Prince Nekhlyudov was nineteen years old when, from the third year of university, he came to summer vacations in his village and one stayed there all summer. In the autumn he wrote to his aunt, Countess Beloretskaya, who, in his opinion, was his best friend and the most ingenious woman in the world, that he was going to leave the university to devote himself to life in the countryside.
Wanting to put things in order, Nekhlyudov discovered that the main evil lies in the plight of the peasants, and that evil can only be remedied by labor and patience. The prince decided that his sacred and direct duty to care for the happiness of seven hundred of his peasants, and to be a diligent master, there is no diploma and ranks. Nekhlyudov also asked not to show letters to his brother Vasya,
The countess answered him that the letter had proved nothing, except that the prince had a beautiful heart. However, in order to be a good master, one must be a cold and stern man, than he will hardly ever be, although he tries to pretend to be so. Such plans are just childish. The prince always wanted to seem like an original, but this originality is nothing but excessive self-esteem. The misery of a few peasants is evil necessary, or an evil that can be helped, without forgetting all of its obligations to society, to its relatives and to oneself.
The young man, having received this letter, thought for a long time about him and, finally, having decided that both the brilliant woman could be mistaken, filed a petition for dismissal from the university and remained forever in the village.
The young landlord had drawn up rules for his household, and his whole life was divided into hours, days and months. Sunday was appointed to receive petitioners, to bypass the economy of the poor peasants and to provide them with the consent of the world, which met every Sunday evening. More than a year passed in such occupations, and the young man was no longer entirely new to either practical or theoretical knowledge of the economy.
On a clear June Sunday, the master went to a village located on both sides of a large road. Nekhlyudov was a tall, slender young man with large, thick, curly dark-brown hair, with a bright glint in his black eyes, fresh cheeks and ruddy lips, over which only the first fluff of youth was showing up. In all his movements and gait, the strength, energy and good-natured self-satisfaction of youth were noticeable. The peasant people returned in colorful crowds from the church, bowing low to the master and avoiding him.
Nekhludoff took out a notebook: “Ivan Churisenok – asked for bipods,” he read. The dwelling of Churisenka was a half-decayed log house, bent to one side and ingrown into the ground. The house and the courtyard had once been covered under one uneven roof, now only the stubble straw was densely piled up in a pile; at the top in the same place were visible rafters.
“Is Ivan at home?” asked Nekhludoff.
“At home, breadwinner,” answered the little old woman, in a torn plaited panel.
When Nekhlyudov, after greeting her, passed through the passage to the narrow courtyard, the old woman propped her hand against the door and, without taking her eyes off the master, began to shake her head softly. The yard is poor and dirty. Churisenok broke the fence with an ax, which crushed the roof.
Ivan Churis was a man of about fifty, below the usual height. The features of his tanned oblong face, surrounded by a dark-brown with a gray beard and the same thick hair, were beautiful and expressive. His dark blue half-closed eyes looked smartly and good-naturedly, carefree. A small, regular mouth, sharply denoted from under the blond, rare mustache, when he smiled, expressed a calm self-confidence and a somewhat mocking indifference to everything around him. On the roughness of the skin, deep wrinkles, sharply marked veins on the neck, face and hands, on unnatural stoop and curved, arched position of the legs it was clear that his whole life had passed in excessive, too hard work. His clothes consisted of white linen portraits, with patches on his knees, and the same dirty shirt that spread on his back and hands.
“Here’s your farm to visit,” Nekhludoff said with childlike amiability and shyness. – Show me, what do you need plows for, which you asked me at the meeting.
– Yes, I wanted to back up the yard, I really fell apart.
– Yes, you need a forest, not bipods.
– Vestiimo need, but there is nowhere to take: not all the same on the court yard to go! If we give our brother the habit of giving obeisances for every good thing to the court of the court, what kind of peasants will we be?
“Well, you would say at the meeting that you need to add the entire yard.” I’m glad to help you…
“Many are pleased with your grace,” answered Churisenok, incredulously and without looking at the master. “I have at least four logs to give me logs, so maybe I’ll manage myself, but which waste wood, so go to the hut on the props.” Togo and wait with the woman that is about to crush someone – indifferently said Churis. – The other day, and then the nag from the ceiling to my woman on the back flashed, so that she lay dead until night.
“Why are you sick, and did not come to tell the hospital?” said the young master with annoyance, shrugging his shoulders.
– Yes, all is not enough: on the corvee, at home, and the children – all alone! the woman moaned. – Our business is lonely…
Nekhludoff entered the hut. In the middle of this black, stinky six-barrel hut, in the ceiling, there was a big crevice, and, despite the fact that there were two supports in two places, the ceiling was so bent that it seemed, from a minute to a minute, threatened with destruction.
