Fiction > Harvard Classics > Ivan Turgenev > Fathers and Children > Chapter XXI
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Ivan Turgenev (1818–1883).  Fathers and Children.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction.  1917.
  
Chapter XXI
  
ON getting up Arkady opened the window, and the first object that met his view was Vassily Ivanovitch. In an Oriental dressing-gown girt round the waist with a pocket-handkerchief he was industriously digging in his garden. He perceived his young visitor, and leaning on his spade, he called, ‘The best of health to you! How have you slept?’   1
  ‘Capitally,’ answered Arkady.   2
  ‘Here am I, as you see, like some Cincinnatus, marking out a bed for late turnips. The time has come now—and thank God for it!—when every one ought to obtain his sustenance with his own hands; it’s useless to reckon on others; one must labour oneself. And it turns out that Jean Jacques Rousseau is right. Half an hour ago, my dear young gentleman, you might have seen me in a totally different position. One peasant woman, who complained of looseness—that’s how they express it, but in our language, dysentery—I … how can I express it best? I administered opium, and for another I extracted a tooth. I proposed an anæsthetic to her … but she would not consent. All that I do gratis—anamatyer (en amateur). I’m used to it, though; you see, I’m a plebeian, homo novus—not one of the old stock, not like my spouse.… Wouldn’t you like to come this way into the shade, to breathe the morning freshness a little before tea?’   3
  Arkady went out to him.   4
  ‘Welcome once again,’ said Vassily Ivanovitch, raising his hand in a military salute to the greasy skull-cap which covered his head. ‘You, I know, are accustomed to luxury, to amusements, but even the great ones of this world do not disdain to spend a brief space under a cottage roof.’   5
  ‘Good heavens,’ protested Arkady, ‘as though I were one of the great ones of this world! And I’m not accustomed to luxury.’   6
  ‘Pardon me, pardon me,’ rejoined Vassily Ivanovitch with a polite simper. ‘Though I am laid on the shelf now, I have knocked about the world too—I can tell a bird by its flight. I am something of a psychologist too in my own way, and a physiognomist. If I had not, I will venture to say, been endowed with that gift, I should have come to grief long ago; I should have stood no chance, a poor man like me. I tell you without flattery, I am sincerely delighted at the friendship I observe between you and my son. I have just seen im; he got up as he usually does—no doubt you are aware of it—very early, and went a ramble about the neighbour-hood. Permit me to inquire—have you known my son long?’   7
  ‘Since last winter.’   8
  ‘Indeed. And permit me to question you further—but hadn’t we better sit down? Permit me, as a father, to ask without reserve, What is your opinion of my Yevgeny?’   9
  ‘Your son is one of the most remarkable men I have ever met,’ Arkady answered emphatically.  10
  Vassily Ivanovitch’s eyes suddenly grew round, and his cheeks were suffused with a faint flush. The spade fell out of his hand.  11
  ‘And so you expect,’ he began …  12
  ‘I’m convinced,’ Arkady put in, ‘that your son has a great future before him; that he will do honour to your name. I’ve been certain of that ever since I first met him.’  13
  ‘How … how was that?’ Vassily Ivanovitch articulated with an effort. His wide mouth was relaxed in a triumphant smile, which would not leave it.  14
  ‘Would you like me to tell you how we met?’  15
  ‘Yes … and altogether.…’  16
  Arkady began to tell his tale, and to talk of Bazarov with even greater warmth, even greater enthusiasm than he had done on the evening when he danced a mazurka with Madame Odintsov.  17
