Part 1 out of 11
This etext was prepared by Jim Tinsley
BY LEO TOLSTOY
MRS. LOUISE MAUDE
Opinions about Tolstoy and his work differ, but on one point
there surely might be unanimity. A writer of world-wide
reputation should be at least allowed to know how to spell his
own name. Why should any one insist on spelling it "Tolstoi"
(with one, two or three dots over the "i"), when he himself
writes it "Tolstoy"? The only reason I have ever heard suggested
is, that in England and America such outlandish views are
attributed to him, that an outlandish spelling is desirable to
match those views.
This novel, written in the rough by Tolstoy some years ago and
founded upon an actual occurrence, was completely rewritten by
him during the last year and a half, and all the proceeds have
been devoted by him to aiding the Doukhobors, a sect who were
persecuted in the Caucasus (especially from 1895 to 1898) for
refusing to learn war. About seven thousand three hundred of them
are settled in Canada, and about a hundred of the leaders are
exiled to the remote parts of Siberia.
Anything I may receive for my work in translating the book will
go to the same cause. "Prevention is better than cure," and I
would rather help people to abstain from killing and wounding
each other than devote the money to patch up their wounds after
MASLOVA IN PRISON.
Though hundreds of thousands had done their very best to
disfigure the small piece of land on which they were crowded
together, by paying the ground with stones, scraping away every
vestige of vegetation, cutting down the trees, turning away birds
and beasts, and filling the air with the smoke of naphtha and
coal, still spring was spring, even in the town.
The sun shone warm, the air was balmy; everywhere, where it did
not get scraped away, the grass revived and sprang up between the
paving-stones as well as on the narrow strips of lawn on the
boulevards. The birches, the poplars, and the wild cherry
unfolded their gummy and fragrant leaves, the limes were
expanding their opening buds; crows, sparrows, and pigeons,
filled with the joy of spring, were getting their nests ready;
the flies were buzzing along the walls, warmed by the sunshine.
All were glad, the plants, the birds, the insects, and the
children. But men, grown-up men and women, did not leave off
cheating and tormenting themselves and each other. It was not
this spring morning men thought sacred and worthy of
consideration not the beauty of God's world, given for a joy to
all creatures, this beauty which inclines the heart to peace, to
harmony, and to love, but only their own devices for enslaving
Thus, in the prison office of the Government town, it was not the
fact that men and animals had received the grace and gladness of
spring that was considered sacred and important, but that a
notice, numbered and with a superscription, had come the day
before, ordering that on this 28th day of April, at 9 a.m., three
prisoners at present detained in the prison, a man and two women
(one of these women, as the chief criminal, to be conducted
separately), had to appear at Court. So now, on the 28th of
April, at 8 o'clock, a jailer and soon after him a woman warder
with curly grey hair, dressed in a jacket with sleeves trimmed
with gold, with a blue-edged belt round her waist, and having a
look of suffering on her face, came into the corridor.
"You want Maslova?" she asked, coming up to the cell with the
jailer who was on duty.
The jailer, rattling the iron padlock, opened the door of the
cell, from which there came a whiff of air fouler even than that
in the corridor, and called out, "Maslova! to the Court," and
closed the door again.
Even into the prison yard the breeze had brought the fresh
vivifying air from the fields. But in the corridor the air was
laden with the germs of typhoid, the smell of sewage,
putrefaction, and tar; every newcomer felt sad and dejected in
it. The woman warder felt this, though she was used to bad air.
She had just come in from outside, and entering the corridor, she
at once became sleepy.
From inside the cell came the sound of bustle and women's voices,
and the patter of bare feet on the floor.
"Now, then, hurry up, Maslova, I say!" called out the jailer, and
in a minute or two a small young woman with a very full bust came
briskly out of the door and went up to the jailer. She had on a
grey cloak over a white jacket and petticoat. On her feet she
wore linen stockings and prison shoes, and round her head was
tied a white kerchief, from under which a few locks of black hair
were brushed over the forehead with evident intent. The face of
the woman was of that whiteness peculiar to people who have lived
long in confinement, and which puts one in mind of shoots of
potatoes that spring up in a cellar. Her small broad hands and
full neck, which showed from under the broad collar of her cloak,
were of the same hue. Her black, sparkling eyes, one with a
slight squint, appeared in striking contrast to the dull pallor
of her face.
She carried herself very straight, expanding her full bosom.
With her head slightly thrown back, she stood in the corridor,
looking straight into the eyes of the jailer, ready to comply
with any order.
The jailer was about to lock the door when a wrinkled and
severe-looking old woman put out her grey head and began speaking
to Maslova. But the jailer closed the door, pushing the old
woman's head with it. A woman's laughter was heard from the cell,
and Maslova smiled, turning to the little grated opening in the
cell door. The old woman pressed her face to the grating from the
other side, and said, in a hoarse voice:
"Now mind, and when they begin questioning you, just repeat over
the same thing, and stick to it; tell nothing that is not
"Well, it could not be worse than it is now, anyhow; I only wish
it was settled one way or another."
"Of course, it will be settled one way or another," said the
jailer, with a superior's self-assured witticism. "Now, then, get
along! Take your places!"
The old woman's eyes vanished from the grating, and Maslova
stepped out into the middle of the corridor. The warder in front,
they descended the stone stairs, past the still fouler, noisy
cells of the men's ward, where they were followed by eyes looking
out of every one of the gratings in the doors, and entered the
office, where two soldiers were waiting to escort her. A clerk
who was sitting there gave one of the soldiers a paper reeking of
tobacco, and pointing to the prisoner, remarked, "Take her."
The soldier, a peasant from Nijni Novgorod, with a red,
pock-marked face, put the paper into the sleeve of his coat,
winked to his companion, a broad-shouldered Tchouvash, and then
the prisoner and the soldiers went to the front entrance, out of
the prison yard, and through the town up the middle of the
Isvostchiks [cabmen], tradespeople, cooks, workmen,
and government clerks, stopped and looked curiously at the
prisoner; some shook their heads and thought, "This is what evil
conduct, conduct unlike ours, leads to." The children stopped and
gazed at the robber with frightened looks; but the thought that
the soldiers were preventing her from doing more harm quieted
their fears. A peasant, who had sold his charcoal, and had had
some tea in the town, came up, and, after crossing himself, gave
her a copeck. The prisoner blushed and muttered something; she
noticed that she was attracting everybody's attention, and that
pleased her. The comparatively fresh air also gladdened her, but
it was painful to step on the rough stones with the ill-made
prison shoes on her feet, which had become unused to walking.
Passing by a corn-dealer's shop, in front of which a few pigeons
were strutting about, unmolested by any one, the prisoner almost
touched a grey-blue bird with her foot; it fluttered up and flew
close to her car, fanning her with its wings. She smiled, then
sighed deeply as she remembered her present position.
MASLOVA'S EARLY LIFE.
The story of the prisoner Maslova's life was a very common one.
Maslova's mother was the unmarried daughter of a village woman,
employed on a dairy farm, which belonged to two maiden ladies who
were landowners. This unmarried woman had a baby every year, and,
as often happens among the village people, each one of these
undesired babies, after it had been carefully baptised, was
neglected by its mother, whom it hindered at her work, and left
to starve. Five children had died in this way. They had all been
baptised and then not sufficiently fed, and just left to die.
The sixth baby, whose father was a gipsy tramp, would have shared
the same fate, had it not so happened that one of the maiden
ladies came into the farmyard to scold the dairymaids for sending
up cream that smelt of the cow. The young woman was lying in the
cowshed with a fine, healthy, new-born baby. The old maiden lady
scolded the maids again for allowing the woman (who had just been
confined) to lie in the cowshed, and was about to go away, but
seeing the baby her heart was touched, and she offered to stand
godmother to the little girl, and pity for her little
god-daughter induced her to give milk and a little money to the
mother, so that she should feed the baby; and the little girl
lived. The old ladies spoke of her as "the saved one." When the
child was three years old, her mother fell ill and died, and the
maiden ladies took the child from her old grandmother, to whom
she was nothing but a burden.
The little black-eyed maiden grew to be extremely pretty, and so
full of spirits that the ladies found her very entertaining.
The younger of the ladies, Sophia Ivanovna, who had stood
godmother to the girl, had the kinder heart of the two sisters;
Maria Ivanovna, the elder, was rather hard. Sophia Ivanovna
dressed the little girl in nice clothes, and taught her to read
and write, meaning to educate her like a lady. Maria Ivanovna
thought the child should be brought up to work, and trained her
to be a good servant. She was exacting; she punished, and, when
in a bad temper, even struck the little girl. Growing up under
these two different influences, the girl turned out half servant,
half young lady. They called her Katusha, which sounds less
refined than Katinka, but is not quite so common as Katka. She
used to sew, tidy up the rooms, polish the metal cases of the
icons and do other light work, and sometimes she sat and read to
Though she had more than one offer, she would not marry. She felt
that life as the wife of any of the working men who were courting
her would be too hard; spoilt as she was by a life of case.
She lived in this manner till she was sixteen, when the nephew of
the old ladies, a rich young prince, and a university student,
came to stay with his aunts, and Katusha, not daring to
acknowledge it even to herself, fell in love with him.
