"And I have burned all that I worshipped, I have worshipped all that I burned...."
but immediately gave his horse a cut with the whip, and rode at a gallop all the rest of the way home.
As he alighted from his horse, he cast a last glance around him, with an involuntary, grateful smile. Night, the speechless, caressing night, lay upon the hills and in the valleys; from afar, from its fragrant depths, God knows whence,—whether from heaven or earth,—emanated a soft, quiet warmth. Lavretzky wafted a last salutation to Liza, and ran up the steps.
The following day passed rather languidly. Rain fell from early morning; Lemm cast furtive glances from beneath his eyebrows, and pursed up his lips more and more tightly, as though he had vowed to himself never to open them again. On lying down to sleep, Lavretzky had taken to bed with him a whole pile of French newspapers, which had already been lying on his table for two weeks, with their wrappers unbroken. He set to work idly to strip off the wrappers, and glance through the columns of the papers, which, however, contained nothing new. He was on the point of throwing them aside,—when, all of a sudden, he sprang out of bed as though he had been stung. In the feuilleton of one of the papers, M'sieu Jules, already known to us, imparted to his readers "a sad bit of news": "The charming, bewitching native of Moscow," he wrote, "one of the queens of fashion, the ornament of Parisian salons, Madame de Lavretzki, had died almost instantaneously,—and this news, unhappily only too true, had only just reached him, M. Jules. He was,"—he continued,—"he might say, a friend of the deceased...."
Lavretzky dressed himself, went out into the garden, and until morning dawned, he paced back and forth in one and the same alley.
On the following morning, at tea, Lemm requested Lavretzky to furnish him with horses, that he might return to town. "It is time that I should set about my work,—that is to say, my lessons," remarked the old man:—"but here I am only wasting time in vain." Lavretzky did not immediately reply to him: he seemed preoccupied. "Very well,"—he said at last;—"I will accompany you myself."—Without any aid from the servants, grunting and fuming, Lemm packed his small trunk, and tore up and burned several sheets of music-paper. The horses were brought round. As he emerged from his study, Lavretzky thrust into his pocket the newspaper of the day before. During the entire journey, Lemm and Lavretzky had very little to say to each other: each of them was engrossed with his own thoughts, and each was delighted that the other did not disturb him. And they parted rather coldly,—which, by the way, frequently happens between friends in Russia. Lavretzky drove the old man to his tiny house: the latter alighted, got out his trunk, and without offering his hand to his friend (he held his trunk in front of his chest with both hands), without even looking at him,—he said in Russian: "Good-bye, sir!"—"Good-bye,"—repeated Lavretzky, and ordered his coachman to drive him to his own lodgings. (He had hired a lodging in the town of O * * * in case he might require it.) After writing several letters and dining in haste, Lavretzky took his way to the Kalitins. In their drawing-room he found no one but Panshin, who informed him that Marya Dmitrievna would be down directly, and immediately entered into conversation with him, with the most cordial amiability. Up to that day, Panshin had treated Lavretzky, not exactly in a patronizing way, yet condescendingly; but Liza, in telling Panshin about her jaunt of the day before, had expressed herself to the effect that Lavretzky was a very fine and clever man; that was enough: the "very fine" man must be captivated. Panshin began with compliments to Lavretzky, with descriptions of the raptures with which, according to his statement, Marya Dmitrievna's whole family had expressed themselves about Vasilievskoe, and then, according to his wont, passing adroitly to himself, he began to talk about his own occupations, his views of life, of the world, of the government service;—he said a couple of words about the future of Russia, about the proper way of keeping the governors in hand; thereupon, merrily jeered at himself, and added, that, among other things, he had been commissioned in Petersburg—"de populariser l'idee du cadastre." He talked for quite a long time, with careless self-confidence solving all difficulties, and juggling with the most weighty administrative and political questions, as a sleight-of-hand performer juggles with his balls. The expressions: "This is what I would do, if I were the government"; "You, as a clever man, will immediately agree with me"—were never absent from his tongue. Lavretzky listened coldly to Panshin's idle chatter: he did not like this handsome, clever, and unconstrainedly elegant man, with his brilliant smile, courteous voice, and searching eyes. Panshin speedily divined, with the swift comprehension of other people's sentiments which was peculiar to him, that he was not affording his interlocutor any particular pleasure, and made his escape, under a plausible pretext, deciding in his own mind that Lavretzky might be a very fine man, but that he was not sympathetic, was "aigri," and, "en somme," rather ridiculous.—Marya Dmitrievna made her appearance accompanied by Gedeonovsky; then Marfa Timofeevna entered with Liza; after them followed the other members of the household; then came that lover of music, Mme. Byelenitzyn, a small, thin lady, with an almost childish, fatigued and handsome little face, in a rustling black gown, with a motley-hued fan, and heavy gold bracelets; her husband also came, a rosy-cheeked, plump man, with huge feet and hands, with white eyelashes, and an impassive smile on his thick lips; in company his wife never spoke to him, but at home, in moments of tenderness, she was wont to call him "her little pig"; Panshin returned: the rooms became very full of people and very noisy. Such a throng of people was not to Lavretzky's liking; Mme. Byelenitzyn particularly enraged him by constantly staring at him through her lorgnette. He would have withdrawn at once, had it not been for Liza: he wished to say two words to her in private, but for a long time he was not able to seize a convenient moment, and contented himself with watching her in secret joy; never had her face seemed to him more noble and charming. She appeared to great advantage from the proximity of Mme. Byelenitzyn. The latter was incessantly fidgeting about on her chair, shrugging her narrow little shoulders, laughing, in an enervated way, and screwing up her eyes, then suddenly opening them very wide. Liza sat quietly, her gaze was direct, and she did not laugh at all. The hostess sat down to play cards with Marfa Timofeevna, Mme. Byelenitzyn, and Gedeonovsky, who played very slowly, was constantly making mistakes, blinking his eyes, and mopping his face with his handkerchief. Panshin assumed a melancholy mien, expressed himself with brevity, with great significance and mournfulness,—for all the world like an artist who has not had his say,—but despite the entreaties of Mme. Byelenitzyn, who was having a violent flirtation with him, he would not consent to sing his romance: Lavretzky embarrassed him. Feodor Ivanitch also said little; the peculiar expression of his face had startled Liza, as soon as he entered the room: she immediately felt that he had something to communicate to her, but, without herself knowing why, she was afraid to interrogate him. At last, as she passed into the hall to pour tea, she involuntarily turned her head in his direction. He immediately followed her.
"What is the matter with you?"—she said, as she placed the teapot on the samovar.
"Have you noticed it?"
"You are not the same to-day as I have seen you heretofore."
Lavretzky bent over the table.
"I wanted,"—he began,—"to tell you a certain piece of news, but now it is not possible.—However, read what is marked with pencil in this feuilleton,"—he added, giving her the copy of the newspaper which he had brought with him.—"I beg that you will keep this secret; I will call on you to-morrow morning."
Liza was surprised.... Panshin made his appearance on the threshold of the door: she put the newspaper in her pocket.
"Have you read Obermann, Lizaveta Mikhailovna?"—Panshin asked her meditatively.
Liza gave him a superficial answer, left the hall, and went up-stairs. Lavretzky returned to the drawing-room, and approached the card-table. Marfa Timofeevna, with her cap-ribbons untied, and red in the face, began to complain to him about her partner, Gedeonovsky, who, according to her, did not know how to lead.
"Evidently,"—she said,—"playing cards is quite a different thing from inventing fibs."
Her partner continued to blink and mop his face. Liza entered the drawing-room, and seated herself in a corner; Lavretzky looked at her, she looked at him,—and something like dread fell upon them both. He read surprise and a sort of secret reproach in her face. Long as he might to talk to her, he could not do it; to remain in the same room with her, a guest among strangers, was painful to him: he decided to go away. As he took leave of her, he managed to repeat that he would come on the morrow, and he added that he trusted in her friendship.
"Come,"—she replied, with the same amazement on her face.
Panshin brightened up after Lavretzky's departure; he began to give advice to Gedeonovsky, banteringly paid court to Mme. Byelenitzyn, and, at last, sang his romance. But he talked with Liza and gazed at her as before: significantly and rather sadly.
And again, Lavretzky did not sleep all night long. He did not feel sad, he was not excited, he had grown altogether calm; but he could not sleep. He did not even recall the past; he simply gazed at his life: his heart beat strongly and evenly, the hours flew past, but he did not even think of sleeping. At times, only, did the thought come to the surface in his mind: "But that is not true, it is all nonsense,"—and he paused, lowered his head, and began again to gaze at his life.
 A combination of music-room, ball-room, play-room, also used for all sorts of purposes, in all well-to-do Russian houses.—Translator.
Marya Dmitrievna did not receive Lavretzky with any excess of cordiality, when he presented himself on the following day. "Well, you are making yourself pretty free of the house,"—she said to herself. Personally, he did not greatly please her, and, in addition, Panshin, under whose influence she was, had sung his praises in a very sly and careless manner on the preceding evening. As she did not look upon him in the light of a guest, and did not consider it necessary to trouble herself about a relative almost a member of the family, half an hour had not elapsed before he was strolling down an alley in the garden with Liza. Lyenotchka and Schurotchka were frolicking a short distance away, among the flower-beds.
Liza was composed, as usual, but paler than usual. She took from her pocket and handed to Lavretzky the sheet of newspaper, folded small.
"This is dreadful!"—said she.
Lavretzky made no reply.
"But perhaps it is not yet true,"—added Liza.
"That is why I asked you not to mention it to any one."
Liza walked on a little way.
"Tell me,"—she began:—"you are not grieved? Not in the least?"
"I do not know myself what my feelings are,"—replied Lavretzky.
"But, assuredly, you used to love her?"
"Yes, I did."
"And you are not grieved by her death?"
"It is not now that she has died to me."
"What you say is sinful.... Do not be angry with me. You call me your friend: a friend may say anything. To tell the truth, I feel terrified.... Your face was so malign yesterday.... Do you remember, how you were complaining of her, not long ago?—and perhaps, already, at that very time, she was no longer alive. This is terrible. It is exactly as though it had been sent to you as a chastisement."
Lavretzky laughed bitterly.
"Do you think so?... At all events, I am free now."
Liza gave a slight start.
