The Gifts of Feodor Himkoff


Nare Head, Cornwall


The narrator calls at a cliff-side cottage near Nare Head between Gerrans Bay and Veryan Bay. He is welcomed in by a Mrs Lenine whose husband, Isaac, is senile. Before him are spread a range of Russian delicacies supplied by a certain Feodor Himkoff.

The only son of Isaac and Mrs Lenine had been killed at the battle of Inkerman, in 1854, during the Crimean War. Isaac had vowed to revenge himself on the first Russian he met. Sixteen years later a Russian barque, with sixteen Russian seamen, is wrecked on Nare Head. One seaman, lacking a middle finger to his right hand, manages to scale the cliff to call for help at the cottage. Isaac refuses to help the seaman, Dimitry Himkoff, and all the crew, including Himkoff, are lost.

Five years later, Feodor Himkoff, brother to Dimitry, calls at the cottage seeking for the graves. As a token of his appreciation for their help he regularly sends the couple Russian delicacies. The narrator is enjoying one of these gifts.