Part 4 out of 11
quieter, got up, put the shawl on her head, and went home.
Wet, muddy, and quite exhausted, she returned, and from that day
the change which brought her where she now was began to operate
in her soul. Beginning from that dreadful night, she ceased
believing in God and in goodness. She had herself believed in
God, and believed that other people also believed in Him; but
after that night she became convinced that no one believed, and
that all that was said about God and His laws was deception and
untruth. He whom she loved, and who had loved her--yes, she knew
that--had thrown her away; had abused her love. Yet he was the
best of all the people she knew. All the rest were still worse.
All that afterwards happened to her strengthened her in this
belief at every step. His aunts, the pious old ladies, turned her
out when she could no longer serve them as she used to. And of
all those she met, the women used her as a means of getting
money, the men, from the old police officer down to the warders
of the prison, looked at her as on an object for pleasure. And no
one in the world cared for aught but pleasure. In this belief the
old author with whom she had come together in the second year of
her life of independence had strengthened her. He had told her
outright that it was this that constituted the happiness of life,
and he called it poetical and aesthetic.
Everybody lived for himself only, for his pleasure, and all the
talk concerning God and righteousness was deception. And if
sometimes doubts arose in her mind and she wondered why
everything was so ill-arranged in the world that all hurt each
other, and made each other suffer, she thought it best not to
dwell on it, and if she felt melancholy she could smoke, or,
better still, drink, and it would pass.
SUNDAY IN PRISON--PREPARING FOR MASS.
On Sunday morning at five o'clock, when a whistle sounded in the
corridor of the women's ward of the prison, Korableva, who was
already awake, called Maslova.
"Oh, dear! life again," thought Maslova, with horror,
involuntarily breathing in the air that had become terribly
noisome towards the morning. She wished to fall asleep again, to
enter into the region of oblivion, but the habit of fear overcame
sleepiness, and she sat up and looked round, drawing her feet
under her. The women had all got up; only the elder children were
still asleep. The spirit-trader was carefully drawing a cloak
from under the children, so as not to wake them. The watchman's
wife was hanging up the rags to dry that served the baby as
swaddling clothes, while the baby was screaming desperately in
Theodosia's arms, who was trying to quiet it. The consumptive
woman was coughing with her hands pressed to her chest, while the
blood rushed to her face, and she sighed loudly, almost
screaming, in the intervals of coughing. The fat, red-haired
woman was lying on her back, with knees drawn up, and loudly
relating a dream. The old woman accused of incendiarism was
standing in front of the image, crossing herself and bowing, and
repeating the same words over and over again. The deacon's
daughter sat on the bedstead, looking before her, with a dull,
sleepy face. Khoroshavka was twisting her black, oily, coarse
hair round her fingers. The sound of slipshod feet was heard in
the passage, and the door opened to let in two convicts, dressed
in jackets and grey trousers that did not reach to their ankles.
With serious, cross faces they lifted the stinking tub and
carried it out of the cell. The women went out to the taps in the
corridor to wash. There the red-haired woman again began a
quarrel with a woman from another cell.
"Is it the solitary cell you want?" shouted an old jailer,
slapping the red-haired woman on her bare, fat back, so that it
sounded through the corridor. "You be quiet."
"Lawks! the old one's playful," said the woman, taking his action
for a caress.
"Now, then, be quick; get ready for the mass." Maslova had hardly
time to do her hair and dress when the inspector came with his
"Come out for inspection," cried a jailer.
Some more prisoners came out of other cells and stood in two rows
along the corridor; each woman had to place her hand on the
shoulder of the woman in front of her. They were all counted.
After the inspection the woman warder led the prisoners to
church. Maslova and Theodosia were in the middle of a column of
over a hundred women, who had come out of different cells. All
were dressed in white skirts, white jackets, and wore white
kerchiefs on their heads, except a few who had their own coloured
clothes on. These were wives who, with their children, were
following their convict husbands to Siberia. The whole flight of
stairs was filled by the procession. The patter of softly-shod
feet mingled with the voices and now and then a laugh. When
turning, on the landing, Maslova saw her enemy, Botchkova, in
front, and pointed out her angry face to Theodosia. At the bottom
of the stairs the women stopped talking. Bowing and crossing
themselves, they entered the empty church, which glistened with
gilding. Crowding and pushing one another, they took their places
on the right.
After the women came the men condemned to banishment, those
serving their term in the prison, and those exiled by their
Communes; and, coughing loudly, they took their stand, crowding
the left side and the middle of the church.
On one side of the gallery above stood the men sentenced to penal
servitude in Siberia, who had been let into the church before the
others. Each of them had half his head shaved, and their presence
was indicated by the clanking of the chains on their feet. On the
other side of the gallery stood those in preliminary confinement,
without chains, their heads not shaved.
The prison church had been rebuilt and ornamented by a rich
merchant, who spent several tens of thousands of roubles on it,
and it glittered with gay colours and gold. For a time there was
silence in the church, and only coughing, blowing of noses, the
crying of babies, and now and then the rattling of chains, was
heard. But at last the convicts that stood in the middle moved,
pressed against each other, leaving a passage in the centre of
the church, down which the prison inspector passed to take his
place in front of every one in the nave.
THE PRISON CHURCH--BLIND LEADERS OF THE BLIND.
The service began.
It consisted of the following. The priest, having dressed in a
strange and very inconvenient garb, made of gold cloth, cut and
arranged little bits of bread on a saucer, and then put them into
a cup with wine, repeating at the same time different names and
prayers. Meanwhile the deacon first read Slavonic prayers,
difficult to understand in themselves, and rendered still more
incomprehensible by being read very fast, and then sang them turn
and turn about with the convicts. The contents of the prayers
were chiefly the desire for the welfare of the Emperor and his
family. These petitions were repeated many times, separately and
together with other prayers, the people kneeling. Besides this,
several verses from the Acts of the Apostles were read by the
deacon in a peculiarly strained voice, which made it impossible
to understand what he read, and then the priest read very
distinctly a part of the Gospel according to St. Mark, in which
it said that Christ, having risen from the dead before flying up
to heaven to sit down at His Father's right hand, first showed
Himself to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven
devils, and then to eleven of His disciples, and ordered them to
preach the Gospel to the whole creation, and the priest added
that if any one did not believe this he would perish, but he that
believed it and was baptised should be saved, and should besides
drive out devils and cure people by laying his hands on them,
should talk in strange tongues, should take up serpents, and if
he drank poison should not die, but remain well.
The essence of the service consisted in the supposition that the
bits cut up by the priest and put by him into the wine, when
manipulated and prayed over in a certain way, turned into the
flesh and blood of God.
These manipulations consisted in the priest's regularly lifting
and holding up his arms, though hampered by the gold cloth sack
he had on, then, sinking on to his knees and kissing the table
and all that was on it, but chiefly in his taking a cloth by two
of its corners and waving it regularly and softly over the silver
saucer and golden cup. It was supposed that, at this point, the
bread and the wine turned into flesh and blood; therefore, this
part of the service was performed with the greatest solemnity.
"Now, to the blessed, most pure, and most holy Mother of God,"
the priest cried from the golden partition which divided part of
the church from the rest, and the choir began solemnly to sing
that it was very right to glorify the Virgin Mary, who had borne
Christ without losing her virginity, and was therefore worthy of
greater honour than some kind of cherubim, and greater glory than
some kind of seraphim. After this the transformation was
considered accomplished, and the priest having taken the napkin
off the saucer, cut the middle bit of bread in four, and put it
into the wine, and then into his mouth. He was supposed to have
eaten a bit of God's flesh and swallowed a little of His blood.
Then the priest drew a curtain, opened the middle door in the
partition, and, taking the gold cup in his hands, came out of the
door, inviting those who wished to do so also to come and eat
some of God's flesh and blood that was contained in the cup. A
few children appeared to wish to do so.
After having asked the children their names, the priest carefully
took out of the cup, with a spoon, and shoved a bit of bread
soaked in wine deep into the mouth of each child in turn, and the
deacon, while wiping the children's mouths, sang, in a merry
voice, that the children were eating the flesh and drinking the
blood of God. After this the priest carried the cup back behind
the partition, and there drank all the remaining blood and ate up
all the bits of flesh, and after having carefully sucked his
moustaches and wiped his mouth, he stepped briskly from behind
the partition, the soles of his calfskin boots creaking. The
principal part of this Christian service was now finished, but
the priest, wishing to comfort the unfortunate prisoners, added
to the ordinary service another. This consisted of his going up
to the gilt hammered-out image (with black face and hands)
supposed to represent the very God he had been eating,
illuminated by a dozen wax candles, and proceeding, in a strange,
discordant voice, to hum or sing the following words:
"Jesu sweetest, glorified of the Apostles, Jesu lauded by the
martyrs, almighty Monarch, save me, Jesu my Saviour. Jesu, most
beautiful, have mercy on him who cries to Thee, Saviour Jesu.
Born of prayer Jesu, all thy saints, all thy prophets, save and
find them worthy of the joys of heaven. Jesu, lover of men."
Then he stopped, drew breath, crossed himself, bowed to the
ground, and every one did the same--the inspector, the warders,
the prisoners; and from above the clinking of the chains sounded
more unintermittently. Then he continued: "Of angels the Creator
and Lord of powers, Jesu most wonderful, the angels' amazement,
Jesu most powerful, of our forefathers the Redeemer. Jesu
sweetest, of patriarchs the praise. Jesu most glorious, of kings
the strength. Jesu most good, of prophets the fulfilment. Jesu
most amazing, of martyrs the strength. Jesu most humble, of monks
the joy. Jesu most merciful, of priests the sweetness. Jesu most
charitable, of the fasting the continence. Jesu most sweet, of
the just the joy. Jesu most pure, of the celibates the chastity.
