fault was entirely his own, and entreated me to forget the past. Not being naturally of a malicious disposition, I sincerely forgave him our quarrel, and the wound he had inflicted on me. I perceived in his slander, the vexation caused by wounded vanity and rejected love, and generously made allowances for my unhappy rival.
I soon became restored to health, when I removed to my own lodgings. I awaited with impatience a reply to my letter, not daring to hope, but trying to stifle my gloomy presentiments. I had not as yet entered upon any explanations with Vassilissa Yegorovna and her husband; but my proposal ought not to have astonished them. Neither of us sought to conceal our feelings in their presence, and we already felt assured of their consent.
At last Savelitch came to me one morning, bringing a letter. I snatched it tremblingly. It was addressed in my father's hand. This bid me prepare for something of importance, for letters were generally written by my mother, my father adding a few lines at the end. I could not decide upon breaking the seal for a long time, and kept reading the formal superscription: "To my son, Piotr Andrevitch Grineff, Government of Orenburg, Fortress of Byĕlogorsk." I tried to guess by the handwriting what humour my father could have been in when he wrote the letter. At length I opened it, and saw by the first lines that the whole affair had gone to the d—l.
The contents of the letter were as follows:—
"My son Piotr,
"The letter in which thou askest our paternal