In spite of everything, it turned out that our situation was not too bad. We had a neighbor, Ivan Ivanovich, who lived not far away from our village. He was a first-rate debauchee and was fond of urban beauties. He lived permanently in his village; endlessly, and without count, he took money from his peasants. Whatever he demanded had to be brought at once, otherwise a whipping would follow.
In this way a landlord, who was by no means young, robbed his peasants and beat them with or without reason until they finally rebelled and threatened him... Ivan Ivanovich realized that things were bad and decided to get along with his men peacefully. He bought them two kegs of vodka and pledged that, in the future, he would never again mistreat them. The people were satisfied with that. Because Ivan Ivanovich was an incorrigible ladies’ man, he flirted with one local young lady from a modest family. The family realized that it might be good for them to entice and capture this goose. They seemed to pay no attention to his pranks until a cer- tain moment when they finally caught the fellow and forced him to marry. But because he had run up so many debts in his youth that he could barely repay, his finances were in a terrible state. Since he could no longer get anything from his peasants, on the advice of his father-in-law he borrowed a large amount of money (I don’t know how much) from the Council of Trustees, having mortgaged twelve hundred souls.
All hell broke loose. Visit after visit—the new couple wanted to live in the city no less—evenings, carriages, equipment: everything