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Fathers and Sons is a novel by Ivan Turgenev, and vies with A Nest of Gentlefolk for the repute of being his best novel.Arkady Kirsanov has just graduated from the University of Petersburg and returns with a friend, Bazarov, to his father's modest estate in an outlying province of Russia. His father, Nikolai, gladly receives the two young men at his estate, called Maryino, but Nikolai's brother, Pavel, soon becomes upset by the strange new philosophy called "nihilism" which the young men, especially Bazarov advocate.Nikolai, initially delighted to have his son return home, slowly begins to feel uneasy, and a certain awkwardness in his regard, as it emerges that Arkady's views, much influenced by Bazarov, are radical and make his own beliefs feel dated. Nikolai has always tried to stay as current as possible, by doing things such as visiting his son at school so the two can stay as close as they are, but this in Nikolai's eyes has failed. To complicate this, the father has taken a servant, Fenechka, into his house to live with him and has already had a son by her. Arkady however is not troubled by the relationship: to the contrary, he openly celebrates the acquisition of a younger brother.The two young men stay over at Maryino for some weeks, then decide to visit a relative of Arkady's in a neighboring province. There, they observe the local gentry and meet Madame Anna Sergevna Odintsova, an elegant woman of independent means, who cuts a seductively different figure from the pretentious or humdrum types of her surrounding provincial society of gentry. Both are attracted to her, and she, intrigued by Bazarov's singular manner, invites them to spend a few days at her estate, Nikolskoe. While Bazarov at first feels nothing for Anna, Arkady fall head over heels in love with her.
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Copyright © 2017 by Ivan Turgenev.
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations em- bodied in critical articles or reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organiza- tions, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Book and Cover design by Sheba Blake Publishing
First Edition: January 2017
FATHERS AND SONS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Dedicated to the memory of
Vissarion Grigor'evich Belinsky
"WELL, PYOTR, STILL NOT IN SIGHT?" WAS THE QUESTION ASKED ON 20th May, 1859, by a gentleman of about forty, wearing a dusty overcoat and checked trousers, who came out hatless into the low porch of the posting station at X. He was speaking to his servant, a chubby young fellow with whitish down growing on his chin and with dim little eyes.
The servant, in whom everything--the turquoise ring in his ear, the hair plastered down with grease and the polite flexibility of his movements--indicated a man of the new improved generation, glanced condescendingly along the road and answered, "No, sir, definitely not in sight."
"Not in sight?" repeated his master.
"No, sir," replied the servant again.
His master sighed and sat down on a little bench. We will introduce him to the reader while he sits, with his feet tucked in, looking thoughtfully around.
His name was Nikolai Petrovich Kirsanov. He owned, about twelve miles from the posting station, a fine property of two hundred serfs or, as he called it--since he had arranged the division of his land with the peasants--a "farm" of nearly five thousand acres. His father, a general in the army, who had served in 1812, a crude, almost illiterate, but good-natured type of Russian, had stuck to a routine job all his life, first commanding a brigade and later a division, and lived permanently in the provinces, where by virtue of his rank he was able to play a certain part. Nikolai Petrovich was born in south Russia, as was his elder brother Pavel, of whom we shall hear more; till the age of fourteen he was educated at home, surrounded by cheap tutors, free-and-easy but fawning adjutants, and all the usual regimental and staff people. His mother, a member of the Kolyazin family, was called Agatha as a girl, but as a general's wife her name was Agafoklea Kuzminishna Kirsanov; she was a domineering military lady, wore gorgeous caps and rustling silk dresses; in church she was the first to go up to the cross, she talked a lot in a loud voice, let her children kiss her hand every morning and gave them her blessing at night--in fact, she enjoyed her life and got as much out of it as she could. As a general's son, Nikolai Petrovich--though so far from brave that he had even been called a "funk"--was intended, like his brother Pavel, to enter the army; but he broke his leg on the very day he obtained a commission and after spending two months in bed he never got rid of a slight limp for the rest of his life. His father gave him up as a bad job and let him go in for the civil service. He took him to Petersburg as soon as he was eighteen and placed him in the university there. His brother happened at the same time to become an officer in a guards regiment. The young men started to share a flat together, and were kept under the remote supervision of a cousin on their mother's side, Ilya Kolyazin, an important official. Their father returned to his division and to his