A young flush played on her cheeks ... She felt that she was enjoying life ...
Important, Styopa! Important! She shouted. - So him! Chase! By the wind!
Be stones under the wheels, stones would crumble into sparks ... The village was moving away from them more and more ... The huts disappeared, the barracks hid ... Soon the bell towers were not visible ... Finally, the village turned into a smoky strip and drowned in the distance. But Stepan drove and drove everything. He wanted to rush away from sin, which he was so afraid of. But no, sin sat behind him, in a stroller. Stepan did not have to flee. That evening, the steppe and sky were witnesses of how he sold his soul.
At about eleven, the horses raced back. The affiliated limped, and the indigenous was covered with foam. The lady sat in the corner of the stroller and with half-closed eyes huddled in her talm. A satisfied smile played on her lips. She breathed so easily, calmly! Stepan rode and thought he was dying. His head was empty, foggy, and his chest was gnawing ...
Every day in the evening, fresh horses were taken out of the stable. Stepan harnessed them to the stroller and rode to the garden gate. A radiant lady came out of the gate, got into a stroller, and a furious ride began. Not a single day was free from this ride. Unfortunately for Stepan, not a single rainy evening fell on his lot, which he might not have gone to.
After one of these trips, Stepan, returning from the steppe, left the yard and went for a walk along the shore. In his head, as usual, there was fog, there was not a single thought, and there was terrible longing in his chest. The night was good, quiet. Subtle scents ran through the air and gently flirted with his face. I remembered Stepan the village, which was dark behind the river, in front of his eyes. I remembered the hut, the garden, my horse, the bench on which he slept with his Marya and was so pleased ... He was inexpressibly hurt ...
- Styopa! He heard a weak voice.
Stepan looked around. Marya went to him. She had just crossed the ford and was holding shoes in her hands.
- Styopa, why did you leave?
Stepan stared blankly at her and turned away.
- Stepushka, who did you leave me an orphan for?
- Leave me alone!
- God will punish you, Stepushka! He will punish you! He will send you a fierce death, without repentance. Remember my word! Uncle Trofim lived with a soldier - remember? - and how did he die? And God forbid!
- What are you molesting? Oh ...
Stepan took two steps forward. Mary grabbed the caftan with both hands.
“My wife, I’m yours, Stepan!” You can’t leave me like that! Stepushka!
- Nice one! I’ll wash my feet and drink water! Go home!
Stepan rushed and hit Marya with his fist; hit so with grief. The blow came just in the stomach. Marya missed, grabbed her stomach and sat down on the ground.
- Oh! She moaned.
Stepan blinked his eyes, grabbed his fist around the temple and, without looking back, went to the courtyard.
Having come to his stable, he fell on a bench, put a pillow on his head and painfully bit his hand.
At this time, the lady sat in her bedroom and wondered: will the weather be good tomorrow night or not? The cards said it would be good.
Early in the morning, Rzhevetsky was driving home from his neighbor, whom he was visiting. The sun has not yet risen. It was four in the morning, no more. Rzhevetsky’s head was noisy. He ruled a horse and swayed slightly. Half of the road he had to ride in the forest.
"What the hell? He thought, approaching the name in which he was the manager. “No one is cutting wood!”
From the thicket of the forest came the knock and crack of branches to the ears of the Rzhevetsky. Rzhevetsky sharpened his ears, thought, got out, awkwardly got down from the running jitter and went into the thicket.
Semyon Zhurkin sat on the ground and chopped green branches with an ax. Near him lay three felled alders. A horse stood harnessed to the side, and ate grass. Rzhevetsky saw Semyon. Hops and slumber flew off him instantly. He turned pale and jumped to Semen.
“What are you doing this?” but? He cried.
“What are you doing this?” but? - answered the echo.
Would you marry such a woman? - continued Ganya, not taking his sore eyes from him.
“I cannot marry anyone; I am unwell,” said the prince.
- Would Rogozhin get married? What do you think?
- But what, marry, I think, and tomorrow it is possible; would marry, and in a week, perhaps, and would stab her.
