On one fine July morning I drove to my young neighbor Ardalion Mikhailovich with a proposal to hunt for grouse. He agreed with the condition that on the way we would go to him in Chaplygin, where the oak forest was being cut. The neighbor took with him the Tenth Arkhip, a fat and stocky peasant with a quadrangular face, and the manager Gottlieb von der Kok, a boy of about 19, thin, blond, blind, with sloping shoulders and a long neck. The estate was recently inherited by Ardalion from his aunt.
Oak forest Ardalion Mikhailovich I was familiar with since childhood – I often walked here with my tutor. The snowless and frosty winter of the 40th year was ruined by centuries-old oaks and ash trees. It was bitter for me to look at the dying forest. We made our way to the felling site,
At the sight of this death, I thought that the Russian peasant was dying, as if he was performing a ritual: cold and simple. Several years ago, in the village of another neighbor of mine, the peasant was burned in a barn. When I went to him, he was dying, and in the house there was a normal, everyday life. I could not stand it and left.
Still, I remember, I once wrapped myself in a hospital in the village of Krasnogorya, to the familiar paramedic Kapiton. Suddenly a cart moved into the yard, in which sat a dense man with a colorful beard. It was the miller Vasily Dmitrievich. Raising a millstone, he broke. Kapiton examined him, found a hernia and began to persuade him to stay in the hospital. Miller refused flatly and hurried home to dispose of his property. On the fourth day he died.
I also remembered my old friend, the less educated student Avenir Sorokoumov. He taught children from the great-Russian landowner Gura Krupyanikova. Abner was neither wise nor memorable, but no one knew how to rejoice in the successes of his friends. I visited Sorokoumov shortly before his death from consumption. The landowner did not expel him from the house, but he stopped paying the salaries and hired the new teacher for the children. Abner recalled his student youth and eagerly listened to my stories. After 10 days he died.
There are many more examples that come to mind, but I will limit myself to one. When I was dying old lady landowner. The priest gave her the cross. She pressed herself to the cross, and thrust her hand under the pillow, where the money was lying – the payment to the priest, and she gave up the spirit. Yes, Russians are amazingly dying.