Then two years later this same nephew stayed four days with his
aunts before proceeding to join his regiment, and the night
before he left he betrayed Katusha, and, after giving her a
100-rouble note, went away. Five months later she knew for
certain that she was to be a mother. After that everything seemed
repugnant to her, her only thought being how to escape from the
shame that awaited her. She began not only to serve the ladies in
a half-hearted and negligent way, but once, without knowing how
it happened, was very rude to them, and gave them notice, a thing
she repented of later, and the ladies let her go, noticing
something wrong and very dissatisfied with her. Then she got a
housemaid's place in a police-officer's house, but stayed there
only three months, for the police officer, a man of fifty, began
to torment her, and once, when he was in a specially enterprising
mood, she fired up, called him "a fool and old devil," and gave
him such a knock in the chest that he fell. She was turned out
for her rudeness. It was useless to look for another situation,
for the time of her confinement was drawing near, so she went to
the house of a village midwife, who also sold wine. The
confinement was easy; but the midwife, who had a case of fever in
the village, infected Katusha, and her baby boy had to be sent to
the foundlings' hospital, where, according to the words of the
old woman who took him there, he at once died. When Katusha went
to the midwife she had 127 roubles in all, 27 which she had
earned and 100 given her by her betrayer. When she left she had
but six roubles; she did not know how to keep money, but spent it
on herself, and gave to all who asked. The midwife took 40
roubles for two months' board and attendance, 25 went to get the
baby into the foundlings' hospital, and 40 the midwife borrowed
to buy a cow with. Twenty roubles went just for clothes and
dainties. Having nothing left to live on, Katusha had to look out
for a place again, and found one in the house of a forester. The
forester was a married man, but he, too, began to annoy her from
the first day. He disgusted her, and she tried to avoid him. But
he, more experienced and cunning, besides being her master, who
could send her wherever he liked, managed to accomplish his
object. His wife found it out, and, catching Katusha and her
husband in a room all by themselves, began beating her. Katusha
defended herself, and they had a fight, and Katusha got turned
out of the house without being paid her wages.
Then Katusha went to live with her aunt in town. The aunt's
husband, a bookbinder, had once been comfortably off, but had
lost all his customers, and had taken to drink, and spent all he
could lay hands on at the public-house. The aunt kept a little
laundry, and managed to support herself, her children, and her
wretched husband. She offered Katusha the place of an assistant
laundress; but seeing what a life of misery and hardship her
aunt's assistants led, Katusha hesitated, and applied to a
registry office for a place. One was found for her with a lady
who lived with her two sons, pupils at a public day school. A
week after Katusha had entered the house the elder, a big fellow
with moustaches, threw up his studies and made love to her,
continually following her about. His mother laid all the blame on
Katusha, and gave her notice.
It so happened that, after many fruitless attempts to find a
situation, Katusha again went to the registry office, and there
met a woman with bracelets on her bare, plump arms and rings on
most of her fingers. Hearing that Katusha was badly in want of a
place, the woman gave her her address, and invited her to come to
her house. Katusha went. The woman received her very kindly, set
cake and sweet wine before her, then wrote a note and gave it to
a servant to take to somebody. In the evening a tall man, with
long, grey hair and a white beard, entered the room, and sat down
at once near Katusha, smiling and gazing at her with glistening
eyes. He began joking with her. The hostess called him away into
the next room, and Katusha heard her say, "A fresh one from the
country," Then the hostess called Katusha aside and told her that
the man was an author, and that he had a great deal of money, and
that if he liked her he would not grudge her anything. He did
like her, and gave her 25 roubles, promising to see her often.
The 25 roubles soon went; some she paid to her aunt for board and
lodging; the rest was spent on a hat, ribbons, and such like. A
few days later the author sent for her, and she went. He gave her
another 25 roubles, and offered her a separate lodging.
Next door to the lodging rented for her by the author there lived
a jolly young shopman, with whom Katusha soon fell in love. She
told the author, and moved to a little lodging of her own. The
shopman, who promised to marry her, went to Nijni on business
without mentioning it to her, having evidently thrown her up, and
Katusha remained alone. She meant to continue living in the
lodging by herself, but was informed by the police that in this
case she would have to get a license. She returned to her aunt.
Seeing her fine dress, her hat, and mantle, her aunt no longer
offered her laundry work. As she understood things, her niece had
risen above that sort of thing. The question as to whether she
was to become a laundress or not did not occur to Katusha,
either. She looked with pity at the thin, hard-worked
laundresses, some already in consumption, who stood washing or
ironing with their thin arms in the fearfully hot front room,
which was always full of soapy steam and draughts from the
windows, and thought with horror that she might have shared the
Katusha had begun to smoke some time before, and since the young
shopman had thrown her up she was getting more and more into the
habit of drinking. It was not so much the flavour of wine that
tempted her as the fact that it gave her a chance of forgetting
the misery she suffered, making her feel more unrestrained and
more confident of her own worth, which she was not when quite
sober; without wine she felt sad and ashamed. Just at this time a
woman came along who offered to place her in one of the largest
establishments in the city, explaining all the advantages and
benefits of the situation. Katusha had the choice before her of
either going into service or accepting this offer--and she chose
the latter. Besides, it seemed to her as though, in this way, she
could revenge herself on her betrayer and the shopman and all
those who had injured her. One of the things that tempted her,
and was the cause of her decision, was the woman telling her she
might order her own dresses--velvet, silk, satin, low-necked ball
dresses, anything she liked. A mental picture of herself in a
bright yellow silk trimmed with black velvet with low neck and
short sleeves conquered her, and she gave up her passport. On the
same evening the procuress took an isvostchik and drove her to
the notorious house kept by Carolina Albertovna Kitaeva.
From that day a life of chronic sin against human and divine laws
commenced for Katusha Maslova, a life which is led by hundreds of
thousands of women, and which is not merely tolerated but
sanctioned by the Government, anxious for the welfare of its
subjects; a life which for nine women out of ten ends in painful
disease, premature decrepitude, and death.
Katusha Maslova lived this life for seven years. During these
years she twice changed houses, and had once been to the
hospital. In the seventh year of this life, when she was
twenty-six years old, happened that for which she was put in
prison and for which she was now being taken to be tried, after
more than three months of confinement with thieves and murderers
in the stifling air of a prison.
When Maslova, wearied out by the long walk, reached the building,
accompanied by two soldiers, Prince Dmitri Ivanovitch Nekhludoff,
who had seduced her, was still lying on his high bedstead, with a
feather bed on the top of the spring mattress, in a fine, clean,
well-ironed linen night shirt, smoking a cigarette, and
considering what he had to do to-day, and what had happened
Recalling the evening he had spent with the Korchagins, a wealthy
and aristocratic family, whose daughter every one expected he
would marry, he sighed, and, throwing away the end of his
cigarette, was going to take another out of the silver case; but,
changing his mind, he resolutely raised his solid frame, and,
putting down his smooth, white legs, stepped into his slippers,
threw his silk dressing gown over his broad shoulders, and passed
into his dressing-room, walking heavily and quickly. There he
carefully cleaned his teeth, many of which were filled, with
tooth powder, and rinsed his mouth with scented elixir. After
that he washed his hands with perfumed soap, cleaned his long
nails with particular care, then, from a tap fixed to his marble
washstand, he let a spray of cold water run over his face and
stout neck. Having finished this part of the business, he went
into a third room, where a shower bath stood ready for him.
Having refreshed his full, white, muscular body, and dried it
with a rough bath sheet, he put on his fine undergarments and his
boots, and sat down before the glass to brush his black beard and
his curly hair, that had begun to get thin above the forehead.
Everything he used, everything belonging to his toilet, his
linen, his clothes, boots, necktie, pin, studs, was of the best
quality, very quiet, simple, durable and costly.
Nekhludoff dressed leisurely, and went into the dining-room. A
table, which looked very imposing with its four legs carved in
the shape of lions' paws, and a huge side-board to match, stood
in the oblong room, the floor of which had been polished by three
men the day before. On the table, which was covered with a fine,
starched cloth, stood a silver coffeepot full of aromatic coffee,
a sugar basin, a jug of fresh cream, and a bread basket filled
with fresh rolls, rusks, and biscuits; and beside the plate lay
the last number of the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, a newspaper, and
Nekhludoff was just going to open his letters, when a stout,
middle-aged woman in mourning, a lace cap covering the widening
parting of her hair, glided into the room. This was Agraphena
Petrovna, formerly lady's maid to Nekhludoff's mother. Her
mistress had died quite recently in this very house, and she
remained with the son as his housekeeper. Agraphena Petrovna had
spent nearly ten years, at different times, abroad with
Nekhludoff's mother, and had the appearance and manners of a
lady. She had lived with the Nekhludoffs from the time she was a
child, and had known Dmitri Ivanovitch at the time when he was
still little Mitinka.
"Good-morning, Dmitri Ivanovitch."
"Good-morning, Agraphena Petrovna. What is it you want?"
