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The torrents of spring

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Title:TheTorrentsofSpring
Author:IvanTurgenev
Translator:ConstanceGarnett
PostingDate:December11,2011[EBook#9911]ReleaseDate:February,2006
FirstPosted:October30,2003
Language:English
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SPRING***

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THETORRENTSOFSPRING
BYIVANTURGENEV


TranslatedfromtheRussian
BYCONSTANCEGARNETT

1897


CONTENTS
THETORRENTSOFSPRING
FIRSTLOVE
MUMU


THETORRENTSOFSPRING
'Yearsofgladness,
Daysofjoy,
Likethetorrentsofspring
Theyhurriedaway.'
—FromanOldBallad.
…Attwoo'clockinthenighthehadgonebacktohisstudy.Hehaddismissed
theservantafterthecandleswerelighted,andthrowinghimselfintoalowchair
bythehearth,hehidhisfaceinbothhands.
Neverhadhefeltsuchwearinessofbodyandofspirit.Hehadpassedthewhole
eveninginthecompanyofcharmingladiesandcultivatedmen;someofthe
ladieswerebeautiful,almostallthemenweredistinguishedbyintellector
talent;hehimselfhadtalkedwithgreatsuccess,evenwithbrilliance…and,for
allthat,neveryethadthetaediumvitaeofwhichtheRomanstalkedofold,the
'disgustforlife,'takenholdofhimwithsuchirresistible,suchsuffocatingforce.
Hadhebeenalittleyounger,hewouldhavecriedwithmisery,weariness,and
exasperation:abiting,burningbitterness,likethebitterofwormwood,filledhis
wholesoul.Asortofclingingrepugnance,aweightofloathingclosedinupon
himonallsideslikeadarknightofautumn;andhedidnotknowhowtogetfree
fromthisdarkness,thisbitterness.Sleepitwasuselesstoreckonupon;heknew
heshouldnotsleep.
Hefelltothinking…slowly,listlessly,wrathfully.Hethoughtofthevanity,the
uselessness,thevulgarfalsityofallthingshuman.Allthestagesofman'slife
passedinorderbeforehismentalgaze(hehadhimselflatelyreachedhisfiftysecondyear),andnotonefoundgraceinhiseyes.Everywherethesameeverlastingpouringofwaterintoasieve,theever-lastingbeatingoftheair,


everywherethesameself-deception—halfingoodfaith,halfconscious—anytoy
toamusethechild,solongasitkeepshimfromcrying.Andthen,allofa


sudden,oldagedropsdownlikesnowonthehead,andwithittheever-growing,
ever-gnawing,anddevouringdreadofdeath…andtheplungeintotheabyss!
Luckyindeediflifeworksoutsototheend!Maybe,beforetheend,likeruston
iron,sufferings,infirmitiescome….Hedidnotpicturelife'ssea,asthepoets
depictit,coveredwithtempestuouswaves;no,hethoughtofthatseaasa
smooth,untroubledsurface,stagnantandtransparenttoitsdarkestdepths.He
himselfsitsinalittletotteringboat,anddownbelowinthosedarkoozydepths,
likeprodigiousfishes,hecanjustmakeouttheshapesofhideousmonsters:all
theillsoflife,diseases,sorrows,madness,poverty,blindness….Hegazes,and
behold,oneofthesemonstersseparatesitselfofffromthedarkness,riseshigher
andhigher,standsoutmoreandmoredistinct,moreandmoreloathsomely
distinct….Aninstantyet,andtheboatthatbearshimwillbeoverturned!But
behold,itgrowsdimagain,itwithdraws,sinksdowntothebottom,andthereit
lies,faintlystirringintheslime….Butthefateddaywillcome,anditwill
overturntheboat.
Heshookhishead,jumpedupfromhislowchair,tooktwoturnsupanddown
theroom,satdowntothewriting-table,andopeningonedrawerafteranother,
begantorummageamonghispapers,amongoldletters,mostlyfromwomen.He
couldnothavesaidwhyhewasdoingit;hewasnotlookingforanything—he
simplywantedbysomekindofexternaloccupationtogetawayfromthe
thoughtsoppressinghim.Openingseverallettersatrandom(inoneofthemthere
wasawitheredflowertiedwithabitoffadedribbon),hemerelyshruggedhis
shoulders,andglancingatthehearth,hetossedthemononeside,probablywith
theideaofburningallthisuselessrubbish.Hurriedly,thrustinghishandsfirst
intoone,andthenintoanotherdrawer,hesuddenlyopenedhiseyeswide,and
slowlybringingoutalittleoctagonalboxofold-fashionedmake,heslowly
raiseditslid.Inthebox,undertwolayersofcottonwool,yellowwithage,wasa
littlegarnetcross.
Forafewinstantshelookedinperplexityatthiscross—suddenlyhegaveafaint
cry….Somethingbetweenregretanddelightwasexpressedinhisfeatures.Such
anexpressionaman'sfacewearswhenhesuddenlymeetssomeonewhomhe
haslonglostsightof,whomhehasatonetimetenderlyloved,andwho
suddenlyspringsupbeforehiseyes,stillthesame,andutterlytransformedby
theyears.


