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A Sportsman's Sketches Works of Ivan Turgenev, Volume I   By: (1818-1883)

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A SPORTSMAN'S SKETCHES

BY

IVAN TURGENEV

Translated from the Russian By CONSTANCE GARNETT

VOLUME I

CONTENTS

I. HOR AND KALINITCH II. YERMOLAƏ AND THE MILLER'S WIFE III. RASPBERRY SPRING IV. THE DISTRICT DOCTOR V. MY NEIGHBOUR RADILOV VI. THE PEASANT PROPRIETOR OVSYANIKOV VII. LGOV VIII. BYEZHIN PRAIRIE IX. KASSYAN OF FAIR SPRINGS X. THE AGENT XI. THE COUNTING HOUSE XII. BIRYUK XIII. TWO COUNTRY GENTLEMEN XIV. LEBEDYAN

I

HOR AND KALINITCH

Anyone who has chanced to pass from the Bolhovsky district into the Zhizdrinsky district, must have been impressed by the striking difference between the race of people in the province of Orel and the population of the province of Kaluga. The peasant of Orel is not tall, is bent in figure, sullen and suspicious in his looks; he lives in wretched little hovels of aspen wood, labours as a serf in the fields, and engages in no kind of trading, is miserably fed, and wears slippers of bast: the rent paying peasant of Kaluga lives in roomy cottages of pine wood; he is tall, bold, and cheerful in his looks, neat and clean of countenance; he carries on a trade in butter and tar, and on holidays he wears boots. The village of the Orel province (we are speaking now of the eastern part of the province) is usually situated in the midst of ploughed fields, near a water course which has been converted into a filthy pool. Except for a few of the ever accommodating willows, and two or three gaunt birch trees, you do not see a tree for a mile round; hut is huddled up against hut, their roofs covered with rotting thatch.... The villages of Kaluga, on the contrary, are generally surrounded by forest; the huts stand more freely, are more upright, and have boarded roofs; the gates fasten closely, the hedge is not broken down nor trailing about; there are no gaps to invite the visits of the passing pig.... And things are much better in the Kaluga province for the sportsman. In the Orel province the last of the woods and copses will have disappeared five years hence, and there is no trace of moorland left; in Kaluga, on the contrary, the moors extend over tens, the forest over hundreds of miles, and a splendid bird, the grouse, is still extant there; there are abundance of the friendly larger snipe, and the loud clapping partridge cheers and startles the sportsman and his dog by its abrupt upward flight.

On a visit to the Zhizdrinsky district in search of sport, I met in the fields a petty proprietor of the Kaluga province called Polutikin, and made his acquaintance. He was an enthusiastic sportsman; it follows, therefore, that he was an excellent fellow. He was liable, indeed, to a few weaknesses; he used, for instance, to pay his addresses to every unmarried heiress in the province, and when he had been refused her hand and house, broken hearted he confided his sorrows to all his friends and acquaintances, and continued to shower offerings of sour peaches and other raw produce from his garden upon the young lady's relatives; he was fond of repeating one and the same anecdote, which, in spite of Mr. Polutikin's appreciation of its merits, had certainly never amused anyone; he admired the works of Akim Nahimov and the novel Pinna ; he stammered; he called his dog Astronomer; instead of 'however' said 'howsomever'; and had established in his household a French system of cookery, the secret of which consisted, according to his cook's interpretation, in a complete transformation of the natural taste of each dish; in this artiste's hands meat assumed the flavour of fish, fish of mushrooms, macaroni of gunpowder; to make up for this, not a single carrot went into the soup without taking the shape of a rhombus or a trapeze... Continue reading book >>


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