wife and only occasionally wrote to his sons on large sheets of grey paper, scrawled over in an ornate clerkly handwriting; the bottom of these sheets was adorned with a scroll enclosing the words, "Pyotr Kirsanov, Major-General." In 1835 Nikolai Petrovich graduated from the university, and in the same year General Kirsanov was put on the retired list after an unsuccessful review, and came with his wife to live in Petersburg. He was about to take a house in the Tavrichesky Gardens, and had joined the English club, when he suddenly died of an apoplectic fit. Agafoklea Kuzminishna soon followed him to the grave; she could not adapt herself to a dull life in the capital and was consumed by the boredom of retirement from regimental existence. Meanwhile Nikolai Petrovich, during his parents' lifetime and much to their distress, had managed to fall in love with the daughter of his landlord, a petty official called Prepolovensky. She was an attractive and, as they call it, well-educated girl; she used to read the serious articles in the science column of the newspapers. He married her as soon as the period of mourning for his parents was over, and leaving the civil service, where his father had secured him a post through patronage, he started to live very happily with his Masha, first in a country villa near the Forestry Institute, afterwards in Petersburg in a pretty little flat with a clean staircase and a draughty drawing room, and finally in the country where he settled down and where in due course his son, Arkady, was born. Husband and wife lived well and peacefully; they were hardly ever separated, they read together, they sang and played duets together on the piano, she grew flowers and looked after the poultry yard, he busied himself with the estate and sometimes hunted, while Arkady went on growing in the same happy and peaceful way. Ten years passed like a dream. Then in 1847 Kirsanov's wife died. He hardly survived this blow and his hair turned grey in a few weeks; he was preparing to travel abroad, if possible to distract his thoughts... but then came the year 1848. He returned unwillingly to the country and after a rather long penod of inactivity he began to take an interest in improving his estate. In 1855 he brought his son to the university and spent three winters in Petersburg with him, hardly going out anywhere and trying to make acquaintance with Arkady's young comrades. The last winter he was unable to go, and here we see him in May, 1859, already entirely grey-haired, plump and rather bent, waiting for his son, who had just taken his university degree, as once he had taken it himself.
The servant, from a feeling of propriety, and perhaps also because he was anxious to escape from his master's eye, had gone over to the gate and was smoking a pipe. Nikolai Petrovich bowed his head and began to stare at the crumbling steps; a big mottled hen walked sedately towards him, treading firmly with its thick yellow legs; a dirty cat cast a disapproving look at him, as she twisted herself coyly round the railing. The sun was scorching; a smell of hot rye bread was wafted from the dim entrance of the posting station. Nikolai Petrovich started musing. "My son... a graduate... Arkasha..." kept on turning round in his mind; he tried to think of something else, but the same thoughts returned. He remembered his dead wife. "She did not live to see it," he murmured sadly. A plump blue pigeon flew on to the road and hurriedly started to drink water from a puddle near the well. Nikolai Petrovich began to watch it, but his ear had already caught the sound of approaching wheels...
"It sounds as if they're coming, sir," announced the servant, emerging from the gateway.
Nikolai Petrovich jumped up and fixed his eyes on the road. A carriage appeared with three posting horses abreast; inside it he caught a glimpse of the band of a student's cap and the familiar outline of a dear face...
"Arkasha! Arkasha!" cried Kirsanov, and he ran out into the road, waving his arms... A few moments later his lips were pressed to the beardless dusty sunburnt cheek of the young graduate.
"LET ME SHAKE MYSELF FIRST, DADDY," SAID ARKADY, IN A VOICE rather tired from traveling but boyish and resonant, as he responded gaily to his father's greetings; "I'm covering you with dust."
"Never mind, never mind," repeated Nikolai Petrovich, smiling tenderly, and struck the collar of his son's cloak and his own greatcoat with his hand. "Let me have a look at you; just show yourself," he added, moving back from him, and then hurried away towards the station yard, calling out, "This way, this way, bring the horses along at once.
Nikolai Petrovich seemed much more excited than his son; he was really rather confused and shy. Arkady stopped him.
"Daddy," he said, "let me introduce you to my great friend, Bazarov, about whom I wrote to you so often. He has kindly agreed to come to stay with us."
Nikolai Petrovich turned round quickly and going up to a tall man in a long, loose rough coat with tassels, who had just climbed out of the carriage, he warmly pressed the ungloved red hand which the latter did not at once hold out to him.
"I am delighted," he began, "and grateful for your kind intention to visit us; I hope--please tell me your name and patronymic."
