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BOOK II.

CHAPTER XXXI.


NEKHLUDOFF'S SISTER AND HER HUSBAND.

The gang of prisoners, with Maslova among them, was to start on the 5th July. Nekhludoff arranged to start on the same day.

The day before, Nekhludoff's sister and her husband came to town to see him.

Nekhludoff's sister, Nathalie Ivanovna Rogozhinsky, was 10 years older than her brother. She had been very fond of him when he was a boy, and later on, just before her marriage, they grew very close to each other, as if they were equals, she being a young woman of 25, he a lad of 15. At that time she was in love with his friend, Nikolenka Irtenieff, since dead. They both loved Nikolenka, and loved in him and in themselves that which is good, and which unites all men. Since then they had both been depraved, he by military service and a vicious life, she by marriage with a man whom she loved with a sensual love, who did not care for the things that had once been so dear and holy to her and to her brother, nor even understand the meaning of those aspirations towards moral perfection and the service of mankind, which once constituted her life, and put them down to ambition and the wish to show off; that being the only explanation comprehensible to him.

Nathalie's husband had been a man without a name and without means, but cleverly steering towards Liberalism or Conservatism, according to which best suited his purpose, he managed to make a comparatively brilliant judicial career. Some peculiarity which made him attractive to women assisted him when he was no longer in his first youth. While travelling abroad he made Nekhludoff's acquaintance, and managed to make Nathalie, who was also no longer a girl, fall in love with him, rather against her mother's wishes who considered a marriage with him to be a misalliance for her daughter. Nekhludoff, though he tried to hide it from himself, though he fought against it, hated his brother-in-law.

Nekhludoff had a strong antipathy towards him because of the vulgarity of his feelings, his assurance and narrowness, but chiefly because of Nathalie, who managed to love him in spite of the narrowness of his nature, and loved him so selfishly, so sensually, and stifled for his sake all the good that had been in her.

It always hurt Nekhludoff to think of Nathalie as the wife of that hairy, self-assured man with the shiny, bald patch on his head. He could not even master a feeling of revulsion towards their children, and when he heard that she was again going to have a baby, he felt something like sorrow that she had once more been infected with something bad by this man who was so foreign to him. The Rogozhinskys had come to Moscow alone, having left their two children--a boy and a girl--at home, and stopped in the best rooms of the best hotel. Nathalie at once went to her mother's old house, but hearing from Agraphena Petrovna that her brother had left, and was living in a lodging-house, she drove there. The dirty servant met her in the stuffy passage, dark but for a lamp which burnt there all day. He told her that the Prince was not in.

Nathalie asked to be shown into his rooms, as she wished to leave a note for him, and the man took her up.

Nathalie carefully examined her brother's two little rooms. She noticed in everything the love of cleanliness and order she knew so well in him, and was struck by the novel simplicity of the surroundings. On his writing-table she saw the paper-weight with the bronze dog on the top which she remembered; the tidy way in which his different portfolios and writing utensils were placed on the table was also familiar, and so was the large, crooked ivory paper knife which marked the place in a French book by Tard, which lay with other volumes on punishment and a book in English by Henry George. She sat down at the table and wrote a note asking him to be sure to come that same day, and shaking her head in surprise at what she saw, she returned to her hotel.

Two questions regarding her brother now interested Nathalie: his marriage with Katusha, which she had heard spoken about in their town--for everybody was speaking about it--and his giving away the land to the peasants, which was also known, and struck many as something of a political nature, and dangerous. The Carriage with Katusha pleased her in a way. She admired that resoluteness which was so like him and herself as they used to be in those happy times before her marriage. And yet she was horrified when she thought her brother was going to marry such a dreadful woman. The latter was the stronger feeling of the two, and she decided to use all her influence to prevent him from doing it, though she knew how difficult this would be.

The other matter, the giving up of the land to the peasants, did not touch her so nearly, but her husband was very indignant about it, and expected her to influence her brother against it.

Rogozhinsky said that such an action was the height of inconsistency, flightiness, and pride, the only possible explanation of which was the desire to appear original, to brag, to make one's self talked about.

"What sense could there be in letting the land to the peasants, on condition that they pay the rent to themselves?" he said. "If he was resolved to do such a thing, why not sell the land to them through the Peasants' Bank? There might have been some sense in that. In fact, this act verges on insanity."

And Rogozhinsky began seriously thinking about putting Nekhludoff under guardianship, and demanded of his wife that she should speak seriously to her brother about his curious intention.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER XXXII.


NEKHLUDOFF'S ANARCHISM.

As soon as Nekhludoff returned that evening and saw his sister's note on the table he started to go and see her. He found Nathalie alone, her husband having gone to take a rest in the next room. She wore a tightly-fitting black silk dress, with a red bow in front. Her black hair was crimped and arranged according to the latest fashion.

The pains she took to appear young, for the sake of her husband, whose equal she was in years, were very obvious.

When she saw her brother she jumped up and hurried towards him, with her silk dress rustling. They kissed, and looked smilingly at each other. There passed between them that mysterious exchange of looks, full of meaning, in which all was true, and which cannot be expressed in words. Then came words which were not true. They had not met since their mother's death.

"You have grown stouter and younger," he said, and her lips puckered up with pleasure.

"And you have grown thinner."

"Well, and how is your husband?" Nekhludoff asked.

"He is taking a rest; he did not sleep all night." There was much to say, but it was not said in words; only their looks expressed what their words failed to say.

"I went to see you."

"Yes, I know. I moved because the house is too big for me. I was lonely there, and dull. I want nothing of all that is there, so that you had better take it all--the furniture, I mean, and things."

"Yes, Agraphena Petrovna told me. I went there. Thanks, very much. But--"

At this moment the hotel waiter brought in a silver tea-set. While he set the table they were silent. Then Nathalie sat down at the table and made the tea, still in silence. Nekhludoff also said nothing.

At last Nathalie began resolutely. "Well, Dmitri, I know all about it." And she looked at him.

"What of that? l am glad you know."

"How can you hope to reform her after the life she has led?" she asked.

He sat quite straight on a small chair, and listened attentively, trying to understand her and to answer rightly. The state of mind called forth in him by his last interview with Maslova still filled his soul with quiet joy and good will to all men.

"It is not her but myself I wish to reform," he replied.

Nathalie sighed.

"There are other means besides marriage to do that."

"But I think it is the best. Besides, it leads me into that world in which I can be of use."

"I cannot believe you will be happy," said Nathalie.

"It's not my happiness that is the point."

"Of course, but if she has a heart she cannot be happy--cannot even wish it."

"She does not wish it."

"I understand; but life--"

"Yes--life?"

"Demands something different."

"It demands nothing but that we should do what is right," said Nekhludoff, looking into her face, still handsome, though slightly wrinkled round eyes and mouth.

"I do not understand," she said, and sighed.

"Poor darling; how could she change so?" he thought, calling back to his mind Nathalie as she had been before her marriage, and feeling towards her a tenderness woven out of innumerable memories of childhood. At that moment Rogozhinsky entered the room, with head thrown back and expanded chest, and stepping lightly and softly in his usual manner, his spectacles, his bald patch, and his black beard all glistening.

"How do you do? How do you do?" he said, laying an unnatural and intentional stress on his words. (Though, soon after the marriage, they had tried to be more familiar with each other, they had never succeeded.)

They shook hands, and Rogozhinsky sank softly into an easy-chair.

"Am I not interrupting your conversation?"

"No, I do not wish to hide what I am saying or doing from any one."

As soon as Nekhludoff saw the hairy hands, and heard the patronising, self-assured tones, his meekness left him in a moment.

"Yes, we were talking about his intentions," said Nathalie. "Shall I give you a cup of tea?" she added, taking the teapot.

"Yes, please. What particular intentions do you mean?"

That of going to Siberia with the gang of prisoners, among whom is the woman I consider myself to have wronged," uttered Nekhludoff.

"I hear not only to accompany her, but more than that."

"Yes, and to marry her if she wishes it."

"Dear me! But if you do not object I should like to ask you to explain your motives. I do not understand them."

"My motives are that this woman--that this woman's first step on her way to degradation--" Nekhludoff got angry with himself, and was unable to find the right expression. "My motives are that I am the guilty one, and she gets the punishment."

"If she is being punished she cannot be innocent, either."

"She is quite innocent." And Nekhludoff related the whole incident with unnecessary warmth.

"Yes, that was a case of carelessness on the part of the president, the result of which was a thoughtless answer on the part of the jury; but there is the Senate for cases like that."

"The Senate has rejected the appeal."

"Well, if the Senate has rejected it, there cannot have been sufficient reasons for an appeal," said Rogozhinsky, evidently sharing the prevailing opinion that truth is the product of judicial decrees. "The Senate cannot enter into the question on its merits. If there is a real mistake, the Emperor should be petitioned."

"That has been done, but there is no probability of success. They will apply to the Department of the Ministry, the Department will consult the Senate, the Senate will repeat its decision, and, as usual, the innocent will get punished."

"In the first place, the Department of the Ministry won't consult the Senate," said Rogozhinsky, with a condescending smile; "it will give orders for the original deeds to be sent from the Law Court, and if it discovers a mistake it will decide accordingly. And, secondly, the innocent are never punished, or at least in very rare, exceptional cases. It is the guilty who are punished," Rogozhinsky said deliberately, and smiled self-complacently.

"And I have become fully convinced that most of those condemned by law are innocent."

"How's that?

"Innocent in the literal sense. Just as this woman is innocent of poisoning any one; as innocent as a peasant I have just come to know, of the murder he never committed; as a mother and son who were on the point of being condemned for incendiarism, which was committed by the owner of the house that was set on fire."

"Well, of course there always have been and always will be judicial errors. Human institutions cannot be perfect."

"And, besides, there are a great many people convicted who are innocent of doing anything considered wrong by the society they have grown up in."

"Excuse me, this is not so; every thief knows that stealing is wrong, and that we should not steal; that it is immoral," said Rogozhinsky, with his quiet, self-assured, slightly contemptuous smile, which specially irritated Nekhludoff.

"No, he does not know it; they say to him 'don't steal,' and he knows that the master of the factory steals his labour by keeping back his wages; that the Government, with its officials, robs him continually by taxation."

"Why, this is anarchism," Rogozhinsky said, quietly defining his brother-in-law's words.

"I don't know what it is; I am only telling you the truth," Nekhludoff continued. "He knows that the Government is robbing him, knows that we landed proprietors have robbed him long since, robbed him of the land which should be the common property of all, and then, if he picks up dry wood to light his fire on that land stolen from him, we put him in jail, and try to persuade him that he is a thief. Of course he knows that not he but those who robbed him of the land are thieves, and that to get any restitution of what has been robbed is his duty towards his family."