The prince had just uttered this; Ganya suddenly flinched so that the prince almost cried out.
- What's wrong with you? He said, grabbing his hand.
- Your Excellency! His Excellency is requested to welcome to Her Excellency, ”the footman announced, appearing at the door. The prince went after the footman.
All three girls of Yepanchina were young, healthy, flowering, tall, with amazing shoulders, powerful breasts, strong hands, almost like those of men, and, of course, due to their strength and health, they sometimes liked to eat well, which they did not want to hide at all . Their mother, generals Lizaveta Prokofievna, sometimes referred to the frankness of their appetite, but since her other opinions, despite all the outward respectfulness with which her daughters took, in fact, had long since lost their original and undeniable authority between them, and to such an extent that the established consonant conclave of three girls began to overpower all the time, the general, in the forms of her own dignity, found it more convenient not to argue and concede. True, the character very often did not obey and did not obey the decisions of prudence; Lizaveta Prokofievna became more capricious and impatient every year, even some kind of freak became, but since a very humble and accustomed husband was still at hand, the excess and accumulated poured out usually on his head, and then the harmony in the family was restored again , and everything went well.
The generalsha herself, however, did not lose her appetite and usually, at half-past twelve, took part in a plentiful breakfast, almost like lunch, with her daughters. The young ladies drank a cup of coffee even earlier, at exactly ten o'clock, in bed, at the moment of awakening. So they fell in love and established once and for all. At half-past twelve, a table was set up in a small dining room, near the mother’s rooms, and the general himself sometimes came to this family and intimate breakfast, if time allowed. In addition to tea, coffee, cheese, honey, butter, special pancakes, beloved by the general herself, cutlets and other things, even a strong hot broth was served. On the morning that our story began, the whole family gathered in the dining room in anticipation of the general, who promised to appear by half-past twelve. If he was late even for a minute, they would immediately send for him; but he appeared neatly. Going up to say hello to his wife and kiss her pen, he noticed something too special in her face this time. And although he had already anticipated the day before that it would be so today by one “joke” (as he himself expressed himself out of his habit), and, already falling asleep yesterday, was worried about it, but still he was again afraid . Daughters came up to kiss him; here, although they were not angry with him, but still there was also something special, as it were. True, the general, for some reason, became overly suspicious; but since he was an experienced and dexterous father and spouse, he immediately took his measures.
Maybe we won’t really hurt the convexity of our story if we stop here and resort to some explanations to directly and accurately state the relationships and circumstances in which we find the family of General Yepanchin at the beginning of our story. We already said now that the general himself, although he was a man and not very educated, but, on the contrary, as he expressed himself about himself, “a man of self-education,” but he was, however, an experienced spouse and a clever father. By the way, he accepted the system not to rush his daughters into marriage, that is, not to "hang over their souls" and not to bother them with too much languishing of their parental love for their happiness, as involuntarily and naturally happens all the time even in the most intelligent families, in which accumulate adult daughters. He even achieved that he also persuaded Lizaveta Prokofievna to his system, although the matter was generally difficult, difficult because it was unnatural; but the general’s arguments were extremely significant, based on tangible facts. Yes, and the brides, left completely to their will and their decisions, naturally, will be compelled to finally take up the mind themselves, and then the case will catch fire, because they will take up the matter by hunting, putting aside whims and excessive intelligibility; the parents would only have to vigilantly and inconspicuously observe to prevent any strange choice or unnatural evasion from occurring, and then, having seized the proper moment, help with all their might and direct the matter with all the influences. Finally, the mere fact that every year, for example, their condition and social significance grew exponentially; consequently, the more time went by, the more daughters won, even as brides.
