venerdì 3 febbraio 2012

Mikhail Vrubel

                                  Mikhail Vrubel, Portrait of an Officer (Pechorin on a Sofa), 1889

 I looked out over the square and saw Maksim Maksimich running towards us for all he was worth . . . In a few minutes he had reached us. He could barely catch his breath, beads of perspiration rolled down his face, damp strands of gray hair that had escaped from under his cap stuck to his forehead, and his knees shook. He was about to throw his arms around Pechorin's neck, but the latter extended his hand rather coldly, though his smile was pleasant enough. For a moment the captain was taken aback, then he eagerly gripped the hand with both of his. He was still unable to speak.
"This is a pleasure, dear Maksim Maksimich. How are you?" said Pechorin.
"And thou?...And you?..." faltered the old man, tears welling up in his eyes. "It's a long time . . . a very long time . . . But where are you off to?"
"On my way to Persia . . . and then farther..."
"Not immediately, I hope? Won't you stay awhile, my dear man? We haven't seen each other for so long . . ."
"I must go, Maksim Maksimich," was the reply.
"My God, what's the hurry? I have so much to tell you and so many questions to ask . . . How are things, anyway? Retired, eh? What have you been doing?"
"I've been bored stiff," replied Pechorin, smiling.
"Remember our life in the fort? Wonderful hunting country, wasn't it? How you loved to hunt! Remember Bela?"
Pechorin turned white a little and turned away.
"Yes, I remember," he said, deliberately yawning almost in the same breath.
Maksim Maksimich urged him to stay on for another hour or two. "We'll have a fine dinner," he said. "I have two pheasants and the Kakhetian here is excellent . . . not the same as in Georgia, of course, but the best to be had here. And we could talk . . . you'll tell me about your stay in St. Petersburg, won't you?"
"I really have nothing to tell, dear Maksim Maksimich. And I have to say goodbye now, for I must be off . . . In rather a hurry . . . It was kind of you not to have forgotten me," he added, taking the old man's hand.
The old man frowned. He was both grieved and hurt, though he did his best to conceal his feelings. "Forgotten!" he muttered. "No, I've forgotten nothing. Oh well, never mind . . . Only I didn't expect our meeting would be like this."
"Come, now," said Pechorin, embracing him in a friendly way. "I don't think I have changed. Ar any rate, it can't be helped. We all are destined to go our several ways. God knows whether we'll meet again." This he said as he climbed into the carriage and the coachman was already gathering up the reins.
"Wait a minute, wait a minute!" Maksim Maksimich suddenly shouted, holding the carriage door. "It completely slipped my mind . . . I still have your papers, Grigoriy Aleksandrovich . . . Been carrying them around with me . . . Thought I'd find you in Georgia, never dreaming the Lord would have us meet here . . . What do you want me to do with them?"
"Whatever you want," replied Pechorin. "Farewell!"
"So you are off to Persia . . . When do you expect to be back?" Maksim Maksimich shouted after him.
The carriage was already some distance off, but Pechorin waved in a way that could well be interpreted to mean: "I doubt whether I will return, nor is there any reason why I should!"

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