A Russian Proprietor, and Other Stories

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1887

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(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.)
• "If, in former times, Governments were necessary to defend their people from other people's attacks, now, on the contrary, Governments artificially disturb the peace that exists between the nations, and provoke enmity among them." (From : "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)
• "You are surprised that soldiers are taught that it is right to kill people in certain cases and in war, while in the books admitted to be holy by those who so teach, there is nothing like such a permission..." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)
• "It usually happens that when an idea which has been useful and even necessary in the past becomes superfluous, that idea, after a more or less prolonged struggle, yields its place to a new idea which was till then an ideal, but which thus becomes a present idea." (From : "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)

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This document contains 53 sections, with 94,535 words or 575,246 characters.

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A RUSSIAN PROPRIETOR and OTHER STORIES BY COUNT LYOF N. TOLSTO TRANSLATED FROM THE RUSSIAN BY NATHAN HASKELL DOLE NEW YORK THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO. 13 ASTOR PLACE [v] PREFACE. The following tales are, with one exception, taken from the second volume of Count L. N. Tolsto's collected works, and are representative of his literary activity between 1852 and 1859. The first story, though only a fragment of a projected novel to be called "A Russian Proprietor," is perfect and complete in itself. One cannot help feeling that it is autobiographical; Count Tolsto himself, it will be remembered, having suddenly quitted the University of Kazan, in spite of the entreaties of his friends, and retired to his paternal estate of Yasnaya Polyana, nea... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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[vii] CONTENTS. PAGE A Russian Proprietor 1 Lucerne 87 Recollections of a Scorer 123 Albert 148 Two Hussars 190 Three Deaths 286 A Prisoner in the Caucasus 308... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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A RUSSIAN PROPRIETOR. I. Prince Nekhliudof was nineteen years of age when, at the end of his third term at the university, he came to spend his summer vacation on his estate. He was alone there all the summer. In the autumn he wrote in his unformed, boyish hand, a letter to his aunt, the Countess Biloretskaa, who, according to his notion, was his best friend, and the most genial woman in the world. The letter was in French, and was to the following effect: "Dear Auntie,I have adopted a resolution upon which must depend the fate of my whole existence. I have left the university in order to devote myself to a country life, because I feel that I was born for it. For God's sake, dear auntie, don't make sport of me. You say that I am young. Perhaps I am still almost a child; but this does not prevent me from feeling sure of my vocation, from wishing to accomplish it... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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II. The young proprietor had, as he wrote his aunt, devised a plan of action in the management of his estate; and his whole life and activity were measured by hours, days, and months. Sunday was reserved for the reception of petitioners, domestic servants, and peasants, for the visitation of the poor serfs belonging to the estate, and the distribution of assistance with the approval of the Commune, which met every Sunday evening, and was obliged to decide who should have help, and what amount should be given. In such employments passed more than a year, and the young man was now no longer a novice either in the practical or theoretical knowledge of estate management. It was a clear July Sunday when Nekhliudof, having finished his coffee and run through a chapter of "Maison Rustique," put his note-book and a packet of bank-notes into the pocket of his light overcoat, and started out of doors. It was a great country-house with colonn... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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III. Nekhliudof went into the hut. The uneven smoke-begrimed walls of the dwelling were hung with various rags and clothes; and, in the living-room, were literally covered with reddish cockroaches clustering around the holy images and benches. In the middle of this dark, fetid apartment, not fourteen feet square, was a huge crack in the ceiling; and in spite of the fact that it was braced up in two places, the ceiling hung down so that it threatened to fall from moment to moment. "Yes, the hut is very miserable," said the brin, looking into the face of Churis, who, it seems, had not cared to speak first about this state of things. "It will crush us to death; it will crush the children," said the woman in a tearful voice, attending to the stove which stood under the loft. "Hold your tongue," cried Churis sternly; and with a slight smile playing under his mustaches, he turned to the master. "And I haven't the wit to... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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IV. The young proprietor evidently desired to ask some more questions of the peasants. He did not move from the bench; and he glanced irresolutely, now at Churis, now at the empty, unlighted stove. "Well, have you had dinner yet?" he asked at last. A mocking smile arose to Churis's lips, as though it were ridiculous to him for his master to ask such foolish questions; he made no reply. "What do you mean,dinner, benefactor?" said the old woman, sighing deeply. "We've eaten a little bread; that's our dinner. We couldn't get any vegetables to-day so as to boil some soup, but we had a little kvas,enough for the children." "To-day was a fast-day for us, your excellency," remarked Churis sarcastically, taking up his wife's words. "Bread and onions; that's the way we peasants live. Howsomever, praise be to the Lord, I have a little grain yet, thanks to your kindness; it's lasted till now; but there's... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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V. "There's one other thing I wished to speak to you about," said Nekhliudof. "Why don't you haul out your manure?" "What manure, sir, your excellency? There isn't any to haul out. What cattle have I got? One mare and colt; and last autumn I sold my heifer to the porter,that's all the cattle I've got." "I know you haven't much, but why did you sell your heifer?" asked the brin in amazement. "What have I got to feed her on?" "Didn't you have some straw for feeding the cow? The others did." "The others have their fields manured, but my land's all clay. I can't do any thing with it." "Why don't you dress it, then, so it won't be clay? Then the land would give you grain, and you'd have something to feed to your stock." "But I haven't any stock, so how am I going to get dressing?" "That's an odd cercle vicieux," said Nekhliudof to himself; and he actua... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VI. "Yukhvanka the clever wants to sell a horse," was what Nekhliudof next read in his note-book; and he proceeded along the street to Yukhvanka's place. Yukhvanka's hut was carefully thatched with straw from the threshing-floor of the estate; the frame-work was of new light-gray aspen-wood (also from stock belonging to the estate), had two handsome painted shutters for the window, and a porch with eaves and ingenious balustrades cut out of deal planks. The narrow entry and the cold hut were also in perfect order; but the general impression of sufficiency and comfort given by this establishment was somewhat injured by a barn enclosed in the gates, which had a dilapidated hedge and a sagging pent roof, appearing from behind it. Just as Nekhliudof approached the steps from one side, two peasant women came up on the other carrying a tub full of water. One was Yukhvanka's wife, the other his mother. (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VII. Almost stumbling against the prince, the young wife precipitately set down the tub, showed a little embarrassment, dropped a courtesy, and then with shining eyes glanced up at him, and, endeavoring to hide a slight smile behind the sleeve of her embroidered shirt, ran up the steps, clattering in her wooden shoes. "Mother, you take the water-yoke to aunt Nastsia," said she, pausing at the door, and addressing the old woman. The modest young proprietor looked sternly but scrutinizingly at the rosy woman, frowned, and turned to the old dame, who, seizing the yoke with her crooked fingers, submissively lifted it to her shoulder, and was about to direct her steps to the adjacent hut. "Your son at home?" asked the prince. The old woman, her bent form bent more than usual, made an obeisance, and tried to say something in reply, but, suddenly putting her hand to her mouth, was taken with such a fit o... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VIII. "Come, show me your horses. Are they in the yard?" "Indeed they are, 'slency. I have done as I was told, 'slency. Could we fail to heed you, 'slency? Yakof Ilyitch told me not to send the horses out to pasture. 'The prince,' says he, 'is coming to look at them,' and so we didn't send them. For, of course, we shouldn't dare to disobey you, 'slency." While Nekhliudof was on his way to the door, Yukhvanka snatched down his pipe from the loft, and flung it into the stove. His lips were still drawn in with the same expression of constraint as when the prince was looking at him. A wretched little gray mare, with thin tail, all stuck up with burrs, was sniffing at the filthy straw under the pent roof. A long-legged colt two months old, of some nondescript color, with bluish hoofs and nose, followed close behind her. In the middle of the yard stood a pot-bellied brown gelding with closed eyes and thoughtfu... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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IX. "Davidka Bylui asks for grain and posts," was what followed Yukhvanka's case in the note-book. After passing by a number of places, Nekhliudof came to a turn in the lane, and there fell in with his overseer Yakof Alptitch, who, while the prince was still at a distance, took off his oiled cap, and pulling out a crumpled bandanna handkerchief began to wipe his fat red face. "Cover yourself, Yakof! Yakof, cover yourself, I tell you." "Where do you wish to go, your excellency?" asked Yakof, using his cap to shield his eyes from the sun, but not putting it on. "I have been at Yukhvanka's. Tell me, pray, why does he act so?" asked the prince as he walked along the street. "Why indeed, your excellency!" echoed the overseer as he followed behind the prince in a respectful attitude. He put on his cap, and began to twist his mustache. "What's to be done with him? He's thoroughl... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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X. At this moment, the window was darkened by the head of a peasant woman who passed carrying some linen on a yoke, and presently Davidka's mother came into the hovel. She was a tall woman, fifty years old, very fresh and lively. Her ugly face was covered with pock-marks and wrinkles; but her straight, firm nose, her delicate, compressed lips, and her keen gray eyes gave witness to her mental strength and energy. The angularity of her shoulders, the flatness of her chest, the thinness of her hands, and the solid muscles of her black bare legs, made it evident that she had long ago ceased to be a woman, and had become a mere drudge. She came hurrying into the hovel, shut the door, set down her linen, and looked angrily at her son. Nekhliudof was about to say something to her, but she turned her back on him, and began to cross herself before the black wooden icon, that was visible behind the loom. When she had thus do... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XI. "How did she die?" inquired Nekhliudof, somewhat skeptically. "She died of hard work, as God knows, benefactor. We brought her last year from Baburin," she continued, suddenly changing her wrathful expression to one of tearfulness and grief. "Well, the woman was young, fresh, obliging, good stuff. As a girl, she lived at home with her father in clover, never knew want; and when she came to us, then she learned to do our work,for the estate and at home and everywhere.... She and Ithat was all to do it. What was it to me? I was used to it. She was going to have a baby, good father; and she began to suffer pain; and all because she worked beyond her strength. Well, she did herself harm, the poor little sweetheart. Last summer, about the time of the feast of Peter and Paul, she had a poor little boy born. But there was no bread. We ate whatever we could get, my father. She went to work too soon: her milk all dried up. T... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XII. "O-okh! alas for my wretchedness!" exclaimed Arna, sighing deeply. She paused, and looked angrily at her son. Davidka immediately turned around, and, clumsily lifting his stout leg incased in a huge dirty boot over the threshold, took refuge in the opposite door. "What shall I do with him, father?" continued Arna, turning to the prince. "You yourself see what he is. He is not a bad man; doesn't get drunk, and is peaceable; wouldn't hurt a little child. It's a sin to say hard things of him. There's nothing bad about him, and God knows what has taken place in him to make him so bad to himself. You see he himself does not like it. Would you believe it, father, my heart bleeds when I look at him, and see what suffering he undergoes. You see, whatever he is, he is my son. I pity him. Oh, how I pity him!... You see, it isn't as though he had done any thing against me or his father or the auth... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XIII. "That's the way I'll do," said Nekhliudof to himself with a pleasant self-consciousness; and then, recollecting that he had still to go to the rich peasant Dutlof, he directed his steps toward a lofty and ample establishment, with two chimneys, standing in the midst of the village. As he passed a neighboring hut on his way thither, he stopped to speak with a tall, disorderly-looking peasant-woman of forty summers, who came to meet him. "A pleasant holiday, father," she said, with some show of assurance, stopping at a little distance from him with a pleased smile and a low obeisance. "Good-morning, my nurse. How are you? I was just going to see your neighbor." "Pretty well, your excellency, my father. It's a good idea. But won't you come in? I beg you to. My old man would be very pleased." "Well, I'll come; and we'll have a little talk with you, nurse. Is this your house?" "It is,... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XIV. "Hadn't I better go home?" mused Nekhliudof, as he strode along toward the Dutlof enclosure, and felt a boundless melancholy and moral weariness. But at this moment the new deal gates were thrown open before him with a creaking sound; and a handsome, ruddy fellow of eighteen in wagoner's attire appeared, leading a troka of powerful-limbed and still sweaty horses. He hastily brushed back his blond hair, and bowed to the prince. "Well, is your father at home, Ilya?" asked Nekhliudof. "At the bee-house, back of the yard," replied the youth, driving the horses, one after the other, through the half-opened gates. "I will not give it up. I will make the proposal. I will do the best I can," reflected Nekhliudof; and, after waiting till the horses had passed out, he entered Dutlof's spacious yard. It was plain to see that the manure had only recently been carried away. The ground was still black and damp; and in pla... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XV. Nekhliudof, stooping low, passed through the low gate, under the gloomy shed, to the apiary, which was situated behind the yard. A small space, surrounded by straw and a wattled hedge, through the chinks of which the light streamed, was filled with bee-hives symmetrically arranged, and covered with shavings, while the golden bees were humming around them. Every thing was bathed in the warm and brilliant rays of the July sun. From the gate a well-trodden footway led through the middle to a wooden side-building, with a tin-foil image on it gleaming brightly in the sun. A few orderly young lindens lifting, above the thatched roof of the neighboring court-yard, their bushy tops, almost audibly rustled their dark-green, fresh foliage, in unison with the sound of the buzzing bees. All the shadows from the covered hedge, from the lindens, and from the hives, fell dark and short on the delicate curling grass springing up between the pl... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XVI. "I wanted to ask you something about my sons, your excellency," said the old man, either pretending not to notice, or really not noticing, the prince's angry face. "What?" "Well, we are well provided with horses, praise the Lord! and that's our trade, and so we don't have to work on your land." "What do you mean?" "If you would only be kind enough to let my sons have leave of absence, then Ilyushka and Ignt would take three trokas, and go out teaming for all summer. Maybe they'd earn something." "Where would they go?" "Just as it happened," replied Ilyushka, who at this moment, having put the horses under the shed, joined his father. "The Kadminski boys went with eight horses to Romen. Not only earned their own living, they say, but brought back a gain of more than three hundred per cent. Fodder, they say, is cheap at Odest." "Well, that's the very thing I wanted to talk with yo... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XVII. As soon as he got into the house, the old man bowed once more; then using his coat-tail to dust the bench in the front of the room, he smiled, and said, "What do you want of us, your excellency?" The hut was bright and roomy, with a chimney; and it had a loft and berths. The fresh aspen-wood beams, between which could be seen the moss, scarcely faded, were as yet not turned dark. The new benches and the loft were not polished smooth, and the floor was not worn. One young peasant woman, rather lean, with a serious oval face, was sitting on a berth, and using her foot to rock a hanging cradle that was suspended from the ceiling by a long hook. This was Ilya's wife. In the cradle lay at full length a suckling child, scarcely breathing, and with closed eyes. Another young woman, robust and rosy-cheeked, with her sleeves rolled up above her elbows, showing strong arms and hands red even higher than her wrists, was... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XVIII. "My God! my God!" was Nekhliudof's mental exclamation, as with long strides he hastened home through the shady alleys of his weed-grown garden, and, absent-mindedly, snapped off the leaves and branches which fell in his way. "Is it possible that my dreams about the ends and duties of my life are all idle nonsense? Why is it hard for me, and mournful, as though I were dissatisfied with myself because I imagined that having once begun this course I should constantly experience the fullness of the morally pleasant feeling which I had when, for the first time, these thoughts came to me?" And with extraordinary vividness and distinctness he saw in his imagination that happy moment which he had experienced a year before. He had arisen very early, before every one else in the house, and feeling painfully those secret, indescribable impulses of youth, he had gone aimlessly out into the garden, and from there into the woods; and, amid... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XIX. "Where are those dreams?" the young man now asked himself as he walked home after his round of visits. "Here more than a year has passed since I have been seeking for happiness in this course, and what have I found? It is true, I sometimes feel that I can be contented with myself; but this is a dry, doubtful kind of content. Yet, no; I am simply dissatisfied! I am dissatisfied because I find no happiness here; and I desire, I passionately long for, happiness. I have not experienced delight, I have cut myself off from all that gives it. Wherefore? for what end? Does that make it easier for any one? "My aunt was right when she wrote that it is easier to find happiness than to give it to others. Have my peasants become any richer? Have they learned any thing? or have they shown any moral improvement? Not the least. They are no better off, but it grows harder and harder every day for me. If I saw any success in my undertakings, if I saw any signs of... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XX. In the small room occupied by Nekhliudof stood an old leather sofa decorated with copper nails, a few chairs of the same description, an old-fashioned inlaid extension-table with scallops and brass mountings, and strewn with papers, and an old-fashioned English grand with narrow keys, broken and twisted. Between the windows hung a large mirror with an old carved frame gilded. On the floor, near the table, lay packages of papers, books, and accounts. This room, on the whole, had a characterless and disorderly appearance; and this lively disorder presented a sharp contrast with the affectedly aristocratic arrangement of the other rooms of the great mansion. When Nekhliudof reached his room, he flung his hat angrily on the table, and sat down in a chair which stood near the piano, crossed his legs, and shook his head. "Will you have lunch, your excellency?" asked a tall, thin, wrinkled old woman, who entered just at this... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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FROM THE RECOLLECTIONS OF PRINCE NEKHLIUDOF. July 20,1857. Yesterday evening I arrived at Lucerne, and put up at the best inn there, the Schweitzerhof. "Lucerne, the chief city of the canton, situated on the shore of the Vierwaldsttter See," says Murray, "is one of the most romantic places of Switzerland: here cross three important highways, and it is only an hour's distance by steamboat to Mount Righi, from which is obtained one of the most magnificent views in the world." Whether that be true or no, other Guides say the same thing, and consequently at Lucerne there are throngs of travelers of all nationalities, especially the English. The magnificent five-storied building of the Hotel Schweitzerhof is situated on the quay, at the very edge of the lake, where in olden times there used to be the crooked covered wooden bridge with chapels on the corners and pictures on the roof. Now, tha... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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RECOLLECTIONS OF A SCORER. A STORY. Well, it happened about three o'clock. The gentlemen were playing. There was the big stranger, as our men called him. The prince was there,the two are always together. The whiskered brin was there; also the little hussar, Oliver, who was an actor, and there was the pan. It was a pretty good crowd. The big stranger and the prince were playing together. Now, here I was walking up and down around the billiard-table with my stick, keeping tally,ten and forty-seven, twelve and forty-seven. Everybody knows it's our business to score. You don't get a chance to get a bite of any thing, and you don't get to bed till two o'clock o' nights, but you're always being screamed at to bring the balls. I was keeping tally; and I look, and see a new brin comes in at the door. He gazed and gazed, and then sat down on... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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ALBERT. A STORY. 1857. I. Five rich young men went at three o'clock in the morning to a ball in Petersburg to have a good time. Much champagne was drunk; a majority of the gentlemen were very young; the girls were pretty; a pianist and a fiddler played indefatigably one polka after another; there was no cease to the noise of conversation and dancing. But there was a sense of awkwardness and constraint; every one felt somehow or otherand this is not unusualthat all was not as it should be. There were several attempts made to make things more lively, but simulated liveliness is much worse than melancholy. One of the five young men, who was more discontented than any one else, both with himself and with the others, and who had been feeling all the evening a sense of disgust, took his hat, and went out noiselessly on purpose, intending to go home. There was no one in the ante-... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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II. Albert by this time, not paying attention to any one, had raised his violin to his shoulder, and was slowly crossing over to the piano, and tuning his instrument. His lips were drawn into an expression of indifference, his eyes were almost shut; but his lank, bony back, his long white neck, his crooked legs, and disorderly black hair presented a strange but somehow not entirely ridiculous appearance. After he had tuned his violin, he struck a quick chord, and, throwing back his head, turned to the pianist who was waiting to accompany him. "Melancholie, G sharp," he said, turning to the pianist with a peremptory gesture. And immediately after, as though in apology for his peremptory gesture, he smiled sweetly, and with the same smile turned to his audience again. Tossing back his hair with the hand that held the bow, Albert stood at one side of the piano, and, with a flowing motion of the bow, touched the strings. Through the room there swe... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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III. Something strange came over all the audience, and something strange was noticeable in the dead silence that succeeded Albert's playing. It was as though each desired, and yet dared not, to acknowledge the meaning of it all. What did it mean,this brightly lighted, warm room, these brilliant women, the dawn just appearing at the windows, these hurrying pulses, and the pure impressions made by the fleeting tones of music? But no one ventured to acknowledge the meaning of it all; on the contrary, almost all, feeling incapable of throwing themselves completely under the influence of what the new impression concealed from them, rebelled against it. "Well, now, he plays mighty well," said the officer. "Wonderfully," replied Delesof, stealthily wiping his cheek with his sleeve. "One thing sure, it's time to be going, gentlemen," said the gentleman who had been lying on the sofa, straightening himself up a little. "We'll ha... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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IV. The next morning when Delesof was awakened to go to his office, he saw, with an unpleasant feeling of surprise, his old screen, his old servant, and his clock on the table. "What did I expect to see if not the usual objects that surround me?" he asked himself. Then he recollected the musician's black eyes and happy smile; the motive of the Melancholie and all the strange experiences of the night came back into his consciousness. It was never his way, however, to reconsider whether he had done wisely or foolishly in taking the musician home with him. After he had dressed, he carefully laid out his plans for the day: he took some paper, wrote out some necessary directions for the house, and hastily put on his cloak and galoshes. As he went by the dining-room he glanced in at the door. Albert, with his face buried in the pillow and lying at full length in his dirty, tattered shirt, was buried in the profoundest slumber on t... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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V. "You don't mean to say that you've gone to bed at this time," said Albert with a smile. "I was there again, at Anna Ivnovna's. I spent a very pleasant evening. We had music, told stories; there was a very pleasant company there. Please let me have a glass of something to drink," he added, seizing a carafe of water that stood on the table, "only not water." Albert was just as he had been the night before,the same lovely smiling eyes and lips, the same fresh inspired brow, and weak features. Zakhr's overcoat fitted him as though it had been made for him, and the clean, tall, stiffly-starched collar of the dress-shirt picturesquely fitted around his delicate white neck, giving him a peculiarly childlike and innocent appearance. He sat down on Delesof's bed, smiling with pleasure and gratitude, and looked at him without speaking. Delesof gazed into Albert's eyes, and suddenly felt himself once under the sway of that smi... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VI. The next day was a holiday. Delesof, on waking, sat in his parlor, drinking his coffee and reading a book. Albert, who was in the next room, had not yet moved. Zakhr discreetly opened the door, and looked into the dining-room. "Would you believe it, Dmitri Ivnovitch, there he lies asleep on the bare sofa. I would not send him away for any thing, God knows. He's like a little child. Indeed, he's an artist!" At twelve o'clock, there was a sound of yawning and coughing on the other side of the door. Zakhr again crept into the dining-room; and the brin heard his wheedling voice, and Albert's gentle, beseeching voice. "Well, how is he?" asked Delesof, when Zakhr came out. "He feels blue, Dmitri Ivnovitch. He doesn't want to get dressed. He's so cross. All he asks for is something to drink." "Now, if we are to get hold of him, we must strengthen his character," said Delesof to himself. And, for... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VII. Out of doors it was really cold; but Albert did not feel it, he was so excited by the wine that he had taken and by the quarrel. As he entered the street, he looked around him, and rubbed his hands with pleasure. The street was empty, but the long lines of lights were still brilliantly gleaming; the sky was clear and beautiful. "What!" he cried, addressing the lighted window in Delesof's apartments; and then thrusting his hands in his trousers pockets under his coat, and looking straight ahead, he walked with heavy and uncertain steps straight up the street. He felt an absolute weight in his legs and abdomen, something hummed in his head, some invisible power seemed to hurl him from side to side; but he still plunged ahead in the direction of where Anna Ivnovna lived. Strange, disconnected thoughts rushed through his head. Now he remembered his quarrel with Zakhr, now something recalled the sea and his first voy... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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TWO HUSSARS. A TALE. 1856. Jomini, aye, Jomini, But not a single word of vodka. D. Davuidof. At the very beginning of this century, when there were no railways, no macadamized roads, no gas or stearine candles, no low and springy sofas, no unvarnished furniture, no disillusionized young men with eye-glasses, no women philosophers of liberal tendencies, no dear Camilles, such as our time has produced in abundance; in those nave days when travelers made the journey from Moscow to Petersburg by stage or carriage, and took with them a whole kitchen of domestic preparations, and traveled for a week, night and day, over soft roads, muddy or dusty as the case might be, pinned their faith to Pozharsky cutlets, Valda bluebells, and pretzels; when during the long autumn evenings tallow candles burned till they had to be snuffed, and ca... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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II. Ilyin, the cornet of uhlans, had not long been awake. The evening before, he had sat down at the gambling-table at eight o'clock, and lost for fifteen consecutive hours, till eleven o'clock that day. He had lost a great amount, but exactly how much he did not know, because he had had three thousand rubles of his money, and fifteen thousand belonging to the treasury, which he had long ago mixed up with his own, and he did not dare to settle his accounts lest his anticipations that he had made too great inroads on the public money should be confirmed. He went to sleep about noon, and slept that heavy, dreamless sleep, peculiar to very young men who have been losing heavily. Waking at six, about the time that Count Turbin had arrived at the hotel, and seeing cards and chalk and soiled tables scattered around him in confusion in the room, he remembered with horror the evening's games, and the last card, a knave, which had lost him five hundred rubles... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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III. Lukhnof took two candles, brought out a huge dark-colored pocket-book full of money; slowly, as though performing some sacrament, opened it on the table; took out two one-hundred-ruble notes, and laid them on the cards. "There, just the same as last evening; the bank begins with two hundred," said he, adjusting his glasses, and opening a pack of cards. "Very well," said Ilyin, not glancing at him, or interrupting his conversation with Turbin. The game began. Lukhnof kept the bank with mechanical regularity, occasionally pausing, and deliberately making notes, or looking sternly over his glasses, and saying in a weak voice, "Throw." The stout proprietor talked louder than the rest, making various calculations at the top of his voice, while he wet his clumsy fingers and dog-eared his cards. The garrison officer silently wrote in a fine hand his account on a card, turned down small corners, pressing them against... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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IV. The band, composed of the marshal's domestic serfs, were stationed in the butler's pantry, which had been put in order on account of the ball, and, having turned up the sleeves of their coats, had begun at the signal of their leader to play the ancient polonaise "Aleksandr, Yelisavita;" and under the soft, brilliant light of the wax candles, the couples began to move in tripping measure through the great ballroom; a governor-general of Catherine's time, with a star, taking out the gaunt wife of the marshal, the marshal with the governor's wife, and so on through all the hierarchy of the government in various combinations and variations,when Zavalshevsky in a blue coat with a huge collar, and epaulets on his shoulders, and wearing stockings and pumps, and exhaling about him an odor of jasmine with which he had plentifully drenched his mustaches, the facings of his coat, and his handkerchief, entered with the handsome count, who wore tight-fi... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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V. Anna Fedorovna, while the count was in the library, went to her brother, and, for the very reason of her conviction that she ought to pretend to feel very little interest in the count, she began to question him. "Who is this hussar that has been dancing with me? Tell me, brother." The cavalryman explained, to the best of his ability, what a great man this hussar was, and in addition he told his sister that the count had stopped there simply because his money had been stolen on the route: he himself had loaned him a hundred rubles, but that was not enough. Couldn't his sister let him have two hundred more? Zavalshevsky asked her not to say any thing about this to any one, and, above all, not to the count. Anna Fedorovna promised to send the money the next day, and to keep it a secret; but somehow or other, during the schottische, she had a terrible desire to offer the count as much money as he needed. She deliberated, blu... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VI. The newly elected isprvnik, with his company, the cavalryman, and other members of the nobility, had already been listening for some time to the gypsies, and drinking at the new tavern, when the count, in a blue-lined bear-skin shuba which had belonged to Anna Fedorovna's late husband, joined them. "Little father, your excellency! we have almost given up expecting you," said a squint-eyed black gypsy with brilliant teeth, who met him in the entry and divested him of his shuba. "We haven't met since we were at Lebedyan.... Stioshka has pined away on account of you." Stioshka, a slender young gypsy-girl with a cherry red bloom on her cinnamon-colored cheeks, with brilliant deep black eyes, shaded by long eyelashes, also hurried to meet him. "Ah! dear little count! my sweetheart! This is a pleasure," she exclaimed through her teeth, with a joyous smile. Ilyushka himself came to... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VII. "Have the horses put in!" cried the count, as he entered the sitting-room of the hotel with all his friends including the gypsies. "Sashka,not the gypsy Sashka, but mine,tell the superintendent that if the horses are poor I will flog him. Now give us some tea. Zavalshevsky, make some tea; I am going to Ilyin's; I want to find how things have gone with him," added Turbin; and he went out into the corridor, and directed his steps to the uhlan's room. Ilyin was just through playing, and, having lost all his money down to his last kopeck, had thrown himself face down on the worn-out haircloth sofa, and was picking the hairs out one by one, sticking them in his mouth, biting them into two, and spitting them out again. Two tallow candles, one of which was already burnt down to the paper, stood on the card-cluttered omber-table, and mingled their feeble rays with the morning light which was beginning to shine through the... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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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 isprvnik 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... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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IX. A score of years have passed. Much water has run since then, many men have died, many children have been born, many have grown up and become old; still more thoughts have been born and perished. Much that was beautiful and much that was ugly in the past have disappeared; much that is beautiful in the new has been brought forth, and still more that is incomplete and abortive of the new has appeared in God's world. Count Fedor Turbin was long ago killed in a duel with some foreigner whom he struck on the street with his long whip. His son, who was as like him as two drops of water, had already reached the age of two or three and twenty, and was a lovely fellow, already serving in the cavalry. Morally the young Count Turbin was entirely different from his father. There was not a shadow of those fiery, passionate, and in truth be it said, corrupt inclinations, peculiar to the last century. Together with intelligence, cultiva... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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X. It was still rather warm, though the sun was already set, when the battalion arrived at Morozovka. In front of them, along the dusty village street, trotted a brindled cow, separated from the herd, bellowing, and occasionally stopping to look round, and never once perceiving that all she had to do was to turn out and let the battalion pass. Peasants, old men, women, children, and domestic serfs, crowding both sides of the road, gazed curiously at the hussars. Through a thick cloud of dust the hussars rode along on raven-black horses, curveting and occasionally snorting. At the right of the battalion, gracefully mounted on beautiful black steeds, rode two officers. One was the commander, Count Turbin; the other a very young man, who had recently been promoted from the yunkers; his name was Polzof. A hussar, in a white kittel, came from the best of the cottages, and, taking off his cap, approached the officers. (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XI. As soon as Anna Fedorovna learned that the officer of hussars was the son of Count Fedor Turbin, she was thrown into a great state of excitement. "Oh! great heavens! he is my darling! Danlo! run, hurry, tell them the lady invites them to stay at her house," she cried, in great agitation, and hastening to the servants' room. "Lzanka! Ustiushka! You must have your room put in order, Liza. You can go into your uncle's room; and you, brother,brother, you can sleep to-night in the parlor. It's for only one night." "That's nothing, sister! I would sleep on the floor." "He must be a handsome fellow, I think, if he's like his father. Only let me see him, the turtle-dove! You shall see for yourself, Liza. Ah! his father was handsome! Where shall we put the table? Let it go there," said Anna Fedorovna, running about here and there. "There now, bring in two beds; get one from the overseer, a... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XII. Liza, red in the face and with downcast eyes, was ostensibly occupied with filling up the teapot, and did not dare to look at the officers as they entered the room. Anna Fedorovna, on the contrary, briskly jumped up and bowed, and without taking her eyes from the count's face began to talk to him, now finding an extraordinary resemblance to his father, now presenting her daughter, now offering him tea, meats, or jelly-cakes. No one paid any attention to the cornet, thanks to his modest behavior; and he was very glad of it, because it gave him a chance, within the limits of propriety, to observe and study the details of Liza's beauty, which had evidently come over him with the force of a surprise. The uncle listening to his sister's conversation had a speech ready on his lips, and was waiting for a chance to relate his cavalry experiences. The count smoked his cigar over his tea, so that Liza had great difficulty in re... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XIII. After tea, the old lady invited her guests into the other room, and again sat down in her usual place. "But perhaps you would like to rest, count?" she asked. "Well, then, what would you like to amuse yourselves with, my dear guests?" she proceeded to ask after she had been assured to the contrary. "You play cards, do you not, count?Here, brother, you might take a hand in some game or other."... "Why, you yourself can play prfrence," replied the cavalryman. "You had better take a hand, then. The count will play, will he not? And you?" The officers were agreeable to every thing that might satisfy their amiable hosts. Liza brought from her room her old cards which she used for divining whether her mother would speedily recover of a cold, or whether her uncle would return on such and such a day from the city if he chanced to have gone there, or whether her neighbor would be in during the day, and oth... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XIV. "Well, now, aren't you ashamed?" exclaimed Polzof, when the two officers had reached the privacy of their chamber. "I tried to lose, and I kept nudging you under the table. Now aren't you really ashamed? The poor old lady was quite beside herself." The count burst into a terrible fit of laughter. "A most amusing dame! How abused she felt!" And again he began to laugh so heartily that even Johann, who was standing in front of him, cast down his eyes to conceal a smile. "And here is the son of an old family friend! Ha, ha, ha!" continued the count in a gale of laughter. "No, indeed, it is not right. I felt really sorry for her," said the cornet. "What rubbish! How young you are! What! did you think that I was going to lose? Why should I lose? I only lose when I don't know any better. Ten rubles, brother, will come in handy. You must look on life in a practical way, or else you will always be a fool."... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XV. It was indeed the count. When he heard the maiden's cry, and the cough of the watchman who was coming from the other side of the fence in reply to the shriek, he had the sensation of being a thief caught in the act, and started to run across the dew-drenched grass, so as to hide in the depths of the garden. "Oh, what a fool I was!" he said instinctively. "I frightened her. I ought to have been more gentle, to have wakened her by gentle words. Oh! I am a beast, a blundering beast." He paused and listened. The watchman had come through the wicket-gate into the garden, dragging his cane along the sanded walk. He must hide. He went toward the pond. The frogs made him tremble as they hastily sprang from under his very feet into the water. There, notwithstanding his wet feet, he crouched down on his heels, and, began to recall all he had done,how he had crept through the hedge, found her window, and at last caught a glimpse of a w... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XVI. The next day the battalion departed. The officers did not see any of the household, or bid them farewell. Neither did they speak together. It was understood that they were to fight their duel when they came to the next halting-place. But Captain Schultz, a good comrade, an admirable horseman, who was loved by everybody in the regiment, and had been chosen by the count for his second, succeeded in arranging the affair in such a manner that not only they did not fight, but that no one in the regiment knew about the matter; and Turbin and Polzof, though their old relations of friendship were never restored, still said "thou," and met at meals and at the gaming-table. FOOTNOTES: From the poem entitled, "The Song of an Old Hussar," in which a veteran contrasts the mighty days of the past with the dilettanti present. Denis Vasilyevitch Davuidof, who was an officer of hussars, died in 1839.Tr... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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THREE DEATHS A TALE. 1859. I. It was autumn. Along the highway came two equipages at a brisk pace. In the first carriage sat two women. One was a lady, thin and pale. The other, her maid, with a brilliant red complexion, and plump. Her short, dry locks escaped from under a faded cap; her red hand, in a torn glove, put them back with a jerk. Her full bosom, incased in a tapestry shawl, breathed of health; her restless black eyes now gazed through the window at the fields hurrying by them, now rested on her mistress, now peered solicitously into the corners of the coach. Before the maid's face swung the lady's bonnet on the rack; on her knees lay a puppy; her feet were raised by packages lying on the floor, and could almost be heard drumming upon them above the noise of the creaking of the springs, and the rattling of the windows. The lady, with her hands resting in he... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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II. The coach was ready, but the driver loitered. He had gone into the driver's cottage, where it was warm, close, dark, and suffocating; smelling of human occupation, of cooking bread, of cabbage, and of sheep-skin garments. Several drivers were in the room; the cook was engaged near the oven, on top of which lay a sick man wrapped up in pelts. "Uncle Khvedor! hey! Uncle Khvedor," called a young man, the driver, in a tulup, and with his knout in his belt, coming into the room, and addressing the sick man. "What do you want, rattlepate? What are you calling to Fydka for?" demanded one of the drivers. "There's your carriage waiting for you." "I want to borrow his boots. Mine are worn out," replied the young fellow, tossing back his curls and straightening his mittens in his belt. "Why? is he asleep? Say, Uncle Khvedor!" he insisted, going to the oven. (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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III. Spring had come. Along the wet streets of the city swift streamlets ran purling between bits of ice; bright were the colors of people's dresses and the tones of their voices, as they hurried along. In the walled gardens, the buds on the trees were bourgeoning, and the fresh breeze swayed their branches with a soft gentle murmur. Everywhere transparent drops were forming and falling.... The sparrows chattered incoherently, and fluttered about on their little wings. On the sunny side, on the walls, houses, and trees, all was full of life and brilliancy. The sky, and the earth, and the heart of man overflowed with youth and joy. In front of a great seignorial mansion, in one of the principal streets, fresh straw was laid; in the house lay that same invalid whom we saw hastening abroad. Near the closed doors of the house stood the sick lady's husband, and a lady well along in years. On a sofa sat the confessor, with cast-... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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IV. At the end of a month, over the grave of the dead a stone chapel was erected. Over the driver's there was as yet no stone, and only the fresh green grass sprouted over the mound that served as the sole record of the past existence of a man. "It will be a sin and a shame, Seryha," said the cook at the station-house one day, "if you don't buy a gravestone for Khvedor. You kept saying, 'It's winter, winter,' but now why don't you keep your word? I heard it all. He has already come back once to ask why you don't do it; if you don't buy him one, he will come again, he will choke you." "Well, now, have I denied it?" urged Seryha. "I am going to buy him a stone, as I said I would. I can get one for a ruble and a half. I have not forgotten about it; I'll have to get it. As soon as I happen to be in town, then I'll buy him one." "You ought at least to put up a cross, that's what you ought to do," said an old driv... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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V. Zhilin crept down into his hole, and widened it so that Kostuilin also could get through, and then they sat and waited till all should be quiet in the aul. As soon as the people were quiet in the aul, Zhilin crept under the wall, and came out on the other side. He whispers to Kostuilin, "Crawl under." Kostuilin also crept under, but in doing so he hit a stone with his leg, and it made a noise. Now, the master had a brindled dog as a watch,a most ferocious animal; they called him Ulyashin. Zhilin had been in the habit of feeding him. Ulyashin heard the noise, and began to bark and jump about, and the other dogs joined in. Zhilin gave a little whistle, threw him a piece of cake. Ulyashin recognized him, began to wag his tail, and ceased barking. Abdul had heard the disturbance, and cried from within the hut: "Ht! ht! Ulyashin." But Zhili... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VI. Life was made utterly wretched for them. Their clogs were not taken off even at night, and they were not let out at all. Unbaked dough was thrown down to them as though they were dogs, and water was let down in a jug. In the pit it was damp and suffocating. Kostuilin became ill, and swelled up, and had rheumatism all over his body, and he groaned or slept all the time. Even Zhilin lost his spirits; he sees that they are in desperate straits. And he does not know how to get out. He had begun to make an excavation, but there was nowhere to hide the earth; Abdul discovered it, and threatened to kill him. He was squatting down one time in the pit, and thinking about life and liberty, and he grew sad. Suddenly a cake fell directly into his lap, then another, and some cherries followed. He looked up, and there was Dina. She peered down at him, laughed, and then ran away. And Zhilin began... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

Chronology

December 05, 1887 :
A Russian Proprietor, and Other Stories -- Publication.

February 18, 2017 ; 5:41:12 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

April 14, 2019 ; 4:59:45 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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