Nekhludoff was annoyed and hurt that Churis himself into this situation and did not apply to him before, while he was since his arrival had never denied the peasants and only in order to ensure that all right to come to him for their needs. He even felt a certain anger at the peasant, shrugged his shoulders angrily and frowned; but the sight of the poverty that surrounded him, and among this poverty, the calm and self-satisfied appearance of Churis turned his annoyance into some kind of sad, hopeless feeling.
“Have you seen the stone Gerard’s huts that I built on a new farm, that with empty walls?” The huts are nice, dry and warm, and from a fire are not so dangerous. I’ll probably give it to you for your price; you’ll give it someday, “said the gentleman with a smug smile that he could not hold at the thought of doing good deeds. “Well, do not you like it?” asked Nekhlyudov, noticing that, as soon as he spoke of the resettlement, Churis plunged into perfect immobility and, without smiling, looked at the ground.
“No, your excellency, if we move there, we are bad here, and there you will not be peasants forever.” Yes, and there it is impossible to live, your will!
Nekhlyudov began to prove to the peasant that the resettlement, on the contrary, was very beneficial for him, that the fences and sheds would be built there, that the water was good there, but Churis’s dull silence embarrassed him, and for some reason he felt that he did not speak as he should. Churisenok did not mind him; but when the master fell silent, he smiled a little, and noticed that it would be better to settle in the village the old folks and Alyosha the fool, so that they could watch the bread there.
“And, sir, your Excellency!” “answered Churis with animation, as if frightened that the master did not make a final decision:” here is a cheerful place in the world: the road, the pond to you, and our whole peasant institution, here originally established, and the windy ones – that’s what my parents planted ; and our grandfather and father have given our soul here to God, and it’s only to me that I should finish my century here, Your Excellency, I do not ask anything else. If you will correct the grace of your hut, we shall be much pleased with your grace; but no, so we’ll live somehow in our old age.
When Nekhlyudov sat down again on the bench and the silence settled in the hut, interrupted only by the whimpering of a woman who was wiping his tears with the sleeve of his shirt, the young landlord realized what a collapsing hut meant for Churis and his wife, a collapsed well with dirty puddles, rotting huts, sheds and cracked willows, visible before the curved window, – and he felt something heavy, sad and somewhat ashamed.
“You’re coming to the meeting tonight; I will talk about your request to the world; If he awards you a hut, it’s so good, but now I do not have a forest. I wish with all my heart to help you; but if you do not want to move, then the matter is no longer mine, but worldly.
“Many are pleased with your grace,” answered Churis, embarrassed. “If you please the fishing line into the courtyard, we will get well again.” “What is the world?” It’s a well-known thing… I’ll come. Why not come? Only I do not want to ask the world.
The young landowner evidently wanted to ask something from the owners; he did not get up from the bench and looked uncertainly at Churis or an empty stove.
“Have you had dinner yet?” he finally asked.
“Today is a hungry fast, Your Excellency.”
Nekhlyudov knew for a long time, not rumored, not on faith in the words of others, but in fact, all that extreme degree of poverty in which his peasants were; but this whole reality was so incongruous with all his upbringing, his mind and way of life, that he, against his will, forgot the truth, and whenever he, as now, vividly, tactfully reminded her, his heart became unbearably hard and sad, as if the memory of some committed, unredeemed crime tormented him.
“Why are you so poor?” he said, involuntarily expressing his thought.
“But how can we be, my dear sir, how can you not be poor?” Our land is like clay, hillocks, and even that, here with cholera, read, will not give birth to bread. My old woman is sick, that not a year, then the girls give birth: after all, all must be fed. Here I am alone, and seven souls are at home. Here is my help all here, “Churis continued, pointing to a bald-headed boy of about seven, with a huge belly, who at that time timidly entered the hut and, fixing his surprised eyes at the master, with his two hands gripped Churis’s shirt with both hands.
“But your kindness will be dismissed from the school: otherwise the zemsky came to you, too,” he said, “and your lordship demands it in the school.” After all, what is his mind, your excellency? He is still young, does not know anything.
“No, your boy can understand, it’s time for him to learn.” I’m saying it for your own good. You judge for yourself how it will grow with you, the owner will be, let it be literate to know and read will be able to – after all you home with the help of God, better go, – said Nekhlyudov, trying to express as clearly as possible and at the same time for some reason blushing and hesitating.
