Part 4 out of 4
"Try?"--"Why? Kill them all, that's all." "Kill the Czar,"--"Kill the
brat." "Let them go." "To hell with all of them." "Let's try them, of
course." "Give the women to the people." "Put their guts out," etc.,
"Shut up you all," shouted Khokhriakov, "let me count the votes. I see
you cannot decide, though you _all_ don't want the trial _here!_ Is
that so? All right, as you wish, the will of people must prevail.
What? Who said it is _not_ so? Come out you counter-revolutionary,
you monarchist, you royal carrion,--come out and say it to _my face_,
don't hide, you...." Nobody came out. This categorical imperative
could surpass the Kant's.... Kaganitzky's face, smiling, and with
moving flappy ears, was in accord with this understanding, and when
Khokhriakov barked his--"Carried," he bowed his head.
The audience was then silenced.
"Now, comrades, comes the next proposition,--to send the prisoners
away,--to the Ural city, probably Ekaterinburg. Comrade Kaganitzky is
here. He says, they will be treated _very well_ (Laughter) and they
_will not be in danger_ of the Czecks, and popes, and monarchists. The
comrades of the detachment and Comrade Kobylinsky--agreed. How do you
like _this_? Say, _who_ is against it? Come out!"
Free people in a free country--consented. After which consent a
commission under the chairmanship of Kaganitzky was appointed to
elaborate particulars. The Detachment of Special Destination was thus
dissolved and Comrade Kobylinsky was allowed to proceed to Petrograd.
With a headache from the noise and smoke I left the court-room and
went out in the City Square to breathe a little fresh air. Children
were playing with sand and toys. Children of the New Russia! Russia
of free speech, free thoughts, free ways! God, what will grow out of
_you_?... I wanted to pet one of them, a little thing with gray eyes,
but frightened to death of a "Red"--the child yelled and ran; from a
distance it shook at me a little trembling fist. So--it is not so bad.
While in the garden--the court room probably was emptied, as few
shots were fired behind me,--on the hill, and shortly after, a
gala-demonstration started--with a rattling of stones on the roof
of the Mansion, whistles, songs and a general delirium of the
uncontrolled and wicked _mob_ ...
Feeling the bridles of the High Commissaries, unable to do something
to them, understanding the guidance under a sauce of self government,
the _mob_ was avenging itself on the inhabitants of the Mansion.
I wonder where Lucie is now?
Something heavy and depressing is in my mind this last time; some
fog in my thoughts; I think I am losing my standing of a gentleman,
dealing with all of these people. My language has become vulgar; my
manners, also. I begin....
(_few lines scratched out_)
... This morning Pashinsky repeated that the Em. will be taken to
Ekaterinburg with the Empress and the Heir. The daughters will stay
here for a while. "Believe me, we'll have a good time," he said,
offensively breathing in my face.
I stood near the gates of the fence when Dr. Botkin passed. Nobody was
near me, Pashinsky having gone for a drink of water into the quarters.
I said without turning my head:
"Decision taken to send only the Em. and Empress and the Heir.
Daughters will stay here." Dr. Botkin did not stop. Then, as guard, I
did not let him in, and as if I were examining him (that was my
right) I said, "Please warn the ladies, and tell the Emperor that the
Commissary did not act badly; I guess there is no danger in his going
away. I fear for the ladies only."
"You don't mean it! They double-crossed us! They assured us all would
go. The scoundrels! Now please let me go,--and thank you, you strange
I let him go.
Pashinsky appeared and looked at me. "Are you getting tired of this
muzzle, too? Isn't he a ...?"
"Yes," I said, "I must watch him closer now. I think we had better
watch him. You stay on the other side, and I'll be here near the
"All right," he said. "Then we can meet here. I'm going to walk
from the garden to the fence, and you stay right here. What is your
"Nothing in particular," I answered.... "Just the ordinary one; I
don't like him. That's all."
So we walked the way he proposed. Every time he would be near the
garden, he would cough in such a noisy and sardonic way that the
Heir, who was sitting with Derevenko on the bench would turn his long,
pensive face, and his old sailor guardian would look with hatred on
When Pashinsky was away, the window behind me opened very cautiously
and a lady's voice said to me, "Don't turn. Is it true they are to
take Father away? Now, I know you are a gentleman. What would you
advise us to do? I think we are all lost."