Jesu before all ages of sinners the salvation. Jesu, son of God,
have mercy on me."
Every time he repeated the word "Jesu" his voice became more and
more wheezy. At last he came to a stop, and holding up his
silk-lined cassock, and kneeling down on one knee, he stooped
down to the ground and the choir began to sing, repeating the
words, "Jesu, Son of God, have mercy on me," and the convicts
fell down and rose again, shaking back the hair that was left on
their heads, and rattling with the chains that were bruising
their thin ankles.
This continued for a long time. First came the glorification,
which ended with the words, "Have mercy on me." Then more
glorifications, ending with "Alleluia!" And the convicts made the
sign of the cross, and bowed, first at each sentence, then after
every two and then after three, and all were very glad when the
glorification ended, and the priest shut the book with a sigh of
relief and retired behind the partition. One last act remained.
The priest took a large, gilt cross, with enamel medallions at
the ends, from a table, and came out into the centre of the
church with it. First the inspector came up and kissed the cross,
then the jailers, then the convicts, pushing and abusing each
other in whispers. The priest, talking to the inspector, pushed
the cross and his hand now against the mouths and now against the
noses of the convicts, who were trying to kiss both the cross and
the hand of the priest. And thus ended the Christian service,
intended for the comfort and the teaching of these strayed
THE HUSKS OF RELIGION.
And none of those present, from the inspector down to Maslova,
seemed conscious of the fact that this Jesus, whose name the
priest repeated such a great number of times, and whom he praised
with all these curious expressions, had forbidden the very things
that were being done there; that He had prohibited not only this
meaningless much-speaking and the blasphemous incantation over
the bread and wine, but had also, in the clearest words,
forbidden men to call other men their master, and to pray in
temples; and had ordered that every one should pray in solitude,
had forbidden to erect temples, saying that He had come to
destroy them, and that one should worship, not in a temple, but
in spirit and in truth; and, above all, that He had forbidden not
only to judge, to imprison, to torment, to execute men, as was
being done here, but had prohibited any kind of violence, saying
that He had come to give freedom to the captives.
No one present seemed conscious that all that was going on here
was the greatest blasphemy and a supreme mockery of that same
Christ in whose name it was being done. No one seemed to realise
that the gilt cross with the enamel medallions at the ends, which
the priest held out to the people to be kissed, was nothing but
the emblem of that gallows on which Christ had been executed for
denouncing just what was going on here. That these priests, who
imagined they were eating and drinking the body and blood of
Christ in the form of bread and wine, did in reality eat and
drink His flesh and His blood, but not as wine and bits of bread,
but by ensnaring "these little ones" with whom He identified
Himself, by depriving them of the greatest blessings and
submitting them to most cruel torments, and by hiding from men
the tidings of great joy which He had brought. That thought did
not enter into the mind of any one present.
The priest did his part with a quiet conscience, because he was
brought up from childhood to consider that the only true faith
was the faith which had been held by all the holy men of olden
times and was still held by the Church, and demanded by the State
authorities. He did not believe that the bread turned into flesh,
that it was useful for the soul to repeat so many words, or that
he had actually swallowed a bit of God. No one could believe
this, but he believed that one ought to hold this faith. What
strengthened him most in this faith was the fact that, for
fulfilling the demands of this faith, he had for the last 15
years been able to draw an income, which enabled him to keep his
family, send his son to a gymnasium and his daughter to a school
for the daughters of the clergy. The deacon believed in the same
manner, and even more firmly than the priest, for he had
forgotten the substance of the dogmas of this faith, and knew
only that the prayers for the dead, the masses, with and without
the acathistus, all had a definite price, which real Christians
readily paid, and, therefore, he called out his "have mercy, have
mercy," very willingly, and read and said what was appointed,
with the same quiet certainty of its being necessary to do so
with which other men sell faggots, flour, or potatoes. The prison
inspector and the warders, though they had never understood or
gone into the meaning of these dogmas and of all that went on in
church, believed that they must believe, because the higher
authorities and the Tsar himself believed in it. Besides, though
faintly (and themselves unable to explain why), they felt that
this faith defended their cruel occupations. If this faith did
not exist it would have been more difficult, perhaps impossible,
for them to use all their powers to torment people, as they were
now doing, with a quiet conscience. The inspector was such a
kind-hearted man that he could not have lived as he was now
living unsupported by his faith. Therefore, he stood motionless,
bowed and crossed himself zealously, tried to feel touched when
the song about the cherubims was being sung, and when the
children received communion he lifted one of them, and held him
up to the priest with his own hands.
The great majority of the prisoners believed that there lay a
mystic power in these gilt images, these vestments, candles,
cups, crosses, and this repetition of incomprehensible words,
"Jesu sweetest" and "have mercy"--a power through which might be
obtained much convenience in this and in the future life. Only a
few clearly saw the deception that was practised on the people
who adhered to this faith, and laughed at it in their hearts; but
the majority, having made several attempts to get the
conveniences they desired, by means of prayers, masses, and
candles, and not having got them (their prayers remaining
unanswered), were each of them convinced that their want of
success was accidental, and that this organisation, approved by
the educated and by archbishops, is very important and necessary,
if not for this, at any rate for the next life.
Maslova also believed in this way. She felt, like the rest, a
mixed sensation of piety and dulness. She stood at first in a
crowd behind a railing, so that she could see no one but her
companions; but when those to receive communion moved on, she
and Theodosia stepped to the front, and they saw the inspector,
and, behind him, standing among the warders, a little peasant,
with a very light beard and fair hair. This was Theodosia's
husband, and he was gazing with fixed eyes at his wife. During
the acathistus Maslova occupied herself in scrutinising him and
talking to Theodosia in whispers, and bowed and made the sign of
the cross only when every one else did.
VISITING DAY--THE MEN'S WARD.
Nekhludoff left home early. A peasant from the country was still
driving along the side street and calling out in a voice peculiar
to his trade, "Milk! milk! milk!"
The first warm spring rain had fallen the day before, and now
wherever the ground was not paved the grass shone green. The
birch trees in the gardens looked as if they were strewn with
green fluff, the wild cherry and the poplars unrolled their long,
balmy buds, and in shops and dwelling-houses the double
window-frames were being removed and the windows cleaned.
In the Tolkoochi [literally, jostling market, where second-hand
clothes and all sorts of cheap goods are sold] market, which
Nekhludoff had to pass on his way, a dense crowd was surging
along the row of booths, and tattered men walked about selling
top-boots, which they carried under their arms, and renovated
trousers and waistcoats, which hung over their shoulders.
Men in clean coats and shining boots, liberated from the
factories, it being Sunday, and women with bright silk kerchiefs
on their heads and cloth jackets trimmed with jet, were already
thronging at the door of the traktir. Policemen, with yellow
cords to their uniforms and carrying pistols, were on duty,
looking out for some disorder which might distract the ennui that
oppressed them. On the paths of the boulevards and on the
newly-revived grass, children and dogs ran about, playing, and
the nurses sat merrily chattering on the benches. Along the
streets, still fresh and damp on the shady side, but dry in the
middle, heavy carts rumbled unceasingly, cabs rattled and
tramcars passed ringing by. The air vibrated with the pealing and
clanging of church bells, that were calling the people to attend
to a service like that which was now being conducted in the
prison. And the people, dressed in their Sunday best, were
passing on their way to their different parish churches.
The isvostchik did not drive Nekhludoff up to the prison itself,
but to the last turning that led to the prison.
Several persons--men and women--most of them carrying small
bundles, stood at this turning, about 100 steps from the prison.
To the right there were several low wooden buildings; to the
left, a two-storeyed house with a signboard. The huge brick
building, the prison proper, was just in front, and the visitors
were not allowed to come up to it. A sentinel was pacing up and
down in front of it, and shouted at any one who tried to pass
At the gate of the wooden buildings, to the right, opposite the
sentinel, sat a warder on a bench, dressed in uniform, with gold
cords, a notebook in his hands. The visitors came up to him, and
named the persons they wanted to see, and he put the names down.
Nekhludoff also went up, and named Katerina Maslova. The warder
wrote down the name.
"Why--don't they admit us yet?" asked Nekhludoff.
"The service is going on. When the mass is over, you'll be
Nekhludoff stepped aside from the waiting crowd. A man in
tattered clothes, crumpled hat, with bare feet and red stripes
all over his face, detached himself from the crowd, and turned
towards the prison.
"Now, then, where are you going?" shouted the sentinel with the
"And you hold your row," answered the tramp, not in the least
abashed by the sentinel's words, and turned back. "Well, if
you'll not let me in, I'll wait. But, no! Must needs shout, as if
he were a general."
The crowd laughed approvingly. The visitors were, for the greater
part, badly-dressed people; some were ragged, but there were also
some respectable-looking men and women. Next to Nekhludoff stood
a clean-shaven, stout, and red-cheeked man, holding a bundle,
apparently containing under-garments. This was the doorkeeper of
a bank; he had come to see his brother, who was arrested for
forgery. The good-natured fellow told Nekhludoff the whole story
of his life, and was going to question him in turn, when their
attention was aroused by a student and a veiled lady, who drove
up in a trap, with rubber tyres, drawn by a large thoroughbred
horse. The student was holding a large bundle. He came up to
Nekhludoff, and asked if and how he could give the rolls he had
brought in alms to the prisoners. His fiancee wished it (this
lady was his fiancee), and her parents had advised them to take
some rolls to the prisoners.