"I don't understand, or if I do I cannot agree with it. The land must be somebody's property," began Rogozhinsky quietly, and, convinced that Nekhludoff was a Socialist, and that Socialism demands that all the land should be divided equally, that such a division would be very foolish, and that he could easily prove it to be so, he said. "If you divided it equally to-day, it would to-morrow be again in the hands of the most industrious and clever."

"Nobody is thinking of dividing the land equally. The land must not be anybody's property; must not be a thing to be bought and sold or rented."

"The rights of property are inborn in man; without them the cultivation of land would present no interest. Destroy the rights of property and we lapse into barbarism." Rogozhinsky uttered this authoritatively, repeating the usual argument in favour of private ownership of land which is supposed to be irrefutable, based on the assumption that people's desire to possess land proves that they need it.

"On the contrary, only when the land is nobody's property will it cease to lie idle, as it does now, while the landlords, like dogs in the manger, unable themselves to put it to use, will not let those use it who are able."

"But, Dmitri Ivanovitch, what you are saying is sheer madness. Is it possible to abolish property in land in our age? I know it is your old hobby. But allow me to tell you straight," and Rogozhinsky grew pale, and his voice trembled. It was evident that this question touched him very nearly. "I should advise you to consider this question well before attempting to solve it practically."

"Are you speaking of my personal affairs?"

"Yes, I hold that we who are placed in special circumstances should bear the responsibilities which spring from those circumstances, should uphold the conditions in which we were born, and which we have inherited from our predecessors, and which we ought to pass on to our descendants."

"I consider it my duty--"

"Wait a bit," said Rogozhinsky, not permitting the interruption. "I am not speaking for myself or my children. The position of my children is assured, and I earn enough for us to live comfortably, and I expect my children will live so too, so that my interest in your action--which, if you will allow me to say so, is not well considered--is not based on personal motives; it is on principle that I cannot agree with you. I should advise you to think it well over, to read---?"

"Please allow me to settle my affairs, and to choose what to read and what not to read, myself," said Nekhludoff, turning pale. Feeling his hands grow cold, and that he was no longer master of himself, he stopped, and began drinking his tea.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER XXXIII.


THE AIM OF THE LAW.

"Well, and how are the children?" Nekhludoff asked his sister when he was calmer. The sister told him about the children. She said they were staying with their grandmother (their father's mother), and, pleased that his dispute with her husband had come to an end, she began telling him how her children played that they were travelling, just as he used to do with his three dolls, one of them a negro and another which he called the French lady.

"Can you really remember it all?" said Nekhludoff, smiling.

"Yes, and just fancy, they play in the very same way."

The unpleasant conversation had been brought to an end, and Nathalie was quieter, but she did not care to talk in her husband's presence of what could be comprehensible only to her brother, so, wishing to start a general conversation, she began talking about the sorrow of Kamenski's mother at losing her only son, who had fallen in a duel, for this Petersburg topic of the day had now reached Moscow. Rogozhinsky expressed disapproval at the state of things that excluded murder in a duel from the ordinary criminal offences. This remark evoked a rejoinder from Nekhludoff, and a new dispute arose on the subject. Nothing was fully explained, neither of the antagonists expressed all he had in his mind, each keeping to his conviction, which condemned the other. Rogozhinsky felt that Nekhludoff condemned him and despised his activity, and he wished to show him the injustice of his opinions.

Nekhludoff, on the other hand, felt provoked by his brother-in-law's interference in his affairs concerning the land. And knowing in his heart of hearts that his sister, her husband, and their children, as his heirs, had a right to do so, was indignant that this narrow-minded man persisted with calm assurance to regard as just and lawful what Nekhludoff no longer doubted was folly and crime.

This man's arrogance annoyed Nekhludoff.

"What could the law do?" he asked.

"It could sentence one of the two duellists to the mines like an ordinary murderer."

Nekhludoff's hands grew cold.

"Well, and what good would that be?" he asked, hotly.

"It would be just."

"As if justice were the aim of the law," said Nekhludoff.

"What else?"

"The upholding of class interests! I think the law is only an instrument for upholding the existing order of things beneficial to our class."

"This is a perfectly new view," said Rogozhinsky with a quiet smile; "the law is generally supposed to have a totally different aim."

"Yes, so it has in theory but not in practice, as I have found out. The law aims only at preserving the present state of things, and therefore it persecutes and executes those who stand above the ordinary level and wish to raise it--the so-called political prisoners, as well as those who are below the average--the so-called criminal types."

"I do not agree with you. In the first place, I cannot admit that the criminals classed as political are punished because they are above the average. In most cases they are the refuse of society, just as much perverted, though in a different way, as the criminal types whom you consider below the average."

"But I happen to know men who are morally far above their judges; all the sectarians are moral, from--"

But Rogozhinsky, a man not accustomed to be interrupted when he spoke, did not listen to Nekhludoff, but went on talking at the same time, thereby irritating him still more.

"Nor can I admit that the object of the law is the upholding of the present state of things. The law aims at reforming--"

"A nice kind of reform, in a prison!" Nekhludoff put in.

"Or removing," Rogozhinsky went on, persistently, "the perverted and brutalised persons that threaten society."

"That's just what it doesn't do. Society has not the means of doing either the one thing or the other."

"How is that? I don't understand," said Rogozhinsky with a forced smile.

"I mean that only two reasonable kinds of punishment exist. Those used in the old days: corporal and capital punishment, which, as human nature gradually softens, come more and more into disuse," said Nekhludoff.

"There, now, this is quite new and very strange to hear from your lips."

"Yes, it is reasonable to hurt a man so that he should not do in future what he is hurt for doing, and it is also quite reasonable to cut a man's head off when he is injurious or dangerous to society. These punishments have a reasonable meaning. But what sense is there in locking up in a prison a man perverted by want of occupation and bad example; to place him in a position where he is provided for, where laziness is imposed on him, and where he is in company with the most perverted of men? What reason is there to take a man at public cost (it comes to more than 500 roubles per head) from the Toula to the Irkoatsk government, or from Koursk--"

"Yes, but all the same, people are afraid of those journeys at public cost, and if it were not for such journeys and the prisons, you and I would not be sitting here as we are."

"The prisons cannot insure our safety, because these people do not stay there for ever, but are set free again. On the contrary, in those establishments men are brought to the greatest vice and degradation, so that the danger is increased."

"You mean to say that the penitentiary system should be improved."

"It cannot he improved. Improved prisons would cost more than all that is being now spent on the people's education, and would lay a still heavier burden on the people."

"The shortcomings of the penitentiary system in nowise invalidate the law itself," Rogozhinsky continued again, without heeding his brother-in-law.

"There is no remedy for these shortcomings," said Nekhludoff, raising his voice.

"What of that? Shall we therefore go and kill, or, as a certain statesman proposed, go putting out people's eyes?" Rogozhinsky remarked.

"Yes; that would be cruel, but it would be effective. What is done now is cruel, and not only ineffective, but so stupid that one cannot understand how people in their senses can take part in so absurd and cruel a business as criminal law."

"But I happen to take part in it," said Rogozhinsky, growing pale.

"That is your business. But to me it is incomprehensible."

"I think there are a good many things incomprehensible to you," said Rogozhinsky, with a trembling voice.

"I have seen how one public prosecutor did his very best to get an unfortunate boy condemned, who could have evoked nothing but sympathy in an unperverted mind. I know how another cross-examined a sectarian and put down the reading of the Gospels as a criminal offence; in fact, the whole business of the Law Courts consists in senseless and cruel actions of that sort."

"I should not serve if I thought so," said Rogozhinsky, rising.

Nekhludoff noticed a peculiar glitter under his brother-in-law's spectacles. "Can it be tears?" he thought. And they were really tears of injured pride. Rogozhinsky went up to the window, got out his handkerchief, coughed and rubbed his spectacles, took them off, and wiped his eyes.

When he returned to the sofa he lit a cigar, and did not speak any more.

Nekhludoff felt pained and ashamed of having offended his brother-in-law and his sister to such a degree, especially as he was going away the next day.

He parted with them in confusion, and drove home.

"All I have said may be true--anyhow he did not reply. But it was not said in the right way. How little I must have changed if I could be carried away by ill-feeling to such an extent as to hurt and wound poor Nathalie in such a way!" he thought.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER XXXIV.


THE PRISONERS START FOR SIBERIA.

The gang of prisoners, among whom was Maslova, was to leave Moscow by rail at 3 p.m.; therefore, in order to see the gang start, and walk to the station with the prisoners Nekhludoff meant to reach the prison before 12 o'clock.

The night before, as he was packing up and sorting his papers, he came upon his diary, and read some bits here and there. The last bit written before he left for Petersburg ran thus: "Katusha does not wish to accept my sacrifice; she wishes to make a sacrifice herself. She has conquered, and so have I. She makes me happy by the inner change, which seems to me, though I fear to believe it, to be going on in her. I fear to believe it, yet she seems to be coming back to life." Then further on he read. "I have lived through something very hard and very joyful. I learnt that she has behaved very badly in the hospital, and I suddenly felt great pain. I never expected that it could be so painful. I spoke to her with loathing and hatred, then all of a sudden I called to mind how many times I have been, and even still am, though but in thought, guilty of the thing that I hated her for, and immediately I became disgusting to myself, and pitied her and felt happy again. If only we could manage to see the beam in our own eye in time, how kind we should be." Then he wrote: "I have been to see Nathalie, and again self-satisfaction made me unkind and spiteful, and a heavy feeling remains. Well, what is to be done? Tomorrow a new life will begin. A final good-bye to the old! Many new impressions have accumulated, but I cannot yet bring them to unity."

When he awoke the next morning Nekhludoff's first feeling was regret about the affair between him and his brother-in-law.

"I cannot go away like this," he thought. "I must go and make it up with them." But when he looked at his watch he saw that he had not time to go, but must hurry so as not to be too late for the departure of the gang. He hastily got everything ready, and sent the things to the station with a servant and Taras, Theodosia's husband, who was going with them. Then he took the first isvostchik he could find and drove off to the prison.

The prisoners' train started two hours before the train by which he was going, so Nekhludoff paid his bill in the lodgings and left for good.

It was July, and the weather was unbearably hot. From the stones, the walls, the iron of the roofs, which the sultry night had not cooled, the beat streamed into the motionless air. When at rare intervals a slight breeze did arise, it brought but a whiff of hot air filled with dust and smelling of oil paint.

There were few people in the streets, and those who were out tried to keep on the shady side. Only the sunburnt peasants, with their bronzed faces and bark shoes on their feet, who were mending the road, sat hammering the stones into the burning sand in the sun; while the policemen, in their holland blouses, with revolvers fastened with orange cords, stood melancholy and depressed in the middle of the road, changing from foot to foot; and the tramcars, the horses of which wore holland hoods on their heads, with slits for the ears, kept passing up and down the sunny road with ringing bells.

