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BOOK I.

CHAPTER XI.


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 inaudibly.

"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, and--"

"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?"

"Never."

"Very well."

"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 the president.

"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 advantage."

Maslova continued to look at the president in silence, and blushing.

"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 frowned.

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 president.

"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 smile.

"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 adversaries.

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 went."

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 to Botchkova.

"That's a lie; I never went in," Botchkova began, but was stopped.

"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 roubles?"

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.

"I did."

"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 together."

"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.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XII.


TWELVE YEARS BEFORE.

"Yes, this was Katusha."

The relations between Nekhludoff and Katusha had been the following:

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 hands.

"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 began fanning her hot face with them; then, with her head turned back to him, she walked away, swaying her arms briskly in front of her, and joined the other players.

After this there grew up between Nekhludoff and Katusha those peculiar relations which often exist between a pure young man and girl who are attracted to each other.

When Katusha came into the room, or even when he saw her white apron from afar, everything brightened up in Nekhludoff's eyes, as when the sun appears everything becomes more interesting, more joyful, more important. The whole of life seemed full of gladness. And she felt the same. But it was not only Katusha's presence that had this effect on Nekhludoff. The mere thought that Katusha existed (and for her that Nekhludoff existed) had this effect.

When he received an unpleasant letter from his mother, or could not get on with his essay, or felt the unreasoning sadness that young people are often subject to, he had only to remember Katusha and that he should see her, and it all vanished. Katusha had much work to do in the house, but she managed to get a little leisure for reading, and Nekhludoff gave her Dostoievsky and Tourgeneff (whom he had just read himself) to read. She liked Tourgeneff's Lull best. They had talks at moments snatched when meeting in the passage, on the veranda, or the yard, and sometimes in the room of his aunts' old servant, Matrona Pavlovna, with whom he sometimes used to drink tea, and where Katusha used to work.

These talks in Matrona Pavlovna's presence were the pleasantest. When they were alone it was worse. Their eyes at once began to say something very different and far more important than what their mouths uttered. Their lips puckered, and they felt a kind of dread of something that made them part quickly. These relations continued between Nekhludoff and Katusha during the whole time of his first visit to his aunts'. They noticed it, and became frightened, and even wrote to Princess Elena Ivanovna, Nekhludoff's mother. His aunt, Mary Ivanovna, was afraid Dmitri would form an intimacy with Katusha; but her fears were groundless, for Nekhludoff, himself hardly conscious of it, loved Katusha, loved her as the pure love, and therein lay his safety--his and hers. He not only did not feel any desire to possess her, but the very thought of it filled him with horror. The fears of the more poetical Sophia Ivanovna, that Dmitri, with his thoroughgoing, resolute character, having fallen in love with a girl, might make up his mind to marry her, without considering either her birth or her station, had more ground.

Had Nekhludoff at that time been conscious of his love for Katusha, and especially if he had been told that he could on no account join his life with that of a girl in her position, it might have easily happened that, with his usual straight- forwardness, he would have come to the conclusion that there could be no possible reason for him not to marry any girl whatever, as long as he loved her. But his aunts did not  mention their fears to him; and, when he left, he was still unconscious of his love for Katusha. He was sure that what he felt for Katusha was only one of the manifestations of the joy of life that filled his whole being, and that this sweet, merry little girl shared this joy with him. Yet, when he was going away, and Katusha stood with his aunts in the porch, and looked after him, her dark, slightly-squinting eyes filled with tears, he felt, after all, that he was leaving something beautiful, precious, something which would never reoccur. And he grew very sad.

"Good-bye, Katusha," he said, looking across Sophia Ivanovna's cap as he was getting into the trap. "Thank you for everything."

"Good-bye, Dmitri Ivanovitch," she said, with her pleasant, tender voice, keeping back the tears that filled her eyes--and ran away into the hall, where she could cry in peace.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XIII.


LIFE IN THE ARMY.

After that Nekhludoff did not see Katusha for more than three years. When he saw her again he had just been promoted to the rank of officer and was going to join his regiment. On the way he came to spend a few days with his aunts, being now a very different young man from the one who had spent the summer with them three years before. He then had been an honest, unselfish lad, ready to sacrifice himself for any good cause; now he was depraved and selfish, and thought only of his own enjoyment. Then God's world seemed a mystery which he tried enthusiastically and joyfully to solve; now everything in life seemed clear and simple, defined by the conditions of the life he was leading. Then he had felt the importance of, and had need of intercourse with, nature, and with those who had lived and thought and felt before him--philosophers and poets. What he now considered necessary and important were human institutions and intercourse with his comrades. Then women seemed mysterious and charming--charming by the very mystery that enveloped them; now the purpose of women, all women except those of his own family and the wives of his friends, was a very definite one: women were the best means towards an already experienced enjoyment. Then money was not needed, and he did not require even one-third of what his mother allowed him; but now this allowance of 1,500 roubles a month did not suffice, and he had already had some unpleasant talks about it with his mother.

Then he had looked on his spirit as the I; now it was his healthy strong animal I that he looked upon as himself.