"I myself am here for the first time," said Nekhludoff, "and
don't know; but I think you had better ask this man," and he
pointed to the warder with the gold cords and the book, sitting
on the right.
As they were speaking, the large iron door with a window in it
opened, and an officer in uniform, followed by another warder,
stepped out. The warder with the notebook proclaimed that the
admittance of visitors would now commence. The sentinel stepped
aside, and all the visitors rushed to the door as if afraid of
being too late; some even ran. At the door there stood a warder
who counted the visitors as they came in, saying aloud, 16, 17,
and so on. Another warder stood inside the building and also
counted the visitors as they entered a second door, touching each
one with his hand, so that when they went away again not one
visitor should be able to remain inside the prison and not one
prisoner might get out. The warder, without looking at whom he
was touching, slapped Nekhludoff on the back, and Nekhludoff felt
hurt by the touch of the warder's hand; but, remembering what he
had come about, he felt ashamed of feeling dissatisfied and
The first apartment behind the entrance doors was a large vaulted
room with iron bars to the small windows. In this room, which was
called the meeting-room, Nekhludoff was startled by the sight of
a large picture of the Crucifixion.
"What's that for?" he thought, his mind involuntarily connecting
the subject of the picture with liberation and not with
He went on, slowly letting the hurrying visitors pass before, and
experiencing a mingled feeling of horror at the evil-doers locked
up in this building, compassion for those who, like Katusha and
the boy they tried the day before, must be here though guiltless,
and shyness and tender emotion at the thought of the interview
before him. The warder at the other end of the meeting-room said
something as they passed, but Nekhludoff, absorbed by his own
thoughts, paid no attention to him, and continued to follow the
majority of the visitors, and so got into the men's part of the
prison instead of the women's.
Letting the hurrying visitors pass before him, he was the last to
get into the interviewing-room. As soon as Nekhludoff opened the
door of this room, he was struck by the deafening roar of a
hundred voices shouting at once, the reason of which he did not
at once understand. But when he came nearer to the people, he saw
that they were all pressing against a net that divided the room
in two, like flies settling on sugar, and he understood what it
meant. The two halves of the room, the windows of which were
opposite the door he had come in by, were separated, not by one,
but by two nets reaching from the floor to the ceiling. The wire
nets were stretched 7 feet apart, and soldiers were walking up
and down the space between them. On the further side of the nets
were the prisoners, on the nearer, the visitors. Between them was
a double row of nets and a space of 7 feet wide, so that they
could not hand anything to one another, and any one whose sight
was not very good could not even distinguish the face on the
other side. It was also difficult to talk; one had to scream in
order to be heard.
On both sides were faces pressed close to the nets, faces of
wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, children, trying to see each
other's features and to say what was necessary in such a way as
to be understood.
But as each one tried to be heard by the one he was talking to,
and his neighbour tried to do the same, they did their best to
drown each other's voices' and that was the cause of the din and
shouting which struck Nekhludoff when he first came in. It was
impossible to understand what was being said and what were the
relations between the different people. Next Nekhludoff an old
woman with a kerchief on her head stood trembling, her chin
pressed close to the net, and shouting something to a young
fellow, half of whose head was shaved, who listened attentively
with raised brows. By the side of the old woman was a young man
in a peasant's coat, who listened, shaking his head, to a boy
very like himself. Next stood a man in rags, who shouted, waving
his arm and laughing. Next to him a woman, with a good woollen
shawl on her shoulders, sat on the floor holding a baby in her
lap and crying bitterly. This was apparently the first time she
saw the greyheaded man on the other side in prison clothes, and
with his head shaved. Beyond her was the doorkeeper, who had
spoken to Nekhludoff outside; he was shouting with all his might
to a greyhaired convict on the other side.
When Nekhludoff found that he would have to speak in similar
conditions, a feeling of indignation against those who were able
to make and enforce these conditions arose in him; he was
surprised that, placed in such a dreadful position, no one seemed
offended at this outrage on human feelings. The soldiers, the
inspector, the prisoners themselves, acted as if acknowledging
all this to be necessary.
Nekhludoff remained in this room for about five minutes, feeling
strangely depressed, conscious of how powerless he was, and at
variance with all the world. He was seized with a curious moral
sensation like seasickness.
VISITING DAY--THE WOMEN'S WARD.
"Well, but I must do what I came here for," he said, trying to
pick up courage. "What is to be done now?" He looked round for an
official, and seeing a thin little man in the uniform of an
officer going up and down behind the people, he approached him.
"Can you tell me, sir," he said, with exceedingly strained
politeness of manner, "where the women are kept, and where one is
allowed to interview them?"
"Is it the women's ward you want to go to?"
"Yes, I should like to see one of the women prisoners,"
Nekhludoff said, with the same strained politeness.
"You should have said so when you were in the hall. Who is it,
then, that you want to see?"
"I want to see a prisoner called Katerina Maslova."
"Is she a political one?"
"No, she is simply . . ."
"What! Is she sentenced?"
"Yes; the day before yesterday she was sentenced," meekly
answered Nekhludoff, fearing to spoil the inspector's good
humour, which seemed to incline in his favour.
"If you want to go to the women's ward please to step this way,"
said the officer, having decided from Nekhludoff's appearance
that he was worthy of attention. "Sideroff, conduct the gentleman
to the women's ward," he said, turning to a moustached corporal
with medals on his breast.
At this moment heart-rending sobs were heard coming from some one
near the net.
Everything here seemed strange to Nekhludoff; but strangest of
all was that he should have to thank and feel obligation towards
the inspector and the chief warders, the very men who were
performing the cruel deeds that were done in this house.
The corporal showed Nekhludoff through the corridor, out of the
men's into the women's interviewing-room.
This room, like that of the men, was divided by two wire nets;
but it was much smaller, and there were fewer visitors and fewer
prisoners, so that there was less shouting than in the men's
room. Yet the same thing was going on here, only, between the
nets instead of soldiers there was a woman warder, dressed in a
blue-edged uniform jacket, with gold cords on the sleeves, and a
blue belt. Here also, as in the men's room, the people were
pressing close to the wire netting on both sides; on the nearer
side, the townspeople in varied attire; on the further side, the
prisoners, some in white prison clothes, others in their own
coloured dresses. The whole length of the net was taken up by the
people standing close to it. Some rose on tiptoe to be heard
across the heads of others; some sat talking on the floor.
The most remarkable of the prisoners, both by her piercing
screams and her appearance, was a thin, dishevelled gipsy. Her
kerchief had slipped off her curly hair, and she stood near a
post in the middle of the prisoner's division, shouting
something, accompanied by quick gestures, to a gipsy man in a
blue coat, girdled tightly below the waist. Next the gipsy man, a
soldier sat on the ground talking to prisoner; next the soldier,
leaning close to the net, stood a young peasant, with a fair
beard and a flushed face, keeping back his tears with difficulty.
A pretty, fair-haired prisoner, with bright blue eyes, was
speaking to him. These two were Theodosia and her husband. Next
to them was a tramp, talking to a broad-faced woman; then two
women, then a man, then again a woman, and in front of each a
prisoner. Maslova was not among them. But some one stood by the
window behind the prisoners, and Nekhludoff knew it was she. His
heart began to beat faster, and his breath stopped. The decisive
moment was approaching. He went up to the part of the net where
he could see the prisoner, and recognised her at once. She stood
behind the blue-eyed Theodosia, and smiled, listening to what
Theodosia was saying. She did not wear the prison cloak now, but
a white dress, tightly drawn in at the waist by a belt, and very
full in the bosom. From under her kerchief appeared the black
ringlets of her fringe, just the same as in the court.
"Now, in a moment it will be decided," he thought.
"How shall I call her? Or will she come herself?"
She was expecting Bertha; that this man had come to see her
never entered her head.
"Whom do you want?" said the warder who was walking between the
nets, coming up to Nekhludoff.
"Katerina Maslova," Nekhludoff uttered, with difficulty.
"Katerina Maslova, some one to see you," cried the warder.
NEKHLUDOFF VISITS MASLOVA.
Maslova looked round, and with head thrown back and expanded
chest, came up to the net with that expression of readiness which
he well knew, pushed in between two prisoners, and gazed at
Nekhludoff with a surprised and questioning look. But, concluding
from his clothing he was a rich man, she smiled.
"Is it me you want?" she asked, bringing her smiling face, with
the slightly squinting eyes, nearer the net.
"I, I--I wished to see--" Nekhludoff did not know how to address
her. "I wished to see you--I--" He was not speaking louder than
"No; nonsense, I tell you!" shouted the tramp who stood next to
him. "Have you taken it or not?"
"Dying, I tell you; what more do you want?" some one else was
screaming at his other side. Maslova could not hear what
Nekhludoff was saying, but the expression of his face as he was
speaking reminded her of him. She did not believe her own eyes;
still the smile vanished from her face and a deep line of
suffering appeared on her brow.
"I cannot hear what you are saying," she called out, wrinkling
her brow and frowning more and more.
"I have come," said Nekhludoff. "Yes, I am doing my duty--I am
confessing," thought Nekhludoff; and at this thought the tears
came in his eyes, and he felt a choking sensation in his throat,
and holding on with both hands to the net, he made efforts to
keep from bursting into tears.