When Nekhludoff drove up to the prison the gang had not left the yard. The work of delivering and receiving the prisoners that had commenced at 4 A.M. was still going on. The gang was to consist of 623 men and 64 women; they had all to be received according to the registry lists. The sick and the weak to be sorted out, and all to be delivered to the convoy. The new inspector, with two assistants, the doctor and medical assistant, the officer of the convoy, and the clerk, were sitting in the prison yard at a table covered with writing materials and papers, which was placed in the shade of a wall. They called the prisoners one by one, examined and questioned them, and took notes. The rays of the sun had gradually reached the table, and it was growing very hot and oppressive for want of air and because of the breathing crowd of prisoners that stood close by.

"Good gracious, will this never come to an end!" the convoy officer, a tall, fat, red-faced man with high shoulders, who kept puffing the smoke, of his cigarette into his thick moustache, asked, as he drew in a long puff. "You are killing me. From where have you got them all? Are there many more?" the clerk inquired.

"Twenty-four men and the women."

"What are you standing there for? Come on," shouted the convoy officer to the prisoners who had not yet passed the revision, and who stood crowded one behind the other. The prisoners had been standing there more than three hours, packed in rows in the full sunlight, waiting their turns.

While this was going on in the prison yard, outside the gate, besides the sentinel who stood there as usual with a gun, were drawn up about 20 carts, to carry the luggage of the prisoners and such prisoners as were too weak to walk, and a group of relatives and friends waiting to see the prisoners as they came out and to exchange a few words if a chance presented itself and to give them a few things. Nekhludoff took his place among the group. He had stood there about an hour when the clanking of chains, the noise of footsteps, authoritative voices, the sound of coughing, and the low murmur of a large crowd became audible.

This continued for about five minutes, during which several jailers went in and out of the gateway. At last the word of command was given. The gate opened with a thundering noise, the clattering of the chains became louder, and the convoy soldiers, dressed in white blouses and carrying guns, came out into the street and took their places in a large, exact circle in front of the gate; this was evidently a usual, often-practised manoeuvre. Then another command was given, and the prisoners began coming out in couples, with flat, pancake-shaped caps on their shaved heads and sacks over their shoulders, dragging their chained legs and swinging one arm, while the other held up a sack.

First came the men condemned to hard labour, all dressed alike in grey trousers and cloaks with marks on the back. All of them--young and old, thin and fat, pale and red, dark and bearded and beardless, Russians, Tartars, and Jews--came out, clattering with their chains and briskly swinging their arms as if prepared to go a long distance, but stopped after having taken ten steps, and obediently took their places behind each other, four abreast. Then without interval streamed out more shaved men, dressed in the same manner but with chains only on their legs. These were condemned to exile. They came out as briskly and stopped as suddenly, taking their places four in a row. Then came those exiled by their Communes. Then the women in the same order, first those condemned to hard labour, with grey cloaks and kerchiefs; then the exiled women, and those following their husbands of their own free will, dressed in their own town or village clothing. Some of the women were carrying babies wrapped in the fronts of their grey cloaks.

With the women came the children, boys and girls, who, like colts in a herd of horses, pressed in among the prisoners.

The men took their places silently, only coughing now and then, or making short remarks.

The women talked without intermission. Nekhludoff thought he saw Maslova as they were coming out, but she was at once lost in the large crowd, and he could only see grey creatures, seemingly devoid of all that was human, or at any rate of all that was womanly, with sacks on their backs and children round them, taking their places behind the men.

Though all the prisoners had been counted inside the prison walls, the convoy counted them again, comparing the numbers with the list. This took very long, especially as some of the prisoners moved and changed places, which confused the convoy.

The convoy soldiers shouted and pushed the prisoners (who complied obediently, but angrily) and counted them over again. When all had been counted, the convoy officer gave a command, and the crowd became agitated. The weak men and women and children rushed, racing each other, towards the carts, and began placing their bags on the carts and climbing up themselves. Women with crying babies, merry children quarrelling for places, and dull, careworn prisoners got into the carts.

Several of the prisoners took off their caps and came up to the convoy officer with some request. Nekhludoff found out later that they were asking for places on the carts. Nekhludoff saw how the officer, without looking at the prisoners, drew in a whiff from his cigarette, and then suddenly waved his short arm in front of one of the prisoners, who quickly drew his shaved head back between his shoulders as if afraid of a blow, and sprang back.

"I will give you a lift such that you'll remember. You'll get there on foot right enough," shouted the officer. Only one of the men was granted his request--an old man with chains on his legs; and Nekhludoff saw the old man take off his pancake-shaped cap, and go up to the cart crossing himself. He could not manage to get up on the cart because of the chains that prevented his lifting his old legs, and a woman who was sitting in the cart at last pulled him in by the arm.

When all the sacks were in the carts, and those who were allowed to get in were seated, the officer took off his cap, wiped his forehead, his bald head and fat, red neck, and crossed himself.

"March," commanded the officer. The soldiers' guns gave a click; the prisoners took off their caps and crossed themselves, those who were seeing them off shouted something, the prisoners shouted in answer, a row arose among the women, and the gang, surrounded by the soldiers in their white blouses, moved forward, raising the dust with their chained feet. The soldiers went in front; then came the convicts condemned to hard labour, clattering with their chains; then the exiled and those exiled by the Communes, chained in couples by their wrists; then the women. After them, on the carts loaded with sacks, came the weak. High up on one of the carts sat a woman closely wrapped up, and she kept shrieking and sobbing.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER XXXV.


NOT MEN BUT STRANGE AND TERRIBLE CREATURES?

The procession was such a long one that the carts with the luggage and the weak started only when those in front were already out of sight. When the last of the carts moved, Nekhludoff got into the trap that stood waiting for him and told the isvostchik to catch up the prisoners in front, so that he could see if he knew any of the men in the gang, and then try and find out Maslova among the women and ask her if she had received the things he sent.

It was very hot, and a cloud of dust that was raised by a thousand tramping feet stood all the time over the gang that was moving down. the middle of the street. The prisoners were walking quickly, and the slow-going isvostchik's horse was some time in catching them up. Row upon row they passed, those strange and terrible-looking creatures, none of whom Nekhludoff knew.

On they went, all dressed alike, moving a thousand feet all shod alike, swinging their free arms as if to keep up their spirits. There were so many of them, they all looked so much alike, and they were all placed in such unusual, peculiar circumstances, that they seemed to Nekhludoff to be not men but some sort of strange and terrible creatures. This impression passed when he recognised in the crowd of convicts the murderer Federoff, and among the exiles Okhotin the wit, and another tramp who had appealed to him for assistance. Almost all the prisoners turned and looked at the trap that was passing them and at the gentleman inside. Federoff tossed his head backwards as a sign that he had recognised Nekhludoff, Okhotin winked, but neither of them bowed, considering it not the thing.

As soon as Nekhludoff came up to the women he saw Maslova; she was in the second row. The first in the row was a short-legged, black-eyed, hideous woman, who had her cloak tucked up in her girdle. This was Koroshavka. The next was a pregnant woman, who dragged herself along with difficulty. The third was Maslova; she was carrying her sack on her shoulder, and looking straight before her. Her face looked calm and determined. The fourth in the row was a young, lovely woman who was walking along briskly, dressed in a short cloak, her kerchief tied in peasant fashion. This was Theodosia.

Nekhludoff got down and approached the women, meaning to ask Maslova if she had got the things he had sent her, and how she was feeling, but the convoy sergeant, who was walking on that side, noticed him at once, and ran towards him.

"You must not do that, sir. It is against the regulations to approach the gang," shouted the sergeant as he came up.

But when he recognised Nekhludoff (every one in the prison knew Nekhludoff) the sergeant raised his fingers to his cap, and, stopping in front of Nekhludoff, said: "Not now; wait till we get to the railway station; here it is not allowed. Don't lag behind; march!" he shouted to the convicts, and putting on a brisk air, he ran back to his place at a trot, in spite of the heat and the elegant new boots on his feet.

Nekhludoff went on to the pavement and told the isvostchik to follow him; himself walking, so as to keep the convicts in sight. Wherever the gang passed it attracted attention mixed with horror and compassion. Those who drove past leaned out of the vehicles and followed the prisoners with their eyes. Those on foot stopped and looked with fear and surprise at the terrible sight. Some came up and gave alms to the prisoners. The alms were received by the convoy. Some, as if they were hypnotised, followed the gang, but then stopped, shook their heads, and followed the prisoners only with their eyes. Everywhere the people came out of the gates and doors, and called others to come out, too, or leaned out of the windows looking, silent and immovable, at the frightful procession. At a cross-road a fine carriage was stopped by the gang. A fat coachman, with a shiny face and two rows of buttons on his back, sat on the box; a married couple sat facing the horses, the wife, a pale, thin woman, with a light-coloured bonnet on her head and a bright sunshade in her hand, the husband with a top-hat and a well-cut light-coloured overcoat. On the seat in front sat their children--a well-dressed little girl, with loose, fair hair, and as fresh as a flower, who also held a bright parasol, and an eight-year-old boy, with a long, thin neck and sharp collarbones, a sailor hat with long ribbons on his head.

The father was angrily scolding the coachman because he had not passed in front of the gang when he had a chance, and the mother frowned and half closed her eyes with a look of disgust, shielding herself from the dust and the sun with her silk sunshade, which she held close to her face.

The fat coachman frowned angrily at the unjust rebukes of his master--who had himself given the order to drive along that street--and with difficulty held in the glossy, black horses, foaming under their harness and impatient to go on.

The policeman wished with all his soul to please the owner of the fine equipage by stopping the gang, yet felt that the dismal solemnity of the procession could not be broken even for so rich a gentleman. He only raised his fingers to his cap to show his respect for riches, and looked severely at the prisoners as if promising in any case to protect the owners of the carriage from them. So the carriage had to wait till the whole of the procession had passed, and could only move on when the last of the carts, laden with sacks and prisoners, rattled by. The hysterical woman who sat on one of the carts, and had grown calm, again began shrieking and sobbing when she saw the elegant carriage. Then the coachman tightened the reins with a slight touch, and the black trotters, their shoes ringing against the paving stones, drew the carriage, softly swaying on its rubber tires, towards the country house where the husband, the wife, the girl, and the boy with the sharp collar-bones were going to amuse themselves. Neither the father nor the mother gave the girl and boy any explanation of what they had seen, so that the children had themselves to find out the meaning of this curious sight. The girl, taking the expression of her father's and mother's faces into consideration, solved the problem by assuming that these people were quite another kind of men and women than her father and mother and their acquaintances, that they were bad people, and that they had therefore to be treated in the manner they were being treated.

Therefore the girl felt nothing but fear, and was glad when she could no longer see those people.

But the boy with the long, thin neck, who looked at the procession of prisoners without taking his eyes off them, solved the question differently.