"Evgeny Vassilyev," answered Bazarov in a lazy but manly voice, and turning back the collar of his rough overcoat he showed his whole face. It was long and thin with a broad forehead, a nose flat at the base and sharper at the end, large greenish eyes and sand-colored, drooping side whiskers; it was enlivened by a calm smile and looked self-confident and intelligent.
"I hope, my dear Evgeny Vassilich, that you won't be bored staying with us," continued Nikolai Petrovich.
Bazarov's thin lips moved slightly, but he made no answer and merely took off his cap. His fair hair, long and thick, did not hide the prominent bumps on his broad skull.
"Well, Arkady," Nikolai Petrovich began again, turning to his son, "would you rather have the horses brought round at once or would you like to rest?"
"We'll rest at home, Daddy; tell them to harness the horses."
"At once, at once," his father exclaimed. "Hey, Pyotr, do you hear? Get a move on, my boy." Pyotr, who as a perfectly modern servant had not kissed his master's hand but only bowed to him from a distance, vanished again through the gates.
"I came here with the carriage, but there are three horses for your tarantass also," said Nikolai Petrovich fussily, while Arkady drank some water from an iron bucket brought to him by the woman in charge of the station, and Bazarov began smoking a pipe and went up to the driver, who was unharnessing the horses. "There are only two seats in the carriage, and I don't know how your friend..."
"He will go in the tarantass," interrupted Arkady in an undertone. "Don't stand on ceremony with him, please. He's a splendid fellow, so simple--you will see."
Nikolai Petrovich's coachman brought the horses round.
"Well, make haste, bushy beard!" said Bazarov, addressing the driver.
"Do you hear, Mitya," chipped in another driver, standing with his hands behind him thrust into the slits of his sheepskin coat, "what the gentleman just called you? That's just what you are--a bushy beard."
Mitya only jerked his hat and pulled the reins off the steaming horses.
"Hurry up, lads, lend a hand!" cried Nikolai Petrovich. "There'll be something to drink our health with!"
In a few minutes the horses were harnessed; father and son took their places in the carriage: Pyotr climbed on to the box; Bazarov jumped into the tarantass, leaned his head back against the leather cushion--and both vehicles rolled away.
"SO HERE YOU ARE, A GRADUATE AT LAST--AND HOME AGAIN," said Nikolai Petrovich, touching Arkady now on the shoulder, now on the knee. "At last!"
"And how is uncle? Is he well?" asked Arkady, who in spite of the genuine, almost childish joy which filled him, wanted as soon as possible to turn the conversation from an emotional to a more commonplace level.
"Quite well. He wanted to come with me to meet you, but for some reason he changed his mind."
"And did you have a long wait for me?" asked Arkady.
"Oh, about five hours."
"You dear old daddy!"
Arkady turned round briskly to his father and gave him a resounding kiss on the cheek. Nikolai Petrovich laughed quietly.
"I've got a splendid horse for you," he began. "You will see for yourself. And your room has been freshly papered."
"And is there a room ready for Bazarov?"
"We will find one all right."
"Please, Daddy, be kind to him. I can't tell you how much I value his friendship."
"You met him only recently?"
"That's how I didn't see him last winter. What is he studying?"
"His chief subject is--natural science. But he knows everything. Next year he wants to take his doctor's degree."
"Ah! he's in the medical faculty," remarked Nikolai Petrovich, and fell silent. "Pyotr," he went on, stretching out his hand, "aren't those our peasants driving along?"
Pyotr looked aside to where his master was pointing. A few carts, drawn by unbridled horses, were rolling rapidly along a narrow side-track. In each cart were seated one or two peasants in unbuttoned sheepskin coats.
"Just so, sir," replied Pyotr.
"Where are they going--to the town?"
"To the town, I suppose--to the pub," Pyotr added contemptuously, and half turned towards the coachman as if including him in the reproach. But the latter did not turn a hair; he was a man of the old type and did not share the latest views of the younger generation.
"The peasants have given me a lot of trouble this year," went on Nikolai Petrovich, turning to his son. "They won't pay their rent. What is one to do?"
"And are you satisfied with your hired laborers?"
"Yes," said Nikolai Petrovich between his teeth. "But they're being set against me, that's the worst of it, and they don't really work properly; they spoil the tools. However, they've managed to plough the land. We shall manage somehow--there will be enough flour to go round. Are you starting to be interested in agriculture?"
"What a pity you have no shade," remarked Arkady, without answering the last question.
"I have had a big awning put up on the north side over the veranda," said Nikolai Petrovich; "now we can even have dinner in the open air."
