Franz Kafka

Sunday, March 29, 2015

St. John's Eve (Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka) by Nikolai Gogol, Full Text English Version, English Translation. Nikolai Gogol, Saint John's Eve (Russian: Вечер накануне Ивана Купала)

Nikolai Wassiljewitsch Gogol (Никола́й Васи́льевич Го́голь), a portrait by Alexander Andrejewitsch Iwanow (Александр Андреевич Иванов)

"St. John's Eve" (Russian: Вечер накануне Ивана Купала) is the second tale in the collection "Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka," by Nikolai Gogol, first published in 1830 in the literary Russian periodical Otechestvennye Zapiski.



Thoma Grigroovitch had one very strange eccentricity: to the day of
his death he never liked to tell the same thing twice. There were times
when, if you asked him to relate a thing afresh, he would interpolate
new matter, or alter it so that it was impossible to recognise it. Once
upon a time, one of those gentlemen who, like the usurers at our yearly
fairs, clutch and beg and steal every sort of frippery, and issue mean
little volumes, no thicker than an A B C book, every month, or even
every week, wormed this same story out of Thoma Grigorovitch, and the
latter completely forgot about it. But that same young gentleman, in the
pea-green caftan, came from Poltava, bringing with him a little book,
and, opening it in the middle, showed it to us. Thoma Grigorovitch
was on the point of setting his spectacles astride of his nose, but
recollected that he had forgotten to wind thread about them and stick
them together with wax, so he passed it over to me. As I understand
nothing about reading and writing, and do not wear spectacles, I
undertook to read it. I had not turned two leaves when all at once he
caught me by the hand and stopped me.

"Stop! tell me first what you are reading."

I confess that I was a trifle stunned by such a question.

"What! what am I reading, Thoma Grigorovitch? Why, your own words."

"Who told you that they were my words?"

"Why, what more would you have? Here it is printed: 'Related by such and
such a sacristan.'"

"Spit on the head of the man who printed that! he lies, the dog of a
Moscow pedlar! Did I say that? ''Twas just the same as though one hadn't
his wits about him!' Listen. I'll tell the tale to you on the spot."

We moved up to the table, and he began.


My grandfather (the kingdom of heaven be his! may he eat only wheaten
rolls and poppy-seed cakes with honey in the other world!) could tell a
story wonderfully well. When he used to begin a tale you could not
stir from the spot all day, but kept on listening. He was not like the
story-teller of the present day, when he begins to lie, with a tongue as
though he had had nothing to eat for three days, so that you snatch your
cap and flee from the house. I remember my old mother was alive then,
and in the long winter evenings when the frost was crackling out of
doors, and had sealed up hermetically the narrow panes of our cottage,
she used to sit at her wheel, drawing out a long thread in her hand,
rocking the cradle with her foot, and humming a song, which I seem to
hear even now.

The lamp, quivering and flaring up as though in fear of something,
lighted up our cottage; the spindle hummed; and all of us children,
collected in a cluster, listened to grandfather, who had not crawled
off the stove for more than five years, owing to his great age. But the
wondrous tales of the incursions of the Zaporozhian Cossacks and the
Poles, the bold deeds of Podkova, of Poltar-Kozhukh, and Sagaidatchnii,
did not interest us so much as the stories about some deed of old which
always sent a shiver through our frames and made our hair rise upright
on our heads. Sometimes such terror took possession of us in consequence
of them, that, from that evening forward, Heaven knows how wonderful
everything seemed to us. If one chanced to go out of the cottage after
nightfall for anything, one fancied that a visitor from the other world
had lain down to sleep in one's bed; and I have often taken my own
smock, at a distance, as it lay at the head of the bed, for the Evil One
rolled up into a ball! But the chief thing about grandfather's stories
was, that he never lied in all his life; and whatever he said was so,
was so.

I will now tell you one of his wonderful tales. I know that there are a
great many wise people who copy in the courts, and can even read
civil documents, but who, if you were to put into their hand a simple
prayer-book, could not make out the first letter in it, and would show
all their teeth in derision. These people laugh at everything you tell
them. Along comes one of them--and doesn't believe in witches! Yes,
glory to God that I have lived so long in the world! I have seen
heretics to whom it would be easier to lie in confession than it would
be to our brothers and equals to take snuff, and these folk would deny
the existence of witches! But let them just dream about something, and
they won't even tell what it was! There, it is no use talking about

No one could have recognised the village of ours a little over a hundred
years ago; it was a hamlet, the poorest kind of a hamlet. Half a score
of miserable farmhouses, unplastered and badly thatched, were scattered
here and there about the fields. There was not a yard or a decent shed
to shelter animals or waggons. That was the way the wealthy lived:
and if you had looked for our brothers, the poor--why, a hole in the
ground--that was a cabin for you! Only by the smoke could you tell that
a God-created man lived there. You ask why they lived so? It was not
entirely through poverty: almost every one led a raiding Cossack life,
and gathered not a little plunder in foreign lands; it was rather
because it was little use building up a good wooden house. Many
folk were engaged in raids all over the country--Crimeans, Poles,
Lithuanians! It was quite possible that their own countrymen might make
a descent and plunder everything. Anything was possible.

In this hamlet a man, or rather a devil in human form, often made his
appearance. Why he came, and whence, no one knew. He prowled about, got
drunk, and suddenly disappeared as if into the air, leaving no trace
of his existence. Then, behold, he seemed to have dropped from the sky
again, and went flying about the street of the village, of which no
trace now remains, and which was not more than a hundred paces from
Dikanka. He would collect together all the Cossacks he met; then
there were songs, laughter, and cash in plenty, and vodka flowed like
water.... He would address the pretty girls, and give them ribbons,
earrings, strings of beads--more than they knew what to do with. It
is true that the pretty girls rather hesitated about accepting his
presents: God knows, perhaps, what unclean hands they had passed
through. My grandfather's aunt, who kept at that time a tavern, in which
Basavriuk (as they called this devil-man) often caroused, said that no
consideration on the earth would have induced her to accept a gift from
him. But then, again, how avoid accepting? Fear seized on every one when
he knit his shaggy brows, and gave a sidelong glance which might send
your feet God knows whither: whilst if you did accept, then the next
night some fiend from the swamp, with horns on his head, came and began
to squeeze your neck, if there was a string of beads upon it; or bite
your finger, if there was a ring upon it; or drag you by the hair, if
ribbons were braided in it. God have mercy, then, on those who held
such gifts! But here was the difficulty: it was impossible to get rid of
them; if you threw them into the water, the diabolical ring or necklace
would skim along the surface and into your hand.

There was a church in the village--St. Pantelei, if I remember rightly.
There lived there a priest, Father Athanasii of blessed memory.
Observing that Basavriuk did not come to church, even at Easter, he
determined to reprove him and impose penance upon him. Well, he hardly
escaped with his life. "Hark ye, sir!" he thundered in reply, "learn
to mind your own business instead of meddling in other people's, if you
don't want that throat of yours stuck with boiling kutya (1)." What was
to be done with this unrepentant man? Father Athanasii contented
himself with announcing that any one who should make the acquaintance
of Basavriuk would be counted a Catholic, an enemy of Christ's orthodox
church, not a member of the human race.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Taras Bulba and Other Tales, by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol, Taras Bulba and Other Tales, Full Text, Никола́й Васи́льевич Го́голь (Nikolay Vasilyevich Gogol)

