Count Leo Tolstoy
Part 9 out of 11
The policemen who carried the corpse were followed by a police
officer and a medical assistant. The medical assistant came up to
the body and touched the freckled hand, already growing cold,
which, though still soft, was deadly pale. He held it for a
moment, and then let it go. It fell lifelessly on the stomach of
the dead man.
"He's ready," said the medical assistant, but, evidently to be
quite in order, he undid the wet, brown shirt, and tossing back
the curls from his ear, put it to the yellowish, broad, immovable
chest of the convict. All were silent. The medical assistant
raised himself again, shook his head, and touched with his
fingers first one and then the other lid over the open, fixed
"I'm not frightened, I'm not frightened." The madman kept
repeating these words, and spitting in the direction of the
"Well?" asked the police officer.
"Well! He must he put into the mortuary."
"Are you sure? Mind," said the police officer.
"It's time I should know," said the medical assistant, drawing
the shirt over the body's chest. "However, I will send for
Mathew Ivanovitch. Let him have a look. Petrov, call him," and
the medical assistant stepped away from the body.
"Take him to the mortuary," said the police officer. "And then
you must come into the office and sign," he added to the convoy
soldier, who had not left the convict for a moment.
"Yes, sir," said the soldier.
The policemen lifted the body and carried it down again.
Nekhludoff wished to follow, but the madman kept him back.
"You are not in the plot! Well, then, give me a cigarette," he
said. Nekhludoff got out his cigarette case and gave him one.
The madman, quickly moving his brows all the time, began relating
how they tormented him by thought suggestion.
"Why, they are all against me, and torment and torture me through
"I beg your pardon," said Nekhludoff, and without listening any
further he left the room and went out into the yard, wishing to
know where the body would be put.
The policemen with their burden had already crossed the yard, and
were coming to the door of a cellar. Nekhludoff wished to go up
to them, but the police officer stopped him.
"What do you want?"
"Nothing? Then go away."
Nekhludoff obeyed, and went back to his isvostchik, who was
dozing. He awoke him, and they drove back towards the railway
They had not made a hundred steps when they met a cart
accompanied by a convoy soldier with a gun. On the cart lay
another convict, who was already dead. The convict lay on his
back in the cart, his shaved head, from which the pancake-shaped
cap had slid over the black-bearded face down to the nose,
shaking and thumping at every jolt. The driver, in his heavy
boots, walked by the side of the cart, holding the reins; a
policeman followed on foot. Nekhludoff touched his isvostchik's
"Just look what they are doing," said the isvostchik, stopping
Nekhludoff got down and, following the cart, again passed the
sentinel and entered the gate of the police station. By this time
the firemen had finished washing the cart, and a tall, bony man,
the chief of the fire brigade, with a coloured band round his
cap, stood in their place, and, with his hands in his pockets,
was severely looking at a fat-necked, well-fed, bay stallion that
was being led up and down before him by a fireman. The stallion
was lame on one of his fore feet, and the chief of the firemen
was angrily saying something to a veterinary who stood by.
The police officer was also present. When he saw the cart he went
up to the convoy soldier.
"Where did you bring him from?" he asked, shaking his head
"From the Gorbatovskaya," answered the policeman.
"A prisoner?" asked the chief of the fire brigade.
"Yes. It's the second to-day."
"Well, I must say they've got some queer arrangements. Though of
course it's a broiling day," said the chief of the fire brigade;
then, turning to the fireman who was leading the lame stallion,
he shouted: "Put him into the corner stall. And as to you, you
hound, I'll teach you how to cripple horses which are worth more
than you are, you scoundrel."
The dead man was taken from the cart by the policemen just in the
same way as the first had been, and carried upstairs into the
hospital. Nekhludoff followed them as if he were hypnotised.
"What do you want?" asked one of the policemen. But Nekhludoff
did not answer, and followed where the body was being carried.
The madman, sitting on a bed, was smoking greedily the cigarette
Nekhludoff had given him.
"Ah, you've come back," he said, and laughed. When he saw the
body he made a face, and said, "Again! I am sick of it. I am not
a boy, am I, eh?" and he turned to Nekhludoff with a questioning
Nekhludoff was looking at the dead man, whose face, which had
been hidden by his cap, was now visible. This convict was as
handsome in face and body as the other was hideous. He was a man
in the full bloom of life. Notwithstanding that he was disfigured
by the half of his head being shaved, the straight, rather low
forehead, raised a bit over the black, lifeless eyes, was very
fine, and so was the nose above the thin, black moustaches. There
was a smile on the lips that were already growing blue, a small
beard outlined the lower part of the face, and on the shaved side
of the head a firm, well-shaped car was visible.
One could see what possibilities of a higher life had been
destroyed in this man. The fine bones of his hands and shackled
feet, the strong muscles of all his well-proportioned limbs,
showed what a beautiful, strong, agile human animal this had
been. As an animal merely he had been a far more perfect one of
his kind than the bay stallion, about the laming of which the
fireman was so angry.
Yet he had been done to death, and no one was sorry for him as a
man, nor was any one sorry that so fine a working animal had
perished. The only feeling evinced was that of annoyance because
of the bother caused by the necessity of getting this body,
threatening putrefaction, out of the way. The doctor and his
assistant entered the hospital, accompanied by the inspector of
the police station. The doctor was a thick-set man, dressed in
pongee silk coat and trousers of the same material, closely
fitting his muscular thighs. The inspector was a little fat
fellow, with a red face, round as a ball, which he made still
broader by a habit he had of filling his cheeks with air, and
slowly letting it out again. The doctor sat down on the bed by
the side of the dead man, and touched the hands in the same way
as his assistant had done, put his ear to the heart, rose, and
pulled his trousers straight. "Could not be more dead," he said.
The inspector filled his mouth with air and slowly blew it out
"Which prison is he from?" he asked the convoy soldier.
The soldier told him, and reminded him of the chains on the dead
"I'll have them taken off; we have got a smith about, the Lord be
thanked," said the inspector, and blew up his cheeks again; he
went towards the door, slowly letting out the air.
"Why has this happened?" Nekhludoff asked the doctor.
The doctor looked at him through his spectacles.
"Why has what happened? Why they die of sunstroke, you mean? This
is why: They sit all through the winter without exercise and
without light, and suddenly they are taken out into the sunshine,
and on a day like this, and they march in a crowd so that they
get no air, and sunstroke is the result."
"Then why are they sent out?"
"Oh, as to that, go and ask those who send them. But may I ask
who are you?"
"I am a stranger."
"Ah, well, good-afternoon; I have no time." The doctor was vexed;
he gave his trousers a downward pull, and went towards the beds
of the sick.
"Well, how are you getting on?" he asked the pale man with the
crooked mouth and bandaged neck.
Meanwhile the madman sat on a bed, and having finished his
cigarette, kept spitting in the direction of the doctor.
Nekhludoff went down into the yard and out of the gate past the
firemen's horses and the hens and the sentinel in his brass
helmet, and got into the trap, the driver of which had again
THE CONVICT TRAIN.
When Nekhludoff came to the station, the prisoners were all
seated in railway carriages with grated windows. Several persons,
come to see them off, stood on the platform, but were not allowed
to come up to the carriages.
The convoy was much troubled that day. On the way from the prison
to the station, besides the two Nekhludoff had seen, three other
prisoners had fallen and died of sunstroke. One was taken to the
nearest police station like the first two, and the other two died
at the railway station. [In Moscow, in the beginning of the eighth
decade of this century, five convicts died of sunstroke in one
day on their way from the Boutyrki prison to the Nijni railway
station.] The convoy men were not troubled because five men who
might have been alive died while in their charge. This did not
trouble them, but they were concerned lest anything that the law
required in such cases should be omitted. To convey the bodies to
the places appointed, to deliver up their papers, to take them
off the lists of those to be conveyed to Nijni--all this was very
troublesome, especially on so hot a day.
It was this that occupied the convoy men, and before it could all
be accomplished Nekhludoff and the others who asked for leave to
go up to the carriages were not allowed to do so. Nekhludoff,
however, was soon allowed to go up, because he tipped the convoy
sergeant. The sergeant let Nekhludoff pass, but asked him to be
quick and get his talk over before any of the authorities
noticed. There were 15 carriages in all, and except one carriage
for the officials, they were full of prisoners. As Nekhludoff
passed the carriages he listened to what was going on in them. In
all the carriages was heard the clanging of chains, the sound of
bustle, mixed with loud and senseless language, but not a word
was being said about their dead fellow-prisoners. The talk was
all about sacks, drinking water, and the choice of seats.
Looking into one of the carriages, Nekhludoff saw convoy soldiers
taking the manacles off the hands of the prisoners. The prisoners
held out their arms, and one of the soldiers unlocked the
manacles with a key and took them off; the other collected them.
After he had passed all the other carriages, Nekhludoff came up
to the women's carriages. From the second of these he heard a
woman's groans: "Oh, oh, oh! O God! Oh, oh! O God!"
Nekhludoff passed this carriage and went up to a window of the
third carriage, which a soldier pointed out to him. When he
approached his face to the window, he felt the hot air, filled
with the smell of perspiration, coming out of it, and heard
distinctly the shrill sound of women's voices. All the seats were
filled with red, perspiring, loudly-talking women, dressed in
prison cloaks and white jackets. Nekhludoff's face at the window
attracted their attention. Those nearest ceased talking and drew
closer. Maslova, in her white jacket and her head uncovered, sat
by the opposite window. The white-skinned, smiling Theodosia sat
a little nearer. When she recognised Nekhludoff, she nudged
Maslova and pointed to the window. Maslova rose hurriedly, threw
her kerchief over her black hair, and with a smile on her hot,
red face came up to the window and took hold of one of the bars.
"Well, it is hot," she said, with a glad smile.
"Did you get the things?"
"Yes, thank you."
"Is there anything more you want?" asked Nekhludoff, while the
air came out of the hot carriage as out of an oven.
"I want nothing, thank you."
"If we could get a drink?" said Theodosia.
