Count Leo Tolstoy
Part 2 out of 11
began fanning her hot face with them; then, with her head turned
back to him, she walked away, swaying her arms briskly in front
of her, and joined the other players.
After this there grew up between Nekhludoff and Katusha those
peculiar relations which often exist between a pure young man and
girl who are attracted to each other.
When Katusha came into the room, or even when he saw her white
apron from afar, everything brightened up in Nekhludoff's eyes,
as when the sun appears everything becomes more interesting, more
joyful, more important. The whole of life seemed full of
gladness. And she felt the same. But it was not only Katusha's
presence that had this effect on Nekhludoff. The mere thought
that Katusha existed (and for her that Nekhludoff existed) had
When he received an unpleasant letter from his mother, or could
not get on with his essay, or felt the unreasoning sadness that
young people are often subject to, he had only to remember
Katusha and that he should see her, and it all vanished. Katusha
had much work to do in the house, but she managed to get a little
leisure for reading, and Nekhludoff gave her Dostoievsky and
Tourgeneff (whom he had just read himself) to read. She liked
Tourgeneff's Lull best. They had talks at moments snatched when
meeting in the passage, on the veranda, or the yard, and
sometimes in the room of his aunts' old servant, Matrona
Pavlovna, with whom he sometimes used to drink tea, and where
Katusha used to work.
These talks in Matrona Pavlovna's presence were the pleasantest.
When they were alone it was worse. Their eyes at once began to
say something very different and far more important than what
their mouths uttered. Their lips puckered, and they felt a kind
of dread of something that made them part quickly. These
relations continued between Nekhludoff and Katusha during the
whole time of his first visit to his aunts'. They noticed it, and
became frightened, and even wrote to Princess Elena Ivanovna,
Nekhludoff's mother. His aunt, Mary Ivanovna, was afraid Dmitri
would form an intimacy with Katusha; but her fears were
groundless, for Nekhludoff, himself hardly conscious of it, loved
Katusha, loved her as the pure love, and therein lay his
safety--his and hers. He not only did not feel any desire to
possess her, but the very thought of it filled him with horror.
The fears of the more poetical Sophia Ivanovna, that Dmitri, with
his thoroughgoing, resolute character, having fallen in love with
a girl, might make up his mind to marry her, without considering
either her birth or her station, had more ground.
Had Nekhludoff at that time been conscious of his love for
Katusha, and especially if he had been told that he could on no
account join his life with that of a girl in her position, it
might have easily happened that, with his usual straight-
forwardness, he would have come to the conclusion that there
could be no possible reason for him not to marry any girl
whatever, as long as he loved her. But his aunts did not
mention their fears to him; and, when he left, he was still
unconscious of his love for Katusha. He was sure that what he
felt for Katusha was only one of the manifestations of the joy of
life that filled his whole being, and that this sweet, merry
little girl shared this joy with him. Yet, when he was going
away, and Katusha stood with his aunts in the porch, and looked
after him, her dark, slightly-squinting eyes filled with tears,
he felt, after all, that he was leaving something beautiful,
precious, something which would never reoccur. And he grew very
"Good-bye, Katusha," he said, looking across Sophia Ivanovna's
cap as he was getting into the trap. "Thank you for everything."
"Good-bye, Dmitri Ivanovitch," she said, with her pleasant,
tender voice, keeping back the tears that filled her eyes--and
ran away into the hall, where she could cry in peace.
LIFE IN THE ARMY.
After that Nekhludoff did not see Katusha for more than three
years. When he saw her again he had just been promoted to the
rank of officer and was going to join his regiment. On the way he
came to spend a few days with his aunts, being now a very
different young man from the one who had spent the summer with
them three years before. He then had been an honest, unselfish
lad, ready to sacrifice himself for any good cause; now he was
depraved and selfish, and thought only of his own enjoyment. Then
God's world seemed a mystery which he tried enthusiastically and
joyfully to solve; now everything in life seemed clear and
simple, defined by the conditions of the life he was leading.
Then he had felt the importance of, and had need of intercourse
with, nature, and with those who had lived and thought and felt
before him--philosophers and poets. What he now considered
necessary and important were human institutions and intercourse
with his comrades. Then women seemed mysterious and
charming--charming by the very mystery that enveloped them; now
the purpose of women, all women except those of his own family
and the wives of his friends, was a very definite one: women were
the best means towards an already experienced enjoyment. Then
money was not needed, and he did not require even one-third of
what his mother allowed him; but now this allowance of 1,500
roubles a month did not suffice, and he had already had some
unpleasant talks about it with his mother.
Then he had looked on his spirit as the I; now it was his healthy
strong animal I that he looked upon as himself.
And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased
to believe himself and had taken to believing others. This he had
done because it was too difficult to live believing one's self;
believing one's self, one had to decide every question not in
favour of one's own animal life, which is always seeking for easy
gratifications, but almost in every case against it. Believing
others there was nothing to decide; everything had been decided
already, and decided always in favour of the animal I and against
the spiritual. Nor was this all. Believing in his own self he was
always exposing himself to the censure of those around him;
believing others he had their approval. So, when Nekhludoff had
talked of the serious matters of life, of God, truth, riches, and
poverty, all round him thought it out of place and even rather
funny, and his mother and aunts called him, with kindly irony,
notre cher philosophe. But when he read novels, told improper
anecdotes, went to see funny vaudevilles in the French theatre
and gaily repeated the jokes, everybody admired and encouraged
him. When he considered it right to limit his needs, wore an old
overcoat, took no wine, everybody thought it strange and looked
upon it as a kind of showing off; but when he spent large sums on
hunting, or on furnishing a peculiar and luxurious study for
himself, everybody admired his taste and gave him expensive
presents to encourage his hobby. While he kept pure and meant to
remain so till he married his friends prayed for his health, and
even his mother was not grieved but rather pleased when she found
out that he had become a real man and had gained over some French
woman from his friend. (As to the episode with Katusha, the
princess could not without horror think that he might possibly
have married her.) In the same way, when Nekhludoff came of age,
and gave the small estate he had inherited from his father to the
peasants because he considered the holding of private property in
land wrong, this step filled his mother and relations with dismay
and served as an excuse for making fun of him to all his
relatives. He was continually told that these peasants, after
they had received the land, got no richer, but, on the contrary,
poorer, having opened three public-houses and left off doing any
work. But when Nekhludoff entered the Guards and spent and
gambled away so much with his aristocratic companions that Elena
Ivanovna, his mother, had to draw on her capital, she was hardly
pained, considering it quite natural and even good that wild oats
should be sown at an early age and in good company, as her son
was doing. At first Nekhludoff struggled, but all that he had
considered good while he had faith in himself was considered bad
by others, and what he had considered evil was looked upon as
good by those among whom he lived, and the struggle grew too
hard. And at last Nekhludoff gave in, i.e., left off believing
himself and began believing others. At first this giving up of
faith in himself was unpleasant, but it did not long continue to
be so. At that time he acquired the habit of smoking, and
drinking wine, and soon got over this unpleasant feeling and even
felt great relief.
Nekhludoff, with his passionate nature, gave himself thoroughly
to the new way of life so approved of by all those around, and he
entirely stifled the inner voice which demanded something
different. This began after he moved to St. Petersburg, and
reached its highest point when he entered the army.
Military life in general depraves men. It places them in
conditions of complete idleness, i.e., absence of all useful
work; frees them of their common human duties, which it replaces
by merely conventional ones to the honour of the regiment, the
uniform, the flag; and, while giving them on the one hand
absolute power over other men, also puts them into conditions of
servile obedience to those of higher rank than themselves.
But when, to the usual depraving influence of military service
with its honours, uniforms, flags, its permitted violence and
murder, there is added the depraving influence of riches and
nearness to and intercourse with members of the Imperial family,
as is the case in the chosen regiment of the Guards in which all
the officers are rich and of good family, then this depraving
influence creates in the men who succumb to it a perfect mania of
selfishness. And this mania of selfishness attacked Nekhludoff
from the moment he entered the army and began living in the way
his companions lived. He had no occupation whatever except to
dress in a uniform, splendidly made and well brushed by other
people, and, with arms also made and cleaned and handed to him by
others, ride to reviews on a fine horse which had been bred,
broken in and fed by others. There, with other men like himself,
he had to wave a sword, shoot off guns, and teach others to do
the same. He had no other work, and the highly-placed persons,
young and old, the Tsar and those near him, not only sanctioned
his occupation but praised and thanked him for it.
After this was done, it was thought important to eat, and
particularly to drink, in officers' clubs or the salons of the
best restaurants, squandering large sums of money, which came
from some invisible source; then theatres, ballets, women, then
again riding on horseback, waving of swords and shooting, and
again the squandering of money, the wine, cards, and women. This
kind of life acts on military men even more depravingly than on
others, because if any other than a military man lead such a life
he cannot help being ashamed of it in the depth of his heart. A
military man is, on the contrary, proud of a life of this kind
especially at war time, and Nekhludoff had entered the army just
after war with the Turks had been declared. "We are prepared to
sacrifice our lives at the wars, and therefore a gay, reckless
life is not only pardonable, but absolutely necessary for us, and
so we lead it."
Such were Nekhludoff's confused thoughts at this period of his
existence, and he felt all the time the delight of being free of
the moral barriers he had formerly set himself. And the state he
lived in was that of a chronic mania of selfishness. He was in
this state when, after three years' absence, he came again to
visit his aunts.
THE SECOND MEETING WITH MASLOVA.
Nekhludoff went to visit his aunts because their estate lay near
the road he had to travel in order to join his regiment, which
had gone forward, because they had very warmly asked him to come,
and especially because he wanted to see Katusha. Perhaps in his
heart he had already formed those evil designs against Katusha
which his now uncontrolled animal self suggested to him, but he
did not acknowledge this as his intention, but only wished to go
back to the spot where he had been so happy, to see his rather
funny, but dear, kind-hearted old aunts, who always, without his
noticing it, surrounded him with an atmosphere of love and
admiration, and to see sweet Katusha, of whom he had retained so
pleasant a memory.
