THE SCHOOLMISTRESS AT half-past eight they drove out of the town.

The highroad was dry, a lovely April sun was shining warmly, but the snow was still lying in the ditches and in the woods. Winter, dark, long, and spiteful, was hardly over; spring had come all of a sudden. But neither the warmth nor the languid transparent woods, warmed by the breath of spring, nor the black flocks of birds flying over the huge puddles that were like lakes, nor the marvelous fathomless sky, into which it seemed one would have gone away so joyfully, presented anything new or interesting to Marya Vassilyevna who was sitting in the cart. For thirteen years she had been schoolmistress, and there was no reckoning how many times during all those years she had been to the town for her salary; and whether it were spring as now, or a rainy autumn evening, or winter, it was all the same to her, and she always -invariably -- longed for one thing only, to get to the end of her journey as quickly as could be. She felt as though she had been living in that part of the country for ages and ages, for a hundred years, and it seemed to her that she knew every stone, every tree on the road from the town to her school. Her past was here, her present was here, and she could imagine no other future than the school, the road to the town and back again, and again the school and again the road. ... She had got out of the habit of thinking of her past before she became a schoolmistress, and had almost forgotten it. She had once had a father and mother; they had lived in Moscow in a big flat near the Red Gate, but of all that life there was left in her memory only something vague and fluid like a dream. Her father had died when she was ten years old, and her mother had died soon after. . . . She had a brother, an officer; at first they used to write to each other, then her brother had given up answering her letters, he had got out of the way of writing. Of her old belongings, all that was left was a photograph of her mother, but it had grown dim from the dampness of the school, and now nothing could be seen but the hair and the eyebrows. When they had driven a couple of miles, old Semyon, who was driving, turned round and said: "They have caught a government clerk in the town. They have taken him away. The story is that with some Germans he killed Alexeyev, the Mayor, in Moscow." "Who told you that?"

"They were reading it in the paper, in Ivan Ionov's tavern." And again they were silent for a long time. Marya Vassilyevna thought of her school, of the examination that was coming soon, and of the girl and four boys she was sending up for it. And just as she was thinking about the examination, she was overtaken by a neighboring landowner called Hanov in a carriage with four horses, the very man who had been examiner in her school the year before. When he came up to her he recognized her and bowed. "Good-morning," he said to her. "You are driving home, I suppose." This Hanov, a man of forty with a listless expression and a face that showed signs of wear, was beginning to look old, but was still handsome and admired by women. He lived in his big homestead alone, and was not in the service; and people used to say of him that he did nothing at home but walk up and down the room whistling, or play chess with his old footman. People said, too, that he drank heavily. And indeed at the examination the year before the very papers he brought with him smelt of wine and scent. He had been dressed all in new clothes on that occasion, and Marya Vassilyevna thought him very attractive, and all the while she sat beside him she had felt embarrassed. She was accustomed to see frigid and sensible examiners at the school, while this one did not remember a single prayer, or know what to ask questions about, and was exceedingly courteous and delicate, giving nothing but the highest marks. "I am going to visit Bakvist," he went on, addressing Marya Vassilyevna, "but I am told he is not at home." They turned off the highroad into a by-road to the village, Hanov leading the way and Semyon following. The four horses moved at a walking pace, with effort dragging the heavy carriage through the mud. Semyon tacked from side to side, keeping to the edge of the road, at one time through a snowdrift, at another through a pool, often jumping out of the cart and helping the horse. Marya Vassilyevna was still thinking about the school, wondering whether the arithmetic questions at the examination would be difficult or easy. And she felt annoyed with the Zemstvo board at which she had found no one the day before. How unbusiness-like! Here she had been asking them for the last two years to dismiss the watchman, who did nothing, was rude to her, and hit the schoolboys; but no one paid any attention. It was hard to find

the president at the office, and when one did find him he would say with tears in his eyes that he hadn't a moment to spare; the inspector visited the school at most once in three years, and knew nothing whatever about his work, as he had been in the Excise Duties Department, and had received the post of school inspector through influence. The School Council met very rarely, and there was no knowing where it met; the school guardian was an almost illiterate peasant, the head of a tanning business, unintelligent, rude, and a great friend of the watchman's -- and goodness knows to whom she could appeal with complaints or inquiries . . . . "He really is handsome," she thought, glancing at Hanov. The road grew worse and worse. . . . They drove into the wood. Here there was no room to turn round, the wheels sank deeply in, water splashed and gurgled through them, and sharp twigs struck them in the face. "What a road!" said Hanov, and he laughed. The schoolmistress looked at him and could not understand why this queer man lived here. What could his money, his interesting appearance, his refined bearing do for him here, in this mud, in this God-forsaken, dreary place? He got no special advantages out of life, and here, like Semyon, was driving at a jog-trot on an appalling road and enduring the same discomforts. Why live here if one could live in Petersburg or abroad? And one would have thought it would be nothing for a rich man like him to make a good road instead of this bad one, to avoid enduring this misery and seeing the despair on the faces of his coachman and Semyon; but he only laughed, and apparently did not mind, and wanted no better life. He was kind, soft, naive, and he did not understand this coarse life, just as at the examination he did not know the prayers. He subscribed nothing to the schools but globes, and genuinely regarded himself as a useful person and a prominent worker in the cause of popular education. And what use were his globes here? "Hold on, Vassilyevna!" said Semyon. The cart lurched violently and was on the point of upsetting; something heavy rolled on to Marya Vassilyevna's feet -- it was her parcel of purchases. There was a steep ascent uphill through the clay; here in the winding ditches rivulets were gurgling. The water seemed to have gnawed away the road; and how could one

get along here! The horses breathed hard. Hanov got out of his carriage and walked at the side of the road in his long overcoat. He was hot. "What a road!" he said, and laughed again. "It would soon smash up one's carriage." "Nobody obliges you to drive about in such weather," said Semyon surlily. "You should stay at home." "I am dull at home, grandfather. I don't like staying at home." Beside old Semyon he looked graceful and vigorous, but yet in his walk there was something just perceptible which betrayed in him a being already touched by decay, weak, and on the road to ruin. And all at once there was a whiff of spirits in the wood. Marya Vassilyevna was filled with dread and pity for this man going to his ruin for no visible cause or reason, and it came into her mind that if she had been his wife or sister she would have devoted her wh ole life to saving him from ruin. His wife! Life was so ordered that here he was living in his great house alone, and she was living in a God-forsaken village alone, and yet for some reason the mere thought that he and she might be close to one another and equals seemed impossible and absurd. In reality, life was arranged and human relations were complicated so utterly beyond all understanding that when one thought about it one felt uncanny and one's heart sank. "And it is beyond all understanding," she thought, "why God gives beauty, this graciousness, and sad, sweet eyes to weak, unlucky, useless people -- why they are so charming." "Here we must turn off to the right," said Hanov, getting into his carriage. "Good-by! I wish you all things good!" And again she thought of her pupils, of the examination, of the watchman, of the School Council; and when the wind brought the sound of the retreating carriage these thoughts were mingled with others. She longed to think of beautiful eyes, of love, of the happiness which would never be. . . . His wife? It was cold in the morning, there was no one to heat the stove, the watchman disappeared; the children came in as soon as it was light, bringing in snow and mud and making a noise: it was all so inconvenient, so comfortless. Her abode consisted of one little room and the kitchen close by. Her head ached every

day after her work, and after dinner she had heart-burn. She had to collect money from the school-children for wood and for the watchman, and to give it to the school guardian, and then to entreat him -- that overfed, insolent peasant -- for God's sake to send her wood. And at night she dreamed of examinations, peasants, snowdrifts. And this life was making her grow old and coarse, making her ugly, angular, and awkward, as though she were made of lead. She was always afraid, and she would get up from her seat and not venture to sit down in the presence of a member of the Zemstvo or the school guardian. And she used formal, deferential expressions when she spoke of any one of them. And no one thought her attractive, and life was passing drearily, without affection, without friendly sympathy, without interesting acquaintances. How awful it would have been in her position if she had fallen in love! "Hold on, Vassilyevna!" Again a sharp ascent uphill. . . . She had become a schoolmistress from necessity, without feeling any vocation for it; and she had never thought of a vocation, of serving the cause of enlightenment; and it always seemed to her that what was most important in her work was not the children, nor enlightenment, but the examinations. And what time had she for thinking of vocation, of serving the cause of enlightenment? Teachers, badly paid doctors, and their assistants, with their terribly hard work, have not even the comfort of thinking that they are serving an idea or the people, as their heads are always stuffed with thoughts of their daily bread, of wood for the fire, of bad roads, of illnesses. It is a hard-working, an uninteresting life, and only silent, patient cart-horses like Mary Vassilyevna could put up with it for long; the lively, nervous, impressionable people who talked about vocation and serving the idea were soon weary of it and gave up the work. Semyon kept picking out the driest and shortest way, first by a meadow, then by the backs of the village huts; but in one place the peasants would not let them pass, in another it was the priest's land and they could not cross it, in another Ivan Ionov had bought a plot from the landowner and had dug a ditch round it. They kept having to turn back. They reached Nizhneye Gorodistche. Near the tavern on the dung-strewn earth, where the snow was still lying, there stood

wagons that had brought great bottles of crude sulphuric acid. There were a great many people in the tavern, all drivers, and there was a smell of vodka, tobacco, and sheepskins. There was a loud noise of conversation and the banging of the swing-door. Through the wall, without ceasing for a moment, came the sound of a concertina being played in the shop. Marya Vassilyevna sat down and drank some tea, while at the next table peasants were drinking vodka and beer, perspiring from the tea they had just swallowed and the stifling fumes of the tavern. "I say, Kuzma!" voices kept shouting in confusion. "What there!" "The Lord bless us!" "Ivan Dementyitch, I can tell you that!" "Look out, old man!" A little pock-marked man with a black beard, who was quite drunk, was suddenly surprised by something and began using bad language. "What are you swearing at, you there?" Semyon, who was sitting some way off, responded angrily. "Don't you see the young lady?" "The young lady!" someone mimicked in another corner. "Swinish crow!" "We meant nothing . . ." said the little man in confusion. "I beg your pardon. We pay with our money and the young lady with hers. Good-morning!" "Good-morning," answered the schoolmistress. "And we thank you most feelingly." Marya Vassilyevna drank her tea with satisfaction, and she, too, began turning red like the peasants, and fell to thinking again about firewood, about the watchman. . . . "Stay, old man," she heard from the next table, "it's the schoolmistress from Vyazovye. . . . We know her; she's a good young lady." "She's all right!" The swing-door was continually banging, some coming in, others going out. Marya Vassilyevna sat on, thinking all the time of the same things, while the concertina went on playing and playing. The patches of sunshine had been on the floor, then they

The forest. "A little while back they were building a school here in their Nizhneye Gorodistche. at parting. The guardian thought the same as the peasants. and then Vyazovye was in sight. went up to Marya Vassilyevna and held out his hand to her. The peasants did not believe her. . . The little man. we can go this way as well. . "Take the road to the right to the bridge." "Why. and went out one after another. That's all nonsense.passed to the counter. It's wrong to slander people. and the school guardian another thousand in his. so by the sun it was past midday. thank God! was behind them. "Vassilyevna. "Where are you driving?" Marya Vassilyevna asked Semyon. and that of the money that she collected from the children for the firewood and the watchman the greater part she kept for herself." "The whole school only cost a thousand. and the teacher five hundred. grandfather. and he himself made a profit off the firewood and received payments from the peasants for being a guardian -without the knowledge of the authorities. I only tell you what folks say. following his example. what?" "They say the president put a thousand in his pocket. open ground all the way to Vyazovye. "It was a wicked thing that was done!" "Why." But it was clear that Semyon did not believe the schoolmistress." Semyon called to her." said Semyon. They always thought she received too large a salary. somewhat unsteadily. They set off. too. And again they went at a walking pace. the others shook hands. twenty-one roubles a month (five would have been enough)." "I don't know. The peasants at the next table were getting ready to go. turning round. and now it would be flat. They had to cross the river and then the railway line. to the wall. and there was not far to go now. and disappeared altogether. and the swing-door squeaked and slammed nine times. It's not deep enough to . get ready.

Marya Vassilyevna stood at the crossing waiting till it should pass. getting up. "Go on!" she.matter. and that was worst of all. and cold. but at once went on again with an effort." "It is." "What?" "Look. setting straight the harness." said Marya Vassilyevna. the lower part of her dress and of her coat and one sleeve were wet and dripping: the sugar and flour had got wet. . Hanov is driving to the bridge. on the bank and right up to the water there were fresh tracks of wheels. but now. and shivering all over with cold. "Go on!" The horse went on into the water up to his belly and stopped. So he didn't find Bakvist at home. tugging violently at the reins and jerking his elbows as a bird does its wings. In the summer it was a little stream easily crossed by wading. and what for? It's fully two miles nearer this way." They reached the river. What a pig-headed fellow he is. . "Go on!" They got out on the bank. "Go on!" shouted Semyon angrily and anxiously. Semyon! How tiresome you are really! . Lord have mercy upon us!" muttered Semyon. "It's a perfect plague with this Zemstvo. . seeing the four horses far away to the right." The barrier was down at the railway crossing. "It is he. Semyon. shouted. . . . after the spring floods. it was a river forty feet in breadth. rapid." Her shoes and goloshes were full of water. A train was coming out of the station. and Marya Vassilyevna could only clasp her hands in despair and say: Oh." "Mind you don't drown the horse. It usually dried up in August. muddy. "Nice mess it is. and Marya Vassilyevna was aware of a keen chilliness in her feet. so it had been crossed here. Lord have mercy upon us! He's driven over there. I think. too.

young. and it seemed to her that everything was trembling with cold. her brother. Her father and mother had never died. and called softly. it was a long. in a bright warm room among her own people. she heard the sound of the piano. . there rose before her mind a vivid picture of her mother. The signalman took off his cap. in the windows and on the trees. for the first time in those thirteen years. and a pupil of the Moscow School of Painting. and smiled and nodded to him as an equal and a friend. and now she had awakened. tedious. her triumph. . The barrier was slowly raised. well-dressed. she felt as she had been then. beseechingly: "Mother!" And she began crying." A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN A MEDICAL student called Mayer. and the school with the green roof. Semyon followed it. Sculpture. . Just at that instant Hanov drove up with his team of four horses. Here we are. and a pink smoke rose from the engine . the windows reflected the gleaming light like the crosses on the church: it made her eyes ache to look at them. A feeling of joy and happiness suddenly came over her. . Here was the train. strange dream. Marya Vassilyevna. The carriage with the four horses crossed the railway line. And with amazing distinctness. was glowing in the sky and on all sides. Her mother! What a resemblance! Her mother had had just such luxuriant hair. got into the cart. went . and seeing him she imagined happiness such as she had never had. . the aquarium with little fish. good-looking. just such a brow and bend of the head. On the little platform between two first-class carriages a lady was standing. and it seemed to her that her happiness. she had never been a schoolmistress. everything to the tiniest detail. her father's voice. their flat in Moscow. "And here is Vyazovye. "Vassilyevna. and Marya Vassilyevna glanced at her as she passed. she did not know why. her father. shivering and numb with cold. and Architecture called Rybnikov.Vyazovye was in sight now. and the church with its crosses flashing in the evening sun: and the station windows flashed too. get in!" And at once it all vanished. she pressed her hands to her temples in an ecstacy.

light. the carriages rumbled with a deeper note. . and suggested that he should go with them to S. and so on -. and he had never in his life been in the houses in which they live. pure and self-sacrificing. . "has led me to these mournful shores. considering herself unworthy of such happiness. Society. loves a fallen woman and urges her to become his wife. the earth. and with the fresh. . in ruins now. He knew that there are immoral women who. He knew nothing of fallen women except by hearsay and from books. Vassilyev lived in one of the side streets turning out of Tverskoy Boulevard. but in the end he put on his greatcoat and went with them. Mary of Egypt is no lower than the other saints. he always remembered a story he had once read: a young man. Street. she. "in ruins now. young. They all acknowledge their sin and hope for salvation. have no civil rights. the air was more transparent. . evening to see their friend Vassilyev.are forced to sell their honor for money." "Behold the mill . When it had happened to Vassilyev in the street to recognize a fallen woman as such. and this made the houses look quite different from the day before. But in spite of all that. . There was the smell of snow in the air. they do not lose the semblance and image of God. men address them with contemptuous familiarity. feathery snow." the artist seconded him." "Behold the mill . youthful. poverty. or to see a picture of one in a comic paper. . When he came out of the house with his two friends it was about eleven o'clock. but in the sight of God St. by her dress or her manners. their mothers and sisters weep over them as though they were dead. science treats of them as an evil. bad education." hummed the medical student in his agreeable tenor. They know nothing of pure love. . a law student. the seats on the boulevard. . "Against my will an unknown force. Of the means that lead to salvation they can avail themselves to the fullest extent. it is true. the snow crunched softly under the feet. will not forgive people their past. everything was soft. and all nature was under the spell of the fresh snow. raising his eyebrows and shaking his head mournfully. takes poison. For a long time Vassilyev would not consent to go. frosty air a feeling stirred in the soul akin to the white.environment. the trees. the roofs. under the pressure of fatal circumstances -. the street lamps burned more brightly." the medical student repeated. The first snow had not long fallen. have no children.

laughing. without taking off their greatcoats. He looked with softened feelings at his friends. greeted me. trying to remember the words. He went out of the restaurant laughing. ." The three of them went into a restaurant and. please. Vassilyev. though he affected to belong to the Bohemia of learning. to open out. Before drinking the second glass. sturgeon to be eaten. raised the glass to his eyes. both soft and hard. to let himself loose from his own control. snow to be walked upon. For one evening anyway live like a human being!" "But I haven't said anything . Love. they are both poetical and debauched. so well that passers-by looked round: "Here in old days when I was free. The medical student did not understand his expression. admired them and envied them. and talk nonsense. who was fastidious and cautious. and as men are in no way inferior to himself. In these strong. and laugh without reason. If vodka had to be drunk. cheerful people how wonderfully balanced everything is. and then sang aloud. and drink. Vassilyev noticed a bit of cork in his vodka. they are warm. . Vodka is given us to be drunk. healthy. gaily respond to the passing advances of strangers in the street. with an affectation of artistic untidiness. women to be visited. He would laugh. drank a couple of glasses of vodka each. too. . who watched over every step he took and every word he uttered. play the fool. If he were taken to the women he would go. they can work." said Vassilyev. rubbed his forehead. . why look at it? No philosophizing. unfettered.He paused. . and they don't have headaches the day after. a man not poor. and said: "Come. and be indignant. He liked his friends -one in a crushed broad-brimmed hat. free. and draw. and talk a great deal. how finished and smooth is everything in their minds and souls! They sing. the other in a sealskin cap. he would drink it. "Am I refusing to?" There was a warmth inside him from the vodka. honest. He . And he longed for one evening to live as his friends did. self-sacrificing. though his head would be splitting next morning. and gazed into it for a long time. screwing up his shortsighted eyes. and ready to raise every trifle to the level of a problem. and have a passion for the theatre.

and hearing gay strains of pianos and violins. "Against my will an unknown force. naive. "In London there are ten times as many. tender. The unknown. Vassilyev was surprised and said: "What a lot of houses!" "That's nothing. sounds which floated out from every door and mingled in a strange chaos. how by little dark passages and dark rooms they would steal in to the women. what are you doing! Put it out!" It would all be dreadful." he hummed in an undertone. and in spring on bright days and moonlight evenings when the ice breaks on the river. which can be seen in nature only twice in the year -. Has led me to these mournful shores. would certainly have her hair down and be wearing a white dressing-jacket. he and his friends would knock at a door. And the tune for some reason haunted him and his friends all the way. in another ten minutes. and all three of them hummed it mechanically. she would be panic-stricken by the light. as though an unseen orchestra were tuning up in the darkness above the roofs. as it were virginal tone." The cabmen were sitting on their boxes as calmly and . and especially that limpid. fair or dark. There are about a hundred thousand such women there. the sharp black tracks left in the first snow by the feet of the passers-by. would be fearfully confused. taking advantage of the darkness. would light up and see the face of a martyr and a guilty smile." said the medical student. II The friends turned out of Trubnoy Square into Gratchevka. the pale street lamps. he would strike a match.liked the snow. Seeing two rows of houses with brightly lighted windows and wide-open doors. and soon reached the side street which Vassilyev only knew by reputation. how.when everything is covered with snow. and would say: "For God's sake. Vassilyev's imagination was picturing how. not in time with one another. but interesting and new. He liked the air.

no one was hiding his face in his coat-collar. and sleepy-looking eyes. craning their necks. He would have liked to make a theatrical bow and say something silly. Vassilyev was standing behind them. "Buona sera. another woman. went into the drawing-room. too. and devil-may-care. The medical student and the artist stopped at this door and. no one shook his head reproachfully. "Why do you stand at the door?" she said.pistoleto!" said the medical student.indifferently as in any other side street. When they opened the door a man in a black coat. The friends went into a narrow passage lighted by a lamp with a reflector. "Gentlemen. with a theatrical bow. insolent.tarakano -. And in this indifference to the noisy chaos of pianos and violins." The medical student and the artist. Probably it was as gay and noisy at the slave-markets in their day. "Havanna -. and people's faces and movements showed the same indifference. to the bright windows and wide-open doors. . and waited impatiently for what would happen next. felt an awkwardness that was like shame. . peeped into the room. .hugenotti -." said the artist. "Take off your coats and come into the drawing-room. The place smelt like a laundry with an odor of vinegar in addition.traviata!" began the artist. appeared in the doorway. pressing his cap to his breast and bowing low. . Vassilyev followed them irresolutely. "Let us begin from the beginning. No one was hurrying. A door from the hall led into a brightly lighted room. still talking Italian. rigolleto -. "you can't go in like that. with short hair. besides the girl. there was a feeling of something very open. A little fair girl of seventeen or eighteen." In the drawing-room there was. the same passers-by were walking along the pavement as in other streets. with an unshaven face like a flunkey's. reckless. take off your coats!" the flunkey said sternly. got up lazily from a yellow sofa in the hall. but he only smiled. in a short light-blue frock with a bunch of white ribbon on her bosom. signori.

I won't drink with you. After her a fourth appeared. "go and tell the young ladies some students have come!" A little later a third young lady came into the room. There was something characteristic and peculiar in this bad taste. he saw no trace. She was sitting near the piano. the dress with the blue stripes. the piano. Her face was painted thickly and unskillfully. frightened stare in her eyes. I don't drink. In all this Vassilyev saw nothing new or interesting. . . addressing him. the silence." she called. as it were intentionally designed." said the fair girl. in the dresses. . and uninteresting. .very stout and tall. . madam. She was wearing a bright red dress with blue stripes. prosaic. bad taste which was visible in the cornices. grace. her brow was hidden under her hair. . taste. "Where are the other young ladies?" asked the medical student. of all that he had expected to meet here and had dreaded. treat me to some porter!" said the fair girl. Everything was ordinary. the bunch of white ribbon. She took no notice whatever of the visitors. Vassilyev was at once overcome with confusion. she began at once singing some song in a coarse. Of the darkness. "What is there in all this trumpery I see now that can tempt a normal man and excite him to commit the horrible sin of buying a human being for a rouble? I understand any sin for the sake of splendor. "Stepan. and there was an unblinking. It seemed to him that that room. laying out a game of patience on her lap. but what is there here? What is there here worth sinning for? But . one mustn't think!" "Beardy. I .the terrible. he had seen before and more than once. with a foreign face and bare arms." he said. "With pleasure. "How poor and stupid it all is!" thought Vassilyev. . the secrecy. "They are having their tea. and after her a fifth. passion. . As she came in. powerful contralto. the looking-glass in its cheap gilt frame. bowing politely. the guilty smile. Only one thing faintly stirred his curiosity -. and the blank indifferent faces. in the absurd pictures. in the bunch of ribbons. beauty. "Only excuse me.

' They are told to ask the visitors to stand them treat because it is a profit to the keeper. . . It must be coarse like a dog's. for some reason. "Let's go to another!" he said peremptorily. a figure in a black coat. In one of the houses -. "You did not give pleasure to her. might murder. the friends stopped in the hall and did not go into the drawing-room. Vassilyev thought it would be nice to touch this man's hair. "Why did you ask for porter?" said the medical student angrily. justifying himself. . thin compressed lips. and did she know that he was a servant here?" And Vassilyev could not help particularly noticing the flunkey in each house. gray eyes. to see whether it was soft or coarse. But the face was really interesting: a big forehead. thought that a man with such a face might steal.simply waste!" "If she wants it. the artist became suddenly tipsy and grew unnaturally lively. at his face and his shabby black coat. waving his hands.he thought it was the fourth -. a little flattened nose. but to the 'Madam. with a sleepy face like a flunkey's. He was reading a newspaper. III Having drunk two glasses of porter.there was a little spare. got up from a sofa in the hall. and a blankly stupid and at the same time insolent expression like that of a young harrier overtaking a hare." . Looking at this flunkey. frail-looking flunkey with a watch-chain on his waistcoat.Five minutes later the friends went off into another house. "in ruins now." "Behold the mill ." Going into the next house. "I will take you to the best one. as in the first house." hummed the artist. might bear false witness. and took no notice of them when they went in. why not let her have the pleasure?" said Vassilyev. . . Here. Vassilyev thought: "What must an ordinary simple Russian have gone through before fate flung him down as a flunkey here? Where had he been before and what had he done? What was awaiting him? Was he married? Where was his mother. Looking at his face Vassilyev. "What a millionaire! You have thrown away six roubles for no reason whatever -.

Then it won't be dull. . Street. the sailor dresses. . The medical student grumbled something about their having to pay the musicians a rouble. the gaudy ribbons. pale faces. and darkness would be far more effective than this clumsy tawdriness. mournful smiles. He was silent for a little. Vassilyev realized that this was not lack of taste." "Treat me to some Lafitte. "How can they fail to understand that vice is only alluring when it is beautiful and hidden. . which could not be found elsewhere--something intentional in its ugliness." Vassilyev made no answer. that if a single one of the women had been dressed like a human being. Here there were just the same looking-glasses and pictures. Looking round at the furnishing of the rooms and the costumes. After he had been in eight houses he was no longer surprised at the color of the dresses. when it wears the mask of virtue? Modest black dresses. their visitors might surely have taught them. and the thick purplish rouge on the cheeks. but something that might be called the taste. and even the style. at the long trains. not accidental. of S. Stupid things! If they don't understand it of themselves. It was just as nasty in the best house as in the worst. why aren't you dancing?" she asked. and then asked: "What time do you get to sleep?" .When he had brought his fri ends to the house which in his opinion was the best. "Why are you so dull?" "Because it is dull. the general tone of the whole street would have suffered." A young lady in a Polish dress edged with white fur came up to him and sat down beside him. or if there had been one decent engraving on the wall. the same styles of coiffure and dress. he saw that it all had to be like this. he declared his firm intention of dancing a quadrille. They began dancing. but agreed to be his _vis-a-vis_. but elaborated in the course of years. "You nice dark man. "How unskillfully they sell themselves!" he thought.

It seemed to him hot and stifling. and asked: "How old are you?" "Eighty. the musicians. and walked away from her. or sad and oppressed by gloomy thoughts. how she had come into this house. Vassilyev was aghast. looking with a laugh at the antics of the artist as he danced. all the others. . just to talk." Vassilyev longed to talk to the young lady about many things." "And what do you do when you get up?" "We have coffee." his neighbor said again. and his heart began throbbing slowly but violently. . and whether they knew that she was here. But why do you ask all this?" "Oh. did not even glance towards his neighbor. and dessert. whether her parents were living. "Stand me some Lafitte. the women. . like a hammer -one! two! three! ." "And what do you have for dinner?" "Usually soup." "And what time do you get up?" "Sometimes at two and sometimes at three. whether she were cheerful and satisfied. his friends. Vassilyev felt a repulsion for her white fur and for her voice. . whether she hoped some day to get out of her present position. but seemed not to have heard her."At six o'clock. All at once she burst out laughing at something." the young lady jested. and uttered a long cynical sentence loud enough to be heard by everyone. He felt an intense desire to find out where she came from. gave a constrained smile. But he could not think how to begin or in what shape to put his questions so as not to seem impertinent. and not knowing how to look. He thought for a long time. . . He was the only one who smiled. beefsteak. Our madam keeps the girls well. and at six o'clock we have dinner.

if he had seen this world before on the stage. was an accountant at Smolensk with a wife and five children. who sold soap and candles. he played with feeling. a young man with a fair beard. to avoid looking at the women. The young man had a face that did not look stupid nor exhausted. with dissipated or stupid faces. What next!" . . It seemed to him that he was seeing not fallen women. He was dressed fancifully and with taste. The woman with the white fur burst out laughing again and uttered a loathsome sentence in a loud voice. he would not have believed in it. How was it they were not ashamed to sit here? What were they thinking about when they looked at the women? If the violin and the piano had been played by men in rags. gloomy. We talked about her first romance. As it was. Vassilyev could not understand it at all. . A respectable-looking old man in spectacles. "By spending fifty roubles on underclothes for her. rather like Marshal Bazaine. and he thought now that that human figure with the guilty smile had nothing in common with what he was seeing now."Let us go away!" he said. She was seventeen." "How did he win her heart?" asked Vassilyev. and she lived with her papa and mamma. "Wait a little. the hero. A feeling of disgust took possession of him. Vassilyev scrutinized the musicians. . as they all three went out into the street. was playing the piano. "Wait a minute. but some different world quite apart. let me finish. was playing the violin." said the medical student. He recalled the story of the fallen woman he had once read. looking hungry. youthful. It was a mystery how he and the respectable-looking old man had come here. drunken. He flushed crimson and went out of the room. dressed in the latest fashion. and fresh. alien to him and incomprehensible. then one could have understood their presence. pulling the artist by his sleeve. perhaps. He. IV "While we were dancing." While the artist and the medical student were finishing the quadrille. we are coming too!" the artist shouted to him. but intelligent. "I had a conversation with my partner. or read of it in a book.

. Grisha. do as you like. Grisha. "But I don't know how to. . the same S. really!" "Come." "I say. dear boy. and a very tipsy man who looked like an actor. I am going. Vassilyev went into the drawing-room and sat down. I think it's loathsome. ." said the medical student gravely. you can observe it! Do you understand? You can observe!" "One must take an objective view of things. be a good comrade! We came together. . Street style was apparent. "Come. I am going home!" he said. darling. we will go back together. "Don't be tiresome."So he knew how to get his partner's story out of her. really!" "I can wait for you in the street." said the artist. "I really will go home!" said Vassilyev as he was taking off his coat. I am bored. In the carpet and the gilt banisters. and he kissed him on the neck. . come. . There were a number of visitors in the room besides him and his friends: two infantry officers. two beardless youths from the institute of land-surveying. more imposing. If it is loathsome. in the porter who opened the door. "What for?" "Because I don't know how to behave here. All the young ladies were taken up with these visitors and paid no attention to Vassilyev. Gri-gri. . "come along! Let's go to one more together and damnation take them! . gray-haired gentleman in spectacles. a bald.but they are savages and animals. . Besides. What a beast you are." thought Vassilyev about the medical student. Grigory. Please do. . . hugging Vassilyev." said the artist in a tearful voice. come. and in the panels that decorated the hall. but carried to a greater perfection. Grisha!" They persuaded Vassilyev and led him up a staircase. . disgusted. What is there amusing in it? If they were human beings -." "Come.

. It was a dark woman. he read on every face nothing but a blank expression of everyday vulgar boredom and complacency. . And he began gazing at each of the women with strained attention. He was tormented by the thought that he. yawning: "A dark one has come. Vassilyev walked from one corner of the room to the other." he thought. insolent movements." the artist shouted to him and disappeared. He felt ashamed before these visitors of his presence here. wearing a dress covered with spangles. they have souls. but of course they are human beings all the same . And his attention was caught by one pale. "It is because I am not trying to understand them." Vassilyev went on thinking. The medical student disappeared soon after. He felt pity neither for the women nor the musicians nor the flunkeys. not very young. . and he felt disgusted and miserable. . One must understand them and then judge. Finding no guilty smile. rather sleepy. Stupid faces. But either he did not know how to read their faces. . as though casually. "They are all more like animals than human beings._ glanced sideways at him. one mustn't be like this. quadrilles. and. sleeping till two in the afternoon. wait for us. a decent and loving man (such as he had hitherto considered himself)." "Grisha. . ." he thought. . wines. exhausted-looking face. stupid smiles. .. and said. . a dinner of three courses.Only one of them. "I must begin with something trivial. she was sitting in an easy-chair." Vassilyev's heart was throbbing and his face burned. don't go. Vassilyev began to look whether there was not one intelligent face. looking at the floor lost in thought. and nothing else. "Yes. sat down beside her. one must make an effort to understand. looking for a guilty smile. . harsh. . "and pass to . hated these women and felt nothing but repulsion towards them. and looked for no other charm in the present but coffee. or not one of these women felt herself to be guilty. stupid voices. smiled. Apparently each of them had in the past a romance with an accountant based on underclothes for fifty roubles. dressed _a la Aida. .

"Porter. is it? . . "And what if your brother or mother walked in at this moment? What would you say? And what would they say? There would be porter then. . It's nice there. . ." The dark woman stretched. "What province do you come from?" "I? From a distance. A beggar is anyway a free man." "Any place seems nice when one is not in it. when I hadn't the money to study. and watched with sleepy eyes the footman who was bringing a trayful of glasses and seltzer water." thought Vassilyev." and with his finger he touched the gold fringe of her fichu. . a . ." All at once there was the sound of weeping." "Are you dull here?" he asked. and yawned again." she said." "Why don't you go away from here if you are dull?" "Where should I go to? Go begging or what?" "Begging would be easier than living here. and you are a slave. "I might touch her by a description of nature in Tchernigov." "A fine province. From Tchernigov. Even if I hadn't anyone could understand that. I imagine. from which the footman had brought the seltzer water. "Of course I am dull. "Oh." How do you know that? Have you begged?" "Yes. ." thought Vassilyev. . . From the adjoining room. "Stand me a glass of porter. No doubt she loves the place if she has been born there." "It's a pity I cannot describe nature. . ." "What a pretty dress you have.what is serious." said the dark woman listlessly.

the black background was all spangled with white. The snowflakes whirled thickly round Vassilyev and hung upon his beard. took a step towards the table. incomprehensible world people wanted to pursue him. He rushed into the room where there was weeping. . "Damnation take these houses!" His legs seemed to be giving way from fatigue. . Vassilyev was frightened and turned pale. his eyebrows. And he realized that there were real people living here who. He tore down his coat from the hatstand and ran headlong downstairs. like people everywhere else. and they don't fight! Impostor!" A hubbub arose. wept. stout "madam." who was shouting in a shrill voice: "Nobody has given you leave to slap girls on the cheeks! We have visitors better than you. reckless. As he made his way though the noisy crowd gathered about the fair man. stretched out his hands towards that face. and still more lazily fell to the ground. gay. and it seemed to him that in this alien. insolent. and mournful. the horses. to pelt him with filthy words. V Leaning against the fence. . simply from having run down the stairs. his heart sank and he felt frightened like a child. moving spots: it was snow falling. and this tangle of sounds seemed again like an unseen orchestra tuning up on the roofs. The feeling of oppressive hate and disgust gave way to an acute feeling of pity and anger against the aggressor. as though of someone insulted. mingled in the air in a sort of chaos. to beat him. The cabmen. wet with tears. "And how can the snow fall in this street!" thought Vassilyev. . suffered. genuine weeping. he stood near the house waiting for his friends to come out. his eyelashes. If one looked upwards into the darkness. The weeping girl was drunk. . felt insulted. and the passers-by were white. The sounds of the pianos and violins. he gasped for breath as though he had been . In the next room there was the sound of bitter. He was followed by the tall.fair man with a red face and angry eyes ran in quickly. and cried for help. Across rows of bottles on a marble-top table he distinguished a suffering face. As the snowflakes came into the light they floated round lazily in the air like down. . but at once drew back in horror.

They are sold and bought. white with snow. but even stronger was his desire to wait for his companions and vent upon them his oppressive feeling. a tall thin fellow. then he slipped. "There is vice. A group of students. Through the noise came the sound of the artist's voice: "Don't you dare to hit the women! I won't let you. but it was clear to him that the thing was far worse than could have been believed. My God! My God!" It was clear to him. have a good time! Don't be down-hearted. They were not on the road to ruin. while they." as drunkards say -. old man? Aha-ha! Never mind. that everything that is called human dignity. passed him laughing and talking gaily. waving both hands. "but neither consciousness of sin nor hope of salvation. If that sinful woman who had poisoned herself was called fallen. and said in a drunken voice: "One of us! A bit on. he ran to overtake his companions. loathsome sentences.climbing uphill. glanced into Vassilyev's face. are stupid. the souls of ruined women were a mystery to him as before. There was much he did not understand in these houses. He was consumed by a desire to get out of the street as quickly as possible and to go home. too. steeped in wine and abominations. were defiled to their very foundations -. it was difficult to find a fitting name for all these who were dancing now to this tangle of sound and uttering long. one." he thought. his heart beat so loudly that he could hear it. and don't understand. but ruined. and."to the very marrow. old chap!" He took Vassilyev by the shoulder and pressed his cold wet mustache against his cheek. damnation take you! You scoundrels!" . cried: "Hold on! Don't upset!" And laughing. staggered. the Divine image and semblance. like sheep. personal rights. stopped.and that not only the street and the stupid women were responsible for it. indifferent.

The medical student appeared in the doorway. laughing. Holy Mother! Grisha. ignorance. shook his hat. why did you go? You are a funk. said in an agitated voice: "You here! I tell you it's really impossible to go anywhere with Yegor! What a fellow he is! I don't understand him! He has got up a scene! Do you hear? Yegor!" he shouted at the door. "Against my will an unknown force. On my word of honor I won't!" Little by little the artist was pacified and the friends went homewards." hummed the medical student. and thought: "One of two things: either we only fancy prostitution is an evil. brandished his fist towards the top of the stairs and shouted: "Scoundrels! Torturers! Bloodsuckers! I won't allow you to hit them! To hit a weak. and stupidity? They have -. or. It was the artist falling headlong.I have been a witness of it." "Behold t he mill. art. looked at their backs. violators. that are described in the 'Neva. these dear friends of mine are as much slaveowners. Come. Yegor!" "I won't allow you to hit women!" the artist's piercing voice sounded from above. . but haven't they just been exploiting hunger. . . and seeing Vassilyev. their painting? The science. and murderers. and. Yegor! . . Something heavy and lumbering rolled down the stairs.' Now they are singing. . He picked himself up from the ground. you brutes! . Evidently he had been pushed downstairs. their medicine." the medical student began imploring him. as the inhabitants of Syria and Cairo. talking sense. with an angry and indignant face. . "I give you my word of honor I'll never come with you again. if prostitution really is as great an evil as is generally assumed." the artist chimed in a little later. "has led me to these mournful shores. a regular old woman. drunken woman! Oh. What a lot of snow." Vassilyev walked behind his companions. and we exaggerate it. What is the use of their humanity. "in ruins now. He looked from side to side. and lofty sentiments of these soul-destroyers remind me of the piece of bacon in the ." "Yegor! .

. . . my God!" "I knew it would end like that. After murdering a man. In the same way these men. five of you. he felt frightened of the street lamps shining with pale light through the clouds of snow. . but I tell you it's better you should set up twenty more houses like those than look like that." the artist said frowning. You are among those five hundred! If each of you in the course of your lives visits this place or others like it two hundred and fifty times. of the snow which was falling in heavy flakes on the ground. .story.' said one of them.' 'What do you mean? How can you?' cried the other in horror. His soul was possessed by an unaccountable. There's more vice in your expression than in the whole street! Come along. Good-by!" At Trubnoy Square the friends said good-by and parted. let us say." "Listen!" he said sharply and angrily. hungry woman! Ah! isn't it awful. two of you. and seemed as though it would cover up the whole world. don't you? No. and found in his wallet a piece of bacon. it's the devil knows what. . 'Well found. and that's all." "We human beings do murder each it possible you don't understand how horrible it is? Your medical books tell you that every one of these women dies prematurely of consumption or something. Each one of them is killed by five hundred men. Passers-by came towards him from time to time. Volodya. faint-hearted terror. "Why do you come here? Is it possible -." said the medical student. they began sharing his clothes between them. go their way imagining that they are artists and men of science. Vassilyev strode rapidly along the boulevard. but he timidly moved to one . but philosophizing doesn't help it. Every one of them dies because she has in her time to entertain five hundred men on an average. three of you. 'Have you forgotten that to-day is Wednesday?' And they would not eat it. let him go to the devil! He's a fool and an ass. after buying women. "We ought not to have gone with this fool and ass! You imagine you have grand notions in your head now. 'let us have a bit. of course. art tells you that morally they are dead even earlier. they came out of the forest in the firm conviction that they were keeping the fast. He felt frightened of the darkness. You are looking at me now with hatred and repulsion. it follows that one woman is killed for every two of you! Can't you understand that? Isn't it horrible to murder. Two brigands murdered a beggar in a forest. When he was left alone. "It's immoral. ideas. a foolish. but not ideas.

sitting on the bed. drink coffee. "I am going to have a breakdown. the most ardent and . were coming from all sides and staring at him. after buying the woman out of the brothel. or ran away and went back where she could sleep till three o'clock. . and. he went away and handed her into the keeping of some other decent man as though she were a thing. "All these not very numerous attempts. . . well known to him. and have good dinners. He recalled the history of the problem and its literature. . "can be divided into three groups. And the fallen woman remained a fallen woman. bought the inevitable sewing-machine." VI At home he lay on his bed and said. . or her father. It seemed to him that he must settle the question at once at all costs. . The third class. . Among them were a good many honest and self-sacrificing men. but was his own personal problem." thought Vassilyev. and it all moved him to horror. as he was an educated man. he strictly adhered to that method. however excited he was. after having bought her out he made her his mistress. And whether he wanted to or not. Some. and for a quarter of an hour he paced from one end of the room to the other trying to remember all the methods practiced at the present time for saving women. and she became a semptress. then getting bored. bought her a sewing-machine. then a fallen woman herself. with her painted cheeks. then when he had taken his degree. . And." he thought. preaching at her and giving her books. and that this question was not one that did not concern him. The method for attacking problems of all kinds was. He had very many good friends and acquaintances who lived in lodgings in Petersburg. after buying her out. began receiving men on the sly. "It's beginning. . began thinking how one could save all the women he had seen that day. took a room for her.side. took a lodging apart for her. Some of them had attempted to save women. He made an immense effort. holding his head in his hands. those women are alive!" He encouraged his imagination in all sorts of ways to picture himself the brother of a fallen woman. shuddering all over: "They are alive! Alive! My God. Others. repressed his despair. The woman lived and sewed as long as it was interesting and a novelty to her. none but women. it seemed to him that women. and tried teaching her to read.

Yes. . . And what is one to do with the hundred thousand in London? What's one to do with those in Hamburg?" The lamp in which the oil had burnt down began to smoke. so that it was hard to recognize the fallen woman afterwards in the wife and the mother. But supposing that I. talent for art. it turned her whole existence and attitude to life upside down. . Nizhni-Novgorod. some Smolensk accountant would be debauching another lot. There are all sorts of talents -. marriage was the best and perhaps the only means. What would be the result? The result would be that while here in Moscow they were being married. They had married them." "But it is impossible!" Vassilyev said aloud. and that lot would be streaming here to fill the vacant places. . resolute step." And he began to dream how he would the next evening stand at the corner of the street and say to every passer-by: "Where are you going and what for? Have some fear of God!" He would turn to the apathetic cabmen and say to them: "Why are you staying here? Why aren't you revolted? Why aren't you indignant? I suppose you believe in God and know that it is a sin. or stupid and crushed animal became a wife. that is clear . brothers like yourselves.self-sacrificing. had taken a bold. Vassilyev did not notice it. Now he put the question differently: what must be done that fallen women should not be needed? For that. and the artist mastered ourselves and did marry them -. He began pacing to and fro again. the medical student. it was essential that the men who buy them and do them to death should feel all the immorality of their share in enslaving them and should be horrified. together with others from Saratov. talent for the stage. could not marry one! To do that one must be a saint and be unable to feel hatred or repulsion.suppose they were all married. . . and afterwards a mother." One of Vassilyev's friends had once said of him that he was a talented man. the head of a household. "I.talent for writing. . One must save the men. . and he sank upon his bed. but he had a . that people go to hell for it? Why don't you speak? It is true that they are strangers to you. Warsaw. And when the insolent and spoilt. "One won't do anything by art and science. to begin with. "The only way out of it is missionary work. but you know even they have fathers. still thinking." thought Vassilyev.

. nor of missionary work. It was a dull. vague. The pain of others worked on his nerves. When he saw tears. Vassilyev was lying motionless on the sofa. nor of the men. he remembered that he had not a gift for words. he was frightened as a child. made vows to himself. excited him. he felt sick himself and moaned. . In the past he had had acute toothache. and in his fright ran to help. a timid and insignificant person. the excellent work he had written already. The dissertation. . but all that was insignificant compared with this spiritual anguish. he felt dispirited. but what Vassilyev experienced when he thought this question was settled was something like inspiration. beside a sick man. staring into space. he sat down to write letters. When it was daylight and carriages were already beginning to rumble in the street. but he could not compare it with anything. he felt as though he himself were the victim of it. in Hamburg. As a good actor reflects in himself the movements and voice of others. bewildered. the people he loved. . so Vassilyev could reflect in his soul the sufferings of others. He cried and laughed. roused him to a state of frenzy. a law student in his third year. undefined anguish akin to misery. All this was like inspiration also from the fact that it did not last long. now when he thought of them irritated him in the same way as the noise of . in his breast under his heart. if he saw an act of violence. He possessed an extraordinarily fine delicate scent for pain in general. The cases in London. spoke aloud the words that he should say next day.peculi ar talent -. the salvation of fallen women -. . that he was cowardly and timid. in Warsaw. In the presence of that pain life seemed loathsome. He could point to the place where the pain was. felt a fervent love for those who would listen to him and would stand beside him at the corner of the street to preach. Vassilyev was soon tired. weighed upon him by their mass as a mountain weighs upon the earth. He was no longer thinking of the women. His whole attention was turned upon the spiritual agony which was torturing him. Whether this friend were right I don't know. and so on. in the face of this mass. to an extreme form of terror and to despair.everything that only the day before he had cared about or been indifferent to. he wept. that indifferent people would not be willing to listen and understand him. he had had pleurisy and neuralgia. that genuine missionary work included not only teaching but deeds.a talent for _humanity_.

Vassilyev lay down on the bed and. . the other that this agony would not last more than three days. wringing his hands. If at that moment someone had performed a great deed of mercy or had committed a revolting outrage." And he went away. but round the room beside the walls. ran out of his room. Getting no answer. After lying for a while he got up and. are you at home?" he asked. it was thawing. This last he knew by experience. not as usual from corner to corner. The confounded fellow has gone to the University. . from there he turned off to Basmannya Street. leaving his door wide open. When he reached Razgulya he turned to the right. he thought of the agonizing night awaiting him. and at the passers-by. Thrusting his hands into his sleeves. and strode along side streets in which he had never been before in his life. the scurrying footsteps of the waiters in the passage. His face looked pale and sunken. his temples looked hollow. He reached the old bridge by which the Yauza runs gurgling. for no object or reason. and was overcome by a horrible despair. at the trambells.the carriages. As he passed he glanced at himself in the looking-glass. He dressed quickly. To distract his . he walked quickly along Sadovoy Street. At midday the artist knocked at the door. thrusting his head under the pillow. then to the Red Gate. but that did not make him feel better. "Grigory. and. the daylight. he would have felt the same repulsion for both actions. and the more freely his tears flowed the more terrible his mental anguish became. as though they belonged to someone else. pondered. Snow was falling as heavily as the day before. shuddering and frightened at the noises. Vassilyev walked along Sadovoy Street as far as Suharev Tower. his eyes were bigger. Of all the thoughts that strayed through his mind only two did not irritate him: one was that at every moment he had the power to kill himself. Without asking himself where he should go. and from which one can see long rows of lights in the windows of the Red Barracks. and answered himself in Little Russian: "Nay. more staring. darker. As it began to get dark. He went into a tavern and drank off a big glass of vodka. . he stood for a minute. began crying with agony. walked about the room. and they had an expression of insufferable mental agony. went out into the street.

only for God's sake. he was moving about the room with his shirt torn. too. . Then he bent down over the rail of the bridge and looked down into the black. When he reached home he pulled off his wet coat and cap. and he longed to plunge down head foremost." And he went back. do what you can. "For God's sake!" he sobbed when he saw his friends. . but in order to bruise himself at least. He walked up and down by the Red Barracks. from the copse back to the bridge again "No. crying and shuddering. "take me where you please. began pacing round the room.spiritual anguish by some new sensation or some other pain." "Wherever you like. the deserted banks covered with snow were terrifying. then turned back and went down to a copse. "Mihail Sergeyitch has been wanting to make your acquaintance for a long time. But that did not lessen his suffering either. undid his greatcoat and jacket and exposed his bare chest to the wet snow and the wind. but considering that doctors ought to be cool and composed in every emergency said coldly: "It's a nervous breakdown. and by one pain to ease the other. the darkness. "He is a very . home!" he thought. save me quickly! I shall kill myself!" The artist turned pale and was helpless. home. Vassilyev." The artist and the medical student with trembling hands put Vassilyev's coat and hat on and led him out into the street. He shivered and walked on. not from loathing for life. almost shed tears. and went on pacing round and round without stopping till morning. but for God's sake." the medical student said on the way. Let us go at once to the doctor. But it's nothing. You must try and control yourself. not for the sake of suicide. yeasty Yauza. The medical student. biting his hands and moaning with pain. But the black water. not knowing what to do. "At home I believe it's better. VII When next morning the artist and the medical student went in to him. make haste" "Don't excite yourself.

" He made Vassilyev sit down in a big armchair near the table. He made similar inquiries about his grandfather. "you want to know whether my illness is hereditary or not. It is not. . and moved a box of cigarettes towards him. stroking his knees." he said. . . perhaps." Vassilyev urged. he grew more animated at once. fair-haired doctor. and asked: "Excuse me.nice man and thoroughly good at his work." "Make haste. Half the questions usually asked by doctors of their patients can be left unanswered without the slightest ill effect on the health. As he received answers. but Mihail Sergeyitch. a stout. the medical student. . . "So far as I understand your questions. and the artist all looked as though if Vassilyev failed to answer one question all would be lost. and brothers. any peculiarities. make haste! . . whether he had had any aberrations. "Rybnikov and Mayer have spoken to me of your illness already. and smiled only on one side of his face. Well? Sit down. "Now then!" he began. Vassilyev was annoyed by the way the docto r kept stroking his knees and talking of the same thing. . "Very glad to be of service to you. He treats students as though he were one himself. and he has an immense practice already. whether he were remarkable for cruelty or any peculiarities. whether he drank to excess. I beg. doctor. "Let us get to work." he said. or had received injuries to his head. How old are you?" He asked questions and the medical student answered them. sisters. He took his degree in 1882. received the friends with politeness and frigid dignity. . but don't you remember. mother." The doctor proceeded to ask Vassilyev whether he had had any secret vices as a boy. or exceptional propensities. Mihail Sergeyitch. the doctor for some reason noted them down on a slip of . your mother had a passion for the stage?" Twenty minutes passed. He asked whether Vassilyev's father had suffered from certain special diseases. On learning that his mother had a beautiful voice and sometimes acted on the stage.

paper. . I am called mad. and described how the day before yesterday the artist. but don't interrupt me. "Though. of course. because I have written a work which in three years will be thrown aside and forgotten. addressing Vassilyev. I am pitied!" Vassilyev for some reason felt all at once unutterably sorry for himself. yes. . and all the people he had seen two . I am praised up to the skies. And do you drink vodka?" he said. . . that does enter into the diagnosis. . you prevent me from concentrating. Street. reserved. "He wrote a first-rate piece of original work last year. . but because I cannot speak of fallen women as unconcernedly as of these chairs. . and frigid tone in which his friends and the doctor spoke of the women and that miserable street struck Vassilyev as strange in the extreme. "Is prostitution an evil or not?" "My dear fellow. the doctor pondered." said the doctor. tell me one thing only." he said. "Yes. Yes. . . and he had visited S. and was now studying law. controlling himself so as not to speak rudely." "Perhaps all of you are right!" said Vassilyev. a mental doctor. "Perhaps! But it all seems marvelous to me! That I should have taken my degree in two faculties you look upon as a great achievement. aren't you?" Vassilyev asked curtly. . I am being examined by a doctor. Intense intellectual work. Vassilyev. The medical student began telling the doctor in a low voice his opinion as to the immediate cause of the attack." Another twenty minutes passed. nervous exhaustion. . . with an expression that suggested that he had settled all such questions for himself long ago. "Who disputes it?" "You are a mental doctor. and he smiled on one side of his face. On learning that Vassilyev had taken his degree in natural science. who disputes it?" said the doctor." said the medical student. "Doctor. and his companions. "I beg your pardon. The indifferent. getting up and beginning to walk from one end of the room to the other. "Very rarely.

is all white like a ghost. She is probably lost in thought. It is a long time since Iona and his nag have budged. Anyone who has been torn away from the plough. which have just been lighted. . he burst into tears and sank into a chair. the reflex action of the knees. and the stick-like straightness of her legs make her look like a halfpenny gingerbread horse. His friends looked inquiringly at the doctor. one was for morphia. The latter. Her stillness. is bound to think. gave him some medicine to drink. And Vassilyev felt easier.days before. undressed him and began to investigate the degree of sensibility of the skin. In the street he stood still and. horses' backs. The pale light of the street lamps changes to a vivid color. and the load at his heart grew lighter and lighter as though it were melting away. He had taken all these remedies before. shoulders. of unceasing uproar and hurrying people. . from the familiar gray landscapes. Big flakes of wet snow are whirling lazily about the street lamps. When he came out from the doctor's he was beginning to feel ashamed. saying good-by to his friends. the rattle of the carriages no longer irritated him. . with the air of completely comprehending the tears and the despair. and cast into this slough. MISERY "To whom shall I tell my grief?" THE twilight of evening. He had two prescriptions in his hand: one was for bromide. went up to Vassilyev and. without a word. full of monstrous lights. bent as double as the living body can be bent. Iona Potapov. when he was calmer. the sledge-driver. . and for the doctor. caps. His little mare is white and motionless too. of feeling himself a specialist in that line. But now the shades of evening are falling on the town. They came out of the yard before dinnertime and not a single fare yet. dragged himself languidly to the University. He sits on the box without stirring. and lying in a thin soft layer on roofs. . If a regular snowdrift fell on him it seems as though even then he would not think it necessary to shake it off. the angularity of her lines. and then. . and so on. . and the bustle of the street grows noisier.

"What rascals they all are!" says the officer jocosely. "Where are you shoving. and turns his eyes about like one possessed as though he did not know where he was or why he was there. . . . They must be doing it on purpose. A coachman driving a carriage swears at him. and says: . "They are simply doing their best to run up against you or fall under the horse's feet." "H'm! What did he die of?" Iona turns his whole body round to his fare. Iona fidgets on the box as though he were sitting on thorns. Apparently he means to say something. Iona gives a wry smile. but nothing comes but a sniff. . ." repeats the officer. cranes his neck like a swan. crooks her stick-like legs. brings out huskily: "My son . . sir."Sledge to Vyborgskaya!" Iona hears. a pedestrian crossing the road and brushing the horse's nose with his shoulder looks at him angrily and shakes the snow off his sleeve. and hesitatingly sets of. "Where the devil are you going? Keep to the r-right!" "You don't know how to drive! Keep to the right. . The sledge-driver clicks to the horse. jerks his elbows. "To Vyborgskaya. rises in his seat. "Sledge!" Iona starts. "Are you asleep? To Vyborgskaya!" In token of assent Iona gives a tug at the reins which sends cakes of snow flying from the horse's back and shoulders. you devil?" Iona immediately hears shouts from the dark mass shifting to and fro before him. "What?" inquires the officer. and straining his throat. and more from habit than necessity brandishes his whip. er ." Iona looks as his fare and moves his lips." says the officer angrily. . The mare cranes her neck. . my son died this week. . and through his snow-plastered eyelashes sees an officer in a military overcoat with a hood over his head. The officer gets into the sledge. too.

. . and all three try to sit down at once. but the latter keeps his eyes shut and is apparently disinclined to listen. ." says the officer. One hour passes. . Three young men. . twenty kopecks!" Iona tugs at the reins and clicks to his horse. and again sits huddled up on the box. ." laughs Iona. . shoving each other and using bad language. . "Well. ." "Turn round. Whether it is a rouble or whether it is five kopecks does not matter to him now so long as he has a fare. . God's will. . you devil!" comes out of the darkness." "He-he! . . rises in his seat. "Cut along! What a cap you've got. drive on. settling himself and breathing down Iona's neck. railing at each other and loudly stamping on the pavement with their goloshes. my friend! You wouldn't find a worse one in all Petersburg. . drive on! Are you going to drive like this all the way? Eh? Shall I give you one in the . nothing to boast of. two tall and thin. and then another. "It's nothing to boast of!" "Well. . Twenty kopecks is not a fair price. . then. "We shan't get there till to-morrow going on like this. . ill-temper." says the hunchback in his cracked voice. . The question remains to be settled: Which are to sit down and which one is to stand? After a long altercation. Iona stops by a restaurant. Several times he looks round at the officer. . . Putting his fare down at Vyborgskaya. Again the wet snow paints him and his horse white. . come up. one short and hunchbacked. but he has no thoughts for that. and with heavy grace swings his whip. . . go up to the sledge. "Have you gone cracked. they come to the conclusion that the hunchback must stand because he is the shortest. . . . you old dog? Look where you are going!" "Drive on! drive on! . He lay three days in the hospital and then he died. he-he! . Hurry up!" The sledge-driver cranes his neck again. "The three of us."Who can tell! It must have been from fever. . . "Cabby. The three young men. to the Police Bridge!" the hunchback cries in a cracked voice. and abuse.

. drive on! drive on! My friends." "He-he!" grins Iona. . . er. His tall companions begin talking of a certain Nadyezhda Petrovna. and the feeling of loneliness begins little by little to be less heavy on his heart. God give you health!" . my. . "He-he! . " he laughs. it's the truth! . or won't you? Is that the way to drive? Give her one with the whip.neck?" "My head aches. Waiting till there is a brief pause. . "Will you get on." says the other tall one angrily. . he looks round once more and says: "This week . er. . . till he chokes over some elaborately whimsical string of epithets and is overpowered by his cough. you give him a little encouragement . give it her well. . . . "Merry gentlemen . If one stands on ceremony with fellows like you one may as well walk. I simply cannot stand crawling like this! When will he get us there?" "Well. . "Me-er-ry gentlemen!" "Tfoo! the devil take you!" cries the hunchback indignantly. . . . "You lie like a brute." says the hunchback with a sigh. he sees people. one in the neck!" "Do you hear. He hears abuse addressed to him. . wiping his lips after coughing. ." "It's about as true as that a louse coughs. you old dragon? Or don't you care a hang what we say? " And Iona hears rather than feels a slap on the back of his neck. "At the Dukmasovs' yesterday Vaska and I drank four bottles of brandy between us. you old plague. you old plague? I'll make you smart. Iona looks round at them. The hunchback swears at him. "Come." Iona feels behind his back the jolting person and quivering voice of the hunchback." "I can't make out why you talk such stuff." says one of the tall ones." "Strike me dead. . Hang it all. son died!" "We shall all die. Do you hear. . .

The grave that is! . Again he is alone and again there is silence for him. Iona looks at the sleeping figures. are you married?" asks one of the tall ones. . death has come in at the wrong door. . . . . scratches himself. . . . Iona gazes for a long while after the revelers. The only wife for me now is the damp earth. as though she knew his thoughts. "Going on for ten. He can bear it no longer. It's a strange thing. bends himself double. On the stove. . Why have you stopped here? Drive on!" Iona drives a few paces away. it seems. . With a look of anxiety and suffering Iona's eyes stray restlessly among the crowds moving to and fro on both sides of the street: can he not find among those thousands someone who will listen to him? But the crowds flit by heedless of him and his misery. . But before five minutes have passed he draws himself up. "What time will it be." And Iona turns round to tell them how his son died. and on the benches are people snoring. . If Iona's heart were to burst and his misery to flow out. Instead of coming for me it went for my son. . who disappear into a dark entry."Cabman. beyond all bounds. . . . He-ho-ho!. . His misery is immense. and regrets that he has . and tugs at the reins. Iona sees a house-porter with a parcel and makes up his mind to address him. After taking his twenty kopecks. . . "To the yard!" And his little mare. friend?" he asks. . An hour and a half later Iona is sitting by a big dirty stove. . falls to trotting. . Here my son's dead and I am alive. thank God! they have arrived at last. The misery which has been for a brief space eased comes back again and tears his heart more cruelly than ever. "I? He he! Me-er-ry gentlemen. on the floor. It has found a hiding-place in such an insignificant shell that one would not have found it with a candle by daylight. The air is full of smells and stuffiness. but yet it is not seen. . . and gives himself up to his misery. He feels it is no good to appeal to people. . . . . "Back to the yard!" he thinks. it would flood the whole world. . . . shakes his head as though he feels a sharp pain. . but at that point the hunchback gives a faint sigh and announces that.

. and how he went to the hospital to get his son's clothes. Just as the young man had been thirsty for water. but to think of him and picture him is insufferable anguish. "There is always time for sleep. he thirsts for speech. and makes for the water-bucket. . ." He puts on his coat and goes into the stables where his mare is standing. they blubber at the first word. "Want a drink?" Iona asks him. . The old man sighs and scratches himself." he thinks. . he has plenty to talk about now. . about hay. . You'll have sleep enough. "Are you munching?" Iona asks his mare. . . . with deliberation. . He thinks about oats. . Do you hear? This week in the hospital. It would be even better to talk to women. . His son will soon have been dead a week. . . and he has not really talked to anybody yet . how he suffered. . Yes. . . . . "Let's go out and have a look at the mare. Since we have not earned . "That's why I am so miserable. . . what he said before he died. . . . . . about the weather. munch away. . To talk about him with someone is possible. clears his throat sleepily. but he sees nothing. who has had enough to eat. He wants to describe the funeral. . Though they are silly creatures. . . But my son is dead. . . . "I have not earned enough to pay for the oats. . munch away. . . He wants to talk of it properly. mate. . even. . is always at ease. . . . how he died." Iona looks to see the effect produced by his words. seeing her shining eyes.come home so early. The young man has covered his head over and is already asleep. . . It's a queer business. no fear. "Seems so. . . . . He cannot think about his son when he is alone. . "There. . His listener ought to sigh and exclaim and lament. And he wants to talk about her too. . . . ." In one of the corners a young cabman gets up. He still has his daughter Anisya in the country. and whose horse has had enough to eat. . . . ." Iona thinks. He wants to tell how his son was taken ill. ." "May it do you good. A man who knows how to do his work. .

. I have grown too old to drive. Sometimes there would be a glimpse of a woman's head at a carriage window. leaving his duties to me together with the right of pocketing his salary. we will eat hay. You'd be sorry. . old girl." The little mare munches. not one decent tavern. My assistant. . I had no children. . no cake would have tempted visitors to come and see me. suppose you had a little colt. . a native of the no rth. a deaf and scrofulous telegraph clerk. In the summer the steppe with its solemn calm. Kuzma Ionitch is gone. And all at once that same little colt went and died. . the steppe produced the effect of a deserted Tatar cemetery. its cold distance. . and in the vile vodka which the Jews drugged with thorn-apple. where he stayed for months at a time. not one woman. He was a real cabman. . and howling wolves oppressed me like a heavy nightmare. or one would drink all one could of the loathsome vodka till one was stupefied and did not feel the passing of the long hours and days. the transparent moonlight from which one could not hide. . He ought to have lived. and three watchmen. . and in those days I was young. He went and died for no reason. The only distraction I could possibly find was in the windows of the passenger trains. . . giddy. . . . . Now. He said good-by to me. . . strong. . reduced me to listless melancholy. . used to go for treatment to the town. long nights. . Whether I had a gay or a dull life at the station you can judge from the fact that for fifteen miles round there was not one human habitation. . . . . and then he goes on: "That's how it is. Yes. . and you were own mother to that little colt. . My son ought to be driving. There were several people living at the station: my wife and I. Iona is carried away and tells her all about it." Iona is silent for a while. CHAMPAGNE A WAYFARER'S STORY IN the year in which my story begins I had a job at a little station on one of our southwestern railways. . . . . and in the winter the irreproachable whiteness of the steppe.enough for oats. Upon me. . and breathes on her master's hands. . wouldn't you? . and foolish. and I could . . . listens. a young man who was in consumption. not I. the monotonous chur of the grasshoppers. . and one would stand like a statue without breathing and stare at it until the train turned into an almost invisible speck. . hot-headed. .

Not more than a glass of the wine was spilt. we had in reserve two bottles of champagne. I don't know whether I was affected by the vodka. and not merely my good looks. slavishly. chancing to come into our dreary station. I tormented her with reproaches. with the label of Veuve Clicquot. She loved me madly. thought of my overpowering boredom from which there was no escape. this treasure I had won the previous autumn in a bet with the station-master of D. the boys toss their heads and begin watching its flight with interest. as I managed to catch the bottle and put my thumb over the foaming neck. and heard the deaf telegraph clerk monotonously tapping on his apparatus in the next room. "Well. The fact is. and. and even my cruelty when. when I was drinking with him at a christening. filling two glasses. when the very air is still with boredom. We sat at table. as though they saw before them not a butterfly but something new and strange. When the hands pointed to five minutes to twelve I slowly began uncorking a bottle. It sometimes happens during a lesson in mathematics. She looked at me as no one can look but a woman who has nothing in this world but a handsome husband. a butterfly flutters into the class-room. "Drink!" My wife took her glass and fixed her frightened eyes on me. or whether the bottle was wet. and that no oftener than once a month. but all I remember is that when the cork flew up to the ceiling with a bang. . chewed lazily. In spite of the boredom which was consuming me. but my sins.only visit other officials on the line. Her face was pale and wore a look of horror. the real thing. propping my heavy head on my fist. or my soul. my bottle slipped out of my hands and fell on the floor. and were awaiting midnight with some impatience. may the New Year bring you happiness!" I said. "Did you drop the bottle?" she asked. we were preparing to see the New Year in with exceptional festiveness. while my wife sat beside me and did not take her eyes off me. I had already drunk five glasses of drugged vodka. I remember my wife and I saw the New Year in. We sat in silence looking alternately at the clock and at the bottles. roused us. not knowing how to vent my ill-humor. in the same way ordinary champagne. my ill-humor and boredom. in drunken fury.

but I have received neither education nor breeding. Drink. what evil can happen to us? The misfortunes we have endured already." "God grant it is nonsense." I thought." she said." She did not even sip her glass. . It looked at me sullenly and dejectedly. inhospitable beauty. she moved away and sank into thought. . and then went out of the room. and lighted up everything -. I was expelled from the high school. I uttered a few stale commonplaces about superstition. I was born of a noble family. I have no . "You are a clever woman. . as though afraid of wounding her modesty. I walked along the railway embankment. like a useless cigarette end. What further harm can you do a fish which has been caught and fried and served up with sauce?" A poplar covered with hoar frost looked in the bluish darkness like a giant wrapt in a shroud.the snowdrifts. A faint transparent light came from them and touched the white earth softly. "Silly woman. The moon and two white fluffy clouds beside it hung just over the station. "My youth is thrown away for nothing. "My parents died when I was a little child. the embankment. . and looked as though waiting for something. motionless as though glued to the spot. as though like me it realized its loneliness. I stood a long while looking at it. It was still. looking at the sky spangled with brilliant stars."Yes. and yet you talk as much nonsense as an old nurse. putting down her glass and turning paler still. and I have no more knowledge than the humblest mechanic. and which are facing us now. Outside there was the still frosty night in all its cold. drank half a bottle." I went on musing. something is sure to happen! You'll see. "Even if one admits that omens sometimes tell the truth. It means that some misfortune will happen to us this year. but . . are so great that it is difficult to imagine anything worse. "It's a bad omen. paced up and down." I sighed." "What a silly thing you are. But what of that?" "It's unlucky.

"Even that is not terrible. . like falling stars. . my courage. but I don't think I am capable of crime -. and I have insulted others in my time. no friends. You know people who are vain and not very clever have moments when the consciousness that they are miserable affords them positive satisfaction. Melancholy thoughts haunted me still. no relations. and all my wealth here in the steppe is not worth a farthing. What charm is there in her maudlin love. Women flit before my eyes only in the carriage windows. stop for a minute and rumble off again. I've lost money. and I go hungry. A train was moving towards me. but I don't love her. for a pinch of snuff. and they even coquet with their misery for their own entertainment. I get reprimanded by my superiors every day. my power of feeling are going to ruin. My manhood. now I am young and vigorous. I have not been a criminal. I married her when I was only a wretched boy. I saw it stop by the green lights of the station. and in the prime of my powers I am good for nothing but to be stuffed into this little station. After walking a mile and a half I went back. "What can happen worse? The loss of my wife?" I wondered. Everything is being thrown away like dirt. What more is there? I have been insulted.I am not afraid of being hauled up for . Love I never had and have not. My thoughts were so bitter that it seemed to me that I was thinking aloud and that the moan of the telegraph wire and the rumble of the train were expressing my thoughts. I've been ill.refuge. humiliated. in her lusterless eyes? I put up with her. in her hollow chest. as the saying is. yet I remember I tried as it were to make my thoughts still gloomier and more melancholy. . What can happen? My youth is being wasted. . . and there was something boyishly defiant in my question: "What could happen worse?" "And what is there to happen?" I asked myself. it is true. It's no good hiding it from my conscience: I don't love my wife. and she has gone off and grown older and sillier. I have known nothing but trouble and failure all my life. no work I like. The slumbering steppe listened to the sound of it." The train rushed past me with a roar and indifferently cast the glow of its red lights upon me. stuffed from her head to her heels with conventional ideas. but there was also a great deal that was absurd and conceited. "I think I have endured everything. There was a great deal of truth in what I thought. Painful as it was to me. I am not fitted for anything. What can happen worse?" Red lights came into sight in the distance. and a mad wolf has run into the station yard. .

you Nikolay. and dissolute creature. Her eyes were laughing gaily and her whole face was beaming with good-humor. about its being our duty to give shelter to all. for my wife looked grave and whispered rapidly: "Of course it is queer her having come. but don't be cross. looking as though they were whispering about something which the moon must not know. go to your room and put on your new coat. and so on. "Make haste. "There is news for you!" she whispered. My wife met me at the doorway. it is difficult to live with him." Probably I frowned. beautiful. about the weakness of mankind in general and of young wives in particular. from her scent. Uncle Semyon Fyodoritch really is ill-natured and tyrannical. And that our visitor was a lady of easy virtue I could see from her smile." My wife whispered a great deal more nonsense to me about her despotic uncle. Unable to make head or tail of it. everything to the tiniest grain of dust seemed to have grown younger and more cheerful in the presence of this new." The two little clouds had moved away from the moon and stood at a little distance. bringing the faint rumble of the retreating train. young. She is a very nice. we have a visitor." "What visitor?" "Aunt Natalya Petrovna has just come by the train. from the peculiar way in which she glanced . my roughly-made sofa. good woman. who had a most subtle perfume about her." A little woman with large black eyes was sitting at the table. only till she gets a letter from her brother. even great sinners. She is unhappy. and don't be hard on her. the gray walls. A light breeze was racing across the steppe. She says she will only stay three days with us. I put on my new coat and went to make acquaintance with my "aunt." "What Natalya Petrovna?" "The wife of my uncle Semyon Fyodoritch. You don't know her. My table.

Supper began over again. into this dark street. holding out her hand to me and smiling. Do you remember the song? "Eyes black as pitch. Indeed." As soon as she reached her own room she threw off her dress. Now tell me what further evil can happen to me? AFTER THE THEATRE NADYA ZELENIN had just come back with her mamma from the theatre where she had seen a performance of "Yevgeny Onyegin. Eyes burning bright and beautiful.and made play with her eyelashes. I will put it shortly and in the words of the same silly song: "It was an evil hour When first I met you. I took it all in at the first glance. from the tone in which she talked with my wife -. From the little station in the steppe it has flung me. and my aunt swallowed half a glassful at a gulp.a respectable woman. I remember a fearful. There was no need to tell me she had run away from her husband. frantic whirlwind which sent me flying round like a feather. and when my wife went out of the room for a moment my aunt did not scruple to drain a full glass. as you see. The cork flew with a bang out of the second bottle." Everything went head over heels to the devil. How I love you. that she was good-natured and lively. and in her petticoat and white dressing-jacket hastily sat . it is doubtful whether there is a man in all Europe who cannot spot at the first glance a woman of a certain temperament. How I fear you!" I don't remember what happened next. and swept from the face of the earth my wife and my aunt herself and my strength. It lasted a long while. I was drunk both with the wine and with the presence of a woman. Anyone who wants to know how love begins may read novels and long stories. let down her hair. "And I did not know I had such a pretty aunt. eyes full of passion." I answered. that her husband was old and despotic. "I did not know I had such a big nephew!" said my aunt.

down to the table to write a letter like Tatyana's. "I love you," she wrote, "but you do not love me, do not love me!" She wrote it and laughed. She was only sixteen and did not yet love anyone. She knew that an officer called Gorny and a student called Gruzdev loved her, but now after the opera she wanted to be doubtful of their love. To be unloved and unhappy -- how interesting that was. There is something beautiful, touching, and poetical about it when one loves and the other is indifferent. Onyegin was interesting because he was not in love at all, and Tatyana was fascinating because she was so much in love; but if they had been equally in love with each other and had been happy, they would perhaps have seemed dull. "Leave off declaring that you love me," Nadya went on writing, thinking of Gorny. "I cannot believe it. You are very clever, cultivated, serious, you have immense talent, and perhaps a brilliant future awaits you, while I am an uninteresting girl of no importance, and you know very well that I should be only a hindrance in your life. It is true that you were attracted by me and thought you had found your ideal in me, but that was a mistake, and now you are asking yourself in despair: 'Why did I meet that girl?' And only your goodness of heart prevents you from owning it to yourself. . . ." Nadya felt sorry for herself, she began to cry, and went on: "It is hard for me to leave my mother and my brother, or I should take a nun's veil and go whither chance may lead me. And you would be left free and would love another. Oh, if I were dead! " She could not make out what she had written through her tears; little rainbows were quivering on the table, on the floor, on the ceiling, as though she were looking through a prism. She could not write, she sank back in her easy-chair and fell to thinking of Gorny. My God! how interesting, how fascinating men were! Nadya recalled the fine expression, ingratiating, guilty, and soft, which came into the officer's face when one argued about music with him, and the effort he made to prevent his voice from betraying his passion. In a society where cold haughtiness and indifference are

regarded as signs of good breeding and gentlemanly bearing, one must conceal one's passions. And he did try to conceal them, but he did not succeed, and everyone knew very well that he had a passionate love of music. The endless discussions about music and the bold criticisms of people who knew nothing about it kept him always on the strain; he was frightened, timid, and silent. He played the piano magnificently, like a professional pianist, and if he had not been in the army he would certainly have been a famous musician. The tears on her eyes dried. Nadya remembered that Gorny had declared his love at a Symphony concert, and again downstairs by the hatstand where there was a tremendous draught blowing in all directions. "I am very glad that you have at last made the acquaintance of Gruzdev, our student friend," she went on writing. "He is a very clever man, and you will be sure to like him. He came to see us yesterday and stayed till two o'clock. We were all delighted with him, and I regretted that you had not come. He said a great deal that was remarkable." Nadya laid her arms on the table and leaned her head on them, and her hair covered the letter. She recalled that the student, too, loved her, and that he had as much right to a letter from her as Gorny. Wouldn't it be better after all to write to Gruzdev? There was a stir of joy in her bosom for no reason whatever; at first the joy was small, and rolled in her bosom like an india-rubber ball; then it became more massive, bigger, and rushed like a wave. Nadya forgot Gorny and Gruzdev; her thoughts were in a tangle and her joy grew and grew; from her bosom it passed into her arms and legs, and it seemed as though a light, cool breeze were breathing on her head and ruffling her hair. Her shoulders quivered with subdued laughter, the table and the lamp chimney shook, too, and tears from her eyes splashed on the letter. She could not stop laughing, and to prove to herself that she was not laughing about nothing she made haste to think of something funny. "What a funny poodle," she said, feeling as though she would choke with laughter. "What a funny poodle! " She thought how, after tea the evening before, Gruzdev had played with Maxim the poodle, and afterwards had told them about a very intelligent poodle who had run after a crow in the yard, and the crow had looked round at him and said: "Oh, you scamp! "

The poodle, not knowing he had to do with a learned crow, was fearfully confused and retreated in perplexity, then began barking. . . . "No, I had better love Gruzdev," Nadya decided, and she tore up the letter to Gorny. She fell to thinking of the student, of his love, of her love; but the thoughts in her head insisted on flowing in all directions, and she thought about everything -- about her mother, about the street, about the pencil, about the piano. . . . She thought of them joyfully, and felt that everything was good, splendid, and her joy told her that this was not all, that in a little while it would be better still. Soon it would be spring, summer, going with her mother to Gorbiki. Gorny would come for his furlough, would walk about the garden with her and make love to her. Gruzdev would come too. He would play croquet and skittles with her, and would tell her wonderful things. She had a passionate longing for the garden, the darkness, the pure sky, the stars. Again her shoulders shook with laughter, and it seemed to her that there was a scent of wormwood in the room and that a twig was tapping at the window. She went to her bed, sat down, and not knowing what to do with the immense joy which filled her with yearning, she looked at the holy image hanging at the back of her bed, and said: "Oh, Lord God! Oh, Lord God!" A LADY'S STORY NINE years ago Pyotr Sergeyitch, the deputy prosecutor, and I were riding towards evening in hay-making time to fetch the letters from the station. The weather was magnificent, but on our way back we heard a peal of thunder, and saw an angry black storm-cloud which was coming straight towards us. The storm-cloud was approaching us and we were approaching it. Against the background of it our house and church looked white and the tall poplars shone like silver. There was a scent of rain and mown hay. My companion was in high spirits. He kept laughing and talking all sorts of nonsense. He said it would be nice if we could suddenly come upon a medieval castle with

turreted towers, with moss on it and owls, in which we could take shelter from the rain and in the end be killed by a thunderbolt. ... Then the first wave raced through the rye and a field of oats, there was a gust of wind, and the dust flew round and round in the air. Pyotr Sergeyitch laughed and spurred on his horse. "It's fine!" he cried, "it's splendid!" Infected by his gaiety, I too began laughing at the thought that in a minute I should be drenched to the skin and might be struck by lightning. Riding swiftly in a hurricane when one is breathless with the wind, and feels like a bird, thrills one and puts one's heart in a flutter. By the time we rode into our courtyard the wind had gone down, and big drops of rain were pattering on the grass and on the roofs. There was not a soul near the stable. Pyotr Sergeyitch himself took the bridles off, and led the horses to their stalls. I stood in the doorway waiting for him to finish, and watching the slanting streaks of rain; the sweetish, exciting scent of hay was even stronger here than in the fields; the storm-clouds and the rain made it almost twilight. "What a crash!" said Pyotr Sergeyitch, coming up to me after a very loud rolling peal of thunder when it seemed as though the sky were split in two. "What do you say to that?" He stood beside me in the doorway and, still breathless from his rapid ride, looked at me. I could see that he was admiring me. "Natalya Vladimirovna," he said, "I would give anything only to stay here a little longer and look at you. You are lovely to-day." His eyes looked at me with delight and supplication, his face was pale. On his beard and mustache were glittering raindrops, and they, too, seemed to be looking at me with love. "I love you," he said. "I love you, and I am happy at seeing you. I know you cannot be my wife, but I want nothing, I ask nothing; only know that I love you. Be silent, do not answer me, take no notice of it, but only know that you are dear to me and let me look at you."