Hegotup,andgoingbacktothehearth,hesatdownagaininthearm-chair,and
againhidhisfaceinhishands….'Whyto-day?justto-day?'washisthought,
andherememberedmanythings,longsincepast.
Thisiswhatheremembered….
ButfirstImustmentionhisname,hisfather'snameandhissurname.
HewascalledDimitriPavlovitchSanin.
Herefollowswhatheremembered.


I
Itwasthesummerof1840.Saninwasinhistwenty-secondyear,andhewasin
FrankfortonhiswayhomefromItalytoRussia.Hewasamanofsmallproperty,
butindependent,almostwithoutfamilyties.Bythedeathofadistantrelative,he
hadcomeintoafewthousandroubles,andhehaddecidedtospendthissum
abroadbeforeenteringtheservice,beforefinallyputtingonthegovernment
yoke,withoutwhichhecouldnotobtainasecurelivelihood.Saninhadcarried
outthisintention,andhadfittedthingsintosuchanicetythatonthedayofhis
arrivalinFrankforthehadonlyjustenoughmoneylefttotakehimbackto
Petersburg.Intheyear1840therewerefewrailroadsinexistence;tourists
travelledbydiligence.Saninhadtakenaplaceinthe'bei-wagon';butthe
diligencedidnotstarttilleleveno'clockintheevening.Therewasagreatdealof
timetobegotthroughbeforethen.Fortunatelyitwaslovelyweather,andSanin
afterdiningatahotel,famousinthosedays,theWhiteSwan,setofftostroll
aboutthetown.HewentintolookatDanneker'sAriadne,whichhedidnot
muchcarefor,visitedthehouseofGoethe,ofwhoseworkshehad,however,
onlyreadWerter,andthatintheFrenchtranslation.Hewalkedalongthebankof
theMaine,andwasboredasawell-conductedtouristshouldbe;atlastatsix
o'clockintheevening,tired,andwithdustyboots,hefoundhimselfinoneofthe
leastremarkablestreetsinFrankfort.Thatstreethewasfatednottoforgetlong,
longafter.Ononeofitsfewhouseshesawasignboard:'GiovanniRoselli,
Italianconfectionery,'wasannounceduponit.Saninwentintoittogetaglassof
lemonade;butintheshop,where,behindthemodestcounter,ontheshelvesofa
stainedcupboard,recallingachemist'sshop,stoodafewbottleswithgoldlabels,
andasmanyglassjarsofbiscuits,chocolatecakes,andsweetmeats—inthis
room,therewasnotasoul;onlyagreycatblinkedandpurred,sharpeningits
clawsonatallwickerchairnearthewindowandabrightpatchofcolourwas
madeintheeveningsunlight,byabigballofredwoollyingonthefloorbeside
acarvedwoodenbasketturnedupsidedown.Aconfusednoisewasaudiblein
thenextroom.Saninstoodamoment,andmakingthebellonthedoorringits


loudest,hecalled,raisinghisvoice,'Istherenoonehere?'Atthatinstantthe
doorfromaninnerroomwasthrownopen,andSaninwasstruckdumbwith
amazement.


II
Ayounggirlofnineteenranimpetuouslyintotheshop,herdarkcurlshangingin
disorderonherbareshoulders,herbarearmsstretchedoutinfrontofher.Seeing
Sanin,sherusheduptohimatonce,seizedhimbythehand,andpulledhim
afterher,sayinginabreathlessvoice,'Quick,quick,here,savehim!'Not
throughdisinclinationtoobey,butsimplyfromexcessofamazement,Sanindid
notatoncefollowthegirl.Hestood,asitwere,rootedtothespot;hehadnever
inhislifeseensuchabeautifulcreature.Sheturnedtowardshim,andwithsuch
despairinhervoice,inhereyes,inthegestureofherclenchedhand,whichwas
liftedwithaspasmodicmovementtoherpalecheek,shearticulated,'Come,
come!'thatheatoncedartedafterhertotheopendoor.
Intheroom,intowhichheranbehindthegirl,onanold-fashionedhorse-hair
sofa,layaboyoffourteen,whiteallover—white,withayellowishtingelike
waxoroldmarble—hewasstrikinglylikethegirl,obviouslyherbrother.His
eyeswereclosed,apatchofshadowfellfromhisthickblackhaironaforehead
likestone,anddelicate,motionlesseyebrows;betweenthebluelipscouldbe
seenclenchedteeth.Heseemednottobebreathing;onearmhungdowntothe
floor,theotherhehadtossedabovehishead.Theboywasdressed,andhis
clotheswerecloselybuttoned;atightcravatwastwistedroundhisneck.
Thegirlrusheduptohimwithawailofdistress.'Heisdead,heisdead!'she
cried;'hewassittingherejustnow,talkingtome—andallofasuddenhefell
downandbecamerigid….MyGod!cannothingbedonetohelphim?And
mammanothere!Pantaleone,Pantaleone,thedoctor!'shewentonsuddenlyin
Italian.'Haveyoubeenforthedoctor?'
'Signora,Ididnotgo,IsentLuise,'saidahoarsevoiceatthedoor,andalittle
bandy-leggedoldmancamehobblingintotheroominalavenderfrockcoatwith
blackbuttons,ahighwhitecravat,shortnankeentrousers,andblueworsted
stockings.Hisdiminutivelittlefacewaspositivelylostinamassofiron-grey


