Si-minor. English version
«You inspired me to follow my dream».
Moscow. 2016 ã.
F O R E W O R D
Perhaps, just somebody entirely far from civilization do not know, that Peter Il'ich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) is the Great Russian composer. In rather short, but very eventful life Tchaikovsky created tens of outstanding pieces of music which until now are also on rumour, do not descends from playbills, sounds in new performances. As the author of music, Tchaikovsky is still loved by many, many musicians worldwide, but in Russia and Europe, likely, the most executed along with Schubert, Beethoven, Mozart and Bach. What the secret of such popularity? It`s thought not only in diversity of genres, he skilfully mastered, but in music itself, in the sounds, passionate and trembling, heroic and merry, but frequently tragical and sad, in the music all the way through penetrated by genuine human sincerity, love and empathy. Melody, feelings authenticity, impeccable self-expression cleanliness present in his each composition, whether be it tiny etude, a big symphony, opera or ballet. Undoubtedly, it attracts executors and public.
But, both in Peter Il'ich's music, and in his person it`s attracts very much too. Sometimes it seems that for the incomplete fifty four years old he lived some lives, from the cloudless childhood in a noble family in provincial Votkinsk with good tutors and excellent education to the diligent graduate of school of jurisprudence in St. Petersburg, from ordinary career of the beginning official of the Ministry of Justice to the teacher of the Moscow conservatory, then the free actor, and, at last, the composer recognized by all. In Tchaikovsky`s big family there were no professional musicians, as well as among his closest friends of youth. The composer's talent in him was recognised not at once, he had to prove his abilities by insistent, persistent work, and who knows, as if his future was turned, do not he met on the way of living protruding musicians and devotees, Rubinshtein's brothers! Evidently, therefore Tchaikovsky even in the glory zenith did not lose hypertrophied feeling of self-checking adjoining at times with crisis uncertainty of his creative potential.
However there was in his life critical period (about 1875-1876), pointed by unbelievable creative growth. Exactly in this period he created the masterpieces of the world classical music entirely different on genre and mood - the first concert for piano with orchestra, ballet «The Swan lake» and overture-imagination «Francheska da Rimini» which brought him the world glory. According to the experienced author of this story, in these compositions Tchajkovsky surpassed himself, the former. What happened? What moved the composer to make immortal creations exactly in this period of his life? And in general, what is the creativity, whom and what authors should be grateful, creating works of art?
I really tried to tell in this story about the sources of inspiration, opportunities and development the creative potential in human society by the example of the life of Russian composer favourite in the world. Though events described in it take a place before last century, everything changed, but much is urgent and until now, because inside perception of novelty by person always falls behind from time facts. Everything changes, to replace steam trains and steamships comes planes, to replace books and writing blocks - computers, only sounds and scales, letters and words, paints and canvases, voices and movements remain constant, - everybody is of the right to do with all of this everything the soul will wish, if there are such abilities. The main, that it wasn't a shame with own creation, and the faultless belief got stronger, that by all means it will surely find response in hearts and minds of people, will give the chance everybody to feel himself best, to open something new, to become more courageous, more honest, Galahad, sympathetic. Shouldn’t it must be the base in eternal seeking of the society to perfection? Or, absorbed by forces of the evil, we really not at all aspire to the light, and instinct of self-preservation to the mankind became entirely alien?
The humanistic message and belief in a better future directed me when writing the story «Si-minor». By the main source of inspiration served, of course, Peter Il'ich Tchaikovsky's music. In the course of work I actively penetrated into his diaries, letters, memoirs of friends and contemporaries. Trying to be objective, at the same time I used my rights to art fiction and changed a number of names. However I made it with only by purpose to show more convincingly all the beauty and treasure of private world of my main hero.
«Then accurately each day I go to walk, or for
ride either to Neskuchny Garden, or to Kuntsevo»
(P.I. Tchaikovsky, from letter to brouther 09.16.1878)
He opened window and regretted about it immediately: the dead heat troublous smelled from the street, and it came into view, as if now not blossoming May, and Moscow, but suffocating summer somewhere in the Sahara. Some ill fate sent in the days so terrible scorching heat to the old capital, that even in midday rare vehicles hardly dragged down the street, and passersby avoid blow sunstroke kept in shade and hid from sun in gateways. Terrible stench bore from the trade series of Arbat, and nearest days will be impossible to get rid of it, this smell will seem now everywhere, even in the clubs of tobacco smoke. «Should be, it’s the smell of fish that always fully on local trade disorders – ice melted from hotness, and it decayed». It was remembered, recently still Alexey told, as buying in market an eel, took up to prepare it, but that turned out living. «Believe me - cheeps! Turned off by the ring, beats by the tail! And pitiful of it, adder… I try to seize it, but it slippery reptile, dodges, jumps from hands on bench, on floor. Because of it I cut my finger – blood whips … so far to first-aid kit while tied up, it dirtied all kitchen by its swab, a scum! Only under sink I also bop it…» Very colorful, naturalistic such story was issued him by servant the day before yesterday after dinner as a response to question of bandaged finger. Well, the monster was has already eaten de friture* with potato, otherwise was not to pass an indigestion, and even other troubles. «Impossible. Melancholy … – it was thought to him, – Melancholy, sickening melancholy…» – began to knock a hammer in the head, intercepted breath.
- What’s wrong with you, Peter Il'ich? - one of the students asked, and he suddenly felt the loathing reflected in his own face, evidently, long ago noticed from outside.
– Nothing of any importance, mes amis**. Work, please, – he calmed the group of conservatory students who pored above test, – Very stuffy today. It visible, thunder-storm will be.
Having sat down at the table, he clasped forehead by hands and pretended that reads the magazine, meanwhile, began quietly watch students from under eyebrows.
* Fried (fr.)
** My dear (fr.)
Amash`u sits as always with the wistful look directed over H.I.M.* portrait and permanent tries a feather tip by the lips. Occasionally his swan neck is extended from the fashion tie, the left hand reaches to the nape, and he charm mows by eyes somewhere inwards, then as if thinking suddenly, takes up to write down notes. «He has a harmonious surname, French, it seems, but names – Siegfried … the German or Swiss? Who gave him such inconsistent name? It is interesting, what he does with my h-moll **?...» Beside him, through a row, m-lle Lepitskaya works, it’s felt, the task is given her hardly, and she nervous, peering into the window, constantly bites lips and corrects reddish frisettes, falling down on a forehead. And, it's visible, having absolutely despaired to create something original, she throws feather and powerlessly crosses on the table thin hands putting in order in laces. «Undoubtly, she sings well, but composes – in no way». The mediocre student Khoroshilov in the last row crossed hands too, but on own breast, thus he so thoughtfully drills by eyes his scribble that seems, leaves just about will ignite, and he immediately will replace the beethoven's thatch to shaman`s headwear...
– Everything is ready at me! – m-lle Milyukova solemnly declared suddenly. Apparently, she remained happy with the superiority, and by all means wants, that as the teacher, he paid attention to her.
– Well, sign your work, leave it on the edge of my table, et vous etes libres ***, – he explained for all.
M-lle Milyukova rustled with her dress by a table, having been late slightly more than usual. «It is necessary only to guess, how conveniently for her reins under covering of silks during such heat. However, this green dress looks good on her».
– May be you wants to ask something, m-lle Antonin?
– Ah, no, Peter Il'ich… I simply thought, perhaps change a rhythm?...
– Please, take your work and change. We still have a time.
– Ah, no… let it will remain really. Farewell!
* His imperial majesty. (auth.)
** Si minor (auth.)
*** And everybody can be free (fr.)
– Good-bye, m-lle Antonin. Don't forget about the rehearsal on Thursday. I will report of the results of our test to everybody next Monday.
On Thursday rehearsal of the opera «Smith Vakula» to Gogol's theme was appointed. Rubenstein by all means wanted to make trial statement before a theatrical premiere at himself, on conservatoire students’ party on the occasion of the end of academic year. In his opinion, the statement will help «to rally the faculty and to unite it with students the one common cause». «Intellectual nonsense – nothing can rally ordinariness in which in the majority differs both of them. And the first among all this platitude – Tchaikovsky»,– he reflected on himself in the third, or even in the fourth person, – it only he could spoil high prose of the outstanding writer by hellacious libretto, brave music, inconceivable longueurs and «plug-in» arias. That only you will make to please the Imperial family which unexpectedly went mad on the Ukrainian folklore – as it isn't a shame!» «Besides, it is necessary invite to listen an important people from St. Petersburg to promoted the statement of «Smith» in Mariinsky theatre», – the friend and the chief declared him recently. – «Well, it's, of course, important! How is Russian opera can prosper without support of officials of the court of H.I.M.? – In no way! Only they understand music more than ours! And, if for the next day members of Imperial family suddenly will go mad on the African folklore, and even rhythms of Papua New Guinea? Or (oh, riding-hag!) Maclay's coast, what now at all very famous? What then? Then I'm toast. – I am the absolute simpleton in it… »
Being one of the last, Amash`u handed over the test too. He stretched out his control leaves with the pensive, released eyes. «By what to take him?»
– You do not absolutely correctly write eighth notes, monsieur Amash`u, it should be trace out them like so.
Disappointment distorted face of the young man, at the same time the persistent desire to defend the small composition in which the squeezed Si-minor set as the main tonality gained extraordinary sharp, desperate lines was reflected on him. Performed by flute, indeed, it would begin to sound fantastically, and even jolly good! «Interestingly, with whom this young man in his years struggles? Really not with himself whether?»
– Mister teacher, sorry, sir, professor… I am guilty … simply … simply, I have a such handwriting, – uttered Amash`u with the pressure and determination capable to roll up mountains.
It became pitiful the boy, was thought that shouldn't be especially strict and to spoil him the mood. If not to truncate now wings of his young, ardent inspiration by small cavils, he sure will carry out the rest of this day in creative flight. « I wonder, what he's up to tonight? Will compose music? Visit friends, will go to a cheerful party? Or will retire to the room with any book? Perhaps he will begin to sigh about the beloved, and devote her more and more sonnets? And how he will treat the invitation to have supper together? It's a pity, improper moment – students will not so understand…»
- All right, monsieur Amash`u. At long last, it is not deadly. Simply train in some way at leisure in writing, and everything will be in order…
Ivan Veliky* announced to liturgy when he went outside as usual «to loaf for a while» after classes. It was intolerable stuffy. There was no wish to ride to Yurgenson's over the city, and he, avoiding the fetid market, went on foot to the embankment by lanes. On the way, having come to post-office at the Small Molchanovka street, he sent the pack of sweated letters which were stale in inside pocket. Now it was possible to remove jacket, at last, through it across shoulder, and go around the city lightly dressed, as in a village. It would consider as mauvais ton** in St. Petersburg, surely. But people in Moscow are much simpler, more hospitable and more carefree, they will never blame for please of customary temper, – sometimes it seems that if there is a strong wish, all is possible here. He absolutely distinctly imagine from outside own fragile figure with jacket thrown through shoulder, with hat pulled over a forehead (for not bake), pacing on pavements of the city, thin in this midday hour, and suddenly it seemed to him, as if not only now, but in general, both everywhere and always he is absolutely lonely, and nobody, resolutely nobody in whole world isn't capable to understand him. Here really week passed, but he did not write any musical notation. So the piano concert remained not completed, and symphony, the third on account, had been postponed for indefinite time. «Maybe, it’s really the true? Perhaps it isn't given to me, and try to leaving creation absolutely, subsist by composition of musical phrases at harmony lessons for talented youth? – he reflected grievously, – Right , it will be more benefit for everybody! As Mr. Amash`u gave out today!
* The name of Moscow Kremlin bell tower (auth.)
** Bad taste (fr.)
The nice composer will really result from him! It`s necessary to foster such, as he! For this, at least, descendants will express me gratitude, but not for that I am creating mediocre music for mediocre performances in order to please the state power».
On the street continually as from a non-existence carriages emerged, rumbled on heated cobble-stones, and on the spot dissolved completely in streams of the gone mad May sun. Novinsky val* is deserted, dealers have hidden in their dolly shops, and somebody covered sun blinds. «Here it is, to find cigarettes is a problem, actually the Russian siesta!». At one place, nevertheless, he bought tobacco, and began to smoke with pleasure. «My father is right: at thirty five it's about time to steady down, make a family and children, – he continued to reflect, looking back at the residence were he rented apartment year before last, but then it became expensive, and he moved to the professorial one at conservatory, – I don't know chalk from cheese with my hillock-mania*! On the other hand, having married, I could grow lazy, become hardened, turn absolutely into a pillow or bedding – to anything at all, and wouldn't create something in general. And, what for to create? Maybe, and it is not necessary at all? It is necessary nothing for anybody, nobody will listen…»
– Hey uncle, your nobleness-sir, give me ten-kopeck coin! – boyo of years of seven-eight, impudent, dirty and barefooted, interrupted his reflections.
He rummaged in the pocket and took out twenty-kopeñk coin.
– Hold! Why do you slops on hot stones barefoot?
– O-oh, thanks! No matter, I am resistant, getting used! – the boy boasted, – And to say where it is interesting? There, on the river. There is a new ship!
– Heigh-ho! What's a ship is there?
– Beautiful. And you go, you will see! But mom doesn't let me…
He went down to the river. Moscow quays – not the St. Petersburg's ones, absolutely another: they aren't so strict, aren't always dressed in granite, and somehow are home-style chaotic, even careless, at the same time are convenient and practical. Really, among the whole array of river fixtures, a wood planked footway, boat clusters,
* Moscow street name (auth.)
** The slang indicating commitment to same-sex communications (auth.)
mesh creeks for the hooked fish, small barns and shod boxes with various equipment, near which careful owners fussed, to the landing stage berth singularly graceful small sailing vessel was moored. The yacht of red-white colors named "Bravo!" seemed so weightless, as if it have been intended for swimming not on water, but by air, its masts and keel uncontrollably directed to flight, away from all wordly, ordinary, vain.
Sailor of fathom growth, dressed rather in European, than Russian style, worked of on the deck of this easy vessel. He was dressed in a linen suit, trousers and shirt, with a red belt, the flat hat with the scarlet tape tied under chin flaunted on his head. By the appearance he more reminded any gondolier on Venice quay, than Russian hired on the Moscow-river.
– Come in, barin! Why do you stand there? Come in, make yourself at home, I'll treat you with cold kvass, – ñå marin* friendly smiled, having noticed curiosity of the stranger.
There was a wish immediately to taste kvass during swelter at such handsome man, and he rose on shaky planked footway to the yacht. There was slightly more cool in compact, but very convenient cabin, a light breeze pacifically pulled through open windows from the river, smelled a wet wood and bread.
– And what's your name? – he asked honey lad when the one brought a jug of cold drink, mug and put them on the folding table near the window.
– Roman Akinfeev, – ñå marin* presented, having stretched in smile white teeth mouth slightly to the brim of hat, – I am hired at the barin, Lev Kirillovich Sapozhenkov, the manufacturer and the merchant of the first guild.
– So, it is his vessel?
– Precisely so. My owner is now abroad, and for a while put me to this yacht. It’s hot today – so I opened a season! – Roman took off, at last, the hat and corrected by palm his hair falling down on forehead. The boy had a trembling hand, strong, with long well-groomed fingers that is generally the rarity at hired, careless lads.
* This sailor (fr.)
– Be acquainted: I am Peter Il'ich, teaching in the conservatory, – there was a mightily wish to shake this masculine palm that having forgotten about conspiracy which should be observed in case of striking up new contacts, he suddenly mentioned and called the work place. It seemed, however, that the lad can't have an attitude to interesting «queering» subject.
– In conservatory? You are musician? – Roman asked with curiosity, his eyebrows got on a forehead, lips became slightly opened, mute surprise stiffened in blue eyes.
– Certainly. Why do you ask me?
Roman perplexedly rubbed shaved cheek.
– Simply you are more resembling to manager, or postmaster, – the lad grabbed his hat again, – Well. Be treated, and I'll go – it's necessary to tighten forshtags* …
Kvass was fantabulous, he was ready to drink the whole jug. Right there was a wish to eat, and it was possible to order probably something, but he decided to refrain. Necessity did not leave since, deserting state employee's career, he became music professor and started to save at each opportunity. He could not allow to refuse himself in notes and books, as well as in tobacco and lads, because all of this promoted creativity, fed his inspiration. Therefore it was necessary to settle more modestly, to be surfaced easier, fed worsely. Meanwhile, in spite of properly hateful teaching work in Moscow conservatory he had a smart opportunity to act with concerts not only in Russia, but also abroad for the benefit of this educational institution. Every year the orchestra left in tour across Europe where he had honor to present foreign public his compositions. They became friends with Rubenstein for a long time, director was favorable to him and in every possible way announced his creativity, making thereby feasible alternative "l'establishment musical**", the composers community, not wanting to share a scene with anybody in no way. At reminiscence of it sad, as paste annoying thoughts began to overcome him again: « And what, purely, as author I am differing, let's say, from their Caesar Kui? – I am differ a few! Unless he is popular, and I am - not. Only his surname is not sonorous, corresponds his boiled*** compositions.
* Forshtag – rope on the sailing vessel (auth.)
** The music establishment (fr.)
*** Cuit means boiled in French (fr.)
And, Tchaikovsky? Who is Tchaikovsky? - Nobody!..»
Having made the sound, resembling to lower tone of corno, the yacht shook, and he felt an easy vertigo, what happens frequently at sailing away. It was necessary to rise to deck. Banked vessel on sails was around to the center of the river. Widely placed legs, the lad held creaking steering wheel, his strong figure sprawled on the wheel as a live classical relief.
– Arise, arise to my place! – Roman by desperate, sonorous baritone shouted, – Take, hold it, if not we will fall!
As it was pleasant to approach him closely, to feel his strong shoulders, firm hands, and carefully adopt the stubborn wheel!
– I'll be right back! – Roman rushed to expose the sail. Having hanged bare feet on the sail boom *, he released a piece of rope and took on to wind it on the winch.
The vessel became leveled immediately. Some time the lad dangled on yard, improving ropes, – it was intolerable attractive to supervise movements of the young dexterous body, hardly hidden by easy clothes, above the water expanse, not daring to touch him.
– That's all! You can release, – lad smiled, having come off on the deck and accepting a steering wheel, – But do you want, barin, to coast for a while with me up to sir Sapozhenkov's house? It's not far from here, as little as eight versts down the river, what about? The breeze has risen, just enough!
– Also it will become expensive?
– I won't take anything from you, and will deliver back here if it is necessary. Today – only advertizing. You will tell then everybody about opening navigation on Moscow-river by me!
The lad was so attractive and energetic that it was difficult to resist his charm. Sweetly skip a beat from anticipation of this resolutely unknown and, shall be, nobody assumed intimate trip two together on the river towards any new, unusual adventure.
* Boom - half sailyard, going along the vessel from a mast, on the lower edge of a sail.
** Verst – Russian unit of distance equal to 1.067 kilometers (0.6629 mile)
– Well, gone! – he agreed with enthusiasm, – Seems, it’s to the direction of Fili-country?
– Precisely so. To the West, up to Kuntsovo's village.
– I happened in those places. I reached there by train, and never – on water. I liked to walk there. So near? Only eight versts!.. And where there Sapozhenkov's estate?
– It's close, barin. We will bring quickly in a moment!
He felt horridly that Roman named him «barin» – it’s not a bit brought together. It was simpler with lads delivered him by Sergey Lvovich the whoremaster, famous in certain groups, they were initially suited to be of use to embrace, kiss and caress them; without hesitating at all, they instantly became familiar and for remuneration were ready for everything. But this le marin now was a master of situation, he didn't think of earnings at all, and, it visible, being in good graces of the employer, simply had mastered the foreign yacht in his pleasure, in what already succeeded a lot. «Follows slightly get him to talk. Will it work?».
– And say me, Roman, how recent do you serve your owner?
– Two years. He has noticed me at weaving mill, I've contracted there as à loader.
– And didn't call to induction, to the army?
– I am alone supporter in family – I am not call-in , – have explained the lad with some regret, – If they would call, unless on the small river I would lip here? Long ago by the seas I would go!
– And, for what such merits the owner produced you from loaders to captains?
– For different, – Roman has willingly responded, having sparkled a wondering look, – I am not ugly creature, why? All maids stick to me. And then, there is a lot of talents at me. I ended school, trained to the letter, capable to sea matters, I am playing on the harmonic and gusli, singing and dancing well. Òherefor Lev Kirilych has also taken me to himself, as a domestic.
Mentally admiring Roman's ability to keep himself easy and cheerful – not impudently, ridiculous and silly, but just enough as beseems – he has thought: « My God! How many energy, much unshakable self-confidence! Indeed it’s necessary to imitate, especially for me, hardly the actor-self-educated person who deserted the state employee's career for the sake of creative freedom!»
– You?? Plays on the harmonica and gusli?! Where you have learned it, Roman?
– I’ve got the feel of this by my mother’s brothers clique. Daddy has died from drunkenness when I was ten years old. I was brought up at them, and sisters – at mother. From uncles it has gone.
– Can you repeat? – on the spot he sang to Roman that torturing him h-moll embryo that gave this morning to the students as examination. The lad has repeated melody by the strong baritone, not faultlessly, of course, but confidently and with a nice mood. Qualitatively better than other students of conservatory.
– You could learn music a little.
– Why? It would be quite good, but no money…
The yacht quickly enough had proceeded against the stream, that was substantially promoted by the wind rising from the East. Hardly flaw reached the sail as vessel began to slide on water with ease of plumelet. And then, being reflected in water, coasts became to movement, and over water expanse as a theatrical sceneries everything had began smoothly replaced, coastal constructions, cathedral domes, crosses of an old monastic cemetery, water meadows and regular parks, woody hills and overgrown villas; everywhere – storming, blossoming, pleasant young greens. And, standing up for control wheel, the lad suddenly started singing:
At the valley, at the meadow, at the valley, at the meadow
Blond lad hangs out.
Eh, blond lad hangs out, blond lad hangs out.
He call the friend:
"You my friend, my brother, you my friend, my brother,
Instead of this, don’t you go home?
Ah, tell the one maid, tell the one maid,
Let she doesn't love me.
– And what, barin, they don't sing such songs at your conservatory?
Let she doesn't love me, let she doesn't love me,
Doesn't ruin the beauty, eh!
And I am single, unmarried, and I am single, unmarried,
Still to him couple " …
At the valley, at the meadow, at the valley, at the meadow
Blond lad hangs out…
This singing with whistle in pauses had turned out at Roman so sincerely, easy and confidentially that intimate address to the friend that "maid" didn't love him in vain, by all means should to attribute at own charge as to the only listener. «Really I've so attracted him? And that maid, seems, could chuck it in her – how hot he is!». Even "hillock" has swollen from an anticipation of sexual contact, possible with him!
– At us any they sing, Roman, and obscenities ditties too. However students are punished for it by expulsion, or a penalty.
– I won't sing you obscenities ones, otherwise you will absolutely cease to respect me then. Not that, I can?
– … And who is that companion whom you call in a round dance and pitch him a line about maids?
– Yes, there is one, from domestic too…
«But doesn't he lie, it seems, the "blond lad"! Handsome. To oversleep with him, to know better…»
There was a movement in the sky above their yacht. No, it was not a flaw on the mast, not foliage noise of coastal trees on slopes – it was something live, miraculous, never seen earlier! Couple of great white birds, dissecting air by very broad wings, have passed over the vessel and with noise fallen on the river a hundred arshins* ahead! Followed by them, ripping up water dimple, three more have plopped down! And more! And soon all space at the coast on the left side was filled with white, trembling, carrying some animal aspirations, the miracle! Right there they have begun to shake off, dive long necks into water and put feathers in order by nosey plane beaks.
– Swans! – Roman boastfully exclaimed, – They now often come fly to us.
– For real?! And from where? That, your owner has got this bird?
– Not. It is from zoo. The pond has spread there, so they, visible, have caught the trick at fly up. But it's more free here for them, – Roman has begun to tell with enthusiasm, – The owner before departure had conversation with director of zoo and promised not to touch, take care of them. We feed sometimes, but there is a lot of river grass, fish, any living creatures, – they are fed themselves. Yestereve we have caught yet two hunters, handed over to
* Arshin – ancient Russian lineal measure, about 28 inches (auth.)
police. Shoot at birds, bunch of creeps, haven't shame, not conscience! And once I rescued one hefty goose here – it have got confused in coastal thickets, sprained a paw. I have carried it to the top pond, more safety there. As we will be – I‘ll show you.
– Listen, Roma, call me simply: Pierre, as friend, well?
– Say what?
«In vain I’ve told him this. How he became at once derisive and self-satisfied!»
– Pierre in Russian Pyotr, Petya. I feel it’s awkwardly for you to address me, therefore will be easier proceed to other dialogue, absolutely another, for example, foreign – there it is accepted to call everybody by names. What's the name of your friend?
– Seryoga, Sergey.
– That’s right. He is Sergey – Serge, and I am Pyotr – Pierre.
– Well, I will try, – Roman has agreed modestly, having remained, it would seem, happy with himself.
Meanwhile their yacht approached the purpose – to the small mooring which was seen among wood in the basis of steep slope. There was arranged a regular park on the slope with flower beds, statues, beds and paths, leading the serpentine upward to small yellow mansion with belvedere and spike on its roof. Dexterously maneuvring between tackles, the lad has began to lower sails, and, at last, dropped an anchor absolutely near the place of mooring. Having thrown a rope, he attracted the yacht to a board scaffold.
– Welcome, mister Pierre, be my guest and have a rest! – Roman has cheerfully declared, having jump off to the bank the first, – I will show you possession of our barin, Lev Kirillovich!
The residence was exquisite. The mansion didn't remind at all those terrible creations of «the Russian classicism» with which the old capital since times of Alexander and Nikolay has been covered, with fat columns, massive porticoes, grandiose wings and other excessive decor, trying vainly to repeat the grace of Rossi creations. On the piedmont socle of mansion at white-columned portico, as well as in the garden, sculptures were seen, and all this house with spike on spherical roof of belvedere, in environment of dense green park, seemed magic, fantastic, similar to the silent warrior on the hill accompanied with mythical heroes.
– And the house is old? – he has asked Roman when they climbed a slope.
– Yes, one and a half centuries precisely. The owner has bought it from one famous barin from a noble family about ten years ago therefore he didn't order to tell anybody, – the lad has significantly declared, turning around, – And you don't be surprised, mister Pierre – here it is seldom so deserted, only when Lev Kirilovich with family are avay. And so it's cheerful at us, the humanity make merry here on holidays. My barin lets in park everybody. Here and now for the Trinity, to his arrival, we prepare new performance.
– Really!? And what?
– «The Minor» by Fonvizin.
– And whom do you play there?
– And also I play Mitrofanushka…
That was as in a bright dream: and the nice, most beautiful place, and walk down the river under a sail, both fantastic swans, and meeting with this young «seaman», appeared so unexpectedly and offhand among ordinary cares. It was difficult even to assume this similar adventure more than an hour ago. Everything in the lad didn't cease to surprise – the beautiful look, benevolent attitude, charming surety; in particular – uncommon, has to be, abilities by which he in short time had even shine up having gained absolutely stranger from other estate.
– Here we will play, – Roman has pointed to the new scaffold from chip boards which has been framed on extensive terrace over portico, – And here, where we stand, carpenters will make benches for audience, one over another that it will be visible better, as in circus. The lumber was delivered yesterday…
– And do you often have performances here?
– Here? For the first time. Usually in the garden, on glade – there we make a circle. But here, the barin has decide, it will be better. On the occasion, he has found good engineer to put tribunes. But, we rehearse all the same on a glade.
– And why you don't play role of Milon, the brave officer?
– And the snout I didn't come out, – Roman has made a picture pose and grinned, – This Mitrofan title role is more handy for me to make as for more clever, educated person.
«Wow!!! What a self-conceit!! But, nevertheless, what's behind of it? Bitter failure, or conscious success? Or, someone has overpraised? How it's feel like him closer…»
The memorable column with monogram roused in the yard formed by mansion and two separate annexes.
– It's in honor of the monarchess-empress Ekaterina who stayed here at the previous owner, – the guy explained, – The right wing for guests, and left – for personnel. Let's go to the house, there is cool, for me all the same to rub floors now…
Door hand bell has tinkled, and they have entered the spacious lobby, decorated with several pictures and huge carpet. Opposite, in a wall aperture, ancient weight clocks had ticked, the tile furnace shone at the corner. It was silent, cosily and lightly. Smelled of something home, rich, tasty. The door slightly opened from the right, and the head of elderly person had pushed through it:
– Roma, you?
– I am, uncle Vanya. Here led guest, to show house. It is Peter Il'ich, music master. I took him aboard on Novinski mooring to sail for a while.
– Welcome, but there are no herren at home, – the door-keeper said strictly, without being shown from slightly opened door, probably, from terrible heat he hasn't been dressed.
It was thought that transition to French will give to persuasiveness to unexpected visit, besides, it wouldn't be necessary to bring the lad to whom a censure for arbitrariness could threaten. He often resorted to similar reception together with friends in his youth.
– Bon jour, je vous demande pardon de forcer votre porte*! – he said, having lovely smiled to the old man.
As one would expect, had worked. Having heard French lordly speech, the old door-keeper became a little softened.
– You won't desire to worry, sir teacher. Barin and his spouse, Anna Petrovna with children, on a trip now and seems will be in two weeks' time. Therefore I won't be able to report, but to pass – let you pass with Roman, he will show the house for you.
– Uncle Vanya, you don't worry too. Prokhor Semyonovich just today ordered me to rub floors in the hall and drawing rooms. So I really will take to and conduct our guest on the house.
Certainly, it was intriguing to look at apartments of Ekaterina's time. But, most of all the soul boiled from new acquaintance – it was very flatter to attract to such guy as Roman. If so, then at the beginning this lad could keep also the company instead of Alexey who lately didn't differ in diligence and discipline. «Interesting, how much the owner pays him for housework? Will he go to me to work for seven rubles of a month salary, but with distant view of free music education? The capable fellow, undoubtedly, I would become skilled him…» – it was thought while they climbed an abrupt ladder on the second floor, and Roman, having thrown off boots in lodge, sparkled bare feet in close proximity to his nose.
* Good day, sorry for invasion (fr.)
Rooms didn't differ in special luxury, but there were many ancient, rare things and pictures. The study has pleasantly impressed with big library, the owner is, probably, of people quite educated and cultural, with extensive interests. Everywhere clocks – are wall, desktop, mantel, severe, classical, baroque, – they under breath ticked, rustled, hurried in every possible stops as if providing to this lonely place paltry particles of always escaping, imperceptible time. In windows – greens, the abrupt river bank and an immense, fascinating expanse, such that is accessible, apparently, only to birds in flight.
– You ain't seen nothing yet! Somehow, I’ll spend you on the tower, there is even more, more beautiful view! – Roman has explained, having caught sight of him admiring landscape from window.
In the drawing room under large plafond with painted ceiling and chandelier there was carefully polished "Becker". The cover of grand piano has been lifted.
– And who played?
– I was… tried. I had played, and Glashka with Natashka danced a waltz. We had rehearsed.
– And you also on a grand piano are able?
– A little … it was long to go for harmonica…
Roman disappeared behind the door, and he sat down at grand piano. The first that was occurred – Bach's choral SI minor, a prelude from seven notes. Absolutely pure sounds, without any defects was filled the hall. And, to noted advantages of house owners one more was added: undoubtedly, they watched the instrument. Right there was a wish to play. He struck Chopin's ballad the fa-minor which had learned still, being a student of conservatory. Music spread in the hall, filled it with magic air, waltzing rhythms, roaring Chopin's scales, the brightest beads of divine melodies, at the same time any struck note wasn't absorbed, erased by space, but sounded precisely like he imagined it to himself. It was amazing sensation!
Roman approached, was barefoot, without shirt, with cloth in his hand impregnated a parquet polish.
– Fine at you it turns out!
To look, to see alive, closely his fine-molded, sweated nipple's body, but not somewhere in a wet bath, but here, among the classical light hall, in the lap of luxury, was absolutely impossible; and to distract, he had struck on memory the most difficult and roaring of twelve Chopin's etudes to play without hesitation. To gladness - it turned out.
– Hypers! – the lad has admired, – Anna Petrovna and Lisa, Lev Kirilych's daughter, would not be able so – accurately! What to say, you are musician, master. It’s so should for you…
– Let you work, work, and I will play for you.
Roman took up to rub vigorously floors, rushing on parquet as if faun on meadow, without feeling any slightest awkwardness from the large constitution, danger to touch inadvertently something valuable from things; all his movements were exclusively correct, exact and perfect. Nothing, occurring from Chopin did not approach, it was necessary here something Russian, native. It was remembered as at opening of conservatory in Moscow he played Glinka's overture to opera «Ruslan and Lyudmila», and still did the transposition of «waltz-imagination», but executed it after, during some invited supper moreover inspired with fumes of wine, – yes! «Up to the handle! Then wine, and now Roman excites me! The most right moment to remember this waltz imagination!» – he thought and resolutely attacked to keys.
– We have, generally, two grand pianos. Another, big, placed in the lower hall, not to bring here in any way. Lisa usually studies there, not to hinder Lev Kirilych to work at his room, – Roman has informed, coming nearer again, as soon as he has finished execution.
The exciting mixed smell of floor polish and baked milk proceeded from the lad. It was impossible to play more. He jumped from the seat, and, turning out beside, hardly embraced his familier nouveau* for naked body, but managed to stay, murmuring only:
– Good … let's go … It is interesting.
When after survey of concert «Stanwood» they left lower hall on a terrace, day was in its height. It was baking intolerably. Bearded peasants dressed in kosovorotkas*, wet from sweat, unloaded carts with the ready beam and long laths clicking as castanets.
– Ñome along to the pond, mister Pierre! I will show you the swan, as I promised! – Roman with the known share of familiarity in his voice invited, twisted crumpled shirt, threw it across neck, and, not waiting up the consent, walked downwards from hill along alley.
And, looking to the lad after, as flecks of sunlight, rushing through the shivering foliage, slide on delightful inflexions of the young body, as twitter of spring birds flowing from everywhere fills with music the green thicket and the light dale of farmstead pond, he suddenly thought that at one time already tested similar. He precisely knew that it is now and will be quite so, not in a different way, that this meeting and this new acquaintance are granted to him from above by God, destiny, some fate, by
* New familiar (fr.)
** Russian national shirt (auth.)
something absolutely invincible and also dazzling gorgeous, that was already happily passed at one time in another life, and again, again falls upon him as squall, an avalanche. It was absolutely impossible to oppose it, even without looking that only yesterday he made declaration of love to Kotek, studying with him the play for violin and piano. But, the violinist Kotek was too sensibility, weightless and ephemeral, and the love to him – too spiritual and sublime to think of physical proximity.
… Mirror of a big pond has been sprinkled down with poplar wool in parts, the self-made raft with lodge and feeding trough floated in the middle, and beside - combined wings on the back, surprisingly beautiful, big white swan.
– Heigh ho, what a dreamboat!! And what’s his name? - he asked the lad.
– And, I has not yet invented, – Roman answered, approaching the pond, – But, it really recognizes me if I feed him and I send ducks. Also I guards when weather is present, and spend the night over there, in the swimming bath,– he pointed to wattled construction on other side of the pond.
– Name it Si-minor, by the name of that melody...
