Fiction > Harvard Classics > Ivan Turgenev > A House of Gentlefolk > Chapter XXVII
Ivan Turgenev (1818–1883).  A House of Gentlefolk.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction.  1917.
Chapter XXVII
MEANWHILE the evening had come on, Marya Dmitrievna expressed a desire to return home, and the little girls were with difficulty torn away from the pond, and made ready. Lavretsky declared that he would escort his guests half-way, and ordered his horse to be saddled. As he was handing Marya Dmitrievna into the coach, he bethought himself of Lemm; but the old man could nowhere be found. He had disappeared directly after the angling was over. Anton, with an energy remarkable for his years, slammed the doors, and called sharply, ‘Go on, coachman!’ The coach started. Marya Dmitrievna and Lisa were seated in the back seat; the children and their maid in the front. The evening was warm and still, and the windows were open on both sides. Lavretsky trotted near the coach on the side of Lisa, with his arm leaning on the door—he had thrown the reins on the neck of his smoothly-pacing horse—and now and then he exchanged a few words with the young girl. The glow of sunset was disappearing; night came on, but the air seemed to grow even warmer. Marya Dmitrievna was soon slumbering, the little girls and the maid fell asleep also. The coach rolled swiftly and smoothly along; Lisa was bending forward, she felt happy; the rising moon lighted up her face, the fragrant night breeze breathed on her eyes and cheeks. Her hand rested on the coach door near Lavretsky’s hand. And he was happy; borne along in the still warmth of the night, never taking his eyes off the good young face, listening to the young voice that was melodious even in a whisper, as it spoke of simple, good things, he did not even notice that he had gone more than half-way. He did not want to wake Marya Dmitrievna, he lightly pressed Lisa’s hand and said, ‘I think we are friends now, aren’t we?’ She nodded, he stopped, his horse, and the coach rolled away, lightly swaying and oscillating up and down; Lavretsky turned homeward at a walking pace. The witchery of the summer night enfolded him; all around him seemed suddenly so strange—and at the same time so long known, so sweetly familiar. Everywhere near and afar—and one could see into the far distance, though the eye could not make out clearly much of what was seen—all was at peace; youthful, blossoming life seemed expressed in this deep peace. Lavretsky’s horse stepped out bravely, swaying evenly to right and left; its great black shadow moved along beside it. There was something strangely sweet in the tramp of its hoofs, a strange charm in the ringing cry of the quails. The stars were lost in a bright mist; the moon, not yet at the full, shone with steady brilliance; its light was shed in an azure stream over the sky, and fell in patches of smoky gold on the thin clouds as they drifted near. The freshness of the air drew a slight moisture into the eyes, sweetly folded all the limbs, and flowed freely into the lungs. Lavretsky rejoiced in it, and was glad at his own rejoicing. ‘Come, we are still alive,’ he thought; ‘we have not been altogether destroyed by’—he did not say—by whom or by what. Then he fell to thinking of Lisa, that she could hardly love Panshin, that if he had met her under different circumstances—God knows what might have come of it; that he understood Lemm though Lisa had no words of ‘her own;’ but that, he thought, was not true; she had words of her own. ‘Don’t speak lightly of that,’ came back to Lavretsky’s mind. He rode a long way with his head bent in thought, then drawing himself up, he slowly repeated aloud:
        ‘And I have burnt all I adored,
And now I adore all that I burnt.’
Then he gave his horse a switch with the whip, and galloped all the way home.
  Dismounting from his horse, he looked round for the last time with an involuntary smile of gratitude. Night, still, kindly night stretched over hills and valleys; from after, out of its fragrant depths—God knows whence—whether from the heavens or the earth—rose a soft, gentle warmth. Lavretsky sent a last greeting to Lisa, and ran up the steps.   2
  The next day passed rather dully. Rain was falling from early morning; Lemm wore a scowl, and kept more and more tightly compressing his lips, as though he had taken an oath never to open them again. When he went to his room, Lavretsky took up to bed with him a whole bundle of French newspapers, which had been lying for more than a fortnight on his table unopened. He began indifferently to tear open the wrappings, and glanced hastily over the columns of the newspapers—in which, however, there was nothing new. He was just about to throw them down—and all at once he leaped out of bed as if he had been stung. In an article in one of the papers, M. Jules, with whom we are already familiar, communicated to his readers a ‘mournful intelligence, that charming, fascinating Moscow lady,’ he wrote, ‘one of the queens of fashion, who adorned Parisian salons, Madame de Lavretsky, had died almost suddenly, and this intelligence, unhappily only too well-founded, had only just reached him, M. Jules. He was,’ so he continued, ‘he might say a friend of the deceased.’   3
  Lavretsky dressed, went out into the garden, and till morning he walked up and down the same path.   4



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