But among all these compelling facts, another fact came: the eldest daughter, Alexandra, suddenly and almost completely unexpectedly (as always happens), twenty-five years have passed. Almost at the same time, Afanasy Ivanovich Totsky, a man of high society, with higher connections and extraordinary wealth, again found his old desire to marry. He was a man of about fifty-five, of an elegant character, with an extraordinary refinement of taste. He wanted to get married well; a connoisseur of beauty he was extraordinary. Since for some time he and General Yepanchin had an unusual friendship, especially reinforced by mutual participation in some financial enterprises, he told him, so to speak, asking for friendly advice and guidance: is it possible or not to offer a marriage with one of his daughters? In the quiet and beautiful course of the family life of General Yepanchin, an obvious coup came.
The undisputed beauty in the family, as already mentioned, was the youngest, Aglaya. But even Totsky himself, a man of extreme egoism, realized that he should not look here and that Aglaya was not intended for him. Perhaps the somewhat blind love and too warm friendship of the sisters exaggerated the matter, but the fate of Aglaya was intended between them, in the most sincere way, to be not just fate, but a possible ideal of an earthly paradise. Aglaya’s future husband was supposed to be the owner of all excellence and success, not to mention wealth. The sisters even laid among themselves, and somehow without special unnecessary words, about the possibility, if necessary, of their donation in favor of Aglaya: the dowry was intended for Aglaya colossal and out of the ordinary. Parents knew about this agreement between the two older sisters, and therefore, when Totsky asked for advice, there was almost no doubt between them that one of the older sisters would probably not refuse to crown their desires, especially since Afanasy Ivanovich could not be bothered about the dowry. But the general himself appreciated Totsky’s proposal immediately, with his characteristic knowledge of life, extremely highly. Since Totsky himself had observed, for some special circumstances, extreme caution in his steps and had just tried things, the parents offered their daughters only the most distant assumptions.
In response to this, it was received from them, too, although not quite definite, but at least a reassuring statement that the eldest, Alexandra, would probably not refuse. She was a girl, albeit with a strong character, but kind, rational and extremely accommodating; could marry Totsky even willingly, and if she had given the word, she would have performed it honestly. She did not like brilliance, not only did not threaten troubles and a sharp coup, but she could even sweeten and soothe her life. On her own, she was very good, although not so spectacular. What could be better for Totsky?
And yet, things continued to go on gropingly. Mutually and amicably between Totsky and the general it was supposed to avoid any formal and irrevocable step. Even the parents still did not begin to speak openly with their daughters; it was as if a dissonance began: General Yepanchina, the mother of the family, became somehow dissatisfied, and this was very important. There was one circumstance that interfered with everything, one tricky and troublesome case, because of which the whole thing could be irretrievably upset.
This tricky and troublesome “case” (as Totsky himself put it) began a very long time ago, about eighteen years ago. Near one of the richest estates of Afanasy Ivanovich, in one of the middle provinces, one small-local and poorest landowner was in poverty. He was a remarkable man for his incessant and anecdotal failures - one retired officer, of a good noble family, and even in this respect he was cleaner than Totsky, someone Philip Alexandrovich Barashkov. All debt and pledged, he had already finally managed to satisfactorily arrange his own little farm somehow after hard labor, almost manly. At the slightest success, he was unusually encouraged. Encouraged and shining with hopes, he went away for a few days to his county town to see and, if possible, finally meet with one of his most important creditors. On the third day, upon his arrival in the city, his headman came to him from his village, on horseback, with a burnt cheek and a burnt beard, and announced to him that "the estate was burned out" yesterday at noon, and his wife was deigned to burn, and the children remained intact. " Even Barashkov, accustomed to the “bruises of fortune,” could not bear this surprise; he lost his mind and died a month later in a fever. The burnt estate, with peasants scattered around the world, was sold for debts; two little girls, six and seven years old, the children of Barashkov, by his generosity, were adopted by his dependent and educated Athanasius Ivanovich Totsky.
