Turgenev: The Man, His Art and His Age

By Avrahm Yarmolinsky | Go to book overview

26
THE BADEN NEST

"Little Mother Wednesday, be like Tuesday, just as little Father Tuesday was like Monday"--them were periods when the Baden days flowed so placidly that Turgenev could ask no more of the gods than that no breath of change should threaten his serenity. Having alighted in so friendly a valley, and in the most congenial company, he knew moments when he wished to arrest the wheel of time. The velvet lawns, set with nicely spaced trees, under which shawled and bonneted ladies promenaded, the quiet waters, the roll of gentle hills, dark and bright with plowland and fallow, was a setting that he loved both for its own mild charm, and, chiefly, because he saw it, like a landscape behind the head of one of Perugino's Madonnas, as the background for the rarest of women.

True, on the human side, the town itself had its drawbacks. It had changed little since the summer of 1857, when he had first visited it. At that time he had been depressed by the place. His friend, Yakov Polonsky, the poet, had described it as "a diminutive Babylon," a town of hotels, summer cottages and bawdy houses, where luxury and vice rubbed elbows. During the season Baden was infested with gamblers, who came from the four corners of the earth to swarm about one of the few roulette boards allowed in Europe, and with pompous Russian generals gulping waters from springs once resorted to by gouty Romans. It was a meeting-place for the dandies and diplomats of Paris, Vienna, and Petersburg; a hunting-ground for expensive French lorettes, Rumanian adventurers, indigent Italian counts, opulent American occultists.

Yet before the classic portico of the Konversationshaus and on the shaded paths beside the Oos one could also meet people of real distinction who cared as little as Turgenev for the continuous carnival that the watering place offered. Artists,

-241-

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Turgenev: The Man, His Art and His Age
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Preface To The First Edition ix
  • Contents xi
  • Errata xiv
  • Illustrations xv
  • 1 - In Which a Russian Is Scratched 3
  • 2 - "Shades of The Prison-House" 9
  • 3 - "The American" 18
  • 4 - Adolescence 26
  • 5 - The Immaculately Conceived 33
  • 6 - "The Sphere Of The Ideal" 42
  • 7 - Love, Carnal And Spiritual 52
  • 8- The Poet 61
  • 9 - Belinsky's Disciple 74
  • 10 - November First, Eighteen Forty-Three 81
  • 11 - The Dark Lady 90
  • 12 - "I Am Chained To The Earth" 101
  • 13 - "Bonne Nuit, Maman" 110
  • 14 - The Crown of Martyrdom 120
  • 15 - The Turning Of the Road 128
  • 16 - "The Only Woman" 139
  • 17 - Folly's Due 154
  • 18- A Nest of Gentlefolk 164
  • 19 - On the Eve 173
  • 20 - The Nihilists 182
  • 21 - Freedom 191
  • 22 - Fathers and Children 200
  • 23 - Different Clay 210
  • 24 - "I Am a European" 221
  • 25 - "Dearest, Dearest . . ." 231
  • 26 - The Baden Nest 241
  • 27 - Smoke 250
  • 28 - The Expatriate 258
  • 29 - Meek Pagan And 268
  • 30 - Thirty Devonshire Place 279
  • 31 - The French Home 291
  • 32 - Virgin Soil 302
  • 33 - A Marriage of Souls 314
  • 34 - Paris: Friends and Strangers 324
  • 35 - "Au Revoir in America!" 336
  • 36 - The Return Of the Native 347
  • 37 - Reconciliation 361
  • 38 - Phoenix Love 370
  • 39 - "Time to Take Leave" 380
  • Bibliographical Note 393
  • Chronology 396
  • Index 399
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