"Yes, if we could get a drink," repeated Maslova.
"Why, have you not got any water?"
"They put some in, but it is all gone."
"Directly, I will ask one of the convoy men. Now we shall not see
each other till we get to Nijni."
"Why? Are you going?" said Maslova, as if she did not know it,
and looked joyfully at Nekhludoff.
"I am going by the next train."
Maslova said nothing, but only sighed deeply.
"Is it true, sir, that 12 convicts have been done to death?" said
a severe-looking old prisoner with a deep voice like a man's.
It was Korableva.
"I did not hear of 12; I have seen two," said Nekhludoff.
"They say there were 12 they killed. And will nothing be done to
them? Only think! The fiends!"
"And have none of the women fallen ill?" Nekhludoff asked.
"Women are stronger," said another of the prisoners--a short
little woman, and laughed; "only there's one that has taken it
into her head to be delivered. There she goes," she said,
pointing to the next carriage, whence proceeded the groans.
"You ask if we want anything," said Maslova, trying to keep the
smile of joy from her lips; "could not this woman be left behind.
suffering as she is? There, now, if you would tell the
"Yes, I will."
"And one thing more; could she not see her husband, Taras?" she
added, pointing with her eyes to the smiling Theodosia.
"He is going with you, is he not?"
"Sir, you must not talk," said a convoy sergeant, not the one who
had let Nekhludoff come up. Nekhludoff left the carriage and went
in search of an official to whom he might speak for the woman in
travail and about Taras, but could not find him, nor get an
answer from any of the convoy for a long time. They were all in a
bustle; some were leading a prisoner somewhere or other, others
running to get themselves provisions, some were placing their
things in the carriages or attending on a lady who was going to
accompany the convoy officer, and they answered Nekhludoff's
questions unwillingly. Nekhludoff found the convoy officer only
after the second bell had been rung. The officer with his short
arm was wiping the moustaches that covered his mouth and
shrugging his shoulders, reproving the corporal for something or
"What is it you want?" he asked Nekhludoff.
"You've got a woman there who is being confined, so I thought
"Well, let her be confined; we shall see later on," and briskly
swinging his short arms, he ran up to his carriage. At the moment
the guard passed with a whistle in his hand, and from the people
on the platform and from the women's carriages there arose a
sound of weeping and words of prayer.
Nekhludoff stood on the platform by the side of Taras, and looked
how, one after the other, the carriages glided past him, with the
shaved heads of the men at the grated windows. Then the first of
the women's carriages came up, with women's heads at the windows,
some covered with kerchiefs and some uncovered, then the second,
whence proceeded the same groans, then the carriage where Maslova
was. She stood with the others at the window, and looked at
Nekhludoff with a pathetic smile.
BROTHER AND SISTER.
There were still two hours before the passenger train by which
Nekhludoff was going would start. He had thought of using this
interval to see his sister again; but after the impressions of
the morning he felt much excited and so done up that, sitting
down on a sofa in the first-class refreshment-room, he suddenly
grew so drowsy that he turned over on to his side, and, laying
his face on his hand, fell asleep at once. A waiter in a dress
coat with a napkin in his hand woke him.
"Sir, sir, are you not Prince Nekhludoff? There's a lady looking
Nekhludoff started up and recollected where he was and all that
had happened in the morning.
He saw in his imagination the procession of prisoners, the dead
bodies, the railway carriages with barred windows, and the women
locked up in them, one of whom was groaning in travail with no
one to help her, and another who was pathetically smiling at him
through the bars.
The reality before his eyes was very different, i.e., a table
with vases, candlesticks and crockery, and agile waiters moving
round the table, and in the background a cupboard and a counter
laden with fruit and bottles, behind it a barman, and in front
the backs of passengers who had come up for refreshments. When
Nekhludoff had risen and sat gradually collecting his thoughts,
he noticed that everybody in the room was inquisitively looking
at something that was passing by the open doors.
He also looked, and saw a group of people carrying a chair on
which sat a lady whose head was wrapped in a kind of airy fabric.
Nekhludoff thought he knew the footman who was supporting the
chair in front. And also the man behind, and a doorkeeper with
gold cord on his cap, seemed familiar. A lady's maid with a
fringe and an apron, who was carrying a parcel, a parasol, and
something round in a leather case, was walking behind the chair.
Then came Prince Korchagin, with his thick lips, apoplectic neck,
and a travelling cap on his head; behind him Missy, her cousin
Misha, and an acquaintance of Nekhludoff's--the long-necked
diplomat Osten, with his protruding Adam's apple and his
unvarying merry mood and expression. He was saying something very
emphatically, though jokingly, to the smiling Missy. The
Korchagins were moving from their estate near the city to the
estate of the Princess's sister on the Nijni railway. The
procession--the men carrying the chair, the maid, and the
doctor--vanished into the ladies' waiting-room, evoking a feeling
of curiosity and respect in the onlookers. But the old Prince
remained and sat down at the table, called a waiter, and ordered
food and drink. Missy and Osten also remained in the
refreshment-room and were about to sit down, when they saw an
acquaintance in the doorway, and went up to her. It was Nathalie
Rogozhinsky. Nathalie came into the refreshment-room accompanied
by Agraphena Petrovna, and both looked round the room. Nathalie
noticed at one and the same moment both her brother and Missy.
She first went up to Missy, only nodding to her brother; but,
having kissed her, at once turned to him.
"At last I have found you," she said. Nekhludoff rose to greet
Missy, Misha, and Osten, and to say a few words to them. Missy
told him about their house in the country having been burnt down,
which necessitated their moving to her aunt's. Osten began
relating a funny story about a fire. Nekhludoff paid no
attention, and turned to his sister.
"How glad I am that you have come."
"I have been here a long time," she said. "Agraphena Petrovna is
with me." And she pointed to Agraphena Petrovna, who, in a
waterproof and with a bonnet on her head, stood some way off, and
bowed to him with kindly dignity and some confusion, not wishing
"We looked for you everywhere."
"And I had fallen asleep here. How glad I am that you have come,"
repeated Nekhludoff. "I had begun to write to you."
"Really?" she said, looking frightened. "What about?"
Missy and the gentleman, noticing that an intimate conversation
was about to commence between the brother and sister, went away.
Nekhludoff and his sister sat down by the window on a
velvet-covered sofa, on which lay a plaid, a box, and a few other
"Yesterday, after I left you, I felt inclined to return and
express my regret, but I did not know how he would take it," said
Nekhludoff. "I spoke hastily to your husband, and this tormented
"I knew," said his sister, "that you did not mean to. Oh, you
know!" and the tears came to her eyes, and she touched his hand.
The sentence was not clear, but he understood it perfectly, and
was touched by what it expressed. Her words meant that, besides
the love for her husband which held her in its sway, she prized
and considered important the love she had for him, her brother,
and that every misunderstanding between them caused her deep
"Thank you, thank you. Oh! what I have seen to-day!" he said,
suddenly recalling the second of the dead convicts. "Two
prisoners have been done to death."
"Done to death? How?"
"Yes, done to death. They led them in this heat, and two died of
"Impossible! What, to-day? just now?"
"Yes, just now. I have seen their bodies."
"But why done to death? Who killed them?" asked Nathalie.
"They who forced them to go killed them," said Nekhludoff, with
irritation, feeling that she looked at this, too, with her
"Oh, Lord!" said Agraphena Petrovna, who had come up to them.
"Yes, we have not the slightest idea of what is being done to
these unfortunate beings. But it ought to be known," added
Nekhludoff, and looked at old Korchagin, who sat with a napkin
tied round him and a bottle before him, and who looked round at
"Nekhludoff," he called out, "won't you join me and take some
refreshment? It is excellent before a journey."
Nekhludoff refused, and turned away.
"But what are you going to do?" Nathalie continued.
"What I can. I don't know, but I feel I must do something. And I
shall do what I am able to."
"Yes, I understand. And how about them?" she continued, with a
smile and a look towards Korchagin. "Is it possible that it is
"Completely, and I think without any regret on either side."
"It is a pity. I am sorry. I am fond of her. However, it's all
right. But why do you wish to bind yourself?" she added shyly.
"Why are you going?"
"I go because I must," answered Nekhludoff, seriously and dryly,
as if wishing to stop this conversation. But he felt ashamed of
his coldness towards his sister at once. "Why not tell her all I
am thinking?" he thought, "and let Agraphena Petrovna also hear
it," he thought, with a look at the old servant, whose presence
made the wish to repeat his decision to his sister even stronger.
"You mean my intention to marry Katusha? Well, you see, I made up
my mind to do it, but she refuses definitely and firmly," he
said, and his voice shook, as it always did when he spoke of it.
"She does not wish to accept my sacrifice, but is herself
sacrificing what in her position means much, and I cannot accept
this sacrifice, if it is only a momentary impulse. And so I am
going with her, and shall be where she is, and shall try to
lighten her fate as much as I can."
Nathalie said nothing. Agraphena Petrovna looked at her with a
questioning look, and shook her head. At this moment the former
procession issued from the ladies' room. The same handsome
footman (Philip). and the doorkeeper were carrying the Princess
Korchagin. She stopped the men who were carrying her, and
motioned to Nekhludoff to approach, and, with a pitiful,
languishing air, she extended her white, ringed hand, expecting
the firm pressure of his hand with a sense of horror.
"Epouvantable!" she said, meaning the heat. "I cannot stand it!
Ce climat me tue!" And, after a short talk about the horrors of
the Russian climate, she gave the men a sign to go on.
"Be sure and come," she added, turning her long face towards
Nekhludoff as she was borne away.
The procession with the Princess turned to the right towards the
first-class carriages. Nekhludoff, with the porter who was
carrying his things, and Taras with his bag, turned to the left.
"This is my companion," said Nekhludoff to his sister, pointing
to Taras, whose story he had told her before.
"Surely not third class?" said Nathalie, when Nekhludoff stopped
in front of a third-class carriage, and Taras and the porter with
the things went in.
"Yes; it is more convenient for me to be with Taras," he said.