"Stop, do not talk like that. Of what use to you is your freedom? You must not think about that now, but about forgiveness...."
"I forgave her long ago,"—interrupted Lavretzky, with a wave of the hand.
"No, not that,"—returned Liza, and blushed. "You did not understand me rightly. You must take means to obtain forgiveness...."
"Who is there to forgive me?"
"Who?—God. Who else but God can forgive us?"
Lavretzky caught her hand.
"Akh, Lizaveta Mikhailovna, believe me,"—he exclaimed:—"I have been sufficiently punished as it is. I have already atoned for everything, believe me."
"You cannot know that,"—said Liza in a low voice. "You have forgotten;—not very long ago,—when you were talking to me,—you were not willing to forgive her...."
The two walked silently down the alley.
"And how about your daughter?"—Liza suddenly inquired, and halted.
"Oh, do not worry yourself! I have already despatched letters to all the proper places. The future of my daughter, as you call ... as you say ... is assured. Do not disquiet yourself."
Liza smiled sadly.
"But you are right,"—went on Lavretzky:—"what can I do with my freedom? Of what use is it to me?"
"When did you receive that newspaper?"—said Liza, making no reply to his question.
"The day after your visit."
"And is it possible ... is it possible that you did not even weep?"
"No. I was stunned; but where were the tears to come from? Weep over the past,—but, you see, it is entirely extirpated in my case!... Her behaviour itself did not destroy my happiness, but merely proved to me that it had never existed. What was there to cry about? But, who knows?—perhaps I should have been more grieved if I had received this news two weeks earlier...."
"Two weeks?"—returned Liza. "But what has happened in those two weeks?"
Lavretzky made no answer, and Liza suddenly blushed more furiously than before.
"Yes, yes, you have guessed it,"—interposed Lavretzky:—"in the course of those two weeks I have learned what a pure woman's soul is like, and my past has retreated still further from me."
Liza became confused, and softly walked toward the flower-garden, to Lyenotchka and Schurotchka.
"And I am glad that I have shown you this newspaper,"—said Lavretzky, as he followed her:—"I have already contracted the habit of concealing nothing from you, and I hope that you will repay me with the same confidence."
"Do you think so?"—said Liza, and stopped short. "In that case, I ought to ... but no! That is impossible."
"What is it? Speak, speak!"
"Really, it seems to me that I ought not.... However," added Liza, and turned to Lavretzky with a smile:—"what is half-frankness worth?—Do you know? I received a letter to-day."
"Yes, from him.... How did you know?"
"He asks your hand?"
"Yes,"—uttered Liza, and looked seriously in Lavretzky's eyes.
Lavretzky, in his turn, gazed seriously at Liza.
"Well, and what reply have you made to him?"—he said at last.
"I do not know what reply to make,"—replied Liza, and dropped her clasped hands.
"What? Surely, you like him?"
"Yes, he pleases me; he seems to be a nice man...."
"You said the same thing to me, in those very same words, three days ago. What I want to know is, whether you love him with that strong, passionate feeling which we are accustomed to call love?"
"As you understand it,—no."
"You are not in love with him?"
"No. But is that necessary?"
"Of course it is!"
"Mamma likes him,"—pursued Liza:—"he is amiable; I have nothing against him."
"Still, you are wavering?"
"Yes ... and perhaps,—your words may be the cause of it. Do you remember what you said day before yesterday? But that weakness...."
"Oh, my child!"—suddenly exclaimed Lavretzky—and his voice trembled:—"do not argue artfully, do not designate as weakness the cry of your heart, which does not wish to surrender itself without love. Do not take upon yourself that terrible responsibility toward a man whom you do not love and to whom you do not wish to belong...."
"I am listening,—I am taking nothing upon myself ..." Liza was beginning.
"Listen to your heart; it alone will tell you the truth,"—Lavretzky interrupted her.... "Experience, reasoning—all that is stuff and nonsense! Do not deprive yourself of the best, the only happiness on earth."
"Is it you, Feodor Ivanitch, who are speaking thus? You, yourself, married for love—and were you happy?"
Lavretzky wrung his hands.
"Akh, do not talk to me of that! You cannot even understand all that a young, untried, absurdly educated lad can mistake for love!... Yes, and in short, why calumniate one's self? I just told you, that I had not known happiness ... no! I was happy!"
"It seems to me, Feodor Ivanitch,"—said Liza, lowering her voice (when she did not agree with her interlocutor, she always lowered her voice; and, at the same time, she became greatly agitated):—"happiness on earth does not depend upon us...."
"It does, it does depend upon us, believe me," (he seized both her hands; Liza turned pale, and gazed at him almost in terror, but with attention):—"if only we have not ruined our own lives. For some people, a love-marriage may prove unhappy; but not for you, with your calm temperament, with your clear soul! I entreat you, do not marry without love, from a sense of duty, of renunciation, or anything else.... That, also, is want of faith, that is calculation,—and even worse. Believe me,—I have a right to speak thus: I have paid dearly for that right. And if your God...."
At that moment, Lavretzky noticed that Lyenotchka and Schurotchka were standing beside Liza, and staring at him with dumb amazement. He released Liza's hands, said hastily: "Pray pardon me,"—and walked toward the house.
"I have only one request to make of you,"—he said, returning to Liza:—"do not decide instantly, wait, think over what I have said to you. Even if you have not believed me, if you have made up your mind to a marriage of reason,—even in that case, you ought not to marry Mr. Panshin: he cannot be your husband.... Promise me, will you not, not to be in a hurry?"
Liza tried to answer Lavretzky, but did not utter a word,—not because she had made up her mind "to be in a hurry"; but because her heart was beating too violently, and a sensation resembling fear had stopped her breath.
As he was leaving the Kalitins' house, Lavretzky encountered Panshin; they saluted each other coldly. Lavretzky went home to his apartment, and locked himself in. He experienced a sensation such as he had, in all probability, never experienced before. Had he remained long in that state of "peaceful numbness"? had he long continued to feel, as he had expressed it, "at the bottom of the river"? What had altered his position? what had brought him out, to the surface? the most ordinary, inevitable though always unexpected of events;—death? Yes: but he did not think so much about the death of his wife, about his freedom, as,—what sort of answer would Liza give to Panshin? He was conscious that, in the course of the last three days, he had come to look upon her with different eyes; he recalled how, on returning home, and thinking about her in the silence of the night, he had said to himself: "If...." That "if," wherein he had alluded to the past, to the impossible, had come to pass, although not in the way he had anticipated,—but this was little in itself. "She will obey her mother," he thought, "she will marry Panshin; but even if she refuses him,—is it not all the same to me?" As he passed in front of the mirror, he cast a cursory glance at his face, and shrugged his shoulders.
The day sped swiftly by in these reflections; evening arrived. Lavretzky wended his way to the Kalitins. He walked briskly, but approached their house with lingering steps. In front of the steps stood Panshin's drozhky. "Come,"—thought Lavretzky,—"I will not be an egoist," and entered the house. Inside he met no one, and all was still in the drawing-room; he opened the door, and beheld Marya Dmitrievna, playing picquet with Panshin. Panshin bowed to him in silence, and the mistress of the house uttered a little scream:—"How unexpected!"—and frowned slightly. Lavretzky took a seat by her side, and began to look over her cards.
"Do you know how to play picquet?"—she asked him, with a certain dissembled vexation, and immediately announced that she discarded.
Panshin reckoned up ninety, and politely and calmly began to gather up the tricks, with a severe and dignified expression on his countenance. That is the way in which diplomats should play; probably, that is the way in which he was wont to play in Petersburg, with some powerful dignitary, whom he desired to impress with a favourable opinion as to his solidity and maturity. "One hundred and one, one hundred and two, hearts; one hundred and three,"—rang out his measured tone, and Lavretzky could not understand what note resounded in it: reproach or self-conceit.
"Is Marfa Timofeevna to be seen?"—he asked, observing that Panshin, still with great dignity, was beginning to shuffle the cards. Not a trace of the artist was, as yet, to be observed in him.
"Yes, I think so. She is in her own apartments, up-stairs,"—replied Marya Dmitrievna:—"you had better inquire."
Lavretzky went up-stairs, and found Marfa Timofeevna at cards also: she was playing duratchki (fools) with Nastasya Karpovna. Roska barked at him; but both the old ladies welcomed him cordially, and Marfa Timofeevna, in particular, seemed to be in high spirits.
"Ah! Fedya! Pray come in,"—she said:—"sit down, my dear little father. We shall be through our game directly. Wouldst thou like some preserves? Schurotchka, get him a jar of strawberries. Thou dost not want it? Well, then sit as thou art; but as for smoking—thou must not: I cannot bear thy tobacco, and, moreover, it makes Matros sneeze."
Lavretzky made haste to assert that he did not care to smoke.
"Hast thou been down-stairs?"—went on the old woman:—"whom didst thou see there? Is Panshin still on hand, as usual? And didst thou see Liza? No? She intended to come hither.... Yes, there she is; speak of an angel...."
Liza entered the room and, on perceiving Lavretzky, she blushed.
"I have run in to see you for a minute, Marfa Timofeevna," she began....
"Why for a minute?"—returned the old woman. "What makes all you young girls such restless creatures? Thou seest, that I have a visitor: chatter to him, entertain him."
Liza seated herself on the edge of a chair, raised her eyes to Lavretzky,—and felt that it was impossible not to give him to understand how her interview with Panshin had ended. But how was that to be done? She felt both ashamed and awkward. She had not been acquainted with him long, with that man who both went rarely to church and bore with so much indifference the death of his wife,—and here she was already imparting her secrets to him.... He took an interest in her, it is true; she, herself, trusted him, and felt attracted to him; but, nevertheless, she felt ashamed, as though a stranger had entered her pure, virgin chamber.
Marfa Timofeevna came to her assistance.
"If thou wilt not entertain him,"—she began, "who will entertain him, poor fellow? I am too old for him, he is too clever for me, and for Nastasya Karpovna he is too old, you must give her nothing but very young men."
"How can I entertain Feodor Ivanitch?"—said Liza.—"If he likes, I will play something for him on the piano,"—she added, irresolutely.
"Very good indeed: that's my clever girl,"—replied Marfa Timofeevna,—"Go down-stairs, my dear people; when you are through, come back; for I have been left the 'fool,' and I feel insulted, and want to win back."
