Ivan S. Turgenev
Part 6 out of 7
to the scene of action. Just before they reached the village,
Nejdanov saw a group of about eight peasants standing by the side
of the road at the closed doors of a granary. He instantly jumped
out of the cart, rushed up to them, and began shouting at them,
thumping his fists and gesticulating for about five minutes. The
words "For Freedom! March on! Put the shoulder to the wheel!"
could be distinguished from among the rest of his confused words.
The peasants, who had met before the granary for the purpose of
discussing how to fill it once more--if only to show that they
were doing something (it was the communal granary and
consequently empty)--fixed their eyes on Nejdanov and seemed to
listen to him with the greatest attention, but they had evidently
not understood a word he had said, for no sooner was his back
turned, shouting for the last time "Freedom!" as he rushed away,
when one of them, the most sagacious of the lot, shook his head
saying, "What a severe one!" "He must be an officer," another
remarked, to which the wise one said: "We know all about that--he
doesn't talk for nothing. We'll have to pay the piper."
"Heavens! what nonsense this all is! " Nejdanov thought to
himself, as he sat down next to Pavel in the cart. "But then none
of us know how to get at the people--perhaps this is the right
way after all! Who knows? Go on! Does your heart ache? Let it!"
They found themselves in the main street of the village in the
middle of which a number of people were gathered together before
a tavern. Nejdanov, paying no heed to Pavel, who was trying to
hold him back, leapt down from the cart with a cry of "Brothers!"
The crowd made way for him and he again began preaching, looking
neither to right nor left, as if furious and weeping at the same
time. But things turned out quite differently than with his
former attempt at the barn. An enormous fellow with a clean-
shaven, vicious face, in a short greasy coat, high boots, and a
sheepskin cap, came up to him and clapped him on the shoulder.
"All right! my fine fellow!" he bawled out in a wheezy voice;
"but wait a bit! good deeds must be rewarded. Come along in here.
It'll be much better talking in there." He pulled Nejdanov into
the tavern, the others streamed in after them. "Michaitch!" the
fellow shouted, "twopennyworth! My favourite drink! I want to
treat a friend. Who he is, what's his family, and where he's
from, only the devil knows! Drink!" he said, turning to Nejdanov
and handing him a heavy, full glass, wet all over on the outside,
as though perspiring, "drink, if you really have any feeling for
us!" "Drink!" came a chorus of voices. Nejdanov, who seemed as if
in a fever, seized the glass and with a cry of " I drink to you,
children!" drank it off at a gulp. Ugh! He drank it off with the
same desperate heroism with which he would have flung himself in
storming a battery or on a line of bayonets. But what was
happening to him? Something seemed to have struck his spine, his
legs, burned his throat, his chest, his stomach, made the tears
come into his eyes. A shudder of disgust passed all over him. He
began shouting at the top of his voice to drown the throbbing in
his head. The dark tavern room suddenly became hot and thick and
suffocating--and people, people everywhere! Nejdanov began
talking, talking incessantly, shouting furiously, in
exasperation, shaking broad rough hands, kissing prickly beards.
. . . The enormous fellow in the greasy coat kissed him too,
nearly breaking his ribs. This fellow turned out to be a perfect
fiend. "I'll wring the neck," he shouted, "I'll wring the neck
of anyone who dares to offend our brother! And what's more, I'll
make mincemeat of him too . . . I'll make him cry out! That's
nothing to me. I was a butcher and know how to do such jobs!" At
this he held up an enormous fist covered with freckles. Someone
again shouted, "Drink!" and Nejdanov again swallowed a glass of
the filthy poison. But this second time was truly awful! Blunt
hooks seemed to be tearing him to pieces inside. His head was in
a whirl, green circles swam before his eyes. A hubbub arose . . .
0h horror! a third glass. Was it possible he emptied that too?
He seemed to be surrounded by purple noses, dusty heads of hair,
tanned necks covered with nets of wrinkles. Rough hands seized
him. "Go on!" they bawled out in angry voices, "talk away! The
day before yesterday another stranger talked like that. Go on."
The earth seemed reeling under Nejdanov's feet, his voice sounded
strange to his own ears as though coming from a long way off. . .
Was it death or what?
And suddenly he felt the fresh air blowing about his face, no
more pushing and shoving, no more stench of spirits, sheep-skin,
tar, nor leather. . . . He was again sitting beside Pavel in the
cart, struggling at first and shouting, "Where are you off to?
Stop! I haven't had time to tell them anything-- I must explain..."
and then added, "and what are your own ideas on the subject,
"It would certainly be well if there were no gentry and the land
belonged to us, of course," Pavel replied, " but there's been no
such order from the government." He quietly turned the horse's
head and, suddenly lashing it on the back with the reins, set off
at full gallop, away from this din and uproar, back to the
Nejdanov sat dozing, rocked by the motion of the cart, while the
wind played pleasantly about his face and kept back gloomy
He was annoyed that he had not been allowed to say all that he
had wanted to say. Again the wind caressed his overheated
And then--a momentary glimpse of Mariana--a burning sense of
shame--and sleep, deep, sound sleep. . .
Pavel told Solomin all this afterwards, not hiding the fact that
he did not attempt to prevent Nejdanov from drinking-- otherwise
he could not have got him out of the whirl. The others would not
have let him go.
"When he seemed to be getting very feeble, I asked them to let
him off, and they agreed to, on condition that I gave them a
shilling, so I gave it them."
"You acted quite rightly," Solomin said, approvingly.
Nejdanov slept, while Mariana sat at the window looking out into
the garden. Strange to say the angry, almost wicked, thoughts
that had been tormenting her until Nejdanov and Pavel arrived had
completely disappeared. Nejdanov himself was not in the least
repulsive or disgusting to her; she was only sorry for him. She
knew quite well that he was not a debauchee, a drunkard, and was
wondering what she would say to him when he woke up; something
friendly and affectionate to minimise the first sting of
conscience and shame. "I must try and get him to tell me himself
how it all happened," she thought.
She was not disturbed, but depressed--hopelessly depressed. It
seemed as if a breath of the real atmosphere of the world towards
which she was striving had blown on her suddenly, making her
shudder at its coarseness and darkness. What Moloch was this to
which she was going to sacrifice herself?
But no! It could not be! This was merely an incident, it would
soon pass over. A momentary impression that had struck her so
forcibly because it had happened so unexpectedly. She got up,
walked over to the couch on which Nejdanov was lying, took out
her pocket-handkerchief and wiped his pale forehead, which was
painfully drawn, even in sleep, and smoothed back his hair. . .
She pitied him as a mother pities her suffering child. But it was
somewhat painful for her to look at him, so she went quietly into
her own room, leaving the door unlocked.
She did not attempt to take any work in her hand. She sat down
and thoughts began crowding in upon her. She felt how the time
was slipping away, how one minute flew after another, and the
sensation was even pleasant to her. Her heart beat fast and again
she seemed to be waiting for something.
What has become of Solomin?
The door creaked softly and Tatiana came into the room. "What do
you want?" Mariana asked with a shade of annoyance.
"Mariana Vikentievna," Tatiana began in an undertone, "don't
worry, my dear. Such things happen every day. Besides, the Lord
"I am not worrying at all, Tatiana Osipovna," Mariana interrupted
her. "Alexai Dmitritch is a little indisposed, nothing very
"That's all right! I wondered why you didn't come, and thought
there might be something the matter with you. But still I
wouldn't have come in to you. It's always best not to interfere.
But someone has come-- a little lame man, the Lord knows who he
is-- and demands to see Alexai Dmitritch! I wonder what for? This
morning that female came for him and now this little cripple. 'If
Alexai Dmitritch is not at home,' he says, 'then I must see
Vassily Fedotitch! I won't go away without seeing him. It's on a
very urgent matter.' We wanted to get rid of him, as we did of
that woman, told him Vassily Fedotitch was not at home, but he is
determined to see him even if he has to wait until midnight.
There he is walking about in the yard. Come and have a look at
him through the little window in the corridor. Perhaps you'll
Mariana followed Tatiana out into the corridor, and on passing
Nejdanov was again struck by that painful frown on his forehead
and passed her pocket-handkerchief over it a second time.
Through the dusty little window she caught a glimpse of the
visitor whom Tatiana had spoken of. He was unknown to her. At
this moment Solomin appeared from a corner of the house.
The little cripple rushed up to him and extended his hand.
Solomin pressed it. He was obviously acquainted with him. They
both disappeared. . . Soon their footsteps were heard coming up
the stairs. They were coming to see her.
Mariana fled into her own room and remained standing in the
middle of it, hardly able to breathe. She was mortally afraid . . .
but of what? She did not know herself.
Solomin's head appeared through the door.
"Mariana Vikentievna, can I come in? I have brought someone whom
it's absolutely necessary for you to see."
Mariana merely nodded her head in reply and behind Solomin in
"I AM a friend of your husband's," he said, bowing very low, as
if anxious to conceal his frightened face, "and also of Vassily
Fedotitch. I hear Alexai Dmitritch is asleep and not very well.
Unfortunately, I have brought bad news. I have already told
Vassily Fedotitch something about it and am afraid decisive
measures will have to be taken.
