Doubrovsky by Alexander Pushkin

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Pushkin – Doubrovsky – Contents

< < < Chapter III
Chapter V > > >


A few days after his arrival, young Doubrovsky wished to turn his attention to business, but his father was not in a condition to give him the necessary explanations, and Andrei Gavrilovitch had no confidential adviser. Examining his papers, Vladimir only found the first letter of the assessor and a rough copy of his father’s reply to it. From these he could not obtain any clear idea of the lawsuit, and he determined to await the result, trusting in the justice of his father’s cause.

Meanwhile the health of Andrei Gavrilovitch grew worse from hour to hour. Vladimir foresaw that his end was not far off, and he never left the old man, now fallen into complete childishness.

In the meantime the period of delay had expired and no appeal had been presented. Kistenevka therefore belonged to Troekouroff. Shabashkin came to him, and with a profusion of salutations and congratulations, inquired when His Excellency intended to enter into possession of his newly-acquired property—would he go and do so himself, or would he deign to commission somebody else to act as his representative?

Kirila Petrovitch felt troubled. By nature he was not avaricious; his desire for revenge had carried him too far, and he now felt the rebukings of his conscience. He knew in what condition his adversary, the old comrade of his youth, lay, and his victory brought no joy to his heart. He glared sternly at Shabashkin, seeking for some pretext to vent his displeasure upon him, but not finding a suitable one, he said to him in an angry tone:

“Be off! I do not want you!”

Shabashkin, seeing that he was not in a good humour, bowed and hastened to withdraw, and Kirila Petrovitch, left alone, began to pace up and down, whistling: “Thunder of victory resound!” which, with him, was always a sure sign of unusual agitation of mind.

At last he gave orders for the droshky[1] to be got ready, wrapped himself up warmly (it was already the end of September), and, himself holding the reins, drove out of the courtyard.

He soon caught sight of the house of Andrei Gavrilovitch. Contradictory feelings filled his soul. Satisfied vengeance and love of power had, to a certain extent, deadened his more noble sentiments, but at last these latter prevailed. He resolved to effect a reconciliation with his old neighbour, to efface the traces of the quarrel and restore to him his property. Having eased his soul with this good intention, Kirila Petrovitch set off at a gallop towards the residence of his neighbour and drove straight into the courtyard.

At that moment the invalid was sitting at his bedroom window. He recognized Kirila Petrovitch—and his face assumed an expression of terrible emotion: a livid flush replaced his usual pallor, his eyes gleamed and he uttered a few unintelligible sounds. His son, who was sitting there examining the account books, raised his head and was struck by the change in his father’s condition. The sick man pointed with his finger towards the courtyard with an expression of rage and horror. At that moment the voice and heavy tread of Egorovna were heard:

“Master, master! Kirila Petrovitch has come! Kirila Petrovitch is on the steps!” she cried…. “Lord God! What is the matter? What has happened to him?”

Andrei Gavrilovitch had hastily gathered up the skirts of his dressing-gown and was preparing to rise from his armchair. He succeeded in getting upon his feet—and then suddenly fell. His son rushed towards him; the old man lay insensible and without breathing: he had been attacked by paralysis.

“Quick, quick! hasten to the town for a doctor!” cried Vladimir.

“Kirila Petrovitch is asking for you,” said a servant, entering the room.

Vladimir gave him a terrible look.

“Tell Kirila Petrovitch to take himself off as quickly as possible, before I have him turned out—go!”

The servant gladly left the room to execute his master’s orders. Egorovna raised her hands to heaven.

“Little father,” she exclaimed in a piping voice, “you; will lose your head! Kirila Petrovitch will eat us all up.”

“Silence, nurse,” said Vladimir angrily: “send Anton at once to the town for a doctor.”

Egorovna left the room. There was nobody in the antechamber; all the domestics had run out into the courtyard’ to look at Kirila Petrovitch. She went out on the steps and heard the servant deliver his young master’s reply. Kirila Petrovitch heard it, seated in the droshky; his face became darker than night; he smiled contemptuously, looked threateningly at the assembled domestics, and then drove slowly out of the courtyard. He glanced up at the window where, a minute before, Andrei Gavrilovitch had been sitting, but he was no longer there. The nurse remained standing on the steps, forgetful of her master’s injunctions. The domestics were noisily talking of what had just occurred. Suddenly Vladimir appeared in the midst of them, and said abruptly:

“There is no need for a doctor—my father is dead!” General consternation followed these words. The domestics rushed to the room of their old master. He was lying in the armchair in which Vladimir had placed him; his right arm hung down to the ground, his head was bent forward upon his chest—there was not the least sign of life in his body, which, not yet cold, was already disfigured by death. Egorovna set up a howl. The domestics surrounded the corpse, which was left to their care, washed it, dressed it in a uniform made in the year 1797, and laid it out on the same stable at which for so many years they had waited upon their master.

[1]A low four-wheeled carriage.

< < < Chapter III
Chapter V > > >

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Pushkin – Doubrovsky – Contents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

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