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BOOK III.

CHAPTER XI.


MASLOVA AND HER COMPANIONS.

The political prisoners were kept in two small rooms, the doors of which opened into a part of the passage partitioned off from the rest. The first person Nekhludoff saw on entering into this part of the passage was Simonson in his rubber jacket and with a log of pine wood in his hands, crouching in front of a stove, the door of which trembled, drawn in by the heat inside.

When he saw Nekhludoff he looked up at him from under his protruding brow, and gave him his hand without rising.

"I am glad you have come; I want to speak to you," he said, looking Nekhludoff straight in the eyes with an expression of importance.

"Yes; what is it?" Nekhludoff asked.

"It will do later on; I am busy just now," and Simonson turned again towards the stove, which he was heating according to a theory of his own, so as to lose as little heat energy as possible.

Nekhludoff was going to enter in at the first door, when Maslova, stooping and pushing a large heap of rubbish and dust towards the stove with a handleless birch broom, came out of the other. She had a white jacket on, her skirt was tucked up, and a kerchief, drawn down to her eyebrows, protected her hair from the dust. When she saw Nekhludoff, she drew herself up, flushing and animated, put down the broom, wiped her hands on her skirt, and stopped right in front of him. "You are tidying up the apartments, I see," said Nekhludoff, shaking hands.

"Yes; my old occupation," and she smiled. "But the dirt! You can't imagine what it is. We have been cleaning and cleaning. Well, is the plaid dry?" she asked, turning to Simonson.

"Almost," Simonson answered, giving her a strange look, which struck Nekhludoff.

"All right, I'll come for it, and will bring the cloaks to dry. Our people are all in here," she said to Nekhludoff, pointing to the first door as she went out of the second.

Nekhludoff opened the door and entered a small room dimly lit by a little metal lamp, which was standing low down on the shelf bedstead. It was cold in the room, and there was a smell of the dust, which had not had time to settle, damp and tobacco smoke.

Only those who were close to the lamp were clearly visible, the bedsteads were in the shade and wavering shadows glided over the walls. Two men, appointed as caterers, who had gone to fetch boiling water and provisions, were away; most of the political prisoners were gathered together in the small room. There was Nekhludoff's old acquaintance, Vera Doukhova, with her large, frightened eyes, and the swollen vein on her forehead, in a grey jacket with short hair, and thinner and yellower than ever.. She had a newspaper spread out in front of her, and sat rolling cigarettes with a jerky movement of her hands.

Emily Rintzeva, whom Nekhludoff considered to be the pleasantest of the political prisoners, was also here. She looked after the housekeeping, and managed to spread a feeling of home comfort even in the midst of the most trying surroundings. She sat beside the lamp, with her sleeves rolled up, wiping cups and mugs, and placing them, with her deft, red and sunburnt hands, on a cloth that was spread on the bedstead. Rintzeva was a plain-looking young woman, with a clever and mild expression of face, which, when she smiled, had a way of suddenly becoming merry, animated and captivating. It was with such a smile that she now welcomed Nekhludoff.

"Why, we thought you had gone back to Russia," she said.

Here in a dark corner was also Mary Pavlovna, busy with a little, fair-haired girl, who kept prattling in her sweet, childish accents.

"How nice that you have come," she said to Nekhludoff.

Have you seen Katusha? And we have a visitor here," and she pointed to the little girl.

Here was also Anatole Kryltzoff with felt boots on, sitting in a far corner with his feet under him, doubled up and shivering, his arms folded in the sleeves of his cloak, and looking at Nekhludoff with feverish eyes. Nekhludoff was going up to him, but to the right of the door a man with spectacles and reddish curls, dressed in a rubber jacket, sat talking to the pretty, smiling Grabetz. This was the celebrated revolutionist Novodvoroff. Nekhludoff hastened to greet him. He was in a particular hurry about it, because this man was the only one among all the political prisoners whom he disliked. Novodvoroff's eyes glistened through his spectacles as he looked at Nekhludoff and held his narrow hand out to him.

"Well, are you having a pleasant journey?" he asked, with apparent irony.

"Yes, there is much that is interesting," Nekhludoff answered, as if he did not notice the irony, but took the question for politeness, and passed on to Kryltzoff.

Though Nekhludoff appeared indifferent, he was really far from indifferent, and these words of Novodvoroff, showing his evident desire to say or do something unpleasant, interfered with the state of kindness in which Nekhludoff found himself, and he felt depressed and sad.

"Well, how are you?" he asked, pressing Kryltzoff's cold and trembling hand.

"Pretty well, only I cannot get warm; I got wet through," Kryltzoff answered, quickly replacing his hands into the sleeves of his cloak. "And here it is also beastly cold. There, look, the window-panes are broken," and he pointed to the broken panes behind the iron bars. "And how are you? Why did you not come?"

"I was not allowed to, the authorities were so strict, but to-day the officer is lenient."

"Lenient indeed!" Kryltzoff remarked. "Ask Mary what she did this morning."

Mary Pavlovna from her place in the corner related what had happened about the little girl that morning when they left the halting station.

"I think it is absolutely necessary to make a collective protest," said Vera Doukhova, in a determined tone, and yet looking now at one, now at another, with a frightened, undecided look. "Valdemar Simonson did protest, but that is not sufficient."

"What protest!" muttered Kryltzoff, cross and frowning. Her want of simplicity, artificial tone and nervousness had evidently been irritating him for a long time.

"Are you looking for Katusha?" he asked, addressing Nekhludoff. "She is working all the time. She has cleaned this, the men's room, and now she has gone to clean the women's! Only it is not possible to clean away the fleas. And what is Mary doing there?" he asked, nodding towards the corner where Mary Pavlovna sat.

"She is combing out her adopted daughter's hair," replied Rintzeva.

"But won't she let the insects loose on us?" asked Kryltzoff.

"No, no; I am very careful. She is a clean little girl now. You take her," said Mary, turning to Rintzeva, "while I go and help Katusha, and I will also bring him his plaid."

Rintzeva took the little girl on her lap, pressing her plump, bare, little arms to her bosom with a mother's tenderness, and gave her a bit of sugar. As Mary Pavlovna left the room, two men came in with boiling water and provisions.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER XII.


NABATOFF AND MARKEL.

One of the men who came in was a short, thin, young man, who had a cloth-covered sheepskin coat on, and high top-boots. He stepped lightly and quickly, carrying two steaming teapots, and holding a loaf wrapped in a cloth under his arm.

"Well, so our prince has put in an appearance again," he said, as he placed the teapot beside the cups, and handed the bread to Rintzeva. "We have bought wonderful things," he continued, as he took off his sheepskin, and flung it over the heads of the others into the corner of the bedstead. "Markel has bought milk and eggs. Why, we'll have a regular ball to-day. And Rintzeva is spreading out her aesthetic cleanliness," he said, and looked with a smile at Rintzeva, "and now she will make the tea."