  Vassily Ivanovitch listened and listened, blinked, and rolled his handkerchief up into a ball in both his hands, cleared his throat, ruffled up his hair, and at last 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? And here, for example, many another fellow in his place would have been a constant drag on his parents; but he, would you believe it? has never from the day he was born taken a farthing more than he could help, that’s God’s truth!’  18
  ‘He is a disinterested, honest man,’ observed Arkady.  19
  ‘Exactly so; he is disinterested. And I don’t only idolise him, Arkady Nikolaitch, I am proud of him, and the height of my ambition is that some day there will be the following lines in his biography: “The son of a simple army-doctor, who was, however, capable of divining his greatness betimes, and spared nothing for his education …” ’ The old man’s voice broke.  20
  Arkady pressed his hand.  21
  ‘What do you think,’ inquired Vassily Ivanovitch, after a short silence, ‘will it be in the career of medicine that he will attain the celebrity you anticipate for him?’  22
  ‘Of course, not in medicine, though even in that department he will be one of the leading scientific men.’  23
  ‘In what then, Arkady Nikolaitch?’  24
  ‘It would be hard to say now, but he will be famous.’  25
  ‘He will be famous!’ repeated the old man, and he sank into a reverie.  26
  ‘Arina Vlasyevna sent me to call you in to tea,’ announced Anfisushka, coming by with an immense dish of ripe raspberries.  27
  Vassily Ivanovitch started. ‘And will there be cooled cream for the raspberries?’  28
  ‘Yes.’  29
  ‘Cold now, mind! Don’t stand on ceremony, Arkady Nikolaitch; take some more. How is it Yevgeny doesn’t come?’  30
  ‘I’m here,’ was heard Bazarov’s voice from Arkady’s room.  31
  Vassily Ivanovitch turned round quickly. ‘Aha! you wanted to pay a visit to your friend; but you were too late, amice, and we have already had a long conversation with him. Now we must go in to tea, mother summons us. By the way, I want to have a little talk with you.’  32
  ‘What about?’  33
  ‘There’s a peasant here; he’s suffering from icterus.…  34
  ‘You mean jaundice?’  35
  ‘Yes, a chronic and very obstinate case of icterus. I have prescribed him centaury and St. John’s wort, ordered him to eat carrots, given him soda; but all that’s merely palliative measures; we want some more decided treatment. Though you do laugh at medicine, I am certain you can give me practical advice. But we will talk of that later. Now come in to tea.’  36
  Vassily Ivanovitch jumped up briskly from the garden seat, and hummed from Robert le Diable
        ‘The rule, the rule we set ourselves,
To live, to live for pleasure!’
  37
  ‘Singular vitality!’ observed Bazarov, going away from the window.  38
  It was midday. The sun was burning hot behind a thin veil of unbroken whitish clouds. Everything was hushed; there was no sound but the cocks crowing irritably at one another in the village, producing in every one who heard them a strange sense of drowsiness and ennui; and somewhere, high up in a tree-top, the incessant plaintive cheep of a young hawk. Arkady and Bazarov lay in the shade of a small haystack, putting under themselves two armfuls of dry and rustling, but still greenish and fragrant grass.  39
  ‘That aspen-tree,’ began Bazarov, ‘reminds me of my childhood; it grows at the edge of the clay-pits where the bricks were dug, and in those days I believed firmly that that clay-pit and aspen-tree possessed a peculiar talismanic power; I never felt dull near them. I did not understand then that I was not dull, because I was a child. Well, now I’m grown up, the talisman’s lost its power.’  40
  ‘How long did you live here altogether?’ asked Arkady.  41
  ‘Two years on end; then we travelled about. We led a roving life, wandering from town to town for the most part.’  42
  ‘And has this house been standing long?’  43
  ‘Yes. My grandfather built it—my mother’s father.’  44
  ‘Who was he—your grandfather?’  45
  ‘Devil knows. Some second-major. He served with Suvorov, and was always telling stories about the crossing of the Alps—inventions probably.  46