Pashinsky started to come back; then a Lett passed, so the voice
stopped. Pashinsky came near me and said, "The Heir never cries when I
tease him. Believe me, he is a hard kid. What do you think if I scare
"Yes," I said, "a stubborn child." "I must try again," and he walked
The window again gave way. "Please," the same voice said, "can't
you give any advice to us? We are so frightened! Father is praying;
Mother's very ill; we are all alone."
"I'll write you," I said, (without moving my lips), "what I think and
bring it back."
I went to Pashinsky, whose teasing was becoming hideous and rough.
He said to the Heir that they had decided to shoot the whole family.
Tears were on the child's face but he kept on bravely; he could not go
away--Pashinsky was at the gate.
I wished: "Just a day or two,--and I will be able to do something. Oh,
God! Send something to stop it right now."
I guess that my prayer was heard.
The tutor's face,--one of those broad Russian faces,--gradually grew
purple and then grey. Slowly, and hypnotising Pashinsky, he approached
the scamp, took him by the collar and pulled him towards the fence.
Then, losing his breath, Derevenko said, "Leave the boy alone,
you scoundrel! You,--you call yourself a Russian sailor? You? Have
this...." and the slap on Pashinsky's face sounded to me like Chopin's
First Nocturne. What divine music!
I expected a clash. But no! The rifle fell out of Pashinsky's hands
and, silent and tamed, with half-closed eyes, he was waiting for
another smash. Then Derevenko saw me and thought I was going to shoot
him, but I made no such move. I slipped away and went innocently
towards the big gate. So, when Pashinsky came to me--he was sure I
had seen nothing, and when I asked how the teasing was going on, he
"Oh, I let this trash go. It annoys me."
The left side of his face was inflamed and tears were frozen on his
eyes. It was a good one, by God!
After this incident I turned to the quarters "for a drink of water"
and wrote a little note that "nothing bad could happen to the
Princesses when they were alone" and that, "I shall exert all in my
power to prevent any disagreeable happenings." I wrote that I knew
some people were working to save them. My letter, I thought, would
brace them up and would give them an idea that there was, amongst
these beasts--one, that would not be an enemy. In case of a struggle
this idea would keep them from losing hope and their power of
resistance. Then I added that I could be found in the hotel, and that
Dr. Botkin knew me.
Contemplating my scratchings, I went over to the window; somebody was
patiently waiting and looking around, for the voice said:
"I am so glad Derevenko slapped this awful man."
"I am too, your Highness. Now--there is a letter. I'll put it on the
bayonette and stay still; you take it."
Pashinsky passed near me talking with another Red. He felt badly I am
sure,--he did not look at me.
I rolled the piece of paper, stuck it on the edge of the sharp
bayonette and putting the rifle on my shoulder, directed it towards
the window. I felt when it was taken. Then I joined my fellow jailers.
Today I saw a man who resembled strikingly the Tumen Russian of the
profane language. And it reminded me very much of the Ls., of the
English officer, of the fellow with dark eyeglasses--and of Lucie. I
felt abandoned again. So I went to the Church, but then turned back:
I cannot go in, for it might spoil my reputation of a Red. However, I
stood for a bit near the doors and listened to the singers, and then
decided to go to the Catholic church, for only Russian Reds must not
pray; Polish Reds happen to have this privilege.
There is no difference in fact. I wanted to be closer to something
The lights were so quiet and peaceful looking in the dark church
through high-colored windows. There were not many people in their
church, so I could concentrate. But instead of a Christian quiet, I
got something else. I guess the idea came to me when I thought that
Pashinsky was a Pole.
I began to think that I could not do very much here,--but still
something. They will try to annoy the Princesses, and I must protect
them. Thus--my staying here will be justified. If Pashinsky or the
Letts should do something that would be bad, I'll kill them,--or some
of them. When I thought of it, I looked at the Holy Faces; the sun
came out of the white clouds, the rays fell on the walls,--and
the Faces smiled at me. "Yes," I thought, "if my decision is not
agreeable,--the sun will hide behind the clouds again. I'll wait for
five minutes"--the sun did not hide,--so--this was accepted. Then I
tried to figure how to do it, and found a way. I'll get Pashinsky at
the first attempt.
My God, what nonsense I think of!...