He still knew, firmly and without any doubt, for he had it from God, that these people were just the same kind of people as he was, and like all other people, and therefore some one had done these people some wrong, something that ought not to have been done, and he was sorry for them, and felt no horror either of those who were shaved and chained or of those who had shaved and chained them. And so the boy's lips pouted more and more, and he made greater and greater efforts not to cry, thinking it a shame to cry in such a case.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER XXXVI.


THE TENDER MERCIES OF THE LORD.

Nekhludoff kept up with the quick pace of the convicts. Though lightly clothed he felt dreadfully hot, and it was hard to breathe in the stifling, motionless, burning air filled with dust.

When he had walked about a quarter of a mile he again got into the trap, but it felt still hotter in the middle of the street. He tried to recall last night's conversation with his brother-in-law, but the recollections no longer excited him as they had done in the morning. They were dulled by the impressions made by the starting and procession of the gang, and chiefly by the intolerable heat.

On the pavement, in the shade of some trees overhanging a fence, he saw two schoolboys standing over a kneeling man who sold ices. One of the boys was already sucking a pink spoon and enjoying his ices, the other was waiting for a glass that was being filled with something yellowish.

"Where could I get a drink?" Nekhludoff asked his isvostchik, feeling an insurmountable desire for some refreshment.

"There is a good eating-house close by," the isvostchik answered, and turning a corner, drove up to a door with a large signboard. The plump clerk in a Russian shirt, who stood behind the counter, and the waiters in their once white clothing who sat at the tables (there being hardly any customers) looked with curiosity at the unusual visitor and offered him their services. Nekhludoff asked for a bottle of seltzer water and sat down some way from the window at a small table covered with a dirty cloth. Two men sat at another table with tea-things and a white bottle in front of them, mopping their foreheads, and calculating something in a friendly manner. One of them was dark and bald, and had just such a border of hair at the back as Rogozhinsky. This sight again reminded Nekhludoff of yesterday's talk with his brother-in-law and his wish to see him and Nathalie.

"I shall hardly be able to do it before the train starts," he thought; "I'd better write." He asked for paper, an envelope, and a stamp, and as he was sipping the cool, effervescent water he considered what he should say. But his thoughts wandered, and he could not manage to compose a letter.

My dear Nathalie,--I cannot go away with the heavy impression that yesterday's talk with your husband has left," he began. "What next? Shall I ask him to forgive me what I said yesterday? But I only said what I felt, and he will think that I am taking it back. Besides, this interference of his in my private matters. . . No, I cannot," and again he felt hatred rising in his heart towards that man so foreign to him. He folded the unfinished letter and put it in his pocket, paid, went out, and again got into the trap to catch up the gang. It had grown still hotter. The stones and the walls seemed to be breathing out hot air. The pavement seemed to scorch the feet, and Nekhludoff felt a burning sensation in his hand when he touched the lacquered splashguard of his trap.

The horse was jogging along at a weary trot, beating the uneven, dusty road monotonously with its hoofs, the isvostchik kept falling into a doze, Nekhludoff sat without thinking of anything.

At the bottom of a street, in front of a large house, a group of people had collected, and a convoy soldier stood by.

"What has happened?" Nekhludoff asked of a porter.

"Something the matter with a convict."

Nekhludoff got down and came up to the group. On the rough stones, where the pavement slanted down to the gutter, lay a broadly-built, red-bearded, elderly convict, with his head lower than his feet, and very red in the face. He had a grey cloak and grey trousers on, and lay on his back with the palms of his freckled hands downwards, and at long intervals his broad, high chest heaved, and he groaned, while his bloodshot eyes were fixed on the sky. By him stood a cross-looking policeman, a pedlar, a postman, a clerk, an old woman with a parasol, and a short-haired boy with an empty basket.

"They are weak. Having been locked up in prison they've got weak, and then they lead them through the most broiling heat," said the clerk, addressing Nekhludoff, who had just come up.

"He'll die, most likely," said the woman with the parasol, in a doleful tone.

"His shirt should be untied," said the postman.

The policeman began, with his thick, trembling fingers, clumsily to untie the tapes that fastened the shirt round the red, sinewy neck. He was evidently excited and confused, but still thought it necessary to address the crowd.

"What have you collected here for? It is hot enough without your keeping the wind off."

"They should have been examined by a doctor, and the weak ones left behind," said the clerk, showing off his knowledge of the law.

The policeman, having undone the tapes of the shirt, rose and looked round.

"Move on, I tell you. It is not your business, is it? What's there to stare at?" he said, and turned to Nekhludoff for sympathy, but not finding any in his face he turned to the convoy soldier.

But the soldier stood aside, examining the trodden-down heel of his boot, and was quite indifferent to the policeman's perplexity.

"Those whose business it is don't care. Is it right to do men to death like this? A convict is a convict, but still he is a man," different voices were heard saying in the crowd.

"Put his head up higher, and give him some water," said Nekhludoff.

"Water has been sent for," said the policeman, and taking the prisoner under the arms he with difficulty pulled his body a little higher up.

"What's this gathering here?" said a decided, authoritative voice, and a police officer, with a wonderfully clean, shiny blouse, and still more shiny top-boots, came up to the assembled crowd.

"Move on. No standing about here," he shouted to the crowd, before he knew what had attracted it.

When he came near and saw the dying convict, he made a sign of approval with his head, just as if he had quite expected it, and, turning to the policeman, said, "How is this?"

The policeman said that, as a gang of prisoners was passing, one of the convicts had fallen down, and the convoy officer had ordered him to be left behind.

"Well, that's all right. He must be taken to the police station. Call an isvostchik."

"A porter has gone for one," said the policeman, with his fingers raised to his cap.

The shopman began something about the heat.

"Is it your business, eh? Move on," said the police officer, and looked so severely at him that the clerk was silenced.

"He ought to have a little water," said Nekhludoff. The police officer looked severely at Nekhludoff also, but said nothing. When the porter brought a mug full of water, he told the policeman to offer some to the convict. The policeman raised the drooping head, and tried to pour a little water down the mouth; but the prisoner could not swallow it, and it ran down his beard, wetting his jacket and his coarse, dirty linen shirt.

"Pour it on his head," ordered the officer; and the policeman took off the pancake-shaped cap and poured the water over the red curls and bald part of the prisoner's head. His eyes opened wide as if in fear, but his position remained unchanged.

Streams of dirt trickled down his dusty face, but the mouth continued to gasp in the same regular way, and his whole body shook.

"And what's this? Take this one," said the police officer, pointing to Nekhludoff's isvostchik. "You, there, drive up.

"I am engaged," said the isvostchik, dismally, and without looking up.

"It is my isvostchik; but take him. I will pay you," said Nekhludoff, turning to the isvostchik.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" shouted the officer. "Catch hold."

The policeman, the porter, and the convoy soldier lifted the dying man and carried him to the trap, and put him on the seat. But he could not sit up; his head fell back, and the whole of his body glided off the seat.

"Make him lie down," ordered the officer.

"It's all right, your honour; I'll manage him like this," said the policeman, sitting down by the dying man, and clasping his strong, right arm round the body under the arms. The convoy soldier lifted the stockingless feet, in prison shoes, and put them into the trap.

The police officer looked around, and noticing the pancake-shaped hat of the convict lifted it up and put it on the wet, drooping head.

"Go on," he ordered.

The isvostchik looked angrily round, shook his head, and, accompanied by the convoy soldier, drove back to the police station. The policeman, sitting beside the convict, kept dragging up the body that was continually sliding down from the seat, while the head swung from side to side.

The convoy soldier, who was walking by the side of the trap, kept putting the legs in their place. Nekhludoff followed the trap.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER XXXVII.


SPILLED LIKE WATER ON THE GROUND.

The trap passed the fireman who stood sentinel at the entrance, [the headquarters of the fire brigade and the police stations are generally together in Moscow] drove into the yard of the police station, and stopped at one of the doors. In the yard several firemen with their sleeves tucked up were washing some kind of cart and talking loudly. When the trap stopped, several policemen surrounded it, and taking the lifeless body of the convict under the arms, took him out of the trap, which creaked under him. The policeman who had brought the body got down, shook his numbed arm, took off his cap, and crossed himself. The body was carried through the door and up the stairs. Nekhludoff followed. In the small, dirty room where the body was taken there stood four beds. On two of them sat a couple of sick men in dressing-gowns, one with a crooked mouth, whose neck was bandaged, the other one in consumption. Two of the beds were empty; the convict was laid on one of them. A little man, wish glistening eyes and continually moving brows, with only his underclothes and stockings on, came up with quick, soft steps, looked at the convict and then at Nekhludoff, and burst into loud laughter. This was a madman who was being kept in the police hospital.

"They wish to frighten me, but no, they won't succeed," he said.

The policemen who carried the corpse were followed by a police officer and a medical assistant. The medical assistant came up to the body and touched the freckled hand, already growing cold, which, though still soft, was deadly pale. He held it for a moment, and then let it go. It fell lifelessly on the stomach of the dead man.

"He's ready," said the medical assistant, but, evidently to be quite in order, he undid the wet, brown shirt, and tossing back the curls from his ear, put it to the yellowish, broad, immovable chest of the convict. All were silent. The medical assistant raised himself again, shook his head, and touched with his fingers first one and then the other lid over the open, fixed blue eyes.

"I'm not frightened, I'm not frightened." The madman kept repeating these words, and spitting in the direction of the medical assistant.

"Well?" asked the police officer.

"Well! He must he put into the mortuary."

"Are you sure? Mind," said the police officer.

"It's time I should know," said the medical assistant, drawing the shirt over the body's chest. "However, I will send for Mathew Ivanovitch. Let him have a look. Petrov, call him," and the medical assistant stepped away from the body.

"Take him to the mortuary," said the police officer. "And then you must come into the office and sign," he added to the convoy soldier, who had not left the convict for a moment.

"Yes, sir," said the soldier.

The policemen lifted the body and carried it down again. Nekhludoff wished to follow, but the madman kept him back.

"You are not in the plot! Well, then, give me a cigarette," he said. Nekhludoff got out his cigarette case and gave him one.

The madman, quickly moving his brows all the time, began relating how they tormented him by thought suggestion.

"Why, they are all against me, and torment and torture me through their mediums."

"I beg your pardon," said Nekhludoff, and without listening any further he left the room and went out into the yard, wishing to know where the body would be put.

The policemen with their burden had already crossed the yard, and were coming to the door of a cellar. Nekhludoff wished to go up to them, but the police officer stopped him.

"What do you want?"

"Nothing."

"Nothing? Then go away."

"Nekhludoff obeyed, and went back to his isvostchik, who was dozing. He awoke him, and they drove back towards the railway station.

They had not made a hundred steps when they met a cart accompanied by a convoy soldier with a gun. On the cart lay another convict, who was already dead. The convict lay on his back in the cart, his shaved head, from which the pancake-shaped cap had slid over the black-bearded face down to the nose, shaking and thumping at every jolt. The driver, in his heavy boots, walked by the side of the cart, holding the reins; a policeman followed on foot. Nekhludoff touched his isvostchik's shoulder.