The whole presence of this man--his motion, his voice, his look--seemed to breathe vigour and merriment. The other newcomer was just the reverse of the first. He looked despondent and sad. He was short, bony, had very prominent cheek bones, a sallow complexion, thin lips and beautiful, greenish eyes, rather far apart. He wore an old wadded coat, top-boots and goloshes, and was carrying two pots of milk and two round boxes made of birch bark, which he placed in front of Rintzeva. He bowed to Nekhludoff, bending only his neck, and with his eyes fixed on him. Then, having reluctantly given him his damp hand to shake, he began to take out the provisions.

Both these political prisoners were of the people; the first was Nabatoff, a peasant; the second, Markel Kondratieff, a factory hand. Markel did not come among the revolutionists till he was quite a man, Nabatoff only eighteen. After leaving the village school, owing to his exceptional talents Nabatoff entered the gymnasium, and maintained himself by giving lessons all the time he studied there, and obtained the gold medal. He did not go to the university because, while still in the seventh class of the gymnasium, he made up his mind to go among the people and enlighten his neglected brethren. This he did, first getting the place of a Government clerk in a large village. He was soon arrested because he read to the peasants and arranged a co-operative industrial association among them. They kept him imprisoned for eight months and then set him free, but he remained under police supervision. As soon as he was liberated he went to another village, got a place as schoolmaster, and did the same as he had done in the first village. He was again taken up and kept fourteen months in prison, where his convictions became yet stronger. After that he was exiled to the Perm Government, from where he escaped. Then he was put to prison for seven months and after that exiled to Archangel. There he refused to take the oath of allegiance that was required of them and was condemned to be exiled to the Takoutsk Government, so that half his life since he reached manhood was passed in prison and exile. All these adventures did not embitter him nor weaken his energy, but rather stimulated it. He was a lively young fellow, with a splendid digestion, always active, gay and vigorous. He never repented of anything, never looked far ahead, and used all his powers, his cleverness, his practical knowledge to act in the present. When free he worked towards the aim he had set himself, the enlightening and the uniting of the working men, especially the country labourers. When in prison he was just as energetic and practical in finding means to come in contact with the outer world, and in arranging his own life and the life of his group as comfortably as the conditions would allow. Above all things he was a communist. He wanted, as it seemed to him, nothing for himself and contented himself with very little, but demanded very much for the group of his comrades, and could work for it either physically or mentally day and night, without sleep or food. As a peasant he had been industrious, observant, clever at his work, and naturally self-controlled, polite without any effort, and attentive not only to the wishes but also the opinions of others. His widowed mother, an illiterate, superstitious, old peasant woman, was still living, and Nabatoff helped her and went to see her while he was free. During the time he spent at home he entered into all the interests of his mother's life, helped her in her work, and continued his intercourse with former playfellows; smoked cheap tobacco with them in so-called "dog's feet," [a kind of cigarette that the peasants smoke, made of a bit of paper and bent at one end into a hook] took part in their fist fights, and explained to them how they were all being deceived by the State, and how they ought to disentangle themselves out of the deception they were kept in.  When he thought or spoke of what a revolution would do for the people he always imagined this people from whom he had sprung himself left in very nearly the same conditions as they were in, only with sufficient land and without the gentry and without officials. The revolution, according to him, and in this he differed from Novodvoroff and Novodvoroff's follower, Markel Kondratieff, should not alter the elementary forms of the life of the people, should not break down the whole edifice, but should only alter the inner walls of the beautiful, strong, enormous old structure he loved so dearly. He was also a typical peasant in his views on religion, never thinking about metaphysical questions, about the origin of all origin, or the future life.  God was to him, as also to Arago, an hypothesis, which he had had no need of up to now. He had no business with the origin of the world, whether Moses or Darwin was right. Darwinism, which seemed so important to his fellows, was only the same kind of plaything of the mind as the creation in six days. The question how the world had originated did not interest him, just because the question how it would be best to live in this world was ever before him. He never thought about future life, always bearing in the depth of his soul the firm and quiet conviction inherited from his forefathers, and common to all labourers on the land, that just as in the world of plants and animals nothing ceases to exist, but continually changes its form, the manure into grain, the grain into a food, the tadpole into a frog, the caterpillar into a butterfly, the acorn into an oak, so man also does not perish, but only undergoes a change. He believed in this, and therefore always looked death straight in the face, and bravely bore the sufferings that lead towards it, but did not care and did not know how to speak about it. He loved work, was always employed in some practical business, and put his comrades in the way of the same kind of practical work.

The other political prisoner from among the people, Markel Kondratieff, was a very different kind of man. He began to work at the age of fifteen, and took to smoking and drinking in order to stifle a dense sense of being wronged. He first realised he was wronged one Christmas when they, the factory children, were invited to a Christmas tree, got up by the employer's wife, where he received a farthing whistle, an apple, a gilt walnut and a fig, while the employer's children had presents given them which seemed gifts from fairyland, and had cost more than fifty roubles, as he afterwards heard.

When he was twenty a celebrated revolutionist came to their factory to work as a working girl, and noticing his superior qualities began giving books and pamphlets to Kondratieff and to talk and explain his position to him, and how to remedy it. When the possibility of freeing himself and others from their oppressed state rose clearly in his mind, the injustice of this state appeared more cruel and more terrible than before, and he longed passionately not only for freedom, but also for the punishment of those who had arranged and who kept up this cruel injustice. Kondratieff devoted himself with passion to the acquirement of knowledge. It was not clear to him how knowledge should bring about the realisation of the social ideal, but he believed that the knowledge that had shown him the injustice of the state in which he lived would also abolish that injustice itself. Besides knowledge would, in his opinion, raise him above others. Therefore he left off drinking_ and smoking, and devoted all his leisure time to study. The revolutionist gave him lessons, and his thirst for every kind of knowledge, and the facility with which he took it in, surprised her. In two years he had mastered algebra, geometry, history--which he was specially fond of--and made acquaintance with artistic and critical, and especially socialistic literature. The revolutionist was arrested, and Kondratieff with her, forbidden books having been found in their possession, and they were imprisoned and then exiled to the Vologda Government. There Kondratieff became acquainted with Novodvoroff, and read a great deal more revolutionary literature, remembered it all, and became still firmer in his socialistic views. While in exile he became leader in a large strike, which ended in the destruction of a factory and the murder of the director. He was again arrested and condemned to Siberia.

His religious views were of the same negative nature as his views of the existing economic conditions. Having seen the absurdity of the religion in which he was brought up, and having gained with great effort, and at first with fear, but later with rapture, freedom from it, he did not tire of viciously and with venom ridiculing priests and religious dogmas, as if wishing to revenge himself for the deception that had been practised on him.

