Твори О.С. Пушкіна.Переклад англійською мовою > THE CAPTAIN'S DAUGHTER >V. Love

THE CAPTAIN'S DAUGHTER

 

V. Love

 

Oh, you maiden, pretty maiden,
Do not get married, maiden:
Ask for your father's and mother's advice,
Your father's and mother's and all your kinfolk's;
Store up, maiden, some wisdom,
Some wisdom and a dowry.

A FOLK SONG.

If you find one better than me,
you will forget me;
If you find one worse than me,
you will remember me.

ANOTHER FOLK SONG

 

When I came around, for a while I could not remember where I was and what had happened to me. I was lying in bed in an unfamiliar room, feeling very weak. Savelich stood before me with a candle in his hand. Someone was gently unwinding the bandages that had been tightly wrapped around my chest and shoulder. Gradually I regained full consciousness. Remembering my duel, I guessed I must have been wounded. At that moment the door creaked.
"Well, how is he?" whispered a voice that sent a thrill through my frame.
"Still the same," Savelich answered with a sigh. "Still unconscious, and it's already the fifth day."
I wanted to turn on my side but could not.
"Where am I? Who's here?" I said with an effort. Maria Ivanovna came up to my bed and bent over me.
"Well, how do you feel?" she asked.
"Heaven be praised!" I replied in a weak voice. "Is that you, Maria Ivanovna? Tell me..." Not strong enough to continue, I fell silent.
Savelich cried out. His face beamed with joy.
"He's come around! He's come around!" he kept repeating. "Thanks to Thee, О Lord! Well, young master Petr Andreich, I vow you've scared me. No trifle, is it: the fifth day already!"
Maria Ivanovna interrupted him. "Don't speak too much to him, Savelich," she said; "he's still weak."
She went out and gently closed the door behind her.
My thoughts were in turmoil. Evidently I was at the commandant's house; Maria Ivanovna had just been in to see me. I wanted to put some questions to Savelich, but the old man shook his head and covered his ears with his hands. I closed my eyes with annoyance and soon fell into a deep sleep.
Waking, I called Savelich, but instead of him I saw Maria Ivanovna before me; her angelic voice greeted me. I cannot express the joyous feeling that overwhelmed me at that moment. I seized her hand and pressed my face against it, bathing it in tears of emotion. Masha did not take it away... Suddenly her lips touched my cheek, and I felt a fresh, burning kiss. Fire shot through my veins.
"Dear, kind Maria Ivanovna," I said to her, "be my wife, consent to make me happy."
She recovered herself.
"For heaven's sake, calm yourself," she said, withdrawing her hand. "You're still not out of danger: your wound may reopen. Take care of yourself, if only for my sake."
With these words she went out, leaving me in raptures. Happiness was reviving me. She would be mine! She loved me! The thought filled my whole being.
From that time on, I got better by the hour. There being no other medical men in the fort, the regimental barber attended to my wound, and fortunately he did not try to be too clever. Youth and nature speeded my recovery. The commandant's whole family was nursing me. Maria Ivanovna hardly ever left my bedside. It goes without saying that as soon as another opportunity presented itself I resumed my interrupted declaration of love; this time Maria Ivanovna heard me out with more patience. She acknowledged her heartfelt attachment to me without any affectation and said that her parents would certainly be glad of her happiness.
"But consider carefully," she added; "won't your family raise any objections?"
I pondered. I had no doubt about my mother's loving considerateness, but familiar with my father's nature and way of thinking, I suspected that my love would not move him much, and that he would view it as a young man's folly. I frankly admitted as much to Maria Ivanovna, and resolved to write to my dear father as eloquently as I possibly could, asking for his paternal blessing. I showed the letter to Maria Ivanovna, who found it so convincing and touching that she did not have the slightest doubt about its effect, and she abandoned herself to the feelings of her tender heart with all the trustfulness of youth and love.
With Shvabrin I made matters up during the first days of my convalescence. Ivan Kuzmich, scolding me for the duel, had said, "Aye, Petr Andreich, I should really throw you in prison, but you've already been punished as it is. As for Aleksei Ivanych, he's been shut in the granary under guard, and Vasilisa Egorovna's locked his sword away. Let 'im reflect and repent at his leisure."
I was too happy to harbour resentment in my heart. I pleaded for Shvabrin, and the good-hearted commandant, with his wife's consent, set him free. Shvabrin came to see me: he expressed deep regret over what had happened between us; he admitted it had been his fault entirely, and begged me to forget all about it. Not being rancorous by nature, I sincerely forgave him, both for our quarrel and for the wound he had inflicted on me. Ascribing his slander to the chagrin of wounded pride and scorned love, I generously excused my luckless rival.
I soon recovered fully and was able to move back to my lodging. I waited impatiently for an answer to my letter, not daring to hope but trying to suppress dark forebodings. I had not yet spoken with Vasilisa Egorovna and her husband, but I knew it would not come as a surprise to them. Certain of their consent before we ever asked for it, Maria Ivanovna and I did not try to conceal our feelings from them.
At last one evening Savelich came into my room holding a letter in his hand. I seized it with trembling fingers. The address was written in my father's hand. This indicated something important, since it was usually my mother who wrote to me, with my father adding only a few lines at the end. I could not bring myself to open the envelope for a long time: I just kept reading and rereading the formal superscription: "To my son Petr Andreevich Grinev, Fort Belogorsk, Orenburg Guberniia." I tried to divine by the handwriting in what spirit the letter had been written. When I did break the seal at last, I could see at first glance that the devil had confounded the whole matter. The contents of the letter were as follows:

