2. From Shoemaker's Shop to Cavalry School
- I'm "Mitya".
- Who is Mitya?
- He is a shop assistant.
- Are you afraid of your master?
- Yes, I am
- Well, if you are afraid, play it!
Nevertheless, Kvashnin did not change his mind, showing true bravery, and continued to teach only a few pupils. Little by little, peasants began to respect him and let their children attend his school. But it was Kvashnin's hobby that made his school a cultural center for several villages. He was a passionate lover of theater, and he organized another amateur theater, which was far superior to that of Ekaterina Prilootskaya. His wife Eugenia Nickolayevna had studied opera singing at the Saratov Conservatory, and their 22-year-old daughter Galina was a musician and amateur actress. With their artistic abilities, Kvashnin's skills as a designer, and with the help of woodcarvers and painters from the school, his theater made a huge impression on the villagers. Soon Sergei joined the company.
The Red Army desperately needed commanders and promised cadets a profitable, though risky job in the future, along with an education, 50 rubles per month, meals, and an elegant uniform. "It was alluring to show off in such a costume before girls, and I yielded to temptation – I was less than 18 then! Besides, I loved horses . But I did not relax my efforts and learned that the Conservatory did not admit students in Spring."
Sergei Lemeshev in 1919.
At school they studied general and military subjects; the curriculum was largely left over from the Imperial army: riding, sword fighting, and marksmanship. Lessons on general subjects were in the morning, and after that, the hours of drill on the field began.
Graduates of Tver Cavalry school, 1923.
Two weeks later the graduation ceremony took place in the presence of many civilians, and the show was a success. After that, Lemeshev sang a concert. " I regretted that my repertoire was not large enough, but the audience helped: they called me back for encores. Then, traditionally, there was a dance. Usually they began with a waltz, since not many people could dance the mazurka. I was always shy about it too, but success inspired me so much that I bravely started to do cabrioles. It was then that I was noticed by the school's Director Nikiforov – a wonderful old man with a huge grey mustache. He stopped my dancing and asked me to come to his office next morning. All my joy disappeared at once! Why? What if they send me back to the cell? The thought poisoned the rest of the night for me.