"A letter from the princess; either from the mother or the
daughter. The maid brought it some time ago, and is waiting in my
room," answered Agraphena Petrovna, handing him the letter with a
"All right! Directly!" said Nekhludoff, taking the letter and
frowning as he noticed Agraphena Petrovna's smile.
That smile meant that the letter was from the younger Princess
Korchagin, whom Agraphena Petrovna expected him to marry. This
supposition of hers annoyed Nekhludoff.
"Then I'll tell her to wait?" and Agraphena Petrovna took a crumb
brush which was not in its place, put it away, and sailed out of
Nekhludoff opened the perfumed note, and began reading it.
The note was written on a sheet of thick grey paper, with rough
edges; the writing looked English. It said:
Having assumed the task of acting as your memory, I take the
liberty of reminding you that on this the 28th day of April you
have to appear at the Law Courts, as juryman, and, in
consequence, can on no account accompany us and Kolosoff to the
picture gallery, as, with your habitual flightiness, you promised
yesterday; _a moins que vous ne soyez dispose a payer la cour
d'assise les 300 roubles d'amende que vous vous refusez pour
votre cheval,_ for not appearing in time. I remembered it last
night after you were gone, so do not forget.
Princess M. Korchagin.
On the other side was a postscript.
_Maman vous fait dire que votre convert vous attendra jusqu'a
la nuit. Venez absolument a quelle heure que cela soit._
Nekhludoff made a grimace. This note was a continuation of that
skilful manoeuvring which the Princess Korchagin had already
practised for two months in order to bind him closer and closer
with invisible threads. And yet, beside the usual hesitation of
men past their youth to marry unless they are very much in love,
Nekhludoff had very good reasons why, even if he did make up his
mind to it, he could not propose at once. It was not that ten
years previously he had betrayed and forsaken Maslova; he had
quite forgotten that, and he would not have considered it a
reason for not marrying. No! The reason was that he had a liaison
with a married woman, and, though he considered it broken off,
she did not.
Nekhludoff was rather shy with women, and his very shyness
awakened in this married woman, the unprincipled wife of the
marechal de noblesse of a district where Nekhludoff was present
at an election, the desire of vanquishing him. This woman drew
him into an intimacy which entangled him more and more, while it
daily became more distasteful to him. Having succumbed to the
temptation, Nekhludoff felt guilty, and had not the courage to
break the tie without her consent. And this was the reason he did
not feel at liberty to propose to Korchagin even if he had wished
to do so. Among the letters on the table was one from this
woman's husband. Seeing his writing and the postmark, Nekhludoff
flushed, and felt his energies awakening, as they always did when
he was facing any kind of danger.
But his excitement passed at once. The marechal do noblesse, of
the district in which his largest estate lay, wrote only to let
Nekhludoff know that there was to be a special meeting towards
the end of May, and that Nekhludoff was to be sure and come to
"_donner un coup d'epaule_," at the important debates concerning
the schools and the roads, as a strong opposition by the
reactionary party was expected.
The marechal was a liberal, and was quite engrossed in this
fight, not even noticing the misfortune that had befallen him.
Nekhludoff remembered the dreadful moments he had lived through;
once when he thought that the husband had found him out and was
going to challenge him, and he was making up his mind to fire
into the air; also the terrible scene he had with her when she
ran out into the park, and in her excitement tried to drown
herself in the pond.
"Well, I cannot go now, and can do nothing until I get a reply
from her," thought Nekhludoff. A week ago he had written her a
decisive letter, in which he acknowledged his guilt, and his
readiness to atone for it; but at the same time he pronounced
their relations to be at an end, for her own good, as he
expressed it. To this letter he had as yet received no answer.
This might prove a good sign, for if she did not agree to break
off their relations, she would have written at once, or even come
herself, as she had done before. Nekhludoff had heard that there
was some officer who was paying her marked attention, and this
tormented him by awakening jealousy, and at the same time
encouraged him with the hope of escape from the deception that
was oppressing him.
The other letter was from his steward. The steward wrote to tell
him that a visit to his estates was necessary in order to enter
into possession, and also to decide about the further management
of his lands; whether it was to continue in the same way as when
his mother was alive, or whether, as he had represented to the
late lamented princess, and now advised the young prince, they
had not better increase their stock and farm all the land now
rented by the peasants themselves. The steward wrote that this
would be a far more profitable way of managing the property; at
the same time, he apologised for not having forwarded the 3,000
roubles income due on the 1st. This money would he sent on by the
next mail. The reason for the delay was that he could not get the
money out of the peasants, who had grown so untrustworthy that he
had to appeal to the authorities. This letter was partly
disagreeable, and partly pleasant. It was pleasant to feel that
he had power over so large a property, and yet disagreeable,
because Nekhludoff had been an enthusiastic admirer of Henry
George and Herbert Spencer. Being himself heir to a large
property, he was especially struck by the position taken up by
Spencer in Social Statics, that justice forbids private
landholding, and with the straightforward resoluteness of his
age, had not merely spoken to prove that land could not be looked
upon as private property, and written essays on that subject at
the university, but had acted up to his convictions, and,
considering it wrong to hold landed property, had given the small
piece of land he had inherited from his father to the peasants.
Inheriting his mother's large estates, and thus becoming a landed
proprietor, he had to choose one of two things: either to give up
his property, as he had given up his father's land ten years
before, or silently to confess that all his former ideas were
mistaken and false.
He could not choose the former because he had no means but the
landed estates (he did not care to serve); moreover, he had
formed luxurious habits which he could not easily give up.
Besides, he had no longer the same inducements; his strong
convictions, the resoluteness of youth, and the ambitious desire
to do something unusual were gone. As to the second course, that
of denying those clear and unanswerable proofs of the injustice
of landholding, which he had drawn from Spencer's Social Statics,
and the brilliant corroboration of which he had at a later period
found in the works of Henry George, such a course was impossible
When Nekhludoff had finished his coffee, he went to his study to
look at the summons, and find out what time he was to appear at
the court, before writing his answer to the princess. Passing
through his studio, where a few studies hung on the walls and,
facing the easel, stood an unfinished picture, a feeling of
inability to advance in art, a sense of his incapacity, came over
him. He had often had this feeling, of late, and explained it by
his too finely-developed aesthetic taste; still, the feeling was
a very unpleasant one. Seven years before this he had given up
military service, feeling sure that he had a talent for art, and
had looked down with some disdain at all other activity from the
height of his artistic standpoint. And now it turned out that he
had no right to do so, and therefore everything that reminded him
of all this was unpleasant. He looked at the luxurious fittings
of the studio with a heavy heart, and it was in no cheerful mood
that he entered his study, a large, lofty room fitted up with a
view to comfort, convenience, and elegant appearance. He found
the summons at once in a pigeon hole, labelled "immediate," of
his large writing table. He had to appear at the court at 11
Nekhludoff sat down to write a note in reply to the princess,
thanking her for the invitation, and promising to try and come to
dinner. Having written one note, he tore it up, as it seemed too
intimate. He wrote another, but it was too cold; he feared it
might give offence, so he tore it up, too. He pressed the button
of an electric bell, and his servant, an elderly, morose-looking
man, with whiskers and shaved chin and lip, wearing a grey cotton
apron, entered at the door.
"Send to fetch an isvostchik, please."
"And tell the person who is waiting that I send thanks for the
invitation, and shall try to come."
"It is not very polite, but I can't write; no matter, I shall see
her today," thought Nekhludoff, and went to get his overcoat.
When he came out of the house, an isvostchik he knew, with
india-rubber tires to his trap, was at the door waiting for him.
"You had hardly gone away from Prince Korchagin's yesterday," he
said, turning half round, "when I drove up, and the Swiss at the
door says, 'just gone.'" The isvostchik knew that Nekhludoff
visited at the Korchagins, and called there on the chance of
being engaged by him.
"Even the isvostchiks know of my relations with the Korchagins,"
thought Nekhludoff, and again the question whether he should not
marry Princess Korchagin presented itself to him, and he could
not decide it either way, any more than most of the questions
that arose in his mind at this time.
It was in favour of marriage in general, that besides the
comforts of hearth and home, it made a moral life possible, and
chiefly that a family would, so Nekhludoff thought, give an aim
to his now empty life.
Against marriage in general was the fear, common to bachelors
past their first youth, of losing freedom, and an unconscious awe
before this mysterious creature, a woman.
In this particular case, in favour of marrying Missy (her name
was Mary, but, as is usual among a certain set, a nickname had
been given her) was that she came of good family, and differed in
everything, manner of speaking, walking, laughing, from the
common people, not by anything exceptional, but by her "good
breeding"--he could find no other term for this quality, though
he prized it very highly---and, besides, she thought more of him
than of anybody else, therefore evidently understood him. This
understanding of him, i.e., the recognition of his superior
merits, was to Nekhludoff a proof of her good sense and correct
judgment. Against marrying Missy in particular, was, that in all
likelihood, a girl with even higher qualities could be found,
that she was already 27, and that he was hardly her first love.
