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The Forged Coupon and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy

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and looked so comme il faut."

"A comme il faut fool, that is what you are!"
The husband went on scolding her, while he
counted the cash. . . . When I accept
coupons, I see what is written on them. And you
probably looked only at the boys' pretty faces.
You had better behave yourself in your old age."

His wife could not stand this, and got into a

"That is just like you men! Blaming every-
body around you. But when it is you who lose
fifty-four roubles at cards--that is of no conse-
quence in your eyes."

"That is a different matter

"I don't want to talk to you," said his wife,
and went to her room. There she began to re-
mind herself that her family was opposed to her
marriage, thinking her present husband far below
her in social rank, and that it was she who insisted
on marrying him. Then she went on thinking of
the child she had lost, and how indifferent her
husband had been to their loss. She hated him
so intensely at that moment that she wished for
his death. Her wish frightened her, however,
and she hurriedly began to dress and left the
house. When her husband came from the shop
to the inner rooms of their flat she was gone.
Without waiting for him she had dressed and
gone off to friends--a teacher of French in the
school, a Russified Pole, and his wife--who had
invited her and her husband to a party in their
house that evening.


THE guests at the party had tea and cakes offered
to them, and sat down after that to play whist at
a number of card-tables.

The partners of Eugene Mihailovich's wife
were the host himself, an officer, and an old and
very stupid lady in a wig, a widow who owned a
music-shop; she loved playing cards and played
remarkably well. But it was Eugene Mihailo-
vich's wife who was the winner all the time. The
best cards were continually in her hands. At her
side she had a plate with grapes and a pear and
was in the best of spirits.

"And Eugene Mihailovich? Why is he so
late?" asked the hostess, who played at another

"Probably busy settling accounts," said Eugene
Mihailovich's wife. "He has to pay off the
tradesmen, to get in firewood " The quarrel she
had with her husband revived in her memory;
she frowned, and her hands, from which she had
not taken off the mittens, shook with fury against

"Oh, there he is.--We have just been speak-
ing of you," said the hostess to Eugene Mihailo-
vich, who came in at that very moment. "Why
are you so late?"

"I was busy," answered Eugene Mihailovich,
in a gay voice, rubbing his hands. And to his
wife's surprise he came to her side and said,--

"You know, I managed to get rid of the cou-

"No! You don't say so!"

"Yes, I used it to pay for a cart-load of fire-
wood I bought from a peasant."

And Eugene Mihailovich related with great in-
dignation to the company present--his wife add-
ing more details to his narrative--how his wife
had been cheated by two unscrupulous schoolboys.

"Well, and now let us sit down to work," he
said, taking his place at one of the whist-tables
when his turn came, and beginning to shuffle the


EUGENE MIHAILOVICH had actually used the cou-
pon to buy firewood from the peasant Ivan Mi-
ronov, who had thought of setting up in business
on the seventeen roubles he possessed. He hoped
in this way to earn another eight roubles, and with
the twenty-five roubles thus amassed he intended
to buy a good strong horse, which he would want
in the spring for work in the fields and for driv-
ing on the roads, as his old horse was almost
played out.

Ivan Mironov's commercial method consisted
in buying from the stores a cord of wood and di-
viding it into five cartloads, and then driving
about the town, selling each of these at the price
the stores charged for a quarter of a cord. That
unfortunate day Ivan Mironov drove out very
early with half a cartload, which he soon sold.
He loaded up again with another cartload which
he hoped to sell, but he looked in vain for a cus-
tomer; no one would buy it. It was his bad luck
all that day to come across experienced towns-
people, who knew all the tricks of the peasants in
selling firewood, and would not believe that he
had actually brought the wood from the country
as he assured them. He got hungry, and felt
cold in his ragged woollen coat. It was nearly
below zero when evening came on; his horse
which he had treated without mercy, hoping soon
to sell it to the knacker's yard, refused to move a
step. So Ivan Mironov was quite ready to sell
his firewood at a loss when he met Eugene Mihail-
ovich, who was on his way home from the tobac-

"Buy my cartload of firewood, sir. I will give
it to you cheap. My poor horse is tired, and can't
go any farther."

"Where do you come from?"

"From the country, sir. This firewood is
from our place. Good dry wood, I can assure

"Good wood indeed! I know your tricks.
Well, what is your price?"

Ivan Mironov began by asking a high price,
but reduced it once, and finished by selling the
cartload for just what it had cost him.

"I'm giving it to you cheap, just to please you,
sir.--Besides, I am glad it is not a long way to
your house," he added.

Eugene Mihailovich did not bargain very much.
He did not mind paying a little more, because he
was delighted to think he could make use of the
coupon and get rid of it. With great difficulty
Ivan Mironov managed at last, by pulling the
shafts himself, to drag his cart into the courtyard,
where he was obliged to unload the firewood un-
aided and pile it up in the shed. The yard-porter
was out. Ivan Mironov hesitated at first to ac-
cept the coupon, but Eugene Mihailovich insisted,
and as he looked a very important person the peas-
ant at last agreed.

He went by the backstairs to the servants'
room, crossed himself before the ikon, wiped his
beard which was covered with icicles, turned up
the skirts of his coat, took out of his pocket a
leather purse, and out of the purse eight roubles
and fifty kopeks, and handed the change to Eu-
gene Mihailovich. Carefully folding the coupon,
he put it in the purse. Then, according to cus-
tom, he thanked the gentleman for his kindness,
and, using the whip-handle instead of the lash, he
belaboured the half-frozen horse that he had
doomed to an early death, and betook himself to
a public-house.

Arriving there, Ivan Mironov called for vodka
and tea for which he paid eight kopeks. Com-
fortable and warm after the tea, he chatted in the
very best of spirits with a yard-porter who was
sitting at his table. Soon he grew communicative
and told his companion all about the conditions of
his life. He told him he came from the village
Vassilievsky, twelve miles from town, and also
that he had his allotment of land given to him
by his family, as he wanted to live apart from his
father and his brothers; that he had a wife and
two children; the elder boy went to school, and
did not yet help him in his work. He also said he
lived in lodgings and intended going to the horse-
fair the next day to look for a good horse, and,
may be, to buy one. He went on to state that he
had now nearly twenty-five roubles--only one
rouble short--and that half of it was a coupon.
He took the coupon out of his purse to show to his
new friend. The yard-porter was an illiterate
man, but he said he had had such coupons given
him by lodgers to change; that they were good;
but that one might also chance on forged ones;
so he advised the peasant, for the sake of security,
to change it at once at the counter. Ivan Mironov
gave the coupon to the waiter and asked for
change. The waiter, however, did not bring the
change, but came back with the manager, a bald-
headed man with a shining face, who was holding
the coupon in his fat hand.

"Your money is no good," he said, showing the
coupon, but apparently determined not to give it

"The coupon must be all right. I got it from
a gentleman."

"It is bad, I tell you. The coupon is forged."

"Forged? Give it back to me."

"I will not. You fellows have got to be pun-
ished for such tricks. Of course, you did it your-
self--you and some of your rascally friends."

"Give me the money. What right have

"Sidor! Call a policeman," said the barman
to the waiter. Ivan Mironov was rather drunk,
and in that condition was hard to manage. He
seized the manager by the collar and began to

"Give me back my money, I say. I will go to
the gentleman who gave it to me. I know where
he lives."

The manager had to struggle with all his force
to get loose from Ivan Mironov, and his shirt was

"Oh, that's the way you behave! Get hold of

The waiter took hold of Ivan Mironov; at that
moment the policeman arrived. Looking very
important, he inquired what had happened, and
unhesitatingly gave his orders:

"Take him to the police-station."

As to the coupon, the policeman put it in his
pocket; Ivan Mironov, together with his horse,
was brought to the nearest station.


IVAN MIRONOV had to spend the night in the po-
lice-station, in the company of drunkards and
thieves. It was noon of the next day when he
was summoned to the police officer; put through
a close examination, and sent in the care of a po-
liceman to Eugene Mihailovich's shop. Ivan Mi-
ronov remembered the street and the house.

