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BOOK I.

CHAPTER XLI.


VISITING DAY--THE MEN'S WARD.

Nekhludoff left home early. A peasant from the country was still driving along the side street and calling out in a voice peculiar to his trade, "Milk! milk! milk!"

The first warm spring rain had fallen the day before, and now wherever the ground was not paved the grass shone green. The birch trees in the gardens looked as if they were strewn with green fluff, the wild cherry and the poplars unrolled their long, balmy buds, and in shops and dwelling-houses the double window-frames were being removed and the windows cleaned.

In the Tolkoochi [literally, jostling market, where second-hand clothes and all sorts of cheap goods are sold] market, which Nekhludoff had to pass on his way, a dense crowd was surging along the row of booths, and tattered men walked about selling top-boots, which they carried under their arms, and renovated trousers and waistcoats, which hung over their shoulders.

Men in clean coats and shining boots, liberated from the factories, it being Sunday, and women with bright silk kerchiefs on their heads and cloth jackets trimmed with jet, were already thronging at the door of the traktir. Policemen, with yellow cords to their uniforms and carrying pistols, were on duty, looking out for some disorder which might distract the ennui that oppressed them. On the paths of the boulevards and on the newly-revived grass, children and dogs ran about, playing, and the nurses sat merrily chattering on the benches. Along the streets, still fresh and damp on the shady side, but dry in the middle, heavy carts rumbled unceasingly, cabs rattled and tramcars passed ringing by. The air vibrated with the pealing and clanging of church bells, that were calling the people to attend to a service like that which was now being conducted in the prison. And the people, dressed in their Sunday best, were passing on their way to their different parish churches.

The isvostchik did not drive Nekhludoff up to the prison itself, but to the last turning that led to the prison.

Several persons--men and women--most of them carrying small bundles, stood at this turning, about 100 steps from the prison. To the right there were several low wooden buildings; to the left, a two-storeyed house with a signboard. The huge brick building, the prison proper, was just in front, and the visitors were not allowed to come up to it. A sentinel was pacing up and down in front of it, and shouted at any one who tried to pass him.

At the gate of the wooden buildings, to the right, opposite the sentinel, sat a warder on a bench, dressed in uniform, with gold cords, a notebook in his hands. The visitors came up to him, and named the persons they wanted to see, and he put the names down. Nekhludoff also went up, and named Katerina Maslova. The warder wrote down the name.

"Why--don't they admit us yet?" asked Nekhludoff.

"The service is going on. When the mass is over, you'll be admitted."

Nekhludoff stepped aside from the waiting crowd. A man in tattered clothes, crumpled hat, with bare feet and red stripes all over his face, detached himself from the crowd, and turned towards the prison.

"Now, then, where are you going?" shouted the sentinel with the gun.

"And you hold your row," answered the tramp, not in the least abashed by the sentinel's words, and turned back. "Well, if you'll not let me in, I'll wait. But, no! Must needs shout, as if he were a general."

The crowd laughed approvingly. The visitors were, for the greater part, badly-dressed people; some were ragged, but there were also some respectable-looking men and women. Next to Nekhludoff stood a clean-shaven, stout, and red-cheeked man, holding a bundle, apparently containing under-garments. This was the doorkeeper of a bank; he had come to see his brother, who was arrested for forgery. The good-natured fellow told Nekhludoff the whole story of his life, and was going to question him in turn, when their attention was aroused by a student and a veiled lady, who drove up in a trap, with rubber tyres, drawn by a large thoroughbred horse. The student was holding a large bundle. He came up to Nekhludoff, and asked if and how he could give the rolls he had brought in alms to the prisoners. His fiancee wished it (this lady was his fiancee), and her parents had advised them to take some rolls to the prisoners.

"I myself am here for the first time," said Nekhludoff, "and don't know; but I think you had better ask this man," and he pointed to the warder with the gold cords and the book, sitting on the right.

As they were speaking, the large iron door with a window in it opened, and an officer in uniform, followed by another warder, stepped out. The warder with the notebook proclaimed that the admittance of visitors would now commence. The sentinel stepped aside, and all the visitors rushed to the door as if afraid of being too late; some even ran. At the door there stood a warder who counted the visitors as they came in, saying aloud, 16, 17, and so on. Another warder stood inside the building and also counted the visitors as they entered a second door, touching each one with his hand, so that when they went away again not one visitor should be able to remain inside the prison and not one prisoner might get out. The warder, without looking at whom he was touching, slapped Nekhludoff on the back, and Nekhludoff felt hurt by the touch of the warder's hand; but, remembering what he had come about, he felt ashamed of feeling dissatisfied and taking offence.

The first apartment behind the entrance doors was a large vaulted room with iron bars to the small windows. In this room, which was called the meeting-room, Nekhludoff was startled by the sight of a large picture of the Crucifixion.

"What's that for?" he thought, his mind involuntarily connecting the subject of the picture with liberation and not with imprisonment.

He went on, slowly letting the hurrying visitors pass before, and experiencing a mingled feeling of horror at the evil-doers locked up in this building, compassion for those who, like Katusha and the boy they tried the day before, must be here though guiltless, and shyness and tender emotion at the thought of the interview before him. The warder at the other end of the meeting-room said something as they passed, but Nekhludoff, absorbed by his own thoughts, paid no attention to him, and continued to follow the majority of the visitors, and so got into the men's part of the prison instead of the women's.

Letting the hurrying visitors pass before him, he was the last to get into the interviewing-room. As soon as Nekhludoff opened the door of this room, he was struck by the deafening roar of a hundred voices shouting at once, the reason of which he did not at once understand. But when he came nearer to the people, he saw that they were all pressing against a net that divided the room in two, like flies settling on sugar, and he understood what it meant. The two halves of the room, the windows of which were opposite the door he had come in by, were separated, not by one, but by two nets reaching from the floor to the ceiling. The wire nets were stretched 7 feet apart, and soldiers were walking up and down the space between them. On the further side of the nets were the prisoners, on the nearer, the visitors. Between them was a double row of nets and a space of 7 feet wide, so that they could not hand anything to one another, and any one whose sight was not very good could not even distinguish the face on the other side. It was also difficult to talk; one had to scream in order to be heard.

On both sides were faces pressed close to the nets, faces of wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, children, trying to see each other's features and to say what was necessary in such a way as to be understood.

But as each one tried to be heard by the one he was talking to, and his neighbour tried to do the same, they did their best to drown each other's voices' and that was the cause of the din and shouting which struck Nekhludoff when he first came in. It was impossible to understand what was being said and what were the relations between the different people. Next Nekhludoff an old woman with a kerchief on her head stood trembling, her chin pressed close to the net, and shouting something to a young fellow, half of whose head was shaved, who listened attentively with raised brows. By the side of the old woman was a young man in a peasant's coat, who listened, shaking his head, to a boy very like himself. Next stood a man in rags, who shouted, waving his arm and laughing. Next to him a woman, with a good woollen shawl on her shoulders, sat on the floor holding a baby in her lap and crying bitterly. This was apparently the first time she saw the greyheaded man on the other side in prison clothes, and with his head shaved. Beyond her was the doorkeeper, who had spoken to Nekhludoff outside; he was shouting with all his might to a greyhaired convict on the other side.

When Nekhludoff found that he would have to speak in similar conditions, a feeling of indignation against those who were able to make and enforce these conditions arose in him; he was surprised that, placed in such a dreadful position, no one seemed offended at this outrage on human feelings. The soldiers, the inspector, the prisoners themselves, acted as if acknowledging all this to be necessary.

