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Title: The Lock and Key Library: The Most Interesting Stories of All Nations: North Europe — Russian — Swedish — Danish — Hungarian
Author: - To be updated
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Lock and Key Library: The Most Interesting Stories of All Nations: North Europe — Russian — Swedish — Danish — Hungarian" ***

The Lock and Key Library

The Most Interesting Stories of All Nations

Edited by Julian Hawthorne

North Europe--Russian--Swedish--Danish--Hungarian

Table of Contents


The Queen of Spades


The General's Will


Crime and Punishment


The Safety Match


Knights of Industry


The Amputated Arms


The Manuscript


The Sealed Room


The Rector of Veilbye



The Living Death


Thirteen at Table


The Dancing Bear


The Tower Room

Russian Mystery Stories

Alexander Sergeievitch Pushkin

The Queen of Spades


There was a card party at the rooms of Naroumoff, of the Horse
Guards.  The long winter night passed away imperceptibly, and it
was five o'clock in the morning before the company sat down to
supper.  Those who had won ate with a good appetite; the others sat
staring absently at their empty plates.  When the champagne
appeared, however, the conversation became more animated, and all
took a part in it.

"And how did you fare, Souirin?" asked the host.

"Oh, I lost, as usual.  I must confess that I am unlucky.  I play
mirandole, I always keep cool, I never allow anything to put me
out, and yet I always lose!"

"And you did not once allow yourself to be tempted to back the red?
Your firmness astonishes me."

"But what do you think of Hermann?" said one of the guests,
pointing to a young engineer.  "He has never had a card in his hand
in his life, he has never in his life laid a wager; and yet he sits
here till five o'clock in the morning watching our play."

"Play interests me very much," said Hermann, "but I am not in the
position to sacrifice the necessary in the hope of winning the

"Hermann is a German; he is economical--that is all!" observed
Tomsky.  "But if there is one person that I cannot understand, it
is my grandmother, the Countess Anna Fedorovna!"

"How so?" inquired the guests.

"I cannot understand," continued Tomsky, "how it is that my
grandmother does not punt."

"Then you do not know the reason why?"

"No, really; I haven't the faintest idea.  But let me tell you the
story.  You must know that about sixty years ago my grandmother
went to Paris, where she created quite a sensation.  People used to
run after her to catch a glimpse of the 'Muscovite Venus.'
Richelieu made love to her, and my grandmother maintains that he
almost blew out his brains in consequence of her cruelty.  At that
time ladies used to play at faro.  On one occasion at the Court,
she lost a very considerable sum to the Duke of Orleans.  On
returning home, my grandmother removed the patches from her face,
took off her hoops, informed my grandfather of her loss at the
gaming-table, and ordered him to pay the money.  My deceased
grandfather, as far as I remember, was a sort of house-steward to
my grandmother.  He dreaded her like fire; but, on hearing of such
a heavy loss, he almost went out of his mind.  He calculated the
various sums she had lost, and pointed out to her that in six
months she had spent half a million of francs; that neither their
Moscow nor Saratoff estates were in Paris; and, finally, refused
point-blank to pay the debt.  My grandmother gave him a box on the
ear and slept by herself as a sign of her displeasure.  The next
day she sent for her husband, hoping that this domestic punishment
had produced an effect upon him, but she found him inflexible.  For
the first time in her life she entered into reasonings and
explanations with him, thinking to be able to convince him by
pointing out to him that there are debts and debts, and that there
is a great difference between a prince and a coachmaker.

"But it was all in vain, my grandfather still remained obdurate.
But the matter did not rest there.  My grandmother did not know
what to do.  She had shortly before become acquainted with a very
remarkable man.  You have heard of Count St. Germain, about whom so
many marvelous stories are told.  You know that he represented
himself as the Wandering Jew, as the discoverer of the elixir of
life, of the philosopher's stone, and so forth.  Some laughed at
him as a charlatan; but Casnova, in his memoirs, says that he was a
spy.  But be that as it may, St. Germain, in spite of the mystery
surrounding him, was a very fascinating person, and was much sought
after in the best circles of society.  Even to this day my
grandmother retains an affectionate recollection of him, and
becomes quite angry if anyone speaks disrespectfully of him.  My
grandmother knew that St. Germain had large sums of money at his
disposal.  She resolved to have recourse to him, and she wrote a
letter to him asking him to come to her without delay.  The queer
old man immediately waited upon her, and found her overwhelmed with
grief.  She described to him in the blackest colors the barbarity
of her husband, and ended by declaring that her whole hope depended
upon his friendship and amiability.

"St. Germain reflected.

"'I could advance you the sum you want,' said he, 'but I know that
you would not rest easy until you had paid me back, and I should
not like to bring fresh troubles upon you.  But there is another
way of getting out of your difficuity: you can win back your

"'But, my dear Count,' replied my grandmother, 'I tell you that I
haven't any money left!'

"'Money is not necessary,' replied St. Germain, 'be pleased to
listen to me.'

"Then he revealed to her a secret, for which each of us would give
a good deal."

The young officers listened with increased attention.  Tomsky lit
his pipe, puffed away for a moment, and then continued:

"That same evening my grandmother went to Versailles to the jeu de
la reine.  The Duke of Orleans kept the bank; my grandmother
excused herself in an offhanded manner for not having yet paid her
debt by inventing some little story, and then began to play against
him.  She chose three cards and played them one after the other;
all three won sonika,* and my grandmother recovered every farthing
that she lost."

* Said of a card when it wins or loses in the quickest possible

"Mere chance!" said one of the guests.

"A tale!" observed Hermann.

"Perhaps they were marked cards!" said a third.

"I do not think so," replied Tomsky, gravely.

"What!" said Naroumoff, "you have a grandmother who knows how to
hit upon three lucky cards in succession, and you have never yet
succeeded in getting the secret of it out of her?"

"That's the deuce of it!" replied Tomsky, "she had four sons, one
of whom was my father; all four were determined gamblers, and yet
not to one of them did she ever reveal her secret, although it
would not have been a bad thing either for them or for me.  But
this is what I heard from my uncle, Count Ivan Ilitch, and he
assured me, on his honor, that it was true.  The late Chaplitsky--
the same who died in poverty after having squandered millions--once
lost, in his youth, about three hundred thousand roubles--to
Zoritch, if I remember rightly.  He was in despair.  My
grandmother, who was always very severe upon the extravagance of
young men, took pity, however, upon Chaplitsky.  She gave him three
cards telling him to play them one after the other, at the same
time exacting from him a solemn promise that he would never play at
cards again as long as he lived.  Chaplitsky then went to his
victorious opponent, and they began a fresh game.  On the first
card he staked fifty thousand roubles, and won sonika; he doubled
the stake, and won again; till at last, by pursuing the same
tactics, he won back more than he had lost."

"But it is time to go to bed, it is a quarter to six already."
And, indeed, it was already beginning to dawn; the young men
emptied their glasses and then took leave of each other.


The old Countess A---- was seated in her dressing-room in front of
her looking-glass.  Three waiting maids stood around her.  One held
a small pot of rouge, another a box of hairpins, and the third a
tall cap with bright red ribbons.  The Countess had no longer the
slightest pretensions to beauty, but she still preserved the habits
of her youth, dressed in strict accordance with the fashion of
seventy years before, and made as long and as careful a toilette as
she would have done sixty years previously.  Near the window, at an
embroidery frame, sat a young lady, her ward.

"Good-morning, grandmamma," said a young officer, entering the
room.  "Bonjour, Mademoiselle Lise.  Grandmamma, I want to ask you

"What is it, Paul?"

"I want you to let me introduce one of my friends to you, and to
allow me to bring him to the ball on Friday."

"Bring him direct to the ball and introduce him to me there.  Were
you at B----'s yesterday?"

"Yes; everything went off very pleasantly, and dancing was kept up
until five o'clock.  How charming Eletskaia was!"

"But, my dear, what is there charming about her?  Isn't she like
her grandmother, the Princess Daria Petrovna?  By the way, she must
be very old, the Princess Daria Petrovna?"

"How do you mean, old?" cried Tomsky, thoughtlessly, "she died
seven years ago."

The young lady raised her head, and made a sign to the young
officer.  He then remembered that the old Countess was never to be
informed of the death of her contemporaries, and he bit his lips.
But the old Countess heard the news with the greatest indifference.

"Dead!" said she, "and I did not know it.  We were appointed maids
of honor at the same time, and when we were presented to the

And the Countess for the hundredth time related to her grandson one
of her anecdotes.

"Come, Paul," said she, when she had finished her story, "help me
to get up.  Lizanka,* where is my snuffbox?"

* Diminutive of Lizaveta (Elizabeth).

And the Countess with her three maids went behind a screen to
finish her toilette.  Tomsky was left alone with the young lady.

"Who is the gentleman you wish to introduce to the Countess?" asked
Lizaveta Ivanovna in a whisper.

"Naroumoff.  Do you know him?"

"No.  Is he a soldier or a civilian?"

"A soldier."

"Is he in the Engineers?"

"No, in the Cavalry.  What made you think that he was in the

The young lady smiled, but made no reply.

"Paul," cried the Countess from behind the screen, "send me some
new novel, only pray don't let it be one of the present day style."

"What do you mean, grandmother?"

"That is, a novel, in which the hero strangles neither his father
nor his mother, and in which there are no drowned bodies.  I have a
great horror of drowned persons."

"There are no such novels nowadays.  Would you like a Russian one?"

"Are there any Russian novels?  Send me one, my dear, pray send me

"Good-by, grandmother.  I am in a hurry. . . .  Goodby, Lizavetta
Ivanovna.  What made you think that Naroumoff was in the

And Tomsky left the boudoir.

Lizaveta Ivanovna was left alone.  She laid aside her work, and
began to look out of the window.  A few moments afterwards, at a
corner house on the other side of the street, a young officer
appeared.  A deep flush covered her cheeks; she took up her work
again, and bent her head down over the frame.  At the same moment
the Countess returned, completely dressed.

"Order the carriage, Lizaveta," said she, "we will go out for a

Lizaveta rose from the frame, and began to arrange her work.

"What is the matter with you, my child, are you deaf?" cried the
Countess.  "Order the carriage to be got ready at once."

"I will do so this moment," replied the young lady, hastening into
the anteroom.

A servant entered and gave the Countess some books from Prince Paul

"Tell him that I am much obliged to him," said the Countess.
"Lizaveta! Lizaveta! where are you running to?"

"I am going to dress."

"There is plenty of time, my dear.  Sit down here.  Open the first
volume and read to me aloud."

Her companion took the book and read a few lines.

"Louder," said the Countess.  "What is the matter with you, my
child?  Have you lost your voice?  Wait--Give me that footstool--
a little nearer--that will do!"

Lizaveta read two more pages.  The Countess yawned.

"Put the book down," said she, "what a lot of nonsense!  Send it
back to Prince Paul with my thanks. . . .  But where is the

"The carriage is ready," said Lizaveta, looking out into the

"How is it that you are not dressed?" said the Countess.  "I must
always wait for you.  It is intolerable, my dear!"

Liza hastened to her room.  She had not been there two minutes
before the Countess began to ring with all her might.  The three
waiting-maids came running in at one door, and the valet at

"How is it that you cannot hear me when I ring for you?" said the
Countess.  "Tell Lizaveta Ivanovna that I am waiting for her."

Lizaveta returned with her hat and cloak on.

"At last you are here!" said the Countess.  "But why such an
elaborate toilette?  Whom do you intend to captivate?  What sort of
weather is it?  It seems rather windy."

"No, your Ladyship, it is very calm," replied the valet.

"You never think of what you are talking about.  Open the window.
So it is; windy and bitterly cold.  Unharness the horses, Lizaveta,
we won't go out--there was no need to deck yourself like that."

"What a life is mine!" thought Lizaveta Ivanovna.

And, in truth, Lizaveta Ivanovna was a very unfortunate creature.
"The bread of the stranger is bitter," says Dante, "and his
staircase hard to climb."  But who can know what the bitterness of
dependence is so well as the poor companion of an old lady of
quality?  The Countess A---- had by no means a bad heart, but she
was capricious, like a woman who had been spoiled by the world, as
well as being avaricious and egotistical, like all old people, who
have seen their best days, and whose thoughts are with the past,
and not the present.  She participated in all the vanities of the
great world, went to balls, where she sat in a corner, painted and
dressed in old-fashioned style, like a deformed but indispensable
ornament of the ballroom; all the guests on entering approached her
and made a profound bow, as if in accordance with a set ceremony,
but after that nobody took any further notice of her.  She received
the whole town at her house, and observed the strictest etiquette,
although she could no longer recognize the faces of people.  Her
numerous domestics, growing fat and old in her antechamber and
servants' hall, did just as they liked, and vied with each other in
robbing the aged Countess in the most bare-faced manner.  Lizaveta
Ivanovna was the martyr of the household.  She made tea, and was
reproached with using too much sugar; she read novels aloud to the
Countess, and the faults of the author were visited upon her head;
she accompanied the Countess in her walks, and was held answerable
for the weather or the state of the pavement.  A salary was
attached to the post, but she very rarely received it, although she
was expected to dress like everybody else, that is to say, like
very few indeed.  In society she played the most pitiable role.
Everybody knew her, and nobody paid her any attention.  At balls
she danced only when a partner was wanted, and ladies would only
take hold of her arm when it was necessary to lead her out of the
room to attend to their dresses.  She was very self-conscious, and
felt her position keenly, and she looked about her with impatience
for a deliverer to come to her rescue; but the young men,
calculating in their giddiness, honored her with but very little
attention, although Lizaveta Ivanovna was a hundred times prettier
than the bare-faced, cold-hearted marriageable girls around whom
they hovered.  Many a time did she quietly slink away from the
glittering, but wearisome, drawing-room, to go and cry in her own
poor little room, in which stood a screen, a chest of drawers, a
looking-glass, and a painted bedstead, and where a tallow candle
burnt feebly in a copper candle-stick.

One morning--this was about two days after the evening party
described at the beginning of this story, and a week previous to
the scene at which we have just assisted--Lizaveta Ivanovna was
seated near the window at her embroidery frame, when, happening to
look out into the street, she caught sight of a young Engineer
officer, standing motionless with his eyes fixed upon her window.
She lowered her head, and went on again with her work.  About five
minutes afterwards she looked out again--the young officer was
still standing in the same place.  Not being in the habit of
coquetting with passing officers, she did not continue to gaze out
into the street, but went on sewing for a couple of hours, without
raising her head.  Dinner was announced.  She rose up and began to
put her embroidery away, but glancing casually out of the window,
she perceived the officer again.  This seemed to her very strange.
After dinner she went to the window with a certain feeling of
uneasiness, but the officer was no longer there--and she thought no
more about him.

A couple of days afterwards, just as she was stepping into the
carriage with the Countess, she saw him again.  He was standing
close behind the door, with his face half-concealed by his fur
collar, but his dark eyes sparkled beneath his cap.  Lizaveta felt
alarmed, though she knew not why, and she trembled as she seated
herself in the carriage.

On returning home, she hastened to the window--the officer was
standing in his accustomed place, with his eyes fixed upon her.
She drew back, a prey to curiosity, and agitated by a feeling which
was quite new to her.

From that time forward not a day passed without the young officer
making his appearance under the window at the customary hour, and
between him and her there was established a sort of mute
acquaintance.  Sitting in her place at work, she used to feel his
approach, and, raising her head, she would look at him longer and
longer each day.  The young man seemed to be very grateful to her;
she saw with the sharp eye of youth, how a sudden flush covered his
pale cheeks each time that their glances met.  After about a week
she commenced to smile at him. . . .

When Tomsky asked permission of his grandmother, the Countess, to
present one of his friends to her, the young girl's heart beat
violently.  But hearing that Naroumoff was not an Engineer, she
regretted that by her thoughtless question, she had betrayed her
secret to the volatile Tomsky.

Hermann was the son of a German who had become a naturalized
Russian, and from whom he had inherited a small capital.  Being
firmly convinced of the necessity of preserving his independence,
Hermann did not touch his private income, but lived on his pay,
without allowing himself the slightest luxury.  Moreover, he was
reserved and ambitious, and his companions rarely had an
opportunity of making merry at the expense of his extreme
parsimony.  He had strong passions and an ardent imagination, but
his firmness of disposition preserved him from the ordinary errors
of young men.  Thus, though a gamester at heart, he never touched a
card, for he considered his position did not allow him--as he said--
"to risk the necessary in the hope of winning the superfluous,"
yet he would sit for nights together at the card table and follow
with feverish anxiety the different turns of the game.

The story of the three cards had produced a powerful impression
upon his imagination, and all night long he could think of nothing
else.  "If," he thought to himself the following evening, as he
walked along the streets of St. Petersburg, "if the old Countess
would not reveal her secret to me!  If she would only tell me the
names of the three winning cards.  Why should I not try my fortune?
I must get introduced to her and win her favor--become her
lover. . . .  But all that will take time, and she is eighty-seven
years old.  She might be dead in a week, in a couple of days even.
But the story itself?  Can it really be true?  No!  Economy,
temperance, and industry; those are my three winning cards; by
means of them I shall be able to double my capital--increase it
sevenfold, and procure for myself ease and independence."

Musing in this manner, he walked on until he found himself in one
of the principal streets of St. Petersburg, in front of a house of
antiquated architecture.  The street was blocked with equipages;
carriages one after the other drew up in front of the brilliantly
illuminated doorway.  At one moment there stepped out onto the
pavement the well-shaped little foot of some young beauty, at
another the heavy boot of a cavalry officer, and then the silk
stockings and shoes of a member of the diplomatic world.  Fur and
cloaks passed in rapid succession before the gigantic porter at the
entrance.  Hermann stopped.  "Whose house is this?" he asked of the
watchman at the corner.

"The Countess A----'s," replied the watchman.

Hermann started.  The strange story of the three cards again
presented itself to his imagination.  He began walking up and down
before the house, thinking of its owner and her strange secret.
Returning late to his modest lodging, he could not go to sleep for
a long time, and when at last he did doze off, he could dream of
nothing but cards, green tables, piles of banknotes, and heaps of
ducats.  He played one card after the other, winning
uninterruptedly, and then he gathered up the gold and filled his
pockets with the notes.  When he woke up late the next morning, he
sighed over the loss of his imaginary wealth, and then sallying out
into the town, he found himself once more in front of the
Countess's residence.  Some unknown power seemed to have attracted
him thither.  He stopped and looked up at the windows.  At one of
these he saw a head with luxuriant black hair, which was bent down,
probably over some book or an embroidery frame.  The head was
raised.  Hermann saw a fresh complexion, and a pair of dark eyes.
That moment decided his fate.


Lizaveta Ivanovna had scarcely taken off her hat and cloak, when
the Countess sent for her, and again ordered her to get the
carriage ready.  The vehicle drew up before the door, and they
prepared to take their seats.  Just at the moment when two footmen
were assisting the old lady to enter the carriage, Lizaveta saw her
Engineer standing close beside the wheel; he grasped her hand;
alarm caused her to lose her presence of mind, and the young man
disappeared--but not before he had left a letter between her
fingers.  She concealed it in her glove, and during the whole of
the drive she neither saw nor heard anything.  It was the custom of
the Countess, when out for an airing in her carriage, to be
constantly asking such questions as "Who was that person that met
us just now?  What is the name of this bridge?  What is written on
that sign-board?"  On this occasion, however, Lizaveta returned
such vague and absurd answers, that the Countess became angry with

"What is the matter with you, my dear?" she exclaimed.  "Have you
taken leave of your senses, or what is it?  Do you not hear me or
understand what I say?  Heaven be thanked, I am still in my right
mind and speak plainly enough!"

Lizaveta Ivanovna did not hear her.  On returning home she ran to
her room, and drew the letter out of her glove: it was not sealed.
Lizaveta read it.  The letter contained a declaration of love; it
was tender, respectful, and copied word for word from a German
novel.  But Lizaveta did not know anything of the German language,
and she was quite delighted.

For all that, the letter caused her to feel exceedingly uneasy.
For the first time in her life she was entering into secret and
confidential relations with a young man.  His boldness alarmed her.
She reproached herself for her imprudent behavior, and knew not
what to do.  Should she cease to sit at the window, and, by
assuming an appearance of indifference towards him, put a check
upon the young officer's desire for further acquaintance with her?
Should she send his letter back to him, or should she answer him in
a cold and decided manner?  There was nobody to whom she could turn
in her perplexity, for she had neither female friend nor adviser.
At length she resolved to reply to him.

She sat down at her little writing table, took pen and paper, and
began to think.  Several times she began her letter and then tore
it up; the way she had expressed herself seemed to her either too
inviting or too cold and decisive.  At last she succeeded in
writing a few lines with which she felt satisfied.

"I am convinced," she wrote, "that your intentions are honorable,
and that you do not wish to offend me by any imprudent behavior,
but our acquaintance must not begin in such a manner.  I return you
your letter, and I hope that I shall never have any cause to
complain of this undeserved slight."

The next day, as soon as Hermann made his appearance, Lizaveta rose
from her embroidery, went into the drawing-room, opened the
ventilator, and threw the letter into the street, trusting that the
young officer would have the perception to pick it up.

Hermann hastened forward, picked it up, and then repaired to a
confectioner's shop.  Breaking the seal of the envelope, he found
inside it his own letter and Lizaveta's reply.  He had expected
this, and he returned home, his mind deeply occupied with his

Three days afterwards a bright-eyed young girl from a milliner's
establishment brought Lizaveta a letter.  Lizaveta opened it with
great uneasiness, fearing that it was a demand for money, when,
suddenly, she recognized Hermann's handwriting.

"You have made a mistake, my dear," said she.  "This letter is not
for me."

"Oh, yes, it is for you," replied the girl, smiling very knowingly.
"Have the goodness to read it."

Lizaveta glanced at the letter.  Hermann requested an interview.

"It cannot be," she cried, alarmed at the audacious request and the
manner in which it was made.  "This letter is certainly not for
me," and she tore it into fragments.

"If the letter was not for you, why have you torn it up?" said the
girl.  "I should have given it back to the person who sent it."

"Be good enough, my dear," said Lizaveta, disconcerted by this
remark, "not to bring me any more letters for the future, and tell
the person who sent you that he ought to be ashamed."

But Hermann was not the man to be thus put off.  Every day Lizaveta
received from him a letter, sent now in this way, now in that.
They were no longer translated from the German.  Hermann wrote them
under the inspiration of passion, and spoke in his own language,
and they bore full testimony to the inflexibility of his desire,
and the disordered condition of his uncontrollable imagination.
Lizaveta no longer thought of sending them back to him; she became
intoxicated with them, and began to reply to them, and little by
little her answers became longer and more affectionate.  At last
she threw out of the window to him the following letter:

"This evening there is going to be a ball at the Embassy.  The
Countess will be there.  We shall remain until two o'clock.  You
have now an opportunity of seeing me alone.  As soon as the
Countess is gone, the servants will very probably go out, and there
will be nobody left but the Swiss, but he usually goes to sleep in
his lodge.  Come about half-past eleven.  Walk straight upstairs.
If you meet anybody in the anteroom, ask if the Countess is at
home.  You will be told 'No,' in which case there will be nothing
left for you to do but to go away again.  But it is most probable
that you will meet nobody.  The maidservants will all be together
in one room.  On leaving the anteroom, turn to the left, and walk
straight on until you reach the Countess's bedroom.  In the
bedroom, behind a screen, you will find two doors: the one on the
right leads to a cabinet, which the Countess never enters; the one
on the left leads to a corridor, at the end of which is a little
winding staircase; this leads to my room."

Hermann trembled like a tiger as he waited for the appointed time
to arrive.  At ten o'clock in the evening he was already in front
of the Countess's house.  The weather was terrible; the wind blew
with great violence, the sleety snow fell in large flakes, the
lamps emitted a feeble light, the streets were deserted; from time
to time a sledge drawn by a sorry-looking hack, passed by on the
lookout for a belated passenger.  Hermann was enveloped in a thick
overcoat, and felt neither wind nor snow.

At last the Countess's carriage drew up.  Hermann saw two footmen
carry out in their arms the bent form of the old lady, wrapped in
sable fur, and immediately behind her, clad in a warm mantle, and
with her head ornamented with a wreath of fresh flowers, followed
Lizaveta.  The door was closed.  The carriage rolled heavily away
through the yielding snow.  The porter shut the street door, the
windows became dark.

Hermann began walking up and down near the deserted house; at
length he stopped under a lamp, and glanced at his watch: it was
twenty minutes past eleven.  He remained standing under the lamp,
his eyes fixed upon the watch impatiently waiting for the remaining
minutes to pass.  At half-past eleven precisely Hermann ascended
the steps of the house and made his way into the brightly-
illuminated vestibule.  The porter was not there.  Hermann hastily
ascended the staircase, opened the door of the anteroom, and saw a
footman sitting asleep in an antique chair by the side of a lamp.
With a light, firm step Hermann passed by him.  The drawing-room
and dining-room were in darkness, but a feeble reflection
penetrated thither from the lamp in the anteroom.

Hermann reached the Countess's bedroom.  Before a shrine, which was
full of old images, a golden lamp was burning.  Faded stuffed
chairs and divans with soft cushions stood in melancholy symmetry
around the room, the walls of which were hung with china silk.  On
one side of the room hung two portraits painted in Paris by Madame
Lebrun.  One of these represented a stout, red-faced man of about
forty years of age, in a bright green uniform, and with a star upon
his breast; the other--a beautiful young woman, with an aquiline
nose, forehead curls, and a rose in her powdered hair.  In the
corner stood porcelain shepherds and shepherdesses, dining-room
clocks from the workshop of the celebrated Lefroy, bandboxes,
roulettes, fans, and the various playthings for the amusement of
ladies that were in vogue at the end of the last century, when
Montgolfier's balloons and Niesber's magnetism were the rage.
Hermann stepped behind the screen.  At the back of it stood a
little iron bedstead; on the right was the door which led to the
cabinet; on the left, the other which led to the corridor.  He
opened the latter, and saw the little winding staircase which led
to the room of the poor companion.  But he retraced his steps and
entered the dark cabinet.

The time passed slowly.  All was still.  The clock in the drawing-
room struck twelve, the strokes echoed through the room one after
the other, and everything was quiet again.  Hermann stood leaning
against the cold stove.  He was calm, his heart beat regularly,
like that of a man resolved upon a dangerous but inevitable
undertaking.  One o'clock in the morning struck; then two, and he
heard the distant noise of carriage-wheels.  An involuntary
agitation took possession of him.  The carriage drew near and
stopped.  He heard the sound of the carriage steps being let down.
All was bustle within the house.  The servants were running hither
and thither, there was a confusion of voices, and the rooms were
lit up.  Three antiquated chambermaids entered the bedroom, and
they were shortly afterwards followed by the Countess, who, more
dead than alive, sank into a Voltaire armchair.  Hermann peeped
through a chink.  Lizaveta Ivanovna passed close by him, and he
heard her hurried steps as she hastened up the little spiral
staircase.  For a moment his heart was assailed by something like a
pricking of conscience, but the emotion was only transitory, and
his heart became petrified as before.

The Countess began to undress before her looking-glass.  Her rose-
bedecked cap was taken off, and then her powdered wig was removed
from off her white and closely cut hair.  Hairpins fell in showers
around her.  Her yellow satin dress, brocaded with silver, fell
down at her swollen feet.

Hermann was a witness of the repugnant mysteries of her toilette;
at last the Countess was in her night-cap and dressing-gown, and in
this costume, more suitable to her age, she appeared less hideous
and deformed.

Like all old people, in general, the Countess suffered from
sleeplessness.  Having undressed, she seated herself at the window
in a Voltaire armchair, and dismissed her maids.  The candles were
taken away, and once more the room was left with only one lamp
burning in it.  The Countess sat there looking quite yellow,
mumbling with her flaccid lips and swaying to and fro.  Her dull
eyes expressed complete vacancy of mind, and, looking at her, one
would have thought that the rocking of her body was not a voluntary
action of her own, but was produced by the action of some concealed
galvanic mechanism.

Suddenly the death-like face assumed an inexplicable expression.
The lips ceased to tremble, the eyes became animated: before the
Countess stood an unknown man.

"Do not be alarmed, for Heaven's sake, do not be alarmed!" said he
in a low but distinct voice.  "I have no intention of doing you any
harm; I have only come to ask a favor of you."

The old woman looked at him in silence, as if she had not heard
what he had said.  Hermann thought that she was deaf, and, bending
down towards her ear, he repeated what he had said.  The aged
Countess remained silent as before.

"You can insure the happiness of my life," continued Hermann, "and
it will cost you nothing.  I know that you can name three cards in

Hermann stopped.  The Countess appeared now to understand what he
wanted; she seemed as if seeking for words to reply.

"It was a joke," she replied at last.  "I assure you it was only a

"There is no joking about the matter," replied Hermann, angrily.
"Remember Chaplitsky, whom you helped to win."

The Countess became visibly uneasy.  Her features expressed strong
emotion, but they quickly resumed their former immobility.

"Can you not name me these three winning cards?" continued Hermann.

The Countess remained silent; Hermann continued:

"For whom are you preserving your secret?  For your grandsons?
They are rich enough without it, they do not know the worth of
money.  Your cards would be of no use to a spendthrift.  He who
cannot preserve his paternal inheritance will die in want, even
though he had a demon at his service.  I am not a man of that sort.
I know the value of money.  Your three cards will not be thrown
away upon me.  Come!"

He paused and tremblingly awaited her reply.  The Countess remained
silent.  Hermann fell upon his knees.

"If your heart has ever known the feeling of love," said be, "if
you remember its rapture, if you have ever smiled at the cry of
your new-born child, if any human feeling has ever entered into
your breast, I entreat you by the feelings of a wife, a lover, a
mother, by all that is most sacred in life, not to reject my
prayer.  Reveal to me your secret.  Of what use is it to you?  May
be it is connected with some terrible sin, with the loss of eternal
salvation, with some bargain with the devil.  Reflect, you are old,
you have not long to live--I am ready to take your sins upon my
soul.  Only reveal to me your secret.  Remember that the happiness
of a man is in your hands, that not only I, but my children and my
grandchildren, will bless your memory and reverence you as a

The old Countess answered not a word.

Hermann rose to his feet.

"You old hag!" he exclaimed, grinding his teeth, "then I will make
you answer!"  With these words he drew a pistol from his pocket.
At the sight of the pistol, the Countess for the second time
exhibited strong emotions.  She shook her head, and raised her
hands as if to protect herself from the shot.  Then she fell
backwards, and remained motionless.

"Come, an end to this childish nonsense!" said Hermann, taking hold
of her hand.  "I ask you for the last time: will you tell me the
names of your three cards, or will you not?"

The Countess made no reply.  Hermann perceived that she was dead!


Lizaveta Ivanovna was sitting in her room, still in her ball dress,
lost in deep thought.  On returning home, she had hastily dismissed
the chambermaid, who very reluctantly came forward to assist her,
saying that she would undress herself, and with a trembling heart
had gone up to her own room, expecting to find Hermann there, but
yet hoping not to find him.  At the first glance he was not there,
and she thanked her fate for having prevented him keeping the
appointment.  She sat down without undressing, and began to call to
mind all the circumstances which in a short time had carried her so
far.  It was not three weeks since the time when she had first seen
the young officer from the window--and yet she was already in
correspondence with him, and he had succeeded in inducing her to
grant him a nocturnal interview.  She knew his name only through
his having written it at the bottom of some of his letters; she had
never spoken to him, had never heard his voice, and had never heard
him spoken of until that evening.  But, strange to say, that very
evening at the ball, Tomsky, being piqued with the young Princess
Pauline N----, who, contrary to her usual custom, did not flirt
with him, wished to revenge himself by assuming an air of
indifference: he therefore engaged Lizaveta Ivanovna, and danced an
endless mazurka with her.  During the whole of the time he kept
teasing her about her partiality for Engineer officers, he assured
her that he knew far more than she imagined, and some of his jests
were so happily aimed, that Lizaveta thought several times that her
secret was known to him.

"From whom have you learned all this?" she asked, smiling.

"From a friend of a person very well known to you," replied Tomsky,
"from a very distinguished man."

"And whom is this distinguished man?"

"His name is Hermann."  Lizaveta made no reply, but her hands and
feet lost all sense of feeling.

"This Hermann," continued Tomsky, "is a man of romantic
personality.  He has the profile of a Napoleon, and the soul of a
Mephistopheles.  I believe that he has at least three crimes upon
his conscience.  How pale you have become!"

"I have a headache.  But what did this Hermann, or whatever his
name is, tell you?"

"Hermann is very dissatisfied with his friend.  He says that in his
place he would act very differently.  I even think that Hermann
himself has designs upon you; at least, he listens very attentively
to all that his friend has to say about you."

"And where has he seen me?"

"In church, perhaps; or on the parade.  God alone knows where.  It
may have been in your room, while you were asleep, for there is
nothing that he--"

Three ladies approaching him with the question: "oubli ou regret?"
interrupted the conversation, which had become so tantalizingly
interesting to Lizaveta.

The lady chosen by Tomsky was the Princess Pauline herself.  She
succeeded in effecting a reconciliation with him during the
numerous turns of the dance, after which he conducted her to her
chair.  On returning to his place, Tomsky thought no more either of
Hermann or Lizaveta.  She longed to renew the interrupted
conversation, but the mazurka came to an end, and shortly
afterwards the old Countess took her departure.

Tomsky's words were nothing more than the customary small talk of
the dance, but they sank deep into the soul of the young dreamer.
The portrait, sketched by Tomsky, coincided with the picture she
had formed within her own mind, and, thanks to the latest romances,
the ordinary countenance of her admirer became invested with
attributes capable of alarming her and fascinating her imagination
at the same time.  She was now sitting with her bare arms crossed,
and with her head, still adorned with flowers, sunk upon her
uncovered bosom.  Suddenly the door opened and Hermann entered.
She shuddered.

"Where were you?" she asked in a terrified whisper.

"In the old Countess's bedroom," replied Hermann.  "I have just
left her.  The Countess is dead."

"My God!  What do you say?"

"And I am afraid," added Hermann, "that I am the cause of her

Lizaveta looked at him, and Tomsky's words found an echo in her
soul: "This man has at least three crimes upon his conscience!"
Hermann sat down by the window near her, and related all that had

Lizaveta listened to him in terror.  So all those passionate
letters, those ardent desires, this bold, obstinate pursuit--all
this was not love!  Money--that was what his soul yearned for!  She
could not satisfy his desire and make him happy.  The poor girl had
been nothing but the blind tool of a robber, of the murderer of her
aged benefactress!  She wept bitter tears of agonized repentance.
Hermann gazed at her in silence; his heart, too, was a prey to
violent emotion, but neither the tears of the poor girl, nor the
wonderful charm of her beauty, enhanced by her grief, could produce
any impression upon his hardened soul.  He felt no pricking of
conscience at the thought of the dead old woman.  One thing only
grieved him: the irreparable loss of the secret from which he had
expected to obtain great wealth.

"You are a monster!" said Lizaveta at last.

"I did not wish for her death," replied Hermann, "my pistol was not
loaded."  Both remained silent.  The day began to dawn.  Lizaveta
extinguished her candle, a pale light illumined her room.  She
wiped her tear-stained eyes, and raised them towards Hermann.  He
was sitting near the window, with his arms crossed, and with a
fierce frown upon his forehead.  In this attitude he bore a
striking resemblance to the portrait of Napoleon.  This resemblance
struck Lizaveta even.

"How shall I get you out of the house?" said she at last.  "I
thought of conducting you down the secret staircase."

"I will go alone," he answered.

Lizaveta arose, took from her drawer a key, handed it to Hermann,
and gave him the necessary instructions.  Hermann pressed her cold,
inert hand, kissed her bowed head, and left the room.

He descended the winding staircase, and once more entered the
Countess's bedroom.  The dead old lady sat as if petrified, her
face expressed profound tranquillity.  Hermann stopped before her,
and gazed long and earnestly at her, as if he wished to convince
himself of the terrible reality.  At last he entered the cabinet,
felt behind the tapestry for the door, and then began to descend
the dark staircase, filled with strange emotions.  "Down this very
staircase," thought he, "perhaps coming from the very same room,
and at this very same hour sixty years ago, there may have glided,
in an embroidered coat, with his hair dressed a l'oiseau royal, and
pressing to his heart his three-cornered hat, some young gallant
who has long been mouldering in the grave, but the heart of his
aged mistress has only today ceased to beat."

At the bottom of the staircase Hermann found a door, which he
opened with a key, and then traversed a corridor which conducted
him into the street.


Three days after the fatal night, at nine o'clock in the morning,
Hermann repaired to the Convent of -----, where the last honors
were to be paid to the mortal remains of the old Countess.
Although feeling no remorse, he could not altogether stifle the
voice of conscience, which said to him: "You are the murderer of
the old woman!"  In spite of his entertaining very little religious
belief, he was exceedingly superstitions; and believing that the
dead Countess might exercise an evil influence on his life, he
resolved to be present at her obsequies in order to implore her

The church was full.  It was with difficulty that Hermann made his
way through the crowd of people.  The coffin was placed upon a rich
catafalque beneath a velvet baldachin.  The deceased Countess lay
within it, with her hands crossed upon her breast, with a lace cap
upon her head, and dressed in a white satin robe.  Around the
catafalque stood the members of her household; the servants in
black caftans, with armorial ribbons upon their shoulders and
candles in their hands; the relatives--children, grandchildren, and
great-grandchildren--in deep mourning.

Nobody wept, tears would have been an affectation.  The Countess
was so old that her death could have surprised nobody, and her
relatives had long looked upon her as being out of the world.  A
famous preacher delivered the funeral sermon.  In simple and
touching words he described the peaceful passing away of the
righteous, who had passed long years in calm preparation for a
Christian end.  "The angel of death found her," said the orator,
"engaged in pious meditation and waiting for the midnight

The service concluded amidst profound silence.  The relatives went
forward first to take a farewell of the corpse.  Then followed the
numerous guests, who had come to render the last homage to her who
for so many years had been a participator in their frivolous
amusements.  After these followed the members of the Countess's
household.  The last of these an old woman of the same age as the
deceased.  Two young women led her forward by the hand.  She had
not strength enough to bow down to the ground--she merely shed a
few tears, and kissed the cold hand of the mistress.

Herman now resolved to approach the coffin.  He knelt down upon the
cold stones, and remained in that position for some minutes; at
last he arose as pale as the deceased Countess herself; he ascended
the steps of the catafalque and bent over the corpse. . . .  At
that moment it seemed to him that the dead woman darted a mocking
look at him and winked with one eye.  Hermann started back, took a
false step, and fell to the ground.  Several persons hurried
forward and raised him up.  At the same moment Lizaveta Ivanovna
was borne fainting into the porch of the church.  This episode
disturbed for some minutes the solemnity of the gloomy ceremony.
Among the congregation arose a deep murmur, and a tall, thin
chamberlain, a near relative of the deceased, whispered in the ear
of an Englishman, who was standing near him, that the young officer
was a natural son of the Countess, to which the Englishman coldly
replied "Oh!"

During the whole of that day Hermann was strangely excited.
Repairing to an out of the way restaurant to dine, be drank a great
deal of wine, contrary to his usual custom, in the hope of
deadening his inward agitation.  But the wine only served to excite
his imagination still more.  On returning home he threw himself
upon his bed without undressing, and fell into a deep sleep.

When he woke up it was already night, and the moon was shining into
the room.  He looked at his watch: it was a quarter to three.
Sleep had left him; he sat down upon his bed, and thought of the
funeral of the old Countess.

At that moment somebody in the street looked in at his window and
immediately passed on again.  Hermann paid no attention to this
incident.  A few moments afterwards he heard the door of his
anteroom open.  Hermann thought that it was his orderly, drunk as
usual, returning from some nocturnal expedition, but presently he
heard footsteps that were unknown to him: somebody was walking
softly over the floor in slippers.  The door opened, and a woman
dressed in white entered the room.  Hermann mistook her for his old
nurse, and wondered what could bring her there at that hour of the
night.  But the white woman glided rapidly across the room and
stood before him--and Hermann thought he recognized the Countess.

"I have come to you against my wish," she said in a firm voice,
"but I have been ordered to grant your request.  Three, seven, ace,
will win for you if played in succession, but only on these
conditions: that you do not play more than one card in twenty-four-
hours, and that you never play again during the rest of your life.
I forgive you my death, on condition that you marry my companion,
Lizaveta Ivanovna."

With these words she turned round very quietly, walked with a
shuffling gait towards the door, and disappeared.  Hermann heard
the street door open and shut, and again he saw someone look in at
him through the window.

For a long time Hermann could not recover himself.  He then rose up
and entered the next room.  His orderly was lying asleep upon the
floor, and he had much difficulty in waking him.  The orderly was
drunk as usual, and no information could be obtained from him.  The
street door was locked.  Hermann returned to his room, lit his
candle, and wrote down all the details of his vision.


Two fixed ideas can no more exist together in the moral world than
two bodies can occupy one and the same physical world.  "Three,
seven, ace" soon drove out of Hermann's mind the thought of the
dead Countess.  "Three, seven, ace" were perpetually running
through his head, and continually being repeated by his lips.  If
he saw a young girl, he would say: "How slender she is; quite like
the three of hearts."  If anybody asked "What is the time?" he
would reply: "Five minutes to seven."  Every stout man that he saw
reminded him of the ace.  "Three, seven, ace" haunted him in his
sleep, and assumed all possible shapes.  The threes bloomed before
him in the forms of magnificent flowers, the sevens were
represented by Gothic portals, and the aces became transformed into
gigantic spiders.  One thought alone occupied his whole mind--to
make a profitable use of the secret which he had purchased so
dearly.  He thought of applying for a furlough so as to travel
abroad.  He wanted to go to Paris and tempt fortune in some
gambling houses that abounded there.  Chance spared him all this

There was in Moscow a society of rich gamesters, presided over by
the celebrated Chekalinsky, who had passed all his life at the card
table, and had amassed millions, accepting bills of exchange for
his winnings, and paying his losses in ready money.  His long
experience secured for him the confidence of his companions, and
his open house, his famous cook, and his agreeable and fascinating
manners, gained for him the respect of the public.  He came to St.
Petersburg.  The young men of the capital flocked to his rooms,
forgetting balls for cards, and preferring the emotions of faro to
the seductions of flirting.  Naroumoff conducted Hermann to
Chekalinsky's residence.

They passed through a suite of rooms, filled with attentive
domestics.  The place was crowded.  Generals and Privy Counsellors
were playing at whist, young men were lolling carelessly upon the
velvet-covered sofas, eating ices and smoking pipes.  In the
drawing-room, at the head of a long table, around which were
assembled about a score of players, sat the master of the house
keeping the bank.  He was a man of about sixty years of age, of a
very dignified appearance; his head was covered with silvery white
hair; his full, florid countenance expressed good-nature, and his
eyes twinkled with a perpetual smile.  Naroumoff introduced Hermann
to him.  Chekalinsky shook him by the hand in a friendly manner,
requested him not to stand on ceremony, and then went on dealing.

The game occupied some time.  On the table lay more than thirty
cards.  Chekalinsky paused after each throw, in order to give the
players time to arrange their cards and note down their losses,
listened politely to their requests, and more politely still,
straightened the corners of cards that some player's hand had
chanced to bend.  At last the game was finished.  Chekalinsky
shuffled the cards, and prepared to deal again.

"Will you allow me to take a card?" said Hermann, stretching out
his hand from behind a stout gentleman who was punting.

Chekalinsky smiled and bowed silently, as a sign of acquiescence.
Naroumoff laughingly congratulated Hermann on his abjuration of
that abstention from cards which he had practised for so long a
period, and wished him a lucky beginning.

"Stake!" said Hermann, writing some figures with chalk on the back
of his card.

"How much?" asked the banker, contracting the muscles of his eyes,
"excuse me, I cannot see quite clearly."

"Forty-seven thousand roubles," replied Hermann.  At these words
every head in the room turned suddenly round, and all eyes were
fixed upon Hermann.

"He has taken leave of his senses!" thought Naroumoff.

"Allow me to inform you," said Chekalinsky, with his eternal smile,
"that you are playing very high; nobody here has ever staked more
than two hundred and seventy-five roubles at once."

"Very well," replied Hermann, "but do you accept my card or not?"

Chekalinsky bowed in token of consent.

"I only wish to observe," said he, "that although I have the
greatest confidence in my friends, I can only play against ready
money.  For my own part I am quite convinced that your word is
sufficient, but for the sake of the order of the game, and to
facilitate the reckoning up, I must ask you to put the money on
your card."

Hermann drew from his pocket a bank-note, and handed it to
Chekalinsky, who, after examining it in a cursory manner, placed it
on Hermann's card.

He began to deal.  On the right a nine turned up, and on the left a

"I have won!" said Hermann, showing his card.

A murmur of astonishment arose among the players.  Chekalinsky
frowned, but the smile quickly returned to his face.  "Do you wish
me to settle with you?" he said to Hermann.

"If you please," replied the latter.

Chekalinsky drew from his pocket a number of banknotes and paid at
once.  Hermann took up his money and left the table.  Naroumoff
could not recover from his astonishment.  Hermann drank a glass of
lemonade and returned home.

The next evening he again repaired to Chekalinsky's.  The host was
dealing.  Hermann walked up to the table; the punters immediately
made room for him.  Chekalinsky greeted him with a gracious bow.

Hermann waited for the next deal, took a card and placed upon it
his forty-seven thousand roubles, together with his winnings of the
previous evening.

Chekalinsky began to deal.  A knave turned up on the right, a seven
on the left.

Hermann showed his seven.

There was a general exclamation.  Chekalinsky was evidently ill at
ease, but he counted out the ninety-four thousand roubles and
handed them over to Hermann, who pocketed them in the coolest
manner possible, and immediately left the house.

The next evening Hermann appeared again at the table.  Everyone was
expecting him.  The generals and privy counsellors left their whist
in order to watch such extraordinary play.  The young officers
quitted their sofas, and even the servants crowded into the room.
All pressed round Hermann.  The other players left off punting,
impatient to see how it would end.  Hermann stood at the table, and
prepared to play alone against the pale, but still smiling
Chekalinsky.  Each opened a pack of cards.  Chekalinsky shuffled.
Hermann took a card and covered it with a pile of bank-notes.  It
was like a duel.  Deep silence reigned around.

Chekalinsky began to deal, his hands trembled.  On the right a
queen turned up, and on the left an ace.

"Ace has won!" cried Hermann, showing his card.

"Your queen has lost," said Chekalinsky, politely.

Hermann started; instead of an ace, there lay before him the queen
of spades!  He could not believe his eyes, nor could he understand
how he had made such a mistake.

At that moment it seemed to him that the queen of spades smiled
ironically, and winked her eye at him.  He was struck by her
remarkable resemblance. . . .

"The old Countess!" he exclaimed, seized with terror.  Chekalinsky
gathered up his winnings.  For some time Hermann remained perfectly
motionless.  When at last he left the table, there was a general
commotion in the room.

"Splendidly punted!" said the players.  Chekalinsky shuffled the
cards afresh, and the game went on as usual.

       .          .          .          .          .

Hermann went out of his mind, and is now confined in room number
seventeen of the Oboukhoff Hospital.  He never answers any
questions, but he constantly mutters with unusual rapidity: "Three,
seven, ace!  Three, seven, queen!"

Lizaveta Ivanovna has married a very amiable young man, a son of
the former steward of the old Countess.  He is in the service of
the State somewhere, and is in receipt of a good income.  Lizaveta
is also supporting a poor relative.

Tomsky has been promoted to the rank of captain, and has become the
husband of the Princess Pauline.

Vera Jelihovsky

The General's Will

It happened in winter, just before the holidays.  Ivan Feodorovitch
Lobnitchenko, the lawyer, whose office is in one of the main
streets of St. Petersburg, was called hurriedly to witness the last
will and testament of one at the point of death.  The sick man was
not strictly a client of Ivan Feodorovitch; under other
circumstances, he might have refused to make this late call, after
a day's heavy toil . . . but the dying man was an aristocrat and a
millionaire, and such as he meet no refusals, whether in life, or,
much more, at the moment of death.

Lobnitchenko, taking a secretary and everything necessary, with a
sigh scratched himself behind the ear, and thrusting aside the
thought of the delightful evening at cards that awaited him, set
out to go to the sick man.

General Iuri Pavlovitch Nasimoff was far gone.  Even the most
compassionate doctors did not give him many days to live, when he
finally decided to destroy the will which he had made long ago, not
in St. Petersburg, but in the provincial city where he had played
the Tsar for so many years.  The general had come to the capital
for a time, and had lain down--to rise no more.

This was the opinion of the physicians, and of most of those about
him; the sick man himself was unwilling to admit it.  He was a
stalwart-hearted and until recently a stalwart-bodied old man,
tall, striking, with an energetic face, and a piercing, masterful
glance, hard to forget, even if you saw him only once.

He was lying on the sofa, in a richly furnished hotel suite,
consisting of three of the best rooms.  He received the lawyer
gayly enough.  He himself explained the circumstances to him,
though every now and then compelled to stop by a paroxysm of pain,
with difficulty repressing the groans which almost escaped him, in
spite of all his efforts.  During these heavy moments, Ivan
Feodorovitch raised his eyes buried in fat to the sick man's face,
and his plump little features were convulsed in sympathy with the
sufferer's pain.  As soon as the courageous old man, fighting hard
with the paroxysms of pain, had got the better of them, taking his
hands from his contorted face, and drawing a painful breath, he
began anew to explain his will.  Lobnitchenko dropped his eyes
again and became all attention.

The general explained in detail to the lawyer.  He had been married
twice, and had three children, a son and a daughter from his first
marriage, who had long ago reached adultship, and a nine-year-old
daughter from his second marriage.  His second wife and daughter he
expected every day; they were abroad, but would soon return.  His
elder daughter would also probably come.

The lawyer was not acquainted with Nazimoff's family; indeed he had
never before seen the general, though, like all Russia, he knew of
him by repute.  But judging from the tone of contempt or of pity
with which he spoke of his second wife or her daughter, the lawyer
guessed at once that the general's home life was not happy.  The
further explanations of the sick man convinced him of this.  A new
will was to be drawn up, directly contrary to the will signed six
years before, which bequeathed to his second wife, Olga
Vseslavovna, unlimited authority over their little daughter, and
her husband's entire property.  In the first will he had left
nearly everything, with the exception of the family estate, which
he did not feel justified in taking from his son, to his second
wife and her daughter.  Now he wished to restore to his elder
children the rights which he had deprived them of, and especially
to his eldest daughter, Anna Iurievna Borissova, who was not even
mentioned in the first will.  In the new will, with the exception
of the seventh part, the widow's share, he divided the whole of his
land and capital between his children equally; and he further
appointed a strict guardianship over the property of his little
daughter, Olga Iurievna.

The will was duly arranged, drawn up and witnessed, and after the
three witnesses had signed it, it was left, by the general's wish,
in his own keeping.

"I will send it to you to take care of," he said to the lawyer.
"It will be safer in your hands than here, in my temporary
quarters.  But first I wish to read it to my wife, and . . . to my
eldest daughter . . . if she arrives in time."

The lawyer and the priest, who was one of the witnesses, were
already preparing to take leave of the general, when voices and
steps were heard in the corridor; a footman's head appeared through
the door, calling the doctor hurriedly forth.  It appeared that the
general's lady had arrived suddenly, without letting anyone know by
telegram that she was coming.

The doctor hastily slipped out of the room; he feared the result of
emotion on the sick man, and wished to warn the general's wife of
his grave danger, but the sick man noticed the move, and it was
impossible to guard him against disturbance.

"What is going on there?" he asked.  "What are you mumbling about,
Edouard Vicentevitch?  Tell me what is the matter?  Is it my

"Your excellency, I beg of you to take care of yourself!" the
doctor was beginning, evidently quite familiar with the general's
family affairs, and therefore dreading the meeting of husband and
wife.  "It is not Anna Iurievna. . . ."

"Aha!" the sick man interrupted him; "she has come?  Very well.
Let her come in.  Only the little one . . . I don't wish her to
come . . . to-day."

Suffering was visible in his eyes, this time not bodily suffering.

The door opened, with the rustling of a silk dress.  A tall, well-
developed, and decidedly handsome woman appeared on the threshhold.
She glanced at the pain-stricken face, which smiled contemptuously
toward her.  In a moment she was beside the general, kneeling
beside him on the carpet, bending close to him, and pressing his
hand, as she repeated in a despairing whisper:

"Oh, Georges!  Georges!  Is it really you, my poor friend?"

It would be hard to define the expression of rapidly changing
emotions which passed over the sick man's face, which made his
breast heave, and his great heart quiver and tremble painfully.
Displeasure and pity, sympathy and contempt, anger and grief, all
were expressed in the short, sharp, bitter laugh, and the few words
which escaped his lips when he saw his little daughter timidly
following her mother into his room.

"Do not teach her to lie!" and he nodded toward the child, and
turned toward the wall, with an expression of pain and pity on his
face.  The lawyer and the priest hastened to take their leave and

"Ah! Sinners! sinners!" muttered the latter, as he descended the

"Things are not in good shape between them?" asked Lobnitchenko.
"They don't get on well together?"

"How should they be in good shape, when he came here to get a
divorce?" whispered the priest, shaping his fur cap.  "But God
decided otherwise.  Even without a divorce, he will be separated
forever from his wife!"

"I don't believe he is so very far gone.  He is a stalwart old man.
Perhaps he will pull through," went on the man of law.

"God's hand is over all," answered the priest, shrugging his
shoulders.  And so they went their different ways.


"OLGA!" cried the sick man, without turning round, and feeling near
him the swift movement of his wife, he pushed her away with an
impatient movement of his hand, and added, "Not you! my daughter

"Olga!  Go, my child, papa is calling you," cried the general's
wife in a soft voice, in French, to the little girl, who was
standing undecidedly in the center of the room.

"Can you not drop your foreign phrases?" angrily interrupted the
general.  "This is not a drawing-room!  You might drop it, from a
sense of decency."

His voice became shrill, and made the child shudder and begin to
cry.  She went to him timidly.

The general looked at her with an expression of pain.  He drew her
toward him with his left hand, raising the right to bless her.

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!" he
whispered, making the sign of the cross over her.  "God guard you
from evil, from every bad influence. . . .  Be kind . . . honest . . .
most of all, be honest!  Never tell lies.  God guard you from
falsehood, from lying, even more than from sorrow!"

Tears filled the dying man's eyes.  Little Olga shuddered from head
to foot; she feared her father, and at the same time was so sorry
for him.  But pity got the upper hand.  She clung to him, wetting
him with her tears.  Her father raised his hand, wishing to make
the sign of the cross once more over the little head which lay on
his breast, but could not complete the gesture.  His hand fell
heavily, his face was once more contorted, with pain; he turned to
those who stood near him, evidently avoiding meeting his wife's
eyes, and whispered:

"Take her away.  It is enough.  Christ be with her!"  And for a
moment he collected strength to place his hand on the child's head.

The doctor took the little girl by the hand, but her mother moved
quickly toward her.

"Kiss him!  Kiss papa's hand!" she whispered, "bid him good-by!"

The general's wife sobbed, and covered her face with her
handkerchief, with the grand gesture of a stage queen.  The sick
man did not see this.  At the sound of her voice he frowned and
closed his eyes tight, evidently trying not to listen.  The doctor
led the little girl away to another room and gave her to her

When he came back to the sick man, the general, lying on the sofa,
still in the same position, and without looking at his wife who
stood beside his pillow, said to her:

"I expect my poor daughter Anna, who has suffered so much injustice
through you. . . .  I have asked her to forgive me.  I shall pray
her to be a mother to her little sister . . . .  I have appointed
her the child's guardian.  She is good and honest . . . she will
teach the child no evil.  And this will be best for you also.  You
are provided for.  You will find out from the new will.  You could
not have had any profit from being her guardian.  If Anna does not
consent to take little Olga to live with her, and to educate her
with her own children, as I have asked her, Olga will be sent to a
school.  You will prefer liberty to your daughter; it will be
pleasanter for you.  Is it not so?"

Contempt and bitter irony were perceptible in his voice.  His wife
did not utter a syllable.  She remained so quiet that it might have
been thought she did not even hear him, but for the convulsive
movement of her lips, and of the fingers of her tightly clasped

The doctor once more made a movement to withdraw discreetly, but
the general's voice stopped him.

"Edouard Vicentevitch?  Is he here?"

"I am here, your excellency," answered the doctor, bending over the
sick man.  "Would not your excellency prefer to be carried to the
bed?  It will be more comfortable lying down."

"More comfortable to die?" sharply interrupted the general.  "Why
do you drivel?  You know I detest beds and blankets.  Drop it!
Here, take this," and he gave him a sheet of crested paper folded
in four, which was lying beside him.  "Read it, please.  Aloud! so
that she may know."

He turned his eyes toward his wife.  The doctor unwillingly began
his unpleasant task.  He was a man of fine feeling, and although he
had no very high opinion of the general's wife, still she was a
woman.  And a beautiful woman.  He would have preferred that she
should learn from someone else how many of the pleasures of life
were slipping away from her, in virtue of the new will.  But there
was nothing for it but to do as he was ordered.  It was always hard
to oppose Iuri Pavlovitch; now it was quite impossible.

Olga Vseslavovna listened to the reading of the will with complete
composure.  She sat motionless, leaning back in an armchair, with
downcast eyes, and only showing her emotion when her husband was no
longer able to stifle a groan.  Then she turned toward him her
pale, beautiful face, with evident signs of heartfelt sympathy, and
was even rising to come to his assistance.  The sick man
impatiently refused her services, significantly turning his eyes
toward the doctor, who was reading his last will and testament, as
though he would say: "Listen!  Listen!  It concerns you."

It did concern her, without a doubt.  General Nazimoff's wife
learned that, instead of an income of a hundred thousand a year,
which she had had a right to expect, she could count only on a sum
sufficient to keep her from poverty; what in her opinion was a mere

The doctor finished reading, coughing to hide his confusion, and
slowly folded the document.

"You have heard?" asked the general, in a faint, convulsive voice.

"I have heard, my friend," quietly answered his wife.

"You have nothing to say?"

"What can I say?  You have a right to dispose of what belongs to
you. . . .  But . . . still I . . ."

"Still you what?" sharply asked her husband.

"Still, I hope, my friend, that this is not your last will. . . ."

General Nazimoff turned, and even made an effort to raise himself
on his elbow.

"God willing, you will recover.  Perhaps you will decide more than
once to make other dispositions of your property," calmly continued
his wife.

The sick man fell back on the pillows.

"You are mistaken.  Even if I do not die, you will not be able to
deceive me again.  This is my last will!" he replied convulsively.

And with trembling hand he gave the doctor a bunch of keys.

"There is the dispatch box.  Please open it, and put the will in."

The doctor obeyed his wish, without looking at Olga Vseslavovna.
She, on her part, did not look at him.  Shrugging her shoulders at
her husband's last words, she remained motionless, noticing nothing
except his sufferings.  His sufferings, it seemed, tortured her.

Meanwhile the dying man followed the doctor with anxious eyes, and
as soon as the latter closed the large traveling dispatch box he
stretched out his hand to him for the keys.

"So long as I am alive, I will keep them!" he murmured, putting the
bunch of keys away in his pocket.  "And when I am dead, I intrust
them to you, Edouard Vicentevitch.  Take care of them, as a last
service to me!"  And he turned his face once more to the wall.

"And now, leave me alone!  The pain is less.  Perhaps I shall go to
sleep.  Leave me!"

"My friend!  Permit me to remain near you," the general's wife
began, bending tenderly over her husband.

"Go!" he cried sharply.  "Leave me in peace, I tell you!"

She rose, trembling.  The doctor hastily offered her his arm.  She
left the room, leaning heavily on him, and once more covering her
face with her handkerchief, in tragic style.

"Be calm, your excellency!" whispered the doctor sympathetically,
only half conscious of what he was saying.  "These rooms have been
prepared for you.  You also need to rest, after such a long

"Oh, I am not thinking about myself.  I am so sorry for him.  Poor,
poor, senseless creature.  How much I have suffered at his hands.
He was always so suspicious, so hard to get on with.  And whims and
fantasies without end.  You know, doctor, I have sometimes even
thought he was not in full possession of his faculties."

"Hm!" murmured the doctor, coughing in confusion.

"Take this strange change of his will, for instance," the general's
wife continued, not waiting for a clearer expression of sympathy.
"Take his manner toward me.  And for what reason?"

"Yes, it is very sad," murmured the doctor.

"Tell me, doctor, does he expect his son and daughter?"

"Only his daughter, Anna Iurievna.  She promised to come, with her
oldest children.  A telegram came yesterday.  We have been
expecting her all day."

"What is the cause of this sudden tenderness?  They have not seen
each other for ten years.  Does he expect her husband, too?  His
son-in-law, the pedagogue?" contemptuously asked the general's

"No!  How could he come?  He could not leave his service.  And his
son, too, Peter Iurevitch, he cannot come at once.  He is on duty,
in Transcaspia.  It is a long way."

"Yes, it is a long way!" assented the general's wife, evidently
busy with other thoughts.  "But tell me, Edouard Vicentevitch, this
new will, has it been written long?"

"It was drawn up only to-day.  The draft was prepared last week,
but the general kept putting it off.  But when his pains began this
morning. . . ."

"Is it the end?  Is it dangerous?" interrupted Olga Vseslavovna.

"Very--a very bad sign.  When they began, Iuri Paylovitch sent at
once for the lawyer.  He was still here when you arrived."

"Yes.  And the old will, which he made before, has been destroyed?"

"I do not know for certain.  But I think not.  Oh, no, I forgot.
The general was going to send a telegram."

"Yes? to send a telegram?"

The general's wife shrugged her shoulders, sadly shook her head,
and added:

"He is so changeable! so changeable!  But I think it is all the
same.  According to law, only the last will is valid?"

"Yes, without doubt; the last."

The general's wife bowed her head.

"What hurts me most," she whispered, with a bitter smile, bending
close to the young doctor, and leaning heavily on his arm, "what
hurts me most, is not the money.  I am not avaricious.  But why
should he take my child away from me?  Why should he pass over her
own mother, and intrust her to her half-sister?  A woman whom I do
not know, who has not distinguished herself by any services or good
actions, so far as I know.  I shall not submit.  I shall contest
the will.  The law must support the right of the mother.  What do
you think, doctor?"

The doctor hastily assented, though, to tell the truth, he was not
thinking of anything at the moment, except the strange manner in
which the general's wife, while talking, pressed close to her

At that moment a bell rang, and the general's loud voice was heard:

"Doctor!  Edouard Vicentevitch!"

"Coming!" answered the doctor.

And leaving Olga Vseslavovna at the threshold of her room, he ran
quickly to the sick man.

"A vigorous voice--for a dying man!  He shouts as he used to at the
manoeuvers!" thought the general's wife.

And her handsome face at once grew dark with the hate which stole
over it.  This was only a passing expression, however; it rapidly
gave place to sorrow, when she saw the manservant coming from the
sick man.

"What is the matter with your master, Yakov?  Is he worse?"

"No, madam.  God has been gracious.  He told me to push the box
nearer him, and ordered Edouard Vicentevitch to open it.  He wants
to send some telegram or other."

"Thank God, he is not worse.  Yakov, I am going to send a telegram
to the station myself, in a few minutes, by my coachman.  You can
give him the general's telegram, too."

"Very well, madam."

"And another thing.  I shall not go to bed.  If there is any change
in your master's condition, Yakov, come and knock at my door at
once.  I beg of you, tell me the very moment anything happens.
Here is something for you, Yakov;--you have grown thin, waiting
upon your master!"

"I thank you most humbly, your excellency.  We must not grudge our
exertions," the man answered, putting a note of considerable value
in his pocket.


Contrary to expectation, the night passed quietly enough.  Emotion
and weariness claimed their own; Olga Vseslavovna, in spite of all
her efforts, fell into a sleep toward morning; and when she awoke,
she started in dismay, noticing that the sun had already climbed
high in the sky, and was pouring into her room.

Her maid, a deft Viennese, who had remained with this accommodating
mistress for five years, quieted her by telling her that the master
was better, that he was still asleep, not having slept for the
greater part of the night.

"The doctor and Yakov were busy with him most of the night," she
explained.  "They were sorting all sorts of papers; some of them
they tied up, writing something on them; others they tore up, or
threw into the fire.  The grate is full of ashes.  Yakov told me."

"And there were no more telegrams?"

"No, madam, there were no more.  Yakov and our Friedrich would have
let me know at once; I was there in the anteroom; they both kept
coming through on errands.  But there were no more telegrams,
except the two that were sent last night."

Olga Vseslavovna dressed, breakfasted, and went to her husband.
But at the threshold of his room she was stopped by the direction
of the sick man to admit no one without special permission except
the doctor, or his eldest daughter, if she should come.

"Tell Edouard Vicentevitch to come out to me," ordered the
general's wife.  The doctor was called, and in great confusion
confirmed the general's orders.

"But perhaps he did not think that such an order could apply to
me?" she said, astonished.

The doctor apologized, but had to admit that it was she who was
intended, and that his excellency had sent word to her excellency
that she should not give herself the trouble of visiting him.

"He is out of his mind," declared the general's wife quietly, but
with conviction, shrugging her shoulders.  "Why should he hate me
so--for all my love to him, an old man, who might have been my

And Olga Vseslavovna once more took refuge in her pocket
handkerchief, this time, instead of tears, giving vent to sobs of

The doctor, always shy in the presence of women, stood with hanging
head and downcast eyes, as though he were to blame.

"What is it they are saying about you burning papers all night?"
Olga Vseslavovna asked, in a weak voice.

"Oh, not nearly all night.  Iuri Pavlovitch remembered that he
ought to destroy some old letters and papers.  There were some to
be put in order.  There, in the box, there is a packet addressed to
your excellency.  I was told to write the address."

"Indeed!  Could I not see it?"

"Oh no, on no account.  They are all locked up in the box along
with the last will.  And the general has the keys."

A bitter smile of humiliation played about the young woman's lips.

"So the new will has not been burned yet?" she asked.  And to the
startled negative of the doctor, who repeated that "it was lying on
the top of the papers in the box," she added:

"Well, it will be burned yet.  Do not fear.  Especially if God in
His mercy prolongs my husband's life.  You see, he has always had a
mysterious passion for writing new documents, powers of attorney,
deeds of gift, wills, whatever comes into his mind.  He writes new
ones, and burns the old ones.  But what can you do?  We must submit
to each new fancy.  We cannot contradict a sick man."

Olga Vseslavovna went back to her room.  She only left her bedroom
for a few minutes that day, to hear the final word of the lights of
the medical profession, who had come together for a general
consultation in the afternoon; all the rest of the day she shut
herself up.  The conclusions of the physicians, though they
differed completely in detail, were similar in the main, and far
from comforting; the life and continued suffering of the sick man
could not last more than a few days.

In the evening a telegram came from Anna Iurievna; she informed her
father that she would be with him on the following day, at five in
the afternoon.

"Shall I be able to hold out?  Shall I last so long?" sighed the
sick man, all day long.  And the more he was disturbed in mind, the
more threatening were his attacks of pain.  He passed a bad night.
Toward morning a violent attack, much worse than any that had gone
before, almost carried him away.  He could hardly breathe, owing to
the sharp suffering.  Hot baths for his hands and steam inhalations
no longer had any beneficial effect, though they had alleviated his
pain hitherto.

The doctor, the Sister of Mercy, and the servant wore themselves
out.  But still, as before, his wife alone was not admitted to him.
She raged with anger, trying, and not without success, to convince
everyone that she was going mad with despair.  Little Olga had been
taken away on the previous day by a friend of the general's, to
stay there "during this terrible time."  That night Madame Nazimoff
did not go to bed at all; and, as befitted a devoted wife, did not
quit her husband's door.  When the violent attack just before dawn
quieted down, she made an attempt to go in to him; but no sooner
did the sick man see her at the head of his couch, on which he had
at last been persuaded to lie, than strong displeasure was
expressed in his face, and, no longer able to speak, he made an
angry motion of his hand toward her, and groaned heavily.  The
Sister of Mercy with great firmness asked the general's wife not to
trouble the sick man with her presence.

"And I am to put up with this.  I am to submit to all this?"
thought Olga Vseslavovna, writhing with wrath.  "To endure all this
from him, and after his death to suffer beggary?  No, a thousand
times no!  Better death than penury and such insults."  And she
fell into gloomy thought.

That gesture of displeasure at the sight of his wife was the last
conscious act of Iuri Pavlovitch Nazimoff.  At eight in the morning
he lost consciousness, in the midst of violent suffering, which
lasted until the end.  By the early afternoon he was no more.

During the last hour of his agony his wife knelt beside his couch
without let or hindrance, and wept inconsolably.  The formidable
aristocrat and millionaire was dead.

Everything went on along the usual lines.  The customary stir and
unceremonious bustle, instead of cautious whispering, rose around
the dead body, in preparation for a fashionable funeral.  No near
relatives were present except his wife, and she was confined to her
room, half-fainting, half-hysterical.  All responsibility fell on
the humble doctor, and he busied himself indefatigably,
conscientiously, in the sweat of his brow, making every effort to
omit nothing.  But, as always happens, he omitted the most
important thing of all.  The early twilight was already descending
on St. Petersburg, shrouded in chilly mist, when Edouard
Vicentevitch Polesski struck his brow in despair; he had suddenly
remembered the keys and the box, committed to his care by the dying
man.  At that moment, the body, dressed in full uniform, with all
his regalia, was lying in the great, darkened room on a table,
covered with brocade, awaiting the coffin and the customary
wreaths.  The doctor rushed into the empty bedroom.  Everything in
it was already in order; the bed stood there, without mattress or
pillows.  There was nothing on the dressing table, either.

Where were the keys?  Where was the box?  The box was standing as
before, untouched, locked.  His heart at once felt lighter.  But
the keys?  No doubt the police would come in a few minutes.  It was
astonishing that they had not come already.  They would seal
everything.  Everything must be in order.  Where was Yakov?
Probably he had taken them.  Or . . . the general's wife?

Polesski rushed to look for the manservant, but could not find him.
There was so much to do; he had gone to buy something, to order
something.  "Oh Lord!  And the announcement?" he suddenly
remembered.  It must be written at once, and sent to the
newspapers.  He must ask the general's wife, however, what words he
should use.  However much he might wish to avoid her, still she was
now the most important person.  And he could ask at the same time
whether she had seen the keys.

The doctor went to the rooms of the general's wife.  She was lying
down, suffering severely, but she came out to him.  "What words was
he to use?  It was all the same to her.  'With deep regret,' 'with
heartfelt sorrow,' what did she care?  The keys?  What keys?  No!
she had not seen any keys, and did not know where they were.  But
why should he be disturbed about them?  The servants were
trustworthy; nothing would go astray."

"Yes, but we must have them ready for the police.  They will come
in a few minutes, to seal up the dead man's papers!"

"To seal up the papers?  Why?"

"That is the law.  So that everything should be intact, until after
the last will and testament of the deceased has been read,
according to his wishes."

General Nazimoff's wife paled perceptibly.  She knew nothing of
such an obstacle, and had not expected it.  The doctor was too busy
to notice her pallor.

"Very well; I shall write the announcement at once, and send it to
the newspapers.  I suppose 'Novoe Vremya' and 'Novosti' will be

"Do as you think best.  Write it here, in my room.  Here is
everything you require; pens, paper.  Write, and then read it to
me.  I shall be back in a moment.  I want to put a bandage round my
head.  It aches so.  Wait for me here."  And the general's wife
went from the sitting-room to her bedroom.

"Rita!" she whispered to her faithful maid, who was hurriedly
sewing a mourning gown of crape for her.  "Do not let the doctor go
till I return.  Do you understand?  Do what you please, but do not
let him go."  The general's wife slipped from the bedroom into the
passage through a small side door, and disappeared.