And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. This he had done because it was too difficult to live believing one's self; believing one's self, one had to decide every question not in favour of one's own animal life, which is always seeking for easy gratifications, but almost in every case against it. Believing others there was nothing to decide; everything had been decided already, and decided always in favour of the animal I and against the spiritual. Nor was this all. Believing in his own self he was always exposing himself to the censure of those around him; believing others he had their approval. So, when Nekhludoff had talked of the serious matters of life, of God, truth, riches, and poverty, all round him thought it out of place and even rather funny, and his mother and aunts called him, with kindly irony, notre cher philosophe. But when he read novels, told improper anecdotes, went to see funny vaudevilles in the French theatre and gaily repeated the jokes, everybody admired and encouraged him. When he considered it right to limit his needs, wore an old overcoat, took no wine, everybody thought it strange and looked upon it as a kind of showing off; but when he spent large sums on hunting, or on furnishing a peculiar and luxurious study for himself, everybody admired his taste and gave him expensive presents to encourage his hobby. While he kept pure and meant to remain so till he married his friends prayed for his health, and even his mother was not grieved but rather pleased when she found out that he had become a real man and had gained over some French woman from his friend. (As to the episode with Katusha, the princess could not without horror think that he might possibly have married her.) In the same way, when Nekhludoff came of age, and gave the small estate he had inherited from his father to the peasants because he considered the holding of private property in land wrong, this step filled his mother and relations with dismay and served as an excuse for making fun of him to all his relatives. He was continually told that these peasants, after they had received the land, got no richer, but, on the contrary, poorer, having opened three public-houses and left off doing any work. But when Nekhludoff entered the Guards and spent and gambled away so much with his aristocratic companions that Elena Ivanovna, his mother, had to draw on her capital, she was hardly pained, considering it quite natural and even good that wild oats should be sown at an early age and in good company, as her son was doing. At first Nekhludoff struggled, but all that he had considered good while he had faith in himself was considered bad by others, and what he had considered evil was looked upon as good by those among whom he lived, and the struggle grew too hard. And at last Nekhludoff gave in, i.e., left off believing himself and began believing others. At first this giving up of faith in himself was unpleasant, but it did not long continue to be so. At that time he acquired the habit of smoking, and drinking wine, and soon got over this unpleasant feeling and even felt great relief.

Nekhludoff, with his passionate nature, gave himself thoroughly to the new way of life so approved of by all those around, and he entirely stifled the inner voice which demanded something different. This began after he moved to St. Petersburg, and reached its highest point when he entered the army.

Military life in general depraves men. It places them in conditions of complete idleness, i.e., absence of all useful work; frees them of their common human duties, which it replaces by merely conventional ones to the honour of the regiment, the uniform, the flag; and, while giving them on the one hand absolute power over other men, also puts them into conditions of servile obedience to those of higher rank than themselves.

But when, to the usual depraving influence of military service with its honours, uniforms, flags, its permitted violence and murder, there is added the depraving influence of riches and nearness to and intercourse with members of the Imperial family, as is the case in the chosen regiment of the Guards in which all the officers are rich and of good family, then this depraving influence creates in the men who succumb to it a perfect mania of selfishness. And this mania of selfishness attacked Nekhludoff from the moment he entered the army and began living in the way his companions lived. He had no occupation whatever except to dress in a uniform, splendidly made and well brushed by other people, and, with arms also made and cleaned and handed to him by others, ride to reviews on a fine horse which had been bred, broken in and fed by others. There, with other men like himself, he had to wave a sword, shoot off guns, and teach others to do the same. He had no other work, and the highly-placed persons, young and old, the Tsar and those near him, not only sanctioned his occupation but praised and thanked him for it.

After this was done, it was thought important to eat, and particularly to drink, in officers' clubs or the salons of the best restaurants, squandering large sums of money, which came from some invisible source; then theatres, ballets, women, then again riding on horseback, waving of swords and shooting, and again the squandering of money, the wine, cards, and women. This kind of life acts on military men even more depravingly than on others, because if any other than a military man lead such a life he cannot help being ashamed of it in the depth of his heart. A military man is, on the contrary, proud of a life of this kind especially at war time, and Nekhludoff had entered the army just after war with the Turks had been declared. "We are prepared to sacrifice our lives at the wars, and therefore a gay, reckless life is not only pardonable, but absolutely necessary for us, and so we lead it."

Such were Nekhludoff's confused thoughts at this period of his existence, and he felt all the time the delight of being free of the moral barriers he had formerly set himself. And the state he lived in was that of a chronic mania of selfishness. He was in this state when, after three years' absence, he came again to visit his aunts.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XIV.


THE SECOND MEETING WITH MASLOVA.

Nekhludoff went to visit his aunts because their estate lay near the road he had to travel in order to join his regiment, which had gone forward, because they had very warmly asked him to come, and especially because he wanted to see Katusha. Perhaps in his heart he had already formed those evil designs against Katusha which his now uncontrolled animal self suggested to him, but he did not acknowledge this as his intention, but only wished to go back to the spot where he had been so happy, to see his rather funny, but dear, kind-hearted old aunts, who always, without his noticing it, surrounded him with an atmosphere of love and admiration, and to see sweet Katusha, of whom he had retained so pleasant a memory.

He arrived at the end of March, on Good Friday, after the thaw had set in. It was pouring with rain so that he had not a dry thread on him and was feeling very cold, but yet vigorous and full of spirits, as always at that time. "Is she still with them?" he thought, as he drove into the familiar, old-fashioned courtyard, surrounded by a low brick wall, and now filled with snow off the roofs.

He expected she would come out when she heard the sledge bells but she did not. Two bare-footed women with pails and tucked-up skirts, who had evidently been scrubbing the floors, came out of the side door. She was not at the front door either, and only Tikhon, the man-servant, with his apron on, evidently also busy cleaning, came out into the front porch. His aunt Sophia Ivanovna alone met him in the ante-room; she had a silk dress on and a cap on her head. Both aunts had been to church and had received communion.

"Well, this is nice of you to come," said Sophia Ivanovna, kissing him. "Mary is not well, got tired in church; we have been to communion."

"I congratulate you, Aunt Sophia," [it is usual in Russia to congratulate those who have received communion] said Nekhludoff, kissing Sophia Ivanovna's hand. "Oh, I beg your pardon, I have made you wet."

"Go to your room--why you are soaking wet. Dear me, you have got moustaches! . . . Katusha! Katusha! Get him some coffee; be quick."

"Directly," came the sound of a well-known, pleasant voice from the passage, and Nekhludoff's heart cried out "She's here!" and it was as if the sun had come out from behind the clouds.