He arrived at the end of March, on Good Friday, after the thaw
had set in. It was pouring with rain so that he had not a dry
thread on him and was feeling very cold, but yet vigorous and
full of spirits, as always at that time. "Is she still with
them?" he thought, as he drove into the familiar, old-fashioned
courtyard, surrounded by a low brick wall, and now filled with
snow off the roofs.
He expected she would come out when she heard the sledge bells
but she did not. Two bare-footed women with pails and tucked-up
skirts, who had evidently been scrubbing the floors, came out of
the side door. She was not at the front door either, and only
Tikhon, the man-servant, with his apron on, evidently also busy
cleaning, came out into the front porch. His aunt Sophia Ivanovna
alone met him in the ante-room; she had a silk dress on and a cap
on her head. Both aunts had been to church and had received
"Well, this is nice of you to come," said Sophia Ivanovna,
kissing him. "Mary is not well, got tired in church; we have been
"I congratulate you, Aunt Sophia," [it is usual in Russia to
congratulate those who have received communion] said Nekhludoff,
kissing Sophia Ivanovna's hand. "Oh, I beg your pardon, I have
made you wet."
"Go to your room--why you are soaking wet. Dear me, you have got
moustaches! . . . Katusha! Katusha! Get him some coffee; be
"Directly," came the sound of a well-known, pleasant voice from
the passage, and Nekhludoff's heart cried out "She's here!" and
it was as if the sun had come out from behind the clouds.
Nekhludoff, followed by Tikhon, went gaily to his old room to
change his things. He felt inclined to ask Tikhon about Katusha;
how she was, what she was doing, was she not going to be married?
But Tikhon was so respectful and at the same time so severe,
insisted so firmly on pouring the water out of the jug for him,
that Nekhludoff could not make up his mind to ask him about
Katusha, but only inquired about Tikhon's grandsons, about the
old so-called "brother's" horse, and about the dog Polkan. All
were alive except Polkan, who had gone mad the summer before.
When he had taken off all his wet things and just begun to dress
again, Nekhludoff heard quick, familiar footsteps and a knock at
the door. Nekhludoff knew the steps and also the knock. No one
but she walked and knocked like that.
Having thrown his wet greatcoat over his shoulders, he opened the
"Come in." It was she, Katusha, the same, only sweeter than
before. The slightly squinting naive black eyes looked up in the
same old way. Now as then, she had on a white apron. She brought
him from his aunts a piece of scented soap, with the wrapper just
taken off, and two towels--one a long Russian embroidered one,
the other a bath towel. The unused soap with the stamped
inscription, the towels, and her own self, all were equally
clean, fresh, undefiled and pleasant. The irrepressible smile of
joy at the sight of him made the sweet, firm lips pucker up as of
"How do you do, Dmitri Ivanovitch?" she uttered with difficulty,
her face suffused with a rosy blush.
"Good-morning! How do you do?" he said, also blushing. "Alive and
"Yes, the Lord be thanked. And here is your favorite pink soap and
towels from your aunts," she said, putting the soap on the table
and hanging the towels over the back of a chair.
"There is everything here," said Tikhon, defending the visitor's
independence, and pointing to Nekhludoff's open dressing case
filled with brushes, perfume, fixatoire, a great many bottles
with silver lids and all sorts of toilet appliances.
"Thank my aunts, please. Oh, how glad I am to be here," said
Nekhludoff, his heart filling with light and tenderness as of
She only smiled in answer to these words, and went out. The
aunts, who had always loved Nekhludoff, welcomed him this time
more warmly than ever. Dmitri was going to the war, where he
might be wounded or killed, and this touched the old aunts.
Nekhludoff had arranged to stay only a day and night with his
aunts, but when he had seen Katusha he agreed to stay over Easter
with them and telegraphed to his friend Schonbock, whom he was to
have joined in Odessa, that he should come and meet him at his
As soon as he had seen Katusha Nekhludoff's old feelings toward
her awoke again. Now, just as then, he could not see her white
apron without getting excited; he could not listen to her steps,
her voice, her laugh, without a feeling of joy; he could not look
at her eyes, black as sloes, without a feeling of tenderness,
especially when she smiled; and, above all, he could not notice
without agitation how she blushed when they met. He felt he was
in love, but not as before, when this love was a kind of mystery
to him and he would not own, even to himself, that he loved, and
when he was persuaded that one could love only once; now he knew
he was in love and was glad of it, and knew dimly what this love
consisted of and what it might lead to, though he sought to
conceal it even from himself. In Nekhludoff, as in every man,
there were two beings: one the spiritual, seeking only that kind
of happiness for him self which should tend towards the happiness
of all; the other, the animal man, seeking only his own
happiness, and ready to sacrifice to it the happiness of the rest
of the world. At this period of his mania of self-love brought on
by life in Petersburg and in the army, this animal man ruled
supreme and completely crushed the spiritual man in him.
But when he saw Katusha and experienced the same feelings as he
had had three years before, the spiritual man in him raised its
head once more and began to assert its rights. And up to Easter,
during two whole days, an unconscious, ceaseless inner struggle
went on in him.
He knew in the depths of his soul that he ought to go away, that
there was no real reason for staying on with his aunts, knew that
no good could come of it; and yet it was so pleasant, so
delightful, that he did not honestly acknowledge the facts to
himself and stayed on. On Easter eve, the priest and the deacon
who came to the house to say mass had had (so they said) the
greatest difficulty in getting over the three miles that lay
between the church and the old ladies' house, coming across the
puddles and the bare earth in a sledge.
Nekhludoff attended the mass with his aunts and the servants, and
kept looking at Katusha, who was near the door and brought in the
censers for the priests. Then having given the priests and his
aunts the Easter kiss, though it was not midnight and therefore
not Easter yet, he was already going to bed when he heard the old
servant Matrona Pavlovna preparing to go to the church to get the
koulitch and paski [Easter cakes] blest after the midnight
service. "I shall go too," he thought.
The road to the church was impassable either in a sledge or on
wheels, so Nekhludoff, who behaved in his aunts' house just as he
did at home, ordered the old horse, "the brother's horse," to be
saddled, and instead of going to bed he put on his gay uniform, a
pair of tight-fitting riding breeches and his overcoat, and got
on the old over-fed and heavy horse, which neighed continually
all the way as he rode in the dark through the puddles and snow
to the church.
THE EARLY MASS.
For Nekhludoff this early mass remained for ever after one of the
brightest and most vivid memories of his life. When he rode out
of the darkness, broken only here and there by patches of white
snow, into the churchyard illuminated by a row of lamps around
the church, the service had already begun.
The peasants, recognising Mary Ivanovna's nephew, led his horse,
which was pricking up its cars at the sight of the lights, to a
dry place where he could get off, put it up for him, and showed
him into the church, which was full of people. On the right stood
the peasants; the old men in home-spun coats, and clean white
linen bands [long strips of linen are worn by the peasants instead
of stockings] wrapped round their legs, the young men in new
cloth coats, bright-coloured belts round their waists, and
On the left stood the women, with red silk kerchiefs on their
heads, black velveteen sleeveless jackets, bright red
shirt-sleeves, gay-coloured green, blue, and red skirts, and
thick leather boots. The old women, dressed more quietly, stood
behind them, with white kerchiefs, homespun coats, old-fashioned
skirts of dark home-spun material, and shoes on their feet.
Gaily-dressed children, their hair well oiled, went in and out
The men, making the sign of the cross, bowed down and raised
their heads again, shaking back their hair.
The women, especially the old ones, fixed their eyes on an icon
surrounded with candies and made the sign of the cross, firmly
pressing their folded fingers to the kerchief on their foreheads,
to their shoulders, and their stomachs, and, whispering
something, stooped or knelt down. The children, imitating the
grown-up people, prayed earnestly when they knew that they were
being observed. The gilt case containing the icon glittered,
illuminated on all sides by tall candles ornamented with golden
spirals. The candelabra was filled with tapers, and from the
choir sounded most merry tunes sung by amateur choristers, with
bellowing bass and shrill boys' voices among them.
Nekhludoff passed up to the front. In the middle of the church
stood the aristocracy of the place: a landed proprietor, with his
wife and son (the latter dressed in a sailor's suit), the police
officer, the telegraph clerk, a tradesman in top-boots, and the
village elder, with a medal on his breast; and to the right of
the ambo, just behind the landed proprietor's wife, stood Matrona
Pavlovna in a lilac dress and fringed shawl and Katusha in a
white dress with a tucked bodice, blue sash, and red bow in her
Everything seemed festive, solemn, bright, and beautiful: the
priest in his silver cloth vestments with gold crosses; the
deacon, the clerk and chanter in their silver and gold surplices;
the amateur choristers in their best clothes, with their
well-oiled hair; the merry tunes of the holiday hymns that
sounded like dance music; and the continual blessing of the
people by the priests, who held candles decorated with flowers,
and repeated the cry of "Christ is risen!" "Christ is risen!" All
was beautiful; but, above all, Katusha, in her white dress, blue
sash, and the red bow on her black head, her eyes beaming with
Nekhludoff knew that she felt his presence without looking at
him. He noticed this as he passed her, walking up to the altar.
He had nothing to tell her, but he invented something to say and
whispered as he passed her: "Aunt told me that she would break
her fast after the late mass." The young blood rushed up to
Katusha's sweet face, as it always did when she looked at him.
The black eyes, laughing and full of joy, gazed naively up and
remained fixed on Nekhludoff.
"I know," she said, with a smile.