hair.Standingupinalldirections,andfallingbackinraggedtufts,itgavetheold
man'sfigurearesemblancetoacrestedhen—aresemblancethemorestriking,
thatunderthedark-greymassnothingcouldbedistinguishedbutabeaknose
androundyelloweyes.
'Luisewillrunfast,andIcan'trun,'theoldmanwentoninItalian,dragginghis
flatgoutyfeet,shodinhighslipperswithknotsofribbon.'I'vebroughtsome
water.'
Inhiswithered,knottedfingers,heclutchedalongbottleneck.
'ButmeanwhileEmilwilldie!'criedthegirl,andholdingoutherhandtoSanin,
'O,sir,OmeinHerr!can'tyoudosomethingforhim?'
'Heoughttobebled—it'sanapoplecticfit,'observedtheoldmanaddressedas
Pantaleone.
ThoughSaninhadnottheslightestnotionofmedicine,heknewonethingfor
certain,thatboysoffourteendonothaveapoplecticfits.
'It'saswoon,notafit,'hesaid,turningtoPantaleone.'Haveyougotany
brushes?'
Theoldmanraisedhislittleface.'Eh?'
'Brushes,brushes,'repeatedSanininGermanandinFrench.'Brushes,'headded,
makingasthoughhewouldbrushhisclothes.
Thelittleoldmanunderstoodhimatlast.
'Ah,brushes!Spazzette!tobesurewehave!'
'Bringthemhere;wewilltakeoffhiscoatandtryrubbinghim.'
'Good…Benone!Andoughtwenottosprinklewateronhishead?'
'No…lateron;getthebrushesnowasquickasyoucan.'
Pantaleoneputthebottleonthefloor,ranoutandreturnedatoncewithtwo
brushes,oneahair-brush,andoneaclothes-brush.Acurlypoodlefollowedhim


in,andvigorouslywaggingitstail,itlookedupinquisitivelyattheoldman,the
girl,andevenSanin,asthoughitwantedtoknowwhatwasthemeaningofall
thisfuss.
Saninquicklytooktheboy'scoatoff,unbuttonedhiscollar,andpusheduphis
shirt-sleeves,andarminghimselfwithabrush,hebeganbrushinghischestand
armswithallhismight.Pantaleoneaszealouslybrushedawaywiththeother—
thehair-brush—athisbootsandtrousers.Thegirlflungherselfonherkneesby
thesofa,and,clutchingherheadinbothhands,fastenedhereyes,notaneyelash
quivering,onherbrother.
Saninrubbedon,andkeptstealingglancesather.Mercy!whatabeautiful
creatureshewas!


III
Hernosewasratherlarge,buthandsome,aquiline-shaped;herupperlipwas
shadedbyalightdown;butthenthecolourofherface,smooth,uniform,like
ivoryorverypalemilkyamber,thewaveringshimmerofherhair,likethatof
theJudithofAlloriointhePalazzo-Pitti;andaboveall,hereyes,dark-grey,with
ablackringroundthepupils,splendid,triumphanteyes,evennow,whenterror
anddistressdimmedtheirlustre….Sanincouldnothelprecallingthemarvellous
countryhehadjustcomefrom….ButeveninItalyhehadnevermetanything
likeher!Thegirldrewslow,unevenbreaths;sheseemedbetweeneachbreathto
bewaitingtoseewhetherherbrotherwouldnotbegintobreathe.
Saninwentonrubbinghim,buthedidnotonlywatchthegirl.Theoriginal
figureofPantaleonedrewhisattentiontoo.Theoldmanwasquiteexhausted
andpanting;ateverymovementofthebrushhehoppedupanddownand
groanednoisily,whilehisimmensetuftsofhair,soakedwithperspiration,
flappedheavilyfromsidetoside,liketherootsofsomestrongplant,tornupby
thewater.
'You'dbetter,atleast,takeoffhisboots,'Saninwasjustsayingtohim.
Thepoodle,probablyexcitedbytheunusualnessofalltheproceedings,
suddenlysankontoitsfrontpawsandbeganbarking.
'Tartaglia—canaglia!'theoldmanhissedatit.Butatthatinstantthegirl'sface
wastransformed.Hereyebrowsrose,hereyesgrewwider,andshonewithjoy.
Saninlookedround…Aflushhadover-spreadthelad'sface;hiseyelidsstirred
…hisnostrilstwitched.Hedrewinabreaththroughhisstillclenchedteeth,
sighed….
'Emil!'criedthegirl…'Emiliomio!'