  ‘You have a portrait of Suvorov hanging in the drawing-room. I like these dear little houses like yours; they’re so warm and old-fashioned; and there’s always a special sort of scent about them.’  47
  ‘A smell of lamp-oil and clover,’ Bazarov remarked, yawning. ‘And the flies in those dear little houses.… Faugh!’  48
  ‘Tell me,’ began Arkady, after a brief pause, ‘were they strict with you when you were a child?’  49
  ‘You can see what my parents are like. They’re not a severe sort.’  50
  ‘Are you fond of them, Yevgeny?’  51
  ‘I am, Arkady.’  52
  ‘How fond they are of you!’  53
  Bazarov was silent for a little. ‘Do you know what I’m thinking about?’ he brought out at last, clasping his hands behind his head.  54
  ‘No. What is it?’  55
  ‘I’m thinking life is a happy thing for my parents. My father at sixty is fussing around, talking about “palliative” measures, doctoring people, playing the bountiful master with the peasants—having a festive time, in fact; and my mother’s happy too; her day’s so chockful of duties of all sorts, and sighs and groans that she’s no time even to think of herself; while I …’  56
  ‘While you?’  57
  ‘I think; here I lie under a haystack.… The tiny space I occupy is so infinitely small in comparison with the rest of space, in which I am not, and which has nothing to do with me; and the period of time in which it is my lot to live is so petty beside the eternity in which I have not been, and shall not be.… And in this atom, this mathematical point, the blood is circulating, the brain is working and wanting something.… Isn’t it loathsome? Isn’t it petty?’  58
  ‘Allow me to remark that what you’re saying applies to men in general.’  59
  ‘You are right,’ Bazarov cut in. ‘I was going to say that they now—my parents, I mean—are absorbed and don’t trouble themselves about their own nothingness; it doesn’t sicken them … while I … I feel nothing but weariness and anger.’  60
  ‘Anger? why anger?’  61
  ‘Why? How can you ask why? Have you forgotten?’  62
  ‘I remember everything, but still I don’t admit that you have any right to be angry. You’re unlucky, I’ll allow, but …’  63
  ‘Pooh! then you, Arkady Nikolaevitch, I can see, regard love like all modern young men; cluck, cluck, cluck you call to the hen, but if the hen comes near you, you run away. I’m not like that. But that’s enough of that. What can’t be helped, it’s shameful to talk about.’ He turned over on his side. ‘Aha! there goes a valiant ant dragging off a half-dead fly. Take her, brother, take her! Don’t pay attention to her resistance; it’s your privilege as an animal to be free from the sentiment of pity—make the most of it—not like us conscientious self-destructive animals!’  64
  ‘You shouldn’t say that, Yevgeny! When have you destroyed yourself?’  65
  Bazarov raised his head. ‘That’s the only thing I pride myself on. I haven’t crushed myself, so a woman can’t crush me. Amen! It’s all over! You shall not hear another word from me about it.’  66
  Both the friends lay for some time in silence.  67
  ‘Yes,’ began Bazarov, ‘man’s a strange animal. When one gets a side view from a distance of the dead-alive life our “fathers” lead here, one thinks, What could be better? You eat and drink, and know you are acting in the most reasonable, most judicious manner. But if not, you’re devoured by ennui. One wants to have to do with people if only to abuse them.’  68
  ‘One ought so to order one’s life that every moment in it should be of significance,’ Arkady affirmed reflectively.  69
  ‘I dare say! What’s of significance is sweet, however mistaken; one could make up one’s mind to what’s insignificant even. But pettiness, pettiness, that’s what’s insufferable.’  70
  ‘Pettiness doesn’t exist for a man so long as he refuses to recognise it.’  71
  ‘H’m … what you’ve just said is a common-place reversed.’  72
  ‘What? What do you mean by that term?’  73
  ‘I’ll tell you; saying, for instance, that education is beneficial, that’s a common-place; but to say that education is injurious, that’s a common-place turned upside down. There’s more style about it, so to say, but in reality it’s one and the same.’  74
