I swore to shoot him on the right duel (behind him was even my shot).
Evening at bivuake.
We stood in a place ***. The life of an army officer known. morning, drill, riding hall; Lunch at the regimental commander or at a Jewish restaurant; evening and punch card. AT *** there was no open house, any bride; we were going to each other, Where, but their uniforms, never seen anything.
Only one man belonged to our society, not in the military. He was about thirty-five years, and we looked upon him as an old man. His experience gave him to us many benefits; besides his ordinary sullenness, temper and caustic tongue have a strong influence on our young minds. Some mystery surrounded his fate; he seemed Russian, and wore foreign name. He had formerly served in the Hussars, and even happily; Nobody knew the cause, prompted him to retire and live in a poor village, where he lived poorly and wasteful: ever walked on foot, in a worn black sertuke, and kept open table for all the officers of our regiment. true, his lunch consisted of two or three dishes, prepared by a retired soldier, but the champagne flowed like a river, moreover,. Nobody knew what his circumstances, nor his income, and no one dared to question him about. He had a collection book, for the most part military, yes novels. He willingly gave them to read, I never asked for them back; but he never returned the book owner, them busy. The main exercise was shooting a gun. The walls of his room were riddled with bullets, full of holes, like a honeycomb bee. The rich collection of pistols was the only luxury in poor huts, where he lived. Art, up of which he has reached, was extremely, and if he had offered to shoot a pear with a cap who used whatsoever, No one in our regiment does not doubt to substitute him his head. Our conversation often fights; Silvio (so I will call him) I never interfered with him. the question, if he happened to fight, he replied dryly, what happened, but did not go into the details, and it was, that such questions were not to his liking. we thought, that his conscience lay any unfortunate victim of his terrible skill. However, and we never occurred to suspect him of anything like cowardice. There are people, one of which removes any appearance of suspicion. An unexpected event all of us astonished.
One day about ten of our officers dined with Silvio. We drank ordinary, that is, a lot of; after dinner we asked our host prometat us bank. For a long time he refused, For almost never played; finally ordered his card, dumped on the table fifty ducats, and sat down to deal. We surrounded him, and the game ensued. Silvio used for storing the play of perfect silence, I never argued and explained. If pontoru happened shortchange, he immediately paid dostalnoe, or wrote too much. We already knew it and did not stop him in his own host; but between us was an officer, Recently, we translated. is he, playing immediately, in distraction once bent angle. Silvio took the chalk and equalized through his wont. the officer, thinking, that he made a mistake, He launched into an explanation. Silvio went silently fume. the officer, losing patience, I took a brush and rubbed out, it seemed to him vain recorded. Silvio took the chalk and wrote again. the officer, warm with wine, play, and laughter of his comrades, He considered himself badly hurt and, in his rage he seized a brass candlestick from the table, He hurled it at Silvio, who barely had time to deviate from the strike. we were troubled. Silvio rose, pale with anger, and with sparkling eyes said,: "Your Majesty, good enough to go out, and thank god, this happened in my house ".
We had no doubt of the consequences, and laid a new friend already killed. The officer went out, said, that for the offense is ready to answer, How would you like Mr. banker. The game lasted for a few minutes; but, feeling, that the owner was not up to the game, we are lagging behind, one after another, and wandered from door to door, interpreting the imminent Vacanze.
The next day in the arena, we were already asking, alive any more poor lieutenant, he himself appeared among us; we made him the same question. he answered, that of Silvio had it still no news. It surprised us. We went to Silvio's house and found him in the yard, planting a bullet after bullet into an ace, glued to the gate. He took us on an ordinary, without saying a word about yesterday's incident. It was three days, Lieutenant was still alive. We were surprised to ask: Silvio really would not fight? Silvio did not fight. He was satisfied with a very easy explanation and reconciled.
It was extremely hurt him in the opinion of young people. Lack of courage is all excuses young people, who usually see the courage top human virtues and vices of every possible excuse. However, Well, little by little it was all forgotten, and Silvio regained his former influence.