– That’s right! Si-minor! – Roman threw his shirt to grass, directly in trousers rushed into the pond and widely floated to the raft. The swan in fright flapped wings, hurrying to retire, but, evidently, of holding down pain congealed again, being reflected in waves.
– Let you here, Pierre! Water is warm, it's possible to undress in the swimming bath! Don’t be afraid, all the same there is nobody – maidens are preparing dinner.
This shaky swimming bath was shown that saving bastion behind which it was still possible to disappear from any impropriety, – he had immediately hurried there. Throwing off clothes, he dived into water and on the spot felt a genuine freedom, wild inflow of forces! Only several waves of hands, movements of legs and drinks of air were required to appear near the raft in the company of lad and swan. The last one had bristled up, raised wings, got out the neck and hissed.
– Hey, hey, kind friend, be appeased – is friendlies! – Roman shouted at the bird, looked fool in the face and, apparently, for the first time of their acquaintance smiled absolutely frankly, sincerely, even with shade of some empathy, – Plays pranks, silly goose!.. – and, without hesitating any more, had friendly stretched hand to the face, carefully removed a grass-blade, – You have ooze on the beard, Pierre…
Next weeks passed in high spirits caused by new acquaintance. For the first time among the ongoing, passing one into another depressions he, at last, really had felt, that he became interesting and even indispensible not for some lagging behind students of the conservatory, not for it mercenary, enviously teaching staff, and not for changeable public in concert hall, but to one specific person – young, ambitious and uncommon. For the first time for many years the feeling of spiritual proximity was continuous from passionate lust. The young man, it seemed, wasn't indifferent too concerning guru* which has appeared so unexpectedly. Now the yacht "Bravo!" was constantly landed on the Novinsky mooring and idled long time though there were enough persons interested to sweep, but all often it had refused to the detriment of obvious profit.
And he, free time from studies and work was hardly given, had already hurried on walk to the river to enjoy again the contact with Roman, to see alive, caress his perfect, extraordinary pliable body, to look in his blue eyes and find there the confidence and advantage even if exaggerated for person of other estate, and himself infinitely, as crazy, be given up to caresses of his surprisingly beautiful, masculine hands. Several times he had an opportunity to study music with Roman on the concert «Stanwood» located in lower hall of ancient mansion. The lad was very capable, diligent for study, and on the fly repeated scales, had successfully studied a few old romances, particularly he made «My genius, my angel, my friend» written in the youth on Fet's** verses. This circumstance excited extremely. «What a lucky man I am, in point of fact, that it happened to associate with this rural deity in reality!», – it was thought often to him during accompaniment.
Whether you not here by light shadow,
My genius, my angel, my friend,
You quietly talks with me
And silently flies around?
And gives me a free inspiration,
And heals my sweet illness,
And gives me a calm dream,
My genius, my angel, my friend?***
* Guru – personal teacher and spiritual guide (auth.)
** Afanasij Fet (1820-1892) – Russian poet (auth.)
*** Word for word translation (here and elsewhere. auth.)
– Strange verses. Sensitive, but unless illness can be sweet? And why then it should be healed? – Roman asked once, having finished execution.
– You see when I composed this romance, I was approximately your age, younger. And then I have wanted all the time…
– What have you wanted?
– What usually young men constantly want at your age? It is clear, what… but, parents, tutors and teachers forbade it to us, considering it as illness, threatened us a God's penalty. Then it seemed to me that these verses surprisingly accurately connect spiritual with physical, they had made big impression on me, and I created the romance.
– Oh, what's the big idea! – Roman had burst out laughing, making a helpless gesture, – Indeed, strange these upstairs, with a dash of madness! Forbade to wank! At us all village wanks – doesn't grieve! And all right!
– And you surely, from where you know?
– I know, Pete, not the first year she married, – the lad howled with laughter, embracing him for shoulders.
– And what about precepts?
– There is no such precept, that in pleasure to refuse themselves!
– But, indeed, it is sin…
– The sin is an entirely other, Pete. It's when you constantly lie, steal and take bribes. Seems, in the bible is written about it, but not to indulge to love joys, there is not write.
– Why? «Don't commit adultery …», for example?
– So, it's with womenfolk and maids, even questionable, – he whispered conspiratorially to ear, – Find me just one auntie who even in thoughts wouldn't want to stroke me! So, we – we are men, to us not that with womenfolk… but between ourselves in general all is possible.
– Roma, you are wild, as a wild boar, word of honor…
Meanwhile, and own creation took a turn for the better. Continuation of the third symphony was designated, at last, where he finally decided to image his condition triste*, having dispelled this subject of something boorish, rectilinear as the demotic joke sometimes,
* sad condition (fr.)
perhaps, even rough, but, at the same time, sincere, easy and graceful, – by the word, to what has suddenly prompted Roman's perception. By now individual creative work didn't seem any more so useless: «Public will understand, surely will understand me as the author of good music. We will give it l'establishment musical hot!»
– Where you disappear, Pete? Long ago you aren't visible, you don't go round, don't favor by your attention… Tout ;a va ?** – Rubenstein attacked him once even with some aggression, having met in corridor after classes.
– Everything is all right, Nicolas. Simply, I've undertaken here to finish with mine the third… and especially don't seek to meet anybody. At the same time I relieve all of my tiresome visits, – he answered, without wishing someone to open his intimate adventures.
Rubenstein has presented him with the meticulous look and, having blinked eyes, without smile asked:
– Do you prepare something ingenious again?
– I am trying…
– We go to Paris, you know?
– As soon as vacation will end… I’ll declare on management tomorrow.
– Again squabbles will go, whom, when to travel.
– Don't personalize, Pete, all the same everybody had got used that it's not to get along on trips without you.
He was going to take leave, but Rubenstein has stopped him:
– Just you wait, mon ami**, – pulled him aside, – And what about your third symphony, it won't be ready by autumn? We will arrange the premiere in Paris…
«Ooh, how grasping this bible people! – it was thought without rancour – I don't know myself whether I will finish it soon, and whether will finish in general, but he makes any plans!»
* Everything all right? (fr.)
** My friend (fr.)
– Nick, I can't say anything! It not depends on me, but on that Pegasus that coachmån of the likes of us, it's known, doesn't follow…
– Oh, really!? – Rubinshtein burst out laughing.
«Does he now? Doesn't? They had reported already?» – it had crossed the head. Recently the teacher of solfeggio, from «rathe ripe», caught him off-guard in the street in the most improper time, when he flirted with one of the coachmån working at conservatory. Actually, anything special didn't happen – with nice Sashka always could be chatted in vain, but, couple of free phrases, as it seemed, still reached the extraneous rumour. «However, - he thought on the spot, – Nicolas not from those who scoff in musical society, don't feel hatred to «hillock-philists» and is capable to pay no attention to much, particularly if it concerns a friendly circle. Really, maybe, to try to present him Roman as the protege?»
– And what, Nick, whether you want to visit together with me on Sunday, for the Pentecost, one rural holiday with round dances and a performance? – he asked, inspecting curls on high temples of the boss, – I want to acquaint you with one young talent. Maybe Sanya will drive us on his pegases, and just also we will estimate his abilities to subdue inspiration?
– Whether it’s far?
– It's nearby here, to Filli area. Village named Kuntsovo. There is also the church, of Virgin's Sign – at the same time we'll commune, so to say, what about?
Rubenstein had slightly hesitated with the answer, kneading hands, but then said:
– I am invited to Assembly** in the evening, though I can be late, of course … Let's go! And what such a talent, which you want to surprise me?
– Wait and see!
On Sunday morning, getting into old phaeton, not one year having served hand and foot for managements of the musical institution, they took the road. There was a silent-silent June morning, on streets – not a soul. Neither on the Arbat street, nor on Dorogomilovskaya's outpost they didn't even wake up still, the pink sun hardly slid over turrets of the former corps de garde, poorly lambenting on emblems. Only near
* Assembly of nobility (auth.)
Epiphany Cathedral easy revival was felt, churchmen and parishioners, preparing for morning celebration, carried green branches, decorated with them ceremonial yard and porch, beggars at a fencing looked about places. Suburbs had fallen down a just dream behind blind fences and closed window shutters, only roosters at full throat welcomed the dawn. On the balcony of one garlow the pretty brunette in white dress with beige domino thrown shoulders corrected branches of violently blossoming lilac. «What the idyll! – he admired mentally, looking round, – as if in gallery on the picture it had painted!» All the way Nikolas had told about former adventures in high society, as he won against the former of Kuntsevo manor's owner at preference, being in St. Petersburg, and as he then was sent away from the table for intemperance to gambling.
– But about this … this … Sapozhenkov, to admit, I know nothing. But, we will be familiar, God willing!
– They didn't invite us, mon cher*. Keep in mind that we incognito.
– Get real, Pete, when such was so, that we were overlooked! – boss joked.
Had reached for half an hour. Sashok* has stopped carriage for making drunk horses at the Mazilovsky pond. Neighboring villages hardly wakened in foggy haze. Nightingales cracked all around, dogs occasionally barked on the distant coast in homesteads, and some countrywomen with yokes, laughing and gossiping on couple, hurried for water to planked footway. It had decided to walk to the estate on foot, having left the coachman in care of local people.
Rubenstein immediately begun to stick with inquiries about even incomplete, crude, but already consisting in his mental plans, therefore, and in plans of management.
– Say, Pete, and what has roused you to writing the «Smith Vakula», after all?
– Simply grand respect to memorable Her highness the Grand duchess Elena Pavlovna.
– No, tell me the truth.
* my dear (fr.)
** Sashka, Sashok, Sanya – pet names from Alexander (auth.)
– But what, a respect for members of the imperial family isn't the truth? Whether from you I hear it, Nicolas?
– Don't make mischief, Pete. What are you, indeed? I ask you about the true reasons, but you…
– Ne se froisser pas, Nikolya, j'ai plaisant;* Gogol is mystic, seemes, and I am too. Simply, when I'd been re-reading at once his "Night before Christmas", it was at the same time terribly and ridiculously for me. And it was just in Ukraine, at the sister's husband manor. They sing much, whether you knows, in the evenings. So, I have decided to use local motives and try to connect them with this fantastic story. I think that Nikolay Vasilyevich**, be living, wouldn't approve for certain. And that they thaw from the Ukrainian songs and gopaks at the Court now I didn't know at all - it is pure coincidence. I say indeed – it’s mysticism!
– Yeh, Pete, you see as the destiny has a kind feeling to you, but you jumps aside from it, – Rubenstein said instructively.
– I am?! From the destiny jumps aside? What do you mean?
– And so, my dear, – the boss inspired, – You think it was so simply to arrange statement of «Oprichnik» at Mariinsky theatre, and here at Bolshoi? To move this mighty-group, «l'establishment musical», with their loyal-power "Godunov" and insert you into the repertoire, ton talent jeune ***? It is necessary to strike while the iron is hot. While it is disorder and swayings in management of imperial theaters, and kobza players are favor at the Court. Indeed the director Gedeonov has resigned, at last, you knows?
– No, from where? Also I am not eager, especially, for these intrigues.
– Oh, yeh! To us, hussars, of course, all the same with whom regiments are fight, if only to touch womenfolk on a billeting!.. Sorry, Pete, for my sticktoitiveness, but if you has undertaken «Smith Vakula», would you so kind to finish it. And after all we will run couple of ready scenes at the graduation party, and I have already invited Karl Karlych for at application to statement, he will have the certain notion of it.
If all of this would be told not by Nicolas able to play masterly piano and to conduct masterful an orchestra, for certain, he would take offense. But Nicolas had one more talent, he was able to «move» in the high society
* Don't take offense, Nicolas, I've joked. (fr.)
** Gogol (auth.)
*** Your young talent (fr.)
and to convince influential persons. Of course, it is necessary to pay tribute to his achievements in this area, not to each baptized Jew among crowds of russophobs and Russophiles of all stripes, ranks and titles it would be succeeded to boost Russian musical society and Moscow conservatory. Therefore, all said by Rubenstein in emotional tone, hasn't offended him, but very much impressed, especially, what concerned destiny. «Honestly, if only not Nikolya, with whom the case has brought me together of about tens years ago in St. Petersburg, where I had luck to study piano at his brother, Anton, like hell I has been taking up the leading role now in conservatory, but would give music lessons somewhere far away!» And now, looking at crosses of Virgin's Sign church towering over kroner of birches he suddenly felt very sharply, that recognition of the talent given to him doesn't depend from himself absolutely, and it’s in the control of something highest, some fate, destiny, God... to anyone, only not to him own as the author of music. He is unable to know when and in what this recognition will be shown, maybe, also beyond his life! «Certainly, it's necessary to help each other, as Nicolas for me, as I am for Roman. However, it does not guaranty someone any success too».
He put his palm on the shoulder of boss with tenderness and said playfully with sigh:
– Certainly, certainly, Nick. We will surely show also to Karl Karlych, and still for whom it is necessary all our irrepressible abilities, loyalty, and in general Kuzkin's mother* in image of Solokha, the mummy of Vakula. Of what sort, you think? I think they will understand by all means…
They entered the park through wicket gate and directed to the pond. Morning fog, dissected by the stiffened sun rays, gradually dissipated over water, curling in thickets of coastal bushes, it settled dew on young leaves and growing grass covered with forget-me-nots, gathered drops on the wet paint surfaces of benches and arbors. The heavy scent of blossoming apple-trees reached from gardens. It was peopleless, but yard-keepers already has swept avenues faultless as it was, domestic guys and girls hanged out festive garlands on trunks of old lindens.
– Seems, we arrived too early. Glory be! It's possible to go mad from these trills! Where you conduct me, Pete? Not to nightingale paradise, isn't it? – Rubenstein poked about.
* Russian saying (auth.)
– I will show you another bird, mon ami, not less fine. Unless, doesn't sing … – he burst out laughing in reply. It was a plan – to admire the swan on the pond, and then to find Roman somewhere.
However it wasn't necessary to search for the lad on all park. Hardly they approached the pond as have found him on the coast for one intriguing employment: having clasped Si-minor with hands, he persuaded the bird to get into big wattled cage.
– Well, make it snappy, Simor, climb up then! Don’t be afraid, you the little fool, I'll not to kitchen – will bear you to the river…
The swan rested, assiduously overhauled sand by paws, hissed and attempted to pinch owner by beak, muffled a string. At last, Roman managed to captivate the pet, having slammed a cage.
– Tell the truth, shifty you have twisted it, old fellow! – Rubenstein admired, – How do you call it? Simor? What for such a strange name?
Roman jumped up from grass and politely bowed:
– Good day! Simor it is Si minor, the musical tonality, therefore to call shorter.
Again and again it was surprising to watch Roman's behavior, to admire his natural grace and with heart and soul perceive naive simplicity of communion with him which so wasn't enough with others! At the sight of unfamiliar Rubenstein the lad wasn't confused at all, but was as usual smiling, friendly and natural.
– Nikolay Grigoryevich, allow you to present Roman Akinfeev, my young protege. Unlike the pet, he perfectly sings and dances, plays on musical instruments and in dramatic performances. Only, it is pity, he is not able to fly. But, this fact is corrigible, isn't it?
– Never is a long day, whether it's possible or not to sew him wings, – Rubenstein said with irony, having reached pocket for cigarette case, – and not the fact, that will fly! In which dramatic performances you participate, young man?
– And come in please, you will see today. We play «The Minor» by Fonvizin. Come and join us!, at two o'clock beginning, – Roman has hasty answered as if being afraid that someone had got to know about his «title» role of Mitrofanushka, – And I want to release Simor now, he is up and about already. Or, evening they will have arranged fireworks here, it is dangerous to remain Simor here. Do you want, together we will go?
They agreed. The lad has quite easily thrown up on shoulder of one pood cage with the swan and, in seconds having kept balance, on strong legs has gone forward.
– Roman! – Rubenstein called him, – You won't drop? Perhaps to help?
– On the off chance I won't drop! It was more difficult to raise… Be near on a case, for an insurance…
But the help wasn't necessary though descent was rather abrupt, insecure. Roman coped with heavy burden truly as the Atlas with the firmament.
Below, behind light greens of ravine, as cold steel, the river surface already sparkled. Birds scurried about, cracked in every possible way in bushes. This vociferous noise in emerald thicket of coastal break unexpectedly seemed to him mysterious, disturbing, meanwhile as resolutely nothing changed around: both the same park, and the same trunks of century-old lindens on slopes covered by hazel bushes and the same patches of the sun light on green grass. Only it became restless on heart from nightingale songs, unsteady shadows, measured hoots of the remote cuckoo, constant shuffling in mysterious bushes of ubiquitous jays and starlings. « This world – creation of God – is deceptive, an artful and ruthless riding hag »…
– You know, Pete, now deceased the former owner of this manor is a lot of any baizes and stories had told in the St. Petersburg's great world, – Rubenstein was spoking meanwhile, descenting ahead on abrupt ladder, – His father's, Alexander Lvovich, family had been enduring in these local places Napoleon's invasion in eight hundred twelfth, also they prepared for fight, while then Russian command haven't handed over Moscow to French … all values have collected from here, had brought somewhere, to the Mal-Yaroslavets, perhaps – somewhere to those regions… they said goodbye their stomping grounds, in short. Had thought that battle will be given at Moscow. But battle was given not here – just, near Mal-Yaroslavets! So, it has turned out that under French bullets they went, Guess what?.. They had escaped only by miracle, purely by chance. And recently in Paris I had honor to talk with one veteran of that war –the Corsican too, by the way. The old man already of years eighty, and he had been serving at that time at Myurat's command, being still a kid. So he sad, they had scared stiff battles these parts in command staff, because were afraid that Russians can throw off army from these mountains and sink it in the river… Those were such moods at them after Borodino… What do you think, Pete, we would destroy French at Moscow then?
– As, at us speak: have cognizance of where you will fall, would spread straws… – he responded melancholically, – but we dig in heels here wildly, apparently, against French. Tu as raison, Nickolas, semble-t-il, le monde est gouvern; par le fatum*
– I am also about the same, Pete. The destiny doesn't wish well so often not only to the whole nations, but also to people and every single. It is artful many times more often. Here at us, for example, at musicians and actors, how many at us talented and capable ones, but not to everyone the fate is given. Exactly as in gambling, mon cher, really! Certainly, it should be appreciated and that for both of us at once – there's no way!
Then he began to extol his boss Roman's abilities, using that the lad has left forward and doesn't hear. However, with care, without unreasonable delights, with reserved epithets, so that Rubenstein wouldn't suspect in this story something subjective, especially personal.
– Truly, Nicolas, I would take him even to myself, to learn. Perhaps instead of Alyosha for seven rubles salary, maybe, together with him – but, there is no money, all around… – he completed when they went out, at last, to the bank.
– You want us to learn him at the expense of donations? All finance and places has distributed, Pete, and into next year too, – the boss pronounced chilly, – But, if you have turned on the heat – try, find a philanthropist for him then the place will be found, I think.
Just right to be offended, however he thought immediately that Rubenstein with his Jewish chariness, telling the truth, in this situation is better, than someone another, more compliant and wasteful, but not really true to the word. There was no wish at all to encourage in vain Roman, very capable lad.
Having passed along the river to the left, they came across flight of swans which have chosen the sandy stretch in bank canes. At the sight of humans those on the ashore, clumsily splashing black paws on sand, wallop along, hasty retired into the water.
* It seems to me, Nicolas, you are right. Some fate rules our world. (fr.)
There was something defenseless and touching in all their movements, in the chaotic cliques wounding the ear.
Roman lowered the cage with bird on grassy break.
– Well, good luck, Simor! Let you to insiders! – the lad bade farewell his swan, carefully unwinding beak, – Truly, I wanted good deed to you, baby. So let hundreds will be on your way such as I am! Only, take care of hunters, fly around them for three versts!
With these words the lad opened case, cut off with garden scissors wallsides of wattled cage, and Si-minor has appeared on freedom. Ñreepingly, sweeping carefully sand by flippers, the swan has gone to the water, touched it, extending forward neck as if still doubted that the river is real, and the will, at last, has come. «Curiosity of a domestic cat, really! Just about will tail off!» However Si-minor has made victorious click, stirred up, stretched fathom* wings, waved by them and, shrouded with diamonds of splashes, gone to water. The swan flight was destroyed welcoming him together with loud calling cliques. And he, compressing to one most powerful lump, getting out the neck, of new and new frequent waves fearlessly threw himself over surface of water, ran on it widely, steadily, rapidly, – and he had suddenly flew up! Flew up!! And with improbable noise also all flight had rose after him! From tens and more beautiful white birds, soaring up above and above, made victorious range over the river and passed out of sight behind the shadow of Krylatskoe hills. Here it was the salute! Surprising, tremendous salute - better than any fireworks!
* fathom – slightly more than two meters (auth.)
There were a lot of people, gathered to the performance. All tribunes have been jam-packing. People stood in aisle of the amphitheater had built on a recent day, sat on benches in small orchestra stalls, and the youth even had chose branches of closest trees that was stronger and more spreading.
Apparently, invitations were distributed widely and without special preferences. Audience is absolutely different: there were also solid ladies flaunted multi-colored fashionable umbrellas, tails, hats and representative men in frock coats uniforms, at awards and signs of distinction.
* fathom – slightly more than two meters (auth.)
But, most of all there were commonalty, rural women and peasants in light festive clothes, guys and girls with flowers, wreaths on their heads; full of children scuttled off in searching a suitable place.
Nicolas was right: he was recognized immediately. At once some mademoiselle in a pink tournure* with the same, pink, umbrella came over. Her gaze sparkled.
– Tell me please, by chance, aren't you mister Rubinstein, the famous pianist? – she rubbernecked, deliberately rotating an umbrella behind the back.
– There now, I’ve told you … – the boss murmured, – I am, mademoiselle. I am that pianist! With whom I have honor?
– I am Lisa Sapozhenkova, daughter of Lev Kirillovich, the owner of manor, – girl has smiled and enthusiastically added: – Your big fan!
– Mon compagnon, monsieur Peter Tchaikovsky, le compositeur jeune** , – Rubenstein said.
– Nice to meet you, mademoiselle, Tchaikovsky Peter Ilyich.
She had a weak hand with sticky fingers, the small ruby has shone on her pinkie, her smile was so guileless that rare teeth were visible.
– I am at all your concerts by all means, – meanwhile she spoke, addressing Nicolas, devouring him with eyes, – I very much like in your execution both Mozart, and Beethoven, and everything, everything… Wait please, I will present you mam`a, my father will be a bit later…
Lisa has directed to the crowd and immediately returned, accompanied with portly lady in fashionable white dress with tail. Tubby face of the lady was shaded by the large white hat plentifully decorated with feathers so that at first were guessed neither her characteristic features, nor expression of eyes.
– Oh, monsieur Rubinshtejn , pourquoi vous n'avez pas informes de votre arrivee?*** – she welcomed civilly the famous musician with a deep
* tournure – breed of women's dress (auth.)
** My companion, mister Peter Tchaikovsky, young composer. (fr.)
*** Î, ã-í Ðóáèíøòåéí, îò÷åãî æå âû íå èíôîðìèðîâàëè íàñ î ñâî¸ì ïðèåçäå? (ôðàíö.)
voice, usually inherent to homebrew, rough and imperious Russian ladies*, – We would meet you, accompanied, would give to drink tea with eclairs?
– Anna Petrovna.
Answering the next pr;sentation** from Nicolas, he has kissed her the most white kidskin glove.
– Bonjour, madame! Tchaikovsky Peter Il'ich.
– And we know you not so well as it would be desirable, – the hostess of manor accented, also in French, having looked at him little cold, but friendly, – I heard about your «Oprichnik**» a lot of flatter. I hope, after performance you and monsieur Rubinshtein won't deny Lev Kirillovich and me visit us today?
– Bien sur, madame, nous considererons pour l'honneur****…
They allocated them the most suitable places among orchestra seats as far as it was possible at current «full house», formed because of big congestion of people. Seems, it was ordered Lisa to consist at famous guest and accompanying him «le compositeur jeune» permanently. Together with some boy she was found in the eyes all the time – as soon as he turned the head, and she is here, smiles!
The performance had begun with small delay. The owner, Mr. Sapozhenkov, businessman and industrialist appeared in public with an opening speech. This fat gentleman with wide turning gray beard, black bulging eyes, dressed a little carelessly, but very expensive, by reserved voice inaudibly and silently congratulated all on holiday, having hoped that «current statement will be pleasant to all, not only young and old, but will be the real example of truly folk art, festival of talents for which the Russian land is so famous». In spite of faded tone, the speech of the owner was received by burst of applause, whistle and tossing of headdresses up – probably, audience from local peasants with big impatience waited for emergence on the scene their children and housemates.
* In 60th, 70th of 19th century also the English style gradually entered Russia (auth.)
** Presentation (fr.)
*** Oprichnik – a member of an imperial Russian police force, XXVI century. (auth.)
**** Sertainly, madam, we'll consider it as honor … (fr.)
As soon as the curtain has opened, and the first scene has begun, he didn't lose sight of Roman any more. The lad transformed extremely. Eyes ceased to radiate with quick mind; the confidence, intelligence, natural grace and frank irony usually inherent to him in life, disappeared completely. These places were taken by clumsy complacency, impudence, dullness and cowardice of the represented character, which the young actor expressed so comically and forcibly that the audience, without ceasing, rolled with laughter. This transformation was amazing, he didn't conceive similar acting anywhere before! And suddenly he felt exclusively personal: that nobody else, but only he knows what is Roman actually, and nobody in the world ever – exactly as it's having occasion now – was not and will not be capable to understand, to realize by soul all depth of talent of this rural lad; and he will become the last scoundrel if won't make Roman's way in life, won't give the young friend the chance to study and develop abilities. He suddenly realized as he has outright fallen in love, and now he is connected with Roman by thousands of invisible threads. It was resembling to insanity – he repeatedly tested similar; and every time when beautiful, captivating feeling disappeared, leaving deep, not healing long time wounds in the soul, capable to lead to nervous breakdowns and physical exhaustion, – every time he swore to himself that suchlike violence over himself he nevermore will allow, truly it’s worth to take care, not to be given up more without residue to new and new acquaintances. It's always been after the rift with Lyosha Apukhtin, and in the contacts with Volodya Shalovsky, and in general always when he fell in love. But every time the similar repeated, repeated with the doubled force. Undoubtedly, it was a fate, doom conducting him on life which unconsciously resists always!
On the morrow of performance Lisa and the young man appeared her brother, Pavel, led them to the house. Guests gathered in angular dining room on the second floor where buffet was arranged and adjacent to it big hall with chamber «Becker». The overall atmosphere seemed tolerant, however, hardly strained. Several ladies whispered, having settled down on sofa and in armchairs while men talked standing, with glasses in hands, the group of young men and girls lovely talked proximate to fireplace, the local priest dressed in cassock, without headdress considered delicacies on the table, – in total it was gathered of about thirty persons, not more.
With an easy rustle Anna Petrovna arose as if the fairy from air.
– Ladies and Gentlemen! And it’s our dear guests, monsieur Rubenstein Nikolay Grigoryevich, the outstanding pianist, the head of Moscow musical society, and monsieur Tchaikovsky Peter Il'ich, young talented composer, the author of recently made a noise opera «Oprichnik». Please make them feel welcome!
Monsieur Sapozhenkov, separated from the company of men at the window, pulled hard on them as a dark cloud. The burdensome smell of tobacco and tart perfume proceeded from him.
– Ah-ah!! Who is arrive to us! We waited for you, dear guests! Welcome to our village! We are glad, madly glad to see you! We hope that concert will be excellent today! – he exclaimed, squeezing for shoulders and shaking hands with newcomers guests as if have been familiar with them for a long time. He had palm as a hot-water bottle, hot and chubby.
«Sail close to the wind, and from similar familiarity it will become nastily, will arise intention to disappear, to be hidden forever. At these merchants, apparently, in tradition to treat actors as with a vulgar herd, seemingly, they don't see differences between them and own servants. The main thing that it's already impossible to leave from here politely, otherwise, it was necessary to refuse from the very beginning».
However Nicolas was not confused at all by the similar communication, he easily accepted this mauvais ton*, joked with all completely, sparked anecdotes, – became slightly the soul of local company. «Lucky person! If only such talents for me…»
One of the ladies in crimson dress with sapphire on her neck approached and made known to him as Avdotya Fyodorovna, the widow of large financier living not far from here.
– Tell me, Pyotr Il'ich, is it truth, that you've written aria of Vsevolzhsky in «Oprichnik» especially for Korsov, but he is dissatisfied? – she asked, stretching in pretty smile lips hardly retouched by lipstick.
– Korsov has bass, and generally I wrote aria for bass-baritone so that it seems not so ominously.
– O-î-h! As it is possible, monsieur Tchaikovsky, to you the composer to be adapted to any singers! – she has began whimpered and put the palm on his sleeve sympathetically, – On your place I would never make such arrangement.
– Vous ne dites pas**, madame! – he burst out laughing in reply, – All hinder us in creativity that singers, then dancers, then clowns!
* bad manners (fr.)
** You are telling me! (fr.)
Avdotya Fyodorovna has moved to introduce him with local society, and it has begun: «Good day!» – «Bonjour!», – «I am infinitely glad to acquaintance with you» – « It's very pleasant to me too!», – « I’ve heard your overture «Romeo and Juliette» according to Shakespeare's tragedy. Grandiosely!» – « Really? Thanks. I am very glad…», – «Allow me to express the respect …» – « I am very grateful too…» and so on, and so forth
– And you will play something for us? – one freckled young lady asked, being embarrassed from his sight. Right there was heard from everywhere: « Play, play for us, Peter Il'ich! We ask you very much …»
– Nikolay Grigoryevich will play, it turns out better with him, – he pronounced publicly.
– All right, ladies and gentlemen! – Rubenstein responded from opposite corner of the hall, – But, only, if Peter Ilyich following me will promise us to share the tremendous nocturne, which I have furtively overheard, having unexpectedly visited him once – all right?
«The nocturne Cis moll written in the Nice to Volodya Shalovsky. It was really heard once by Nicolas, and, absolutely accidentally. But, why is minor? Again minor. What in these walls is some special that connects me with light, or with tragic grief? My God, how to break away from this pitfall?!»
– Well, ladies and gentlemen, I will play. With a hope, however, that you won't fall asleep from bore, – and, he has thought to himself right there that if Rubenstein will begin with something sad, or – God forbid – lyrical, then nothing from his plan with Roman will not leave.
But, Nicolas sat down at «Becker» and, slightly improvising, took up masterly rattle rousing polonaises of Chopin, and had finished with absolutely charming «Lullaby» d flat major. Given circumstance infused some hope to success.
Guests were delighted, long applauded, without allowing Rubenstein even to depart from grand piano. In the heat of this ovation Roman has appeared in the hall with a tray, entirely filled with the glasses full of champagne. Smiling, in service vest he took after circus performer who has shown to a look of the amazed public dexterous focus. «What for you are here? And, though this dress obviously to you to the person, why namely you as the waiter? Whether adhere to you, Roma? It’s for you – to accept flowers and applause today, but not to serve lordly guests».
Meanwhile, the hostess didn't estimated the grace of young man obviously as, probably, and talents.
– I ordered you pink brut and you, the blockhead, what has brought?.. – Anna Petrovna standing just near an entrance of hall spoke to the lad through set teeth, having repeated in accuracy both substandard language, and manners of madam Prostakova from recent «The Minor».
– Brut not to uncork in no way… – Roman threw hastily in reply and begun to enclose guests. It was fated only to wink imperceptibly at him by way of sympathy and support.
– Ladies and Gentlemen! – the host has addressed attendees, having taken the glass – Before monsieur Tchaikovsky keeps his promise and will play to us, I would like to say several words. I would like to thank all of you for the fact that you have took out a time to visit my house on today's holiday. Both of us, Anna Petrovna and me, we are always glad to guests. Our people are simple and hospitable, and very talented, always generously share its abilities to art. I hope, you could be convinced of it today, and be still convinced quite because the program of the holiday isn't finished at all. And our children (he has gently embraced Lisa standing at his elbow) successfully absorb all this beauty, all talented, all outstanding, all Russian that surrounds them. As for us, wealthy people, we are obliged to support financially national art, and everyone who represent it worthy. Therefore I toast to patronage of arts and its exclusive role in domestic culture! To our outstanding talents capable to conquer the whole world!
Approving rumble passed across the hall, and guests began to clink glasses. Rubenstein with the glass passed, apparently, everyone and said thanks to each person.
– And now, monsieur Tchaikovsky, I ask you to the grand piano! – Mr. Sapozhenkov declared.
Inspired with speech of the host, having set aside heeltap, he had gone to familiar «Becker» and played on memory what was announced by Rubenstein. Easy and sad, the nocturne Ñ-sharp minor written on the way from Nice was up to present mood and turned out smoothly. It was pleasant to listeners, they have asked more. He has played yet the capriccio which he always meant in case of it is necessary to execute own compositions publicly and also the waltz scherzo. It was hardly all his «arsenal» for performances, however guests actively clapped, and wasn't appeased. «That's all. It is necessary to bow out and leave not to be dishonored" – flashed in the head, and next moment his attention was again attracted by Roman in far corner near window. Tall, eye-catching, having thrown a service napkin through shoulder, the lad, as well as everybody in the hall, loudly clapped with genuine delight in eyes.
– Thank you, messieurs. I am very flattered by your attention! Really, it is very unexpectedly for me. But, I want give a small surprise also to Lev Kirillovich and all of you too. Over there, by the window, is Roman Akinfeev, the waiter – very talented young man who has perfectly played lead role of Mitrofanushka in today's performance. But, to be waiter - not his calling. I will tell you in confidence that as the teacher of the Moscow conservatory I already practised with him music and I know that he not only can perfectly play on stage, but also he is good to dance, and fine to sing. And you will make sure of it because now together with him, one of those young and talented people about which Lev Kirillovich just so sincerely, with such eloquence mentioned, we will execute my old romance on Fet's verses «My Genius». Come here…
Public addressed facing Roman who at sight left his foolish tray, removed napkin from the shoulder, and modestly bowed. The approving rumble has gone on the hall, applauses resounded, especially from site where the youth met together. Rubenstein disappeared somewhere. The others clapped, but, apparently, half-heartedly. It was thought that mature public hasn't digested yet the reform of more than fifteen-year prescription about liberty to peasantry, therefore it isn't ready internally to different surprises, as before only the owner, but not an alien person, especially the musician, was both the benefactor and the judge.
But, Roma fascinated everybody. He not only pathetic executed «My genius…» so that, generally, it wasn't required especial rehearsal, and upon termination under general exclamations of approval unexpectedly burst «Pedlars»*, and it was necessary to select accords. Glasses were ringing from his voice, wine was shivering in tumblers, it was appeared, was heard in all vicinities. In a word, being present at the hall stayed in perfect delight, only Anna Petrovna clapped with a severe look, having pursed lips.
– You are right, Pete. It is necessary to learn the lad, – Nicolas thoughtfully said when taking leave, they had gone to look for the phaeton, – Try, really, to drag him for the beginning to self. And then we will look what can be made. This Sapozhenkov – a gold bag, of course. Pants, it's felt that money at him loads, but he will release Roman? On words surely all of
* Russian folk song (auth.)
them – «for», but in practice are compliant quite, quite heavily, especially, when it concerns them personally. But you invite the boy to us to the students’ party. Maybe, he will sing something to us?.. Ah, swans! What a swans there were! Don't you have saw?! Lå beau est a portout*…
There was no intention to leave absolutely. There was a wish to make a certain mad act, to stay among people whom Roma faced daily, to look at fireworks, to take part in round dances, to listen to national songs, maybe, to outline something for self and use then in music, – eventually, some prospect to surprise with the return Roman and to stay with him alone, if it will be possible, was shone.