  ‘And the truth is—where, which side?’  75
  ‘Where? Like an echo I answer, Where?’  76
  ‘You’re in a melancholy mood to-day, Yevgeny.’  77
  ‘Really? The sun must have softened my brain, I suppose, and I can’t stand so many raspberries either.’  78
  ‘In that case, a nap’s not a bad thing,’ observed Arkady.  79
  ‘Certainly; only don’t look at me; every man’s face is stupid when he’s asleep.’  80
  ‘But isn’t it all the same to you what people think of you?’  81
  ‘I don’t know what to say to you. A real man ought not to care; a real man is one whom it’s no use thinking about, whom one must either obey or hate.’  82
  ‘It’s funny! I don’t hate anybody,’ observed Arkady, after a moment’s thought.  83
  ‘And I hate so many. You are a soft-hearted, mawkish creature; how could you hate any one? … You’re timid; you don’t rely on yourself much.’  84
  ‘And you,’ interrupted Arkady, ‘do you expect much of yourself? Have you a high opinion of yourself?’  85
  Bazarov paused. ‘When I meet a man who can hold his own beside me,’ he said, dwelling on every syllable, ‘then I’ll change my opinion of myself. Yes, hatred! You said, for instance, to-day as we passed our bailiff Philip’s cottage—it’s the one that’s so nice and clean—well, you said, Russia will come to perfection when the poorest peasant has a house like that, and every one of us ought to work to bring it about.… And I felt such a hatred for this poorest peasant, this Philip or Sidor, for whom I’m to be ready to jump out of my skin, and who won’t even thank me for it … and why should he thank me? Why, suppose he does live in a clean house, while the nettles are growing out of me,—well what do I gain by it?’  86
  ‘Hush, Yevgeny … if one listened to you to-day one would be driven to agreeing with those who reproach us for want of principles.’  87
  ‘You talk like your uncle. There are no general principles—you’ve not made out that even yet! There are feelings. Everything depends on them.’  88
  ‘How so?’  89
  ‘Why, I, for instance, take up a negative attitude, by virtue of my sensations; I like to deny—my brain’s made on that plan, and that’s all about it! Why do I like chemistry? Why do you like apples?—by virtue of our sensations. It’s all the same thing. Deeper than that men will never penetrate. Not every one will tell you that, and, in fact, I shan’t tell you so another time.’  90
  ‘What? and is honesty a matter of the senses?’  91
  ‘I should rather think so.’  92
  ‘Yevgeny!’ Arkady was beginning in a dejected voice …  93
  ‘Well? What? Isn’t it to your taste?’ broke in Bazarov.  94
  ‘No, brother. If you’ve made up your mind to mow down everything, don’t spare your own legs. But we’ve talked enough metaphysics. “Nature breathes the silence of sleep,” said Pushkin.’  95
  ‘He never said anything of the sort,’ protested Arkady.  96
  ‘Well, if he didn’t, as a poet he might have—and ought to have said it. By the way, he must have been a military man.’  97
  ‘Pushkin never was a military man!’  98
  ‘Why, on every page of him there’s, “To arms! to arms! for Russia’s honour!”’  99
  ‘Why, what stories you invent! I declare, it’s positive calumny.’ 100
  ‘Calumny? That’s a mighty matter! What a word he’s found to frighten me with! Whatever charge you make against a man, you may be certain he deserves twenty times worse than that in reality.’ 101
  ‘We had better go to sleep,’ said Arkady, in a tone of vexation. 102
  ‘With the greatest pleasure,’ answered Bazarov. But neither of them slept. A feeling almost of hostility had come over both the young men. Five minutes later, they opened their eyes and glanced at one another in silence. 103
  ‘Look,’ said Arkady suddenly, ‘a dry maple leaf has come off and is falling to the earth; its movement is exactly like a butterfly’s flight. Isn’t it strange? Gloom and decay—like brightness and life.’ 104