Slowlythebigblackeyesopened.Theystillhadadazedlook,butalready
smiledfaintly;thesamefaintsmilehoveredonhispalelips.Thenhemovedthe
armthathungdown,andlaiditonhischest.
'Emilio!'repeatedthegirl,andshegotup.Theexpressiononherfacewasso
tenseandvivid,thatitseemedthatinaninstanteithershewouldburstintotears
orbreakintolaughter.
'Emil!whatisit?Emil!'washeardoutside,andaneatly-dressedladywith
silverygreyhairandadarkfacecamewithrapidstepsintotheroom.
Amiddle-agedmanfollowedher;theheadofamaid-servantwasvisibleover
theirshoulders.
Thegirlrantomeetthem.
'Heissaved,mother,heisalive!'shecried,impulsivelyembracingtheladywho
hadjustentered.
'Butwhatisit?'sherepeated.'Icomeback…andallofasuddenImeetthe
doctorandLuise…'
Thegirlproceededtoexplainwhathadhappened,whilethedoctorwentupto
theinvalidwhowascomingmoreandmoretohimself,andwasstillsmiling:he
seemedtobebeginningtofeelshyatthecommotionhehadcaused.
'You'vebeenusingfrictionwithbrushes,Isee,'saidthedoctortoSaninand
Pantaleone,'andyoudidverywell….Averygoodidea…andnowletussee
whatfurthermeasures…'
Hefelttheyouth'spulse.'H'm!showmeyourtongue!'
Theladybentanxiouslyoverhim.Hesmiledstillmoreingenuously,raisedhis
eyestoher,andblushedalittle.
ItstruckSaninthathewasnolongerwanted;hewentintotheshop.Butbefore
hehadtimetotouchthehandleofthestreet-door,thegirlwasoncemorebefore
him;shestoppedhim.
'Youaregoing,'shebegan,lookingwarmlyintohisface;'Iwillnotkeepyou,but


youmustbesuretocometoseeusthisevening:wearesoindebtedtoyou—
you,perhaps,savedmybrother'slife,wewanttothankyou—motherwantsto.
Youmusttelluswhoyouare,youmustrejoicewithus…'
'ButIamleavingforBerlinto-day,'Saninfalteredout.
'Youwillhavetimethough,'thegirlrejoinedeagerly.'Cometousinanhour's
timetodrinkacupofchocolatewithus.Youpromise?Imustgobacktohim!
Youwillcome?'
WhatcouldSanindo?
'Iwillcome,'hereplied.
Thebeautifulgirlpressedhishand,flutteredaway,andhefoundhimselfinthe
street.


IV
WhenSanin,anhourandahalflater,returnedtotheRosellis'shophewas
receivedtherelikeoneofthefamily.Emiliowassittingonthesamesofa,on
whichhehadbeenrubbed;thedoctorhadprescribedhimmedicineand
recommended'greatdiscretioninavoidingstrongemotions'asbeingasubjectof
nervoustemperamentwithatendencytoweaknessoftheheart.Hehad
previouslybeenliabletofainting-fits;butneverhadhelostconsciousnessso
completelyandforsolong.However,thedoctordeclaredthatalldangerwas
over.Emil,aswasonlysuitableforaninvalid,wasdressedinacomfortable
dressing-gown;hismotherwoundabluewoollenwraproundhisneck;buthe
hadacheerful,almostafestiveair;indeedeverythinghadafestiveair.Before
thesofa,onaroundtable,coveredwithacleancloth,toweredahugechina
coffee-pot,filledwithfragrantchocolate,andencircledbycups,decantersof
liqueur,biscuitsandrolls,andevenflowers;sixslenderwaxcandleswere
burningintwoold-fashionedsilverchandeliers;ononesideofthesofa,a
comfortablelounge-chairoffereditssoftembraces,andinthischairtheymade
Saninsit.Alltheinhabitantsoftheconfectioner'sshop,withwhomhehadmade
acquaintancethatday,werepresent,notexcludingthepoodle,Tartaglia,andthe
cat;theyallseemedhappybeyondexpression;thepoodlepositivelysneezed
withdelight,onlythecatwascoyandblinkedsleepilyasbefore.Theymade
Sanintellthemwhohewas,wherehecamefrom,andwhatwashisname;when
hesaidhewasaRussian,boththeladieswerealittlesurprised,uttered
ejaculationsofwonder,anddeclaredwithonevoicethathespokeGerman
splendidly;butifhepreferredtospeakFrench,hemightmakeuseofthat
language,astheybothunderstooditandspokeitwell.Saninatonceavailed
himselfofthissuggestion.'Sanin!Sanin!'Theladieswouldneverhaveexpected
thataRussiansurnamecouldbesoeasytopronounce.HisChristianname
—'Dimitri'—theylikedverymuchtoo.Theelderladyobservedthatinheryouth
shehadheardafineopera—DemetrioePolibio'—butthat'Dimitri'wasmuch
nicerthan'Demetrio.'InthiswaySanintalkedforaboutanhour.Theladieson