Nekhludoff remained in this room for about five minutes, feeling strangely depressed, conscious of how powerless he was, and at variance with all the world. He was seized with a curious moral sensation like seasickness.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XLII.


VISITING DAY--THE WOMEN'S WARD.

"Well, but I must do what I came here for," he said, trying to pick up courage. "What is to be done now?" He looked round for an official, and seeing a thin little man in the uniform of an officer going up and down behind the people, he approached him.

"Can you tell me, sir," he said, with exceedingly strained politeness of manner, "where the women are kept, and where one is allowed to interview them?"

"Is it the women's ward you want to go to?"

"Yes, I should like to see one of the women prisoners," Nekhludoff said, with the same strained politeness.

"You should have said so when you were in the hall. Who is it, then, that you want to see?"

"I want to see a prisoner called Katerina Maslova."

"Is she a political one?"

"No, she is simply . . ."

"What! Is she sentenced?"

"Yes; the day before yesterday she was sentenced," meekly answered Nekhludoff, fearing to spoil the inspector's good humour, which seemed to incline in his favour.

"If you want to go to the women's ward please to step this way," said the officer, having decided from Nekhludoff's appearance that he was worthy of attention. "Sideroff, conduct the gentleman to the women's ward," he said, turning to a moustached corporal with medals on his breast.

"Yes, sir."

At this moment heart-rending sobs were heard coming from some one near the net.

Everything here seemed strange to Nekhludoff; but strangest of all was that he should have to thank and feel obligation towards the inspector and the chief warders, the very men who were performing the cruel deeds that were done in this house.

The corporal showed Nekhludoff through the corridor, out of the men's into the women's interviewing-room.

This room, like that of the men, was divided by two wire nets; but it was much smaller, and there were fewer visitors and fewer prisoners, so that there was less shouting than in the men's room. Yet the same thing was going on here, only, between the nets instead of soldiers there was a woman warder, dressed in a blue-edged uniform jacket, with gold cords on the sleeves, and a blue belt. Here also, as in the men's room, the people were pressing close to the wire netting on both sides; on the nearer side, the townspeople in varied attire; on the further side, the prisoners, some in white prison clothes, others in their own coloured dresses. The whole length of the net was taken up by the people standing close to it. Some rose on tiptoe to be heard across the heads of others; some sat talking on the floor.

The most remarkable of the prisoners, both by her piercing screams and her appearance, was a thin, dishevelled gipsy. Her kerchief had slipped off her curly hair, and she stood near a post in the middle of the prisoner's division, shouting something, accompanied by quick gestures, to a gipsy man in a blue coat, girdled tightly below the waist. Next the gipsy man, a soldier sat on the ground talking to prisoner; next the soldier, leaning close to the net, stood a young peasant, with a fair beard and a flushed face, keeping back his tears with difficulty. A pretty, fair-haired prisoner, with bright blue eyes, was speaking to him. These two were Theodosia and her husband. Next to them was a tramp, talking to a broad-faced woman; then two women, then a man, then again a woman, and in front of each a prisoner. Maslova was not among them. But some one stood by the window behind the prisoners, and Nekhludoff knew it was she. His heart began to beat faster, and his breath stopped. The decisive moment was approaching. He went up to the part of the net where he could see the prisoner, and recognised her at once. She stood behind the blue-eyed Theodosia, and smiled, listening to what Theodosia was saying. She did not wear the prison cloak now, but a white dress, tightly drawn in at the waist by a belt, and very full in the bosom. From under her kerchief appeared the black ringlets of her fringe, just the same as in the court.

"Now, in a moment it will be decided," he thought.

"How shall I call her? Or will she come herself?"

"She was expecting Bertha; that this man had come to see her never entered her head.

"Whom do you want?" said the warder who was walking between the nets, coming up to Nekhludoff.

"Katerina Maslova," Nekhludoff uttered, with difficulty.

"Katerina Maslova, some one to see you," cried the warder.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XLIII.


NEKHLUDOFF VISITS MASLOVA.

Maslova looked round, and with head thrown back and expanded chest, came up to the net with that expression of readiness which he well knew, pushed in between two prisoners, and gazed at Nekhludoff with a surprised and questioning look. But, concluding from his clothing he was a rich man, she smiled.

"Is it me you want?" she asked, bringing her smiling face, with the slightly squinting eyes, nearer the net.

"I, I--I wished to see "Nekhludoff did not know how to address her. "I wished to see you--I--" He was not speaking louder than usual.

"No; nonsense, I tell you!" shouted the tramp who stood next to him. "Have you taken it or not?"

"Dying, I tell you; what more do you want?" some one else was screaming at his other side. Maslova could not hear what Nekhludoff was saying, but the expression of his face as he was speaking reminded her of him. She did not believe her own eyes; still the smile vanished from her face and a deep line of suffering appeared on her brow.

"I cannot hear what you are saying," she called out, wrinkling her brow and frowning more and more.

"I have come," said Nekhludoff. "Yes, I am doing my duty--I am confessing," thought Nekhludoff; and at this thought the tears came in his eyes, and he felt a choking sensation in his throat, and holding on with both hands to the net, he made efforts to keep from bursting into tears.

"I say, why do you shove yourself in where you're not wanted?" some one shouted at one side of him.

"God is my witness; I know nothing," screamed a prisoner from the other side.

Noticing his excitement, Maslova recognised him.

"You're like . . . but no; I don't know you," she shouted, without looking at him, and blushing, while her face grew still more stern.

"I have come to ask you to forgive me," he said, in a loud but monotonous voice, like a lesson learnt by heart. Having said these words he became confused; but immediately came the thought that, if he felt ashamed, it was all the better; he had to bear this shame, and he continued in a loud voice:

"Forgive me; I have wronged you terribly."

She stood motionless and without taking her squinting eyes off him.

He could not continue to speak, and stepping away from the net he tried to suppress the sobs that were choking him.

The inspector, the same officer who had directed Nekhludoff to the women's ward, and whose interest he seemed to have aroused, came into the room, and, seeing Nekhludoff not at the net, asked him why he was not talking to her whom he wanted to see. Nekhludoff blew his nose, gave himself a shake, and, trying to appear calm, said:

"It's so inconvenient through these nets; nothing can be heard."

Again the inspector considered for a moment.

"Ah, well, she can be brought out here for awhile. Mary Karlovna," turning to the warder, "lead Maslova out."

A minute later Maslova came out of the side door. Stepping softly, she came up close to Nekhludoff, stopped, and looked up at him from under her brows. Her black hair was arranged in ringlets over her forehead in the same way as it had been two days ago; her face, though unhealthy and puffy, was attractive, and looked perfectly calm, only the glittering black eyes glanced strangely from under the swollen lids.

"You may talk here," said the inspector, and shrugging his shoulders he stepped aside with a look of surprise. Nekhludoff moved towards a seat by the wall.

Maslova cast a questioning look at the inspector, and then, shrugging her shoulders in surprise, followed Nekhludoff to the bench, and having arranged her skirt, sat down beside him.

"I know it is hard for you to forgive me," he began, but stopped. His tears were choking him. "But though I can't undo the past, I shall now do what is in my power. Tell me--"

"How have you managed to find me?" she said, without answering his question, neither looking away from him nor quite at him, with her squinting eyes.

"O God, help me! Teach me what to do," Nekhludoff thought, looking at her changed face. "I was on the jury the day before yesterday," he said. "You did not recognise me?"

"No, I did not; there was not time for recognitions. I did not even look," she said.