Liza rose: Lavretzky followed her. As they were descending the staircase, Liza halted.
"They tell the truth,"—she began:—"when they say that the hearts of men are full of contradictions. Your example ought to frighten me, to render me distrustful of marriage for love, but I...."
"You have refused him?"—interrupted Lavretzky.
"No; but I have not accepted him. I told him everything, everything that I felt, and asked him to wait. Are you satisfied?"—she added, with a swift smile,—and lightly touching the railing with her hand, she ran down the stairs.
"What shall I play for you?"—she asked, as she raised the lid of the piano.
"Whatever you like,"—replied Lavretzky, and seated himself in such a position that he could watch her.
Liza began to play, and, for a long time, never took her eyes from her fingers. At last, she glanced at Lavretzky, and stopped short: so wonderful and strange did his face appear to her.
"What is the matter with you?"—she asked.
"Nothing,"—he replied:—"all is very well with me; I am glad for you, I am glad to look at you,—go on."
"It seems to me,"—said Liza, a few moments later:—"that if he really loved me, he would not have written that letter; he ought to have felt that I could not answer him now."
"That is of no importance,"—said Lavretzky:—"the important point is, that you do not love him."
"Stop,—what sort of a conversation is this! I keep having visions of your dead wife, and you are terrible to me!"
"My Lizeta plays charmingly, does she not, Valdemar?"—Marya Dmitrievna was saying to Panshin at the same moment.
"Yes,"—replied Panshin;—"very charmingly."
Marya Dmitrievna gazed tenderly at her young partner; but the latter assumed a still more important and careworn aspect, and announced fourteen kings.
Lavretzky was not a young man; he could not long deceive himself as to the sentiments with which Liza had inspired him; he became definitively convinced, on that day, that he had fallen in love with her. This conviction brought no great joy to him. "Is it possible," he thought, "that at the age of five and thirty I have nothing better to do than to put my soul again into the hands of a woman? But Liza is not like that one; she would not require from me shameful sacrifices; she would not draw me away from my occupations; she herself would encourage me to honourable, severe toil, and we would advance together toward a fine goal. Yes," he wound up his meditations:—"all that is good, but the bad thing is, that she will not in the least wish to marry me. It was not for nothing that she told me, that I am terrible to her. On the other hand, she does not love that Panshin either.... A poor consolation!"
Lavretzky rode out to Vasilievskoe; but he did not remain four days,—it seemed so irksome to him there. He was tortured, also, by expectancy: the information imparted by M—r. Jules required confirmation, and he had received no letters. He returned to the town, and sat out the evening at the Kalitins'. It was easy for him to see, that Marya Dmitrievna had risen in revolt against him; but he succeeded in appeasing her somewhat by losing fifteen rubles to her at picquet,—and he spent about half an hour alone with Liza, in spite of the fact that her mother, no longer ago than the day before, had advised her not to be too familiar with a man "qui a un si grand ridicule." He found a change in her: she seemed, somehow, to have become more thoughtful, she upbraided him for his absence, and asked him—would he not go to church on the following morning (the next day was Sunday)?
"Go,"—she said to him, before he had succeeded in replying:—"we will pray together for the repose of her soul."—Then she added, that she did not know what she ought to do,—she did not know whether she had the right to make Panshin wait any longer for her decision.
"Because,"—said she: "I am already beginning to suspect what that decision will be."
She declared that her head ached, and went off to her own room up-stairs, irresolutely offering Lavretzky the tips of her fingers.
The next day, Lavretzky went to the morning service. Liza was already in the church when he arrived. She observed him, although she did not turn toward him. She prayed devoutly; her eyes sparkled softly, her head bent and rose softly. He felt that she was praying for him also,—and a wonderful emotion filled his soul. He felt happy, and somewhat conscience-stricken. The decorously-standing congregation, the familiar faces, the melodious chanting, the odour of the incense, the long, slanting rays of light from the windows, the very gloom of the walls and vaulted roof,—all spoke to his ear. He had not been in a church for a long time, he had not appealed to God for a long time: and even now, he did not utter any words of prayer,—he did not even pray without words, but for a moment, at least, if not in body, certainly with all his mind, he prostrated himself and bowed humbly to the very earth. He recalled how, in his childhood, he had prayed in church on every occasion until he became conscious of some one's cool touch on his brow; "this," he had been accustomed to say to himself at that time, "is my guardian-angel accepting me, laying upon me the seal of the chosen." He cast a glance at Liza.... "Thou hast brought me hither," he thought:—"do thou also touch me, touch my soul." She continued to pray in the same calm manner as before; her face seemed to him joyful, and he was profoundly moved once more; he entreated for that other soul—peace, for his own—pardon....
They met in the porch; she greeted him with cheerful and amiable dignity. The sun brilliantly illuminated the young grass in the churchyard, and the motley-hued gowns and kerchiefs of the women; the bells of the neighbouring churches were booming aloft; the sparrows were chirping in the hedgerows. Lavretzky stood with head uncovered, and smiled; a light breeze lifted his hair, and the tips of the ribbons on Liza's hat. He put Liza into her carriage, distributed all his small change to the poor, and softly wended his way homeward.
Difficult days arrived for Feodor Ivanitch. He found himself in a constant fever. Every morning he went to the post-office, with excitement broke the seals of his letters and newspapers,—and nowhere did he find anything which might have confirmed or refuted the fateful rumour. Sometimes he became repulsive even to himself: "Why am I thus waiting,"—he said to himself, "like a crow for blood, for the sure news of my wife's death?" He went to the Kalitins' every day; but even there he was no more at his ease: the mistress of the house openly sulked at him, received him with condescension; Panshin treated him with exaggerated courtesy; Lemm had become misanthropic, and hardly even bowed to him,—and, chief of all, Liza seemed to avoid him. But when she chanced to be left alone with him, in place of her previous trustfulness, confusion manifested itself in her: she did not know what to say to him, and he himself felt agitation. In the course of a few days, Liza had become quite different from herself as he had previously known her: in her movements, her voice, in her very laugh, a secret trepidation was perceptible, an unevenness which had not heretofore existed. Marya Dmitrievna, like the genuine egoist she was, suspected nothing; but Marfa Timofeevna began to watch her favourite. Lavretzky more than once reproached himself with having shown to Liza the copy of the newspaper which he had received: he could not fail to recognise the fact, that in his spiritual condition there was an element which was perturbing to pure feeling. He also assumed that the change in Liza had been brought about by her conflict with herself, by her doubts: what answer should she give to Panshin? One day she brought him a book, one of Walter Scott's novels, which she herself had asked of him.
"Have you read this book?"—he asked.
"No; I do not feel in a mood for books now,"—she replied, and turned to go.
"Wait a minute: I have not been alone with you for a long time. You seem to be afraid of me."
"Why so, pray?"
"I do not know."
Lavretzky said nothing for a while.
"Tell me,"—he began:—"you have not yet made up your mind?"
"What do you mean by that?"—she said, without raising her eyes.
"You understand me...."
Liza suddenly flushed up.
"Ask me no questions about anything,"—she ejaculated, with vivacity:—"I know nothing, I do not even know myself...." And she immediately beat a retreat.
On the following day, Lavretzky arrived at the Kalitins' after dinner, and found all preparations made to have the All-Night Vigil service held there. In one corner of the dining-room, on a square table, covered with a clean cloth, small holy pictures in gold settings, with tiny, dull brilliants in their halos, were already placed, leaning against the wall. An old man-servant, in a grey frock-coat and slippers, walked the whole length of the room in a deliberate manner, and without making any noise with his heels, and placed two wax tapers in slender candlesticks in front of the holy images, crossed himself, made a reverence, and softly withdrew. The unlighted drawing-room was deserted. Lavretzky walked down the dining-room, and inquired—was it not some one's Name-day? He was answered, in a whisper, that it was not, but that the Vigil service had been ordered at the desire of Lizaveta Mikhailovna and Marfa Timofeevna; that the intention had been to bring thither the wonder-working ikona, but it had gone to a sick person, thirty versts distant. There soon arrived, also, in company with the chanters, the priest, a man no longer young, with a small bald spot, who coughed loudly in the anteroom; the ladies all immediately trooped in single file from the boudoir, and approached to receive his blessing; Lavretzky saluted him in silence; and he returned the salute in silence. The priest stood still for a short time, then cleared his throat again, and asked in a low tone, with a bass voice:
"Do you command me to proceed?"
"Proceed, batiushka,"—replied Marya Dmitrievna.
He began to vest himself; the chanter obsequiously asked for a live coal; the incense began to diffuse its fragrance. The maids and lackeys emerged from the anteroom and halted in a dense throng close to the door. Roska, who never came down-stairs, suddenly made his appearance in the dining-room: they began to drive him out, and he became confused, turned around and sat down; a footman picked him up and carried him away. The Vigil service began. Lavretzky pressed himself into a corner; his sensations were strange, almost melancholy; he himself was not able clearly to make out what he felt. Marya Dmitrievna stood in front of them all, before an arm-chair; she crossed herself with enervated carelessness, in regular lordly fashion,—now glancing around her, again suddenly casting her eyes upward: she was bored. Marfa Timofeevna seemed troubled; Nastasya Karpovna kept prostrating herself, and rising with a sort of modest, soft rustle; Liza took up her stand, and never stirred from her place, never moved; from the concentrated expression of her countenance, it was possible to divine that she was praying assiduously and fervently. When she kissed the cross, at the end of the service, she also kissed the priest's large, red hand. Marya Dmitrievna invited him to drink tea; he took off his stole, assumed a rather secular air, and passed into the drawing-room with the ladies. A not over animated conversation began. The priest drank four cups of tea, incessantly mopping his bald spot with his handkerchief, and narrated, among other things, that merchant Avoshnikoff had contributed seven hundred rubles to gild the "cupola" of the church, and he also imparted a sure cure for freckles. Lavretzky tried to seat himself beside Liza, but she maintained a severe, almost harsh demeanour, and never once glanced at him; she appeared to be deliberately refraining from noticing him; a certain cold, dignified rapture had descended upon her. For some reason or other, Lavretzky felt inclined to smile uninterruptedly, and say something amusing; but there was confusion in his heart, and he went away at last, secretly perplexed.... He felt that there was something in Liza into which he could not penetrate.