This last idea was painful to him. His pride would not reconcile
itself with the thought that she had loved some one else, even in
the past. Of course, she could not have known that she should
meet him, but the thought that she was capable of loving another
offended him. So that he had as many reasons for marrying as
against it; at any rate, they weighed equally with Nekhludoff,
who laughed at himself, and called himself the ass of the fable,
remaining like that animal undecided which haycock to turn to.
"At any rate, before I get an answer from Mary Vasilievna (the
marechal's wife), and finish completely with her, I can do
nothing," he said to himself. And the conviction that he might,
and was even obliged, to delay his decision, was comforting.
"Well, I shall consider all that later on," he said to himself,
as the trap drove silently along the asphalt pavement up to the
doors of the Court.
"Now I must fulfil my public duties conscientiously, as I am in
the habit of always doing, and as I consider it right to do.
Besides, they are often interesting." And he entered the hall of
the Law Courts, past the doorkeeper.
The corridors of the Court were already full of activity. The
attendants hurried, out of breath, dragging their feet along the
ground without lifting them, backwards and forwards, with all
sorts of messages and papers. Ushers, advocates, and law officers
passed hither and thither. Plaintiffs, and those of the accused
who were not guarded, wandered sadly along the walls or sat
"Where is the Law Court?" Nekhludoff asked of an attendant.
"Which? There is the Civil Court and the Criminal Court."
"I am on the jury."
"The Criminal Court you should have said. Here to the right, then
to the left--the second door."
Nekhludoff followed the direction.
Meanwhile some of the Criminal Court jurymen who were late had
hurriedly passed into a separate room. At the door mentioned two
men stood waiting.
One, a tall, fat merchant, a kind-hearted fellow, had evidently
partaken of some refreshments and a glass of something, and was
in most pleasant spirits. The other was a shopman of Jewish
extraction. They were talking about the price of wool when
Nekhludoff came up and asked them if this was the jurymen's room.
"Yes, my dear sir, this is it. One of us? On the jury, are you?"
asked the merchant, with a merry wink.
"Ah, well, we shall have a go at the work together," he
continued, after Nekhludoff had answered in the affirmative. "My
name is Baklasheff, merchant of the Second Guild," he said,
putting out his broad, soft, flexible hand.
"With whom have I the honour?"
Nekhludoff gave his name and passed into the jurymen's room.
Inside the room were about ten persons of all sorts. They had
come but a short while ago, and some were sitting, others walking
up and down, looking at each other, and making each other's
acquaintance. There was a retired colonel in uniform; some were
in frock coats, others in morning coats, and only one wore a
Their faces all had a certain look of satisfaction at the
prospect of fulfilling a public duty, although many of them had
had to leave their businesses, and most were complaining of it.
The jurymen talked among themselves about the weather, the early
spring, and the business before them, some having been
introduced, others just guessing who was who. Those who were not
acquainted with Nekhludoff made haste to get introduced,
evidently looking upon this as an honour, and he taking it as his
due, as he always did when among strangers. Had he been asked why
he considered himself above the majority of people, he could not
have given an answer; the life he had been living of late was not
particularly meritorious. The fact of his speaking English,
French, and German with a good accent, and of his wearing the
best linen, clothes, ties, and studs, bought from the most
expensive dealers in these goods, he quite knew would not serve
as a reason for claiming superiority. At the same time he did
claim superiority, and accepted the respect paid him as his due,
and was hurt if he did not get it. In the jurymen's room his
feelings were hurt by disrespectful treatment. Among the jury
there happened to be a man whom he knew, a former teacher of his
sister's children, Peter Gerasimovitch. Nekhludoff never knew his
surname, and even bragged a bit about this. This man was now a
master at a public school. Nekhludoff could not stand his
familiarity, his self-satisfied laughter, his vulgarity, in
"Ah ha! You're also trapped." These were the words, accompanied
with boisterous laughter, with which Peter Gerasimovitch greeted
Nekhludoff. "Have you not managed to get out of it?"
"I never meant to get out of it," replied Nekhludoff, gloomily,
and in a tone of severity.
"Well, I call this being public spirited. But just wait until you
get hungry or sleepy; you'll sing to another tune then."
"This son of a priest will be saying 'thou' [in Russian, as in
many other languages, "thou" is used generally among people very
familiar with each other, or by superiors to inferiors] to me
next," thought Nekhludoff, and walked away, with such a look of
sadness on his face, as might have been natural if he had just
heard of the death of all his relations. He came up to a group
that had formed itself round a clean-shaven, tall, dignified man,
who was recounting something with great animation. This man was
talking about the trial going on in the Civil Court as of a case
well known to himself, mentioning the judges and a celebrated
advocate by name. He was saying that it seemed wonderful how the
celebrated advocate had managed to give such a clever turn to the
affair that an old lady, though she had the right on her side,
would have to pay a large sum to her opponent. "The advocate is a
genius," he said.
The listeners heard it all with respectful attention, and several
of them tried to put in a word, but the man interrupted them, as
if he alone knew all about it.
Though Nekhludoff had arrived late, he had to wait a long time.
One of the members of the Court had not yet come, and everybody
was kept waiting.
The president, who had to take the chair, had arrived early. The
president was a tall, stout man, with long grey whiskers. Though
married, he led a very loose life, and his wife did the same, so
they did not stand in each other's way. This morning he had
received a note from a Swiss girl, who had formerly been a
governess in his house, and who was now on her way from South
Russia to St. Petersburg. She wrote that she would wait for him
between five and six p.m. in the Hotel Italia. This made him wish
to begin and get through the sitting as soon as possible, so as
to have time to call before six p.m. on the little red-haired
Clara Vasilievna, with whom he had begun a romance in the country
last summer. He went into a private room, latched the door, took
a pair of dumb-bells out of a cupboard, moved his arms 20 times
upwards, downwards, forwards, and sideways, then holding the
dumb-bells above his head, lightly bent his knees three times.
"Nothing keeps one going like a cold bath and exercise," he said,
feeling the biceps of his right arm with his left hand, on the
third finger of which he wore a gold ring. He had still to do the
moulinee movement (for he always went through those two exercises
before a long sitting), when there was a pull at the door. The
president quickly put away the dumb-bells and opened the door,
saying, "I beg your pardon."
One of the members, a high-shouldered, discontented-looking man,
with gold spectacles, came into the room. "Matthew Nikitich has
again not come," he said, in a dissatisfied tone.
"Not yet?" said the president, putting on his uniform. "He is
"It is extraordinary. He ought to be ashamed of himself," said
the member, angrily, and taking out a cigarette.
This member, a very precise man, had had an unpleasant encounter
with his wife in the morning, because she had spent her allowance
before the end of the month, and had asked him to give her some
money in advance, but he would not give way to her, and they had
a quarrel. The wife told him that if he were going to behave so,
he need not expect any dinner; there would be no dinner for him
at home. At this point he left, fearing that she might carry out
her threat, for anything might be expected from her. "This comes
of living a good, moral life," he thought, looking at the
beaming, healthy, cheerful, and kindly president, who, with
elbows far apart, was smoothing his thick grey whiskers with his
fine white hands over the embroidered collar of his uniform. "He
is always contented and merry while I am suffering."
The secretary came in and brought some document.
"Thanks, very much," said the president, lighting a cigarette.
"Which case shall we take first, then?"
"The poisoning case, I should say," answered the secretary, with
"All right; the poisoning case let it be," said the president,
thinking that he could get this case over by four o'clock, and
then go away. "And Matthew Nikitich; has he come?"
"He is here," replied the secretary.
"Then if you see him, please tell him that we begin with the
poisoning case." Breve was the public prosecutor, who was to read
the indictment in this case.
In the corridor the secretary met Breve, who, with up lifted
shoulders, a portfolio under one arm, the other swinging with the
palm turned to the front, was hurrying along the corridor,
clattering with his heels.
"Michael Petrovitch wants to know if you are ready?" the secretary
"Of course; I am always ready," said the public prosecutor. "What
are we taking first?"
"The poisoning case."
"That's quite right," said the public prosecutor, but did not
think it at all right. He had spent the night in a hotel playing
cards with a friend who was giving a farewell party. Up to five
in the morning they played and drank, so he had no time to look
at this poisoning case, and meant to run it through now. The
secretary, happening to know this, advised the president to begin
with the poisoning case. The secretary was a Liberal, even a
Radical, in opinion.
Breve was a Conservative; the secretary disliked him, and envied
him his position.
"Well, and how about the Skoptzy?" [a religious sect] asked the
"I have already said that I cannot do it without witnesses, and
so I shall say to the Court."
"Dear me, what does it matter?"
"I cannot do it," said Breve; and, waving his arm, he ran into
his private room.
He was putting off the case of the Skoptzy on account of the
absence of a very unimportant witness, his real reason being that
if they were tried by an educated jury they might possibly be
By an agreement with the president this case was to be tried in
the coming session at a provincial town, where there would be
more peasants, and, therefore, more chances of conviction.
The movement in the corridor increased. The people crowded most
at the doors of the Civil Court, in which the case that the
dignified man talked about was being heard.