Paklin's voice broke continually, like that of a man who was
tortured by thirst. The items of news he had to communicate were
certainly very unpleasant ones. Some peasants had seized Markelov
and brought him to the town. The stupid clerk had betrayed
Golushkin, who was now under arrest, he in his turn was betraying
everything and everybody, wanted to go over to the Orthodox
Church, had offered to present a portrait of the Bishop Filaret
to the public school, and had already given five thousand roubles
to be distributed among crippled soldiers. There was not a shadow
of a doubt that he had informed against Nejdanov; the police
might make a raid upon the factory any moment. Vassily Fedotitch
was also in danger. "As for myself," Paklin added, "I am
surprised that I'm still allowed to roam at large, although it's
true that I've never really interested myself in practical
politics or taken part in any schemes. I have taken advantage of
this oversight on the part of the police to put you on your guard
and find out what had best be done to avoid any unpleasantness."
Mariana listened to Paklin to the end. She did not seem alarmed;
on the other hand she was quite calm. But something must really
be done! She fixed her eyes on Solomin.
He was also composed; only around his lips there was the faintest
movement of the muscles; but it was not his habitual smile.
Solomin understood the meaning of Mariana's glance; she waited
for him to say what had best be done.
"It's a very awkward business," he began; "I don't think it would
do Nejdanov any harm to go into hiding for a time. But, by the
way, how did you get to know that he was here, Mr. Paklin?"
Paklin gave a wave of the hand.
"A certain individual told me. He had seen him preaching about
the neighbourhood and had followed him, though with no evil
intent. He is a sympathiser. Excuse me," he added, turning to
Mariana, "is it true that our friend Nejdanov has been very . . .
"It's no good blaming him now," Solomin began again. "What a pity
we can't talk things over with him now, but by tomorrow he will
be all right again. The police don't do things as quickly as you
seem to imagine. You will have to go away with him, Mariana
"Certainly," she said resolutely, a lump rising in her throat.
"Yes," Solomin said, "we must think it over, consider ways and
"May I make a suggestion?" Paklin began. "It entered my head as I
was coming along here. I must tell you, by the way, that I
dismissed the cabman from the town a mile away from here."
"What is your suggestion?" Solomin asked.
"Let me have some horses at once and I'll gallop off to the
"To the Sipiagins!" Mariana exclaimed. "Why?"
"You will see."
"But do you know them?"
"Not at all! But listen. Do think over my suggestion thoroughly.
It seems to me a brilliant one. Markelov is Sipiagin's brother-
in-law, his wife's brother, isn't that so? Would this gentleman
really make no attempt to save him? And as for Nejdanov himself,
granting that Mr. Sipiagin is most awfully angry with him, still
he has become a relation of his by marrying you. And the danger
hanging over our friend--"
"I am not married," Mariana observed.
"What? Haven't managed it all this time! Well, never mind," he
added, "one can pretend a little. All the same, you will get
married directly. There seems nothing else to be done! Take into
consideration the fact that up until now Sipiagin has not
persecuted you, which shows him to be a man capable of a certain
amount of generosity. I see that you don't like the expression--
well, a certain amount of pride. Why should we not take advantage
of it? Consider for yourself!"
Mariana raised her head and passed her hand through her air.
"You can take advantage of whatever you like for Markelov, Mr.
Paklin... or for yourself, but Alexai and I do not desire the
protection or patronage of Mr. Sipiagin. We did not leave his
house only to go knocking at his door as beggars. The pride and
generosity of Mr. Sipiagin and his wife have nothing whatever to
do with us!"
"Such sentiments are extremely praiseworthy," Paklin replied ("
How utterly crushed!" he thought to himself), "though, on the
other hand, if you think of it . . . However, I am ready to obey
you. I will exert myself only on Markelov's account, our good
Markelov! I must say, however, that he is not his blood relation,
but only related to him through his wife--while you--"
"Mr Paklin, I beg of you!"
"I'm sorry. . . Only I can't tell you how disappointing it is--
Sipiagin is a very influential man."
"Have you no fears for yourself?" Solomin asked.
Paklin drew himself up.
"There are moments when one must not think of oneself!" he said
proudly. And he was thinking of himself all the while. Poor
little man! he wanted to run away as fast as he could. On the
strength of the service rendered him, Sipiagin might, if need be,
speak a word in his favour. For he too--say what he would--was
implicated, he had listened and had chattered a little himself.
"I don't think your suggestion is a bad one," Solomin observed at
last," although there is not much hope of success. At any rate
there is no harm in trying."
"Of course not. Supposing they pitch me out by the scruff of the
neck, what harm will it do?"
"That won't matter very much" ("Merci," Paklin thought to
himself). "What is the time? " Solomin asked. " Five o'clock. We
mustn't dawdle. You shall have the horses directly. Pavel!"
But instead of Pavel, Nejdanov appeared in the doorway. He
staggered and steadied himself on the doorpost. He opened his
mouth feebly, looked around with his glassy eyes, comprehending
nothing. Paklin was the first to approach him.
"Aliosha!" he exclaimed, "don't you know me?" Nejdanov stared at
him, blinking slowly.
"Paklin? " he said at last.
"Yes, it is I. Aren't you well?"
"No . . . I'm not well. But why are you here?"
"Why?" . . . But at this moment Mariana stealthily touched Paklin
on the elbow. He turned around and saw that she was making signs
to him. "Oh, yes! " he muttered. "Yes.. . . You see, Aliosha," he
added aloud, "I've come here upon a very important matter and
must go away at once. Solomin will tell you all about it--and
Mariana--Mariana Vikentievna. They both fully approve of what I
am going to do. The thing concerns us all. No, no," he put in
hastily in response to a look and gesture from Mariana. "The
thing concerns Markelov; our mutual friend Markelov; it concerns
him alone. But I must say goodbye now. Every minute is precious.
Goodbye, Aliosha . . . We'll see each other again sometime.
Vassily Fedotitch, can you come with me to see about the horses?"
"Certainly. Mariana, I wanted to ask you to be firm, but that is
not necessary. You're a brick!"
"Yes, yes," Paklin chimed in, "you are just like a Roman maiden
in Cato's time! Cato of Utica! We must be off, Vassily Fedotitch,
"There's plenty of time," Solomin observed with a faint smile.
Nejdanov stood on one side to allow them room to pass out, but
there was the same vacant expression in his eyes. After they had
gone he took a step or two forward and sat down on a chair facing
"Alexai," she began, "everything has been found out. Markelov has
been seized by the very peasants he was trying to better, and is
now under arrest in this town, and so is the merchant with whom
you dined once. I dare say the police will soon be here for us
too. Paklin has gone to Sipiagin."
"Why?" Nejdanov asked in a scarcely audible whisper. But there
was a keen look in his eyes--his face assumed it's habitual
expression. The stupor had left him instantly.
"To try and find out if he would be willing to intercede."
Nejdanov sat up straight.
"No, for Markelov. He wanted to ask him to intercede for us too .
. . but I wouldn't let him. Have I done well, Alexai?
"Have you done well?" Nejdanov asked and without rising from his
chair, stretched out his arms to her. "Have you done well?" he
repeated, drawing her close to him, and pressing his face against
her waist, suddenly burst into tears.
"What is the matter? What is the matter with you?" Mariana
exclaimed. And as on the day when he had fallen on his knees
before her, trembling and breathless in a torrent of passion, she
laid both her hands on his trembling head. But what she felt now
was quite different from what she had felt then. Then she had
given herself up to him--had submitted to him and only waited to
hear what he would say next, but now she pitied him and only
wondered what she could do to calm him.
"What is the matter with you?" she repeated. "Why are you crying?
Not because you came home in a somewhat. . . strange condition?
It can't be! Or are you sorry for Markelov--afraid for me, for
yourself? Or is it for our lost hopes? You did not really expect
that everything would go off smoothly!"
Nejdanov suddenly lifted his bead.
"It's not that, Mariana," he said, mastering his sobs by an
effort, "I am not afraid for either of us . . . but . . . I am
"For you, Mariana! I am sorry that you should have united your
fate with a man who is not worthy of you."
"If only because he can be crying at a moment as this!"
"It is not you but your nerves that are crying!"
"You can't separate me from my nerves! But listen, Mariana, look
me in the face; can you tell me now that you do not regret--"
"That you ran away with me."
"And would you go with me further? Anywhere?"
"Really? Mariana . . . really?
"Yes. I have given you my word, and so long as you remain the man
I love--I shall not take it back."
Nejdanov remained sitting on the chair, Mariana standing before
him. His arms were about her waist, her's were resting on his
"Yes, no," Nejdanov thought . . . "when I last held her in my
arms like this, her body was at least motionless, but now I can
feel it--against her will, perhaps-- shrink away from me gently!"
He loosened his arms and Mariana did in fact move away from him a
"If that's so," he said aloud, "if we must run away from here
before the police find us . . . I think it wouldn't be a bad
thing if we were to get married. We may not find another such
accommodating priest as Father Zosim!"
"I am quite ready," Mariana observed.
Nejdanov gave her a searching glance.
"A Roman maiden!" he exclaimed with a sarcastic half-smile. "What
a feeling of duty!"
Mariana shrugged her shoulders.
