up to both visitors in turn, wagging its tail
and thrusting its cold nose into their hands.
"Did you pick them all yourself?" asked Madame Odintsov.
"Yes," answered Katya. "Is auntie coming down for tea?"
"She's coming."
When Katya spoke, her face had a charming smile, at once bashful and candid, and she
looked up from under her eyebrows with a kind of amusing severity.
Everything about her was naive and undeveloped, her voice, the downy bloom on
her face, the rosy hands with white palms and the rather narrow shoulders...she was
constantly blushing and she breathed quickly.
Madame Odintsov turned to Bazarov. "You are looking at pictures out of
politeness, Evgeny Vassilich," she began.
"It doesn't interest you, so you had better come and join us, and we will have a
discussion about something." Bazarov moved nearer.
"What have you decided to discuss?" he muttered.
"Whatever you like. I warn you, I am dreadfully argumentative."
"Yes. That seems to surprise you. Why?" "Because, so far as I can judge, you have a
calm and cool temperament and to be argumentative one needs to get excited."
"How have you managed to sum me up so quickly?
In the first place I am impatient and persistent--you should ask Katya; and
secondly I am very easily carried away."
Bazarov looked at Anna Sergeyevna. "Perhaps.
You know best. Very well, if you want a discussion--so be
I was looking at the views of Swiss mountains in your albums, and you remarked
that they couldn't interest me.
You said that because you suppose I have no artistic feeling--and it is true I have
none; but those views might interest me from a geological standpoint, for studying
the formation of mountains, for instance."
"Excuse me; but as a geologist, you would rather study a book, some special work on
the subject and not a drawing." "The drawing shows me at one glance what
might be spread over ten pages in a book."
Anna Sergeyevna was silent for a few moments.
"So you have no feeling whatsoever for art?" she said, leaning her elbow on the
table and by so doing bringing her face nearer to Bazarov.
"How do you manage without it?"
"Why, what is it needed for, may I ask?" "Well, at least to help one to know and
understand people." Bazarov smiled.
"In the first place, experience of life does that, and in the second, I assure you
the study of separate individuals is not worth the trouble it involves.
All people resemble each other, in soul as well as in body; each of us has a brain,
spleen, heart and lungs of similar construction; the so-called moral qualities
are the same in all of us; the slight variations are insignificant.
It is enough to have one single human specimen in order to judge all the others.
People are like trees in a forest; no botanist would think of studying each
individual birch tree."
Katya, who was arranging the flowers one by one in a leisurely way, raised her eyes to
Bazarov with a puzzled expression, and meeting his quick casual glance, she
blushed right up to her ears.
Anna Sergeyevna shook her head. "The trees in a forest," she repeated.
"Then according to you there is no difference between a stupid and an
intelligent person, or between a good and a bad one."
"No, there is a difference, as there is between the sick and the healthy.
The lungs of a consumptive person are not in the same condition as yours or mine,
although their construction is the same.
We know more or less what causes physical ailments; but moral diseases are caused by
bad education, by all the rubbish with which people's heads are stuffed from
childhood onwards, in short, by the disordered state of society.
Reform society, and there will be no diseases."
Bazarov said all this with an air as though he were all the while thinking to himself.
"Believe me or not as you wish, it's all the same to me!"
He slowly passed his long fingers over his whiskers and his eyes strayed round the
"And you suppose," said Anna Sergeyevna, "that when society is reformed there will
be no longer any stupid or wicked people?"
"At any rate, in a properly organized society it will make no difference whether
a man is stupid or clever, bad or good." "Yes, I understand.
They will all have the same spleen."
"Exactly, madam." Madame Odintsov turned to Arkady.
"And what is your opinion, Arkady Nikolayevich?"
"I agree with Evgeny," he answered.
Katya looked at him from under her eyelids. "You amaze me, gentlemen," commented Madame
Odintsov, "but we will talk about this again.
I hear my aunt now coming in to tea--we must spare her."
Anna Sergeyevna's aunt, Princess X., a small shriveled woman with a pinched-up
face like a fist, with staring bad-tempered eyes under her grey brows, came in, and
scarcely bowing to the guests, sank into a
broad velvet-covered armchair, in which no one except herself was privileged to sit.
Katya put a stool under her feet; the old lady did not thank her or even look at her,
only her hands shook under the yellow shawl which almost covered her decrepit body.
The princess liked yellow, even her cap had yellow ribbons.
"How did you sleep, auntie?" asked Madame Odintsov, raising her voice.
"That dog here again," mumbled the old lady in reply, and noticing that Fifi was making
two hesitating steps in her direction, she hissed loudly.
Katya called Fifi and opened the door for her.
Fifi rushed out gaily, imagining she was going to be taken for a walk, but when she
found herself left alone outside the door she began to scratch and whine.
The princess frowned.
Katya rose to go out... "I expect tea is ready," said Madame
Odintsov. "Come, gentlemen; auntie, will you go in to
The princess rose from her chair without speaking and led the way out of the drawing
room. They all followed her into the dining room.