“Without a doubt, your excellency,” you do not want to want us, but there’s no one to stay at home: we’re a woman at the corvee’s, well, and he, albeit malenyk, supports everything. ” Whatever it is, and all the peasants – and Churisenok with a smile took his fat fingers behind the boy’s nose and blew it.
“Yes, I also wanted to tell you,” said Nekhludoff, “why is not your manure taken out?”
“What kind of manure I have, your Excellency!” And there’s nothing to carry. My beast what? a mare and a foal, and a heifer from the calves in the autumn gave the janitor a wiper-that’s all my cattle. And the cattle to the court does not go to ours. It’s the sixth year that does not live.
“Well, brother, that you do not say that you do not have cattle because there is no food, but there is no stern because there are no cattle, that’s for a cow,” Nekhlyudov said, blushing and taking out a crumpled bundle of bank notes from his pocket and examining her, – buy yourself a cow for my happiness, and take the food from the threshing floor, – I’ll order.
“Many are pleased with your grace,” Churis said with his usual mocking smile.
The young master became uncomfortable; he hurriedly got up from the bench, went out into the passage and called for Churis. The sight of the man to whom he did good was so pleasing that he did not want to part with him soon.
“I’m glad to help you,” he said, stopping at the well. “You can help, because, I know, you’re not being lazy.” You will work and I will help; with God’s help and will recover.
“It’s not that it’s better to recover, but only not to be ruined, your Excellency,” said Churis, taking on a sudden stern expression, as if very displeased with the master’s suggestion that he might recover. – Lived with my father and brothers, they did not see anything; but how did he die and how did they part ways, so it got worse and worse. All alone!
Again Nekhlyudov experienced a feeling similar to shame or remorse. He lifted his hat and went on.
“Yukhvanka-Mudreny wants a horse to sell” – Yukhvankin’s cottage was carefully covered with straw from the lord’s threshing floor and felled from fresh aspen wood (also from the lord’s order). The sents and the cold hut were also serviceable; but the general kind of contentment was violated by a cage with an unfinished fence and an open canopy that could be seen from behind it.
On the other hand, two peasant women with a full tub approached. One of them was a wife, another mother of Yukhvanka the Wise. The first was a dense, ruddy woman. She was wearing a clean shirt sewn on the sleeves and collar, a new panel, beads and an embroidered flaunting kichka. The slight tension, noticeable in her red face, in the curve of her back and the measured movement of her arms and legs, showed her extraordinary health and masculine strength.
Yukhvankin’s mother, who was carrying the other end of the water-carrier, was, on the contrary, one of those old women who seemed to have reached the last limit of old age. The bony frame of her was bent; Both her hands, with twisted fingers, were of some kind of brown color, and seemed to be unable to unbend; dull head wore on itself the ugliest traces of poverty and extreme old age. From under a narrow forehead, dug in all directions, deep wrinkles, dimly looked into the ground two red eyes, devoid of eyelashes. One yellow tooth showed from under the upper, hollow lip. The wrinkles on the lower part of the face and throat looked like some sacks that swung with each movement. She was breathing hard and hoarse; but his bare legs, which were bent, though they seemed to be dragging along the ground, moved one after the other.
The modest young landowner sternly, but carefully looked at the ruddy woman, frowned and turned to the old woman.
“Is your son at home?” asked the barium.
The old woman, bending her even more bent stature, bowed and wanted to say something, but putting her hands to her mouth, she coughed so much that Nekhludoff, without waiting, entered the hut. Yukhvanka, sitting in the red corner on the bench, saw the master, rushed to the stove, as if he wanted to hide from him, hurriedly put something on the floor and, twitching his mouth and eyes, pressed himself against the wall, as if giving the road to the master. Yukhvanka was a fair-haired boy of about thirty, slender, with a young pointed beard, quite handsome, if not running brown eyes, unpleasantly peeking out from under wrinkled eyebrows, and not a lack of two front teeth, which immediately caught his eye, because his lips were short and incessantly moved. He wore a festive shirt, striped pants and heavy boots with wrinkled bootlegs.
The interior of the Yukhvanka’s hut was not as cramped and gloomy as the inside of the Churis hut, although it was also stuffy in it, and also the peasant’s dress and utensils were randomly scattered. Two things here somehow strangely stopped the attention: a small bent samovar and a black frame with a portrait of some general in a red uniform. Nekhlyudov, looking unfriendly at the samovar, at the portrait of the general and on the flotilla, turned to the peasant.
“Hello, Epifan,” he said, looking into his eyes.
Epifan bowed, his eyes instantly ran around the whole figure of the master, the hut, the floor and the ceiling, without stopping at anything.
“I went to ask you why you need to sell your horse.” – Sough said the master, apparently, repeating the prepared questions.