"We must tell Solomin."
"Yes . . . Solomin . . ." Nejdanov drawled out. "But he is also
in danger. The police would arrest him too. It seems to me that
he also took part in things and knew even more than we did."
"I don't know about that," Mariana observed. "He never speaks of
"Not as I do!" Nejdanov thought. "That was what she meant to
imply. Solomin . . . Solomin!" he added after a pause. "Do you
know, Mariana, I should not be at all sorry if you had linked
your fate forever with a man like Solomin . . . or with Solomin
Mariana gave Nejdanov a penetrating glance in her turn. "You had
no right to say that," she observed at last.
"I had no right! In what sense am I to take that? Does it mean
that you love me, or that I ought not to touch upon this question
"You had no right," Mariana repeated.
Nejdanov lowered his head.
"Mariana!" he exclaimed in a slightly different tone of voice.
"If I were to ask you now ... now . . . you know what . . . But
no, I will not ask anything of you . . goodbye."
He got up and went out; Mariana did not detain him. Nejdanov sat
down on the couch and covered his face with his hands. He was
afraid of his own thoughts and tried to stop thinking. He felt
that some sort of dark, underground hand had clutched at the very
root of his being and would not let him go. He knew that the
dear, sweet creature he had left in the next room would not come
out to him and he dared not go to her. What for? What would he
say to her?
Firm, rapid footsteps made him open his eyes. Solomin passed
through his room, knocked at Mariana's door, and went in.
"Honour where honour is due!" Nejdanov whispered bitterly.
IT was already ten o'clock in the evening; in the drawing-room of
the Arjanov house Sipiagin, his wife, and Kollomietzev were
sitting over a game at cards when a footman entered and announced
that an unknown gentleman, a certain Mr. Paklin, wished to see
Boris Andraevitch upon a very urgent business.
"So late!" Valentina Mihailovna exclaimed, surprised.
What? "Boris Andraevitch asked, screwing up his handsome nose;
"what did you say the gentleman's name was?"
Mr. Paklin, sir."
"Paklin!" Kollomietzev exclaimed; "a real country name. Paklin .
. . Solomin . . . De vrais noms ruraux, hein?"
"Did you say," Boris Andraevitch continued, still turned towards
the footman with his nose screwed up, "that the business was an
"The gentleman said so, sir."
"H'm. . . . No doubt some beggar or intriguer."
"Or both," Kollomietzev chimed in.
"Very likely. Ask him into my study." Boris Andraevitch got up.
"Pardon, ma bonne. Have a game of ecarte till I come back, unless
you would like to wait for me. I won't he long."
"Nous causerons . . . Allez!" Kollomietzev said.
When Sipiagin entered his study and caught sight of Paklin's
poor, feeble little figure meekly leaning up against the door
between the wall and the fireplace, he was seized by that truly
ministerial sensation of haughty compassion and fastidious
condescension so characteristic of the St. Petersburg bureaucrat.
"Heavens! What a miserable little wretch!" he thought; "and lame
too, I believe!"
"Sit down, please," he said aloud, making use of some of his most
benevolent baritone notes and throwing back his head, sat down
before his guest did. "You are no doubt tired from the journey.
Sit down, please, and tell me about this important matter that
has brought you so late."
"Your excellency," Paklin began, cautiously dropping into an arm-
chair, "I have taken the liberty of coming to you--"
"Just a minute, please," Sipiagin interrupted him, "I think I've
seen you before. I never forget faces. But er. . . er . . .
really... where have I seen you?"
You are not mistaken, your excellency. I had the honour of
meeting you in St. Petersburg at a certain person's who . . . who
has since . . . unfortunately . . . incurred your displeasure--"
Sipiagin jumped up from his chair.
"Why, at Mr. Nejdanov's? I remember now. You haven't come from
him by the way, have you?"
"Not at all, your excellency; on the contrary . . .I--"
Sipiagin sat down again.
"That's good. For had you come on his account I should have asked
you to leave the house at once. I cannot allow any mediator
between myself and Mr. Nejdanov. Mr. Nejdanov has insulted me in
a way which cannot be forgotten . . . I am above any feelings of
revenge, but I don't wish to know anything of him, nor of the
girl-- more depraved in mind than in heart " (Sipiagin had
repeated this phrase at least thirty times since Mariana ran
away), "who could bring herself to abandon a home that had
sheltered her, to become the mistress of a nameless adventurer!
It is enough for them that I am content to forget them."
At this last word Sipiagin waved his wrist into space.
"I forget them, my dear sir!"
"Your excellency, I have already told you that I did not come
from them in particular, but I may inform your excellency that
they are legally married . . ." ("It's all the same," Paklin
thought; "I said that I would lie and so here I am. Never mind!")
Sipiagin moved his head from left to right on the back of his
"It does not interest me in the least, sir. It only makes one
foolish marriage the more in the world-- that's all. But what is
this urgent matter to which I am indebted for the pleasure of
"Ugh! you cursed director of a department!" Paklin thought, "I'll
soon make you pull a different face! "Your wife's brother," he
said aloud, "Mr. Markelov, has been seized by the peasants whom
he had been inciting to rebellion, and is now under arrest in the
Sipiagin jumped up a second time.
"What . . . what did you say?" he blurted out, not at all in his
accustomed ministerial baritones, but in an extremely undignified
"I said that your brother-in-law has been seized and is in
chains. As soon as I heard of it, I procured horses and came
straight away to tell you. I thought that I might be rendering a
service to you and to the unfortunate man whom you may be able to
"I am extremely grateful to you," Sipiagin said in the same
feeble tone of voice, and violently pressing a bell, shaped like
a mushroom, he filled the whole house with its clear metallic
ring. "I am extremely grateful to you," he repeated more sharply,
"but I must tell you that a man who can bring himself to trample
under foot all laws, human and divine, were he a hundred times
related to me-- is in my eyes not unfortunate; he is a criminal!"
A footman came in quickly.
"Your orders, sir?
"The carriage! the carriage and four horses this minute! I am
going to town. Philip and Stepan are to come with me!" The
footman disappeared. "Yes, sir, my brother-in-law is a criminal!
I am going to town not to save him! Oh, no!"
"But, your excellency--"
"Such are my principles, my dear sir, and I beg you not to annoy
me by your objections!"
Sipiagin began pacing up and down the room, while Paklin stared
with all his might. "Ugh! you devil!" he thought, "I heard that
you were a liberal, but you're just like a hungry lion!"
The door was flung open and Valentina Mihailovna came into the
room with hurried steps, followed by Kollomietzev.
"What is the matter, Boris? Why have you ordered the carriage?
Are you going to town? What has happened?"
Sipiagin went up to his wife and took her by the arm, between the
elbow and wrist. "Il faut vous armer de courage, ma chere. Your
brother has been arrested."
"My brother? Sergai? What for?"
He has been preaching socialism to the peasants." (Kollomietzev
gave a faint little scream.) "Yes! preaching revolutionary ideas,
making propaganda! They seized him--and gave him up. He is now
under arrest in the town."
"Madman! But who told you?"
"This Mr . . . Mr . . . what's his name? Mr. Konopatin brought
Valentina Mihailovna glanced at Paklin; the latter bowed
dejectedly. ("What a glorious woman!" he thought. Even in such
difficult moments . . . alas! how susceptible Paklin was to
"And you want to go to town at this hour?"
"I think the governor will still be up."
"I always said it would end like this," Kollomietzev put in. "It
couldn't have been otherwise! But what dears our peasants are
really! Pardon, madame, c'est votre frere! Mais la verite avant
"Do you really intend going to town, Boris? " Valentina
"I feel absolutely certain," Kollomietzev continued, "that that
tutor, Mr. Nejdanov, is mixed up in this. J'en mettrais ma main
au feu. It's all one gang! Haven't they seized him? Don't you
Sipiagin waved his wrist again.
"I don't know--and don't want to know! By the way," he added,
turning to his wife, " il parait qu'il sont maries."
"Who said so? That same gentleman?" Valentina Mihailovna looked
at Paklin again, this time with half-closed eyes.
"In that case," Kollomietzev put in, "he must know where they
are. Do you know where they are? Do you know? Eh? Do you know?"
Kollomietzev took to walking up and down in front of Paklin as if
to cut off his way, although the latter had not betrayed the
slightest inclination of wanting to run away. "Why don't you
speak? Answer me! Do you know, eh? Do you know?"
"Even if I knew," Paklin began, annoyed; his wrath had risen up
in him at last and his eyes flashed fire: "even if I knew I would
not tell you."
"Oh . . . oh . . ." Kollomietzev muttered. "Do you hear? Do you
hear? This one too--this one too is of their gang!"
"The carriage is ready!" a footman announced loudly. Sipiagin
with a quick graceful movement seized his hat, but Valentina
Mihailovna was so insistent in her persuasions for him to put off
the journey until the morning and brought so many convincing
arguments to bear--such as: that it was pitch dark outside, that
everybody in town would be asleep, that he would only upset his
nerves and might catch cold--that Sipiagin at length came to
agree with her.
"I obey!" he exclaimed, and with the same graceful gesture, not
so rapid this time, replaced his hat on the table.
