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BOOK I.

CHAPTER XXXI.


THE PRISONERS.

When the padlock rattled and the door opened to let Maslova into the cell, all turned towards her. Even the deacon's daughter stopped for a moment and looked at her with lifted brows before resuming her steady striding up and down.

Korableva stuck her needle into the brown sacking and looked questioningly at Maslova through her spectacles. "Eh, eh, deary me, so you have come back. And I felt sure they'd acquit you. So you've got it?" She took off her spectacles and put her work down beside her on the shelf bed.

"And here have I and the old lady been saying, 'Why, it may well be they'll let her go free at once.' Why, it happens, ducky, they'll even give you a heap of money sometimes, that's sure," the watchman's wife began, in her singing voice: "Yes, we were wondering, 'Why's she so long?' And now just see what it is. Well, our guessing was no use. The Lord willed otherwise," she went on in musical tones.

"Is it possible? Have they sentenced you?" asked Theodosia, with concern, looking at Maslova with her bright blue, child-like eyes; and her merry young face changed as if she were going to cry.

Maslova did not answer, but went on to her place, the second from the end, and sat down beside Korableva.

"Have you eaten anything?" said Theodosia, rising and coming up to Maslova.

Maslova gave no reply, but putting the rolls on the bedstead, took off her dusty cloak, the kerchief off her curly black head, and began pulling off her shoes. The old woman who had been playing with the boy came up and stood in front of Maslova. "Tz, tz, tz," she clicked with her tongue, shaking her head pityingly. The boy also came up with her, and, putting out his upper lip, stared with wide open eyes at the roll Maslova had brought. When Maslova saw the sympathetic faces of her fellow-prisoners, her lips trembled and she felt inclined to cry, but she succeeded in restraining herself until the old woman and the boy came up. When she heard the kind, pitying clicking of the old woman's tongue, and met the boy's serious eyes turned from the roll to her face, she could bear it no longer; her face quivered and she burst into sobs.

"Didn't I tell you to insist on having a proper advocate?" said Norableva. "Well, what is it? Exile?"

Maslova could not answer, but took from inside the roll a box of cigarettes, on which was a picture of a lady with hair done up very high and dress cut low in front, and passed the box to Korableva. Korableva looked at it and shook her head, chiefly because see did not approve of Maslova's putting her money to such bad use; but still she took out a cigarette, lit it at the lamp, took a puff, and almost forced it into Maslova's hand. Maslova, still crying, began greedily to inhale the tobacco smoke. "Penal servitude," she muttered, blowing out the smoke and sobbing.

"Don't they fear the Lord, the cursed soul-slayers?" muttered Korableva, "sentencing the lass for nothing." At this moment the sound of loud, coarse laughter came from the women who were still at the window. The little girl also laughed, and her childish treble mixed with the hoarse and screeching laughter of the others. One of the convicts outside had done something that produced this effect on the onlookers.

"Lawks! see the shaved hound, what he's doing," said the red-haired woman, her whole fat body shaking with laughter; and leaning against the grating she shouted meaning less obscene words.

"Ugh, the fat fright's cackling," said Korableva, who disliked the red-haired woman. Then, turning to Maslova again, she asked: "How many years?"

"Four," said Maslova, and the tears ran down her cheeks in such profusion that one fell on the cigarette. Maslova crumpled it up angrily and took another.

Though the watchman's wife did not smoke she picked up the cigarette Maslova had thrown away and began straightening it out, talking unceasingly.

"There, now, ducky, so it's true," she said. "Truth's gone to the dogs and they do what they please, and here we were guessing that you'd go free. Norableva says, 'She'll go free.' I say, 'No,' say I. 'No, dear, my heart tells me they'll give it her.' And so it's turned out," she went on, evidently listening with pleasure to her own voice.

The women who had been standing by the window now also came up to Maslova, the convicts who had amused them having gone away. The first to come up were the woman imprisoned for illicit trade in spirits, and her little girl. "Why such a hard sentence?" asked the woman, sitting down by Maslova and knitting fast.

"Why so hard? Because there's no money. That's why! Had there been money, and had a good lawyer that's up to their tricks been hired, they'd have acquitted her, no fear," said Korableva. "There's what's-his-name--that hairy one with the long nose. He'd bring you out clean from pitch, mum, he would. Ah, if we'd only had him!"

"Him, indeed," said Khoroshavka. "Why, he won't spit at you for less than a thousand roubles."

"Seems you've been born under an unlucky star," interrupted the old woman who was imprisoned for incendiarism. "Only think, to entice the lad's wife and lock him himself up to feed vermin, and me, too, in my old days--" she began to retell her story for the hundredth time. "If it isn't the beggar's staff it's the prison. Yes, the beggar's staff and the prison don't wait for an invitation."

"Ah, it seems that's the way with all of them," said the spirit trader; and after looking at her little girl she put down her knitting, and, drawing the child between her knees, began to search her head with deft fingers. "Why do you sell spirits?" she went on. "Why? but what's one to feed the children on?"

These words brought back to Maslova's mind her craving for drink.

"A little vodka," she said to Korableva, wiping the tears with her sleeve and sobbing less frequently.

"All right, fork out," said Korableva.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XXXII.


A PRISON QUARREL.

Maslova got the money, which she had also hidden in a roll, and passed the coupon to Korableva. Korableva accepted it, though she could not read, trusting to Khoroshavka, who knew everything, and who said that the slip of paper was worth 2 roubles 50 copecks, then climbed up to the ventilator, where she had hidden a small flask of vodka. Seeing this, the women whose places were further off went away. Meanwhile Maslova shook the dust out of her cloak and kerchief, got up on the bedstead, and began eating a roll.

"I kept your tea for you," said Theodosia, getting down from the shelf a mug and a tin teapot wrapped in a rag, "but I'm afraid it is quite cold." The liquid was quite cold and tasted more of tin than of tea, yet Maslova filled the mug and began drinking it with her roll. "Finashka, here you are," she said, breaking off a bit of the roll and giving it to the boy, who stood looking at her mouth.

Meanwhile Korableva handed the flask of vodka and a mug to Maslova, who offered some to her and to Khoroshavka. These prisoners were considered the aristocracy of the cell because they had some money, and shared what they possessed with the others.

In a few moments Maslova brightened up and related merrily what had happened at the court, and what had struck her most, i.e., how all the men had followed her wherever she went. In the court they all looked at her, she said, and kept coming into the prisoners' room while she was there.

"One of the soldiers even says, 'It's all to look at you that they come.' One would come in, 'Where is such a paper?' or something, but I see it is not the paper he wants; he just devours me with his eyes," she said, shaking her head. "Regular artists."