"Just look what they are doing," said the isvostchik, stopping his horse.

Nekhludoff got down and, following the cart, again passed the sentinel and entered the gate of the police station. By this time the firemen had finished washing the cart, and a tall, bony man, the chief of the fire brigade, with a coloured band round his cap, stood in their place, and, with his hands in his pockets, was severely looking at a fat-necked, well-fed, bay stallion that was being led up and down before him by a fireman. The stallion was lame on one of his fore feet, and the chief of the firemen was angrily saying something to a veterinary who stood by.

The police officer was also present. When he saw the cart he went up to the convoy soldier.

"Where did you bring him from?" he asked, shaking his head disapprovingly.

"From the Gorbatovskaya," answered the policeman.

"A prisoner?" asked the chief of the fire brigade.

"Yes. It's the second to-day."

"Well, I must say they've got some queer arrangements. Though of course it's a broiling day," said the chief of the fire brigade; then, turning to the fireman who was leading the lame stallion, he shouted: "Put him into the corner stall. And as to you, you hound, I'll teach you how to cripple horses which are worth more than you are, you scoundrel."

The dead man was taken from the cart by the policemen just in the same way as the first had been, and carried upstairs into the hospital. Nekhludoff followed them as if he were hypnotised.

"What do you want?" asked one of the policemen. But Nekhludoff did not answer, and followed where the body was being carried. The madman, sitting on a bed, was smoking greedily the cigarette Nekhludoff had given him.

"Ah, you've come back," he said, and laughed. When he saw the body he made a face, and said, "Again! I am sick of it. I am not a boy, am I, eh?" and he turned to Nekhludoff with a questioning smile.

 Nekhludoff was looking at the dead man, whose face, which had been hidden by his cap, was now visible. This convict was as handsome in face and body as the other was hideous. He was a man in the full bloom of life. Notwithstanding that he was disfigured by the half of his head being shaved, the straight, rather low forehead, raised a bit over the black, lifeless eyes, was very fine, and so was the nose above the thin, black moustaches. There was a smile on the lips that were already growing blue, a small beard outlined the lower part of the face, and on the shaved side of the head a firm, well-shaped car was visible.

One could see what possibilities of a higher life had been destroyed in this man. The fine bones of his hands and shackled feet, the strong muscles of all his well-proportioned limbs, showed what a beautiful, strong, agile human animal this had been. As an animal merely he had been a far more perfect one of his kind than the bay stallion, about the laming of which the fireman was so angry.

Yet he had been done to death, and no one was sorry for him as a man, nor was any one sorry that so fine a working animal had perished. The only feeling evinced was that of annoyance because of the bother caused by the necessity of getting this body, threatening putrefaction, out of the way. The doctor and his assistant entered the hospital, accompanied by the inspector of the police station. The doctor was a thick-set man, dressed in pongee silk coat and trousers of the same material, closely fitting his muscular thighs. The inspector was a little fat fellow, with a red face, round as a ball, which he made still broader by a habit he had of filling his cheeks with air, and slowly letting it out again. The doctor sat down on the bed by the side of the dead man, and touched the hands in the same way as his assistant had done, put his ear to the heart, rose, and pulled his trousers straight. "Could not be more dead," he said.

The inspector filled his mouth with air and slowly blew it out again.

"Which prison is he from?" he asked the convoy soldier.

The soldier told him, and reminded him of the chains on the dead man's feet.

"I'll have them taken off; we have got a smith about, the Lord be thanked," said the inspector, and blew up his cheeks again; he went towards the door, slowly letting out the air.

"Why has this happened?" Nekhludoff asked the doctor.

The doctor looked at him through his spectacles.

"Why has what happened? Why they die of sunstroke, you mean? This is why: They sit all through the winter without exercise and without light, and suddenly they are taken out into the sunshine, and on a day like this, and they march in a crowd so that they get no air, and sunstroke is the result."

"Then why are they sent out?"

"Oh, as to that, go and ask those who send them. But may I ask who are you?

"I am a stranger."

"Ah, well, good-afternoon; I have no time." The doctor was vexed; he gave his trousers a downward pull, and went towards the beds of the sick.

"Well, how are you getting on?" he asked the pale man with the crooked mouth and bandaged neck.

Meanwhile the madman sat on a bed, and having finished his cigarette, kept spitting in the direction of the doctor.

Nekhludoff went down into the yard and out of the gate past the firemen's horses and the hens and the sentinel in his brass helmet, and got into the trap, the driver of which had again fallen asleep.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER XXXVIII.


THE CONVICT TRAIN.

When Nekhludoff came to the station, the prisoners were all seated in railway carriages with grated windows. Several persons, come to see them off, stood on the platform, but were not allowed to come up to the carriages.

The convoy was much troubled that day. On the way from the prison to the station, besides the two Nekhludoff had seen, three other prisoners had fallen and died of sunstroke. One was taken to the nearest police station like the first two, and the other two died at the railway station. [In Moscow, in the beginning of the eighth decade of this century, five convicts died of sunstroke in one day on their way from the Boutyrki prison to the Nijni railway station.] The convoy men were not troubled because five men who might have been alive died while in their charge.  This did not trouble them, but they were concerned lest anything that the law required in such cases should be omitted. To convey the bodies to the places appointed, to deliver up their papers, to take them off the lists of those to be conveyed to Nijni--all this was very troublesome, especially on so hot a day.

It was this that occupied the convoy men, and before it could all be accomplished Nekhludoff and the others who asked for leave to go up to the carriages were not allowed to do so. Nekhludoff, however, was soon allowed to go up, because he tipped the convoy sergeant. The sergeant let Nekhludoff pass, but asked him to be quick and get his talk over before any of the authorities noticed. There were 15 carriages in all, and except one carriage for the officials, they were full of prisoners. As Nekhludoff passed the carriages he listened to what was going on in them. In all the carriages was heard the clanging of chains, the sound of bustle, mixed with loud and senseless language, but not a word was being said about their dead fellow-prisoners. The talk was all about sacks, drinking water, and the choice of seats.

Looking into one of the carriages, Nekhludoff saw convoy soldiers taking the manacles off the hands of the prisoners. The prisoners held out their arms, and one of the soldiers unlocked the manacles with a key and took them off; the other collected them.

After he had passed all the other carriages, Nekhludoff came up to the women's carriages. From the second of these he heard a woman's groans: "Oh, oh, oh! O God! Oh, oh! O God!"

Nekhludoff passed this carriage and went up to a window of the third carriage, which a soldier pointed out to him. When he approached his face to the window, he felt the hot air, filled with the smell of perspiration, coming out of it, and heard distinctly the shrill sound of women's voices. All the seats were filled with red, perspiring, loudly-talking women, dressed in prison cloaks and white jackets. Nekhludoff's face at the window attracted their attention. Those nearest ceased talking and drew closer. Maslova, in her white jacket and her head uncovered, sat by the opposite window. The white-skinned, smiling Theodosia sat a little nearer. When she recognised Nekhludoff, she nudged Maslova and pointed to the window. Maslova rose hurriedly, threw her kerchief over her black hair, and with a smile on her hot, red face came up to the window and took hold of one of the bars.

"Well, it is hot," she said, with a glad smile.

"Did you get the things?

"Yes, thank you."

"Is there anything more you want?" asked Nekhludoff, while the air came out of the hot carriage as out of an oven.

"I want nothing, thank you."

"If we could get a drink?" said Theodosia.

"Yes, if we could get a drink," repeated Maslova.

"Why, have you not got any water?"

"They put some in, but it is all gone."

"Directly, I will ask one of the convoy men. Now we shall not see each other till we get to Nijni."

"Why? Are you going?" said Maslova, as if she did not know it, and looked joyfully at Nekhludoff.

"I am going by the next train."

Maslova said nothing, but only sighed deeply.

"Is it true, sir, that 12 convicts have been done to death?" said a severe-looking old prisoner with a deep voice like a man's.

It was Korableva.

"I did not hear of 12; I have seen two," said Nekhludoff.

"They say there were 12 they killed. And will nothing be done to them? Only think! The fiends!"

"And have none of the women fallen ill?" Nekhludoff asked.

"Women are stronger," said another of the prisoners--a short little woman, and laughed; "only there's one that has taken it into her head to be delivered. There she goes," she said, pointing to the next carriage, whence proceeded the groans.

"You ask if we want anything," said Maslova, trying to keep the smile of joy from her lips; "could not this woman be left behind. suffering as she is? There, now, if you would tell the authorities."

"Yes, I will."

"And one thing more; could she not see her husband, Taras?" she added, pointing with her eyes to the smiling Theodosia.

"He is going with you, is he not?"

"Sir, you must not talk," said a convoy sergeant, not the one who had let Nekhludoff come up. Nekhludoff left the carriage and went in search of an official to whom he might speak for the woman in travail and about Taras, but could not find him, nor get an answer from any of the convoy for a long time. They were all in a bustle; some were leading a prisoner somewhere or other, others running to get themselves provisions, some were placing their things in the carriages or attending on a lady who was going to accompany the convoy officer, and they answered Nekhludoff's questions unwillingly. Nekhludoff found the convoy officer only after the second bell had been rung. The officer with his short arm was wiping the moustaches that covered his mouth and shrugging his shoulders, reproving the corporal for something or other.

"What is it you want?" he asked Nekhludoff.

You've got a woman there who is being confined, so I thought best--"

"Well, let her be confined; we shall see later on," and briskly swinging his short arms, he ran up to his carriage. At the moment the guard passed with a whistle in his hand, and from the people on the platform and from the women's carriages there arose a sound of weeping and words of prayer.

Nekhludoff stood on the platform by the side of Taras, and looked how, one after the other, the carriages glided past him, with the shaved heads of the men at the grated windows. Then the first of the women's carriages came up, with women's heads at the windows, some covered with kerchiefs and some uncovered, then the second, whence proceeded the same groans, then the carriage where Maslova was. She stood with the others at the window, and looked at Nekhludoff with a pathetic smile.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER XXXIX.


BROTHER AND SISTER.

There were still two hours before the passenger train by which Nekhludoff was going would start. He had thought of using this interval to see his sister again; but after the impressions of the morning he felt much excited and so done up that, sitting down on a sofa in the first-class refreshment-room, he suddenly grew so drowsy that he turned over on to his side, and, laying his face on his hand, fell asleep at once. A waiter in a dress coat with a napkin in his hand woke him.

"Sir, sir, are you not Prince Nekhludoff? There's a lady looking for you."

Nekhludoff started up and recollected where he was and all that had happened in the morning.

He saw in his imagination the procession of prisoners, the dead bodies, the railway carriages with barred windows, and the women locked up in them, one of whom was groaning in travail with no one to help her, and another who was pathetically smiling at him through the bars.