theirsideinitiatedhimintoallthedetailsoftheirownlife.Thetalkingwas
mostlydonebythemother,theladywithgreyhair.Saninlearntfromherthather
namewasLeonoraRoselli;thatshehadlostherhusband,GiovanniBattista
Roselli,whohadsettledinFrankfortasaconfectionertwenty—fiveyearsago;
thatGiovanniBattistahadcomefromVicenzaandhadbeenamostexcellent,
thoughfieryandirascibleman,andarepublicanwithal!AtthosewordsSignora
Rosellipointedtohisportrait,paintedinoil-colours,andhangingoverthesofa.
Itmustbepresumedthatthepainter,'alsoarepublican!'asSignoraRoselli
observedwithasigh,hadnotfullysucceededincatchingalikeness,forinhis
portraitthelateGiovanniBattistaappearedasamoroseandgloomybrigand,
afterthestyleofRinaldoRinaldini!SignoraRoselliherselfhadcomefrom'the
ancientandsplendidcityofParmawherethereisthewonderfulcupola,painted
bytheimmortalCorreggio!'ButfromherlongresidenceinGermanyshehad
becomealmostcompletelyGermanised.Thensheadded,mournfullyshakingher
head,thatallshehadleftwasthisdaughterandthisson(pointingtoeachinturn
withherfinger);thatthedaughter'snamewasGemma,andtheson'sEmilio;that
theywerebothverygoodandobedientchildren—especiallyEmilio…('Menot
obedient!'herdaughterputinatthatpoint.'Oh,you'rearepublican,too!'
answeredhermother).Thatthebusiness,ofcourse,wasnotwhatithadbeenin
thedaysofherhusband,whohadagreatgiftfortheconfectioneryline…('Un
granduomo!'Pantaleoneconfirmedwithasevereair);butthatstill,thankGod,
theymanagedtogetalong!


V
Gemmalistenedtohermother,andatoneminutelaughed,thensighed,then
pattedherontheshoulder,andshookherfingerather,andthenlookedatSanin;
atlast,shegotup,embracedhermotherandkissedherinthehollowofherneck,
whichmadethelatterlaughextremelyandshriekalittle.Pantaleonetoowas
presentedtoSanin.Itappearedhehadoncebeenanoperasinger,abaritone,but
hadlongagogivenupthetheatre,andoccupiedintheRosellifamilyaposition
betweenthatofafamilyfriendandaservant.Inspiteofhisprolongedresidence
inGermany,hehadlearntverylittleGerman,andonlyknewhowtoswearinit,
mercilesslydistortingeventhetermsofabuse.'Ferrofluctospitchebubbio'was
hisfavouriteepithetforalmosteveryGerman.HespokeItalianwithaperfect
accent—forwashenotbybirthfromSinigali,wheremaybeheard'lingua
toscanainboccaromana'!Emilio,obviously,playedtheinvalidandindulged
himselfinthepleasantsensationsofonewhohasonlyjustescapedadangeror
isreturningtohealthafterillness;itwasevident,too,thatthefamilyspoiled
him.HethankedSaninbashfully,butdevotedhimselfchieflytothebiscuitsand
sweetmeats.Saninwascompelledtodrinktwolargecupsofexcellentchocolate,
andtoeataconsiderablenumberofbiscuits;nosoonerhadheswallowedone
thanGemmaofferedhimanother—andtorefusewasimpossible!Hesoonfeltat
home:thetimeflewbywithincredibleswiftness.Hehadtotellthemagreat
deal—aboutRussiaingeneral,theRussianclimate,Russiansociety,theRussian
peasant—andespeciallyabouttheCossacks;aboutthewarof1812,aboutPeter
theGreat,abouttheKremlin,andtheRussiansongsandbells.Bothladieshada
veryfaintconceptionofourvastandremotefatherland;SignoraRoselli,oras
shewasmoreoftencalled,FrauLenore,positivelydumfounderedSaninwiththe
question,whethertherewasstillexistingatPetersburgthecelebratedhouseof
ice,builtlastcentury,aboutwhichshehadlatelyreadaverycuriousarticlein
oneofherhusband'sbooks,'Bettezzedellearti.'AndinreplytoSanin's
exclamation,'DoyoureallysupposethatthereisneveranysummerinRussia?'
FrauLenorerepliedthattillthenshehadalwayspicturedRussialikethis—