– A horse that, a vasyaso, is worthless… If the beast were good, I would not sell, vasyaso.
“Let’s go, show me your horses.”
While Nekhlyudov was walking out the door, Yukhvanka took the phone from the shelves and threw it by the stove.
In the courtyard under the canopy stood a thin, gray mare, a two-month-old foal did not depart from her skinny tail. In the middle of the courtyard, squinting and thoughtfully lowering his head, there was a bay of meren, a good peasant’s horse.
“Well, I want to sell it, sir,” Yukhvanka said, waving his dozing merenka and flashing and flinching incessantly. Nekhlyudov asked to catch a merenka, but Yukhvanka, declaring the cattle to be rickety, did not move from his place. And only when Nekhlyudov angrily cried out, rushed to the canopy, brought a rip off and began chasing the horse, frightening her. Barin was tired of looking at it, he took it and straight from his head went to the horse and, suddenly grabbing her by the ears, ducked to the ground with such force that the merenok staggered and wheezed. When Nekhlyudov noticed that it was completely useless to use such efforts, and looked at Yukhvanka, who did not cease to smile, he came up with the most insulting idea in his summer that Yukhvanka laughs at him and considers him a child. He blushed, opened his horse’s mouth, looked into his teeth: the horse was young.
“You’re a liar and a scoundrel!” said Nekhlyudov, panting with angry tears. He paused not to be ashamed, bursting into tears with the peasant. Yukhvanka also was silent and with the air of a man who is now crying, and slightly twitched his head. “Well, on what will you go out to plow, when will you sell this horse?” And most importantly, why are you lying? Why do you need money?
– Bread is nothing, vasyaso, and the debts must be given to the peasants-ti, vasyaso.
“Sell horses and do not you dare think!”
“What will our life be like?” “Yukhvanka replied completely to the side, and suddenly throwing a bold glance directly at the master’s face:” So you must starve to death. “
“Look, brother!” shouted Nekhludoff. “I will not hold such men like you.” You sit at home and smoke a pipe, but do not work; you are your mother, who gave you all the farming, you do not give a piece of bread, you let her beat your wife and bring her to her that she came to me to complain.
“Forgive me, your siyaso, I do not even know what these pipes are,” Yukhvanka replied in a confused tone, mostly offended by the charge of pipe smoking.
“Listen, Epifan,” Nekhludoff said in a childishly gentle voice, trying to hide his excitement. “If you are a good man to be a man, then change your life, leave bad habits, do not lie, do not drink, respect your mother.” Engage in farming, and not by letting the state forest steal and go to the tavern. If you need anything, then come to me, ask directly and do not lie, then I will not refuse you.
“Forgive me, wasyoso, we seem to be able to understand your syas!” Yukhvanka answered, smiling, as if fully understanding the charm of the prince’s joke.
This smile and answer completely disappointed Nekhlyudov in the hope of touching the peasant and turning to the true path. He lowered his head sadly and went out into the passage. On the threshold sat an old woman and moaned loudly, as it seemed, in sympathy with the words of the master.
“Here’s your bread,” Nekhlyudov said in her ear, putting the note in his hand, “but buy it yourself, and do not give Yukhvanka, or else he’ll drink it.”
The old woman grabbed the lintel with her bony hand to get up, but Nekhlyudov was already at the other end of the street when she got up.
“Davydka White asked for bread and stakes.” After passing several courtyards, Nekhlyudov, at a turn in the alley, met with his clerk, Yakov Alpatych, who, seeing the master from afar, took off his oilcloth cap and, taking out a foulard scarf, began wiping his thick, red face.
“I was at the Wise.” Tell me, please, why did he become so? said the master, continuing to walk along the street. “He is a complete rascal, a lazy person, a thief, a liar, his mother is tortured and, apparently, such an inveterate scoundrel who will never improve.” And his wife, it seems, is a pious woman. The old woman is worse than any beggar; there is nothing to eat, but she is discharged, and so is he. I definitely do not know what to do with it.
Yakov was visibly embarrassed when Nekhlyudov spoke about Yukhvanka’s wife.
“Well, if he let himself go like this, your Excellency,” he began, “we need to find some measures.” He is exactly in poverty, like all single men, but he still observes himself, not like others. He is a clever, intelligent and honest guy, I think, a man. And the elder in my management for three years went, too, nothing is noticed. And as you do not like, it means that these measures are used, then I really do not know what to do with it. Again, soldiers are no good, because there are not two teeth. And what about the old woman you care to worry about, it’s in vain. After all, it is generally in the peasantry, when the mother or father handed the farm to the son, then the master is the son and daughter-in-law, and the old woman must earn her bread by force in the urine. They, of course, do not have those tender feelings, but in the peasantry this is generally the case. Well, she quarreled with her daughter-in-law, that maybe she pushed her – the woman’s business! You already too much all to heart to accept. Home please? – he asked.