"There was a child, was there not?" he asked.

"Thank God! he died at once," she answered, abruptly and viciously.

"What do you mean? Why?"

"I was so ill myself, I nearly died," she said, in the same quiet voice, which Nekhludoff had not expected and could not understand.

"How could my aunts have let you go?"

"Who keeps a servant that has a baby? They sent me off as soon as they noticed. But why speak of this? I remember nothing. That's all finished."

"No, it is not finished; I wish to redeem my sin."

"There's nothing to redeem. What's been has been and is passed," she said; and, what he never expected, she looked at him and smiled in an unpleasantly luring, yet piteous, manner.

Maslova never expected to see him again, and certainly not here and not now; therefore, when she first recognised him, she could not keep back the memories which she never wished to revive. In the first moment she remembered dimly that new, wonderful world of feeling and of thought which had been opened to her by the charming young man who loved her and whom she loved, and then his incomprehensible cruelty and the whole string of humiliations and suffering which flowed from and followed that magic joy. This gave her pain, and, unable to understand it, she did what she was always in the habit of doing, she got rid of these memories by enveloping them in the mist of a depraved life. In the first moment, she associated the man now sitting beside her with the lad she had loved; but feeling that this gave her pain, she dissociated them again. Now, this well-dressed, carefully-got-up gentleman with perfumed beard was no longer the Nekhludoff whom she had loved but only one of the people who made use of creatures like herself when they needed them, and whom creatures like herself had to make use of in their turn as profitably as they could; and that is why she looked at him with a luring smile and considered silently how she could best make use of him.

"That's all at an end," she said. "Now I'm condemned to Siberia," and her lip trembled as she was saying this dreadful word.

"I knew; I was certain you were not guilty," said Nekhludoff.

"Guilty! of course not; as if I could be a thief or a robber." She stopped, considering in what way she could best get something out of him.

"They say here that all depends on the advocate," she began. "A petition should be handed in, only they say it's expensive."

"Yes, most certainly," said Nekhludoff. "I have already spoken to an advocate."

"No money ought to be spared; it should be a good one," she said.

"I shall do all that is possible."

They were silent, and then she smiled again in the same way.

"And I should like to ask you . . . a little money if you can . . . not much; ten roubles, I do not want more," she said, suddenly.

"Yes, yes," Nekhludoff said, with a sense of confusion, and felt for his purse.

She looked rapidly at the inspector, who was walking up and down the room. "Don't give it in front of him; he'd take it away."

Nekhludoff took out his purse as soon as the inspector had turned his back; but had no time to hand her the note before the inspector faced them again, so he crushed it up in his hand.

"This woman is dead," Nekhludoff thought, looking at this once sweet, and now defiled, puffy face, lit up by an evil glitter in the black, squinting eyes which were now glancing at the hand in which he held the note, then following the inspector's movements, and for a moment he hesitated. The tempter that had been speaking to him in the night again raised its voice, trying to lead him out of the realm of his inner into the realm of his outer life, away from the question of what he should do to the question of what the consequences would be, and what would he practical.

"You can do nothing with this woman," said the voice; "you will only tie a stone round your neck, which will help to drown you and hinder you from being useful to others.

Is it not better to give her all the money that is here, say good-bye, and finish with her forever?" whispered the voice.

But here he felt that now, at this very moment, something most important was taking place in his soul--that his inner life was, as it were, wavering in the balance, so that the slightest effort would make it sink to this side or the other. And he made this effort by calling to his assistance that God whom he had felt in his soul the day before, and that God instantly responded. He resolved to tell her everything now--at once.

"Katusha, I have come to ask you to forgive me, and you have given me no answer. Have you forgiven me? Will you ever forgive me?" he asked.

She did not listen to him, but looked at his hand and at the inspector, and when the latter turned she hastily stretched out her hand, grasped the note, and hid it under her belt.

"That's odd, what you are saying there," she said, with a smile of contempt, as it seemed to him.

Nekhludoff felt that there was in her soul one who was his enemy and who was protecting her, such as she was now, and preventing him from getting at her heart. But, strange to say, this did not repel him, but drew him nearer to her by some fresh, peculiar power. He knew that he must waken her soul, that this was terribly difficult, but the very difficulty attracted him. He now felt towards her as he had never felt towards her or any one else before. There was nothing personal in this feeling: he wanted nothing from her for himself, but only wished that she might not remain as she now was, that she might awaken and become again what she had been.

"Katusha, why do you speak like that? I know you; I remember you--and the old days in Papovo."

"What's the use of recalling what's past?" she remarked, drily.

"I am recalling it in order to put it right, to atone for my sin, Katusha," and he was going to say that he would marry her, but, meeting her eyes, he read in them something so dreadful, so coarse, so repellent, that he could not go on.

At this moment the visitors began to go. The inspector came up to Nekhludoff and said that the time was up.

"Good-bye; I have still much to say to you, but you see it is impossible to do so now," said Nekhludoff, and held out his hand. "I shall come again."

"I think you have said all."

She took his hand but did not press it.

"No; I shall try to see you again, somewhere where we can talk, and then I shall tell you what I have to say-something very important."

"Well, then, come; why not?" she answered, and smiled with that habitual, inviting, and promising smile which she gave to the men whom she wished to please.

"You are more than a sister to me," said Nekhludoff.

"That's odd," she said again, and went behind the grating.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XLIV.


MASLOVA'S VIEW OF LIFE.

Before the first interview, Nekhludoff thought that when she saw him and knew of his intention to serve her, Katusha would be pleased and touched, and would be Katusha again; but, to his horror, he found that Katusha existed no more, and there was Maslova in her place. This astonished and horrified him.

What astonished him most was that Katusha was not ashamed of her position--not the position of a prisoner (she was ashamed of that), but her position as a prostitute. She seemed satisfied, even proud of it. And, yet, how could it be otherwise? Everybody, in order to be able to act, has to consider his occupation important and good. Therefore, in whatever position a person is, he is certain to form such a view of the life of men in general which will make his occupation seem important and good.

It is usually imagined that a thief, a murderer, a spy, a prostitute, acknowledging his or her profession as evil, is ashamed of it. But the contrary is true. People whom fate and their sin-mistakes have placed in a certain position, however false that position may be, form a view of life in general which makes their position seem good and admissible. In order to keep up their view of life, these people instinctively keep to the circle of those people who share their views of life and their own place in it. This surprises us, where the persons concerned are thieves, bragging about their dexterity, prostitutes vaunting their depravity, or murderers boasting of their cruelty. This surprises us only because the circle, the atmosphere in which these people live, is limited, and we are outside it. But can we not observe the same phenomenon when the rich boast of their wealth, i.e., robbery; the commanders in the army pride themselves on victories, i.e., murder; and those in high places vaunt their power, i.e., violence? We do not see the perversion in the views of life held by these people, only because the circle formed by them is more extensive, and we ourselves are moving inside of it.

And in this manner Maslova had formed her views of life and of her own position. She was a prostitute condemned to Siberia, and yet she had a conception of life which made it possible for her to be satisfied with herself, and even to pride herself on her position before others.

According to this conception, the highest good for all men without exception--old, young, schoolboys, generals, educated and uneducated, was connected with the relation of the sexes; therefore, all men, even when they pretended to be occupied with other things, in reality took this view. She was an attractive woman, and therefore she was an important and necessary person. The whole of her former and present life was a confirmation of the correctness of this conception.