"Yes, that's so," said the watchman's wife, and ran on in her musical strain, "they're like flies after sugar."

"And here, too," Maslova interrupted her, "the same thing. They can do without anything else. But the likes of them will go without bread sooner than miss that! Hardly had they brought me back when in comes a gang from the railway. They pestered me so, I did not know how to rid myself of them. Thanks to the assistant, he turned them off. One bothered so, I hardly got away."

"What's he like?" asked Khoroshevka.

"Dark, with moustaches."

"It must be him."

"Him--who?"

"Why, Schegloff; him as has just gone by."

"What's he, this Schegloff?"

"What, she don't know Schegloff? Why, he ran twice from Siberia. Now they've got him, but he'll run away. The warders themselves are afraid of him," said Khoroshavka, who managed to exchange notes with the male prisoners and knew all that went on in the prison. "He'll run away, that's flat."

"If he does go away you and I'll have to stay," said Korableva, turning to Maslova, "but you'd better tell us now what the advocate says about petitioning. Now's the time to hand it in."

Maslova answered that she knew nothing about it.

At that moment the red-haired woman came up to the "aristocracy" with both freckled hands in her thick hair, scratching her head with her nails.

"I'll tell you all about it, Katerina," she began. "First and foremost, you'll have to write down you're dissatisfied with the sentence, then give notice to the Procureur."

"What do you want here?" said Korableva angrily; "smell the vodka, do you? Your chatter's not wanted. We know what to do without your advice."

"No one's speaking to you; what do you stick your nose in for?"

"It's vodka you want; that's why you come wriggling yourself in here."

"Well, offer her some," said Maslova, always ready to share anything she possessed with anybody.

"I'll offer her something."

"Come on then," said the red-haired one, advancing towards Korableva. "Ah! think I'm afraid of such as you?"

"Convict fright!"

"That's her as says it."

"Slut!"

"I? A slut? Convict! Murderess!" screamed the red-haired one.

"Go away, I tell you," said Korableva gloomily, but the red-haired one came nearer and Korableva struck her in the chest. The red-haired woman seemed only to have waited for this, and with a sudden movement caught hold of Korableva's hair with one hand and with the other struck her in the face. Korableva seized this hand, and Maslova and Khoroshavka caught the red-haired woman by her arms, trying to pull her away, but she let go the old woman's hair with her hand only to twist it round her fist. Korableva, with her head bent to one side, was dealing out blows with one arm and trying to catch the red-haired woman's hand with her teeth, while the rest of the women crowded round, screaming and trying to separate the fighters; even the consumptive one came up and stood coughing and watching the fight. The children cried and huddled together. The noise brought the woman warder and a jailer. The fighting women were separated; and Korableva, taking out the bits of torn hair from her head, and the red-haired one, holding her torn chemise together over her yellow breast, began loudly to complain.

"I know, it's all the vodka. Wait a bit; I'll tell the inspector tomorrow. He'll give it you. Can't I smell it? Mind, get it all out of the way, or it will be the worse for you," said the warder. "We've no time to settle your disputes. Get to your places and be quiet."

But quiet was not soon re-established. For a long time the women went on disputing and explaining to one another whose fault it all was. At last the warder and the jailer left the cell, the women grew quieter and began going to bed, and the old woman went to the icon and commenced praying.

"The two jailbirds have met," the red-haired woman suddenly called out in a hoarse voice from the other end of the shelf beds, accompanying every word with frightfully vile abuse.

"Mind you don't get it again," Korableva replied, also adding words of abuse, and both were quiet again.

"Had I not been stopped I'd have pulled your damned eyes out," again began the red-haired one, and an answer of the same kind followed from Korableva. Then again a short interval and more abuse. But the intervals became longer and longer, as when a thunder-cloud is passing, and at last all was quiet.

All were in bed, some began to snore; and only the old woman, who always prayed a long time, went on bowing before the icon and the deacon's daughter, who had got up after the warder left, was pacing up and down the room again. Maslova kept thinking that she was now a convict condemned to hard labour, and had twice been reminded of this--once by Botchkova and once by the red-haired woman--and she could not reconcile herself to the thought. Korableva, who lay next to her, turned over in her bed.

"There now," said Maslova in a low voice; "who would have thought it? See what others do and get nothing for it."

"Never mind, girl. People manage to live in Siberia. As for you, you'll not be lost there either," Korableva said, trying to comfort her.

"I know I'll not be lost; still it is hard. It's not such a fate I want--I, who am used to a comfortable life."

"Ah, one can't go against God," said Korableva, with a sigh. "One can't, my dear."

"I know, granny. Still, it's hard."

They were silent for a while.

"Do you hear that baggage?" whispered Korableva, drawing Maslova's attention to a strange sound proceeding from the other end of the room.

This sound was the smothered sobbing of the red-haired woman. The red-haired woman was crying because she had been abused and had not got any of the vodka she wanted so badly; also because she remembered how all her life she had been abused, mocked at, offended, beaten. Remembering this, she pitied herself, and, thinking no one heard her, began crying as children cry, sniffing with her nose and swallowing the salt tears.

"I'm sorry for her," said Maslova.

"Of course one is sorry," said Korableva, "but she shouldn't come bothering." Resurrection

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XXXIII.


THE LEAVEN AT WORK--NEKHLUDOFF'S DOMESTIC CHANGES.

The next morning Nekhludoff awoke, conscious that something had happened to him, and even before he had remembered what it was he knew it to be something important and good.

"Katusha--the trial!" Yes, he must stop lying and tell the whole truth.

By a strange coincidence on that very morning he received the long-expected letter from Mary Vasilievna, the wife of the Marechal de Noblesse, the very letter he particularly needed. She gave him full freedom, and wished him happiness in his intended marriage.

"Marriage!" he repeated with irony. "How far I am from all that at present."

And he remembered the plans he had formed the day before, to tell the husband everything, to make a clean breast of it, and express his readiness to give him any kind of satisfaction. But this morning this did not seem so easy as the day before. And, then, also, why make a man unhappy by telling him what he does not know? Yes, if he came and asked, he would tell him all, but to go purposely and tell--no! that was unnecessary.

And telling the whole truth to Missy seemed just as difficult this morning. Again, he could not begin to speak without offence. As in many worldly affairs, something had to remain unexpressed. Only one thing he decided on, i.e., not to visit there, and to tell the truth if asked.

But in connection with Katusha, nothing was to remain unspoken. "I shall go to the prison and shall tell her every thing, and ask her to forgive me. And if need be--yes, if need be, I shall marry her," he thought.

This idea, that he was ready to sacrifice all on moral grounds, and marry her, again made him feel very tender towards himself. Concerning money matters he resolved this morning to arrange them in accord with his conviction, that the holding of landed property was unlawful. Even if he should not be strong enough to give up everything, he would still do what he could, not deceiving himself or others.