"One thing more," he added; "up to now I have not given the
Kousminski land to the peasants; so that, in case of my death,
your children will inherit it."
"Dmitri, don't!" said Nathalie.
"If I do give it away, all I can say is that the rest will be
theirs, as it is not likely I shall marry; and if I do marry I
shall have no children, so that--"
"Dmitri, don't talk like that!" said Nathalie. And yet Nekhludoff
noticed that she was glad to hear him say it.
Higher up, by the side of a first-class carriage, there stood a
group of people still looking at the carriage into which the
Princess Korchagin had been carried. Most of the passengers were
already seated. Some of the late comers hurriedly clattered along
the boards of the platform, the guard was closing the doors and
asking the passengers to get in and those who were seeing them
off to come out.
Nekhludoff entered the hot, smelling carriage, but at once
stepped out again on to the small platform at the back of the
carriage. Nathalie stood opposite the carriage, with her
fashionable bonnet and cape, by the side of Agraphena Petrovna,
and was evidently trying to find something to say.
She could not even say ecrivez, because they had long ago laughed
at this word, habitually spoken by those about to part. The short
conversation about money matters had in a moment destroyed the
tender brotherly and sisterly feelings that had taken hold of
them. They felt estranged, so that Nathalie was glad when the
train moved; and she could only say, nodding her head with a sad
and tender look, "Goodbye, good-bye, Dmitri." But as soon as the
carriage had passed her she thought of how she should repeat her
conversation with her brother to her husband, and her face became
serious and troubled.
Nekhludoff, too, though he had nothing but the kindest feelings
for his sister, and had hidden nothing from her, now felt
depressed and uncomfortable with her, and was glad to part. He
felt that the Nathalie who was once so near to him no longer
existed, and in her place was only a slave of that hairy,
unpleasant husband, who was so foreign to him. He saw it clearly
when her face lit up with peculiar animation as he spoke of what
would peculiarly interest her husband, i.e., the giving up of the
land to the peasants and the inheritance.
And this made him sad.
THE FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF HUMAN LIFE.
The heat in the large third-class carriage, which had been
standing in the burning sun all day, was so great that Nekhludoff
did not go in, but stopped on the little platform behind the
carriage which formed a passage to the next one. But there was
not a breath of fresh air here either, and Nekhludoff breathed
freely only when the train had passed the buildings and the
draught blew across the platform.
"Yes, killed," he repeated to himself, the words he had used to
his sister. And in his imagination in the midst of all other
impressions there arose with wonderful clearness the beautiful
face of the second dead convict, with the smile of the lips, the
severe expression of the brows, and the small, firm ear below the
shaved bluish skull.
And what seemed terrible was that he had been murdered, and no
one knew who had murdered him. Yet he had been murdered. He was
led out like all the rest of the prisoners by Maslennikoff's
orders. Maslennikoff had probably given the order in the usual
manner, had signed with his stupid flourish the paper with the
printed heading, and most certainly would not consider himself
guilty. Still less would the careful doctor who examined the
convicts consider himself guilty. He had performed his duty
accurately, and had separated the weak. How could he have
foreseen this terrible heat, or the fact that they would start so
late in the day and in such crowds? The prison inspector? But the
inspector had only carried into execution the order that on a
given day a certain number of exiles and convicts--men and
women--had to be sent off. The convoy officer could not be guilty
either, for his business was to receive a certain number of
persons in a certain place, and to deliver up the same number.
He conducted them in the usual manner, and could not foresee that
two such strong men as those Nekhludoff saw would not be able to
stand it and would die. No one is guilty, and yet the men have
been murdered by these people who are not guilty of their murder.
"All this comes," Nekhludoff thought, "from the fact that all
these people, governors, inspectors, police officers, and men,
consider that there are circumstances in which human relations
are not necessary between human beings. All these men,
Maslennikoff, and the inspector, and the convoy officer, if they
were not _governor, inspector, officer,_ would have considered
twenty times before sending people in such heat in such a
mass--would have stopped twenty times on the way, and, seeing
that a man was growing weak, gasping for breath, would have led
him into the shade, would have given him water and let him rest,
and if an accident had still occurred they would have expressed
pity. But they not only did not do it, but hindered others from
doing it, because they considered not men and their duty towards
them but only the office they themselves filled, and held what
that office demanded of them to be above human relations. That's
what it is," Nekhludoff went on in his thoughts. "If one
acknowledges but for a single hour that anything can be more
important than love for one's fellowmen, even in some one
exceptional case, any crime can be committed without a feeling of
Nekhludoff was so engrossed by his thoughts that he did not
notice how the weather changed. The sun was covered over by a
low-hanging, ragged cloud. A compact, light grey cloud was
rapidly coming from the west, and was already falling in heavy,
driving rain on the fields and woods far in the distance.
Moisture, coming from the cloud, mixed with the air. Now and then
the cloud was rent by flashes of lightning, and peals of thunder
mingled more and more often with the rattling of the train. The
cloud came nearer and nearer, the rain-drops driven by the wind
began to spot the platform and Nekhludoff's coat; and he stepped
to the other side of the little platform, and, inhaling the
fresh, moist air--filled with the smell of corn and wet earth
that had long been waiting for rain--he stood looking at the
gardens, the woods, the yellow rye fields, the green oatfields,
the dark-green strips of potatoes in bloom, that glided past.
Everything looked as if covered over with varnish--the green
turned greener, the yellow yellower, the black blacker.
"More! more!" said Nekhludoff, gladdened by the sight of gardens
and fields revived by the beneficent shower. The shower did not
last long. Part of the cloud had come down in rain, part passed
over, and the last fine drops fell straight on to the earth. The
sun reappeared, everything began to glisten, and in the east--not
very high above the horizon--appeared a bright rainbow, with the
violet tint very distinct and broken only at one end.
"Why, what was I thinking about?" Nekhludoff asked himself when
all these changes in nature were over, and the train ran into a
cutting between two high banks.
"Oh! I was thinking that all those people (inspector, convoy
men--all those in the service) are for the greater part kind
people--cruel only because they are serving." He recalled
Maslennikoff's indifference when he told him about what was being
done in the prison, the inspector's severity, the cruelty of the
convoy officer when he refused places on the carts to those who
asked for them, and paid no attention to the fact that there was
a woman in travail in the train. All these people were evidently
invulnerable and impregnable to the simplest feelings of
compassion only because they held offices. "As officials they
were impermeable to the feelings of humanity, as this paved
ground is impermeable to the rain." Thus thought Nekhludoff as he
looked at the railway embankment paved with stones of different
colours, down which the water was running in streams instead of
soaking into the earth. "Perhaps it is necessary to pave the
banks with stones, but it is sad to look at the ground, which
might be yielding corn, grass, bushes, or trees in the same way
as the ground visible up there is doing--deprived of vegetation,
and so it is with men," thought Nekhludoff. "Perhaps these
governors, inspectors, policemen, are needed, but it is terrible
to see men deprived of the chief human attribute, that of love
and sympathy for one another. The thing is," he continued, "that
these people consider lawful what is not lawful, and do not
consider the eternal, immutable law, written in the hearts of men
by God, as law. That is why I feel so depressed when I am with
these people. I am simply afraid of them, and really they are
terrible, more terrible than robbers. A robber might, after all,
feel pity, but they can feel no pity, they are inured against
pity as these stones are against vegetation. That is what makes
them terrible. It is said that the Pougatcheffs, the Razins
[leaders of rebellions in Russia: Stonka Razin in the 17th and
Pougatcheff in the 18th century] are terrible. These are a
thousand times more terrible," he continued, in his thoughts. "If
a psychological problem were set to find means of making men of
our time--Christian, humane, simple, kind people--perform the
most horrible crimes without feeling guilty, only one solution
could be devised: to go on doing what is being done. It is only
necessary that these people should he governors, inspectors,
policemen; that they should be fully convinced that there is a
kind of business, called government service, which allows men to
treat other men as things, without human brotherly relations with
them, and also that these people should be so linked together by
this government service that the responsibility for the results
of their actions should not fall on any one of them separately.
Without these conditions, the terrible acts I witnessed to-day
would be impossible in our times. It all lies in the fact that
men think there are circumstances in which one may deal with
human beings without love; and there are no such circumstances.
One may deal with things without love. One may cut down trees,
make bricks, hammer iron without love; but you cannot deal with
men without it, just as one cannot deal with bees without being
careful. If you deal carelessly with bees you will injure them,
and will yourself be injured. And so with men. It cannot be
otherwise, because natural love is the fundamental law of human
life. It is true that a man cannot force another to love him, as
he can force him to work for him; but it does not follow that a
man may deal with men without love, especially to demand anything
from them. If you feel no love, sit still," Nekhludoff thought;
"occupy yourself with things, with yourself, with anything you
like, only not with men. You can only eat without injuring
yourself when you feel inclined to eat, so you can only deal with
men usefully when you love. Only let yourself deal with a man
without love, as I did yesterday with my brother-in-law, and
there are no limits to the suffering you will bring on yourself,
as all my life proves. Yes, yes, it is so," thought Nekhludoff;
"it is good; yes, it is good," he repeated, enjoying the
freshness after the torturing heat, and conscious of having
attained to the fullest clearness on a question that had long
The carriage in which Nekhludoff had taken his place was half
filled with people. There were in it servants, working men,
factory hands, butchers, Jews, shopmen, workmen's wives, a
soldier, two ladies, a young one and an old one with bracelets on
her arm, and a severe-looking gentleman with a cockade on his
black cap. All these people were sitting quietly; the bustle of
taking their places was long over; some sat cracking and eating
sunflower seeds, some smoking, some talking.
Taras sat, looking very happy, opposite the door, keeping a place
for Nekhludoff, and carrying on an animated conversation with a
man in a cloth coat who sat opposite to him, and who was, as
Nekhludoff afterwards found out, a gardener going to a new
situation. Before reaching the place where Taras sat Nekhludoff
stopped between the seats near a reverend-looking old man with a
white beard and nankeen coat, who was talking with a young woman
in peasant dress. A little girl of about seven, dressed in a new
peasant costume, sat, her little legs dangling above the floor,
by the side of the woman, and kept cracking seeds.