On another occasion, Lavretzky, as he sat in the drawing-room, and listened to the insinuating but heavy chatter of Gedeonovsky, suddenly turned round, without himself knowing why he did so, and caught a deep, attentive, questioning gaze in Liza's eyes.... It was riveted on him, that puzzling gaze, afterward. Lavretzky thought about it all night long. He had not fallen in love in boyish fashion, it did not suit him to sigh and languish, neither did Liza arouse that sort of sentiment; but love has its sufferings at every age,—and he underwent them to the full.
 This service, consisting (generally) of Vespers and Matins, can be read in private houses, and even by laymen: whereas, the Liturgy, or Mass, must be celebrated at a duly consecrated altar, by a duly ordained priest.—Translator.
One day, according to his custom, Lavretzky was sitting at the Kalitins'. A fatiguingly-hot day had been followed by so fine an evening, that Marya Dmitrievna, despite her aversion to the fresh air, had ordered all the windows and doors into the garden to be opened, and had announced that she would not play cards, that it was a sin to play cards in such weather, and one must enjoy nature. Panshin was the only visitor. Tuned up by the evening, and unwilling to sing before Lavretzky, yet conscious of an influx of artistic emotions, he turned to poetry: he recited well, but with too much self-consciousness, and with unnecessary subtleties, several of Lermontoff's poems (at that time, Pushkin had not yet become fashionable again)—and, all at once, as though ashamed of his expansiveness, he began, apropos of the familiar "Thought," to upbraid and reprove the present generation; in that connection, not missing the opportunity to set forth, how he would turn everything around in his own way, if the power were in his hands. "Russia," said he,—"has lagged behind Europe; she must catch up with it. People assert, that we are young—that is nonsense; and moreover, that we possess no inventive genius: X ... himself admits that we have not even invented a mouse-trap. Consequently, we are compelled, willy-nilly, to borrow from others. 'We are ill,'—says Lermontoff,—I agree with him; but we are ill because we have only half converted ourselves into Europeans; that is where we have made our mistake, and that is what we must be cured of." ("Le cadastre,"—thought Lavretzky).—"The best heads among us,"—he went on,—"les meilleurs tetes—have long since become convinced of this; all nations are, essentially, alike; only introduce good institutions, and there's an end of the matter. One may even conform to the existing national life; that is our business, the business of men ..." (he came near saying: "of statesmen") "who are in the service; but, in case of need, be not uneasy: the institutions will transform that same existence." Marya Dmitrievna, with emotion, backed up Panshin. "What a clever man this is,"—she thought,—"talking in my house!" Liza said nothing, as she leaned against a window-frame; Lavretzky also maintained silence; Marfa Timofeevna, who was playing cards in the corner with her friend, muttered something to herself. Panshin strode up and down the room, and talked eloquently, but with a secret spite: he seemed to be scolding not the whole race, but certain individuals of his acquaintance. In the Kalitins' garden, in a large lilac-bush, dwelt a nightingale, whose first evening notes rang forth in the intervals of this eloquent harangue; the first stars lighted up in the rosy sky, above the motionless crests of the lindens. Lavretzky rose, and began to reply to Panshin; an argument ensued. Lavretzky defended the youth and independence of Russia; he surrendered himself, his generation as sacrifice,—but upheld the new men, their convictions, and their desires; Panshin retorted in a sharp and irritating way, declared that clever men must reform everything, and went so far, at last, that, forgetting his rank of Junior Gentleman of the Imperial Bedchamber, and his official career, he called Lavretzky a "laggard conservative," he even hinted,—in a very remote way, it is true,—at his false position in society. Lavretzky did not get angry, did not raise his voice (he remembered that Mikhalevitch also had called him a laggard—only, a Voltairian)—and calmly vanquished Panshin on every point. He demonstrated to him the impossibility of leaps and supercilious reforms, unjustified either by a knowledge of the native land or actual faith in an ideal, even a negative ideal; he cited, as an example, his own education, and demanded, first of all, a recognition of national truth and submission to it,—that submission without which even boldness against falsehood is impossible; he did not evade, in conclusion, the reproach—merited, in his opinion—of frivolous waste of time and strength.
"All that is very fine!"—exclaimed the enraged Panshin, at last:—"Here, you have returned to Russia,—what do you intend to do?"
"Till the soil,"—replied Lavretzky:—"and try to till it as well as possible."
"That is very praiseworthy, there's no disputing that,"—rejoined Panshin:—"and I have been told, that you have already had great success in that direction; but you must admit, that not every one is fitted for that sort of occupation...."
"Une nature poetique,"—began Marya Dmitrievna,—"of course, cannot till the soil ... et puis, you are called, Vladimir Nikolaitch, to do everything en grand."
This was too much even for Panshin: he stopped short, and the conversation stopped short also. He tried to turn it on the beauty of the starry sky, on Schubert's music—but, for some reason, it would not run smoothly; he ended, by suggesting to Marya Dmitrievna, that he should play picquet with her.—"What! on such an evening?"—she replied feebly; but she ordered the cards to be brought.
Panshin, with a crackling noise, tore open the fresh pack, while Liza and Lavretzky, as though in pursuance of an agreement, both rose, and placed themselves beside Marfa Timofeevna. They both, suddenly, felt so very much at ease that they were even afraid to be left alone together,—and, at the same time, both felt that the embarrassment which they had experienced during the last few days had vanished, never more to return. The old woman stealthily patted Lavretzky on the cheek, slyly screwed up her eyes, and shook her head several times, remarking in a whisper: "Thou hast got the best of the clever fellow, thanks." Everything in the room became still; the only sound was the faint crackling of the wax candles, and, now and then, the tapping of hands on the table, and an exclamation, or the reckoning of the spots,—and the song, mighty, resonant to the verge of daring, of the nightingale, poured in a broad stream through the window, in company with the dewy coolness.
Liza had not uttered a single word during the course of the dispute between Lavretzky and Panshin, but had attentively followed it, and had been entirely on Lavretzky's side. Politics possessed very little interest for her; but the self-confident tone of the fashionable official (he had never, hitherto, so completely expressed himself) had repelled her; his scorn of Russia had wounded her. It had never entered Liza's head, that she was a patriot; but she was at her ease with Russian people; the Russian turn of mind gladdened her; without any affectation, for hours at a time, she chatted with the overseer of her mother's estate, when he came to town, and talked with him as with an equal, without any lordly condescension. Lavretzky felt all this: he would not have undertaken to reply to Panshin alone; he had been talking for Liza only. They said nothing to each other, even their eyes met but rarely; but both understood that they had come very close together that evening, understood that they loved and did not love the same things. On only one point did they differ; but Liza secretly hoped to bring him to God. They sat beside Marfa Timofeevna, and appeared to be watching her play; and they really were watching it,—but, in the meanwhile, their hearts had waxed great in their bosoms, and nothing escaped them: for them the nightingale was singing, the stars were shining, and the trees were softly whispering, lulled both by slumber and by the softness of the summer, and by the warmth. Lavretzky surrendered himself wholly to the billow which was bearing him onward,—and rejoiced; but no word can express that which took place in the young girl's pure soul: it was a secret to herself; so let it remain for all others. No one knows, no one has seen, and no one ever will see, how that which is called into life and blossom pours forth and matures grain in the bosom of the earth.
The clock struck ten. Marfa Timofeevna went off to her rooms up-stairs, with Nastasya Karpovna; Lavretzky and Liza strolled through the room, halted in front of the open door to the garden, gazed into the dark distance, then at each other—and smiled; they would have liked, it appeared, to take each other by the hand, and talk their fill. They returned to Marya Dmitrievna and Panshin, whose picquet had become protracted. The last "king" came to an end at length, and the hostess rose, groaning, and sighing, from the cushion-garnished arm-chair; Panshin took his hat, kissed Marya Dmitrievna's hand, remarked that nothing now prevented other happy mortals from going to bed, or enjoying the night, but that he must sit over stupid papers until the morning dawned, bowed coldly to Liza (he had not expected that in reply to his offer of marriage, she would ask him to wait,—and therefore he was sulking at her)—and went away. Lavretzky followed him. At the gate they parted; Panshin aroused his coachman by poking him with the tip of his cane in the neck, seated himself in his drozhky, and drove off. Lavretzky did not feel like going home; he walked out beyond the town, into the fields. The night was tranquil and bright, although there was no moon; Lavretzky roamed about on the dewy grass for a long time; he came by accident upon a narrow path; he walked along it. It led him to a long fence, to a wicket-gate; he tried, without himself knowing why, to push it open: it creaked softly, and opened, as though it had been awaiting the pressure of his hand; Lavretzky found himself in a garden, advanced a few paces along an avenue of lindens, and suddenly stopped short in amazement: he recognised the garden of the Kalitins.
He immediately stepped into a black blot of shadow which was cast by a thick hazel-bush, and stood for a long time motionless, wondering and shrugging his shoulders.
"This has not happened for nothing," he thought.
Everything was silent round about; not a sound was borne to him from the direction of the house. He cautiously advanced. Lo, at the turn in the avenue, the whole house suddenly gazed at him with its dark front; only in two of the upper windows were lights twinkling: in Liza's room, a candle was burning behind a white shade, and in Marfa Timofeevna's bedroom a shrine-lamp was glowing with a red gleam in front of the holy pictures, reflecting itself in an even halo in the golden settings; down-stairs, the door leading out on the balcony yawned broadly, as it stood wide open. Lavretzky seated himself on a wooden bench, propped his head on his hand, and began to gaze at the door and the window. Midnight struck in the town; in the house, the small clocks shrilly rang out twelve; the watchman beat with a riffle of taps on the board. Lavretzky thought of nothing, expected nothing; it was pleasant to him to feel himself near Liza, to sit in her garden on the bench, where she also had sat more than once.... The light disappeared in Liza's room.
"Good night, my dear girl," whispered Lavretzky, as he continued to sit motionless, and without taking his eyes from the darkened window.
Suddenly a light appeared in one of the windows of the lower storey, passed to a second, a third.... Some one was walking through the rooms with a candle. "Can it be Liza? Impossible!"... Lavretzky half rose to his feet. A familiar figure flitted past, and Liza made her appearance in the drawing-room. In a white gown, with her hair hanging loosely on her shoulders, she softly approached a table, bent over it, set down the candle, and searched for something; then, turning her face toward the garden, she approached the open door, and, all white, light, graceful, paused on the threshold. A quiver ran through Lavretzky's limbs.