Schtolz. Jackson. Vieren. The man with the wounded leg. Kitser.
Dutzman. Khokhriakov. Fost. Pashinsky. Kart. Fedor. Laksman. Vassiliev
(son). Kobylinsky. Perkel. Niestadt. Cymes. Leibner. Vert. Wang-Lee.
Frenkel. The fat Kister. Vygardt....
(_a few lines scratched out_)
The "Kitai" was at the pier when we--the detachment of twelve,
guarding a silent man and a hysterical woman--came there under the
cover of night; it was raining, though the air was warm. The Irtysh
stood fragrant with this odor of a big, noble river. The waters--in
which sank Yermak under his heavy corselet--the same waters were
carrying toward the unknown--the Imperial Family.
Though their departure was supposed to be made in secrecy, there was
a crowd of people on the pier--we tried to chase them away, but they
stood there. An ascetic figure was standing on the next pier, lit only
by a few lanterns. This black figure lifted a cross and blessed the
Emperor, who tenderly released his hand from the spasmatic grip of his
terrified wife and made the sign of the cross.
"Quit that, Reverend scoundrel," I heard Khokhriakov's voice. "Who
asked _you_ to come?"
The priest answered:
"Thou knowest not what thou art committing."
"Ah, shut up! To hell with your citations, you old idiot!
"Take him down over there. Isn't there anyone to choke him?"
continued Khokhriakov bending over the hand-rails. "This ass is
propagating,--don't you see, comrades?"
No one, however, moved. This crowd around the Bishop all answered.
Their answer,--a blunt roaring,--sounded like distant thunder and
there was such a frightening unity in this dull noise,--that I had the
"You cowards!" bellowed the sailor, "I'll have to come back and finish
with the pope myself! It will not be the first one, anyhow. It's too
late now! Be damned you all! Go ahead!" The gangplanks dropped.
The steamer started to move.
The priest stood still blessing her passengers,--the Emperor, the
Empress, the bolsheviki,--the crew,--all, all of them. And, wet under
the rain, this figure vested in black, with a shiny cross lifted high
in the air, will for a long time remain in my memory.
The Mansion was black; not a light in the windows. The four girls,
left alone in this nest of rattlesnakes,--were probably sitting in
some far distant corner,--crying, trembling, praying,--and waiting for
the worst, which they feared was coming.
To kill a man? Nothing more agreeable if it is the right one,--I
should say! And in such country where the trial is impossible. I did
not know I ever could,--but...
Pashinsky started soon after the Emperor was taken. He and Fost asked
me for a conference behind the quarters, when we were waiting to
change the watchmen. Both had a confidential expression on their
"You see here, Syva,--what is planned. You and Fost stay under the
windows, and go around, just as you please. I'll go upstairs, and
listen. If there is no one around I'll call you up. I know that they
are all alone."
I consented, and when they left I wrote a note: "_Si, se soir, quelcun
tache de forcer l'entree de votre chambre, je vous implore de rester
calme et sure que je suis avec Vous et Vos soeurs a vous proteger. Ne
craignez rien, ne criez pas_!" I wrote it in French in order to assure
them of the faith in me--and prove my identity--and signed my real
It looked funny to me; I think now I am Syvorotka,--honestly
Syvorotka, formerly of the 7th of Hussars!
I went out and looked around. The Pole and the Lett were talking
and gazing from time to time at the upper windows. Then the Pole
approached: "How much would you take from me not to go up at all, and
let me do it alone?" and then, becoming sweet and fawning--.
"You see, Syva," he said, "Fost consented. Why shouldn't you? I'll
give you just as much."
"Did you consent, Fost?" I asked.
"Yes," said the Lett, digging in his short nose, "I did. I have
grown-up daughters at home. I cannot. Besides he gives me money, so
why shouldn't I? I will stay in the corridor and won't let anybody
come in, on this side of the House. I know nothing of your business.
Go on, have your pleasure."
"No, Pashinsky," I said, "that will not do. I must be with you. I have
to protect you besides, you idiot; Fost can only see what is in the
house, but supposing someone comes from down here? You think they will
forget such an outrage to the Soviets? I will be with you somewhere
behind, and when you call me I will come out. Hope you won't forget
Pashinsky thought over my proposition for a second,--thinking was
a strenuous effort for him. His obscene face wore a suffering and
preoccupied expression; then he said:
"I think you are right. We'll let Fost stay and watch the inner doors,
and you and I will be alone in this side of the house. Then the men on
the streets can't catch us, and we will be protected from the inside
Then he had some idea. A bad one, I am sure!