The old man turned round, and, seeing Nekhludoff, he moved the
lappets of his coat off the varnished seat next to him, and said,
in a friendly manner:
"Please, here's a seat."
Nekhludoff thanked him, and took the seat. As soon as he was
seated the woman continued the interrupted conversation.
She was returning to her village, and related how her husband,
whom she had been visiting, had received her in town.
"I was there during the carnival, and now, by the Lord's help,
I've been again," she said. "Then, God willing, at Christmas I'll
"That's right," said the old man, with a look at Nekhludoff,
"it's the best way to go and see him, else a young man can easily
go to the bad, living in a town."
"Oh, no, sir, mine is not such a man. No nonsense of any kind
about him; his life is as good as a young maiden's. The money he
earns he sends home all to a copeck. And, as to our girl here, he
was so glad to see her, there are no words for it," said the
woman, and smiled.
The little girl, who sat cracking her seeds and spitting out the
shells, listened to her mother's words, and, as if to confirm
them, looked up with calm, intelligent eyes into Nekhludoff's and
the old man's faces.
"Well, if he's good, that's better still," said the old man.
"And none of that sort of thing?" he added, with a look at a
couple, evidently factory hands, who sat at the other side of the
carriage. The husband, with his head thrown back, was pouring
vodka down his throat out of a bottle, and the wife sat holding a
bag, out of which they had taken the bottle, and watched him
"No, mine neither drinks nor smokes," said the woman who was
conversing with the old man, glad of the opportunity of praising
her husband once more. "No, sir, the earth does not hold many
such." And, turning to Nekhludoff, she added, "That's the sort
of man he is."
"What could be better," said the old man, looking at the factory
worker, who had had his drink and had passed the bottle to his
wife. The wife laughed, shook her head, and also raised the
bottle to her lips.
Noticing Nekhludoff's and the old man's look directed towards
them, the factory worker addressed the former.
"What is it, sir? That we are drinking? Ah, no one sees how we
work, but every one sees how we drink. I have earned it, and I am
drinking and treating my wife, and no one else."
"Yes, yes," said Nekhludoff, not knowing what to say.
"True, sir. My wife is a steady woman. I am satisfied with my
wife, because she can feel for me. Is it right what I'm saying,
"There you are, take it, I don't want any more," said the wife,
returning the bottle to him. "And what are you jawing for like
that?" she added.
"There now! She's good--that good; and suddenly she'll begin
squeaking like a wheel that's not greased. Mavra, is it right
what I'm saying?"
Mavra laughed and moved her hand with a tipsy gesture.
"Oh, my, he's at it again."
"There now, she's that good--that good; but let her get her tail
over the reins, and you can't think what she'll be up to. . . .
Is it right what I'm saying? You must excuse me, sir, I've had a
drop! What's to be done?" said the factory worker, and, preparing
to go to sleep, put his head in his wife's lap.
Nekhludoff sat a while with the old man, who told him all about
himself. The old man was a stove builder, who had been working
for 53 years, and had built so many stoves that he had lost
count, and now he wanted to rest, but had no time. He had been to
town and found employment for the young ones, and was now going
to the country to see the people at home. After hearing the old
man's story, Nekhludoff went to the place that Taras was keeping
"It's all right, sir; sit down; we'll put the bag here," said the
gardener, who sat opposite Taras, in a friendly tone, looking up
into Nekhludoff's face.
"Rather a tight fit, but no matter since we are friends," said
Taras, smiling, and lifting the bag, which weighed more than five
stone, as if it were a feather, he carried it across to the
"Plenty of room; besides, we might stand up a bit; and even under
the seat it's as comfortable as you could wish. What's the good
of humbugging?" he said, beaming with friendliness and kindness.
Taras spoke of himself as being unable to utter a word when quite
sober; but drink, he said, helped him to find the right words,
and then he could express everything. And in reality, when he was
sober Taras kept silent; but when he had been drinking, which
happened rarely and only on special occasions, he became very
pleasantly talkative. Then he spoke a great deal, spoke well and
very simply and truthfully, and especially with great kindliness,
which shone in his gentle, blue eyes and in the friendly smile
that never left his lips. He was in such a state to-day.
Nekhludoff's approach interrupted the conversation; but when he
had put the bag in its place, Taras sat down again, and with his
strong hands folded in his lap, and looking straight into the
gardener's face, continued his story. He was telling his new
acquaintance about his wife and giving every detail: what she was
being sent to Siberia for, and why he was now following her.
Nekhludoff had never heard a detailed account of this affair, and
so he listened with interest. When he came up, the story had
reached the point when the attempt to poison was already an
accomplished fact, and the family had discovered that it was
"It's about my troubles that I'm talking," said Taras, addressing
Nekhludoff with cordial friendliness. "I have chanced to come
across such a hearty man, and we've got into conversation, and
I'm telling him all."
"I see," said Nekhludoff.
"Well, then in this way, my friend, the business became known.
Mother, she takes that cake. 'I'm going,' says she, 'to the
police officer.' My father is a just old man. 'Wait, wife,' says
he, 'the little woman is a mere child, and did not herself know
what she was doing. We must have pity. She may come to her
senses.' But, dear me, mother would not hear of it. 'While we
keep her here,' she says, 'she may destroy us all like
cockroaches.' Well, friend, so she goes off for the police
officer. He bounces in upon us at once. Calls for witnesses."
"Well, and you?" asked the gardener.
"Well, I, you see, friend, roll about with the pain in my
stomach, and vomit. All my inside is turned inside out; I can't
even speak. Well, so father he goes and harnesses the mare, and
puts Theodosia into the cart, and is off to the police-station,
and then to the magistrate's. And she, you know, just as she had
done from the first, so also there, confesses all to the
magistrate--where she got the arsenic, and how she kneaded the
cake. 'Why did you do it?' says he. 'Why,' says she, 'because
he's hateful to me. I prefer Siberia to a life with him.' That's
me," and Taras smiled.
"Well, so she confessed all. Then, naturally--the prison, and
father returns alone. And harvest time just coming, and mother
the only woman at home, and she no longer strong. So we think
what we are to do. Could we not bail her out? So father went to
see an official. No go. Then another. I think he went to five of
them, and we thought of giving it up. Then we happened to come
across a clerk--such an artful one as you don't often find. 'You
give me five roubles, and I'll get her out,' says he. He agreed
to do it for three. Well, and what do you think, friend? I went
and pawned the linen she herself had woven, and gave him the
money. As soon as he had written that paper," drawled out Taras,
just as if he were speaking of a shot being fired, "we succeeded
at once. I went to fetch her myself. Well, friend, so I got to
town, put up the mare, took the paper, and went to the prison.
'What do you want?' 'This is what I want,' say I, 'you've got my
wife here in prison.' 'And have you got a paper?' I gave him the
paper. He gave it a look. 'Wait,' says he. So I sat down on a
bench. It was already past noon by the sun. An official comes
out. 'You are Vargoushoff?' 'I am.' 'Well, you may take her.' The
gates opened, and they led her out in her own clothes quite all
right. 'Well, come along. Have you come on foot?' 'No, I have the
horse here.' So I went and paid the ostler, and harnessed, put in
all the hay that was left, and covered it with sacking for her to
sit on. She got in and wrapped her shawl round her, and off we
drove. She says nothing and I say nothing. Just as we were coming
up to the house she says, 'And how's mother; is she alive?' 'Yes,
she's alive.' 'And father; is he alive? 'Yes, he is.' 'Forgive
me, Taras,' she says, 'for my folly. I did not myself know what I
was doing.' So I say, 'Words won't mend matters. I have forgiven
you long ago,' and I said no more. We got home, and she just fell
at mother's feet. Mother says, 'The Lord will forgive you.' And
father said, 'How d'you do?' and 'What's past is past. Live as
best you can. Now,' says he, 'is not the time for all that;
there's the harvest to be gathered in down at Skorodino,' he
says. 'Down on the manured acre, by the Lord's help, the ground
has borne such rye that the sickle can't tackle it. It's all
interwoven and heavy, and has sunk beneath its weight; that must
be reaped. You and Taras had better go and see to it to-morrow.'
Well, friend, from that moment she took to the work and worked so
that every one wondered. At that time we rented three desiatins,
and by God's help we had a wonderful crop both of oats and rye. I
mow and she binds the sheaves, and sometimes we both of us reap.
I am good at work and not afraid of it, but she's better still at
whatever she takes up. She's a smart woman, young, and full of
life; and as to work, friend, she'd grown that eager that I had
to stop her. We get home, our fingers swollen, our arms aching,
and she, instead of resting, rushes off to the barn to make
binders for the sheaves for next day. Such a change!"
"Well, and to you? Was she kinder, now?" asked the gardener.
"That's beyond question. She clings to me as if we were one soul.
Whatever I think she understands. Even mother, angry as she was,
could not help saying: 'It's as if our Theodosia had been
transformed; she's quite a different woman now!' We were once
going to cart the sheaves with two carts. She and I were in the
first, and I say, 'How could you think of doing that, Theodosia?'
and she says, 'How could I think of it? just so, I did not wish
to live with you. I thought I'd rather die than live with you!' I
say, 'And now?' and she says, 'Now you're in my heart!'" Taras
stopped, and smiled joyfully, shook his head as if surprised.
"Hardly had we got the harvest home when I went to soak the hemp,
and when I got home there was a summons, she must go to be tried,
and we had forgotten all about the matter that she was to be
"It can only be the evil one," said the gardener. "Could any man
of himself think of destroying a living soul? We had a fellow
once--" and the gardener was about to commence his tale when the
train began to stop.
"It seems we are coming to a station," he said. "I'll go and have
The conversation stopped, and Nekhludoff followed the gardener
out of the carriage onto the wet platform of the station.
LE VRAI GRAND MONDE.