One I could no longer approach him. With the nature of romantic imagination, I was stronger than all of this is tied to the first person, whose life was an enigma, and who seemed to me the hero of some mysterious story. He loved me; at least with me alone sharp your ordinary slander and talked about various subjects with extraordinary simplicity and pleasantness. But after the accident thought pm, that his honor had been tarnished, and bathed in his own fault, This thought never left me and prevented me treating him still; I was ashamed to look at him. Silvio was too intelligent and experienced, to not notice and do not guess the cause. It seemed, this upset him; at least I noticed a couple of times in his desire to explain to me; but I avoided such opportunities, and Silvio gave up. Since then I have seen him only in his comrades, and former frank conversations stopped our.
Scattered residents of the capital have no idea about the many experiences, as well-known residents of villages and small towns, for example about waiting for the post of the day: On Tuesdays and Fridays our regimental chancellery've been filled with officers: who was waiting for money, some letters, one newspaper. Packages are usually printed out immediately, news reported, and the Office was represented by a picture of the most lively. Silvio received letters, addressed to our regiment, and usually immediately I was. One day he was handed a package, with which he broke the seal with supreme impatience. Covering letter, his eyes sparkled. officers, each occupied with his own letters, You do not notice. "Gentlemen, - said they Silvio, - circumstances require immediate my absence; food today in the night; I hope, that you do not refuse to dine with me for the last time. I expect you, - he continued, spake unto me,, - waiting will certainly ". With these words he hurried out; and we, agreeing to meet at Silvio, went each to his own.
I went to Silvio at the appointed time and found nearly the whole regiment. All his possessions were already packed; remained only naked, riddled walls. We sat at the table; the owner was very in the spirit, and soon his cheerfulness might be made obscheyu; plugs knock pominutno, glasses foamed and hissed incessantly, and with the utmost diligence, we wished our departing bon voyage and every good. We got up from the table late in the evening. When parsing caps Silvio, all goodbye, He took me by the arm and stopped the minute, how I was going to get out. "I need to talk to you", - he said quietly. I stayed.
The guests have left; we were alone, We sat opposite each other and silently lit tube. Silvio was preoccupied; there was no longer a trace of his convulsive hilarity. grim pallor, sparkling eyes and thick smoke, issuing from his mouth, We gave him the appearance of the devil. A few minutes, Silvio broke the silence.
- May be, we never meet again, - he said to me,; - before parting, I would like you to explain. You may have noticed, that I do not respect the opinion of other people; but I love you, and I feel: I would be painful to leave a wrong impression in your mind.
He stopped and began to fill his pipe faded; I was silent, cast down one's eyes.
- You were weird, - he continued, - I did not demand satisfaction from that drunken madman P ***. you agree, what, having the right to choose weapons, his life was in my hands, and my mail security: I could ascribe my moderation same generosity, but I do not want to lie. If I could punish the P ***, no risk to my life, then I would never have forgiven him.
I looked at Silvio with astonishment. Such a confession completely confused me. Silvio continued.
- Sure: I have no right to expose themselves to death. Six years ago I received a slap in the face, and my enemy is still alive.
My curiosity was strongly excited.
- You did not fight with him? - I asked. - Circumstances, right, you discern?
- I fought with him, - I replied Silvio, - and this is our fight monument.
Silvio rose and took from a cardboard red cap with a gold tassel, with alum (the, the French call a bonnet de police #); he put it; She was shot in an inch from his forehead.
- You know, - continued Silvio, - that I was in *** Hussars. My character is known to you: I'm used to excel, but from an early age it was in me a passion. In our time, the riot was in vogue: I was the first brawled to the army. We boast of drunkenness: I drunk glorious Burtsova *, sung by Denis Davydov. Duels in our regiment happened minutely: I at all was either, or actor. My comrades adored me, and regimental commanders, pominutno smenяemыe, We are looking at me as a necessary evil.