His rapture affected me too; I looked at his enthusiastic face, listened to his voice which mingled with the patter of the rain, and stood as though spellbound, unable to stir. I longed to go on endlessly looking at his shining eyes and listening. "You say nothing, and that is splendid," said Pyotr Sergeyitch. "Go on being silent." I felt happy. I laughed with delight and ran through the drenching rain to the house; he laughed too, and, leaping as he went, ran after me. Both drenched, panting, noisily clattering up the stairs like children, we dashed into the room. My father and brother, who were not used to seeing me laughing and light-hearted, looked at me in surprise and began laughing too. The storm-clouds had passed over and the thunder had ceased, but the raindrops still glittered on Pyotr Sergeyitch's beard. The whole evening till supper-time he was singing, whistling, playing noisily with the dog and racing about the room after it, so that he nearly upset the servant with the samovar. And at supper he ate a great deal, talked nonsense, and maintained that when one eats fresh cucumbers in winter there is the fragrance of spring in one's mouth. When I went to bed I lighted a candle and threw my window wide open, and an undefined feeling took possession of my soul. I remembered that I was free and healthy, that I had rank and wealth, that I was beloved; above all, that I had rank and wealth, rank and wealth, my God! how nice that was! . . . Then, huddling up in bed at a touch of cold which reached me from the garden with the dew, I tried to discover whether I loved Pyotr Sergeyitch or not, . . . and fell asleep unable to reach any conclusion. And when in the morning I saw quivering patches of sunlight and the shadows of the lime trees on my bed, what had happened yesterday rose vividly in my memory. Life seemed to me rich, varied, full of charm. Humming, I dressed quickly and went out into the garden. . . . And what happened afterwards? Why -- nothing. In the winter when

we lived in town Pyotr Sergeyitch came to see us from time to time. Country acquaintances are charming only in the country and in summer; in the town and in winter they lose their charm. When you pour out tea for them in the town it seems as though they are wearing other people's coats, and as though they stirred their tea too long. In the town, too, Pyotr Sergeyitch spoke sometimes of love, but the effect was not at all the same as in the country. In the town we were more vividly conscious of the wall that stood between us. I had rank and wealth, while he was poor, and he was not even a nobleman, but only the son of a deacon and a deputy public prosecutor; we both of us -- I through my youth and he for some unknown reason -- thought of that wall as very high and thick, and when he was with us in the town he would criticize aristocratic society with a forced smile, and maintain a sullen silence when there was anyone else in the drawing-room. There is no wall that cannot be broken through, but the heroes of the modern romance, so far as I know them, are too timid, spiritless, lazy, and oversensitive, and are too ready to resign themselves to the thought that they are doomed to failure, that personal life has disappointed them; instead of struggling they merely criticize, calling the world vulgar and forgetting that their criticism passes little by little into vulgarity. I was loved, happiness was not far away, and seemed to be almost touching me; I went on living in careless ease without trying to understand myself, not knowing what I expected or what I wanted from life, and time went on and on. . . . People passed by me with their love, bright days and warm nights flashed by, the nightingales sang, the hay smelt fragrant, and all this, sweet and overwhelming in remembrance, passed with me as with everyone rapidly, leaving no trace, was not prized, and vanished like mist. . . . Where is it all? My father is dead, I have grown older; everything that delighted me, caressed me, gave me hope -- the patter of the rain, the rolling of the thunder, thoughts of happiness, talk of love -all that has become nothing but a memory, and I see before me a flat desert dist ance; on the plain not one living soul, and out there on the horizon it is dark and terrible. . . . A ring at the bell. . . . It is Pyotr Sergeyitch. When in the winter I see the trees and remember how green they were for me in the summer I whisper: "Oh, my darlings!"

And when I see people with whom I spent my spring-time, I feel sorrowful and warm and whisper the same thing. He has long ago by my father's good offices been transferred to town. He looks a little older, a little fallen away. He has long given up declaring his love, has left off talking nonsense, dislikes his official work, is ill in some way and disillusioned; he has given up trying to get anything out of life, and takes no interest in living. Now he has sat down by the hearth and looks in silence at the fire. . . . Not knowing what to say I ask him: "Well, what have you to tell me?" "Nothing," he answers. And silence again. The red glow of the fire plays about his melancholy face. I thought of the past, and all at once my shoulders began quivering, my head dropped, and I began weeping bitterly. I felt unbearably sorry for myself and for this man, and passionately longed for what had passed away and what life refused us now. And now I did not think about rank and wealth. I broke into loud sobs, pressing my temples, and muttered: "My God! my God! my life is wasted!" And he sat and was silent, and did not say to me: "Don't weep." He understood that I must weep, and that the time for this had come. I saw from his eyes that he was sorry for me; and I was sorry for him, too, and vexed with this timid, unsuccessful man who could not make a life for me, nor for himself. When I saw him to the door, he was, I fancied, purposely a long while putting on his coat. Twice he kissed my hand without a word, and looked a long while into my tear-stained face. I believe at that moment he recalled the storm, the streaks of rain, our laughter, my face that day; he longed to say something to me, and he would have been glad to say it; but he said nothing, he merely shook his head and pressed my hand. God help him!

After seeing him out, I went back to my study and again sat on the carpet before the fireplace; the red embers were covered with ash and began to grow dim. The frost tapped still more angrily at the windows, and the wind droned in the chimney. The maid came in and, thinking I was asleep, called my name. IN EXILE OLD SEMYON, nicknamed Canny, and a young Tatar, whom no one knew by name, were sitting on the river-bank by the camp-fire; the other three ferrymen were in the hut. Semyon, an old man of sixty, lean and toothless, but broad shouldered and still healthy-looking, was drunk; he would have gone in to sleep long before, but he had a bottle in his pocket and he was afraid that the fellows in the hut would ask him for vodka. The Tatar was ill and weary, and wrapping himself up in his rags was describing how nice it was in the Simbirsk province, and what a beautiful and clever wife he had left behind at home. He was not more than twenty five, and now by the light of the camp-fire, with his pale and sick, mournful face, he looked like a boy. "To be sure, it is not paradise here," said Canny. "You can see for yourself, the water, the bare banks, clay, and nothing else. . . . Easter has long passed and yet there is ice on the river, and this morning there was snow. . ." "It's bad! it's bad!" said the Tatar, and looked round him in terror. The dark, cold river was flowing ten paces away; it grumbled, lapped against the hollow clay banks and raced on swiftly towards the far-away sea. Close to the bank there was the dark blur of a big barge, which the ferrymen called a "karbos." Far away on the further bank, lights, dying down and flickering up again, zigzagged like little snakes; they were burning last year's grass. And beyond the little snakes there was darkness again. There little icicles could be heard knocking against the barge It was damp and cold. . . . The Tatar glanced at the sky. There were as many stars as at home, and the same blackness all round, but something was lacking. At home in the Simbirsk province the stars were quite different, and so was the sky.

and if anyone gives way to the devil and listens to him. And I wish no one a better life. the cursed one." "And what do you want your wife and mother for?" asked Canny. When he dies my mother and wife will come here. nor paddock."It's bad! it's bad!" he repeated. and the way I look at it is that there is nobody richer and freer than I am. "That's mere foolishness.' You look at me. and when I was free I lived at Kursk. 'I don't want them!' He is on at you about freedom. if but once." said Semyon. Don't let him have his way. "You will get used to it.' I stuck to it. It's the devil confounding you. nor freedom. and he laughed. but the time will come when you will say to yourself: 'I wish no one a better life than mine. I want nothing. nor wife. I want nothing! The devil was at me about my wife and about my home and about freedom. "Now you are young and foolish. and I don't complain. and now I have brought myself to such a pass that I can sleep naked on the ground and eat grass. and it seems to you in your foolishness that you are more wretched than anyone. but the son of a deacon. day and night. my lad. Within a week the floods will be over and we shall set up the ferry. The pike and the salmon are under the water while I am on the water. nor post. God give everyone such a life. but you spite him. They have promised. there is no salvation for him: he is sunk in the bog to the crown of his head and will never get out. When they sent me here from Russia from the first day I stuck it out. not of the working class. And thank God for it. He is at you about the women. and here you see I live well. say. but you stand up to him and say: 'I don't want it!' I want nothing. I want nothing. damn their souls!" Semyon took a pull at the bottle and went on: "I am not a simple peasant. and said: "My father is a sick man. I want nothing and I am afraid of nobody. he is lost. but I told him: 'I want nothing. lay down closer to the blaze. I used to wear a frockcoat. . I've been going like that for twenty-two years. damn his soul! Don't you listen to him. neither father nor mother." The Tatar threw some dry twigs on the camp-fire. the milk is hardly dry on your lips. you will all go wandering off about Siberia while I shall stay and shall begin going from bank to bank.

'in the sweat of my brow. . If you want to be happy. that's the right thing.' says he. the chief thing is not to want anything. all right. as though it had been a dream. And of course he had to give food and drink to all that crew. in her arms was a baby girl.' And from that time forward he went almost every week to inquire whether money had not come from Russia. even in Siberia people can live!' 'Oh.' says he. he couldn't take his eyes off her and couldn't say enough in praise of her. ' but in a very little while you'll be wanting something else.' "To make it livelier for the lady he made acquaintance with the officials and all sorts of riff-raff.' says I. 'it will be a different tale presently.' He was a young man then. 'I want to live by my own work. ' I am going to Gyrino to meet my wife. He wanted a lot of money. . and he was rubbing his hands and laughing. . If. Now you want money. 'What use is it to you? You cast away the past.' says I. 'Yes. busy and careful.' says I. . Vassily Sergeyitch.' says he. She is good and kind. A beautiful young lady in a hat. So a day later he came with his wife.' thinks I. but you despise her and laugh at her. are lost. for I am not a gentleman now. .' says he.' 'Well. brother Semyon. 'to provide her with every comfort. or else she will laugh at you. And my Vassily Sergeyitch was fussing round her. and first thing he bought himself a house and land in Muhortinskoe.' says I. "Two years later I ferried him across to this side. well-educated people. Don't listen to the devil. 'She was sorry for me. 'but a settler. . 'she has come. 'he will bring you to no good. and forget it as though it had never been at all."It is not only a foolish peasant like you. And lots of luggage of all sorts. he used to stand on my ferry and sigh: 'Ech. and so I ought. They did say he was a prince or a baron.' And he was breathless with joy. 'and sharing my bitter lot with me. Yes. . but even gentlemen. and then more and more. 'She is losing her youth and beauty here in Siberia for my sake. he'll draw you into a snare. Only this is what happened: from the very first year he took to riding to Gyrino for the post. Semyon. and there had to be a piano . He hadn't shared something with his brothers and had forged something in a will. . but maybe he was simply an official -.' says I. the gentleman arrived here.' says he. he used to mow himself and catch fish and ride sixty miles on horseback. how long it is since they sent me any money from home!' 'You don't want money.' That's what I said to him. 'God help you. Fifteen years ago they sent a gentleman here from Russia.who knows? Well. and begin to live anew. 'if Fate has wronged you and me cruelly it's no good asking for her favor and bowing down to her.' says I. .' says he.

He kept rushing about like this with petitions for eight years. there was shouting from the further bank. And towards morning Vassily Sergeyitch galloped down to the ferry. Semyon?' 'She did. they got in and away like the wind. . "Three years later. His wife had slipped off to Russia. If he talked to you he would go. You see. I went over with the ferry.plague take it! . good-looking.' says he. and she was a spoilt lady from Petersburg or Moscow. 'people can live even in Siberia. khee -. Luxury. .. . to galloping almost every day. Semyon. . I ferried them across here. .not the same rank. my lad. Besides. he kept sending in petitions for them to have mercy on him and let him go back home. He grew gray and bent. I remember. . in fact. "Then he began longing for freedom. and yellow in the face. no fruit.khee. . . and with her a young gentleman.khee -. . 'you may look for the wind in the fields!' He galloped in pursuit of them. 'So that's how it is. They used to stand on the ferry. . she would laugh and he could not take his eyes off her. How could she? The clay. I laughed. with black eyebrows and a lively disposition. And to tell the truth she is all right.and a shaggy lapdog on the sofa -. and she is the apple of his eye. say what you like. When I ferried him over to the other side afterwards. his daughter has grown up. They were soon lost to sight. self-indulgence. her husband. . A sledge with three horses. To be sure she moped. was not a gentleman now. but now he has grown brighter and more cheerful again: he has found another whim to give way to. All around you ignorant and drunken people and no sort of manners. he flung himself on the ferry and beat his head on the boards of the ferry and howled. and he used to say that he had spent some two hundred roubles on telegrams alone. the cold. and of course he was drawn there to see her and to get her away from her lover. and there were tears in his eyes. the water. 'what a daughter I have got! I warrant you . but a settler -. The lady did not stay with him long.' says I. For five days and nights he was riding after them. Every Sunday he used to ride with her to church in Gyrino. and reminded him 'people can live even in Siberia!' And he beat his head harder than ever. 'Didn't my wife come this way with a gentleman in spectacles. all wrapped up. Look. and what do I see but the lady. as though he was in consumption. .' says he. And he took. no vegetables for you. . He sold his land and mortgaged his house to the Jews. Even in Siberia there is happiness. side by side. an official. either to the post or the town to see the commanding officer. He looks at her.' said I. 'Yes. on the eve of the Assumption.

'Nothing' is bad. sent to prison." "Good! good!" said the Tatar. . . but had contrived a sentence by which all the three brothers were sent to Siberia. . was left at home. the wench is young. 'that's true. . he will drive to fetch him. How not understand?" Shivering and hesitating. and to my thinking he had better have spent the money on drink. and there is no life here. "So you see what Siberian happiness is. He has taken to going from one doctor to another and taking them home with him. She'll die just the same. . and then it will be all over with him.' But to myself I thought: 'Wait a bit. his daughter. . shivering with cold.' says I. and be buried in the cold and dark earth. Then he described again what a beautiful and clever wife he had left at home. that if his wife came to him for one day. a rich man. As soon as he hears that two or three hundred miles away there is a doctor or a sorcerer. Then. . want nothing. he began crying and assuring Semyon that he was not guilty. certainly. He'll hang himself from grief or run away to Russia -. . but three years is good. even for one hour.anyway. . . Better one day of happiness than nothing. She faded and faded. . her blood is dancing. His two brothers and an uncle had carried off a peasant's horses. she wants to live. and the commune had not judged fairly. He'll run away and they'll catch him.' And she did begin to pine. "His wife. What of prison and what of sorrow! -. . while the uncle.that's a sure thing. Consumption. But 'nothing' is bad! His wife lived with him three years -. and had beaten the old man till he was half dead. . "What is good?" asked Canny. . damn its soul! You see how people can live in Siberia. then he will be tried. the Tatar said that God forbid one should fall sick and die in a strange land.' 'Your daughter is all right. and now she can hardly crawl about. he did see his wife and his daughter. .wouldn't find another like her for a thousand versts round. She is certain to die. . You say.that was a gift from God. my lad. . he will have a taste of the lash. A terrible lot of money he spent on doctors. clutching his head in both hands. that for such happiness he would be ready to bear any suffering and to thank God. with effort picking out the Russian words of which he knew but few. and was suffering for nothing. . .

They want petting and ha-ha-ha! and ho-ho-ho! and scent and pomade." sighed Semyon. for a day. cold. Eh? I am going." Left alone. but only laughed at him. Now. when his whole body was aching and shivering. . and not in the Simbirsk province. when the floods were quite ov er and they set the ferry going."You will get used to it!" said Semyon. . . chuckled at something. what would he have to feed her on? Where could she live here? "If there were not something to eat. His wife was only seventeen. and stared with tear-stained eyes at the fire. mate. as though he still did not understand why he was here in the darkness and the wet. "The vodka is all gone. beside strangers. Better a month or even a day than nothing. . here he had nothing to cover him either. Canny lay near the fire. my lad. . . could she possibly go from village to . and began humming a song in an undertone. . . life. and he got up heavily. "What joy has she with her father?" he said a little later. He was paid only ten kopecks for working all day and all night at the oar. . that's true. none of the ferrymen but Semyon would be wanted. "He loves her and he rejoices in her. And young wenches don't want strictness. so it is time to sleep. and shy. Ech! life. And from poverty he was hungry. it is true that travelers gave him tips for tea and for vodkas but the men shared all they received among themselves. he began thinking of his own village and of his wife. but. If his wife could only come for a month. In another week. But if his wife kept her promise and came. the Tatar put on more twigs. and the Tatar would begin going from village to village begging for alms and for work. she was beautiful. you must mind your ps and qs with him. and frightened. he is a strict old man. and then if she liked she might go back again. a harsh old man. and gave nothing to the Tatar. but he had nothing to cover him there. . his face expressed bewilderment and fear. spoilt. . he ought to go into the hut and lie down to sleep. how could she live?" the Tatar asked aloud. but at least he could make up the fire. . The Tatar was silent. and it was colder than on the river-bank. Yes. lay down and stared at the fire.

the strange. . The ferrymen swung the oars evenly in time. "Boat!" was shouted on the further side. the Volga? Snow was falling. . and in the next room was his mother. "All right. you have plenty of time. the barge. which in the darkness looked like the claws of crabs. hunger. perhaps all that was not real. putting on their torn sheepskins as they walked. . though! What are they for? The Tatar smiled and opened his eyes. Most likely it was all a dream. and if one looked round there was the steep clay slope. What terrible dreams there are. the river. It was already getting light. cold. ." said Semyon in the tone of a man convinced that there was no necessity in this world to hurry -. broad-bladed oars. The shout on the other side still continued. from which came a breath of piercing cold. anyway. and went to wake his mates and row over to the other side. . . . clumsy barge moved away from the bank and floated between the willow-bushes. The cocks were already crowing in the village. The Tatar and the three ferrymen took the long. probably with the idea that the ferrymen were asleep or had gone to the pot-house in the village. swearing with voices husky from sleepiness and shivering from the cold. . and he had only to call his wife by name for her to answer.that it would lead to nothing. The heavy. . .village begging alms with her face unveiled? No. . . the bushes of willow on the water. unkind people. On waking from their sleep. and the waves could be clearly discerned. They jumped into the barge without hurrying themselves. The ferrymen came on to the river-bank. Semyon leaned his stomach against the tiller. What river was this. thought the Tatar. and only the willows slowly moving back showed that the barge was not standing still but moving. at the bottom of it the hut thatched with dingy brown straw. He felt that he was asleep and heard his own snoring. "Boat!" The Tatar woke up. and the huts of the village lay clustered higher up. Of course he was at home in the Simbirsk province. it was terrible even to think of that. illness. Semyon lay with his . and two shots were fired from a revolver. the barge. The rusty red clay slope. seemed to strike them as revolting and horrible. the river.

and were moving on it through a cold. "It's muddy driving now. desolate land. when his coachman asked permission to smoke in his presence he made no answer. tightly compressing his thick lips and staring off into space.can li-ive!" There was a triumphant expression on Canny's face. . "You should have put off going for another fortnight. In the darkness it looked as though the men were sitting on some antediluvian animal with long paws. The unhappy helplessness of the man in the foxskin coat evidently afforded him great pleasure. . as though he had not heard. looked mockingly at him and said: "Even in Siberia people can live -." he said when the horses were harnessed again on the bank. describing a semicircle in the air.stomach on the tiller and. . flew from one side to the other. My daughter's worse again. smiling. Semyon. Vassily Sergeyitch. When Semyon went up to him and took off his cap. he had a gloomy. the land of which one sometimes dreams in nightmares." They dragged the carriage on to the barge and floated back. If any good would come of your going -- . as though he were trying to remember something and angry with his untrustworthy memory." muttered Semyon. He was standing at a little distance from his horses and not moving. concentrated expression. and the barge banged heavily against the landing-stage. They passed beyond the willows and floated out into the open. The creak and regular splash of the oars was heard on the further shore. The man whom Semyon addressed as Vassily Sergeyitch stood all the time motionless. "and where it all comes from God only knows. when it will be drier. and they say that there is a new doctor at Anastasyevka. lying with his stomach on the tiller. he said: "I am hastening to Anastasyevka. as though he had proved something and was delighted that things had happened as he had foretold." On the bank stood a thin man of medium height in a jacket lined with fox fur and in a white lambskin cap. and a shout came: "Make haste! make haste!" Another ten minutes passed. "And it keeps sprinkling and sprinkling. Or else not have gone at all. wiping the snow from his face.

"What's that? Who's there?" "It's the Tatar crying. ." Vassily Sergeyitch tipped him without a word. "There. "Yes. its not warm. . "But looking for a good doctor is like chasing the wind in the fields or catching the devil by the tail. "It's a dog's life. . "It's cold. but you want nothing. shivering. we all know. bad! The gentleman is alive. plague take your soul! What a queer chap." said one ferryman huskily as he stretched himself on the straw with which the damp clay floor was covered." . You are a stone. and mixing Tatar words with his broken Russian. the Tatar frowned contemptuously. and. The door was thrown open by the wind and the snow drifted into the hut. but you are bad! You are bad! The gentleman is a good soul. Lord forgive me a sinner!" The Tatar went up to Canny. That's the truth. Even the devils won't take you!" Sounds like a dog's howling came from outside. said: "He is good ." They all lay down. clay! A stone wants nothing and you want nothing.but as you know yourself. people have been driving about for years and years. excellent. God created man to be alive. you are stone. . so you are not alive. he has galloped off for a doctor!" said Semyon. good. shrinking from the cold." "You are a tough one. looking at him with hatred and repulsion. day and night. . and it was too much trouble. but you are a dead carcass. and God does not love you. . "I am all right." another assented. The ferrymen and Semyon sauntered to the hut. and with a wave of his hand wrapped himself in his rags and went to the campfire. . . but He loves the gentleman!" Everyone laughed." said Semyon as he began to doze. "I wouldn't wish anyone a better life. nobody felt inclined to get up and shut the door: they were cold. and to have joy and grief and sorrow. got into his carriage and drove off. and you are a beast. and it's alway's been no use.

A lantern with a tallow candle in it is hanging on the wall near them. Some turn round and stare at the men and swing their tails. . In that van two men are sitting on an outspread cape: one is an old man with a big gray beard. monstrous. cautiously . no halter."I say. . They are crowded. ." he says. The others were soon asleep too. or goodness knows what they are up to. . If one lies down the others must stand and huddle closer. THE CATTLE-DEALERS THE long goods train has been standing for hours in the little station. There are eight of them in the van. yawning. The van is quite full. but if one looks more closely. and unmistakably alive. and at once fell asleep. A pale streak of light comes from one of the vans and glides over the rails of a siding. They are the owners of the goods. somewhat like a busby. The engine is as silent as though its fire had gone out. "We have been here nearly two hours. or we may be here till morning. for the first moment the eyes receive an impression of something shapeless. there is not a soul near the train or in the station yard. followed by his long shadow.* At last the old man pulls out of his pocket a silver watch and looks at the time: a quarter past two. "Better go and stir them up. and noiselessly climb up the walls to the ceiling. They are cattle and their shadows. ." The old man gets up and. Others try to stand or lie d own more comfortably. the other a beardless youth in a threadbare cloth reefer jacket and muddy high boots. dirty hides. his legs stretched out before him. something very much like gigantic crabs which move their claws and feelers. The old man sits. tails. musing in silence. crowd together. The door remained unclosed. eyes begin to stand out in the dusk. No manger. not a wisp of hay. They have gone to sleep. He's a queer one!" "He'll get u-used to it!" said Semyon. . wearing a sheepskin coat and a high lambskin hat. no litter. If one glances in through the dim light of the lantern. the young man half reclines and softly strums on a cheap accordion. horns and their shadows. long lean backs.

we will ask the merchant. he goes to the station.gets down from the van into the darkness. The platform and steps of the station are wet. walks round the engine. "Five roubles. half of it taken up by a dark cupboard. and after passing some two dozen vans sees a red open furnace." A dispute follows. There is a smell of paraffin." he says. In this room the head guard and the engine-driver are sitting on the window-sill. Through one of them the telegraphic apparatus and a lamp with a green shade on it can be seen. through the other. indeed! Here. offended. "Imitation it is. On the left are two wide-open doors. The motionless figure is evidently asleep. shrinking from the penetrating damp. if you care to know!" "You know a great deal about it. . They are both feeling a cap with their fingers and disputing. . No answer. In the station itself it is light and as hot as a steam-bath. a human figure sits motionless facing it. sniffs at it. He makes his way along beside the train to the engine. its peaked cap. Here and there are white patches of freshly fallen melting snow. . nose. and knees are lighted up by the crimson glow. "That's not real beaver. Mr. The guard maintains that the cap is real beaver. Malahin. and a contemptuous smile lights up his angry face. and the engine-driver and Malahin try to persuade him that it is not. Five roubles would be a high price for the whole cap. there is no furniture in the place at all. blows on it. "Are we going to stay here much longer?" asks the old man. "what do you say: is this imitation beaver or real?" Old Malahin takes the cap into his hand. The old man clears his throat impatiently and. . a small room. all the rest is black and can scarcely be distinguished in the darkness. and with the air of a connoisseur pinches the fur." the head guard says. Except for the weighing-machine and a yellow seat on which a man wearing a guard's uniform is asleep. and as he does so the brilliant light of the two engine lamps dazzles his eyes for an instant and makes the night even blacker to him. "Real beaver is not like that. "It must be imitation!" he says gleefully. addressing the old man. In the middle of the argument the old man suddenly remembers the object of his coming." says the engine-driver. it's imitation.

but the train's standing still. We shall be delayed at the next station anyway!" "Why should we?" "Oh. "We will smoke another cigarette and go on. he gives the guard the note. It's not traveling. . "What weather!" grumbles the head guard. . we have wasted thirty-four hours standing still on the journey."Beaver and cap is all very well. dreamily looking at the cap. He feels in his pocket. but with the confidence and directness with which probably only Russians give and take bribes. but because such thoughts are much better expressed by signs than by words." Malahin looks at the guard. From their faces one can see that they have a secret thought in common. without any change in the tone of his voice or the expression of his face. "Who is it we are waiting for? Let us start!" "Let us. folds it in four. . . well. And the old man understands. and waking the sleeping guard on the way." "And how do you make that out?" "Well. there it is. which they do not utter. . either the cattle will die. . and without preliminary words. We are too much behind time. shrugging his shoulders." the guard agrees. but ruination. We shall have to be number twenty-three. If you are late at one station you can't help being delayed at the other stations to let the trains going the opposite way pass. But there is no need to be in a hurry. go on to the platform. and mutters mechanically as though to himself: "God be my judge. . reflects. The latter takes it. I have reckoned it and even jotted it down in a notebook. . and without undue haste puts it in his pocket. takes out a ten-rouble note." The guard raises his eyebrows and sighs with an air that seems to say: "All that is unhappily true!" The engine-driver sits silent. After that all three go out of the room. . gentlemen!" he says. or they won't pay me two roubles for the meat when I do get there. . Whether we set off now or in the morning we shan't be number fourteen. not because they want to conceal it. If you go on like this.

heavy and rough like the old man. . monotonous little tune. The sounds of crunching snow come from under the van again." From the window they can see the flaxen head of the telegraph clerk appear beside the green lamp and the telegraphic apparatus. Malahin goes to his van. Silence reigns again." "Yes. helps it to get on to its legs. as it were. but with such a muffled note that it seems to come from far away. . he listens to it. the violent shock makes the van start and. But now comes the clank of buffers. as though he is not equal to moving his big body. . A bell doubt that of the station-master. and it seems as though the train had moved back a little. but he is broad. A minute passes in profound silence. is still half reclining and hardly audibly strumming on the accordion. setting straight his cap." grumbles the old man. . the van begins to shake and the sounds cease. He is little more than a boy. . . The young man. bearded and wearing a red cap. then a third and the guard's whistle. The jolt is followed by a stillness again. which had slipped on the back of his head from the jolt. his companion. like the crunch of snow under sledge-runners. . tinkling sounds which blend into a simple. A hurried second bell soon follows. From under his big fat fingers that clumsily pick out the stops and keys of the accordion comes a steady flow of thin. The station-master bends down to the table. "He'll maim all my cattle like this!" Yasha gets up without a word and. reads something on a blue form. rapidly passing his cigarette along the lines. his eyes have a melancholy and tranquil look unlike that of a grown-up person. his full white face with its broad cheek-bones is childishly dreamy. It seems as though any movement he made would tear his clothes and be so noisy as to frighten both him and the cattle. give a lurch forward. but vague sounds begin to come from beneath it. the van does not move."You can't see your hand before your face. strong. soon after another head. appears beside it -. and all the cattle fall against one another. it's vile weather. with no trace of a mustache. and is evidently much pleased with his performance. it stands still. he does not stir nor shift his position. taking one of the fallen beasts by the horns. "May you be served the same in the world to come.

as he feels Yasha lie down beside him and the young man's huge back huddle against his own. It's four days and nights since I have taken off my boots. but now it has suddenly got heavy. I expect. "Why burn a candle for nothing?" Yasha moves the heavy door. but here we are worse off than any pigs. there is a crashing sound and the bullocks fall on one another again." Malahin goes on. If your mother or your sister were to sleep here for one night they would be dead by morning. "The train must be heavy. . there is a sound of a whistle. staggering from the jolting of the train. "it's cold. Stillness. but you. and we will go to bed. Go and take him something. . in fact." Yasha takes a three-rouble note from the old man and jumps out of the van. you wouldn't study and go to the high school like your brothers. "Yes. Your brothers are asleep in their beds now. my lad. run along the train. the engine and the train set off. you have only yourself to blame. the guard has not gone shares with him. and there is room to say your prayers." "It was not heavy before." mutters the old man. And the convulsive quiver does. . Yasha. It's your own fault. There is a draught from every crack. hisses like a frying pan and goes out. listening. so you must take the cattle with your father. . It seems it won't move." says the old man. A cold damp wind darts into the van. Yasha comes back. "Shut the door."There will be another jolt in a minute. my lad. opens the lantern and snuffs out the wick with his wet fingers. The dull thud of his heavy footsteps resounds outside the van and gradually dies away." as though it were singing. No. The light flares up. stretching himself on the cape and laying his head on a bundle. . "It's cold. my lad." says the old man. There it is. they are snug under the bedclothes. the careless and lazy ." Yasha. In the next van a bullock utters a prolonged subdued "moo. "It is very different at home! It's warm and clean and soft. or he will be jolting us till morning. . "It's a job!" says Yasha.

while the old man. . you will have everything your own way. snorting out of time with the pulsation of the train. is busy with the cattle. . a waiter in a frock-coat and a snow-white shirt-front. being accustomed to it. A passenger train is standing exactly opposite the door. . are in the same box as the cattle. ." mutters the old man. "I told you last night that the cords were too long. but for a long time he goes on muttering. is running along the platform carrying a glass of tea and two rusks on a tray. especially in the back and the feet. The bullocks huddle together uneasily and knock their horns against the walls. . . . 'It's not too long. is trying to disentangle its leg. Yes. " The old man's words are inaudible in the noise of the train. red-faced gendarme walking up and The roofs and bridges of the trains. and probably very much dissatisfied with his fate. Blockhead!" He angrily moves the door open and the light rushes into the van. sleepy and morose. looking cold and sleepy. he clears his throat angrily and looks from under his brows at Yasha who. The cold air in the railway van grows thicker and more stifling The pungent odor of fresh dung and smoldering candle makes it so repulsive and acrid that it irritates Yasha's throat and chest as he falls asleep. the sleepers. and merely clears his throat. . and behind it a red building with a roofed-in platform -.a big station with a refreshment bar. and a red-haired. . supporting a bullock with his powerful shoulder and slightly lifting it. the deep blue sky of early morning is peeping in at the cracks and at the little uncovered window. The train is standing still. all are covered with a thin coating of fluffy. To judge from the swaying of the van and the rattle of the wheels the train is moving rapidly and unevenly. freshly fallen snow. When the old man wakes up. In the spaces between the carriages of the passenger train the passengers can be seen moving to and fro. sighing and clearing his throat. . . The old man wakes up out of humor. . . He feels unbearably cold.' There's no making you do anything. Yasha. The engine breathes heavily. Daddy. breathes with his whole chest as though nothing were amiss. the earth. He coughs and sneezes. Frowning and gloomy. "but no. and altogether there is a medley of sounds.

. "We know how to eat and drink. leaving huge tracks in the feathery snow. . but simply enjoying its freedom. Amen. oilers. stands beside him and says his prayers also. Yesterday we could do nothing all day but eat and drink. Yasha. . rapping out clearly and firmly at the end: " . bright drops are falling from the station roof and the tops of the vans. and pouring away yesterday's tea out of the teapot he runs to the refreshment room and jingles his five-kopeck piece against his teapot. and lay calves upon Thy altar!" After saying his prayers. the father prays in a loud whisper and pronounces the end of each prayer aloud and distinctly. Taking long jumps over the rails and sleepers. From the van the bar-keeper can be seen pushing away the big teapot and refusing to give half of his samovar for five kopecks." And on being given the five-kopeck piece. draws in a breath. please. . . but we don't remember our work. "Damned blackguard!" the bar-keeper shouts after him as he runs back to the railway van. but Yasha turns the tap himself and. He merely moves his lips and crosses himself. . And the life of the world to come. The sun has risen and is playing on the snow. The scowling face of Malahin grows a little brighter over the tea. he takes a red copper teapot and runs to the station for boiling water. having finished with the bullock and put down the spade in the corner." the old man says aloud. What a memory! Lord have mercy on us!" The old man recalls aloud the expenditure of the day before. .The old man gets up and begins saying his prayers towards the east. and I'll be bound we forgot to put down what we spent. spreading wide his elbows so as not to be interfered with fills his teapot with boiling water. Yasha hurriedly crosses himself and says: "Five kopecks. engine-drivers. ". Meanwhile the passenger train has long ago gone off. and an engine runs backwards and forwards on the empty line. . and at once whispers another prayer. and writes down in a tattered notebook where and how much he had given to guards. apparently without any definite object.

then turns his beaming blue eyes upon Malahin. gracefully shifting from one foot to the other like a good racehorse. . but the whole world -. . "We can't go number fourteen. Here in the middle of the first-class waiting-room he sees the familiar figure of the guard standing beside the station-master.Having finished his tea. his face radiant with smiles and freshness. and so delighted! The old man listens. . "Well. he takes out a ten-rouble note and. and that such and such are going. a young man with a handsome beard and in a magnificent rough woollen overcoat. the old man lazily saunters from the van to the station. so pleased. and he. and that he is ready to do for Malahin everything in his power. salutes everyone that passes by. He enjoys seeing and hearing the polite and genial young man. looks from side to side. too. and though he can make absolutely nothing of the intricate system of numbering the trains. . "The troop train is late. and good-humored. . sturdy. probably new to his position. The latter takes them. as you see. shifting from one foot to the other. adds a couple of rouble notes to it. puts two fingers on the soft wool of the rough coat. puts his finger to his cap. the guard sighs guiltily and throws up his hands. . explains affably and convincingly that such and such numbers have gone already. it is not here. after a moment's thought." The station-master rapidly looks through some forms. stands in the same place. . so why shouldn't . Malahin? You have the cattle? Eight vanloads? What is to be done now? You are late and I let number fourteen go in the night. gentlemen. can't we arrange it like this?" he says. He is red-cheeked. The young man. To show goodwill on his side also. . What are we to do now?" The young man discreetly takes hold of the fur of Malahin's coat with two pink fingers and.he is so happy. smiles and screws up his eyes. ." he says. he nods his head approvingly. kindled by a new idea that has flashed on him. his face is full of eagerness. Seeing Malahin. and gracefully thrusts them into his pocket. Another train has gone with that number. showers questions on him: "You are Mr. and gives them to the station-master. and is as fresh as though he had just fallen from the sky with the feathery snow. And from his face it is evident that he is ready to do anything to please not only Malahin. and. "We are very much behind time.

"I have just got hold of the troop train. That's so." he says. it's no sin to drink. I'll dispatch you immediately." "No. instead of a profit you get home -. Mr. "We shall go quickly. For you know in moving cattle every hour is precious. ." he says to his son. His fatness is unpleasant. and he is sallow as people are who drink too much and sleep irregularly. Malahin goes back to the van. he smiles and looks about the room as though looking for something else agreeable. "Excellent!" the station-master says. "We'll have a drink. If you are a day or two late and don't get your price. "It's cold now." says Malahin. "It seems a little early for drinking. though. . Eh?" "If you like. flabby-looking. "And now we might have a second glass. look you. that there will be no hindrance or unpleasantness for the rest of the journey. . . . So I can rely upon you. . . If one does not bestir oneself. and as for standing you something or what you like. delighted. and to-morrow. you must let me treat you to a glass in a friendly way. ." agrees the guard. After having a drink the guard spends a long time selecting something to eat. it will be another. The old man is very much pleased by the conversation that has just taken place. He is a very stout. "In that case there is no need for you to wait here.excuse my saying it -. Pray take a little." . The guard says if we go all the way with that number we shall arrive at eight o'clock to-morrow evening." After having fed the guard. elderly man. To-day meat is one price. one gets nothing. taking the guard's arm. . Excellent!" He salutes Malahin and runs off to his go as the troop train?** And I will let the troop train go as twenty-eight.with out your breeches. . So you watch and learn. reading forms as he goes. you can set off at once. Guard. . Please take some. with a puffy and discolored face." They both go to the refreshment bar. I shall be pleased to show you my respect at any time. . I rely on you. my boy.

. only it is my duty to report it at once. . The pleasant impression made by the young man in the rough overcoat has gone deep. and looking good-naturedly at the old man enters into conversation." the oiler interrupts him. The troop train goes quickly and the waits at the stations are comparatively short. he takes with him first the guard. but makes a long business of it. They can't go on. "I have a mate here." "As you please. with suitable remarks and clinking of glasses. and then the engine-driver. It's good business!" Malahin sighs and. simply. to get something out of me. tells him that trading in cattle used certainly to be profitable.After the first bell a man with a face black with soot. . "Yes. too. and everything seems to be going well. and at every stopping place runs to the refreshment bar. "You merchant gentlemen might make him a little present. Feeling the need of a listener. Why?" "Why. looking calmly at the oiler's black face. . and not our will but His be done. the vodka he has drunk slightly clouds his brain. they must stay here to be repaired. He takes them very calmly. "Are these your vans of cattle?" he asks. the weather is magnificent. . but now it has become a risky and losing business. in a blouse and filthy frayed trousers hanging very slack. because two of the vans are not safe. come. comes to the door of the van. the old man takes two twenty-kopeck pieces out of his pocket and gives them to the oiler. This is the oiler. and does not simply drink. . He talks without ceasing. You should have said so." .. The old man is pleased. . almost mechanically. "You have your job and we have ours. "You are going to sell your cattle. I suppose. tell us another! You simply want a drink." Malahin gives something to the mate too. "May God prosper us and you. ." he says with an affable smile. who had been creeping under the carriages and tapping the wheels with a hammer." Without indignation or protest." "Oh.

Though he is afraid of his father. . the falling blocks come down with the mellow. yet they want to eat and drink as men do. "Oh. dear! oh. and with no sort of object counts over his money. Laying out before him the letters and telegrams from the meat salesmen in the city. dear!" Yasha follows him and does what he is told like an obedient son. post office and telegraphic receipt forms. sighs and groans. he gets out at the stopping places. very phlegmatic and imperturbable persons. he reflects aloud and insists on Yasha's listening. He bustles about. to fuss about. then takes out his pocketbook. does nothing. clasps his hands. dear!" he says in a complaining voice. He does not like the old man's frequent visits to the refreshment bar. the engine-driver and his assistant. Yasha saunters lazily to the station. At one minute he fumbles in his pockets and bundles and looks for some form. he cannot refrain from remarking on it. runs to the vans where his cattle are. Oh. . dear! oh. "Holy Martyr Vlassy! Though they are bullocks. perform incomprehensible movements and don't hurry themselves. . Occasionally he gets out and walks lazily beside the train. And when he is tired of reading over forms and talking about prices. hearty thud of fresh wood. unmoving stare on the wheels or on the workmen tossing blocks of wood into the tender. he stands by the engine and turns a prolonged. and his note book. . but simply clasps his hands and exclaims in horror. looking sternly at the old man. It's four days and nights since they have drunk or eaten. here he looks at the eatables in the refreshment bar." "Fine goings on!" When he has not to follow his father along the other vans Yasha sits on the cape and strums on the accordion. to make inquiries. "What are you rejoicing at? Is it your name-day or what?" "Don't you dare teach your father. Then he thinks of something and cannot remember it. the hot engine wheezes. . He wants to bestir himself. After standing for a while by the engine. . "So you have begun already!" he says. to talk incessantly. though they are beasts. . bills.The vodka gradually excites him and he is worked up to a great pitch of energy.

when it is quite dark and a lantern is hanging on the wall again as on the previous evening. and it seems that if another train came in there would be no place for it. they are in a hurry to get the train together so as to finish as soon as possible and be back in the warmth. They have no thoughts to spare for Malahin. feels a sharp. against the blue background in the fresh limpid air the lights are bright and pale like stars. The lamps have only just been lighted along the line. and goes back slowly to the cattle van. apparently he does not care where he is. hears the cabmen shouting. If one looks into the distance from the platform there are far-away lights twinkling in the evening dusk on both sides of the station -. After going a little way it stops. The guards running to and fro on the platform are strangers. cold wind on his face. where it is already dark. He sees only the dim lights and wretched buildings beyond the station. While they are having tea. and dull." "And where is the troop train? Why have you taken me off the troop train?" . "Ready!" The train moves and goes forward. What town? Yasha does not care to know. they hear indistinct shouts. Ten minutes later it is dragged back again. His face expresses neither boredom nor desire. uncomfortable.that is the town. "What number is this?" asks Malahin "Number eighteen. They give unwilling and indistinct answers to his questions. the train quivers from a slight shock and begins moving backwards. someone sets the chains clanking near the buffers and shouts. Getting out of the van. All the lines are loaded up with carriages. Well-dressed ladies and high-school boys are walking on the platform. Malahin does not recognize his train. at home. His eight vans of bullocks are standing in the same row with some trolleys which were not a part of the train before. or by the engine. they are only red and glowing under the station roof.reads aloud some quite uninteresting notice. Two or three of these are loaded with rubble and the others are empty. in the van. and imagines that the town is probably disagreeable. Yasha runs to the station for boiling water to make the evening tea. Towards evening the train stops near a big station.

and writes on a blue form: "Urgent. a benevolent-looking gentleman in spectacles and a cap of raccoon fur. addressing the gentleman in the queer overcoat. He looks first for the familiar figure of the head guard and. "Just think of it. There he finds. a swarthy face." Having sent off the telegram. not finding him. Another gentleman. Malahin begins making his complaint at great length. he goes back to the station-master's room. a long hooked nose. prominent ears. sitting on a sofa covered with gray cloth. the old man goes to the station. Kindly send an express number. railway line in the coolest possible way stole three hundred trucks from the N. repainted them. Malahin shrugs his shoulders. "How is this?" He leans against the back of his chair and goes on. or simply that a window with the inscription "Telegraph! " on it catches his eye. From boredom or from a desire to put the finishing stroke to a busy day. His appearance is impressive: a cropped black head. sir! I swear it! They carried them off. stands facing him. he is wearing a peculiar overcoat very much like a lady's. and affects not to see the newcomer. with frogs and slashed sleeves.Getting n o answer. He is busy. for some unknown reason jumps up from his seat and runs out of the room. Taking up a pen. Eight vans of live stock. offended expression. Delayed at every station. I don't understand! How is it? Do you want me to be everywhere at once?" He showers questions on him. he goes to the window and expresses a desire to send off a telegram. "What?" queries the station-master. aggrieved and indignant. line sends its agents everywhere. Malahin. and goes out to look for someone else to speak to. Malahin is already feeling in his pocket for his pocketbook." says the inspector. he has a forbidding and. " I'll tell you an incident that really is A1! The Z. and for no apparent reason grows sterner and sterner. and that's all about it. The station-master is sitting at a table in his own room. growing indignant: "What is it? and why shouldn't you go by number eighteen? Speak more clearly. . put their letters on them. It's a fact. The N. dried-up and sinewy. Reply paid. but in the end the station-master. line. goes to the station-master. wearing the uniform of a railway inspector. turning over a bundle of forms. Traffic Manager. he thinks for a moment. as it were. edged with fur.

line. . eight bullocks don't weigh ten tons. "Take this case. cultured people. ." The old man's talk is lengthy and drawn out." At that instant Yasha walks into the room looking for his father. goes off with him to the platform. I have two more at home." he says. one too easily grows accustomed to it! Yes. "No one is indignant. but they have gone in for study. Eight vanloads. He strokes his beard and joins in the conversation with dignity. yet they don't take any notice of that. The inspector takes him by the arm and. After the third bell the station-master runs into his room. Now let us say they charge me for each vanload as a weight of ten tons. for going in the van with the bullocks. In old days when they drove them in herds it was better. . no one criticizes. for instance. He listens and is about to sit down on a chair. gentlemen. bless my soul! see their own mark on the wheels What do you say to that? Eh? If I did it they would send me to Siberia. An abomination strikes the eye and arouses indignation only when it is exceptional. After every sentence he looks at Yasha as though he would say: "See how I am talking to clever people. . . And why? It is very simple. I am transporting cattle to X. still talking with heat. but much less. and all at once.they hunt and hunt." Malahin goes on. Very good. the gentlemen in the queer overcoat gets up. Here.can you imagine it? -. ." "Upon my word!" the inspector interrupts him. but the railway companies simply snap their fingers at it!" It is pleasant to Malahin to talk to educated. . where. And then -. saving your presence. it constitutes the long-established program and forms and enters into the basis of the order itself. "and charge me and my son the third-class fare. and sits down at his table. but probably thinking of his weight goes and sits on the window-sill "They don't take any notice of that. This is my son Yakov. too. They repair it at their depot. Well and apart from that it is my opinion that the railways have ruined the cattle trade. sir!" The second bell rings.the Company happen to come upon a broken-down carriage of the Z. where every sleeper on the line bears the trace of it and stinks of it. forty-two roubles. when the established order is broken by it.

dries it with describe it lengthily and vindictively." "What am I to write next?" asks the gendarme. At one of the stations he is overtaken by a desire to lodge a complaint. Ilya Tchered. twenty kopecks. -. 1871. . eight vanloads? You must pay a rouble a van and six roubles and twenty kopecks for stamps. "At the station of Z. with all his losses and conversations with station-masters -. as herewith follows. while the old man is still more eager to exert himself. hurriedly snatching up a bundle of forms... postal and telegraph receipts. with what number am I to go?" asks Malahin. and." Reading the telegram through. non-commissioned officer of the Z. "look and learn. fourteen roubles. "write that the station-master unlinked my vans from the troop train because he did not like my countenance. At ten o'clock in the evening Malahin gets an answer from the traffic manager: "Give precedence. very well pleased with himself. The station-master looks at a form and says indignantly: "Are you Malahin. . police department of railways. Yasha sits on the cape and imperturbably strums on the accordion. puts it in his pocket." he says.I." Receiving the money. . At his request a gendarme sits down and writes: "November 10. he wants to describe in the protocol not any separate episode but his whole journey. in accordance with article II of the statute of May 19." he says to Yasha. 188-. "Here. have drawn up this protocol at the station of X. the old man winks significantly and. he writes something down." At midnight his train goes on.. Total. the waits at the stations are long."Listen. The night is dark and cold like the previous one. You have no stamps. goes quickly out of the room." . accounts. section of the N. . Malahin lays out before him forms. He does not know himself definitely what he wants of the gendarme.

in the square in which the . and goes on writing without hearing him to the end. . He ends his protocol thus: "The above deposition I. . stagger and stumble as though they were walking on slippery ice. have written down in this protocol with a view to present it to the head of the Z. non-commissioned officer Tchered. The latter listens wearily.And he wants the gendarme to be sure to mention his countenance. and. Tfoo!" The bullocks. are licking the hoar frost on the walls. and have handed a copy thereof to Gavril Malahin. released from the van. that they are hungry and miserable. "The cattle are done for!" he grumbles. you wretched brutes!" mutters Malahin. and at last in the distance in the murky fog the city comes into sight. adds it to the papers with which his side pocket is stuffed. much pleased. . but his wrath vents itself not on Yasha but the cattle. The bullocks. The jou rney is over. "It's a nice job taking you by rail. goes back to his van. and when Malachin goes up to them they begin licking his cold fur jacket. but the bullocks will not drink it: the water is too cold. who have had nothing to drink for many days." The old man takes the copy. The train comes to a standstill before reaching the town. * * * * * * * Two more days and nights pass. near a goods' station. section. From their clear. Malahin and Yasha take up their quarters in a dirty. cheap hotel in the outskirts of the town. tearful eyes it can be seen that they are exhausted by thirst and the jolting of the train. according to the regulations. In the morning Malahin wakes up again in a bad humor. Having got through the unloading and veterinary inspection. Water is given to the cattle. there was drinking water provided for cattle. tortured by thirst. "I could wish you were dead to get it over! It makes me sick to look at you!" At midday the train stops at a big station where. "They are done for! They are at the last gasp! God be my judge! they will all die.

. and lazily saunters back to his room. The bullock staggers with the pain. when we set off the price of meat was three roubles ninety kopecks. Their lodgings are filthy and their food is disgusting. Malahin and Yasha get ready for their journey back. "tell him I should like to entertain him. admires the jars of cakes of different colors. laughing. exhausted. . and looks about him as though he were ashamed at being beaten before people. but when we arrived it had dropped to three roubles twenty-five. ten in each. unlike what they ever have at home. Like all provincials. a well-fed man.cattle-market is held. goes down with Yasha to the restaurant and sits down to drink tea. who has already had a drop too much with the purchaser and so is fussy. . Three hours before the train goes the old man. The tattered drovers walk after them. Malahin hires drovers. The old man spends his time from morning till night going about looking for purchasers. and to show that he is doing his duty brings a stick down full swing on a bullock's back." Malahin says. "Call the host!" he says to the waiter. At last the bullocks are sold to a dealer. They are bored. and driven to the other end of the town. remembers that there are cattle in front of him intrusted to his charge. After selling the bullocks and buying for his family presents such as they could perfectly well have bought at home. and look indifferently at what they see for the first and last time in their lives. He sees the filthy square heaped up with dung. absolutely indifferent to his lodgers. "Well. and Yasha sits for days in the hotel room. the signboards of restaurants. Now and then some drover starts out of his brooding. we have sold our stock. he cannot eat and drink alone: he must have company as fussy and as fond of sedate conversation as himself. "I have swapped my goat for a hawk." The hotel-keeper. they sleep to the harsh strains of a wretched steam hurdy-gurdy which plays day and night in the restaurant under their lodging. comes and sits down to the table. or goes out into the street to look at the town. The city does not interest him. go with drooping heads through the noisy streets. The cattle are divided into herds. yawns. runs forward a dozen paces. Why. The bullocks. the turreted walls of a monastery in the fog. their heads drooping too. Sometimes he runs across the street and looks into the grocer's shop. They tell us we are too .

His face as before shows no sign of emotion and expresses neither boredom nor desire. St. God bless you!" Getting into the sledge. go downstairs from the hotel room to the front door to get into a sledge and drive to the station. the waiter. The old man is touched. ---. Please God if we are alive and well we shall come again in Lent. Philip's fast has come. Good-by. gesticulates. Thank you. and you must put down six roubles for each bullock. nor sorry that he has not had time to see the sights of the city. good health to you! God grant that all may be well with you. bribes. He doesn't mind whether he has lost or gained as long as he has listeners. -. He thrusts ten-kopeck pieces in all directions. and so live stock are without fodder on the journey. Yes. turning round. . They are seen off by the hotel-keeper. "Drive on!" The cabman whips up the horse and. jests about his ill-luck. when they are no troops it takes goods. begins swearing at the heavy and cumbersome luggage.Author's Note.Author's .late. and says in a sing-song voice: "Good by. . and goes more rapidly than ordinary goods train. tips. and one thing and another. and various women. Eh? It's a nice how-do-you-do! It meant a loss of fourteen roubles on each bullock.* On many railway lines. . the old man spends a long time crossing himself in the direction in which the monastery walls make a patch of darkness in the fog. but everything shows that the loss he has sustained does not trouble him much. ." The hotel-keeper listens out of politeness and reluctantly drinks tea. Malahin sighs and groans. Yasha sits beside him on the very edge of the seat with his legs hanging over the side. we should have been here three days earlier. -. . drinks. it is against the regulations to carry hay on the trains. . He is not glad that he is going home. But only think what it costs to bring the stock! Fifteen roubles carriage. An hour later Malahin and Yasha. for now there is not the same demand for meat. **The train destined especially for the transport of troops is called the troop train. and is not late for his train. has something to make a fuss about. in order to avoid accidents. laden with bags and boxes.

. Why did you not come in the morning? Go away! Get out of my sight. The fields. . and without looking at the old woman went on muttering to himself: "'Your honor! It's true as before God. . . He had to drive over twenty miles. . A government post driver could hardly have coped with it. He kept restlessly hopping up and down on the front seat and lashing the horse's back. and at the same time as the most senseless peasant in the Galtchinskoy district. Clouds of snowflakes were whirling round and round in all directions. Grigory Petrov." he muttered. "Have a little patience. who had been known for years past as a splendid craftsman. . much less an incompetent sluggard like Grigory.Note. 'How? Why so?' he will cry. and in a trice it will be the right thing for you. . . Even a first-rate horse could not do it. It took all its strength to drag its legs out of the snow and to tug with its head. Come again to-morrow. was taking his old woman to the hospital. or maybe his honor will be pleased to rub you with some sort of spirit -it'll . How could I be here in time if the Lord. A cutting cold wind was blowing straight in his face. Doctor! Pavel Ivanitch! Your honor!' Get on. but he will do his best. . . . do! plague take you. Pavel Ivanitch will give you some little drops. .The Mother of God . The wretched. and the forest could not be seen for the fog of snow. . SORROW THE turner. The turner was in a hurry. And when a particularly violent gust of wind swooped down on Grigory. is wroth. Here's the Cross for you. He will shout and stamp about. feeble little nag crawled slowly along. . 'Why did you not come at the right time? I am not a dog to be hanging about waiting on you devils all day. you devil! Get on!" The turner lashed his nag. Pavel Ivanitch will do his best. Please God we shall reach the . or tell them to bleed you. . . the telegraph posts. even the yoke above the horse's head could not be seen. I set off almost before it was light. and it was an awful road.' And I shall say: 'Mr. while mine -. He is a nice gentleman. affable. God give him health! As soon as we get there he will dart out of his room and will begin calling me names. . . Matryona. . and has sent such a snowstorm? Kindly look for yourself. so that one could not tell whether the snow was falling from the sky or rising from the earth. . . "Don't cry. . draw it out of your side.

old girl. . this same here. Pavel Ivanitch. balls for croquet. Sorrow had come upon the turner unawares.a thrashing. she is not a horse but a disgrace. . and am I going to run from tavern to tavern! What an idea. . . I will make anything for you! I won't take a farthing from you. and now he could not get over it. . . . Only God grant we don't get off the road. whi le you graciously put yourself out and mess your feet in the snow!' And Pavel Ivanitch will give me a look as though he would like to hit me. but taking pity on your old woman instead of falling at my feet. The careless idler and drunkard found himself quite suddenly in the position of a busy man. all right. weighed down by anxieties and haste. and I shall fall at his feet. knowing neither grief nor joy. . don't be hard on us peasants! We deserve a good kicking. . the taverns!' Then Pavel Ivanitch will order you to be taken into the hospital. but the thoughts and questions in his brain were even more numerous. . You want a thrashing!' 'You are right there -. There isn't a gentleman I couldn't talk to.can see for yourself -." And the turner went on muttering endlessly. if you like. you may spit in my face if I deceive you: as soon as my Matryona. . you fool. how it is blowing! One's eyes are full of snow.' And Pavel Ivanitch will frown and shout: 'We know you! You always find some excuse! Especially you. I know you of old! I'll be bound you have stopped at half a dozen taverns!' And I shall say: 'Your honor! am I a criminal or a heathen? My old woman is giving up her soul to God. He had plenty of words on his tongue. of the best birchwood. strike me God! But how can we help bowing down at your feet if you are our benefactor. and will say: 'You'd much better not be swilling vodka. . . .' The doctor will laugh and say: 'Oh. . and even struggling with nature. but I won't take a farthing. and unexpected. He prattled on mechanically to get a little relief from his depressing feelings. . unlooked-for. . is well again and restored to her natural condition. here as before God. Grishka. upon my word! Plague take them. and now he was suddenly aware of a dreadful pain in his heart. . In Moscow they would charge you four roubles for such a cigarette-case. . .' I know how to manage the gentry. . I see! But it's a pity you are a drunkard. He had lived hitherto in unruffled calm. 'Pavel Ivanitch! Your honor. all right. skittles of the most foreign pattern I can turn. and a real father to us? Your honor! I give you my word. we thank you most humbly! Forgive us fools and anathemas. as though in drunken half-consciousness. could not recover himself. I'll make anything for your honor that you would like to order! A cigarette-case. Oh. .

I am doing my best.The turner remembered that his trouble had begun the evening before. borrowed a horse from a neighbor. . The lifted hand fell like a log. to make an end of uncertainty. too. I swear it. . Pavel Ivanitch would bring back his old woman's habitual expression. of asking her a question and not getting an answer. and had turned a pale gray. O Lord! God grant we don't get off the road. . . Matryona. From that strange. . stupefied with amazement. and you go and . as saints in the holy pictures or dying people look. that you don't speak? I ask you. Well. before God. . his old woman had looked at her rowdy spouse as she had never looked at him before. I am sorry for you. . . this time she had looked at him sternly and immovably. And did I ever beat you out of spite? I just beat you without thinking. . And the way it snows. . He was afraid. When he had come home yesterday evening. Usually. . "I say. . and from long-established habit had begun swearing and shaking his fists.." the turner muttered. and now was taking his old woman to the hospital in the hope that. say. evil look in her eyes the trouble had begun. He was not so much sorry as annoyed. . Some men wouldn't trouble. then! What a business!" And the turner cried. Does your side ache. He could not bring himself to look round at his old woman: he was frightened. Matryona. does your side ache?" It struck him as strange that the snow on his old woman's face was not melting. At last. meek like that of a dog frequently beaten and badly fed. The turner. by means of powders and ointments. it was queer that the face itself looked somehow drawn. "She is dead. but here I am taking you. He had . without looking round he felt his old woman's cold hand. "if Pavel Ivanitch asks you whether I beat you. you are a fool! I have a good mind not to take you to Pavel Ivanitch!" The turner let the reins go and began thinking. the way it snows! Thy Will be done. . He thought how quickly everything passes in this world! His trouble had hardly begun when the final catastrophe had happened. the expression in her aged eyes was that of a martyr. dingy waxen hue and had grown grave and solemn. . "You are a fool!" muttered the turner. . a little drunk as usual. 'Never!' and I never will beat you again. "I tell you on my conscience.

The little nag strained its utmost and. except perhaps that he had drunk. . that he could not live without her. . . and the field of vision was white and whirling again. handsome. . It was getting dusk. and though he did not . The road grew worse and worse every hour. "Why. . lain on the stove. and poverty. "To live over again. . to show her he was sorry for her before she died. with a snort. there had been no feeling of life. a dark object scratched the turner's hands and flashed before his eyes. It as is though I had gone crazy. and that he had behaved dreadfully badly to her. He remembered that forty years ago Matryona had been young.for the life of him he could remember nothing. quarreling. Now he could not see the yoke at all. and quarreled. He had lived with her for forty years. A knocking was audible behind him. They had married her to him because they had been attracted by his handicraft.not had time to live with his old woman. What a business! She ought to have lived another ten years. "Where am I going?" the turner suddenly bethought him with a start. His wedding he remembered." thought the turner. Forty years had been wasted like that. but those forty years had passed by as it were in a fog. "I sent her out myself to beg for bread. so he had gone on without waking up till now. . Holy Mother! but where the devil am I driving? There's no need for a doctor now. fell into a little trot. And. but a burial. as it is I'll be bound she thinks I really was that sort of man. merry. and again lashed his horse. The turner lashed it on the back time after time. The white clouds of snow were beginning little by little to turn gray. "I ought to be thinking of the burial. but of what happened after the wedding -. she used to go the round of the village. as though to spite him. Now and then the sledge ran into a young fir tree." Grigory turned round again. All the essentials for a happy life had been there. just as he had got drunk after the wedding and lay sprawling on the stove. but the trouble was that. Turn back!" Grigory turned back and lashed the horse with all his might. and I am on the way to the hospital. that she had come of a well-to-do family. . . the silly thing." he remembered. What with drunkenness. his old woman died at the very time when he felt he was sorry for her.

tried to pick them up. . but he felt overcome by such inertia that it seemed better to freeze than move. . He looked for them. A little later he heard the horse stop. . all right. but felt that his arms and legs would not obey him. . . Bright sunlight was streaming in at the windows. ." he said. . and his first feeling was a desire to show himself a respectable man who knew how things should be done. And the snow kept turning darker and darker. . They've been frozen off. "the horse will go of itself. where are my arms!" "Say good-by to your arms and legs." a voice cut him short. He woke up in a big room with painted walls." The turner closed his eyes and dozed. I might have a little sleep now. "A requiem. brothers. . all right. . and thank God for it! I suppose you have had sixty years of it -. . ." And then he dropped the reins." "Oh. take orders. . but could not -. He would have got out of the sledge and found out what it was. . . .his hands would not work. Before the funeral or the requiem it would be as well to get a little rest. Come. "It does not matter. come! . . . "Your honor.that's enough for you! . he opened his eyes and saw before him something dark like a hut or a haystack. lie down. for my old woman. . the wind grew colder and more cutting. . seeing the doctor before him. . "Your honor. What are you crying for ? You've lived your life.look round. . . give the money to my old woman. ." . "To live over again!" thought the turner. where are my legs. . "Pavel Ivanitch!" the turner cried in surprise. . he knew it was the dead woman's head knocking against the sledge. . benefactor! " He wanted to leap up and fall on his knees before the doctor." he thought. . . "I should get a new lathe. The turner saw people facing him. . it knows the way. and he sank into a peaceful sleep. "The priest should be told. .

. "Conshtable. . and the fact that he had ended his life so strangely. . . . . On the road they were overtaken by a snowstorm. holding a little tin lamp. they spent a long time going round and round. . but in the evening when it was dark. who had arrived in Syrnya three days before and. led many people to suspect that it was a case of murder. and arrived. . Graciously forgive me! If I could have another five or six years! . And meanwhile the old village constable. not at midday. and with the samovar before him. had shot himself. "And where are the witnesses?" "They must have gone to tea. . stood by. . ." . . There was a strong smell of paraffin." The doctor went out of the ward with a wave of his hand. It so happened that it was in this hut that the dead body was lying -." answered the constable. . They put up for the night at the Zemstvo hut. How quickly it is all ended in this world! Your honor. ordering the samovar in the hut. In the outer room the doctor and the examining magistrate shook the snow off themselves and knocked it off their boots. Ilya Loshadin." "What for?" "The horse isn't mine. He used to spell it "conshtable" when he signed the receipts at the post office."I am grieving.the corpse of the Zemstvo insurance agent. an inquest was necessary. your honor. . Lesnitsky. I must give it back. ON OFFICIAL DUTY THE deputy examining magistrate and the district doctor were going to an inquest in the village of Syrnya. after unpacking his eatables and laying them out on the table. . I must bury my old woman. . as they had intended. Pavel Ivanitch! A cigarette-case of birchwood of the best! I'll turn you croquet balls. "Who are you?" asked the doctor. It was all over with the turner. to the great surprise of everyone. .

yawning." He sank on to a bench. he gets up a scene with his wife without troubling about your presence. and the goloshes. followed by the constable. depressed. . and his felt overboots. long body covered with white linen was lying on the floor close to the table-legs. The people are very much upset. sat down opposite. and when he feels inclined to shoot himself. one ought to do it at home in some outhouse. the travelers' or gentry's room. . depressed. the examining magistrate. "If one does want to put a bullet through one's brains. neurasthenic people are great egoists. so as to give the maximum of trouble to everybody. and round it parcels. they haven't slept these three nights. On the table stood a samovar. new rubber goloshes. how tactless!" said the doctor. "These hysterical. Which is better?" "Sick of life. but nowadays it is because he is sick of life. and the silence. for fear the gentleman should appear to . your honor. went into the parlor. cold long ago. "such trouble! It's a real affliction. The doctor and the examining magistrate. his fellow-traveler." said the examining magistrate. . when he dines with you. The cows ought to be milked. probably the eatables. on the left the kitchen. with a big stove and sleeping shelves under the rafters. "If a neurasthenic sleeps in the same room with you. . "To shoot oneself in the Zemstvo hut. besides the white covering." "Such trouble!" said the constable. The children are crying. and everything about it was uncanny and sinister: the dark walls. just as he was.On the right was the parlor. In the dim light of the lamp they could clearly see. These gentlemen in every circumstance of life think of no one but themselves! That's why the elderly so dislike our 'nervous age. and the stillness of the dead body. but you must admit that he might have shot himself somewhere else. In the old days the so-called gentleman shot himself because he had made away with Government money. his fur coat.'" "The elderly dislike so many things. he rustles his newspaper. . Here a still. "You should point out to the elder generation what the difference is between the suicides of the past and the suicides of to-day. in his cap." the doctor went on hotly. holding the lamp high above his head. he shoots himself in a village in a Zemstvo hut. but the women won't go to the stall -they are afraid .

and cold in the morning. Lyzhin could hear him talking to the coachman and the bells beginning to quiver on the frozen horses. but I have no desire to stay here. . to spend the night in here. Now they had to wait till morning. musing. who had only taken his degree two years before and looked more like a student than an official. It's dirty. though it was not yet six o'clock. but for one night it won't matter. it's too early to go to bed. I'll heap up some hay for you. probably the signboard on the hut." The doctor wrapped himself in his fur coat and went out. a middle-aged man in spectacles with a dark beard. a fair man. or sitting in their studies over a book. uncomfortable beds. and then . "It's not six yet. "come into the other room." Dr. beetles. sat in silence. Von Taunitz lives not far from here. I expect I shall go to sleep. Of course they are silly women. only a couple of miles from Syrnya. I shall go to see him and spend the evening there. . Startchenko. and listening to the blizzard that howled in the chimney and in the loft. and they had before them a long evening. sir. As soon as it is dark they won't go by the hut one by one. a dark night. and to stay here for the night." said Startchenko. "I don't know. and the examining magistrate Lyzhin. but some of the men are frightened too. they both thought how unlike all this was the life which they would have chosen for themselves and of which they had once dreamed. but only in a flock together.them in the darkness. I'll get a samovar from a peasant and heat it directly. . or along Petrovka in Moscow. I am off. He drove off. boredom. Constable. and how far away they both were from their contemporaries. They were vexed that they were late. to listen to decent singing. to sit for an hour or so in a restaurant! "Oo-oo-oo-oo!" sang the storm in the loft. how much they would have given now only to stroll along the Nevsky Prospect. "Oo-oo-oo-oo!" "You can do as you please." said the constable. still young. Oh. and something outside slammed viciously. who were at that moment walking about the lighted streets in town without noticing the weather. "It is not nice for you. And the witnesses too. getting up. or were getting ready for the theatre. run and tell my coachman not to take the horses out. And what are you going to do?" he asked Lyzhin.

for instance. and what the weather's like. tax papers. so as to note down the numbers -." A little later the examining magistrate was sitting in the kitchen drinking tea. . you know. "There is nothing for him to do here. the snowdrifts. to the tax inspector. and held his stick in his hands all the time." he said. and insects. bent and white. it's only a regulation. letters. that's how I reckon it. to the municipal office. but I am always going. and to be sure. When it's Easter and the church bells are ringing and Christ has risen. how many years have you been constable? " "How many? Why.and every gentleman or priest or well-to-do peasant must write down a dozen times in the year how much he has sown and harvested. to the peasants. It's nearly three miles to the _volost_. to the post. kind gentleman. I carry parcels. . while Loshadin. was standing at the door talking. circulars. of all sorts. too. to the gentry. there are all sorts of forms nowadays. Other people have holidays." said Lyzhin. grandfather. and God bless you. with a naive smile on his face and watery eyes. Here. And from that time I have been going every day since. are something terrible -. The youth of the examining magistrate aroused his compassion. your honor. and he kept smacking with his lips as though he were sucking a sweetmeat." He looked at the old man with curiosity. there's no need to . "so I suppose I must go now. . and asked: "Tell me. Five years after the Freedom I began going as constable. how many quarters or poods he has of rye. short and very thin. the constable. how many of oats. Ough! how the wind roars!" "I don't need the elder. He was an old man about sixty.maybe one won't get there before go to sleep. and the storm. how many of hay. to the police superintendent's lodgings. "The elder gave orders that he was to be informed when the police superintendent or the examining magistrate came. and red -. To be sure you can write what you like. I still go about with my bag -. white. He was wearing a short sheepskin coat and high felt boots.yellow. forms of different sorts. to the rural captain. but one must go and give out the notices and then go again and collect them. and that was probably why he addressed him the treasury. thirty years. to all orthodox Christians. notices.

my feet ache when I am not walking. you know yourself it's a silly thing. you see." "What were you accused of?" "Of fraud. in fact. Gentlemen nowadays are strict. "Eighty-four roubles a year. 'You have come to the wrong entrance. They read a notice. all sorts of things have happened -. sold the contractor some boards belonging to someone else -." "And what wages do you get?" Lyzhin asked. And they were all in uniforms -. indeed! Gentlemen nowadays don't often give tips. my duties for anyone not used to them are terrible. praise God! I was acquitted on all points. absolutely killing." "I'll bet you get other little sums coming in.cut open the gentleman. to fetch water for him. I was mixed up in it. you have come because it's the regulation. but to me it is nothing. They sent me to the tavern for vodka. your honor. but. the clerk." "How do you mean?" "Why. but as through my poverty I was -. If you bring them a notice they are offended. your honor.' they say. You do. For thirty years I have been going round according to regulation. 'You smell of onion. he was sent to prison. I have been beaten.' There are kind-hearted ones. In the summer it is all right. you can't help appearance. we were both brought to trial. but in winter and autumn it's uncomfortable At times I have been almost drowned and almost frozen. it's only dirtying your hands. Hrisanf Grigoryev.' they say. and here you have been put to trouble. and I have been before a court of law. but what does one . it is warm and dry. in the court. of course. you are a the court. I mean. the clerk did not share with me -. And at home it is worse for me. well. they take offense at anything. don't you?" "Other little sums? No.wicked people set on me in the forest and took away my bag. to clean his boots. if you take off your cap before them they are offended. I mean -. you are the son of a bitch. At home one has to heat the stove for the clerk in the _volost_ office.cheated him.not a man to be relied upon. you know. not a man of any worth.did not even offer me a glass. I can tell you. 'You are a drunkard. In fact.

"He has been calling me that for a long while. He .get from them? They only laugh and call one all sorts of names. Here the witnesses have gone to their tea. and died impenitent. In the summer I was taking a convict to the town. . but in such a low voice that it was impossible to make out what he said. He gave me such a name 'You. I am from the village of Nedoshtchotova. 'Loshadin. eternal memory to her! She was never married. Lord keep the soul of Thy servant Yulya. let him. another a drop of cabbage soup. He thought. "Say it again." " 'Administration. and yesterday they gave me fifteen kopecks and offered me a glass. The gentleman did not go to confession for twenty years after. sir. there is no getting away from it. but -. and I knew his father and mother. their ground next to ours. to be sure. He kept away from the church. he is a good-natured gentleman." The constable uttered some word. another will stand one a glass. Lesnitsky. and took all this land for himself.' they said. I remember the gentleman. the Lesnitsky family. they do say burnt it in the stove. 'Hullo. she left three hundred acres to the monastery. 'you stay here and keep watch for us. but her brother hid the will. peasants are more kind-hearted. they are frightened. "What?" Lyzhin asked. forest could I get away from him? It's just the same here. you won't get on in the world through injustice. You see. for instance. to be sure. and he set upon me and gave me such a drubbing! And all around were fields. a God-fearing and tender-hearted lady. But peasants give more. Altuhin. The village elders treat one to tea in the tavern. and Mr. wait a bit. and six hundred to the commune of peasants of Nedoshtchotova to commemorate her soul. Mr. . and they. for the last six years. Lesnitsky had a sister. . they have the fear of God in their hearts: one will give a bit of bread. God bless him! Sometimes a lady will send one a glass of vodka and a bit of pie and one drinks to her health. not being used to it.nay. but of course it is my duty. Mr. aren't you frightened?" "I am. Administration!' But I don't mind. and when she was dying she divided all her property.' and they gave me a kopeck each.' said he. but so soon as he sees me he shouts and does not know what he means himself. it was for his benefit. and if you look at him he seems sober and in his right mind. were not more than three-quarters of a mile from us and less than that. brother." "And you.' " the constable repeated aloud. when he was so high.

it is mortifying. Petrak had four laborers. I could not tell you how they drink. 'for an agent. 'Sergey Sergeyitch!' he would look round like this. Well. To be sure it was a come-down for him to be jolting about the district in a wretched cart and talking to the peasants.Seryozha. and now you see he has laid hands on himself.' and the gentleman was young and proud. he couldn't do anything. and the president of the Rural Board.burst.everything there was.'I'll take him' -. not "men of any worth. . while this old man would stay here for ever. your honor. your honor. Makey had four footmen. he wanted to be living on a bigger scale and in better style and with more freedom. and a profound belief that you can't get on in this life by dishonesty. glasses of vodka. 'Eh?' and look down on the ground again. you wouldn't believe it. his uncle -. let him collect the insurance. I used to keep twenty head of sheep. and there's no making out what's the meaning of it. but there. There's no sense in it. looking on the ground and saying nothing." "How was it you became poor?" asked the examining magistrate. and told the old man to bring him some hay for his bed. there's no doubt about it. and it could be fetched in . if the truth is to be told. from Seryozha." in whose souls fifteen kopecks. "My sons drink terribly. . . He was a very fat man. my house is the worst of the lot. would go back sooner or later to Moscow. and even that is not mine but Government property. three cows. that's not a difficult job. I used to live in good style. and would always be walking and walking." Lyzhin listened and thought how he. Then he grew tired of listening.thinks he. and I am left with nothing but a wretched bag. if you called his name right in his ear. I mean -. Then everything was taken from the young master. he would walk and keep looking on the ground. And now in our Nedoshtchotova. unkempt old men. to pay the debts -. and now Petrak is a laborer himself. There was an iron bedstead with a pillow and a quilt in the traveler's room. it's not right. I had two horses. but the dead man had been lying by it for nearly three days (and perhaps sitting on it just before his death). were equally firmly rooted. but the time has come. too. you must make up your mind to it. Lyzhin. merciful Lord! Say your father was rich and you are poor. . And how many times in his life he would come across such battered. he had not gone very far in his studies. and now Makey is a footman himself. and it would be disagreeable to sleep upon it now. so he burst lengthways.