  ‘Oh, my friend, Arkady Nikolaitch!’ cried Bazarov, ‘one thing I entreat of you; no fine talk.’ 105
  ‘I talk as best I can.… And, I declare, its perfect despotism. An idea came into my head; why shouldn’t I utter it?’ 106
  ‘Yes; and why shouldn’t I utter my ideas? I think that fine talk’s positively indecent.’ 107
  ‘And what is decent? Abuse?’ 108
  ‘Ha! ha! you really do intend, I see, to walk in your uncle’s footsteps. How pleased that worthy imbecile would have been if he had heard you!’ 109
  ‘What did you call Pavel Petrovitch?’ 110
  ‘I called him, very justly, an imbecile.’ 111
  ‘But this is unbearable!’ cried Arkady. 112
  ‘Aha! family feeling spoke there,’ Bazarov commented coolly. ‘I’ve noticed how obstinately it sticks to people. A man’s ready to give up everything and break with every prejudice; but to admit that his brother, for instance, who steals handkerchiefs, is a thief—that’s too much for him. And when one comes to think of it: my brother, mine—and no genius … that’s an idea no one can swallow.’ 113
  ‘It was a simple sense of justice spoke in me and not in the least family feeling,’ retorted Arkady passionately. ‘But since that’s a sense you don’t understand, since you haven’t that sensation, you can’t judge of it.’ 114
  ‘In other words, Arkady Kirsanov is too exalted for my comprehension. I bow down before him and say no more.’ 115
  ‘Don’t, please, Yevgeny; we shall really quarrel at last.’ 116
  ‘Ah, Arkady! do me a kindness. I entreat you, let us quarrel for once in earnest.…’ 117
  ‘But then perhaps we should end by …’ 118
  ‘Fighting?’ put in Bazarov. ‘Well? Here, on the hay, in these idyllic surroundings, far from the world and the eyes of men, it wouldn’t matter. But you’d be no match for me. I’d have you by the throat in a minute.’ 119
  Bazarov spread out his long, cruel fingers.… Arkady turned round and prepared, as though in jest, to resist.… But his friend’s face struck him as so vindictive—there was such menace in grim earnest in the smile that distorted his lips, and in his glittering eyes, that he felt instinctively afraid. 120
  ‘Ah! so this is where you have got to!’ the voice of Vassily Ivanovitch was heard saying at that instant, and the old army-doctor appeared before the young men, garbed in a home-made linen pea-jacket, with a straw hat, also home-made, on his head. ‘I’ve been looking everywhere for you.… Well, you’ve picked out a capital place, and you’re excellently employed. Lying on the “earth, gazing up to heaven.” Do you know, there’s a special significance in that?’ 121
  ‘I never gaze up to heaven except when I want to sneeze,’ growled Bazarov, and turning to Arkady he added in an undertone. ‘Pity he interrupted us.’ 122
  ‘Come, hush!’ whispered Arkady, and he secretly squeezed his friend’s hand. But no friendship can long stand such shocks. 123
  ‘I look at you, my youthful friends,’ Vassily Ivanovitch was saying meantime, shaking his head, and leaning his folded arms on a rather cunningly bent stick of his own carving, with a Turk’s figure for a top,—‘I look, and I cannot refrain from admiration. You have so much strength, such youth and bloom, such abilities, such talents! Positively, a Castor and Pollux!’ 124
  ‘Get along with you—going off into mythology!’ commented Bazarov. ‘You can see at once that he was a great Latinist in his day! Why, I seem to remember, you gained the silver medal for Latin prose—didn’t you?’ 125
  ‘The Dioscuri, the Dioscuri!’ repeated Vassily Ivanovitch. 126
  ‘Come, shut up, father; don’t show off.’ 127
  ‘Once in a way it’s surely permissible,’ murmured the old man. ‘However, I have not been seeking for you, gentlemen, to pay you compliments; but with the object, in the first place, of announcing to you that we shall soon be dining; and secondly, I wanted to prepare you, Yevgeny.… You are a sensible man, you know the world, and you know what women are, and consequently you will excuse.… Your mother wished to have a Te Deum sung on the occasion of your arrival. You must not imagine that I am inviting you to attend this thanksgiving—it is over indeed now; but Father Alexey …’ 128