A little Cossack page drew back noisily from the table a chair covered with
cushions, also dedicated to the princess, who sank into it.
Katya, who poured out tea, handed her first a cup decorated with a coat of arms.
The old lady helped herself to honey, which she put in her cup (she considered it both
sinful and extravagant to drink tea with sugar in it, although she never spent a
penny of her own on anything), and suddenly
asked in a hoarse voice, "And what does Prince Ivan write?"
No one made any reply.
Bazarov and Arkady soon observed that the family paid no attention to her although
they treated her respectfully. "They put up with her because of her
princely family," thought Bazarov.
After tea Anna Sergeyevna suggested that they should go out for a walk, but it began
to rain a little, and the whole party, except the princess, returned to the
drawing room.
The neighbor arrived, the devoted cardplayer; his name was Porfiri Platonich,
a plump greyish little man with short spindly legs, very polite and jocular.
Anna Sergeyevna, who still talked principally to Bazarov, asked him whether
he would like to play an old-fashioned game of preference with them.
Bazarov accepted, saying that he certainly needed to prepare himself in advance for
the duties in store for him as a country doctor.
"You must be careful," remarked Anna Sergeyevna; "Porfiri Platonich and I will
defeat you.
And you, Katya," she added, "play something to Arkady Nikolaich; he's fond of music,
and we shall enjoy listening too."
Katya went unwillingly to the piano, and Arkady, although he was genuinely fond of
music, unwillingly followed her; it seemed to him that Madame Odintsov was getting rid
of him, and he felt already like most young
men of his age, a vague and oppressive excitement, like a foretaste of love.
Katya lifted the lid of the piano, and without looking at Arkady, asked in an
undertone "What am I to play to you?"
"What you like," answered Arkady indifferently.
"What sort of music do you prefer?" went on Katya, without changing her attitude.
"Classical," answered Arkady in the same tone of voice.
"Do you like Mozart?" "Yes, I like Mozart."
Katya pulled out Mozart's Sonata Fantasia in C minor.
She played very well, although a little too precisely and drily.
She sat upright and motionless without taking her eyes off the music, her lips
tightly compressed, and only towards the end of the sonata her face started to glow,
her hair loosened and a little lock fell over her dark brow.
Arkady was especially struck by the last part of the sonata, the part where the
enchanting gaiety of the careless melody at its height is suddenly broken into by the
pangs of such a sad and almost tragic
suffering...but the ideas inspired in him by the sounds of Mozart were not related to
Looking at her, he merely thought, "Well, that young lady doesn't play too badly, and
she's not bad looking, either."
When she had finished the sonata, Katya, without taking her hands from the keys,
asked, "Is that enough?"
Arkady said that he would not venture to trouble her further, and began talking to
her about Mozart; he asked her whether she had chosen that sonata herself, or someone
else had recommended it to her.
But Katya answered him in monosyllables and withdrew into herself.
When this happened, she did not come out again quickly; at such times her face took
on an obstinate, almost stupid expression.
She was not exactly shy, but she was diffident and rather overawed by her
sister, who had educated her, but who never even suspected that such a feeling existed
in Katya.
Arkady was at length reduced to calling Fifi over to him and stroking her on the
head with a benevolent smile in order to create the impression of being at his ease.
Katya went on arranging her flowers.
Meanwhile Bazarov was losing and losing. Anna Sergeyevna played cards with masterly
skill; Porfiri Platonich also knew how to hold his own.
Bazarov lost a sum, which though trifling in itself, was none too pleasant for him.
At supper Anna Sergeyevna again turned the conversation to botany.
"Let us go for a walk tomorrow morning," she said to him; "I want you to teach me
the Latin names of several wild plants and their species."
"What's the good of the Latin names to you?" asked Bazarov.
"Order is needed for everything," she answered.
"What a wonderful woman Anna Sergeyevna is!" cried Arkady, when he was alone in
their room with his friend. "Yes," answered Bazarov, "a female with
brains; and she's seen life too."
"In what sense do you mean that, Evgeny Vassilich?"
"In a good sense, in a good sense, my worthy Arkady Nikolayevich!
I'm sure she also manages her estate very efficiently.
But what is wonderful is not her, but her sister."
That little dark creature?"
"Yes, the little dark creature--she's fresh, untouched and shy and silent,
anything you could work on her and make something out of her--but the
other--she's an experienced hand."
Arkady did not answer Bazarov, and each of them got into bed occupied with his own
particular thoughts. Anna Sergeyevna was also thinking about her
guests that evening.
She liked Bazarov for his absence of flattery and for his definite downright
views. She found in him something new, which she
had not met before, and she was curious.
Anna Sergeyevna was a rather strange person.
Having no prejudices at all, and no strong convictions either, she neither avoided
things nor went out of her way to secure anything special.