"I shall not want the carriage now," he said to the footman, "but
see that it's ready at six o'clock in the morning! Do you hear?
'You can go now! But stay! See that the gentleman's carriage is
sent off and the driver paid... I What? Did you say anything, Mr.
Konopatin? I am going to take you to town with me tomorrow, Mr.
Konopatin! What did you say? I can't hear . . . Do you take
vodka? Give Mr. Konopatin some vodka! No? You don't drink? In
that case . . . Feodor! take the gentleman into the green room!
Goodnight, Mr. Kono-"
Paklin lost all patience.
"Paklin!" he shouted, "my name is Paklin!"
"Oh, yes . . . it makes no difference. A bit alike, you know.
What a powerful voice you have for your spare build! Till
tomorrow, Mr. Paklin. . . . Have I got it right this time?
Simeon, vous viendrez. avec nous?"
"Je crois bien!"
Paklin was conducted into the green room and locked in. He
distinctly heard the key turned in the English lock as he got
into bed. He scolded himself severely for his "brilliant idea"
and slept very badly.
He was awakened early the next morning at half-past five and
given coffee. As he drank it a footman with striped shoulder-
knots stood over him with the tray in his hand, shifting from one
leg to the other as though he were saying, "Hurry up! the
gentlemen are waiting!" He was taken downstairs. The carriage was
already waiting at the door. Kollomietzev's open carriage was
also there. Sipiagin appeared on the steps in a cloak made of
camel's hair with a round collar. Such cloaks had long ago ceased
to be worn except by a certain important dignitary whom Sipiagin
pandered to and wished to imitate. On important official
occasions he invariably put on this cloak.
Sipiagin greeted Paklin affably, and with an energetic movement
of the hand pointed to the carriage and asked him to take his
seat. "Mr. Paklin, you are coming with me, Mr. Paklin! Put your
bag on the box, Mr. Paklin! I am taking Mr. Paklin," he said,
emphasising the word "Paklin" with special stress on the letter
a. "You have an awful name like that and get insulted when people
change it for you--so here you are then! Take your fill of it!
Mr. Paklin! Paklin!" The unfortunate name rang out clearly in the
cool morning air. It was so keen as to make Kollomietzev, who
came out after Sipiagin, exclaim several times in French...
"Brrr! brrr! brrr!" He wrapped his cloak more closely about him
and seated himself in his elegant carriage with the hood thrown
back. (Had his poor friend Michael Obrenovitch, the Servian
prince, seen it, he would certainly have bought one like it at
Binder's. . . . "Vous savez Binder, le grand carrossier des
Valentina Mihailovna, still in her night garments, peeped out
from behind the half-open shutters of her bedroom. Sipiagin waved
his hand to her from the carriage.
"Are you quite comfortable, Mr. Paklin? Go on!"
"Je vous recommande mon frere, epargnez-le!" Valentina Mihailovna
"Soyez tranquille!" Kollomietzev exclaimed, glancing up at her
quickly from under the brim of his travelling cap--one of his own
special design with a cockade in it--"C'est surtout l'autre,
qu'il faut pincer!"
"Go on!" Sipiagin exclaimed again. "You are not cold, Mr. Paklin?
The two carriages rolled away.
For about ten minutes neither Sipiagin nor Paklin pronounced a
single word. The unfortunate Sila, in his shabby little coat and
crumpled cap, looked even more wretched than usual in contrast to
the rich background of dark blue silk with which the carriage was
upholstered. He looked around in silence at the delicate pale
blue blinds, which flew up instantly at the mere press of a
button, at the soft white sheep-skin rug at their feet, at the
mahogany box in front with a movable desk for letters and even a
shelf for books. (Boris Andraevitch never worked in his carriage,
but he liked people to think that he did, after the manner of
Thiers, who always worked when travelling.) Paklin felt shy.
Sipiagin glanced at him once or twice over his clean-shaven
cheek, and with a pompous deliberation pulled out of a side-
pocket a silver cigar-case with a curly monogram and a Slavonic
band and offered him . . . really offered him a cigar, holding it
gently between the second and third fingers of a hand neatly clad
in an English glove of yellow dogskin.
"I don't smoke," Paklin muttered.
"Really!" Sipiagin exclaimed and lighted the cigar himself, an
"I must tell you . . . my dear Mr. Paklin," he began, puffing
gracefully at his cigar and sending out delicate rings of
delicious smoke, "that I am . . . really . . . very grateful to
you. I might have . . . seemed . . . a little severe. . . last
night . . . which does not really . . . do justice to my
character . . . believe me." (Sipiagin purposely hesitated over
his speech.) "But just put yourself in my place, Mr. Paklin!"
(Sipiagin rolled the cigar from one corner of his mouth to the
other.) "The position I occupy places me . . . so to speak . . .
before the public eye, and suddenly, without any warning . . . my
wife's brother . . . compromises himself . . . and me, in this
impossible way! Well, Mr. Paklin? But perhaps you think that it's
"I am far from thinking that, your excellency."
"You don't happen to know exactly why . . . and where he was
"I heard that he was arrested in T. district."
"Who told you so?"
"A certain person."
"Of course it could hardly have been a bird. But who was this
"An assistant . . . of the director of the governor's office--"
"What's his name?"
No, the assistant's."
"His name is . . . Ulyashevitch. He is a very honest man, your
excellency. As soon as I heard of the affair, I hastened to tell
"Yes, yes. I am very grateful to you indeed. But what utter
madness! downright madness! Don't you think so, Mr. Paklin?"
"Utter madness!" Paklin exclaimed, while the perspiration rolled
down his back in a hot stream. "it just shows," he continued,
"the folly of not understanding the peasant. Mr. Markelov, so far
as I know him, has a very kind and generous heart, but he has no
conception of what the Russian peasant is really like." (Paklin
glanced at Sipiagin who sat slightly turned towards him, gazing
at him with a cold, though not unfriendly, light in his eyes.)
"The Russian peasant can never be induced to revolt except by
taking advantage of that devotion of his to some high authority,
some tsar. Some sort of legend must be invented--you remember
Dmitrius the pretender--some sort of royal sign must be shown
him, branded on the breast."
"Just like Pugatchev," Sipiagin interrupted him in a tone of
voice which seemed to imply that he had not yet forgotten his
history and that it was really not necessary for Paklin to go on.
"What madness! what madness! "he added, and became wrapped in the
contemplation of the rings of smoke as they rose quickly one
after another from the end of his cigar.
"Your excellency," Paklin began apologetically, "I have just said
that I didn't smoke . . . but it was not true. I do smoke and
your cigar smells so nice--"
"Eh? What?" Sipiagin asked as if waking up; and without giving
Paklin time to repeat his request, he proved in the most
unmistakable manner that he had heard every word, and had merely
asked his questions for the sake of dignity, by offering him his
Paklin took a cigar gratefully and lighted it with care.
"Here's a good opportunity," he thought, but Sipiagin had
"I remember your saying . . ." he began carelessly, stopping to
look at his cigar and pulling his hat lower over his forehead,
"you spoke . . . of . . . of that friend of yours, who married my
. . . niece. Do you ever see them? They've settled not far from
("Take care! be on your guard, Sila!" Paklin thought.)
"I have only seen them once, your excellency. They are living . .
. certainly . . . not very far from here."
"You quite understand, I hope," Sipiagin continued in the same
tone, "that I can take no further serious interest--as I
explained to you--either in that frivolous girl or in your
friend. Heaven knows that I have no prejudices, but really, you
will agree with me, this is too much! So foolish, you know.
However, I suppose they were more drawn together by politics . .
." ("politics!" he repeated, shrugging his shoulders) "than by
any other feeling!"
"I think so too, your excellency!"
"Yes, Mr. Nejdanov was certainly revolutionary. To do him justice
he made no secret of his opinions."
"Nejdanov," Paklin ventured, "may have been carried away, but his
"Is good," Sipiagin put in; "I know, like Markelov's. They all
have good hearts. He has no doubt also been mixed up in this
affair . . . and will be implicated. . . . I suppose I shall have
to intercede for him too!"
Paklin clasped his hands to his breast.
Oh, your excellency! Extend your protection to him! He fully . .
. deserves . . . your sympathy."
"You think so?"
"At any rate if not for him . . . for your niece's sake; for his
wife!" ("Heavens! What lies I'm telling," Paklin thought.)
Sipiagin half-closed his eyes.
"I see that you're a very devoted friend. That's a very good
quality, very praiseworthy, young man. And so you said they lived
in this neighbourhood?"
"Yes, your excellency; in a large establishment--" Here Paklin
bit his tongue.
"Why, of course, at Solomin's! that's where they are! However, I
knew it all along. I've been told so; I've already been
informed." (Mr. Sipiagin did not know this in the least, and no
one had told him, but recollecting Solomin's visit and their
midnight interview, he promptly threw out this bait, which caught
Paklin at once.)
"Since you know that," he began and bit his tongue a second time
. . . But it was already too late. A single glance at Sipiagin
made him realise that he had been playing with him as a cat plays
with a mouse.
"I must say, your excellency," the unfortunate Paklin stammered
out; "I must say, that I really know nothing--"
"But I ask you no questions! Really! What do you take me and
yourself for?" Sipiagin asked haughtily, and promptly withdrew
into his ministerial heights.