eternalsnow,everyonegoingaboutinfurs,andallmilitarymen,butthegreatest
hospitality,andallthepeasantsverysubmissive!Sanintriedtoimparttoherand
herdaughtersomemoreexactinformation.Whentheconversationtouchedon
Russianmusic,theybeggedhimatoncetosingsomeRussianairandshowed
himadiminutivepianowithblackkeysinsteadofwhiteandwhiteinsteadof
black.Heobeyedwithoutmakingmuchadoandaccompanyinghimselfwithtwo
fingersoftherighthandandthreeoftheleft(thefirst,second,andlittlefinger)
hesanginathinnasaltenor,first'TheSarafan,'then'AlongaPavedStreet.'The
ladiespraisedhisvoiceandthemusic,butweremorestruckwiththesoftness
andsonorousnessoftheRussianlanguageandaskedforatranslationofthetext.
Sanincompliedwiththeirwishes—butasthewordsof'TheSarafan,'andstill
moreof'AlongaPavedStreet'(suruneruepavéeunejeunefilleallaitàl'eau
washowherenderedthesenseoftheoriginal)werenotcalculatedtoinspirehis
listenerswithanexaltedideaofRussianpoetry,hefirstrecited,thentranslated,
andthensangPushkin's,'Irememberamarvellousmoment,'settomusicby
Glinka,whoseminorbarshedidnotrenderquitefaithfully.Thentheladieswent
intoecstasies.FrauLenorepositivelydiscoveredinRussianawonderfullikeness
totheItalian.EventhenamesPushkin(shepronounceditPussekin)andGlinka
soundedsomewhatfamiliartoher.Saninonhissidebeggedtheladiestosing
something;theytoodidnotwaittobepressed.FrauLenoresatdowntothe
pianoandsangwithGemmasomeduetsand'stornelle.'Themotherhadonce
hadafinecontralto;thedaughter'svoicewasnotstrong,butwaspleasing.


VI
ButitwasnotGemma'svoice—itwasherselfSaninwasadmiring.Hewas
sittingalittlebehindandononesideofher,andkeptthinkingtohimselfthatno
palm-tree,eveninthepoemsofBenediktov—thepoetinfashioninthosedays—
couldrivaltheslendergraceofherfigure.When,atthemostemotional
passages,sheraisedhereyesupwards—itseemedtohimnoheavencouldfailto
openatsuchalook!Eventheoldman,Pantaleone,whowithhisshoulder
proppedagainstthedoorpost,andhischinandmouthtuckedintohiscapacious
cravat,waslisteningsolemnlywiththeairofaconnoisseur—evenhewas
admiringthegirl'slovelyfaceandmarvellingatit,thoughonewouldhave
thoughthemusthavebeenusedtoit!Whenshehadfinishedtheduetwithher
daughter,FrauLenoreobservedthatEmiliohadafinevoice,likeasilverbell,
butthatnowhewasattheagewhenthevoicechanges—hedid,infact,talkina
sortofbassconstantlyfallingintofalsetto—andthathewasthereforeforbidden
tosing;butthatPantaleonenowreallymighttryhisskillofolddaysinhonour
oftheirguest!Pantaleonepromptlyputonadispleasedair,frowned,ruffledup
hishair,anddeclaredthathehadgivenitalluplongago,thoughhecould
certainlyinhisyouthholdhisown,andindeedhadbelongedtothatgreatperiod,
whentherewererealclassicalsingers,nottobecomparedtothesqueaking
performersofto-day!andarealschoolofsinging;thathe,PantaleoneCippatola
ofVarese,hadoncebeenbroughtalaurelwreathfromModena,andthatonthat
occasionsomewhitedoveshadpositivelybeenletflyinthetheatre;thatamong
othersaRussianprinceTarbusky—'ilprincipeTarbusski'—withwhomhehad
beenonthemostfriendlyterms,hadaftersupperpersistentlyinvitedhimto
Russia,promisinghimmountainsofgold,mountains!…butthathehadbeen
unwillingtoleaveItaly,thelandofDante—ilpaesedelDante!Afterward,tobe
sure,therecame…unfortunatecircumstances,hehadhimselfbeen
imprudent….Atthispointtheoldmanbrokeoff,sigheddeeplytwice,looked
dejected,andbeganagaintalkingoftheclassicalperiodofsinging,ofthe
celebratedtenorGarcia,forwhomhecherishedadevout,unboundedveneration.


