Torrents of Spring, by Ivan Turgenev

IX

Emil, who had continued to stand with his face to the window, even after Sanin’s invitation to him to sit down, turned round directly his future kinsman had gone out, and with a childish pout and blush, asked Sanin if he might remain a little while with him. ‘I am much better today,’ he added, ‘but the doctor has forbidden me to do any work.’

‘Stay by all means! You won’t be in the least in my way,’ Sanin cried at once. Like every true Russian he was glad to clutch at any excuse that saved him from the necessity of doing anything himself.

Emil thanked him, and in a very short time he was completely at home with him and with his room; he looked at all his things, asked him about almost every one of them, where he had bought it, and what was its value. He helped him to shave, observing that it was a mistake not to let his moustache grow; and finally told him a number of details about his mother, his sister, Pantaleone, the poodle Tartaglia, and all their daily life. Every semblance of timidity vanished in Emil; he suddenly felt extraordinarily attracted to Sanin — not at all because he had saved his life the day before, but because he was such a nice person! He lost no time in confiding all his secrets to Sanin. He expatiated with special warmth on the fact that his mother was set on making him a shopkeeper, while he knew, knew for certain, that he was born an artist, a musician, a singer; that Pantaleone even encouraged him, but that Herr Klüber supported mamma, over whom he had great influence; that the very idea of his being a shopkeeper really originated with Herr Klüber, who considered that nothing in the world could compare with trade! To measure out cloth — and cheat the public, extorting from it ‘Narren — oder Russen Preise’ (fools’— or Russian prices)— that was his ideal! [Footnote: In former days — and very likely it is not different now — when, from May onwards, a great number of Russians visited Frankfort, prices rose in all the shops, and were called ‘Russians’,’ or, alas! ‘fools’ prices.’]

‘Come! now you must come and see us!’ he cried, directly Sanin had finished his toilet and written his letter to Berlin.

‘It’s early yet,’ observed Sanin.

‘That’s no matter,’ replied Emil caressingly. ‘Come along! We’ll go to the post — and from there to our place. Gemma will be so glad to see you! You must have lunch with us. . . . You might say a word to mamma about me, my career. . . . ’

‘Very well, let’s go,’ said Sanin, and they set off.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 20:05