Part 5 out of 6
Bold had often expressed his indignation at the misappropriation of
church funds in general, in the hearing of his friend the precentor, but
the conversation had never referred to anything at Barchester.
He heard from different quarters that Hiram's bedesmen were treated as
paupers, whereas the property to which they were, in effect, heirs, was
very large, and being looked on as the upholder of the rights of the
poor of Barchester, he was instigated by a lawyer, whom he had
previously employed, to call upon Mr. Chadwick, the steward of the
episcopal estates, for a statement as to the funds of the estate.
It was against Chadwick that his efforts were to be directed, but Bold
soon found that if he interfered with Mr. Chadwick as steward, he must
interfere with Mr. Harding as warden; and though he regretted the
situation in which this would place him, he was not the man to flinch
from his undertaking from personal motives.
Having got a copy of John Hiram's will, and mastered it, Bold next
ascertained the extent and value of the property, and then made out a
schedule of what he was informed was the present distribution of its
income. Armed with these particulars, he called on Mr. Chadwick, who
naturally declined to answer any questions and referred him to his
attorneys in London.
Bold at once repaired to the hospital. The day was now far advanced, but
he knew that Mr. Harding dined in the summer at four, that Eleanor was
accustomed to drive in the evening, and that he might therefore probably
find Mr. Harding alone. It was between seven and eight when he reached
the precentor's garden, and as he raised the latch he heard the notes of
Mr. Harding's violoncello; advancing before the house and across the
lawn, he found him playing, and not without an audience. The musician
was seated in a garden chair, and around sat, and lay, ten of the twelve
old men who dwelt with him beneath John Hiram's roof. Bold sat down on
the soft turf to listen, or rather to think how, after such harmony, he
might best introduce a theme of so much discord. He felt that he had a
somewhat difficult task, and he almost regretted the final leave-taking
of the last of the old men, slow as they were in going through their
The precentor remarked on the friendliness of the visit. "One evening
call," said he, "is worth ten in the morning. It's all formality in the
morning; real social talk never begins till after dinner. That's why I
dine early, so as to get as much as I can of it."
"Quite true, Mr. Harding," said the other; "but I fear I've reversed the
order of things, and I owe you much apology for troubling you on
business at such an hour. I wish to speak to you about the hospital."
Mr. Harding looked blank and annoyed. But he only said, "Well, well,
anything I can tell you I shall be most happy--"
"It's about the accounts."
"Then, my dear fellow, I can tell you nothing, for I'm as ignorant as a
child. All I know is that they pay me L800 a year. Go t Chadwick; he
knows all about the accounts."
"But, Mr. Harding, I hope you won't object to discuss with me what I
have to say about the hospital."
Mr. Harding gave a deep, long-drawn sigh. He did object, very strongly
object, to discuss any such subject with John Bold, but he had not the
business tact of Mr. Chadwick, and did not know how to relieve himself
from the coming evil.
"I fear there is reason to think that John Hiram's will is not carried
out to the letter, Mr. Harding, and I have been asked to see into it."
"Very well, I've no objection on earth; and now we need not say another
word about it."
"Only one word more, Mr. Harding. Chadwick has referred me to lawyers.
In what I do I may appear to be interfering with you, and I hope you
will forgive me for doing so."
"Mr. Bold," said the other, speaking with some solemnity, "if you act
justly, say nothing in this matter but the truth, and use no unfair
weapons in carrying out your purposes, I shall have nothing to forgive.
I presume you think I am not entitled to the income I receive from the
hospital, and that others are entitled to it. Whatever some may do, I
shall never attribute to you base motives because you hold an opinion
opposed to my own and adverse to my interests; pray do what you consider
to be your duty; I can give you no assistance, neither will I offer you
any obstacle. Let me, however, suggest to you that you can in no wise
forward your views, nor I mine, by any discussion between us. Here comes
Eleanor and the ponies, and we'll go in to tea."
Bold felt that he could not sit down at ease with Mr. Harding and his
daughter after what had passed, and therefore excused himself with much
awkward apology; and, merely raising his hat and bowing as he passed
Eleanor and the pony chair, left her in disappointed amazement at his
The bedesmen heard a whisper that they were entitled to one hundred
pounds a year, and signed a petition, which Abel Handy drew up, to the
bishop as visitor, praying his lordship to see justice done to the legal
recipients of John Hiram's charity. John Bold was advised to institute
formal proceedings against Mr. Harding and Mr. Chadwick. Archdeacon
Grantly took up the cause of the warden, and obtained a legal opinion
from the attorney general, Sir Abraham Haphazard, that Mr. Harding and
Mr. Chadwick being only paid servants, the action should not have been
brought against them, but that the defendants should have been either
the corporation of Barchester, or possibly the dean and chapter, or the
bishop. That all-powerful organ of the press, the daily _Jupiter_,
launched a leading thunderbolt against the administration of Hiram's
Hospital, which made out the warden to be a man unjust, grasping--and
the responsibility for this attack rested upon John Bold's friend Tom
Towers, of the Temple.
Bold kept away from the warden's house, but he met Miss Harding one day
in the cathedral close. He tried to explain and apologised.
"Mr. Bold," said she, "you may be sure of one thing: I shall always
judge my father to be right, and those who oppose him I shall judge to
be wrong." And then, curtsying low, she sailed on, leaving her lover in
anything but a happy state of mind.
To her father Eleanor owned that she had loved John Bold once, but would
not, could not do so now, when he proved himself the enemy of her
But the warden, wretched as he was at the attacks of the _Jupiter_,
declared that Bold was no enemy of his, and encouraged her love, and
then he spoke to her of happier days when their trials would all be
That night Eleanor decided that she would extricate her father from his
misery; she would sacrifice herself as Iphigenia did for Agamemnon. She
would herself personally implore John Bold to desist from his
undertaking and stop the lawsuit; she would explain to him her father's
sorrows, and tell him how her father would die if he were thus dragged
before the public and exposed to such unmerited ignominy; she would
appeal to his old friendship, and, if need were, kneel to him for the
favour she would ask; but before she did this the idea of love must be
banished. There must be no bargain in the matter. She could not appeal
to his love, nor allow him to do so. Should he declare his passion he
must be rejected.
She rose refreshed in the morning, and after breakfast started out, and
arrived at Bold's door; where John's sister Mary greeted her warmly.
"John's out now, and will be for the next two hours, and he returns to
London by the mail train to-night."
"Mary, I must see your brother before he goes back, and beg from him a
great favour." Miss Harding spoke with a solemn air, and then went on
and opened to her friend all her plan for saving her father from a
sorrow which would, if it lasted, bring him to his grave.
While they were yet discussing the matter, Bold returned, and Eleanor
was forced into sudden action.
"Mr. Bold," said she, "I have come here to implore you to abandon this
proceeding, to implore you to spare my father."
"Eleanor, I will do anything; only let me tell you how I love you!"
"No, no, no," she almost screamed. "This is unmanly of you, Mr. Bold.
Will you leave my father to die in peace in his quiet home?" And seizing
him by his arm, she clung to him with fixed tenacity, and reiterated her
appeal with hysterical passion.
"Promise me, promise me!" said Eleanor; "say that my father is safe--one
word will do. I know how true you are; say one word, and I will let you
"I will," said he, at length; "I do. All I can do I will do."
"Then may God Almighty bless you for ever and ever!" said Eleanor; and,
with her face in Mary Bold's lap, she wept and sobbed like a child.
In a while she was recovered, and got up to go; and Mary, under a
pretence of fetching her bonnet, left the two together in the room.
And now, with a volley of impassioned love, John Bold poured forth the
feelings of his heart; and Eleanor repeated with every shade of
vehemence, "No, no, no!" But let her be never so vehement, her vehemence
was not respected now; all her "No, no, noes" were met with counter
asseverations, and at last were overpowered. Her defences were
demolished, all her maiden barriers swept away, and Eleanor capitulated,
or rather marched out with the honours of war, vanquished evidently, but
still not reduced to the necessity of confessing it. Certainly she had
been victorious, certainly she had achieved her object, certainly she
was not unhappy. Eleanor as she returned home felt that she had now
nothing further to do but to add to the budget of news for her father
that John Bold was her accepted lover.
_IV.--The Warden Resigns_
When Eleanor informed her father of the end of the lawsuit the warden
did not express himself peculiarly gratified at the intelligence. His
own mind was already made up. A third article had appeared in the
_Jupiter_, calling on Mr. Harding to give an account of his stewardship,
and how it was that he consumed three-fifths of Hiram's charity. "I tell
you what, my dear," he said, while Eleanor stared at him as though she
scarcely understood the words he was speaking, "I can't dispute the
truth of these words. I do believe I have no right to be here. No right
to be warden with L800 a year; no right to spend in luxury money that
was intended for charity. I will go up to London, my dear, and see these
lawyers myself. There are some things which a man cannot bear--" and he
put his hand upon the newspaper.
And to London Mr. Harding went, stealing a march upon the archdeacon,
who with Mrs. Grantly pursued him twenty-four hours later. By that time
the warden had obtained an interview with the great Sir Abraham
Haphazard. "What I want you, Sir Abraham, to tell me is this," said Mr.
Harding. "Am I, as warden, legally and distinctly entitled to the
proceeds of the property after the due maintenance of the twelve
Sir Abraham declared that he couldn't exactly say in so many words that
Mr. Harding was legally entitled to, etc., etc., and ended in expressing
a strong opinion that, as the other side had given notice of withdrawing
the suit, it would be madness to raise any further question on the
"I can resign," said Mr. Harding, slowly.
"What! throw it up altogether?" said the attorney general. "Believe me,
it is sheer Quixotism."
But Mr. Harding's mind was made up. He knew that the attorney general
regarded him as a fool, but Eleanor, he was sure, would exult in what he
had done, and his old friend, the bishop, he trusted, would sympathise
with him. Back at his hotel in St. Paul's Churchyard Mr. Harding had to
face the archdeacon. In vain Dr. Grantly argued. "I shall certainly
resign this wardenship," said Mr. Harding. The letter of resignation was
posted to the bishop, and the warden returned home. The bishop at once
wrote to him full of affection, condolence, and praise, and besought him
to come and live at the palace.