"Liza!"—burst from his lips, in barely audible tones.
She started, and began to stare into the darkness.
"Liza!"—repeated Lavretzky more loudly, and emerged from the shadow of the avenue.
Liza, in alarm, stretched forth her head, and staggered backward. He called her for the third time, and held out his arms toward her. She left the door, and advanced into the garden.
"Is it you?"—she said.—"Are you here?"
"It is I ... I ... listen to me,"—whispered Lavretzky, and, grasping her hand, he led her to the bench.
She followed him without resistance; her pale face, her impassive eyes, all her movements, were expressive of unutterable amazement. Lavretzky seated her on the bench, and himself took up his stand in front of her.
"I had no thought of coming hither,"—he began:—"I came hither by chance.... I ... I ... I love you,"—he said, with involuntary terror.
Liza slowly glanced at him; apparently, she had only that moment comprehended where she was, and that she was with him. She tried to rise, but could not, and covered her face with her hands.
"Liza,"—said Lavretzky:—"Liza,"—he repeated, and bowed down at her feet....
Her shoulders began to quiver slightly, the fingers of her pale hands were pressed more tightly to her face.
"What is the matter with you?"—Lavretzky uttered, and caught the sound of soft sobbing. His heart turned cold.... He understood the meaning of those tears. "Can it be that you love me?"—he whispered, and touched her knee.
"Rise," he heard her voice:—"rise, Feodor Ivanitch. What is this that you and I are doing?"
He rose, and seated himself by her side on the bench. She was no longer weeping, but was gazing attentively at him with her wet eyes.
"I am frightened: what are we doing?"—she repeated.
"I love you,"—he said again:—"I am ready to give the whole of my life to you."
Again she shuddered, as though something had stung her, and raised her gaze heavenward.
"All this is in God's power,"—she said.
"But do you love me, Liza? Shall we be happy?"
She dropped her eyes; he softly drew her to him, and her head sank upon his shoulder.... He turned her head a little to one side, and touched her pale lips.
* * * * *
Half an hour later, Lavretzky was standing before the wicket. He found it locked, and was obliged to leap across the fence. He returned to the town, and walked through the sleeping streets. A sensation of great, of unexpected happiness filled his soul; all doubts had died within him. "Vanish, past, dark spectre," he thought: "she loves me, she will be mine." All at once, it seemed to him that in the air, over his head, wondrous, triumphant sounds rang out; the sounds rolled on still more magnificently; in a chanting, mighty flood they streamed on,—and in them, so it seemed, all his happiness was speaking and singing. He glanced around him: the sounds were floating from two upper windows of a tiny house.
"Lemm!"—cried Lavretzky, and ran to the house.—"Lemm! Lemm!"—he repeated loudly.
The sounds died away, and the figure of the old man in his dressing-gown, with breast bare, and hair dishevelled, made its appearance at the window.
"Aha!"—he said, with dignity:—"is that you?"
"Christofor Feodoritch! what splendid music! For God's sake, let me in."
The old man, without uttering a word, with a majestic movement of the arm flung the door-key out of the window into the street. Lavretzky briskly ran up-stairs, entered the room, and was on the point of rushing at Lemm, but the latter imperiously motioned him to a chair; he said, abruptly, in Russian: "Sit down and listen!" seated himself at the piano, gazed proudly and sternly about him, and began to play. It was long since Lavretzky had heard anything of the sort: a sweet, passionate melody, which gripped the heart from its very first notes; it was all beaming and languishing with inspiration, with happiness, with beauty; it swelled and melted away; it touched everything which exists on earth of precious, mysterious, holy; it breathed forth deathless sadness, and floated away to die in heaven. Lavretzky straightened himself up and stood there, cold and pale with rapture. Those sounds fairly sank into his soul, which had only just been shaken with the bliss of love; they themselves were flaming with love. "Repeat it,"—he whispered, as soon as the last chord resounded. The old man cast upon him an eagle glance, struck his breast with his hand, and saying deliberately, in his native language:—"I made that, for I am a great musician,"—he again played his wonderful composition. There was no candle in the room; the light of the rising moon fell aslant through the window; the sensitive air trembled resonantly; the pale, little room seemed a sanctuary, and the head of the old man rose high and inspired in the silvery semi-darkness. Lavretzky approached and embraced him. At first, Lemm did not respond to his embrace, he even repulsed it with his elbow; for a long time, without moving a single limb, he continued to gaze forth, as before, sternly, almost roughly, and only bellowed a couple of times: "Aha!" At last his transfigured face grew calm, relaxed, and, in reply to Lavretzky's warm congratulations, he first smiled a little, then fell to weeping, feebly sobbing like a child.
"This is marvellous,"—he said:—"that precisely you should now have come; but I know—I know all."
"You know all?"—ejaculated Lavretzky, in confusion.
"You have heard me,"—returned Lemm:—"have not you understood that I know all?"
Lavretzky could not get to sleep until the morning: all night long, he sat on his bed. And Liza did not sleep: she prayed.
The reader knows how Lavretzky had grown up and developed; let us say a few words about Liza's bringing up. She was ten years old when her father died; but he had paid little heed to her. Overwhelmed with business, constantly absorbed in increasing his property, splenetic, harsh, impatient, he furnished money unsparingly for teachers, tutors, clothing, and the other wants of the children; but he could not endure, as he expressed it, "to dandle the squalling brats,"—and he had no time to dandle them: he worked, toiled over his business, slept little, occasionally played cards, worked again; he compared himself to a horse harnessed to a threshing-machine. "My life has rushed by fast," he said on his deathbed, with a proud smile on his parched lips. Marya Dmitrievna, in reality, troubled herself about Liza hardly more than did the father, although she had boasted to Lavretzky that she alone had reared her children; she had dressed Liza like a doll, in the presence of visitors had patted her on the head, and called her, to her face, a clever child and a darling—and that was all: any regular care wearied the lazy gentlewoman. During her father's lifetime, Liza had been in the hands of a governess, Mlle. Moreau, from Paris, and after his death she had passed into the charge of Marfa Timofeevna. The reader is acquainted with Marfa Timofeevna; but Mlle. Moreau was a tiny, wrinkled creature, with birdlike ways and a tiny, birdlike mind. In her youth she had led a very dissipated life, and in her riper years she had but two passions left—for dainties and for cards. When she was gorged, was not playing cards, and not chattering, her face instantly assumed an almost deathlike expression: she would sit, and gaze, and breathe, and it was evident that no thought was passing through her head. It was not even possible to call her good-natured: there are also birds which are not good-natured. Whether it was in consequence of her frivolously-spent youth, or of the Paris air, which she had breathed since her childhood,—she harboured within her a certain cheap, general scepticism, which is usually expressed by the words: "tout ca c'est des betises." She talked an irregular, but purely Parisian jargon, did not gossip, was not capricious,—and what more could be desired in a governess? On Liza she had little influence; all the more powerful upon her was the influence of her nurse, Agafya Vlasievna.
The lot of this woman was remarkable. She sprang from a peasant family; at the age of sixteen, they married her to a peasant; but there was a sharp distinction between her and her sister-peasant women. For twenty years her father had been the village elder, had accumulated a good deal of money, and had petted her. She was a wonderful beauty, the most dashingly-elegant peasant maid in all the country round about, clever, a good talker, daring. Her master, Dmitry Pestoff, the father of Marya Dmitrievna, a modest, quiet man, caught sight of her one day at the threshing, talked with her, and fell passionately in love with her.
Soon afterward, she became a widow; Pestoff, although he was a married man, took her into his house, and clothed her in the style of a house-servant. Agafya immediately accommodated herself to her new position, exactly as though she had never lived in any other way. Her skin became white, she grew plump; her arms, under their muslin sleeves, became "like fine wheat flour," like those of a cook; the samovar stood constantly on her table; she would wear nothing but velvet and silk, she slept on a feather-bed of down. This blissful life lasted for the space of five years; but Dmitry Pestoff died: his widow, a good-natured gentlewoman, desirous of sparing her husband's memory, was not willing to behave dishonourably toward her rival, the more so, as Agafya had never forgotten herself before her; but she married her to the cow-herd, and sent her out of her sight. Three years passed. Once, on a hot summer day, the lady of the manor went to her dairy. Agafya treated her to such splendid cold cream, bore herself so modestly, and was so neat in person, and so cheerful and satisfied with everything, that her mistress announced to her her pardon, and permitted her to come to the manor-house; and six months later, she had become so attached to her, that she promoted her to the post of housekeeper, and entrusted the entire management to her. Again Agafya came into power, again she grew plump and white-skinned; her mistress had complete confidence in her. In this manner, five more years elapsed. Again misfortune fell upon Agafya. Her husband, whom she had had raised to the post of footman, took to drink, began to disappear from the house, and wound up by stealing six of the family's silver spoons, and hiding them—until a convenient opportunity—in his wife's chest. This was discovered. He was again degraded to the rank of cow-herd, and a sentence of disgrace was pronounced upon Agafya; she was not banished from the house, but she was reduced from the place of housekeeper to that of seamstress, and ordered to wear a kerchief on her head, instead of a cap. To the amazement of all, Agafya accepted the blow which had overtaken her with humble submission. She was then over thirty years of age, all her children had died, and her husband did not long survive. The time had arrived for her to come to a sense of her position; she did so. She became very taciturn and devout, never missed a single Matins service, nor a single Liturgy, and gave away all her fine clothes. Fifteen years she spent quietly, peacefully, with dignity, quarrelling with no one, yielding to every one. If any one spoke rudely to her,—she merely bowed, and returned thanks for the lesson. Her mistress had forgiven her long since, had removed the ban from her, and had given her a cap from her own head; but she herself refused to remove her kerchief, and always went about in a dark-hued gown; and after the death of her mistress, she became still more quiet and humble. A Russian easily conceives fear and affection; but it is difficult to win his respect: it is not soon given, nor to every one. Every one in the house respected Agafya; no one even recalled her former sins, as though they had been buried in the earth, along with the old master.