An interval in the proceeding occurred, and the old woman came
out of the court, whose property that genius of an advocate had
found means of getting for his client, a person versed in law who
had no right to it whatever. The judges knew all about the case,
and the advocate and his client knew it better still, but the
move they had invented was such that it was impossible not to
take the old woman's property and not to hand it over to the
person versed in law.
The old woman was stout, well dressed, and had enormous flowers
on her bonnet; she stopped as she came out of the door, and
spreading out her short fat arms and turning to her advocate, she
kept repeating. "What does it all mean? just fancy!"
The advocate was looking at the flowers in her bonnet, and
evidently not listening to her, but considering some question or
Next to the old woman, out of the door of the Civil Court, his
broad, starched shirt front glistening from under his low-cut
waistcoat, with a self-satisfied look on his face, came the
celebrated advocate who had managed to arrange matters so that
the old woman lost all she had, and the person versed in the law
received more than 100,000 roubles. The advocate passed close to
the old woman, and, feeling all eyes directed towards him, his
whole bearing seemed to say: "No expressions of deference are
THE OFFICIALS OF THE COURT.
At last Matthew Nikitich also arrived, and the usher, a thin man,
with a long neck and a kind of sideways walk, his nether lip
protruding to one side, which made him resemble a turkey, came
into the jurymen's room.
This usher was an honest man, and had a university education, but
could not keep a place for any length of time, as he was subject
to fits of drunkenness. Three months before a certain countess,
who patronised his wife, had found him this place, and he was
very pleased to have kept it so long.
"Well, sirs, is everybody here?" he asked, putting his pince-nez
on his nose, and looking round.
"Everybody, I think," said the jolly merchant.
"All right; we'll soon see." And, taking a list from his pocket,
he began calling out the names, looking at the men, sometimes
through and sometimes over his pince-nez.
"Councillor of State, [grades such as this are common in Russia,
and mean very little] J. M. Nikiforoff!"
"I am he," said the dignified-looking man, well versed in the
habits of the law court.
"Ivan Semionovitch Ivanoff, retired colonel!"
"Here!" replied a thin man, in the uniform of a retired officer.
"Merchant of the Second Guild, Peter Baklasheff!"
"Here we are, ready!" said the good-humoured merchant, with a
"Lieutenant of the Guards, Prince Dmitri Nekhludoff!"
"I am he," answered Nekhludoff.
The usher bowed to him, looking over his pince-nez, politely and
pleasantly, as if wishing to distinguish him from the others.
"Captain Youri Demitrievitch-Dantchenko, merchant; Grigori
Euphimitch Kouleshoff," etc. All but two were present.
"Now please to come to the court, gentlemen," said the usher,
pointing to the door, with an amiable wave of his hand.
All moved towards the door, pausing to let each other pass. Then
they went through the corridor into the court.
The court was a large, long room. At one end there was a raised
platform, with three steps leading up to it, on which stood a
table, covered with a green cloth trimmed with a fringe of a
darker shade. At the table were placed three arm-chairs, with
high-carved oak backs; on the wall behind them hung a
full-length, brightly-coloured portrait of the Emperor in uniform
and ribbon, with one foot in advance, and holding a sword. In the
right corner hung a case, with an image of Christ crowned with
thorns, and beneath it stood a lectern, and on the same side the
prosecuting attorney's desk. On the left, opposite the desk, was
the secretary's table, and in front of it, nearer the public, an
oak grating, with the prisoners' bench, as yet unoccupied, behind
it. Besides all this, there were on the right side of the
platform high-backed ashwood chairs for the jury, and on the
floor below tables for the advocates. All this was in the front
part of the court, divided from the back by a grating.
The back was all taken up by seats in tiers. Sitting on the front
seats were four women, either servant or factory girls, and two
working men, evidently overawed by the grandeur of the room, and
not venturing to speak above a whisper.
Soon after the jury had come in the usher entered, with his
sideward gait, and stepping to the front, called out in a loud
voice, as if he meant to frighten those present, "The Court is
coming!" Every one got up as the members stepped on to the
platform. Among them the president, with his muscles and fine
whiskers. Next came the gloomy member of the Court, who was now
more gloomy than ever, having met his brother-in-law, who
informed him that he had just called in to see his sister (the
member's wife), and that she had told him that there would be no
"So that, evidently, we shall have to call in at a cook shop,"
the brother-in-law added, laughing.
"It is not at all funny," said the gloomy member, and became
Then at last came the third member of the Court, the same Matthew
Nikitich, who was always late. He was a bearded man, with large,
round, kindly eyes. He was suffering from a catarrh of the
stomach, and, according to his doctor's advice, he had begun
trying a new treatment, and this had kept him at home longer than
usual. Now, as he was ascending the platform, he had a pensive
air. He was in the habit of making guesses in answer to all sorts
of self-put questions by different curious means. Just now he had
asked whether the new treatment would be beneficial, and had
decided that it would cure his catarrh if the number of steps
from the door to his chair would divide by three. He made 26
steps, but managed to get in a 27th just by his chair.
The figures of the president and the members in their uniforms,
with gold-embroidered collars, looked very imposing. They seemed
to feel this themselves, and, as if overpowered by their own
grandeur, hurriedly sat down on the high backed chairs behind the
table with the green cloth, on which were a triangular article
with an eagle at the top, two glass vases--something like those
in which sweetmeats are kept in refreshment rooms--an inkstand,
pens, clean paper, and good, newly-cut pencils of different
The public prosecutor came in with the judges. With his portfolio
under one arm, and swinging the other, he hurriedly walked to his
seat near the window, and was instantly absorbed in reading and
looking through the papers, not wasting a single moment, in hope
of being ready when the business commenced. He had been public
prosecutor but a short time, and had only prosecuted four times
before this. He was very ambitious, and had firmly made up his
mind to get on, and therefore thought it necessary to get a
conviction whenever he prosecuted. He knew the chief facts of the
poisoning case, and had already formed a plan of action. He only
wanted to copy out a few points which he required.
The secretary sat on the opposite side of the platform, and,
having got ready all the papers he might want, was looking
through an article, prohibited by the censor, which he had
procured and read the day before. He was anxious to have a talk
about this article with the bearded member, who shared his views,
but wanted to look through it once more before doing so.
SWEARING IN THE JURY.
The president, having looked through some papers and put a few
questions to the usher and the secretary, gave the order for the
prisoners to be brought in.
The door behind the grating was instantly opened, and two
gendarmes, with caps on their heads, and holding naked swords in
their hands, came in, followed by the prisoners, a red-haired,
freckled man, and two women. The man wore a prison cloak, which
was too long and too wide for him. He stuck out his thumbs, and
held his arms close to his sides, thus keeping the sleeves, which
were also too long, from slipping over his hands. Without looking
at the judges he gazed steadfastly at the form, and passing to
the other side of it, he sat down carefully at the very edge,
leaving plenty of room for the others. He fixed his eyes on the
president, and began moving the muscles of his cheeks, as if
whispering something. The woman who came next was also dressed in
a prison cloak, and had a prison kerchief round her head. She had
a sallow complexion, no eyebrows or lashes, and very red eyes.
This woman appeared perfectly calm. Having caught her cloak
against something, she detached it carefully, without any haste,
and sat down.
The third prisoner was Maslova.
As soon as she appeared, the eyes of all the men in the court
turned her way, and remained fixed on her white face, her
sparklingly-brilliant black eyes and the swelling bosom under the
prison cloak. Even the gendarme whom she passed on her way to her
seat looked at her fixedly till she sat down, and then, as if
feeling guilty, hurriedly turned away, shook himself, and began
staring at the window in front of him.
The president paused until the prisoners had taken their seats,
and when Maslova was seated, turned to the secretary.
Then the usual procedure commenced; the counting of the jury,
remarks about those who had not come, the fixing of the fines to
be exacted from them, the decisions concerning those who claimed
exemption, the appointing of reserve jurymen.
Having folded up some bits of paper and put them in one of the
glass vases, the president turned up the gold-embroidered cuffs
of his uniform a little way, and began drawing the lots, one by
one, and opening them. Nekhludoff was among the jurymen thus
drawn. Then, having let down his sleeves, the president requested
the priest to swear in the jury.
The old priest, with his puffy, red face, his brown gown, and his
gold cross and little order, laboriously moving his stiff legs,
came up to the lectern beneath the icon.
The jurymen got up, and crowded towards the lectern.
"Come up, please," said the priest, pulling at the cross on his
breast with his plump hand, and waiting till all the jury had
drawn near. When they had all come up the steps of the platform,
the priest passed his bald, grey head sideways through the greasy
opening of the stole, and, having rearranged his thin hair, he
again turned to the jury. "Now, raise your right arms in this
way, and put your fingers together, thus," he said, with his
tremulous old voice, lifting his fat, dimpled hand, and putting
the thumb and two first fingers together, as if taking a pinch of
something. "Now, repeat after me, 'I promise and swear, by the
Almighty God, by His holy gospels, and by the life-giving cross
of our Lord, that in this work which,'" he said, pausing between
each sentence--"don't let your arm down; hold it like this," he
remarked to a young man who had lowered his arm--"'that in this
work which . . . '"
The dignified man with the whiskers, the colonel, the merchant,
and several more held their arms and fingers as the priest
required of them, very high, very exactly, as if they liked doing
it; others did it unwillingly and carelessly. Some repeated the
words too loudly, and with a defiant tone, as if they meant to
say, "In spite of all, I will and shall speak." Others whispered
very low, and not fast enough, and then, as if frightened,
hurried to catch up the priest. Some kept their fingers tightly
together, as if fearing to drop the pinch of invisible something
they held; others kept separating and folding theirs. Every one
save the old priest felt awkward, but he was sure he was
fulfilling a very useful and important duty.