He was ascetic through habit, contented himself with very little, and, like all those used to work from childhood and whose muscles have been developed, he could work much and easily, and was quick at any manual labour; but what he valued most was the leisure in prisons and halting stations, which enabled him to continue his studies. He was now studying the first volume of Karl Marks's, and carefully hid the book in his sack as if it were a great treasure. He behaved with reserve and indifference to all his comrades, except Novodvoroff, to whom he was greatly attached, and whose arguments on all subjects he accepted as unanswerable truths.

He had an indefinite contempt for women, whom he looked upon as a hindrance in all necessary business. But he pitied Maslova and was gentle with her, for he considered her an example of the way the lower are exploited by the upper classes. The same reason made him dislike Nekhludoff, so that he talked little with him, and never pressed Nekhludoff's hand, but only held out his own to be pressed when greeting him.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER XIII.


LOVE AFFAIRS OF THE EXILES.

The stove had burned up and got warm, the tea was made and poured out into mugs and cups, and milk was added to it; rusks, fresh rye and wheat bread, hard-boiled eggs, butter, and calf's head and feet were placed on the cloth. Everybody moved towards the part of the shelf beds which took the place of the table and sat eating and talking. Rintzeva sat on a box pouring out the tea. The rest crowded round her, only Kryltzoff, who had taken off his wet cloak and wrapped himself in his dry plaid and lay in his own place talking to Nekhludoff.

After the cold and damp march and the dirt and disorder they had found here, and after the pains they had taken to get it tidy, after having drunk hot tea and eaten, they were all in the best and brightest of spirits.

The fact that the tramp of feet, the screams and abuse of the criminals, reached them through the wall, reminding them of their surroundings, seemed only to increase the sense of coziness. As on an island in the midst of the sea, these people felt themselves for a brief interval not swamped by the degradation and sufferings which surrounded them; this made their spirits rise, and excited them. They talked about everything except their present position and that which awaited them. Then, as it generally happens among young men, and women especially, if they are forced to remain together, as these people were, all sorts of agreements and disagreements and attractions, curiously blended, had sprung up among them. Almost all of them were in love. Novodvoroff was in love with the pretty, smiling Grabetz. This Grabetz was a young, thoughtless girl who had gone in for a course of study, perfectly indifferent to revolutionary questions, but succumbing to the influence of the day, she compromised herself in some way and was exiled. The chief interest of her life during the time of her trial in prison and in exile was her success with men, just as it had been when she was free. Now on the way she comforted herself with the fact that Novodvoroff had taken a fancy to her, and she fell in love with him. Vera Doukhova, who was very prone to fall in love herself, but did not awaken love in others, though she was always hoping for mutual love, was sometimes drawn to Nabatoff, then to Novodvoroff. Kryltzoff felt something like love for Mary Pavlovna. He loved her with a man's love, but knowing how she regarded this sort of love, hid his feelings under the guise of friendship and gratitude for the tenderness with which she attended to his wants. Nabatoff and Rintzeva were attached to each other by very complicated ties. Just as Mary Pavlovna was a perfectly chaste maiden, in the same way Rintzeva was perfectly chaste as her own husband's wife. When only a schoolgirl of sixteen she fell in love with Rintzeff, a student of the Petersburg University, and married him before he left the university, when she was only nineteen years old. During his fourth year at the university her husband had become involved in the students' rows, was exiled from Petersburg, and turned revolutionist. She left the medical courses she was attending, followed him, and also turned revolutionist. If she had not considered her husband the cleverest and best of men she would not have fallen in love with him; and if she had not fallen in love would not have married; but having fallen in love and married him whom she thought the best and cleverest of men, she naturally looked upon life and its aims in the way the best and cleverest of men looked at them. At first he thought the aim of life was to learn, and she looked upon study as the aim of life. He became a revolutionist, and so did she. She could demonstrate very clearly that the existing state of things could not go on, and that it was everybody's duty to fight this state of things and to try to bring about conditions in which the individual could develop freely, etc. And she imagined that she really thought and felt all this, but in reality she only regarded everything her husband thought as absolute truth, and only sought for perfect agreement, perfect identification of her own soul with his which alone could give her full moral satisfaction. The parting with her husband and their child, whom her mother had taken, was very hard to bear; but she bore it firmly and quietly, since it was for her husband's sake and for that cause which she had not the slightest doubt was true, since he served it. She was always with her husband in thoughts, and did not love and could not love any other any more than she had done before. But Nabatoff's devoted and pure love touched and excited her. This moral, firm man, her husband's friend, tried to treat her as a sister, but something more appeared in his behaviour to her, and this something frightened them both, and yet gave colour to their life of hardship.

So that in all this circle only Mary Pavlovna and Kondratieff were quite free from love affairs.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER XIV.


CONVERSATIONS IN PRISON.

Expecting to have a private talk with Katusha, as usual, after tea, Nekhludoff sat by the side of Kryltzoff, conversing with him. Among other things he told him the story of Makar's crime and about his request to him. Kryltzoff listened attentively, gazing at Nekhludoff with glistening eyes.

"Yes," said Kryltzoff suddenly, "I often think that here we are going side by side with them, and who are they? The same for whose sake we are going, and yet we not only do not know them, but do not even wish to know them. And they, even worse than that, they hate us and look upon us as enemies. This is terrible."

"There is nothing terrible about it," broke in Novodvoroff. "The masses always worship power only. The government is in power, and they worship it and hate us. To-morrow we shall have the power, and they will worship us," he said with his grating voice. At that moment a volley of abuse and the rattle of chains sounded from behind the wall, something was heard thumping against it and screaming and shrieking, some one was being beaten, and some one was calling out, "Murder! help!"

"Hear them, the beasts! What intercourse can there be between us and such as them?" quietly remarked Novodvoroff.

"You call them beasts, and Nekhludoff was just telling me about such an action!" irritably retorted Kryltzoff, and went on to say how Makar was risking his life to save a fellow-villager. "That is not the action of a beast, it is heroism."

"Sentimentality!" Novodvoroff ejaculated ironically; "it is difficult for us to understand the emotions of these people and the motives on which they act. You see generosity in the act, and it may be simply jealousy of that other criminal."

"How is it that you never wish to see anything good in another? " Mary Pavlovna said suddenly, flaring up.

"How can one see what does not exist!"

"How does it not exist, when a man risks dying a terrible death?"

"I think," said Novodvoroff, "that if we mean to do our work, the first condition is that" (here Kondratieff put down the book he was reading by the lamplight and began to listen attentively to his master's words) "we should not give way to fancy, but look at things as they are. We should do all in our power for the masses, and expect nothing in return. The masses can only be the object of our activity, but cannot be our fellow-workers as long as they remain in that state of inertia they are in at present," he went on, as if delivering a lecture. "Therefore, to expect help from them before the process of development--that process which we are preparing them for--has taken place is an illusion."