The two rooms between hers and the chamber where the dead man lay
were quite empty and nearly dark; there were no candles in them.
From the chamber came the feeble glimmer of the tiny lamps burning
before the icons.*  The tapers were not lit yet, as the deacon had
not yet arrived.  He was to come at the same time as the priest and
the coffin.  For the moment there was no one near the dead man; in
the anteroom sat the Sister of Mercy.

* Sacred images.

"You wish to pray?" she asked the general's wife.

"Yes, I shall pray there, in his room."

She slipped past the dead body without looking at it, to the room
that had been the general's bedroom, and closed the door behind
her.  She was afraid to lock it, and after all, was it necessary?
It would only take a moment.  There it is, the box!  She knows it
of old!  And she knows its key of old, too; it is not so long since
her husband had no secrets from her.

The key was quickly slipped into the lock, and the lid rose
quickly.  The paper?  That new, detestable paper, which might
deprive her of everything.  Ah! there it is!

To close the lid quickly, and turn the key in the lock; to hide the
keys somewhere; here, between the seat and the back of the sofa, on
which he lay.  That's it!

A sigh of relief from fear escaped the beautiful lips of the
handsome woman, lips which were pale through those terrible days.
She could feel secure at last!

She must look at the document, the proof of his cruelty, his
injustice, his stupidity!  She must make sure that there was no
mistake!  Olga Vseslavovna went up to the window, and taking
advantage of the last ray of the gray day, unfolded the will.

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!" she
read.  Yes, that is it, the will.

"How he pronounced those same words, when he was blessing little
Olga," she remembered.  "Blessing her!  And his hand did not
tremble, when he signed this.  To deprive her, to deprive them
both, of everything, all on account of those hated people?  But
now--it should never be!  On no account!  Your down-at-the-heel
pedagogue shall not strut about in peacock's feathers!  Olga
and I . . . require the money more!"

And the general's wife was tempted to snap her fingers in triumph
in the direction of the dead man.

Suddenly, quite close to the door, the sound of steps was heard.
Good heavens!  And she held the big sheet of crested paper in her
hand!  Where could she put it?  She had no time to think of folding
it up.  There! they are coming in already!  Who can it be?

And the will lay on the floor, the general's wife kneeling on it,
as on a prayer carpet, in an attitude of prayer, her clasped hands
on the window sill, her wet eyes fixed on a faintly twinkling star,
as though calling heaven to witness her inconsolable grief and

It was only the Sister of Mercy.

"Madam, the people have come, bringing the coffin; and I think the
police have also come."

"Yes, in a moment.  Tell them I am coming immediately."

The Sister of Mercy went out.

"See how she loved her husband.  And why was he so unjust to her at
the last?" she involuntarily reproached the dead general.

Meanwhile the general's wife had risen hastily, folded the will as
best she could, in four, in eight folds, and crushing it together
in her hand, went quietly from the room, which now filled her with

She was so confused that she did not even think of looking for her
pocket; she simply held her packet tight, and let her hand hang
down, hiding it in the folds of her wide dressing-gown.  There
seemed to be so many people in the room which a moment before was
empty, that she felt cowed.  Her heart beat pitilessly, and the
blood throbbed so violently in her temples that she could not
understand what was said to her.  They were asking her if they
might place the body in the coffin, which had already been placed
beside it.  Her silence was taken as consent.  The skilful
undertakers easily lifted the already rigid body.

Olga Vseslavovna stood at the head of the dead general.  Among the
crowd of undertakers and servants, she suddenly saw coming toward
her, with outstretched hand, and with tears of compassion in her
eyes, the Princess Ryadski, the same aristocratic kinswoman who had
already taken little Olga to stay with her.

"I must shake hands with her!  And that horrible packet is in my
hand!  Where shall I put it?  How can I hide it?"  Before her eyes
gleamed the brilliantly lighted, ashen forehead of the dead man,
helplessly bent backward and sideways, as the whole body was
suspended in the hands of the undertakers, over its last abode.

A saving thought!

The general's wife bent gently over the dead body.  She gently
supported the head of the corpse, gently laid it on the satin
cushion, straightened the frills which surrounded the hard pillow,
and, unperceived, left under it the twisted roll of paper.

"It will be safer there!"  The thought flashed through her mind.
"He wanted to keep his will himself; well, keep it to eternity,
now!  What more can you ask?"

And it even seemed ludicrous to her.  She could hardly restrain a
smile of triumph, changing it into a sad smile of grief, in reply
to her kinswoman's condolences.  The coffin was already lying in
state on the bier; it was covered with brocade and flowers.  The
princess, as kinswoman of the late general, bent low, and first
laid on the dead body the wreath she had brought with her.

"The poor sufferer has entered into rest," she whispered, shaking
her head.  "Will the funeral service be soon?  Where will it be?
Where is Olga Vseslavovna?"

"She will be here in a moment," the Sister of Mercy whispered,
deeply affected; "she has gone to fix herself.  They will begin the
funeral service in a few minutes, and she is all in disorder.  She
is in great grief.  Will you not take a seat?"

"What?  Sit down?  Thank you," loftily replied the princess.  And
she went toward a dignified personage who was entering, adorned
with many orders and an aristocratic beard.

The general's wife soon came to herself.  "Rita!  I must wash and
dress as quickly as possible.  Ah! pray forgive me, doctor!  They
called me away to my husband.  They were placing him in the
coffin."  She sighed deeply.  "What is this?  Oh, yes, the
announcement of his death.  Very good.  Send it, please.  But I
must dress at once.  The funeral service will begin immediately."

"Doctor!  Is the doctor here?" an anxious voice sounded in the

"I am coming!  What is it?"

"Please come quick, Edouard Vicentevitch!" Yakov called him.  "The
lady is very ill downstairs; Anna Iurievna, the general's daughter!
I was out to order the flowers; I come back, and see the lady lying
in a faint in the entrance.  She had just arrived, and asked; and
they answered her that he was dead, without the slightest
preparation!  And she could not bear it, and fainted."

Yakov said all this as they went.

"Actress!" angrily thought Olga Vseslavovna.  And immediately she
added mentally, "Well, she may stand on her head now, it is all the
same to me!"


Whether it was all the same to her or not, the deep despair of the
daughter, who had not been in time to bid her father farewell, had
not been in time to receive his blessing, after many years of
anger, which had borne heavily on the head of the blameless young
woman, was so evidently sincere, and produced such a deep
impression on everyone, that her stepmother also was moved.

Anna Iurievna resembled her father, as much as a young, graceful,
pretty woman can resemble an elderly man with strongly-marked
features and athletic frame, such as was General Nazimoff.  But in
spite of the delicacy of her form, and the gentleness of her eyes,
her glance sometimes flashed fire in a manner very like the
flashing eyes of her father, and in her strong will, firm
character, and inflexible adherence to what she believed to be
necessary and right, Anna was exactly like her father.

For nearly ten years his daughter had obediently borne his anger;
from the day of her marriage to the man she loved, whom evil-minded
people had succeeded in calumniating in the general's mind.  Though
writing incessantly to him, begging him to pardon her, to
understand that he had made a mistake, that her husband was a man
of honor, and that she would be fully and perfectly happy, but for
the burden of her father's wrath, and of the separation from him,
she had never until the last few weeks received a reply from him.
But quite recently something mysterious had happened.  Not only had
her father written to her that he wished to see her and her
children in St. Petersburg, whither he was just setting out, but a
few days later he had written again, a long, tender letter, in
which he had asked her forgiveness.  Without giving any
explanations, he said that he had received indubitable proofs of
the innocence and chivalrous honor of her husband; that he felt
himself deeply guilty toward him, and was miserable on account of
the injustice he had committed.  In the following letters, praying
his daughter to hasten her coming, because he was dangerously ill,
and the doctors thought could not last long, he filled her with
astonishment by expressing his intention to make a new will, and
his determination to separate his youngest daughter "from such a
mother," and by his prayers to her and her husband not to refuse to
take upon themselves little Olga's education.

"What had happened?  How could that light-minded woman have so
deeply wounded my father?" Anna asked in bewilderment.

"If she was merely light-minded!" her husband answered, shrugging
his shoulders.  "But she is so malicious, so crafty, and so daring
that anything may be expected from her."

"But in that case there would be an open scandal.  We would know
something for certain.  Nowadays they even relate such stories in
the newspapers, and my father is so well known, so noteworthy!"

"That is just why they don't write about him!" answered Borisoff,
her husband, smiling.  He himself flatly refused to go to St.
Petersburg.  With horror he remembered the first year of his
marriage, before he had succeeded in obtaining a transfer to
another city, and was compelled to meet the woman he detested;
compelled also to meet his father-in-law, a wise and honorable old
man, who had fallen so completely into the toils of this crafty
woman.  Anna Iurievna knew that her husband despised her
stepmother; that he detested her as the cause of all the grief
which they had had to endure through her, and most of all, on
account of the injustice she was guilty of toward her brother, the
general's son.

For six years Borisoff had lived with young Peter Nazimoff, as his
tutor and teacher, and loved him sincerely.  The boy had already
reached the highest class at school, when his sister, two years
older than he, finished her schooling, and returned to her father's
house, about the time of the general's second marriage.  What the
young tutor tried not to notice and to endure, for love of his
pupil, in the first year of the general's second marriage, became
intolerable when the general's daughter returned home, and to all
the burden of his difficult position was added the knowledge of
their mutual love.  He proceeded frankly, and the whole matter was
soon settled.  But the young man had never uttered a syllable as to
the cause of Madame Nazimoff's hatred for him.  For the sake of his
father-in-law's peace of mind, he sincerely hoped that he would
never know.  Anna was convinced that the whole cause of her
stepmother's hostility was her prejudice against what was in her
opinion a mesalliance.  In part she was right, but the chief reason
of this hostility remained forever a secret to her.  Unfortunately,
it was not equally a secret to her father.

Of late years he had gradually been losing faith in his second
wife's character.  It went so far that the general felt much more
at ease when she was away.  Before the last illness of Iuri
Pavlovitch, which, to tell the truth, was almost his first, Olga
Vseslavovna had gone abroad with her daughter, intending to travel
for a year; but she had hardly been gone two months when the
general unexpectedly determined to go to St. Petersburg to seek a
divorce, to see his elder daughter, and change his will.  Perhaps
he would never have determined on such decisive measures had not
something wholly unexpected taken place.

Borisoff was quite mistaken in thinking that he had so carefully
destroyed all the letters which the general's young wife had
written to him, before his marriage to Anna, that no material
evidence of Olga Vseslavovna's early design of treachery remained.
Even before she married the general, she had had a confidential
servant, who carried out many commissions for the beautiful young
woman, whose fame had gone abroad through the three districts along
the Volga, the arena of her early triumphs.  Later, the young lady
found a new favorite in foreign lands--the same Rita who was still
with her.  Martha, the Russian confidential servant, heartily
detested the German girl, and such strife arose between them that
not only the general's wife, but even the general himself, was
deprived of peace and tranquillity.  Martha was no fool; Olga
Vseslavovna had to be careful with her; she did take care, but she
herself did not know to what an extent she was in the woman's
power.  Foreseeing a black day of ingratitude, Martha, with
wonderful forethought, had put on one side one or two letters from
each series of her mistress' secret correspondence, which always
passed through her hands.  Perhaps she would not have made such a
bad use of them but for her mistress' last, intolerable insult.
Prizing in her servants, next to swift obedience, a knowledge of
languages, her mistress did not make use of her when traveling
abroad; but hitherto she had taken both servants with her.  But on
her last journey she was so heartily tired of Martha, and her
perpetual tears and quarrels, that she determined to get on without
her, the more so that her daughter's governess was also traveling
with her.  Her company was growing too numerous.

There was no limit to Martha's wrath when she learned that she was
going to be left behind.  Her effrontery was so great that she
advised her mistress "for her own sake" not to put such an affront
upon her, since she would not submit to it without seeking revenge.
But her mistress never dreamed of what Martha was planning, and
what a risk she ran.

Hardly had the general's wife departed when Martha asked the
general to let her leave, saying she would find work elsewhere.
The general saw no way of keeping her; and he did not even wish to
do so, thinking her only a quarrelsome, ill-tempered woman.  The
confidential servant left the house, and even the city.  And
immediately her revenge and torture of the general began, cutting
straight at the root of his happiness, his health, even his life.
He began to receive, almost daily, letters from different parts of
Russia, for Martha had plenty of friends and chums.  With
measureless cruelty Martha began by sending the less important
documents, still signed with her mistress' maiden name; then two or
three letters from the series of the most recent times, and finally
there came a whole packet of those sent by the general's wife to
the tutor, in the first year of her marriage with the general,
before Borisoff had met Anna.

The crafty Martha, knowing perfectly the whole state of affairs to
which these letters referred, often copied out their contents, and
kept the letters themselves concealed, saying to herself, "God
knows what may turn up, some day!

"If they are no use, I can burn them.  But they may be useful.  It
is always a good thing to keep our masters in our power," argued
the sagacious woman, and she was not mistaken in her calculations,
although these letters served not for her profit, but only for a
sanguinary revenge.

These notes and letters, which finally opened his eyes to the true
character of his wife, and his own crying injustice to his elder
children, were now lying in the general's dispatch box, in a neatly
tied packet, directed in the doctor's handwriting to "Her
Excellency Olga Vseslavovna Nazimoff."

As soon as she received her father's first letter Anna began to get
ready to go to St. Petersburg, but unfortunately she was kept back
by the sickness, first of one child, then of another.  But for his
last telegrams, she would not have started even now, because she
did not realize the dangerous character of his illness.  But now,
finding that she had come too late, the unhappy woman could not
forgive herself.

Everyone was grieved to see her bitter sorrow, after the funeral
service for her father.  Princess Ryadski burst into tears, as she
looked at her; and all the acquaintances and relations of the
general were far more disturbed by her despair than by the
general's death.  Olga Vseslavovna was secretly scandalized at such
lack of self-control, but outwardly she seemed greatly touched and
troubled by the situation of her poor stepdaughter.  But she did
not venture to express her sympathy too openly in the presence of
others, remembering the words of "the crazy creature" when she had
come to herself after her fainting fit, and her stepmother had
hurried up to embrace her.

"Leave me!" Anna had cried, when she saw her.  "I cannot bear to
see you!  You killed my father!"

It was well that there were only servants in the anteroom.  But the
general's wife did not wish to risk another such scene, now that so
many people were present.  And besides she was extremely disturbed;
the friends who had come to the funeral service had brought
flowers; and the half-crazy princess, with the aid of two other
ladies, had taken a fancy to decorate the coffin, and especially
the head, with them.  It is impossible to describe what Olga
Vseslavovna suffered, as she watched all those hands moving about
among the folds of the muslin, the frills, the covering, almost
under the satin cushion even; a little more and she would have
fainted in earnest.

She had always boasted that she had strong nerves, and this was
quite true; nevertheless, during these days, their strength was
evidently giving way, as she could not get to sleep for a long time
that night, and heaven only knows what fancies passed through her
mind.  It was almost morning before Olga Vseslavovna got to sleep,
and even then it was not for long.

She dreamed that she was descending endless stairs and dark
corridors, with a heavy, shapeless burden on her shoulders.  A
bright, constantly-changing flame flickered before her; now red,
now yellow, now green, it flitted before her from side to side.
She knew that if she could reach it, the burden would fall from
her.  But the light seemed to be taunting her, now appearing, now
disappearing, and suddenly going out altogether.  And she found
herself in the darkness, in a damp cellar, seemingly empty, but
filled with something's invisible presence.  What was it?  She did
not know.  But this pervading something frightened her terribly,
smothered her, pressing on her from all sides, depriving her of
air.  She was choking!  Terror seized her at the thought that
it . . . was Death!  Must she die?  Was it possible?  But that
brightly shining light had just promised her life, gayety,
brilliance!  She must hurry to overtake it.  And she tried to
run.  But her feet would not obey her; she could not move.

"Heaven!  Heaven!" she cried, "but what is it?  Whence has such a
disaster come?  What is holding me?  Let me go, or I shall be
smothered in this stench, under this intolerable burden!"

Suddenly Iuri Pavlovitch walked past her.  She immediately
recognized him, and joyfully caught at his cloak.  "Iuri!  Forgive
me!  Help me!" she cried.

Her husband stopped, looked sadly at her, and answered: "I would
gladly help you, but you yourself hinder me.  Let me go; I must
fulfill your directions."

At that moment she awoke.  She was bathed in a cold perspiration,
and clutched wildly at the coverlet with both hands.  There was no
one near her, but she clearly felt someone's presence, and was
convinced that she had really seen her husband a moment before.  In
her ears resounded his words: "I must fulfill your directions!"
Directions?  What directions?

She sprang up, and began to feel about over the carpet with her
bare feet, looking for her slippers.  A terrible thought had come
into her mind.  She felt that she must settle it at once.  She must
take the will, take it away from there! burn it! destroy it!  She
feverishly drew on her dressing gown, and threw a shawl over her

"Rita!  Get up quick!  Quick!  Come!"

The frightened maid rose, still half asleep, and rubbed her eyes,
understanding nothing.  Her mistress' ice-cold hands clutched her,
and dragged her somewhere.

"Ach lieber Gott . . . Gott in Himmel!" she muttered.  "What has
happened?  What do you want?"

"Hush!  Come quick!"  And Olga Vseslavovna, with a candle in her
trembling hand, went forward, dragging the trembling Rita with her.
She opened the door of her bedroom, and went out.  All the doors
were open en suite, and straight in front of her, in the center of
the fourth, shone the coffin of her husband, covered with cloth of
gold and lit up by the tall tapers standing round the bier.

"What does it mean?" whispered the general's wife.  "Why have they
opened all the doors?"

"I do not know . . . they were all closed last night," murmured the
maid in reply, her teeth chattering with fear.  She longed to ask
her mistress whither they were going, and what for?  She wanted to
stop, and not enter the funeral chamber; but she was afraid to

They passed quickly through the rooms; at the door of the last the
general's wife set her candle down on a chair, and halted for a
moment.  The loud snoring of the reader startled them both.

"It is the deacon!" whispered the general's wife reassuringly.
Rita had hardly strength to nod assent.  All the same, the healthy
snoring of a living man comforted her.  Without moving from where
she stood, the maid tremblingly drew her woolen shawl closer about
her, trying to see the sofa on which the deacon lay.

Knitting her brows, and biting her lips till they were sore, Olga
Vseslavovna went forward determinedly to the bier.  She thrust both
hands under the flowers on the pillow.  The frill was untouched.
The satin of the cushion was there, but where was . . . ?  Her
heart, that had been beating like a hammer, suddenly stopped and
stood still.  There was not a trace of the will!

"Perhaps I have forgotten.  Perhaps it was on the other side,"
thought Olga Vseslavovna, and went round to the left side of the

No! It was not there, either!  Where was it?  Who could have taken
it?  Suddenly her heart failed her utterly, and she clutched at the
edge of the coffin to keep herself from falling.  It seemed to her
that under the stiff, pallid, rigidly clasped hands of the dead
general something gleamed white through the transparent muslin of
the covering, something like a piece of paper.

"Nonsense!  Self-suggestion!  It is impossible!  Hallucination!"
The thought flashed through her tortured brain.  She forced herself
to be calm, and to look again.

Yes!  She had not been mistaken.  The white corner of a folded
paper appeared clearly against the general's dark uniform.  At the
same moment a cold draught coming from somewhere set the tapers
flickering.  Shadows danced around the room, over the bier, across
the dead man's face; and in the quick change of light and shadow it
seemed to her that the rigid features became more living, that a
mournful smile formed itself on the closed lips, that the tightly-
shut eyelids quivered.  A wild cry rang through the whole room.
With a desperate shriek: "His eyes!  He is looking at me!" the
general's wife staggered forward and fell fainting to the floor,
beside her husband's bier.


The deacon sprang from his sofa with a cry, and an answering cry
came from the lips of the shivering Rita, as she fled from the
room.  Servants rushed in, rubbing their eyes, still half-asleep,
questioning each other, running this way and that.  The deacon,
spurred by a feeling of guilt, was determined to conceal the fact
that he was sleeping.  "It was the lady!" he said.  "She came in to
pray; she told me to stop reading while she prayed.  She knelt
down.  Then she prayed for a long time, and suddenly . . . suddenly
she cried out, and fainted.  Grief, brothers!  It is terrible!  To
lose such a husband!" and he set them to work with restoratives,
himself rubbing the fallen woman's chilly hands.

The general's wife opened her eyes after a few minutes. Looking
wildly round in bewilderment, she seemed to be wondering where she
was and how she had come there.  Suddenly she remembered.

"The will!  In his hands!  Take it!" she cried, and fainted again.
By this time the whole household was awake.  Anna Iurievna had come
in, full of astonishment at the sudden disturbance, but with the
same feeling of deep quiet and peace still filling her heart and
giving her features an expression of joy and calm.  She heard the
cry of the general's wife, and the words were recorded in her mind,
though she did not at first give them any meaning.

She set herself, with all the tenderness of a good woman, to
minister to the other's need, sending her own maid for sal
volatile, chafing the fainting woman's hands, and giving orders
that a bed should be prepared for her in another room, further away
from the bier.  As she spoke, quietly, gravely, with authority, the
turmoil gradually subsided.  The frightened servants recovered
themselves, and moved about with the orderly obedience they
ordinarily showed; and the deacon, above all anxious to cover his
negligence, began intoning the liturgy, lending an atmosphere of
solemnity to the whole room.

The servants, returning to announce that the bedroom was ready,
were ordered by Anna Iurievna to lift the fainting woman with all
care and gentleness, and she herself went with them to see the
general's wife safely bestowed in her room, and waited while the
doctor did all in his power to make her more comfortable.  Olga
Vseslavovna did not at once recover consciousness.  She seemed to
pass from a faint into an uneasy slumber, which, however, gradually
became more quiet.

Only then, as she was leaving the room, did Anna Iurievna bethink
her of the strange words that had fallen on her ears: "The will!
In his hands!  Take it!"  And repeating them questioningly to
herself, she walked slowly back toward the room in which lay her
father's body.

But she was even more occupied with her own thoughts.  She no
longer felt in her heart the bitter resentment toward Olga
Vseslavovna that had filled it yesterday.  She was conscious of a
feeling of sorrow for the helpless woman, of compassion for her
empty, shallow life, the fruit of an empty, shallow heart.  And she
was wondering why such empty, joyless lives should exist in a world
where there was such deep happiness and joy.

She came over to her father's coffin, close to which the deacon was
still droning out his liturgy, and stood beside the dead body,
looking down at the strong, quiet face, and vividly recalling her
dream of the night before.  Her eyes rested on the many stars and
medals on his breast, and on his hands, quietly clasped in death.
Then suddenly, and quite mechanically, Olga Vseslavovna's cry, as
she returned to consciousness, came back into her mind:

"The will!  In his hands!  Take it!"  And bending down, she noted
for the first time something white beneath the muslin canopy.  As
she scrutinized it wonderingly, she was conscious of an humble,
apologetic voice murmuring something at her elbow:

"Forgive me, Anna Iurievna.  I humbly beg you, forgive me! It was
I . . . in the night . . . the flowers fell . . . I was putting
them back . . . fixing the head of your sainted papa. . . .  It
was under his head, the paper . . . I thought he wanted to keep
it. . . .  I put it in his hands, to be safe! . . .  Forgive me,
Anna Iurievna, if I have done any harm."

It was the deacon, still oppressed by a feeling of guilt.  Anna
Iurievna turned to him, and then turned back again, to her father's
body, to the white object shining under the muslin canopy.  And
once more Olga Vseslavovna's words came into her mind:

"The will!  In his hands!  Take it!"

Gently raising the canopy, she softly drew the paper from beneath
the general's clasped hands, and unfolded it.  She read no more
than the opening words, but she had read enough to realize that it
was, indeed, her father's will.

Feodor Mikhailovitch Dostoyevsky

Crime and Punishment*

* (At the risk of shocking the reader, it has been decided that the
real permanent detective stories of the world were ill represented
without Dostoyevsky's terrible tale of what might be called "self-
detection."  If to sensitive readers the story seems so real as to
be hideous, it is well to recall that Dostoyevsky in 1849 underwent
the agony of sentence to death as a revolutionist.  Although the
sentence was commuted to hard labor in Siberia, and although six
years later he was freed and again took up his writing, his mind
never rose from beneath the weight of horror and hopelessness that
hangs over offenders against the Great White Czar.  Dostoyevsky,
sentenced as a criminal, herded with criminals, really BECAME a
criminal in literary imagination.  Add to this a minute
observation, a marvelous memory, ardent political convictions--and
we can understand why the story here, with others of his, is taken
as a scientific text by criminologists.--EDITOR.)

One sultry evening early in July a young man emerged from the small
furnished lodging he occupied in a large five-storied house in the
Pereoulok S----, and turned slowly, with an air of indecision,
toward the K---- bridge.  He was fortunate enough not to meet his
landlady on the stairs.  She occupied the floor beneath him, and
her kitchen, with its usually open door, was entered from the
staircase.  Thus, whenever the young man went out, he found himself
obliged to pass under the enemy's fire, which always produced a
morbid terror, humiliating him and making him knit his brows.  He
owed her some money and felt afraid of encountering her.

It was not that he had been terrified or crushed by misfortune, but
that for some time past he had fallen into a state of nervous
depression akin to hypochondria.  He had withdrawn from society and
shut himself up, till he was ready to shun, not merely his
landlady, but every human face.  Poverty had once weighed him down,
though, of late, he had lost his sensitiveness on that score.  He
had given up all his daily occupations.  In his heart of hearts he
laughed scornfully at his landlady and the extremities to which she
might proceed.  Still, to be waylaid on the stairs, to have to
listen to all her jargon, hear her demands, threats, and
complaints, and have to make excuses and subterfuges in return--no,
he preferred to steal down without attracting notice.  On this
occasion, however, when he had gained the street, he felt surprised
himself at this dread of meeting the woman to whom he was in debt.

"Why should I be alarmed by these trifles when I am contemplating
such a desperate deed?" thought he, and he gave a strange smile.
"Ah, well, man holds the remedy in his own hands, and lets
everything go its own way, simply through cowardice--that is an
axiom.  I should like to know what people fear most:--whatever is
contrary to their usual habits, I imagine.  But I am talking too
much.  I talk and so I do nothing, though I might just as well say,
I do nothing and so I talk.  I have acquired this habit of
chattering during the last month, while I have been lying for days
together in a corner, feeding my mind on trifles.  Come, why am I
taking this walk now?  Am I capable of THAT?  Can THAT really be
serious?  Not in the least.  These are mere chimeras, idle fancies
that flit across my brain!

The heat in the streets was stifling.  The crowd, the sight of
lime, bricks, scaffolding, and the peculiar odor so familiar to the
nostrils of the inhabitant of St. Petersburg who has no means of
escaping to the country for the summer, all contributed to irritate
the young man's already excited nerves.  The reeking fumes of the
dram shops, so numerous in this part of the city, and the tipsy men
to be seen at every point, although it was no holiday, completed
the repulsive character of the scene.  Our hero's refined features
betrayed, for a moment, an expression of bitter disgust.  We may
observe casually that he was not destitute of personal attractions;
he was above middle height, with a slender and well-proportioned
figure, and he had dark auburn hair and fine dark eyes.  In a
little while he sank into a deep reverie, or rather into a sort of
mental torpor.  He walked on without noticing, or trying to notice,
his surroundings.  Occasionally he muttered a few words to himself;
as if, as he himself had just perceived, this had become his habit.
At this moment it dawned upon him that his ideas were becoming
confused and that he was very feeble; he had eaten nothing worth
mentioning for the last two days.

His dress was so miserable that anyone else might have scrupled to
go out in such rags during the daytime.  This quarter of the city,
indeed, was not particular as to dress.  In the neighborhood of the
Cyennaza or Haymarket, in those streets in the heart of St.
Petersburg, occupied by the artisan classes, no vagaries in costume
call forth the least surprise.  Besides the young man's fierce
disdain had reached such a pitch, that, notwithstanding his extreme
sensitiveness, he felt no shame at exhibiting his tattered garments
in the street.  He would have felt differently had he come across
anyone he knew, any of the old friends whom he usually avoided.
Yet he stopped short on hearing the attention of passers-by
directed to him by the thick voice of a tipsy man shouting: "Eh,
look at the German hatter!"  The exclamation came from an
individual who, for some unknown reason, was being jolted away in a
great wagon.  The young man snatched off his hat and began to
examine it.  It was a high-crowned hat that had been originally
bought at Zimmermann's, but had become worn and rusty, was covered
with dents and stains, slit and short of a brim, a frightful object
in short.  Yet its owner, far from feeling his vanity wounded, was
suffering rather from anxiety than humiliation.

"I suspected this," muttered he, uneasily, "I foresaw it.  That's
the worst of it!  Some wretched trifle like this might spoil it
all.  Yes, this hat is certainly too remarkable; it looks so
ridiculous.  I must get a cap to suit my rags; any old thing would
be better than this horror.  Hats like these are not worn; this one
would be noticeable a verst* off; it would be remembered; people
would think of it again some time after, and it might furnish a
clew.  I must attract as little attention as possible just now.
Trifles become important, everything hinges on them."

* 1,000 yards.

He had not far to go; he knew the exact distance between his
lodging and present destination--just seven hundred and thirty
paces.  He had counted them when his plan only floated through his
brain like a vague dream.  At that time, he himself would not have
believed it capable of realization; he merely dallied in fancy with
a chimera which was both terrible and seductive.  But a month had
elapsed, and he had already begun to view it in a different light.
Although he reproached himself throughout his soliloquies with
irresolution and a want of energy, he had accustomed himself,
little by little, and, indeed, in spite of himself, to consider the
realization of his dream a possibility, though he doubted his own
resolution.  He was but just now rehearsing his enterprise, and his
agitation was increasing at every step.

His heart sank, and his limbs trembled nervously, as he came to an
immense pile of building facing the canal on one side and the
street on the other.  This block was divided into a host of small
tenements, tenanted by all sorts of trades.  People were swarming
in and out through the two doors.  There were three or four
dvorniks* belonging to the house, but the young man, to his great
satisfaction, came across none of them, and, escaping notice as he
entered, mounted at once the stairs on the right hand.  He had
already made acquaintance with this dark and narrow staircase, and
its obscurity was grateful to him; it was gloomy enough to hide him
from prying eyes.  "If I feel so timid now, what will it be when I
come to put my plan into execution?" thought he, as he reached the
fourth floor.  Here he found the passage blocked; some military
porters were removing the furniture from a tenement recently
occupied, as the young man knew, by a German official and his
family.  "Thanks to the departure of this German, for some time to
come there will be no one on this landing but the old woman.  It is
as well to know this, at any rate," thought he to himself, as he
rang the old woman's bell.  It gave a faint sound, as if it were
made of tin instead of copper.  In houses of this sort, the smaller
lodgings generally have such bells.

* Janitors.

He had forgotten this; the peculiar tinkling sound seemed to recall
something to his memory, for he gave a shiver--his nerves were very
weak.  In another moment the door was opened part way, and the
occupant of the rooms stood examining her visitor through the
opening with evident suspicion, her small eyes glimmering through
the darkness like luminous points.  But when she saw the people on
the landing, she seemed reassured, and flung the door open.  The
young man entered a gloomy antechamber, divided by a partition,
behind which was a small kitchen.  The old woman stood silently in
front of him, eyeing him keenly.  She was a thin little creature of
sixty, with a small sharp nose, and eyes sparkling with malice.
Her head was uncovered, and her grizzled locks shone with grease.
A strip of flannel was wound round her long thin neck, and, in
spite of the heat, she wore a shabby yellow fur tippet on her
shoulders.  She coughed incessantly.  The young man was probably
eyeing her strangely, for the look of mistrust suddenly reappeared
on her face.

"The Student Raskolnikoff.  I called on you a month ago," said the
visitor, hurriedly, with a slight bow.  He had suddenly remembered
that he must make himself more agreeable.

"I remember, batuchka, I remember it well," returned the old woman,
still fixing her eyes on him suspiciously.

"Well, then, look here.  I have come again on a similar errand,"
continued Raskolnikoff, somewhat surprised and uneasy at being
received with so much distrust.  "After all, this may be her usual
manner, though I did not notice it before," thought he,
unpleasantly impressed.

The old woman remained silent a while, and seemed to reflect.
Then, pointing to the door of the inner room, she drew back for her
visitor to pass, and said, "Come in, batuchka."*

* "Little father."

The small room into which the young man was ushered was papered
with yellow; there were geraniums and muslin curtains in the
windows, and the setting sun shed a flood of light on the interior.
"The sun will shine on it just the same THEN!" said Raskolnikoff
all at once to himself, as he glanced rapidly round to take in the
various objects and engrave them on his memory.  The room, however,
contained nothing remarkable.  The yellow wood furniture was all
very old.  A couch with a shelving back, opposite which stood an
oval table, a toilet-table with a pier glass attached, chairs
lining the walls, and two or three poor prints representing German
girls with birds in their hands, completed the inventory.  A lamp
was burning in one corner in front of a small image.  The floor and
furniture were clean and well polished.  "Elizabeth attends to
that," thought the young man.  It would have been difficult to find
a speck of dust on anything.  "It is only in the houses of these
dreadful old widows that such order is to be seen," continued
Raskolnikoff to himself, looking with curiosity at the chintz
curtain overhanging the door which led into a second small room, in
which he had never set foot; it contained the old woman's bed and
chest of drawers.  The apartment consisted of these two rooms.

"What is it you want?" asked the mistress of the house dryly; she
had followed her visitor in, and planted herself in front of him to
examine him more closely.

"I have come to pawn something, that is all!"  With this he drew
from his pocket a flat old silver watch.  A globe was engraved
inside the lid, and the chain was of steel.

"But you have not repaid the sum I lent you before.  It was due two
days ago."

"I will pay you the interest for another month; have a little

"I may have patience or I may sell your pledge at once, batuchka,
just whichever I like."

"What will you give me on this watch, Alena Ivanovna?"

"That is a wretched thing, batuchka, worth a mere nothing.  Last
time I lent you two small notes on your ring, when I could have
bought a new one at the jeweler's for a ruble and a half."

"Give me four rubles, and I will redeem it; it belonged to my
father.  I expect some money soon."

"A ruble and a half! and I shall take the interest in advance."

"A ruble and a half!" protested the young man.

"Please yourself whether you take it or not."  So saying, the old
woman tendered back the watch.  Her visitor took it and was about
to depart in vexation, when he reflected that this money lender was
his last resource--and, besides, he had another object in coming.

"Come, fork out!" said he in a rough tone.

The old woman fumbled in her pockets for her keys, and passed on
into the adjoining room.  The young man, left standing there alone,
pricked up his ears and began to make various inductions.  He heard
this female usurer open her drawer.  "It must be the top one," was
his conclusion.  "I know now that she carries her keys in her right
pocket--they are all hung on a steel ring--one of them is three
times as large as the rest, and has the wards toothed; that cannot
be the key of her drawer--then she must have some strong box or
safe.  It is curious that the keys of strong boxes should be
generally like that--but, after all, how ignoble!"

The old woman reappeared.  "See here, batuchka: if I take a ten-
kopeck piece a month on each ruble, I ought to receive fifteen
kopecks on a ruble and a half, the interest being payable in
advance.  Then, as you ask me to wait another month for the
repayment of the two rubles I have already lent you, you owe me
twenty kopecks more, which makes a total of five and thirty.  What,
therefore, I have to advance upon your watch is one ruble fifteen
kopecks.  Here it is."

"What!  Is one ruble fifteen kopecks all you mean to give me now?"

"That is all that is due to you."

The young man took the money without further discussion.  He looked
at the old woman and was in no haste to depart.  He seemed anxious
to say or do something more, but without knowing exactly what.
"Perhaps I may be bringing you some other article soon, Alena
Ivanovna, a very pretty cigar case--a silver one--when I get it
back from the friend to whom I have lent it."  These words were
uttered with much embarrassment.

"Well, we can talk about it then, batuchka."

"Good-by.  You are always alone--is your sister never with you?"
asked he with as indifferent an air as he could assume, as he
entered the anteroom.

"What have you to do with my sister, batuchka?"

"Nothing.  I had no reason for asking.  You will--well, good-by,
Alena Ivanovna."

Raskolnikoff made his exit in a perturbed state of mind.  As he
went downstairs, he stopped from time to time, as if overcome by
violent emotion.  When he had at length emerged upon the street, he
exclaimed to himself: "How loathsome it all is!  Can I, can I
ever?--no, it is absurd, preposterous!" added he mentally.  "How
could such a horrible idea ever enter my head?  Could I ever be
capable of such infamy?  It is odious, ignoble, repulsive!  And yet
for a whole month--"

Words and exclamations, however, could not give full vent to his
agitation.  The loathing sense of disgust which had begun to
oppress him on his way to the old woman's house had now become so
intense that he longed to find some way of escape from the torture.
He reeled along the pavement like a tipsy man, taking no notice of
those who passed, but bumping against them.  On looking round he
saw a dram shop near at hand; steps led down from the footpath to
the basement, and Raskolnikoff saw two drunkards coming out at that
moment, leaning heavily on each other and exchanging abusive
language.  The young man barely paused before he descended the
steps.  He had never before entered such a place, but he felt dizzy
and was also suffering from intense thirst.  He had a craving for
some beer, partly because he attributed his weakness to an empty
stomach.  Seating himself in a dark and dirty corner, in front of a
filthy little table, he called for some beer, and eagerly drank off
a glass.

He felt instantly relieved, and his brain began to clear: "How
absurd I have been!" said he to himself, "there was really nothing
to make me uneasy!  It was simply physical!  A glass of beer and a
mouthful of biscuit were all that was necessary to restore my
strength of mind and make my thoughts clear and resolution fixed.
How paltry all this is!"

The next morning Raskolnikoff awoke late, after disturbed and
unrefreshing slumbers.  He felt very cross and glanced angrily
round his room.  It was a tiny place, not more than six feet in
length, and its dirty buff paper hung in shreds, giving it a most
miserable aspect; besides which, the ceiling was so low that a tall
man would have felt in danger of bumping his head.  The furniture
was quite in harmony with the room, consisting of three old rickety
chairs, a painted table in one corner, on which lay books and
papers thick with dust (showing how long it was since they had been
touched), and, finally, a large and very ugly sofa with ragged
covers.  This sofa, which filled nearly half the room, served
Raskolnikoff as a bed.  He often lay down on it in his clothes,
without any sheets, covering himself with his old student's coat,
and using instead of a pillow a little cushion, which he raised by
keeping under it all his clean or dirty linen.  Before the sofa
stood a small table.

Raskolnikoff's misanthropy did not take offense at the dirty state
of his den.  Human faces had grown so distasteful to him, that the
very sight of the servant whose business it was to clean the rooms
produced a feeling of exasperation.  To such a condition may
monomaniacs come by continually brooding over one idea.  For the
last fortnight, the landlady had ceased to supply her lodger with
provisions, and he had not yet thought of demanding an explanation.
Nastasia, who had to cook and clean for the whole house, was not
sorry to see the lodger in this state of mind, as it diminished her
labors: she had quite given up tidying and dusting his room; the
utmost she did was to come and sweep it once a week.  She it was
who was arousing him at this moment.

"Come, get up, why are you sleeping so late?" she exclaimed.  "It
is nine o'clock.  I have brought up some tea, will you take a cup?
How pale you look!"

Raskolnikoff opened his eyes, shook himself, and recognized
Nastasia.  "Has the landlady sent me this tea?" asked he, making a
painful effort to sit up.

"Not much chance of that!"  And the servant placed before him her
own teapot, in which there was still some tea left, and laid two
small lumps of brownish sugar on the table.

"Here, Nastasia, take this, please," said Raskolnikoff, fumbling in
his pocket and drawing out a handful of small change (for he had
again lain down in his clothes), "and fetch me a white roll.  Go to
the pork shop as well, and buy me a bit of cheap sausage."

"I will bring you the roll in a minute, but had you not better take
some shtchi* instead of the sausage?  We make it here, and it is
capital.  I kept some for you last night, but it was so late before
you came in!  You will find it very good."  She went to fetch the
shtchi, and, when Raskolnikoff had begun to eat, she seated herself
on the sofa beside him and commenced to chatter, like a true
country girl as she was.  "Prascovia Paulovna means to report you
to the police," said she.

* Cabbage soup.

The young man's brow clouded.  "To the police?  Why?"

"Because you don't pay and won't go.  That's why."

"The deuce!" growled be between his teeth, "that is the finishing
stroke; it comes at a most unfortunate juncture.  She is a fool,"
added he aloud.  "I shall go and talk to her to-morrow."

"She is, of course, just as much of a fool as I am; but why do you,
who are so intelligent, lie here doing nothing?  How is it you
never seem to have money for anything now?  You used to give
lessons, I hear; how is it you do nothing now?"

"I am engaged on something," returned Raskolnikoff dryly and half

"On what?"

"Some work--"

"What sort of work?"

"Thinking," replied he gravely, after a short silence.

Nastasia was convulsed.  She was of a merry disposition, but her
laughter was always noiseless, an internal convulsion which made
her actually writhe with pain.  "And does your thinking bring you
any money?" asked she, as soon as she could manage to speak.

"Well!  I can't give lessons when I have no boots to go out in?
Besides, I despise them."

"Take care lest you suffer for it."

"There is so little to be made by giving lessons!  What can one do
with a few kopecks?" said he in an irritable tone, rather to
himself than the servant.

"So you wish to make your fortune at one stroke?"

He looked at her rather strangely, and was silent for a moment.
"Yes, my fortune," rejoined he impressively.

"Hush! you frighten me, you look terrible.  Shall I go and fetch
you a roll?"

"Just as you like."

Later in the day, Raskolnikoff went out and wandered about the
streets.  At last he sat down under a tree to rest, and fell into a
reverie.  His limbs felt disjointed, and his mind was in darkness
and confusion.  He placed his elbows on his knees and held his head
with his hands.

"God!  Am I to stand beating in her skull with a hatchet or
something, wade in warm blood, break open the lock and rob and
tremble, blood flowing all around, and hide myself, with the
hatchet?  O God! is this indeed possible, and must it be?"  He
trembled like a leaf as he said this.

"What am I thinking of?" he cried in some astonishment.  "I know
well I could not endure that with which I have been torturing
myself.  I saw that clearly yesterday when I tried to rehearse it.
Perfectly plain.  Then what am I questioning?  Did I not say
yesterday as I went up the stairs how disgusting and mean and low
it all was, and did not I run away in terror?"

He stood up and looked all round, wondering how he got there, and
moved off toward the T---- bridge.  He was pale and his eyes were
hot, and feebleness was in all his members, but he seemed to
breathe easier.  He felt that he had thrown off the old time which
had been so oppressive; and in its place had come peace and light.
"Lord!" he prayed, "show me my way, that I may renounce these
horrid thoughts of mine!"

Going across the bridge, he quietly gazed on the Neva, and the
clear red sunset.  He did not feel himself tired now,
notwithstanding his weakness, and the load which had lain upon his
heart seemed to be gone.  Liberty!  Liberty! he was free from those
enchantments and all their vile instigations.  In later times when
he recalled this period of his existence, and all that happened to
him in those days, minute by minute and point by point, he
recollected how each circumstance, although in the main not very
unusual, constantly appeared to his mind as an evidence of the
predetermination of his fate, so superstitious was he.  Especially
he could never understand why he, weary and harassed as he was,
could not have returned home by the shortest route, instead of
across the Haymarket, which was quite out of the way.  Certainly, a
dozen times before, he had reached his lodgings by most circuitous
routes, and never known through which streets he had come.  But why
(he always asked) should such a really fateful meeting have taken
place in the market (through which there was no need to go), and
happen, too, at exactly such a time and at a moment of his life
when his mind was in the state it was, and the event, in these
circumstances, could only produce the most definite and decided
effect upon his fate?  Surely he was the instrument of some

It was about nine o'clock as he stood in the Haymarket.  All the
dealers had closed their establishments or cleared away their goods
and gone home.  About this place, with its tattered population, its
dirty and nauseous courtyards and numerous alleys, Raskolnikoff
dearly loved to roam in his aimless wanderings.  He attracted no
notice there.  At the corner of K---- Lane were a dealer and his
wife, who were engaged in packing up their wares, consisting of
tapes, handkerchiefs, cotton, &c., preparatory to going home.  They
were lingering over their work, and conversing with an
acquaintance.  This was Elizabeth Ivanovna, or simple Elizabeth, as
all called her, the younger sister of the old woman, Alena
Ivanovna, to whose rooms Raskolnikoff went the day before for the
purpose of pawning his watch to make his REHEARSAL.  He knew all
about this Elizabeth, as she knew also a little about him.  She was
a tall, awkward woman, about thirty-five years of age, timid and
quiet, indeed almost an idiot, and was a regular slave to her
sister, working for her day and night, trembling before her and
enduring even blows.  She was evidently hesitating about something,
as she stood there with a bundle under her arm, and her friends
were pressing some subject rather warmly.  When Raskolnikoff
recognized her he seemed struck with the greatest astonishment,
although there was nothing strange about such a meeting.

"You ought to decide yourself, Elizabeth Ivanovna," said the man.
"Come to-morrow at seven o'clock."

"To-morrow?" said Elizabeth slowly, as if undecided.

"She is frightened of Alena Ivanovna," cried the wife, a brisk
little woman.  "You are like a little child, Elizabeth Ivanovna,
and she's not your own sister, but a stepsister.  She has too much
her own way."

"You say nothing to Alena Ivanovna," interrupted the man, "and come
without asking, that's the way to do it, and your sister can manage

"When shall I come?"

"At seven o'clock, to-morrow."

"Very well, I will come," said Elizabeth, slowly and reluctantly.
She then quitted them.

Raskolnikoff also went away, and stayed to hear no more.  His
original amazement had changed gradually into a feeling of actual
terror; a chill ran down his back.  He had learned unexpectedly and
positively, that, at seven o'clock the next evening, Elizabeth, the
old woman's sister, the only person living with her, would not be
at home, and that, therefore, the old woman, at seven o'clock
tomorrow, WOULD BE THERE ALONE.  It needed but a few steps to reach
his room.  He went along like one sentenced to death, with his
reason clogged and numbed.  He felt that now all liberty of action
and free will were gone, and everything was irrevocably decided.  A
more convenient occasion than was thus unexpectedly offered to him
now would never arise, and he might never learn again, beforehand,
that, at a certain time on a certain day, she, on whom he was to
make the attempt, would be entirely alone.

Raskolnikoff learned subsequently what induced the man and his wife
to invite Elizabeth to call on them.  It was a very simple matter.
A foreign family, finding themselves in straitened circumstances,
were desirous of parting with various things, consisting for the
most part in articles of female attire.  They were anxious,
therefore, to meet with a dealer in cast-off clothes, and this was
one of Elizabeth's callings.  She had a large connection, because
she was very honest and always stuck to her price: there was no
higgling to be done with her.  She was a woman of few words and
very shy and reserved.  But Raskolnikoff was very superstitious,
and traces of this remained in him long after.  In all the events
of this period of his life he was ever ready to detect something
mysterious, and attribute every circumstance to the presence of
some particular influence upon his destiny.

The previous winter, a fellow student, Pokoreff by name, on leaving
for Charkoff, had happened to communicate to him in conversation
the address of Alena Ivanovna, in case he should ever require to
pawn anything.  For a long time he did not use it, as he was giving
lessons, and managed somehow to get along, but six weeks before
this time he had recollected the address.  He had two things fit to
pawn--an old silver watch, formerly his father's; and a small gold
ring with three red stones, a souvenir from his sister on leaving
home.  He decided on getting rid of the latter, and went to the old
woman's.  At the first glance, and knowing nothing whatever of her
personally, she inspired him with an unaccountable loathing.  He
took her two notes, and on leaving went into a poor traktir, or
restaurant, and ordered some tea.  He sat down musing, and strange
thoughts flitted across his mind and became hatched in his brain.
Close by, at another table, were seated a student, whom he did not
know, and a young officer.  They had been playing billiards, and
were now drinking tea.  Suddenly Raskolnikoff heard the student
give the officer the address of Alena Ivanovna, the widow of a
professor, as one who lent money on pledges.  This alone struck
Raskolnikoff as very peculiar.  They were talking of the same
person he had just been to see.  No doubt it was pure chance, but,
at the moment he was struggling against an impression he could not
overcome, this stranger's words came and gave extra force to it.
The student went on talking, and began to give his companion some
account of Alena Ivanovna.

"She is well known," he said, "and always good for money.  She is
as rich as a Jew, and can advance five thousand rubles at a
moment's notice; yet she will take in pledge objects worth as
little as a ruble.  She is quite a providence to many of our
fellows--but such an old hag!  I tell you what I would do.  I would
kill that damnable old hag, and take all she is possessed of,
without any qualm of conscience," exclaimed the student excitedly.
The officer laughed, but Raskolnikoff shuddered.  The words just
uttered so strongly echoed his own thoughts.  "Let me put a serious
question to you," resumed the student, more and more excited.  "I
have hitherto been joking, but now listen to this.  On the one side
here is a silly, flint-hearted, evil-minded, sulky old woman,
necessary to no one--on the contrary, pernicious to all--and who
does not know herself why she lives."

"Well?" said the officer.

"Hear me further.  On the other hand, young fresh strength droops
and is lost for want of sustenance; this is the case with thousands
everywhere!  A hundred, a thousand good deeds and enterprises could
be carried out and upheld with the money this old woman has
bequeathed to a monastery.  A dozen families might be saved from
hunger, want, ruin, crime, and misery, and all with her money!
Kill her, I say, take it from her, and dedicate it to the service
of humanity and the general good!  What is your opinion?  Shall not
one little crime be effaced and atoned for by a thousand good
deeds?  For one useless life a thousand lives saved from decay and
death.  One death, and a hundred beings restored to existence!
There's a calculation for you.  What in proportion is the life of
this miserable old woman?  No more than the life of a flea, a
beetle, nay, not even that, for she is pernicious.  She preys on
other lives.  She lately bit Elizabeth's finger, in a fit of
passion, and nearly bit it off!"

"Certainly she does not deserve to live," observed the officer,
"but nature--"

"Ah, my friend, nature has to be governed and guided, or we should
be drowned in prejudices.  Without it there would never be one
great man.  They say 'duty is conscience.'  Now I have nothing to
say against duty and conscience, but let us see, how do we
understand them?  Let me put another question to you.  Listen."

"Stop a minute, I will give you one."


"After all you have said and declaimed, tell me--are you going to
kill the old woman YOURSELF, or not?"

"Of course not.  I only pointed out the inequality of things.  As
for the deed--"

"Well, if you won't, it's my opinion that it would not be just to
do so!  Come, let's have another game!"

Raskolnikoff was in the greatest agitation.  Still, there was
nothing extraordinary in this conversation; it was not the first
time he had heard, only in other forms and on other topics, such
ideas from the lips of the young and hotheaded.  But why should he,
of all men, happen to overhear such a conversation and such ideas,
when the very same thoughts were being engendered in himself?--and
why precisely THEN, immediately on his becoming possessed of them
and on leaving the old woman?  Strange, indeed, did this
coincidence appear to him.  This idle conversation was destined to
have a fearful influence on his destiny, extending to the most
trifling incident and causing him to feel sure he was the
instrument of a fixed purpose.

On his return from the market, he flung himself upon his couch and
sat motionless for a whole hour.  It became dark, he had no light,
but sat on.  He could never afterwards recollect his thoughts at
the time.  At last he felt cold, and a shiver ran through him.  He
recognized with delight that he was sitting on his couch and could
lie down, and soon he fell into a deep, heavy sleep.  He slept much
longer than usual, and his slumbers were undisturbed by dreams.
Nastasia, who came to his room the next morning at ten o'clock, had
great difficulty in awakening him.  The servant brought him some
bread and, the same as the day before, what was left of her tea.

"Not up yet!" exclaimed she indignantly.  "How can you sleep so

Raskolnikoff raised himself with an effort; his head ached; he got
upon his feet, took a few steps, and then dropped down again upon
the couch.

"What, again!" cried Nastasia, "but you must be ill then?"  He did
not answer.  "Would you like some tea?"

"By and by," he muttered painfully, after which he closed his eyes
and turned his face to the wall.  Nastasia, standing over him,
remained watching him for a while.

"After all, he's perhaps ill," said she, before withdrawing.  At
two o'clock she returned with some soup.  Raskolnikoff was still
lying on the couch.  He had not touched the tea.  The servant
became angry and shook the lodger violently.  "Whatever makes you
sleep thus?" scolded she, eyeing him contemptuously.

He sat up, but answered not a word, and remained with his eyes
fixed on the floor.

"Are you ill, or are you not?" asked Nastasia.  This second
question met with no more answer than the first.  "You should go
out," continued she, after a pause, "the fresh air would do you
good.  You'll eat something, will you not?"

"By and by," answered he feebly.  "Go away!" and he motioned her
off.  She remained a moment longer, watching him with an air of
pity, and then left the room.

After a few minutes he raised his eyes, gave a long look at the tea
and soup, and then began to eat.  He swallowed three or four
spoonfuls without the least appetite--almost mechanically.  His
head felt better.  When he had finished his light repast, he again
lay down on the couch, but he could not sleep and remained
motionless, flat on his stomach, his face buried in the pillow.
His reverie kept conjuring up strange scenes.  At one time he was
in Africa, in Egypt, on some oasis, where palms were dotted about.
The caravans were at rest, the camels lay quietly, and the
travelers were eating their evening meal.  They drank water direct
from the stream which ran murmuring close by.  How refreshing was
the marvelously blue water, and how beautifully clear it looked as
it ran over many-colored stones and mingled with the golden
spangles of the sandy bottom!  All at once he clearly heard the
hour chiming.  He shuddered, raised his head, looked at the window
to calculate the time.  He came to himself immediately and jumped
up, and, going on tiptoe, silently opened the door and stood
listening on the landing.  His heart beat violently.  But not a
sound came from the staircase.  It seemed as though the house was
wrapped in sleep.  He could not understand how he had been able to
sleep away the time as he had done, while nothing was prepared for
the enterprise.  And yet it was, perhaps, six o'clock that had just

Then, he became excited as he felt what there was to be done, and
he endeavored with all his might to keep his thoughts from
wandering and concentrate his mind on his task.  All the time his
heart thumped and beat until he could hardly draw breath.  In the
first place it was necessary to make a loop and fasten to his coat.
He went to his pillow and took from among the linen he kept there
an old and dirty shirt and tore part of it into strips.  He then
fastened a couple of these together, and, taking off his coat--a
stout cotton summer one--began to sew the loop inside, under the
left arm.  His hands shook violently, but he accomplished his task
satisfactorily, and when he again put on his coat nothing was
visible.  Needle and thread had been procured long ago, and lay on
the table in a piece of paper.  The loop was provided for a
hatchet.  It would never have done to have appeared in the streets
carrying a hatchet, and if he placed it under the coat, it would
have been necessary to hold it with his hands; but with the loop
all he had to do was to put the iron in it and it would hang of
itself under the coat, and with his hands in his pockets he could
keep it from shaking, and no one could suspect that he was carrying
anything.  He had thought over all this about a fortnight before.

Having finished his task, Raskolnikoff inserted his finger in a
small crevice in the floor under his couch, and brought out the
PLEDGE with which he had been careful to provide himself.  This
pledge was, however, only a sham--a thin smooth piece of wood about
the size and thickness of a silver cigarette case, which he had
found in a yard adjoining a carpenter's shop, and a thin piece of
iron of about the same size, which he had picked up in the street.
He fastened the two together firmly with thread, then proceeded to
wrap them up neatly in a piece of clean white paper, and tie the
parcel in such a manner that it would he difficult to undo it
again.  This was all done in order to occupy the attention of the
old woman and to seize a favorable opportunity when she would be
busy with the knot.  The piece of iron was simply added for weight,
in order that she might not immediately detect the fraud.  He had
just finished, and had put the packet in his pocket, when in the
court below resounded the cry:

"Six o'clock struck long ago!"

"Long ago!  Good heavens!"

He ran to the door, listened, seized his hat, and went down the
stairs cautiously and stealthily as a cat.  He still had the most
important thing to do--to steal the hatchet out of the kitchen.
That a hatchet was the best instrument, he had long since decided.
He had an old garden knife, but on a knife--especially on his own
strength--he could not rely; he finally fixed on the hatchet.  A
peculiarity was to be noticed in all these resolutions of his; the
more definitely they were settled, the more absurd and horrible
they immediately appeared to his eyes, and never, for a moment, did
he feel sure of the execution of his project.  But even if every
question had been settled, every doubt cleared away, every
difficulty overcome, he would probably have renounced his design on
the instant, as something absurd, monstrous, and impossible.  But
there were still a host of matters to arrange, of problems to
solve.  As to procuring the hatchet, this trifle did not trouble
Raskolnikoff in the least, for nothing was easier.  As a matter of
fact Nastasia was scarcely ever at home, especially of an evening.
She was constantly out gossiping with friends or tradespeople, and
that was the reason of her mistress's constant complaints.  When
the time came, all he would have to do would be to quietly enter
the kitchen and take the hatchet, and then to replace it an hour
afterwards when all was over.  But perhaps this would not be as
easy as he fancied.  "Suppose," said the young man to himself,
"that when, in an hour's time, I come to replace the hatchet,
Nastasia should have come in.  Now, in that case, I could naturally
not enter the kitchen until she had gone out again.  But supposing
during this time she notices the absence of the hatchet, she will
grumble, perhaps kick up a shindy, and that will serve to denounce
me, or at least might do so!"

Before he had got to the bottom of the staircase, a trifling
circumstance came and upset all his plans.  On reaching his
landlady's landing, he found the kitchen door wide open, as usual,
and he peeped in, in order to make sure that, in the absence of
Nastasia, her mistress was not there, and that the doors of the
other rooms were closed.  But great was his annoyance to find
Nastasia there herself, engaged in hanging clothes on a line.
Perceiving the young man, she stopped and turned to him
inquiringly.  He averted his eyes and went away without remark.
But the affair was done for.  There was no hatchet, he was
frustrated entirely.  He felt crushed, nay, humiliated, but a
feeling of brutal vindictiveness at his disappointment soon ensued,
and he continued down the stairs, smiling maliciously to himself.
He stood hesitating at the gate.  To walk about the streets or to
go back were equally repugnant.  "To think that I have missed such
a splendid opportunity!" he murmured as he stood aimlessly at the
entrance, leaning near the open door of the porter's lodge.
Suddenly he started--something in the dark room attracted his eye.
He looked quietly around.  No one was near.  He descended the two
steps on tiptoe, and called for the porter.  There was no reply,
and he rushed headlong to the hatchet (it was a hatchet), secured
it where it lay among some wood, and hurriedly fastened it to the
loop as he made his way out into the street.  No one saw him!
"There's more of the devil in this than my design," he said smiling
to himself.  The occurrence gave him fresh courage.

He went away quietly in order not to excite any suspicion, and
walked along the street with his eyes studiously fixed on the
ground, avoiding the faces of the passers-by.  Suddenly he
recollected his hat.  "Good heavens! the day before yesterday I had
money, and not to have thought of that!  I could so easily have
bought a cap!" and he began cursing himself.  Glancing casually in
a shop, he saw it was ten minutes past seven.  He had yet a long
way to go, as he was making a circuit, not wishing to walk direct
to the house.  He kept off, as much as he was able, all thought of
his mission, and on the way reflected upon possible improvements of
the public grounds, upon the desirability of fountains, and why
people lived where there were neither parks nor fountains, but only
mud, lime, and bricks, emitting horrid exhalations and every
conceivable foulness.  This reminded him of his own walks about the
Cyennaza, and he came to himself.

"How true it is that persons being led to execution interest
themselves in anything that strikes them on the way!" was the
thought that came into his head; but it passed away like lightning
to be succeeded by some other.  "Here we are--there is the gate."
It struck half-past seven as he stood near the house.

To his delight, he passed in without observation.  As if on
purpose, at the very same moment a load of hay was going in, and it
completely screened him.  On the other side of the load, a dispute
or brawl was evidently taking place, and he gained the old woman's
staircase in a second.  Recovering his breath and pressing his hand
to his beating heart, he commenced the ascent, though first feeling
for the hatchet and arranging it.  Every minute he stopped to
listen.  The stairs were quite deserted, and every door was closed.
No one met him.  On the second floor, indeed, the door of an empty
lodging was wide open; some painters were working there, but they
did not look up.  He stopped a moment to think, and then continued
the ascent: "No doubt it would be better if they were not there,
but fortunately there are two more floors above them."  At last he
reached the fourth floor, and Alena Ivanovna's door; the lodging
facing it was unoccupied.  The lodging on the third floor, just
beneath the old woman's, was also apparently empty.  The card that
used to be on the door had gone; the lodgers had, no doubt, moved.
Raskolnikoff was stifling.  He stood hesitating a moment: "Had I
not better go away?"  But without answering the question, he waited
and listened.  Not a sound issued from the old woman's apartments.
The staircase was filled with the same silence.  After listening
for a long time, the young man cast a last glance around, and again
felt his hatchet.  "Do I not look too pale?" thought he.  "Do I not
appear too agitated?  She is mistrustful.  I should do well to wait
a little, to give my emotion time to calm down."

But instead of becoming quieter, his heart throbbed more violently.
He could stand it no longer, and, raising his hand toward the bell
rope, he pulled it toward him.  After waiting half a minute, he
rang again--this time a little louder.  No answer.  To ring like a
deaf man would have been useless, stupid even.  The old woman was
certainly at home; but, suspicious by nature, she was likely to be
so all the more then, as she happened to be alone.  Raskolnikoff
knew something of Alena Ivanovna's habits.  He therefore placed his
ear to the door.  Had the circumstances amid which he was placed
strangely developed his power of hearing, which, in general, is
difficult to admit, or was the sound really easily perceptible?
Anyhow, he suddenly became aware that a hand was being cautiously
placed on the lock, and that a dress rustled against the door.
Some one inside was going through exactly the same movements as he
on the landing.  Some one, standing up against the lock, was
listening while trying to hide her presence, and had probably her
ear also against the door.

In order to avoid all idea of mystery, the young man purposely
moved about rather noisily, and muttered something half aloud; then
he rang a third time, but gently and coolly, without allowing the
bell to betray the least sign of impatience.  Raskolnikoff never
forgot this moment of his life.  When, in after days, he thought
over it, he could never understand how he had been able to display
such cunning, especially at a time when emotion was now and again
depriving him of the free use of his intellectual and physical
faculties.  After a short while he heard the bolt withdrawn.

The door, as before, was opened a little, and again the two eyes,
with mistrustful glance, peeped out of the dark.  Then Raskolnikoff
lost his presence of mind and made a serious mistake.  Fearing that
the old woman would take alarm at finding they were alone, and
knowing that his appearance would not reassure her, he took hold of
the door and pulled it toward him in order to prevent her shutting
it again if she should be thus minded.  Seeing this, she held on to
the lock, so that he almost drew her together with the door on to
the staircase.  She recovered herself, and stood to prevent his
entrance, speechless with fright.

"Good evening, Alena Ivanovna," he commenced, trying to speak with
unconcern, but his voice did not obey him, and he faltered and
trembled, "Good evening, I have brought you something, but we had
better go into the light."  He pushed past her and entered the room
uninvited.  The old woman followed and found her tongue.

"What is it you want?  Who are you?" she commenced.

"Pardon me, Alena Ivanovna, your old acquaintance Raskolnikoff.  I
have brought a pledge, as I promised the other day," and he held
out the packet to her.

The old woman was about to examine it, when she raised her eyes and
looked straight into those of the visitor who had entered so
unceremoniously.  She examined him attentively, distrustfully, for
a minute.  Raskolnikoff fancied there was a gleam of mockery in her
look as if she guessed all.  He felt he was changing color, and
that if she kept her glance upon him much longer without saying a
word he would be obliged to run away.

"Why are you looking at me thus?" he said at last in anger.  "Will
you take it or not?  or shall I take it elsewhere?  I have no time
to waste."  He did not intend to say this, but the words came out.
The tone seemed to quiet her suspicions.

"Why were you so impatient, batuchka?  What is it?" she asked,
glancing at the pledge.

"The silver cigarette case of which I spoke the other day."

She held out her hand.  "But why are you so pale, why do your hands
shake?  What is the matter with you, batuchka?"

"Fever," replied he abruptly.  "You would be pale too if you had
nothing to eat."  He could hardly speak the words and felt his
strength failing.  But there was some plausibility in his reply;
and the old woman took the pledge.

"What is it?" she asked once more, weighing it in her hand and
looking straight at her visitor.

"Cigarette case, silver, look at it."

"It doesn't feel as though it were silver.  Oh! what a dreadful

She began to untie the packet and turned to the light (all the
windows were closed in spite of the heat).  Her back was turned
toward Raskolnikoff, and for a few seconds she paid no further
attention to him.  He opened his coat, freed the hatchet from the
loop, but did not yet take it from its hiding place; he held it
with his right hand beneath the garment.  His limbs were weak, each
moment they grew more numbed and stiff.  He feared his fingers
would relax their hold of the hatchet.  Then his head turned giddy.

"What is this you bring me?" cried Alena Ivanovna, turning to him
in a rage.

There was not a moment to lose now.  He pulled out the hatchet,
raised it with both hands, and let it descend without force, almost
mechanically, on the old woman's head.  But directly he had struck
the blow his strength returned.  According to her usual habit,
Alena Ivanovna was bareheaded.  Her scanty gray locks, greasy with
oil, were gathered in one thin plait, which was fixed to the back
of her neck by means of a piece of horn comb.  The hatchet struck
her just on the sinciput, and this was partly owing to her small
stature.  She scarcely uttered a faint cry and collapsed at once
all in a heap on the floor; she was dead.

The murderer laid his hatchet down and at once began to search the
corpse, taking the greatest precaution not to get stained with the
blood; he remembered seeing Alena Ivanovna, on the occasion of his
last visit, take her keys from the right-hand pocket of her dress.
He was in full possession of his intellect; he felt neither giddy
nor dazed, but his hands continued to shake.  Later on, he
recollected that he had been very prudent, very attentive, that he
had taken every care not to soil himself.  It did not take him long
to find the keys; the same as the other day, they were all together
on a steel ring.  Having secured.  them, Raskolnikoff at once
passed into the bedroom.  It was a very small apartment; on one
side was a large glass case full of holy images, on the other a
great bed looking very clean with its quilted-silk patchwork
coverlet.  The third wall was occupied by a chest of drawers.
Strange to say, the young man had no sooner attempted to open them,
he had no sooner commenced to try the keys, than a kind of shudder
ran through his frame.  Again the idea came to him to give up his
task and go away, but this weakness only lasted a second: it was
now too late to draw back.

He was even smiling at having for a moment entertained such a
thought, when he was suddenly seized with a terrible anxiety:
suppose the old woman were still alive, suppose she recovered
consciousness.  Leaving at once the keys and the drawers, he
hastened to the corpse, seized the hatchet, and prepared to strike
another blow at his victim, but he found there was no necessity to
do so.  Alena Ivanovna was dead beyond all doubt.  Leaning over her
again to examine her closer, Raskolnikoff saw that the skull was
shattered.  He was about to touch her with his fingers, but drew
back, as it was quite unnecessary.  There was a pool of blood upon
the floor.  Suddenly noticing a bit of cord round the old woman's
neck, the young man gave it a tug, but the gory stuff was strong,
and did not break.  The murderer then tried to remove it by drawing
it down the body.  But this second attempt was no more successful
than the first, the cord encountered some obstacle and became
fixed.  Burning with impatience, Raskolnikoff brandished the
hatchet, ready to strike the corpse and sever the confounded string
at the same blow.  However, he could not make up his mind to
proceed with such brutality.  At last, after trying for two
minutes, and staining his hands with blood, he succeeded in
severing the cord with the blade of the hatchet without further
disfiguring the dead body.  As he had imagined, there was a purse
suspended to the old woman's neck.  Besides this there was also a
small enameled medal and two crosses, one of cypress wood, the
other of brass.  The greasy purse, a little chamois-leather bag,
was as full as it could hold.  Raskolnikoff thrust it in his pocket
without examining the contents.  He then threw the crosses on his
victim's breast, and hastily returned to the bedroom, taking the
hatchet with him.

His impatience was now intense, he seized the keys, and again set
to work.  But all his attempts to open the drawers were unavailing,
and this was not so much owing to the shaking of his hands as to
his continual misconceptions.  He could see, for instance, that a
certain key would not fit the lock, and yet he continued to try and
insert it.  All on a sudden he recalled a conjecture he had formed
on the occasion of his preceding visit: the big key with the
toothed wards, which was attached to the ring with the smaller
ones, probably belonged, not to the drawers, but to some box in
which the old woman, no doubt, hoarded up her valuables.  Without
further troubling about the drawers, he at once looked under the
bed, aware that old women are in the habit of hiding their
treasures in such places.  And there indeed was a trunk with
rounded lid, covered with red morocco and studded with steel nails.
Raskolnikoff was able to insert the key in the lock without the
least difficulty.  When he opened the box he perceived a hareskin
cloak trimmed with red lying on a white sheet; beneath the fur was
a silk dress, and then a shawl, the rest of the contents appeared
to be nothing but rags.  The young man commenced by wiping his
bloodstained hands on the red trimming.  "It will not show so much
on red."  Then he suddenly seemed to change his mind: "Heavens! am
I going mad?" thought he with fright.

But scarcely had he touched these clothes than a gold watch rolled
from under the fur.  He then overhauled everything in the box.
Among the rags were various gold trinkets, which had all probably
been pledged with the old woman: bracelets, chains, earrings, scarf
pins, &c.  Some were in their cases, while the others were tied up
with tape in pieces of newspaper folded in two.  Raskolnikoff did
not hesitate, he laid hands on these jewels, and stowed them away
in the pockets of his coat and trousers, without opening the cases
or untying the packets; but he was soon interrupted in his work--

Footsteps resounded in the other room.  He stopped short, frozen
with terror.  But the noise having ceased, he was already imagining
he had been mistaken, when suddenly he distinctly heard a faint
cry, or rather a kind of feeble interrupted moan.  At the end of a
minute or two, everything was again as silent as death.
Raskolnikoff had seated himself on the floor beside the trunk and
was waiting, scarcely daring to breathe; suddenly he bounded up,
caught up the hatchet, and rushed from the bedroom.  In the center
of the apartment, Elizabeth, a huge bundle in her hands, stood
gazing in a terror-stricken way at her dead sister; white as a
sheet, she did not seem to have the strength to call out.  On the
sudden appearance of the murderer, she began to quake in every
limb, and nervous twitches passed over her face; she tried to raise
her arm, to open her mouth, but she was unable to utter the least
cry, and, slowly retreating, her gaze still riveted on
Raskolnikoff, she sought refuge in a corner.  The poor woman drew
back in perfect silence, as though she had no breath left in her
body.  The young man rushed upon her, brandishing the hatchet; the
wretched creature's lips assumed the doleful expression peculiar to
quite young children when, beginning to feel frightened of
something, they gaze fixedly at the object which has raised their
alarm, and are on the point of crying out.  Terror had so
completely stupefied this unfortunate Elizabeth, that, though
threatened by the hatchet, she did not even think of protecting her
face by holding her hands before her head, with that mechanical
gesture which the instinct of self-preservation prompts on such
occasions.  She scarcely raised her left arm, and extended it
slowly in the direction of the murderer, as thought to keep him
off.  The hatchet penetrated her skull, laying it open from the
upper part of the forehead to the crown.  Elizabeth fell down dead.
No longer aware of what he did, Raskolnikoff took the bundle from
his victim's hand, then dropped it and ran to the anteroom.