With such a view of life, she was by no means the lowest, but a very important person. And Maslova prized this view of life more than anything; she could not but prize it, for, if she lost the importance that such a view of life gave her among men, she would lose the meaning of her life. And, in order not to lose the meaning of her life, she instinctively clung to the set that looked at life in the same way as she did. Feeling that Nekhludoff wanted to lead her out into another world, she resisted him, foreseeing that she would have to lose her place in life, with the self-possession and self-respect it gave her. For this reason she drove from her the recollections of her early youth and her first relations with Nekhludoff. These recollections did not correspond with her present conception of the world, and were therefore quite rubbed out of her mind, or, rather, lay somewhere buried and untouched, closed up and plastered over so that they should not escape, as when bees, in order to protect the result of their labour, will sometimes plaster a nest of worms. Therefore, the present Nekhludoff was not the man she had once loved with a pure love, but only a rich gentleman whom she could, and must, make use of, and with whom she could only have the same relations as with men in general.

"No, I could not tell her the chief thing," thought Nekhludoff, moving towards the front doors with the rest of the people. "I did not tell her that I would marry her; I did not tell her so, but I will," he thought.

The two warders at the door let out the visitors, counting them again, and touching each one with their hands, so that no extra person should go out, and none remain within. The slap on his shoulder did not offend Nekhludoff this time; he did not even notice it.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XLV.


FANARIN, THE ADVOCATE--THE PETITION.

Nekhludoff meant to rearrange the whole of his external life, to let his large house and move to an hotel, but Agraphena Petrovna pointed out that it was useless to change anything before the winter. No one would rent a town house for the summer; anyhow, he would have to live and keep his things somewhere. And so all his efforts to change his manner of life (he meant to live more simply: as the students live) led to nothing. Not only did everything remain as it was, but the house was suddenly filled with new activity. All that was made of wool or fur was taken out to be aired and beaten. The gate-keeper, the boy, the cook, and Corney himself took part in this activity. All sorts of strange furs, which no one ever used, and various uniforms were taken out and hung on a line, then the carpets and furniture were brought out, and the gate-keeper and the boy rolled their sleeves up their muscular arms and stood beating these things, keeping strict time, while the rooms were filled with the smell of naphthaline.

When Nekhludoff crossed the yard or looked out of the window and saw all this going on, he was surprised at the great number of things there were, all quite useless. Their only use, Nekhludoff thought, was the providing of exercise for Agraphena Petrovna, Corney, the gate-keeper, the boy, and the cook.

"But it's not worth while altering my manner of life now," he thought, "while Maslova's case is not decided. Besides, it is too difficult. It will alter of itself when she will be set free or exiled, and I follow her."

On the appointed day Nekhludoff drove up to the advocate Fanarin's own splendid house, which was decorated with huge palms and other plants, and wonderful curtains, in fact, with all the expensive luxury witnessing to the possession of much idle money, i.e., money acquired without labour, which only those possess who grow rich suddenly. In the waiting-room, just as in a doctor's waiting-room, he found many dejected-looking people sitting round several tables, on which lay illustrated papers meant to amuse them, awaiting their turns to be admitted to the advocate. The advocate's assistant sat in the room at a high desk, and having recognised Nekhludoff, he came up to him and said he would go and announce him at once. But the assistant had not reached the door before it opened and the sounds of loud, animated voices were heard; the voice of a middle-aged, sturdy merchant, with a red face and thick moustaches, and the voice of Fanarin himself. Fanarin was also a middle-aged man of medium height, with a worn look on his face. Both faces bore the expression which you see on the faces of those who have just concluded a profitable but not quite honest transaction.

"Your own fault, you know, my dear sir," Fanarin said, smiling.

"We'd all be in 'eaven were it not for hour sins."

"Oh. yes, yes; we all know that," and both laughed un-naturally.

"Oh, Prince Nekhludoff! Please to step in," said Fanarin, seeing him, and, nodding once more to the merchant, he led Nekhludoff into his business cabinet, furnished in a severely correct style.

"Won't you smoke?" said the advocate, sitting down opposite Nekhludoff and trying to conceal a smile, apparently still excited by the success of the accomplished transaction.

"Thanks; I have come about Maslova's case."

"Yes, yes; directly! But oh, what rogues these fat money bags are!" he said. "You saw this here fellow. Why, he has about twelve million roubles, and he cannot speak correctly; and if he can get a twenty-five rouble note out of you he'll have it, if he's to wrench it out with his teeth."

"He says "'eaven and hour,' and you say 'this here fellow,'" Nekhludoff thought, with an insurmountable feeling of aversion towards this man who wished to show by his free and easy manner that he and Nekhludoff belonged to one and the same camp, while his other clients belonged to another.

"He has worried me to death--a fearful scoundrel. I felt I must relieve my feelings," said the advocate, as if to excuse his speaking about things that had no reference to business. "Well, how about your case? I have read it attentively, but do not approve of it. I mean that greenhorn of an advocate has left no valid reason for an appeal."

"Well, then, what have you decided?"

"One moment. Tell him," he said to his assistant, who had just come in, "that I keep to what I have said. If he can, it's all right; if not, no matter."

"But he won't agree."

"Well, no matter," and the advocate frowned.

"There now, and it is said that we advocates get our money for nothing," he remarked, after a pause. "I have freed one insolvent debtor from a totally false charge, and now they all flock to me. Yet every such case costs enormous labour. Why, don't we, too, 'lose bits of flesh in the inkstand?' as some writer or other has said. Well, as to your case, or, rather, the case you are taking an interest in. It has been conducted abominably. There is no good reason for appealing. Still," he continued, "we can but try to get the sentence revoked. This is what I have noted down." He took up several sheets of paper covered with writing, and began to read rapidly, slurring over the uninteresting legal terms and laying particular stress on some sentences. "To the Court of Appeal, criminal department, etc., etc. According to the decisions, etc., the verdict, etc., So-and-so Maslova pronounced guilty of having caused the death through poison of the merchant Smelkoff, and has, according to Statute 1454 of the penal code, been sentenced to Siberia," etc., etc. He stopped. Evidently, in spite of his being so used to it, he still felt pleasure in listening to his own productions. "This sentence is the direct result of the most glaring judicial perversion and error," he continued, impressively, "and there are grounds for its revocation. Firstly, the reading of the medical report of the examination of Smelkoff's intestines was interrupted by the president at the very beginning. This is point one."

"But it was the prosecuting side that demanded this reading," Nekhludoff said, with surprise.

"That does not matter. There might have been reasons for the defence to demand this reading, too."

"Oh, but there could have been no reason whatever for that."

"It is a ground for appeal, though. To continue: ' Secondly,' he went on reading, 'when Maslova's advocate, in his speech for the defence, wishing to characterise Maslova's personality, referred to the causes of her fall, he was interrupted by the president calling him to order for the alleged deviation from the direct subject. Yet, as has been repeatedly pointed out by the Senate, the elucidation of the criminal's characteristics and his or her moral standpoint in general has a significance of the first importance in criminal cases, even if only as a guide in the settling of the question of imputation.' That's point two," he said, with a look at Nekhludoff.

"But he spoke so badly that no one could make anything of it," Nekhludoff said, still more astonished.

"The fellow's quite a fool, and of course could not be expected to say anything sensible," Fanarin said, laughing; "but, all the same, it will do as a reason for appeal. Thirdly: 'The president, in his summing up, contrary to the direct decree of section 1, statute 801, of the criminal code, omitted to inform the jury what the judicial points are that constitute guilt; and did not mention that having admitted the fact of Maslova having administered the poison to Smelkoff, the jury had a right not to impute the guilt of murder to her, since the proofs of wilful intent to deprive Smelkoff of life were absent, and only to pronounce her guilty of carelessness resulting in the death of the merchant, which she did not desire.' This is the chief point."