It was long since he had met the coming day with so much energy. When Agraphena Petrovna came in, he told her, with more firmness than he thought himself capable of, that he no longer needed this lodging nor her services. There had been a tacit understanding that he was keeping up so large and expensive an establishment because he was thinking of getting married. The giving up of the house had, therefore, a special meaning. Agraphena Petrovna looked at him in surprise.

"I thank you very much, Agraphena Petrovna, for all your care for me, but I no longer require so large a house nor so many servants. If you wish to help me, be so good as to settle about the things, put them away as it used to be done during mamma's life, and when Natasha comes she will see to everything." Natasha was Nekhludoff's sister.

Agraphena Petrovna shook her head. "See about the things? Why, they'll be required again," she said.

"No, they won't, Agraphena Petrovna; I assure you they won't be required," said Nekhludoff, in answer to what the shaking of her head had expressed. "Please tell Corney also that I shall pay him two months' wages, but shall have no further need of him."

"It is a pity, Dmitri Ivanovitch, that you should think of doing this," she said. "Well, supposing you go abroad, still you'll require a place of residence again."

"You are mistaken in your thoughts, Agraphena Petrovna; I am not going abroad. If I go on a journey, it will be to quite a different place." He suddenly blushed very red. "Yes, I must tell her," he thought; "no hiding; everybody must be told."

"A very strange and important thing happened to me yesterday. Do you remember my Aunt Mary Ivanovna's Katusha?"

"Oh, yes. Why, I taught her how to sew."

"Well, this Katusha was tried in the Court and I was on the jury."

"Oh, Lord! What a pity!" cried Agraphena Petrovna. What was she being tried for?"

"Murder; and it is I have done it all."

"Well, now this is very strange; how could you do it all?"

"Yes, I am the cause of it all; and it is this that has altered all my plans."

"What difference can it make to you?"

"This difference: that I, being the cause of her getting on to that path, must do all I can to help her."

"That is just according to your own good pleasure; you are not particularly in fault there. It happens to every one, and if one's reasonable, it all gets smoothed over and forgotten," she said, seriously and severely. "Why should you place it to your account? There's no need. I had already heard before that she had strayed from the right path. Well, whose fault is it?"

"Mine! that's why I want to put it right."

"It is hard to put right."

"That is my business. But if you are thinking about yourself, then I will tell you that, as mamma expressed the wish--"

"I am not thinking about myself. I have been so bountifully treated by the dear defunct, that I desire nothing. Lisenka" (her married niece) "has been inviting me, and I shall go to her when I am not wanted any longer. Only it is a pity you should take this so to heart; it happens to everybody."

"Well, I do not think so. And I still beg that you will help me let this lodging and put away the things. And please do not be angry with me. I am very, very grateful to you for all you have done."

And, strangely, from the moment Nekhludoff realised that it was he who was so bad and disgusting to himself, others were no longer disgusting to him; on the contrary, he felt a kindly respect for Agraphena Petrovna, and for Corney.

He would have liked to go and confess to Corney also, but Corney's manner was so insinuatingly deferential that he had not the resolution to do it.

On the way to the Law Courts, passing along the same streets with the same isvostchik as the day before, he was surprised what a different being he felt himself to be. The marriage with Missy, which only yesterday seemed so probable, appeared quite impossible now. The day before he felt it was for him to choose, and had no doubts that she would be happy to marry him; to-day he felt himself unworthy not only of marrying, but even of being intimate with her. "If she only knew what I am, nothing would induce her to receive me. And only yesterday I was finding fault with her because she flirted with N---. Anyhow, even if she consented to marry me, could I be, I won't say happy, but at peace, knowing that the other was here in prison, and would to-day or to-morrow he taken to Siberia with a gang of other prisoners, while I accepted congratulations and made calls with my young wife; or while I count the votes at the meetings, for and against the motion brought forward by the rural inspection, etc., together with the Marechal de Noblesse, whom I abominably deceive, and afterwards make appointments with his wife (how abominable!) or while I continue to work at my picture, which will certainly never get finished? Besides, I have no business to waste time on such things. I can do nothing of the kind now," he continued to himself, rejoicing at the change he felt within himself. "The first thing now is to see the advocate and find out his decision, and then . . . then go and see her and tell her everything."

And when he pictured to himself how he would see her, and tell her all, confess his sin to her, and tell her that he would do all in his power to atone for his sin, he was touched at his own goodness, and the tears came to his eyes.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XXXIV.


THE ABSURDITY OF LAW--REFLECTIONS OF A JURYMAN.

On coming into the Law Courts Nekhludoff met the usher of yesterday, who to-day seemed to him much to be pitied, in the corridor, and asked him where those prisoners who had been sentenced were kept, and to whom one had to apply for permission to visit them. The usher told him that the condemned prisoners were kept in different places, and that, until they received their sentence in its final form, the permission to visit them depended on the president. "I'll come and call you myself, and take you to the president after the session. The president is not even here at present. After the session! And now please come in; we are going to commence."

Nekhludoff thanked the usher for his kindness, and went into the jurymen's room. As he was approaching the room, the other jurymen were just leaving it to go into the court. The merchant had again partaken of a little refreshment, and was as merry as the day before, and greeted Nekhludoff like an old friend. And to-day Peter Gerasimovitch did not arouse any unpleasant feelings in Nekhludoff by his familiarity and his loud laughter. Nekhludoff would have liked to tell all the jurymen about his relations to yesterday's prisoner. "By rights," he thought, "I ought to have got up yesterday during the trial and disclosed my guilt."

He entered the court with the other jurymen, and witnessed the same procedure as the day before.

"The judges are coming," was again proclaimed, and again three men, with embroidered collars, ascended the platform, and there was the same settling of the jury on the high-backed chairs, the same gendarmes, the same portraits, the same priest, and Nekhludoff felt that, though he knew what he ought to do, he could not interrupt all this solemnity. The preparations for the trials were just the same as the day before, excepting that the swearing in of the jury and the president's address to them were omitted.