I calmly (or restless) naslazhdalsya moeyu glory, How to define us young people rich and noble family (I do not want to call it). He has never seen such a brilliant fortunate! Imagine the youth, mind, beauty, gaiety most rabid, courage the most carefree, big name, money, whom he did not know the account and who never had been translated, and imagine, what action should he make between us. Superiority of my shaken. Obolschennыy moeyu glory, he began to seek my friendship; but I took it cold, and it without any regret from me departed. I hated it. His success in the regiment and in the society of women led me to utter despair. I began looking for a quarrel with him; my epigrams he replied with epigrams, which always seemed to me suddenly and sharply, and that my, of course, not an example was more fun: he joked, I treated me vilely. Finally one day at a ball at the Polish landowner, seeing it the subject of attention of all the ladies, and most especially the hostess, the former due to me, I said in his ear some flat rudeness. He blushed and gave me a slap in the face. We rushed to the sabers; ladies fainted; we have taken away, and that same night we went to fight.
It was at dawn. I was standing at the appointed place with my three seconds. With inexplicable impatience I awaited my opponent. The spring sun rose, and the heat already naspeval. I saw him from afar. He walked, uniform with saber, accompanied by one second. We went to meet him. he is approaching, holding cap, filled with cherries. Seconds measured twelve paces for us. I had to shoot first, but the excitement of anger in me was so strong, I do not have relied on the faithful to arms and, to give yourself time to cool down, He conceded his first shot: My opponent did not agree. Put cast lots: the first number he got, eternal happiness pet. He took aim and shot me a cap. The queue was after me. His life was finally in my hands; I looked at him eagerly, while trying to catch a shadow of anxiety ... He was under the gun, choosing from a cap of ripe cherries and spitting out the stones, that drifted up to me. His indifference infuriated me. What does it profit me, I thought, take his life, when it does not value? A malicious thought flashed through my mind. I lowered the gun. "You, it seems, Now to death, - I said to him,, - you are pleased to have breakfast; I do not want you to stop ". - "You did not stop me, - he said, - good enough to shoot himself, and though, as you please; your shot is yours; I'm always ready for your service ".
I turned to the seconds, declaring, that now is not going to shoot, and the fight was over and.
I resigned and retired to this place. Since that time has not passed a single day, that I was not thinking about revenge. Now my hour has come ...
Silvio took from his pocket this morning received a letter and gave it to me to read. Someone (it seemed, his business agent) I wrote to him from Moscow, that a certain person should soon enter into a valid marriage with a young and beautiful girl.
- Can you guess, - Silvio said, - Who is this certain person. I am going to Moscow. We'll see, it indifferently, he will die before their wedding, as once I waited for her for cherries!
With these words, Silvio rose, He threw his cap on the floor and began to walk up and down the room, like a tiger in his cage. I listened to him motionless; strange, contradistinction feelings agitated me.
A servant entered and announced, that the horses were ready. Silvio grasped my hand; we kissed. He sat in the cart, which lay two trunks, one with guns, the other with his belongings. We said good-bye again, and the horse jumped.
Several years have passed, and domestic circumstances forced me to live in a poor village H ** County. Catching up on household, I have never ceased to sigh for my former noisy and careless life. The most difficult was to get used to me to spend the autumn and winter evenings in perfect solitude. Before lunch somehow I still hold out time, interpreting with the warden, driving around the work or avoiding new establishments; but since getting dark, I did not know where to go. Few books, I had found in the cupboards and pantry, I had memorized vytverzheny. All the stories, that she could remember the housekeeper Kirilovna, I was told to; songs of women makes me melancholy. I had to take over unsweetened liqueur, but it made my head ache; yes I admit, I was afraid to become a drunkard with grief, t. it is. most bitter drunkard, What I have seen many examples in our district.
Near neighbors did not have, but two or three bitter, whose conversation consisted mainly of hiccups and sighs. Solitude was bearable *.