"I say, why do you shove yourself in where you're not wanted?"
some one shouted at one side of him.
"God is my witness; I know nothing," screamed a prisoner from the
Noticing his excitement, Maslova recognised him.
"You're like . . . but no; I don't know you," she shouted,
without looking at him, and blushing, while her face grew still
"I have come to ask you to forgive me," he said, in a loud but
monotonous voice, like a lesson learnt by heart. Having said
these words he became confused; but immediately came the thought
that, if he felt ashamed, it was all the better; he had to bear
this shame, and he continued in a loud voice:
"Forgive me; I have wronged you terribly."
She stood motionless and without taking her squinting eyes off
He could not continue to speak, and stepping away from the net he
tried to suppress the sobs that were choking him.
The inspector, the same officer who had directed Nekhludoff to
the women's ward, and whose interest he seemed to have aroused,
came into the room, and, seeing Nekhludoff not at the net, asked
him why he was not talking to her whom he wanted to see.
Nekhludoff blew his nose, gave himself a shake, and, trying to
appear calm, said:
"It's so inconvenient through these nets; nothing can be heard."
Again the inspector considered for a moment.
"Ah, well, she can be brought out here for awhile. Mary
Karlovna," turning to the warder, "lead Maslova out."
A minute later Maslova came out of the side door. Stepping
softly, she came up close to Nekhludoff, stopped, and looked up
at him from under her brows. Her black hair was arranged in
ringlets over her forehead in the same way as it had been two
days ago; her face, though unhealthy and puffy, was attractive,
and looked perfectly calm, only the glittering black eyes glanced
strangely from under the swollen lids.
"You may talk here," said the inspector, and shrugging his
shoulders he stepped aside with a look of surprise. Nekhludoff
moved towards a seat by the wall.
Maslova cast a questioning look at the inspector, and then,
shrugging her shoulders in surprise, followed Nekhludoff to the
bench, and having arranged her skirt, sat down beside him.
"I know it is hard for you to forgive me," he began, but stopped.
His tears were choking him. "But though I can't undo the past, I
shall now do what is in my power. Tell me--"
"How have you managed to find me?" she said, without answering
his question, neither looking away from him nor quite at him,
with her squinting eyes.
"O God, help me! Teach me what to do," Nekhludoff thought,
looking at her changed face. "I was on the jury the day before
yesterday," he said. "You did not recognise me?"
"No, I did not; there was not time for recognitions. I did not
even look," she said.
"There was a child, was there not?" he asked.
"Thank God! he died at once," she answered, abruptly and
"What do you mean? Why?"
"I was so ill myself, I nearly died," she said, in the same quiet
voice, which Nekhludoff had not expected and could not
"How could my aunts have let you go?"
"Who keeps a servant that has a baby? They sent me off as soon as
they noticed. But why speak of this? I remember nothing. That's
"No, it is not finished; I wish to redeem my sin."
"There's nothing to redeem. What's been has been and is passed,"
she said; and, what he never expected, she looked at him and
smiled in an unpleasantly luring, yet piteous, manner.
Maslova never expected to see him again, and certainly not here
and not now; therefore, when she first recognised him, she could
not keep back the memories which she never wished to revive. In
the first moment she remembered dimly that new, wonderful world
of feeling and of thought which had been opened to her by the
charming young man who loved her and whom she loved, and then his
incomprehensible cruelty and the whole string of humiliations and
suffering which flowed from and followed that magic joy. This
gave her pain, and, unable to understand it, she did what she was
always in the habit of doing, she got rid of these memories by
enveloping them in the mist of a depraved life. In the first
moment, she associated the man now sitting beside her with the
lad she had loved; but feeling that this gave her pain, she
dissociated them again. Now, this well-dressed, carefully-got-up
gentleman with perfumed beard was no longer the Nekhludoff whom
she had loved but only one of the people who made use of
creatures like herself when they needed them, and whom creatures
like herself had to make use of in their turn as profitably as
they could; and that is why she looked at him with a luring smile
and considered silently how she could best make use of him.
"That's all at an end," she said. "Now I'm condemned to Siberia,"
and her lip trembled as she was saying this dreadful word.
"I knew; I was certain you were not guilty," said Nekhludoff.
"Guilty! of course not; as if I could be a thief or a robber."
She stopped, considering in what way she could best get something
out of him.
"They say here that all depends on the advocate," she began. "A
petition should be handed in, only they say it's expensive."
"Yes, most certainly," said Nekhludoff. "I have already spoken to
"No money ought to be spared; it should be a good one," she said.
"I shall do all that is possible."
They were silent, and then she smiled again in the same way.
"And I should like to ask you . . . a little money if you can . . .
not much; ten roubles, I do not want more," she said, suddenly.
"Yes, yes," Nekhludoff said, with a sense of confusion, and felt
for his purse.
She looked rapidly at the inspector, who was walking up and down
the room. "Don't give it in front of him; he'd take it away."
Nekhludoff took out his purse as soon as the inspector had turned
his back; but had no time to hand her the note before the
inspector faced them again, so he crushed it up in his hand.
"This woman is dead," Nekhludoff thought, looking at this once
sweet, and now defiled, puffy face, lit up by an evil glitter in
the black, squinting eyes which were now glancing at the hand in
which he held the note, then following the inspector's movements,
and for a moment he hesitated. The tempter that had been speaking
to him in the night again raised its voice, trying to lead him
out of the realm of his inner into the realm of his outer life,
away from the question of what he should do to the question of
what the consequences would be, and what would he practical.
"You can do nothing with this woman," said the voice; "you will
only tie a stone round your neck, which will help to drown you
and hinder you from being useful to others.
"Is it not better to give her all the money that is here, say
good-bye, and finish with her forever?" whispered the voice.
But here he felt that now, at this very moment, something most
important was taking place in his soul--that his inner life was,
as it were, wavering in the balance, so that the slightest effort
would make it sink to this side or the other. And he made this
effort by calling to his assistance that God whom he had felt in
his soul the day before, and that God instantly responded. He
resolved to tell her everything now--at once.
"Katusha, I have come to ask you to forgive me, and you have
given me no answer. Have you forgiven me? Will you ever forgive
me?" he asked.
She did not listen to him, but looked at his hand and at the
inspector, and when the latter turned she hastily stretched out
her hand, grasped the note, and hid it under her belt.
"That's odd, what you are saying there," she said, with a smile
of contempt, as it seemed to him.
Nekhludoff felt that there was in her soul one who was his enemy
and who was protecting her, such as she was now, and preventing
him from getting at her heart. But, strange to say, this did not
repel him, but drew him nearer to her by some fresh, peculiar
power. He knew that he must waken her soul, that this was
terribly difficult, but the very difficulty attracted him. He now
felt towards her as he had never felt towards her or any one else
before. There was nothing personal in this feeling: he wanted
nothing from her for himself, but only wished that she might not
remain as she now was, that she might awaken and become again
what she had been.
"Katusha, why do you speak like that? I know you; I remember
you--and the old days in Papovo."
"What's the use of recalling what's past?" she remarked, drily.
"I am recalling it in order to put it right, to atone for my sin,
Katusha," and he was going to say that he would marry her, but,
meeting her eyes, he read in them something so dreadful, so
coarse, so repellent, that he could not go on.
At this moment the visitors began to go. The inspector came up to
Nekhludoff and said that the time was up.
"Good-bye; I have still much to say to you, but you see it is
impossible to do so now," said Nekhludoff, and held out his hand.
"I shall come again."
"I think you have said all."
She took his hand but did not press it.
"No; I shall try to see you again, somewhere where we can talk,
and then I shall tell you what I have to say-something very
"Well, then, come; why not?" she answered, and smiled with that
habitual, inviting, and promising smile which she gave to the men
whom she wished to please.
"You are more than a sister to me," said Nekhludoff.
"That's odd," she said again, and went behind the grating.
MASLOVA'S VIEW OF LIFE.
Before the first interview, Nekhludoff thought that when she saw
him and knew of his intention to serve her, Katusha would be
pleased and touched, and would be Katusha again; but, to his
horror, he found that Katusha existed no more, and there was
Maslova in her place. This astonished and horrified him.
What astonished him most was that Katusha was not ashamed of her
position--not the position of a prisoner (she was ashamed of
that), but her position as a prostitute. She seemed satisfied,
even proud of it. And, yet, how could it be otherwise? Everybody,
in order to be able to act, has to consider his occupation
important and good. Therefore, in whatever position a person is,
he is certain to form such a view of the life of men in general
which will make his occupation seem important and good.
It is usually imagined that a thief, a murderer, a spy, a
prostitute, acknowledging his or her profession as evil, is
ashamed of it. But the contrary is true. People whom fate and
their sin-mistakes have placed in a certain position, however
false that position may be, form a view of life in general which
makes their position seem good and admissible. In order to keep
up their view of life, these people instinctively keep to the
circle of those people who share their views of life and their
own place in it. This surprises us, where the persons concerned
are thieves, bragging about their dexterity, prostitutes vaunting
their depravity, or murderers boasting of their cruelty. This
surprises us only because the circle, the atmosphere in which
these people live, is limited, and we are outside it. But can we
not observe the same phenomenon when the rich boast of their
wealth, i.e., robbery; the commanders in the army pride themselves
on victories, i.e., murder; and those in high places vaunt their
power, i.e., violence? We do not see the perversion in the views
of life held by these people, only because the circle formed by
them is more extensive, and we ourselves are moving inside of it.