"Won't it be rather too like a summer villa?... But that's a minor matter. What air there is here! How wonderful it smells. Really it seems to me no air in the world is so sweetly scented as here! And the sky too..." Arkady suddenly stopped, cast a quick look behind him and did not finish his sentence.
"Naturally," observed Nikolai Petrovich, "you were born here, so everything is bound to strike you with a special----"
"Really, Daddy, it makes absolutely no difference where a person is born."
"No, it makes no difference at all."
Nikolai Petrovich glanced sideways at his son, and the carriage went on half a mile farther before their conversation was renewed.
"I forget if I wrote to you," began Nikolai Petrovich, "that your old nurse Yegorovna has died."
"Really? Poor old woman! And is Prokovich still alive?"
"Yes, and not changed a bit. He grumbles as much as ever. Indeed, you won't find many changes at Maryino."
"Have you still the same bailiff?"
"Well, I have made a change there. I decided it was better not to keep around me any freed serfs who had been house servants; at least not to entrust them with any responsible jobs." Arkady glanced towards Pyotr. "Il est libre en effet," said Nikolai Petrovich in an undertone, "but as you see, he's only a valet. My new bailiff is a townsman--he seems fairly efficient. I pay him 250 rubles a year. But," added Nikolai Petrovich, rubbing his forehead and eyebrows with his hand (which was always with him a sign of embarrassment), "I told you just now you would find no changes at Maryino,... That's not quite true... I think it my duty to tell you in advance, though...."
He hesitated for a moment and then went on in French.
"A severe moralist would consider my frankness improper, but in the first place I can't conceal it, and then, as you know, I have always had my own particular principles about relations between father and son. Of course you have a right to blame me. At my age... To cut a long story short, that--that girl about whom you've probably heard...."
"Fenichka?" inquired Arkady casually.
Nikolai Petrovich blushed.
"Don't mention her name so loudly, please... Well, yes... she lives with me now. I have installed her in the house... there were two small rooms available. Of course, all that can be altered."
"But why, Daddy; what for?'
"Your friend will be staying with us... it will be awkward."
"Please don't worry about Bazarov. He's above all that."
"Well, but you too," added Nikolai Petrovich. "Unfortunately the little side-wing is in such a bad state."
"For goodness' sake, Daddy," interposed Arkady. "You needn't apologize. Are you ashamed?"
"Of course, I ought to be ashamed," answered Nikolai Petrovich, turning redder and redder.
"Enough of that, Daddy, please don't..." Arkady smiled affectionately. "What a thing to apologize for," he thought to himself, and his heart was filled with a feeling of indulgent tenderness for his kind, soft-hearted father, mixed with a sense of secret superiority. "Please stop that," he repeated once more, instinctively enjoying the awareness of his own more emancipated outlook.
Nikolai Petrovich looked at his son through the fingers of the hand with which he was again rubbing his forehead, and a pang seized his heart... but he immediately reproached himself for it.
"Here are our own meadows at last," he remarked after a long silence.
"And that is our forest over there, isn't it?" asked Arkady.
"Yes. But I have sold it. This year they will cut it down for timber."
"Why did you sell it?"
"We need the money; besides, that land will be taken over by the peasants."
"Who don't pay their rent?"
"That's their affair; anyhow they will pay it some day."
"It's a pity about the forest," said Arkady, and began to look around him.
The country through which they were driving could not possibly be called picturesque. Field after field stretched right up to the horizon, now gently sloping upwards, then slanting down again; in some places woods were visible and winding ravines, planted with low scrubby bushes, vividly reminiscent of the way in which they were represented on the old maps of Catherine's times. They passed by little streams with hollow banks and ponds with narrow dams, small villages with low huts under dark and often crumbling roofs, and crooked barns with walls woven out of dry twigs and with gaping doorways opening on to neglected threshing floors; and churches, some brick-built with the stucco covering peeling off in patches, others built of wood, near crosses fallen crooked in the overgrown graveyards. Gradually Arkady's heart began to sink. As if to complete the picture, the peasants whom they met were all in rags and mounted on the most wretched-looking little horses; the willows, with their broken branches and trunks stripped of bark, stood like tattered beggars along the roadside; lean and shaggy cows, pinched with hunger, were greedily tearing up grass along the ditches. They looked as if they had just been snatched out of the clutches of some terrifying murderous monster; and the pitiful sight of these emaciated animals in the setting of that gorgeous spring day conjured up, like a white ghost, the vision of interminable joyless winter with its storms, frosts and snows... "No," thought Arkady, "this country is far from rich, and the people seem neither contented nor industrious; we just can't let things go on like this; reforms are indispensable... but how are we to execute them, how should we begin?"