The policeman asked for the shopkeeper,
showed him the coupon and confronted him with
Ivan Mironov, who declared that he had received
the coupon in that very place. Eugene Mihailo-
vich at once assumed a very severe and astonished

"You are mad, my good fellow," he said. "I
have never seen this man before in my life," he
added, addressing the policeman.

"It is a sin, sir," said Ivan Mironov " Think
of the hour when you will die."

"Why, you must be dreaming I You have
sold your firewood to some one else," said Eu-
gene Mihailovich. "But wait a minute. I will
go and ask my wife whether she bought any fire-
wood yesterday " Eugene Mihailovich left them
and immediately called the yard-porter Vassily, a
strong, handsome, quick, cheerful, well-dressed

He told Vassily that if any one should inquire
where the last supply of firewood was bought, he
was to say they'd got it from the stores, and not
from a peasant in the street.

"A peasant has come," he said to Vassily,
"who has declared to the police that I gave him
a forged coupon. He is a fool and talks non-
sense, but you, are a clever man. Mind you say
that we always get the firewood from the stores.
And, by the way, I've been thinking some time of
giving you money to buy a new jacket," added Eu-
gene Mihailovich, and gave the man five roubles.
Vassily looking with pleasure first at the five rou-
ble note, then at Eugene Mihailovich's face, shook
his head and smiled.

"I know, those peasant folks have no brains.
Ignorance, of course. Don't you be uneasy. I
know what I have to say."

Ivan Mironov, with tears in his eyes, implored
Eugene Mihailovich over and over again to ac-
knowledge the coupon he had given him, and the
yard-porter to believe what he said, but it proved
quite useless; they both insisted that they had
never bought firewood from a peasant in the
street. The policeman brought Ivan Mironov
back to the police-station, and he was charged with
forging the coupon. Only after taking the ad-
vice of a drunken office clerk in the same cell with
him, and bribing the police officer with five rou-
bles, did Ivan Mironov get out of jail, without
the coupon, and with only seven roubles left out
of the twenty-five he had the day before.

Of these seven roubles he spent three in the
public-house and came home to his wife dead
drunk, with a bruised and swollen face.

His wife was expecting a child, and felt very
ill. She began to scold her husband; he pushed
her away, and she struck him. Without answer-
ing a word he lay down on the plank and began
to weep bitterly.

Not till the next day did he tell his wife what
had actually happened. She believed him at
once, and thoroughly cursed the dastardly rich
man who had cheated Ivan. He was sobered
now, and remembering the advice a workman had
given him, with whom he had many a drink the
day before, decided to go to a lawyer and tell him
of the wrong the owner of the photograph shop
had done him.


THE lawyer consented to take proceedings on be-
half of Ivan Mironov, not so much for the sake
of the fee, as because he believed the peasant, and
was revolted by the wrong done to him.

Both parties appeared in the court when the
case was tried, and the yard-porter Vassily was
summoned as witness. They repeated in the
court all they had said before to the police officials.
Ivan Mironov again called to his aid the name of
the Divinity, and reminded the shopkeeper of the
hour of death. Eugene Mihailovich, although
quite aware of his wickedness, and the risks he
was running, despite the rebukes of his conscience,
could not now change his testimony, and went on
calmly to deny all the allegations made against

The yard-porter Vassily had received another
ten roubles from his master, and, quite unper-
turbed, asserted with a smile that he did not know
anything about Ivan Mironov. And when he
was called upon to take the oath, he overcame his
inner qualms, and repeated with assumed ease
the terms of the oath, read to him by the old
priest appointed to the court. By the holy Cross
and the Gospel, he swore that he spoke the whole

The case was decided against Ivan Mironov,
who was sentenced to pay five roubles for expenses.
This sum Eugene Mihailovich generously paid
for him. Before dismissing Ivan Mironov, the
judge severely admonished him, saying he ought
to take care in the future not to accuse respectable
people, and that he also ought to be thankful that
he was not forced to pay the costs, and that he had
escaped a prosecution for slander, for which he
would have been condemned to three months' im-

"I offer my humble thanks," said Ivan Mi-
ronov; and, shaking his head, left the court with
a heavy sigh.

The whole thing seemed to have ended well for
Eugene Mihailovich and the yard-porter Vassily.
But only in appearance. Something had hap-
pened which was not noticed by any one, but which
was much more important than all that had been
exposed to view.

Vassily had left his village and settled in town
over two years ago. As time went on he sent
less and less money to his father, and he did not
ask his wife, who remained at home, to join him.
He was in no need of her; he could in town have
as many wives as he wished, and much better ones
too than that clumsy, village-bred woman. Vas-
sily, with each recurring year, became more and
more familiar with the ways of the town people,
forgetting the conventions of a country life.
There everything was so vulgar, so grey, so poor
and untidy. Here, in town, all seemed on the
contrary so refined, nice, clean, and rich; so or-
derly too. And he became more and more con-
vinced that people in the country live just like
wild beasts, having no idea of what life is, and
that only life in town is real. He read books
written by clever writers, and went to the perform-
ances in the Peoples' Palace. In the country,
people would not see such wonders even in dreams.
In the country old men say: "Obey the law, and
live with your wife; work; don't eat too much;
don't care for finery," while here, in town, all the
clever and learned people--those, of course,
who know what in reality the law is--only pur-
sue their own pleasures. And they are the bet-
ter for it.

Previous to the incident of the forged coupon,
Vassily could not actually believe that rich people
lived without any moral law. But after that,
still more after having perjured himself, and not
being the worse for it in spite of his fears--on
the contrary, he had gained ten roubles out of it
--Vassily became firmly convinced that no moral
laws whatever exist, and that the only thing to do
is to pursue one's own interests and pleasures.
This he now made his rule in life. He accord-
ingly got as much profit as he could out of pur-
chasing goods for lodgers. But this did not pay
all his expenses. Then he took to stealing, when-
ever chance offered--money and all sorts of val-
uables. One day he stole a purse full of money
from Eugene Mihailovich, but was found out.
Eugene Mihailovich did not hand him over to the
police, but dismissed him on the spot.

Vassily had no wish whatever to return home
to his village, and remained in Moscow with his
sweetheart, looking out for a new job. He got
one as yard-porter at a grocer's, but with only
small wages. The next day after he had entered
that service he was caught stealing bags. The
grocer did not call in the police, but gave him a
good thrashing and turned him out. After that
he could not find work. The money he had left
was soon gone; he had to sell all his clothes and
went about nearly in rags. His sweetheart left
him. But notwithstanding, he kept up his high
spirits, and when the spring came he started to
walk home.


black spectacles (he had weak eyes, and was
threatened with complete blindness), got up, as
was his custom, at dawn of day, had a cup of tea,
and putting on his short fur coat trimmed with
astrachan, went to look after the work on his es-

Peter Nikolaevich had been an official in the
Customs, and had gained eighteen thousand rou-
bles during his service. About twelve years ago
he quitted the service--not quite of his own ac-
cord: as a matter of fact he had been compelled
to leave--and bought an estate from a young
land-owner who had dissipated his fortune. Peter
Nikolaevich had married at an earlier period,
while still an official in the Customs. His wife,
who belonged to an old noble family, was an
orphan, and was left without money. She was
a tall, stoutish, good-looking woman. They had
no children. Peter Nikolaevich had considerable
practical talents and a strong will. He was the
son of a Polish gentleman, and knew nothing
about agriculture and land management; but
when he acquired an estate of his own, he man-
aged it so well that after fifteen years the waste
piece of land, consisting of three hundred acres,
became a model estate. All the buildings, from
the dwelling-house to the corn stores and the shed
for the fire engine were solidly built, had iron
roofs, and were painted at the right time. In the
tool house carts, ploughs, harrows, stood in per-
fect order, the harness was well cleaned and oiled.
The horses were not very big, but all home-bred,
grey, well fed, strong and devoid of blemish.