When Kalitin became the husband of Marya Dmitrievna, he wished to entrust the housekeeping to Agafya; but she declined, "because of the temptation"; he roared at her, she made him a lowly reverence, and left the room. The clever Kalitin understood people; and he also understood Agafya, and did not forget her. On removing his residence to the town, he appointed her, with her own consent, as nurse to Liza, who had just entered her fifth year.
At first, Liza was frightened by the serious and stern face of her new nurse; but she speedily became accustomed to her, and conceived a strong affection for her. She herself was a serious child; her features recalled the clear-cut, regular face of Kalitin; only, she had not her father's eyes; hers beamed with a tranquil attention and kindness which are rare in children. She did not like to play with dolls, her laughter was neither loud nor long, she bore herself with decorum. She was not often thoughtful, and was never so without cause; after remaining silent for a time, she almost always ended by turning to some one of her elders, with a question which showed that her brain was working over a new impression. She very early ceased to lisp, and already in her fourth year she spoke with perfect distinctness. She was afraid of her father; her feeling toward her mother was undefined,—she did not fear her, neither did she fondle her; but she did not fondle Agafya either, although she loved only her alone. Agafya and she were never separated. It was strange to see them together. Agafya, all in black, with a dark kerchief on her head, with a face thin and transparent as wax, yet still beautiful and expressive, would sit upright, engaged in knitting a stocking; at her feet, in a little arm-chair, sat Liza, also toiling over some sort of work, or, with her bright eyes uplifted gravely, listening to what Agafya was relating to her, and Agafya did not tell her fairy-stories; in a measured, even voice, she would narrate the life of the Most-pure Virgin, the lives of the hermits, the saints of God, of the holy martyrs; she would tell Liza how the holy men lived in the deserts, how they worked out their salvation, endured hunger and want,—and, fearing not kings, confessed Christ; how the birds of heaven brought them food, and the wild beasts obeyed them; how on those spots where their blood fell, flowers sprang up.—"Yellow violets?"—one day asked Liza, who was very fond of flowers.... Agafya talked gravely and meekly to Liza, as though she felt that it was not for her to utter such lofty and sacred words. Liza listened to her—and the image of the Omnipresent, Omniscient God penetrated into her soul with a certain sweet power, filled her with pure, devout awe, and Christ became for her a person close to her, almost a relative: and Agafya taught her to pray. Sometimes she woke Liza early, at daybreak, hastily dressed her, and surreptitiously took her to Matins: Liza followed her on tiptoe, hardly breathing; the chill and semi-obscurity of the dawn, the freshness and emptiness of the streets, the very mysteriousness of these unexpected absences, the cautious return to the house, to bed,—all this mingling of the forbidden, the strange, the holy, agitated the little girl, penetrated into the very depths of her being. Agafya never condemned anybody, and did not scold Liza for her pranks. When she was displeased over anything, she simply held her peace; and Liza understood that silence; with the swift perspicacity of a child, she also understood very well when Agafya was displeased with other people—with Marya Dmitrievna herself, or with Kalitin. Agafya took care of Liza for a little more than three years; she was replaced by Mlle. Moreau; but the frivolous Frenchwoman, with her harsh manners and her exclamation: "tout ca c'est des betises,"—could not erase from Liza's heart her beloved nurse: the seeds which had been sown had struck down roots too deep. Moreover, Agafya, although she had ceased to have charge of Liza, remained in the house, and often saw her nursling, who confided in her as before.
But Agafya could not get along with Marfa Timofeevna, when the latter came to live in the Kalitin house. The stern dignity of the former "peasant woman" did not please the impatient and self-willed old woman. Agafya begged permission to go on a pilgrimage, and did not return. Dark rumours circulated, to the effect that she had withdrawn to a convent of Old Ritualists. But the traces left by her in Liza's soul were not effaced. As before, the latter went to the Liturgy as to a festival, prayed with delight, with a certain repressed and bashful enthusiasm, which secretly amazed Marya Dmitrievna not a little, although she put no constraint upon Liza, but merely endeavoured to moderate her zeal, and did not permit her to make an excessive number of prostrations: that was not lady-like manners, she said. Liza studied well,—that is to say, assiduously; God had not endowed her with particularly brilliant capacities, with a great mind; she acquired nothing without labour. She played well on the piano; but Lemm alone knew what it cost her. She read little; she had no "words of her own," but she had thoughts of her own, and she went her own way. It was not for nothing that she resembled her father: he, also, had not been wont to ask others what he should do. Thus she grew up—quietly, at leisure; thus she attained her nineteenth year. She was very pretty, without herself being aware of the fact. An unconscious, rather awkward grace revealed itself in her every movement; her voice rang with the silvery sound of unaffected youth, the slightest sensation of pleasure evoked a winning smile on her lips, imparted a deep gleam and a certain mysterious caress to her sparkling eyes. Thoroughly imbued with the sense of duty, with the fear of wounding any one whatsoever, with a kind and gentle heart, she loved every one in general, and no one in particular; God alone she loved with rapture, timidly, tenderly. Lavretzky was the first to break in upon her tranquil inner life.
Such was Liza.
At twelve o'clock on the following day, Lavretzky set out for the Kalitins'. On the way thither, he met Panshin, who galloped past him on horseback, with his hat pulled down to his very eyebrows. At the Kalitins', Lavretzky was not admitted,—for the first time since he had known them. Marya Dmitrievna was "lying down,"—so the lackey announced; "they" had a headache. Neither Marfa Timofeevna nor Lizaveta Mikhailovna was at home. Lavretzky strolled along the garden, in anxious hope of meeting Liza, but saw no one. He returned a couple of hours later, and received the same answer, in connection with which the lackey bestowed a sidelong glance upon him. It seemed to Lavretzky impolite to intrude himself upon them for a third time that day—and he decided to drive out to Vasilievskoe, where, without reference to this, he had business to attend to. On the way he constructed various plans, each more beautiful than the other; but in his aunt's hamlet, sadness fell upon him; he entered into conversation with Anton; the old man, as though expressly, had nothing but cheerless thoughts in his mind. He narrated to Lavretzky, how Glafira Petrovna, before her death, had bitten her own hand,—and, after a short pause, he added: "Every man, master—dear little father, is given to devouring himself." It was already late when Lavretzky set out on the return journey. The sounds of the preceding day took possession of him, the image of Liza arose in his soul in all its gentle transparency; he melted at the thought that she loved him,—and drove up to his little town-house in a composed and happy frame of mind.
The first thing which struck him on entering the anteroom was the scent of patchouli, which was very repulsive to him; several tall trunks and coffers were standing there. The face of the valet who ran forth to receive him seemed to him strange. Without accounting to himself for his impressions, he crossed the threshold of the drawing-room.... From the couch there rose to greet him a lady in a black gown with flounces, and raising a batiste handkerchief to her pale face, she advanced several paces, bent her carefully-dressed head,—and fell at his feet.... Then only did he recognise her: the lady was—his wife.
It took his breath away.... He leaned against the wall.
"Theodore, do not drive me away!"—she said in French, and her voice cut his heart like a knife.
He glanced at her without comprehending, yet he immediately noticed that she had grown pale and thin.
"Theodore,"—she went on, from time to time raising her eyes, and cautiously wringing her wondrously-beautiful fingers, with rosy, polished nails:—"Theodore, I am to blame toward you, deeply to blame,—I will say more, I am a criminal; but do you listen to me; repentance tortures me, I have become a burden to myself, I could not longer endure my position; how many times have I meditated returning to you, but I feared your wrath;—I have decided to break every connection with the past ... puis, j'ai ete si malade,—I have been so ill,"—she added, and passed her hand across her brow and her cheek,—"I have taken advantage of the rumour of my death which had got into circulation, I have abandoned everything; without halting, day and night I have hastened hither; I have hesitated, for a long time, to present myself before you, my judge—paraitre devant vous, mon juge,—but, at last, I made up my mind, remembering your invariable kindness, to come to you; I learned your address in Moscow. Believe me," she continued, softly rising from the floor, and seating herself on the very edge of an arm-chair:—"I have often meditated death, and I would have summoned up sufficient courage to take my life—akh, life is now an intolerable burden to me!—but the thought of my daughter, of my Adotchka, held me back; she is here, she is asleep in the adjoining room, poor child! She is weary,—you shall see her: she, at least, is not guilty toward you,—and I am so unhappy, so unhappy!"—exclaimed Mme. Lavretzky, and burst into tears.
Lavretzky came to himself, at last; he separated himself from the wall, and moved toward the door.
"You are going away?"—said his wife, in despair:—"oh, this is cruel!—Without saying one word to me, without even one reproach.... This scorn is killing me, this is terrible!"
Lavretzky stopped short.
"What is it that you wish to hear from me?"—he uttered, in a toneless voice.
"Nothing, nothing,"—she caught him up with vivacity:—"I know that I have no right to demand anything;—I am not a fool, believe me;—I do not hope, I do not dare to hope for your forgiveness;—I only venture to entreat you, that you will give me directions what I am to do, where I am to live?—I will fulfil your command, whatever it may be, like a slave."
"I have no commands to give you,"—returned Lavretzky, in the same voice:—"you know, that everything is at an end between us ... and now more than ever.—You may live where you see fit;—and if your allowance is insufficient...."
"Akh, do not utter such dreadful words,"—Varvara Pavlovna interrupted him:—"spare me, if only ... if only for the sake of that angel...." And, as she said these words, Varvara Pavlovna flew headlong into the next room, and immediately returned with a tiny, very elegantly dressed little girl in her arms. Heavy, ruddy-gold curls fell over her pretty, rosy little face, over her large, black, sleepy eyes; she smiled, and blinked at the light, and clung with her chubby hand to her mother's neck.
"Ada, vois, c'est ton pere,"—said Varvara Pavlovna, pushing the curls aside from her eyes, and giving her a hearty kiss:—"prie le avec moi."
"C'est ca, papa?"—lisped the little girl, brokenly.
"Oui, mon enfant, n'est ce pas, que tu l'aimes?"
But this was too much for Lavretzky.
"In what melodrama is it that there is precisely such a scene?"—he muttered, and left the room.
Varvara Pavlovna stood for a while rooted to the spot, slightly shrugged her shoulders, carried the little girl into the other room, undressed her, and put her to bed. Then she got a book, sat down near the lamp, waited for about an hour, and, at last, lay down on the bed herself.
"Eh bien, madame?"—inquired her maid, a Frenchwoman, whom she had brought from Paris, as she removed her corsets.