And in this manner Maslova had formed her views of life and of
her own position. She was a prostitute condemned to Siberia, and
yet she had a conception of life which made it possible for her
to be satisfied with herself, and even to pride herself on her
position before others.
According to this conception, the highest good for all men
without exception--old, young, schoolboys, generals, educated and
uneducated, was connected with the relation of the sexes;
therefore, all men, even when they pretended to be occupied with
other things, in reality took this view. She was an attractive
woman, and therefore she was an important and necessary person.
The whole of her former and present life was a confirmation of
the correctness of this conception.
With such a view of life, she was by no means the lowest, but a
very important person. And Maslova prized this view of life more
than anything; she could not but prize it, for, if she lost the
importance that such a view of life gave her among men, she would
lose the meaning of her life. And, in order not to lose the
meaning of her life, she instinctively clung to the set that
looked at life in the same way as she did. Feeling that
Nekhludoff wanted to lead her out into another world, she
resisted him, foreseeing that she would have to lose her place in
life, with the self-possession and self-respect it gave her. For
this reason she drove from her the recollections of her early
youth and her first relations with Nekhludoff. These
recollections did not correspond with her present conception of
the world, and were therefore quite rubbed out of her mind, or,
rather, lay somewhere buried and untouched, closed up and
plastered over so that they should not escape, as when bees, in
order to protect the result of their labour, will sometimes
plaster a nest of worms. Therefore, the present Nekhludoff was
not the man she had once loved with a pure love, but only a rich
gentleman whom she could, and must, make use of, and with whom
she could only have the same relations as with men in general.
"No, I could not tell her the chief thing," thought Nekhludoff,
moving towards the front doors with the rest of the people. "I
did not tell her that I would marry her; I did not tell her so,
but I will," he thought.
The two warders at the door let out the visitors, counting them
again, and touching each one with their hands, so that no extra
person should go out, and none remain within. The slap on his
shoulder did not offend Nekhludoff this time; he did not even
FANARIN, THE ADVOCATE--THE PETITION.
Nekhludoff meant to rearrange the whole of his external life, to
let his large house and move to an hotel, but Agraphena Petrovna
pointed out that it was useless to change anything before the
winter. No one would rent a town house for the summer; anyhow, he
would have to live and keep his things somewhere. And so all his
efforts to change his manner of life (he meant to live more
simply: as the students live) led to nothing. Not only did
everything remain as it was, but the house was suddenly filled
with new activity. All that was made of wool or fur was taken out
to be aired and beaten. The gate-keeper, the boy, the cook, and
Corney himself took part in this activity. All sorts of strange
furs, which no one ever used, and various uniforms were taken out
and hung on a line, then the carpets and furniture were brought
out, and the gate-keeper and the boy rolled their sleeves up
their muscular arms and stood beating these things, keeping
strict time, while the rooms were filled with the smell of
When Nekhludoff crossed the yard or looked out of the window and
saw all this going on, he was surprised at the great number of
things there were, all quite useless. Their only use, Nekhludoff
thought, was the providing of exercise for Agraphena Petrovna,
Corney, the gate-keeper, the boy, and the cook.
"But it's not worth while altering my manner of life now," he
thought, "while Maslova's case is not decided. Besides, it is too
difficult. It will alter of itself when she will be set free or
exiled, and I follow her."
On the appointed day Nekhludoff drove up to the advocate
Fanarin's own splendid house, which was decorated with huge palms
and other plants, and wonderful curtains, in fact, with all the
expensive luxury witnessing to the possession of much idle money,
i.e., money acquired without labour, which only those possess who
grow rich suddenly. In the waiting-room, just as in a doctor's
waiting-room, he found many dejected-looking people sitting round
several tables, on which lay illustrated papers meant to amuse
them, awaiting their turns to be admitted to the advocate. The
advocate's assistant sat in the room at a high desk, and having
recognised Nekhludoff, he came up to him and said he would go and
announce him at once. But the assistant had not reached the door
before it opened and the sounds of loud, animated voices were
heard; the voice of a middle-aged, sturdy merchant, with a red
face and thick moustaches, and the voice of Fanarin himself.
Fanarin was also a middle-aged man of medium height, with a worn
look on his face. Both faces bore the expression which you see on
the faces of those who have just concluded a profitable but not
quite honest transaction.
"Your own fault, you know, my dear sir," Fanarin said, smiling.
"We'd all be in 'eaven were it not for hour sins."
"Oh. yes, yes; we all know that," and both laughed un-naturally.
"Oh, Prince Nekhludoff! Please to step in," said Fanarin, seeing
him, and, nodding once more to the merchant, he led Nekhludoff
into his business cabinet, furnished in a severely correct style.
"Won't you smoke?" said the advocate, sitting down opposite
Nekhludoff and trying to conceal a smile, apparently still
excited by the success of the accomplished transaction.
"Thanks; I have come about Maslova's case."
"Yes, yes; directly! But oh, what rogues these fat money bags
are!" he said. "You saw this here fellow. Why, he has about
twelve million roubles, and he cannot speak correctly; and if he
can get a twenty-five rouble note out of you he'll have it, if
he's to wrench it out with his teeth."
"He says ''eaven' and 'hour,' and you say 'this here fellow,'"
Nekhludoff thought, with an insurmountable feeling of aversion
towards this man who wished to show by his free and easy manner
that he and Nekhludoff belonged to one and the same camp, while
his other clients belonged to another.
"He has worried me to death--a fearful scoundrel. I felt I must
relieve my feelings," said the advocate, as if to excuse his
speaking about things that had no reference to business. "Well,
how about your case? I have read it attentively, but do not
approve of it. I mean that greenhorn of an advocate has left no
valid reason for an appeal."
"Well, then, what have you decided?"
"One moment. Tell him," he said to his assistant, who had just
come in, "that I keep to what I have said. If he can, it's all
right; if not, no matter."
"But he won't agree."
"Well, no matter," and the advocate frowned.
"There now, and it is said that we advocates get our money for
nothing," he remarked, after a pause. "I have freed one insolvent
debtor from a totally false charge, and now they all flock to me.
Yet every such case costs enormous labour. Why, don't we, too,
'lose bits of flesh in the inkstand?' as some writer or other has
said. Well, as to your case, or, rather, the case you are taking
an interest in. It has been conducted abominably. There is no
good reason for appealing. Still," he continued, "we can but try
to get the sentence revoked. This is what I have noted down." He
took up several sheets of paper covered with writing, and began
to read rapidly, slurring over the uninteresting legal terms and
laying particular stress on some sentences. "To the Court of
Appeal, criminal department, etc., etc. According to the
decisions, etc., the verdict, etc., So-and-so Maslova pronounced
guilty of having caused the death through poison of the merchant
Smelkoff, and has, according to Statute 1454 of the penal code,
been sentenced to Siberia," etc., etc. He stopped. Evidently, in
spite of his being so used to it, he still felt pleasure in
listening to his own productions. "This sentence is the direct
result of the most glaring judicial perversion and error," he
continued, impressively, "and there are grounds for its
revocation. Firstly, the reading of the medical report of the
examination of Smelkoff's intestines was interrupted by the
president at the very beginning. This is point one."
"But it was the prosecuting side that demanded this reading,"
Nekhludoff said, with surprise.
"That does not matter. There might have been reasons for the
defence to demand this reading, too."
"Oh, but there could have been no reason whatever for that."
"It is a ground for appeal, though. To continue: 'Secondly,' he
went on reading, 'when Maslova's advocate, in his speech for the
defence, wishing to characterise Maslova's personality, referred
to the causes of her fall, he was interrupted by the president
calling him to order for the alleged deviation from the direct
subject. Yet, as has been repeatedly pointed out by the Senate,
the elucidation of the criminal's characteristics and his or her
moral standpoint in general has a significance of the first
importance in criminal cases, even if only as a guide in the
settling of the question of imputation.' That's point two," he
said, with a look at Nekhludoff.
"But he spoke so badly that no one could make anything of it,"
Nekhludoff said, still more astonished.
"The fellow's quite a fool, and of course could not be expected
to say anything sensible," Fanarin said, laughing; "but, all the
same, it will do as a reason for appeal. Thirdly: 'The president,
in his summing up, contrary to the direct decree of section 1,
statute 801, of the criminal code, omitted to inform the jury
what the judicial points are that constitute guilt; and did not
mention that having admitted the fact of Maslova having
administered the poison to Smelkoff, the jury had a right not to
impute the guilt of murder to her, since the proofs of wilful
intent to deprive Smelkoff of life were absent, and only to
pronounce her guilty of carelessness resulting in the death of
the merchant, which she did not desire.' This is the chief
"Yes; but we ought to have known that ourselves. It was our
"And now the fourth point," the advocate continued. "The form of
the answer given by the jury contained an evident contradiction.
Maslova is accused of wilfully poisoning Smelkoff, her one object
being that of cupidity, the only motive to commit murder she
could have had. The jury in their verdict acquit her of the
intent to rob, or participation in the stealing of valuables,
from which it follows that they intended also to acquit her of
the intent to murder, and only through a misunderstanding, which
arose from the incompleteness of the president's summing up,
omitted to express it in due form in their answer. Therefore an
answer of this kind by the jury absolutely demanded the
application of statutes 816 and 808 of the criminal code of
procedure, i.e., an explanation by the president to the jury of
the mistake made by them, and another debate on the question of
the prisoner's guilt."
"Then why did the president not do it?"
"I, too, should like to know why," Fanarin said, laughing.