"What process of development? " Kryltzoff began, flushing  all over. "We say that we are against arbitrary rule and despotism, and is this not the most awful despotism?"

"No despotism whatever," quietly rejoined Novodvoroff. "I am only saying that I know the path that the people must travel, and can show them that path."

"But how can you be sure that the path you show is the true path? Is this not the same kind of despotism that lay at the bottom of the Inquisition, all persecutions, and the great revolution? They, too, knew the one true way, by means of their science."

"Their having erred is no proof of my going to err; besides, there is a great difference between the ravings of idealogues and the facts based on sound, economic science." Novodvoroff's voice filled the room; he alone was speaking, all the rest were silent.

"They are always disputing," Mary Pavlovna said, when there was a moment's silence.

"And you yourself, what do you think about it?" Nekhludoff asked her.

"I think Kryltzoff is right when he says we should not force our views on the people."

"And you, Katusha? " asked Nekhludoff with a smile, waiting anxiously for her answer, fearing she would say something awkward.

I think the common people are wronged," she said, and blushed scarlet. "I think they are dreadfully wronged."

"That's right, Maslova, quite right," cried Nabatoff. "They are terribly wronged, the people, and they must not he wronged, and therein lies the whole of our task."

"A curious idea of the object of revolution," Novodvoroff remarked crossly, and began to smoke.

"I cannot talk to him," said Kryltzoff in a whisper, and was silent.

"And it is much better not to talk," Nekhludoff said.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER XV.


NOVODVOROFF.

Although Novodvoroff was highly esteemed of all the revolutionists, though he was very learned, and considered very wise, Nekhludoff reckoned him among those of the revolutionists who, being below the average moral level, were very far below it. His inner life was of a nature directly opposite to that of Simonson's. Simonson was one of those people (of an essentially masculine type) whose actions follow the dictates of their reason, and are determined by it. Novodvoroff belonged, on the contrary, to the class of people of a feminine type, whose reason is directed partly towards the attainment of aims set by their feelings, partly to the justification of acts suggested by their feelings. The whole of Novodvoroff's revolutionary activity, though he could explain it very eloquently and very convincingly, appeared to Nekhludoff to be founded on nothing but ambition and the desire for supremacy. At first his capacity for assimilating the thoughts of others, and of expressing them correctly, had given him a position of supremacy among pupils and teachers in the gymnasium and the university, where qualities such as his are highly prized, and he was satisfied. When he had finished his studies and received his diploma he suddenly altered his views, and from a modern liberal he turned into a rabid Narodovoletz, in order (so Kryltzoff, who did not like him, said) to gain supremacy in another sphere.

As he was devoid of those moral and aesthetic qualities which call forth doubts and hesitation, he very soon acquired a position in the revolutionary world which satisfied him--that of the leader of a party. Having once chosen a direction, he never doubted or hesitated, and was therefore certain that he never made a mistake. Everything seemed quite simple, clear and certain. And the narrowness and one-sidedness of his views did make everything seem simple and clear. One only had to be logical, as he said. His self-assurance was so great that it either repelled people or made them submit to him. As he carried on his work among very young people, his boundless self-assurance led them to believe him very profound and wise; the majority did submit to him, and he had a great success in revolutionary circles. His activity was directed to the preparation of a rising in which he was to usurp the power and call together a council. A programme, composed by him, should he proposed before the council, and he felt sure that this programme of his solved every problem, and that it would he impossible not to carry it out.

His comrades respected but did not love him. He did not love any one, looked upon all men of note as upon rivals, and would have willingly treated them as old male monkeys treat young ones if he could have done it. He would have torn all mental power, every capacity, from other men, so that they should not interfere with the display of his talents. He behaved well only to those who bowed before him. Now, on the journey he behaved well to Kondratieff, who was influenced by his propaganda; to Vera Doukhova and pretty little Grabetz, who were both in love with him. Although in principle he was in favour of the woman's movement, yet in the depth of his soul he considered all women stupid and insignificant except those whom he was sentimentally in love with (as he was now in love with Grabetz), and such women he considered to be exceptions, whose merits he alone was capable of discerning.

The question of the relations of the sexes he also looked upon as thoroughly solved by accepting free union. He had one nominal and one real wife, from both of whom he was separated, having come to the conclusion that there was no real love between them, and now he thought of entering on a free union with Grabetz. He despised Nekhludoff for "playing the fool," as Novodvoroff termed it, with Maslova, but especially for the freedom Nekhludoff took of considering the defects of the existing system and the methods of correcting those defects in a manner which was not only not exactly the same as Novodvoroff's, but was Nekhludoff's own--a prince's, that is, a fool's manner. Nekhludoff felt this relation of Novodvoroff's towards him, and knew to his sorrow that in spite of the state of good will in which he found himself on this journey he could not help paying this man in his own coin, and could not stifle the strong antipathy he felt for him.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER XVI.


SIMONSON SPEAKS TO NEKHLUDOFF.

The voices of officials sounded from the next room. All the prisoners were silent, and a sergeant, followed by two convoy soldiers, entered. The time of the inspection had come. The sergeant counted every one, and when Nekhludoff's turn came he addressed him with kindly familiarity.

"You must not stay any longer, Prince, after the inspection; you must go now."

Nekhludoff knew what this meant, went up to the sergeant and shoved a three-rouble note into his hand.

"Ah, well, what is one to do with you; stay a bit longer, if you like." The sergeant was about to go when another sergeant, followed by a convict, a spare man with a thin beard and a bruise under his eye, came in.

"It's about the girl I have come," said the convict.

"Here's daddy come," came the ringing accents of a child's voice, and a flaxen head appeared from behind Rintzeva, who, with Katusha's and Mary Pavlovna's help, was making a new garment for the child out of one of Rintzeva's own petticoats.

"Yes, daughter, it's me," Bousovkin, the prisoner, said softly.

"She is quite comfortable here," said Mary Pavlovna, looking with pity at Bousovkin's bruised face. "Leave her with us."

"The ladies are making me new clothes," said the girl, pointing to Rintzeva's sewing--"nice red ones," she went on, prattling.

"Do you wish to sleep with us?" asked Rintzeva, caressing the child.

"Yes, I wish. And daddy, too."

"No, daddy can't. Well, leave her then," she said, turning to the father.

"Yes, you may leave her," said the first sergeant, and went out with the other.

As soon as they were out of the room Nabatoff went up to Bousovkin, slapped him on the shoulder, and said: "I say, old fellow, is it true that Karmanoff wishes to exchange?"

Bousovkin's kindly, gentle face turned suddenly sad and a veil seemed to dim his eyes.

"We have heard nothing--hardly," he said, and with the same dimness still over his eyes he turned to the child.

"Well, Aksutka, it seems you're to make yourself comfortable with the ladies," and he hurried away.