1952 Russian postage stamp depicting Nikolai Gogol and his character Taras Bulba issued on the 100th anniversary of Nikolai Gogol's death
"Turn round, my boy! How ridiculous you look! What sort of a priest's
cassock have you got on? Does everybody at the academy dress like that?"
With such words did old Bulba greet his two sons, who had been absent
home to their father.
for their education at the Royal Seminary of Kief, and had now returned
released from the seminary. Their firm healthy faces were covered with
His sons had but just dismounted from their horses. They were a couple of stout lads who still looked bashful, as became youths recently
They were greatly discomfited by such a reception from their father, and
the first down of manhood, down which had, as yet, never known a razor. stood motionless with eyes fixed upon the ground. "Stand still, stand still! let me have a good look at you," he
run, one of you! I want to see whether you will not get entangled in the
continued, turning them around. "How long your gaberdines are! What gaberdines! There never were such gaberdines in the world before. Just skirts, and fall down." "Don't laugh, don't laugh, father!" said the eldest lad at length.
"Yes, even my father. I don't stop to consider persons when an insult is
"How touchy we are! Why shouldn't I laugh?" "Because, although you are my father, if you laugh, by heavens, I will strike you!" "What kind of son are you? what, strike your father!" exclaimed Taras Bulba, retreating several paces in amazement. in question."
separation, began to deal each other heavy blows on ribs, back, and
"So you want to fight me? with your fist, eh?" "Any way." "Well, let it be fisticuffs," said Taras Bulba, turning up his sleeves. "I'll see what sort of a man you are with your fists." And father and son, in lieu of a pleasant greeting after long
children. "The children have come home, we have not seen them for over a
chest, now retreating and looking at each other, now attacking afresh. "Look, good people! the old man has gone man! he has lost his senses completely!" screamed their pale, ugly, kindly mother, who was standing on the threshold, and had not yet succeeded in embracing her darling
embrace me," and father and son began to kiss each other. "Good lad! see
year; and now he has taken some strange freak--he's pommelling them." "Yes, he fights well," said Bulba, pausing; "well, by heavens!" he continued, rather as if excusing himself, "although he has never tried his hand at it before, he will make a good Cossack! Now, welcome, son! that you hit every one as you pommelled me; don't let any one escape.
embrace her youngest. "Who ever heard of children fighting their own
Nevertheless your clothes are ridiculous all the same. What rope is this hanging there?--And you, you lout, why are you standing there with your hands hanging beside you?" he added, turning to the youngest. "Why don't you fight me? you son of a dog!" "What an idea!" said the mother, who had managed in the meantime to father? That's enough for the present; the child is young, he has had
you see this sword? that's your mother! All the rest people stuff your
a long journey, he is tired." The child was over twenty, and about six feet high. "He ought to rest, and eat something; and you set him to fighting!" "You are a gabbler!" said Bulba. "Don't listen to your mother, my lad; she is a woman, and knows nothing. What sort of petting do you need? A clear field and a good horse, that's the kind of petting for you! And do heads with is rubbish; the academy, books, primers, philosophy, and all
sadly and with tears in her eyes. "The poor boys will have no chance of
that, I spit upon it all!" Here Bulba added a word which is not used in print. "But I'll tell you what is best: I'll take you to Zaporozhe (1) this very week. That's where there's science for you! There's your school; there alone will you gain sense." (1) The Cossack country beyond (za) the falls (porozhe) of the Dnieper. "And are they only to remain home a week?" said the worn old mother looking around, no chance of getting acquainted with the home where they
possible, not with raisins and all sorts of stuff, but plain scorching
were born; there will be no chance for me to get a look at them." "Enough, you've howled quite enough, old woman! A Cossack is not born to run around after women. You would like to hide them both under your petticoat, and sit upon them as a hen sits on eggs. Go, go, and let us have everything there is on the table in a trice. We don't want any dumplings, honey-cakes, poppy-cakes, or any other such messes: give us a whole sheep, a goat, mead forty years old, and as much corn-brandy as corn-brandy, which foams and hisses like mad."
fashion of that period--a fashion concerning which hints linger only in
Bulba led his sons into the principal room of the hut; and two pretty servant girls wearing coin necklaces, who were arranging the apartment, ran out quickly. They were either frightened at the arrival of the young men, who did not care to be familiar with anyone; or else they merely wanted to keep up their feminine custom of screaming and rushing away headlong at the sight of a man, and then screening their blushes for some time with their sleeves. The hut was furnished according to the the songs and lyrics, no longer sung, alas! in the Ukraine as of yore by
moveable one. Around the windows and doors red bands were painted. On
blind old men, to the soft tinkling of the native guitar, to the people thronging round them--according to the taste of that warlike and troublous time, of leagues and battles prevailing in the Ukraine after the union. Everything was cleanly smeared with coloured clay. On the walls hung sabres, hunting-whips, nets for birds, fishing-nets, guns, elaborately carved powder-horns, gilded bits for horses, and tether-ropes with silver plates. The small window had round dull panes, through which it was impossible to see except by opening the one shelves in one corner stood jugs, bottles, and flasks of green and
horseback. The only distinctive things permitted them were long locks of
blue glass, carved silver cups, and gilded drinking vessels of various makes--Venetian, Turkish, Tscherkessian, which had reached Bulba's cabin by various roads, at third and fourth hand, a thing common enough in those bold days. There were birch-wood benches all around the room, a huge table under the holy pictures in one corner, and a huge stove covered with particoloured patterns in relief, with spaces between it and the wall. All this was quite familiar to the two young men, who were wont to come home every year during the dog-days, since they had no horses, and it was not customary to allow students to ride afield on
Bulba and the young men, telling them they would do well and that there
hair on the temples, which every Cossack who bore weapons was entitled to pull. It was only at the end of their course of study that Bulba had sent them a couple of young stallions from his stud. Bulba, on the occasion of his sons' arrival, ordered all the sotniks or captains of hundreds, and all the officers of the band who were of any consequence, to be summoned; and when two of them arrived with his old comrade, the Osaul or sub-chief, Dmitro Tovkatch, he immediately presented the lads, saying, "See what fine young fellows they are! I shall send them to the Setch (2) shortly." The guests congratulated was no better knowledge for a young man than a knowledge of that same
was such a thing in the world as corn-brandy. What was the name of the
Zaporozhian Setch. (2) The village or, rather, permanent camp of the Zaporozhian Cossacks. "Come, brothers, seat yourselves, each where he likes best, at the table; come, my sons. First of all, let's take some corn-brandy," said Bulba. "God bless you! Welcome, lads; you, Ostap, and you, Andrii. God grant that you may always be successful in war, that you may beat the Musselmans and the Turks and the Tatars; and that when the Poles undertake any expedition against our faith, you may beat the Poles. Come, clink your glasses. How now? Is the brandy good? What's corn-brandy in Latin? The Latins were stupid: they did not know there
"Let them try it know," said Andrii. "Let anybody just touch me, let any
man who wrote Latin verses? I don't know much about reading and writing, so I don't quite know. Wasn't it Horace?" "What a dad!" thought the elder son Ostap. "The old dog knows everything, but he always pretends the contrary." "I don't believe the archimandrite allowed you so much as a smell of corn-brandy," continued Taras. "Confess, my boys, they thrashed you well with fresh birch-twigs on your backs and all over your Cossack bodies; and perhaps, when you grew too sharp, they beat you with whips. And not on Saturday only, I fancy, but on Wednesday and Thursday." "What is past, father, need not be recalled; it is done with." Tatar risk it now, and he'll soon learn what a Cossack's sword is like!"
all these things? What are pots and pans to us?" So saying, he began to
"Good, my son, by heavens, good! And when it comes to that, I'll go with you; by heavens, I'll go too! What should I wait here for? To become a buckwheat-reaper and housekeeper, to look after the sheep and swine, and loaf around with my wife? Away with such nonsense! I am a Cossack; I'll have none of it! What's left but war? I'll go with you to Zaporozhe to carouse; I'll go, by heavens!" And old Bulba, growing warm by degrees and finally quite angry, rose from the table, and, assuming a dignified attitude, stamped his foot. "We will go to-morrow! Wherefore delay? What enemy can we besiege here? What is this hut to us? What do we want with knock over the pots and flasks, and to throw them about. The poor old woman, well used to such freaks on the part of her husband,
and home grew brave there; when, amid conflagrations, threatening
looked sadly on from her seat on the wall-bench. She did not dare say a word; but when she heard the decision which was so terrible for her, she could not refrain from tears. As she looked at her children, from whom so speedy a separation was threatened, it is impossible to describe the full force of her speechless grief, which seemed to quiver in her eyes and on her lips convulsively pressed together. Bulba was terribly headstrong. He was one of those characters which could only exist in that fierce fifteenth century, and in that half-nomadic corner of Europe, when the whole of Southern Russia, deserted by its princes, was laid waste and burned to the quick by pitiless troops of Mongolian robbers; when men deprived of house neighbours, and eternal terrors, they settled down, and growing
and bartering petty princes ruling in their cities, there arose great
accustomed to looking these things straight in the face, trained themselves not to know that there was such a thing as fear in the world; when the old, peacable Slav spirit was fired with warlike flame, and the Cossack state was instituted--a free, wild outbreak of Russian nature--and when all the river-banks, fords, and like suitable places were peopled by Cossacks, whose number no man knew. Their bold comrades had a right to reply to the Sultan when he asked how many they were, "Who knows? We are scattered all over the steppes; wherever there is a hillock, there is a Cossack." It was, in fact, a most remarkable exhibition of Russian strength, forced by dire necessity from the bosom of the people. In place of the original provinces with their petty towns, in place of the warring colonies, kurens (3), and districts, bound together by one common danger
horseback, fully armed, receiving only one ducat from the king; and in