Nekhludoff, followed by Tikhon, went gaily to his old room to change his things. He felt inclined to ask Tikhon about Katusha; how she was, what she was doing, was she not going to be married? But Tikhon was so respectful and at the same time so severe, insisted so firmly on pouring the water out of the jug for him, that Nekhludoff could not make up his mind to ask him about Katusha, but only inquired about Tikhon's grandsons, about the old so-called "brother's" horse, and about the dog Polkan. All were alive except Polkan, who had gone mad the summer before.

When he had taken off all his wet things and just begun to dress again, Nekhludoff heard quick, familiar footsteps and a knock at the door. Nekhludoff knew the steps and also the knock. No one but she walked and knocked like that.

Having thrown his wet greatcoat over his shoulders, he opened the door.

"Come in." It was she, Katusha, the same, only sweeter than before. The slightly squinting naive black eyes looked up in the same old way. Now as then, she had on a white apron. She brought him from his aunts a piece of scented soap, with the wrapper just taken off, and two towels--one a long Russian embroidered one, the other a bath towel. The unused soap with the stamped inscription, the towels, and her own self, all were equally clean, fresh, undefiled and pleasant. The irrepressible smile of joy at the sight of him made the sweet, firm lips pucker up as of old.

"How do you do, Dmitri Ivanovitch?" she uttered with difficulty, her face suffused with a rosy blush.

"Good-morning! How do you do?" he said, also blushing. "Alive and well?"

Yes, the Lord be thanked. And here is your favorite pink soap and towels from your aunts," she said, putting the soap on the table and hanging the towels over the back of a chair.

"There is everything here," said Tikhon, defending the visitor's independence, and pointing to Nekhludoff's open dressing case filled with brushes, perfume, fixatoire, a great many bottles with silver lids and all sorts of toilet appliances.

"Thank my aunts, please. Oh, how glad I am to be here," said Nekhludoff, his heart filling with light and tenderness as of old.

She only smiled in answer to these words, and went out. The aunts, who had always loved Nekhludoff, welcomed him this time more warmly than ever. Dmitri was going to the war, where he might be wounded or killed, and this touched the old aunts. Nekhludoff had arranged to stay only a day and night with his aunts, but when he had seen Katusha he agreed to stay over Easter with them and telegraphed to his friend Schonbock, whom he was to have joined in Odessa, that he should come and meet him at his aunts' instead.

As soon as he had seen Katusha Nekhludoff's old feelings toward her awoke again. Now, just as then, he could not see her white apron without getting excited; he could not listen to her steps, her voice, her laugh, without a feeling of joy; he could not look at her eyes, black as sloes, without a feeling of tenderness, especially when she smiled; and, above all, he could not notice without agitation how she blushed when they met. He felt he was in love, but not as before, when this love was a kind of mystery to him and he would not own, even to himself, that he loved, and when he was persuaded that one could love only once; now he knew he was in love and was glad of it, and knew dimly what this love consisted of and what it might lead to, though he sought to conceal it even from himself. In Nekhludoff, as in every man, there were two beings: one the spiritual, seeking only that kind of happiness for him self which should tend towards the happiness of all; the other, the animal man, seeking only his own happiness, and ready to sacrifice to it the happiness of the rest of the world. At this period of his mania of self-love brought on by life in Petersburg and in the army, this animal man ruled supreme and completely crushed the spiritual man in him.

But when he saw Katusha and experienced the same feelings as he had had three years before, the spiritual man in him raised its head once more and began to assert its rights. And up to Easter, during two whole days, an unconscious, ceaseless inner struggle went on in him.

He knew in the depths of his soul that he ought to go away, that there was no real reason for staying on with his aunts, knew that no good could come of it; and yet it was so pleasant, so delightful, that he did not honestly acknowledge the facts to himself and stayed on. On Easter eve, the priest and the deacon who came to the house to say mass had had (so they said) the greatest difficulty in getting over the three miles that lay between the church and the old ladies' house, coming across the puddles and the bare earth in a sledge.

Nekhludoff attended the mass with his aunts and the servants, and kept looking at Katusha, who was near the door and brought in the censers for the priests. Then having given the priests and his aunts the Easter kiss, though it was not midnight and therefore not Easter yet, he was already going to bed when he heard the old servant Matrona Pavlovna preparing to go to the church to get the koulitch and paski [Easter cakes] blest after the midnight service. "I shall go too," he thought.

The road to the church was impassable either in a sledge or on wheels, so Nekhludoff, who behaved in his aunts' house just as he did at home, ordered the old horse, "the brother's horse," to be saddled, and instead of going to bed he put on his gay uniform, a pair of tight-fitting riding breeches and his overcoat, and got on the old over-fed and heavy horse, which neighed continually all the way as he rode in the dark through the puddles and snow to the church.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XV.


THE EARLY MASS.

For Nekhludoff this early mass remained for ever after one of the brightest and most vivid memories of his life. When he rode out of the darkness, broken only here and there by patches of white snow, into the churchyard illuminated by a row of lamps around the church, the service had already begun.

The peasants, recognising Mary Ivanovna's nephew, led his horse, which was pricking up its cars at the sight of the lights, to a dry place where he could get off, put it up for him, and showed him into the church, which was full of people. On the right stood the peasants; the old men in home-spun coats, and clean white linen bands [long strips of linen are worn by the peasants instead of stockings] wrapped round their legs, the young men in new cloth coats, bright-coloured belts round their waists, and top-boots.

On the left stood the women, with red silk kerchiefs on their heads, black velveteen sleeveless jackets, bright red shirt-sleeves, gay-coloured green, blue, and red skirts, and thick leather boots. The old women, dressed more quietly, stood behind them, with white kerchiefs, homespun coats, old-fashioned skirts of dark home-spun material, and shoes on their feet. Gaily-dressed children, their hair well oiled, went in and out among them.