'Hewasaman!'heexclaimed.'NeverhadthegreatGarcia(ilgranGarcia)
demeanedhimselfbysingingfalsettolikethepaltrytenorsofto-day—tenoracci;
alwaysfromthechest,fromthechest,vocedipetto,si!'andtheoldmanaimeda
vigorousblowwithhislittleshrivelledfistathisownshirt-front!'Andwhatan
actor!Avolcano,signorimiei,avolcano,unVesuvio!Ihadthehonourandthe
happinessofsingingwithhimintheoperadell'illustrissimomaestroRossini—
inOtello!GarciawasOtello,—IwasIago—andwhenherenderedthephrase':—
herePantaleonethrewhimselfintoanattitudeandbegansinginginahoarseand
shaky,butstillmovingvoice:
"L'i…radaver…sodaver…soilfato
lopiùno…no…no…nontemerò!"
Thetheatrewasalla-quiver,signorimiei!thoughItoodidnotfallshort,Itoo
afterhim.
"L'iradaver…sodaver…soilfato
Temèrpiùnondavro!"
Andallofasudden,hecrashedlikelightning,likeatiger:Morro!…ma
vendicato…Againwhenhewassinging…whenhewassingingthatcelebrated
airfrom"Matrimoniosegreto,"Priachespunti…thenhe,ilgranGarcia,after
thewords,"Icavallidigaloppo"—atthewords,"Senzaposacacciera,"—listen,
howstupendous,comeèstupendo!Atthatpointhemade…'Theoldmanbegan
asortofextraordinaryflourish,andatthetenthnotebrokedown,clearedhis
throat,andwithawaveofhisarmturnedaway,muttering,'Whydoyoutorment
me?'Gemmajumpedupatonceandclappingloudlyandshouting,bravo!…
bravo!…sherantothepooroldsuper-annuatedIagoandwithbothhandspatted
himaffectionatelyontheshoulders.OnlyEmillaughedruthlessly.Cetâgeest
sanspitié—thatageknowsnomercy—Lafontainehassaidalready.
SanintriedtosoothetheagedsingerandbegantalkingtohiminItalian—(he
hadpickedupasmatteringduringhislasttourthere)—begantalkingof'paese
delDante,doveilsisuona.'Thisphrase,togetherwith'Lasciateognisperanza,'
madeupthewholestockofpoeticItalianoftheyoungtourist;butPantaleone
wasnotwonoverbyhisblandishments.Tuckinghischindeeperthaneverinto
hiscravatandsullenlyrollinghiseyes,hewasoncemorelikeabird,anangry
onetoo,—acroworakite.ThenEmil,withafaintmomentaryblush,suchas
onesooftenseesinspoiltchildren,addressinghissister,saidifshewantedto


entertaintheirguest,shecoulddonothingbetterthanreadhimoneofthoselittle
comediesofMalz,thatshereadsonicely.Gemmalaughed,slappedherbrother
onthearm,exclaimedthathe'alwayshadsuchideas!'Shewentpromptly,
however,toherroom,andreturningthencewithasmallbookinherhand,seated
herselfatthetablebeforethelamp,lookedround,liftedonefingerasmuchasto
say,'hush!'—atypicallyItaliangesture—andbeganreading.


VII
MalzwasawriterflourishingatFrankfortabout1830,whoseshortcomedies,
writteninalightveininthelocaldialect,hitofflocalFrankforttypeswithbright
andamusing,thoughnotdeep,humour.ItturnedoutthatGemmareallydidread
excellently—quitelikeanactressinfact.Sheindicatedeachpersonage,and
sustainedthecharactercapitally,makingfulluseofthetalentofmimicryshehad
inheritedwithherItalianblood;shehadnomercyonhersoftvoiceorherlovely
face,andwhenshehadtorepresentsomeoldcroneinherdotage,orastupid
burgomaster,shemadethedrollestgrimaces,screwinguphereyes,wrinklingup
hernose,lisping,squeaking….Shedidnotherselflaughduringthereading;but
whenheraudience(withtheexceptionofPantaleone:hehadwalkedoffin
indignationsosoonastheconversationturnedoquelferrofluctoTedesco)
interruptedherbyanoutburstofunanimouslaughter,shedroppedthebookon
herknee,andlaughedmusicallytoo,herheadthrownback,andherblackhair
dancinginlittleringletsonherneckandhershakingshoulders.Whenthe
laughterceased,shepickedupthebookatonce,andagainresumingasuitable
expression,beganthereadingseriously.Sanincouldnotgetoverhisadmiration;
hewasparticularlyastonishedatthemarvellouswayinwhichafacesoideally
beautifulassumedsuddenlyacomic,sometimesalmostavulgarexpression.
Gemmawaslesssuccessfulinthepartsofyounggirls—ofso-called'jeunes
premières';inthelove-scenesinparticularshefailed;shewasconsciousofthis
herself,andforthatreasongavethemafaintshadeofironyasthoughshedid
notquitebelieveinalltheserapturousvowsandelevatedsentiments,ofwhich
theauthor,however,washimselfrathersparing—sofarashecouldbe.
Sanindidnotnoticehowtheeveningwasflyingby,andonlyrecollectedthe
journeybeforehimwhentheclockstruckten.Heleapedupfromhisseatas
thoughhehadbeenstung.
'Whatisthematter?'inquiredFrauLenore.