Such were Arkady's thoughts... but even while he was thinking, the spring regained its sway. All around lay a sea of golden green--everything, trees, bushes and grass, vibrated and stirred in gentle waves under the breath of the warm breeze; from every side the larks were pouring out their loud continuous trills; the plovers were calling as they glided over the low-lying meadows or noiselessly ran over the tufts of grass; the crows strutted about in the low spring corn, looking picturesquely black against its tender green; they disappeared in the already whitening rye, only from time to time their heads peeped out from among its misty waves. Arkady gazed and gazed and his thoughts grew slowly fainter and died away... He flung off his overcoat and turned round with such a bright boyish look that his father hugged him once again.
"We're not far away now," remarked Nikolai Petrovich. "As soon as we get to the top of this hill the house will be in sight. We shall have a fine life together, Arkasha; you will help me to farm the land, if only it doesn't bore you. We must draw close to each other now and get to know each other better, mustn't we?"
"Of course," murmured Arkady. "But what a wonderful day it is!"
"To welcome you home, my dear one. Yes, this is spring in all its glory. Though I agree with Pushkin--do you remember, in Evgeny Onegin,
"'To me how sad your coming is, Spring, spring, sweet time of love! What----'"
"Arkady," shouted Bazarov's voice from the tarantass, "give me a match. I've got nothing to light my pipe with."
Nikolai Petrovich fell silent, while Arkady, who had been listening to him with some surprise but not without sympathy, hurriedly pulled a silver matchbox out of his pocket and told Pyotr to take it over to Bazarov.
"Do you want a cigar?" shouted Bazarov again.
"Thanks," answered Arkady.
Pyotr came back to the carriage and handed him, together with the matchbox, a thick black cigar, which Arkady started to smoke at once, spreading around him such a strong and acrid smell of cheap tobacco that Nikolai Petrovich, who had never been a smoker, was forced to turn away his head, which he did unobtrusively, to avoid hurting his son's feelings.
A quarter of an hour later both carriages drew up in front of the porch of a new wooden house, painted grey, with a red iron roof. This was Maryino, also known as New Hamlet, or as the peasants had nicknamed it, Landless Farm.
NO CROWD OF HOUSE SERVANTS RAN OUT TO MEET THEIR MASTER; there appeared only a little twelve-year-old girl, and behind her a young lad, very like Pyotr, came out of the house; he was dressed in a grey livery with white armorial buttons and was the servant of Pavel Petrovich Kirsanov. He silently opened the carriage door and unbuttoned the apron of the tarantass. Nikolai Petrovich with his son and Bazarov walked through a dark and almost empty hall, through the door of which they caught a glimpse of a young woman's face, and into a drawing room furnished in the most modern style.
"Well, here we are at home," said Nikolai Petrovich, removing his cap and shaking back his hair. "Now the main thing is to have supper and then to rest."
"It wouldn't be a bad thing to have a meal, certainly," said Bazarov, stretching himself, and he sank on to a sofa.
"Yes, yes, let us have supper at once," exclaimed Nikolai Petrovich, and for no apparent reason stamped his foot. "Ah, here comes Prokovich, just at the right moment."
A man of sixty entered, white-haired, thin and swarthy, dressed in a brown coat with brass buttons and a pink neckerchief. He grinned, went up to kiss Arkady's hand, and after bowing to the guest, retreated to the door and put his hands behind his back.
"Here he is, Prokovich," began Nikolai Petrovich; "at last he has come back to us... Well? How do you find him?"
"As well as could be," said the old man, and grinned again. Then he quickly knitted his bushy eyebrows. "Do you want supper served?" he asked solemnly.
"Yes, yes, please. But don't you want to go to your room first, Evgeny Vassilich?"
"No, thanks. There's no need. Only tell them to carry my little trunk in there and this garment, too," he added, taking off his loose overcoat.
"Certainly. Prokovich, take the gentleman's coat." (Prokovich, with a puzzled look, picked up Bazarov's "garment" with both hands, and holding it high above his head went out on tiptoe.) "And you, Arkady, are you going to your room for a moment?"