My son Petr,
Your letter in which you ask for our parental blessing and consent to your marriage to Mironov's daughter Maria Ivanovna arrived on the 15 th of this month, and not only do I not intend to give you my blessing or consent, but
I have a mind to get hold of you and teach you a lesson in a way befitting a whelp, despite your rank as an officer: for you have proven that you are as yet unworthy to carry a sword, which was presented to you for the defence of the fatherland and not for duels with other scamps like yourself. I will immediately write to Andrei Karlovich asking him to transfer you as far away from Fort Belogorsk as possible, where you will be cured of this folly. Your dear mother, on hearing of your duel and wound, was taken ill with grief and is still in bed. What will become of you? I pray to God that you shall reform, although I hardly dare trust in such divine mercy.
Your father, A.G.

Reading this letter evoked several feelings in me. The harsh expressions that my father had so unsparingly indulged in offended me deeply. The disdain with which he had referred to Maria Ivanovna seemed to me both improper and unjust. The thought of being transferred from Fort Belogorsk terrified me. What distressed me most, however, was the news of my mother's illness. I was indignant with Savelich, for I did not doubt that my parents had learned of my duel through him. After pacing up and down my narrow room for some time, I stopped before him and said with a menacing air:
"It clearly hasn't been enough for you that I was wounded because of you and teetered on the brink of the grave for a whole month: you also wish to destroy my mother."
Savelich was thunderstruck.
"Have mercy on me, sir," he said, almost sobbing. "What is this you're saying? That you were wounded because of me? God be my witness, I was a-running to throw my own breast between you and Aleksei Ivanych's sword! It's just that my accursed old legs couldn't carry me fast enough. And what did I do to your dear mother?"
"What did you do?" said I. "Who told you to write and inform on me? Or were you assigned to spy on me?"
"Me write and inform on you?" Savelich replied in tears. "God Almighty! Just read, if you please, what the master writes to me: you'll see if I've been informing on you."
He took a letter from his pocket and gave me the following to read:
You ought to be ashamed of yourself, old cur, that despite my strict orders you failed to report on my son Petr Andreevich, and that strangers have had to inform me of his pranks. Is this how you carry out your duty and the will of your master? I will send you, old cur, into the fields to herd swine for concealing the truth and pandering to youth. Immediately upon receipt of this letter I order you to give me an account of his health, which I am told has improved, and of where exactly he has been wounded and whether he has received proper treatment.
It was obvious that Savelich had a clear conscience and I had unjustly offended him with my reproaches and suspicions. I apologized to him, but the old man remained inconsolable.
"I never thought I'd live to see this," he repeated. "This is the reward I get from my masters. I'm an old cur and a swineherd, am I? And the cause of your wound? Nay, young master Petr Andreich! Not me, it's that accursed mounseer who's to blame: 'twas him taught you how to poke others with iron skewers and stamp your foot, as if poking 'n' stamping could drive an evil man away! Much need there was to throw away money, hiring that mounseer!"
But who then took it on himself to inform my father of my conduct? The general? He did not seem to pay much attention to me; and in any case Ivan Kuzmich had not thought it necessary to report my duel to him. I was at a loss. Finally my suspicions fastened on Shvabrin. He alone could have profited by the denunciation, which could have led to my removal from the fort and my separation from the commandant's family. I went to report all this to Maria Ivanovna. She met me on the porch.
"What's happened to you?" she asked as soon as she saw me. "How pale you are!"
"It's all over!" I answered, handing her my father's letter. It was her turn to blanch. Having read the letter, she returned it to me with a trembling hand and said in a faltering voice:
"Evidently, fate has ordained otherwise... Your parents do not wish to receive me into their family. The Lord's will be done! God knows better than we do what is good for us. There's nothing to be done, Petr Andreich: I hope you at least will find happiness..."
"This is not to be!" I exclaimed, seizing her hand. "You love me: I am ready for anything. Let's go and throw ourselves at my parents' feet: they're simple people, not cold-hearted snobs. They will give us their blessing, we'll get married, and with time, I'm sure, we'll soften my father's heart. My mother will be on our side, and he'll forgive me."
"No, Petr Andreich," Masha replied. "I will not marry you without your parents' blessing. Without their blessing you'll never find happiness. Let us acquiesce in the Lord's will. If you find the one destined for you, if you give your heart to another: God be with you, Petr Andreich, I will pray for you both..."
She burst into tears and left me. I had an impulse to follow her into the house, but realizing that I would not be able to control myself, I went back to my lodging.
I was sitting deep in thought; suddenly Savelich interrupted my reflections.
"Here, sir," he said, handing me a piece of paper covered with writing, "see if I'm an informer against my master and if I try to set father and son against each other."
I took the paper from his hand: it was his answer to the letter he had received. Here it is, word for word:

Andrei Petrovich, Sir, Our Gracious Master,
I am in receipt of your gracious letter in which it pleases you to be angry with me, your serf, and in which you say that I ought to be ashamed of myself for not carrying out my master's orders; but I, not an old cur but your faithful servant, do obey my master's orders, and my hair has turned gray in your zealous service. About Petr Andreevich's wound I did not write to you in order not to affright you unnecessarily; they say that the mistress, Avdotia Vasilevna, protectress of us all, has taken to bed with grief as it is, and I will pray to God to restore her to health. And Petr Andreich was wounded under the right shoulder, in the chest just under the bone, the cut being a vershok and a half deep, and he lay in bed at the commandant's house, where we had brought him from the riverbank, and he was treated by the local barber Stepan Paramonov; and by now Petr Andreich, heaven be thanked, has entirely recovered, and one can write nothing but good about him. The commandant, I hear, is satisfied with him, and Vasilisa Egorovna treats him as if he were her own son. And if a little incident befell him: youth will have its fling; the horse has four legs, and yet he stumbles. And if it please you, as you wrote, to send me into the fields to herd swine, it is within your lordly power. Herewith I humbly bow down before you,
Your faithful servant,
Arkhip Savelev

I could not help smiling several times as I read the good-hearted old man's epistle. I was not in a condition to reply to my father; as for reassuring my mother, it seemed to me that Savelich's letter was sufficient.
From that time my situation changed. Maria Ivanovna hardly ever spoke to me and made every effort to avoid my company. The commandant's house became a disagreeable place for me. Gradually I got used to sitting at home by myself. Vasilisa Egorovna reproached me for it at first, but, seeing my stubbornness, left me in peace. I saw Ivan Kuzmich only when duty required it. With Shvabrin I seldom came into contact, and then only reluctantly, all the more so since I noticed in him a veiled hostility toward me, which confirmed my suspicions. My life became unbearable. I fell into a despondent brooding, made worse by solitude and idleness. In my isolation, my love for Maria blazed out of control and became more and more of a torment. I lost the taste for reading and literary pursuits. I became dejected. I was afraid I would either lose my mind or throw myself into dissipation. But some unexpected developments, which were to have a profound effect on the whole of my life, suddenly gave my soul a powerful and salutary shock.

 


      

I. The Sergeant of the Guards || II. The Guide|| III. The Fort || IV. The Duel|| V. Love || VI. The Pugachev Rebellion|| VII. The Assault || VIII. An Uninvited Guest|| IX. Separation || X.The Siege of a City|| XI. The Rebel Village|| XII. The Orphan || XIII. The Arrest || XIV. The Trial


 

Бібліотека ім. О. С. Пушкіна (м. Київ).
Про О.С. Пушкіна