"Yes; but we ought to have known that ourselves. It was our mistake."

"And now the fourth point," the advocate continued. "The form of the answer given by the jury contained an evident contradiction. Maslova is accused of wilfully poisoning Smelkoff, her one object being that of cupidity, the only motive to commit murder she could have had. The jury in their verdict acquit her of the intent to rob, or participation in the stealing of valuables, from which it follows that they intended also to acquit her of the intent to murder, and only through a misunderstanding, which arose from the incompleteness of the president's summing up, omitted to express it in due form in their answer. Therefore an answer of this kind by the jury absolutely demanded the application of statutes 816 and 808 of the criminal code of procedure, i.e., an explanation by the president to the jury of the mistake made by them, and another debate on the question of the prisoner's guilt."

"Then why did the president not do it?"

"I, too, should like to know why," Fanarin said, laughing.

"Then the Senate will, of course, correct this error?"

"That will all depend on who will preside there at the time. Well, now, there it is. I have further said," he continued, rapidly, "a verdict of this kind gave the Court no right to condemn Maslova to be punished as a criminal, and to apply section 3, statute 771 of the penal code to her case. This is a decided and gross violation of the basic principles of our criminal law. In view of the reasons stated, I have the honour of appealing to you, etc., etc., the refutation, according to 909, 910, and section 2, 912 and 928 statute of the criminal code, etc., etc. . . . to carry this case before another department of the same Court for a further examination. There; all that can be done is done, but, to be frank, I have little hope of success, though, of course, it all depends on what members will be present at the Senate. If you have any influence there you can but try."

"I do know some."

All right; only be quick about it. Else they'll all go off for a change of air; then you may have to wait three months before they return. Then, in case of failure, we have still the possibility of appealing to His Majesty. This, too, depends on the private influence you can bring to work. In this case, too, I am at your service; I mean as to the working of the petition, not the influence."

"Thank you. Now as to your fees?"

"My assistant will hand you the petition and tell you."

"One thing more. The Procureur gave me a pass for visiting this person in prison, but they tell me I must also get a permission from the governor in order to get an interview at another time and in another place than those appointed. Is this necessary?"

"Yes, I think so. But the governor is away at present; a vice-governor is in his place. And he is such an impenetrable fool that you'll scarcely be able to do anything with him."

"Is it Meslennikoff?"

"Yes."

"I know him," said Nekhludoff, and got up to go. At this moment a horribly ugly, little, bony, snub-nosed, yellow-faced woman flew into the room. It was the advocate's wife, who did not seem to be in the least bit troubled by her ugliness. She was attired in the most original manner; she seemed enveloped in something made of velvet and silk, something yellow and green, and her thin hair was crimped.

She stepped out triumphantly into the ante-room, followed by a tall, smiling man, with a greenish complexion, dressed in a coat with silk facings, and a white tie. This was an author. Nekhludoff knew him by sight.

She opened the cabinet door and said, "Anatole, you must come to me. Here is Simeon Ivanovitch, who will read his poems, and you must absolutely come and read about Garshin."

Nekhludoff noticed that she whispered something to her husband, and, thinking it was something concerning him, wished to go away, but she caught him up and said: "I beg your pardon, Prince, I know you, and, thinking an introduction superfluous, I beg you to stay and take part in our literary matinee. It will be most interesting. M. Fanarin will read."

"You see what a lot I have to do," said Fanarin, spreading out his hands and smilingly pointing to his wife, as if to show how impossible it was to resist so charming a creature.

Nekhludoff thanked the advocate's wife with extreme politeness for the honour she did him in inviting him, but refused the invitation with a sad and solemn look, and left the room.

"What an affected fellow!" said the advocate's wife, when he had gone out.

In the ante-room the assistant handed him a ready-written petition, and said that the fees, including the business with the Senate and the commission, would come to 1,000 roubles, and explained that M. Fanarin did not usually undertake this kind of business, but did it only to oblige Nekhludoff.

"And about this petition. Who is to sign it?"

"The prisoner may do it herself, or if this is inconvenient, M. Fanarin can, if he gets a power of attorney from her."

Oh, no. I shall take the petition to her and get her to sign it," said Nekhludoff, glad of the opportunity of seeing her before the appointed day.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XLVI.


A PRISON FLOGGING.

At the usual time the jailer's whistle sounded in the corridors of the prison, the iron doors of the cells rattled, bare feet pattered, heels clattered, and the prisoners who acted as scavengers passed along the corridors, filling the air with disgusting smells. The prisoners washed, dressed, and came out for revision, then went to get boiling water for their tea.

The conversation at breakfast in all the cells was very lively. It was all about two prisoners who were to be flogged that day. One, Vasiliev, was a young man of some education, a clerk, who had killed his mistress in a fit of jealousy. His fellow-prisoners liked him because he was merry and generous and firm in his behaviour with the prison authorities. He knew the laws and insisted on their being carried out. Therefore he was disliked by the authorities. Three weeks before a jailer struck one of the scavengers who had spilt some soup over his new uniform. Vasiliev took the part of the scavenger, saying that it was not lawful to strike a prisoner.

"I'll teach you the law," said the jailer, and gave Vasiliev a scolding. Vasiliev replied in like manner, and the jailer was going to hit him, but Vasiliev seized the jailer's hands, held them fast for about three minutes, and, after giving the hands a twist, pushed the jailer out of the door. The jailer complained to the inspector, who ordered Vasiliev to be put into a solitary cell.

The solitary cells were a row of dark closets, locked from outside, and there were neither beds, nor chairs, nor tables in them, so that the inmates had to sit or lie on the dirty floor, while the rats, of which there were a great many in those cells, ran across them. The rats were so bold that they stole the bread from the prisoners, and even attacked them if they stopped moving. Vasiliev said he would not go into the solitary cell, because he had not done anything wrong; but they used force. Then he began struggling, and two other prisoners helped him to free himself from the jailers. All the jailers assembled, and among them was Petrov, who was distinguished for his strength. The prisoners got thrown down and pushed into the solitary cells.

The governor was immediately informed that something very like a rebellion had taken place. And he sent back an order to flog the two chief offenders, Vasiliev and the tramp, Nepomnishy, giving each thirty strokes with a birch rod. The flogging was appointed to take place in the women's interviewing-room.

All this was known in the prison since the evening, and it was being talked about with animation in all the cells.

Korableva, Khoroshevka, Theodosia, and Maslova sat together in their corner, drinking tea, all of them flushed and animated by the vodka they had drunk, for Maslova, who now had a constant supply of vodka, freely treated her companions to it.

"He's not been a-rioting, or anything," Korableva said, referring to Vasiliev, as she bit tiny pieces off a lump of sugar with her strong teeth. "He only stuck up for a chum, because it's not lawful to strike prisoners nowadays."

"And he's a fine fellow, I've heard say," said Theodosia, who sat bareheaded, with her long plaits round her head, on a log of wood opposite the shelf bedstead on which the teapot stood.

"There, now, if you were to ask HIM," the watchman's wife said to Maslova (by him she meant Nekhludoff).

"I shall tell him. He'll do anything for me," Maslova said, tossing her head, and smiling.

"Yes, but when is he coming? and they've already gone to fetch them," said Theodosia. "It is terrible," she added, with a sigh.

"I once did see how they flogged a peasant in the village. Father-in-law, he sent me once to the village elder. Well, I went, and there" . . . The watchman's wife began her long story, which was interrupted by the sound of voices and steps in the corridor above them.