She was clear-sighted and she had many interests, but nothing completely satisfied
her; indeed, she hardly desired any complete satisfaction.
Her mind was at once inquiring and indifferent; though her doubts were never
soothed by forgetfulness, they never grew powerful enough to agitate her
Had she not been rich and independent, she would probably have thrown herself into the
struggle and experienced passion...But life ran easily for her, although she was
sometimes bored, and she went on from day
to day without hurrying and only rarely feeling disturbed.
Rainbow-colored visions sometimes glowed before her eyes, but she breathed more
peacefully when they faded away, and she did not hanker after them.
Her imagination certainly overstepped the limits of conventional morality, but all
the time her blood flowed as quietly as ever in her charmingly graceful, tranquil
Sometimes, emerging from her fragrant bath, warm and languid, she would start musing on
the emptiness of life, its sorrow, labor and vindictiveness...her soul would be
filled with sudden daring and burn with
generous ardor; but then a draught would blow from a half-open window and Anna
Sergeyevna would shrink back into herself with a plaintive, almost angry feeling, and
there was only one thing she needed at that
particular moment--to get away from that nasty draught.
Like all women who have not succeeded in loving, she wanted something without
knowing what it was.
Actually she wanted nothing, though it seemed to her that she wanted everything.
She could hardly endure the late Odintsov (she married him for practical reasons
though she might not have agreed to become his wife if she had not regarded him as a
good-natured man), and she had conceived a
hidden repugnance for all men, whom she could think of only as slovenly, clumsy,
dull, feebly irritating creatures.
Once, somewhere abroad, she had met a handsome young Swede with a chivalrous
expression and with honest eyes under an open brow; he made a strong impression on
her, but that had not prevented her from returning to Russia.
"A strange man this doctor," she thought as she lay in her magnificent bed, on lace
pillows under a light silk eiderdown.
Anna Sergeyevna had inherited from her father some of his passion for luxury.
She had been devoted to him, and he had idolized her, used to joke with her as
though she were a friend and equal, confided his secrets to her and asked her
Her mother she scarcely remembered. "This doctor is a strange man," she
repeated to herself.
She stretched, smiled, clasped her hands behind her head, ran her eyes over two
pages of a stupid French novel, dropped the book--and fell asleep, pure and cold in her
clean and fragrant linen.
The following morning Anna Sergeyevna went off botanizing with Bazarov immediately
after breakfast and returned just before dinner; Arkady did not go out anywhere, but
spent about an hour with Katya.
He was not bored in her company.
She offered of her own accord to play the Mozart sonata again; but when Madame
Odintsov came back at last and he caught sight of her, he felt a sudden pain in his
heart...She walked through the garden with
a rather tired step, her cheeks were burning and her eyes shone more brightly
than usual under her round straw hat.
She was twirling in her fingers the thin stalk of some wild flower, her light shawl
had slipped down to her elbows, and the broad grey ribbons of her hat hung over her
Bazarov walked behind her, self-confident and casual as ever, but Arkady disliked the
expression of his face, although it was cheerful and even affectionate.
Bazarov muttered "Good day" between his teeth and went straight to his room, and
Madame Odintsov shook Arkady's hand absent- mindedly and also walked past him.
"Why good day?" thought Arkady.
"As if we had not seen each other already today!"
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 17
AS WE ALL KNOW, TIME SOMETIMES FLIES LIKE A BIRD, AND sometimes crawls like a worm, but
people may be unusually happy when they do not even notice whether time has passed
quickly or slowly; in this way Arkady and
Bazarov spent a whole fortnight with Madame Odintsov.
Such a result was achieved partly by the order and regularity which she had
established in her house and mode of life.
She adhered strictly to this order herself and obliged others to submit to it as well.
Everything during the day was done at a fixed time.
In the morning, at eight o'clock precisely, the whole party assembled for tea; from
then till breakfast everyone did what he liked, the hostess herself was engaged with
her bailiff (the estate was run on the
rental system), her butler, and her head housekeeper.
Before dinner the party met again for conversation or reading; the evening was
devoted to walking, cards, or music; at half-past ten Anna Sergeyevna retired to
her own room, gave her orders for the next day and went to bed.
Bazarov did not care for this measured and rather formal regularity in daily life,
like "gliding along rails" he called it; livened footmen and stately butlers
offended his democratic sentiments.
He declared that once you went so far you might as well dine in the English style--in
tail coats and white ties. He once spoke out his views on the subject
to Anna Sergeyevna.
Her manner was such that people never hesitated to say what they thought in front
of her.
She heard him out, and then remarked, "From your point of view you are right--and
perhaps in that way I am too much of a lady--but one must lead an orderly life in
the country; otherwise one is overcome by
boredom,"--and she continued to go her own way.
Bazarov grumbled, but both he and Arkady found life easy at Madame Odintsov's just
because everything in the house ran so smoothly "on rails."
Nevertheless some change had occurred in both the young men since the first days of
their stay at Nikolskoe.