"Then the Senate will, of course, correct this error?"
"That will all depend on who will preside there at the time.
Well, now, there it is. I have further said," he continued,
rapidly, "a verdict of this kind gave the Court no right to
condemn Maslova to be punished as a criminal, and to apply
section 3, statute 771 of the penal code to her case. This is a
decided and gross violation of the basic principles of our
criminal law. In view of the reasons stated, I have the honour of
appealing to you, etc., etc., the refutation, according to 909,
910, and section 2, 912 and 928 statute of the criminal code,
etc., etc. . . . to carry this case before another department of
the same Court for a further examination. There; all that can be
done is done, but, to be frank, I have little hope of success,
though, of course, it all depends on what members will be present
at the Senate. If you have any influence there you can but try."
"I do know some."
"All right; only be quick about it. Else they'll all go off for a
change of air; then you may have to wait three months before they
return. Then, in case of failure, we have still the possibility
of appealing to His Majesty. This, too, depends on the private
influence you can bring to work. In this case, too, I am at your
service; I mean as to the working of the petition, not the
"Thank you. Now as to your fees?"
"My assistant will hand you the petition and tell you."
"One thing more. The Procureur gave me a pass for visiting this
person in prison, but they tell me I must also get a permission
from the governor in order to get an interview at another time
and in another place than those appointed. Is this necessary?"
"Yes, I think so. But the governor is away at present; a
vice-governor is in his place. And he is such an impenetrable
fool that you'll scarcely be able to do anything with him."
"Is it Meslennikoff?"
"I know him," said Nekhludoff, and got up to go. At this moment a
horribly ugly, little, bony, snub-nosed, yellow-faced woman flew
into the room. It was the advocate's wife, who did not seem to be
in the least bit troubled by her ugliness. She was attired in the
most original manner; she seemed enveloped in something made of
velvet and silk, something yellow and green, and her thin hair
She stepped out triumphantly into the ante-room, followed by a
tall, smiling man, with a greenish complexion, dressed in a coat
with silk facings, and a white tie. This was an author.
Nekhludoff knew him by sight.
She opened the cabinet door and said, "Anatole, you must come to
me. Here is Simeon Ivanovitch, who will read his poems, and you
must absolutely come and read about Garshin."
Nekhludoff noticed that she whispered something to her husband,
and, thinking it was something concerning him, wished to go away,
but she caught him up and said: "I beg your pardon, Prince, I
know you, and, thinking an introduction superfluous, I beg you to
stay and take part in our literary matinee. It will be most
interesting. M. Fanarin will read."
"You see what a lot I have to do," said Fanarin, spreading out
his hands and smilingly pointing to his wife, as if to show how
impossible it was to resist so charming a creature.
Nekhludoff thanked the advocate's wife with extreme politeness
for the honour she did him in inviting him, but refused the
invitation with a sad and solemn look, and left the room.
"What an affected fellow!" said the advocate's wife, when he had
In the ante-room the assistant handed him a ready-written
petition, and said that the fees, including the business with the
Senate and the commission, would come to 1,000 roubles, and
explained that M. Fanarin did not usually undertake this kind of
business, but did it only to oblige Nekhludoff.
"And about this petition. Who is to sign it?"
"The prisoner may do it herself, or if this is inconvenient, M.
Fanarin can, if he gets a power of attorney from her."
"Oh, no. I shall take the petition to her and get her to sign it,"
said Nekhludoff, glad of the opportunity of seeing her before the
A PRISON FLOGGING.
At the usual time the jailer's whistle sounded in the corridors of
the prison, the iron doors of the cells rattled, bare feet
pattered, heels clattered, and the prisoners who acted as
scavengers passed along the corridors, filling the air with
disgusting smells. The prisoners washed, dressed, and came out
for revision, then went to get boiling water for their tea.
The conversation at breakfast in all the cells was very lively.
It was all about two prisoners who were to be flogged that day.
One, Vasiliev, was a young man of some education, a clerk, who
had killed his mistress in a fit of jealousy. His
fellow-prisoners liked him because he was merry and generous and
firm in his behaviour with the prison authorities. He knew the
laws and insisted on their being carried out. Therefore he was
disliked by the authorities. Three weeks before a jailer struck
one of the scavengers who had spilt some soup over his new
uniform. Vasiliev took the part of the scavenger, saying that it
was not lawful to strike a prisoner.
"I'll teach you the law," said the jailer, and gave Vasiliev a
scolding. Vasiliev replied in like manner, and the jailer was
going to hit him, but Vasiliev seized the jailer's hands, held
them fast for about three minutes, and, after giving the hands a
twist, pushed the jailer out of the door. The jailer complained
to the inspector, who ordered Vasiliev to be put into a solitary
The solitary cells were a row of dark closets, locked from
outside, and there were neither beds, nor chairs, nor tables in
them, so that the inmates had to sit or lie on the dirty floor,
while the rats, of which there were a great many in those cells,
ran across them. The rats were so bold that they stole the bread
from the prisoners, and even attacked them if they stopped
moving. Vasiliev said he would not go into the solitary cell,
because he had not done anything wrong; but they used force. Then
he began struggling, and two other prisoners helped him to free
himself from the jailers. All the jailers assembled, and among
them was Petrov, who was distinguished for his strength. The
prisoners got thrown down and pushed into the solitary cells.
The governor was immediately informed that something very like a
rebellion had taken place. And he sent back an order to flog the
two chief offenders, Vasiliev and the tramp, Nepomnishy, giving
each thirty strokes with a birch rod. The flogging was appointed
to take place in the women's interviewing-room.
All this was known in the prison since the evening, and it was
being talked about with animation in all the cells.
Korableva, Khoroshevka, Theodosia, and Maslova sat together in
their corner, drinking tea, all of them flushed and animated by
the vodka they had drunk, for Maslova, who now had a constant
supply of vodka, freely treated her companions to it.
"He's not been a-rioting, or anything," Korableva said, referring
to Vasiliev, as she bit tiny pieces off a lump of sugar with her
strong teeth. "He only stuck up for a chum, because it's not
lawful to strike prisoners nowadays."
"And he's a fine fellow, I've heard say," said Theodosia, who sat
bareheaded, with her long plaits round her head, on a log of wood
opposite the shelf bedstead on which the teapot stood.
"There, now, if you were to ask _him_," the watchman's wife said
to Maslova (by him she meant Nekhludoff).
"I shall tell him. He'll do anything for me," Maslova said,
tossing her head, and smiling.
"Yes, but when is he coming? and they've already gone to fetch
them," said Theodosia. "It is terrible," she added, with a sigh.
"I once did see how they flogged a peasant in the village.
Father-in-law, he sent me once to the village elder. Well, I
went, and there" . . . The watchman's wife began her long story,
which was interrupted by the sound of voices and steps in the
corridor above them.
The women were silent, and sat listening.
"There they are, hauling him along, the devils!" Khoroshavka
said. "They'll do him to death, they will. The jailers are so
enraged with him because he never would give in to them."
All was quiet again upstairs, and the watchman's wife finished
her story of how she was that frightened when she went into the
barn and saw them flogging a peasant, her inside turned at the
sight, and so on. Khoroshevka related how Schegloff had been
flogged, and never uttered a sound. Then Theodosia put away the
tea things, and Korableva and the watchman's wife took up their
sewing. Maslova sat down on the bedstead, with her arms round her
knees, dull and depressed. She was about to lie down and try to
sleep, when the woman warder called her into the office to see a
"Now, mind, and don't forget to tell him about us," the old woman
(Menshova) said, while Maslova was arranging the kerchief on her
head before the dim looking-glass. "We did not set fire to the
house, but he himself, the fiend, did it; his workman saw him do
it, and will not damn his soul by denying it. You just tell to
ask to see my Mitri. Mitri will tell him all about it, as plain
as can be. Just think of our being locked up in prison when we
never dreamt of any ill, while he, the fiend, is enjoying himself
at the pub, with another man's wife."
"That's not the law," remarked Korableva.
"I'll tell him--I'll tell him," answered Maslova. "Suppose I have
another drop, just to keep up courage," she added, with a wink;
and Korableva poured out half a cup of vodka, which Maslova
drank. Then, having wiped her mouth and repeating the words "just
to keep up courage," tossing her head and smiling gaily, she
followed the warder along the corridor.
NEKHLUDOFF AGAIN VISITS MASLOVA.
Nekhludoff had to wait in the hall for a long time. When he had
arrived at the prison and rung at the entrance door, he handed
the permission of the Procureur to the jailer on duty who met
"No, no," the jailer on duty said hurriedly, "the inspector is
"In the office?" asked Nekhludoff.
"No, here in the interviewing-room.".
"Why, is it a visiting day to-day?"
"No; it's special business."
"I should like to see him. What am I to do?" said Nekhludoff.
"When the inspector comes out you'll tell him--wait a bit," said
At this moment a sergeant-major, with a smooth, shiny face and
moustaches impregnated with tobacco smoke, came out of a side
door, with the gold cords of his uniform glistening, and
addressed the jailer in a severe tone.
"What do you mean by letting any one in here? The office. . . ."
"I was told the inspector was here," said Nekhludoff, surprised
at the agitation he noticed in the sergeant-major's manner.
At this moment the inner door opened, and Petrov came out, heated
"He'll remember it," he muttered, turning to the sergeant major.
The latter pointed at Nekhludoff by a look, and Petrov knitted
his brows and went out through a door at the back.