And Paklin again felt himself a mean little ensnared creature.
Until that moment he had kept the cigar in the corner of his
mouth away from Sipiagin and puffed at it quietly, blowing the
smoke to one side; now he took it out of his mouth and ceased
"My God!" he groaned inwardly, while the perspiration streamed
down his back more and more, "what have I done? I have betrayed
everything and everybody. . . I have been duped, been bought over
by a good cigar!! I am a traitor! What shall I do now to help
matters? 0h God!"
But there was nothing to be done. Sipiagin dozed off in a
haughty, dignified, ministerial manner, enveloped in his stately
THE governor of S. was one of those good-natured, happy-go-lucky,
worldly generals who, endowed with wonderfully clean, snow-white
bodies and souls to match, of good breeding and education, are
turned out of a mill where they are never ground down to becoming
the "shepherds of the people." Nevertheless they prove themselves
capable of a tolerable amount of administrative ability-- do
little work, but are forever sighing after St. Petersburg and
paying court to all the pretty women of the place. These are men
who in some unaccountable way become useful to their province and
manage to leave pleasant memories behind them. The governor had
only just got out of bed, and was comfortably seated before his
dressing-table in his night-shirt and silk dressing-gown, bathing
his face and neck with eau-de-cologne after having removed a
whole collection of charms and coins dangling from it, when he
was informed of the arrival of Sipiagin and Kollomietzev upon
some urgent business. He was very familiar with Sipiagin, having
known him from childhood and constantly run across him in St.
Petersburg drawing-rooms, and lately he had begun to ejaculate a
respectful "Ah! " every time his name occurred to him--as if he
saw in him a future statesman. Kollomietzev he did not know so
well and respected less in consequence of various unpleasant
complaints that had been made against him; however, he looked
upon him as a man qui fera chemin in any case.
He ordered his guests to be shown into his study, where he soon
joined them, as he was, in his silk dressing-gown, and not so
much as excusing himself for receiving them in such an unofficial
costume, shook hands with them heartily. Only Sipiagin and
Kollomietzev appeared in the governor's study; Paklin remained in
the drawing-room. On getting out of the carriage he had tried to
slip away, muttering that he had some business at home, but
Sipiagin had detained him with a polite firmness (Kollomietzev
had rushed up to him and whispered in his ear: "Ne le lacher pas!
Tonnerre de tonnerres!") and taken him in. He had not, however,
taken him to the study, but had asked him, with the same polite
firmness, to wait in the drawing-room until he was wanted. Even
here Paklin had hoped to escape, but a robust gendarme at
Kollomietzev's instruction appeared in the doorway; so Paklin
"I dare say you've guessed what has brought me to you, Voldemar,"
"No, my dear, no, I can't," the amiable Epicurean replied, while
a smile of welcome played about his rosy cheeks, showing a
glimpse of shiny teeth, half hidden by his silky moustache.
"What? Don't you know about Markelov?"
"What do you mean? What Markelov?" the governor repeated with the
same joyful expression on his face. He did not remember, in the
first place, that the man who was arrested yesterday was called
Markelov, and, in the second, he had quite forgotten that
Sipiagin's wife had a brother of that name. "But why are you
standing, Boris? Sit down. Would you like some tea?"
Sipiagin's mind was far from tea.
When at last he explained why they had both appeared, the
governor uttered an exclamation of pain and struck himself on the
forehead, while his face assumed a sympathetic expression.
"Dear me! what a misfortune! And he's here now--today. . . . You
know we never keep that sort with us for more than one night at
the outside, but the chief of police is out of town, so your
brother-in-law has been detained. He is to be sent on tomorrow.
Dear me! what a dreadful thing! What your wife must have gone
through! What would you like me to do?"
"I would like to have an interview with him here, if it is not
against the law."
"My dear boy! laws are not made for men like you. I do feel so
sorry for you.. . . C'est affreux, tu sais!"
He gave a peculiar ring. An adjutant appeared.
My dear baron, do please make some arrangement there . . ." He
told him what he wanted and the baron vanished. "Only think, mon
cher ami, the peasants nearly killed him. They tied his hands
behind him, flung him in a cart, and brought him here! And he's
not in the least bit angry or indignant with them you know! He
was so calm altogether that I was amazed! But you will see for
yourself. C'est un fanatique tranquille."
"Ce sont les pires," Kollomietzev remarked sarcastically. The
governor looked up at him from under his eyebrows. "By the way, I
must have a word with you, Simion Petrovitch."
"Yes; what about?"
"I don't like things at all--"
"You know that peasant who owed you money and came here to
"He's hanged himself."
"It's of no consequence when; but it's an ugly affair."
Kollomietzev merely shrugged his shoulders and moved away to the
window with a graceful swing of the body. At this moment the
adjutant brought in Markelov.
The governor had been right; he was unnaturally calm. Even his
habitual moroseness had given place to an expression of weary
indifference, which did not change when he caught sight of his
brother-in-law. Only in the glance which he threw on the German
adjutant, who was escorting him, there was a momentary flash of
the old hatred he felt towards such people. His coat had been
torn in several places and hurriedly stitched up with coarse
thread; his forehead, eyebrows, and the bridge of his nose were
covered with small scars caked with clotted blood. He had not
washed, but had combed his hair.
"Sergai Mihailovitch!" Sipiagin began excitedly, taking a step or
two towards him and extending his right hand, only so that he
might touch him or stop him if he made a movement in advance,
"Sergai Mihailovitch! I am not here to tell you of our amazement,
our deep distress--you can have no doubt of that! You wanted to
ruin yourself and have done so! But I've come to tell you . . .
that . . . that . . . to give you the chance of hearing sound
common-sense through the voice of honour and friendship. You can
still mitigate your lot and, believe me, I will do all in my
power to help you, as the honoured head of this province can bear
witness!" At this point Sipiagin raised his voice. "A real
penitence of your wrongs and a full confession without reserve
which will be duly presented in the proper quarters--"
"Your excellency," Markelov exclaimed suddenly, turning towards
the governor--the very sound of his voice was calm, though it was
a little hoarse; "I thought that you wanted to see me in order to
cross-examine me again, but if I have been brought here solely by
Mr. Sipiagin's wish, then please order me to be taken back again.
We cannot understand one another. All he says is so much Greek to
"Greek, eh!" Kollomietzev shrieked. "And to set peasants rioting,
is that Greek too? Is that Greek too, eh?
"What have you here, your excellency? A landowner of the secret
police? And how zealous he is!" Markelov remarked, a faint smile
of pleasure playing about his pale lips.
Kollomietzev stamped and raged, but the governor stopped him.
"It serves you right, Simion Petrovitch. You shouldn't interfere
in what is not your business."
"Not my business . . . not my business . . . It seems to me that
it's the business of every nobleman--"
Markelov scanned Kollomietzev coldly and slowly, as if for the
last time and then turned to Sipiagin.
"If you really want to know my views, my dear brother-in-law,
here they are. I admit that the peasants had a right to arrest me
and give me up if they disapproved of what I preached to them.
They were free to do what they wanted. I came to them, not they
to me. As for the government-- if it does send me to Siberia,
I'll go without grumbling, although I don't consider myself
guilty. The government does its work, defends itself. Are you
Sipiagin wrung his hands in despair.
"Satisfied!! What a word! That's not the point, and it is not for
us to judge the doings of the government. The question, my dear
Sergai, is whether you feel" (Sipiagin had decided to touch the
tender strings) "the utter unreasonableness, senselessness, of
your undertaking and are prepared to repent; and whether I can
answer for you at all, my dear Sergai."
"I have said all I have to say and don't want to repeat it."
"But don't you repent? Don't you repent?"
"Oh, leave me alone with your repentence! You want to steal into
my very soul? Leave that, at any rate, to me."
Sipiagin shrugged his shoulders.
"You were always like that; never would listen to common-sense.
You have a splendid chance of getting out of this quietly,
"Quietly, honourably," Markelov repeated savagely. "We know those
words. They are always flung at a man when he's wanted to do
something mean! That is what these fine phrases are for!"
"We sympathise with you," Sipiagin continued reproachfully, "and
you hate us."
"Fine sympathy! To Siberia and hard labour with us; that is your
sympathy. Oh, let me alone! let me alone! for Heaven's sake!"
Markelov lowered his head.
He was agitated at heart, though externally calm. He was most of
all tortured by the fact that he had been betrayed--and by whom?
By Eremy of Goloplok! That same Eremy whom he had trusted so
much! That Mendely the sulky had not followed him, had really not
surprised him. Mendely was drunk and was consequently afraid. But
Eremy! For Markelov, Eremy stood in some way as the
personification of the whole Russian people, and Eremy had
deceived him! Had he been mistaken about the thing he was
striving for? Was Kisliakov a liar? And were Vassily
Nikolaevitch's orders all stupid? And all the articles, books,
works of socialists and thinkers, every letter of which had
seemed to him invincible truth, were they all nonsense too? Was
it really so? And the beautiful simile of the abcess awaiting the
prick of the lancet--was that, too, nothing more than a phrase?