At this moment the clerk was going out with a copper coffee-pot
[coffee-pots are often used for holding holy water in Russia] of
holy water in his hand, and, not noticing Katusha, brushed her
with his surplice. Evidently he brushed against Katusha through
wishing to pass Nekhludoff at a respectful distance, and
Nekhludoff was surprised that he, the clerk, did not understand
that everything here, yes, and in all the world, only existed for
Katusha, and that everything else might remain unheeded, only not
she, because she was the centre of all. For her the gold
glittered round the icons; for her all these candles in
candelabra and candlesticks were alight; for her were sung these
joyful hymns, "Behold the Passover of the Lord" "Rejoice, O ye
people!" All--all that was good in the world was for her. And it
seemed to him that Katusha was aware that it was all for her when
he looked at her well-shaped figure, the tucked white dress, the
wrapt, joyous expression of her face, by which he knew that just
exactly the same that was singing in his own soul was also
singing in hers.
In the interval between the early and the late mass Nekhludoff
left the church. The people stood aside to let him pass, and
bowed. Some knew him; others asked who he was.
He stopped on the steps. The beggars standing there came
clamouring round him, and he gave them all the change he had in
his purse and went down. It was dawning, but the sun had not yet
risen. The people grouped round the graves in the churchyard.
Katusha had remained inside. Nekhludoff stood waiting for her.
The people continued coming out, clattering with their nailed
boots on the stone steps and dispersing over the churchyard. A
very old man with shaking head, his aunts' cook, stopped
Nekhludoff in order to give him the Easter kiss, his old wife
took an egg, dyed yellow, out of her handkerchief and gave it to
Nekhludoff, and a smiling young peasant in a new coat and green
belt also came up.
"Christ is risen," he said, with laughing eyes, and coming close
to Nekhludoff he enveloped him in his peculiar but pleasant
peasant smell, and, tickling him with his curly beard, kissed him
three times straight on the mouth with his firm, fresh lips.
While the peasant was kissing Nekhludoff and giving him a dark
brown egg, the lilac dress of Matrona Pavlovna and the dear black
head with the red bow appeared.
Katusha caught sight of him over the heads of those in front of
her, and he saw how her face brightened up.
She had come out with Matrona Pavlovna on to the porch, and
stopped there distributing alms to the beggars. A beggar with a
red scab in place of a nose came up to Katusha. She gave him
something, drew nearer him, and, evincing no sign of disgust, but
her eyes still shining with joy, kissed him three times. And
while she was doing this her eyes met Nekhludoff's with a look as
if she were asking, "Is this that I am doing right?" "Yes, dear,
yes, it is right; everything is right, everything is beautiful. I
They came down the steps of the porch, and he came up to them.
He did not mean to give them the Easter kiss, but only to be
nearer to her. Matrona Pavlovna bowed her head, and said with a
smile, "Christ is risen!" and her tone implied, "To-day we are
all equal." She wiped her mouth with her handkerchief rolled into
a ball and stretched her lips towards him.
"He is, indeed," answered Nekhludoff, kissing her. Then he looked
at Katusha; she blushed, and drew nearer. "Christ is risen,
Dmitri Ivanovitch." "He is risen, indeed," answered Nekhludoff,
and they kissed twice, then paused as if considering whether a
third kiss were necessary, and, having decided that it was,
kissed a third time and smiled.
"You are going to the priests?" asked Nekhludoff.
"No, we shall sit out here a bit, Dmitri Ivanovitch," said
Katusha with effort, as if she had accomplished some joyous task,
and, her whole chest heaving with a deep sigh, she looked
straight in his face with a look of devotion, virgin purity, and
love, in her very slightly squinting eyes.
In the love between a man and a woman there always comes a moment
when this love has reached its zenith--a moment when it is
unconscious, unreasoning, and with nothing sensual about it. Such
a moment had come for Nekhludoff on that Easter eve. When he
brought Katusha back to his mind, now, this moment veiled all
else; the smooth glossy black head, the white tucked dress
closely fitting her graceful maidenly form, her, as yet,
un-developed bosom, the blushing cheeks, the tender shining black
eyes with their slight squint heightened by the sleepless night,
and her whole being stamped with those two marked features,
purity and chaste love, love not only for him (he knew that), but
for everybody and everything, not for the good alone, but for all
that is in the world, even for that beggar whom she had kissed.
He knew she had that love in her because on that night and
morning he was conscious of it in himself, and conscious that in
this love he became one with her. Ah! if it had all stopped
there, at the point it had reached that night. "Yes, all that
horrible business had not yet happened on that Easter eve!" he
thought, as he sat by the window of the jurymen's room.
THE FIRST STEP.
When he returned from church Nekhludoff broke the fast with his
aunts and took a glass of spirits and some wine, having got into
that habit while with his regiment, and when he reached his room
fell asleep at once, dressed as he was. He was awakened by a
knock at the door. He knew it was her knock, and got up, rubbing
his eyes and stretching himself.
"Katusha, is it you? Come in," said he.
She opened the door.
"Dinner is ready," she said. She still had on the same white
dress, but not the bow in her hair. She looked at him with a
smile, as if she had communicated some very good news to him.
"I am coming," he answered, as he rose, taking his comb to
arrange his hair.
She stood still for a minute, and he, noticing it, threw down his
comb and made a step towards her, but at that very moment she
turned suddenly and went with quick light steps along the strip
of carpet in the middle of the passage.
"Dear me, what a fool I am," thought Nekhludoff. "Why did I not
stop her?" What he wanted her for he did not know himself, but he
felt that when she came into his room something should have been
done, something that is generally done on such occasions, and
that he had left it undone.
"Katusha, wait," he said.
"What do you want?" she said, stopping.
"Nothing, only--" and, with an effort, remembering how men in his
position generally behave, he put his arm round her waist.
She stood still and looked into his eyes.
"Don't, Dmitri Ivanovitch, you must not," she said, blushing to
tears and pushing away his arm with her strong hard hand.
Nekhludoff let her go, and for a moment he felt not only confused
and ashamed but disgusted with himself. He should now have
believed himself, and then he would have known that this
confusion and shame were caused by the best feelings of his soul
demanding to be set free; but he thought it was only his
stupidity and that he ought to behave as every one else did. He
caught her up and kissed her on the neck.
This kiss was very different from that first thoughtless kiss
behind the lilac bush, and very different to the kiss this
morning in the churchyard. This was a dreadful kiss, and she felt
"Oh, what are you doing?" she cried, in a tone as if he had
irreparably broken something of priceless value, and ran quickly
He came into the dining-room. His aunts, elegantly dressed, their
family doctor, and a neighbour were already there. Everything
seemed so very ordinary, but in Nekhludoff a storm was raging. He
understood nothing of what was being said and gave wrong answers,
thinking only of Katusha. The sound of her steps in the passage
brought back the thrill of that last kiss and he could think of
nothing else. When she came into the room he, without looking
round, felt her presence with his whole being and had to force
himself not to look at her.
After dinner he at once went into his bedroom and for a long time
walked up and down in great excitement, listening to every sound
in the house and expecting to hear her steps. The animal man
inside him had now not only lifted its head, but had succeeded in
trampling under foot the spiritual man of the days of his first
visit, and even of that every morning. That dreadful animal man
alone now ruled over him.
Though he was watching for her all day he could not manage to
meet her alone. She was probably trying to evade him. In the
evening, however, she was obliged to go into the room next to
his. The doctor had been asked to stay the night, and she had to
make his bed. When he heard her go in Nekhludoff followed her,
treading softly and holding his breath as if he were going to
commit a crime.
She was putting a clean pillow-case on the pillow, holding it by
two of its corners with her arms inside the pillow-case. She
turned round and smiled, not a happy, joyful smile as before, but
in a frightened, piteous way. The smile seemed to tell him that
what he was doing was wrong. He stopped for a moment. There was
still the possibility of a struggle. The voice of his real love
for her, though feebly, was still speaking of her, her feelings,
her life. Another voice was saying, "Take care I don't let the
opportunity for your own happiness, your own enjoyment, slip by!"
And this second voice completely stifled the first. He went up to
her with determination and a terrible, ungovernable animal
passion took possession of him.
With his arm round he made her sit down on the bed; and feeling
that there was something more to be done he sat down beside her.
"Dmitri Ivanovitch, dear! please let me go," she said, with a
piteous voice. "Matrona Pavlovna is coming," she cried, tearing
herself away. Some one was really coming to the door.
"Well, then, I'll come to you in the night," he whispered.
"You'll be alone?"
"What are you thinking of? On no account. No, no!" she said, but
only with her lips; the tremulous confusion of her whole being
said something very different.
It was Matrona Pavlovna who had come to the door. She came in
with a. blanket over her arm, looked reproachfully at Nekhludoff,
and began scolding Katusha for having taken the wrong blanket.
Nekhludoff went out in silence, but he did not even feel ashamed.
He could see by Matrona Pavlovna's face that she was blaming him,
he knew that she was blaming him with reason and felt that he was
doing wrong, but this novel, low animal excitement, having freed
itself of all the old feelings of real love for Katusha, ruled
supreme, leaving room for nothing else. He went about as if
demented all the evening, now into his aunts', then back into his
own room, then out into the porch, thinking all the time how he
could meet her alone; but she avoided him, and Matrona Pavlovna
watched her closely.
NEKHLUDOFF AND KATUSHA.
And so the evening passed and night came. The doctor went to bed.
Nekhludoff's aunts had also retired, and he knew that Matrona
Pavlovna was now with them in their bedroom so that Katusha was
sure to be alone in the maids' sitting-room. He again went out
into the porch. It was dark, damp and warm out of doors, and that
white spring mist which drives away the last snow, or is diffused
by the thawing of the last snow, filled the air. From the river
under the hill, about a hundred steps from the front door, came a
strange sound. It was the ice breaking. Nekhludoff came down the
steps and went up to the window of the maids' room, stepping over
the puddles on the bits of glazed snow. His heart was beating so
fiercely in his breast that he seemed to hear it, his laboured
breath came and went in a burst of long-drawn sighs. In the
maids' room a small lamp was burning, and Katusha sat alone by
the table, looking thoughtfully in front of her. Nekhludoff stood
a long time without moving and waited to see what she, not
knowing that she was observed, would do. For a minute or two she
did not move; then she lifted her eyes, smiled and shook her head
as if chiding herself, then changed her pose and dropped both her
arms on the table and again began gazing down in front of her. He
stood and looked at her, involuntarily listening to the beating
of his own heart and the strange sounds from the river. There on
the river, beneath the white mist, the unceasing labour went on,
and sounds as of something sobbing, cracking, dropping, being
shattered to pieces mixed with the tinkling of the thin bits of
ice as they broke against each other like glass.
