The friend of the family - by Fyodor Dostoevsky - PDF ebook

The friend of the family

The friend of the family
The friend of the family - by Fyodor Dostoevsky 

The Village of Stepanchikovo and Its Inhabitants: From the Notes of an Unknown also known as The Friend of the Family, is a novel written by Fyodor Dostoevsky and first published in 1859.


Sergey Alexandrovich, the narrator, is summoned from St. Petersburg to the estate of his uncle, Colonel Yegor Ilyich Rostanev, and finds that a middle-aged charlatan named Foma Fomich Opiskin has swindled the nobles around him into believing that he is virtuous despite behaviour that is passive-aggressive, selfish, and spiteful. 

Excerpt from the introduction:

When my uncle, Colonel Yegor Ilyitch Rostanev, left the army, he settled down in Stepantchikovo, which came to him by inheritance, and went on steadily Using in it, as though he had been all his life a regular country gentleman who had never left his estates. 

There are natures that are perfectly satisfied with everyone and can get used to everything; such was precisely the disposition of the retired colonel. It is hard to imagine a man more peaceable and ready to agree to anything. 

If by some caprice he had been gravely asked to carry someone for a couple of miles on his shoulders he would perhaps have done so. He was so good-natured that he was sometimes ready to give away everything at the first asking and to share almost his last shirt with anyone who coveted it. He was of heroic proportions; tall and well made, with ruddy cheeks, with teeth white as ivory, with a long brown moustache, with a loud ringing voice, and with a frank hearty laugh; he spoke rapidly and jerkily. He was at the time of my story about forty and had spent his life, almost from his sixteenth year, in the Hussars.

 He had married very young and was passionately fond of his wife; but she died, leaving in his heart a noble memory that nothing could efface. When he inherited Stepantchikovo, which increased his fortune to six hundred serfs, he left the army, and, as I have said already, settled in the country together with his children, Ilyusha, a boy of eight, whose birth had cost his mother's life, and Sashenka, a girl of fifteen, who had been brought up at a boarding-school in Moscow. But my uncle's house soon became a regular Noah's Ark. 

This was how it happened. Just at the time when he came into the property and retired from the army, his mother, who had, sixteen y«ars before, married a certain General Krahotkin, was left a widow. At the time of her second marriage my uncle was only a comet, and yet he, too, was thinking of getting married. His mother had for a long time refused her blessing, had shed bitter tears, had reproached him with egoism, with ingratitude, with disrespect. 

She had proved to him that his estates, amounting to only two hundred and fifty serfs, were, as it was, barely sufficient for the maintenance of his family (that is, for the maintenance of his mamma, with all her retinue of toadies, pug- dogs, Pomeranians, Chinese cats and so on). And, in the midst of these reproaches, protests and shrill upbraidings, she all at once quite unexpectedly got married herself before her son, though she was forty-two years of age.

 Even in this, however, she found an excuse for blaming my poor uncle, declaring that she was getting married solely to secure in her old age the refuge denied her by the undutiful egoist, her son, who was contemplating the unpardonable insolence of making a home of his own. I never could find out what really induced a man apparently so reasonable as the deceased General Krahotkin to marry a widow of forty-two.

the book details :
  • Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • translator: Garnett, Constance Black
  • Publication date:1912
  • Company: London: Heinemann

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