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A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov | Book review.


“Man is a rope, fastened between animal and Übermensch – a rope over an abyss.”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra , Prologue

The term Übermensch , often translated as Superman or Overman, was not invented by Nietzsche. The concept of hyperanthropos can be found in the ancient writings of Lucian. In German, the word had already been used by Müller, Herder, Novalis, Heine, and most importantly by Goethe in relation to Faust (in Faust , Part I, line 490). In America Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of the Oversoul, and, perhaps with the exception of Goethe’s Faust, his aristocratic, self-reliant ‘Beyond-man’ was probably the greatest contributor to Nietzsche’s idea of the Übermensch . Nietzsche was, however, well familiar with all the above sources.

“The Übermensch shall be the meaning of the earth!
I entreat you my brethren, remain true to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of supra-terrestrial hopes! …
Behold, I teach you the Übermensch : he is this lightning, he is this madness! …
Behold, I am a prophet of the lightning and a heavy drop from the cloud: but this lightning is called Übermensch .”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra , Prologue

Nietzsche’s reluctance to spell out exactly what he meant has provoked numerous interpretations in the secondary literature. Hollingdale (in Nietzsche ) saw in Übermensch a man who had organised the chaos within; Kaufmann ( Nietzsche ) a symbol of a man that created his own values, and Carl Jung ( Zarathustra’s Seminars ) a new ‘God’. For Heidegger it represented humanity that surpassed itself, whilst for the Nazis it became an emblem of the master race.

There have been problems with translating Übermensch . It has been rendered as a ‘Beyond-man’ (Tille, 1896), ‘Superman’ (G.B. Shaw, 1903) and ‘Overman’ (Kaufmann, 1954). The difficulty hinges on the prefix über (over, above, beyond) and ultimately the word proves untranslatable. Although it is gender-indifferent, for the sake of simplicity I shall be using a masculine pronoun in its stead.

Some anarchists appropriated Übermensch to their cause, latching onto its aspects of strength and individualism. But Nietzsche never advocated abolishment of the state or legislation in pursuit of selfish aims. Quite the opposite: he argued for a well-ordered soul and a well-ordered society.

“Man is a rope, fastened between animal and Übermensch – a rope over an abyss.”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra , Prologue

The term Übermensch , often translated as Superman or Overman, was not invented by Nietzsche. The concept of hyperanthropos can be found in the ancient writings of Lucian. In German, the word had already been used by Müller, Herder, Novalis, Heine, and most importantly by Goethe in relation to Faust (in Faust , Part I, line 490). In America Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of the Oversoul, and, perhaps with the exception of Goethe’s Faust, his aristocratic, self-reliant ‘Beyond-man’ was probably the greatest contributor to Nietzsche’s idea of the Übermensch . Nietzsche was, however, well familiar with all the above sources.

“The Übermensch shall be the meaning of the earth!
I entreat you my brethren, remain true to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of supra-terrestrial hopes! …
Behold, I teach you the Übermensch : he is this lightning, he is this madness! …
Behold, I am a prophet of the lightning and a heavy drop from the cloud: but this lightning is called Übermensch .”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra , Prologue

Nietzsche’s reluctance to spell out exactly what he meant has provoked numerous interpretations in the secondary literature. Hollingdale (in Nietzsche ) saw in Übermensch a man who had organised the chaos within; Kaufmann ( Nietzsche ) a symbol of a man that created his own values, and Carl Jung ( Zarathustra’s Seminars ) a new ‘God’. For Heidegger it represented humanity that surpassed itself, whilst for the Nazis it became an emblem of the master race.

There have been problems with translating Übermensch . It has been rendered as a ‘Beyond-man’ (Tille, 1896), ‘Superman’ (G.B. Shaw, 1903) and ‘Overman’ (Kaufmann, 1954). The difficulty hinges on the prefix über (over, above, beyond) and ultimately the word proves untranslatable. Although it is gender-indifferent, for the sake of simplicity I shall be using a masculine pronoun in its stead.

Some anarchists appropriated Übermensch to their cause, latching onto its aspects of strength and individualism. But Nietzsche never advocated abolishment of the state or legislation in pursuit of selfish aims. Quite the opposite: he argued for a well-ordered soul and a well-ordered society.