The men, making the sign of the cross, bowed down and raised their heads again, shaking back their hair.

The women, especially the old ones, fixed their eyes on an icon surrounded with candies and made the sign of the cross, firmly pressing their folded fingers to the kerchief on their foreheads, to their shoulders, and their stomachs, and, whispering something, stooped or knelt down. The children, imitating the grown-up people, prayed earnestly when they knew that they were being observed. The gilt case containing the icon glittered, illuminated on all sides by tall candles ornamented with golden spirals. The candelabra was filled with tapers, and from the choir sounded most merry tunes sung by amateur choristers, with bellowing bass and shrill boys' voices among them.

Nekhludoff passed up to the front. In the middle of the church stood the aristocracy of the place: a landed proprietor, with his wife and son (the latter dressed in a sailor's suit), the police officer, the telegraph clerk, a tradesman in top-boots, and the village elder, with a medal on his breast; and to the right of the ambo, just behind the landed proprietor's wife, stood Matrona Pavlovna in a lilac dress and fringed shawl and Katusha in a white dress with a tucked bodice, blue sash, and red bow in her black hair.

Everything seemed festive, solemn, bright, and beautiful: the priest in his silver cloth vestments with gold crosses; the deacon, the clerk and chanter in their silver and gold surplices; the amateur choristers in their best clothes, with their well-oiled hair; the merry tunes of the holiday hymns that sounded like dance music; and the continual blessing of the people by the priests, who held candles decorated with flowers, and repeated the cry of "Christ is risen!" "Christ is risen!" All was beautiful; but, above all, Katusha, in her white dress, blue sash, and the red bow on her black head, her eyes beaming with rapture.

Nekhludoff knew that she felt his presence without looking at him. He noticed this as he passed her, walking up to the altar. He had nothing to tell her, but he invented something to say and whispered as he passed her: "Aunt told me that she would break her fast after the late mass." The young blood rushed up to Katusha's sweet face, as it always did when she looked at him. The black eyes, laughing and full of joy, gazed naively up and remained fixed on Nekhludoff.

"I know," she said, with a smile.

At this moment the clerk was going out with a copper coffee-pot  [coffee-pots are often used for holding holy water in Russia] of holy water in his hand, and, not noticing Katusha, brushed her with his surplice. Evidently he brushed against Katusha through wishing to pass Nekhludoff at a respectful distance, and Nekhludoff was surprised that he, the clerk, did not understand that everything here, yes, and in all the world, only existed for Katusha, and that everything else might remain unheeded, only not she, because she was the centre of all. For her the gold glittered round the icons; for her all these candles in candelabra and candlesticks were alight; for her were sung these joyful hymns, "Behold the Passover of the Lord" "Rejoice, O ye people!" All--all that was good in the world was for her. And it seemed to him that Katusha was aware that it was all for her when he looked at her well-shaped figure, the tucked white dress, the wrapt, joyous expression of her face, by which he knew that just exactly the same that was singing in his own soul was also singing in hers.

In the interval between the early and the late mass Nekhludoff left the church. The people stood aside to let him pass, and bowed. Some knew him; others asked who he was.

He stopped on the steps. The beggars standing there came clamouring round him, and he gave them all the change he had in his purse and went down. It was dawning, but the sun had not yet risen. The people grouped round the graves in the churchyard. Katusha had remained inside. Nekhludoff stood waiting for her.

The people continued coming out, clattering with their nailed boots on the stone steps and dispersing over the churchyard. A very old man with shaking head, his aunts' cook, stopped Nekhludoff in order to give him the Easter kiss, his old wife took an egg, dyed yellow, out of her handkerchief and gave it to Nekhludoff, and a smiling young peasant in a new coat and green belt also came up.

"Christ is risen," he said, with laughing eyes, and coming close to Nekhludoff he enveloped him in his peculiar but pleasant peasant smell, and, tickling him with his curly beard, kissed him three times straight on the mouth with his firm, fresh lips.

While the peasant was kissing Nekhludoff and giving him a dark brown egg, the lilac dress of Matrona Pavlovna and the dear black head with the red bow appeared.

Katusha caught sight of him over the heads of those in front of her, and he saw how her face brightened up.

She had come out with Matrona Pavlovna on to the porch, and stopped there distributing alms to the beggars. A beggar with a red scab in place of a nose came up to Katusha. She gave him something, drew nearer him, and, evincing no sign of disgust, but her eyes still shining with joy, kissed him three times. And while she was doing this her eyes met Nekhludoff's with a look as if she were asking, "Is this that I am doing right?" "Yes, dear, yes, it is right; everything is right, everything is beautiful. I love!"

They came down the steps of the porch, and he came up to them.

He did not mean to give them the Easter kiss, but only to be nearer to her. Matrona Pavlovna bowed her head, and said with a smile, "Christ is risen!" and her tone implied, "To-day we are all equal." She wiped her mouth with her handkerchief rolled into a ball and stretched her lips towards him.

"He is, indeed," answered Nekhludoff, kissing her. Then he looked at Katusha; she blushed, and drew nearer. "Christ is risen, Dmitri Ivanovitch." "He is risen, indeed," answered Nekhludoff, and they kissed twice, then paused as if considering whether a third kiss were necessary, and, having decided that it was, kissed a third time and smiled.

"You are going to the priests?" asked Nekhludoff.

"No, we shall sit out here a bit, Dmitri Ivanovitch," said Katusha with effort, as if she had accomplished some joyous task, and, her whole chest heaving with a deep sigh, she looked straight in his face with a look of devotion, virgin purity, and love, in her very slightly squinting eyes.

