At the time when grandpa died, my dad was already about thirty. He had acquired excellent trading skills. With his own money and the confidence he gained from people, he maintained the house- hold with no difficulty. Besides him and my mom, Dar’ia Egorovna, our family included my grandma and me, then aged two. (I was born on 5 January 1800.) I remember myself from the age of four. From that time on my memory retained everything. I knew, and remember well, the appearance of my relatives; I remember the things I enjoyed then and my habits; I remember the troubles I had. I remember how my late father strictly discouraged my pranks. Sometimes he was lenient with me out of respect for my grandma. Only she could obtain mercy for my sins. On occasion my mother would say to her husband, “What a strange habit you have of scar- ing the child, he is so frightened that he fears everybody.” My fa- ther’s response would be short: “Shut up.” With my grandma it was different. She would tell my dad, “Well, Mitia,68 I endured enough fear when our deceased grandpa disciplined you. Now I won’t let you take liberties with this kid. This is the only child we have. If he gets sick and dies...” Father did not contradict her but only smiled and went away.
One of my pranks I will never forget. On the Day of the Advent of the Holy Spirit, my father and mother went to another village for a church service. I was left at home with my grandma. I felt so free
68 A pet name for Dmitrii.