and hatred against the heathen robbers. The story is well known how their incessant warfare and restless existence saved Europe from the merciless hordes which threatened to overwhelm her. The Polish kings, who now found themselves sovereigns, in place of the provincial princes, over these extensive tracts of territory, fully understood, despite the weakness and remoteness of their own rule, the value of the Cossacks, and the advantages of the warlike, untrammelled life led by them. They encouraged them and flattered this disposition of mind. Under their distant rule, the hetmans or chiefs, chosen from among the Cossacks themselves, redistributed the territory into military districts. It was not a standing army, no one saw it; but in case of war and general uprising, it required a week, and no more, for every man to appear on two weeks such a force had assembled as no recruiting officers would
voice, as he stood in his waggon, "Hey, you distillers and beer-brewers!
ever have been able to collect. When the expedition was ended, the army dispersed among the fields and meadows and the fords of the Dnieper; each man fished, wrought at his trade, brewed his beer, and was once more a free Cossack. Their foreign contemporaries rightly marvelled at their wonderful qualities. There was no handicraft which the Cossack was not expert at: he could distil brandy, build a waggon, make powder, and do blacksmith's and gunsmith's work, in addition to committing wild excesses, drinking and carousing as only a Russian can--all this he was equal to. Besides the registered Cossacks, who considered themselves bound to appear in arms in time of war, it was possible to collect at any time, in case of dire need, a whole army of volunteers. All that was required was for the Osaul or sub-chief to traverse the market-places and squares of the villages and hamlets, and shout at the top of his
for warlike emotions, and was distinguished for his uprightness of
you have brewed enough beer, and lolled on your stoves, and stuffed your fat carcasses with flour, long enough! Rise, win glory and warlike honours! You ploughmen, you reapers of buckwheat, you tenders of sheep, you danglers after women, enough of following the plough, and soiling your yellow shoes in the earth, and courting women, and wasting your warlike strength! The hour has come to win glory for the Cossacks!" These words were like sparks falling on dry wood. The husbandman broke his plough; the brewers and distillers threw away their casks and destroyed their barrels; the mechanics and merchants sent their trade and their shop to the devil, broke pots and everything else in their homes, and mounted their horses. In short, the Russian character here received a profound development, and manifested a powerful outwards expression. (3) Cossack villages. In the Setch, a large wooden barrack. Taras was one of the band of old-fashioned leaders; he was born
the customs of his ancestors; and, finally, when the enemy were
character. At that epoch the influence of Poland had already begun to make itself felt upon the Russian nobility. Many had adopted Polish customs, and began to display luxury in splendid staffs of servants, hawks, huntsmen, dinners, and palaces. This was not to Taras's taste. He liked the simple life of the Cossacks, and quarrelled with those of his comrades who were inclined to the Warsaw party, calling them serfs of the Polish nobles. Ever on the alert, he regarded himself as the legal protector of the orthodox faith. He entered despotically into any village where there was a general complaint of oppression by the revenue farmers and of the addition of fresh taxes on necessaries. He and his Cossacks executed justice, and made it a rule that in three cases it was absolutely necessary to resort to the sword. Namely, when the commissioners did not respect the superior officers and stood before them covered; when any one made light of the faith and did not observe
the morrow. He delegated his power to Osaul Tovkatch, and gave with it
Mussulmans or Turks, against whom he considered it permissible, in every case, to draw the sword for the glory of Christianity. Now he rejoiced beforehand at the thought of how he would present himself with his two sons at the Setch, and say, "See what fine young fellows I have brought you!" how he would introduce them to all his old comrades, steeled in warfare; how he would observe their first exploits in the sciences of war and of drinking, which was also regarded as one of the principal warlike qualities. At first he had intended to send them forth alone; but at the sight of their freshness, stature, and manly personal beauty his martial spirit flamed up and he resolved to go with them himself the very next day, although there was no necessity for this except his obstinate self-will. He began at once to hurry about and give orders; selected horses and trappings for his sons, looked through the stables and storehouses, and chose servants to accompany them on a strict command to appear with his whole force at the Setch the very
beloved sons, as they lay side by side; she smoothed with a comb their
instant he should receive a message from him. Although he was jolly, and the effects of his drinking bout still lingered in his brain, he forgot nothing. He even gave orders that the horses should be watered, their cribs filled, and that they should be fed with the finest corn; and then he retired, fatigued with all his labours. "Now, children, we must sleep, but to-morrow we shall do what God wills. Don't prepare us a bed: we need no bed; we will sleep in the courtyard." Night had but just stole over the heavens, but Bulba always went to bed early. He lay down on a rug and covered himself with a sheepskin pelisse, for the night air was quite sharp and he liked to lie warm when he was at home. He was soon snoring, and the whole household speedily followed his example. All snored and groaned as they lay in different corners. The watchman went to sleep the first of all, he had drunk so much in honour of the young masters' home-coming. The mother alone did not sleep. She bent over the pillow of her carelessly tangled locks, and moistened them with her tears. She gazed
youth flitted by; her ripe cheeks and bosom withered away unkissed and
at them with her whole soul, with every sense; she was wholly merged in the gaze, and yet she could not gaze enough. She had fed them at her own breast, she had tended them and brought them up; and now to see them only for an instant! "My sons, my darling sons! what will become of you! what fate awaits you?" she said, and tears stood in the wrinkles which disfigured her once beautiful face. In truth, she was to be pitied, as was every woman of that period. She had lived only for a moment of love, only during the first ardour of passion, only during the first flush of youth; and then her grim betrayer had deserted her for the sword, for his comrades and his carouses. She saw her husband two or three days in a year, and then, for several years, heard nothing of him. And when she did see him, when they did live together, what a life was hers! She endured insult, even blows; she felt caresses bestowed only in pity; she was a misplaced object in that community of unmarried warriors, upon which wandering Zaporozhe cast a colouring of its own. Her pleasureless became covered with premature wrinkles. Love, feeling, everything that
dawn, had ceased eating and lain down upon the grass; the topmost leaves
is tender and passionate in a woman, was converted in her into maternal love. She hovered around her children with anxiety, passion, tears, like the gull of the steppes. They were taking her sons, her darling sons, from her--taking them from her, so that she should never see them again! Who knew? Perhaps a Tatar would cut off their heads in the very first skirmish, and she would never know where their deserted bodies might lie, torn by birds of prey; and yet for each single drop of their blood she would have given all hers. Sobbing, she gazed into their eyes, and thought, "Perhaps Bulba, when he wakes, will put off their departure for a day or two; perhaps it occurred to him to go so soon because he had been drinking." The moon from the summit of the heavens had long since lit up the whole courtyard filled with sleepers, the thick clump of willows, and the tall steppe-grass, which hid the palisade surrounding the court. She still sat at her sons' pillow, never removing her eyes from them for a moment, nor thinking of sleep. Already the horses, divining the approach of of the willows began to rustle softly, and little by little the
sashes into which were thrust engraved Turkish pistols; their swords
rippling rustle descended to their bases. She sat there until daylight, unwearied, and wishing in her heart that the night might prolong itself indefinitely. From the steppes came the ringing neigh of the horses, and red streaks shone brightly in the sky. Bulba suddenly awoke, and sprang to his feet. He remembered quite well what he had ordered the night before. "Now, my men, you've slept enough! 'tis time, 'tis time! Water the horses! And where is the old woman?" He generally called his wife so. "Be quick, old woman, get us something to eat; the way is long." The poor old woman, deprived of her last hope, slipped sadly into the hut. Whilst she, with tears, prepared what was needed for breakfast, Bulba gave his orders, went to the stable, and selected his best trappings for his children with his own hand. The scholars were suddenly transformed. Red morocco boots with silver heels took the place of their dirty old ones; trousers wide as the Black Sea, with countless folds and plaits, were kept up by golden girdles from which hung long slender thongs, with tassles and other tinkling things, for pipes. Their jackets of scarlet cloth were girt by flowered
clanked at their heels. Their faces, already a little sunburnt, seemed to have grown handsomer and whiter; their slight black moustaches now cast a more distinct shadow on this pallor and set off their healthy youthful complexions. They looked very handsome in their black sheepskin caps, with cloth-of-gold crowns. When their poor mother saw them, she could not utter a word, and tears stood in her eyes. "Now, my lads, all is ready; no delay!" said Bulba at last. "But we must first all sit down together, in accordance with Christian custom before a journey." All sat down, not excepting the servants, who had been standing respectfully at the door. "Now, mother, bless your children," said Bulba. "Pray God that they may fight bravely, always defend their warlike honour, always defend the faith of Christ; and, if not, that they may die, so that their breath may not be longer in the world." "Come to your mother, children; a mother's prayer protects on land and sea."
The mother, weak as mothers are, embraced them, drew out two small
holy pictures, and hung them, sobbing, around their necks. "May God's
mother--keep you! Children, do not forget your mother--send some little
word of yourselves--" She could say no more.
At the door stood the horses, ready saddled. Bulba sprang upon his
"Now, children, let us go," said Bulba.
thirty stone, for Taras was extremely stout and heavy.
"Devil," which bounded wildly, on feeling on his back a load of over
the younger, whose features expressed somewhat more gentleness than
When the mother saw that her sons were also mounted, she rushed towards
with despair in her eyes, refused to loose her hold. Two stout Cossacks
those of his brother. She grasped his stirrup, clung to his saddle, and seized her carefully, and bore her back into the hut. But before the
horse with irresistible strength, and embraced one of her sons with mad,
cavalcade had passed out of the courtyard, she rushed with the speed of a wild goat, disproportionate to her years, to the gate, stopped a unconscious violence. Then they led her away again.
not to show it. The morning was grey, the green sward bright, the birds
The young Cossacks rode on sadly, repressing their tears out of fear of their father, who, on his side, was somewhat moved, although he strove twittered rather discordantly. They glanced back as they rode. Their
Before them still stretched the field by which they could recall the