"It's true about the exchange, and he knows it very well," said Nabatoff.

"What are you going to do?"

"I shall tell the authorities in the next town. I know both prisoners by sight," said Nekhludoff.

All were silent, fearing a recommencement of the dispute.

Simonson, who had been lying with his arms thrown back behind his head, and not speaking, rose, and determinately walked up to Nekhludoff, carefully passing round those who were sitting.

"Could you listen to me now?

"Of course," and Nekhludoff rose and followed him.

Katusha looked up with an expression of suspense, and meeting Nekhludoff's eyes, she blushed and shook her head.

"What I want to speak to you about is this," Simonson began, when they had come out into the passage. In the passage the din of the criminal's voices and shouts sounded louder. Nekhludoff made a face, but Simonson did not seem to take any notice.

"Knowing of your relations to Katerina Maslova," he began seriously and frankly, with his kind eyes looking straight into Nekhludoff's face, "I consider it my duty"--He was obliged to stop because two voices were heard disputing and shouting, both at once, close to the door.

"I tell you, blockhead, they are not mine," one voice shouted.

"May you choke, you devil," snorted the other.

At this moment Mary Pavlovna came out into the passage.

"How can one talk here?" she said; "go in, Vera is alone there," and she went in at the second door, and entered a tiny room, evidently meant for a solitary cell, which was now placed at the disposal of the political women prisoners, Vera Doukhova lay covered up, head and all, on the bed.

"She has got a headache, and is asleep, so she cannot hear you, and I will go away," said Mary Pavlovna.

"On the contrary, stay here," said Simonson; "I have no secrets from any one, certainly none from you."

"All right," said Mary Pavlovna, and moving her whole body from side to side, like a child, so as to get farther back on to the bed, she settled down to listen, her beautiful hazel eyes seeming to look somewhere far away.

"Well, then, this is my business," Simonson repeated. "Knowing of your relations to Katerina Maslova, I consider myself bound to explain to you my relations to her."

Nekhludoff could not help admiring the simplicity and truthfulness with which Simonson spoke to him.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that I should like to marry Katerina Maslova--"

"How strange!" said Mary Pavlovna, fixing her eyes on Simonson.

"--And so I made up my mind to ask her to be my wife," Simonson continued.

"What can I do? It depends on her," said Nekhludoff.

"Yes; but she will not come to any decision without you."

"Why?"

"Because as long as your relations with her are unsettled she cannot make up her mind."

"As far as I am concerned, it is finally settled. I should like to do what I consider to be my duty and also to lighten her fate, but on no account would I wish to put any restraint on her."

"Yes, but she does not wish to accept your sacrifice."

"It is no sacrifice."

"And I know that this decision of hers is final."

"Well, then, there is no need to speak to me," said Nekhludoff.

"She wants you to acknowledge that you think as she does."

"How can I acknowledge that I must not do what I consider to be my duty? All I can say is that I am not free, but she is."

Simonson was silent; then, after thinking a little, he said: "Very well, then, I'll tell her. You must not think I am in love with her," he continued; "I love her as a splendid, unique, human being who has suffered much. I want nothing from her. I have only an awful longing to help her, to lighten her posi--"

Nekhludoff was surprised to hear the trembling in Simonson's voice.

"--To lighten her position," Simonson continued. "If she does not wish to accept your help, let her accept mine. If she consents, I shall ask to be sent to the place where she will be imprisoned. Four years are not an eternity. I would live near her, and perhaps might lighten her fate--" and he again stopped, too agitated to continue.

"What am I to say?" said Nekhludoff. "I am very glad she has found such a protector as you--"

"That's what I wanted to know," Simonson interrupted.

"I wanted to know if, loving her and wishing her happiness, you would consider it good for her to marry me?"

"Oh, yes," said Nekhludoff decidedly.

"It all depends on her; I only wish that this suffering soul should find rest," said Simonson, with such childlike tenderness as no one could have expected from so morose-looking a man.

Simonson rose, and stretching his lips out to Nekhludoff, smiled shyly and kissed him.

"So I shall tell her," and he went away.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER XVII.


"I HAVE NOTHING MORE TO SAY."

"What do you think of that?" said Mary Pavlovna. "In love--quite in love. Now, that's a thing I never should have expected, that Valdemar Simonson should be in love, and in the silliest, most boyish manner. It is strange, and, to say the truth, it is sad," and she sighed.

"But she? Katusha? How does she look at it, do you think?" Nekhludoff asked.

"She?" Mary Pavlovna waited, evidently wishing to give as exact an answer as possible. "She? Well, you see, in spite of her past she has one of the most moral natures--and such fine feelings. She loves you--loves you well, and is happy to be able to do you even the negative good of not letting you get entangled with her. Marriage with you would be a terrible fall for her, worse than all that's past, and therefore she will never consent to it. And yet your presence troubles her."

"Well, what am I to do? Ought I to vanish?"

Mary Pavlovna smiled her sweet, childlike smile, and said, "Yes, partly."

"How is one to vanish partly?"

"I am talking nonsense. But as for her, I should like to tell you that she probably sees the silliness of this rapturous kind of love (he has not spoken to her), and is both flattered and afraid of it. I am not competent to judge in such affairs, you know, still I believe that on his part it is the most ordinary man's feeling, though it is masked. He says that this love arouses his energy and is Platonic, but I know that even if it is exceptional, still at the bottom it is degrading."

Mary Pavlovna had wandered from the subject, having started on her favourite theme.

"Well, but what am I to do?" Nekhludoff asked.

"I think you should tell her everything; it is always best that everything should be clear. Have a talk with her; I shall call her. Shall I?" said Mary Pavlovna.

"If you please," said Nekhludoff, and Mary Pavlovna went.

A strange feeling overcame Nekhludoff when he was alone in the little room with the sleeping Vera Doukhova, listening to her soft breathing, broken now and then by moans, and to the incessant dirt that came through the two doors that separated him from the criminals. What Simonson had told him freed him from the self-imposed duty, which had seemed hard and strange to him in his weak moments, and yet now he felt something that was not merely unpleasant but painful.

He had a feeling that this offer of Simonson's destroyed the exceptional character of his sacrifice, and thereby lessened its value in his own and others' eyes; if so good a man who was not bound to her by any kind of tie wanted to join his fate to hers, then this sacrifice was not so great. There may have also been an admixture of ordinary jealousy. He had got so used to her love that he did not like to admit that she loved another.

Then it also upset the plans he had formed of living near her while she was doing her term. If she married Simonson his presence would be unnecessary, and he would have to form new plans.

Before he had time to analyse his feelings the loud din of the prisoners' voices came in with a rush (something special was going on among them to-day) as the door opened to let Katusha in.

She stepped briskly close up to him and said, "Mary Pavlovna has sent me."