Они стали воспитываться вместе с детьми управляющего Афанасия Ивановича, одного отставного и многосемейного чиновника и притом немца. Вскоре осталась одна только девочка, Настя, а младшая умерла от коклюша; Тоцкий же вскоре совсем и забыл о них обеих, проживая за границей. Лет пять спустя, однажды, Афанасий Иванович, проездом, вздумал заглянуть в свое поместье и вдруг заметил в деревенском своем доме, в семействе своего немца, прелестного ребенка, девочку лет двенадцати, резвую, милую, умненькую и обещавшую необыкновенную красоту; в этом отношении Афанасий Иванович был знаток безошибочный. В этот раз он пробыл в поместье всего несколько дней, но успел распорядиться; в воспитании девочки произошла значительная перемена: приглашена была почтенная и пожилая гувернантка, опытная в высшем воспитании девиц, швейцарка, образованная и преподававшая, кроме французского языка, и разные науки. Она поселилась в деревенском доме, и воспитание маленькой Настасьи приняло чрезвычайные размеры. Ровно чрез четыре года это воспитание кончилось; гувернантка уехала, а за Настей приехала одна барыня, тоже какая-то помещица и тоже соседка господина Тоцкого по имению, но уже в другой, далекой губернии, и взяла Настю с собой вследствие инструкции и полномочия от Афанасия Ивановича. В этом небольшом поместье оказался тоже, хотя и небольшой, только что отстроенный деревянный дом; убран он был особенно изящно, да и деревенька, как нарочно, называлась сельцо Отрадное.
The landowner brought Nastya directly to this quiet house, and since she herself, a childless widow, lived only one mile away, she herself settled with Nastya. Near Nastya came an old woman housekeeper and a young, experienced maid. Musical instruments, an elegant girl’s library, paintings, prints, pencils, brushes, paints, an amazing Italian greyhound were found in the house, and two weeks later Afanasy Ivanovich himself came to see him ... Since then, he has somehow especially loved this deaf steppe village of his, stopped by every summer, stayed for two, even three months, and so it took quite a long time, four years, calmly and happily, with taste and elegance.
Once it happened that somehow at the beginning of winter, about four months after one of the summer trips of Afanasy Ivanovich to Otradnoye, who had been visiting this time for only two weeks, a rumor had passed, or, rather, a rumor had somehow reached Nastasya Filippovna that Afanasy Ivanovich in St. Petersburg will marry a beauty, a rich, a noble - in a word, make a solid and brilliant party. This rumor later turned out to be not true in all details: the wedding was still only in the project then, and it was still very vague, but in the fate of Nastasya Filippovna an extraordinary coup nevertheless took place from that time on. She suddenly showed extraordinary determination and found the most unexpected character. Without thinking twice, she threw her village house and suddenly appeared in Petersburg, directly to Totsky, alone. He was amazed, began to speak; but suddenly it turned out, almost from the first word, that it was necessary to completely change the syllable, the range of voices, the old topics of pleasant and graceful conversations that had been used so far with such success, logic - everything, everything, everything! A completely different woman sat in front of him, not at all like the one he had known until now and left only in the month of July, in the village of Otradny.
But Semyon did not answer. He lit a pipe and continued his work.
“What are you doing, scoundrel, I ask you?”
“Can't you see?” Did something come out of you?
- What the ooh? What you said?! Repeat!
- He said that go by!
- What, what, what?
- Go by! There is nothing to scream ...
Rzhevetsky blushed and shrugged.
- What? How dare you?
- So I dare. What are you? Not scared! A lot of you! If you please everyone, so much is needed ...
- How dare you cut wood? He is yours?
“And not yours.”
Rzhevetsky raised the whip and did not hit Semyon just because he pointed to the ax.
“Do you know a villain whose forest it is?”
“I know, sir!” Strelchikhin forest, with Strelchikha and I will speak. Her forest, I will answer her. What are you? Lackey! The waiter! I don’t know you. Come in, passerby! March!
Semyon tapped the ax with his pipe and smiled sarcastically.
Rzhevetsky ran to the shiver, hit with reins and flew an arrow to the village. In the village he scored witnesses and rushed with them to the crime scene. Witnesses caught Semyon at his work. Instantly, the case began to boil. The headman, sub-age, clerk, sotsky appeared. Wrote a few papers. Rzhevetsky signed, forced to sign and Seeds. Semen only chuckled ...