The case before the Court this day was one of burglary. The prisoner, guarded by two gendarmes with naked swords, was a thin, narrow-chested lad of 20, with a bloodless, sallow face, dressed in a grey cloak. He sat alone in the prisoner's dock. This boy was accused of having, together with a companion, broken the lock of a shed and stolen several old mats valued at 3 roubles [the rouble is worth a little over two shillings, and contains 100 copecks] and 67 copecks. According to the indictment, a policeman had stopped this boy as he was passing with his companion, who was carrying the mats on his shoulder. The boy and his companion confessed at once, and were both imprisoned. The boy's companion, a locksmith, died in prison, and so the boy was being tried alone. The old mats were lying on the table as the objects of material evidence.  The business was conducted just in the same manner as the day before, with the whole armoury of evidence, proofs, witnesses, swearing in, questions, experts, and cross-examinations. In answer to every question put to him by the president, the prosecutor, or the advocate, the policeman (one of the witnesses) in variably ejected the words: "just so," or "Can't tell." Yet, in spite of his being stupefied, and rendered a mere machine by military discipline, his reluctance to speak about the arrest of this prisoner was evident. Another witness, an old house proprietor, and owner of the mats, evidently a rich old man, when asked whether the mats were his, reluctantly identified them as such. When the public prosecutor asked him what he meant to do with these mats, what use they were to him, he got angry, and answered: "The devil take those mats; I don't want them at all.  Had I known there would be all this bother about them I should not have gone looking for them, but would rather have added a ten-rouble note or two to them, only not to be dragged here and pestered with questions. I have spent a lot on isvostchiks.  Besides, I am not well. I have been suffering from rheumatism for the last seven years." It was thus the witness spoke.

The accused himself confessed everything, and looking round stupidly, like an animal that is caught, related how it had all happened. Still the public prosecutor, drawing up his shoulders as he had done the day before, asked subtle questions calculated to catch a cunning criminal.

In his speech he proved that the theft had been committed from a dwelling-place, and a lock had been broken; and that the boy, therefore, deserved a heavy punishment. The advocate appointed by the Court proved that the theft was not committed from a dwelling-place, and that, though the crime was a serious one, the prisoner was not so very dangerous to society as the prosecutor stated. The president assumed the role of absolute neutrality in the same way as he had done on the previous day, and impressed on the jury facts which they all knew and could not help knowing. Then came an interval, just as the day before, and they smoked; and again the usher called out "The judges are coming," and in the same way the two gendarmes sat trying to keep awake and threatening the prisoner with their naked weapons.

The proceedings showed that this boy was apprenticed by his father at a tobacco factory, where he remained five years. This year he had been discharged by the owner after a strike, and, having lost his place, he wandered about the town without any work, drinking all he possessed. In a traktir [cheap restaurant] he met another like himself, who had lost his place before the prisoner had, a locksmith by trade and a drunkard. One night, those two, both drunk, broke the lock of a shed and took the first thing they happened to lay hands on. They confessed all and were put in prison, where the locksmith died while awaiting the trial. The boy was now being tried as a dangerous creature, from whom society must be protected.

"Just as dangerous a creature as yesterday's culprit," thought Nekhludoff, listening to all that was going on before him. "They are dangerous, and we who judge them? I, a rake, an adulterer, a deceiver. We are not dangerous. But, even supposing that this boy is the most dangerous of all that are here in the court, what should he done from a common-sense point of view when he has been caught? It is clear that he is not an exceptional evil-doer, but a most ordinary boy; every one sees it--and that he has become what he is simply because he got into circumstances that create such characters, and, therefore, to prevent such a boy from going wrong the circumstances that create these unfortunate beings must be done away with.

"But what do we do? We seize one such lad who happens to get caught, knowing well that there are thousands like him whom we have not caught, and send him to prison, where idleness, or most unwholesome, useless labour is forced on him, in company of others weakened and ensnared by the lives they have led. And then we send him, at the public expense, from the Moscow to the Irkoutsk Government, in company with the most depraved of men.

"But we do nothing to destroy the conditions in which people like these are produced; on the contrary, we support the establishments where they are formed. These establishments are well known: factories, mills, workshops, public-houses, gin-shops, brothels. And we do not destroy these places, but, looking at them as necessary, we support and regulate them. We educate in this way not one, but millions of people, and then catch one of them and imagine that we have done something, that we have guarded ourselves, and nothing more can be expected of us. Have we not sent him from the Moscow to the Irkoutsk Government?" Thus thought Nekhludoff with unusual clearness and vividness, sitting in his high-backed chair next to the colonel, and listening to the different intonations of the advocates', prosecutor's, and president's voices, and looking at their self-confident gestures. "And how much and what hard effort this pretence requires," continued Nekhludoff in his mind, glancing round the enormous room, the portraits, lamps, armchairs, uniforms, the thick walls and large windows; and picturing to himself the tremendous size of the building, and the still more ponderous dimensions of the whole of this organisation, with its army of officials, scribes, watchmen, messengers, not only in this place, but all over Russia, who receive wages for carrying on this comedy which no one needs. "Supposing we spent one-hundredth of these efforts helping these castaways, whom we now only regard as hands and bodies, required by us for our own peace and comfort. Had some one chanced to take pity on him and given some help at the time when poverty made them send him to town, it might have been sufficient," Nekhludoff thought, looking at the boy's piteous face. "Or even later, when, after 12 hours' work at the factory, he was going to the public-house, led away by his companions, had some one then come and said, 'Don't go, Vania; it is not right,' he would not have gone, nor got into bad ways, and would not have done any wrong.

"But no; no one who would have taken pity on him came across this apprentice in the years he lived like a poor little animal in the town, and with his hair cut close so as not to breed vermin, and ran errands for the workmen. No, all he heard and saw, from the older workmen and his companions, since he came to live in town, was that he who cheats, drinks, swears, who gives another a thrashing, who goes on the loose, is a fine fellow. Ill, his constitution undermined by unhealthy labour, drink, and debauchery--bewildered as in a dream, knocking aimlessly about town, he gets into some sort of a shed, and takes from there some old mats, which nobody needs--and here we, all of us educated people, rich or comfortably off, meet together, dressed in good clothes and fine uniforms, in a splendid apartment, to mock this unfortunate brother of ours whom we ourselves have ruined.

"Terrible! It is difficult to say whether the cruelty or the absurdity is greater, but the one and the other seem to reach their climax."

Nekhludoff thought all this, no longer listening to what was going on , and he was horror-struck by that which was being revealed to him. He could not understand why he had not been able to see all this before, and why others were unable to see it.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XXXV.


THE PROCUREUR--NEKHLUDOFF REFUSES TO SERVE.

During an interval Nekhludoff got up and went out into the corridor, with the intention of not returning to the court. Let them do what they liked with him, he could take no more part in this awful and horrid tomfoolery.

Having inquired where the Procureur's cabinet was he went straight to him. The attendant did not wish to let him in, saying that the Procureur was busy, but Nekhludoff paid no heed and went to the door, where he was met by an official. He asked to be announced to the Procureur, saying he was on the jury and had a very important communication to make.

His title and good clothes were of assistance to him. The official announced him to the Procureur, and Nekhludoff was let in. The Procureur met him standing, evidently annoyed at the persistence with which Nekhludoff demanded admittance.