Bazarov, whose company Anna Sergeyevna obviously enjoyed, though she rarely agreed
with him, began to show quite unprecedented signs of unrest; he was easily irritated,
spoke with reluctance, often looked angry,
and could not sit still in one place, as if moved about by some irresistible desire;
while Arkady, who had conclusively made up his mind that he was in love with Madame
Odintsov, began to abandon himself to a quiet melancholy.
This melancholy, however, did not prevent him from making friends with Katya; it even
helped him to develop a more affectionate relationship with her.
"She does not appreciate me!" he thought.
"So be it...! but here is a kind person who does not
repulse me," and his heart again knew the sweetness of generous emotions.
Katya vaguely understood that he was seeking a kind of consolation in her
company, and did not deny him or herself the innocent pleasure of a shy confidential
They did not talk to each other in Anna Sergeyevna's presence; Katya always shrank
into herself under her sister's sharp eyes, while Arkady naturally could pay attention
to nothing else when he was close to the
object of his love; but he felt happy with Katya when he was alone with her.
He knew that it was beyond his power to interest Madame Odintsov; he was shy and at
a loss when he was left in her company, nor had she anything special to say to him; he
was too young for her.
On the other hand, with Katya Arkady felt quite at home; he treated her indulgently,
encouraged her to talk about her own impressions of music, novels, verses and
other trifles, without noticing or
acknowledging that these trifles interested him also.
Katya, for her part, did not interfere with his melancholy.
Arkady felt at ease with Katya, and Madame Odintsov with Bazarov, so it usually
happened that after the two couples had been together for a while, they went off on
their separate ways, especially during walks.
Katya adored nature, and so did Arkady, though he did not dare to admit it; Madame
Odintsov, like Bazarov, was rather indifferent to natural beauties.
The continued separation of the two friends produced its consequences; their
relationship began to change.
Bazarov gave up talking to Arkady about Madame Odintsov, he even stopped abusing
her "aristocratic habits"; however, he continued to praise Katya, and advised
Arkady only to restrain her sentimental
tendencies, but his praises were hurried and perfunctory, his advice was dry, and in
general he talked much less to Arkady than before...he seemed to avoid him, he was ill
at ease in his presence...
Arkady observed all this, but kept his observations to himself.
The real cause of all this "novelty" was the feeling inspired in Bazarov by Madame
Odintsov, a feeling which at once tortured and maddened him, and which he would have
promptly denied with contemptuous laughter
and cynical abuse if anyone had even remotely hinted at the possibility of what
was happening within him.
Bazarov was very fond of women and of feminine beauty, but love in the ideal, or
as he called it romantic, sense, he described as idiocy, unpardonable folly; he
regarded chivalrous feelings as a kind of
deformity or disease, and had more than once expressed his amazement that
Toggenburg and all the minnesingers and troubadours had not been shut up in a
lunatic asylum.
"If a woman appeals to you," he used to say, "try to gain your end; and if you
can't--well, just turn your back on her-- there are lots more good fish in the sea."
Madame Odintsov appealed to him; the rumors he had heard about her, the freedom and
independence of her ideas, her obvious liking for him--all seemed to be in his
favor; but he soon saw that with her he
could not "gain his end," and as for turning his back on her, he found, to his
own amazement, he had no strength to do so.
His blood was on fire directly he thought about her; he could easily have mastered
bis blood, but something else was taking possession of him, something he had never
allowed, at which he had always scoffed and at which his pride revolted.
In his conversations with Anna Sergeyevna he expressed more strongly than ever his
calm indifference to any kind of "romanticism"; but when he was alone he
indignantly recognized romanticism in himself.
Then he would go off into the forest, and stride about smashing the twigs which came
in his way and cursing under his breath both her and himself; or he would go into
the hayloft in the barn, and obstinately
closing his eyes, force himself to sleep, in which, of course, he did not always
Suddenly he would imagine those chaste hands twining themselves around his neck,
those proud lips responding to his kisses, those intelligent eyes looking with
tenderness--yes, with tenderness--into his,
and his head went round, and he forgot himself for a moment, till indignation
boiled up again within him.
He caught himself indulging in all sorts of "shameful thoughts," as though a devil were
mocking at him.
It seemed to him sometimes that a change was also taking place in Madame Odintsov,
that her face expressed something unusual, that perhaps...but at that point he would
stamp on the ground, grind his teeth or clench his fist.
Meanwhile he was not entirely mistaken.
He had struck Madame Odintsov's imagination; he interested her; she thought
a lot about him.
In his absence she was not exactly bored, she did not wait for him with impatience,
but when he appeared she immediately became livelier; she enjoyed being left alone with
him and she enjoyed talking to him, even
when he annoyed her or offended her taste and her refined habits.
She seemed eager both to test him and to analyse herself.
