Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/175

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

straight in the face, for no one dares to look straight at himself, and it 's not only children who like being soothed to sleep. Our older inventions came to us from the East, our later ones we 've borrowed, and half spoiled, from the West, while we still persist in talking about the independence of Russian art! Some bold spirits have even discovered an original Russian science; twice two makes four with us as elsewhere, but the result's obtained more ingeniously, it appears.'

'But wait a minute, Sozont Ivanitch,' cried Litvinov. 'Do wait a minute! You know we send something to the universal exhibitions, and doesn't Europe import something from us.'

'Yes, raw material, raw products. And note, my dear sir: this raw produce of ours is generally only good by virtue of other exceedingly bad conditions; our bristles, for instance, are large and strong, because our pigs are poor; our hides are stout and thick because our cows are thin; our tallow 's rich because it 's boiled down with half the flesh. . . . But why am I enlarging on that to you, though; you are a student of technology, to be sure, you must know all that better than I do. They talk to me of our inventive faculty! The inventive faculty of the Russians! Why our worthy farmers complain bitterly and suffer loss be-