After the swearing in, the president requested the jury to choose
a foreman, and the jury, thronging to the door, passed out into
the debating-room, where almost all of them at once began to
smoke cigarettes. Some one proposed the dignified man as foreman,
and he was unanimously accepted. Then the jurymen put out their
cigarettes and threw them away and returned to the court. The
dignified man informed the president that he was chosen foreman,
and all sat down again on the high-backed chairs.
Everything went smoothly, quickly, and not without a certain
solemnity. And this exactitude, order, and solemnity evidently
pleased those who took part in it: it strengthened the impression
that they were fulfilling a serious and valuable public duty.
Nekhludoff, too, felt this.
As soon as the jurymen were seated, the president made a speech
on their rights, obligations, and responsibilities. While
speaking he kept changing his position; now leaning on his right,
now on his left hand, now against the back, then on the arms of
his chair, now putting the papers straight, now handling his
pencil and paper-knife.
According to his words, they had the right of interrogating the
prisoners through the president, to use paper and pencils, and to
examine the articles put in as evidence. Their duty was to judge
not falsely, but justly. Their responsibility meant that if the
secrecy of their discussion were violated, or communications were
established with outsiders, they would be liable to punishment.
Every one listened with an expression of respectful attention.
The merchant, diffusing a smell of brandy around him, and
restraining loud hiccups, approvingly nodded his head at every
THE TRIAL--THE PRISONERS QUESTIONED.
When he had finished his speech, the president turned to the male
"Simeon Kartinkin, rise."
Simeon jumped up, his lips continuing to move nervously and
"Simon Petrov Kartinkin," he said, rapidly, with a cracked voice,
having evidently prepared the answer.
"What class do you belong to?"
"What government, district, and parish?"
"Toula Government, Krapivinskia district, Koupianovski parish,
the village Borki."
"Thirty-three; born in the year one thousand eight--"
"Of the Russian religion, orthodox."
"Oh, no, sir."
"I had a place in the Hotel Mauritania."
"Have you ever been tried before?"
"I never got tried before, because, as we used to live
"So you never were tried before?"
"God forbid, never."
"Have you received a copy of the indictment?"
"Euphemia Ivanovna Botchkova," said the president, turning to the
But Simon continued standing in front of Botchkova.
"Kartinkin, sit down!" Kartinkin continued standing.
"Kartinkin, sit down!" But Kartinkin sat down only when the
usher, with his head on one side, and with preternaturally
wide-open eyes, ran up, and said, in a tragic whisper, "Sit down,
Kartinkin sat down as hurriedly as he had risen, wrapping his
cloak round him, and again began moving his lips silently.
"Your name?" asked the president, with a weary sigh at being
obliged to repeat the same questions, without looking at the
prisoner, but glancing over a paper that lay before him. The
president was so used to his task that, in order to get quicker
through it all, he did two things at a time.
Botchkova was forty-three years old, and came from the town of
Kalomna. She, too, had been in service at the Hotel Mauritania.
"I have never been tried before, and have received a copy of the
indictment." She gave her answers boldly, in a tone of voice as
if she meant to add to each answer, "And I don't care who knows
it, and I won't stand any nonsense."
She did not wait to be told, but sat down as soon as she had
replied to the last question.
"Your name?" turning abruptly to the third prisoner. "You will
have to rise," he added, softly and gently, seeing that Maslova
kept her seat.
Maslova got up and stood, with her chest expanded, looking at the
president with that peculiar expression of readiness in her
smiling black eyes.
"What is your name?"
"Lubov," she said.
Nekhludoff had put on his pince-nez, looking at the prisoners
while they were being questioned.
"No, it is impossible," he thought, not taking his eyes off the
prisoner. "Lubov! How can it be?" he thought to himself, after
hearing her answer. The president was going to continue his
questions, but the member with the spectacles interrupted him,
angrily whispering something. The president nodded, and turned
again to the prisoner.
"How is this," he said, "you are not put down here as Lubov?"
The prisoner remained silent.
"I want your real name."
"What is your baptismal name?" asked the angry member.
"Formerly I used to be called Katerina."
"No, it cannot be," said Nekhludoff to himself; and yet he was
now certain that this was she, that same girl, half ward, half
servant to his aunts; that Katusha, with whom he had once been in
love, really in love, but whom he had betrayed and then
abandoned, and never again brought to mind, for the memory would
have been too painful, would have convicted him too clearly,
proving that he who was so proud of his integrity had treated
this woman in a revolting, scandalous way.
Yes, this was she. He now clearly saw in her face that strange,
indescribable individuality which distinguishes every face from
all others; something peculiar, all its own, not to be found
anywhere else. In spite of the unhealthy pallor and the fulness
of the face, it was there, this sweet, peculiar individuality; on
those lips, in the slight squint of her eyes, in the voice,
particularly in the naive smile, and in the expression of
readiness on the face and figure.
"You should have said so," remarked the president, again in a
gentle tone. "Your patronymic?"
"I am illegitimate."
"Well, were you not called by your godfather's name?"
"And what is it she can be guilty of?" continued Nekhludoff, in
his mind, unable to breathe freely.
"Your family name--your surname, I mean?" the president went on.
"They used to call me by my mother's surname, Maslova."
"Meschanka." [the lowest town class or grade]
"Occupation. What was your occupation?"
Maslova remained silent.
"What was your employment?"
"You know yourself," she said, and smiled. Then, casting a
hurried look round the room, again turned her eyes on the
There was something so unusual in the expression of her face, so
terrible and piteous in the meaning of the words she had uttered,
in this smile, and in the furtive glance she had cast round the
room, that the president was abashed, and for a few minutes
silence reigned in the court. The silence was broken by some one
among the public laughing, then somebody said "Ssh," and the
president looked up and continued:
"Have you ever been tried before?"
"Never," answered Maslova, softly, and sighed.
"Have you received a copy of the indictment?"
"I have," she answered.
The prisoner leant back to pick up her skirt in the way a fine
lady picks up her train, and sat down, folding her small white
hands in the sleeves of her cloak, her eyes fixed on the
president. Her face was calm again.
The witnesses were called, and some sent away; the doctor who was
to act as expert was chosen and called into the court.
Then the secretary got up and began reading the indictment. He
read distinctly, though he pronounced the "I" and "r" alike, with
a loud voice, but so quickly that the words ran into one another
and formed one uninterrupted, dreary drone.
The judges bent now on one, now on the other arm of their chairs,
then on the table, then back again, shut and opened their eyes,
and whispered to each other. One of the gendarmes several times
repressed a yawn.
The prisoner Kartinkin never stopped moving his cheeks.
Botchkova sat quite still and straight, only now and then
scratching her head under the kerchief.
Maslova sat immovable, gazing at the reader; only now and then
she gave a slight start, as if wishing to reply, blushed, sighed
heavily, and changed the position of her hands, looked round, and
again fixed her eyes on the reader.
Nekhludoff sat in the front row on his high-backed chair, without
removing his pince-nez, and looked at Maslova, while a
complicated and fierce struggle was going on in his soul.
THE TRIAL--THE INDICTMENT.
The indictment ran as follows: On the 17th of January, 18--, in
the lodging-house Mauritania, occurred the sudden death of the
Second Guild merchant, Therapont Emilianovich Smelkoff, of
The local police doctor of the fourth district certified that
death was due to rupture of the heart, owing to the excessive use
of alcoholic liquids. The body of the said Smelkoff was interred.
After several days had elapsed, the merchant Timokhin, a
fellow-townsman and companion of the said Smelkoff, returned from
St. Petersburg, and hearing the circumstances that accompanied
the death of the latter, notified his suspicions that the death
was caused by poison, given with intent to rob the said Smelkoff
of his money. This suspicion was corroborated on inquiry, which
1. That shortly before his death the said Smelkoff had received
the sum of 3,800 roubles from the bank. When an inventory of the
property of the deceased was made, only 312 roubles and 16
copecks were found.
2. The whole day and night preceding his death the said Smelkoff
spent with Lubka (alias Katerina Maslova) at her home and in the
lodging-house Mauritania, which she also visited at the said
Smelkoff's request during his absence, to get some money, which
she took out of his portmanteau in the presence of the servants
of the lodging-house Mauritania, Euphemia Botchkova and Simeon
Kartinkin, with a key given her by the said Smelkoff. In the
portmanteau opened by the said Maslova, the said Botchkova and
Kartinkin saw packets of 100-rouble bank-notes.
3. On the said Smelkoff's return to the lodging-house Mauritania,
together with Lubka, the latter, in accordance with the attendant
Kartinkin's advice, gave the said Smelkoff some white powder
given to her by the said Kartinkin, dissolved in brandy.