"Oo-oo-oo!" sang the storm. and the dead body lying in the next room -. it would leave not the faintest trace in the memory. As he got warm he thought how remote all this -. of becoming a popular figure. To live. It was rather cold." It was dark. Lyzhin. the real Russia. how uninteresting. and. Petersburg. they were not human beings. drove away from Syrnya. as the windows and the snow on the window-frames could be seen distinctly. The moon must have been behind the clouds. was Moscow. and how alien it all was to him. "How awful it is!" He was not sleepy. here .how remote it all was from the life he desired for himself. for instance. at last he took his little lamp and went out. of being a society lion. it was the wind howling. When one dreamed of playing a leading part. Lyzhin thought: "Just like a magician in an opera. and would be forgotten as soon as he. and the old man. clearing away the tea-things. gray-headed. how petty. The fatherland. it was not life. all this was seen somehow in a different light.the storm. "Oo-oo-oo-oo!" "Ho-ho-ly sa-aints!" wailed a woman in the loft. the colonies. he lay down and covered himself with a rug. of being. "Trah!" The examining magistrate listened: there was no woman up there. he kept tramping round the table. "Ho-ho-ly sa-aints!" "B-booh!" something outside banged against the wall. but having nothing to do to pass away the time. examining magistrate in particularly important cases or prosecutor in a circuit court. and he put his fur coat over his rug. important. and perhaps he might even have been afraid to sleep in the next room to the corpse. bent figure from behind." as Loshadin said. or it sounded like it. glancing at his watch. but something only existing "according to the regulation. nearly a thousand miles from Moscow. If this man had killed himself in Moscow or somewhere in the neighborhood. smacking his lips and sighing. but here he was in the provinces. looking at his long. it would have been interesting. and the hut. and he had had to hold an inquest on him there."It's only half-past seven. Here. one must be in Moscow. one always thought of Moscow. Loshadin went in and out several times." thought Lyzhin.

All at once he felt frightened. "Booh!" And he suddenly recalled how one day. he imagined the long corridor of the court at Moscow. The bookkeeper had introduced him: "This is our insurance agent. the orchestra which for some reason kept droning: "Oo-oo-oo-oo! Oo-oooo-oo!" "Booh! Trah!" sounded cared for nothing. "The conshtable!" "What do you want here?" "I have come to ask. your honor -." "So that was Lesnitsky. when he was talking to the bookkeeper in the little office of the Rural Board. and the high boots he was wearing did not suit him. And as he sank into unconsciousness. . imagined his gait. and that if in five or ten years he could break away from here and get to Moscow. his comrades. "Who's there?" he asked in alarm. quickly. met his kindred. And Lyzhin mentally moved about the Moscow streets. himself delivering a speech." Lyzhin reflected now. his head turned cold. He recalled Lesnitsky's soft voice. even then it would not be too late and he would still have a whole life before him. this same man. went into the familiar houses. and only expected one thing of life -to get away quickly. but I am afraid he may be angry. and there was a sweet pang at his heart at the thought that he was only twenty-six. He told me to go to him. a thin. one grew easily resigned to one's insignificant said this evening that you did not want the elder." said Lyzhin with vexation. but looked clumsy. . . his sisters. and it spoilt his delicate. . and he covered himself up again. intelligent profile. and it seemed to him that someone was walking beside him now with a step like Lesnitsky's. pale gentleman with black hair and dark eyes walked in. he had a disagreeable look in his eyes such as one sees in people who have slept too long after dinner. as his thoughts began to be confused. Shouldn't I go?" "That's enough. you bother me.

"Are you asleep? Are you asleep?" Dr. In the passage there was coughing and subdued voices. and went out with the doctor. you will have supper." thought the examining magistrate." Lyzhin. There was not a very sharp frost. "Ready!" They drove through the village. "Are you asleep? Get up! Let us go to Von Taunitz's. The doctor and the examining magistrate got into the sledge. at any rate. ."He may be angry. ." and Loshadin went out. The coachman preserved a sullen silence. The witnesses must have returned. your honor. listlessly watching the action of the trace horse's legs. and brought a chill air in with him. . There were lights in all the huts. "We'll let those poor beggars get away early to-morrow. "we'll begin the inquest as soon as it is daylight. voices. You see I have come for you myself. "Cutting a feathery furrow. I hope you will be comfortable. as though it were the eve of a great holiday: the peasants had not gone to bed because they were afraid of the dead body. Startchenko was asking him hurriedly and angrily as he struck one match after another. . and sleep like a human being." He began sinking into forgetfulness when suddenly there were steps again. There. There was the slam of a door. I'll go. He has sent his own horses for you. They were both hot. not timid this time but rapid and noisy. his cap and hood." thought the examining magistrate. the scratching of a match. he was covered with snow. put on his felt overboots. but a violent and piercing wind was blowing and driving along the street the clouds of snow which seemed to be racing away in terror: high drifts were heaped up already under the fences and at the doorways. The horses are splendid. probably he had felt dreary . we shall get there in twenty minutes." "And what time is it now?" "A quarter past ten. Come along. . . . his furlined coat. sleepy and discontented. . and the white coachman bent over them to button up the cover. .

" said Startchenko. then along a broad forest clearing. Again the forest and the fields. "You've got off the road. flew swiftly on. and tall. and all at once the glaring light at the entrance and the . gnarled young oak trees standing singly in the clearings where the wood had lately been cut. he made larger and larger circles. what is it now?" asked Startchenko crossly. He flashed by and disappeared. getting further and further away from the sledge. The sledge flew along a dark avenue. and again the coachman got down from the box and danced round the sledge. as though they were flying on into space. was thinking of the dead man. and nothing could be seen. All at once the horses stopped. too. the examining magistrate could see nothing but the trace horse.while he was waiting by the Zemstvo hut. . The examining magistrate saw a stick with a crook." As they drove out of the village. The coachman said he could see the forest. and it looked as though he were dancing. and a beard and a bag. Again they lost the road. and asked me why I did not bring you with me. and even fancied that he was smiling. and now he. "Well. eh?" asked Startchenko. at last he came back and began to turn off to the right. Here there was a fearful roaring sound from the trees. "At the Von Taunitz's. they caught glimpses of old pines and a young birch copse." Then there was a little village and not a single light in it. moving off the road and staring at the horses. but soon it was all merged in the clouds of snow. And the heated trace horse's hoofs knocked against the sledge . at the turning the coachman suddenly shouted at the top of his voice: "Out of the way!" They caught a glimpse of a man: he was standing up to his knees in the snow. The coachman got down from the box without a word and began running round the sledge. "they all set upon me when they heard that you were left to spend the night in the hut. The road ran at first along the edge of the forest. The wind blew on their backs. treading on his heels. and he fancied that it was Loshadin. "It's all ri-ight. . .

they sang a duet from "The Queen of Spades. you know. danced a quadrille. Then the children said good-night and went off to bed. all wearing gray dresses and with their hair done up in the same style. the gay. I came here to look after the estate. flirted. The examining magistrate laughed. a fat man with an incredibly thick neck and with whiskers." Again "Un Petit Verre de Clicquot" was played. as he shook the examining magistrate's hand. also young and attractive. and they could hear the children beating time with their feet. While they were taking off their fur coats and their felt boots flashed upon their eyes. the rustle of the beetles. in fact. and here I have grown old -. and their cousin. and they heard the good-natured. whatever the weather outside. and with trembling voices. At one time I was deputy prosecutor. were in the drawingroom. the revolting poverty-stricken old fogey. "That's capital! You are very welcome. and kept wondering whether it was not all a dream? The kitchen of the Zemstvo hut. and then all at once this splendid. the heap of hay in the corner. young and pretty girls. the danger of being lost. Everybody laughed. the curly-headed children.such a transformation seemed . brightly lighted room. delighted to make your acquaintance. I will introduce my daughters. he shouted down the stairs in a voice of thunder: "Tell Ignat to have the sledge ready at eight o'clock to-morrow morning. "Un Petit Verre de Clicquot" was being played upon the piano overhead. We are colleagues to some extent. the sounds of the piano." and turning round. Startchenko. evidently restraining his voice so as not to speak too loud." he went on. she's dead. the wind. "I have no wife. Immediately on going in they were aware of the snug warmth and special smell of the old apartments of a mansion where. beating time with their feet. "That's capital!" said Von Taunitz. and the children skipped about. the snow storm. the voices of the witnesses. the lovely girls. But here. with her children. began at once begging them to sing something. only two years." His four daughters. but not for long. drawn-out barking of dogs. happy laughter -. then the cousin sat down to the piano. he was going upstairs with his guests. and two of the young ladies spent a long time declaring they could not sing and that they had no music. They had arrived. life is so warm and clean and comfortable. And Startchenko pranced about too. You are very welcome. who knew them already.

At supper the conversation turned on Lesnitsky "He left a wife and child. in a soft bed covered with a quilt under which there were fine clean sheets." He slept in a warm room. and where. and he kept thinking this was not life here. every suicide is intelligible. the wind roaring just as in the Zemstvo hut. "What a lot one must suffer and think about before one brings oneself to take one's own life. for a long time. Lyzhin felt that he. but everything is in accordance with reason and law. but he couldn't think of anything. . . that one could draw no conclusions from it. and he was still . it meant that it did not exist at all. a young life! Such a misfortune may happen in any family. where nothing is accidental. and it seemed incredible that such transitions were possible at the distance of some two miles in the course of one hour. ." said Von Taunitz. that everything here was accidental. To bring into the world nervous. in a province far away from the center of culture. And dreary thoughts prevented him from enjoying himself. . too. through the ceiling and in the stove. who were living and would end their lives in the wilds. talking in the adjoining room. insufferable." And all the girls listened in silence with grave faces. suicide is an undesirable phenomenon. looking at their father. . so that one can explain why it has happened and what is its significance in the general scheme of things. and overhead he heard. invalid children is a crime. I would deprive them of the right and possibility of multiplying their kind. must say something. and as plaintively howling: "Oo-oo-oo-oo!" Von Taunitz's wife had died two years before. He imagined that if the life surrounding him here in the wilds were not intelligible to him. and merely said: "Yes. for instance." "He was an unfortunate young man. and if he did not see it. "I would forbid neurasthenics and all people whose nervous system is out of order to marry. It is hard to bear such a thing. . and that is awful. and he even felt sorry for these him like a fairy tale. sighing gently and shaking his head. but bits of life fragments." said Startchenko. but for some reason did not feel comfortable: perhaps because the doctor and Von Taunitz were.

. . "This is our insurance agent. hearing the subdued voices of the witnesses.all men. we know nothing of joy. but we are walking in the frost and the storm. it seems. as he fell asleep. He felt hot and uncomfortable." Then he dreamed that Lesnitsky and Loshadin the constable were walking through the open country in the snow. supporting each other. We know nothing of ease. existed between them. it is not enough to reason. he fancied that Lesnitsky was close by. in this life. and on! . . bad dream! And why did he dream of the constable and the agent together? What nonsense! And now while Lyzhin's heart was throbbing violently and he was sitting on his bed. . singing: We go on. and on. Don't they really go side by side holding each other up? Some tie unseen. the gift of . "Is it possible that I may some day come to such a condition?" thought Lyzhin. . You are in the warmth. wearing dusty high boots. . . not fifteen paces away. . still hearing through the wall his host's subdued. and to understand it it is not enough to think. In his dreams he remembered how the insurance agent. . . and on. but significant and essential." The old man was like a magician in an opera. through the deep snow. nothing is accidental. voice. . one must have also. and on. . and on. everything is full of one common idea. but they walked on. the wind was blowing on their backs. and both of them were singing as though they were on the stage: "We go on. even in the remotest desert. as it were bereaved. and on. but still in the hay at the Zemstvo hut. . and it seemed to him in his sleep that he was not at Von Taunitz's. always mentioned his wife. it seemed to him that there really was something in common between the lives of the insurance agent and the constable. . black-haired and pale. holding his head in his hands. . . What a confused. We bear all the burden of this life. had come into the bookkeeper's office. and not in a soft clean bed. and there was no trace of a prosecutor left about him now. everything has one soul. and even between them and Von Taunitz and between all men -. the snow was whirling about their heads." Lyzhin woke and sat up in bed. .unable to resign himself to his loss and. whatever he was talking about. . one aim. . in the light and snugness. side by side. . The examining magistrate did not sleep soundly. Oo-oo-oo! We go on. yours and ours.

should take up the burden of what was hardest and gloomiest in life -. to resign himself to the fact that these people. We take from life what is hardest and bitterest in it. He woke early in the morning with a headache. and again they were going along together. a gift which is evidently not bestowed on all. He lay down and began to drop asleep. in the next room Von Taunitz was saying loudly to the doctor: "It's impossible for you to go now. So thought Lyzhin. .marvelous and rational -. . Look what's going on outside. and to be continually dreaming of such. and on.the "neurasthenic. you can coldly and sensibly discuss why we suffer and perish. And the unhappy man who had broken down. Don't argue. were only fragments of life for one who thought of his own life as accidental.insight into life." "But it's only two miles. who had killed himself -. or of men weak and outcast whom people only talk of sometimes at supper with annoyance or mockery. he won't take you in such weather for a million. and on . and sitting at supper. if it were only half a mile. were only accidental.and the old peasant who spent every day of his life going from one man to another. without going to their help. singing: "We go on." What they were singing had occurred to his mind before. and only now it was unfolded broadly and clearly to his consciousness. And again: "We go on. roused by a noise. ." as though someone were beating with a hammer on his temples.for one who thought of his own life as part of that universal whole and understood it. but the thought was somewhere in the background behind his other thoughts. you had better ask the coachman. . and to desire for himself a life full of light and movement among happy and contented people. . . And he felt that this suicide and the peasant's sufferings lay upon his conscience. submissive to their fate. and on. and why we are not as sound and as satisfied as you. . too." said the doctor in an imploring awful it was! To accept this. and on. means dreaming of fresh suicides of men crushed by toil and anxiety. "Well. and flickered timidly like a faraway light in foggy weather. but were parts of one organism -. If you can't." as the doctor called him -. and it was a thought that had long lain hidden in his soul. . . and we leave you what is easy and joyful. then you can't.

" "It's bound to be quieter towards evening. then they played cards. . At the steps beside the coachman stood the familiar figure of the constable. it all subsided. . at the trees which bowed their heads despairingly to right and then to left. . by preventing movement from place to place. listened to the howling and the banging. watching the whirling snow. and. harnessed tandem. And in the next room the doctor began talking of the rigorous climate and its influence on the character of the Russian. the witnesses are waiting. "Lesnitsky is lying there. . they went to bed.Directly you drive out of the gates it is perfect hell. of its mad nights. The day was over. towards morning. In the night. they went to the windows. and the license it had given to its passions. and Lyzhin listened with vexation to these observations and looked out of window at the snow drifts which were piled on the fence. went out. you would be off the road in a minute." said the peasant who was heating the stove." At midday they had lunch. had been waiting at the front door since five o'clock in the morning. sang. saying good-by to their host. "And Lesnitsky is lying there. what moral can be drawn from it? It's a blizzard and that is all about it. it was dull and still. saying that the snowstorm usually lasted two days and nights. The horses. you can say what you like." thought Lyzhin. Ilya Loshadin. of the long winters which. hinder the intellectual development of the people. and thought gloomily: "Well. which raced furiously round and round upon the drifts. then wandered aimlessly about the house. When they got up and looked out of window. with an old leather bag across his . . the bare willows with their weakly drooping branches were standing perfectly motionless. rarely longer. at last they had supper. danced. . When it was fully daylight the doctor and the examining magistrate put on their fur coats and felt boots. as though nature now were ashamed of its orgy." They talked of the weather. At six o'clock they had dinner. Nothing will induce me to let you go. He gazed at the white dust which covered the whole visible expanse.

'I congratulate you. your honor.that is. .' Evidently actors or journalists of microscopic dimensions. Sinful man as I am. "The people are very uneasy. For instance. he looked with oily eyes at his _vis-a-vis. and evidently pleased at seeing at last the people he had waited for so long. our benefactors! . smiling naively all over his face. . and drove to Syrnya. that after dinner I always like my tongue and my brains gently stimulated. with this difference. the people are anxious. . . 'you are already a celebrity and are beginning to win fame.shoulder and no cap on his head. we all understand it as Pushkin does -. and said: "My father of blessed memory used to like to have his heels tickled by peasant women after dinner. I am just like him. What do you think? Pushkin called fame a bright patch on a ragged garment. the children are crying._ "After a good dinner the most trifling subject is sufficient to arouse devilishly great thoughts in my brain. After a nap of no more than five minutes. covered with snow all over." said Loshadin. got into the sledge. . is exactly what is to be understood by the word _fame_ or _charity_. and sank into a doze. THE FIRST-CLASS PASSENGER A FIRST-CLASS passenger who had just dined at the station and drunk a little too much lay down on the velvet-covered seat._ gave a smirk. stretched himself out luxuriously. sir.' he said. and his face was red and wet with perspiration. more or less subjectively -. Will you allow me to have a chat with you?" "I shall be delighted. you old devil? Get away!" "Your honor. we saw just now near the refreshment bar two young men." The doctor and the examining magistrate said nothing. and you heard one congratulate the other on being celebrated." answered the _vis-a-vis. They thought. The footman who had come out to help the gentlemen and cover their legs looked at him sternly and said: "What are you standing here for.but no one has yet given a clear. I like empty talk on a full stomach. logical . The question that is occupying my mind at the moment. Show us the heavenly mercy. But they are not the point. that you had gone back to the town again.

I have worked in Russia. as far as I can judge without partiality. To be popular was my craze. getting on in years. . And yet here I am in my old age. the means of attaining it might also perhaps be known to us.definition of the word. in Belgium. trying to catch fame by the tail. I had all the natural gifts for attaining it. I must tell you. Studying that science in my leisure hours. so to say. I will only say that I have done far more than some celebrities. . I haven't heard it. sat up at night.a convincing proof! It is evident that in my efforts to gain fame I have not done the right thing at all: I did not know the right way to set to work." "H'm! Well. have you ever heard the name Krikunov?" The _vis-a-vis_ raised his eyes to the ceiling. and laughed. I am the author of several special treatises in my own line. thought a minute. so to speak. ." said the first-class passenger. we will test it at once. . I discovered methods of obtaining certain organic acids. and I have an unblemished record. I am getting ready for my coffin. You. got on the wrong side of her. worked. that when I was younger I strove after celebrity with every fiber of my being. ." he said. sir. if we knew what fame is. . "No. . I will not fatigue your attention by enumerating my works and my merits. . have never heard of me -. in England. I have always been in the service. neglected my meals. Tell me." "How can you tell? Perhaps you are celebrated. and I am as celebrated as that black dog yonder running on the embankment. . I am an engineer by profession. a man of education. I have from a boy had a weakness for chemistry. And thirdly. In the course of my life I have built in Russia some two dozen magnificent bridges. my dear sir. so that you will find my name in all the foreign manuals of chemistry. And I fancy. Secondly. I would give a good deal for such a definition!" "Why do you feel such a need for it?" "You see. and. I have laid aqueducts for three towns. For the sake of it I studied. after a moment's thought." "What is the right way to set to work?" . I have risen to the grade of actual civil councilor. To begin with. "That is my surname.

People have lived and made a career side by side with me who were worthless. She usually selected translated vaudevilles.' I thought. I hung about my cherished creation. and did not make an effort to be celebrated. but just look at them! Their names are continually in the newspapers and on men's lips! If you are not tired of listening I will illustrate it by an example. They did not do one-tenth of the work I did. she was a fool. The whole charm of her 'art' lay in her kicking up her legs on every suitable occasion. you know.a pitiful creature one may say. I used to be devoted to the theatre. I must tell you that the dullness of that scurvy little town was terrible. to my thinking she was -. and what's more. did not put themselves out. She was looked upon as a cocotte. trivial. slept till five o clock in the afternoon -. Its an old story and there's no need for false modesty.ough! Well. 'now the eyes of all the public will be on me! Where shall I hide myself?' Well.what shall I say? -. and so on. ."Well. devoid of feeling -. a public ceremony took place to celebrate the opening of the newly constructed ordinary. As I remember now. Well.and I fancy did nothing else. with singing in them. but when people wanted to refer to her in a literary fashion. Everyone was enthusiastic about her. The hussy was empty-headed. there were speeches. you say? Genius? Originality? Not a bit of it. . I need not have worried myself. She was a creature entirely devoid of talent. ill-tempered. commonplace creature. all the while afraid that my heart would burst with the excitement of an author. I ask your attention. and even contemptible compared with me. they called her an actress and a singer. the devil only knows! Talent. There was a religious service. In fact it was -. like lots of others. and not being embarrassed when people walked into her dressing-room. and so I will tell you that my bridge was a magnificent work! It was not a bridge but a picture. were not distinguished for their talents. in tights. telegrams. If it had not been for women and cards I believe I should have gone out of my mind. "She ate and drank a vast amount. and therefore this fraudulent pretense of being an actress made me furiously indignant. and that was indeed her profession. Some years ago I built a bridge in the town of K. a perfect delight! And who would not have been excited when the whole town came to the opening? 'Oh. As far as I can judge she sang disgustingly. sir!. it's an old story: I was so bored that I got into an affair with a singer. the devil only knows why. and opportunities for disporting herself in male attire. sir . greedy. My young lady had not the slightest right to call herself an actress or a singer.

by the way. A couple of young milksops. exchanged glances. . was making her way through the crowd. . .alas! Except the official personages. then turned to me with the words: "'Do you know who that lady is. a smile came on their faces. and whispered: 'That's her lover!' How do you like that? And an unprepossessing individual in a top-hat.' answered the individual.' "Then I asked him who was considered the best teacher in K. .' I asked the unprepossessing individual.' "Well. . and to all my questions the unprepossessing individual answered that he did not know. walking on the other bank? That's so-and-so. Her voice is beneath all criticism. hung round me. please. some engineer. local amateurs of the scenic art. with whom is that singer living?' " 'With some engineer called Krikunov.' " 'Can you tell me. All at once the public became agitated. that I began to hate our estimable public -. A likely idea! I looked. . with a chin that badly needed shaving. The day after the dedication of . .-.' I thought. gazed like sheep at the bridge. but she has a most perfect mastery of it! . I expect. " 'I really can't tell you. There are no minnesingers or bards nowadays. their shoulders began to move. . to continue. sir? But to proceed. how do you like that.' " 'And who built the cathedral in your town?' I asked again. and did not concern themselves to know who had built it. looked at me. no one took the slightest notice of me. A whisper began in a thousand voices: 'That's so-and-so. 'They must have seen me. The eyes of the crowd were hurriedly following this procession. . 'who built this bridge?' " 'I really don't know. . a whisper ran through the crowd. .' I asked in conclusion. " 'And tell me. I presume. shifting from one foot to the other. And it was from that time.. Charming! Bewitching!' Then it was they noticed me. . and my singer. who the best architect. They stood in a crowd on the river-bank.damnation take them! Well. with a train of young scamps. and celebrity is created almost exclusively by the newspapers. . .

They might have given me one word! Half a word. So much for your intellectual center! But that was not all. and other dignitaries. in the presence of His Excellency the Governor of the province. I arrived on the very day the result was declared. made haste to read. I need not say that her arrival created a sensation. in the fourth. of celebrating my own success: my work received the first prize._ and looked for myself in it.hurrah! I began reading: 'Yesterday in beautiful weather. It is a long journey from K. so-and-so. . and one could expect nothing of them and for celebrity one must go to the intellectual centers -. . and at last there it was -. I actually cried with vexation! "I consoled myself with the reflection that the provinces are stupid. her charming stage appearance. I ran through a second -. I hastened to my hotel room. drinking champagne. my dear sir. and had the satisfaction.' That was all! And to make things better.tra-la--la! But behold. The date on which the result was to be declared was at hand. .to Petersburg and to Moscow. We note with pleasure that the climate of the South has had a beneficial effect on our fair friend.' and so on.nothing either.nothing. I ran through one newspaper -. they even misspelt my name: instead of Krikunov it was Kirkutlov. I took my singer. .' and so on. We set off. the favorite of the K. .' and I don't remember the rest! Much lower down than that paragraph I found. I lighted upon the following paragraph: 'Yesterday the well-known provincial actress so-and-so arrived by express in Petersburg. at last we reach the intellectual center. . to Petersburg. I spent a long time running my eyes over all the four pages. all the newspapers were vying with one another in discussing our incomparable. public. lay down on the sofa. the ceremony of the dedication of the newly constructed bridge took place. . and.the bridge. and all the way we were eating.well -. and that I might not be bored on the journey I took a reserved compartment and -. and went to Petersburg. By the time I left Petersburg. . a month later. my God! At last. I greedily snatched up the local _Messenger. was present at the dedication looking very beautiful. and -. And as it happened. Hurrah! Next day I went out along the Nevsky and spent seventy kopecks on various newspapers. The star was wearing . "I took leave of K. . Towards the end: Our talented actress so-and-so. Petty as it seems. at that very time there was a work of mine in Petersburg which I had sent in for a competition.of course. . before a vast concourse of people. controlling a quiver of excitement. printed in the smallest type: first prize in the competition was adjudged to an engineer called so-and-so. .

'Do you know the name of the engineer?' "My neighbor shook his head. to undertake a work for which Moscow. dr unken shop keepers -. my plans. King!' "And the whole tram began talking breathlessly of the runner who was then absorbing the brains of Moscow. Now let us assume that I am mistaken about myself. In the intervals of my work I delivered five public lectures. the people suddenly leaped to their feet and struggled to the windows. that I am a wretchedly boastful and incompetent person.about everything. so loudly that all the tram could hear. alas! not a single Moscow gazette said a word about me There was something about houses on fire. . and in all their eyes I read: 'I don't know. 'Do you see that dark man getting into that cab? That's the famous runner. but I think that is enough. with a philanthropic object. . not by her surname. but imagine. What was it? What was the matter? "'Look. "'I am told the town council has sent for an engineer to plan such and such a work!' I said to my neighbor. "I could give you ever so many other examples. in one of the museums there. And a nice set they are in Moscow! I got into a tram. Evidently they had not all of them heard of the lectures. but about my work. in the mayor's own handwriting. trying to get up a conversation. and my mistress was referred to. "Some years later I was in Moscow. It was packed full. had been clamoring for over a hundred years.mum. creatures of all sorts in couples. and the ladies were not even aware of the existence of the museum. highly talented actress.. . 'I hear it is interesting. my dear sir. about an operetta. but by her Christian name and her father's.' "'I am told that there is someone giving lectures in such and such a museum?' I persisted. my lectures -. I was summoned there by a letter. One would have thought that was enough to make one known to the whole town for three days at least. All that would not have mattered. sleeping town councilors. there were ladies and military men and students of both sexes.divine. look!' my neighbor nudged me. . in its newspapers. wouldn't one? But. but apart . . The rest of the public took a cursory glance at me.' "No one even nodded.

. . Do you know the name of Pushkov?" "Pushkov? H'm! Pushkov." he went on fiercely. . hard-working and talented." said the _vis-a-vis. wearing an Inverness coat. gone out of his mind. physicists. men remarkable for their talent and industry. I don't know it!" "That is my name. "Yes. who have nevertheless died unrecognized. but ask him whether he knows Semiradsky. That is N. Are Russian navigators. "Do you know who that is?" there came a timid whisper from the furthest corner of the compartment. ._. . He knows a Tula cardsharper. and an individual of forbidding aspect. frowned. and went on further. . . or Solovyov the philosopher -. . overcome with . buffoons. sculptors. be had up for libel twenty times. and blue spectacles. and agriculturists popular with the public? Do our cultivated masses know anything of Russian artists. there was a draught. N. chemists. or had cheated at cards?" The first-class passenger was so excited that he dropped his cigar out of his mouth and got up. Yes!" The door creaked. walked into the carriage. No. clearing his throat. "Allow me in my turn to ask you a question. mechanicians. "and side by side with these people I can quote you hundreds of all sorts of singers." said the _vis-a-vis_ timidly. acrobats. The individual looked round at the seats. the famous Tula cardsharper who was had up in connection with the Y. and literary men? Some old literary hack. Tchaykovsky. and yet not step beyond his ant-heap.he'll shake his head. whose names are known to every baby." "There you are!" laughed the first-class passenger. It swinish!" Three minutes passed in silence. cover reams of paper. will wear away the doorstep of the publishers' offices for thirty-three years.from myself I might point to many of my contemporaries. a top-hat. bank affair. .. been sent into exile. Can you mention to me a single representative of our literature who would have become celebrated if the rumor had not been spread over the earth that he had been killed in a duel.

"Then you don't know it? And yet I have been a professor at one of the Russian universities for thirty-five years. Her delicate little hands and feet were quivering. When he refused to fight Morozov. Madame Beobahtov. The ladies waved their handkerchiefs and urged their men to applaud. How good Fenogenov is!" And if her papa had been capable of reading faces he would have read on his daughter's pale little countenance a rapture that was almost anguish." The tragedian himself was playing Vyazemsky. many shed tears. her eyes were full of tears. . . and gasped loudly. The performance was a grand success. He shouted. she closed her eyes. . tore his coat across his chest. a member of the Academy of Sciences. was playing Morozov. . But the one who was the most enthusiastic and most excited was Masha. her cheeks turned paler and paler. They were acting "Prince Serebryany. . When the regimental band began playing between the acts. Elena. daughter of Sidoretsky the police captain. every time the curtain fell. he held her in one hand above his head as he dashed across the stage. . . praised them for all . "Papa!" she said to the police captain during the last interval. The theatre shook with applause.she was at the theatre for the first time in her life. . by the play. "How well they act! how splendidly!" she said to her papa the police captain. she was ecstatic and could not take her eyes off the stage even between the acts. exhausted." The first-class passenger and the _vis-a-vis_ looked at each other and burst out laughing. . She was sitting in the first row of the stalls beside her papa. . When he was carrying off Elena. The tragedian accomplished wonders indeed. have published more than one work. Fenogenov was presented with a silver cigarette-case and a bouquet tied with long ribbons. the tragic actor. She was overcome by the acting. . . And no wonder -.embarrassment. the stage manager. hissed. by the surroundings. There were endless calls. he trembled all over as nobody ever trembles in reality. "go behind the scenes and ask them all to dinner to-morrow!" The police captain went behind the scenes. A TRAGIC ACTOR IT was the benefit night of Fenogenov. Limonadov. banged with his feet.

" and "To be or not to be. "Lay on the respect. . and after that came almost every day either to dinner or supper. She had never before seen such clever. "Your lovely face demands a canvas. "All except the fair sex. the tragedian Fenogenov. for I have a daughter. and smiled affably. Limonadov kept telling the police captain how much he respected him. Vodolazov mimicked drunken merchants and Armenians. declaimed "At the portals of the great. he thereupon invited the company to dinner. Masha became more and more devoted to the theatre. stout Little Russian with black eyes and frowning brow. the manager Limonadov. when the police captain had gone to meet the bishop. "I don't want the actresses. the actors composed a long and touching letter and sent it to the police captain." Limonadov. She fell in love with the tragedian. with tears in his eyes. the others sent excuses. After celebrating the wedding. ." Next day the actors dined at the police captain's. It was the work of their combined efforts. and went there every evening. a tall. They pleased his daughter and made her lively. and I only wish I could wield the brush!" And with a scrape. "Bring out the motive. One fine morning. Only three turned up. and Fenogenov (on his passport his name was Knish). the motive!" Limonadov kept saying as he dictated to the comic man. Masha ran away with Limonadov's company and married her hero on the way. The police captain listened. was bored. .their fine acting. General Kanyutchin. exceptional people! In the evening the police captain and Masha were at the theatre again. and that was enough for him. and complimented Madame Beobahtov. and the comic man Vodolazov." he whispered. Add something of a sort . . And Masha never took her eyes off the actors. . He was well satisfied. The dinner was a dull affair. and Fenogenov was wearing a hired dress coat and boots trodden down at heel. These official chaps like it. described his interview with the former Governor. A week later the actors dined at the police captain's again. to draw a . although Limonadov smelt strongly of burnt feathers. and how highly he thought of all persons in authority.

eloped. in the presence of Limonadov. and after consulting together. they made her _ingenue_. for a sum like that one would go to Siberia. damn my soul!" At one provincial town the company tried to give Masha the slip. he was sitting in the London Tavern with the whole company. "I've been shamefully treated by your father." she besought him. beaten her behind the scenes. and got there when the second bell had rung and the actors had all taken their seats.tear. "I can't live without you!" They listened to her entreaties. but when Madame Beobahtov." And the day after this answer was received M asha was writing to her father." said the tragedian. the flower of Limonadov's company. took her into the company as a "countess" -. "a stupid. Kondraty Ivanovitch. and all were talking about Masha. four days before the wedding. but Masha found out. imploring him: "I love you! Don't drive me away. you'll be master. The police captain disowned his daughter for marrying." Fenogenov remembered it. "all is over between us!" And though the carriage was full of people. He remembered how." The answer to this letter was most discomforting. "Papa. She acted . ran to the station." and Limonadov. and two lighting men. take me into your company. he beats me! Forgive us!" He had beaten her. she went down on her knees and held out her hands. with tears in his eyes urged: "It would be stupid and irrational to let slip such an opportunity! Why. as he said. the washerwoman. idle Little Russian with no fixed home or occupation. The company were advising him to "chance it. let alone getting married! When you marry and have a theatre of your own. I shan't be master then.the name they used for the minor actresses who usually came on to the stage in crowds or in dumb parts. To begin with Masha used to play maid-servants and pages. and muttered with clenched fists: "If he doesn't send money I'll smash her! I won't let myself be made a fool of.

" Fenogenov listened. who said to him viciously: "Wait a bit! I'll cook you such a crab that'll teach you to ruin . quivered. he beats me! Forgive us! Send us some money!" A TRANSGRESSION A COLLEGIATE assessor called Miguev stopped at a telegraph-post in the course of his evening walk and heaved a deep sigh. . The tragedian shouted and quivered. Every man has his own line. Everything went well up to the point where Franz declares his love for Amalie and she seizes his sword. lisped. . however. And Masha. A week before. sighed." In one provincial town the company acted Schiller's " Robbers. have pity on me! I am so miserable!" "You don't know your part! Listen to the prompter!" hissed the tragedian. . Limonadov and Fenogenov were sitting in the ticket box-office engaged in conversation. and squeezed Masha in his iron embrace. . . and was nervous. "Your wife does not learn her part. "Oh. and the play would have gone off as they generally did had it not been for a trifling mishap. . She soon grew used to it. After the performance. Masha. The tragedian shouted.she seemed petrified. Fenogenov was much displeased. no deportment. . Masha repeated her part like a well-learnt lesson. . "She has no figure. Masha was sitting in a little general shop writing: "Papa. Amalie. he had been overtaken at that very spot by his former housemaid. "She doesn't know her line. . as he was returning home from his evening walk. Agnia. .badly. hissed." the manager was saying. "To call her an actress!" he used to say. and he thrust his sword into her hand. ." Fenogenov played Franz. instead of repulsing him and crying "Hence! " trembled in his arms like a bird and did not move. Next morning. . you are right there. "Have pity on me!" she whispered in his ear. and began to be liked by the audience. but she doesn't know hers. and scowled and scowled. nothing whatever but silliness.

. Such incidents always get into the papers. When he reached his bungalow. The middle window of the bungalow was open and he could distinctly hear his wife. and shame. He looked idly at his right elbow. Semyon Erastovitch!" The whole colony of summer visitors would know his secret now. and his face was instantly contorted by a look of as much horror as though he had seen a snake beside him. . .judging by the feel of it. Here lies my transgression! O Lord!" He was numb with terror. . and once more reproached himself with heartfelt repentance for the momentary infatuation which had caused him so much worry and misery. was plaintively strumming on the balalaika. guffaw. . "Here it lies. . . and the humble name of Miguev would be published all over Russia. Feeling in both his pockets for a match to light his cigarette. . your heart is gay. Miguev was conscious of an overwhelming desire to make haste. heaved a sigh. Miguev remembered it. and probably the respectable mothers of families would shut their doors to him. and I'll tell your wife. . and a bit of the moon peeped out from behind the clouds. and I'll have the law of you. . . Miguev brought his elbow into contact with something soft.innocent girls! I'll leave the baby at your door. On the step at the very door lay a bundle. He leaped on to his feet in horror. and the collegiate assessor. laying the table for supper. clenching his fists. and looked about him like a criminal trying to escape from his warders. The baby had only to wake up and begin to cry. ." And she demanded that he should put five thousand roubles into the bank in her name. . in the yard close to the gate Yermolay. and say: "I congratulate you! . You are a rogue. anger. felt something damp and warm. . He-he-he! Though your beard is gray. elderly summer visitors were already going to bed. putting in his hand. One end of the bundle was a little open. too. . Something oblong in shape was wrapped up in something -. he sat down to rest on the doorstep. It was just ten o'clock. "She has left it!" he muttered wrathfully through his teeth. Anna Filippovna. . the porter. a wadded quilt. What was he to do now? What would his wife say if she found out? What would his colleagues at the office say? His Excellency would be sure to dig him in the ribs. There was not a soul in the street nor near the bungalows. . . . . and the secret would be discovered. while young ones were walking in the wood.

. . . . I'll carry it away and lay it on somebody's doorstep. If by good luck the Myelkins adopt him. No. Anything may happen! Now I am carrying him under my arm like a bundle of rubbish. Where shall I put it? I know! I'll take it to the merchant Myelkin's. I am done for. alive. Maybe he will become a professor. the windows are open and perhaps someone is looking. . Only to think of all this wretched business! I've done wrong and the child has a cruel fate before it. with feelings like anyone else. . haste! . he may turn out somebody. ." he muttered. . I'd better put it on this doorstep. "This is indeed a pleasant surprise! Here I am carrying a human being under my arm as though it were a portfolio. and perhaps in thirty or forty years I may not dare to sit down in his presence. We take our pleasure.. went down the street. very likely they will say thank you and adopt it. . ."Haste. . "A collegiate assessor walking down the street with a baby! Good heavens! if anyone sees me and understands the position. As Miguev was walking along a narrow. . . and the innocent babies have to pay the penalty. "If only it does not begin screaming or wriggle out of the bundle. If I lay it at the Myelkins' door. stay. . We are scoundrels." And Miguev made up his mind to take the baby to Myelkin's. . they'll send it to the foundling . . . "How mean it is really!" he thought. . before anyone sees. "A wonderfully nasty position!" he reflected. It's done us no harm. Why are we shifting this poor baby from door to door? It's not its fault that it's been born. . A human being. . . trying to assume an air of unconcern. . . with soul. .. in the thick black shade of the lime trees. although the merchant's villa was in the furthest street. an author. close to the river. . a great general. . "this minute. with a deliberate step to avoid awakening suspicion. . beside a long row of fences." Miguev took the bundle in one hand and quietly. . "So mean that one can't imagine anything meaner. it suddenly struck him that he was doing something very cruel and criminal. deserted alley. . . Merchants are rich people and tenderhearted. . . ." thought the collegiate assessor.

and say: 'Forgive me! I have sinned! Torture me. . he muttered. . but we won't ruin an innocent child. and of his Excellency digging him in the ribs and guffawing. . "Asleep!" he murmured. let us adopt him!" She's a good sort. . . . . and strode on. . "Forgive me. . . . Forgive me. . .." The collegiate assessor blinked and felt a spasm running down his cheeks. All the way to the Myelkins' villa social questions were swarming in his brain and conscience was gnawing in his bosom. old fellow! I am a scoundrel. . sad. no love. and tender in his heart. A shoemaker! and he the son of a collegiate assessor. "You little rascal! why. It's a drama. . ." . you must forgive me. And then he'll be apprenticed to a shoemaker. he thought. . no petting. old boy. . . He sleeps and doesn't feel that it's his own father looking at him! . you've an aquiline nose like your father's. It seems it's your fate.. "Don't remember evil against me. " Miguev came out of the shade of the lime trees into the bright moonlight of the open road. my boy. . he'll take to drink. . Ech!" He reached the Myelkins' villa and stood still hesitating. . . fall on my knees before her. . . "I should damn everything. We have no children. there was something warm. He is my flesh and blood. . she'd consent. Well. . Cautiously the collegiate assessor laid the baby on the verandah step and waved his hand. Besides the pricking of his conscience. in mechanical routine. . and there it will grow up among strangers. . . . . . And then my child would be with me. . . go with this baby to Anna Filippovna. Again he felt a spasm run over his face. will learn to use filthy language. . put him under his arm. . and opening the bundle. He wrapped up the baby. sitting reading the paper while a little boy with an aquiline nose played with the tassels of his dressing gown. he looked at the baby. . will go hungry. "If I were a decent. honest man. . . of good family. At the same time visions forced themselves on his brain of his winking colleagues. He imagined himself in the parlor at . . no spoiling. . well. .

and he laid the baby on the floor.He stepped back. . the washer-woman. . went up to his wife. . someone took and carried off the baby. Weeping and almost faint with shame and terror. . . ." And he did as he determined." he thought. and again he shrugged his shoulders. glanced at him and shrugged his shoulders. . . but immediately cleared his throat resolutely and said: "Oh. and to think it over. and if it's a girl we'll call her Anna! Anyway. almost unconscious with shame and terror. and say: 'Anna Filippovna!' Anna is a good sort. . If it's a boy we'll call him Vladimir. interpreting his master's wrath in his own fashion. he went into his bungalow. ." And. "I'll stay here outside till she calls me. Who'd have thought it!" "What? What are you saying?" shouted Miguev at the top of his voice. and ran out into the open air as though he had received a thrashing. "Here's a go! Did you ever!" he muttered grinning. Semyon Erastovitch. . . . it will be a comfort in our old age. . . . And we'll bring him up. and while she was indoors with me. was here just now. she'll understand. . . Yermolay." The porter Yermolay passed him with his balalaika. "Hear me before you punish. it was the devil drove me to it." he thought. You remember Agnia? Well. . and let people say what they like!" Miguev took the baby and strode rapidly back. fall on my knees. . . he jumped up without waiting for an answer. scratched his head and heaved a sigh. A minute later he passed him again. . "Aksinya. . "I'll go at once. "Let them say what they like. full of hope and vague rapture. . "I'll give her time to recover. and fell on his knees before her. The silly woman put her baby down on the steps here. I have sinned! This is my child. come what will! Damn it all! I'll take him. "Anna Filippovna!" he said with a sob.

." SMALL FRY "HONORED Sir." "Be off."I am sorry. "I trust that you may spend this Holy Day even as many more to come. one can't get on without . . . . . was smoking and smelling. the rascal?" Nevyrazimov wondered. . but we've none of our own now. . . Semyon Erastovitch. . it's the washer-woman's! . and with such energy that the sound of the blacking-brush and of his expectorations was audible in all the rooms. . raising his eyes to the smutty ceiling. he cleared his throat guiltily and went on: "It's a sin. I . . but there -. I know. there was nothing irregular. I mean. . . you scoundrel!" Miguev shouted at him." he said. . "There! there!" Miguev muttered with a pale face. A stray cockroach was running about the table in alarm near Nevyrazimov's writing hand. sir. . On the ceiling he saw a dark circle -. I was joking. . When Agnia was here I had no women to see me. . . Anna Filippovna. "What else can I write to him. in which the kerosene was getting low. . amazed and wrathful. In Agnia's time. in good health and prosperity. and lower still the . .the shadow of the lamp-shade. . of course.what is one to do?. her tear-stained eyes fixed on the baby. one can't help having strangers." And glancing at his master's eyes glaring at him with anger and astonishment. twisting his lips into a smile. It's not my baby. . . Father and Benefactor!" a petty clerk called Nevyrazimov was writing a rough copy of an Easter congratulatory letter. you can see for yourself. ." The lamp. And to your family also I . without a woman. "It was a joke. . . . . of course. You've forbidden us to have strangers in the house. Two rooms away from the office Paramon the porter was for the third time cleaning his best boots. . . . but now. because. for I had one at home. Take it to the porter. was sitting as before. stamping. and he went back into the room. . "but it's the summer holidays. . Below it was the dusty cornice.

And it would be jolly. not only for himself. Ech h-h! . . The booming of the bells mingled with the rumble of carriages. to be going with a party to the service. but he'll be on duty here all his cockroach-life. and some charming little thing beside you." he thought. . "What a lot of people!" sighed Nevyrazimov. "When I am off duty I shall go away. To drink and to have a bit of supper and tumble off to sleep. looking down into the street. but even for the cockroach. . Paramon had finished cleaning his boots. What a lot of laughter. You drink a glass and chuck her under the chin. . . he was standing at the open window-pane." . . . . what a lot of talk! I'm the only unlucky one. .wall." he whispered to Nevyrazimov. "They're ringing. Our fellows have had a drink by now. Crossing himself with one hand and holding the brush in the other. "They're all hurrying to the midnight service. stretching. you know.two roubles is all he gives me. which had once been painted a bluish muddy color. listening. . . You feel you're somebody. to have to sit here on such a day: And I have to do it every year!" "Well. and it's firstrate. The Easter chimes floated into the room with a whiff of fresh spring air. . . . . and above the chaos of sounds rose the brisk tenor tones of the nearest church and a loud shrill laugh. One sits down to the table. and are strolling about the town. . . . not greediness. It's greediness!" "Devil a bit of it! Not much to be greedy over -. "Already!" Nevyrazimov put his ear to the open pane and listened. looking at him with eyes intent and wide open. while I have to sit here and brood. . but Zastupov hired you to take his place. . . and then to break the fast. It's poverty. Nevyrazimov slouched lazily to the porter's room. nobody forces you to take the job. now. you may be sure. where shadows of men flitted one after another by the illumination lamps. there's an Easter cake and the samovar hissing. And the office seemed to him such a place of desolation that he felt sorry. . a necktie as an extra. When other folks are enjoying themselves you hire yourself out. . "I am bored! Shall I clean my boots?" And stretching once more. I've made a mess of things! Look at that hussy driving by in her carriage. It's not your turn to be on duty today.

" "Well. With my manners and deportment one can't get far! And such a scoundrelly surname. And the better he could hear the bells and the louder the roar of the carriages. "Shall I hook it and leave the office?" thought Nevyrazimov. you'll be promoted and drive about in your carriage one day. not likely. . . of the Stanislav order. . . Ivan Danilitch. I'm not an educated man.' not if I try till I burst. The yearning for a new. And he's got very different manners and deportment from me. Nevyrazimov would have gone home to his lodging. what had he beyond? Nothing but the same gray walls. . the festive faces of his own people. but the General stole a hundred thousand before he got his position. Nevyrazimov stood still in the middle of the office and sank into thought. . . . . . . . . But such a flight promised nothing worth having." He moved away from the window and walked wearily about the rooms. Even supposing he were to spend that day pleasantly and with comfort." "I? No. . in fact. . the same stop-gap duty and complimentary letters. ! He thought of the carriage in which the lady had just driven by. the overcoat in which the head clerk was so smart. warmth . . Nevyrazimov! It's a hopeless position. .the family circle. better life gnawed at his heart with an intolerable ache. to take part in the solemn festivity for the sake of which all those bells were clashing and those carriages were rumbling. brother. ." "Our General has no education either. The din of the bells grew louder and louder. brother. He thought of a warm bed. Please God. . . I shan't get beyond a 'titular. and in his lodging it was even grayer and more depressing than in the office. . the darker seemed the muddy walls and the smutty cornice and the more the lamp smoked. the gold chain that adorned the secretary's chest."We each have our lot in life. . There was no need to stand by the window to hear it. the white cloth. After coming out of the office and wandering about the town. light. One may go on as one is. of new boots. or one may hang oneself . to mingle with the living crowd. He had a passionate longing to find himself suddenly in the street. but . He longed for what he had known in childhood -.

it seems.of a uniform without holes in the elbows. "Shall I write a secret report? Proshkin did. The clock in the office struck half-past twelve." Nevyrazimov sat down at his table and pondered." The bells died down. He heard only a distant noise of carriages and Paramon's cough. And Nevyrazimov felt better. they say. The lamp flared up and spluttered. and from whom he had for the last ten years been trying to wring a post worth eighteen roubles a month. with what they've stolen. . I'm an ass. but how is one to make it up? I should want to make all sorts of innuendoes and insinuations. instead of the one he had at sixteen roubles. who had the misfortune to catch his eye. The lamp in which the kerosene had quite run dry was smoking violently and threatening to go out. The stray cockroach was still running about the table and had found no resting-place. The letter was written to a man whom he feared and hated with his whole soul. THE REQUIEM . "One can always send in a secret report. "Even if stealing is an easy matter. "Ah. stared at the rough copy he had written. hiding is what's difficult. racking his brain for a means of escape from his hopeless position. damn my soul!" And Nevyrazimov. Men run away to America. . "Nasty thing!" The cockroach fell on its back and wriggled its legs in despair. "Shall I steal?" he thought. and he rose rapidly. and I can't do it. while his depression and anger grew more and more intense and unbearable. you devil!" He viciously slapped the palm of his hand on the cockroach. Nevyrazimov took it by one leg and threw it into the lamp. I'll teach you to run here. . but the devil knows where that blessed America is. If I made up anything I should be the first to get into trouble for it. like Proshkin. He thought of all those things because he had none of them. One must have education even to steal.

He stood waiting. with his elbows on the railing of the right choir. The people had begun moving and were trooping out of church. The only one who did not move was Andrey Andreyitch. that was somewhat strange and unusual. "I am calling you.IN the village church of Verhny Zaprudy mass was just over. "And he is beckoning with his finger! And he stamped his foot! What next! What's the matter. and only then realized that the twitching eyebrows and beckoning finger might refer to him. He saw the long familiar figures of the saints. a shopkeeper and old inhabitant of Verhny Zaprudy. twitching his thick eyebrows angrily. . but they had their backs to the altar. were fixed upon the ikon stand. the sacristan Lopuhov running impulsively from the altar and carrying the holy bread to the churchwarden. His torpid eyes. There were some ten people standing at the door. tramping with his heavy goloshes. still in his vestments. the darkened candle stands. . the threadbare carpet. There was only one thing. and seen over and over again like the five fingers of his hand. covered with indentations left by pimples. . was standing at the north door. . and sturdy goloshes -. Holy Queen and Mother! Whom does he mean it for?" Andrey Andreyitch looked round and saw the church completely deserted." The shopkeeper looked at Father Grigory's red and wrathful face. Father Grigory. . blue trousers not thrust into his boots. . He wore a long cloth overcoat with yellow bone buttons. He started. All these things he had seen for years. . he was dressed like a dandy. "Who is it he is winking at? God bless him!" thought the shopkeeper. sunk in fat. "Do come when you are called! Why do you stand like a graven image?" he heard Father Grigory's angry voice. the verger Matvey puffing out his cheeks and blowing out the candles.the huge clumsy goloshes only seen on the feet of practical and prudent persons of firm religious convictions. expressed on this occasion two contradictory feelings: resignation in the face of inevitable destiny. and hesitatingly walked towards the altar. unbounded disdain for the smocks and striped kerchiefs passing by him. As it was Sunday. His fat and shaven face. and stupid. however. left the railing.

a head or some other object? You send a note up to the altar." "Then it was you wrote this? You?" And Father Grigory angrily thrust before his eyes the little note. forgave a harlot. "How dared you write it?" whispered the priest. flushing crimson and blinking. The shopkeeper looked at him in blank amazement. letters: "For the rest of the soul of the servant of God." answered the shopkeeper. . was alarmed. . forgave this very thing. . "How dared you?" repeated the priest. certainly I wrote it. . "What have you got on your shoulders.excuse me . . "But you know." The shopkeeper wanted to bring forward some other argument in his . and in his husky whisper there was a note of wrath and alarm. one may see in what sense the word is used -. . . the harlot Mariya. Father." "Yes. "You don't understand?" whispered Father Grigory. . staring into each other's face. Both were silent for a minute. as it were staggering. the Lord in His mercy . The shopkeeper's amazement was so great that his fat face spread in all directions like spilt dough. He has prepared a place for her. . And on this little note. was it you asked for prayers for the rest of Mariya's soul?" asked the priest. . . . handed in by Andrey Andreyitch before mass."Andrey Andreyitch. his eyes angrily transfixing the shopkeeper's fat. he was perplexed. . perspiring face. too. stepping back in astonishment and clasping his hands. and he. Father Grigory had never in his life spoken in such a tone to a leading resident of Verhny Zaprudy. . what?" asked Andrey Andreyitch in bewilderment. "Yes. and indeed from the life of the holy saint. . was written in big. Mariya of Egypt. "Wha . and write a word in it which it would be unseemly even to utter in the street! Why are you rolling your eyes? Surely you know the meaning of the word?" "Are you referring to the word harlot?" muttered the shopkeeper. you understand? He has forgiven. I meant to do the same. . you mustn't be over-subtle. allow me to ask you a favor. and if you cannot direct it. . "the word is not a seemly one. . and whom! Your own deceased daughter! Not only in Holy Scripture. . . . And allow me to ask you. "An actress! But whatever she was. but even in worldly literature you won't read of such a sin! I tell you again. Make ten bows and go your way." the shopkeeper assented. But now. you mustn't be over-subtle! No. "that would teach you to leave off being so clever! Your daughter was a well-known actress. Andrey. . you ought to forget it all now she is dead. . . so I was. Above all. Father. excuse me. . . There were even notices of her death in the newspapers. but I did not say it to judge her. . but you judge her. excuse my mentioning it. . her father." "I obey. "But you see God has forgiven her -. brother! If God has given you an inquiring mind. . . but beware another time. . "You ought to do penance. and so on. Don't go into things. call her by an unseemly name. no. . was an actress!" articulated Andrey Andreyitch. looking contemptuously at Andrey Andreyitch's embarrassed face. but think like other people. ." "Just so. . meaning to ask you to sing the requiem today. . . Father Grigory. overwhelmed. . the drowned woman Pelagea. and hold your peace!" "But you know. I understand. certainly. They write in the memorial notes the various callings. . . relieved that the lecture was over. she. clasping his hands. she was still my daughter. Andrey! God will forgive you. instead of writing it on the note. don't be subtle. "Ten bows? Very good. you slander her. the murdered Pavel. . such as the infant John." "It was foolish. you know yourself. . . . ." boomed the deacon from the depths of the altar. whatever she was. Seeing that I am. . the warrior Yegor." said the shopkeeper." muttered the shopkeeper. . I only meant to speak spiritually. better not go into things. that it might be clearer to you for whom you were praying.justification. but took fright and wiped his lips with his sleeve "So that's what you make of it!" cried Father Grigory. and allowing his face to resume its expression of importance and dignity. Philosopher!" "To be sure.

. begin teaching her the prayers and the scripture. to dance. Oh. when he. hollow bass.Father Deacon!" "Well. requiem-like expression on his red face took his stand in the middle of the church. she was all attention. . There was no one else. . . even then he had the reputation of an authority on the church rules and the holy scriptures! Forbidding and stolid as her father's face was. to fill up their idle time. . hesitating and trying to express himself elaborately. the midwife Makaryevna. The sacristan sang badly in an unpleasant. . Near Andrey Andreyitch stood the verger Matvey. Mashutka had gone away to Moscow with his master's family. He thought of his Mashutka. that's good. so far as he had leisure for it. In his busy life as a lackey he had not noticed how his girl had grown up. and her one-armed son Mitka. the punishment of Sodom. We will come out immediately. and a little later the requiem service began. . Only from time to time casually meeting her at the gate or on the landing of the stairs. go your way. but the tune and the words were so mournful that the shopkeeper little by little lost the expression of dignity and was plunged in sadness. but on the other hand. began telling her stories." Andrey Andreyitch walked with dignity from the altar. There was perfect stillness in the church. with a little flaxen head and dreamy eyes as big as kopeck-pieces passed unnoticed by him. That long period during which she was being shaped into a graceful creature. I can approve of that! Well. he had had no hand in her bringing up. and with a solemn. . "That I commend. The gentry. . Afterwards when he gave up being a lackey. She repeated the prayers after him yawning. She had been brought up like all the children of favorite lackeys. yet the girl listened readily. The verger Matvey set before him a little table with the memorial food upon it. he remembered she had been born when he was still a lackey in the service of the owner of Verhny Zaprudy. and would. in ease and comfort in the company of the young ladies. Esau's pottage. to write. Nothing could be heard but the metallic click of the censer and slow singing." said Father Grigory. had taught her to read. . taking off his vestments. he would remember that she was his daughter. and the troubles of the boy Joseph made her turn pale and open her blue eyes wide. and with the money he had saved opened a shop in the village.

Before she went away she asked her father to come for a walk on the bank of the river. She talked cleverly. she ceased." he muttered. and dressed like one." Andrey Andreyvitch had thought. "Be mindful." And she had cried and cried. with a daughter who was an actress. ." The unseemly word dropped from his lips again. as though from a book. . "What ravines and marshes! Good heavens. She was a graceful young woman with the manners of a young lady. drawing her breath greedily with her whole chest. He had scarcely recognized her. O Lord.Three years before her death she had come to see her father. . drawing in a deep breath. Mashutka had begun boasting of her successes and her stage life. smoked. and forgive her sins. "The place is simply taking up room. but seeing that her father only turned crimson and threw up his hands. "There is no more profit from them than milk from a billy-goat. but he did not notice it: what is firmly imbedded in the consciousness cannot be driven out by Father Grigory's exhortations or even knocked out by a nail. while one-armed Mitka was brooding over something.. . looking blankly at the ravines. she had announced. voluntary or involuntary. Painful as it was for him to walk in the light of day. "of Thy departed servant. . Makaryevna sighed and whispered something. . . not understanding his daughter's enthusiasm. .. "What a lovely place you live in!" she said enthusiastically. . the harlot Mariya. how lovely my native place is!" And she had burst into tears. And they spent a fortnight together without speaking or looking at one another till the day she went away. and slept till midday. looking him boldly straight in the face: "I am an actress. When Andrey Andreyitch asked her what she was doing. in the sight of all honest people. as though she felt she had not a long time left to breathe." Such frankness struck the former flunkey as the acme of cynicism. Andrey Andreyitch shook his head like a horse that has been bitten. . he yielded to her request. and to stifle painful memories began rapidly crossing himself. .

the gates. holding aloof from the woes and tribulations of which that poor soul was full."Where there is no sickness. where the master's family lived. looked angrily and with envy at the porter. grandfather. left long uncut. playing "kings. And it seemed as though the soul of the dead woman were soaring into the sunlight together with the smoke. an old man of seventy. It was all shrouded in the darkness of night. well. Alyoshka the coachman's grandson. "I shall give you the trick. The shadows of the coaches and sledges with their shafts tipped upwards stretched from the walls to the doors. floating upwards to the window and. who had come up from the village to stay with his grandfather. quivering and cutting across the shadows cast by the lantern and the players. and a disagreeable smell of salt herrings coming from old Nikandr. Bluish smoke coiled up from the censer and bathed in the broad. He pouted and frowned. On the other side of the thin partition that divided the coach-house from the stable were the horses. IN THE COACH-HOUSE IT was between nine and ten o'clock in the evening. . pondering over his cards. The porter won and was king. the big house." he said. and only the four windows of one of the lodges which was let were brightly lit up. and the porter's l odge. little silly. Mihailo the house-porter. covering his right cheek with his hand. nor grief. a boy of eight with a head of flaxen hair." droned the sacristan. lifeless emptiness of the church." he said. as it were. There was a scent of hay. nor sighing. who used to come into the yard every evening to sell salt herrings. slanting patch of sunshine which cut across the gloomy." Through the wide-open door could be seen the whole yard. "Now if I like I can chop off anybody's head. . "I know you have got the queen of diamonds. were sitting round a lantern in the big coach-house. Alyoshka. the cellars. he assumed an attitude such as was in his opinion befitting a king. who had only missed being king by two tricks. and blew his nose loudly on a red-checked handkerchief. Stepan the coachman. ." "Well. and Nikandr. The coils of smoke like a child's curls eddied round and round. you have thought enough!" .

Alyoshka was already a prince. and the father and mother in. . "a great sin!" "From too much learning. "He is bound to die. . He called me this morning.Alyoshka timidly played the knave of diamonds. "Oh. . They have not extracted it. . gave me a letter. he put a bullet into his forehead from a revolver. ." the porter went on." said the porter. And so white skinned." said the ." said the porter. . or I will pull your ears! Yes." "It seems the fair sex is at the bottom of it. and said: 'Put it in the letter-box for me. sitting down to the cards again. . I let the doctors out. and he shook his head. "I have orders to go to the police station tomorrow. But he was a nice gentleman. . the fish-hawker a soldier. Play. they would have to pick open the brains. taking a trick. Such crying and wailing. At that moment a ring was heard from the yard. "I have just let the doctors out. don't look at the cards. But what do I know about it? I saw nothing of it. . Lord preserve us! They say he is the only son. hang you!" muttered the porter. you little puppy." said the porter. and the coachman a peasant. getting up. "Go and open the gate. peasant! ." "How could they? Just think." "It's a great sin. "It's a nasty business. looked round at the brightly lighted windows of the lodge. black-haired and tall! .' And his eyes were red with crying. . "his wits outstripped his wisdom. His wife and children were not at home. . Alyoshka. So when I had gone with the letter. of what use are doctors?" "He is lying unconscious. When I came back his cook was wailing for the whole yard to hear. . It's a grief!" All except Alyoshka. If there is a bullet in the head. They had gone out for a walk. Sometimes he would sit writing papers all night. who was absorbed in the game. They have only just arrived. "There will be an inquiry . . He was a good lodger. O king!" When he came back a little later." said the fish-hawker in a husky voice. .

The rebellious king spat with vexation and went out. and said. and he crossed himself. "It seems he was fond of another man's wife and disliked his own." he said a little later." the porter assented. the coachman. it does happen. It's a disgrace for his children for the rest of their lives now." he said." The porter came back and sat down by the lantern. "They have sent to the almshouse for the old women to lay him out." "The king rebels." said the fish-hawker. Looking at him. slapping the nine of trumps on the king of diamonds. Alyoshka crossed himself too." A strange wailing voice rang out for a moment in the air. boy?' Grandfather. "The man is lost.coachman. and said: "He stroked me on the head at the gate yesterday. too. . There was the sound of voices and hurried footsteps in the yard. "He is dead. then at the windows. Alyoshka looked in alarm at his grandfather. "I suppose the doctors have come again." said the coachman. "Why not?" "It's a sin." said the porter. who was that howled just now?" His grandfather trimmed the light in the lantern and made no answer. with a yawn. "Now his soul has gone ." "The kingdom of heaven and eternal peace to him!" whispered the coachman." "That's true. "You can't pray for such as him. and his children are ruined. . At that moment there was again a ring from the yard. "Our Mihailo is run off his legs. Shadows like dancing couples flitted across the windows of the lodge. . 'What district do you come from. "He is lost.

"'All this is your fancy. and all his family were buried there.' they said. . You can do anything with money. shot himself through the mouth with a pistol. . but to save disgrace our lady. not knowing what he was doing. without priests. bribed the police and the doctors. forgive us our transgressions!" sighed the fish-hawker. and they gave her a paper to say her son had done it when delirious. One month passed.' they said." repeated the fish-hawker. So the sacristan. you simple folk have such notions. It seems that by law such have to be buried outside the cemetery. 'Look out for other watchmen and graciously dismiss us. and it was all right. and pressed his face to the coachman's back so as not to see the windows. too. "There is only one . What did they want? They were brought to her." The old man put on his cap and got up." he said. for the deceased General had built that church with his own money. your excellency. 'outside the cemetery. she locked herself in her bedroom with the watchmen. too.' And I suppose she stood them a glass . and he was buried in the church. And the watchmen did so. the younger son of our mistress. and bury him. here are twenty-five roubles for you. "It was the same thing at our lady's. so that no one should hear or see you. . The stone with the inscription on it is there to this day.straight to hell.' she said.' " Alyoshka shuddered. but are buried like carrion with no respect. your son howls under the church all night. friends. . had heard him howling." "It's a sin. "such as he have no funeral. but he himself. 'we can't possibly. In the third month they informed the General's lady that the watchmen had come from that same church. to the devil. dig up my unhappy son. is outside the cemetery. the music played. and for that go by night in secret. 'We can't go on serving. . my friends. the General's lady." continued the old man. 'A dead man cannot howl. you know.' she said. without a requiem service. "We were serfs in those days. 'Here. . "At first the General's lady would not listen. no requiem. Only this is what happened. and then another. pulling his cap on further. The General's lady saw that it was a bad job. .' Some time afterwards the watchmen came to her again. they fell at her feet. from too much learning.' 'What for?' 'No. O Lord. and with them the sacristan. the General's son. So he had a funeral with priests and every honor. .

and was such a .day in the year when one may pray for such people: the Saturday before Trinity. and Alyoshka after him. there was a horrible stench from the extinguished lantern. "They are just going to lay him on the tables. the blessing of God and the Heavenly Mother be with you." The fish-hawker and the porter went out. Well. A little later Alyoshka sat up and looked . "Let us go. The coachman. . . Stepan lay down in a corner on the floor. it ran up to the bread. but you may feed the birds for the rest of their souls. They said their prayers. "Grandfather what are they doing?" asked Alyoshka in a whisper. child. and a fine-looking gray headed man were moving two card-tables into the middle of the room. The General's lady used to go out to the crossroads every three days to feed the birds. . and at once they both vanished from sight in the darkness. "Only this morning he was walking about the yard. . walking away with the fish -hawker. and now he is lying dead. so as not to be left in the coach-house. ." The coachman and Alyoshka went back to the coach-house. Mihailo. stretching up to try and cover the looking glass with a towel. All at once she fell on her knees in the garden." answered his grandfather. The coachman and Alyoshka went out too. . Alyoshka in a sledge. probably with the intention of laying the dead man upon them. The General's lady was like a half-crazy creature for five days afterwards. looking towards the windows where shadows were still flitting to and fro. and prayed and prayed. You mustn't give alms to beggars for their sake." said the porter. and on the green cloth of the table numbers could still be seen written in chalk. A very pale lady with large tear stained eyes. it is bedtime. Let us go. The cook who had run about the yard wailing in the morning was now standing on a chair. . Once at the cross-roads a black dog suddenly appeared. The doors of the coach house were shut. she neither ate nor drank. and took off their boots. we all know what that dog was. somewhat timidly went up to the lighted windows. good-by. ." "The time will come and we shall die too. . . you'll open the gate for me. . "The man was living and is dead!" said the coachman. friends. it is a sin.

. I am frightened!" he said. . "It's their crying. I will light the lantern. . "Come! there. oh." he said. "I am frightened here." "I tell you I am frightened!" "What are you frightened of? What a baby!" They were silent. ." "I want to go home. let's go to the village!" he besought him. ah! Come. how frightened I am! And why did you bring me from the village. be quiet. through the crack of the door he could still see a light from those lighted windows. accursed man?" "Who's an accursed man? You mustn't use such disrespectable words . . grandfather. . . "Grandfather Stepan. to mammy. go to sleep! . "Grandfather. "Grandfather. "Come. weeping." his grandson went on sobbing and trembling all over. . "What is it? What's the matter?" cried the coachman in a fright. let us go back to the village. loudly weeping. silly!" The coachman fumbled for the matches and lighted the lantern. grandfather dear. go to sleep. Alyoshka suddenly jumped out of the sledge and. come. getting up also. But the light did not comfort Alyoshka. oh. so they are crying. . God will give you the heavenly kingdom for it. . "He's howling!" "Who is howling?" "I am frightened. do you hear?" The coachman listened." "What a silly. little silly! They are sad.about him. . be quiet! Be quiet. ran to his grandfather.

you rascal. He sits in the corner and says nothing. The presence of the porter reassured Alyoshka. "and you. coming in. go to sleep. towards the sledge and lay down. Well. his grandfather was snoring. Alyoshka?" "He is frightened. . The porter said: "They are crying. . . frightened by his eyes. What are you crying for. . "Aren't you asleep. not very resolutely. . grandson. Alyoshka. Almost big enough to be married. The father is all right. . go along." the coachman answered for his grandson. come. ." "Come.I am frightened myself. . . grandfather. shall we have a game of trumps?" "Yes. "I beat and cover. . ." the coachman agreed. . Stepan?" he asked. ." When Alyoshka dreamed of the gentleman and. . Stepan. . and blubbering." repeated the porter. jumped up and burst out crying." "Do whip me. the door creaked and seemed also saying: "I beat and cover. don't be frightened." he said. your lawful grandfather. "It's all right." "And is the father there?" "Yes. . He went. . and the coach-house no longer seemed terrible. And while he was falling asleep he heard a half-whisper. go along." said his grandfather. Say your prayers!" The door creaked and the porter's head appeared. . The mother can't believe her eyes. I shall whip you. . scratching himself. Again there was the sound of a wailing voice in the air. . "I shall be opening and shutting the gates all night. . for God's mercy! . it was morning. . . "I beat and cover. The bell rang in the yard. come!" the coachman said kindly. Come. but only take me to mammy. . beat me like Sidor's goat. They have taken the children to relations. It's dreadful how upset she is. do. "I shan't get any sleep all night.

. and are suddenly cut short by a violent thunderstorm and a lavish downpour of rain that refreshes everything for a long time. The mawkishly sweet scents of the grass and flowers were heavy in the motionless. was caused by a trivial but strange phenomenon. or two miles. straight as a ruler. uncouth-looking cloud. It happened that. as though by magic. I waked Pashka for fear he should fall out and began cautiously . and a gorgeous picture suddenly.PANIC FEARS DURING all the years I have been living in this world I have only three times been terrified. I drove to the station for the newspapers. Its huts. or sometimes longer. its trees. a boy of eight years old. It was now sleeping. . which made my hair stand on end and made shivers run all over me. I had driven a mile and a half. with his head on a sack of oats. when against the pale background of the evening glow there came into sight one after another some graceful tall poplars. in regular unbroken succession. . stood out against the gray twilight and were reflected darkly in the smooth surface of the river. The first real terror. and of space. almost sultry evening. and an unbroken gray dusk lay all over the land. a streak of light cut its way through a narrow. whom I had taken with me to look after the horse in case of necessity. I was driving in a rough trolley. of fantastic shapes. warm. a fortnight. a river glimmered beyond them. . its church with the belfry. having nothing to do one July evening. nestled a village. Behind my back the gardener's son Pashka. which lay hid like a great snake in the tall thick rye. The sun had set some time before. We were standing on the hillside and beneath us at the bottom lay a huge hole full of twilight. was gently snoring. At the bottom of this hole. when once they have set in. There was a pale light from the afterglow of sunset. which seemed sometimes like a boat and sometimes like a man wrapped in a quilt. Our way lay along a narrow by-road. . . I had to stop the horse. in a wide plain guarded by the poplars and caressed by the gleaming river. for our straight road broke off abruptly and ran down a steep incline overgrown with bushes. stagnant air. It was a still. go on for a week. like all those monotonous evenings in July which. lay stretched before me.

. as though I had been flung down against my will into this great hole full of shadows." I thought. for the window looked not to the west. . lifting his head lazily. it became clear that I was overcome with terror. at another flickering up. dust. by now. What could it come from? Its source was beyond my comprehension. there was nothing there. but afterwards. as I knew. It could not be burning at the window.. There was no moon. . but though I strained my eyes to the utmost. for there were neither ikons nor lamps in the top turret of the belfry. At first I thought that this was vexation at not being able to explain a simple phenomenon. at one moment dying down. and spiders' webs. lost in conjecture. At the first glance one strange circumstance caught my attention: at the very top of the belfry. "Strange. .going down. The pale and. a light was twinkling. These and other similar considerations were straying through my mind all the while that I was going down the slope with the horse. At the bottom I sat down by the roadside and looked again at the light. and horror. "Pashka!" I cried. "Yes. Hold the reins! . "Very strange. quite dim streak of the afterglow could not have been reflected. As before it was glimmering and flaring up." And little by little I was overcome by an unpleasant feeling. when I suddenly turned away from the light in horror and caugh t hold of Pashka with one hand. It was hard to climb up into that turret. in the tiny window between the cupola and the bells. "Have we got to Lukovo?" asked Pashka. This light was like that of a smoldering lamp. I could not see one other speck of light in the vast expanse that lay before me. where I was standing all alone with the belfry looking at me with its red eye. It was more likely than anything else to be the reflection of some outside light. but beams. . for the passage to it from the belfry was closely blocked up. closing my eyes in horror." I led the horse down the hill and looked at the village. but to the east. I was seized with a feeling of loneliness. misery.

. I clutched the boy with one hand. "I am frightened. but on the other hand the silhouettes of the huts. and woodcocks were calling. I walked along a narrow path at the very edge of a railway embankment. Pashka. There was a light mist over the grass. The second terror I experienced was excited by a circumstance no less trivial. and read through two or three newspapers. On the way back the light was not to be seen. It was one o'clock at night. but the feeling of uneasiness did not leave me. sweetest sleep before the dawn. . seemed to me as though animated. I was returning from a romantic interview. and gave the horse a violent lash. "That phenomenon is only terrible because I don't understand it. huddled up to him. Nature was awake. "It's stupid!" I said to myself. then again at the light." he whispered. . what's that gleaming on the belfry?" Pashka looked over my shoulder at the belfry and gave a yawn. ."Well?" "Pashka. Corncrakes. looked at me again. beside myself with terror. When we reached the posting station I purposely stayed for a full hour chatting with the overseer. and clouds were scurrying straight ahead across the sky near the moon. of the poplars. The moonlight glided over the lines which were . "Who can tell?" This brief conversation with the boy reassured me for a little. the time when nature is buried in the soundest. seeing my uneasiness. but at the same time I did not leave off lashing the horse. and of the hill up which I had to drive. . At this point. nightingales. but not for long. fastened his big eyes upon the light." I tried to persuade myself. And why the light was there I don't know to this day. everything we don't understand is mysterious. crickets and grasshoppers were chirruping. quails.. That time nature was not sleeping. as though afraid of missing the best moments of her life. and one could not call the night a still one.

noisily darted towards me. and was entangled in conjectures like a fly in a spider's web. I was not sleepy. the whisperings of the trees. a hundred paces from me was the dark copse from which I had only just come. "So everything is well. There was nothing peculiar about it in itself. I was returning from a tryst. And at once I heard something to which I had paid no attention before: that is. Less than half a minute passed and the blur had vanished. the rumble melted away into the noise of the night. I stood still in perplexity and waited. every step I took. peaceful. but I remember I was happy. seemed sinister. rousing a dull echo in the monotonous hum of the night. I did not believe my eyes. . Where could it have come from and what force sent it flying so rapidly along the rails? Where did it come from and where was it flying to? If I had been superstitious I should have made up my mind it was a party of demons and witches journeying to a devils' sabbath. Great shadows from the clouds kept flitting over the embankment. I looked round. the phenomenon was absolutely inexplicable to me. It was an ordinary goods truck. looking at them. all the sounds. I had a quiet. and sounded nearer and nearer. . I dashed on like a madman. comfortable feeling in my heart. It grew louder and louder every second. trying to run faster and faster. the cries of the birds. I don't know what I was feeling then. and with the swiftness of a bird flew past me along the rails. rather like the roar of a great stream. and existing simply to alarm my imagination. but its appearance without an engine and in the night puzzled me. the plaintive whining of the telegraph wires. I suddenly realized that I was utterly alone on the whole vast plain. . was peeping into my face and dogging my footsteps. which by now seemed inhospitable. and should have gone on my way. I had no need to hurry.already covered with dew. that the night. very happy. A huge black body appeared at once at the turn. Far ahead. . and I was conscious of youth and health in every sigh. a dim green light was glimmering peacefully. but as it was. a rumbling. there the embankment turned to the right in a graceful curve and vanished among the trees." I thought. and without realizing what I was doing I ran. I had gone not more than three-quarters of a mile when I suddenly heard behind me a monotonous sound.

