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Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev, 1861



Chapter 2


"LET ME SHAKE MYSELF FIRST, DADDY," SAID ARKADY, IN A VOICE rather tired from traveling but boyish and resonant, as he responded gaily to his father's greetings; "I'm covering you with dust."

"Never mind, never mind," repeated Nikolai Petrovich, smiling tenderly, and struck the collar of his son's cloak and his own greatcoat with his hand. "Let me have a look at you; just show yourself," he added, moving back from him, and then hurried away towards the station yard, calling out, "This way, this way, bring the horses along at once.

Nikolai Petrovich seemed much more excited than his son; he was really rather confused and shy. Arkady stopped him.

"Daddy," he said, "let me introduce you to my great friend, Bazarov, about whom I wrote to you so often. He has kindly agreed to come to stay with us."

Nikolai Petrovich turned round quickly and going up to a tall man in a long, loose rough coat with tassels, who had just climbed out of the carriage, he warmly pressed the ungloved red hand which the latter did not at once hold out to him.

"I am delighted," he began, "and grateful for your kind intention to visit us; I hope--please tell me your name and patronymic."

"Evgeny Vassilyev," answered Bazarov in a lazy but manly voice, and turning back the collar of his rough overcoat he showed his whole face. It was long and thin with a broad forehead, a nose flat at the base and sharper at the end, large greenish eyes and sand-colored, drooping side whiskers; it was enlivened by a calm smile and looked self-confident and intelligent.

"I hope, my dear Evgeny Vassilich, that you won't be bored staying with us," continued Nikolai Petrovich.

Bazarov's thin lips moved slightly, but he made no answer and merely took off his cap. His fair hair, long and thick, did not hide the prominent bumps on his broad skull.

"Well, Arkady," Nikolai Petrovich began again, turning to his son, "would you rather have the horses brought round at once or would you like to rest?"

"We'll rest at home, Daddy; tell them to harness the horses."

"At once, at once," his father exclaimed. "Hey, Pyotr, do you hear? Get a move on, my boy." Pyotr, who as a perfectly modern servant had not kissed his master's hand but only bowed to him from a distance, vanished again through the gates.

"I came here with the carriage, but there are three horses for your tarantass also," said Nikolai Petrovich fussily, while Arkady drank some water from an iron bucket brought to him by the woman in charge of the station, and Bazarov began smoking a pipe and went up to the driver, who was unharnessing the horses. "There are only two seats in the carriage, and I don't know how your friend . . ."

"He will go in the tarantass," interrupted Arkady in an undertone. "Don't stand on ceremony with him, please. He's a splendid fellow, so simple--you will see."

Nikolai Petrovich's coachman brought the horses round.

"Well, make haste, bushy beard!" said Bazarov, addressing the driver.

"Do you hear, Mitya," chipped in another driver, standing with his hands behind him thrust into the slits of his sheepskin coat, "what the gentleman just called you? That's just what you are--a bushy beard."

Mitya only jerked his hat and pulled the reins off the steaming horses.

"Hurry up, lads, lend a hand!" cried Nikolai Petrovich. "There'll be something to drink our health with!"

In a few minutes the horses were harnessed; father and son took their places in the carriage: Pyotr climbed on to the box; Bazarov jumped into the tarantass, leaned his head back against the leather cushion--and both vehicles rolled away.





Notes


Bazarov: sounds like "bazaar", and, indeed, his ideas were current in that marketplace. With his background in science, he does believe in a Hegelian determinism of history or economics. With his background from the lower middle class, he must make his own, difficult, way in the world and has reason to be bitter. In later generations he might be an "angry young man" or a "beatnik" or even "punk".

patronymic: Russian names were formed from a Christian first name and a version of the father's name. Bazarov uses the curt, unconventional form here. Later we will see complications as the women characters use various patronymic forms.

tarantass: a four-wheeled, springless cart.


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