paternal farm seemed to have sunk into the earth. All that was visible above the surface were the two chimneys of their modest hut and the tops of the trees up whose trunks they had been used to climb like squirrels.
solitary against the sky; already the level which they have traversed
whole story of their lives, from the years when they rolled in its dewy grass down to the years when they awaited in it the dark-browed Cossack maiden, running timidly across it on quick young feet. There is the pole above the well, with the waggon wheel fastened to its top, rising
which the Cossack always weeps, wishing that his life might be all
appears a hill in the distance, and now all has disappeared. Farewell, childhood, games, all, all, farewell! CHAPTER II All three horsemen rode in silence. Old Taras's thoughts were far away: before him passed his youth, his years--the swift-flying years, over youth. He wondered whom of his former comrades he should meet at the
give their children an education, although it was afterwards utterly
Setch. He reckoned up how many had already died, how many were still alive. Tears formed slowly in his eyes, and his grey head bent sadly. His sons were occupied with other thoughts. But we must speak further of his sons. They had been sent, when twelve years old, to the academy at Kief, because all leaders of that day considered it indispensable to
set him down to his books. Four times did he bury his primer in the
forgotten. Like all who entered the academy, they were wild, having been brought up in unrestrained freedom; and whilst there they had acquired some polish, and pursued some common branches of knowledge which gave them a certain resemblance to each other. The elder, Ostap, began his scholastic career by running away in the course of the first year. They brought him back, whipped him well, and
who said this was that very Taras Bulba who condemned all learning, and
earth; and four times, after giving him a sound thrashing, did they buy him a new one. But he would no doubt have repeated this feat for the fifth time, had not his father given him a solemn assurance that he would keep him at monastic work for twenty years, and sworn in advance that he should never behold Zaporozhe all his life long, unless he learned all the sciences taught in the academy. It was odd that the man
having any connection with, and never being encountered in, actual life.
counselled his children, as we have seen, not to trouble themselves at all about it. From that moment, Ostap began to pore over his tiresome books with exemplary diligence, and quickly stood on a level with the best. The style of education in that age differed widely from the manner of life. The scholastic, grammatical, rhetorical, and logical subtle ties in vogue were decidedly out of consonance with the times, never
requirements arising in fresh, strong, healthy youth, combined to arouse
Those who studied them, even the least scholastic, could not apply their knowledge to anything whatever. The learned men of those days were even more incapable than the rest, because farther removed from all experience. Moreover, the republican constitution of the academy, the fearful multitude of young, healthy, strong fellows, inspired the students with an activity quite outside the limits of their learning. Poor fare, or frequent punishments of fasting, with the numerous
look after the comrades entrusted to his care, had such frightfully wide
in them that spirit of enterprise which was afterwards further developed among the Zaporozhians. The hungry student running about the streets of Kief forced every one to be on his guard. Dealers sitting in the bazaar covered their pies, their cakes, and their pumpkin-rolls with their hands, like eagles protecting their young, if they but caught sight of a passing student. The consul or monitor, who was bound by his duty to pockets to his trousers that he could stow away the whole contents
lictors sometimes, by their orders, lashed their consuls so severely
of the gaping dealer's stall in them. These students constituted an entirely separate world, for they were not admitted to the higher circles, composed of Polish and Russian nobles. Even the Waiwode, Adam Kisel, in spite of the patronage he bestowed upon the academy, did not seek to introduce them into society, and ordered them to be kept more strictly in supervision. This command was quite superfluous, for neither the rector nor the monkish professors spared rod or whip; and the that the latter rubbed their trousers for weeks afterwards. This was to
He rarely led others into such hazardous enterprises as robbing a
many of them a trifle, only a little more stinging than good vodka with pepper: others at length grew tired of such constant blisters, and ran away to Zaporozhe if they could find the road and were not caught on the way. Ostap Bulba, although he began to study logic, and even theology, with much zeal, did not escape the merciless rod. Naturally, all this tended to harden his character, and give him that firmness which distinguishes the Cossacks. He always held himself aloof from his comrades. strange garden or orchard; but, on the other hand, he was always among
His younger brother, Andrii, had livelier and more fully developed
the first to join the standard of an adventurous student. And never, under any circumstances, did he betray his comrades; neither imprisonment nor beatings could make him do so. He was unassailable by any temptations save those of war and revelry; at least, he scarcely ever dreamt of others. He was upright with his equals. He was kind-hearted, after the only fashion that kind-heartedness could exist in such a character and at such a time. He was touched to his very heart by his poor mother's tears; but this only vexed him, and caused him to hang his head in thought.
him. When he had passed his eighteenth year, woman began to present
feelings. He learned more willingly and without the effort with which strong and weighty characters generally have to make in order to apply themselves to study. He was more inventive-minded than his brother, and frequently appeared as the leader of dangerous expeditions; sometimes, thanks to the quickness of his mind, contriving to escape punishment when his brother Ostap, abandoning all efforts, stripped off his gaberdine and lay down upon the floor without a thought of begging for mercy. He too thirsted for action; but, at the same time, his soul was accessible to other sentiments. The need of love burned ardently within
but had roamed more frequently alone, in remote corners of Kief, among
herself more frequently in his dreams; listening to philosophical discussions, he still beheld her, fresh, black-eyed, tender; before him constantly flitted her elastic bosom, her soft, bare arms; the very gown which clung about her youthful yet well-rounded limbs breathed into his visions a certain inexpressible sensuousness. He carefully concealed this impulse of his passionate young soul from his comrades, because in that age it was held shameful and dishonourable for a Cossack to think of love and a wife before he had tasted battle. On the whole, during the last year, he had acted more rarely as leader to the bands of students,
his horses; they sprang forward, and Andrii, succeeding happily in
low-roofed houses, buried in cherry orchards, peeping alluringly at the street. Sometimes he betook himself to the more aristocratic streets, in the old Kief of to-day, where dwelt Little Russian and Polish nobles, and where houses were built in more fanciful style. Once, as he was gaping along, an old-fashioned carriage belonging to some Polish noble almost drove over him; and the heavily moustached coachman, who sat on the box, gave him a smart cut with his whip. The young student fired up; with thoughtless daring he seized the hind-wheel with his powerful hands and stopped the carriage. But the coachman, fearing a drubbing, lashed freeing his hands, was flung full length on the ground with his face
and deigned him no reply. At length he learned that she was the daughter
flat in the mud. The most ringing and harmonious of laughs resounded above him. He raised his eyes and saw, standing at a window, a beauty such as he had never beheld in all his life, black-eyed, and with skin white as snow illumined by the dawning flush of the sun. She was laughing heartily, and her laugh enhanced her dazzling loveliness. Taken aback he gazed at her in confusion, abstractedly wiping the mud from his face, by which means it became still further smeared. Who could this beauty be? He sought to find out from the servants, who, in rich liveries, stood at the gate in a crowd surrounding a young guitar-player; but they only laughed when they saw his besmeared face of the Waiwode of Koven, who had come thither for a time. The following
Moreover, there was nothing terrible about Andrii's features; he was
night, with the daring characteristic of the student, he crept through the palings into the garden and climbed a tree which spread its branches upon the very roof of the house. From the tree he gained the roof, and made his way down the chimney straight into the bedroom of the beauty, who at that moment was seated before a lamp, engaged in removing the costly earrings from her ears. The beautiful Pole was so alarmed on suddenly beholding an unknown man that she could not utter a single word; but when she perceived that the student stood before her with downcast eyes, not daring to move a hand through timidity, when she recognised in him the one who had fallen in the street, laughter again overpowered her. very handsome. She laughed heartily, and amused herself over him for
called her maid, a Tatar prisoner, and gave her orders to conduct him to
a long time. The lady was giddy, like all Poles; but her eyes--her wondrous clear, piercing eyes--shot one glance, a long glance. The student could not move hand or foot, but stood bound as in a sack, when the Waiwode's daughter approached him boldly, placed upon his head her glittering diadem, hung her earrings on his lips, and flung over him a transparent muslin chemisette with gold-embroidered garlands. She adorned him, and played a thousand foolish pranks, with the childish carelessness which distinguishes the giddy Poles, and which threw the poor student into still greater confusion. He cut a ridiculous feature, gazing immovably, and with open mouth, into her dazzling eyes. A knock at the door startled her. She ordered him to hide himself under the bed, and, as soon as the disturber was gone,
green embrace; and the high grass, closing round, concealed them, till
the garden with caution, and thence show him through the fence. But our student this time did not pass the fence so successfully. The watchman awoke, and caught him firmly by the foot; and the servants, assembling, beat him in the street, until his swift legs rescued him. After that it became very dangerous to pass the house, for the Waiwode's domestics were numerous. He met her once again at church. She saw him, and smiled pleasantly, as at an old acquaintance. He saw her once more, by chance; but shortly afterwards the Waiwode departed, and, instead of the beautiful black-eyed Pole, some fat face or other gazed from the window. This was what Andrii was thinking about, as he hung his head and kept his eyes on his horse's mane. In the meantime the steppe had long since received them all into its only their black Cossack caps appeared above it.
even as far as the Black Sea, was a green, virgin wilderness. No plough