"Who will remember it? Why do they all seem so confused? Why did
the sergeant-major make a sign to him?" Nekhludoff thought.
The sergeant-major, again addressing Nekhludoff, said: "You
cannot meet here; please step across to the office." And
Nekhludoff was about to comply when the inspector came out of the
door at the back, looking even more confused than his
subordinates, and sighing continually. When he saw Nekhludoff he
turned to the jailer.
"Fedotoff, have Maslova, cell 5, women's ward, taken to the
"Will you come this way, please," he said, turning to Nekhludoff.
They ascended a steep staircase and entered a little room with
one window, a writing-table, and a few chairs in it. The
inspector sat down.
"Mine are heavy, heavy duties," he remarked, again addressing
Nekhludoff, and took out a cigarette.
"You are tired, evidently," said Nekhludoff.
"Tired of the whole of the service--the duties are very trying.
One tries to lighten their lot and only makes it worse; my only
thought is how to get away. Heavy, heavy duties!"
Nekhludoff did not know what the inspector's particular
difficulties were, but he saw that to-day he was in a peculiarly
dejected and hopeless condition, calling for pity.
"Yes, I should think the duties were heavy for a kind-hearted
man," he said. "Why do you serve in this capacity?"
"I have a family."
"But, if it is so hard--"
"Well, still you know it is possible to be of use in some
measure; I soften down all I can. Another in my place would
conduct the affairs quite differently. Why, we have more than
2,000 persons here. And what persons! One must know how to manage
them. It is easier said than done, you know. After all, they are
also men; one cannot help pitying them." The inspector began
telling Nekhludoff of a fight that had lately taken place among
the convicts, which had ended by one man being killed.
The story was interrupted by the entrance of Maslova, who was
accompanied by a jailer.
Nekhludoff saw her through the doorway before she had noticed the
inspector. She was following the warder briskly, smiling and
tossing her head. When she saw the inspector she suddenly
changed, and gazed at him with a frightened look; but, quickly
recovering, she addressed Nekhludoff boldly and gaily.
"How d'you do?" she said, drawling out her words, and
Resurrection smilingly took his hand and shook it vigorously, not
like the first time.
"Here, I've brought you a petition to sign," said Nekhludoff,
rather surprised by the boldness with which she greeted him
"The advocate has written out a petition which you will have to
sign, and then we shall send it to Petersburg."
"All right! That can be done. Anything you like," she said, with
a wink and a smile.
And Nekhludoff drew a folded paper from his pocket and went up to
"May she sign it here?" asked Nekhludoff, turning to the
"It's all right, it's all right! Sit down. Here's a pen; you can
write?" said the inspector.
"I could at one time," she said; and, after arranging her skirt
and the sleeves of her jacket, she sat down at the table, smiled
awkwardly, took the pen with her small, energetic hand, and
glanced at Nekhludoff with a laugh.
Nekhludoff told her what to write and pointed out the place where
Sighing deeply as she dipped her pen into the ink, and carefully
shaking some drops off the pen, she wrote her name.
"Is it all?" she asked, looking from Nekhludoff to the inspector,
and putting the pen now on the inkstand, now on the papers.
"I have a few words to tell you," Nekhludoff said, taking the pen
"All right; tell me," she said. And suddenly, as if remembering
something, or feeling sleepy, she grew serious.
The inspector rose and left the room, and Nekhludoff remained
MASLOVA REFUSES TO MARRY.
The jailer who had brought Maslova in sat on a windowsill at some
distance from them.
The decisive moment had come for Nekhludoff. He had been
incessantly blaming himself for not having told her the principal
thing at the first interview, and was now determined to tell her
that he would marry her. She was sitting at the further side of
the table. Nekhludoff sat down opposite her. It was light in the
room, and Nekhludoff for the first time saw her face quite near.
He distinctly saw the crowsfeet round her eyes, the wrinkles
round her mouth, and the swollen eyelids. He felt more sorry than
before. Leaning over the table so as not to be beard by the
jailer--a man of Jewish type with grizzly whiskers, who sat by
the window--Nekhludoff said:
"Should this petition come to nothing we shall appeal to the
Emperor. All that is possible shall be done."
"There, now, if we had had a proper advocate from the first," she
interrupted. "My defendant was quite a silly. He did nothing but
pay me compliments," she said, and laughed. "If it had then been
known that I was acquainted with you, it would have been another
matter. They think every one's a thief."
"How strange she is to-day," Nekhludoff thought, and was just
going to say what he had on his mind when she began again:
"There's something I want to say. We have here an old woman; such
a fine one, d'you know, she just surprises every one; she is
imprisoned for nothing, and her son, too, and everybody knows
they are innocent, though they are accused of having set fire to
a house. D'you know, hearing I was acquainted with you, she says:
'Tell him to ask to see my son; he'll tell him all about it."'
Thus spoke Maslova, turning her head from side to side, and
glancing at Nekhludoff. "Their name's Menshoff. Well, will you do
it? Such a fine old thing, you know; you can see at once she's
innocent. You'll do it, there's a dear," and she smiled, glanced
up at him, and then cast down her eyes.
"All right. I'll find out about them," Nekhludoff said, more and
more astonished by her free-and-easy manner. "But I was going to
speak to you about myself. Do you remember what I told you last
"You said a lot last time. What was it you told me?" she said,
continuing to smile and to turn her head from side to side.
"I said I had come to ask you to forgive me," he began.
"What's the use of that? Forgive, forgive, where's the good of--"
"To atone for my sin, not by mere words, but in deed. I have made
up my mind to marry you."
An expression of fear suddenly came over her face. Her squinting
eyes remained fixed on him, and yet seemed not to be looking at
"What's that for?" she said, with an angry frown.
"I feel that it is my duty before God to do it."
"What God have you found now? You are not saying what you ought
to. God, indeed! What God? You ought to have remembered God
then," she said, and stopped with her mouth open. It was only now
that Nekhludoff noticed that her breath smelled of spirits, and
that he understood the cause of her excitement.
"Try and be calm," he said.
"Why should I be calm?" she began, quickly, flushing scarlet. "I
am a convict, and you are a gentleman and a prince. There's no
need for you to soil yourself by touching me. You go to your
princesses; my price is a ten-rouble note."
"However cruelly you may speak, you cannot express what I myself
am feeling," he said, trembling all over; "you cannot imagine to
what extent I feel myself guilty towards you."
"Feel yourself guilty?" she said, angrily mimicking him. "You did
not feel so then, but threw me 100 roubles. That's your price."
"I know, I know; but what is to be done now?" said Nekhludoff. "I
have decided not to leave you, and what I have said I shall do."
"And I say you sha'n't," she said, and laughed aloud.
"Katusha" he said, touching her hand.
"You go away. I am a convict and you a prince, and you've no
business here," she cried, pulling away her hand, her whole
appearance transformed by her wrath. "You've got pleasure out of
me in this life, and want to save yourself through me in the life
to come. You are disgusting to me--your spectacles and the whole
of your dirty fat mug. Go, go!" she screamed, starting to her
The jailer came up to them.
"What are you kicking up this row for?' That won't--"
"Let her alone, please," said Nekhludoff.
"She must not forget herself," said the jailer. "Please wait a
little," said Nekhludoff, and the jailer returned to the window.
Maslova sat down again, dropping her eyes and firmly clasping her
Nekhludoff stooped over her, not knowing what to do.
"You do not believe me?" he said.
"That you mean to marry me? It will never be. I'll rather hang
myself. So there!"
"Well, still I shall go on serving you."
"That's your affair, only I don't want anything from you. I am
telling you the plain truth," she said. "Oh, why did I not die
then?" she added, and began to cry piteously.
Nekhludoff could not speak; her tears infected him.
She lifted her eyes, looked at him in surprise, and began to wipe
her tears with her kerchief.
The jailer came up again and reminded them that it was time to
"You are excited. If it is possible, I shall come again tomorrow;
you think it over," said Nekhludoff.
She gave him no answer and, without looking up, followed the
jailer out of the room.
"Well, lass, you'll have rare times now," Korableva said, when
Maslova returned to the cell. "Seems he's mighty sweet on you;
make the most of it while he's after you. He'll help you out.
Rich people can do anything."
"Yes, that's so," remarked the watchman's wife, with her musical
voice. "When a poor man thinks of getting married, there's many a
slip 'twixt the cup and the lip; but a rich man need only make up
his mind and it's done. We knew a toff like that duckie. What
d'you think he did?"
"Well, have you spoken about my affairs?" the old woman asked.
But Maslova gave her fellow-prisoners no answer; she lay down on
the shelf bedstead, her squinting eyes fixed on a corner of the
room, and lay there until the evening.
A painful struggle went on in her soul. What Nekhludoff had told
her called up the memory of that world in which she had suffered
and which she had left without having understood, hating it. She
now feared to wake from the trance in which she was living. Not
having arrived at any conclusion when evening came, she again
bought some vodka and drank with her companions.
"So this is what it means, this," thought Nekhludoff as he left
the prison, only now fully understanding his crime. If he had not
tried to expiate his guilt he would never have found out how
great his crime was. Nor was this all; she, too, would never have
felt the whole horror of what had been done to her. He only now
saw what he had done to the soul of this woman; only now she saw
and understood what had been done to her.
Up to this time Nekhludoff had played with a sensation of
self-admiration, had admired his own remorse; now he was simply
filled with horror. He knew he could not throw her up now, and
yet he could not imagine what would come of their relations to
Just as he was going out, a jailer, with a disagreeable,
insinuating countenance, and a cross and medals on his breast,
came up and handed him a note with an air of mystery.