He was more and more terrified, especially after this second
murder, entirely unpremeditated by him.  He was in a hurry to be
gone; had he then been in a state to see things more clearly, had
he only been able to form an idea of the difficulties besetting his
position, to see how desperate, how hideous, how absurd it was, to
understand how many obstacles there still remained for him to
surmount, perhaps even crimes to commit, to escape from this house
and return home, he would most likely have withdrawn from the
struggle, and have gone at once and given himself up to justice; it
was not cowardice which would have prompted him to do so, but the
horror of what he had done.  This last impression became more and
more powerful every minute.  Nothing in the world could now have
made him return to the trunk, nor even reenter the room in which it
lay.  Little by little his mind became diverted by other thoughts,
and he lapsed into a kind of reverie; at times the murderer seemed
to forget his position, or rather the most important part of it,
and to concentrate his attention on trifles.  After a while,
happening to glance in the kitchen, he observed a pail half full of
water, standing on a bench, and that gave him the idea of washing
his hands and the hatchet.  The blood had made his hands sticky.
After plunging the blade of the hatchet in the water, he took a
small piece of soap which lay on the window sill, and commenced his
ablutions.  When he had washed his hands, he set to cleaning the
iron part of his weapon; then he devoted three minutes to soaping
the wooden handle, which was also stained with blood.

After this he wiped it with a cloth which had been hung up to dry
on a line stretched across the kitchen.  This done, he drew near
the window and carefully examined the hatchet for some minutes.
The accusing stains had disappeared, but the handle was still damp.
Raskolnikoff carefully hid the weapon under his coat by replacing
it in the loop; after which, he minutely inspected his clothes,
that is to say so far as the dim light of the kitchen allowed him
to do so.  He saw nothing suspicious about the coat and trousers,
but there were bloodstains on the boots.  He removed them with the
aid of a damp rag.  But these precautions only half reassured him,
for he knew that he could not see properly and that certain stains
had very likely escaped him.  He stood irresolute in the middle of
the room, a prey to a somber, agonizing thought, the thought that
he was going mad, that at that moment he was not in a fit state to
come to a determination and to watch over his security, that his
way of going to work was probably not the one the circumstances
demanded.  "Good heavens!  I ought to go, to go away at once!"
murmured he, and he rushed to the anteroom where the greatest
terror he had yet experienced awaited him.

He stood stock-still, not daring to believe his eyes: the door of
the lodging, the outer door which opened on to the landing, the
same one at which he had rung a little while before and by which he
had entered, was open; up till then it had remained ajar, the old
woman had no doubt omitted to close it by way of precaution; it had
been neither locked nor bolted!  But he had seen Elizabeth after
that.  How was it that it had not occurred to him that she had come
in by way of the door?  She could not have entered the lodging
through the wall.  He shut the door and bolted it.  "But no, that
is not what I should do?  I must go away, go away."  He drew back
the bolt and, after opening the door again, stood listening on the

He stood thus a long while.  Down below, probably at the street
door, two noisy voices were vociferating insults.  "Who can those
people be?"  He waited patiently.  At last the noise ceased, the
brawlers had taken their departure.  The young man was about to do
the same, when a door on the floor immediately below was noisily
opened and some one went downstairs, humming a tune.  "Whatever are
they all up to?" wondered Raskolnikoff, and closing the door again
he waited a while.  At length all became silent as before; but just
as he was preparing to go down, he suddenly became aware of a fresh
sound, footsteps as yet far off, at the bottom of the staircase;
and he no sooner heard them than he guessed the truth:--some one
was coming THERE, to the old woman's on the fourth floor.  Whence
came this presentiment?  What was there so particularly significant
in the sound of these footsteps?  They were heavy, regular, and
rather slow than hurried.  HE has now reached the first floor, he
still continues to ascend.  The sound is becoming plainer and
plainer.  He pants as though with asthma at each step he takes.  He
has commenced the third flight.  He will soon be on the fourth!
And Raskolnikoff felt suddenly seized as with a general paralysis,
the same as happens when a person has the nightmare and fancies
himself pursued by enemies; they are on the point of catching him,
they will kill him, and yet he remains spellbound, unable to move a

The stranger was now ascending the fourth flight.  Raskolnikoff,
who until then had been riveted to the landing with fright, was at
length able to shake off his torpor, and hastily reentered the
apartment, closing the door behind him.  Then he bolted it, being
careful to make as little noise as possible.  Instinct rather than
reason prompted him to do this.  When he had finished, he remained
close to the door, listening, scarcely daring to breathe.  The
visitor was now on the landing.  Only the thickness of the door
separated the two men.  The unknown was in the same position toward
Raskolnikoff as the latter had been a little while before toward
the old woman.  The visitor stood panting for some little time.
"He must be stout and big," thought the young man as he clasped the
hatchet firmly in his hand.  It was all like a dream to him.  The
visitor gave a violent pull at the bell.  He immediately fancied he
heard something move inside.  He listened attentively during a few
seconds, then he gave another ring and again waited; suddenly
losing patience, he began to shake the door handle with all his
might.  Raskolnikoff watched with terror the bolt trembling in the
socket, expecting to see it shoot back at any moment, so violent
were the jerks given to the door.  It occurred to him to hold the
bolt in its place with his hand, but the MAN might have found it
out.  His head was turning quite dizzy again.  "I shall betray
myself!" thought he; but he suddenly recovered his presence of mind
as the unknown broke the silence.

"Are they both asleep, or has some one strangled them?  The thrice-
confounded creatures!" growled the visitor in a guttural voice.
"Hi!  Alena Ivanovna, you old sorceress!  Elizabeth Ivanovna, you
indescribable beauty!--open!  Oh! the witches! can they be asleep?"

In his exasperation he rang ten times running, and as loud as he
possibly could.  This man was evidently not a stranger there, and
was in the habit of being obeyed.  At the same moment some light
and rapid footsteps resounded on the staircase.  It was another
person coming to the fourth floor.  Raskolnikoff was not at first
aware of the newcomer's arrival.

"Is it possible that there's no one at home?" said the latter in a
loud and hearty tone of voice, addressing the first visitor who was
still tugging at the bell pull.  "Good day, Koch!"

"Judging by his voice, he must be quite a young man," immediately
thought Raskolnikoff.

"The devil only knows!  I've almost smashed the lock," replied
Koch.  "But how is it you know me?"

"What a question!  The day before yesterday I played you at
billiards, at Gambrinus's, and won three games right off."


"So they're not at home?  That's strange.  I might almost say it's
ridiculous.  Where can the old woman have gone?  I want to speak
with her."

"And I too, batuchka, I want to speak with her."

"Well, what's to be done?  I suppose we must go back to whence we
came.  I wanted to borrow some money of her!" exclaimed the young

"Of course we must go back again; but why then did she make an
appointment?  She herself, the old witch, told me to come at this
hour.  And it's a long way to where I live.  Where the deuce can
she be?  I don't understand it.  She never stirs from one year's
end to the other, the old witch; she quite rots in the place, her
legs have always got something the matter with them, and now all on
a sudden she goes gallivanting about!"

"Suppose we question the porter?"

"What for?"

"To find out where she's gone and when she will be back."

"Hum!--the deuce!--question!--but she never goes anywhere."  And he
again tugged at the door handle.  "The devil take her! there's
nothing to be done but to go."

"Wait!" suddenly exclaimed the young man, "look!--do you notice how
the door resists when we pull it?"

"Well, what then?"

"Why, that shows that it's not locked, but bolted!  Hark how it


"Don't you understand?  That shows that one of them must be at
home.  If both were out, they would have locked the door after
them, and not have bolted it inside.  Listen, don't you hear the
noise it makes?  Well, to bolt one's door, one must be at home, you
understand.  Therefore it follows that they are at home, only for
some reason or other they don't open the door!"

"Why, yes, you're right!" exclaimed the astonished Koch.  "So
they're there, are they?"  And he again shook the door violently.

"Stay!" resumed the young man, "don't pull like that.  There's
something peculiar about this.  You've rung, you've pulled at the
door with all your might, and they haven't answered you; therefore,
they've either both fainted away, or--"


"This is what we had better do: have the porter up, so that he may
find out what's the matter."

"That's not a bad idea!"

They both started downstairs.

"Stop! you stay here; I'll fetch the porter."

"Why stay here?"

"Well, one never knows what might happen--"

"All right."

"You see, I might also pass for an examining magistrate!  There's
something very peculiar about all this, that's evident, e-vi-dent!"
said the young man excitedly, and he hastily made his way down the

Left alone, Koch rang again, but gently this time; then, with a
thoughtful air, he began to play with the door handle, turning it
first one way, then the other, so as to make sure the door was only
bolted.  After this, with a great deal of puffing and blowing, he
stooped down to look through the keyhole, but the key was in the
lock, and turned in such a way that one could not see through.
Standing up on the other side of the door, Raskolnikoff still held
the hatchet in his hands.  He was almost in a state of delirium and
was preparing to attack the two men the moment they forced an
entrance.  More than once, on hearing them knocking and planning
together, he had felt inclined to put an end to the matter there
and then by calling out to them.  At times he experienced a desire
to abuse and defy them, while awaiting their irruption.  "The
sooner it's over the better!" he kept thinking.

"The devil take them!"  The time passed; still no one came.  Koch
was beginning to lose patience.  "The devil take them!" he muttered
again, and, tired of waiting, he relinquished his watch to go and
find the young man.  By degrees the sound of his heavy boots
echoing on the stairs ceased to be heard.

"Heavens! What shall I do?"

Raskolnikoff drew back the bolt and opened the door a few inches.
Reassured by the silence which reigned in the house, and, moreover,
scarcely in a fit state at the time to reflect on what he did, he
went out on to the landing, shut the door behind him as securely as
he could and turned to go downstairs.  He had already descended
several steps when suddenly a great uproar arose from one of the
floors below.  Where could he hide?  Concealment was impossible, so
he hastened upstairs again.

"Hi there! hang it! stop!"

He who uttered these cries had just burst out of one of the
lodgings, and was rushing down the stairs as fast as his legs would
carry him, yelling the while: "Dmitri! Dmitri! Dmitri!  May the
devil take the fool!"

The rest died away in the distance; the man who was uttering these
cries had already left the house far behind.  All was once more
silent; but scarcely was this alarm over than a fresh one succeeded
it: several individuals talking together in a loud tone of voice
were noisily coming up the stairs.  There were three or four of
them.  Raskolnikoff recognized the young man's sonorous accents.
"It is they!"  No longer hoping to escape them, he advanced boldly
to meet them: "Let happen what will!" said he to himself: "if they
stop me, all is over; if they let me pass, all is over just the
same: they will remember passing me on the stairs."  They were
about to encounter him, only one flight separated them--when
suddenly he felt himself saved!  A few steps from him, to the
right, there was an empty lodging with the door wide open, it was
that same one on the second floor where he had seen the painters
working, but, by a happy chance, they had just left it.  It was
they, no doubt, who a few minutes before had gone off, uttering
those shouts.  The paint on the floors was quite fresh, the workmen
had left their things in the middle of the room: a small tub, some
paint in an earthenware crock, and a big brush.  In the twinkling
of an eye, Raskolnikoff glided into the deserted apartment and hid
himself as best he could up against the wall.  It was none too
soon: his pursuers were already on the landing; they did not stop
there, however, but went on up to the fourth floor, talking loudly
among themselves.  After waiting till they had got some distance
off, he left the room on tiptoe and hurried down as fast as his
legs would carry him.  No one on the stairs!  No one either at the
street door!  He stepped briskly outside, and, once in the street,
turned to the left.

He knew very well, he knew without a doubt, that they who were
seeking him were at that moment in the old woman's lodging, and
were amazed to find that the door, which a little while before had
been shut so securely, was now open.  'They're examining the
corpses," thought he; "it won't take them a minute to come to the
conclusion that the murderer managed to hide himself from them as
they went up the stairs; perhaps they may even have a suspicion
that he stowed himself away in the empty lodging on the second
floor while they were hurrying to the upper part of the house."
But, in spite of these reflections, he did not dare to increase his
pace, though he still had a hundred steps or so to go before
reaching the first turning.  "Suppose I slipped into some doorway,
in some out-of-the-way street, and waited there a few minutes?  No,
that would never do!  I might throw my hatchet away somewhere? or
take a cab?  No good! no good!"  At last he reached a narrow lane;
he entered it more dead than alive.  There, he was almost in
safety, and he knew it: in such a place, suspicion could hardly be
fixed upon him; while, on the other hand, it was easier for him to
avoid notice by mingling with the crowd.  But all these agonizing
events had so enfeebled him that he could scarcely keep on his
legs.  Great drops of perspiration streamed down his face; his neck
was quite wet.  "I think you've had your fill!" shouted some one
who took him for a drunken man as he reached the canal bank.

He no longer knew what he was doing; the farther he went, the more
obscure became his ideas.  However, when he found himself on the
quay, he became frightened at seeing so few people there, and,
fearing that he might be noticed on so deserted a spot, he returned
to the lane.  Though he had hardly the strength to put one leg
before the other, he nevertheless took the longest way to reach his
home.  He had scarcely recovered his presence of mind even when he
crossed the threshold; at least the thought of the hatchet never
came to him until he was on the stairs.  Yet the question he had to
solve was a most serious one: it consisted in returning the hatchet
to the place he had taken it from, and in doing so without
attracting the least attention.  Had he been more capable of
considering his position, he would certainly have understood that,
instead of replacing the hatchet, it would be far safer to get rid
of it by throwing it into the yard of some other house.

Nevertheless he met with no mishap.  The door of the porter's lodge
was closed, though not locked; to all appearance, therefore, the
porter was at home.  But Raskolnikoff had so thoroughly lost all
faculty of preparing any kind of plan, that he walked straight to
the door and opened it.  If the porter had asked him: "What do you
want?" perhaps he would simply have handed him the hatchet.  But,
the same as on the previous occasion, the porter was absent, and
this gave the young man every facility to replace the hatchet under
the bench, exactly where he had found it.  Then he went upstairs
and reached his room without meeting a soul; the door of his
landlady's apartments was shut.  Once home again, he threw himself
on his couch just as he was.  He did not sleep, but lay in a sort
of semiconsciousness.  If anybody had then appeared before him, he
would have sprung up and cried out.  His head was swimming with a
host of vague thoughts: do what he could, he was unable to follow
the thread of one of them.

Raskolnikoff lay on the couch a very long while.  At times he
seemed to rouse from this half sleep, and then he noticed that the
night was very far advanced, but still it never entered his head to
rise.  Soon it began to brighten into day, and the dawn found him
in a state of stupefaction, lying motionless on his back.  A
desperate clamor, and sounds of brawls from the streets below, rose
to his ears.  These awakened him thoroughly, although he heard them
every morning early at the same hour.  "Ah! two o'clock, drinking
is over," and he started up as though some one had pulled him off
the couch.  "What! two o'clock already?"  He sat on the edge of the
couch and then recollected everything, in an instant it all came
back!  At first he thought he was going out of his mind, a strange
chill pervaded his frame, but the cold arose from the fever which
had seized upon him during his sleep.  He shivered until his teeth
chattered, and all his limbs fairly shook.  He went to the door,
opened it, and listened; all was silent in the house.  With
astonishment he turned and looked round the room.  How could he
have come home the night before, not bolted the door, and thrown
himself on the couch just as he was, not only not undressed, but
with his hat on?  There it lay in the middle of the floor where it
had rolled.  "If anyone came in, what would he think?  That I am
drunk, of course."

He went to the window--it was pretty light--and looked himself all
over from head to foot, to see if there were any stains on his
clothes.  But he could not rely upon that sort of inspection; so,
still shivering, he undressed and examined his clothes again,
looking everywhere with the greatest care.  To make quite sure, he
went over them three times.  He discovered nothing but a few drops
of clotted blood on the ends of his trousers which were very much
frayed.  He took a big clasp-knife and cut off the frayed edges.
Suddenly he remembered that the purse and the things he had
abstracted from the old woman's chest, were still in his pockets!
He had never thought of taking them out and hiding them! indeed, it
had never crossed his mind that they were in his pockets while
examining his clothes!  Was it possible?  In a second he emptied
all out on to the table in a heap.  Then, turning his pockets
inside out to make sure there was nothing left in them, he carried
the things to a corner of the room.  Just there, the paper was
hanging loose from the wall; he bent down and commenced to stuff
all the things into a hole behind the paper.  "There, it's all out
of sight!" thought he gleefully, as he stood gazing stupidly at the
spot where the paper bulged out more than ever.  Suddenly he began
to shudder from terror.  "Good heavens!" murmured he in despair,
"what is the matter with me?  Is that hidden?  Is that the way to
hide anything?"

Indeed, he had not reckoned on such spoil, he had only thought of
taking the old woman's money; so he was not prepared with a hiding
place for the jewels.  "I have no cause to rejoice now," thought
he.  "Is that the way to hide anything?  I must really be losing my
senses!"  He sunk on the couch again exhausted; another fit of
intolerable shivering seized him, and he mechanically pulled his
old student's cloak over him for warmth, as he fell into a
delirious sleep.  He lost all consciousness of himself.  Not more
than five minutes had elapsed before he woke up in intense
excitement, and bent over his clothes in the deepest anguish.  "How
could I go to sleep again when nothing is done!  For I have done
nothing, the loop is still where I sewed it.  I forgot all about
that!  What a convincing proof it would have been."  He ripped it
off and tore it into shreds which he placed among his underlinen
under the pillow.  "These rags cannot awaken any suspicions, I
fancy; at least, so it seems to me," repeated he, standing up in
the middle of the room, and, with an attempt rendered all the more
painful by the effort it cost him, he looked all round, trying to
make sure he had forgotten nothing.  He suffered cruelly from this
conviction, that everything, even memory, even the most elementary
prudence, was abandoning him.

"Can this be the punishment already beginning?  Indeed! indeed! it

And indeed the frayed edges he had cut from the bottom of his
trousers were lying on the floor, in the middle of the room,
exposed to the view of the first comer.  "But what can I be
thinking of?" exclaimed he in utter bewilderment.  Then a strange
idea came into his head; he thought that perhaps all his clothes
were saturated in blood, and that he could not see this because his
senses were gone and his perception of things lost.  Then he
recollected that there would be traces on the purse, and his
pockets would be wet with blood.  It was so.  "I am bereft of my
reason, I know not what I am doing.  Bah! not at all!--it is only
weakness, delirium.  I shall soon be better."  He tore at the
lining.  At this moment the rays of the morning streamed in and
shone on his left boot.  There were plain traces, and all the point
was covered.  "I must have stepped in that pool.  What shall I do
now?  Boot, lining, rags, where shall they go?"  He rolled them up
and stood thinking in the middle of the room.  "Ah, the stove.
Yes, burn them.  No, I cannot, I have no match.  Better throw them
away.  Yes, yes, that is the thing," said he, again sitting on the
couch.  "At once, and without delay too, quick."  But, instead, his
head fell back upon the pillow, and chilly shiverings again came
over him.  He covered himself with his cloak and slept again.  It
appeared hours to him, and many a time in his sleep he tried to
rise to hasten to throw away his bundle, but he could not, he
seemed chained to the bed.  At last he awoke, as he heard a loud
knock at his door.

"Eh, open, will you?" cried Nastasia.  "Don't lie there like a dog.
It's eleven o'clock."

"Perhaps he is not in," said a man's voice.

"The porter's voice.  What does he want?"  Raskolnikoff rose, and
sat on the couch listening.  His heart throbbed violently.

"Who has bolted the door then?" exclaimed the servant.  "Open, will

"All must be discovered?"  He rose a little and undid the bolt, and
fell back again on his bed.  There stood the porter and Nastasia.
The servant looked strangely at Raskolnikoff, while he fixed a
despairing glance upon the porter.

"Here is a notice for you from the office," said the latter.

"What office?"

"The police office."

"What for?"

"I don't know.  You are summoned there, go."  The porter looked
anxiously at the lodger, and turned to leave.  Raskolnikoff made no
observation, and held the paper unopened in his hand.

"There, stay where you are," said Nastasia, seeing him fall back on
the couch.  "If you are ill, do not go.  What is that in your

He looked down; in his right hand were clutched the pieces of
frayed cloth, his boot, and the lining of his pocket.  He had
evidently fallen asleep with them as they were; indeed he
recollected how, thinking deeply about them, he had dozed away.

"The idea of taking a lot of rags to bed and hugging them to you
like a treasure!" laughed the servant in her sickly manner.

In a second he hid all under his coat and looked at her
attentively.  Although little was capable of passing in his mind,
he felt she would not talk thus to a man under arrest for a crime.
But then, the police?

"Is there anything you want?  You stay here, I will bring it."

"No, I will go.  I am going at once," murmured he, rising to his

"Very well."

She went out after the porter.  As soon as she had disappeared, he
rushed to the light to look at his boot.  Yes, there were spots,
but not very plain, all covered with mud.  But who would
distinguish them?  Nastasia could know nothing, thank heavens!
Then with trembling hand he tore open the notice, and began to
read.  At last he understood; it was simply the usual notice to
report himself at the office of the district that day at half-past
nine o'clock.

"But why to-day?" cried he.  "Lord, let it be over soon."  He was
about to fall down on his knees to pray, when a fit of laughter
seized him.  "I must trust to myself, not to prayers."  He quickly
dressed himself.  "Shall I put the boot on?" he thought, "better
throw it away, and hide all traces of it."  Nevertheless he put it
on, only, however, to throw it off again with an expression of
horror.  As, however, he recollected he had no other, a smile came
to his face, and he drew it on once more.  Again his face changed
into deep despair, his limbs shook more and more.  "This is not
from exertion," thought he, "it is fear."  His head spun round and
round and his temples throbbed visibly.

On the stairs he recollected that all the things were in the hole
in the wall, and then where was his certificate of birth?  He
stopped to think.  But such despair, and, if it may be so called,
cynicism, took hold of him, that he simply shook his head and went
out.  The sooner over, the better.  Once again in the open air, he
encountered the same insufferable heat, the dust, and the people in
drink rolling about the streets.  The sun caught him full in the
eyes and almost blinded him, while his head spun round and round,
as is usual in fever.  On reaching the turning into the street he
had taken the day before, he glanced in great agitation in the
direction of the house, but immediately averted his eyes again.
"If they ask me, I should confess, perhaps," said he to himself, as
he turned away and made for the office.  This was not far distant,
in a new house, on the fourth floor.  As he entered the court, he
saw to the right of him a staircase, ascending which was a man
carrying some books.  "It was evidently there."  He did not think
of asking.

"I will go and fall on my knees and confess all," he murmured, and
began to ascend the narrow and very steep stairs.  On every floor
the doors of the kitchens of the several apartments stood open to
the staircase, and emitted a suffocating, sickening odor.  The
entrance to the office he was in search of was also wide open, and
he walked in.  A number of persons were waiting in the anteroom.
The stench was simply intolerable, and was intensified by the smell
of fresh paint.  Pausing a little, he decided to advance farther
into the small low room.  He became impatient when he found no one
took any notice of him.  In an inner room were seated a number of
clerks engaged in writing.  He went up to one of these.

"What do you want?"  Raskolnikoff showed him the notice.

"You are a student?" asked a clerk, glancing at the notice.

"Yes;--that is, I used to be."

The clerk glanced at him--without, however, any particular
curiosity.  He was a man with unkempt hair and an expressionless

"There is nothing to be learned from him, evidently," thought

"Step in there to the head clerk," said the man, pointing to a
farther room, which was quite full of people, among whom were two

The assistant district officer, a man adorned with red whiskers
standing out on either side of his face, and with extremely small
features, looked up impatiently at Raskolnikoff, whose filthy
attire was by no means prepossessing.  The latter returned his
glance calmly and straight in the face, and in such a manner as to
give the officer offense.

"What do you want here?" he cried, apparently surprised that such a
ragged beggar was not knocked down by his thunder-bearing glance.

"I am here because I was summoned," stammered Raskolnikoff.

"It is for the recovery of money lent," said the head clerk.
"Here!" and he threw a paper to Raskolnikoff, "Read!"

"Money?  What money?  It cannot be that," thought the young man,
and he trembled with joy.  Everything became clear, and the load
fell off his shoulders.

"At what hour did you receive this, sir?" cried the lieutenant;
"you were told to come at nine o'clock, and now it is nearly

"I received it a quarter of an hour ago," loudly replied
Raskolnikoff, over his shoulder, suddenly angered, "and it is
sufficient to say that I am ill with a fever."

"Please not to bawl!"

"I did not bawl, but spoke plainly; it is you that bawl.  I am a
student, and am not going to have you speak to me in that fashion."

The officer became enraged, and fumed so that only splutters flew
out of his mouth.  He jumped up from his place.  "Please keep
silence.  You are in court.  Don't be insolent."

"And so are you in court; and, besides bawling, you are smoking, so
you are wanting in politeness to the whole company."  As he said
this, Raskolnikoff felt an inexpressible delight at his
maliciousness.  The clerk looked up with a smile.  The choleric
officer was clearly nonplused.

"That is not your business, sir," he cried at last, unnaturally
loud.  "Make the necessary declaration.  Show him, Alexander
Gregorivitch.  Complaints have been made about you!  You don't pay
your debts!  You know how to fly the kite evidently!"

Raskolnikoff did not listen, but greedily seized the paper.  He
read it through more than once, and could make nothing of it.
"What is this?" he asked of the clerk.

"It is a writ for recovery on a note of hand of yours.  Please
write," said the clerk.

"Write what?" asked he rudely.

"As I dictate."

The clerk stood near and dictated to him the usual form of
declaration: that he was unable to pay, that he would not quit the
capital, dispose of his goods in any way, etc., etc.

"You cannot write, your pen is falling from your fingers," said the
clerk, and he looked him in the face.  "Are you ill?"

"Yes, my head swims.  Go on."

"That is all.  Now sign it."

Raskolnikoff let fall the pen, and seemed as if about to rise and
go; but, instead of doing so, he laid both elbows on the table and
supported his head with his hands.  A new idea formed in his mind:
to rise immediately, go straight to Nicodemus Thomich the ward
officer and tell him all that had occurred; then to accompany him
to his room, and show him all the things hidden away in the wall
behind the paper.  His desire to do all this was of such strength
that he got up from the table to carry his design into execution.
"Reflect, reflect a moment!" ran in his head.  "No, better not
think, get it off my shoulders."  Suddenly he stood still as if
shot.  Nicodemus Thomich was at this moment hotly discussing
something with Elia Petrovitch, the inspector of police, and the
words caught Raskolnikoff's anxious attention.  He listened.

"It cannot be, they will both be released.  In the first place, all
is contradictory.  Consider.  Why did they call the porter if it
were their work?  To denounce themselves?  Or out of cunning?  Not
at all, that would be too much!  Besides, did not the porter see
the student Pestriakoff at the very gate just as he came in, and he
stood there some time with three friends who had accompanied him.
And Koch: was he not below in the silversmith's for half an hour
before he went up to the old woman's?  Now, consider."

"But see what contradictions arise!  They say they knocked and
found the door closed; yet three minutes after, when they went back
with the porter, it was open."

"That's true.  The murderer was inside, and had bolted the door,
and certainly he would have been captured had not Koch foolishly
run off to the porter.  In the interval HE, no doubt, had time to
escape downstairs.  Koch explains that, if he had remained, the man
would have leaped out and killed him.  He wanted to have a Te Deum
sung.  Ha, ha!"

"Did nobody see the murderer?"

"How could they?  The house is a perfect Noah's ark," put in the
clerk, who had been listening.

"The thing is clear, very clear," said Nicodemus Thomich

"Not at all!  Not at all!" cried Elia Petrovitch, in reply.
Raskolnikoff took up his hat and made for the door, but he never
reached it.  When he came to himself he found he was sitting on a
chair, supported on the right by some unknown man, while to his
left stood another, holding some yellow water in a yellow glass.
Nicodemus Thomich, standing before him, was looking at him fixedly.
Raskolnikoff rose.

"What is it?  Are you ill?" asked the officer sharply.

"He could hardly hold the pen to sign his name," the clerk
explained, at the same time going back to his books.

"Have you been ill very long?" cried Elia Petrovitch from his
table; he had run to see the swoon and returned to his place.

"Since yesterday," murmured Raskolnikoff in reply.

"You went out yesterday?"

"I did."



"At what time?"

"Eight o'clock in the evening."

"Where did you go, allow me to ask?"

"In the streets."

"Concise and clear."

Raskolnikoff had replied sharply, in a broken voice, his face as
pale as a handkerchief, and with his black swollen eyes averted
from Elia Petrovitch's scrutinizing glance.

"He can hardly stand on his legs.  Do you want to ask anything
more?" said Nicodemus Thomich.

"Nothing," replied Elia Petrovitch.

Nicodemus Thomich evidently wished to say more, but, turning to the
clerk, who in turn glanced expressively at him, the latter became
silent, all suddenly stopped speaking.  It was strange.

Raskolnikoff went out.  As he descended the stairs he could hear an
animated discussion had broken out, and above all, the
interrogative voice of Nicodemus Thomich.  In the street he came to

"Search, search! they are going to search!" he cried.  "The
scoundrels, they suspect me!"  The old dread seized him again, from
head to foot.

Here was the room.  All was quiet, and no one had, apparently,
disturbed it--not even Nastasia.  But, heavens! how could he have
left all those things where they were?  He rushed to the corner,
pushed his hands behind the paper, took out the things, and thrust
them in his pockets.  There were eight articles in all: two little
boxes with earrings or something of that description, then four
little morocco cases; a chain wrapped up in paper, and something
else done up in a common piece of newspaper--possibly a decoration.
Raskolnikoff distributed these, together with the purse, about his
person, in order to make them less noticeable, and quitted the room
again.  All the time he had left the door wide open.  He went away
hurriedly, fearing pursuit.  Perhaps in a few minutes orders would
be issued to hunt him down, so he must hide all traces of his theft
at once; and he would do so while he had strength and reason left
him.  But where should he go?

This had been long decided.  Throw the lot in the canal and the
matter would be at an end!  So he had resolved in that night of
delirium, when he cried out, "Quick, quick! throw all away!"  But
this was not so easy.  He wandered to the quays of the Catherine
Canal, and lingered there for half an hour.  Here a washing raft
lay where he had thought of sinking his spoil, or there boats were
moored, and everywhere people swarmed.  Then, again, would the
cases sink?  Would they not rather float?  No, this would not do.
He would go to the Neva; there would be fewer people there and more
room, and it would be more convenient.  He recognized that he had
been wandering about for fully half an hour, and in dangerous
places.  He must make haste.  He made his way to the river, but
soon came to another standstill.  Why in the Neva?  Why in the
water at all?  Better some solitary place in a wood, or under some
bushes.  Dig a hole and bury them!  He felt he was not in a
condition to deliberate clearly and soundly, but this idea appeared
the best.

This idea also, however, was not destined to be realized, and
another took its place.  As he passed the V---- Prospect, he
suddenly noticed on the left an entrance into a court, which was
surrounded entirely by high walls.  On the right, a long way up the
court, rose the side of a huge four-storied building.  To the left,
parallel with the walls of the house, and commencing immediately at
the gate, there ran a wooden hoarding of about twenty paces down
the court.  Then came a space where a lot of rubbish was deposited;
while farther down, at the bottom of the court, was a shed,
apparently part of some workshop, possibly that of a carpenter or
coach builder.  Everything appeared as black as coal dust.  Here
was the very place, he thought; and, after looking round, went up
the court.  Behind the door he espied a large unworked stone,
weighing about fifty pounds, which lay close up against the
hoarding.  No one could see him where he stood; he was entirely
free from observation.  He bent down to the stone, managed to turn
it over after considerable effort, and found underneath a small
cavity.  He threw in the cases, and then the purse on the top of
all.  The stone was not perceptibly higher when he had replaced it,
and little traces of its having been moved could be noticed.  So he
pressed some earth against the edges with his foot, and made off.

He laughed for joy when again in the street.  All traces were gone,
and who would think of looking there?  And if they were found who
would suspect him?  All proofs were gone, and he laughed again.
Yes, he recollected afterwards how he laughed--a long, nervous,
lingering laugh, lasting all the time he was in that street.

He reached home toward evening, perhaps at about eight o'clock--
how, and by what particular way he never recollected--but, speedily
undressing, he lay down on the couch, trembling like a beaten
horse, and, drawing his overcoat over him, he fell immediately into
a deep sleep.  He awoke in a high fever and delirious.  Some days
later he came to himself, rose and went out.  It was eight o'clock,
and the sun had disappeared.  The heat was as intolerable as
before, but he inhaled the dusty, fetid, infected town air with
greediness.  And now his head began to spin round, and a wild
expression of energy crept into his inflamed eyes and pale, meager,
wan face.  He did not know, did not even think, what he was going
to do; he only knew that all was to be finished "to-day," at one
blow, immediately, or he would never return home, because he had no
desire to live thus.  How to finish?  By what means?  No matter
how, and he did not want to think.  He drove away any thoughts
which disturbed him, and only clung to the necessity of ending all,
"no matter how," said he, with desperate self-confidence and
decision.  By force of habit he took his old walk, and set out in
the direction of the Haymarket.  Farther on, he came on a young man
who was grinding some very feeling ballads upon a barrel organ.
Near the man, on the footpath, was a young girl of about fifteen
years of age, fashionably dressed, with crinoline, mantle, and
gloves, and a straw hat trimmed with gaudy feathers, but all old
and terribly worn out, who, in a loud and cracked though not
altogether unpleasing voice, was singing before a shop in
expectation of a couple of kopecks.  Raskolnikoff stopped and
joined one or two listeners, took out a five-kopeck piece, and gave
it to the girl.  The latter at once stopped on a very high note
which she had just reached, and cried to the man, "Come along," and
both immediately moved on to another place.

"Do you like street music?" said Raskolnikoff to a middle-aged man
standing near him.  The latter looked at him in surprise, but
smiled.  "I love it," continued Raskolnikoff, "especially when they
sing to the organ on a cold, dark, gray winter's evening, when all
the passers-by seem to have pale, green, sickly-looking faces--when
the snow is falling like a sleet, straight down and with no wind,
you know, and while the lamps shine on it all."

"I don't know.  Excuse me," said the man, frightened at the
question and Raskolnikoff's strange appearance, and hastily
withdrawing to the other side of the street.

Raskolnikoff went on, and came to the place in the Hay-market where
he had met the trader and his wife and Elizabeth.  No one was there
at the moment.  He stopped, and turned to a young fellow, in a red
shirt, who was gaping at the entrance to a flour shop.

"A man trades here at this corner, with his wife, eh?"

"Everyone trades here," replied the lad, scanning his questioner
from head to foot.

"What is he called?"

"What he was christened."

"But you belong to Zaraisk, don't you?  To what Government?"

The boy stared at Raskolnikoff.  "We have no governor, your
highness, but districts.  I stay at home, and know nothing about
it, but my brother does; so pardon me, your most mighty highness."

"Is that an eating house there?"

"That's a dram shop; they have a billiard table."

"There are newspapers here?" asked he, as he entered a room--one of
a suite--rather empty.  Two or three persons sat with tea before
them, while in a farther room a group of men were seated, drinking
champagne.  Raskolnikoff thought he recognized Zametoff among them,
but be could not be sure.  "Never mind, if it is!" he muttered.

"Brandy, sir?" asked the waiter.

"No, tea; and bring me some newspapers--for about the last five
days.  I'll give you a drink."

The papers and the tea appeared.  Raskolnikoff sat and searched,
and, at last, found what he wanted.  "Ah, here it is!" he cried, as
he began to read.  The words danced before his eyes, but he read
greedily to the end, and turned to others for later intelligence.
His hands trembled with impatience, and the sheets shook again.
Suddenly some one sat down near him.  He looked up, and there was
Zametoff--that same Zametoff, with his rings and chain, his oiled
locks and fancy waistcoat and unclean linen.  He seemed pleased,
and his tanned face, a little inflamed by the champagne, wore a

"Ah! you here?" he commenced, in a tone as if he had known
Raskolnikoff for an age.  "Why Razoumikhin told me yesterday that
you were lying unconscious.  How strange!  Then I was at your

Raskolnikoff laid down the paper and turned to Zametoff.  On his
lips was a slight provoking smile.  "I know you were," he replied,
"I heard so.  You searched for my boot.  To what agreeable places
you resort.  Who gives you champagne to drink?"

"We were drinking together.  What do you mean?"

"Nothing, dear boy, nothing," said Raskolnikoff, with a smile and
slapping Zametoff on the shoulders.  "I am not in earnest, but
simply in fun, as your workman said, when he wrestled with Dmitri,
you know, in that murder case."

"Do you know about that?"

"Yes, and perhaps more than you do."

"You are very peculiar.  It is a pity you came out.  You are ill."

"Do I seem strange?"

"Yes; what are you reading?"

"The paper."

"There are a number of fires."

"I am not reading about them."  He looked curiously at Zametoff,
and a malicious smile distorted his lips.  "No, fires are not in my
line," he added, winking at Zametoff.  "Now, I should like to know,
sweet youth, what it signifies to you what I read?"

"Nothing at all.  I only asked.  Perhaps I--"

"Listen.  You are a cultivated man--a literary man, are you not?"

"I was in the sixth class at college," Zametoff answered, with a
certain amount of dignity.

"The sixth!  Oh, my fine fellow!  With rings and a chain--a rich
man!  You are a dear boy," and Raskolnikoff gave a short, nervous
laugh, right in the face of Zametoff.  The latter was very much
taken aback, and, if not offended, seemed a good deal surprised.

"How strange you are!" said Zametoff seriously.  "You have the
fever still on you; you are raving!"

"Am I, my fine fellow--am I strange?  Yes, but I am very
interesting to you, am I not?"


"Yes.  You ask me what I am reading, what I am looking for; then I
am looking through a number of papers.  Suspicious, isn't it?
Well, I will explain to you, or rather confess--no, not that
exactly.  I will give testimony, and you shall take it down--that's
it.  So then, I swear that I was reading, and came here on
purpose"--Raskolnikoff blinked his eyes and paused--"to read an
account of the murder of the old woman."  He finished almost in a
whisper, eagerly watching Zametoff's face.  The latter returned his
glances without flinching.  And it appeared strange to Zametoff
that a full minute seemed to pass as they kept fixedly staring at
each other in this manner.

"Oh, so that's what you have been reading?" Zametoff at last cried
impatiently.  "What is there in that?"

"She is the same woman," continued Raskolnikoff, still in a
whisper, and taking no notice of Zametoff's remark, "the very same
woman you were talking about when I swooned in your office.  You
recollect--you surely recollect?"

"Recollect what?" said Zametoff, almost alarmed.

The serious expression on Raskolnikoff's face altered in an
instant, and he again commenced his nervous laugh, and laughed as
if he were quite unable to contain himself.  There had recurred to
his mind, with fearful clearness, the moment when he stood at the
door with the hatchet in his hand.  There he was, holding the bolt,
and they were tugging and thumping away at the door.  Oh, how he
itched to shriek at them, open the door, thrust out his tongue at
them, and frighten them away, and then laugh, "Ah, ah, ah, ah!"

"You are insane, or else--" said Zametoff, and then paused as if a
new thought had suddenly struck him.

"Or what, or what?  Now what?  Tell me!"

"Nonsense!" said Zametoff to himself, "it can't be."  Both became
silent.  After this unexpected and fitful outburst of laughter,
Raskolnikoff had become lost in thought and looked very sad.  He
leaned on the table with his elbows, buried his head in his hands,
and seemed to have quite forgotten Zametoff.  The silence continued
a long time.  "You do not drink your tea; it is getting cold," said
the latter, at last.

"What?  Tea?  Yes!"  Raskolnikoff snatched at his glass, put a
piece of bread in his mouth, and then, after looking at Zametoff,
seemingly recollected and roused himself.  His face at once resumed
its previous smile, and he continued to sip his tea.

"What a number of rogues there are about," Zametoff said.  "I read
not long ago, in the Moscow papers, that they had captured a whole
gang of forgers in that city.  Quite a colony."

"That's old news.  I read it a month ago," replied Raskolnikoff in
a careless manner.  "And you call such as these rogues?" he added,

"Why not?"

"Rogues indeed!  Why, they are only children and babies.  Fifty
banded together for such purposes!  Is it possible?  Three would be
quite sufficient, and then they should be sure of one another--not
babble over their cups.  The babies!  Then to hire unreliable
people to change the notes at the money changers', persons whose
hands tremble as they receive the rubles.  On such their lives
depend!  Far better to strangle yourself!  The man goes in,
receives the change, counts some over, the last portion he takes on
faith, stuffs all in his pocket, rushes away and the murder is out.
All is lost by one foolish man.  Is it not ridiculous?"

"That his hands should shake?" replied Zametoff.  "No; that is
quite likely.  Yours would not, I suppose?  I could not endure it,
though.  For a paltry reward of a hundred rubles to go on such a
mission!  And where?  Into a banker's office with forged notes!  I
should certainly lose my head.  Would not you?"

Raskolnikoff felt again a strong impulse to make a face at him.  A
shiver ran down his back.  "You would not catch me acting so
foolishly," he commenced.  "This is how I should do.  I should
count over the first thousand very carefully, perhaps four times,
right to the end, carefully examine each note, and then only pass
to the second thousand, count these as far as the middle of the
bundle, take out a note, hold it to the light, turn it over, then
hold it to the light again, and say, 'I fear this is a bad note,'
and then begin to relate some story about a lost note.  Then there
would be a third thousand to count.  Not yet, please, there is a
mistake in the second thousand.  No, it is correct.  And so I
should proceed until I had received all.  At last I should turn to
go, open the door, but, no, pardon me!  I should return, ask some
question, receive some explanation, and there it is all done."

"What funny things you do say!" said Zametoff with a smile.  "You
are all very well theoretically, but try it and see.  Look, for
example, at the murder of the money lender, a case in point.  There
was a desperate villain who in broad daylight stopped at nothing,
and yet his hand shook, did it not?--and he could not finish, and
left all the spoil behind him.  The deed evidently robbed him of
his presence of mind."

This language nettled Raskolnikoff.  "You think so?  Then lay your
hand upon him," said he, maliciously delighted to tease him.

"Never fear but we shall!"

"You?  Go to, you know nothing about it.  All you think of
inquiring is whether a man is flinging money about; he is--then,
ergo he is guilty."

"That is exactly what they do," replied Zametoff, "they murder,
risk their lives, and then rush to the public house and are caught.
Their lavishness betrays them.  You see they are not all so crafty
as you are.  You would not run there, I suppose?"

Raskolnikoff frowned and looked steadily at Zametoff.  "You seem
anxious to know how I should act," he said with some displeasure.

"I should very much like to know," replied Zametoff in a serious
tone.  He seemed, indeed, very anxious.

"Very much?"

"Very much."

"Good.  This would be my plan," Raskolnikoff said, as he again bent
near to the face of his listener, and speaking in such a tragic
whisper as almost to make the latter shudder.  "I should take the
money and all I could find, and make off, going, however, in no
particular direction, but on and on until I came to some obscure
and inclosed place, where no one was about--a market garden, or any
such-like spot.  I should then look about me for a stone, perhaps a
pound and a half in weight, lying, it may be, in a corner against a
partition, say a stone used for building purposes; this I should
lift up and under it there would be a hole.  In that hole I should
deposit all the things I had got, roll back the stone, stamp it
down with my feet, and be off.  For a year I should let them lie--
for two years, three years.  Now then, search for them!  Where are

"You are indeed mad," said Zametoff, also in a low tone, but
turning away from Raskolnikoff.  The latter's eyes glistened, he
became paler than ever, while his upper lip trembled violently.  He
placed his face closer, if possible, to that of Zametoff, his lips
moving as if he wished to speak, but no words escaped them--several
moments elapsed--Raskolnikoff knew what he was doing, but felt
utterly unable to control himself, that strange impulse was upon
him as when he stood at the bolted door, to come forth and let all
be known.

"What if I killed the old woman and Elizabeth?" he asked suddenly,
and then--came to himself.

Zametoff turned quite pale; then his face changed to a smile.  "Can
it be so?" he muttered to himself.

Raskolnikoff eyed him savagely.  "Speak out.  What do you think?
Yes?  Is it so?"

"Of course not.  I believe it now less than ever," replied Zametoff

"Caught at last! caught, my fine fellow!  What people believe less
than ever, they must have believed once, eh?"

"Not at all.  You frightened me into the supposition," said
Zametoff, visibly confused.

"So you do not think this?  Then why those questions in the office?
Why did the lieutenant question me after my swoon?  Waiter," he
cried, seizing his cap, "here, how much?"

"Thirty kopecks, sir," replied the man.

"There you are, and twenty for yourself.  Look, what a lot of
money!" turning to Zametoff and thrusting forth his shaking hand
filled with the twenty-five rubles, red and blue notes.  "Whence
comes all this?  Where did I obtain these new clothes from?  You
know I had none.  You have asked the landlady, I suppose?  Well, no
matter!--Enough!  Adieu, most affectionately."

He went out, shaking from some savage hysterical emotion, a mixture
of delight, gloom, and weariness.  His face was drawn as if he had
just recovered from a fit; and, as his agitation of mind increased,
so did his weakness.

Meanwhile, Zametoff remained in the restaurant where Raskolnikoff
had left him, deeply buried in thought, considering the different
points Raskolnikoff had placed before him.

His heart was empty and depressed, and he strove again to drive off
thought.  No feeling of anguish came, neither was there any trace
of that fierce energy which moved him when he left the house to
"put an end to it all."

"What will be the end of it?  The result lies in my own will.  What
kind of end?  Ah, we are all alike, and accept the bit of ground
for our feet and live.  Must this be the end?  Shall I say the word
or not?  Oh, how weary I feel!  Oh, to lie down or sit anywhere!
How foolish it is to strive against my illness!  Bah!  What
thoughts run through my brain!"  Thus he meditated as he went
drowsily along the banks of the canal, until, turning to the right
and then to the left, he reached the office building.  He stopped
short, however, and, turning down a lane, went on past two other
streets, with no fixed purpose, simply, no doubt, to give himself a
few moments longer for reflection.  He went on, his eyes fixed on
the ground, until all of a sudden he started, as if some one had
whispered in his ear.  Raising his eyes he saw that he stood before
THE HOUSE, at its very gates.

Quick as lightning, an idea rushed into his head, and he marched
through the yard and made his way up the well-known staircase to
the fourth story.  It was, as usual, very dark, and as he reached
each landing he peered almost with caution.  There was the room
newly painted, where Dmitri and Mikola had worked.  He reached the
fourth landing and he paused before the murdered woman's room in
doubt.  The door was wide open and he could hear voices within;
this he had not anticipated.  However, after wavering a little, he
went straight in.  The room was being done up, and in it were some
workmen.  This astonished him--indeed, it would seem he had
expected to find everything as he had left it, even to the dead
bodies lying on the floor.  But to see the place with bare walls
and bereft of furniture was very strange!  He walked up to the
windows and sat on the sill.  One of the workmen now saw him and

"What do you want here?"

Instead of replying, Raskolnikoff walked to the outer door and,
standing outside, began to pull at the bell.  Yes, that was the
bell, with its harsh sound.  He pulled again and again three times,
and remained there listening and thinking.

"What is it you want?" again cried the workman as he went out to

"I wish to hire some rooms.  I came to look at these."

"People don't take lodgings in the night.  Why don't you apply to
the porter?"

"The floor has been washed.  Are you going to paint it?" remarked
Raskolnikoff.  "Where is the blood?"

"What blood?"

"The old woman's and her sister's.  There was quite a pool."

"Who are you?" cried the workman uneasily.

"I am Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikoff, ex-student.  I live at the
house Schilla, in a lane not far from here, No. 14.  Ask the porter
there--he knows me," Raskolnikoff replied indifferently, without
turning to his questioner.

"What were you doing in those rooms?"

"Looking at them."

"What for?  Come, out you go then, if you won't explain yourself,"
suddenly shouted the porter, a huge fellow in a smock frock, with a
large bunch of keys round his waist; and he caught Raskolnikoff by
the shoulder and pitched him into the street.  The latter lurched
forward, but recovered himself, and, giving one look at the
spectators, went quietly away.

"What shall I do now?" thought Raskolnikoff.  He was standing on
the bridge, near a crossing, and was looking around him as if
expecting some one to speak.  But no one spoke, and all was dark
and dull, and dead--at least to him, and him alone.

A few days later, Raskolnikoff heard from his friend Razoumikhin
that those who had borrowed money from Alena Ivanovna were going to
the police office to redeem their pledges.  He went with
Razoumikhin to the office where they were received by Porphyrius
Petrovitch, the examining magistrate, who seemed to have expected

"You have been expecting this visit?  But how did you know that he
had pledged anything with Alena Ivanovna?" cried Razoumikhin.

Porphyrius Petrovitch, without any further reply, said to
Raskolnikoff: "Your things, a ring and a watch, were at her place,
wrapped up in a piece of paper, and on this paper your name was
legibly written in pencil, with the date of the day she had
received these things from you."

"What a memory you must have got!" said Raskolnikoff, with a forced
smile, doing his best to look the magistrate unflinchingly in the
face.  However, he could not help adding: "I say so, because, as
the owners of the pledged articles are no doubt very numerous, you
must, I should fancy, have some difficulty in remembering them all;
but I see, on the contrary, that you do nothing of the kind.  (Oh!
fool! why add that?)"

"But they have nearly all of them come here; you alone had not done
so," answered Porphyrius, with an almost imperceptible sneer.

"I happened to be rather unwell."

"So I heard.  I have been told that you have been in great pain.
Even now you are pale."

"Not at all.  I am not pale.  On the contrary, I am very well!"
answered Raskolnikoff in a tone of voice which had all at once
become brutal and violent.  He felt rising within him
uncontrollable anger.  "Anger will make me say some foolish thing,"
he thought.  "But why do they exasperate me?"

"He was rather unwell!  A pretty expression, to be sure!" exclaimed
Razoumikhin.  "The fact is that up to yesterday he has been almost
unconscious.  Would you believe it, Porphyrius?  Yesterday, when he
could hardly stand upright, he seized the moment when we had just
left him, to dress, to be off by stealth, and to go loafing about,
Heaven only knows where, till midnight, being, all the time, in a
completely raving condition.  Can you imagine such a thing?  It is
a most remarkable case!"

"Indeed!  In a completely raving state?" remarked Porphyrius, with
the toss of the head peculiar to Russian rustics.

"Absurd!  Don't you believe a word of it!  Besides, I need not urge
you to that effect--of course you are convinced," observed
Raskolnikoff, beside himself with passion.  But Porphyrius
Petrovitch did not seem to hear these singular words.

"How could you have gone out if you had not been delirious?" asked
Razoumikhin, getting angry in his turn.  "Why have gone out at all?
What was the object of it?  And, above all, to go in that secret
manner?  Come, now, make a clean breast of it--you know you were
out of your mind, were you not?  Now that danger is gone by, I tell
you so to your face."

"I had been very much annoyed yesterday," said Raskolnikoff,
addressing the magistrate, with more or less of insolence in his
smile, "and, wishing to get rid of them, I went out to hire
lodgings where I could be sure of privacy, to effect which I had
taken a certain amount of money.  Mr. Zametoff saw what I had by
me, and perhaps he can say whether I was in my right senses
yesterday or whether I was delirious?  Perhaps he will judge as to
our quarrel."  Nothing would have pleased him better than there and
then to have strangled that gentleman, whose taciturnity and
equivocal facial expression irritated him.

"In my opinion, you were talking very sensibly and even with
considerable shrewdness; only I thought you too irritable,"
observed Zametoff off-handedly.

"Do let us have some tea!  We are as dry as fishes!" exclaimed

"Good idea!  But perhaps you would like something more substantial
before tea, would you?"

"Look alive, then!"

Porphyrius Petrovitch went out to order tea.  All kinds of thoughts
were at work in Raskolnikoff's brain.  He was excited.  "They don't
even take pains to dissemble; they certainly don't mince matters as
far as I am concerned: that is something, at all events!  Since
Porphyrius knew next to nothing about me, why on earth should he
have spoken with Nicodemus Thomich Zametoff at all?  They even
scorn to deny that they are on my track, almost like a pack of
hounds!  They certainly speak out plainly enough!" he said,
trembling with rage.  "Well, do so, as bluntly as you like, but
don't play with me as the cat would with the mouse!  That's not
quite civil, Porphyrius Petrovitch; I won't quite allow that yet!
I'll make a stand and tell you some plain truths to your faces, and
then you shall find out my real opinion about you!"  He had some
difficulty in breathing.  "But supposing that all this is pure
fancy?--a kind of mirage?  Suppose I had misunderstood?  Let me try
and keep up my nasty part, and not commit myself, like the fool, by
blind anger!  Ought I to give them credit for intentions they have
not?  Their words are, in themselves, not very extraordinary ones--
so much must be allowed; but a double meaning may lurk beneath
them.  Why did Porphyrius, in speaking of the old woman, simply say
'At her place?'  Why did Zametoff observe that I had spoken very
sensibly?  Why their peculiar manner?--yes, it is this manner of
theirs.  How is it possible that all this cannot have struck
Razoumikhin?  The booby never notices anything!  But I seem to be
feverish again!  Did Porphyrius give me a kind of wink just now, or
was I deceived in some way?  The idea is absurd!  Why should he
wink at me?  Perhaps they intend to upset my nervous organization,
and, by so doing, drive me to extremes!  Either the whole thing is
a phantasmagoria, or--they know!"

These thoughts flashed through his mind with the rapidity of
lightning.  Porphyrius Petrovitch came back a moment afterwards.
He seemed in a very good temper.  "When I left your place
yesterday, old fellow, I was really not well," he commenced,
addressing Razoumikhin with a cheeriness which was only just
becoming apparent, "but that is all gone now."

"Did you find the evening a pleasant one?  I left you in the thick
of the fun; who came off best?"

"Nobody, of course.  They caviled to their heart's content over
their old arguments."

"Fancy, Rodia, the discussion last evening turned on the question:
'Does crime exist?  Yes, or No.'  And the nonsense they talked on
the subject!"

"What is there extraordinary in the query?  It is the social
question without the charm of novelty," answered Raskolnikoff

"Talking of crime," said Porphyrius Petrovitch, speaking to
Raskolnikoff, "I remember a production of yours which greatly
interested me.  I am speaking about your article ON CRIME.  I don't
very well remember the title.  I was delighted in reading it two
months ago in the Periodical Word."

"But how do you know the article was mine?  I only signed it with
an initial."

"I discovered it lately, quite by chance.  The chief editor is a
friend of mine; it was he who let out the secret of your
authorship.  The article has greatly interested me."

"I was analyzing, if I remember rightly, the psychological
condition of a criminal at the moment of his deed."

"Yes, and you strove to prove that a criminal, at such a moment, is
always, mentally, more or less unhinged.  That point of view is a
very original one, but it was not this part of your article which
most interested me.  I was particularly struck by an idea at the
end of the article, and which, unfortunately, you have touched upon
too cursorily.  In a word, if you remember, you maintained that
there are men in existence who can, or more accurately, who have an
absolute right to commit all kinds of wicked, and criminal acts--
men for whom, to a certain extent, laws do not exist."

"Is it not very likely that some coming Napoleon did for Alena
Ivanovna last week?" suddenly blustered Zametoff from his corner.

Without saying a word, Raskolnikoff fixed on Porphyrius a firm and
penetrating glance.  Raskolnikoff was beginning to look sullen.  He
seemed to have been suspecting something for some time past.  He
looked round him with an irritable air.  For a moment there was an
ominous silence.  Raskolnikoff was getting ready to go.

"What, are you off already?" asked Porphyrius, kindly offering the
young man his hand with extreme affability.  "I am delighted to
have made your acquaintance.  And as for your application, don't be
uneasy about it.  Write in the way I suggested.  Or, perhaps, you
had better do this.  Come and see me before long--to-morrow, if you
like.  I shall be here without fail at eleven o'clock.  We can make
everything right--we'll have a chat--and as you were one of the
last that went THERE, you might be able to give some further
particulars?" he added, with his friendly smile.

"Do you wish to examine me formally?" Raskolnikoff inquired, in an
uncomfortable tone.

"Why should I?  Such a thing is out of the question.  You have
misunderstood me.  I ought to tell you that I manage to make the
most of every opportunity.  I have already had a chat with every
single person that has been in the habit of pledging things with
the old woman--several have given me very useful information--and
as you happen to be the last one--  By the by," he exclaimed with
sudden pleasure, "how lucky I am thinking about it, I was really
going to forget it!"  (Saying which he turned to Razoumikhin.)
"You were almost stunning my ears, the other day, talking about
Mikolka.  Well, I am certain, quite certain, as to his innocence,"
he went on, once more addressing himself to Raskolnikoff.  "But
what was to be done?  It has been necessary to disturb Dmitri.
Now, what I wanted to ask was: On going upstairs--was it not
between seven and eight you entered the house?"

"Yes," replied Raskolnikoff and he immediately regretted an answer
he ought to have avoided.

"Well, in going upstairs, between seven and eight, did you not see
on the second floor, in one of the rooms, when the door was wide
open--you remember, I dare say?--did you not see two painters or,
at all events, one of the two?  They were whitewashing the room, I
believe; you must have seen them!  The matter is of the utmost
importance to them!"

"Painters, you say?  I saw none," replied Raskolnikoff slowly,
trying to sound his memory: for a moment he violently strained it
to discover, as quickly as he could, the trap concealed by the
magistrate's question.  "No, I did not see a single one; I did not
even see any room standing open," he went on, delighted at having
discovered the trap, "but on the fourth floor I remember noticing
that the man lodging on the same landing as Alena Ivanovna was in
the act of moving.  I remember that very well, as I met a few
soldiers carrying a sofa, and I was obliged to back against the
wall; but, as for painters, I don't remember seeing a single one--I
don't even remember a room that had its door open.  No, I saw

"But what are you talking about?" all at once exclaimed
Razoumikhin, who, till that moment, had attentively listened; "it
was on the very day of the murder that painters were busy in that
room, while he came there two days previously!  Why are you asking
that question?"

"Right!  I have confused the dates!" cried Porphyrius, tapping his
forehead.  "Deuce take me!  That job makes me lose my head!" he
added by way of excuse, and speaking to Raskolnikoff.  "It is very
important that we should know if anybody saw them in that room
between seven and eight.  I thought I might have got that
information from you without thinking any more about it.  I had
positively confused the days!"

"You ought to be more attentive!" grumbled Razoumikhin.

These last words were uttered in the anteroom, as Porhyrius very
civilly led his visitors to the door.  They were gloomy and morose
on leaving the house, and had gone some distance before speaking.
Raskolnikoff breathed like a man who had just been subjected to a
severe trial.

When, on the following day, precisely at eleven o'clock,
Raskolnikoff called on the examining magistrate, he was astonished
to have to dance attendance for a considerable time.  According to
his idea, he ought to have been admitted immediately; ten minutes,
however, elapsed before he could see Porphyrius Petrovitch.  In the
outer room where he had been waiting, people came and went without
heeding him in the least.  In the next room, which was a kind of
office, a few clerks were at work, and it was evident that not one
of them had even an idea who Raskolnikoff might be.  The young man
cast a mistrustful look about him.  "Was there not," thought he,
"some spy, some mysterious myrmidon of the law, ordered to watch
him, and, if necessary, to prevent his escape?"  But he noticed
nothing of the kind; the clerks were all hard at work, and the
other people paid him no kind of attention.  The visitor began to
become reassured.  "If," thought he, "this mysterious personage of
yesterday, this specter which had risen from the bowels of the
earth, knew all, and had seen all, would they, I should like to
know, let me stand about like this?  Would they not rather have
arrested me, instead of waiting till I should come of my own
accord?  Hence this man has either made no kind of revelation as
yet about me, or, more probably, he knows nothing, and has seen
nothing (besides how could he have seen anything?): consequently I
have misjudged, and all that happened yesterday was nothing but an
illusion of my diseased imagination."  This explanation, which had
offered itself the day before to his mind, at the time he felt most
fearful, he considered a more likely one.

Whilst thinking about all this and getting ready for a new
struggle, Raskolnikoff suddenly perceived that he was trembling; he
became indignant at the very thought that it was fear of an
interview with the hateful Porphyrius Petrovitch which led him to
do so.  The most terrible thing to him was to find himself once
again in presence of this man.  He hated him beyond all expression,
and what he dreaded was lest he might show this hatred.  His
indignation was so great that it suddenly stopped this trembling;
he therefore prepared himself to enter with a calm and self-
possessed air, promised himself to speak as little as possible, to
be very carefully on the watch in order to check, above all things,
his irascible disposition.  In the midst of these reflections, he
was introduced to Porphyrius Petrovitch.  The latter was alone in
his office, a room of medium dimensions, containing a large table,
facing a sofa covered with shiny leather, a bureau, a cupboard
standing in a corner, and a few chairs: all this furniture,
provided by the State, was of yellow wood.  In the wall, or rather
in the wainscoting of the other end, there was a closed door, which
led one to think that there were other rooms behind it.  As soon as
Porphyrius Petrovitch had seen Raskolnikoff enter his office, he
went to close the door which had given him admission, and both
stood facing one another.  The magistrate received his visitor to
all appearances in a pleasant and affable manner, and it was only
at the expiration of a few moments that the latter observed the
magistrate's somewhat embarrassed manner--he seemed to have been
disturbed in a more or less clandestine occupation.

"Good! my respectable friend!  Here you are then--in our
latitudes!" commenced Porphyrius, holding out both hands.  "Pray,
be seated, batuchka!  But, perhaps, you don't like being called
respectable?  Therefore, batuchka, for short!  Pray, don't think me
familiar.  Sit down here on the sofa."

Raskolnikoff did so without taking his eyes off the judge.  "These
words 'in our latitudes,' these excuses for his familiarity, this
expression 'for short,' what could be the meaning of all this?  He
held out his hands to me without shaking mine, withdrawing them
before I could do so, thought Raskolnikoff mistrustfully.  Both
watched each other, but no sooner did their eyes meet than they
both turned them aside with the rapidity of a flash of lightning.

"I have called with this paper--about the--  If you please.  Is it
correct, or must another form be drawn up?"

"What, what paper?  Oh, yes!  Do not put yourself out.  It is
perfectly correct," answered Porphyrius somewhat hurriedly, before
he had even examined it; then, after having cast a glance on it, he
said, speaking very rapidly: "Quite right, that is all that is
required," and placed the sheet on the table.  A moment later he
locked it up in his bureau, chattering about other things.

"Yesterday," observed Raskolnikoff, "you had, I fancy, a wish to
examine me formally--with reference to my dealings with--the
victim?  At least so it seemed to me!"

"Why did I say, 'So it seemed?'" reflected the young man all of a
sudden.  "After all, what can be the harm of it?  Why should I
distress myself about that!" he added, mentally, a moment
afterwards.  The very fact of his proximity to Porphyrius, with
whom he had scarcely as yet interchanged a word, had immeasurably
increased his mistrust; he marked this in a moment, and concluded
that such a mood was an exceedingly dangerous one, inasmuch as his
agitation, his nervous irritation, would only increase.  "That is
bad! very bad!  I shall be saying something thoughtless!"

"Quite right.  But do not put yourself out of the way, there is
time, plenty of time," murmured Petrovitch, who, without apparent
design, kept going to and fro, now approaching the window, now his
bureau, to return a moment afterwards to the table.  At times he
would avoid Raskolnikoff's suspicious look, at times again he drew
up sharp whilst looking his visitor straight in the face.  The
sight of this short chubby man, whose movements recalled those of a
ball rebounding from wall to wall, was an extremely odd one.  "No
hurry, no hurry, I assure you!  But you smoke, do you not!  Have
you any tobacco?  Here is a cigarette!" he went on, offering his
visitor a paquitos.  "You notice that I am receiving you here, but
my quarters are there behind the wainscoting.  The State provides
me with that.  I am here as it were on the wing, because certain
alterations are being made in my rooms.  Everything is almost
straight now.  Do you know that quarters provided by the State are
by no means to be despised?"

"I believe you," answered Raskolnikoff, looking at him almost

"Not to be despised, by any means," repeated Porphyrius Petrovitch,
whose mind seemed to be preoccupied with something else--"not to be
despised!" he continued in a very loud tone of voice, and drawing
himself up close to Raskolnikoff, whom he stared out of
countenance.  The incessant repetition of the statement that
quarters provided by the State were by no means to be despised
contrasted singularly, by its platitude, with the serious,
profound, enigmatical look he now cast on his visitor.

Raskolnikoff's anger grew in consequence; he could hardly help
returning the magistrate's look with an imprudently scornful
glance.  "Is it true?" the latter commenced, with a complacently
insolent air, "is it true that it is a judicial maxim, a maxim
resorted to by all magistrates, to begin an interview about
trifling things, or even, occasionally, about more serious matter,
foreign to the main question however, with a view to embolden, to
distract, or even to lull the suspicion of a person under
examination, and then all of a sudden to crush him with the main
question, just as you strike a man a blow straight between the

"Such a custom, I believe, is religiously observed in your
profession, is it not?

"Then you are of opinion that when I spoke to you about quarters
provided by the State, I did so--"  Saying which, Porphyrius
Petrovitch blinked, his face assumed for a moment an expression of
roguish gayety, the wrinkles on his brow became smoothed, his small
eyes grew smaller still, his features expanded, and, looking
Raskolnikoff straight in the face, he burst out into a prolonged
fit of nervous laughter, which shook him from head to foot.  The
young man, on his part, laughed likewise, with more or less of an
effort, however, at sight of which Porphyrius's hilarity increased
to such an extent that his face grew nearly crimson.  At this
Raskolnikoff experienced more or less aversion, which led him to
forget all caution; he ceased laughing, knitting his brows, and,
whilst Porphyrius gave way to his hilarity, which seemed a somewhat
feigned one, he fixed on him a look of hatred.  In truth, they were
both off their guard.  Porphyrius had, in fact, laughed at his
visitor, who had taken this in bad part; whereas the former seemed
to care but little about Raskolnikoff's displeasure.  This
circumstance gave the young man much matter for thought.  He
fancied that his visit had in no kind of way discomposed the
magistrate; on the contrary, it was Raskolnikoff who had been
caught in a trap, a snare, an ambush of some kind or other.  The
mine was, perhaps, already charged, and might burst at any moment.

Anxious to get straight to the point, Raskolnikoff rose and took up
his cap.  "Porphyrius Petrovitch," he cried, in a resolute tone of
voice, betraying more or less irritation, "yesterday you expressed
the desire to subject me to a judicial examination."  (He laid
special stress on this last word.)  "I have called at your bidding;
if you have questions to put, do so: if not, allow me to withdraw.
I can't afford to waste my time here, as I have other things to
attend to.  In a word, I must go to the funeral of the official who
has been run over, and of whom you have heard speak," he added,
regretting, however, the last part of his sentence.  Then, with
increasing anger, he went on: "Let me tell you that all this
worries me!  The thing is hanging over much too long.  It is that
mainly that has made me ill.  In one word,"--he continued, his
voice seeming more and more irritable, for he felt that the remark
about his illness was yet more out of place than the previous one--
"in one word, either be good enough to cross-examine me, or let me
go this very moment.  If you do question me, do so in the usual
formal way; otherwise, I shall object.  In the meanwhile, adieu,
since we have nothing more to do with one another."

"Good gracious!  What can you be talking about?  Question you about
what?" replied the magistrate, immediately ceasing his laugh.
"Don't, I beg, disturb yourself."  He requested Raskolnikoff to sit
down once more, continuing, nevertheless, his tramp about the room.
"There is time, plenty of time.  The matter is not of such
importance after all.  On the contrary, I am delighted at your
visit--for as such do I take your call.  As for my horrid way of
laughing, batuchka, Rodion Romanovitch, I must apologize.  I am a
nervous man, and the shrewdness of your observations has tickled
me.  There are times when I go up and down like an elastic ball,
and that for half an hour at a time.  I am fond of laughter.  My
temperament leads me to dread apoplexy.  But, pray, do sit down--
why remain standing?  Do, I must request you, batuchka; otherwise I
shall fancy that you are cross."

His brows still knit, Raskolnikoff held his tongue, listened, and
watched.  In the meanwhile he sat down.

"As far as I am concerned, batuchka, Rodion Romanovitch, I will
tell you something which shall reveal to you my disposition,"
answered Porphyrius Petrovitch, continuing to fidget about the
room, and, as before, avoiding his visitor's gaze.  "I live alone,
you must know, never go into society, and am, therefore, unknown;
add to which, that I am a man on the shady side of forty, somewhat
played out.  You may have noticed, Rodion Romanovitch, that here--I
mean in Russia, of course, and especially in St. Petersburg
circles--that when two intelligent men happen to meet who, as yet,
are not familiar, but who, however, have mutual esteem--as, for
instance, you and I have at this moment--don't know what to talk
about for half an hour at a time.  They seem, both of them, as if
petrified.  Everyone else has a subject for conversation--ladies,
for instance, people in society, the upper ten--all these sets have
some topic or other.  It is the thing, but somehow people of the
middle-class, like you and I, seem constrained and taciturn.  How
does that come about, batuchka?  Have we no social interests?  Or
is it, rather, owing to our being too straightforward to mislead
one another?  I don't know.  What is your opinion, pray?  But do, I
beg, remove your cap; one would really fancy that you wanted to be
off, and that pains me.  I, you must know, am so contented."

Raskolnikoff laid his cap down.  He did not, however, become more
loquacious; and, with knit brows, listened to Porphyrius's idle
chatter.  "I suppose," thought he, "he only doles out his small
talk to distract my attention."

"I don't offer you any coffee," went on the inexhaustible
Porphyrius, "because this is not the place for it, but can you not
spend a few minutes with a friend, by way of causing him some
little distraction?  You must know that all these professional
obligations--don't be vexed, batuchka, if you see me walking about
like this, I am sure you will excuse me, if I tell you how anxious
I am not to do so, but movement is so indispensable to me!  I am
always seated--and, to me, it is quite a luxury to be able to move
about for a minute or two.  I purpose, in fact, to go through a
course of calisthenics.  The trapeze is said to stand in high favor
amongst State counselors--counselors in office, even amongst privy
counselors.  Nowadays, in fact, gymnastics have become a positive
science.  As for these duties of our office, these examinations,
all this formality--you yourself, you will remember, touched upon
the topic just now, batuchka--these examinations, and so forth,
sometimes perplex the magistrate much more than the man under
suspicion.  You said as much just now with as much sense as
accuracy."  (Raskolnikoff had made no statement of the kind.)  "One
gets confused, one loses the thread of the investigation.  Yet, as
far as our judicial customs go, I agree with you fully.  Where, for
instance, is there a man under suspicion of some kind or other,
were it even the most thick-headed moujik, who does not know that
the magistrate will commence by putting all sorts of out-of-the-way
questions to take him off the scent (if I may be allowed to use
your happy simile), and that then he suddenly gives him one between
the eyes?  A blow of the ax on his sinciput (if again I may be
permitted to use your ingenious metaphor)?  Hah, hah!  And do you
mean to say that when I spoke to you about quarters provided by the
State, that--hah, hah!  You are very caustic.  But I won't revert
to that again.  By-and-by!--one remark produces another, one
thought attracts another--but you were talking just now of the
practice or form in vogue with the examining magistrate.  But what
is this form?  You know as I do that in many cases the form means
nothing at all.  Occasionally a simple conversation, a friendly
interview, brings about a more certain result.  The practice or
form will never die out--I can vouch for that; but what, after all,
is the form, I ask once more?  You can't compel an examining
magistrate to be hampered or bound by it everlastingly.  His duty
or method is in its way, one of the liberal professions or
something very much like it."

Porphyrius Petrovitch stopped a moment to take breath.  He kept on
talking, now uttering pure nonsense, now again introducing, in
spite of this trash, an occasional enigmatical remark, after which
he went on with his insipidities.  His tramp about the room was
more like a race--he moved his stout legs more and more quickly,
without looking up; his right hand was thrust deep in the pocket of
his coat, whilst with the left he unceasingly gesticulated in a way
unconnected with his observations.  Raskolnikoff noticed, or
fancied he noticed, that, whilst running round and round the room,
he had twice stopped near the door, seeming to listen.  "Does he
expect something?" he asked himself.