"Eh, eh, why are you so quiet, lads?" said Bulba at length, waking from his own reverie. "You're like monks. Now, all thinking to the Evil One, once for all! Take your pipes in your teeth, and let us smoke, and spur on our horses so swiftly that no bird can overtake us." And the Cossacks, bending low on their horses' necks, disappeared in the grass. Their black caps were no longer to be seen; a streak of trodden grass alone showed the trace of their swift flight. The sun had long since looked forth from the clear heavens and inundated the steppe with his quickening, warming light. All that was dim and drowsy in the Cossacks' minds flew away in a twinkling: their hearts fluttered like birds. The farther they penetrated the steppe, the more beautiful it became. Then all the South, all that region which now constitutes New Russia, had ever passed over the immeasurable waves of wild growth; horses
wantonly through blue waves of air. And now she has vanished on high,
alone, hidden in it as in a forest, trod it down. Nothing in nature could be finer. The whole surface resembled a golden-green ocean, upon which were sprinkled millions of different flowers. Through the tall, slender stems of the grass peeped light-blue, dark-blue, and lilac star-thistles; the yellow broom thrust up its pyramidal head; the parasol-shaped white flower of the false flax shimmered on high. A wheat-ear, brought God knows whence, was filling out to ripening. Amongst the roots of this luxuriant vegetation ran partridges with outstretched necks. The air was filled with the notes of a thousand different birds. On high hovered the hawks, their wings outspread, and their eyes fixed intently on the grass. The cries of a flock of wild ducks, ascending from one side, were echoed from God knows what distant lake. From the grass arose, with measured sweep, a gull, and skimmed and appears only as a black dot: now she has turned her wings, and
in white tufts, light and transparent clouds: and the freshest,
shines in the sunlight. Oh, steppes, how beautiful you are! Our travellers halted only a few minutes for dinner. Their escort of ten Cossacks sprang from their horses and undid the wooden casks of brandy, and the gourds which were used instead of drinking vessels. They ate only cakes of bread and dripping; they drank but one cup apiece to strengthen them, for Taras Bulba never permitted intoxication upon the road, and then continued their journey until evening. In the evening the whole steppe changed its aspect. All its varied expanse was bathed in the last bright glow of the sun; and as it grew dark gradually, it could be seen how the shadow flitted across it and it became dark green. The mist rose more densely; each flower, each blade of grass, emitted a fragrance as of ambergris, and the whole steppe distilled perfume. Broad bands of rosy gold were streaked across the dark blue heaven, as with a gigantic brush; here and there gleamed,
the grass; their rasping, whistling, and chirping, softened by the fresh
most enchanting of gentle breezes barely stirred the tops of the grass-blades, like sea-waves, and caressed the cheek. The music which had resounded through the day had died away, and given place to another. The striped marmots crept out of their holes, stood erect on their hind legs, and filled the steppe with their whistle. The whirr of the grasshoppers had become more distinctly audible. Sometimes the cry of the swan was heard from some distant lake, ringing through the air like a silver trumpet. The travellers, halting in the midst of the plain, selected a spot for their night encampment, made a fire, and hung over it the kettle in which they cooked their oatmeal; the steam rising and floating aslant in the air. Having supped, the Cossacks lay down to sleep, after hobbling their horses and turning them out to graze. They lay down in their gaberdines. The stars of night gazed directly down upon them. They could hear the countless myriads of insects which filled
nostrils snuffing the air like a greyhound's, and then disappeared like
air, resounded clearly through the night, and lulled the drowsy ear. If one of them rose and stood for a time, the steppe presented itself to him strewn with the sparks of glow-worms. At times the night sky was illumined in spots by the glare of burning reeds along pools or river-bank; and dark flights of swans flying to the north were suddenly lit up by the silvery, rose-coloured gleam, till it seemed as though red kerchiefs were floating in the dark heavens. The travellers proceeded onward without any adventure. They came across no villages. It was ever the same boundless, waving, beautiful steppe. Only at intervals the summits of distant forests shone blue, on one hand, stretching along the banks of the Dnieper. Once only did Taras point out to his sons a small black speck far away amongst the grass, saying, "Look, children! yonder gallops a Tatar." The little head with its long moustaches fixed its narrow eyes upon them from afar, its an antelope on its owner perceiving that the Cossacks were thirteen
from their shores, and its waves have spread widely over the earth,
strong. "And now, children, don't try to overtake the Tatar! You would never catch him to all eternity; he has a horse swifter than my Devil." But Bulba took precautions, fearing hidden ambushes. They galloped along the course of a small stream, called the Tatarka, which falls into the Dnieper; rode into the water and swam with their horses some distance in order to conceal their trail. Then, scrambling out on the bank, they continued their road. Three days later they were not far from the goal of their journey. The air suddenly grew colder: they could feel the vicinity of the Dnieper. And there it gleamed afar, distinguishable on the horizon as a dark band. It sent forth cold waves, spreading nearer, nearer, and finally seeming to embrace half the entire surface of the earth. This was that section of its course where the river, hitherto confined by the rapids, finally makes its own away and, roaring like the sea, rushes on at will; where the islands, flung into its midst, have pressed it farther encountering neither cliffs nor hills. The Cossacks, alighting from
cask. But the first man they encountered was a Zaporozhetz (1) who was
their horses, entered the ferry-boat, and after a three hours' sail reached the shores of the island of Khortitz, where at that time stood the Setch, which so often changed its situation. A throng of people hastened to the shore with boats. The Cossacks arranged the horses' trappings. Taras assumed a stately air, pulled his belt tighter, and proudly stroked his moustache. His sons also inspected themselves from head to foot, with some apprehension and an undefined feeling of satisfaction; and all set out together for the suburb, which was half a verst from the Setch. On their arrival, they were deafened by the clang of fifty blacksmiths' hammers beating upon twenty-five anvils sunk in the earth. Stout tanners seated beneath awnings were scraping ox-hides with their strong hands; shop-keepers sat in their booths, with piles of flints, steels, and powder before them; Armenians spread out their rich handkerchiefs; Tatars turned their kabobs upon spits; a Jew, with his head thrust forward, was filtering some corn-brandy from a sleeping in the very middle of the road with legs and arms outstretched.
betokened a terrible degree of recklessness. Some sturdy Zaporozhtzi
Taras Bulba could not refrain from halting to admire him. "How splendidly developed he is; phew, what a magnificent figure!" he said, stopping his horse. It was, in fact, a striking picture. This Zaporozhetz had stretched himself out in the road like a lion; his scalp-lock, thrown proudly behind him, extended over upwards of a foot of ground; his trousers of rich red cloth were spotted with tar, to show his utter disdain for them. Having admired to his heart's content, Bulba passed on through the narrow street, crowded with mechanics exercising their trades, and with people of all nationalities who thronged this suburb of the Setch, resembling a fair, and fed and clothed the Setch itself, which knew only how to revel and burn powder. (1) Sometimes written Zaporovian. At length they left the suburb behind them, and perceived some scattered kurens (2), covered with turf, or in Tatar fashion with felt. Some were furnished with cannon. Nowhere were any fences visible, or any of those low-roofed houses with verandahs supported upon low wooden pillars, such as were seen in the suburb. A low wall and a ditch, totally unguarded,
blackened eye, went on measuring out without stint, to every one who
lying, pipe in mouth, in the very road, glanced indifferently at them, but never moved from their places. Taras threaded his way carefully among them, with his sons, saying, "Good-day, gentles."--"Good-day to you," answered the Zaporozhtzi. Scattered over the plain were picturesque groups. From their weatherbeaten faces, it was plain that all were steeled in battle, and had faced every sort of bad weather. And there it was, the Setch! There was the lair from whence all those men, proud and strong as lions, issued forth! There was the spot whence poured forth liberty and Cossacks all over the Ukraine. (2) Enormous wooden sheds, each inhabited by a troop or kuren. The travellers entered the great square where the council generally met. On a huge overturned cask sat a Zaporozhetz without his shirt; he was holding it in his hands, and slowly sewing up the holes in it. Again their way was stopped by a whole crowd of musicians, in the midst of whom a young Zaporozhetz was dancing, with head thrown back and arms outstretched. He kept shouting, "Play faster, musicians! Begrudge not, Thoma, brandy to these orthodox Christians!" And Thoma, with his presented himself, a huge jugful.
the world has ever seen, still called from its mighty originators, the
About the youthful Zaporozhetz four old men, moving their feet quite briskly, leaped like a whirlwind to one side, almost upon the musicians' heads, and, suddenly, retreating, squatted down and drummed the hard earth vigorously with their silver heels. The earth hummed dully all about, and afar the air resounded with national dance tunes beaten by the clanging heels of their boots. But one shouted more loudly than all the rest, and flew after the others in the dance. His scalp-lock streamed in the wind, his muscular chest was bare, his warm, winter fur jacket was hanging by the sleeves, and the perspiration poured from him as from a pig. "Take off your jacket!" said Taras at length: "see how he steams!"--"I can't," shouted the Cossack. "Why?"--"I can't: I have such a disposition that whatever I take off, I drink up." And indeed, the young fellow had not had a cap for a long time, nor a belt to his caftan, nor an embroidered neckerchief: all had gone the proper road. The throng increased; more folk joined the dancer: and it was impossible to observe without emotion how all yielded to the impulse of the dance, the freest, the wildest, Kosachka. "Oh, if I had no horse to hold," exclaimed Taras, "I would join the dance myself."
were therefore incessant. The Cossacks thought it a nuisance to fill up
Meanwhile there began to appear among the throng men who were respected for their prowess throughout all the Setch--old greyheads who had been leaders more than once. Taras soon found a number of familiar faces. Ostap and Andrii heard nothing but greetings. "Ah, it is you, Petcheritza! Good day, Kozolup!"--"Whence has God brought you, Taras?"--"How did you come here, Doloto? Health to you, Kirdyaga! Hail to you, Gustui! Did I ever think of seeing you, Remen?" And these heroes, gathered from all the roving population of Eastern Russia, kissed each other and began to ask questions. "But what has become of Kasyan? Where is Borodavka? and Koloper? and Pidsuitok?" And in reply, Taras Bulba learned that Borodavka had been hung at Tolopan, that Koloper had been flayed alive at Kizikirmen, that Pidsuitok's head had been salted and sent in a cask to Constantinople. Old Bulba hung his head and said thoughtfully, "They were good Cossacks."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A few words on "The Pasture," by Robert Frost, and a version in Italian by LiteraryJoint; The Pasture (Il Pascolo) by Robert Frost, translated in Italian.

