Summary “Cornet Yelagin’s Case” Bunin


This strange, mysterious thing happened on June 19, 19 … Cornet Elagin killed his mistress, actress Maria Sosnovskaya.

Elagin was born like an officer – ten generations of his ancestors served. When he was deprived of an officer’s rank, he sobbed. Elagin came from a rich and rich family. His mother, a very exalted woman, died very early. His father was a harsh and stern man, instilled fear.

Contrary to the general low opinion of Elagin, his regimental comrades spoke of him in the best way.


Sosnovskaya was a thoroughbred polka. Father, a petty official, committed suicide when she was three years old. The Sosnovsky family was of medium affluence. Maria studied at a private boarding house very well. Sometimes she wrote out on the scraps of paper the thoughts and sayings that she liked. For example, “Not to be born is the first happiness, the second is to return to oblivion as soon as possible.”

Eighteen years

she left for Lviv, easily got on the stage and soon gained fame among the public and in the theatrical circles. In her life there was a “scoundrel”, a very wealthy Galician landowner. With him, she went to Constantinople, to Venice, to Paris, was in Krakow, Berlin. Another scoundrel taught her to have hash and wine.


In the city and in the theater, she became a talk of the town. She was very persistent looking for a heart that could love, and constantly said: “My main goal is to live and enjoy life.” Sosnovsky craved fame, human attention. She was twenty-eight years old. She was very beautiful. Her constant occupation was to play, tease. So she behaved with Elagin. Then he roasted him, then poured cold water.

She suffered from attacks of anguish, despair, suffered a strong nervous breakdown, loss of memory, hallucinations. She began consumptive.


During the interrogations, Elagin persistently insisted that they were both in a tragic situation, and, killing Sosnovsky, he only carried out her order. In Elagin’s business card found on her breast,

her hand was written in Polish: “This man acted rightly, killing me, … dying not of his own free will.”

Elagin’s father would never allow him to marry Sosnovsky. It was impossible to live with Elagin without marriage – Polish society would never forgive an open unlawful connection with a Russian officer. It was not for nothing that she was called “a woman of easy virtue”, and the Catholic Church refused her in a Christian burial, “as a bad and dissolute person.”


At the trial Elagin told about the events of June 19. They met at the apartment where their visits were taking place. In the second hour of the night she said that she wants to go home, but she can not, that Elagin is her rock, her destiny, God’s will: “Kill me, for our love!”. Elagin embraced her with his left hand, holding the finger of his right hand on the descent of the revolver. Then somehow the finger jerked itself…

He did not shoot himself because he forgot everything in the world. Full indifference seized him. “He is guilty before the law of the people, before God, but not before her.”

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Summary “Cornet Yelagin’s Case” Bunin