The threshing machine worked in a roofed
barn, the forage was kept in a separate shed, and
a paved drain was made from the stables. The
cows were home-bred, not very large, but giving
plenty of milk; fowls were also kept in the poultry
yard, and the hens were of a special kind, laying
a great quantity of eggs. In the orchard the fruit
trees were well whitewashed and propped on poles
to enable them to grow straight. Everything was
looked after--solid, clean, and in perfect order.
Peter Nikolaevich rejoiced in the perfect condi-
tion of his estate, and was proud to have achieved
it--not by oppressing the peasants, but, on the
contrary, by the extreme fairness of his dealings
with them.

Among the nobles of his province he belonged
to the advanced party, and was more inclined to
liberal than conservative views, always taking the
side of the peasants against those who were still
in favour of serfdom. "Treat them well, and
they will be fair to you," he used to say. Of
course, he did not overlook any carelessness on
the part of those who worked on his estate, and
he urged them on to work if they were lazy; but
then he gave them good lodging, with plenty of
good food, paid their wages without any delay,
and gave them drinks on days of festival.

Walking cautiously on the melting snow--for
the time of the year was February--Peter Nikol-
aevich passed the stables, and made his way to
the cottage where his workmen were lodged.
It was still dark, the darker because of the dense
fog; but the windows of the cottage were lighted.
The men had already got up. His intention was
to urge them to begin work. He had arranged
that they should drive out to the forest and bring
back the last supply of firewood he needed before

"What is that?" he thought, seeing the door
of the stable wide open. "Hallo, who is there?"

No answer. Peter Nikolaevich stepped into
the stable. It was dark; the ground was soft
under his feet, and the air smelt of dung; on the
right side of the door were two loose boxes for
a pair of grey horses. Peter Nikolaevich
stretched out his hand in their direction--one
box was empty. He put out his foot--the horse
might have been lying down. But his foot did
not touch anything solid. "Where could they
have taken the horse?" he thought. They cer-
tainly had not harnessed it; all the sledges stood
still outside. Peter Nikolaevich went out of the

"Stepan, come here!" he called.

Stepan was the head of the workmen's gang.
He was just stepping out of the cottage.

"Here I am!" he said, in a cheerful voice.
"Oh, is that you, Peter Nikolaevich? Our men
are coming."

"Why is the stable door open?

"Is it? I don't know anything about it. I
say, Proshka, bring the lantern!"

Proshka came with the lantern. They all went
to the stable, and Stepan knew at once what had

"Thieves have been here, Peter Nikolaevich,"
he said. "The lock is broken."

"No; you don't say so!"

"Yes, the brigands! I don't see 'Mashka.'
'Hawk' is here. But 'Beauty' is not. Nor yet

Three horses had been stolen!

Peter Nikolaevich did not utter a word at first.
He only frowned and took deep breaths.

"Oh," he said after a while. "If only I could
lay hands on them! Who was on guard?"

"Peter. He evidently fell asleep."

Peter Nikolaevich called in the police, and
making an appeal to all the authorities, sent his
men to track the thieves. But the horses were
not to be found.

"Wicked people," said Peter Nikolaevich.
"How could they! I was always so kind to
them. Now, wait! Brigands! Brigands the
whole lot of them. I will no longer be kind."


IN the meanwhile the horses, the grey ones, had
all been disposed of; Mashka was sold to the gip-
sies for eighteen roubles; Dapple-grey was ex-
changed for another horse, and passed over to
another peasant who lived forty miles away from
the estate; and Beauty died on the way. The man
who conducted the whole affair was--Ivan Mi-
ronov. He had been employed on the estate, and
knew all the whereabouts of Peter Nikolaevich.
He wanted to get back the money he had lost, and
stole the horses for that reason.

After his misfortune with the forged coupon,
Ivan Mironov took to drink; and all he possessed
would have gone on drink if it had not been for
his wife, who locked up his clothes, the horses'
collars, and all the rest of what he would other-
wise have squandered in public-houses. In his
drunken state Ivan Mironov was continually
thinking, not only of the man who had wronged
him, but of all the rich people who live on robbing
the poor. One day he had a drink with some
peasants from the suburbs of Podolsk, and was
walking home together with them. On the way
the peasants, who were completely drunk, told him
they had stolen a horse from a peasant's cottage.
Ivan Mironov got angry, and began to abuse the

"What a shame!" he said. "A horse is like
a brother to the peasant. And you robbed him of
it? It is a great sin, I tell you. If you go in for
stealing horses, steal them from the landowners.
They are worse than dogs, and deserve anything."

The talk went on, and the peasants from Po-
dolsk told him that it required a great deal of
cunning to steal a horse on an estate.

"You must know all the ins and outs of the
place, and must have somebody on the spot to
help you."

Then it occurred to Ivan Mironov that he knew
a landowner--Sventizky; he had worked on his
estate, and Sventizky, when paying him off, had
deducted one rouble and a half for a broken tool.
He remembered well the grey horses which he
used to drive at Sventizky's.

Ivan Mironov called on Peter Nikolaevich pre-
tending to ask for employment, but really in or-
der to get the information he wanted. He took
precautions to make sure that the watchman was
absent, and that the horses were standing in their
boxes in the stable. He brought the thieves to
the place, and helped them to carry off the three

They divided their gains, and Ivan Mironov
returned to his wife with five roubles in his pocket.
He had nothing to do at home, having no horse
to work in the field, and therefore continued to
steal horses in company with professional horse-
thieves and gipsies.


discover who had stolen his horses. He knew
somebody on the estate must have helped the
thieves, and began to suspect all his staff. He
inquired who had slept out that night, and the
gang of the working men told him Proshka had
not been in the whole night. Proshka, or Prokofy
Nikolaevich, was a young fellow who had just fin-
ished his military service, handsome, and skilful
in all he did; Peter Nikolaevich employed him at
times as coachman. The district constable was a
friend of Peter Nikolaevich, as were the provin-
cial head of the police, the marshal of the nobility,
and also the rural councillor and the examining
magistrate. They all came to his house on his
saint's day, drinking the cherry brandy he offered
them with pleasure, and eating the nice preserved
mushrooms of all kinds to accompany the liqueurs.
They all sympathised with him in his trouble and
tried to help him.

"You always used to take the side of the peas-
ants," said the district constable, "and there you
are! I was right in saying they are worse than
wild beasts. Flogging is the only way to keep
them in order. Well, you say it is all Proshka's
doings. Is it not he who was your coachman

"Yes, that is he."

"Will you kindly call him?"

Proshka was summoned before the constable,
who began to examine him.

"Where were you that night?"

Proshka pushed back his hair, and his eyes

"At home."

"How so? All the men say you were not in."

"Just as you please, your honour."

"My pleasure has nothing to do with the mat-
ter. Tell me where you were that night."

"At home."

"Very well. Policeman, bring him to the po-

The reason why Proshka did not say where he
had been that night was that he had spent it with
his sweetheart, Parasha, and had promised not to
give her away. He kept his word. No proofs
were discovered against him, and he was soon dis-
charged. But Peter Nikolaevich was convinced
that Prokofy had been at the bottom of the whole
affair, and began to hate him. One day Proshka
bought as usual at the merchant's two measures of
oats. One and a half he gave to the horses, and
half a measure he gave back to the merchant; the
money for it he spent in drink. Peter Nikolae-
vich found it out, and charged Prokofy with cheat-
ing. The judge sentenced the man to three
months' imprisonment.

Prokofy had a rather proud nature, and thought
himself superior to others. Prison was a great
humiliation for him. He came out of it very
depressed; there was nothing more to be proud
of in life. And more than that, he felt extremely
bitter, not only against Peter Nikolaevich, but
against the whole world.

On the whole, as all the people around him no-
ticed, Prokofy became another man after his im-
prisonment, both careless and lazy; he took to
drink, and he was soon caught stealing clothes at
some woman's house, and found himself again in

All that Peter Nikolaevich discovered about his
grey horses was the hide of one of them, Beauty,
which had been found somewhere on the estate.
The fact that the thieves had got off scot-free
irritated Peter Nikolaevich still more. He was
unable now to speak of the peasants or to look at
them without anger. And whenever he could he
tried to oppress them.