The reality before his eyes was very different, i.e., a table with vases, candlesticks and crockery, and agile waiters moving round the table, and in the background a cupboard and a counter laden with fruit and bottles, behind it a barman, and in front the backs of passengers who had come up for refreshments. When Nekhludoff had risen and sat gradually collecting his thoughts, he noticed that everybody in the room was inquisitively looking at something that was passing by the open doors.

He also looked, and saw a group of people carrying a chair on which sat a lady whose head was wrapped in a kind of airy fabric.

Nekhludoff thought he knew the footman who was supporting the chair in front. And also the man behind, and a doorkeeper with gold cord on his cap, seemed familiar. A lady's maid with a fringe and an apron, who was carrying a parcel, a parasol, and something round in a leather case, was walking behind the chair. Then came Prince Korchagin, with his thick lips, apoplectic neck, and a travelling cap on his head; behind him Missy, her cousin Misha, and an acquaintance of Nekhludoff's--the long-necked diplomat Osten, with his protruding Adam's apple and his unvarying merry mood and expression. He was saying something very emphatically, though jokingly, to the smiling Missy. The Korchagins were moving from their estate near the city to the estate of the Princess's sister on the Nijni railway. The procession--the men carrying the chair, the maid, and the doctor--vanished into the ladies' waiting-room, evoking a feeling of curiosity and respect in the onlookers. But the old Prince remained and sat down at the table, called a waiter, and ordered food and drink. Missy and Osten also remained in the refreshment-room and were about to sit down, when they saw an acquaintance in the doorway, and went up to her. It was Nathalie Rogozhinsky. Nathalie came into the refreshment-room accompanied by Agraphena Petrovna, and both looked round the room. Nathalie noticed at one and the same moment both her brother and Missy. She first went up to Missy, only nodding to her brother; but, having kissed her, at once turned to him.

"At last I have found you," she said. Nekhludoff rose to greet Missy, Misha, and Osten, and to say a few words to them. Missy told him about their house in the country having been burnt down, which necessitated their moving to her aunt's. Osten began relating a funny story about a fire. Nekhludoff paid no attention, and turned to his sister.

"How glad I am that you have come."

"I have been here a long time," she said. "Agraphena Petrovna is with me." And she pointed to Agraphena Petrovna, who, in a waterproof and with a bonnet on her head, stood some way off, and bowed to him with kindly dignity and some confusion, not wishing to intrude.

"We looked for you everywhere."

"And I had fallen asleep here. How glad I am that you have come," repeated Nekhludoff. "I had begun to write to you."

"Really?" she said, looking frightened. "What about?"

Missy and the gentleman, noticing that an intimate conversation was about to commence between the brother and sister, went away. Nekhludoff and his sister sat down by the window on a velvet-covered sofa, on which lay a plaid, a box, and a few other things.

"Yesterday, after I left you, I felt inclined to return and express my regret, but I did not know how he would take it," said Nekhludoff. "I spoke hastily to your husband, and this tormented me."

"I knew," said his sister, "that you did not mean to. Oh, you know!" and the tears came to her eyes, and she touched his hand. The sentence was not clear, but he understood it perfectly, and was touched by what it expressed. Her words meant that, besides the love for her husband which held her in its sway, she prized and considered important the love she had for him, her brother, and that every misunderstanding between them caused her deep suffering.

"Thank you, thank you. Oh! what I have seen to-day!" he said, suddenly recalling the second of the dead convicts. "Two prisoners have been done to death."

"Done to death? How?"

"Yes, done to death. They led them in this heat, and two died of sunstroke."

"Impossible! What, to-day? just now?"

"Yes, just now. I have seen their bodies."

"But why done to death? Who killed them?" asked Nathalie.

"They who forced them to go killed them," said Nekhludoff, with irritation, feeling that she looked at this, too, with her husband's eyes.

"Oh, Lord!" said Agraphena Petrovna, who had come up to them.

"Yes, we have not the slightest idea of what is being done to these unfortunate beings. But it ought to be known," added Nekhludoff, and looked at old Korchagin, who sat with a napkin tied round him and a bottle before him, and who looked round at Nekhludoff.

"Nekhludoff," he called out, "won't you join me and take some refreshment? It is excellent before a journey."

Nekhludoff refused, and turned away.

"But what are you going to do?" Nathalie continued.

"What I can. I don't know, but I feel I must do something. And I shall do what I am able to."

"Yes, I understand. And how about them?" she continued, with a smile and a look towards Korchagin. "Is it possible that it is all over?"

"Completely, and I think without any regret on either side."

"It is a pity. I am sorry. I am fond of her. However, it's all right. But why do you wish to bind yourself?" she added shyly. "Why are you going?"

"I go because I must," answered Nekhludoff, seriously and dryly, as if wishing to stop this conversation. But he felt ashamed of his coldness towards his sister at once. "Why not tell her all I am thinking?" he thought, "and let Agraphena Petrovna also hear it," he thought, with a look at the old servant, whose presence made the wish to repeat his decision to his sister even stronger.

"You mean my intention to marry Katusha? Well, you see, I made up my mind to do it, but she refuses definitely and firmly," he said, and his voice shook, as it always did when he spoke of it. "She does not wish to accept my sacrifice, but is herself sacrificing what in her position means much, and I cannot accept this sacrifice, if it is only a momentary impulse. And so I am going with her, and shall be where she is, and shall try to lighten her fate as much as I can."

Nathalie said nothing. Agraphena Petrovna looked at her with a questioning look, and shook her head. At this moment the former procession issued from the ladies' room. The same handsome footman (Philip). and the doorkeeper were carrying the Princess Korchagin. She stopped the men who were carrying her, and motioned to Nekhludoff to approach, and, with a pitiful, languishing air, she extended her white, ringed hand, expecting the firm pressure of his hand with a sense of horror.

"Epouvantable!" she said, meaning the heat. "I cannot stand it! Ce climat me tue!" And, after a short talk about the horrors of the Russian climate, she gave the men a sign to go on.

"Be sure and come," she added, turning her long face towards Nekhludoff as she was borne away.

The procession with the Princess turned to the right towards the first-class carriages. Nekhludoff, with the porter who was carrying his things, and Taras with his bag, turned to the left.

"This is my companion," said Nekhludoff to his sister, pointing to Taras, whose story he had told her before.

"Surely not third class?" said Nathalie, when Nekhludoff stopped in front of a third-class carriage, and Taras and the porter with the things went in.

"Yes; it is more convenient for me to be with Taras," he said. "One thing more," he added; "up to now I have not given the Kousminski land to the peasants; so that, in case of my death, your children will inherit it."

"Dmitri, don't!" said Nathalie.

"If I do give it away, all I can say is that the rest will be theirs, as it is not likely I shall marry; and if I do marry I shall have no children, so that--"

"Dmitri, don't talk like that!" said Nathalie. And yet Nekhludoff noticed that she was glad to hear him say it.

Higher up, by the side of a first-class carriage, there stood a group of people still looking at the carriage into which the Princess Korchagin had been carried. Most of the passengers were already seated. Some of the late comers hurriedly clattered along the boards of the platform, the guard was closing the doors and asking the passengers to get in and those who were seeing them off to come out.

Nekhludoff entered the hot, smelling carriage, but at once stepped out again on to the small platform at the back of the carriage. Nathalie stood opposite the carriage, with her fashionable bonnet and cape, by the side of Agraphena Petrovna, and was evidently trying to find something to say.

She could not even say ecrivez, because they had long ago laughed at this word, habitually spoken by those about to part. The short conversation about money matters had in a moment destroyed the tender brotherly and sisterly feelings that had taken hold of them. They felt estranged, so that Nathalie was glad when the train moved; and she could only say, nodding her head with a sad and tender look, "Goodbye, good-bye, Dmitri." But as soon as the carriage had passed her she thought of how she should repeat her conversation with her brother to her husband, and her face became serious and troubled.

Nekhludoff, too, though he had nothing but the kindest feelings for his sister, and had hidden nothing from her, now felt depressed and uncomfortable with her, and was glad to part. He felt that the Nathalie who was once so near to him no longer existed, and in her place was only a slave of that hairy, unpleasant husband, who was so foreign to him. He saw it clearly when her face lit up with peculiar animation as he spoke of what would peculiarly interest her husband, i.e., the giving up of the land to the peasants and the inheritance.

And this made him sad.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER XL.


THE FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF HUMAN LIFE.

The heat in the large third-class carriage, which had been standing in the burning sun all day, was so great that Nekhludoff did not go in, but stopped on the little platform behind the carriage which formed a passage to the next one. But there was not a breath of fresh air here either, and Nekhludoff breathed freely only when the train had passed the buildings and the draught blew across the platform.

"Yes, killed," he repeated to himself, the words he had used to his sister. And in his imagination in the midst of all other impressions there arose with wonderful clearness the beautiful face of the second dead convict, with the smile of the lips, the severe expression of the brows, and the small, firm ear below the shaved bluish skull.

And what seemed terrible was that he had been murdered, and no one knew who had murdered him. Yet he had been murdered. He was led out like all the rest of the prisoners by Maslennikoff's orders. Maslennikoff had probably given the order in the usual manner, had signed with his stupid flourish the paper with the printed heading, and most certainly would not consider himself guilty. Still less would the careful doctor who examined the convicts consider himself guilty. He had performed his duty accurately, and had separated the weak. How could he have foreseen this terrible heat, or the fact that they would start so late in the day and in such crowds? The prison inspector? But the inspector had only carried into execution the order that on a given day a certain number of exiles and convicts--men and women--had to be sent off. The convoy officer could not be guilty either, for his business was to receive a certain number of persons in a certain place, and to deliver up the same number. He conducted them in the usual manner, and could not foresee that two such strong men as those Nekhludoff saw would not be able to stand it and would die. No one is guilty, and yet the men have been murdered by these people who are not guilty of their murder.

"All this comes," Nekhludoff thought, "from the fact that all these people, governors, inspectors, police officers, and men, consider that there are circumstances in which human relations are not necessary between human beings. All these men, Maslennikoff, and the inspector, and the convoy officer, if they were not governor, inspector, officer, would have considered twenty times before sending people in such heat in such a mass--would have stopped twenty times on the way, and, seeing that a man was growing weak, gasping for breath, would have led him into the shade, would have given him water and let him rest, and if an accident had still occurred they would have expressed pity. But they not only did not do it, but hindered others from doing it, because they considered not men and their duty towards them but only the office they themselves filled, and held what that office demanded of them to be above human relations. "That's what it is," Nekhludoff went on in his thoughts. "If one acknowledges but for a single hour that anything can be more important than love for one's fellowmen, even in some one exceptional case, any crime can be committed without a feeling of guilt."

