V. V. Veresaev
In the impasse
Black Sea. Crimea. The white waves are rolling under the very terrace of a cozy house with a tiled roof and green shutters. Here in the cottage settlement of Armatluk, near Koktebel, the old zemsky doctor Ivan Ilyich Sarganov lives along with his wife and daughter. A tall, thin, gray-haired man, he was recently a regular participant in the “pirogov” congresses, he first entered into conflict with the tsarist authorities (he called for the abolition of the death penalty, then declared the slaughter world war), then with the Bolsheviks, speaking out against mass shootings. Arrested “extraordinary”, was escorted to Moscow, but remembered his youth, two escape from the Siberian exile, and jumped off the train at night. Friends helped him escape in the Crimea under the protection of the White Guard army, surrounded by the same neighbors, yearning for a revolutionary storm.
Sartanovs live very poorly – lean borsch, boiled potatoes without oil, tea without rose without sugar… Academic Dmitrevsky with his wife, Natalia Sergeevna, comes on a frosty February evening. She is concerned about the loss of her beloved diamond ring, which only Princess Andozhskaya could take. How can people bring need, if this beauty, the widow of a naval officer, burnt alive by sailors in the furnace of a steamer boiler, decided to steal? Natalia Sergeevna tells that the Agapovs knocked out the windows at night, and the priest set fire to the kitchen. The peasants feel that the Bolsheviks are close, approach Perekop and will be here in two weeks. Dmitrevsky worried about the son of Dmitri, an officer of the Volunteer Army. Unexpectedly, he appears on the threshold with the words: “Peace be with you!” Between Mitya and the daughter of Ivan Ilyich Katya, love is born. But is it really up to her now? In the morning the officer should return to the unit, he became coarser, sharper, told how he shot people, how he discovered the true face of the people-stupid, greedy, cruel: “What a hopeless spiritual cynicism, what insubordination!” At the most expensive, he was spit on his face, in his God! “And he broke the visor, whistling and peeling the seeds, what would Rublev, Vasnetsov and Nesterov say to his soul?”
Katya is a different person, striving to escape from extremes. She is busy with everyday worries about pigs, chickens, knows how to extract interest from cooking,
washing. She becomes uncomfortable with the satiated, carefree atmosphere of the Agapovs’ house, where, along with Dmitry, she relates the things of their murdered son Mark. How strange this festive table looks and the elegant sisters Asya and Maya with diamond earrings in their ears, music, poems… And in the village there are still arguments: will the Reds be allowed into the Crimea or not? Will there be order? Will become worse?
But to some, with any power is good. The former soloist of the Imperial Theaters Belozerov once bought candles at 25 kopecks per pound, and in difficult times sold to friends 2 rubles each. Now he is the chairman of the board, a member of some commissions, committees, looking for popularity, he assents to the peasants. And everything he has: flour, sugar, and kerosene. And Katya with great difficulties received a bag of flour in the cooperative. But do not take him to the house alone, but the villagers do not want to help, they’ll curse: “Drag along your ridge, but not on this alien ridges.” However, there is also a kind person, helps to pack the sack, saying: “Yes, the people have racked up…” The dear one tells how the Cossacks came to stay with them in the village: “Feed them, poi. Everyone takes what they look at – a sheepskin coat How many boars were cut, geese, chicken, that the wines drank. My son-in-law began to dig a horse, he does not give it. Then to him from the livavoir to the forehead. They threw it into a ditch and drove away. “
It is a passionate week. Somewhere, deaf rifts are heard. Some say that the Bolsheviks are shelling the city, others – white artillery warehouses are blowing up. The dacha in confusion. The poor are rumored to be organizing a revolutionary committee. Everywhere the Bolsheviks are agitators, red scouts. Under the guise of a search, some dubious persons take money and valuables.
The day came when the White fled from the Crimea. Soviet power began with the universal mobilization of all male residents to digging trenches. Old or sick, go. One priest died on the way. Ivan Ilyich, too, drove, although he walked barely. Only the intervention of the nephew Leonid Sartanov-Sedoy, one of the leaders of the Revolutionary Committee, saved the old man from unbearable work. Leonid conducts an indicative trial of young Red Army men who robbed the Agapov family, and Katya rejoices at the many-voiced will of the crowd.
The relations between the summer residents and the new authorities are developing in different ways. Belozerov offers his services in organizing a sub-department of theater and art, occupying luxurious rooms, assuring that “the soul has always been a communist.” Academician Dmitrevsky is instructed to head the department of public education, and he attracts Katya as secretary. Affairs turned out to be a big deal. Katya was kind to the simple people, she could listen, ask questions, advise. However, with the new bosses the relations are getting worse badly, because, being a kind of straightforward and frank, she thought, she did. A serious conflict arises between Katya and the head of the housing department Seidberg. Evacuated from the apartment nurse Sorokina girl offers shelter in her room, but does not permit a dwelling castle: to whom we issue an order, and we will add it. The whole day passing through the authorities, women turn to Seidberg and stumble upon a blank wall. Exactly something hit Katya, and in a fit of despair she screams: “When will this boorish kingdom end?” Immediately they lead her to a special department and put him in the cell “B” – a cellar with two narrow air vents, without light. But the girl does not give up and declares during the interrogation: “I was sitting in the prisons of the tsars, I was interrogated by the royal gendarmes, and I never saw such a brutal attitude towards the prisoners.” What helped Katya – a kinship with Leonid Sed or just a lack of guilt – is unknown, but soon it is released… without light. But the girl does not give up and declares during the interrogation: “I was sitting in the prisons of the tsars, I was interrogated by the royal gendarmes, and I never saw such a brutal attitude towards the prisoners.” What helped Katya – a kinship with Leonid Sed or just a lack of guilt – is unknown, but soon it is released… without light. But the girl does not give up and declares during the interrogation: “I was sitting in the prisons of the tsars, I was interrogated by the royal gendarmes, and I never saw such a brutal attitude towards the prisoners.” What helped Katya – a kinship with Leonid Sed or just a lack of guilt – is unknown, but soon it is released…
The First of May is approaching. Domkom declares: whoever does not decorate his house with red flags will be brought to court by the Revolutionary Tribunal. They threaten and those who do not go to the demonstration. Head participation!
The Makhnovists appeared in the Crimea. All mounted on horseback or on waggons, hung with weapons, drunk, insolent. They flew into the cart, in which Katya and Leonid were returning home, began to demand a horse. Leonid shoots a revolver and rushes with Katya to the mountains. There is a strong firing, one of the bullets injures the girl’s hand. The fugitives manage to escape, and Leonid thanks the sister for courage: “It is a pity that you are not with us.
Unexpectedly, Moscow orders to arrest Ivan Ilyich. His acquaintances are anxious about release, but the situation is complicated, and the Crimea again passes into the hands of the White Guards. Before leaving, the Red shoot prisoners, but Sartanova again rescues Leonid. From a random bullet his wife dies, and recently returned home the second daughter, Vera, a convinced communist, shot by Cossacks. Again there are commandant’s offices, counterintelligence, arrests are… The ruined summer residents are asked to return the taken away by the commissars. Katya is trying to protect the academician Dmitrevsky, who was seized for his cooperation, but to no avail. Alienation lies between her and Dmitry. Gradually, Ivan Ilyich dies and dies of Scurvy. Left alone, Katya sells out her things and, without saying good-bye, leaves the village no one knows where.
V. V. Veresaev