"You're perfectly right," resumed Porphyrius cheerily, whilst
looking at the young man with a kindliness which immediately awoke
the latter's distrust.  "Our judicial customs deserve your satire.
Our proceedings, which are supposed to be inspired by a profound
knowledge of psychology, are very ridiculous ones, and very often
useless.  Now, to return to our method or form: Suppose for a
moment that I am deputed to investigate something or other, and
that I know the guilty person to be a certain gentleman.  Are you
not yourself reading for the law, Rodion Romanovitch?"

"I was some time ago."

"Well, here is a kind of example which may be of use to you later
on.  Don't run away with the idea that I am setting up as your
instructor--God forbid that I should presume to teach anything to a
man who treats criminal questions in the public press!  Oh, no!--
all I am doing is to quote to you, by way of example, a trifling
fact.  Suppose that I fancy I am convinced of the guilt of a
certain man, why, I ask you, should I frighten him prematurely,
assuming me to have every evidence against him?  Of course, in the
case of another man of a different disposition, him I would have
arrested forthwith; but, as to the former, why should I not permit
him to hang about a little longer?  I see you do not quite take me.
I will, therefore, endeavor to explain myself more clearly!  If,
for instance, I should be too quick in issuing a writ, I provide
him in doing so with a species of moral support or mainstay--I see
you are laughing?"  (Raskolnikoff, on the contrary, had no such
desire; his lips were set, and his glaring look was not removed
from Porphyrius's eyes.)  "I assure you that in actual practice
such is really the case; men vary much, although, unfortunately,
our methods are the same for all.  But you will ask me: Supposing
you are certain of your proofs?  Goodness me, batuchka! you know,
perhaps as well as I do, what proofs are--half one's time, proofs
may be taken either way; and I, a magistrate, am, after all, only a
man liable to error.

"Now, what I want is to give to my investigation the precision of a
mathematical demonstration--I want my conclusions to be as plain,
as indisputable, as that twice two are four.  Now, supposing I have
this gentleman arrested prematurely, though I may be positively
certain that he is THE MAN, yet I deprive myself of all future
means of proving his guilt.  How is that?  Because, so to say, I
give him, to a certain extent, a definite status; for, by putting
him in prison, I pacify him.  I give him the chance of
investigating his actual state of mind--he will escape me, for he
will reflect.  In a word, he knows that he is a prisoner, and
nothing more.  If, on the contrary, I take no kind of notice of the
man I fancy guilty, if I do not have him arrested, if I in no way
set him on his guard--but if the unfortunate creature is hourly,
momentarily, possessed by the suspicion that I know all, that I do
not lose sight of him either by night or by day, that he is the
object of my indefatigable vigilance--what do you ask will take
place under these circumstances?  He will lose his self-possession,
he will come of his own accord to me, he will provide me with ample
evidence against himself, and will enable me to give to the
conclusion of my inquiry the accuracy of mathematical proofs, which
is not without its charm.

"If such a course succeeds with an uncultured moujik, it is equally
efficacious when it concerns an enlightened, intelligent, or even
distinguished man.  For the main thing, my dear friend, is to
determine in what sense a man is developed.  The man, I mean, is
intelligent, but he has nerves which are OVER-strung.  And as for
bile--the bile you are forgetting, that plays no small part with
similar folk!  Believe me, here we have a very mine of information!
And what is it to me whether such a man walk about the place in
perfect liberty?  Let him be at ease--I know him to be my prey, and
that he won't escape me!  Where, I ask you, could he go to?  You
may say abroad.  A Pole may do so--but my man, never! especially as
I watch him, and have taken steps in consquence.  Is he likely to
escape into the very heart of our country?  Not he! for there dwell
coarse moujiks, and primitive Russians, without any kind of
civilization.  My educated friend would prefer going to prison,
rather than be in the midst of such surroundings.  Besides, what I
have been saying up to the present is not the main point--it is the
exterior and accessory aspect of the question.  He won't escape--
not only because he won't know where to go to, but especially, and
above all, because he is mine from the PSYCHOLOGICAL point of view.
What do you think of this explanation?  In virtue of a natural law,
he will not escape, even if he could do so!  Have you ever seen a
butterfly close to the candle?  My man will hover incessantly round
me in the same way as the butterfly gyrates round the candle-light.
Liberty will have no longer charms for him; he will grow more and
more restless, more and more amazed--let me but give him plenty of
time, and he will demean himself in a way to prove his guilt as
plainly as that twice two our four!  Yes, he will keep hovering
about me, describing circles, smaller and smaller, till at last--
bang!  He has flown into my clutches, and I have got him.  That is
very nice.  You don't think so, perhaps?"

Raskolnikoff kept silent.  Pale and immovable, he continued to
watch Porphyrius's face with a labored effort of attention.  "The
lesson is a good one!" he reflected.  "But it is not, as yesterday,
a case of the cat playing with the mouse.  Of course, he does not
talk to me in this way for the mere pleasure of showing me his
hand; he is much too intelligent for that.  He must have something
else in view--what can it be?  Come, friend, what you do say is
only to frighten me.  You have no kind of evidence, and the man of
yesterday does not exist!  All you wish is to perplex me--to enrage
me, so as to enable you to make your last move, should you catch me
in such a mood, but you will not; all your pains will be in vain!
But why should he speak in such covert terms?  I presume he must be
speculating on the excitability of my nervous system.  But, dear
friend, that won't go down, in spite of your machinations.  We will
try and find out what you really have been driving at."

And he prepared to brave boldly the terrible catastrophe he
anticipated.  Occasionally the desire came upon him to rush on
Porphyrius, and to strangle him there and then.  From the first
moment of having entered the magistrate's office what he had
dreaded most was, lest he might lose his temper.  He felt his heart
beating violently, his lips become parched, his spittle congealed.
He resolved, however, to hold his tongue, knowing that, under the
circumstances, such would be the best tactics.  By similar means,
he felt sure that he would not only not become compromised, but
that he might succeed in exasperating his enemy, in order to let
him drop some imprudent observation.  This, at all events, was
Raskolnikoff's hope.

"I see you don't believe, you think I am jesting," continued
Porphyrius, more and more at his ease, without ceasing to indulge
in his little laugh, whilst continuing his perambulation about the
room.  "You may be right.  God has given me a face which only
arouses comical thoughts in others.  I'm a buffoon.  But excuse an
old man's cackle.  You, Rodion Romanovitch, you are in your prime,
and, like all young people, you appreciate, above all things, human
intelligence.  Intellectual smartness and abstract rational
deductions entice you.  But, to return to the SPECIAL CASE we were
talking about just now.  I must tell you that we have to deal with
reality, with nature.  This is a very important thing, and how
admirably does she often foil the highest skill!  Listen to an old
man; I am speaking quite seriously.  Rodion"--(on saying which
Porphyrius Petrovitch, who was hardly thirty-five years of age,
seemed all of a sudden to have aged, a sudden metamorphosis had
taken place in the whole of his person, nay, in his very voice)--
"to an old man who, however, is not wanting in candor.  Am I or am
I not candid?  What do you think?  It seems to me that a man could
hardly be more so--for do I not reveal confidence, and that without
the prospect of reward?  But, to continue, acuteness of mind is, in
my opinion, a very fine thing; it is to all intents and purposes an
ornament of nature, one of the consolations of life by means of
which it would appear a poor magistrate can be easily gulled, who,
after all, is often misled by his own imagination, for he is only
human.  But nature comes to the aid of this human magistrate!
There's the rub!  And youth, so confident in its own intelligence,
youth which tramples under foot every obstacle, forgets this!

"Now, in the SPECIAL CASE under consideration, the guilty man, I
will assume, lies hard and fast, but, when he fancies that all that
is left him will be to reap the reward of his mendacity, behold, he
will succumb in the very place where such an accident is likely to
be most closely analyzed.  Assuming even that he may be in a
position to account for his syncope by illness or the stifling
atmosphere of the locality, he has none the less given rise to
suspicion!  He has lied incomparably, but he has counted without
nature.  Here is the pitfall!  Again, a man off his guard, from an
unwary disposition, may delight in mystifying another who suspects
him, and may wantonly pretend to be the very criminal wanted by the
authorities; in such a case, he will represent the person in
question a little too closely, he will place his foot a little too
naturally.  Here we have another token.  For the nonce his
interlocutor may be duped; but, being no fool, he will on the
morrow have seen through the subterfuge.  Then will our friend
become compromised more and more!  He will come of his own accord
when he is not even called, he will use all kinds of impudent
words, remarks, allegories, the meaning of which will be clear to
everybody; he will even go so far as to come and ask why he has not
been arrested as yet--hah! hah!  And such a line of conduct may
occur to a person of keen intellect, yes, even to a man of
psychologic mind!  Nature, my friend, is the most transparent of
mirrors.  To contemplate her is sufficient.  But why do you grow
pale, Rodion Romanovitch?  Perhaps you are too hot; shall I open
the window?"

"By no means, I beg!" cried Raskolnikoff, bursting out laughing.
"Don't heed me, pray!"  Porphyrius stopped short, waited a moment,
and burst out laughing himself.  Raskolnikoff, whose hilarity had
suddenly died out, rose.  "Porphyrius Petrovitch," he shouted in a
clear and loud voice, although he could scarcely stand on his
trembling legs, "I can no longer doubt that you suspect me of
having assassinated this old woman as well as her sister,
Elizabeth.  Let me tell you that for some time I have had enough of
this.  If you think you have the right to hunt me down, to have me
arrested, hunt me down, have me arrested.  But you shall not trifle
with me, you shall not torture me."  Suddenly his lips quivered,
his eyes gleamed, and his voice, which up to that moment had been
self-possessed, reached its highest diapason.  "I will not permit
it," he yelled hoarsely, whilst striking a violent blow on the
table.  "Do you hear me, Porphyrius Petrovitch, I shall not permit

"But, goodness gracious! what on earth is wrong with you?" asked
the magistrate, disturbed to all appearances.  "Batuchka!  Rodion
Romanovitch!  My good friend!  What on earth is the matter with

"I will not permit it!" repeated Raskolnikoff once again.

"Batuchka! not so loud, I must request!  Someone will hear you,
someone may come; and then, what shall we say?  Just reflect one
moment!" murmured Porphyrius Petrovitch, whose face had approached
that of his visitor.

"I will not permit it, I will not permit it!" mechanically pursued
Raskolnikoff, but in a minor key, so as to be heard by Porphyrius

The latter moved away to open the window.  "Let us air the room!
Supposing you were to drink some water, dear friend?  You have had
a slight fit!"  He was on the point of going to the door to give
his orders to a servant, when he saw a water bottle in a corner.
"Drink, batuchka!" he murmured, whilst approaching the young man
with the bottle, "that may do you some good."

Porphyrius's fright seemed so natural that Raskolnikoff remained
silent whilst examining him with curiosity.  He refused, however,
the proffered water.

"Rodion Romanovitch!  My dear friend!  If you go on in this way,
you will go mad, I am positive!  Drink, pray, if only a few drops!"
He almost forced the glass of water into his hand.  Raskolnikoff
raised it mechanically to his lips, when suddenly he thought better
of it, and replaced it on the table with disgust.  "Yes, yes, you
have had a slight fit.  One or two more, my friend, and you will
have another attack of your malady," observed the magistrate in the
kindest tone of voice, appearing greatly agitated.  "Is it possible
that people can take so little care of themselves?  It was the same
with Dmitri Prokofitch, who called here yesterday.  I admit mine to
be a caustic temperament, that mine is a horrid disposition, but
that such a meaning could possibly be attributed to harmless
remarks.  He called here yesterday, when you had gone, and in the
course of dinner he talked, talked.  You had sent him, had you not?
But do sit down, batuchka! do sit down, for heaven's sake!"

"I did not indeed!--although I knew that he had called, and his
object in doing so!" replied Raskolnikoff dryly.

"Did you really know why?"

"I did.  And what did you gather from it?"

"I gathered from it, batuchka! Rodion Romanovitch, the knowledge of
a good many of your doings--in fact, I know all!  I know that you
went, towards nightfall, TO HIRE THE LODGINGS.  I know that you
pulled the bell, and that a question of yours in connection with
bloodstains, as well as your manner, frightened both journeymen and
dvorniks.  I know what was your mood at the time.  Excitement of
such a kind will drive you out of your mind, be assured.  A
praiseworthy indignation is at work within you, complaining now as
to destiny, now on the subject of police agents.  You keep going
here and there to induce people as far as possible to formulate
their accusations.  This stupid kind of tittle-tattle is hateful to
you, and you are anxious to put a stop to it as soon as possible.
Am I right?  Have I laid finger on the sentiments which actuate
you?  But you are not satisfied by turning your own brain, you want
to do, or rather do, the same thing to my good Razoumikhin.
Really, it is a pity to upset so good a fellow!  His kindness
exposes him more than anyone else to suffer contagion from your own
malady.  But you shall know all as soon as you shall be calmer.
Pray, therefore, once again sit down, batuchka!  Try and recover
your spirits--you seem quite unhinged."

Raskolnikoff rose while looking at him with an air full of
contempt.  "Tell me once for all," asked the latter, "tell me one
way or other, whether I am in your opinion an object for suspicion?
Speak up, Porphyrius Petrovitch, and explain yourself without any
more beating about the bush, and that forthwith!"

"Just one word, Rodion Romanovitch.  This affair will end as God
knows best; but still, by way of form, I may have to ask you a few
more questions.  Hence we are certain to meet again!"  And with a
smile Porphyrius stopped before the young man.  "Certain!" he
repeated.  One might have fancied that he wished to say something
more.  But he did not do so.

"Forgive my strange manner just now, Porphyrius Petrovitch, I was
hasty," began Raskolnikoff, who had regained all his self-
possession, and who even experienced an irresistible wish to chaff
the magistrate.

"Don't say any more, it was nothing," replied Porphyrius in almost
joyful tone.  "Till we meet again!"

"Till we meet again!"

The young man forthwith went home.  Having got there, he threw
himself on his couch, and for a quarter of an hour he tried to
arrange his ideas somewhat, inasmuch as they were very confused.

Within a few days Raskolnikoff convinced himself that Porphyrius
Petrovitch had no real proofs.  Deciding to go out, in search of
fresh air, he took up his cap and made for the door, deep in
thought.  For the first time he felt in the best of health, really
well.  He opened the door, and encountered Porphyrius face to face.
The latter entered.  Raskolnikoff staggered for a moment, but
quickly recovered.  The visit did not dismay him.  "Perhaps this is
the finale, but why does he come upon me like a cat, with muffled
tread?  Can he have been listening?"

"I have been thinking for a long time of calling on you, and, as I
was passing, I thought I might drop in for a few minutes.  Where
are you off to?  I won't detain you long, only the time to smoke a
cigarette, if you will allow me?"

"Be seated, Porphyrius Petrovitch, be seated," said Raskolnikoff to
his guest, assuming such an air of friendship that he himself could
have been astonished at his own affability.  Thus the victim, in
fear and trembling for his life, at last does not feel the knife at
his throat.  He seated himself in front of Porphyrius, and gazed
upon him without flinching.  Porphyrius blinked a little, and
commenced rolling his cigarette.

"Speak! speak!" Raskolnikoff mutely cried in his heart.  "What are
you going to say?"

"Oh, these cigarettes!" Porphyrius Petrovitch commenced at last,
"they'll be the death of me, and yet I can't give them up!  I am
always coughing--a tickling in the throat is setting in, and I am
asthmatical.  I have been to consult Botkine of late; he examines
every one of his patients at least half an hour at a time.  After
having thumped and bumped me about for ever so long, he told me,
amongst other things: 'Tobacco is a bad thing for you--your lungs
are affected.'  That's all very well, but how am I to go without my
tobacco?  What am I to use as a substitute?  Unfortunately, I can't
drink, hah! hah!  Everything is relative, I suppose, Rodion

"There, he is beginning with some more of his silly palaver!"
Raskolnikoff growled to himself.  His late interview with the
magistrate suddenly occurred to him, at which anger affected his

"Did you know, by-the-by, that I called on you the night before
last?" continued Porphyrius, looking about.  "I was in this very
room.  I happened to be coming this way, just as I am going to-day,
and the idea struck me to drop in.  Your door was open--I entered,
hoping to see you in a few minutes, but went away again without
leaving my name with your servant.  Do you never shut your place?"

Raskolnikoff's face grew gloomier and gloomier.  Porphyrius
Petrovitch evidently guessed what the latter was thinking about.

"You did not expect visitors, Rodion Romanovitch?" said Porphyrius,
smiling graciously.

"I have called just to clear things up a bit.  I owe you an
explanation," he went on, smiling and gently slapping the young man
on the knee; but almost at the self-same moment his face assumed a
serious and even sad expression, to Raskolnikoff's great
astonishment, to whom the magistrate appeared in quite a different
light.  "At our last interview, an unusual scene took place between
us, Rodion.  I somehow feel that I did not behave very well to you.
You remember, I dare say, how we parted; we were both more or less
excited.  I fear we were wanting in the most common courtesy, and
yet we are both of us gentlemen."

"What can he be driving at now?" Raskolnikoff asked himself,
looking inquiringly at Porphyrius.

"I have come to the conclusion that it would be much better for us
to be more candid to one another," continued the magistrate,
turning his head gently aside and looking on the ground, as if he
feared to annoy his former victim by his survey.  "We must not have
scenes of that kind again.  If Mikolka had not turned up on that
occasion, I really do not know how things would have ended.  You
are naturally, my dear Rodion, very irritable, and I must own that
I had taken that into consideration, for, when driven in a corner,
many a man lets out his secrets.  'If,' I said to myself, 'I could
only squeeze some kind of evidence out of him, however trivial,
provided it were real, tangible, and palpable, different from all
my psychological inferences!'  That was my idea.  Sometimes we
succeed by some such proceeding, but unfortunately that does not
happen every day, as I conclusively discovered on the occasion in
question.  I had relied too much on your character."

"But why tell me all this now?" stammered Raskolnikoff, without in
any way understanding the object of his interlocutor's question.
"Does he, perhaps, think me really innocent?"

"You wish to know why I tell you this?  Because I look upon it as a
sacred duty to explain my line of action.  Because I subjected you,
as I now fully acknowledge, to cruel torture.  I do not wish, my
dear Rodion, that you should take me for an ogre.  Hence, by way of
justification, I purpose explaining to you what led up to it.  I
think it needless to account for the nature and origin of the
reports which circulated originally, as also why you were connected
with them.  There was, however, one circumstance, a purely
fortuitous one, and which need not now be mentioned, which aroused
my suspicions.  From these reports and accidental circumstances,
the same conclusion became evolved for me.  I make this statement
in all sincerity, for it was I who first implicated you with the
matter.  I do not in any way notice, the particulars notified on
the articles found at the old woman's.  That, and several others of
a similar nature, are of no kind of importance.  At the same time,
I was aware of the incident which had happened at the police
office.  What occurred there has been told me with the utmost
accuracy by some one who had been closely connected with it, and
who, most unwittingly, had brought things to a head.  Very well,
then, how, under such circumstances, could a man help becoming
biased?  'One swallow does not make a summer,' as the English
proverb says: a hundred suppositions do not constitute one single
proof.  Reason speaks in that way, I admit, but let a man try to
subject prejudice to reason.  An examining magistrate, after all,
is only a man--hence given to prejudice.

"I also remembered, on the occasion in question, the article you
had published in some review.  That virgin effort of yours, I
assure you, I greatly enjoyed--as an amateur, however, be it
understood.  It was redolent of sincere conviction, of genuine
enthusiasm.  The article was evidently written some sleepless night
under feverish conditions.  That author, I said to myself, while
reading it, will do better things than that.  How now, I ask you,
could I avoid connecting that with what followed upon it?  Such a
tendency was but a natural one.  Am I saying anything I should not?
Am I at this moment committing myself to any definite statement?  I
do no more than give utterance to a thought which struck me at the
time.  What may I be thinking about now?  Nothing--or, at all
events, what is tantamount to it.  For the time being, I have to
deal with Mikolka; there are facts which implicate him--what are
facts, after all?  If I tell you all this now, as I am doing, I do
so, I assure you, most emphatically, so that your mind and
conscience may absolve me from my behavior on the day of our
interview.  'Why,' you will ask, 'did you not come on that occasion
and have my place searched?'  I did so, hah! hah!  I went when you
were ill in bed--but, let me tell you, not officially, not in my
magisterial capacity; but go I did.  We had your rooms turned
topsy-turvy at our very first suspicions, but umsonst!  Then I said
to myself: 'That man will make me a call, he will come of his own
accord, and that before very long!  If he is guilty, he will be
bound to come.  Other kinds of men would not do so, but this one

"And you remember, of course, Mr. Razoumikhin's chattering?  We had
purposely informed him of some of our suspicions, hoping that he
might make you uneasy, for we knew perfectly well that Razoumikhin
would not be able to contain his indignation.  Zametoff, in
particular, had been struck by your boldness, and it certainly was
a bold thing for a person to exclaim all of a sudden in an open
traktir: 'I am an assassin!'  That was really too much of a good
thing.  Well, I waited for you with trusting patience, and, lo and
behold, Providence sends you!  How my heart did beat when I saw you
coming!  Now, I ask you, where was the need of your coming at that
time at all?  If you remember, you came in laughing immoderately.
That laughter gave me food for thought, but, had I not been very
prejudiced at the time, I should have taken no notice of it.  And
as for Mr. Razoumikhin on that occasion--ah! the stone, the stone,
you will remember, under which the stolen things are hidden?  I
fancy I can see it from here; it is somewhere in a kitchen garden--
it was a kitchen garden you mentioned to Zametoff, was it not?  And
then, when your article was broached, we fancied we discovered a
latent thought beneath every word you uttered.  That was the way,
Rodion Romanovitch, that my conviction grew little by little.  'And
yet,' said I to myself, 'all that may be explained in quite a
different way, and perhaps more rationally.  After all, a real
proof, however slight, would be far more valuable.'  But, when I
heard all about the bell-ringing, my doubts vanished; I fancied I
had the indispensable proof, and did not seem to care for further

"We are face to face with a weird and gloomy case--a case of a
contemporary character, if I may say so--a case possessing, in the
fullest sense of the word, the hallmark of time, and circumstances
pointing to a person and life of different surroundings.  The real
culprit is a theorist, a bookworm, who, in a tentative kind of way,
has done a more than bold thing; but this boldness of his is of
quite a peculiar and one-sided stamp; it is, after a fashion, like
that of a man who hurls himself from the top of a mountain or
church steeple.  The man in question has forgotten to cut off
evidence, and, in order to work out a theory, has killed two
persons.  He has committed a murder, and yet has not known how to
take possession of the pelf; what he has taken he has hidden under
a stone.  The anguish he experienced while hearing knocking at the
door and the continued ringing of the bell, was not enough for him:
no, yielding to an irresistible desire of experiencing the same
horror, he has positively revisited the empty place and once more
pulled the bell.  Let us, if you like, attribute the whole of this
to disease--to a semidelirious condition--by all means; but there
is another point to be considered: he has committed a murder, and
yet continues to look upon himself as a righteous man!"

Raskolnikoff trembled in every limb.  "Then, who--who is it--that
has committed the murder?" he stammered forth, in jerky accents.

The examining magistrate sank back in his chair as though
astonished at such a question.  "Who committed the murder?" he
retorted, as if he could not believe his own ears.  "Why, you--you
did, Rodion Romanovitch!  You!--" he added, almost in a whisper,
and in a tone of profound conviction.

Raskolnikoff suddenly rose, waited for a few moments, and sat down
again, without uttering a single word.  All the muscles of his face
were slightly convulsed.

"Why, I see your lips tremble just as they did the other day,"
observed Porphyrius Petrovitch, with an air of interest.  "You have
not, I think, thoroughly realized the object of my visit, Rodion
Romanovitch," he pursued, after a moment's silence, "hence your
great astonishment.  I have called with the express intention of
plain speaking, and to reveal the truth."

"It was not I who committed the murder," stammered the young man,
defending himself very much like a child caught in the act of doing

"Yes, yes, it was you, Rodion Romanovitch, it was you, and you
alone," replied the magistrate with severity.  "Confess or not, as
you think best; for the time being, that is nothing to me.  In
either case, my conviction is arrived at."

"If that is so, why have you called?" asked Raskolnikoff angrily.
"I once more repeat the question I have put you: If you think me
guilty, why not issue a warrant against me?"

"What a question!  But I will answer you categorically.  To begin
with, your arrest would not benefit me!"

"It would not benefit you?  How can that be?  From the moment of
being convinced, you ought to--"

"What is the use of my conviction, after all?  For the time being,
it is only built on sand.  And why should I have you placed AT
REST?  Of course, I purpose having you arrested--I have called to
give you a hint to that effect--and yet I do not hesitate to tell
you that I shall gain nothing by it.  Considering, therefore, the
interest I feel for you, I earnestly urge you to go and acknowledge
your crime.  I called before to give the same advice.  It is by far
the wisest thing you can do--for you as well as for myself, who
will then wash my hands of the affair.  Now, am I candid enough?"

Raskolnikoff considered a moment.  "Listen to me, Porphyrius
Petrovitch!  To use your own statement, you have against me nothing
but psychological sentiments, and yet you aspire to mathematical
evidence.  Who has told you that you are absolutely right?"

"Yes, Rodion Romanovitch, I am absolutely right.  I hold a proof!
And this proof I came in possession of the other day: God has sent
it me!"

"What is it?"

"I shall not tell you, Rodion Romanovitch.  But I have no right to
procrastinate.  I am going to have you arrested!  Judge, therefore:
whatever you purpose doing is not of much importance to me just
now; all I say and have said has been solely done for your
interest.  The best alternative is the one I suggest, you may
depend on it, Rodion Romanovitch!  When I shall have had you
arrested--at the expiration of a month or two, or even three, if
you like--you will remember my words, and you will confess.  You
will be led to do so insensibly, almost without being conscious of
it.  I am even of opinion that, after careful consideration, you
will make up your mind to make atonement.  You do not believe me at
this moment, but wait and see.  In truth, Rodion Romanovitch,
suffering is a grand thing.  In the mouth of a coarse man, who
deprives himself of nothing, such a statement might afford food for
laughter.  Never mind, however, but there lies a theory in
suffering.  Mikolka is right.  You won't escape, Rodion

Raskolnikoff rose and took his cap.  Porphyrius Petrovitch did the
same.  "Are you going for a walk?  The night will be a fine one, as
long as we get no storm.  That would be all the better though, as
it would clear the air."

"Porphyrius Petrovitch," said the young man, in curt and hurried
accents, "do not run away with the idea that I have been making a
confession to-day.  You are a strange man, and I have listened to
you from pure curiosity.  But remember, I have confessed to
nothing.  Pray do not forget that."

"I shall not forget it, you may depend--  How he is trembling!
Don't be uneasy, my friend--I shall not forget your advice.  Take a
little stroll, only do not go beyond certain limits.  I must,
however, at all costs," he added with lowered voice, "ask a small
favor of you; it is a delicate one, but has an importance of its
own; assuming, although I would view such a contingency as an
improbable one--assuming, during the next forty-eight hours, the
fancy were to come upon you to put an end to your life (excuse me
my foolish supposition), would you mind leaving behind you
something in the shape of a note--a line or so--pointing to the
spot where the stone is?--that would be very considerate.  Well, au
revoir!  May God send you good thoughts!"

Porphyrius withdrew, avoiding Raskolnikoff's eye.  The latter
approached the window, and impatiently waited till, according to
his calculation, the magistrate should be some distance from the
house.  He then passed out himself in great haste.

A few days later, the prophecy of Porphyrius Petrovitch was
fulfilled.  Driven by the torment of uncertainty and doubt,
Raskolnikoff made up his mind to confess his crime.  Hastening
through the streets, and stumbling up the narrow stairway, he
presented himself at the police office.

With pale lips and fixed gaze, Raskolnikoff slowly advanced toward
Elia Petrovitch.  Resting his head upon the table behind which the
lieutenant was seated, he wished to speak, but could only give vent
to a few unintelligible sounds.

"You are in pain, a chair!  Pray sit down!  Some water"

Raskolnikoff allowed himself to sink on the chair that was offered
him, but he could not take his eyes off Elia Petrovitch, whose face
expressed a very unpleasant surprise.  For a moment both men looked
at one another in silence.  Water was brought!

"It was I--" commenced Raskolnikoff.


With a movement of his hand the young man pushed aside the glass
which was offered him; then, in a low-toned but distinct voice he
made, with several interruptions, the following statement:--

"It was I who killed, with a hatchet, the old moneylender and her
sister, Elizabeth, and robbery was my motive."

Elia Petrovitch called for assistance.  People rushed in from
various directions.  Raskolnikoff repeated his confession.

Anton Chekhoff

The Safety Match

On the morning of October 6, 1885, in the office of the Inspector
of Police of the second division of S---- District, there appeared
a respectably dressed young man, who announced that his master,
Marcus Ivanovitch Klausoff, a retired officer of the Horse Guards,
separated from his wife, had been murdered.  While making this
announcement the young man was white and terribly agitated.  His
hands trembled and his eyes were full of terror.

"Whom have I the honor of addressing?" asked the inspector.

"Psyekoff, Lieutenant Klausoff's agent; agriculturist and

The inspector and his deputy, on visiting the scene of the
occurrence in company with Psyekoff, found the following: Near the
wing in which Klausoff had lived was gathered a dense crowd.  The
news of the murder had sped swift as lightning through the
neighborhood, and the peasantry, thanks to the fact that the day
was a holiday, had hurried together from all the neighboring
villages.  There was much commotion and talk.  Here and there,
pale, tear-stained faces were seen.  The door of Klausoff's bedroom
was found locked.  The key was inside.

"It is quite clear that the scoundrels got in by the window!" said
Psyekoff as they examined the door.

They went to the garden, into which the bedroom window opened.  The
window looked dark and ominous.  It was covered by a faded green
curtain.  One corner of the curtain was slightly turned up, which
made it possible to look into the bedroom.

"Did any of you look into the window?" asked the inspector.

"Certainly not, your worship!" answered Ephraim, the gardener, a
little gray-haired old man, who looked like a retired sergeant.
"Who's going to look in, if all their bones are shaking?"

"Ah, Marcus Ivanovitch, Marcus Ivanovitch!" sighed the inspector,
looking at the window, "I told you you would come to a bad end!  I
told the dear man, but he wouldn't listen!  Dissipation doesn't
bring any good!"

"Thanks to Ephraim," said Psyekoff; "but for him, we would never
have guessed.  He was the first to guess that something was wrong.
He comes to me this morning, and says: 'Why is the master so long
getting up?  He hasn't left his bedroom for a whole week!'  The
moment he said that, it was just as if some one had hit me with an
ax.  The thought flashed through my mind, 'We haven't had a sight
of him since last Saturday, and to-day is Sunday'!  Seven whole
days--not a doubt of it!"

"Ay, poor fellow!" again sighed the inspector.  "He was a clever
fellow, finely educated, and kind-hearted at that!  And in society,
nobody could touch him!  But he was a waster, God rest his soul!  I
was prepared for anything since he refused to live with Olga
Petrovna.  Poor thing, a good wife, but a sharp tongue!  Stephen!"
the inspector called to one of his deputies, "go over to my house
this minute, and send Andrew to the captain to lodge an information
with him!  Tell him that Marcus Ivanovitch has been murdered.  And
run over to the orderly; why should he sit there, kicking his
heels?  Let him come here!  And go as fast as you can to the
examining magistrate, Nicholas Yermolaiyevitch.  Tell him to come
over here!  Wait; I'll write him a note!"

The inspector posted sentinels around the wing, wrote a letter to
the examining magistrate, and then went over to the director's for
a glass of tea.  Ten minutes later he was sitting on a stool,
carefully nibbling a lump of sugar, and swallowing the scalding

"There you are!" he was saying to Psyekoff; "there you are!  A
noble by birth! a rich man--a favorite of the gods, you may say, as
Pushkin has it, and what did he come to?  He drank and dissipated
and--there you are--he's murdered."

After a couple of hours the examining magistrate drove up.
Nicholas Yermolaiyevitch Chubikoff--for that was the magistrate's
name--was a tall, fleshy old man of sixty, who had been wrestling
with the duties of his office for a quarter of a century.
Everybody in the district knew him as an honest man, wise,
energetic, and in love with his work.  He was accompanied to the
scene of the murder by his inveterate companion, fellow worker, and
secretary, Dukovski, a tall young fellow of twenty-six.

"Is it possible, gentlemen?" cried Chubikoff, entering Psyekoff's
room, and quickly shaking hands with everyone.  Is it possible?
Marcus Ivanovitch?  Murdered?  No!  It is impossible!  Im-poss-i-

"Go in there!" sighed the inspector.

"Lord, have mercy on us!  Only last Friday I saw him at the fair in
Farabankoff.  I had a drink of vodka with him, save the mark!"

"Go in there!" again sighed the inspector.

They sighed, uttered exclamations of horror, drank a glass of tea
each, and went to the wing.

"Get back!" the orderly cried to the peasants.

Going to the wing, the examining magistrate began his work by
examining the bedroom door.  The door proved to be of pine, painted
yellow, and was uninjured.  Nothing was found which could serve as
a clew.  They had to break in the door.

"Everyone not here on business is requested to keep away!" said the
magistrate, when, after much hammering and shaking, the door
yielded to ax and chisel.  "I request this, in the interest of the
investigation.  Orderly, don't let anyone in!"

Chubikoff, his assistant, and the inspector opened the door, and
hesitatingly, one after the other, entered the room.  Their eyes
met the following sight: Beside the single window stood the big
wooden bed with a huge feather mattress.  On the crumpled feather
bed lay a tumbled, crumpled quilt.  The pillow, in a cotton pillow-
case, also much crumpled, was dragging on the floor.  On the table
beside the bed lay a silver watch and a silver twenty-kopeck piece.
Beside them lay some sulphur matches.  Beside the bed, the little
table, and the single chair, there was no furniture in the room.
Looking under the bed, the inspector saw a couple of dozen empty
bottles, an old straw hat, and a quart of vodka.  Under the table
lay one top boot, covered with dust.  Casting a glance around the
room, the magistrate frowned and grew red in the face.

"Scoundrels!" he muttered, clenching his fists.

"And where is Marcus Ivanovitch?" asked Dukovski in a low voice.

"Mind your own business!" Chubikoff answered roughly.  "Be good
enough to examine the floor!  This is not the first case of the
kind I have had to deal with!  Eugraph Kuzmitch," he said, turning
to the inspector, and lowering his voice, "in 1870 I had another
case like this.  But you must remember it--the murder of the
merchant Portraitoff.  It was just the same there.  The scoundrels
murdered him, and dragged the corpse out through the window--"

Chubikoff went up to the window, pulled the curtain to one side,
and carefully pushed the window.  The window opened.

"It opens, you see!  It wasn't fastened.  Hm!  There are tracks
under the window.  Look!  There is the track of a knee!  Somebody
got in there.  We must examine the window thoroughly."

"There is nothing special to be found on the floor," said Dukovski.
"No stains or scratches.  The only thing I found was a struck
safety match.  Here it is!  So far as I remember, Marcus Ivanovitch
did not smoke.  And he always used sulphur matches, never safety
matches.  Perhaps this safety match may serve as a clew!"

"Oh, do shut up!" cried the magistrate deprecatingly.  "You go on
about your match!  I can't abide these dreamers!  Instead of
chasing matches, you had better examine the bed!"

After a thorough examination of the bed, Dukovski reported:

"There are no spots, either of blood or of anything else.  There
are likewise no new torn places.  On the pillow there are signs of
teeth.  The quilt is stained with something which looks like beer
and smells like beer.  The general aspect of the bed gives grounds
for thinking that a struggle took place on it."

"I know there was a struggle, without your telling me!  You are not
being asked about a struggle.  Instead of looking for struggles,
you had better--"

"Here is one top boot, but there is no sign of the other."

"Well, and what of that?"

"It proves that they strangled him, while he was taking his boots
off.  He hadn't time to take the second boot off when--"

"There you go!--and how do you know they strangled him?"

"There are marks of teeth on the pillow.  The pillow itself is
badly crumpled, and thrown a couple of yards from the bed."

"Listen to his foolishness!  Better come into the garden.  You
would be better employed examining the garden than digging around
here.  I can do that without you!"

When they reached the garden they began by examining the grass.
The grass under the window was crushed and trampled.  A bushy
burdock growing under the window close to the wall was also
trampled.  Dukovski succeeded in finding on it some broken twigs
and a piece of cotton wool.  On the upper branches were found some
fine hairs of dark blue wool.

"What color was his last suit?" Dukovski asked Psyekoff.

Yellow crash."

"Excellent!  You see they wore blue!"

A few twigs of the burdock were cut off, and carefully wrapped in
paper by the investigators.  At this point Police Captain
Artsuybasheff Svistakovski and Dr. Tyutyeff arrived.  The captain
bade them "Good day!" and immediately began to satisfy his
curiosity.  The doctor, a tall, very lean man, with dull eyes; a
long nose, and a pointed chin, without greeting anyone or asking
about anything, sat down on a log, sighed, and began:

"The Servians are at war again!  What in heaven's name can they
want now?  Austria, it's all your doing!"

The examination of the window from the outside did not supply any
conclusive data.  The examination of the grass and the bushes
nearest to the window yielded a series of useful clews.  For
example, Dukovski succeeded in discovering a long, dark streak,
made up of spots, on the grass, which led some distance into the
center of the garden.  The streak ended under one of the lilac
bushes in a dark brown stain.  Under this same lilac bush was found
a top boot, which turned out to be the fellow of the boot already
found in the bedroom.

"That is a blood stain made some time ago," said Dukovski,
examining the spot.

At the word "blood" the doctor rose, and going over lazily, looked
at the spot.

"Yes, it is blood!" he muttered.

"That shows he wasn't strangled, if there was blood," said
Chubikoff, looking sarcastically at Dukovski.

"They strangled him in the bedroom; and here, fearing he might come
round again, they struck him a blow with some sharp-pointed
instrument.  The stain under the bush proves that he lay there a
considerable time, while they were looking about for some way of
carrying him out of the garden.

"Well, and how about the boot?"

"The boot confirms completely my idea that they murdered him while
he was taking his boots off before going to bed.  He had already
taken off one boot, and the other, this one here, he had only had
time to take half off.  The half-off boot came off of itself, while
the body was dragged over, and fell--"

"There's a lively imagination for you!" laughed Chubikoff.  "He
goes on and on like that!  When will you learn enough to drop your
deductions?  Instead of arguing and deducing, it would be much
better if you took some of the blood-stained grass for analysis!"

When they had finished their examination, and drawn a plan of the
locality, the investigators went to the director's office to write
their report and have breakfast.  While they were breakfasting they
went on talking:

"The watch, the money, and so on--all untouched--" Chubikoff began,
leading off the talk, "show as clearly as that two and two are four
that the murder was not committed for the purpose of robbery."

"The murder was committed by an educated man!" insisted Dukovski.

"What evidence have you of that?"

"The safety match proves that to me, for the peasants hereabouts
are not yet acquainted with safety matches.  Only the landowners
use them, and by no means all of them.  And it is evident that
there was not one murderer, but at least three."  Two held him,
while one killed him.  Klausoff was strong, and the murderers must
have known it!

"What good would his strength be, supposing he was asleep?"

"The murderers came on him while he was taking off his boots.  If
he was taking off his boots, that proves that he wasn't asleep!"

"Stop inventing your deductions!  Better eat!"

"In my opinion, your worship," said the gardener Ephraim, setting
the samovar on the table, "it was nobody but Nicholas who did this
dirty trick!"

"Quite possible," said Psyekoff.

"And who is Nicholas?"

"The master's valet, your worship," answered Ephraim.  "Who else
could it be?  He's a rascal, your worship!  He's a drunkard and a
blackguard, the like of which Heaven should not permit!  He always
took the master his vodka and put the master to bed.  Who else
could it be?  And I also venture to point out to your worship, he
once boasted at the public house that he would kill the master!  It
happened on account of Aquilina, the woman, you know.  He was
making up to a soldier's widow.  She pleased the master; the master
made friends with her himself, and Nicholas--naturally, he was mad!
He is rolling about drunk in the kitchen now.  He is crying, and
telling lies, saying he is sorry for the master--"

The examining magistrate ordered Nicholas to be brought.  Nicholas,
a lanky young fellow, with a long, freckled nose, narrow-chested,
and wearing an old jacket of his master's, entered Psyekoff's room,
and bowed low before the magistrate.  His face was sleepy and tear-
stained.  He was tipsy and could hardly keep his feet.

"Where is your master?" Chubikoff asked him.

"Murdered! your worship!"

As he said this, Nicholas blinked and began to weep.

"We know he was murdered.  But where is he now?  Where is his

"They say he was dragged out of the window and buried in the

"Hum!  The results of the investigation are known in the kitchen
already!--That's bad!  Where were you, my good fellow, the night
the master was murdered?  Saturday night, that is."

Nicholas raised his head, stretched his neck, and began to think.

"I don't know, your worship," he said.  "I was drunk and don't

"An alibi!" whispered Dukovski, smiling, and rubbing his hands.

"So-o!  And why is there blood under the master's window?"

Nicholas jerked his head up and considered.

"Hurry up!" said the Captain of Police.

"Right away!  That blood doesn't amount to anything, your worship!
I was cutting a chicken's throat.  I was doing it quite simply, in
the usual way, when all of a sudden it broke away and started to
run.  That is where the blood came from."

Ephraim declared that Nicholas did kill a chicken every evening,
and always in some new place, but that nobody ever heard of a half-
killed chicken running about the garden, though of course it wasn't

"An alibi," sneered Dukovski; "and what an asinine alibi!"

"Did you know Aquilina?"

"Yes, your worship, I know her."

"And the master cut you out with her?"

"Not at all.  HE cut me out--Mr. Psyekoff there, Ivan
Mikhailovitch; and the master cut Ivan Mikhailovitch out.  That is
how it was."

Psyekoff grew confused and began to scratch his left eye.  Dukovski
looked at him attentively, noted his confusion, and started.  He
noticed that the director had dark blue trousers, which he had not
observed before.  The trousers reminded him of the dark blue
threads found on the burdock.  Chubikoff in his turn glanced
suspiciously at Psyekoff.

"Go!" he said to Nicholas.  "And now permit me to put a question to
you, Mr. Psyekoff.  Of course you were here last Saturday evening?"

"Yes!  I had supper with Marcus Ivanovitch about ten o'clock."

"And afterwards?"

"Afterwards--afterwards--Really, I do not remember," stammered
Psyekoff.  "I had a good deal to drink at supper.  I don't remember
when or where I went to sleep.  Why are you all looking at me like
that, as if I was the murderer?"

"Where were you when you woke up?"

"I was in the servants' kitchen, lying behind the stove!  They can
all confirm it.  How I got behind the stove I don't know

"Do not get agitated.  Did you know Aquilina?"

"There's nothing extraordinary about that--"

"She first liked you and then preferred Klausoff?"

"Yes.  Ephraim, give us some more mushrooms!  Do you want some more
tea, Eugraph Kuzmitch?"

A heavy, oppressive silence began and lasted fully five minutes.
Dukovski silently kept his piercing eyes fixed on Psyekoff's pale
face.  The silence was finally broken by the examining magistrate:

"We must go to the house and talk with Maria Ivanovna, the sister
of the deceased.  Perhaps she may be able to supply some clews."

Chubikoff and his assistant expressed their thanks for the
breakfast, and went toward the house.  They found Klausoff's
sister, Maria Ivanovna, an old maid of forty-five, at prayer before
the big case of family icons.  When she saw the portfolios in her
guests' hands, and their official caps, she grew pale.

"Let me begin by apologizing for disturbing, so to speak, your
devotions," began the gallant Chubikoff, bowing and scraping.  "We
have come to you with a request.  Of course, you have heard
already.  There is a suspicion that your dear brother, in some way
or other, has been murdered.  The will of God, you know.  No one
can escape death, neither czar nor plowman.  Could you not help us
with some clew, some explanation--?"

"Oh, don't ask me!" said Maria Ivanovna, growing still paler, and
covering her face with her hands.  "I can tell you nothing.
Nothing!  I beg you!  I know nothing--What can I do?  Oh, no! no!--
not a word about my brother!  If I die, I won't say anything!"

Maria Ivanovna began to weep, and left the room.  The investigators
looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and beat a retreat.

"Confound the woman!" scolded Dukovski, going out of the house.
"It is clear she knows something, and is concealing it!  And the
chambermaid has a queer expression too!  Wait, you wretches!  We'll
ferret it all out!"

In the evening Chubikoff and his deputy, lit on their road by the
pale moon, wended their way homeward.  They sat in their carriage
and thought over the results of the day.  Both were tired and kept
silent.  Chubikoff was always unwilling to talk while traveling,
and the talkative Dukovski remained silent, to fall in with the
elder man's humor.  But at the end of their journey the deputy
could hold in no longer, and said:

"It is quite certain," he said, "that Nicholas had something to do
with the matter.  Non dubitandum est!  You can see by his face what
sort of a case he is!  His alibi betrays him, body and bones.  But
it is also certain that he did not set the thing going.  He was
only the stupid hired tool.  You agree?  And the humble Psyekoff
was not without some slight share in the matter.  His dark blue
breeches, his agitation, his lying behind the stove in terror after
the murder, his alibi and--Aquilina--"

"'Grind away, Emilian; it's your week!'  So, according to you,
whoever knew Aquilina is the murderer!  Hothead!  You ought to be
sucking a bottle, and not handling affairs!  You were one of
Aquilina's admirers yourself--does it follow that you are
implicated too?"

"Aquilina was cook in your house for a month.  I am saying nothing
about that!  The night before that Saturday I was playing cards
with you, and saw you, otherwise I should be after you too!  It
isn't the woman that matters, old chap!  It is the mean, nasty, low
spirit of jealousy that matters.  The retiring young man was not
pleased when they got the better of him, you see!  His vanity,
don't you see?  He wanted revenge.  Then, those thick lips of his
suggest passion.  So there you have it: wounded self-love and
passion.  That is quite enough motive for a murder.  We have two of
them in our hands; but who is the third?  Nicholas and Psyekoff
held him, but who smothered him?  Psyekoff is shy, timid, an all-
round coward.  And Nicholas would not know how to smother with a
pillow.  His sort use an ax or a club.  Some third person did the
smothering; but who was it?"

Dukovski crammed his hat down over his eyes and pondered.  He
remained silent until the carriage rolled up to the magistrate's

"Eureka!" he said, entering the little house and throwing off his
overcoat.  "Eureka, Nicholas Yermolaiyevitch!  The only thing I
can't understand is, how it did not occur to me sooner!  Do you
know who the third person was?"

"Oh, for goodness sake, shut up!  There is supper!  Sit down to
your evening meal!"

The magistrate and Dukovski sat down to supper.  Dukovski poured
himself out a glass of vodka, rose, drew himself up, and said, with
sparkling eyes:

"Well, learn that the third person, who acted in concert with that
scoundrel Psyekoff, and did the smothering, was a woman!  Yes-s!  I
mean--the murdered man's sister, Maria Ivanovna!"

Chubikoff choked over his vodka, and fixed his eyes on Dukovski.

"You aren't--what's-its-name?  Your head isn't what-do-you-call-it?
You haven't a pain in it?"

"I am perfectly well!  Very well, let us say that I am crazy; but
how do you explain her confusion when we appeared?  How do you
explain her unwillingness to give us any information?  Let us admit
that these are trifles.  Very well!  All right!  But remember their
relations.  She detested her brother.  She never forgave him for
living apart from his wife.  She is of the Old Faith, while in her
eyes he is a godless profligate.  There is where the germ of her
hate was hatched.  They say he succeeded in making her believe that
he was an angel of Satan.  He even went in for spiritualism in her

"Well, what of that?"

"You don't understand?  She, as a member of the Old Faith, murdered
him through fanaticism.  It was not only that she was putting to
death a weed, a profligate--she was freeing the world of an
antichrist!--and there, in her opinion, was her service, her
religious achievement!  Oh, you don't know those old maids of the
Old Faith.  Read Dostoyevsky!  And what does Lyeskoff say about
them, or Petcherski?  It was she, and nobody else, even if you cut
me open.  She smothered him!  O treacherous woman! wasn't that the
reason why she was kneeling before the icons, when we came in, just
to take our attention away?  'Let me kneel down and pray,' she said
to herself, 'and they will think I am tranquil and did not expect
them!'  That is the plan of all novices in crime, Nicholas
Yermolaiyevitch, old pal!  My dear old man, won't you intrust this
business to me?  Let me personally bring it through!  Friend, I
began it and I will finish it!"

Chubikoff shook his head and frowned.

"We know how to manage difficult matters ourselves," he said; "and
your business is not to push yourself in where you don't belong.
Write from dictation when you are dictated to; that is your job!"

Dukovski flared up, banged the door, and disappeared.

"Clever rascal!" muttered Chubikoff, glancing after him.  "Awfully
clever!  But too much of a hothead.  I must buy him a cigar case at
the fair as a present."

The next day, early in the morning, a young man with a big head and
a pursed-up mouth, who came from Klausoff's place, was introduced
to the magistrate's office.  He said he was the shepherd Daniel,
and brought a very interesting piece of information.

"I was a bit drunk," he said.  "I was with my pal till midnight.
On my way home, as I was drunk, I went into the river for a bath.
I was taking a bath, when I looked up.  Two men were walking along
the dam, carrying something black.  'Shoo!' I cried at them.  They
got scared, and went off like the wind toward Makareff's cabbage
garden.  Strike me dead, if they weren't carrying away the master!"

That same day, toward evening, Psyekoff and Nicholas were arrested
and brought under guard to the district town.  In the town they
were committed to the cells of the prison.


A fortnight passed.

It was morning.  The magistrate Nicholas Yermolaiyevitch was
sitting in his office before a green table, turning over the papers
of the "Klausoff case"; Dukovski was striding restlessly up and
down, like a wolf in a cage.

"You are convinced of the guilt of Nicholas and Psyekoff," he said,
nervously plucking at his young beard.  "Why will you not believe
in the guilt of Maria Ivanovna?  Are there not proofs enough for

"I don't say I am not convinced.  I am convinced, but somehow I
don't believe it!  There are no real proofs, but just a kind of
philosophizing--fanaticism, this and that--"

"You can't do without an ax and bloodstained sheets.  Those
jurists!  Very well, I'll prove it to you!  You will stop sneering
at the psychological side of the affair!  To Siberia with your
Maria Ivanovna!  I will prove it!  If philosophy is not enough for
you, I have something substantial for you.  It will show you how
correct my philosophy is.  Just give me permission--"

"What are you going on about?"

"About the safety match!  Have you forgotten it?  I haven't!  I am
going to find out who struck it in the murdered man's room.  It was
not Nicholas that struck it; it was not Psyekoff, for neither of
them had any matches when they were examined; it was the third
person, Maria Ivanovna.  I will prove it to you.  Just give me
permission to go through the district to find out."

"That's enough!  Sit down.  Let us go on with the examination."

Dukovski sat down at a little table, and plunged his long nose in a
bundle of papers.

"Bring in Nicholas Tetekhoff!" cried the examining magistrate.

They brought Nicholas in.  Nicholas was pale and thin as a rail.
He was trembling.

"Tetekhoff!" began Chubikoff.  "In 1879 you were tried in the Court
of the First Division, convicted of theft, and sentenced to
imprisonment.  In 1882 you were tried a second time for theft, and
were again imprisoned.  We know all--"

Astonishment was depicted on Nicholas's face.  The examining
magistrate's omniscience startled him.  But soon his expression of
astonishment changed to extreme indignation.  He began to cry and
requested permission to go and wash his face and quiet down.  They
led him away.

"Brink in Psyekoff!" ordered the examining magistrate.  They
brought in Psyekoff.  The young man had changed greatly during the
last few days.  He had grown thin and pale, and looked haggard.
His eyes had an apathetic expression.

"Sit down, Psyekoff," said Chubikoff.  "I hope that today you are
going to be reasonable, and will not tell lies, as you did before.
All these days you have denied that you had anything to do with the
murder of Klausoff, in spite of all the proofs that testify against
you.  That is foolish.  Confession will lighten your guilt.  This
is the last time I am going to talk to you.  If you do not confess
to-day, to-morrow it will be too late.  Come, tell me all--"

"I know nothing about it.  I know nothing about your proofs,"
answered Psyekoff, almost inaudibly.

"It's no use!  Well, let me relate to you how the matter took
place.  On Saturday evening you were sitting in Klausoff's sleeping
room, and drinking vodka and beer with him."  (Dukovski fixed his
eyes on Psyekoff's face, and kept them there all through the
examination.)  "Nicholas was waiting on you.  At one o'clock,
Marcus Ivanovitch announced his intention of going to bed.  He
always went to bed at one o'clock.  When he was taking off his
boots, and was giving you directions about details of management,
you and Nicholas, at a given signal, seized your drunken master and
threw him on the bed.  One of you sat on his legs, the other on his
head.  Then a third person came in from the passage--a woman in a
black dress, whom you know well, and who had previously arranged
with you as to her share in your criminal deed.  She seized a
pillow and began to smother him.  While the struggle was going on
the candle went out.  The woman took a box of safety matches from
her pocket, and lit the candle.  Was it not so?  I see by your face
that I am speaking the truth.  But to go on.  After you had
smothered him, and saw that he had ceased breathing, you and
Nicholas pulled him out through the window and laid him down near
the burdock.  Fearing that he might come round again, you struck
him with something sharp.  Then you carried him away, and laid him
down under a lilac bush for a short time.  After resting awhile and
considering, you carried him across the fence.  Then you entered
the road.  After that comes the dam.  Near the dam, a peasant
frightened you.  Well, what is the matter with you?"

"I am suffocating!" replied Psyekoff.  "Very well--have it so.
Only let me go out, please!"

They led Psyekoff away.

"At last!  He has confessed!" cried Chubikoff, stretching himself
luxuriously.  "He has betrayed himself!  And didn't I get round him
cleverly!  Regularly caught him flapping--"

"And he doesn't deny the woman in the black dress!" exulted
Dukovski.  "But all the same, that safety match is tormenting me
frightfully.  I can't stand it any longer.  Good-by!  I am off!"

Dukovski put on his cap and drove off.  Chubikoff began to examine
Aquilina.  Aquilina declared that she knew nothing whatever about

At six that evening Dukovski returned.  He was more agitated than
he had ever been before.  His hands trembled so that he could not
even unbutton his greatcoat.  His cheeks glowed.  It was clear that
he did not come empty-handed.

"Veni, vidi, vici!" he cried, rushing into Chubikoff's room, and
falling into an armchair.  "I swear to you on my honor, I begin to
believe that I am a genius!  Listen, devil take us all!  It is
funny, and it is sad.  We have caught three already--isn't that so?
Well, I have found the fourth, and a woman at that.  You will never
believe who it is!  But listen.  I went to Klausoff's village, and
began to make a spiral round it.  I visited all the little shops,
public houses, dram shops on the road, everywhere asking for safety
matches.  Everywhere they said they hadn't any.  I made a wide
round.  Twenty times I lost faith, and twenty times I got it back
again.  I knocked about the whole day, and only an hour ago I got
on the track.  Three versts from here.  They gave me a packet of
ten boxes.  One box was missing.  Immediately: 'Who bought the
other box?' 'Such-a-one!  She was pleased with them!'  Old man!
Nicholas Yermolaiyevitch!  See what a fellow who was expelled from
the seminary and who has read Gaboriau can do!  From to-day on I
begin to respect myself!  Oof!  Well, come!"

"Come where?"

"To her, to number four!  We must hurry, otherwise--otherwise I'll
burst with impatience!  Do you know who she is?  You'll never
guess!  Olga Petrovna, Marcus Ivanovitch's wife--his own wife--
that's who it is!  She is the person who bought the matchbox!"

"You--you--you are out of your mind!"

"It's quite simple!  To begin with, she smokes.  Secondly, she was
head and ears in love with Klausoff, even after he refused to live
in the same house with her, because she was always scolding his
head off.  Why, they say she used to beat him because she loved him
so much.  And then he positively refused to stay in the same house.
Love turned sour.  'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.'  But
come along!  Quick, or it will be dark.  Come!"

"I am not yet sufficiently crazy to go and disturb a respectable
honorable woman in the middle of the night for a crazy boy!"

"Respectable, honorable!  Do honorable women murder their husbands?
After that you are a rag, and not an examining magistrate!  I never
ventured to call you names before, but now you compel me to.  Rag!
Dressing-gown!--Dear Nicholas Yermolaiyevitch, do come, I beg of

The magistrate made a deprecating motion with his hand.

"I beg of you!  I ask, not for myself, but in the interests of
justice.  I beg you!  I implore you!  Do what I ask you to, just
this once!"

Dukovski went down on his knees.

"Nicholas Yermolaiyevitch!  Be kind!  Call me a blackguard, a
ne'er-do-weel, if I am mistaken about this woman.  You see what an
affair it is.  What a case it is.  A romance!  A woman murdering
her own husband for love!  The fame of it will go all over Russia.
They will make you investigator in all important cases.
Understand, O foolish old man!"

The magistrate frowned, and undecidedly stretched his hand toward
his cap.

"Oh, the devil take you!" he said.  "Let us go!"

It was dark when the magistrate's carriage rolled up to the porch
of the old country house in which Olga Petrovna had taken refuge
with her brother.

"What pigs we are," said Chubikoff, taking hold of the bell, "to
disturb a poor woman like this!"

"It's all right!  It's all right!  Don't get frightened!  We can
say that we have broken a spring."

Chubikoff and Dukovski were met at the threshold by a tall buxom
woman of three and twenty, with pitch-black brows and juicy red
lips.  It was Olga Petrovna herself, apparently not the least
distressed by the recent tragedy.

"Oh, what a pleasant surprise!" she said, smiling broadly.  "You
are just in time for supper.  Kuzma Petrovitch is not at home.  He
is visiting the priest, and has stayed late.  But we'll get on
without him!  Be seated.  You have come from the examination?"

"Yes.  We broke a spring, you know," began Chubikoff, entering the
sitting room and sinking into an armchair.

"Take her unawares--at once!" whispered Dukovski; "take her

"A spring--hum--yes--so we came in."

"Take her unawares, I tell you!  She will guess what the matter is
if you drag things out like that."

"Well, do it yourself as you want.  But let me get out of it,"
muttered Chubikoff, rising and going to the window.

"Yes, a spring," began Dukovski, going close to Olga Petrovna and
wrinkling his long nose.  "We did not drive over here--to take
supper with you or--to see Kuzma Petrovitch.  We came here to ask
you, respected madam, where Marcus Ivanovitch is, whom you

"What?  Marcus Ivanovitch murdered?" stammered Olga Petrovna, and
her broad face suddenly and instantaneously flushed bright scarlet.
"I don't--understand!"

"I ask you in the name of the law!  Where is Klausoff?  We know

"Who told you?" Olga Petrovna asked in a low voice, unable to
endure Dukovski's glance.

"Be so good as to show us where he is!"

"But how did you find out?  Who told you?"

"We know all!  I demand it in the name of the law!"

The examining magistrate, emboldened by her confusion, came forward
and said:

"Show us, and we will go away.  Otherwise, we--"

"What do you want with him?"

"Madam, what is the use of these questions?  We ask you to show us!
You tremble, you are agitated.  Yes, he has been murdered, and, if
you must have it, murdered by you!  Your accomplices have betrayed

Olga Petrovna grew pale.

"Come!" she said in a low voice, wringing her hands.  "I have him--
hid--in the bath house!  Only for heaven's sake, do not tell Kuzma
Petrovitch.  I beg and implore you!  He will never forgive me!"

Olga Petrovna took down a big key from the wall, and led her guests
through the kitchen and passage to the courtyard.  The courtyard
was in darkness.  Fine rain was falling.  Olga Petrovna walked in
advance of them.  Chubikoff and Dukovski strode behind her through
the long grass, as the odor of wild hemp and dishwater splashing
under their feet reached them.  The courtyard was wide.  Soon the
dishwater ceased, and they felt freshly broken earth under their
feet.  In the darkness appeared the shadowy outlines of trees, and
among the trees a little house with a crooked chimney.

"That is the bath house," said Olga Petrovna.  "But I implore you,
do not tell my brother!  If you do, I'll never hear the end of it!"

Going up to the bath house, Chubikoff and Dukovski saw a huge
padlock on the door.

"Get your candle and matches ready," whispered the examining
magistrate to his deputy.

Olga Petrovna unfastened the padlock, and let her guests into the
bath house.  Dukovski struck a match and lit up the anteroom.  In
the middle of the anteroom stood a table.  On the table, beside a
sturdy little samovar, stood a soup tureen with cold cabbage soup
and a plate with the remnants of some sauce.


They went into the next room, where the bath was.  There was a
table there also.  On the table was a dish with some ham, a bottle
of vodka, plates, knives, forks.

"But where is it--where is the murdered man?" asked the examining

"On the top tier," whispered Olga Petrovna, still pale and

Dukovski took the candle in his hand and climbed up to the top tier
of the sweating frame.  There he saw a long human body lying
motionless on a large feather bed.  A slight snore came from the

"You are making fun of us, devil take it!" cried Dukovski.  "That
is not the murdered man!  Some live fool is lying here.  Here,
whoever you are, the devil take you!"

The body drew in a quick breath and stirred.  Dukovski stuck his
elbow into it.  It raised a hand, stretched itself, and lifted its

"Who is sneaking in here?" asked a hoarse, heavy bass.  "What do
you want?"

Dukovski raised the candle to the face of the unknown, and cried
out.  In the red nose, disheveled, unkempt hair, the pitch-black
mustaches, one of which was jauntily twisted and pointed insolently
toward the ceiling, he recognized the gallant cavalryman Klausoff.

"You--Marcus--Ivanovitch?  Is it possible?"

The examining magistrate glanced sharply up at him, and stood

"Yes, it is I.  That's you, Dukovski?  What the devil do you want
here?  And who's that other mug down there?  Great snakes!  It is
the examining magistrate!  What fate has brought him here?"

Klausoff rushed down and threw his arms round Chubikoff in a
cordial embrace.  Olga Petrovna slipped through the door.

"How did you come here?  Let's have a drink, devil take it!  Tra-
ta-ti-to-tum--let us drink!  But who brought you here?  How did you
find out that I was here?  But it doesn't matter!  Let's have a

Klausoff lit the lamp and poured out three glasses of vodka.

"That is--I don't understand you," said the examining magistrate,
running his hands over him.  "Is this you or not you!"

"Oh, shut up!  You want to preach me a sermon?  Don't trouble
yourself!  Young Dukovski, empty your glass!  Friends, let us bring
this--What are you looking at?  Drink!"

"All the same, I do not understand!" said the examining magistrate,
mechanically drinking off the vodka.  "What are you here for?"

"Why shouldn't I be here, if I am all right here?"

Klausoff drained his glass and took a bite of ham.

"I am in captivity here, as you see.  In solitude, in a cavern,
like a ghost or a bogey.  Drink!  She carried me off and locked me
up, and--well, I am living here, in the deserted bath house, like a
hermit.  I am fed.  Next week I think I'll try to get out.  I'm
tired of it here!"

"Incomprehensible!" said Dukovski.

"What is incomprehensible about it?"

"Incomprehensible!  For Heaven's sake, how did your boot get into
the garden?"

"What boot?"

"We found one boot in the sleeping room and the other in the

"And what do you want to know that for?  It's none of your
business!  Why don't you drink, devil take you?  If you wakened me,
then drink with me!  It is an interesting tale, brother, that of
the boot!  I didn't want to go with Olga.  I don't like to be
bossed.  She came under the window and began to abuse me.  She
always was a termagant.  You know what women are like, all of them.
I was a bit drunk, so I took a boot and heaved it at her.  Ha-ha-
ha!  Teach her not to scold another time!  But it didn't!  Not a
bit of it!  She climbed in at the window, lit the lamp, and began
to hammer poor tipsy me.  She thrashed me, dragged me over here,
and locked me in.  She feeds me now--on love, vodka, and ham!  But
where are you off to, Chubikoff?  Where are you going?"

The examining magistrate swore, and left the bath house.  Dukovski
followed him, crestfallen.  They silently took their seats in the
carriage and drove off.  The road never seemed to them so long and
disagreeable as it did that time.  Both remained silent.  Chubikoff
trembled with rage all the way.  Dukovski hid his nose in the
collar of his overcoat, as if he was afraid that the darkness and
the drizzling rain might read the shame in his face.

When they reached home, the examining magistrate found Dr. Tyutyeff
awaiting him.  The doctor was sitting at the table, and, sighing
deeply, was turning over the pages of the Neva.

"Such goings-on there are in the world!" he said, meeting the
examining magistrate with a sad smile.  "Austria is at it again!
And Gladstone also to some extent--"

Chubikoff threw his cap under the table, and shook himself.

"Devils' skeletons!  Don't plague me!  A thousand times I have told
you not to bother me with your politics!  This is no question of
politics!  And you," said Chubikoff, turning to Dukovski and
shaking his fist, "I won't forget this in a thousand years!"

"But the safety match?  How could I know?"

"Choke yourself with your safety match!  Get out of my way!  Don't
make me mad, or the devil only knows what I'll do to you!  Don't
let me see a trace of you!"

Dukovski sighed, took his hat, and went out.

"I'll go and get drunk," he decided, going through the door, and
gloomily wending his way to the public house.

Vsevolod Vladimirovitch Krestovski

Knights of Industry



Princess Anna Chechevinski for the last time looked at the home of
her girlhood, over which the St. Petersburg twilight was
descending.  Defying the commands of her mother, the traditions of
her family, she had decided to elope with the man of her choice.
With a last word of farewell to her maid, she wrapped her cloak
round her and disappeared into the darkness.

The maid's fate had been a strange one.  In one of the districts
beyond the Volga lived a noble, a bachelor, luxuriously, caring
only for his own amusement.  He fished, hunted, and petted the
pretty little daughter of his housekeeper, one of his serfs, whom
he vaguely intended to set free.  He passed hours playing with the
pretty child, and even had an old French governess come to give her
lessons.  She taught little Natasha to dance, to play the piano, to
put on the airs and graces of a little lady.  So the years passed,
and the old nobleman obeyed the girl's every whim, and his serfs
bowed before her and kissed her hands.  Gracefully and willfully
she queened it over the whole household.

Then one fine day the old noble took thought and died.  He had
forgotten to liberate his housekeeper and her daughter, and, as he
was a bachelor, his estate went to his next of kin, the elder
Princess Chechevinski.  Between the brother and sister a cordial
hatred had existed, and they had not seen one another for years.

Coming to take possession of the estate, Princess Chechevinski
carried things with a high hand.  She ordered the housekeeper to
the cow house, and carried off the girl Natasha, as her daughter's
maid, to St. Petersburg, from the first hour letting her feel the
lash of her bitter tongue and despotic will.  Natasha had tried in
vain to dry her mother's tears.  With growing anger and sorrow she
watched the old house as they drove away, and looking at the old
princess she said to herself, "I hate her!  I hate her!  I will
never forgive her!"

Princess Anna, bidding her maid good-by, disappeared into the
night.  The next morning the old princess learned of the flight.
Already ill, she fell fainting to the floor, and for a long time
her condition was critical.  She regained consciousness, tried to
find words to express her anger, and again swooned away.  Day and
night, three women watched over her, her son's old nurse, her maid,
and Natasha, who took turns in waiting on her.  Things continued
thus for forty-eight hours.  Finally, on the night of the third day
she came to herself.  It was Natasha's watch.

"And you knew?  You knew she was going?" the old princess asked her

The girl started, unable at first to collect her thoughts, and
looked up frightened.  The dim flicker of the night light lit her
pale face and golden hair, and fell also on the grim, emaciated
face of the old princess, whose eyes glittered feverishly under her
thick brows.

"You knew my daughter was going to run away?" repeated the old
woman, fixing her keen eyes on Natasha's face, trying to raise
herself from among the lace-fringed pillows.

"I knew," the girl answered in a half whisper, lowering her eyes in
confusion, and trying to throw off her first impression of terror.

"Why did you not tell me before?" the old woman continued, even
more fiercely.

Natasha had now recovered her composure, and raising her eyes with
an expression of innocent distress, she answered:

"Princess Anna hid everything from me also, until the very last.
How dare I tell you?  Would you have believed me?  It was not my
business, your excellency!"

The old princess shook her head, smiling bitterly and

"Snake!" she hissed fiercely, looking at the girl; and then she
added quickly:

"Did any of the others know?"

"No one but myself!" answered Natasha.

"Never dare to speak of her again!  Never dare!" cried the old
princess, and once more she sank back unconscious on the pillows.

About noon the next day she again came to herself, and ordered her
son to be called.  He came in quietly, and affectionately
approached his mother.

The princess dismissed her maid, and remained alone with her son.

"You have no longer a sister!" she cried, turning to her son, with
the nervous spasm which returned each time she spoke of her
daughter.  "She is dead for us!  She has disgraced us!  I curse
her!  You, you alone are my heir!"

At these words the young prince pricked up his ears and bent even
more attentively toward his mother.  The news of his sole heirship
was so pleasant and unexpected that he did not even think of asking
how his sister had disgraced them, and only said with a deep sigh:

"Oh, mamma, she was always opposed to you.  She never loved you!"

"I shall make a will in your favor," continued the princess,
telling him as briefly as possible of Princess Anna's flight.
"Yes, in your favor--only on one condition: that you will never
recognize your sister.  That is my last wish!

"Your wish is sacred to me," murmured her son, tenderly kissing her
hand.  He had always been jealous and envious of his sister, and
was besides in immediate need of money.

The princess signed her will that same day, to the no small
satisfaction of her dear son, who, in his heart, was wondering how
soon his beloved parent would pass away, so that he might get his
eyes on her long-hoarded wealth.



Later on the same day, in a little narrow chamber of one of the
huge, dirty tenements on Vosnesenski Prospekt, sat a young man of
ruddy complexion.  He was sitting at a table, bending toward the
one dusty window, and attentively examining a white twenty-five
ruble note.

The room, dusty and dark, was wretched enough.  Two rickety chairs,
a torn haircloth sofa, with a greasy pillow, and the bare table at
the window, were its entire furniture.  Several scattered
lithographs, two or three engravings, two slabs of lithographer's
stone on the table, and engraver's tools sufficiently showed the
occupation of the young man.  He was florid, with red hair; of
Polish descent, and his name was Kasimir Bodlevski.  On the wall,
over the sofa, between the overcoat and the cloak hanging on the
wall, was a pencil drawing of a young girl.  It was the portrait of

The young man was so absorbed in his examination of the twenty-five
ruble note that when a gentle knock sounded on the door he started
nervously, as if coming back to himself, and even grew pale, and
hurriedly crushed the banknote into his pocket.

The knock was repeated--and this time Bodlevski's face lit up.  It
was evidently a well-known and expected knock, for he sprang up and
opened the door with a welcoming smile.

Natasha entered the room.

"What were you dreaming about that you didn't open the door for
me?" she asked caressingly, throwing aside her hat and cloak, and
taking a seat on the tumble-down sofa.  "What were you busy at?"

"You know, yourself."

And instead of explaining further, he drew the banknote from his
pocket and showed it to Natasha.

"This morning the master paid me, and I am keeping the money," he
continued in a low voice, tilting back his chair.  "I pay neither
for my rooms nor my shop, but sit here and study all the time."

"It's so well worth while, isn't it?" smiled Natasha with a
contemptuous grimace.

"You don't think it is worth while?" said the young man.  "Wait!
I'll learn.  We'll be rich!