On arrival home, he still decided to return, but at this time alone, entirely incognito, even changing appearance a little.
– Alyosha, have you something to dress for a holiday?– he asked the servant, having appeared at home shortly before supper, even not having sat down at the table.
From everything that was brought by Lyosha, the white kosovorotka, sewed on edge a blue pattern, and a black peak cap with a coarse flower up-front have approached. Trousers had to be dressed into autumn boots, and to put on the vest from concert suit over untucked shirt. But, allright – had looked. He has tinted moustaches, beard and eyebrows more densely dark tone which has bought last year in Prague especially for concert exits as the similar trifle in make-up rooms was always absent. Generally, it was turned out something is similar to «a la the working colony», proletarian style – not for scene, of course, for masquerade. In such look, with a bag through shoulder, he has gone by train back to the Kuntsovo.
However, having descended at station in the tenth o'clock in the evening, he regretted that he isn't able on harmonica because people already has burned up the town, in style, songs and folk tunes, laughing and couplets were heard from everywhere, and someone, having had a few, shouted in all throat obscene songs. Though, here, on rural streets and in tracks where crowd countrymen threw out from full and not full feasts to vanish and dance, it was possible, apparently, and to borrow without effort a musical instrument, thus having become the center of local fun. It was remembered the early childhood in Votkinsk and those melodies that were in course when he secretly made the way on embankment with brother Kolya, to ordinary people – the governess strictly forbade noble children –
* Beauty, it is beside (fr.)
and had a rare opportunity, having embraced by paddies an exotic harmonica, to try something on it under the leadership of one kind uncle, from plain folk. Since then, apparently, he didn't take this instrument even to hands.
On the bank of the Mazilovsky pond among a table-top sale the doll performance had been arranging. Having passed along strip malls, he bought couple of embroidered Russian handkerchiefs and the German mouthorgan for memory, and also ate instead of supper a big cracknel with jam, having washed down with cup of tea from boiling tank. Puppeteers showed the fairy tale «Ugly duckling» by Andersen. The destiny of little duckling had drawn again his attention as lately he thought more than once to leave at least for a while awful plots of Russian, Ukrainian or any other literature, and to try to make statement for children, an opera fairy tale with the happy end. «The «Ugly duckling» could be suitable for such performance, but who of dancers, or singers will agree to act in misshapen bird's masks? They rather will burst from own importance, than will do that». Si-minor was remembered suddenly: «It's interesting where he now? – Where to him to be? Likely, is already at home, in a zoo, floats and remembers the forced imprisonment as a bad dream. Amazing bird! »
Behind the pond, on meadow, lads and girls with flower wreaths on heads danced in a round.
In the field the birch stood,
In the field curly birch stood,
Lully, lyuly has stood
Lully, lyuly has stood
There is no one to sway birch,
There is no one to sway curly birch,
Lully, lyuly to sway,
Lully, lyuly to sway….
And, this human chorus, it seemed, stood as a pole up to the sky, basses of the orchestral drum goodness knows where from had took in a rural solitude had been booming, multi-colored shirts and sundresses flashing. He has brought German mouthorgan to lips and began to select melody. Here the brief experience of the flutist of student's orchestra was useful, but turned out badly, inexpressively, the sound was sharp, unpleasant.
– Hiya, old hand! But, isn't weak force to accompany girls? At the same time we'll get acquainted, hey? – one of two young maidens nibbling sunflower seeds nearby winked at him. The girl was obviously distinguished by lively character.
The simple address has slightly confused, but, having remembered about the role of the working man chosen by him, he braced up, shifted a cap on nape and said with smile:
– I would accompany but it will turn out softly.
– But you don't be afraid! We will hear! Or else one musician was at us, and that clean gone, – other maiden clucked, having wickedly sparkled brown eyes, and both have burst out laughing.
– And, who is there? – he turned back on the circle executing «The birch».
– These are not ours – from Mazilovo, – more courageous girl has waved in their party, – we would play a circle better at a time if Roman's bondage.
– Whose bondage? – he asked again without having still understood, and heart was gone from awful guess.
– Don't be afraid, old hand, it's not about the Imperial surname… about our Roma, the harmonist, the hostess has put him to cellar for disobedience, – more courageous girl sympathetically said, crossing arms on breast, – Right, as he will leave – as a silk will become! Seem, by the following holiday just he will make it! – and both were gone again from laughter.
The first thought was – right there to run to the to Sapozhenkov's house and to demand from Anna Pertovna to release Roman immediately. However he checked himself, having remembered about the masquerade again, and decided, that in such look he won't be accepted in the mansion, it's better to remain and have a heart-to-heart talk with girls.
– Well, beauties, sing that is pleasant. Begin, and I will adapt to you, – he offered maidens. And, they started singing:
Katenka, Katyusha, merchant's daughter,,
Where you have walked all dark night?
Where you have walked all dark night?
Steamships went out on the sea to walk,
Steamships went out on the sea to walk.
One sail is white, the other blue …
One sailor is old, the other young.
Katenka, Katyusha, let's go with me …
It has turned out in general, but not well, but girls, seemes, were inspired.
– And what, your harmonist, Roma, plays better? – having taken courage, he asked when they stopped singing.
– You ask! He has the harmonica more than enough! From Turkish war still… trophy, - informed with pride brown-eyed girl, - And at you what? Some midget.
– So you asked to accompany…
Girlfriends started giggle sympathetically.
– There now, was offended … but unless matter in sizes? Matter in ability!
– Why do you laugh? I’ve took this mouthorgan in hands for the first time!
– But, don't listen Nadka, piteous, play and play as you be able. And we will sort then at whom by harmonica and at whom by bayan! – and they sprinkled with laughter again.
He select by lips «Pedlars», it turned out largamente, but maidens right there picked up had broken into a dance. People began to gather for these games, there were some guys, the menacing look, with balalaikas* behind shoulders, having got up in a circle, begun to restrict him, – by the word, in order to avoid the probable conflict, without having learned anything else about Roman, it was necessary to retire.
Going to the estate, he has glanced to musical bench again and changed not pleasant mouthorgan for little willow reed – at least it was possible by smaller efforts to elicit from it more sounds. Again and again he addressed with thoughts to Roma whose unfortunate fate revolted him more, than jokes of local maidens, and, if the truth that the lad was ground in cellar, this truth deserved judicial intervention. The brutal look of Anna Petrovna, her pursed lips, vindictive squint of her eyes while the young actor at the salon stood to applause was remembered. «Seems, this matron can commit not like that. To dominate on the host's patch – her destiny, and destiny of her similar that all homies, and servants especially, were afraid, trembled and idolized them. Seems, they see some vital sense in it. As for support of talents, Nicolas is right – only in word, accommodate fashion to pass in the world as benefactors. Surely, it is necessary to take in hand by all means newly appeared Saltychikha** that from now it will be unexciting!»
* Russian folk musical instrument (auth.)
** Russian landowner, she has become history as the conceited sadist (auth.)
With these thoughts he has entered the tavern standing on the edge of the village Mazilovo, having decided to fork up and pass the time waiting for fireworks. When the tow-haired boy with ridiculously mowing eyes has brought a decanter with snack, and he one drink overturned small glass of burning vodka, it was came some pacification. Having shaken, new timbered walls, pure linen cloths, sparkling but modest ware have slightly floated before eyes, nimble waiters and lovely talkative frequenters immediately appiared to a look.
– Don't touch Egorovna! … She is right … – objected hotly to interlocutor of a rustic look overcome by drink peasant in blue faded shirt, – Egorovna, she is bim right-on – with the head! She is alone! She have married her maids successfully, to high-income … and the son too – what a quick-witted … as he blurted out today on the performance… but she is among laundresses. Day and night slaves for owners … If Roman – fuck off to her to be in good graces here. Long ago outside of Kaluga, to the village she would get out with the sonny … Remember my word, Mishanya … the son at her capable … at him the big future!
– Tell you, Vasyok: it is not from Egorovna at all … isn't from her, it is from him! – sitting a back, unknown Mishanya argued, pouring to glasses, – He hell around himself. Neither respect, nor submission to the hostess. Cheeks. Even though Lev Kirilych welcomes him, and he uses. It would be necessary to him more cautiously.
– So, as people say: he is still wet behind the ears, you know …
He pressed palms to ears - Oh, it was absolutely intolerable to listen this! «Only the gossip in the village about my Roman and his adventures! Why, there are no other subjects, perhaps?! It is some fate – wherever I can be – everywhere Roma, Roma, Roma or his shadow. Leave the lad alone, I will be engaged in him myself! Eventually, seven rubles salary a month – not such big money, and possible, undoubtedly, it is possible to offer them for the good of his talents!» Then to distract from the sharp but, probably, inevitable feelings having gushed suddenly, he has pulled out the nominal notebook from bag and a gilded pencil began to write down music that has come to mind this evening, having forgotten at the same time about, obviously not suitable for such work, the proletarian duds.
At eleven o'clock on the Lordly pond had banged so that daws flew from church crosses, and crows started shouting in the park. The public walking on avenues threw up caps and barked together «Viva-a-a!!!» Fireworks begun. To thunders of Preobrazhensky march exhaled by brass band reaching from an open terrace many petards of various colors and configurations became torn in the sky. On the place where even in the morning in the little box Si-minor marked time lonely, had flashed and with terrible hissing the fiery ring started turning, right there from all directions to the center of pond flame fountains poured down. Brightly red bass clef and its mirror image hanged in the sky over water, «as angelic wings» became the apotheosis of the firework. People squealed from admiration.
It was remembered to him Pavlovsk*, those evenings that they have spent together with Apukhtin, Kireev and others in a local «imperial solitude» during musical festivals, took boats, floated on ponds, ate ice cream, washed down with vodka and smoked any muck. And he was in love, in love both with Lyosha, and Seryozha, – to the whole world. At this particular time, apparently, both the first music, and the first verses were born. And now here Providence didn't allow him to spend this evening with Roman, moreover, it has turned out that the lad is punished and resolutely there is no opportunity to get him out of unknown captivity!
Having left idle crowd and clamour thunders, by the known way he had gone to descent. Decorated with small lamps, ladder by serpentine went into ravine, to the river. «What's waiting out in this thicket? What will present me by destiny? How it will dispose of my thoughts, my music? What a role Roman is urge to play therein?» – he thought with alarm, trying vainly to make out in bottomless darkness of park even though a sign of own importance in the world prepared for him. «What will be with the third symphony? Whether I will finish it in general? Perhaps to throw till the best times?.. Doesn't gone, nothing gone…»
With these thoughts, without finding an intelligible answer to the questions raised to himself, practically in outer darkness he has reached, at last, the coast near that place where Si-minor flew up in the morning. At Sapozhenkovs had still fun, mansion windows sparkled on the hill, musical fragments rushed from the slope, and from the river – silent muffled splash and maiden sighs. Far, behind Krylatskoe hills the turquoise sunset burned down, shadows of low clouds condensed in the sky.
«My God! Why do you test me? Why deprives me of inspiration? You think, I need glory? No, it isn't necessary at all! I need recognition. RECOGNITION. Not as mass, not as bravura, but as full – to the most intimate birthmark, and to the last gasp. But you deprive me of communication with this person, even today, in the holiday which has begun
* The Imperial residence near St. Petersburg (auth.)
so happily! What for? Wherein I was so guilty before you? If I will have this recognition – there will be also an opportunity for people to listen my music. Or, do you want to deprive people of my compositions because they are pessimal? Then deprive me of this life!»
He sat down on the bank near semi-decayed planked footway, took willow reed and begun to select on it that h-moll over which Amashy had so remarkably worked out. «Where to attach this h-moll? – I won't apply mind! Too shrill, touching, as if «ugly duckling» … to «the third» as a melody won't to be, as well, there is already the elegiaco*, but the final can't be bothered to make it sad at all…» Here couple more of melodies came to his mind, and, using the remains of sunset light, he began to fix them immediately in his notebook.
In the distance some tiny fires have floated down the river; quietly, an exotic flock they began to blur on unruffled surface every which way, some of them grew dim, others – inflamed. Suddenly he guessed, having remembered about maiden voices and splash on water that in the distance behind canes, the rural youth could be attached secretly to guess on flower wreaths.
It was surprising because never before he did not see similar! But, certainly, he knew from Gogol novelettes that such customs exist, and obviously aren't approved by church, however to observe such here, at the old capital, it was absolutely improbable! The national belief was, apparently, this: if the wreath which is started up by the girl on water will come in a whole skin to the boy, then he also will become her narrowed and if will not come to anybody, or will go dark – so, a century to her to be in maids.
Having forgotten everything, he began to watch the action with interest. Wreaths with the lit candles, thanks to current, floated quickly enough, most of them directed to the opposite bank where in bushes, has to be, local boys waited them. Only a few stray fires were still turned in the middle of the river. «So there. If some one sticks to this shaky planked footway, then there will be happiness also to me!» – he thought and as if the magician, began to whistle to the reed. Surprisingly, after a while one of wreaths, really, had gone right to the thought place! He was ready to stand up, find a long branch or a stick somewhere to catch the smoldering artifact as suddenly someone behind, having crept quietly, has clamped his eyes by palms:
* Pensive and sad tempo in music (allegro). (it.)
– Upstairs shouldn't dress up in demotic!
It is Roman! It was impossible to confuse sonorous timbre of his voice with anybody else! Never and nowhere!
– You??! Where from? People say the hostess put you under lock?
– I had ran away.
– But how? How did you find me?
– And, ear training is present, truly? It isn't necessary the mind… – Roma laughed in reply, – You whistled your SI minor so that it was heard along the whole river. But who else, except you, can play it?
He imagined how «it» sounded from outside and felt awkward from the fact that everybody could hear bad playing. Being hepped on playing music by the reed, he absolutely forgot how obvious not even the sound, but each rustle is over still water. On the other hand, it was unusually joyful that Roma recognized him by the melody familiar only both of them.
– How did you run away? You will be caught and put back! Let's go from here immediately!
– There is nobody to catch, they see guests there – nothing to me,– Roman has calmed him, sitting down by side. It was absolutely impossible to understand on a voice whether the lad is upset, offended by the incident, or he is glad that has broke, at last, from bonds.
– Why, not for the first time, huh? – he asked sympathetically, being afraid, however, that this question can wound proud nature of his friend, – I saw with what rage she looked at you – horror!
– Yeh, I fuck!.. – Roman desperately sworn, – I have refused to her few times, so she also rages!
– What you refused to her?
– Why you don't understand, Pete? You, such clever, but don't understand! She wanted to suck, and I refused her – the domestics will catch, surely I will never dish it out. Very much I should behave in a queer way counter the owner!
«Oh my gosh, a bitch, really? – which time he has thought badly of the hostess, – Shames the lad, uses him as she wants, without respecting either his talents, or other advantages! Saltychikha, real Saltychikha in the flesh…»
– What do you think to do?
– Now, maybe, to Seryoga, or to whom … I will hide somewhere, and tomorrow I will go to Lev Kirilych with guilty, – Roman leaned against him by shoulder, begun to breathe often – it was visible hostess nonsense piqued him strongly.
– Look here, Roma, let's go to me. We will take a cab, huh? And I will communicate with your hostess. I think, she will agree to release you to me for study, to allowance, huh? – he started talking hastily, being afraid that these words will eclipse tenderness feeling to the friend had risen in soul, will give away some another, mercantile or, worse than that, carnal desire, instead of sincere aspiration to help darling man to rise.
– And Lev Kirilych? I have to settle with him…
– You will go then from me if it will be necessary. I shall give you some money on the train? ...
Roma sighed fitfully and calmed down for a long time. There were no more forces to abide this endless silence with the pressed warm, friendly shoulder as the lad, at last, gingerly said:
– Good, let's go. But only over Krylatskoye. We will reach by bank, then will hire coachman, or agree with gippy. Or soon they will begin to prowl me here on all bushes…
Soon after these events he received the letter from Hans von Bueloff, German pianist and conductor, with positive review on his manuscript of the first concerto for a piano. Actually, it was not yet a concert, but not orchestrated finally selection of melodies. Sending the manuscript with dedication it to Byuloff this winter, he expected to make Rubenstein a quip, as after the first playing a concert wasn't pleasant to boss. «The idea isn't interesting, the subject is degraded, is difficult to play» – with what only epithets has allocated Nicolas his new composition. «It is strange that that he asked me about the third symphony? Perhaps it won't be pleasant to him as well as the concert? All right, I will forget – let him still think. Byuloff, apparently, has already perceived».
«I was impressed very much by piano composition which you sent me, – Byulof wrote in German somewhere from Boston, – I find in this music a lot of interesting to the local public greedy for everything fresh, not hearing hitherto in the «New world». At the same time in your music, such open and lyrical, the never-ending stream of energy and creative power necessary to me too is feel, as I am going on tour here, in America, far from the house the second year. And the end isn't visible to these tours as they pay here not bad… In a word, Mr. Tchaikovsky, I will be very grateful to you if you dig up resources and arrive here that it was possible to play back your music together with local orchestra, in which surprisingly enough talented musicians, and just virtuosos. Together with them it can be done qualitatively and quickly and to hold a few concerts…»
It was thought that Hans von Bueloff for certain plays on same «Stanwood» what they had rehearsed recently with Roman. «On this instrument the concert would sound remarkably! But, where to take some money to reach America?» He took atlas from the book shelf and found the city of Boston. It is far. Doing two hundred versts a day, it is possible to reach in a month, except that to overcome two thirds of all distance by sea – therefore it isn't surprising how long time the mail had been coming. Here it had an idea to address again for money to Shalovsky. Volodya, the offspring of rich family, more than once helped out friendly because their friendship remained in spite of the fact that intimate contacts have safely died out. «Really, maybe, to go to Boston in autumn, after the Parisian tours? – he began to reflect, smoking, – Somehow I'll reach to Nantes by train, and then … to buy the ticket for the next steamship, and skip across to Boston… And again to home – von Bueloff, a case of what, will help if he remembers the fees in his letter? Someone said to me that the European passport is valid in the United States… Anyway money is necessary. And for Roman's training too… »
He curled up, exhausting the last from his cigar. «Here it is the shame-disgrace, huh? I've lived till thirty five years, but neither house nor home, no money that of necessity to beg at young people! Of course, Volodya will help and credit, however it is shame, awfully shame!» He has remembered how in summer four years ago with Shalovsky inherited a big sum of money from father, they traveled around French riviera, what excellent trip has turned out! What a maman, sympathetic at him, and as in gratitude for lessons of the musical theory which he gave Volodya showing promises she awarded both of them this classy tour! Skinny and tall twenty-year-old Vova in general was at his best, succeeded not only in the theory and composition, but also in the bed. Of course, maman was not aware absolutely of their contacts; however, having hardly reached majority, Volodya very first offered him intimacy. Which of «hillock-mania» ones on his place would refuse? And, he could pay back the boy with everything in return, devoted him several pieces of music, entrusted to compose a number of music to «Oprichnik», offered collaboration over «Smith Vakula», – could give him quite a few else, – matter of course, except money. «All, but of these damned money, from which there is no way out, simply!». Meanwhile, Volodya Shalovsky with maximalism peculiar to young men considered that musical studies, and in general arts - are only hobby, actually there are much more important issues in the world which should devote the life. «It is the question of personal destiny about which recently Rubenstein philosophized too. Here Roma – almost the age-mate to Shalovsky, has a lot of talents and wants to study, is he guilty that was born in a poor peasant family? And from Volodya, with a lot of talents, fund and manors in Tambov province, the outstanding musician, true artist could turn out, but he, you see doesn't want! Doesn't want – so let though will offer for a good cause. Sapozhenkov spoke correctly here that without patronage there will be no Russian art».
He took up the pen and begun to dash off for Shalovsky to Tambov, that misses very much and that had no objection to visit cher ami * this summer again in his Nosovo and to engage in music and cupids if not with Vova, so with nice boys whom there is a lot in local district. He knew that Volodya will apprehend these playful words with understanding, without offense and dense jealousy, also isn't necessary in the letter so at once, in a forehead to raise a question of financial aid – it is necessary only at personal meeting.
At once he wrote also to Byuloff, thanked for the honor to work together with him, the outstanding, famous pianist, talented master of music, and promised to send finally orchestrated concert variant in the next few days. «As for my arrival, I will try in every way to reach you from Paris in the fall if such opportunity is presented», – he has noted, decided that it shouldn't mention of financial difficulties here too.
At five o'clock anyone rang at the door, and he heard as Lyosha went to open. It seemed that they sent the courier with some message of any change in the schedule of final examinations because the day was not visiting for guests. However, having appeared in the room soon, Alexey stretched him the visiting card and declared:
– Youward Sapozhenkova Anna Petrovna, you will receive?
He didn't see Roman already week, and it was never possible to get away to walk to Kuntsovo after the holiday . Recently, having spent night on the couch in drawing room, the lad had quickly left in the morning, having taken only a little food to the road. Therefore madam Sapozhenkov's visit was presented rather strange.
* Dear friend (fr.)
– Invite! – he ordered, having excited.
Anna Petrovna looked cold and haughty, however couldn't conceal some emotionality in a voice. In her once-nice face features, in the impatient movements of hands decorated with set of rings was guessed the desire to carry out something by all means, to draw a line, at last, under something.
– I must admit, Pyotr Il'ich, you have excited us the recent visit together with mister Rubenstein. There were many conversations about your improvised concert, and Lisa aurally even reproduced your nocturne…
«As she was able by sticky fingers and weak hand to play my nocturne? Is it possible, really?» – he thought passingly, having remembered with dislike the handshake of Anna Petrovna's daughter, but he decided right there that visit of the rich lady to him, to his modest dwelling at conservatory, is many times more significant, than it would be imagined, and in this case it isn't necessary be given to bad emotions.
– Oh, madam, I am very grateful to you that this etude was so pleasant that it's already catch out aurally and play directly on the fly. Believe it is very flatter to me. Thanks, I am grateful to you very-very much, Anna Petrovna … – he didn't find more words in reply.
Madam Sapozhenkova leaned back in armchair and nervously pulled the graceful handbag slipping from dress folds to her stomach, the secret discontent was reflected in her face.
– You know Pyotr Il'ich, I came actually on business to you… – she said at first thoughtfully, but right there having bethought, a high pitched voice blurted out: – He is not the hired at all, not! He still temporary obliged, and Akinfeevs will pay us in corvee for a long time as it is provided by the royal decree* of February nineteenth, as they have no money! Can't in corvee, so let pay compensation and scoot where they want!
«The person who has recognized me by the h-moll embryo, melody over water, that night, for the Trinity of 1875 while nobody could catch the given h-moll nowhere earlier; – unless this person has to work a certain corvee or pay devil knows what a quitrent? Nonsense, utter, Middle Ages!»
– You, has to be, about Roman, Anna Petrovna?
* Manifest of emperor Alexander II about cancellation the serfdom. (auth.)
– Of course! Having imagined itself the hired, he has asked to be allowed about dismissal, referring to you, Pyotr Il'ich that you take him to yourself on maintenance and training. But, it's not so! I say to you: he is no hired – tout ; fait. C'est un serf. Pardon, on les appellent d;sormais «les paysans libres.*».
The impersonal «C'est un serf» used by her – the slave, the captive – had enraged him. «But, she is precisely nympho, and, probably, hysteric woman with experience!», – and yet, he has found forces to restrain.
– Listen, madam, leave your epithets. I hope, we won't argue about persons named in history, slavery and a serfdom of which by efforts of the sovereign God, at last, have relieved us now. Let's think together how to develop Roman's talents and help him.
– I's good to you to say, Pyotr Il'ich, you are composer, the person delicate, creative, not burdened with a family, children and property, – Anna Petrovna said, having began to calm down a little, – As for us, we won't cease to be tired from these cares, has to be, to the death. I assure you Lev Kirillovich and I, we are ready to meet to Roman halfway and release him together with mother as I had already told, wherever they like. But… lemme, professor, it is necessary to us to receive on account of him and his family even if half-prices!
«How much now the talent in rubles, if it is attached to frail world, where, apparently, it did not remain really neither a shame drop, nor a conscience grain? What says to me Fate by lips of this lady?»
– How much it’s necessary for you the «compensation», Anna Petrovna?
– As to say you, Pyotr Il'ich… for their family the house with constructions and four tithes land. If the Tarusa rural community pays us for them not one thousand six hundred and even if eight hundred rubles silver, then we will release them.
«Eight hundred rubles for talent! Semi-annual professorial salary – truly, not so much for the lad as Roma, in view of that she, taking an opportunity, certainly inflated the price. But, where take this money? And so myself hardly make both ends meet … it is necessary more, more hasty to go to Shalovsky…»
* Absolutely. It is dependent. Sorry, now "the free rural inhabitant" (fr.)
– However, Pyotr Il'ich, we can agree just in a different way … – Anna Petrovna continued meanwhile, riveting his attention by the fixed look of dark, magic eyes, – Maybe you will take them together to study in conservatory, both Lisa and Roman, without entrance examinations? Believe, Lisa at us the girl very much talented, capable too. From everything that is given her better – it is music lessons, she envisions dreams the world of art since childhood, dreams of good music education. If it happens, we will release Roman also for a third, and even a quarter of the price, and will close forever the subject about money of this family.
The proposal of madam Sapozhenkova, has inspired him extremely. He considered it humiliating to bargain and right there has thought that it would be really practical way to relieve the lad. «As to Lisa even if she has not much cop a talent for music, the conservatory is full of the same rich greenhorns, she won't become an exception here». And, he answered Anna Petrovna that he will surely discuss her offer with Rubinstein though it will hardly turn out without examination because rules are uniform for all. At parting he invited Sapozhenkov's couple to visit the dress rehearsal of «Smith Vakula» which was expected at graduation party on the first Sunday of July, certainly, together with Lisa and Roman at a mention of whom madam has haughty grinned, but promised to arrive.
Next day after final examinations, were it was necessary now to sit daily, he directed to the Novinsky mooring, perhaps to meet there Roman and make him an avowal of sentiments. There was no limit of his determination, he has rather missed, believed that the lad has to be there surely, wait by all means. Therefore when absolutely empty embankment, without any vessel on the river, opened to his look it wasn't believed the eyes.
Having wandered alone along the bank, having thrown stones to the water, he decided to wait the yacht "Bravo!" nearby, on the veranda of one mean tavern serving by haven for all river brotherhood and for aliens too. Together with Roman they have already chosen this location as there were separate rooms handed over for private meetings. Settled down at the window overlooking the river, he ordered a few tea with cookies. The clear, sunny weather, absence of visitors in this hour quite promoted the creative process, and he as usual grabbed the notebook to record what has came to the mind since this morning. But suddenly Dmitry Fyodorovich Filimonov appeared and spoiled everything. It was the teacher of solfeggio who has caught him off-guard recently during flirtation with the coachman in the conservatory yard. Externally very attractive, young colleague looked rumpled, as after deaf hard drinking, the former frock coat hung on his shoulders as if on a faulty hanger, a lean tie installed into place by sinewy hand constantly moved down sideways, skin on cheeks and nose was covered with unhealthy spots.
– Pardonner moi, Peter Il'ich, je n'emp;cherai pas* ? – Filimonov welcomed in bad French, approached a table.
«As if you came, sit down» – there was a wish to say.
– Bien sur, bien sur, le collegue, s'assied, s'il vous plait . Il y a plus joyeux ensemble**, – he forced himself to speak.
– What a nice weather today! There is no wish at all to study in close classrooms. Somewhere to Kislovodsk or Odessa, to the sea to be heated on the sun and welcome young ladies! – colleague begun to treat, looking around vicinities through the big window of veranda. «Solfeggist» had a strange look, unstable, reddish eyes have been running all the time as if beads on leads, groped something, but, it seemed, didn't welcome anything that came across to their look.
– Oh, you can say that again, Dmitry Fyodorych, I dream to be given the creativity somewhere far from the city too, let at the sea, but it's better somewhere in a green solitude. Sometimes I move out here that… to work a little, – there was a wish to say «that nobody disturbs», but he didn't make it of politeness.
Filimonov ordered to himself a glass of vodka and drunk it off. «Probably, he is alcoholic if so intemperate. Thank God, I am still released from this!»
– Really, it is impossible to work so much, Pyotr Il'ich. Also to have a time to relax is necessary! – Filimonov pronounced with sarcasm as if he long ago and absolutely for nothing has objected someone, – For example, I never deny women's society to myself if such opportunity is given. You know it is some kind of incentive to life for us, unmarried. But, it won't be able to reach the «Jar» often, and tho expensive, so it's necessary to be crafty with maids and bartenders. The female is tender to me whether you know… and I am also answer the same with them. I love black-eyed with big tits, the more the better. I will tell you: there is one… sa-ach candy, you know!
* Sorry, Pyotr Il'ich, I won't prevent? (fr.)
** Certainly, certainly, colleague, sit down, please. It's more cheerfully together. (fr.)
If you want I will acquaint? I recommend you very much…
– Unfortunately, I am not the compadre to you, Dmitry Fyodorych, – he interrupted «solfeggist» stop short, having remembered about the youthful campaigns to the «Jar», «Katenka» and other public places, from which a sticky, unpleasant aftertaste remained in soul, as to a large extent all female never attracted him, neither spiritually, nor physically,– What you are here all about aunts and girls. I am not a past master of women's nature.
Filimonov begun to guffaw from this remark as from a dirty joke.
– You are telling me, Pyotr Il'ich! Whether to you, composed the «Romeo and Juliette», «Storm» to speak so!.. Public squeals from delights, was even took a shine to Shakespeare… Truly, I won't believe for anything that this music has composed by someone misogyne*.
– «Romeo and Juliette», in fact, the Shakespearean story about forbidden love, but not about women, Dmitry Fyodorych. Unless I have told you something about ignorance of this feeling?
– Yes, yes, yes. It's clear to me, clear... It is possible to fall in love with a kitty, and a doggie … and to create such… so to speak the masterpiece. You tell a lie, or you don't want to tell the truth, Pyotr Il'ich. To compose «Romeo», «Storm» could only the person, sampled true love to the woman.
– But, after all, we don't understand each other, Dmitry Fyodorovich. I say you about hostility of families of Montekki and Capuletti, about unlawfulness of marriage between their children, and you – about dislike of cats with dogs, – « this solfeggist precisely latent hillock, homophobe – stake one's life on it! Probably, he never samped the feeling of love and if sampled, his feeling was not real, therefore the music to «Romeo and Juliette» for monsieur Filimonov – as revelation»,
– Whether it seems to you, dear colleague, that the human feeling has no sex at all? Think over: the word «feeling» in Russian – a neutral gender, and feeling of love – in particular.
He didn't start to listen further revelations of «solfeggist». Having noticed as the long-awaited «Bravo!» yacht approached the mooring, he instantly lost any interest in conversation and hurried there. The valorous prince, the gentle knight seeking to make the courageous and noble act, using at the same time all the influence and opportunities
* Woman-hater (fr.)
to exempt, at last, young and original talent from fetters of hated slavery, had unexpectedly wakened in him. «But, where Nicolas vanishes? Tomorrow by all means, tomorrow I'll go to boss with offers of madam Sapozhenkova!– pulsed in his head meanwhile, – Undoubtedly, Rubenstein will support. Will surely support Roman's enrollment to study, in addition with this Lisa! As a last resort, I will pay for the lad myself, of course, if Shalovsky will give me money. Will give, surely will give! Also on allowance enough!..»
Having noticed him from the deck, Roman jumped down from board, had beamed and showed all the cordial relations to an impropriety.
– You, you… why didn't you come so long! – Roman pressed him to the hot cast torso, held very-very long as if being afraid to lose.
– Well, Roma, it is fine… or that will notice. Let's go better to «Private».
– I can't: customers will be now. What's the time?
– Three hours without ten minutes.
– We won't be in time. They will be in three … let's tomorrow, huh? I won’t take orders for tomorrow. I will arrive to three too, huh? Pe-e-te, I want you…
He hardly refrained from embraces and kisses with the lad, as it would be absolutely inappropriate to exterior eye on the open embankment. It was necessary only to be expressed by rapid speech:
– Well. I will be in three tomorrow. Your hostess came yesterday… I want to say you, Roma that you will not worry. Be that as it may – you don't worry, please. I love you very much. Everything will be all right, I am sure in it, – and it was primitive and unconvincing.
For the next day it wasn't necessary to search for Rubenstein, speak of the angel, the director has met to him in corridor directly at the examination hall.
– Nikolay Grigoryich, I am to you with the offer! – «My God, rescue and bless!» – Do you remember Roman Akinfeev who sang then at Sapozhenkovs, in Kuntsevo for the Trinity? Do you remember Mitrofanushka's character in the amateur performance? – he asked, being already in director's study.
– Sit down, Pete, sit down. Smoke. Do you want Havana cigar, having presented to me here … Yes, I remember Roman. Of course, I remember – as to forget it. Very talented boy. I just wanted to consult with you too…
– Sapozhenkova Anna Petrovna came to me, asked for the daughter …
– Wants to arrange her to our conservatory.
– And? What a problem? At us the opened educational institution for everybody, let hands over documents and enter.
– She coordinates her enrollment to us with Roman's enrollment. Speaks something like take both of them for study. Not that, she won't release him.
– He is the hired? How she may not release him?
– Bond. Roman is bond. In sense the former bond. It should be redeemed him.
Rubenstein stirred up the ringlets – «Why the hell he sports these side curls!» – inflated cheeks from what his moustaches had stared, and looked as if through what meant exquisite puzzlement – « It's a good thing, though he didn't remain indifferent …»
– And you have found money for him? How much is it?
– Eight hundred rubles. But, I will find – a matter of time. By the beginning of academic year, I hope, this money will be.
– That is right, – Rubenstein said thoughtfully, – And meanwhile, I think, we are able to try this lad in our future direction. We discussed already with Vasyl Grigorich, the producer. He has an incomplete staff structure to the third act, and the role of the Highness prince would be quite suitable for the voice of Roman… whatsename?.. Akinfeev Roman. What do you think? You will be able to train him for the remained one and a half weeks?
«It can't be true!! But whether I dream all this?! To work with Roman in direction of own opera! What it can be even more perfectly?! Yeth-th!.. Undoubtedly, Rubenstein – the most effective impresario from all, can use any vital circumstances in business! Any other one hasn't paid attention to Roma – could be simple rural guys well sing! »
– Certainly, I will be able, Kolya! Will throw far away another matters and will engage with him! – But, the question is whether the owner will release Roman to rehearse for the whole two weeks?
– Well, I think, we will settle this fact if mister Sapozhenkov's daughter is still attached here … – Nicolas assumed, having a little thought, – Wait a moment, Pete, I will write the letter to him now, and you will send it, please. And send not by hander, but with our courier. I ask you, Pete, otherwise, he won't believe …
While Rubenstein wrote the dispatch, it was given a time to play on old «Becker» standing in corner of director study. He has composed on shabby keys two interesting embryos from the working notebook in beat of polonaise – there was a wish to finish the third symphony solemnly and triumphally, but what of these melodies to use and what so far to leave, he didn't solved yet. Tho, the first of them seemed more "Russian" that was better combined with the conceived national character of this composition, and the second – just beautiful and memorable. «It is good to top with it some ball …»
Rubenstein stretched him the stuck envelope.