In this novel we are presented with a Byronic character named Pechorin, a Russian military officer. We learn about him through a narrator and also excerpted diaries that he abandoned before his final voyage, which includes themes of adventure, seduction, existentialism, and bride kidnapping.

The air is pure and fresh, like the kiss of a child; the sun is bright, the sky is blue—what more could one possibly wish for? What need, in such a place as this, of passions, desires, regrets?

I always advance more boldly when I do not know what is awaiting me. You see, nothing can happen worse than death—and from death there is no escape.

He once told me that he would rather do a favour to an enemy than to a friend, because, in the latter case, it would mean selling his beneficence, whilst hatred only increases proportionately to the magnanimity of the adversary.

Pechorin’s seduction of Princess Mary over a beta male counterpart was masterful, forcing me to realize that game is nothing more than a watered down version of what the great seducers of history have mastered.

She finds it exceedingly strange that I, who am accustomed to good society, and am so intimate with her Petersburg cousins and aunts, do not try to make her acquaintance. Every day we meet at the well and on the boulevard. I exert all my powers to entice away her adorers, glittering aides-de-camp, pale-faced visitors from Moscow, and others—and I almost always succeed. I have always hated entertaining guests: now my house is full every day; they dine, sup, gamble, and alas! my champagne triumphs over the might of Princess Mary’s magnetic eyes!

There is very little information revealed about the novel's first narrator. He is a young man who has been in the Caucasus for a year. The novel does not specifically state his occupation, but the route on which he travels is the Military Road. Beyond the amount of time he has been in the Caucasus and his disdain for Ossettes and other natives, nothing else about him is mentioned. His fascination with Maxim Maximych and Pechorin's adventures hint that he might be seeking adventures of his own.

An officer who is about 50 years old. He has been in the Caucasus for a number of years. He takes great pride in having served in the Russian army during General Alexei Petrovich Yermolov's time. Maxim Maximych lives with Pechorin for a year. He recounts to the first narrator a particular incident involving Pechorin.

He is a young, Russian officer serving time in the Caucasus. At 25 years of age, he feels as if his youth has already disappeared and that he has already experienced all that society and life have to offer. He is a man of many contradictions. He employs his handsome features, his charms, and his unusual honesty to manipulate and deceive others. He seeks to rid himself of boredom by creating chaos in others' lives. His actions lead to kidnappings, murders, and adulterous affairs.

He is the 15-year-old son of a Circassian chief, whose tribe lives near the fort where Pechorin and Maxim Maximych are stationed. He has a weakness for money and a disregard for others' property. He barters his sister, Bela, for Kazbich's horse.

She is Azamat's sister and the chief's daughter. Her age falls between 15 and 16. She has dark eyes like Karagyoz, Kazbich's horse. Her fate and Karagyoz' fate are intertwined. Pechorin promises to help Azamat kidnap Karagyoz if Azamat brings him Bela. Bela eventually accepts her captivity and falls in love with Pechorin. This result is in large part due to Pechorin's manipulation. She also develops a friendship with Maxim Maximych.

He is a tribesman whom Maxim Maximych describes as strong, fearsome, and stubborn. His weapons and his horse intimidate spectators. When he sells his rams at the fort, he does not lower his prices. He attends the wedding for the chief's eldest daughter and spends a great deal of time admiring Bela, the chief's youngest daughter. Azamat tries to barter with him first: Bela for Karagyoz. His refusal angers Azamat and leads Azamat to make the transaction with Pechorin instead.

“Man is a rope, fastened between animal and Übermensch – a rope over an abyss.”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra , Prologue

The term Übermensch , often translated as Superman or Overman, was not invented by Nietzsche. The concept of hyperanthropos can be found in the ancient writings of Lucian. In German, the word had already been used by Müller, Herder, Novalis, Heine, and most importantly by Goethe in relation to Faust (in Faust , Part I, line 490). In America Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of the Oversoul, and, perhaps with the exception of Goethe’s Faust, his aristocratic, self-reliant ‘Beyond-man’ was probably the greatest contributor to Nietzsche’s idea of the Übermensch . Nietzsche was, however, well familiar with all the above sources.