It was in the dusk of evening. so it broke off and ran back." "I saw it. probably flattered by my attention. Four or five miles from home. and ran on. where I saw a dark signal-box. . The crimson glow of sunset flooded the whole forest. walking along the forest road. a truck ran by. The forest road was covered with pools from a recent shower of rain. "Did you see it?" I asked breathlessly. "A nice dog!" I thought. As he ran by. . . "See whom? What?" "Why. probably the signalman. . There is an incline at the ninetieth mile . . The dog was standing ten paces off with his eyes fixed on me." the peasant said reluctantly. "It broke away from the goods train. There is no catching it now! . the train is dragged uphill. . trying to shame myself. the dog following me. and near it on the embankment the figure of a man. "Whose is it?" I looked round. then the dog. ."This is beyond everything. and the earth squelched under one's feet. I was exhausted and could hardly move.." I said. I suddenly met a big black dog of the water spaniel breed. coloring the white stems of the birches and the young leaves. For a minute we scanned each other in silence. came slowly up to me and wagged his tail. . I only slackened my pace when I reached the green light. the dog looked intently at me. "It's cowardice! it's silly!" But cowardice was stronger than common sense. ." The strange phenomenon was explained and its fantastic character vanished. . straight in my face. My third fright came upon me as I was going home from stand shooting in early spring. . My panic was over and I was able to go on my way. I walked on. The coupling on the last truck gave way.

The same thing happened as with the light in the belfry and the truck on the railway: I could not stand it and rushed away. . . He gazed at me without blinking. or perhaps a result of exhaustion. The dog probably liked my voice."Whose dog can it be?" I kept asking myself. for he gave a gleeful jump and ran about in front of me. and every time the dog ran up to me and hit me with his tail. The dog followed me. but I could not get Faust's dog out of my head. How did he come to be in the depths of the forest. Darkness was coming on. for there was nowhere for the gentry to drive to along that road. "Go away!" I shouted again. and the feeling of panic grew more and more acute. but I suddenly felt uneasy under the steady gaze of his ordinary doggy eyes. "Go away!" I shouted. Not one of them had a spaniel like that. "Where does he come from?" I knew all the country gentry for twenty or thirty miles round. Evidently my threatening tone amused him. I don't know whether it was the influence of the stillness. The old banker was walking up and . He. raised his head. and fastened upon me an intent stare. who. I thought of Faust and his bulldog. stared at me intently. and of the fact that nervous people sometimes when exhausted have hallucinations. THE BET IT WAS a dark autumn night. I ought to have patted him. I sat down on a stump to rest. sat down. and knew all their dogs. The dog looked round. an old friend. too. At home I found a visitor. on a track used for nothing but carting timber? He could hardly have dropped behind someone passing through. and began scrutinizing my companion. and wagged his tail good-humoredly. began to complain that as he wa s driving to me he had lost his way in the forest. after greeting me. That was enough to make me get up hurriedly and hurriedly walk on. like a coward I shut my eyes. the shadows and sounds of the forest. and a splendid valuable dog of his had dropped behind. which completed my confusion.

and unsuitable for Christian States. fifteen years before. The banker. was suddenly carried away by excitement. They considered that form of punishment out of date. among whom were many journalists and intellectual men. immoral. Among other things they had talked of capital punishment. When he was asked his opinion. "for they both have the same object -.down his study and remembering how. The State is not God. There had been many clever men there. "I don't agree with you. The majority of the guests. "I have not tried either the death penalty or imprisonment for life. "I'll take the bet. I stake two millions!" "Agreed! You stake your millions and I stake my freedom!" said the young man. he who kills you in a few minutes or he who drags the life out of you in the course of many years?" "Both are equally immoral. the death penalty is more moral and more humane than imprisonment for life. but if one may judge _a priori_. I would certainly choose the second. he struck the table with his fist and shouted at the young man: "It's not true! I'll bet you two millions you wouldn't stay in solitary confinement for five years. but lifelong imprisonment kills him slowly. he had given a party one autumn evening. and there had been interesting take away life." said their host the banker." Among the guests was a young lawyer. who was younger and more nervous in those days." "Fifteen? Done!" cried the banker. It has not the right to take away what it cannot restore when it wants to. he said: "The death sentence and the life sentence are equally immoral." said the young man. Which executioner is the more humane." observed one of the guests." A lively discussion arose. but if I had to choose between the death penalty and imprisonment for life. Capital punishment kills a man at once." "If you mean that in earnest. "Gentlemen. . a young man of five-and-twenty. but I would stay not five but fifteen years. To live anyhow is better than not at all. In the opinion of some of them the death penalty ought to be replaced everywhere by imprisonment for life. disapproved of the death penalty.

By the terms of the agreement. but you are losing three or four of the best years of your life. remembered all this. and so on -. spoilt and frivolous. and bound the young man to stay there _exactly_ fifteen years. It was decided that the young man should spend the years of his captivity under the strictest supervision in one of the lodges in the banker's garden. I am sorry for you. and was allowed to write letters. and on his part simple greed for any quantity he desired by writing an order. For the first year of his confinement. with millions beyond his reckoning. released the banker from the obligation to pay him two millions. because you won't stay longer. The thought that you have the right to step out in liberty at any moment will poison your whole existence in prison." Then he remembered what followed that evening. music. you unhappy man. He was allowed to have a musical instrument and books. the prisoner suffered severely from loneliness and depression. It was agreed that for fifteen years he should not be free to cross the threshold of the lodge. At supper he made fun of the young man. Don't forget either." And now the banker. The sounds of the piano could be heard . . . and said: "Think better of it. 1885. was delighted at the bet. beginning from twelve o'clock of November 14. but could only receive them through the window. that voluntary confinement is a great deal harder to bear than compulsory. the only relations he could have with the outer world were by a little window made purposely for that object. and asked himself: "What was the object of that bet? What is the good of that man's losing fifteen years of his life and my throwing away two millions? Can it prove that the death penalty is better or worse than imprisonment for life? No. as far as one could judge from his brief notes. and ending at twelve o'clock of November 14. senseless bet was carried out! The banker. or to receive letters and newspapers. to drink wine. while there is still time. It was all nonsensical and meaningless. I say three or four. He might have anything he wanted -books. to see human beings. wine.And this wild. young man. and to smoke. To me two millions are a trifle. no. if only two minutes before the end. to hear the human voice. The agreement provided for every detail and every trifle that would make his imprisonment strictly solitary. walking to and fro. On my part it was the caprice of a pampered man. . The slightest attempt on his part to break the conditions. 1870.

excites the desires. He refused wine and tobacco. Then after the tenth year. In the second year the piano was silent in the lodge. philosophy. and desires are the worst foes of the prisoner. Theology and histories of religion followed the Gospels. but the same flame burns in them all. and the prisoner asked for wine. Let them read them. In the fifth year music was audible again. and the prisoner asked only for the classics. and history. frequently yawning and angrily talking to himself. The banker ordered two shots to be fired in the garden. And tobacco spoilt the air of his room. and so on. More than once he could be heard crying. and besides. In the last two years of his confinement the prisoner read an . He did not read books. I write you these lines in six languages. he would spend hours writing.continually day and night from his lodge. if you only knew what unearthly happiness my soul feels now from being able to understand them!" The prisoner's desire was fulfilled. In the first year the books he sent for were principally of a light character. Wine. Show them to people who know the languages. the prisoner sat immovably at the table and read nothing but the Gospel. In the second half of the sixth year the prisoner began zealously studying languages. novels with a complicated love plot. That shot will show me that my efforts have not been thrown away. Sometimes at night he would sit down to write. It was during this period that the banker received the following letter from his prisoner: "My dear Jailer. nothing could be more dreary than drinking good wine and seeing no one. If they find not one mistake I implore you to fire a shot in the garden. The geniuses of all ages and of all lands speak different languages. he much so that the banker had enough to do to get him the books he ordered. Those who watched him through the window said that all that year he spent doing nothing but eating and drinking and lying on his bed. It seemed strange to the banker that a man who in four years had mastered six hundred learned volumes should waste nearly a year over one thin book easy of comprehension. He threw himself eagerly into these studies -. and in the morning tear up all that he had written. In the course of four years some six hundred volumes were procured at his request. Oh. sensational and fantastic stories.

" Fifteen years before.immense quantity of books quite indiscriminately. his millions had been beyond his reckoning. but could see neither the earth nor the white statues. Trying to make no noise. everyone was asleep in the house and nothing could be heard outside but the rustling of the chilled trees. wild speculation and the excitability whic h he could not get over even in advancing years. he took from a fireproof safe the key of the door which had not been opened for fifteen years. It was dark and cold in the garden. "Cursed bet!" muttered the old man. No answer followed. self-confident millionaire had become a banker of middling rank. the banker listened. will gamble on the Exchange. Desperate gambling on the Stock Exchange. while I shall look at him with envy like a beggar. now he was afraid to ask himself which were greater. and went out of the house. His reading suggested a man swimming in the sea among the wreckage of his ship. II The old banker remembered all this. then he would ask for Byron or Shakespeare. let me help you!' No. He will take my last penny from me. Evidently the watchman had . and some treatise on philosophy or theology. had by degrees led to the decline of his fortune and the proud. it is all over with me: I shall be utterly ruined. nor the lodge. There were notes in which he demanded at the same time books on chemistry. his debts or his assets. will enjoy life. clutching his head in despair "Why didn't the man die? He is only forty now. A damp cutting wind was racing about the garden. trembling at every rise and fall in his investments. fearless. By our agreement I ought to pay him two millions. it is too much! The one means of being saved from bankruptcy and disgrace is the death of that man!" It struck three o'clock. put on his overcoat. Going to the spot where the lodge stood. nor the trees. At one time he was busy with the natural sciences. howling and giving the trees no rest. and trying to save his life by greedily clutching first at one spar and then at another. and hear from him every day the same sentence: 'I am indebted to you for the happiness of my life. and a novel. The banker strained his eyes. he will marry. and thought: "To-morrow at twelve o'clock he will regain his freedom. If I do pay him. Rain was falling. and a manual of medicine. he twice called the watchman.

on the two easy-chairs. His hair was already streaked with silver. He was sitting at the table. and on the carpet near the table. aged-looking face. and the most conscientious expert would find no sign . He made up his mind to go in. and his hands. "Poor creature!" thought the banker. The rusty lock gave a grating sound and the door creaked. Then he groped his way into a little passage and lighted a match. Then the banker cautiously broke the seals off the door and put the key in the keyhole. At the table a man unlike ordinary people was sitting motionless. Fifteen years' imprisonment had taught him to sit still. and in the corner there was a dark cast-iron stove. A candle was burning dimly in the prisoner's room. and went into the entry of the lodge. no one would have believed that he was only forty. but three minutes passed and it was as quiet as ever in the room. .sought shelter from the weather. He was a skeleton with the skin drawn tight over his bones. There was not a soul there. stifle him a little with the pillow. His face was yellow with an earthy tint in it. throw him on the bed. And I have only to take this half-dead man. The banker expected to hear at once footsteps and a cry of astonishment. and the hand on which his shaggy head was propped was so thin and delicate that it was dreadful to look at it. The seals on the door leading to the prisoner's rooms were intact. In front of his bowed head there lay on the table a sheet of paper on which there was something written in fine handwriting. Five minutes passed and the prisoner did not once stir. peeped through the little window. . Nothing could be seen but his back. . and the prisoner made no movement whatever in response. He was asleep. "Suspicion would fall first upon the watchman." He felt in the darkness for the steps and the door. Open books were lying on the table." thought the old man. and seeing his emaciated. with long curls like a woman's and a shaggy beard. "he is asleep and most likely dreaming of the millions. There was a bedstead with no bedding on it. When the match went out the old man. trembling with emotion. and was now asleep somewhere either in the kitchen or in the greenhouse. his back long and narrow. The banker tapped at the window with his finger. the hair on his head. "If I had the pluck to carry out my intention. his cheeks were hollow.

rivers. have visited me at night. . but before I leave this room and see the sunshine. and the mountain-tops with gold and crimson. and have whispered in my ears wonderful tales that have set my brain in a whirl. It is true I have not seen the earth nor men. "And I despise your books. "For fifteen years I have been intently studying earthly life. You have taken lies for truth. . like a mirage. fleeting. I have sung songs. "Your books have given me wisdom. It is all worthless. who beholds me. and deceptive. You would marvel if. . Beauties as ethereal as clouds. owing to strange events of some sorts. You may be proud. but in your books I have drunk fragrant wine. . the ocean. I have touched the wings of comely devils who flew down to converse with me of God. In your books I have climbed to the peaks of Elburz and Mont Blanc. your immortal geniuses will burn or freeze together with the earthly globe. as before God. . preached new religions. I know that I am wiser than all of you. I have hunted stags and wild boars in the forests. I think it necessary to say a few words to you. frogs and . and hideousness for beauty. towns. All that the unresting thought of man has created in the ages is compressed into a small compass in my brain. conquered whole kingdoms. . . With a clear conscience I tell you.of a violent death. created by the magic of your poets and geniuses. . lakes. have loved women. that I despise freedom and life and health. and fine. and the strains of the shepherds' pipes. fields. . illusory. I despise wisdom and the blessings of this world. and from there I have seen the sun rise and have watched it at evening flood the sky. "You have lost your reason and taken the wrong path. but death will wipe you off the face of the earth as though you were no more than mice burrowing under the floor. burned towns. I have seen green forests. and your posterity." The banker took the page from the table and read as follows: "To-morrow at twelve o'clock I regain my freedom and the right to associate with other men. performed miracles. But let us first read what he has written here. I have watched from there the lightning flashing over my head and cleaving the storm-clouds. slain. and all that in your books is called the good things of the world. . your history. wise. I have heard the singing of the sirens. In your books I have flung myself into the bottomless pit. . .

and disappear. . At no other time. To avoid arousing unnecessary talk. While the workmen were carrying out our magnificent purchases and packing them into the carts. and when he got home locked it up in the fireproof safe. respected by everyone. THE HEAD-GARDENER'S STORY A SALE of flowers was taking place in Count N.a landowner who was a neighbor of mine. To deprive myself of the right to the money I shall go out from here five hours before the time fixed. even when he had lost heavily on the Stock Exchange. very good-hearted man. He was an intelligent. wearing a fur waistcoat and no coat. though he was in reality on his father's . listening to the birds. and myself. "To prove to you in action how I despise all that you live by. but his tears and emotion kept him for hours from sleeping. a young timber-merchant.'s greenhouses. a venerable old man with a full shaven face. he took from the table the writing in which the millions were renounced. . I don't want to understand you. Next morning the watchmen ran in with pale faces. ." When the banker had read this he laid the page on the table. and watching the flowers brought out into the open air and basking in the sunshine. or if roses began to smell like a sweating horse. superintended the packing of the plants himself. had he felt so great a contempt for himself. The head-gardener. I renounce the two millions of which I once dreamed as of paradise and which now I despise. When he got home he lay on his bed. we sat at the entry of the greenhouse and chatted about one thing and another. The banker went at once with the servants to the lodge and made sure of the flight of his prisoner. and went out of the lodge. weeping. The purchasers were few in number -. kissed the strange man on the head. He was for some reason looked upon by everyone as a German.lizards suddenly grew on apple and orange trees instead of fruit. and told him they had seen the man who lived in the lodge climb out of the window into the garden. so I marvel at you who exchange heaven for earth. Mihail Karlovitch. go to the gate. but at the same time he listened to our conversation in the hope of hearing something new. and so break the compact. It is extremely pleasant to sit in a garden on a still April morning.

they pronounced him mentally deranged." Mihail Karlovitch turned towards us and said: "As far as I am concerned." "That's very true. lead to no good. He had his weaknesses. and liked to be listened to with respect and attention. and speeches for the prosecution. "That young fellow there I can recommend to you as an awful rascal. even then I am triumphant. he could not endure to be contradicted. he is the picture of health. but they were innocent ones: he called himself the head gardener. I am always delighted to meet with these verdicts of not guilty. . these unmistakable proofs of an indulgent attitude to crime. is not that faith _in man_ in itself higher than any ordinary considerations? Such faith is only attainable by those few who understand and feel Christ. Judge for yourselves. Even when my conscience tells me the jury have made a mistake in acquitting the criminal. Swedish. pointing to a laborer with a swarthy. and you know in our age one may boldly say in the words of Shakespeare that in our evil and corrupt age virtue must ask forgiveness of vice. Scoundrels are very often acquitted nowadays in Russia on grounds of abnormality and aberration. and German. He had read a good deal in those languages.side Swedish. for instance. if the judges and the jury have more faith in _man_ than in evidence. who drove by with the water-barrel. about Ibsen. the expression of his face was unusually dignified and haughty. I am not afraid for morality and justice when they say 'Not guilty. on his mother's side Russian. material proofs." "A fine thought. murder and arson have become much more common. Ask the peasants. gentlemen. gipsy face. yet these acquittals.' but on the contrary I feel pleased. "Owing to these frequent acquittals." I said. He knew Russian. and nothing one could do gave him greater pleasure than lending him some new book or talking to him. They demoralize the masses. gentlemen. though there were no under-gardeners. and attended the Orthodox church." said my neighbor." the merchant assented. the sense of justice is blunted in all as they become accustomed to seeing vice unpunished. and yet look at him. "Last week he was tried in the town for burglary and was acquitted.

He was himself ill with consumption. "I was told it by my grandmother. so classical. and it does not sound so fine. climbed up the hills however high they might be. They spent their days and nights in contemplation. "But that was not enough.all in fact. I remember a very long time ago I heard a legend on that subject. respected him . He never visited anyone. he was a learned man. despised thirst and hunger. and had no time to waste a word. She told me it in Swedish. The fact was. he deliberately lighted his pipe. 'He knows everything. Their gratitude knew no bounds. and were proud that such a remarkable man was living in their town. looked upon everything else as trivial. never extended his acquaintance beyond a silent bow. yet he loved them like children. he would follow the coffin with the relations. the surname is not the point. and he smiled. He was always morose and unsociable." said the gardener."But it's not a new one. elderly gentleman called Thomson or Wilson -. gasping for breath. Grown-up people and children. He disregarded the sultry heat and the cold.' In the breast of that learned man there beat a wonderful angelic heart. an excellent old lady. my father's mother. 'He loves everyone. Much gratified." But we begged him to tell it and not to be put off by the coarseness of the Russian language. and lived as humbly as a hermit. honest men and cheats -. but when he was summoned to the sick he forgot his own illness he did not spare himself and. He followed an honorable profession: he was a doctor. in reading and in healing disease. weeping. They ought to have also said.but that does not matter. and began: "There settled in a certain little town a solitary. looked angrily at the laborers. when one of his patients died. The inhabitants of the town understood this. and tried not to worry him with their visits and empty chatter. Though the people of that town were strangers and not his own people. good and bad alike. They were very glad that God had sent them at last a man who could heal diseases. "And soon he became so necessary to the town that the inhabitants wondered how they could have got on before without the man. and only spoke when required by his profession. he had a cough. plain. A very charming legend. in Russian. and did not spare himself for them. He would accept no money and strange to say. and in those days learned men were not like other people.' they said about him.

and the combination of evidence is due to simple chance. and his pale face wore an expression of amazement. they gave him a warm wrap and accompanied him as far as the town.and knew his value. but he felt that he was in perfect security. he was lying in a ravine. he never fastened the doors or windows. indeed. In the little town and all the surrounding neighborhood there was no man who would allow himself to do anything disagreeable to him. The doctor was buried. When he answered that he was not hungry. to whom even brigands and frenzied men wished nothing but good. wondering who could have killed the man. but as there is not a man in the world capable of murdering our doctor. isn't there? "All at once. happy that fate had given them the chance in some small way to show their gratitude to the benevolent man. not horror but amazement was the emotion that had been fixed upon his face when he saw the murderer before him. in complete confidence that there was no thief who could bring himself to do him wrong. they took off their hats respectfully and offered him something to eat. "And this man who seemed by his sanctity to have guarded himself from every evil. was seen selling for . notorious for his vicious life. A vagrant who had been many times convicted. and nothing more was said about a violent death. You can imagine the grief that overwhelmed the inhabitants of the town and the surrounding districts. Yes. The existence of a man who could have the baseness and wickedness to kill the doctor seemed incredible. When he came out of his lodging. was one fine morning found murdered. through the forests and mountains haunted by numbers of hungry vagrants. would you believe it. All were in despair. "One night he was returning from a patient when robbers fell upon him in the forest. chance led them to discovering the murderer. my grandmother told me that even the horses and the cows and the dogs knew him and expressed their joy when they met him. There is a limit even to wickedness. The judges who conducted the inquiry and examined the doctor's body said: 'Here we have all the signs of a murder. with his skull broken. Well. they would never have dreamed of it. He often had in the course of his medical duties to walk along the highroads. but when they recognized him. unable to believe their eyes. obviously it was not a case of murder. Covered with blood. to be sure.' "The whole town agreed with this opinion. We must suppose that in the darkness he fell into the ravine of himself and was mortally injured.

looked distrustfully at the witnesses.drink a snuff-box and watch that had belonged to the doctor. A search was made. addressing the murderer. and cried out: "'No! May God punish me if I judge wrongly. The trial began early in the morning and was only finished in the evening. but I swear he is not guilty. 'Let him go!' "The murderer was set free to go where he chose. they judge worse of men than of dogs. What more evidence was wanted? They put the criminal in prison.' "At his trial the murderer obstinately denied his guilt. So-and-so. He rejoices when people believe that man is His image and semblance. and a doctor's lancet set in gold. When he was questioned he was confused. "'No. I cannot admit the thought that there exists a man who would dare to murder our friend the doctor! A man could not sink so low!' "'There cannot be such a man!' the other judges assented. and in his bed was found a shirt with stains of blood on the sleeves.' but he dropped from his hands the paper on which the sentence was written. you know. wiped the cold sweat from his face. and answered with an obvious lie. 'the court has found you guilty of murdering Dr. it does happen. and at the same time said: " 'It's incredible! It can't be so! Take care that a mistake is not made. and has sentenced you to. flushed crimson and sipped water. And my grandmother used to say that for such faith in humanity God forgave the sins of all the inhabitants of that town. . . and to be convinced of his guilt was as easy as to believe that this earth is black.' "The chief judge meant to say 'to the death penalty. and grieves if. The inhabitants were indignant. but on the other hand. forgetful of human dignity.' the crowd cried. . and not one soul blamed the court for an unjust verdict. that evidence tells a false tale. . think of the beneficial influence upon them of that faith in man -. . "'Accused!' the chief judge said.a faith which does . but the judges seem to have gone mad: they weighed every proof ten times. . The sentence of acquittal may bring harm to the inhabitants of the town. Everything was against him.

This figure walked straddling its legs and shuffling with its slippers. and always impels us to love and respect every man. Wherever I looked there were flies and flies and flies. This little head was clumsily attached to a lean hunch-back carcass attired in a fantastic garb. but the head-gardener made a gesture that signified that he did not like objections. languidly dreary day of August. . and our mouths were parched from the heat and the dry burning wind which drove clouds of dust to meet us. and. not smiling. gazed mildly and dejectedly into the distance to see whether there was a village visible through the dust. It was a sultry. swung his whip at the horses and lashed me on my cap. one did not want to look or speak or think. stifling. THE BEAUTIES I I REMEMBER. the furniture. went on looking after the packing. it raises up generous feelings in us. Our eyes were glued together. a short red jacket. a Little Russian called Karpo. I remember. then he walked away to the carts. and dreary as in the steppe and on the road. I did not protest or utter a sound. The unpainted wooden walls. Never in my life have I seen a greater caricature than that Armenian. There was neither wind nor dust in the Armenian's rooms. dusty and exhausted by the heat. My neighbor would have urged some objection. and the floors colored with yellow ocher smelt of dry wood baked by the sun. but it was just as unpleasant. We stopped to feed the horses in a big Armenian village at a rich Armenian's whom my grandfather knew. a beak of a nose. I sat in the corner on a green box. . and a wide mouth with a long cherry-wood chibouk sticking out of it. long gray mustaches. but staring with wide-open eyes and trying to take as little notice as possible of its guests. Grandfather and the Armenian were talking . I was driving with my grandfather from the village of Bolshoe Kryepkoe in the Don region to Rostov-on-the-Don.not remain dead. when I was a high school boy in the fifth or sixth class. with an expression of dignity." Mihail Karlovitch had finished. rousing myself from half-slumber. spoke without taking the chibouk out of its mouth. Every man! And that is important. . and behaved with truly Armenian dignity. you know. Imagine a little shaven head with thick overhanging eyebrows. but only. and when our drowsy driver. and full bright blue trousers.

and about oats. . . gold.was a real beauty. is reflected in the river and the puddles. I saw the bewitching features of the most beautiful face I have ever met in real life or in my dreams. and should only cease to see them in the far-off future. a flock of wild ducks is flying homewards. Before me stood a beauty. and all I could see was that she was of a slender figure.or. who was handing me a glass of tea. I knew that they would be a good hour getting the samovar. The Armenian went slowly out into the passage and shouted: "Mashya. the dust. after which there would be again the heat. As she washed the crockery and poured out the tea. . one cloud is like a monk. then the samovar. as her father called her. another like a fish. . and then would lie down to sleep for two or three hours. and felt all at once as though a wind were blowing over my soul and blowing away all the impressions of the day with their dust and dreariness. Mashya -. and I recognized that at the first glance as I should have recognized lightning. orange. that I should waste a quarter of the day waiting. the flies. Sitting down to the table. A Little Russian peasant woman in a kerchief brought in a tray of tea-things. the sun. the windows with the burning sun beating on them. and it began to seem to me that I had been seeing the Armenian. a third like a Turk in a turban. far. the jolting cart. I am ready to swear that Masha -. quivers on the trees. lilac. The glow of sunset enveloping a third of the sky gleams on the cross on the church. and that her little bare heels were covered by long trousers.. . she was standing with her back to me. . but I don't know how to prove it.about grazing. about manure. and the surveyor . and there came into the room a girl of sixteen in a simple cotton dress and a white kerchief. that grandfather would be not less than an hour drinking his tea. the flies. come and pour out tea! Where are you. barefooted. . And the boy herding the cows. . the cupboard with the crockery. I heard the muttering of the two voices. flashes on the windows of the manor house. I glanced at the girl. for ages and ages. muddy pink. far away against the background of the sunset. and I was seized with hatred for the steppe. and the sun hiding behind them colors them and the sky with tints of every possible shade--crimson. It sometimes happens that clouds are huddled together in disorder on the horizon. Mashya?" Hurried footsteps were heard. The Armenian invited me to have tea.

inspires in one the conviction that one is seeing correct features. but was all the time looking down.God knows why!-." said my grandfather approvingly. Avert Nazaritch?" "Yes. and every movement of the young body all go together in one complete harmonious accord in which nature has not blundered over the smallest line. of the dust. nose. sincere. neck. straight and slightly aquiline. "That's because I am covered with dust. You gaze. that hair. An artist would have called the Armenian girl's beauty classical and severe. the contemplation of which -. "A fine young lady. such a languid glance. At first I felt hurt and abashed that Masha took no notice of me. and little by little the desire comes over you to say to Masha something extraordinarily pleasant. bosom. and gave myself up entirely to the consciousness of beauty. You fancy for some reason that the ideally beautiful woman must have such a nose as Masha's. and am still a boy. and every one of them thinks it terribly beautiful. as beautiful as she herself was. but you fancy the sculptor would need a great creative genius to mold them. beautiful. she is my daughter." But little by little I forgot myself.driving in his chaise over the dam. and felt nothing except that a ." I thought. I was not the only one to think the Armenian girl beautiful. Masha's white neck and her youthful bosom were not fully developed. mouth. and the gentleman out for a walk. I thought no more now of the dreary steppe. no longer tasted the tea. "am sunburnt. an old man of seventy. you fancy that her black curly hair and eyebrows go with the soft white tint of her brow and cheeks as the green reeds go with the quiet stream. it was just that beauty. all gaze at the sunset. separated her from me and jealously screened her from my eyes." answered the Armenian. no longer heard the buzzing of the flies. gruff and indifferent to women and the beauties of nature. just such great dark eyes. looked caressingly at Masha for a full minute. such long lashes. proud and happy. but no one knows or can say in what its beauty lies. eyes. and asked: "Is that your daughter. My grandfather. it seemed to me as though a peculiar atmosphere.

not an awning. for my grandfather and for the Armenian. white. too. The sun was baking me on my head. ran unwillingly as though with effort. not understanding why they were made to run round in one place and to crush the wheat straw. . so that they formed one long radius. cracking a whip and shouting in a tone that sounded as though he were jeering at the horses and showing off his power over them. After tea my grandfather lay down for a nap while I went out of the house into the porch. but a painful though pleasant sadness. and I had a feeling as though we all four had lost something important and essential to life which we should never find again. overgrown with goosefoot and wild mallows. red ladybirds were huddling together in the streaks of shadow under the steps and under the shutters. nor ecstacy. and a similar Little Russian was cracking his whip and jeering at the horses. A Little Russian in a long waistcoat and full trousers was walking beside them. I felt this beauty rather strangely.beautiful girl was standing only the other side of the table. and piebald. and on my back. swinging their tails with an offended air. . Round a post stuck into the middle of the threshing-floor ran a dozen horses harnessed side by side. Near the tall fresh stacks peasant women were swarming with rakes. The Armenian's great courtyard. there was not a tree. nor enjoyment that Masha excited in me. . The house. The wind raised up perfect clouds of golden chaff from under their hoofs and carried it away far beyond the hurdle. no shade. It was a sadness vague and undefined as a dream. plague take you! Are you frightened?" The horses. was lively and full of gaiety in spite of the great heat. looking pensively at Masha. It was not desire. he talked no more about manure or about oats. on my chest. A--a--a. The steps on which I was sitting were hot. like all the houses in the Armenian village stood in the full sun. sorrel. you damned brutes! . on the thin rails and here and there on the window-frames sap was oozing out of the wood from the heat. but sat silent. grew melancholy. Threshing was going on behind one of the low hurdles which intersected the big yard here and there. My grandfather. and beyond the stacks in another yard another dozen similar horses were running round a post. For some reason I felt sorry for myself. even for the girl herself. "A--a--a. and carts were moving.

now to the threshing-floor. She ran now down the steps. or whether I vaguely felt that her rare beauty was accidental. After clearing away the tea-things. and never would be. The wet horse snorted with pleasure and kicked his . perhaps. the more acute became my sadness. And the oftener she fluttered by me with her beauty. unclean devils!" And all the while I was unceasingly hearing her bare feet. The three hours of waiting passed unnoticed. I felt sorry both for her and for myself and for the Little Russian. It seemed to me that I had not had time to look properly at Masha when Karpo drove up to the river. preoccupied face. who mournfully watched her every time she ran through the cloud of chaff to the carts. bathed the horse. unnecessary. he followed her with his eyes. or that I was regretting that the girl was not mine. Then when the Armenian girl darted again by the horses and leaped over the hurdle. fluttering the air as she passed. and began to put it in the shafts. and. or that I was a stranger to her. and like a bird flew into a little grimy outhouse--I suppose the kitchen--from which came the smell of roast mutton and the sound of angry talk in Armenian. she ran across the yard to the threshing-floor. swaying gracefully under the weight of the bread. of short duration. The Little Russian who was driving the horses lowered his whip. or whether. and in her place there appeared on the threshold an old bent.but I did not notice it. She vanished into the dark doorway. and. and I could hardly turn my head quickly enough to watch her. darted over the hurdle. God only knows. sank into silence. Whether it was envy of her beauty. Soon afterwards Masha appeared in the doorway. and was conscious only of the thud of bare feet on the uneven floor in the passage and in the rooms behind me. and gazed for a minute in the direction of the carts. my sadness was that peculiar feeling which is excited in man by the contemplation of real beauty. wrapt in a cloud of golden chaff. flushed with the heat of the kitchen and carrying a big black loaf on her shoulder. Masha ran down the steps. vanished behind the carts. and shouted to the horses in a tone as though he were greatly disappointed: "Plague take you. red-faced Armenian woman wearing green trousers. now into the kitchen. now through the gate. swishing the air about me. and seeing how she walked across the yard with a grave. like everything on earth. The old woman was angry and was scolding someone.

who had been silent the whole time. with her head bare and a little shawl flung carelessly on one shoulder. It was a young girl of seventeen or eighteen. which were tinged with rosy light. however. She was standing near the carriage window. two or three hours later. and that they looked as though some celebrated person were in that compartment. I got out of the tram to walk about the platform. and on the fields. not a passenger. It was May. II Another time. Karpo shouted to it: "Ba--ack!" My grandfather woke up. Karpo. At one of the stations. When." And he lashed his horses. and sympathetic fellow--as people mostly are whom we meet on our travels by chance and with whom we are not long acquainted. The shades of evening were already lying on the station garden. talking to an elderly woman who was in the train. looked round quickly. an intelligent. Before I had time to realize what I was seeing. and said: "A fine wench. one could see the sun had not yet quite vanished. I believe it was between Byelgorod and Harkov. on the platform. that at the Armenian's. I was traveling by rail to the south. the station screened off the sunset. We drove in silence as though we were angry with one another. As I walked up and down the platform I noticed that the greater number of the passengers were standing or walking near a second-class compartment. He made no answer. . but I suppose a sister or daughter of the station-master. I was suddenly overwhelmed by the feeling I had once experienced in the Armenian village. Masha opened the creaking gates for us. cordial. after I had become a student. but on the topmost clouds of smoke from the engine. wearing a Russian dress. "What are you looking at there?" I asked. we got into the chaise and drove out of the yard. Among the curious whom I met near this compartment I saw. an artillery officer who had been my fellow-traveler. Rostov and Nahitchevan appeared in the distance.hoofs against the shafts. but only indicated with his eyes a feminine figure.

laughed. darting about the garden. in her smile. It was that butterfly's beauty so in keeping with waltzing. and with the weakness we love so much in children. continually looking round at us. her mouth was small. the girl. in the combination of the subtle grace of her movements with her youth. in the play of her face. her profile was feebly and insipidly drawn. the next of horror. .The girl was remarkably beautiful. shrugging at the evening damp. her nose had an undecided tilt. which hung loose with a black ribbon tied round her head. while her face at one moment wore an expression of wonder. the purity of her soul that sounded in her laugh and voice. I was able to feel convinced that the Russian face does not need strict regularity in order to be lovely. and repose. . after the second bell. would be enough to wither the fragile body and scatter the capricious beauty like the pollen of a flower. her shoulders were narrow and undeveloped for her age -. her eyes were screwed up. or from short-sightedness. in birds. infinitely elegant movements. I fancy her face would have lost all its charm from the change. and I don't remember a moment when her face and body were at rest. and incongruous with serious thought. Either from a peculiar form of coquettishness." the officer muttered with a sigh when. that if instead of her turn-up nose the girl had been given a different one. the only really lovely thing was her thick wavy fair hair. "So--o! .and yet the girl made the impression of being really beautiful. laughter and gaiety. and looking at her. . as the practice is. and in young trees. or a fall of rain. The whole secret and magic of her beauty lay just in these tiny. If one is to describe her appearance feature by feature. and it seemed as though a gust of wind blowing over the platform. correct and plastically irreproachable like the Armenian girl's. grief. at one moment put her arms akimbo. at the next raised her hands to her head to straighten her hair. we went back to our compartment. her freshness. in her rapid glances at us. what is more. And what that "So--o" meant I will not undertake to decide. all the other features were either irregular or very ordinary. Standing at the window talking. in fawns. talked. and that was unmistakable to me and to those who were looking at her as I was.

" On the platform between our carriage and the next the guard was standing with his elbows on the railing. who were listlessly and reluctantly sauntering back to their compartments. the plain lay open before us. First the guard. and that his wife is as stooping. but the sun had already set and the smoke lay in black clouds over the green. and for all the passengers. the station-master. and in the darkening sky. looking in the direction of the beautiful girl. the ordinary happiness of a man and a passenger was as far away as heaven. The third bell rang. like me. . velvety young corn. unkempt. as though in that girl he saw happiness. and to be in love with that pretty. and did not want to go away from the beauty and the spring evening into the stuffy train. soberness. and as decent a person as himself. . passed before our windows. And what a calamity. broad-cheeked face was sitting beside his apparatus. red-haired telegraphist with upstanding curls and a faded. children. unpleasantly beefy face. my friend! what an ironical fate. As we passed the station window. and at the same time married. as though he were repenting and feeling in his whole being that that girl was not his. or perhaps he. and his beefy face. his own youth. for himself. wife. . and he . the beautiful girl with her exquisitely sly smile. . with his premature old age. and that for him. smoothed her hair. and his battered. at which a pale. gray. Putting my head out and looking back. I saw how. a decent fellow and not a fool. stupid little girl who would never take a scrap of notice of you! Or worse still: imagine that telegraphist is in love. and ran into the garden. then the garden. to be stooping. his uncouthness. as unkempt. wore a look of tenderness and of the deepest sadness. and for me. To live out in the wilds under one roof with that ethereal creature and not fall in love is beyond the power of man. . wrinkled. looking after the train.Perhaps he was sad. and in the railway carriage. the whistles sounded. purity. The familiar figure of the guard came into the carriage. the officer heaved a sigh and said: "I bet that telegraphist is in love with that pretty girl. and the train slowly moved off. exhausted by sleepless nights and the jolting of the train. It was melancholy in the spring air. . she walked along the platform by the window where the telegraph clerk was sitting. was unaccountably sorry for the beauty. The station no longer screened off the sunset.

but a customer from Kolokolny Lane." To save himself from accidentally falling asleep. and as he returned home afterwards. that customers enjoy themselves while I am forced to sit and work for them? Because they have money and I am a beggar?" He hated all his customers. kindly tell me. When.began lighting the candles. and a husky voice. . He leaned his heavy head on his fist and began thinking of his poverty. How nice it would be if the houses of these rich men . had been in the previous day. He was a gentleman of gloomy appearance. Then he thought of the rich. others are enjoying themselves. with long hair. all the paraffin in the little lamp had burnt out. he thought: "Anyone who feared God would not have anything to do with things like that. "Some people have been asleep long ago. especially the one who lived in Kolokolny Lane. was sitting on the floor pounding something in a mortar. . of his hard life with no glimmer of light in it. a yellow face. who had a fortnight before ordered some boots. "It's a convict's life!" Fyodor grumbled as he worked. . he." When there was nothing left in the bottle Fyodor put the boots on the table and sank into thought. but Fyodor Nilov still sat at work. of their hundred-rouble notes. the customer. there was a stink of sulphur and burnt feathers. Marya had long been snoring on the stove. He had a German name which one could not pronounce. and after every pull at it he twisted his head and said aloud: "What is the reason. blue spectacles. so that Fyodor sneezed five times. he kept taking a bottle from under the table and drinking out of it. . It was impossible to tell what was his calling and what he did. Fyodor had gone to take his measure. and the room was filled with a thick pink smoke. Before Fyodor had time to say good-morning the contents of the mortar suddenly flared up and burned with a bright red flame. THE SHOEMAKER AND THE DEVIL IT was Christmas Eve. a fortnight before. . and had ordered him to finish the boots at once before the morning service. . He would long ago have flung aside his work and gone out into the street. had abused him roundly. of their big houses and their carriages. while you sit here like some Cain and sew for the devil knows whom.

" Fyodor could not refrain from running after him. Rich young ladies peeped at Fyodor out of the carriages and sledges. I must take the boots to the gentleman. A fine hard snow was falling. dark. met him and said: "I've married a rich woman and I have men working under me. His customer lived in the fourth house from the corner on the very top floor. little by little. Rich men were driving to and fro on the road." said Fyodor sullenly. and went out into the street. put on his things. so that Fyodor coughed and cleared his throat. "Your honor. just as he had been the fortnight before. When Fyodor went in to him he was sitting on the floor pounding something in a mortar. officers. slippery. and were to lord it over some other poor shoemaker on Christmas Eve. a master-bootmaker. changed into beggars having nothing. "Here's a go. if their horses died.-." He wrapped up the work in a red handkerchief. and then to climb up a very high slipp ery stair-case which tottered under one's feet. . while you are a beggar and have nothing to eat. and I go on sitting here. jeering at him and crying: "Drunkard! Drunkard! Infidel cobbler! Soul of a boot-leg! Beggar!" All this was insulting. It was cold. put out their tongues and shouted. looking at the boots. "The job has been finished ever so long ago. the gas-lamps burned dimly. a poor shoemaker. laughing: "Beggar! Beggar!" Students. if their fur coats and sable caps got shabby! How splendid it would be if the rich.the devil flay them! -. and for some reason there was a smell of paraffin in the street. He pursued him till he found himself in Kolokolny Lane. dark courtyard. and every rich man had a ham and a bottle of vodka in his hands. To reach him one had to go through a long. I have brought your boots." he thought. pricking the face as though with needles. and merchants walked behind Fyodor. Dreaming like this. and opened his eyes.were smashed. and he. were to become rich. but Fyodor held his tongue and only spat in disgust. But when Kuzma Lebyodkin from Warsaw. Fyodor suddenly thought of his work.

as the rich. He began by saying that from his childhood up he had envied the rich. your honor. and whose wife wore a hat? He had the same sort of nose. "Aha!" thought Fyodor. but he has more brains than many a student. he coughed respectfully and began: "They say that there is nothing on earth more evil and impure than the devil. but she was not educated." . "Thank you. flattered." "I like you for what you say. boot. "What do you want." said the devil. and so why was he forced to work when others were enjoying themselves? Why was he married to Marya and not to a lady smelling of scent? He had often seen beautiful young ladies in the houses of rich customers. "I beg you. he asked. but a hoof like a horse's. He controlled himself and determined to try his luck. then to leave everything and run downstairs. was he poor? How was he worse than Kuzma Lebyodkin from Warsaw. who had his own house. the same hands. to be graciously pleased to make me a rich man.The customer got up and began trying on the boots in silence. but they either took no notice of him whatever. and if one had occasion to speak of politics or anything intellectual before her. He has -. that the devil is highly educated. but he immediately reflected that he was meeting a devil for the first and probably the last time. but at once jumped up and staggered towards the door in horror. Desiring to help him. but I am of the opinion. Why. Fyodor went down on one knee and pulled off his old. then?" his customer interrupted him. "here's a go!" The first thing should have been to cross himself. or else sometimes laughed and whispered to each other: "What a red nose that shoemaker has!" It was true that Marya was a good. shoemaker! What do you want?" And without loss of time the shoemaker began complaining of his lot. and not to take advantage of his services would be foolish.excuse my saying it -. The customer had not a foot. and back. feet. she would put her spoke in and talk the most awful nonsense. hard-working woman.hoofs and a tail behind. kind. head. Clasping his hands behind him to avoid making the sign of the cross. your honor Satan Ivanitch. He had always resented it that all people did not live alike in big houses and drive with good horses. her hand was heavy and hit hard.

but quite a different man. After dinner the devil appeared in blue spectacles and asked with a low bow: "Are you satisfied with your dinner. After the pork he was handed some boiled grain moistened with goose fat. "How is it the gentry don't burst with such meals?" he thought. wearing a waistcoat and a watch-chain. go and sign on this paper here that you give me up your soul. your honor. and he went on eating and was delighted." "Your honor. The feeling of repletion was unpleasant. too. In conclusion they handed him a big pot of honey. Two foot men were handing him dishes. like some general or some count."Certainly. and then brought in a frying-pan a roast goose. and before each dish drank a big glass of excellent vodka. "when you ordered a pair of boots from me I did not ask for the money in advance. no longer a shoemaker. and that he was sitting in an armchair at a big table. a pie with onion and steamed turnip with kvass. And how dignified. very well!" the customer assented. When the smoke had subsided. he was so stuffed after his dinner. A bright flame suddenly flared up in the mortar. Fyodor rubbed his eyes and saw that he was no longer Fyodor. and to distract his thoughts he looked at the boot on his left foot. a pink thick smoke came puffing out. Fyodor Pantelyeitch?" But Fyodor could not answer one word. in a new pair of trousers. oppressive. how genteel it all was! Fyodor ate. What more? They served. bowing low and saying: "Kindly eat. What shoemaker made it?" he asked. then fried liver. and there was a smell of burnt feathers and sulphur. One has first to carry out the order and then ask for payment." said Fyodor politely. Only for that you must give me up your soul! Before the cocks crow. ." "Oh. then an omelette with bacon fat. and a little afterwards boiled pork with horse-radish cream. and may it do you good!" What wealth! The footmen handed him a big piece of roast mutton and a dish of cucumbers. "For a boot like that I used not to take less than seven and a half roubles.

and said that this was his new wife." answered the footman. Fyodor resented all this. but in the same black earth as the poorest beggar. "Send for him. "We have a great deal of money. a sinner!" He said the same thing now though he had become rich. When Fyodor was poor he used to pray in church like this: "God. downy feather-bed. but Fyodor wanted more still. too. not in diamonds. too. and could not go to sleep. and kept getting up to see if his box was all right. and to distract his attention he took a fat pocketbook out of his pocket and began counting his money. Fyodor would burn in the same fire as cobblers. the fool!" Kuzma Lebyodkin from Warsaw soon made his appearance. the more discontented he became. In the evening the evil one brought him a full-bosomed lady in a red dress. and. remember your place as a cobbler! Blockhead! You don't know how to make boots! I'll beat your ugly phiz to a jelly! Why have you come?" "For money. What difference was there? And after death Fyodor rich would not be buried in gold. but he wanted even more. give him a cuff!" But he at once recalled what a life the customers used to lead him. he ." "What money? Be off! Come on Saturday! Boy. turned from side to side. "Don't dare to argue." he said to his wife. and stamped his foot. and at night he went to bed on a soft. He felt uncanny. In church the same honor is done to rich and poor alike. You had better go and look with a candle. He stopped in a respectful attitude at the door and asked: "What are your orders. your honor?" "Hold your tongue!" cried Fyodor. There was a great deal of money. "we must look out or thieves will be breaking in. The devil in the blue spectacles brought him another notebook fatter still."Kuzma Lebyodkin. and he felt heavy at heart. He spent the whole evening kissing her and eating gingerbreads." He did not sleep all night. forgive me. and the more he counted it. In the morning he had to go to church to matins.

for Christ's sake. . too. . was waiting for him. In earlier days when he was a shoemaker the beggars took no notice of him. "don't lean against the fence. you . ruined soul. he struck up a song at the top of his voice. now they wouldn't let him pass. and had just lifted his arm to give her a good clout on the back. give us a trifle." "Is it the proper thing for gentlefolk to be disorderly in the street?" a policeman said to him." the beggars wailed. but she said angrily: "Peasant! Ignorant lout! You don't know how to behave with ladies! If you love me you will kiss my hand. He meant to be attentive to her. about thieves." "This is a blasted existence!" thought Fyodor." a porter shouted to him. And at home his new wife. I don't allow you to beat me. "like some cobbler. dressed in a green blouse and a red skirt. To drive away his unpleasant thoughts as he had often done before. you mustn't play the concertina. and instead of prayer he had all sorts of thoughts in his head about his box of money. about his bartered.felt weighed down all over by his dinner. then went out into the street playing it. "You had better go into a tavern!" "Your honor. gentlefolk must not sing in the street! You are not a shoemaker!" Fyodor leaned his back against a fence and fell to thinking: what could he do to amuse himself? "Your honor. . with his fingers to the peak of his cap: "Your honor. But as soon as he began a policeman ran up and said." the cabmen jeered at him. the lady. He came out of church in a bad temper. "And a gentleman. Everybody pointed at him and laughed. you will spoil your fur coat!" Fyodor went into a shop and bought himself the very best concertina. surrounding Fyodor on all sides. "People do lead a life! You mustn't sing.

I am a pyrotechnician. . and devils flew up from all directions and shouted: "Fool! Blockhead! Ass!" There was a fearful smell of paraffin in hell. and the tin lamp.mustn't have a lark with a lady. officers were walking along the pavement together with the humbler folk. straight to the furnace. . But Fyodor did not envy them nor repine at his lot. Pfoo!" He had no sooner sat down to tea with the lady when the evil spirit in the blue spectacles appeared and said: "Come. shouting angrily: "Fool! Blockhead! Ass! I'll give you a lesson. sir?" "I make Bengal lights and fireworks. but one and the same thing. Fyodor Pantelyeitch. The customer went on swearing and threatening him for a long time. It seemed to him now that rich and poor were equally badly off. took the money for them. enough to suffocate one. Fyodor asked sullenly: "And what is your occupation. The lamp-glass was black. you scoundrel! You took the order a fortnight ago and the boots aren't ready yet! Do you suppose I want to come trapesing round here half a dozen times a day for my boots? You wretch! you brute!" Fyodor shook his head and set to work on the boots. And suddenly it all vanished." They began ringing for matins. Fyodor gave the customer the boots. Fyodor opened his eyes and saw his table. . Some were able to drive in a carriage. and others to sing songs at the top of their voice and to play the concertina. . . merchants. At last when he subsided. and from the faint light on the wick came clouds of stinking smoke as from a chimney. the same grave. Near the table stood the customer in the blue spectacles. I have performed my part of the bargain. . Carriages and sledges with bearskin rugs were dashing to and fro in the street. and there was nothing in life for which one would give the devil even a tiny scrap of one's soul. ladies. . Now sign your paper and come along with me!" And he dragged Fyodor to hell. and went to church. was awaiting all alike. the boots.

besides.". they have nothing now. PAVEL ANDREITCH! "Not far from you -. no one to give them a drink. and the long and the short of it is. the huts are filthy.TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. and. everything belongs to other people. and nothing to eat but frozen potatoes. Here. and that they are now reckoned as inhabitants of Tomsk.very distressing incidents are taking place. "Laying these facts before you. . and consider they have a right to judge whether I am humane or not. every one delirious. All the peasants of that village sold their cottages and all their belongings. not counting the young children.that is to say. concerning which I feel it my duty to write to you. typhus. The doctor's assistant says one goes into a cottage and what does one see? Every one is sick. so that there are no less than fifteen persons of both sexes in each hut. some laughing. there is no one to fetch them water. in the village of Pestrovo -.THE WIFE I I RECEIVED the following letter: "DEAR SIR. They have settled three or four families in a hut." Obviously the letter was written by the doctor with the animal name* or his lady assistant. the Zemstvo has no money. "Your well-wisher. but did not succeed in getting there. and yet continue to receive their salaries from people who are living upon frozen potatoes. literally every one is stricken. others frantic. Zemstvo doctors and their assistants go on for years growing more and more convinced every day that they can do _nothing_. There is famine and there is a terrible pestilence of hunger. or spotted. and set off for the province of Tomsk. What can Sobol (our Zemstvo doctor) and his lady assistant do when more than medicine the peasants need bread which they have not? The District Zemstvo refuses to assist them. on the ground that their names have been taken off the register of this district. there is nothing to eat. *Sobol in Russian means "sable-marten. of course. and have come back. I beg you not to refuse immediate help. and knowing your humanity.

to think and to write. and dreary! My uneasiness hindered me from working and concentrating myself. It had long been my cherished dream. my eyes began blinking. and had come here into the country expressly to live in peace and to devote myself to writing on social questions. looking across the wide courtyard. That was Pestrovo. and the tapping in the carpenter's shed. and horrible weather -. The people surrounding me were uneducated. I did not know what it was. I would get up from the table with a sigh and begin walking about the big rooms of my deserted country-house. I worked listlessly and ineffectively. for instance. I had actually given up my post in the Department of Ways and Communications. the wall having first been broken in. thawing snow. callous. And now I had to say good-bye both to peace and to literature. so that the only thing left to do was to submit to necessity and see to setting the peasants to rights myself. and chose to believe it was disappointment. it was all so still. When I was tired of walking about I would stand still at my study window. and that twenty sacks of rye had been stolen at night out of the barn. for the most part dishonest. it was impossible to leave the peasants to their fate. and by the general depression which was fostered by conversations. and articles in the magazines. to make calculations. lifeless. to give up everything and think only of the peasants. but as soon as I took up a book or began to think. I saw on a low hill on the horizon a group of mud-coloured huts from which a black muddy road ran down in an irregular streak through the white field. If it had not been for the crows who. floated cawing over the pond and the fields. then again to read. I was writing "A History of Railways". It was impossible to rely on such people. newspapers. and. and think. motionless. calculate.worried by all this. concerning which my anonymous correspondent had written to me. . because I was convinced that there was absolutely nobody in the district except me to help the starving. they were unreasonable and unpractical like my wife. pamphlets. over the pond and the bare young birch-trees and the great fields covered with recently fallen. or if they were honest. foreseeing rain or snowy weather. to refer to logarithms. unintellectual. my thoughts were in a muddle. And that was inevitable. this bit of the world about which such a fuss was being made would have seemed like the Dead Sea. I had to read a great number of Russian and foreign books.Worried by the anonymous letter and by the fact that peasants came every morning to the servants' kitchen and went down on their knees there.

or. Pasha? I told you how it would be before. to say nothing of the risk that in your haste you might give twice as much to one who was well-fed or to one who was making. and I made haste to reject my idea. the verbosity and the bad taste which that mixed provincial company would inevitably bring into my house. and from which assistance and instructions could be distributed throughout the district. She always sat in the drawing-room reading. who are materialistic and without ideals. and I distrusted them as I do all young people of today. once a big and noisy family. no one remained but the governess Mademoiselle Marie. inspired in me not the slightest desire to appeal to them for assistance. the Peasant Courts. who wore a light grey dress and a cap with white ribbons. You can judge from our servants. To have bread bought and to go from hut to hut distributing it was more than one man could do. money out of his fellows as to the hungry." . The idea occurred to me to invite the neighbouring landowners and suggest to them to organize in my house something like a committee or a centre to which all subscriptions could be forwarded. Of my father's household. She was a precise little old lady of seventy. All these district captains and tax inspectors were young men. Marya Gerasimovna. as she was now called. the dinners. But I imagined the lunches. the suppers and the noise. such an organization. the last thing I could look for was help or support from them. of the household of my childhood. And that did not decrease. knowing the reason for my brooding: "What can you expect. As for the members of my own household. an absolutely insignificant person. would completely meet my views. Whenever I passed by her. I had no faith in the local officials. The District Zemstvo. As I stood by the window or walked about the rooms I was tormented by the question which had not occurred to me before: how this money was to be spent. I knew that all these institutions who were busily engaged in picking out plums from the Zemstvo and the Government pie had their mouths always wide open for a bite at any other pie that might turn up. which would render possible frequent consultations and free control on a big scale.I began by making up my mind to give five thousand roubles to the assistance of the starving peasants. the waste of time. but only aggravated my uneasiness. she would say. and all the local institutions. and looked like a china doll.

that this beautiful woman of twenty-seven might make haste and grow old. then I watched her get into her carriage or mount her horse and ride out of the yard. at another bitter as wormwood -. I felt that there was something wrong with me.the loud altercations. She slept. and that some one with bells on their harness had driven over the dam. or whom I saw. sad. and that my head . that I was too much absorbed in my work to think seriously of my relations with my wife. we are quits. and dreary as relations are between people who have been so long estranged. though I could not distinguish one word. complaints. lived on the lower storey. upbraidings. When she played the piano downstairs I stood up and listened.) Now when we chanced to meet in the corridor downstairs or in the yard. and much as she would have liked to do so. either. her shoulders. empty. Our relations with one another were simple and not strained. When my wife talked aloud downstairs I listened intently to her voice. and gusts of hatred which had usually ended in my wife's going abroad or to her own people. she smiled graciously. and took not the slightest interest in how I dined. of the outbursts of the past one time sweet. And at such times I read in her face: "I am faithful to you and am not disgracing your good name which you think so much about. But. We spoke of the weather. (My proud and sensitive wife and her family live at my expense. I bowed. and received her visitors downstairs in her own rooms. I went to the window and waited to see her out of the house. There was nothing left. When her carriage or her saddlehorse was brought to the door. infinitely regretful. I felt dreary. Natalya Gavrilovna. said that it seemed time to put in the double windows. There was no trace now of the passionate and tormenting love -. her fur coat." I assured myself that my love had died long ago. and in my sending money in small but frequent instalments that I might sting her pride oftener. you are sensible and do not worry me. her hat.that is. had her meals. all the rooms of which she occupied. and was afraid the expression of my eyes or my face might betray me. my wife could not refuse my money: that afforded me satisfaction and was one comfort in my sorrow. alas! that was only what I imagined. or slept. but cold. should solve itself in the natural way as soon as possible -. that even living under the same roof gives no semblance of nearness. and longed that the problem that my wife and I had not been able to solve because our characters were incompatible.My wife. I looked after my wife and then watched for her to come back that I might see again from the window her face.which I had once felt for Natalya Gavrilovna. and felt inclined in her absence to walk through her rooms.

" he said through his laugh. which fascinated men as well as women. One day at lunch my bailiff informed me that the Pestrovo peasants had begun to pull the thatch off the roofs to feed their cattle. talkative. my dear fellow. the only one still living was Ivan Ivanitch Bragin. "The bees must have stung me. with the hair combed down on the forehead like a Little Russian's. Marya Gerasimovna looked at me in alarm and perplexity. and was living out his days with neither views nor charm. and had been famous for his extreme views and for the peculiar charm of his face." said Marya Gerasimovna. He came the day after getting my letter. he put his arms round my waist and laid on my breast his big soft head. married bored us with accounts of their splendid packs of hounds and horses. meeting him. "I am very glad to see you. and went off into a thin. had eaten. had grown corpulent. "_C'est raison. . and I have never experienced such loneliness as I do now. going to my study to write to Ivan Ivanitch. . "And you go on getting younger. "To be sure!" I thought." Sniffing and gasping. "One cannot fight single-handed. I would give a great deal to find one man in the whole province on whom I could rely. "Why. he embraced me and kissed . you are stouter than ever." With the familiarity of a man laughing at his own fatness. "What can I do?" I said to her. "That is an idea! _C'est raison_." I hummed. in this house twenty-five to thirty-five years ago." "Invite Ivan Ivanitch. delighted. "I wonder what dye you use for your hair and beard. c'est raison_. fallen in love. noisy. it's swelling. . aged laugh. you might let me have some of it. and given to falling in love." he answered. in the evening just as the samovar was brought into the dining-room and little Marya Gerasimovna had begun slicing the lemon." II Of all the mass of acquaintances who." I said gaily. now he was an old man. At one time he had been very active." "It isn't getting stout. masqueraded.might be grey and bald. drunk.

you are not forty. if possible at once. my friend. and it would have been strange if he had smelt of eau-de-Cologne. . yes." I said." I said gaily. . regardless of their position or personal relations. are you?" "Alas. bluish double chin. "Why. his shortness of breath. but really there is no one here but you I can appeal to. yes. and his words. I am forty-six!" I said. my dear fellow. slow-moving body was swathed in a long frock-coat like a coachman's full coat." I thought that as we were going to have a serious. his goggle eyes. "_Tres faciunt collegium_. to be sure. "What if we were to ask Natalya Gavrilovna? What do you think? Fenya. . We are discussing a very important matter. "I am in great need of your assistance. Tell her it's a very important matter. and with hooks and eyes instead of buttons. why should I not invite Natalya Gavrilovna. "You might give me some of it. You know what people are like about here. and in the whole of his clumsy. I got up to meet her and said: "Excuse us for troubling you. and we had the happy thought that we might take . sighing. So perhaps you will be so kind as to advise me. "ask Natalya Gavrilovna to come upstairs to us. his laugh. with a high waist. which looked like a thistle." A little later Natalya Gavrilovna came in. turning to the maid. to be sure. for instance. "To be sure. when we were sitting in the dining-room. . unshaven. Ivan Ivanitch smelt of tallow candles and on the cheek. interesting talker who used in old days to make the husbands of the district jealous on account of their wives. and that suited him." "I would not have worried you." said Ivan Ivanitch." I said. to be sure. it was difficult to recognize the graceful. Yes. . slovenly figure. In his long. drinking tea. His big. and I don't know how to set about it. puffy. in his voice. "I want to organize relief for the starving peasants. Natalie. laughing." he repeated." "Yes. . business consultation in which any one might take part. to be sure." "To be sure.

and she smelt of fresh scent. Yes. and so what's the use of all your judgment and energy? ." . . Please sit down." I began. . ." "Eh? Yes . "I want to do something for the famine-stricken peasants. "and assistance is needed as soon as possible." muttered Ivan Ivanitch. and smiled to me as graciously as she did to Ivan Ivanitch -. . . and do something. It's the elements. . he. famine . and this jerkiness in her words and movements irritated me and reminded me of her native town -. looking at her tearfully and blissfully. when we all sat down to the table. is a great thing. often and abruptly leaned back in her chair and talked rapidly. of course. where the society." I said.Odessa." Ivan Ivanitch kissed her hand while she kissed his forehead." Natalya Gavrilovna looked at me inquiringly and shrugged her shoulders as though to say. she held out her hand to me with simple friendliness. We must act on the military principles of judgment. yes. but that's what man has a head for. The crops have failed. She had evidently dressed to go out or was expecting somebody. Help must take the form of money. craned forward to her and kissed her hand again." "Yes.that pleased me. . "Certainly . . as though he were dropping asleep. "Only one can't do anything. promptitude. my friends. which you will not refuse to give us. but as she talked she moved her fingers. men and women alike." repeated Ivan Ivanitch in a drowsy and listless voice. ." "Yes. yes." "It's a serious position. then. promptitude . . would be evading the worst of the trouble. . She was dressed in black. I imagine the first point among the principles which we must work out ought to be promptitude. but the most important thing is a proper and sound organization. and with that to be satisfied. . . . "What do I know about it?" "Yes. her hair was carefully arranged. but to confine oneself to subscribing money. Coming into the dining-room.advantage of your good advice. . You can't go against God and fate. and after a brief pause I went on: " Money. Let us think it over. that's so. had wearied me by its bad taste. . to be sure. to conten d against the elements. and energy.

hunger is not a potato. and I felt irritated. . too. looked round at my wife and me. brightened up. bother them! It's nothing but grievances with them!" Ivan Ivanitch went on." Natalya Gavrilovna laughed. will you be so kind as to undertake distributing the relief? Entirely relying on your characteristic tact and efficiency. and I was afraid to look at her for fear my eyes would betray my secret feeling. "To be sure. and as though he had just woken up. . "I am sick of these famine-stricken peasants. Natalie. and not to the drunken. Yes . or the dishonest. Her presence gave me a pleasure such as I had not felt for a long time. we will only venture to express a desire that before you give any relief you make acquaintance with the details of the case on the spot. "I suppose before we do anything else we had better immediately open a subscription-list. one won't get much done with that slobbering wreck." "Well. "And so. . I want to kick them out. Ivan Ivanitch. you should be careful that corn should be distributed only to those who are in genuine need." muttered Ivan Ivanitch." "Yes. "The hungry have a grievance against those who have enough. . but I haven't the heart to. my friends. When we have got together a little sum we will begin buying corn and fodder for the cattle. and ask them to subscribe. .Ivan Ivanitch sneezed into his handkerchief. and you. . no corn. yes. the idle. and also. what are we to do?" I asked after waiting for a pause. and steals. . and began questioning him about his private affairs. to be sure. Our relations were such that that feeling might seem surprising and ridiculous. hunger stupefies and maddens a man and makes him savage. "My crops have failed. yes . sucking the rind of the lemon. We will write to our friends in the capitals and in Odessa. "No money. and a yard full of labourers like Count Sheremetyev's. which is very important. and may do worse. and those who have enough have a grievance against the hungry. She laughed and talked with Ivan Ivanitch without being in the least disturbed that she was in my room and that I was not laughing." I thought. When a man is starving he uses bad language." He laughed a thin little laugh and gave a sly wink as though this were really funny.

and knocked the gun out of his hand. Fyodor Fyodoritch came and invited me to go to him. over the affair at the Klotchkovs' tavern eleven men were sent to the disciplinary battalion. They were quite stupid with terror. . the rascals!' He fed them. and suddenly from the wood came 'bang!' and another time 'bang!' 'Oh. Yes. damn it all!' . gave them a bushel of flour each. coughed. . and nothing else would satisfy him. every one is afraid of a man who is fond of litigation. the third knelt down and began to pray. . I was a sturdy chap then. . I put my arm round his shoulder. and let them go: 'Get along with you. another to the investigating magistrate! . . let us go. Of course." Ivan Ivanitch choked over his tea. They took the wall of his barn to pieces at night and carried off twenty sacks of rye. One must realize that. . and shook all over with a squeaky. the investigating magistrate. .' I said. We did not let our three fine fellows go.. 'Come along. and I saw in the darkness a man running up to me.' " he brought out. I fetched him a knock on the back of his head so that he grunted and flopped with his nose in the snow. and how many people they ruined! Yes. It was in the evening. We were angry with them and at the same time ashamed to look at them. but there were some who did.' he said. they were peasants we knew. Poltava. . smothered laughter. let them go. we were sorry for them. And. and he told me about some landowner. I jumped out of the sledge. One was crying and begging our pardon. my fist was heavy. The Kingdom of Heaven be his and everlasting peace! He understood and did not bear them a grudge. like this. gesticulating with both hands in protest against the laughter and coughing which prevented him from speaking. . and when I turned round Fyodor was sitting astride of a third. The authorities were in a . it's the same thing. we tied their hands behind their backs so that they might not do us or themselves any harm. he sent a telegram to the Governor and another to the police captain. " 'There was a battle at Poltava!' When three years after the Emancipation we had famine in two districts here. so we set off. knee-deep in the snow. I said to Fedya: 'Don't bear them a grudge. the second looked like a wild beast and kept swearing. Anisyin. Then another one turned up. and were good fellows. come along. Yes. . . .' he persisted. . . . . And now. . look. . stayed the night with me last Thursday. " 'There was a battle at Pol . 'Very well. I disposed of two of them. and took the fools into the kitchen. .. Why. So that's what he did. there was snow falling. Towards night we were getting near his place. When the gentleman heard that such a crime had been committed.

"that there are people who are quite indifferent and completely devoid of all feeling of sympathy. Two villages were searched. . "Of course. To be sure. but who express their glorious ideas in such a form that it is difficult to distinguish the angel from an Odessa market-woman. and then her inappropriate eloquence on the subject of my desire to help the famine-stricken peasants. but I had been agreeably agitated by the expectation." I must confess it was not happily expressed. . I telegraphed to Petersburg. Now I saw that to go on speaking about the famine . yes. too. "I meant to say generally." "Yes." Natalya Gavrilovna blushed. . theft is the same whether a man is hungry or not." "There are people. but she could not keep it up." I said. "Twenty sacks of rye were stolen from me. Ivan Ivanitch. . when I had invited her to come upstairs I had expected quite a different attitude to me and my intentions. were. I look at every subject from the point of view of principle." she went on. My wife looked at me as though it cost her a great effort to hold her tongue. she made an effort to seem indifferent. and looked into my eyes with the hatred that I know so well." she said and stopped. yes. "for whom famine and human suffering exist simply that they may vent their hateful and despicable temperaments upon them. but insist on meddling for fear people should be able to do without them. . But it was by no means out of love for litigation." "Excuse me. out of place." I was confused and shrugged my shoulders. yet who do not pass human suffering by." muttered Ivan Ivanitch in confusion. "There are people." she said. and it was I who telegraphed to the Governor. From the point of view of the law. "There are people. and not because I bore them a grudge.flutter and there was a general hubbub. as you are pleased to express it. . to say the least." I said softly. "who have an angelic character. Her sudden outburst. Nothing is sacred for their vanity. I cannot say definitely what I had expected.

what of it? If there are good crops next year. the peasants are pulling the thatch off their huts. You can't take it with you when you die. "What use would my advice be? You shouldn't worry yourself." Ivan Ivanitch muttered inappropriately." "No need? Why. She got up from the table and turned to Ivan Ivanitch. soothing me as though I were a child. choking. "Upon my word. "So you will look in upon me downstairs for a minute? I won't say good-bye to you. must have four hundred thousand at least. "So there's nothing left for me but to reconcile myself to loneliness. sometimes the lemon." A silence followed again. "One cannot fight single-handed. smacking his lips. my dear fellow! Upon my word. Ivan Ivanitch was now drinking his seventh glass of tea." I sighed. stupid old man. At last. He was muttering something drowsily and listlessly." he whispered genuinely and affectionately. they'll . Don't disturb yourself." "I am expected downstairs. . "Yes . . I will try single-handed. . . But we all have to die. the merchant.would be difficult and perhaps stupid." "Eh? I am a feeble. Well. there's no need. anyway. with an expression that suggested that he had only come to me to take a cup of tea. . and they say there is typhus somewhere already." "Well. there's no need.' He was offended. As I saw him out I said: "And so you have given me no advice. you know. he got up and began to take leave." he answered. Death is not a potato. I said to him: 'Hand over one or two thousand to the famine. I really don't know why you worry yourself. and sucking sometimes his moustache." And she went away. "Burov. Let us hope that my campaign against the famine will be more successful than my campaign against indifference." said Natalya Gavrilovna. and I did not listen but waited for him to go.

set face and dark eyes there was a gleam of the expression for which he had once been famous and which was truly charming. . wealthy. and if we die of typhus others will live after us. Why should you live here and waste your golden days? You are young. Anyway. and that her plebeian mind had never risen to a comprehension of what _I_ was saying and of what _I_ was doing. . yes.thatch them again. Ah. one really is!" He looked intently into my face. It's all nonsense . We were standing in the dimly lighted vestibule. looked at me in silence for a couple of minutes. I speak to you as a friend: try to be different! One is ill at ease with you." he muttered. if I were younger I would whisk away like a hare. the charming expression faded away. and healthy. my dear fellow." "I can't help worrying myself. "You ought to go away. In old days after every such outburst we felt irresistibly drawn to each other. yes. . preparing to say something evidently very important. . . and. we would meet and let off all the dynamite that had accumulated in our souls. . we have to die -. . Ivan Ivanitch suddenly took me by the elbow." I said irritably. he gave me the unpleasant impression of a sort of crab. and he sniffed and muttered feebly: "Yes. your Excellency. . his eyes grew dim again. my dear. . that she was cruel. . ." III My wife's outburst reminded me of our married life together. . And now after Ivan Ivanitch had gone away I had a strong impulse to go to my wife. petty. "To Petersburg or abroad." As he slowly descended the staircase. Yes. spreading out his hands to balance himself and showing me his huge. . I wanted to go downstairs and tell her that her behaviour at tea had been an insult to me.if not now. Excuse an old man. and snap my fingers at everything. . . "Pavel Andreitch. and suddenly in his puffy. Don't worry yourself. . . "Pavel Andreitch!" he said softly. I walked about the rooms a long time thinking of what I would say to her and trying to guess what she . later. bulky back and red neck.

reminded me of the rooms of some abbess or pious old lady. Ivan Ivanitch was sitting on the sofa in the drawing-room. . such as one sees on the faces of people listening to crazy saints or holy men when a peculiar hidden significance is imagined in their vague words and mutterings. as though she had known I should come. There was a gentle. and looked at me calmly and serenely. and her low-pitched. do you know the Christian name of the president of our Zemstvo?" "Andrey Stanislavovitch. "I will go to her. though what exactly I could not say. That evening. I forgot to ask you. My wife showed neither surprise nor confusion. I could not sit down or sit still. half-dark rooms with their old-fashioned furniture." I went downstairs and walked without haste over the carpeted floor through the vestibule and the hall. Yes." I decided. he was drinking tea again and muttering something. my wife did not believe that ." I said softly. took out my notebook.would say to me. in my wife's expression and attitude. and docile expression on her face. I had a feeling very much like that which I had on the North Sea during a storm when every one thought that our ship. sweet." I said. . I shall say that I want to see Ivan Ivanitch. . My wife was standing opposite to him and holding on to the back of a chair. and wrote it down. There followed a silence during which my wife and Ivan Ivanitch were probably waiting for me to go. And that evening I understood that my uneasiness was not disappointment. I went into the drawing-room. There was something morbid. "I beg your pardon. and that irritated me more than ever. that will be all. after Ivan Ivanitch went away. I felt in a peculiarly irritating form the uneasiness which had worried me of late. as I had supposed. something of a nun's exaltation." "_Merci_. "I can think of a pretext. Ivan Ivanitch. and with a smell of geranium. would overturn. but kept walking about in the rooms that were lighted up and keeping near to the one in which Marya Gerasimovna was sitting. but a different feeling. "I am so glad you have not gone yet. which had no freight nor ballast. with her birds asleep in their cages.

"A good fall of snow! Ivan Ivanitch"-. with a bald head. . a big fair beard. She looked as though she thought I had a sharp knife or a revolver in my pocket. "Oh. do take me out hunting some day." he said." said Natalya Gavrilovna quickly. I am frozen. I can imagine what a pleasure it must be coursing hares or hunting wolves in snow like this!" My wife. "I shall be very." I went on softly. shaking hands with me warmly." I thought. and little eyes. "Very glad!" He sat down at the table."I do regret not being a sportsman. getting up and looking out of window. "Why. Please do!" Evidently she did not wish to be left alone with me without a witness.I saw that from her eyes. "Very. addressing the maid. standing still. I must be going. and from time . took a glass of tea. He was a tall. watched my movements. crumpled clothes and his manners I took him to be a parish clerk or a teacher. and look in the cupboard. too. looked on." said the doctor in a loud tenor voice.I went on walking about the room -. very glad to make your acquaintance." At that moment a visitor came into the room. "Ivan Ivanitch. but my wife introduced him to me as Dr. looking out of the corner of her eyes without turning her head. and said in a loud voice: "Do you happen to have a drop of rum or brandy? Have pity on me. I'll wait a quarter of an hour. after I had walked once or twice across the drawing-room and sat down by the fireplace. touching his hand. . . "Well. thick-set gentleman whom I did not know. Olya. listened. Sobol.I wanted to know the president's name -. very grateful to you. From his baggy. with a naive smile." muttered Ivan Ivanitch. it's snowing!" I said. "No. "Stay another quarter of an hour. well. my beauty. I sat down by the fire again.

"What harm have I done all at once?" Her chin quivered. but some crazy Ivan Ivanitch or Sobol has for some reason more right to them than I. as though I were a wild beast. my love for her is purer and loftier than it was in the past. "You will go upstairs to your own rooms this minute. the place by the fire. And I feel that now. Now I see my wife. She was standing so near that if I had stooped a lit tle my beard would have touched her face." I thought. She apologized to the visitors and went to the next room. "how many hospitals have we in the district?" "Sobol. in ordinary home surroundings that I feel the want of now I am growing older. I want to speak to you." she repeated sharply." my wife corrected. I got up and followed her. whispered: ." said my wife. and she looked into my face with hatred." "Monsieur Marten. and that is why I want to go up to her. and an obstinate desire to wound her. "are mine. "You will go upstairs to your own rooms this very minute. and. have been mine for years. and. but close at hand. to hurt her and smile as I do it. with a cursory glance at the looking-glass. "What is the matter?" I asked. in spite of her hatred for me. she hastily wiped her eyes." she said. "And how many deaths are there every year in each hospital?" "Pavel Andreitch. "You are ill-bred." I said. She was oppressed by my presence. "Two. these snug rooms. annoyance. to stamp hard on her toe with my heel. My wife smiled graciously to the visitors and kept a sharp lookout on me. on the verge of old age. and this aroused in me time put in a word in the general conversation. not out of window. I miss her as years ago in my childhood I used to miss my mother and my nurse." answered Sobol." I said to her. addressing the doctor. "Wife.

missing her. Then the chairs moved again. and I should have lived out my life quietly. "So there will again be tears. And with a feeling of jealousy and envy for what was going on downstairs." which we had begun to forget about in the course of the last two years. Of course you won't go away. and in five years old age. in one of our long past quarrels. working and not worrying about anything. stouter. "Why. or why had she not at that time left me altogether? I should not have had this yearning for her now." I walked about. My wife was evidently having a party. do as you like. and the reflection of my lamp in the window winked unpleasantly. while I shrugged my shoulders and tried to smile. and that next day or the day after. After what had happened at tea and then again downstairs. Till midnight everything was quiet downstairs and I heard elderly lady and a young man in spectacles. grown handsomer. this anxiety. So there was supper. I went off to my own rooms. insignificant people. they seemed to be shouting hurrah. utter loneliness. imagining what was really impossible -. grey hairs. going abroad." I asked myself. looked at me from the walls of the drawing-room. then a big sledge with three horses. letters. "'Why. the portraits of my forefathers. and you stay. packing up. I'll go away myself. and that neither I nor my wife could now stop ourselves. By now convinced that that would certainly happen. Well. "So it seems that during these two years we have grown no wiser. it became clear to me that our "family happiness. and through the floor I heard a noise. or calmer. There were some more visitors -. had not I given her a divorce. Without greeting the new arrivals or taking leave of the others. was through some absurd and trivial reason beginning all over again. outcries." We returned to the drawing-room. then the continual sickly fear that she will disgrace me with some coxcomb out there. Italian or Russian. refusing a passport. I listened and thought: "I ." A carriage with two lamps drove into the yard. this hatred. as I knew by experience of past years. embracing a man I did not know. she with a resolute face."The old story is beginning all over again. cruel. colder.her. curses. Marya Gerasimovna was already asleep and I was quite alone in the whole upper storey." I thought as I began walking about the rooms. but at midnight there was a sound of moving chairs and a clatter of crockery. be followed by something revolting which would upset the whole order of our lives. the outburst of hatred would.

am master here; if I like, I can in a moment turn out all that fine crew." But I knew that all that was nonsense, that I could not turn out any one, and the word "master" had no meaning. One may think oneself master, married, rich, a kammer-junker, as much as one likes, and at the same time not know what it means. After supper some one downstairs began singing in a tenor voice. "Why, nothing special has happened," I tried to persuade myself. "Why am I so upset? I won't go downstairs tomorrow, that's all; and that will be the end of our quarrel." At a quarter past one I went to bed. "Have the visitors downstairs gone?" I asked Alexey as he was undressing me. "Yes, sir, they've gone." "And why were they shouting hurrah?" "Alexey Dmitritch Mahonov subscribed for the famine fund a thousand bushels of flour and a thousand roubles. And the old lady -- I don't know her name -- promised to set up a soup kitchen on her estate to feed a hundred and fifty people. Thank God . . . Natalya Gavrilovna has been pleased to arrange that all the gentry should assemble every Friday." "To assemble here, downstairs?" "Yes, sir. Before supper they read a list: since August up to today Natalya Gavrilovna has collected eight thousand roubles, besides corn. Thank God. . . . What I think is that if our mistress does take trouble for the salvation of her soul, she will soon collect a lot. There are plenty of rich people here." Dismissing Alexey, I put out the light and drew the bedclothes over my head. "After all, why am I so troubled?" I thought. "What force draws me to the starving peasants like a butterfly to a flame? I don't know them, I don't understand them; I have never seen them and I don't like them. Why this uneasiness?" I suddenly crossed myself under the quilt.

