Open main menu

Page:Pushkin - Russian Romance (King, 1875).djvu/168

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
156
RUSSIAN ROMANCE

and having become a widower at about the same time, he retired to one of his remaining estates, where he continued his extravagances, though they now took a different course. He laid out an English garden, upon which he wasted almost all that remained of his income. His stable-boys were dressed as English jockeys. His daughter's governess was an Englishwoman. His agricultural labours were conducted on the English principle.

But "Russian bread is not begotten of foreign culture," and notwithstanding a considerable decrease in his expenditure, the income of Grigory Ivánovitch did not increase. He had found means to contract new debts, though he lived in the country. Nevertheless, nobody considered him a fool, for he was the first of the landowners in the province who thought of mortgaging his property at the Court of Trustees,—a transaction which at that period was considered very hazardous. Amongst those who censured him was Beréstoff, who expressed himself in the strongest terms. Hatred to innovations formed a prominent trait in his character. He could not speak with equanimity of his neighbour's Anglomania, and sought every opportunity to criticize him. If he chanced to show a guest over his premises, and if his household arrangements elicited approbation, he was sure to say, with a malicious smile: "Oh! yes; my place is not like my neighbour's, Grigory Ivánovitch's. How could we squander after the English fashion! We are thankful if we can manage to keep off hunger in the Russian way!" These and such like sarcasms came to Grigory Ivánovitch's knowledge, exaggerated and embel-