Before Nekhludoff got out he had noticed in the station yard
several elegant equipages, some with three, some with four,
well-fed horses, with tinkling bells on their harness. When he
stepped out on the wet, dark-coloured boards of the platform, he
saw a group of people in front of the first-class carriage, among
whom were conspicuous a stout lady with costly feathers on her
hat, and a waterproof, and a tall, thin-legged young man in a
cycling suit. The young man had by his side an enormous, well-fed
dog, with a valuable collar. Behind them stood footmen, holding
wraps and umbrellas, and a coachman, who had also come to meet
On the whole of the group, from the fat lady down to the coachman
who stood holding up his long coat, there lay the stamp of wealth
and quiet self-assurance. A curious and servile crowd rapidly
gathered round this group--the station-master, in his red cap, a
gendarme, a thin young lady in a Russian costume, with beads
round her neck, who made a point of seeing the trains come in all
through the summer, a telegraph clerk, and passengers, men and
In the young man with the dog Nekhludoff recognised young
Korchagin, a gymnasium student. The fat lady was the Princess's
sister, to whose estate the Korchagins were now moving. The
guard, with his gold cord and shiny top-boots, opened the carriage
door and stood holding it as a sign of deference, while Philip
and a porter with a white apron carefully carried out the
long-faced Princess in her folding chair. The sisters greeted
each other, and French sentences began flying about. Would the
Princess go in a closed or an open carriage? At last the
procession started towards the exit, the lady's maid, with her
curly fringe, parasol and leather case in the rear.
Nekhludoff not wishing to meet them and to have to take leave
over again, stopped before he got to the door, waiting for the
procession to pass.
The Princess, her son, Missy, the doctor, and the maid went out
first, the old Prince and his sister-in-law remained behind.
Nekhludoff was too far to catch anything but a few disconnected
French sentences of their conversation One of the sentences
uttered by the Prince, as it often happens, for some
unaccountable reason remained in his memory with all its
intonations and the sound of the voice.
"_Oh, il est du vrai grand monde, du vrai grand monde_," said the
Prince in his loud, self-assured tone as he went out of the
station with his sister-in-law, accompanied by the respectful
guards and porters.
At this moment from behind the corner of the station suddenly
appeared a crowd of workmen in bark shoes, wearing sheepskin
coats and carrying bags on their backs. The workmen went up to
the nearest carriage with soft yet determined steps, and were
about to get in, but were at once driven away by a guard. Without
stopping, the workmen passed on, hurrying and jostling one
another, to the next carriage and began getting in, catching
their bags against the corners and door of the carriage, but
another guard caught sight of them from the door of the station,
and shouted at them severely. The workmen, who had already got
in, hurried out again and went on, with the same soft and firm
steps, still further towards Nekhludoff's carriage. A guard was
again going to stop them, but Nekhludoff said there was plenty of
room inside, and that they had better get in. They obeyed and got
in, followed by Nekhludoff.
The workmen were about to take their seats, when the gentleman
with the cockade and the two ladies, looking at this attempt to
settle in their carriage as a personal insult to themselves,
indignantly protested and wanted to turn them out. The
workmen--there were 20 of them, old men and quite young ones, all
of them wearied, sunburnt, with haggard faces--began at once to
move on through the carriage, catching the seats, the walls, and
the doors with their bags. They evidently felt they had offended
in some way, and seemed ready to go on indefinitely wherever they
were ordered to go.
"Where are you pushing to, you fiends? Sit down here," shouted
another guard they met.
"Voild encore des nouvelles," exclaimed the younger of the two
ladies, quite convinced that she would attract Nekhludoff's
notice by her good French.
The other lady with the bracelets kept sniffing and making faces,
and remarked something about how pleasant it was to sit with
The workmen, who felt the joy and calm experienced by people who
have escaped some kind of danger, threw off their heavy bags with
a movement of their shoulders and stowed them away under the
The gardener had left his own seat to talk with Taras, and now
went back, so that there were two unoccupied seats opposite and
one next to Taras. Three of the workmen took these seats, but
when Nekhludoff came up to them, in his gentleman's clothing,
they got so confused that they rose to go away, but Nekhludoff
asked them to stay, and himself sat down on the arm of the seat,
by the passage down the middle of the carriage.
One of the workmen, a man of about 50, exchanged a surprised and
even frightened look with a young man. That Nekhludoff, instead
of scolding and driving them away, as was natural to a gentleman,
should give up his seat to them, astonished and perplexed them.
They even feared that this might have some evil result for them.
However, they soon noticed that there was no underlying plot when
they heard Nekhludoff talking quite simply with Taras, and they
grew quiet and told one of the lads to sit down on his bag and
give his seat to Nekhludoff. At first the elderly workman who sat
opposite Nekhludoff shrank and drew back his legs for fear of
touching the gentleman, but after a while he grew quite friendly,
and in talking to him and Taras even slapped Nekhludoff on the
knee when he wanted to draw special attention to what he was
He told them all about his position and his work in the peat
bogs, whence he was now returning home. He had been working there
for two and a half months, and was bringing home his wages, which
only came to 10 roubles, since part had been paid beforehand when
he was hired. They worked, as he explained, up to their knees in
water from sunrise to sunset, with two hours' interval for
"Those who are not used to it find it hard, of course," he said;
"but when one's hardened it doesn't matter, if only the food is
right. At first the food was bad. Later the people complained,
and they got good food, and it was easy to work."
Then he told them how, during 28 years he went out to work, and
sent all his earnings home. First to his father, then to his
eldest brother, and now to his nephew, who was at the head of the
household. On himself he spent only two or three roubles of the
50 or 60 he earned a year, just for luxuries--tobacco and
"I'm a sinner, when tired I even drink a little vodka sometimes,"
he added, with a guilty smile.
Then he told them how the women did the work at home, and how the
contractor had treated them to half a pail of vodka before they
started to-day, how one of them had died, and another was
returning home ill. The sick workman he was talking about was in
a corner of the same carriage. He was a young lad, with a pale,
sallow face and bluish lips. He was evidently tormented by
intermittent fever. Nekhludoff went up to him, but the lad looked
up with such a severe and suffering expression that Nekhludoff
did not care to bother him with questions, but advised the elder
man to give him quinine, and wrote down the name of the medicine.
He wished to give him some money, but the old workman said he
would pay for it himself.
"Well, much as I have travelled, I have never met such a
gentleman before. Instead of punching your head, he actually
gives up his place to you," said the old man to Taras. "It seems
there are all sorts of gentlefolk, too."
"Yes, this is quite a new and different world," thought
Nekhludoff, looking at these spare, sinewy, limbs, coarse,
home-made garments, and sunburnt, kindly, though weary-looking
faces, and feeling himself surrounded on all sides with new
people and the serious interests, joys, and sufferings of a life
"Here is_ le vrai grand monde_," thought Nekhludoff, remembering
the words of Prince Korchagin and all that idle, luxurious world
to which the Korchagins belonged, with their petty, mean
interests. And he felt the joy of a traveller on discovering a
new, unknown, and beautiful world.
END OF BOOK II.
MASLOVA MAKES NEW FRIENDS.
The gang of prisoners to which Maslova belonged had walked about
three thousand three hundred miles. She and the other prisoners
condemned for criminal offences had travelled by rail and by
steamboats as far as the town of Perm. It was only here that
Nekhludoff succeeded in obtaining a permission for her to
continue the journey with the political prisoners, as Vera
Doukhova, who was among the latter, advised him to do. The
journey up to Perm had been very trying to Maslova both morally
and physically. Physically, because of the overcrowding, the
dirt, and the disgusting vermin, which gave her no peace;
morally, because of the equally disgusting men. The men, like the
vermin, though they changed at each halting-place, were
everywhere alike importunate; they swarmed round her, giving her
no rest. Among the women prisoners and the men prisoners, the
jailers and the convoy soldiers, the habit of a kind of cynical
debauch was so firmly established that unless a female prisoner
was willing to utilise her position as a woman she had to be
constantly on the watch. To be continually in a state of fear and
strife was very trying. And Maslova was specially exposed to
attacks, her appearance being attractive and her past known to
every one. The decided resistance with which she now met the
importunity of all the men seemed offensive to them, and awakened
another feeling, that of ill-will towards her. But her position
was made a little easier by her intimacy with Theodosia, and
Theodosia's husband, who, having heard of the molestations his
wife was subject to, had in Nijni been arrested at his own desire
in order to be able to protect her, and was now travelling with
the gang as a prisoner. Maslova's position became much more
bearable when she was allowed to join the political prisoners,
who were provided with better accomodations, better food, and
were treated less rudely, but besides all this Maslova's
condition was much improved because among the political prisoners
she was no longer molested by the men, and could live without
being reminded of that past which she was so anxious to forget.
But the chief advantage of the change lay in the fact that she
made the acquaintance of several persons who exercised a decided
and most beneficial influence on her character. Maslova was
allowed to stop with the political prisoners at all the
halting-places, but being a strong and healthy woman she was
obliged to march with the criminal convicts. In this way she
walked all the way from Tomsk. Two political prisoners also
marched with the gang, Mary Pavlovna Schetinina, the girl with
the hazel eyes who had attracted Nekhludoff's attention when he
had been to visit Doukhova in prison, and one Simonson, who was
on his way to the Takoutsk district, the dishevelled dark young
fellow with deep-lying eyes, whom Nekhludoff had also noticed
during that visit. Mary Pavlovna was walking because she had
given her place on the cart to one of the criminals, a woman
expecting to be confined, and Simonson because he did not dare to
avail himself of a class privilege.
These three always started early in the morning before the rest
of the political prisoners, who followed later on in the carts.
They were ready to start in this way just outside a large town,
where a new convoy officer had taken charge of the gang.
It was early on a dull September morning. It kept raining and
snowing alternately, and the cold wind blew in sudden gusts. The
whole gang of prisoners, consisting of four hundred men and fifty
women, was already assembled in the court of the halting station.
Some of them were crowding round the chief of the convoy, who was
giving to specially appointed prisoners money for two days' keep
to distribute among the rest, while others were purchasing food
from women who had been let into the courtyard. One could hear
the voices of the prisoners counting their money and making their
purchases, and the shrill voices of the women with the food.