"But what a woman she is!" I said to myself, thinking of my wife. "There's a regular committee held in the house without my knowing. Why this secrecy? Why this conspiracy? What have I done to them? Ivan Ivanitch is right -- I must go away." Next morning I woke up firmly resolved to go away. The events of the previous day -- the conversation at tea, my wife, Sobol, the supper, my apprehensions -- worried me, and I felt glad to think of getting away from the surroundings which reminded me of all that. While I was drinking my coffee the bailiff gave me a long report on various matters. The most agreeable item he saved for the last. "The thieves who stole our rye have been found," he announced with a smile. "The magistrate arrested three peasants at Pestrovo yesterday." "Go away!" I shouted at him; and a propos of nothing, I picked up the cake-basket and flung it on the floor. IV After lunch I rubbed my hands, and thought I must go to my wife and tell her that I was going away. Why? Who cared? Nobody cares, I answered, but why shouldn't I tell her, especially as it would give her nothing but pleasure? Besides, to go away after our yesterday's quarrel without saying a word would not be quite tactful: she might think that I was frightened of her, and perhaps the thought that she has driven me out of my house may weigh upon her. It would be just as well, too, to tell her that I subscribe five thousand, and to give her some advice about the organization, and to warn her that her inexperience in such a complicated and responsible matter might lead to most lamentable results. In short, I wanted to see my wife, and while I thought of various pretexts for going to her, I had a firm conviction in my heart that I should do so. It was still light when I went in to her, and the lamps had not yet been lighted. She was sitting in her study, which led from the drawing-room to her bedroom, and, bending low over the table, was writing something quickly. Seeing me, she started, got up from the table, and remained standing in an attitude such as to screen her papers from me. "I beg your pardon, I have only come for a minute," I said, and, I don't know why, I was overcome with embarrassment. "I have

learnt by chance that you are organizing relief for the famine, Natalie." "Yes, I am. But that's my business," she answered. "Yes, it is your business," I said softly. "I am glad of it, for it just fits in with my intentions. I beg your permission to take part in it." "Forgive me, I cannot let you do it," she said in response, and looked away. "Why not, Natalie?" I said quietly. "Why not? I, too, am well fed and I, too, want to help the hungry." "I don't know what it has to do with you," she said with a contemptuous smile, shrugging her shoulders. "Nobody asks you." "Nobody asks you, either, and yet you have got up a regular committee in _my_ house," I said. "I am asked, but you can have my word for it no one will ever ask you. Go and help where you are not known." "For God's sake, don't talk to me in that tone." I tried to be mild, and besought myself most earnestly not to lose my temper. For the first few minutes I felt glad to be with my wife. I felt an atmosphere of youth, of home, of feminine softness, of the most refined elegance -- exactly what was lacking on my floor and in my life altogether. My wife was wearing a pink flannel dressing-gown; it made her look much younger, and gave a softness to her rapid and sometimes abrupt movements. Her beautiful dark hair, the mere sight of which at one time stirred me to passion, had from sitting so long with her head bent c ome loose from the comb and was untidy, but, to my eyes, that only made it look more rich and luxuriant. All this, though is banal to the point of vulgarity. Before me stood an ordinary woman, perhaps neither beautiful nor elegant, but this was my wife with whom I had once lived, and with whom I should have been living to this day if it had not been for her unfortunate character; she was the one human being on the terrestrial globe whom I loved. At this moment, just before going away, when I knew that I should no longer see her even through the window, she seemed to me fascinating even as she was, cold and forbidding, answering me with a proud and contemptuous mockery. I was proud of her, and confessed to myself that to go away from her was terrible and impossible.

"Pavel Andreitch," she said after a brief silence, "for two years we have not interfered with each other but have lived quietly. Why do you suddenly feel it necessary to go back to the past? Yesterday you came to insult and humiliate me," she went on, raising her voice, and her face flushed and her eyes flamed with hatred; "but restrain yourself; do not do it, Pavel Andreitch! Tomorrow I will send in a petition and they will give me a passport, and I will go away; I will go! I will go! I'll go into a convent, into a widows' home, into an almshouse. . . ." "Into a lunatic asylum!" I cried, not able to restrain myself. "Well, even into a lunatic asylum! That would be better, that would be better," she cried, with flashing eyes. "When I was in Pestrovo today I envied the sick and starving peasant women because they are not living with a man like you. They are free and honest, while, thanks to you, I am a parasite, I am perishing in idleness, I eat your bread, I spend your money, and I repay you with my liberty and a fidelity which is of no use to any one. Because you won't give me a passport, I must respect your good name, though it doesn't exist." I had to keep silent. Clenching my teeth, I walked quickly into the drawing-room, but turned back at once and said: "I beg you earnestly that there should be no more assemblies, plots, and meetings of conspirators in my house! I only admit to my house those with whom I am acquainted, and let all your crew find another place to do it if they want to take up philanthropy. I can't allow people at midnight in my house to be shouting hurrah at successfully exploiting an hysterical woman like you!" My wife, pale and wringing her hands, took a rapid stride across the room, uttering a prolonged moan as though she had toothache. With a wave of my hand, I went into the drawing-room. I was choking with rage, and at the same time I was trembling with terror that I might not restrain myself, and that I might say or do something which I might regret all my life. And I clenched my hands tight, hoping to hold myself in. After drinking some water and recovering my calm a little, I went back to my wife. She was standing in the same attitude as before, as though barring my approach to the table with the papers. Tears were slowly trickling down her pale, cold face. I paused then and said to her bitterly but without anger:

"How you misunderstand me! How unjust you are to me! I swear upon my honour I came to you with the best of motives, with nothing but the desire to do good!" "Pavel Andreitch!" she said, clasping her hands on her bosom, and her face took on the agonized, imploring expression with which frightened, weeping children beg not to be punished, "I know perfectly well that you will refuse me, but still I beg you. Force yourself to do one kind action in your life. I entreat you, go away from here! That's the only thing you can do for the starving peasants. Go away, and I will forgive you everything, everything!" "There is no need for you to insult me, Natalie," I sighed, feeling a sudden rush of humility. "I had already made up my mind to go away, but I won't go until I have done something for the peasants. It's my duty!" "Ach!" she said softly with an impatient frown. "You can make an excellent bridge or railway, but you can do nothing for the starving peasants. Do understand!" "Indeed? Yesterday you reproached me with indifference and with being devoid of the feeling of compassion. How well you know me!" I laughed. "You believe in God -- well, God is my witness that I am worried day and night. . . ." "I see that you are worried, but the famine and compassion have nothing to do with it. You are worried because the starving peasants can get on without you, and because the Zemstvo, and in fact every one who is helping them, does not need your guidance." I was silent, trying to suppress my irritation. Then I said: "I came to speak to you on business. Sit down. Please sit down." She did not sit down. "I beg you to sit down," I repeated, and I motioned her to a chair. She sat down. I sat down, too, thought a little, and said: "I beg you to consider earnestly what I am saying. Listen. . . . Moved by love for your fellow-creatures, you have undertaken the

organization of famine relief. I have nothing against that, of course; I am completely in sympathy with you, and am prepared to co-operate with you in every way, whatever our relations may be. But, with all my respect for your mind and your heart . . . and your heart," I repeated, "I cannot allow such a difficult, complex, and responsible matter as the organization of relief to be left in your hands entirely. You are a woman, you are inexperienced, you know nothing of life, you are too confiding and expansive. You have surrounded yourself with assistants whom you know nothing about. I am not exaggerating if I say that under these conditions your work will inevitably lead to two deplorable consequences. To begin with, our district will be left unrelieved; and, secondly, you will have to pay for your mistakes and those of your assistants, not only with your purse, but with your reputation. The money deficit and other losses I could, no doubt, make good, but who could restore you your good name? When through lack of proper supervision and oversight there is a rumour that you, and consequently I, have made two hundred thousand over the famine fund, will your assistants come to your aid?" She said nothing. "Not from vanity, as you say," I went on, "but simply that the starving peasants may not be left unrelieved and your reputation may not be injured, I feel it my moral duty to take part in your work." "Speak more briefly," said my wife. "You will be so kind," I went on, "as to show me what has been subscribed so far and what you have spent. Then inform me daily of every fresh subscription in money or kind, and of every fresh outlay. You will also give me, Natalie, the list of your helpers. Perhaps they are quite decent people; I don't doubt it; but, still, it is absolutely necessary to make inquiries." She was silent. I got up, and walked up and down the room. "Let us set to work, then," I said, and I sat down to her table. "Are you in earnest?" she asked, looking at me in alarm and bewilderment. "Natalie, do be reasonable!" I said appealingly, seeing from her face that she meant to protest. "I beg you, trust my experience

and my sense of honour." "I don't understand what you want." "Show me how much you have collected and how much you have spent." "I have no secrets. Any one may see. Look." On the table lay five or six school exercise books, several sheets of notepaper covered with writing, a map of the district, and a number of pieces of paper of different sizes. It was getting dusk. I lighted a candle. "Excuse me, I don't see anything yet," I said, turning over the leaves of the exercise books. "Where is the account of the receipt of money subscriptions?" "That can be seen from the subscription lists." "Yes, but you must have an account," I said, smiling at her naivete. "Where are the letters accompanying the subscriptions in money or in kind? _Pardon_, a little practical advice, Natalie: it's absolutely necessary to keep those letters. You ought to number each letter and make a special note of it in a special record. You ought to do the same with your own letters. But I will do all that myself." "Do so, do so . . ." she said. I was very much pleased with myself. Attracted by this living interesting work, by the little table, the naive exercise books and the charm of doing this work in my wife's society, I was afraid that my wife would suddenly hinder me and upset everything by some sudden whim, and so I was in haste and made an effort to attach no consequence to the fact that her lips were quivering, and that she was looking about her with a helpless and frightened air like a wild creature in a trap. "I tell you what, Natalie," I said without looking at her; "let me take all these papers and exercise books upstairs to my study. There I will look through them and tell you what I think about it tomorrow. Have you any more papers?" I asked, arranging the exercise books and sheets of papers in piles. "Take them, take them all!" said my wife, helping me to arrange

fie! Listen. Natalie: when you realize how serious and responsible a business it is you will be the first to thank me. the pages were not numbered. poking me in the chest with her elbow and brushing my face with her hair. The business which had so worried and interested me was at last in my . In case of legal proceedings. I assure you you will. . excuse me. then I gathered up all the papers and went off with them. "What a child!" I felt both vexed and amused. The entries were put in all sorts of handwritings. Sobol 32 roubles. and locked it up that the servants might not be led into dishonesty. M. these papers would only obscure the case. evidently any one who liked had a hand in managing the books. . But. she flung herself on the couch. When she had thrown out the papers she walked away from me. "Take it all! That's all that was left me in life. The exercise books were not bound. I said: "What a baby you are. In the record of the subscriptions in kind there was no note of their money value. and. V My wife had already collected eight thousand. She opened the drawer in the table and began flinging the papers out of it on the table at random. and putting both hands to her head. and no making anything of it. put it back in the drawer. Natalie!" I sighed reproachfully.them. "Given to A." When was it given? For what purpose was it given? Where was the receipt? There was nothing to show. Take the last. For a start that was very good. . As I passed my wife I stopped. the rye which is now worth one rouble fifteen kopecks may be worth two roubles fifteen kopecks in two months' time! Was that the way to do things? Then. "Take everything!" she said in a husky voice." In my own room I set to work without haste. "How naive she is!" I thought with surprise. I thought. I picked up the money. with my five it would be thirteen thousand." "Ach! Natalie. Natalie! Fie. and big tears ran down her cheeks. copper coins kept dropping upon my knees and on the floor. looking at her back and shaking shoulders. as she did so.

and passing through my bedroom saw my trunks. you are a reptile. "As far as possible from these agreeable impressions! I will set off tomorrow. "Are you a kammer-junker?" a voice whispered in my ear. sleepy. But yet you are a reptile." For some reason I remembered a line out of an old poem I knew as a child: "How pleasant it is to be good!" My wife was lying on the couch in the same attitude. I felt as though some one were standing behind me and rubbing my back with a rough hand. . and something kept whispering in my ear: "Very pleasant. still. But. and went down to my wife. invariably meek. I was doing my duty. the sound of weeping reached me through the floor. From below I heard from time to time a smothered moan." I gathered together the papers and exercise books. and looked at me somewhat strangely. nonsense. but instead of feeling soothed. it was my wife sobbing. What rubbish! Am I going to get a decoration for working for the peasants or be made the director of a department? Nonsense." I decided at last. nonsense! And who is there to show off to here in the country?" I was tired. . I was doing what the others would not and could not do. but why did my feeling of uneasiness persist? I spent four hours over my wife's papers. Alexey. organizing the relief fund in a practical and businesslike way Everything seemed to be going in accordance with my desires and intentions. "Nonsense . that I am actuated by vanity or a love of display. feeling utterly exhausted. frightfully tired. so that I could not sit bending over the table nor write. . on her face . "That's a very pleasant thing. I must go away. feeling quite worn out and shattered. kept coming up to the table to see to the candles. . and it's nonsense. and sanctimonious. nonsense. "Yes." "It's all nonsense.hands. What was it I wanted? The organization of the relief fund had come into trustworthy hands. As. making out their meaning and correcting her mistakes. I held the papers and the exercise books to my breast with both hands. the hungry would be fed -.what more was wanted? The four hours of this light work for some reason exhausted me. too. ." I muttered as I went downstairs.

She was crying. it's all capital." She went on crying. her disdain. But now that she was crying I had a passionate desire to know more. her eyes full of hatred. It's all in order. or apologized. Her appearance I knew very well and appreciated it as it deserved. When in my collisions with her I tried to define what sort of a person she was. that it was dear to me.all that was unknown and incomprehensible to me." I said. She sat up on the couch. The weeping ceased. and that I felt for its sufferings? I had never known my wife. such as had been frequent during our married life. ill-tempered. hush!" To cut short her weeping and make an end of this agonizing state of affairs. her frequent changes of mood. guided by feminine logic. My wife's sobs. and to justify myself I remembered the whole of our quarrel. for instance. the nun-like expression I had seen on her face the day before -. so I had never known how to talk to her or what to talk about. looked fixedly and dreamily at the fire. her sighs. I went up to my wife. living in captivity and hating me.and with her hands clutching her head. but her spiritual. "Natalie. thought a moment and said: "Here are all your papers. with her head propped in both hands. I sent the maid away. Natalie. starting from my unhappy idea of inviting my wife to our consultation and ending with the exercise books and these tears. her mind. my psychology went no farther than deciding that she was giddy. the scope and variety of her reading which sometimes struck me. A maid was standing beside her with a perplexed and frightened face. or. laid the papers on the table. It was an ordinary attack of our conjugal hatred. I ought to have gone up to my wife and comforted her. senseless and unseemly. "I am going away tomorrow morning." I said softly from the drawing-room. and. but what had the starving peasants to do with it? How could it have happened that they had become a bone of contention between us? It was just as though pursuing one another we had accidentally run up to the altar and had carried on a quarrel there. "hush. and it seemed to me that that was quite sufficient. impractical. I went into the drawing-room and sat there in the dark. . I am going away tomorrow. her outlook on life. but how could I do it so that she would believe me? How could I persuade the wild duck. caressed her. moral world. and I am very much pleased. accused me of something.

"You know I used to love you and always thought of myself as older than you." she said. You promised me to go to town. . . . but in you the effect of all that is that wherever you go you bring suffocation. ." My wife wanted me to go away. . or that I might be able to love some one else if I were free. "You are very well educated and very well bred. "How am I to blame?" I went on. I used to huddle up to my mother or my nurse. I was dispirited and I dreaded the big. You want to go on at me till the morning. but I warn you I am quite worn out and cannot answer you. . something . looking at me with red eyes that gleamed with tears. I beg you calmly and in brief terms to formulate the wrong I've done you. and high-principled. . I sat down and screened away the light from my eyes with my hand. . "What have I done? Tell me: you are young and beautiful. But if you want to live in freedom. just. an egoist. Afterwards. it seemed to me as though I were hiding from the pain. and said: "Natalie. and I am nearly twice your age and hated by you. I am very grateful. Sometimes when I had an ache or a pain as a child. but because you are a difficult person. And in the same way it seemed to me now that I could only hide from my uneasiness in this little room beside my wife. . I don't know. . There was a stillness. when you begged me to go away. but is that my fault? I didn't marry you by force." said my wife. I'll give you your liberty. chill rooms that I was so weary of.She said nothing." "I am worn out. "Please go away. That's all nonsense." "Perhaps so. cheerless. I walked across the room. some time. You are not to blame for being older or for my being younger. . "How are you to blame?" my wife said after a long silence. very honest. and hate every one. you want to live." "That's not what I want. but it was not easy for me to do that. oppression." I said. . you said: 'I will forgive you everything. I ask nothing more. everything' . and when I hid my face in the warm folds of their dress. So you think I have wronged you. You can go and love who m you please. I will give you a divorce. sighed. . . go.

The interests of the peasantry and of Russia are dear to you. and she laughed. . You have had twenty bushels of rye stolen. Oh. there is no way of doing it. You hate those who have faith. You have a thorough knowledge of the law. . That's how my best years have been wasted. and so you hate the whole world. timid. and any one who on such evenings has been troubled by awakening conscience and has moved restlessly about. . and the seven years that you have been married you've only lived seven months with your wife. "And how splendid. that you are on bad terms with every one. because faith is an expression of ignorance and lack of culture. grew shrewish. you hate old people for being conservative and behind the times. mistrustful. Legal justice!" said my wife. looking reflectively into the fire. still evenings when even the dogs are too bored to bark and even the clocks seem weary of ticking. and always take your stand on your legal rights. and God be with you!" My wife lay down on the couch and sank into thought.insulting and humiliating to the utmost degree. and to receive in return board and lodging from a man she does not love. you are very honest and just. coarse. that every one hates you. Law and morality is such that a self-respecting healthy young woman has to spend her life in idleness. When I fought with you I ruined my temper." Any one who has lived in the country in winter and knows those long dreary. . and so you are always at law with the peasants and your neighbours. In the early years I was frightened with you. You are just. and now I am ashamed. how enviable life might have been!" she said softly. To live with a man like you is impossible. you respect marriage and family life. you refuse to give me a passport. and young people for free-thinking. . and your love of order has made you complain of the peasants to the Governor and all the local authorities. in depression. but what's the use of talking! As though you wanted to understand! Go upstairs. and in continual apprehension. and so you hate the peasants because you suspect every one of them of being a thief and a robber. "On the ground of your legal rights and in the interests of morality. You've had no wife and I've had no husband. trying now to smother his conscience. and the effect of all that is that all your life you have not done one kind action. and at the same time you hate those who have no faith for having no faith and no ideals. . . You hate every one. You have a straightforward way of looking at things. and to send a complaint of the local authorities to Petersburg. "What a life it might have been! There's no bringing it back now.

"Before this I had nothing. smiling mournfully. but in my not being the sort of a man I ought to be. "Here's the subscription list. Call this" -. My wife got up with an effort and came up to me. "Subscribe some money. . "forgive me. made clear to me in the meaning of my agitation." I went on a minute later. conceited. I don't believe you: you are not going away. and everything you say and do is intelligent and fine." "Natalie. . translating it in her feminine way. It's all that is left me in life. telling me I was a bad man.she pointed to her papers -"self-deception. "before I go away." She rummaged among the papers and found the subscription list. I did not understand what was wanted of me by my conscience. help me to do something for the starving peasants!" "What can I do?" said my wife. I have wasted my youth in fighting with you." she said. but I only realized that when I noticed that my wife flushed very red and hurriedly thrust the list into the heap of papers. looking at my wife enthusiastically." I took the list and wrote: "Anonymous." she said. will understand the distraction and the pleasure my wife's voice gave me as it sounded in the snug little room. We . and from her tone I could see that she did not attach great importance to her subscription list. I guessed that the whole secret lay.000." I walked about the room to conceal my emotion. Now I have caught at this and am living. false. a mistake. but do not hinder me. not in the starving peasants. but I will ask you one more favour. shrugging her shoulders. It seems to me that I have found in this a means of justifying my existence. . I beg of you as a special favour." She turned away and to interpret it. "Natalie. "that is the only way in which you can take part in the work. feminine logic. a woman of ideas. as you like. As often before in the moments of intense uneasiness. and my wife. 5." In this "anonymous" there was something wrong. "Pavel Andreitch. I am happy. you are a good woman." I said.

.it was half-past one -. objects of life. and the whole object of their life is comprised in the rouble. or say something unpleasant. rouble!" I sighed. It's time you understand that. Natalie. see no one. . And. I don't say they are not honest. "You are well-bred and educated. no ideals. . listlessly and reluctantly. "They are fond of getting money easily. . or else I should feel ashamed afterwards. be on your guard with Sobol. good books! Yes . no definite principles. Rouble. Scythian you are in reality! That's because you lead a cramped life full of hatred. . principles . and in that respect the better educated they are the more they are to be dreaded. . you would destroy it from the first day. for nothing. they are people with no ideas. I didn't know what I was going to say to her. I ought to be in bed. "Yes . with no aim in life. no faith. . then went upstairs. yes. Natalie. Yes. "and I wish you every success. that's your way: if with your views and such an attitude to people you are allowed to take part in anything. rouble." My wife went to the couch and lay down. . and read nothing but your engineering books. ." she said. But allow me at parting to give you one piece of advice. Pavel Andreitch. "Ideas. Natalie." I stood still for a little while.I went downstairs again with a candle in my hand to speak to my wife. She was not in her study. But how efface it? What was I to say? "I fully approve of what you are doing. but they are not gentlefolks. there are good people. I felt that I must at all costs efface this clumsiness at once." she brought out. . " always used to use those words when you wanted to insult or humiliate some one. ideals." I said genuinely. . . . you know. and with your assistants generally. _Merci_. the door leading to her bedroom was closed. in the train and at Petersburg. and don't trust them blindly.both felt ashamed." She sighed and paused. An hour later -. but I felt that I must say some thing very important and necessary. but I am exhausted and it wearies me to talk. ." I said. "It's coarseness of character. . but what a ." "So I am going away. .

I stood near the door. Pestrovo will be the cause of it. Another boy of three. All the roofs were intact. some were delirious"." I thought. sledges. VI I went to the station at ten o'clock in the morning."Natalie. at the boy with the huge mufflers. but snow was falling in big wet flakes and an unpleasant damp wind was blowing. and went into the drawing-room. and remained sitting in the dark till the dawn." We came out into the village street. but it all looked so ordinary that one could not believe it really was so. The emigrants had returned. There I sat down on the sofa. and then began going uphill along the road which I could see from my window. ordinary. A boy was pulling along a little girl and a baby in a sledge. The dogs ran out of the yards and looked inquisitively at my horses. in the huts "some were laughing. order. sighed. "It persecutes me. We passed a pond and then a birch copse. with his head wrapped up like a peasant woman's and with huge mufflers on his hands. smiled at him and said something. at the huts. are you asleep?" I asked softly. dogs with dishevelled tails. no voices whining for help. was trying to catch the flying snowflakes on his tongue. as usual. not one of them had been pulled to pieces. It was Pestrovo. so my bailiff had told a lie. Then a wagon loaded with fagots came toward us and a peasant walking beside it. I realized there was . but all around was stillness. Soon afterwards dark huts came into sight ahead of us as in a fog. and mechanically took off his hat to me. children. but I could see nothing for the snow. nor abuse. There was no frost. put out the candle. I turned round to take a last look at my house. He recognized my coachman. remembering my wife. "If I ever go out of my mind. Neither the children nor the peasant we met were troubled. There was no answer. and laughing. there was no bread. no weeping. and there was no telling whether his beard was white or whether it was covered with snow. why was I so troubled? Looking at the smiling peasant. Everything was quiet. There were no distracted faces. life.

and I was left alone with my thoughts. incompetent." though I am only a collegiate councillor and a kammer-junker. and I was hurrying to the station to go away and hide myself in Petersburg in a hotel in Bolshaya Morskaya. I walked aimlessly towards the pump. Of the million people working for the peasantry. "What is there awaiting me there? The acquaintances from whom I have come away. I felt that I was leaving her in uncertainty. "Why am I going?" I kept asking myself. and hatred on his face. wearing high felt boots and the skirt of his coat tucked up through his belt." Every one. Where am I going. told me with an expression of helpless confusion. I had to wait. and asked me would I not like to wait in the warm? . and putting two fingers to the peak of his cap. The porter told me the train had not yet left the next station. a part of the people's calamity. I felt proud and felt ready to cry out that I was with them too. He came up to me. the electric light. that I really was a bad man. and with my head heavy from my sleepless night. My coachman Nikanor. shrinking from the wind and the snow. which makes my eyes ache. the wind was howling. restaurant dinners. bad man. There was not a soul anywhere near. I ought to have told that she was right. I saw in the doorway the station-master. When I turned away from the pump. your Excellency. life itself had cast me out as a calamity that could daunt this people. by the way. turning up the collar of his coat. and what am I going for? What am I going for?" And it seemed somehow strange to go away without speaking to my wife. strained respectfulness. The coachman and a porter with a disc on his breast carried my trunks into the ladies' room. and so exhausted I could hardly move my legs. God give you luck. Going away. cast out. the snow was whirling. all wet with the snow and glad I was going away. calls me "your Excellency. I was a hindrance. gave me a friendly smile and said: "A fortunate journey. I was vanquished. I felt as though there were already a breath of victory in the air. of whom I had twice made complaints to his superiors. I went outside. An hour later we reached the station. noise. that the train was twenty minutes late. but the horses were carrying us away from the village into the open country. loneliness.

but with whom? With some of them I was on strained relations. the dismal upper storey and my uneasiness. but Peasant or Siskin. Nikanor carefully held the horses in to the middle of the descent. and that it was approaching its end. "Please let us go!" Nikanor shook his head doubtfully and said slowly that we really ought to have put in the shafts. took the reins in his gloves. getting into the sledge. screening my face from the snow. I don't care. but. as though expecting I should change my mind. I have not made up my mind. At home I had to expect my wife's amazement and perhaps her mockery. . he raised his elbows and shouted in a wild. Send word to my coachman to wait. ."Thank you. please. "A whole series of inconsistent actions . No. at my age that was easier and as it were more homelike than travelling for two days and nights with strangers to Petersburg. . my darlings! Hey! look out! We'll run you down!" . . still." In one place. . where every one was so glad at my going. thought a moment." I thought. I went out of the station. I might spend the rest of the day till evening at some neighbour's. . others I did not know at all." "Oh. "It's a long way. my dear fellow. where I should be conscious every minute that my life was of no use to any one or to anything. It was awkward by daylight to return home. "but I am probably not going. . better at home whatever awaited me there. and uncertainly. stood up. Well. but in the middle the horses suddenly bolted and dashed downhill at a fearful rate." sighed Nikanor." I said in a tone as though Nikanor had the right to refuse. ." I answered. or maybe twenty-five. "it will be twenty miles." I walked to and fro on the platform and thought. frantic voice such as I had never heard from him before: "Hey! Let's give the general a drive! If you come to grief he'll buy new ones. "I must have gone out of my mind. not Circassian. on a very high and steep slope. should I go away or not? When the train came in I decided not to go. "We are going to Bragino!" I said to the coachman. I considered and thought of Ivan Ivanitch. and then raised his whip.

so you are not vexed. "Don't be vexed." I thought. my dear fellow. "He promised to come from the relief centre. and said what he always did say on meeting me: "You grow younger and younger. and a peasant in a red shirt hung it on a hook. From the adjoining rooms we heard incessant whispering and the patter of bare feet. my dear fellow. bowed gravely to me. and a tall. He laughed till he coughed. The runaway horses ran up the hill as rapidly as they had downhill. He must have been drinking at the station. when the extraordinary pace we were going at took my breath away. I am an old man. Two peasant women helped me off with my coat in the entry. thin old woman in specta cles came in at once." "I am delighted. I could see that he was greatly flattered by my visit. "I have gone out of my mind." From his voice and his blissfully smiling face. . I do keep count of calls. . and the tall pines were stretching out their shaggy white paws to me from all directions. I noticed that he was very drunk. laid his head on my breast. "Don't be hard on me. He dines with me every Wednesday. went away. sniffing. and the coachman's drunk. "I am expecting the doctor to dinner. Ivan Ivanitch. I like respect. and picking up a pillow from the sofa and a picture-book from the floor. . "You have come. you might give me some of it. and when Ivan Ivanitch and I went into his little study. I'm a townsman. and before I had time to shout to Nikanor my sledge was flying along on the level in an old pine forest. conventional. At the bottom of the descent there was the crash of ice." he whispered.Only now. God bless him. when they saw us they jumped up and ran away." "I've come to return your call. my dear . "Good!" I found Ivan Ivanitch at home. Yes. I don't know what dye you use for your hair and your beard." said Ivan Ivanitch." He craned towards me and kissed me on the neck. two barefooted little girls were sitting on the floor looking at a picture-book. Yes." I said untruthfully. a piece of dirty frozen snow thrown up from the road hit me a painful blow in the face.

. a great artist in his own way. I thought what a fearful difference between Butyga and me! Butyga who made things. too. with his fingers. a serf of General Zhukov's. . ." "Forgive me. I listened. There was an atmosphere of good-natured simplicity and well-fed abundance about the chest of drawers. looking at the writing-table. Ivan Ivanitch. ." I went on -. above all. . I will put my feet on a chair. . The writing-table and the mahogany cupboard here were made for my father by a self-taught cabinet-maker -. Yes. he began telling me about cabinet-maker Butyga. Then Ivan Ivanitch went into the next room to show me a polisander wood chest of drawers remarkable for its beauty and cheapness. and I felt as though my whole body were basking in the warmth and growing weaker from it. ." Listlessly and in the tone of a man dropping asleep. Yes. such as one never sees now. yes. "sand instead of blotting-paper.Glyeb Butyga. . the tiled stove. Yes . My only prayer to God before I die is to live in peace and harmony with all in the true way. and goose-feather pens. the pictures embroidered in wool and silk on canvas in solid. had no thought of death. . then called my attention to a stove of patterned tiles. and used to come here to name-day parties with my mother. gave to length of life peculiar significance."warm. feeling that I was so exhausted I could not be myself. I sat further back on the sofa and put up my feet on an arm-chair. could not keep from me the thought. Perhaps it is annoying. it is simply unbelievable that they could ever cease to exist. solidly and substantially. and probably hardly believed in its possibility." I laughed." I said. soft. but don't be cross. . My face was burning from the snow and the wind.creature. and seeing in that his chief object. . ugly frames. When one remembers that all those objects were standing in the same places and precisely in the same order when I was a little child. I." "Eh? Yes . "It's very nice here. the low chairs. when I built my bridges of iron and stone which would last a thousand years. snug .it's no use. he would say: "These were two men remarkable in their own way: Butyga loved his fellow-creatures and would not admit the thought that they might . ." If in time Butyga's cupboard and my bridge should come under the notice of some sensible historian of art. He tapped the chest with his fingers. "It's not for long . He tapped the stove.

. He looked at me as though I were very glad to see him and very much interested in him. . showing me his rooms. and so was pleased to see Ivan Ivanitch and me. how timid and poor. Yes . were not alien to him." We heard a noise. When we sat down to table he filled my glass with vodka. I drank it. and I saw a big room with four columns. I felt as though I were in vulgar company. I've grown coarse. "Ever since my wife died and my son was killed in the war. and a heap of peas on the floor. the joy of seeing good people has driven away my sleepiness? I have turned into a peasant. his crumpled coat. smiling helplessly. ." With an expression on his face as though it could not afford me anything but pleasure. looking at me naively and stroking his beard. of finiteness and dissolution. hastening to drink off another wineglassful. . "One night with a confinement. secondly. . an old piano. "_Repetitia est mater studiorum_. . "There's no one to dance the mazurka now. it smelt cold and damp. It was Dr. . are these lines of his. I am as sleepy as Satan. but I am still an educated man. "Would you believe it." He opened a door.die and be annihilated. and I tell you in good earnest. he took me by the arm and led me to the dining-room. see. and the next I stayed at a peasant's with the bugs biting me all night. a savage in the wilds. thoughts of death." "I only heat these rooms. I've shut them up. . The engineer Asorin did not love life or his fellow-creatures. I have kept the best rooms shut up. that he was a naive and simple-hearted man. do you know. and we see how insignificant and finite. "I have not slept for two nights. . His naive eyes. . While he was rubbing his cold hands and stroking his wet beard. it's tedious without company. Sobol arriving. and. and so when he made his furniture he had the immortal man in his mind." muttered Ivan Ivanitch." said Sobol." he said. "The garden seats are in the next room . and." . even in the happy moments of creation. he put a piece of ham on my plate and I ate it submissively." muttered Ivan Ivanitch. I had time to notice in the first place that he had a very dull life. . his cheap tie and the smell of iodoform made an unpleasant impression upon me. .

roast sucking-pig. The doctor went on talking. you have the moral satisfaction of your work. idealist. "The whole day long. as he was busy with his work from morning till night and had not a free moment. that she lived in the town with his children. which had once seemed to me grave and important. and strange to say.materialist." I said. and already addressed me in Italian. Eccellenza.They served first for a cold course white sucking-pig with horse-radish cream. with boiled buckwheat. "What?" he asked." Looking naively at me as though he were convinced that I was very glad to see and hear him. but was rarely able to see her. "Is that man. I remember. Three glasses of vodka made him drunk. Eccellenza. struck me as crude. he seemed perfectly clear to me as a person." I listened to the doctor. then on my rounds. I have not time to read a book. "and I assure you." he said. first at the hospital. a boy and a girl. whom he adored. and incomprehensible character in spite of all his candour and simplicity. abusing their confidence. some dish of giblets. filthy lucre." "On the other hand. ask Ivan Ivanitch: I have often no money to buy tobacco. during which we drank home-made liquors. a widow. and. he informed me that he had long been separated from his wife and gave her three-quarters of his salary. well educated. I've read nothing for ten years! For ten years. unfortunate man. petty. partridges. intricate. Pie was served. then. gregarious instincts. they gave us a stew of pigeons. and I was soon convinced that he was a weak. ate a great deal. then a rich and very hot cabbage soup with pork on it. he grew unnaturally lively." I asked myself. "Eccellenza. "capable of wasting other people's money. and so on. with long intervals between. let alone going to see the woman I love. and he winked. As for the financial side of the question. but no classification fitted him even approximately. after my invariable habit. being disposed to sponge on them?" And now this question. while I simply listened and looked at him. . that he loved another woman. with an estate in the country. tried to take his measure by my usual classification -. disorderly in external life." he told us. "No. "better let us drink. from which rose a column of steam. but as soon as I began trying to classify him he became an exceptionally complex. and coarse. kept clearing his throat and smacking his lips.

just so. . stay in the fields for one hour. looks into it and analyses all this hotchpotch. smiling helplessly and unconscious of the taste of anything. and finally pancakes and jam. . Ivan Ivanitch and Sobol. . "that's true." said Sobol. or rushes about." said I. it's not life but more like a fire in a theatre! Any one who falls down or screams with terror. curd dumplings. does not fuss or worry herself. the District Captains. jelly. Just so. The apple-tree need take no thought for the apple to grow on it. upon my word. you'll be buried in the snow. Almost the whole business is in her hands. and struggling against nature in every way. one must stand up and look sharp. grandfather?" He turned to Ivan Ivanitch and laughed. and they all gather round her. curd cheese and milk. starving. . and the ladies. . the doctor. I can't endure petty feelings! One mopes. It's nothing but being burnt down. What was I saying? Yes! If one thinks about it. . a flabby creature. a third will come straight in here and say: 'Fie on you! Here . . but afterwards I munched and swallowed mechanically. "Eh? Yes . another is frightened." sighed Ivan Ivanitch. Tell her her doctor sends her his respects." said Sobol solemnly. "Though she takes no trouble. . you know. not catching what I said. Only do your duty towards God and your neighbour. My face was burning from the hot cabbage soup and the heat of the room. and not stir a hair! There's no time for whimpering and busying oneself with trifles.cauliflower. were crimson. " muttered Ivan Ivanitch. Yes. . it will grow of itself. At first I ate with great relish. too. I am a limp rag. be firm and as unyielding as a stone. "I am no better than a woman myself. Isn't that right. One must not worry oneself." "She's fortunate. especially the cabbage soup and the buckwheat. "She likes me. the same Petchenyegs and Polovtsi. "just look at nature about us: if you poke your nose or your ear out of your fur collar it will be frost-bitten. "To the health of your wife. and then never mind what happens." "Eccellenza. is the worst enemy of good order. ." "It's only people who don't care who take no thought. so I hate flabbiness. if you will allow me to call it so. With people of the right sort that happens of itself. she has become the most important person in the whole district. When you have to deal with elemental forces you must put out force against them. while the village is just the same as in the days of Rurik. .

" said Sobol. My tongue is my enemy. that is why I said it. come. for being rich. Come. "It's too bad!" "I did not ask him to worry himself. I took off my coat and boots. the work of Butyga the cabinet maker. . "What's it all for? What's it all for? Well. without his coat and boots. Eccellenza. supposing I was wrong. supposing I have done wrong. Ivan Ivanitch and I smoked in silence. almost crying with excitement. come!" said Sobol. and now for a nap. kissed Ivan Ivanitch on the head. by the spirit of Butyga which hovered over the quiet . "but your having set our magistrate the task of hunting day and night for your thieves -excuse me. . I don't sleep after dinner. why do they try to put me more in the wrong?" "Come. overcome by fatigue. "we have eaten and drunk wine. "but you have a rest in the lounge-room. another bed was awaiting me. and staggering from repletion. already lay asleep with his face to the back of the sofa. "Who asks him to worry himself? I didn't ask him to. trying to soothe me. soft. and now they are looking for a fresh lot. and I walked round the table. In the half-dark and warmly heated room they called the lounge-room." he sighed. Eccellenza. They turned out not to be the right ones. getting up. solid and heavy. it is petty!" "Who's asking him to worry himself? I don't understand!" I said. wide sofas. I am a little drunk. I suddenly felt unbearably ashamed and mortified." He got up from the table. laying his hand on his heart. that's also petty on your part." he went on in a loud voice. went out of the dining-room. On one of them Sobol. laughing." said Ivan Ivanitch. Excuse me. "Come! I have had a drop. Damn him!" "They have arrested three men and let them go again. but you know. my dear. and. probably made by the old woman in spectacles. ." said I. white beds.'ve guzzled a dozen courses and you talk about the starving!' That's petty and stupid! A fourth will reproach you. so that's why I say this now." I agreed. on them lay high. there stood against the walls long.

Ivan Ivanitch was sitting in a big arm-chair in his study. I'm a feeble old man. "Good!" I said. . . She likes me. looked for a moment in perplexity at Sobol's broad back. the heaps of snow. "Anyway. staring at a fixed point." He turned towards me and said in a breathless whisper: . But I said that to you at the time because I am fond of you and fond of your wife. of her room. absolutely motionless. "She dined here last Saturday. caressing snore of Sobol. and I longed to make haste home. Tell me. and it was evident that he had been in the same state of petrifaction all the while I had been asleep. . and I was fond of your father. I shall often come and see you now. . When I woke up the second time it was quite dark. my dear boy. . . I dressed and went out of the lounge-room. Ivan Ivanitch. No. . yawning. at his thick heels. Yes. I woke up at the sound of my own voice. I dreamed of the peasants who had stolen twenty sacks of rye out of my barn. . and what need have I to conceal things from you or to tell you lies? So I tell you: I am very fond of you. Yes. . making an effort to stir. of the station-master with his face full of hatred. . I can't advise you. . ." After a silence I said: "Do you remember. . then lay down again and fell asleep. . Sobol was asleep. There was peace in my heart." I said. I lay down submissively. . I shall soon die. a fire in the theatre. did my wife ever dine here?" "So-ome-ti-mes . at the buckles of his waistcoat. and by the light. it's a good thing the magistrate let them go."' muttered Ivan Ivanitch. Yes. sometimes. . but I don't respect you. you told me I had a disagreeable character and that it was difficult to get on with me? But what am I to do to make my character different?" "I don't know. "I feel as though I had woken up after breaking the fast at Easter.lounge-room. I don't respect you. And at once I began dreaming of my wife. .

" I laughed. Some of the old servants are living out their lives with him. while near the horses in the darkness there were standing and moving about men with lanterns. You have the figure and deportment of the French President Carnot -. wishing us good-bye and all sorts of blessings. my dear boy . the coachmen shouted. looking at me naively. yes. there's no strength in it. . but haven't real soul. there's no turning them out. "They are all his serfs." VII It was by now past seven. and wishing us a lucky journey. . ." "A Scythian. A queer old man!" Again the flying horses. . I recalled all the details of that strange wild day. and you are high up in the service beyond all reach. which got into one's eyes. but Sobol came in and prevented me. there are some. . Besides Ivan Ivanitch. my dear fellow. you know her better. "I've had a sleep and a wash. in fact. telling our coachmen how and which way to drive. and then there are orphans of all sorts who have nowhere to go. I am running a rig. "Well. . the little girls and the peasant. and the sledges were white. one's mouth. . "I'll have a cup of tea with some rum in it and go home. too. who insist on living there. the wind and the persistent snow. the men. "Where do all these people come from?" I asked as my three horses and the doctor's two moved at a walking pace out of the yard. and while this frantic uproar was going on. ." said Sobol. unique in my life. the old dame in spectacles. the strange voice of drunken Nikanor. "The new order has not reached him yet. and it seemed to me that I really had gone out of my mind or become a ." I thought. . You use lofty language. The horses. the wind whistled.I saw a portrait of him the other day in an illustrated paper . and every fold of one's fur coat. and you are clever." he said. women servants." I wanted to talk about my wife. "But what about my wife? Tell me something about my wife. . all accompanied us from the hall out on to the steps."It's impossible to respect you. while my bells chimed in with the doctor's. You look like a real man.

sir. but I have .different man." he shouted. and held in his three horses. "Your wife has faith. It was as though the man I had been till that day were already a stranger to me. and ushering me in front of him. The doctor drove behind and kept talking loudly with his coachman. and always. Vaska! Beat the thousand roublers! Hey. drove side by side. with the same naive confidence that it was very pleasant to me. and still it was the village street and there seemed no end to it. the silhouettes of huts. he asked for matches and said: "Now try and feed that street! And. the devils!" We seemed to have galloped a mile and a half. but when the doctor's bells had passed out of hearing. My Nikanor took it as an affront. Some one shouted: "Ah. offered me a ci garette or asked for the matches. and waving about the sleeves of his fur coat. and our horses flew like mad in pursuit. Stay. "Turn in at the tavern! We must get warm and let the horses rest. he raised his elbows. he would lean right out of his sledge. which were at least twice as long as his arms. and there are side-streets. shouted. there are five streets like that." said Sobol. We drove into a village. It's hard to do anything." We went into the best room where there was a strong smell of table-cloths." said the doctor. "I have more than one village like that in my district. malicious laughter from Sobol and his Vaska the doctor's kittens raced ahead. "It's hard to do anything. you know. too. stay. From time to time he overtook me. my kittens!" And to the accompaniment of loud. there were glimpses of lights. and at our entrance a sleepy peasant in a waistcoat and a shirt worn outside his trousers jumped up from a bench." They stopped at the tavern. I respect her and have the greatest reverence for her. Or. When we caught up the doctor and drove more quietly. shout: "Go it. and one can do nothing but scratch one's head. opening a heavy door with a squeaky block. Sobol asked for some beer and I asked for tea. "If you look in broad daylight you can't see to the end of the street. overtaking me.

he is sick and starving. so long we shall only be shuffling. I walked about my rooms. charity. reckoning seven kopecks a soul and five souls a family. Our relations ought to be businesslike. and great faith myself. as shown in orphan asylums and almshouses. On the most modest computation. Reaching home. one needs three hundred and fifty roubles a day to feed a thousand families. sensitive people there are among us who tear about in all good faith with subscription lists. charity. Meanwhile we give not three hundred and fifty a day. My Vaska has been working for me all his life. As long as our relations to the people continue to have the character of ordinary philanthropy. If I give him fifteen kopecks a day." I was pleased that this was said quite simply. and the sound of his bells was lost in the roar of the snow-storm. and yet for some reason I call that fifteen kopecks relief. Now let us put it like this. that that makes your wife and all of us exceptionally good people and hurrah for our humaneness. "Eccellenza. That sum is fixed by our practical duty to a thousand families. and took a conscientious attitude to our duties! How many such humane. oblige me with a match. That is it. that's what it is! No logic!" We were silent for a while. There is no logic in our life. and say that that is relief. knowledge. and was glad that Sobol answered me still more simply: "Right. that is. his crops have failed. I've forgotten mine in the tavern. shamming. Come and see me tomorrow to talk it over. getting into the sledge. and nothing more. reasoned." We paid for what we had and went out of the tavern. good works. I am first and foremost looking after my own interests. I was making a mental calculation and said: "I will feed a thousand families for two hundred days. by so doing I try to restore him to his former condition as a workman. trying to think things over and to ." said Sobol. but don't pay their tailors or their cooks. my dear soul! Ah! if we would talk less of being humane and calculated more. "I like going on like this. but only ten." A quarter of an hour later his horses fell behind. founded on calculation. and deceiving ourselves.

so the starving peasants do not hinder . Natalie. one phrase." My wife. ." I said. suddenly uttered a faint cry." and the starving peasants did not now hinder me from doing so. to answer me contemptuously. but make me your servant." "Natalie. Neither the scenes of disorder which I saw when I went the round of the huts at Pestrovo with my wife and Sobol the other day. she had prepared herself not to cry. I am at peace. Do not drive me away. in the same pink dressing-gown. I have never for one minute ceased to miss you. as she had done the day before. Now I feel no uneasiness. with horror. take all my property. eating and cleaning their boots. and it was evident that having heard of my arrival. But without thinking of anything. burst into tears. writing my "History of Railways. and only obstinate vanity prevented me from owning it. My brain was not working. but to laugh at me.think as you like. not to defend herself. when we lived as husband and wife. and there's no need. I went upstairs to my own storey. nor old age close upon me -. Enchanted by her presence. . nor malignant rumours. An hour later I was sitting at my table. nor the mistakes of the people around me. and the new man who has been in me since yesterday will not let me go away. I've shaken off my old self with horror. . "but it's not deception. ready for my wife. holding out my hands to her: "I tell you. I went downstairs to my wife. I've not gone away. The past. and give it away to any one you like. Natalie!" She looked intently into my face and believed me. and ran into the next room. On her face was an expression of perplexity and irony. . cannot be brought back. I am content. I muttered as in delirium. not to entreat me. looking intently and with curiosity into my face. and there was a gleam of uneasiness in her eyes. I'm ill. Her face was saying: "If that's how it is.nothing disturbs me. . and standing in the same attitude as though screening her papers from me. I have gone out of my mind. I am at peace. . and to act with decision. warmed by the warmth of her room. good-bye. I despise him and am ashamed of him. She was in her room. I had not one word. I've become a different man -. Just as the flying bullets do not hinder soldiers from talking of their own affairs. I have no one near to me but you. I've grown old.define my position clearly to myself.

while their elders sat without stirring. and sat down to the table without hurrying himself. had received a gift of three hundred acres of land from Madame Kuvshinnikov. a general's widow. and three small boys. now deceased. and Arhipka -. deliberately said his prayer. snub-nosed little fellows with chubby faces and tousled hair that wanted cutting. The sound of carpenters' axes (Shiryaev was having a new barn built) and the laughter of Fomka. his eldest daughter Varvara. Vanka. and apparently did not care whether they ate their dinner or waited." My wife often comes up to me and looks about my rooms uneasily. . a round-shouldered student in from sleeping quietly and looking after my personal affairs. Several times he laid down his spoon and cleared his throat. there will soon be nothing of our property left and we shall be poor. as though looking for what more she can give to the starving peasants "to justify her existence. . a student. his wife. his son Pyotr. The boys -. Pyotr. Sobol calls "an orgy of philanthropy." and I see that. meaning to begin to speak. Cabbage-soup was served immediately. a small farmer. DIFFICULT PEOPLE YEVGRAF IVANOVITCH SHIRYAEV. As usual. kept exchanging glances with his mother as he ate his dinner. had been sitting waiting a long time. sparse drops of rain pattered on the window. moved their chairs impatiently. In my house and far around it there is in full swing the work which Dr. a parish priest. Fedosya Semyonovna. whose father. but that does not trouble me. Big. was standing in a corner before a copper washing-stand. while his family sat waiting at table for him to have finished washing his hands before beginning dinner. teasing the turkey. floated in from the courtyard. What will happen in the future I don't know. and I smile at her gaily. washing his hands. their labourer. Shiryaev deliberately dried his hands. thanks to her.grubby. but after an intent look at his father he fell to eating . . but a curse laid upon us. As though trying their patience. It's raining again!" He grumbled on.Kolka. "What weather!" he said. his face looked anxious and ill-humoured. and his beard was uncombed. "It's not weather.

You could have had it long ago!" The student heaved a faint sigh and looked with relief at his mother. "The fare to Moscow is eleven roubles forty-two kopecks. money." A minute passed in silence. He ought to have asked him for something more. take it. for clothes. "Here. .) "Here are twelve roubles for you. . At last." "Ah. I don't know how it will be this year. You will have change out of that which will be of use to you on the journey. I have missed a fortnight as it is. and good luck to you." The student thanked him. Yevgraf Ivanovitch. go. money!" sighed the father." the mother observed in a low voice. "He must have money for the journey. "why are you lingering on here? Pack up and go. (He always sighed when he saw money. but after an . The lectures begin on the first of September. he cleared his throat resolutely and said: "I ought to go tonight by the evening train. you can't go without money." "Thank you. I out to have gone before. "You will have to make ten do. "Money? To be sure. Deliberately Shiryaev took a pocket-book out of his coat-pocket and put on his spectacles." he said. most likely it will take me a little time to find work.again." "Well. I ought to ask you for fifteen roubles for my lodging and dinner. "How much do you want?" he asked." Shiryaev assented. even when he was receiving it. when the porridge had been served." Shiryaev thought a little and heaved a sigh. since you need it. Take it at once. for lecture fees." After waiting a little. . the student said: "I did not get lessons quite at first last year. for books.

" And immediately after that a storm-signal showed itself. Why. Yevgraf Ivanovitch. "Strip me to the last thread!" he shouted in a shrill voice. clutched at his head. lacking in diplomacy and prudence. A revolting expression of anger. and with all his might flung down his fat pocket-book in the middle of the table. anyway. as though she did not grasp what was happening to her husband. shrank into herself and muttered something in self-defence. He could not go on eating.all mixed together -. resentment.flamed on his face. at the sight of which all the family trembled. went on: "He is not a little boy now. and said: "You ought to give him another six roubles.intent look at his father he decided not to pester him further. The children held their breath. and by degrees suffused his whole face. The colour mounted slowly to his ears. "plunder me! Take it all! Strangle me!" He jumped up from the table. you know. like all mothers. for a pair of boots. Fedosya Semyonovna. and ran staggering about the room. The mother. "Take everything!" he shouted in an unnatural voice. avarice -. Fedosya Semyonovna." "He must have trousers. who had not after twenty-five years grown used to her husband's difficult character. how can he go to Moscow in such wrecks?" "Let him take my old ones. He was evidently struggling with the feeling that was mastering him. he is a disgrace to look at. they are still quite good. An expression of . he is ashamed to go about without clothes. from his ears to his temples. could not restrain herself. so that a hunk of bread flew off a plate. Shiryaev's short. A deathlike silence followed. "Squeeze out the last drop! Rob me! Wring my neck!" The student flushed and dropped his eyes. fat neck turned suddenly red as a beetroot. Yevgraf Ivanovitch shifted in his chair and unbuttoned his shirt-collar to save himself from choking." Shiryaev suddenly jumped up. just see.

This was how domestic scenes usually ended at the Shiryaevs'. and. Do you know what you cost me. ran out into the yard. . fell back in her chair. "You must listen to what I say! I shall say what I like. "you know he. with a curse and a wave of the hand. . for . uttering a loud shriek. . At your age I was earning my living. so here's money for you too! I need nothing! Order yourself new boots and uniforms!" The student turned pale and got up. laid down their spoons and sat mute. . gasping for breath. . shaking all over. and you hold your tongue. but . "hold your tongue!" "I used . . . "Listen. which at all times looked dull and scared. . while you . "Take them!" he muttered. and he stamped with his feet. does not say his! It's all your fault! He has no respect for us. Shiryaev." he began. . papa. and tears actually came into his eyes from anger. The little boys and the elder daughter Varvara. you know Petya . "I . but now I have got out of the way of it." "Hold your tongue!" the father shouted at him. I used to be able to put up with such scenes. But . moving her fingers nervously. . with a pale ugly face. moved her vacant-looking eyes to the window. The father. "You've eaten and drunk your fill. "It is you who have spoilt them -. Do you understand? I have got out of the way of it!" "Hold your tongue!" cried the father. uttering words each more terrible than the one before. . !" "Hold your tongue!" Shiryaev shouted out to her. . ." muttered Fedosya Semyonovna. growing more and more ferocious. turned pale. . a girl in her teens. dashed up to the table and began shaking the notes out of his pocket-book. and so loudly that the spectacles fell off his nose. I beg you to end this.amazement and dull terror came into her wasted and birdlike face. and earns nothing! I am only one against the ten of you! I'll turn you out of the house!" The daughter Varvara gazed fixedly at her mother with her mouth open. you scoundrel? I'll turn you out! Wastrel!" "Yevgraf Ivanovitch.

On the right-hand side of the road was a vegetable-garden cleared of its crops and gloomy-looking. puddles gleamed here and there. but some phantom before her. on the other towards the open country. . Pyotr thought it would not be a bad thing to walk to Moscow on foot. ducks. "What?" Like his father. Somewhere near Kursk or near Serpuhovo. and without a farthing of money. His corpse would be found. unfortunately. and in which hens. with here and there sunflowers standing up in it with hanging heads already black. On one side the house looked towards the ravine. the boy waved his hands and ran into the yard. . as though it were not her son. Instead there were farm-buildings of all sorts close to one another. The air was full of a penetrating autumn dampness. . but would go on and on. he would sink down and die. fields by forests again. Pyotr the student was carried away by overmastering anger. . dark. who used to beat his parishioners about the head with a stick. and pigs ran about. and a stream ran at the bottom. but he would not even look at him. the student walked along the muddy road towards the open country. . and there would be a paragraph in all the papers saying that a student called Shiryaev . . soon the earth would be white with the first snow. with holes in his boots. Pale and clenching his fists. without a cap. would begin begging him to turn back or take the money. and in the yellow fields autumn itself seemed looking out from the grass. Its sides were overgrown with oak saplings and alders. Going out of the house. Bare forests would be followed by desolate fields. When he had gone eighty miles his father. frightened and aghast. exhausted and dying of hunger. to walk just as he was. he went up to his mother and shouted in the very highest tenor note his voice could reach: "These reproaches are loathsome! sickening to me! I want nothing from you! Nothing! I would rather die of hunger than eat another mouthful at your expense! Take your nasty money back! take it!" The mother huddled against the wall and waved her hands. and the streams would be coated with ice. The road was muddy. there were no fences nor hurdles. dismal. Shiryaev's house stood alone on a ravine which ran like a furrow for four miles along the steppe. He was just as hasty and ill-tempered as his father and his grandfather the priest. "What have I done?" she wailed. shutting in a small space in front of the house which was regarded as the yard. decaying.on this occasion. would overtake him.

He imagined a string of pilgrims. they are a secret. revolted him and moved him to despair and hatred! "Look out!" He heard behind him a loud voice. it's hard for an outsider's eye to see them. They let him in. . a beauty. play to him on the piano. better still. and smiled all over his face.had died of hunger. begs for a night's lodging. had for some offence lain for half his lifetime under the ban of the wrath of . drove past him in a light. young Shiryaev walked on and on. of the grief of his family. Beyond the inn. the deathlike stillness all around. terrible nights. And at once he caught himself in that smile. That hillock reminded him of the connection existing between the place where he was now standing and Moscow. . listen to his complaints. He bowed to her. and the daughter of the house. The solemn landscape. He walked along the road and thought of death. Every family has its joys and its horrors. . which was so out of keeping with his gloomy mood. they give him food and drink. falls in love with him. and then pictured all sorts of adventures on the road. and suddenly he sees that they are robbers. he could see a little hillock.picturesque places. where lectures were being given. . A white dog with a muddy tail who was wandering about the vegetable-garden looking for something gazed at him and sauntered after him. And he almost wept with depression and impatience. chance encounters. Or. for instance. a landowner of the neighbourhood. Where did it come from if his whole heart was full of vexation and misery? And he thought nature itself had given man this capacity for lying. far ahead he saw the inn. that even in difficult moments of spiritual strain he might be able to hide the secrets of his nest as the fox and the wild duck do. but however great they may be. with its order and beauty. on the very horizon. he stands before the window. a hut in the forest with one little window shining in the darkness. Absorbed in his bitterness and such thoughts. he is taken into a big manor-house. this was the railway-station. The father of the old lady who had just driven by. elegant landau. An old lady of his acquaintance. a dark patch against the grey background of cloud. . Far. where street-lamps were burning and carriages were rattling in the streets. where. learning who he is. . each more marvellous than the one before -. of the moral sufferings of his father.

of her four sons. "I suppose you have changed your mind about going today?" he asked. he thought of his mother. You have worn my mother out and made a slave of her. more humiliating. to vent your ill-humour on the weak. . it was evident he felt himself to blame. rubbed his forehead and went on in great excitement: "Not a dinner or tea passes without your making an uproar. . I must speak to you seriously. abandoning himself to dreary thoughts. . . Yevgraf Ivanovitch was pacing from one window to another. His sister Varvara was lying behind a screen with a headache. . ." The father looked out of the window and did not speak. The student felt sorry for him. The student. from the way he cleared his throat. mending Arhipka's trousers. who almost always lied when she had to speak of her husband and children. but immediately suppressing that feeling. yes.. was sitting beside her on a box. I have always respected you. As he walked back he made up his mind at all costs to talk to his father. but your behaviour . . and . once and for all. Pyotr walked about the roads far from home till dusk. Your bread sticks in our throat. . . . while I . Though you are my father. .Tsar Nicolas I. has given you the right to insult and humiliate us so horribly. my sister is hopelessly crushed. He found perfect stillness in the house. than bread that sticks in one's throat." . not one had turned out well. His mother. . . he said: "Listen . to explain to him. who did not like talking about their families. The student thought of his comrades. and she had answered his smile by smiling too. and have never brought myself to speak to you in such a tone. One could imagine how many terrible scenes there must have been in her life. how many tears must have been shed. And yet the old lady seemed happy and satisfied. and even from the back of his head. seriously. . nothing is more bitter. From his walk. scowling at the weather. When it began to drizzle with rain he turned homewards. her husband had been a gambler. that it was dreadful and oppressive to live with him. your last action . moaning faintly. no one. . . . . with a look of amazement and guilt upon her face. neither God nor nature. as though considering his words. . .

I tell you!" roared Yevgraf Ivanovitch. with an astonished face. He felt neither anger nor shame. and he made a movement. "Yes. . which was suffering most. he realized that every one in the house was feeling the same ache. but a vague ache in his soul. He neither blamed his father nor pitied his mother. And the peasants can't endure you!" The student had by now lost his thread. Fedosya Semyonovna appeared in the doorway. it is my business! You can quarrel with me as much as you like. . The student went to his own room and quietly lay down. but leave my mother in peace! I will not allow you to torment my mother!" the student went on. ill-humoured. With a wave of his hand." said his father. but she could not. and God only knew which was most to blame. do you understand? You are coarse. "I don't want to live with you!" Varvara uttered a shriek behind the screen and broke into loud sobs. she tried to say something. but now that is over! Coarse. "You have brought him up like this!" "I don't want to go on living in this house!" shouted the student. . and was not so much speaking as firing off detached words. They tremble and are mute towards you. "It's all your fault!" Shiryaev shouted at her. . with flashing eyes. and could only move her fingers. unfeeling. "you don't like to hear the truth! Excellent! Very good! begin shouting! Excellent!" "Hold your tongue. "That's right!" the son persisted. . "You are spoilt because no one has yet dared to oppose you. crying. "Hold your tongue!" he shouted. Shiryaev ran out of the house."It's not your business to teach me. as though stunned. ill-bred man! You are coarse . and looking angrily at his mother. but suddenly his neck turned crimson. the colour crept up his face. . He lay till midnight without moving or opening his eyes. nor was he tormented by stings of conscience. very pale. Yevgraf Ivanovitch listened in silence.

and even shed tears. He heard how his father. was a doctor. The sunflowers were drooping their heads still lower. At five o'clock in the morning he said good-bye to them all affectionately. where he dissected. and told him to have the horse ready at five o'clock in the morning for him to drive to the station. he undressed and got into bed. . the money is on the round table . Twice his mother came to him behind the screen.At midnight he woke the labourer. Always with the same look of vacant wonder. Her husband. Yevgraf Ivanovitch." said his son. drumming on the panes. sighing. hateful rain was falling as the labourer drove him to the station. . till early morning. A cold. He was on the staff of two hospitals: in one a ward-surgeon and in the other a dissecting demonstrator. was standing by the window. I am going. and the grass seemed darker than ever. they spoke rarely. No one was asleep. still awake. His private practice was a small one. paced slowly from window to window. and in no way remarkable man. Every day from nine to twelve he saw patients and was busy in his ward. she slowly made the cross over him. not worth more than five hundred roubles a year. and after twelve o'clock he went by tram to the other hospital. "Good-bye." his father answered. Osip Stepanitch Dymov. THE GRASSHOPPER I ALL Olga Ivanovna's friends and acquaintances were at her wedding. without turning round. "Good-bye . "Look at him. As he passed his father's room. . shaking nervously. . but could not get to sleep. and only in whispers. isn't it true that there is something in him?" she said to her friends. with a nod towards her husband. very ordinary. That was . as though she wanted to explain why she was marrying a simple. he glanced in at the door. and only of the rank of a titular councillor. who had not taken off his clothes or gone to bed.

as well as an elegant. and a capital elocutionist. already had made a reputation and was looked upon as a celebrity. spoiled by fortune. What more could one say about him? Meanwhile. animal studies. though he was tall and the midst of this company Dymov seemed strange. and to whom the name of Dymov sounded in no way different from Sidorov or Tarasov -. There was an actor from the Dramatic Theatre. who was a great talent of established reputation. was successful at exhibitions. that she was ruining herself. gave brilliant promise of becoming one. who had written stories. Who else? Why. and plays. and more or less famous. then there were several artists. young but already well known. On paper. and modest man. Vassily Vassilyitch. Though if he had been a writer or an artist. then there was a literary man. fair young man of five-and-twenty who painted genre pieces. and who taught Olga Ivanovna to recite. and landscapes. and on smoked plates. and used to say she might do something. who recalled the existence of doctors only in times of illness. the old ballad and epic. though refined and modest. taking his arm. a good-natured. or if not yet a celebrity. When my poor father was taken ill. I must tell you that my father was on the same staff at the hospital as Dymov. intelligent. . Dymov watched for days and nights together at his bedside. fat man who assured Olga Ivanovna. and had sold his last picture for five hundred roubles. Olga Ivanovna and her friends and acquaintances were not quite ordinary people. with a great feeling for the old Russian style. there was a singer from the opera. not wanted.all. In the midst of this free artistic company." said Olga Ivanovna. "Oh. and who openly declared that of all the ladies of his acquaintance the only one who could accompany him was Olga Ivanovna. let me tell you. that if she would take herself in hand and not be lazy she might make a remarkable singer. on china. novels. listen! . they would have said that his beard reminded them of Zola. He touched up Olga Ivanovna's sketches. Such . with a sigh. a landowner and amateur illustrator and vignettist. Every one of them was remarkable in some way. and chief among them Ryabovsky. An artist said to Olga Ivanovna that with her flaxen hair and in her wedding-dress she was very much like a graceful cherry-tree when it is covered all over with delicate white blossoms in spring. he produced literally marvels. "how it was it all came to pass so suddenly. Listen. Then a violoncellist. He looked as though he had on somebody else's coat. a very handsome. and small. and his beard was like a shopman's. . whose instrument used to sob.

hung up bark shoes and sickles. and one fine evening. crying. daggers. Then between twelve and one she drove to her dressmaker's. Such self-sacrifice.the princess had won the hero's heart Dymov fell head over ears in love. like snow upon my head. . Ryabovsky. busts. Olga Ivanovna played the piano or. met me in the street. and so achieved a dining-room in the Russian style. . As Dymov and she had very little money. Was he a relation of yours?" II Olga Ivanovna was twenty-two. .self-sacrifice! Listen. I am his wife. all at once he made me an offer . and near the piano and furniture arranged picturesque corners with Japanese parasols. And all at once -. hold out your honest hand to Ryabovsky. And every one thought that the young people had a very charming little home. fate is so strange at times! Well. easels. Olga Ivanovna hung all her drawing-room walls with her own and other people's sketches. There really is something strong. and said: "Very glad to meet you. only just enough. hung a Venetian lantern over the beds. if it were sunny. When she got up at eleven o'clock every morning. There was a Ryabovsky in my year at the medical school. powerful. stood in a corner a scythe and a rake. be friends. as you see. In her bedroom she draped the ceiling and the walls with dark cloths to make it like a cavern. "Come here. and rags of many colours. it is very interesting! Come nearer." Dymov. That's right. with a naive and good-natured smile. They got on splendidly together when they were married. bearlike about him. Really. and fell hellishly in love myself. we are talking about you!" she called to her husband. listen. either. . I lay awake all night. . . what do you say to that forehead? Dymov. painted something in oils. and did not sleep for nights. in frames and without frames. and at the door set a figure with a halberd. she and . . such genuine sympathy! I sat up with my father. photographs. my writer. In the dining-room she papered the walls with peasant woodcuts. Dymov was thirty-one. . . isn't there? Now his face is turned three-quarters towards us in a bad light. held out his hand to Ryabovsky. . . but when he turns round look at his forehead. And here. Ryabovsky! You. after my father's death he came to see me sometimes.

. Those whom she called great and famous received her as one of themselves." "I don't understand them. good sense. out of bits of tulle. You take absolutely no interest in art. "but you have one very serious defect.everything she did was exceptionally graceful. was proud of them. The old ones departed and were forgotten. that she was sweet. impulsively hugging his head and showering kisses on it. and charming. and predicted with one voice that. "I have spent all . She craved for them. she took part in amateur performances. and kind-heartedness touched her and moved her up to enthusiasm. She sang. . and her intelligence. and all this not just anyhow. Very often out of an old dyed dress. From the dressmaker's Olga Ivanovna usually drove to some actress of her acquaintance to hear the latest theatrical gossip. she carved. perfect marvels were created. and incidentally to try and get hold of tickets for the first night of some new play or for a benefit performance. and was assured that she was good.either to pay a visit or to give an invitation or simply to have a chat. but all with talent. You don't believe in music or painting. dreamed of them every night. From the actress's she had to go to some artist's studio or to some exhibition or to see some celebrity -." he would say mildly. too. and invited him to her house. she would do great things if she concentrated herself. lace.her dressmaker were often put to clever shifts to enable her to appear constantly in new dresses and make a sensation with them. she painted in oils.not a dress. and silk. she played the piano. She adored celebrated people. . with her talents. but to these. artistic. her taste. And everywhere she met with a gay and friendly welcome. than she made his acquaintance. whether she made lanterns for an illumination or dressed up or tied somebody's cravat -." she used to say. as an equal. generous man. What for? Between four and five she dined at home with her husband. finding them and seeking for them again. and began eagerly seeking for fresh great men. costing nothing. But her talents showed themselves in nothing so clearly as in her faculty for quickly becoming acquainted and on intimate terms with celebrated people. something bewitching -. Dymov. "You are a clever. She was constantly jumping up. but a dream. No sooner did any one become ever so little celebrated. she soon grew accustomed or was disappointed in them. and set people talking about him. and never could satisfy her craving. plush. His simplicity. new ones came to replace them. got on friendly terms the same day. Every new acquaintance she made was a veritable fete for her. that she was rare.

but entertained themselves with various arts. but the way I look at it is that if one set of sensible people devote their whole lives to them." At these "At Homes" the hostess and her guests did not play cards and did not dance. and she returned home after midnight." "But. In the intervals between the recitations. sang. cheese. that's awful. gentlemen. the violoncellist played. artists sketched in the albums of which Olga Ivanovna had a great number. and Dymov would appear with his good-natured." They all went into the dining-room. with a triumphant expression. vodka. sardines. gentle smile and life in working at natural science and medicine. On Wednesdays she had "At Homes. and saying. but you don't reproach them with it. but not understanding does not imply disbelieving in them. the theatre. carved. So it was every day. Every one has his own line. and no one remembered his existence. for Olga Ivanovna considered all ladies wearisome and vulgar except actresses and her dressmaker. and other sensible people pay immense sums for them. and two decanters of wine. and the hostess herself sketched. caviare. "It is he. and played accompaniments. clasping her . My dear _maitre d' hotel!_" Olga Ivanovna would say. mushrooms. you know. rubbing his hands: "Come to supper. a singer sang. and singing. and I have never had time to take an interest in the arts. they must be of use. Not one of these entertainments passed without the hostess starting at every ring at the bell. I don't understand landscapes and operas. and painting. and every time found on the table exactly the same things: a dish of oysters. they talked and argued about literature. then to a theatre or to a concert." "Let me shake your honest hand!" After dinner Olga Ivanovna would drive off to see her friends. some new celebrity. There were no ladies. I don't understand them." meaning by "he. Dymov!" "Why so? Your friends don't know a nything of science or medicine. Dymov was not in the drawing-room. music. a piece of ham or veal." of course. An actor from the Dramatic Theatre recited. But exactly at half-past eleven the door leading into the dining-room opened.

and told her that it did not matter. he used to thrust his hands deep into his pockets. And I did not notice it till I got home. She had already had made for her two travelling dresses of linen. and their life flowed on without a hitch. Three days after he had begun to go back to the hospital he had another mischance. nightingales. and a new palette for the journey. "I have no luck. "He really is a nice fellow". canvases. He smiled. the darling!" The visitors ate. and grow careless. fishing. when she showed him her painting.hands with enthusiasm. and then from July right on to autumn an artist's tour on the Volga. and had to have his beautiful black hair cropped. turn your profile. "you are simply fascinating! My friends. The young people were happy. and went on talking about the theatre.sadly. brushes. compress his lips. music." Olga Ivanovna was alarmed. The present was happy. May and June a summer villa a good distance out of town." Olga Ivanovna dreaded symptoms of blood-poisoning. had bought paints. and promising a thousand delights. little mother. . sketching. In April. look at his forehead! Dymov. and painting. and prayed about it every night. Look! he has the face of a Bengal tiger and an expression as kind and sweet as a gazelle. And they were both in good spirits. and. "I had four dissections to do today. "I get absorbed. free from grief and anxiety. but all went well. already smiling in the distance. but when he was better she put a white handkerchief on his shaven head and began to paint him as a Bedouin. thought. and that he often cut his hands when he was dissecting. And again life flowed on peaceful and happy. Ah." he said one day at dinner. looking at Dymov. and in this tour Olga Ivanovna would take part as an indispensable member of the society. Dymov caught erysipelas in the hospital. indeed. Almost every day Ryabovsky visited her to see what progress she was making in her painting. There would be no end to their happiness. and I cut two of my fingers at one. little mother. Olga Ivanovna sat beside him and wept bitterly. and to follow it spring was at hand. The third week of their honeymoon was spent. not quite happily -. was in bed for six days. walks. but they soon forgot about him. however.