"Yes, I must wash," answered Arkady, and was just moving towards the door when at that moment there entered the drawing room a man of medium height, dressed in a dark English suit, a fashionable low cravat and patent leather shoes, Pavel Petrovich Kirsanov. He looked about forty-five; his closely cropped grey hair shone with a dark luster like unpolished silver; his ivory-colored face, without wrinkles, had exceptionally regular and clear features, as though carved by a sharp and delicate chisel, and showed traces of outstanding beauty; particularly fine were his shining, dark almond-shaped eyes. The whole figure of Arkady's uncle, graceful and aristocratic, had preserved the flexibility of youth and that air of striving upwards, away from the earth, which usually disappears when people are over thirty.
Pavel Petrovich drew from his trouser pocket his beautiful hand with its long pink nails, a hand which looked even more beautiful against the snowy white cuff buttoned with a single large opal, and stretched it out to his nephew. After a preliminary European hand shake, he kissed him three times in the Russian style; in fact he touched his cheek three times with his perfumed mustache, and said, "Welcome!"
Nikolai Petrovich introduced him to Bazarov; Pavel Petrovich responded with a slight inclination of his supple body and a slight smile, but he did not give him his hand and even put it back in his pocket.
"I began to think that you weren't coming today," he began in a pleasant voice, with an amiable swing and shrug of the shoulders; his smile showed his splendid white teeth. "Did anything go wrong on the road?"
"Nothing went wrong," answered Arkady. "Only we dawdled a bit. So now we're as hungry as wolves. Make Prokovich hurry up, Daddy; I'll be back in a moment."
"Wait, I'm coming with you," exclaimed Bazarov, suddenly pulling himself off the sofa. Both the young men went out.
"Who is he?" asked Pavel Petrovich.
"A friend of Arkasha's; according to him a very clever young man."
"Is he going to stay with us?"
"That unkempt creature!"
Pavel Petrovich drummed on the table with his finger tips. "I fancy Arkady s'est dégourdi," he observed. "I'm glad he has come back."
At supper there was little conversation. Bazarov uttered hardly a word, but ate a lot. Nikolai Petrovich told various anecdotes about what he called his farming career, talked about the forthcoming government measures, about committees, deputations, the need to introduce new machinery, etc. Pavel Petrovich paced slowly up and down the dining room (he never ate supper), occasionally sipping from a glass of red wine and less often uttering some remark or rather exclamation, such as "Ah! aha! hm!" Arkady spoke about the latest news from Petersburg, but he was conscious of being a bit awkward, with that awkwardness which usually overcomes a youth when he has just stopped being a child and has come back to a place where they are accustomed to regard and treat him as a child. He made his sentences quite unnecessarily long, avoided the word "Daddy," and even sometimes replaced it by the word "Father," mumbled between his teeth; with exaggerated carelessness he poured into his glass far more wine than he really wanted and drank it all. Prokovich did not take his eyes off him and kept on chewing his lips. After supper they all separated at once.
"Your uncle's a queer fellow," Bazarov said to Arkady, as he sat in his dressing gown by the bed, smoking a short pipe. "All that smart dandyism in the country. Just think of it! And his nails, his nails--they ought to be sent to an exhibition!"
"Why, of course you don't know," replied Arkady; "he was a great figure in his day. I'll tell you his story sometime. He was extremely handsome, and used to turn all the women's heads."
"Oh, that's it! So he keeps it up for the sake of old times. What a pity there's no one for him to fascinate here! I kept on looking at his astonishing collar, just like marble--and his chin, so meticulously shaved. Come, come, Arkady, isn't it ridiculous?"
"Perhaps it is, but he's a good man really."
"An archaic survival! But your father is a splendid fellow. He wastes his time reading poetry and knows precious little about farming, but he's kindhearted."
"My father has a heart of gold."
"Did you notice how shy he was?"
Arkady shook his head, as if he were not shy himself.
"It's something astonishing," went on Bazarov, "these old romantic idealists! They go on developing their nervous systems till they get highly strung and irritable, then they lose their balance completely. Well, good night. In my room there's an English washstand, but the door won't fasten. Anyhow, that ought to be encouraged--English washstands--they stand for progress!"
Bazarov went out, and a sense of peaceful happiness stole over Arkady. It was sweet to fall asleep in one's own home, in the familiar bed, under the quilt which had been worked by loving hands, perhaps the hands of his old nurse, those gentle, good and tireless hands. Arkady remembered Yegorovna, and sighed and wished, "God rest her soul"... for himself he said no prayer.
