The soul of the poet, of course, felt desperately ill in the ugly figure of a lame and hunchbacked dwarf. Lermontov was bold, sarcastic, vindictive, merciless to the weaknesses of others and arrogant. Here are just some of the characteristics given to him by his contemporaries: "unpleasant to the last degree," "his mind is good for nothing, except for boldness and rudeness," "repulsive personality, arrogantly despising the rest of the people," "being jaundiced, angular, spoiled and betrayed the most innocent whims, the wicked man: never will respond well to anyone; denigrate the name of some secular woman, tell an unprecedented story about her, utter impudence — it cost him nothing ... It was not by chance that in his short 26-year-old life he participated in three duels, four more were hardly able to be prevented at the last moment.
Love and sawdust
Astrologers say that people born under the sign of Libra are distinguished by good manners and exemplary taste, they strive to observe the measure everywhere and in everything. Lermontov, born under the sign of Libra, apparently did not know this. In any case, the sense of proportion in food he was always denied. According to M. Melikov, comrade Lermontov at Moscow University, he was "terribly greedy and ate everything that was served." Alexander Vasilchikov, a close friend of the poet, recalled: "... when for dinner they served a dish that he loved, then with a loud scream and laughter he threw himself at the dish, thrust his fork into the best pieces, devastated all the food and often left us all without dinner" . I must say that the poet was eager not only to his favorite foods, but also to food in general. Once this inability to restrain his appetite played a cruel joke with him. Says Ekaterina Sushkova (at that time - a young beauty, in whom the young poet was unrequitedly in love):
“... we laughed at him very much in that he was not only indiscriminate in food, but he never knew that he ate veal or pork, game or lamb; we said that with time, like Saturn, he would probably swallow cobblestones. Our mockery took him out of patience, he argued with us almost to tears, trying to convince us of the refinement of his gastronomic taste; we were afraid that we would catch him otherwise in deed. And on the same day, after a long walk on horseback, we were told to bake buns with sawdust for tea! And what? We returned home tired, heated, hungry, eagerly began to have tea, and our deli Michel, without wincing, swallowed one bun, began to take another and already pulled closer to himself and the third, but Sasha and I, we stopped his hand , showing at the same time on the indigestible stuffing for the stomach. It was not a bit crazy that he ran away from us and not only didn’t say a word to us, but he didn’t even show up for a few days pretending to be sick. ”
Perhaps it was after this incident that Lermontov made it a rule to eat only at home, telling everyone that his stomach does not tolerate any other food than homemade.
Everything in Lermontov's appearance, as Turgenev wrote, seemed ominous and tragic. Even the poet’s laughter, loud and shrill, was unpleasant and unkind. Not being able to physically please women, he decided to seduce and excite their imagination, draping into Byronism, which was then in fashion. Don Juan became his hero and role model: he began to pretend to be a mysterious, gloomy, insolent person ... Keeping on the balls always on the sidelines, he stood with his arms folded across his chest and chose a "victim". Then he sent a long, piercing glance at her. The “victim” usually became embarrassed at first, then confused, and finally fled. Even men were not able to endure the gaze of his pitch black eyes. One of the fellow practitioners recalled that the poet "always sat in lectures and classes separately," and that "the poisonousness in Lermontov's eyes was amazing."
Another fun is to upset preparing marriages. For this, he pretended to be a desperate lover, showered on someone else's bride with flowers, poems, gifts and other signs of attention. He was not ashamed of threats, with the promise to commit suicide if his "Juliet" would give his hand to another. But as soon as the intended marriage — due to the suddenly bursting love of the bride for the “love poet” —were completely upset, the culprit quickly replaced the ardent love with cold indifference. Or openly declared his draw, while laughing "sacrifice" in the face ...
"Once he, for fun, - recalled the famous poetess Evdokia Rostopchina, - decided to replace the rich fiancé, and when everyone thought that Lermontov was already ready to take his place, the bride’s parents suddenly received an anonymous letter in which they were persuaded to expel Lermontov from their home and which described all sorts of horrors about him. He wrote this letter himself and then no longer appeared in this house. ”
There are strange coincidences in the fate of every great writer. Lermontov, by chance, wrote the story "Fatalist." Various kinds of predictions and omens caused a keen interest in him. He was born in a rich but dysfunctional noble family, where his stubborn grandfather, also Mikhail, poisoned the unloved imperious wife right at the New Year's table (and she had the cruelty to say about her husband and father's beloved daughter: that these terrible words the king would say later about her murdered grandson), grew up without his father expelled from the house and his mother who died early, and already at the birth of a boy the midwife unexpectedly predicted that he would not die a natural death.
Gogol very truly said about him - “some unfortunate star”. The shadow of failure, the harbinger of tragedy, always darkened Lermontov’s short life. The bustling horse smashed his reckless junker's leg, making him look like a lame Lord Byron. He lost in all games and competitions, even in the rolling of Easter eggs, and only the unfortunate fall of the clever Frenchman Barant in a decisive attack saved the wounded poet in the first duel. Before the last Caucasian reference, Lermontov went to the famous fortune-teller A.F. Kirchhoff, and she said: in St. Petersburg, he wouldn’t happen to him at all, he wouldn’t even resign from the service, and what another resignation awaits him, “you won’t ask ". At the crossroads of the Caucasian roads, the careless lieutenant himself decided to tell fortunes, once again make a joke with his fate, threw a fifty dollars - where to go: to serve or another walk, dropping in for a couple of days in Pyatigorsk. And it fell to him to go to Pyatigorsk. There, a retired cavalryman, an old friend, who, as it turned out, was a bad shooter, killed him in a duel, just three times before the shooting from a pistol ...
To be continued