"What is it you want?" the Procureur asked, severely.

"I am on the jury; my name is Nekhludoff, and it is absolutely necessary for me to see the prisoner Maslova," Nekhludoff said, quickly and resolutely, blushing, and feeling that he was taking a step which would have a decisive influence on his life.

The Procureur was a short, dark man, with short, grizzly hair, quick, sparkling eyes, and a thick beard cut close on his projecting lower jaw.

"Maslova? Yes, of course, I know. She was accused of poisoning," the Procureur said, quietly. "But why do you want to see her?" And then, as if wishing to tone down his question, he added, "I cannot give you the permission without knowing why you require it."

"I require it for a particularly important reason."

"Yes?" said the Procureur, and, lifting his eyes, looked attentively at Nekhludoff. "Has her case been heard or not?"

"She was tried yesterday, and unjustly sentenced; she is innocent."

"Yes? If she was sentenced only yesterday," went on the Procureur, paying no attention to Nekhludoff's statement concerning Maslova's innocence, "she must still he in the preliminary detention prison until the sentence is delivered in its final form. Visiting is allowed there only on certain days; I should advise you to inquire there."

"But I must see her as soon as possible," Nekhludoff said, his jaw trembling as he felt the decisive moment approaching.

"Why must you?" said the Procureur, lifting his brows with some agitation.

"Because I betrayed her and brought her to the condition which exposed her to this accusation."

"All the same, I cannot see what it has to do with visiting her."

"This: that whether I succeed or not in getting the sentence changed I want to follow her, and--marry her," said Nekhludoff, touched to tears by his own conduct, and at the same time pleased to see the effect he produced on the Procureur.

"Really! Dear me!" said the Procureur. "This is certainly a very exceptional case. I believe you are a member of the Krasnoporsk rural administration?" he asked, as if he remembered having heard before of this Nekhludoff, who was now making so strange a declaration.

"I beg your pardon, but I do not think that has anything to do with my request," answered Nekhludoff, flushing angrily.

"Certainly not," said the Procureur, with a scarcely perceptible smile and not in the least abashed; "only your wish is so extraordinary and so out of the common."

"Well; but can I get the permission?"

"The permission? Yes, I will give you an order of admittance directly. Take a seat."

He went up to the table, sat down, and began to write. "Please sit down."

Nekhludoff continued to stand.

Having written an order of admittance, and handed it to Nekhludoff, the Procureur looked curiously at him.

"I must also state that I can no longer take part in the sessions."

"Then you will have to lay valid reasons before the Court, as you, of course, know."

"My reasons are that I consider all judging not only useless, but immoral."

"Yes," said the Procureur, with the same scarcely perceptible smile, as if to show that this kind of declaration was well known to him and belonged to the amusing sort. "Yes, but you will certainly understand that I as Procureur, can not agree with you on this point. Therefore, I should advise you to apply to the Court, which will consider your declaration, and find it valid or not valid, and in the latter case will impose a fine. Apply, then, to the Court."

"I have made my declaration, and shall apply nowhere else," Nekhludoff said, angrily.

"Well, then, good-afternoon," said the Procureur, bowing his head, evidently anxious to be rid of this strange visitor.

"Who was that you had here?" asked one of the members of the Court, as he entered, just after Nekhludoff left the room.

"Nekhludoff, you know; the same that used to make all sorts of strange statements at the Krasnoporsk rural meetings. Just fancy! He is on the jury, and among the prisoners there is a woman or girl sentenced to penal servitude, whom he says he betrayed, and now he wants to marry her."

"You don't mean to say so."

"That's what he told me. And in such a strange state of excitement!"

"There is something abnormal in the young men of to-day."

"Oh, but he is not so very young."

"Yes. But how tiresome your famous Ivoshenka was. He carries the day by wearying one out. He talked and talked without end."

"Oh, that kind of people should be simply stopped, or they will become real obstructionists."

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XXXVI.


NEKHLUDOFF ENDEAVOURS TO VISIT MASLOVA.

From the Procureur Nekhludoff went straight to the preliminary detention prison. However, no Maslova was to be found there, and the inspector explained to Nekhludoff that she would probably be in the old temporary prison. Nekhludoff went there.

Yes, Katerina Maslova was there.

The distance between the two prisons was enormous, and Nekhludoff only reached the old prison towards evening. He was going up to the door of the large, gloomy building, but the sentinel stopped him and rang. A warder came in answer to the bell. Nekhludoff showed him his order of admittance, but the warder said he could not let him in without the inspector's permission. Nekhludoff went to see the inspector. As he was going up the stairs he heard distant sounds of some complicated bravura, played on the piano. When a cross servant girl, with a bandaged eye, opened the door to him, those sounds seemed to escape from the room and to strike his car. It was a rhapsody of Liszt's, that everybody was tired of, splendidly played but only to one point. When that point was reached the same thing was repeated. Nekhludoff asked the bandaged maid whether the inspector was in. She answered that he was not in.

"Will he return soon?"

The rhapsody again stopped and recommenced loudly and brilliantly again up to the same charmed point.

"I will go and ask," and the servant went away.

"Tell him he is not in and won't be to-day; he is out visiting. What do they come bothering for?" came the sound of a woman's voice from behind the door, and again the rhapsody rattled on and stopped, and the sound of a chair pushed back was heard. It was plain the irritated pianist meant to rebuke the tiresome visitor, who had come at an untimely hour. "Papa is not in," a pale girl with crimped hair said, crossly, coming out into the ante-room, but, seeing a young man in a good coat, she softened.

"Come in, please. . . . What is it you want?"

"I want to see a prisoner in this prison."

"A political one, I suppose?"

"No, not a political one. I have a permission from the Procureur."

"Well, I don't know, and papa is out; but come in, please," she said, again, "or else speak to the assistant. He is in the office at present; apply there. What is your name?"

"I thank you," said Nekhludoff, without answering her question, and went out.

The door was not yet closed after him when the same lively tones recommenced. In the courtyard Nekhludoff met an officer with bristly moustaches, and asked for the assistant-inspector. It was the assistant himself. He looked at the order of admittance, but said that he could not decide to let him in with a pass for the preliminary prison. Besides, it was too late. "Please to come again to-morrow. To morrow, at 10, everybody is allowed to go in. Come then, and the inspector himself will be at home. Then you can have the interview either in the common room or, if the inspector allows it, in the office."