Both he and Bazarov soon fell asleep, but others in the house remained awake much longer. Nikolai Petrovich was agitated by his son's return. He lay in bed but did not put out the candles, and propping his head in his hands he went on thinking. His brother was sitting till long after midnight in his study, in a wide armchair in front of the fireplace, in which some embers glowed faintly. Pavel Petrovich had not undressed, but some red Chinese slippers had replaced his patent leather shoes. He held in his hand the last number of Galignani, but he was not reading it; he gazed fixedly into the fireplace, where a bluish flame flickered, dying down and flaring up again at intervals... God knows where his thoughts were wandering, but they were not wandering only in the past; his face had a stern and concentrated expression, unlike that of a man who is solely absorbed in his memories. And in a little back room, on a large chest, sat a young woman in a blue jacket with a white kerchief thrown over her dark hair; this was Fenichka; she was now listening, now dozing, now looking across towards the open door, through which a child's bed was visible and the regular breathing of a sleeping infant could be heard.
THE NEXT MORNING BAZAROV WOKE UP EARLIER THAN ANYONE else and went out of the house. "Ugh!" he thought, "this isn't much of a place!" When Nikolai Petrovich had divided his estate with his peasants, he had to set aside for his new manor house four acres of entirely flat and barren land. He had built a house, offices and farm buildings, laid out a garden, dug a pond and sunk two wells; but the young trees had not flourished, very little water had collected in the pond, and the well water had a brackish taste. Only one arbor of lilac and acacia had grown up properly; the family sometimes drank tea or dined there. In a few minutes Bazarov had explored all the little paths in the garden; he went into the cattle yard and the stables, discovered two farm boys with whom he made friends at once, and went off with them to a small swamp about a mile from the house in order to search for frogs.
"What do you want frogs for, sir?" asked one of the boys.
"I'll tell you what for," answered Bazarov, who had a special capacity for winning the confidence of lower-class people, though he never cringed to them and indeed treated them casually; "I shall cut the frog open to see what goes on inside him, and then, as you and I are much the same as frogs except that we walk on legs, I shall learn what is going on inside us as well."
"And why do you want to know that?"
"In order not to make a mistake if you're taken ill and I have to cure you."
"Are you a doctor, then?"
"Vaska, did you hear that? The gentleman says that you and I are just like frogs; that's queer."
"I'm frightened of frogs," remarked Vaska, a boy of seven with flaxen hair and bare feet, dressed in a grey smock with a high collar.
"What are you frightened of? Do they bite?"
"There, paddle along into the water, you philosophers," said Bazarov.
Meanwhile Nikolai Petrovich had also awakened and had gone to see Arkady, whom he found dressed. Father and son went out on to the terrace under the shelter of the awning; the samovar was already boiling on the table near the balustrade among great bunches of lilac. A little girl appeared, the same one who had first met them on their arrival the evening before. In a shrill voice she said, "Fedosya Nikolayevna is not very well and she can't come; she told me to ask you, will you pour out tea yourself or should she send Dunyasha?"
"I'll pour myself, of course," interposed Nikolai Petrovich hurriedly. "Arkady, how do you like your tea, with cream or with lemon?"
"With cream," answered Arkady, then after a brief pause he muttered questioningly, "Daddy?"
Nikolai Petrovich looked at his son with embarrassment. "Well?" he said.
Arkady lowered his eyes.
"Excuse me, Daddy, if my question seems to you indiscreet," he began; "but you yourself by your frank talk yesterday encouraged me to be frank... you won't be angry?"
"You make me bold enough to ask you, isn't the reason why Fen... isn't it only because I'm here that she won't come to pour out tea?"
Nikolai Petrovich turned slightly aside.
"Perhaps," he at length answered, "she supposes... she feels ashamed."
Arkady glanced quickly at his father. "She has no reason to feel ashamed. In the first place, you know my point of view," (Arkady much enjoyed pronouncing these words) "and secondly, how could I want to interfere in the smallest way with your life and habits? Besides, I'm sure you couldn't make a bad choice; if you allow her to live under the same roof with you, she must be worthy of it; in any case, it's not for a son to judge his father--particularly for me, and with such a father, who has always let me do everything I wanted."
Arkady's voice trembled to start with; he felt he was being magnanimous and realized at the same time that he was delivering something like a lecture to his father; but the sound of his own voice has a powerful effect on any man, and Arkady pronounced the last words firmly and even emphatically.