It was hard for Mr. Harding to make the bishop understand that this
would not suit him, and that the only real favour he could confer was
the continuation of his independent friendship; but at last even this
was done. "At any rate," thought the bishop, "he will come and dine with
me from time to time, and if he be absolutely starving I shall see it."
It was settled that Mr. Harding should still be the precentor of the
cathedral, and a small living within the walls of the city was given to
him. It was the smallest possible parish, containing a part of the
cathedral close and a few old houses adjoining. The church was no bigger
than an ordinary room--perhaps twenty-seven feet long by eighteen
wide--but still it was a perfect church. Such was the living of St.
Cuthbert's at Barchester, of which Mr. Harding became rector, with a
clear income of L75 a year.
Mr. Harding allowed himself no rest till everything was prepared for his
departure from the hospital.
For his present use he took a lodging in Barchester, and thither were
conveyed such articles as he wanted for daily use. Mrs. Grantly had much
wished that her sister would reside at Plumstead, but Eleanor strongly
resisted this proposal. She had not desired that her father should give
up the hospital in order that she might live at Plumstead rectory and he
alone in his Barchester lodgings. So she got a little bedroom for
herself behind the sitting-room, and just over the little back parlour
of the chemist, with whom they were to lodge. There was somewhat of a
savour of senna softened by peppermint about the place; but, on the
whole, the lodgings were clean and comfortable.
Nothing could induce the bishop to fill up the vacancy at Hiram's
Hospital caused by Mr. Harding's retirement. It is now some years since
Mr. Harding left it, and the warden's house is tenantless and the
warden's garden a wretched wilderness.
Mr. Harding is neither a discontented nor an unhappy man; he still
inhabits the lodgings to which he went on leaving the hospital, but he
now has them to himself. Three months after that time Eleanor became
Mrs. Bold, and of course removed to her husband's house.
The archdeacon would not be persuaded to grace the marriage ceremony
with his presence, but he allowed his wife and children to be there. The
marriage took place at the palace, and the bishop himself officiated. It
was the last occasion on which he ever did so, and it is not probable
that he will ever do so again.
Mr. Harding's time is spent chiefly at his daughter's or at the palace,
but he keeps his lodgings.
Every other day a message is brought to him from the bishop. "The
bishop's compliments, and his lordship is not very well to-day, and he
hopes Mr. Harding will dine with him." This bulletin as to the old man's
health is a myth; for, though he is over eighty, he is never ill. Mr.
Harding does dine with him very often, which means going to the palace
at three and remaining till ten.
* * * * *
"Barchester Towers" shares with "The Warden" the distinction
of containing Trollope's most original, freshest, and best
work, and in the character of Mr. Proudie a new specimen was
added to English fiction. It was written for the most part in
pencil, while the author was travelling about the country
prosecuting his duties as a Post-office Surveyor, what was
done being afterwards copied by the novelist's wife. The
Barchester of the story has been identified as Winchester, and
scattered at random throughout the work are many references to
the neighbourhood of Hampshire's ancient capital.
_I.--The New Bishop_
In the latter days of July in the year 1805, a most important question
was hourly asked in the cathedral city of Barchester: Who was to be the
The death of old Dr. Grantly, who had for many years filled that chair
with meek authority, took place exactly as the ministry of Lord----was
going to give place to that of Lord----. The illness of the good old man
was long and lingering, and it became at last a matter of intense
interest to those concerned whether the new appointment should be made
by a Conservative or Liberal government.
It was pretty well understood that the outgoing premier had made his
selection, and that, if the question rested with him, the mitre would
descend on the head of Archdeacon Grantly, the old bishop's son, who had
long managed the affairs of the diocese.
A trying time was this for the archdeacon as he sat by his father's
dying bed. The ministry were to be out within five days: his father was
to be dead within--no, he rejected that view of the subject.
Presently Mr. Harding entered noiselessly.
"God bless you, my dears"--said the bishop with feeble voice--"God bless
you both." And so he died.
"It's a great relief, archdeacon," said Mr. Harding, "a great relief.
Dear, good, excellent old man. Oh, that our last moments may be as
innocent and as peaceful as his!"
The archdeacon's mind, however, had already travelled from the death
chamber to the study of the prime minister. It was already evening, and
nearly dark. It was most important that the prime minister should know
that night that the diocese was vacant. Everything might depend on it.
And so, in answer to Mr. Harding's further consolation, the archdeacon
suggested that a telegraph message should be immediately sent to London.
Mr. Harding got as far as the library door with the slip of paper
containing the message to the prime minister, when he turned back.
"I forgot to tell you," he said. "The ministry are out. Mr. Chadwick got
the news by telegraph, and left word at the palace door."
Thus terminated our unfortunate friend's chance of possessing the
glories of a bishopric.
The names of many divines were given in the papers as that of the bishop
elect. And then the _Jupiter_ declared that Dr. Proudie was to be the
Dr. Proudie was the man. Just a month after the demise of the late
bishop, Dr. Proudie kissed the queen's hand as his successor elect, and
was consecrated bishop of Barchester.
Dr. Proudie was one among those who early in life adapted himself to the
views held by the Whigs on most theological and religious subjects.
Toleration became the basis on which he fought his battles, and at this
time he was found to be useful by the government. In person he was a
good-looking man, and it was no fault of his own if he had not a
commanding eye, for he studied hard for it.
Dr. Proudie may well be said to have been a fortunate man, for he had
not been born to wealth, and he was now bishop of Barchester with L5000
a year; but nevertheless he had his cares. He had a large family, of
whom the three eldest were daughters, now all grown up and all fitted
for fashionable life; and he had a wife.
Now, Mrs. Proudie was not satisfied with home dominion, but stretched
her power over all her husband's movements, and would not even abstain
from things spiritual. In fact, the bishop was henpecked. In her own way
the bishop's wife was a religious woman, and the form in which this
tendency showed itself in her was by a strict observance of Sabbatarian
rule. Dissipation and low dresses during the week were, under her
control, atoned for by three services, an evening sermon read by
herself, and a perfect abstinence from any cheering employment on the
Sunday. In these matters Mrs. Proudie allowed herself to be guided by
the Rev. Mr. Slope, the bishop's chaplain; and as Dr. Proudie was guided
by his wife, it necessarily followed that Mr. Slope had obtained a good
deal of control over Dr. Proudie in matters concerning religion. Mr.
Slope's only preferment hitherto had been that of reader and preacher in
a London district church; and on the consecration of his friend the new
bishop he readily gave this up to become domestic chaplain to his
_II.--The Bishop's Chaplain_
When Mr. Slope sat himself down in the railway carriage, confronting the
bishop and Mrs. Proudie, as they started on their first journey to
Barchester, he began to form in his own mind a plan of his future life.
He knew well his patron's strong points, but he knew the weak ones as
well; and he rightly guessed that public life would better suit the
great man's taste than the small details of diocesan duty.
He, therefore--he, Mr. Slope--would in effect be bishop of Barchester.
Such was his resolve; and, to give Mr. Slope his due, he had both
courage and spirit to bear him out in his resolution. He knew that he
should have a hard battle to fight, for Mr. Proudie would also choose to
be bishop of Barchester. At first, doubtless, he must flatter and
cajole, and perhaps yield in some things; but he did not doubt of
ultimate triumph. If all other means failed, he could join the bishop
against his wife, inspire courage into the unhappy man, and emancipate
Such were Mr. Slope's thoughts as he sat looking at the sleeping pair in
the railway carriage. He intended to lead, and to have followers; he
intended to hold the purse-strings of the diocese, and draw round him a
herd of his poor and hungry brethren. He had, however, a pawing, greasy
way with him, and he was not a man to make himself at once popular in
the circle of Barchester.
The second day after his arrival came Mr. Slope's first introduction to
the clergy of Barchester, when Archdeacon Grantly and Mr. Harding called
together at the palace to pay their respects to the bishop.
Our friends found Dr. Proudie sitting in the old bishop's chair, very
nice in his new apron; they found, too, Mr. Slope standing on the
hearth-rug, persuasive and eager; but on the sofa they found Mrs.
Proudie, an innovation for which no precedent could be found in all the
annals of Barchester. There she was, however, and they could only make
the best of her.
The introductions were gone through in much form. The archdeacon shook
hands with the bishop, and named Mr. Harding. His lordship then
presented them to his lady wife. After this Mr. Slope presented himself.
The bishop did mention his name, and so did Mrs. Proudie, too, in a
louder tone; but Mr. Slope took upon himself the chief burden of his own
introduction. He thrust out his hand, and, grasping that of the
archdeacon, bedewed it unmercifully. Dr. Grantly in return bowed, looked
stiff, contracted his eyebrows, and wiped his hand with his pocket
handkerchief. Nothing abashed, Mr. Slope then noticed the precentor, and
descended to the grade of the lower clergy.
There were four persons there, each of whom considered himself--or
herself, as Mrs. Proudie was one of them--the most important personage
in the diocese. The bishop himself actually wore the visible apron. The
archdeacon knew his subject, and really understood the business of
bishoping, which the others did not. Mrs. Proudie had her habit of
command. Mr. Slope had only his own courage and tact to depend on.
"I fear there is a great deal of Sabbath travelling here," said Mr.
Slope. "On looking at the 'Bradshaw,' I see that there are three trains
in and three out every Sabbath. Could nothing be done to induce the
company to withdraw them?"
"Not being a director, I really can't say. But if you can withdraw the
passengers, the company, I dare say, will withdraw the trains," said the
archdeacon. "It's merely a question of dividends."
"But surely, Dr. Grantly," said the lady, "surely we should look at it
differently. Don't you think so, Mr. Harding?"