– Here take it. But send through office and it is urgent, let them will seal officially by sealing wax. I had marked here for them… And what do you play?
– So … you asked me to complete the third symphony, I am also trying. And what?
– It seemed to me, a little comical, some «goose» rhythm, here it is … – Nicolas played on keys what was meaning.
– Why the «goose»?
– So it seemed to me, swans were imagined at once ashore. Do you remember this flight, then in Fili area? As they clumsily stride on the ground and as easily fly! A perfect dream they fly! Well. It is lyrics. Let you train the boy for rehearsals. I am waiting.
Undoubtedly, it had luck to him – he really felt it, as to that Si- minor, the swan which has fallen into Roman's hands and safely appeared on freedom; if it happen in a different way, the bird would be waited by other fate. As well as the winged Si-minor, he resignedly obeyed his own, human fate. Bravely following his destiny, his love, overcoming adversities, penury and own complexes, unlike unreasonable feathery, meanwhile he understood also the responsibility before the trusted young man. The lad, whose bed somersaults it would be possible to captivate finally, to forget about everything and become a lewd donkey knowing nothing except physical pleasures, has absolutely fascinated him. Fortunately, Roma didn't allow him to become fool. The young man as a sponge absorbed everything that before the poor country boy from far Kaluga village wasn't fated to learn on casual music studies with "uncles" and other relatives. Slightly was dawned, and the new house pupil already sat down at the piano to repeat having passed yesterday, singing though in a half of the powerful voice, however is rather loudly to wake. It was necessary to wake up at the crack of dawn and to engage with him.
Everything was successfully. By the end of the week Roman has already quite seized the party of Lightest Prince for interaction with other characters in the opera and was ready to continue to rehearse onstage. Moreover, couplets on Fonvizin's words which the lad executed with good spirit and without aplomb, didn't seem so pompous any more, it should be not lowered them at all, but, on the contrary, to leave in the libretto for effective stage direction. «Eventually, without these couplets in party of the Lightest prince there would be be nothing to execute …» – it was thought to him.
– And what will be in the fourth action? – Roma had poked about.
– Hey, you are such entertaining! There is no yet the fourth action per se. Only in drafts.
– Means, we will execute not full opera?
– Not full. Only the first and third acts.
– Pity. And why? You will compose – I will execute …
– It is not a matter of me, – he laughed in reply, – Nikolay Grigorievich should announce this performance to the administration.
– What's should to him?
– To announce, that is to acquaint the theatrical administration with the opera.
First «prolusion» with Roman's participation as the role of Highness Prince has taken place on Sunday morning in the big hall. The artist, undoubtedly, managed to create quite realistic similarity of an imperial mansion on the stage. Side-scenes in the form of massive columns with balconies went to prospect where panorama of green garden, statues and benches were seen, and in the foreground there was even a big flooring in the form of parquet and some antique furniture, which, probably, have scraped the corners of the former palace of the princess Dashkova which once-occupied by conservatory. All told with the gilded imperial coat of arms at the top of portal made royal impression – just right for the director of imperial theaters expected on a visit.
In the orchestra pit musical passions boiled. Rubenstein at the conductor's stand by snickers of orchestral players raged as always:
– Ladies and gentlemen! I ask you to concentrate as much as possible. Keep in mind if we will play as now still have only three rehearsals to our final shame. That's not funny, monsieur Stakhovsky, sprinkle cinder on your head already now, and do not conceive the idea to shake up to the premier. That's all. Calmed down everybody. So, from the beginning, from the first figure. Nous irons commencer*!
The polonaise which he squeezed out, apparently, all winter had burst loudly. It sounded very snobbishly that, actually, was required in these walls. But, they were playing not well, right at the end the chorus, which was settling down on the edge of a scene, perhaps, corrected general impression having solemnly executed in glory of the Queen Mother «Be glorious! Be glorious! Viva! Viva! Viva! ».
– So, messieurs … it turns out at us somehow… too frivolously, – Rubenstein summarized, – M-lle Polyakova, you really drunk brotherhood with Tchaikovsky? I didn't know, sorry… what a customs at us, in collective … would you like to invite me too, please, the next time, d'accord**? Monsieur Novikov, our orchestra plays generally polonaise, but you are for some reason doing waltz on the sixth – eighth takt. As the own mood takes you? I ask you, monsieur, stop to waltz and torment your contrabass! It's a musical instrument, eventually, the big viol, but not your adored idolatress! Once again I repeat, messieurs: the solemn polonaise precedes appearance of the Highness Prince at the court, tere is no place of frivolity, but the place of great power statehood. Once again from the first figure, please. Commencer!..
Together with Roman they took stand medially at the center aisle. To be sure the lad is overcome by very mixed feelings: blue eyes having impetuously absorbed, seemingly, all around was shining by genuine admiration, at the same time the movements were shy and diffident, the hands nervously fingered the crumpled cap, and young man hardly clattered down, having hooked the hollow frock coat by chair handle. It was hardly believed that only an hour ago Roma selflessly as if sang in theater about dozens of years, without any worrying, sang loudly aria of Highness Prince to the accompaniment of house piano: « As dances haven't begun yet, allow me, my friends, to read you the ode ...»
He nudged the friend:
– Stop to become hysterical, Roma. Remember: you are the best of all here, you are most important, you are humouring the monarchess and driving her arm-in-arm, because it is permitted only to your character – the Highness Prince Potyomkin. Haven't forgotten the leaf with text? Spy for the first time, nothing terrible.
* Let us begin! (fr.)
** That’s right? (fr.)
– And who will play the monarchess?
– What a difference to you? Nobody won't be. There is no any party for her. You enter the hall and notify courtiers about a victory of Russian troops, then sing couplets and hand to Vakula the shoes as a gift from the Queen – and that's all!
Meanwhile, having finished the marked episode, on wave of a conductor's baton the orchestra ceased.
– So. It's better … – Rubenstein said, – Percussions, the drum, I ask you more thunders the following time at the most beginning. I am assuring you, it will be even more solemnly … So … we will go further. Vasyl Grigoryich, what there is further?
– And further, Nikolay Grigoryich, already the Highness Prince sings, – baldish mister with full-blown whiskers – the director of student's theater made a helpless gesture, having risen from chair in the first row, – Here we have involved Marshaller, Demon, Vakula and Highness.
– Demon, Vakula and Highness!– Rubenstein picked up, – To the scene!
Having released Roman forward, he decided, after all, to appear at the troupe and to present the new actor.
– Messieurs! Let us greet the author of music! – having caught sight of him, Rubenstein proclaimed and lifted the orchestra, – Whether deign to scarify us, Pyotr Il'ich?
– There are no limits for perfection, Nikolay Grigoryich! – he joked not to weaken and to afflict orchestral players and performers, – Good day, my friends, thank you! I would like to introduce you, at last, the Highness Prince. It is the young and talented singer Akinfeev Roman Sergeyevich. I ask to love and respect!
Roma had densely reddened, politely greeted and reasonably kept silent.
– Here and well, Roman Sergeich, – Rubenstein has told then, – Show to our greenhorns, as to sing properly. Stand there, near chorus, be verified at first, and we will wait... Are ready? Messieurs! From the tenth figure till the fifteenth, please, where before we had a chorus as also the soloist. Trois-quatre, ñommencer*!..
* Three-four, begin! (fr.)
Roman has risen to the occasion again, quickly got into the role, and it was almost not required the practise. The dense, strong bass baritone of the young actor, seemed, suppressed harmonious singing of chorus, and appearance absolutely corresponded to the character of Lightest Prince, and even patched old frockcoat on big shoulders of the lad couldn't blur the impression of greatness, respectability and luster that it was required, generally, on a plot.
«…The ringing voice of glory has announced to Petrograd
Again Russian bogatyrs punished the foe.
Call on fight just sounded the charge, and, obedient to fate,
Shout of victory announced the coast of far Pontus!
Ah, if our lot is happy, in fights everywhere the first,
Russian Minerva's finger shows us the way to glory!..»
As a result, upon termination of an piece, an applause reached from depth of the empty hall that was strictly forbidden to be done on director's rehearsals.
– There now, a different matter! –, Rubenstein said with satisfaction having paid no attention to obvious violation, – However those who will take in head to hide for abilities of the young man and to be false in the parties, I am warning: better not to do it – will be worse. Now smoke break ten minutes! Then we will repeat still, already with arrangement of characters.
As there was a wish at all strong, without ceremony to kiss the handsome! But, it was necessary again only frostily to shake Roman's hand and to embrace slightly, having whispered:
– Fine fellow. Hang in there. Obey Nikolay Grigoryich in all things. And I will go home to work a little. Wait you by lunch.
– Honestly, Petya, I didn't think that it is so exciting to act with chorus, to the orchestral accompaniment! What a pleasant!
– Well, well … as you will come home, we will talk.
Rubenstein smoked in the front garden in company of orchestral players, and right there hurried towards him – probably, has waited.
– Here that, Pete, – director said in a low voice in order to avoid third-party ears, – I am ready to sign the order of enrollment though now. But, it's all about repayment. Until he will become the hired, I won't be able to do that. You have got the needed money?
– Not yet. I want to go to Shalovsky to Tambov, for this purpose is necessary at least one or two months.
– Here also go at once after premiere. A case of what – I will find and add something … I hope, on the first course we will enroll Roman from this year.
Having received a consent to visit from Volodya Shalovsky, not hesitating a day after graduation party, he has gone to Tambov. He was seen off at the railroad station only by Lyosha who hardly in time stuck him replaceable clothes to a trip and parcel with food. Roman right after the performance has gone to the owners therefore they have said goodbye still at the house. There was no wish to leave awfully, and it was inexpressibly sad. At the same time, the appeared hope to arrange, at last, the friend to study inspired, in literal sense there was a wish to exempt bright and original talent from serf fetters.
Having hesitated for a time, nevertheless, he preferred to trip in double compartment without the servant to save on journey though, for the same money it would be possible to buy also two tickets in sitting carriage. It was thought that Shalovsky all the same will provide in Nosovo all the things needed, as well, as the last year, meanwhile Lyosha in the period of his absence could go to visit parents.
The retired officer of the guard Lithuanian regiment, Tuzhikov Nikolay Petrovich who has graduated from military service to term and going to relatives' manor was given by the fellow traveler. Despite of civil clothes and constraint of movements compelled in close compartment, in all shape of this person the martial bearing, and drillmaster's shibboleth was felt and appeared in all judgments which the retiree, using come freedom, by all means wanted to share with the neighbor. Nikolay Petrovich silently studied newspapers which there was the whole pack, rustled and shook by them before the flat, wide nose, indignantly shook by the head, short-haired as «hedgehog», constantly touched gray beard by brachydactylic hand. But, hasn't passed an hour of the way as this former military began to express his thoughts aloud.
– But, well you think, huh?! Again Turks beats the Orthodox Christians! Here it is: «Revolt in Bosnia». Read!
Tuzhikov put to him the newspaper. It was said in this note that the revolt of Christians against unreasonable taxes which have imposed them Turkish authorities was broken out in Herzegovina, and disorders has already come to the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, having found such scale that Turkish sultan entered active armed forces into Sarajevo for suppression; as if the Turkish regular army cuts all gentiles completely, without sparing either old men, or women, or children.
– But, there is nothing about Orthodox Christians. It is told here about population professing Christianity, – he objected, having read the note.
– For pity's sake, Pyotr Ilyich! There is every second the Orthodox Christian. Still accursed mussulman have not turned everybody into their belief, it is, it is for whom to stand by!
«There is a fighter! – he thought, looking at the former major, – And why had only resigned?»
– What's to be with Catholics? Who will stand by them?
– Catholics concern me a little. Let the Austrians stand up for them.
– But, if everybody will be argue as you, Nikolay Petrovich, it's not to avoid a new war?
– But it's correct! Europe has to be afraid of us how it shivered after Bonaparte's invasion, and the Russian troops valorously marched in the European cities, and in Paris.
– You forget the fifty sixth year when we again got involved to the conflict and hardly lost our Sevastopol …
– I agree. There was not absolutely successful campaign, errors of the military commanders and other. But, it doesn't belittle the advantage of Russian weapon at all! – Tuzhikov hotly objected and begun to explain in detail in what military and diplomatic miscalculations consisted and as it was necessary to work to avoid them.
«We are strong always the benefit of hindsight, and always spoiling for a fight, give only a reason! – he thought about properties of the compatriots' character, – And always it seems to us that only we look for justice, and nobody else! But here to say him that someone another can quite look for the truth, what-not except Russians, so he will consider me as a national turncoat, whether slightly the traitor».
– And nevertheless, Nikolay Petrovich, maybe, we shouldn't be got involved? But to provide people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to solve themselves their problems? Eventually, they don't ask about external intervention. We are at the own much troubles - poverty, Chernyshevsky, revolutionaries …
– But, they won't do without us there! Won't be able! – Tuzhikov excited, – They should help. Come out and say, such protection actually – the most noble reason for Russians to reach, at last, Bosphorus and capture Constantinople! Thereby to execute Catherine the Great's dream of the Russian domination in south Europe.
«What a strategist this major! Have forgotten himself, remembers the neighbor, take care not of himself – of the whole nation! The fatherland has to be proud of such sons! It's Interesting, how many earth tithes he will receive on the coast of Bosphorus to be engaged in agriculture or cattle breeding? Hardly. Similar fighters, they use rather as gun meat, but the Highness Prince Gorchakov* and other persons, confidants to imperial majesty will get all honor and all benefits …»
At the thought of title the Highness his thoughts have gone over to Roman again. As the young man shone at the premiere as the real hero of Taurida ! And, who would know from high-ranking persons who were presented at the hall, and just an audience that the role of monarchess' almighty favorite is performed by poor peasant, and even not any offspring of neither noble family, nor merchants state with which the structure of student's troupe was full. Ordinary lad from poors, but, how many noble grace, energy coupled with the most powerful, stunning voice, «serf» peasant and as surprisingly embodies his star role on the stage! It seemed Roman has got all applause, but not he self as the composer, and not Rubenstein as the conductor and actual director. Also the important ranks presented at performance whom Nikolay Grigoryevich cajoled personally in a hope that the complete performance will be pushed through easier to Mariinsky, or Big teatres had remained pleased.
However on followed after performance reception on the occasion of academic year termination, he wouldn’t shine before dignitaries of Majesties and Highnesses further allowed by etiquette. Sapozhenkovs' invited by him weren't visible, and he preferred to ofitsials the creative be-in. Napravnik, the conductor with whom it was well worked at statement of «Oprichnik» in St. Petersburg has met. Eduard Frantsevich with red rose pinned to a dress coat lapel and diamond in tie looked dandyish, smiled all the time, pleasantly, with accent, spoke, joked and was kind immensely. And, he had suddenly caught himself on the thought that would never refuse to retire privately with this Czech. Napravnik led him to the mixed company of capital musicians – therewere misters Minkus, Laroch and unknown hitherto persons from among opponents of mighty-group «l'establishment musical». Eduard Frantsevich presented him to the big man with high forehead and very broad moustaches: «Monser Petipa, vous avez
* A.M. Gorchakov (1798-1883), chancellor of Russian Empire, diplomat (auth.)
permettre notre h;ros d'aujourd'hui, le compositeur Peter Chaikovskii» *. To get acquainted with the famous ballet master, Marius Petipa, certainly, was very, very flatterly, but better not at the premiere of the unfinished politic opera. It was necessary if the administration is satisfied, to pretend that everything is all right, receive congratulations and indifferently make conversation. It was useful also to talk with Ludwig Fyodorovich Minkus teaching on the violin, scribbling uncountable ballets for the Imperial court because idea of creating something similar didn't dismiss.
With leaving of dignitaries public in halls of foyer has quickened, anecdotes, jokes, toasts were heard, and wine poured down into glasses with doubled frequency. Someone suggested to play in gage musical **. For refusal of execution of forfeit the funny penalty threatened – to go and publicly kiss the old girl. Minkus has got «to play on a grand piano cover», Ludwig Fyodorovich didn't become to drum on cover, but sent for the violin, scrambled on the instrument and masterly executed variations from Paganini. Napravnik drew caricature of himself, and, it turned out very funny as the conductor wasn't able to do it at all. And the old friend, critic Laroch preferred among gathered numerous audience to kiss one of old girls from graduates as «to whistle one of Balakirev's compositions» couldn't for ethical reasons. Generally, there was enough laughter.
He extended forfeit too, it has got to him «to start on squats». In the sober head it shouldn't, but alcohol helped incidentally – youthful hobbies for gymnastics were remembered, and as he on a bet made a hopak in Kamenka, at his sister's about two years ago. However except as arms akimbo and to walk around and few times on squats nothing was turned out at him, moreover, having perched a hand on the floor, he hardly flopped down. Here to the aid his favorite Roma shot out from the crowd of audience, and two together to the accompaniment of saloon piano, seemingly, they beat out as it is necessary, and audience clapped also with delight. The feeling of original, endless happiness, for many, many years vanishing somewhere in depths of his revolted consciousness has suddenly seized him those minutes, and splashed out, at last, beyond him. This happiness as a bird has flown over the hall, and he was ready to kiss not that the old girl from graduates, but in general all being present – to rush to the audience, to embrace and to kiss everyone in turn!
And at daybreak the strange disturbing dream appeared to him as if he dances with Roman somewhere on the same creative be-in. Tempo is crazy,
* Mister Petipa, allow you to present our today's hero, the composer Peter Tchaikovsky. (fr.)
** Musical forfeits (fr.)
quicker and quicker. And, it's already impossible to adapt to music, unknown force carries him somewhere aside from Roma, lovely to heart, smiling face and whole such fine, attractive figure of the young friend are moving away, disappearing directly in the eyes! Right there from crowd as the sentence reaches: «Unless you don't know, Peter Il'ich? We know, and you don't?! He had run to Krylatskoye on a hillock!», and all mischievously, loudly laugh. He awoke, hardly dawned, from passionate, gentle embraces of the favorite: «Don't abandon me! » As it is possible to refuse him?
In Tambov he was met by Volodya for whom it was necessary to wait long time as the train has come before the schedule placed in the waiting room not in a visible place as it is necessary, but somewhere in very, very far corner behind a door. Meanwhile, he noticed this important discrepancy only the last thing when nerves have been already excited to a limit because he has managed to turn over in the mind all possible and impossible reasons of Shalovsky-junior's absence at the station, or two-wheeled cart at least sent towards. Among station confusion and vanity everything was dreamed, from the road accident to the decision thus let him know about rupture of friendly relations. Having studied, at last, the schedule of trains arrival, he, nevertheless, calmed down and began to wait patiently, thinking with bitterness that he has allowed bad thoughts of the friend, and this in itself is quite vile, can sometime hallo to each other.
Vova appeared exactly in five minutes prior to time marked in the schedule, was hospitable and welcoming, but looked upset; seeming always young, his features bore the impress of some hidden experiences, dark circles denoted under eyes, thin hands with damp palms as in neurotic as if searched and didn't find a firm support.
In response to the concern shown about it the old friend only dejectedly sighed:
– So … Wearies. My mother took in her head to marry me.
– What about me? You know… on me these mademoiselles that on a visit to us slightly every week … as if to try a saddle on cow. But mother doesn't leave me, observes, almost all days lives in Nosovo. If you have arrived, maybe, she also will move away, it seems, with the guests … I was engaged in the estate here, have planned the house in a new way, built on a mansard, have put annexes in order. Now you will see …
He patted the friend shoulder sympathizing:
– No matter, Vova, we will live out. Let'em all come!
The new two-wheeled cart harnessed two sleek raven-black horses which Volodya operated himself quickly moved ahead on the paved road to Bondari passing undistinguished farms with roofs pulled down by straw, coppices having grown with tall weeds and infinite-infinite fields earing, which were accurately cultivated, or rumpled, pitted by heavy cattle. It was remembered him as about five years ago Volodya's maman, being in Moscow, also married off him too to one not set saloon chantress who was often visiting musicales. Marya Dmitriyevna, very presented woman, not having doted in good music and executing fine romances of many composers, probably, had one more hobby – procurement. What is interesting – he was moved then on arrangements of madam Shalovskaya and begun to look after the girl for the sake of appearance, that has reached his father and all relatives and that talks have gone everywhere. Even they become engaged. But, nothing left from this marriage, soon at their meetings he began intentionally pretended as the upstart, boring pedant, he pined, grumbled apropos and without cause, eventually, the chantress herself had run away from him.
In Bondari they came over a tavern to have supper and feed horses. Volodya was well known here therefore service was excellent, besides borsch and hare cutlets they were offered hot pies with fish, directly from oven.
– You have made what I asked you? – he meant the orchestration of the second act of «Smith Vakula», having decided not to begin about money at once, especially at the table, – Recently Rubenstein had shown the first and third acts at us during graduation party. And, there were les gros bonnets * from Management of Imperial theaters. He wants to set the performance to Mariinsky. So, Vovchik, you have a chance to enter into coauthors.
– O-au! I congratulate you, – Volodya indifferently uttered by his low voice not corresponding to youthful appearance, – Yes, I made. We will be able to play tomorrow if the grand piano was already tuned.
– And what’s with grand piano?
– No matter, everything is all right. Simply, in connection with repair, we moved it much, and I ordered tuning, – Volodya explained absently. Apparently, Shalovsky-junior didn't practise on the instrument long ago, and it
* Important persons (fr.)
afflicted, cast with grief that time when they together in creative searches literally didn't depart from piano, looked for any opportunity to play.
– Ñ'est bon*. I will inspire you by two-three new romances, – he surely promised, finishing drinking his coffee. Vova has only grinned.
When they arrived, it was absolutely late and darkly. The mansion in a necklace of infinite ponds stood among them as if the ship in unknown waters. Never-ending fogs crept in sleepy, mysterious creeks. Having slipped through couple of wood bridges and passed several support structures, having rushed headlong though Main Avenue they have soon appeared on the court. Past years everything here was not well-groomed, overgrown, right now has considerably changed that obviously struck the eye in the light of two gas lamps lighting repaired house, colored in blue tone, annexes, circular bed with flowers and part of paths going into the park. There was such sound silence that even snorting of tired horses was thought as anachronism.
– I will place you in annex Pete, all right? There is a piano, it will be convenient you to work, – Volodya said, handing over bridles to the servant who has emerged towards, – I live now on the mansard, and my mother below. My Kirill's son, Ilya, will help you …
He has settled really fine! Two guest rooms didn't differ in sizes and special luxury, but there was really the all necessary for full work and rest, including separate bathroom and toilet. He was invited to lunch for table d'hote, to the house. Volodya's maman, Marya Dmitriyevna, the hostess of the near-by manor Milovo, was inexpressibly glad to his emergence as the guest, in any case, externally it was very noticeable. «Vous ; nous comme soleil pr;sent, Peter Il'ich! Vous etes venez, et toutes les fleurs - et des fleurs et des demoiselle**, – she spoke absolutely sincerely smiling and presenting him the guests, mademoiselle Lizzie Shaposhnikova and mademoiselle Katharine Krasnova, daughters of neighbour's landowners. Both, naturally, couldn't wait to get married, and they very much tried to be pleasant, in eager rivalry offered their abilities, incessantly reddened, confused and pouted against each other. It was boring with maidens and their deliberate diligence by all means to please therefore, seeking the compelled communication with them to a minimum,
* Nice. (fr.)
** You at us as the clear sun, Pyotr Il’ich! You come – and everything blossoms, both flowers and young ladies. (fr.)
he usually vanished on walks since morning before the lunch, and then had sat at himself and worked. Then again he left to breathe till dinner.
Daily, having taken the notebook and pencil, he measured about ten versts, wandered among uncountable ponds and rivulets for which local places were famous, and as usual wrote down everything that came to the mind. The haymaking began, it was much people in fields, generally men and kids, by noon appeared women with food bags. They sang different songs, including unknown to him hitherto « I will seed an orach ashore …», « Oh leveret, oh grey …», « Not the evening, not the evening …», « Pretty you mine ». The large impression was made on him by the song «Black raven» heard repeatedly which, having a rest under haystack, one peasant had grow on a dense baritone once, having caught sight of predatory falcons soaring in the sky in search of a bag:
Black raven why do you curl over my head?
You won't achieve the bag. Black raven, I am not yours.
And to him Si-minor and that unforgettable show of swan rise arranged by Roman in Krylatskoye was remembered meanwhile. «Are very similar, – it was thought, looking at the soaring birds, – But the purposes at them different. Falcon soars up to rush down on the bag, and swan – to rise the whole flight to the sky! »
In the evenings Marya Dmitriyevna as usual suited musical gatherings, have sang herself the favorite romances including own. «The boys» - first of all Volodya and the eldest son Kostya visiting on Sundays who also had nearby a manor accompanied her, as a rule. Occasionally the staying young ladies accompanied too, but badly. Maria Dmitriyevna possessed a beautiful soprano, but not very strong therefore all her performances seemed homely, intimate and warm, so, undoubtedly, were charming.
– Play for us too, something new, Påter Il'ich, – Maria Dmitriyevna asked in one of these evenings.
Having sat down at the grand piano he played then «Aveu passione *» – etude which has been called conditionally in honor of Roma that none of strangers haven't guessed to whom this music and for what – let each person, listening, dreams about himself and rejoices. And after, when guests have gone to the garden to blow the cobwebs, mademoiselle Katharine's approached him – full in English, in checkered, smelling sweet aromas of overseas perfumes, – and said him:
– What a charming piece, Peter Il'ich! As it seems that you want to admit in something, and you really admit, only in what – isn't clear.
«I'll be, the music really has so touched her!? Or, it is only clumsy nevertheless polite compliment? »
– Why do you know, Katya? Perhaps I am make an avowal of sentiments to you? – he joked.
– Oh! You don't say, Peter Il'ich … you will say still, you will caw, – m-lle Krasnova, flamed up, having become proud ridiculously, – I am betrothed, don't say that! …
– Can it be true, Katya, the recognition in feelings is possible only to the people who aren't connected by any obligations? And with whom you are betrothed if not a secret?
– With Volodya … Vladimir Savelich Shalovsky.
«Why so? Why Volodya told me nothing? I am not the friend to him anymore? In what, in what I was guilty before Vova that he hides from me so important events in his life? He deceived intentionally? Or it is simple negligence, an inattention to my person? – Sure. Of course. From what Shalovsky-junior was to have to share with me? This affair young for them, indeed, affaire passionn;e **, It's me, the old masher, is necessary long ago to hand over, write off to junk as superfluous …»
Having mastered himself, nevertheless, he congratulated mademoiselle on engagement, however, completely upset with unexpected news, has gone to himself and wasn't shown his face to guests any more.
The next morning he hasn't gone to a table d'hote too and asked to bring his breakfast to the room and engaged in orchestration of the piano concert, planning, on the morrow of work, right there, directly from Bondari, to send the final version to von Byuloff. The work was quickly enough, exactly by the end of the second week of being in Nosovo the orchestration was almost finished.
But, in the afternoon he, nevertheless, decided to find Volodya, have it out with friend and relieve himself of the pressing jealousy. Shalovsky-junior with enthusiasm instructed on hay preparations to his managing director by the barn. It was necessary to pass by and to prevent.
* Recognition of passion (it.)
** Passionate affair (fr.)
– Il faut chambrer*.
– Atteindre en moyenne l';tang. Je serai bient;t**, – Volodya noticed, having hardly distracted from the business.
And, he has gone on a forest footpath to the specified direction. There was familiar place, on a bank slope between two old willows having clung to water. From here, hidden by the woody hill, the mansion seemed far, planked footways, handrails and other signs of civilization were missing therefore the middle pond looked not as at farmstead, but perfectly wild. At the same time, the waterbody along with others was annually cleaned, and water has always remained transparent. About two years ago with Vova they had put a tent here in branches, fishing, and used this shelter for private encounters and direct talks. It was more pleasant to see this place now. However a lot of had changed, the tent collapsed, campfire grew with moss, water receded, having opened dried up canes entangled by ooze. It was presented himself as the time ruthlessly erases from memory all the best that connects him with Volodya – both personal attachment and joint creativity, also outlooks on life …
– Why you ? Why you?! – he exclaimed, having hardly caught sight of the old friend, – Why you told me nothing? As it is possible, Vovik? We are friends, or not? Friends don't do that! It is dishonest!
– About what you, Pete? I don't understand, – Shalovsky-junior was irresponsive as Egyptian sphinx.
– How it's about what?! You are absolutely stupid, or pretends to be? – «My God what I crap along?» – Why, why I find out about your engagement not from you, my close friend, creative nature and very capable person, – no! But, from some absolutely unfamiliar, strange young lady with bad taste and scanty intelligence whom I don't know and I don't want to know!? You consider it is normal, Vova? I am the third week here, in Nosovo, and haven't heard from you either a sound, or a half-sound that you yourself promised to play me – the introduction to the second act of my opera! Tell me for what, for what faults I am doomed to listen lectures about housekeeping from third-party schoolmisses?! Fack off, Vovik I don’t need it! Relieve!
* Need to talk (fr.)
** Go to the middle pond. I will be soon. (fr,)
– A-ah … you are about this … – Volodya said in reply melancholically, – Well, I should get out somehow, so I also made her the proposal. It will be visible then. And now, at least, Lisa will leave me off. It is easier to cope with one, than with two, is that true? Though, I see, Katharine took fancy to you. Why, she is appeasable …
– What do you mean «why»? What do you mean?! Because you told me nothing! You have only told me that you afflict with infinite bride-shows, but you have told me nothing about your engagement!
– Pete, you don't hear me, jealous in vain and say nonsense. Simply I did not have time. I even haven't time to tell my mother. It happened very quickly, somehow spontaneously. Tomorrow evening just we are going to declare it. However, the bride has let out this secret …
«Oh, probably, I am unfair to him! Indeed myself, – bow to Marya Dmitriyevna – has found myself in a state, and managed to use that case just for show of the cancelled marriage. It was easier for me because I am older and more skilled, and now it is difficult for Vova. Very difficult. Meanwhile, he keeps, still as adequately keeps!»
– Well, Vova, don't take offense at me. It's visible, I am going into hysterics in vain, – he said conciliatory, attracting the friend to himself by the neck, – You really decided to marry? You will be suffice to it?
– I don't know, we will look … – Volodya said uncertainly having dodged, – It's very difficult to conduct economy alone. There is not special trust to managing directors and salesmen, and nobody to consult.
– Oh, sure. Yeth! Katharine will become the good adviser to you, I don't doubt. Just right with her inelaborate intelligence. It will be necessary to you to execute so-called «conjugal duty», mon cher, as thereto?
– What do you want of me, Pete? The mother extended all nerves from me and you still! For what reason you stick to me? You want to expose me a freak before everybody?! – Shalovsky-junior worked up, in turn, – you all fuck out me, really! I am not capable of anything, already I don't want nothing! I want nothing - do you hear? Except one: that all of you will leave me alone! And how we will get in with the bride, I refuse to discuss in general! You understand? Got that?! You are yourself, Pete, seems, never was stupid, or I am mistaken? Though you leave me alone!!
Volodya's face was unnaturally distorted, usually friendly and quiet, young lines of it have got a painful, slighting shade, the look of light eyes expressed cold, boundless hatred. «Yes, Volodya is right: I am blockhead and cynic what else it is necessary to look for … How the earth carries similar egoists, as I am? Why I had bitten? Instead of to support, calm and inspire, I was jealous and brought the friend to a hysterics, I made the villain of good-natured Vova! It's a shame! As it is a shame!»
And, having sought to extinguish the pain inflaming in soul, he directed his steps to water: directly, in what he was dressed – in boots, trousers, shirt and jacket, and even without having taken off summer hat. Right there up to the waist he has got stuck in canes, in slippery dense ooze.
Shalovsky-junior rushed to rescue:
– You has gone crazy? Where you go?! Come round, stop, Pete! I am responsible for you! You haven't thought of yourself, so think of me, of Kostya, of my mother, eventually! – Vova was able to seize him by shoulder.
– Leave me, Volodya, leave me. How many peasants at you? All of us are serfs if not our acts, then our souls – precisely. All of us are slaves of our traditions …
After a while, dirty and immensely tired of bathing in a bog, having hanged out wet clothes on the nearest branches, they already sat side by side on the large trunk of the willow. It seemed it was the only truth stronghold in this district.
– I need money, Vova. To support young talent.
– How much?
– One thousand eight hundred rubles till next summer. I will return, don't doubt, at the expense of the tour fees.
– Of course, Pete, I will support you, but after the harvest time. We will sell grain, and surely I will send you need money. Only be not nervous so more, please, this could turn very ugly. And overture to the second act – I will play to you as we’ll return now. You'll estimate.
In the first of August he returned to Moscow. Capital vanity didn't suppress him on the contrary he was mainly in raised mood because what he had planned for himself turned out quite successfully. He wrote Byuloff from Bondari and sent him final version of the piano concert, having hoped that he will come to pianist for rehearsals. It was succeeded to finish, at last, the third symphony, and it was already not an intermediate, but final version which needed only to be orchestrated; maybe only by means of instrumentation, slightly to strengthen solemn and national subjects in it. Besides, his composer notebook was replenished with several romances on Tyutchev's, Fet's and Lyosha Apukhtin's verses, and he even composed one romance on own verses. Maria Dmitriyevna, with peculiar reserved expression, has quite done in the execution what he wanted to the accompaniment of Volodya and Kostya. But, the most important, now he will be able really to support Roman, to make from young slave the venerable performer, for Shalovsky-junior promised him money!
After arrival he has gone to the Rubenstein's apartment to tell him this news.
– Well, it is nice! – Nicolas responded, sorting notes on the table, – I didn't doubt that you will find for him the misanthrope, in order to you do not doubt of the intentions of our administration – look here! – the director has got a document from the desk box and stretched to him. It was the order of «Enrollment Akinfeev Roman Sergeyevich, 1854 Year of Birth, Russian, Civilian and so on … at the First Course of the Moscow Conservatory since October the First, 1875».
He started kissing to the chief:
– Here you gladdened me, Nick! Thanks!
– Don't promise to give up. When he will become really civilian, we will give effect to this order, and then you will thanks. On Friday we'll leave to Paris, tickets you can receive in the office.
– Why? Departure has been planned for the twentieth … – he couldn't hide regret in voice as has counted on couple of free weeks to have an opportunity see Roman and work at home.
– And so because, – Nicolas put the document back into his table, – it was presented an opportunity to put on a concerts in Th;;tre du Ch;telet since August twentieth. By the way, whether you want to conduct «Storm» and «Romeo...» there?
To act in the largest concert hall of French capital, sure, was flatteringly, but he never before went on tour as the conductor therefore the director's proposal quite puzzled him.
– And I will be able? It will be convenient?
– I think will be convenient, – Rubenstein sounded surely, – We execute Beethoven the third and fifth, and Schubert the eighth, and I will transfer conductor's stand to you in the second act. But you, of course, will rehearse previously. What do you think of my plan?
– All right … let's try, – he agreed forcedly, having thought that better not to eat bread in vain and not to anger the administration by own objections.
Next day he gone to walk to the Novinsky mooring in hope to meet there Roman. It seemed, eternity passed since they were seen last time. He has approached, and light yacht «Bravo!» has already stood at the hithe, and the lad in his white «sailorly» suit, having shifted his hat tied by scarlet tape on a back, dexterously, as always, twisted ropes on mooring – «Here a good luck! At last!»