One day, walking with her in the garden, he abruptly announced in a surly voice that he
intended to leave very soon to go to his father's place...She turned white, as if
something had pricked her heart; she was
surprised at the sudden pain she felt and pondered long afterwards on what it could
Bazarov had told her about his departure without any idea of trying out the effect
of the news upon her; he never fabricated stories.
That same morning he had seen his father's bailiff, Timofeich, who had looked after
him as a child.
This Timofeich, an experienced and astute little old man, with faded yellow hair, a
weather-beaten red face and with tiny teardrops in his shrunken eyes, had
appeared quite unexpectedly in front of
Bazarov, in his short coat of thick grey- blue cloth, leather girdle and tarred
boots. "Hullo, old man, how are you?" exclaimed
"How do you do, Evgeny Vassilich?" began the little old man, smiling with joy, so
that his whole face was immediately covered with wrinkles.
"What have you come here for?
They sent you to find me, eh?" "Fancy that, sir!
How is it possible?" mumbled Timofeich (he remembered the strict injunctions he had
received from his master before he left).
"We were sent to town on the master's business and heard news of your honor, so
we turned off on the way--well--to have a look at your if we could think
of disturbing you!"
"Now then, don't lie!" Bazarov cut him short.
"It's no use your pretending this is on the road to the town."
Timofeich hesitated and said nothing.
"Is my father well?" "Thank God, yes!"
"And my mother?" "Arina Vlasyevna too, glory be to God."
"They're expecting me, I suppose."
The old man leaned his little head on one side.
"Oh, Evgeny Vassilich, how they wait for you!
Believe me, it makes the heart ache to see them."
"All right, all right, don't rub it in. Tell them I'm coming soon."
"I obey," answered Timofeich with a sigh.
As he left the house he pulled his cap down with both hands over his head, then
clambered into a dilapidated racing carriage, and went off at a trot, but not
in the direction of the town.
On the evening of that day Madame Odintsov was sitting in one room with Bazarov while
Arkady walked up and down the hall listening to Katya playing the piano.
The princess had gone upstairs to her own room; she always loathed visitors, but she
resented particularly the "new raving lunatics," as she called them.
In the main rooms she only sulked, but she made up for that in her own room by
bursting into such a torrent of abuse in front of her maid that the cap danced on
her head, wig and all.
Madame Odintsov knew all about this. "How is it that you are proposing to leave
us," she began; "what about your promises?" Bazarov made a movement of surprise.
"What promises?"
"Have you forgotten? You intended to give me some chemistry
lessons." "It can't be helped!
My father expects me; I can't put it off any longer.
Besides, you can read Pelouse et Fremy, Notions Generales de Chimie; it's a good
book and clearly written.
You will find in it all you need." "But you remember you assured me that a
book can't take the place of... I forget how you put it, but you know what
I mean...don't you remember?"
"It can't be helped," repeated Bazarov. "Why should you go?" said Madame Odintsov,
dropping her voice. He glanced at her.
Her head had fallen on the back of the armchair and her arms, bare to the elbow,
were folded over her bosom.
She seemed paler in the light of the single lamp covered with a translucent paper
A broad white dress covered her completely in its soft folds; even the tips of her
feet, also crossed, were hardly visible. "And why should I stay?" answered Bazarov.
Madame Odintsov turned her head slightly.
"You ask why. Have you not enjoyed staying here?
Or do you think no one will miss you when you are gone?"
"I am sure of that."
Madame Odintsov was silent for a moment. "You are wrong in thinking so.
But I don't believe you. You can't say that seriously."
Bazarov continued to sit motionless.
"Evgeny Vassilich, why don't you speak?" "What am I to say to you?
There is no point in missing people, and that applies to me even more than to most."
"Why so?"
"I'm a straightforward uninteresting person.
I don't know how to talk." "You are fishing for compliments, Evgeny
"That's not my custom. Don't you know yourself that the graceful
side of life, which you value so highly, is beyond my reach?"
Madame Odintsov bit the corner of her handkerchief.
"You may think what you like, but I shall find it dull when you go away."
"Arkady will stay on," remarked Bazarov.
Madame Odintsov slightly shrugged her shoulders.
"It will be dull for me," she repeated. "Really?
In any case you won't feel like that for long."
"What makes you suppose so?"
"Because you told me yourself that you are bored only when your orderly routine is
You have organized your life with such impeccable regularity that there can't be
any place left in it for boredom or sadness...for any painful emotions."
"And do you consider that I am so impeccable...I mean, that I have organized
my life so thoroughly..." "I should think so!
For example, in five minutes the clock will strike ten and I already know in advance
that you will turn me out of the room." "No, I won't turn you out, Evgeny
You may stay. Open that window...I feel half stifled."
Bazarov got up and pushed the window; it flew wide open with a crash...he had not
expected it to open so easily; also, his hands were trembling.
The soft dark night looked into the room, with its nearly black sky, its faintly
rustling trees, and the fresh fragrance of the pure open air.
"Draw the blind and sit down," said Madame Odintsov.
"I want to have a talk with you before you go away.