"No! no! " he whispered to himself, and the colour spread faintly
over his bronze-coloured face; "no! All these things are true,
true . . . only I am to blame. I did not know how to do things,
did not put things in the right way! I ought simply to have given
orders, and if anyone had tried to hinder, or object--put a
bullet through his head! there is nothing else to be done! He who
is against us has no right to live. Don't they kill spies like
dogs, worse than dogs?"
All the details of his capture rose up in Markelov's mind. First
the silence, the leers, then the shrieks from the back of the
crowd . . . someone coming up sideways as if bowing to him, then
that sudden rush, when he was knocked down. His own cries of
"What are you doing, my boys?" and their shouts, "A belt! A belt!
tie him up! " Then the rattling of his bones . . . unspeakable
rage . . . filth in his mouth, his nostrils . . . "Shove him in
the cart! shove him in the cart!" someone roared with laughter. .
"I didn't go about it in the right way . . ." That was the thing
that most tormented him. That he had fallen under the wheel was
his personal misfortune and had nothing to do with the cause--it
was possible to bear that . . . but Eremy! Eremy!!
While Markelov was standing with his head sunk on his breast,
Sipiagin drew the governor aside and began talking to him in
undertones. He flourished two fingers across his forehead, as
though he would suggest that the unfortunate man was not quite
right in his head, in order to arouse if not sympathy, at any
rate indulgence towards the madman. The governor shrugged his
shoulders, opened and shut his eyes, regretted his inability to
do anything, but made some sort of promise in the end. "Tous les
egards . . . certainement, tous les egards," the soft, pleasant
words flowed through his scented moustache. "But you know the
law, my boy!"
"Of course I do!" Sipiagin responded with a sort of submissive
While they were talking in the corner, Kollomietzev could
scarcely stand still in one spot. He walked up and down, hummed
and hawed, showed every sign of impatience. At last he went up to
Sipiagin, saying hastily, " Vous oublier l'autre!"
"Oh, yes!" Sipiagin exclaimed loudly. "Merci de me l'avoir
rappele. Your excellency," he said, turning to the governor (he
purposely addressed his friend Voldemar in this formal way, so as
not to compromise the prestige of authority in Markelov's
presence), "I must draw your attention to the fact that my
brother-in-law's mad attempt has certain ramifications, and one
of these branches, that is to say, one of the suspected persons,
is to be found not very far from here, in this town. I've brought
another with me," he added in a whisper, "he's in the drawing-
room. Have him brought in here."
"What a man!" the governor thought with admiration, gazing
respectfully at Sipiagin. He gave the order and a minute later
Sila Paklin stood before him.
Paklin bowed very low to the governor as he came in, but catching
sight of Markelov before he had time to raise himself, remained
as he was, half bent down, fidgetting with his cap. Markelov
looked at him vacantly, but could hardly have recognised him, as
he withdrew into his own thoughts.
"Is this the branch?" the governor asked, pointing to Paklin with
a long white finger adorned with a turquoise ring.
"Oh, no!" Sipiagin exclaimed with a slight smile. "However, who
knows!" he added after a moment's thought. "Your excellency," he
said aloud, "the gentleman before you is Mr. Paklin. He comes
from St. Petersburg and is a close friend of a certain person who
for a time held the position of tutor in my house and who ran
away, taking with him a certain young girl who, I blush to say,
is my niece.
"Ah! oui, oui," the governor mumbled, shaking his head, "I heard
the story . . . The princess told me--"
Sipiagin raised his voice.
"That person is a certain Mr. Nejdanov, whom I strongly suspect
of dangerous ideas and theories--"
"Un rouge a tous crins," Kollomietzev put in.
"Yes, dangerous ideas and theories," Sipiagin repeated more
emphatically. "He must certainly know something about this
propaganda. He is . . . in hiding, as I have been informed by Mr.
Paklin, in the merchant Falyaeva's factory--"
At these words Markelov threw another glance at Paklin and gave a
slow, indifferent smile.
"Excuse me, excuse me, your excellency," Paklin cried, "and you,
Mr. Sipiagin, I never . . . never--"
"Did you say the merchant Falyaeva?" the governor asked, turning
to Sipiagin and merely shaking his fingers in Paklin's direction,
as much as to say," Gently, my good man, gently." "What is coming
over our respectable, bearded merchants? Only yesterday one was
arrested in connection with this affair. You may have heard of
him--Golushkin, a very rich man. But he's harmless enough. He
won't make revolutions; he's grovelling on his knees already."
"The merchant Falyaeva has nothing whatever to do with it,"
Sipiagin began; "I know nothing of his ideas; I was only talking
of his factory where Mr. Nejdanov is to be found at this very
moment, as Mr. Paklin says--"
"I said nothing of the kind!" Paklin cried; "you said it
"Excuse me, Mr. Paklin," Sipiagin pronounced with the same
relentless precision, "I admire that feeling of friendship which
prompts you to deny it." ("A regular Guizot, upon my word!" the
governor thought to himself.) "But take example by me. Do you
suppose that the feeling of kinship is less strong in me than
your feeling of friendship? But there is another feeling, my dear
sir, yet stronger still, which guides all our deeds and actions,
and that is duty!"
"Le sentiment du devoir," Kollomietzev explained.
Markelov took both the speakers in at a glance.
"Your excellency!" he exclaimed, "I ask you a second time; please
have me removed out of sight of these babblers."
But there the governor lost patience a little.
"Mr. Markelov!" he pronounced severely, "I would advise you, in
your present position, to be a little more careful of your
tongue, and to show a little more respect to your elders,
especially when they give expression to such patriotic sentiments
as those you have just heard from the lips of your beau-frere! I
shall be delighted, my dear Boris," he added, turning to
Sipiagin, "to tell the minister of your noble action. But with
whom is this Nejdanov staying at the factory?"
"With a certain Mr. Solomin, the chief engineer there, Mr. Paklin
It seemed to afford Sipiagin some peculiar pleasure in tormenting
poor Sila. He made him pay dearly for the cigar he had given him
and the playful familiarity of his behaviour.
"This Solomin," Kollomietzev put in, "is an out-and-out radical
and republican. It would be a good thing if your excellency were
to turn your attention to him too."
"Do you know these gentlemen . . . Solomin, and what's his name .
. . Nejdanov?" the governor asked Markelov, somewhat
Markelov distended his nostrils malignantly.
"Do you know Confucius and Titus Livius, your excellency?"
The governor turned away.
"Il n'y a pas moyen de causer avec cette homme," he said,
shrugging his shoulders. "Baron, come here, please."
The adjutant went up to him quickly and Paklin seized the
opportunity of limping over to Sipiagin.
"What are you doing?" he asked in a whisper. "Why do you want to
ruin your niece? Why, she's with him, with Nejdanov!"
"I am not ruining any one, my dear sir," Sipiagin said loudly, "I
am only doing what my conscience bids me do, and--"
"And what your wife, my sister, bids you do; you dare not stand
up against her!" Markelov exclaimed just as loudly.
Sipiagin took no notice of the remark; it was too much beneath
"Listen," Paklin continued, trembling all over with agitation, or
may be from timidity; there was a malignant light in his eyes and
the tears were nearly choking him--tears of pity for them and
rage at himself; "listen, I told you she was married--it wasn't
true, I lied! but they must get married--and if you prevent it,
if the police get there--there will be a stain on your conscience
which you'll never be able to wipe out--and you--"
"If what you have just told me be true," Sipiagin interrupted him
still more loudly, "then it can only hasten the measures which I
think necessary to take in this matter; and as for the purity of
my conscience, I beg you not to trouble about that, my dear sir.
"It's been polished," Markelov put in again; "there is a coat of
St. Petersburg varnish upon it; no amount of washing will make it
come clean. You may whisper as much as you like, Mr. Paklin, but
you won't get anything out of it!
At this point the governor considered it necessary to interfere.
"I think that you have said enough, gentlemen," he began, "and
I'll ask you, my dear baron, to take Mr. Markelov away. N'est ce
pas, Boris, you don't want him any further--"
Sipiagin made a gesture with his hands.
"I said everything I could think of!"
"Very well, baron!"
The adjutant came up to Markelov, clinked his spurs, made a
horizontal movement of the hand, as if to request Markelov to
make a move; the latter turned and walked out. Paklin, only in
imagination it is true, but with bitter sympathy and pity, shook
him by the hand.
"We'll send some of our men to the factory," the governor
continued; "but you know, Boris, I thought this gentleman" (he
moved his chin in Paklin's direction)" told you something about
your niece . . . I understood that she was there at the factory.
"It's impossible to arrest her in any case," Sipiagin remarked
thoughtfully; "perhaps she will think better of it and return.
I'll write her a note, if I may."
"Do please. You may be quite sure . . . nous offrerons le quidam
. . . mais nous sommes galants avec les dames et avec celle-la
"But you've made no arrangements about this Solomin,"
Kollomietzev exclaimed plaintively. He had been on the alert all
the while, trying to catch what the governor and Sipiagin were
saying. "I assure you he's the principal ringleader! I have a
wonderful instinct about these things!"
"Pas trop de zele, my dear Simion Petrovitch," the governor
remarked with a smile. "You remember Talleyrand! If it is really
as you say the fellow won't escape us. You had better think of
your--" the governor put his hand to his throat significantly.