There he stood, looking at Katusha's serious, suffering face,
which betrayed the inner struggle of her soul, and he felt pity
for her; but, strange though it may seem, this pity only
confirmed him in his evil intention.
He knocked at the window. She started as if she had received an
electric shock, her whole body trembled, and a look of horror
came into her face. Then she jumped up, approached the window and
brought her face up to the pane. The look of terror did not leave
her face even when, holding her hands up to her eyes like
blinkers and peering through the glass, she recognised him. Her
face was unusually grave; he had never seen it so before. She
returned his smile, but only in submission to him; there was no
smile in her soul, only fear. He beckoned her with his hand to
come out into the yard to him. But she shook her head and
remained by the window. He brought his face close to the pane and
was going to call out to her, but at that moment she turned to
the door; evidently some one inside had called her. Nekhludoff
moved away from the window. The fog was so dense that five steps
from the house the windows could not be seen, but the light from
the lamp shone red and huge out of a shapeless black mass. And on
the river the same strange sounds went on, sobbing and rustling
and cracking and tinkling. Somewhere in the fog, not far off, a
cock crowed; another answered, and then others, far in the
village took up the cry till the sound of the crowing blended
into one, while all around was silent excepting the river. It was
the second time the cocks crowed that night.
Nekhludoff walked up and down behind the corner of the house, and
once or twice got into a puddle. Then again came up to the
window. The lamp was still burning, and she was again sitting
alone by the table as if uncertain what to do. He had hardly
approached the window when she looked up. He knocked. Without
looking who it was she at once ran out of the room, and he heard
the outside door open with a snap. He waited for her near the
side porch and put his arms round her without saying a word. She
clung to him, put up her face, and met his kiss with her lips.
Then the door again gave the same sort of snap and opened, and
the voice of Matrona Pavlovna called out angrily, "Katusha!"
She tore herself away from him and returned into the maids' room.
He heard the latch click, and then all was quiet. The red light
disappeared and only the mist remained, and the bustle on the
river went on. Nekhludoff went up to the window, nobody was to be
seen; he knocked, but got no answer. He went back into the house
by the front door, but could not sleep. He got up and went with
bare feet along the passage to her door, next Matrona Pavlovna's
room. He heard Matrona Pavlovna snoring quietly, and was about to
go on when she coughed and turned on her creaking bed, and his
heart fell, and he stood immovable for about five minutes. When
all was quiet and she began to snore peacefully again, he went
on, trying to step on the boards that did not creak, and came to
Katusha's door. There was no sound to be heard. She was probably
awake, or else he would have heard her breathing. But as soon as
he had whispered "Katusha" she jumped up and began to persuade
him, as if angrily, to go away.
"Open! Let me in just for a moment! I implore you!" He hardly knew
what he was saying.
* * * * * * *
When she left him, trembling and silent, giving no answer to his
words, he again went out into the porch and stood trying to
understand the meaning of what had happened.
It was getting lighter. From the river below the creaking and
tinkling and sobbing of the breaking ice came still louder and a
gurgling sound could now also be heard. The mist had begun to
sink, and from above it the waning moon dimly lighted up
something black and weird.
"What was the meaning of it all? Was it a great joy or a great
misfortune that had befallen him?" he asked himself.
The next day the gay, handsome, and brilliant Schonbock joined
Nekhludoff at his aunts' house, and quite won their hearts by his
refined and amiable manner, his high spirits, his generosity, and
his affection for Dmitri.
But though the old ladies admired his generosity it rather
perplexed them, for it seemed exaggerated. He gave a rouble to
some blind beggars who came to the gate, gave 15 roubles in tips
to the servants, and when Sophia Ivanovna's pet dog hurt his paw
and it bled, he tore his hemstitched cambric handkerchief into
strips (Sophia Ivanovna knew that such handkerchiefs cost at
least 15 roubles a dozen) and bandaged the dog's foot. The old
ladies had never met people of this kind, and did not know that
Schonbock owed 200,000 roubles which he was never going to pay,
and that therefore 25 roubles more or less did not matter a bit
to him. Schonbock stayed only one day, and he and Nekhludoff
both, left at night. They could not stay away from their regiment
any longer, for their leave was fully up.
At the stage which Nekhludoff's selfish mania had now reached he
could think of nothing but himself. He was wondering whether his
conduct, if found out, would be blamed much or at all, but he did
not consider what Katusha was now going through, and what was
going to happen to her.
He saw that Schonbock guessed his relations to her and this
flattered his vanity.
"Ah, I see how it is you have taken such a sudden fancy to your
aunts that you have been living nearly a week with them,"
Schonbock remarked when he had seen Katusha. "Well, I don't
wonder--should have done the same. She's charming." Nekhludoff
was also thinking that though it was a pity to go away before
having fully gratified the cravings of his love for her, yet the
absolute necessity of parting had its advantages because it put a
sudden stop to relations it would have been very difficult for
him to continue. Then he thought that he ought to give her some
money, not for her, not because she might need it, but because it
was the thing to do.
So he gave her what seemed to him a liberal amount, considering
his and her station. On the day of his departure, after dinner,
he went out and waited for her at the side entrance. She flushed
up when she saw him and wished to pass by, directing his
attention to the open door of the maids' room by a look, but he
"I have come to say good-bye," he said, crumbling in his hand an
envelope with a 100-rouble note inside. "There, I" . . .
She guessed what he meant, knit her brows, and shaking her head
pushed his hand away.
"Take it; oh, you must!" he stammered, and thrust the envelope
into the bib of her apron and ran back to his room, groaning and
frowning as if he had hurt himself. And for a long time he went
up and down writhing as in pain, and even stamping and groaning
aloud as he thought of this last scene. "But what else could I
have done? Is it not what happens to every one? And if every one
does the same . . . well I suppose it can't be helped." In this
way he tried to get peace of mind, but in vain. The recollection
of what had passed burned his conscience. In his soul--in the
very depths of his soul--he knew that he had acted in a base,
cruel, cowardly manner, and that the knowledge of this act of his
must prevent him, not only from finding fault with any one else,
but even from looking straight into other people's eyes; not to
mention the impossibility of considering himself a splendid,
noble, high-minded fellow, as he did and had to do to go on
living his life boldly and merrily. There was only one solution
of the problem--i.e., not to think about it. He succeeded in doing
so. The life he was now entering upon, the new surroundings, new
friends, the war, all helped him to forget. And the longer he
lived, the less he thought about it, until at last he forgot it
Once only, when, after the war, he went to see his aunts in hopes
of meeting Katusha, and heard that soon after his last visit she
had left, and that his aunts had heard she had been confined
somewhere or other and had gone quite to the bad, his heart
ached. According to the time of her confinement, the child might
or might not have been his. His aunts said she had gone wrong,
that she had inherited her mother's depraved nature, and he was
pleased to hear this opinion of his aunts'. It seemed to acquit
him. At first he thought of trying to find her and her child, but
then, just because in the depths of his soul he felt so ashamed
and pained when thinking about her, he did not make the necessary
effort to find her, but tried to forget his sin again and ceased
to think about it. And now this strange coincidence brought it
all back to his memory, and demanded from him the acknowledgment
of the heartless, cruel cowardice which had made it possible for
him to live these nine years with such a sin on his conscience.
But he was still far from such an acknowledgment, and his only
fear was that everything might now be found out, and that she or
her advocate might recount it all and put him to shame before
every one present.
In this state of mind Nekhludoff left the Court and went into the
jurymen's room. He sat by the window smoking all the while, and
hearing what was being said around him.
The merry merchant seemed with all his heart to sympathise with
Smelkoff's way of spending his time. "There, old fellow, that was
something like! Real Siberian fashion! He knew what he was about,
no fear! That's the sort of wench for me."
The foreman was stating his conviction, that in some way or other
the expert's conclusions were the important thing. Peter
Gerasimovitch was joking about something with the Jewish clerk,
and they burst out laughing. Nekhludoff answered all the
questions addressed to him in monosyllables and longed only to be
left in peace.
When the usher, with his sideways gait, called the jury back to
the Court, Nekhludoff was seized with fear, as if he were not
going to judge, but to be judged. In the depth of his soul he
felt that he was a scoundrel, who ought to be ashamed to look
people in the face, yet, by sheer force of habit, he stepped on
to the platform in his usual self-possessed manner, and sat down,
crossing his legs and playing with his pince-nez.
The prisoners had also been led out, and were now brought in
again. There were some new faces in the Court witnesses, and
Nekhludoff noticed that Maslova could not take her eyes off a
very fat woman who sat in the row in front of the grating, very
showily dressed in silk and velvet, a high hat with a large bow
on her head, and an elegant little reticule on her arm, which was
bare to the elbow. This was, as he subsequently found out, one of
the witnesses, the mistress of the establishment to which Maslova
The examination of the witnesses commenced: they were asked their
names, religion, etc. Then, after some consultation as to whether
the witnesses were to be sworn in or not, the old priest came in
again, dragging his legs with difficulty, and, again arranging
the golden cross on his breast, swore the witnesses and the
expert in the same quiet manner, and with the same assurance that
he was doing something useful and important.