Four miles from the rich estate was me, owned by the Countess B ***; but it lived only ruler, The Countess visited her estate once only, in its first year of marriage, and then I lived there for less than a month. However, Well into the second spring of my seclusion rumor, that the countess and her husband come for the summer to their village. Indeed, they arrived at the beginning of the month of June.
The arrival of a rich neighbor is an important event for the villagers. Landlords and yard people talk about it for a couple of months before and three years later,. As for me, the, I confess, the news of the arrival of a young and beautiful neighbor affected me strongly; I was burning with impatience to see her, and because on the first Sunday after her arrival I set out after dinner for the village *** commended His Excellency, as the nearest neighbor and most humble servant.
The footman brought me into the Count's office, while he went to announce me. An extensive study has been removed from all sorts of luxury; around the walls were cabinets with books, and over every bronze bust; over the marble fireplace was a wide mirror; the floor was covered with a green cloth and carpets. Unaccustomed to luxury in a poor corner of my and no longer having seen the wealth of others, I was abashed and the Count waited with some trepidation, as a suppliant from the provinces awaits the Minister exit. the door opened, and he entered a man of about thirty-two, perfect himself. Count approached me with a frank and friendly; I tried to cheer up and began to recommend themselves, but he warned me. we sat. his conversation, free and friendly, soon dispelled my wild shyness; I was beginning to enter into my usual, when suddenly the Countess, and confusion over me more than ever. Indeed, she was beautiful. Earl introduced me; I wanted to appear at ease, but the more I tried to assume an air of ease, the more awkward I felt. They, to give me time to recover and get used to a new acquaintance, They began to say among themselves,, treating me as a good neighbor and without ceremony. Meanwhile, I began to walk up and down, examining books and pictures. In the pictures I not an expert, but one caught my attention. It represented some sort of Switzerland; but it struck me it is not art, and that, that the picture was shot with two bullets, vsazhennymi one another.
- That's a good shot, - I said, referring to the graph.
- Yes, - he answered, - a very remarkable shot. Do you shoot well? - he continued.
- Fairly, - I answered, overjoyed, that the conversation turned to the subject at last, I loved. - Thirty-slip steps in the map will not give, of course, with a pistol.
- right? - said the countess, overlooking a large care; - and you, my friend, you hit a card at thirty paces?
- Someday, - replied the Count, - we will try. At the time, I did not shoot badly; but after four years, I have not picked up a gun.
- ABOUT, - I said, - in this case, I bet, that your Excellency will not be sent to the card at twenty paces: gun requires daily exercise. This I know from experience. In our regiment I was considered one of the best shooters. Once it happened to me for a month not to take the gun: mine were to be repaired; what do you think, your Excellency? For the first time, I became then shoot, I gave four penalties in succession a bottle of twenty-five steps. Our captain, wit, magazine; He then came and said to me,: know you, brother, the hand does not rise to the bottle. Not, your Excellency, should not neglect to practice, not just lose its cunning. Best shooter, which I ever met, I shot every day, at least three times before lunch. It had been opened, as a shot of vodka.
The Count and Countess were glad, I was talking.
- And what he shot? - I asked the Count.
- Yes, that's how, your Excellency: happened, he sees, I sat down on the wall fly: you laugh, countess? By golly, true. Sometimes, He sees fly and shouts: Kuzka, pistol! Kuzka and bears him a loaded gun. Online clap, and push a fly on the wall!
- It's amazing! - said the count; - and his name?
- Silvio, your Excellency.
- Silvio! - exclaimed the Count, jumping up from his seat; - you know Silvio?
- How to know, your Excellency; we were friends with him; he received in our regiment was like a brother; but it is now five years, how about it I do not have any news. And your excellency, that is, knew him?
- I Knew, really knew. Did he tell you ... but there is no; I do not think; Did not he tell you of one very strange incident?
- Do not slap, your Excellency, he received at a ball from some blackguard?