Les Alpilles, Mountain Landscape near Saintint-Rémy Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, Netherlands
  "The Pasture" was originally published as the introductory poem in Robert Frost’s first American collection, North of Boston, in 1915, and was conceived as a way of introducing himself to the readers, as an invitation to come along on his poetic journey. The poem hints at the ancestral relationship between a farmer and his bucolic surroundings, a mirror to the poet's intimate connection with his mind-created world. Then, let's just "wait to watch the water clear, we may" and fetch the little calf: after all, we "sha'n't be gone long."

    The Pasture

     I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
     I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
     (And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
     I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too.

     I'm going out to fetch the little calf
    That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
    It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
    I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too.

By Robert Frost, from the collection "North of Boston," 1915
    Follows an Italian version, translated by LiteraryJoint. 

Il Pascolo

Esco a ripulire la fonte del pascolo;
Mi fermo solo per levare le foglie col rastrello
(E aspettare di vedere l'acqua limpida, magari):
Non sto via tanto. — Vieni anche tu.

Esco a riprendere il vitellino
    Che se ne sta in piedi accanto alla madre. E' così giovane,
Trema tutto quando lo lecca con la sua lingua.
Non sto via tanto. — Vieni anche tu.

    Robert Frost, dalla raccolta "North of Boston", 1915. Traduzione in italiano a cura di LiteraryJoint. 

The Daughter of the Commandant, by Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin, translated in English by Milne Home. Full text, full version of "The Captain's Daughter," by Aleksandr Pushkin. (Russian: Капитанская дочка, Kapitanskaya dochka)