AFTER having got rid of the coupon, Eugene
Mihailovich forgot all about it; but his wife, Ma-
ria Vassilievna, could not forgive herself for hav-
ing been taken in, nor yet her husband for his cruel
words. And most of all she was furious against
the two boys who had so skilfully cheated her.
From the day she had accepted the forged coupon
as payment, she looked closely at all the school-
boys who came in her way in the streets. One
day she met Mahin, but did not recognise him,
for on seeing her he made a face which quite
changed his features. But when, a fortnight after
the incident with the coupon, she met Mitia
Smokovnikov face to face, she knew him at once.

She let him pass her, then turned back and
followed him, and arriving at his house she made
inquiries as to whose son he was. The next day
she went to the school and met the divinity
instructor, the priest Michael Vedensky, in the
hall. He asked her what she wanted. She an-
swered that she wished to see the head of the
school. "He is not quite well," said the priest.
"Can I be of any use to you, or give him your

Maria Vassilievna thought that she might as
well tell the priest what was the matter. Michael
Vedensky was a widower, and a very ambitious
man. A year ago he had met Mitia Smokovni-
kov's father in society, and had had a discussion
with him on religion. Smokovnikov had beaten
him decisively on all points; indeed, he had made
him appear quite ridiculous. Since that time the
priest had decided to pay special attention to
Smokovnikov's son; and, finding him as indifferent
to religious matters as his father was, he began
to persecute him, and even brought about his fail-
ure in examinations.

When Maria Vassilievna told him what young
Smokovnikov had done to her, Vedensky could
not help feeling an inner satisfaction. He saw in
the boy's conduct a proof of the utter wickedness
of those who are not guided by the rules of the
Church. He decided to take advantage of this
great opportunity of warning unbelievers of the
perils that threatened them. At all events, he
wanted to persuade himself that this was the only
motive that guided him in the course he had re-
solved to take. But at the bottom of his heart he
was only anxious to get his revenge on the proud

"Yes, it is very sad indeed," said Father Mi-
chael, toying with the cross he was wearing over
his priestly robes, and passing his hands over its
polished sides. "I am very glad you have given
me your confidence. As a servant of the Church
I shall admonish the young man--of course with
the utmost kindness. I shall certainly do it in
the way that befits my holy office," said Father
Michael to himself, really thinking that he had
forgotten the ill-feeling the boy's father had to-
wards him. He firmly believed the boy's soul
to be the only object of his pious care.

The next day, during the divinity lesson which
Father Michael was giving to Mitia Smokovni-
kov's class, he narrated the incident of the forged
coupon, adding that the culprit had been one of
the pupils of the school. "It was a very wicked
thing to do," he said; "but to deny the crime is
still worse. If it is true that the sin has been com-
mitted by one of you, let the guilty one confess."
In saying this, Father Michael looked sharply at
Mitia Smokovnikov. All the boys, following his
glance, turned also to Mitia, who blushed, and
felt extremely ill at ease, with large beads of
perspiration on his face. Finally, he burst into
tears, and ran out of the classroom. His mother,
noticing his trouble, found out the truth, ran at
once to the photographer's shop, paid over the
twelve roubles and fifty kopeks to Maria Vas-
silievna, and made her promise to deny the boy's
guilt. She further implored Mitia to hide the
truth from everybody, and in any case to withhold
it from his father.

Accordingly, when Fedor Mihailovich had
heard of the incident in the divinity class, and his
son, questioned by him, had denied all accusations,
he called at once on the head of the school, told
him what had happened, expressed his indignation
at Father Michael's conduct, and said he would
not let matters remain as they were.

Father Michael was sent for, and immediately
fell into a hot dispute with Smokovnikov.

"A stupid woman first falsely accused my son,
then retracts her accusation, and you of course
could not hit on anything more sensible to do than
to slander an honest and truthful boy!"

"I did not slander him, and I must beg you not
to address me in such a way. You forget what
is due to my cloth."

"Your cloth is of no consequence to me."

"Your perversity in matters of religion is
known to everybody in the town!" replied Father
Michael; and he was so transported with anger
that his long thin head quivered.

"Gentlemen! Father Michael!" exclaimed
the director of the school, trying to appease their
wrath. But they did not listen to him.

"It is my duty as a priest to look after the
religious and moral education of our pupils."

"Oh, cease your pretence to be religious!
Oh, stop all this humbug of religion! As if I
did not know that you believe neither in God nor

"I consider it beneath my dignity to talk to a
man like you," said Father Michael, very much
hurt by Smokovnikov's last words, the more so
because he knew they were true.

Michael Vedensky carried on his studies in the
academy for priests, and that is why, for a long
time past, he ceased to believe in what he con-
fessed to be his creed and in what he preached
from the pulpit; he only knew that men ought to
force themselves to believe in what he tried to
make himself believe.

Smokovnikov was not shocked by Father Mi-
chael's conduct; he only thought it illustrative of
the influence the Church was beginning to exercise
on society, and he told all his friends how his son
had been insulted by the priest.

Seeing not only young minds, but also the elder
generation, contaminated by atheistic tendencies,
Father Michael became more and more convinced
of the necessity of fighting those tendencies. The
more he condemned the unbelief of Smokovnikov,
and those like him, the more confident he grew
in the firmness of his own faith, and the less he
felt the need of making sure of it, or of bringing
his life into harmony with it. His faith, acknowl-
edged as such by all the world around him, be-
came Father Michael's very best weapon with
which to fight those who denied it.

The thoughts aroused in him by his conflict
with Smokovnikov, together with the annoyance
of being blamed by his chiefs in the school, made
him carry out the purpose he had entertained ever
since his wife's death--of taking monastic orders,
and of following the course carried out by some
of his fellow-pupils in the academy. One of them
was already a bishop, another an archimandrite
and on the way to become a bishop.

At the end of the term Michael Vedensky gave
up his post in the school, took orders under the
name of Missael, and very soon got a post as
rector in a seminary in a town on the river Volga.


MEANWHILE the yard-porter Vassily was march-
ing on the open road down to the south.

He walked in daytime, and when night came
some policeman would get him shelter in a peas-
ant's cottage. He was given bread everywhere,
and sometimes he was asked to sit down to the
evening meal. In a village in the Orel district,
where he had stayed for the night, he heard that
a merchant who had hired the landowner's or-
chard for the season, was looking out for strong
and able men to serve as watchmen for the fruit-
crops. Vassily was tired of tramping, and as he
had also no desire whatever to go back to his
native village, he went to the man who owned the
orchard, and got engaged as watchman for five
roubles a month.

Vassily found it very agreeable to live in his
orchard shed, and all the more so when the apples
and pears began to grow ripe, and when the men
from the barn supplied him every day with large
bundles of fresh straw from the threshing ma-
chine. He used to lie the whole day long on
the fragrant straw, with fresh, delicately smell-
ing apples in heaps at his side, looking out in
every direction to prevent the village boys from
stealing fruit; and he used to whistle and sing
meanwhile, to amuse himself. He knew no end
of songs, and had a fine voice. When peasant
women and young girls came to ask for apples,
and to have a chat with him, Vassily gave them
larger or smaller apples according as he liked
their looks, and received eggs or money in re-
turn. The rest of the time he had nothing to do,
but to lie on his back and get up for his meals in
the kitchen. He had only one shirt left, one of
pink cotton, and that was in holes. But he was
strongly built and enjoyed excellent health.
When the kettle with black gruel was taken from
the stove and served to the working men, Vassily
used to eat enough for three, and filled the old
watchman on the estate with unceasing wonder.
At nights Vassily never slept. He whistled or
shouted from time to time to keep off thieves, and
his piercing, cat-like eyes saw clearly in the dark-

One night a company of young lads from the
village made their way stealthily to the orchard
to shake down apples from the trees. Vassily,
coming noiselessly from behind, attacked them;
they tried to escape, but he took one of them
prisoner to his master.