And he was delighted as he looked at his parcel. cheese. . The foreground is somehow chewed up. and missed her terribly. you know. As he sat in the train and afterwards as he looked for his villa in a big wood. then tumble into bed and to sleep. and men's overcoats and hats lying about on the chairs and in the windows. III After dinner on the second day of Trinity week. brushes. very uninviting in appearance. but he refused tea for fear of . The sun was setting by the time he found his villa and recognized it. the more readily Olga Ivanovna understood him. . And your cottage is weighed down and whines pitifully. and white salmon. he felt all the while hungry and weary. and there is something.sniff. the other was clean-shaven and fat." And the more incomprehensible he talked. . apparently an actor. but that most likely she would soon be in. greasy papers. "Do you want Olga Ivanovna? Wait a minute. There was a samovar boiling on the table. with low ceilings papered with writing-paper and with uneven floors full of crevices. two were dark-haired and had beards. One of the dark-haired men. poured himself out a glass of tea. and dreamed of how he would have supper in freedom with his wife. not the thing. she will be here directly. ! That cloud of yours is screaming: it's not in the evening light. in which there was caviare. . That corner ought to have been taken more in shadow. looking sleepily and listlessly at him. Dymov bought some sweets and some savouries and went down to the villa to see his wife. In one there was a bed. He had not seen her for a fortnight." Dymov sat down and waited. in the second there were canvases. . I like it. but on the whole it is not bad. looking at Dymov ungraciously. The villa. The old servant told him that her mistress was not at home. and say: "Ye--es . "What do you want?" asked the actor in a bass voice. and asked: "Perhaps you would like some tea?" Dymov was both hungry and thirsty. consisted only of three rooms. while in the third Dymov found three unknown men.

bearlike in his face . Take the keys. go home and get my pink dress from the wardrobe. I will choose among them later. "A young telegraph clerk at the station.well. Soon he heard footsteps and a familiar laugh. you see the wood. Ah! if you only knew how sweet you are! You have come in the nick of time! You will be my salvation! You are the only person who can save me! There is to be a most original wedding here tomorrow. "Dymov!" cried Olga Ivanovna. carrying a big umbrella and a camp-stool. a door slammed. then we shall all walk from the church to the bride's lodgings. Fancy! the wedding will be after the service. laughing. "Is that you? Why haven't you come for so long? Why? Why?" "When could I. and she looked as though she were going to cry. timid man. . .spoiling his supper. you might paint him as a young Norman. Then. what am I to go to the church in?" said Olga Ivanovna. . in the storeroom. . is going to be married. You remember it. "I will go tomorrow and send them to . and of course it would be a shame not to be sympathetic to him. wearing a wide-brimmed hat and carrying a box in her hand. not stupid. ." "But how glad I am to see you! I have been dreaming about you the whole night. and tying her husband's cravat. try not to crush them. and I was afraid you must be ill. . And buy me some gloves. no gloves . rosy and good-humoured. . the birds singing." "Very well. little mother? I am always busy.very original. . . Dymov. and under them flowers. . He is a lonely." said Dymov. and you know there is something strong. and she flushed crimson with pleasure. you must save me. it hangs in front. laying her head and both arms on his bosom. in the style of the French impressionists." she went on. the whole night. . she was followed by Ryabovsky. and whenever I am free it always happens somehow that the train does not fit. no flowers. . heaps of tulle and rags of all sorts. . "I have nothing here. But. and all of us spots of different colours against the bright green background -. . literally nothing! no dress. When you open the top one you will see tulle. darling. He is a handsome young man and -. We summer visitors take a great interest in him. called Tchikeldyeev. fate itself bids you save me. on the floor. and have promised to be at his wedding. my precious. on the right side. Take out all the flowers carefully. "Dymov!" she repeated. and Olga Ivanovna ran into the room. you will see two cardboard boxes. patches of sunlight on the grass. . not well off. Since you have come.

the cheese. . and the white salmon were eaten by the two dark gentlemen and the fat actor." "Tomorrow?" asked Olga Ivanovna. it must be today. . The turquoise colour of the water. When she gazed steadily without blinking into the distance. Come. the river-banks. in the infinite space beyond the moonlight. such as she had never seen before. would soon be over. lights. telling her the black shadows on the water were not shadows. and the wedding's at eleven. would blend with eternity. to become a memory in the sight of that enchanted water with the fantastic glimmer. No. unique in a lifetime. darling. in sight of the fathomless sky and the mournful. don't miss it. the love of the people. Beside her was standing Ryabovsky. and the unaccountable joy that flooded her soul. . The passenger train will be in directly." "Oh. you must run along. . went to the station." "Very well. triumphant strains of music. and she looked at him surprised. that it would be sweet to sink into forgetfulness. . lay awaiting her. darling. and that somewhere in the distance. and that marvellous night. dreamy shores that told of the vanity of our life and of the existence of something higher. . success. and. but a dream. and thought of her being immortal and never dying. it absolutely must be today. The first train goes tomorrow at nine. cries . all told her that she would make a great like a silly?" Dymov hurriedly drank a glass of tea. to die. and tears came into her eyes. then. send them by a messenger. took a cracknel. "And why did I promise that telegraph clerk. she seemed to see crowds of people. how sorry I am to let you go!" said Olga Ivanovna. and eternal. smiling gently. why live? And Olga Ivanovna listened alternately to Ryabovsky's voice and the silence of the night. the black shadows. the future was trivial. IV On a still moonlight night in July Olga Ivanovna was standing on the deck of a Volga steamer and looking alternately at the water and at the picturesque banks. The past was vulgar and uninteresting. And the caviare. blessed. "You won't have time tomorrow. glory. If you won't be able to come tomorrow. the sky.

really. Ah! I don't know . by his manner of expressing himself and his attitude to nature. And she was afraid to look at him. . ecstasy. far away. She thought. breathing on her cheek. . . was like the life of a bird. a genius. Yes. . . one of God's elect. in a special way. of the tones of evening. and flowers showered upon her from all sides. and there is no such thing as Dymov." said Olga Ivanovna. I will give up art . in a language of his own. the moon. . unnecessary. would be astounding. leaning with his elbows on the rail of the steamer. ." he muttered in violent emotion. "Love me. . of the moonlight. I am a slave. and far. I don't care about the past. that beside her. what of Dymov? Why Dymov? What had she to do with Dymov? Had he any existence in nature." seemed to her petty. covering her eyes. immeasurably sublime. there was standing a real great man. beauty. but all her past.of enthusiasm. and extraordinary. Ryabovsky wrapped her in his cloak. with her wedding. one instant!" Olga Ivanovna's heart began to throb. aloof from all common cares. and she gave a shudder." said Olga Ivanovna. dingy. give me one moment. . too. free. . when with maturity his rare talent reached its full development. and that could be seen by his face. All that he had created up to the present was fine." "Don't talk like that. "It's growing cooler." he whispered. "It's dreadful! How about Dymov?" "What of Dymov? Why Dymov? What have I to do with Dymov? The Volga. . . so that one could not help feeling the fascination of his power over nature. "I love you madly. and with her "At Homes. and his life. Why are you so enchanting today?" He kept staring intently at her. . trivial. She tried to think about her husband. but what he would create in time. . with Dymov. "Say one word to me and I will not go on living. new. original. independent. or was he only a dream? . He talked of shadows. . He was very handsome. my love. she herself in a white dress. and his eyes were terrible. love . and said mournfully: "I feel that I am in your power. .

" The artist." said Olga Ivanovna. . for no rhyme or reason. it was a waiter from the refreshment-bar. "We are nearing Kineshmo!" said some one on the other side of the deck. and greedily kissing the hands with which she feebly tried to thrust him from her. V On the second of September the day was warm and still. "bring us some wine. sat on the seat. In the early morning a light mist had hung over the Volga. then he closed his eyes. . Over their morning tea Ryabovsky told Olga Ivanovna that painting was the most ungrateful and boring art. a simple and ordinary man the happiness he has had already is enough. One must experience everything in life. looking into his eyes. that none but fools thought that he had any talent. but overcast. what a night! marvellous night!" "Yes. put her arms round him. which were bright with tears. They heard heavy footsteps. he snatched up a knife and with it scraped over . but in spite of them all I will go to my ruin. embracing her."For him. looking at Olga Ivanovna with adoring. "Let them condemn me. laughing and crying with happiness. and all at once. My God! how terrible and how glorious!" "Well? Well?" muttered the artist. grateful eyes. what a night!" she whispered. Then she looked round quickly. pale with emotion. smiling languidly: "I am tired. that he was not an artist. let them curse me. "Waiter. and said. I will go to my ruin! . "You love me? Yes? Yes? Oh." she thought. covering her face with her hands. and kissed him on the lips." And he leaned his head against the rail. And there seemed no hope of the sky clearing. and after nine o'clock it had begun to spout with rain.

he sent that hundred too. In short. "Do you remember. the transparent blue distance. and thought he had already gone off and lost his talent." And Dymov? Dear Dymov! with what gentleness and childlike pathos he kept begging her in his letters to make haste and come home! Every month he sent her seventy-five roubles. gloomy autumn. and had packed it away in boxes till the coming spring. and she longed to get away from the peasants. cold-looking. If Ryabovsky had not given his word to the artists that he would stay with them till the twentieth of September. Everything. from the damp smell of the river. and the crows were flying above the Volga and crying tauntingly. and when she wrote him that she had lent the artists a hundred roubles. "Will the sun ever come out? I can't go on with a sunny landscape without the sun. Were they getting something up now? Did they think of her? The season had begun by now. and it would be time to think about her "At Homes. And now the Volga was dingy. then in her husband's study. all of one even colour without a gleam of light. . on the left a herd of cows and geese? You might finish it now." said Olga Ivanovna. and. generous-hearted man! The travelling wearied Olga Ivanovna. And it seemed as though nature had removed now from the Volga the sumptuous green covers from the banks. . to her distinguished friends. in the right foreground forest trees. Olga Ivanovna sat behind the screen on the bed. After his tea he sat plunged in gloom at the window and gazed at the Volga. and to cast off the feeling of physical uncleanliness of which she was conscious all the time. . and stupid. her imagination carried her to the theatre. then in the bedroom. What a kind. she was bored. they might have gone away that very day. passing her fingers through her lovely flaxen hair. pictured herself first in the drawing-room. everything recalled the approach of dreary. And how nice that would have been! "My God!" moaned Ryabovsky. . coming from behind the screen. the brilliant reflections of the sunbeams. to the dress-maker. ." . living in the peasants' huts and wandering from village to village. bare!" Ryabovsky heard their cawing. that everything in this world was relative. and that he ought not to have taken up with this woman. he was out of humour and depressed.his very best sketch. and all its smart gala array. "Bare." "But you have a sketch with a cloudy sky. conditional. .

listening to Mazini. laying his hand on his heart -. After he had gone. for the noise and bustle of the town. And a yearning for civilization. and they have known all about it for ever so long. you are ashamed of our love. and broke into sobs.crying! Give over! I have a thousand reasons for tears. though it is impossible to conceal it. slung his gun over his shoulder." "A thousand reasons!" cried Olga Ivanovna."one thing. and in the evening sitting in the theatre." said the artist in an imploring voice. "Kill me!" She sobbed again. one thing I beg you. and he jumped up. she moved away to the stove and began to cry. "The chief one is that you are weary of me. to her husband's study. Yes!" she said. At first she thought it would be a good thing to poison herself. and went out of the hut. "It will end by my throwing myself in the Volga or going out of my mind! Let me alone!" "Come. but I am not crying. put on his cap. kill me. Ryabovsky clutched his head and strode up and down the hut. Olga Ivanovna lay a long time on the bed. then her imagination carried her to her drawing-room. and she imagined herself sitting motionless beside Dymov and enjoying the physical peace and cleanliness. and went behind the screen. kill me!" cried Olga Ivanovna. so that when Ryabovsky came back he would find her dead. There was a swish of rain on the straw thatch of the hut. don't worry me! I want nothing else from you!" "But swear that you love me still!" "This is agony!" the artist hissed through his teeth. "Well." "Olga. ."Aie!" the artist scowled. "Well. as though bent on proving something to somebody. "If one is to tell the truth. "Finish it! Can you imagine I am such a fool that I don't know what I want to do?" "How you have changed to me!" sighed Olga Ivanovna. a good thing too!" Olga Ivanovna's face quivered. then with a resolute face. crying. that's the last straw -. You keep trying to prevent the artists from noticing it.

and one could hear the cockroaches scurrying about among the thick portfolios under the seats. At that time the peasant woman cautiously carried him. . . The artists came in. Ryabovsky came home as the sun was setting. and twitched his eyebrows. And Olga Ivanovna saw how she wetted her fat fingers in it. examined their sketches. and the hut. . He flung his cap on the table. without removing his muddy boots. and their whole way of life." . and passed the comb through his fair hair." he said. in muddy high boots and with faces wet with rain. which she at first had so loved for its simplicity and artistic disorder. She suddenly felt insulted. and he opened his eyes. I am sick of this. sank pale and exhausted on the bench and closed his eyes. The flies. Olga Ivanovna went up to him. in both hands. or else from boredom we shall quarrel in earnest. trying to raise his eyelids. I am going today. . so the steamer will be here at half-past nine. starting as though something cold had touched him. and said coldly: "We must part for a time. gave him a silent kiss. standing with her body thrust forward. buzzing. and comforted themselves by saying that the Volga had its charms even in bad weather. . a plate of cabbage-soup. . and the air was filled with bluish smoke. There was a smell of charcoal fumes.for celebrated people sent a pang to her heart. And the dirty peasant woman. and." . And it seemed to her that there was a look of aversion and annoyance on his face." He thrust her off. seemed horrible to her now. and moved away. A peasant woman came into the hut and began in a leisurely way lighting the stove to get the dinner. On the wall the cheap clock went "tic-tic-tic. "I am tired . She meant to comb it for him." "Going how? Astride on a broomstick?" "Today is Thursday. "What is it? Please let me alone. feeling chilled. crowded round the ikon in the corner. "What's that?" he said. To be nice to him and to show she was not cross. . and the cabbage-soup which Ryabovsky began eating greedily.

that she would soon be writing in her drawing-room and sleeping in her bedroom." Olga Ivanovna packed in good spirits. don't be lazy here when I am gone. . and in a flash she resolved to tell him all that had happened. Ryabovsky. As Olga Ivanovna went into the flat she was convinced that it was essential to hide everything from her husband. without taking off her hat or waterproof. she asked herself." she said. to steal. "You are dull and have nothing to do here. but fear and shame prevented her from telling him the truth."Eh? Yes. . happy smile. and she no longer felt angry with the artist. The steamer soon came up and carried her away. Ryabovsky!" At ten o'clock Ryabovsky gave her a farewell kiss. into the drawing-room and thence into the dining-room. what is it." Ryabovsky said softly. She arrived home two and a half days later. joyful eyes. she went. and we shall meet again after the twentieth. "You can bring what's left. Her cheeks positively glowed with pleasure. . and gazed at him with a guilty and imploring look. . . You are such a splendid fellow. with his waistcoat unbuttoned and no coat. Dymov. . but now. Could it really be true. "What is it. Breathless with excitement. . red with shame. and that she would have the strength and skill to do so. go. but work. she sank down on her knees before him and hid her face. . was sitting at the table sharpening a knife on a fork. and dining with a cloth on the table? A weight was lifted from her heart. and shining. don't mope. Go home. or to kill. and one would have to be a great egoist to try and keep you. . "Were you homesick?" She raised her face. Well. before him lay a grouse on a plate. and went with her to the landing-stage. little mother?" he asked tenderly. to avoid kissing her on the steamer before the artists. now. "My paints and brushes I will leave with you. Mind. as she thought. and as impossible and out of her power as to bear false witness. in order. she felt that to deceive this man was as vile. when she saw his broad. then . yes. Letting him kiss and embrace her. as revolting. wiping his mouth with a towel instead of a dinner napkin. mild.

And it seemed as though they were talking of medicine to give Olga Ivanovna a chance of being silent -. . eat the grouse. You are starving. VI Apparently. he often brought in to dinner his colleague. Korostelev played some chords and began singing in a tenor voice. well! Play something melancholy. brother -. But as she drank her coffee she reflected that Ryabovsky had robbed her of her husband. "That's right. After dinner Korostelev sat down to the piano. while Dymov sighed and said to him: "Ech. did not smile with delight when he met her. and that . who kept buttoning and unbuttoning his reefer jacket with embarrassment when he talked with Olga Ivanovna. while he watched her with tenderness and laughed with delight. Every morning she woke up in a very bad humour and with the thought that she no longer cared for Ryabovsky. "Show me the abode where the Russian peasant would not groan. he could not look his wife straight in the face. "it's just nothing. propped his head on his fist. . Korostelev. a little close-cropped man with a wrinkled face. and that. Olga Ivanovna had been extremely imprudent in her conduct of late. or that Dymov had the day before found a cancer of the lower abdomen while dissecting a corpse with the diagnosis of pernicious anaemia." he said." Hunching up his shoulders and stretching his fingers wide apart.that is." she said. . by the middle of the winter Dymov began to suspect that he was being deceived. raising her and seating her at the table.well. and then with his right hand nipped his left moustache."Nothing. of not lying. As though his conscience was not clear. and to avoid being left alone with her. or that a great number of neurotic complaints were met with of late." She eagerly breathed in the atmosphere of home and ate the grouse. At dinner the two doctors talked about the fact that a displacement of the diaphragm was sometimes accompanied by irregularities of the heart." "Let us sit down." while Dymov sighed once more. poor darling. and sank into thought. thank God. it was all over now.

He was dancing about and playing the fool and answering serious questions with jokes. then she remembered talks she had heard among her acquaintances of a picture Ryabovsky was preparing for the she was left with neither her husband nor Ryabovsky. Do you know. he had asked her languidly: "Am I beautiful?" And with his elegance. and this. Olga Ivanovna was jealous of the picture and hated it. Regardless of her husband's presence. kissed his hands. Both felt they were a burden to each other. If she did not find him at his studio she left a letter in which she swore that if he did not come to see her that day she would poison herself. insisted on his swearing that he loved her. but from politeness she stood before the picture for five minutes in silence. heaving a sigh. feeling herself humiliated. and she would answer him in the same way. it is positively awe-inspiring?" And then she began beseeching him to love her and not to cast her off. he would say rude things to her. too. he had greatly changed for the better. said softly: "Yes. you have never painted anything like it before. he had created under her influence. and altogether. when she had spoilt his good-humour. She shed tears. She found him in high spirits. that they were tyrants and . in the style of Polyenov. thanks to her influence. and enchanted with his really magnificent picture. something striking. his long curls. and he had been affectionate to her. and stayed to dinner. He was scared. of course. to have pity on her in her misery and her wretchedness. And she remembered. came to see her. she would drive off to her dressmaker or to an actress of her acquaintance to try and get theatre tickets. a mixture of genre and landscape. she mused. and. he really was very beautiful (or perhaps it only seemed so). as though before a holy shrine. Considering and remembering many things Olga Ivanovna dressed and in great agitation drove to Ryabovsky's studio. told him that without her good influence he would go astray and be ruined. Her influence was so beneficent and essential that if she were to leave him he might perhaps go to ruin. And. and his blue eyes. that the last time he had come to see her in a great-coat with flecks on it and a new tie. about which every one who had been into his studio went into raptures.

enemies. and invariably at half-past eleven the door leading to the dining-room opened and Dymov. and in their wrath did not notice that their behaviour was unseemly. from jealousy. You must not let people see. which actually set her temples throbbing with pain." Their manner of life was the same as it had been the year before. he mentioned some lady of their acquaintance. Dymov left Korostelev in the drawing-room. and were wrathful. she would drive off to a second. Scowling and screwing up his eyes. On Wednesdays they were "At Home". and can't be mended. You know what is done is done. with his close-cropped head. powder her tear-stained face. smiling. an actor recited. and it would happen that in one evening she would make the round of all her female acquaintances in search of Ryabovsky. She went to her bedroom and lay down on her bed. she bit the pillow and began sobbing aloud. the artists sketched. a sense of humiliation and shame. anger. said: . At first she was ashamed to go about like this. there's no need. "Where are you off to?" Olga Ivanovna would ask him in the hall. saw it all. went into the bedroom. One day she said to Ryabovsky of her husband: "That man crushes me with his magnanimity. then to a third. The violoncellist played. ." Not knowing how to ease the burden of her jealousy. little mother. and thinking still that things might be set right. Not finding Ryabovsky with her." This phrase pleased her so much that when she met the artists who knew of her affair with Ryabovsky she said every time of her husband. and with a desperate and embarrassed face said softly: "Don't cry so loud. and they all understood it. After dinner Ryabovsky made haste to say good-bye and get away. but afterwards she got used to it. . and fly off to the lady mentioned. she would wash. a singer sang. with a vigorous movement of her arm: "That man crushes me with his magnanimity. . and it was evident that he was laughing at her jealousy and wanted to annoy her. looking at him with hatred. and that even Korostelev. You must be quiet about it.

she was afraid of being late for the theatre. both the present and the future. was not satisfied. He went to bed at three o'clock and got up at eight. As before. VII It had been a very troubled day. besides. He was smiling gently and looked into his wife's face joyfully. oh. Dymov had a very bad headache. "Defending?" asked Olga Ivanovna. he had no breakfast. sitting down and smoothing his knees. and would have forgotten everything." It was evident from his beaming. and she said nothing." As before. as in old days. One evening when she was getting ready to go to the theatre and standing before the pier glass. and did not go to the hospital. oh!" he laughed. and went in pursuit of fresh ones. and to ask him why he had not been to see her the evening before. but she did not understand what was meant by a "readership" or by "general pathology". as last year. The sketch seemed . and with a guilty smile went away. He sat there another two minutes. Olga Ivanovna went as usual at midday to see Ryabovsky. doing up her hair. she came back late every night. wearing his dress-coat and a white tie. and he craned his neck to see his wife's face in the mirror. "Oh. Dymov came into her bedroom. but now Dymov was not. to show him her still-life sketch. but sitting in his study at work of some sort. "do you know it's very possible they may offer me the Readership in General Pathology? It seems like it. found them."Come to supper. asleep. "I have just been defending my thesis. blissful face that if Olga Ivanovna had shared with him his joy and triumph he would have forgiven her everything." he said. "Oh." he repeated. for she was still standing with her back to him. gentlemen. Olga Ivanovna hunted celebrities. but spent the whole time lying on his sofa in the study. his face was radiant.

with a feminine rustle of skirts. How often Olga Ivanovna herself had taken refuge behind that picture! Ryabovsky. as though surprised at her arrival. Olga Ivanovna followed him humbly. "I am tired .to her worthless. "Kurort . . A sketch?" The artist took the sketch in his hands. the rival. . . and as he examined it w alked. to hit the artist on the head with something heavy." From the studio came the sound of hurried footsteps and the rustle of a skirt. not an artist. She felt ashamed and bitter. held out both hands to her. and as she was taking off her goloshes in the entry she heard a sound as of something running softly in the studio. So she had gone." he muttered. . falling into rhyme. "_Nature morte. She went in to him without ringing. into the other room. . was crushed by her shame. with black calico. first-rate sort. port ." said the artist languidly. as it were mechanically. but a little insect. and felt herself. and as she hastened to peep in she caught a momentary glimpse of a bit of brown petticoat. and she had painted it only in order to have an additional reason for going to the artist. . the deceitful woman who was standing now behind the picture. but she could see nothing through her tears. to the floor._" "Ah--ah! . . evidently much embarrassed. and said with a forced smile: "Aha! Very glad to see you! Anything nice to tell me?" Olga Ivanovna's eyes filled with tears. . sport . together with the easel. Olga Ivanovna wanted to scream aloud. . . ." she said timidly in a thin voice. which vanished behind a big picture draped. and probably giggling malignantly. and would not for a million roubles have consented to speak in the presence of the outsider. . "I have brought you a sketch. looking at the . not Olga Ivanovna. and her lips quivered. There could be no doubt that a woman was hiding there. "_Nature morte_ .

"Little mother!" Dymov called from the study. . cruel letter full of personal dignity. to the entry. of course. but here a sketch today. . who had only arrived the day before. You're not an artist. and that nothing more would come of him than had come already. before Ryabovsky came back. The day before yesterday I must have caught diphtheria at the hospital. that he owed a great deal to her good influence. a sketch last year. free herself finally from the past there. and to pay him out she wrote to him now that he painted the same thing every year. To avoid farewells and explanations. If I were you I should give up painting and work seriously at music or something. to begin the letter. I wonder you are not bored with them.that's right. . and now . without opening the door. She wanted to write. On getting home late in the evening she sat down in the drawing-room. and above all to avoid bursting into sobs. I am ill. . too." Olga Ivanovna always called her husband by his surname. . that he was at a standstill. "It's very nice. and said exactly the same thing every day.sketch and tossing his head as though struggling with drowsiness. and all the time she was thinking how she would write Ryabovsky a cold. and how in the spring or the summer she would go with Dymov to the Crimea. Make haste and send for Korostelev. you know. Ryabovsky had told her she was not an artist. from Barnay to a music-shop. put on her goloshes. and Olga Ivanovna heard him give some order to his footman. shall I?" He went out of the room. but only come to the door -. . and went out into the street. she ran as fast as she could. then she breathed easily. It was all over! She drove to her dressmaker's. and that if he was going wrong it was only because her influence was paralysed by various dubious persons like the one who had been hiding behind the picture that day. "What is it?" "Don't come in to me. and felt she was free for ever from Ryabovsky and from painting and from the burden of shame which had so crushed her in the studio. without taking off her things. as she . another sketch in a month . . and begin a new life. then to see Barnay. but a musician. But you can't think how tired I am! I'll tell them to bring us some tea.

and she remembered his habitual. and there. It was two o'clock in the night. glanced casually at herself in the pier glass." muttered Korostelev. and she could hear him go back to the sofa and lie down. apparently the doctor. I feel ill. I can't let you go in. turning chill with horror. passed by her into the entry. But now she cried: "Osip." "Has he really got diphtheria?" Olga Ivanovna asked in a whisper. she seemed to herself horrible and disgusting. not answering Olga Ivanovna's question. "Do you know why he caught it? On Tuesday he . he is delirious." he said surlily to Olga Ivanovna. it's no use. it's dangerous!" For no reason she took the candle and went into the bedroom. her head heavy from want of sleep and her hair unbrushed. and wrote an imploring letter to Korostelev. and even for the desolate little bed in which he had not slept for so long. in a jacket with sleeves high on the shoulders. "People who wantonly risk infection ought to be hauled up and punished for it." Dymov said behind the door. She suddenly felt poignantly sorry for Dymov. looking unattractive and with a guilty expression on her face. reflecting what she must do. she disliked his Christian name. it cannot be!" "Send for him. and with stripes running in unusual directions on her skirt. Korostelev was standing near the study door. Osip. with yellow ruches on her bosom. really. gentle. came out of her bedroom. "Good Heavens!" thought Olga Ivanovna. She wept bitterly. for his boundless love for her. because it reminded her of the Osip in Gogol and the silly pun on his name. "Why. With her pale. a gentleman with a black beard. "Send!" she heard his voice faintly.did all the men of her acquaintance. "it's catching. frightened face. VIII When towards eight o'clock in the morning Olga Ivanovna. anyway. twisting his left moustache with his right hand. "Excuse me. Besides. for his young life. submissive smile. There was a smell of drugs.

"Curse it all! . nor their poetical life in the peasant's hut. They would ask Korostelev. she had sullied herself all over from head to foot in something filthy. The maid kept getting tea for the various doctors." A little red-haired man with a long nose and a Jewish accent arrived. and had not complained. robbed by his mildness of all personality and will. then a stout young man with a red face and spectacles. . from self-indulgence. She did not think now of the moonlight evening on the Volga. Olga Ivanovna sat in her bedroom and thought that God was punishing her for having deceived her husband. stooping. and think: "Surely it must . shaggy individual. "Oh. . how fearfully false I've been!" she thought. she would look at Korostelev. She ate nothing. forgetting herself for a minute. He did nothing but scowl and drink red wine. We ought to send for Shrek really. which one could never wash off. either. There was a dismal stillness in the flat." At four o'clock she dined with Korostelev. Korostelev did not go home when his turn was over. He knew all about it. who looked like a head deacon. That silent. . . At one minute she was praying inwardly and vowing to God that if Dymov recovered she would love him again and be a faithful wife to him. they say it is the malignant form. These were doctors who came to watch by turns beside their colleague. . very?" asked Olga Ivanovna. . sticky. She thought only that from an idle whim. then a tall. nor the words of love. "Yes. and did not eat a morsel. And what for? It was stupid. weak from excessive kindness. . but remained and wandered about the rooms like an uneasy spirit. Just from folly. . unrepining. uncomprehended creature. . And if he were to complain even in delirium. recalling the troubled passion she had known with Ryabovsky. and there was no one to do the rooms. and it was not for nothing that he looked at his friend's wife with eyes that seemed to say that she was the real chief criminal and diphtheria was only her accomplice. . . the doctors watching by his bedside would learn that diphtheria was not the only cause of his sufferings. Then. and was constantly running to the chemist.was sucking up the mucus through a pipette from a boy with diphtheria. had been suffering in obscurity somewhere on his sofa." "Is it dangerous.

Olga Ivanovna lay down in her clothes on her bed. she realized that it was not the iron but Dymov's illness that was weighing on her. despondent feeling and a conviction that her life was spoilt. Waking. port . After dinner darkness came on. and the fact that the lady of the house was dishevelled and untidy -. . "Nature morte. The fact that a strange man was asleep and snoring in the drawing-room. Korostelev was not asleep. "He has been already. One of the doctors chanced to laugh at something."khee-poo-ah. and the sketches on the walls and the exquisite decoration of the room. not remarkable in any dull to be a humble." she thought. . really. and nothing more. with a gold-embroidered silk cushion under his head. When Olga Ivanovna went into the drawing-room next time. When Olga Ivanovna went into the drawing-room Korostelev was asleep on the sofa." he snored -. It was he noticed that the diphtheria had passed into the nose.all that aroused not the slightest interest now. What's the use of Shrek! Shrek's no use at all. "Khee-poo-ah. And altogether she had a dull. Things are in a bad way. . I am Korostelev." "But you will send for Shrek?" said Olga Ivanovna. She dreamed that the whole flat was filled up from floor to ceiling with a huge piece of iron. obscure person. and that there was no setting it right anyhow. especially with such a wrinkled face and bad manners!" Then it seemed to her that God would strike her dead that minute for not having once been in her husband's study. and the laugh had a strange and timid sound that made one's heart ac he. really. but sitting up and smoking. . He is Shrek." he said in a low voice. and that if they could only get the iron out they would all be light-hearted and happy." The time dragged on fearfully slowly. sinking into . "and the heart is not working properly now. and sank into a doze. that had not been made all day." And the doctors as they came to sit up and went away again did not notice this disorder. . "He has diphtheria of the nasal cavity. for fear of infection.

" he went on. "And his moral force. and shook his head. . he was a man of science. "Sport .aie. Osip Dymov. but turned cold all over and began slowly crossing herself.forgetfulness again. . good. The time dragged on slowly. The clock below struck the hour. He served science and died for science. loving soul. my God!" Korostelev covered his face with both hands in despair. She dreamed of the rain on the Volga. . "Compare him with all of us. "About three. madam?" and getting no answer. . She could not grasp it at once. . what is it?" "What. . . wreck. The house-maid came in with an empty glass on a tray. "He is passing. I've come to tell you he is passing. trek . . "Not a man. . we shall never look on his like again." And again the iron was there. and asked. indeed! . and recognized Korostelev. . an extraordinary man! What gifts! What hopes we all had of him!" Korostelev went on. trek . Olga Ivanovna jumped up. . . . "Shall I make the one spared him -.and with his youth and his learning he had to take a private practice and work at translations at night to pay for these . aie." "Well. And bells were continually ringing as the doctors arrived. sat down on the bed beside her. and what of Shrek? Shrek. she thought a stranger. . And where are my friends now? Do they know that we are in trouble? Lord. . . . save . . Kurort . though the clock on the lower storey struck frequently. . . seeming to grow more and more exasperated against some one. . and wiped away the tears with his sleeve. and again he gave a sob. what have you done -. . He was a great man. and again some one came into her bedroom. . . . And he worked like an ox night and day -." he repeated in a shrill voice. but a pure. . and clean as crystal. . . vile rags!" . ." He gave a sob. wringing his hands: "Merciful God. What a loss for science!" he said bitterly. went away. spare! Shrek. . "What time is it?" she asked. "He is dying because he sacrificed himself.

a great man. that life might still be beautiful and happy. covered to the waist with a quilt. and was of a greyish-yellow colour such as is never seen in the living. and all the other doctors had behaved to him. he was a rare man. with all its details. They'll wash the body and lay it out. "Dymov!" she called him. only from the forehead. "Dymov!" she called aloud. from the black eyebrows and from the familiar smile. that he was an extraordinary. . and the carpet on the floor. but the forehead and hands were unpleasantly cold. "Dymov!" She wanted to explain to him that it had been a mistake. The walls. and suddenly she understood that he really was an extraordinary. snatched at the sheet with both hands and angrily tore it. and others did not spare him. not at Olga Ivanovna. The chest was still warm. . Olga Ivanovna hurriedly felt his chest. what's the use of talking!" "Yes. "You were blind! you were blind!" With a wail she flung herself out of the bedroom. could he be recognized as Dymov. seemed to be winking at her sarcastically. rare. "He did not spare himself. but at the quilt. as though they would say. now dead. and ran into her husband's study. rare. "Dymov! Dymov!" In the drawing-room Korostelev was saying to the housemaid: "Why keep asking? Go to the church beadle and enquire where they live." . Oh. and. dashed by some unknown man in the drawing-room. she realized that they really had seen in him a future celebrity. the lamp. He was lying motionless on the sofa. and do everything that is necessary. His face was fearfully thin and sunken. as though it were to blame. Olga Ivanovna remembered her whole life with him from the beginning to the end. and that she would all her life worship him and bow down in homage and holy awe before him. compared with every one else she knew. . great man. and his hands.Korostelev looked with hatred at Olga Ivanovna. patting him on the shoulder. his forehead. that all was not lost." said a bass voice in the drawing-room. the ceiling. and the half-open eyes looked. And remembering how her father. unable to believe that he would never wake again.

my mouth turns down at . My head and my hands tremble with weakness. In Russia it is known to every educated man. The bearer of that name. And that is as it should be. for the last twenty-five or thirty years. Moreover. there has not been one single distinguished man of learning in Russia with whom he has not been intimately acquainted. He is a member of all the Russian and of three foreign universities. . with false teeth. the long list of his famous friends winds up with such names as Pirogov. All that and a great deal more that might be said makes up what is called my "name. I have the industry and power of endurance of a camel. with a bald head. my chest is hollow. And so on. but if we turn to the past. I have never poked my nose into literature or politics. and so on. while I am on this subject." It is one of those fortunate names to abuse which or to take which in vain. and I have talent. that is I. when I talk or lecture. I have never sought popularity in polemics with the ignorant. there is no slur on my learned name. and that is important. You see. at any rate. and honest fellow. and there is no complaint one can make against it. he has so many Russian and foreign decorations that when he has occasion to put them on the students nickname him "The Ikonstand. Kavelin. which is even more important. as Turgenev says of one of his heroines." That is my name as known to the public. and abroad it is mentioned in the lecture-room with the addition "honoured and distinguished. my neck. is like the handle of a double bass. In fact. is considered a sign of bad taste. my name is closely associated with the conception of a highly distinguished man of great gifts and unquestionable usefulness." His acquaintances are of the most aristocratic. modest. all of whom bestowed upon him a warm and sincere affection. in public or in print. and with an incurable tic douloureux. see myself as a man of sixty-two. my shoulders narrow. . I am a well-educated. It is fortunate. I am myself as dingy and unsightly as my name is brilliant and splendid. a chevalier and privy councillor.A DREARY STORY FROM THE NOTEBOOK OF AN OLD MAN I THERE is in Russia an emeritus Professor Nikolay Stepanovitch. . There is no one for him to make friends with nowadays. and the poet Nekrasov. I have never made speeches either at public dinners or at the funerals of my friends.

and when I put them on paper it always seems to me that I have lost the instinct for their organic that way not long ago I mechanically read through in one night a whole novel. from habit I undress and go to bed exactly at midnight. the sight of which must have roused in every one the grim and impressive thought. At a scientific article I feel far more intelligent and at ease than at a letter of congratulation or a minute of corner. only. I mechanically move it closer and read it without any interest -. I have forgotten the beginning when I am writing the end. I fall asleep quickly. That bit of my brain which presides over the faculty of authorship refuses to work. Often I write what I do not mean. When I am weary of walking about. as in the past. but before two o'clock I wake up and feel as though I had not slept at all. If I were asked what constituted the chief and fundamental feature of my existence now. I must give a foremost place to the insomnia from which I have suffered of late. and monotonous as a praying beggar's. conscious of no inclination. My memory has grown weak. my whole face is covered with aged-looking. And it is noteworthy that the simpler the letter the more painful the effort to write it. My fervour. Often I forget ordinary words. I can still. "Evidently that man will soon die. I should answer. my construction is monotonous. perhaps. or to occupy my attention I force myself to count to a thousand. deathly wrinkles. I write poorly. when I smile. I sit motionless. and I always have to waste a great deal of energy in avoiding superfluous phrases and unnecessary parentheses in my letters. my language is poor and timid. when I have an attack of tic douloureux my face wears a peculiar expression. I sit down to my table. almost efface the defects of my voice. dry. hold the attention of my listeners for a couple of hours." I still. there is a lack of sequence in my ideas. For an hour or two I walk up and down the room looking at the familiar photographs and pictures. both unmistakable proofs of a decline in mental activity. and my humour. As in the past. thinking of nothing. the literary skill of my exposition. as in the past. Sometimes I get out of bed and light a lamp. There is nothing impressive about my pitiful figure. Another point: I find it easier to write German or English than to write Russian. if a book is lying before me. As regards my present manner of life. or I imagine the face of one of my colleagues and begin trying to remember in what year and under . Insomnia. with the strange title "The Song the Lark was Singing". though it is harsh. lecture fairly well.

and so I look forward with impatience to the morning and the day when I have a right to be awake. He is my first bringer of good tidings. "but until he is completely on his own feet it is our duty to help him. Two rooms away from me my daughter Liza says something rapidly in her sleep. . excite me. or a warped cupboard creaks. or my wife crosses the drawing-room with a candle and invariably drops the matchbox. and probably because I have had a .with a tone and an air as though she were communicating interesting news. smelling of flower-scented eau-de-Cologne." my wife would sigh. . I am no prophet. What do you think?" Daily experience might have taught my wife that constantly talking of our expenses does not reduce them. I have just come in for a minute. his pay is small. will go upstairs to fetch something. sits down near the table. . but forty. and that serves as the chief topic of our conversation. "Of course it is difficult for us. but my wife refuses to learn by experience. coughing angrily. To lie awake at night means to be at every moment conscious of being abnormal. Every morning it is exactly the same thing. As soon as he crows I know that within an hour the porter will wake up below. .what circumstances he entered the service. thank God. before she has done her hair. Every time she says exactly the same thing: "Excuse me.and all these sounds. and regularly every morning discusses our officer son. voices will sound in the street. Usually. and. The boy is among strangers. However. And then a pale light will begin gradually glimmering at the windows. . or the burner of the lamp suddenly begins to hum -. after anxious inquiries concerning my health. and tells me that bread. but I know what she will talk about. is cheaper. and begins talking. next month we won't send him fifty. She comes in to me in her petticoat. After the twentieth of each month we send him fifty roubles. . I like listening to sounds. but after she has washed. Many wearisome hours pass before the cock crows in the yard. The day begins for me with the entrance of my wife. mechanically assent. if you like. for some reason. looking as though she had come in by chance. . Have you had a bad night again?" Then she puts out the lamp. I listen. . while sugar is a halfpenny dearer -. she suddenly mentions our son who is an officer serving at Warsaw. .

I gaze at my wife and wonder like a child. who can talk of nothing but expenses and who smiles at nothing but things getting cheaper -. and here I stay gossiping. The girl studies at the Conservatoire. and goodness knows how she is dressed. getting up. but of course every one knows that her father is a distinguished professor.bad night. to give her what little comfort I can. a privy councillor. for her pure soul. ungainly woman. "The samovar has been on the table ever so long. I ask myself in perplexity. I let her say what she likes. clear intelligence. with her dull expression of petty anxiety and alarm about daily bread. If she were somebody else's daughter it wouldn't matter. always mixes with people of good position. clumsy old woman. Her fur coat is in such a state she is ashamed to show herself in the street. and say nothing even when she passes unjust criticisms on other people or pitches into me for not having a private practice or not publishing text-books. is it possible that this old. as Othello his Desdemona. she stops to say: "The person I am sorriest for is our Liza. My wife suddenly remembers with dismay that I have not had my it possible that this woman is no other than the slender Varya whom I fell in love with so passionately for her fine. and. and. My goodness! how forgetful I am growing!" She goes out quickly. very stout. spiritless." . Did you know it? You mustn't let the servants' wages run on. but of her past self nothing is left but her anxiety over my health and her manner of calling my salary "our salary. strange and inappropriate thoughts intrude themselves upon me. sitting here?" she says. for her "sympathy" for my studies? Could that woman be no other than the Varya who had once borne me a son? I look with strained attention into the face of this flabby. Our conversation always ends in the same way. how many times I have said it! It's much easier to pay ten roubles a month than fifty roubles every five months!" As she goes out." and my cap "our cap." It is painful for me to look at her. "What am I thinking about. and stops in the doorway to say: "We owe Yegor five months' wages. with eyes dimmed by continual brooding over debts and money difficulties. her beauty. seeking in her my Varya.

thinking. Usually when she came in to say good-morning to me I used to sit her on my knee.God forbid! That isn't what I want. . If she wanted to praise me she would say: "You are as nice as cream. and I used often to take her to a confectioner's. . my earrings. you want money . . . from old habit. Pawn them all. here is my watch." And now. . and rather like my wife in her young days. I am cold as ice and I am ashamed. . She is two-and-twenty. . are you quite well?" As a child she was very fond of ice-cream. an old man and a distinguished man. . my Liza comes in wearing her fur coat and her cap. cream ."? How is it that. . a question sticks in my brain like a nail. It does not improve as it goes on. lemon. she goes away at last. I kiss Liza's fingers and mutter: "Pistachio . . . papa. She looks younger. and turn my face away. she does not give up her expensive pleasure of music lessons? I would not accept her watch nor her bracelets. That is how my day begins. Ever since I have been suffering from sleeplessness. He is a clever. . My daughter often sees me." We used to call one of her little fingers "pistachio ice. . But that is not enough for . As I am drinking my tea. give a forced smile. and says: "Good-morning. and say: "Creamy ice . blush painfully at being in debt to my footman. "cream ice. is pretty. I think at the same time of my son. nor the sacrifice of her lessons -. lemon. . She kisses me tenderly on my forehead and on my hand. here are my bracelets. but why is it she never comes to me in secret to whisper in my ear: "Father. with her music in her hand. already quite ready to go to the Conservatoire. . honest. she sees how often anxiety over petty debts forces me to lay aside my work and to walk u p and down the room for hours together. seeing how her mother and I are placed in a false position and do our utmost to hide our poverty from people. Ice-cream was for her the type of everything delightful. pistachio . .And having reproached me with my rank and reputation." and so on. ." the next. ." the third "raspberry. the officer at Warsaw. my dresses. papa. kiss her little fingers. When my daughter comes in to me and touches my forehead with her lips I start as though a bee had stung me on the head. and sober fellow." but the effect is utterly different.

the griminess of the walls. . Altogether the dilapidated condition of the University buildings. a very stolid man who drinks tea from a copper teapot. Here is our garden . . I should give up my officer's commission to somebody else. Here is the big grey house with the chemist's shop. which have long needed doing up. and skimpy pollard lilacs." Here there is a grocer's shop. grey walls. take a prominent position among predisposing causes in the history of Russian pessimism. now there is a red-haired shopkeeper sitting in it. The student whose state of mind is in the majority of cases created by his surroundings. On a boy coming fresh from the provinces and imagining that the temple of science must really be a temple. What is the use of them? It is only a narrow-minded or embittered man who can harbour evil thoughts about ordinary people because they are not heroes. in that beershop I thought out my thesis and wrote my first love-letter to Varya. and should go out to earn my living as a workman. I see the bored porter in his sheep-skin. the drifts of snow. I wrote it in pencil. the hat-stands and the benches. But enough of that! At a quarter to ten I have to go and give a lecture to my dear boys. the gloominess of the corridors. at one time it was kept by a little Jew. God preserve him from gaunt trees. . . and which has its history for me. the broom. at this point there used to stand a little house. I think if I had an old father. I dress and walk along the road which I have known for thirty years. the lack of light. . . . the porter Nikolay. strong and elegant. and namesake. . then by a fat peasant woman. on a page headed "Historia morbi. Such thoughts about my children poison me. the dejected aspect of the steps. and I am met by my colleague. your Excellency!" . who sold me cigarettes on credit. and in it was a beershop. yellow acacias. It would be far more sensible if there were tall pines and fine oaks growing here instead of sickly-looking lime-trees. ought in the place where he is studying to see facing him at every turn nothing but what is lofty. who liked the students because "every one of them has a mother". I don't like it. . and doors covered with torn American leather! When I go to my own entrance the door is flung wide And here are the gloomy gates of the University. I fancy it has grown neither better nor worse since I was a student. and if I knew there were moments when he was put to shame by his poverty. As he lets me in he clears his throat and says: "A frost. contemporary. such gates cannot make a healthy impression. . . broken windows.

for instance. the month and the day. and if you care to hear he will tell you many long and intimate stories. With the exception of these details. the young the old. or died. and he will not only tell you the year. with him good triumphs over evil. to me. that another would himself refuse to accept it. then drop into fantastic details concerning mysterious papers received in the office. in the rector's private room. His estimates of the candidates. Thanks to the close intimacy existing between all the University porters and beadles. He can tell one about extraordinary sages who knew _everything_. retired. In our society the knowledge of the learned world consists of anecdotes of the extraordinary absentmindedness of certain old professors. and while doing so manages to tell me some bit of University news. For the educated public that is . but filter them. has added to that wealth much of his own gained during his time of service. retires. secret conversations alleged to have taken place between the minister and the trustee. but will furnish you also with the details that accompanied this or that event. though original. From the porters who were his predecessors he has inherited many legends of University life. and so on. he knows everything that goes on in the four faculties. and two or three witticisms variously ascribed to Gruber. the wise man the fool. he almost always turns out to be right. are very correct. then summon to your assistance the vast memory of that soldier. Only one who loves can remember like that. and you will have left what is wanted: our fine traditions and the names of real heroes. What does he not know? When in an evil day a rector or dean. In my study he carefully takes off my fur coat. the humble the proud. about numerous martyrs and victims of science. and to Babukin. If one wants to know in what year some one read his thesis. too. your Excellency!" Then he runs on ahead of me and opens all the doors on my way. in the office. in the library. about remarkable students who did not sleep for weeks. if my great-coat is wet: "Rain. There is no need to take all these fables and legends for sterling coin. He is the guardian of the University traditions. recognized as such by all. the weak always vanquishes the strong. I hear him in conversation with the young porters mention the candidates for the post. entered the service. explain that such a one would not be confirmed by the minister.Or.

a learned dullard. Nikolay assumes a severe expression. he works from morning to night. in other words. At the table in my study. its literature would long ago have contained whole epics. already bald and corpulent. If it loved science. reads a lot. sits Pyotr Ignatyevitch. What is he to Hecuba or Hecuba to him. bending low over some book or preparation. unfortunately. in fact? I would give a good deal to see .I told him that Professor Perov was dead. but Pyotr Ignatyevitch turns to me and asks: "What Skobelev is that?" Another time -. a modest and industrious but by no means clever man of five-and-thirty." Nikolay crosses himself. records of sayings and doings such as. my demonstrator. outside his special branch he is simple as a child.somewhat earlier -. but screwing up his eye. and students. if there had been an earthquake. learned men. If any outsider could at such times overhear Nikolay's free use of our terminology. knows how to put the skeleton together. remembers well everything he has read -. by the way. Good Pyotr Ignatyevitch asked: "What did he lecture on?" I believe if Patti had sung in his very ear. sometimes prepares the apparatus and amuses the students by some long. After telling me a piece of news. And. learned quotation. if a horde of Chinese had invaded Russia. but pure gold. he might perhaps imagine that he was a learned man disguised as a soldier. but the by no means complicated theory of the circulation of the blood. "Fancy! what a misfortune! They say Skobelev is dead. The carthorse characteristics that show his lack of talent are these: his outlook is narrow and sharply limited by his specialty. It is true that Nikolay knows more than a hundred Latin words. for instance.and in that way he is not a man.not much. as Nikolay does. it cannot boast of now. in all else he is a carthorse or. the rumours of the erudition of the University porters are greatly exaggerated. he would not have stirred a limb. would have gone on calmly looking through his microscope. is as much a mystery to him now as it was twenty years ago. and conversation about business begins.

To change his convictions is difficult. How is one to argue with a man who is firmly persuaded that medicine is the finest of sciences. and I experience it every morning. I look at my watch and say: "Well. in his preparations. lose my temper. ask Nikolay unnecessary questions. Quite unnecessarily. In short. etc. above all. . for any educated man the only traditions that can exist are those of the University as a whole. I have a clear picture in my mind of his future. with no distinction between medicine. of everything written by the Germans. I nervously button up my coat. To do that one must have imagination. Nikolay. There is always a peculiar feeling when one hears through the doors a murmur as of the sea from the lecture-theatre. he will write a number of dry and very accurate memoranda. talk in subdued tones. he is not a master in science. knows the object of life. In the course of thirty years I have not grown accustomed to this feeling. but a journeyman. will make some dozen conscientious translations. law. and Pyotr Ignatyevitch has nothing of the kind. and this dry stick sleeps with his wife at night. to argue with him impossible. . with the chemicals and apparatus or with a chart. Another characteristic is his fanatical faith in the infallibility of science. it's time to go in. and he is ready to argue with you till the day of judgment. He has a slavish reverence for authorities and a complete lack of any desire for independent thought. and that the traditions of the medical profession are superior to those of any other? Of the evil past of medicine only one tradition has been preserved -.the white tie still worn by doctors. He believes in himself. with hanging . . and then the carthorse follows humbly. that doctors are the best of men. inventiveness. It is just as though I were frightened. but he won't do anything striking. for a learned fact. the gift of insight. Pyotr Ignatyevitch. it is not timidity. but something different which I can neither describe nor find a name for. We are not quite ourselves." And we march into the room in the following order: foremost goes Nikolay. and. But it would be hard for Pyotr Ignatyevitch to accept these facts. In the course of his life he will prepare many hundreds of chemicals of exceptional purity. and knows nothing of the doubts and disappointments that turn the hair o f talent grey. though. after him I come.

that is. phenomena. The other foe I have to overcome is in myself. one must be a man who knows what he is doing. "Last lecture we stopped at . essential for the correct composition of the picture I wish to sketch. besides talent. If every moment as I lecture I have a clear vision of the degree of its attention and its power of comprehension. simple and eloquent. and. experience and a special knack. and so on. My object is to dominate this many-headed monster. Further. . and at the same time one must keep a sharp lookout that one's thoughts are conveyed. watches the singer. and I am carried away by my own eloquence. but in a certain order. makes a motion sideways. all unlike one must have. I endeavour to make my diction literary. waves his baton.head. On my entrance the students all stand up. when necessary. A good conductor. one has . not just as they come. a dead body is carried in first on a stretcher. does twenty things at once: reads the score. my wording. and of the subject of one's lecture. To lecture well -. my definitions brief and precise. Stillness reigns. then they sit down. Before me a hundred and fifty faces. where I am going to begin or with what I am going to end. one must keep a sharp lookout. In short. and not for one second lose sight of what lies before one. but I don't know how I am going to lecture. I know what I am going to lecture about. It is the infinite variety of forms. as far as possible. of the audience to which one is lecturing. as rapidly as my words flow. . followed by Nikolay." when sentences spring up from my soul in a long string. Every minute I have to pull myself up and remember that I have only an hour and forty minutes at my disposal. it is in my power. and the multitude of ideas of my own and other people's conditioned by them. one must possess a clear conception of one's own powers. clothe my thought in a form in which it can be grasped by the monster's intelligence. or. laws. interpreting the thought of the composer. and so on. and it seems as though there were no force which could check the flow of my words. I speak with irresistible rapidity and passion. with profit to the listeners and without boring them -. three hundred eyes all looking straight into my face. I do just the same when I lecture. But I have only to look round the lecture-hall (it is built in the form of an amphitheatre) and utter the stereotyped phrase. Moreover. and may arouse its attention. I haven't a single sentence ready in my head. Every moment I must have the skill to snatch out of that vast mass of material what is most important and necessary. first to the drum then to the wind-instruments. and the sound as of the sea is suddenly hushed.

it might be supposed that I ought now to be chiefly concerned with the question of the shadowy life beyond the grave. at Pyotr Ignatyevitch. God. . To conceal my condition from my audience I continually drink water. one is feeling for his handkerchief. Only at lectures have I been able to abandon myself entirely to passion. There is a dryness in my mouth. a minute later I get up and go on standing. and it's a bad thing if the orator gets the upper hand of the savant or of the teacher in one. then sit down again. make puns's work cut out. I laugh too. That was in old times. . I sit down in my chair. . when you notice that the students are beginning to look at the ceiling. and in the end break off earlier than I ought to. Taking advantage of the first opportunity. . But above all I am ashamed. . At one and the same minute one has to play the part of savant and teacher and orator. I know perfectly well that I cannot live more than another six months. Something must be done. Now at lectures I feel nothing but torture. has ever given me such enjoyment as lecturing. Unfortunately. I have not manly courage enough to act according to my conscience. . for half an hour. . my voice grows husky. but I am not accustomed to lecture sitting down. my head begins to go round. no kind of game or diversion. But. and give up my post to a man younger and stronger than me. or _vice versa_. You lecture for a quarter of an hour. A broad grin comes on to a hundred and fifty faces. and I can go on. often blow my nose as though I were hindered by a cold. Before half an hour is over I am conscious of an overwhelming weakness in my legs and my shoulders. to say my last word to them. another smiles at his thoughts. but exists in real life. No kind of sport. I make some pun. the sound of the sea is audible for a brief moment. Their attention is refreshed. . That means that their attention is flagging. I am not a philosopher and not a theologian. and have understood that inspiration is not an invention of the poets. the eyes shine brightly. another shifts in his seat. . to bless them. and I imagine Hercules after the most piquant of his exploits felt just such voluptuous exhaustion as I experience after every lecture. cough. . My conscience and my intelligence tell me that the very best thing I could do now would be to deliver a farewell lecture to the boys. be my judge.

to the exit. on the threshold of death. Just as twenty. I cannot overcome in myself this belief. There is a ring at the bell. I read journals and monographs. with desperate screams. But that is not the point. This faith is perhaps naive and may rest on false assumptions. It is not easy to get through such moments. and are still stinging my brain like mosquitoes. but it is not my fault that I believe that and nothing else. and to realize that to tear from the lecture-theatre and his pupils a man who is more interested in the history of the development of the bone medulla than in the final object of creation would be equivalent to taking him and nailing him up in his coffin without waiting for him to be dead. to leap up from their seats and to rush in panic terror. He comes in to me with his hat and . As I yield up my last breath I shall still believe that science is the most important. have been sentenced by fate to the death penalty. In the middle of my lecture tears suddenly rise in my throat. that it always has been and will be the highest manifestation of love. the most essential thing in the life of man. so now. But for some reason my soul refuses to recognize these questions. as I have from time to time to see visitors. I work with interruptions. a famous man. I want to cry out in a loud voice that I. And at that moment my position seems to me so awful that I want all my listeners to be horrified. thirty years ago. Sleeplessness and the consequent strain of combating increasing weakness leads to something strange in me. I only ask people to be indulgent to my weakness. hysterical desire to stretch out my hands before me and break into loud lamentation. sometimes I write something. and I feel a passionate. the most splendid. and that only by means of it will man conquer himself and nature. or prepare my next lecture. II After my lecture I sit at home and work. I am interested in nothing but science. though my mind is fully alive to their importance. I want to shriek that I am poisoned. my eyes begin to smart. new ideas such as I have not known before have poisoned the last days of my life.and the visions that will visit my slumbers in the tomb. It is a colleague come to discuss some business matter with me. that within some six months another man will be in control here in the lecture-theatre.

However affectionately disposed we may be to one another. and he makes me sit down. For the last year he and I have been on strained relations." Those of them who fail in their examination through incapacity or illness usually bear their cross patiently and do not haggle with me. A minute later a young man of agreeable appearance comes in." I say to my visitor. and. while he does all he can to decline this high honour. those who come to the house and haggle with me are always youths of sanguine temperament. "Sit down. he answers me disgracefully at the examinations. whose failure at examinations spoils their appetites and hinders them from visiting the opera with their usual regularity. When we are seated we bow our heads towards each other and begin talking in subdued voices. waving his hat in the direction of my work. "what have you to tell me?" . and it looks as though we were feeling each other and afraid of scorching our fingers. when I assist my colleague to put on his coat. I tell him to ask him in." or "I have already had the honour to inform you". A little later another ring at the bell. begins to say good-bye. I suppose from inertia. Somebody comes into the hall. broad natures. Yegor announces a student. however unsuccessfully. and is a long time coughing and taking off his things.his stick. I make him sit down in an easy-chair. while I make a show of being ready to go even into the street with him. we cannot help laughing if one of us makes a joke." To begin with. I see him into the hall. _collega_! Only a couple of words. Both of us laugh. I "chivy" or "floor. we cautiously pat each other on the back. touch each other's buttons. Every year I have some seven such hopefuls whom. says: "Only for a minute! Only for a minute! Sit down. to express it in the students' slang. Again we paw one another and laugh. we both try to show each other that we are extraordinarily polite and highly delighted to see each other. we cannot help adorning our conversation with all sorts of Chinese mannerisms. holding out both these objects to me. I let the first class off easily. And when at last I go back into my study my face still goes on smiling. as we do so. such as "As you so justly observed. Then when Yegor opens the door my colleague declares that I shall catch cold. When we have finished with business my colleague gets up impulsively and. though we say nothing amusing. and I mark him one. but the second I chivy through a whole year.

" But at once I feel sorry for him. be so good as to mark me for a pass. their failure has always been entirely owing to some incomprehensible misunderstanding." The sanguine youth's face lengthens. and have been ploughed." I say to the visitor. as you think best. If. "Excuse me. ." And in his good-natured eyes I read: . And so read a little more and come again. Then we shall see. professor. my friend. I have been up for your examination five times. After studying for five years." The argument which all the sluggards bring forward on their own behalf is always the same. . well! Better to have lost your five years than have to spend the rest of your life in doing work you do not care for. with your abilities. "When you like. Go and read up the lectures and come to me again. I beg you. and I hasten to add: "However."Excuse me. I feel an impulse to torment the student a little for liking beer and the opera better than science. all at once to give it up." "Oh. . you cannot succeed in passing the examination. it's evident that you have neither the desire nor the vocation for a doctor's calling. and I say. ." he begins. and that is the more surprising because they have always been particularly interested in my subject and knew it so well. they have passed well in all their subjects and have only come to grief in mine. "but that would be odd of me. Tomorrow if you like. and not looking me in the face. because . the best thing you can do now is to give up medicine altogether. . "I would not have ventured to trouble you if it had not been . with a sigh: "To my mind." he laughs. for troubling you. professor. "Excuse me. to say the least of it." A pause." "When?" the idle youth asks in a hollow voice. . . hesitating. "I cannot mark you for a pass.

and about comrades whom he likes." Silence follows. It grows boring. Not without emotion." "Good-bye. though a little bloated from frequent indulgence in beer and overlong lying on the sofa. and of course a white tie. unable to think of anything. ." A third ring at the bell. He would like to work with me under my guidance. "Peace be to thy ashes. his eyes are clever and ironical. and says dejectedly: "In that case. probably ponders for some time longer." I say. but it is training your character. my friend. A young doctor. but he stands and looks towards the window. fingers his beard. or else I should have been glad to listen to him. "Professor. good-bye. . Unluckily."I can come all right. He introduces himself. but of course you will plough me again. "you won't know more science for going in for my examination another fifteen times. in a pair of new black trousers." As soon as we reach the "word of honour" I wave my hands and sit down to the table. I'll . walks in. I beg him to be seated. . slowly puts on his outdoor things. going out into the street." He goes irresolutely into the hall. and ask what I can do for him. about his affairs of the heart. Good luck to you. his face is genial. and. I get up and wait for my visitor to go. . I give you my word of honour that if you mark me for a pass I . it is not the thing to discuss these subjects." inwardly addressed to me. the young devotee of science begins telling me that he has passed his examination as a doctor of medicine. The student ponders a minute longer. . The sanguine youth's voice is pleasant and mellow. and he would be greatly obliged to me if I would give him a subject for his . he looks as though he could tell me a lot of interesting things about the opera. honest toiler. except "old devil. gold spectacles. I beg your pardon. you beast!" "Of course. he goes into a wretched restaurant to dine and drink beer. and you must be thankful for that. and that he has now only to write his dissertation. and thinks. . and then home to bed.

then she was sent to a boarding-school. . but I will confine my description here to four of them. That word is taken to mean a composition which is a product of independent creative effort. but from his eyes I can see he feels a contempt for my voice. and receives a degree of no use to him. "Very glad to be of use to you. colleague. "Why is it you all come to me?" I cry angrily. By degrees I calm down. . and of course give in. His face expresses a profound reverence for my fame and my learning. an oculist. For the tho usand and oneth time I ask you all to leave me in peace! Excuse my brutality. and my nervous gesticulation. Till she was ten years old Katya lived with us as one of the family. . I never had time to look after her education. died leaving a little daughter Katya. "Do I keep a shop? I don't deal in subjects. Eighteen years ago a colleague of mine. with dignity defends it in a dreary discussion. . a dear voice. In his will he made me the child's guardian. and sixty thousand roubles. Is that not so? A work written on another man's subject and under another man's guidance is called something different. and so I can say very . I impress him in my anger as a queer fish. but a faint flush is apparent on his cheek-bones. The doctor gets a subject from me for his theme not worth a halfpenny. I fly into a rage and jump up from my seat. but he still remains silent. a child of seven. and only spent the summer holidays with us." The doctor says nothing. the rustle of a dress. I only superintended it at leisure moments. The bell rings for the fourth time. The rings at the bell may follow one another endlessly." I say. writes under my supervision a dissertation of no use to any one. . "And it is a strange thing! Why don't you want to be independent? Why have you such a distaste for independence?" I say a great deal. "I don't keep a shop." I go on angrily. .dissertation. "but just let us come to an understanding as to the meaning of a dissertation. my pitiful figure. but I am quite sick of it!" The doctor remains silent. and I hear familiar footsteps.

or her curiosity repressed. I mean her passionate love for the theatre. what I did with my salary.that was all. When she used to come from boarding-school and stay with us for the summer holidays. watching my movements and asking questions. Sometimes she would sit at the table opposite me. I did not know how to take her part. and she laughed. dear. she talked of nothing with such pleasure and such warmth as of plays . It interested her to know what I was reading. am fond of pretty clothes and nice scent. too. with her face tied up. that she was fond of fine clothes and of sprinkling herself with scent. patient. "Everything that is done in this world is nice and sensible. only when I saw her sad I had an inclination to draw her to me and to commiserate her like some old nurse: "My poor little orphan one!" I remember. or the dog playing. I regret that I had not time nor inclination to watch over the rise and development of the passion which took complete possession of Katya when she was fourteen or fifteen." She was curious. a trustfulness which was always shining in her little face. is the extraordinary trustfulness with which she came into our house and let herself be treated by the doctors. I do.that is. In that respect she was like me. saw her punished without reason. She was a gentle. I. or watched my wife bustling about." And she thought it funny that the students fought and I made them go down on their knees. what I did at the University. "They do. and like so much in remembrance. invariably watching something with attention. whether I was not afraid of the dead bodies. "Do the students fight at the University?" she would ask. whether she watched me writing or turning over the pages of a book.little about her childhood. and very fond of talking to me. It happened not infrequently that I saw something taken away from her. her eyes invariably expressed the same thought -. at such times a look of sadness was mixed with the invariable expression of trustfulness on her face -. or the cook scrubbing a potato in the kitchen. She would sit somewhere out of the way. too. good child. The first thing I remember." "And do you make them go down on their knees?" "Yes.

If the play is poor. and that "Woe from Wit" is not a dull play. I was the only one who had not the courage to refuse to attend to her. My wife and children would not listen to her." not simply. Just as in the past. the attendants fine me twenty kopecks for my fur coat. do let me talk to you about the theatre!" I pointed to the clock. but invariably with the accompaniment of hissing and convulsive movements all over his body. I had never shared Katya's inclinations for the theatre. Of course. As in the past. who talks so much with fools and is so fond of folly. Just as in the past." Later on she used to bring with her dozens of portraits of actors and actresses which she worshipped. that is not enough to give me the right to judge of the theatre. In my youth I often visited the theatre. and the upshot of it all was that when she left school she came to me and announced that she was born to be an actress. music is played in the intervals. As in the past. and now my family takes a box twice a year and carries me off for a little distraction. And . When an actor wrapped from head to foot in stage traditions and conventions tries to recite a simple ordinary speech. When she had a longing to share her transports.and actors.begin. which adds something new and uncalled-for to the impression made by the play. is a very clever man. I can never find a glass of clean water in the corridors or foyers of the theatre. She bored us with her continual talk of the theatre. men go in the intervals and drink spirits in the buffet. To my mind. if a play is good there is no need to trouble the actors in order that it may make the right impression. she used to come into my study and say in an imploring tone: "Nikolay Stepanovitch. If no progress can be seen in trifles. the stage gives me the same feeling of conventionality which bored me so much forty years ago when I was regaled with the classical howling and beating on the breast. it is enough to read it. no acting will make it good. then she attempted several times to take part in private theatricals. and said: "I'll give you half an hour -. for no sort of reason. though there is nothing reprehensible in wearing a warm coat in winter. or when he tries to convince me at all costs that Tchatsky. "To be or not to be. I should look for it in vain in what is more important. In my opinion the theatre has become no better than it was thirty or forty years ago.

every time I come out of the theatre more conservative than I go in. The sentimental and confiding public may be persuaded that the stage, even in its present form, is a school; but any one who is familiar with a school in its true sense will not be caught with that bait. I cannot say what will happen in fifty or a hundred years, but in its actual condition the theatre can serve only as an entertainment. But this entertainment is too costly to be frequently enjoyed. It robs the state of thousands of healthy and talented young men and women, who, if they had not devoted themselves to the theatre, might have been good doctors, farmers, schoolmistresses, officers; it robs the public of the evening hours -- the best time for intellectual work and social intercourse. I say nothing of the waste of money and the moral damage to the spectator when he sees murder, fornication, or false witness unsuitably treated on the stage. Katya was of an entirely different opinion. She assured me that the theatre, even in its present condition, was superior to the lecture-hall, to books, or to anything in the world. The stage was a power that united in itself all the arts, and actors were missionaries. No art nor science was capable of producing so strong and so certain an effect on the soul of man as the stage, and it was with good reason that an actor of medium quality enjoys greater popularity than the greatest savant or artist. And no sort of public service could provide such enjoyment and gratification as the theatre. And one fine day Katya joined a troupe of actors, and went off, I believe to Ufa, taking away with her a good supply of money, a store of rainbow hopes, and the most aristocratic views of her work. Her first letters on the journey were marvellous. I read them, and was simply amazed that those small sheets of paper could contain so much youth, purity of spirit, holy innocence, and at the same time subtle and apt judgments which would have done credit to a fine mas culine intellect. It was more like a rapturous paean of praise she sent me than a mere description of the Volga, the country, the towns she visited, her companions, her failures and successes; every sentence was fragrant with that confiding trustfulness I was accustomed to read in her face -and at the same time there were a great many grammatical mistakes, and there was scarcely any punctuation at all.

Before six months had passed I received a highly poetical and enthusiastic letter beginning with the words, "I have come to love . . ." This letter was accompanied by a photograph representing a young man with a shaven face, a wide-brimmed hat, and a plaid flung over his shoulder. The letters that followed were as splendid as before, but now commas and stops made their appearance in them, the grammatical mistakes disappeared, and there was a distinctly masculine flavour about them. Katya began writing to me how splendid it would be to build a great theatre somewhere on the Volga, on a cooperative system, and to attract to the enterprise the rich merchants and the steamer owners; there would be a great deal of money in it; there would be vast audiences; the actors would play on co-operative terms. . . . Possibly all this was really excellent, but it seemed to me that such schemes could only originate from a man's mind. However that may have been, for a year and a half everything seemed to go well: Katya was in love, believed in her work, and was happy; but then I began to notice in her letters unmistakable signs of falling off. It began with Katya's complaining of her companions -- this was the first and most ominous symptom; if a young scientific or literary man begins his career with bitter complaints of scientific and literary men, it is a sure sign that he is worn out and not fit for his work. Katya wrote to me that her companions did not attend the rehearsals and never knew their parts; that one could see in every one of them an utter disrespect for the public in the production of absurd plays, and in their behaviour on the stage; that for the benefit of the Actors' Fund, which they only talked about, actresses of the serious drama demeaned themselves by singing chansonettes, while tragic actors sang comic songs making fun of deceived husbands and the pregnant condition of unfaithful wives, and so on. In fact, it was amazing that all this had not yet ruined the provincial stage, and that it could still maintain itself on such a rotten and unsubstantial footing. In answer I wrote Katya a long and, I must confess, a very boring letter. Among other things, I wrote to her: "I have more than once happened to converse with old actors, very worthy men, who showed a friendly disposition towards me; from my conversations with them I could understand that their work was controlled not so much by their own intelligence and free choice as by fashion and the mood of the public. The best of them had had to play in their day in tragedy, in operetta, in Parisian farces, and in extravaganzas, and they always seemed equally sure

that they were on the right path and that they were of use. So, as you see, the cause of the evil must be sought, not in the actors, but, more deeply, in the art itself and in the attitude of the whole of society to it." This letter of mine only irritated Katya. She answered me: "You and I are singing parts out of different operas. I wrote to you, not of the worthy men who showed a friendly disposition to you, but of a band of knaves who have nothing worthy about them. They are a horde of savages who have got on the stage simply because no one would have taken them elsewhere, and who call themselves artists simply because they are impudent. There are numbers of dull-witted creatures, drunkards, intriguing schemers and slanderers, but there is not one person of talent among them. I cannot tell you how bitter it is to me that the art I love has fallen into the hands of people I detest; how bitter it is that the best men look on at evil from afar, not caring to come closer, and, instead of intervening, write ponderous commonplaces and utterly useless sermons. . . ." And so on, all in the same style. A little time passed, and I got this letter: "I have been brutally deceived. I cannot go on living. Dispose of my money as you think best. I loved you as my father and my only friend. Good-bye." It turned out that _he_, too, belonged to the "horde of savages." Later on, from certain hints, I gathered that there had been an attempt at suicide. I believe Katya tried to poison herself. I imagine that she must have been seriously ill afterwards, as the next letter I got was from Yalta, where she had most probably been sent by the doctors. Her last letter contained a request to send her a thousand roubles to Yalta as quickly as possible, and ended with these words: "Excuse the gloominess of this letter; yesterday I buried my child." After spending about a year in the Crimea, she returned home. She had been about four years on her travels, and during those four years, I must confess, I had played a rather strange and unenviable part in regard to her. When in earlier days she had told me she was going on the stage, and then wrote to me of her love; when she was periodically overcome by extravagance, and I continually had to send her first one and then two thousand

roubles; when she wrote to me of her intention of suicide, and then of the death of her baby, every time I lost my head, and all my sympathy for her sufferings found no expression except that, after prolonged reflection, I wrote long, boring letters which I might just as well not have written. And yet I took a father's place with her and loved her like a daughter! Now Katya is living less than half a mile off. She has taken a flat of five rooms, and has installed herself fairly comfortably and in the taste of the day. If any one were to undertake to describe her surroundings, the most characteristic note in the picture would be indolence. For the indolent body there are soft lounges, soft stools; for indolent feet soft rugs; for indolent eyes faded, dingy, or flat colours; for the indolent soul the walls are hung with a number of cheap fans and trivial pictures, in which the originality of the execution is more conspicuous than the subject; and the room contains a multitude of little tables and shelves filled with utterly useless articles of no value, and shapeless rags in place of curtains. . . . All this, together with the dread of bright colours, of symmetry, and of empty space, bears witness not only to spiritual indolence, but also to a corruption of natural taste. For days together Katya lies on the lounge reading, principally novels and stories. She only goes out of the house once a day, in the afternoon, to see me. I go on working while Katya sits silent not far from me on the sofa, wrapping herself in her shawl, as though she were cold. Either because I find her sympathetic or because I was used to her frequent visits when she was a little girl, her presence does not prevent me from concentrating my attention. From time to time I mechanically ask her some question; she gives very brief replies; or, to rest for a minute, I turn round and watch her as she looks dreamily at some medical journal or review. And at such moments I notice that her face has lost the old look of confiding trustfulness. Her expression now is cold, apathetic, and absent-minded, like that of passengers who had to wait too long for a train. She is dressed, as in old days, simply and beautifully, but carelessly; her dress and her hair show visible traces of the sofas and rocking-chairs in which she spends whole days at a stretch. And she has lost the curiosity she had in old days. She has ceased to ask me questions now, as though she had experienced everything in life and looked for nothing new from it. Towards four o'clock there begins to be sounds of movement in the

hall and in the drawing-room. Liza has come back from the Conservatoire, and has brought some girl-friends in with her. We hear them playing on the piano, trying their voices and laughing; in the dining-room Yegor is laying th e table, with the clatter of crockery. "Good-bye," said Katya. "I won't go in and see your people today. They must excuse me. I haven't time. Come and see me." While I am seeing her to the door, she looks me up and down grimly, and says with vexation: "You are getting thinner and thinner! Why don't you consult a doctor? I'll call at Sergey Fyodorovitch's and ask him to have a look at you." "There's no need, Katya." "I can't think where your people's eyes are! They are a nice lot, I must say!" She puts on her fur coat abruptly, and as she does so two or three hairpins drop unnoticed on the floor from her carelessly arranged hair. She is too lazy and in too great a hurry to do her hair up; she carelessly stuffs the falling curls under her hat, and goes away. When I go into the dining-room my wife asks me: "Was Katya with you just now? Why didn't she come in to see us? It's really strange . . . ." "Mamma," Liza says to her reproachfully, "let her alone, if she doesn't want to. We are not going down on our knees to her." "It's very neglectful, anyway. To sit for three hours in the study without remembering our existence! But of course she must do as she likes." Varya and Liza both hate Katya. This hatred is beyond my comprehension, and probably one would have to be a woman in order to understand it. I am ready to stake my life that of the hundred and fifty young men I see every day in the lecture-theatre, and of the hundred elderly ones I meet every week, hardly one could be found capable of understanding their hatred and aversion for Katya's past -- that is, for her having been a mother without

being a wife, and for her having had an illegitimate child; and at the same time I cannot recall one woman or girl of my acquaintance who would not consciously or unconsciously harbour such feelings. And this is not because woman is purer or more virtuous than man: why, virtue and purity are not very different from vice if they are not free from evil feeling. I attribute this simply to the backwardness of woman. The mournful feeling of compassion and the pang of conscience experienced by a modern man at the sight of suffering is, to my mind, far greater proof of culture and moral elevation than hatred and aversion. Woman is as tearful and as coarse in her feelings now as she was in the Middle Ages, and to my thinking those who advise that she should be educated like a man are quite right. My wife also dislikes Katya for having been an actress, for ingratitude, for pride, for eccentricity, and for the numerous vices which one woman can always find in another. Besides my wife and daughter and me, there are dining with us two or three of my daughter's friends and Alexandr Adolfovitch Gnekker, her admirer and suitor. He is a fair-haired young man under thirty, of medium height, very stout and broad-shouldered, with red whiskers near his ears, and little waxed moustaches which make his plump smooth face look like a toy. He is dressed in a very short reefer jacket, a flowered waistcoat, breeches very full at the top and very narrow at the ankle, with a large check pattern on them, and yellow boots without heels. He has prominent eyes like a crab's, his cravat is like a crab's neck, and I even fancy there is a smell of crab-soup about the young man's whole person. He visits us every day, but no one in my family knows anything of his origin nor of the place of his education, nor of his means of livelihood. He neither plays nor sings, but has some connection with music and singing, sells somebody's pianos somewhere, is frequently at the Conservatoire, is acquainted with all the celebrities, and is a steward at the concerts; he criticizes music with great authority, and I have noticed that people are eager to agree with him. Rich people always have dependents hanging about them; the arts and sciences have the same. I believe there is not an art nor a science in the world free from "foreign bodies" after the style of this Mr. Gnekker. I am not a musician, and possibly I am mistaken in regard to Mr. Gnekker, of whom, indeed, I know very little. But his air of authority and the dignity with which he takes his stand beside the piano when any one is playing or singing strike me as very suspicious.

You may be ever so much of a gentleman and a privy councillor, but if you have a daughter you cannot be secure of immunity from that petty bourgeois atmosphere which is so often brought into your house and into your mood by the attentions of suitors, by matchmaking and marriage. I can never reconcile myself, for instance, to the expression of triumph on my wife's face every time Gnekker is in our company, nor can I reconcile myself to the bottles of Lafitte, port and sherry which are only brought out on his account, that he may see with his own eyes the liberal and luxurious way in which we live. I cannot tolerate the habit of spasmodic laughter Liza has picked up at the Conservatoire, and her way of screwing up her eyes whenever there are men in the room. Above all, I cannot understand why a creature utterly alien to my habits, my studies, my whole manner of life, completely different from the people I like, should come and see me every day, and every day should dine with me. My wife and my servants mysteriously whisper that he is a suitor, but still I don't understand his presence; it rouses in me the same wonder and perplexity as if they were to set a Zulu beside me at the table. And it seems strange to me, too, that my daughter, whom I am used to thinking of as a child, should love that cravat, those eyes, those soft cheeks. . . . In the old days I used to like my dinner, or at least was indifferent about it; now it excites in me no feeling but weariness and irritation. Ever since I became an "Excellency" and one of the Deans of the Faculty my family has for some reason found it necessary to make a complete change in our menu and dining habits. Instead of the simple dishes to which I was accustomed when I was a student and when I was in practice, now they feed me with a puree with little white things like circles floating about in it, and kidneys stewed in madeira. My rank as a general and my fame have robbed me for ever of cabbage-soup and savoury pies, and goose with apple-sauce, and bream with boiled grain. They have robbed me of our maid-servant Agasha, a chatty and laughter-loving old woman, instead of whom Yegor, a dull-witted and conceited fellow with a white glove on his right hand, waits at dinner. The intervals between the courses are short, but they seem immensely long because there is nothing to occupy them. There is none of the gaiety of the old days, the spontaneous talk, the jokes, the laughter; there is nothing of mutual affection and the joy which used to animate the children, my wife, and me when in old days we met together at meals. For me, the celebrated man of science, dinner was a time of rest and reunion, and for my wife and children a fete -- brief indeed, but

and it is no wonder that I can make nothing of it. for some reason or other. and then. really! You don't say so! . of Bach and Brahms. Why is Alexandr Adolfovitch eating so little?" And so on in the same style all through dinner. of counterpoint. To describe our dinner nowadays is as uninteresting as to eat it. have scarcely affected me. the rank of a general. and am looking at a Liza who is not the real Liza. and you never tell the truth. gone the uproar that greeted every little startling incident at dinner. while my wife. jests with solid which they knew that for half an hour I belonged. and I have remained intact and unashamed. all this has fallen like an avalanche of snow. . . Gnekker eats with solid dignity. such as the cat and dog fighting under the table. I have missed the long process by which that change was effected. etc. of singers and pianists. My wife's face wears a look of triumph and affected dignity. who have not been through the same hardening process and are weak. do you?" and I am obliged to answer: "There is no need for you to trouble. She looks at our plates and says. Tell me. you don't like it.. not to students. but to them alone. I have a feeling as though I had once lived at home with a real wife and children and that now I am dining with visitors. but on my wife and Liza. gone is Agasha. "I see you don't care for the joint.bright and joyous -. Nikolay Stepanovitch. I watch them both. and it is only now at dinner that it becomes absolutely evident to me that the inner life of these two has slipped away out of my ken. Liza laughs spasmodically and screws up her eyes. and have steeled myself pretty thoroughly. From time to time he is moved to speak in bad French. From childhood I have been accustomed to resisting external influences. A startling change has taken place in both of them. Our real exhilaration from one glass of wine is gone for ever. acquaintance with celebrities. in the house of a sham wife who is not the real one. the transition from comfort to living beyond our means. and condescendingly listens to the remarks of the young ladies."_ . and her habitual expression of anxiety. afraid of their suspecting her of ignorance of music." And she will say: "You always stand up for me. Gnekker and the young ladies talk of fugues. gone the bream with boiled grain. overwhelming them. or Katya's bandage falling off her face into her soup-plate. Why did that change take place? I don't know. the meat is very nice. Such catastrophes in life as fame. not to science. . Perhaps the whole trouble is that God has not given my wife and daughter the same strength of character as me. my dear. smiles to them sympathetically and mutters: "That's exquisite . . he thinks it necessary to address me as _"Votre Excellence.