4. The next morning the said Lubka (alias Katerina Maslova) sold
to her mistress, the witness Kitaeva, a brothel-keeper, a diamond
ring given to her, as she alleged, by the said Smelkoff.
5. The housemaid of the lodging-house Mauritania, Euphemia
Botchkova, placed to her account in the local Commercial Bank
1,800 roubles. The postmortem examination of the body of the said
Smelkoff and the chemical analysis of his intestines proved
beyond doubt the presence of poison in the organism, so that
there is reason to believe that the said Smelkoff's death was
caused by poisoning.
When cross-examined, the accused, Maslova, Botchkova, and
Kartinkin, pleaded not guilty, deposing--Maslova, that she had
really been sent by Smelkoff from the brothel, where she "works,"
as she expresses it, to the lodging-house Mauritania to get the
merchant some money, and that, having unlocked the portmanteau
with a key given her by the merchant, she took out 40 roubles, as
she was told to do, and that she had taken nothing more; that
Botchkova and Kartinkin, in whose presence she unlocked and
locked the portmanteau, could testify to the truth of the
She gave this further evidence--that when she came to the
lodging-house for the second time she did, at the instigation of
Simeon Kartinkin, give Smelkoff sonic kind of powder, which she
thought was a narcotic, in a glass of brandy, hoping he would
fall asleep and that she would be able to get away from him; and
that Smelkoff, having beaten her, himself gave her the ring when
she cried and threatened to go away.
The accused, Euphemia Botchkova, stated that she knew nothing
about the missing money, that she had not even gone into
Smelkoff's room, but that Lubka had been busy there all by
herself; that if anything had been stolen, it must have been done
by Lubka when she came with the merchant's key to get his money.
At this point Maslova gave a start, opened her mouth, and looked
at Botchkova. "When," continued the secretary, "the receipt for
1,800 roubles from the bank was shown to Botchkova, and she was
asked where she had obtained the money, she said that it was her
own earnings for 12 years, and those of Simeon, whom she was
going to marry. The accused Simeon Kartinkin, when first
examined, confessed that he and Botchkova, at the instigation of
Maslova, who had come with the key from the brothel, had stolen
the money and divided it equally among themselves and Maslova."
Here Maslova again started, half-rose from her seat, and,
blushing scarlet, began to say something, but was stopped by the
usher. "At last," the secretary continued, reading, "Kartinkin
confessed also that he had supplied the powders in order to get
Smelkoff to sleep. When examined the second time he denied having
had anything to do with the stealing of the money or giving
Maslova the powders, accusing her of having done it alone."
Concerning the money placed in the bank by Botchkova, he said the
same as she, that is, that the money was given to them both by
the lodgers in tips during 12 years' service.
The indictment concluded as follows:
In consequence of the foregoing, the peasant of the village
Borki, Simeon Kartinkin, 33 years of age, the meschanka Euphemia
Botchkova, 43 years of age, and the meschanka Katerina Maslova,
27 years of age, are accused of having on the 17th day of
January, 188--, jointly stolen from the said merchant, Smelkoff,
a ring and money, to the value of 2,500 roubles, and of having
given the said merchant, Smelkoff, poison to drink, with intent
of depriving him of life, and thereby causing his death. This
crime is provided for in clause 1,455 of the Penal Code,
paragraphs 4 and 5.
THE TRIAL--MASLOVA CROSS-EXAMINED.
When the reading of the indictment was over, the president, after
having consulted the members, turned to Kartinkin, with an
expression that plainly said: Now we shall find out the whole
truth down to the minutest detail.
"Peasant Simeon Kartinkin," he said, stooping to the left.
Simeon Kartinkin got up, stretched his arms down his sides, and
leaning forward with his whole body, continued moving his cheeks
"You are accused of having on the 17th January, 188--, together
with Euphemia Botchkova and Katerina Maslova, stolen money from a
portmanteau belonging to the merchant Smelkoff, and then, having
procured some arsenic, persuaded Katerina Maslova to give it to
the merchant Smelkoff in a glass of brandy, which was the cause
of Smelkoff's death. Do you plead guilty?" said the president,
stooping to the right.
"Not nohow, because our business is to attend on the lodgers,
"You'll tell us that afterwards. Do you plead guilty?"
"Oh, no, sir. I only,--"
"You'll tell us that afterwards. Do you plead guilty?" quietly
and firmly asked the president.
"Can't do such a thing, because that--"
The usher again rushed up to Simeon Kartinkin, and stopped him
in a tragic whisper.
The president moved the hand with which he held the paper and
placed the elbow in a different position with an air that said:
"This is finished," and turned to Euphemia Botchkova.
"Euphemia Botchkova, you are accused of having, on the 17th of
January, 188-, in the lodging-house Mauritania, together with
Simeon Kartinkin and Katerina Maslova, stolen some money and a
ring out of the merchant Smelkoff's portmanteau, and having
shared the money among yourselves, given poison to the merchant
Smelkoff, thereby causing his death. Do you plead guilty?"
"I am not guilty of anything," boldly and firmly replied the
prisoner. "I never went near the room, but when this baggage went
in she did the whole business."
"You will say all this afterwards," the president again said,
quietly and firmly. "So you do not plead guilty?"
"I did not take the money nor give the drink, nor go into the
room. Had I gone in I should have kicked her out."
"So you do not plead guilty?"
"Katerina Maslova," the president began, turning to the third
prisoner, "you are accused of having come from the brothel with
the key of the merchant Smelkoff's portmanteau, money, and a
ring." He said all this like a lesson learned by heart, leaning
towards the member on his left, who was whispering into his car
that a bottle mentioned in the list of the material evidence was
missing. "Of having stolen out of the portmanteau money and a
ring," he repeated, "and shared it. Then, returning to the
lodging house Mauritania with Smelkoff, of giving him poison in
his drink, and thereby causing his death. Do you plead guilty?"
"I am not guilty of anything," she began rapidly. "As I said
before I say again, I did not take it--I did not take it; I did
not take anything, and the ring he gave me himself."
"You do not plead guilty of having stolen 2,500 roubles?" asked
"I've said I took nothing but the 40 roubles."
"Well, and do you plead guilty of having given the merchant
Smelkoff a powder in his drink?"
"Yes, that I did. Only I believed what they told me, that they
were sleeping powders, and that no harm could come of them. I
never thought, and never wished. . . God is my witness; I say, I
never meant this," she said.
"So you do not plead guilty of having stolen the money and the
ring from the merchant Smelkoff, but confess that you gave him
the powder?" said the president.
"Well, yes, I do confess this, but I thought they were sleeping
powders. I only gave them to make him sleep; I never meant and
never thought of worse."
"Very well," said the president, evidently satisfied with the
results gained. "Now tell us how it all happened," and he leaned
back in his chair and put his folded hands on the table. "Tell us
all about it. A free and full confession will be to your
Maslova continued to look at the president in silence, and
"Tell us how it happened."
"How it happened?" Maslova suddenly began, speaking quickly. "I
came to the lodging-house, and was shown into the room. He was
there, already very drunk." She pronounced the word _he_ with a
look of horror in her wide-open eyes. "I wished to go away, but
he would not let me." She stopped, as if having lost the thread,
or remembered some thing else.
"Well, and then?"
"Well, what then? I remained a bit, and went home again."
At this moment the public prosecutor raised himself a little,
leaning on one elbow in an awkward manner.
"You would like to put a question?" said the president, and
having received an answer in the affirmative, he made a gesture
inviting the public prosecutor to speak.
"I want to ask, was the prisoner previously acquainted with
Simeon Kartinkin?" said the public prosecutor, without looking at
Maslova, and, having put the question, he compressed his lips and
The president repeated the question. Maslova stared at the public
prosecutor, with a frightened look.
"With Simeon? Yes," she said.
"I should like to know what the prisoner's acquaintance with
Kartinkin consisted in. Did they meet often?"
"Consisted in? . . . He invited me for the lodgers; it was not
an acquaintance at all," answered Maslova, anxiously moving her
eyes from the president to the public prosecutor and back to the
"I should like to know why Kartinkin invited only Maslova, and
none of the other girls, for the lodgers?" said the public
prosecutor, with half-closed eyes and a cunning, Mephistophelian
"I don't know. How should I know?" said Maslova, casting a
frightened look round, and fixing her eyes for a moment on
Nekhludoff. "He asked whom he liked."
"Is it possible that she has recognised me?" thought Nekhludoff,
and the blood rushed to his face. But Maslova turned away without
distinguishing him from the others, and again fixed her eyes
anxiously on the public prosecutor.
"So the prisoner denies having had any intimate relations with
Kartinkin? Very well, I have no more questions to ask."
And the public prosecutor took his elbow off the desk, and began
writing something. He was not really noting anything down, but
only going over the letters of his notes with a pen, having seen
the procureur and leading advocates, after putting a clever
question, make a note, with which, later on, to annihilate their
The president did not continue at once, because he was consulting
the member with the spectacles, whether he was agreed that the
questions (which had all been prepared be forehand and written
out) should be put.