"Yes, I must have a talk with you. Sit down. Valdemar Simonson has been speaking to me."

She sat down and folded her hands in her lap and seemed quite calm, but hardly had Nekhludoff uttered Simonson's name when she flushed crimson.

"What did he say?" she asked.

"He told me he wanted to marry you."

Her face suddenly puckered up with pain, but she said nothing and only cast down her eyes.

"He is asking for my consent or my advice. I told him that it all depends entirely on you--that you must decide."

"Ah, what does it all mean? Why?" she muttered, and looked in his eyes with that peculiar squint that always strangely affected Nekhludoff.

They sat silent for a few minutes looking into each other's eyes, and this look told much to both of them.

"You must decide," Nekhludoff repeated.

"What am I to decide? Everything has long been decided."

"No; you must decide whether you will accept Mr. Simonson's offer," said Nekhludoff.

"What sort of a wife can I be--I, a convict? Why should I ruin Mr. Simonson, too?" she said, with a frown.

"Well, but if the sentence should be mitigated."

"Oh, leave me alone. I have nothing more to say," she said, and rose to leave the room.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER XVIII.


NEVEROFF'S FATE.

When, following Katusha, Nekhludoff returned to the men's room, he found every one there in agitation. Nabatoff, who went about all over the place, and who got to know everybody, and noticed everything, had just brought news which staggered them all. The news was that he had discovered a note on a wall, written by the revolutionist Petlin, who had been sentenced to hard labour, and who, every one thought, had long since reached the Kara; and now it turned out that he had passed this way quite recently, the only political prisoner among criminal convicts.

"On the 17th of August," so ran the note, "I was sent off alone with the criminals. Neveroff was with me, but hanged himself in the lunatic asylum in Kasan. I am well and in good spirits and hope for the best."

All were discussing Petlin's position and the possible reasons of Neveroff's suicide. Only Kryltzoff sat silent and preoccupied, his glistening eyes gazing fixedly in front of him.

"My husband told me that Neveroff had a vision while still in the Petropavlovski prison," said Rintzeva.

"Yes, he was a poet, a dreamer; this sort of people cannot stand solitary confinement," said Novodvoroff. "Now, I never gave my imagination vent when in solitary confinement, but arranged my days most systematically, and in this way always bore it very well."

"What is there unbearable about it? Why, I used to be glad when they locked me up," said Nabatoff cheerfully, wishing to dispel the general depression.

"A fellow's afraid of everything; of being arrested himself and entangling others, and of spoiling the whole business, and then he gets locked up, and all responsibility is at an end, and he can rest; he can just sit and smoke."

"You knew him well?" asked Mary Pavlovna, glancing anxiously at the altered, haggard expression of Kryltzoff's face.

"Neveroff a dreamer?" Kryltzoff suddenly began, panting for breath as if he had been shouting or singing for a long time. "Neveroff was a man 'such as the earth bears few of,' as our doorkeeper used to express it. Yes, he had a nature like crystal, you could see him right through; he could not lie, he could not dissemble; not simply thin skinned, but with all his nerves laid bare, as if he were flayed. Yes, his was a complicated, rich nature, not such a-- But where is the use of talking?" he added, with a vicious frown. "Shall we first educate the people and then change the forms of life, or first change the forms and then struggle, using peaceful propaganda or terrorism? So we go on disputing while they kill; they do not dispute--they know their business; they don't care whether dozens, hundreds of men perish--and what men! No; that the best should perish is just what they want. Yes, Herzen said that when the Decembrists were withdrawn from circulation the average level of our society sank. I should think so, indeed. Then Herzen himself and his fellows were withdrawn; now is the turn of the Neveroffs."

"They can't all be got rid off," said Nabatoff, in his cheerful tones." There will always be left enough to continue the breed. No, there won't, if we show any pity to THEM there," Nabatoff said, raising his voice; and not letting himself be interrupted, "Give me a cigarette."

"Oh, Anatole, it is not good for you," said Mary Pavlovna. "Please do not smoke."

"Oh, leave me alone," he said angrily, and lit a cigarette, but at once began to cough and to retch, as if he were going to be sick. Having cleared his throat though, he went on:

"What we have been doing is not the thing at all. Not to argue, but for all to unite--to destroy them--that's it."

"But they are also human beings," said Nekhludoff.

"No, they are not human, they who can do what they are doing-- No-- There, now, I heard that some kind of bombs and balloons have been invented. Well, one ought to go up in such a balloon and sprinkle bombs down on them as if they were bugs, until they are all exterminated-- Yes. Because--" he was going to continue, but, flushing all over, he began coughing worse than before, and a stream of blood rushed from his mouth.

Nabatoff ran to get ice. Mary Pavlovna brought valerian drops and offered them to him, but he, breathing quickly and heavily, pushed her away with his thin, white hand, and kept his eyes closed. When the ice and cold water had eased Kryltzoff a little, and he had been put to bed, Nekhludoff, having said good-night to everybody, went out with the sergeant, who had been waiting for him some time.

The criminals were now quiet, and most of them were asleep. Though the people were lying on and under the bed shelves and in the space between, they could not all be placed inside the rooms, and some of them lay in the passage with their sacks under their heads and covered with their cloaks. The moans and sleepy voices came through the open doors and sounded through the passage. Everywhere lay compact heaps of human beings covered with prison cloaks. Only a few men who were sitting in the bachelors' room by the light of a candle end, which they put out when they noticed the sergeant, were awake, and an old man who sat naked under the lamp in the passage picking the vermin off his shirt. The foul air in the political prisoners' rooms seemed pure compared to the stinking closeness here. The smoking lamp shone dimly as through a mist, and it was difficult to breathe. Stepping along the passage, one had to look carefully for an empty space, and having put down one foot had to find place for the other. Three persons, who had evidently found no room even in the passage, lay in the anteroom, close to the stinking and leaking tub. One of these was an old idiot, whom Nekhludoff had often seen marching with the gang; another was a boy about twelve; he lay between the two other convicts, with his head on the leg of one of them.

When he had passed out of the gate Nekhludoff took a deep breath and long continued to breathe in deep draughts of frosty air.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER XIX.


WHY IS IT DONE?

It had cleared up and was starlight. Except in a few places the mud was frozen hard when Nekhludoff returned to his inn and knocked at one of its dark windows. The broad-shouldered labourer came barefooted to open the door for him and let him in. Through a door on the right, leading to the back premises, came the loud snoring of the carters, who slept there, and the sound of many horses chewing oats came from the yard. The front room, where a red lamp was burning in front of the icons, smelt of wormwood and perspiration, and some one with mighty lungs was snoring behind a partition. Nekhludoff undressed, put his leather travelling pillow on the oilcloth sofa, spread out his rug and lay down, thinking over all he had seen and heard that day; the boy sleeping on the liquid that oozed from the stinking tub, with his head on the convict's leg, seemed more dreadful than all else.