Mr. Harding thought that all porters and stokers, guards and pointsmen
ought to have an opportunity of going to church, and he hoped that they
"But surely, surely!" continued Mrs. Proudie, "surely that is not
Come what might, Dr. Grantly was not to be forced into a dissertation on
a point of doctrine with Mrs. Proudie, nor yet with Mr. Slope; so he
turned his back upon the sofa, and hoped that Dr. Proudie had found the
palace repairs had been such as to meet his wishes.
At once Mr. Slope sidled over to the bishop's chair, and began a
catalogue of grievances concerning the stables and the out-houses. Mrs.
Proudie, while she lent her assistance in reciting the palatial
short-comings in the matter of gas, hot-water pipes, and the locks on
the doors of servants' bedrooms, did not give up her hold of Mr.
Harding. Over and over again she had thrown out her "Surely, surely!" at
Mr. Harding's devoted head, and ill had that gentleman been able to
parry the attack.
He had never before found himself subjected to such a nuisance, or been
so hard pressed in his life. Mrs. Proudie interrogated him, and then
lectured. "Neither thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man
servant, nor thy maid servant," said she, impressively, and more than
once, as though Mr. Harding had forgotten the words. She shook her
fingers at him as she quoted the law, as though menacing him with
Mr. Harding felt that he ought to rebuke the lady for presuming so to
talk to a gentleman and a clergyman many years her senior; but he
recoiled from the idea of scolding the bishop's wife, in the bishop's
presence, on his first visit to the palace; moreover, to tell the truth,
he was somewhat afraid of her.
The archdeacon was now ready to depart, and he and the precentor, after
bowing low to the lady and shaking hands with my lord, made their escape
from Mr. Slope as best they could. It was not till they were well out of
the palace and on the gravel walk of the close that the archdeacon
allowed the wrath inspired by Mr. Slope to find expression.
"He is the most thoroughly bestial creature that ever I set my eyes
upon," said the archdeacon. "But what are we to do with him? Impudent
scoundrel! To have to cross-examine me about out-houses, and Sunday
travelling, too. I never in my life met his equal for sheer impudence.
Why, he must have thought we were two candidates for ordination!"
"I declare I thought Mrs. Proudie was the worst of the two." said Mr.
_III.--Mrs. Proudie Gets a Fall_
An act of Parliament had decided that in future the warden of Hiram's
Hospital should receive L450 a year, and no one thought for a moment
that the new bishop would appoint any other than Mr. Harding.
Mr. Slope, however, had other plans. He saw from the first that he could
not conciliate Dr. Grantly, and decided on open battle against the
archdeacon and all his adherents. Only those came to call on Mr. Slope
who, like Mr. Quiverful, the rector of Puddingdale, had large families
and small incomes, and could not afford to neglect the loaves and fishes
of the diocese, even if a Mr. Slope had charge of the baskets.
So Mr. Harding received a note begging him to call on Mr. Slope at the
palace concerning the wardenship.
The result of this interview was so offensive to Mr. Harding that he
"You may tell the bishop, Mr. Slope, that as I altogether disagree with
his views about the hospital, I shall decline the situation if I find
that any such conditions are attached to it as those you have
suggested." And so saying, he took his hat and went his way.
Mr. Slope was contented. He considered himself at liberty to accept Mr.
Harding's last speech as an absolute refusal of the appointment. At
least, he so represented it to the bishop and to Mrs. Proudie.
"I really am sorry for it," said the bishop.
"I don't know that there is much cause for sorrow," said the lady. "Mr.
Quiverful is a much more deserving man."
"I suppose I had better see Quiverful," said the chaplain.
"I suppose you had," said the bishop.
But no sooner had Mr. Slope promised Quiverful the wardenship, Mrs.
Proudie writing at the same time to her protegee, Mrs. Quiverful, than
he repented of the step he had taken.
Eleanor Bold, Mr. Harding's daughter, was a widow in prosperous
circumstances, and when Mr. Slope had made her acquaintance, and learnt
of her income, he decided that he would woo her. Mr. Harding at the
hospital, and placed there by his means, would be more inclined to
receive him as a son-in-law. Mr. Slope wanted a wife, and he wanted
money, but he wanted power more than either. He had fully realised that
sooner or later he must come to blows with Mrs. Proudie. He had no
desire to remain in Barchester as her chaplain; he had higher views of
his own destiny. Either he or Mrs. Proudie must go to the wall, and now
had come the time when he would try which it should be.
To that end, he rode over to Puddingdale and persuaded Mr. Quiverful to
give up all hope of the wardenship. Mrs. Quiverful, however, with
fourteen children, refused to yield without a struggle, and went off
there and then to Mrs. Proudie at the palace.
She told her tale, and Mrs. Proudie walked quickly into her husband's
room, and found him seated at his office table, with Mr. Slope opposite
"What is this, bishop, about Mr. Quiverful?" said she, coming to the end
of the table and standing there.
"I have been out to Puddingdale this morning, ma'am," replied Mr. Slope,
"and have seen Mr. Quiverful; and he has abandoned all claim to the
hospital. Under these circumstances I have strongly advised his lordship
to nominate Mr. Harding."
"Who desired you to go to Mr. Quiverful?" said Mrs. Proudie, now at the
top of her wrath--for it was plain to her the chaplain was taking too
much upon himself. "Did anyone send you, sir?"
There was a dead pause in the room. The bishop sat twiddling his thumbs.
How comfortable it would be, he thought, if they could fight it out
between them; fight it out so that one should kill the other utterly, as
far as diocesan life was concerned, so that he, the bishop, might know
clearly by whom he ought to be led. If he had a wish as to which might
prove victor, that wish was not antagonistic to Mr. Slope.
"Will you answer me, sir?" Mrs. Proudie repeated. "Who instructed you to
call on Mr. Quiverful?"
"Mrs. Proudie," said Mr. Slope, "I am quite aware how much I owe to your
kindness. But my duty in this matter is to his lordship. He has approved
of what I have done, and having that approval, and my own, I want none
What horrid words were these which greeted the ear of Mrs. Proudie? Here
was premeditated mutiny in the camp. The bishop had not yet been twelve
months in the chair, and rebellion had already reared her hideous head
in the palace.
"Mr. Slope," said Mrs. Proudie, with slow and dignified voice, "I will
trouble you, if you please, to leave the apartment. I wish to speak to
my lord alone."
Mr. Slope felt that everything depended on the present interview. Should
the bishop now be repetticoated his thralldom would be complete and for
ever. Now was the moment for victory or rout. It was now that Mr. Slope
must make himself master of the diocese, or else resign his place and
begin his search for fortune elsewhere.
"His lordship has summoned me on most important diocesan business," said
Mr. Slope, glancing with uneasy eye at Dr. Proudie; "my leaving him at
the present moment is, I fear, impossible."
"Do you bandy words with me, you ungrateful man?" said the lady. "My
lord, is Mr. Slope to leave this room, or am I?"
His lordship twiddled his thumbs, and then proclaimed himself a
"Why, my dear," said he, "Mr. Slope and I are very busy."
That was all. There was nothing more necessary. Mr. Slope saw at once
the full amount of his gain, and turned on the vanquished lady a look of
triumph which she never forgot and never forgave.
Mrs. Proudie without further parley left the room; and then followed a
close conference between the new allies. The chaplain told the bishop
that the world gave him credit for being under the governance of his
wife, and the bishop pledged himself with Mr. Slope's assistance to
change his courses.
_IV.--Mr. Slope Bids Farewell_
As it proved, however, Mr. Slope had not a chance against Mrs. Proudie.
Not only could she stun the poor bishop by her midnight anger when the
two were alone, but she could assuage him, if she so willed, by daily
On the death of Dr. Trefoil, the dean of Barchester, Mr. Slope had not
shrunk from urging the bishop to recommend his chaplain for the post.
"How could you think of making such a creature as that dean of
Barchester?" said Mrs. Proudie to her now submissive husband.
"Why, my dear," said he, "it appeared to me that you and Mr. Slope did
not get on as well as you used to do, and therefore I thought that if he
got this place, and so ceased to be my chaplain, you might be pleased at
such an arrangement."
Mrs. Proudie laughed aloud.
"Oh yes, my dear, of course he'll cease to be your chaplain," said she.
"After what has passed, that must be a matter of course. I couldn't for
a moment think of living in the same house with such a man. Dean,
indeed! The man has gone mad with arrogance."
The bishop said nothing further to excuse either himself or his family,
and having shown himself passive and docile was again taken into favour,
and spent the pleasantest evening he had had in his own house for a long
Mr. Slope did not get the deanery, though for a week he was decidedly
the favourite--owing to the backing he received from the _Jupiter_. And
Mr. Quiverful was after all appointed to the hospital, with the complete
acquiescence of Mr. Harding.
Mr. Harding might have had the deanery, but he declined the office on
the ground of his age and his inability to fit himself into new duties.
In vain the archdeacon threatened, and in vain he coaxed; his
father-in-law could not be made to accept it.
To Mr. Harding's infinite relief, Mrs. Bold regarded Mr. Slope's
proposal with horror, and refused him with indignation. She had never
thought of him as a possible suitor, and when he addressed her as
"beautiful woman," and as "dearest Eleanor," and as "sweetest angel,"
and even contrived to pass his arm round her waist, it was more than she
could bear. Mrs. Bold raised her little hand and just dealt him a box on
the ear with such good will that it sounded among the trees--he had
followed her into the garden--like a miniature thunderclap.
The news that the deanery was not for him ended Mr. Slope's prospects in
Barchester. He was aware that as regarded the diocese Mrs. Proudie had
checkmated him. He had, for a moment, run her hard, but it was only for
a moment, and Mrs. Proudie had come forth victorious in the struggle.
Having received a formal command to wait upon the bishop, he went into
Dr. Proudie's study. There, as he had anticipated, he found Mrs. Proudie
together with her husband.
"Mr. Slope," began the bishop, "I think you had better look for some
other preferment. I do not think you are well suited for the situation
you have lately held. I will enclose you a cheque for any balance that
may be due to you; and under the present circumstances it will, of
course, be better for all parties that you should leave the palace at
the earliest possible moment."
"If, however, you wish to remain in the neighbourhood," said Mrs.