Alexander Pushkin by Orest Kiprensky, 1827.
The Daughter of the Commandant, by Aleksandr
Sergeevich Pushkin, Translated by Mrs. Milne Home
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
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Language: English
THE DAUGHTER OF THE COMMANDANT A Russian Romance by Aleksandr Pushkin Translated by Mrs. Milne Home Authoress of "Mamma's Black Nurse Stories," "West Indian Folklore" CHAPTER I. Sergeant of the Guards II. The Guide III. The Little Fort IV. The Duel V. Love VI. Pugatchéf VII. The Assault VIII. The Unexpected Visit IX. The Parting X. The Siege XI. The Rebel Camp XII. The Orphan XIII. The Arrest XIV. The Trial CHAPTER I. SERGEANT OF THE GUARDS.
all my brothers and sisters died young. I had been enrolled as sergeant
Count Münich,[1] had retired in 17--with the rank of senior major. Since that time he had always lived on his estate in the district of Simbirsk, where he married Avdotia, the eldest daughter of a poor gentleman in the neighbourhood. Of the nine children born of this union I alone survived; in the Séménofsky regiment by favour of the major of the Guard, Prince
I could read and write, and was considered a good judge of the points of
Banojik, our near relation. I was supposed to be away on leave till my education was finished. At that time we were brought up in another manner than is usual now. From five years old I was given over to the care of the huntsman, Savéliitch,[2] who from his steadiness and sobriety was considered worthy of becoming my attendant. Thanks to his care, at twelve years old
'_moussié_,' as if there were not enough servants in the house?"
a greyhound. At this time, to complete my education, my father hired a Frenchman, M. Beaupré, who was imported from Moscow at the same time as the annual provision of wine and Provence oil. His arrival displeased Savéliitch very much. "It seems to me, thank heaven," murmured he, "the child was washed, combed, and fed. What was the good of spending money and hiring a Beaupré, in his native country, had been a hairdresser, then a soldier
_liqueur_ glasses, and as on these occasions it somehow never came to
in Prussia, and then had come to Russia to be "_outchitel_," without very well knowing the meaning of this word.[3] He was a good creature, but wonderfully absent and hare-brained. His greatest weakness was a love of the fair sex. Neither, as he said himself, was he averse to the bottle, that is, as we say in Russia, that his passion was drink. But, as in our house the wine only appeared at table, and then only in the turn of the "_outchitel_" to be served at all, my Beaupré soon
soon parted us, and it was through an event which I am going to relate.
accustomed himself to the Russian brandy, and ended by even preferring it to all the wines of his native country as much better for the stomach. We became great friends, and though, according to the contract, he had engaged himself to teach me _French, German, and all the sciences_, he liked better learning of me to chatter Russian indifferently. Each of us busied himself with our own affairs; our friendship was firm, and I did not wish for a better mentor. But Fate The washerwoman, Polashka, a fat girl, pitted with small-pox, and the
been procured for me from Moscow, which hung against the wall without
one-eyed cow-girl, Akoulka, came one fine day to my mother with such stories against the "_moussié_," that she, who did not at all like these kind of jokes, in her turn complained to my father, who, a man of hasty temperament, instantly sent for that _rascal of a Frenchman_. He was answered humbly that the "_moussié_" was giving me a lesson. My father ran to my room. Beaupré was sleeping on his bed the sleep of the just. As for me, I was absorbed in a deeply interesting occupation. A map had ever being used, and which had been tempting me for a long time from the
room, and dismissed him the same day, to the inexpressible joy of
size and strength of its paper. I had at last resolved to make a kite of it, and, taking advantage of Beaupré's slumbers, I had set to work. My father came in just at the very moment when I was tying a tail to the Cape of Good Hope. At the sight of my geographical studies he boxed my ears sharply, sprang forward to Beaupré's bed, and, awaking him without any consideration, he began to assail him with reproaches. In his trouble and confusion Beaupré vainly strove to rise; the poor "_outchitel_" was dead drunk. My father pulled him up by the collar of his coat, kicked him out of the Savéliitch. Thus was my education finished.
power of upsetting his temper very much. My mother, who knew all his
I lived like a stay-at-home son (_nédoross'l_),[4] amusing myself by scaring the pigeons on the roofs, and playing leapfrog with the lads of the courtyard,[5] till I was past the age of sixteen. But at this age my life underwent a great change. One autumn day, my mother was making honey jam in her parlour, while, licking my lips, I was watching the operations, and occasionally tasting the boiling liquid. My father, seated by the window, had just opened the _Court Almanack_, which he received every year. He was very fond of this book; he never read it except with great attention, and it had the whims and habits by heart, generally tried to keep the unlucky book
born the same year our Aunt Anastasia Garasimofna[8] lost an eye, and
hidden, so that sometimes whole months passed without the _Court Almanack_ falling beneath his eye. On the other hand, when he did chance to find it, he never left it for hours together. He was now reading it, frequently shrugging his shoulders, and muttering, half aloud-- "General! He was sergeant in my company. Knight of the Orders of Russia! Was it so long ago that we--" At last my father threw the _Almanack_ away from him on the sofa, and remained deep in a brown study, which never betokened anything good. "Avdotia Vassiliéva,"[6] said he, sharply addressing my mother, "how old is Petróusha?"[7] "His seventeenth year has just begun," replied my mother. "Petróusha was that--"
of them. The day of my departure was at once fixed. The evening before
"All right," resumed my father; "it is time he should serve. 'Tis time he should cease running in and out of the maids' rooms and climbing into the dovecote." The thought of a coming separation made such an impression on my mother that she dropped her spoon into her saucepan, and her eyes filled with tears. As for me, it is difficult to express the joy which took possession of me. The idea of service was mingled in my mind with the liberty and pleasures offered by the town of Petersburg. I already saw myself officer of the Guard, which was, in my opinion, the height of human happiness. My father neither liked to change his plans, nor to defer the execution my father told me that he was going to give me a letter for my future
shall smell powder, he shall become a soldier and not an idler of the
superior officer, and bid me bring him pen and paper. "Don't forget, Andréj Petróvitch," said my mother, "to remember me to Prince Banojik; tell him I hope he will do all he can for my Petróusha." "What nonsense!" cried my father, frowning. "Why do you wish me to write to Prince Banojik?" "But you have just told us you are good enough to write to Petróusha's superior officer." "Well, what of that?" "But Prince Banojik is Petróusha's superior officer. You know very well he is on the roll of the Séménofsky regiment." "On the roll! What is it to me whether he be on the roll or no? Petróusha shall not go to Petersburg! What would he learn there? To spend money and commit follies. No, he shall serve with the army, he
All my brilliant expectations and high hopes vanished. Instead of the
Guard, he shall wear out the straps of his knapsack. Where is his commission? Give it to me." My mother went to find my commission, which she kept in a box with my christening clothes, and gave it to my father with, a trembling hand. My father read it with attention, laid it before him on the table, and began his letter. Curiosity pricked me. "Where shall I be sent," thought I, "if not to Petersburg?" I never took my eyes off my father's pen as it travelled slowly over the paper. At last he finished his letter, put it with my commission into the same cover, took off his spectacles, called me, and said-- "This letter is addressed to Andréj Karlovitch R., my old friend and comrade. You are to go to Orenburg[9] to serve under him."
'Take care of your coat while it is new, and of your honour while it is
gay and lively life of Petersburg, I was doomed to a dull life in a far and wild country. Military service, which a moment before I thought would be delightful, now seemed horrible to me. But there was nothing for it but resignation. On the morning of the following day a travelling _kibitka_ stood before the hall door. There were packed in it a trunk and a box containing a tea service, and some napkins tied up full of rolls and little cakes, the last I should get of home pampering. My parents gave me their blessing, and my father said to me-- "Good-bye, Petr'; serve faithfully he to whom you have sworn fidelity; obey your superiors; do not seek for favours; do not struggle after active service, but do not refuse it either, and remember the proverb, young.'"
mouth. He was playing with the marker, who was to have a glass of brandy
My mother tearfully begged me not to neglect my health, and bade Savéliitch take great care of the darling. I was dressed in a short "_touloup_"[10] of hareskin, and over it a thick pelisse of foxskin. I seated myself in the _kibitka_ with Savéliitch, and started for my destination, crying bitterly. I arrived at Simbirsk during the night, where I was to stay twenty-four hours, that Savéliitch might do sundry commissions entrusted to him. I remained at an inn, while Savéliitch went out to get what he wanted. Tired of looking out at the windows upon a dirty lane, I began wandering about the rooms of the inn. I went into the billiard room. I found there a tall gentleman, about forty years of age, with long, black moustachios, in a dressing-gown, a cue in his hand, and a pipe in his
accepted with pleasure; we sat down to table; Zourine drank a great
if he won, and, if he lost, was to crawl under the table on all fours. I stayed to watch them; the longer their games lasted, the more frequent became the all-fours performance, till at last the marker remained entirely under the table. The gentleman addressed to him some strong remarks, as a funeral sermon, and proposed that I should play a game with him. I replied that I did not know how to play billiards. Probably it seemed to him very odd. He looked at me with a sort of pity. Nevertheless, he continued talking to me. I learnt that his name was Iván Ivánovitch[11] Zourine, that he commanded a troop in the ----th Hussars, that he was recruiting just now at Simbirsk, and that he had established himself at the same inn as myself. Zourine asked me to lunch with him, soldier fashion, and, as we say, on what Heaven provides. I
was a very bad habit.
deal, and pressed me to drink, telling me I must get accustomed to the service. He told good stories, which made me roar with laughter, and we got up from table the best of friends. Then he proposed to teach me billiards. "It is," said he, "a necessity for soldiers like us. Suppose, for instance, you come to a little town; what are you to do? One cannot always find a Jew to afford one sport. In short, you must go to the inn and play billiards, and to play you must know how to play." These reasons completely convinced me, and with great ardour I began taking my lesson. Zourine encouraged me loudly; he was surprised at my rapid progress, and after a few lessons he proposed that we should play for money, were it only for a "_groch_" (two kopeks),[12] not for the profit, but that we might not play for nothing, which, according to him,
We supped with this Arinúshka. Zourine always filled up my glass,
I agreed to this, and Zourine called for punch; then he advised me to taste it, always repeating that I must get accustomed to the service. "And what," said he, "would the service be without punch?" I followed his advice. We continued playing, and the more I sipped my glass, the bolder I became. My balls flew beyond the cushions. I got angry; I was impertinent to the marker who scored for us. I raised the stake; in short, I behaved like a little boy just set free from school. Thus the time passed very quickly. At last Zourine glanced at the clock, put down his cue, and told me I had lost a hundred roubles.[13] This disconcerted me very much; my money was in the hands of Savéliitch. I was beginning to mumble excuses, when Zourine said-- "But don't trouble yourself; I can wait, and now let us go to Arinúshka's." What could you expect? I finished my day as foolishly as I had begun it.
your father nor your grandfather were drunkards. We needn't talk of
repeating that I must get accustomed to the service. Upon leaving the table I could scarcely stand. At midnight Zourine took me back to the inn. Savéliitch came to meet us at the door. "What has befallen you?" he said to me in a melancholy voice, when he saw the undoubted signs of my zeal for the service. "Where did you thus swill yourself? Oh! good heavens! such a misfortune never happened before." "Hold your tongue, old owl," I replied, stammering; "I am sure you are drunk. Go to bed, ... but first help me to bed." The next day I awoke with a bad headache. I only remembered confusedly the occurrences of the past evening. My meditations were broken by Savéliitch, who came into my room with a cup of tea. "You begin early making free, Petr' Andréjïtch," he said to me, shaking his head. "Well, where do you get it from? It seems to me that neither your mother; she has never touched a drop of anything since she was
"Your devoted
born, except '_kvass_.'[14] So whose fault is it? Whose but the confounded '_moussié_;' he taught you fine things, that son of a dog, and well worth the trouble of taking a Pagan for your servant, as if our master had not had enough servants of his own!" I was ashamed. I turned round and said to him-- "Go away, Savéliitch; I don't want any tea." But it was impossible to quiet Savéliitch when once he had begun to sermonize. "Do you see now, Petr' Andréjïtch," said he, "what it is to commit follies? You have a headache; you won't take anything. A man who gets drunk is good for nothing. Do take a little pickled cucumber with honey or half a glass of brandy to sober you. What do you think?" At this moment a little boy came in, who brought me a note from Zourine. I unfolded it and read as follows:-- "DEAR PETR' ANDRÉJÏTCH, "Oblige me by sending by bearer the hundred roubles you lost to me yesterday. I want money dreadfully. "IVÁN ZOURINE."
"What are you standing there for like a stock?" I exclaimed, angrily.
There was nothing for it. I assumed a look of indifference, and, addressing myself to Savéliitch, I bid him hand over a hundred roubles to the little boy. "What--why?" he asked me in great surprise. "I owe them to him," I answered as coldly as possible. "You owe them to him!" retorted Savéliitch, whose surprise became greater. "When had you the time to run up such a debt? It is impossible. Do what you please, excellency, but I will not give this money." I then considered that, if in this decisive moment I did not oblige this obstinate old man to obey me, it would be difficult for me in future to free myself from his tutelage. Glancing at him haughtily, I said to him-- "I am your master; you are my servant. The money is mine; I lost it because I chose to lose it. I advise you not to be headstrong, and to obey your orders." My words made such an impression on Savéliitch that he clasped his hands and remained dumb and motionless. Savéliitch began to weep.
My reflections during the journey were not very pleasant. According to
"Oh! my father, Petr' Andréjïtch," sobbed he, in a trembling voice; "do not make me die of sorrow. Oh! my light, hearken to me who am old; write to this robber that you were only joking, that we never had so much money. A hundred roubles! Good heavens! Tell him your parents have strictly forbidden you to play for anything but nuts." "Will you hold your tongue?" said I, hastily, interrupting him. "Hand over the money, or I will kick you out of the place." Savéliitch looked at me with a deep expression of sorrow, and went to fetch my money. I was sorry for the poor old man, but I wished to assert myself, and prove that I was not a child. Zourine got his hundred roubles. Savéliitch was in haste to get me away from this unlucky inn; he came in telling me the horses were harnessed. I left Simbirsk with an uneasy conscience, and with some silent remorse, without taking leave of my instructor, whom I little thought I should ever see again. CHAPTER II. THE GUIDE.