They passionately embraced, even without having paid attention to the inquisitive citizens gathering to walk on the yacht on the occasion of good weather.
– Ladies and gentlemen! I have a lunch break, – Roman declared, – Unexpectedly, I've met the friend here. We will sail in two hours!
– Really, let's go to have a lunch, – he offered the favourite, having hardly coped with nervousness caused by long-awaited meeting.
In one of «private» rooms of the coastal tavern where the lunch for two has been ordered, at last, he has snatched on Roman with desired kisses and embraces from which the delightful languor has boiled in all body. And, they have merged together as if sounds of two violins in a string quartet, so fine, so selflessly that both at once have tested the mad, stunning orgasm. «Really, really nothing ever will be born with this heavenly feeling? Can't, can't be it!»
After that they ate with appetite baked fish on a plate, washing down with light beer. Fresh breeze appeared in the window leaf, solar patches of light played on the wall. Roma chewed and smiled, being glad and happy. It was nice, more than ever before, «Ave Maria» of Schubert sounded in the head, there wasn't enough only grand piano.
– I am at steering wheel the last day, – Roman reported, looking at him frowningly.
– Why so?
– I've asked to the village, on harvest season. To fulfill all the same.
– Decided to run away from the hostess' intrigues?
– Yeh, also and it's too, of course.
He didn't become as the last time to find out in what, actually, Anna Petrovna's plots consisted accidentally not to wound the friend, however guessing, that personal pride of Roman had suffered again.
– None of that, Roma, suffer a little. I will set free you from there soon. We will enlist you to the conservatory and you will study at us.
– And when? – a hope flashed in blue eyes of the lad.
– Probably, since this year. And you will live at me. Will you go to me for seven rubles a month salary?
– Rather! I will go, of course. You know that – I can all along the house, and will learn in cooking, and so on …
– So, so! The main thing – you should study, – as it was delightful to speak these words, even it wasn’t trusted! Meanwhile, it should report the lad also about the departure too, – I leave again on Saturday.
– So, again we leave … And you what for? – the disappointment has sounded in Roma's voice.
– To Paris, on the tour.
– And when back?
– At the end of September, just by the beginning of academic year, – he embraced the lad and begun to kiss, immensely enjoying some dense dairy smell of his strong body, – Listen, sing me something at parting, huh?
– What to sing you?
– What do you have sang the last time, so sing now.
Roman gathered a full breast and burst:
Ah, you are my honey, my tender,
We will go with you, we will run riot
We will go with you, we will run riot
Along the bank of Volga-mother!
Eh, let people set their eyes on us:
So what there, what a kind of couple!
Not the son with father, not the brother with father –
Good lads, e-eh, with big tails are kind!
– Be more silent! Indeed they will hear! – he interrupted the friend, laughing, on the last couplet.
– And let be hear. As we let loose so yesterday with Seryoga …
As it is burdensome to separate again, but it was necessary to go. Having informed von Byuloff number of his Parisian mail, he expected after all to receive the official invitation from the pianist before hit the road to Boston on rehearsals of the piano concert. However the trip could take place in case if Shalovsky-junior will fill up his bank account with money which by his calculations had to be enough for everything including on Roman's arrangement. And so, just there was one more fine opportunity to submit the French public own compositions, maybe, the third symphony too. «Perhaps it will be pleasant!» – it was thought to him.
Rubenstein invited in tour also Peter Uergenson who was going to open the fair of his printing house musical editions during tours of the Russian musical society's orchestra in Paris. It was supposed that Urgenson will promote the management of Russian orchestral players group as skilled administrator. Together with Peter they have got one two-room number with combined hall in old hotel, in a quarter hour of driving from the city center, other musicians accommodated in same, or even cheaper apartments. Lyosha, as well as all servants, settled down absolutely inconveniently on the first floor, in one combined number fenced off in part of large corridor and similar a doss house. It was necessary to take the guy with himself upward to the drawing room for service also Yurgenson and Rubenstein who was located in the next apartments.
The neighborhood with Urgenson didn't stress at all because Peter was the sweetest person. The native of Russian Estonians, from absolutely simple, poor family of Revel's fishermen, for some ten years living in Moscow Peter Ivanovich was able to raise the Russian musical publishing on hitherto unprecedented level. In Urgenson's shops it was always possible to find and buy notes not only respectable classics, but also the latest musical novelties. By efforts of the conservatory director they were amicable long ago, and Peter treated him with big respect, without any notes and reservations accepted all his compositions to the edition.
The schedule was condensed to a limit, it was necessary to give thirteen concerts in the hall of French musical society and three – in Ch;telet theater. It was remained very little time to rehearse, practically only one day before each performance. Daily after breakfast he went to the concert hall, preferring to spend though hour of time, but to walk on foot, than to trust a horse draft. He left a bit earlier, went down from heights of Montmartre at which top have only just founded the new temple, and got in the world of street art where each actor, as it seemed to him, was fine, natural and unique. Here, on streets and boulevards literally at every step, on any in the slightest degree noticeable platform of both sexes and any age dancers, mimes, magicians, trainers, artists and singers performed various, and it was possible to see resolutely everything – from French chansonniers and performers of Spanish, Gipsy dances to the Chinese gymnasts and Indian snake charmers. There was a wish to support each street actor, and would follow if oppressive need to save on everything.
He often enjoyed watch French, having saved their cheerful temper and easy, equal relation to life in his soul. If there were several free minutes, he just sat down on a bench to smoke and to look around, sometimes wrote down the occurring musical embryos to his invariable notebook. Once he became witness as law enforcement officers for the unknown reason made one cantatrice to leave a stone ledge serving her the podium. She executed one of Mozart's arias by uneven, but strong soprano and very penetrating. The woman was pleasant, young, and, has to be, absolutely inexperienced in a street concertize. The old sac near her foots wasn't full of coins as at others, and people were not strong inspired, nevertheless, she sang with great pleasure and uplift. But at that time two police officers picked up cantatrice under hands, removed from pedestal and along with requisite had sent her to walk on the boulevard « Now she will burst into tears and fall into a hysterics» – he thought with sympathy and followed her. Not at all! The girl vigorous step has passed some distance, sat down on pig-iron bench, opened her bag, got out from it a pocket mirror and begun smarten up: picked up hair, corrected a hat with plume, powdered cheeks, led eyes and lips. And she having taken minute rest with the hands crossed on lap on this rusty boulevard bench serving her now the whole scenic world, without a moment's hesitation started singing Mozart's aria with doubled expression again!
Suddenly with unusual clarity he realized, why, probably, his love to Paris and Parisians will never stop – grace, ability not only to overcome adversities, but to turn them into a certain special individual style in which there is no hint also on sensitivities, compassionateness and slave humility peculiar usually to Russian. «Difficult is to French with the desire for individual freedom at monarchs. Not coincidentally, thank for national character, they sent away from the country their sovereign with ease, having restored the Republic!» – he thought, giving coins to cantatrice, the performer of classical arias.
– Je vous souhaite des succ;s cr;atifs!*
She smiled friendly, without affectedness:
– Mercis beaucoup, Monsieur! – and already to him after, – Vous ;tes ; moi le premier admirateur, monsieur. Mercis!**
In Ch;telet theater where they were given an opportunity to play three concerts, all troupe was welcomed by chairman of the French musical society, the composer monsieur Charles-Camille Saint-Saens. It was the tall man with massive features, big nose and expressive dark bulging eyes, put to him hurriedly large fat brachydactylic palm.
– … tr;s heureux***, – the Frenchman murmured at handshake. It was necessary only to be surprised how mister Saint-Saens such the hands copes with keys, so that in the first act, when opening «the Russian season», author's execution of piano concert was announced as a greeting.
However all doubts have vanished as soon as Saint-Saens sat down at the grand piano and with absolutely straight face began to key in on keyboard as if selecting melody, meanwhile as all sound palette conceived in G-minor in a moment crashed out from the instrument and filled the grandiose sparkling hall of «Ch;telet Theatre» with bewitching peals. And in this music, from sure, solemn chords to carefree, almost thoughtless dances and the brightest tarantella in the final, it was thought to him tireless, graceful, cheerful French character about which he reflected recently, watching the street actress.
There was no limit to delights of public. Rubenstein decided to begin the forthcoming concert in Ch;telet also by all means with the Russian music as «it's inconvenient – as he was expressed – to pass by the French courtesy and not to thank adequately».
– Let us postpone Beethoven so far. We will play your first symphony, Pete – namely Russian. It seems to me, just right, in tone and to the purpose, – Nicolas declared at breakfast.
* I wish you creative successes! (fr.)
** Many thanks, monsieur! – You at me the first admirer. Thanks! (fr.)
*** … very glad (fr.)
– Tu es assur; de cela ? A` vrai dire, moi est mieux sonner apr;s Beethoven et Schoubert... Ce me sera g;nant*.
Nicolas was twisted, as from a sour lemon:
– I always had problems with French, Pete. Since the childhood I confuse words «avant» and «apr;s» **. And in general, without coquetry, please. I say: will be just right. In the first act we'll execute your symphony, then you will conduct «Romeo», and in the second we'll make Beethoven and Schubert.
– Really, Pete, modesty not needed in that case, –judicious Uurgenson supported the boss, – Look at Saint-Saens, young and promising too. Even though he is clumsy but as keeps!
– Ha-ha! What is he young? He is chairman of the French musical society, so and keeps accordingly.
– Do not indulge an embarrassment and awkwardness, Pete. It's inappropriate surely. Not that, you will be embarrassed in point of fact. Here is Nikolay Grigoryich, chairman of the Russian musical society, sitting opposite you. So, tell Alexey to laid you table in the room. Whether you shouldn't follow subordination, to eat at other table and from other plate, is that true?
«It is true. Despite disgustingly mentor tone both of them - it is true. The same slave humility of which by music I would dream to relieve all Russians sits also in me. What disturbs me? – Nothing! I must be grateful to destiny for this gift».
– Well, friends, – he sighed, – You have convinced me. We will play at first my first symphony, then I'll conduct «Romeo», and then already will be Beethoven.
Repertoire was sign yet, and they rehearsed quite successfully. The orchestra coped by Rubenstein, it felt like, didn't need to be operated – they perfectly understood conceived without any waves of the conductor's baton. Flutists were worthy special admiration, so easily and sensually holding the
* Are you sure in it? Really, is better for me to sound after Beethoven and Schubert … It will be awkward to me. (fr.)
** before and after (fr.)
necessary tempo that it seemed as if sounds soared over the hall, raising all real to the sky. And to him meanwhile the weightless willow reed by means of which he beckoned maiden wreaths on water was remembered; nobody has listened then, nobody has called, has found him ashore – only Roma …
The premiere also has gone over with success, the French public apprehended music with big warmth, however, without ovation. Mister Saint-Saens didn't endow with fleeting attention any more, and delightfully shook hands, and, apparently, was ready to embrace and to kiss the Russian way, but restrained. Saint-Saens has led into musical salons which in Paris thick as blackberries, and they were welcome everywhere exclusively hearty. It was necessary to play everywhere the poor author's repertoire slightly enlarged by several new pieces, meanwhile Rubenstein jolted by skill of playing a piano. Soiree in Polina Viardo's salon was remembered. Despite the coming old age, in her crimson dress she was brilliant and smart as the rose of Versailles, and has stunned each and all with Aida monologue from opera of the same name. Madame Viardo presented them son ami *, Russian writer Turgenev famous for «Notes of the hunter». But as he liked neither to read Turgenev, nor to go shooting, the conversation turned out about nothing. In general, since the destiny had threw together him with Roman, bad feelings to all rich compatriots burning the whole states abroad which among musical establishment there was a set in Paris wandered in his soul. Madam Sapozhenkova, and that bargaining that she has started concerning Roma was thought. «When, at last, I'll be so rich not to beg on the world most and for the dear friend?!» – he was distressed about himself.
There was many talks in salons about recent premature demise of French composer Georges Bizet from the heart attack happened at the beginning of summer. Everywhere, with sanctimonious dislike, or with careful sympathy there was spoke of the last opera of the late Bizet composed on a plot of one of Prosper Merimee's short stories and called the same – «Carmen». It was turned out that performance till this day does not remove from repertoire, is still on in «Opera-Komik» theater. Intrigued with secular gossips, once he has found time to make own impression about this direction, put on dandyish top hat, muffler, gloves, took the cab and has gone to the performance on Morivo street.
The hall of old theater was full, music – passionate and temperamental, artists has sang remarkably, but most of all he was impressed by the plot from
* Her friend (fr.)
life of the simple people generated so heated arguments in musical salons. Wild, unrestrained customs of opera characters didn't cause in him rejection, as in many persons with whom it happened to talk in musical salons. Listening «Carmen», here, in the box of the upper circle sheathed by crimson velvet, surrounded by simple citizens, not a secular society, most of all he was stunned and discouraged by the subject of fate, having presented inevitably at destiny of the opera heroine. The tragic element of this plot as if hanged over the audience. Empathizing Carmen, he has thought again of own destiny were Roman Akinfeev had an enduring role now, the young Kaluga peasant who has received long-awaited hope that professor of the Moscow conservatory, at last, will pull out him from the serf terror will provide a shelter and allowance and give due education! «How is Roma? How he breathes? What is prepared by destiny for both of them? Recognition and honor, or death and oblivion?». The third week of the Parisian tours was used up yet, but money transfer from Shalovsky still didn't arrive.
There was a wish to breathe fresh air in interval, at the same time to listen what the audience speaks about performance. He left theater, took a cigarette case and hardly light up as suddenly was called from the back:
– Sorry, sir, whether you are Tchaikovsky Peter Il'ich, the composer?
He turned back and instantly was drowned in dazzling-blue eyes look of average years woman dressed in unshowy coloring woolen gown. The black lacy scarf framed her shoulders.
– I am Blavazkaya Elena Petrovna, – she gave him easy, cool hand, having flashed a mysterious jewel on the forefinger.
Woman Slavic appearance with deep voice was similar to a fortuneteller, and the fact that she has addressed to him in native language, indicated at her remarkable intuition, as it isn't so simple in crowd of French on the square in front of theater to find compatriot.
– Very pleasingly, madam! - he responded, - I heard of you somewhere …
– Has to be, you have read in newspapers. They often write about me any tales much, especially in relation of spiritualistic sessions which I have run in St. Petersburg and which have become fashionable now, – Blavazkaya looked at him with some regret that something like he reads in newspapers tales, but doesn't know the main thing about her.
– Yes, yes … – he let fall a word, not in forces to take away eyes from her, – Do you like the performance of which they say much in Paris?
– Carmen? Oh, sir, I don't undertake to judge, but generally impresses. However I haven't quite caught this music. I like yours more – unlike the present, I have caught it at once, having visited recently the concert in musical society. You conducted «Storm» then, and the overture was pleasant to me very much. The theme of sea accident is extremely close to me, probably because I've got to ship-wreck not so long ago, but most of all from that...
They have approached the released bench.
– It doesn't disturb you that I am smoking, Elena Petrovna? – he asked, having called the new acquaintance by name to relieve her of need to address him «sir».
– No, no! Smoke, please, Peter Il’ich who will forbid you. I've smoked before too, but had thrown in time.
– Then we will sit down? So why the «Storm» was pleasant to you?
– You see there is something in your music that distinguishes it from all other. It doesn't have equal, it all in flight as the beautiful white bird, and is much closer to Beam of Creation, or to the Lord God, if you will. It as note «SI» hardly concerns note «C» the second octave, and you in your compositions hardly concern bewitching music of the Universe, still inaccessible to human consciousness. Perhaps, only Mozart has succeeded in it.
– Oh, only don't compare me to Mozart! It isn't true – all the same that to compare Mont Blanc to a pebble.
– Why, Peter Il'ich? You compose fine music too as Mozart composed, and to the listener is what to choose from, one likes Mont Blanc, and the other - pebble, – Blavazkaya declared immovably.
He was captured by attack of almost hysterical laughter. Blavazkaya suddenly expressed in two simple words what he often painfully reflected – on the destiny his own creativity and own compositions what role they can play in world view not only his admirers, but also in general all listeners whether his music is worthy recognitions? Or it deserves the sharp words of criticism from misters Stasov, Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov? And here the goodness knows where from undertaken madam Blavazkaya, having praised, and at the same time, without having estimated his compositions in any way, but having put them just in a row with Mozart's creations, had explained everything in a single stroke!
– But, let me see, Elena Petrovna, Amadeus composed last century. It is other music; it can't be compared to the present! – he objected, having coped with laughter.
– You see Peter Il'ich, you aren't right at all in this case. Human destinies move in Eternity, adjoining, intertwining and facing among them. Mozart isn't guilty that he was born last century, also as well as you aren't guilty that were born in the present. However, what for people the whole century and change of four generations, for the Creator – tiny instant which in essence doesn't have neither the end, nor the begun, – Blavazkaya objected with such released look as if the Eternity spoke in her now, – Therefore this comparison is quite appropriate here. Moreover, I am sure that within your powers to compose the music more perfect, than that I've heard, besides, and on themes of loved by you Mozart too. And by all means you will make it, I don't doubt because your spiritual self, moving in the Universe, like a balance-wheel, from your birth to your death, consists namely in it.
And again, as happened repeatedly, it seemed to him that he «already have passed it» that once, in absolutely other life someone spoke him about his role in laws of the Universe too, about their harmony with inward world – the spiritual self; that to resist own movement in Eternity is absolutely useless, and it is necessary to carry out what is given, to work selflessly for nobility and compassion, relying on own opportunities and own wisdom, giving all the best in soul to relatives, friends, the audience, – to everybody with whom only you will adjoin by the music.
– You have, likely, many pupils? – Blavazkaya asked.
– Yes, I am teaching in the Moscow conservatory.
– One of them will have to play a crucial role in your creativity.
«Roman!? No, it is impossible – from where, how she can know about him?» – it was flashed in his head.
– By all means, at your present life, you will reach perfection in the creativity and recognition of public, you will be noticed and surely helped, – Blavazkaya continued meanwhile, rising from the bench, – However you should experience also a difficult period in life, which having endured, you won't begin to doubt your achievements any more, and you will act with redoubled zeal. All the best, Peter Il'ich. It was very pleasant to me to get acquainted with you personally and to do obeisance also personally.
– But, let me, let me, Elena Petrovna, – his heart began to beat faster, – Where from, where from you have taken all of it? Sorry, but from what you are so informed on me that you approve all this so firmly?
– Where from? – Blavazkaya was surprised, offering him hand at parting, – From your music, of course. Because it is weaved from the thousand responses of your heart. I wish you to be well!
She disappeared among populous area as well suddenly, as well has emerged, leaving him to watch «Carmen» till the end.
Absolutely excited, confused by the incident, next day he told of this strange conversation to Urgenson when, having met after rehearsal, they decided to walk together on musical and book shops. Certainly, having excluded from the story a maxim about one of pupils. Dense fog shrouded Paris, a stone's throw away already nothing was visible, and such grey cool weather stood in the city since the morning. In this dairy veil as in cotton wool, all sounds became deaf, more distinct and dry, than in usual life, and city objects – cobble-stones of pavements, lattices of embankments, lamps of streets, benches of boulevards and other resembled a qualitative theatrical requisite.
– I know a little about madam Blavazkaya, – Peter responded, walking somewhere alongside of him, – My wife wanted to invite her to the name-day, but I was against. In general, I do not quite believe in it.
– What you can hardly believe in? In fact that within my powers to compose perfect music?
– Oh, no, Pete! I've meant absolutely another. I've meant spiritualistic sessions. And your music, of course, is pleasant to me.
– You know, Peter, I don't believe in spiritism too. But, when musical embryos come to the mind, sometimes it seems to me that it is spirits, and they go down on me from the sky. I don't know how to explain it … but they, really, arise from nowhere, sometimes from surrounding sounds, from visions and memoirs, but undertake just from the sky more often. At times it seems to me that once somewhere I already heard them. And, when they are absent for a long time, and nothing comes to my mind, the melancholy, sharp, pressing melancholy appears and the fear of loss.
– But you don't give in to fears, and in general don't think of it, don't try to explain everything. If you think that you by all means will lose something, then you will surely lose. And you don't think – so easier. Then you won't lose not for anything, – Peter responded, taking him arm-in-arm.
«Peter is good, kind, judicious. Perhaps, tell him about Roman? About the feelings to this lad? What for? What's from it to my feelings? They will not become better. And, maybe?... that love multiply a creative powers in tens, hundreds times?... If I'll tell – I will be uncomely and ugly as an open nerve in a dissecting room. No, not now – he won't understand...»
– Well, and you? How much you have sold for time of tour, Peter?
– Your opuses disperse quicker, apparently. In booths of musical society notes with your compositions slightly didn't remain. Especially the piano plays from two albums. Now we will look on Byusheri Street, here is the bookshop with name «Shakespeare and Company». Let's come?
While Peter communicated with the administrator and salesmen, he passed to the hall to look at book shelves, before in Russian, then – others. Dante's small volume has caught his sight. He thought that from the Middle Ages literature everybody knows Shakespeare, but Dante, the Italian poet of the thirteenth century, is known a little, or absolutely unknown, and it is good to set to music something from Dante, the great moralist and artist, for edification to all current confessors-hypocrites. «I will open and read the first available verse on the first available page. If something interesting, will touch – it is necessary to work». He opened and read:
The Love ordering lovers to love,
Attracted me to him so commandingly,
That this captivity you see inviolable.*
«Truly, I see what I want to see!» It was the confession of one unfortunate rich lady Francesca, who was, apparently, married to the freak, about her love to the handsome Paolo. Both of them haven't read up the voluptuous book, and overtaken unawares, have been poniard by the ugly spouse of signora Francesca from jealousy. «Yes, it is captivity. But, the duress voluntarily, thereby it is fine. I am too in captivity at Roman, but I am not at all grieved by this circumstance; on the contrary, this captivity gives me energy for creation. I am in captivity of sin, but this sin moves me to compose my music. I am ready to pass all nine circles of Dante's hell that only my life will give me the chance to compose. And, if I am sinner, then hell is beautiful for me as heaven for holy man? In that case as to myself, for example, as to someone else, there are no differences between heaven and hell as both induce us to good success? And as for Francesca's lawful husband – here is the true sinner because he committed double murder, having ruined two loving souls. Perhaps Blavazkaya is right that it's all about the harmony of spirit, but not in division of all into holy men and sinners about which oracles of the present world repeat in all sharps and flats?»
He passed into the hall of literature in English, seeking to find something fresh there, and had found on the shelf the small brochure «Complete Poetry and Collected Prose. Walt Whitman 1855.»
*Dante «The divine comedy», Song V, translation by M. L. Lozinsky (auth.)
He opened it also, at random, and read exactly what was recently prophesied to him by Mrs. Blavazkaya:
«From the thousand responses of my heart, never to cease,
From the myriad thence-arous’d words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any…»
«Do not believe after that in mysticism! Which is how not she has spoken out of my music weaved from thousands of responses of my heart? – she is right, perhaps, in it, and that isn't present more delightful sounds in this world, than in my music. Really it is so?...»
– What do you think, Peter whether can the blackly be beautiful?
– I think by definition that is not.
– But, everybody admire my overture «Romeo and Juliet» according to Shakespeare's play, but I represent there blackly with beautiful music which many is pleasant. It doesn't mean that I indulge the evil, is it truth?
– You indulge the evil? You tell nonsenses! Calm down, Pete, your music there though beautiful, but very terrible. However you represent not only the blackly, but also the good there with your beautiful music, just so? Let's go better somewhere to drink good beer, eh?...
For all the time of being in Paris he hasn't received any news, neither from Byuloff, nor from Shalovsky though Lyosha regularly brought mail from mailbox rented in hotel. And only in day before departure to Moscow headwaiter handed him personally the bank package with notice of money transfer! Shalovsky kept the promise, having subsidized two thousand rubles for operating costs, however, without covering letter. «Perhaps I will receive later and then will answer Volodya with gratitude. And for me, apparently, it's not fated to go to Boston any more», – he thought, rewriting his mail to the Moscow address again.
In the same evening, having snatched a moment during the reception in Chatelet theater given by French musical society on the occasion of Russian tours end he shared this joyful news with Rubenstein:
– Nick, I have received compensation money for Roman Akinfeev …
Nicolas excited by success of the final concert and steams of champagne has understood nothing.
– Monsieur! La minute d'attention! – the boss addressed to being present persons, – Peter Il'ch m'a informe ici sur le secret qu'a la troisieme symphonie est prete. Nous serones jouer la prochaine fois le deuxieme et un troisieme! Seulement pour vous, mesdames et messieurs!*
* Misters! Minute of attention! Peter Il'ich told me here in confidence that his the third symphony is ready now. The following time we will play both the second, and the third one! Only for you, ladies and gentlemen! (fr).
«It will be necessary out of hand go to Kaluga and find there local peasant community to redeem, at last, Roman», – he reflected the way in the double compartment occupied by him and his faithful servant Alexey from Paris. Three days in way were behind, the train approached suburbs of the Russian capital. Yellow woods slid behind a window, just as timbered corrals, lop-sided huts, unsightly homesteads, commodity barns with turns of horse carts, «Kuntsowo» station with the gloomy inspector on a starter frame, small ponds reflecting pieces of the blue sky, huge oaks boiling yellow foliage – all-all-all very quickly, very quickly floated by under the knock of carriage wheels similar to rhythm of strange waltz, the same airy, as incremental progress of passenger railroad train. He wanted to make a surprise – at once to hand Roman the free diploma at the meeting. He imagined how the lad will be delighted as they will be engaged again in musical lessons besides the obligatory training program, and it will be necessary to finish by all means «Smith Vakula» that Roman could participate in future opera statements already on the first courses. From these dreams it was become to him pleasant, as in the childhood on the eve of Christmas holiday, home-style simply, cheerfully and freely!
Having come to be at home, at last, on Monday, he has begun to search for an unknown «Rural community of Tarusa» in reference books, and having found, right there wrote them: « Sirs! I have honor to inform you the following. The family of local peasants Akinfeevs which is registered in one of Lev Kirillovich Sapozhenkov's manors consists in your rural community. I am informing you about my intention to bring monetary repayment for Akinfeevs about what I have the firm arrangement with their owners. After paying in the necessary sum of money I ask the Rural community to request for release above-mentioned family from the serf duty, and issue them the free diploma. I intend to come to you the next week». He subscribed as professor of Moscow conservatory and sent not by the mail, but the fast courier.
Due to big employment at work, he appeared in Tarusa only by the Friday evening, having spent however plenty of time at the station in Serpukhov, waiting for post-horses, as there was not any other transport, neither private carrying, nor post; it wasn't succeeded to meet any fellow travelers just by misfortune. It was repugnant weather, sleepy gray morning hardly began to dawn as the drizzle has gone, and it was necessary not to get out of the station walls, being heated only by hot tea with crackers and running constantly to the toilet. He left Lyosha in Moscow, having punished in addition to make a bed in the study, and also to make dinner for two persons in case he will take away Roman at once with himself. Therefore it was necessary to paddle own canoe, however he didn't despond because he did everything for his darling of the most noble motives.
Perhaps, he didn’t see yet such remote place in Russia. Even vicinities of Votkinsk on childhood memories in comparison with the Kaluga area seemed to him now as pastures of Heaven. The road cart which has arrived by noon operated by gloomy and reticent carrier was naturally similar to the broken trough covered from above with stinking mold, full of holes canvas. With sight of money in pocket it was dangerous to ride, however in desperate situation he made up his mind. On the washed out road, smashed by vehicles there was no lively place, they bogged down continually, on top of that horses stopped among stream of spread brook and to bring them to the coast, coachman had to take off boots and get into the water. Generally, with big adventures they overcame some thirty versts the whole three and half hours!
Local «Rural community» was situated behind the gate in socle of the old two-storeyed house. Low, vaulted room reminded the waste paper warehouse filled up to a ceiling. Papers tied up by ropes, strung together, stamped, fastened with sealing wax in folders and without those were placed here very carelessly on racks glutted to the top, were stuffed on corners, tumbled on floor in corridor, blocking enough as it is narrow pass. Has to be, to inhabitants of the cellar any office interior without state two-headed stamp somewhere on pack of papers under the ceiling or on the floor, on the table or under the bedside-table in general was turned off – the more they will be noticed by visitor, the better. In this bureaucratic bedlam there was one door with the plate «Chairman» where the middle-aged shaggy men, vaguely resemble by appearance villager, who was sitting at the massive desk covered with green cloth. There was civil frock coat over country shirt on the employee, and on his feet instead of shoes from bast – boots from skin.
– You are to whom? – without coming off writing, the employee asked. The question sounded quite strange indoors where someone else just was absent.
– I am Tchaikovsky Peter Il'ich, I sent you the courier with application for Akinfeev' family, – he was presented with a faint hope that this bureaucrat will suddenly remember some next intercessor.
Surprisingly, the employee suddenly turned attention to him, has risen from chair and begun to chirp kindly:
– A-ah! Yes, yes, yes, of course! Come in, come in, please, mister Tchaikovsky, sit down. Your application is delivered, already is delivered. I assure you, everything is all right – it is delivered, – the official stretched him moist palm, – Kudesin Ignatiy Pafnutyevich, the head of rural community.
Kudesin looked so excited and joyful as if has won on a bet that this application of all others will be delivered to destination in time, and now undoubtedly it is possible to put, at last, the state stamp, to stitch, register and lay in the folder the incoming document. The forelock on official's nape victoriously shook, and beardless red-cheeked face shone with original happiness – indeed the letter has been delivered!
– And now what? You know, I went here not to make sure of the work of courier service.
– Like what? – Kudesin was surprised, being lop-sided at massive safe standing by the side of him, – Even don't doubt, Peter Il'ich. Now we will consider your application, will pass the decision, and after standing bail the sum of money by you we will grant your ward peasants the state sample certificate.
«Possibly, this Kudesin would wish meet me halfway if he so kindly receives and it possible to accelerate terms of consideration on my application. But how let him know? Bad, oh, it is bad without experience – it was necessary never before to bribe, as it's hateful!» He took the wallet, pulled out eight hundred fifty rubles, spread out money on the table and said:
– The dearest Ignatiy Pafnut'ich, I have agreed with owners for eight hundred rubles by silver. Don't desire to worry, I am ready to support also yours rural community, but only that you will hand out me this state certificate on Akinfeev' family today.
– Generally, we take ten percent from the contribution sum for the accelerated consideration of applications, – the official has declared with skill, – But, as philanthropist the guest infrequent at us, also it will be enough, inclusive of both bank percent, and our commission charges. Deign, Peter Il'ich, to wait a little until I will issue the certificate, – Kudesin raked up money from the table, and they disappeared behind iron hatch of massive safe.
He put on the table one more ten rubles.
– Certainly, Ignat Pafnut'ich, I will wait, of course! Only deign to bed down me somewhere.
One ruble a day (!) was cost a poor wet little room with only washstand and conveniences in corridor, however in this case also it was necessary to agree as nothing any more was suitable. At night as he tried, he couldn't fall asleep, tossing and turning sleeplessly in creaking bed in rough sheets under two heavy, frowzy blankets, vainly trying to find suitable place for the head on hard pillows. Nevertheless, despite the terrifying conveniences, the mood was festive because in the baggage besides notes for editing and working notebooks now he had at himself the precious state certificate of the paid redemption payment for family of his friend and pupil with whom he connected his future creative activity.
Before appearing at Anna Petrovna in Kuntsevo manor, on her visiting day, he has come into Virgin's Sign church and placed a candle to the health and safe teaching of Roman. «To you, Father! Give me strength to lift the lad and to reject disbelief in own creative opportunities! I have no other purpose, than music. I have no other purpose, than to educate Roman, corresponding to his talents. I don't exaggerate my feeling – it is sincere, from the heart. I want that my feelings have got also a response, understanding at everyone who listen my music, comply with it sounds. And, if I am fated to pass through the evil, and through nine circles of hell, then I am ready also for it. My God, understand and forgive me, but don't leave, give me strength to create this purpose!»
Madam Sapozhenkova received very much cold. She did not to bat an eye having taken from him the document with state guarantee for Akinfeev' family.
– Merci, bien sur, mais je suis crains, vous tachez en vain, Peter Il'ich*, – she said, standing behind the bureau, having hardly turned back to him.
– Why? – he didn't understand, feeling himself like vile beggar.
– Not much. Of course, we will affranchise, give the diploma on all family, it's benefit, they have two more brothers with children … by the word while it is present to whom what to give, – Anna Petrovna grinned, – But, for whom you has tried so much… Roman – he already is absent.
– How is absent? You have gone crazy?!
* Of course thanks, but I am afraid that you are trying in vain, Peter Il'ich.
– At all. Roman now in the army, – she inspired, – Believe it or not, they have taken him away actually the other day! So it is necessary to him to be trained in music in other place now, unhappily it falls to me to inform you of this, Peter Il'ich.
He didn't believe:
– There is some mistake. He couldn't be taken away. He lives with mother, the only supporter in family, he couldn't be taken away to the army! It is mistake. It is necessary to return, return him back immediately!
– No matter, calm down. His mother by misfortune has died in the days, Peter Il'ich and it has appeared there is nobody to him to feed. And police officers at us, you know, works quickly – slightly from the funeral, at once had gathered, åxcusez moi de l'expression*. I am not free here something to make, professor. So, excuse me. And for cash guarantee many thanks to you. You the big enthusiast, Peter Il'ich, our state keep on such as you. Thank you for it.
He wanted to turn back and leave silently, but didn't restrain and noticed:
– Cependant il est etrange que vous, Anna Petrovna, n'a pas execute notre arrangement, n'a pas empeche, lui permettant d'etre commis**.
– Whether to you, professor, to speak about our conditions in which it was appeared the entry to study of my daughter? – the hypocrite hissed in reply, – However, Lisa was returned from the first examination as usual transfer student. You would keep silent really!
– Ah, about what you, Anna Petrovna! – he objected with bitterness, – Admission examinations doesn't come to an end yet, we would quite correct it …
Beside himself, on wadded legs he left from madame, even without saying goodbye. «What a price, what a price of all their assurances about support of young talents! – Nothing price! The main thing for them – preservation of own power, the main thing – that everybody must submit them, humiliation the weak and worship the strong, and not so any support! » – he was indignant
* Saving your presence. (fr.)
** However it is strange that you, Anna Petrovna, haven't executed our arrangement, haven't prevented, having allowed this to be made. (fr.)
at the back of his mind, what is more, absolutely impersonal, as if objecting someone unknown with whom there was talk not of his favourite Roma's relations with the capricious hostess, but in general of certain absolutely strangers.
At the Virgin's Sign church was necessary to be late again, here he was stopped by old woman-obedient in black attire.
– Help me, good sir, to carry that to the cellar, be so kind! – she asked, having pointed to the cardboard box full of new candles.
He took weighty load and followed the old woman to the dark, smelling of an incense vault.
– And what, gammer, did you know Akinfeev' family that was registered here among domestic? – he asked, having delivered a box on shelf.
– How not to know, my kind! I have knew Praskoviya, I've knew naturally … kingdom to her heavenly! But the hostess had let rot her, and her sonny the day before yesterday, seems, they had taken away by arms to soldiery. So and so. That is the whole story. And you, kind man, by whom them you are, as such interest at you?
– I have obtained them the manumission in Tarusa.