Simonson, in his rubber jacket and rubber overshoes fastened with
a string over his worsted stockings (he was a vegetarian and
would not wear the skin of slaughtered animals), was also in the
courtyard waiting for the gang to start. He stood by the porch
and jotted down in his notebook a thought that had occurred to
him. This was what he wrote: "If a bacteria watched and examined
a human nail it would pronounce it inorganic matter, and thus we,
examining our globe and watching its crust, pronounce it to be
inorganic. This is incorrect."
Katusha and Mary Pavlovna, both wearing top-boots and with shawls
tied round their heads, came out of the building into the
courtyard where the women sat sheltered from the wind by the
northern wall of the court, and vied with one another, offering
their goods, hot meat pie, fish, vermicelli, buckwheat porridge,
liver, beef, eggs, milk. One had even a roast pig to offer.
Having bought some eggs, bread, fish, and some rusks, Maslova was
putting them into her bag, while Mary Pavlovna was paying the
women, when a movement arose among the convicts. All were silent
and took their places. The officer came out and began giving the
last orders before starting. Everything was done in the usual
manner. The prisoners were counted, the chains on their legs
examined, and those who were to march in couples linked together
with manacles. But suddenly the angry, authoritative voice of the
officer shouting something was heard, also the sound of a blow
and the crying of a child. All was silent for a moment and then
came a hollow murmur from the crowd. Maslova and Mary Pavlovna
advanced towards the spot whence the noise proceeded.
AN INCIDENT OF THE MARCH.
This is what Mary Pavlovna and Katusha saw when they came up to
the scene whence the noise proceeded. The officer, a sturdy
fellow, with fair moustaches, stood uttering words of foul and
coarse abuse, and rubbing with his left the palm of his right
hand, which he had hurt in hitting a prisoner on the face. In
front of him a thin, tall convict, with half his head shaved and
dressed in a cloak too short for him and trousers much too short,
stood wiping his bleeding face with one hand, and holding a
little shrieking girl wrapped in a shawl with the other.
"I'll give it you" (foul abuse); "I'll teach you to reason" (more
abuse); "you're to give her to the women!" shouted the officer.
"Now, then, on with them."
The convict, who was exiled by the Commune, had been carrying his
little daughter all the way from Tomsk, where his wife had died
of typhus, and now the officer ordered him to be manacled. The
exile's explanation that he could not carry the child if he was
manacled irritated the officer, who happened to be in a bad
temper, and he gave the troublesome prisoner a beating. [A fact
described by Lineff in his "Transportation".] Before the injured
convict stood a convoy soldier, and a black-bearded prisoner with
manacles on one hand and a look of gloom on his face, which he
turned now to the officer, now to the prisoner with the little
The officer repeated his orders for the soldiers to take away the
girl. The murmur among the prisoners grew louder.
"All the way from Tomsk they were not put on," came a hoarse
voice from some one in the rear. "It's a child, and not a puppy."
"What's he to do with the lassie? That's not the law," said some
"Who's that?" shouted the officer as if he had been stung, and
rushed into the crowd.
"I'll teach you the law. Who spoke. You? You?"
"Everybody says so, because-" said a short, broad-faced prisoner.
Before he had finished speaking the officer hit him in the face.
"Mutiny, is it? I'll show you what mutiny means. I'll have you
all shot like dogs, and the authorities will be only too
thankful. Take the girl."
The crowd was silent. One convoy soldier pulled away the girl,
who was screaming desperately, while another manacled the
prisoner, who now submissively held out his hand.
"Take her to the women," shouted the officer, arranging his sword
The little girl, whose face had grown quite red, was trying to
disengage her arms from under the shawl, and screamed
unceasingly. Mary Pavlovna stepped out from among the crowd and
came up to the officer.
"Will you allow me to carry the little girl?" she said.
"Who are you?" asked the officer.
"A political prisoner."
Mary Pavlovna's handsome face, with the beautiful prominent eyes
(he had noticed her before when the prisoners were given into his
charge), evidently produced an effect on the officer. He looked
at her in silence as if considering, then said: "I don't care;
carry her if you like. It is easy for you to show pity; if he ran
away who would have to answer?"
"How could he run away with the child in his arms?" said Mary
"I have no time to talk with you. Take her if you like."
"Shall I give her?" asked the soldier.
"Yes, give her."
"Come to me," said Mary Pavlovna, trying to coax the child to
come to her.
But the child in the soldier's arms stretched herself towards her
father and continued to scream, and would not go to Mary
"Wait a bit, Mary Pavlovna," said Maslova, getting a rusk out of
her bag; "she will come to me."
The little girl knew Maslova, and when she saw her face and the
rusk she let her take her. All was quiet. The gates were opened,
and the gang stepped out, the convoy counted the prisoners over
again, the bags were packed and tied on to the carts, the weak
seated on the top. Maslova with the child in her arms took her
place among the women next to Theodosia. Simonson, who had all
the time been watching what was going on, stepped with large,
determined strides up to the officer, who, having given his
orders, was just getting into a trap, and said, "You have behaved
"Get to your place; it is no business of yours."
"It is my business to tell you that you have behaved badly and I
have said it," said Simonson, looking intently into the officer's
face from under his bushy eyebrows.
"Ready? March!" the officer called out, paying no heed to
Simonson, and, taking hold of the driver's shoulder, he got into
the trap. The gang started and spread out as it stepped on to the
muddy high road with ditches on each side, which passed through a
In spite of the hard conditions in which they were placed, life
among the political prisoners seemed very good to Katusha after
the depraved, luxurious and effeminate life she had led in town
for the last six years, and after two months' imprisonment with
criminal prisoners. The fifteen to twenty miles they did per day,
with one day's rest after two days' marching, strengthened her
physically, and the fellowship with her new companions opened out
to her a life full of interests such as she had never dreamed of.
People so wonderful (as she expressed it) as those whom she was
now going with she had not only never met but could not even have
"There now, and I cried when I was sentenced," she said. "Why, I
must thank God for it all the days of my life. I have learned to
know what I never should have found out else."
The motives she understood easily and without effort that guided
these people, and, being of the people, fully sympathised with
them. She understood that these persons were for the people and
against the upper classes, and though themselves belonging to the
upper classes had sacrificed their privileges, their liberty and
their lives for the people. This especially made her value and
admire them. She was charmed with all the new companions, but
particularly with Mary Pavlovna, and she was not only charmed
with her, but loved her with a peculiar, respectful and rapturous
love. She was struck by the fact that this beautiful girl, the
daughter of a rich general, who could speak three languages, gave
away all that her rich brother sent her, and lived like the
simplest working girl, and dressed not only simply, but poorly,
paying no heed to her appearance. This trait and a complete
absence of coquetry was particularly surprising and therefore
attractive to Maslova. Maslova could see that Mary Pavlovna knew,
and was even pleased to know, that she was handsome, and yet the
effect her appearance had on men was not at all pleasing to her;
she was even afraid of it, and felt an absolute disgust to all
love affairs. Her men companions knew it, and if they felt
attracted by her never permitted themselves to show it to her,
but treated her as they would a man; but with strangers, who
often molested her, the great physical strength on which she
prided herself stood her in good stead.
"It happened once," she said to Katusha, "that a man followed me
in the street and would not leave me on any account. At last I
gave him such a shaking that he was frightened and ran away."
She became a revolutionary, as she said, because she felt a
dislike to the life of the well-to-do from childhood up, and
loved the life of the common people, and she was always being
scolded for spending her time in the servants' hall, in the
kitchen or the stables instead of the drawing-room.
"And I found it amusing to be with cooks and the coachmen, and
dull with our gentlemen and ladies," she said. "Then when I came
to understand things I saw that our life was altogether wrong; I
had no mother and I did not care for my father, and so when I was
nineteen I left home, and went with a girl friend to work as a
After she left the factory she lived in the country, then
returned to town and lived in a lodging, where they had a secret
printing press. There she was arrested and sentenced to hard
labour. Mary Pavlovna said nothing about it herself, but Katusha
heard from others that Mary Pavlovna was sentenced because, when
the lodging was searched by the police and one of the
revolutionists fired a shot in the dark, she pleaded guilty.
As soon as she had learned to know Mary Pavlovna, Katusha noticed
that, whatever the conditions she found herself in, Mary Pavlovna
never thought of herself, but was always anxious to serve, to
help some one, in matters small or great. One of her present
companions, Novodvoroff, said of her that she devoted herself to
philanthropic amusements. And this was true. The interest of her
whole life lay in the search for opportunities of serving others.
This kind of amusement had become the habit, the business of her
life. And she did it all so naturally that those who knew her no
longer valued but simply expected it of her.
When Maslova first came among them, Mary Pavlovna felt repulsed
and disgusted. Katusha noticed this, but she also noticed that,
having made an effort to overcome these feelings, Mary Pavlovna
became particularly tender and kind to her. The tenderness and
kindness of so uncommon a being touched Maslova so much that she
gave her whole heart, and unconsciously accepting her views,
could not help imitating her in everything.
This devoted love of Katusha touched Mary Pavlovna in her turn,
and she learned to love Katusha.
These women were also united by the repulsion they both felt to
sexual love. The one loathed that kind of love, having
experienced all its horrors, the other, never having experienced
it, looked on it as something incomprehensible and at the same
time as something repugnant and offensive to human dignity.
Mary Pavlovna's influence was one that Maslova submitted to
because she loved Mary Pavlovna. Simonson influenced her because
he loved her.
Everybody lives and acts partly according to his own, partly
according to other people's, ideas. This is what constitutes one
of the great differences among men. To some, thinking is a kind
of mental game; they treat their reason as if it were a fly-wheel
without a connecting strap, and are guided in their actions by
other people's ideas, by custom or laws; while others look upon
their own ideas as the chief motive power of all their actions,
and always listen to the dictates of their own reason and submit
to it, accepting other people's opinions only on rare occasions
and after weighing them critically. Simonson was a man of the
latter sort; he settled and verified everything according to his
own reason and acted on the decisions he arrived at. When a
schoolboy he made up his mind that his father's income, made as a
paymaster in government office was dishonestly gained, and he
told his father that it ought to be given to the people. When his
father, instead of listening to him, gave him a scolding, he left
his father's house and would not make use of his father's means.