"Yes, if we aren't sent to Siberia!" the girl laughed.  "What kind
of wealth is that?" she went on.  "The game is not worth the
candle.  I'll be rich before you are."

"All right, go ahead!"

"Go ahead?  I didn't come to talk nonsense, I came on business.
You help me, and, on my word of honor, we'll be in clover!"

Bodlevski looked at his companion in astonishment.

"I told you my Princess Anna was going to run away.  She's gone!
And her mother has cut her off from the inheritance," Natasha
continued with an exultant smile.  "I looked through the scrap
basket, and have brought some papers with me."

"What sort of papers?"

"Oh, letters and notes.  They are all in Princess Anna's
handwriting.  Shall I give them to you?" jested Natasha.  "Have a
good look at them, examine them, learn her handwriting, so that you
can imitate every letter.  That kind of thing is just in your line;
you are a first-class copyist, so this is just the job for you."

The engraver listened, and only shrugged his shoulders.

"No, joking aside," she continued seriously, drawing nearer
Bodlevski, "I have thought of something out of the common; you will
be grateful.  I have no time to explain it all now.  You will know
later on.  The main thing is--learn her handwriting."

"But what is it all for?" said Bodlevski wonderingly.

"So that you may be able to write a few words in the handwriting of
Princess Anna; what you have to write I'll dictate to you."

"And then?"

"Then hurry up and get me a passport in some one else's name, and
have your own ready.  But learn her handwriting.  Everything
depends on that!"

"It won't be easy.  I'll hardly be able to!" muttered Bodlevski,
scratching his head.

Natasha flared up.

"You say you love me?" she cried energetically, with a glance of
anger.  "Well, then, do it.  Unless you are telling lies, you can
learn to do banknotes."

The young man strode up and down his den, perplexed.

"How soon do you want it?" he asked, after a minute's thought.  "In
a couple of days?"

"Yes, in about two days, not longer, or the whole thing is done
for!" the girl replied decisively.  "In two days I'll come for the
writing, and be sure my passport is ready!"

"Very well.  I'll do it," consented Bodlevski.  And Natasha began
to dictate to him the wording of the letter.

As soon as she was gone the engraver got to work.  All the evening
and a great part of the night he bent over the papers she had
brought, examining the handwriting, studying the letters, and
practicing every stroke with the utmost care, copying and repeating
it a hundred times, until at last he had reached the required
clearness.  At last he mastered the writing.  It only remained to
give it the needed lightness and naturalness.  His head rang from
the concentration of blood in his temples, but he still worked on.

Finally, when it was almost morning, the note was written, and the
name of Princess Anna was signed to it.  The work was a
masterpiece, and even exceeded Bodlevski's expectations.  Its
lightness and clearness were remarkable.  The engraver, examining
the writing of Princess Anna, compared it with his own work, and
was astonished, so perfect was the resemblance.

And long he admired his handiwork, with the parental pride known to
every creator, and as he looked at this note he for the first time
fully realized that he was an artist.



"Half the work is done!" he cried, jumping from the tumble-down
sofa.  "But the passport?  There's where the shoe pinches,"
continued the engraver, remembering the second half of Natasha's
commission.  "The passport--yes--that's where the shoe pinches!" he
muttered to himself in perplexity, resting his head on his hands
and his elbows on his knees.  Thinking over all kinds of possible
and impossible plans, he suddenly remembered a fellow countryman of
his, a shoemaker named Yuzitch, who had once confessed in a moment
of intoxication that "he would rather hook a watch than patch a
shoe."  Bodlevski remembered that three months before he had met
Yuzitch in the street, and they had gone together to a wine shop,
where, over a bottle generously ordered by Yuzitch, Bodlevski had
lamented over the hardships of mankind in general, and his own in
particular.  He had not taken advantage of Yuzitch's offer to
introduce him to "the gang," only because he had already determined
to take up one of the higher branches of the "profession," namely,
to metamorphose white paper into, banknotes.  When they were
parting, Yuzitch had warmly wrung his hand, saying:

"Whenever you want anything, dear friend, or if you just want to
see me, come to the Cave; come to Razyeziy Street and ask for the
Cave, and at the Cave anyone will show you where to find Yuzitch.
If the barkeeper makes difficulties just whisper to him that
'Secret' sent you, and he'll show you at once."

As this memory suddenly flashed into his mind, Bodlevski caught up
his hat and coat and hurried downstairs into the street.  Making
his way through the narrow, dirty streets to the Five Points, he
stopped perplexed.  Happily he noticed a sleepy watchman leaning
leisurely against a wall, and going up to him he said:

"Tell me, where is the Cave?"

"The what?" asked the watchman impatiently.

"The Cave."

"The Cave?  There is no such place!" he replied, looking
suspiciously at Bodlevski.

Bodlevski put his hand in his pocket and pulled out some small
change: "If you tell me--"

The watchman brightened up.  "Why didn't you say so before?" he
asked, grinning.  "You see that house, the second from the corner?
The wooden one?  That's the Cave."

Bodlevski crossed the street in the direction indicated, and looked
for the sign over the door.  To his astonishment he did not find it
and only later he knew that the name was strictly "unofficial,"
only used by members of "the gang."

Opening the door cautiously, Bodlevski made his way into the low,
dirty barroom.  Behind the bar stood a tall, handsome man with an
open countenance and a bald head.  Politely bowing to Bodlevski,
with his eyes rather than his head, he invited him to enter the
inner room.  But Bodlevski explained that he wanted, not the inner
room, but his friend Yuzitch.

"Yuzitch?" said the barkeeper thoughtfully.  "We don't know anyone
of that name."

"Why, he's here all the time," cried Bodlevski, in astonishment.

"Don't know him," retorted the barkeeper imperturbably.

"'Secret' sent me!" Bodlevski suddenly exclaimed, without lowering
his voice.

The barkeeper looked at him sharply and suspiciously, and then
asked, with a smile:

"Who did you say?"

"'Secret,'" repeated Bodlevski.

After a while the barkeeper said, "And did your--friend make an

"Yes, an appointment!" Bodlevski replied, beginning to lose

"Well, take a seat in the inner room," again said the barkeeper
slyly.  "Perhaps your friend will come in, or perhaps he is there

Bodlevski made his way into a roomy saloon, with five windows with
faded red curtains.  The ceiling was black from the smoke of
hanging lamps; little square tables were dotted about the floor;
their covers were coarse and not above reproach on the score of
cleanliness.  The air was pungent with the odor of cheap tobacco
and cheaper cigars.  On the walls were faded oleographs of generals
and archbishops, flyblown and stained.

Bodlevski, little as he was used to refined surroundings, found his
gorge rising.  At some of the little tables furtive, impudent,
tattered, sleek men were drinking.

Presently Yuzitch made his appearance from a low door at the other
end of the room.  The meeting of the two friends was cordial,
especially on Bodlevski's side.  Presently they were seated at a
table, with a flask of wine between them, and Bodlevski began to
explain what he wanted to his friend.

As soon as he heard what was wanted, Yuzitch took on an air of
importance, knit his brows, hemmed, and hawed.

"I can manage it," he said finally.  "Yes, we can manage it.  I
must see one of my friends about it.  But it's difficult.  It will
cost money."

Bodlevski immediately assented.  Yuzitch at once rose and went over
to a red-nosed individual in undress uniform, who was poring over
the Police News.

"Friend Borisovitch," said Yuzitch, holding out his hand to him,
"something doing!"

"Fair or foul?" asked the man with the red nose.

"Hang your cheek!" laughed Yuzitch; "if I say it, of course it's
fair."  After a whispered conference, Yuzitch returned to Bodlevski
and told him that it was all right; that the passport for Natasha
would be ready by the next evening.  Bodlevski paid him something
in advance and went home triumphantly.

At eleven o'clock the next evening Bodlevski once more entered the
large room at the Cave, now all lit up and full of an animated
crowd of men and women, all with the same furtive, predatory faces.
Bodlevski felt nervous.  He had no fears while turning white paper
into banknotes in the seclusion of his own workshop, but he was
full of apprehensions concerning his present guest, because several
people had to be let into the secret.

Yuzitch presently appeared through the same low door and, coming up
to Bodlevski, explained that the passport would cost twenty rubles.
Bodlevski paid the money over in advance, and Yuzitch led him into
a back room.  On the table burned a tallow candle, which hardly lit
up the faces of seven people who were grouped round it, one of them
being the red-nosed man who was reading the Police News.  The seven
men were all from the districts of Vilna and Vitebsk, and were
specialists in the art of fabricating passports.

The red-nosed man approached Bodlevski: "We must get acquainted
with each other," he said amiably.  "I have the honor to present
myself!" and he bowed low; "Former District Secretary Pacomius
Borisovitch Prakkin.  Let me request you first of all to order some
vodka; my hand shakes, you know," he added apologetically.  "I
don't want it so much for myself as for my hand--to steady it."

Bodlevski gave him some change, which the red-nosed man put in his
pocket and at once went to the sideboard for a flask of vodka which
he had already bought.  "Let us give thanks!  And now to business!"
he said, smacking his lips after a glass of vodka.

A big, red-haired man, one of the group of seven, drew from his
pocket two vials.  In one was a sticky black fluid; in the other,
something as clear as water.

"We are chemists, you see," the red-nosed man explained to
Bodlevski with a grin, and then added:

"Finch! on guard!"

A young man, who had been lolling on a couch in the corner, rose
and took up a position outside the door.

"Now, brothers, close up!" cried the red-nosed man, and all stood
in close order, elbow to elbow, round the table.  "And now we take
a newspaper and have it handy on the table!  That is in case," he
explained to Bodlevski, "any outsider happened in on us--which
Heaven prevent!  We aren't up to anything at all; simply reading
the political news!  You catch on?"

"How could I help catching on?"

"Very well.  And now let us make everything as clear as in a
looking-glass.  What class do you wish to make the person belong
to?  The commercial or the nobility?"

"I think the nobility would be best," said Bodlevski.

"Certainly!  At least that will give the right of free passage
through all the towns and districts of the Russian Empire.  Let us
see.  Have we not something that will suit?"

And Pacomius Borisovitch, opening his portfolio, filled with all
kinds of passports, certificates, and papers of identification,
began to turn them over, but without taking any out of the
portfolio.  All with the same thought--that some stranger might
come in.

"Ha! here's a new one!  Where did it come from?" he cried.

"I got it out of a new arrival," muttered the red-headed man.

"Well done!  Just what we want!  And a noble's passport, too!  It
is evident that Heaven is helping us.  See what a blessing brings!

"'This passport is issued by the District of Yaroslav,'" he
continued reading, "'to the college assessor's widow, Maria
Solontseva, with permission to travel,'" and so on in due form.
"Did you get it here?" he added, turning to the red-headed man.

"Came from Moscow!"


"Knocked on the head!" briefly replied the red-headed man.

"Knocked on the head?" repeated Pacomius Borisovitch.  "Serious
business.  Comes under sections 332 and 727 of the Penal Code."

"Driveling again!" cried the red-headed man.  "I'll teach you to
talk about the Penal Code!" and rising deliberately, he dealt
Pacomius Borisovitch a well-directed blow on the head, which sent
him rolling into the corner.  Pacomius picked himself up, blinking
with indignation.

"What is the meaning of such conduct?" he asked loftily.

"It means," said the red-headed man, "that if you mention the Penal
Code again I'll knock your head off!"

"Brothers, brothers!" cried Yuzitch in a good-humored tone; "we are
losing precious time!  Forgive him!" he added, turning to Pacomius.
"You must forgive him!"

"I--forgive him," answered Pacomius, but the light in his eye
showed that he was deeply offended.

"Well," he went on, addressing Bodlevski, "will it suit you to have
the person pass as Maria Solontseva, widow of a college assessor?"



Bodlevski had not time to nod his head in assent, when suddenly the
outer door was pushed quickly open and a tall man, well built and
fair-haired, stepped swiftly into the room.  He wore a military
uniform and gold-rimmed eyeglasses.

The company turned their faces toward him in startled surprise, but
no one moved.  All continued to stand in close order round the

"Health to you, eaglets! honorable men of Vilna!  What are you up
to?  What are you busy at?" cried the newcomer, swiftly approaching
the table and taking the chair that Pacomius Borisovitch had just
been knocked out of.

"What is all this?" he continued, with one hand seizing the vial of
colorless liquid and with the other the photograph of the college
assessor's widow.  "So this is hydrochloric acid for erasing ink?
Very good!  And this is a photo!  So we are fabricating passports?
Very fine!  Business is business!  Hey!  Witnesses!"

And the fair-haired man whistled sharply.  From the outer door
appeared two faces, set on shoulders of formidable proportions.

The red-headed man silently went up to the newcomer and fiercely
seized him by the collar.  At the same moment the rest seized
chairs or logs or bars to defend themselves.

The fair-haired man meanwhile, not in the least changing his
expression of cool self-confidence, quickly slipped his hands into
his pockets and pulled out a pair of small double-barreled pistols.
In the profound silence in which this scene took place they could
distinctly hear the click of the hammers as he cocked them.  He
raised his right hand and pointed the muzzle at the breast of his

The red-headed man let go his collar, and glancing contemptuously
at him, with an expression of hate and wrath, silently stepped

"How much must we pay?" he asked sullenly.

"Oho! that's better.  You should have begun by asking that!"
answered the newcomer, settling himself comfortably on his chair
and toying with his pistols.  "How much do you earn?"

"We get little enough!  Just five rubles," answered the red-headed

"That's too little.  I need a great deal more.  But you are lying,
brother!  You would not stir for less than twenty rubles!"

"Thanks for the compliment!" interrupted Pacomius Borisovitch.

The fair-haired man nodded to him satirically.  "I need a lot
more," he repeated firmly and impressively; "and if you don't give
me at least twenty-five rubles I'll denounce you this very minute
to the police--and you see I have my witnesses ready."

"Sergei Antonitch!  Mr. Kovroff!  Have mercy on us!  Where can we
get so much from?  I tell you as in the presence of the Creator!
There are ten of us, as you see.  And there are three of you.  And
I, Yuzitch, and Gretcka deserve double shares!" added Pacomius
Borisovitch persuasively.

"Gretcka deserves nothing at all for catching me by the throat,"
decided Sergei Antonitch Kovroff.

"Mr. Kovroff!" began Pacomius again.  "You and I are gentlemen--"

"What!  What did you say?" Kovroff contemptuously interrupted him.
"You put yourself on my level?  Ha! ha! ha!  No, brother; I am
still in the Czar's service and wear my honor with my uniform!  I,
brother, have never stained myself with theft or crime, Heaven be
praised.  But what are you?"

"Hm!  And the Golden Band?  Who is its captain?" muttered Gretcka
angrily, half to himself.

"Who is its captain?  I am--I, Lieutenant Sergei Antonitch Kovroff,
of the Chernovarski Dragoons!  Do you hear?  I am captain of the
Golden Band," he said proudly and haughtily, scrutinizing the
company with his confident gaze.  "And you haven't yet got as far
as the Golden Band, because you are COWARDS!  Chuproff," he cried
to one of his men, "go and take the mask off Finch, or the poor boy
will suffocate, and untie his arms--and give him a good crack on
the head to teach him to keep watch better."

The "mask" that Kovroff employed on such occasions was nothing but
a piece of oilcloth cut the size of a person's face, and smeared on
one side with a thick paste.  Kovroff's "boys" employed this
"instrument" with wonderful dexterity; one of them generally stole
up behind the unconscious victim and skillfully slapped the mask in
his face; the victim at once became dumb and blind, and panted from
lack of breath; at the same time, if necessary, his hands were tied
behind him and he was leisurely robbed, or held, as the case might

The Golden Band was formed in the middle of the thirties, when the
first Nicholas had been about ten years on the throne.  Its first
founders were three Polish nobles.  It was never distinguished by
the number of its members, but everyone of them could honestly call
himself an accomplished knave, never stopping at anything that
stood in the way of a "job."  The present head of the band was
Lieutenant Kovroff, who was a thorough-paced rascal, in the full
sense of the word.  Daring, brave, self-confident, he also
possessed a handsome presence, good manners, and the worldly finish
known as education.  Before the members of the Golden Band, and
especially before Kovroff, the small rascals stood in fear and
trembling.  He had his secret agents everywhere, following every
move of the crooks quietly but pertinaciously.  At the moment when
some big job was being pulled off, Kovroff suddenly appeared
unexpectedly, with some of his "boys," and demanded a contribution,
threatening instantly to inform the police if he did not get
it--and the rogues, in order to "keep him quiet," had to give him
whatever share of their plunder he graciously deigned to indicate.
Acting with extraordinary skill and acumen in all his undertakings
he always managed so that not a shadow of suspicion could fall on
himself and so he got a double share of the plunder: robbing the
honest folk and the rogues at the same time.  Kovroff escaped the
contempt of the crooks because he did things on such a big scale
and embarked with his Golden Band on the most desperate and
dangerous enterprises that the rest of roguedom did not even dare
to consider.

The rogues, whatever their rank, have a great respect for daring,
skill, and force--and therefore they respected Kovroff, at the same
time fearing and detesting him.

"Who are you getting that passport for?" he asked, calmly taking
the paper from the table and slipping it into his pocket.  Gretcka
nodded toward Bodlevski.

"Aha! for you, is it?  Very glad to hear it!" said Kovroff,
measuring him with his eyes.  "And so, gentlemen, twenty-five
rubles, or good-by--to our happy meeting in the police court!"

"Mr. Kovroff!  Allow me to speak to you as a man of honor!"
Pacomius Borisovitch again interrupted.  "We are only getting
twenty rubles for the job.  The whole gang will pledge their words
of honor to that.  Do you think we would lie to you and stain the
honor of the gang for twenty measly rubles?"

"That is business.  That was well said.  I love a good speech, and
am always ready to respect it," remarked Sergei Antonitch

"Very well, then, see for yourself," went on the red-nosed
Pacomius, "see for yourself.  If we give you everything, we are
doing our work and not getting a kopeck!"

"Let him pay," answered Kovroff, turning his eyes toward Bodlevski.

Bodlevski took out his gold watch, his only inheritance from his
father, and laid it down on the table before Kovroff with the five
rubles that remained.

Kovroff again measured him with his eyes and smiled.

"You are a worthy young man!" he said.  "Give me your hand!  I see
that you will go far."

And he warmly pressed the engraver's hand.  "But you must know for
the future," he added in a friendly but impressive way, "that I
never take anything but money when I am dealing with these fellows.
Ho, you!" he went on, turning to the company, "some one go to
uncle's and get cash for this watch; tell him to pay
conscientiously at least two thirds of what it is worth; it is a
good watch.  It would cost sixty rubles to buy.  And have a bottle
of champagne got ready for me at the bar, quick!  And if you don't,
it will be the worse for you!" he called after the departing
Yuzitch, who came back a few minutes later, and gave Kovroff forty
rubles.  Kovroff counted them, and put twenty in his pocket,
returning the remainder in silence, but with a gentlemanly smile,
to Bodlevski.

"Fair exchange is no robbery," he said, giving Bodlevski the
passport of the college assessor's widow.  "Now that old rascal
Pacomius may get to work."

"What is there to do?" laughed Pacomius; "the passport will do very
well.  So let us have a little glass, and then a little game of

"We are going to know each other better; I like your face, so I
hope we shall make friends," said Kovroff, again shaking hands with
Bodlevski.  "Now let us go and have some wine.  You will tell me
over our glasses what you want the passport for, and on account of
your frankness about the watch, I am well disposed to you.
Lieutenant Sergei Kovroff gives you his word of honor on that.  I
also can be magnanimous," he concluded, and the new friends
accompanied by the whole gang went out to the large hall.

There began a scene of revelry that lasted till long after
midnight.  Bodlevski, feeling his side pocket to see if the
passport was still there, at last left the hall, bewildered, as
though under a spell.  He felt a kind of gloomy satisfaction; he
was possessed by this satisfaction, by the uncertainty of what
Natasha could have thought out, by the question how it would all
turn out, and by the conviction that his first crime had already
been committed.  All these feelings lay like lead on his heart,
while in his ears resounded the wild songs of the Cave.



It was nine o'clock in the evening.  Natasha lit the night lamp in
the bedroom of the old Princess Chechevinski, and went silently
into the dressing room to prepare the soothing powders which the
doctors had prescribed for her, before going to sleep.

The old princess was still very weak.  Although her periods of
unconsciousness had not returned, she was still subject to
paroxysms of hysteria.  At times she sank into forgetfulness, then
started nervously, sometimes trembling in every limb.  The thought
of the blow of her daughter's flight never left her for a moment.

Natasha had just taken the place of the day nurse.  It was her turn
to wait on the patient until midnight.  Silence always reigned in
the house of the princess, and now that she was ill the silence was
intensified tenfold.  Everyone walked on tiptoe, and spoke in
whispers, afraid even of coughing or of clinking a teaspoon on the
sideboard.  The doorbells were tied in towels, and the whole street
in front of the house was thickly strewn with straw.  At ten the
household was already dispersed, and preparing for sleep.  Only the
nurse sat silently at the head of the old lady's bed.

Pouring out half a glass of water.  Natasha sprinkled the powder in
it, and took from the medicine chest a phial with a yellowish
liquid.  It was chloral.  Looking carefully round, she slowly
brought the lip of the phial down to the edge of the glass and let
ten drops fall into it.  "That will be enough," she said to
herself, and smiled.  Her face, as always, was coldly quiet, and
not the slightest shade of any feeling was visible on it at that

Natasha propped the old lady up with her arm.  She drank the
medicine given to her and lay down again, and in a few minutes the
chloral began to have its effect.  With an occasional convulsive
movement of her lower lip, she sank into a deep and heavy sleep.
Natasha watched her face following the symptoms of unconsciousness,
and when she was convinced that sleep had finally taken complete
possession of her, and that for several hours the old woman was
deprived of the power to hear anything or to wake up, she slowly
moved her chair nearer the bedstead, and without taking her quietly
observant eyes from the old woman's face, softly slipped her hand
under the lower pillow.  Moving forward with the utmost care, not
more than an inch or so at a time, her hand stopped instantly, as
soon as there was the slightest nervous movement of the old woman's
face, on which Natasha's eyes were fixed immovably.  But the old
woman slept profoundly, and the hand again moved forward half an
inch or so under the pillow.  About half an hour passed, and the
girl's eyes were still fastened on the sleeping face, and her hand
was still slipping forward under the pillow, moving occasionally a
little to one side, and feeling about for something.  Natasha's
expression was in the highest degree quiet and concentrated, but
under this quietness was at the same time concealed something else,
which gave the impression that if--which Heaven forbid!--the old
woman should at that moment awake, the other free hand would
instantly seize her by the throat.

At last the finger-ends felt something hard.  "That is it!" thought
Natasha, and she held her breath.  In a moment, seizing its
treasure, her hand began quietly to withdraw.  Ten minutes more
passed, and Natasha finally drew out a little bag of various
colored silks, in which the old princess always kept her keys, and
from which she never parted, carrying it by day in her pocket, and
by night keeping it under her pillow.  One of the keys was an
ordinary one, that of her wardrobe.  The other was smaller and
finely made; it was the key of her strong box.

About an hour later, the same keys, in the same order, and with the
same precautions, found their way back to their accustomed place
under the old lady's pillow.

Natasha carefully wiped the glass with her handkerchief, in order
that not the least odor of chloral might remain in it, and with her
usual stillness sat out the remaining hours of her watch.



The old princess awoke at one o'clock the next day.  The doctor was
very pleased at her long and sound sleep, the like of which the old
lady had not enjoyed since her first collapse, and which, in his
view, was certain to presage a turn for the better.

The princess had long ago formed a habit of looking over her
financial documents, and verifying the accounts of income and
expenditure.  This deep-seated habit, which had become a second
nature, did not leave her, now she was ill; at any rate, every
morning, as soon as consciousness and tranquillity returned to her,
she took out the key of her wardrobe, ordered the strong box to be
brought to her, and, sending the day nurse out of the room, gave
herself up in solitude to her beloved occupation, which had by this
time become something like a childish amusement.  She drew out her
bank securities, signed and unsigned, now admiring the colored
engravings on them, now sorting and rearranging them, fingering the
packets to feel their thickness, counting them over, and several
thousands in banknotes, kept in the house in case of need, and
finally carefully replaced them in the strong box.  The girl,
recalled to the bedroom by the sound of the bell, restored the
strong box to its former place, and the old princess, after this
amusement, felt herself for some time quiet and happy.

The nurses had had the opportunity to get pretty well used to this
foible; so that the daily examination of the strong box seemed to
them a part of the order of things, something consecrated by

After taking her medicine, and having her hands and face wiped with
a towel moistened with toilet water, the princess ordered certain
prayers to be read out to her, or the chapter of the Gospel
appointed for the day, and then received her son.  From the time of
her illness--that is, from the day when she signed the will making
him her sole heir--he had laid it on himself as a not altogether
pleasant duty to put in an appearance for five minutes in his
mother's room, where he showed himself a dutiful son by never
mentioning his sister, but asking tenderly after his mother's
health, and finally, with a deep sigh, gently kissing her hand,
taking his departure forthwith, to sup with some actress or to meet
his companions in a wine shop.

When he soon went away, the old lady, as was her habit, ordered her
strong box to be brought, and sent the nurse out of the room.  It
was a very handsome box of ebony, with beautiful inlaid work.

The key clicked in the lock, the spring lid sprang up, and the eyes
of the old princess became set in their sockets, full of
bewilderment and terror.  Twenty-four thousand rubles in bills,
which she herself with her own hands had yesterday laid on the top
of the other securities, were no longer in the strong box.  All the
unsigned bank securities were also gone.  The securities in the
name of her daughter Anna had likewise disappeared.  There remained
only the signed securities in the name of the old princess and her
son, and a few shares of stock.  In the place of all that was gone,
there lay a note directed "to Princess Chechevinski."

The old lady's fingers trembled so that for a long time she could
not unfold this paper.  Her staring eyes wandered hither and
thither as if she had lost her senses.  At last she managed somehow
to unfold the note, and began to read:

"You cursed me, forced me to flee, and unjustly deprived me of my
inheritance.  I am taking my money by force.  You may inform the
police, but when you read this note, I myself and he who carried
out this act by my directions, will have left St. Petersburg

"Your daughter,


The old lady's hands did not fall at her sides, but shifted about
on her lap as if they did not belong to her.  Her wandering,
senseless eyes stopped their movements, and in them suddenly
appeared an expression of deep meaning.  The old princess made a
terrible, superhuman effort to recover her presence of mind and
regain command over herself.  A single faint groan broke from her
breast, and her teeth chattered.  She began to look about the room
for a light, but the lamp had been extinguished; the dull gray
daylight filtering through the Venetian blinds sufficiently lit the
room.  Then the old lady, with a strange, irregular movement,
crushed the note together in her hand, placed it in her mouth, and
with a convulsive movement of her jaws chewed it, trying to swallow
it as quickly as possible.

A minute passed, and the note had disappeared.  The old princess
closed the strong box and rang for the day nurse.  Giving her the
usual order in a quiet voice, she had still strength enough to
support herself on her elbow and watch the nurse closing the
wardrobe, and then to put the little bag with the keys back under
her pillow, in its accustomed place.  Then she again ordered the
nurse to go.

When, two hours later, the doctor, coming for the third time,
wished to see his patient and entered her bedroom, he found only
the old woman's lifeless body.  The blow had been too much--the
daughter of the ancient and ever honorable line of Chechevinski a
fugitive and a thief!

Natasha had had her revenge.



On the morning of that same day, at nine o'clock, a well-dressed
lady presented at the Bank of Commerce a number of unsigned bank
shares.  At the same time a young man, also elegantly dressed,
presented a series of signed shares, made out in the name of
"Princess Anna Chechevinski."  They were properly indorsed, the
signature corresponding to that in the bank books.

After a short interval the cashier of the bank paid over to the
well-dressed lady a hundred and fifty thousand rubles in bills, and
to the elegantly dressed young man seventy thousand rubles.  The
lady signed her receipt in French, Teresa Dore; the young man
signed his name, Ivan Afonasieff, son of a merchant of Kostroma.

A little later on the same day--namely, about two o'clock--a light
carriage carried two passengers along the Pargoloff road: a quietly
dressed young woman and a quietly dressed young man.  Toward
evening these same young people were traveling in a Finnish coach
by the stony mountain road in the direction of Abo.

Four days later the old Princesss Chechevinski was buried in the
Nevski monastery.

On his return from the monastery, young Prince Chechevinski went
straight for the strong box, which he had hitherto seen only at a
distance, and even then only rarely.  He expected to find a great
deal more money in it than he found--some hundred and fifty
thousand rubles; a hundred thousand in his late mother's name, and
fifty thousand in his own.  This was the personal property of the
old princess, a part of her dowry.  The young prince made a wry
face--the money might last him two or three years, not more.
During the lifetime of the old princess no one had known accurately
how much she possessed, so that it never even entered the young
prince's head to ask whether she had not had more.  He was so
unmethodical that he never even looked into her account book,
deciding that it was uninteresting and not worth while.

That same day the janitor of one of the huge, dirty tenements in
Vosnesenski Prospekt brought to the police office notice of the
fact that the Pole, Kasimir Bodlevski, had left the city; and the
housekeeper of the late Princess Chechevinski informed the police
that the serf girl Natalia Pavlovna (Natasha) had disappeared
without leaving a trace, which the housekeeper now announced, as
the three days' limit had elapsed.

At that same hour the little ship of a certain Finnish captain was
gliding down the Gulf of Bothnia.  The Finn stood at the helm and
his young son handled the sails.  On the deck sat a young man and a
young woman.  The young woman carried, in a little bag hung round
her neck, two hundred and forty-four thousand rubles in bills, and
she and her companion carried pistols in their pockets for use in
case of need.  Their passports declared that the young woman
belonged to the noble class, and was the widow of a college
assessor, her name being Maria Solontseva, while the young man was
a Pole, Kasimir Bodlevski.

The little ship was crossing the Gulf of Bothnia toward the coast
of Sweden.



In the year 1858, in the month of September, the "Report of the St.
Petersburg City Police" among the names of "Arrivals" included the

Baroness von Doring, Hanoverian subject.
Ian Vladislav Karozitch, Austrian subject.

The persons above described might have been recognized among the
fashionable crowds which thronged the St. Petersburg terminus of
the Warsaw railway a few days before: A lady who looked not more
than thirty, though she was really thirty-eight, dressed with
simple elegance, tall and slender, admirably developed, with
beautifully clear complexion, piercing, intelligent gray eyes,
under finely outlined brows, thick chestnut hair, and a firm mouth-
-almost a beauty, and with an expression of power, subtlety and
decision.  "She is either a queen or a criminal," a physiognomist
would have said after observing her face.  A gentleman with a red
beard, whom the lady addressed as "brother," not less elegantly
dressed, and with the same expression of subtlety and decision.
They left the station in a hired carriage, and drove to Demuth's

Before narrating the adventures of these distinguished persons, let
us go back twenty years, and ask what became of Natasha and
Bodlevski.  When last we saw them the ship that carried them away
from Russia was gliding across the Gulf of Bothnia toward the
Swedish coast.  Late in the evening it slipped into the port of
Stockholm, and the worthy Finn, winding in and out among the heavy
hulls in the harbor--he was well used to the job--landed his
passengers on the wharf at a lonely spot near a lonely inn, where
the customs officers rarely showed their noses.  Bodlevski, who had
beforehand got ready the very modest sum to pay for their passage,
with pitiable looks and gestures and the few Russian phrases the
good Finn could understand, assured him that he was a very poor
man, and could not even pay the sum agreed on in full.  The deficit
was inconsiderable, some two rubles in all, and the good Finn was
magnanimous; he slapped his passenger on the shoulder, called him a
"good comrade," declared that he would not press a poor man, and
would always be ready to do him a service.  He even found quarters
for Bodlevski and Natasha in the inn, under his protection.  The
Finn was indeed a very honest smuggler.  On the next morning,
bidding a final farewell to their nautical friend, our couple made
their way to the office of the British Consul, and asked for an
opportunity to speak with him.  At this point Natasha played the
principal role.

'My husband is a Pole," said the handsome girl, taking a seat
opposite the consul in his private office, "and I myself am Russian
on the father's side, but my mother was English.  My husband is
involved in a political enterprise; he was liable to transportation
to Siberia, but a chance made it possible for us to escape while
the police were on their way to arrest him.  We are now political
fugitives, and we intrust our lives to the protection of English
law.  Be generous, protect us, and send us to England!"

The ruse, skillfully planned and admirably presented, was
completely successful, and two or three days later the first
passenger ship under the English flag carried the happy couple to

Bodlevski destroyed his own passport and that of the college
assessor's widow, Maria Solontseva, which Natasha had needed as a
precaution while still on Russian soil.  When they got to England,
it would be much handier to take new names.  But with their new
position and these new names a great difficulty presented itself:
they could find no suitable outlet for their capital without
arousing very dangerous suspicions.  The many-sided art of the
London rogues is known to all the world; in their club, Bodlevski,
who had lost no time in making certain pleasant and indispensable
acquaintances there, soon succeeded in getting for himself and
Natasha admirably counterfeited new passports, once more with new
names and occupations.  With these, in a short time, they found
their way to the Continent.  They both felt the full force of youth
and a passionate desire to live and enjoy life; in their hot heads
hummed many a golden hope and plan; they wished, to begin with, to
invest their main capital somewhere, and then to travel over
Europe, and to choose a quiet corner somewhere where they could
settle down to a happy life.

Perhaps all this might have happened if it had not been for cards
and roulette and the perpetual desire of increasing their capital--
for the worthy couple fell into the hands of a talented company,
whose agents robbed them at Frascati's in Paris, and again in
Hamburg and various health resorts, so that hardly a year had
passed when Bodlevski one fine night woke up to the fact that they
no longer possessed a ruble.  But they had passed a brilliant year,
their arrival in the great cities had had its effect, and
especially since Natasha had become a person of title; in the
course of the year she succeeded in purchasing an Austrian barony
at a very reasonable figure--a barony which, of course, only
existed on paper.

When all his money was gone, there was nothing left for Bodlevski
but to enroll himself a member of the company which had so
successfully accomplished the transfer of his funds to their own
pockets.  Natasha's beauty and Bodlevski's brains were such strong
arguments that the company willingly accepted them as new recruits.
The two paid dear for their knowledge, it is true, but their
knowledge presently began to bear fruit in considerable abundance.
Day followed day, and year succeeded year, a long series of
horribly anxious nights, violent feelings, mental perturbations,
crafty and subtle schemes, a complete cycle of rascalities, an
entire science of covering up tracks, and the perpetual shadow of
justice, prison, and perhaps the scaffold.  Bodlevski, with his
obstinate, persistent, and concentrated character, reached the
highest skill in card-sharping and the allied wiles.  All games of
"chance" were for him games of skill.  At thirty he looked at least
ten years older.  The life he led, with its ceaseless effort,
endless mental work, perpetual anxiety, had made of him a fanatical
worshiper at the shrine of trickery.  He dried up visibly in body
and grew old in mind, mastering all the difficult arts of his
profession, and only gained confidence and serenity when he had
reached the highest possible skill in every branch of his "work."
From that moment he took a new lease of life; he grew younger, he
became gay and self-confident, his health even visibly improved,
and he assumed the air and manner of a perfect gentleman.

As for Natasha, her life and efforts in concert with Bodlevski by
no means had the same wearing effect on her as on him.  Her proud,
decided nature received all these impressions quite differently.
She continued to blossom out, to grow handsomer, to enjoy life, to
take hearts captive.  All the events which aroused so keen a mental
struggle in her companion she met with entire equanimity.  The
reason was this: When she made up her mind to anything, she always
decided at once and with unusual completeness; a very short time
given to keen and accurate consideration, a rapid weighing of the
gains and losses of the matter in hand, and then she went forward
coldly and unswervingly on her chosen path.  Her first aim in life
had been revenge, then a brilliant and luxurious life--and she knew
that they would cost dear.  Therefore, once embarked on her
undertaking, Natasha remained calm and indifferent, brilliantly
distinguished, and ensnaring the just and the unjust alike.  Her
intellect, education, skill, resource, and innate tact made it
possible for her everywhere to gain a footing in select
aristocratic society, and to play by no means the least role there.
Many beauties envied her, detested her, spoke evil of her, and yet
sought her friendship, because she almost always queened it in
society.  Her friendship and sympathy always seemed so cordial, so
sincere and tender, and her epigrams were so pointed and poisonous,
that every hostile criticism seemed to shrivel up in that
glittering fire, and there seemed to be nothing left but to seek
her friendship and good will.  For instance, if things went well in
Baden, one could confidently foretell that at the end of the summer
season Natasha would be found in Nice or Geneva, queen of the
winter season, the lioness of the day, and the arbiter of fashion.
She and Bodlevski always behaved with such propriety and watchful
care that not a shadow ever fell on Natasha's fame.  It is true
that Bodlevski had to change his name once or twice and to seek a
new field for his talents, and to make sudden excursions to distant
corners of Europe--sometimes in pursuit of a promising "job,"
sometimes to evade the too persistent attentions of the police.  So
far everything had turned out favorably, and his name "had remained
unstained," when suddenly a slight mishap befell.  The matter was a
trifling one, but the misfortune was that it happened in Paris.
There was a chance that it might find issue in the courts and the
hulks, so that there ensued a more than ordinarily rapid change of
passports and a new excursion--this time to Russia, back to their
native land again, after an absence of twenty years.  Thus it
happened that the papers announced the arrival in St. Petersburg of
Baroness von Doring and Ian Vladislav Karozitch.



A few days after there was a brilliant reunion at Princess
Shadursky's.  All the beauty and fashion of St. Petersburg were
invited, and few who were invited failed to come.  It happened that
Prince Shadursky was an admirer of the fair sex, and also that he
had had the pleasure of meeting the brilliant Baroness von Doring
at Hamburg, and again in Paris.  It was, therefore, to be expected
that Baroness von Doring should be found in the midst of an
admiring throng at Princess Shadursky's reception.  Her brother,
Ian Karozitch, was also there, suave, alert, dignified, losing no
opportunity to make friends with the distinguished company that
thronged he prince's rooms.

Late in the evening the baroness and her brother might have been
seen engaged in a tete-a-tete, seated in two comfortable armchairs,
and anyone who was near enough might have heard the following

"How goes it?" Karozitch asked in a low tone.

"As you see, I am making a bit," answered the baroness in the same
quiet tone.  But her manner was so detached and indifferent that no
one could have guessed her remark was of the least significance.
It should be noted that this was her first official presentation to
St. Petersburg society.  And in truth her beauty, united with her
lively intellect, her amiability, and her perfect taste in dress,
had produced a general and even remarkable effect.  People talked
about her and became interested in her, and her first evening won
her several admirers among those well placed in society.

"I have been paying attention to the solid capitalists," replied
Karozitch; "we have made our debut in the role of practical actors.
Well, what about him?" he continued, indicating Prince Shadursky
with his eyes.

"In the web," she replied, with a subtle smile.

"Then we can soon suck his brains?"

"Soon--but he must be tied tighter first.  But we must not talk
here."  A moment later Karozitch and the baroness were in the midst
of the brilliant groups of guests.

A few late corners were still arriving.  "Count Kallash!" announced
the footman, who stood at the chief entrance to the large hall.

At this new and almost unknown but high-sounding name, many eyes
were turned toward the door through which the newcomer must enter.
A hum of talk spread among the guests:

"Count Kallash--"

"Who is he--?"

"It is a Hungarian name--I think I heard of him somewhere."

"Is this his first appearance?"

"Who is this Kallash?  Oh, yes, one of the old Hungarian families--"

"How interesting--"

Such questions and answers crossed each other in a running fire
among the various groups of guests who filled the hall, when a
young man appeared in the doorway.

He lingered a moment to glance round the rooms and the company;
then, as if conscious of the remarks and glances directed toward
him, but completely "ignoring" them, and without the least shyness
or awkwardness, he walked quietly through the hall to the host and
hostess of the evening.

People of experience, accustomed to society and the ways of the
great world, can often decide from the first minute the role which
anyone is likely to play among them.  People of experience, at the
first view of this young man, at his first entrance, merely by the
way he entered the hall, decided that his role in society would be
brilliant--that more than one feminine heart would beat faster for
his presence, that more than one dandy's wrath would be kindled by
his successes.

"How handsome he is!" a whisper went round among the ladies.  The
men for the most part remained silent.  A few twisted the ends of
their mustache and made as though they had not noticed him.  This
was already enough to foreshadow a brilliant career.

And indeed Count Kallash could not have passed unnoticed, even
among a thousand young men of his class.  Tall and vigorous,
wonderfully well proportioned, he challenged comparison with
Antinous.  His pale face, tanned by the sun, had an expression
almost of weariness.  His high forehead, with clustering black hair
and sharply marked brows, bore the impress of passionate feeling
and turbulent thought strongly repressed.  It was difficult to
define the color of his deep-set, somewhat sunken eyes, which now
flashed with southern fire, and were now veiled, so that one seemed
to be looking into an abyss.  A slight mustache and pointed beard
partly concealed the ironical smile that played on his passionate
lips.  The natural grace of good manners and quiet but admirably
cut clothes completed the young man's exterior, behind which, in
spite of all his reticence, could be divined a haughty and
exceptional nature.  A more profound psychologist would have seen
in him an obstinately passionate, ungrateful nature, which takes
from others everything it desires, demanding it from them as a
right and without even a nod of acknowledgment.  Such was Count
Nicholas Kallash.

A few days after the reception at Prince Shadursky's Baroness von
Doring was installed in a handsome apartment on Mokhovoi Street, at
which her "brother," Ian Karozitch, or, to give him his former
name, Bodlevski, was a frequent visitor.  By a "lucky accident" he
had met on the day following the reception our old friend Sergei
Antonovitch Kovroff, the "captain of the Golden Band."  Their
recognition was mutual, and, after a more or less faithful recital
of the events of the intervening years, they had entered into an
offensive and defensive alliance.

When Baroness von Doring was comfortably settled in her new
quarters, Sergei Antonovitch brought a visitor to Bodlevski: none
other than the Hungarian nobleman, Count Nicholas Kallash.

"Gentlemen, you are strangers; let me introduce you to each other,"
said Kovroff, presenting Count Kallash to Bodlevski.

"Very glad to know you," answered the Hungarian count, to
Bodlevski's astonishment in Russian; "very glad, indeed!  I have
several times had the honor of hearing of you.  Was it not you who
had some trouble about forged notes in Paris?"

"Oh, no!  You are mistaken, dear count!" answered Bodlevski, with a
pleasant smile.  "The matter was not of the slightest importance.
The amount was a trifle and I was unwilling even to appear in

"You preferred a little journey to Russia, didn't you?" Kovroff
remarked with a smile.

"Little vexations of that kind may happen to anyone," said
Bodlevski, ignoring Kovroff's interruption.  "You yourself, dear
count, had some trouble about some bonds, if I am not mistaken?"

"You are mistaken," the count interrupted him sharply.  "I have had
various troubles, but I prefer not to talk about them."

"Gentlemen," interrupted Kovroff, "we did not come here to quarrel,
but to talk business.  Our good friend Count Kallash," he went on,
turning to Bodlevski, "wishes to have the pleasure of cooperating
in our common undertaking, and--I can recommend him very highly."

"Ah!" said Bodlevski, after a searching study of the count's face.
"I understand! the baroness will return in a few minutes and then
we can discuss matters at our leisure."

But in spite of this understanding it was evident that Bodlevski
and Count Kallash had not impressed each other very favorably.
This, however, did not prevent the concert of the powers from
working vigorously together.



On the wharf of the Fontauka, not far from Simeonovski Bridge, a
crowd was gathered.  In the midst of the crowd a dispute raged
between an old woman, tattered, disheveled, miserable, and an
impudent-looking youth.  The old woman was evidently stupid from
misery and destitution.

While the quarrel raged a new observer approached the crowd.  He
was walking leisurely, evidently without an aim and merely to pass
the time, so it is not to be wondered at that the loud dispute
arrested his attention.

"Who are you, anyway, you old hag?  What is your name?" cried the
impudent youth.

"My name?  My name?" muttered the old woman in confusion.  "I am a--
I am a princess," and she blinked at the crowd.

Everyone burst out laughing.  "Her Excellency, the Princess!  Make
way for the Princess!" cried the youth.

The old woman burst into sudden anger.

"Yes, I tell you, I am a princess by birth!" and her eyes flashed
as she tried to draw herself up and impose on the bantering crowd.

"Princess What?  Princess Which?  Princess How?" cried the impudent
youth, and all laughed loudly.

"No!  Not Princess How!" answered the old woman, losing the last
shred of self-restraint; but Princess Che-che-vin-ski!  Princess
Anna Chechevinski!"

When he heard this name Count Kallash started and his whole
expression changed.  He grew suddenly pale, and with a vigorous
effort pushed his way through the crowd to the miserable old
woman's side.

"Come!" he said, taking her by the arm.  "Come with me!  I have
something for you!"

"Something for me?" answered the old woman, looking up with stupid
inquiry and already forgetting the existence of the impudent youth.
"Yes, I'll come!  What have you got for me?"

Count Kallash led her by the arm out of the crowd, which began to
disperse, abashed by his appearance and air of determination.
Presently he hailed a carriage, and putting the old woman in,
ordered the coachman to drive to his rooms.

There he did his best to make the miserable old woman comfortable,
and his housekeeper presently saw that she was washed and fed, and
soon the old woman was sleeping in the housekeeper's room.

To explain this extraordinary event we must go back twenty years.

In 1838 Princess Anna Chechevinski, then in her twenty-sixth year,
had defied her parents, thrown to the winds the traditions of her
princely race, and fled with the man of her choice, followed by her
mother's curses and the ironical congratulations of her brother,
who thus became sole heir.

After a year or two she was left alone by the death of her
companion, and step by step she learned all the lessons of sorrow.
From one stage of misfortune to another she gradually fell into the
deepest misery, and had become a poor old beggar in the streets
when Count Kallash came so unexpectedly to her rescue.

It will be remembered that, as a result of Natasha's act of
vengeance, the elder Princess Chechevinski left behind her only a
fraction of the money her son expected to inherit.  And this
fraction he by no means hoarded, but with cynical disregard of the
future he poured money out like water, gambling, drinking, plunging
into every form of dissipation.  Within a few months his entire
inheritance was squandered.

Several years earlier Prince Chechevinski had taken a deep interest
in conjuring and had devoted time and care to the study of various
forms of parlor magic.  He had even paid considerable sums to
traveling conjurers in exchange for their secrets.  Naturally
gifted, he had mastered some of the most difficult tricks, and his
skill in card conjuring would not have done discredit even to a
professional magician.

The evening when his capital had almost melted away and the shadow
of ruin lay heavy upon him, he happened to be present at a
reception where card play was going on and considerable sums were

A vacancy at one of the tables could not be filled, and, in spite
of his weak protest of unwillingness, Prince Chechevinski was
pressed into service.  He won for the first few rounds, and then
began to lose, till the amount of his losses far exceeded the
slender remainder of his capital.  A chance occurred where, by the
simple expedient of neutralizing the cut, mere child's play for one
so skilled in conjuring, he was able to turn the scale in his
favor, winning back in a single game all that he had already lost.
He had hesitated for a moment, feeling the abyss yawning beneath
him; then he had falsed, made the pass, and won the game.  That
night he swore to himself that he would never cheat again, never
again be tempted to dishonor his birth; and he kept his oath till
his next run of bad luck, when he once more neutralized the cut and
turned the "luck" in his direction.

The result was almost a certainty from the outset, Prince
Chechevinski became a habitual card sharper.

For a long time fortune favored him.  His mother's reputation for
wealth, the knowledge that he was her sole heir, the high position
of the family, shielded him from suspicion.  Then came the
thunderclap.  He was caught in the act of "dealing a second" in the
English Club, and driven from the club as a blackleg.  Other
reverses followed: a public refusal on the part of an officer to
play cards with him, followed by a like refusal to give him
satisfaction in a duel; a second occasion in which he was caught
redhanded; a criminal trial; six years in Siberia.  After two years
he escaped by way of the Chinese frontier, and months after
returned to Europe.  For two years he practiced his skill at
Constantinople.  Then he made his way to Buda-Pesth, then to
Vienna.  While in the dual monarchy, he had come across a poverty-
stricken Magyar noble, named Kallash, whom he had sheltered in a
fit of generous pity, and who had died in his room at the Golden
Eagle Inn.  Prince Chechevinski, who had already borne many
aliases, showed his grief at the old Magyar's death by adopting his
name and title; hence it was that he presented himself in St.
Petersburg in the season of 1858 under the high-sounding title of
Count Kallash.

An extraordinary coincidence, already described, had brought him
face to face with his sister Anna, whom he had never even heard of
in all the years since her flight.  He found her now, poverty-
stricken, prematurely old, almost demented, and, though he had
hated her cordially in days gone by, his pity was aroused by her
wretchedness, and he took her to his home, clothed and fed her, and
surrounded her with such comforts as his bachelor apartment

In the days that followed, every doubt he might have had as to her
identity was dispelled.  She talked freely of their early
childhood, of their father's death, of their mother; she even spoke
of her brother's coldness and hostility in terms which drove away
the last shadow of doubt whether she was really his sister.  But at
first he made no corresponding revelations, remaining for her only
Count Kallash.



Little by little, however, as the poor old woman recovered
something of health and strength, his heart went out toward her.
Telling her only certain incidents of his life, he gradually
brought the narrative back to the period, twenty years before,
immediately after their mother's death, and at last revealed
himself to his sister, after making her promise secrecy as to his
true name.  Thus matters went on for nearly two years.

The broken-down old woman lived in his rooms in something like
comfort, and took pleasure in dusting and arranging his things.
One day, when she was tidying the sitting room, her brother was
startled by a sudden exclamation, almost a cry, which broke from
his sister's lips.

"Oh, heaven, it is she!" she cried, her eyes fixed on a page of the
photograph album she had been dusting.  "Brother, come here; for
heaven's sake, who is this?"

"Baroness von Doring," curtly answered Kallash, glancing quickly at
the photograph.  "What do you find interesting in her?"

"It is either she or her double!  Do you know who she looks like?"

"Lord only knows!  Herself, perhaps!"

"No, she has a double!  I am sure of it!  Do you remember, at
mother's, my maid Natasha?"

"Natasha?" the count considered, knitting his brows in the effort
to recollect.

"Yes, Natasha, my maid.  A tall, fair girl.  A thick tress of
chestnut hair.  She had such beautiful hair!  And her lips had just
the same proud expression.  Her eyes were piercing and intelligent,
her brows were clearly marked and joined together--in a word, the
very original of this photograph!"

"Ah," slowly and quietly commented the count, pressing his hand to
his brow.  "Exactly.  Now I remember!  Yes, it is a striking

"But look closely," cried the old woman excitedly; "it is the
living image of Natasha!  Of course she is more matured, completely
developed.  How old is the baroness?"

"She must be approaching forty.  But she doesn't look her age; you
would imagine her to be about thirty-two from her appearance.

"There!  And Natasha would be just forty by now!"

"The ages correspond," answered her brother.

"Yes."  Princess Anna sighed sadly.  "Twenty-two years have passed
since then.  But if I met her face to face I think I would
recognize her at once.  Tell me, who is she?"

"The baroness?  How shall I tell you?  She has been abroad for
twenty years, and for the last two years she has lived here.  In
society she says she is a foreigner, but with me she is franker,
and I know that she speaks Russian perfectly.  She declares that
her husband is somewhere in Germany, and that she lives here with
her brother."

"Who is the 'brother'?" asked the old princess curiously.

"The deuce knows!  He is also a bit shady.  Oh, yes!  Sergei
Kovroff knows him; he told me something about their history; he
came here with a forged passport, under the name of Vladislav
Karozitch, but his real name is Kasimir Bodlevski."

"Kasimir Bodlevski," muttered the old woman, knitting her brows.
"Was he not once a lithographer or an engraver, or something of the

"I think he was.  I think Kovroff said something about it.  He is a
fine engraver still."

"He was?  Well, there you are!" and Princess Anna rose quickly from
her seat.  "It is she--it is Natasha!  She used to tell me she had
a sweetheart, a Polish hero, Bodlevski.  And I think his name was
Kasimir.  She often got my permission to slip out to visit him; she
said he worked for a lithographer, and always begged me to persuade
mother to liberate her from serfdom, so that she could marry him."

This unexpected discovery meant much to Kallash.  Circumstances,
hitherto slight and isolated, suddenly gained a new meaning, and
were lit up in a way that made him almost certain of the truth.  He
now remembered that Kovroff had once told him of his first
acquaintance with Bodlevski, when he came on the Pole at the Cave,
arranging for a false passport; he remembered that Natasha had
disappeared immediately before the death of the elder Princess
Chechevinski, and he also remembered how, returning from the
cemetery, he had been cruelly disappointed in his expectations when
he had found in the strong box a sum very much smaller than he had
always counted on, and with some foundation; and before him, with
almost complete certainty, appeared the conclusion that the maid's
disappearance was connected with the theft of his mother's money,
and especially of the securities in his sister's name, and that all
this was nothing but the doing of Natasha and her companion

"Very good!  Perhaps this information will come in handy!" he said
to himself, thinking over his future measures and plans.  "Let us
see--let us feel our way--perhaps it is really so!  But I must go
carefully and keep on my guard, and the whole thing is in my hands,
dear baroness!  We will spin a thread from you before all is over."



Every Wednesday Baroness von Doring received her intimate friends.
She did not care for rivals, and therefore ladies were not invited
to these evenings.  The intimate circle of the baroness consisted
of our Knights of Industry and the "pigeons" of the bureaucracy,
the world of finance, the aristocracy, which were the objects of
the knights' desires.  It often happened, however, that the number
of guests at these intimate evenings went as high as fifty, and
sometimes even more.

The baroness was passionately fond of games of chance, and always
sat down to the card table with enthusiasm.  But as this was done
conspicuously, in sight of all her guests, the latter could not
fail to note that fortune obstinately turned away from the
baroness.  She almost never won on the green cloth; sometimes
Kovroff won, sometimes Kallash, sometimes Karozitch, but with the
slight difference that the last won more seldom and less than the
other two.

Thus every Wednesday a considerable sum found its way from the
pocketbook of the baroness into that of one of her colleagues, to
find its way back again the next morning.  The purpose of this
clever scheme was that the "pigeons" who visited the luxurious
salons of the baroness, and whose money paid the expenses of these
salons, should not have the smallest grounds for suspicion that the
dear baroness's apartment was nothing but a den of sharpers.  Her
guests all considered her charming, to begin with, and also rich
and independent and passionate by nature.  This explained her love
of play and the excitement it brought, and which she would not give
up, in spite of her repeated heavy losses.

Her colleagues, the Knights of Industry, acted on a carefully
devised and rigidly followed plan.  They were far from putting
their uncanny skill in motion every Wednesday.  So long as they had
no big game in sight, the game remained clean and honest.  In this
way the band might lose two or three thousand rubles, but such a
loss had no great importance, and was soon made up when some fat
"pigeon" appeared.

It sometimes happened that this wily scheme of honest play went on
for five or six weeks in succession, so that the small fry, winning
the band's money, remained entirely convinced that it was playing
in an honorable and respectable private house, and very naturally
spread abroad the fame of it throughout the whole city.  But when
the fat pigeon at last appeared, the band put forth all its forces,
all the wiles of the black art, and in a few hours made up for the
generous losses of a month of honorable and irreproachable play on
the green cloth.

Midnight was approaching.

The baroness's rooms were brilliantly lit up, but, thanks to the
thick curtains which covered the windows, the lights could not be
seen from the street, though several carriages were drawn up along
the sidewalk.

Opening into the elegant drawing-room was a not less elegant card
room, appreciatively nicknamed the Inferno by the band.  In it
stood a large table with a green cloth, on which lay a heap of bank
notes and two little piles of gold, before which sat Sergei
Antonovitch Kovroff, presiding over the bank with the composure of
a true gentleman.

What Homeric, Jovine calm rested on every feature of his face!
What charming, fearless self-assurance, what noble self-confidence
in his smile, in his glance!  What grace, what distinction in his
pose, and especially in the hand which dealt the cards!  Sergei
Kovroff's hands were decidedly worthy of attention.  They were
almost always clad in new gloves, which he only took off on special
occasions, at dinner, or when he had some writing to do, or when he
sat down to a game of cards.  As a result, his hands were almost
feminine in their delicacy, the sensibility of the finger tips had
reached an extraordinary degree of development, equal to that of
one born blind.  And those fingers were skillful, adroit, alert,
their every movement carried out with that smooth, indefinable
grace which is almost always possessed by the really high-class
card sharper.  His fingers were adorned with numerous rings, in
which sparkled diamonds and other precious stones.  And it was not
for nothing that Sergei Kovroff took pride in them!  This glitter
of diamonds, scattering rainbow rays, dazzled the eyes of his
fellow players.  When Sergei Kovroff sat down to preside over the
bank, the sparkling of the diamonds admirably masked those motions
of his fingers which needed to be masked; they almost insensibly
drew away the eyes of the players from his fingers, and this was
most of all what Sergei Kovroff desired.

Round the table about thirty guests were gathered.  Some of them
sat, but most of them played standing, with anxious faces,
feverishly sparkling eyes, and breathing heavily and unevenly.
Some were pale, some flushed, and all watched with passionate
eagerness the fall of the cards.  There were also some who had
perfect command of themselves, distinguished by extraordinary
coolness, and jesting lightly whether they lost or won.  But such
happily constituted natures are always a minority when high play is
going on.

Silence reigned in the Inferno.  There was almost no conversation;
only once in a while was heard a remark, in a whisper or an
undertone, addressed by a player to his neighbor; the only sound
was that short, dry rustle of the cards and the crackling of new
bank notes, or the tinkle of gold coins making their way round the
table from the bank to the players, and from the players back to
the bank.

The two Princes Shadursky, father and son, both lost heavily.  They
sat opposite Sergei Kovroff, and between them sat Baroness von
Doring, who played in alliance with them.  The clever Natasha egged
them on, kindling their excitement with all the skill and
calculation possible to one whose blood was as cold as the blood of
a fish, and both the Shadurskys had lost their heads, no longer
knowing how much they were losing.



Count Kallash and his sister had just breakfasted when the count's
French footman entered the study.

"Madame la baronne von Doring!" he announced obsequiously.

Brother and sister exchanged a rapid glance.

"Now is our opportunity to make sure," said Kallash, with a smile.

"If it is she, I shall recognize her by her voice," whispered
Princess Anna.  "Shall I remain here or go?"

"Remain in the meantime; it will be a curious experience.  Faites
entrer!" he added to the footman.

A moment later light, rapid footsteps were heard in the entrance
hall, and the rustling of a silk skirt.

"How do you do, count!  I have come to see you for a moment.  I
came in all haste, on purpose.  I have come IN PERSON, you must be
duly appreciative!  Vladislav is too busy, and the matter is an
important one.  I wanted to see you at the earliest opportunity.
Well, we may all congratulate ourselves.  Fate and fortune are
decidedly on our side!" said the baroness, speaking rapidly, as she
entered the count's study.

"What has happened?  What is the news?" asked the count, going
forward to meet her.

"We have learned that the Shadurskys have just received a large sum
of money; they have sold an estate, and the purchaser has paid them
in cash.  Our opportunity has come.  Heaven forbid that we should
lose it!  We must devise a plan to make the most of it."

The baroness suddenly stopped short in the middle of the sentence,
and became greatly confused, noticing that there was a third person

"Forgive me!  I did not give you warning," said the count,
shrugging his shoulders and smiling; "permit me!  PRINCESS ANNA
CHECHEVINSKI!" he continued with emphasis, indicating his poor,
decrepit sister.  "Of course you would not have recognized her,

"But I recognized Natasha immediately," said the old woman quietly,
her eyes still fixed on Natasha's face.

The baroness suddenly turned as white as a sheet, and with
trembling hands caught the back of a heavy armchair.

Kallash with extreme politeness assisted her to a seat.

"You didn't expect to meet me, Natasha?" said the old woman gently
and almost caressingly, approaching her.

"I do not know you.  Who are you?" the baroness managed to whisper,
by a supreme effort.

"No wonder; I am so changed," replied Princess Anna.  "But YOU are
just the same.  There is hardly any change at all."

Natasha began to recover her composure.

"I don't understand you," she said coldly, contracting her brows.

"But I understand YOU perfectly."

"Allow me, princess," Kallash interrupted her, "permit me to have
an explanation with the baroness; she and I know each other well.
And if you will pardon me, I shall ask you in the meantime to

And he courteously conducted his sister to the massive oak doors,
which closed solidly after her.

"What does this mean?" said the baroness, rising angrily, her gray
eyes flashing at the count from under her broad brows.

"A coincidence," answered Kallash, shrugging his shoulders with an
ironical smile.

"How a coincidence?  Speak clearly!"

"The former mistress has recognized her former maid--that is all."

"How does this woman come to be here?  Who is she?"

"I have told you already; Princess Anna Chechevinski.  And as to
how she came here, that was also a coincidence, and a strange one."

"Impossible!" exclaimed the baroness.

"Why impossible?  They say the dead sometimes return from the tomb,
and the princess is still alive.  And why should the matter not
have happened thus, for instance?  Princess Anna Chechevinski's
maid Natasha took advantage of the confidence and illness of the
elder princess to steal from her strong box, with the aid of her
sweetheart, Kasimir Bodlevski, money and securities--mark this,
baroness--securities in the name of Princess Anna.  And might it
not happen that this same lithographer Bodlevski should get false
passports at the Cave, for himself and his sweetheart, and flee
with her across the frontier, and might not this same maid, twenty
years later, return to Russia under the name of Baroness von
Doring?  You must admit that there is nothing fantastic in all
this!  What is the use of concealing?  You see I know everything!"

"And what follows from all this?" replied the baroness with a
forced smile of contempt.

"Much MAY follow from it," significantly but quietly replied
Kallash.  "But at present the only important matter is, that I know
all.  I repeat it--ALL."

"Where are your facts?" asked the baroness.

"Facts?  Hm!" laughed Kallash.  "If facts are needed, they will be
forthcoming.  Believe me, dear baroness, that if I had not legally
sufficient facts in my hands, I would not have spoken to you of

Kallash lied, but lied with the most complete appearance of

The baroness again grew confused and turned white.

"Where are your facts?  Put them in my hands!" she said at last,
after a prolonged silence.

"Oh, this is too much!  Get hold of them yourself!" the count
replied, with the same smile.  "The facts are generally set forth
to the prisoner by the court; but it is enough for you in the
meantime to know that the facts exist, and that they are in my
possession.  Believe, if you wish.  If you do not wish, do not
believe.  I will neither persuade you nor dissuade you."

"And this means that I am in your power?" she said slowly, raising
her piercing glance to his face.

"Yes; it means that you are in my power," quietly and confidently
answered Count Kallash.

"But you forget that you and I are in the same boat."

"You mean that I am a sharper, like you and Bodlevski?  Well, you
are right.  We are all berries of the same bunch--except HER" (and
he indicated the folding doors).  "She, thanks to many things, has
tasted misery, but she is honest.  But we are all rascals, and I
first of all.  You are perfectly right in that.  If you wish to get
me in your power--try to find some facts against me.  Then we shall
be quits!"

"And what is it you wish?"

"It is too late for justice, at least so far as she is concerned,"
replied the count, with a touch of sadness; "but it is not too late
for a measure of reparation.  But we can discuss that later," he
went on more lightly, as if throwing aside the heavy impression
produced by the thought of Princess Anna's misery.  "And now, dear
baroness, let us return to business, the business of Prince
Shadursky!  I will think the matter over, and see whether anything
suggests itself."

He courteously conducted the baroness to the carriage, and they
parted, to all appearance, friends.  But there were dangerous
elements for both in that seeming friendship.



A wonderful scheme was hatched in Count Kallash's fertile brain.
Inspired by the thought of Prince Shadursky's newly replenished
millions, he devised a plan for the gang which promised brilliant
results, and only needed the aid of a discreet and skillful
confederate.  And what confederate could be more trustworthy than
Sergei Antonovitch Kovroff?  So the two friends were presently to
be found in secret consultation in the count's handsome study, with
a bottle of good Rhine wine before them, fine cigars between their
lips, and the memory of a well-served breakfast lingering
pleasantly in their minds.  They were talking about the new
resources of the Shadurskys.

"To take their money at cards--what a wretched business--and so
infernally commonplace," said Count Kallash.  "To tell you the
truth, I have for a long time been sick of cards!  And, besides,
time is money!  Why should we waste several weeks, or even months,
over something that could be done in a few days?"

Kovroff agreed completely, but at the same time put the question,
if not cards, what plan was available?

"That is it exactly!" cried Kallash, warming up.  "I have thought
it all over.  The problem is this: we must think up something that
would surprise Satan himself, something that would make all Hades
smile and blow us hot kisses.  But what of Hades?--that's all
nonsense.  We must do something that will make the whole Golden
Band throw up their caps.  That is what we have to do!"

"Quite a problem," lazily answered Kovroff, chewing the end of his
cigar.  "But you are asking too much."

"But that is not all," the count interrupted him; "listen!  This is
what my problem demands.  We must think of some project that unites
two precious qualities: first, a rapid and huge profit; second,
entire absence of risk."

"Conditions not altogether easy to fulfill," remarked Kovroff

"So it seems.  And daring plans are not to be picked up in the
street, but are the result of inspiration.  It is what is called a
'heavenly gift,' my dear friend."

"And you have had an inspiration?" smiled Sergei Antonovitch, with
a slightly ironical shade of friendly skepticism.

"I have had an inspiration," replied the supposititious Hungarian
nobleman, falling into the other's tone.

"And your muse is--?"

"The tenth of the muses," the count interrupted him: "another name
is Industry."

"She is the muse of all of us."

"And mine in particular.  But we are not concerned with her, but
with her prophetic revelations."

"Oh, dear count!  Circumlocutions apart!  This Rhine wine evidently
carries you to misty Germany.  Tell me simply what the matter is."

"The matter is simply this: we must institute a society of 'gold
miners,' and we must find gold in places where the geological
indications are dead against it.  That is the problem.  The Russian
laws, under threat of arrest and punishment, sternly forbid the
citizens of the Russian Empire, and likewise the citizens of other
lands within the empire, to buy or sell the noble metals in their
crude form, that is, in nuggets, ore, or dust.  For example, if you
bought gold in the rough from me--gold dust, for example--we should
both, according to law, have to take a pleasant little trip beyond
the Ural Mountains to Siberia, and there we should have to engage
in mining the precious metal ourselves.  A worthy occupation, no
doubt, but not a very profitable one for us."

"Our luxuries would be strictly limited," jested Kovroff, with a
wry smile.

"There it is!  You won't find many volunteers for that occupation,
and that is the fulcrum of my whole plan.  You must understand that
gold dust in the mass is practically indistinguishable in
appearance from brass filings.  Let us suppose that we secretly
sell some perfectly pure brass filings for gold dust, and that they
are readily bought of us, because we sell considerably below the
market rate.  It goes without saying that the purchaser will
presently discover that we have done him brown.  But, I ask you,
will he go and accuse us knowing that, as the penalty for his
purchase, he will have to accompany us along the Siberian road?"

"No man is his own enemy," sententiously replied Kovroff, beginning
to take a vivid interest in what his companion was saying.  "But
how are you going to work it?"

"You will know at the proper time.  The chief thing is, that our
problem is solved in the most decisive manner.  You and I are
pretty fair judges of human nature, so we may be pretty sure that
we shall always find purchasers, and I suggest that we make a
beginning on young Prince Shadursky.  How we shall get him into it
is my business.  I'll tell you later on.  But how do you like the
general idea of my plan?"

"It's clever enough!" cried Kovroff, pressing his hand with the gay
enthusiasm of genuine interest.

"For this truth much thanks!" cried Kallash, clinking glasses with
him.  "It is clever--that is the best praise I could receive from
you.  Let us drink to the success of my scheme!"



Three days after this conversation the younger prince Shadursky
dined with Sergei Antonovitch Kovroff.

That morning he received a note from Kovroff, in which the worthy
Sergei complained of ill health and begged the prince to come and
dine with him and cheer him up.

The prince complied with his request, and appearing at the
appointed time found Count Kallash alone with his host.

Among other gossip, the prince announced that he expected shortly
to go to Switzerland, as he had bad reports of the health of his
mother, who was in Geneva.

At this news Kallash glanced significantly toward Kovroff.

Passing from topic to topic, the conversation finally turned to the
financial position of Russia.  Sergei Antonovitch, according to his
expression, "went to the root of the matter," and indicated the
"source of the evil," very frankly attacking the policy of the
government, which did everything to discourage gold mining, hedging
round this most important industry with all kinds of difficulties,
and practically prohibiting the free production of the precious
metals by laying on it a dead weight of costly formalities.

"I have facts ready to hand," he went on, summing up his argument.
"I have an acquaintance here, an employee of one of the best-known
men in the gold-mining industry."  Here Kovroff mentioned a well-
known name.  "He is now in St. Petersburg.  Well, a few days ago he
suddenly came to me as if he had something weighing on his mind.
And I have had business relations with him in times past.  Well,
what do you think?  He suddenly made me a proposal, secretly of
course; would I not take some gold dust off his hands?  You must
know that these trusted employees every year bring several hundred
pounds of gold from Asia, and of course it stands to reason that
they cannot get rid of it in the ordinary way, but smuggle it
through private individuals.  It is uncommonly profitable for the
purchasers, because they buy far below the market rates.  So there
are plenty of purchasers.  Several of the leading jewelers" (and
here he named three or four of the best-known firms) "never refuse
such a deal, and last year a banking house in Berlin bought a
hundred pounds' weight of gold through agents here.  Well, this
same employee, my acquaintance, is looking for an opportunity to
get rid of his wares.  And he tells me he managed to bring in about
forty pounds of gold, if not more.  I introduce this fact to
illustrate the difficulties put in the way of enterprise by our
intelligent government."

Shadursky did not greatly occupy himself with serious questions and
he was totally ignorant of all details of financial undertakings.
It was, therefore, perfectly easy for Sergei Antonovitch to assume
a tone of solid, practical sense, which imposed completely on the
young prince.  Young Shadursky, from politeness, and to prove his
worldly wisdom, assented to Kovroff's statements with equal
decision.  All the same, from this conversation, he quite clearly
seized on the idea that under certain circumstances it would be
possible to buy gold at a much lower price than that demanded by
the Imperial Bank.  And this was just the thought which Kallash and
Kovroff wished to sow in the young prince's mind.

"Of course, I myself do not go in for that kind of business," went
on Kovroff carelessly, "and so I could not give my friend any help.
But if some one were going abroad, for instance, he might well risk
such an operation, which would pay him a very handsome profit."

"How so?  In what way?" asked Shadursky.

"Very simply.  You buy the goods here, as I already said, much
below the government price.  So that to begin with you make a very
profitable bargain.  Then you go abroad with your wares and there,
as soon as the exchange value of gold goes up, you can sell it at
the nearest bank.  I know, for instance, that the agent of the -----
Bank" (and he mentioned a name well known in St. Petersburg) made
many a pretty penny for himself by just such a deal.  This is how
it was: He bought gold dust for forty thousand rubles, and six
weeks later got rid of it in Hamburg for sixty thousand.  Whatever
you may say, fifty per cent on your capital in a month and a half
is pretty good business."

"Deuce take it!  A pretty profitable bargain, without a doubt!"
cried Shadursky, jumping from his chair.  "It would just suit me!
I could get rid of it in Geneva or Paris," he went on in a jesting

"What do you think?  Of course!" Sergei Antonovitch took him up,
but in a serious tone.  "You or some one else--in any case it would
be a good bargain.  For my acquaintance has to go back to Asia, and
has only a few days to spare.  He doesn't know where to turn and
rather than take his gold back with him, he would willingly let it
go at an even lower rate than the smugglers generally ask.  If I
had enough free cash I would go in for it myself."

