Branches of cherry blossoms look out my windows, and the wind sometimes blows its white petals onto my desk. The view from three sides is wonderful. To the west, the five-headed Beshtu turns blue, like “the last cloud of a scattered thunderstorm”, to the north, Mashuk rises, like a shaggy Persian hat, and covers all this part of the sky; it’s more fun to look to the east: below, in front of me, a clean, new town, full of colors; healing springs whisper, a multilingual crowd whispers, and there, beyond, the mountains heap like an amphitheater, bluer and mistier, and at the edge of the horizon stretches a silver chain of snowy peaks, beginning with Kazbek and ending with the two-headed Elborus… It’s fun to live in such a land! A kind of gratifying feeling pours into all my veins. The air is pure and fresh, like a child’s kiss; the sun is bright, the sky is blue, what seems to be more? Why is there passion, desire, regret? – But it’s time. I’ll go to the Elizabethan spring: they say the whole water society meets there in the morning.
There is something magical in Lermontov’s prose, and especially in the story “Princess Maria” – the most, in my opinion, the brightest part of the novel “A Hero of Our Time.” Here is a link to Pushkin’s poem “The last cloud of the scattered storm…”. But it was precisely because of the poem “The Death of a Poet” – the greatest poem written by a poet about a poet – that he was first exiled to the Caucasus and saw Pyatigorsk. However, he had seen it before, when he was a child, when his grandmother brought him here for treatment. Isn’t that where, in my opinion, the greatest metaphor in world literature comes from: “The air is clean and fresh, like a child’s kiss”?
Lermontov foresaw their duel, describing it exactly, but exactly the opposite.
In Pyatigorsk, where I was lucky to spend the New Year holidays, the story “Princess Mary” is called the “Literary Guide to Pyatigorsk.” And this is fair. And the point is not only that it faithfully reflects the toponymy of this incredible city. The point is in the spirit itself, in the mood … “Why are there passions, desires, regrets? – However, it’s time. I will go to the Elizabethan spring: they say that the entire water society gathers there for the morning .” In fact so. Melancholy, life has passed, nothing shines ahead… What to do? Go, go to the fountain where “the whole water society” meets. Read: just like you, disappointed in life, in love, in the possibility of happiness… The whole crowd is going to drink healing water, maybe it will cheer you up…
And then there will be passions and desires. And an affair with the married Vera, and an affair with the innocent princess Maria … And a duel with Grushnitsky, whom Pechorin will mercilessly kill and, leaving Mashuk’s foot, will see his bloody and disfigured corpse. And something pricks in his heart, a kind of guilt…
How he foresaw this duel, describing it exactly, but exactly the other way around! No Lermontov will shoot Martynov. He just shoots into the air. But Martynov, I don’t know, in cold blood or not? -he will kill Lermontov and, according to the second’s memoirs, he will fall to the ground like a cut sheaf.
I am convinced that Lermontov did not take this duel seriously. Literature is one thing, a stupid duel between friends is another. Calling Martynov, Lermontov left for Zheleznovodsk on business, then returned and … took the bullet from him. They said goodbye to him in the house that he rented for the summer with his relative Stolypin. That is, he came to the resort to relax, like me, a sinner, only in the summer. And when Lermontov lived, sweet cherries were fruiting near his window, and while he was working on the greatest philosophical poem “I go out alone on the road …”, where the Earth is shown from the Cosmos (“The earth is sleeping in the glow blue … “), he picked up this cherry right from his desk … And, perhaps, he remembered Pushkin’s “Shoot”. There, during a duel, the hero eats cherries directly from an officer’s cap, the bones of which reach almost to his opponent Silvio. But Silvio did not kill his delinquent. But Martynov settled on this.
You experience a strange sensation at the place of the Lermontov duel. And let them prove today that the real place of the duel was not here, where the obelisk of 1915 stands, but somewhere in another clearing at the foot of the Mashuk, is it so important? This is not important, but the fact that the two main and brilliant Russian poets – Pushkin and Lermontov – died in a duel. I eat? Why? We will never find an answer to this. And we, like vultures near the Lermontov obelisk, will turn away and look in four directions. Because this mystery is great, but we must protect it and remember it.
But Pyatigorsk is not just a party place of Russian literature. He is also its beginning. His Christmas.
It was in Pyatigorsk, and also, having decided to rest and receive medical treatment after the battles in the Caucasus, cadet Leo Tolstoy finished the story “Childhood” and sent it to the Sovremennik magazine.
Young Tolstoy wildly complexed himself with his first work and did not even sign the full name, but only the initials “LN”.
Pyatigorsk is not just a party place of Russian literature. He is also the beginning.
Thus began the path of the greatest prose writer in the world. And also from here, from Pyatigorsk. Leaving this city, Tolstoy wrote in his diary that only here he was satisfied with himself for the first time and did not feel guilt, which tormented him especially in his youth.
Probably, he also joined the sources …
In essence, Pyatigorsk is the Mecca of Russian literature. At least a very important part of it. After all, Pushkin was also here.
And also, probably, you did not pass the sources.