"All right, that's a good way, anyhow. Now I am going to take a
bath,--I need it. If somebody asks for me, say so."
The Lett and I remained. I stood for half an hour near my
window,--then it opened. I fixed the note on the bayonette and it went
to its destination.
After, a voice said:
"Mister * * *, we are afraid! What can we do? Do you think that you
can protect us? Please tell the truth, don't try to console us."
"I am sure, your Highness," I said, "please don't worry."
The voice continued: "They took out the keys from the doors. We
cannot even lock ourselves in, or hide. Can't you tell this to the
Budishchev's--perhaps they can do something?"
"You shouldn't try to hide, and there is no use to tell it to anybody,
believe me. Be in the room on the second floor and wait there. I will
be on the watch as I said."
--"You know better perhaps,--we believe you."
With a "Thank you so much" and "We are so frightened!" repeated with
despair and horror, the window closed.
I had to invent something, and invent quickly, for I had no plan as
The Browning was with me but I reserved it for the last chance, and I
decided to keep it loaded to finish some of the Reds--and myself--if
it should come to an open fight. With such thoughts I was desperately
rambling within the fence.
My vague plan was to come right after Pashinsky and knock him on
the head with something heavy,--then I rejected this project: the
scoundrel could yell and I would be discovered. I came to the quarters
and looked around. It was the office of Tanaevsky before occupied by
us. In the classic disorder, with an inch of cigarette butts and dust
on the floor, among the remnants of the Governor's House stored here,
I saw a gold metallic rope cord which in better times had been used to
support the heavy drapery of the reception room. The idea of a silent
strangulation came into my head with the picture of Jacolliot's Thugs.
I cut the tassel away and put it under somebody's pillow, and hid the
rope in my bosom.
At seven Pashinsky finally came back, surprisingly clean, shaven, and
smelling of some cheap and penetrating perfume. He was slightly drunk.
When clean,--he looked to me a thousand times worse.
Neither Pashinsky, nor I, could wait until the night came. He was
continually repeating what I should do, and continually asking me
whether I thought everything was safe. Finally night arrived. At nine
the lights in the Mansion were put out--all but in one window. I knew
how hearts were beating there: mine was echoing.
--"I am going, Syva," Pashinsky whispered. "I can't wait any
longer--all is burning inside of me."
He put his rifle behind the rain-pipe, straightened his belt, and
started towards the entrance door.
The door of the Mansion squeaked and swallowed him, and before I heard
him walking up the stairs I followed him.
All was dark inside, only a feeble light from the court penetrated
through the windows. We passed the corridor, then a large room, then
a small room. Here Pashinsky stopped--and I heard his heavy breathing.
Then he threw open the door.
I saw mattresses on the floor and in a far corner pale, trembling
figures, glued together by fear.
Pashinsky hesitated for a moment--to pick out the one he wanted--and
then with an outcry, suddenly rushed to this mass of helpless
panic-stricken bodies, and a struggle between a delirious man, feebled
by desire, and these ladies, began.
I jumped on him from behind; preoccupied, he did not feel when I put
the rope around his neck so that the collar wouldn't be in my way,
tightened my weapon in a deadlock and dragged him away--almost before
his carnal touch contaminated the Princesses--into the next room, and
shut the doors.
He was making some efforts to free himself, hitting my knees with his
heels, and growling from rage; then he bit me in the hand. But in a
minute I was already firmly sitting on his back, with my knees on his
awkwardly turned arms, twisting the rope with all of the strength I
"Please, don't kill him," I heard a sobbing whispering voice say, and
other voices, too, repeated the "don't kill."
This Kerensky idea made me quite angry and I said as calmly as I could
under the circumstances:
"With all of my reverence for your order, your Highnesses, I refuse to
obey. Please shut the doors and don't wake up the others,--I have my
own accounts to settle." And when the doors closed, I kept tightening
and tightening the rope until his head turned and his tongue,--rough
and dry,--came way out and was touching my hands, and his face became
hot and wet. He made a few convulsive movements--and became still.