Having come to the conclusion that all the existing misery was a
result of the people's ignorance, he joined the socialists, who
carried on propaganda among the people, as soon as he left the
university and got a place as a village schoolmaster. He taught
and explained to his pupils and to the peasants what he
considered to be just, and openly blamed what he thought unjust.
He was arrested and tried. During his trial he determined to tell
his judges that his was a just cause, for which he ought not to
be tried or punished. When the judges paid no heed to his words,
but went on with the trial, he decided not to answer them and
kept resolutely silent when they questioned him. He was exiled to
the Government of Archangel. There he formulated a religious
teaching which was founded on the theory that everything in the
world was alive, that nothing is lifeless, and that all the
objects we consider to be without life or inorganic are only
parts of an enormous organic body which we cannot compass. A
man's task is to sustain the life of that huge organism and all
its animate parts. Therefore he was against war, capital
punishment and every kind of killing, not only of human beings,
but also of animals. Concerning marriage, too, he had a peculiar
idea of his own; he thought that increase was a lower function of
man, the highest function being to serve the already existing
lives. He found a confirmation of his theory in the fact that
there were phacocytes in the blood. Celibates, according to his
opinion, were the same as phacocytes, their function being to
help the weak and the sickly particles of the organism. From the
moment he came to this conclusion he began to consider himself as
well as Mary Pavlovna as phacocytes, and to live accordingly,
though as a youth he had been addicted to vice. His love for
Katusha did not infringe this conception, because he loved her
platonically, and such love he considered could not hinder his
activity as a phacocytes, but acted, on the contrary, as an
Not only moral, but also most practical questions he decided in
his own way. He applied a theory of his own to all practical
business, had rules relating to the number of hours for rest and
for work, to the kind of food to eat, the way to dress, to heat
and light up the rooms. With all this Simonson was very shy and
modest; and yet when he had once made up his mind nothing could
make him waver. And this man had a decided influence on Maslova
through his love for her. With a woman's instinct Maslova very
soon found out that he loved her. And the fact that she could
awaken love in a man of that kind raised her in her own
estimation. It was Nekhludoff's magnanimity and what had been in
the past that made him offer to marry her, but Simonson loved her
such as she was now, loved her simply because of the love he bore
her. And she felt that Simonson considered her to be an
exceptional woman, having peculiarly high moral qualities. She
did not quite know what the qualities he attributed to her were,
but in order to be on the safe side and that he should not be
disappointed in her, she tried with all her might to awaken in
herself all the highest qualities she could conceive, and she
tried to be as good as possible. This had begun while they were
still in prison, when on a common visiting day she had noticed
his kindly dark blue eyes gazing fixedly at her from under his
projecting brow. Even then she had noticed that this was a
peculiar man, and that he was looking at her in a peculiar
manner, and had also noticed the striking combination of
sternness--the unruly hair and the frowning forehead gave him
this appearance--with the child-like kindness and innocence of
his look. She saw him again in Tomsk, where she joined the
political prisoners. Though they had not uttered a word, their
looks told plainly that they had understood one another. Even
after that they had had no serious conversation with each other,
but Maslova felt that when he spoke in her presence his words
were addressed to her, and that he spoke for her sake, trying to
express himself as plainly as he could; but it was when he
started walking with the criminal prisoners that they grew
specially near to one another.
THE POLITICAL PRISONERS.
Until they left Perm Nekhludoff only twice managed to see
Katusha, once in Nijni, before the prisoners were embarked on a
barge surrounded with a wire netting, and again in Perm in the
prison office. At both these interviews he found her reserved and
unkind. She answered his questions as to whether she was in want
of anything, and whether she was comfortable, evasively and
bashfully, and, as he thought, with the same feeling of hostile
reproach which she had shown several times before. Her depressed
state of mind, which was only the result of the molestations from
the men that she was undergoing at the time, tormented
Nekhludoff. He feared lest, influenced by the hard and degrading
circumstances in which she was placed on the journey, she should
again get into that state of despair and discord with her own
self which formerly made her irritable with him, and which had
caused her to drink and smoke excessively to gain oblivion. But
he was unable to help her in any way during this part of the
journey, as it was impossible for him to be with her. It was only
when she joined the political prisoners that he saw how unfounded
his fears were, and at each interview he noticed that inner
change he so strongly desired to see in her becoming more and
more marked. The first time they met in Tomsk she was again just
as she had been when leaving Moscow. She did not frown or become
confused when she saw him, but met him joyfully and simply,
thanking him for what he had done for her, especially for
bringing her among the people with whom she now was.
After two months' marching with the gang, the change that had
taken place within her became noticeable in her appearance. She
grew sunburned and thinner, and seemed older; wrinkles appeared
on her temples and round her mouth. She had no ringlets on her
forehead now, and her hair was covered with the kerchief; in the
way it was arranged, as well as in her dress and her manners,
there was no trace of coquetry left. And this change, which had
taken place and was still progressing in her, made Nekhludoff
He felt for her something he had never experienced before. This
feeling had nothing in common with his first poetic love for her,
and even less with the sensual love that had followed, nor even
with the satisfaction of a duty fulfilled, not unmixed with
self-admiration, with which he decided to marry her after the
trial. The present feeling was simply one of pity and tenderness.
He had felt it when he met her in prison for the first time, and
then again when, after conquering his repugnance, he forgave her
the imagined intrigue with the medical assistant in the hospital
(the injustice done her had since been discovered); it was the
same feeling he now had, only with this difference, that formerly
it was momentary, and that now it had become permanent. Whatever
he was doing, whatever he was thinking now, a feeling of pity and
tenderness dwelt with him, and not only pity and tenderness for
her, but for everybody. This feeling seemed to have opened the
floodgates of love, which had found no outlet in Nekhludoff's
soul, and the love now flowed out to every one he met.
During this journey Nekhludoff's feelings were so stimulated that
he could not help being attentive and considerate to everybody,
from the coachman and the convoy soldiers to the prison
inspectors and governors whom he had to deal with. Now that
Maslova was among the political prisoners, Nekhludoff could not
help becoming acquainted with many of them, first in
Ekaterinburg, where they had a good deal of freedom and were kept
altogether in a large cell, and then on the road when Maslova was
marching with three of the men and four of the women. Coming in
contact with political exiles in this way made Nekhludoff
completely change his mind concerning them.
From the very beginning of the revolutionary movement in Russia,
but especially since that first of March, when Alexander II was
murdered, Nekhludoff regarded the revolutionists with dislike and
contempt. He was repulsed by the cruelty and secrecy of the
methods they employed in their struggles against the government,
especially the cruel murders they committed, and their arrogance
also disgusted him. But having learned more intimately to know
them and all they had suffered at the hands of the government, he
saw that they could not be other than they were.
Terrible and endless as were the torments which were inflicted on
the criminals, there was at least some semblance of justice shown
them before and after they were sentenced, but in the case of the
political prisoners there was not even that semblance, as
Nekhludoff saw in the case of Sholostova and that of many and
many of his new acquaintances. These people were dealt with like
fish caught with a net; everything that gets into the nets is
pulled ashore, and then the big fish which are required are
sorted out and the little ones are left to perish unheeded on the
shore. Having captured hundreds that were evidently guiltless,
and that could not be dangerous to the government, they left them
imprisoned for years, where they became consumptive, went out of
their minds or committed suicide, and kept them only because they
had no inducement to set them free, while they might be of use to
elucidate some question at a judicial inquiry, safe in prison.
The fate of these persons, often innocent even from the
government point of view, depended on the whim, the humour of, or
the amount of leisure at the disposal of some police officer or
spy, or public prosecutor, or magistrate, or governor, or
minister. Some one of these officials feels dull, or inclined to
distinguish himself, and makes a number of arrests, and imprisons
or sets free, according to his own fancy or that of the higher
authorities. And the higher official, actuated by like motives,
according to whether he is inclined to distinguish himself, or to
what his relations to the minister are, exiles men to the other
side of the world or keeps them in solitary confinement, condemns
them to Siberia, to hard labour, to death, or sets them free at
the request of some lady.
They were dealt with as in war, and they naturally employed the
means that were used against them. And as the military men live
in an atmosphere of public opinion that not only conceals from
them the guilt of their actions, but sets these actions up as
feats of heroism, so these political offenders were also
constantly surrounded by an atmosphere of public opinion which
made the cruel actions they committed, in the face of danger and
at the risk of liberty and life, and all that is dear to men,
seem not wicked but glorious actions. Nekhludoff found in this
the explanation of the surprising phenomenon that men, with the
mildest characters, who seemed incapable of witnessing the
sufferings of any living creature, much less of inflicting pain,
quietly prepared to murder men, nearly all of them considering
murder lawful and just on certain occasions as a means for
self-defence, for the attainment of higher aims or for the
The importance they attribute to their cause, and consequently to
themselves, flowed naturally from the importance the government
attached to their actions, and the cruelty of the punishments it
inflicted on them. When Nekhludoff came to know them better he
became convinced that they were not the right-down villains that
some imagined them to be, nor the complete heroes that others
thought them, but ordinary people, just the same as others, among
whom there were some good and some bad, and some mediocre, as
there are everywhere.