“The Übermensch shall be the meaning of the earth!
I entreat you my brethren, remain true to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of supra-terrestrial hopes! …
Behold, I teach you the Übermensch : he is this lightning, he is this madness! …
Behold, I am a prophet of the lightning and a heavy drop from the cloud: but this lightning is called Übermensch .”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra , Prologue

Nietzsche’s reluctance to spell out exactly what he meant has provoked numerous interpretations in the secondary literature. Hollingdale (in Nietzsche ) saw in Übermensch a man who had organised the chaos within; Kaufmann ( Nietzsche ) a symbol of a man that created his own values, and Carl Jung ( Zarathustra’s Seminars ) a new ‘God’. For Heidegger it represented humanity that surpassed itself, whilst for the Nazis it became an emblem of the master race.

There have been problems with translating Übermensch . It has been rendered as a ‘Beyond-man’ (Tille, 1896), ‘Superman’ (G.B. Shaw, 1903) and ‘Overman’ (Kaufmann, 1954). The difficulty hinges on the prefix über (over, above, beyond) and ultimately the word proves untranslatable. Although it is gender-indifferent, for the sake of simplicity I shall be using a masculine pronoun in its stead.

Some anarchists appropriated Übermensch to their cause, latching onto its aspects of strength and individualism. But Nietzsche never advocated abolishment of the state or legislation in pursuit of selfish aims. Quite the opposite: he argued for a well-ordered soul and a well-ordered society.

In this novel we are presented with a Byronic character named Pechorin, a Russian military officer. We learn about him through a narrator and also excerpted diaries that he abandoned before his final voyage, which includes themes of adventure, seduction, existentialism, and bride kidnapping.

The air is pure and fresh, like the kiss of a child; the sun is bright, the sky is blue—what more could one possibly wish for? What need, in such a place as this, of passions, desires, regrets?

I always advance more boldly when I do not know what is awaiting me. You see, nothing can happen worse than death—and from death there is no escape.

He once told me that he would rather do a favour to an enemy than to a friend, because, in the latter case, it would mean selling his beneficence, whilst hatred only increases proportionately to the magnanimity of the adversary.

Pechorin’s seduction of Princess Mary over a beta male counterpart was masterful, forcing me to realize that game is nothing more than a watered down version of what the great seducers of history have mastered.

She finds it exceedingly strange that I, who am accustomed to good society, and am so intimate with her Petersburg cousins and aunts, do not try to make her acquaintance. Every day we meet at the well and on the boulevard. I exert all my powers to entice away her adorers, glittering aides-de-camp, pale-faced visitors from Moscow, and others—and I almost always succeed. I have always hated entertaining guests: now my house is full every day; they dine, sup, gamble, and alas! my champagne triumphs over the might of Princess Mary’s magnetic eyes!

There is very little information revealed about the novel's first narrator. He is a young man who has been in the Caucasus for a year. The novel does not specifically state his occupation, but the route on which he travels is the Military Road. Beyond the amount of time he has been in the Caucasus and his disdain for Ossettes and other natives, nothing else about him is mentioned. His fascination with Maxim Maximych and Pechorin's adventures hint that he might be seeking adventures of his own.

An officer who is about 50 years old. He has been in the Caucasus for a number of years. He takes great pride in having served in the Russian army during General Alexei Petrovich Yermolov's time. Maxim Maximych lives with Pechorin for a year. He recounts to the first narrator a particular incident involving Pechorin.

He is a young, Russian officer serving time in the Caucasus. At 25 years of age, he feels as if his youth has already disappeared and that he has already experienced all that society and life have to offer. He is a man of many contradictions. He employs his handsome features, his charms, and his unusual honesty to manipulate and deceive others. He seeks to rid himself of boredom by creating chaos in others' lives. His actions lead to kidnappings, murders, and adulterous affairs.

He is the 15-year-old son of a Circassian chief, whose tribe lives near the fort where Pechorin and Maxim Maximych are stationed. He has a weakness for money and a disregard for others' property. He barters his sister, Bela, for Kazbich's horse.