And so Nekhludoff did not succeed in getting an interview that day, and returned home. As he went along the streets, excited at the idea of meeting her, he no longer thought about the Law Courts, but recalled his conversations with the Procureur and the inspector's assistant. The fact that he had been seeking an interview with her, and had told the Procureur, and had been in two prisons, so excited him that it was long before he could calm down. When he got home he at once fetched out his diary, that had long remained untouched, read a few sentences out of it, and then wrote as follows:

"For two years I have not written anything in my diary, and thought I never should return to this childishness. Yet it is not childishness, but converse with my own self, with this real divine self which lives in every man. All this time that I slept there was no one for me to converse with. I was awakened by an extraordinary event on the 28th of April, in the Law Court, when I was on the jury. I saw her in the prisoners' dock, the Katusha betrayed by me, in a prisoner's cloak, condemned to penal servitude through a strange mistake, and my own fault. I have just been to the Procureur's and to the prison, but I was not admitted. I have resolved to do all I can to see her, to confess to her, and to atone for my sin, even by a marriage. God help me. My soul is at peace and I am full of joy."

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XXXVII.


MASLOVA RECALLS THE PAST.

That night Maslova lay awake a long time with her eyes open looking at the door, in front of which the deacon's daughter kept passing. She was thinking that nothing would induce her to go to the island of Sakhalin and marry a convict, but would arrange matters somehow with one of the prison officials, the secretary, a warder, or even a warder's assistant. "Aren't they all given that way? Only I must not get thin, or else I am lost."

She thought of how the advocate had looked at her, and also the president, and of the men she met, and those who came in on purpose at the court. She recollected how her companion, Bertha, who came to see her in prison, had told her about the student whom she had "loved" while she was with Kitaeva, and who had inquired about her, and pitied her very much. She recalled many to mind, only not Nekhludoff. She never brought back to mind the days of her childhood and youth, and her love to Nekhludoff. That would have been too painful. These memories lay untouched somewhere deep in her soul; she had forgotten him, and never recalled and never even dreamt of him. To-day, in the court, she did not recognise him, not only because when she last saw him he was in uniform, without a beard, and had only a small moustache and thick, curly, though short hair, and now was bald and bearded, but because she never thought about him. She had buried his memory on that terrible dark night when he, returning from the army, had passed by on the railway without stopping to call on his aunts. Katusha then knew her condition. Up to that night she did not consider the child that lay beneath her heart a burden. But on that night everything changed, and the child became nothing but a weight.

His aunts had expected Nekhludoff, had asked him to come and see them in passing, but he had telegraphed that he could not come, as he had to be in Petersburg at an appointed time. When Katusha heard this she made up her mind to go to the station and see him. The train was to pass by at two o'clock in the night. Katusha having helped the old ladies to bed, and persuaded a little girl, the cook's daughter, Mashka, to come with her, put on a pair of old boots, threw a shawl over her head, gathered up her dress, and ran to the station.

It was a warm, rainy, and windy autumn night. The rain now pelted down in warm, heavy drops, now stopped again. It was too dark to see the path across the field, and in the wood it was pitch black, so that although Katusha knew the way well, she got off the path, and got to the little station where the train stopped for three minutes, not before, as she had hoped, but after the second bell had been rung. Hurrying up the platform, Katusha saw him at once at the windows of a first-class carriage. Two officers sat opposite each other on the velvet-covered seats, playing cards. This carriage was very brightly lit up; on the little table between the seats stood two thick, dripping candles. He sat in his closefitting breeches on the arm of the seat, leaning against the back, and laughed. As soon as she recognised him she knocked at the carriage window with her benumbed hand, but at that moment the last bell rang, and the train first gave a backward jerk, and then gradually the carriages began to move forward. One of the players rose with the cards in his hand, and looked out. She knocked again, and pressed her face to the window, but the carriage moved on, and she went alongside looking in. The officer tried to lower the window, but could not. Nekhludoff pushed him aside and began lowering it himself. The train went faster, so that she had to walk quickly. The train went on still faster and the window opened. The guard pushed her aside, and jumped in. Katusha ran on, along the wet boards of the platform, and when she came to the end she could hardly stop herself from falling as she ran down the steps of the platform. She was running by the side of the railway, though the first-class carriage had long passed her, and the second-class carriages were gliding by faster, and at last the third-class carriages still faster. But she ran on, and when the last carriage with the lamps at the back had gone by, she had already reached the tank which fed the engines, and was unsheltered from the wind, which was blowing her shawl about and making her skirt cling round her legs. The shawl flew off her head, but still she ran on.

"Katerina Michaelovna, you've lost your shawl!" screamed the little girl, who was trying to keep up with her.

Katusha stopped, threw back her head, and catching hold of it with both hands sobbed aloud. "Gone!" she screamed.

"He is sitting in a velvet arm-chair and joking and drinking, in a brightly lit carriage, and I, out here in the mud, in the darkness, in the wind and the rain, am standing and weeping," she thought to herself; and sat down on the ground, sobbing so loud that the little girl got frightened, and put her arms round her, wet as she was.

"Come home, dear," she said.

"When a train passes--then under a carriage, and there will be an end," Katusha was thinking, without heeding the girl.

And she made up her mind to do it, when, as it always happens, when a moment of quiet follows great excitement, he, the child--his child--made himself known within her. Suddenly all that a moment before had been tormenting her, so that it had seemed impossible to live, all her bitterness towards him, and the wish to revenge herself, even by dying, passed away; she grew quieter, got up, put the shawl on her head, and went home.

Wet, muddy, and quite exhausted, she returned, and from that day the change which brought her where she now was began to operate in her soul. Beginning from that dreadful night, she ceased believing in God and in goodness. She had herself believed in God, and believed that other people also believed in Him; but after that night she became convinced that no one believed, and that all that was said about God and His laws was deception and untruth. He whom she loved, and who had loved her--yes, she knew that--had thrown her away; had abused her love. Yet he was the best of all the people she knew. All the rest were still worse. All that afterwards happened to her strengthened her in this belief at every step. His aunts, the pious old ladies, turned her out when she could no longer serve them as she used to. And of all those she met, the women used her as a means of getting money, the men, from the old police officer down to the warders of the prison, looked at her as on an object for pleasure. And no one in the world cared for aught but pleasure. In this belief the old author with whom she had come together in the second year of her life of independence had strengthened her. He had told her outright that it was this that constituted the happiness of life, and he called it poetical and aesthetic.

Everybody lived for himself only, for his pleasure, and all the talk concerning God and righteousness was deception. And if sometimes doubts arose in her mind and she wondered why everything was so ill-arranged in the world that all hurt each other, and made each other suffer, she thought it best not to dwell on it, and if she felt melancholy she could smoke, or, better still, drink, and it would pass.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XXXVIII.


SUNDAY IN PRISON--PREPARING FOR MASS.

On Sunday morning at five o'clock, when a whistle sounded in the corridor of the women's ward of the prison, Korableva, who was already awake, called Maslova.