"Here is a note from a certain person, your honour," he said to
Nekhludoff as he gave him the envelope.
"You will know when you read it. A political prisoner. I am in
that ward, so she asked me; and though it is against the rules,
still feelings of humanity--" The jailer spoke in an unnatural
Nekhludoff was surprised that a jailer of the ward where
political prisoners were kept should pass notes inside the very
prison walls, and almost within sight of every one; he did not
then know that this was both a jailer and a spy. However, he took
the note and read it on coming out of the prison.
The note was written in a bold hand, and ran as follows: "Having
heard that you visit the prison, and are interested in the case
of a criminal prisoner, the desire of seeing you arose in me. Ask
for a permission to see me. I can give you a good deal of
information concerning your protegee, and also our group.--Yours
gratefully, VERA DOUKHOVA."
Vera Doukhova had been a school-teacher in an out-of-the-way
village of the Novgorod Government, where Nekhludoff and some
friends of his had once put up while bear hunting. Nekhludoff
gladly and vividly recalled those old days, and his acquaintance
with Doukhova. It was just before Lent, in an isolated spot, 40
miles from the railway. The hunt had been successful; two bears
had been killed; and the company were having dinner before
starting on their return journey, when the master of the hut
where they were putting up came in to say that the deacon's
daughter wanted to speak to Prince Nekhludoff. "Is she pretty?"
some one asked. "None of that, please," Nekhludoff said, and rose
with a serious look on his face. Wiping his mouth, and wondering
what the deacon's daughter might want of him, he went into the
host's private hut.
There he found a girl with a felt hat and a warm cloak on--a
sinewy, ugly girl; only her eyes with their arched brows were
"Here, miss, speak to him," said the old housewife; "this is the
prince himself. I shall go out meanwhile."
"In what way can I be of service to you?" Nekhludoff asked.
"I--I--I see you are throwing away your money on such
nonsense--on hunting," began the girl, in great confusion. "I
know--I only want one thing--to be of use to the people, and I
can do nothing because I know nothing--" Her eyes were so
truthful, so kind, and her expression of resoluteness and yet
bashfulness was so touching, that Nekhludoff, as it often
happened to him, suddenly felt as if he were in her position,
understood, and sympathised.
"What can I do, then?"
"I am a teacher, but should like to follow a course of study; and
I am not allowed to do so. That is, not that I am not allowed to;
they'd allow me to, but I have not got the means. Give them to
me, and when I have finished the course I shall repay you. I am
thinking the rich kill bears and give the peasants drink; all
this is bad. Why should they not do good? I only want 80 roubles.
But if you don't wish to, never mind," she added, gravely.
"On the contrary, I am very grateful to you for this opportunity.
. . . I will bring it at once," said Nekhludoff.
He went out into the passage, and there met one of his comrades,
who had been overhearing his conversation. Paying no heed to his
chaffing, Nekhludoff got the money out of his bag and took it to
"Oh, please, do not thank me; it is I who should thank you," he
It was pleasant to remember all this now; pleasant to remember
that he had nearly had a quarrel with an officer who tried to
make an objectionable joke of it, and how another of his comrades
had taken his part, which led to a closer friendship between
them. How successful the whole of that hunting expedition had
been, and how happy he had felt when returning to the railway
station that night. The line of sledges, the horses in tandem,
glide quickly along the narrow road that lies through the forest,
now between high trees, now between low firs weighed down by the
snow, caked in heavy lumps on their branches. A red light flashes
in the dark, some one lights an aromatic cigarette. Joseph, a
bear driver, keeps running from sledge to sledge, up to his knees
in snow, and while putting things to rights he speaks about the
elk which are now going about on the deep snow and gnawing the
bark off the aspen trees, of the bears that are lying asleep in
their deep hidden dens, and his breath comes warm through the
opening in the sledge cover. All this came back to Nekhludoff's
mind; but, above all, the joyous sense of health, strength, and
freedom from care: the lungs breathing in the frosty air so
deeply that the fur cloak is drawn tightly on his chest, the fine
snow drops off the low branches on to his face, his body is warm,
his face feels fresh, and his soul is free from care,
self-reproach, fear, or desire. How beautiful it was. And now, O
God! what torment, what trouble!
Evidently Vera Doukhova was a revolutionist and imprisoned as
such. He must see her, especially as she promised to advise him
how to lighten Maslova's lot.
THE VICE-GOVERNOR OF THE PRISON.
Awaking early the next morning, Nekhludoff remembered what he had
done the day before, and was seized with fear.
But in spite of this fear, he was more determined than ever to
continue what he had begun.
Conscious of a sense of duty, he left the house and went to see
Maslennikoff in order to obtain from him a permission to visit
Maslova in prison, and also the Menshoffs--mother and son--about
whom Maslova had spoken to him. Nekhludoff had known this
Maslennikoff a long time; they had been in the regiment together.
At that time Maslennikoff was treasurer to the regiment.
He was a kind-hearted and zealous officer, knowing and wishing to
know nothing beyond the regiment and the Imperial family. Now
Nekhludoff saw him as an administrator, who had exchanged the
regiment for an administrative office in the government where he
lived. He was married to a rich and energetic woman, who had
forced him to exchange military for civil service. She laughed at
him, and caressed him, as if he were her own pet animal.
Nekhludoff had been to see them once during the winter, but the
couple were so uninteresting to him that he had not gone again.
At the sight of Nekhludoff Maslennikoff's face beamed all over.
He had the same fat red face, and was as corpulent and as well
dressed as in his military days. Then, he used to be always
dressed in a well-brushed uniform, made according to the latest
fashion, tightly fitting his chest and shoulders; now, it was a
civil service uniform he wore, and that, too, tightly fitted his
well-fed body and showed off his broad chest, and was cut
according to the latest fashion. In spite of the difference in
age (Maslennikoff was 40), the two men were very familiar with
"Halloo, old fellow! How good of you to come! Let us go and see
my wife. I have just ten minutes to spare before the meeting. My
chief is away, you know. I am at the head of the Government
administration," he said, unable to disguise his satisfaction.
"I have come on business."
"What is it?" said Maslennikoff, in an anxious and severe tone,
putting himself at once on his guard.
"There is a person, whom I am very much interested in, in prison"
(at the word "prison" Maslennikoff's face grew stern); "and I
should like to have an interview in the office, and not in the
common visiting-room. I have been told it depended on you."
"Certainly, mon cher," said Maslennikoff, putting both hands on
Nekhludoff's knees, as if to tone down his grandeur; "but
remember, I am monarch only for an hour."
"Then will you give me an order that will enable me to see her?"
"It's a woman?"
"What is she there for?"
"Poisoning, but she has been unjustly condemned."
"Yes, there you have it, your justice administered by jury, ils
n'en font point d'autres," he said, for some unknown reason, in
French. "I know you do not agree with me, but it can't be helped,
c'est mon opinion bien arretee," he added, giving utterance to an
opinion he had for the last twelve months been reading in the
retrograde Conservative paper. "I know you are a Liberal."
"I don't know whether I am a Liberal or something else,"
Nekhludoff said, smiling; it always surprised him to find himself
ranked with a political party and called a Liberal, when he
maintained that a man should be heard before he was judged, that
before being tried all men were equal, that nobody at all ought
to be ill-treated and beaten, but especially those who had not
yet been condemned by law. "I don't know whether I am a Liberal
or not; but I do know that however had the present way of
conducting a trial is, it is better than the old."
"And whom have you for an advocate?"
"I have spoken to Fanarin."
"Dear me, Fanarin!" said Meslennikoff, with a grimace,
recollecting how this Fanarin had examined him as a witness at a
trial the year before and had, in the politest manner, held him
up to ridicule for half an hour.
"I should not advise you to have anything to do with him.
_Fanarin est un homme tare_."
"I have one more request to make," said Nekhludoff, without
answering him. "There's a girl whom I knew long ago, a teacher;
she is a very pitiable little thing, and is now also imprisoned,
and would like to see me. Could you give me a permission to visit
Meslennikoff bent his head on one side and considered.
"She's a political one?"
"Yes, I have been told so."
"Well, you see, only relatives get permission to visit political
prisoners. Still, I'll give you an open order. _Je sais que vous
n'abuserez pas_. What's the name of your protegee? Doukhova? _Elle
Maslennikoff shook his head disapprovingly, went up to the table,
and wrote on a sheet of paper, with a printed heading: "The
bearer, Prince Dmitri Ivanovitch Nekhludoff, is to be allowed to
interview in the prison office the meschanka Maslova, and also
the medical assistant, Doukhova," and he finished with an
"Now you'll be able to see what order we have got there. And it
is very difficult to keep order, it is so crowded, especially
with people condemned to exile; but I watch strictly, and love
the work. You will see they are very comfortable and contented.
But one must know how to deal with them. Only a few days ago we
had a little trouble--insubordination; another would have called
it mutiny, and would have made many miserable, but with us it all
passed quietly. We must have solicitude on one hand, firmness and
power on the other," and he clenched the fat, white,
turquoise-ringed fist, which issued out of the starched cuff of
his shirt sleeve, fastened with a gold stud. "Solicitude and firm
"Well, I don't know about that," said Nekhludoff. "I went there
twice, and felt very much depressed."
"Do you know, you ought to get acquainted with the Countess
Passek," continued Maslennikoff, growing talkative. "She has
given herself up entirely to this sort of work. Elle fait