"By the way," he said, turning to Sipiagin, "et ce gaillard-la"
(he moved his chin in Paklin's direction). "Qu'enferons nous? He
does not appear very dangerous."
"Let him go," Sipiagin said in an undertone, and added in German,
"Lass' den Lumpen laufen!"
He imagined for some reason that he was quoting from Goethe's
Gotz von Berlichingen.
"You can go, sir!" the governor said aloud. "We do not require
you any longer. Good day."
Paklin bowed to the company in general and went out into the
street completely crushed and humiliated. Heavens! this contempt
had utterly broken him.
"Good God! What am I? A coward, a traitor?" he thought, in
unutterable despair. "Oh, no, no! I am an honest man, gentlemen!
I have still some manhood left!"
But who was this familiar figure sitting on the governor's step
and looking at him with a dejected, reproachful glance? It was
Markelov's old servant. He had evidently come to town for his
master, and would not for a moment leave the door of his prison.
But why did he look so reproachfully at Paklin? He had not
"And why did I go poking my nose into things that did not concern
me? Why could I not sit quietly at home? And now it will be said
and written that Paklin betrayed them-- betrayed his friends to
the enemy!" He recalled the look Markelov had given him and his
last words, "Whisper as much as you like, Mr. Paklin, but you
won't get anything out of it!" and then these sad, aged, dejected
eyes! he thought in desperation. And as it says in the
scriptures, he "wept bitterly" as he turned his steps towards the
oasis, to Fomishka and Fimishka and Snandulia.
WHEN Mariana came out of her room that morning she noticed
Nejdanov sitting on the couch fully dressed. His head was resting
against one arm, while the other lay weak and helpless on his
knee. She went up to him.
"Goodmorning, Alexai. Why, you haven't undressed? Haven't you
slept? How pale you are!"
His heavy eyelids rose slowly.
"No, I haven't."
"Aren't you well, or is it the after-effects of yesterday?
Nejdanov shook his head.
"I couldn't sleep after Solomin went into your room."
"Alexai! are you jealous? A new idea! What a time to be jealous
in! Why, he was only with me a quarter of an hour. We talked
about his cousin, the priest, and discussed arrangements for our
"I know that he was only with you a short time. I saw him come
out. And I'm not jealous, oh no! But still I couldn't fall asleep
Nejdanov was silent.
"I kept thinking . . . thinking. . . thinking!"
"Oh, of you . . . of him . . . and of myself."
"And what came of all your thinking?"
"Shall I tell you?"
Yes, tell me."
"It seemed to me that I stood in your way--in his . . . and in my
"Mine? His? It's easy to see what you mean by that, though you
declare you're not jealous, but your own?"
"Mariana, there are two men in me and one doesn't let the other
live. So I thought it might be better if both ceased to live."
"Please don't, Alexai. Why do you want to torment yourself and
me? We ought to be considering ways and means of getting away.
They won't leave us in peace you know."
Nejdanov took her hand caressingly.
"Sit down beside me, Mariana, and let us talk things over like
comrades while there is still time. Give me your hand. It would
be a good thing for us to have an explanation, though they say
that all explanations only lead to further muddle. But you are
kind and intelligent and are sure to understand, even the things
that I am unable to express. Come, sit down."
Nejdanov's voice was soft, and a peculiarly affectionate
tenderness shone in his eyes as he looked entreatingly at
She sat down beside him readily and took his hand.
"Thanks, dearest. I won't keep you long. I thought out all the
things I wanted to say to you last night. Don't think I was too
much upset by yesterday's occurrence. I was no doubt extremely
ridiculous and rather disgusting, but I know you didn't think
anything bad of me--you know me. I am not telling the truth
exactly when I say that I wasn't upset--I was horribly upset, not
because I was brought home drunk, but because I was convinced of
my utter inefficiency. Not because I could not drink like a real
Russian-- but in everything! everything! Mariana, I must tell you
that I no longer believe in the cause that united us and on the
strength of which we ran away together. To tell the truth, I had
already lost faith when your enthusiasm set me on fire again. I
don't believe in it! I can't believe in it!"
He put his disengaged hand over his eyes and ceased for awhile.
Mariana did not utter a single word and sat looking downwards.
She felt that he had told her nothing new.
"I always thought," Nejdanov continued, taking his hand away from
his eyes, but not looking at Mariana again, "that I believed in
the cause itself, but had no faith in myself, in my own strength,
my own capacities. I used to think that my abilities did not come
up to my convictions . . . But you can't separate these things.
And what's the use of deceiving oneself? No-- I don't believe in
the cause itself. And you, Mariana, do you believe in it?"
Mariana sat up straight and raised her head.
"Yes, I do, Alexai. I believe in it with all the strength of my
soul, and will devote my whole life to it, to the last breath!"
Nejdanov turned towards her and looked at her enviously, with a
tender light in his eyes.
"I knew you would answer like that. So you see there is nothing
for us to do together; you have severed our tie with one blow."
Mariana was silent.
"Take Solomin, for instance," Nejdanov began again, "though he
does not believe--"
"What do you mean?"
"It's quite true. He does not believe . . . but that is not
necessary for him; he is moving steadily onwards. A man walking
along a road in a town does not question the existence of the
town-- he just goes his way. That is Solomin. That is all that's
needed. But I . . . I can't go ahead, don't want to turn back,
and am sick of staying where I am. How dare I ask anyone to be my
companion? You know the old proverb, 'With two people to carry
the pole, the burden will be easier.' But if you let go your end-
- what becomes of the other?"
"Alexai," Mariana began irresolutely, "I think you exaggerate. Do
we not love each other?"
Nejdanov gave a deep sigh.
"Mariana . . . I bow down before you. . . you pity me, and each
of us has implicit faith in the other's honesty-- that is our
position. But there is no love between us."
"Stop, Alexai! what are you saying? The police may come for us
today... we must go away together and not part--"
"And get Father Zosim to marry us at Solomin's suggestion. I know
that you merely look upon our marriage as a kind of passport-- a
means of avoiding any difficulties with the police . . . but
still it will bind us to some extent; necessitate our living
together and all that. Besides it always presupposes a desire to
"What do you mean, Alexai? You don't intend staying here?"
Nejdanov said hesitatingly. The word "yes" nearly escaped his
lips, but he recollected himself in time.
"Then you are going to a different place-- not where I am going?"
Nejdanov pressed her hand which still lay in his own.
"It would indeed be vile to leave you without a supporter,
without a protector, but I won't do that, as bad as I may be. You
shall have a protector-- rest assured."
Mariana bent down towards him and, putting her face close against
his, looked anxiously into his eyes, as though trying to
penetrate to his very soul.
"What is the matter, Alexai? What have you on your mind? Tell me
. . . you frighten me. Your words are so strange and enigmatical
. . . And your face! I have never seen your face like that!"
Nejdanov put her from him gently and kissed her hand tenderly.
This time she made no resistance and did not laugh, but sat still
looking at him anxiously.
"Don't be alarmed, dear. There is nothing strange in it. They say
Markelov was beaten by the peasants; he felt their blows-- they
crushed his ribs. They did not beat me, they even drank with me--
drank my health-- but they crushed my soul more completely than
they did Markelov's ribs. I was born out of joint, wanted to set
myself right, and have made matters worse. That is what you
notice in my face."
"Alexai," Mariana said slowly, "it would be very wrong of you not
to be frank with me."
He clenched his hands.
"Mariana, my whole being is laid bare before you, and whatever I
might do, I tell you beforehand, nothing will really surprise
you; nothing whatever!"
Mariana wanted to ask him what he meant, but at that moment
Solomin entered the room.
His movements were sharper and more rapid than usual. His eyes
were half closed, his lips compressed, the whole of his face wore
a drier, harder, somewhat rougher expression.
"My dear friends," he began, "I must ask you not to waste time,
but prepare yourselves as soon as possible. You must be ready in
an hour. You have to go through the marriage ceremony. There is
no news of Paklin. His horses were detained for a time at Arjanov
and then sent back. He has been kept there. They've no doubt
brought him to town by this time. I don't think he would betray
us, but he might let things out unwittingly. Besides, they might
have guessed from the horses. My cousin has been informed of your
coming. Pavel will go with you. He will be a witness."
"And you . . . and you?" Nejdanov asked. "Aren't you going? I see
you're dressed for the road," he added, indicating Solomin's high
boots with his eyes.
"Oh, I only put them on . . . because it's rather muddy outside."
"But you won't be held responsible for us, will you?"
"I hardly think so . . . in any case . . . that's my affair. So
you'll be ready in an hour. Mariana, I believe Tatiana wants to
see you. She has something prepared for you."
"Oh, yes! I wanted to see her too . . ." Mariana turned to the
A peculiar expression of fear, despair, spread itself over
"Mariana, you're not going?" he asked in a frightened tone of
She stood still.
"I'll be back in half an hour. It won't take me long to pack."
"Come here, close to me, Mariana."
"Certainly, but what for? "
"I wanted to have one more look at you." He looked at her
intently. Goodbye, goodbye, Mariana!"
She seemed bewildered.