"Thank you, Arkasha," said Nikolai Petrovich thickly, and his fingers again passed over his eyebrows. "What you suppose is in fact quite true. Of course if this girl hadn't deserved... it's not just a frivolous fancy. It's awkward for me to talk to you about this, but you understand that it's difficult for her to come here in your presence, especially on the first day of your arrival."
"In that case I'll go to her myself!" exclaimed Arkady, with a fresh onrush of generous excitement, and he jumped up from his seat. "I will explain to her that she has no need to feel ashamed in front of me."
Nikolai Petrovich got up also.
"Arkady," he began, "please... how is it possible... there... I haven't told you yet..."
But Arkady was no longer listening to him; he had run off the terrace. Nikolai Petrovich gazed after him and sank into a chair overwhelmed with confusion. His heart began to throb... Did he realize at that moment the inevitable strangeness of his future relations with his son? Was he aware that Arkady might have shown him more respect if he had never mentioned that subject at all? Did he reproach himself for weakness? It is hard to say. All these feelings moved within him. though in the state of vague sensations only, but the flush remained on his face, and his heart beat rapidly.
Then came the sound of hurrying footsteps and Arkady appeared on the terrace. "We have introduced ourselves, Daddy!" he cried with an expression of affectionate and good-natured triumph on his face. "Fedosya Nikolayevna is really not very well today, and she will come out a little later. But why didn't you tell me I have a brother? I should have kissed him last night as I kissed him just now!"
Nikolai Petrovich tried to say something, tried to rise and open wide his arms. Arkady flung himself on his neck.
"What's this? Embracing again!" sounded the voice of Pavel Petrovich behind them.
Father and son were both equally glad to see him at that moment; there are situations, however touching, from which one nevertheless wants to escape as quickly as possible.
"Why are you surprised at that?" said Nikolai Petrovich gaily. "What ages I've been waiting for Arkasha. I haven't had time to look at him properly since yesterday."
Arkady went up to his uncle and again felt on his cheeks the touch of that perfumed mustache. Pavel Petrovich sat down at the table. He was wearing another elegant English suit with a bright little fez on his head. That fez and the carelessly tied little cravat suggested the freedom of country life, but the stiff collar of his shirt--not white, it is true, but striped, as is correct with morning dress--stood up as inexorably as ever against his well-shaved chin.
"Where is your new friend?" he asked Arkady.
"He's not in the house; he usually gets up early and goes off somewhere. The main thing is not to pay any attention to him; he dislikes ceremony."
"Yes, that's obvious," Pavel Petrovich began, slowly spreading butter on his bread. "Is he going to stay long with us?"
"Possibly. He came here on his way to his father's."
"And where does his father live?"
"In our province, about sixty-five miles from here. He has a small property there. He used to be an army doctor."
"Tut, tut, tut! Of course. I kept on asking myself, 'Where have I heard that name before, Bazarov?' Nikolai, don't you remember, there was a surgeon called Bazarov in our father's division."
"I believe there was."
"Exactly. So that surgeon is his father. Hm!" Pavel Petrovich pulled his mustache. "Well, and Monsieur Bazarov, what is he?" he asked in a leisurely tone.
"What is Bazarov?" Arkady smiled. "Would you like me to tell you, uncle, what he really is?"
"Please do, nephew."
"He is a nihilist!"
"What?" asked Nikolai Petrovich, while Pavel Petrovich lifted his knife in the air with a small piece of butter on the tip and remained motionless.
"He is a nihilist," repeated Arkady.
"A nihilist," said Nikolai Petrovich. "That comes from the Latin nihil, nothing, as far as I can judge; the word must mean a man who... who recognizes nothing?"
"Say--who respects nothing," interposed Pavel Petrovich and lowered his knife with the butter on it.
"Who regards everything from the critical point of view," said Arkady.
"Isn't that exactly the same thing?" asked Pavel Petrovich.
"No, it's not the same thing. A nihilist is a person who does not bow down to any authority, who does not accept any principle on faith, however much that principle may be revered."
"Well, and is that good?" asked Pavel Petrovich. "That depends, uncle dear. For some it is good, for others very bad."
"Indeed. Well, I see that's not in our line. We old-fashioned people think that without principles, taken as you say on faith, one can't take a step or even breathe. Vous avez changé tout cela; may God grant you health and a general's rank, and we shall be content to look on and admire your... what was the name?"
"Nihilists," said Arkady, pronouncing very distinctly.
"Yes, there used to be Hegelists and now there are nihilists. We shall see how you will manage to exist in the empty airless void; and now ring, please, brother Nikolai, it's time for me to drink my cocoa."
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