"I mean about Liza. because I don't know him. but now I am tormented by something of that sort. His presence has a bad influence on me in other ways. . Just as in the morning. . I quickly find them. I know beforehand what our conversation is going to be about. . . and am fretted at the thought that a man not of my circle is sitting here as my daughter's suitor. goodness knows. Very good . . We can't shirk responsibility. "When it is a question of our daughter's happiness we must lay aside all personal feeling. What do you say?" "That he is a bad man I can't say. or. I know you do not like him. they seem to me as trivial as though I had only completed my studies yesterday. if I do recall them. Evidently I am a constraint to them and they are a constraint to me. never think of my own achievements. . . but in the presence of people like Gnekker my achievements in science seem to be a lofty mountain the top of which vanishes into the clouds. Nikolay Stepanovitch. if we break it all off. Gnekker has intentions in regard to Liza. . . and it may happen that no other match will turn up. . the sole relic of my old bad habit of smoking from morning till night. While I am smoking my wife comes in and sits down to talk to me. "I must talk to you seriously. . if we refuse him now." she begins. but that I don't like him I have told you a thousand times already." she says. But that is not right. After dinner I go into my study and there smoke my pipe. too. . . .And I am glum. . I am on the lookout for nothing but bad qualities in Gnekker." "But you can't . As a rule. . you can't!" She gets up and walks about in excitement. I have never in my earlier days had a close knowledge of class antagonism. Why don't you pay attention to it?" "To what?" "You pretend to notice nothing. . the only one in the whole day. when I am alone or in the society of people I like. "You can't take up that attitude to a serious step. while at its foot Gnekkers are running about scarcely visible to the naked eye. . . how can you be sure that Liza will not have a grievance against us all her life? Suitors are not plentiful nowadays. He is .

"For God's sake. then get up and walk about the room. Of course. Nikolay Stepanovitch. and a look of intense suffering comes into her face. of my books. that my nervous excitement reaches its highest pitch. The armchair and the lamp-shade cast familiar shadows that have long grown wearisome on the walls and on the floor. . of the shadows on the . Nikolay Stepanovitch. he has no settled position." "What for?" "You will find out all about him there. but I am a woman. you absolutely must go to Harkov." "Where did you learn that?" "He told us so. He is of good family and well off. I cannot. . At such times I am afraid that some one may come in. I am ashamed of my tears. and she seems to like him. As a rule it is after dinner. ." "I am not going to Harkov. My wife is frightened. . "if you wish it. . . in time he will get one. For no reason I begin crying and burying my head in the pillow. at the approach of evening. His father has a large house in Harkov and an estate in the neighbourhood. . and when I look at them I feel as though the night had come and with it my accursed sleeplessness. I would go myself. You know the professors there.very much in love with Liza. A little later lights are brought in. . take this burden off me! I am so worried!" It is painful for me to look at her. they will help you. Varya." I say affectionately. with tears in her voice --"for God's sake." She presses her handkerchief to her eyes and goes off to her room to cry. but that can't be helped. I feel that I can no longer bear the sight of my lamp. Please God. then lie down again. and I am left alone. . I lie on my bed." she implores me. In short. then certainly I will go to Harkov and do all you want." I say morosely. I am afraid of suddenly dying. and altogether there is something insufferable in my soul. "Very well.

Some force unseen. There's no reason to. To Katya. and shakes hands. "You ought to get married. dress. You ought to occupy yourself with something." "Without a husband? Much that matters. I could have as many men as I like if I wanted to. sits up." She says nothing." "What is ugly?" "Why. if you can't be a workwoman. Katya. is roughly thrusting me out of my flat." I say. I leap up hurriedly. be an actress. that my family may not notice. she raises her head languidly. Where am I to go? The answer to that question has long been ready in my brain. what you have just said." "With what? A woman can be nothing but a simple workwoman or an actress." "That's ugly. slip out into the street. I cannot bear the sound of the voices coming from the drawing-room. "That's not good for you. and cautiously." Noticing that I am hurt and wishing to efface the disagreeable . uncomprehended." "Well." "You can't live like this." "What?" "I say you ought to occupy yourself in some way.floor. Seeing me. after pausing and taking breath. half in jest." I say. "There is no one to marry. either. "You are always lying down. III As a rule she is lying on the sofa or in a lounge-chair reading.

now I harbour an evil feeling. and loathing. day and night my brain is haunted by evil thoughts. . and dread. arouse in me a feeling of pleasure. suspicious. come this way. and feelings such as I never knew before are brooding in my soul." "What is it?" "You see how it is. My reasoning. Then we both sit down in the snug little room and begin talking. Will you work here? Will you like to?" Not to wound her by refusing. Where others have protested and expressed indignation. I have never judged. has undergone a change: in old days I despised money.very bad. my dear. I answer that I will work here. "Things are in a bad way with me. not towards money. and indignation. I feel for some reason that if I lament and complain I shall feel better. as in old days. But now I am not a king. to my students. Come here every day and bring your work with you. Even things that in old days would have provoked me only to an unnecessary jest and a good-natured laugh now arouse an oppressive feeling in me. and contempt. since I have made unlimited use of that right. The warm. And I know that this attitude to people has had a good influence on all who have chanced to c ome into contact with me." She takes me into a very snug little room. and that I like the room very much. too. . And I have always felt myself a king.impression. I have got that ready for you. Katya says: "Let us go. but an intense impulse to complain and grumble. snug surroundings and the presence of a sympathetic person does not. but towards the rich as though they were to blame: in old days I hated violence and . my dear -. to my colleagues. right and left. ungracious. pointing to the writing-table: "Look . You shall work here. . I have only advised and persuaded. I am full of hatred. . to my servants. I have been indulgent. . They only hinder you there at home. irritable. exacting. All my life it has been my endeavour that my society should not be a burden to my family. I have readily forgiven every one. the best and holiest right of kings is the right of mercy. Something is happening to me that is only excusable in a slave. I have become excessively severe. and says.

You have been lecturing for thirty years. and not all of us who do not know how to educate each other. and every day I am losing weight -. One can hardly talk at this date of people's having a right to despise one another. for some reason. "I beg you to be silent. too. as though they were alone to blame. The sooner the better. or was I blind before and indifferent? If this change is the result of a general decline of physical and intellectual powers position is pitiable. and go away." "Illness has nothing to do with it. what you ought to do first of all. "Nonentities." Katya despises my wife and Liza as much as they hate her. no one would notice their absence tomorrow." I say sternly. is to break with your family for good." "What nonsense! What about the University?" "The University." Katya interrupts me." she goes on. . You have seen what in old days. it means that my new ideas are morbid and abnormal. What is it to you? There's no sense in it. and where are your pupils? Are many of them celebrated scientific men? Count them up! And to multiply the doctors who exploit ignorance and . What is the meaning of it? If these new ideas and new feelings have come from a change of convictions. my dear: give it all up and go away. . you know." "You are talking nonsense." "You think I enjoy talking about them? I should be glad not to know them at all. you refused to see. Go abroad." "You don't love them. anyway.tyranny. why should you force your feelings? Can you call them a family? Nonentities! If they died today. "Have you had dinner today? How was it they did not forget to tell you it was ready? How is it they still remember your existence?" "Katya. one can see she has as much right to despise my wife and Liza as they have to hate her. Listen. that's all. but now I hate the men who make use of violence. . But if one looks at it from Katya's standpoint and recognizes such a right. what is that change due to? Can the world have grown worse and I better. "it's simply that your eyes are opened.I am ill. I ought to be ashamed of them and think them of no consequence. To my thinking.

. one better than another. my arms. For thirty years I have been the favourite professor. clean-shaven. my dreams have come true. . I have loved. with pride. holding her breath. At the samovar our conversation. it was quite enough to send a rush of happiness. "If from some faraway tavern the wind floated sounds of a song and the squeaking of an accordion. I fly to you. I see my whole life as a fine composition arranged with talent. I would listen to the accordion or the bells dying away in the distance and imagine myself a doctor. or a sledge with bells dashed by the garden-fence. that is what you ought to do. If death is really a thing to dread. I am particularly fond of telling her how I was educated in a seminary and dreamed of going to the University." "Good heavens! how harsh you are!" I cry in horror. a tall. changes. I have enjoyed fame and honour. and a citizen of a Christian country ought to meet it. Now all that is left to me is not to spoil the end. After having had my grumble out. with courage and untroubled soul. I am sinking. a man of science. I have a longing to give way to another weakness of old age. "At times I used to walk about our seminary garden . as you see. looking back upon it. But I am spoiling the end. filling not only my heart. my legs. Katya and I recognize it. and to my great astonishment tell her incidents which. I must meet it as a teacher. and you tell me 'Sink. reminiscences. and say: "It must be Mihail Fyodorovitch. there is no need to be a good and talented man." And a minute later my colleague. . ." I would tell her.' " But here there comes a ring at the front-door. and paint pictures. but even my stomach. have had children. You are not wanted. For that I must die like a man. walks in. the philologist Mihail Fyodorovitch. thank God. . "How harsh you are! Be quiet or I will go away! I don't know how to answer the harsh things you say!" The maid comes in and summons us to tea. I tell Katya about my past. I have had splendid comrades. till then. I have had more than I dared to dream of. well-built man of fifty. with thick grey hair and black eyebrows. I beg for help.pile up hundreds of thousands for themselves. married from passionate love. I did not suspect of being still preserved in my memory. In fact. And here. He is a . and she listens to me with tenderness.

but. he is a European fool! Upon my word. I wonder how it is our alma mater -. twitching his black eyebrows ironically. Z---. Or he will begin like this: "I was yesterday at our friend Z. He is himself intelligent. "What comic people there are in the world!" "Well?" asks Katya.' " And so on in the same style. It's diabolically cold. and he usually begins with them when he sits down to table. . "As I was coming from my lecture this morning I met that old idiot N. looking for some one to listen to his grumblings at his migraine. Z----'s public lecture. thanks to his soft. jesting tone.can you . His judgments are always harsh and railing. and very highly educated. it is all up. . talented.on the stairs. He comes of a fortunate and talented old noble family which has played a prominent part in the history of literature and enlightenment.I am done for now. He was going along as usual. N---. a sort of mixture of philosophy and drollery as in Shakespeare's gravediggers. takes a glass. the harshness and abuse do not jar upon the ear. and one soon grows used to them. Lord!" he sighs. Coming in to us. and his students who won't attend his lectures. at his wife. 'he has seen me -. . ." Then he sits down to the table. He is always talking about serious things. "Oh.' I thought. but he never speaks seriously. but has his oddities. even. and at once begins talking. sticking out his chin like a horse.Why. but in his oddities there is something exceptional. To a certain extent we are all odd and all queer fish.don't speak of it after dark -. apt to cause anxiety among his acquaintances. 'Oh. you could not find another like him all over Europe! He lectures -.dare display in public such noodles and patent dullards as that Z. What is most characteristic in his manner of talking is the continually jesting tone. . Are you having tea? That's just right. .good-natured man and an excellent comrade. I know a good many people for whom his oddities completely obscure his good qualities. Every evening he brings with him five or six anecdotes from the University. he slowly takes off his gloves and says in his velvety bass: "Good-evening.

. sitting in the front row. but a great deal of humour. or listens to her speaking. . and .' I thought. when he talks nothing in his face smiles but his eyes and eyebrows. 'that is. they were staring with their eyes wide open to keep awake.' But. . I chanced to glance before me. At such times there is no trace of hatred or spite in his eyes. there are only ten pages left!' And at the end there were four pages that there was no need to read. and. The poor beggars were numb with boredom. and. beseeching." As is usual with ironical people. yet while he lays out the cards he does not leave off distracting his attention with talk. The deadly dulness is awful. only fancy. 'since you like it you shall have it! I'll pay you out.' so I just gave them those four pages too. and that peculiar fox-like slyness which is only to be noticed in very observant people. Mihail Fyodorovitch takes two packs of cards off the whatnot and begins to play patience. his poor little thoughts crawl along like a bishop on a bicycle. .damn it!" And at once an abrupt transition: "Three years ago -. It was hot. for two hours. 'So there are only six really. or looks after her as she goes out of the room for a though he were sucking a sugar-stick -. he is in a nervous funk. I notice in his eyes something gentle. some fruit. .a rather poor wine of which Katya had grown fond in the Crimea. pure. . some varieties of patience require great concentration and attention. were a general with a ribbon on his breast and a bishop. only six pages left to read. my uniform cut me under the arms -. you can never make out what he is trying to say. sue. Since I am speaking about his eyes. . and yet they were trying to put on an expression of attention and to pretend that they understood what I was saying and liked it. sue. for an hour. for an hour and a half. Katya watches his cards attentively. and I reckoned to leave them out. and a bottle of Crimean champagne -. stifling.imagine? -. . 'Well. side by side.' I thought. what's worse. .Nikolay Stepanovitch here will remember it -I had to deliver that address. I notice another peculiarity in them. According to him.sue. It can only be compared with the boredom in the assembly-hall at the yearly meeting when the traditional address is read -. the very flies expire. The maid-servant takes away the samovar and puts on the table a large piece of cheese. When he takes a glass from Katya. 'thank was deadly! I read for half an hour. 'Come. he can hardly decipher his own manuscript.' I thought.

have you had one man of distinction among them for the last five or ten years?" "I don't know how it is with the other professors. It has grown on the soil of more roughly handled than anything. The Chinese know nothing of science. I only say this here between ourselves. And. indeed. it's a case of 'I look with mournful eyes on the young men of today. God forbid!" After patience the younger generation comes in for a dressing too. purely external. thank God.God forbid! The superstition exists in the multitude that the arts and sciences are superior to agriculture. what has it given to mankind? Why. and I am not going to say this in public -." says Mihail Fyodorovitch emphatically. and what we care for most of all -. commerce. been nourished by superstition. science and learning -. "Not to speak of ideals and all the rest of it. "but what of that?" "There is no need to be angry." sighs Mihail Fyodorovitch. "Its song is sung.that is. and the rest of the bottle falls to the share of Mihail Fyodorovitch. either. Mankind begins to feel impelled to replace it by something different. and it is not for you and me to destroy it. "Science. but what have they lost thereby?" "Flies know nothing of science." I observe.more by gesture than by words helps him in his play. She drinks no more than a couple of wine-glasses of wine the whole evening. Our sect is maintained by that superstition. Yes. they have degenerated horribly. I drink four glasses. . if only they were capable of work and rational thought! In fact. I am more careful than you think. who can drink a great deal and never get drunk. superior to handicrafts. the difference between the learned Europeans and the Chinese who have no science is trifling. Over our patience we settle various questions. alchemy. . and is now just as much the quintessence of superstition as its defunct granddames. metaphysics. "Tell me. Nikolay Stepanovitch." Katya agrees. but I can't . has outlived its day. after all. principally of the higher order.' " "Yes. and philosophy. "Our audiences have degenerated.

but not by way of scientific investigation or experiment. complained to me that he had to give twice as many lectures. on such wordy vapourings as degeneration and absence of ideals." All this talk of degeneration always affects me as though I had accidentally overheard offensive talk about my own daughter. even if it is uttered in ladies' society. but idle disparagement. My porter Nikolay. and this inability to distinguish the great from the small betrays their ignorance of practical life more than anything. All difficult questions that have more or less a social character (for instance the migration question) they settle by studying monographs on the subject. or Pascal.I won't say a hero or a man of talent. and so have no need to resort to vague generalities. Epictetus. It's all the same grey mediocrity.well. Marcus Aurelius. using spirituous beverages. unworthy of decent people. because the students had a very poor knowledge of physics and were utterly ignorant of meteorology. ought to be formulated with all possible definiteness.remember any among mine." "I have seen in my day many of your students and young scientific men and many actors -. puffed up with self-conceit. the professor of hygiene. whose experience of this subject has its value. though that method is at . no longer ago than yesterday my colleague. I know their failings. even when they are not first-rate. or on references to the splendours of the past. I don't like their smoking. not straight off and not at length. If I were asked what I don't like in my pupils of today. I have never once been so fortunate as to meet -. and often being so irresponsible and careless that they will let one of their number be starving in their midst while they neglect to pay their subscriptions to the Students' Aid Society. and they don't express themselves correctly in Russian. I am an old man. marrying late. and rest on such worn-out commonplaces. Every accusation. but they take absolutely no interest in classics such as Shakespeare. I should answer the question. They are readily carried away by the influence of the last new writers. or it is not an accusation. but even an interesting man. but I notice neither degeneration nor lack of ideals. They don't know modern languages. says that the students of today are neither better nor worse than those of the past. It offends me that these charges are wholesale. but with sufficient definiteness. and I don't find that the present is worse than the past. I have been lecturing for thirty years.

and so I love them and am touched by them. and there I found a studious gentleman. but no successors and helpers. and how they are both beginning to drop into the habits and methods of slander.has created from the human brain a new kind of alkaloid. in the Dobrolubov style. however numerous they may be. The latter was as drunk as a cobbler." says Mihail Fyodorovitch. 'I've read. And so on. pokes his neighbour in the ribs. and compare them with people not of their circle. Katya listens. for instance. 'Such doings. Mihail Fyodorovitch speaks evil of everything. . in art or commerce. young man.' said I. . a sense of freedom and personal initiative. a medical student. and there was positively an expression of respect on his face.' said I. or simply raises his voice. are no less necessary in science than. and are completely dependent on conditions of life. and neither of them notices into what depths the apparently innocent diversion of finding fault with their neighbours is gradually drawing them. though independence. In the next row directly in front of me were sitting two men: one of 'us fellows' and apparently a law student. He was dozing with his nose on his shirt-front. and asks. "I went yesterday to our friend Yegor Petrovitch's. The students' sins often vex me. our friend starts. All these failings have a casual. Such shortcomings. 'What is he saying? Is it . which are all inevitable and will in their turn alarm the faint-hearted. They gladly become ward-surgeons. lecture to them. But as soon as an actor begins loudly reciting a monologue. I believe. and so on. He did not look at the stage at all. the imprint of profound thought on his brow. one of your medicals in his third year. transitory character. I have pupils and listeners. external teachers. 'See what we fellows can do!' And the other day I went to the theatre. 'that some German -I've forgotten his name -. assistants. I took my seat.their disposal and is more in keeping with their calling.' What do you think? He believed it. in some ten years they will have disappeared or given place to other fresh defects. as though to say. They are not conscious how by degrees simple talk passes into malicious mockery and jeering. idiotine. and are ready to fill such posts until they are forty. Such a face! . the other a shaggy-looking figure. . "Killing types one meets with. demonstrators. we got i nto talk. . but that vexation is nothing in comparison with the joy I have been experiencing now for the last thirty years when I talk to my pupils. but am not proud of them. . can only give rise to a pessimistic or fault-finding temper in a faint-hearted and timid man. watch their relations.

" "And you are not doing anything for it." answers Katya. would walk away to the window without speaking. after listening to me. 'Elevating! Bravo!' He had gone to the theatre. my dear fellow." I come away from Katya. Mihail Fyodorovitch says: "You have grown dreadfully thin and older looking. and dissatisfied with myself. And at once I imagine how my colleague. she catches her breath in rhythmically regular gasps. I grow depressed and don't know what to say. I ask myself whether I really ought not to consult one of my colleagues. irritated and alarmed by what has been said about my being ill. leap up from my seat. indeed." They both accompany me with candles to the hall. and while I put on my fur coat. I shall be sure to. "I will stay a little longer." Katya puts in grimly. In a day or two. Ekaterina Vladimirovna?" "I will. I fire up. . but for elevation! He wanted noble sentiments. . 'B-r-r-ravo!' roars the medical student. "_Bene!_ In that case have up another little bottle. Remember me to your wife and daughter. you see. "Will you allow me. and make my apologies for not having been to see them. Beside myself. And. Nikolay Stepanovitch." says Mihail Fyodorovitch.elevating?' 'Yes. not for the sake of art. I am not very well. I am going away next week. and nothing in her face is laughing but her nostrils." Katya listens and laughs. the play. What's the matter with you? Are you ill?" "Yes. before I go abroad. the drunken blockhead. and cry: "Do leave off! Why are you sitting here like two toads. very much as though she were playing the accordion. poisoning the air with your breath? Give over!" And without waiting for them to finish their gossip I prepare to go home. I shall come to say good-bye. She has a strange laugh. "Why don't you? You can't go on like that! God helps those who help themselves. it is high time: it is past ten. .' answers one of our fellows.

petty. everything is disgusting. and the sixty-two years I have already lived must be reckoned as wasted. then would turn round to me and. the students. Gnekker. would say in a careless tone: "So far I see nothing serious. when with the fervour of the hypochondriac I look through the textbooks of therapeutics and take a different medicine every day. Who is without hope? Now that I am diagnosing my illness and prescribing for myself. from time to time I hope that I am deceived by my own illness.insomnia! . but at the same time. I advise you to lay aside your work. temporary. but at once I think: "If so. I feel that I have no family now and no desire to bring it back again. dejected. And then -. . . feeling as though tons were added to my weight. about Liza. I get into bed and quickly drop asleep. I am insincere with myself. I keep fancying that I shall hit upon something comforting. and at such times my theory of life may be expressed in the words the celebrated Araktcheev said in one of his intimate letters: "Nothing good can exist in the world without evil. hardly able to move my limbs. people in general. All that is petty. With my conscience ill at ease. . but have possession of my whole being. that I am mistaken in regard to the albumen and the sugar I find. One would think that my thoughts at such times ought to be deep as the sky. Whether the sky is covered with clouds or the moon and the stars are shining. and not deeply rooted in me. trying to prevent my reading the truth in his face. and there is more evil than good. ." That is. Ringing the bell at the door and going upstairs. . what drives me every evening to those two toads?" And I vow to myself that I will never go to Katya's again." And that would deprive me of my last hope. But no! I think about myself. _collega_. I catch myself in these thoughts. though I know I shall go next evening. my thoughts are evil. about my wife. languid. and in regard to my heart. brilliant. striking. temporary visitors. and in regard to the swellings I have twice noticed in the mornings. . and try to persuade myself that they are accidental. there is nothing to live for.would think a moment. It is clear that the new Araktcheev thoughts are not casual. I turn my eyes towards it every evening and think that death is taking me soon.

though people do not readily make use of its products. I amuse myself with French books in yellow covers. but lie in the drowsy. your Excellency! We are ready. I do not sleep. that would just suit some baron's family: Baroness Ritkart. but no cleverness. but in the morning I do not put a good face upon it and listen to my wife. my Excellency is conducted into the lower storey of a summer villa and installed in a small. and it is not unusual to find in them the chief element of artistic creation -. which exists simply in order to be encouraged. There is nothing of interest. I read the signboards from right to left. a good tone. cleverness. and seated in a cab. having nothing to do. I don't say the French books have talent. all our literature of today strikes me as not being literature.the feeling of personal freedom which is lacking in the Russian authors. and a good tone. At night there is sleeplessness as before. After two hours of driving. I don't remember one new . half-conscious condition in which you know you are not asleep." Cleverness. One fine morning Liza comes in to me and says in a jesting tone: "Come. by the graveyard. Farther on I drive through fields. but I must confess I cherish no particular liking for them. which makes absolutely no impression on me. it would be more patriotic to read Russian authors. but not a good tone. not one of them is remarkable. but I do not work now. either. They don't satisfy me. a good tone. talent. but no talent.IV Summer comes on and life is changed. or talent. Of course. As I go along. With the exception of two or three of the older writers. The very best of these home products cannot be called remarkable and cannot be sincerely praised without qualification. But they are not so tedious as the Russian." My Excellency is conducted into the street. but dreaming. At midday I get up and from habit sit down at my table. but a special sort of home industry. very cheerful little room with light blue hangings. then I drive by forests and again by fields. and not one of them can be praised without a "but. The word "Traktir" reads " Ritkart". but lie in bed. though I shall soon lie in it. sent me by Katya. I must say the same of all the literary novelties I have read during the last ten or fifteen years. cleverness.

One is bent upon being middle-class in his work. and self-will. As for serious treatises in Russian on sociology. in which the author does not try from the first page to entangle himself in all sorts of conditions and contracts with his conscience. their bantering lordly tone. Their manners are. indeed. on art. circumspection. and that terror has remained with me to this day. There is intentionalness. I am afraid of them even now. in an interval one of my fellow-experts drew my attention to the rudeness of the public prosecutor to the defendants. And. but even works translated or edited by them. I do not rea d them simply from timidity.all that is beyond my understanding. the question marks and "sic" in parenthesis scattered all over the book or article by the liberal translator. All this applies to what is called belles-lettres. One is afraid to speak of the naked body. it is intimidating and utterly unlike the quiet. It oppresses me to read not only the articles written by serious Russians. among whom there were two ladies of good education. and therefore there is no creativeness. I believe I did not exaggerate at all when I told him that the prosecutor s manner was no ruder than that of the authors of serious articles to one another. In my childhood and early youth I had for some reason a terror of doorkeepers and attendants at the theatre. but they have neither the independence nor the manliness to write as they like. They treat one another and the writers they criticize either with superfluous respect. Once I was summoned as an expert to a circuit court. Their extraordinary dignity. I feel exactly the same terror when I read serious articles. so rude that I cannot speak of them without distaste. indeed. the redundancy of remarks made by the translator. gentlemanly tone to which I am accustomed when I read the works of our medical and scientific writers. their ability to split straws with dignity -. and so on. another ties himself up hand and foot in psychological analysis. It is said that we are only afraid of what we do not understand. The pretentious. another must be a nobleman. a third must have a "warm attitude to man". a fourth purposely scrawls whole descriptions of nature that he may not be suspected of writing with a purpose. and majestically rude. are to my mind an outrage on the author and on my independence as a reader. their familiar manner to foreign authors. at the sacrifice . . for instance. edifying tone of the preface. and so on. . it is very difficult to understand why doorkeepers and theatre attendants are so dignified. which prevent me from concentrating my attention. .

both flaxen-headed and ragged. of evil intentions.of their own dignity. on the contrary. "What have you to tell me?" I ask. Often I admire a boy and girl. as young medical men are fond of saying in their monographs. He arrives very much exhilarated. or. two or three scraggy trees. and on the buttons."your Excellency! God be my witness! Strike me dead on the spot! _Gaudeamus egitur juventus!_" And he greedily kisses me on the shoulder. who clamber on the fence and laugh at my baldness. Nikolay usually comes to me on holidays. of every sort of crime. "Is everything going well?" I ask him. I will only mention the visits of Nikolay and Pyotr Ignatyevitch. "Your Excellency!" he says. pressing his hand to his heart and looking at me with the ecstasy of a lover -. the fields. so I send him away to the kitchen. Pyotr Ignatyevitch comes to see me on holidays. . In their shining little eyes I read. with far more ruthlessness than I have shown in my notes and my thoughts in regard to my future son-in-law Gnekker. and beyond them a broad stretch of pine-wood. is the _ultima ratio!_ Such ways must infallibly have an effect on the morals of the younger generation of writers. though really to see me. and so I am not at all surprised that in the new works with which our literature has been enriched during the last ten or fifteen years the heroes drink too much vodka and the heroines are not over-chaste. Visitors do not come to me every day now. Accusations of irrationality. with some pretext of business. too. and soon bores me. form an habitual ornament of serious articles." He persists in grovelling before me for no sort of reason. "Your Excellency! So help me God! . where they give him dinner. and beyond the fence the road. and. I read French books. go up. . indeed. going out to him in the hall. and I look out of the window which is open. thou baldhead!" They are almost the only people who care nothing for my celebrity or my rank. "Go up. And that. a thing which never occurs to him in the winter. on the sleeve. with the . I can see the spikes of my garden-fence.

while a third person. and I am ungracious. and surly with Pyotr Ignatyevitch. and think. he is ashamed that such trivial subjects should be discussed before such serious people as him and me. Sometimes he stays to dinner with us. and reasonable. as though he were to blame for such thoughts.special object of seeing me and sharing his thoughts with me.Jean Jacques Petit. mistaking bubbles of air for dark pigment under the microscope. silent. and does not venture to cross his legs or put his elbows on the table. to his mind. Brahms and Bach. Even when he wants to amuse me. he tells me various. All the time. and not I myself. He cherishes the best of feelings for me. circumstantial manner as though he were defending a thesis. I hate the poor fellow. doing his utmost to be accurate as to the date and number of the journals and the name of every one concerned. . smooth voice and bookish language exhaust me. In my present state of mind five minutes of him is enough to sicken me as though I had been seeing and hearing him for an eternity. Pyotr Ignatyevitch tells me things in the same lengthy. . and I repay him by looking at him as though I wanted to hypnotize him. . . trumps them both by proving they both had made fools of themselves. some one else. When he begins. "Go. a German. . and then during the whole of dinner-time he goes on telling me the same sort of piquant anecdotes. I mutter sullenly: . as I used to do. proving that the discovery was made in 1870 by some American. go! . has denounced him. If Gnekker and Liza begin talking before him of fugues and counterpoint." But he is not amenable to thought-suggestion. go. invariably mentioning it in full -. His soft. . in rounded bookish phrases. modest. instead of making fun of him good-humouredly. enumerating in detail the literary sources from which he is deriving his narrative." and my poor lecture-hall presents itself to me as an oasis in which the spring is died up. While he is with me I can never shake off the thought. also a German. reducing every one at table to a state of dejected boredom. even. he drops his eyes modestly. in a soft. He usually sits down near my table. neat. . and is overcome with embarrassment. "It's possible when I die he will be appointed to succeed me. They are all alike and may be reduced to this type: "A Frenchman has made a discovery. and sits on and on and on. and talks to me simply in order to give me pleasure. praising up the German savants. as usual. and his stories stupefy me. . very interesting and piquant items of news which he has read in the magazines and journals. never simply Petit. little voice.

. and how I will taunt them -. who once. whom now I hate and despise. and only when he is going away. I was sitting in my room smoking a pipe. I want to call out and say. Gnekker." That is like the late Professor Nikita Krylov. and from the window I catch a glimpse of his grey hat behind the garden-fence. . . Carried away by evil feeling. burst out with. . "Forgive me. my wife came in as usual. "Scoundrels. your Germans! . But never will the fowl soar upwards to the clouds. It is wonderful how petty a man may become! I am capable of dreaming all dinner-time of how Gnekker will turn out to be an adventurer. So on one occasion it happened that I stared a long time at Gnekker. misunderstandings of which in the old days I had no idea except from hearsay. I will describe one that occurred the other day after dinner. as though to say: "The old chap is in his dotage. when he was bathing with Pirogov at Revel and vexed at the water's being very cold. too. my dear fellow!" Dinner is even drearier than in the winter.and such absurd thoughts at the time when I am standing with one foot in th e grave! There are now. what's the use of talking to him?" Or he makes fun of me good-naturedly. he takes up the line of meeting my gibes with condescending silence. now I aim biting remarks at him which make my wife and daughter blush. and. and there find out what sort of person our Gnekker is."Asses. Though I am ashamed of it. Knowing that my wife and daughter are on his side. _a propos_ of nothing. I often say things that are simply stupid. and I don't know why I say them. how my wife and Liza will come to see their mistake. these Germans!" I behave badly with Pyotr Ignatyevitch. And the most vexatious thing is that the fowl Gnekker shows himself much cleverer than the eagle professor. sat down. I used to endure his presence in silence. dines with us almost every day. and began saying what a good thing it would be for me to go to Harkov now while it is warm and I have free time. I fired off: "An eagle may perchance swoop down below a cock.

She is clever and well-educated." I assented. . . then sank into a swoon which lasted two or three hours. My wife. "Let me alone!" I cried. got up and was going to the door. my voice was strange. then Yegor. she has such a reputation that . . I don't deny that her company may be agreeable. Nikolay Stepanovitch. I leaped up and. for my wife suddenly turned pale and began shrieking aloud in a despairing voice that was utterly unlike her own. . Liza. clutching at my head and stamping my feet. . for a little while I still heard weeping. Gnekker. "let me alone! Go away!" My legs turned numb as though they had ceased to exist. but all our neighbours and acquaintances have begun talking about your being so often at Katya's. . Forgive my saying it. I have another favour to ask of you. . and of course neither the neighbours nor our acquaintances can avoid noticing it. . . and has taken all her town retinue with her -. Besides. . . She has her own horse and a new chaise bought this summer. I know you will be angry. but at your age and with your social position it seems strange that you should find pleasure in her society. shouted in a voice unlike my own: "Let me alone! let me alone! let me alone!" Probably my face was terrible. I often ask her: "Katya. . . what will you live on when you have spent your father's money?" "Then we shall see. came running in at our shouts. a coachman . but it is my duty to warn you. I will go. she has taken a big detached villa with a large garden. but turned back and said: "By the way. pleased with me." she answers. Now about Katya." All the blood suddenly rushed to my brain. She comes in for a minute and carries me off for a drive with her. my eyes flashed fire. she comes to see me every day towards evening."Very good. Altogether she lives in an expensive style. . I felt myself falling into someone's arms.two maids.

my dear." I answer." One has but to obey this advice to gain the conviction that the methods recommended in the textbooks as the best and as providing a safe basis for treatment turn out to be quite unsuitable in individual cases."That money. "You are a rare specimen." "You have told me that already. I envy you horribly! Do you know what I stand for? What?" She ponders for a minute. Nikolay Stepanovitch. It is just the same in moral ailments. I am a negative phenomenon! Yes?" "Yes. my dear. and I say: "You have too much free time. After all." or "know yourself. and there isn't an actor who would understand how to play you. I don't know what to answer. then through the pine-wood which is visible from my window. I know it. Katya loves driving." and because it is so easy to say that. And I envy you. but not you. by honest labour. and then asks me: "Nikolay Stepanovitch." At first we drive through the open country. will not notice my absence when in three or four months I am dead." she says. It was earned by a good man. deserves to be treated more seriously. But I must make some answer. My colleagues when they teach therapeutics advise "the individual study of each separate case. She is in good spirits and does not say harsh things. and she is pleased that it is fine weather and that I am sitting beside her. and white clouds on the sky. Nature seems to me as beautiful as it always has been. "H'm! what am I to do?" What answer was I to make her? It is easy to say "work." or "give your possessions to the poor. for instance. birds. why shouldn't you be an actress again if it is your vocation?" "I cannot!" . any poor actor could do. "You are a very good man. you absolutely must take up some occupation. though some evil spirit whispers to me that these pines and fir trees. Me or Mihail Fyodorovitch.

." she goes on nervously. but you don't know enough about art sincerely to think it sacred. but were cast down by it. the newspapers by their familiar attitude. it has. Nikolay Stepanovitch. but we will let art alone." To avoid bitterness I hasten to change the subject. you began with falling out with people and methods." "Don't pretend." Katya interrupts me. why you don't want to go on the stage. Remember. I don't like talk about art. You did not struggle with evil. You are a splendid and rare person. and you are not the victim of the struggle. You have been hard at work all your life. really. and a great deal of vanity! So there!" After making this confession she turns her face away from me. my dear." "Yes. Altogether . . it shows he does not understand it. Yes. I don't like that. . . and to hide the trembling of her hands tugs violently at the reins. but of your own impotence. you will serve a sacred art. Well. . if ."Your tone and manner suggest that you are a victim. . If any one philosophizes about it." "Nikolay Stepanovitch. how they have vulgarized it!" "Who has vulgarized it?" "They have vulgarized it by drunkenness. but you have done nothing to make either better. actresses. and authors. if you like it! I have no talent! No talent and . You have no instinct or feeling for art. "Let us make a compact once for all. . this is cruel!" she cries. clever people by philosophy. and suddenly flushes all over. my goodness. now it may all be different. "You want me to tell you the truth aloud? Very well. go on the stage. it is your own fault." "Philosophy has nothing to do with it. and then sit a long time silent. we will talk about actors. of course you were young and inexperienced then. "I don't like it! And. You will work. and have not had time to acquire that feeling. and say: "You have still not answered me. Only when we are driving out of the wood and turning towards Katya's villa I go back to my former question.

Why did it seem so? I had no sensation in my body that suggested my immediate death. hurriedly asks questions. is now suffused all over his face. ashamed of his habit of spending every evening with Katya. . such as are called among the people "sparrow nights. impatiently awaiting us. laughs. then the familiar packs of cards. imploring. lightning. week. the students. the air grows thick and stifling with evil speaking. The subjects of our conversation are not new. rain. I woke up after midnight and leaped suddenly out of bed. It seemed to me for some reason that I was just immedi ately going to die. not of two toads as in the winter. pure expression. and his black eyebrows are beginning to turn grey. they are just the same as in the winter. sunken. and that gentle. first we drink tea. bother him!" Mihail Fyodorovitch ought to have gone abroad long ago. Of late there have been certain changes in him. which I used to notice only in his eyes. the big piece of cheese. the maid who waits upon us hears an unpleasant cracked "He. rubs his hands. but of three. and I thought I would just look in for a minute. has taken to drinking until he is tipsy. He fussily helps me and Katya out. and the bottle of Crimean champagne are put upon the table." There has been one such night in my personal life. and wind.As we are driving towards her villa we see Mihail Fyodorovitch walking near the gate. V There are terrible nights with thunder. please! I am sick and tired of him . He looks. "That Mihail Fyodorovitch again!" says Katya with vexation. "Do rid me of him. Besides the velvety baritone laugh and the giggle like the gasp of a concertina. as though I had suddenly seen a vast menacing glow of fire. . and poisoned by the breath. the fruit. We fall foul of the University. He is glad and at the same time he is ashamed of his gladness. but my soul was oppressed with terror. . And he thinks it necessary to explain his visit by some obvious absurdity such as: "I was driving by. a thing which never used to happen to him. but he puts off going from week to." We all three go indoors. as it were. When our chaise stops at the gate he does not conceal his joy and his impatience. he!" like the chuckle of a general in a vaudeville. and literature and the theatre.

. I listened. and I cannot understand why I was so frightened: was it that I wanted to live. some one stopped near my door and listened. the gaunt. tried to find it in my temple. and not finding it in my wrist.I rapidly struck a light. My breathing came more and more rapidly. drowsy trees by the window. overhead. some one moaned or laughed. . I felt that everything was looking at me and waiting for me to die. very bright moon in the sky and not a single cloud. My spine was cold. the dark streak of woodland. and waited and waited. It was uncanny. Soon afterwards there was a sound of footsteps on the stairs. and I felt as though death were coming upon me stealthily from behind "Kee-vee! kee-vee!" I heard a sudden shriek in the night's stillness. it seemed to be drawn inwards. . I hid my head under the pillow. . my body was shivering. all my inside was in commotion. drank some water straight out of the decanter. The weather outside was magnificent. A minute later there was a sound of steps downstairs again. perfect stillness. There was a smell of hay and some other very sweet scent. I had a sensation on my face and on my bald head as though they were covered with spiders' webs. not one leaf stirring. and again in my wrist. or that some new unknown pain was in store for me? Upstairs. then hurried to the open window."Kee-vee! kee-vee!" "My God. it would be no use. there was a serene. Some one came hurriedly down. I closed the window and ran to my bed. but by then it was fearful to open my eyes and I was afraid to raise my my breast or in the street -. . . and everything I touched was cold and clammy with sweat. how terrible!" I would have drunk some more water. I could not imagine what my wife and Liza would do when they came in to me. I could see the spikes of the fence. and did not know where it was -. What should I do? Call my family? No. closed my eyes. then went up again. I felt for my pulse. . then in my chin. "Who is there?" I cried. I was possessed by unaccountable animal terror. the road.

Patches of light from her candle danced about the stairs. . this minute. and went into Liza's room. ." she sobbed -." But we passed the staircase. my pet. . . ." I said. our long shadows trembled. ."my dear. and we awkwardly stumbled by her bedside. . she began crying out." I followed my wife. "On the spot. and felt as though something were pursuing me and trying to catch me from behind." I tried to tuck her in. greatly relieved at not being alone. "My kind papa! . . and she was moaning. "Oh. kissed me. too. "What is it? " "For God's sake. I am miserable. "You are not asleep. . my shoulder jostled against her shoulder. my darling." I said. with pleasure.The door opened. "what is it?" Seeing me." "Very good. and was too agitated to understand a word. "I can't bear it. my God!" she was muttering. my wife gave her water. I don't know what is the matter with me. my child. with her bare feet hanging down. God be with you. heard what she said to me. my child. screwing up her eyes at our candle. I boldly opened my eyes. I am miserable!" She hugged me. good papa . ." I muttered. "Very good. Nikolay Stepanovitch?" she asked. "There is no need to cry. there is something the matter with her. the dark corridor with the Italian windows. . I gasped for breath." I thought. here on the staircase. "I shall die on the spot. and babbled fond words I used to hear from her when she was a child. and saw my wife. My feet caught in the skirts of my dressing-gown. go up and have a look at Liza. Her face was pale and her eyes were tear-stained. and flung herself on my neck. ." "Liza. "Calm yourself. . my God! Oh. . and meanwhile I was thinking how we used to give our . . She was sitting on the bed in her nightdress. .

. it will pass. I knew nothing about it. There was some load on the girl's heart." I opened the window. The intensely strained condition of my nerves has infected my wife. "It's nonsense." Time passed slowly. but seemed as though frozen. two dogs howling together. I had never attached significance to such omens as the howling of dogs or the shrieking of owls. Liza. For a long time I stood motionless in the middle of the room. the dog -. Such infection explains presentiments. and I hastened to explain the howl to myself. . and I decided to prescribe nothing." When a little later I went back to my room to write a prescription for Liza.children their bath together. There was a deathlike stillness." I heard a whisper. such a feeling of oppression in my soul that I felt actually sorry that I had not died on the spot. . as some author has expressed it. but on that occasion it sent a pang to my heart. such a stillness. .that is all. cautiously tapped on the window with it." I thought. "Nikolay Stepanovitch. there was a sudden sound of dogs howling. But the moans overhead ceased. but I did not understand. . I no longer thought I should die at once. "Nikolay Stepanovitch. Sleep. and fancied I was dreaming: under the window. and yet I went on standing there. forebodings. sleep!" To make things worse. and could only mutter: "It's nothing. . . then loud. pondering what to prescribe for Liza. . . at first subdued and uncertain. stood a woman in a black dress. huddled against the wall. breaking a twig from one of those scraggy trees. But the gate in the fence creaked. some one stole in and. . . . "the influence of one organism on another. the streaks of moonlight on the window-sill did not shift their position. but only had such a weight. "Help her! help her!" my wife implored me. It was still some time before dawn. it's nothing. "Do something!" What could I do? I could do nothing. . "it rang in one's ears.

. " I said. all people look taller and paler. Ah! if you knew how miserable I am! What are you doing just now?" "Nothing. You ought to go for your health." I . If you don't despise my affection and respect for you. . . . . . "Thank you. "Nikolay Stepanovitch. . "What is it?" "Forgive me! " she said." . There was a light in your window and . but that is nonsense. ." "I had a feeling that there was something wrong. looking at me with great eyes. I can't sleep. Her face was pale. so came here. . her eyes shone with tears. my dear. ." In the moonlight all women's eyes look big and black. I couldn't stand it." she said imploringly. you will take it?" "No. "I suddenly felt unbearably miserable . I beg you. like marble. Will you take it? Yes? Nikolay Stepanovitch darling. and weird-looking in the moonlight. stern. . stretching out both hands to me. . . Katya. and I ventured to knock. her chin was quivering. and that was probably why I had not recognized her for the first minute." she said -." Her brows were lifted. consent to what I ask of you. I beg your pardon. I won't take it . . yes?" She looked greedily into my face and repeated: "Yes. and her whole face was lighted up with the familiar look of trustfulness which I had not seen for so long.with the moonlight bright upon her." "What is it?" "Take my money from me!" "Come! what an idea! What do I want with your money?" "You'll go away somewhere for your health. . . . "my precious friend. I implore you. . "It is I. .

to be indebted to a person like me . "I don't say that. to Harkov. indeed. . . dropping her voice a whole octave. As it would be useless to contend against my present mood and. . I question him about the estate -. and have put up at the hotel not far from the cathedral.the same answer. I ought to have gone today to see some professors of my acquaintance. I go to Harkov. and now I am sitting on my bed." I said. but I have neither strength nor inclination. I will try and do as she wishes. there were draughts. beyond my power. but does not remember any household of the surname of Gnekker. . But. a retired actress. then three. he knows the town like the fingers of his hand. . on whose account I have come here. . If I am unjust in regard to my wife and daughter. or to Berditchev. I have become of late so indifferent to everything that it is really all the same to me where I go. . The old corridor attendant comes in and asks whether I have brought my bed-linen. I arrived here at midday.She turned her back upon me and bowed her head. The train was jolting. The clock in the corridor strikes one. Probably I refused her in a tone which made further conversation about money impossible. since she wants me to go to Harkov. VI I am in Harkov. or to Paris. and put several questions to him about Gnekker." "I beg your pardon . good-bye. then two." And she went away so quickly that I had not time even to say good-bye. ." "So you don't consider me your friend?" she asked dejectedly. The attendant turns out to be a native of Harkov. I detain him for five minutes. "Go home to bed. . which I fully recognize. . I have made up my mind that the last days of my life shall at least be irreproachable externally. But your money would be no use to me now. holding my head and expecting tic douloureux. . "I understand you . ." she said. . . "We will see each other tomorrow. Besides. .

. I am famous. letters of sympathy come to me by post from my colleagues. To occupy myself with thoughts. . . I have read my biography even in a German magazine. In the old days. . and in spite of the tic I sleep soundly. on this bed with the unfamiliar grey quilt. but all that does not prevent me from dying in a strange bed. when I was not so indifferent. and quite unconcernedly reflect that tomorrow will be followed by another night as long and colourless. In what way. . seven. Domestic worries. a distinguished man. They publish bulletins of my illness in every paper. the general rudeness and coarseness in social intercourse -. There is a dull pain in my cheek. six. . and the day after tomorrow. my pupils.all this. It grows dark. the expensive and unwholesome food in the refreshment-rooms. affects me as much as any working man who is famous only in his alley. And I have never before been so ready to resign myself to the slowness of time as now. in misery. my portrait has been both in the _Niva_ and in the _Illustrated News of the World_. Of course. and a great deal more which would take too long to reckon up. At ten o'clock I fall asleep. when one sat in the station and waited for a train. These last months in which I am waiting for death seem much longer than the whole of my life. the general public. or presided in an examination-room. am sitting in this little hotel room. that I am a hero of whom my country is proud. the tic beginning. a privy councillor. and should have gone on sleeping if I had not been awakened. on a strange bed. I am amused by the naivete with which I used in my youth to exaggerate the value of renown and of the exceptional position which celebrities are supposed to enjoy. Now I can sit all night on my bed without moving. Soon after one came a sudden knock at the door. my name is pronounced with reverence. the inconveniences of the passport system. no one is to blame for that. and ask myself why I. Why am I looking at that cheap tin washing-stand and listening to the whirr of the wretched clock in the corridor? Is all this in keeping with my fame and my lofty position? And I answer these questions with a jeer. does my exceptional position find expression? Admitting that I am celebrated a thousand times over. the rudeness of the railway servants.. I go back to my old point of view. I feel as though it had cheated me. a quarter of an hour would seem an eternity. rubbing my aching cheek with my hand. in utter loneliness. the hard-heartedness of creditors. . but I in my foolishness dislike my popularity. In the corridor it strikes five. And what of all that? Here I am sitting utterly alone in a strange town.

" I say angrily. "What does she want?" "Gnekker was secretly married to Liza yesterday." "You might have waited till tomorrow. it is only a pity that the ancients never thought to indicate the means of following this precept. "Know thyself" is excellent and useful advice." I read the telegram. and begin trying to think of something to occupy my mind. our friends. "Tell me what you want. but the desires." I tear open the telegram and look first at the signature. and to pass the time I try to know myself. so I thought you were not asleep. but by the indifference with which I hear of their marriage. in which everything is relative. It is false: indifference is the paralysis of the soul."Who is there?" "A telegram. not the actions. not by what Liza and Gnekker have done. our pupils." "I am sorry. to love . "Now I shall not get to sleep again. taking the telegram from the attendant. From my wife. I am dismayed. Your light was burning. They say philosophers and the truly wise are indifferent. When I have wanted to understand somebody or myself I have considered. What am I to think about? I feel as though everything had been thought over already and there is nothing which could hold my attention now." And now I examine myself: what do I want? I want our wives. When daylight comes I sit up in bed with my arms round my knees. Return. I go to bed again. it is premature death. and I will tell you what manner of man you are. and my dismay does not last long. our children.

. then there is nothing. What further? Why. Every feeling and every thought exists apart in me. When a man has not in him what is loftier and mightier than all external impressions a bad cold is really enough to upset his equilibrium and make him begin to see an owl in every bird. . In the latter I find. it is useless to talk. And however much I might think. nothing further. and ideas I form about everything. So there is nothing surprising in the fact that I have over-shadowed the last months of my life with thoughts and feelings only worthy of a slave and barbarian. the theatre. in my desire to live. I think and think. I should have liked to have lived another ten years. to hear a dog howling in every sound. there is no common bond to connect it all into one whole. the influences of circumstance and men were enough to turn upside down and scatter in fragments all which I had once looked upon as my theory of life. and however far my thoughts might travel. In the morning the corridor attendant brings me tea and a copy of the local newspaper. a serious us. and in all my criticisms of science. among other things. If it is so. and in all the pictures my imagination draws. the fear of death. but to love us as ordinary men. Professor Nikolay Stepanovitch all the thoughts. . my pupils. I will sit and wait in silence for what is to come. nothing of great importance in my desires. the extracts from the newspapers and journals. Mechanically I read the advertisements on the first page. in this sitting on a strange bed. . the following paragraph: "Our distinguished savant. feelings. and can think of nothing more. Anything else? I should like to have had helpers and successors. In a state so poverty-stricken. it is useless to think. . it is clear to me that there is nothing vital. the leading article. not our fame. And if there is not that. And all his pessimism or optimism with his thoughts great and small have at such times significance as symptoms and nothing more. and in this striving to know myself -. In my passion for science. . the chronicle of events. Anything else? I should like to wake up in a hundred years' time and to have just a peep out of one eye at what is happening in science. I am vanquished. and that now I am indifferent and take no heed of the dawn. even the most skilful analyst could not find what is called a general idea. not the brand and not the label. and in which I had seen the meaning and joy of my existence. or the god of a living man. literature.

I cannot go on living like this! I cannot! For God's sake tell me quickly. breathing hard and trembling all over. . turning pale and pressing her hands on her bosom -.arrived yesterday in Harkov. "Who is there? Come in. "You didn't expect me? I have come here. I've simply come. . wrings her hands. . what I am to do! Tell me. . what am I to do?" "What can I tell you?" I ask in perplexity. It's too much for me!" She sinks on a chair and begins sobbing. . illustrious names are created to live on their own account. . . shrugging my shoulders. taps with her feet. and have come to you. her hair is ruffled. and I step back surprised and hurriedly wrap my dressing-gown round me." she says. A light tap at the door." Apparently. while I s hall be already under the moss. I have come. I beseech you. She flings her head back. Before me stands Katya. this minute. . "but I am surprised. too. too!" She sits down and goes on." "Tell me. her hat falls off and hangs bobbing on its elastic. You seem to have dropped from the skies. "How do you do?" she says. hesitating and not looking at me. printed in gold letters on my monument. Suddenly she jumps up impulsively and comes to me. What have you come for?" "Oh . ." Silence."Nikolay Stepanovitch." she goes on." The door opens. "I swear that I cannot go on living like this. "I can do nothing. ." I say. it will shine bright as the sun itself. and is staying in the So-and-so Hotel. too . today. "Why don't you speak to me? I have come. Somebody wants me. I found out that you were in this hotel." "Very glad to see you. in another three months. "Nikolay Stepanovitch. breathless with running upstairs. . apart from those that bear them. Now my name is promenading tranquilly about Harkov.

you know. clutching at my hand and kissing it. "Let us have lunch."Help me! help me! "she implores me. "I don't understand it! So sensible. ." I mutter. . I pick them up. "Give over crying. . Katya. and hardly able to stand. Katya. . puts on her hat. really . I don't know. what am I to do?" "Upon my word. "You are my father. my only friend! You are clever." I say. in the decline of my days." A silence follows. . Katya. "Help me!" she sobs. you have been a teacher! Tell me. . ." I am utterly at a loss and confused. all her .and all this deliberately. while the soul of this poor girl has known and will know no refuge all her life. . . and her gloves are wet with tears. . . you have lived so long. . . and on one of them I recognize the handwriting of Mihail Fyodorovitch and accidentally read a bit of a word "passionat. Katya. but her expression now is cold and forbidding. I look at her. . "What am I to do?" "You are a queer girl. with a forced smile. in silence. educated. Her face. only one word!" she weeps. then crumples up the letters and stuffs them in her bag -. and with it pulls out several letters. "I cannot go on!" She takes her handkerchief out of her travelling-bag. touched by her sobs. which fall from her lap to the floor. ." And at once I add in a sinking voice: "I shall soon be gone. and all at once crying your eyes out. her bosom." "There is nothing I can tell you. stretching out her hands to me. and feel ashamed that I am happier than she. . The absence of what my philosophic colleagues call a general idea I have detected in myself only just before death. Katya straightens her hair." I say." "Only one word.

"No. to the Caucasus. she knows that I am looking after her. I am here not for long. holds out her hand without looking at me. This conflict of . Another minute passes in silence. . a letter in which. She goes out. her hand is cold and. She began crying and laughing. that is. . ." I say. . she did not look back. among other things. walks down the long corridor without looking back. strange. and. Katya. "Then. Klavdia Arhipovna. Farewell." I say. passing through. I am going on today. the widow of a lieutenant. I escort her to the door in silence. that I may spend this summer with you at Kotchuevko. "I don't like Harkov. my treasure! THE PRIVY COUNCILLOR AT the beginning of April in 1870 my mother. then an expression of mingled tears and laughter came into her face. perhaps." "Yes. this passage occurred: "My liver trouble forces me to spend every summer abroad. received from her brother Ivan. and as I have not at the moment the money in hand for a trip to Marienbad. with a cold smile. you won't be at my funeral?" but she does not look at me. it is very possible. I want to ask her." "Where?" "To the Crimea . thank you. .life! "Let us have lunch. "it's so grey here -. a privy councillor in Petersburg." "Oh! For long?" "I don't know. It's ugly. and most likely she will look back at the turn. . . I've seen her black dress for the last time: her steps have died away. No. ." she answers coldly. dear sister. as it were." Katya gets up.such a grey town." On reading the letter my mother turned pale and began trembling all over.

before been so violently beaten as on this occasion in preparation for our visitor. came over from Novostroevka. and he. the floors were bright and shining. and I am all of a tremble. The idea that his cut was not fashionable enough made him alter everything half a dozen times. If the sky had been lower and smaller and the river had not flowed so swiftly. Fedka was told that if any of the dogs came near the front-door "God would punish him. but they were washed every day. The tailor Spiridon. . scrubbing. uneducated woman. the third. too. the only tailor in the whole district who ventured to make for the gentry. The sky above and the water in the river were all that escaped. "My own brother. . but they were whitewashed. we grew up together. a foolish. "you must rejoice. another had gone to the war. little stupid! It's a piece of luck for you that God is sending him to us!" After we had heard a detailed history of the Gundasovs. there followed a fuss and bustle in the place such as I had been accustomed to see only before Christmas and Easter. and were continually flying up into the sky. too." my mother brought out tearfully. . Reading the letter once more. The cat Bobtail (as a small child I had cut off a good quarter of his tail with the knife used for chopping the sugar. My pigeons took fright at the loud thud of the sticks." But no one was so badly treated as the poor sofas. He was a hard-working capable man who did not drink and was not without a certain fancy and feeling for form. walk all the way to the town simply to study the dandies. and that was why he was called Bobtail) was carried off to the kitchen and put in charge of Anisya. talk to him about? It's fifteen years since I've seen him! Andryushenka. mother called together all the household. and in the end dress us in suits . too. all of a tremble! . everything else was subjected to a merciless cleansing." my mother turned to me. with bath-brick and rubbed them. . was an actor. with tow. the fourth . and in a voice broken with emotion began explaining to us that there had been four Gundasov brothers: one Gundasov had died as a baby. my angel brother? What can I. "The fourth has risen far above us. they would have scoured them. easy-chairs. . . was dead. painting. A privy councillor with the rank of a general! How shall I meet him. Our walls were as white as snow.tears and laughter always reminds me of the flickering and spluttering of a brightly burning candle when one sprinkles it with water. His work was ruined by hesitation. . without offence to him be it said. and rugs! They had never. but yet he was an atrocious tailor.

watched these lengthy proceedings. exhausted by her exertions and heated by ironing. as though to say: "There's no help for it. then he spent a long time noting down my measurements with a thick pencil on a bit of paper. the lining. and for Pobyedimsky's two roubles. mother always frowned contemptuously and expressed her surprise: "Goodness knows what the fashions are coming to nowadays! I am positively ashamed to look at them. then let them fall. going down on one knee. and said: "Mind now. . The price cannot be considered excessive. as Novostroevka was about seven miles from us. He measured me all over lengthways and crossways. bending double. shrugged his shoulders and sighed. . but we provided the cloth.that even a caricaturist would have called _outre_ and grotesque. This Spiridon spent a long time taking my measure. weary. Yegor Alexyevitch Pobyedimsky. and the tailor came to fit us four times. Spiridon. and ticked off all the measurements with triangular signs. then into a perspiration. for he was convinced that he would not make them fit. first lift up his arms. and the buttons. you will have to answer for it to God if you spoil the cloth! And it will be the worse for you if you don't make them fit!" Mother's words threw Spiridon first into a fever. When he came to try the things on and we squeezed ourselves into the tight trousers and jackets adorned with basting threads. it's the spirit of the age!" . . and so you can imagine the devout awe with which Spiridon approached him. to straddle his legs like an inverted V. walking round him during the process like a love-sick pigeon round its mate. My mother. as though he meant to put hoops round me like a barrel. My beloved tutor was then at the stage when young men watch the growth of their moustache and are critical of their clothes. Yegor Alexyevitch had to throw back his head. He received one rouble twenty kopecks for making my suit. Spiridon measured him several times. relieved that the blame was thrown on the fashion and not on him. When he had finished with me he set to work on my tutor. We cut a dash in impossibly narrow trousers and in such short jackets that we always felt quite abashed in the presence of young ladies. If brother were not used to Petersburg I would not get you fashionable clothes!" Spiridon.

Why "gunpowder"? Probably the conception of a general was closely connected in my mind with cannons and gunpowder. more cultivated. . I lost my appetite.The excitement with which we awaited the arrival of our guest can only be compared with the strained suspense with which spiritualists wait from minute to minute the appearance of a ghost. there was not a man in the province cleverer. and drawing funny faces with red teeth on my kites. when he heard the history of the Gundasov family. He was a young man of twenty. Pobyedimsky was the only one who felt himself in his element. or more stylish. which did not prevent him. he ate meat during the fasts. To our thinking. from which he was expelled before the end of the first half-year. such as suits of clothes. it will be pleasant to have some one fresh to talk to. Even in my dreams I was haunted by an impatient longing to see a general -. however. from my mother.that is." I thought. "There must be uniforms and gunpowder in those boxes. and was continually melting into tears. Mother went about with a sick headache. and with a naked sword in his hands. said: "Yes. His nose was so big that when he wanted to look close at anything he had to put his head on one side like a bird. He spoke little." but stood in awe of his cleverness. and an unusually long nose. and merely from time to time. These boxes looked so majestic that the drivers instinctively took off their hats as they lifted them down. and only of intellectual subjects. He had left the high-school in the class next to the top. and did not learn my lessons. The reason of his expulsion he carefully concealed. which enabled any one who wished to do so to look upon my instructor as an injured and to some extent a mysterious person. exactly like the one who hung over the sofa in the drawing-room and glared with terrible black eyes at everybody who dared to look at him. Mother disliked him for his "pride. He was neither terrified nor delighted. from taking presents. Our visitor did not keep us long waiting. a man with epaulettes and an embroidered collar sticking up to his ears. shaggy locks." My tutor was looked upon among us as an exceptional nature. At the beginning of May two wagon-loads of big boxes arrived from the station. and looked with contempt and condescension on the life going on around him. slept badly. and had then entered a veterinary college. a low forehead. with a pimply face.

Masses of starlings flitting through the air and hopping about the walks were noisily chattering as they hunted for cockchafers. There was so much life and movement in his whole figure that I could only detect the treachery of age when I came close up behind and saw beneath his cap a fringe of close-cropped silver hair. With his hands behind him and his head thrown back. respectable people with stern and intellectual faces really be footmen? And what for? Pyotr told me that my uncle was in the garden with my mother. Nature. remembering the ceremonial mother had impressed upon me. At any other time I should have begun chasing dragon-flies or throwing stones at a crow which was sitting on a low mound under an aspen-tree. but at that moment I was in no mood for mischief. There was a clamour going on in the garden such as one only bears at fairs. I saw an almost schoolboyish nimbleness. Can such dignified. solid gentleman with fashionable whiskers and a foppish-looking overcoat. washing after a fashion. every now and then running on ahead of mother. far better dressed than Pobyedimsky or me. I went up to him and. I rushed into the garden. and I felt a cold sinking at my stomach. Instead of the staid dignity and stolidity of a general. I was preparing myself to confront a gentleman with epaulettes. and craned forward to kiss his hand. Wherever one turned. There were swarms of sparrows in the lilac-bushes. to tell the truth. has lasted to this day. instead of a collar sticking up to his ears. Pyotr. an ordinary light ." I dressed rapidly. knowing nothing of the history of the Gundasov family and the rank of my uncle. flew out of my bedroom without saying my prayers. with a naked sword.When I woke up on the morning of the tenth of May. In the vestibule I came upon a tall. The appearance of this Pyotr. I scraped my foot before him. which threw their tender. with his blunt beak turned away. My heart was throbbing. but the gentleman did not allow me to kiss his hand: he informed me that he was not my uncle. was walking beside my mother in the garden. and with terrible eyes! But imagine my disappointment! A dapper little foppish gentleman in white silk trousers. and. Half dead with devout awe. which. felt far more at ease and unconstrained than I. with a white cap on his head. but my uncle's footman. he looked quite young. made a very low bow. from every direction came the note of the golden oriole and the shrill cry of the hoopoe and the red-legged falcon. nurse told me in a whisper that "my uncle had come. fragrant blossoms straight in one's face. excited in me the utmost astonishment.

especially back-view. what life in that foolish flourish! And what boy is this?" he asked. and waited for one of them to look round." he said aloud: "the teacher and instructor of your necktie. and waited in thrilled suspense to hear what clever thing he would say next. he looked remarkably like a windmill. a little to one side. bending forward. as though he had never been in a garden on a sunny day before." . in which. The queer man moved about as though he were on springs. All of a sudden Pobyedimsky came into sight from behind an elder-tree at the turn of the avenue. "What a delightful place you have here. "How charming and lovely it is! Had I known before that you had such a charming place. "Just look! he has made his little flourish and thinks he's a very clever fellow! I do like that -. He had a solemn and majestic air. expecting his dignified address to be answered with equal dignity -.that is. "I have the honour to present myself to your high excellency.was greatly confused and abashed when the latter laughed genially and shook hands with him. Everything he saw moved him to rapture and excitement." My uncle stooped down rapidly and sniffed at a tulip. Klavdia!" said my uncle. . flushing crimson.upon my soul I do! What youthful aplomb. Pobyedimsky!" This politeness on the part of my tutor pleased my mother very much. . On this occasion my tutor was attired in his best Inverness cape with sleeves. "My consolation. and walked away. Pressing his hat to his bosom in Spanish style. suddenly turning and looking at me. but my tutor. cleared his throat. he took a step towards my uncle and made a bow such as a marquis makes in a melodrama. He muttered something incoherent. Mother and my uncle were walking in the avenue talking together. and chattered incessantly. without allowing mother to utter a single word." my mother introduced me. that my uncle would say "H'm!" like a general and hold out two fingers -. "Come! isn't that charming?" laughed my uncle. "That is my Andryushenka. I went softly up to them from behind. She gave a smile. and a nobleman by birth. nothing would have induced me to go abroad all these years. formerly a pupil of the veterinary institute. His appearance was so unexpected that my uncle positively started and stepped back a pace.

and I walked round my uncle and. . seldom laughed. Fyodor Petrovna. . Do you learn lessons?" My mother. . bashful. . brother. but at the point when I was to have burst into tears and begged for my uncle's protection. . ." Not every one would have called Tatyana a beauty. exaggerating and embellishing as all mothers do. "Wonders will never cease . following the ceremonial laid down for me. the wife of our bailiff. though she lived over seventy miles from here. "They chose her as a bride for Fyodor. "My goo-oodness! What's that?" he asked. and her whole life was as regular as her face and as flat as her smooth. Then my mother began throwing out hints that with my remarkable abilities it would not be amiss for me to get a government nomination to the cadet school. upon my soul!" "She's a beauty . my uncle suddenly stopped and flung up his hands in amazement. not one bold line to catch the eye. I continued making low bows. with black eyebrows and a graceful figure.I made a scrape with my foot on the sand and dropped a low bow. She was a plump little woman of twenty. She was carrying a starched white petticoat and a long ironing-board. taking his hand from my lips and stroking me on the head. "A fine fellow ." muttered my uncle. always rosy and attractive-looking. "And so. . . looking after her with friendly interest. yes." said mother. you've never married!" she sighed. . "You have a fresh surprise at every step. Tatyana Ivanovna. began to describe my achievements in the sciences and the excellence of my behaviour. Tatyana Ivanovna was shy. . As she passed us she looked shyly at the visitor through her eyelashes and flushed crimson. Mother looked intently at his smiling face and grew serious. . . and modest in her behaviour. . . My uncle screwed up his eyes looking after her. . as though nature had lacked inspiration and confidence when creating her. H'm! . was coming towards us. . . a fine fellow . she moved softly and smoothly." my uncle filtered through his teeth. but in her face and in her whole person there was not one striking feature. tidy hair. . upon my soul! . sister . said little. "So your name is Andrusha? Yes. . . and smiled. .

" An hour later mother came to us. "I am in trouble. is not one you can put in the kitchen or in the hall. couldn't you move out somewhere -.and there I had fifty years on my back already. "How can I tell you? It has happened so. I've not married. as they do in Petersburg. . while your poor old mother has to wait till seven. we must give him a room apart. and I left them and flew off to find my tutor.and give your room to the valet? What do you say?" We gave our ready consent. God bless him. We were installed in a room which formed the passage from the entry to the bailiff's bedroom. "One can see he is a man of culture!" he said. I had no time to live. Oh. under mother's eye. In my youth I was too hard at work. twisting his head round. though they have so much intellect. and hurried off to the kitchen. . "You see brother has brought a valet with him. bade me try and please my uncle. "Brother says he won't have dinner in the middle of the day. children. I can't think what I am to do! I tell you what. "It's a nuisance. Pobyedimsky was standing in the middle of the yard. and that's a fact!" said mother. . looking majestically at the heavens." "Why not?" asked mother softly. whose coming was a piece of luck for me for which we must thank God." Then my mother heaved a deep sigh. and the valet. men don't understand anything about housekeeping. dear! we shall have to cook two dinners every day! You will have dinner at midday as before. "I hope we shall get on together. for living in the lodge was a great deal more free than in the house. Pobyedimsky and I moved into the lodge the same day. is Fyodor's lodge. I was too late! However. children. that I might share my impressions with him. sighing. I am simply distracted with worry! By seven o'clock the dinner will be done to rags in the oven. for the sake of her brother." My mother and my uncle both sighed at once and walked on. Really. but between six and seven."No. for instance -. my dears!" she began. and when I longed to live -I looked round -. talking about it .

. I always saw him wearing a smart short jacket and a jauntily tied cravat. he sat down to his table. If I try to persuade him. he laughs and makes a joke of it. thinking. we -. whistling. He had an extremely careless and frivolous expression all the while. To us idlers. "I can't make brother out!" mother complained of him. And what is there in that. For days together he sat in his own room working. and did not leave it till dinner-time. and he always smelt. in spite of my uncle's arrival and our move into new quarters. and went on till late at night. of delicate feminine perfumery. strange to say. . try on his new suit. in spite of the flies and the heat.that is. after dinner he set to work again. he comes back and drinks a glass of milk. but playing at noughts and crosses. For the first two or three weeks we did not see my uncle often. poor dear!" We spent the evenings far more gaily than the days. spent most of his time sitting on his bed. Pobyedimsky. Sometimes he would get up. I make a _compote_ with my own hands. or sat in the lodge sticking my kites together. drearily and monotonously. who never read anything or occupied himself in any way. but he ate little.Contrary to my expectations. Whenever I peeped through the keyhole I invariably saw the same thing: my uncle sitting at the table working. . life went on just as before. with his long nose thrust into the air. I begin begging him to eat. "Every day we kill a turkey and pigeons on purpose for him. ." and his snores were a cause of annoyance to the whole household. and he eats a plateful of broth and a bit of meat the size of a finger and gets up from the table. in a glass of milk? It's no better than washing up water! You may die of a diet like that. and I -- . and nodding his head in time. as though he were not working. As a rule. He only left his room for dinner. he kept moving all over -. even through the keyhole. His extraordinary capacity for sitting as though glued to his table produced upon us the effect of an inexplicable conjuring trick. The work consisted in his writing with one hand while he turned over the leaves of a book with the other. No. Getting up at nine. After dinner he usually "rested. Only one thing worried him. . he does not care for our fare. and sit down again to relapse into contemplation and silence. I ran about the garden from morning to night. knowing nothing of systematic work. by the time the sun was setting and long shadows were lying across the yard. his industry seemed simply miraculous. and. Tatyana Ivanovna.swinging his leg as though it were a pendulum. "Pobyedimsky. the flies. We were excused lessons "on account of the visitor. . which he used mercilessly to squash between his hands.

with such a sound that it was hard to tell . and in a deep deacon's bass strike up "In the midst of the valley. and even that subject was soon exhausted. with big black eyes and a matted beard. When the shadows merged into one thick mass of shade. He was rude to mother. they would bring in our supper from the kitchen. We did not talk till it grew quite dusk. he was never called among our Kotchuevko peasants by any name but "The Devil. he was ideally honest and industrious. and refused to recognize any authority. . swarthy-faced and curly-headed. but simply rolled his eyes angrily at her and twisted his mouth. and did not try to fathom their significance. "Let us sing.were sitting on the steps of the lodge. while I sang soprano in unison with Tatyana Ivanovna. and went off for days together into the country or into the woods to shoot. was afraid of nobody. like a gipsy. At the time I did not understand those sighs. He could not. Fyodor sang in a hardly audible tenor. as though it cost him suffering. . mother liked him because. My tutor took the bass. addressed me familiarly. ill-humoured. the bailiff Fyodor would come in from shooting or from the field. what is one to talk of when every subject has been talked over already? There was only one thing new. He loved his Tatyana Ivanovna passionately. and sit down beside his wife. We went into the lodge and sat down to the meal. This Fyodor gave me the impres sion of being a fierce and even a terrible man. he would ask his wife a few questions about household matters. taciturn. would come out to us on the steps. When the whole sky was covered with stars and the frogs had left off croaking. My tutor and the gipsy ate greedily. there was a great deal of the gipsy about him apart from his appearance. indeed. looking upon him as a hot-tempered and nervous man. for instance. He was gloomy." I would suggest. now they explain a great deal to me. stay at home. He was never affectionate to his wife in our presence." And. my uncle's arrival. and was contemptuous of Pobyedimsky's learning." We would begin singing. in spite of his gipsy nature. The son of a Russianized gipsy from Izyumskoe. All this we forgave him. After resting a little. indeed. but this love took in him a gloomy form. and then sink into silence. . and frequently heaved deep sighs. My tutor would tune his guitar. And. When he came in from the fields he would noisily and angrily put down his gun. My tutor never took his eyes off Tatyana Ivanovna 's face.

addressing Tatyana Ivanovna. before you have time to look round. "Upon my soul. It sometimes happens that after one has been in an immense crowd. who had for a long time been wanting to talk to somebody fresh. my tutor cleared his throat three times. then clasped his hands and laughed gaily. time. . of all that Pobyedimsky had heard. Pelagea . Don't lose time. the rascal. Pobyedimsky. we were sitting on the steps. the epizootic diseases. waiting for supper. that's charming!" he said." Before saying this to Gundasov. He had only one subject for intellectual conversation. and looked at the sky. "Talk. overcome with confusion. during his six months at the veterinary institute. . in his excitement. yawned. upon my soul! May I sit down and dream with you?" We looked at one another and said nothing.whether it was the bones crunching or their jaws. Why are you silent. it was at the end of May. You know. and several times. . . and Tatyana Ivanovna and I scarcely succeeded in getting our share. "They sing and dream in the moonlight! It's charming. . On hearing about the epizootics. This is really what reality is bound to be. It is the duty of society to work hand in hand with the government in waging war upon them. scrutinizing us as though we were mannequins. A silence followed. "An idyll!" he said. in the same way. He looked at us for a long time. and was the first to break the silence. play! . Then it is too late to live! That's how it is. . runs away and waits for no man! Upon my soul. "This is actually life. . wrapped himself up in his Inverness. and Gundasov stood before us as though he had sprung out of the earth. . only some one countenance of the thousands remains long imprinted on the memory. my uncle looked intently at my tutor and made a sound between a snort and a laugh. Pelagea Ivanovna?" he said. . old age is upon you. After supper the lodge was plunged in deep sleep. . sing . he remembered only one passage: "The epizootics do immense damage to the stock of the country. One evening. A shadow suddenly fell across us. was delighted at the opportunity. She coughed. my friends. My uncle sat down on the bottom step.

. He sang with us. offered his assistance. . . . fire in the present. his work by day was abandoned too. and for the first time in my life I learnt that there were people in the world more refined than Pobyedimsky. and handed it to Tatyana Ivanovna with a bow. From that time forth my uncle took to coming to the lodge every evening. and. My uncle tore himself away from his table and plunged into "life. health. . He was touched and delighted by us all. so much that he bored us. he whistled to the workmen and hindered them from working. and whatever Tatyana Ivanovna did. . when. He ate and looked at us. he kept his eyes fixed on her fingers and chatted away without ceasing. As the summer advanced my uncle grew more and more frivolous. When his eye fell on Tatyana Ivanovna he ran up to her." In the daytime he walked up and down the garden. "Yes . "God forbid you should sacrifice the present for the future! There is youth. which embarrassed her dreadfully. do silly things. "love. Whatever silly nonsense my precious tutor talked. if she were carrying anything." he said. He left the lodge at two o'clock. picked up the needle. His evening and night work was given up. Uncle went into the lodge with us." Tatyana Ivanovna dropped a knitting-needle. and to keep us company ate five curd fritters and the wing of a duck. I was sound asleep. the future is smoke and deception! As soon as you are twenty begin to live. overcome with drowsiness. marry. had supper with us. and by the end of June. always about the same subject. Foolishness is a great deal more living and healthy than our straining and striving after rational life. When after supper Tatyana Ivanovna sat quietly down and took up her knitting. he thought charming and delightful. My uncle jumped up." At that point supper was brought out from the kitchen. .Ivanovna. I sat on a box listening to him and dropping to sleep. chatting incessantly. and always stayed on till two o'clock in the morning. making them tell him their various histories. . my friends. . It distressed me that he did not once all the evening pay attention to me. ." My uncle talked a great deal." my uncle went on. "Make all the haste you can to live. . when the privy councillor had learned to eat mother's turkey and _compote_. We mustn't sit still and be silent.