– So, my old boy, they are also in Tarusa now. They are from Kaluga, from Baryatino , the dead Praskoviya's brothers still trying there. It's necessary to you to be there, – the old woman advised.
– No, gammer, it isn't necessary to me there …
– The Lord with you, sonny! Thank you, – the granny said him after, having crossed at parting.
He left to the light, to the transparent, with the smell of dry foliage rustling under foots, cold autumn full of ordinary sounds in which the inexpressible song of loss, music of unfulfilled hopes was heard to him everywhere. «Just to imagine! Had I been here three days ago, I could prevent the incident, show to police officers the redeemed certificate and exempt Roman from the army duty! What an evil destiny twists me so? What for?! The poor lad, as he dreamed to become actor as he wasn't lucky! But, if … if, according to the old woman, Anna Petrovna has let rot Praskoviya, Roman's mother, specially – this evil on her conscience », – he remembered unexpected animation of the hostess at the words about Praskoviya's death and actions of police officers, what a victorious intonations sounded then in her voice, and suddenly it became extremely clear to him that she also has created all this action herself, have arranged in revenge to Roman whom she considered by her live property: like, to punishment for rebelliousness not the serf, but the army duty we will provide you! – «Here it is all this evil – represented by her! And, if it considers itself as the winner which revenged Roma for some unknown refusals, then it is mistaken! This evil was mistaken. I will be the last bastard if do not specify to this filth the suitable place that having looked at itself from outside, it was terrified and by itself and has gone somewhere to a dump, eventually has disappeared!»
Slightly run he rushed to Sapozhenkov's house again, and on foot having flung away the door-keeper, burst into the room of madame surprised and frightened of such perfidy.
– To say that I hate you, isn't enough. I didn't meet yet nastier person than you, and I will hardly meet. But, if the evil in honor at you, madame, I swear: I will do to spite for you so that Roman will be spoke well still for many, many years long, but of you, Anna Petrovna – only occasionally, and with disgust, and is better – not to remember at all!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
He couldn't leave from here. He couldn't. In the breast as in a cage, the white swan Si-minor fought, he lashed, tore to fly up and subdue the sky, but to get out wings, to run on water, to do a jump and, at last, to make up it there were not enough forces. Not enough. And already rang to vespers, it was darkened, but he still has sat motionlessly on the bank of the Lordly pond, looking as quietly and inevitably leaves fall to the water from faded bushes. As scraps of thousands invisible silver threads from the thousands responses of his heart, never to cease...
How he has appeared at home in his bed, absolutely suppressed by illness, however, carefully wrapped up with blankets and with a thermometer under the arm, he would never remember. If only Lyosha who was actively striving at him.
– There now! Glory My God, you have regained consciousness! And I already thought: absolutely toast.
– How did you find me?
– You have told me, you will be at seven, for supper. Evening, darkly, but you are absent and absent – and I has gone to Nikolay Grigoryich, so and so – had missed, whether there was something happen … Sashka-coachy said that gave you a ride to the railroad station, and you bought ticket to Kuntsevo and he, put it shortly, knows where to go. Here also we found you there, picked up at the pond. Still slightly more and you absolutely would kick the bucket. So, have the tea, hot with raspberry, drink …
He drank a few tea and fell asleep a feverous unsteady dream. Again Roman was dreamed. «You might, likely, it's unsweetened now too. You my, poor, poor! As you was not lucky, kid! No matter, I will get you out, surely get out, everything will all right, only suffer a little! Do you remember how you cured Si-minor? Released him from cage? Do you remember? So and I will get you out, by all means I will get you out! »
Nicolas appeared in the evening, to drop in at place, and have brought some familiar doctor, who administered sinapisms and had left. It was necessary to tell the boss about the misadventures.
– Yeth-h, mon ami! Sadly. – Rubenstein summarized, having attentively listened, – to go down the drain for no reason at all so for twenty five best years of the life! Sadly. Most important that it will be very much difficult to get Roman back, the army engine works accurately, it's, you know, by the pump principle – to blow there, but from there … Unless, from the royal permission? You write me the draft of petition, I have requested an audience from His highness at the end of November – I will try. And, attach copies of documents that were issued you in rural community, the credit order and others. And I'll find out who from Admission Committee has flunked younger Sapozhenkova, interestingly, and for what? It is simpler with her: have flunked, so we will invite to repeated listening. I will try, Pete, let'em all come! The most important, you don't worry and recover. And without you – in no way. We will play yours third symphony in the Assembly.
A little encouraged, after departure of director he roused from the bed, took manuscript of the third simfony and found in it the party of bassoon from elegiaco. «Very sadly, extremely squeezed. Perhaps still sat that waltz that was heard then in movement of the train, in the second part, huh? How there was? One two-three, one-two-three-four … and afterwards such rise – ta-ra-ra … ra-ra … for the sake of Roma I will set, huh? Well, not four, so five parts will be in the symphony, it is original too» – he took a blank sheet and began to fix sounds on the line. It turned out not bad on the first hearing.
Meanwhile, something about what he in a quick temper stated to Anna Petrovna, as if by all means he will do her to spite so that Roman will be remembered still for many years long, has strongly sat down at his head. He also really wanted to create the grandiose ballet, only not to her to spite, but on a subject of genesis the evil, and how people should fight against own filth, but he didn't find a suitable plot from the Russian and European literature therefore the libretto should be composed himself. However nothing come to the head, there were no time to reflect in detail. Studies, lectures, seminars have stretched again, and he was too busy for free creativity.
At the same time, his feeling to Roman not a jot has grown dim at all. He often touched in memory everything has occurred between them for these half a year and as if he was lost – didn't find alternative to the source of his inspiration now. Mentally comparing various vocal skills of conservatory pupils, he convinced every time that their voices were out of all proportion to natural gift of his favourite, also the lad could to keep on scene, to dance, to recite better than any of the high-family brought up by house teachers students. Especially he worried about the lack of physical proximity with Roma and arisen thereon constant abstention. Not bearing also fortnight, nevertheless, he paid visit to Sergey Lvovich who right there palmed off him several lads at choice. Meetings with them have turned back for him the real brute because such proximity not only didn't satisfy now, but caused deep disgust. Perhaps, the only one who could bring him to senses – familiar bathhouse attendant Prokhor, knowing manners, handsome strong man in Sandunov’s baths, whom he happened not once in condition of corporal requirement and had an opportunity to use at intimate desire.
On Sunday, the seventh of November, in the Nobility Assembly hall the premiere of his third symphony has taken place, at last, as he also conceived, by all means in five parts, with the waltz. Music was accepted not bad, there was a lot of applause and it was necessary to come up on stage, to exchange bows together with Rubenstein. As to waltz part nobody has understood nothing and it wasn't necessary, the main thing – his composition was pleasant. When he left from artistic to foyer, he was surrounded by numerous idolatresses with exclamations «Enchante! Enchante, monsieur Chajkovskij! * Bravo! Bravo!», began to applaud and poke in programmes for autographs. In this array of French aromas, thinnest laces and multi-colored silks there were recognizable persons from number not only of students, but also recent graduates. Mademoiselle Milyukova in hattock with reclined veil, with the burning look had flown. «For certain, she not only loves me as the composer, but also wants me as the man, – he thought, – it's a pity that I am not capable to meet her halfway in this desire at all. And, if?.. Shalovsky is capable, and I am not? – and right there he answered himself – Shalovsky is capable because he can lie daily and hourly including to himself, but I can't! However, unless I don't lie daily, on public at least, that I am adoring all female and indifferent to all man's? It is forced to lie, however, as well as the fact that it is necessary to marry by force. The lie around, only I am not embittered, I do not look for guilty and I do not fall into ambitions as others which, probably, there is a lot of, too much for our fragile world. Ones cannot marry,
* It is delightful! Charmingly, mister Tchaikovsky! (fr.)
others – to achieve recognition in creativity, the third – to build a career, the fourth – to win in poker, the fifth – to arrange children for study and so on and so on. The end isn't present to reasons of filth and meanness! Perhaps the source of the universal evil just also covered in it? And, to conquer this, it is necessary to sacrifice myself, to neutralize, dissolve if not in self then in own music? »
Having thought a little, he, nevertheless, asked Rubenstein to take him in St. Petersburg. He was afraid that the boss, constantly engaged with affairs will forget about the promise to talk with Grand duke, and won't hand to imperial person the petition of release Roman from army «by way of necessity to begin his training in Moscow conservatory». Besides, there was a wish to see the younger brother, Modest, perhaps, the only person now whom could unburden the heart in full and without lies. Nikolay Grigoryevich didn't begin to object, had given his class hours to other teacher, and they have gone together.
He took along to the road the whole pack of unread letters, mainly without return address with which it was no opportunity to have a look at home. As a rule, there were lines from the admirers and idolatress expressing the gratitude from listening of some work. Some of them, the most enthusiastic, were written obviously in condition of euphoria, with mistakes both semantic and grammatical, but, generally, in all sincerity. Others, on the contrary, scolded him as if the pupil, and even fair sometimes.
He has taken the one, written by accurate children's handwriting, without mistakes, but also without punctuation marks, and as if was cut off, reading: «My dear honey I'm fine Now we have initial training in naval matter In the end of the year they will carry us on the real service to the sea and it will be even more interesting as we will serve on real ships I didn't forgot about you As it is possible to forget But you don't worry everything becomes to the best God willing still we will see ». These several uneven lines has spread in tears (it is shameful, if who saw!), salty, as boundless ocean of his feelings to Roman: « He is live! Remembers! If he isn't happy, then, at least, is pleased and doesn't curse the destiny! Or, maybe, he only wants to calm me, but in fact he is in a bad way there? It does not matter, baby, I will pull out you, surely pull out! And will teach you how to put punctuation marks, and still too much - many!..»
In St. Petersburg at the railway station he was met by Modya who carried to himself, to the new flat rented in their old place in Sergiyevskaya Street. Rubenstein, in spite of early hour, has gone at once to conservatory. Weather was awful, windy. Semi-rain, semi-snow dropped, settling by white jellylike mass on sidewalks and pavements, carriages and hats – everywhere. Modya looked sleepy, tired, but happy, and sitting in the carriage, kissed, embraced, caressed, nestling the head on his shoulder, on his ear, – it was visible that younger brother sincerely rejoices to his visit. Last time they saw each other in Kiev, for about a year back, seemed, Modest hasn't been so friendly and inclinable then.
– And where do you work now?
– On the district, as before, investigator. With some difficulty, of course, as it's the capital … but pay not bad. Here I have rented the three-room flat and took to myself the pupil.
– You?! Took the pupil? Whom??
– The boy is neighbour's, Nick, nine years. Deaf-mute. I train him by special technique, with the consent of parents. They pay me. A little, true.
« Just like me the brother! – he sighed sympathetically – At him, seems, not too much, however that way, to philanthropy!». But he kept silent.
Visiting the capital not infrequently, meanwhile, he wasn't in this area for quite a long time. But, apparently, nothing has changed: and the same dashing horse tram on Liteiny prosp., and bakery at the corner of Furcitadskaya st., and a tavern on Kirochnaya st., and even potholes and ruts on cobblestone road, seemingly, haven't changed the habitual arrangement. On Sergiyevskaya st. the same house, and the same gate from which being the boy when twin brothers Modya and Tolya also didn't exist in mention, he ran out daily, hurrying to studies in the School of jurisprudence, repeating on the run homeworks, declining mentally verbs, remembering words and phrases in foreign languages having learned by heart.
The furnished three-room apartment on the second floor in the next door house was nice, but gloomy, with windows to the yard. In drawing room there was short "Becker", probably, the main pride of the lessor.
– It is tuned?
– It is tuned. I play music sometimes in the evenings. But to me to you so far, of course, Pete. Here you will also play for us … for me and for Nick.
– But he is the deaf-mute?
– But so what? Don't worry. Still will catch! Very sensible boy, it is useful for him to join too.
Really, the brother's pupil was very clever and capable child. At the first meeting Nick began to show the drawings which have impressed with simplicity of plots, plainness of lines and some special, kind look on the world around. Mummy on the portrait in pencil seemed not as strict as pensive; the cat on drawing in water color didn't hunt for mouse, but ate with it from one saucer.
– Can you draw a bird? Try to draw birds, – he asked the boy, having represented by hands as they fly, and pointed to the piece of sky in the window, – and I will accompany you on the grand piano. Will you draw?
Nick has gone to create, and he sat down to play the melody mentally nicknamed «team of Zigfrid Amashu», that he whistled by reed, nightly, when Roma found him at the water. After that he took the working notebook and played still one for another several subjects for waltzes, then – the Hungarian dance which was written down once during a trip across Europe.
– It will be something new? – Modya who, sitting in a corner on the sofa, melancholically touched some sheets has asked.
– Yes, I want to make the ballet resembling to symphony.
– How it is to symphony? The symphonies do not dance.
– Nothing, they will dance. Certainly, it will be more difficult to ballet dancers, this is not what you call grooving on Minkus. I assure you, the dance as the vision can express a lot of things, add musical images. Well, let. Let. I will call it the ballet, especially in Moscow Bolshoi Theatre, still after «Oprichnik», they hinted that would wish to receive from me a new statement, this time the ballet.
– As it is interesting! – the brother quickened, – And what for a plot?
– And with the plot, Modya, a problem. From those German fairy tales that I have read, not a one satisfies me. Andersen's fairy tales aren't good too. It seems to me, they are too children's, some household for my plan. «Ugly duckling» for this purpose doesn't approach too. So, maybe, I will think something myself, according to the composed music.
– «Ugly duckling»? It's about a swan?
– Yes. I want to make the swan not so much the symbol of beauty, as in this fairy tale, as the symbol of light, justice and good which even… even of price the own life absorbs, dissolves in itself any evil at all.
– Therefore whether you have set to Nick the picture with birds? – the brother asked, approaching the grand piano.
– Aha. We will look what he will draw to us, – «he will make well, and at me it will turn out! » – … Here, for example, scenario, Modya: the wicked sorceress turns rural lads into herd of swans. She feels special hatred for one swan and floutingly awards him with crown that he differed in flight, all the time was, as they say, «on a front sight», at gunpoint. Alongside with that one rich hunter, let he will be some prince, or count – it's unimportant, welcomes this swan among all others and instead of shooting, falls in love with it, being struck by beauty of this bird. Unfortunate swan tells the prince his sad story as he and his companions were bewitched by wicked sorceress, says that he can turn into the man again if only someone from people really believes him and will fall in love. The hunter is so fascinated by this swan that claim him love. The swan really dumps evil spells and again becames in the man, young handsome and clear head... They arrange, and it occurs, let's suppose that on the ball where guests dance, and then come into the balcony and admire flight of swans... In the final, this swan flies in the ballroom in the wicked sorceress' castle, puts on human shape, and together with friend – the prince – they destroy evil spells of the wicked sorceress and happiness, at last, triumphs. Swans become again rural lads who execute dances of various nations on the scene, granting all beauty and variety of their characters. And the sorceress exempted from evil spells, say, in the drop scene dances together with the prince? Is it not the scenario with happy end? On three or four acts will quite enough, huh?.. It's possible, of course, and with the sad final. For example, if the prince and the swan by price of own lives destroy the wicked sorceress and her charms. Then all dances should be set up before the final. But, anyway, rural lads get free from sorcery and appear on freedom. What do you think about it, Modya? There is a lot of material at me, waltzes, and polonaise, and mazurka, and solo – everything for ballet dramaturgy.
Modest has been puzzled, and it was impossible to understand on his face, he approves the read imaginations, or not.
– In general, very interesting, but too many lads appear, – brother told, at last, – it doesn't confuse you? And then, as it is possible to fall in love with swan? Producers won't understand you.
– Not at all. You should be taken somehow on the big lake that you have observed swan rise. I think that you will fall in love with these birds immediately. As for lads – personalize, please. Our hillock-mania, Modya if not to awake in it an animal, may be of interest only to the rejected brides, and that, under their changeable spirit, but not producers of dances, not public at all.
– You really think so? But, after all, very courageously …
– I watched «Carmen», the new opera of Georges Bizet, in Paris. It's about one prostitute. Very courageously too. But also it was pleasant very much to me, with my Puritan education and feel to mauvais ton. And many people were impressed. The most actual plot, tremendous characters, surprising expression and whole cascade of melodies. And, you never know courageous statements in Europe! Though Verdi's «Traviata». All were indignant too, hypocrites generally, « Ah, the courtesan, courtesan! », and then began to praise.
Nick has come, shown his picture. It was hardly dried water color. In the foreground – the long-necked goose with red beak, being grass ashore, attentively observed how it's congeners, having spread wings, slip away to the sky. Surprisingly that young artist represented not some city pigeons or daws in the yard, but namely rural geese at large.
He stroked the boy on head – well done!
– Here you see, Modya, your pupil as if heard music, and was inspired by the plot. Look: it is ready scenery to the performance! Ask him quickly where he had saw geese?
Having burst out laughing, brother on fingers translated to Nick the question. The boy cheerfully jumped on the banquette and began by hands to show how to pull oars, then applied his palm a peak to the forehead and looked upward.
– He was at grandmother's summer cottage, swam on the boat, saw wild geese, – Modya explained. All one everything was clear.
Two days in absence of Modya who was on the service since morning till four o'clock he worked at the score of ballet called, still conditionally, «The Swan lake». However he felt now that, unlike a plot, this name will become final. As the introduction he decided to use that minor harmony presented to him so mystical on the bank of Moskva River in Kuntsevo when he beckoned with the reed wreaths on water. But in the introduction of ballet this harmony has changed from sounds of thin flute piccolo to the dreadful, huge sizes evil monster as if hanging over all listeners, posing for them original threat, the harbinger of possible tragedy. On that background also it would be necessary to unwind further events to a tune of the main character – prince, enthusiastic, fragile, but very desperate and noble young man with the «Siegfried Amashu» theme, waltzes, polonaises and other dancing rhythms.
On the third day the debt of politeness demanded from him to appear in the St. Petersburg conservatory. For blessing, weather cleared up, and it was pleasant to walk to Demidov Lane along embankment on foot, feeling original pleasure from slight invigorating frost and a magic type, thin sparkling touch of hoarfrost everywhere on city stones and fencings. Every time, being within the walls of capital «Bo;te ; musique *», he tested easy awe, mainly, because of fear to meet the Rubenstein's elder brother, Anton who as the founder of educational institution, even without being the director now, had apartments for the classes there and often visited. Nicolas as usual put up just at these apartments.
This time the concern was vain, Anton Grigoryevich was at the country house, and it wasn't necessary to test unclear shyness of the pupil – feeling wasn't matching somehow a professorial rank. But that it was even worse, Mr. Filimonov, the teacher of solfeggio from Moscow was presented at Rubenstein that time! How this drunkard and homophobe has appeared here, was absolutely unclear.
– Here, admire, Peter Il'ich, – Rubenstein explained after greetings, – our colleague now former, is going to arrange «The Russian chapel» here, in the manner of foreign. He is the adherent of «The music establishment», soit dit ; propos **, has come to me to ask council.
Filimonov had risen from chair and put the sinewy hand with damp palm. Expression of the bloated face of «ex-solfeggist» was fawning.
– Remarkably, Dmitry Fyodorych, I've just written down several national songs this summer, I hope that I'll be able to transfer them to you.
– Oh, Peter Il'ich, I'll be v-very grateful to you! Creativity is the main thing in our business, – the eyes-beads of former colleague had quickly ran on leads, – However before, we have much more pressing problems here: whether you know, there is no place to us for study, and I am striving about any room. Actually, with that now I am to Nikolay Grigoryich with bow.
– And I am for you as nurse, of course. You have found the benefactor! – Nicolas exclaimed, – There is plenty of rooms in the capital, so and rent yourself, well and good without protectorate. Would be shown an independence and initiative, so to speak … And now here it is? I am not the owner here. There is a director – eventually address to him …
– Nikolay Grigoryich! – Filimonov plaintively begged, without hesitating of stranger presence, – It's as easy as shelling pears to you to Anton Grigoryich for us say the word! Without Anton Grigoryich the director solves nothing, address, don't address, all the same will send to him!
* Music box (fr.)
** By the way (fr.)
Then Rubenstein decided to temper justice with mercy that, however, often happened when he wanted to finish conversation quicker or to get off visitors.
– Well, Dima. I will have a word with him, but what of it? – I don't know therefore I promise nothing. And behind the answer, I think, you shouldn’t go long, if he will resolve, so you will find out the first from director.
When, having poured out thanks, Filimonov had left, Nicolas grinned and said:
– Yes! Here you see – you’ve got a jerk on with the choruses, Pete, in time. Only, to my mind, he won't be engaged in them.
– But, the demon drink of seven heads will ruin him as has ruined Mussorgsky! God grant that I was mistaken. But, I have an impression that among «Music- establishment» there is a lot of drinking, biased to wine. I know two personally - it is already much. Allocate him the room, and they will begin to drink there. And, don't allocate – they will tell that we clamp an initiative, and still which of zealous will write as if Tchaikovsky and Rubenstein ruin the Russian originality on a root.
– So it you will be mentioned, Nikolay Grigoryich, not me, I have promised him fresh choruses, – he objected, laughing.
– Do not doubt. And you, I really apologize, they will cover with scat. Out of envy Pete, out of envy.
– What to envy here? I am not God knows as rich, isn't famous and isn't influential at all.
– They will envy of your talent. It isn't given them, so and will be.
– Oh yeah, you will tell, Nick!
«Was given them my talent!» – he thought as usual as if it was something physical what by all means was necessary to hide and show nobody because not as at everybody.
– But what you think? About ten years ago various claimed that the graduate of School of jurisprudence can't compose such good romances. Simply can't – a priori because the jurist, but not the composer. I was personally convinced in all seriousness, thank God, I haven't believed them.
– Indeed? Here it is … I didn't know the news. And who such asserted?
– But I won't say, not to upset you. In fact you are impressionable man, and else I am afraid to maleficiate, – Nicolas begun to rummage in papers carelessly scattered on the grand piano cover, – By the way, your obedient servant. As I have smashed you, pardonnez-moi *, for your piano concert, do you remember?
– So, rather!..
– And so, I was wrong. Have a look that Byuloff writes me.
He took the stretched dispatch from Nicolas and, worrying, read that in Boston in October the premiere of his first concerto for piano with orchestra has gone over with success, and public with enthusiasm perceived this music; as the pianist would be grateful to Moscow conservatory if it will direct mister Tchaikovsky to Boston for the purpose of acquaintance and presentation of his new compositions. At the same time the philharmonic orchestra is ready to take part of expenses on transport, arrangement and royalties. «Here is happiness! Has smiled at last, to me! Blavatskaya was right! ... However, why only to me, but not to Roman … why it is so unjust?»
– And what does it means? – he asked, returning the letter to boss.
– That means that on return to Moscow we pay you to Nantes and the steamship to Boston. I hope, you will compensate us at the expense of the fees.
– When to go?
– I think, right after Christmas. You will meet New Year on the deck. They wait you in the middle of January as it is written in the enclosed engagement. And I should obtain Filimonov a room indeed, that we together won't be washed from «Music-establishment's» criticism.
– You promised me to talk with His highness concerning Roman Akinfeev, and I have transferred to you papers …
– Yes, of course. I am at him tomorrow – won't forget. By the way, whether you want to visit theater? «Aida» is given. Just tomorrow evening. I have two more tickets, you may visit theatre with the brother, it will be interesting to him too. We will meet there, and I will just tell you about results of my meeting with Grand duke.
Places in the hall have got remarkable – in amphitheater, on the left side from the Imperial box to which, seemed, was no distance. Probably, someone has thanked Nicolas with all the heart because there was absolute sell-out,
* Sorry (fr.)
and tickets – in deficiency. Meanwhile, their majesties were absent, places for emperor and empress were occupied some others, unknown to him, people from suite. However a good part of neighbors on chair, being in close proximity, actually revered, others were very proud and excited. It seems, only Modya sweated, rubbed off a wipe forehead and cheeks, and didn't know from shyness where to hide eyes. Rubenstein, naturally, appeared in the administrator box of a cute du directeur *, hardly on the arm with the high official.
The Italian statement has seemed to him colourful, though a little pompous, music was beyond any compliments, the plot impressed him with clear thought of how is great force of love happens, how it is individual that made the talented commander, the winner Radames, to renounce of the state interests and to terminate life in vault in embraces of the beloved, slave Aida! One more thing: he has imagined how more would be advantageous the party of Ethiopian tsar, Amonasro, but not performed by unknown Italian baritone, but by the voice of Roman Akinfeev – it would sound fantastically! «No matter, God will give, things will straighten out!» – he calmed himself at the thought of his young protege.
Two breaks he couldn't come up to Rubenstein because of acquaintances and admirers who continually stopped him, even in smoking-room, and something should be answered everyone, and it was necessary to pay his compliments.
In the last interval he managed to intercept the boss at the exit from director's loge.
– Oui, a propos, Peter Il'ich, j'ai besoin de toi**, – Rubenstein vigorously took him by the arm and pulled aside – far away from public eyes, – His highness, the young prince, wants to talk with you about your affair.
– Why, the young prince? You visited the successor?
– Yes. But, no. The grand duke, his highness Konstantin Nikolaevich at me has transferred all your papers to the son who just entered majority and he also wished to meet you personally. Here is a note for you he handed over to me, look:
« Dear Peter Il'ich! I would be very glad to our acquaintance and, watching to your remarkable music, long ago I wanted that. Now, thanks to my father, and you to me have an affair. If you will have no other cares, I wait for you
* By the side of director (fr.)
** Oh, by the way, Peter Il'ich, you are necessary to me. (fr.)
at myself in the Marble Palace on Wednesday, the first of December, at seven o'clock in the evening. I hope you won't refuse me in it? For ever your, Konstantin Romanov». … Here it is Mrs. Blavatskaya's prophecy, in reality! We are positively lucky with Roma! Sertainly, I won't refuse! I am?! As I can refuse to the young prince! »
– Excusez, s'il vous plait, votre Excellence. C'est monsieur Tchaikovsky Peter Il'ich, il lit la note de Grand-duc*, – it was sounded outside. Rubenstein has presented him to the having been in same loge high official.
– Je suis Karl Kister, le directeur des theatres imperiaux**, – the hoar-headed, accurate burgher was represented, stretching him the smooth coddled palm, – Alexander Mikhaylovish, the former director, told me how last year in theater there was your opera … «Aprishnik», yes? Very much so it was pleasant to him, – he added with strong accent.
– I am very glad …
– Monsieur Tchaikovsky dreams of the new statement at Mariinsky Theater, your Excellency, his new opera is ready, – added Nicolas at that moment.
– Wow!? Truly? What is it? – the official exclaimed.
– The «Smith Vakula», on Gogol's plot, your Excellency.
« My God! What saying what drooling Nicolas!! Still the opera isn't ready! » – he was mentally terrified, trying not to look at the administration.
– Smiss Vakulya? ... Smiss? What is it?
– Forgeron, votre Excellence. C'est la opera comique aux sujets ukrainiens***, – having gathered, at last, he squeezed out from himself.
– And, there is the score? – Kister asked. The director of theaters seemed pleased, on fat cheeks of burgher the flush played, dreams ran in the eyes.
– It will be, your Excellency. I think that I will be able to present it to you after the trip to Boston.
* Sorry, please, your Excellency. It is mister Tchaikovsky Peter Il'ich, he reads note from the Grand duke. (fr.)
** I am Karl Kister, the director of Imperial theaters (fr.)
* Smith, your Excellency. It is the comic opera on the Ukrainian subjects. (fr.)
– Mister Tchaikovsky was invited to Boston to the premiere of his piano concert, – Nicolas lied.
– Î-îh! Je vous felicite! – bepainted Kister, – Bien, nous attendons votre partition apres le voyage.*
– Nicely done! Had made impression, – Nicolas whispered him at parting and hurried after the director.
At the appointed hour, being shaved, cropped and dressed up, having taken his music book with the made a fair copy of the first concerto for piano and orchestra, he turned up to rendezvous with the young prince, Grand duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. There was a wish to submit his new composition in Imperial house, all the more so as at the other end of the world it was already known. After observance of some formalities coming from initiation of special security arrangements in rooms of the Imperial family as of stepped-up acts of terror, he was passed, after all, to the palace. He came to be in magnificent, sheathed by varnished tree in Gothic style, drawing room, remarkable still the fact that there were books everywhere, in cases and on shelves, on table and even on sofa. Windows were draped with carved lattice from wood with subject from the middle ages on pattern. The fireplace and two chairs on parties were in a corner, he has sat down on one of them.
At seven o'clock the massive door was easily opened, and high young blonde with friendly clear look on forehead quickly entered the room. The youngster was accurately brushed, dressed in uniform of midshipman, student of sea school, which somehow didn't quite match a civil appearance and unqualified call felt also in handshake of the big warm palm of the young man.
– Good evening, Peter Il'ich, I am very, very much glad to get acquainted with you, – the young prince said by sonorous voice, looking at him with admiration and curiosity, – Please, please keep your seat! – and right there himself sat down in the chair by the side of him, probably, being afraid that the elder person will feel awkward if would stand at attention.
– Bonsoir, votre altesse! Je suis tres heureux a notre reunion aussi!* – he welcomed Grand duke in French because it seemed to him that native Russian speech in this case will wound the vanity. It was very exciting, as he never met so high person before, in his representation all members of the Imperial family were haughty and not good enough friendly to subject citizens, and here is suddenly – the pleasant, polite young man similar an excellent student more,
* O-oh! I congratulate you! – Well, we wait your score after the trip. (fr.)
** Good evening, Your highness. I am very glad to our meeting too. (fr.)
than the Grand duke. More than seconds ago he didn’t even know whether it is necessary to kiss hand on the meeting, to bite the dust, or to stand at attention, however it was now clear that it isn't necessary at all to do that, and it is possible just to sit with His highness at fireplace and to talk as equals.
– I ask you, without ceremonies, Peter Il'ich, – calmed him the young prince, – Surely, it would be awkward to me to distract you from your creativity which results I admire. But, it is visible, providence promoted our acquaintance, and it was entrusted me to be engaged in your petition. I will tell you frankly, my father trusts me similar affair for the first time. So we will be glad to it together, right?
– By all means, certainly, Konstantin Konstantinovich. It's very important problem for me.
Prince vigorously rose from his chair, approached the table and pulled out of box that folder with papers concerning Roman Akinfeev that recently in Moscow he handed to Rubenstein.
– Tell me, and why you are so located to this Akinfeev that have decided even to grant a sum of money for all their family?
– He has the rare, unique voice, Konstantin Konstantinovich, such voices will be not often met, believe me as to professor of conservatory with ten-year experience of teaching. He should study, and it is absolutely impossible to develop the talent in serf conditions, would you agree? That is why I have also taken such step. For the sake of it I would be ready even take Roman to contents. What I am saying! The director of Moscow conservatory, Nikolay Grigoryevich Rubenstein, after listening has even signed the order on Roman's enrolment, however, without knowing that Akinfeevs are still registered in serfs. I made also at the notary copy of director’s order – has to be, you've paid attention – it is in folder there.
– He has tenor?
– Baritone. And, with such diapason that I even find it difficult to give you the exact characteristic of his voice. There is an impression that he can sing everything from tenor to bass.
– Interesting, and how he looks?
«Is it mere curiosity? Really I have so inspired the prince by the destiny of serf talent that he suddenly became eager for Roma's appearance? Well, all to the best!»
– Roman, your highness, is very cutie, with the wide kind smile, handsome and in general look after himself, unlike some rural and hired lads. I assure you: he had sung the aria of the Highness prince in my new opera, keeping on scene meetly the original Highness prince Potyomkin.
– And you have a new opera? – in bluish-gray eyes of the prince sparkled genuine interest. «To me as to the author? Or, to Roman as the actor?»
– Yes, I have. According to Gogol's story «Night before Christmas», but it does not quite finished. Rubenstein produced only two acts at himself in the «students’ party», in conservatory.
– As if I wanted to be one of your pupils! – the young prince said pensively, and it was felt that this phrase intended not for official talk at all but scaped involuntarily.
However, Grand duke right there has braced up, again began to rustle papers in the folder, having concluded at the same time:
– Well, Peter Il'ich, here's my hand on it that we with the commander, Nikolay Andreich, will try to find for your paternalized and if to return him to conservatory, then, if only to transport at first somewhere closer to St. Petersburg, and then we will look how to make for him an exception, maybe, arrange amateur theater from sailors?.. I still will think, – then, after a small pause, the young prince raised on him the expressive eyes and confusedly asked:
– And do you want I will play something for you too?
– With pleasure, Konstantin Konstantinovich! You still ask me! Here: I have brought you something from new, – he showed to clavier of the first concert having taken along.
The prince invited him to the neighboring oval room trimmed with wood in the same style, but there was chamber grand piano of unknown brand, and from furniture – only carved shelves for notes and two magnificent chairs, at the grand piano and at the window.
– It is my musical study, – the youth has explained with pride, – Here is everything to make good acoustics, – young man sat down at the grand piano, sorted notes lying from above and, diligently accompanying himself, an academic baritone started singing his recent romance on Alexey Tolstoy's verses published last year in the collection by Yurgenson's press.
Don't trust me, my friend, when in overage of grief,
I say that I stopped loving you.
Per hour of ebb tide don't trust treason of the sea,
It will turn back to the earth with love.
I grieve, full of former passion,
Again I will give you my freedom,
Can be the waves are already run with return noise
From far away to favourite coasts?
«Hands! What a perfect hands at him! Large, strong, nervous, nimble! It seems as if slender and gentle fingers caress each sound. I would like to be that sound in his hands … » – he thought with admiration, looking at playing the piano Grand duke.
– Excellent! You play perfectly, your highness! – he praised, having approached closely to a grand piano when the prince has finished execution. – Here is clavier of the piano concert which von Bueloff already executed in Boston, maybe, we will try to study together in four hands, huh?
The prince jumped from chair, having touched keyboard by elbow. Confusion flashed in the eyes of young man, shiver was felt in his voice.
– I ask you don't call me the highness, Peter Il'ich. Call me Kostya.
And, he suddenly remembered as Roma having rubbed floors in Sapozhenkov's house at once demented him too; as, excited with intimate proximity of the friend, he started up then from the grand piano to take down an unexpected inclination. «No, it is not now just a fantastic vision about the prince in love, it is the reality? Really?!» – flashed in his head.
– I will try, – he was found to answer, – But only if you begin to call me Pierre.
– D'accord, Pierre. Soyez mon ami, s'il vous plait! – the prince embraced him for a neck and nestled a cheek on his temple, shedding the exciting perfume, – Tu me plais de tous points,* – had whispered, – and here he was entirely captured by consciousness that it is not at all a whim of the regal person, moreover, not an intention to humiliate or to set him up, but desired, sincere recognition of the young man to whom, perhaps, there is nobody to share about the intimate addictions.
– Peut-etre, une fois suivant? Je ne suis pas tout a fait pret.**
* Well, Pierre. Be my friend, please! – I like you in all things. (fr.)
** Perhaps a following time? I am not quite ready. (fr.)
– Well, Pierre, – young man whispered, moving over, – Come to me on Friday evening, at seven too. I will send away all servants, there will be only protection at the entrance. By that time I will try your clavier, and we'll execute it together. And meanwhile read my verses, huh? I will give you also my notebook for a while?