In the love between a man and a woman there always comes a moment when this love has reached its zenith--a moment when it is unconscious, unreasoning, and with nothing sensual about it. Such a moment had come for Nekhludoff on that Easter eve. When he brought Katusha back to his mind, now, this moment veiled all else; the smooth glossy black head, the white tucked dress closely fitting her graceful maidenly form, her, as yet, un-developed bosom, the blushing cheeks, the tender shining black eyes with their slight squint heightened by the sleepless night, and her whole being stamped with those two marked features, purity and chaste love, love not only for him (he knew that), but for everybody and everything, not for the good alone, but for all that is in the world, even for that beggar whom she had kissed.

He knew she had that love in her because on that night and morning he was conscious of it in himself, and conscious that in this love he became one with her. Ah! if it had all stopped there, at the point it had reached that night. "Yes, all that horrible business had not yet happened on that Easter eve!" he thought, as he sat by the window of the jurymen's room.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XVI.


THE FIRST STEP.

When he returned from church Nekhludoff broke the fast with his aunts and took a glass of spirits and some wine, having got into that habit while with his regiment, and when he reached his room fell asleep at once, dressed as he was. He was awakened by a knock at the door. He knew it was her knock, and got up, rubbing his eyes and stretching himself.

"Katusha, is it you? Come in," said he.

She opened the door.

"Dinner is ready," she said. She still had on the same white dress, but not the bow in her hair. She looked at him with a smile, as if she had communicated some very good news to him.

"I am coming," he answered, as he rose, taking his comb to arrange his hair.

She stood still for a minute, and he, noticing it, threw down his comb and made a step towards her, but at that very moment she turned suddenly and went with quick light steps along the strip of carpet in the middle of the passage.

"Dear me, what a fool I am," thought Nekhludoff. "Why did I not stop her?" What he wanted her for he did not know himself, but he felt that when she came into his room something should have been done, something that is generally done on such occasions, and that he had left it undone.

"Katusha, wait," he said.

"What do you want?" she said, stopping.

"Nothing, only--" and, with an effort, remembering how men in his position generally behave, he put his arm round her waist.

She stood still and looked into his eyes.

"Don't, Dmitri Ivanovitch, you must not," she said, blushing to tears and pushing away his arm with her strong hard hand. Nekhludoff let her go, and for a moment he felt not only confused and ashamed but disgusted with himself. He should now have believed himself, and then he would have known that this confusion and shame were caused by the best feelings of his soul demanding to be set free; but he thought it was only his stupidity and that he ought to behave as every one else did. He caught her up and kissed her on the neck.

This kiss was very different from that first thoughtless kiss behind the lilac bush, and very different to the kiss this morning in the churchyard. This was a dreadful kiss, and she felt it.

"Oh, what are you doing?" she cried, in a tone as if he had irreparably broken something of priceless value, and ran quickly away.

He came into the dining-room. His aunts, elegantly dressed, their family doctor, and a neighbour were already there. Everything seemed so very ordinary, but in Nekhludoff a storm was raging. He understood nothing of what was being said and gave wrong answers, thinking only of Katusha. The sound of her steps in the passage brought back the thrill of that last kiss and he could think of nothing else. When she came into the room he, without looking round, felt her presence with his whole being and had to force himself not to look at her.

After dinner he at once went into his bedroom and for a long time walked up and down in great excitement, listening to every sound in the house and expecting to hear her steps. The animal man inside him had now not only lifted its head, but had succeeded in trampling under foot the spiritual man of the days of his first visit, and even of that every morning. That dreadful animal man alone now ruled over him.

Though he was watching for her all day he could not manage to meet her alone. She was probably trying to evade him. In the evening, however, she was obliged to go into the room next to his. The doctor had been asked to stay the night, and she had to make his bed. When he heard her go in Nekhludoff followed her, treading softly and holding his breath as if he were going to commit a crime.

She was putting a clean pillow-case on the pillow, holding it by two of its corners with her arms inside the pillow-case. She turned round and smiled, not a happy, joyful smile as before, but in a frightened, piteous way. The smile seemed to tell him that what he was doing was wrong. He stopped for a moment. There was still the possibility of a struggle. The voice of his real love for her, though feebly, was still speaking of her, her feelings, her life. Another voice was saying, "Take care I don't let the opportunity for your own happiness, your own enjoyment, slip by!" And this second voice completely stifled the first. He went up to her with determination and a terrible, ungovernable animal passion took possession of him.

With his arm round he made her sit down on the bed; and feeling that there was something more to be done he sat down beside her.

"Dmitri Ivanovitch, dear! please let me go," she said, with a piteous voice. "Matrona Pavlovna is coming," she cried, tearing herself away. Some one was really coming to the door.

"Well, then, I'll come to you in the night," he whispered. "You'll be alone?"

"What are you thinking of? On no account. No, no!" she said, but only with her lips; the tremulous confusion of her whole being said something very different.

It was Matrona Pavlovna who had come to the door. She came in with a. blanket over her arm, looked reproachfully at Nekhludoff, and began scolding Katusha for having taken the wrong blanket.

Nekhludoff went out in silence, but he did not even feel ashamed. He could see by Matrona Pavlovna's face that she was blaming him, he knew that she was blaming him with reason and felt that he was doing wrong, but this novel, low animal excitement, having freed itself of all the old feelings of real love for Katusha, ruled supreme, leaving room for nothing else. He went about as if demented all the evening, now into his aunts', then back into his own room, then out into the porch, thinking all the time how he could meet her alone; but she avoided him, and Matrona Pavlovna watched her closely.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XVII.


NEKHLUDOFF AND KATUSHA.