say when they hear that their child is a drunkard and a gamester?"
the value of money at that time, my loss was of some importance. I could not but confess to myself that my conduct at the Simbirsk Inn had been most foolish, and I felt guilty toward Savéliitch. All this worried me. The old man sat, in sulky silence, in the forepart of the sledge, with his face averted, every now and then giving a cross little cough. I had firmly resolved to make peace with him, but I did not know how to begin. At last I said to him-- "Look here, Savéliitch, let us have done with all this; let us make peace." "Oh! my little father, Petr' Andréjïtch," he replied, with a deep sigh, "I am angry with myself; it is I who am to blame for everything. What possessed me to leave you alone in the inn? But what could I do; the devil would have it so, else why did it occur to me to go and see my gossip the deacon's wife, and thus it happened, as the proverb says, 'I left the house and was taken to prison.' What ill-luck! What ill-luck! How shall I appear again before my master and mistress? What will they
I did, in fact, perceive on the horizon a little white cloud which I
To comfort poor Savéliitch, I gave him my word of honour that in future I would not spend a single kopek without his consent. Gradually he calmed down, though he still grumbled from time to time, shaking his head-- "A hundred roubles, it is easy to talk!" I was approaching my destination. Around me stretched a wild and dreary desert, intersected by little hills and deep ravines. All was covered with snow. The sun was setting. My _kibitka_ was following the narrow road, or rather the track, left by the sledges of the peasants. All at once my driver looked round, and addressing himself to me-- "Sir," said he, taking off his cap, "will you not order me to turn back?" "Why?" "The weather is uncertain. There is already a little wind. Do you not see how it is blowing about the surface snow." "Well, what does that matter?" "And do you see what there is yonder?" The driver pointed east with his whip. "I see nothing more than the white steppe and the clear sky." "There, there; look, that little cloud!" had at first taken for a distant hill. My driver explained to me that
The snow drifted round and covered us. The horses went at a walk, and
this little cloud portended a "_bourane_."[15] I had heard of the snowstorms peculiar to these regions, and I knew of whole caravans having been sometimes buried in the tremendous drifts of snow. Savéliitch was of the same opinion as the driver, and advised me to turn back, but the wind did not seem to me very violent, and hoping to reach in time the next posting station, I bid him try and get on quickly. He put his horses to a gallop, continually looking, however, towards the east. But the wind increased in force, the little cloud rose rapidly, became larger and thicker, at last covering the whole sky. The snow began to fall lightly at first, but soon in large flakes. The wind whistled and howled; in a moment the grey sky was lost in the whirlwind of snow which the wind raised from the earth, hiding everything around us. "How unlucky we are, excellency," cried the driver; "it is the _bourane_." I put my head out of the _kibitka_; all was darkness and confusion. The wind blew with such ferocity that it was difficult not to think it an animated being. soon stopped altogether. "Why don't you go on?" I said, impatiently, to the driver.
"Heaven only knows, excellency," replied he, resuming his seat.
"But where to?" he replied, getting out of the sledge. "Heaven only knows where we are now. There is no longer any road, and it is all dark." I began to scold him, but Savéliitch took his part. "Why did you not listen to him?" he said to me, angrily. "You would have gone back to the post-house; you would have had some tea; you could have slept till morning; the storm would have blown over, and we should have started. And why such haste? Had it been to get married, now!" Savéliitch was right. What was there to do? The snow continued to fall--a heap was rising around the _kibitka_. The horses stood motionless, hanging their heads and shivering from time to time. The driver walked round them, settling their harness, as if he had nothing else to do. Savéliitch grumbled. I was looking all round in hopes of perceiving some indication of a house or a road; but I could not see anything but the confused whirling of the snowstorm. All at once I thought I distinguished something black. "Hullo, driver!" I exclaimed, "what is that black thing over there?" The driver looked attentively in the direction I was pointing out. "It is not a sledge, it is not a tree, and it seems to me that it moves.
"How do you know where the road is that you are so ready to say, 'Other
It must be a wolf or a man." I ordered him to move towards the unknown object, which came also to meet us. In two minutes I saw it was a man, and we met. "Hey, there, good man," the driver hailed him, "tell us, do you happen to know the road?" "This is the road," replied the traveller. "I am on firm ground; but what the devil good does that do you?" "Listen, my little peasant," said I to him, "do you know this part of the country? Can you guide us to some place where we may pass the night?" "Do I know this country? Thank heaven," rejoined the stranger, "I have travelled here, on horse and afoot, far and wide. But just look at this weather! One cannot keep the road. Better stay here and wait; perhaps the hurricane will cease and the sky will clear, and we shall find the road by starlight." His coolness gave me courage, and I resigned myself to pass the night on the steppe, commending myself to the care of Providence, when suddenly the stranger, seating himself on the driver's seat, said-- "Grace be to God, there _is_ a house not far off. Turn to the right, and go on." "Why should I go to the right?" retorted my driver, ill-humouredly. people's horses, other people's harness--whip away!'"
first vague visions of drowsiness. It seemed to me that the snowstorm
It seemed to me the driver was right. "Why," said I to the stranger, "do you think a house is not far off?" "The wind blew from that direction," replied he, "and I smelt smoke, a sure sign that a house is near." His cleverness and the acuteness of his sense of smell alike astonished me. I bid the driver go where the other wished. The horses ploughed their way through the deep snow. The _kibitka_ advanced slowly, sometimes upraised on a drift, sometimes precipitated into a ditch, and swinging from side to side. It was very like a boat on a stormy sea. Savéliitch groaned deeply as every moment he fell upon me. I lowered the _tsinofka_,[16] I rolled myself up in my cloak and I went to sleep, rocked by the whistle of the storm and the lurching of the sledge. I had then a dream that I have never forgotten, and in which I still see something prophetic, as I recall the strange events of my life. The reader will forgive me if I relate it to him, as he knows, no doubt, by experience how natural it is for man to retain a vestige of superstition in spite of all the scorn for it he may think proper to assume. I had reached the stage when the real and unreal begin to blend into the
your _godfather_.[17] Kiss his hand, and let him bless you."
continued, and that we were wandering in the snowy desert. All at once I thought I saw a great gate, and we entered the courtyard of our house. My first thought was a fear that my father would be angry at my involuntary return to the paternal roof, and would attribute it to a premeditated disobedience. Uneasy, I got out of my _kibitka_, and I saw my mother come to meet me, looking very sad. "Don't make a noise," she said to me. "Your father is on his death-bed, and wishes to bid you farewell." Struck with horror, I followed her into the bedroom. I look round; the room is nearly dark. Near the bed some people were standing, looking sad and cast down. I approached on tiptoe. My mother raised the curtain, and said-- "Andréj Petróvitch, Petróusha has come back; he came back having heard of your illness. Give him your blessing." I knelt down. But to my astonishment instead of my father I saw in the bed a black-bearded peasant, who regarded me with a merry look. Full of surprise, I turned towards my mother. "What does this mean?" I exclaimed. "It is not my father. Why do you want me to ask this peasant's blessing?" "It is the same thing, Petróusha," replied my mother. "That person is
fresh and hale. Savéliitch brought the tea canister, and asked for a
I would not consent to this. Whereupon the peasant sprang from the bed, quickly drew his axe from his belt, and began to brandish it in all directions. I wished to fly, but I could not. The room seemed to be suddenly full of corpses. I stumbled against them; my feet slipped in pools of blood. The terrible peasant called me gently, saying to me-- "Fear nothing, come near; come and let me bless you." Fear had stupified me.... At this moment I awoke. The horses had stopped; Savéliitch had hold of my hand. "Get out, excellency," said he to me; "here we are." "Where?" I asked, rubbing my eyes. "At our night's lodging. Heaven has helped us; we came by chance right upon the hedge by the house. Get out, excellency, as quick as you can, and let us see you get warm." I got out of the _kibitka_. The snowstorm still raged, but less violently. It was so dark that one might, as we say, have as well been blind. The host received us near the entrance, holding a lantern beneath the skirt of his caftan, and led us into a room, small but prettily clean, lit by a _loutchina_.[18] On the wall hung a long carbine and a high Cossack cap. Our host, a Cossack of the Yaïk,[19] was a peasant of about sixty, still
I willingly acceded to his desire. The host took from one of the shelves
fire that he might make me a cup or two of tea, of which, certainly, I never had more need. The host hastened to wait upon him. "What has become of our guide? Where is he?" I asked Savéliitch. "Here, your excellency," replied a voice from above. I raised my eyes to the recess above the stove, and I saw a black beard and two sparkling eyes. "Well, are you cold?" "How could I not be cold," answered he, "in a little caftan all holes? I had a _touloup_, but, it's no good hiding it, I left it yesterday in pawn at the brandy shop; the cold did not seem to me then so keen." At this moment the host re-entered with the boiling _samovar_.[20] I offered our guide a cup of tea. He at once jumped down. I was struck by his appearance. He was a man about forty, middle height, thin, but broad-shouldered. His black beard was beginning to turn grey; his large quick eyes roved incessantly around. In his face there was an expression rather pleasant, but slightly mischievous. His hair was cut short. He wore a little torn _armak_,[21] and wide Tartar trousers. I offered him a cup of tea; he tasted it, and made a wry face. "Do me the favour, your excellency," said he to me, "to give me a glass of brandy; we Cossacks do not generally drink tea."
about the army of the Yaïk, which had only just been reduced to
of the press a jug and a glass, approached him, and, having looked him well in the face-- "Well, well," said he, "so here you are again in our part of the world. Where, in heaven's name, do you come from now?" My guide winked in a meaning manner, and replied by the well-known saying-- "The sparrow was flying about in the orchard; he was eating hempseed; the grandmother threw a stone at him, and missed him. And you, how are you all getting on?" "How are we all getting on?" rejoined the host, still speaking in proverbs. "Vespers were beginning to ring, but the wife of the _pope_[22] forbid it; the pope went away on a visit, and the devils are abroad in the churchyard." "Shut up, uncle," retorted the vagabond. "When it rains there will be mushrooms, and when you find mushrooms you will find a basket to put them in. But now" (he winked a second time) "put your axe behind your back,[23] the gamekeeper is abroad. To the health of your excellency." So saying he took the glass, made the sign of the cross, and swallowed his brandy at one gulp, then, bowing to me, returned to his lair above the stove. I could not then understand a single word of the thieves' slang they employed. It was only later on that I understood that they were talking submission after the revolt of 1772.[24]
half roubles to spare. If we take to giving gratuities to everybody we
Savéliitch listened to them talking with a very discontented manner, and cast suspicious glances, sometimes on the host and sometimes on the guide. The kind of inn where we had sought shelter stood in the very middle of the steppe, far from the road and from any dwelling, and certainly was by no means unlikely to be a robber resort. But what could we do? We could not dream of resuming our journey. Savéliitch's uneasiness amused me very much. I stretched myself on a bench. My old retainer at last decided to get up on the top of the stove,[25] while the host lay down on the floor. They all soon began to snore, and I myself soon fell dead asleep. When I awoke, somewhat late, on the morrow I saw that the storm was over. The sun shone brightly; the snow stretched afar like a dazzling sheet. The horses were already harnessed. I paid the host, who named such a mere trifle as my reckoning that Savéliitch did not bargain as he usually did. His suspicions of the evening before were quite gone. I called the guide to thank him for what he had done for us, and I told Savéliitch to give him half a rouble as a reward. Savéliitch frowned. "Half a rouble!" cried he. "Why? Because you were good enough to bring him yourself to the inn? I will obey you, excellency, but we have no shall end by dying of hunger."
_touloup_ of hareskin, and still quite new! And to whom is it
I could not dispute the point with Savéliitch; my money, according to my solemn promise, was entirely at his disposal. Nevertheless, I was annoyed that I was not able to reward a man who, if he had not brought me out of fatal danger, had, at least, extricated me from an awkward dilemma. "Well," I said, coolly, to Savéliitch, "if you do not wish to give him half a rouble give him one of my old coats; he is too thinly clad. Give him my hareskin _touloup_." "Have mercy on me, my father, Petr' Andréjïtch!" exclaimed Savéliitch. "What need has he of your _touloup_? He will pawn it for drink, the dog, in the first tavern he comes across." "That, my dear old fellow, is no longer your affair," said the vagabond, "whether I drink it or whether I do not. His excellency honours me with a coat off his own back.[26] It is his excellency's will, and it is your duty as a serf not to kick against it, but to obey." "You don't fear heaven, robber that you are," said Savéliitch, angrily. "You see the child is still young and foolish, and you are quite ready to plunder him, thanks to his kind heart. What do you want with a gentleman's _touloup_? You could not even put it across your cursed broad shoulders." "I beg you will not play the wit," I said to my follower. "Get the cloak quickly." "Oh! good heavens!" exclaimed Savéliitch, bemoaning himself. "A
"'Sir, I hope your excellency'--What's all this ceremony? For shame! I
given?--to a drunkard in rags." However, the _touloup_ was brought. The vagabond began trying it on directly. The _touloup_, which had already become somewhat too small for me, was really too tight for him. Still, with some trouble, he succeeded in getting it on, though he cracked all the seams. Savéliitch gave, as it were, a subdued howl when he heard the threads snapping. As to the vagabond, he was very pleased with my present. He ushered me to my _kibitka_, and saying, with a low bow, "Thanks, your excellency; may Heaven reward you for your goodness; I shall never forget, as long as I live, your kindnesses," went his way, and I went mine, without paying any attention to Savéliitch's sulkiness. I soon forgot the snowstorm, the guide, and my hareskin _touloup_. Upon arrival at Orenburg I immediately waited on the General. I found a tall man, already bent by age. His long hair was quite white; his old uniform reminded one of a soldier of Tzarina Anne's[27] time, and he spoke with a strongly-marked German accent. I gave him my father's letter. Upon reading his name he cast a quick glance at me.