gall and gumption

Monday, October 02, 2006

Pushkin's Friend

In 1825 Pushkin was in his fifth year of exile, living alone (except for his old nurse and a couple of servants) in a house in the village of Mikhaylovskoe. Ivan Puschin was his closest friend from the days when they were students together at the lycee in St. Petersburg. "Braving the threat of official displeasure," as Elaine Feinstein's biography puts it, Pushchin decided to visit his friend in the course of a long winter journey. He arrived at about eight in the morning, to find Pushkin standing in the doorway in his nightshirt.

I grab hold of him and drag him into the room. It is bitterly cold outside, but in such moments a man does not catch cold. We look at one another, we kiss, we remain silent. He forgot that he should put something on, I did not think of my fur coat and hat covered in frost. It was about eight in the morning... The old woman who had run up found us in each other's arms in the same condition as we were as we came into the house: one almost naked, the other covered in snow. Finally the tears broke (even now, after thirty five years, tears make it difficult to write in glasses) and we came to our senses.

They talked and read to each other, drank and ate, and parted at three in the morning. Pushchin resumed his journey. A year later he was permanently exiled to Siberia, and the two friends never saw each other again.


At 4:22 PM, Blogger Giancarlo said...


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