The witnesses having been sworn, all but Kitaeva, the keeper of
the house, were led out again. She was asked what she knew about
this affair. Kitaeva nodded her head and the big hat at every
sentence and smiled affectedly. She gave a very full and
intelligent account, speaking with a strong German accent. First
of all, the hotel servant Simeon, whom she knew, came to her
establishment on behalf of a rich Siberian merchant, and she sent
Lubov back with him. After a time Lubov returned with the
merchant. The merchant was already somewhat intoxicated--she
smiled as she said this--and went on drinking and treating the
girls. He was short of money. He sent this same Lubov to his
lodgings. He had taken a "predilection" to her. She looked at the
prisoner as she said this.
Nekhludoff thought he saw Maslova smile here, and this seemed
disgusting to him. A strange, indefinite feeling of loathing,
mingled with suffering, arose in him.
"And what was your opinion of Maslova?" asked the blushing and
confused applicant for a judicial post, appointed to act as
"Zee ferry pesht," answered Kitaeva. "Zee yoong voman is etucated
and elecant. She was prought up in a coot family and can reat
French. She tid have a trop too moch sometimes, put nefer forcot
herself. A ferry coot girl."
Katusha looked at the woman, then suddenly turned her eyes on the
jury and fixed them on Nekhludoff, and her face grew serious and
even severe. One of her serious eyes squinted, and those two
strange eyes for some time gazed at Nekhludoff, who, in spite of
the terrors that seized him, could not take his look off these
squinting eyes, with their bright, clear whites.
He thought of that dreadful night, with its mist, the ice
breaking on the river below, and when the waning moon, with horns
turned upwards, that had risen towards morning, lit up something
black and weird. These two black eyes now looking at him reminded
him of this weird, black something. "She has recognised me," he
thought, and Nekhludoff shrank as if expecting a blow. But she
had not recognised him. She sighed quietly and again looked at
the president. Nekhludoff also sighed. "Oh, if it would only get
on quicker," he thought.
He now felt the same loathing and pity and vexation as when, out
shooting, he was obliged to kill a wounded bird. The wounded bird
struggles in the game bag. One is disgusted and yet feels pity,
and one is in a hurry to kill the bird and forget it.
Such mixed feelings filled Nekhludoff's breast as he sat
listening to the examination of the witnesses.
THE TRIAL--THE MEDICAL REPORT.
But, as if to spite him, the case dragged out to a great length.
After each witness had been examined separately and the expert
last of all, and a great number of useless questions had been
put, with the usual air of importance, by the public prosecutor
and by both advocates, the president invited the jury to examine
the objects offered as material evidence. They consisted of an
enormous diamond ring, which had evidently been worn on the first
finger, and a test tube in which the poison had been analysed.
These things had seals and labels attached to them.
Just as the witnesses were about to look at these things, the
public prosecutor rose and demanded that before they did this the
results of the doctor's examination of the body should be read.
The president, who was hurrying the business through as fast as
he could in order to visit his Swiss friend, though he knew that
the reading of this paper could have no other effect than that of
producing weariness and putting off the dinner hour, and that the
public prosecutor wanted it read simply because he knew he had a
right to demand it, had no option but to express his consent.
The secretary got out the doctor's report and again began to read
in his weary lisping voice, making no distinction between the
"r's" and "l's."
The external examination proved that:
"1. Theropont Smelkoff's height was six feet five inches.
"Not so bad, that. A very good size," whispered the merchant,
with interest, into Nekhludoff's ear.
2. He looked about 40 years of age.
3. The body was of a swollen appearance.
4. The flesh was of a greenish colour, with dark spots in several
5. The skin was raised in blisters of different sizes and in
places had come off in large pieces.
6. The hair was chestnut; it was thick, and separated easily from
the skin when touched.
7. The eye-balls protruded from their sockets and the cornea had
8. Out of the nostrils, both ears, and the mouth oozed serous
liquid; the mouth was half open.
9. The neck had almost disappeared, owing to the swelling of the
face and chest."
And so on and so on.
Four pages were covered with the 27 paragraphs describing all the
details of the external examination of the enormous, fat,
swollen, and decomposing body of the merchant who had been making
merry in the town. The indefinite loathing that Nekhludoff felt
was increased by the description of the corpse. Katusha's life,
and the scrum oozing from the nostrils of the corpse, and the
eyes that protruded out of their sockets, and his own treatment
of her--all seemed to belong to the same order of things, and he
felt surrounded and wholly absorbed by things of the same nature.
When the reading of the report of the external examination was
ended, the president heaved a sigh and raised his hand, hoping it
was finished; but the secretary at once went on to the
description of the internal examination. The president's head
again dropped into his hand and he shut his eyes. The merchant
next to Nekhludoff could hardly keep awake, and now and then his
body swayed to and fro. The prisoners and the gendarmes sat
The internal examination showed that:
"1. The skin was easily detachable from the bones of the skull,
and there was no coagulated blood.
"2. The bones of the skull were of average thickness and in sound
"3. On the membrane of the brain there were two discoloured
spots about four inches long, the membrane itself being of a dull
white." And so on for 13 paragraphs more. Then followed the names
and signatures of the assistants, and the doctor's conclusion
showing that the changes observed in the stomach, and to a lesser
degree in the bowels and kidneys, at the postmortem examination,
and described in the official report, gave great probability to
the conclusion that Smelkoff's death was caused by poison which
had entered his stomach mixed with alcohol. To decide from the
state of the stomach what poison had been introduced was
difficult; but it was necessary to suppose that the poison
entered the stomach mixed with alcohol, since a great quantity of
the latter was found in Smelkoff's stomach.
"He could drink, and no mistake," again whispered the merchant,
who had just waked up.
The reading of this report had taken a full hour, but it had not
satisfied the public prosecutor, for, when it had been read
through and the president turned to him, saying, "I suppose it is
superfluous to read the report of the examination of the internal
organs?" he answered in a severe tone, without looking at the
president, "I shall ask to have it read."
He raised himself a little, and showed by his manner that he had
a right to have this report read, and would claim this right, and
that if that were not granted it would serve as a cause of
The member of the Court with the big beard, who suffered from
catarrh of the stomach, feeling quite done up, turned to the
"What is the use of reading all this? It is only dragging it out.
These new brooms do not sweep clean; they only take a long while
The member with the gold spectacles said nothing, but only looked
gloomily in front of him, expecting nothing good, either from his
wife or life in general. The reading of the report commenced.
"In the year 188-, on February 15th, I, the undersigned,
commissioned by the medical department, made an examination, No.
638," the secretary began again with firmness and raising the
pitch of his voice as if to dispel the sleepiness that had
overtaken all present, "in the presence of the assistant medical
inspector, of the internal organs:
"1. The right lung and the heart (contained in a 6-lb. glass
"2. The contents of the stomach (in a 6-lb. glass jar).
"3. The stomach itself (in a 6-lb. glass jar).
"4. The liver, the spleen and the kidneys (in a 9-lb. glass jar).
5. The intestines (in a 9-lb. earthenware jar)."
The president here whispered to one of the members, then stooped
to the other, and having received their consent, he said: "The
Court considers the reading of this report superfluous." The
secretary stopped reading and folded the paper, and the public
prosecutor angrily began to write down something. "The gentlemen
of the jury may now examine the articles of material evidence,"
said the president. The foreman and several of the others rose
and went to the table, not quite knowing what to do with their
hands. They looked in turn at the glass, the test tube, and the
ring. The merchant even tried on the ring.
"Ah! that was a finger," he said, returning to his place; "like a
cucumber," he added. Evidently the image he had formed in his
mind of the gigantic merchant amused him.
THE TRIAL--THE PROSECUTOR AND THE ADVOCATES.
When the examination of the articles of material evidence was
finished, the president announced that the investigation was now
concluded and immediately called on the prosecutor to proceed,
hoping that as the latter was also a man, he, too, might feel
inclined to smoke or dine, and show some mercy on the rest. But
the public prosecutor showed mercy neither to himself nor to any
one else. He was very stupid by nature, but, besides this, he had
had the misfortune of finishing school with a gold medal and of
receiving a reward for his essay on "Servitude" when studying
Roman Law at the University, and was therefore self-confident and
self-satisfied in the highest degree (his success with the ladies
also conducing to this) and his stupidity had become
When the word was given to him, he got up slowly, showing the
whole of his graceful figure in his embroidered uniform. Putting
his hand on the desk he looked round the room, slightly bowing
his head, and, avoiding the eyes of the prisoners, began to read
the speech he had prepared while the reports were being read.
"Gentlemen of the jury! The business that now lies before you is,
if I may so express myself, very characteristic."
The speech of a public prosecutor, according to his views, should
always have a social importance, like the celebrated speeches
made by the advocates who have become distinguished. True, the
audience consisted of three women--a semptress, a cook, and
Simeon's sister--and a coachman; but this did not matter. The
celebrities had begun in the same way. To be always at the height
of his position, i.e., to penetrate into the depths of the
psychological significance of crime and to discover the wounds of
society, was one of the prosecutor's principles.
"You see before you, gentlemen of the jury, a crime
characteristic, if I may so express myself, of the end of our
century; bearing, so to say, the specific features of that very
painful phenomenon, the corruption to which those elements of our
present-day society, which are, so to say, particularly exposed
to the burning rays of this process, are subject."
The public prosecutor spoke at great length, trying not to forget
any of the notions he had formed in his mind, and, on the other
hand, never to hesitate, and let his speech flow on for an hour
and a quarter without a break.
Only once he stopped and for some time stood swallowing his
saliva, but he soon mastered himself and made up for the
interruption by heightened eloquence. He spoke, now with a
tender, insinuating accent, stepping from foot to foot and
looking at the jury, now in quiet, business-like tones, glancing
into his notebook, then with a loud, accusing voice, looking from
the audience to the advocates. But he avoided looking at the
prisoners, who were all three fixedly gazing at him. Every new
craze then in vogue among his set was alluded to in his speech;
everything that then was, and some things that still are,
considered to be the last words of scientific wisdom: the laws of
heredity and inborn criminality, evolution and the struggle for
existence, hypnotism and hypnotic influence.