The women were silent, and sat listening.

"There they are, hauling him along, the devils!" Khoroshavka said. "They'll do him to death, they will. The jailers are so enraged with him because he never would give in to them."

All was quiet again upstairs, and the watchman's wife finished her story of how she was that frightened when she went into the barn and saw them flogging a peasant, her inside turned at the sight, and so on. Khoroshevka related how Schegloff had been flogged, and never uttered a sound. Then Theodosia put away the tea things, and Korableva and the watchman's wife took up their sewing. Maslova sat down on the bedstead, with her arms round her knees, dull and depressed. She was about to lie down and try to sleep, when the woman warder called her into the office to see a visitor.

"Now, mind, and don't forget to tell him about us," the old woman (Menshova) said, while Maslova was arranging the kerchief on her head before the dim looking-glass. "We did not set fire to the house, but he himself, the fiend, did it; his workman saw him do it, and will not damn his soul by denying it. You just tell to ask to see my Mitri. Mitri will tell him all about it, as plain as can be. just think of our being locked up in prison when we never dreamt of any ill, while he, the fiend, is enjoying himself at the pub, with another man's wife."

"That's not the law," remarked Korableva.

"I'll tell him--I'll tell him," answered Maslova. "Suppose I have another drop, just to keep up courage," she added, with a wink; and Korableva poured out half a cup of vodka, which Maslova drank. Then, having wiped her mouth and repeating the words "just to keep up courage," tossing her head and smiling gaily, she followed the warder along the corridor.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XLVII.


NEKHLUDOFF AGAIN VISITS MASLOVA.

Nekhludoff had to wait in the hall for a long time. When he had arrived at the prison and rung at the entrance door, he handed the permission of the Procureur to the jailer on duty who met him.

"No, no," the jailer on duty said hurriedly, "the inspector is engaged."

"In the office?" asked Nekhludoff.

"No, here in the interviewing-room.".

"Why, is it a visiting day to-day?

"No; it's special business."

"I should like to see him. What am I to do?" said Nekhludoff.

"When the inspector comes out you'll tell him--wait a bit," said the jailer.

At this moment a sergeant-major, with a smooth, shiny face and moustaches impregnated with tobacco smoke, came out of a side door, with the gold cords of his uniform glistening, and addressed the jailer in a severe tone.

"What do you mean by letting any one in here? The office. . . ."

"I was told the inspector was here," said Nekhludoff, surprised at the agitation he noticed in the sergeant-major's manner.

At this moment the inner door opened, and Petrov came out, heated and perspiring.

"He'll remember it," he muttered, turning to the sergeant major. The latter pointed at Nekhludoff by a look, and Petrov knitted his brows and went out through a door at the back.

"Who will remember it? Why do they all seem so confused? Why did the sergeant-major make a sign to him? Nekhludoff thought.

The sergeant-major, again addressing Nekhludoff, said: "You cannot meet here; please step across to the office." And Nekhludoff was about to comply when the inspector came out of the door at the back, looking even more confused than his subordinates, and sighing continually. When he saw Nekhludoff he turned to the jailer.

"Fedotoff, have Maslova, cell 5, women's ward, taken to the office."

"Will you come this way, please," he said, turning to Nekhludoff. They ascended a steep staircase and entered a little room with one window, a writing-table, and a few chairs in it. The inspector sat down.

"Mine are heavy, heavy duties," he remarked, again addressing Nekhludoff, and took out a cigarette.

"You are tired, evidently," said Nekhludoff.

Tired of the whole of the service--the duties are very trying. One tries to lighten their lot and only makes it worse; my only thought is how to get away. Heavy, heavy duties!"

Nekhludoff did not know what the inspector's particular difficulties were, but he saw that to-day he was in a peculiarly dejected and hopeless condition, calling for pity."

"Yes, I should think the duties were heavy for a kind-hearted man," he said. "Why do you serve in this capacity?

"I have a family."

"But, if it is so hard--"

"Well, still you know it is possible to be of use in some measure; I soften down all I can. Another in my place would conduct the affairs quite differently. Why, we have more than 2,000 persons here. And what persons! One must know how to manage them. It is easier said than done, you know. After all, they are also men; one cannot help pitying them." The inspector began telling Nekhludoff of a fight that had lately taken place among the convicts, which had ended by one man being killed.

The story was interrupted by the entrance of Maslova, who was accompanied by a jailer.

Nekhludoff saw her through the doorway before she had noticed the inspector. She was following the warder briskly, smiling and tossing her head. When she saw the inspector she suddenly changed, and gazed at him with a frightened look; but, quickly recovering, she addressed Nekhludoff boldly and gaily.

"How d'you do?" she said, drawling out her words, and Resurrection smilingly took his hand and shook it vigorously, not like the first time.

"Here, I've brought you a petition to sign," said Nekhludoff, rather surprised by the boldness with which she greeted him to-day.

"The advocate has written out a petition which you will have to sign, and then we shall send it to Petersburg."

"All right! That can be done. Anything you like," she said, with a wink and a smile.

And Nekhludoff drew a folded paper from his pocket and went up to the table.

"May she sign it here?" asked Nekhludoff, turning to the inspector.

"It's all right, it's all right! Sit down. Here's a pen; you can write?" said the inspector.

"I could at one time," she said; and, after arranging her skirt and the sleeves of her jacket, she sat down at the table, smiled awkwardly, took the pen with her small, energetic hand, and glanced at Nekhludoff with a laugh.

Nekhludoff told her what to write and pointed out the place where to sign.

Sighing deeply as she dipped her pen into the ink, and carefully shaking some drops off the pen, she wrote her name.

"Is it all?" she asked, looking from Nekhludoff to the inspector, and putting the pen now on the inkstand, now on the papers.

"I have a few words to tell you," Nekhludoff said, taking the pen from her.

"All right; tell me," she said. And suddenly, as if remembering something, or feeling sleepy, she grew serious.

The inspector rose and left the room, and Nekhludoff remained with her.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XLVIII.


MASLOVA REFUSES TO MARRY.

The jailer who had brought Maslova in sat on a windowsill at some distance from them.

The decisive moment had come for Nekhludoff. He had been incessantly blaming himself for not having told her the principal thing at the first interview, and was now determined to tell her that he would marry her. She was sitting at the further side of the table. Nekhludoff sat down opposite her. It was light in the room, and Nekhludoff for the first time saw her face quite near. He distinctly saw the crowsfeet round her eyes, the wrinkles round her mouth, and the swollen eyelids. He felt more sorry than before. Leaning over the table so as not to be beard by the jailer--a man of Jewish type with grizzly whiskers, who sat by the window--Nekhludoff said:

"Should this petition come to nothing we shall appeal to the Emperor. All that is possible shall be done."

"There, now, if we had had a proper advocate from the first," she interrupted. "My defendant was quite a silly. He did nothing but pay me compliments," she said, and laughed. "If it had then been known that I was acquainted with you, it would have been another matter. They think every one's a thief."

"How strange she is to-day," Nekhludoff thought, and was just going to say what he had on his mind when she began again:

"There's something I want to say. We have here an old woman; such a fine one, d'you know, she just surprises every one; she is imprisoned for nothing, and her son, too, and everybody knows they are innocent, though they are accused of having set fire to a house. D'you know, hearing I was acquainted with you, she says: 'Tell him to ask to see my son; he'll tell him all about it."' Thus spoke Maslova, turning her head from side to side, and glancing at Nekhludoff. "Their name's Menshoff. Well, will you do it? Such a fine old thing, you know; you can see at once she's innocent. You'll do it, there's a dear," and she smiled, glanced up at him, and then cast down her eyes.