She is Azamat's sister and the chief's daughter. Her age falls between 15 and 16. She has dark eyes like Karagyoz, Kazbich's horse. Her fate and Karagyoz' fate are intertwined. Pechorin promises to help Azamat kidnap Karagyoz if Azamat brings him Bela. Bela eventually accepts her captivity and falls in love with Pechorin. This result is in large part due to Pechorin's manipulation. She also develops a friendship with Maxim Maximych.

He is a tribesman whom Maxim Maximych describes as strong, fearsome, and stubborn. His weapons and his horse intimidate spectators. When he sells his rams at the fort, he does not lower his prices. He attends the wedding for the chief's eldest daughter and spends a great deal of time admiring Bela, the chief's youngest daughter. Azamat tries to barter with him first: Bela for Karagyoz. His refusal angers Azamat and leads Azamat to make the transaction with Pechorin instead.

A masterpiece of Russian prose, Mikhail Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time is translated with an introduction and notes by Natasha Randall, and a foreword by Neil LaBute, author of reasons to be pretty , in Penguin Modern Classics.

The first major Russian novel, A Hero of Our Time was both lauded and reviled on publication. Its Byronic hero, twenty-five-year-old Pechorin, is a beautiful and magnetic but nihilistic young army officer, bored by life and indifferent to his many sexual conquests. In five linked episodes, Lermontov builds up a portrait of a man caught in and expressing the sickness of his times . Chronicling his unforgettable adventures in the Caucasus involving brigands, smugglers, soldiers, rivals, and lovers, this classic tale of alienation influenced Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Anton Chekhov, holding up a mirror not only to Lermontov's time but also to our own.

Mikhail Lermontov (1814-41) was a Russian Romantic writer and poet. As a young man Lermontov was an officer in the guards, and was sent to fight in the Caucasus after insulting the Tsar. His dramatic life ended after being shot down in a duel.

Ifyou enjoyed A Hero of Our Time, you might like Andrei Bely's Petersburg , also available in Penguin Clasics.

'One of the most vivid and persuasive portraits of the male ego ever put down on paper'
Neil LaBute, from the Foreword

A story about the mystery of love, depth of passion, the complex psychological nature of its cynical, immoral hero, Pechorin.

As the Russian conflict for the Caucuses reaches its peak, our Hero, a feared warrior, is distracted by five Beautiful young women and embarks on a series of romantic and sexual adventures, which marks him the most immoral Hero of the 19th Century. As he comes face to face with his own destiny, he leaves a trail of the broken hearts behind him. "War and Peace" meets "Dorian Gray" .

“Man is a rope, fastened between animal and Übermensch – a rope over an abyss.”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra , Prologue

The term Übermensch , often translated as Superman or Overman, was not invented by Nietzsche. The concept of hyperanthropos can be found in the ancient writings of Lucian. In German, the word had already been used by Müller, Herder, Novalis, Heine, and most importantly by Goethe in relation to Faust (in Faust , Part I, line 490). In America Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of the Oversoul, and, perhaps with the exception of Goethe’s Faust, his aristocratic, self-reliant ‘Beyond-man’ was probably the greatest contributor to Nietzsche’s idea of the Übermensch . Nietzsche was, however, well familiar with all the above sources.

“The Übermensch shall be the meaning of the earth!
I entreat you my brethren, remain true to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of supra-terrestrial hopes! …
Behold, I teach you the Übermensch : he is this lightning, he is this madness! …
Behold, I am a prophet of the lightning and a heavy drop from the cloud: but this lightning is called Übermensch .”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra , Prologue

Nietzsche’s reluctance to spell out exactly what he meant has provoked numerous interpretations in the secondary literature. Hollingdale (in Nietzsche ) saw in Übermensch a man who had organised the chaos within; Kaufmann ( Nietzsche ) a symbol of a man that created his own values, and Carl Jung ( Zarathustra’s Seminars ) a new ‘God’. For Heidegger it represented humanity that surpassed itself, whilst for the Nazis it became an emblem of the master race.

There have been problems with translating Übermensch . It has been rendered as a ‘Beyond-man’ (Tille, 1896), ‘Superman’ (G.B. Shaw, 1903) and ‘Overman’ (Kaufmann, 1954). The difficulty hinges on the prefix über (over, above, beyond) and ultimately the word proves untranslatable. Although it is gender-indifferent, for the sake of simplicity I shall be using a masculine pronoun in its stead.