Before dinner, Semyon appeared to the lady. The lady already knew about the cut. Without greeting, he began with the fact that you can’t live, that the Pole fights, that he has only three trees, etc.
- How dare you cut someone else’s forest? - the lady boiled.
“There is only one torment from him,” Semyon growled, admiring the flash of the lady and wanting to bring the Pole at all costs. - Whatever the word - then rub! Is it possible? Yes, striving for everything in the face! That way you can’t ... After all, we are people too.
This new woman, it turned out, firstly, knew and understood unusually much - so much that one had to be deeply surprised at how she could get such information, develop such precise concepts. (Really from his maiden library?). Moreover, she even legally understood very much and had positive knowledge, if not light, then at least about how some things flow in the world; secondly, it was completely not the same character as before, that is, not something timid, boardingly indefinite, sometimes charming in its original playfulness and naivety, sometimes sad and thoughtful, surprised, distrustful, crying and restless.
No: here an unusual and unexpected creature laughed before him and pricked him with poisonous sarcasms, directly declaring to him that it never had anything in his heart except the deepest contempt, contempt to nausea, which came immediately after the first surprise. This new woman announced that in the full sense she would not care if he marries anyone now, but that she came not to let him marry him, and not to let him out of anger, only because she wants it so much and that , therefore, it should be so - “well, at least so that I can only laugh at you freely, because now I finally want to laugh.”
So at least she put it; of all that was on her mind, she, perhaps, did not express. But while the new Nastasya Filippovna laughed and stated all this, Afanasy Ivanovich thought over this matter to himself and, if possible, put his somewhat broken thoughts in order. This deliberation lasted a long time; he delved deeply and decided for almost two weeks; but two weeks later his decision was made. The fact is that Afanasy Ivanovich at that time was already about fifty years old, and he was a man of the highest degree, solid and established. His staging in the light and in society long ago was accomplished on the most solid foundations. He loved himself and his peace and comfort and appreciated more than anything in the world, as a highly decent person should have. Not the slightest violation, nor the slightest hesitation could be allowed in the fact that with all my life I had established and assumed such a beautiful form. On the other hand, experience and a deep look at things prompted Totsky very soon and unusually true that he is now dealing with a creature out of the ordinary, that this is such a creature that not only threatens, but will certainly make, and, most importantly, she will not stop resolutely before anything, all the more so since she decisively cherishes nothing in the world, so even it is impossible to seduce him.
Here, obviously, there was something else, some kind of sincere and hearty burda was implied - something like some kind of romantic indignation, God knows for whom and for what, some insatiable feeling of contempt that completely jumped out of proportion - in a word, something extremely ridiculous and unlawful in a decent society and what to meet for any decent person is the purest divine punishment. Of course, with Totsky’s wealth and connections, one could at once do some small and completely innocent villainy in order to get rid of trouble. On the other hand, it was obvious that Nastasya Filippovna herself was almost unable to do anything harmful, in the sense, for example, even of legal nature; even a scandal could not have made significant, because so easily it could always be limited. But all this in this case only, if Nastasya Filippovna decided to act, how everyone and how they act in such cases, without jumping too eccentrically out of proportion. But it was then that Totsky came in handy of his loyalty to the look: he managed to unravel that Nastasya Filippovna herself perfectly understands how harmless she is in the legal sense, but that she has a completely different mind and ... in her sparkling eyes.
How dare you cut my wood, I ask you? Scoundrel!
- Yes, he lied to you, lady! I really ... chopped ... I recognize ... Why is he fighting!
In the lady leaped blood of the nobleman. She forgot that Semyon was Stepan’s brother, forgot her good manners, everything in the world and hit Semyon on the cheek.
- Take away now your peasant mug! She cried. - Out! This very minute!
Semyon was embarrassed. In no case did he expect such a scandal.
- Goodbye, sir! He said and took a deep breath. - What to do, sir! Well!
Semyon mumbled and went out. I even forgot to wear a hat when I went out into the yard.
