Grigóry Litvinov (grih-GOH-rihy liht-VEE-nof), a farmer’s son. Wishing to farm progressively on his father’s estate, he has tried to learn scientific agriculture by studying modern practices in several European regions. His plans for marriage to Tatyana and for modernizing his father’s estate are interrupted by the temporary resurrection at Baden of his former love for Irina and the breaking off of his engagement to Tatyana. Observant and thoughtful, he is repelled by the impractical windiness of the group of liberals who associate with Gubaryov at Baden and likewise by the shallow, aimless, and bored existence of Irina, her husband, and their aristocratic friends. His break with Tatyana pains him because he is ashamed of casting her off so unexpectedly and hurting her so deeply. Although his passion for Irina consumes him until he is willing to give up everything for her, his pride will not let him live as one of her hangers-on. Irina’s refusal to leave with him brings him such grief as he had earlier brought Tatyana, but it is combined with shame over being rejected a second time by Irina and by guilt over his treatment of Tatyana. Hard work enables him to make some progress in improving conditions on the estate that he inherits on his father’s death. His abject plea for forgiveness after more than two years is accepted by the generous Tatyana, and they are married at last.
Tatyana Petrovna Shestov
Tatyana Petrovna Shestov (tah-TYAH-nah peht-ROHV-nuh shehs-TOHF), called Tanya (TAH-nyuh), his fiancée, plump, blonde, heavy-faced, brown-eyed, kind, and good. Intuitively, she guesses that Irina is the cause of her rejection by Litvinov. She is shocked and hurt, but she does not attack him with angry abuse; she accepts her fate with quiet dignity and leaves Baden, the scene of her humiliation. When Litvinov later goes to her home and, kneeling, begs her to forgive him, she is at once surprised, frightened, and happy.
Kapitolina Markovna Shestov
Kapitolina Markovna Shestov (kah-pih-toh-LIH-nuh mahr-KOHV-nuh), Tanya’s maiden aunt. Talkative and completely...
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