"Oh, dear! life again," thought Maslova, with horror, involuntarily breathing in the air that had become terribly noisome towards the morning. She wished to fall asleep again, to enter into the region of oblivion, but the habit of fear overcame sleepiness, and she sat up and looked round, drawing her feet under her. The women had all got up; only the elder children were still asleep. The spirit-trader was carefully drawing a cloak from under the children, so as not to wake them. The watchman's wife was hanging up the rags to dry that served the baby as swaddling clothes, while the baby was screaming desperately in Theodosia's arms, who was trying to quiet it. The consumptive woman was coughing with her hands pressed to her chest, while the blood rushed to her face, and she sighed loudly, almost screaming, in the intervals of coughing. The fat, red-haired woman was lying on her back, with knees drawn up, and loudly relating a dream. The old woman accused of incendiarism was standing in front of the image, crossing herself and bowing, and repeating the same words over and over again. The deacon's daughter sat on the bedstead, looking before her, with a dull, sleepy face. Khoroshavka was twisting her black, oily, coarse hair round her fingers. The sound of slipshod feet was heard in the passage, and the door opened to let in two convicts, dressed in jackets and grey trousers that did not reach to their ankles. With serious, cross faces they lifted the stinking tub and carried it out of the cell. The women went out to the taps in the corridor to wash. There the red-haired woman again began a quarrel with a woman from another cell.

"Is it the solitary cell you want?" shouted an old jailer, slapping the red-haired woman on her bare, fat back, so that it sounded through the corridor. "You be quiet."

"Lawks! the old one's playful," said the woman, taking his action for a caress.

"Now, then, be quick; get ready for the mass." Maslova had hardly time to do her hair and dress when the inspector came with his assistants.

"Come out for inspection," cried a jailer.

Some more prisoners came out of other cells and stood in two rows along the corridor; each woman had to place her hand on the shoulder of the woman in front of her. They were all counted.

After the inspection the woman warder led the prisoners to church. Maslova and Theodosia were in the middle of a column of over a hundred women, who had come out of different cells. All were dressed in white skirts, white jackets, and wore white kerchiefs on their heads, except a few who had their own coloured clothes on. These were wives who, with their children, were following their convict husbands to Siberia. The whole flight of stairs was filled by the procession. The patter of softly-shod feet mingled with the voices and now and then a laugh. When turning, on the landing, Maslova saw her enemy, Botchkova, in front, and pointed out her angry face to Theodosia. At the bottom of the stairs the women stopped talking. Bowing and crossing themselves, they entered the empty church, which glistened with gilding. Crowding and pushing one another, they took their places on the right.

After the women came the men condemned to banishment, those serving their term in the prison, and those exiled by their Communes; and, coughing loudly, they took their stand, crowding the left side and the middle of the church.

On one side of the gallery above stood the men sentenced to penal servitude in Siberia, who had been let into the church before the others. Each of them had half his head shaved, and their presence was indicated by the clanking of the chains on their feet. On the other side of the gallery stood those in preliminary confinement, without chains, their heads not shaved.

The prison church had been rebuilt and ornamented by a rich merchant, who spent several tens of thousands of roubles on it, and it glittered with gay colours and gold. For a time there was silence in the church, and only coughing, blowing of noses, the crying of babies, and now and then the rattling of chains, was heard. But at last the convicts that stood in the middle moved, pressed against each other, leaving a passage in the centre of the church, down which the prison inspector passed to take his place in front of every one in the nave.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XXXIX.


THE PRISON CHURCH--BLIND LEADERS OF THE BLIND.

The service began.

It consisted of the following. The priest, having dressed in a strange and very inconvenient garb, made of gold cloth, cut and arranged little bits of bread on a saucer, and then put them into a cup with wine, repeating at the same time different names and prayers. Meanwhile the deacon first read Slavonic prayers, difficult to understand in themselves, and rendered still more incomprehensible by being read very fast, and then sang them turn and turn about with the convicts. The contents of the prayers were chiefly the desire for the welfare of the Emperor and his family. These petitions were repeated many times, separately and together with other prayers, the people kneeling. Besides this, several verses from the Acts of the Apostles were read by the deacon in a peculiarly strained voice, which made it impossible to understand what he read, and then the priest read very distinctly a part of the Gospel according to St. Mark, in which it said that Christ, having risen from the dead before flying up to heaven to sit down at His Father's right hand, first showed Himself to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven devils, and then to eleven of His disciples, and ordered them to preach the Gospel to the whole creation, and the priest added that if any one did not believe this he would perish, but he that believed it and was baptised should be saved, and should besides drive out devils and cure people by laying his hands on them, should talk in strange tongues, should take up serpents, and if he drank poison should not die, but remain well.

The essence of the service consisted in the supposition that the bits cut up by the priest and put by him into the wine, when manipulated and prayed over in a certain way, turned into the flesh and blood of God.

These manipulations consisted in the priest's regularly lifting and holding up his arms, though hampered by the gold cloth sack he had on, then, sinking on to his knees and kissing the table and all that was on it, but chiefly in his taking a cloth by two of its corners and waving it regularly and softly over the silver saucer and golden cup. It was supposed that, at this point, the bread and the wine turned into flesh and blood; therefore, this part of the service was performed with the greatest solemnity.

"Now, to the blessed, most pure, and most holy Mother of God," the priest cried from the golden partition which divided part of the church from the rest, and the choir began solemnly to sing that it was very right to glorify the Virgin Mary, who had borne Christ without losing her virginity, and was therefore worthy of greater honour than some kind of cherubim, and greater glory than some kind of seraphim. After this the transformation was considered accomplished, and the priest having taken the napkin off the saucer, cut the middle bit of bread in four, and put it into the wine, and then into his mouth. He was supposed to have eaten a bit of God's flesh and swallowed a little of His blood. Then the priest drew a curtain, opened the middle door in the partition, and, taking the gold cup in his hands, came out of the door, inviting those who wished to do so also to come and eat some of God's flesh and blood that was contained in the cup. A few children appeared to wish to do so.

After having asked the children their names, the priest carefully took out of the cup, with a spoon, and shoved a bit of bread soaked in wine deep into the mouth of each child in turn, and the deacon, while wiping the children's mouths, sang, in a merry voice, that the children were eating the flesh and drinking the blood of God. After this the priest carried the cup back behind the partition, and there drank all the remaining blood and ate up all the bits of flesh, and after having carefully sucked his moustaches and wiped his mouth, he stepped briskly from behind the partition, the soles of his calfskin boots creaking. The principal part of this Christian service was now finished, but the priest, wishing to comfort the unfortunate prisoners, added to the ordinary service another. This consisted of his going up to the gilt hammered-out image (with black face and hands) supposed to represent the very God he had been eating, illuminated by a dozen wax candles, and proceeding, in a strange, discordant voice, to hum or sing the following words:

Jesu sweetest, glorified of the Apostles, Jesu lauded by the martyrs, almighty Monarch, save me, Jesu my Saviour. Jesu, most beautiful, have mercy on him who cries to Thee, Saviour Jesu. Born of prayer Jesu, all thy saints, all thy prophets, save and find them worthy of the joys of heaven. Jesu, lover of men."