I remember one evening I was sitting on the box struggling with sleep. "He is too one-sided. . frowned. Fyodor. "Here comes our little bantam cock!" he growled on one occasion when my uncle was coming into the lodge. and even laughed sarcastically. .' No. sullen and gloomy." he said. I put down this change in them both to their being offended with my uncle. . came home early. Pobyedimsky was completely disillusioned in regard to him. snorting angrily and retreating into the high collar of his shi rt. It was about midnight. Tatyana Ivanovna. My uncle was walking up and down the room thinking. Silence reigned. and stared with particular ill-humour at his wife. Suddenly my uncle stood still before Tatyana Ivanovna. and careless. was sitting at a little table sewing at her husband's shirt. All this. . sometimes Pelagea. In my uncle's presence my tutor gave up talking about epizootics. my heart aches when I remember I have to go away. he laughed and behaved exactly as though in the company of small children. My absent-minded uncle mixed up their names. At every word it's 'upon my soul. Fyodor gave up going out shooting. tired out by running about all day. and to the very day of his departure failed to distinguish which was my tutor and which was Tatyana Ivanovna's husband. so fresh. as I realize now. however. and in the other sat Pobyedimsky. "There is nothing to show that he is in the very foremost ranks of the service. . sat more taciturn than ever. And he doesn't even know how to talk. you live so peacefully in this quiet place. drooped sideways. My eyelids felt glued together and my body. so nice. that I envy you. but. You may believe in my sincerity!" .volatile. rosy and unassuming as always. . But I struggled against sleep and tried to look on. and said: "You are all so young. I don't like him!" From the time that my uncle began visiting the lodge there was a noticeable change both in Fyodor and my tutor. I have become attached to your way of life here. might well offend young men. Touched and delighted by us. subtler feelings. nothing was to be heard but the rustling of the linen in Tatyana Ivanovna's hands. Tatyana Ivanovna herself he sometimes called Nastasya. was staring at her from one corner. It was not a case of offended pride. of course. and sometimes Yevdokia.

. "In that case give me your little hand. "I have not lived! Your young face makes me think of my own lost youth. he shuffled out of the lodge with the hurried . "I . . but in his amazement and alarm could not utter a word. You know. and quivering. my uncle was standing before Tatyana Ivanovna. banging on the table. . His cheeks were flushed. we have no women like you there." My uncle sat down facing Tatyana Ivanovna and took her by the hand. went up to Tatyana Ivanovna. "I won't allow it!" repeated Fyodor. measured steps went up to his wife. and with heavy. and said in a hollow voice: "I won't allow it! At the same moment Pobyedimsky jumped up from his chair. and I should be ready to sit here watching you to the day of my death. struck the table with his fist. I won't allow it!" he said. .Sleep closed my eyes and I lost myself. He brought his fist down on the table with a bang. . His face was pale. this healthy serenity. You won't give it? Come. ." "What for?" Fyodor asked in a husky voice. . anyway." At that moment there was the scrape of a chair. pale and angry. Among us there is wealth. He. A charming little hand! . . My uncle jumped up and blinked nervously. with an embarrassed smile. too." he said. but we have not this true sort of life. looking at her with a softened expression. distinction. . When some sound waked me. Fyodor jumped up. "My life has been wasted. Pelagea Ivanovna. grey. "What. . . . you miser! let me kiss it. . and he. It would be a pleasure to me to take you with me to Petersburg. He tried to speak. what's the matter?" asked my uncle in surprise. "I should put her under a glass case on my work-table. too. I should admire her and show her to other people. "So you won't come with me to Petersburg?" he laughed. sometimes beauty.

When I went into the house I was told not to make such a noise with my feet. To my great . and began walking about the room. and feathers along the ground. and at the sleepy birds sitting on the wires. When mother had gone out of the lodge. She sighed and shook her head. To my question where he was nurse told me in a whisper that he had been taken off early in the morning to the hospital. "Why has my brother been taken ill? What's the matter?" Looking at Tatyana's pale. frightened face and at her infuriated husband. bits of paper. the police inspector. lift him up in the air. and thrust him out of the door. . . When I woke up in the morning my tutor's bed was empty. a little later. In it was Akim Nikititch. A dusty wagonette crammed full of townspeople.step of an old man. "Come! give over banging on the table!" she said. When. "Leave off. as mother was ill and in bed with a migraine. Fyodor looked intently at him. about which clouds of dust were whirling. standing up and holding on to the coachman's belt. drove by along the main road. What was I to do? I went outside the gate. It was a grey day. passing the forge and the pool which never dried up. The sky was covered with storm-clouds and there was a wind blowing dust. . I saw what for long afterwards I looked upon as a dream. From our gate there was a road which. Fyodor and Pobyedimsky were still hammering on the table like blacksmiths and repeating. It felt as though rain were coming. ran into the main road. I went out of doors. Distressed at this intelligence and remembering the scene of the previous evening. I saw Fyodor seize my tutor. Fyodor! And why are you thumping. my mother ran into the lodge. Yegor Alexyevitch? What have you got to do with it?" Pobyedimsky was startled and confused. then at his wife. "I won't allow it!" "What has happened here?" asked mother. and fell to trying to discover the meaning of what I had seen and heard the day before. There was a look of boredom in the servants and in the animals. and I suddenly felt so dreary that I began to cry. probably going to visit the shrine. sat down on the little bench there. as his arm was broken. I looked at the telegraph-posts. leaving his hat behind. The wagonette was hardly out of sight when a light chaise with a pair of horses came into view. mother probably guessed what was the matter.

five turkeys. she was pale and looking with horror towards the door. as dear to me as the gander was to mother. numb with horror. I heard a noise." But the mystery was not so easily solved. A dozen fowls. I ran to the house. and in the fluster the old gander. It was a long while before I could forgive the governor their death. and a carriage with three horses came into sight on the road. In the carriage stood the police captain. the progenitor of our whole flock of geese and a great favourite of mother's. The visitors had taken her by surprise in the very throes of migraine. "Most probably Pobyedimsky has complained of Fyodor to him. The governor's sudden visit stirred and overwhelmed the whole household. after a sumptuous dinner. the chaise turned into our road and flew by me in at the gate. The police inspector and the police captain were only the first instalment. For the sake of some wretched sauce a pair of valuable pigeons. were sacrificed. Glancing . and they have come to take him to prison. Lost in conjecture and full of misgivings. While I was puzzling why the police inspector had come to see us. without distinction of age or breed.surprise. had got into their carriages and driven away. for five minutes had scarcely passed when a coach drove in at our gate. and slaughtered birds at random. "And why is he coming?" I thought. "Sister.' " whispered my mother." I heard my uncle's voice. was beheaded. looking at the dusty police captain. I went into the house to look at the remains of the feast. A ferocious slaughter followed. directing his coachman towards our gate. "What have I time to get ready now? I am put to shame in my old age!" Mother clutched at her head and ran into the kitchen. "will you send in something to eat for the governor and me?" "It is easy to say 'something to eat. It dashed by me so swiftly that I could only get a glimpse of a red beard. In the passage first of all I saw mother. when the governor and his suite. were killed. from which came the sounds of men's voices. The coachmen and the cook seemed frenzied. eight ducks. mother?" I asked. "Who has come. In the evening.

A silence followed. tearful face. . and began pacing to and fro again. . . . was sitting on the sofa and watching his movements with heavy eyes. . . Simplicity is a very good thing. but where am I to get it? I haven't a farthing. "I introduced the governor to you. Pff! . Upon my soul! And then that dinner! How can one give people such things? What was that mess. but . and went on: "It was the devil sent that governor! As though I wanted his visit! Pff! . . Mother." mother answered softly. . Mother looked a long while at the ikon. I saw my uncle and my mother. I am completely out of sorts. shrugging his shoulders. . then she began crying. and . . heartburn!" My uncle stopped to look dejectedly at the grey. pondering something. with his hands behind his back. . overcast prospect from the window. . You covered him with confusion. And I can't understand how you can live here without anything to do . that they served for the fourth course?" "That was duck with sweet sauce . . "I would go. . "Brother. . "what would it cost to go abroad?" "At least three thousand . . for instance. brother." my mother inquired softly. exhausted and looking much thinner. . . poor fellow! No. that won't do. . but here I've got heartburn! I am ill!" My uncle made a sour. . and walked about more rapidly than ever." My uncle frowned. . heartburn! I can't work or sleep ." Three days later the majestic boxes went off to the station. . "Duck! Forgive me. My uncle. . . was walking nervously up and down close to the wall. but this won't do at all. . . sister. . but there must be limits to it. and said: "I'll give you the three thousand.into the drawing-room from the passage." my uncle grumbled. . sister. ." my uncle answered in a te arful voice. and you didn't offer to shake hands. in this boredom! Here I've got a pain coming under my shoulder-blade! . . wrinkling up his face. "Excuse me. .

. upon my soul! . . a tall. "What boy is this?" he asked. smoking a pipe in the moonlight. he settled himself comfortably. I could not resist jumping up to the carriage and hugging that frivolous man. . . who was crying. weak as all men are. stayed every summer at Count P-----'s. . but when he got into his carriage his face beamed with childlike pleasure. the veterinary surgeon Ivan Ivanovitch and the schoolmaster Burkin. who had declared my uncle's coming was a piece of luck for which I must thank God. Looking into his face and wanting to say something pleasant. As he said good-bye to mother he shed tears. "A charming boy. and it was a long time before he took his lips from her hands. was sitting outside the door. and for some reason I felt fearfully sorry for him. have you ever been in a battle?" "Ah. kissed his hand to my mother. Ivan Ivanovitch. A look of the utmost astonishment came into his face. . I was in no mood for questions. Burkin was lying within on the hay.the privy councillor drove off after them. Burkin.Tchimsha-Himalaisky -. was bitterly mortified at this question.which did not suit him at all." The carriage set off. and had been thoroughly at home in this district for years. how living it all is. Radiant and happy. I looked at my uncle's happy face. the high-school teacher. . There were two of them." laughed my uncle. the dear boy . kissing me. . lean old fellow with long moustaches. and all at once his eye was caught by me. I looked after him. They did not sleep. and could not be seen in the darkness. Ivan Ivanovitch had a rather strange double-barrelled surname -. and had come out shooting now to get a breath of fresh air. and he was called simply Ivan Ivanovitch all over the province. upon my soul! How natural. I asked: "Uncle. . . and long afterwards that farewell "upon my soul" was ringing in my ears. He lived at a stud-farm near the town. THE MAN IN A CASE AT the furthest end of the village of Mironositskoe some belated sportsmen lodged for the night in the elder Prokofy's barn. My mother. .

he always praised the past and what had never existed. " 'Oh. so to speak. too. He wore dark spectacles and flannel vests. died in our town. was in a little case. and as though to prove his words he would screw up his eyes and. a healthy and by no means stupid woman. his penknife.who knows? I am not a natural science man. would pronounce 'Anthropos!' "And Byelikov tried to hide his thoughts also in a case. Mavra. no doubt. In short. "There are plenty of people in the world. and when he took out his penknife to sharpen his pencil. When some proclamation prohibited the boys from going out in the streets . the Greek master. and only at night going out into the street. or perhaps it is only one of the diversities of human character -. with a sugary expression. a case which would isolate him and protect him from external influences. solitary by temperament. how sonorous. and carrying an umbrella even in the very finest weather. "What is there wonderful in that!" said Burkin. and even the classical languages which he taught were in reality for him goloshes and umbrellas in which he sheltered himself from real life. to make himself. and when he got into a cab always told the driver to put up the hood. a colleague of mine. Perhaps it is an instance of atavism. two months ago a man called Byelikov. because he always hid it in his turned-up collar.They were telling each other all sorts of stories. and his watch was in a case made of grey chamois leather. perhaps to justify his timidity. and it is not my business to settle such questions. You have heard of him. I only mean to say that people like Mavra are not uncommon. how beautiful is the Greek language!' he would say. the man displayed a constant and insurmountable impulse to wrap himself in a covering. and had spent the last ten years sitting behind the stove. Reality irritated him. The only things that were clear to his mind were government circulars and newspaper articles in which something was forbidden. who try to retreat into their shell like a hermit crab or a snail. had never been beyond her native village. they spoke of the fact that the elder's wife. stuffed up his ears with cotton-wool. raising his finger. There is no need to look far. a return to the period when the ancestor of man was not yet a social animal and lived alone in his den. He was remarkable for always wearing goloshes and a warm wadded coat. had never seen a town nor a railway in her life. his aversion for the actual. and. frightened him. and his face seemed to be in a case too. And his umbrella was in a case. Among other things. kept him in continual agitation.

If one of his colleagues was late for church or if rumours reached him of some prank of the high-school boys. something vague and not fully expressed. and his characteristic reflection on the ill-behaviour of the young people in both male and female high-schools. but I hope it won't lead to anything!" "Every sort of breach of order. reduced Petrov's and Yegorov's marks for conduct. in any sanction or permission. yet this little chap. For him there was always a doubtful element. and that was enough. and he thought it would be a very good thing if Petrov were expelled from the second class and Yegorov from the fourth. and the clergy dared not eat meat or play cards in his presence. he was much disturbed. and said he hoped that nothing would come of it. He would come to a teacher's. He would sit like this in silence for an hour or two and then go away.after nine o'clock in the evening. had the whole high-school under his thumb for fifteen long years! High-school. his black spectacles on his pale little face. it was forbidden. When a dramatic club or a reading-room or a tea-shop was licensed in the town. do you know. a little face like a pole-cat's. he would shake his head and say softly: "It is all right. he hoped it would not reach the ears of the authorities. right-minded people. by his sighs. and it was obvious that coming to see us and sitting there was tiresome to him. as though he were carefully inspecting something. "Oh. he hoped nothing would come of it. And. you know. and that he came to see us simply because he considered it his duty as our colleague. brought up on Turgenev and Shtchedrin. and we gave way. This he called 'maintaining good relations with his colleagues'. it is all very nice. deviation or departure from rule. Under . or some article declared carnal love unlawful. At the teachers' meetings he simply oppressed us with his caution. his circumspection. our teachers were all intellectual. who always went about with goloshes and an umbrella. it was to his mind clear and definite.he had the whole town under his thumb! Our ladies did not get up private theatricals on Saturdays for fear he should hear of it. though one would have thought it was no business of his. And even the headmaster was afraid of him. of course. his despondency. We teachers were afraid of him. depressed him. would sit down. Would you believe it. kept them in. He had a strange habit of visiting our lodgings. the uproar in the classes. and remain silent. oh. indeed -. or one of the mistresses was seen late in the evening in the company of an officer. he crushed us all. and in the end expelled them both.

. a perfect succession of prohibitions and restrictions of all sorts. . bolts. and so he had troubled dreams all night. And he felt frightened under the bed-clothes. "on the same storey. I hope nothing will come of it!' Lenten fare was bad for him. to teach people to read and write. with pauses: "Yes. and it was evident that the high-school full of people excited dread and aversion in his whole being. and that to walk beside me was irksome to a man of his solitary temperament. This Afanasy was usually standing at the door with his arms folded. . intellectual.the influence of people like Byelikov we have got into the way of being afraid of everything in our town for the last ten or fifteen years. but had as cook an old man of sixty. . and all the rest of them. . and then said. he was depressed and pale. nightcap. And at home it was the same story: dressing-gown. his bed had curtains." "Byelikov lived in the same house as I did. he would mutter always the same thing: " 'There are plenty of _them_ about nowadays!' "Byelikov had a little bedroom like a box. and I knew how he lived when he was at home. his door facing mine. and --'Oh. afraid to read books. there was a droning noise in the stove and a sound of sighs from the kitchen -. as people might perhaps say Byelikov did not keep the fasts. and in the morning. . with a deep sigh. and he ate freshwater fish with butter -. but first lighted his pipe. that Afanasy might murder him. called Afanasy. They are afraid to speak aloud. yet he could not eat meat. afraid to help the poor." Burkin went on. we often saw each other. it was hot and stuffy. afraid to make acquaintances. who had once been an officer's servant and could cook after a fashion. the wind battered on the closed doors. yet they knocked under and put up with it. g azed at the moon." Ivan Ivanovitch cleared his throat. . He was afraid that something might happen. When he went to bed he covered his head over. meaning to say something. . yet one could not say that it was meat.ominous sighs. when we went together to the high-school. that's just how it is. blinds. afraid to send letters. half-witted and given to tippling. that thieves might break in. . Buckle. He did not keep a female servant for fear people might think evil of him. right minded people read Shtchedrin and Turgenev.not a Lenten dish.

She sang with feeling 'The Winds do Blow. and another. . dark young man with huge hands. this man in a case -. and that they had such pears. He sat down by her and said with a honeyed smile: " 'The Little Russian reminds one of the ancient Greek in its softness and agreeable resonance.awfully nice!' "We listened and listened. while their pothouses they call _shinki_. was tall. and she began telling him with feeling and earnestness that they had a farm in the Gadyatchsky district. He came. too. such _kabaks_! The Little Russians call pumpkins _kabaks_ (i. 'which was so nice -. and one could see from his face that he had a bass voice. in fact.almost got married. with black eyebrows and red cheeks -in fact. a Little Russian. and they make a beetroot soup with tomatoes and aubergines in it. danced. boom. sang." Ivan Ivanovitch glanced quickly into the barn. Among the glum and intensely bored teachers who came even to the name-day party as a duty we suddenly saw a new Aphrodite risen from the waves.all. and so sprightly. about thirty. For the least thing she would go off into a ringing laugh -'Ha-ha-ha!' We made our first thorough acquaintance with the Kovalenkos at the headmaster's name-day party.' "And the Greek master." 'They make a great noise in our classes.' "That flattered her.. and suddenly the same idea dawned upon us all: " 'It would be a good thing to make a match of it. she walked with her arms akimbo. and she fascinated us all -. boom!' And she was not so young. he almost got married. so noisy. strange as it seems.e.'boom. and. He was a tall. and said: "You are joking!" "Yes. 'It's beyond anything. Milhail Savvitch Kovalenko. she was always singing Little Russian songs and laughing. A new teacher of history and geography. laughed.' then another song. as though trying to find an explanation for his depression. but with his sister Varinka. and that her mamma lived at the farm. well-made. he had a voice that seemed to come out of a barrel -.would you believe it? -.' the . . but she. was appointed. pothouses). such melons. even Byelikov.' he used to say. not alone. . she was a regular sugar-plum.

they could do nothing but quarrel and scold one another from morning till night. for us to make a match for this Byelikov. and the ladies would insist on my inviting Byelikov and Varinka. Here is a scene.' "All sorts of things are done in the provinces through boredom. It appeared that Varinka was not averse to matrimony. and beside her Byelikov. developing her idea. Kovalenko would be coming along the street. my goodness. Mihalik!' she would be arguing loudly. for instance. perhaps we had not even admitted the idea that a man who went out in all weathers in goloshes and slept under curtains could be in love. the inspector's wife. a little bent figure. with such a fan. looking as though he had been extracted from his house by pincers. " 'But you haven't read it. his love-locks falling on his forehead under his cap. all sorts of unnecessary and nonsensical things! And that is because what is necessary is not done at all. sturdy young ruffian. and it now seemed to us strange that we had hitherto failed to observe. grew livelier and even better-looking. and had in fact completely lost sight of. and we beheld sitting in her box Varinka. the machine was set in motion. " 'Oh. in an embroidered shirt.headmaster's wife said to me softly. What need was there for instance. 'I tell you. in one hand a bundle of books. thumping his stick on the pavement. 'I believe she would marry him. " 'He is a good deal over forty and she is thirty. I would give an evening party. Mihalik! why are you so cross? We are arguing . "We all for some reason recalled the fact that our friend Byelikov was not married. a detail so important in his life. The headmaster's wife would take a box at the theatre. and all our high-school ladies. in the other a thick knotted stick.' cries Kovalenko. also with books in her hand. whom one could not even imagine married? The headmaster's wife.' the headmaster's wife went on. a tall. What was his attitude to woman? How had he settled this vital question for himself? This had not interested us in the least till then. She had not a very cheerful life with her brother. I swear you have not read it at all!' " 'And I tell you I have read it. beaming and happy. followed by his sister. as though they had suddenly found a new object in life. In short.

He would sit quiet.began assuring Byelikov that he ought to get married. with a faint and wry smile. we all congratulated him. and had a farm. 'and I know that every one ought to get married." said Ivan Ivanovitch. if there was an outsider present. "Only fancy! that turned out to be impossible. at that point you ought to have taken away his goloshes and umbrella. His head was turned. and what was more. He was frequently at Kovalenko's. there was her age to be considered. and he decided that he really ought to get married. she was the first woman who had been warm and friendly in her manner to him. she was the daughter of a civil councillor.both his colleagues and the ladies -. there was sure to be a skirmish. " 'I like Varvara Savvishna. such as 'Marriage is a serious step.' he used to say to me. most of our young ladies don't mind whom they marry so long as they do get married. it was a case of marrying anybody. and Varinka would sing to him 'The Winds do Blow. He would arrive. but he did not alter his manner of life in the least. . and seemed to retreat further and further into his case. Varinka was good-looking and interesting. there was no time left to pick and choose. on the contrary. that there was nothing left for him in life but to get married. and of course she must have longed for a home of her own.'Ha-ha-ha!' "Suggestion plays a great part in love affairs. and home life. And. and still more in getting married. However that may be. "And at home. kept coming to see me and talking about Varinka. and remain silent. with solemn countenances delivered ourselves of various platitudes. He grew thinner and paler. Besides.' or would look pensively at him with her dark eyes. "And Byelikov? He used to visit Kovalenko just as he did us.about principles. saying marriage was a serious step. even a Greek master. He put Varinka's portrait on his table. Varinka began to show an unmistakable partiality for Byelikov. more loudly than ever. or would suddenly go off into a peal -.' Besides. indeed. Such a life must have been wearisome." "Well. sit down. Everybody -. his determination to get married seemed to have a depressing effect on him.' " 'I tell you that I have read it!' Kovalenko would shout. indeed.

and then I will go to my farm and there catch crabs and teach the Little Russians. And I must confess I am afraid: her brother and she have a strange way of thinking. the responsibilities . . teachers? You are paltry government clerks. And in all probability in the end he would have proposed to her. " 'I don't understand. One may get married. you know. you know all this has happened so suddenly. not a temple of science. No. first in a loud bass. that nothing may go wrong afterwards. . One must think a little. . and ask me. I shall go. they look at things strangely. and could not endure him. stupid marriages such as are made by thousands among us from being bored and having nothing to do.' " 'No.' . and her disposition is very impetuous. that nasty phiz. I will stay with you for a while. waving his hands: " 'What does he sit here for? What does he want? He sits and stares. and would have made one of those unnecessary. to the great vexation of the headmaster's wife and all our ladies. and meanwhile he went for a walk with Varinka almost every day -possibly he thought that this was necessary in his position -and came to see me to talk about family life. . he kept putting it off. . shrugging his shoulders --'I don't understand how you can put up with that sneak. . and it smells as sour as a police-station.' he used to say to us. It worries me so much that I don't sleep at night.but . Ugh! how can you live here! The atmosphere is stifling and unclean! Do you call yourselves schoolmasters. one may find oneself in an unpleasant position.damn his soul!' "Or he would laugh till he cried. 'Get married -. Kovalenko. One must first weigh the duties before one. thin laugh. I must mention that Varinka's brother. and then. then in a shrill.that is all. if it had not been for a _kolossalische scandal_. there is no knowing. You keep. . he went on weighing his future duties and responsibilities.' "And he did not make an offer. detested Byelikov from the first day of their acquaintance. my friends. marriage is a serious step. and you can stay here with your Judas -.' " 'What is there to think over?' I used to say to him. but a department for red tape and loyal behaviour.

the teachers of the seminary. and all of a sudden -. and seemed petrified. and after him. 'What wicked."He even gave Byelikov a nickname. you know.' The expression was caught to a marvel. flushed and exhausted.' she called. 'The Spider. also on a bicycle. " 'We are going on ahead. ill-natured people there are!' he said. and he was green in the face and gloomier than a storm-cloud. Some mischievous person drew a caricature of Byelikov walking along in his goloshes with his trousers tucked up. . the boys and the teachers. and his lips quivered. .' "Now hear what happened next. Byelikov turned white instead of green.' "And on one occasion. 'Can my eyes have deceived me? Is it the proper thing for high-school masters and ladies to ride bicycles?' . with Varinka on his arm. He stopped short and stared at me. too.Kovalenko came bowling along on a bicycle. Varinka. 'What lovely weather! Awfully lovely!' "And they both disappeared from our sight. We set off. a Sunday.would you believe it? -. We were walking along. and all of us. . The caricature made a very painful impression on him. below. The artist must have worked for more than one night. "We went out together. he frowned and muttered: " 'It's not my business. please!' he asked. the government officials. for the teachers of both the boys' and girls' high-schools. under his umbrella. Byelikov received one. it was the first of May. but good-humoured and gay. had agreed to meet at the high-school and then to go for a walk together to a wood beyond the town. " 'What is the meaning of it? Tell me. when the headmaster's wife hinted to him what a good thing it would be to secure his sister's future with such a reliable. the inscription 'Anthropos in love.' And it will readily be understood that we avoided talking to him of his sister's being about to marry 'The Spider. universally respected man as Byelikov. I don't like meddling in other people's affairs. all received a copy. let her marry a reptile if she likes. "I felt really sorry for him.

though it was quite warm weather. "Byelikov sat in silence for ten minutes. . . His face looked sleepy. and that pastime is utterly unsuitable for an educator of youth. Byelikov waited a little. he found her brother. 'What are you saying?' "And he was so shocked that he was unwilling to go on. however. I am very. while you have only lately entered it. and was in a very bad humour. Mihail Savvitch -. and sallied out to the Kovalenkos'. in whom we are both deeply interested. Some scurrilous fellow has drawn an absurd caricature of me and another person. " 'Surely that needs no explanation. 'Let them ride and enjoy themselves. " 'Pray sit down. for the first time in his life. Towards evening he wrapped himself up warmly. I have been in the service for years. I regard it as a duty to assure you that I have had no hand in it.' "Kovalenko sat sulky and silent.' " 'But how can that be?' he cried. And he ate no dinner. I have always behaved in every way like a gentleman. what can you expect the pupils to do? You will have them walking on their heads next! And so long as there is no formal permission to do .on the contrary. and went on slowly in a mournful voice: " 'And I have something else to say to you. amazed at my calm." 'What is there improper about it?' I said. and returned home.' " 'Why so?' asked Kovalenko in his bass. . Varinka was out. very much troubled. he had just had a nap after dinner. "Next day he was continually twitching and nervously rubbing his hands.surely you can understand that? If the teacher rides a bicycle. And he left before his work was over. with a frown. I have given no sort of ground for such ridicule -. and I consider it my duty as an older colleague to give you a warning. and it was evident from his face that he was unwell. and then began: " 'I have come to see you to relieve my mind.' Kovalenko said coldly. You ride on a bicycle.

and now the bicycle. as he went out from the entry to the landing on the staircase. so careless! You go about in an embroidered shirt. A lady or a young girl on a bicycle -. . with an expression of horror on his face. and do not care to talk to a gentleman like you. and he turned crimson. and you are so careless -. and that our conversation may not be misunderstood and harm come of it. you must be very. and then it will reach the higher authorities. Mihail Savvitch. . in its main features. 'And damnation take any one who meddles in my private affairs!' "Byelikov turned pale and got up. thudding with his goloshes. . " 'If you speak to me in that tone I cannot continue. and Byelikov rolled downstairs. I don't like sneaks!' "Byelikov flew into a nervous's awful!' " 'What is it you want exactly?' " 'All I want is to warn you. it is out of the question. very careful in your behaviour. . You are a young man. Will that be a good thing?' " 'It's no business of anybody else if my sister and I do bicycle!' said Kovalenko. The headmaster will learn that you and your sister ride the bicycle. you ought to be respectful to the authorities. have I said any harm of the authorities?' asked Kovalenko. looking at him wrathfully. I am an honest man. you have a future before 'I ought only to warn you: possibly some on e may have overheard us. . I shall be compelled to inform our headmaster of our conversation . " 'You can say what you please.' he said.' " 'Inform him? You can go and make your report!' "Kovalenko seized him from behind by the collar and gave him a push. 'Please leave me alone.' he said. I was horrified yesterday! When I saw your sister everything seemed dancing before my eyes. It was the first time in his life he had been spoken to so rudely. and began hurriedly putting on his coat.' " 'Why. too. . 'And I beg you never to express yourself like that about our superiors in my presence. I am bound to do so. are constantly seen in the street carrying books.

Now when he was lying in his coffin his expression was mild. and smelling like a pothouse. sighing heavily. now the whole town would hear of it. he saw nothing. and he never got up again. . could not restrain herself. . if one asked him a question. rainy weather on the day of his funeral. he said 'Yes' or 'No' and not another sound. it would come to the headmaster's ears. the first thing he did was to remove her portrait from the table. and his goloshes. gloomy and scowling. and when the coffin was lowered into the grave she burst into tears. . his crumpled overcoat. and touched his nose to see whether his spectacles were all right. Varinka recognized him. too. as there was something wrong with his master. He lay there while Afanasy. and. then he went to bed. it was dull. I went in to Byelikov. and laughed loud enough to be heard by all the flats: " 'Ha-ha-ha!' "And this pealing. "When he got up. they stood below staring. But just as he was falling down the stairs Varinka came in. ringing 'Ha-ha-ha!' was the last straw that put an end to everything: to the proposed match and to Byelikov's earthly existence. He did not hear what Varinka said to intermediate mood. both the high-schools and the seminary. as though in his honour. agreeable. even cheerful. was at the funeral. and we all wore goloshes and took our umbrellas. I have noticed that Little Russian women are always laughing or crying -. would reach the higher authorities -. "A month later Byelikov died. he had attained his ideal! And. covered with a quilt. "Three days later Afanasy came to me and asked whether we should not send for the doctor. not understanding what had happened and supposing that he had slipped down by accident. Yes. On reaching home. it might lead to something! There would be another caricature. got up.that is. I believe he would rather have broken his neck or both legs than have been an object of ridicule. but he rolled to the bottom unhurt. as though he were glad that he had at last been put into a case which he would never leave again.oh. and with her two ladies. and it would all end in his being asked to resign his post. . Varinka. 'Why.The staircase was high and steep. We all went to his funeral -. looking at his ridiculous face. hovered about him. He lay silent behind the curtain. and to Byelikov this was more terrible than anything.

but not fully permitted. as gloomy. a long street stretching far away for four miles. it is mild. in this peace." said Ivan Ivanovitch and he lighted his pipe. one could hardly believe that nature could be so still. enjoying complete freedom. and as though there were no evil on earth and all were well. and it seems as though the stars look down upon it kindly and with tenderness. either: it was no better. indeed. melancholy. completely bald. "and isn't our living in town. And. no sound in that whole expanse bathed in moonlight. freedom! The merest hint. On the left the open country began from the end of the village. does it not? "We returned from the cemetery in a good humour. airless and crowded. The schoolmaster came out of the barn. freedom. oppressive. haystacks.a life not forbidden by government prohibition. that is just how it is."One must confess that to bury people like Byelikov is a great pleasure. and slumbering willows. how many more of them there will be!" "That's just how it is. and there was no movement. and sorrow in the darkness of night. looking upwards. On the right could be seen the whole village. As we were returning from the cemetery we wore discreet Lenten faces. stout man. though we had buried Byelikov. He was a short. wrapped away from care. "Yes. no one wanted to display this feeling of pleasure -. how many such men in cases were left.a feeling like that we had experienced long. our writing . The two dogs came out with him. long ago as children when our elders had gone out and we ran about the garden for an hour or two. Ah. "How many more of them there will be!" repeated Burkin. it could be seen stretching far away to the horizon. not a movement. "What a moon!" he said. with a black beard down to his waist. not a sound. It was midnight. beautiful. When on a moonlight night you see a broad village street. and senseless -. toil. All was buried in deep silent slumber. with its cottages. the faintest hope of its possibility gives wings to the soul. a feeling of calm comes over the soul. But not more than a week had passed before life went on as in the past." repeated Ivan Ivanovitch.

when one expects rain and it does not come. No. . . . and." said Burkin. "Tell it tomorrow. Ivan Ivanovitch. on the right stretched a row of hillocks which disappeared in the distance .isn't that a case for us. lighted his pipe. . went outside again. for the sake of a warm corner. our playing _vint_ -. too? If you like." said Ivan Ivanovitch. "and they call you a fool for putting up with their lying." said Burkin. and dare not openly say that you are on the side of the honest and the free. walking a little and stopping. the high-school teacher. The dogs began growling. were already tired from walking. . You endure insult and humiliation. you are off on another tack now. not hot. and all that for the sake of a crust of bread. and you lie and smile yourself. the veterinary surgeon. sitting in the doorway. "Let us go to sleep! And ten minutes later Burkin was asleep. our talking and our listening to all sorts of nonsense -." They went into the barn and lay down on the hay. "That's Mavra.patter. and a minute later. and Burkin. but heavy. . And they were both covered up and beginning to doze when they suddenly heard light footsteps -. patter. fussy men and silly. Ivan Ivanovitch. as it is in grey dull weather when the clouds have been hanging over the country for a long while." "Well.isn't that all a sort of case for us? And our spending our whole lives among trivial. then he got up. But Ivan Ivanovitch kept sighing and turning over from side to side. it was a still day. and the fields seemed to them endless. for the sake of a wretched little worthless rank in the service." "No. idle women." said the schoolmaster. turning over on the other side. GOOSEBERRIES THE whole sky had been overcast with rain-clouds from early morning. patter again. patter. it's time we were asleep. Far ahead of them they could just see the windmills of the village of Mironositskoe. The footsteps died away. "You see and hear that they lie. Some one was walking not far from the barn.useless papers. one can't go on living like this. I will tell you a very edifying story.

Ivan Ivanovitch and Burkin were already conscious of a feeling of wetness. their feet were heavy with mud. that there were meadows. and both thought how great. where Alehin lived. Ivan Ivanovitch and Burkin were filled with love of that countryside. the water looked cold and malignant. The watermill was at work. it's close by. already drenched. drowning the sound of the rain. muddy.behind the village. but just at that moment the rain began." They turned aside a nd walked through mown fields. Here wet horses with drooping heads were standing near their carts. in still weather. "you were about to tell me a story. and desolate. "Let us go to Alehin's. they were silent. till they came out on the road. stood with their tails between their legs gazing at them feelingly. "Last time we were in Prokofy's barn. the door was open. and a train which in the distance looked like a crawling caterpillar. the dogs. In the . and discomfort all over." Ivan Ivanovitch heaved a deep sigh and lighted a pipe to begin to tell his story. sometimes turning to the right. they went up to the barns. and they both knew that this was the bank of the river. and the view opened on to a broad expanse of water with a windmill and a white bath-house: this was Sofino. crossing the dam. and that if one stood on one of the hillocks one could see from it the same vast plain. and when. telegraph-wires. messiness. Now. Ivan Ivanovitch and Burkin stopped in hesitation. In one of the barns there was the sound of a winnowing machine. a garden. and clouds of dust were coming from it. covering the sky. sometimes going straight forward." "Come along. the dam was shaking. then the red roofs of barns. Soon they saw poplars." said Burkin. green willows. there was a gleam of the river. how beautiful a land it was. And five minutes later heavy rain came down. homesteads there." "Yes. and that in clear weather one could even see the town. I meant to tell you about my brother." said Burkin. "We must take shelter somewhere. as though they were angry with one another. and men were walking about covered with sacks. and it was hard to tell when it would be over. when all nature seemed mild and dreamy. It was damp.

and Alehin went to the bath-house with his guests. and was apparently much delighted to see them. by the way. "It's a long time since I had a wash. cheap vodka." said Alehin with embarrassment. "Yes. undressing. Wouldn't you like to come into the bath-house? and meanwhile they will get things ready here. looking so refined and soft. smiling. I will change too. more like a professor or an artist than a landowner. too. and harness. my friends. "It's a long time since I washed ." Beautiful Pelagea. I must say. Only I must first go and wash. and his boots. where the bailiffs had once lived. a man of forty. and there was a smell of rye bread. looking at his head. "It is a surprise! Pelagea. Alehin lived in the lower storey. and the water near him turned dark blue. addressing the girl. "Go into the house." he said. "give our visitors something to change into. with long hair. a rope for a belt. here everything was father built it -but I somehow never have time to wash. drawers instead of trousers. He had on a white shirt that badly needed washing. He went upstairs into the best rooms only on rare occasions. this minute. brought them towels and soap. and the water round him turned brown." said Ivan Ivanovitch meaningly. ." He sat down on the steps and soaped his long hair and his neck. "You can't imagine how delighted I am to see you." he said. giving himself a second soaping." he said. . His eyes and nose were black with dust." said Alehin. gentlemen." It was a big two-storeyed house. for I almost think I have not washed since spring. Ivan Ivanovitch and Burkin were met in the house by a maid-servant. were plastered up with mud and straw. And. with arched ceilings and little windows. He recognized Ivan Ivanovitch and Burkin. . a young woman so beautiful that they both stood still and looked at one another. when visitors came. as you see -. "I have got a nice bath-house. "I'll come directly. like ink. tall and stout. going into the hall with them.doorway was standing Alehin himself.

and came up a minute later in another place. dry clothes. stripped the bark off the trees. "Oh. "There are two of us brothers. and so on. . two years younger. plunged into the water with a loud splash. fished. turning his face to the rain. "Oh. he swam to the very middle of the millpond and dived. anyway. then returned and lay on his back in the middle of the pond. trying to touch the bottom. . handed tea and jam on a tray -. my goodness! . and when lovely Pelagea. and swam on. and light shoes. Tchimsha-Himalaisky. talked to the peasants there." he began --"I. we passed our days and nights in the fields and the woods. whoever has once in his life caught perch or has seen the migrating of the thrushes in autumn. watched how they float in flocks over the village on bright. he will never be a real townsman. washed and combed. have mercy on me! . Nikolay Ivanovitch. "Oh. I went in for a learned profession and became a veterinary surgeon. and the officers who looked down upon them sternly and calmly from their gold frames. They went back to the house. Lord." "That's enough!" Burkin shouted to him. He stirred the water into waves which set the white lilies bobbing up and down. After his death the little estate went in debts and legal expenses. And only when the lamp was lighted in the big drawing-room upstairs.Ivan Ivanovitch went outside. Burkin and Alehin were dressed and ready to go. and Alehin. . stepping noiselessly on the carpet and smiling softly. . And. flinging his arms out wide. but also the ladies. My brother was miserable in the government office. while Nikolay sat in a government office from the time he was nineteen. Ivan Ivanovitch. my goodness!" he repeated continually. we had spent our childhood running wild in the country. cool days. but. .only then Ivan Ivanovitch began on his story. but he rose to be an officer and left us a little estate and the rank of nobility. . in a new coat. and kept on diving. you know. my goodness!" He swam to the mill. but he still went on swimming and diving. Like peasant children. . enjoying himself thoroughly. was walking about the drawing-room. cleanliness. looked after horses. Our father. and it seemed as though not only Burkin and Alehin were listening. and will have a yearning for freedom to the day of his death. and swam in the rain. and Burkin and Ivan Ivanovitch. evidently enjoying the feeling of warmth. young and old. attired in silk dressing-gowns and warm slippers. ." he said. was a kantonist. "Oh. were sitting in arm-chairs. and my brother.

he could not picture an idyllic nook. too. for sale. sit for whole hours on the seat by the gate gazing at the fields and the forest. . dreamed of how he would eat his own cabbages. not a man.(a) house for the family. laziness. sitting in his government office. And this yearning by degrees passed into a definite desire. "My brother Nikolay. there is a delicious smell everywhere. " 'Country life has its conveniences. And they say. and all that sort of thing. But six feet is what a corpse needs. his favourite spiritual sustenance. . and in every map there were the same things -. it's a good thing. to retreat and bury oneself in one's farm -. you know. too. a garden.Years passed by. went on writing the same papers and thinking of one and the same thing -. 'You sit on the verandah and you drink tea. starling's not life. But these farms are just the same as six feet of earth. and . that if our intellectual classes are attracted to the land and yearn for a farm. from the struggle. but the whole globe. a mill and millponds. And his imagination pictured the garden-paths. flowers and fruit. take his meals on the green grass. and the gooseberries are growing. from the bustle of life. but for some reason in every one of them he had always to have gooseberries. and he went on sitting in the same place. He could not imagine a homestead. It's the correct thing to say that a man needs no more than six feet of earth. but monasticism without good to get into the country. it's monasticism of a sort. the carp in the pond.' he would sometimes say. and I was fond of him. now. it's egoism. Gardening books and the agricultural hints in calendars were his delight. without gooseberries. These imaginary pictures were of different kinds according to the advertisements which he came across. To retreat from town. but I never sympathized with this desire to shut himself up for the rest of his life in a little farm of his own. which would fill the whole yard with such a savoury smell.' "He used to draw a map of his property. where he can have room to display all the qualities and peculiarities of his free spirit. "He was a gentle. good-natured fellow. into a dream of buying himself a little farm somewhere on the banks of a river or a lake. A man does not need six feet of earth or a farm. (b) servants' . but the only things he read in them were the advertisements of so many acres of arable land and a grass meadow with farm-houses and buildings. while your ducks swim on the pond. all nature. sleep in the sun. he enjoyed reading newspapers. a river.

and buying something quite different from what you have dreamed of. no gooseberry-bushes. he looked like a beggar. and three years later she gave up her soul to God. but kept on saving and putting money in the bank. so that no one might get the benefit of it. And I need hardly say that my brother never for one moment imagined that he was responsible for her death. was frugal in food and drink. a cattle-dealer fell under an engine and had his leg cut off. Then I heard he was married. He grew fearfully avaricious. ordered a plateful of honey and ate up all his money and lottery tickets with the honey. In our town there was a merchant who. and he was still reading the advertisements in the papers and saving up.quarters. Once a man is absorbed by an idea there is no doing anything with him. "Her first husband had been a postmaster. He lived parsimoniously. his clothes were beyond description. I did not like to look at him. you may look about for five years and yet end by making a mistake. and no duck-pond. she began to pine away with this sort of life. while he put her money in the bank in his name. but with no orchard. Money. "After his wife's death. like vodka. there was a river. and I used to give him something and send him presents for Christmas and Easter. "Years passed: he was transferred to another province. after thinking for half a minute. (c) kitchen-ga was a horrible thing -. there were twenty roubles in the boot on the leg that had been cut off. Still with the same object of buying a farm and having gooseberries. while with her second husband she did not get enough black bread. before he died. with a park. and with him she was accustomed to pies and home-made wines. While I was inspecting cattle at a railway-station. but he used to save that too." Ivan Ivanovitch went on.and he kept asking them to look for his leg and was very much worried about it. He went on living frugally after marrying her. but the water in it was the colour . "my brother began looking out for an estate for himself. Of course. and kept her short of food. (d) gooseberry-bushes. the blood was flowing -. My brother Nikolay bought through an agent a mortgaged estate of three hundred and thirty acres. he married an elderly and ugly widow without a trace of feeling for her. with a house for the family." said Burkin. makes a man queer. We carried him into the waiting-room. He was over forty." "That's a story from a different opera. and he was afraid they would be lost. simply because she had filthy lucre. with servants' quarters.

' "He was no more a poor timid clerk. I thought I would go and see what it was like. and his mouth all stuck out -. fences. went to the bath-house. where to put one's horse. I went up to the house. his cheeks. and then treated the peasants to a gallon of vodka -. alias Himalaiskoe. fir-trees planted in rows. He was sitting up in bed with a quilt over his legs. " 'Well. He ate a great deal. But Nikolay Ivanovitch did not grieve much. all right. and they drink and . And what deeds of charity! He treated the peasants for every sort of disease with soda and castor oil. " 'Oh. and next day. and led me out to show me the estate.' I reached 'alias Himalaiskoe' in the afternoon. those horrible gallons of vodka! One day the fat landowner hauls the peasants up before the district captain for trespass. a gentleman. The cook. "Last year I went to pay him a visit. In his letters my brother called his estate 'Tchumbaroklov Waste. his nose. planted them. had grown used to it. and was very much offended when the peasants did not call him 'Your Honour. and on his name-day had a thanksgiving service in the middle of the village.he looked as though he might begin grunting into the quilt at any moment. and liked it. was growing stout. and said that her master was resting after dinner.of coffee. a fat. Everywhere there were ditches. and there was no knowing how to get to the yard. fatter.' And he concerned himself with the salvation of his soul in a substantial. and performed deeds of charity. he ordered twenty gooseberry-bushes. but with an air of consequence. and shed tears of joy and of sadness at the thought that we had once been young and now were both grey-headed and near the grave. It was hot. He was already accustomed to it. He dressed. wrinkled. gentlemanly manner. and began living as a country gentleman. too. I went in to see my brother. treats them to a gallon of vodka. because on one side of the estate there was a brickyard and on the other a factory for burning bones. and she. was already at law with the village commune and both factories. not simply. but a real landowner. but it was too lazy. thank God. It wanted to bark. hedges. "We embraced each other. and was met by a fat red dog that looked like a pig. he had grown older. Oh. I am getting on very well. barefooted woman. in honour of a holiday. came out of the kitchen. how are you getting on here?' I asked. looked like a pig.he thought that was the thing to do.

but his own gooseberries. in reality so incongruous. 'Ah. but for the peasants it is premature. and our father a soldier. who had gained what he wanted. but. looked at me with the triumph of a child who has at last received his favourite toy.' " 'I know the peasants and understand how to treat them. observe. A change of life for the better. Even our surname Tchimsha-Himalaisky.' 'I as a noble'. and said: " 'How delicious!' "And he ate them greedily. with tears in his eyes. They were not bought. but in some cases it is necessary and there is nothing to take its place. I want to tell you about the change that took place in me during the brief hours I spent at his country place.shout 'Hurrah!' and when they are drunk bow down to his feet. seemed to him now melodious. benevolent smile. Then he put one gooseberry in his mouth. distinguished. and uttered such truths in the tone of a prime minister. but myself. and very agreeable. 'The peasants like me. was uttered with a wise. and being well-fed and idle develop in a Russian the most insolent self-conceit. Nikolay Ivanovitch laughed and looked for a minute in silence at the gooseberries. now could say nothing that was not gospel truth. In the evening. as Pushkin says: " 'Dearer to us the falsehood that exalts Than hosts of baser truths. he could not speak for excitement. 'Education is essential.' "And all this. He repeated twenty times over 'We noblemen. when we were drinking tea. who at one time in the government office was afraid to have any views of his own.' he would say. gathered for the first time since the bushes were planted. how delicious! Do taste them!' "They were sour and unripe.' "I saw a happy man whose cherished dream was so obviously fulfilled. continually repeating. . who had attained his object in life. "But the point just now is not he. I need only to hold up my little finger and the peasants will do anything I like. who was satisfied with his fate and himself. the cook put on the table a plateful of gooseberries. Nikolay Ivanovitch. obviously he did not remember that our grandfather was a peasant.' 'Corporal punishment is harmful as a rule.

and without that silence happiness would be impossible. . was happy and contented. we can no more do without it than without air. at the sight of a happy man I was overcome by an oppressive feeling that was close upon despair. there is not one who would cry out. the happy man lives at his ease. getting up. "Why wait. so many children dead from malnutrition. lying. . . But there is no man with a hammer. . talking their silly nonse nse. sleeping by night. just as now he neither sees nor hears others. too. trouble will come for him -. but for the simple people reading and writing was enough for the time. overcrowding. on this occasion. hypocrisy. life will show him her laws sooner or later. evidently the happy man only feels at ease because the unhappy bear their burdens in silence. I reflected how many satisfied. Yes. eating by day.and all goes well. at dinner and at the hunt liked to lay down the law on life and religion. Freedom is a blessing. 'For what reason are we to wait?' " asked Ivan Ivanovitch. incredible poverty all about us. . happy people there really are! 'What a suffocating force it is! You look at life: the insolence and idleness of the strong. of the fifty thousand living in a town. and the way to manage the peasantry. "I. . . poverty. and no one will see or hear. and now I ask. that however happy he may be. Yet all is calm and stillness in the houses and in the streets. contented man some one standing with a hammer continually reminding him with a tap that there are unhappy people. I used to say. but we must wait a little. getting married. growing old. that culture was essential. but we do not see and we do not hear those who suffer." Ivan Ivanovitch went on. losses. and. I ask you? . It's a case of general hypnotism. and I could hear that he was awake.disease. drunkenness. There ought to be behind the door of every happy. the ignorance and brutishness of the weak. We see the people going to market for provisions. I used to talk like that. degeneration. . "That night I realized that I. Everything is quiet and peaceful.There is always. and what is terrible in life goes on somewhere behind the scenes. looking angrily at Burkin. A bed was made up for me in the room next to my brother's bedroom. It was particularly oppressive at night. so many gallons of vodka drunk. I. an element of sadness mingled with my thoughts of human happiness. and nothing protests but mute statistics: so many people gone out of their minds. and that he kept getting up and going to the plate of gooseberries and taking one. . too. too. used to say that science was light. for some reason. serenely escorting their dead to the cemetery. And this order of things is evidently necessary. and trivial daily cares faintly agitate him like the wind in the aspen-tree -. who would give vent to his indignation aloud.

Then all three sat in arm-chairs at different ends of the drawing-room and were silent. . confident. as though he were asking him a personal favour. I am afraid to look at the windows. and one wants to live! "I went away from my brother's early in the morning. about women. and I cannot sleep. . They felt inclined. every idea takes shape in life gradually. feel irritated and vexed." he said in an imploring voice. and ever since then it has been unbearable for me to be in town. And their sitting in the drawing-room where everything -. but is there order and uniformity in the fact that I. but if there is a meaning and an object in life. be not weary in well-doing! There is no happiness. I can only grieve inwardly. and there ought not to be. for some reason. I am not even capable of hatred. Do good!" And all this Ivan Ivanovitch said with a pitiful. the uniformity of phenomena. thinking man. it can't be done all at once. to talk about elegant people. wait for the sake of what? Wait till there's no strength to live? And meanwhile one must live. stand over a chasm and wait for it to close of itself. a living. .the chandeliers in their . When the generals and ladies gazed down from their gilt frames. Ivan Ivanovitch's story had not satisfied either Burkin or Alehin. and repeated: "If I were young!" He suddenly went up to Alehin and began pressing first one of his hands and then the other. if I were young!" Ivan Ivanovitch walked backwards and forwards in excitement. "don't be calm and contented. But who is it says that? Where is the proof that it's right? You will fall back upon the natural order of things. don't let yourself be put to sleep! While you are young. "Pavel Konstantinovitch. it was dreary to listen to the story of the poor clerk who ate gooseberries. that meaning and object is not our happiness. imploring smile. but at night my head is hot from the rush of ideas.What grounds have we for waiting? I shall be told. in its due time. I am old and am not fit for the struggle. for there is no spectacle more painful to me now than the sight of a happy family sitting round the table drinking tea. but something greater and more rational. looking in the dusk as though they were alive. I am oppressed by its peace and quiet. strong. Ah. or to fill up with mud at the very time when perhaps I might leap over it or build a bridge across it? And again.

the cook. As he drank and . The big cool beds. before three o'clock in the morning. ABOUT LOVE AT lunch next day there were very nice pies. with a puffy face and little eyes. smelt agreeably of clean linen. the arm-chairs. crayfish. and Burkin could not sleep for a long while. he was close-shaven. which had been made by the lovely Pelagea. Nikanor. Ivan Ivanovitch undressed in silence and got into bed. and the carpet under their feet -reminded them that those very people who were now looking down from their frames had once moved about. "Allow me to wish you good-night. Alehin was fearfully sleepy. he had got up early. nor of hay." Alehin said good-night and went downstairs to his own domain." said Burkin. "Lord forgive us sinners!" he said. came up to ask what the visitors would like for dinner. and the fact that lovely Pelagea was moving noiselessly about was better than any story. His pipe lying on the table smelt strongly of stale tobacco. but he was afraid his visitors might tell some interesting story after he had gone. drunk tea in this room. but had been pulled out by the roots. and it looked as though his moustaches had not been shaved. His visitors did not talk of groats. and kept wondering where the oppressive smell came from. nor of tar. "It's bed-time. while the visitors remained upstairs. Alehin told us that the beautiful Pelagea was in love with this cook. getting up. to look after his work. The rain was pattering on the window-panes all night. They were both taken for the night to a big room where there stood two old wooden beds decorated with carvings. and he was glad and wanted them to go on. though. and while we were eating. and in the corner was an ivory crucifix.covers. sat. but of something that had no direct bearing on his life. and put his head under the quilt. He was a man of medium height. He did not go into the question whether what Ivan Ivanovitch had just said was right and true. and now his eyes were closing. and mutton cutlets. and he lingered on.

she did not want to marry him. Whether it is a good thing or not I don't know. nightingales. and would consent to nothing else. but that it is in the way. We began talking about love. and every time I took her in my arms she was thinking what I would allow her a month for housekeeping and what was the price of beef a pound. People who lead a solitary existence always have something in their hearts which they are eager to talk about. "We Russians of the educated class have a partiality for these questions that remain unanswered.we all call him 'The Snout' -. In town bachelors visit the baths and the restaurants on purpose to talk. and why she fell in love with Nikanor. what this love is leading up to. and on such occasions Alehin and the servants stayed in the house to be ready to defend her in case of necessity. a charming lady. but only a statement of questions which have remained unanswered. Love is usually poeticized. when I was a student. and his religious convictions would not allow him to "live in sin". and the very best thing. as the doctors say. and select the most uninteresting of them. I do know. to individualize each case. and when he was drunk he used to abuse her and even beat her. The explanation which would seem to fit one case does not apply in a dozen others. too. and irritating.all that is known. to my mind. He was very devout. We ought.was of a violent character.' Everything else that has been written or said about love is not a conclusion. unsatisfactory. but was willing to live with him without. In the same way. So far only one incontestable truth has been uttered about love: 'This is a great mystery." It looked as though he wanted to tell some story. sensible or stupid. Whenever he got drunk she used to hide upstairs and far questions of personal happiness are of consequence in love -. I had a friend who shared my life." said Alehin. In Moscow." Burkin assented. and sometimes tell the ." "Perfectly true. "why Pelagea does not love somebody more like herself in her spiritual and external qualities. we Russians decorate our loves with these momentous questions. decorated with roses. he insisted on her marrying him. one can take what view one likes of it. and so on. would be to explain every case individually without attempting to generalize. when we are in love we are never tired of asking ourselves questi ons: whether it is honourable or dishonourable. that ugly snout -. "How love is born.

I did not succeed in getting to my bed at all. in the country. I established myself upstairs here in the best rooms. without some repugnance. and slept in the sledge in the barn. especially at the haymaking. I resolved not to go away. you begin at last to pine for a black coat. to do so. as in the summer. which is almost the same thing. all that is necessary is to maintain a certain external order in life. But one day our priest. from the neighbouring villages.most interesting things to bath attendants and waiters. and of my former luxury nothing is left but the servants who were in my father's service. and if one is not to farm at a loss one must employ serf labour or hired labourers. Now from the window we could see a grey sky. I did not leave a clod of earth unturned. and whom it would be painful to turn away. I myself ploughed and sowed and reaped. as a rule. a studious person by disposition. I must confess. At first it seemed to me that I could easily reconcile this life of toil with my cultured habits. When you live here for two or three months without a break. "I have lived at Sofino and been farming for a long time. I made up my mind to this and set to work. and when I went to bed I read every night the _Yyesnik Evropi_." Alehin began. they unbosom themselves to their guests. and there was nothing for us to do but to tell stories and to listen. but there was a big debt owing on the estate when I came here. and ordered them to bring me there coffee and liquor after lunch and dinner. came and drank up all my liquor at one sitting. I thought. Father Ivan. especially in the winter. and frowned with disgust.that is. and the _Yyesnik Evropi_ went to the priest's daughters. trees drenched in the rain. The land here does not yield much. My body ached. began dining in the servants' kitchen. or somewhere in the forester's lodge. like a village cat driven by hunger to eat cucumbers in the kitchen-garden. and as my father was in debt partly because he had spent so much on my education. and I slept as I walked. There is no middle path. in such weather we could go nowhere. but to work till I paid off the debt. But in those days I did not go into such subtleties. men and women. I gathered together all the peasants. "In the first years I was elected here an honourary justice of the peace. "ever since I left the University. And in the circuit court there . or put it on a peasant footing -. I am an idle gentleman by education. not. work the fields oneself and with one's family. and this was a pleasant change for me. and was bored doing it. the work went on at a tremendous pace. I used to have to go to the town and take part in the sessions of the congress and of the circuit court. what chance was there of reading? Little by little I moved downstairs.

what it was in her attracted me so much. And of all my acquaintanceships the most intimate and. but Anna Alexyevna kept shaking her head and saying to her husband: " 'Dmitry. intelligent. come round to dinner with me. the preliminary investigation lasted two days. At dinner I was very much excited. and dress-coats. with a chain on one's waistcoat. in thin boots. were regarded as a gang of robbers. and uniforms. I made friends eagerly. Luganovitch looked at me and said: " 'Look here. such as I had never met before.were frock-coats. and not at dinner and in private conversation. the vice-president of the circuit court. to my mind. good. as I knew Luganovitch very little. we were exhausted. and now I should find it difficult to define what there was so exceptional in her. to sit in an arm-chair in clean linen. At that time she was still very young. one of those simple-hearted people who firmly maintain the opinion that once a man is charged before a court he is guilty. is such luxury! "I received a warm welcome in the town. After sleeping in the sledge and dining in the kitchen. quite groundlessly. and. "Four Jews were charged with being incendiaries. how is this?' "Luganovitch is a good-natured man. and I had never been to his house.' "This was unexpected. I saw a lovely young. it was all perfectly clear to me. all lawyers. It all happened just after a celebrated case of incendiarism. to tell the truth. I had seen somewhere in my childhood. It is all a thing of the past. and to express doubt of the correctness of a sentence cannot be done except in legal form on paper. I had some one to talk to. fascinating woman. at dinner. too. And here it was my lot to meet Anna Alexyevna. those cordial. . only officially. men who have received a general education. the most agreeable to me was my acquaintance with Luganovitch. at the time. as though that face. You both know him: a most charming personality. not more than twenty-two. I only just went to my hotel room to change and went off to dinner. and I felt her at once some one close and already familiar. I was uncomfortable. and I don't know what I said. and her first baby had been born just six months before. Luganovitch's wife. in the album which lay on my mother's chest of drawers. intelligent eyes.

'it makes you seem older. and there was Anna Alexyevna sitting beside the governor's wife. more confident. and not in prison. I could gather that they lived in harmony and comfort.' she repeated. you were very interesting. We sat side by side. From some trifling details.' he said softly. You were full of eagerness. "In the late autumn there was a theatrical performance for some charitable object in the town.' "And she laughed. either. and again the same irresistible. " 'You've grown thinner. 'and you see we are not condemned. For some reason you often came back to my memory during the summer. After lunch they drove out to their summer villa. After dinner they played a duet on the piano. when you came to dinner. for instance. and talked a great deal then. and I went home. but it was as though her light shadow were lying on my heart. then it got dark." 'You and I did not set fire to the place. I've had rheumatism in my shoulder.' "And both husband and wife tried to make me eat and drink as much as possible. I looked. you were younger. then went to the foyer. and in rainy weather I can't sleep. I went into the governor's box (I was invited to go there in the interval). " 'But you look dispirited today. and when I was getting ready for the theatre today I thought I should see you. thrilling impression of beauty and sweet. That was at the beginning of spring.' " 'You look dispirited. in order to make arrangements .' she said. but the memory of the graceful fair-haired woman remained in my mind all those days. and again the same feeling of nearness. In the spring. 'have you been ill?' " 'Yes. caressing eyes. and from the way they understood each other at half a word. I did not think of her.' "The next day I lunched at the Luganovitchs'. and that they were glad of a visitor. and I really must confess I was a little carried away by you. from the way they made the coffee together. and I had no time to think of the town. "After that I spent the whole summer at Sofino without a break.

an educated man with a knowledge of languages. and even at cheerful moments when I felt happy I was aware of their searching eyes fixed upon me. or she played for hours to me on the piano. her indoor dress. while the fire glowed. and would ask every time: " 'Why is it so long since you have been? Has anything happened?' "Her eyes. We talked together for hours. I returned with them to the town. and both of them were extremely anxious. and when Anna Alexyevna came back I met her in the hall. played with the child. And after that. rush round like a squirrel in a rage. "There is a proverb that if a peasant woman has no troubles she will buy a pig. took all her parcels from her. " 'It is Pavel Konstantinovitch. They grew used to me. the elegant refined hand she gave me. in the drawling voice that seemed to me so lovely. and the young mother kept going to see if her baby girl was asleep. and very important. when I was being worried by some creditor or had not money enough to pay interest on the proper day. The two of them.there for the winter. as though I were one of the family. They were worried that I. and ate to conceal my sufferings. and I grew used to them. as a boy. laughed. If I did not come to the town I must be ill or something must have happened to me. As a rule I went in unannounced. with as much solemnity. so they made friends with me. "Anna Alexyevna would come out to me with an anxious face. They were particularly touching when I really was depressed. husband and wife. " 'Who is there?' I would hear from a faraway room. They fancied that I was unhappy. then he would come to . The Luganovitchs had no troubles. were silent. always produced the same impression on me of something new and extraordinary in my life. or lay on the sofa in the study and read. her step. If there were no one at home I stayed and waited. thinking each our own thoughts. and that I only talked. instead of devoting myself to science or literary work. live in the country. her voice. work hard with never a penny to show for it.' answered the maid or the nurs e. and for some reason I carried those parcels every time with as much love. the way she did her hair. every time I went to town I never failed to visit the Luganovitchs. and at midnight drank tea with them in quiet domestic surroundings. and I went with them. would whisper together at the window. should. talked to the nurse.

We were afraid of everything that might reveal our secret to ourselves.' "And he would give me studs. We talked a long time. almost an old man (her husband was over forty). I loved her tenderly. but I reflected and kept asking myself what our love could lead to if we had not the strength to fight against it. In early days I often borrowed money. butter. good. simple-hearted man. and I would send them game. by the way. as though he had been brought there for sale. he would come up to me. at balls and evening parties kept near the more solid people. with red ears. and having children by him. looking listless and superfluous. intelligent young woman's marrying some one so and say with a grave face: " 'If you really are in need of money at the moment. And it would happen that. and I kept trying to understand why she had met him first and not me. I thought of her. my wife and I beg you not to hesitate to borrow from us. who argued with such wearisome good sense. sad love could all at once coarsely break up the even tenor of the life of her husband. to have children by her. after whispering in the same way at the window. It seemed to be incredible that my gentle. in the barn. to understand the mystery of this uninteresting.' "And he would blush to his ears with emotion. and was not very particular about it -borrowed wherever I could -. her children. and say: " 'My wife and I earnestly beg you to accept this present. At home. They both. deeply. who yet believed in his right to be happy. a cigar-case. in the fields. and were silent. had considerable means of their own. Pavel Konstantinovitch. Would it be honourable? She would go away with me. "And when I went to the town I saw every time from her eyes that she was expecting me. uninterested expression. but where? Where . but timidly and jealously concealed it. or a lamp.but nothing in the world would have induced me to borrow from the Luganovitchs. and why such a terrible mistake in our lives need have happened. and she would confess to me herself that she had had a peculiar feeling all that day and had guessed that I should come. But why talk of it? "I was unhappy. and all the household in which I was so loved and trusted. yet we did not confess our love to each other. I tried to understand the mystery of a beautiful. and flowers from the country. with a submissive.

always walking there. When I arrived at the Luganovitchs' the servants smiled cordially. which. but by some strange misunderstanding. in case I died. And how long would our happiness last? What would happen to her in case I was ill. I would take the opera-glass from her hands without a word.could I take her? It would have been a different matter if I had had a beautiful. Every one looked on me as a noble being. Anna Alexyevna already had two children. and feel at that minute that she was near me. an artist or a painter. when we came out of the theatre we always said good-bye and parted as though we were strangers. was happy. we used to sit side by side in the stalls. that she was not industrious nor energetic enough to begin a new life. and that gave a peculiar charm to their manner towards me. interesting life -. but as it was it would mean taking her from one everyday humdrum life to another as humdrum or perhaps more so. the children shouted that Uncle Pavel Konstantinovitch had come. If she abandoned herself to her feelings she would have to lie. And she was tormented by the question whether her love would bring me happiness -. or had been a celebrated man of science. was hard enough and full of all sorts of trouble? She fancied she was not young enough for me. that we could not live without each other. or if we simply grew cold to one another? "And she apparently reasoned in the same way.would she not complicate my life. too. too. I had been struggling for the emancipation of my country. for instance. as though in my presence their life. our shoulders touching. and of her mother. They did not understand what was passing in my soul. was purer and more beautiful. as it was. and hung on my neck. or else to tell the truth.if. and thought that I. Anna Alexyevna and I used to go to the theatre together. And grown-ups and children alike felt that a noble being was walking about their rooms. and in her position either would have been equally terrible and inconvenient. every one was overjoyed. her children. and she often talked to her husband of the importance of my marrying a girl of intelligence and merit who would be a capable housewife and a help to me -and she would immediately add that it would be difficult to find such a girl in the whole town. but there was not a word of truth in it all! "In the latter years Anna Alexyevna took to going away for . She thought of her husband. Goodness knows what people were saying about us in the town already. "Meanwhile the years were passing. who loved the husband like a son. that she was mine.

She was already being treated for neurasthenia. sin or virtue in their accepted meaning. or you must not reason at all. When they drove out to the villa. where the doctors were sending her. she began to suffer from low spirits. "We were silent and still silent. at the green roof.I confessed my love for her. her hands wet with tears -. there is nothing in our lives that does not end sooner or later. and in the presence of outsiders she displayed a strange irritation in regard to me. and I realized that I had to say goodbye not only to the villa. their horses. how petty. on the rack. . If I dropped anything. she disagreed with me.' "If I forgot to take the opera-glass when we were going to the theatre. The time of parting came. in your reasonings about that love. and I had to say good-bye. whatever I talked about. how unhappy we were! -. as Luganovitch was appointed president in one of the western provinces. to look for the last time at the garden. start from what is highest. and if I had an argument she sided with my opponent. I ran into her compartment to put a basket. she would say coldly: " 'I congratulate you. and how deceptive all that had hindered us from loving was. When she had said good-bye to her husband and her children and there was only a minute left before the third bell.oh. she would say afterwards: " 'I knew you would forget it. When our eyes met in the compartment our spiritual fortitude deserted us both. every one was sad. which she had almost forgotten. she began to recognize that her life was spoilt and unsatisfied. I understood that when you love you must either. she pressed her face to my breast. They had to sell their furniture.frequent visits to her mother or to her sister.' "Luckily or unluckily. and with a burning pain in my heart I realized how unnecessary. their summer villa. from what is more important than happiness or unhappiness. and that a little later Luganovitch and the children would set off for the western province. It was arranged that at the end of August we should see Anna Alexyevna off to the Crimea. and tears flowed from her eyes. and afterwards looked back as they were going away. her shoulders. Kissing her face. and at times she did not care to see her husband nor her children. I took her in my arms. "We were a great crowd to see Anna Alexye vna off.

9. . . who had told them this story with such genuine feeling. The train had already started. I went into the next compartment -. it is. and at the same time they were sorry that this man with the kind. a middle-class man who lived with his family on an income of twelve hundred a year and was very well satisfied with his lot. I took the interest on Tuesday. pressed her hand. as a rule. "I forgot to look at the newspaper today. which was shining now in the sunshine like a mirror." Ivan Dmitritch had no faith in lottery luck. and Burkin knew her and thought her beautiful. Then I walked home to Sofino. Both of them had met her in the town.499. we will look . number 26. but .and until I reached the next station I sat there crying. . "but hasn't your ticket lapsed?" "No. Burkin and Ivan Ivanovitch went out on the balcony. . and parted for ever. THE LOTTERY TICKET IVAN was empty -. clever eyes. "Look and see whether the list of drawings is there. ." "Yes. from which there was a beautiful view over the garden and the mill-pond. and would not. and they thought what a sorrowful face Anna Alexyevna must have had when he said good-bye to her in the railway-carriage and kissed her face and shoulders. have consented to look at the lists of winning numbers. the rain left off and the sun came out. They admired it. ." "All right ." his wife said to him as she cleared the table. sat down on the sofa after supper and began reading the newspaper.499 and 26."I kissed her for the last time." said Ivan Dmitritch." While Alehin was telling his story. ." "What is the number?" "Series 9. should be rushing round and round this huge estate like a squirrel on a wheel instead of devoting himself to science or something else which would have made his life more pleasant.

like a baby when a bright object is shown it. but power. . and.26! Eh? I say. . turning pale and dropping the folded tablecloth on the table. his eye was caught by the figure 9. and realized that he was not joking. .499 is there!" he said in a hollow voice. yes! There's the number of the ticket too. capital! And in a minute I shall look at the list. he passed his finger downwards along the column of numbers. We have plenty of time to be disappointed. so the prize is seventy-five thousand." Looking at his wife. wait! No. But stay . "9. but there it is!" "Well. . you understand. as though in mockery of his scepticism. yes . I say! Anyway. And immediately. as he had nothing else to do and as the newspaper was before his eyes. . no further than the second line from the top. and did not try to find out the number of the winning ticket. His wife smiled too. His wife looked at his astonished and panic-stricken face. tingling and terrible and sweet! "Masha. It's only a Ivan Dmitritch gave a broad. "Yes. after a long silence. It's on the second line from the top.499! Unable to believe his eyes. what if we really have won?" The husband and wife began laughing and staring at one another in . it was as pleasant to her as to him that he only mentioned the series. it really is there!" "And the number of the ticket?" "Oh. senseless smile. 9. . "So there is a probability that we have won. now look!" "Wait a little. That's not money. To torment and tantalize oneself with hopes of possible fortune is so sweet. just as though some one had given him a douche of cold water.499?" she asked. so thrilling! "It is our series. the number of our series is there! Anyway. . he hurriedly dropped the paper on his knees without looking to see the number of the ticket. and there -." said Ivan Dmitritch. he felt an agreeable chill in the pit of the stomach.

but if it were mine I should." "Yes. . and goes into the water. of course. After bathing there is tea with cream and milk rolls. ." And pictures came crowding on his imagination. even hot! Here. while somehow they could not think of the happiness itself which was so possible. digging in the sand or catching ladybirds in the grass. They thought only of the figures 9. new furnishing . he goes to the hayfield. "And if we have won. and besides. The other forty thousand I would put in the bank and get interest on it. When the sun sets he takes a towel and soap and saunters to the bathing-shed. His little boy and girl are crawling about near him. that would be nice. . sitting down and dropping her hands in her lap. "Somewhere in the Tula or Oryol provinces. In the evening a walk or _vint_ with the neighbours. healthy. tired of lying still. slowly rubs his bare chest with his hands. it would be nice to buy an estate. what they would buy. little fish flit to and fro and green water-weeds nod their heads. Or. and only when he had recovered from the first impression began dreaming a little. or to the forest for mushrooms. . each more gracious and poetical than the last. and feeling all over that he need not go to the office today. . In the first place we shouldn't need a summer villa. or watches the peasants catching fish with a net. spend twenty-five thousand on real property in the shape of an estate. also . . . could not have dreamed.silence. "Yes. it will be a transformation! The ticket is yours. . thinking of nothing. or the day after. . cold as ice. .499 and 75. tomorrow. . serene. . It is hot." said his wife."why." said his wife. The possibility of winning bewildered them. first of all. holding the paper in his hand. it will be a new life. . near the opaque soapy circles. an estate. Ivan Dmitritch. after eating a summer soup. he lay on his back on the burning sand close to a stream or in the garden under a lime-tree. walked several times from corner to corner. . it would always bring in an income. where he undresses at his leisure. felt warm. . and so on. . paying debts. where they would go. And in the water.000 and pictured them in their imagination. ten thousand on immediate expenses. what they both needed that seventy-five thousand for. And in all these pictures he saw himself well-fed. . . He dozes sweetly. . they could not have said." he said -. travelling .

sigh. the bare trees weep. . Masha. you know. Martin's summer is followed by cloudy. . It is dreary! Ivan Dmitritch stopped and looked at his wife. baskets. the wind is damp and cold. . .drink another. to Italy . or. . "But look at the number of the ticket!" "Wait. the fowls -. that she had spent so much money. . . and in leisurely fashion turn over the pages of some illustrated magazine. "I should go abro ad. complaining that the train made her head ache. The children would come running from the kitchen-garden. At the stations he would continually be having to run for boiling water. she would be sighing over something. careless women who live in the present. its cold evenings. .dreaming. . At that season he would have to take longer walks about the garden and beside the river. Ivan Dmitritch imagined his wife in the train with a multitude of parcels. one can't go out for days together." he said. .all are wet. The dogs. And then. . and then -. or in the society of light. bread and butter. . and its St. he would lie stretched full length on the sofa. depressed." He walked about the room and went on thinking. downcast. . the horses. She wouldn't have dinner because of its . and then drink a big glass of vodka and eat a salted mushroom or a soused cucumber. Ivan Dmitritch pictured to himself autumn with its rains. . so as to get thoroughly chilled. . to India! "I should certainly go abroad too. give himself up to slumber. And he began thinking how nice it would be in late autumn to go abroad somewhere to the South of France . . It occurred to him: what if his wife really did go abroad? It is pleasant to travel alone. Martin's summer. covering his face with it and unbuttoning his waistcoat. . . There is nowhere to walk. It rains day and night. and from her face it was evident that she was enchanted by her thoughts. bringing a carrot and a radish smelling of fresh earth. gloomy weather. and not such as think and talk all the journey about nothing but their children. looking despondently at the grey window. ." his wife said. and tremble with dismay over every farthing. one has to pace up and down the room. wait! . and bags. The St.

and put the rest away under lock and key. why should she go abroad? What would she make of it? And yet she would go. all that is silly nonsense. . whether it is Naples or Klin." . "The lottery ticket is hers. Ivan Dmitritch remembered his own relations. . . She would only be in my way. . they would ask for more. while he was still young. and fawning upon them with oily. She will look after her relations and grudge me every farthing. Anger surged up in his heart against her. . I can fancy how." he thought. In reality it is all one to her. . and their faces. If she won it she would give me a hundred roubles. Wretched. fresh. while if they were refused. they would swear at them. she will lock the money up as soon as she gets it. ." Ivan Dmitritch thought of her relations. at which he had looked impartially in the past. would begin whining like beggars. "but . and healthy. And his wife's face. . "She would begrudge me every farthing. what is the use of her going abroad? What does she want there? She would shut herself up in the hotel. . and might well have got married again. I can fancy . like a regular woman. detestable people! If they were given anything. . . "Of course. struck him as repulsive and hateful. with a glance at his wife. . . She will hide it from me. . .being too dear. . struck him now as repulsive and hateful. slander them. and so she is stingy. All those wretched brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles would come crawling about as soon as they heard of the winning ticket. too. I should be dependent upon her. of course. . and that she was saturated through and through with the smell of cooking. I know!" And for the first time in his life his mind dwelt on the fact that his wife had grown elderly and plain. and not let me out of her sight. and wish them every kind of misfortune. . hypocritical smiles. and he thought malignantly: "She knows nothing about money." he thought. . "They are such reptiles!" he thought. not mine! Besides.

She knew who would be the first to try and grab her winnings. number 46! Not 26!" Hatred and hope both disappeared at once. not with a smile now. hatred began stirring again in his breast.And he looked at his wife. "No. to spite her at the fourth page on the newspaper and read out triumphantly: "Series 9. "Wherever one steps there are bits of paper under one's feet. The rooms are never swept! One is simply forced to go out. but lying heavy on their stomachs. "It's very nice making daydreams at other people's expense!" is what her eyes expressed.499. crumbs. her own plans. she understood perfectly well what her husband's dreams were. don't you dare!" Her husband understood her look. . She had her own daydreams. that the evenings were long and wearisome. "What the devil's the meaning of it?" said Ivan Dmitritch. her own reflections. Damnation take my soul entirely! I shall go and hang myself on the first aspen-tree!" End of Project Gutenberg Etext of The Schoolmistress and other Stories by Chekhov . husks. but with hatred. She glanced at him too. and it began immediately to seem to Ivan Dmitritch and his wife that their rooms were dark and small and low-pitched. and in order to annoy his wife he glanced quickly. . that the supper they had been eating was not doing them good. . beginning to be ill-humoured. and also with hatred and anger.

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