Unexpected and important as his conversation with Simonson and Katusha that evening had been, he did not dwell on it; his situation in relation to that subject was so complicated and indefinite that he drove the thought from his mind. But the picture of those unfortunate beings, inhaling the noisome air, and lying in the liquid oozing out of the stinking tub, especially that of the boy, with his innocent face asleep on the leg of a criminal, came all the more vividly to his mind, and he could not get it out of his head.

To know that somewhere far away there are men who torture other men by inflicting all sorts of humiliations and inhuman degradation and sufferings on them, or for three months incessantly to look on while men were inflicting these humiliations and sufferings on other men is a very different thing. And Nekhludoff felt it. More than once during these three months he asked himself, "Am I mad because I see what others do not, or are they mad that do these things that I see?"

Yet they (and there were many of them) did what seemed so astonishing and terrible to him with such quiet assurance that what they were doing was necessary and was important and useful work that it was hard to believe they were mad; nor could he, conscious of the clearness of his thoughts, believe he was mad; and all this kept him continually in a state of perplexity.

This is how the things he saw during these three months impressed Nekhludoff: From among the people who were free, those were chosen, by means of trials and the administration, who were the most nervous, the most hot tempered, the most excitable, the most gifted, and the strongest, but the least careful and cunning. These people, not a wit more dangerous than many of those who remained free, were first locked in prisons, transported to Siberia, where they were provided for and kept months and years in perfect idleness, and away from nature, their families, and useful work--that is, away from the conditions necessary for a natural and moral life. This firstly. Secondly, these people were subjected to all sorts of unnecessary indignity in these different Places--chains, shaved heads, shameful clothing--that is, they were deprived of the chief motives that induce the weak to live good lives, the regard for public opinion, the sense of shame and the consciousness of human dignity. Thirdly, they were continually exposed to dangers, such as the epidemics so frequent in places of confinement, exhaustion, flogging, not to mention accidents, such as sunstrokes, drowning or conflagrations, when the instinct of self-preservation makes even the kindest, most moral men commit cruel actions, and excuse such actions when committed by others.

Fourthly, these people were forced to associate with others who were particularly depraved by life, and especially by these very institutions--rakes, murderers and villains--who act on those who are not yet corrupted by the measures inflicted on them as leaven acts on dough.

And, fifthly, the fact that all sorts of violence, cruelty, inhumanity, are not only tolerated, but even permitted by the government, when it suits its purposes, was impressed on them most forcibly by the inhuman treatment they were subjected to; by the sufferings inflicted on children, women and old men; by floggings with rods and whips; by rewards offered for bringing a fugitive back, dead or alive; by the separation of husbands and wives, and the uniting them with the wives and husbands of others for sexual intercourse; by shooting or hanging them. To those who were deprived of their freedom, who were in want and misery, acts of violence were evidently still more permissible. All these institutions seemed purposely invented for the production of depravity and vice, condensed to such a degree that no other conditions could produce it, and for the spreading of this condensed depravity and vice broadcast among the whole population

"Just as if a problem had been set to find the best, the surest means of depraving the greatest number of persons," thought Nekhludoff, while investigating the deeds that were being done in the prisons and halting stations. Every year hundreds of thousands were brought to the highest pitch of depravity, and when completely depraved they were set free to carry the depravity they had caught in prison among the people. In the prisons of Tamen, Ekaterinburg, Tomsk and at the halting stations Nekhludoff saw how successfully the object society seemed to have set itself was attained.

Ordinary, simple men with a conception of the demands of the social and Christian Russian peasant morality lost this conception, and found a new one, founded chiefly on the idea that any outrage or violence was justifiable if it seemed profitable. After living in a prison those people became conscious with the whole of their being that, judging by what was happening to themselves, all the moral laws, the respect and the sympathy for others which church and the moral teachers preach, was really set aside, and that, therefore, they, too, need not keep the laws. Nekhludoff noticed the effects of prison life on all the convicts he knew--on Fedoroff, on Makar, and even on Taras, who, after two months among the convicts, struck Nekhludoff by the want of morality in his arguments. Nekhludoff found out during his journey how tramps, escaping into the marshes, persuade a comrade to escape with them, and then kill him and feed on his flesh. (He saw a living man who was accused of this and acknowledged the fact.) And the most terrible part was that this was not a solitary, but a recurring case.

Only by a special cultivation of vice, such as was perpetrated in these establishments, could a Russian be brought to the state of this tramp, who excelled Nietzsche's newest teaching, and held that everything was possible and nothing forbidden, and who spread this teaching first among the convicts and then among the people in general.

The only explanation of all that was being done was the wish to put a stop to crime by fear, by correction, by lawful vengeance as it was written in the books. But in reality nothing in the least resembling any of these results came to pass. Instead of vice being put a stop to, it only spread further; instead of being frightened, the criminals were encouraged (many a tramp returned to prison of his own free will). Instead of being corrected, every kind of vice was systematically instilled, while the desire for vengeance did not weaken by the measures of the government, but was bred in the people who had none of it.

"Then why is it done?" Nekhludoff asked himself, but could find no answer. And what seemed most surprising was that all this was not being done accidentally, not by mistake, not once, but that it had continued for centuries, with this difference only, that at first the people's nostrils used to be torn and their ears cut off; then they were branded, and now they were manacled and transported by steam instead of on the old carts. The arguments brought forward by those in government service, who said that the things which aroused his indignation were simply due to the imperfect arrangements of the places of confinement, and that they could all be put to rights if prisons of a modern type were built, did not satisfy Nekhludoff, because he knew that what revolted him was not the consequence of a better or worse arrangement of the prisons. He had read of model prisons with electric bells, of executions by electricity, recommended by Tard; but this refined kind of violence revolted him even more.

But what revolted Nekhludoff most was that there were men in the law courts and in the ministry who received large salaries, taken from the people, for referring to books written by men like themselves and with like motives, and sorting actions that violated laws made by themselves according to different statutes; and, in obedience to these statutes, sending those guilty of such actions to places where they were completely at the mercy of cruel, hardened inspectors, jailers, convoy soldiers, where millions of them perished body and soul.

Now that he had a closer knowledge of prisons, Nekhludoff found out that all those vices which developed among the prisoners--drunkenness, gambling, cruelty, and all these terrible crimes, even cannibalism--were not casual, or due to degeneration or to the existence of monstrosities of the criminal type, as science, going hand in hand with the government, explained it, but an unavoidable consequence of the incomprehensible delusion that men may punish one another. Nekhludoff saw that cannibalism did not commence in the marshes, but in the ministry. He saw that his brother-in-law, for example, and, in fact, all the lawyers and officials, from the usher to the minister, do not care in the least for justice or the good of the people about whom they spoke, but only for the roubles they were paid for doing the things that were the source whence all this degradation and suffering flowed. This was quite evident.