There were some among them who had turned revolutionists because
they honestly considered it their duty to fight the existing
evils, but there were also those who chose this work for selfish,
ambitious motives; the majority, however, was attracted to the
revolutionary idea by the desire for danger, for risks, the
enjoyment of playing with one's life, which, as Nekhludoff knew
from his military experiences, is quite common to the most
ordinary people while they are young and full of energy. But
wherein they differed from ordinary people was that their moral
standard was a higher one than that of ordinary men. They
considered not only self-control, hard living, truthfulness, but
also the readiness to sacrifice everything, even life, for the
common welfare as their duty. Therefore the best among them stood
on a moral level that is not often reached, while the worst were
far below the ordinary level, many of them being untruthful,
hypocritical and at the same time self-satisfied and proud. So
that Nekhludoff learned not only to respect but to love some of
his new acquaintances, while he remained more than indifferent to
Nekhludoff grew especially fond of Kryltzoff, a consumptive young
man condemned to hard labour, who was going with the same gang as
Katusha. Nekhludoff had made his acquaintance already in
Ekaterinburg, and talked with him several times on the road after
that. Once, in summer, Nekhludoff spent nearly the whole of a day
with him at a halting station, and Kryltzoff, having once started
talking, told him his story and how he had become a
revolutionist. Up to the time of his imprisonment his story was
soon told. He lost his father, a rich landed proprietor in the
south of Russia, when still a child. He was the only son, and his
mother brought him up. He learned easily in the university, as
well as the gymnasium, and was first in the mathematical faculty
in his year. He was offered a choice of remaining in the
university or going abroad. He hesitated. He loved a girl and was
thinking of marriage, and taking part in the rural
administration. He did not like giving up either offer, and could
not make up his mind. At this time his fellow-students at the
university asked him for money for a common cause. He did not
know that this common cause was revolutionary, which he was not
interested in at that time, but gave the money from a sense of
comradeship and vanity, so that it should not be said that he was
afraid. Those who received the money were caught, a note was
found which proved that the money had been given by Kryltzoff. he
was arrested, and first kept at the police station, then
"The prison where I was put," Kryltzoff went on to relate (he was
sitting on the high shelf bedstead, his elbows on his knees, with
sunken chest, the beautiful, intelligent eyes with which he
looked at Nekhludoff glistening feverishly)--"they were not
specially strict in that prison. We managed to converse, not only
by tapping the wall, but could walk about the corridors, share
our provisions and our tobacco, and in the evenings we even sang
in chorus. I had a fine voice--yes, if it had not been for mother
it would have been all right, even pleasant and interesting. Here
I made the acquaintance of the famous Petroff--he afterwards
killed himself with a piece of glass at the fortress--and also
of others. But I was not yet a revolutionary. I also became
acquainted with my neighbours in the cells next to mine. They
were both caught with Polish proclamations and arrested in the
same cause, and were tried for an attempt to escape from the
convoy when they were being taken to the railway station. One was
a Pole, Lozinsky; the other a Jew, Rozovsky. Yes. Well, this
Rozovsky was quite a boy. He said he was seventeen, but he looked
fifteen--thin, small, active, with black, sparkling eyes, and,
like most Jews, very musical. His voice was still breaking, and
yet he sang beautifully. Yes. I saw them both taken to be tried.
They were taken in the morning. They returned in the evening,
and said they were condemned to death. No one had expected it.
Their case was so unimportant; they only tried to get away from
the convoy, and had not even wounded any one. And then it was so
unnatural to execute such a child as Rozovsky. And we in prison
all came to the conclusion that it was only done to frighten
them, and would not be confirmed. At first we were excited, and
then we comforted ourselves, and life went on as before. Yes.
Well, one evening, a watchman comes to my door and mysteriously
announces to me that carpenters had arrived, and were putting up
the gallows. At first I did not understand. What's that? What
gallows? But the watchman was so excited that I saw at once it
was for our two. I wished to tap and communicate with my
comrades, but was afraid those two would hear. The comrades were
also silent. Evidently everybody knew. In the corridors and in
the cells everything was as still as death all that evening. They
did not tap the wall nor sing. At ten the watchman came again and
announced that a hangman had arrived from Moscow. He said it and
went away. I began calling him back. Suddenly I hear Rozovsky
shouting to me across the corridor: 'What's the matter? Why do
you call him?' I answered something about asking him to get me
some tobacco, but he seemed to guess, and asked me: 'Why did we
not sing to-night, why did we not tap the walls?' I do not
remember what I said, but I went away so as not to speak to him.
Yes. It was a terrible night. I listened to every sound all
night. Suddenly, towards morning, I hear doors opening and
somebody walking--many persons. I went up to my window. There
was a lamp burning in the corridor. The first to pass was the
inspector. He was stout, and seemed a resolute, self-satisfied
man, but he looked ghastly pale, downcast, and seemed frightened;
then his assistant, frowning but resolute; behind them the
watchman. They passed my door and stopped at the next, and I hear
the assistant calling out in a strange voice: 'Lozinsky, get up
and put on clean linen.' Yes. Then I hear the creaking of the
door; they entered into his cell. Then I hear Lozinsky's steps
going to the opposite side of the corridor. I could only see the
inspector. He stood quite pale, and buttoned and unbuttoned his
coat, shrugging his shoulders. Yes. Then, as if frightened of
something, he moved out of the way. It was Lozinsky, who passed
him and came up to my door. A handsome young fellow he was, you
know, of that nice Polish type: broad shouldered, his head
covered with fine, fair, curly hair as with a cap, and with
beautiful blue eyes. So blooming, so fresh, so healthy. He
stopped in front of my window, so that I could see the whole of
his face. A dreadful, gaunt, livid face. 'Kryltzoff, have you any
cigarettes?' I wished to pass him some, but the assistant
hurriedly pulled out his cigarette case and passed it to him. He
took out one, the assistant struck a match, and he lit the
cigarette and began to smoke and seemed to be thinking. Then, as
if he had remembered something, he began to speak. 'It is cruel
and unjust. I have committed no crime. I--' I saw something
quiver in his white young throat, from which I could not take my
eyes, and he stopped. Yes. At that moment I hear Rozovsky
shouting in his fine, Jewish voice. Lozinsky threw away the
cigarette and stepped from the door. And Rozovsky appeared at the
window. His childish face, with the limpid black eyes, was red
and moist. He also had clean linen on, the trousers were too
wide, and he kept pulling them up and trembled all over. He
approached his pitiful face to my window. 'Kryltzoff, it's true
that the doctor has prescribed cough mixture for me, is it not? I
am not well. I'll take some more of the mixture.' No one
answered, and he looked inquiringly, now at me, now at the
inspector. What he meant to say I never made out. Yes. Suddenly
the assistant again put on a stern expression, and called out in
a kind of squeaking tone: 'Now, then, no nonsense. Let us go.'
Rozovsky seemed incapable of understanding what awaited him, and
hurried, almost ran, in front of him all along the corridor. But
then he drew back, and I could hear his shrill voice and his
cries, then the trampling of feet, and general hubbub. He was
shrieking and sobbing. The sounds came fainter and fainter, and
at last the door rattled and all was quiet. Yes. And so they
hanged them. Throttled them both with a rope. A watchman, another
one, saw it done, and told me that Lozinsky did not resist, but
Rozovsky struggled for a long time, so that they had to pull him
up on to the scaffold and to force his head into the noose. Yes.
This watchman was a stupid fellow. He said: 'They told me, sir,
that it would be frightful, but it was not at all frightful.
After they were hanged they only shrugged their shoulders twice,
like this.' He showed how the shoulders convulsively rose and
fell. 'Then the hangman pulled a bit so as to tighten the noose,
and it was all up, and they never budged."' And Kryltzoff
repeated the watchman's words, "Not at all frightful," and tried
to smile, but burst into sobs instead.
For a long time after that he kept silent, breathing heavily, and
repressing the sobs that were choking him.
"From that time I became a revolutionist. Yes," he said, when he
was quieter and finished his story in a few words. He belonged to
the Narodovoltzy party, and was even at the head of the
disorganising group, whose object was to terrorise the government
so that it should give up its power of its own accord. With this
object he travelled to Petersburg, to Kiev, to Odessa and abroad,
and was everywhere successful. A man in whom he had full
confidence betrayed him. He was arrested, tried, kept in prison
for two years, and condemned to death, but the sentence was
mitigated to one of hard labour for life.
He went into consumption while in prison, and in the conditions
he was now placed he had scarcely more than a few months longer
to live. This he knew, but did not repent of his action, but said
that if he had another life he would use it in the same way to
destroy the conditions in which such things as he had seen were
This man's story and his intimacy with him explained to
Nekhludoff much that he had not previously understood.
NEKHLUDOFF SEEKS AN INTERVIEW WITH MASLOVA.
On the day when the convoy officer had the encounter with the
prisoners at the halting station about the child, Nekhludoff, who
had spent the night at the village inn, woke up late, and was
some time writing letters to post at the next Government town, so
that he left the inn later than usual, and did not catch up with
the gang on the road as he had done previously, but came to the
village where the next halting station was as it was growing
Having dried himself at the inn, which was kept by an elderly
woman who had an extraordinarily fat, white neck, he had his tea
in a clean room decorated with a great number of icons and
pictures and then hurried away to the halting station to ask the
officer for an interview with Katusha. At the last six halting
stations he could not get the permission for an interview from
any of the officers. Though they had been changed several times,
not one of them would allow Nekhludoff inside the halting
stations, so that he had not seen Katusha for more than a week.
This strictness was occasioned by the fact that an important
prison official was expected to pass that way. Now this official
had passed without looking in at the gang, after all, and
Nekhludoff hoped that the officer who had taken charge of the
gang in the morning would allow him an interview with the
prisoners, as former officers had done.
The landlady offered Nekhludoff a trap to drive him to the
halting station, situated at the farther end of the village, but
Nekhludoff preferred to walk. A young labourer, a
broad-shouldered young fellow of herculean dimensions, with
enormous top-boots freshly blackened with strongly smelling tar,
offered himself as a guide.
A dense mist obscured the sky, and it was so dark that when the
young fellow was three steps in advance of him Nekhludoff could
not see him unless the light of some window happened to fall on
the spot, but he could hear the heavy boots wading through the
deep, sticky slush. After passing the open place in front of the
church and the long street, with its rows of windows shining
brightly in the darkness, Nekhludoff followed his guide to the
outskirts of the village, where it was pitch dark. But soon here,
Back to Full Books