Guests gathered at the dacha ***. The hall was filled with ladies and men, arrived at the same time the theater, which gave a new Italian opera. Little by little order was established. The ladies took their seats on the sofas. About the composition of their circle of men. Vista was established a. It remained on his feet a few young people; and review of the Paris lithographs replaced general conversation.
On the balcony, sat two men. One of them, traveling Spanish, it seemed, vividly enjoy the pleasures of the northern night. With admiration, he gazed at the clear, pale sky, on the majestic Neva, illumined by the light of ineffable, and the surrounding garden, risuyuschiesya transparent twilight. "How good is your northern night, He said finally, - and how not to regret her charms even under the sky of my homeland?"-" One of our poets *, - replied the other, - Compare it with the white-haired Russian beauty; I confess, that dark, black-eyed Italian, or Spaniard, full of vitality and bliss midday, more captivated my imagination. However, a long-standing dispute between la brune et la blonde # still not resolved. but the way: Did you know, as one foreigner, he explained to me the rigor and purity of morals in St. Petersburg? she assured, that our love affairs too cold winter nights, and summer is too bright ". - The Spaniard smiled. "So, due to the impact of climate, - he said, - Petersburg has promised land of beauty, courtesy and blameless ". - "Beauty is a matter of taste, - answered Russian, - but there is nothing to talk about our courtesy. It is not in vogue; none of it and does not think.
Women are afraid to pass for yoke, men to drop their dignity. Everybody is trying to be insignificant with taste and decency. Well regards to the purity of morals, then in order not to use evil alien credulity, I'll tell you ... "And the conversation took a very satirical direction.
During that time, the doors to the hall opened, Volsky and rose. It was the first youth color. Regular features, big, black eyes, liveliness movements, most strangeness dress, inevitably attracted the attention of all. The men greeted her with a kind of playful friendliness, ladies with a marked hostility; but I did not notice anything Volskaya; response curve to common questions, She absently looked in all directions; her face, changeable as the cloud, educated boredom; She sat down beside important Princess D. and, as the saying goes, pouted. #
Suddenly she shivered and turned to the balcony. Anxiety possessed it. she got, I walked around the chairs and tables, He stopped for a moment behind the chair the old General P., no reply on his thin madrigal and suddenly slipped on the balcony.
Spanish and Russian have risen. She walked up to him and said in confusion a few words in Russian. Spaniard, believing themselves more than, He left her and returned to the hall.
Important Princess T. He spent Volskaya eyes and said in a low voice to his neighbor:
- It's nothing on looks.
- She was terribly windy, - he answered.
- Fans? not enough. She behaved inexcusably. It can not respect yourself as she pleases, but the light still does not deserve this neglect from her. Minsk could she did notice.
- It will do nothing, too happy to compromise #. meanwhile, I bet byus, the conversation of their most innocent.
- I'm sure that ... How long have you become so good-natured?
- I confess: I am taking part in the fate of this young woman. It has many good and much less bad, than thought. But her passion ruin.
- Passion! a big word! what a passion? Do you not imagine, that she had a passionate heart, romanycheskaya head? She just badly brought up ... What kind of lithography? portrait Gussejn-clicks *? show me it.
guests went home; any ladies are not left already in the living room. Only the hostess with obvious displeasure was at the table, followed by two diplomats see out the last game in Ecarte. Volsky suddenly saw the dawn and hastily left the balcony, where it is about three hours at a stretch was alone Minsk. The hostess said goodbye to her cold, Minsk and with the intention of not deign glance. At the entrance a few guests were their crews. Minsk Volskaya planted in her carriage. "It seems, your turn", - I told him a young officer. "Not at all, - he answered;- she's busy; I'm just her breastplate or what do you want. But I love her from the heart - it is hilariously funny ".
* * *
Zinaida Volsky lost her mother in the sixth year of birth. her father, business man and scattered, I gave her up French, hired teachers of every kind and then nothing of her did not care. Fourteen, she was beautiful, and wrote love notes to his dancing master. Father found out about it, He denied the dancing master, and brought it into the light, believing, that raising it over. The emergence of Zenaida has done a great noise. Wolski, wealthy young man, accustomed to subordinate their feelings others felt, I fell in love with her without memory, because Adjutant General ** one courtly ball strongly announced, Zinaida first in St. Petersburg and beautiful that the emperor, I met her on the Promenade des Anglais, an hour talking with her. He began to woo. Father rejoiced the occasion to sell hand-fashion bride. Zinaida burned would be married, to see in their entire city. Besides Wolski she was not disgusted, and thus its fate was sealed.
her sincerity, unexpected leprosy, baby levity made a good impression at first, and even the light was grateful that, which constantly interrupt the monotony of important aristocratic circle. They laughed at her antics, repeated her strange antics. But the years passed, and the soul of Zinaida still was 14 years old. began to murmur. found, Volskaya that has no sense of decency, characteristic of her sex. Women began to be removed from it, and the men approached. Zinaida thought, that it does not lose, and comforted.
Rumors began to attribute her lovers. Backbiting, even without evidence leaves almost eternal traces. In a secular credibility of the Code is equal to the truth, and be the subject of slander humiliates our own opinion. Volskaya, in tears of indignation, I decided to rebel resist the power of an unjust world. The case soon presented.