Tell me something about yourself; you never talk about yourself."
"I try to talk to you about useful subjects, Anna Sergeyevna."
"You are very modest...but I should like to know something about you, about your family
and your father, for whom you are forsaking us."
"Why is she talking like this?" thought Bazarov.
"All that is very uninteresting," he said aloud, "particularly for you.
We are obscure people."
"You regard me as an aristocrat?" Bazarov lifted his eyes and looked at
Madame Odintsov. "Yes," he said with exaggerated harshness.
She smiled.
"I see you know me very little, though of course you maintain that all people are
alike and that it is not worth while studying individuals.
I will tell the story of my life sometime...but first tell me yours."
"I know you very little," repeated Bazarov. "Perhaps you are right; perhaps really
everyone is a riddle.
You, for instance; you avoid society, you find it tedious--and you invited two
students to stay with you.
What makes you, with your beauty and your intelligence, live permanently in the
country?" "What?
What did you say?"
Madame Odintsov interposed eagerly, " beauty?"
Bazarov frowned.
"Never mind about that," he muttered; "I wanted to say that I don't properly
understand why you settled in the country!" "You don't understand it...yet you explain
it to yourself somehow?"
"Yes...I suppose that you prefer to remain in one place because you are self-
indulgent, very fond of comfort and ease and very indifferent to everything else."
Madame Odintsov smiled again.
"You absolutely refuse to believe that I am capable of being carried away by anything?"
Bazarov glanced at her from under his brows.
"By curiosity--perhaps, but in no other way."
"Indeed? Well, now I understand why we have become
such friends, you are just like me--"
"We have become friends...," Bazarov muttered in a hollow voice.
"Yes....Why, I had forgotten that you want to go away."
Bazarov got up.
The lamp burned dimly in the darkening, isolated fragrant room; the blind swayed
from time to time and let in the stimulating freshness of the night and its
mysterious whispers.
Madame Odintsov did not stir, but a hidden excitement gradually took possession of
her...It communicated itself to Bazarov. He suddenly felt he was alone with a young
and beautiful woman...
"Where are you going?" she said slowly. He made no answer and sank into a chair.
"And so you consider me a placid, pampered, self-indulgent creature," she continued in
the same tone and without taking her eyes off the window.
"But I know so much about myself that I am unhappy."
"You unhappy! What for?
Surely you can't attach any importance to slanderous gossip!"
Madame Odintsov frowned. She was upset that he had understood her
words in that way.
"Such gossip does not even amuse me, Evgeny Vassilich, and I am too proud to allow it
to disturb me. I am unhappy because...I have no desires,
no love of life.
You look at me suspiciously; you think those are the words of an aristocrat who
sits in lace on a velvet chair.
I don't deny for a moment that I like what you call comfort, and at the same time I
have little desire to live. Reconcile that contradiction as best you
Of course it is all sheer romanticism to you."
Bazarov shook his head; "You are healthy, independent and rich; what more is left?
What do you want?"
"What do I want," repeated Madame Odintsov and sighed.
"I am very tired, I am old, I feel as if I had lived a very long time.
Yes, I am old--" she added, softly drawing the ends of her shawl over her bare arms.
Her eyes met Bazarov's and she blushed slightly.
"So many memories are behind me; life in Petersburg, wealth, then poverty, then my
father's death, marriage, then traveling abroad, as was many
memories and so little worth remembering,
and in front of me--a long, long road without a goal...I have not even the desire
to go on." "Are you so disappointed?" asked Bazarov.
"No," answered Madame Odintsov, speaking with deliberation, "but I am dissatisfied.
I think if I were strongly attached to something..."
"You want to fall in love," Bazarov interrupted her, "but you can't love.
That is your unhappiness." Madame Odintsov started looking at the
shawl over her sleeve.
"Am I incapable of love?" she murmured. "Hardly!
But I was wrong in calling it unhappiness. On the contrary, a person should rather be
pitied when that happens to him."
"When what happens to him?" "Falling in love."
"And how do you know that?" "I have heard it," answered Bazarov
"You are flirting," he thought. "You're bored and are playing with me for
want of anything better to do, while I..." Truly his heart was torn.
"Besides, you may be expecting too much," he said, leaning forward with his whole
body and playing with the fringe of his chair.
I want everything or nothing. A life for a life, taking one and giving up
another without hesitation and beyond recall.
Or else better have nothing!"
"Well," observed Bazarov, "those are fair terms, and I'm surprised that so far
you...haven't found what you want." "And do you think it would be easy to give
oneself up entirely to anything?"
"Not easy, if you start reflecting, waiting, estimating your value, appraising
yourself, I mean; but to give oneself unreasoningly is very easy."
"How can one help valuing oneself?
If I have no value, then who needs my devotion?"
"That is not my affair; it is for another person to investigate my value.
The main thing is to know how to devote oneself."
Madame Odintsov leaned forward from the back of her chair.
