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Georgiy VORONOI DIARY (fragments) (p1)

March 14th.

Again I begin writing my diary. So many times I began to write it and gave up, that even now I am not very certain that I shall be keeping it regularly [...]


So much I wish I could have within my easy reach that transition from a shy gymnasia [secondary school]  pupil to a student who is fearlessly looking  life straight in the face. Only two years elapsed, but I have changed so much in many respects that my former comrades cannot recognize me. Well, in fact I must own that I have no friends now. How much simpler it was before: any comrade is a pal. Now it's different;  anybody is being treated with quiet consideration. Why, can't a grown up man have friends? [...]


I remember those days quiet clearly: I would read such a lot that fall in stupor, then I would have a nice full cup of tea and rush to the street. Just in a minute my dearest friend Volodya would come, and thereon we would start "doing our military service",  as we used to call our daily strolls. The sun is going down, the heat is abating, and we are running as fast as we can to her house, evidently heeding neither a delightful spring evening, nor the dust which inevitably accompanies it in town; all our attention is concentrated on their house. I do not dare to raise my eyes to the windows, only Volodya looks there boldly and reports to me that she is sitting there by. It seems fine, so we walk on to the end of the street and to the end of the town; from there we return back, and she is already not alone, they both are sitting on the bench at the house.


I would bow and do not dare to raise my eyes to her like a fair maiden. And Volodya, a sly fox, has already noticed if she had blushed or not and reports it to me solemnly. We are walking back, and they are going for a stroll, but we do not dare to approach, we would meet once more and that is the end, the dusk would shroud all the street, and our fairies go home. We would walk again under the windows and, having made finally certain that we shall not see them any more, go to the main street  [One of these girls, Olya Krytska, became Georgiy's wife in future]  [...]


Monday, March 16.

[...] From today I have begun to prepare for exams, begun to read a special course of Daguin "Traite de Physique". It is easy to read but has many chemical terms and is difficult to understand without a dictionary. As a matter of fact, now comes for me the time of a real work, while outside the spring is coming. Today they began to cut ice on the Neva, therefore the river should be expected to break. A comrade of mine got somewhere some twigs of already blossomed out willow, and looking at them I could not calm down for long. I kept dreaming of the old years, when at this time my heart sank in the sweet expectation of coming great holidays, when people began to fill eggs with wax two weeks before the Easter, the  venture which in fact always ended in failure.

Now I am absorbed in  quite other concerns. The subscription for Italian opera is going on, money should be paid in. Two sheets of "Introduction to Analysis" must be prepared, and I have only twenty copecks in my pocket [...]


Some days ago I devoured 7 volumes of "In Forests" and "On Hills" by Pechersky.  [P.I.Melnikov-Pechersky(1819-1883) is a Russian writer, in the novels "In Forests" and "On Hills" he described the life of Russian Raskolniki (schismatics), the books are rich in sacral poetry, people's songs, tales, etc.] This work I like so much that I read each book in one sitting [...]


Wednesday, March 18.

Has been called today by Yermakov. He told that Khelmsky, an eighth-former of the Pryluky gymnasia, had shot himself. He is the second who has done it this year! What can it mean? These youngsters have not even entered the life, they were about entering the University and suddenly ─ lo! It is certainly beyond my depth. And they have parents!  What a sad blow it is for his poor father! Fateev at least was an orphan, though he has mother, but she even did not come to her son's funeral.  I remember how frightened was old man Khelmsky when he learnt that some gymnasia pupil had shot himself ─ he was certain it had been his son.  Poor thing, he had a premonition!..


 March 22.

[Here G.Voronoi reflects about his relations with his room-mate]


[...]  I do not wish to accept a service which I also should pay for with a service. In my opinion, a service means only what it meant in a Christ the Saviour's commandment: let not thy left hand know what thy right hand does. Only in this case the man is ennobled, but not when after doing a service he boasts of it [...]

I cannot assert that I have been strictly adhering to this opinion, but it is only because it has not entirely entered my mind...


I often think about it and wonder, why I do not feel any affection for my room-mate. He is certainly an honest man, quite considerate, but only if you do not rub him up a wrong way... It seems to me I do not like in him mainly his refined egotism. All his services lack sincerity, they are not done with a wish to please his neighbour, but only to fence himself from trouble. In short, to turn his cash into stocks and bonds (in a figurative sense), and then to use interests from them [...]


We happened to come together by chance and we regard  this fact properly, we have been living two years without any quarrels and will be living a year more, and then will part and forget each other [...]


March 23.

Today I have met Nefed in the street, and he told me that Khelmsky   shot himself on March 12 at noon after a quarrel with N. Halabutska.   It stroke me  painfully.