  ‘The village parson?’ 129
  ‘Well, yes, the priest; he … is to dine … with us.… I did not anticipate this, and did not even approve of it … but it somehow came about … he did not understand me.… And, well … Arina Vlasyevna … Besides, he’s a worthy, reasonable man.’ 130
  ‘He won’t eat my share at dinner, I suppose?’ queried Bazarov. 131
  Vassily Ivanovitch laughed. ‘How you talk!’ 132
  ‘Well, that’s all I ask. I’m ready to sit down to table with any man.’ 133
  Vassily Ivanovitch set his hat straight. ‘I was certain before I spoke,’ he said, ‘that you were above any kind of prejudice. Here am I, an old man at sixty-two, and I have none.’ (Vassily Ivanovitch did not dare to confess that he had himself desired the thanksgiving service. He was no less religious than his wife.) ‘And Father Alexey very much wanted to make your acquaintance. You will like him, you’ll see. He’s no objection even to cards, and he sometimes—but this is between ourselves … positively smokes a pipe.’ 134
  ‘All right. We’ll have a round of whist after dinner, and I’ll clean him out.’ 135
  ‘He! he! he! We shall see! That remains to be seen.’ 136
  ‘I know you’re an old hand,’ said Bazarov, with a peculiar emphasis. 137
  Vassily Ivanovitch’s bronzed cheeks were suffused with an uneasy flush. 138
  ‘For shame, Yevgeny.… Let bygones be bygones. Well, I’m ready to acknowledge before this gentleman I had that passion in my youth; and I have paid for it too! How hot it is, though! Let me sit down with you. I shan’t be in your way, I hope?’ 139
  ‘Oh, not at all,’ answered Arkady. 140
  Vassily Ivanovitch lowered himself, sighing, into the hay. ‘Your present quarters remind me, my dear sirs,’ he began, ‘of my military bivouacking existence, the ambulance halts, somewhere like this under a haystack, and even for that we were thankful.’ He sighed. ‘I had many, many experiences in my life. For example, if you will allow me, I will tell you a curious episode of the plague in Bessarabia.’ 141
  ‘For which you got the Vladimir cross?’ put in Bazarov. ‘We know, we know.… By the way, why is it you’re not wearing it?’ 142
  ‘Why, I told you that I have no prejudices,’ muttered Vassily Ivanovitch (he had only the evening before had the red ribbon unpicked off his coat), and he proceeded to relate the episode of the plague. ‘Why, he’s fallen asleep,’ he whispered all at once to Arkady, pointing to Yevgeny, and winking good-naturedly. ‘Yevgeny! get up,’ he went on aloud. ‘Let’s go in to dinner.’ 143
  Father Alexey, a good-looking stout man with thick, carefully-combed hair, with an embroidered girdle round his lilac silk cassock, appeared to be a man of much tact and adaptability. He made haste to be the first to offer his hand to Arkady and Bazarov, as though understanding beforehand that they did not want his blessing, and he behaved himself in general without constraint. He neither derogated from his own dignity, nor gave offence to others; he vouchsafed a passing smile at the seminary Latin, and stood up for his bishop; drank two small glasses of wine, but refused a third; accepted a cigar from Arkady, but did not proceed to smoke it, saying he would take it home with him. The only thing not quite agreeable about him was a way he had of constantly raising his hand with care and deliberation to catch the flies on his face, sometimes succeeding in smashing them. He took his seat at the green table, expressing his satisfaction at so doing in measured terms, and ended by winning from Bazarov two roubles and a half in paper money; they had no idea of even reckoning in silver in the house of Arina Vlasyevna.