Two hours later, Maxim appeared to the lady. His face was long, his eyes cloudy. But the person could see that he had come to say or do something daring.
- What do you want? - asked the lady.
- Hello! I, lady, are more about asking you. I would like fishing line, lady. I want to build a hut for Stepan, but I don’t have a forest. Boards would be given.
- Well? Please.
Maxim's face shone.
- You need to build a hut, but there is no forest. The last thing! Cabbage soup sat down, but there is no cabbage soup. Hehe. Dosochek, tesu ... Then the Seven of insolence spoke ... You don’t get angry, lady. Fool is a fool. Dope still hadn't come out of my head. Does not feel. Such a people. So, orders, lady, to come for the forest?
Nothing dear, but most of all herself (it took a lot of intelligence and penetration to realize at that moment that she had long ceased to value herself, and so that he, the skeptic and secular cynic, believed the seriousness of this feeling), Nastasya Filippovna is able to was to destroy herself, irrevocably and ugly, Siberia and hard labor, if only to abuse the man to whom she had such an inhuman disgust. Afanasy Ivanovich never hid the fact that he was somewhat cowardly or, better to say, highly conservative. If he knew, for example, that he would be killed under the crown or something like that would happen, extremely indecent, ridiculous and unacceptable in society, then he would certainly be scared, but not so much that he would be killed and injured to blood or spit publicly in the face, etc., etc., and the fact that this will happen to him in such an unnatural and unpleasant form. But Nastasya Filippovna predicted exactly this, although she was still silent about it; he knew that she understood and studied him in the highest degree, and, consequently, knew how to hit him. And since the wedding was really only in intention, Afanasy Ivanovich humbled himself and lost to Nastasya Filippovna.
So you are so kind as to tell Felix Adamich. God bless you! Now Stepka will have a hut.
- Only I will take dearly, Zhurkin! I don’t sell forests, you know, I need it myself, but if I sell, it’s expensive.
Maxim's face stretched out.
- So how?
- Yes, it is. Firstly, money is right now, and secondly ...
- For the money I do not want.
- And how do you wish?
- It’s known as ... You yourself know. Nochet what kind of money does a man have? Penny, and even that.
- I will not give for nothing.
Maxim clenched his hat in his fist and began to look at the ceiling.
“Do you say that correctly?” He asked, after a pause.
- Right. Still have something to say?
- What should I say? You don’t give the forest, so why am I going to talk to you? Farewell. Only in vain do you not give the forest ... You will regret ... I do not give a damn, but you will regret ... Stepan at the stable?
- I do not know.
Maxim looked significantly at the lady, coughed, crumpled and left. He shook with anger.
One more circumstance also helped his decision: it was difficult to imagine how much this new Nastasya Filippovna did not resemble her previous face. Previously, it was only a very pretty girl, but now ... Totsky for a long time could not forgive himself that he had looked for four years and could not see. True, it also means a lot when a coup occurs on both sides, internally and suddenly. He recalled, however, even before the moment when sometimes strange thoughts came to him when looking, for example, at these eyes: as if some deep and mysterious gloom was foreseen in them. This look looked - as if asked a riddle. In the past two years, he was often surprised at the change in the complexion of Nastasya Filippovna: she became terribly pale and - strange - even prettier. Totsky, who, like all gentlemen who had taken a walk in their lifetime, at first looked with contempt at how cheaply this undead soul got him, lately he has somewhat doubted his gaze. In any case, he was supposed to have passed in the spring, soon, soon, perfectly and with prosperity, to marry Nastasya Filippovna to some prudent and decent gentleman serving in another province. (Oh, how terribly and how evil Nastasya Filippovna was laughing at it now!). But now Afanasy Ivanovich, seduced by novelty, even thought that he could again exploit this woman. He decided to settle Nastasya Filippovna in St. Petersburg and surround him with luxurious comfort. If not then so different: Nastasya Filippovna could flaunt and even make herself famous in a famous circle. Athanasius Ivanovich so valued his fame in this regard.