AND so the evening passed and night came. The doctor went to bed. Nekhludoff's aunts had also retired, and he knew that Matrona Pavlovna was now with them in their bedroom so that Katusha was sure to be alone in the maids' sitting-room. He again went out into the porch. It was dark, damp and warm out of doors, and that white spring mist which drives away the last snow, or is diffused by the thawing of the last snow, filled the air. From the river under the hill, about a hundred steps from the front door, came a strange sound. It was the ice breaking. Nekhludoff came down the steps and went up to the window of the maids' room, stepping over the puddles on the bits of glazed snow. His heart was beating so fiercely in his breast that he seemed to hear it, his laboured breath came and went in a burst of long-drawn sighs. In the maids' room a small lamp was burning, and Katusha sat alone by the table, looking thoughtfully in front of her. Nekhludoff stood a long time without moving and waited to see what she, not knowing that she was observed, would do. For a minute or two she did not move; then she lifted her eyes, smiled and shook her head as if chiding herself, then changed her pose and dropped both her arms on the table and again began gazing down in front of her. He stood and looked at her, involuntarily listening to the beating of his own heart and the strange sounds from the river. There on the river, beneath the white mist, the unceasing labour went on, and sounds as of something sobbing, cracking, dropping, being shattered to pieces mixed with the tinkling of the thin bits of ice as they broke against each other like glass.

There he stood, looking at Katusha's serious, suffering face, which betrayed the inner struggle of her soul, and he felt pity for her; but, strange though it may seem, this pity only confirmed him in his evil intention.

He knocked at the window. She started as if she had received an electric shock, her whole body trembled, and a look of horror came into her face. Then she jumped up, approached the window and brought her face up to the pane. The look of terror did not leave her face even when, holding her hands up to her eyes like blinkers and peering through the glass, she recognised him. Her face was unusually grave; he had never seen it so before. She returned his smile, but only in submission to him; there was no smile in her soul, only fear. He beckoned her with his hand to come out into the yard to him. But she shook her head and remained by the window. He brought his face close to the pane and was going to call out to her, but at that moment she turned to the door; evidently some one inside had called her. Nekhludoff moved away from the window. The fog was so dense that five steps from the house the windows could not be seen, but the light from the lamp shone red and huge out of a shapeless black mass. And on the river the same strange sounds went on, sobbing and rustling and cracking and tinkling. Somewhere in the fog, not far off, a cock crowed; another answered, and then others, far in the village took up the cry till the sound of the crowing blended into one, while all around was silent excepting the river. It was the second time the cocks crowed that night.

Nekhludoff walked up and down behind the corner of the house, and once or twice got into a puddle. Then again came up to the window. The lamp was still burning, and she was again sitting alone by the table as if uncertain what to do. He had hardly approached the window when she looked up. He knocked. Without looking who it was she at once ran out of the room, and he heard the outside door open with a snap. He waited for her near the side porch and put his arms round her without saying a word. She clung to him, put up her face, and met his kiss with her lips. Then the door again gave the same sort of snap and opened, and the voice of Matrona Pavlovna called out angrily, "Katusha!"

She tore herself away from him and returned into the maids' room. He heard the latch click, and then all was quiet. The red light disappeared and only the mist remained, and the bustle on the river went on. Nekhludoff went up to the window, nobody was to be seen; he knocked, but got no answer. He went back into the house by the front door, but could not sleep. He got up and went with bare feet along the passage to her door, next Matrona Pavlovna's room. He heard Matrona Pavlovna snoring quietly, and was about to go on when she coughed and turned on her creaking bed, and his heart fell, and he stood immovable for about five minutes. When all was quiet and she began to snore peacefully again, he went on, trying to step on the boards that did not creak, and came to Katusha's door. There was no sound to be heard. She was probably awake, or else he would have heard her breathing. But as soon as he had whispered "Katusha" she jumped up and began to persuade him, as if angrily, to go away.

"Open! Let me in just for a moment! I implore you! He hardly knew what he was saying.

                   * * * * * * *

When she left him, trembling and silent, giving no answer to his words, he again went out into the porch and stood trying to understand the meaning of what had happened.

It was getting lighter. From the river below the creaking and tinkling and sobbing of the breaking ice came still louder and a gurgling sound could now also be heard. The mist had begun to sink, and from above it the waning moon dimly lighted up something black and weird.

"What was the meaning of it all? Was it a great joy or a great misfortune that had befallen him?" he asked himself.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XVIII.


AFTERWARDS.

The next day the gay, handsome, and brilliant Schonbock joined Nekhludoff at his aunts' house, and quite won their hearts by his refined and amiable manner, his high spirits, his generosity, and his affection for Dmitri.

But though the old ladies admired his generosity it rather perplexed them, for it seemed exaggerated. He gave a rouble to some blind beggars who came to the gate, gave 15 roubles in tips to the servants, and when Sophia Ivanovna's pet dog hurt his paw and it bled, he tore his hemstitched cambric handkerchief into strips (Sophia Ivanovna knew that such handkerchiefs cost at least 15 roubles a dozen) and bandaged the dog's foot. The old ladies had never met people of this kind, and did not know that Schonbock owed 200,000 roubles which he was never going to pay, and that therefore 25 roubles more or less did not matter a bit to him. Schonbock stayed only one day, and he and Nekhludoff both, left at night. They could not stay away from their regiment any longer, for their leave was fully up.

At the stage which Nekhludoff's selfish mania had now reached he could think of nothing but himself. He was wondering whether his conduct, if found out, would be blamed much or at all, but he did not consider what Katusha was now going through, and what was going to happen to her.

He saw that Schonbock guessed his relations to her and this flattered his vanity.

"Ah, I see how it is you have taken such a sudden fancy to your aunts that you have been living nearly a week with them," Schonbock remarked when he had seen Katusha. "Well, I don't wonder--should have done the same. She's charming." Nekhludoff was also thinking that though it was a pity to go away before having fully gratified the cravings of his love for her, yet the absolute necessity of parting had its advantages because it put a sudden stop to relations it would have been very difficult for him to continue. Then he thought that he ought to give her some money, not for her, not because she might need it, but because it was the thing to do.