Poor girl!  During two months she had to be impressed by two suicides,   and in  each of them she was playing some part. Probably she had nothing   to do with their deaths, but she is faced with two severe rebukes: "You   are the cause of their being dead". It is so horrible indeed! At once   I wrote her a letter expressing my condolences for what had happened   and in the same time tried to convince her that Khelmsky for a long   time had been nurturing the idea of suicide, and he needed only an   impulse to perform his intention. If she was an unwilling

perpetrator of it, how can anybody blame her? [...]


March 25.

[...] My soul is at strife. The question is: shall I take the exams or start    for my native land on May 8. The prospect is rather alluring, but at the    same time the moral obligation to take exams does not allow to fall for    temptation. Why should they have made exams unrequired!    It is nothing but temptation!


March 29.

[...] Up till now I was not overfond of Shchedrin [M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin (1826-1889) is a Russian writer-satirist, in his stories and novels he touched keen social problems, for this reason he even was exiled to the remote region of Russia ─ to Vyatka (1848--1855), where he managed to collect a huge material for his future works] , probably because he had been praised by the people whom I did not hold high in my esteem. Only once during these vacations I was really embarrassed when asked by my favourite teacher of mathematics  Bogoslovsky if I liked Shchedrin, I answered him in negative [...] Then he, evidently surprised, said: "And I am altogether brought up on Shchedrin, every his word is touching fibres of my heart. This is the author whose match I can't find !" [...]


Memory of this conversation was constantly haunting me, and this man, whom I feel a deep respect for, did manage to influence me too with his sincere admiration of Shchedrin and I began to read him with less prejudice. I began with "Loyal discourses" ─  the work of later period. And from the first pages he attracted my

attention [...]


The first question stunned me so that I threw away the book and jumped up from the bed on which I lay reading.

What am I after all? I am fond of playing cards, I have not any noble pride, that is if I am mocked at, I do not get angry and do not quarrel with the offender. I feel my weakness before the power of this world [...] I have no political tendencies, I am contemplating everything around almost indifferently, I feel no desire to serve the Humanity. However hard is it for me to write it, but I decided to carry everything through... This is so far my moral physiognomy [...]


Anyhow I started and said horror-stricken: is there not a single chance for me to turn over a new page? I desire it with all my heart, is it really harder than to prick your hand with a needle when you are sleepy at the time of studies? I was doing it and I have the right to boast with my patience, and now, having all chances to turn things right, can't I find the way out?


Shall I have, being a promising young man, to become one of those miserable

creatures who find comfort at the green table?


I am fond of cards, I can play all kinds of games, I even played a l'aveugle [blindfold] three sets of chess, I was the best croquet player, checkers player etc. Is not it a reason to suppose that such aptitude may anyway serve as a foot-hold for me when I become more grown-up [...]


I am fond of everything. I am fond of opera to distraction, I often go to the ballet too, though it does not afford me great pleasure... After seeing "Naymychka" ["Farm Girl", a play by an outstanding Ukranian playwright I. Karpenko-Kary; its performance in Petersburg by a Ukrainian drama company with participation of the famous Ukrainian actress M. Zankovetska was a tremendous success] [...] I leave the theater with such heart feeling as if I have been enriched with something new and fine. I am fond of dancing and even just of chatting and also of waging endless debates [...]


In short, I am merrily gazing at the God's world and to everything I touch I give myself up with rapture [...] I calculate the volumes of absolutely unnecessary pyramids for twelve hours in succession etc., and all of a sudden on the most interesting place ─ no go! There is neither a God's candle, nor a devil's poker!


March 31.

The ice on the Neva has begun to break today, the day is clear and warm, so the people start opening winter panes on their windows.


For the second day  I  have been busy calculating the sun eclipse of August 7.  Yesterday I was working for 10 hours, today for 7 hours, the work has been moved considerably on, but I am feeling quite exhausted, the more so because  I have not had a breath of fresh air for two days. Figures and figures etc. Yesterday I so crammed with them my head, that they pestered me all the night, and I had to get up and to throw cold water on my head. May be, to the same means I shall have to resort today too.


April 10.

I have not been writing my diary for full ten days, but it was not because of being in a lazy mood, and just because I am short of time. All the Holy Week I was busy at calculating the sun and moon eclipses. Concerning the former I seem to obtain a wrong result. So I'll have to redo some parts of the calculation.


Recently a real event has occurred in our collegiate life.


A collegian, a fourth year law student, called on a wealthy man and got out of him fifty rubles as if to pay for the tuition of his two comrades even without their knowledge. On coming with the money to the porter bar he, being asked by his comrades where he had obtained the money, answered: there are a lot of fools in the world who are willing to give it. The incident was made public and caused quite a row in the University. At our request the rector allowed to settle the problem in a family, i.e., in a collegiate way. They began to collect signatures; in a fit of indignation I signed for bringing the case to the trial of the University Board.