"Well! What happened next?" he then went on.
"I came home," looking a little more boldly only at the
president, "and went to bed. Hardly had I fallen asleep when one
of our girls, Bertha, woke me. 'Go, your merchant has come
again!' He"--she again uttered the word _he_ with evident horror--
"he kept treating our girls, and then wanted to send for more
wine, but his money was all gone, and he sent me to his lodgings
and told me where the money was, and how much to take. So I
The president was whispering to the member on his left, but, in
order to appear as if he had heard, he repeated her last words.
"So you went. Well, what next?"
"I went, and did all he told me; went into his room. I did not go
alone, but called Simeon Kartinkin and her," she said, pointing
"That's a lie; I never went in," Botchkova began, but was
"In their presence I took out four notes," continued Maslova,
frowning, without looking at Botchkova.
"Yes, but did the prisoner notice," again asked the prosecutor,
"how much money there was when she was getting out the 40
Maslova shuddered when the prosecutor addressed her; she did not
know why it was, but she felt that he wished her evil.
"I did not count it, but only saw some 100-rouble notes."
"Ah! The prisoner saw 100-rouble notes. That's all?"
"Well, so you brought back the money," continued the president,
looking at the clock.
"Well, and then?"
"Then he took me back with him," said Maslova.
"Well, and how did you give him the powder? In his drink?"
"How did I give it? I put them in and gave it him."
"Why did you give it him?"
She did not answer, but sighed deeply and heavily.
"He would not let me go," she said, after a moment's silence,
"and I was quite tired out, and so I went out into the passage
and said to Simeon, 'If he would only let me go, I am so tired.'
And he said, 'We are also sick of him; we were thinking of giving
him a sleeping draught; he will fall asleep, and then you can
go.' So I said all right. I thought they were harmless, and he
gave me the packet. I went in. He was lying behind the partition,
and at once called for brandy. I took a bottle of 'fine
champagne' from the table, poured out two glasses, one for him
and one for myself, and put the powders into his glass, and gave
it him. Had I known how could I have given them to him?"
"Well, and how did the ring come into your possession?" asked the
president. "When did he give it you?"
"That was when we came back to his lodgings. I wanted to go away,
and he gave me a knock on the head and broke my comb. I got angry
and said I'd go away, and he took the ring off his finger and
gave it to me so that I should not go," she said.
Then the public prosecutor again slightly raised himself, and,
putting on an air of simplicity, asked permission to put a few
more questions, and, having received it, bending his head over
his embroidered collar, he said: "I should like to know how long
the prisoner remained in the merchant Smelkoff's room."
Maslova again seemed frightened, and she again looked anxiously
from the public prosecutor to the president, and said hurriedly:
"I do not remember how long."
"Yes, but does the prisoner remember if she went anywhere else in
the lodging-house after she left Smelkoff?"
Maslova considered for a moment. "Yes, I did go into an empty
room next to his."
"Yes, and why did you go in?" asked the public prosecutor,
forgetting himself, and addressing her directly.
"I went in to rest a bit, and to wait for an isvostchik."
"And was Kartinkin in the room with the prisoner, or not?"
"He came in."
"Why did he come in?"
"There was some of the merchant's brandy left, and we finished it
"Oh, finished it together. Very well! And did the prisoner talk
to Kartinkin, and, if so, what about?"
Maslova suddenly frowned, blushed very red, and said, hurriedly,
"What about? I did not talk about anything, and that's all I
know. Do what you like with me; I am not guilty, and that's all."
"I have nothing more to ask," said the prosecutor, and, drawing
up his shoulders in an unnatural manner, began writing down, as
the prisoner's own evidence, in the notes for his speech, that
she had been in the empty room with Kartinkin.
There was a short silence.
"You have nothing more to say?"
"I have told everything," she said, with a sigh, and sat down.
Then the president noted something down, and, having listened to
something that the member on his left whispered to him, he
announced a ten-minutes' interval, rose hurriedly, and left the
court. The communication he had received from the tall, bearded
member with the kindly eyes was that the member, having felt a
slight stomach derangement, wished to do a little massage and to
take some drops. And this was why an interval was made.
When the judges had risen, the advocates, the jury, and the
witnesses also rose, with the pleasant feeling that part of the
business was finished, and began moving in different directions.
Nekhludoff went into the jury's room, and sat down by the window.
TWELVE YEARS BEFORE.
"Yes, this was Katusha."
The relations between Nekhludoff and Katusha had been the
Nekhludoff first saw Katusha when he was a student in his third
year at the University, and was preparing an essay on land tenure
during the summer vacation, which he passed with his aunts. Until
then he had always lived, in summer, with his mother and sister
on his mother's large estate near Moscow. But that year his
sister had married, and his mother had gone abroad to a
watering-place, and he, having his essay to write, resolved to
spend the summer with his aunts. It was very quiet in their
secluded estate and there was nothing to distract his mind; his
aunts loved their nephew and heir very tenderly, and he, too, was
fond of them and of their simple, old-fashioned life.
During that summer on his aunts' estate, Nekhludoff passed
through that blissful state of existence when a young man for the
first time, without guidance from any one outside, realises all
the beauty and significance of life, and the importance of the
task allotted in it to man; when he grasps the possibility of
unlimited advance towards perfection for one's self and for all
the world, and gives himself to this task, not only hopefully,
but with full conviction of attaining to the perfection he
imagines. In that year, while still at the University, he had
read Spencer's Social Statics, and Spencer's views on landholding
especially impressed him, as he himself was heir to large
estates. His father had not been rich, but his mother had
received 10,000 acres of land for her dowry. At that time he
fully realised all the cruelty and injustice of private property
in land, and being one of those to whom a sacrifice to the
demands of conscience gives the highest spiritual enjoyment, he
decided not to retain property rights, but to give up to the
peasant labourers the land he had inherited from his father. It
was on this land question he wrote his essay.
He arranged his life on his aunts' estate in the following
manner. He got up very early, sometimes at three o'clock, and
before sunrise went through the morning mists to bathe in the
river, under the hill. He returned while the dew still lay on the
grass and the flowers. Sometimes, having finished his coffee, he
sat down with his books of reference and his papers to write his
essay, but very often, instead of reading or writing, he left
home again, and wandered through the fields and the woods. Before
dinner he lay down and slept somewhere in the garden. At dinner
he amused and entertained his aunts with his bright spirits, then
he rode on horseback or went for a row on the river, and in the
evening he again worked at his essay, or sat reading or playing
patience with his aunts.
His joy in life was so great that it agitated him, and kept him
awake many a night, especially when it was moonlight, so that
instead of sleeping he wandered about in the garden till dawn,
alone with his dreams and fancies.
And so, peacefully and happily, he lived through the first month
of his stay with his aunts, taking no particular notice of their
half-ward, half-servant, the black-eyed, quick-footed Katusha.
Then, at the age of nineteen, Nekhludoff, brought up under his
mother's wing, was still quite pure. If a woman figured in his
dreams at all it was only as a wife. All the other women, who,
according to his ideas he could not marry, were not women for
him, but human beings.
But on Ascension Day that summer, a neighbour of his aunts', and
her family, consisting of two young daughters, a schoolboy, and a
young artist of peasant origin who was staying with them, came to
spend the day. After tea they all went to play in the meadow in
front of the house, where the grass had already been mown. They
played at the game of gorelki, and Katusha joined them. Running
about and changing partners several times, Nekhludoff caught
Katusha, and she became his partner. Up to this time he had liked
Katusha's looks, but the possibility of any nearer relations with
her had never entered his mind.
"Impossible to catch those two," said the merry young artist,
whose turn it was to catch, and who could run very fast with his
short, muscular legs.
"You! And not catch us?" said Katusha.
"One, two, three," and the artist clapped his hands. Katusha,
hardly restraining her laughter, changed places with Nekhludoff,
behind the artist's back, and pressing his large hand with her
little rough one, and rustling with her starched petticoat, ran
to the left. Nekhludoff ran fast to the right, trying to escape
from the artist, but when he looked round he saw the artist
running after Katusha, who kept well ahead, her firm young legs
moving rapidly. There was a lilac bush in front of them, and
Katusha made a sign with her head to Nekhludoff to join her
behind it, for if they once clasped hands again they were safe
from their pursuer, that being a rule of the game. He understood
the sign, and ran behind the bush, but he did not know that there
was a small ditch overgrown with nettles there. He stumbled and
fell into the nettles, already wet with dew, stinging his bands,
but rose immediately, laughing at his mishap.
Katusha, with her eyes black as sloes, her face radiant with joy,
was flying towards him, and they caught hold of each other's
"Got stung, I daresay?" she said, arranging her hair with her
free hand, breathing fast and looking straight up at him with a
glad, pleasant smile.
"I did not know there was a ditch here," he answered, smiling
also, and keeping her hand in his. She drew nearer to him, and he
himself, not knowing how it happened, stooped towards her. She
did not move away, and he pressed her hand tight and kissed her
on the lips.
"There! You've done it!" she said; and, freeing her hand with a
swift movement, ran away from him. Then, breaking two branches of
white lilac from which the blossoms were already falling, she