When his head fell with a dull sound on the floor, I took him out
under cover of the night, and threw his body into the well. I walked
out onto Tuliatskaya Street and chatted for a while with Leibner and
I was changed and nobody asked me where my friend Pashinsky was.
Comrade Fost was shot yesterday at nine in the morning for murder. It
was a glorious inspiration to put the tassel under _his_ pillow. In
the afternoon we buried Pashinsky. I gave my share for a wreath with
red ribbons and the inscription "To him who fell for Proletariat--Long
live the International," and was present at the funeral. Dutzman made
a speech; a very pathetic one.
In the evening the sentinels were doubled. There are lights in every
room now. There was a light in every corridor. The ladies--are,--for
the moment being, out of immediate danger. The Soviet decided
to transport all to Ekaterinburg,--as soon as a steamer will be
Today Nachman called on me. He took me to the Square and when we were
sitting on a bench, he said, that "It was well done" ("that's all
right, sir, perfectly all right"), but if he were in my place he would
go away. "It's easy," he continued,--"supposing I give you a good
letter of recommendation to my people in Ekaterinburg? The interesting
part of all of this,--believe me, has started only. Don't fear
me,--this scabby Jew, this very Nachman,--will not betray."
I thought it over and said:
"I would do so, if I only could leave some trace here. A friend may
ask for me here, and I would be sore if she could not find me,--if she
"Oh, she will," he laughed, "she will. Of course, I am not posted in
your personal affairs, but--a lady always _can find_ one, _if_ she
cares. Ha-ha-ha! Youth is always youth! But you better go without
"Nachman, there is another thing. Here is an old man,--a friend of
mine,--he is very sick. His days are numbered, and I feel very sorry
for him. If I go away all will be lost for this old chap; he has
nobody in this world. Could you use your power and place him in a
hospital? I will give you money, of course,--I have some."
Nachman sighed: "This is so out of time! Nowadays love and charity are
much more dangerous than murders and thefts."
Then after a pause, he continued;
"Very well, friend, I will take care of your man. Hand me the money."
Then he gave me a letter to his friends in Ekaterinburg (it was ready
in his pocket) and we parted.
I am free, happy, independent, with a good standing amongst the
present Russians. And if only _she_ could be near me ... but there is
no perfect happiness on this strangest of planets of ours.
... heavy trucks, and other military paraphernalia. Some of the men on
them surely are not Russians, Letts, or Germans, or ...
(_nine lines scratched out_)
... I don't know whether it was Nachman's talk or the truth.
Anyhow I am going away,--again alone,--alone forever. Damn life!
I cannot look backwards--I feel sorry for my past; the present--is
sufficiently bad not to speak of it; the future--is just as dark--as
this night. Not a star, not a single star.
The old man was taken to the People's Hospital this afternoon. He
... starting rumors of the killing of the whole Family, and always
emphasizing that this tragedy--was the supreme penalty brought to the
altar by the Emperor.
Nachman, and others, who--it seems to me, know what they are talking
about, foresee many chances; the best of them, is of course the fact,
that some ...
(_few lines scratched out_)
... are in this enterprise, and therefore it might be crowned with
success. I really do not know what to think. Only one point is clear:
I cannot believe that our sufferings, the sufferings of the _whole
country_, are unknown beyond our frontiers. They must be known; the
tears shed cannot during so long a time fall on stones,--even stones
get wet. If they are not known,--these sufferings,--if our hands
stretched for help are not seen, if we are condemned just for the only
fact that we are Russians,--and if ...
(_a page missing_)
... knocked at the door. I hardly had time to say "enter," when
something enveloped in a thick brown overcoat rolled in, jumped at
me and in a second covered all of my face with hot kisses. I answered
them very attentively.
Then I noticed that the amiable creature was Lucie.
"No, you don't hate me! No, you don't hate me! I know it! I knew
"Lucie," I said, "before we proceed, please let me put some of these
papers in my pockets."
"Alex! Don't remind me of that! How _did_ you dare to write such
stories about me? You can't blame me, can you?"
"Perhaps I don't--for some pages you destroyed. How about the chart,
and about the?..."
She covered my mouth with her hands. "If we recollect everything it
will be endless. And besides I don't think I took anything from you.