Between young people, its surrounding, Zinaida has distinguished Minsk. Apparently, some similarity in the nature and circumstances of life was to bring them closer together. The first youth Minsk vicious their behavior also deserve censure light, who punished him with slanders. Minsk has left him, pretending indifferent. Passion for a time drowned in his heart pang of pride; but, usmirennыy opыtami, he appeared again on the scene of society and brought him no longer careless impetuosity of his youth, but indulgence and selfishness decency. He did not like the light, but despised, For he knew the need for approval. With all that, respecting the general, He did not spare him in particular, and each member of it was ready to sacrifice his vindictive vanity. Volskaya liked him for, she dared to despise him clearly hated conditions. He incited her encouragement and advice, He became her confidant and soon became her needs.
B ** for some time held her imagination. "He is too insignificant for you, - said she Minsk. - All his mind is drawn from Liaisons dangereuses * #, as well as all his genius kidnapped from Jomini *. Hearing it shorter, you will despise him hard immorality, as military people despise his platitudes ".
- I would like to fall in love with P., - he said Zinaida.
- What nonsense! - he answered. - Hunting you communicate with a person, who dye their hair, and every five minutes, repeat with gusto: "When I was in Florence ... #" Говорят, his obnoxious wife in love with him; leave them alone: they are made for each other.
- A Baron W.?
- It's a girl in uniform; in it ... but do you know what? A fall in love with. He takes your fancy: he is also incredibly clever, as an unusually Duren; and then he is a man with great feelings #, it will be jealous and passionate, He will torment you and make you laugh, bringing you more?
However Volskaya Well it did not listen. Minsk guessed her heart; his pride was touched; not believing, to levity might be connected with the strong passions, he foresaw the connection without any important consequences, extra windy woman in the list of his mistresses and coolly contemplated his victory. probably, if he could imagine the storm, his waiting, he refused b from its celebration, For a man of easy to sacrifice their pleasures and even the vanity and laziness decency.
Minsk was still lying in bed, when he was handed a letter. He opened it with a yawn; shrugged, deploying two sheets, length and breadth of the smallest female scribbled handwriting. The letter began thus:
"I do not know how you make everything, I have the heart; in your presence, I do not find thoughts, which are now so vividly haunting me. Your sophistry not convince my suspicions, but make me silent; it proves your superiority over me a perpetual, but not enough for happiness, for the tranquility of my heart ... "
Volskaya accused him of being cold, distrust, and so on., complained, beseech, not knowing what; He crumbled to tender, affectionate confidence - and appointed a meeting with him in his bed at night. Minsk answered her in a nutshell, apologizing boring chores necessary and promising to necessarily be in the theater.
- You are so honest and forgiving, - said the Spaniard, - that I venture to ask you to allow me a single task: I wandered around the world, presented in all European courts, all attended high society, but I never felt so connected, so awkward, in your damned aristocratic circles. Every time, when I enter the hall in the Princess. - and I see those dumb, immobile mummy, Reminds me of the Egyptian cemetery, some cold I pronimaet. Between them there is no moral authority, no name no natverzheno my glory - to what I get shy?
- Before the hostility, - answered Russian. - This is a feature of our character. The people expressed it sarcastically, in the higher range of inattention and cold. Our Ladies besides very superficially formed, European and nothing does not take their thoughts. On the men not to speak. Politics and literature for them do not exist. Wit long been out of favor as a sign of levity. About what will they say? about themselves? not, - they are too well-bred. It remains to them talk some homemade, petty, private, intelligible only to the few - for the elite. And the man, does not belong to this little flock, adopted as a stranger - and not only a foreigner, but your.
- Excuse me my questions, - said the Spaniard, - but it is unlikely to find me another time satisfactory answers, and I hasten to you to use. You mentioned your aristocracy; what the Russian aristocracy. Catching your laws, I see, that hereditary aristocracy, based on the indivisibility of estates, You do not exist. it seems, between your nobility there is civil equality, and access thereto is not limited. On what is based your so-called aristocracy, - is only one delivery of antiquity? - Russian laughed.
- You're wrong, - he answered, - ancient Russian nobility, due to reasons, you mentioned, It fell into obscurity and was born the third state. Our noble black, to which I belong, considers his ancestors Rurik and Monomakh. I will tell, eg, - continued Russian overlooking complacent neglect, - the root of my nobility lost in remote antiquity, the names of my ancestors on all pages of our history. But if I had thought to call himself an aristocrat, the, probably, Many would laugh. But the real aristocracy of our hardly can be called and his grandfather. Ancient generations to go back to Peter and Elizabeth. batman, pevčie, Ukrainians - that their ancestors. I speak not as a reproach: dignity - dignity always, and public benefit requires its rise. Funny just to see in minute grandchildren Pirozhnikov, orderlies, choristers and deacons arrogance Duke Monmorency #, first Christian Baron, and Clermont-tonner. We are so positive, that we are on our knees before the present case, success and ..., but the charm of antiquity, thanks to the past and respect for the moral virtues for us does not exist. Karamzin recently told us our story. But as soon as we listened. We are proud of the glory of the ancestors are not, but the rank of some uncle or cousin balls. Note, that disrespect to the ancestors is the first sign of savagery and immorality.
Guests flocked to the country ...