"Eh bien, Justine,"—she replied;—"he has aged greatly, but it strikes me that he is as good-natured as ever.—Give me my gloves for the night, prepare my high-necked grey gown for to-morrow; and do not forget the mutton chops for Ada.... Really, it will be difficult to obtain them here; but we must make the effort."
"A la guerre, comme a la guerre,"—responded Justine, and put out the light.
For more than two hours Lavretzky roamed about the streets of the town. The night which he had spent in the suburbs of Paris recurred to his mind. His heart swelled to bursting within him, and in his head, which was empty, and, as it were, stunned, the same set of thoughts kept swirling,—dark, wrathful, evil thoughts. "She is alive, she is here," he whispered, with constantly augmenting amazement. He felt that he had lost Liza. Bile choked him; this blow had struck him too suddenly. How could he so lightly have believed the absurd gossip of a feuilleton, a scrap of paper? "Well, and if I had not believed it, what difference would that have made? I should not have known that Liza loves me; she herself would not have known it." He could not banish from himself the form, the voice, the glances of his wife ... and he cursed himself, cursed everything in the world.
Worn out, he arrived toward morning at Lemm's. For a long time, he could produce no effect with his knocking; at last, the old man's head, in a nightcap, made its appearance in the window, sour, wrinkled, no longer bearing the slightest resemblance to that inspiredly-morose head which, four and twenty hours previously, had gazed on Lavretzky from the full height of its artistic majesty.
"What do you want?"—inquired Lemm:—"I cannot play every night; I have taken a decoction."—But, evidently, Lavretzky's face was very strange: the old man made a shield for his eyes out of his hands, stared at his nocturnal visitor, and admitted him.
Lavretzky entered the room, and sank down on a chair; the old man halted in front of him, with the skirts of his motley-hued, old dressing-gown tucked up, writhing and mumbling with his lips.
"My wife has arrived,"—said Lavretzky, raising his head, and suddenly breaking into an involuntary laugh.
Lemm's face expressed surprise, but he did not even smile, and only wrapped himself more closely in his dressing-gown.
"You see, you do not know,"—went on Lavretzky:—"I imagined ... I read in a newspaper, that she was no longer alive."
"O—o, you read that a short time ago?"—asked Lemm.
"O—o,"—repeated the old man, and elevated his eyebrows.—"And she has arrived?"
"Yes. She is now at my house; but I ... I am an unhappy man."
And again he broke into a laugh.
"You are an unhappy man,"—repeated Lemm, slowly.
"Christofor Feodoritch,"—began Lavretzky:—"will you undertake to deliver a note?"
"H'm. May I inquire, to whom?"
"Ah,—yes, yes, I understand. Very well. But when must the note be delivered?"
"To-morrow, as early as possible."
"H'm. I can send Katrina, my cook. No, I will go myself."
"And will you bring me the answer?"
"Yes, I will."
"Yes, my poor young friend; you really are—an unhappy man."
Lavretzky wrote a couple of words to Liza: he informed her of his wife's arrival, begged her to appoint a meeting,—and flung himself on the narrow divan, face to the wall; and the old man lay down on the bed, and tossed about for a long time, coughing and taking sips of his decoction.
Morning came: they both rose. With strange eyes they gazed at each other. Lavretzky wanted to kill himself at that moment. The cook, Katrina, brought them some bad coffee. The clock struck eight. Lemm put on his hat, and saying that he had a lesson to give at the Kalitins' at nine, but that he would find a decent pretext, set out. Lavretzky again flung himself on the little couch, and again, from the depths of his soul, a sorrowful laugh welled up. He thought of how his wife had driven him out of his house; he pictured to himself Liza's position, closed his eyes, and threw his hands behind his head. At last Lemm returned, and brought him a scrap of paper, on which Liza had scrawled with pencil the following words: "We cannot see each other to-day; perhaps—to-morrow evening. Farewell." Lavretzky quietly and abstractedly thanked Lemm, and went to his own house.
He found his wife at breakfast; Ada, all curls, in a white frock with blue ribbons, was eating a mutton chop. Varvara Pavlovna immediately rose, as soon as Lavretzky entered the room, and approached him, with humility depicted on her face. He requested her to follow him to his study, locked the door behind him, and began to stride to and fro; she sat down, laid one hand modestly on the other, and began to watch him with her still beautiful, although slightly painted eyes.
For a long time Lavretzky did not speak: he felt that he could not control himself; he perceived clearly, that Varvara Pavlovna was not in the least afraid of him, but was assuming the air of being on the very verge of falling into a swoon.
"Listen, madam,"—he began, at last, breathing heavily at times, grinding his teeth:—"there is no necessity for our dissembling with each other; I do not believe in your repentance; and even if it were genuine, it is impossible for me to become reconciled to you, to live with you again."
Varvara Pavlovna compressed her lips and narrowed her eyes. "This is disgust,"—she thought:—"of course! I am no longer even a woman to him."
"It is impossible,"—repeated Lavretzky, and buttoned up his coat to the throat.—"I do not know why you have taken it into your head to come hither: probably, you have no money left."
"Alas! you are insulting me,"—whispered Varvara Pavlovna.
"However that may be,—you are, unhappily, my wife, nevertheless. I cannot turn you out ... and this is what I have to propose to you. You may set out, this very day, if you like, for Lavriki, and live there; the house is good, as you know; you will receive all that is necessary, in addition to your allowance.... Do you agree?"
Varvara Pavlovna raised her embroidered handkerchief to her eyes.
"I have already told you,"—she said, her lips twitching nervously:—"that I shall agree to anything whatever you may see fit to do with me: on this occasion, nothing is left for me to do, except to ask you: will you permit me, at least, to thank you for your magnanimity?"
"No gratitude, I beg of you; it is better so,"—hastily returned Lavretzky.—"Accordingly,"—he went on, approaching the door:—"I may count upon...."
"To-morrow I shall be at Lavriki,"—said Varvara Pavlovna, respectfully rising from her seat.—"But, Feodor Ivanitch" (she no longer called him Theodore)....
"What do you want?"
"I know that I have, as yet, in no way earned my forgiveness; may I hope, at least, in time...."
"Ekh, Varvara Pavlovna,"—Lavretzky interrupted her:—"you are a clever woman, and as I am not a fool, I know that that is quite unnecessary for you. And I forgave you long ago; but there was always a gulf between us."
"I shall know how to submit,"—replied Varvara Pavlovna, and bowed her head. "I have not forgotten my fault; I should not be surprised to learn that you were even delighted at the news of my death,"—she added gently, pointing slightly with her hand at the copy of the newspaper which lay on the table, forgotten by Lavretzky.
Feodor Ivanitch shuddered: the feuilleton was marked with a pencil. Varvara Pavlovna gazed at him with still greater humility. She was very pretty at that moment. Her grey Paris gown gracefully clothed her willowy form, which was almost that of a girl of seventeen; her slender, delicate neck encircled with a white collar, her bosom which rose and fell evenly, her arms devoid of bracelets and rings,—her whole figure, from her shining hair to the tip of her barely revealed little boot, was so elegant....
Lavretzky swept an angry glance over her, came near exclaiming: "Brava!" came near smiting her in the temple with his fist—and left the room. An hour later, he had already set out for Vasilievskoe, and two hours later, Varvara Pavlovna gave orders that the best carriage in town should be engaged, donned a simple straw hat with a black veil, and a modest mantle, entrusted Ada to Justine, and set out for the Kalitins: from the inquiries instituted by her servant she had learned that her husband was in the habit of going to them every day.
The day of the arrival of Lavretzky's wife in town of O * * *, a cheerless day for him, was also a painful day for Liza. She had not succeeded in going down-stairs and bidding her mother "good morning," before the trampling of a horse's hoofs resounded under the window, and with secret terror she beheld Panshin riding into the yard: "He has presented himself thus early for a definitive explanation,"—she thought—and she was not mistaken; after spending a while in the drawing-room, he suggested that she should go with him into the garden, and demanded her decision as to his fate. Liza summoned up her courage, and informed him that she could not be his wife. He listened to her to the end, as he stood with his side toward her, and his hat pulled down on his brows; courteously, but in an altered tone, he asked her: was that her last word, and had he, in any way, given her cause for such a change in her ideas? then he pressed his hand to his eyes, sighed briefly and abruptly, and removed his hand from his face.
"I have not wished to follow the beaten path,"—he said, in a dull voice,—"I have wished to find my companion after the inclination of the heart; but, evidently, that was not destined to be. Farewell, dream!"—He bowed profoundly to Liza, and returned to the house.
She hoped that he would immediately take his departure; but he went into Marya Dmitrievna's boudoir, and sat with her for about an hour. As he went away, he said to Liza: "Votre mere vous appelle; adieu a jamais ..." mounted his horse, and set off from the very porch at full gallop. Liza went in to Marya Dmitrievna, and found her in tears: Panshin had communicated to her his misfortune.
"Why hast thou killed me? Why hast thou killed me?"—in this wise did the mortified widow begin her complaints.—"Whom else didst thou want? What! is not he a suitable husband for thee? A Junior Gentleman of the Emperor's Bedchamber! not interessant! He might marry any Maid of Honour he chose in Petersburg. And I—I had been hoping so! And hast thou changed long toward him? What has sent this cloud drifting hither—it did not come of itself! Can it be that ninny? A pretty counsellor thou hast found!
"And he, my dear one,"—pursued Marya Dmitrievna:—"how respectful, how attentive, even in his own grief! He has promised not to abandon me. Akh, I shall not survive this! Akh, I have got a deadly headache. Send Palasha to me. Thou wilt be the death of me, if thou dost not change thy mind,—dost thou hear?" And calling her an ingrate a couple of times, Marya Dmitrievna sent Liza away.
She went to her own room. But before she had time to recover her breath from her explanation with Panshin and her mother, another thunderstorm broke over her, and this time from a quarter whence she had least expected it. Marfa Timofeevna entered her room, and immediately slammed the door behind her. The old woman's face was pale, her cap was awry, her eyes were flashing, her hands and lips were trembling. Liza was amazed: never before had she seen her sensible and reasonable aunt in such a state.
"Very fine, madam,"—began Marfa Timofeevna, in a tremulous and broken whisper: "very fine indeed! From whom hast thou learned this, my mother?... Give me water; I cannot speak."