Let's forget! I'll forgive you, if you promise me not to write nasty
stories about your Lucie."
I promised, and consented, of course. How can I do otherwise? No use!
I put her near me, poured her some tea and offered her the cookies.
For a time we looked at each other. She certainly looked like a
"How do you like this costume?" she said. "Next bal masque I certainly
will wear this kind, you may be sure. Of course all of this, and that
must be chiffon, and silk, and...." A woman cannot get on without
these chats. On the other hand--woman speaks to the man about it with
a concealed contempt: what does _a man_ understand? She does not get
angry when she sees that the man does not listen; he only _looks_.
"Now,"--she said, gazing around with a dear grimace,--"again in your
element, in dirt? What shall I do with you, Alex? I can't stand it!"
"Dirt is my protection, dear. Why did you leave? Don't run away any
"We will see about it. But first--what are you doing here? Are you
following me? Don't you think I saw you here? Why do you risk your
life? How did you think of leaving Tumen? How is your cook?"
"Do _your_ questions give _me_ the same right of investigation? I'll
answer you, anyhow. I've decided to lay down my cards, Lucie. I
came here on business. I broke all ties. Nobody wants me. I am
investigating at my own expense, at my own risk, out of curiosity
only. But I am free. Don't you need me? Don't you need a friend? Can't
we live without deceiving each other, without robbing,--eh? I came
here, Lucie,--and behind all of my intentions was one thing only: I
hoped to find you, and tell you how much I love you. I knew you had to
be near the center, and the center is, at least now--here. Don't lie
to me, bad girl, I know what I am talking about. Now--when I think we
again will part--I have chills; especially when I think of your manner
of going away: pinning a "good-by" to the cushion. Please, let us be
"You should not tempt me, Alex. I feel just as you do, only--I don't
think I can even dream of our being together--right now, I mean. What
will be after--we'll see."
"Cannot you arrange something for me so that I could be with you in
your business? Did not you ask me before to do so? Now--I come to
"It's true, I did. Things have changed. Can you believe me when I
swear I am telling the truth? Yes? You'll try? Well, I wanted you in
Petrograd--you fascinated me; that was all,--and if then, after being
with us, you had come to know too much and something had happened to
you, I would, of course, have been sorry,--but,--how shall I say it?
Not too much. In Tumen,--you know I came to Syvorotka with certain
purposes: you described them well in your diary, so well that I had to
put my censorship on them,--I did not suspect Syvorotka was--you...."
I made an impatient movement. "Again your fairy tale?"
"Alex!" she exclaimed, "I conjure you to believe me! Can't you see?
Get me to tell you the truth when I am so happy as now! I could not
lie to you! So that's how I came to Tumen. You were there, and you
know what happened. Now--don't laugh at me,--I understand that you
risked too much,--and I ran away, because I saw--I loved you. I'd die
if I knew something had happened to you on account of me. I told them
that you had gone to Kazan, or Nijni, that you had turned into a real
bolshevik. They think you are out. For them--you are lost. And they
must not see you here."
"Who are 'they'? And how about _you_ knowing too much?" I inquired.
"Your mysteries don't sound grave anyhow."
"Alex,--I'll be angry! Again you ask silly things."
So I kissed her and asked how Stanley was and the Russian and the
Letts, and the pony.
"Poor little thing! It died. We tried to reach Tobolsk with it."
"Your Stanley poisoned it with his chimney," I said.
"Don't hold anything against him, Alex. He is a good fellow. And don't
be jealous, you bad, dirty, lovable crank. He still thinks you are a
"He never thinks. He fancies."
She laughed. "Yes, you _are_ jealous. It is silly of you, but
agreeable. I did not know you could be."
"Now, let's be serious. You can't stay here. I must insist on your
going away,--dear, for your own sake,--for our sake! I promise it
won't be for a long time,--perhaps it will only seem so, if you love
me! Don't say no. Can't you picture how happy we can be afterwards?
How somewhere away from here we could marry, and.... You must go away.
Why not go to England, or Japan, or Sweden? Just a trip?"
"How funny you talk!" I said. "Listen to my reasons. One: I must stay
near you. Two: I must see the end of this tragedy. Three: I must
close _my_ bit of an account with some people. Four: All I have is not
enough to pay for this room,--so no trips for me. Five: ..."
