Statement of Intent
Ten years have passed since the brothers last met. It was then when in the small parish church, two weddings had taken place quietly and almost without witnesses: Arkady’s wedding to Katya and that of Nikolai Petrovich to Fenichka; and on that same day, Nikolai Petrovich was giving a farewell dinner for his brother, who was going away to Moscow on some business.
I have decided to continue and add to the novel Fathers and Sons ever since I finished reading it. I always wondered where each character would be after a certain period of time. And now I will remind you of the characters, and where we last left them with Turgenev, so we can carry on from there:
The Kirsanovs, father and son, had settled at Maryino. Arkady was passionately engrossed in the management of the estate and the farm was yielding a fairly substantial income. Nikolai Petrovich became an arbitrator in the land reforms and was putting all of his energy into the work. Katya had given birth to a son, little Nikolai, while Mitya (Fenichka’s son) scampered all over the place. Pavel Petrovich had gone from Moscow abroad for the sake of his health and then stayed in Dresden, where he associated chiefly with English and Russian visitors.
As time passed, the estate at Maryino began to grow. Under Arkady’s supervision, more and more peasants are needed. Arkady’s transition is complete and he becomes the practical man of business who still adheres too many of the more advanced ideas, but will not reject all the classical values found in art, literature, and music. With Arkady’s educational knowledge, new methods of farming are found.
These new methods are more effective and time conserving, so more work can be done in the same amount of time. The Kirsanovs farm became known all across the region. People from all parts of the world heard of the success of the farm and these new methods. Arkady soon began to teach these new discoveries in farming. People were willing to work on the farm for free as long as Arkady taught them these new methods. These methods and techniques soon became so famous that Arkady decided to publish them into a book called Maryino’s Farming Methods.
As the estate grew, so did Nikolai. He could no longer bare the stress of his work, so he spent most of his time engaged at home. He would sit with his son, Mitya, and his grandson, Nikolai, and tell them stories of his past experiences and adventures. As they sat one breezy afternoon drinking their tea, Nikolai decided to tell these young ones something he had never told anyone before. He hesitated at first, but the thought of it made him continue: “A long time ago, I used to work at the neighbors farm since my family’s farm was then not established. As I grew up, my father began to reconstruct our ruined farm because he was getting old and wanted to ensure a good future for his only son, me. I began working at the farm ever since I was your age. I would help plow the land, and later on pick the weeds, and then plant the harvest. It was a tiring job. I did not get paid much, but it helped cover our expenses.
To make a long story short, the time came when I became an actual adult. It is quite difficult to explain to you the feeling of being an adult, but the time will also come when I will see you two as successful adults and I will then remind you of this day. However, my job on the farm began to expand, and my responsibilities doubled.
On the same farm, many people were hired and fired, and lots of people came and went while I was there. It was that day, when this beautiful young lady joined us. The owner introduced her to us and to our surprise began telling her what her job was. Everyone was surprised as it seemed like she was from an upper class in the society and was not required to engage herself in a job of this sort. But later on we all found out that she was relatively poor, but that did not matter, because she was really gorgeous. The estate was large; therefore the workers were divided into groups. Lucky me, she worked in my group. From the first day I saw her, I was fascinated. She was the loveliest female I had ever seen. Day by day, I became fond of her and wanted to confront her with my feelings, but I was afraid. She seemed to be too good for me and I didn’t want to get rejected. As a couple of months passed by, I decided to express my feelings toward her.
As the sun set, everyone was getting ready to go home. As we exited the farm, I approached her. She did not seem surprised as if she new my feelings toward her. There was a moment of silence; I did not know what to tell her. Then she suddenly spoke: “Would you care to walk me home?” I was delighted! I walked her home, and during this walk that seemed to end very fast, she introduced herself and so did I. As we approached her home, I stopped her and expressed my feelings toward her. She did not react, but turned around and went inside.
That night, I could not sleep. I felt ashamed of myself. I did not know what her reaction was, and began to think of how I was going to face her the next day.
Morning arrived, and it was time to go to work. Two steps forward and one step backward, I got to the farm; she was not there. A couple of minutes later, she arrived, but did not seem to be ready for work. Once she arrived, she rushed to meet the owner. As I watched, she said goodbye and took her earnings…..she was departing. I followed her to see where she was going. I wanted to call her, but that was not necessary. There he was a handsome man with a carriage waiting for her. As years went by, I found out that she had gotten married to one of the richest people at that time. Oh how…”
“GRANDPA….GRANDPA, what happened to you? You were telling me and Uncle Mitya a story when you fell asleep. You have awakened now, continue it for us”. “O young Nikolai, I have no strength to do that now, let it be some other time”.
This was Nikolai, as for Katya, she was very happy. From time to time, she would visit her sister. She would take young Nikolai with her so he could play with his cousin, Bazarov. Anna Surgeyevna had given birth to a young boy, and for the remembrance of Yevgeny Vassilyvich, she named him Bazarov. After Arkady would come home and rest, they would sit and exchange thoughts. On those days when he was free from work, they would walk to town and eat ice-cream, and then walk back exchanging jokes and laughing. Fenichka, on the other hand, almost did the same with Nikolai. After he stopped working, she spent all her time next to him; she new he was getting old, but loved him with all her heart. She would sit and listen to his stories, like the little ones, but that one secret story, no one seems to know yet.
And now, turning the lights on Pavel Petrovich, his life also seemed to progress. He continued to associate with English and Russian visitors. Like always, with the English he behaves simply, almost with modesty. With Russians, he is more free and easy, gives vent to his spleen and jests at his own expense and theirs. At one of his meetings with his fellow visitors, he meets this Russian female.
Like Nikolai’s experience, he too became fond of this lady. Unlike Nikolai though, he expresses his feelings directly from the first time, after that tragically sad love affair he went through. After speaking to the lady, he knows exactly that she is the right one, and so he asks her hand in marriage. Surprisingly, she accepts. It turns out to be that she also has come out of a tragically sad love affair and longs for a companion. They get married and decide to make a journey around the world. They start their journey from Moscow and happily decide to end it at Nikolai’s estate.
Once again, just like it was ten years before, the brothers meet again. The family has reunited and they all sit for lunch. At the dinner table, everyone exchanges the experiences they faced in those ten years that passed. When they finish, Nikolai stands up and claims: “On behalf of this household, I hereby exclaim that my brother Pavel Petrovich, along with his lovely wife, is welcomed back to live with us in this home”. Pavel delightfully accepts the invitation and so the three families: Arkady and Katya, Nikolai and Fenichka, and Pavel and his wife, are all living happily together under one roof.
* Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons, London: Penguin Book, 1965.