Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/171

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SMOKE

in his trouser pocket and a sneer of contempt on his lips: I 'm a genius, he says. And in painting it's just the same, and in everything else. Oh, these natural geniuses, how I hate them! As if every one didn't know that it 's only where there 's no real science fully assimilated, and no real art, that there 's this flaunting affectation of them. Surely it 's time to have done with this flaunting, this vulgar twaddle, together with all hackneyed phrases such as "no one ever dies of hunger in Russia," "nowhere is there such fast travelling as in Russia," "we Russians could bury all our enemies under our hats." I 'm for ever hearing of the richness of the Russian nature, their unerring instinct, and of Kulibin. . . . But what is this richness, after all, gentlemen? Half-awakened mutterings or else half-animal sagacity. Instinct, indeed! A fine boast. Take an ant in a forest and set it down a mile from its ant-hill, it will find its way home; man can do nothing like it; but what of it? do you suppose he 's inferior to the ant? Instinct, be it ever so unerring, is unworthy of man; sense, simple, straightforward, common sense—that 's our heritage, our pride; sense won't perform any such tricks, but it 's that that everything rests upon. As for Kulibin, who without any knowledge of mechanics succeeded in making some very bad

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