NO crowd of house-serfs ran out on to the steps to meet the gentlemen; a little girl of twelve years old made her appearance alone. After her there came out of the house a young lad, very like Piotr, dressed in a coat of grey livery, with white armorial buttons, the servant of Pavel Petrovitch Kirsanov. Without speaking, he opened the door of the carriage, and unbuttoned the apron of the coach. Nikolai Petrovitch with his son and Bazarov walked through a dark and almost empty hall, from behind the door of which they caught a glimpse of a young womans face, into a drawing room furnished in the most modern style.
A man about sixty entered, white-haired, thin, and swarthy, in a cinnamon-coloured dress-coat with brass buttons, and a pink neckerchief. He smirked, went up to kiss Arkadys hand, and bowing to the guest retreated to the door, and put his hands behind him.
Certainly. Prokofitch, take the gentlemans coat. (Prokofitch, with an air of perplexity, picked up Bazarovs garment in both hands, and holding it high above his head, retreated on tiptoe.) And you, Arkady, are you going to your room for a minute?
Yes, I must wash, answered Arkady, and was just moving towards the door, but at that instant there came into the drawing-room a man of medium height, dressed in a dark English suit, a fashionable low cravat, and kid shoes, Pavel Petrovitch Kirsanov. He looked about forty-five: his close-cropped, grey hair shone with a dark lustre, like new silver; his face, yellow but free from wrinkles, was exceptionally regular and pure in line, as though carved by a light and delicate chisel, and showed traces of remarkable beauty; specially fine were his clear, black, almond-shaped eyes. The whole person of Arkadys uncle, with its aristocratic elegance, had preserved the gracefulness of youth and that air of striving upwards, away from earth, which for the most part is lost after the twenties are past.
Pavel Petrovitch took out of his trouser pocket his exquisite hand with its long tapering pink nails, a hand which seemed still more exquisite from the snowy whiteness of the cuff, buttoned with a single, big opal, and gave it to his nephew. After a preliminary handshake in the European style, he kissed him thrice after the Russian fashion, that is to say, he touched his cheek three times with his perfumed moustaches, and said, Welcome.
Nikolai Petrovitch presented him to Bazarov; Pavel Petrovitch greeted him with a slight inclination of his supple figure, and a slight smile, but he did not give him his hand, and even put it back into his pocket.
At supper there was little conversation. Bazarov especially said nothing, but he ate a great deal. Nikolai Petrovitch related various incidents in what he called his career as a farmer, talked about the impending government measures, about committees, deputations, the necessity of introducing machinery, etc. Pavel Petrovitch paced slowly up and down the dining-room (he never ate supper), sometimes sipping at a wineglass of red wine, and less often uttering some remark or rather exclamation, of the nature of Ah! aha! hm! Arkady told some news from Petersburg, but he was conscious of a little awkwardness, that awkwardness, which usually overtakes a youth when he has just ceased to be a child, and has come back to a place where they are accustomed to regard him and treat him as a child. He made his sentences quite unnecessarily long, avoided the word daddy, and even sometimes replaced it by the word father, mumbled, it is true, between his teeth; with an exaggerated carelessness he poured into his glass far more wine than he really wanted, and drank it all off. Prokofitch did not take his eyes off him, and kept chewing his lips. After supper they all separated at once.
Your uncles a queer fish, Bazarov said to Arkady, as he sat in his dressing-gown by his bedside, smoking a short pipe. Only fancy such style in the country! His nails, his nailsyou ought to send them to an exhibition!
Oh, thats it, is it? So he keeps it up in memory of the past. Its a pity theres no one for him to fascinate here though. I kept staring at his exquisite collars. Theyre like marble, and his chins shaved simply to perfection. Come, Arkady Nikolaitch, isnt that ridiculous?
Its something astonishing, pursued Bazarov, these old idealists, they develop their nervous systems till they break down so balance is lost. But good-night. In my room theres an English washstand, but the door wont fasten. Anyway that ought to be encouragedan English washstand stands for progress!
Bazarov went away, and a sense of great happiness came over Arkady. Sweet it is to fall asleep in ones own home, in the familiar bed, under the quilt worked by loving hands, perhaps a dear nurses hands, those kind, tender, untiring hands. Arkady remembered Yegorovna, and sighed and wished her peace in heaven. For himself he made no prayer.
Both he and Bazarov were soon asleep, but others in the house were awake long after. His sons return had agitated Nikolai Petrovitch. He lay down in bed, but did not put out the candles, and his head propped on his hand, he fell into long reveries. His brother was sitting long after midnight in his study, in a wide armchair before the fireplace, on which there smouldered some faintly glowing embers. Pavel Petrovitch was not undressed, only some red Chinese slippers had replaced the kid shoes on his feet. He held in his hand the last number of Galignani, but he was not reading; he gazed fixedly into the grate, where a bluish flame flickered, dying down, then flaring up again. God knows where his thoughts were rambling, but they were not rambling in the past only; the expression of his face was concentrated and surly, which is not the way when a man is absorbed solely in recollections. In a small back room there sat, on a large chest, a young woman in a blue dressing jacket with a white kerchief thrown over her dark hair, Fenitchka. She was half listening, half dozing, and often looked across towards the open door through which a childs cradle was visible, and the regular breathing of a sleeping baby could be heard.