Proudie, "the bishop will mention your name to Mr. Quiverful, who now
wants a curate at Puddingdale, and the stipend is L50 a year, sufficient
for your requirements."
"May God forgive you, madam, for the manner in which you have treated
me," said Mr. Slope; "and remember this, madam, that you yourself may
still have a fall. As to the bishop, I pity him!"
Thus ended the intimacy of the bishop of Barchester with his first
Mr. Slope returned to town, and promptly consoled the widow of a rich
sugar-refiner. He soon was settled with much comfort in Baker Street,
and is now possessed of a church in the New Road.
Mr. Harding is still precentor, and still pastor of the little church of
St. Cuthbert's. In spite of what he has often said, he is not even yet
an old man.
* * * * *
Fathers and Sons
Among the great critics and great artists of every period,
Ivan Sergeyvitch Turgenev occupies a supreme position. He was
born at Oriel in the Government of the same name, on November
9, 1818, and died on September 3, 1883. His father was a
colonel in a cavalry regiment, and an ancestor was a James
Turgenev who was one of Peter the Great's jesters. Educated at
Moscow, St Petersburg, and Berlin, Ivan Turgenev began life in
a government office, but after a year retired into private
life. His early attempts at literature consisted chiefly of
poems and sketches, none of which attracted any degree of
attention; and it was not until about 1847, upon the
appearance of "A Sportsman's Sketches"--a series of stories
depicting with startling realism the condition of the Russian
peasant, that his name became known. About 1860 Ivan Turgenev,
in common with many of the Russian writers of the period,
found himself being carried away towards the study of social
reform. In 1861 he produced "Fathers and Sons" ("Otzi i
Dieti"), a story that stirred up a storm the suddenness of
which is difficult to imagine in the light of recent events.
Yet, curiously enough, Turgenev, ardent Liberal though he was,
had no political motive whatsoever in view in writing his
novel, his purpose simply being the delineation of certain
types which were then, for good or for bad, making themselves
a force in his country. The figure of Bazaroff, in regard to
whom Turgenev gave a new interpretation of the word
"nihilist," possesses few of the revolutionary ideas that are
now generally associated with his kind. Young Russia greatly
objected to the picture, and the author, who so far had been
hailed as a champion of liberty, was now looked on as a
reactionist. To the end, however, Turgenev persisted that
Bazaroff represented a type as he saw it, and the portrait was
neither a caricature nor entirely a product of the
_I.--The Old and the New_
Arkady had come home, a full-blown graduate from the University at
Petersburg, and as his father, Nikolai Petrovitch pressed his lips to
his beardless, dusky, sunburnt cheek, he was beside himself with
delight. Even his uncle, Pavel Petrovitch--once a famous figure in
Russian society, and now, in spite of his dandy habits and dandy dress,
living with his brother on the latter's estate in the heart of the
country--showed some emotion. And Arkady, too, though he endeavoured to
stifle his feelings as became a superior young man who had risen above
the prejudices of the older generation, could not conceal the pleasure
Arkady had brought back with him his great friend, Bazaroff, a tall man,
long and lean, with a broad forehead, a nose flat at the base and
sharper at the end, large greenish eyes, and drooping whiskers of a
sandy colour--a face which was lighted up by a tranquil smile and showed
self-confidence and intelligence. Bazaroff alone seemed supremely
indifferent to the atmosphere of pleasure which pervaded his friend's
home-coming. As the two young men left the room, Pavel Petrovitch turned
to his brother with a slightly questioning look on his clear-cut,
clean-shaved, refined face.
"Who is he?" he asked.
"A friend of Arkady's; according to him, a very clever fellow."
"Is he going to stay with us?"
"That unkempt creature?"
Pavel Petrovitch drummed with his finger-tips on the table. "I fancy
Arkady _s'est degourde_," he remarked. "I am glad he has come back."
"Your uncle's a queer fish," Bazaroff remarked to Arkady, in the
seclusion of their room; "only fancy such style in the country! His
nails, his nails--you ought to send them to an exhibition! And as to his
chin, it's shaved simply to perfection. Now, come, Arkady, isn't he
"Perhaps he is," replied Arkady; "but he's a splendid man, really."
"An antique survival! But your father's a capital fellow. He wastes his
time reading poetry, and doesn't know much about farming, but he's a
"My father's a man in a thousand."
"Did you notice how shy and nervous he is?"
Arkady shook his head, as though he himself were not shy and nervous.
"It's something astonishing," pursued Bazaroff, "these old idealists,
they develop their nervous systems till they break down... so balance is
lost.... In my room there's an English wash-stand, but the door won't
fasten. Anyway, that ought to be encouraged--an English wash-stand
stands for progress."
The antipathy between Pavel Petrovitch and Bazaroff became more
pronounced as the days went by. There were several passages of arms
between them--the one taking the old-fashioned view of life, the other
dismissing contemptuously his outlook as unprogressive. For himself,
Nikolai Petrovitch was too delighted at having his son with him to feel
any concern about Bazaroff.
"What is this Mr. Bazaroff--your friend?" Pavel asked one day, with a
"Would you like me to tell you, uncle?" Arkady replied with a smile. "He
is a Nihilist, a man who accepts nothing, who regards everything from
the critical point of view--who does not take any principle on faith,
whatever reverence that principle may be enshrined in."
"Well, and is that good?"
"That depends, uncle. Some people it would do good to, but some people
would suffer for it."
"Indeed! Well, I see it's not in our line. We are old-fashioned people;
we imagine that without principles, taken as you say on faith, there is
no taking a step, no breathing. _Vous avez change tout cela_, God give
you good health and the rank of a general, while we will be content to
look on and admire worthy... what was it?"
"Nihilist," Arkady said, speaking very distinctly.
So great was the silent, unvoiced antipathy between the two men that
Nikolai Petrovitch, even, breathed more freely when Arkady and Bazaroff
at the end of a fortnight announced their intention of visiting the
neighbouring town of X------.
At X------, the two friends made the acquaintance of Madame Odintsov, a
wealthy widow, who lived alone in her large, well-ordered establishment,
with her one daughter, Katya Sergyevna. Bazaroff was contemptuously
amused at the luxury and peace that pervaded the house. The excellent
arrangements of the establishment he made a subject for laughter, but,
none the less, he gladly prolonged his stay for a fortnight. The reason
was not far to seek. In spite of his avowed disbelief in love and
romance, the gracious charm, the refined intelligence and the beauty of
Madame Odintsov had won his heart. And Arkady, too, willingly accepted
his hostess's urgent invitation that they should stay for as long as
they pleased, because of his passion for Katya. Circumstances, however,
brought their visit to an abrupt conclusion.
One morning Madame Odintsov, when she was alone with Bazaroff, commented
upon his reticence and constraint. As she made this remark, Bazaroff got
up and went to the window.
"And would you like to know the reason for this reticence?" he queried.
"Would you like to know what is passing within me?"
"Yes," rejoined Madame Odintsov, with a sort of dread she did not at the
"And you will not be angry?"
"No?" Bazaroff was standing with his back to her. "Let me tell you,
then, that I love you like a fool, like a madman.... There, you forced
it out of me."
He turned quickly, flung a searching look upon her, and, snatching both
her hands, he drew her suddenly to his breast.
She did not at once free herself from his embrace, but an instant later
she was in the seclusion of her own room, standing, her cheeks scarlet,
meditating on what had occurred.
"I am to blame," she decided, aloud, "that I could not have foreseen
this.... No, no.... God knows what it would lead to; he couldn't be
played with. Peace is, anyway, the best thing in the world."
She had come to a definite decision before she saw Bazaroff again. He
found an opportunity of speaking to her alone and hoarsely apologised
for what had taken place.
"I am sufficiently punished," he said, without raising his eyes to hers.
"My position, you will certainly agree, is most foolish. To-morrow I
shall be gone. There is no recalling the past, consequently I must go. I
can only conceive of one condition upon which I could remain; that
condition will never be. Excuse my impertinence, but you don't love me
and you never will love me, I suppose?"
Bazaroff's eyes glittered for an instant under their dark brows. Madame
Odintsov did not answer him. "I am afraid of this man," flashed through
"Good-bye, then," said Bazaroff, as though he guessed her thought, and
he went back into the house.
From the scene of his discomfiture Bazaroff fled to his own house,
taking Arkady with him. Vassily Ivanovitch, his father, an old retired
army doctor, who had not seen his son for three years, was standing on
the steps of the little manor house as the coach in which they travelled
rolled up. He was a tall, thinnish man, with, dishevelled hair and a
thin hawk nose, dressed in an old military coat not buttoned up. He was
smoking a long pipe and screwing up his eyes to keep the sun out of
them. The horses stopped.
"Arrived at last," said Bazaroff's father, still going on smoking,
though the pipe was fairly dancing up and down between his fingers.
"Enyusha, Enyusha," was heard a trembling woman's voice. The door was
flung open and in the doorway was seen a plump, short little woman, in a
white cap and a short, striped jacket. She moaned, staggered, and would
certainly have fallen had not Bazaroff supported her. Her plump little
hands were instantly twined round his neck. "For what ages, my dear one,
my darling Enyusha!" she cried, her wrinkled face wet with tears. Old
Bazaroff breathed hard and screwed his eyes up more than ever.
"There, that's enough, that's enough, Arina; give over--please give
His lips and eyebrows were twitching and his beard was quivering... but
he was obviously trying to control himself and appear almost
indifferent. But, like his wife, the old man was deeply moved at the
coming of his son. Only with difficulty could he keep his eyes off him.
The whole little house was turned upside down to provide him proper
entertainment. Arisha produced the most tempting dainties she could cook
and old Bazaroff brought out a bottle of wine, told some of the best of
his old stories, and, regardless of the snubs uttered occasionally by
Bazaroff, seemed to be filled with an ecstatic joy as long as he could
be near him. He took an early opportunity of questioning Arkady, and
when he heard the words of praise that fell from the latter's lips and
the expectation that was current at the University of the great future
for his son, he could stand it no longer. He bent down to Arkady and
kissed him on his shoulder.