- And he was telling you the name of the rake?
- Not, your Excellency, he never mentioned ... Oh! your Excellency, - I went, knowing the truth, - I'm sorry ... I did not know ... I do not whether you?..
- I myself, - replied the Count with a view extremely upset, - and pierced picture is a memento of our last meeting ...
- Brother, my dear, - said the countess, - For God's sake do not tell; I'm afraid will listen.
- Not, - said Earl, - I'll tell you everything; he knows, I insulted his friend: he should know, how Silvio avenged.
Earl pulled my chair, and with the liveliest interest I listened to the following story:.
"Five years ago I got married. - The first month, the honey-moon#, I spent here, in this village. This house I owe the best moments of my life and one of the most painful memories.
One evening we went out together on horseback; My wife's horse became restive,; she was frightened, He gave me the reins and went home on foot; I went ahead. In the courtyard I saw a traveling carriage; I was told, I have a man sitting in the office, who would not give his name, But having just, that he had business with me. I entered the room and saw the man in the dark, dusty and overgrown beard; He stood there by the fireplace. I went to him, trying to remember his lines. "Did not you recognize me, graph?"- he said in a trembling voice,. "Silvio!"- I cried, and I confess, I felt, as the hair had suddenly stood on end. "Sure, - he continued, - shot for me; I got my gun discharge; Are you ready?"His pistol protruded from a side pocket. I measured twelve paces and stood there in the corner, begging him to fire quickly, before my wife arrived. He hesitated - he asked for a light. candles filed. I locked the door, I did not tell anyone to enter, and again begged him to fire. He drew his pistol and pointed it ... I counted the seconds ... I thought about it ... A terrible minute passed! Silvio lowered his hand. "I am sorry, - he said, - that the pistol is not loaded with cherry stones ... the bullet is heavy. I do think, that we do not duel, and murder: I was not accustomed to taking aim at unarmed. Let's start all over again; kinem lot, who shoot first ". My head was spinning ... I think, I do not agree ... At last we loaded another gun; turned two tickets; He put them in his cap, once shot through me; I took again the first number. "You, graph, damn happy ", - he said with a smile, I shall never forget. I do not understand, that to me was the way he could to make me do ... but - I shot, and hit that picture. (Count pointed his finger to the picture; His face was burning like fire; Countess was whiter than her own handkerchief: I could not restrain an exclamation.)
I shot, - continued the Count, - and, thank God, I gave a miss; Then Silvio ... (At that moment he was, right, terrible) Silvio began to take aim at me. Suddenly the door opens, Masha runs in and throws squealing on my neck. Her presence had returned me the courage. "Pretty, - I said to her,, - do not you see, we joke? How frightened you! podi, drink a glass of water and then come to us; I will introduce you to an old friend and fellow ". Masha still could not believe. "Tell, whether the husband is telling the truth? - she said, turning to the terrible Silvio, - Justice Is, that both of you are joking?"-" He's always joking, countess, - I replied Silvio;- one day he gave me a slap in jest, jokingly shot me here this cap, jokingly gave now for me to slip; now I come hunting joke ... "With these words he wanted me to take aim at her ...! Masha threw herself at his feet. "Get up, Masha, shame! - I cried in a rage;- and you, sir, stop if mock poor woman? Will you fire or not?"-" Do not be, - I replied Silvio, - I am satisfied: I've seen your confusion, your shyness; I made you shoot at me, Enough for me. Will you remember me. I leave you to your conscience ". Then he was released, but he stopped at the door, I looked at the picture I, He shot her, almost without taking aim, and disappeared. My wife had fainted; people did not dare to stop him and looked at him in horror; he went out to the porch, He called his coachman and left, before I could recover ".
Earl stopped. Thus I learned the end of the story, whose beginning had once so struck me. The hero of it I have not met. They say, Silvio, during the revolt under Alexander Ypsilanti, He commanded a detachment Hetairists and was killed in the battle of Skoulana.