According to his definition, the merchant Smelkoff was of the
genuine Russian type, and had perished in consequence of his
generous, trusting nature, having fallen into the hands of deeply
Simeon Kartinkin was the atavistic production of serfdom, a
stupefied, ignorant, unprincipled man, who had not even any
religion. Euphemia was his mistress, and a victim of heredity;
all the signs of degeneration were noticeable in her. The chief
wire-puller in this affair was Maslova, presenting the phenomenon
of decadence in its lowest form. "This woman," he said, looking
at her, "has, as we have to-day heard from her mistress in this
court, received an education; she cannot only read and write, but
she knows French; she is illegitimate, and probably carries in
her the germs of criminality. She was educated in an enlightened,
noble family and might have lived by honest work, but she deserts
her benefactress, gives herself up to a life of shame in which
she is distinguished from her companions by her education, and
chiefly, gentlemen of the jury, as you have heard from her
mistress, by her power of acting on the visitors by means of that
mysterious capacity lately investigated by science, especially by
the school of Charcot, known by the name of hypnotic influence.
By these means she gets hold of this Russian, this kind-hearted
Sadko, [Sadko, the hero of a legend] the rich guest, and uses his
trust in order first to rob and then pitilessly to murder him."
"Well, he is piling it on now, isn't he?" said the president with
a smile, bending towards the serious member.
"A fearful blockhead!" said the serious member.
Meanwhile the public prosecutor went on with his speech.
"Gentlemen of the jury," gracefully swaying his body, "the fate
of society is to a certain extent in your power. Your verdict
will influence it. Grasp the full meaning of this crime, the
danger that awaits society from those whom I may perhaps be
permitted to call pathological individuals, such as Maslova.
Guard it from infection; guard the innocent and strong elements
of society from contagion or even destruction."
And as if himself overcome by the significance of the expected
verdict, the public prosecutor sank into his chair, highly
delighted with his speech.
The sense of the speech, when divested of all its flowers of
rhetoric, was that Maslova, having gained the merchant's
confidence, hypnotised him and went to his lodgings with his key
meaning to take all the money herself, but having been caught in
the act by Simeon and Euphemia had to share it with them. Then,
in order to hide the traces of the crime, she had returned to the
lodgings with the merchant and there poisoned him.
After the prosecutor had spoken, a middle-aged man in
swallow-tail coat and low-cut waistcoat showing a large
half-circle of starched white shirt, rose from the advocates'
bench and made a speech in defence of Kartinkin and Botchkova;
this was an advocate engaged by them for 300 roubles. He
acquitted them both and put all the blame on Maslova. He denied
the truth of Maslova's statements that Botchkova and Kartinkin
were with her when she took the money, laying great stress on the
point that her evidence could not be accepted, she being charged
with poisoning. "The 2,500 roubles," the advocate said, "could
have been easily earned by two honest people getting from three
to five roubles per day in tips from the lodgers. The merchant's
money was stolen by Maslova and given away, or even lost, as she
was not in a normal state."
The poisoning was committed by Maslova alone; therefore he begged
the jury to acquit Kartinkin and Botchkova of stealing the money;
or if they could not acquit them of the theft, at least to admit
that it was done without any participation in the poisoning.
In conclusion the advocate remarked, with a thrust at the public
prosecutor, that "the brilliant observations of that gentleman on
heredity, while explaining scientific facts concerning heredity,
were inapplicable in this case, as Botchkova was of unknown
parentage." The public prosecutor put something down on paper
with an angry look, and shrugged his shoulders in contemptuous
Then Maslova's advocate rose, and timidly and hesitatingly began
his speech in her defence.
Without denying that she had taken part in the stealing of the
money, he insisted on the fact that she had no intention of
poisoning Smelkoff, but had given him the powder only to make him
fall asleep. He tried to go in for a little eloquence in giving a
description of how Maslova was led into a life of debauchery by a
man who had remained unpunished while she had to bear all the
weight of her fall; but this excursion into the domain of
psychology was so unsuccessful that it made everybody feel
uncomfortable. When he muttered something about men's cruelty and
women's helplessness, the president tried to help him by asking
him to keep closer to the facts of the case. When he had finished
the public prosecutor got up to reply. He defended his position
against the first advocate, saying that oven if Botchkova was of
unknown parentage the truth of the doctrine of heredity was
thereby in no way invalidated, since the laws of heredity were so
far proved by science that we can not only deduce the crime from
heredity, but heredity from the crime. As to the statement made
in defence of Maslova, that she was the victim of an imaginary
(he laid a particularly venomous stress on the word imaginary)
betrayer, he could only say that from the evidence before them it
was much more likely that she had played the part of temptress to
many and many a victim who had fallen into her hands. Having said
this he sat down in triumph. Then the prisoners were offered
permission to speak in their own defence.
Euphemia Botchkova repeated once more that she knew nothing about
it and had taken part in nothing, and firmly laid the whole blame
on Maslova. Simeon Kartinkin only repeated several times: "It is
your business, but I am innocent; it's unjust." Maslova said
nothing in her defence. Told she might do so by the president,
she only lifted her eyes to him, cast a look round the room like
a hunted animal, and, dropping her head, began to cry, sobbing
"What is the matter?" the merchant asked Nekhludoff, hearing him
utter a strange sound. This was the sound of weeping fiercely
kept back. Nekhludoff had not yet understood the significance of
his present position, and attributed the sobs he could hardly
keep back and the tears that filled his eyes to the weakness of
his nerves. He put on his pince-nez in order to hide the tears,
then got out his handkerchief and began blowing his nose.
Fear of the disgrace that would befall him if every one in the
court knew of his conduct stifled the inner working of his soul.
This fear was, during this first period, stronger than all else.
THE TRIAL--THE SUMMING UP.
After the last words of the prisoners had been heard, the form in
which the questions were to be put to the jury was settled, which
also took some time. At last the questions were formulated, and
the president began the summing up.
Before putting the case to the jury, he spoke to them for some
time in a pleasant, homely manner, explaining that burglary was
burglary and theft was theft, and that stealing from a place
which was under lock and key was stealing from a place under lock
and key. While he was explaining this, he looked several times at
Nekhludoff as if wishing to impress upon him these important
facts, in hopes that, having understood it, Nekhludoff would make
his fellow-jurymen also understand it. When he considered that
the jury were sufficiently imbued with these facts, he proceeded
to enunciate another truth--namely, that a murder is an action
which has the death of a human being as its consequence, and that
poisoning could therefore also be termed murder. When, according
to his opinion, this truth had also been received by the jury, he
went on to explain that if theft and murder had been committed at
the same time, the combination of the crimes was theft with
Although he was himself anxious to finish as soon as possible,
although he knew that his Swiss friend would be waiting for him,
he had grown so used to his occupation that, having begun to
speak, he could not stop himself, and therefore he went on to
impress on the jury with much detail that if they found the
prisoners guilty, they would have the right to give a verdict of
guilty; and if they found them not guilty, to give a verdict of
not guilty; and if they found them guilty of one of the crimes
and not of the other, they might give a verdict of guilty on the
one count and of not guilty on the other. Then he explained that
though this right was given them they should use it with reason.
He was going to add that if they gave an affirmative answer to
any question that was put to them they would thereby affirm
everything included in the question, so that if they did not wish
to affirm the whole of the question they should mention the part
of the question they wished to be excepted. But, glancing at the
clock, and seeing it was already five minutes to three, he
resolved to trust to their being intelligent enough to understand
this without further comment.
"The facts of this case are the following," began the president,
and repeated all that had already been said several times by the
advocates, the public prosecutor and the witnesses.
The president spoke, and the members on each side of him listened
with deeply-attentive expressions, but looked from time to time
at the clock, for they considered the speech too long though very
good--i.e., such as it ought to be. The public prosecutor, the
lawyers, and, in fact, everyone in the court, shared the same
impression. The president finished the summing up. Then he found
it necessary to tell the jury what they all knew, or might have
found out by reading it up--i.e., how they were to consider the
case, count the votes, in case of a tie to acquit the prisoners,
and so on.
Everything seemed to have been told; but no, the president could
not forego his right of speaking as yet. It was so pleasant to
hear the impressive tones of his own voice, and therefore he
found it necessary to say a few words more about the importance
of the rights given to the jury, how carefully they should use
the rights and how they ought not to abuse them, about their
being on their oath, that they were the conscience of society,
that the secrecy of the debating-room should be considered
From the time the president commenced his speech, Maslova watched
him without moving her eyes as if afraid of losing a single word;
so that Nekhludoff was not afraid of meeting her eyes and kept
looking at her all the time. And his mind passed through those
phases in which a face which we have not seen for many years
first strikes us with the outward changes brought about during
the time of separation, and then gradually becomes more and more
like its old self, when the changes made by time seem to
disappear, and before our spiritual eyes rises only the principal
expression of one exceptional, unique individuality. Yes, though
dressed in a prison cloak, and in spite of the developed figure,
the fulness of the bosom and lower part of the face, in spite of
a few wrinkles on the forehead and temples and the swollen eyes,
this was certainly the same Katusha who, on that Easter eve, had
so innocently looked up to him whom she loved, with her fond,
laughing eyes full of joy and life.
"What a strange coincidence that after ten years, during which I
never saw her, this case should have come up today when I am on
the jury, and that it is in the prisoners' dock that I see her
again! And how will it end? Oh, dear, if they would only get on
Still he would not give in to the feelings of repentance which
began to arise within him. He tried to consider it all as a
coincidence, which would pass without infringing his manner of
life. He felt himself in the position of a puppy, when its
master, taking it by the scruff of its neck, rubs its nose in the
mess it has made. The puppy whines, draws back and wants to get
away as far as possible from the effects of its misdeed, but the
pitiless master does not let go.