"You have made me perfectly happy," he said, never ceasing to smile. "I
ought to tell you, I... idolise my son; my old wife I won't speak of--we
all know what mothers are!--but I dare not show my feelings before him,
because he doesn't like it. He is averse to every kind of demonstration
of feeling; many people even find fault with him for such firmness of
character, and regard it as a proof of pride or lack of feeling, but men
like him ought not to be judged by the common standard, ought they?"
One thing troubled old Bazaroff. How long was his son going to stay? He
dared not ask him, but he centred his hopes on three weeks, at least.
Bazaroff, however, was restless and unsatisfied. He had not succeeded in
effacing the memory of Madame Odintsov. On the third day he told Arkady
that he could stand it no longer.
"I am bored; I want to work, but I can't work here. I will come to your
place again; I have left all my apparatus there, too. In your house one
can, at any rate, shut oneself up; while here my father repeats to me,
'My study is at your disposal--nobody shall interfere with you,' and all
the time he himself is never a yard away. It's the same thing, too, with
mother. I hear her sighing the other side of the wall, and if one goes
in to her, one's nothing to say to her."
Vassily Ivanovitch was dumbfounded when he broke the news to him.
"Very good..." he faltered, "very good.... I had thought you were to be
with us... a little longer. Three days.... After three years, it's
rather little; rather little, Yevgeny!"
"But I tell you I'm coming back directly. It's necessary for me to go."
"Necessary.... Very good. Arina and I, of course, did not anticipate
this. She has just begged some flowers from a neighbour; she meant to
decorate the room for you. Liberty... is the great thing; that's my
rule.... I don't want to hamper you... not..."
He suddenly ceased and rushed from the room. He had to tell his old
wife; that was the trying task that lay before him. She was utterly
crushed, and only a two-hour exhortation from her husband enabled her to
control herself until her son's departure. When at last he was gone she
broke down. Vassily Ivanovitch bent his grey head against her grey head.
"There's no hope for it," she moaned. "Only I am left you, unchanged for
ever, as you for me."
The two friends journeyed as far as X---- together. There Arkady left
his companion in order to see Katya. Bazaroff, determined to cure
himself of his passion for Madame Odintsov, made the rest of the journey
alone, and took up his quarters once more in the house of Nicolai
The fact of Arkady's absence did not tend to improve matters between
Pavel Petrovitch and Bazaroff. After a week the aristocrat's antipathy
passed all bounds. That night he knocked at Bazaroff's door, and,
gaining admittance, begged in his most delicate manner for five minutes'
"I want to hear your views on the subject of duelling," he said.
Bazaroff, for once, was taken by surprise.
"My view is," he said at last, "that I should not, in practice, allow
myself to be insulted without demanding satisfaction."
"Your words save me from rather a deplorable necessity. I have made up
my mind to fight you."
Bazaroff opened his eyes wide. "Me?"
"What for, pray?"
"I cannot endure you; to my idea your presence here is superfluous, I
despise you; and if that is not enough for you..."
Pavel Petrovitch's eyes glittered.... Bazaroff's, too, were flashing.
"Very good," he assented; "no need of further explanations. You've a
whim to try your chivalrous spirit upon me. I might refuse you this
pleasure, but--so be it!"
The details of the duel were arranged there and then, eight paces and
two shots each. The following morning they met at the place agreed upon,
and, having marked off the ground, they took up their stations. Bazaroff
watched Pavel Petrovitch take careful aim.... "He's aiming straight at
my nerves," he thought; "and doesn't he blink down it carefully, the
ruffian! Not an agreeable sensation, though! I'm going to look at his
Something whizzed sharply by his ear, and at the same instant there was
the sound of a shot. Bazaroff, without taking aim, pressed the spring.
Pavel Petrovitch gave a slight start, and clutched at his thigh. A
stream of blood began to trickle down his white trousers. Bazaroff
became the doctor at once, and, flinging aside his pistol, fell on his
knees beside his late antagonist, and began with professional skill to
attend to his wound. At that moment Nicolai Petrovitch drove up.
"What does this mean?" he asked, rushing to the side of his brother.
"It is nothing," answered Pavel Petrovitch, faintly. "I had a little
dispute with Mr. Bazaroff, and I have had to pay for it a little. I am
the only person to blame in all this.... Mr. Bazaroff has behaved most
After that incident Bazaroff's stay in the house any longer was an
impossibility. He left the same day, calling at Madame Odintsov's house
on his way home to see Arkady. He found his friend engaged to Katya and
in the seventh heaven of delight. Madame Odintsov would have had him
"Why should you not stay now?" she said. "Stay... it's exciting talking
to you... one seems walking on the edge of a precipice. At first one
feels timid, but one gains courage as one goes on. Do stay."
"Thanks for the suggestion," he retorted, "and for your flattering
opinion of my conversational talent. But I think I have already been
moving too long in a sphere which is not my own. Flying fishes can hold
out for a time in the air, but soon they must splash back into the
water; allow me, too, to paddle in my own element."
Madame Odintsov looked at Bazaroff. His pale face was twitching with a
bitter smile. "This man did love me!" she thought, and she felt pity for
him, and held out her hand to him with sympathy.
He, too, understood her. "No!" he said, stepping back a pace. "I am a
poor man, but I have never taken charity so far. Good-bye and good luck
"I am certain we are not seeing each other for the last time," she
declared, with an unconscious gesture.
"Anything may happen!" answered Bazaroff, and he bowed and went away.
_IV.--The Passing of Bazaroff_
Bazaroff's old parents were all the more overjoyed at their son's
arrival, as it was quite unexpected. His mother was greatly excited and
his father, touching his neck with his fingers, turned his head round as
though he were trying whether it were properly screwed on, and then, all
at once, he opened his wide mouth and went off into a perfectly
"I've come to you for six whole weeks, governor," Bazaroff said to him.
"I want to work, so please don't hinder me now."
But though his father and mother almost effaced themselves, scarcely
daring to ask him a question, even to discover what he would like for
dinner, the fever of work fell away. It was replaced by dreary boredom
or vague restlessness. He began to seek the society of his father and to
smoke with him in silence. Now and again he even assisted at some of the
medical operations which his father conducted as a charity. Once he
pulled a tooth out from a pedlar's head, and Vassily Ivanovitch never
ceased boasting about the extraordinary feat.
One day in a neighbouring village, the news was brought them that a
peasant had died of typhus. Three days later Bazaroff came into his
father's room and asked him if he had any caustic to burn a cut in his
"What sort of a cut? where is it?"
"Here, on my finger. I have been dissecting that peasant who died of
Vassily Ivanovitch suddenly turned quite white. All that day he watched
his son's face stealthily. On the third day Bazaroff could not touch his
"Have you no appetite? And your head?" he at last asked, timidly; "does
"Yes, of course it aches."
"Don't be angry, please," continued Vassily Ivanovitch. "Won't you let
me feel your pulse?"
Bazaroff got up. "I can tell you without feeling my pulse," he said. "I
"Has there been any shivering?"
"Yes, there's been shivering, too; I'll go and lie down."
Bazaroff did not get up again all day, and passed the whole night in
heavy, half-unconscious slumber. At one o'clock in the morning, opening
his eyes with an effort, he saw, by the light of a lamp, his father's
pale face bending over him, and told him to go away. The old man begged
his pardon, but he quickly came back on tiptoe, and, half hidden by the
cupboard door, he gazed persistently at his son. His wife did not go to
bed either, and, leaving the study door open a very little, she kept
coming up to it to listen "how Enyusha was breathing" and to look at
Vassily Ivanovitch. She could see nothing but his motionless bent back,
but even that afforded her some faint consolation.
In the morning Bazaroff spoke to his father in a slow, drowsy voice.
"Governor, I am in a bad way; I've got the infection, and in a few days
you will have to bury me."
Vassily Ivanovitch staggered back as if someone had aimed a blow at his
"God have mercy on you! What do you mean? You have only caught a cold.
I've sent for the doctor and you'll soon be cured."
"Come, that's humbug. I've got the typhus; you can see it in my arm. You
told me you'd sent for the doctor. You did that to comfort yourself...
comfort me, too; send a messenger to Madame Odintsov; she's a lady with
an estate... Do you know?" (Vassily Ivanovitch nodded.) "Yevgeny
Bazaroff, say, sends his greetings, and sends word he is dying. Will you
"Yes, I will do it... But it is an impossible thing for you to die...
Think only! Where would divine justice be after that?"
"I know nothing about that; only you send the messenger."
He turned his face painfully to the wall, while Vassily Ivanovitch went
out of the study, and, struggling as far as his wife's bedroom, simply
dropped down on to his knees before the holy pictures.
"Pray, Arina, pray for us," he murmured. "Our son is dying."
Bazaroff got worse every hour. He was in the agonies of high fever. His
mother and father watched over him, combing his hair and giving him
gulps of tea. The old man was tormented by a special anguish. He wished
his son to take the sacrament, though, knowing his attitude towards
religion, he dared not ask him. At last he could keep back the words no
longer. As in a broken voice he begged his son to see a priest, a
strange look came over Bazaroff's face.
"I won't refuse if that can be any comfort to you, but I'll wait a
There was the sound of carriage wheels outside. Vassily Ivanovitch
rushed to the door. A lady in a black veil and a black mantle,
accompanied by a little German doctor in spectacles, got out of the
"I am Madame Odintsov," said the lady. "Your son is still living? I have
a doctor with me."
"Benefactress!" cried Vassily Ivanovitch, snatching her hand and placing
it convulsively to his lips. "Still living; my Yevgeny is living, and
now he will be saved! Wife! wife!... An angel from heaven has come to
But when the doctor came out from examining his patient he breathed the
news that there was no hope, and Vassily Ivanovitch conducted Madame
Odintsov to his son's room. As she looked at Bazaroff she felt simply
dismayed, with a sort of cold and suffocating dismay; the thought that
she would not have felt like that if she had really loved him flashed
instantaneously through her brain.