Then he stopped, drew breath, crossed himself, bowed to the ground, and every one did the same--the inspector, the warders, the prisoners; and from above the clinking of the chains sounded more unintermittently. Then he continued: "Of angels the Creator and Lord of powers, Jesu most wonderful, the angels' amazement, Jesu most powerful, of our forefathers the Redeemer. Jesu sweetest, of patriarchs the praise. Jesu most glorious, of kings the strength. Jesu most good, of prophets the fulfilment. Jesu most amazing, of martyrs the strength. Jesu most humble, of monks the joy. Jesu most merciful, of priests the sweetness. Jesu most charitable, of the fasting the continence. Jesu most sweet, of the just the joy. Jesu most pure, of the celibates the chastity. Jesu before all ages of sinners the salvation. Jesu, son of God, have mercy on me."

Every time he repeated the word "Jesu" his voice became more and more wheezy. At last he came to a stop, and holding up his silk-lined cassock, and kneeling down on one knee, he stooped down to the ground and the choir began to sing, repeating the words, "Jesu, Son of God, have mercy on me," and the convicts fell down and rose again, shaking back the hair that was left on their heads, and rattling with the chains that were bruising their thin ankles.

This continued for a long time. First came the glorification, which ended with the words, "Have mercy on me." Then more glorifications, ending with "Alleluia!" And the convicts made the sign of the cross, and bowed, first at each sentence, then after every two and then after three, and all were very glad when the glorification ended, and the priest shut the book with a sigh of relief and retired behind the partition. One last act remained. The priest took a large, gilt cross, with enamel medallions at the ends, from a table, and came out into the centre of the church with it. First the inspector came up and kissed the cross, then the jailers, then the convicts, pushing and abusing each other in whispers. The priest, talking to the inspector, pushed the cross and his hand now against the mouths and now against the noses of the convicts, who were trying to kiss both the cross and the hand of the priest. And thus ended the Christian service, intended for the comfort and the teaching of these strayed brothers.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XL.


THE HUSKS OF RELIGION.

And none of those present, from the inspector down to Maslova, seemed conscious of the fact that this Jesus, whose name the priest repeated such a great number of times, and whom he praised with all these curious expressions, had forbidden the very things that were being done there; that He had prohibited not only this meaningless much-speaking and the blasphemous incantation over the bread and wine, but had also, in the clearest words, forbidden men to call other men their master, and to pray in temples; and had ordered that every one should pray in solitude, had forbidden to erect temples, saying that He had come to destroy them, and that one should worship, not in a temple, but in spirit and in truth; and, above all, that He had forbidden not only to judge, to imprison, to torment, to execute men, as was being done here, but had prohibited any kind of violence, saying that He had come to give freedom to the captives.

No one present seemed conscious that all that was going on here was the greatest blasphemy and a supreme mockery of that same Christ in whose name it was being done. No one seemed to realise that the gilt cross with the enamel medallions at the ends, which the priest held out to the people to be kissed, was nothing but the emblem of that gallows on which Christ had been executed for denouncing just what was going on here. That these priests, who imagined they were eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ in the form of bread and wine, did in reality eat and drink His flesh and His blood, but not as wine and bits of bread, but by ensnaring "these little ones" with whom He identified Himself, by depriving them of the greatest blessings and submitting them to most cruel torments, and by hiding from men the tidings of great joy which He had brought. That thought did not enter into the mind of any one present.

The priest did his part with a quiet conscience, because he was brought up from childhood to consider that the only true faith was the faith which had been held by all the holy men of olden times and was still held by the Church, and demanded by the State authorities. He did not believe that the bread turned into flesh, that it was useful for the soul to repeat so many words, or that he had actually swallowed a bit of God. No one could believe this, but he believed that one ought to hold this faith. What strengthened him most in this faith was the fact that, for fulfilling the demands of this faith, he had for the last 15 years been able to draw an income, which enabled him to keep his family, send his son to a gymnasium and his daughter to a school for the daughters of the clergy. The deacon believed in the same manner, and even more firmly than the priest, for he had forgotten the substance of the dogmas of this faith, and knew only that the prayers for the dead, the masses, with and without the acathistus, all had a definite price, which real Christians readily paid, and, therefore, he called out his "have mercy, have mercy," very willingly, and read and said what was appointed, with the same quiet certainty of its being necessary to do so with which other men sell faggots, flour, or potatoes. The prison inspector and the warders, though they had never understood or gone into the meaning of these dogmas and of all that went on in church, believed that they must believe, because the higher authorities and the Tsar himself believed in it. Besides, though faintly (and themselves unable to explain why), they felt that this faith defended their cruel occupations. If this faith did not exist it would have been more difficult, perhaps impossible, for them to use all their powers to torment people, as they were now doing, with a quiet conscience. The inspector was such a kind-hearted man that he could not have lived as he was now living unsupported by his faith. Therefore, he stood motionless, bowed and crossed himself zealously, tried to feel touched when the song about the cherubims was being sung, and when the children received communion he lifted one of them, and held him up to the priest with his own hands.

The great majority of the prisoners believed that there lay a mystic power in these gilt images, these vestments, candles, cups, crosses, and this repetition of incomprehensible words, "Jesu sweetest" and "have mercy"--a power through which might be obtained much convenience in this and in the future life. Only a few clearly saw the deception that was practised on the people who adhered to this faith, and laughed at it in their hearts; but the majority, having made several attempts to get the conveniences they desired, by means of prayers, masses, and candles, and not having got them (their prayers remaining unanswered), were each of them convinced that their want of success was accidental, and that this organisation, approved by the educated and by archbishops, is very important and necessary, if not for this, at any rate for the next life.

Maslova also believed in this way. She felt, like the rest, a mixed sensation of piety and dulness. She stood at first in a crowd behind a railing, so that she could see no one but her companions; but when those to receive communion moved on, she and Theodosia stepped to the front, and they saw the inspector, and, behind him, standing among the warders, a little peasant, with a very light beard and fair hair. This was Theodosia's husband, and he was gazing with fixed eyes at his wife. During the acathistus Maslova occupied herself in scrutinising him and talking to Theodosia in whispers, and bowed and made the sign of the cross only when every one else did.


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