"Stop! Stop!" she exclaimed, and crawling into my lap, continued:
"My poor boy! That--is killing! I know why you are so poor! You spent
every penny on others! You had some earnings! And to think of all you
were bringing to me in Tumen ... then you did not care even, but just
to be hospitable to an intruder.... And other things.... How can I
"There are no reasons for crying on this account. Forget it please.
Don't put me in the light of a benefactor,--I hate it."
"No, no! I feel so guilty now. I'll give you money."
"Don't offend me. All I want is not to be an idiot in the future and
not to lose you. So I have said it,--and it is said. When it comes
to stubbornness--I hardly think anybody could beat me. So just
understand: _I am going to stay_ where you are, and if you try this
time to get away, I'll have to take measures. I'll kidnap you.
I'll put you in a place where no 'Navy-Cut' is smoked. Now--it _is_
We talked, and argued, and even quarrelled, and again made peace,
until she declared herself beaten. Maybe she was angry; perhaps
scared; but surely greatly flattered. A woman is a woman--always
flattered when she sees persistence. She consented to take me into her
game. I had to swear, and cross my heart, and give endless words of
honor,--all that for a position of a traffic man, like the one in
Tumen. I had to swear that no cooks, or maids, or ladies (especially
ladies!) would distract me from the thought of her. Very selfish, but
understandable. It was late, when she left me.
"Alex," she said on the threshold,--"Please don't talk. Do not write,
please! You'll have time to finish your diary, and write even a series
of books on the subject afterwards. Maybe I'll help you even. Close
your diary. Give it to me, I'll hide it!..."
"Is _that_ so?" I said,--"there is nothing now that would be of
interest _to you_."
"Everything interests me, dear. Aren't you mean to your Lucie?... Very
well, hide it yourself, burn it, if you can't hide it. Can't you keep
in your mind your impressions? Do you promise? Consider me too!"
"I promise. I'll do it. I must only write all about this evening.
Every word. This evening I almost trust you. It is of historical value
She gave her consent.
When the door closed after her, and my lips were still burning,
hideous phantoms of doubt poured into the room; they tortured me, and
sneered at me, and kept me awake....
And with the pale rose of the first sunrays the phantoms of doubt left
me exhausted, miserable and helpless like a wet cat.
* * * * *
With paragraph 55 ends the diary of Syvorotka.
Among his documents, however, has been found the following letter,
not in his characteristic handwriting, but in that of someone else,
bearing directly upon the incidents narrated by the diarist. Written
in ungrammatical Russian, bearing many orthographic mistakes, this
document seems to be a fragment of a report, by some unidentified
co-operating agent, to his unrevealed superior.
It is deemed necessary, therefore, for purposes of clearness, to
append this document, as I find it among the literary remains of Al.
... "four or five days after your departure, I gave the story to P.D.;
he took it to the E * * * *; the latter made but a few corrections in
it, and P.D. copied it,--as you ordered: with different ink, and on
different paper. The fourteenth passed quietly. The new man who
took command of the guards and his assistant, assembled the men and
organized a meeting; Syvorotka was present. Some of the people spoke
of the "hidden treasury"; some spoke of the People's Tribunal; some
insisted upon a wholesale killing,--for the loyals and the Czechs are
rapidly approaching, and from everywhere come rumors about uprisings.
Finally it was decided to try the Family immediately.
The next day we were busy with the trucks; towards evening all of
them were in shape including the Number 74-M in which you ordered the
change of magneto, and ready to move. So you see--_we have done what
you ordered_, and if all happened so that we could not foresee, it was
not my fault, nor Syvorotka's, nor Phillip's.
All the day of the 16th the investigation continued, and the
Commissaries asked for the E * * * * twice; once four men went to
Ipatiev's; their conduct was outrageous. At eight in the evening I was
on my post in the red house, the wires were working fine and Philip
answered. Nachman's place answered too.
At nine I signalled to the Ipatiev's, and Princess waved "all well,"
but could not continue for a Red came to the window and shut it with
a bayonet. It had already begun to get very dark, so I phoned again to
Philip and Syvorotka and asked them whether they had orders to start.
I was told that they had not heard anything from the house. I decided
to wait a little longer and then to 'phone to Tikhvinsky to inquire
whether or not the Nun was on her place, so I could go and investigate
why S-y did not start. At ten I called up, but the 'phone was dead.