"Thanks," said Bazaroff from the bed. "I did not expect this. It's a
deed of mercy. So we have seen each other again as you promised.... I
loved you! there was no sense in that even before, and less than ever
now. Love is a form, and my own form is already breaking up."
Madame Odintsov gave an involuntary shudder.
"Noble-hearted!" he whispered. "Oh, how young and fresh and pure... in
this loathsome room! Well, good-bye.... I thought I wouldn't die; I'd
break down so many things. I wouldn't die; why should I? There were
problems to solve, and I was a giant! And now all the problem for the
giant is how to die decently.... My father will tell you what a man
Russia is losing.... That's nonsense, but don't contradict the old man.
Whatever toy will comfort a child... you know. And be kind to mother.
People like them are not to be found in your great world.... I was
needed by Russia.... No, it's clear I wasn't needed. And who is needed?"
Bazaroff put his hand to his brow. Madame Odintsov bent down to him.
"Yevgeny Vassilyvitch, I am here...." He at once took his hand away and
"Good-bye," he said, with a sudden force, and his eyes gleamed with
their last light. "Good-bye.... Listen.... You know I didn't kiss you
then.... Breathe on the dying lamp, and let it go out...."
She put her lips on his forehead.
"Enough!" he murmured, and dropped back on to the pillow. "Now...
Madame Odintsov went softly out. "Well?" Vassily Ivanovitch asked her in
a whisper. "He has fallen asleep," she answered, hardly audible. But
Bazaroff was not fated to awaken. That night he breathed his last. A
universal lamentation arose in the house. Vassily Ivanovitch was seized
by a sudden frenzy.
"I said I should rebel," he shrieked hoarsely, his face inflamed and
distorted, shaking his fist in the air, as though threatening someone;
"and I rebel, I rebel!"
But his wife, all in tears, hung upon his neck, and both fell on their
faces together. "Side by side," said one of the servants afterwards,
"they drooped their poor heads like lambs at noonday...."
* * * * *
There is a little grave in the graveyard, surrounded by an iron railing;
two young fir-trees have been planted, one at each end. Yevgeny Bazaroff
is buried in this tomb. Often from the little village not far off two
quite feeble old people come to visit it--a husband and wife. At the
iron railing they fall down and remain on their knees, and long and
bitterly they weep and yearn and intently they gaze at the dumb stone
under which their son is lying.... Can it be that their prayers, their
tears are fruitless? Can it be that love, sacred, devoted love, is not
Oh, no! however passionate, sinning, and rebellious the heart hidden in
the tomb, the flowers growing over it peep serenely at us with their
innocent eyes; they tell us not of eternal peace alone, that great peace
of "indifferent" nature; they tell us, too, of eternal reconciliation
and of life without end.
* * * * *
A Nest of Nobles
"A Nest of Nobles" ("Dvorianskoe Gniezdo"), published in 1858,
brought Turgenev a European reputation. Of all his novels, "A
Nest of Nobles" is probably the best. It has all the love of
detail that is peculiar to the Slavonic mind, a trait which is
largely responsible for that feeling of pessimism that
pervades the writings of all those who have listened to the
"still, sad music of humanity." Yet Turgenev is not typical of
that Russian school of novelists of which Tolstoy and Gorki
are distinguished examples; rather he belongs to the school of
Thackeray, George Eliot, and Dickens.
_I.--A Student's Marriage_
Fedor Ivanitch Lavretsky came of an ancient noble family. His father, a
strangely whimsical man, determined that his son should grow up a
Spartan. A gymnastic instructor was his principal teacher, although he
also studied natural science, mathematics, and international law. Music,
as a pursuit unworthy of a man, was discarded. The female sex he was
taught to hold in contempt, and all the gentler arts and emotions were
rigorously repressed. The boy was conscious of defects in his education,
and from his eighteenth year set himself to remedy them as far as he
could. His father died when he was twenty-two, and young Lavretsky
determined to go to Moscow, in the hope that diligent study might enable
him to regain the ground lost in youth.
The whole tendency of his education had been to make him into a shy man:
he could not get on with people; with an unquenchable thirst for love in
his heart, he had never yet dared to look a woman in the face. Robust,
rosy-cheeked, bearded, and taciturn, he produced a strange impression on
his companions, who did not suspect that this outwardly austere man was
inwardly almost a child. He appeared to them to be a queer kind of
pedant; they did not care for him, made no overtures to him, and he
avoided them. During the first two years he spent at the University he
only became fairly intimate with one student, Mihalevitch by name, for
he took lessons in Latin.
One day at the theatre he saw in a box in the front tier a young girl
leaning her elbow on the velvet of the box. The light of youth and life
played in every feature of her lovely dark oval face; subtle
intelligence was expressed in the splendid eyes which gazed softly and
attentively from under her fine brows, in the swift smile of her
sensitive lips, in the very poise of her head, her hands, her neck.
Suddenly the door of her box opened, and a man came in--it was
Mihalevitch. The appearance of this man, almost his only acquaintance in
Moscow, on the society of the girl who had suddenly absorbed his whole
attention, struck him as curious and significant. The performance ceased
to interest Lavretsky, and at one pathetic part he involuntarily looked
at his beauty: she was bending forward, her cheeks glowing. Under the
influence of his persistent gaze her eyes slowly turned and rested on
All night he was haunted by those eyes. The skilfully constructed
barriers were broken down at last; he was in a shiver and a fever, and
the next day he went to Mihalevitch, from whom he learnt that her name
was Barbara Paulovna Korobyin. Mihalevitch offered to introduce him;
Lavretsky blushed, muttered something unintelligible, and ran away. For
five whole days he struggled with his timidity; on the sixth he got into
a new uniform and placed himself at Mihalevitch's disposal.
Paul Petrovitch Korobyin was a retired major-general. With the intention
of improving his pecuniary position, he devised a new method of
speculating with public funds--an excellent method in itself--but he
neglected to bribe in the right place. Information was laid against him,
and as a result of the subsequent inquiry he was advised to retire from
active service. In Moscow he lived the life of a retired general on 2750
roubles a year.
His daughter at this time was nineteen years old, and the general found
her expenses an ever-increasing tax upon his slender resources. He was
therefore glad to throw no obstacle in Lavretsky's way--having
discovered that he was wealthy--when, six months after their first
meeting, he proposed for his daughter's hand.
Barbara Paulovna had much practical sense, and a very great love of
comfort, together with a great faculty of obtaining it for herself. What
charming travelling knick-knacks appeared from various corners of the
luxurious carriage that she had purchased to convey them to Lavretsky's
country home! And how delightfully she herself made coffee in the
morning! Lavretsky, however, was not disposed to be observant at that
time: he was blissful, drunk with happiness; he gave himself up to it
like a child; indeed, he was as innocent as a child, this young
Hercules. Not in vain was the whole personality of his young wife
breathing with fascination; not in vain was her promise to the senses of
a mysterious luxury of untold bliss: her fulfilment was richer than her
Barbara Paulovna had no mind to establish herself permanently at
Lavriky. The idea of staying in that out-of-the-way corner of the
steppes never entered her head for an instant. In September she carried
her husband off to St. Petersburg, where they passed two winters; the
summer they spent at Tsarskoe Selo. They made many acquaintances, went
out, and entertained a good deal, and gave the most charming dances and
musical evenings. Barbara Paulovna attracted guests as fire attracts
Fedor Ivanitch did not altogether like such a frivolous life. He was
unwilling to enter the government service, as his wife suggested; still,
he remained in St. Petersburg for her pleasure. He soon discovered,
however, that no one hindered him from being alone; that it was not for
nothing that he had the quietest and most comfortable study in St.
Petersburg; that his tender wife was ever ready to aid him to be alone.
In the course of time a son was born to them, but the poor child did not
live long--it died in the spring, and in the summer Lavretsky took his
wife abroad. One summer and autumn they spent in Germany and
Switzerland, and for the winter they went to Paris.
In Paris Barbara Paulovna made herself a little nest as quickly and as
cleverly as in St. Petersburg. She soon drew round herself
acquaintances--at first only Russians, afterwards Frenchmen with very
excellent manners and fine-sounding names. All of them brought their
friends, and _la belle Mme. de Lavretsky_ was soon known from Chausee
d'Antin to Rue de Lille.
Fedor Ivanitch still busied himself with study, and set to work
translating a well-known treatise on irrigation. "I am not wasting my
time," he thought; "it is all of use; but next winter I must, without
fail, return to Russia and get to work." An unexpected incident broke up
Lavretsky had the most absolute confidence in his wife's every action
and thought. She was always as calm, affectionate, and confidential with
him as she had been from the first. It was therefore with a feeling of
stupefaction that, going one day into her boudoir during her absence, he
picked up from the floor a note that disclosed her infidelity. He read
it absent-mindedly, and did not understand what he had read. He read it
a second time--his head began to swim, the ground to sway under his
He had so blindly believed in her; the possibility of deception, of
treason, had never presented itself to his mind. He could not
understand. This young Frenchman, almost the most insignificant of all
his wife's acquaintances! The fear was borne in upon him that perhaps
she had never been worthy of the trust he had reposed in her. To
complete it all, he had been hoping in a few months to become a father.
All that night he wandered, half-distraught, about the streets of Paris
and in the open country beyond. In the morning he went to an hotel and
sent the incriminating note to his wife, with the following letter:
"The enclosed scraps of paper will explain everything to you. I cannot
see you again; I imagine that you, too, would hardly desire an interview
with me. I am assigning you fifteen thousand francs a year; I cannot
give more. Send your address to the office of the estate. Do what you
please. Live where you please. I wish you happiness!"
A long letter came back in reply: it put the finishing touch--his last
doubts vanished. She did not attempt to defend herself; her only desire
was to see him; she besought him not to condemn her irrevocably.