"Can it be, then, that all this is done simply through misapprehension? Could it not be managed that all these officials should have their salaries secured to them, and a premium paid them, besides, so that they should leave off, doing all that they were doing now?" Nekhludoff thought, and in spite of the fleas, that seemed to spring up round him like water from a fountain whenever he moved, he fell fast asleep.

BOOK III.

CHAPTER XX.


THE JOURNEY RESUMED.

The carters had left the inn long before Nekhludoff awoke. The landlady had had her tea, and came in wiping her fat, perspiring neck with her handkerchief, and said that a soldier had brought a note from the halting station. The note was from Mary Pavlovna. She wrote that Kryltzoff's attack was more serious than they had imagined. "We wished him to be left behind and to remain with him, but this has not been allowed, so that we shall take him on; but we fear the worst. Please arrange so that if he should he left in the next town, one of us might remain with him. If in order to get the permission to stay I should be obliged to get married to him, I am of course ready to do so."

Nekhludoff sent the young labourer to the post station to order horses and began packing up hurriedly. Before he had drunk his second tumbler of tea the three-horsed postcart drove up to the porch with ringing bells, the wheels rattling on the frozen mud as on stones. Nekhludoff paid the fat-necked landlady, hurried out and got into the cart, and gave orders to the driver to go on as fast as possible, so as to overtake the gang. Just past the gates of the commune pasture ground they did overtake the carts, loaded with sacks and the sick prisoners, as they rattled over the frozen mud, that was just beginning to be rolled smooth by the wheels (the officer was not there, he had gone in advance). The soldiers, who had evidently been drinking, followed by the side of the road, chatting merrily. There were a great many carts. In each of the first carts sat six invalid criminal convicts, close packed. On each of the last two were three political prisoners. Novodvoroff, Grabetz and Kondratieff sat on one, Rintzeva, Nabatoff and the woman to whom Mary Pavlovna had given up her own place on the other, and on one of the carts lay Kryltzoff on a heap of hay, with a pillow under his head, and Mary Pavlovna sat by him on the edge of the cart. Nekhludoff ordered his driver to stop, got out and went up to Kryltzoff. One of the tipsy soldiers waved his hand towards Nekhludoff, but he paid no attention and started walking by Kryltzoff's side, holding on to the side of the cart with his hand. Dressed in a sheepskin coat, with a fur cap on his head and his mouth bound up with a handkerchief, he seemed paler and thinner than ever. His beautiful eyes looked very large and brilliant. Shaken from side to side by the jottings of the cart, he lay with his eyes fixed on Nekhludoff; but when asked about his health, he only closed his eyes and angrily shook his head. All his energy seemed to be needed in order to bear the jolting of the cart. Mary Pavlovna was on the other side. She exchanged a significant glance with Nekhludoff, which expressed all her anxiety about Kryltzoff's state, and then began to talk at once in a cheerful manner.

"It seems the officer is ashamed of himself," she shouted, so as to be heard above the rattle of the wheels. "Bousovkin's manacles have been removed, and he is carrying his little girl himself. Katusha and Simonson are with him, and Vera, too. She has taken my place."

Kryltzoff said something that could not be heard because of the noise, and frowning in the effort to repress his cough shook his head. Then Nekhludoff stooped towards him, so as to hear, and Kryltzoff, freeing his mouth of the handkerchief, whispered:

"Much better now. Only not to catch cold."

Nekhludoff nodded in acquiescence, and again exchanged a glance with Mary Pavlovna.

"How about the problem of the three bodies?" whispered Kryltzoff, smiling with great difficulty. "The solution is difficult."

Nekhludoff did not understand, but Mary Pavlovna explained that he meant the well-known mathematical problem which defined the position of the sun, moon and earth, which Kryltzoff compared to the relations between Nekhludoff, Katusha and Simonson. Kryltzoff nodded, to show that Mary Pavlovna had explained his joke correctly.

"The decision does not lie with me," Nekhludoff said.

"Did you get my note? Will you do it?" Mary Pavlovna asked.

"Certainly," answered Nekhludoff ; and noticing a look of displeasure on Kryltzoff's face, he returned to his conveyance, and holding with both hands to the sides of the cart, got in, which jolted with him over the ruts of the rough road. He passed the gang, which, with its grey cloaks and sheepskin coats, chains and manacles, stretched over three-quarters of a mile of the road. On the opposite side of the road Nekhludoff noticed Katusha's blue shawl, Vera Doukhova's black coat, and Simonson's crochet cap, white worsted stockings, with bands, like those of sandals, tied round him. Simonson was walking with the woman and carrying on a heated discussion.

When they saw Nekhludoff they bowed to him, and Simonson raised his hat in a solemn manner. Nekhludoff, having nothing to say, did not stop, and was soon ahead of the carts. Having got again on to a smoother part of the road, they drove still more quickly, but they had continually to turn aside to let pass long rows of carts that were moving along the road in both directions.

The road, which was cut up by deep ruts, lay through a thick pine forest, mingled with birch trees and larches, bright with yellow leaves they had not yet shed. By the time Nekhludoff had passed about half the gang he reached the end of the forest. Fields now lay stretched along both sides of the road, and the crosses and cupolas of a monastery appeared in the distance. The clouds had dispersed, and it had cleared up completely; the leaves, the frozen puddles and the gilt crosses and cupolas of the monastery glittered brightly in the sun that had risen above the forest. A little to the right mountains began to gleam white in the blue-grey distance, and the trap entered a large village. The village street was full of people, both Russians and other nationalities, wearing peculiar caps and cloaks. Tipsy men and women crowded and chattered round booths, traktirs, public houses and carts. The vicinity of a town was noticeable. Giving a pull and a lash of the whip to the horse on his right, the driver sat down sideways on the right edge of the scat, so that the reins hung over that side, and with evident desire of showing off, he drove quickly down to the river, which had to be crossed by a ferry. The raft was coming towards them, and had reached the middle of the river. About twenty carts were waiting to cross. Nekhludoff had not long to wait. The raft, which had been pulled far up the stream, quickly approached the landing, carried by the swift waters. The tall, silent, broad-shouldered, muscular ferryman, dressed in sheepskins, threw the ropes and moored the raft with practised hand, landed the carts that were on it, and put those that were waiting on the bank on board. The whole raft was filled with vehicles and horses shuffling at the sight of the water. The broad, swift river splashed against the sides of the ferryboats, tightening their moorings.

When the raft was full, and Nekhludoff's cart, with the horses taken out of it, stood closely surrounded by other carts on the side of the raft, the ferryman barred the entrance, and, paying no heed to the prayers of those who had not found room in the raft, unfastened the ropes and set off.

All was quiet on the raft; one could hear nothing but the tramp of the ferryman's boots and the horses changing from foot to foot.


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