…« My God! What have I done, what have done?! How it was possible with my depraved thin soul to be on the bit of the young man imperial blood and to let him into all improbable secrets of the man's relations? If I, Konstantin would never both learns and know all the life any such shame! » – he reproached himself dejectedly two days later, meanwhile admiring the prince's young breast with pink tumescent nipples rising beside, it was impossible not to touch, to enjoy it vivifying heat, as well as it was impossible not to be given to touches of surprisingly beautiful, gentle and sensual hands of the young man!
– How did you know that I … generally that it is possible to address me so?
– I've been for long time training in sea school, and there have learned something from cadets. They were not good enough with «jurists», that is lads from school of jurisprudence … were not quite friends, if not to tell more. Apply an epithet to them, as bedding, sucking, and even worse. And, of course, nobody admitted in own sympathies too. It was only hatred in the course, they didn't speak about love. They were praised who has more and better overstepped with «smolninsky», and other maidens and who and how has lived it up in «Katenka». And about intimate contacts with jurists, that is with lads, as well as between selves cadets, as a rule, they has kept silent, or by whisper, by stealth. But at jurists lads caressed among themselves and none … of course, they didn't brave it, but didn’t also specially hide. Once I have made friends with one jurist who told me in private conversation about the local customs, had cite an examples, about you, in particular, mentioned too … not that in accuracy, but he knew and was even proud of it.
– Yes. We have made a large number of nonsenses! – he said, having remembered about the scandal made to him, Apukhtin and Kireev in St. Petersburg's beau monde by the young offspring of noble family who had blow the trumpet of free customs in the city School of jurisprudence, – Some prince Veletsky had set up us then, told to gutter press as we become sticky to him, passez-moi le mot vulgaire. * But it was so long ago that I've just forgot. It's visible, everything spreads from there …
* Excuse me for the rough word (fr.)
– Stop worrying, Pierre. All the same they perfectly speak of you in assembly, especially ladies. My mother as has learned that you to me with music, so herself has ordered to all domestics that didn't prevent to be engaged. You could make a good match, by the way, – eyes of the prince sparkled by passion, young man didn't dissemble at all.
– Can be. But, I have one shortcoming, Kostya. I can't lie. Probably, it's given by the nature, – he bitterly grinned, – Together with musical abilities and «hillock-mania».
– Others live, and nothing, don't fall into hysterics at least, – the young man felt sad, – I should establish a family with some princess too …
– I think, by such tool as at you, Kostya, you will cope with it without special problems, huh? And you won't compose the sad verses any more! – he joked in reply.
– Ha-ha-ha! Vous etes flatter-moi, monsieur le professeur! * ... And say, my verses were pleasant to you too?
– Very much! It is good that you have no military subject. It doesn't contradict your naval path?
– At all. Simply, I don't like pathos patriotism. I like to write and praise more of what we should protect and defend. Mainly, feelings. Fine feelings of conscience, of duty, love, honor … what there more?
– Why? And what to do if under a screen of conscience meanness is covered, self-interest rules over feelings of duty and love, and they remember of honor only when it is profitable? How with this? All this should be protected too?
– I think that it is necessary to fight against it.
– And how? How if you don't know the truth and masks are so skillful, that you won't distinguish?
– What do you think about it? – Kostya has asked, having risen on an elbow.
– I am? ... It is impossible to help by guns there. I bank on music – I am an actor and I have chosen to myself this mission. Only for my music I also hope, as for deeply individual form of art capable to overturn world view of each person. I would like to know, Kostya, what is more steady in our world,
* You flatter me, mister professor! (fr.)
politics, or art! Is given to me – the art. In my opinion, no jurisprudence will help with perfection of the personality as also no military exercises will help. In that case, do you know what I offer?...
Kostya began to embrace and to kiss him again.
– No, let's later. Let's dress and will engage at first in my clavier.
He considered acquaintance and the beginning of friendship with Konstantin as the given him original luck, real happiness. Now three times a week he had an opportunity to see the prince and to execute his concert in four hands. The young man was very susceptible and played wonderful. By the end of decade they were already engaged in playing not in the musical study, but in the big drawing room on two grand pianos, and it turned out absolutely not bad – he undertook simply the orchestral part, and Kostya executed solo. There was a strong wish to listen the concert accompanied by orchestra, for execution of the second part he even took along on studies the memorable reed that was bought then at the market, on the bank of Mazilovo pond – it located in jacket pocket – however in the presence of guests has been decided not to use it.
The intimate contacts which have arisen with the prince – as well as with Roman – didn’t disturb at all, on the contrary, they supplemented creative partnership. «It is the destiny, it is destiny! – he repeated mentally, summing up events of the expiring year, remembering words of Blavazkaya – «You will be notice!», dropped by her at fleeting audience accidentally, but now seeming to him prophetical, – The destiny has smiled to us! I will give Roma, by all means I will give him a start in life! ». Happening with the young prince in private now, observing him often deshabille *, with slightly angular pliant body and long limbs, he couldn't get off contradictory thoughts: « From what everything is arranged so unfairly in the world? Why Roman’s body and talent are perfect in physical relation but noted not by crown, but captivity? What it is more important, the high blooded origin of Kostya, or his musical and poetic abilities? Why I love one, and another, apparently, is crazy about me? Perhaps it is THE ONE, but is sent me in TWO PERSONS? And, how I have to direct it? What shall I do? »
However, without finding intelligible answers to the asked himself painful questions, he as happened more than once, was simply given to own destiny which was written down, seemed, high in heaven, in commandments inaccessible to reason.
* Undressed (fr.)
On Sunday Konstantin called guests to organize the premiere. It was the chamber, family dinner on limited number for very much notable persons as big receptions weren't arranged at the small court on the Christmas fast. For his part with consent of the prince he invited only his brother, Modest and his leader, Nikolay Grigoryevich Rubenstein.
– Is required to warn you: rumors are about free morals at the Grand-ducal court, – the boss said him when, having sat down in carriage, they have gone to the palace.
«What still is this? – he keyed up – From where and what Nicolas can know?»
– What such rumors?
– Is said, His highness-senior, has left the wife, the Grand duchess Aleksandra Iosifovna. And have contacted some ballerina, as if has children from her – generally, such any bad. Everybody condemn, but keep silent for fear to fall into disgrace. So you don't support this talks just in case …
«Thank God, not about me and not about Kostya! Is to be off also this scandal! »
Modya waited for them in frost directly at the fencing near gatehouse, muffled up in overcoat, tapping by foots on the snow in his holiday patent leather half-boots, and himself looked like a terrorist. «However, thanks the official ID, it wouldn't be terrible to Modya to appear also in the hoosegow – right there he would be identify and will release».
Having climbed a carpet of chic marble ladder, they came to be in the not less grandiose gold lobby where they were immediately met by the young prince. Konstantin looked fantastically in his black frock coat with the Andreev's star embroidered on lapel and blue medal ribbon through his shoulder clasped on his hip by a diamond sign, there was no limit to grace of the young prince!
– Ladies and Gentlemen! Tchaikovsky Peter Il'ich with the brother, Modest, and Rubenstein Nikolay Grigoryevich, I ask to love and favor! – the young prince declared, having escorted them to the hall, – Today we together with Peter Ilyich will play for you his new composition for piano, but as there is no orchestra, we will execute this concert on two grand pianos a duet, – the public quickened, – And then we will ask also Nikolay Grigoryevich to play us something according to your applications for any choice. I ask you to put notes with your wishes here, to this box, and for now we wait for appearance of my parents who will be any minute.
It was gathered guests, indeed, very little – twenty persons, not more, and they were somehow lost a small group, settling down at chairs placed by semicircle among great and magnificent hall. It was very emotional. While waited for the Grand-ducal couple, it was time to try the grand piano and to touch keys at some distance from public.
– I have some news for you from Nikolay Andreich. Can you imagine? All the same they have found for Roman Akinfeev, – Kostya was able to whisper, going to the instrument opposite.
– Is that so?! What a pleasure! And where?
– In the Kherson naval college. I have asked to transfer him here, to Kronstadt …
It was so unexpectedly … He didn't know what to say and how to thank the prince! There was a wish to fall upon the neck, to embrace and to kiss Kostya in full view of the public! And, should be he will make this, and, probably, would shake the bases of the Russian imperial courtesy if the master of ceremony appeared in the doorway declared the arrival of Their Highnesses. Konstantin hurried to meet.
Then they have been presented to the grand-ducal couple. Appearance of the imperial brother, Grand duke Konstantin Nikolaevich was thought something familiar, similar to appearance of the late emperor Nikolay Pavlovich who happened to be contemplated once in youth during the highest visit to School of jurisprudence – the same features, particularly a cold look, it should seem, as at all Romanovs. His spouse, Grand duchess Aleksandra Iosifovna, despite middle years, seemed the real beauty, at the same time both stately, and easy in converse, with clear look of acute gray eyes, and he understood suddenly that Kostya not only the look, but natural grace most of all resembles mother, than father.
– Mon fils sans esprit de vous, Peter Il'ich! Chaque jour il chante vos romans, meme pendant des doctrines d'armee,* – she tenderly said, offering him a hand for kissing.
* My son is crazy about you, Peter Il'ich! He sings every day your romances, even on military training (fr.)
– Je suis heureux, votre altesse! J'espere, cela aidera sa carriere militaire,** – he answered, being inspired with all events in particular by received suddenly news of Roman's transfer to Kronstadt.
They sat to play concert with vigorous feeling.
– Don't watch a lot at the keys, you know them well, look more often at me in my eyes, – he addressed Kostya, – Well, good luck!
What happened with grand pianos, he didn't understand: the instruments sounded as if an orchestra – both on force of sounds, and on variety of timbres – keyboard literally sang from under hands. Kostya played diligently, at first too correctly, but to median cadence *** has got hot, and both of them have felt original pleasure from the duet. The second part of concert, despite of the reed lack, turned out not bad too, however he has nearly leaved note on imitations of orchestra wind instruments, and they made the final really scintillating, by Russian wide and naughty allegro. When all sounds ceased, having disappeared in far corners of the hall, the guests have approvingly applauded following Grand duke, arising from their seats.
– Your son is wonderful pupil and excellent performer, your highness! – he exclaimed, having forgotten about etiquette, sturdily kissed Kostya, and leaded to the father, – I very, very much happy with this collaboration!
– It is good that my son didn't confuse you. However, I didn't doubt him, – Grand duke answered, having patted Konstantin on head, – Will you have supper with us, Peter Il'ich?
– I've promised guests still the second part, with playing of Nikolay Grigoryich Rubenstein, – Kostya broke in conversation, – The box of applications is full there ...
– Well, well. Let's listen at first Nikolay Grigoryich, not that, really, what music after food! – Grand duke has joked.
It was unusually pleasant to him to enjoy once again sounds of the divine instrument, and Rubenstein has helped with it, playing absolutely without any preparation, pulling out notes from box just at random: imaginations D-minor and C-minor of Mozart, Beethoven's "Appassionata" in three parts, of about ten Chopin’s preludes, several "Sheets from an album" of Schuman, – everything that the refined public has ordered in their wishes! And at the end he declared:
* I am happy, your highness! I hope, it will help his military career (fr.)
** Êàäàíñ – virtuosic solo in instrumental music (auth.)
– Ladies and gentlemen, using presence of the author, I want to play you his composition which you certainly didn't hear yet - it is the nocturne C sharp minor. Tremendous, charming, my favourite nocturne. Listen! – Having ended the play, Rubinshtejn closed grand piano cover, and said: – It's thought to me that we have got today one more remarkable Russian composer, Peter Il'ich Tchaikovsky.
He didn't know where to put himself from the applause which has fallen all-around, approached the boss, embraced him and said:
– And, it is thought to me that without such virtuoso and enthusiast as Nikolay Grigoryevich Rubenstein, the Russian music in general would be impossible!
They came back home in classy carriage provided by Kostya. The world seemed perfect, all surrounding sounds – divine, Modya – the most nice soul in the world, and Nicolas – the wisest of all leaders.
– Petya, you are born with a silver spoon in mouth! – the boss said him.
– I am?! That’s a stretch! It is you were born under a lucky star, not me.
– You don't appreciate anything again; you live in some life which was thought up to yourself. To whom when and in what times it happened to make it into a favor in few days in the high society and not at someone there, but at the grand duke of imperial blood, tell me please?
– And this all came from you, Kolya. I had nothing to do with that. Truly I am grateful to you for everything … I don't know how to thank you …
– You are grateful to me … you’d better thanked yourself, and God who has endowed you with such destiny! More advantage would be. You don't realize and don't use anything that is given to you!
– I am?! I don't use?! Ah, leave you Jewish manuals! Whatever gave you that idea that I use nothing from it? And as if it is necessary?
– What of? Here, for example, you need Roman Akinfeev, huh? His owners have substituted you, huh? And moreover in large not that some trifle. Here it is not only money, but human destiny. So you, taking an opportunity, would throw on to the grand duke this question, said – so and so, I was in their manor as a guest, and something at them is wrong, peasants are offended and so on. It would be appointed the commission according to the royal direction, would begin checked, but wouldn't find anything – all the same would spoil much nerves to these owners.
– I am not vindictive, Kolya. What’s up with this? To increase the evil? And Roman was already found, by the way – will transfer to Kronstadt soon. Then we will think how to return him to our conservatory. The Highness-younger told me this just today.
– As you wish … but only our world, unfortunately, exists not in major tones – that's right! And do you know, I've reconnoitered who has flunked this young lady, the protege, Lisa Sapozhenkova at examinations!
– And who?
– Exactly Filimonov Dmitry that at me recently petitioned for the room – so, it was happend in front of you! Is given to me that she l'a refuse *, well and he also to her, accordingly – in a good mark on examination.
«Interestingly, who edified Lisa to observe morals from the tender nail? Maman? Peachy! Enchante!** Surely enough to Anna Petrovna to observe morality – oh-oh! What a filth, huh?! It is good that Roma has removed the scales from my eyes on happening, or I wouldn't know, didn't deal where something is coming from! »
In Demidov Lane Nicolas came off, and they have gone home, at last. Modya sat opposite, silently looked out the window at snow-covered streets, and suddenly asked:
– And who is this Roman Akinfeev? – it was possible to guess in a little offended tone and a beetle-browed look that conversation with Nicolas wasn't really pleased to the brother.
He moved closer and embraced Modya.
– What? Do you jealous, seriously? Roman is very talented young man, the heaven-born singer. I wanted to support him, and we have enrolled him at the Moscow conservatory, having lost sight of his not suitable estate. Because of our carelessness he was taken away to the army, now we think how to return him. But, you do not jealous, please! I am not jealous you of your pupil, is that true? And you do not jealous. I will surely acquaint you with Roma, don't worry!
Modya, at last, smiled and raised on him the eyes shining from tears:
– And, it's truth! I am jealous you. Of everything, of all in the world!
* Has refused to him (fr.)
** It's quite too! (fr.)
On Monday evening he received by courier the following note: «P. I.! Remained a week, while I am present here. Right after Christmas I have to leave to military training. Therefore, come as usual, in Wednesday to make music, all right? Answer me with the same courier. K.R.» Being pleased with the invitation, right there he wrote «Bien!» * on the back of sheet.
Kostya, dressed this time home-style simply, however, not free at all, opened the door himself.
– And you, where do you direct your steps after holiday? – he inquired at the prince in antechamber, hanging up his coat.
– Just to Odessa, to Nikolay Andreich. Has to be there on the tenth of January. I will navigate spring and summer.
– It's funny how things work out as we navigate at the same time, but in different directions! – he smiled with grief, – I will go to Boston on the Christmas week, only from Nantes!
– Well, I will write you letters and sent verses, – Kostya got closer to him, having embraced, – And you to me - your plays for piano and romances, yes?
– Sure. Here I've brought today something for you: sketches of the new ballet.
– Come in, come in, Pete, we will play …
They sat down at the grand piano to which, was seemed, Kostya would prefer at first sofa. «Where are my young years, huh? On Kostya's place in days of old I would prefer a sofa too. But, no matter! We will have a good time later – and he will learn lessons better», – he thought, having mentally smiled.
Kostya took from him the ballet notebook and read on its cover:
– «Le Lac des sygnes». The Lake of swans? Why swans? And whose libretto?
– It is mine. You see I don't want to get in wrong any author by this libretto. Especially it isn't finished yet.
– And how you compose the music?
* Nice! (fr.)
– That's what I compose this, so far intuitively. Here is several themes for waltzes, will you play? Or, me at first?
– Play you at first, then – I will.
He took theme for the big waltz assumed in the first action, and afterwards – also the small waltz. Both were brilliant, but cold as was thought by him for official scenes. But, when themes of waltzes for swans from would-be second action have gone, the young and talented prince sat down at his side and begun to accompany.
– And what is it? – Kostya asked, pointing to further notes in the notebook.
– There are adagio sketches, but here it is very lingering, the violin is necessary, or better – two, – he explained. «It will be necessary allow to play to Kotek, he will make it good».
– Great! Excellent waltzes! I submit how it can be danced to the orchestra! But, after all, Pete, tell me what is the ballet?
– You know what I mean, I want to exempt Roman from serfdom, myself – from fault before him, and all people – from the evil immensely absorbing them irrespective of where and in what it was shown. For this purpose, actually, I also think out a plot as if to dramatize, visualize the music which I named as ballet that it was clearer to the theater-goer.
– And by what you would «get in wrong» someone from authors, having taken the ready plot?
– I intend very few women's parties in the ballet. You have a look, there on the last page there is a libretto sketch. What characters there? Only villain hostess, and that's all. As for the rest there are men's parties – prince-hunter, swan-man – it is men's parties; rural lads turned by the wicked sorceress into the flight of swans, friends of the prince, who else … the image of the evil having seized the hostess – all of this are men's parties. There are not accepted somehow a lot of men's parties in performances of the imperial theaters. It wasn't accepted still for at least. If I have also taken from someone the plot then only remade in compliance with music. But, the main thing, the main – if it is not mine, doesn't excite at all and underwhelm from any part, I couldn't compose in this case.
– Why only man's? You can include here, for example, the reason for ball – bride-shows. Why not an occasion? Here at once several parties for brides to you, – offered Kostya.
«But yes! It is visible, it is his sore subject as at Shalovsky», – he thought, having remembered bride-shows, and also own troubles in Nosovo.
– Why? It is idea! This means a fresh mind! But, all the same Hungarian dance, for example, seems to me, ladies won't dance as it is necessary. There is too much man's passion, – he explained, joking, – I had a thought that the swans exempted from evil spells, having turned back rural guys again, dance only in men's cast in the ballet final.
Kostya hung on his neck:
– Je te veux. Nous irons ; la chambre, ensuite ;tudierons encore?*
It was absolutely impossible now to object Kostya: neither to his youthful spontaneity, nor to expression of his eyes full of desire to test physical proximity, nor to delightfully nervous and gentle fingers of his large and beautiful arms, – and no qualms of conscience could help here …
– Pete, you don't even know yourself what you are actually, what you … what you brill! – Kostya whispered, having leaned back on the pillow, – You, surely, very much love Roman, huh?
Not to answer honestly to this direct question in such private situation was absolutely inconceivable. «Meeting me in the palace, the young prince – because of me! – risks the reputation too, and how! More, than I am, perhaps!»
– As it is strange, Kostya – with you I am happy, and I love him … but, sometimes it seems to me that both of you … both of you are given me by destiny, and I have to, must undertake to cope with it. And, you tell me, you will have no troubles because of me? Because of our contacts?
Kostya arose from the bed, approached the window and poured to himself water from decanter.
– Oh, what a troubles! Calm down, nobody will know. It would be able to them to cope with own problems - it's not to me to them.
– Whom do you mean?
– My parents. Father has the second family. It's them so, together on public, but lives separately. He has bought the house for his passion, and they are – there. And we, mother, brothers, we are – here. Of course, it can't be pleasant
* I want you. Let's go to the bedroom, and then we will work again? (fr.)
to His majesty, he condemns, however suffers this situation and only because is not himself an angel sinless. And divorces, Pete, aren’t accepted in the imperial house – alas! – Kostya heaved a sigh, – Such affairs. So they are not concern about me and my morality – do not worry, they are concern before about the undivided property. Well, and, of course, as if it's more profitable to marry me - it is too.
«As it is strange how the destiny tests me by intimate and creative contacts and not as many others with young ladies-brides, but with two young and talented lads! At one isn't present neither house nor home, and another lives in palace in luxury, however both of them aren't free in anything – neither in choice of the destiny, nor in choice of the wife, – in anything!.. Also both of them are completely blameless, – as the world is bewitched so. The world is bewitched by the evil! What can I do against it? What? Really can delicate flower resists the incoming of winter? »
He arose, approached Kostya, nestled to his thin long body, embraced, showered with kisses and whispered:
– Everything will be all right, Kostya! You will see! Let us go. We will dress, and I'll play to you more.
… Kostya repeated after him etude «Aveu passione» in the accuracy as if he would learn for memory long ago, even with bigger expression!
– I should be at the court. The day after tomorrow I am in Strelna, and leave to Odessa from there, – the young prince said at parting, – Visibly, we will meet again only at the end of this summer. I hope, you won't refuse me in it? – the request, almost entreaty shone in gray eyes of Konstantin.
– Surely! If I will be in Moscow, and we won't go somewhere to tours, I am whole in your rule, mon cher, but …
– And you do not worry, – Kostya impatiently interruptd him, – surely I will find out in Odessa more precisely about Roman Akinfeev, and surely will send you the letter by courier. I have the only request: destroy my notes concerning this subject, all right? And, better, answer me with the same courier as you made it now. As soon as Roman will be transferred to Kronstadt, I will submit the application on the highest name that he was exempted from military service, by way of exception.
– My young prince, I ask god and hope to see both of you, Roma and you, next year at us in conservatory!
– Or maybe also at us in the palace, my inestimable friend! – Kostya laughed in reply.
They have separated at that.
Upon returning to Moscow again educational days, studies, what is more, both morning and evening, were pulled, and it was no time absolutely to concentrate not only on the «Swan lake», but in general on anything. He came home by the night, and in his ears only the bent scales and cock voices of careless students had sounded. Having arrived, he found out that with all affairs he forgot in St. Petersburg to walk into the musical magazine to give to the publisher, Matvey Ivanovich Bernard, the two first music pieces from estimated cycle «Seasons» which Bernard was going to publish monthly for the good honorarium. «Here I am blockhead brainless! – once again he abused himself, – I am not even able to earn properly! Other on my place long ago would scare together a fortune!» Immediately, right there he wrote to the dearest Matvei Ivanovich and has urgently sent Alexey to the post-office to get off manuscripts. In general, however, the mood was raised, as always these days waiting for Christmas miracles.
On the most Christmas Eve, in the afternoon, Laroche horned in with congratulations.
– J'entendais sur tes succ;s ; la Cour. F;licite!*
– It's interesting, and about what you, Gesha, has heard a lot? – «My God! Really he has found out something indeed about me and the young prince?!»
– How's this? As you've got to a favor to Konstantin-junior and as on two pianos both of you executed your concert which generally should be execute with an orchestra, – Laroche sat down to the piano and made couple of chords.
– Aha! Have already reported means?
– Of course! Your boss has especially tried. Now all musical society also comment only this fact. Only about this they chew the fat. Os behind os! Suck and spit. And you unless don't feel how your barebone becomes thinner?
He was alarmed outright:
– No, really, Gesha what is talk?
– But don't look so worried, Pete! Really and truly! Now speaks, generally Nikolay Grigoryich. Others round eyes and are surprised because until recently the boss spoke of your piano concert absolutely another, he told all opposite,
* I has heard a lot about your progress at the Court. Congratulations! (fr.)
and simply – abused. And not just abused, but have actually defamed your composition!
– Yes, I know, and …
– There now, you know everything, but so worry! – Laroche burst out laughing.
– But, no, Gesha, I sent the manuscript to Byuloff absolutely without any hope of success. And von Byuloff just hopefully played the concert! It was unexpectedly for me – absolutely! And now he invites me to Boston to get acquainted, asks a new music more. All of this became known to His highness, methinks, thanks to the same Nikolay Grigoryich, by the way, and you judge him so badly … Constantine-junior asked me to study, and we have played the concert by two grand pianos. We have played as we could as far as narrow framework of both my visit to St. Petersburg, and his daily schedule allowed us to be prepared. I say you really: we played as we could – maybe, not quite skillfully. Rubenstein himself would play better.
– Konstantin can’t play bad, don't pitch me a line!
– And from where do you know?
– So, I gave him the lessons. He has a born talent for pianism, he is a fan of piano.
– It feels. – «Thank God, so far off the hook without scandal! Though who would venture to talk scandal about imperial family! »
– Yeh-h, Pete! Here you can see how is estimate at us the new works, and in general innovativeness in music: if they will support above, so each and all will support. And if won't support – so to be you in unknown stepsons of the art, – Laroche said grievously, taking the offered cigarette, – Merci beaucoup.* Let, I will write on that subject an article in «The Moscow Gazette», huh? And will give the story with your concert as example, huh?
– It seems to me that it will only be less well. On this subject it's better to interview Constantine-junior. Seems, will be more advantage, and that is not the fact. Will blur over, will rub out, will bend your ear, and will safely forget. Address to him, I think, he won't refuse you.
– Eh bien, je penserai.** – Laroche pronounced with interest and begun to
* Thanks a lot! (fr.)
** Well, I will think. (fr.)
start up smoke to the ceiling, then suddenly asked: – By the way, do you go to the Assambley tomorrow?
– And what's there, ball? I wasn't invited, I am not engaged.
– Here it is! What is necessary! I wasn't invited too. And we together are free as birds-swans, so long as there is not only the ball, but also masquerade! And everyone is invited.
– Well, and? What will we do there?
– As they were had the nerve not to invite us there, Pete, I suggest after all to be there and to pull their leg. If masquerade why not to joke? You know Bastardella?
– No, I don't. Why I have to know her?
– Why? You don't know Bastardella, Pete?! The unique soprano, all Moscow turns on from her! Following Venice, Madrid, London and Vienna! There are fantastic sellouts at her concerts!
– Well, I've heard something, but not aware, – «Now Gesha will pin me down to some fact», – he thought, knowing irrepressible nature of the friend.
– And will you be able to play the Neapolitan dance from the «Children's album»? I remember, you strummed me somehow, such nice melody!
– I slightly remember too, but it's necessary to repeat. But I haven't understood yet, in what connection here is Bastardella?
– Right, Pete. Good enough. Let us try! Sit down at the piano, let's try, – Laroche turned on the heat.
He found left unfinished «Children's album» on the musical shelf and played the Neapolitan dance from there, and Gesha sang under this accompaniment, a cracked contralto: «Ah my mud room, my mud room*...». It turned out ridiculously, but awkwardly, it was required to work a little, and they also were engaged with that.
– All right. Tell me, Gesha what you conceived, or I won't cooperate, – he joked after several enough successful attempts to build words to the music.
– I ordered in printing-office several announcements with the notice "Bastardella Sings" and stuck – a little absolutely so that to
* Russian folk song (auth.)
set a rumor. Further. We will go with you to shop of a theatrical requisite, will pick up dresses, and, having changed clothes, will stiff public also in full swing! I have already hired the leader of Christmas ball, Vasily Grigoryich, director of student's theater!
– Gesha, you have gone crazy. How we will act in women's dresses, you have thought?
– We will be passed as usual at the entrance. Without invitations, truth be told … but I have arranged, we will be passed. Vasyl Grigorich, the director, will provide the make-up room for us.
– Look at yourself, Gesha, what of you Bastardella? If it grows where at her, then in the other place, but at you – on your face! As you want, but I won't be shave off my beard for the sake of such comedy!
– We will do without masks, Pete, there are such classy masks in the shop – you can't even imagine! I’ve seen. With su-uch hairdresses!
– And what about tournures? Did you wear tournures sometimes? It is unthinkable to wear them! ...
Generally, Gesha persuaded. They have gone to the Kuznetsky Bridge* shop to select fancy dress. On slender figures of both majority of available ladies' dresses hung as on clothes rails, but, nevertheless, two crepe with deaf collar had attracted: light gray with silver braid – for him, and cherry with gold one – for Gesha, – just like Christmas tree decorations! They enclosed wadding under corset and tightened to the full, but all the same, dresses didn't fit waist tightly, tournures dangled behind as peacock tails.
– Yeh! Our two selves really lack the curvy shapes! – Gesha joked, dressing a corset, – Pull, pull properly, not that will rattle!
Masks, indeed, were expressive, colourful. He chosed for himself the one, with the wig of prudish lady with eye-glasses and huge lock on the top, because of the being seen beard the neck had to be covered with chiffon; and Gesha – the whole garment in the form of mask with abundance of multi-colored feathers on the hat, neck and breast in which he became absolute incognito. They have ordered with delivery.
In due time they were in Assembly where by evasion of ticket men kind Vasyl Grigoryich has let them at the artistic enter, they have agreed to meet exactly in an hour in the make-up room and right there were demarcated in crowd of the fast arriving guests. Assembling public was mainly very motley,
* Moscow street name (auth.)
all persons – absolutely unrecognizable, lots of entered lobby already in masks, right there dumped outerwear and appeared in various bright mascot costumes. Footmen were off legs, moving armfuls of furs, coats and overcoats from owners to the cloakroom. Here at once were found the Ukrainian Cossacks in wide trousers and the Russian maidens in kokoshniks, the Spanish conquistadors in armor and the Brazilian machoes in leggings, the Turkish corsairs and the Egyptian bondmaids, sagittariuses and buffoons, Georgian princesses and Circassians, blackamoors and brahmen – seldom who appeared in ordinary tail-coat or ceremonial dress, being limited to concealment of the face. He has providently put on a mask too, being afraid though someone to be recognized.
Two posters were hanged in the lobby: «Today Bastardella», having put up in plain view.
– Comme c'est charmant! Est-il possible ?! – having read, the young lady in blue dominoes with stars has splashed hands.
– Nous irons plus rapidement au la salle**– her chaperon in the same, with stars, but light-blue dominoes had hurried.
He went upstairs. Public looked forward the beginning of annual Christmas ball given by Moscow musical society, it was already complete in drawing rooms, however they didn't let yet to the place of celebrations. In the corner of anteroom Christmas tree shone, the smell of fresh needles, carried foods and wine was caught; there was a feeling of something mysterious and magic, familiar since the childhood that is easier transferred in sounds, but not in words. The orchestra had already prepared, he removed quietly portiere and saw Napravnik who, having thrown off tail-coat, disposed on podium. Some musicians had already sat at the lecterns and attuned instruments, apparently, Strauss, Mendelssohn and Chopin were outlined in the program.
Having wandered in mask among motley fancy-dress crowd about half an hour, he didn’t distinguished anybody with overall assurance as well as himself has been recognized by nobody. However, some young ladies covered with dense make-up sidled several times with questions, but he pretended to be the foreigner badly knowing Russian and French languages. Having caught in reply the German speech, girls had left with laughter. At last, under sounds of fanfares from Mendelssohn’s solemn overture all portieres were opened,
* As it is charming! Really?! (fr.)
** Let's go faster to the hall. (fr.)
and guests have been invited to the dazzling white colonnade of the big hall. The master of ceremony conducting celebrations, in the wig and yellow camisole of Peter-the-first's era, having knocked three times by staff on the parquet, solemnly declared the waltz in which first steps were set, apparently, by pupils of choreographic school turned among guests with enthusiasm.
In the make-up room offstage he was already waited by Laroche. Tournure was suited to Gesha as to chimpanzee a tail-coat, but when the mask and plumage have been put on, not too bad at all – was accustomed. He has put on the fancy dress too, having gradually chosen numerous it's exotic accessories from the big box, and quikly that own appearance not to injure nerves, he pulled the mask. Impressive madam with an enormous wig and tiny eye-glasses on her nose tip, with the musical folder under her arm looked at him in the mirror. «It's really better to be incognito, than never more, – he thought with a grin, – as I am fated also to this experience! Of course, it is inconvenient to play in such mask, but, eventually, it is possible to play blindly …»
Having disguised, waiting for entrance together with Laroche they began to watch events on the scene. The orchestra directed by Napravnik rattled never-ending easy waltz of Strauss, but was nastily, stuffy and there was a wish to throw off fancy dress immediately. Fortunately, it wasn't necessary to suffer long.
– And now, dear guests, I am happy to declare that prima of the European scene adored by many fans of music, the incomparable prima donna Bastardella has come to recognize us today! Pray! – Napravnik proclaimed, hoped over to them off-stage and led «prima donna» in color feathers to the scene.
He hurried afterwards, trying not to be entangled by pleats of long dress. It was catastrophically inconvenient to sit down at the grand piano because the tournure prevented. The public at once noticed all these awkwardness and has actually derided. At last, they settled. He opened notes that Laroche palmed on in the make-up room, and only here it was reached him that all this from beginning to end – the bam! On the first page of the clavier it was appeared «The Russian folk song «Ah my mud room»!
«So that's how it is?! Then hold out!» – it had flashed in the mind.
– But, it is other notes, madam! – he said quizzically by own voice, loudly and in Russian. The hall banged from laughter.
– Je suis ne comprends pas. Vous etes jouez comodo, staccato, comodo *, s'il vous plait!** – «prima donna» in the mask turned back to him.
And they, at last, had burst the rehearsed earlier Neapolitan song:
Ah my mud room, ah my mud room,
Ah my mud room, my new mud room!
New mud room, new maple mud room
New maple mud room, ah lattice mud room!
I am young, went out,
I am young, went out, ah out of the new gates!
I let out, I let out a falcon,
I let out a falcon from the right sleeve!
Fly, fly, little falcon, to the native, native place
To the native, native place.
At the native, native place, at the place, at the place,
My strict father lives.
I will disobey! Disobey, disobey!
At the native, native place I will amuse
I will amuse, ah, the stout fellow!
At that time «prima donna», having stepped and applauded few times, made a circular pirouette and waved the embroidered kerchief in her hand. The public was struck, screamed and had burst in applause.
– It is surprise for you, ladies and gentlmen on the occasion of Christmas holiday! – Napravnik exclaimed, – Tchaikovsky Peter Il'ich, Laroche Herman Avgustovich! I ask to love and favor!
Acknowledging the applause, they took off, at last, their masks. It was necessary after all to change clothes, and then still to play from own repertoire, mainly, waltzes. Laroche didn't sing any more.
