By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Alan Myers (trans)
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Additional info for A Gentle Creature and Other Stories
1856 Is promoted Ensign. 1857 Marries Maria Dmitrievna Isaeva (6 February). 1859 Resigns his army commission with the rank of Second Lieutenant (March), and receives permission to return to European Russia. Resides in Tver (August–December). Moves to St Petersburg (December). Uncle’s Dream Stepanchikovo Village 1861 Begins publication of a new literary monthly, Vremia, founded by himself and his brother Mikhail (January). The Emancipation of the Serfs. The Insulted and the Injured A Series of Essays on Literature 1861–2 Memoirs from the House of the Dead 1862 His first visit to western Europe, including England and France.
I had, moreover, developed such expertise in my new and singular mode of enquiry that just by looking at them I could infallibly deduce the sort of dacha they possessed. The denizens of Kamenny or Aptekarsky Islands, or the Peterhof Road, were distinguished by their studied elegance of manner, their fashionable summer dress, and the splendid carriages in which they drove into town. * If I happened to come across a long procession of carters, walking lazily, reins in hand, alongside waggons piled high with furniture of every kind—tables, chairs, Turkish and non-Turkish sofas, and other domestic goods and chattels, on the very summit of which often presided a skinny cook, guarding the master’s goods like the apple of her eye; or if I watched boats heavy-laden with household effects, gliding along the Neva or the Fontanka towards the Black River and the islands—those waggons and boats multiplied tenfold, a hundredfold in my imagination; it seemed as if everything had just upped and left, everything had migrated in whole caravans to the dacha; it seemed as if Petersburg was threatening to turn into a desert, so much so that eventually I began to feel ashamed, and miserably resentful; I had no dacha and no pretext to go to one.
My ears had not deceived me; the girl was crying and a moment later came more and more sobbing. Good heavens! My heart shrank. I might be shy as far as women were concerned, but at such a moment! ’ had I not been aware that the exclamation had been used a thousand times in every Russian high society novel. That alone prevented me. But while I was searching for words, the girl recollected herself, looked round, realized the situation and, with lowered eyes, slipped past me along the embankment. I at once made to follow, but she divined my intention and, quitting the embankment, crossed the street and set off along the pavement.