- Project Runeberg -  Impressions of Russia /
151

(1889) [MARC] Author: Georg Brandes Translator: Samuel Coffin Eastman - Tema: Russia
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than her portrait, and only a Russian who would turn it
to that use. Even the eccentricity of an Englishman
would hardly go to that extent.

Maklay detests and despises Giers. He had long
sought in vain from the Minister of Foreign Affairs
for permission to hoist the Russian flag over his island,
without being able to obtain the concession he sought
for. Then, one fine day, Bismarck caused the German
flag to be hoisted. Maklay telegraphed to Giers. He
replied: “We shall protect you, but no violence!” As
if Maklay, with his poor uncivilized subjects, could use
violence against the German navy. This man has thus
become a German subject.

Originality is most strongly marked as a peculiarity
among other leading men in science and literature
in Russia. What grandiose forms it has assumed in
Tolstoï is well known, but in him, as is also well
known, it has a religious motive. In old Gontcharóf,
on the contrary, who at an early period did his best
work in “Oblómof," it has by a comparative barrenness
of many years, and by an effeminacy nursed by
the great admiration he has received, reached a height
which renders social intercourse with him difficult.

During the winter, he had promised to read a novel
which he had written for the illustrated weekly
newspaper Niva, in a house where he is a welcome and
honored guest. The sight of a lady whom he did not
know, and who had been invited to be present, so upset
him that he declared that he would not read at all. A
strange countenance, though young and pretty, was
enough to make his anger disconcert him. The following
little trait shows the irritable passion in him, which
seems to be an outcrop of a genuine Russian rudeness
at the bottom of his character: Turgenief and he had

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