It wasn't fallen asleep to him long time at the night , in spite of fatigue and a lot of champagne drunk at the ball in Assambley. Small troubles seemed, it was necessary long ago to forget about many of them, however absolutely inopportunely on Christmas, breaking, in general, a cloudless, iridescent background of his present life, they unexpectedly appeared, one is worse another. In particular the last trick seemed vile when in the heat of the masquerade someone in the make-up and under dense veil suddenly addressed to him: « And the number at you very foul, Peter Il'ich, and also you
* comodo, staccato – musical tempos
** I don't understand. Play comodo, staccato, comodo, please! (fr.)
have played hilariously! And music at you – so-so, your musical highness!» And, this somebody emphasized the last clownish address not just with humour, but with obvious jeer. «Hey, hey, rascal ! I've recognized you! Correct your mask, not that is a shame before all! » – he shouted to the stranger after, but that's trail already went cold. Has come in dream as if someone takes off an indifferent- welcoming mask of a faultless-beautiful face, and under it – this evil in the sape of Anna Petrovna Sapozhenkova breathes and stares at him with hatred in eyes. Afterwards one more mask is discharged, this time, of the faultless-meek person, with wrinkles at eyes and stiffened smile, and under it – the face of hurting unit Lisa. Then – one more mask slides from the faultless-friendly face, baring stale look and eyes-beads of Dmitry Fyodorovich Filimonov. And then more masks, there is a lot of them, Katharine Krasnova and Lizzie Shaposhnikova, the retiree Tuzhikov and the official Kudesin, and even Sashka-coachy, – and all of them has a cold, spiteful smile on the face. And, he is afraid that however the next mask opened, and under it in the image of universal evil he distinguishes someone in whom he didn't think, didn't assume and wouldn't like to recognize meanness! And now, in this never-ending dream he goes after maskers to some dark cave with an iron lattice where Roma sits and asks him about help. It is dark in the cave, but he feels with every fiber of his soul Roman's presence and with all his might, shouts to the lad in darkness: «Suffer a little, Roma, I will release you! » He approaches and – it is strange! – without efforts, easily removes the pig-iron cage hammered into the stone. Rocks shudder, and something dark takes off from the cave as dust and ashes, angry and ruthless, it gathers over the sea in the flight of black birds which warp a cloud blow over the water and disappear burning down in intolerably bright beams of rising sun. And – oh, horror! – Roman isn't present at all in the heated cave – there is only the deep, highlighted to the smallest grain of sand, become empty cavity on rocks as if suffer from an illness abscess on body!
That Sunday morning he woke up with inexplicable feeling of loss. Nothing were pleased – neither music sheets with sketches, nor playing a piano, nor Christmas tree in the room, nor photos on the wall, nor diary, nor letters, nor cards, nor breakfast given by Lyosha, nor even wonderful weather outside the window, – nothing. He began to overlook yesterday's newspapers where – in all – along with the Christmas chronicle there were messages about awful accident on the Odessa railroad, near the Tiligul crossing. The train moved from Kherson to Odessa. «Locomotive derailed, – he read the note with emotion, – took on to the left across the break of the mound, had swayed and departed, lugging away 11 cars with recruits (419 persons), two cars with passengers of the 3rd class and platform with wheat and corn belonging to individuals … After lugging away by locomotive 11 cars 5000 poods of bread had departed. All this had stalled in a pile and burned up from the tender filled with coal lying below … Noone of survivor can remember as well as that happened to him, cannot explain how he has escaped … So, from 419 recruits have survived, as informs the official declaration, 219 persons … Therefore, burned down in the fire about 140 … the others on the wanted list, are missing».
He grabbed his coat and cap and ran to the next entrance to Laroche.
– Do you … do you have who in «Gazette» an acquaintance? Is to whom to apply for? – he asked in extreme nervousness, having shown crumpled newspaper to Gesha.
Laroche looked through the note and said:
– Depends what to ask. And why you've got worried? You have someone from the family, from acquaintances had met with accident?
«What to say? That dear friend? That pupil? Then, how he could appear among recruits? As it is possible to characterize the relations with Roman briefly? It is impossible because that you will tell – everything as if a lie! Ah, all the same, here goes!»
– Roman Akinfeev could be there, from bonded, my protege. He was enrolled at conservatory this year, and I strove for him. Gesha, I need to know precisely before departure that he wasn't there, in that unfortunate train, otherwise I won't reach to Boston! You couldn't ask for whom in newspaper office the list of surnames of recruits transported to Odessa? – shiver in the voice disclosed the big anxiety.
– Today it's Sunday. I am afraid, we will find nobody in newspaper office, – Laroche said, having looked at him with some surprise, – And when you leave?
– On Tuesday.
– I will be in the newspaper tomorrow and will ask the list of surnames, of course, if it in general exists. How to call him, you speaks? Akinfeev?
– Yes. Roman Akinfeev. Ask them, please. I will drop in to you tomorrow after classes.
Having left Laroche, he called the cab and asked to get to the Novinsky mooring. Since they have separated with Roma, before the harvest, he didn't appear here. Sledge coach, tinkling a bell, apparently, today for the first time has covered this distance along the river for slid on the road as if a pen on the clean sheet of paper. The embankment appeared to him absolutely empty and pristine-white from the snow having dropped out at the night, and only near mouth of Presnya*, at the landing-stage, the black ice-hole was formed in the river, and two fluffy white swans gracefully floated there!
«Si-minor! Really?! Which of two? This is the sign! This the sign? If it's the sign to me, then about what?? That everything will be all right, and Roma is alive, has safely escaped, and we again, again as two swans will fly up to the magic ocean of music? Or, or … it is only the farewell, sad chord? My God, Save and Protect!..» – he reflected feverishly, having waded snow to the ice-hole.
– What a beautiful birds! – he exclaimed, addressing the worker of landing-stage who has gone out of doors to smoke, – Why haven't flew away?
– And who knows!! What a winter now? Either snow, or rain, either frost, or slush …– the worker, the garrulous guy in uniform of the river shipping company answered him, kneading a gasper, – But these two, seem, for other reason. One, young it's visible, haven't learned to fly, and another is older – doesn't want to leave that. Here they are of about a week, as ice has tightened the river, they chose the place here. We feed them here, that means, bread, crumbs, – the worker kept silent, shaking ashes on snowdrift, – owner of the tavern here strives for them – sell me, says, I will fry.
– And you?
– He offered twenty rubles – now, we think.
– Don't do that! Don't sell! – he attacked a milvus on the worker, – Listen to me, whatever your name …
– All the more, namesake. I will give you fifty rubles right now! The sledge coach waits for me. Only catch for me them both living, right now! I will bring them to zoo.
Pyotr looked at him incredulously, however, the worker didn't know what are the swans and why by all means now it's required to suit them in zoo. Then for persuasiveness he took the wallet and showed money.
– Good. We will ponder! Wait here, – the worker quickened, disappearing in the landing-stage.
The workers of mooring needed a little more than half an hour to catch and captivate birds, one has scattered a network, and another has caught. And soon
* Name of the river (auth.)
with two sacks of the live load he had been in city zoo. Swans were accepted here, examined and appointed quarantine. «Glory to you, My God – I had saved! Now even though it is some hope also for Roman's rescue!»
And, really, having been to Laroche for the next day, he has got to know that the surname Akinfeev, fortunately, didn't appear in lists of the train's crash victims.
Encouraged by this news, in a day he will go to the long way to Boston: by train across the whole Europe, then by steamship across the ocean. At the station he will be seen off by Rubenstein:
– Give my regards to Byuloff, I met him somehow at concerts in Germany – the remarkable performer, fine conductor! It seems, and my execution then was pleasant to him too.
– Still we will look that Byulof has made of my concert! Though, you know, I am tolerant to many interpretations, – he will answer the boss, glancing at suitcases which Lyosha, having paid off the rigger, will begin to load into the car.
– That's right. You don’t very object the eminent performer, have to him the suitable respect. And yourself what else you will suggest him to play?
– As the situation may demand. I took with myself the string quartet, maybe, they will make it at me? And scores of all three symphonies …
– There-there. C'est bon*. But, I think, they won't master all three symphonies in a month. The string quartet – another matter!
– In fact, at choice – what it will be pleasant more, and I will give them all notes, let play then if they will want …
Having let out puffs of vapor, the train will blow precautionary whistle.
– All right, Pete. Let's say goodbye! I hope to see you home in full health at the beginning of March. Letters won't reach – telegraph if anything. Also don't forget about compensation, don't spend much! – will bid farewell him Nicolas, embracing, and will be so emotional that will grab in armful and kiss from the heart as well Lyosha standing on a respectful distance, – Be, guys! I will long for you!
* Good. (fr.)
…This road will become him almost habitual, however, looking from train window at the winter Moscow-area forest, he will note with grief that for some time the whole world for him is measurable now only from Kuntsovo station of the Brest railway. He will spend three days to Paris, practically without leaving the first class compartment, having decided to devote time on the way to repetition of English which he used a little and has managed to forget partially. The simplest: whatever question Alexey has asked him, right there he translates into English, then answers in Russian and in English, and for help – unless the colloquial dictionary, edition of 1870. Train will arrive to East station late at night, it will be many efforts and nerves to move to the other railroad and be in time to set of cars given to the direction Nantes – Saint Nazaire.
At last, they will lose themselves in the ocean liner «Chester» where will occupy two compartments of second class – a bed, table, chair and closed corner with toilet, and he will realize with horror that in such poor «les commodities» * it'll be necessary to spend more than two weeks! Fortunately, there will be a library for easy time on the vessel – and even with books in Russian! – and in the public salon – rather new, quite good piano! Having recovered from seasickness, he will be able to amuse by playing the French passengers and members of the American crew, filing down at the same time own concert repertoire. From the board of «Chester», thanks to technical innovations, he will telegraph Hans von Buelof about his forthcoming arrival.
For the first time he will see the ocean and will be absolutely fascinated, struck by power of this natural juggernaut! He will like, dressing more warmly, to make the way somewhere closer to ship's rostrum and to watch alone this majestic movement. Then it will begin imagine to him that he as if is attached by invisible slings to the firmament-sail, and his soul soars in this infinite space between the sky and the sea, aspiring to this inaccessible, beautiful horizon which is terribly flaming at sunset, or giving to new day first joyful beams of the sun. At the same time he will often remember Elena Petrovna Blavazkaya with her theory of the world's infinity, particularly the statement that human's destinies move in Eternity, adjoining, intertwining and facing between themselves, like pendulums. «Has to be, she is absolutely right! » – he will think such minutes.
He will recognize Hans von Buelof not by the photo on card with autograph, kindly enclosed in the message, but by the plate with surname hanging on musiciant's breast. No wonder: among hundreds meeting the steamship in
* Comforts (fr.)
Boston's port to distinguish not that the stranger, but own brother would be impossible. The big celebrity will prove to be skinny person with large forehead ovoid head, goatee and cowboy's moustaches, dressed in topcoat, despite cool weather, and fashionable flat hat, every bit as he saw in St. Petersburg at Modya. Byuloff will be unusually pleased with this meeting which has taken place, at last, will throw off a headdress and with hardly constrained nervousness will give him the trembling long-fingered hand. The famous pianist will present to him also three musicians of the orchestra – the «first» violin, the viola and the flutist, what, probably, will mean special commitment of all collective to the earlier executed composition – his first piano concert.
The city of Boston on its own will remind him the northern Russian capital, but in smaller scale – the same direct streets with meeting at right angle, absolutely identical intersections, on each crossing - any shop, office or cafe, tavern. Houses along streets – uninterruptedly, and all with porches, a lot of various advertizing. On the embankment – tens of ships, big, small and absolutely tiny. There will be full of black and different «color» beach-combers, continually looking for extra earnings that will burst upon the eyes to any alien European.
They will be placed in Cambridge, over the river, in university part of the city where Byuloff will rent rooms for the orchestra, in the guest apartments, enough modest, however, including the chamber «Becker» in drawing room. At last he will be able to work not on the way using whatever is available, but thoroughly and in comfort though the first days it will be given him hard because of big time difference. But, he will adapt also to this fact. Byuloff will acquaint him with Charles Elliot, the president of the oldest Harvard University, the big fan of symphonic music. Probably it wiil be for the first time to doctor Elliot, solid mister in graceful eye-glasses and a habit to play with beads, to listen Russian repertoire, perceiving all he will subsequently play with genuine delight – both the introduction to «Ruslan and Lyudmila», or Glinka's waltz imagination, and own compositions.
In the first week of the visit he will present to Byuloff his scores, they will start to communicate in German and very quickly will keep names above titles. Handing the string quartet, he will hope to work together with musicians. Hans not only will agree, but also will invite him to listening of the first piano concert by students and teachers of the university at the end of January because as the pianist will be expressed, before this time the hall will be occupied with other music – «Every day are concerts at us, it's necessary to earn!» Byuloff will suggest him to present this evening at first concerto for the piano by own execution, then musicians will play the string quartet rehearsed at home, and then and he will make something from his compositions encore. «With the promised «encore» still the question can become! Perhaps it won't be pleasant. But, forget it»,– he will think, agreeing. Thus, every day he will be able, without breaking habitual schedule (with a glance to time change ), to compose the «Swan lake» in the morning, then, in two days on the third, to rehearse the string quartet with musicians, after lunch to leave to walk, and in the evening again to come back to the score.
Most of all now he will be occupied by prince Siegfried's theme – the fragile, lonely, but persistent hero who is throwing down a challenge to the universal evil. Quite familiar loneliness going from own heart. It will be remembered to him as Lyosha Apukhtin said once, something like, that don't worry because everybody just the same loves you! – And then he answered Lyosha that if everybody loves – means, nobody loves. «For me not at all to changeable recognition of public, crafty respect of colleagues, and even unsteady love of the belongings!» – It will begin to seem to him that, in effect, for all the thirty five years of the life he has gained original recognition and sincere love of only one person – Roma Akinfeev whose destiny by fate will is unknown to him now. «Really pendulums of our destinies won't be crossed anymore? How I will be without him?!» – he will mourn with a sore heart, but cannot neither change, nor shift anything, – all these experiences will only be expressed in music sounds which he by command from above will be capable to write on the musical staves.
Seeking to relieve himself of loneliness attacks, he will begin more walk, wander around streets of the course town, go outside to the boulevard, embankment and to watch citizens, taking Alexey to the company. Besides, all-time servant will daily need for help in communication with dealers, because these days they will feed mainly at own expense. Once they will enter the local market. In any city whatever visited he always found musical shop and bought something for memory. Shall be, because of a set nations, flowing down to America from every quarter of the earth there will be several various musical trade places in Boston's market. Certainly, he won't miss such opportunity to look in a bench of musical instruments here too. The assortment, surprisingly, will be extensive – resolutely everything from African drums to Stradivarius violins, from ancient horns to modern saxophones, and Lyosha will even find the Russian balalaika on the shelf!
– You are able? – he will ask the guy.
– You ask! It's not to play the piano. What here to be able! – Alexey will take balalaika and will plink the native:
Vanya sat on the sofa, has finished drinking tea,
Not drunking up half-glass, he has followed the maiden.
You are maiden beauty, explain your love,
I loved you three years for a sweet beauty,
And now I won't to love you and will go to serve to the Caucasus.
Hearing to lyoshin's uncomplicated tenor, the seller, raven-head in Mexican sombrero, typical macho, will listen actually with delight and ask:
– Will you buy it?
« My god! What I am the barin's son after all, from the birth – Lyosha at me in a service, cares, walks round already about ten years, but I haven't found any time even to talk with him about music, to find out about musical tastes for all this time! And I am called the composer, professor! »
– Combien nous devrions ?* – Oh, sorry, how much?
– Four dollars.
He will pay money and, laughing, will hand balalaika to Lyosha.
– Hold. You will accompany me at leisure.
Meanwhile, by the end of the second week of their visit in Boston, the performance of string quartet will be almost feasible. Musicians, Tom (the first violin), Chris (the second violin), Dominique (viola) and Curt (violoncello) who were diligently attending all classes, in his opinion will be ready take to the stage now. A day before the concert he will invite Hans von Bueloff and doctor Charles Elliot with spouses to himself to the apartment, having decided to arrange some kind of «dress rehearsal».
Evening party will pass very warmly and even cheerful. The quartet will be played, in general, tolerably, to the letter as he also tried to obtain from musicians. Surely, it would be possible to give to execution more Russian melodiousness and lyricism, however it is all the same impossible to demand from British of original «Russianness» in play, they have never been in Russia, haven't sing Russian songs and dance in a round – what to demand from them? Nevertheless, doctor Elliot on the second part, «Andante cantabile», will even shed a few tears with feelings, and Byuloff will express satisfaction with listening and allow to put the string quartet, as well as it was supposed, the second number of the future concert program. Then he will invite guests to the table to taste Russian food and to estimate Lyosha's culinary abilities.
* How much we owe you? (fr.)
At the supper Mrs. Elliot will begin to tell some anecdotes, however not everything will be clear to him because of weak language proficiency as conversation will be conducted, generally in English. Hans will joke like if rehearsal today, we will ask also Peter to play to us a grand piano too anything from what he will appear on the scene tomorrow. Having executed several piece from an incomplete «Children's album», two old waltzes, the nocturne which was so pleasant to Rubenstein and piece «January» from future cycle «Seasons», he will suggest, in turn, also to Hans to play, but only at sight, available at him the transposition for piano from «Ruslan and Lyudmila». Byuloff will cope with it brilliantly.
At last, long-awaited day when he alive will be able to hear his concerto for piano with orchestra will come! Could he ever think, assume that this event will take place not at home, in Moscow, but over the ocean, in Boston?! The hall will be full. «It is necessary to pay tribute to mister Elliot: he has managed to infect with music students and teachers of University. Well, honor to him and praise! And what expects me today? Applause or failure?» – he will think with emotion, settling down together with couple Elliot in the director's box.
– Mister Tchaikovsky, I know, you are lecturing in the conservatory, – sitting next Elliot will address him in English, having flashed distinguished eye-glasses, – I think to organize subsequently as well the musical faculty in our university. Would you like to make several lectures on the theory of music for students of our humanitarian section within the limits of your visit?
– With pleasure, Mr. Elliot, but I know English not good enough …
– Oh, it is not a problem, don't worry. Then lecture in Russian, we will find for you the translator. Four hundred dollars for lecture, all right?
«Wow! Generously! It's about four thousand chervons, suppose, for five lectures! To repay debt to Shalovsky … To compensate to Rubenstein, and still for own existence will remain. Of course, the "Swan lake" should be postponed and to prepare thoroughly, but what only will make for the sake of earnings!»
– Well, Mr. Elliot, I agree.
– Tomorrow the dean of humanitarian section, doctor Nors will approach you, and you agree about details.
Concert will begin. Von Byuloff will conduct himself, playing solo on piano, and only occasionally standing up from the chair to get necessary priorities straight. In spite of the fact that before he never happened to observe similar, he will note as far as it is fresh and original, and is possible only at exclusive skill and special coordination of execution by all orchestral players. However Byuloff will execute not at all author’s own, but some other music. Leastways, it will seem so right at the beginning – the sound of grand piano from the first chords literally will crush play of the orchestra, become dominating in all composition. At so virtuoso playing of Byulof it will be the real triumph of pianist, but not composer! «Leave, leave unnecessary jealousy, – he will begin to convince himself, – Really, you can't play as well as Hans performed by whom your music sounds more sincerely and perfectly, better, than it is actually!»
Closer to the end of the third part of piano concert as it was agreed, he will leave a director's loge to make the way to the scene and congratulate Byuloff from the heart on fine interpretation of the composition.
He will pass to desert hall of the Red foyer and and next moment will suddenly sight Roman! Dressed in new, well-made dark blue frock coat so effectively emphasizing his high slim figure, a quick steps, the familiar movement of hand correcting on the run the hair falling down on forehead, smiling widely, hospitably as usual, the lad will move directly to him!
«Roma? You?! Where are you from? Is that so! Or it to me apparition?» – he will say it, seem, aloud from abashment.
– Sorry, sir. Doctor Elliot entrusted me to attend you to your place in the orchestra, – the voice of young man will be absolutely another, alien, entirely unlike Roma's voice.
He will continue to compose the «Swan lake» by return journey, having asked captain permission from time to time use grand piano in the saloon. For the present it will be large suite, music without certain drama plot, meanwhile, he won't even doubt now: «To all appearances my suite will become the real ballet performance!» He will incline more, after all, to the happy final where the universal Evil, at last, will fall, having exempted the whole world from dark charms. Estimated scenes from the first act, in which careless at first prince Siegfried will visit possession of the wealthy landlady, will be ready by now; and also from the second act with dances of swans on the bank of the lake where unlucky prince-hunter, having overshoot, will be fascinated by swan Simor who fortunately wasn't killed by him from the first shot. Adagio sketches in the scene of recognition of young man Simon turned by angry landlady into the young swan Simor will become originally lyrical number capable to communicate a listener feelings of sincere empathy, devotion and love. «Two acts, generally, are ready. Well, let's assume, – he will begin to reflect in the course of composition, – Then in the third act having perceived Siegfried struggles with the Evil and exempts everybody, and the landlady too, from evil spells, and in the fourth act – there will become general happiness and joyful apotheosis in final. Otherwise, it will be possible to trade places the third and fourth acts of the ballet, arranging tragic final of the performance, having sacrificed the main characters, Siegfried and Simor, besides, for a good cause and becoming the general happiness. As for abundance of men's parties, it should be solved with producers. Will women dance swans? The beautiful, strong bird - it is more man's image …» Generally, by the end of travel the main themes, both the third and fourth acts will also be comprehended by him, it will only be necessary to put them together and make instrumentation.
Moscow will float from spring streams. «…I don't like spring; Thaw is boring for me; stench, dirt - I am sick in the spring …» - Pushkin wrote? He wrote nice! » – he will think, having plunged into sledge, looking around all native and familiar. Recent snowdrifts will turn into the friable floorings sprinkled with shavings and horse manure as if Easter pies by poppy; icicles a row, ringing a thaw, will hang from all roofs, horse trams will sound a thunder of heaven, and coachmen will shout in all throat «Ba-a-ack off!» And, something about one o'clock in the afternoon, filled up from all directions with suitcases and sacs, together with Lyosha they will come, at last, to themselves to Kislovsky Lane.
Actually, he will be feel himself so-so, has to be, because of the common cold caught on the way. However every dark cloud has a silver lining. Being several days under home medication, free-living he will sort letters which for few months will collect the set. He will write down also the piece «March» inspire by spring thaw for Bernard.
And on Friday morning the courier suddenly will come with short note wrote familiar handwriting: « I am in Neskuchny, at the Kaluga outpost. Come, it is necessary to talk. K. R. ». «Kostya? What has forced him to return to Moscow? Really there is some news from Roman?» – he will be excited and write as have agreed, on the back of the note: «Je serai tout de suite»*.
The young prince will meet him on the ladder of Aleksandrinsky palace, escort into the room, silently, without smile will embrace and kiss somehow especially gently.
– Qu'est-ce que ai arrive, Kostya ? Pourquoi tu as revenu d'Odessa ?*
Instead of the answer Konstantin will stretch him following document:
* I will be immediately. (fr.)
** What happened, Kostya? Why you returned from Odessa? (fr.)
«Your highness! At your request I have carried out search of the recruit Akinfeev Roman Sergeyevich, and I hasten to let you know that the specified recruit actually was situated in that ill-fated train which has crashed near the Tiligul crossing, among them who sent on December 24-th last year from the Kherson naval preparatory college to Odessa for passing further service. Beyond expectation, the surname in lists was mixed up, having written Okinifiyev instead of Akinfeev wherein, actually, the difficulty of all search consisted. In the Kherson college I was given confirmation that there was actually recruit Akinfeev Roman Sergeyevich, 1854 year of birth. Among escaped he isn't present, among died – no too. Probably, he has burned down in the fire as it was impossible to identify. However to this day he is registered among missing persons. Therefore to comply also your request about transfer this recruit to Kronstadt naval college, most regrettably, I have no opportunity. With the respect, deepest to you, Commander of the Black Sea flotilla, vice admiral N. A. Arkas»
Having read, he won't believe in this terrible death:
– Kostya, why so?! Kostya, how it's possible?? – he will repeat only, still trying to find in official lines though some hope for happy end.
Konstantin will seat him in arm-chair, will give the filled glass:
– Drink, it will calm down. It's the real cognac, ancient Moldavian. Drink, it will become better. Actually, I have also arrived because of this, having referred to urgent affairs in Moscow. I just have thought at once that it won't be so lonely to you. Who else will support you at a time like this, huh? So I have also arrived …
– Thank you, my dear prince! I didn't ever meet anyone better and nobler than you! – he will utter, having swallowed, at last, tears, – Kostya, Kostya, you won't believe: I saw him, quite recently in Boston at the concert, – he will empty the glass in a volley, – However, I don't trust myself also: that was Roma, or it seems to me?.. This lad, Roman, my favourite pupil … this lad has changed all my life – as to remember here madam Blavazkaya's prophecies that one of my pupils will play a crucial role in my creativity. What the price, my God, what the price! .. – and he, having slightly forgotten himself in grief, will tell young prince of the casual meeting with Elena Petrovna in Paris, and about what she predicted to him then.
«Here, actually, it is the tragic final! – he will think, remaining alone with the incomplete score of the «Swan lake», – Roma, unfortunate, captivated Roma fell a victim to meanness and deception. Really and me, thinking myself as the prince-liberator has to die, by sacrificing my own life in the fight for freedom from universal Evil? And, if Kostya in this role? Why Kostya, his highness the noblest prince, must sacrifice himself? No, it is impossible. Both of us have to win. And our victim not that we have to die immediately, but that we will continue to live in the present hypocritical, false world, doing it more clean and more honest. In the name of Roma this purpose, and in memory of him! The ballet shouldn't come to an end by misfortune; conversely the disposal of misfortune has to be by all means in the final! The statement must take place by all means, through thick and thin»
In the middle of April he will already present to director of Bolshoi Theatre V.P. Begichev two versions of the ballet, for women's and men's parties – at choice. The wealthy landlady will turn into the sovereign princess – the Evil offspring, dreaming to marry the son. In the first version along with prince Siegfried there will be handsome Simon turned by princess into the swan Simor, with whom prince will agree to sacrifice their selves to happiness and pleasure in princess’ possession and to ruin the evil genius by that. In the second version evil genius Von Rotbardt will deceive prince, having presented him as the bride own daughter Odile, as like as two peas similar to the loved Odetta, the girl turned into the swan with whom Siegfried will also agree to sacrifice himself for disposal of universal Evil. Both variants will provide the happy final for heroes, but only in the other, better world. After long consultations with ballet masters the second option will be accepted. He will be forced to agree to all critical remarks and whims of producers, having exposed the only condition an invariance of his music, – but only that the performance will take a place!
In May when comes warmly, he will become frequently ride to Kuntsevo to walk, to wander long by the river bank, stopping at that place where once by the reed sound the Trinity night last year he was found by Roman. However, now his young friend will never call him. Surprisingly, but here, in green forest thicket, among nightingale trills, in mysterious whisper of dense foliage, it will be easier for him to muse on the future, than to mourn about the past. Remembering the improbable swan rise, amazed him so, he will begin to think with hope that, maybe, the lad after all had escaped in that accident, and, taking an opportunity, left somewhere far away from these places where he constantly suffered humiliations of the mistress. «Now Roma is in hiding, and then will return to me, will surely come back. To where the poor lad can still return?» – he will dream, peering into coastal hills where the flight of the swans has hidden. Way back one day he will visit also Virgin's Sign church where he will give two notes to one name – for the health and for the peace.
By the end of July he will finish promised to Maryinsky Theater score of opera «Smith Vakula» and immediately will send it to the director Kister. Seeking to realize the idea which has come to his mind in Paris with lack of studies he will start to create imagination the «Francesca Da Rimini» on Dante's plot. Thoughts about this composition will visit him even more often in relation to Tiligul accident where loved one could burn down. Reading newspaper messages about investigation of the tragedy causes, he will become clearly imagine all horror of misfortune having fallen upon people, thrown to the fire one and a half hundred innocent young souls whom the hell described by Dante appeared already during their life. «But, if Roma has tested all circles of hell here, on the earth, then his soul is blissfully happy in paradise, in the sky now, – will be thought to him, – And my soul continues to pine in this body among meanness and drudgeries of modern society. And how long I still be bond – unknown. But, what is preasent in me, ability to music and composing – I swear, I use for good of civilization, for perfection of human spirit!»
However he will not quite be able to concentrate on "Francesca", becouse of the trip to Germany Bayreyt to the opening Richard Wagner's opera theater, as the freelance observer of «The Moscow Gazette», offered by Laroche. Expenses will charge to newspaper office, and he will agree with pleasure because all European musical beau monde will gather there. He will define the route to Bayreyt and back through Vinnitsa, to visit the sister, call on the family and see «the small source of his inspiration» – four-year-old nephew Volodya.
Having spent two weeks in Bayreyt, he will understand that he became quite famous in musical groups. Here he will be accepted by Richard Wagner the hero of the occasion, he will get acquainted with famous Ferencz Liszt, will meet again Hans von Bueloff who will publish in the article positive review about his creativity, having mentioned both his first piano concert, and the string quartet executed in Boston. At the same time, Hans will call him the young, but showing big promises professor of music whose creativity should be monitored, to help with everything.
«From where, from where she knew all of this?! » – he will be surprised which time in privacy hours, from time to time remembering Elena Petrovna Blavazkaya and her prophecy «You will be noticed», dropped by the way so negligently that he didn't believe. Meanwhile, the predicted miracles will fall down in abundance. A year after the Tiligul accident carried away Roman to non-existence he will receive by surprise the dispatch from one rich lady staying in the condition of chronic delight from his music, signed quite adultly: «Yours faithfully, baroness Nadezhda von Mekk ». In this letter she will ask to make for her transcription for play in four hands the symphonic overture «Storm» which, thanks to the remained notes, he will do with no trouble quickly and right there will send by mail. The reward of five hundred rubles silver which has appeared soon on his bank account will really amaze him! In the response letter, of course, he will burst in thanks, and the baroness will ask to make also march for a piano from her favorit melodies in «Oprichnik» – then he will receive the royalties twice exceeding the former! As a result it will start up gentle correspondence for many years with Nadezhda Filaretovna von Mekk, and bonuses from her in the amount of six thousand rubles annually will appear.
On February 20, 1877 in the Bolshoi Theatre, at last, the premiere of the «Swan lake» will take place. Who would know what a worth for him will be this day! He hardly will force himself to go there so as not to fall into condition of nervous breakdown. And he will be right because by efforts of ballet masters his graceful, noble and courageous prince Siegfried will turn to the fool mauvais ton, obtusely rushing around on the scene; Odetta will over the top clap her odd plumage of theatrical costume, and the universal Evil in the image of an owl – to scurry from corner to corner with the pathetic of chicken layer. The music executed fantastically by orchestra headed by theatrical conductor Ryabov with whom he has repeatedly worked one after another all scenes of the ballet absolutely will not correspond to the scenic action. Shaking ballet master's hand, he'll want to say that he create the ballet not to an ornithological plot, but to the human tragedy; having hardly restrained, he won't do that only of politeness. He will bow to enthusiastic public, allow to shower himself by flowers, if only not to break the general favorable impression from the performance, not to fall across dislike of the director Begichev. But it will be very shameful to him before Roma, or memory of him for a frustrated message to public. «My dear honey I'm fine Now we have initial training in naval matter In the end of the year they will carry us on the real service to the sea and it will be even more interesting as we will serve on real ships I didn't forgot about you As it is possible to forget But you don't worry everything becomes to the best God willing still we will see », – these simple lines on a scrap of cheap paper will be remembered to him suddenly, and it will become so uncomfortable, so bitterly and ashamed that he will shoot off the stage, without a backward glance.
Meanwhile, the performance in this, and then in little updated statement will sustain the whole three seasons, having become a peculiar visiting card of the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre because it will never be produced anywhere more. Only in ten years he will accept the offer of the Prague opera theater and will conduct himself the second act of the ballet during the tour on Europe cities. He will be absolutely happy from this performance – that's what will write down in his diary not to forget.
In the summer of the same year, having followed example from Volodya Shalovsky, he will make thorough attempt to start a family. At first he will think of his new bienfaitrice * baroness Nadezhda von Mekk, the lonely widow with children, however her never-ending sincere letters and large bonuses going, seemingly, not from big wealth, but from the overflow heart, will force him abandon an idea to offer her matrimony. To deceive such person daily and hourly, to be sure, he won't be able. Besides, according to the letters, also Nadezhda Filaretovna herself will not really want to meet, being afraid that this meeting in reality will destroy that ideal which she has created, listening to his music and communicating with him in correspondence. Having thought a little, he will choose as the bride the former student Antonina Milyukova, m-lle Antonin, also his passionate fan seemes to him the maiden of quite liberal views and not so much pretentious. But here the intuition will change him, the marriage will become intolerable. To suffer absence of the sincere relations, physical inclination and simply mutual understandings, to go every day to the bedroom as to penal servitude will become absolutely unendurable. And very soon, having plenty tweak out, he will run away from her at first to St. Petersburg where Modya and Kostya, and then – abroad from where he will send to young spouse the divorce letter with the deepest apologies.
Discovery of financial support will give him the chance to leave teaching in Moscow conservatory and dispose own time independently. He will be able now to leave often Russia, using a large number offers with his participation in concerts and presentations. He will criate next two more ballets, four symphonies, seven operas and many other works which will become his outstanding endow to the fund of world musical culture. However he will only guess about it, considering that not at all the profit or aspiration to recognition, but daily and persistent work for the inclusive prosperity is the best instrument against all physical ailments and nervous breakdowns, the unique guarantee in this world from dark oblivion. «If everyone will proceed similarly – the world by all means will change, and all evil occurring in it will absolutely dissolve! The fate has nothing to do with this. Roman wasn't lucky, but the lad has opened his talent, became for me a pole-star and who another – will become for the next too!» – he will think every time, getting to the new work.
* benefactress (fr.)
He will merit the highest recognition in Russia, will become twice the winner the prize of the Russian musical society named after M. I. Glinka. He will achieve the world fame, he will be awarded the title of honourable doctor of Cambridge university. Being in USA at the opening of largest concert hall Carnegie Hall in New York he will be suggested to head the American National conservatory, but he will refuse, having preferred accommodation at home, where as fate has willed there were often given to him minutes of original and all-conquering inspiration, true flight of his open and light soul.
Once in Philadelphia at the end of spring 1891 during his tour on the cities of USA the light, clear vision will come in dream to him, as if he walks along river bank during some pure-pure May morning, such gentle and touching that nowhere else, only in native places is present. And, he sees ahead coming to meet woman in white dress. «That under a wreath, or under a shroud? – he thinks melancholically, and, overtaking, recognizes Elena Petrovna Blavazkaya in the passerby. «Good morning, Peter Il'ich! – she says, – How do you live there? – Thanks, Elena Petrovna, you are in my prayers! How are you? – That's for sure, I was right in my forecasts concerning your creativity and your destiny, – she smiles. – Yes. You were right, Elena Petrovna. Absolutely right, – he utter, – I am grateful to you very much for support. It's a pity only, you haven't taught me to fly. Look around what a morning is fine today! As it is good now to fly by lengthways the bank, huh? She laughs in reply: – Oh, it is reparable, why don't you ask me earlier? Lo and behold, having risen over the water, as Si-minor, he flies the coast of Moskva River, from Krylatskoye to Neskuchnoe, and makes the heart soar with feeling of delightful freedom and absolute happiness! »
And next morning, being in harbor, he will open «The New York Times» and will read the small obituary that «Famous Russian traveler and the prophetess Elena P. Blavazkaya died in London at the age of 60 years».
«So and me too, has to be, to prepare to eternal way soon, – he will think with grief, – Who knows when! After a year? In two? In ten? Perhaps, I will never more step on the ground from this steamship. After all Roma didn't know too that he will terminate just so … However it will never more be oblivion to us, neither me, nor him!»
Really, ballet the «Swan Lake» will pass through years and times, will become demanded on many well-known scenes, will sustain forty statements, tens of scenic versions, among which the most popular, strangely enough, will be the most boring static and inexpressive version of Marius Petipa, subsequently classical. But any, even the worst libretto won't be able to eclipse the eternal music of this performance weaved from thousands «responses of heart» of it great author, the humanist and the artist.
© Copyright. On cover – the young man's portrait, by Andrew Salgato artist (UK).
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