"It looks a good proposition," commented Count Kallash.

"It is certainly very enticing; what do you think?" said Prince
Shadursky interrogatively, folding his arms.

"Hm--yes! very enticing," answered Kovroff.  "A fine chance for
anyone who has the money."

"I would not object!  I would not object!" protested Shadursky.
"Suppose you let me become acquainted with your friend."

"You?  Well--" And Kovroff considered; "if you wish.  Why not?
Only I warn you, first, if you are going to buy, buy quickly, for
my friend can't wait; and secondly, keep the matter a complete
secret, for very unpleasant results might follow."

"That goes without saying.  That stands to reason," assented
Shadursky.  "I can get the money at once and I am just going
abroad, in a day or two at the latest.  So it would be foolish to
miss such a chance.  So it is a bargain?"  And he held out his hand
to Kovroff.

"How a bargain?" objected the cautious Sergei Antonovitch.  "I am
not personally concerned in the matter, and you must admit, my dear
prince, that I can make no promises for my acquaintance."

"I don't mean that!" cried Shadursky.  "I only ask you to arrange
for me to meet him.  Bring us together--and drop him a hint that I
do not object to buying his wares.  You will confer a great
obligation on me."

"Oh, that is quite a different matter.  That I can always do; the
more so, because we are such good friends.  Why should I not do you
such a trifling service?  As far as an introduction is concerned,
you may count on it."

And they cordially shook each other by the hand.



Both Kallash and Kovroff were too cautious to take an immediate,
personal part in the gold-dust sale.  There was a certain
underling, Mr. Escrocevitch by name, at Sergei Kovroff's beck and
call--a shady person, rather dirty in aspect, and who was,
therefore, only admitted to Sergei's presence by the back door and
through the kitchen, and even then only at times when there were no
outsiders present.

Mr. Escrocevitch was a person of general utility and was especially
good at all kinds of conjuring tricks.  Watches, snuff-boxes,
cigar-cases, silver spoons, and even heavy bronze paper-weights
acquired the property of suddenly vanishing from under his hands,
and of suddenly reappearing in a quite unexpected quarter.  This
valuable gift had been acquired by Mr. Escrocevitch in his early
years, when he used to wander among the Polish fairs, swallowing
burning flax for the delectation of the public and disgorging
endless yards of ribbon and paper.

Mr. Escrocevitch was a precious and invaluable person also owing to
his capacity of assuming any role, turning himself into any given
character, and taking on the corresponding tone, manners, and
appearance, and he was, further, a pretty fair actor.

He it was who was chosen to play the part of the Siberian employee.

Not more than forty-eight hours had passed since the previous
conversation.  Prince Shadursky was just up, when his footman
announced to him that a Mr. Valyajnikoff wished to see him.

The prince put on his dressing gown and went into the drawing-room,
where the tolerably presentable but strangely dressed person of Mr.
Escrocevitch presented itself to him.

"Permit me to have the honor of introducing myself," he began,
bowing to Prince Shadursky; "I am Ivanovitch Valyajnikoff.  Mr.
Sergei Antonovitch Kovroff was so good as to inform me of a certain
intention of yours about the dust.  So, if your excellency has not
changed your mind, I am ready to sell it to you with pleasure."

"Very good of you," answered Prince Shadursky, smiling gayly, and
giving him a chair.

"To lose no time over trifles," continued Mr. Escrocevitch, "let me
invite you to my quarters.  I am staying at a hotel; you can see
the goods there; you can make tests, and, if you are satisfied, I
shall be very happy to oblige your excellency."

Prince Shadursky immediately finished dressing, ordered his
carriage, and went out with the supposititious Valyajnikoff.  They
drove to a shabby hotel and went to a dingy room.

"This is my poor abode.  I am only here on the wing, so to speak.
I humbly request you to be seated," Mr. Escrocevitch said
obsequiously.  "Not to lose precious time, perhaps your excellency
would like to look at my wares?  Here they are--and I am most
willing to show them."

And he dragged from under the bed a big trunk, in which were five
canvas bags of various sizes, packed full and tied tightly.

"Here, here it is!  This is our Siberian dust," he said, smiling
and bowing, indicating the trunk with a wave of his hand, as if
introducing it to Prince Shadursky.

"Would not your excellency be so good as to choose one of these
bags to make a test?  It will be much better if you see yourself
that the business is above board, with no swindle about it.  Choose
whichever you wish!"

Shadursky lifted one of the bags from the trunk, and when Mr.
Escrocevitch untied it, before the young prince's eyes appeared a
mass of metallic grains, at which he gazed not without inward

"How are you going to make a test?" he asked.  "We have no blow-
pipes nor test-tubes here?"

"Make your mind easy, your excellency!  We shall find everything we
require--blow-pipes and test-tubes and nitric acid, and even a
decimal weighing machine.  In our business we arrange matters in
such a way that we need not disturb outsiders.  Only charcoal we
haven't got, but we can easily send for some."

And going to the door, he gave the servant in the passage an order,
and a few minutes later the latter returned with a dish of

"First class!  Now everything is ready," cried Mr. Escrocevitch,
rubbing his hands; and for greater security he turned the key in
the door.

"Take whichever piece of charcoal you please, your excellency; but,
not to soil your hands, you had better let me take it myself, and
you sprinkle some of the dust on it," and he humbled himself before
the prince.  "Forgive me for asking you to do it all yourself,
since it is not from any lack of politeness on my part, but simply
in order that your excellency should be fully convinced that there
is no deception."  Saying this, he got his implements ready and lit
the lamp.

The blow-pipe came into action.  Valyajnikoff made the experiment,
and Shadursky attentively followed every movement.  The charcoal
glowed white hot, the dust ran together and disappeared, and in its
place, when the charcoal had cooled a little, and the amateur
chemist presented it to Prince Shadursky, the prince saw a little
ball of gold lying in a crevice of the charcoal, such as might
easily have formed under the heat of the blow-pipe.

"Take the globule, your excellency, and place it, for greater
security, in your pocketbook," said Escrocevitch; "you may even
wrap it up in a bit of paper; and keep the sack of gold dust
yourself, so that there can be no mistake."

Shadursky gladly followed this last piece of advice.

"And now, your excellency, I should like you kindly to select
another bag; we shall make two or three more tests in the same

The prince consented to this also.

Escrocevitch handed him a new piece of charcoal to sprinkle dust
on, and once more brought the blow-pipe into operation.  And again
the brass filings disappeared and in the crevice appeared a new
globule of gold.

"Well, perhaps these two tests will be sufficient.  What is your
excellency good enough to think on that score?" asked the supposed

"What is the need of further tests?  The matter is clear enough,"
assented the prince.

"If it is satisfactory, we shall proceed to make it even more
satisfactory.  Here we have a touch-stone, and here we have some
nitric acid.  Try the globules on the touchstone physically, and,
so to speak, with the nitric acid chemically.  And if you wish to
make even more certain, this is what we shall do.  What quantity of
gold does your excellency wish to take?"

"The more the better.  I am ready to buy all these bags."

"VERY much obliged to your excellency, as this will suit me
admirably," said Escrocevitch, bowing low.  "And so, if your
excellency is ready, then I humbly beg you to take each bag,
examine it, and seal it with your excellency's own seal.  Then let
us take one of the globules and go to one of the best jewelers in
St. Petersburg.  Let him tell us the value of the gold and in this
way the business will be exact; there will be no room for complaint
on either side, since everything will be fair and above board."

The prince was charmed with the honesty and frankness of Mr.

They went together to one of the best-known jewelers, who, in their
presence, made a test and announced that the gold was chemically
pure, without any alloy, and therefore of the highest value.

On their return to the hotel, Mr. Escrocevitch weighed the bags,
which turned out to weigh forty-eight pounds.  Allowing three
pounds for the weight of the bags, this left forty-five pounds of
pure gold.

"How much a pound do you want?" Shadursky asked him.

"A pretty low price, your excellency," answered the Siberian, with
a shrug of his shoulders, "as I am selling from extreme necessity,
because I have to leave for Siberia; I've spent too much time and
money in St. Petersburg already; and if I cannot sell my wares, I
shall not be able to go at all.  I assume that the government price
is known to your excellency?"

"But I am willing to take two hundred rubles a pound.  I can't take
a kopeck less, and even so I am making a reduction of nearly a
hundred rubles the pound."

"All right!" assented Shadursky.  "That will amount to--" he went
on, knitting his brows, "forty-five pounds at two hundred rubles a

"It will make exactly nine thousand, your excellency.  Just exactly
nine," Escrocevitch obsequiously helped him out.  The prince,
cutting the matter short, immediately gave him a check, and taking
the trunk with the coveted bags, drove with the Siberian employee
to his father's house, where the elder Prince Shadursky, at his
son's pressing demand, though very unwillingly, exchanged the check
for nine thousand rubles in bills, for which Ivan Ivanovitch
Valyajnikoff forthwith gave a receipt.  The prince was delighted
with his purchase, and he did not utter a syllable about it to
anyone except Kovroff.

Sergei Antonovitch gave him a friendly counsel not to waste any
time, but to go abroad at once, as, according to the Exchange
Gazette, gold was at that moment very high, so that he had an
admirable opportunity to get rid of his wares on very favorable

The prince, in fact, without wasting time got his traveling
passport, concealed his purchase with the utmost care, and set out
for the frontier, announcing that he was on his way to his mother,
whose health imperatively demanded his presence.

The success of the whole business depended on the fact that brass
filings, which bear a strong external resemblance to gold dust, are
dissipated in the strong heat of the blowpipe.  The charcoal was
prepared beforehand, a slight hollow being cut in it with a
penknife, in the bottom of which is placed a globule of pure gold,
the top of which is just below the level of the charcoal, and the
hollow is filled up with powdered charcoal mixed with a little
beeswax.  The "chemist" who makes the experiments must make himself
familiar with the distinctive appearance of the charcoal, so as to
pick it out from among several pieces, and must remember exactly
where the crevice is.

On this first occasion, Escrocevitch had prepared all four pieces
of charcoal, which were brought by the servant in the passage.  He
chose as his temporary abode a hotel whose proprietor was an old
ally of his, and the servant was also a confederate.

Thus was founded the famous "Gold Products Company," which is still
in very successful operation, and is constantly widening its sphere
of activity.



Count Kallash finally decided on his course of action.  It was too
late to seek justice for his sister, but not too late for a tardy
reparation.  The gang had prospered greatly, and the share of
Baroness von Doring and Bodlevski already amounted to a very large
figure.  Count Kallash determined to demand for his sister a sum
equal to that of the securities in her name which Natasha had
stolen, calculating that this would be enough to maintain his
sister in peace and comfort to the end of her days.  His own life
was too stormy, too full of risks for him to allow his sister's
fate to depend on his, so he had decided to settle her in some
quiet nook where, free from danger, she might dream away her few
remaining years.

To his surprise Baroness von Doring flatly refused to be put under

"Your demand is outrageous," she said.  "I am not going to be the
victim of any such plot!"

"Very well, I will compel you to unmask?"

"To unmask?  What do you mean, count?  You forget yourself!"

"Well, then, I shall try to make you remember me!"  And Kallash
turned his back on her and strode from the room.  A moment later,
and she heard the door close loudly behind him.

The baroness had already told Bodlevski of her meeting with
Princess Anna, and she now hurried to him for counsel.  They agreed
that their present position, with Kallash's threats hanging over
their heads, was intolerable.  But what was to be done?

Bodlevski paced up and down the room, biting his lips, and seeking
some decisive plan.

"We must act in such a way," he said, coming to a stand before the
baroness, "as to get rid of this fellow once for all.  I think he
is dangerous, and it never does any harm to take proper
precautions.  Get the money ready, Natasha; we must give it to

"What! give him the money!" and the baroness threw up her hands.
"Will that get us out of his power?  Can we feel secure?  It will
only last till something new happens.  At the first occasion--"

"Which will also be the last!" interrupted Bodlevski.  "Suppose we
do give him the money to-day; does that mean that we give it for
good?  Not at all!  It will be back in my pocket to-morrow!  Let us
think it out properly!" and he gave her a friendly pat on the
shoulder, and sat down in an easy chair in front of her.

The result of their deliberations was a little note addressed to
Count Kallash:

"DEAR COUNT," it ran, "I was guilty of an act of folly toward you
to-day.  I am ashamed of it, and wish to make amends as soon as
possible.  We have always been good friends, so let us forget our
little difference, the more so that an alliance is much more
advantageous to us both than a quarrel.  Come this evening to
receive the money you spoke of, and to clasp in amity the hand of
your devoted friend,


Kallash came about ten o'clock in the evening, and received from
Bodlevski the sum of fifty thousand rubles in notes.  The baroness
was very amiable, and persuaded him to have some tea.  There was
not a suggestion of future difficulties, and everything seemed to
promise perfect harmony for the future.  Bodlevski talked over
plans of future undertakings, and told him, with evident
satisfaction, that they had just heard of the arrest of the younger
Prince Shadursky, in Paris, for attempting to defraud a bank by a
pretended sale of gold dust.  Count Kallash was also gay, and a
certain satisfaction filled his mind at the thought of his sister's
security, as he felt the heavy packet of notes in his pocket.  He
smoked his cigar with evident satisfaction, sipping the fragrant
tea from time to time.  The conversation was gay and animated, and
for some reason or other turned to the subject of clubs.

"Ah, yes," interposed Bodlevski, "a propos!  I expect to be a
member of the Yacht Club this summer.  Let me recommend to you a
new field of action.  They will disport themselves on the green
water, and we on the green cloth!  By the way, I forgot to speak of
it--I bought a boat the other day, a mere rowboat.  It is on the
Fontauka Canal, at the Simeonovski bridge.  We must come for a row
some day."

"Delightful," exclaimed the baroness.  "But why some day?  Why not
to-night?  The moon is beautiful, and, indeed, it is hardly dark at
midnight.  Your speaking of boats has filled me with a sudden
desire to go rowing.  What do you say, dear count?" and she turned
amiably to Kallash.

Count Kallash at once consented, considering the baroness's idea an
admirable one, and they were soon on their way toward the
Simeonovski bridge.

"How delightful it is!" cried the baroness, some half hour later,
as they were gliding over the quiet water.  "Count, do you like
strong sensations?" she asked suddenly.

"I am fond of strong sensations of every kind," he replied, taking
up her challenge.

"Well, I am going to offer you a little sensation, though it always
greatly affects me.  Everything is just right for it, and I am in
the humor, too."

"What is it to be?" asked Count Kallash indifferently.

"You will see in a moment.  Do you know that there are underground
canals in St. Petersburg?"

"In St. Petersburg?" asked Kallash in astonishment.

"Yes, in St. Petersburg!  A whole series of underground rivers,
wide enough for a boat to pass through.  I have rowed along them
several times.  Does not that offer a new sensation, something
quite unlike St. Petersburg?"

"Yes, it is certainly novel," answered Count Kallash, now
interested.  "Where are they?  Pray show them to me."

"There is one a few yards off.  Shall we enter?  You are not
afraid?" she said with a smile of challenge.

"By no means--unless you command me to be afraid," Kallash replied
in the same tone.  "Let us enter at once!"

"Kasimir, turn under the arch!" and the boat cut across the canal
toward a half circle of darkness.  A moment more and the darkness
engulfed them completely.  They were somewhere under the Admiralty,
not far from St. Isaac's Cathedral.  Away ahead of them was a tiny
half circle of light, where the canal joined the swiftly flowing
Neva.  Carriages rumbled like distant thunder above their heads.

"Deuce take it! it is really rather fine!" cried the count, with
evident pleasure.  "A meeting of pirates is all we need to make it
perfect.  It is a pity that we cannot see where we are!"

"Light a match.  Have you any?" said the baroness.  "I have, and
wax matches, too."  The count took out a match and lit it, and the
underground stream was lit by a faint ruddy glow.  The channel,
covered by a semicircular arch, was just wide enough for one boat
to pass through, with oars out.  The black water flowed silently by
in a sluggish, Stygian stream.  Bats, startled by the light,
fluttered in their faces, and then disappeared in the darkness.

As the boat glided on, the match burned out in Count Kallash's
fingers.  He threw it into the water, and opened his matchbox to
take another.

At the same moment he felt a sharp blow on the head, followed by a
second, and he sank senseless in the bottom of the boat.

"Where is the money?" cried Bodlevski, who had struck him with the
handle of the oar.  "Get his coat open!" and the baroness deftly
drew the thick packet from the breast pocket of his coat.  "Here it
is!  I have it!" she replied quickly.

"Now, overboard with him!  Keep the body steady!"  A dull splash,
and then silence.  "To-night we shall sleep secure!"

They counted without their host.  Princess Anna had also her scheme
of vengeance, and had worked it out, without a word to her brother.
When Natasha and Bodlevski entered their apartment, they found the
police in possession, and a few minutes later both were under
arrest.  Abundant evidence of fraud and forgery was found in their
dwelling, and the vast Siberian solitudes avenged the death of
their last victim.

Jorgen Wilhelm Bergsoe

The Amputated Arms

It happened when I was about eighteen or nineteen years old (began
Dr. Simsen).  I was studying at the University, and being coached
in anatomy by my old friend Solling.  He was an amusing fellow,
this Solling.  Full of jokes and whimsical ideas, and equally
merry, whether he was working at the dissecting table or brewing a
punch for a jovial crowd.

He had but one fault--if one might call it so--and that was his
exaggerated idea of punctuality.  He grumbled if you were late two
minutes; any longer delay would spoil the entire evening for him.
He himself was never known to be late.  At least not during the
entire years of my studying.

One Wednesday evening our little circle of friends met as usual in
my room at seven o'clock.  I had made the customary preparations
for the meeting, had borrowed three chairs--I had but one myself--
had cleaned all my pipes, and had persuaded Hans to take the
breakfast dishes from the sofa and carry them downstairs.  One by
one my friends arrived, the clock struck seven, and to our great
astonishment, Solling had not yet appeared.  One, two, even five
minutes passed before we heard him run upstairs and knock at the
door with his characteristic short blows.

When he entered the room he looked so angry and at the same time so
upset that I cried out: "What's the matter, Solling?  You look as
if you had been robbed."

"That's exactly what has happened," replied Solling angrily.  "But
it was no ordinary sneak thief," he added, hanging his overcoat
behind the door.

"What have you lost?" asked my neighbor Nansen.

"Both arms from the new skeleton I've just recently received from
the hospital," said Solling with an expression as if his last cent
had been taken from him.  "It's vandalism!"

We burst out into loud laughter at this remarkable answer, but
Solling continued: "Can you imagine it?  Both arms are gone, cut
off at the shoulder joint;--and the strangest part of it is that
the same thing has been done to my shabby old skeleton which stands
in my bedroom.  There wasn't an arm on either of them."

"That's too bad," I remarked.  "For we were just going to study the
ANATOMY of the arm to-night."

"Osteology," corrected Solling gravely.  "Get out your skeleton,
little Simsen.  It isn't as good as mine, but it will do for this

I went to the corner where my anatomical treasures were hidden
behind a green curtain--"the Museum," was what Solling called it--
but my astonishment was great when I found my skeleton in its
accustomed place and wearing as usual my student's uniform--but
without arms.

"The devil!" cried Solling.  "That was done by the same person who
robbed me; the arms are taken off at the shoulder joint in exactly
the same manner.  You did it, Simsen!"

I declared my innocence, very angry at the abuse of my fine
skeleton, while Nansen cried: "Wait a moment, I'll bring in mine.
There hasn't been a soul in my room since this morning, I can swear
to that.  I'll be back in an instant."

He hurried into his room, but returned in a few moments greatly
depressed and somewhat ashamed.  The skeleton was in its usual
place, but the arms were gone, cut off at the shoulder in exactly
the same manner as mine.

The affair, mysterious in itself, had now come to be a serious
matter.  We lost ourselves in suggestions and explanations, none of
which seemed to throw any light on the subject.  Finally we sent a
messenger to the other side of the house where, as I happened to
know, was a new skeleton which the young student Ravn had recently
received from the janitor of the hospital.

Ravn had gone out and taken the key with him.  The messenger whom
we had sent to the rooms of the Iceland students returned with the
information that one of them had used the only skeleton they
possessed to pummel the other with, and that consequently only the
thigh bones were left unbroken.

What were we to do?  We couldn't understand the matter at all.
Solling scolded and cursed and the company was about to break up
when we heard some one coming noisily upstairs.  The door was
thrown open and a tall, thin figure appeared on the threshold--our
good friend Niels Daae.

He was a strange chap, this Niels Daae, the true type of a species
seldom found nowadays.  He was no longer young, and by reason of a
queer chain of circumstances, as he expressed it, he had been
through nearly all the professions and could produce papers proving
that he had been on the point of passing not one but three

He had begun with theology; but the story of the quarrel between
Jacob and Esau had led him to take up the study of law.  As a law
student he had come across an interesting poisoning case, which had
proved to him that a study of medicine was extremely necessary for
lawyers; and he had taken up the study of medicine with such energy
that he had forgotten all his law and was about to take his last
examinations at the age of forty.

Niels Daae took the story of our troubles very seriously.  "Every
pot has two handles," he began.  "Every sausage two ends, every
question two sides, except this one--this has three."  (Applause.)
"When we look at it from the legal point of view there can be no
doubt that it belongs in the category of ordinary theft.  But from
the fact that the thief took only the arms when he might have taken
the entire skeleton, we must conclude that he is not in a
responsible condition of mind, which therefore introduces a medical
side to the affair.  From a legal point of view, the thief must be
convicted for robbery, or at least for the illegal appropriation of
the property of others; but from the medical point of view, we must
acquit him, because he is not responsible for his acts.  Here we
have two professions quarreling with one another, and who shall say
which is right?  But now I will introduce the theological point of
view, and raise the entire affair up to a higher plane.
Providence, in the material shape of a patron of mine in the
country, whose children I have inoculated with the juice of wisdom,
has sent me two fat geese and two first-class ducks.  These animals
are to be cooked and eaten this evening in Mathiesen's
establishment, and I invite this honored company to join me there.
Personally I look upon the disappearance of these arms as an all-
wise intervention of Providence, which sets its own inscrutable
wisdom up against the wisdom which we would otherwise have heard
from the lips of my venerable friend Solling."

Daae's confused speech was received with laughter and applause, and
Solling's weak protests were lost in the general delight at the
invitation.  I have often noticed that such improvised festivities
are usually the most enjoyable, and so it was for us that evening.
Niels Daae treated us to his ducks and to his most amusing jokes,
Solling sang his best songs, our jovial host Mathiesen told his
wittiest stories, and the merriment was in full swing when we heard
cries in the street, and then a rush of confused noises broken by
screams of pain.

"There's been an accident," cried Solling, running out to the door.

We all followed him and discovered that a pair of runaway horses
had thrown a carriage against a tree, hurling the driver from his
box, under the wheels.  His right arm had been broken near the
shoulder.  In the twinkling of an eye the hall of festivities was
transformed into an emergency hospital.  Solling shook his head as
he examined the injury, and ordered the transport of the patient to
the city hospital.  It was his belief that the arm would have to be
amputated, cut off at the shoulder joint, just as had been the case
with our skeleton.  "Damned odd coincidence, isn't it?" he remarked
to me.

Our merry mood had vanished and we took our way, quiet and
depressed, through the old avenues toward our home.  For the first
time in its existence possibly, our venerable "barracks," as we
called the dormitory, saw its occupants returning home from an
evening's bout just as the night watchman intoned his eleven
o'clock verse.

"Just eleven," exclaimed Solling.  "It's too early to go to bed,
and too late to go anywhere else.  We'll go up to your room, little
Simsen, and see if we can't have some sort of a lesson this
evening.  You have your colored plates and we'll try to get along
with them.  It's a nuisance that we should have lost those arms
just this evening."

"The Doctor can have all the arms and legs he wants," grinned Hans,
who came out of the doorway just in time to hear Solling's last

"What do you mean, Hans?" asked Solling in astonishment.

"It'll be easy enough to get them," said Hans.  "They've torn down
the planking around the Holy Trinity churchyard, and dug up the
earth to build a new wall.  I saw it myself, as I came past the
church.  Lord, what a lot of bones they've dug out there!  There's
arms and legs and heads, many more than the Doctor could possibly

"Much good that does us," answered Solling.  "They shut the gates
at seven o'clock and it's after eleven already."

"Oh, yes, they shut them," grinned Hans again.  "But there's
another way to get in.  If you go through the gate of the porcelain
factory and over the courtyard, and through the mill in the fourth
courtyard that leads out into Spring Street, there you will see
where the planking is torn down, and you can get into the
churchyard easily."

"Hans, you're a genius!" exclaimed Solling in delight.  "Here,
Simsen, you know that factory inside and out, you're so friendly
with that fellow Outzen who lives there.  Run along to him and let
him give you the key of the mill.  It will be easy to find an arm
that isn't too much decayed.  Hurry along, now; the rest of us will
wait for you upstairs."

To be quite candid I must confess that I was not particularly eager
to fulfill Solling's command.  I was at an age to have still a
sufficient amount of reverence for death and the grave, and the
mysterious occurrence of the stolen arms still ran through my mind.
But I was still more afraid of Solling's irony and of the laughter
of my comrades, so I trotted off as carelessly as if I had been
sent to buy a package of cigarettes.

It was some time before I could arouse the old janitor of the
factory from his peaceful slumbers.  I told him that I had an
important message for Outzen, and hurried upstairs to the latter's
room.  Outzen was a strictly moral character; knowing this, I was
prepared to have him refuse me the key which would let me into the
fourth courtyard and from there into the cemetery.  As I expected,
Outzen took the matter very seriously.  He closed the Hebrew Bible
which he had been studying as I entered, turned up his lamp and
looked at me in astonishment as I made my request.

"Why, my dear Simsen, it is a most sinful deed that you are about
to do," he said gravely.  "Take my advice and desist.  You will get
no key from me for any such cause.  The peace of the grave is
sacred.  No man dare disturb it."

"And how about the gravedigger?  He puts the newly dead down beside
the old corpses, and lives as peacefully as anyone else."

"He is doing his duty," answered Outzen calmly.  "But to disturb
the peace of the grave from sheer daring, with the fumes of the
punch still in your head,--that is a different matter,--that will
surely be punished!"

His words irritated me.  It is not very flattering, particularly if
one is not yet twenty, to be told that you are about to perform a
daring deed simply because you are drunk.  Without any further
reply to his protests I took the key from its place on the wall and
ran downstairs two steps at a time, vowing to myself that I would
take home an arm let cost what it would.  I would show Outzen, and
Solling, and all the rest, what a devil of a fellow I was.

My heart beat rapidly as I stole through the long dark corridor,
past the ruins of the old convent of St. Clara, into the so-called
third courtyard.  Here I took a lantern from the hall, lit it and
crossed to the mill where the clay was prepared for the factory.
The tall wheels and cylinders, with their straps and bolts, looked
like weird creatures of the night in the dim light of my tallow
candle.  I felt my courage sinking even here, but I pulled myself
together, opened the last door with my key and stepped out into the
fourth courtyard.  A moment later I stood on the dividing line
between the cemetery and the factory.

The entire length of the tall blackened planking had been torn
down.  The pieces of it lay about, and the earth had been dug up to
considerable depth, to make a foundation for a new wall between
Life and Death.  The uncanny emptiness of the place seized upon me.
I halted involuntarily as if to harden myself against it.  It was a
raw, cold, stormy evening.  The clouds flew past the moon in jagged
fragments, so that the churchyard, with its white crosses and
stones, lay now in full light, now in dim shadow.  Now and then a
rush of wind rattled over the graves, roared through the leafless
trees, bent the complaining bushes, and caught itself in the little
eddy at the corner of the church, only to escape again over the
roofs, turning the old weather vane with a sharp scream of the
rusty iron.

I looked toward the left--there I saw several weird white shapes
moving gently in the moonlight.  "White sheets," I said to myself,
"it's nothing but white sheets!  This drying of linen in the
churchyard ought to be stopped."

I turned in the opposite direction and saw a heap of bones scarce
two paces distant from me.  Holding my lantern lower, I approached
them and stretched out my hand--there was a rattling in the heap;
something warm and soft touched my fingers.

I started and shivered.  Then I exclaimed: "The rats! nothing but
the rats in the churchyard!  I must not get frightened.  It will be
so foolish--they would laugh at me.  Where the devil is that arm?
I can't find one that isn't broken!"

With trembling knees and in feverish haste I examined one heap
after another.  The light in my lantern flickered in the wind and
suddenly went out.  The foul smell of the smoking wick rose to my
face and I felt as if I were about to faint, it took all my energy
to recover my control.  I walked two or three steps ahead, and saw
at a little distance a coffin which had been still in good shape
when taken out of the earth.

I approached it and saw that it was of old-fashioned shape, made of
heavy oaken boards that were already rotting.  On its cover was a
metal plate with an illegible inscription.  The old wood was so
brittle that it would have been very easy for me to open the coffin
with any sort of a tool.  I looked about me and saw a hatchet and a
couple of spades lying near the fence.  I took one of the latter,
put its flat end between the boards--the old coffin fell apart with
a dull crackling protest.

I turned my head aside, put my hand in through the opening, felt
about, and taking a firm hold on one arm of the skeleton, I
loosened it from the body with a quick jerk.  The movement loosened
the head as well, and it rolled out through the opening right to my
very feet.  I took up the skull to lay it in the coffin again--and
then I saw a greenish phosphorescent glimmer in its empty eye
sockets, a glimmer which came and went.  Mad terror shook me at the
sight.  I looked up at the houses in the distance, then back again
to the skull; the empty sockets shone more brightly than before.  I
felt that I must have some natural explanation for this appearance
or I would go mad.  I took up the head again--and never in my life
have I had so overpowering an impression of the might of death and
decay than in this moment.  Myriads of disgusting clammy insects
poured out of every opening of the skull, and a couple of shining,
wormlike centipedes--Geophiles, the scientists call them--crawled
about in the eye sockets.  I threw the skull back into the coffin,
sprang over the heaps of bones without even taking time to pick up
my lantern, and ran like a hunted thing through the dark mill, over
the factory courtyards, until I reached the outer gate.  Here I
washed the arm at the fountain, and smoothed my disarranged
clothing.  I hid my booty under my overcoat, nodded to the sleepy
old janitor as he opened the door to me, and a few moments later I
entered my own room with an expression which I had attempted to
make quite calm and careless.

"What the devil is the matter with you, Simsen?" cried Solling as
he saw me.  "Have you seen a ghost?  Or is the punch wearing off
already?  We thought you'd never come; why, it's nearly twelve

Without a word I drew back my overcoat and laid my booty on the

"By all the devils," exclaimed Solling in anatomical enthusiasm,
"where did you find that superb arm?  Simsen knows what he's about
all right.  It's a girl's arm; isn't it beautiful?  Just look at
the hand--how fine and delicate it is!  Must have worn a No. 6
glove.  There's a pretty hand to caress and kiss!"

The arm passed from one to the other amid general admiration.
Every word that was said increased my disgust for myself and for
what I had done.  It was a woman's arm, then--what sort of a woman
might she have been?  Young and beautiful possibly--her brothers'
pride, her parents' joy.  She had faded away in her youth, cared
for by loving hands and tender thoughts.  She had fallen asleep
gently, and those who loved her had desired to give her in death
the peace she had enjoyed throughout her lifetime.  For this they
had made her coffin of thick, heavy oaken boards.  And this hand,
loved and missed by so many--it lay there now on an anatomical
table, encircled by clouds of tobacco smoke, stared at by curious
glances, and made the object of coarse jokes.  O God! how terrible
it was!

"I must have that arm," exclaimed Solling, when the first burst of
admiration had passed.  "When I bleach it and touch it up with
varnish, it wild be a superb specimen.  I'll take it home with me."

"No," I exclaimed, "I can't permit it.  It was wrong of me to bring
it away from the churchyard.  I'm going right back to put the arm
in its place."

"Well, will you listen to that?" cried Solling, amid the hearty
laughter of the others.  "Simsen's so lyric, he certainly must be
drunk.  I must have that arm at any cost."

"Not much," cut in Niels Daae; "you have no right to it.  It was
buried in the earth and dug out again; it is a find, and all the
rest of us have just as much right to it as you have."

"Yes, everyone of us has some share in it," said some one else.

"But what are you going to do about it?" remarked Solling.  "It
would be vandalism to break up that arm.  What God has joined
together let no man put asunder," he concluded with pathos.

"Let's auction it off," exclaimed Daae.  "I will be the auctioneer,
and this key to the graveyard will serve me for a hammer."

The laughter broke out anew as Daae took his place solemnly at the
head of the table and began to whine out the following
announcement: "I hereby notify all present that on the 25th of
November, at twelve o'clock at midnight, in corridor No. 5 of the
student barracks, a lady's arm in excellent condition, with all its
appurtenances of wrist bones, joints, and finger tips, is to be
offered at public auction.  The buyer can have possession of his
purchase immediately after the auction, and a credit of six weeks
will be given to any reliable customer.  I bid a Danish shilling."

"One mark," cried Solling mockingly.

"Two," cried somebody else.

"Four," exclaimed Solling.  "It's worth it.  Why don't you join in,
Simsen?  You look as if you were sitting in a hornet's nest."

I bid one mark more, and Solling raised me a thaler.  There were no
more bids, the hammer fell, and the arm belonged to Solling.

"Here, take this," he said, handing me a mark piece; "it's part of
your commission as grave robber.  You shall have the rest later,
unless you prefer that I should turn it over to the drinking fund."
With these words Solling wrapped the arm in a newspaper, and the
gay crowd ran noisily down the stairs and through the streets,
until their singing and laughter were lost in the distance.

I stood alone, still dazed and bewildered, staring at the piece of
money in my hand.  My thoughts were far too much excited that I
should hope to sleep.  I turned up my lamp and took out one of my
books to try and study myself into a quieter mood.  But without

Suddenly I heard a sound like that of a swinging pendulum.  I
raised my head and listened attentively.  There was no clock either
in my room or in the neighboring ones--but I could still hear the
sound.  At the same moment my lamp began to flicker.  The oil was
apparently exhausted.  I was about to rise to fill it again, when
my eyes fell upon the door, and I saw the graveyard key, which I
had hung there, moving slowly back and forth with a rhythmic swing.
Just as its motion seemed about to die away, it would receive a
gentle push as from an unseen hand, and would swing back and forth
more than ever.  I stood there with open mouth and staring eyes,
ice-cold chills ran down my back, and drops of perspiration stood
out on my forehead.  Finally, I could endure it no longer.  I
sprang to the door, seized the key with both hands and put it on my
desk under a pile of heavy books.  Then I breathed a sigh of

My lamp was about to go out and I discovered that I had no more
oil.  With feverish haste I threw my clothes off, blew out the
light and sprang into bed as if to smother my fears.

But once alone in the darkness the fears grew worse than ever.
They grew into dreams and visions.  It seemed to me as if I were
out in the graveyard again, and heard the screaming of the rusty
weather vane as the wind turned it.  Then I was in the mill again;
the wheels were turning and stretching out ghostly hands to draw me
into the yawning maw of the machine.  Then again, I found myself in
a long, low, pitch-black corridor, followed by Something I could
not see--Something that drove me to the mouth of a bottomless
abyss.  I would start up out of my half sleep, listen and look
about me, then fall back again into an uneasy slumber.

Suddenly something fell from the ceiling onto the bed, and "buzz--
buzz--buzz" sounded about my head.  It was a huge fly which had
been sleeping in a corner of my room and had been roused by the
heat of the stove.  It flew about in great circles, now around the
bed, now in all four corners of the chamber--"buzz--buzz--buzz"--it
was unendurable!  At last I heard it creep into a bag of sugar
which had been left on the window sill.  I sprang up and closed the
bag tight.  The fly buzzed worse than ever, but I went back to bed
and attempted to sleep again, feeling that I had conquered the

I began to count: I counted slowly to one hundred, two hundred,
finally up to one thousand, and then at last I experienced that
pleasant weakness which is the forerunner of true sleep.  I seemed
to be in a beautiful garden, bright with many flowers and odorous
with all the perfumes of spring.  At my side walked a beautiful
young girl.  I seemed to know her well, and yet it was not possible
for me to remember her name, or even to know how we came to be
wandering there together.  As we walked slowly through the paths
she would stop to pick a flower or to admire a brilliant butterfly
swaying in the air.  Suddenly a cold wind blew through the garden.
The young girl trembled and her cheeks grew pale.  "I am cold," she
said to me, "do you not see?  It is Death who is approaching us."

I would have answered, but in the same moment another stronger and
still more icy gust roared through the garden.  The leaves turned
pale on the trees, the flowerets bent their heads, and the bees and
butterflies fell lifeless to the earth.  "That is Death," whispered
my companion, trembling.

A third icy gust blew the last leaves from the bushes, white
crosses and gravestones appeared between the bare twigs--and I was
in the churchyard again and heard the screaming of the rusty
weather vane.  Beside me stood a heavy brass-bound coffin with a
metal plate on the cover.  I bent down to read the inscription, the
cover rolled off suddenly, and from out the coffin rose the form of
the young girl who had been with me in the garden.  I stretched out
my arms to clasp her to my breast--then, oh horror!  I saw the
greenish-gleaming, empty eye sockets of the skull.  I felt bony
arms around me, dragging me back into the coffin.  I screamed aloud
for help and woke up.

My room seemed unusually light; but I remembered that it was a
moonlight night and thought no more of it.  I tried to explain the
visions of my dream with various natural noises about me.  The
imprisoned fly buzzed as loudly as a whole swarm of bees; one half
of my window had blown open, and the cold night air rushed in gusts
into my room.

I sprang up to close the window, and then I saw that the strong
white light that filled my room did not come from the moon, but
seemed to shine out from the church opposite.  I heard the chiming
of the bells, soft at first, as if in far distance, then stronger
and stronger until, mingled with the rolling notes of the organ, a
mighty rush of sound struck against my windows.  I stared out into
the street and could scarcely believe my eyes.  The houses in the
market place just beyond were all little one-story buildings with
bow windows and wooden eave troughs ending in carved dragon heads.
Most of them had balconies of carved woodwork, and high stone
stoops with gleaming brass rails.

But it was the church most of all that aroused my astonishment.
Its position was completely changed.  Its front turned toward our
house where usually the side had stood.  The church was brilliantly
lighted, and now I perceived that it was this light which filled my
room.  I stood speechless amid the chiming of the bells and the
roaring of the organ, and I saw a long wedding procession moving
slowly up the center aisle of the church toward the altar.  The
light was so brilliant that I could distinguish each one of the
figures.  They were all in strange old-time costumes; the ladies in
brocades and satins with strings of pearls in their powdered hair,
the gentlemen in uniform with knee breeches, swords, and cocked
hats held under their arms.  But it was the bride who drew my
attention most strongly.  She was clothed in white satin, and a
faded myrtle wreath was twisted through the powdered locks beneath
her sweeping veil.  The bridegroom at her side wore a red uniform
and many decorations.  Slowly they approached the altar, where an
old man in black vestments and a heavy white wig was awaiting them.
They stood before him, and I could see that he was reading the
ritual from a gold-lettered book.

One of the train stepped forward and unbuckled the bridegroom's
sword, that his right hand might be free to take that of the bride.
She seemed about to raise her own hand to his, when she suddenly
sank fainting at his feet.  The guests hurried toward the altar,
the lights went out, the music stopped, and the figures floated
together like pale white mists.

But outside in the square it was still brighter than before, and I
suddenly saw the side portal of the church burst open and the
wedding procession move out across the market place.

I turned as if to flee, but could not move a muscle.  Quiet, as if
turned to stone, I stood and watched the ghostly figures that came
nearer and nearer.  The clergyman led the train, then came the
bridegroom and the bride, and as the latter raised her eyes to me I
saw that it was the young girl of the garden.  Her eyes were so
full of pain, so full of sad entreaty that I could scarce endure
them; but how shall I explain the feeling that shot through me as I
suddenly discovered that the right sleeve of her white satin gown
hung empty at her side?  The train disappeared, and the tone of the
church bells changed to a strange, dry, creaking sound, and the
gate below me complained as it turned on its rusty hinges.  I faced
toward my own door.  I knew that it was shut and locked, but I knew
that the ghostly procession were coming to call me to account, and
I felt that no walls could keep them out.  My door flew open, there
was a rustling as of silken gowns, but the figures seemed to float
in in the changing forms of swaying white mists.  Closer and closer
they gathered around me, robbing me of breath, robbing me of the
power to move.  There was a silence as of the grave--and then I saw
before me the old priest with his gold-lettered book.  He raised
his hand and spoke with a soft, deep voice: "The grave is sacred!
Let no one dare to disturb the peace of the dead."

"The grave is sacred!" an echo rolled through the room as the
swaying figures moved like reeds in the wind.

"What do you want?  What do you demand?" I gasped in the grip of a
deathly fear.

"Give back to the grave that which belongs to it," said the deep
voice again.

"Give back to the grave that which belongs to it," repeated the
echo as the swaying forms pressed closer to me.

"But it's impossible--I can't--I have sold it--sold it at auction!"
I screamed in despair.  "It was buried and found in the earth--and
sold for five marks eight shillings--"

A hideous scream came from the ghostly ranks.  They threw
themselves upon me as the white fog rolls in from the sea, they
pressed upon me until I could no longer breathe.  Beside myself, I
threw open the window and attempted to spring out, screaming aloud:
"Help! help! murder! they are murdering me!"

The sound of my own voice awoke me.  I found myself in my night
clothes on the window sill, one leg already out of the window and
both hands clutching at the center post.  On the street below me
stood the night watchman, staring up at me in astonishment, while
faint white clouds of mist rolled out of my window like smoke.  All
around outside lay the November fog, gray and moist, and as the
fresh air of the early dawn blew cool on my face I felt my senses
returning to me.  I looked down at the night watch man--God bless
him!  He was a big, strong, comfortably fat fellow made of real
flesh and blood, and no ghost shape of the night.  I looked at the
round tower of the church--how massive and venerable it stood
there, gray in the gray of the morning mists.  I looked over at the
market place.  There was a light in the baker shop and a farmer
stood before it, tying his horse to a post.  Back in my own room
everything was in its usual place.  Even the little paper bag with
the sugar lay there on the window sill, and the imprisoned fly
buzzed louder than ever.  I knew that I was really awake and that
the day was coming.  I sprang back hastily from the window and was
about to jump into bed, when my foot touched something hard and

I stooped to see what it was, felt about on the floor in the half
light, and touched a long, dry, skeleton arm which held a tiny roll
of paper in its bony fingers.  I felt about again, and found still
another arm, also holding a roll of paper.  Then I began to think
that my reason must be going.  What I had seen thus far was only an
unusually vivid dream--a vision of my heated imagination.  But I
knew that I was awake now, and yet here lay two-no, three (for
there was still another arm)--hard, undeniable, material proofs
that what I had thought was hallucination, might have been reality.
Trembling in the thought that madness was threatening me, I tore
open the first roll of paper.  On it was written the name:
"Solling."  I caught at the second and opened it.  There stood the
word: "Nansen."  I had just strength enough left to catch the third
paper and open it--there was my own name: "Simsen."

Then I sank fainting to the floor.

When I came to myself again, Niels Daae stood beside me with an
empty water bottle, the contents of which were dripping off my
person and off the sofa upon which I was lying.  "Here, drink
this," he said in a soothing tone.  "It will make you feel better."

I looked about me wildly, as I sipped at the glass of brandy which
put new life into me once more.  "What has happened?" I asked

"Oh, nothing of importance," answered Niels.  "You were just about
to commit suicide by means of charcoal gas.  Those are mighty bad
ventilators on your old stove there.  The wind must have blown them
shut, unless you were fool enough to close them yourself before you
went to bed.  If you had not opened the window, you would have
already been too far along the path to Paradise to be called back
by a glass of brandy.  Take another."

"How did you get up here?" I asked, sitting upright on the sofa.

"Through the door in the usual simple manner," answered Niels Daae.
"I was on watch last night in the hospital; but Mathiesen's punch
is heavy and my watching was more like sleeping, so I thought it
better to come away in the early morning.  As I passed your
barracks here, I saw you sitting in the window in your nightshirt
and calling down to the night watchman that some one was murdering
you.  I managed to wake up Jansen down below you, and got into the
house through his window.  Do you usually sleep on the bare floor?"

"But where did the arms come from?" I asked, still half bewildered.

"Oh, the devil take those arms," cried Niels.  "Just see if you can
stand up all right now.  Oh, those arms there?  Why, those are the
arms I cut off your skeletons.  Clever idea, wasn't it?  You know
how grumpy Solling gets if anything interferes with his tutoring.
You see, I'd had the geese sent me, and I wanted you to all come
with me to Mathiesen's place.  I knew you were going to read the
osteology of the arm, so I went up into Solling's room, opened it
with his own keys and took the arms from his skeleton.  I did the
same here while you were downstairs in the reading room.  Have you
been stupid enough to take them down off their frames, and take
away their tickets?  I had marked them so carefully, that each man
should get his own again."

I dressed hastily and went out with Niels into the fresh, cool
morning air.  A few minutes later we separated, and I turned toward
the street where Solling lived.  Without heeding the protest of his
old landlady, I entered the room where he still slept the sleep of
the just.  The arm, still wrapped in newspaper, lay on his desk.  I
took it up, put the mark piece in its place and hastened with all
speed to the churchyard.

How different it looked in the early dawn!  The fog had risen and
shining frost pearls hung in the bare twigs of the tall trees where
the sparrows were already twittering their morning song.  There was
no one to be seen.  The churchyard lay quiet and peaceful.  I
stepped over the heaps of bones to where the heavy oaken coffin lay
under a tree.  Cautiously I pushed the arm back into its interior,
and hammered the rusty nails into their places again, just as the
first rays of the pale November sun touched a gleam of light from
the metal plate on the cover.--Then the weight was lifted from my

Otto Larssen

The Manuscript

Two gentlemen sat chatting together one evening.

Their daily business was to occupy themselves with literature.  At
the present moment they were engaged in drinking whisky,--an
occupation both agreeable and useful,--and in chatting about books,
the theater, women and many other things.  Finally they came around
to that inexhaustible subject for conversation, the mysterious life
of the soul, the hidden things, the Unknown, that theme for which
Shakespeare has given us an oft-quoted and oft-abused device, which
one of the men, Mr. X., now used to point his remarks.  Raising his
glass, he looked at himself meditatively in a mirror opposite, and,
in a good imitation of the manner of his favorite actor, he quoted:

"There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in
thy philosophy, Horatio."

Mr. Y. arranged a fresh glass for himself, and answered:

"I believe it.  I believe also that it is given but to a few chosen
ones to see these things.  It never fell to my lot, I know.
Fortunately for me, perhaps.  For,--at least so it appears to me,--
these chosen ones appear on closer investigation to be individuals
of an abnormal condition of brain.  As far as I personally am
concerned, I know of nothing more strange than the usual logical
and natural sequence of events on our globe.  I confess things do
sometimes happen outside of this orderly sequence; but for the
cold-blooded and thoughtful person the Strange, the apparently
Inexplicable, usually turns out to be a sum of Chance, that Chance
we will never be quite clever enough to fully take into our

"As an instance I would like to tell you the story of what happened
several years back to a friend of mine, a young French writer.  He
had a good, sincere mind, but he had also a strong leaning toward
which was just then in danger of becoming as much of a fashion in
France as it is here now.  The event of which I am about to tell
you threw him into what was almost a delirium, which came near to
robbing him of his normal intelligence, and therefore came near to
robbing French readers of a few excellent books.

"This was the way it happened:

"It was about ten years back, and I was spending the spring and
summer in Paris.  I had a room with the family of a concierge on
the left bank, rue de Vaugirard, near the Luxembourg Gardens.

"A few steps from my modest domicile lived my friend Lucien F.  We
had become acquainted through a chain of circumstances which do not
belong to this story, but these circumstances had made firm friends
of us, a friendship which was a source of great pleasure and also
of assistance to me in my study of Paris conditions.  This
friendship also enabled me to enjoy better and cheaper whisky than
one can usually meet with in the city by the Seine, a real good
'Jameson Highland.'

"Lucien F. had already published several books which had aroused
attention through the oddity of their themes, and their gratifying
success had made it possible for him to establish himself in a
comfortably furnished bachelor apartment on the corner of the rue
de Vaugirard and the rue de Conde.

"The apartment had a corridor and three rooms; a dining room, a
bedroom and a charming study with an inclosed balcony, the three
windows of which,--a large one in the center and two smaller ones
at the side,--sent a flood of light in over the great writing table
which filled nearly the entire balcony.  Inside the room, near the
balcony, stood a divan covered with a bearskin rug.  Upon this
divan I spent many of my hours in Paris, occupied in the smoking of
my friend's excellent cigars, and the sampling of his superlatively
good whisky.  At the same time I could lie staring up at the tops
of the trees in the Luxembourg Gardens, while Lucien worked at his
desk.  For, unlike most writers, he could work best when he was not

"If I remained away several days, he would invariably ring my bell
early some morning, and drag me out of bed with the remark: 'The
whisky is ready.  I can't write if you are not there.'

"During the particular days of which I shall tell you, he was
engaged in the writing of a fantastic novelette, 'The Force of the
Wind,' a work which interested him greatly, and which he would
interrupt unwillingly at intervals to furnish copy for the well-
known newspaper that numbered him among the members of its staff.
His books were printed by the same house that did the printing for
the paper.

"Often, as I lay in my favorite position on the divan, the bell
would ring and we would he honored by a visit from the printer's
boy Adolphe, a little fellow in a blue blouse, the true type of
Paris gamin.  Adolphe rejoiced in a broken nose, a pair of crafty
eyes, and had his fists always full of manuscripts which he treated
with a carelessness that would have driven a literary novice to
despair.  The long rolls of yellow paper would hang out of his
trousers pockets as if ready to fall apart at his next movement.
And the disrespectful manner in which he crammed my friend Lucien's
scarcely dried essay into the breast of his blouse would have
certainly called forth remarks from a journalist of more self-

"But his eyes were so full of sly cunning, and there was such an
atmosphere of Paris about the stocky little fourteen-year-old chap,
that we would often keep him longer with us, and treat him to a
glass of anisette to hear his opinion of the writers whose work he
handled.  He was an amusing cross between a tricky little Paris
gamin and a real child, and he hit off the characteristics of the
various writers with as keen a touch of actuality as he could put
into his stories of how many centimes he had won that morning at
'craps' from his friend Pierre.  Pierre was another employee of the
printing house, Adolphe's comrade in his study of the mysteries of
Paris streets, and now his rival.  They were both in love with the
same girl, the fifteen-year-old daughter of the keeper of 'La
Prunelle' Cafe, and her favor was often the prize of the morning's

"Now and then this rivalry between the two young Parisians would
drop into a hand-to-hand fight.  I myself was witness to such a
skirmish one day, in front of 'La Prunelle.'  The rivals pulled
each other's hair mightily while the manuscripts flew about over
the pavement, and Virginie, in her short skirts, stood at the door
of the cafe and laughed until she seemed about to shake to pieces.

"Pierre was the strongest, and Adolphe came off with a bloody nose.
He gathered up his manuscripts in grim silence and left the
battlefield and the still laughing Virginie with an expression of
deep anger on his wounded face.

"The following day, when I teased him a little because of his
defeat, he smiled a sly smile and remarked:

"'Yes, but I won a franc from him, the big stupid animal.  And so
it was I, after all, who took Virginie out that evening.  We went
to the Cafe "Neant," where I let them put me in the coffin and
pretend to be decaying, to amuse her.  She thought it was lots of

"One morning Lucien had come for me as usual, put me on the divan,
and seated himself at his writing table.  He was just putting the
last words to his novel, and the table was entirely covered with
the scattered leaves, closely written.  I could just see his neck
as he sat there, a thin-sinewed, expressive neck.  He bent over his
work, blind and deaf for anything else.  I lay there and gazed out
over the tops of the trees in the park up into the blue summer sky.
The window on the left side of the desk stood wide open, for it was
a warm and sultry day.  I sipped my whisky slowly.  The air was
heavy, and thunder threatened in the distance.  After a little
while the clouds gathered together, heavy, low-hanging, copper-
hued, real thunder clouds, and the trees in the park rustled
softly.  The air was stifling, and lay heavy as lead on my breast.


"Lucien did not hear or see anything, his pen flew over the paper.

"I fell hack lazily on my divan.

"Then, suddenly, there was a mighty tumult.  A strong gust of wind
swept through the street, bending the trees in the gardens quite
out of my horizon.  With a crash the right-hand window in the
balcony flew wide open, and like a cyclone, the wind swept through,
clearing the table in an instant of all the loose sheets of paper
that had lain scattered about it.

"'The devil!  Why don't you shut the window!' I cried, springing up
from the sofa.

"'Spare your energy, it's too late,' said Lucien with a gentle
mockery in his soft voice.  'Look there!'--he pointed out into the
street, where his sheets of paper went swirling about in the heavy
air like white doves.

"A second later came the rain, a veritable cloud-burst.  We shut
the windows and gave ourselves up to melancholy thoughts about the
lost manuscript, the recovery of which now seemed utterly hopeless.

"'That's one thousand francs, at least, that the wind has robbed me
of,' sighed Lucien.  'Well, enfin, that doesn't matter so much.
But do you know anything more tiresome than to work over the same
subject a second time?  I can't think of doing it.  It would fairly
make me sick to try it.'

"We were in a sad mood that morning.  When we went out to breakfast
at about two o'clock, we looked about for some traces of the lost

"There was nothing to be seen.  It had vanished completely, whirled
off to all four corners of the earth probably, this manuscript from
which Lucien had expected so much.  Truly it was 'The Force of the

               .       .      .       .       .

"Now comes the strange part of the story.  One morning, two weeks
later, Lucien stood in the door of my little room, pale as a ghost.
He had a bundle of printer's proofs in his hand, and held them out
to me without a word.

"I looked at it and read:

"'"The Force of the Wind," by Lucien F.'

"It was a good bundle of proofs, the entire first proofs of
Lucien's novel, that novel the manuscript of which we had seen
blown out of the balcony window and whirled away by the winds.

"'My dear man,' I exclaimed, as I handed him back the proofs.  'You
HAVE been industrious indeed, to write your entire novel over again
in so short a time--and to have proofs already--'

"Lucien did not answer.  He stood silent, staring at me with a
weird look in his otherwise so sensible eyes.  After a moment he

"'I did not write the novel over again.  I have not touched a pen
since the day the manuscript blew out of the window.'

"'Are you a sleep-walker, Lucien?'

"'Why do you ask?'

"'Why, that would be the only natural explanation.  They say we can
do a great many things in sleep, of which we know nothing when we
wake.  I've heard queer stories of that.  Men have committed
murders in their sleep.  It happens quite often that sleep-walkers
write letters in a handwriting they do not recognize when awake.'

"'I have never been a sleep-walker,' answered Lucien.

"'Oh, you never can tell,' I remarked.  'Would you rather explain
it as magic?  Or as the work of fairies?  Or do you believe in
ghosts?  Your muse has fascinated you, you mystic!'  And I laughed
and trilled a line from 'The Mascot,' which we had seen the evening
before at the Lyric.

"But my merriment did not seem to strike an answering note in
Lucien.  He turned from me in silence, and with an offended
expression took his hat and his proofs, and--humorist and skeptic
as he was ordinarily, he parted from me with the words, uttered in
a theatrical tone:

"'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in
thy philosophy.'

"He turned on his heel and left the room.

"To be candid, I was unpleasantly affected by the little scene.  I
could not for an instant doubt Lucien's honesty,--he was so pale,
so frightened almost--so touching in the alarm and excitement of
his soul.  Of course the only explanation that I could see was that
he had written his novel in a sleep-walking state.

"For certainly no printer could set up type from a manuscript that
did not exist,--to say nothing of printing it and sending out

"Several days passed, but Lucien did not come near me.  I went to
his place once or twice, but the door was locked.  Had the devil
carried him off bodily?  Or had this strange and inexplicable
occurrence robbed him of his sanity, and robbed me of his
friendship and his excellent whisky?

"After three useless attempts to find him at home, and after
writing him a letter which he did not answer, I gave up Lucien
without any further attempt to understand his enigmatical behavior.
A short time after, I left for my home without having seen or heard
anything more of him.

                 .       .      .       .       .

"Months passed.  I remained at home, and one evening when, during
the course of a gay party, the conversation came around to the
subject of mysticism and occult occurrences, I dished up my story
of the enigmatical manuscript.  The Unknown, the Occult, was the
rage just then, and my story was received with great applause and
called forth numerous quotations as to 'more things in heaven and
earth.'  I came to think so much of it myself that I wrote it out
and sent it to Professor Flammarion, who was just then making a
study of the Unknown, which he preserved in his later book

"The occupying myself with the story brought my mind around again
to memories of Lucien.  One day, I saw a notice in Le Figaro to the
effect that his book, 'The Force of the Wind,' had appeared in a
second large edition, and had aroused much attention, particularly
in spiritualistic circles.  I seemed to see him again before me,
with his long nervous neck, which was so expressive.  The vision of
this neck rose up before me whenever I drank the same sort of
whisky that I had drunk so often with him, and the longing to hear
something more of my lost friend came over me.  I sat down one
evening when in a sentimental mood, and wrote to him, asking him to
tell me something of himself and to send me his book.

"A week later I received the little book and the following letter
which I have here in my pocket.  It is somewhat crumpled, for I
have read it several times.  But no matter.  I will read it to you
now, if you will pardon my awkward translating of the French

"Here it is:


"Many thanks for your letter.  Here is the book.  I have to thank
you also that you did not lay my behavior of your last days in
Paris up against me.  It must have seemed strange to you.  I will
try to explain it.

"I have been nervous from childhood.  The fact that most of my
books have treated of fantastic subjects,--somewhat in the manner
of Edgar Allan Poe--has made me more susceptible for all that world
which lies beyond and about the world of every-day life.  I have
sought after,--and yet feared--the mystical; cool and lucid as I
can be at times, I have always had an inclination for the
enigmatical, the Unknown.

"But the first thing that ever happened in my life that I could not
explain or understand was the affair of the manuscript.  You
remember the day I stood in your room?  I must have looked the
picture of misery.  The affair had played more havoc with my nerves
than you can very well understand.  Your mockery hurt me, and yet
under all I felt ashamed of my own thoughts concerning this foolish
occurrence.  I could not explain the phenomenon, and I shivered at
the things that it suggested to me.  In this condition, which
lasted several weeks, I could not bear to see you or anyone else,
and I was impolite enough even to leave your letter unanswered.

"The book appeared and made a hit, since that sort of thing was the
center of interest just then.  But almost a month passed before I
could arouse myself from that condition of fear and--I had almost
said, softening of the brain--which prevented my enjoyment of my

"Then the explanation came.  Thanks to this occurrence I know now
that I shall never again be in danger of being 'haunted.'

"And I know now that Chance can bring about stranger happenings
than can any fancied visitations from the spirit world.  Here you
have the story of this 'mystic' occurrence, which came near
endangering my sanity, and which turns out to be a chance
combination of a gust of wind, a sudden downpour of rain, and the
strange elements in the character of our little friend Adolphe the
printer's boy.

"You remember that funny little chap with the crafty eye, his
talent for gambling, and his admiration for the girl of 'La
Prunelle'?  A queer little mixture this child who has himself alone
to look to for livelihood and care, the typical race of the Paris
streets, the modified gamin from 'Les Miserables.'

"About a month after the appearance of my book I lay on the divan
one day,--your favorite place, you remember?--and lost myself in
idle reasonings on the same old subject that never left my mind day
or night, when the bell rang and Adolphe appeared, to call for the
essay on 'Le Boulevarde.'  There was an unusually nervous gleam in
his eyes that day.  I gave him an anisette and tried to find out
what his trouble was.  I did find it out, and I found out a good
deal more besides.

"Thanks to his good fortune as a gambler, Virginie came to look
upon him with favor.  Pierre was quite out of the race and
Adolphe's affection was reciprocated as much as his heart could
desire.  But with his good fortune in love came all the suffering,
all the torture, the suspicions that tear the hearts of us men when
we set our hopes upon a woman's truth.  Young as he was he went
through them all, and now he was torturing himself with the thought
that she did not really love him and was only pretending, while she
gave her heart to another.  Perhaps he was right--why not?

"I talked to Adolphe as man to man, and managed to bring back a
gleam of his usual jollity and sly humor.  He took another glass of
anisette, and said suddenly:

"'M. Lucien--I did something--'

"'Did what?' I asked.

"'Something I should have told you long ago--it was wrong, and
you've always been so nice to me--'

"You remember the day, two months ago, when we had such a sudden
wind and rain storm, a regular cloud-burst?  I was down here in
this neighborhood fetching manuscripts from M. Labouchere and M.
Laroy.  I was to have come up here for copy from you, too.  But
then--you'll understand after all I've been telling you,--I came
around past 'La Prunelle' and Virginie stood in the doorway, and
she'd promised to go out with me that evening.  So I ran up to
speak to her.  And then when I went on again, I saw a sheet with
your writing lying in the street.  You know I know all the
gentlemen's writing, whose copy I fetch.  Then I was frightened.  I
thought to myself, 'The devil,' I thought, 'here I've lost M.
Lucien's manuscript.'  I couldn't remember calling for it, but I
thought I must have done so before I got M. Laroy's.  I can't
remember much except Virginie these days.  I took up the sheet and
saw three others a little further on.  And I saw a lot more shining
just behind the railing of the Luxembourg Garden.  You know how
hard it rained.  The water held the paper down, so the wind
couldn't carry it any further.  I ran into the Garden and picked up
all the sheets, thirty-two of them.  All of them, except the first
four I found in the street, had blown in behind the railing.  And I
can tell you I was precious glad that I had them all together.  I
ran back to the office, told them I had dropped the manuscript in
the street, but asked them not to say anything to you about it.
But the sheets were all there,--you always number them so clearly,
and 'handsome August,' the compositer, promised he wouldn't tell on
me.  I knew if the foreman heard of it, he'd put me out, for he had
a grudge against me.  So nobody knew anything about it.  But I
thought I ought to tell you, 'cause you've been so nice to me.
Maybe you'll understand how one gets queer at times, when a girl
like Virginie tells you she likes you better than Pierre, and yet
you think she might deceive you for his sake--that big, stupid
animal--  But now I'll be going.  Much obliged for your kindness,
M. Lucien, and for the anisette--'  And he left me.

"There you have the explanation, the very simple and natural
explanation of the phenomenon that almost drove me crazy.

"The entire 'supernatural' occurrence was caused by a careless
boy's love affairs, by a gust of southwest wind, by a sudden heavy
rain, and by the chance that I had used English ink, the kind that
water cannot blur.  All these simple natural things made me act so
foolishly toward a good friend, the sort of friend I have always
known you to be.  Let me hear from you, and tell me what you people
up North think of my book.  I give you my word that the 'Unknown
Powers' shall never again make me foolish enough to risk losing
your friendship!



"So this is my story.  Yes, 'there are more things in heaven and
earth--'  But the workings of Chance are the strangest of all.  And
this whisky is really very good.  Here's to you."

Bernhard Severin Ingemann

The Sealed Room

For many years there stood in a side street in Kiel an
unpretentious old frame house which had a forbidding, almost
sinister appearance, with its old-fashioned balcony and its
overhanging upper stories.  For the last twenty years the house had
been occupied by a greatly respected widow, Madame Wolff, to whom
the dwelling had come by inheritance.  She lived there quietly with
her one daughter, in somewhat straitened circumstances.

What gave the house a mysterious notoriety, augmenting the sinister
quality in its appearance, was the fact that one of its rooms, a
corner room on the main floor, had not been opened for generations.
The door was firmly fastened and sealed with plaster, as well as
the window looking out upon the street.  Above the door was an old
inscription, dated 1603, which threatened sudden death and eternal
damnation to any human being who dared to open the door or efface
the inscription.  Neither door nor window had been opened in the
two hundred years that had passed since the inscription was put up.
But for a generation back or more, the partition wall and the
sealed door had been covered with wall paper, and the inscription
had been almost forgotten.

The room adjoining the sealed chamber was a large hall, utilized
only for rare important events.  Such an occasion arose with the
wedding of the only daughter of the house.  For that evening the
great hall, as it was called, was brilliantly decorated and
illuminated for a ball.  The building had deep cellars and the old
floors were elastic.  Madame Wolff had in vain endeavored to avoid
using the great hall at all, for the foolish old legend of the
sealed chamber aroused a certain superstitious dread in her heart,
and she rarely if ever entered the hall herself.  But merry Miss
Elizabeth, her pretty young daughter, was passionately fond of
dancing, and her mother had promised that she should have a ball on
her wedding day.  Her betrothed, Secretary Winther, was also a good
dancer, and the two young people combated the mother's prejudice
against the hall and laughed at her fear of the sealed room.  They
thought it would be wiser to appear to ignore the stupid legend
altogether, and thus to force the world to forget it.  In spite of
secret misgivings Madame Wolff yielded to their arguments.  And for
the first time in many years the merry strains of dance music were
heard in the great hall that lay next the mysterious sealed

The bridal couple, as well as the wedding guests, were in the
gayest mood, and the ball was an undoubted success.  The dancing
was interrupted for an hour while supper was served in an adjoining
room.  After the repast the guests returned to the hall, and it was
several hours more before the last dance was called.  The season
was early autumn and the weather still balmy.  The windows had been
opened to freshen the air.  But the walls retained their dampness
and suddenly the dancers noticed that the old wall paper which
covered the partition wall between the hall and the sealed chamber
had been loosened through the jarring of the building, and had
fallen away from the sealed door with its mysterious inscription.

The story of the sealed chamber had been almost forgotten by most
of those present, forgotten with many other old legends heard in
childhood.  The inscription thus suddenly revealed naturally
aroused great interest, and there was a general curiosity to know
what the mysterious closed room might hide.  Conjectures flew from
mouth to mouth.  Some insisted that the closed door must hide the
traces of a hideous murder, or some other equally terrible crime.
Others suggested that perhaps the room had been used as a hiding
place for garments and other articles belonging to some person who
had died of a pestilence, and that the room had been sealed for
fear of spreading the disease.  Still others thought that in the
sealed chamber there might be found a secret entrance from the
cellars, which had made the room available as a hiding place for
robbers or smugglers.  The guests had quite forgotten their dancing
in the interest awakened by the sight of the mysterious door.

"For mercy's sake, don't let's go too near it!" exclaimed some of
the young ladies.  But the majority thought it would be great fun
to see what was hidden there.  Most of the men said that they
considered it foolish not to have opened the door long ago, and
examined the room.  The young bridegroom did not join in this
opinion, however.  He upheld the decision of his mother-in-law not
to allow any attempt to effect an entrance into the room.  He knew
that there was a clause in the title deeds to the house which made
the express stipulation that no owner should ever permit the corner
room to be opened.  There was discussion among the guests as to
whether such a clause in a title deed could be binding for several
hundred years, and many doubted its validity at any time.  But most
of them understood why Madame Wolff did not wish any investigation,
even should any of those present have sufficient courage to dare
the curse and break open the door.

"Nonsense!  What great courage is necessary for that?" exclaimed
Lieutenant Flemming Wolff, a cousin of the bride of the evening.
This gentleman had a reputation that was not of the best.  He was
known to live mostly on debt and pawn tickets, and was of a most
quarrelsome disposition.  As a duelist he was feared because of his
specialty.  This was the ability, and the inclination, through a
trick in the use of the foils, to disfigure his opponent's face
badly, without at all endangering his life.  In this manner he had
already sadly mutilated several brave officers and students, who
had had the bad luck to stand up against him.  He himself was
anything but pleasant to look upon, his natural plainness having
been rendered repellent by a life of low debauchery.  He cherished
a secret grudge against the bridegroom and bitter feelings toward
the bride, because the latter had so plainly shown her aversion for
him when he had ventured to pay suit to her.

The family had not desired any open break with this disagreeable
relative, and had therefore sent him an invitation to the wedding.
They had taken it for granted that, under the circumstances, he
would prefer to stay away.  But he had appeared at the ball, and,
perhaps to conceal his resentment, he had been the most
indefatigable dancer of the evening.  At supper he had partaken
freely of the strongest wines, and was plainly showing the effect
of them by this time.  His eyes rolled wildly, and those who knew
him took care not to contradict him, or to have anything to say to
him at all.

With a boastful laugh he repeated his assertion that it didn't take
much courage to open a sealed door, especially when there might be
a fortune concealed behind it.  In his opinion it was cowardly to
let oneself be frightened by a century-old legend.  HE wouldn't let
that bother him if HE had influence enough in the family to win the
daughter and induce the mother to give a ball in the haunted hall.
With this last hit he hoped to arouse the young husband's ire.  But
the latter merely shrugged his shoulders and turned away with a
smile of contempt.

Lieutenant Wolff fired up at this, and demanded to know whether the
other intended to call his, the lieutenant's, courage into question
by his behavior.

"Not in the slightest, when it is a matter of obtaining a loan, or
of mutilating an adversary with a trick at fencing," answered the
bridegroom angrily, taking care, however, that neither the bride
nor any of the other ladies should hear his words.  Then he
continued in a whisper: "But I don't believe you'd have the courage
to remain here alone and in darkness, before this closed door, for
a single hour.  If you wish to challenge me for this doubt, I am at
your disposal as soon as you have proven me in the wrong.  But I
choose the weapons."

"They must be chosen by lot, sir cousin," replied the lieutenant,
his cheek pale and his jaws set.  "I will expect you to breakfast
to-morrow morning at eight o'clock."

The bridegroom nodded, and took the other's cold dry hand for an
instant.  The men who had overheard the short conversation looked
upon it as a meaningless incident, the memory of which would
disappear from the lieutenant's brain with the vanishing wine

The ball was now over.  The bride left the hall with her husband
and several of the guests who were to accompany the young couple to
their new home.  The lights went out in the old house.  The door of
the dancing hall had been locked from the outside.  Lieutenant
Flemming Wolff remained alone in the room, having hidden himself in
a dark corner where he had not been seen by the servants, who had
extinguished the lights and locked the door.  The night watchman
had just called out two o'clock when the solitary guest found
himself, still giddy from the heavy wine, alone in the great dark
hall in front of the mysterious door.

The windows were at only a slight elevation from the street, and a
spring would take him to safety should his desire to remain there,
or to solve the mystery of the sealed room, vanish.  But next
morning all the windows in the great hall were found closed, just
as the servants had left them the night before.  The night watchman
reported that he had heard a hollow-sounding crash in that
unoccupied part of the house during the night.  But that was
nothing unusual, as there was a general belief in the neighborhood
that the house was haunted.

For hollow noises were often heard there, and sounds as of money
falling on the floor, and rattling and clinking as of a factory
machine.  Enlightened people, it is true, explained these sounds as
echoes of the stamping and other natural noises from a large stable
just behind the old house.  But in spite of these explanations and
their eminent feasibility, the dread of the unoccupied portion of
the house was so great that not even the most reckless man servant
could be persuaded to enter it alone after nightfall.

Next morning at eight o'clock Winther appeared at his mother-in-
law's door, saying that he had forgotten something of importance in
the great hall the night before.  Madame Wolff had not yet arisen,
but the maid who let in the early visitor noticed with surprise
that he had a large pistol sticking out of one of his pockets.

Winther had been to his cousin's apartment and found it locked.  He
now entered the great hall, and at first glance thought it empty.
To his alarm and astonishment, however, he saw that the sealed door
had been broken open.  He approached it with anxiety, and found his
wife's cousin, the doughty duelist, lying pale and lifeless on the
threshold.  Beside him lay a large stone which had struck his head
in falling and must have killed him at once.  Over the door was a
hole in the wall, just the size of the stone.  The latter had
evidently rested on the upper edge of the door, and must certainly
have fallen on its opening.  The unfortunate man lay half in the
mysterious chamber and half in the hall, just as he must have
fallen when the stone struck him.