"Calm yourself, aunty; what is the matter with you?"—said Liza, giving her a glass of water.—"Why, you yourself did not favour Mr. Panshin."
Marfa Timofeevna set down the glass.
"I cannot drink: I shall knock out my last remaining teeth. What dost thou mean by Panshin? What has Panshin to do with it? Do thou tell me, rather, who taught thee to appoint rendezvous by night—hey? my mother?"
Liza turned pale.
"Please do not think of excusing thyself,"—continued Marfa Timofeevna.—"Schurotchka herself saw all, and told me. I have forbidden her to chatter, but she does not lie."
"I have made no excuses, aunty,"—said Liza, in a barely audible voice.
"Ah, ah! Now, see here, my mother; didst thou appoint a meeting with him, with that old sinner, that quiet man?"
"Then how did it come about?"
"I went down-stairs, to the drawing-room, for a book; he was in the garden, and called me."
"And thou wentest? Very fine. And thou lovest him, dost thou not?"
"I do,"—replied Liza, in a tranquil voice.
"Gracious heavens! she loves him!"—Marfa Timofeevna tore off her cap.—"She loves a married man! Hey? she loves!"
"He told me,"—began Liza....
"What did he tell thee, the darling, wha-at was it?"
"He told me that his wife was dead."
Marfa Timofeevna crossed herself.—"The kingdom of heaven be hers,"—she whispered:—"she was a frivolous woman—God forgive her. So that's how it is: then he's a widower. Yes, I see that he is equal to anything. He killed off his first wife, and now he's after another. Thou art a sly one, art thou not? Only, this is what I have to say to thee, niece: in my time, when I was young, girls were severely punished for such capers. Thou must not be angry with me, my mother; only fools get angry at the truth. I have given orders that he is not to be admitted to-day. I am fond of him, but I shall never forgive him for this. A widower, forsooth! Give me some water.... But thou art my brave girl, for sending Panshin off with a long face; only, do not sit out nights with that goat's breed,—with men,—do not grieve me, an old woman! For I am not always amiable—I know how to bite, also!... A widower!"
Marfa Timofeevna departed, but Liza sat down in the corner and began to cry. She felt bitter in soul; she had not deserved such humiliation. Her love had not announced its presence by cheerfulness; this was the second time she had wept since the night before. That new, unexpected feeling had barely come to life in her heart when she had had to pay so heavily for it, when strange hands had roughly touched her private secret! She felt ashamed, and pained, and bitter: but there was neither doubt nor terror in her,—and Lavretzky became all the dearer to her. She had hesitated as long as she did not understand herself; but after that meeting—she could hesitate no longer; she knew that she loved,—and had fallen in love honourably, not jestingly, she had become strongly attached, for her whole life; she felt that force could not break that bond.
Marya Dmitrievna was greatly perturbed when the arrival of Varvara Pavlovna was announced to her; she did not even know whether to receive her; she was afraid of offending Feodor Ivanitch. At last, curiosity carried the day. "What of it?"—she said to herself,—"why, she is a relative also,"—and seating herself in her arm-chair, she said to the lackey: "Ask her in!" Several minutes elapsed; the door opened, Varvara Pavlovna approached Marya Dmitrievna swiftly, with barely audible footsteps, and, without giving her a chance to rise from her chair, almost went down on her knees before her.
"Thank you, aunty,"—she began in a touched and gentle voice, in Russian: "thank you! I had not hoped for such condescension on your part; you are as kind as an angel."
As she uttered these words, Varvara Pavlovna unexpectedly took possession of one of Marya Dmitrievna's hands, and pressing it lightly in her pale-lilac gloves, obsequiously raised it to her full, rosy lips. Marya Dmitrievna completely lost her head, on beholding such a beautiful, charmingly-dressed woman, almost on her knees at her feet; she did not know what to do: she did not wish to withdraw her hand, she wished to give her a seat, and to say something amiable to her; she ended by rising, and kissing Varvara Pavlovna on her smooth, fragrant brow. Varvara Pavlovna was perfectly dumfounded by this kiss.
"Good morning,—bon jour,"—said Marya Dmitrievna:—"of course, I had no idea, ... however, of course, I am delighted to see you. You understand, my dear,—it is not for me to sit in judgment between wife and husband."
"My husband is wholly in the right,"—Varvara Pavlovna interrupted her:—"I alone am to blame."
"That is a very praiseworthy sentiment,"—returned Marya Dmitrievna:—"very. Have you been here long? Have you seen him? But sit down, pray."
"I arrived yesterday,"—replied Varvara Pavlovna, meekly seating herself on a chair; "I have seen Feodor Ivanitch, I have talked with him."
"Ah! Well, and how does he take it?"
"I was afraid that my sudden arrival would arouse his wrath,"—went on Varvara Pavlovna:—"but he did not deprive me of his presence."
"That is to say, he did not.... Yes, yes, I understand,"—ejaculated Marya Dmitrievna.—"He is only rather rough in appearance, but his heart is soft."
"Feodor Ivanitch has not forgiven me; he would not listen to me.... But he was so kind as to appoint Lavriki for my place of residence."
"Ah! A very fine estate!"
"I set out thither to-morrow, in compliance with his will; but I considered it my duty to call on you first."
"I am very, very grateful to you, my dear. One must never forget one's relatives. And, do you know, I am astonished that you speak Russian so well. C'est etonnant!"
Varvara Pavlovna sighed.
"I have spent too much time abroad, Marya Dmitrievna, I know that; but my heart has always been Russian, and I have not forgotten my native land."
"Exactly so, exactly so; that is the best of all. Feodor Ivanitch, however, did not in the least expect you.... Yes; believe my experience; la patrie avant tout. Akh, please show me,—what a charming mantle that is you have on!"
"Do you like it?"—Varvara Pavlovna promptly dropped it from her shoulders.—"It is a very simple thing, from Madame Baudran."
"That is instantly perceptible. From Madame Baudran.... How charming, and what taste! I am convinced that you have brought with you a mass of the most entrancing things. I should like to look them over."
"My entire toilette is at your service, my dearest aunt. If you will permit, I can give your maid some points. I have a maid-servant from Paris,—a wonderful seamstress."
"You are very kind, my dear. But, really, I am ashamed."
"Ashamed! ..." repeated Varvara Pavlovna, reproachfully.—"If you wish to make me happy,—command me, as though I belonged to you."
Marya Dmitrievna thawed.
"Vous etes charmante," she said.—"But why do not you take off your bonnet, your gloves?"
"What? You permit?"—asked Varvara Pavlovna, clasping her hands, as though with emotion.
"Of course; for you will dine with us, I hope. I ... I will introduce you to my daughter."—Marya Dmitrievna became slightly confused. "Well! here goes!"—she said to herself.—"She is not quite well to-day."
"Oh, ma tante, how kind you are!"—exclaimed Varvara Pavlovna, and raised her handkerchief to her eyes.
A page announced the arrival of Gedeonovsky. The old chatterbox entered, made his bows, and smiled. Marya Dmitrievna presented him to her visitor. He came near being discomfited at first; but Varvara Pavlovna treated him with such coquettish respect, that his ears began to burn, and fibs, scandals, amiable remarks trickled out of his mouth like honey. Varvara Pavlovna listened to him with a repressed smile, and became rather talkative herself. She modestly talked about Paris, about her travels, about Baden; twice she made Marya Dmitrievna laugh, and on each occasion she heaved another little sigh, as though she were mentally reproaching herself for her ill-timed mirth; she asked permission to bring Ada; removing her gloves, she showed, with her smooth hands washed with soap a la guimauve, how and where flounces, ruches, lace, and knots of ribbon were worn; she promised to bring a phial of the new English perfume, Victoria's Essence, and rejoiced like a child when Marya Dmitrievna consented to accept it as a gift; she wept at the remembrance of the feeling she had experienced when, for the first time, she had heard the Russian bells;—"so profoundly did they stagger my very heart,"—she said.
At that moment, Liza entered.
From the morning, from the very moment when, chilled with terror, she had perused Lavretzky's note, Liza had been preparing herself to meet his wife; she had a presentiment that she should see her, by way of punishment to her own criminal hopes, as she called them. She had made up her mind not to shun her. The sudden crisis in her fate had shaken her to the very foundations; in the course of about two hours her face had grown haggard; but she did not shed a tear. "It serves me right!"—she said to herself, with difficulty and agitation suppressing in her soul certain bitter, spiteful impulses, which alarmed even herself:—"Come, I must go down!"—she thought, as soon as she heard of Mme. Lavretzky's arrival, and she went.... For a long time she stood outside the door of the drawing-room, before she could bring herself to open it; with the thought: "I am to blame toward her,"—she crossed the threshold, and forced herself to look at her, forced herself to smile. Varvara Pavlovna advanced to meet her as soon as she saw her, and made a slight but nevertheless respectful inclination before her.—"Allow me to introduce myself,"—she began, in an insinuating voice:—"your maman is so indulgent toward me, that I hope you will also be ... kind." The expression on Varvara Pavlovna's face, as she uttered this last word, her sly smile, her cold and at the same time soft glance, the movement of her arms and shoulders, her very gown, her whole being, aroused in Liza such a feeling of repulsion, that she could make her no answer, and with an effort she offered her hand. "This young lady despises me,"—thought Varvara Pavlovna, as she warmly pressed Liza's cold fingers, and, turning to Marya Dmitrievna, she said in an undertone: "Mais elle est delicieuse!" Liza flushed faintly, insult was audible to her in this exclamation; but she made up her mind not to trust her impressions, and seated herself by the window, at her embroidery-frame. Even there, Varvara Pavlovna did not leave her in peace: she went up to her, began to praise her taste, her art.... Liza's heart beat violently and painfully, she could hardly control herself, she could hardly sit still on her chair. It seemed to her that Varvara Pavlovna knew everything, and, secretly triumphing, was jeering at her. Fortunately for her, Gedeonovsky entered into conversation with Varvara Pavlovna, and distracted her attention. Liza bent over her embroidery-frame, and stealthily watched her. "He loved that woman,"—she said to herself. But she immediately banished from her head the thought of Lavretzky: she was afraid of losing control over herself, she felt that her head was softly whirling. Marya Dmitrievna began to talk about music.