– No, to Davydka White, or the Goat… how does he pronounce himself?
“I’ll tell you.” What he did not do to him – nothing takes: neither on himself, nor at the corvee, everything falls through a stump. And Davydka is a gentle man, and intelligent, and he does not drink, but worse than a drunken man. One thing that comes into the soldiers or settles, nothing more to do. So you do not need me, your excellency? added the manager, noticing that the master did not listen to him.
“No, go,” Nekhlyudov answered absentmindedly and went to Davydka White.
Davydkin’s cottage stood crooked and lonely at the edge of the village. The tall weeds grew on the spot where the courtyard once was. No one, except the pig, lying in the mud at the doorstep, was near the hut.
Nekhlyudov knocked at the broken window: but no one answered him. He entered the open hut. The rooster and two hens paced the floor and the benches. A six-tower hut was occupied by a furnace with a broken pipe, a weaving mill, which, despite the summer time, was not carried out, and the blackened table with a curved, cracked board.
Although it was dry outside, there was a dirty puddle at the threshold, formed from a leak in the roof. It was hard to imagine that this place was residential, but in this hut lived Davydka Bely with his entire family. At the present moment Davydka was fast asleep, huddled in the corner of the stove. Not seeing anyone in the hut, Nekhlyudov wanted to leave already, as a long sigh inculpated the master.
– Who’s there? Come here!
On the stove slowly moved, one big leg descended in tattered bast, then another, and finally the whole figure of Davydka the White appeared. Slowly bending his head, he glanced at the hut and, seeing the master, began to turn a little faster, but still so quiet that Nekhlyudov managed to pass three times from the pool to the weaving mill and back, and Davydka was still climbing off the stove. Davydka White was really white: both the hair, and the body, and his face – everything was extremely white. He was tall and very fat. The thickness of it, however, was some kind of soft, unhealthy. His pretty face, with light blue, calm eyes and a broad, broad beard, bore the imprint of morbidity. On it was not noticeable neither sunburn, nor blush; it was all somewhat pale, yellowish in color and as if everything was swollen with fat or swollen. His hands were plump, Like the hands of people who are sick with water, and covered with thin white hair. He was so sleepy that he could not quite open his eyes and not stand staggering or yawning.
“Well, how do you not feel ashamed,” began Nekhlyudov, “to sleep in the middle of a white day, when you need to build a yard when you have no bread?”
As soon as Davydka came to his senses from sleep and began to understand that the master was standing before him, he folded his hands under his stomach, lowered his head, bending it slightly to one side, and did not move. He seemed to want the master to stop talking, but quickly nailed him, but left him at once in peace. Noticing that Davydka does not understand him, Nekhlyudov tried various things to get the man out of his patiently patient silence.
“Why did you ask me for the forest when he’s been with you for a month now, huh?” Davydka remained silent and did not move. “You have to work, brother.” Now you have no bread at all – all from laziness. You ask me for bread. Whose bread will I give you?
“Lordly,” muttered Davydka, raising his eyes timidly and inquiringly.
“And where is the master’s place?” They complain at you and at the corvee’s office – they worked least of all, but you ask for more bread. For what you give, and others do not?
At that moment the head of a peasant woman flashed past the window, and a minute later Davydkin’s mother entered the hut, a tall woman of about fifty, very fresh and alive. Ragged and wrinkled her face was ugly, but a straight solid nose, tight thin lips and fast gray eyes expressed intelligence and energy. The angularity of the shoulders, the plane of the chest, the dryness of the hands and the development of the muscles on her black bare feet testified that she had long ceased to be a woman and was only an employee. She briskly entered the hut, closed the door and angrily glanced at her son. Nekhludoff wanted to say something to her, but she turned away from him and began to be baptized on a black wooden icon, then she straightened a dirty checkered handkerchief and bowed low to the master.
Seeing his mother, Davydka noticeably embarrassed, bent his back somewhat and lowered his neck even lower.
“Thank you, Arina,” answered Nekhludoff. “Now I’m talking with your son about your farm.”