Some anarchists appropriated Übermensch to their cause, latching onto its aspects of strength and individualism. But Nietzsche never advocated abolishment of the state or legislation in pursuit of selfish aims. Quite the opposite: he argued for a well-ordered soul and a well-ordered society.

In this novel we are presented with a Byronic character named Pechorin, a Russian military officer. We learn about him through a narrator and also excerpted diaries that he abandoned before his final voyage, which includes themes of adventure, seduction, existentialism, and bride kidnapping.

The air is pure and fresh, like the kiss of a child; the sun is bright, the sky is blue—what more could one possibly wish for? What need, in such a place as this, of passions, desires, regrets?

I always advance more boldly when I do not know what is awaiting me. You see, nothing can happen worse than death—and from death there is no escape.

He once told me that he would rather do a favour to an enemy than to a friend, because, in the latter case, it would mean selling his beneficence, whilst hatred only increases proportionately to the magnanimity of the adversary.

Pechorin’s seduction of Princess Mary over a beta male counterpart was masterful, forcing me to realize that game is nothing more than a watered down version of what the great seducers of history have mastered.

She finds it exceedingly strange that I, who am accustomed to good society, and am so intimate with her Petersburg cousins and aunts, do not try to make her acquaintance. Every day we meet at the well and on the boulevard. I exert all my powers to entice away her adorers, glittering aides-de-camp, pale-faced visitors from Moscow, and others—and I almost always succeed. I have always hated entertaining guests: now my house is full every day; they dine, sup, gamble, and alas! my champagne triumphs over the might of Princess Mary’s magnetic eyes!

There is very little information revealed about the novel's first narrator. He is a young man who has been in the Caucasus for a year. The novel does not specifically state his occupation, but the route on which he travels is the Military Road. Beyond the amount of time he has been in the Caucasus and his disdain for Ossettes and other natives, nothing else about him is mentioned. His fascination with Maxim Maximych and Pechorin's adventures hint that he might be seeking adventures of his own.

An officer who is about 50 years old. He has been in the Caucasus for a number of years. He takes great pride in having served in the Russian army during General Alexei Petrovich Yermolov's time. Maxim Maximych lives with Pechorin for a year. He recounts to the first narrator a particular incident involving Pechorin.

He is a young, Russian officer serving time in the Caucasus. At 25 years of age, he feels as if his youth has already disappeared and that he has already experienced all that society and life have to offer. He is a man of many contradictions. He employs his handsome features, his charms, and his unusual honesty to manipulate and deceive others. He seeks to rid himself of boredom by creating chaos in others' lives. His actions lead to kidnappings, murders, and adulterous affairs.

He is the 15-year-old son of a Circassian chief, whose tribe lives near the fort where Pechorin and Maxim Maximych are stationed. He has a weakness for money and a disregard for others' property. He barters his sister, Bela, for Kazbich's horse.

She is Azamat's sister and the chief's daughter. Her age falls between 15 and 16. She has dark eyes like Karagyoz, Kazbich's horse. Her fate and Karagyoz' fate are intertwined. Pechorin promises to help Azamat kidnap Karagyoz if Azamat brings him Bela. Bela eventually accepts her captivity and falls in love with Pechorin. This result is in large part due to Pechorin's manipulation. She also develops a friendship with Maxim Maximych.

He is a tribesman whom Maxim Maximych describes as strong, fearsome, and stubborn. His weapons and his horse intimidate spectators. When he sells his rams at the fort, he does not lower his prices. He attends the wedding for the chief's eldest daughter and spends a great deal of time admiring Bela, the chief's youngest daughter. Azamat tries to barter with him first: Bela for Karagyoz. His refusal angers Azamat and leads Azamat to make the transaction with Pechorin instead.

A masterpiece of Russian prose, Mikhail Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time is translated with an introduction and notes by Natasha Randall, and a foreword by Neil LaBute, author of reasons to be pretty , in Penguin Modern Classics.

