Sevastopol : Chapter 17

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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.)
• "Only by recognizing the land as just such an article of common possession as the sun and air will you be able, without bias and justly, to establish the ownership of land among all men, according to any of the existing projects or according to some new project composed or chosen by you in common." (From : "To the Working People," by Leo Tolstoy, Yasnaya P....)
• "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....)
• "...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....)


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Chapter 17


On the following day, the bombardment proceeded with the same vigor. At eleven o'clock in the morning, Volodya Kozeltzoff was seated in a circle of battery officers, and, having already succeeded to some extent in habituating himself to them, he was surveying the new faces, taking observations, making inquiries, and telling stories.

The discreet conversation of the artillery officers, which made some pretensions to learning, pleased him and inspired him with respect. Volodya's shy, innocent, and handsome appearance disposed the officers in his favor.

The eldest officer in the battery, the captain, a short, sandy-complexioned man, with his hair arranged in a topknot, and smooth on the temples, educated in the old traditions of the artillery, a squire of dames, and a would-be learned man, questioned Volodya as to his acquirements in artillery and new inventions, jested caressingly over his youth and his pretty little face, and[Pg 206] treated him, in general, as a father treats a son, which was extremely agreeable to Volodya.

Sub-Lieutenant Dyadenko, a young officer, who talked with a Little Russian accent, had a tattered cloak and disheveled hair, although he talked very loudly, and constantly seized opportunities to dispute acrimoniously over some topic, and was very abrupt in his movements, pleased Volodya, who, beneath this rough exterior, could not help detecting in him a very fine and extremely good man. Dyadenko was incessantly offering his services to Volodya, and pointing out to him that not one of the guns in Sevastopol was properly placed, according to rule.

Lieutenant Tchernovitzky, with his brows elevated on high, though he was more courteous than any of the rest, and dressed in a coat that was tolerably clean, but not new, and carefully patched, and though he displayed a gold watch-chain on a satin waistcoat, did not please Volodya. He kept inquiring what the Emperor and the minister of war were doing, and related to him, with unnatural triumph, the deeds of valor which had been performed in Sevastopol, complained of the small number of true patriots, and displayed a great[Pg 207] deal of learning, and sense, and noble feeling in general; but, for some reason, all this seemed unpleasant and unnatural to Volodya. The principal thing which he noticed was that the other officers hardly spoke to Tchernovitzky.

Yunker Vlang, whom he had waked up on the preceding evening, was also there. He said nothing, but, seated modestly in a corner, laughed when anything amusing occurred, refreshed their memories when they forgot anything, handed the vodka, and made cigarettes for all the officers. Whether it was the modest, courteous manners of Volodya, who treated him exactly as he did the officers, and did not torment him as though he were a little boy, or his agreeable personal appearance which captivated Vlanga, as the soldiers called him, declining his name, for some reason or other, in the feminine gender, at all events, he never took his big, kind eyes from the face of the new officer. He divined and anticipated all his wishes, and remained uninterruptedly in a sort of lover-like ecstasy, which, of course, the officers perceived, and made fun of.

Before dinner, the staff-captain was relieved from the battery, and joined their company. Staff-Captain[Pg 208] Kraut was a light-complexioned, handsome, dashing officer, with a heavy, reddish mustache, and side-whiskers; he spoke Russian capitally, but too elegantly and correctly for a Russian. In the service and in his life, he had been the same as in his language; he served very well, was a capital comrade, and the most faithful of men in money matters; but simply as a man something was lacking in him, precisely because everything about him was so excellent. Like all Russian-Germans, by a strange contradiction with the ideal German, he was “praktisch” to the highest degree.

“Here he is, our hero makes his appearance!” said the captain, as Kraut, flourishing his arms and jingling his spurs, entered the room. “Which will you have, Friedrich Krestyanitch, tea or vodka?”

“I have already ordered my tea to be served,” he answered, “but I may take a little drop of vodka also, for the refreshing of the soul. Very glad to make your acquaintance; I beg that you will love us, and lend us your favor,” he said to Volodya, who rose and bowed to him.[Pg 209] “Staff-Captain Kraut.... The gun-sergeant on the bastion informed me that you arrived last night.”

“Much obliged for your bed; I passed the night in it.”

“I hope you found it comfortable? One of the legs is broken; but no one can stand on ceremony—in time of siege—you must prop it up.”

“Well, now, did you have a fortunate time on your watch?” asked Dyadenko.

“Yes, all right; only Skvortzoff was hit, and we mended one of the gun-carriages last night. The cheek was smashed to atoms.”

He rose from his seat, and began to walk up and down; it was plain that he was wholly under the influence of that agreeable sensation which a man experiences who has just escaped a danger.

“Well, Dmitri Gavrilitch,” he said, tapping the captain on the knee, “how are you getting on, my dear fellow? How about your promotion?—no word yet?”

“Nothing yet.”

“No, and there will be nothing,” interpolated Dyadenko: “I proved that to you before.”

“Why won't there?”

“Because the story was not properly written down.”

[Pg 210]

“Oh, you quarrelsome fellow, you quarrelsome fellow!” said Kraut, smiling gaily; “a regular obstinate Little Russian! Now, just to provoke you, he'll turn out your lieutenant.”

“No, he won't.”

“Vlang! fetch me my pipe, and fill it,” said he, turning to the yunker, who at once hastened up obligingly with the pipe.

Kraut made them all lively; he told about the bombardment, he inquired what had been going on in his absence, and entered into conversation with every one.

[Pg 211]

From :


November 30, 1887 :
Chapter 17 -- Publication.

February 18, 2017 17:32:22 :
Chapter 17 -- Added to

May 28, 2017 15:35:44 :
Chapter 17 -- Last Updated on


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