Arina, or, as the peasants called her in the girls, Arishka Burlak, without listening, began to speak so sharply and sonorous that the whole hut was filled with the sound of her voice:
“Why, my father, why talk to him?” Bread bursts, and the work from it, as from a pack. Only he knows on the stove to lie down. I myself ask: do you punish him for the sake of the Lord God, in soldiers – one end! My urine was gone with him. He ruined me, the orphan! she squealed suddenly, waving her arms and approaching her son with a threatening gesture. – Smooth your face snouting, God forgive! (She turned away contemptuously and desperately from him, spat and again turned to the master with the same animation and with tears in her eyes, continuing to wave her arms.)
He froze me, a scoundrel! The daughter-in-law from a job has got exhausted – and to me the same will be. We took her last year from Baburin, well, the woman was young and fresh. As our work has learned, well, it was overstrained. Yes, the boy gave birth to a mischief, there is no bread, and even work is hasty, her breasts and dry. And how the little girl died, she was howling and howling, and she herself was over. He decided it, beast! – Again, with desperate malice, she turned to her son… – What did I want to ask you, your Excellency, son of a son, please. I do not let God die, because he will not be a man to you. And the bride is – Vasyuka Mikheikina.
“Does not she agree?”
– No, the breadwinner.
– I can not force; look for another: not in yourself, so with strangers; if only I went on my hunt. You can not force marriage. And there is no such law, and it’s a big sin.
“Uh-eh, the breadwinner!” Yes, what kind of hunt for us, then go, and what kind of guy give us a girl? One, they say, was starved to death, so will my own. Who will consider us, if not you? said Arina, her head bowed and spreading her hands with an expression of sad bewilderment.
“Here you asked for bread, so I’ll order you to let go,” the master said. And I can do nothing more.
Nekhludoff went into the passage. Mother and son, bowing, went out for the master.
“What shall I do with him, Father?” continued Arina, addressing the master. “After all, a peasant is a good man, but he’s become a villain.” Not otherwise, as his evil people have spoiled. If you find a person, you can heal him. Do not I go to the Dunduk: he knows all sorts of words, and knows the herbs, and removes it, he can heal it.
“Here it is, poverty is ignorance,” thought the young master, with a sad tilt of his head and walking down the village, “What can I do with him?” “To leave him in this position is impossible.” “Sent to a settlement or soldiers?” He thought about it with pleasure, but together with that some unclear consciousness told him something was wrong. Suddenly an idea came to him, which made him very happy, “Take me to the yard,” he said to himself, “to watch him himself, and with meekness and exhortation, to train and correct him.”
Remembering that we must still go to the rich peasant Dutlov, Nekhludoff went to a high and spacious hut in the middle of the village. On the way, he collided with a tall woman of about forty.
“Would you please come to us, sir?”
Entering her into the passage, Nekhlyudov sat down on the kadushka, took out and lit a cigarette.
“It’s better to sit here and talk,” he answered the invitation of the wet nurse to enter the hut. The nurse was still a fresh and beautiful woman. In the features of her face and especially in her big black eyes there was a great resemblance to the face of the master. She folded her arms under the curtain and, boldly looking at the master, began to talk to him:
“Why is it, my dear fellow, why do you want to pay tribute to Dutlov?”
– Yes, I want to start a business with him, and buy a forest together.
– It is known, father, Dutlov’s people are strong, and money should be.
“Does he have much money?” asked the master.
– Yes there must be money. Yes, and the old man is the real one. And the guys are happy. As there is a real head in the house, it will be fine. Now the old man, Karp, wants to put the master in the house. Karp something good man, but everything against the old man the owner will not work!
– Maybe Karp wants to tackle the land and groves?
“Hardly, father.” While the old man is alive, he is the chief. And the old man will be afraid of his master to declare his money. The hour and all the money will be decided…
“Yes…” said Nekhludoff. blushing. “Farewell, nurse.”
“Good-bye, my dear sir.” Thank you very much.
“Nate’s home?” thought Nekhludoff, approaching the gates of the Dutlovs and feeling some indefinite sadness and moral fatigue. But at that time the new tesovy gate opened, and a handsome, ruddy blond-haired guy of about eighteen appeared in a Yam dress, leading a troika of sturdy shaggy horses.
“What, father at home, Ilya?” asked Nekhludoff. “No, I will stand the character, I will propose to him, I will do what depends on me,” thought Nekhlyudov, going into the spacious yard of Dutlov. In the yard and under the high canopies there were many carts, sleighs, all peasant good; pigeons cooed under wide, strong rafters. In one corner Karp and Ignat fitted a new pillow under a large cart. All three of Dutlov’s sons were almost the same person. The smaller, Ilya, who met Nekhlyudov at the gate, was without a beard, smaller in size, rougher and more elegant than the elders; the second, Ignat, was taller, blacker, with a wedge-shaped wedge, and although he was wearing boots, a shirt and a hat of a hat, he did not have that festive, carefree kind, like a little brother. The eldest, Karp, was still taller, wore bast shoes, a gray caftan, had a large red beard, and looked not only serious,
“Tell your father to send, your excellency?” he said, going up to the master and bowing awkwardly and awkwardly.
