Synopses & Reviews
We were in mourning for my mother, who had died in the autumn, and I spent all that winter alone in the country with Katya and Sonya.
Katya was an old friend of the family, our governess who had brought us all up, and I had known and loved her since my earliest recollections. Sonya was my younger sister. It was a dark and sad winter which we spent in our old house of Pokrovskoe. The weather was cold and so windy that the snowdrifts came higher than the windows; the panes were almost always dimmed by frost, and we seldom walked or drove anywhere throughout the winter. Our visitors were few, and those who came brought no addition of cheerfulness or happiness to the household. They all wore sad faces and spoke low, as if they were afraid of waking someone; they never laughed, but sighed and often shed tears as they looked at me and especially at little Sonya in her black frock. The feeling of death clung to the house; the air was still filled with the grief and horror of death. My mother's room was kept locked; and whenever I passed it on my way to bed, I felt a strange uncomfortable impulse to look into that cold empty room.
In March he arrived.
'Well, thank God!' Katya said to me one day, when I was walking up and down the room like a shadow, without occupation, without a thought, and without a wish. 'Sergey Mikhaylych has arrived; he has sent to inquire about us and means to come here for dinner. You must rouse yourself, dear Mashechka, ' she added, 'or what will he you? He was so fond of you all.'
Sergey Mikhaylych was our near neighbour, and, though a much younger man, had been a friend of my father's. His coming was likely to change our plans and to make it possible to leave the country; and also I had grown up in the habit of love and regard for him; and when Katya begged me to rouse myself, she guessed rightly that itwould give me especial pain to show to disadvantage before him, more than before any other of our friends. Like everyone in the house, from Katya and hisgod-daughter Sonya down to the helper in the stables, I loved him from old habit; and also he had a special significance for me, owing to a remark which my mother had once made in my presence. 'I should like you to marry a man like him, ' she said. At the time, this seemed to me strange and even unpleasant. My ideal husband was quite different: he was to be thin, pale, and sad; and Sergey Mikhaylych was middle-aged, tall, robust, and always, as it seemed to me, in good spirits. But still my mother's words stuck in my head; and even six years before this time, when I waseleven, and he still said 'thou! to me, and played with me, and called me by the pet-name of 'violet'--even then I sometimes asked myself in a fright, 'What shall I do' if he suddenly wants to marry me?'
Before our dinner, to which Katya made an addition of sweets and a dish of spinach, Sergey Mikhaylych arrived. From the window I watched him drive up to the house in a small sleigh; but as soon as it turned the corner, I hastened to the drawing-room, meaning to pretend that his visit was a complete surprise. But when I heard his tramp and loud voice and Katya's footsteps in the hall, I lost patience and went to meet him myself. He was holding Katya's hand, talking loud, and smiling. When he saw me, he stopped and looked at me for a time without bowing. I was uncomfortable and felt myself blushing.
'Can this be really you?' he said in his plain decisive way, walking towards me with his arms apart. 'Is so great a change possible? How grown-up you are! I used to call you "violet," but now you are a rose in full bloom!'
He took my hand in his own large hand and pressed it so hard that it almost hurt, Expecting him tokiss my hand, I bent towards him, but he only pressed it again and looked straight into my eyes with the old firmness and cheerfulness in his face.
A collection of short fiction by the distinguished Russian writer includes the story Alyosha the Pot, as well as such novellas as The Cossacks, The Death of Ivan Ilych, Family Happiness, Master and Man, The Devil, The Kreutzer Sonata, Father Serguis, and Hadgi Maurat. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.
The brilliant shorter novels of Tolstoy, including The Death of Ivan Ilych and Family Happiness, collected and reissued with a beautiful updated design.
Of all Russian writers Leo Tolstoy is probably the best known to the Western world, largely because of War and Peace, his epic in prose, and Anna Karenina, one of the most splendid novels in any language. But during his long lifetime Tolstoy also wrote enough shorter works to fill many volumes. Here reprinted in one volume are his eight finest short novels, together with "Alyosha the Pot", the little tale that Prince Mirsky described as "a masterpiece of rare perfection."
< p=""> < b=""> The brilliant shorter novels of Tolstoy, including < i=""> The Death of Ivan Ilych<> and < i=""> Family Happiness<> , collected and reissued with a beautiful updated design. <> <> < p=""> Of all Russian writers Leo Tolstoy is probably the best known to the Western world, largely because of < i=""> War and Peace<> , his epic in prose, and < i=""> Anna Karenina<> , one of the most splendid novels in any language. But during his long lifetime Tolstoy also wrote enough shorter works to fill many volumes. Here reprinted in one volume are his eight finest short novels, together with "< i=""> Alyosha the Pot<> ," the little tale that Prince Mirsky described as "a masterpiece of rare perfection."<> < p=""> <> <> <>
About the Author
Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, commonly known the world over as Leo Tolstoy, was born in 1828 in Tula, near Moscow. His parents, who both died when he was young, belonged to the Russian nobility, and throughout his life Tolstoy remained conscious of his aristocratic heritage. His novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina have become classics of world literature, and he is revered as one of the greatest writers of the nineteenth century. He died in 1910 at the age of eighty-two.