"You speak as if you had experienced it all yourself," she said.
"It happened to come up in the course of our conversation; but all that, as you
know, is not in my line."
"But could you devote yourself unreservedly?"
"I don't know. I don't want to boast."
Madame Odintsov said nothing and Bazarov remained silent.
The sounds of the piano floated up to them from the drawing room.
"How is it that Katya is playing so late?" observed Madame Odintsov.
Bazarov got up. "Yes, it really is late now, time for you
to go to bed."
"Wait a little, why should you hurry?...I want to say one word to you."
"What is it?" "Wait a little," whispered Madame Odintsov.
Her eyes rested on Bazarov; it seemed as if she was examining him attentively.
He walked across the room, then suddenly came up to her, hurriedly said "Good-by,"
squeezed her hand so that she almost screamed and went out.
She raised her compressed fingers to her lips, breathed on them, then rose
impulsively from her armchair and moved rapidly towards the door, as if she wanted
to bring Bazarov back...A maid entered the room carrying a decanter on a silver tray.
Madame Odintsov stood still, told the maid she could go, and sat down again deep in
Her hair slipped loose and fell in a dark coil over her shoulders.
The lamp went on burning for a long time in her room while she still sat there
motionless, only from time to time rubbing her hands which were bitten by the cold
night air.
Bazarov returned to his bedroom two hours later, his boots wet with dew, looking
disheveled and gloomy.
He found Arkady sitting at the writing desk with a book in his hands, his coat buttoned
up to the neck. "Not in bed yet?" he exclaimed with what
sounded like annoyance.
"You were sitting a long time with Anna Sergeyevna this evening," said Arkady
without answering his question.
"Yes, I sat with her all the time you were playing the piano with Katerina
Sergeyevna." "I was not playing..." began Arkady and
He felt that tears were rising in his eyes and he did not want to cry in front of his
sarcastic friend.
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev CHAPTER 18
THE NEXT DAY WHEN MADAME ODINTSOV CAME DOWN TO TEA, Bazarov sat for a long time bending
over his cup, then suddenly glanced up at her...she turned towards him as if he had
touched her, and he fancied that her face was paler since the night before.
She soon went off to her own room and did not reappear till breakfast.
It had rained since early morning, so that there was no question of going for walks.
The whole party assembled in the drawing room.
Arkady took up the last number of a journal and began to read.
The princess, as usual, first tried to express angry amazement by her facial
expression, as though he were doing something indecent, then glared angrily at
him, but he paid no attention to her.
"Evgeny Vassilich," said Anna Sergeyevna, "let us go to my room.
I want to ask mentioned a textbook yesterday..."
She got up and went to the door.
The princess looked round as if she wanted to say, "Look at me; see how shocked I am!"
and again stared at Arkady, but he merely raised his head, and exchanging glances
with Katya, near whom he was sitting, he went on reading.
Madame Odintsov walked quickly into her study.
Bazarov followed her without raising his eyes, and only listening to the delicate
swish and rustle of her silk dress gliding in front of him.
Madame Odintsov sat down in the same armchair in which she had sat the evening
before, and Bazarov also sat down in his former place.
"Well, what is that book called?" she began after a short silence.
"Pelouse et Free Notions Generales...," answered Bazarov.
"However, I might recommend to you also Ganot, Traite elementaire de Physique
Experimentale. In that book the illustrations are clearer,
and as a complete textbook--"
Madame Odintsov held out her hand. "Evgeny Vassilich, excuse me, but I didn't
invite you here to discuss textbooks. I wanted to go on with our conversation of
last night.
You went away so suddenly...It won't bore you?"
"I am at your service, Anna Sergeyevna. But what were we talking about last night?"
Madame Odintsov cast a sidelong glance at Bazarov.
"We were talking about happiness, I believe.
I told you about myself.
By the way, I just mentioned the word 'happiness.'
Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying, for instance, music, a beautiful
evening, or a conversation with agreeable people, it all seems to be rather a hint of
immeasurable happiness existing somewhere
apart, rather than genuine happiness, such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
Why is it? Or perhaps you never experience that kind
of feeling?"
"You know the saying, 'Happiness is where we are not,'" replied Bazarov.
"Besides, you told me yesterday that you are discontented.
But it is as you say, no such ideas ever enter my head."
"Perhaps they seem ridiculous to you?" "No, they just don't enter my head."
Do you know, I should very much like to know what you do think about?"
"How? I don't understand you." "Listen, I have long wanted to have a frank
talk with you.
There is no need to tell you--for you know it yourself--that you are not an ordinary
person; you are still young--your whole life lies before you.
For what are you preparing yourself?
What future awaits you? I mean to say, what purpose are you aiming
at, in what direction are you moving, what is in your heart?
In short, who and what are you?"
"You surprise me, Anna Sergeyevna. You know, that I am studying natural
science and who I..." "Yes, who are you?"
"I have already told you that I am going to be a district doctor."