“I need to talk to you,” Nekhludoff said, stepping back to the other side of the yard, so that Ignat could not hear the conversation. Self-confidence and some pride, and what the nurse said to him, so embarrassed the young master, that it was difficult for him to decide to talk about the alleged case. He felt as if he were guilty, and it seemed easier for him to talk with one brother so that the other one would not hear.
“What, your brothers are on the mail?”
– We drive mail on three triples, and then Ilyushka goes to the cart. At the extreme we feed on horses – and then thank God.
“Here’s what I want to offer you: the more you do to drive, just to feed, hire you better the land from me, and get a big farm.”
And Nekhlyudov, keen on his plan for a peasant farm, began to explain to the peasant his assumption.
“We are much pleased with your grace,” said Karp. – It’s better to study the man with the earth than to ride with a whip. Yes, my father is still alive, what can I think.
“Spend me, I’ll talk to him.”
The bent small figure of an old man with a shiny sun, an open gray head and a bald spot was seen near the door of a chopped, covered with fresh straw of the moss. Hearing the creak of the gate, the old man looked around and, smiling meekly and happily, went towards the master.
The bee was so cozy, joyful, the figure of the old man was so simple-hearted that Nekhlyudov instantly forgot the heavy impressions of the morning, and his beloved dream appeared to him vividly. He saw already all his peasants as rich and good-natured as the old Dutlov, and everyone smiled at him kindly and happily, because to him alone they owed their wealth and happiness.
“Do not you order a net, your excellency?” Now the bee is evil, biting, “said the old man. – The bee knows me, does not bite.
– So I do not need. And here I read in a book, “Nekhlyudov began, brushing away the bee, which, hammering in his hair, hummed under his ear,” that if the chaplet is directly standing, on the perches, then the bee swarms earlier. ” To do this, make such hives from the boards… from the crossbeams… – Nekhlyudov was hurt: but for some childish vanity he did not want to admit this, and he, once again giving up the grid, continued to tell the old man about that device of hives, about which he read in “Maison Rustique” [“Farm”]; But the bee stung him in the neck, and he lost himself and hesitated in the middle of reasoning.
The old bee did not bite, but Nekhlyudov could hardly resist the urge to run out; bees places in three stung him and buzzed from all sides.
“Now, your Excellency, I wanted to ask your favor,” continued the old man, “about Obisp, a wet nurse.” That’s what a year my bee will frighten my young ones, “said the old man, not noticing the slyness of the master.
“Well, after, now…” Nekhludoff said, and, unable to bear it any longer, waving his hands, ran out into the gate.
“It’s ground to rub with the earth: it’s nothing,” said the old man, stepping into the courtyard after the master. The master rubbed the earth with the place where he was stung, blushing, quickly looked back at Karp and Ignat, who did not look at him, and frowned angrily.
“What did I want to ask about the boys, your excellency,” said the old man, as if, or indeed, not noticing the terrible form of the master. “If only you were kind enough to let the guys go to the quit, so Ilyushka and Ignat would go into exile for the whole summer.”
“That’s exactly what I wanted to talk to you about,” said the master, turning to the old man, and wishing he was more clever to lead him to talk about the farm. – It does not trouble to engage in honest craft, but it seems to me that you could find another occupation; and this work is such that a young fellow goes everywhere, he can spoil, “he added, repeating the words of Karp. “How many others could you do at home: land and meadows…”
“And what, your Excellency, will not you go to the hut?” – Said the old man, bowing low and flashing his son. Ilyushka trotted into the hut, followed by Nekhlyudov, along with the old man.
The hut was white (with a pipe), spacious, with a floor and bunks. One young woman, thin, with an oblong pensive face, the wife of Elijah, was sitting on the bunk and swinging her foot with a sway; another, a dense, red-cheeked woman, the mistress of Karp, the onion in a wooden cup crumbled in front of the oven. A pock-marked pregnant woman, closing her sleeve, was standing near the stove. In the hut, except the heat of the sun, it was hot from the stove and smelled of freshly baked bread. From the polates, the blond heads of two boys and girls, who had crept there waiting for dinner, looked down curiously. Nekhlyudov was glad to see this contentment and at the same time for some reason was ashamed of the women and children who all looked at him. He sat on the bench blushing.
“Well, Father Mitry Mikolaich, what about the children you’re ordering?” said the old man.