"All right. I'll find out about them," Nekhludoff said, more and more astonished by her free-and-easy manner. "But I was going to speak to you about myself. Do you remember what I told you last time?"

"You said a lot last time. What was it you told me?" she said, continuing to smile and to turn her head from side to side.

"I said I had come to ask you to forgive me," he began.

"What's the use of that? Forgive, forgive, where's the good of--"

"To atone for my sin, not by mere words, but in deed. I have made up my mind to marry you."

An expression of fear suddenly came over her face. Her squinting eyes remained fixed on him, and yet seemed not to be looking at him.

"What's that for?" she said, with an angry frown.

"I feel that it is my duty before God to do it."

"What God have you found now? You are not saying what you ought to. God, indeed! What God? You ought to have remembered God then," she said, and stopped with her mouth open. It was only now that Nekhludoff noticed that her breath smelled of spirits, and that he understood the cause of her excitement.

"Try and be calm," he said.

"Why should I be calm?" she began, quickly, flushing scarlet. "I am a convict, and you are a gentleman and a prince. There's no need for you to soil yourself by touching me. You go to your princesses; my price is a ten-rouble note."

"However cruelly you may speak, you cannot express what I myself am feeling," he said, trembling all over; "you cannot imagine to what extent I feel myself guilty towards you.

"Feel yourself guilty?" she said, angrily mimicking him. "You did not feel so then, but threw me 100 roubles. That's your price."

"I know, I know; but what is to be done now?" said Nekhludoff. "I have decided not to leave you, and what I have said I shall do."

"And I say you sha'n't," she said, and laughed aloud.

"Katusha" he said, touching her hand.

"You go away. I am a convict and you a prince, and you've no business here," she cried, pulling away her hand, her whole appearance transformed by her wrath. "You've got pleasure out of me in this life, and want to save yourself through me in the life to come. You are disgusting to me--your spectacles and the whole of your dirty fat mug. Go, go!" she screamed, starting to her feet.

The jailer came up to them.

"What are you kicking up this row for?' That won't--"

"Let her alone, please," said Nekhludoff.

"She must not forget herself," said the jailer. "Please wait a little," said Nekhludoff, and the jailer returned to the window.

Maslova sat down again, dropping her eyes and firmly clasping her small hands.

Nekhludoff stooped over her, not knowing what to do.

"You do not believe me?" he said.

"That you mean to marry me? It will never be. I'll rather hang myself. So there!"

"Well, still I shall go on serving you."

"That's your affair, only I don't want anything from you. I am telling you the plain truth," she said. "Oh, why did I not die then?" she added, and began to cry piteously.

Nekhludoff could not speak; her tears infected him.

She lifted her eyes, looked at him in surprise, and began to wipe her tears with her kerchief.

The jailer came up again and reminded them that it was time to part.

Maslova rose.

"You are excited. If it is possible, I shall come again tomorrow; you think it over," said Nekhludoff.

She gave him no answer and, without looking up, followed the jailer out of the room.

"Well, lass, you'll have rare times now," Korableva said, when Maslova returned to the cell. "Seems he's mighty sweet on you; make the most of it while he's after you. He'll help you out. Rich people can do anything."

"Yes, that's so," remarked the watchman's wife, with her musical voice. "When a poor man thinks of getting married, there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip; but a rich man need only make up his mind and it's done. We knew a toff like that duckie. What d'you think he did?"

"Well, have you spoken about my affairs?" the old woman asked.

But Maslova gave her fellow-prisoners no answer; she lay down on the shelf bedstead, her squinting eyes fixed on a corner of the room, and lay there until the evening.

A painful struggle went on in her soul. What Nekhludoff had told her called up the memory of that world in which she had suffered and which she had left without having understood, hating it. She now feared to wake from the trance in which she was living. Not having arrived at any conclusion when evening came, she again bought some vodka and drank with her companions.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER XLIX.


VERA DOUKHOVA.

"So this is what it means, this," thought Nekhludoff as he left the prison, only now fully understanding his crime. If he had not tried to expiate his guilt he would never have found out how great his crime was. Nor was this all; she, too, would never have felt the whole horror of what had been done to her. He only now saw what he had done to the soul of this woman; only now she saw and understood what had been done to her.

Up to this time Nekhludoff had played with a sensation of self-admiration, had admired his own remorse; now he was simply filled with horror. He knew he could not throw her up now, and yet he could not imagine what would come of their relations to one another.

Just as he was going out, a jailer, with a disagreeable, insinuating countenance, and a cross and medals on his breast, came up and handed him a note with an air of mystery.

"Here is a note from a certain person, your honour," he said to Nekhludoff as he gave him the envelope.

"What person?"

"You will know when you read it. A political prisoner. I am in that ward, so she asked me; and though it is against the rules, still feelings of humanity--" The jailer spoke in an unnatural manner.

Nekhludoff was surprised that a jailer of the ward where political prisoners were kept should pass notes inside the very prison walls, and almost within sight of every one; he did not then know that this was both a jailer and a spy. However, he took the note and read it on coming out of the prison.

The note was written in a bold hand, and ran as follows: Having heard that you visit the prison, and are interested in the case of a criminal prisoner, the desire of seeing you arose in me. Ask for a permission to see me. I can give you a good deal of information concerning your protegee, and also our group.--Yours gratefully, VERA DOUKHOVA."

Vera Doukhova had been a school-teacher in an out-of-the-way village of the Novgorod Government, where Nekhludoff and some friends of his had once put up while bear hunting. Nekhludoff gladly and vividly recalled those old days, and his acquaintance with Doukhova. It was just before Lent, in an isolated spot, 40 miles from the railway. The hunt had been successful; two bears had been killed; and the company were having dinner before starting on their return journey, when the master of the hut where they were putting up came in to say that the deacon's daughter wanted to speak to Prince Nekhludoff. "Is she pretty?" some one asked. "None of that, please," Nekhludoff said, and rose with a serious look on his face. Wiping his mouth, and wondering what the deacon's daughter might want of him, he went into the host's private hut.

There he found a girl with a felt hat and a warm cloak on--a sinewy, ugly girl; only her eyes with their arched brows were beautiful.

"Here, miss, speak to him," said the old housewife; "this is the prince himself. I shall go out meanwhile."

"In what way can I be of service to you?" Nekhludoff asked.

"I--I--I see you are throwing away your money on such nonsense--on hunting," began the girl, in great confusion. "I know--I only want one thing--to be of use to the people, and I can do nothing because I know nothing--" Her eyes were so truthful, so kind, and her expression of resoluteness and yet bashfulness was so touching, that Nekhludoff, as it often happened to him, suddenly felt as if he were in her position, understood, and sympathised.

"What can I do, then?"

"I am a teacher, but should like to follow a course of study; and I am not allowed to do so. That is, not that I am not allowed to; they'd allow me to, but I have not got the means. Give them to me, and when I have finished the course I shall repay you. I am thinking the rich kill bears and give the peasants drink; all this is bad. Why should they not do good? I only want 80 roubles. But if you don't wish to, never mind," she added, gravely.

"On the contrary, I am very grateful to you for this opportunity. . . I will bring it at once," said Nekhludoff.

He went out into the passage, and there met one of his comrades, who had been overhearing his conversation. Paying no heed to his chaffing, Nekhludoff got the money out of his bag and took it to her.