While I was waiting for some movement about the house, Philip himself
came and said that S-y had ordered him to remove the trucks away out
of the city. Philip refused to do so, and tried to reach me by 'phone
but it was out of order, so he left Syvorotka in charge and came to
ask me personally. While we were trying to digest what all of this
meant and what should be done, a movement began in the house; lights
flickered in the windows and shortly afterwards, we distinctly heard
the report of a revolver. As this looked bad we both left and ran
across the place, but the Reds would not let anybody in. Already there
were about fifteen men trying to break down the fence. The inside
guards resisted and some shots were exchanged. The assailants were
Reds, asking for "a treasury," and some of them were asking for the
Family as it was rumored that they had already been killed.
Seeing that nothing could be done from this side I went to the rear
and squeezed in, for Ch. was there and he let me do so; but he said
that he had heard shots inside and that he thought all was finished,
and said also that Leinst and three others went to search in
Syvorotka's home--they evidently don't know that all was taken out
yesterday. In the house I found complete commotion. The family had
disappeared, and no one knew where or how. Pytkan was shot in the
stomach and in the throat and I saw him lying on the floor in the
room. Khokhriakov and his men were shaking the rest of his life out
of him, asking where the E. and the jewelry were, but all that Pytkan
could say was "they were taken away." No one could make out what
really had happened and who had shot him; some said that they went
away in trucks, yet, in the evening, some that a detachment sent by
the Soviet took them secretly out, some said aeroplanes. All were
wrong, for Philip had just come back and the trucks were in place,
no one came into the Ipatiev's house as I was on guard, and there
had been no aeroplanes since six o'clock. Pytkan was almost dead when
Khokhriakov finally got from him that the family had been shot and
taken away--and then he began to expire. Later the German appeared
and chased us all away,--he sent for his assistant, but they could not
The family disappeared,--it is true; there was no trace of them.
I continued to look everywhere up to the time that the Soviet
representatives arrived, having been ordered to arrest all people
who were with the family, and commenced searching for the bodies.
The whole place was surrounded by Reds, and all were ordered out, but
nothing was there. Then a resolution was made that the prisoners had
been taken away and shot, and they sent a wire to Moscow. I only know
that inside the house they killed two people and nobody else, anyhow.
Pytkan and Kramer were dead; Kramer probably had been shot from a
distance--the bullet was in his head. There were no more than two men
killed, I know it; so you may feel sure, when you hear that all were
killed in the house that it is a lie. Somebody must have been burning
things in the stove long before--maybe in the daytime or the early
evening; the stove was almost cold,--the Reds got something out of it,
I did not see what it was. When I understood that the whole family had
been taken away, dead or alive, or had somehow disappeared, and that
there was nothing for us to do, I took Philip and we rushed back to
Syvorotka. The trucks and the chauffeurs were all gone. In the
garage we found Syvorotka tied with a rope and shot in the spine, and
bleeding from scratches and other wounds. From the appearance of the
garage we understood that there had been a struggle, but he could not
speak comprehensively; all we got from him were moanings, separate
phrases and words like "treason," "run away," "leave me die here,"
etc., etc.,--he was decidedly raving and very weak. We helped him as
best we could and came back to the city at about five in the morning
and Philip went to Nachman's. They both reported that shortly after
two o'clock, three of the trucks passed on the highway to Sysertsky
Works. Some people were in them, and the Nachmans thought it was our
affair, for the rumors had already reached them that the family had
disappeared or had been executed. This Sysertsky direction is more or
less correct for I know from Syvorotka that supplies were lately being
sent continuously with him to Tubiuk. This way also went Syvorotka's
S-y and all the rest left,--some people say in the evening, some early
in the morning of the 17th.
Maybe something could be told by Syvorotka if he ever survives his
wounds, and if the Reds do not find him and finish him before they
leave, for he is under suspicion. He still is unconscious, and has
fever. All Philip and I know is that either all our organization
has failed to succeed, or we were all betrayed and sold, or that you
intentionally detracted our attention from the truth.
This letter will be given to you by Mrs. Nachman who is going
tonight to Ufa. As soon as the Reds leave Ekaterinburg we will both
follow,--we are hiding now,--and will report on the facts that we
witnessed and the rumors we heard."