Anna Sergeyevna made an impatient movement. "What do you say that for?
You don't believe it yourself.
Arkady might answer me in that way, but not you."
"How does Arkady come in?" "Stop!
Is it possible you could content yourself with such a humble career, and aren't you
always declaring that medicine doesn't exist for you?
You--with your ambition--a district doctor!
You answer me like that in order to put me off because you have no confidence in me.
But you know, Evgeny Vassilich, I should be able to understand you; I also have been
poor and ambitious, like you; perhaps I went through the same trials as you."
"That's all very well, Anna Sergeyevna, but you must excuse me...
I am not in the habit of talking freely about myself in general, and there is such
a gulf between you and me..."
"In what way, a gulf? Do you mean to tell me again that I am an
aristocrat? Enough of that, Evgeny Vassilich; I thought
I had convinced you..."
"And apart from all that," broke in Bazarov, "how can we want to talk and think
about the future, which for the most part doesn't depend on ourselves?
If an opportunity turns up of doing something--so much the better, and if it
doesn't turn up--at least one can be glad that one didn't idly gossip about it
"You call a friendly conversation gossip! Or perhaps you consider me as a woman
unworthy of your confidence? I know you despise us all!"
"I don't despise you, Anna Sergeyevna, and you know that."
"No, I don't know anything...but let us suppose so.
I understand your disinclination to talk about your future career, but as to what is
taking place within you now..." "Taking place!" repeated Bazarov.
"As if I were some kind of government or society!
In any case, it is completely uninteresting, and besides, can a person
always speak out loud of everything which 'takes place' within him!"
"But I don't see why you shouldn't speak freely, about everything you have in your
heart." "Can you?" asked Bazarov.
"I can," answered Anna Sergeyevna, after a moment's hesitation.
Bazarov bowed his head. "You are luckier than I."
"As you like," she continued, "but still something tells me that we did not get to
know each other for nothing, that we shall become good friends.
I am sure that your--how shall I say--your constraint, your reserve, will disappear
eventually." "So you have noticed in me reserve...and,
how did you put it--constraint?"
"Yes." Bazarov got up and went to the window.
"And would you like to know the reason for this reserve, would you like to know what
is happening within me?"
"Yes," repeated Madame Odintsov, with a sort of dread which she did not quite
understand. "And you will not be angry?"
"No?" Bazarov was standing with his back to her.
"Let me tell you then that I love you like a fool, like a madman...There, you've got
that out of me."
Madame Odintsov raised both her hands in front of her, while Bazarov pressed his
forehead against the windowpane. He was breathing hard; his whole body
trembled visibly.
But it was not the trembling of youthful timidity, not the sweet awe of the first
declaration that possessed him: it was passion beating within him, a powerful
heavy passion not unlike fury and perhaps
akin to it...Madame Odintsov began to feel both frightened and sorry for him.
"Evgeny Vassilich...," she murmured, and her voice rang with unconscious tenderness.
He quickly turned round, threw a devouring look at her--and seizing both her hands, he
suddenly pressed her to him.
She did not free herself at once from his embrace, but a moment later she was
standing far away in a corner and looking from there at Bazarov.
He rushed towards her...
"You misunderstood me," she whispered in hurried alarm.
It seemed that if he had made one more step she would have screamed...
Bazarov bit his lips and went out.
Half an hour later a maid gave Anna Sergeyevna a note from Bazarov; it
consisted merely of one line: "Am I to leave today, or can I stop till tomorrow?"
"Why should you leave?
I did not understand you--you did not understand me," Anna Sergeyevna answered,
but to herself she thought "I did not understand myself either."
She did not show herself till dinnertime, and kept walking up and down her room, with
her arms behind her back, sometimes stopping in front of the window or the
mirror, and sometimes slowly rubbing her
handkerchief over her neck, on which she still seemed to feel a burning spot.
She asked herself what had impelled her to get that out of him, as Bazarov had
expressed it, to secure his confidence, and whether she had really suspected
nothing..."I am to blame," she concluded
aloud, "but I could not have foreseen this."
She became pensive and blushed when she recalled Bazarov's almost animal face when
he had rushed at her...
"Or?" she suddenly uttered aloud, stopped short and shook her curls...she caught
sight of herself in the mirror; her tossed- back head, with a mysterious smile on the
half-closed, half-open eyes and lips, told
her, it seemed, in a flash something at which she herself felt confused...
"No," she decided at last.
"God alone knows what it would lead to; he couldn't be trifled with; after all, peace
is better than anything else in the world."
Her own peace of mind was not deeply disturbed; but she felt sad and once even
burst into tears, without knowing why--but not on account of the insult she had just
She did not feel insulted; she was more inclined to feel guilty.
Under the influence of various confused impulses, the consciousness that life was
passing her by, the craving for novelty, she had forced herself to move on to a
certain point, forced herself also to look
beyond it--and there she had seen not even an abyss, but only sheer emptiness...or
something hideous.