Lisa Maryevna and her daughter Dunya made their way out the door of the roadside tavern to the Petersburg carriage. As the mother ever so slightly lifted her skirts, avoiding the puddles, her eye caught the driver, ever so slightly raising his eyebrows, as he contemplated his relationship to the upper classes.
“Mother,” said Dunya, as they settled back into their seats, “how is it that we travel thus, always coming, always going, never getting anywhere? We have now been on the road two days and every stop has been the same. I am tired of this life, tired of my life at least, and yet there seems to be no end of it. What is one to do?”
“Now then,” said the mother, feeling within herself the old contradictions, “now then, child, be patient. Things are as they are, and we have little to say about that, thanks be to God! And if we did, and for all I know we still do, what would ever become of us?”
Her voice threatened to break, and she turned her face to the window in order that she might avoid showing such emotion to her child. The great blocks of ice had begun already to melt in the river as they glimpsed it now from the carriage through the trees. The willows by the riverbanks, with their delicate new buds, scarcely hid the river here, despite the density with which they grew down to the water’s edge. At the turning of the road they came, quite unexpectedly, upon a narrow bridge, and all three of them crossed the mighty river, the river which at this point is little more than a brook. Crossing it, each harbored his own thoughts. The coachman, with his penchant for the parable, recalled the parable of the poor and the rich man. Dunya meanwhile occupied herself with melancholy thoughts such as only an idle and secure child could entertain. Lisa Maryevna thought to herself, with sadness, but with satisfaction too, “This is the way of the old and the new, yes, that is true. But it is also the way of the young and the old.” And with that her eyes brimmed with tears.