The formal investigation of the closed room was made in the
presence of the police authorities.  It contained nothing but a
small safe which was built into the wall.  When the safe had been
opened by force, an inner chamber, which had to be broken open by
itself, was found to contain a number of rolls of gold pieces, many
jewels and numerous notes and I. O. U.'s.  The treasure was covered
by an old document.  From this latter it was learned that the owner
of the house two hundred years ago had been a silk weaver by the
name of Flemming Ambrosius Wolff.  He was said to have lent money
on security for many years, but had died apparently a poor man,
because he had so carefully hidden his riches that little of it was
found after his death.

With a niggardliness that bordered on madness, he had believed that
he could hide his treasure forever by shutting it up in the sealed
room.  The curse over the door was to frighten away any venturesome
mortal, and further security was given by the clause in the title

The universally disliked Lieutenant Flemming Wolff must have had
many characteristics in common with this disagreeable old ancestor,
to whose treasure he would have fallen heir had he not lost his
life in the discovering of it.  The old miser had not hidden his
wealth for all eternity, as he had hoped, but had only brought
about the inheriting of it by Madame Wolff, the owner of the house,
and the next of kin.  The first use to which this lady put the
money was to tear down the uncanny old building and to erect in its
stead a beautiful new home for her daughter and son-in-law.

Steen Steensen Blicher

The Rector of Veilbye

These extracts from the diary of Erik Sorensen, District Judge,
followed by two written statements by the rector of Aalso, give a
complete picture of the terrible events that took place in the
parish of Veilbye during Judge Sorensen's first year of office.
Should anyone be inclined to doubt the authenticity of these
documents let him at least have no doubt about the story, which is,
alas! only too sadly true.  The memory of these events is still
fresh in the district, and the events themselves have been the
direct cause of a change in the method of criminal trials.  A
suspected murderer is now tried through all the courts before his
conviction can be determined.  Readers versed in the history of law
will doubtless know by this during what epoch the story is laid.


[From the Diary of District Judge Erik Sorensen.]

Now am I, unworthy one, by the grace of God made judge over this
district.  May the Great Judge above give me wisdom and uprightness
that I may fulfill my difficult task in all humility!  From the
Lord alone cometh judgment.

It is not good that man should live alone.  Now that I am able to
support a wife I will look about me for a helpmeet.  I hear much
good said about the daughter of the Rector of Veilbye.  Since her
mother's death she has been a wise and economical keeper of her
father's house.  And as she and her brother the student are the
only children, she will inherit a tidy sum when the old man dies.

Morten Bruus of Ingvorstrup was here to-day and wanted to make me a
present of a fat calf.  But I answered him in the words of Moses,
"Cursed be he who taketh gifts."  He is of a very quarrelsome
nature, a sharp bargainer, and a boastful talker.  I do not want to
have any dealings with him, except through my office as judge.

I have prayed to God for wisdom and I have consulted with my own
heart, and I believe that Mistress Mette Quist is the only woman
with whom I could live and die.  But I will watch her for a time in
secret.  Beauty is deceptive and charm is a dangerous thing.  But I
must say that she is the most beautiful woman I have yet seen.

I think that Morten Bruus a very disagreeable person--I scarcely
know why myself.  But whenever I see him something comes over me,
something that is like the memory of an evil dream.  And yet it is
so vague and so faint, that I could not say whether I had really
ever seen the man in my dreams or not.  It may be a sort of
presentiment of evil; who knows?

He was here again and offered me a pair of horses--beautiful
animals--at a ridiculously low price.  It looked queer to me.  I
know that he paid seventy thalers for them, and he wanted to let me
have them for the same price.  They are at the least worth one
hundred thalers, if not more.  Was it intended for a bribe?  He may
have another lawsuit pending.  I do not want his horses.

I paid a visit to the Rector of Veilbye to-day.  He is a fine, God-
fearing man, but somewhat quick-tempered and dictatorial.  And he
is close with his money, too, as I could see.  Just as I arrived a
peasant was with him trying to be let off the payment of part of
his tithe.  The man is surely a rogue, for the sum is not large.
But the rector talked to him as I wouldn't have talked to a dog,
and the more, he talked the more violent he became.

Well, we all have our faults.  The rector meant well in spite of
his violence, for later on he told his daughter to give the man a
sandwich and a good glass of beer.  She is certainly a charming and
sensible girl.  She greeted me in a modest and friendly manner, and
my heart beat so that I could scarcely say a word in reply.  My
head farm hand served in the rectory three years.  I will question
him,--one often hears a straight and true statement from servants.

A surprise!  My farm hand Rasmus tells me that Morten Bruus came a-
wooing to the rectory at Veilbye some years back, but was sent away
with a refusal.  The rector seemed to be pleased with him, for the
man is rich.  But his daughter would not hear to it at all.  Pastor
Soren may have tried hard to persuade her to consent at first.  But
when he saw how much she disliked the man he let her do as she
would.  It was not pride on her part, Rasmus said, for she is as
simple and modest as she is good and beautiful.  And she knows that
her own father is peasant-born as well as Bruus.

Now I know what the Ingvorstrup horses were intended for.  They
were to blind the judge and to lead him aside from the narrow path
of righteousness.  The rich Morten Bruns covets poor Ole Anderson's
peat moor and pasture land.  It would have been a good bargain for
Morten even at seventy thalers.  But no indeed, my good fellow, you
don't know Erik Sorensen!

Rector Soren Quist of Veilbye came to see me this morning.  He has
a new coachman, Niels Bruus, brother to the owner of Ingvorstrup.
Neils is lazy and impertinent.  The rector wanted him arrested, but
he had no witnesses to back up his complaint.  I advised him to get
rid of the man somehow, or else to get along with him the best he
could until the latter's time was up.  The rector was somewhat
hasty at first, but later on he listened calmly and thanked me for
my good advice.  He is inclined to be violent at times, but can
always be brought to listen to reason.  We parted good friends.

I spent a charming day in Veilbye yesterday.  The rector was not at
home, but Mistress Mette received me with great friendliness.  She
sat by the door spinning when I arrived, and it seemed to me that
she blushed.  It was hardly polite for me to wait so long before
speaking.  When I sit in judgment I never lack for words, but in
the presence of this innocent maiden I am as stupid as the veriest
simpleton of a chicken thief.  But I finally found my voice and the
time passed quickly until the rector's return.  Then Mistress Mette
left us and did not return until she brought in our supper.

Just as she stepped through the doorway the rector was saying to
me, "Isn't it about time that you should think of entering into the
holy estate of matrimony?"  (We had just been speaking of a recent
very fine wedding in the neighborhood.)  Mistress Mette heard the
words and flushed a deep red.  Her father laughed and said to her,
"I can see, my dear daughter, that you have been standing before
the fire."

I shall take the good man's advice and will very soon try my fate
with her.  For I think I may take the rector's words to be a secret
hint that he would not object to me as a son-in-law.  And the
daughter?  Was her blush a favorable sign?

Poor Ole Anderson keeps his peat moor and his pasture land, but
rich Morten Bruus is angry at me because of it.  When he heard the
decision he closed his eyes and set his lips tight, and his face
was as pale as a whitewashed wall.  But he controlled himself and
as he went out he called back to his adversary, "Wish you joy of
the bargain, Ole Anderson.  The peat bog won't beggar me, and the
cattle at Ingvorstrup have all the hay they can eat."  I could hear
his loud laughter outside and the cracking of his whip.  It is not
easy to have to sit in judgment.  Every decision makes but one
enemy the more.

Yesterday was the happiest day of my life.  We celebrated our
betrothal in the Rectory of Veilbye.  My future father-in-law spoke
to the text, "I gave my handmaid into thy bosom" (Genesis xvi, 5).
His words touched my heart.  I had not believed that this serious
and sometimes brusque man could talk so sweetly.  When the
solemnity was over, I received the first kiss from my sweet
betrothed, and the assurance of her great love for me.

At supper and later on we were very merry.  Many of the dead
mother's kin were present.  The rector's family were too far away.
After supper we danced until daybreak and there was no expense
spared in the food and wine.  My future father-in-law was the
strongest man present, and could easily drink all the others under
the table.  The wedding is to take place in six weeks.  God grant
us rich blessings.

It is not good that my future father-in-law should have this Niels
Bruus in his service.  He is a defiant fellow, a worthy brother of
him of Ingvorstrup.  If it were I, he should have his wages and be
turned off, the sooner the better.  But the good rector is stubborn
and insists that Niels shall serve out his time.  The other day he
gave the fellow a box on the ear, at which Niels cried out that he
would make him pay for it.  The rector told me of this himself, for
no one else had been present.  I talked to Niels, but he would
scarcely answer me.  I fear he has a stubborn and evil nature.  My
sweet betrothed also en-treats her father to send the fellow away,
but the rector will not listen to reason.  I do not know what the
old man will do when his daughter leaves his home for mine.  She
saves him much worry and knows how to make all things smooth and
easy.  She will be a sweet wife for me.

As I thought, it turned out badly.  But there is one good thing
about it, Niels has now run off of himself.  The rector is greatly
angered, but I rejoice in secret that he is rid of that dangerous
man.  Bruus will probably seek retaliation, but we have law and
justice in the land to order such matters.

This was the way of it:  The rector had ordered Niels to dig up a
bit of soil in the garden.  After a time when he went out himself
to look at the work, he found Niels leaning on his spade eating
nuts.  He had not even begun to dig.  The rector scolded him, but
the fellow answered that he had not taken service as a gardener.
He received a good box on the ear for that.  At this he threw away
his spade and swore valiantly at his master.  The old rector lost
his temper entirely, seized the spade and struck at the man several
times.  He should not have done this, for a spade is a dangerous
weapon, especially in the hands of a man as strong as is the pastor
in spite of his years.  Niels fell to the ground as if dead.  But
when the pastor bent over him in alarm, he sprang up suddenly,
jumped the hedge and ran away to the woods.

This is the story of the unfortunate affair as my father-in-law
tells it to me.  My beloved Mette is much worried about it.  She
fears the man may do harm to the cattle, or set fire to the house,
or in some such way take his revenge.  But I tell her there is
little fear of that.

Three weeks more and my beloved leaves her father's house for mine.
She has been here and has gone over the house and the farm.  She is
much pleased with everything and praises our orderliness.  She is
an angel, and all who know her say that I am indeed a fortunate
man.  To God be the praise!

Strange, where that fellow Niels went to!  Could he have left the
country altogether?  It is an unpleasant affair in any case, and
there are murmurings and secret gossip among the peasants.  The
talk has doubtless started in Ingvorstrup.  It would not be well to
have the rector hear it.  He had better have taken my advice, but
it is not my province to school a servant of God, and a man so much
older than I.  The idle gossip may blow over ere long.  I will go
to Veilbye to-morrow and find out if he has heard anything.

The bracelet the goldsmith has made for me is very beautiful.  I am
sure it will please my sweet Mette.

My honored father-in-law is much distressed and downhearted.
Malicious tongues have repeated to him the stupid gossip that is
going about in the district.  Morten Bruus is reported to have said
that "he would force the rector to bring back his brother, if he
had to dig him out of the earth."  The fellow may be in hiding
somewhere, possibly at Ingvorstrup.  He has certainly disappeared
completely, and no one seems to know where he is.  My poor
betrothed is much grieved and worried.  She is alarmed by bad
dreams and by presentiments of evil to come.

God have mercy on us all!  I am so overcome by shock and horror
that I can scarcely hold the pen.  It has all come in one terrible
moment, like a clap of thunder.  I take no account of time, night
and morning are the same to me and the day is but a sudden flash of
lightning destroying the proud castle of my hopes and desires.  A
venerable man of God--the father of my betrothed--is in prison!
And as a suspected murderer!  There is still hope that he may be
innocent.  But this hope is but as a straw to a drowning man.  A
terrible suspicion rests upon him--And I, unhappy man that I am,
must be his judge.  And his daughter is my betrothed bride!  May
the Saviour have pity on us!

It was yesterday that this horrible thing came.  About half an hour
before sunrise Morten Bruus came to my house and had with him the
cotter Jens Larsen of Veilbye, and the widow and daughter of the
shepherd of that parish.  Morten Bruus said to me that he had the
Rector of Veilbye under suspicion of having killed his brother
Niels.  I answered that I had heard some such talk but had regarded
it as idle and malicious gossip, for the rector himself had assured
me that the fellow had run away.  "If that was so," said Morten,
"if Niels had really intended to run away, he would surely at first
come to me to tell me of it.  But it is not so, as these good
people can prove to you, and I demand that you shall hear them as
an officer of the law."

"Think well of what you are doing," I said.  "Think it over well,
Morten Bruus, and you, my good people.  You are bringing a terrible
accusation against a respected and unspotted priest and man of God.
If you can prove nothing, as I strongly suspect, your accusations
may cost you dear."

"Priest or no priest," cried Bruus, "it is written, 'thou shalt not
kill!'  And also is it written, that the authorities bear the sword
of justice for all men.  We have law and order in the land, and the
murderer shall not escape his punishment, even if he have the
district judge for a son-in-law."

I pretended not to notice his thrust and began, "It shall be as you
say.  Kirsten Mads' daughter, what is it that you know of this
matter in which Morten Bruus accuses your rector?  Tell the truth,
and the truth only, as you would tell it before the judgment seat
of the Almighty.  The law will demand from you that you shall later
repeat your testimony under oath."

The woman told the following story:  The day on which Niels Bruus
was said to have run away from the rectory, she and her daughter
were passing along the road near the rectory garden a little after
the noon hour.  She heard some one calling and saw that it was
Niels Bruus looking out through the garden hedge.  He asked the
daughter if she did not want some nuts and told the women that the
rector had ordered him to dig in the garden, but that he did not
take the command very seriously and would much rather eat nuts.  At
that moment they heard a door open in the house and Niels said,
"Now I'm in for a scolding."  He dropped back behind the hedge and
the women heard a quarrel in the garden.  They could hear the words
distinctly but they could see nothing, as the hedge was too high.
They heard the rector cry, "I'll punish you, you dog.  I'll strike
you dead at my feet!"  Then they heard several sounding slaps, and
they heard Niels curse back at the rector and call him evil names.
The rector did not answer this, but the women heard two dull blows
and saw the head of a spade and part of the handle rise and fall
twice over the hedge.  Then it was very quiet in the garden, and
the widow and her daughter were frightened and hurried on to their
cattle in the field.  The daughter gave the same testimony, word
for word.  I asked them if they had not seen Niels Bruus coming out
of the garden.  But they said they had not, although they had
turned back several times to look.

This accorded perfectly with what the rector had told me.  It was
not strange that the women had not seen the man run out of the
garden, for he had gone toward the wood which is on the opposite
side of the garden from the highroad.  I told Marten Bruus that
this testimony was no proof of the supposed murder, especially as
the rector himself had narrated the entire occurrence to me exactly
as the women had described it.  But he smiled bitterly and asked me
to examine the third witness, which I proceeded to do.

Jens Larsen testified that he was returning late one evening from
Tolstrup (as he remembered, it was not the evening of Niels Bruus's
disappearance, but the evening of the following day), and was
passing the rectory garden on the easterly side by the usual
footpath.  From the garden he heard a noise as of some one digging
in the earth.  He was frightened at first for it was very late, but
the moon shone brightly and he thought he would see who it was that
was at work in the garden at that hour.  He put off his wooden
shoes and pushed aside the twigs of the hedge until he had made a
peep hole.  In the garden he saw the rector in his usual house
coat, a white woolen nightcap on his head.  He was busily smoothing
down the earth with the flat of his spade.  There was nothing else
to be seen.  Just then the rector had started and partly turned
toward the hedge, and the witness, fearing he might be discovered,
slipped down and ran home hastily.

Although I was rather surprised that the rector should be working
in his garden at so late an hour, I still saw nothing in this
statement that could arouse suspicion of murder.  I gave the
complainant a solemn warning and advised him not only to let fall
his accusation, but to put an end to the talk in the parish.  He
replied, "Not until I see what it is that the rector buried in his

"That will be too late," I said.  "You are playing a dangerous
game.  Dangerous to your own honor and welfare."

"I owe it to my brother," he replied, "and I demand that the
authorities shall not refuse me assistance."

My office compelled me to accede to his demands.  Accompanied by
the accuser and his witnesses I took my way to Veilbye.  My heart
was very heavy, not so much because of any fear that we might find
the missing man buried in the garden, but because of the surprise
and distress I must cause the rector and my beloved.  As we went on
our way I thought over how severely the law would allow me to
punish the calumniators.  But alas, Merciful Heavens!  What a
terrible discovery was in store for me!

I had wished to have a moment alone with the rector to prepare him
for what was coming.  But as I drove through the gate Morten Bruus
spurred his horse past me and galloped up to the very door of the
house just as the rector opened it.  Bruus cried out in his very
face, "People say that you have killed my brother and buried him in
your garden.  I am come with the district judge to seek for him."

The poor rector was so shocked and astounded that he could not find
a word to answer.  I sprang from my wagon and addressed him:  "You
have now heard the accusation.  I am forced by my office to fulfill
this man's demands.  But your own honor demands that the truth
shall be known and the mouth of slander silenced."

"It is hard enough," began the rector finally, "for a man in my
position to have to clear himself from such a suspicion.  But come
with me.  My garden and my entire house are open to you."

We went through the house to the garden.  On the way we met my
betrothed, who was startled at seeing Bruus.  I managed to whisper
hastily to her, "Do not be alarmed, dear heart.  Your enemies are
going to their own destruction."  Marten Bruus led the way to the
eastern side of the garden near the hedge.  We others followed with
the rector's farm hands, whom he himself had ordered to join us
with spades.

The accuser stood and looked about him until we approached.  Then
he pointed to one spot.  "This looks as if the earth had been
disturbed lately.  Let us begin here."

"Go to work at once," commanded the rector angrily.

The men set to work, but they were not eager enough to suit Bruus,
who seized a spade himself to fire them on.  A few strokes only
sufficed to show that the firm earth of this particular spot had
not been touched for many years.  We all rejoiced--except Bruus--
and the rector was very happy.  He triumphed openly over his
accuser, and laughed at him, "Can't you find anything, you

Bruus did not answer.  He pondered for a few moments, then called
out, "Jens Larsen, where was it you saw the rector digging?"

Jens Larsen had been standing to one side with his hands folded,
watching the work.  At Bruus's words he aroused himself as if from
a dream, looked about him and pointed to a corner of the garden
several yards from where we stood.  "I think it was over there."

"What's that, Jens!" cried the rector angrily.  "When did I dig

Paying no heed to this, Morten Bruus called the men to the corner
in question.  The earth here was covered by some withered cabbage
stalks, broken twigs, and other brush which he pushed aside
hurriedly.  The work began anew.

I stood by the rector talking calmly with him about the punishment
we could mete out to the dastardly accuser, when one of the men
suddenly cried out with an oath.  We looked toward them; there lay
a hat half buried in the loose earth.  "We have found him," cried
Bruus.  "That is Niels's hat; I would know it anywhere."

My blood seemed turned to ice.  All my hopes dashed to the ground.
"Dig! Dig!" cried the bloodthirsty accuser, working himself with
all his might.  I looked at the rector.  He was ghastly pale,
staring with wide-open eyes at the horrible spot.

Another shout!  A hand was stretched up through the earth as if to
greet the workers.  "See there!" screamed Bruus.  "He is holding
out his hand to me.  Wait a little, Brother Niels!  You will soon
be avenged!"

The entire corpse was soon uncovered.  It was the missing man.  His
face was not recognizable, as decomposition had begun, and the nose
was broken and laid flat by a blow.  But all the garments, even to
the shirt with his name woven into it, were known to those who
stood there.  In one ear was a leaden ring, which, as we all knew,
Niels Bruus had worn for many years.

"Now, priest," cried Marten Bruus, "come and lay your hand on this
dead man if you dare to!"

"Almighty God!" sighed the rector, looking up to heaven, "Thou art
my witness that I am innocent.  I struck him, that I confess, and I
am bitterly sorry for it.  But he ran away.  God Almighty alone
knows who buried him here."

"Jens Larsen knows also," cried Bruus, "and I may find more
witnesses.  Judge!  You will come with me to examine his servants.
But first of all I demand that you shall arrest this wolf in
sheep's clothing."

Merciful God, how could I doubt any longer?  The truth was clear to
all of us.  But I was ready to sink into the earth in my shock and
horror.  I was about to say to the rector that he must prepare to
follow me, when he himself spoke to me, pale and trembling like an
aspen leaf.  "Appearances are against me," he said, but this is the
work of the devil and his angels.  There is One above who will
bring my innocence to light.  Come, judge, I will await my fate in
fetters.  Comfort my daughter.  Remember that she is your betrothed

He had scarcely uttered the words when I heard a scream and a fall
behind us.  It was my beloved who lay unconscious on the ground.  I
thought at first that she was dead, and God knows I wished that I
could lie there dead beside her.  I raised her in my arms, but her
father took her from me and carried her into the house.  I was
called to examine the wound on the dead man's head.  The cut was
not deep, but it had evidently fractured the skull, and had plainly
been made by a blow from a spade or some similar blunt instrument.

Then we all entered the house.  My beloved had revived again.  She
fell on my neck and implored me, in the name of God, to help her
father in his terrible need.  She begged me by the memory of our
mutual love to let her follow him to prison, to which I consented.
I myself accompanied him to Grenaa, but with a mournful heart.
None of us spoke a word on the sad journey.  I parted from them in
deep distress.  The corpse was laid in a coffin and will be buried
decently to-morrow in Veilbye churchyard.

To-morrow I must give a formal hearing to the witnesses.  God be
merciful to me, unfortunate man!

Would that I had never obtained this position for which I--fool
that I am--strove so hard.

As the venerable man of God was brought before me, fettered hand
and foot, I felt as Pilate must have felt as they brought Christ
before him.  It was to me as if my beloved--God grant her comfort,
she lies ill in Grenaa--had whispered to me, "Do nothing against
that good man!"

Oh, if he only were innocent, but I see no hope!

The three first witnesses repeated their testimony under oath, word
for word.  Then came statements by the rector's two farm hands and
the dairy maid.  The men had been in the kitchen on the fatal day,
and as the windows were open they had heard the quarrel between the
rector and Niels.  As the widow had stated, these men had also
heard the rector say, "I will strike you dead at my feet!"  They
further testified that the rector was very quick-tempered, and that
when angered he did not hesitate to strike out with whatever came
into his hand.  He had struck a former hand once with a heavy maul.

The girl testified that on the night Jens Larsen claimed to have
seen the rector in the garden, she had lain awake and heard the
creaking of the garden door.  When she looked out of the window she
had seen the rector in his dressing gown and nightcap go into the
garden.  She could not see what he was doing there.  But she heard
the door creak again about an hour later.

When the witnesses had been heard, I asked the unfortunate man
whether he would make a confession, or else, if he had anything to
say in his own defense.  He crossed his hands over his breast and
said, "So help me God, I will tell the truth.  I have nothing more
to say than what I have said already.  I struck the dead man with
my spade.  He fell down, but jumped up in a moment and ran away
from the garden out into the woods.  What may have happened to him
there, or how he came to be buried in my garden, this I do not
know.  When Jens Larsen and my servant testify that they saw me at
night in the garden, either they are lying, or Satan has blinded
them.  I can see this--unhappy man that I am--that I have no one to
turn to for help here on earth.  Will He who is in heaven be silent
also, then must I bow to His inscrutable will."  He bowed his head
with a deep sigh.

Some of those present began to weep, and a murmur arose that he
might possibly be innocent.  But this was only the effect of the
momentary sympathy called out by his attitude.  My own heart indeed
spoke for him.  But the judge's heart may not dare to dictate to
his brain or to his conscience.  My conviction forced me to declare
that the rector had killed Niels Bruus, but certainly without any
premeditation or intention to do so.  It is true that Niels Bruus
had often been heard to declare that he would "get even with the
rector when the latter least expected it."  But it is not known
that he had fulfilled his threat in any way.  Every man clings to
life and honor as long as he can.  Therefore the rector persists in
his denial.  My poor, dear Mette!  She is lost to me for this life
at least, just as I had learned to love her so dearly.

I have had a hard fight to fight to-day.  As I sat alone, pondering
over this terrible affair in which it is my sad lot to have to give
judgment, the door opened and the rector's daughter--I may no
longer call her my betrothed--rushed in and threw herself at my
feet.  I raised her up, clasped her in my arms and we wept together
in silence.  I was first to control myself.  "I know what you would
say, dear heart.  You want me to save your father.  Alas, God help
us poor mortals, I cannot do it!  Tell me, dearest one, tell me
truly, do you yourself believe your father to be innocent?"

She crossed her hands on her heart and sobbed, "I do not know!"
Then she burst into tears again.  "But he did not bury him in the
garden," she continued after a few moments.  "The man may have died
in the wood from the blow.  That may have happened--"

"But, dearest heart," I said, "Jens Larsen and the girl saw your
father in the garden that night."

She shook her head slowly and answered, "The evil one blinded their
eyes."  She wept bitterly again.

"Tell me, beloved," she began again, after a while, "tell me
frankly this much.  If God sends us no further enlightenment in
this unfortunate affair, what sentence must you give?"

She gazed anxiously at me, her lips trembling.

"If I did not believe," I began slowly, "that anyone else in my
place would be more severe than I, then I would gladly give up my
position at once and refuse to speak the verdict.  But I dare not
conceal from you that the mildest sentence that God, our king, and
our laws demand is, a life for a life."

She sank to her knees, then sprang up again, fell back several
steps as if afraid of me, and cried out: "Would you murder my
father?  Would you murder your betrothed bride?  See here!  See
this!"  She came nearer and held up her hand with my ring on it
before my eyes.  "Do you see this betrothal ring?  What was it my
father said when you put this ring upon my finger?  'I have given
my maid unto thy bosom!'  But you, you thrust the steel deep into
my bosom!"

Alas, every one of her words cut deep into my own heart.  "Dearest
love," I cried, "do not speak so.  You thrust burning irons into my
heart.  What would you have me do?  Acquit him, when the laws of
God and man condemn?"

She was silent, sobbing desperately.

"One thing I can do," I continued.  "If it be wrong may God forgive
me.  If the trial goes on to an end his life is forfeited, there is
no hope except in flight.  If you can arrange an escape I will
close my eyes.  I will not see or hear anything.  As soon as your
father was imprisoned, I wrote to your brother in Copenhagen.  He
can arrive any moment now.  Talk to him, make friends with the
jailer.  If you lack money, all I have is yours."

When I had finished her face flushed with joy, and she threw her
arms about my neck.  "God bless you for these words.  Were my
brother but here, he will know what to do.  But where shall we go?"
her tone changed suddenly and her arms dropped.  "Even should we
find a refuge in a foreign country I could never see you again!"
Her tone was so sad that my heart was near to breaking.

"Beloved," I exclaimed, "I will find you wherever you may hide
yourself!  Should our money not be sufficient to support us I can
work for us all.  I have learned to use the ax and the hoe."

She rejoiced again and kissed me many times.  We prayed to God to
bless our undertaking and parted with glad hearts.  I also hoped
for the best.  Doubts assail me, but God will find for us some
light in this darkness.

Two more new witnesses.  They bring nothing good, I fear, for Bruus
announced them with an expression I did not like.  He has a heart
of stone, which can feel nothing but malice and bitterness.  I give
them a hearing to-morrow.  I feel as if they had come to bear
witness against me myself.  May God strengthen my heart.

All is over.  He has confessed.

The court was in session and the prisoner had been brought in to
hear the testimony of the new witnesses.  These men stated as
follows:  On the night in question they were walking along the path
that led between the woods and the rectory garden.  A man with a
large sack on his back came out of the woods and walked ahead of
them toward the garden.  They could not see his face, but in the
bright moonlight his figure was clearly visible, and they could see
that he wore a loose green garment, like a dressing gown, and a
white nightcap.  The man disappeared through an opening in the
rectory garden fence.

Scarcely had the first witness ended his statement when the rector
turned ghastly pale, and gasped, in a voice that could scarcely be
heard, "I am ill."  They gave him a chair.

Bruus turned to his neighbor and exclaimed audibly, "That helped
the rector's memory."

The prisoner did not hear the words, but motioned to me and said,
"Lead me back to my prison.  I will talk to you there."  They did
as he demanded.

We set out at once for Grenaa.  The rector was in the wagon with
the jailer and the gendarme, and I rode beside them.

When the door of the cell was opened my beloved was making up her
father's bed, and over a chair by the bedside hung the fatal green
dressing gown.  My dear betrothed greeted me with a cry of joy, as
she believed that I was come to set her father free.  She hung
about the old man's neck, kissing away the tears that rolled
unhindered down his cheeks.  I had not the heart to undeceive her,
and I sent her out into the town to buy some things for us.

"Sit down, dear friend," said the rector, when we were alone.  He
seated himself on the bed, staring at the ground with eyes that did
not see.  Finally he turned toward me where I sat trembling, as if
it were my own sentence I was to hear, as in a manner it was.  "I
am a great sinner," he sighed, "God only knows how great.  His
punishment crushes me here that I may enter into His mercy

He grew gradually calmer and began:

"Since my childhood I have been hot-tempered and violent.  I could
never endure contradiction, and was always ready to give a blow.
But I have seldom let the sun go down upon my wrath, and I have
never borne hatred toward any man.  As a half-grown boy I killed
our good, kind watchdog in one of my fits of rage for some trifling
offense, and I have never ceased to regret it.  Later, as a student
in Leipzig, I let myself be carried away sufficiently to wound
seriously my adversary in one of our fencing bouts.  A merciful
fate alone saved me from becoming a murderer then.  It is for these
earlier sins that I am now being punished, but the punishment falls
doubly hard, now that I am an old man, a priest, a servant of the
Lord of Peace, and a father!  Ah, that is the deepest wound!"  He
sprang up and wrung his hands in deep despair.  I would have said
something to comfort him, but I could find no words for such

When he had controlled himself somewhat he sat down again and
continued: "To you, once my friend and now my judge, I will confess
this crime, which it seems beyond a doubt that I have committed,
although I am not conscious of having done so."  (I was startled at
this, as I had expected a remorseful confession.)  "Listen well to
what I shall now tell you.  That I struck the unfortunate man with
the spade, that he fell down and then ran away, this is all that I
know with full consciousness. . . .  What followed then?  Four
witnesses have seen that I fetched the body and buried it in my
garden--and now at last I am forced to believe that it must be
true.  These are my reasons for the belief.  "Three or four times
in my life I have walked in my sleep.  The last time--it may have
been nine or ten years ago--I was to have held a funeral service on
the following day, over the body of a man who had died a sudden and
terrible death.  I could not find a suitable text, until suddenly
there came to me the words of an old Greek philosopher, 'Call no
man fortunate until his death.'  It was in my mind that the same
idea was expressed in different words in the Holy Scriptures.  I
sought and sought, but could not find it.  At last I went to bed
much fatigued, and slept soundly.  Next morning, when I sat down at
my desk, to my great astonishment I saw there a piece of paper, on
which was written, 'Call no man happy until his end hath come'
(Sirach xi. 34), and following it was a funeral sermon, short, but
as good in construction as any I have ever written.  And all this
was in my own handwriting.  It was quite out of the question that
anyone could have entered the room during the night, as I had
locked it myself, and it had not been opened until I entered next
day.  I knew what had happened, as I could remember one or two such
occurrences in my life before.

"Therefore, dear friend, when the last witnesses gave their
testimony to-day, I suddenly remembered my sleepwalking exploits,
and I also remembered, what had slipped my mind before, that on the
morning after the night the body was buried I had found my dressing
gown in the hall outside of my bedroom.  This had surprised me, as
I always hung it over a chair near my bed.  The unfortunate victim
of my violence must have died in the woods from his wound, and in
my dream consciousness I must have seen this and gone to fetch the
body.  It must be so.  I know no other explanation.  God have mercy
on my sinful soul."  He was silent again, covering his face with
his hands and weeping bitterly.

I was struck dumb with astonishment and uncertainty.  I had always
suspected that the victim had died on the spot where he was buried,
although I could not quite understand how the rector had managed to
bury the body by day without being seen.  But I thought that he
might have covered it lightly with earth and twigs and finished his
work at night.  He was a man of sufficient strength of mind to have
done this.  When the latest witnesses were telling their story, I
noted the possible contradiction, and hoped it might prove a
loophole of escape.  But, alas, it was all only too true, and the
guilt of the rector proven beyond a doubt.  It was not at all
impossible for a man to do such things in his sleep.  Just as it
was quite possible that a man with a fractured skull could run some
distance before he fell to die.  The rector's story bore the stamp
of truth, although the doubt WILL come that he desired thus to save
a shred of honor for his name.

The prisoner walked up and down the room several times, then
stopping before me he said gravely:  "You have now heard my
confession, here in my prison walls.  It is your mouth that must
speak my sentence.  But what says your heart?"

I could scarcely utter the words, "My heart suffers beyond
expression.  I would willingly see it break if I could but save you
from a shameful death."  (I dared not mention to him my last hope
of escape in flight.)

"That is impossible," he answered.  "My life is forfeited.  My
death is just, and shall serve as a warning to others.  But promise
me that you will not desert my poor daughter.  I had thought to lay
her in your arms"--tears choked his voice--"but, alas, that fond
hope is vanished.  You cannot marry the daughter of a sentenced
murderer.  But promise me that you will watch over her as her
second father."  In deep sorrow and in tears I held his hand in
mine.  "Have you any news from my son?" he began again.  "I hope it
will be possible to keep him in ignorance of this terrible affair
until--until it is all over.  I could not bear to see him now.  And
now, dear friend, let us part, not to meet again except in the hall
of justice.  Grant me of your friendship one last service, let it
end soon.  I long for death.  Go now, my kind, sympathetic judge.
Send for me to-morrow to speak my sentence, and send to-day for my
brother in God, the pastor in Aalso.  He shall prepare me for
death.  God be with you."

He gave me his hand with his eyes averted.  I staggered from the
prison, hardly conscious of what I was doing.  I would have ridden
home without seeing his daughter had she not met me by the prison
door.  She must have seen the truth in my face, for she paled and
caught at my arm.  She gazed at me with her soul in her eyes, but
could not speak.  "Flee!  Save your father in flight!" was all I
could say.

I set spurs to my horse and rode home somehow.

To-morrow, then!

The sentence is spoken.

The accused was calmer than the judge.  All those present, except
his bitter enemy, were affected almost to tears.  Some whispered
that the punishment was too severe.

May God be a milder judge to me than I, poor sinner, am forced to
be to my fellow men.

She has been here.  She found me ill in bed.  There is no escape
possible.  He will not flee.  Everything was arranged and the
jailer was ready to help.  But he refuses, he longs for death.  God
be merciful to the poor girl.  How will she survive the terrible
day?  I am ill in body and soul, I can neither aid nor comfort her.
There is no word from the brother.

I feel that I am near death myself, as near perhaps as he is, whom
I sent to his doom.  Farewell, my own beloved bride. . . .  What
will she do? she is so strangely calm--the calm of wordless
despair.  Her brother has not yet come, and to-morrow--on the

Here the diary of Erik Sorensen stopped suddenly.  What followed
can be learned from the written and witnessed statements of the
pastor of Aalso, the neighboring parish to Veilbye.


It was during the seventeenth year of my term of office that the
terrible event happened in the neighborhood which filled all who
heard of it with shock and horror, and brought shame and disgrace
upon our holy calling.  The venerable Soren Quist, Rector of
Veilbye, killed his servant in a fit of rage and buried the body in
his garden.

He was found guilty at the official trial, through the testimony of
many witnesses, as well as through his own confession.  He was
condemned to death, and the sentence was carried out in the
presence of several thousand people on the little hill known as
Ravenshill, here in the field of Aalso.

The condemned man had asked that I might visit him in his prison.
I must state that I have never given the holy sacrament to a better
prepared or more truly repentant Christian.  He was calm to the
last, full of remorse for his great sin.  On the field of death he
spoke to the people in words of great wisdom and power, preaching
to the text from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, chap. ii., verse 6:
"He hath despised the priest in the indignation of his anger."  He
spoke of his violence and of its terrible results, and of his deep
remorse.  He exhorted his hearers to let his sin and his fate be an
example to them, and a warning not to give way to anger.  Then he
commended his soul to the Lord, removed his upper garments, bound
up his eyes with his own hand, then folded his hands in prayer.
When I had spoken the words, "Brother, be of good cheer.  This day
shalt thou be with thy Saviour in Paradise," his head fell by the

The one thing that made death bitter for him was the thought of his
children.  The son had been sent for from Copenhagen, but as we
afterwards learned, he had been absent from the city, and therefore
did not arrive until shortly after his father had paid the penalty
for his crime.

I took the daughter into my home, where she was brought, half
fainting, after they had led her father from the prison.  She had
been tending him lovingly all the days of his trial.  What made
even greater sorrow for the poor girl, and for the district judge
who spoke the sentence, was that these two young people had
solemnly plighted their troth but a few short weeks before, in the
rectory of Veilbye.  The son arrived just as the body of the
executed criminal was brought into my house.  It had been permitted
to us to bury the body with Christian rites, if we could do it in
secret.  The young man threw himself over the lifeless body.  Then,
clasping his sister in his arms, the two wept together in silence
for some while.  At midnight we held a quiet service over the
remains of the Rector of Veilbye, and the body was buried near the
door of Aalso church.  A simple stone, upon which I have carved a
cross, still stands to remind the passer-by of the sin of a most
unfortunate man.

The next morning his two children had disappeared.  They have never
been heard of since.  God knows to what far-away corner of the
world they have fled, to hide their shame and their sorrow.  The
district judge is very ill, and it is not believed that he will

May God deal with us all after His wisdom and His mercy!

O Lord, inscrutable are thy ways!

In the thirty-eighth year of my service, and twenty-one years after
my unfortunate brother in office, the Rector of Veilbye had been
beheaded for the murder of his servant, it happened one day that a
beggar came to my door.  He was an elderly man, with gray hair, and
walked with a crutch.  He looked sad and needy.  None of the
servants were about, so I myself went into the kitchen and gave him
a piece of bread.  I asked him where he came from.  He sighed and

"From nowhere in particular."

Then I asked him his name.  He sighed still deeper, looked about
him as if in fear, and said, "They once called me Niels Bruus."

I was startled, and said, "God have mercy on us!  That is a bad
name.  That is the name of a man who was killed many years back."

Whereat the man sighed still deeper and replied: "It would have
been better for me had I died then.  It has gone ill with me since
I left the country."

At this the hair rose on my head, and I trembled in every limb.
For it seemed to me that I could recognize him, and also it seemed
to me that I saw Morten Bruus before me in the flesh, and yet I had
laid the earth over him three years before.  I stepped back and
made the sign of the cross, for verily I thought it was a ghost I
saw before me.

But the man sat down in the chimney corner and continued to speak.
"Reverend father, they tell me my brother Morten is dead.  I have
been to Ingvorstrup, but the new owner chased me away.  Is my old
master, the Rector of Veilbye, still alive?"  Then it was that the
scales fell from my eyes and I saw into the very truth of this
whole terrible affair.  But the shock stunned me so that I could
not speak.  The man bit into his bread greedily and went on.  "Yes,
that was all Brother Morten's fault.  Did the old rector have much
trouble about it?"

"Niels!  Niels!" I cried from out the horror of my soul, "you have
a monstrous black sin upon your conscience!  For your sake that
unfortunate man fell by the ax of the executioner!"

The bread and the crutch fell from his hand, and he himself was
near to falling into the fire.  "May God forgive you, Morten!" he
groaned.  "God knows I didn't mean anything like that.  May my sin
be forgiven me!  But surely you only mean to frighten me!  I come
from far away, and have heard nothing.  No one but you, reverend
father, has recognized me.  I have told my name to no one.  When I
asked them in Veilbye if the rector was still there, they said that
he was."

"That is the new rector," I replied.  "Not he whom you and your
sinful brother have slain."

He wrung his hands and cried aloud, and then I knew that he had
been but a tool in the hands of that devil, Morten.  Therefore I
set to work to comfort him, and took him into my study that he
might calm himself sufficiently to tell me the detail of this
Satan's work.

This was the story as he tells it:  His brother Morten--truly a son
of Belial--cherished a deadly hatred toward pastor Soren Quist
since the day the latter had refused him the hand of his daughter.
As soon as he heard that the pastor's coachman had left him, he
persuaded Niels to take the place.

"Watch your chance well," he had said, "we'll play the black coat a
trick some day, and you will he no loser by it."

Niels, who was rough and defiant by nature, soon came to a quarrel
with his master, and when he had received his first chastisement,
he ran at once to Ingvorstrup to report it.  "Let him strike you
just once again," said Marten.  "Then come to me, and we will pay
him for it."

Then came the quarrel in the garden, and Niels ran off to
Ingvorstrup.  He met his brother in the woods and told him what had

"Did anyone see you on the way here?" asked Morten

Niels thought not.  "Good," said Morten; "now we'll give him a
fright that he will not forget for a week or so."

He led Niels carefully to the house, and kept him hidden there the
rest of the day.  When all the household else had gone to sleep the
two brothers crept out, and went to a field where several days
before they had buried the body of a man of about Niel's age, size,
and general appearance.  (He had hanged himself, some said because
of ill-treatment from Morten, in whose service he was.  Others said
it was because of unhappy love.)  They dug up the corpse, although
Niels did not like the work, and protested.  But Morten was the
stronger, and Niels had to do as he was ordered.  They carried the
body back with them into the house.

Then Niels was ordered to take off all his clothes, piece by piece,
even to his shirt, and dress the dead man in them.  Even his leaden
earring, which he had worn for many years, was put in the ear of
the corpse.  After this was done, Morten took a spade and gave the
head of the corpse two crashing blows, one over the nose, the other
on the temple.  The body was hidden in a sack and kept in the house
during the next day.  At night the day following, they carried it
out to the wood near Veilbye.

Several times Niels had asked of his brother what all this
preparation boded.  But Morten answered only, "That is my affair.
Do as I tell you, and don't ask questions."

When they neared the edge of the wood by Veilbye, Morten said, "Now
fetch me one of the coats the pastor wears most.  If you can, get
the green dressing gown I have often seen him wear mornings."

"I don't dare," said Niels, "he keeps it in his bed chamber."

"Well, then, I'll dare it myself," said Morten.  "And now, go your
way, and never show yourself here again.  Here is a bag with one
hundred thalers.  They will last you until you can take service
somewhere in another country.  Go where no one has ever seen you,
and take another name.  Never come back to Denmark again.  Travel
by night, and hide in the woods by day until you are well away from
here.  Here are provisions enough to last you for several days.
And remember, never show yourself here again, as you value your

Niels obeyed, and has never seen his brother since that day.  He
had had much trouble, had been a soldier and lost his health in the
war, and finally, after great trials and sufferings, had managed to
get back to the land of his birth.  This was the story as told me
by the miserable man, and I could not doubt its truth.

It was now only too clear to me that my unfortunate brother in the
Lord had fallen a victim to the hatred of his fiendish enemy, to
the delusion of his judge and the witnesses, and to his own
credulous imagination.

Oh, what is man that he shall dare to sit in judgment over his
fellows!  God alone is the Judge.  He who gives life may alone give

I did not feel it my duty to give official information against this
crushed and broken sinner, particularly as the district judge is
still alive, and it would have been cruelty to let him know of his
terrible error.

Instead, I gave what comfort my office permitted to the poor man,
and recommended him not to reveal his name or tell his story to
anyone in the district.  On these conditions I would give him a
home until I could arrange for a permanent refuge for him in my
brother's house, a good distance from these parts.

The day following was a Sunday.  When I returned from evening
service at my branch parish, the beggar had disappeared.  But by
the evening of the next day the story was known throughout the

Goaded by the pangs of conscience, Niels had gone to Rosmer and
made himself known to the judge as the true Niels Bruus.  Upon the
hearing of the terrible truth, the judge was taken with a stroke
and died before the week was out.  But on Tuesday morning they
found Niels Bruus dead on the grave of the late rector Soren Quist
of Veilbye, by the door of Aalso church.

Hungarian Mystery Stories

Ferencz Molnar

The Living Death

Here is a very serious reason, my dear sisters, why at last, after
an absence of twenty years in America, I am confiding to you this
strange secret in the life of our beloved and lamented father, and
of the old house where we were children together.  The truth is, if
I read rightly the countenances of my physicians as they whisper to
each other by the window of the chamber in which I am lying, that
only a few days of this life remain to me.

It is not right that this secret should die with me, my dear
sisters.  Though it will seem terrible to you, as it has to me, it
will enable you to better understand our blessed father, help you
to account for what must have seemed to you to be strange
inconsistencies in his character.  That this secret was revealed to
me was due to my indolence and childish curiosity.

For the first, and the last, time in my life I listened at a
keyhole.  With shame and a hotly chiding conscience I yielded to
that insatiable curiosity--and when you have read these lines you
will understand why I do not regret that inexcusable, furtive act.

I was only a lad when we went to live in that odd little house.
You remember it stood in the outskirts of Rakos, near the new
cemetery.  It stood on a deep lot, and was roughly boarded on the
side which looked on the highway.  You remember that on the first
floor, next the street, were the room of our father, the dining
room, and the children's room.  In the rear of the house was the
sculpture studio.  There we had the large white hall with big
windows, where white-clothed laborers worked.  They mixed the
plaster, made forms, chiseled, scratched, and sawed.  Here in this
large hall had our father worked for thirty years.

When I arrived, in the holidays, I noted a change in our father's
countenance.  His beard was white, even when he did not work with
the plaster.  Through his strong spectacles his eyes glittered
peculiarly.  He was less calm than formerly.  And he did not speak
much, but all the more did he read.

Why, we all knew that after the passing away of our mother he
became a bookworm, reading very often by candlelight until morning.

Then did it happen, about the fourth day after my arrival.  I spent
my leisure hours in the studio; I carved little figures, formed
little pillar heads from the white plaster.  In the corner a big
barrel stood filled with water.  It was noon; the laborers went to

I sat down close to the barrel and carved a Corinthian pillar.
Father came into the studio and did not notice me.  He carried in
his hands two plates of soup.  When he came into the studio he
closed the door behind him and looked around in the shop, as though
to make sure he was not observed.  As I have said, he did not
notice me.  I was astonished.  Holding my breath, I listened.
Father went through the large hall, and then opened a small door,
of which I knew only so much that it led into a chamber three steps
lower than the studio.

I was full of expectation: I listened.  I did not hear a word of
conversation.  Presently father came back with the empty plates in
his hand.  Somebody bolted the chamber's door behind him.

Father went out of the studio, and I, much embarrassed, crept from
behind the barrel.

I knew that the chamber had a window, which looked back toward the
plowed fields.  I ran out of the studio and around the house.  Much
to my astonishment, the chamber's window was curtained inside.  A
large yellow plaid curtain hid everything from view.  But I had to
go, anyway, for I heard Irma's voice calling from the yard:

"Antal, to lunch!"

I sat down to the table with you, my sisters, and looked at father.
He was sitting at the head of the table, and ate without saying a

Day after day I troubled my head about this mystery in the chamber,
but said not a word to anybody.  I went into the studio, as usual,
but I did not notice anything peculiar.  Not a sound came from the
chamber, and when our father worked in the shop with his ten
laborers he passed by the small door as if beyond it there was
nothing out of the ordinary.

On Thursday I had to go back to Germany.  On Tuesday night
curiosity seized me again.  Suddenly I felt that perhaps never
would I know what was going on in my father's house.  That night,
when the working people were gone, I went into the studio.  For a
long time I was lost in my thoughts.  All kinds of romantic ideas
passed through my head, while my gaze rested on that small
mysterious chamber door.

In the studio it was dark already, and from under the small door in
a thin border a yellow radiance poured out.  Suddenly I regained my
courage.  I went to the door and listened.  Somebody was speaking.
It was a man's voice, but I did not understand what he was saying.
I was putting my ear close to the door, when I heard steps at the
front of the studio.  Father came.

I quickly withdrew myself behind the barrel.  Father walked through
the hall and knocked on the door softly.  The bolt clicked and the
door opened.  Father went into the chamber and closed the door
immediately and locked it.

Now all discretion and sense of honor in me came to an end.
Curiosity mastered me.  I knew that last year one part of this
small room had been partitioned off and was used as a woodhouse.
And I knew that there was a possibility of going into the woodhouse
through the yard.

I went out, therefore, but found the woodhouse was closed.  Driven
by trembling curiosity, I ran into the house, took the key of the
woodhouse from its nail, and in a minute, through the crevice
between two planks, I was looking into that mysterious little room.

There was a table in the middle of the room, and beside the wall
were two straw mattresses.  On the table a lighted candle stood.  A
bottle of wine was beside it, and around the table were sitting
father and two strangers.  Both the strangers were all in black.
Something in their appearance froze me with terror.

I fled in a panic of unreasoning fear, but returned soon, devoured
by curiosity.

You, my sister Irma, must remember how I found you there, gazing
with starting eyeballs on the same mysteriously terrifying scene--
and how I drew you away with a laugh and a trifling explanation, so
that I might return and resume my ghastly vigil alone.

One of the strangers wore a frock coat and had a sunburned, brown
face.  He was not old yet, not more than forty-five or forty-eight.
He seemed to be a tradesman in his Sunday clothes.  That did not
interest me much.

I looked at the other old man, and then a shiver of cold went
through me.  He was a famous physician, a professor, Mr. H----.  I
desire to lay stress upon it that he it was, for I had read two
weeks before in the papers that he had died and was buried!

And now he was sitting, in evening dress, in the chamber of a poor
plaster sculptor, in the chamber of my father behind a bolted door!

I was aware of the fact that the physician knew father.  Why, you
can recall that when father had asthma he consulted Mr. H----.
Moreover, the professor visited us very frequently.  The papers
said he was dead, yet here he was!

With beating heart and in terror, I looked and listened.

The professor put some shining little thing on the table.

"Here is my diamond shirt stud," he said to my father.  "It is

Father pushed the jewel aside, refusing the gift.

"Why, you are spending money on me," said the professor.

"It makes no difference," replied father; "I shan't take the

Then they were silent for a long while.  At length the professor
smiled and said:

"The pair of cuff buttons which I had from Prince Eugene I
presented to the watchman in the cemetery.  They are worth a
thousand guldens."

And he showed his cuffs, from which the buttons were missing.  Then
he turned to the sunburned man:

"What did you give him, General Gardener?"

The tall, strong man unbuttoned his frock coat.

"Everything I had--my gold chain, my scarf pin, and my ring."

I did not understand all that.  What was it?  Where did they come
from?  A horrible presentiment arose in me.  They came from the
cemetery!  They wore the very clothes in which they were buried!

What had happened to them?  Were they only apparently dead?  Did
they awake?  Did they rise from the dead?  What are they seeking

They had a very low-voiced conversation with father.  I listened in
vain.  Only later on, when they got warmed with their subject and
spoke more audibly, did I understand them.

"There is no other way," said the professor.  "Put it in your will
that the coroner shall pierce your heart through with a knife."

Do you remember, my sisters, the last will of our father, which was
thus executed?

Father did not say a word.  Then the professor went on, saying:

"That would be a splendid invention.  Had I been living till now I
would have published a book about it.  Nobody takes the Indian
fakir seriously here in Europe.  But despite this, the buried
fakirs, who are two months under ground and then come back into
life, are very serious men.  Perhaps they are more serious than
ourselves, with all our scientific knowledge.  There are strange,
new, dreadful things for which we are not yet matured enough.

"I died upon their methods; I can state that now.  The mental state
which they reach systematically I reached accidentally.  The
solitude, the absorbedness, the lying in a bed month by month, the
gazing upon a fixed point hour by hour--these are all self-evident
facts with me, a deserted misanthrope.

"I died as the Indian fakirs do, and were I not a descendant of an
old noble family, who have a tomb in this country, I would have
died really.

"God knows how it happened.  I don't think there is any use of
worrying ourselves about it.  I have still four days.  Then we go
for good and all.  But not back, no, no, not back to life!"

He pointed with his hand toward the city.  His face was burning
from fever, and he knitted his brows.  His countenance was horrible
at this moment.  Then he looked at the man with the sunburned face.

"The case of Mr. Gardener is quite different.  This is an ordinary
physician's error.  But he has less than four days.  He will be
gone to-morrow or positively day after to-morrow."

He grasped the pulse of the sunburned man.

"At this minute his pulse beats a hundred and twelve.  You have a
day left, Mr. Gardener.  But not back.  We don't go back.  Never!"

Father said nothing.  He looked at the professor with seriousness,
and fondly.  The professor drank a glass of wine, and then turned
toward father.

"Go to bed.  You have to get up early; you still live; you have
children.  We shall sleep if we can do so.  It is very likely that
General Gardener won't see another morning.  You must not witness

Now father began to speak, slowly, reverently.

"If you, professor, have to send word--or perhaps Mr. Gardener--
somebody we must take care of--a command, if you have--"

The professor looked at him sternly, saying but one word:


Father was still waiting.

"Absolutely nothing," repeated the professor.  "I have died, but I
have four days yet.  I live those here, my dear old friend, with
you.  But I don't go back any more.  I don't even turn my face
backward.  I don't want to know where the others live.  I don't
want life, old man.  It is not honorable to go back.  Go, my
friend--go to bed."

Father shook hands with them and disappeared.  General Gardener sat
stiffly on his chair.  The professor gazed into the air.

I began to be aware of all that had happened here.  These two
apparently dead men had come back from the cemetery, but how, in
what manner, by what means?  I don't understand it perfectly even
now.  There, in the small room, near to the cemetery, they were
living their few remaining days.  They did not want to go back
again into life.

I shuddered.  During these few minutes I seemed to have learned the
meaning of life and of death.  Now I myself felt that the life of
the city was at a vast distance.  I had a feeling that the
professor was right.  It was not worth while.  I, too, felt tired,
tired of life, like the professor, the feverish, clever, serious
old man who came from the coffin and was sitting there in his grave
clothes waiting for the final death.

They did not speak a word to each other.  They were simply waiting.
I did not have power to move away from the crack in the wall
through which I saw them.

And now there happened the awful thing that drove me away from our
home, never to return.

It was about half-past one when someone tapped on the window.  The
professor took alarm and looked at Mr. Gardener a warning to take
no notice.  But the tapping grew louder.  The professor got up and
went to the window.  He lifted the yellow curtain and looked out
into the night.  Quickly he returned and spoke to General Gardener,
and then both went to the window and spoke with the person who had
knocked.  After a long conversation they lifted the man through the

On this terrible day nothing could happen that would surprise me.
I was benumbed.  The man who was lifted through the window was clad
in white linen to his feet.  He was a Hebrew, a poor, thin, weak,
pale Hebrew.  He wore his white funeral dress.  He shivered from
cold, trembled, seemed almost unconscious.  The professor gave him
some wine.  The Hebrew stammered:

"Terrible!  Oh, horrible!"

I learned from his broken language that he had not been buried yet,
like the professor.  He had not yet known the smell of the earth.
He had come from his bier.

"I was laid out a corpse," he whimpered.  "My God, they would have
buried me by to-morrow!"

The professor gave him wine again.

"I saw a light here," he went on.  "I beg you will give me some
clothes--some soup, if you please--and I am going back again."
Then he said in German:

"Meine gute, theure Frau!  Meine Kinder!"  (My good wife, my

He began to weep.  The professor's countenance changed to a
devilish expression when he heard this lament.  He despised the
lamenting Hebrew.

"You are going back?" he thundered.  "But you won't go back!  Don't
shame yourself!"

The Hebrew gazed at him stupidly.

"I live in Rottenbiller Street," he stammered.  "My name is Joseph

He bit his nails in his nervous agitation.  Tears filled his eyes.

"Ich muss zu meine Kinder," he said in German again.  (I must go to
my children.)

"No!" exclaimed the professor.  "You'll never go back!"

"But why?"

"I will not permit it!"

The Hebrew looked around.  He felt that something was wrong here.
His startled manner seemed to ask: "Am I in a lunatic asylum?"  He
dropped his head and said to the professor simply:

"I am tired."

The professor pointed to the straw mattress.

"Go to sleep.  We will speak further in the morning."

Fever blazed in the professor's face.  On the other straw mattress
General Gardener now slept with his face to the wall.

The Hebrew staggered to the straw mattress, threw himself down, and
wept.  The weeping shook him terribly.  The professor sat at the
table and smiled.

Finally the Hebrew fell asleep.  Hours passed in silence.  I stood
motionless looking at the professor, who gazed into the
candlelight.  There was not much left of it.  Presently he sighed
and blew it out.  For a little while there was dark, and then I saw
the dawn penetrating the yellow curtain at the window.  The
professor leaned back in his chair, stretched out his feet, and
closed his eyes.

All at once the Hebrew got up silently and went to the window.  He
believed the professor was asleep.  He opened the window carefully
and started to creep out.  The professor leaped from his chair,


He caught the Hebrew by his shroud and held him back.  There was a
long knife in his hand.  Without another word, the professor
pierced the Hebrew through the heart.

He put the limp body on the straw mattress, then went out of the
chamber toward the studio.  In a few minutes he came back with
father.  Father was pale and did not speak.  They covered the dead
Hebrew with a rug, and then, one after the other, crept out through
the window, lifted the corpse out, and carried it away.  In a
quarter of an hour they came back.  They exchanged a few words,
from which I learned that they had succeeded in putting the dead
Hebrew back on his bier without having been observed.

They shut the window.  The professor drank a glass of wine and
again stretched out his legs on the chair.

"It is impossible to go back," he said.  "It is not allowed."

Father went away.  I did not see him any more.  I staggered up to
my room, went to bed, and slept immediately.  The next day I got up
at ten o'clock.  I left the city at noon.

Since that time, my dear sisters, you have not seen me.  I don't
know anything more.  At this minute I say to myself that what I
know, what I have set down here, is not true.  Maybe it never
happened, maybe I have dreamed it all.  I am not clear in my mind.
I have a fever.

But I am not afraid of death.  Here, on my hospital bed, I see the
professor's feverish but calm and wise face.  When he grasped the
Hebrew by the throat he looked like a lover of Death, like one who
has a secret relation with the passing of life, who advocates the
claims of Death, and who punishes him who would cheat Death.

Now Death urges his claim upon me.  I have no desire to cheat him--
I am so tired, so very tired.

God be with you, my dear sisters.

Maurus Jokai

Thirteen at Table

We are far amidst the snow-clad mountains of Transylvania.

The scenery is magnificent.  In clear weather, the plains of
Hungary as far as the Rez promontory may be seen from the summit of
the mountains.  Groups of hills rise one above the other, covered
with thick forest, which, at the period when our tale commences,
had just begun to assume the first light green of spring.

Toward sunset, a slight purple mist overspread the farther
pinnacles, leaving their ridges still tinged with gold.  On the
side of one of these hills the white turrets of an ancient family
mansion gleamed from amid the trees.

Its situation was peculiarly romantic.  A steep rock descended on
one side, on whose pinnacle rose a simple cross.  In the depth of
the valley beneath lay a scattered village, whose evening bells
melodiously broke the stillness of nature.

Farther off, some broken roofs arose among the trees, from whence
the sound of the mill, and the yellow-tinted stream, betrayed the
miners' dwellings.

Through the meadows in the valley beneath a serpentine rivulet
wound its silvery way, interrupted by numerous falls and huge
blocks of stone, which had been carried down in bygone ages from
the mountains during the melting of the snows.

A little path, cut in the side of the rock, ascended to the castle;
while higher up, a broad road, somewhat broken by the mountain
streams, conducted across the hills to more distant regions.

The castle itself was an old family mansion, which had received
many additions at different periods, as the wealth or necessities
of the family suggested.

It was surrounded by groups of ancient chestnut trees, and the
terrace before the court was laid out in gardens, which were now
filled with anemones, hyacinths, and other early flowers.  Now and
then the head of a joyous child appeared at the windows, which were
opened to admit the evening breeze; while various members of the
household retinue were seen hastening through the corridors, or
standing at the doors in their embroidered liveries.

The castle was completely surrounded by a strong rail-work of iron,
the stone pillars were overgrown by the evergreen leaves of the
gobea and epomoea.

It was the early spring of 1848.

A party, consisting of thirteen persons, had assembled in the
dining-room.  They were all members of one family, and all bore the
name of Bardy.

At the head of the board sat the grandmother, an old lady of eighty
years of age, whose snow-white hair was dressed according to the
fashion of her times beneath her high white cap.  Her face was pale
and much wrinkled, and the eyes turned constantly upwards, as is
the case with persons who have lost their sight.  Her hand and
voice trembled with age, and there was something peculiarly
striking in the thick snow-white eyebrows.

On her right hand sat her eldest son, Thomas Bardy, a man of
between fifty and sixty.  With a haughty and commanding
countenance, penetrating glance, lofty figure, and noble mien, he
was a true type of that ancient aristocracy which is now beginning
to die out.

Opposite to him, at the old lady's left hand, sat the darling of
the family--a lovely girl of about fifteen.  Her golden hair fell
in luxuriant tresses round a countenance of singular beauty and
sweetness.  The large and lustrous deep-blue eyes were shaded by
long dark lashes, and her complexion was pale as the lily,
excepting when she smiled or spoke, and a slight flush like the
dawn of morning overspread her cheeks.

Jolanka was the orphan child of a distant relative, whom the Bardys
had adopted.  They could not allow one who bore their name to
suffer want; and it seemed as if each member of the family had
united to heap affection and endearment on the orphan girl, and
thus prevented her from feeling herself a stranger among them.

There were still two other female members of the family: Katalin,
the old lady's daughter, who had been for many years a widow; and
the wife of one of her sons, a pretty young woman, who was trying
to teach a little prattler at her side to use the golden spoon
which she had placed in his small, fat hand, while he laughed and
crowed, and the family did their best to guess what he said, or
what he most preferred.

Opposite to them there sat two gentlemen.  One of them was the
husband of the young mother.  Jozsef Bardy--a handsome man of about
thirty-five, with regular features, and black hair and beard; a
constant smile beamed on his gay countenance, while he playfully
addressed his little son and gentle wife across the table.  The
other was his brother, Barnabas--a man of herculean form and
strength.  His face was marked by smallpox; he wore neither beard
or mustache, and his hair was combed smoothly back, like a
peasant's.  His disposition was melancholy and taciturn; but he
seemed constantly striving to atone, by the amiability of his
manners, for an unprepossessing exterior.

Next to him sat a little cripple, whose pale countenance bore that
expression of suffering sweetness so peculiar to the deformed,
while his lank hair, bony hands, and misshapen shoulders awakened
the beholder's pity.  He, too, was an orphan--a grandchild of the
old lady's; his parents had died some years before.

Two little boys of about five years old sat opposite to him.  They
were dressed alike, and the resemblance between them was so
striking that they were constantly mistaken.  They were twin-
children of the young couple.

At the lower end of the table sat Imre Bardy, a young man of
twenty, whose handsome countenance was full of life and
intelligence, his figure manly and graceful, and his manner
courteous and agreeable.  A slight moustache was beginning to shade
his upper lip, and his dark hair fell in natural ringlets around
his head.  He was the only son of the majoresco, Tamas Bardy, and
resembled him much in form and feature.

Beside him sat an old gentleman, with white hair and ruddy
complexion.  This was Simon Bardy, an ancient relative, who had
grown old with the grandmother of the family.

The same peculiarity characterized every countenance in the Bardy
family--namely the lofty forehead and marked brows, and the large
deep-blue eyes, shaded by their heavy dark lashes.*

* There is a race of the Hungarians in the Carpath who, unlike the
Hungarians of the plain, have blue eyes and often fair hair.

"How singular!" exclaimed one of the party; "we are thirteen at
table to-day."

"One of us will surely die," said the old lady; and there was a
mournful conviction in the faint, trembling tones.

"Oh, no, grandmother, we are only twelve and a half!" exclaimed the
young mother, taking the little one on her knee.

"This little fellow only counts half on the railroad."

All the party laughed at this remark, even the little cripple's
countenance relaxed into a sickly smile.

"Ay, ay," continued the old lady, "the trees are now putting forth
their verdure, but at the fall of the leaf who knows if all of us,
or any of us, may still be sitting here?"

Several months had passed since this slight incident.

In one of the apartments of the castle, the eldest Bardy and his
son were engaged in earnest conversation.

The father paced hastily up and down the apartment, now and then
stopping short to address his son, who stood in the embrasure of
one of the windows.  The latter wore the dress of the Matyas
Hussars*--a gray dolmany, with crimson cord; he held a crimson
esako, with a tricolored cockade, in his hand.

* Part of the free corps raised in 1848.

"Go," said the father, speaking in broken accents; "the sooner the
better; let me not see you!  Do not think I speak in anger, but I
cannot bear to look at you, and think where you are going.  You are
my only son, and you know how I have loved you--how all my hopes
have been concentrated in you.  But do not think that these tears,
which you see me shed for the first time, are on your account; for
if I knew I should lose you,--if your blood were to flow at the
next battle,--I should only bow my head in dust and say, 'The Lord
gave, and the Lord takes away, blessed be His holy name!'  Yes, if
I heard that you and your infatuated companions were cut to pieces,
I could stifle the burning tears; but to know that your blood, when
it flows, will be a curse upon the earth, and your death will be
the death of two kingdoms--"

"They may die now; but they will regenerate--"

"This is not true; you only deceive yourselves with the idea that
you can build up a new edifice when you have overthrown the old
one.  Great God, what sacrilege!  Who had intrusted you with the
fate of our country, to tempt the Almighty?  Who authorized you to
lose all there is for the hope of what may be?  For centuries past
have so many honorable men fought in vain to uphold the old
tottering constitution, as you call it?  Or were they not true
patriots and heroes?  Your companions have hissed their persecuted
countrymen in the Diet; but do they love their country better than
we do, who have shed our blood and sacrificed our interests for her
from generation to generation, and even suffered disgrace, if
necessary, to keep her in life?--for though that life has been
gradually weakened, still it is life.  You promise her glory; but
the name of glory is death!"

"It may be so, father; we may lose our country as regards
ourselves, but we give one instead of ten millions, who were
hitherto our own people, and yet strangers in their native land."

"Chimera!  The people will not understand you.  They never even
dreamt of what you wish to give them.  The true way to seek the
people's welfare is to give them what they need.

"Ask my dependents!  Is there one among them whom I have allowed to
suffer want or ruin, whom I have not assisted in times of need?--or
have I ever treated them unjustly?  You will not hear a murmur.
Tell them that I am unjust notwithstanding, because I do not call
the peasant from his plow to give his opinions on forming the laws
and constitution,--and what will be the consequence?  They will
stare at you in astonishment; and yet, in their mistaken wrath,
they will come down some night and burn this house over my head."

"That is the unnatural state of the times.  It is all the fault of
the past bad management, if the people have no better idea.  But
let the peasant once be free, let him be a man, and he will
understand all that is now strange to him."

"But that freedom will cost the lives of thousands!"

"I do not deny it.  Indeed, I believe that neither I nor any of the
present generation will reap the fruits of this movement.  I think
it probable that in a few years not one of those whose names we now
hear spoken of may still be living; and what is more, disgrace and
curses may be heaped upon their dust.  But a time will come when
the great institutions of which they have laid the foundation will
arise and render justice to the memory of those who sacrificed
themselves for the happiness of future generations.  To die for our
country is a glorious death, but to carry with us the curses of
thousands, to die despised and hated for the salvation of future
millions, oh! that is sublime--it is Messiah-like!"

"My son--my only son!" cried his father, throwing himself
passionately on the young man's neck and sobbing bitterly.  "Do you
see these tears?"

"For the first time in my life I see them, father--I see you weep;
my heart can scarcely bear the weight of these tears--and yet I go!
You have reason to weep, for I bring neither joy nor glory on your
head--and yet I go!  A feeling stronger than the desire of glory,
stronger than the love of my country, inspires my soul; and it is a
proof of the strength of my faith that I see your tears, my father--
and yet I go!"

"Go!" murmured his father, in a voice of despair.  "You may never
return again, or, when you do, you may find neither your father's
house nor the grave in which he is laid!  But know, even then, in
the hour of your death, or in the hour of mine, I do not curse you--
and now, leave me."  With these words he turned away and motioned
to his son to depart.

Imre silently left the apartment, and as soon as he had closed the
door the tears streamed from his eyes; but before his sword had
struck the last step his countenance had regained its former
determination, and the fire of enthusiasm had kindled in his eye.

He then went to take leave of his Uncle Jozsef, whom he found
surrounded by his family.  The twins were sitting at his feet,
while his wife was playing bo-peep with the little one, who laughed
and shouted, while his mother hid herself behind his father's

Imre's entrance interrupted the general mirth.  The little boy ran
over to examine the sword and golden tassels, while the little one
began to cry in alarm at the sight of the strange dress.

"Csitt, baba!" said his mother, taking him from his father's arms;
"your cousin is going to wars, and will bring you a golden horse."

Jozsef wrung his nephew's hand.  "God be with you!" he exclaimed,
and added in a lower voice, "You are the noblest of us all--you
have done well!"

They then all embraced him in turns, and Imre left them, amidst
clamors of the little ones, and proceeded to his grandmother's

On the way, he met his Uncle Barnabas, who embraced him again and
again in silence, and then tore himself away without saying a word.

The old lady sat in her great armchair, which she seldom quitted,
and as she heard the clash of Imre's sword, she looked up and asked
who was coming.

"It is Imre!" said the fair-haired maiden, blushing, and her heart
beat quickly as she pronounced his name.

Jolanka felt that Imre was more than a brother to her, and the
feeling with which she had learnt to return his affection was
warmer than even a sister's love.

The widow lady and the cripple were also in the grandmother's
apartment; the child sat on a stool at the old lady's feet, and
smiled sadly as the young man entered.

"Why that sword at your side, Imre?" asked the old lady in a feeble
voice.  "Ah, this is no good world--no good world!  But if God is
against us, who can resist His hand?  I have spoken with the dead
again in dreams.  I thought they all came around me and beckoned me
to follow them; but I am ready to go, and place my life with
gratitude and confidence in the hands of the Lord.  Last night I
saw the year 1848 written in the skies in letters of fire.  Who
knows what may come over us yet?  This is no good world--no good

Imre bent silently over the old lady's hand and kissed it.

"And so you are going?  Well, God bless and speed you, if you go
beneath the cross, and never forget in life or in death to raise
your heart to the Lord;" and the old lady placed her withered hand
upon her grandson's head, and murmured, "God Almighty bless you!"

"My husband was just such a handsome youth when I lost him," sighed
the widow lady as she embraced her nephew.  "God bless you!"

The little cripple threw his arms around his cousin's knees and,
sobbing, entreated him not to stay long away.

The last who bade farewell was Jolanka.  She approached with
downcast eyes, holding in her small white hands an embroidered
cockade, which she placed on his breast.  It was composed of five
colors--blue and gold, red, white, and green.*

* Blue and gold are the colors of Transylvania.

"I understand," said the young man, in a tone of joyful surprise,
as he pressed the sweet girl to his heart, "Erdely* and Hungary
united!  I shall win glory for your colors!"

* Transylvania.

The maiden yielded to his warm embrace, murmuring, as he released
her, "Remember me!"

"When I cease to remember you, I shall be no more," replied the
youth fervently.

And then he kissed the young girl's brow, and once more bidding
farewell, he hurried from the apartment.

Old Simon Bardy lived on the first floor: Imre did not forget him.

"Well, nephew," said the old man cheerfully, "God speed you, and
give you strength to cut down many Turks!"

"It is not with the Turks that we shall have to do," replied the
young man, smiling.

"Well, with the French," said the old soldier of the past century,
correcting himself.

A page waited at the gate with two horses saddled and bridled.