The first major Russian novel, A Hero of Our Time was both lauded and reviled on publication. Its Byronic hero, twenty-five-year-old Pechorin, is a beautiful and magnetic but nihilistic young army officer, bored by life and indifferent to his many sexual conquests. In five linked episodes, Lermontov builds up a portrait of a man caught in and expressing the sickness of his times . Chronicling his unforgettable adventures in the Caucasus involving brigands, smugglers, soldiers, rivals, and lovers, this classic tale of alienation influenced Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Anton Chekhov, holding up a mirror not only to Lermontov's time but also to our own.

Mikhail Lermontov (1814-41) was a Russian Romantic writer and poet. As a young man Lermontov was an officer in the guards, and was sent to fight in the Caucasus after insulting the Tsar. His dramatic life ended after being shot down in a duel.

Ifyou enjoyed A Hero of Our Time, you might like Andrei Bely's Petersburg , also available in Penguin Clasics.

'One of the most vivid and persuasive portraits of the male ego ever put down on paper'
Neil LaBute, from the Foreword

“Man is a rope, fastened between animal and Übermensch – a rope over an abyss.”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra , Prologue

The term Übermensch , often translated as Superman or Overman, was not invented by Nietzsche. The concept of hyperanthropos can be found in the ancient writings of Lucian. In German, the word had already been used by Müller, Herder, Novalis, Heine, and most importantly by Goethe in relation to Faust (in Faust , Part I, line 490). In America Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of the Oversoul, and, perhaps with the exception of Goethe’s Faust, his aristocratic, self-reliant ‘Beyond-man’ was probably the greatest contributor to Nietzsche’s idea of the Übermensch . Nietzsche was, however, well familiar with all the above sources.

“The Übermensch shall be the meaning of the earth!
I entreat you my brethren, remain true to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of supra-terrestrial hopes! …
Behold, I teach you the Übermensch : he is this lightning, he is this madness! …
Behold, I am a prophet of the lightning and a heavy drop from the cloud: but this lightning is called Übermensch .”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra , Prologue

Nietzsche’s reluctance to spell out exactly what he meant has provoked numerous interpretations in the secondary literature. Hollingdale (in Nietzsche ) saw in Übermensch a man who had organised the chaos within; Kaufmann ( Nietzsche ) a symbol of a man that created his own values, and Carl Jung ( Zarathustra’s Seminars ) a new ‘God’. For Heidegger it represented humanity that surpassed itself, whilst for the Nazis it became an emblem of the master race.

There have been problems with translating Übermensch . It has been rendered as a ‘Beyond-man’ (Tille, 1896), ‘Superman’ (G.B. Shaw, 1903) and ‘Overman’ (Kaufmann, 1954). The difficulty hinges on the prefix über (over, above, beyond) and ultimately the word proves untranslatable. Although it is gender-indifferent, for the sake of simplicity I shall be using a masculine pronoun in its stead.

Some anarchists appropriated Übermensch to their cause, latching onto its aspects of strength and individualism. But Nietzsche never advocated abolishment of the state or legislation in pursuit of selfish aims. Quite the opposite: he argued for a well-ordered soul and a well-ordered society.

In this novel we are presented with a Byronic character named Pechorin, a Russian military officer. We learn about him through a narrator and also excerpted diaries that he abandoned before his final voyage, which includes themes of adventure, seduction, existentialism, and bride kidnapping.

The air is pure and fresh, like the kiss of a child; the sun is bright, the sky is blue—what more could one possibly wish for? What need, in such a place as this, of passions, desires, regrets?

I always advance more boldly when I do not know what is awaiting me. You see, nothing can happen worse than death—and from death there is no escape.

He once told me that he would rather do a favour to an enemy than to a friend, because, in the latter case, it would mean selling his beneficence, whilst hatred only increases proportionately to the magnanimity of the adversary.

Pechorin’s seduction of Princess Mary over a beta male counterpart was masterful, forcing me to realize that game is nothing more than a watered down version of what the great seducers of history have mastered.

She finds it exceedingly strange that I, who am accustomed to good society, and am so intimate with her Petersburg cousins and aunts, do not try to make her acquaintance. Every day we meet at the well and on the boulevard. I exert all my powers to entice away her adorers, glittering aides-de-camp, pale-faced visitors from Moscow, and others—and I almost always succeed. I have always hated entertaining guests: now my house is full every day; they dine, sup, gamble, and alas! my champagne triumphs over the might of Princess Mary’s magnetic eyes!


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