… She was sitting, as before, near her son (she did not play cards), her cheek, as before, propped on her little fist; she only got up to order some new dainty to be served. She was afraid to caress Bazarov, and he gave her no encouragement, he did not invite her caresses; and besides, Vassily Ivanovitch had advised her not to ‘worry’ him too much. ‘Young men are not fond of that sort of thing,’ he declared to her. (It’s needless to say what the dinner was like that day; Timofeitch in person had galloped off at early dawn for beef; the bailiff had gone off in another direction for turbot, gremille, and crayfish; for mushrooms alone forty-two farthings had been paid the peasant women in copper); but Arina Vlasyevna’s eyes, bent steadfastly on Bazarov, did not express only devotion and tenderness; in them was to be seen sorrow also, mingled with awe and curiosity; there was to be seen too a sort of humble reproachfulness. 144
  Bazarov, however, was not in a humour to analyse the exact expression of his mother’s eyes; he seldom turned to her, and then only with some short question. Once he asked her for her hand ‘for luck’; she gently laid her soft, little hand on his rough, broad palm. 145
  ‘Well,’ she asked, after waiting a little, ‘has it been any use?’ 146
  ‘Worse luck than ever,’ he answered, with a careless laugh. 147
  ‘He plays too rashly,’ pronounced Father Alexey, as it were compassionately, and he stroked his beard. 148
  ‘Napoleon’s rule, good Father, Napoleon’s rule,’ put in Vassily Ivanovitch, leading an ace. 149
  ‘It brought him to St. Helena, though,’ observed Father Alexey, as he trumped the ace. 150
  ‘Wouldn’t you like some currant tea, Enyusha?’ inquired Arina Vlasyevna. 151
  Bazarov merely shrugged his shoulders. 152
  ‘No!’ he said to Arkady the next day, ‘I’m off from here to-morrow. I’m bored; I want to work, but I can’t work here. I will come to your place again; I’ve 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. And I’m ashamed somehow to shut myself away from him. 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.’ 153
  ‘She will be very much grieved,’ observed Arkady, ‘and so will he.’ 154
  ‘I shall come back again to them.’ 155
  ‘When?’ 156
  ‘Why, when on my way to Petersburg.’ 157
  ‘I feel sorry for your mother particularly.’ 158
  ‘Why’s that? Has she won your heart with strawberries, or what?’ 159
  Arkady dropped his eyes. ‘You don’t understand your mother, Yevgeny. She’s not only a very good woman, she’s very clever really. This morning she talked to me for half-an-hour, and so sensibly, interestingly.’ 160
  ‘I suppose she was expatiating upon me all the while?’ 161
  ‘We didn’t talk only about you.’ 162
  ‘Perhaps; lookers-on see most. If a woman can keep up half-an-hour’s conversation, it’s always a hopeful sign. But I’m going, all the same.’ 163
  ‘It won’t be very easy for you to break it to them. They are always making plans for what we are to do in a fortnight’s time.’ 164
  ‘No; it won’t be easy. Some demon drove me to tease my father to-day; he had one of his rent-paying peasants flogged the other day, and quite right too—yes, yes, you needn’t look at me in such horror—he did quite right, because he’s an awful thief and drunkard; only my father had no idea that I, as they say, was cognisant of the facts. He was greatly perturbed, and now I shall have to upset him more than ever.… Never mind! Never say die! He’ll get over it!’ 165
  Bazarov said, ‘Never mind’; but the whole day passed before he could make up his mind to inform Vassily Ivanovitch of his intentions. At last, when he was just saying goodnight to him in the study, he observed, with a feigned yawn— 166
  ‘Oh … I was almost forgetting to tell you.… Send to Fedot’s for our horses to-morrow.’ 167
  Vassily Ivanovitch was dumbfounded. ‘Is Mr. Kirsanov leaving us, then?’ 168
  ‘Yes; and I’m going with him.’ 169
  Vassily Ivanovitch positively reeled. ‘You are going?’ 170
  ‘Yes … I must. Make the arrangements about the horses, please.’ 171
  ‘Very good.…’ faltered the old man; ‘to Fedot’s … very good … only … only.… How is it?’ 172
  ‘I must go to stay with him for a little time. I will come back again later.’ 173
