Fyodor DostoevskyPrince Harry. Matchmaking
THERE WAS one other person on earth to whom Varvara Petrovna was attached no less than to Stepan Trofimovich—her only son, Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin. It was for him that Stepan Trofimovich had been invited as a tutor. The boy was then about eight years old, and the frivolous General Stavrogin, his father, was at the time already living separately from his mama, so that the child grew up in her care alone. One must do Stepan Trofimovich justice: he knew how to win his pupil over. The whole secret lay in his being a child himself I was not around then, and he was constantly in need of a true friend. He did not hesitate to make a friend of such a small being, once he had grown up a bit. It somehow came about naturally that there was not the least distance between them. More than once he awakened his ten or eleven-year-old friend at night only to pour out his injured feelings in tears before him, or to reveal some domestic secret to him, not noticing that this was altogether inadmissible. They used to throw themselves into each other’s embrace and weep. The boy knew that his mother loved him very much, but he hardly had much love for her. She spoke little to him, rarely hindered him in anything but he always somehow morbidly felt her eyes fixed upon him, watching him. However, in the whole business of education and moral development his mother fully trusted Stepan Trofimovich. She still fully believed in him then. One may suppose that the pedagogue somewhat unsettled his pupil’s nerves. When he was taken to the lycée in his sixteenth year, he was puny and pale, strangely quiet and pensive. (Later on he was distinguished by his extraordinary physical strength.) One may also suppose that when the friends wept, throwing themselves into their mutual embrace at night, it was not always over some little domestic anecdotes. Stepan Trofimovich managed to touch the deepest strings in his friend’s heart and to call forth in him the first, still uncertain sensation of that age-old, sacred anguish which the chosen soul, having once tasted and known it, will never exchange for any cheap satisfaction. (There are lovers of this anguish who cherish it more than the most radical satisfaction, if that were even possible.) But in any event it was good that the youngling and the mentor, though none too soon, were parted in different directions.