THE next moment there entered the room a tall, loosely built man who evidentl_id not believe in refinement of costume, nor was in any way ashamed of th_act. This was Mikhei Andreievitch Tarantiev, a native of the same district a_blomov. Though an individual of rough, sullen mien, and of rather a_verbearing manner, he did not lack a certain keen ruggedness of wit; no_ould any one be a better judge of mundane questions in general, nor a bette_esolver of tangled juridical problems (though usually he behaved rudely t_he person who had sought his advice on these matters). Nevertheless, hi_bilities stopped short at a talent for verbal exposition; and no sooner wa_e called upon to transmit a theory into action than his whole bearin_nderwent a change, and in every case he discovered practical difficulties i_he way of what he conceived to be the best course to take.
"How are you?" he said brusquely as he extended a hairy hand. "What do yo_ean by lying in bed like a log? Presently it will be twelve o'clock, yet yo_re sprawling about on your back!" The other forestalled him by hurriedl_lipping his feet into his slippers, or the new-comer would have pulled hi_ut of bed.
"I was just about to rise," said Oblomov with a yawn.
"Yes; I know how you rise—how you go rolling about until lunch-time! Zakhar, come and help your master to dress!"
Zakhar entered and glared at Tarantiev. Raising himself on his elbow, Oblomo_tepped from the bed like a man who is thoroughly worn out, and, dropping int_n arm-chair, sat there without moving. Meanwhile Zakhar pomaded, parted, an_ombed his master's hair, and then asked him if he desired to wash.
"Presently," said Oblomov. "Do you wait a little."
"Ah! So you are here?" said Tarantiev suddenly as he turned to Alexiev. "I ha_ot seen you. By the way, what a swine is that kinsman of yours!"
"What kinsman?" inquired Alexiev with a stare. "I do not possess a singl_elative."
"I mean Athanasiev. Surely he is a relative of yours? I know he is."
"My name is Alexiev, not Athanasiev," said the other. "And I repeat that I d_ot possess a single relative."
"But he is just like you—an ugly man, as well as (like yourself, again) a ma_f the name of Vassili Nikolaitch?"
"Nevertheless he is no kinsman of mine. Besides, my first names are Ivan an_lexeitch."
"Well, he is exactly like you, and a swine besides. You can tell him that whe_ext you meet him."
"I neither possess his acquaintance nor have ever set eyes upon him," sai_lexiev, opening his snuffbox.
"Give me a pinch," put in Tarantiev. "You use the plain stuff, and not th_rench, do you? Why not use the French? Never have I seen a swine like tha_elative of yours. On one occasion I borrowed of him fifty roubles. That wa_wo years ago. And fifty roubles are not a very large sum, are they? They ar_ sum which he might well have forgotten, mightn't he? Yes, he very wel_ight. But as a matter of fact, he remembered it. Not a month had passe_efore he took to saying, whenever he met me: 'How about that debt?' I assur_ou I found him a perfect nuisance! And only yesterday he walked into ou_ffice, and said to me: 'I expect you have just received your salary, and ar_herefore in a position to repay me?' Well, I handed him over my salary, eve_hough he had come there for the express purpose of shaming me in public. _ad much ado not to put him out of the door. 'Poor fellow, you need the money, I suppose?' As though I had not needed it! Am I such a rich man that I shoul_uietly let him pouch fifty roubles? Oblomov, hand me a cigar."
"The cigars are in that box there," said Oblomov, pointing to a whatnot. H_as still posed in his usual lazy but becoming attitude—he was still taking n_otice whatever of what was being done or said around him, but contemplatin_is small white hands.
"What a rubbishy weed!" Tarantiev remarked, after sending out a puff o_obacco smoke and inhaling another.
"You have come too early in the morning," suggested Oblomov with a yawn.
"Then I am boring you, am I?"
"No; I was merely making a remark. Usually you arrive at lunch-time, but to- day you have come an hour beforehand."
"I have come an hour beforehand because I wish to find out what there i_ikely to be to eat at dinner. As a rule you provide such rubbishy stuff."
"You had better go into the kitchen and inquire."
Tarantiev departed for the purpose.
"We are to have beef and veal," he remarked, on returning. "Ah, frien_blomov, though a landowner, you haven't the smallest notion how to live. You_énage is the ménage of a tradesman. Have you bought that Madeira yet?"
"I don't know," replied Oblomov, scarcely noticing what had been said. "Yo_ad better inquire of Zakhar. At all events there will be some sort of wine."
"What? The rubbishy old stuff which you bought of a German dealer? You ough_o go to the English Store for your wines."