So he gave her what seemed to him a liberal amount, considering his and her station. On the day of his departure, after dinner, he went out and waited for her at the side entrance. She flushed up when she saw him and wished to pass by, directing his attention to the open door of the maids' room by a look, but he stopped her.

"I have come to say good-bye," he said, crumbling in his hand an envelope with a 100-rouble note inside. "There, I" . . .

She guessed what he meant, knit her brows, and shaking her head pushed his hand away.

"Take it; oh, you must!" he stammered, and thrust the envelope into the bib of her apron and ran back to his room, groaning and frowning as if he had hurt himself. And for a long time he went up and down writhing as in pain, and even stamping and groaning aloud as he thought of this last scene. "But what else could I have done? Is it not what happens to every one? And if every one does the same . . . well I suppose it can't be helped." In this way he tried to get peace of mind, but in vain. The recollection of what had passed burned his conscience. In his soul--in the very depths of his soul--he knew that he had acted in a base, cruel, cowardly manner, and that the knowledge of this act of his must prevent him, not only from finding fault with any one else, but even from looking straight into other people's eyes; not to mention the impossibility of considering himself a splendid, noble, high-minded fellow, as he did and had to do to go on living his life boldly and merrily. There was only one solution of the problem--i.e., not to think about it. He succeeded in doing so. The life he was now entering upon, the new surroundings, new friends, the war, all helped him to forget. And the longer he lived, the less he thought about it, until at last he forgot it completely.

Once only, when, after the war, he went to see his aunts in hopes of meeting Katusha, and heard that soon after his last visit she had left, and that his aunts had heard she had been confined somewhere or other and had gone quite to the bad, his heart ached. According to the time of her confinement, the child might or might not have been his. His aunts said she had gone wrong, that she had inherited her mother's depraved nature, and he was pleased to hear this opinion of his aunts'. It seemed to acquit him. At first he thought of trying to find her and her child, but then, just because in the depths of his soul he felt so ashamed and pained when thinking about her, he did not make the necessary effort to find her, but tried to forget his sin again and ceased to think about it. And now this strange coincidence brought it all back to his memory, and demanded from him the acknowledgment of the heartless, cruel cowardice which had made it possible for him to live these nine years with such a sin on his conscience. But he was still far from such an acknowledgment, and his only fear was that everything might now be found out, and that she or her advocate might recount it all and put him to shame before every one present.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XIX.


THE TRIAL--RESUMPTION.

In this state of mind Nekhludoff left the Court and went into the jurymen's room. He sat by the window smoking all the while, and hearing what was being said around him.

The merry merchant seemed with all his heart to sympathise with Smelkoff's way of spending his time. "There, old fellow, that was something like! Real Siberian fashion! He knew what he was about, no fear! That's the sort of wench for me."

The foreman was stating his conviction, that in some way or other the expert's conclusions were the important thing. Peter Gerasimovitch was joking about something with the Jewish clerk, and they burst out laughing. Nekhludoff answered all the questions addressed to him in monosyllables and longed only to be left in peace.

When the usher, with his sideways gait, called the jury back to the Court, Nekhludoff was seized with fear, as if he were not going to judge, but to be judged. In the depth of his soul he felt that he was a scoundrel, who ought to be ashamed to look people in the face, yet, by sheer force of habit, he stepped on to the platform in his usual self-possessed manner, and sat down, crossing his legs and playing with his pince-nez.

The prisoners had also been led out, and were now brought in again. There were some new faces in the Court witnesses, and Nekhludoff noticed that Maslova could not take her eyes off a very fat woman who sat in the row in front of the grating, very showily dressed in silk and velvet, a high hat with a large bow on her head, and an elegant little reticule on her arm, which was bare to the elbow. This was, as he subsequently found out, one of the witnesses, the mistress of the establishment to which Maslova had belonged.

The examination of the witnesses commenced: they were asked their names, religion, etc. Then, after some consultation as to whether the witnesses were to be sworn in or not, the old priest came in again, dragging his legs with difficulty, and, again arranging the golden cross on his breast, swore the witnesses and the expert in the same quiet manner, and with the same assurance that he was doing something useful and important.

The witnesses having been sworn, all but Kitaeva, the keeper of the house, were led out again. She was asked what she knew about this affair. Kitaeva nodded her head and the big hat at every sentence and smiled affectedly. She gave a very full and intelligent account, speaking with a strong German accent. First of all, the hotel servant Simeon, whom she knew, came to her establishment on behalf of a rich Siberian merchant, and she sent Lubov back with him. After a time Lubov returned with the merchant. The merchant was already somewhat intoxicated--she smiled as she said this--and went on drinking and treating the girls. He was short of money. He sent this same Lubov to his lodgings. He had taken a "predilection" to her. She looked at the prisoner as she said this.

Nekhludoff thought he saw Maslova smile here, and this seemed disgusting to him. A strange, indefinite feeling of loathing, mingled with suffering, arose in him.

"And what was your opinion of Maslova?" asked the blushing and confused applicant for a judicial post, appointed to act as Maslova's advocate.

"Zee ferry pesht," answered Kitaeva. "Zee yoong voman is etucated and elecant. She was prought up in a coot family and can reat French. She tid have a trop too moch sometimes, put nefer forcot herself. A ferry coot girl."

Katusha looked at the woman, then suddenly turned her eyes on the jury and fixed them on Nekhludoff, and her face grew serious and even severe. One of her serious eyes squinted, and those two strange eyes for some time gazed at Nekhludoff, who, in spite of the terrors that seized him, could not take his look off these squinting eyes, with their bright, clear whites.

He thought of that dreadful night, with its mist, the ice breaking on the river below, and when the waning moon, with horns turned upwards, that had risen towards morning, lit up something black and weird. These two black eyes now looking at him reminded him of this weird, black something. "She has recognised me," he thought, and Nekhludoff shrank as if expecting a blow. But she had not recognised him. She sighed quietly and again looked at the president. Nekhludoff also sighed. "Oh, if it would only get on quicker," he thought.