"Oh, please, do not thank me; it is I who should thank you," he said.

It was pleasant to remember all this now; pleasant to remember that he had nearly had a quarrel with an officer who tried to make an objectionable joke of it, and how another of his comrades had taken his part, which led to a closer friendship between them. How successful the whole of that hunting expedition had been, and how happy he had felt when returning to the railway station that night. The line of sledges, the horses in tandem, glide quickly along the narrow road that lies through the forest, now between high trees, now between low firs weighed down by the snow, caked in heavy lumps on their branches. A red light flashes in the dark, some one lights an aromatic cigarette. Joseph, a bear driver, keeps running from sledge to sledge, up to his knees in snow, and while putting things to rights he speaks about the elk which are now going about on the deep snow and gnawing the bark off the aspen trees, of the bears that are lying asleep in their deep hidden dens, and his breath comes warm through the opening in the sledge cover. All this came back to Nekhludoff's mind; but, above all, the joyous sense of health, strength, and freedom from care: the lungs breathing in the frosty air so deeply that the fur cloak is drawn tightly on his chest, the fine snow drops off the low branches on to his face, his body is warm, his face feels fresh, and his soul is free from care, self-reproach, fear, or desire. How beautiful it was. And now, O God! what torment, what trouble!

Evidently Vera Doukhova was a revolutionist and imprisoned as such. He must see her, especially as she promised to advise him how to lighten Maslova's lot.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER L.


THE VICE-GOVERNOR OF THE PRISON.

Awaking early the next morning, Nekhludoff remembered what he had done the day before, and was seized with fear.

But in spite of this fear, he was more determined than ever to continue what he had begun.

Conscious of a sense of duty, he left the house and went to see Maslennikoff in order to obtain from him a permission to visit Maslova in prison, and also the Menshoffs--mother and son--about whom Maslova had spoken to him. Nekhludoff had known this Maslennikoff a long time; they had been in the regiment together. At that time Maslennikoff was treasurer to the regiment.

He was a kind-hearted and zealous officer, knowing and wishing to know nothing beyond the regiment and the Imperial family. Now Nekhludoff saw him as an administrator, who had exchanged the regiment for an administrative office in the government where he lived. He was married to a rich and energetic woman, who had forced him to exchange military for civil service. She laughed at him, and caressed him, as if he were her own pet animal. Nekhludoff had been to see them once during the winter, but the couple were so uninteresting to him that he had not gone again.

At the sight of Nekhludoff Maslennikoff's face beamed all over. He had the same fat red face, and was as corpulent and as well dressed as in his military days. Then, he used to be always dressed in a well-brushed uniform, made according to the latest fashion, tightly fitting his chest and shoulders; now, it was a civil service uniform he wore, and that, too, tightly fitted his well-fed body and showed off his broad chest, and was cut according to the latest fashion. In spite of the difference in age (Maslennikoff was 40), the two men were very familiar with one another.

"Halloo, old fellow! How good of you to come! Let us go and see my wife. I have just ten minutes to spare before the meeting. My chief is away, you know. I am at the head of the Government administration," he said, unable to disguise his satisfaction.

"I have come on business."

"What is it?" said Maslennikoff, in an anxious and severe tone, putting himself at once on his guard.

"There is a person, whom I am very much interested in, in prison" (at the word "prison" Maslennikoff's face grew stern); "and I should like to have an interview in the office, and not in the common visiting-room. I have been told it depended on you."

"Certainly, mon cher," said Maslennikoff, putting both hands on Nekhludoff's knees, as if to tone down his grandeur; "but remember, I am monarch only for an hour."

"Then will you give me an order that will enable me to see her?"

"It's a woman?"

"Yes."

"What is she there for?"

"Poisoning, but she has been unjustly condemned."

"Yes, there you have it, your justice administered by jury, ils n'en font point d'autres," he said, for some unknown reason, in French. "I know you do not agree with me, but it can't be helped, c'est mon opinion bien arretee," he added, giving utterance to an opinion he had for the last twelve months been reading in the retrograde Conservative paper. "I know you are a Liberal."

"I don't know whether I am a Liberal or something else," Nekhludoff said, smiling; it always surprised him to find himself ranked with a political party and called a Liberal, when he maintained that a man should be heard before he was judged, that before being tried all men were equal, that nobody at all ought to be ill-treated and beaten, but especially those who had not yet been condemned by law. "I don't know whether I am a Liberal or not; but I do know that however had the present way of conducting a trial is, it is better than the old."

"And whom have you for an advocate?"

"I have spoken to Fanarin."

"Dear me, Fanarin!" said Meslennikoff, with a grimace, recollecting how this Fanarin had examined him as a witness at a trial the year before and had, in the politest manner, held him up to ridicule for half an hour.

"I should not advise you to have anything to do with him. Fanarin est un homme tare."

"I have one more request to make," said Nekhludoff, without answering him. "There's a girl whom I knew long ago, a teacher; she is a very pitiable little thing, and is now also imprisoned, and would like to see me. Could you give me a permission to visit her?"

Meslennikoff bent his head on one side and considered.

"She's a political one?"

"Yes, I have been told so."

"Well, you see, only relatives get permission to visit political prisoners. Still, I'll give you an open order. Je sais que vous n'abuserez pas. What's the name of your protegee? Doukhova? Elle est jolie?"

"Hideuse."

Maslennikoff shook his head disapprovingly, went up to the table, and wrote on a sheet of paper, with a printed heading: "The bearer, Prince Dmitri Ivanovitch Nekhludoff, is to be allowed to interview in the prison office the meschanka Maslova, and also the medical assistant, Doukhova," and he finished with an elaborate flourish.

"Now you'll be able to see what order we have got there. And it is very difficult to keep order, it is so crowded, especially with people condemned to exile; but I watch strictly, and love the work. You will see they are very comfortable and contented. But one must know how to deal with them. Only a few days ago we had a little trouble--insubordination; another would have called it mutiny, and would have made many miserable, but with us it all passed quietly. We must have solicitude on one hand, firmness and power on the other," and he clenched the fat, white, turquoise-ringed fist, which issued out of the starched cuff of his shirt sleeve, fastened with a gold stud. "Solicitude and firm power."

"Well, I don't know about that," said Nekhludoff. "I went there twice, and felt very much depressed."

"Do you know, you ought to get acquainted with the Countess Passek," continued Maslennikoff, growing talkative. "She has given herself up entirely to this sort of work. Elle fait beaucoup de bien. Thanks to her--and, perhaps I may add without false modesty, to me--everything has been changed, changed in such a way that the former horrors no longer exist, and they are really quite comfortable there. Well, you'll see. There's Fanarin. I do not know him personally; besides, my social position keeps our ways apart; but he is positively a bad man, and besides, he takes the liberty of saying such things in the court--such things!"

"Well, thank you," Nekhludoff said, taking the paper, and without listening further he bade good-day to his former comrade.

"And won't you go in to see my wife?"

"No, pray excuse me; I have no time now."

"Dear me, why she will never forgive me," said Maslennikoff, accompanying his old acquaintance down to the first landing, as he was in the habit of doing to persons of not the greatest, but the second greatest importance, with whom he classed Nekhludoff; "now do go in, if only for a moment."

But Nekhludoff remained firm; and while the footman and the door-keeper rushed to give him his stick and overcoat, and opened the door, outside of which there stood a policeman, Nekhludoff repeated that he really could not come in.

"Well, then; on Thursday, please. It is her 'at-home.' I will tell her you will come," shouted Maslennikoff from the stairs.


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