"Very well. Please send to the Store for some."
"Money first, please!"
Oblomov fumbled in a cashbox, and produced therefrom a ten-rouble note.
"Madeira costs seven roubles the bottle," he said. "Here are ten roubles. Yo_ill be given change at the Store."
Tarantiev hastened to cram the note into his pocket.
"Likewise, do you feel like hiring a conveyance and going to the Ekaterinho_o-day?" he inquired. "If so, you might take me with you."
Oblomov shook his head.
"I have met with two misfortunes," he remarked. "In the first place, I am t_e turned out of this flat."
"Because you haven't paid your rent, I suppose?"
"No, that is not the reason. I always pay in advance. Tell me what had bette_e done."
"Who made me your adviser? Do you think I give advice for nothing? Ask him, rather"—and Tarantiev pointed to Alexiev—"or else that kinsman of his."
"No, no. Tell me what I ought to do."
"I should advise you to move to another flat."
"I could have said that myself."
"To the flat of a friend of mine in the Veaborg Quarter," continued Tarantiev.
"What? To a flat in the Veaborg Quarter? In winter the whole district i_verrun with wolves!"
"True, at times they come there from the Neva Islands, but my friend's hous_as high walls to it, and, in addition, she and her family and a bachelo_rother are nice people, and not like that fellow over there." He pointed t_lexiev.
"But what has all this to do with me?" said Oblomov irritably. "I tell you _m not going to move there."
"You fool!" exclaimed Tarantiev. " In that house you would be much quieter an_ore comfortable than you are here, and you would pay less, and you would hav_arger quarters. Besides, it is a more respectable place than this. Here on_as to sit at a dirty table on which the pepper-pot is empty, the vinega_ottle the same, the knives are not clean, the tablecloth is falling t_ieces, and dust, dust, dust, lies everywhere. Give me my cab-fare, and I wil_o and secure you the flat at once. Then you can move into it to-morrow."
Tarantiev started to leave the room.
"Stop, stop!" cried Oblomov. "I tell you I am not going to the Veabor_uarter. Pray exercise your wits in contriving how I may remain where I am.
Moreover, I have a still more important affair on hand. That is to say, I hav_ust received from my starosta a letter concerning which I should be glad o_our advice."
With that he searched for the document, found it after some difficulty, an_ead it aloud.
"So you hear what the starosta says as to drought and a failure of the crops?
What ought I to do?"
"The prime necessity," replied Tarantiev, "is complete quiet for you. That yo_ould get at the house of the friend of whom I have just spoken; and I coul_ome to see you every day."
"Yes, yes," said Oblomov. "But what about this affair of the starosta?"
"The starosta is lying. He is a thief and a rogue. Why, I know an estate, onl_ifty versts from yours, where the harvest of last year was so good that i_leared the owner completely of debt. That being so, why have the crops o_our estate threatened to fail? Clearly the starosta is a robber. If I wer_here I'd teach him! Do you suppose this letter to be a natural, an hones_ne? No, no more than we can suppose that that sheep's head over there "—h_ointed to Alexiev again—"is capable of writing an honest letter, or hi_insman either."
"Whom am I to appoint in the starosta's place?" asked Oblomov. "Another ma_ight prove even worse than he."
"You yourself had better go to the estate, and stay there for the summer, an_hen move into my friend's house. I will see that her rooms shall be ready fo_ou—yes, I will see to it at once. Personally, I should have sold tha_roperty of yours, and bought another. Hand it over to me, and I will ver_oon make the folk there aware that I am alive!"
The upshot of it was that Oblomov accorded a half-hearted consent t_arantiev's procuring him a new lodging, and also to his writing to th_overnor of the district where his (Oblomov's) property was situated. Afte_hat Tarantiev departed, stating that he would return to dinner at fiv_'clock.
With Tarantiev's departure a calm of ten minutes reigned in the apartment.
Oblomov was feeling greatly upset, both by the starosta's letter and by th_rospect of the impending removal. Also, the tumultuous Tarantiev ha_horoughly tired him out.
"Why do you not sit down and write the letter?" asked Alexiev. "If you wish _ill clean the inkstand for you."
"Clean it, and the Lord bless you!" sighed Oblomov. "Let me write the lette_lone, and then you shall fair-copy it after dinner."
"Very well," replied Alexiev. " But now I must be off, or I shall be delayin_he Ekaterinhov party. Good-bye!"
Oblomov did not heed him, but, sinking back into a recumbent position in th_rmchair, relapsed into a state of meditative lethargy.