A Russian Proprietor, and Other Stories : Part 05, Chapter 08

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1887

People

(1828 - 1910) ~ Father of Christian Anarchism : In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "...the dissemination of the truth in a society based on coercion was always hindered in one and the same manner, namely, those in power, feeling that the recognition of this truth would undermine their position, consciously or sometimes unconsciously perverted it by explanations and additions quite foreign to it, and also opposed it by open violence." (From : "A Letter to a Hindu: The Subjection of India- Its....)
• "It is necessary that men should understand things as they are, should call them by their right names, and should know that an army is an instrument for killing, and that the enrollment and management of an army -- the very things which Kings, Emperors, and Presidents occupy themselves with so self-confidently -- is a preparation for murder." (From : "'Thou Shalt Not Kill'," by Leo Tolstoy, August 8,....)
• "People who take part in Government, or work under its direction, may deceive themselves or their sympathizers by making a show of struggling; but those against whom they struggle (the Government) know quite well, by the strength of the resistance experienced, that these people are not really pulling, but are only pretending to." (From : "A Letter to Russian Liberals," by Leo Tolstoy, Au....)

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Part 05, Chapter 08

VIII.

Sashka, tightening his girdle, was waiting for the horses to be harnessed, but was anxious to go first and get the count's cloak, which, with the collar, must have been worth three hundred rubles, and return that miserable blue-lined shuba to that rascally man who had exchanged with the count at the marshal's. But Turbin said that it was not necessary, and went to his room to change his clothes.

The cavalryman kept hiccoughing as he sat silently by his gypsy maiden. The isprávnik called for vodka, and invited all the gentlemen to come and breakfast with him, promising them that his wife would, without fail, dance the national dance with the gypsies.

The handsome young man was earnestly arguing with Ilyushka that there was more soul in the piano-forte, and that it was impossible to take B-flat on the guitar. The chinovnik was gloomily drinking tea in one corner, and apparently the daylight made him feel ashamed of his dissipation.

The gypsies were conversing together in Romany, and urging that they should once more enliven the gentlemen; to which Stioshka objected, declaring that it would only vex the barorai,—that is, in Romany, count or prince, or rather great bárin.

For the most part, the last spark of the orgy was dying out.

"Well, then, one more song for a farewell, and then[238] home with you," exclaimed the count, fresh, gay, and radiant above all the others, as he came into the room ready dressed in his traveling suit.

The gypsies had again formed their circle, and were just getting ready to sing, when Ilyin came in with a package of bank-notes in his hand, and drew the count to one side.

"I had only fifteen thousand rubles of public money, but you gave me sixteen thousand three hundred," said the uhlan; "this is yours, of course."

"That's a fine arrangement. Let me have it."

Ilyin handed him the money, looking timidly at the count, and opened his mouth to say something; but then he reddened so painfully that the tears came into his eyes, and he seized the count's hand, and began to squeeze it.

"Away with you, Ilyushka ... listen to me! Now, here's your money, but you must accompany me with your songs to the city limits!" And he threw on his guitar the thirteen hundred rubles which Ilyin had brought him. But the count had forgotten to repay the cavalryman the one hundred rubles which he had borrowed of him the evening before.

It was now ten o'clock in the morning. The little sun was rising above the housetops, the streets were beginning to fill with people, the merchants had long ago opened their shops, nobles and chinovniks were riding up and down through the streets, and ladies were out shopping, when the band of gypsies, the isprávnik, the cavalryman, the handsome young fellow, Ilyin, and the count who was wrapped up in his blue-lined bear-skin shuba, came out on the door-steps of the hotel.

It was a sunny day, and it thawed. Three hired[239] tróïkas, with their tails knotted, and splashing through the liquid mud, pranced up to the steps; and the whole jolly company prepared to take their places. The count, Ilyin, Stioshka, Ilyushka, and Sashka the count's man,[70] mounted the first sledge.

Blücher was beside himself with delight, and, wagging his tail, barked at the shaft-horse.

The other gentlemen, together with the gypsies, men and women, climbed into the other sledges. From the very hotel the sledges flew off side by side, and the gypsies set up a merry chorus and song.

The tróïkas, with the songs and jingling bells, dashed through the whole length of the city to the gates, compelling all the equipages which they met to rein up on the very sidewalks.

Merchants and passersby who did not know them, and especially those who did, were filled with astonishment to see nobles of high rank, in the midst of "the white day," dashing through the streets with intoxicated gypsies, singing at the tops of their voices.

When they reached the city limits, the tróïkas stopped, and all the party took farewell of the count.

Ilyin, who had drunk considerable at the leave-taking, and had all the time been driving the horses, suddenly became melancholy, and began to urge the count to stay just one day more; but when he was assured that this was impossible, quite unexpectedly threw himself into his arms, and began to kiss his new friend, and promised him that as soon as he got to camp, he would petition to be transferred into the regiment of hussars in which Count Turbin served.

The count was extraordinarily hilarious; he tipped into a snow-drift the cavalryman, who, since morning, [240]had definitely taken to saying thou to him; he set Blücher on the isprávnik; he took Stioshka into his arms, and threatened to carry her off with him to Moscow; but at last he tucked himself into the sledge, and stationed Blücher by his side, who was always ready to ride. Sashka took his place on the box, after once more asking the cavalryman to secure the count's cloak from them, and to send it to him. The count cried "Go on,"[71] took off his cap, waved it over his head, and whistled in post-boy fashion to the horses. The tróïkas parted company.

As far as the eye could see, stretched a monotonous snow-covered plain, over which wound the yellowish muddy ribbon of the road.

The bright sunlight, dancing, glistened on the melting snow, which was covered with a thin crust of transparent ice, and pleasantly warmed the face and back.

The steam arose from the sweaty horses. The bells jingled.

A peasant[72] with a creaking sledge, heavily loaded, slowly turned out into the slushy snow, twitching his hempen reins, and tramping with his well-soaked sabots.[73]

A stout, handsome peasant woman, with a child wrapped in a sheep-skin on her lap, who was seated on another load, used the end of her reins to whip up a white mangy-tailed old nag.

Suddenly the count remembered Anna Fedorovna.

"Turn round!" he cried.

The driver did not understand.

"Turn round and drive back; back to the city! Be quick about it." The tróïka again passed the city gate, and quickly drew up in front of the boarded steps of the Zaïtsova dwelling.

[241]

The count briskly mounted the steps, passed through the vestibule and the parlor, and finding the widow still asleep he took her in his arms, lifting her from her bed, and kissed her sleeping eyes again and again, and then darted back to the sledge.

Anna Fedorovna awoke from her slumber, and demanded, "What has happened?"

The count took his seat in his sledge, shouted to the driver, and now no longer delaying, and thinking not of Lukhnof nor of the little widow, nor of Stioshka, but only of what was awaiting him in Moscow, rapidly left the city of K. behind him.[242]

From : Gutenberg.org

Chronology

December 05, 1887 :
Part 05, Chapter 08 -- Publication.

February 18, 2017 19:22:52 :
Part 05, Chapter 08 -- Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

March 20, 2019 07:48:49 :
Part 05, Chapter 08 -- Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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