"Why . . . what nonsense I'm talking! You'll be back in half an
hour, won't you, eh?"
"Never mind; forgive me, dear. My brain is in a whirl from lack
of sleep. I must begin . . . packing, too."
Mariana went out of the room and Solomin was about to follow her
when Nejdanov stopped him.
"What is it? "
"Give me your hand. I must thank you for your kindness and
"What an idea!" He extended his hand.
"There's another thing I wished to say," Nejdanov continued.
"Supposing anything were to happen to me, may I hope that you
won't abandon Mariana?"
"Your future wife?
"Yes . . . Mariana!"
"I don't think anything is likely to happen to you, but you may
set your mind at rest. Mariana is just as dear to me as she is to
"Oh, I knew it . . . knew it, knew it! I'm so glad! thanks. So in
"In an hour."
"I shall be ready. Goodbye, my friend!"
Solomin went out and caught Mariana up on the staircase. He had
intended saying something to her about Nejdanov, but refrained
from doing so. And Mariana guessed that he wished to say
something about him and that he could not. She, too, was silent.
DIRECTLY Solomin had gone, Nejdanov jumped up from the couch,
walked up and down the room several times, then stood still in
the middle in a sort of stony indecision. Suddenly he threw off
his "masquerade" costume, kicked it into a corner of the room,
and put on his own clothes. He then went up to the little three-
legged table, pulled out of a drawer two sealed letters and some
other object which he thrust into his pocket; the letters he left
on the table. Then he crouched down before the stove and opened
the little door. A whole heap of ashes lay inside. This was all
that remained of Nejdanov's papers, of his sacred book of verses
. . . He had burned them all in the night. Leaning against one
side of the stove was Mariana's portrait that Markelov had given
him. He had evidently not had the heart to burn that too! He took
it out carefully and put in on the table beside the two letters.
Then, with a quick resolute movement, he put on his cap and
walked towards the door. But suddenly he stopped, turned back,
and went into Mariana's room. There, he stood still for a moment,
gazed round, then approaching her narrow little bed, bent down
and with one stifled sob pressed his lips to the foot of the bed.
He then jumped up, thrust his cap over his forehead, and rushed
out. Without meeting anyone in the corridor, on the stairs, or
down below, he darted out into the garden. It was a grey day,
with a low-hanging sky and a damp breeze that blew in waves over
the tops of the grass and made the trees rustle. A whiff of coal,
tar, and tallow was borne along from the yard, but the noise and
rattling in the factory was fainter than usual at that time of
day. Nejdanov looked round sharply to see if anyone was about and
made straight for the old apple tree that had first attracted his
attention when he had looked out of the little window of his room
on the day of his arrival. The whole of its trunk was evergrown
with dry moss, its bare, rugged branches, sparsely covered with
reddish leaves, rose crookedly, like some old arms held up in
supplication. Nejdanov stepped firmly on to the dark soil beneath
the tree and pulled out the object he had taken from the table
drawer. He looked up intently at the windows of the little house.
"If somebody were to see me now, perhaps I wouldn't do it," he
thought. But no human being was to be seen anywhere-- everyone
seemed dead or turned away from him, leaving him to the mercy of
fate. Only the muffled hum and roar of the factory betrayed any
signs of life; and overhead a fine, keen, chilly rain began
Nejdanov gazed up through the crooked branches of the tree under
which he was standing at the grey, cloudy sky looking down upon
him so unfeelingly. He yawned and lay down. "There's nothing else
to be done. I can't go back to St. Petersburg, to prison," he
thought. A kind of pleasant heaviness spread all over his body .
. . He threw away his cap, took up the revolver, and pulled the
Something struck him instantly, but with no very great violence .
. . He was lying on his back trying to make out what had happened
to him and how it was that he had just seen Tatiana. He tried to
call her. . . but a peculiar numbness had taken possession of him
and curious dark green spots were whirling about all over him--
in his eyes, over his head, in his brain-- and some frightfully
heavy, dull weight seemed to press him to the earth forever.
Nejdanov did really get a glimpse of Tatiana. At the moment when
he pulled the trigger she had looked out of a window and caught
sight of him standing under the tree. She had hardly time to ask
herself what he was doing there in the rain without a hat, when
he rolled to the ground like a sheaf of corn. She did not hear
the shot--it was very faint--but instantly felt that something
was amiss and rushed out into the garden. She came up to
"Alexai Dmitritch! What is the matter with you?"
But a darkness had already descended upon him. Tatiana bent over
and noticed blood...
"Pavel!" she shouted at the top of her voice, "Pavel!"
A minute or two later, Mariana, Solomin, Pavel, and two workmen
were in the garden. They lifted him instantly, carried him into
the house, and laid him on the same couch on which he had passed
his last night.
He lay on his back with half-closed eyes, his face blue all over.
There was a rattling in his throat, and every now and again he
gave a choking sob. Life had not yet left him. Mariana and
Solomin were standing on either side of him, almost as pale as he
was himself. They both felt crushed, stunned, especially Mariana-
- but they were not surprised. "How did we not foresee this? "
they asked themselves, but it seemed to them that they had
foreseen it all along. When he said to Mariana, "Whatever I do, I
tell you beforehand, nothing will really surprise you," and when
he had spoken of the two men in him that would not let each other
live, had she not felt a kind of vague presentiment? Then why had
she ignored it? Why was it she did not now dare to look at
Solomin, as though he were her accomplice. . .as though he, too,
were conscience-stricken? Why was it that her unutterable,
despairing pity for Nejdanov was mixed with a feeling of horror,
dread, and shame? Perhaps she could have saved him? Why are they
both standing there, not daring to pronounce a word, hardly
daring to breathe-waiting . . . for what? Oh, God!"
Solomin sent for a doctor, though there was no hope. Tatiana
bathed Nejdanov's head with cold water and vinegar and laid a
cold sponge on the small, dark wound, now free from blood.
Suddenly the rattling in Nejdanov's throat ceased and he stirred
"He is coming to himself," Solomin whispered. Mariana dropped
down on her knees before him. Nejdanov glanced at her . . up
until then his eyes had borne that fixed, far-away look of the
"I am . . . still alive," he pronounced scarcely audible. "I
couldn't even do this properly . . . I am detaining you."
"Aliosha! " Mariana sobbed out.
"It won't . . . be long. . . . Do you . . . remember ... Mariana
. . . my poem? . . . Surround me with flowers . . . But where . .
. are the . . . flowers? Never mind . . . so long as you . . .
are here. . .There in . . . my letter. . .
He suddenly shuddered.
"Ah! here it comes . . . Take . . . each other's hands . . .
before me . . . quickly . . . take. . ."
Solomin seized Mariana's hand. Her head lay on the couch, face
downwards, close to the wound. Solomin, dark as night, held
himself severely erect.
"That's right . . . that's..."
Nejdanov broke out into sobs again--strange unusual sobs . . .
His breast rose, his sides heaved.
He tried to lay his hand on their united ones, but it fell back
"He is passing away," Tatiana whispered as she stood at the door,
and began crossing herself.
His sobs grew briefer, fewer . . . He still searched around for
Mariana with his eyes, but a menacing white film was spreading
"That's right," were his last words.
He had breathed his last . . . and the clasped hands of Mariana
and Solomin still lay upon his breast.
The following are the contents of the two letters he had left.
One consisting only of a few lines, was addressed to Silin:
"Goodbye, my dear friend, goodbye! When this reaches you, I shall
be no more. Don't ask why or wherefore, and don't grieve; be sure
that I am better off now. Take up our immortal Pushkin and read
over the description of the death of Lensky in 'Yevgenia Onegin.'
Do you remember? The windows are white-washed. The mistress has
gone--that's all. There is nothing more for me to say. Were I to
say all I wanted to, it would take up too much time. But I could
not leave this world without telling you, or you might have gone
on thinking of me as living and I should have put a stain upon
our friendship. Goodbye; live well.--Your friend, A. N."
The other letter, somewhat longer, was addressed to Solomin and
Mariana. It began thus:
"MY DEAR CHILDREN" (immediately after these words there was a
break, as if something had been scratched or smeared out, as if
tears had fallen upon it),-- "It may seem strange to you that I
should address you in this way--I am almost a child myself and
you, Solomin, are older than I am. But I am about to die--and
standing as I do at the end of my life, I look upon myself as an
old man. I have wronged you both, especially you, Mariana, by
causing you so much grief and pain (I know you will grieve,
Mariana) and giving you so much anxiety. But what could I do? I
could think of no other way out. I could not simplify myself, so
the only thing left for me to do was to blot myself out
Mariana, I would have been a burden to you and to myself. You are
generous, you would have borne the burden gladly, as a new
sacrifice, but I have no right to demand such a sacrifice of you-
- you have a higher and better work before you. My children, let
me unite you as it were from the grave. You will live happily
together. Mariana, I know you will come to love Solomin--and he .
. . he loved you from the moment he first saw you at the
Sipiagins. It was no secret to me, although we ran away a few
days later. Ah! that glorious morning! how exquisite and fresh
and young it was! It comes back to me now as a token, a symbol of
your life together--your life and his--and I by the merest chance
happened to be in his place. But enough! I don't want to
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