Vassily's first shed stood at the farthest end of
the orchard, but after the pears had been picked
he had to remove to another shed only forty paces
away from the house of his master. He liked
this new place very much. The whole day long
he could see the young ladies and gentlemen en-
joying themselves; going out for drives in the
evenings and quite late at nights, playing the piano
or the violin, and singing and dancing. He saw
the ladies sitting with the young students on the
window sills, engaged in animated conversation,
and then going in pairs to walk the dark avenue
of lime trees, lit up only by streaks of moon-
light. He saw the servants running about with
food and drink, he saw the cooks, the stewards,
the laundresses, the gardeners, the coachmen, hard
at work to supply their masters with food and
drink and constant amusement. Sometimes the
young people from the master's house came to
the shed, and Vassily offered them the choicest
apples, juicy and red. The young ladies used to
take large bites out of the apples on the spot,
praising their taste, and spoke French to one an-
other--Vassily quite understood it was all about
him--and asked Vassily to sing for them.

Vassily felt the greatest admiration for his
master's mode of living, which reminded him of
what he had seen in Moscow; and he became more
and more convinced that the only thing that mat-
tered in life was money. He thought and thought
how to get hold of a large sum of money. He
remembered his former ways of making small
profits whenever he could, and came to the con-
clusion that that was altogether wrong. Occa-
sional stealing is of no use, he thought. He must
arrange a well-prepared plan, and after getting
all the information he wanted, carry out his pur-
pose so as to avoid detection.

After the feast of Nativity of the Blessed Vir-
gin Mary, the last crop of autumn apples was
gathered; the master was content with the results,
paid off Vassily, and gave him an extra sum as
reward for his faithful service.

Vassily put on his new jacket, and a new hat
--both were presents from his master's son--
but did not make his way homewards. He hated
the very thought of the vulgar peasants' life. He
went back to Moscow in company of some drunken
soldiers, who had been watchmen in the orchard
together with him. On his arrival there he at
once resolved, under cover of night, to break into
the shop where he had been employed, and beaten,
and then turned out by the proprietor without be-
ing paid. He knew the place well, and knew
where the money was locked up. So he bade the
soldiers, who helped him, keep watch outside, and
forcing the courtyard door entered the shop and
took all the money he could lay his hands on.
All this was done very cleverly, and no trace was
left of the burglary. The money Vassily had
found in the shop amounted to 370 roubles. He
gave a hundred roubles to his assistants, and with
the rest left for another town where he gave way
to dissipation in company of friends of both sexes.
The police traced his movements, and when at
last he was arrested and put into prison he had
hardly anything left out of the money which he
had stolen.


IVAN MIRONOV had become a very clever, fear-
less and successful horse-thief. Afimia, his wife,
who at first used to abuse him for his evil ways,
as she called it, was now quite content and felt
proud of her husband, who possessed a new sheep-
skin coat, while she also had a warm jacket and
a new fur cloak.

In the village and throughout the whole dis-
trict every one knew quite well that Ivan Mironov
was at the bottom of all the horse-stealing; but
nobody would give him away, being afraid of the
consequences. Whenever suspicion fell on him,
he managed to clear his character. Once during
the night he stole horses from the pasture ground
in the village Kolotovka. He generally preferred
to steal horses from landowners or tradespeople.
But this was a harder job, and when he had no
chance of success he did not mind robbing peasants
too. In Kolotovka he drove off the horses with-
out making sure whose they were. He did not
go himself to the spot, but sent a young and clever
fellow, Gerassim, to do the stealing for him. The
peasants only got to know of the theft at dawn;
they rushed in all directions to hunt for the rob-
bers. The horses, meanwhile, were hidden in a
ravine in the forest lands belonging to the state.

Ivan Mironov intended to leave them there till
the following night, and then to transport them
with the utmost haste a hundred miles away to a
man he knew. He visited Gerassim in the forest,
to see how he was getting on, brought him a pie
and some vodka, and was returning home by a
side track in the forest where he hoped to meet
nobody. But by ill-luck, he chanced on the keeper
of the forest, a retired soldier.

"I say! Have you been looking for mush-
rooms?" asked the soldier.

"There were none to be found," answered
Ivan Mironov, showing the basket of lime bark
he had taken with him in case he might want it.

"Yes, mushrooms are scarce this summer," said
the soldier. He stood still for a moment, pon-
dered, and then went his way. He clearly saw
that something was wrong. Ivan Mironov had
no business whatever to take early morning walks
in that forest. The soldier went back after a
while and looked round. Suddenly he heard the
snorting of horses in the ravine. He made his
way cautiously to the place whence the sounds
came. The grass in the ravine was trodden
down, and the marks of horses' hoofs were clearly
to be seen. A little further he saw Gerassim,
who was sitting and eating his meal, and the horses
tied to a tree.

The soldier ran to the village and brought back
the bailiff, a police officer, and two witnesses.
They surrounded on three sides the spot where
Gerassim was sitting and seized the man. He did
not deny anything; but, being drunk, told them at
once how Ivan Mironov had given him plenty of
drink, and induced him to steal the horses; he
also said that Ivan Mironov had promised to come
that night in order to take the horses away. The
peasants left the horses and Gerassim in the ra-
vine, and hiding behind the trees prepared to lie in
ambush for Ivan Mironov. When it grew dark,
they heard a whistle. Gerassim answered it with
a similar sound. The moment Ivan Mironov de-
scended the slope, the peasants surrounded him
and brought him back to the village. The next
morning a crowd assembled in front of the bailiff's
cottage. Ivan Mironov was brought out and sub-
jected to a close examination. Stepan Pelageush-
kine, a tall, stooping man with long arms, an
aquiline nose, and a gloomy face was the first to
put questions to him. Stepan had terminated his
military service, and was of a solitary turn of
mind. When he had separated from his father,
and started his own home, he had his first experi-
ence of losing a horse. After that he worked for
two years in the mines, and made money enough
to buy two horses. These two had been stolen by
Ivan Mironov.

"Tell me where my horses are!" shouted
Stepan, pale with fury, alternately looking at the
ground and at Ivan Mironov's face.

Ivan Mironov denied his guilt. Then Stepan
aimed so violent a blow at his face that he
smashed his nose and the blood spurted out.

"Tell the truth, I say, or I'll kill you!"

Ivan Mironov kept silent, trying to avoid the
blows by stooping. Stepan hit him twice more
with his long arm. Ivan Mironov remained
silent, turning his head backwards and forwards.

"Beat him, all of you!" cried the bailiff, and
the whole crowd rushed upon Ivan Mironov. He
fell without a word to the ground, and then

"Devils, wild beasts, kill me if that's what you
want! I am not afraid of you!"

Stepan seized a stone out of those that had been
collected for the purpose, and with a heavy blow
smashed Ivan Mironov's head.


IVAN MIRONOV'S murderers were brought to
trial, Stepan Pelageushkine among them. He had
a heavier charge to answer than the others, all
the witnesses having stated that it was he who
had smashed Ivan Mironov's head with a stone.
Stepan concealed nothing when in court. He con-
tented himself with explaining that, having been
robbed of his two last horses, he had informed the
police. Now it was comparatively easy at that
time to trace the horses with the help of profes-
sional thieves among the gipsies. But the police
officer would not even permit him, and no search
had been ordered.

"Nothing else could be done with such a man.
He has ruined us all."

"But why did not the others attack him. It
was you alone who broke his head open."

"That is false. We all fell upon him. The
village agreed to kill him. I only gave the final
stroke. What is the use of inflicting unnecessary
sufferings on a man?"