Nekhludoff was so engrossed by his thoughts that he did not notice how the weather changed. The sun was covered over by a low-hanging, ragged cloud. A compact, light grey cloud was rapidly coming from the west, and was already falling in heavy, driving rain on the fields and woods far in the distance. Moisture, coming from the cloud, mixed with the air. Now and then the cloud was rent by flashes of lightning, and peals of thunder mingled more and more often with the rattling of the train. The cloud came nearer and nearer, the rain-drops driven by the wind began to spot the platform and Nekhludoff's coat; and he stepped to the other side of the little platform, and, inhaling the fresh, moist air--filled with the smell of corn and wet earth that had long been waiting for rain--he stood looking at the gardens, the woods, the yellow rye fields, the green oatfields, the dark-green strips of potatoes in bloom, that glided past. Everything looked as if covered over with varnish--the green turned greener, the yellow yellower, the black blacker.

"More! more!" said Nekhludoff, gladdened by the sight of gardens and fields revived by the beneficent shower. The shower did not last long. Part of the cloud had come down in rain, part passed over, and the last fine drops fell straight on to the earth. The sun reappeared, everything began to glisten, and in the east--not very high above the horizon--appeared a bright rainbow, with the violet tint very distinct and broken only at one end.

"Why, what was I thinking about?" Nekhludoff asked himself when all these changes in nature were over, and the train ran into a cutting between two high banks.

"Oh! I was thinking that all those people (inspector, convoy men--all those in the service) are for the greater part kind people--cruel only because they are serving." He recalled Maslennikoff's indifference when he told him about what was being done in the prison, the inspector's severity, the cruelty of the convoy officer when he refused places on the carts to those who asked for them, and paid no attention to the fact that there was a woman in travail in the train. All these people were evidently invulnerable and impregnable to the simplest feelings of compassion only because they held offices. "As officials they were impermeable to the feelings of humanity, as this paved ground is impermeable to the rain." Thus thought Nekhludoff as he looked at the railway embankment paved with stones of different colours, down which the water was running in streams instead of soaking into the earth. "Perhaps it is necessary to pave the banks with stones, but it is sad to look at the ground, which might be yielding corn, grass, bushes, or trees in the same way as the ground visible up there is doing--deprived of vegetation, and so it is with men," thought Nekhludoff. "Perhaps these governors, inspectors, policemen, are needed, but it is terrible to see men deprived of the chief human attribute, that of love and sympathy for one another. The thing is," he continued, "that these people consider lawful what is not lawful, and do not consider the eternal, immutable law, written in the hearts of men by God, as law. That is why I feel so depressed when I am with these people. I am simply afraid of them, and really they are terrible, more terrible than robbers. A robber might, after all, feel pity, but they can feel no pity, they are inured against pity as these stones are against vegetation. That is what makes them terrible. It is said that the Pougatcheffs, the Razins [leaders of rebellions in Russia: Stonka Razin in the 17th and Pougatcheff in the 18th century] are terrible. These are a thousand times more terrible," he continued, in his thoughts. "If a psychological problem were set to find means of making men of our time--Christian, humane, simple, kind people--perform the most horrible crimes without feeling guilty, only one solution could be devised: to go on doing what is being done. It is only necessary that these people should he governors, inspectors, policemen; that they should be fully convinced that there is a kind of business, called government service, which allows men to treat other men as things, without human brotherly relations with them, and also that these people should be so linked together by this government service that the responsibility for the results of their actions should not fall on any one of them separately. Without these conditions, the terrible acts I witnessed to-day would be impossible in our times. It all lies in the fact that men think there are circumstances in which one may deal with human beings without love; and there are no such circumstances. One may deal with things without love. one may cut down trees, make bricks, hammer iron without love; but you cannot deal with men without it, just as one cannot deal with bees without being careful. If you deal carelessly with bees you will injure them, and will yourself be injured. And so with men. It cannot be otherwise, because natural love is the fundamental law of human life. It is true that a man cannot force another to love him, as he can force him to work for him; but it does not follow that a man may deal with men without love, especially to demand anything from them.  If you feel no love, sit still," Nekhludoff thought; "occupy yourself with things, with yourself, with anything you like, only not with men. You can only eat without injuring yourself when you feel inclined to eat, so you can only deal with men usefully when you love. Only let yourself deal with a man without love, as I did yesterday with my brother-in-law, and there are no limits to the suffering you will bring on yourself, as all my life proves.  Yes, yes, it is so," thought Nekhludoff; "it is good; yes, it is good," he repeated, enjoying the freshness after the torturing heat, and conscious of having attained to the fullest clearness on a question that had long occupied him.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER XLI.


TARAS'S STORY.

The carriage in which Nekhludoff had taken his place was half filled with people. There were in it servants, working men, factory hands, butchers, Jews, shopmen, workmen's wives, a soldier, two ladies, a young one and an old one with bracelets on her arm, and a severe-looking gentleman with a cockade on his black cap. All these people were sitting quietly; the bustle of taking their places was long over; some sat cracking and eating sunflower seeds, some smoking, some talking.

Taras sat, looking very happy, opposite the door, keeping a place for Nekhludoff, and carrying on an animated conversation with a man in a cloth coat who sat opposite to him, and who was, as Nekhludoff afterwards found out, a gardener going to a new situation. Before reaching the place where Taras sat Nekhludoff stopped between the seats near a reverend-looking old man with a white beard and nankeen coat, who was talking with a young woman in peasant dress. A little girl of about seven, dressed in a new peasant costume, sat, her little legs dangling above the floor, by the side of the woman, and kept cracking seeds.

The old man turned round, and, seeing Nekhludoff, he moved the lappets of his coat off the varnished seat next to him, and said, in a friendly manner:

"Please, here's a seat."

Nekhludoff thanked him, and took the seat. As soon as he was seated the woman continued the interrupted conversation.

She was returning to her village, and related how her husband, whom she had been visiting, had received her in town.

"I was there during the carnival, and now, by the Lord's help, I've been again," she said. "Then, God willing, at Christmas I'll go again."

"That's right," said the old man, with a look at Nekhludoff, "it's the best way to go and see him, else a young man can easily go to the bad, living in a town."

"Oh, no, sir, mine is not such a man. No nonsense of any kind about him; his life is as good as a young maiden's. The money he earns he sends home all to a copeck. And, as to our girl here, he was so glad to see her, there are no words for it," said the woman, and smiled.

The little girl, who sat cracking her seeds and spitting out the shells, listened to her mother's words, and, as if to confirm them, looked up with calm, intelligent eyes into Nekhludoff's and the old man's faces.

"Well, if he's good, that's better still," said the old man. "And none of that sort of thing?" he added, with a look at a couple, evidently factory hands, who sat at the other side of the carriage. The husband, with his head thrown back, was pouring vodka down his throat out of a bottle, and the wife sat holding a bag, out of which they had taken the bottle, and watched him intently.

"No, mine neither drinks nor smokes," said the woman who was conversing with the old man, glad of the opportunity of praising her husband once more. "No, sir, the earth does not hold many such." And, turning to Nekhludoff, she added, "That's the sort of man he is."

"What could be better," said the old man, looking at the factory worker, who had had his drink and had passed the bottle to his wife. The wife laughed, shook her head, and also raised the bottle to her lips.

Noticing Nekhludoff's and the old man's look directed towards them, the factory worker addressed the former.

"What is it, sir? That we are drinking? Ah, no one sees how we work, but every one sees how we drink. I have earned it, and I am drinking and treating my wife, and no one else."

"Yes, yes," said Nekhludoff, not knowing what to say.

"True, sir. My wife is a steady woman. I am satisfied with my wife, because she can feel for me. Is it right what I'm saying, Mavra?"

"There you are, take it, I don't want any more," said the wife, returning the bottle to him. "And what are you jawing for like that?" she added.

"There now! She's good--that good; and suddenly she'll begin squeaking like a wheel that's not greased. Mavra, is it right what I'm saying?"

Mavra laughed and moved her hand with a tipsy gesture.

"Oh, my, he's at it again."

"There now, she's that good--that good; but let her get her tail over the reins, and you can't think what she'll be up to. . . . Is it right what I'm saying? You must excuse me, sir, I've had a drop! What's to be done?" said the factory worker, and, preparing to go to sleep, put his head in his wife's lap.

Nekhludoff sat a while with the old man, who told him all about himself. The old man was a stove builder, who had been working for 53 years, and had built so many stoves that he had lost count, and now he wanted to rest, but had no time. He had been to town and found employment for the young ones, and was now going to the country to see the people at home. After hearing the old man's story, Nekhludoff went to the place that Taras was keeping for him

"It's all right, sir; sit down; we'll put the bag here, said the gardener, who sat opposite Taras, in a friendly tone, looking up into Nekhludoff's face.

"Rather a tight fit, but no matter since we are friends," said Taras, smiling, and lifting the bag, which weighed more than five stone, as if it were a feather, he carried it across to the window.

"Plenty of room; besides, we might stand up a bit; and even under the seat it's as comfortable as you could wish. What's the good of humbugging?" he said, beaming with friendliness and kindness.

Taras spoke of himself as being unable to utter a word when quite sober; but drink, he said, helped him to find the right words, and then he could express everything. And in reality, when he was sober Taras kept silent; but when he had been drinking, which happened rarely and only on special occasions, he became very pleasantly talkative. Then he spoke a great deal, spoke well and very simply and truthfully, and especially with great kindliness, which shone in his gentle, blue eyes and in the friendly smile that never left his lips. He was in such a state to-day. Nekhludoff's approach interrupted the conversation; but when he had put the bag in its place, Taras sat down again, and with his strong hands folded in his lap, and looking straight into the gardener's face, continued his story. He was telling his new acquaintance about his wife and giving every detail: what she was being sent to Siberia for, and why he was now following her. Nekhludoff had never heard a detailed account of this affair, and so he listened with interest. When he came up, the story had reached the point when the attempt to poison was already an accomplished fact, and the family had discovered that it was Theodosia's doing.

"It's about my troubles that I'm talking," said Taras, addressing Nekhludoff with cordial friendliness. "I have chanced to come across such a hearty man, and we've got into conversation, and I'm telling him all."

"I see," said Nekhludoff.

"Well, then in this way, my friend, the business became known. Mother, she takes that cake. 'I'm going,' says she, 'to the police officer.' My father is a just old man. 'Wait, wife,' says he, 'the little woman is a mere child, and did not herself know what she was doing. We must have pity. She may come to her senses.' But, dear me, mother would not hear of it. 'While we keep her here,' she says, 'she may destroy us all like cockroaches.' Well, friend, so she goes off for the police officer. He bounces in upon us at once. Calls for witnesses."

"Well, and you?" asked the gardener.

"Well, I, you see, friend, roll about with the pain in my stomach, and vomit. All my inside is turned inside out; I can't even speak. Well, so father he goes and harnesses the mare, and puts Theodosia into the cart, and is off to the police-station, and then to the magistrate's. And she, you know, just as she had done from the first, so also there, confesses all to the magistrate--where she got the arsenic, and how she kneaded the cake. 'Why did you do it?' says he. 'Why,' says she, 'because he's hateful to me. I prefer Siberia to a life with him.' That's me," and Taras smiled.

