A. A. Bestuzhev
Captain-Lieutenant Ilya Petrovich Pravin was in love for the first time and with all possible passion. In vain are the anxieties and warnings of friends, and more of all comrade in the naval corps, and now the first lieutenant of his frigate Neil Pavlovich Kakorin. In vain are the intricate medical advice of a ship’s doctor. Every day the captain at a ball or reception, every day looking to see Princess Vera **. Careless observation of a stranger in her presence – and now there is a duel in which Pravin hundred times superior to an opponent by nobility and courage. Suspicion that her attention belongs to another – and the infernal torments of his heart, like the fierce winds of the Atlantic. Confident that he was preferred to a young diplomat, Pravin goes to the Hermitage to forget himself among the masterpieces of true art that exalt the soul. Here, in the sculpture of Psyche – the wonderful creation of Canova, he meets
Vera. It follows desperate recognition and in return… recognition, equally sincere, involuntary and irresistible. Happiness covers the captain like a bright fire. He is loved! But the virtue of the Faith… To shake her, we need an uncommon effort. And one day he is to her at the dacha in full uniform. “What does this mean, Captain?” Pravin, meanwhile, compiled a whole story about how he chose the second from the two orders-a brief courier visit to the shores of Greece and a four-year round trip to the American fort Ross and vice versa (the reality offered only the first one), because the hopelessness of his position leaves him no other option. “No, cher ami, I’ve just decided, just go on a cruise to the warm Mediterranean Sea, I’ll do anything!” Pravin cried with shame and confessed everything. But Vera herself was already happy with this resolution of tension. Meanwhile, fate tightened their relationship sea knot.
Ten days later in Kronstadt an anchored vessel was removed, at the stern of which a group of three persons could be seen: a harmonious naval staff officer,
a squat man with general epaulettes and a charming lady.
A woman in love overcomes the limits of the possible. Everything is arranged in the best way, to restore health Prince Peter *** and his wife go abroad, and before England he is allowed to sail aboard the frigate “Hope”.
Prince Peter was greatly interested in excellent ship’s cuisine. Pravin caught the darkness of the night in Princess Vera’s black eyes, she was drowning in his blue. They were blissful.
Passed Revel and Finland, swept Sweden, Denmark, Norway, flashed straits, islands, wonderful beacons of genius in their practical Englishmen. The prince went to Portsmouth, the princess was taken to one of the villages in the south of the island, where she had to wait for her husband’s return from London. Lovers said goodbye.
The frigate stood at anchor in view of the shore. The weather got worse. Pravin did not find his place. Suddenly he decided to go ashore – to see her another one time! Lieutenant Kakorin objected friendly, but resolutely: the captain is obviously neglecting his duties, the storm is approaching, now it is not necessary to leave the ship. There is a quarrel. The captain removes Kakorin, his first assistant, from the command and tells his friend to go under arrest. Then he fulfills his intention: a date or death!
Lovers are experiencing a stormy night. By the sea walk tornadoes, huge shafts uplift the surface of the waters. The captain understands that he must be on the ship, it is clear to him that he commits a betrayal, postponing the return until the morning. But he can not leave. In the morning before the lovers unexpectedly is Prince Peter. The explanations are inappropriate – the prince rejects his wife and returns to London. Now they are free, happiness opens before them. But past the windows of the hotel in a stormy sea, like a ghost, moves a ship, worn by a storm. This is “Hope”. Now Vera can not keep the captain. A ten-passenger boat rushes to the heart of the storm.
The boat struck with horrible force against the ship’s side. Six oarsmen were killed. Due to the inexperience of the second lieutenant, five more people died on the ship under the wreckage of the mast. Captain Pravin was seriously wounded, lost a lot of blood. A copper nail from the ship’s hull upon impact hit him between the ribs. Depressed by his guilt, he suffered uncommonly. The whole team, including the ship’s doctor, prayed to God for his salvation.
The princess spent the day and night at the window of the hotel with a telescope, not letting go of the frigate. There was all her hope. Long-term observation in the telescope produces an extraordinary effect, turning us into an excitement similar to the influence of the play in an unknown language. The Princess saw everything, but she could not fully understand anything. Everything moved, the frigate was removed, came to the former slender appearance. Suddenly, the gun struck with fire. Something red flashed and disappeared overboard. The flag dropped to the very bottom, then again flew to the mast.
Today he will not come again? But at dusk we heard footsteps. A man entered the Scottish cloak. With a jubilant heart, Vera rushed to him. But the man’s hand pushed her away.
“Princess, you are mistaken, I’m not Pravin,” said someone else’s voice, Lieutenant Kakorin standing in front of her, “the captain is dead, he has lost too much blood.” “His blood stayed here,” he added bitterly. “…
The performance did not begin, they waited for the emperor. The young Guards officer sent his fashionable quadrangular lorgnette to one of the boxes, then bent down to his neighbor: “Who is this beautiful lady next to the fat general?” – “This is the wife of Prince Peter ***” – “How?” Is it really the same Vera ***, whose tragic love for Captain Pravin was so much talked about in the world? ” “Alas, this is his second wife.” Princess Vera died in England after the death of the captain. ”
Is not death terrible? Is not love beautiful? And is there any thing in the world where good and evil are not mixed?