'Why,IhadtostartforBerlinto-night,andIhavetakenaplaceinthediligence!'
'Andwhendoesthediligencestart?'
'Athalf-pastten!'
'Well,then,youwon'tcatchitnow,'observedGemma;'youmuststay…andI
willgoonreading.'
'Haveyoupaidthewholefareoronlygivenadeposit?'FrauLenorequeried.
'Thewholefare!'Saninsaiddolefullywithagloomyface.
Gemmalookedathim,halfclosedhereyes,andlaughed,whilehermother
scoldedher:
'Theyounggentlemanhaspaidawayhismoneyfornothing,andyoulaugh!'
'Nevermind,'answeredGemma;'itwon'truinhim,andwewilltryandamuse
him.Willyouhavesomelemonade?'
Sanindrankaglassoflemonade,GemmatookupMalzoncemore;andallwent
merrilyagain.
Theclockstrucktwelve.Saninrosetotakeleave.
'YoumuststaysomedaysnowinFrankfort,'saidGemma:'whyshouldyou
hurryaway?Itwouldbenonicerinanyothertown.'Shepaused.'Itwouldn't,
really,'sheaddedwithasmile.Saninmadenoreply,andreflectedthat
consideringtheemptinessofhispurse,hewouldhavenochoiceabout
remaininginFrankforttillhegotananswerfromafriendinBerlin,towhomhe
proposedwritingformoney.
'Yes,dostay,'urgedFrauLenoretoo.'WewillintroduceyoutoMr.KarlKlüber,
whoisengagedtoGemma.Hecouldnotcometo-day,ashewasverybusyathis
shop…youmusthaveseenthebiggestdraper'sandsilkmercer'sshopinthe
Zeile.Well,heisthemanagerthere.Buthewillbedelightedtocallonyou
himself.'
Sanin—heavenknowswhy—wasslightlydisconcertedbythispieceof


information.'He'saluckyfellow,thatfiancé!'flashedacrosshismind.Helooked
atGemma,andfanciedhedetectedanironicallookinhereyes.Hebegansaying
good-bye.
'Tillto-morrow?Tillto-morrow,isn'tit?'queriedFrauLenore.
'Tillto-morrow!'Gemmadeclaredinatonenotofinterrogation,butof
affirmation,asthoughitcouldnotbeotherwise.
'Tillto-morrow!'echoedSanin.
Emil,Pantaleone,andthepoodleTartagliaaccompaniedhimtothecornerofthe
street.PantaleonecouldnotrefrainfromexpressinghisdispleasureatGemma's
reading.
'Sheoughttobeashamed!Shemouthsandwhines,unacaricatura!Sheoughtto
representMeropeorClytemnaestra—somethinggrand,tragic—andsheapes
somewretchedGermanwoman!Icandothat…merz,kerz,smerz,'hewenton
inahoarsevoicepokinghisfaceforward,andbrandishinghisfingers.Tartaglia
beganbarkingathim,whileEmilburstoutlaughing.Theoldmanturnedsharply
back.
SaninwentbacktotheWhiteSwan(hehadlefthisthingsthereinthepublic
hall)inaratherconfusedframeofmind.AllthetalkhehadhadinFrench,
German,andItalianwasringinginhisears.
'Engaged!'hewhisperedashelayinbed,inthemodestapartmentassignedto
him.'Andwhatabeauty!ButwhatdidIstayfor?'
NextdayhesentalettertohisfriendinBerlin.


VIII
Hehadnotfinisheddressing,whenawaiterannouncedthearrivaloftwo
gentlemen.OneofthemturnedouttobeEmil;theother,agood-lookingand
well-grownyoungman,withahandsomeface,wasHerrKarlKlüber,the
betrothedofthelovelyGemma.
OnemaysafelyassumethatatthattimeinallFrankfort,therewasnotinasingle
shopamanagerascivil,asdecorous,asdignified,andasaffableasHerrKlüber.
Theirreproachableperfectionofhisget-upwasonalevelwiththedignityofhis
deportment,withtheelegance—alittleaffectedandstiff,itistrue,intheEnglish
style(hehadspenttwoyearsinEngland)—butstillfascinating,eleganceofhis
manners!Itwasclearfromthefirstglancethatthishandsome,rathersevere,
excellentlybrought-upandsuperblywashedyoungmanwasaccustomedtoobey
hissuperiorandtocommandhisinferior,andthatbehindthecounterofhisshop
hemustinfalliblyinspirerespecteveninhiscustomers!Ofhissupernatural
honestytherecouldneverbeaparticleofdoubt:onehadbuttolookathisstiffly
starchedcollars!Andhisvoice,itappeared,wasjustwhatonewouldexpect;
deep,andofaself-confidentrichness,butnottooloud,withpositivelyacertain
caressingnoteinitstimbre.Suchavoicewaspeculiarlyfittedtogiveordersto
assistantsunderhiscontrol:'ShowthecrimsonLyonsvelvet!'or,'Handthelady
achair!'
HerrKlüberbeganwithintroducinghimself;ashedidso,hebowedwithsuch
loftiness,movedhislegswithsuchanagreeableair,anddrewhisheelstogether
withsuchpolishedcourtesythatnoonecouldfailtofeel,'thatmanhasboth
linenandmoralprinciplesofthefirstquality!'Thefinishofhisbarerighthand
—(theleft,inasuedeglove,heldahatshininglikealooking-glass,withthe
rightgloveplacedwithinit)—thefinishoftherighthand,profferedmodestlybut
resolutelytoSanin,surpassedallbelief;eachfinger-nailwasaperfectioninits
ownway!ThenheproceededtoexplaininthechoicestGermanthathewas
anxioustoexpresshisrespectandhisindebtednesstotheforeigngentlemanwho


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