And so, Nekhludoff, feeling all the repulsiveness of what he had
done, felt also the powerful hand of the Master, but he did not
feel the whole significance of his action yet and would not
recognise the Master's hand. He did not wish to believe that it
was the effect of his deed that lay before him, but the pitiless
hand of the Master held him and he felt he could not get away. He
was still keeping up his courage and sat on his chair in the
first row in his usual self-possessed pose, one leg carelessly
thrown over the other, and playing with his pince-nez. Yet all
the while, in the depths of his soul, he felt the cruelty,
cowardice and baseness, not only of this particular action of his
but of his whole self-willed, depraved, cruel, idle life; and
that dreadful veil which had in some unaccountable manner hidden
from him this sin of his and the whole of his subsequent life was
beginning to shake, and he caught glimpses of what was covered by
THE TRIAL--THE VERDICT.
At last the president finished his speech, and lifting the list
of questions with a graceful movement of his arm he handed it to
the foreman, who came up to take it. The jury, glad to be able to
get into the debating-court, got up one after the other and left
the room, looking as if a bit ashamed of themselves and again not
knowing what to do with their hands. As soon as the door was
closed behind them a gendarme came up to it, pulled his sword out
of the scabbard, and, holding it up against his shoulder, stood
at the door. The judges got up and went away. The prisoners were
also led out. When the jury came into the debating-room the first
thing they did was to take out their cigarettes, as before, and
begin smoking. The sense of the unnaturalness and falseness of
their position, which all of them had experienced while sitting
in their places in the court, passed when they entered the
debating-room and started smoking, and they settled down with a
feeling of relief and at once began an animated conversation.
"'Tisn't the girl's fault. She's got mixed up in it," said the
kindly merchant. "We must recommend her to mercy."
"That's just what we are going to consider," said the foreman.
"We must not give way to our personal impressions."
"The president's summing up was good," remarked the colonel.
"Good? Why, it nearly sent me to sleep!"
"The chief point is that the servants could have known nothing
about the money if Maslova had not been in accord with them,"
said the clerk of Jewish extraction.
"Well, do you think that it was she who stole the money?" asked
one of the jury.
"I will never believe it," cried the kindly merchant; "it was all
that red-eyed hag's doing."
"They are a nice lot, all of them," said the colonel.
"But she says she never went into the room."
"Oh, believe her by all means."
"I should not believe that jade, not for the world."
"Whether you believe her or not does not settle the question,"
said the clerk.
"The girl had the key," said the colonel.
"What if she had?" retorted the merchant.
"And the ring?"
"But didn't she say all about it?" again cried the merchant. "The
fellow had a temper of his own, and had had a drop too much
besides, and gave the girl a licking; what could be simpler?
Well, then he's sorry--quite naturally. 'There, never mind,' says
he; 'take this.' Why, I heard them say he was six foot five high;
I should think he must have weighed about 20 stones."
"That's not the point," said Peter Gerasimovitch. "The question
is, whether she was the instigator and inciter in this affair, or
"It was not possible for the servants to do it alone; she had the
This kind of random talk went on for a considerable time. At last
the foreman said: "I beg your pardon, gentlemen, but had we not
better take our places at the table and discuss the matter?
Come, please." And he took the chair.
The questions were expressed in the following manner.
1. Is the peasant of the village Borki, Krapivinskia district,
Simeon Petrov Kartinkin, 33 years of age, guilty of having, in
agreement with other persons, given the merchant Smelkoff, on the
17th January, 188-, in the town of N-----, with intent to deprive
him of life, for the purpose of robbing him, poisoned brandy,
which caused Smelkoff's death, and of having stolen from him
about 2,500 roubles in money and a diamond ring?
2. Is the meschanka Euphemia Ivanovna Botchkova, 43 years of age,
guilty of the crimes described above?
3. Is the meschanka Katerina Michaelovna Maslova, 27 years of
age, guilty of the crimes described in the first question?
4. If the prisoner Euphemia Botchkova is not guilty according to
the first question, is she not guilty of having, on the 17th
January, in the town of N----, while in service at the hotel
Mauritania, stolen from a locked portmanteau, belonging to the
merchant Smelkoff, a lodger in that hotel, and which was in the
room occupied by him, 2,500 roubles, for which object she
unlocked the portmanteau with a key she brought and fitted to the
The foreman read the first question.
"Well, gentlemen, what do you think?" This question was quickly
answered. All agreed to say "Guilty," as if convinced that
Kartinkin had taken part both in the poisoning and the robbery.
An old artelshik, [member of an artel, an association of workmen,
in which the members share profits and liabilities] whose
answers were all in favour of acquittal, was the only exception.
The foreman thought he did not understand, and began to point out
to him that everything tended to prove Kartinkin's guilt. The old
man answered that he did understand, but still thought it better
to have pity on him. "We are not saints ourselves," and he kept
to his opinion.
The answer to the second question concerning Botchkova was, after
much dispute and many exclamations, answered by the words, "Not
guilty," there being no clear proofs of her having taken part in
the poisoning--a fact her advocate had strongly insisted on. The
merchant, anxious to acquit Maslova, insisted that Botchkova was
the chief instigator of it all. Many of the jury shared this
view, but the foreman, wishing to be in strict accord with the
law, declared they had no grounds to consider her as an
accomplice in the poisoning. After much disputing the foreman's
To the fourth question concerning Botchkova the answer was
"Guilty." But on the artelshik's insistence she was recommended
The third question, concerning Maslova, raised a fierce dispute.
The foreman maintained she was guilty both of the poisoning and
the theft, to which the merchant would not agree. The colonel,
the clerk and the old artelshik sided with the merchant, the rest
seemed shaky, and the opinion of the foreman began to gain
ground, chiefly because all the jurymen were getting tired, and
preferred to take up the view that would bring them sooner to a
decision and thus liberate them.
From all that had passed, and from his former knowledge of
Maslova, Nekhludoff was certain that she was innocent of both the
theft and the poisoning. And he felt sure that all the others
would come to the same conclusion. When he saw that the
merchant's awkward defence (evidently based on his physical
admiration for her, which he did not even try to hide) and the
foreman's insistence, and especially everybody's weariness, were
all tending to her condemnation, he longed to state his
objections, yet dared not, lest his relations with Maslova should
be discovered. He felt he could not allow things to go on without
stating his objection; and, blushing and growing pale again, was
about to speak when Peter Gerasimovitch, irritated by the
authoritative manner of the foreman, began to raise his
objections and said the very things Nekhludoff was about to say.
"Allow me one moment," he said. "You seem to think that her
having the key proves she is guilty of the theft; but what could
be easier than for the servants to open the portmanteau with a
false key after she was gone?"
"Of course, of course," said the merchant.
"She could not have taken the money, because in her position she
would hardly know what to do with it."
"That's just what I say," remarked the merchant.
"But it is very likely that her coming put the idea into the
servants' heads and that they grasped the opportunity and shoved
all the blame on her." Peter Gerasimovitch spoke so irritably
that the foreman became irritated too, and went on obstinately
defending the opposite views; but Peter Gerasimovitch spoke so
convincingly that the majority agreed with him, and decided that
Maslova was not guilty of stealing the money and that the ring
was given her.
But when the question of her having taken part in the poisoning
was raised, her zealous defender, the merchant, declared that she
must be acquitted, because she could have no reason for the
poisoning. The foreman, however, said that it was impossible to
acquit her, because she herself had pleaded guilty to having
given the powder.
"Yes, but thinking it was opium," said the merchant.
"Opium can also deprive one of life," said the colonel, who was
fond of wandering from the subject, and he began telling how his
brother-in-law's wife would have died of an overdose of opium if
there had not been a doctor near at hand to take the necessary
measures. The colonel told his story so impressively, with such
self-possession and dignity, that no one had the courage to
interrupt him. Only the clerk, infected by his example, decided
to break in with a story of his own: "There are some who get so
used to it that they can take 40 drops. I have a relative--," but
the colonel would not stand the interruption, and went on to
relate what effects the opium had on his brother-in-law's wife.
"But, gentlemen, do you know it is getting on towards five
o'clock?" said one of the jury.
"Well, gentlemen, what are we to say, then?" inquired the
foreman. "Shall we say she is guilty, but without intent to rob?
And without stealing any property? Will that do?" Peter
Gerasimovitch, pleased with his victory, agreed.
"But she must be recommended to mercy," said the merchant.
All agreed; only the old artelshik insisted that they should say
"It comes to the same thing," explained the foreman; "without
intent to rob, and without stealing any property. Therefore, 'Not
guilty,' that's evident."
"All right; that'll do. And we recommend her to mercy," said the
They were all so tired, so confused by the discussions, that
nobody thought of saying that she was guilty of giving the powder
but without the intent of taking life. Nekhludoff was so excited
that he did not notice this omission, and so the answers were
written down in the form agreed upon and taken to the court.
Rabelais says that a lawyer who was trying a case quoted all
sorts of laws, read 20 pages of judicial senseless Latin, and
then proposed to the judges to throw dice, and if the numbers
proved odd the defendant would he right, if not, the plaintiff.
It was much the same in this case. The resolution was taken, not
because everybody agreed upon it, but because the president, who
had been summing up at such length, omitted to say what he always
said on such occasions, that the answer might be, "Yes, guilty,
but without the intent of taking life;" because the colonel had
related the story of his brother-in-law's wife at such great
length; because Nekhludoff was too excited to notice that the
proviso "without intent to take life" had been omitted, and
thought that the words "without intent" nullified the conviction;
because Peter Gerasimovitch had retired from the room while the
questions and answers were being read, and chiefly because, being
tired, and wishing to get away as soon as possible, all were
ready to agree with the decision which would bring matters to an
The jurymen rang the bell. The gendarme who had stood outside the
door with his sword drawn put the sword back into the scabbard
and stepped aside. The judges took their seats and the jury came
out one by one.
The foreman brought in the paper with an air of solemnity and
handed it to the president, who looked at it, and, spreading out
his hands in astonishment, turned to consult his companions. The
president was surprised that the jury, having put in a
proviso--without intent to rob--did not put in a second
proviso--without intent to take life. From the decision of the
jury it followed that Maslova had not stolen, nor robbed, and yet
poisoned a man without any apparent reason.
