Page:The Novels of Ivan Turgenev (volume V).djvu/176

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cause there 's no satisfactory machine for drying grain in existence, to save them from the necessity of putting their sheaves in ovens, as they did in the days of Rurik; these ovens are fearfully wasteful—just as our bast shoes and our Russian mats are,—and they are constantly getting on fire. The farmers complain, but still there's no sign of a drying-machine. And why is there none? Because the German farmer doesn't need them; he can thrash his wheat as it is, so he doesn't bother to invent one, and we . . . are not capable of doing it! Not capable—and that 's all about it! Try as we may! From this day forward I declare whenever I come across one of those rough diamonds, these self-taught geniuses, I shall say: "Stop a minute, my worthy friend! Where 's that drying-machine? let 's have it!" But that 's beyond them! Picking up some old cast-off shoe, dropped ages ago by St. Simon or Fourier, and sticking it on our heads and treating it as a sacred relic—that 's what we 're capable of; or scribbling an article on the historical and contemporary significance of the proletariat in the principal towns of France—that we can do too; but I tried once, asking a writer and political economist of that sort—rather like your friend, Mr Voroshilov—to mention twenty towns in France, and what do