“So you are such an asshole!” He thought and went to the stable. At that time Stepan was sitting on the bench in the stable and lazily sitting, brushing the side of the horse in front of him. Maxim did not enter the stable, but stood at the door.
- Stepan! - he said.
Stepan did not answer, but looked at his father. The horse staggered.
- Get home! - said Maxim.
“I do not wish.
“Can you tell me this?”
“So I can, if I say so.”
- I order!
Stepan jumped up and slammed the stable door in front of Maxim's nose.
In the evening, a boy ran to Stepan from the village and told him that Maxim had kicked Marya out of the house and that Marya did not know where to spend the night.
“She now sits near the church and cries,” said the boy, “and around her people gathered and scolds you.”
Early the next morning, when they were still sleeping in the manor house, Stepan put on his old clothes and went to the village. They called for mass. The morning was Sunday, bright, cheerful - if only to live and enjoy! Stepan walked past the church, looked blankly at the bell tower and strode to the tavern. The tavern opens, unfortunately
The main activities of the association:
• training on paleontological excavations
• university students’ training
• participation in international congresses
• organization of congresses
• publication of the museum’s specialized magazine Oryctos, and maintaining a popular science blog in the media: Dinoblog.
Five years have passed already in St. Petersburg's life, and, of course, much has been decided in such a period. The position of Athanasius Ivanovich was disappointing; the worst part was that he, having scared once, could not calm down after all. He was afraid - and even did not know what - he was simply afraid of Nastasya Filippovna. For some time, in the first two years, he began to suspect that Nastasya Filippovna herself wanted to marry him, but was silent from an unusual vanity and was waiting for his persistent proposal. The claim would be strange; Afanasy Ivanovich frowned and thought hard. To the great and (such is the heart of a man!) To his somewhat unpleasant amazement, he suddenly, on one occasion, became convinced that even if he had made an offer, he would not have been accepted. For a long time he did not understand this. It seemed to him that only one explanation was possible that the pride of the “insulted and fantastic woman” comes to such a frenzy that it is more pleasant for her to express her contempt in her refusal than to permanently determine her position and achieve unattainable greatness. Worst of all, Nastasya Filippovna terribly took the top. She did not succumb to interest either, even to a very large one, and although she accepted the comfort offered to her, she lived very modestly and did not save almost anything in these five years. Afanasy Ivanovich risked a very cunning means to break his chains: inconspicuously and skillfully, he began to seduce her, through clever help, with various ideal temptations; but the personified ideals: princes, hussars, secretaries of embassies, poets, novelists, socialists even - nothing made any impression on Nastasya Filippovna, as if she had a stone instead of her heart, and her feelings dried up and died out once and for all. She lived more solitary, read, even studied, loved music. She had few acquaintances: she knew everything with some poor and ridiculous officials, she knew two some actresses, some old women, she loved the large family of one venerable teacher, and in this family she was very loved and accepted with pleasure. Quite often in the evenings five or six people of acquaintances came to her, no more. Totsky appeared very often and accurately. Recently, it was not without difficulty that General Yepanchin met Nastasya Filippovna. At the same time, one young official, by the name of Ferdyshchenko, a very indecent and greasy buffoon, with claims to be merry and drink, met her easily and without any difficulty. One young and strange man, by the name of Ptitsyn, was familiar, modest, neat and emancipated, descended from poverty and became a usurer. Finally, Gavrila Ardalionovich also got acquainted ... It ended up with a strange fame about Nastasya Filippovna: everyone knew about her beauty, but nothing more; no one could boast of anything, no one could tell anything. Such a reputation, her education, elegant manner, wit - all this affirmed Athanasius Ivanovich finally on a certain plane. This is where the moment begins from which General Yepanchin himself took such an active and extraordinary part in this story.
Vodka! - commanded Stepan. He poured vodka. He drank, sat and drank more. Stepan got drunk and began to offer. A noisy drinking party began.
- Do you get a lot of salary from Strelichi? Asked Sidor.