The judges were astonished at Stepan's wonder-
ful coolness in narrating the story of his crime--
how the peasants fell upon Ivan Mironov, and
how he had given the final stroke. Stepan act-
ually did not see anything particularly revolting in
this murder. During his military service he had
been ordered on one occasion to shoot a soldier,
and, now with regard to Ivan Mironov, he saw
nothing loathsome in it. "A man shot is a dead
man--that's all. It was him to-day, it might be
me to-morrow," he thought. Stepan was only
sentenced to one year's imprisonment, which was
a mild punishment for what he had done. His
peasant's dress was taken away from him and put
in the prison stores, and he had a prison suit and
felt boots given to him instead. Stepan had never
had much respect for the authorities, but now he
became quite convinced that all the chiefs, all the
fine folk, all except the Czar--who alone had pity
on the peasants and was just--all were robbers
who suck blood out of the people. All he heard
from the deported convicts, and those sentenced to
hard labour, with whom he had made friends in
prisons, confirmed him in his views. One man
had been sentenced to hard labour for having con-
victed his superiors of a theft; another for having
struck an official who had unjustly confiscated the
property of a peasant; a third because he forged
bank notes. The well-to-do-people, the mer-
chants, might do whatever they chose and come
to no harm; but a poor peasant, for a trumpery
reason or for none at all, was sent to prison to
become food for vermin.

He had visits from his wife while in prison.
Her life without him was miserable enough, when,
to make it worse, her cottage was destroyed by
fire. She was completely ruined, and had to take
to begging with her children. His wife's misery
embittered Stepan still more. He got on very
badly with all the people in the prison; was rude
to every one; and one day he nearly killed the cook
with an axe, and therefore got an additional year
in prison. In the course of that year he received
the news that his wife was dead, and that he had
no longer a home.

When Stepan had finished his time in prison,
he was taken to the prison stores, and his own
dress was taken down from the shelf and handed
to him.

"Where am I to go now?" he asked the prison
officer, putting on his old dress.

"Why, home."

"I have no home. I shall have to go on the
road. Robbery will not be a pleasant occupa-

"In that case you will soon be back here."

"I am not so sure of that."

And Stepan left the prison. Nevertheless he
took the road to his own place. He had nowhere
else to turn.

On his way he stopped for a night's rest in an
inn that had a public bar attached to it. The inn
was kept by a fat man from the town, Vladimir,
and he knew Stepan. He knew that Stepan had
been put into prison through ill luck, and did not
mind giving him shelter for the night. He was
a rich man, and had persuaded his neighbour's
wife to leave her husband and come to live with
him. She lived in his house as his wife, and
helped him in his business as well.

Stepan knew all about the innkeeper's affairs--
how he had wronged the peasant, and how the
woman who was living with him had left her hus-
band. He saw her now sitting at the table in a
rich dress, and looking very hot as she drank her
tea. With great condescension she asked Stepan
to have tea with her. No other travellers were
stopping in the inn that night. Stepan was given
a place in the kitchen where he might sleep. Ma-
trena--that was the woman's name--cleared the
table and went to her room. Stepan went to lie
down on the large stove in the kitchen, but he
could not sleep, and the wood splinters put on the
stove to dry were crackling under him, as he tossed
from side to side. He could not help thinking of
his host's fat paunch protruding under the belt
of his shirt, which had lost its colour from having
been washed ever so many times. Would not it
be a good thing to make a good clean incision in
that paunch. And that woman, too, he thought.

One moment he would say to himself, "I had
better go from here to-morrow, bother them all!"
But then again Ivan Mironov came back to his
mind, and he went on thinking of the innkeeper's
paunch and Matrena's white throat bathed in per-
spiration. "Kill I must, and it must be both!"

He heard the cock crow for the second time.

"I must do it at once, or dawn will be here " He
had seen in the evening before he went to bed a
knife and an axe. He crawled down from the
stove, took the knife and axe, and went out of
the kitchen door. At that very moment he heard
the lock of the entrance door open. The inn-
keeper was going out of the house to the court-
yard. It all turned out contrary to what Stepan
desired. He had no opportunity of using the
knife; he just swung the axe and split the innkeep-
er's head in two. The man tumbled down on the
threshold of the door, then on the ground.

Stepan stepped into the bedroom. Matrena
jumped out of bed, and remained standing by its
side. With the same axe Stepan killed her also.

Then he lighted the candle, took the money out
of the desk, and left the house.


IN a small district town, some distance away from
the other buildings, an old man, a former official,
who had taken to drink, lived in his own house
with his two daughters and his son-in-law. The
married daughter was also addicted to drink and
led a bad life, and it was the elder daughter, the
widow Maria Semenovna, a wrinkled woman of
fifty, who supported the whole family. She had
a pension of two hundred and fifty roubles a year,
and the family lived on this. Maria Semenovna
did all the work in the house, looked after the
drunken old father, who was very weak, attended
to her sister's child, and managed all the cooking
and the washing of the family. And, as is al-
ways the case, whatever there was to do, she was
expected to do it, and was, moreover, continually
scolded by all the three people in the house; her
brother-in-law used even to beat her when he was
drunk. She bore it all patiently, and as is also
always the case, the more work she had to face,
the quicker she managed to get through it. She
helped the poor, sacrificing her own wants; she
gave them her clothes, and was a ministering
angel to the sick.

Once the lame, crippled village tailor was work-
ing in Maria Semenovna's house. He had to
mend her old father's coat, and to mend and re-
pair Maria Semenovna's fur-jacket for her to wear
in winter when she went to market.

The lame tailor was a clever man, and a keen
observer: he had seen many different people ow-
ing to his profession, and was fond of reflection,
condemned as he was to a sedentary life.

Having worked a week at Maria Semenovna's,
he wondered greatly about her life. One day she
came to the kitchen, where he was sitting with his
work, to wash a towel, and began to ask him how
he was getting on. He told her of the wrong he
had suffered from his brother, and how he now
lived on his own allotment of land, separated from
that of his brother.

"I thought I should have been better off that
way," he said. "But I am now just as poor as

"It is much better never to change, but to take
life as it comes," said Maria Semenovna. "Take
life as it comes," she repeated.

"Why, I wonder at you, Maria Semenovna,"
said the lame tailor. "You alone do the work,
and you are so good to everybody. But they
don't repay you in kind, I see."

Maria Semenovna did not utter a word in an-

"I dare say you have found out in books that
we are rewarded in heaven for the good we do

"We don't know that. But we must try to do
the best we can."

"Is it said so in books?"

"In books as well," she said, and read to him
the Sermon on the Mount. The tailor was much
impressed. When he had been paid for his job
and gone home, he did not cease to think about
Maria Semenovna, both what she had said and
what she had read to him.


peasantry had now changed for the worse, and the
peasants had an equally bad opinion of him. In
the course of a single year they felled twenty-seven
oaks in his forest, and burnt a barn which had not
been insured. Peter Nikolaevich came to the con-
clusion that there was no getting on with the
people around him.

At that very time the landowner, Liventsov,
was trying to find a manager for his estate, and
the Marshal of the Nobility recommended Peter
Nikolaevich as the ablest man in the district in
the management of land. The estate owned by
Liventsov was an extremely large one, but there
was no revenue to be got out of it, as the peasants
appropriated all its wealth to their own profit.
Peter Nikolaevich undertook to bring everything
into order; rented out his own land to somebody
else; and settled with his wife on the Liventsov
estate, in a distant province on the river Volga.

Peter Nikolaevich was always fond of order,
and wanted things to be regulated by law; and
now he felt less able of allowing those raw and
rude peasants to take possession, quite illegally
too, of property that did not belong to them. He
was glad of the opportunity of giving them a good
lesson, and set seriously to work at once. One
peasant was sent to prison for stealing wood; to
another he gave a thrashing for not having made
way for him on the road with his cart, and for not
having lifted his cap to salute him. As to the
pasture ground which was a subject of dispute,
and was considered by the peasants as their prop-
erty, Peter Nikolaevich informed the peasants
that any of their cattle grazing on it would be
driven away by him.