  ‘Ah! For a little time … very good.’ Vassily Ivanovitch drew out his handkerchief, and, blowing his nose, doubled up almost to the ground. ‘Well … everything shall be done. I had thought you were to be with us … a little longer. Three days.… After three years, it’s rather little; rather little, Yevgeny!’ 174
  ‘But, I tell you, I’m coming back directly. It’s necessary for me to go.’ 175
  ‘Necessary.… Well! Duty before everything. So the horses shall be in readiness. 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.’ (Vassily Ivanovitch did not even mention that every morning almost at dawn he took counsel with Timofeitch, standing with his bare feet in his slippers, and pulling out with trembling fingers one dog’s-eared rouble note after another, charged him with various purchases, with special reference to good things to eat, and to red wine, which, as far as he could observe, the young men liked extremely.) ‘Liberty … is the great thing; that’s my rule.… I don’t want to hamper you … not …’ 176
  He suddenly ceased, and made for the door. 177
  ‘We shall soon see each other again, father, really.’ 178
  But Vassily Ivanovitch, without turning round, merely waved his hand and was gone. When he got back to his bedroom he found his wife in bed, and began to say his prayers in a whisper, so as not to wake her up. She woke, however. ‘Is that you, Vassily Ivanovitch?’ she asked. 179
  ‘Yes, mother.’ 180
  ‘Have you come from Enyusha? Do you know, I’m afraid of his not being comfortable on that sofa. I told Anfisushka to put him on your travelling mattress and the new pillows; I should have given him our feather-bed, but I seem to remember he doesn’t like too soft a bed.…’ 181
  ‘Never mind, mother; don’t worry yourself. He’s all right. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner,’ he went on with his prayer in a low voice. Vassily Ivanovitch was sorry for his old wife; he did not mean to tell her over night what a sorrow there was in store for her. 182
  Bazarov and Arkady set off the next day. From early morning all was dejection in the house; Anfisushka let the tray slip out of her hands; even Fedka was bewildered, and was reduced to taking off his boots. Vassily Ivanitch was more fussy than ever; he was obviously trying to put a good face on it, talked loudly, and stamped with his feet, but his face looked haggard, and his eyes were continually avoiding his son. Arina Vlasyevna was crying quietly; she was utterly crushed, and could not have controlled herself at all if her husband had not spent two whole hours early in the morning exhorting her. When Bazarov, after repeated promises to come back certainly not later than in a month’s time, tore himself at last from the embraces detaining him, and took his seat in the coach; when the horses had started, the bell was ringing, and the wheels were turning round, and when it was no longer any good to look after them, and the dust had settled, and Timofeitch, all bent and tottering as he walked, had crept back to his little room; when the old people were left alone in their little house, which seemed suddenly to have grown shrunken and decrepit too, Vassily Ivanovitch, after a few more moments of hearty waving of his handkerchief on the steps, sank into a chair, and his head dropped on to his breast. ‘He has cast us off; he has forsaken us,’ he faltered; ‘forsaken us; he was dull with us. Alone, alone!’ he repeated several times. Then Arina Vlasyevna went up to him, and, leaning her grey head against his grey head, said, ‘There’s no help for it, Vasya! A son is a separate piece cut off. He’s like the falcon that flies home and flies away at his pleasure; while you and I are like funguses in the hollow of a tree, we sit side by side, and don’t move from our place. Only I am left you unchanged for ever, as you for me.’ 183
  Vassily Ivanovitch took his hands from his face and clasped his wife, his friend, as warmly as he had never clasped in youth; she comforted him in his grief. 184

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