Three days later Lavretsky left Paris. For a time he followed his wife's
movements, as chronicled in Paris society papers. He learnt that a
daughter had been born to him. Finally a tragi-comic story was reported
with acclamation in all the papers; his wife played an unenviable part
in it. Barbara Paulovna had become a notoriety. He ceased to follow her
movements. Scepticism, half formed already by the experiences of his
life and by his education, took complete possession of his heart, and he
became indifferent to everything.
Four years passed by till he felt himself able to return to his own
country and to meet his own people. He went to the town of O----, where
lived his cousin, Marya Dmitrievna Kalitin, with her two daughters,
Elizabeth and Helena, and her aunt, Marfa Timofyevna Petrov.
_III.--A New Friendship_
Lavretsky stayed a few days in O---- before going to take up his
residence, as he proposed doing, at Vassilyevskoe, a small estate of his
some twenty miles distant. Mounting the steps of Kalitin's house to say
good-bye before departing, he met Elizabeth coming down.
"Where are you going?" he asked.
"To service. It is Sunday."
"Why do you go to church?"
Lisa looked at him in silent amazement.
"I beg your pardon; I did not mean to say that. I have come to say
good-bye to you; I am starting for my village in an hour."
"Well, mind you don't forget us," said Lisa, and went down the steps.
"And don't forget me. And listen," he added; "you are going to church;
while you are there, pray for me too."
Lisa stopped short and turned to face him. "Certainly," she said,
looking straight at him; "I will pray for you too. Good-bye."
In the drawing-room he found Marya Dmitrievna alone. She began to gossip
about a young man whom he had met the previous day, Vladimir Nikolaitch
"I will tell you a secret, my dear cousin: he is simply crazy about my
Lisa. Well, he is of good family, has a capital position, and is a
clever fellow; and if it is God's will, I for my part shall be well
pleased." She launched into a description of her cares and anxieties and
maternal sentiments. Lavretsky listened in silence, turning his hat in
his hands. Finally he rose, took his leave, and went upstairs to say
good-bye to Marfa Timofyevna.
"Tell me, please," he began; "Marya Dmitrievna has just been talking to
me about this--what's his name?--Panshin? What sort of man is he?"
"What a chatterbox she is, Lord save us! She told you, I suppose, as a
secret that he has turned up as a suitor, and so far, there's nothing to
tell, thank God! But already she's gossipping about him."
"Why thank God?"
"Because I don't like the fine young gentleman; and so what is there to
be glad of in it?
"Well, shall we see you again soon?" the old lady asked, as he rose to
"Very likely, aunt; it's not so far, you know."
"Well, go, then, and God be with you. And Lisa's not going to marry
Panshin; don't you trouble yourself--that's not the sort of husband she
* * * * *
Lavretsky lived alone at Vassilyevskoe, and often rode into O------ to
see his cousins. He saw a good deal of Lisa's music-master, an old
German named Christopher Theodor Lemm, and, finding much in common with
him, invited him to stay for a few days.
"Maestro," said Lavretsky one morning at breakfast, "you will soon have
to compose a triumphal cantata."
"On what occasion?"
"On the nuptials of M. Panshin and Lisa. It seems to me things are in a
fair way with them already."
"That will never be," cried Lemm.
"Because it is impossible."
"What, then, do you find amiss with the match?"
"Everything is amiss, everything. At the age of nineteen Lisavetta is a
girl of high principles, serious, of lofty feelings, and he--he is a
dilettante, in a word."
"But suppose she loves him?"
"No, she does not love him; that is to say, she is very pure in heart,
and does not know herself what it means--love. Mme. de Kalitin tells her
that he is a fine young man, and she obeys because she is quite a child.
She can only love what is beautiful, and he is not--that is, his soul is
It sometimes happens that two people who are acquainted but not on
intimate terms all of a sudden grow more intimate in a few minutes. This
was exactly what came to pass with Lavretsky and Lisa. "So he is like
that," was her thought as she turned a friendly glance at him. "So you
are like that," he, too, was thinking. And thus he was not very much
surprised when she began to speak to him about his wife.
"You will forgive me--I ought not to dare to speak of it to you... but
how could you... why did you separate from her?"
Lavretsky shuddered. He looked at Lisa and sat down beside her. "My
child," he began, "do not touch on that woman; your hands are tender,
but it will hurt me just the same."
"I know," Lisa continued as though she had not heard. "I know she has
been to blame. I don't want to defend her; but what God has joined, how
can you put asunder? You must forgive, if you wish to be forgiven."
"She is perfectly contented with her position, I assure you. But her
name ought never to be uttered by you. You are too pure. You are not
capable of understanding such a creature."
"Then, if she is like that, why did you marry her?"
Lavretsky got up quickly from his seat. "Why did I marry her? I was
young and inexperienced; I was deceived, I was carried away by a
beautiful exterior. I knew no women, I knew nothing. God grant that you
may make a happier marriage."
At that moment Marya Dmitrievna came in. Lavretsky did not again succeed
in being alone with Lisa, but he looked at her in such a way that she
felt her heart at rest, and a little ashamed and sorry for him. Before
he left, he had obtained from his cousin a promise that she would come
over to Vassilyevskoe one day with her daughters.
When they came Lavretsky made further opportunities to talk with Lisa,
while the others were fishing. He led the conversation round to Panshin.
"Vladimir Nikolaitch has a good heart," said Lisa, "and he is clever;
mother likes him."
"And do you like him?"
"He is nice; why should I not like him?"
"Ah!" A half ironical, half mournful expression crossed his face. "Well,
may God grant them happiness," he muttered as though to himself.
Lisa flushed. "You are mistaken, Fedor Ivanitch. You are wrong in
thinking--but don't you like Vladimir Nikolaitch?"
"No, I don't."
"I think he has no heart."
"What makes you think he has no heart?"
"I may be mistaken--time will show, however."
Lisa grew thoughtful. Lavretsky began to talk to her about his daily
life at Vassilyevskoe. He felt a need to talk to her, to share with her
everything that was passing in his heart; she listened so sweetly, so
attentively. Her few replies and observations seemed to him so
_IV.--Love and Duty_
Glancing one day at a bundle of French newspapers that had been lying on
the table unopened for a fortnight, Lavretsky suddenly came upon a
paragraph announcing "Mournful intelligence: That charming, fascinating
Moscow lady, Mme. Lavretsky, died suddenly yesterday."
He hastened over to O----and communicated the news to Lisa, requesting
her to keep it secret for a time. They walked in the garden; Lavretsky
discussed his newly won freedom.
"Stop!" said Lisa, "don't talk like that. Of what use is your freedom to
you? You ought to be thinking of forgiveness."
"I forgave her long ago."
"You don't understand! You ought to be seeking to be forgiven."
"You are right," said Lavretsky after a pause; "what good is my freedom
"When did you get that paper?" said Lisa without heeding his question.
"The day after your visit."
"And is it possible that you did not shed tears?"
"What is there to weep over now? Though, indeed, who knows? I might
perhaps have been more grieved a fortnight sooner."
"A fortnight?" said Lisa. "But what has happened, then, in the last
Lavretsky made no reply, and suddenly Lisa flushed violently.
"Yes, yes! you guess why. In the course of this fortnight I have come to
know the value of a pure woman's heart. But I am glad I showed you that
paper," Lavretsky continued after a pause; "already I have grown used to
hiding nothing from you, and I hope that you will repay me with the same
Lavretsky was not a young man; he could not long delude himself as to
the nature of the feeling inspired in him by Lisa. He was brought that
day to the final conviction that he loved her.
"Have I really nothing better to do," he thought, "at the age of
thirty-five, than to put my soul into a woman's keeping again? But Lisa
is not like her; she would not demand degrading sacrifices from me; she
would not tempt me away from my duties; she would herself incite me to
hard, honest work, and we should walk hand in hand towards a noble aim.
That's all very fine," he concluded his reflections, "but the worst of
it is that she does not in the least wish to walk hand in hand with me.
But she doesn't in the least love Panshin either... a poor consolation!"
Painful days followed for Fedor Ivanitch. He found himself in a
continual fever. Every morning he made for the post and tore open
letters and papers; nowhere did he find confirmation or disproof of the
Late one night he found himself wandering aimlessly around the outskirts
of O----. Rambling over the dewy grass he came across a narrow path
leading to a little gate which he found open. Wandering in, he found, to
his amazement, that he was in the Kalitins' garden. In Lisa's room a
candle shone behind the white curtains; all else was dark. The light
vanished as he looked.
"Sleep well, my sweet girl," he whispered, sitting motionless, his eyes
fixed on the darkened window. Suddenly a light appeared in one of the
windows of the ground floor, then another. Who could it be? Lavretsky
rose... he caught a glimpse of a well-known face. Lisa entered the
drawing-room--she drew near the open door, and stood on the threshold, a
light, slender figure, all in white.
"Lisa!" broke hardly audibly from his lips. She started, and began to
gaze into the darkness. "Lisa!" he repeated louder, and came out of the
She raised her head in alarm, and shrank back. "Is it you?" she said.
"I--I--listen to me," whispered Lavretsky, and seizing her hand he led
her to a seat. She followed him unresisting. Her pale face, her fixed
eyes, and all her gestures expressed an unutterable bewilderment.
Lavretsky stood before her. "I did not mean to come here," he began;
"something brought me. I--I love you," he uttered, in involuntary
terror. She tried to get up--she could not; she covered her face with
"Lisa!" murmured Lavretsky. "Lisa," he repeated, and fell at her feet.
Her shoulders began to heave slightly.
"What is it?" he urged, and he heard a subdued sob. His heart stood
still... he knew the meaning of those tears. "Can it be that you love
me?" he whispered, and caressed her knees.
"Get up!" he heard her voice. "Get up, Fedor Ivanitch. What are we
He got up and sat beside her on the seat.
"It frightens me; what we are doing?" she repeated.
"I love you," he said again. "I am ready to devote my whole life to
She shuddered again as though something had stung her, and lifted her
eyes towards heaven.
"All that is in God's hands," she said.
"But you love me, Lisa? We shall be happy."
She dropped her eyes. He softly drew her to him, and her head sank on to
his shoulder--he bent his head a little and touched her pale lips....