"Just see what an absurd decision they have come to," he
whispered to the member on his left. "This means penal servitude
in Siberia, and she is innocent."
"Surely you do not mean to say she is innocent?" answered the
"Yes, she is positively innocent. I think this is a case for
putting Article 817 into practice (Article 817 states that if the
Court considers the decision of the jury unjust it may set it
"What do you think?" said the president, turning to the other
member. The kindly member did not answer at once. He looked at
the number on a paper before him and added up the figures; the
sum would not divide by three. He had settled in his mind that if
it did divide by three he would agree to the president's
proposal, but though the sum would not so divide his kindness
made him agree all the same.
"I, too, think it should he done," he said.
"And you?" asked the president, turning to the serious member.
"On no account," he answered, firmly. "As it is, the papers
accuse the jury of acquitting prisoners. What will they say if
the Court does it? I, shall not agree to that on any account."
The president looked at his watch. "It is a pity, but what's to
be done?" and handed the questions to the foreman to read out.
All got up, and the foreman, stepping from foot to foot, coughed,
and read the questions and the answers. All the Court, secretary,
advocates, and even the public prosecutor, expressed surprise.
The prisoners sat impassive, evidently not understanding the
meaning of the answers. Everybody sat down again, and the
president asked the prosecutor what punishments the prisoners
were to be subjected to.
The prosecutor, glad of his unexpected success in getting Maslova
convicted, and attributing the success entirely to his own
eloquence, looked up the necessary information, rose and said:
"With Simeon Kartinkin I should deal according to Statute 1,452
paragraph 93. Euphemia Botchkova according to Statute . . ., etc.
Katerina Maslova according to Statute . . ., etc."
All three punishments were the heaviest that could he inflicted.
"The Court will adjourn to consider the sentence," said the
president, rising. Everybody rose after him, and with the
pleasant feeling of a task well done began to leave the room or
move about in it.
"D'you know, sirs, we have made a shameful hash of it?" said
Peter Gerasimovitch, approaching Nekhludoff, to whom the foreman
was relating something. "Why, we've got her to Siberia."
"What are you saying?" exclaimed Nekhludoff. This time he did not
notice the teacher's familiarity.
"Why, we did not put in our answer 'Guilty, but without intent of
causing death.' The secretary just told me the public prosecutor
is for condemning her to 15 years' penal servitude."
"Well, but it was decided so," said the foreman.
Peter Gerasimovitch began to dispute this, saying that since she
did not take the money it followed naturally that she could not
have had any intention of committing murder.
"But I read the answer before going out," said the foreman,
defending himself, "and nobody objected."
"I had just then gone out of the room," said Peter Gerasimovitch,
turning to Nekhludoff, "and your thoughts must have been
wool-gathering to let the thing pass."
"I never imagined this," Nekhludoff replied.
"Oh, you didn't?"
"Oh, well, we can get it put right," said Nekhludoff.
"Oh, dear no; it's finished."
Nekhludoff looked at the prisoners. They whose fate was being
decided still sat motionless behind the grating in front of the
soldiers. Maslova was smiling. Another feeling stirred in
Nekhludoff's soul. Up to now, expecting her acquittal and
thinking she would remain in the town, he was uncertain how to
act towards her. Any kind of relations with her would be so very
difficult. But Siberia and penal servitude at once cut off every
possibility of any kind of relations with her. The wounded bird
would stop struggling in the game-bag, and no longer remind him
of its existence.
THE TRIAL--THE SENTENCE.
Peter Gerasimovitch's assumption was correct. The president came
back from the debating room with a paper, and read as
follows:--"April 28th, 188-. By His Imperial Majesty's ukase No.
----- The Criminal Court, on the strength of the decision of the
jury, in accordance with Section 3 of Statute 771, Section 3 of
Statutes 770 and 777, decrees that the peasant, Simeon Kartinkin,
33 years of age, and the meschanka Katerina Maslova, 27 years of
age, are to be deprived of all property rights and to be sent to
penal servitude in Siberia, Kartinkin for eight, Maslova for four
years, with the consequences stated in Statute 25 of the code.
The meschanka Botchkova, 43 years of age, to be deprived of all
special personal and acquired rights, and to be imprisoned for
three years with consequences in accord with Statute 48 of the
code. The costs of the case to be borne equally by the prisoners;
and, in the case of their being without sufficient property, the
costs to be transferred to the Treasury. Articles of material
evidence to be sold, the ring to be returned, the phials
destroyed." Botchkova was condemned to prison, Simeon Kartinken
and Katerina Maslova to the loss of all special rights and
privileges and to penal servitude in Siberia, he for eight and
she for four years.
Kartinkin stood holding his arms close to his sides and moving
his lips. Botchkova seemed perfectly calm. Maslova, when she
heard the sentence, blushed scarlet. "I'm not guilty, not
guilty!" she suddenly cried, so that it resounded through the
room. "It is a sin! I am not guilty! I never wished--I never
thought! It is the truth I am saying--the truth!" and sinking on
the bench she burst into tears and sobbed aloud. When Kartinkin
and Botchkova went out she still sat crying, so that a gendarme
had to touch the sleeve of her cloak.
"No; it is impossible to leave it as it is," said Nekhludoff to
himself, utterly forgetting his bad thoughts. He did not know why
he wished to look at her once more, but hurried out into the
corridor. There was quite a crowd at the door. The advocates and
jury were going out, pleased to have finished the business, and
he was obliged to wait a few seconds, and when he at last got out
into the corridor she was far in front. He hurried along the
corridor after her, regardless of the attention he was arousing,
caught her up, passed her, and stopped. She had ceased crying and
only sobbed, wiping her red, discoloured face with the end of the
kerchief on her head. She passed without noticing him. Then he
hurried back to see the president. The latter had already left
the court, and Nekhludoff followed him into the lobby and went up
to him just as he had put on his light grey overcoat and was
taking the silver-mounted walking-stick which an attendant was
"Sir, may I have a few words with you concerning some business I
have just decided upon?" said Nekhludoff. "I am one of the jury."
"Oh, certainly, Prince Nekhludoff. I shall be delighted. I think
we have met before," said the president, pressing Nekhludoff's
hand and recalling with pleasure the evening when he first met
Nekhludoff, and when he had danced so gaily, better than all the
young people. "What can I do for you?"
"There is a mistake in the answer concerning Maslova. She is not
guilty of the poisoning and yet she is condemned to penal
servitude," said Nekhludoff, with a preoccupied and gloomy air.
"The Court passed the sentence in accordance with the answers you
yourselves gave," said the president, moving towards the front
door; "though they did not seem to be quite in accord." And he
remembered that he had been going to explain to the jury that a
verdict of "guilty" meant guilty of intentional murder unless the
words "without intent to take life" were added, but had, in his
hurry to get the business over, omitted to do so.
"Yes, but could not the mistake be rectified?"
"A reason for an appeal can always be found. You will have to
speak to an advocate," said the president, putting on his hat a
little to one side and continuing to move towards the door.
"But this is terrible."
"Well, you see, there were two possibilities before Maslova,"
said the president, evidently wishing to be as polite and
pleasant to Nekhludoff as he could. Then, having arranged his
whiskers over his coat collar, he put his hand lightly under
Nekhludoff's elbow, and, still directing his steps towards the
front door, he said, "You are going, too?"
"Yes," said Nekhludoff, quickly getting his coat, and following
They went out into the bright, merry sunlight, and had to raise
their voices because of the rattling of the wheels on the
"The situation is a curious one, you see," said the president;
"what lay before this Maslova was one of two things: either to be
almost acquitted and only imprisoned for a short time, or, taking
the preliminary confinement into consideration, perhaps not at
all--or Siberia. There is nothing between. Had you but added the
words, 'without intent to cause death,' she would have been
"Yes, it was inexcusable of me to omit that," said Nekhludoff.
"That's where the whole matter lies," said the president, with a
smile, and looked at his watch. He had only three-quarters of an
hour left before the time appointed by his Clara would elapse.
"Now, if you like to speak to the advocates you'll have to find a
reason for an appeal; that can be easily done." Then, turning to
an isvostchik, he called out, "To the Dvoryanskaya 30 copecks; I
never give more." "All right, your honour; here you are."
"Good-afternoon. If I can be of any use, my address is House
Dvornikoff, on the Dvoryanskaya; it's easy to remember." And he
bowed in a friendly manner as he got into the trap and drove off.
NEKHLUDOFF CONSULTS AN ADVOCATE.
His conversation with the president and the fresh air quieted
Nekhludoff a little. He now thought that the feelings experienced
by him had been exaggerated by the unusual surroundings in which
he had spent the whole of the morning, and by that wonderful and
startling coincidence. Still, it was absolutely necessary to take
some steps to lighten Maslova's fate, and to take them quickly.
"Yes, at once! It will be best to find out here in the court
where the advocate Fanarin or Mikishin lives." These were two
well-known advocates whom Nekhludoff called to mind. He returned
to the court, took off his overcoat, and went upstairs. In the
first corridor he met Fanarin himself. He stopped him, and told
him that he was just going to look him up on a matter of
Fanarin knew Nekhludoff by sight and name, and said he would be
very glad to be of service to him.
"Though I am rather tired, still, if your business will not take
very long, perhaps you might tell me what it is now. Will you
step in here?" And he led Nekhludoff into a room, probably some
judge's cabinet. They sat down by the table.
"Well, and what is your business?"
"First of all, I must ask you to keep the business private. I do
not want it known that I take an interest in the affair."
"Oh, that of course. Well?"
"I was on the jury to-day, and we have condemned a woman to
Siberia, an innocent woman. This bothers me very much."
Nekhludoff, to his own surprise, blushed and became confused.
Fanarin glanced at him rapidly, and looked down again, listening.
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