Next morning, when having breakfast, I was approached by a student, and he  began to reproach me telling that I was being too harsh, that bringing the student to trial would certainly mean closing for him the doors of all Universities. I told him I had known this student for the second year and besides this misdemeanour I knew some other his unseemly deeds. He asked me to tell. I told him that this student, posing as a reporter, called on entertainment houses, without paying for admittance, flirted with girl singers, came as a guest to the opening of new taverns being quite a stranger for all the people there. I was so agitated, and my agitation was conveyed to him. I told that I had put my signature deliberately, and if only

I could manage to get rid my country of one of emerging blackmailers, I should be happy.


My arguments convinced him entirely. He went to the midst of the canteen and told the students: "concerning that student, some very unseemly things have recently been revealed", and he began to relate what I had recently told him. Then I came to him and said that I had not authorized him to relate my story, that everything he had recently told is not the fact I could vouch for. I had learnt it from a student whom I trust, but I cannot think that it therefore should be believed. This tale should be considered as a hearsay, which therefore cannot even be discussed [...]


On the same day I felt bitter regret for daring to judge my comrade. Great is the commandment of Jesus Christ: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her!" But it was already late, sheets with signatures had been taken to the rector, and he fortunately consented only that he should leave our college. It took a heavy load off my mind. Let it be for me a lesson, which though ended well.


I have learned another lesson of the same kind. On Good Saturday I was walking home in that cheerful mood which attends me so often lately, I don't know why. On the way I came across a little old man, who was a pitiful sight. He stopped by me and begged for alms with his eyes. I took my purse and got seven copecks. When I was giving them, a woman with a child approached me. The first thought, a nasty thought, which came to my mind, was: I can't give alms to every beggar; so I hurried on. It happened on the bridge for the horse tramway, and I had to go on fast to give way for it. When the bridge was behind, I heard clearly in my mind:

"for the sake of Christ's Resurrection!" The image of the woman with her child flashed in my mind, and all my bright mood faded off. I kept only hearing in my mind: why didn't you give the alms, why didn't you give the alms? It even happened to me to return, but where to? That meeting had come about on the crossing of the Moika and the Kryukov canal, at the end of the bridge, hence at the crossroads of three streets (it is an excuse for the indolence which prevented me from returning there). In any case my good mind of spirit  was lost altogether.


The Feast we saw in not in a Christian manner; nobody had been fasting, nor

going to Communion, we had stored a lot of drinks and started to get sozzled

nearly at noon. We had a lot of good time, but it was only because that we were together five merry friends.


I attended even matins, but all my former feelings had completely evaporated, and meanwhile I have lately become more religious than ever before. Now I have an only foundation: belief in God,- nothing more has been formed yet, but I am not in a hurry, I think the integral world outlook will be formed by itself.


One more thing. On Saturday I got a letter from Nina Halabutska; it strongly impressed me. She writes about Khelmsky's death, says that this death made on her a terrible impression, that he had made a proposal to her in the evening and she rejected it; on the same day he shot himself. Then she writes that she is ever so grateful to me for my letter, that she would like to write me something kind, pleasant, but she cannot, and therefore, as if in reward, she is taking me into her confidence. If she does not succeed to change her life for the better, she will commit suicide.


I am very glad that she has said her say to me, I think I shall manage to drive off these thoughts from her mind.

April 16.

Today is my birthday. I am 19. As usually I did not mark it, just was sitting in and studying. After the dinner I went to "Posrednik" bookshop and bought a small volume of Byron's works for 25 copecks. I awfully wanted to purchase "Don Juan" in the  English language, but they had not it on sale. I was offered all Byron for 2 rubles 50 copecks, but such money I had not [...]


May 1.

A solid interval in my diary, but quite natural. Preparing for an examination, it is such a thankless subject for it! And about my examination, there was a hitch. For the first time in my life I flunked in the most formal way, moreover, I flunked the subject which I knew perfectly well. There was only one small passage which my friend and I had looked into in haste as trifling and just for it I suffered the most complete affront.


The professor said to me: "I cannot give you a good grade", and I asked him to give me no grade at all. This failure produced on me a terrible impression, but I hid it; as usual it provoked in my mind a lot of questions: am I really a flop even here? No, I shall not agree with it, I can call to witness my comrades, they will confirm that I possess enough knowledge. But the main thing was that all of it awoke in me a passionate desire to study [...]


I feel power in me, have desire to work, but for it I should do away with a too big circle of friends. My room is like some hotel, it is always full of visitors. read further

Категорія: Статті(Англійська мова) | Додав: fond_voronogo (30.03.2011)
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