The spring came and the peasants, just as they
had done in previous years, drove their cattle on
to the meadows belonging to the landowner.
Peter Nikolaevich called some of the men work-
ing on the estate and ordered them to drive the
cattle into his yard. The peasants were working
in the fields, and, disregarding the screaming of
the women, Peter Nikolaevich's men succeeded in
driving in the cattle. When they came home the
peasants went in a crowd to the cattle-yard on the
estate, and asked for their cattle. Peter Nikolae-
vich came out to talk to them with a gun slung on
his shoulder; he had just returned from a ride of
inspection. He told them that he would not let
them have their cattle unless they paid a fine of
fifty kopeks for each of the horned cattle, and
twenty kopeks for each sheep. The peasants
loudly declared that the pasture ground was their
property, because their fathers and grandfathers
had used it, and protested that he had no right
whatever to lay hand on their cattle.

"Give back our cattle, or you will regret it,"
said an old man coming up to Peter Nikolaevich.

"How shall I regret it?" cried Peter Niko-
laevich, turning pale, and coming close to the old

"Give them back, you villain, and don't pro-
voke us."

"What?" cried Peter Nikolaevich, and slapped
the old man in the face.

"You dare to strike me? Come along, you
fellows, let us take back our cattle by force."

The crowd drew close to him. Peter Niko-
laevich tried to push his way, through them, but
the peasants resisted him. Again he tried force.

His gun, accidentally discharged in the melee,
killed one of the peasants. Instantly the fight
began. Peter Nikolaevich was trodden down,
and five minutes later his mutilated body was
dragged into the ravine.

The murderers were tried by martial law, and
two of them sentenced to the gallows.


IN the village where the lame tailor lived, in the
Zemliansk district of the Voronesh province, five
rich peasants hired from the landowner a hundred
and five acres of rich arable land, black as tar, and
let it out on lease to the rest of the peasants at
fifteen to eighteen roubles an acre. Not one acre
was given under twelve roubles. They got a very
profitable return, and the five acres which were
left to each of their company practically cost them
nothing. One of the five peasants died, and the
lame tailor received an offer to take his place.

When they began to divide the land, the tailor
gave up drinking vodka, and, being consulted as
to how much land was to be divided, and to whom
it should be given, he proposed to give allotments
to all on equal terms, not taking from the tenants
more than was due for each piece of land out of
the sum paid to the landowner.

"Why so?"

"We are no heathens, I should think," he said.
"It is all very well for the masters to be unfair,
but we are true Christians. We must do as God
bids. Such is the law of Christ."

"Where have you got that law from?

"It is in the Book, in the Gospels. just come
to me on Sunday. I will read you a few passages,
and we will have a talk afterwards."

They did not all come to him on Sunday, but
three came, and he began reading to them.

He read five chapters of St. Matthew's Gospel,
and they talked. One man only, Ivan Chouev,
accepted the lesson and carried it out completely,
following the rule of Christ in everything from
that day. His family did the same. Out of the
arable land he took only what was his due, and
refused to take more.

The lame tailor and Ivan had people calling on
them, and some of these people began to grasp
the meaning of the Gospels, and in consequence
gave up smoking, drinking, swearing, and using
bad language and tried to help one another.
They also ceased to go to church, and took their
ikons to the village priest, saying they did not
want them any more. The priest was frightened,
and reported what had occurred to the bishop.
The bishop was at a loss what to do. At last
he resolved to send the archimandrite Missael to
the village, the one who had formerly been Mitia
Smokovnikov's teacher of religion.


ASKING Father Missael on his arrival to take a
seat, the bishop told him what had happened in
his diocese.

"It all comes from weakness of spirit and from
ignorance. You are a learned man, and I rely on
you. Go to the village, call the parishioners to-
gether, and convince them of their error."

"If your Grace bids me go, and you give me
your blessing, I will do my best," said Father
Missael. He was very pleased with the task en-
trusted to him. Every opportunity he could find
to demonstrate the firmness of his faith was a
boon to him. In trying to convince others he was
chiefly intent on persuading himself that he was
really a firm believer.

"Do your best. I am greatly distressed about
my flock," said the bishop, leisurely taking a cup
with his white plump hands from the servant who
brought in the tea.

"Why is there only one kind of jam? Bring
another," he said to the servant. "I am greatly
distressed," he went on, turning to Father Mis-

Missael earnestly desired to prove his zeal;
but, being a man of small means, he asked to be
paid for the expenses of his journey; and being
afraid of the rough people who might be ill-dis-
posed towards him, he also asked the bishop to get
him an order from the governor of the province,
so that the local police might help him in case of
need. The bishop complied with his wishes, and
Missael got his things ready with the help of his
servant and his cook. They furnished him with
a case full of wine, and a basket with the victuals
he might need in going to such a lonely place.
Fully provided with all he wanted, he started for
the village to which he was commissioned. He
was pleasantly conscious of the importance of his
mission. All his doubts as to his own faith passed
away, and he was now fully convinced of its real-

His thoughts, far from being concerned with
the real foundation of his creed--this was ac-
cepted as an axiom--were occupied with the argu-
ments used against the forms of worship.


THE village priest and his wife received Father
Missael with great honours, and the next day after
he had arrived the parishioners were invited to
assemble in the church. Missael in a new silk
cassock, with a large cross on his chest, and his
long hair carefully combed, ascended the pulpit;
the priest stood at his side, the deacons and the
choir at a little distance behind him, and the side
entrances were guarded by the police. The dis-
senters also came in their dirty sheepskin coats.

After the service Missael delivered a sermon,
admonishing the dissenters to return to the bosom
of their mother, the Church, threatening them
with the torments of hell, and promising full for-
giveness to those who would repent.

The dissenters kept silent at first. Then, be-
ing asked questions, they gave answers. To the
question why they dissented, they said that their
chief reason was the fact that the Church wor-
shipped gods made of wood, which, far from be-
ing ordained, were condemned by the Scriptures.

When asked by Missael whether they actually
considered the holy ikons to be mere planks of
wood, Chouev answered,--

"Just look at the back of any ikon you choose
and you will see what they are made of."

When asked why they turned against the priests,
their answer was that the Scripture says: "As you
have received it without fee, so you must give it
to the others; whereas the priests require pay-
ment for the grace they bestow by the sacraments."
To all attempts which Missael made to oppose
them by arguments founded on Holy Writ, the
tailor and Ivan Chouev gave calm but very firm
answers, contradicting his assertions by appeal to
the Scriptures, which they knew uncommonly well.

Missael got angry and threatened them with
persecution by the authorities. Their answer
was: It is said, I have been persecuted and so will
you be.

The discussion came to nothing, and all would
have ended well if Missael had not preached the
next day at mass, denouncing the wicked seducers
of the faithful and saying that they deserved the
worst punishment. Coming out of the church, the
crowd of peasants began to consult whether it
would not be well to give the infidels a good lesson
for disturbing the minds of the community. The
same day, just when Missael was enjoying some
salmon and gangfish, dining at the village priest's
in company with the inspector, a violent brawl
arose in the village. The peasants came in a
crowd to Chouev's cottage, and waited for the
dissenters to come out in order to give them a

The dissenters assembled in the cottage num-
bered about twenty men and women. Missael's
sermon and the attitude of the orthodox peasants,
together with their threats, aroused in the mind
of the dissenters angry feelings, to which they had
before been strangers. It was near evening, the
women had to go and milk the cows, and the
peasants were still standing and waiting at the

A boy who stepped out of the door was beaten
and driven back into the house. The people
within began consulting what was to be done, and
could come to no agreement. The tailor said,
"We must bear whatever is done to us, and not
resist." Chouev replied that if they decided on
that course they would, all of them, be beaten to
death. In consequence, he seized a poker and
went out of the house. "Come!" he shouted,
let us follow the law of Moses!" And, falling
upon the peasants, he knocked out one man's eye,
and in the meanwhile all those who had been in
his house contrived to get out and make their way

Chouev was thrown into prison and charged
with sedition and blasphemy.


