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Chapter 3

  • 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.