On the following day Lavretsky drove over to Vassilyevskoe. The first
thing that struck him on entering was the scent of patchouli, always
distasteful to him. There were some travelling trunks in the hall. He
crossed the threshold of the drawing-room--a lady arose from the sofa,
made a step forward, and fell at his feet. He caught his breath... he
leaned against the wall for support.... It was Barbara Paulovna!
A torrent of words told him that, stricken by remorse, she had
determined to break every tie with her sins. A serious illness had given
rise to the rumour of her death. She had taken advantage of this to give
up everything. Would he not spare her for their little daughter's sake?
Lavretsky listened to the flood of eloquence in silence. He did not
believe one word of her protestations. His wrath choked him: this blow
had fallen so suddenly upon him.
* * * * *
Lisa bent forward in her chair and covered her face with her hands.
"This is how we were to meet again," he brought out at last. It was in
Marfa Timofyevna's room that they met once more. Lisa took her hands
from her face. "Yes!" she said faintly. "We were quickly punished."
"Punished!" said Lavretsky. "What had you done to be punished?" His
heart ached with pity and love. "Yes, all is over before it had begun."
"We must forget all that," she brought out at last. "It is left for us
to do our duty. You, Fedor Ivanitch, must be reconciled with your wife."
"I beg you to do so: by that alone can you expiate..."
"Lisa, for God's sake!--to be reconciled to her now!"
"I do not ask of you--do not live with her if you cannot. Remember your
little girl; do it for my sake."
"Very well," Lavretsky muttered between his clenched teeth; "I will do
that; in that I shall fulfil my duty. But you--what does your duty
"That I know myself."
Lavretsky started: "You cannot be making up your mind to marry Panshin?"
Lisa gave an almost imperceptible smile--"Oh, no!" she said.
"Now you see for yourself, Fedor Ivanitch, as I told you before, that
happiness does not depend on us, but on God."
* * * * *
Considered simply as stories, "Fathers and Sons" and "Smoke"
are to all intents and purposes independent of each other, yet
in important particulars the latter is a sequel to the first.
Once on his arrival at St. Petersburg, Turgenev was met with
the words, "Just see what your Nihilists are doing! They have
almost gone so far as to burn the city." Thus again he took up
the question of social reform, and in "Smoke" ("Dim") he views
with apprehension the actions of the so-called
"intellectuals," who would make themselves responsible for the
shaping of future Russia. Charlatans among the leaders of the
new thought, and society dilettantism, both came under his
merciless lash. In his opinion the men and ideas in the two
camps are no more than smoke--dirty, evil-smelling smoke. The
entire atmosphere is gloomy, and throughout is only relieved
by the character of Irina, the most exquisite piece of
feminine psychology in the whole range of Turgenev's novels.
_I.--A Broken Idyll_
Early in the fifties there was living in Moscow, in very straitened
circumstances, almost in poverty, the numerous family of the Princes
Osinin. These were real princes--not Tartar-Georgians, but pure-blooded
descendants of Rurik. Time, however, had dealt hardly with them. They
had fallen under the ban of the Empire, and retained nothing but their
name and the pride of their nobility.
The family of Osinins consisted of a husband and wife and five children.
It was living near the dog's place, in a one-storied little wooden house
with a striped portico looking on to the street, green lions on the
gates, and all the other pretensions of nobility, though it could hardly
make both ends meet, was constantly in debt at the green-grocer's, and
often sitting without firewood or candles in the winter. Though their
pride kept them aloof from the society of their neighbours, their
straitened circumstances compelled them to receive certain people to
whom they were under obligations. Among the number of these was Grigory
Mihalovitch Litvinov, a young student of Moscow, the son of a retired
official of plebeian extraction, who had once lent the Osinins three
hundred roubles. Litvinov called frequently at the house, and fell
desperately in love with the eldest daughter, Irina.
Irina was only seventeen, and as beautiful as the dawn. Her thick fair
hair was mingled with darker tresses; the languid curves of her lovely
neck, and her smile--half indifferent, half weary--betrayed the nervous
temperament of a delicate girl; but in the lines of those fine, faintly
smiling lips there was something wilful and passionate, something
dangerous to herself and others. Her dark grey eyes, with shining lashes
and bold sweep of eyebrow, had a strange look in them; they seemed
looking out intently and thoughtfully--looking out from some unknown
depth and distance. Litvinov fell in love with Irina from the moment he
saw her (he was only three years older than she was), but for a long
while he failed to obtain not only a response, but even a hearing. She
treated him with hostility, and the more he showed his love, the greater
was her coldness, the more malignant her indifference. She tortured him
in this way for two months. Then everything was transformed in one day.
Worn out by this cold torture, Litvinov was one night about to depart in
despair. Without saying good-bye, he began to look for his hat. "Stay,"
sounded suddenly in a soft whisper. With throbbing heart he looked
round, hardly believing his ears. Before him he saw Irina, transformed.
"Stay," she repeated; "don't go. I want to be with you."
From that moment of the discovery of her love, Irina was changed. She,
who before had been proud and cruel, became at once as docile as a lamb,
as soft as silk, and boundlessly kind.
"Ah, love me, love me, my sweet, my saviour," she would whisper to him,
with her arms about his neck.
In this new dream of happiness the days flew, the weeks passed; the
future came ever nearer with the glorious hope of their happiness, and
then, suddenly, an event occurred which scattered all their dreams and
plans like light roadside dust. The Court came to Moscow, and the
Osinins, despite their poverty, determined to attend the customary great
ball in the Hall of Nobility. At first Irina resolutely refused to go,
and Litvinov was called in by the prince to use his persuasion.
"Very well, then, I will go," she said, when she had listened to his
arguments; "only remember, it is you yourself who desired it."
She spoke so strangely that he feared he had offended her.
"Irina, darling, you seem to be angry."
"Oh, no! I am not angry. Only, Grisha..." (She fastened her eyes on him,
and he thought he had never before seen such an expression in them.)
"Perhaps it must be," she added, in an undertone.
"But, Irina, you love me, dear?"
"I love you," she answered, with almost solemn gravity, and she clasped
his hand firmly like a man.
She went to the ball in a simple white dress, wearing a bunch of
heliotrope, the gift of her lover. When he called the following day,
Litvinov heard from the prince of the impression Irina had created; how
all the great noblemen from St. Petersburg, and even the Czar himself,
had commented upon her beauty. But Irina herself he did not see. She had
a bad headache, the prince explained. The following day he was again
denied a sight of her, and as he turned once more from the house he saw
a great personage drive up in a magnificent carriage. A dread foreboding
seized him. Dull stupefaction, and thoughts scurrying like mice, vague
terror, and the numbness of expectation and the weight of crushed tears
in his heavy-laden breast, on his lips the forced, empty smile, and a
meaningless prayer--addressed to no one....
As he walked down the street his servant touched him on the shoulder,
handing him a note. He recognised Irina's writing. He tore open the
envelope all at once. On a small sheet of notepaper were the following
"Forgive me, Grigory Mihalovitch. All is over between us; I am going
away to Petersburg. I am dreadfully unhappy, but the thing is done. It
seems my fate... but no, I do not want to justify myself. My
presentiments have been realised. Forgive me, forget me! I am not worthy
of you.--Irina. Be magnanimous: do not try to see me."
The blow almost broke Litvinov's heart. A rich cousin of the Princess
Osinin, struck by the impression created by the girl at the ball, had
taken her to Petersburg, to use her as a pawn in his struggle for power.
Utterly crushed, Litvinov threw up the University and went home to his
father in the country. He heard of her occasionally, encircled in
splendour. Her name was mentioned with curiosity, respect, and envy, and
at last came the news of her marriage to General Ratmirov.
Ten years had passed--ten years during which much had happened to
Litvinov. He had served in the Crimea, and, after almost dying of
typhus, had been invalided home. Observation had shown him that his
father's management of their property was so old-fashioned that it did
not yield a tenth of the revenue it might yield in skillful hands. He
determined to go abroad to study agriculture and technology, so that he
might properly manage the estate. In various parts of Europe, in England
as well, he had travelled and studied, and now he found himself at
Baden, his work concluded, ready to take up his duties.
He was at Baden for two reasons: first, because he was espoused to his
cousin, Tatyana Petrovna Shestov, whom he had grown to dearly love, and
who had promised to be his comrade and friend "for better or worse," as
the English say. And he was at Baden, also, because Tatyana's aunt,
Kapitolina Markovna Shestov, an old unmarried lady of fifty-five, a
good-natured, honest, eccentric soul--a democrat, sworn opponent of
aristocracy and fashionable society--could not resist the temptation of
gazing for once on the aristocratic society which sunned itself in such
a fashionable place as Baden.
While he was expecting the arrival of his betrothed, Litvinov found
himself compelled to pass his time in the society of his
fellow-countrymen--ardent young Russian Liberals of both sexes, bubbling
over with new theories and enthusiasm, and ready to talk for hours
together on the political and social regeneration of their native
country. As far as possible, he avoided their society, and escaped into
the solitudes of the mountains. It was during one of these lonely
excursions that, feeling hungry, he made his way to the old castle, and,
seating himself at one of the little white-painted tables of the
restaurant, ordered a light breakfast. While he was seated there, there
was a loud tramping of horses, and a party of young Russian
generals--persons of the highest society, of weight and
importance--arrived, and with much noise and ostentation summoned the
obsequious waiters to attend to their wants. Litvinov made haste to
drink off his glass of milk, paid for it, and, putting his hat on, was
just making off past the party of generals...
"Grigory Mihalovitch," he heard a woman's voice, "don't you recognise
He stopped involuntarily. That voice... that voice had too often set his
heart beating in the past... He turned round and saw Irina.
Litvinov knew her at once, though she had changed since he saw her that
last time ten years ago, though she had been transformed from a girl
into a woman.
"Irina Pavlovna," he uttered, irresolutely.
"You know me? How glad I am! how glad--" She stopped, blushing. "Let me
introduce you to my husband."
One of the young generals, Ratmirov by name, almost the most elegant of