Two years previous to those events a strong and
handsome young girl of an eastern type, Katia
Turchaninova, came from the Don military settle-
ments to St. Petersburg to study in the university
college for women. In that town she met a stu-
dent, Turin, the son of a district governor in the
Simbirsk province, and fell in love with him. But
her love was not of the ordinary type, and she
had no desire to become his wife and the mother
of his children. He was a dear comrade to her,
and their chief bond of union was a feeling of re-
volt they had in common, as well as the hatred
they bore, not only to the existing forms of gov-
ernment, but to all those who represented that
government. They had also in common the sense
that they both excelled their enemies in culture,
in brains, as well as in morals. Katia Turchan-
inova was a gifted girl, possessed of a good mem-
ory, by means of which she easily mastered the lec-
tures she attended. She was successful in her ex-
aminations, and, apart from that, read all the new-
est books. She was certain that her vocation was
not to bear and rear children, and even looked on
such a task with disgust and contempt. She
thought herself chosen by destiny to destroy the
present government, which was fettering the best
abilities of the nation, and to reveal to the people
a higher standard of life, inculcated by the latest
writers of other countries. She was handsome, a
little inclined to stoutness: she had a good com-
plexion, shining black eyes, abundant black hair.
She inspired the men she knew with feelings she
neither wished nor had time to share, busy as she
was with propaganda work, which consisted chiefly
in mere talking. She was not displeased, how-
ever, to inspire these feelings; and, without dress-
ing too smartly, did not neglect her appearance.
She liked to be admired, as it gave her opportuni-
ties of showing how little she prized what was
valued so highly by other women.

In her views concerning the method of fighting
the government she went further than the majority
of her comrades, and than her friend Turin; all
means, she taught, were justified in such a struggle,
not excluding murder. And yet, with all her revo-
lutionary ideas, Katia Turchaninova was in her
soul a very kind girl, ready to sacrifice herself for
the welfare and the happiness of other people,
and sincerely pleased when she could do a kind-
ness to anybody, a child, an old person, or an ani-

She went in the summer to stay with a friend, a
schoolmistress in a small town on the river Volga.
Turin lived near that town, on his father's estate.
He often came to see the two girls; they gave each
other books to read, and had long discussions,
expressing their common indignation with the state
of affairs in the country. The district doctor, a
friend of theirs, used also to join them on many oc-

The estate of the Turins was situated in the
neighbourhood of the Liventsov estate, the one
that was entrusted to the management of Peter
Nikolaevich Sventizky. Soon after Peter Niko-
laevich had settled there, and begun to en-
force order, young Turin, having observed an in-
dependent tendency in the peasants on the Livent-
sov estate, as well as their determination to up-
hold their rights, became interested in them. He
came often to the village to talk with the men,
and developed his socialistic theories, insisting par-
ticularly on the nationalisation of the land.

After Peter Nikolaevich had been murdered,
and the murderers sent to trial, the revolutionary
group of the small town boiled over with indigna-
tion, and did not shrink from openly expressing
it. The fact of Turin's visits to the village and
his propaganda work among the students, became
known to the authorities during the trial. A
search was made in his house; and, as the police
found a few revolutionary leaflets among his ef-
fects, he was arrested and transferred to prison
in St. Petersburg.

Katia Turchaninova followed him to the metrop-
olis, and went to visit him in prison. She was
not admitted on the day she came, and was told
to come on the day fixed by regulations for visits
to the prisoners. When that day arrived, and
she was finally allowed to see him, she had to talk
to him through two gratings separating the pris-
oner from his visitor. This visit increased her in-
dignation against the authorities. And her feel-
ings become all the more revolutionary after a
visit she paid to the office of a gendarme officer
who had to deal with the Turin case. The offi-
cer, a handsome man, seemed obviously disposed
to grant her exceptional favours in visiting the
prisoner, if she would allow him to make love to
her. Disgusted with him, she appealed to the
chief of police. He pretended--just as the officer
did when talking officially to her--to be power-
less himself, and to depend entirely on orders
coming from the minister of state. She sent a
petition to the minister asking for an interview,
which was refused.

Then she resolved to do a desperate thing and
bought a revolver.


THE minister was receiving petitioners at the usual
hour appointed for the reception. He had talked
successively to three of them, and now a pretty
young woman with black eyes, who was holding
a petition in her left hand, approached. The
minister's eyes gleamed when he saw how attract-
ive the petitioner was, but recollecting his high po-
sition he put on a serious face.

"What do you want?" he asked, coming down
to where she stood. Without answering his ques-
tion the young woman quickly drew a revolver
from under her cloak and aiming it at the min-
ister's chest fired--but missed him.

The minister rushed at her, trying to seize her
hand, but she escaped, and taking a step back, fired
a second time. The minister ran out of the room.
The woman was immediately seized. She was
trembling violently, and could not utter a single
word; after a while she suddenly burst into a hys-
terical laugh. The minister was not even wounded.

That woman was Katia Turchaninova. She
was put into the prison of preliminary detention.
The minister received congratulations and marks
of sympathy from the highest quarters, and even
from the emperor himself, who appointed a com-
mission to investigate the plot that had led to the
attempted assassination. As a matter of fact
there was no plot whatever, but the police officials
and the detectives set to work with the utmost zeal
to discover all the threads of the non-existing con-
spiracy. They did everything to deserve the fees
they were paid; they got up in the small hours of
the morning, searched one house after another,
took copies of papers and of books they found,
read diaries, personal letters, made extracts from
them on the very best notepaper and in beautiful
handwriting, interrogated Katia Turchaninova
ever so many times, and confronted her with all
those whom they suspected of conspiracy, in order
to extort from her the names of her accomplices.

The minister, a good-natured man at heart, was
sincerely sorry for the pretty girl. But he said
to himself that he was bound to consider his high
state duties imposed upon him, even though they
did not imply much work and trouble. So, when
his former colleague, a chamberlain and a friend
of the Turins, met him at a court ball and tried to
rouse his pity for Turin and the girl Turchani-
nova, he shrugged his shoulders, stretching the red
ribbon on his white waistcoat, and said: "Je ne
demanderais pas mieux que de relacher cette pau-
vre fillette, mais vous savez le devoir." And in
the meantime Katia Turchaninova was kept in
prison. She was at times in a quiet mood, com-
municated with her fellow-prisoners by knocking
on the walls, and read the books that were sent
to her. But then came days when she had fits of
desperate fury, knocking with her fists against
the wall, screaming and laughing like a mad-


ONE day Maria Semenovna came home from the
treasurer's office, where she had received her pen-
sion. On her way she met a schoolmaster, a
friend of hers.

"Good day, Maria Semenovna! Have you re-
ceived your money?" the schoolmaster asked, in
a loud voice from the other side of the street.

"I have," answered Maria Semenovna. "But
it was not much; just enough to fill the holes."

"Oh, there must be some tidy pickings out
of such a lot of money," said the schoolmaster,
and passed on, after having said good-bye.

"Good-bye," said Maria Semenovna. While
she was looking at her friend, she met a tall man
face to face, who had very long arms and a stern
look in his eyes. Coming to her house, she was
very startled on again seeing the same man with
the long arms, who had evidently followed her.
He remained standing another moment after she
had gone in, then turned and walked away.

Maria Semenovna felt somewhat frightened at
first. But when she had entered the house, and
had given her father and her nephew Fedia the
presents she had brought for them, and she had
patted the dog Treasure, who whined with joy,
she forgot her fears. She gave the money to her
father and began to work, as there was always
plenty for her to do.

The man she met face to face was Stepan.

After he had killed the innkeeper, he did not
return to town. Strange to say, he was not sorry
to have committed that murder. His mind went
back to the murdered man over and over again
during the following day; and he liked the recol-
lection of having done the thing so skilfully, so
cleverly, that nobody-would ever discover it, and
he would not therefore be prevented from mur-
dering other people in the same way. Sitting in
the public-house and having his tea, he looked at
the people around him with the same thought how
he should murder them. In the evening he called
at a carter's, a man from his village, to spend the

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