“Yes, I would advise you not to let them go at all, but to find a job here for them,” Nekhludoff said suddenly, gathering courage. – I, you know, what you thought up: buy you with me in two groves in the breech forest and even the ground…
A gentle smile suddenly disappeared on the old man’s face.
“Well, if there were money, why not buy it,” he said.
“But you have money, why should they lie like that?” insisted Nekhludoff.
The old man suddenly became very agitated; his eyes flashed, his shoulders began to twitch.
“Yes, evil people have spoken about me,” he said in a trembling voice. “So, believe God, in the neighborhood of fifteen rubles, that Ilyushka brought, and there is nothing.
– Well, good, good! said the master, rising from the bench. “Farewell, owners.”
“My God, my God,” thought Nekhlyudov, as he headed for the house, “were all my dreams about the purpose and duties of my life, nonsense, why is it hard, sad, as if I am unhappy with myself?” And with extraordinary vividness he was transferred by imagination a year ago.
Early, early in the morning, without goal, he went out into the garden, from there into the forest, and wandered alone for a long time, suffering from an excess of some feeling and not finding expression to him. He imagined a woman, but some higher feeling spoke differently and made him look for something else. It seemed that the laws of being were revealed to him, but again the higher feeling spoke differently. He lay down under a tree and began to look at the transparent morning clouds, suddenly, for no reason, tears filled his eyes. The thought came that love and goodness are truth and happiness. The higher feeling did not say the wrong thing. “So, I must do good to be happy,” he thought, and his whole future was no longer abstract, but in the shape of a landlord life he was vividly pictured before him.
He does not have to look for a calling, he has a direct duty – the peasants… “I must save them from poverty, educate, correct vices, make love of good… And for all this I, who will do it for my own happiness, I will enjoy their gratitude. ” And the young imagination drew him even more charming future: he, his wife and his old aunt live in perfect harmony…
“Where are these dreams?” Thought the young man as he approached the house, “it’s been more than a year now that I’m looking for happiness on this road, and what have I found?” The aunt wrote truthfully that it’s easier to find happiness yourself than to give it to others. Are my men more wealthy? Have they formed or developed morally? Not at all. They have become no better, but every day it gets harder. I spend the best years of my life for nothing. ” He remembered that there was no money left, that from day to day it was necessary to expect an inventory of the estate. Suddenly, his Moscow student’s room presented himself so vividly, conversations with the adorable sixteen-year-old friend, when they began to talk about the future that awaited them. Then the future was full of pleasures, diverse activities, brilliance, successes and, undoubtedly, led them both for the better, as it seemed then, the good in the world – to glory. “
But he was already approaching the porch of the house, near which stood a man of ten men and courtyards, waiting for the master. Nekhlyudov listened to all the requests and complaints and, advising one, dismantling the others and promising the third, experiencing some mixed feeling of fatigue, shame, powerlessness and remorse, went to his room.
In the small room occupied by Nekhludoff, there was an old leather sofa, several such chairs; spread out an ancient Boston table on which papers lay, and an old English piano. Between the windows hung a large mirror in an old gilded frame. On the floor, near the table, lay piles of papers, books and bills. In general, the whole room was characterless and disorderly; and this living disorder was a sharp contrast to the prim old-mahogany decoration of other rooms of the big house. Entering the room, Nekhlyudov angrily threw his hat on the table and sat down on the chair, which stood before the piano.
“What, will you have breakfast, Your Excellency?” said a tall, wrinkled old woman, who was entering at the same time, wearing a cap, a large kerchief and a cotton dress.
“No, I do not want to, nurse,” he said, and thought again.
“Ah, Father Dmitry Nikolaich, are you bored?” One day is one day. If only we went to the city or to our neighbors. If only I went to Auntie: she wrote the truth…
Nekhludoff became sadder and sadder. With his right hand he began to play the piano. Then he moved closer and began to play two hands. The chords he took were not quite right, but he supplemented the missing with imagination.
He imagined the plump figure of Davydka the White, his mother, the nurse, the brown head of his future wife, for some reason in tears. Then he sees Churis, his only son, then Yukhvanka’s mother, then remembers the flight from the bee-eater. Suddenly he sees a troika of horses and a beautiful, strong figure of Ilyushka. Presented how in the early morning there was a convoy, thick-legged, well-fed horses amicably pulling uphill. Here’s the evening. The train arrived at the inn, a delicious dinner in the hot hut. And here is the lodging for the night on the smelling hay. “Glorious!” Nekhludoff whispers to himself; and the thought: why he is not Ilyushka – also comes to him.