He now felt the same loathing and pity and vexation as when, out shooting, he was obliged to kill a wounded bird. The wounded bird struggles in the game bag. One is disgusted and yet feels pity, and one is in a hurry to kill the bird and forget it.

Such mixed feelings filled Nekhludoff's breast as he sat listening to the examination of the witnesses.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XX.


THE TRIAL--THE MEDICAL REPORT.

But, as if to spite him, the case dragged out to a great length. After each witness had been examined separately and the expert last of all, and a great number of useless questions had been put, with the usual air of importance, by the public prosecutor and by both advocates, the president invited the jury to examine the objects offered as material evidence. They consisted of an enormous diamond ring, which had evidently been worn on the first finger, and a test tube in which the poison had been analysed. These things had seals and labels attached to them.

Just as the witnesses were about to look at these things, the public prosecutor rose and demanded that before they did this the results of the doctor's examination of the body should be read. The president, who was hurrying the business through as fast as he could in order to visit his Swiss friend, though he knew that the reading of this paper could have no other effect than that of producing weariness and putting off the dinner hour, and that the public prosecutor wanted it read simply because he knew he had a right to demand it, had no option but to express his consent.

The secretary got out the doctor's report and again began to read in his weary lisping voice, making no distinction between the "r's" and "l's."

The external examination proved that:

"1. Theropont Smelkoff's height was six feet five inches.

"Not so bad, that. A very good size," whispered the merchant, with interest, into Nekhludoff's ear.

2. He looked about 40 years of age.

3. The body was of a swollen appearance.

4. The flesh was of a greenish colour, with dark spots in several places.

5. The skin was raised in blisters of different sizes and in places had come off in large pieces.

6. The hair was chestnut; it was thick, and separated easily from the skin when touched.

7. The eye-balls protruded from their sockets and the cornea had grown dim.

8. Out of the nostrils, both ears, and the mouth oozed serous liquid; the mouth was half open.

9. The neck had almost disappeared, owing to the swelling of the face and chest."

And so on and so on.

Four pages were covered with the 27 paragraphs describing all the details of the external examination of the enormous, fat, swollen, and decomposing body of the merchant who had been making merry in the town. The indefinite loathing that Nekhludoff felt was increased by the description of the corpse. Katusha's life, and the scrum oozing from the nostrils of the corpse, and the eyes that protruded out of their sockets, and his own treatment of her--all seemed to belong to the same order of things, and he felt surrounded and wholly absorbed by things of the same nature.

When the reading of the report of the external examination was ended, the president heaved a sigh and raised his hand, hoping it was finished; but the secretary at once went on to the description of the internal examination. The president's head again dropped into his hand and he shut his eyes. The merchant next to Nekhludoff could hardly keep awake, and now and then his body swayed to and fro. The prisoners and the gendarmes sat perfectly quiet.

The internal examination showed that:

"1. The skin was easily detachable from the bones of the skull, and there was no coagulated blood.

"2. The bones of the skull were of average thickness and in sound condition.

"3. On the membrane of the brain there were two discoloured spots about four inches long, the membrane itself being of a dull white." And so on for 13 paragraphs more. Then followed the names and signatures of the assistants, and the doctor's conclusion showing that the changes observed in the stomach, and to a lesser degree in the bowels and kidneys, at the postmortem examination, and described in the official report, gave great probability to the conclusion that Smelkoff's death was caused by poison which had entered his stomach mixed with alcohol. To decide from the state of the stomach what poison had been introduced was difficult; but it was necessary to suppose that the poison entered the stomach mixed with alcohol, since a great quantity of the latter was found in Smelkoff's stomach.

"He could drink, and no mistake," again whispered the merchant, who had just waked up.

The reading of this report had taken a full hour, but it had not satisfied the public prosecutor, for, when it had been read through and the president turned to him, saying, "I suppose it is superfluous to read the report of the examination of the internal organs?" he answered in a severe tone, without looking at the president, "I shall ask to have it read."

He raised himself a little, and showed by his manner that he had a right to have this report read, and would claim this right, and that if that were not granted it would serve as a cause of appeal.

The member of the Court with the big beard, who suffered from catarrh of the stomach, feeling quite done up, turned to the president:

"What is the use of reading all this? It is only dragging it out. These new brooms do not sweep clean; they only take a long while doing it."

The member with the gold spectacles said nothing, but only looked gloomily in front of him, expecting nothing good, either from his wife or life in general. The reading of the report commenced.

"In the year 188-, on February 15th, I, the undersigned, commissioned by the medical department, made an examination, No. 638," the secretary began again with firmness and raising the pitch of his voice as if to dispel the sleepiness that had overtaken all present, "in the presence of the assistant medical inspector, of the internal organs:

"1. The right lung and the heart (contained in a 6-lb. glass jar).

"2. The contents of the stomach (in a 6-lb. glass jar).

"3. The stomach itself (in a 6-lb. glass jar).

"4. The liver, the spleen and the kidneys (in a 9-lb. glass jar).

5. The intestines (in a 9-lb. earthenware jar)."

The president here whispered to one of the members, then stooped to the other, and having received their consent, he said: "The Court considers the reading of this report superfluous." The secretary stopped reading and folded the paper, and the public prosecutor angrily began to write down something. "The gentlemen of the jury may now examine the articles of material evidence," said the president. The foreman and several of the others rose and went to the table, not quite knowing what to do with their hands. They looked in turn at the glass, the test tube, and the ring. The merchant even tried on the ring.

"Ah! that was a finger," he said, returning to his place; "like a cucumber," he added. Evidently the image he had formed in his mind of the gigantic merchant amused him.


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