"I shall not require you--you may remain at home," said Imre, as,
taking the bridle of one of the horses, vaulting lightly into the
saddle, he pressed his csako over his brow and galloped from the

As he rode under the cross, he checked his horse and looked back.
Was it of his grandmother's words, or of the golden-haired Jolanka
that he thought?

A white handkerchief waved from the window.  "Farewell, light of my
soul!" murmured the youth; and kissing his hand, he once more
dashed his spurs into his horse's flank, and turned down the steep

Those were strange times.  All at once the villages began to be
depopulated; the inhabitants disappeared, none knew whither.  The
doors of the houses were closed.

The bells were no longer heard in the evening, nor the maiden's
song as she returned from her work.  The barking of dogs which had
lost their masters alone interrupted the silence of the streets,
where the grass began to grow.

Imre Bardy rode through the streets of the village without meeting
a soul; few of the chimneys had smoke, and no fires gleamed through
the kitchen windows.

Evening was drawing on, and a slight transparent mist had
overspread the valley.  Imre was desirous of reaching Kolozsvar*
early on the next morning, and continued his route all night.

* Klausenburg.

About midnight the moon rose behind the trees, shedding her silvery
light over the forest.  All was still, excepting the echo of the
miner's hammer, and the monotonous sound of his horse's step along
the rocky path.  He rode on, lost in thought; when suddenly the
horse stopped short, and pricked his ears.

"Come, come," said Imre, stroking his neck, "you have not heard the
cannon yet."

The animal at last proceeded, turning his head impatiently from
side to side, and snorting and neighing with fear.

The road now led through a narrow pass between two rocks, whose
summits almost met, and a slight bridge, formed of one or two
rotten planks, was thrown across the dry channel of a mountain
stream which cut up the path.

As Imre reached the bridge, the horse backed, and no spurring could
induce him to cross.  Imre at last pressed his knee angrily against
the trembling animal, striking him at the same time across the neck
with the bridle, on which the horse suddenly cleared the chasm at
one bound and then again turned and began to back.

At that instant a fearful cry arose from beneath, which was echoed
from the rocks around, and ten or fifteen savage-looking beings
climbed from under the bridge, with lances formed of upright

Even then there would have been time for the horseman to turn back,
and dash through a handful of men behind him, but either he was
ashamed of turning from the first conflict, or he was desirous, at
any risk, to reach Kolozsvar at the appointed time, and instead of
retreating by the bridge, he galloped towards the other end of the
pass, where the enemy rushed upon him from every side, yelling

"Back, Wallachian dogs!" cried Imre, cutting two of them down,
while several others sprang forward with the scythes.

Two shots whistled by, and Imre, letting go the bridle, cut right
and left, his sword gleaming rapidly among the awkward weapons; and
taking advantage of a moment in which the enemy's charge began to
slacken, he suddenly dashed through the crowd towards the outlet of
the rock, without perceiving that another party awaited him above
the rocks with great stones, with which they prepared to crush him
as he passed.

He was only a few paces from the spot, when a gigantic figure,
armed with a short broad-axe, and with a Roman helmet on his head,
descended from the rock in front of him, and seizing the reins of
the horse forced him to halt.  The young man aimed a blow at his
enemy's head, and the helmet fell back, cut through the middle, but
the force of the blow had broken his sword in two; and the horse
lifted by his giant foe, reared, so that the rider, losing his
balance, was thrown against the side of the rock, and fell
senseless to the ground.

At the same instant a shot was fired toward them from the top of
the rock.

"Who fired there?" cried the giant, in a voice of thunder.  The
bloodthirsty Wallachians would have rushed madly on their
defenseless prey, had not the giant stood between him and them.

"Who fired on me?" he sternly exclaimed.  The Wallachians stood
back in terror.

"It was not on you, Decurio, that I fired, but on the hussar,"
stammered out one of the men, on whom the giant had fixed his eye.

"You lie, traitor!  Your ball struck my armor, and had I not worn a
shirt of mail, it would have pierced my heart."

The man turned deadly pale, trembling from head to foot.  "My
enemies have paid you to murder me?" The savage tried to speak, but
words died upon his lips.

"Hang him instantly--he is a traitor!"

The rest of the gang immediately seized the culprit and carried him
to the nearest tree, from whence his shrieks soon testified that
his sentence was being put in execution.

The Decurio remained alone with the young man; and hastily lifting
him, still senseless, from the ground, he mounted his horse, and
placing him before him ere the savage horde had returned, he had
galloped some distance along the road from whence the youth had
come, covering him with his mantle as he passed the bridge, to
conceal him from several of the gang who stood there, and
exclaiming, "Follow me to the Tapanfalva."

As soon as they were out of sight, he suddenly turned to the left,
down a steep, hilly path, and struck into the depth of the forest.

The morning sun had just shot its first beams across the hills,
tinting with golden hue the reddening autumn leaves, when the young
hussar began to move in his fevered dreams, and murmured the name

In a few moments he opened his eyes.  He was lying in a small
chamber, through the only window of which the sunbeams shone upon
his face.

The bed on which he lay was made of lime-boughs, simply woven
together, and covered with wolves' skins.  A gigantic form was
leaning against the foot of the bed with his arms folded, and as
the young man awoke, he turned round.  It was the Decurio.

"Where am I?" asked the young man, vaguely endeavoring to recall
the events of the past night.

"In my house," replied Decurio.

"And who are you?"

"I am Numa, Decurio of the Roumin* Legion, your foe in battle, but
now your host and protector."

* The Wallachians were, in the days of Trajan, subdued by the
Romans, with whom they became intermixed, and are also called

"And why did you save me from your men?" asked the young man, after
a short silence.

"Because the strife was unequal--a hundred against one."

"But had it not been for you, I could have freed myself from them."

"Without me you had been lost.  Ten paces from where I stopped your
horse, you would inevitably have been dashed to pieces by huge
stones which they were preparing to throw down upon you from the

"And you did not desire my death?"

"No, because it would have reflected dishonor on the Roumin name."

"You are a chivalrous man, Decurio!"

"I am what you are; I know your character, and the same feeling
inspires us both.  You love your nation, as I do mine.  Your nation
is great and cultivated; mine is despised and neglected, and my
love is more bitterly devoted.  Your love for your country makes
you happy; mine deprives me of peace.  You have taken up arms to
defend your country without knowing your own strength, or the
number of the foe; I have done the same.  Either of us may lose, or
we may both be blotted out; but though the arms may be buried in
the earth, rust will not eat them."

"I do not understand your grievances."

"You do not understand?  Know, then, that although fourteen
centuries have passed since the Roman eagle overthrew Diurbanus,
there are still those among us--the now barbarous people--who can
trace their descent from generation to generation, up to the times
of its past glory.  We have still our traditions, if we have
nothing more; and can point out what forest stands in the place of
the ancient Sarmisaegethusa, and what town is built where one
Decebalus overthrew the far-famed troops of the Consulate.  And
alas for that town! if the graves over which its houses are built
should once more open, and turn the populous streets into a field
of battle!  What is become of the nation, the heir of so much
glory?--the proud Dacians, the descendants of the far-famed
legions?  I do not reproach any nation for having brought us to
what we now are; but let none reproach me if I desire to restore my
people to what they once were."

"And do you believe that this is the time?"

"We have no prophets to point out the hour, but it seems yours do
not see more clearly.  We shall attempt it now, and if we fail our
grandchildren will attempt it again.  We have nothing to lose but a
few lives; you risk much that is worth losing, and yet you assemble
beneath the banner of war.  Then war.  Then what would you do if
you were like us?--a people who possess nothing in this world among
whom there is not one able or one instructed head; for although
every third man bears the name of Papa, it is not every hundredth
who can read!  A people excluded from every employment; who live a
miserable life in the severest manual labor; who have not one noble
city in their country, the home of three-fourths of their people.
Why should we seek to know the signs of the times in which we are
to die, or be regenerated!  We have nothing but our wretchedness,
and if we are conquered we lose nothing.  Oh! you did wrong for
your own peace to leave a nation to such utter neglect!"

"We do not take up arms for our nation alone, but for freedom in

"You do wrong.  It is all the same to us who our sovereign may be;
only let him be just towards us, and raise up our fallen people;
but you will destroy your nation--its power, its influence, and
privileges--merely that you may live in a country without a head."

A loud uproar interrupted the conversation.  A disorderly troop of
Wallachians approached the Decurio's house, triumphantly bearing
the hussar's csako on a pole before them.

"Had I left you there last night, they would now have exhibited
your head instead of your csako."

The crowd halted before the Decurio's window, greeting him with
loud vociferations.

The Decurio spoke a few words in the Wallachian language, on which
they replied more vehemently than before, at the same time
thrusting forward the kalpag on the pole.

The Decurio turned hastily round.  "Was your name written on your
kalpag?" he asked the young man, in evident embarrassment.

"It was."

"Unhappy youth!  The people, furious at not having found you, are
determined to attack your father's house."

"And you will permit them?" asked the youth, starting from bed.

"I dare not contradict them, unless I would lose their confidence.
I can prevent nothing."

"Give me up--let them wreak their bloody vengeance on my head!"

"I should only betray myself for having concealed you; and it would
not save your father's house."

"And if they murder the innocent and unprotected, on whom will the
ignominy of their blood fall?"

"On me; but I will give you the means of preventing this disgrace.
Do you accept it?"


"I will give you a disguise; hasten to Kolozsvar and assemble your
comrades,--then return and protect your house.  I will wait you
there, and man to man, in open honorable combat, the strife will no
longer be ignominious."

"Thanks, thanks!" murmured the youth, pressing the Decurio's hand.

"There is not a moment to lose; here is a peasant's mantle--if you
should be interrogated, you have only to show this paszura,* and
mention my name.  Your not knowing the language is of no
consequence; my men are accustomed to see Hungarian gentlemen visit
me in disguise, and having only seen you by night, they will not
recognize you."

* Everything on which a double-headed eagle--the emblem of the
Austrian Government--was painted, engraved or sculptured, the
Wallachians called paszura.

Imre hastily took the dress, while Decurio spoke to the people,
made arrangements for the execution of their plans, and pointed out
the way to the castle, promising to follow them immediately.

"Accept my horse as a remembrance," said the young man, turning to
the Decurio.

"I accept it, as it would only raise suspicion were you to mount
it; but you may recover it again in the field.  Haste, and lose no
time!  If you delay you will bring mourning on your own head and
disgrace on mine!"

In a few minutes the young man, disguised as a Wallachian peasant,
was hastening on foot across the hills of Kolozsvar.

It was past midnight.

The inhabitants of the Bardy castle had all retired to rest.

The iron gate was locked and the windows barred, when suddenly the
sound of demoniac cries roused the slumberers from their dreams.

"What is that noise?" cried Jozsef Bardy, springing from his bed,
and rushing to the window.

"The Olahok!"* cried a hussar, who had rushed to his master's
apartments on hearing the sounds.

* Olah, Wallachian--ok, plural.

"The Olah! the Olah!" was echoed through the corridors by the
terrified servants.

By the light of a few torches, a hideous crowd was seen before the
windows, armed with scythes and axes, which they were brandishing
with fearful menaces.

"Lock all the doors!" cried Jozsef Bardy, with calm presence of
mind.  "Barricade the great entrance, and take the ladies and
children to the back rooms.  You must not lose your heads, but all
assemble together in the turret-chamber, from whence the whole
building may be protected.  And taking down two good rifles from
over his bed, he hastened to his elder brother Tamas's apartments,
and overlooked the court.

Have you heard the noise?" asked his brother as he entered.

"I knew it would come," he replied, and coolly continued to pace
the room.

"And are you not preparing for defense?"

"To what purpose?--they will kill us all.  I am quite prepared for
what must inevitably happen."

"But it will not happen if we defend ourselves courageously.  We
are eight men--the walls of the castle are strong--the besiegers
have no guns, and no place to protect them; we may hold out for
days until assistance comes from Kolozsvar."

"We shall lose," replied Tamas coldly, and without the slightest
change of countenance.

"Then I shall defend the castle myself.  I have a wife and
children, our old grandmother and our sisters are here, and I shall
protect them, if I remain alone."

At that instant Barnabas and old Simon entered with the widowed

Barnabas had a huge twenty-pound iron club in his hand; grinding
his teeth, and with eyes darting fire, he seemed capable of meeting
single-handed the whole troop.

He was followed by the widow, with two loaded pistols in her hand,
and old Simon, who entreated them not to use violence or exasperate
the enemy.

"Conduct yourselves bravely!" replied the widow dryly; "let us not
die in vain."

"Come with me--we shall send them all to hell!" cried Barnabas,
swinging his club in his herculean arm as if it had been a reed.

"Let us not be too hasty," interrupted Jozsef; we will stand here
in the tower, from whence we can shoot every one that approaches,
and if they break in, we can meet them on the stairs."

"For Heaven's sake!" cried Simon, "what are you going to do?  If
you kill one of them they will massacre us all.  Speak to them
peaceably--promise them wine--take them to the cellar--give them
money--try to pacify them!  Nephew Tamas, you will speak to them?"
continued the old man, turning to Tamas, who still paced up and
down, without the slightest visible emotion.

"Pacification and resistance are equally vain," he replied coldly;
"we are inevitably lost!"

"We have no time for delay," said Jozsef impatiently; "take the
arms from the wall, Barnabas, give one to each servant--let them
stand at the back windows of the house, we two are enough here.
Sister, stand between the windows, that the stones may not hit you;
and when you load, do not strike the balls too far in, that our aim
may be the more secure!"

"No! no!--I cannot let you fire," exclaimed the old man,
endeavoring to drag Jozsef from the window.  "You must not fire
yet--only remain quiet."

"Go to the hurricane, old man! would you have us use holy water
against a shower of stones?"

At that instant several large stones were dashed through the
windows, breaking the furniture against which they fell.

"Only wait," said Simon, "until I speak with them.  I am sure I
shall pacify them.  I can speak their language and I know them all--
just let me go to them."

"A vain idea!  If you sue for mercy they will certainly kill you,
but if you show courage, you may bring them to their senses.  You
had better stay and take a gun."

But the old man was already out of hearing, and hurrying
downstairs, he went out of a back door into the court, which the
Wallachians had not yet taken possession of.

They were endeavoring to break down one of the stone pillars of the
iron gate with their axes and hammers, and had already succeeded in
making an aperture, through which one of the gang now climbed.

Old Simon recognized him.  "Lupey, my son, what do you want here?"
said the old man.  "Have we ever offended you?  Do you forget all
that I have done for you?--how I cured your wife when she was so
ill, and got you off from the military; and how, when your ox died,
I gave you two fine bullocks to replace it?  Do you not know me, my
son Lupey?"

"I am not your son Lupey now; I am a 'malcontent!'" cried the
Wallachian, aiming a blow with a heavy hammer at the old man's

Uttering a deep groan, Simon fell lifeless to the ground.

The rest of the party saw the scene from the tower.

Barnabas rushed from the room like a maddened tiger, while Jozsef,
retiring cautiously behind the embrasure of the window, aimed his
gun as they were placing his uncle's head upon a spike, and shot
the first who raised it.  Another seized it, and the next instant
he, too, fell to the earth; another and another, as many as
attempted to raise the head, till, finally, none dared approach.

The widow loaded the guns while Tamas sat quietly in an armchair.

Meanwhile Barnabas had hurried to the attic, where several large
fragments of iron had been stowed away, and dragging them to a
window which overlooked the entrance, he waited until the gang had
assembled round the door, and were trying to break in; when lifting
an enormous piece with gigantic strength, he dropped it on the
heads of the besiegers.

Fearful cries arose and the gang, who were at the door, fled right
and left, leaving four or five of their number crushed beneath the
ponderous mass.

The next moment they returned with redoubled fury, dashing stones
against the windows and the roof, while the door resounded with the
blows of their clubs.

Notwithstanding the stones which were flying round him, Barnabas
stood at the window dashing heavy iron masses, and killing two or
three men every time.

His brother meanwhile continued firing from the tower, and not a
ball was aimed in vain.  The besiegers had lost a great number, and
began to fall back, after fruitless efforts to break in the door,
when a footman entered breathless to inform Barnabas that the
Wallachians were beginning to scale the opposite side of the castle
with ladders, and that the servants were unable to resist them.

Barnabas rushed to the spot.

Two servants lay mortally wounded in one of the back rooms, through
the windows of which the Wallachians were already beginning to
enter, while another ladder had been placed against the opposite
window, which they were beginning to scale as Barnabas entered.

"Here, wretches!" he roared furiously, and, seizing the ladder with
both hands, shook it so violently that the men were precipitated
from it, and then lifting it with supernatural strength, he dashed
it against the opposite one, which broke with the force of the
weight thrown against it, the upper part falling backwards with the
men upon it, while one of the party remained hanging from the
window-sill, and, after immense exertions to gain a footing, he too
fell to the earth.

Barnabas rushed into the next room grinding his teeth, his lips
foaming, and his face of a livid hue; so appalling was his
appearance, that one of the gang, who had been the first to enter
by the window, turned pale with terror, and dropped his axe.

Taking advantage of this, Barnabas darted on his enemy, and
dragging him with irresistible force to the window, he dashed him
from it.

"On here! as many as you are!" he shouted furiously, the blood
gushing from his mouth from the blow of a stone.  "On! all who wish
a fearful death!"

At that instant, a shriek of terror rose within the house.

The Wallachians had discovered the little back door which Simon had
left open, and, stealing through it, were already inside the house,
when the shrieks of a servant girl gave the besieged notice of
their danger.

Barnabas, seizing his club, hurried in the direction of the sounds;
he met his brother on the stairs, who had likewise heard the cry,
and hastened thither with his gun in his hand, accompanied by the

"Go, sister!" said Jozsef, "take my wife and children to the
attics; we will try to guard the staircase step by step.  Kiss them
all for me.  If we die, the villains will put us all in one grave--
we shall meet again!"

The widow retired.

The two brothers silently pressed hands, and then, standing on the
steps, awaited their enemies.  They did not wait long.

The bloodhounds with shouts of vengeance rushed on the narrow stone

"Hah! thus near I love to have you, dogs of hell!" cried Barnabas,
raising his iron club with both hands, and dealing such blows right
and left, that none whom it reached rose again.  The stairs were
covered with the dead and wounded, while their death cries, and the
sound of the heavy club, echoed fearfully through the vaulted

The foremost of the gang retreated as precipitately as they had
advanced, but were continually pressed forward again by the members
from behind, while Barnabas drove them back unweariedly, cutting an
opening through them with the blows of his club.

He had already beaten them back nearly to the bottom of the stairs,
when one of the gang, who had concealed himself in a niche, pierced
him through the back with a spike.

Dashing his club amongst the retreating crowd, he turned with a cry
of rage, and seizing his murderer by the shoulders, dragged him
down with him to the ground.

The first four who rushed to help the murderer were shot dead by
Jozsef Bardy, who, when he had fired off both his muskets, still
defended his prostrated brother with the butt-end of one, until he
was overpowered and disarmed; after which a party of them carried
him out to the iron cross, and crucified him on it amidst the most
shocking tortures.

On trying to separate the other brother from his murderer, they
found them both dead.  With his last strength Barnabas had choked
his enemy, whom he still held firmly in his deadly grip, and they
were obliged to cut off his hand in order to disengage the
Wallachian's body.

Tamas, the eldest brother, now alone survived.  Seated in his
armchair he calmly awaited his enemies, with a large silver
chandelier burning on the table before him.

As the noise approached his chamber, he drew from its jeweled
sheath his broad curved sword, and, placing it on the table before
him, proceeded coolly to examine the ancient blade, which was
inscribed with unknown characters.

At last the steps were at the door; the handle was turned--it had
not even been locked.

The magnate rose, and, taking his sword from the table, he stood
silently and calmly before the enemies, who rushed upon him with
fearful oaths, brandishing their weapons still reeking with the
blood of his brothers.

The nobleman stood motionless as a statue until they came within
two paces of him, when suddenly the bright black steel gleamed
above his head, and the foremost man fell at his feet with his
skull split to the chin.  The next received a deep gash in the
shoulder of his outstretched arm, but not a word escaped the
magnate's lips, his countenance retained its cold and stern
expression as he looked at his enemies in calm disdain, as if to
say, "Even in combat a nobleman is worth ten boors."

Warding off with the skill of a professed swordsman every blow
aimed at him, he coolly measured his own thrusts, inflicting severe
wounds on his enemies' faces and heads; but the more he evaded them
the more furious they became.  At last he received a severe wound
in the leg from a scythe, and fell on one knee; but without
evincing the slightest pain, he still continued fighting with the
savage mob, until, after a long and obstinate struggle, he fell
without a murmur, or even a death-groan.

The enraged gang cut his body to pieces, and in a few minutes they
had hoisted his head on his own sword.  Even then the features
retained their haughty, contemptuous expression.

He was the last man of the family with whom they had to combat,
but more than a hundred of their own band lay stretched in the
court and before the windows, covering the stairs and rooms with
heaps of bodies, and when the shouts of triumph ceased for an
instant, the groans of the wounded and the dying were heard from
every side.

None now remained but women and children.  When the Wallachians
broke into the castle, the widow had taken them all to the attics,
leaving the door open, that her brothers might find refuge in case
they were forced to retreat; and here the weaker members of the
family awaited the issue of the combat which was to bring them life
or death, listening breathlessly to the uproar, and endeavoring,
from its confused sounds, to determine good or evil.

At last the voices died away, and the hideous cries of the
besiegers ceased.  The trembling women believed that the
Wallachians had been driven out, and, breathing more freely, each
awaited with impatience the approach of brother--husband--sons.

At last a heavy step was heard on the stairs leading to the garret.

"This is Barnabas's step!" cried the widow, joyfully, and still
holding the pistols in her hand, she ran to the door of the garret.

Instead of her expected brother, a savage form, drunken with blood,
strode towards her, his countenance burning with rage and triumph.

The widow started back, uttering a shriek of terror, and then with
that unaccountable courage of desperation, she aimed one of the
pistols at the Wallachian's breast, who instantly fell backwards on
one of his comrades, who followed close behind.  The other pistol
she discharged into her own bosom.

And now we must draw a veil over the scene that followed.  What
happened there must not be witnessed by human eyes.

Suffice it to say, they murdered every one, women and children,
with the most refined and brutal cruelty, and then threw their dead
bodies out of the window from which Barnabas had dashed down the
iron fragments on the besiegers' heads.

They left the old grandmother to the last, that she might witness
the extermination of her whole family.  Happily for her, her eyes
had ceased to distinguish the light of sun, and ere long the light
of an eternal glory had risen upon them.

The Wallachians then dug a common grave for the bodies, and threw
them all in together.  The little one, whom his parents loved so
well, they cast in alive, his nurse having escaped from the attics
and carried him downstairs, where they had been overtaken by the

"There are only eleven here!" cried one of the gang, who had
counted the bodies, "one of them must be still alive somewhere--
there ought to be twelve!"  And then they once more rushed through
the empty rooms, overturning all the furniture, and cutting up and
breaking everything they met with.  They searched the garrets and
every corner of the cellars, but without success.

At last a yell of triumph was heard.  One of them had discovered a
door which, being painted of the same color as the walls, had
hitherto escaped their observation.  It concealed a small apartment
in the turret.  With a few blows of their axes it was broken open,
and they rushed in.

"Ah! a rare booty!" cried the foremost of the ruffians, while, with
bloodthirsty curiosity, the others pressed round to see the new

There lay the little orphan with the golden hair; her eyes were
closed and a death-like hue had overspread her beautiful features.

Her aunt, with an instinctive foreboding, had concealed her here
when she took the others to the attic.

The orphan grasped a sharp knife in her hand, with which she had
attempted to kill herself; and when her fainting hands refused the
fearful service, she had swooned in despair.

"Ah!" cried the Wallachians, in savage admiration, their
bloodthirsty countenances assuming a still more hellish expression.

"This is a common booty!" cried several voices together.

"A beautiful girl!  A noble lady! ha, ha!  She will just suit the
tattered Wallachians!"  And with their foul and bloody hands, they
seized the young girl by her fair slight arms.

"Ha! what is going on here?" thundered a voice from behind.

The Wallachians looked round.

A figure stood among them fully a head taller than all the rest.
He wore a brass helmet, in which a deep cleft was visible, and held
in his left hand a Roman sword.  His features bore the ancient
Roman character.

"The Decurio!" they murmured, making way for him.

"What is going on here?" he repeated; and seizing the fainting girl
in the arms of a Wallachian, he ordered him to lay her down.

"She is one of our enemies," replied the savage insolently.

"Silence, knave!  Does one of the Roumin nation seek enemies in
women?  Lay her down instantly."

"Not so, leader," interrupted Lupey; "our laws entitle us to a
division of the spoil.  This girl is our booty; she belongs to us
after the victory."

"I know our laws better than you do, churl!  Due division of spoil
is just and fair; but we cast lots for what cannot be divided."

"True, leader: a horse or an ox cannot be divided, and for them we
cast lots, but in this case--"

"I have said it cannot, and I should like to know who dares to say
it can!"

Lupey knew the Decurio too well to proffer another syllable, and
the rest turned silently from the girl; one voice alone was heard
to exclaim, "It can!"

"Who dares to say that?" cried the Decurio; "let him come forward!"

A young Wallachian, with long plaited hair, confronted the Decurio.
He was evidently intoxicated, and replied, striking his breast with
his fist: "I said so."

Scarcely had the words escaped his lips, than the Decurio, raising
his left hand, severed the contradictor's head at one stroke from
his body; and as it fell back, the lifeless trunk dropped on its
knees before the Decurio, with its arms around him, as if in

"Dare anyone still say it can?" asked Numa, with merciless rigor.

The Wallachians turned silently away.

"Put the horses immediately to the carriage; the girl must be
placed in it, and brought to Topanfalvo.  Whoever has the good
fortune of winning her, has a right to receive her as I confide her
to you; but if anyone of you should dare to offend her in the
slightest degree, even by a look or a smile, remember this and take
example from it," continued the Decurio, pointing with his sword to
the headless body of the young man.  "And now you may go--destroy
and pillage."

At these words the band scattered right and left, the Decurio with
the fainting girl, whom he lifted into the carriage and confided to
some faithful retainers of the family, pointing out the road across
the hills.

In half an hour the castle was in flames and the Wallachians,
descending into the cellars, had knocked out the bottoms of the
casks, and bathed in the sea of flowing wine and brandy, singing
wild songs, while the fire burst from every window enveloping the
blackened walls; after which the revelers departed, leaving their
dead, and those who were too helplessly intoxicated to follow them.

Meanwhile they brought the young girl to the Decurio's house, and
as each man considered that he had an equal right to the prize,
they kept a vigilant eye upon her, and none dared offend her so
much as by a look.

When the Decurio arrived, they all crowded into the house with him,
filling the rooms, as well as the entrance and porch.

Having laid out the spoil before them on the ground, the leader
proceeded to divide it into equal shares, retaining for himself a
portion of ten men, after which most of the band dispersed to their
homes; but a good many remained, greedily eyeing their still
unappropriated victim, who lay pale and motionless as the dead on
the couch of lime-boughs where they had laid her.

"You are waiting, I suppose, to cast lots for the girl?" said Numa

"Certainly," replied Lupey, with an insolent leer; "and his she
will be who casts highest.  If two, or ten, or twenty of us should
cast the same, we have an equal right to her."

"I tell you only one can have her," interrupted Numa sternly.

"Then those who win must cast again among each other."

"Casting the die will not do; we may throw all day long, and two
may remain at the end."

"Well, let us play cards for her."

"I cannot allow that, the more cunning will deceive the simpler."

"Well, write our names upon bricks, and throw them all into a
barrel; and whichever name you draw will take away the girl."

"I can say what name I please, for none of you can read."

The Wallachian shook his head impatiently.

"Well, propose something yourself, Decurio."

"I will.  Let us try which of us can give the best proof of courage
and daring; and whoever can do that, shall have the girl, for he
best deserves her."

"Well said!" cried the men unanimously.  "Let us each relate what
we have done, and then you can judge which among us is the

"I killed the first Bardy in the court in sight of his family."

"I broke in the door, when that terrible man was dashing down the
iron on our heads."

"But it was I who pierced his heart."

"I mounted the stairs first."

"I fought nearly half an hour with the noble in the cloth of gold."

And thus they continued.  Each man, according to his own account,
was the first and the bravest--each had performed miracles of

"You have all behaved with great daring, but it is impossible now
to prove what has happened.  The proof must be given here, by all
of us together, before my eyes, indisputably."

"Well, tell us how," said Lupey impatiently, always fearing that
the Decurio was going to deceive them.

"Look here," said Numa, drawing a small cask from beneath the bed--
and in doing so he observed that the young girl half opened her
eyes, as she glanced at him, and then closed them.  She was awake,
and had heard all.

As he stooped down, Numa whispered gently in her ear: "Fear
nothing," and then drew the cask into the middle of the room.

The Wallachians stared with impatient curiosity as he knocked out
the bottom of the cask with a hatchet.

"This cask contains gunpowder," continued Decurio.  "We will light
a match and place it in the middle of the cask, and whoever remains
longest in the room is undoubtedly the most courageous; for there
is enough here to blow up not only this house, but the whole of the
neighboring village."

At this proposition several of the men began to murmur.

"If any are afraid they are not obliged to remain," said the
Decurio dryly.

"I agree," said Lupey doggedly.  "I will remain here; and perhaps,
after all, it is poppy-seeds you have got there--it looks very much
like them."

The Decurio stooped down, and taking a small quantity between his
fingers, threw it into the Wallachian's pipe, which immediately
exploded, causing him to stagger backwards, and the next instant he
stood with a blackened visage, sans beard and moustache, amidst the
jeers and laughter of his comrades.

This only exasperated him the more.

"I will stay for all that!" he exclaimed; and lifting up the pipe
which he had dropped, he walked over and lit it at the burning
match which the Decurio was placing in the cask.

Upon this, two-thirds of the men left the room.

The rest assembled around the cask with much noise and bravado,
swearing by heaven and earth that they would stay until the match
burned out; but the more they swore, the more they looked at the
burning match, the flame of which was slowly approaching the

For some minutes their courage remained unshaken, but after that
they ceased to boast, and began to look at each other in silent
consternation, while their faces grew paler every instant.  At last
one or two rose and stood aloof; the others followed their example,
and some grinding their teeth with rage, others chattering with
terror, they all began to leave the room.

Only two remained beside the cask; Numa, who stood with his arms
folded leaning against the foot of the bed; and Lupey, who was
sitting on the iron of the cask with his back turned to the danger,
and smoking furiously.

As soon as they were alone, the latter glanced behind him and saw
the flame was within an inch of the powder.

"I'll tell you what, Decurio," he said, springing up, "we are only
two left, don't let us make food of each other; let us come to an
understanding on this matter."

"If you are tired of waiting, I can press the match lower."

"This is no jest, Numa; you are risking your own life.  How can you
wish to send us both to hell for the sake of a pale girl?  But I'll
tell you what--I'll give her up to you if you will only promise
that she shall be mine when you are tired of her."

"Remain here and win her--if you dare."

"To what purpose?" said the Wallachian, in a whining voice, and in
his impatience he began to tear his clothes and stamp with his
feet, like a petted child.

"What I have said stands good," said the Decurio; "whoever remains
longest has the sole right to the lady."

"Well, I will stay, of course; but what do I gain by it?  I know
you will stay, too, and then the devil will have us both; and I
speak not only for myself when I say I do not wish that."

"If you do not wish it, you had better be gone."

"Well, I don't care--if you will give me a golden mark."

"Not the half; stay if you like it."

"Decurio, this is madness!  The flame will reach the powder

"I see it."

"Well, say a dollar."

"Not a whit."

"May the seventy-seven limited thunder-bolt strike you on St.
Michael's Day!" roared the Wallachian fiercely, as he rushed to the
door; but after he had gone out, he once more thrust his head in
and cried: "Will you give even a form?  I am not gone yet."

"Nor have I removed the match; you may come back."  The Wallachian
slammed the door, and ran for his life, till exhausted and
breathless he sank under a tree, where he lay with his tunic over
his head, and his ears covered with his hands, only now and then
raising his head nervously, to listen for the awful explosion which
was to blow up the world.

Meanwhile Numa coolly removed the match, which was entirely burnt
down; and throwing it into the grate, he stepped over to the bed
and whispered into the young girl's ear: "You are free!"

Trembling, she raised herself in the bed and taking the Decurio's
large, sinewy hands within her own, she murmured: "Be merciful!  O
hear my prayer, and kill me!"

The Decurio stroked the fair hair of the lovely suppliant.  "Poor
child!" he replied gently; "you have nothing to fear; nobody will
hurt you now."

"You have saved me from these fearful people--now save me from

"You have nothing to fear from me," replied the Dacian, proudly; "I
fight for liberty alone, and you may rest as securely within my
threshold as on the steps of the altar.  When I am absent you need
have no anxiety, for these walls are impregnable, and if anyone
should dare offend you by the slightest look, that moment shall be
the last of his mortal career.  And when I am at home you have
nothing to fear, for woman's image never dwelt within my heart.
Accept my poor couch, and may your rest be sweet!--Imre Bardy slept
on it last night."

"Imre!" exclaimed the starting girl.  "You have seen him, then?--
oh! where is he!"

The Decurio hesitated.  "He should not have delayed so long," he
murmured, pressing his hand against his brow; "all would have been

"Oh! let me go to him; if you know where he is."

"I do not know, but I am certain he will come here if he is alive--
indeed he must come."

"Why do you think that?"

"Because he will seek you."

"Did he then speak--before you?"

"As he lay wounded on that couch, he pronounced your name in his
dreams.  Are you not that Jolanka Bardy whom they call 'The Angel'?
I knew you by your golden locks."

The young girl cast down her eyes.  "Then you think he will come?"
she said in a low voice.  And my relations?"

"He will come as soon as possible; and now you must take some food
and rest.  Do not think about your relations now; they are all in a
safe place--nobody can hurt them more.

The Decurio brought some refreshment, laid a small prayer-book on
the pillow, and left the orphan by herself.

The poor girl opened the prayer-book, and her tears fell like rain-
drops on the blessed page; but, overcome by the fatigue and terror
she had undergone, her head ere long sank gently back, and she
slept calmly and sweetly the sleep of exhausted innocence.

As evening closed, the Decurio returned, and softly approaching the
bed, looked long and earnestly at the fair sleeper's face, until
two large tears stood unconsciously in his eyes.

The Roumin hastily brushed away the unwonted moisture, and as if
afraid of the feeling which had stolen into his breast, he hastened
from the room, and laid himself upon his woolen rug before the open

The deserted castle still burned on, shedding a ghastly light on
the surrounding landscape, while the deepest silence reigned
around, only broken now and then by an expiring groan, or the
hoarse song of a drunken reveler.

Day was beginning to dawn as a troop of horsemen galloped furiously
towards the castle from the direction of Kolozsvar.

They were Imre and his comrades.

Silently and anxiously they pursued their course, their eyes fixed
upon one point, as they seemed to fly rather than gallop along the
road.  "We are too late!" exclaimed one of the party at last,
pointing to a dim red smoke along the horizon.  "Your castle is

Without returning an answer, Imre spurred his panting horse to a
swifter pace.  A turn in the road suddenly brought the castle to
their view, its blackened walls still burning, while red smoke rose
high against the side of the hill.

The young man uttered a fierce cry of despair, and galloped madly
down the declivity.  In less than a quarter of an hour he stood
before the ruined walls.

"Where is my father? where are my family? where is my bride?" he
shrieked in frantic despair, brandishing his sword over the head of
a half-drunken Wallachian, who was leaning against the ruined

The latter fell to his knees, imploring mercy, and declaring that
it was not he who killed them.

"Then they are dead!" exclaimed the unhappy youth, as, half-choked
by his sobs, he fell forward on his horse's neck.

Meanwhile his companions had ridden up, and immediately sounded the
Wallachian, whom, but for Imre's interference, they would have cut

"Lead us to where you have buried them.  Are they all dead?" he
continued; "have you not left one alive?  Accursed be the sun that
rises after such a night!"

The Wallachian pointed to a large heap of fresh-raised mould.
"They are all there!" he said.

Imre fell from his horse without another word, as if struck down.

His companions removed him to a little distance, where the grass
was least red.

They then began to dig twelve graves with their swords.  Imre
watched them in silence.  He seemed unconscious what they were

When they had finished the graves they proceeded to open the large
pit, but the sight was too horrible, and they carried Imre away by
force.  He could not have looked on what was there and still retain
his senses.

In a short time, one of his comrades approached and told him that
there were only eleven bodies in the grave.

"Then one of them must be alive!" cried Imre, a slight gleam of
hope passing over his pale features; "which is it?--speak!  Is
there not a young girl with golden locks among them?"

"I know not," stammered his comrade, in great embarrassment.

"You do not know?--go and look again."  His friend hesitated.

"Let me go--I must know," said Imre impatiently, as the young man
endeavored to detain him.

"O stay, Imre, you cannot look on them; they are all headless!"

"My God!" exclaimed the young man, covering his face with both
hands, and, bursting into tears he threw himself down with his face
upon the earth.

His comrades questioned the Wallachian closely as to what he knew
about the young girl.  First he returned no answer, pretending to
be drunk and not to understand; but on their promising to spare his
life, on the sole condition that he would speak the truth, he
confessed that she had been carried away to the mountains, where
the band were to cast lots for her.

"I must go!" said Imre, starting as if in a trance.

"Whither?" inquired his comrades.

"To seek her!  Take off your dress," he continued, turning to the
Wallachian, "you may have mine in exchange," and, hastily putting
on the tunic, he concealed his pistols in the girdle beneath it.

"We will follow you," said his comrades, taking up their arms; "we
will seek her from village to village."

"No, no, I must go alone!  I shall find her more easily alone.  If
I do not return, avenge this for me," he said, pointing to the
moat; then, turning to the Wallachian, he added sternly: "I have
found beneath your girdle a gold medallion, which my grandmother
wore suspended from her neck, and by which I know you to be one of
her murderers, and, had I not promised to spare your life, you
should now receive the punishment that you deserve.  Keep him
here," he said to his comrades, "until I have crossed the hills,
and then let him go."

And taking leave of his friends, he cast one glance at the eleven
heaps, and at the burning castle of his ancestors, and hastened
toward the mountains.

The hoary autumn nights had dyed the leaves of the forest.  The
whole country looked as if it had been washed in blood.

Deep amidst the wildest forest the path suddenly descends into a
narrow valley, surrounded by steep rocks at the foot of which lies
a little village half concealed among the trees.

It seemed as if the settlers there had only cleared sufficient
ground to build their dwellings, leaving all the rest a dense
forest.  Apart from the rest, on the top of a rock, stood a
cottage, which, unlike others, was constructed entirely of large
blocks of stone, and only approachable by a small path cut in the

A young man ascended this path.  He was attired in a peasant's garb
and although he evidently had traveled far, his step was light and
fleet.  When he had ascended about halfway, he was suddenly stopped
by an armed Wallachian, who had been kneeling before a shrine in
the rock, and seeing the stranger, rose and stood in his path.

The latter pronounced the Decurio's name, and produced his pazsura.

The Wallachian examined it on every side, and then stepped back to
let the stranger pass, after which he once more laid down his
scythe and cap, and knelt before the shrine.

The stranger knocked at the Decurio's door, which was locked, and
an armed Wallachian appeared from behind the rocks, and informed
him that the Decurio was not at home, only his wife.

"His wife?" exclaimed the stranger in surprise.

"Yes, that pale girl who fell to him by lot."

"And she is his wife."

"He told us so himself, and swore that if any of us dared so much
as lift his eye upon her, he would send him to St. Nicholas in

"Can I not see her?"

"I would not advise you; for if the Decurio hears of it, he will
make halves of you; but you may go around to the window if you
like--only let me get out of the way first, that the Decurio may
not find me here."

The stranger hastened to the window, and looking in, he saw the
young girl seated on an armchair made of rough birch boughs, with a
little prayer-book on her knee; her fair arm supporting her head,
while a mass of golden ringlets half veiled her face, which was as
pale as an alabaster statue; the extreme sadness of its expression
rendering her beauty still more touching.

"Jolanka!" exclaimed the stranger passionately.

She started at the well-known voice, and, uttering a cry of joy,
rushed to the window.

"Oh, Imre!" she murmured, "are you come at last!"

"Can I not enter? can I not speak with you?"

The young girl hastened to unbar the door, which was locked on the
inside, and as Imre entered she threw herself into his arms, while
he pressed her fondly to his heart.

The Wallachian, who had stolen to the window, stood aghast with
terror and, soon as the Decurio arrived, he ran to meet him, and
related, with vehement gesticulations, how the girl had thrown
herself into the peasant's arms.

"And how did you know that?" asked Numa coldly.

"I saw them through the window."

"And dared you look through my window?  Did I not forbid you?  Down
on your knees, and pray!"

The Wallachian fell on his knees, and clasped his hands.  "Rebel!
you deserve your punishment of death for having disobeyed my
commands; and if you ever dare to open your lips on the subject,
depend upon it, you shall not escape!"  And with these words he
strode away, leaving the astonished informer on his knees, in which
posture he remained for some time afterwards, not daring to raise
his head until the Decurio's steps had died away.

As Numa entered the house, the lovers hastened to meet him.  For an
instant or two he stood at the threshold, regarding the young man
with a look of silent reproach.  "Why did you come so late?" he

Imre held out his hand, but the Decurio did not accept it.  "The
blood of your family is on my hand," he whispered.  "You have let
dishonor come on me, and mourning on yourself."

The young man's head sunk on his breast in silent anguish.

"Take his hand," said Jolanka, in her low, sweet accents; and then
turning to Imre, "He saved your life--he saved us both, and he will
rescue our family, too."

Imre looked at her in astonishment.

The Decurio seized his arms and drew him aside.  "She does not know
that they are dead," he whispered; "she was not with them, and
knows nothing of their fate; and I have consoled her with the idea
that they are all prisoners, she must never know the horrors of
that fearful night."

"But sooner or later she will hear it."

"Never! you must leave the place and the kingdom.  You must go to

"My way lies towards Hungary."

"You must not think of it.  Evil days await that country; your
prophets do not see them, but I know, and see them clearly.  Go to
Turkey; I will give you letters by which you may pass in security
through Wallachia and Moldavia; and here is a purse of gold--do not
scruple to accept it, for it is your own, it belonged to THEM.
Promise me, for her sake," he continued earnestly, pointing to
Jolanka, "that you will not go to Hungary."

Imre hesitated.  "I cannot promise what I am not sure I shall
fulfill; but I shall remember your advice."

Numa took the hands of the two lovers, and, gazing long and
earnestly on their faces, he said, in a voice of deep feeling, "You
love one another?"

They pressed his hand in silence.

"You will be happy--you will forget your misfortunes.  God bless
and guide you on your way!  Take these letters, and keep the direct
road to Brasso,* by the Saxon-land.**  You will find free passage
everywhere, and never look behind until the last pinnacles of the
snowy mountains are beyond your sight.  Go! we will not take leave,
not a word, let us forget each other!"

* Brasso, or Kyonstadt, a town in the southeast of Transylvania, on
the frontier of Wallachia.

** A district inhabited by a colony of Saxons.

The Decurio watched the lovers until they were out of sight; and
called to them, even when they could hear him no longer: "Do not go
towards Hungary."

He then entered his house.  The prayer-book lay open as the young
girl had left it; the page was still damp with her tears.  Numa's
hand trembled, as he kissed the volume fervently and placed it in
his bosom.

When night came on, the Roumin lay down on his wolf-skin couch,
where the golden-haired maiden, and her lover before her, had
slept, but it seemed as if they had stolen his rest--he could not
close his eyes there, so he rose and went out on the porch, where
he spread his rug before the open door; but it was long ere he
could sleep--there was an unwonted feeling at his heart, something
like happiness, yet inexpressibly sad; and, buried in deep reverie,
he lay with his eyes fixed on the dark blue starry vault above him
till past midnight.  Suddenly he thought he heard the report of
some fire-arms at a great distance, and at the same moment two
stars sank beneath the horizon.  Numa thought of the travelers, and
a voice seemed to whisper, "They are now happy!"

The moon had risen high in the heavens, when the Decurio was roused
from his sleep by heavy footsteps, and five or six Wallachians,
among whom was Lupey, stood before him.

"We have brought two enemies' heads," said the latter, with a dark
look at the Decurio; "pay us their worth!" and taking two heads
from his pouch he laid them on Numa's mat.

The Wallachians watched their leader's countenance with sharp,
suspicious glances.

Numa recognized the two heads by the light of the moon.  They were
those of Imre and Jolanka, but his features did not betray the
slightest emotion.

"You will know them probably," continued Lupey.  "The young
magnate, who escaped us at the pass, came for the girl in your
absence, and at the same time stole your money, and, what is more,
we found your pazsura upon him also."

"Who killed them?" asked the Decurio, in his usual calm voice.

"None of us," replied the Wallachian; "as we rushed upon them, the
young magnate drew two pistols from his girdle, and shot the girl
through the head first, and himself afterwards."

"Were you all there?"

"And more of us besides."

"Go back and bring the rest.  I will divide the money you have
found on them among you.  Make haste; and should one of you remain
behind, his share will be divided among the rest."

The Wallachians hastened to seek their comrades with cries of joy.

The Decurio then locked the door, and, throwing himself upon the
ground beside the two heads, he kissed them a hundred times, and
sobbed like a child.

"I warned you not to go toward Hungary!" he said bitterly.  "Why
did you not hear me, unhappy children? why did you not take my
word?" and he wept over his enemies' heads as if he had been their

He then rose, his eyes darting fire, and, shaking his terrible
fist, he cried, in a voice hoarse with rage: "Czine mintye!"*

* Czine mintye!--A Wallachian term signifying revenge.

In a few hours, the Wallachians had assembled before the Decurio's
house.  They were about fifty or sixty, all wild, fearful-looking

Numa covered the two heads with a cloth, and laid them on the bed,
after which he opened the door.

Lupey entered last.

"Lock the door," said Numa, when they were all in; we must not be
interrupted;" and, making them stand in a circle, he looked around
at them all, one by one.

"Are you all here?" he asked at last.

"Not one is absent."

"Do you consider yourselves all equally deserving of sharing THE

"All of us."

"It was you," he continued to Lupey, "who struck down the old man?"

"It was."

"And you who pierced the magnate with a spike?"

"You are right, leader."

"And you really killed all the women in the castle?" turning to a

"With my own hand."

"And one and all of you can boast of having massacred, and
plundered, and set on fire?"

"All! all!" they cried, striking their breasts.

"Do not lie before Heaven.  See! your wives are listening at the
window to what you say, and will betray you if you do not speak the

"We speak the truth!"

"It is well!" said the leader, as he calmly approached the bed;
and, seating himself on it, uncovered the two heads and placed them
on his knee.  "Where did you put their bodies?" he asked.

"We cut them in pieces and strewed them on the highroad."

There was a short silence.  Numa's breathing became more and more
oppressed, and his large chest heaved convulsively.  "Have you
prayed yet?" he asked in an altered voice.

"Not yet, leader.  What should we pray for?" said Lupey.

"Fall down on your knees and pray, for this is the last morning
which will dawn on any of you again."

"Are you in your senses, leader?  What are you going to do?"

"I am going to purge the Roumin nation of a set of ruthless
murderers and brigands.  Miserable wretches; instead of glory, you
have brought dishonor and disgrace upon our arms wherever you have
appeared.  While the brave fought on the field of battle, you
slaughtered their wives and children; while they risked their lives
before the cannon's mouth you attacked the house of the sleepers
and robbed and massacred the helpless and the innocent.  Fall down
on your knees and pray for your souls, for the angel of death
stands over you, to blot out your memory from among the Roumin

The last words were pronounced in a fearful tone.  Numa was no
longer the cold unmoved statue he had hitherto appeared, he was
like a fiery genius of wrath, whose very breath was destruction.

The Wallachians fell upon their knees in silent awe, while the
women who had been standing outside, rushed shrieking down the

The Decurio drew a pistol from his breast, and approached the cask
of gunpowder.

With a fearful howl, they rushed upon him; the shriek of despair
was heard for an instant, then the terrible explosion which caused
the rocks to tremble, while the flames rose with a momentary flash
amidst clouds of dust and smoke, scaring the beasts of the forest,
and scattering stones and beams, and hundreds of dismembered limbs,
far through the valley, and over the houses of the terrified

When the smoke had dissipated, a heap of ruins stood in the place
of Numa's dwelling.

The sun rose and smiled upon the earth, which was strewed with the
last leaves of autumn, but where were those who had assembled at
the spring-time of the year?

The evening breezes whispered mournfully through the ruined walls,
and strewed the faded leaves upon eleven grassy mounds.

The pen trembles in my hand--my heart sickens at the recital of
such misery.

Would that I could believe it an imagination--the ghostly horror of
a fevered brain!

Would that I could bid my gentle readers check the falling tear or
tell them: "Start not with horror; it is but romance--the creation
of some fearful dream--let us awake, and see it no more!"

Etienne Barsony

The Dancing Bear

Fife and drum were heard from the big market-place.  People went
running towards it.  In a village the slightest unusual bustle
makes a riot.  Everybody is curious to know the cause of the alarm,
and whether the wheels of the world are running out of their orbit.
In the middle of the great dusty market-place some stunted locust
trees were hanging their faint, dried foliage, and from far off one
could already see that underneath these miserable trees a tall,
handsome, young man and a huge, plump dark-brown, growling bear
were hugging each other.

Joco, the bear-leader, was giving a performance.  His voice rang
like a bugle-horn, and, singing his melancholy songs, he from time
to time interrupted himself and hurrahed, whereupon the bear began
to spring and roar angrily.  The two stamped their feet, holding
close together, like two tipsy comrades.  But the iron-weighted
stick in the young man's hand made it evident that the gigantic
beast was quite capable of causing trouble, and was only restrained
from doing so because it had learnt from experience that the least
outbreak never failed to bring down vengeance upon its back.  The
bear was a very powerful specimen from Bosnia, with thick brown fur
and a head as broad as a bull's.  When he lifted himself up on his
hind legs he was half a head taller than Joco, his master.

The villagers stood round them with anxious delight, and animated
the bear with shouts of "Jump, Ibrahim!  Hop, Ibrahim!" but nobody
ventured to go near.  Joco was no stranger to these people.  After
every harvest he visited the rich villages of Banat with his bear.
They knew that he was a native of the frontier of Slavonia, and
they were not particularly keen to know anything else about him.  A
man who leads such a vagrant life does not stay long in any one
place, and has neither friends nor foes anywhere.  They supposed
that he spent part of the year in Bosnia, perhaps the winter,
visiting, one after the other, the Servian monasteries.  Now, in
midsummer, when he was least to be expected, they suddenly hear his
fife and drum.

Ibrahim, the big old bear, roused the whole village in less than a
quarter of an hour with his far-reaching growls.  The dogs crouched
horror-struck, their hair standing on end, barking at him in fear
and trembling.

When Joco stopped at some street corner, or in the market-place,
and began to beat his rattling drum, the bear lifted himself with
heavy groans on his hind legs, and then the great play began, the
cruel amusement, the uncanny, fearful embracings which one could
never be sure would not end fatally.  For Joco is not satisfied to
let Ibrahim jump and dance, but, whistling and singing, grasps the
wild beast's skin, and squeezes his paws; and so the two dance
together, the one roaring and groaning, the other singing with
monotonous voice a melancholy song.

The company of soldiers stationed in the village was just returning
from drill, and Captain Winter, Ritter von Wallishausen, turned in
curiosity his horse's head towards the crowd, and made a sign to
Lieutenant Vig to lead the men on.  His fiery half-blood Graditz
horse snuffed the disgusting odor of the wild beast, and would go
no nearer.

The Captain called a hussar from the last line that passed him, and
confided the stubborn horse to his charge.  Then he bent his steps
towards the swaying crowd.  The villagers opened out a way for him,
and soon the Captain stood close behind the bear-leader.  But
before he could fix his eyes on Ibrahim they were taken captive by
something else.

A few steps away from Joco a young girl sat upon the ground, gently
stroking a light-colored little bear.  They were both so huddled up
together that the villagers scarcely noticed them, and the Captain
was therefore all the better able to observe the young woman, who
appeared to be withdrawing herself as much as possible from public
gaze.  And really she seemed to be an admirable young creature.
She was slight of build, perhaps not yet fully developed, with the
early ripeness of the Eastern beauty expressed in face and figure--
a black cherry, at sight of which the mouth of such a gourmand as
the Ritter von Wallishausen would naturally water!  Her fine face
seemed meant only to be the setting of her two black eyes.  She
wore a shirt of coarse linen, a frock of many-colored material, and
a belt around her waist.  Her beautifully formed bosoms covered
only by the shirt, rose and fell in goddesslike shamelessness.  A
string of glass beads hung round her neck, and two long earrings
tapped her cheeks at every movement.  She made no effort to hide
her bare feet, but now and then put back her untidy but beautiful
black hair from her forehead and eyes; for it was so thick that if
she did not do so she could not see.

The girl felt that the Captain's fiery gaze was meant for her and
not for the little bear.  She became embarrassed, and instinctively
turned her head away.  Just at this moment Joco turned round with
Ibrahim.  The tall Servian peasant let the whistle fall from his
hand, and the wild dance came to an end.  Ibrahim understood that
the performance was over, and, putting down his front paws on the
ground, licked, as he panted, the strong iron bars of his muzzle.

The Captain and Joco looked at each other.  The powerful young
bear-leader was as pale as death.  He trembled as if something
terrible had befallen him.  Captain Winter looked at him
searchingly.  Where, he asked himself, had he met this man?

The villagers did not understand what was going on, and began to
shout, "Zorka!  Now, Zorka, it is your turn with Mariska."  The
cries of the villagers brought Joco to himself, and with a motion
worthy of a player he roused the little bear to its feet.  Then he
made signs to the girl.  Being too excited to blow his whistle, he
started singing and beating the drum; but his voice trembled so
much that by and by he left off singing and let the girl go through
her performance alone.

Then the Captain saw something that wrought him up to ecstasy.
Zorka was singing a sad Bosnian song in her tender, crooning voice,
and dancing with graceful steps round the little bear, who, to tell
the truth, also danced more lightly than the heavy Ibrahim, and was
very amusing when he lifted his paw to his head as Hungarians do
when they are in high spirits and break forth in hurrahs.

Captain Winter, however, saw nothing but the fair maid, whose
pearly white teeth shone out from between her red lips.  He felt he
would like to slip a silk ribbon round her waist, which swayed as
lightly as a reed waving to and fro in the wind, and lead her off
as if she were a beautiful colored butterfly.

Zorka grew tired of the sad, melancholy song, and began to dance
wildly and passionately.  Perhaps her natural feminine vanity was
roused within her, and she wanted to show off at her best before
the handsome soldier.  Her eyes sparkled; a flush spread from time
to time over her face; with her sweet voice she animated the little
bear, crying, "Mariska, Mariska, jump!"  But after a while she
seemed to forget the growling little creature altogether, and went
on dancing a kind of graceful fandango of her own invention.  As
she swayed, it seemed as if the motion and excitement caused every
fiber of her body to flash out a sort of electric glow.  By the
time the girl flung herself, quite exhausted, in the dust at his
feet, Captain Winter was absolutely beside himself.  Such a morsel
of heavenly daintiness did not often drop in his path now that he
was fasting in this purgatory of a village.  His stay there had
been one long Lent, during which joys and pleasures had been rare

          .          .          .          .          .

It began to grow dark.  At the other end of the marketplace several
officers were on their way to supper at the village inn where they
always messed.  The Captain turned to the man and woman in
possession of the bears and ordered them in no friendly tone to go
with him to the inn as his guests.  Joco bowed humbly like a
culprit, and gloomily led on his comrade Ibrahim.  Zorka, on the
contrary, looked gay as she walked along beside the light-colored

The Captain looked again and again at the bear-leader walking in
front of him.  "Where have I seen this fellow before?" he kept
asking himself.  His uncertainty did not last long.  His face
brightened.  "Oh, yes; I remember!" he inwardly exclaimed.  Now he
felt sure that this black cherry of Bosnia, this girl with the
waist of a dragon-fly, was his.

The inn, once a gentleman's country-house, was built of stone.  The
bears were lodged in a little room which used to serve the former
owner of the house as pantry, and were chained to the strong iron
lattice of the window.  In one corner of this little room the
landlord ordered one of his servants to make a good bed of straw.
"The Captain will pay for it," he said.

When everything was ready in the little room, the Captain called
Joco and took him there.  He knew that what he was going to do was
not chivalrous; but he had already worked himself up to a blaze of
excitement over the game he meant to play, and this fellow was too
stupid to understand what a hazardous piece of play it was.  When
they were alone he stood erect before the bear-leader and looked
fixedly into his eyes.

"You are Joco Hics," he said; "two years ago you deserted from my

The strong, tall, young peasant began to tremble so that his knees
knocked together, but could not answer a single word.  Fritz
Winter, Ritter von Wallishausen, whispered into Joco's ear, his
speech agitated and stuttering: "You have a woman with you," he
said, "who surely is not your wife.  Set her free.  I will buy her
from you for any price you ask.  You can go away with your bears
and pluck yourself another such flower where you found this one."

Joco stood motionless for a while as if turned into stone.  He did
not tremble any longer: the crisis was over.  He had only been
frightened as long as he was uncertain whether or not he would be
instantly hanged if he were found out.

"In all Bosnia," he answered gloomily, "there was only one such
flower and that I stole."

Before a man who was willing to share his guilt, he dared
acknowledge his crime.  In truth, this man was no better than
himself.  He only wore finer clothes.

The Captain became impatient.  "Are you going to give her up, or
not?" he asked.  "I do not want to harm you; but I could put you in
prison and in chains, and what would become of your sweetheart

Joco answered proudly: "She would cry her eyes out for me;
otherwise she would not have run away from her rich father's house
for my sake."

Ah! thought the Captain, if it were only that!  By degrees I could
win her to me.

But it was not advisable to make a fuss, whether for the sake of
his position or because of his wife, who lived in town.

"Joco, I tell you what," said the Captain, suddenly becoming calm.
"I am going away now for a short time.  I shall be gone about an
hour.  By that time everybody will be in bed.  The officers who sup
with me, and the innkeeper and his servants, will all be sound
asleep.  I give you this time to think it over.  When I come back
you will either hold out your hand to be chained or to receive a
pile of gold in it.  In the meantime I shall lock you in there,
because I know how very apt you are to disappear."  He went out,
and turned the key twice in the lock.  Joco was left alone.

When the hour had expired Captain Winter noisily opened the door.
His eyes sparkled from the strong wine he had taken during supper,
as well as from the exquisite expectation which made his blood

Joco stood smiling submissively before him.  "I have thought it
over, sir," he said.  "I will speak with the little Zorka about

Ritter Winter now forgot that he was speaking with a deserter, whom
it was his duty to arrest.  He held out his hand joyfully to the
Bosnian peasant, and said encouragingly: "Go speak with her; but
make haste.  Go instantly."

They crept together to the pantry where the girl slept near the
chained bears.  Joco opened the door without making a sound, and
slipped in.  It seemed to the Captain that he heard whispering
inside.  These few moments seemed an eternity to him.  At last the
bear-leader reappeared and, nodding to the Captain, said: "Sir, you
are expected."

Captain Winter had undoubtedly taken too much wine.  He staggered
as he entered the pantry, the door of which the bear-leader shut
and locked directly he had entered.  He then listened with such an
expression on his face as belongs only to a born bandit.  Almost
immediately a growling was heard, and directly afterwards some
terrible swearing and a fall.  The growling grew stronger and
stronger.  At last it ended in a wild roar.  A desperate cry
disturbed the stillness of the night: "Help! help!"

In the yard and round about it the dogs woke up, and with terrible
yelping ran towards the pantry, where the roaring of the bear grew
ever wilder and more powerful.  The rattling of the chain and the
cries of the girl mingled with Ibrahim's growling.  The neighbors
began to wake up.  Human voices, confused questionings, were heard.
The inn-keeper and his servants appeared on the scene in their
night clothes, but, hearing the terrible roaring, fled again into
security.  The Captain's cries for help became weaker and weaker.
And now Joco took his iron stake, which he always kept by him,
opened the door, and at one bound was at the side of the wild
beast.  His voice sounded again like thunder, and the iron stick
fell with a thud on the bear's back.  Ibrahim had smelt blood.
Beneath his paws a man's mangled body was writhing.  The beast
could hardly be made to let go his prey.  In the light that came
through the small window, Joco soon found the chain from which not
long before he had freed Ibrahim, and with a swift turn he put the
muzzle over the beast's jaws.  It was done in a twinkling.  During
this time Zorka had been running up and down the empty yard, crying
in vain for help.  Nobody had dared come near.

The following day Captain Fritz Winter, Ritter von Wallishausen,
was lying between burning wax candles upon his bier.  Nobody could
be made responsible for the terrible accident.  Why did he go to
the bears when he was not sober?

But that very day the siren of Bosnia danced her wild dance again
in the next village, and with her sweet, melodious voice urged the
light-colored little bear: "Mariska, jump, jump!"

Arthur Elck

The Tower Room

There were many wonderful things that aroused our childish fantasy,
when Balint Orzo and I were boys, but none so much as the old tower
that stands a few feet from the castle, shadowy and mysterious.  It
is an old, curious, square tower, and at the brink of its notched
edge there is a shingled helmet which was erected by one of the
late Orzos.

There is many and many a legend told about this old tower.  A rumor
exists that it has a secret chamber into which none is permitted to
enter, except the head of the family.  Some great secret is
concealed in the tower-room, and when the first-born son of the
Orzo family becomes of age his father takes him there and reveals
it.  And the effect of the revelation is such that every young man
who enters that room comes out with gray hair.

As to what the secret might be, there was much conjecturing.  One
legend had it that once some Orzo imprisoned his enemies in the
tower and starved them until the unfortunates ate each other in
their crazed suffering.

According to another story Kelemen Orzo ordered his faithless wife
Krisztina Olaszi to be plastered into the wall of the room.  Every
night since, sobbing is heard from the tower.

Another runs that every hundred years a child with a dog's face is
born in the Orzo family and that this little monster has to perish
in the tower-room, so as to hide the disgrace of the family.

Another conjecture was that once the notorious Menyhart Orzo, who
was supreme under King Rudolph in the castle, played a game of
checkers with his neighbor, Boldizsar Zomolnoky.  They commenced to
play on a Monday and continued the game and drank all week until
Sunday morning dawned upon them.  Then Menyhart Orzo's confessor
came and pleaded with the gamblers.  He begged them to stop the
game on the holy day of Sunday, when all true Christians are in
church praising the Lord.  But Menyhart, bringing his fist down on
the table in such rage that all the wine glasses and bottles
danced, cried: "And if we have to sit here till the world comes to
an end, we won't stop till we have finished this game!"

Scarcely had he uttered his vow when, somewhere from the earth, or
from the wall, a thundering voice was heard promising to take him
at his word--that they would continue playing till the end of the
world.  And ever since, the checkers are heard rattling, and the
two damned souls are still playing the game in the tower-room.

When we were boys, the secret did not give us any rest, and we were
always discussing and plotting as to how we could discover it.  We
made at least a hundred various plans, but all failed.  It was an
impossibility to get into the tower, because of a heavy iron-barred
oaken door.  The windows were too high to be reached.  We had to
satisfy ourselves with throwing a well-aimed stone, which hit the
room through the window.  Such an achievement was somewhat of a
success, for oftentimes we drove out an alarmed flock of birds.

One day I decided that the best way would be to find out the secret
of the tower from Balint's father himself.  "He is the head of the
family," I thought, "and if any light is to be had on the mystery,
it is through him."  But Balint didn't like the idea of approaching
the old man; he knew his father's temper.

However, once he ventured the question, but he was sorry for it
afterwards, for the older Orzo flew into a passion, and scolded and
raged, ending by telling him that he must not listen to such
nursery-tales; that the tower was moldering and decaying with age;
that the floor timbers and staircase were so infirm that it would
fall to pieces should anyone approach it; and that this was why no
one could gain admittance.

For a long time afterwards neither of us spoke of it.

But curiosity was incessantly working within us, and one evening
Balint solemnly vowed to me that as soon as he became of age and
had looked into the room, he would call for me, should I be even at
the end of the world, and would let me into the secret.  In order
to make it more solemn, we called this a "blood-contract."

With this vow we parted.  My parents sent me to college; Balint had
a private tutor and was kept at home in the castle.  After that we
only met at vacation time.

Eight years passed before I saw the Orzo home again.  At Balint's
urgent, sudden invitation I had hurriedly journeyed back to my
rocky fatherland.

I had scarcely stepped on the wide stone stairway leading from the
terrace in the front of the castle, when someone shouted that the
honorable master was near!  He came galloping in on a foaming
horse.  I looked at him and started, as if I had seen a ghost, for
this thin, tall rider was the perfect resemblance of his father.
The same knotty hair and bearded head, the same densely furrowed
face, the same deep, calm, gray eyes.  And his hair and beard were
almost as white as his father's!

He came galloping through the gate, pulled the bridle with a sudden
jerk, and the next moment was on the paving; then with one bound he
reached the terrace, and had me in his strong arms.  With wild
eagerness he showed me into the castle and at the same time kept
talking and questioning me without ceasing.  Then he thrust me into
my room and declared that he gave me fifteen minutes--no more--to

The time had not even expired, when he came, like a whirlwind,
embraced me again and carried me into the dining-room.  There
chandeliers and lamps were already lit; the table was elaborately
decorated, and bore plenty of wine.

At the meal he spoke again.  Nervously jerking out his words, he
was continually questioning me on one subject and then another,
without waiting for the answer.  He laughed often and harshly.
When we came to the drinking, he winked to the servants, and
immediately five Czigany musicians entered the room.  Balint
noticed the astonishment on my face, and half evasively said:

"I have sent to Iglo for them in honor of you.  Let the music
sound, and the wine flow; who knows when we will see each other

He put his face into his palm.  The Cziganys played old Magyar
songs.  Balint glanced at me now and then, and filled the glasses;
we clinked them together, but he always seemed to be worried.

It was dawning.  The soft sound of a church bell rose to us.
Balint put his hand on my shoulder and bent to my ear.

"Do you know how my father died?" he asked in a husky voice.  "He
killed himself."

I looked at him with amazement; I wanted to speak, but he shook his
head, and grasped my hand.

"Do you remember my father?" he asked me.  Of course; while I
looked at him it seemed as if his father were standing before me.
The very fibrous, skinny figure, the muscles and flesh seeming
peeled off.  Even through his coat arm I felt the naked, unveiled

"I always admired and honored my father, but we were never true
intimates; I knew that he loved me, but I felt as if it was not for
my own sake; as if he loved something in my soul that was strange
to me.  I never saw him smile; sometimes he was so harsh that I was
afraid of him; at another time he was unmanageable.

"I did not understand him, but the older I became the better did I
feel that there was a sad secret germinating in the bottom of his
soul, where it grew like a spreading tree, the branches of which
crept up to the castle and covered the walls, little by little
overshadowed the sunlight, absorbed the air, and darkened
everyone's heart.  I gritted my teeth in vain; I could not work; I
could not start to accomplish anything.  I struggled with hundreds
and hundreds of determinations; to-day I prepared for this or that;
tomorrow for something else; ambition pressed me within; I could
not make up my mind.  Behind every resolution I made, I noticed my
father's countenance, like a note of interrogation.  The old fables
that we heard together in our childhood were renewed in my memory.
Little by little the thought grew within me, like a fixed delusion,
that my father's fatal secret was locked up in the tower room.
After that I lived by the calendar and dwelt on the passing of time
on the clock.  And when the sun that shone on me when I was born
arose the twenty-fourth time, I pressed my hand on my heart and
entered my father's room--this very room.

"'Father,' I said, 'I became of age to-day, everything may be
opened before me, and I am at liberty to know everything.'  Father
looked at me and pondered over this.

"'Oh, yes!' he whispered, 'this is the day.'

"'I may know everything now,' continued I;' I am not afraid of any
secrets.  In the name of our family tradition, I beg of you, please
open the tower-room.'

"Father raised his hand, as if he wanted to make me become silent.
His face was as white as a ghost.

"'Very well,' he murmured, 'I will open the tower-room for you.'

"And then he pulled off his coat, tore his shirt on his breast, and
pointed to his heart.

"'Here is the tower-room, my boy!' did he whisper in a husky voice.
'Here is the tower-room, and within our family secret.  Do you see

"That is all he said, but when I looked at him I immediately
perceived the secret; everything was clear before me and I had a
presentiment that something was nearing its end, something about to

"Father walked up and down; and then he stopped and pointed to this
picture; to this very picture.

"'Did you ever thoroughly look at your ancestors?  They are all
from the Orzos.  If you scrutinize their faces you will recognize
in them your father, yourself, and your grandfather; and if you
ever read their documents, which were left to us--there they are in
the box--then you will know that they are just the same material as
we are.  Their way of thinking was the same as ours and so were
their desires, their wills, their lives, and deaths.  We had among
them soldiers, clergymen, scientists, but not even one great,
celebrated man, although their talent, their strength almost tore
them asunder.

"'In every one of them the family curse took root: not one of them
could be a great man, neither my father nor yours.'

"Then I felt as if something horrible was coming from his lips.  My
breath almost ceased.  Father did not finish what he was going to
say, but stopped and listened for a minute.

"'I was my father's only hope,' he went on after a while; 'I too
was born talented and prepared for great things, but the Orzos'
destiny overtook me, and you see now what became of me.  I looked
into the tower-room.  You know what it contains?  You know what the
name of our secret is?  He who saw this secret lost faith in
himself.  For him it would have been better not to have come into
this world at all.  But I loved to live and did not want to abandon
all my hopes.  I married your mother; she consoled me until you
were born, and then I regained my delight in life.  I knew what I
had to keep before my eyes to bring up my son to be such a man as
his father could not be.

"'I acquiesced when you left for the foreign countries; then your
letters came.  I made a special study of every sentence and of
every word of it, for I did not want to trust my reason.  I thought
the first time that the fault was in me; that I saw unnecessary
phantoms.  But it wasn't so, for what I read out of your words was
our destiny, the curse of the Orzos; from the way of your thinking,
I found out that everything is in vain; you too turned your head
backward, you too looked into yourself and noticed there the thing
that makes the perceiver sterile forever.  You did not even notice
what you have done; you could not grasp it with your reason, but
the poison is already within you.'

"'It cannot be, father!' I broke out, terrified.

"But he sadly shook his head.  'I am old; I cannot believe in
anything now.  I wish you were right, and would never come to know
what I know.  God bless you, my son; it is getting late, and I am
getting tired.'

"It struck me that he was trying to cover his disbelief with
sarcasm.  Both of us were without sleep that night.  At dawn there
was silence in his room.  I bitterly thought, 'When will I go to
rest?'  When I went into his room in the morning he was lying in
his bed.  All was over.  He had taken poison, and written his
farewell on a piece of paper.  His last wish was that no one should
ever know under what circumstances he died."

Balint left off speaking and gazed with outstretched eyes toward
the window in the darkness.  I slowly went to him and put my hand
upon his shoulder.  He started at my touch.

"I more than once thought of the woman who could be the mother of
my son.  How many times have I been tempted to fulfill my father's
last wish!  But at such a time it has always come to my mind that I
too might have such a son, who would cast into his father's teeth
that he was a coward and a selfish man; that he sacrificed a life
for his illusive hopes.

"No!  I won't do it.  I won't do it.  I am the last of the Orzos.
With me this damned family will die out.  My fathers were cowards
and rascals.  I do not want anybody to curse my memory."

I kissed Balint's wet forehead; I knew that this was the last time
I would see him.  The next day I left the castle, and the day
after, his death was made public.  He committed suicide, like his
father.  He was the last Orzo, and I turned about the coat of arms
above his head.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Lock and Key Library: The Most Interesting Stories of All Nations: North Europe — Russian — Swedish — Danish — Hungarian" ***

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