"Well, so she confessed all. Then, naturally--the prison, and father returns alone. And harvest time just coming, and mother the only woman at home, and she no longer strong. So we think what we are to do. Could we not bail her out? So father went to see an official. No go. Then another. I think he went to five of them, and we thought of giving it up. Then we happened to come across a clerk--such an artful one as you don't often find. 'You give me five roubles, and I'll get her out,' says he. He agreed to do it for three. Well, and what do you think, friend? I went and pawned the linen she herself had woven, and gave him the money. As soon as he had written that paper," drawled out Taras, just as if he were speaking of a shot being fired, "we succeeded at once. I went to fetch her myself. Well, friend, so I got to town, put up the mare, took the paper, and went to the prison. 'What do you want?' 'This is what I want,' say I, 'you've got my wife here in prison.' 'And have you got a paper?' I gave him the paper. He gave it a look. 'Wait,' says he. So I sat down on a bench. It was already past noon by the sun. An official comes out. 'You are Vargoushoff?' 'I am.' 'Well, you may take her.' The gates opened, and they led her out in her own clothes quite all right. 'Well, come along. Have you come on foot?' 'No, I have the horse here.' So I went and paid the ostler, and harnessed, put in all the hay that was left, and covered it with sacking for her to sit on. She got in and wrapped her shawl round her, and off we drove. She says nothing and I say nothing. just as we were coming up to the house she says, 'And how's mother; is she alive?' 'Yes, she's alive.' 'And father; is he alive? 'Yes, he is.' 'Forgive me, Taras,' she says, 'for my folly. I did not myself know what I was doing.' So I say, 'Words won't mend matters. I have forgiven you long ago,' and I said no more. We got home, and she just fell at mother's feet. Mother says, 'The Lord will forgive you.' And father said, 'How d'you do?' and 'What's past is past. Live as best you can. Now,' says he, 'is not the time for all that; there's the harvest to be gathered in down at Skorodino,' he says. 'Down on the manured acre, by the Lord's help, the ground has borne such rye that the sickle can't tackle it. It's all interwoven and heavy, and has sunk beneath its weight; that must be reaped. You and Taras had better go and see to it to-morrow.' Well, friend, from that moment she took to the work and worked so that every one wondered. At that time we rented three desiatins, and by God's help we had a wonderful crop both of oats and rye. I mow and she binds the sheaves, and sometimes we both of us reap. I am good at work and not afraid of it, but she's better still at whatever she takes up. She's a smart woman, young, and full of life; and as to work, friend, she'd grown that eager that I had to stop her. We get home, our fingers swollen, our arms aching, and she, instead of resting, rushes off to the barn to make binders for the sheaves for next day. Such a change!"

"Well, and to you? Was she kinder, now?" asked the gardener.

"That's beyond question. She clings to me as if we were one soul. Whatever I think she understands. Even mother, angry as she was, could not help saying: 'It's as if our Theodosia had been transformed; she's quite a different woman now!' We were once going to cart the sheaves with two carts. She and I were in the first, and I say, 'How could you think of doing that, Theodosia?' and she says, 'How could I think of it? just so, I did not wish to live with you. I thought I'd rather die than live with you!' I say, 'And now?' and she says, 'Now you're in my heart!'" Taras stopped, and smiled joyfully, shook his head as if surprised. "Hardly had we got the harvest home when I went to soak the hemp, and when I got home there was a summons, she must go to be tried, and we had forgotten all about the matter that she was to be tried for."

"It can only be the evil one," said the gardener. "Could any man of himself think of destroying a living soul? We had a fellow once--" and the gardener was about to commence his tale when the train began to stop.

"It seems we are coming to a station," he said. "I'll go and have a drink."

The conversation stopped, and Nekhludoff followed the gardener out of the carriage onto the wet platform of the station.

BOOK II.

CHAPTER XLII.


LE VRAI GRAND MONDE.

Before Nekhludoff got out he had noticed in the station yard several elegant equipages, some with three, some with four, well-fed horses, with tinkling bells on their harness. When he stepped out on the wet, dark-coloured boards of the platform, he saw a group of people in front of the first-class carriage, among whom were conspicuous a stout lady with costly feathers on her hat, and a waterproof, and a tall, thin-legged young man in a cycling suit. The young man had by his side an enormous, well-fed dog, with a valuable collar. Behind them stood footmen, holding wraps and umbrellas, and a coachman, who had also come to meet the train.

On the whole of the group, from the fat lady down to the coachman who stood holding up his long coat, there lay the stamp of wealth and quiet self-assurance. A curious and servile crowd rapidly gathered round this group--the station-master, in his red cap, a gendarme, a thin young lady in a Russian costume, with beads round her neck, who made a point of seeing the trains come in all through the summer, a telegraph clerk, and passengers, men and women.

In the young man with the dog Nekhludoff recognised young Korchagin, a gymnasium student. The fat lady was the Princess's sister, to whose estate the Korchagins were now moving. The guard, with his gold cord and shiny top-boots, opened the carriage door and stood holding it as a sign of deference, while Philip and a porter with a white apron carefully carried out the long-faced Princess in her folding chair. The sisters greeted each other, and French sentences began flying about. Would the Princess go in a closed or an open carriage? At last the procession started towards the exit, the lady's maid, with her curly fringe, parasol and leather case in the rear.

Nekhludoff not wishing to meet them and to have to take leave over again, stopped before he got to the door, waiting for the procession to pass.

The Princess, her son, Missy, the doctor, and the maid went out first, the old Prince and his sister-in-law remained behind. Nekhludoff was too far to catch anything but a few disconnected French sentences of their conversation One of the sentences uttered by the Prince, as it often happens, for some unaccountable reason remained in his memory with all its intonations and the sound of the voice.

"Oh, il est du vrai grand monde, du vrai grand monde," said the Prince in his loud, self-assured tone as he went out of the station with his sister-in-law, accompanied by the respectful guards and porters.

At this moment from behind the corner of the station suddenly appeared a crowd of workmen in bark shoes, wearing sheepskin coats and carrying bags on their backs. The workmen went up to the nearest carriage with soft yet determined steps, and were about to get in, but were at once driven away by a guard. Without stopping, the workmen passed on, hurrying and jostling one another, to the next carriage and began getting in, catching their bags against the corners and door of the carriage, but another guard caught sight of them from the door of the station, and shouted at them severely. The workmen, who had already got in, hurried out again and went on, with the same soft and firm steps, still further towards Nekhludoff's carriage. A guard was again going to stop them, but Nekhludoff said there was plenty of room inside, and that they had better get in. They obeyed and got in, followed by Nekhludoff.

The workmen were about to take their seats, when the gentleman with the cockade and the two ladies, looking at this attempt to settle in their carriage as a personal insult to themselves, indignantly protested and wanted to turn them out. The workmen--there were 20 of them, old men and quite young ones, all of them wearied, sunburnt, with haggard faces--began at once to move on through the carriage, catching the seats, the walls, and the doors with their bags. They evidently felt they had offended in some way, and seemed ready to go on indefinitely wherever they were ordered to go.

"Where are you pushing to, you fiends? Sit down here," shouted another guard they met.

"Voild encore des nouvelles," exclaimed the younger of the two ladies, quite convinced that she would attract Nekhludoff's notice by her good French.

The other lady with the bracelets kept sniffing and making faces, and remarked something about how pleasant it was to sit with smelly peasants.

The workmen, who felt the joy and calm experienced by people who have escaped some kind of danger, threw off their heavy bags with a movement of their shoulders and stowed them away under the seats.

The gardener had left his own seat to talk with Taras, and now went back, so that there were two unoccupied seats opposite and one next to Taras. Three of the workmen took these seats, but when Nekhludoff came up to them, in his gentleman's clothing, they got so confused that they rose to go away, but Nekhludoff asked them to stay, and himself sat down on the arm of the seat, by the passage down the middle of the carriage.

One of the workmen, a man of about 50, exchanged a surprised and even frightened look with a young man. That Nekhludoff, instead of scolding and driving them away, as was natural to a gentleman, should give up his seat to them, astonished and perplexed them. They even feared that this might have some evil result for them.

However, they soon noticed that there was no underlying plot when they heard Nekhludoff talking quite simply with Taras, and they grew quiet and told one of the lads to sit down on his bag and give his seat to Nekhludoff. At first the elderly workman who sat opposite Nekhludoff shrank and drew back his legs for fear of touching the gentleman, but after a while he grew quite friendly, and in talking to him and Taras even slapped Nekhludoff on the knee when he wanted to draw special attention to what he was saying.

He told them all about his position and his work in the peat bogs, whence he was now returning home. He had been working there for two and a half months, and was bringing home his wages, which only came to 10 roubles, since part had been paid beforehand when he was hired. They worked, as he explained, up to their knees in water from sunrise to sunset, with two hours' interval for dinner.

"Those who are not used to it find it hard, of course," he said; " but when one's hardened it doesn't matter, if only the food is right. At first the food was bad. Later the people complained, and they got good food, and it was easy to work."

Then he told them how, during 28 years he went out to work, and sent all his earnings home. First to his father, then to his eldest brother, and now to his nephew, who was at the head of the household. On himself he spent only two or three roubles of the 50 or 60 he earned a year, just for luxuries--tobacco and matches.

"I'm a sinner, when tired I even drink a little vodka sometimes," he added, with a guilty smile.

Then he told them how the women did the work at home, and how the contractor had treated them to half a pail of vodka before they started to-day, how one of them had died, and another was returning home ill. The sick workman he was talking about was in a corner of the same carriage. He was a young lad, with a pale, sallow face and bluish lips. He was evidently tormented by intermittent fever. Nekhludoff went up to him, but the lad looked up with such a severe and suffering expression that Nekhludoff did not care to bother him with questions, but advised the elder man to give him quinine, and wrote down the name of the medicine. He wished to give him some money, but the old workman said he would pay for it himself.

"Well, much as I have travelled, I have never met such a gentleman before. Instead of punching your head, he actually gives up his place to you," said the old man to Taras. "It seems there are all sorts of gentlefolk, too."

"Yes, this is quite a new and different world," thought Nekhludoff, looking at these spare, sinewy, limbs, coarse, home-made garments, and sunburnt, kindly, though weary-looking faces, and feeling himself surrounded on all sides with new people and the serious interests, joys, and sufferings of a life of labour.

"Here is le vrai grand monde," thought Nekhludoff, remembering the words of Prince Korchagin and all that idle, luxurious world to which the Korchagins belonged, with their petty, mean interests. And he felt the joy of a traveller on discovering a new, unknown, and beautiful world.

END OF BOOK II.

 

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