OBLOMOV'S face beamed as he walked home. His blood was boiling, and a
light was shining in his eyes. He entered his room—and at once the radiance
disappeared as his eyes, full of disgusted astonishment, became glued to one
particular spot. That particular spot was the arm-chair, wherein was snugly
"Why is it I never find you here?" the visitor asked sternly.
"Why are you always gadding about? That old fool Zakhar has quite
got out of hand. I asked him for a morsel of food and a glass of
vodka, and he refused me both!"
"I have been for a walk in the park," replied Oblomov coldly. For the
moment he had forgotten the murky atmosphere wherein he had spent so much of
his life. And now, in a twinkling, Tarantiev had brought him tumbling from
the clouds! His immediate thought was that the visitor might insist on
remaining to dinner, and so prevent him from paying his visit to Olga and
"Why not come and take a look at that flat?" went on Tarantiev.
"Because there is no need," replied Oblomov, avoiding his interlocutor's
eye. "I have decided not to move."
"Not to move?" exclaimed Tarantiev threateningly. "Not when I have hired
the place for you, and you have signed the lease?"
This led Oblomov to remember that, on the very day of his removal from
town to the country villa, he had signed, without previously perusing it, a
document which his present visitor had submitted to him.
"Nevertheless," he remarked, " I shall not want the flat. I am going
"I am sure you are not," retorted Tarantiev coolly. "What is
more, the sooner you hand over to me a half-year's rent, the better. Your
new landlady does not care for such tricks to be played upon her. I have
paid the money on your behalf, and I require to be repaid."
"Where did you contrive to get the money from?"
"That has nothing to do with you. As a matter of fact, I had an old debt
repaid me. A better flat you could not find in all the city."
"Nevertheless I do not want it. It lies too far from—from—"
"From where? From the centre of the city?"
Oblomov forbore to specify what he meant, but merely remarked that he
should not be dining at home that evening.
"Then hand me over the rent, and the devil take you!" exclaimed
"I possess no money at all. As it is, I shall have to borrow some."
"Well, repay me at least my cab fare," insisted the visitor. "It was only
"Where is the cabman? Why has he charged you so much?"
"I dismissed him long ago. I may add that the fare home is another three
"By the coach you could travel for half a rouble." However, Oblomov
tendered Tarantiev four roubles, which the man at once pocketed.
"Also, I have expended some seven roubles on your account," went on
Tarantiev. "Besides, you might as well advance me something towards the
price of a dinner. Roadside inns are dear. As a rule they fleece one of five
Silently Oblomov handed him another rouble, in the hope that the man
would now depart; but Tarantiev was not to be so easily shaken off.
"And also you might order Zakhar to bring me a snack now," he
"But I thought you intended to dine at an inn?"
"Yes, to dine, but at the moment the time is two o'clock, and no
Oblomov issued the necessary orders. On receiving them, Zakhar looked
darkly at Tarantiev.
"We have no food ready," he said. "Also, where are my master's shirt and
"Shirt and jacket? Why, I gave them back to you long ago. I stuffed them
into your own hands, and you bundled them away into a corner. Yet you come
asking me where they are!"
"Also, what about a floorbrush and two cups which you carried off?"
"Floorbrush? What floorbrush?" retorted Tarantiev. "Go and get me
something to eat, you old fool!"
"We have not a single morsel in the house," said Zakhar; "and also there
is nobody to cook it." With which he withdrew.
Tarantiev looked about him, and, perceiving Oblomov to be possessed both
of a hat and a cap, attempted unsuccessfully to borrow the former for the
remainder of the summer, and then took his leave.
When he had gone Oblomov sat plunged in thought. He recognized that his
bright, cloudless holiday of love was over, and that workaday love had now
become the order of the day, and that already it was so completely entering
into his life's ordinary tendencies that things were beginning to lose their
"Indeed," he reflected, "this morning may have seen the extinction of the
last roseate ray of love's festival—so that henceforth my life is to be
warmed rather than lighted. Yes, life will swallow up love, although
secretly it will remain moved by its powerful springs, and its
manifestations be of an invariably simple, everyday nature. Yes, the poem is
fading, and stern prose is to follow—to follow with a drab series of
incidents which shall comprise a marriage ceremony, a journey to Oblomovka,
the building of a house, an application to the local council, the laying out
of roads, an endless transaction of business with peasants, a number of
improvements, harvests, and so forth, the frequent spectacle of the
bailiff's anxious face, elections to the council of nobles, and sundry
sittings on the local bench." Somewhere he could see Olga beaming upon him,
and singing Casta Diva, and then giving him a hasty kiss before he
went forth to work, or to the town, or to interview the bailiff. Guests
would call (a no very comforting prospect!), and they would talk about the
wine which each happened to be brewing in his vats, and about the number of
arshins of cloth which each happened to have rendered
to the Treasury. What would this amount to? What was it he was promising for
himself? Was it life? Whether life or not, it would have to be lived as
though it, and it alone, constituted existence. At least it would be an
existence that would find favour with Schtoltz
But the actual wedding ceremony—that, at all events, would represent the
poetry of life, its nascent, its just opening flower? He pictured himself
leading Olga to the altar. On her head there would be a wreath of
orange-blossoms, and to her gown a long train, and the crowd would whisper
in amazement. Shyly, and with gently heaving bosom and brow bent forward in
gracious pride, she would give him her hand in complete unconsciousness that
the eyes of all were fixed upon her. Then a bright smile would show itself
on her face, the tears would begin to well, and for a moment or two the
furrow on her forehead would twitch with thought. Then, when they had
arrived home and the guests had all departed, she, yes, she—clad still in
her gorgeous raiment—would throw herself upon his breast as she had done
Unable any longer to keep his fancies to himself, he went with them to
Olga. She listened to him with a smile; but when he jumped up with the
intention of informing also her aunt she frowned with such decision that he
halted in awe.
"Not a word to any one!" she said. "The right moment is not yet come."
"What ought we to do first, then?
"To go to the registrar, and to sign the record."
"After marriage to go and live at Oblomovka, and to see what can be done
"We shall not be able to do that, for the house is in ruins, and a new
one must first be built."
"Then where are we to live?"
"We must take a flat in town."
"Then you had better go at once and see about it."
"Alas!" was Oblomov's reflection. "Olga wishes for ever to be on the
move. Apparently she cares nothing about dreaming over the poetical phases
of life, or losing herself in reveries. She is like Schtoltz. It would seem
as though the two had conspired to live life at top speed."