The Forged Coupon, And Other Stories

Revolt Library >> Anarchism >> Forged Coupon, And Other Stories, The

1912

People

(1828 - 1910) ~ Father of Christian Anarchism : In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "...for no social system can be durable or stable, under which the majority does not enjoy equal rights but is kept in a servile position, and is bound by exceptional laws. Only when the laboring majority have the same rights as other citizens, and are freed from shameful disabilities, is a firm order of society possible." (From : "To the Czar and His Assistants," by Leo Tolstoy, ....)
• "If, in former times, Governments were necessary to defend their people from other people's attacks, now, on the contrary, Governments artificially disturb the peace that exists between the nations, and provoke enmity among them." (From : "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)
• "It usually happens that when an idea which has been useful and even necessary in the past becomes superfluous, that idea, after a more or less prolonged struggle, yields its place to a new idea which was till then an ideal, but which thus becomes a present idea." (From : "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)

Sections

This document contains 48 sections, with 58,223 words or 379,842 characters.

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INTRODUCTION IN an age of materialism like our own the phenomenon of spiritual power is as significant and inspiring as it is rare. No longer associated with the “divine right” of kings, it has survived the downfall of feudal and theocratic systems as a mystic personal emanation in place of a coercive weapon of statecraft. Freed from its ancient shackles of dogma and despotism it eludes analysis. We know not how to gauge its effect on others, nor even upon ourselves. Like the wind, it permeates the atmosphere we breathe, and baffles while it stimulates the mind with its intangible but compelling force. This psychic power, which the dead weight of materialism is impotent to suppress, is revealed in the lives and writings of men of the most... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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LIST OF POSTHUMOUS WORKS, GIVING DATE WHEN EACH WAS FINISHED OR LENGTH OF TIME OCCUPIED IN WRITING. Father Serge. 1890-98. Introduction to the History of a Mother. 1894. Memoirs of a Mother. 1894. The Young Czar. 1894. Diary of a Lunatic. 1896. Hajji Murat. 1896-1904. The Light that shines in Darkness. 1898-1901. The Man who was dead. 1900. After the Ball. 1903. The Forged Coupon. 1904. Alexis. 1905. Diary of Alexander I. 1905. The Dream. 1906. Father Vassily. 1906. There are no Guilty People. 1909. The Wisdom of Children. 1909. The Cause of it All. 1910. Chodynko. 1910. Two Travelers. Date uncertain. (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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II MAHIN was his schoolfellow, his senior, a grown-up young man with a mustache. He gambled, had a large feminine acquaintance, and always had ready cash. He lived with his aunt. Mitia quite realized that Mahin was not a respectable fellow, but when he was in his company he could not help doing what he wished. Mahin was in when Mitia called, and was just preparing to go to the theater. His untidy room smelt of scented soap and eau-de-Cologne. “That’s awful, old chap,” said Mahin, when Mitia telling him about his troubles, showed the coupon and the fifty kopecks, and added that he wanted nine rubles more. “We might, of course, go and pawn your watch. But we might do something far better.” And Mahin winked an eye. “What’s that?” “Something quite simple.” Mahin took the coupon in his hand. ... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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III THE two boys, having rung the door-bell, entered the empty shop, which had shelves along the walls and photographic appliances on them, together with show-cases on the counters. A plain woman, with a kind face, came through the inner door and asked from behind the counter what they required. “A nice frame, if you please, madam.” “At what price?” asked the woman; she wore mittens on her swollen fingers with which she rapidly handled picture-frames of different shapes. “These are fifty kopecks each; and these are a little more expensive. There is rather a pretty one, of quite a new style; one ruble and twenty kopecks.” “All right, I will have this. But could not you make it cheaper? Let us say one ruble.” “We don’t bargain in our shop,” said the... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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IV AN hour after the boys were gone Eugene Mihailovich, the owner of the shop, came home, and began to count his receipts. “Oh, you clumsy fool! Idiot that you are!” he shouted, addressing his wife, after having seen the coupon and noticed the forgery. “But I have often seen you, Eugene, accepting coupons in payment, and precisely twelve ruble ones,” retorted his wife, very humiliated, grieved, and all but bursting into tears. “I really don’t know how they contrived to cheat me,” she went on. “They were pupils of the school, in uniform. One of them was quite a handsome boy, and looked so comme il faut.” “A comme il faut fool, that is what you are!” The husband went on scolding her, while he counted the cash. . . . When I accept coupons, I see what is written on them. And you probably lo... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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V THE guests at the party had tea and cakes offered to them, and sat down after that to play whist at a number of card-tables. The partners of Eugene Mihailovich’s wife were the host himself, an officer, and an old and very stupid lady in a wig, a widow who owned a music-shop; she loved playing cards and played remarkably well. But it was Eugene Mihailovich’s wife who was the winner all the time. The best cards were continually in her hands. At her side she had a plate with grapes and a pear and was in the best of spirits. “And Eugene Mihailovich? Why is he so late?” asked the hostess, who played at another table. “Probably busy settling accounts,” said Eugene Mihailovich’s wife. “He has to pay off the tradesmen, to get in firewood.” The quarrel she had with her husband revived in her memory... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VI EUGENE MIHAILOVICH had actually used the coupon to buy firewood from the peasant Ivan Mironov, who had thought of setting up in business on the seventeen rubles he possessed. He hoped in this way to earn another eight rubles, and with the twenty-five rubles thus amassed he intended to buy a good strong horse, which he would want in the spring for work in the fields and for driving on the roads, as his old horse was almost played out. Ivan Mironov’s commercial method consisted in buying from the stores a cord of wood and dividing it into five cartloads, and then driving about the town, selling each of these at the price the stores charged for a quarter of a cord. That unfortunate day Ivan Mironov drove out very early with half a cartload, which he soon sold. He loaded up again with another cartload which he hoped to sell, but he looked in vai... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VII IVAN MIRONOV had to spend the night in the police-station, in the company of drunkards and thieves. It was noon of the next day when he was summoned to the police officer; put through a close examination, and sent in the care of a policeman to Eugene Mihailovich’s shop. Ivan Mironov remembered the street and the house. The policeman asked for the shopkeeper, showed him the coupon and confronted him with Ivan Mironov, who declared that he had received the coupon in that very place. Eugene Mihailovich at once assumed a very severe and astonished air. “You are mad, my good fellow,” he said. “I have never seen this man before in my life,” he added, addressing the policeman. “It is a sin, sir,” said Ivan Mironov. “Think of the hour when you will die.” “Why, you mu... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VIII THE lawyer consented to take proceedings on behalf of Ivan Mironov, not so much for the sake of the fee, as because he believed the peasant, and was revolted by the wrong done to him. Both parties appeared in the court when the case was tried, and the yard-porter Vassily was summoned as witness. They repeated in the court all they had said before to the police officials. Ivan Mironov again called to his aid the name of the Divinity, and reminded the shopkeeper of the hour of death. Eugene Mihailovich, although quite aware of his wickedness, and the risks he was running, despite the rebukes of his conscience, could not now change his testimony, and went on calmly to deny all the allegations made against him. The yard-porter Vassily had received another ten rubles from his master, and, quite unperturbed, asserted with a smil... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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IX PETER NIKOLAEVICH SVENTIZKY, a short man in black spectacles (he had weak eyes, and was threatened with complete blindness), got up, as was his custom, at dawn of day, had a cup of tea, and putting on his short fur coat trimmed with astrachan, went to look after the work on his estate. Peter Nikolaevich had been an official in the Customs, and had gained eighteen thousand rubles during his service. About twelve years ago he quitted the service—not quite of his own accord: as a matter of fact he had been compelled to leave—and bought an estate from a young landowner who had dissipated his fortune. Peter Nikolaevich had married at an earlier period, while still an official in the Customs. His wife, who belonged to an old noble family, was an orphan, and was left without money. She was a tall, stoutish, good-looking woman. They had no children. (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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X IN the meanwhile the horses, the gray ones, had all been disposed of; Mashka was sold to the gypsies for eighteen rubles; Dapple-gray was exchanged for another horse, and passed over to another peasant who lived forty miles away from the estate; and Beauty died on the way. The man who conducted the whole affair was—Ivan Mironov. He had been employed on the estate, and knew all the whereabouts of Peter Nikolaevich. He wanted to get back the money he had lost, and stole the horses for that reason. After his misfortune with the forged coupon, Ivan Mironov took to drink; and all he possessed would have gone on drink if it had not been for his wife, who locked up his clothes, the horses’ collars, and all the rest of what he would otherwise have squandered in public-houses. In his drunken state Ivan Mironov was continually thinking, not only of the man... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XI PETER NIKOLAEVICH SVENTIZKY did his best to discover who had stolen his horses. He knew somebody on the estate must have helped the thieves, and began to suspect all his staff. He inquired who had slept out that night, and the gang of the working men told him Proshka had not been in the whole night. Proshka, or Prokofy Nikolaevich, was a young fellow who had just finished his military service, handsome, and skillful in all he did; Peter Nikolaevich employed him at times as coachman. The district constable was a friend of Peter Nikolaevich, as were the provincial head of the police, the marshal of the nobility, and also the rural councilor and the examining magistrate. They all came to his house on his saint’s day, drinking the cherry brandy he offered them with pleasure, and eating the nice preserved mushrooms of all kinds to accompany the liqueurs. They all s... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XII AFTER having got rid of the coupon, Eugene Mihailovich forgot all about it; but his wife, Maria Vassilievna, could not forgive herself for having been taken in, nor yet her husband for his cruel words. And most of all she was furious against the two boys who had so skillfully cheated her. From the day she had accepted the forged coupon as payment, she looked closely at all the schoolboys who came in her way in the streets. One day she met Mahin, but did not recognize him, for on seeing her he made a face which quite changed his features. But when, a fortnight after the incident with the coupon, she met Mitia Smokovnikov face to face, she knew him at once. She let him pass her, then turned back and followed him, and arriving at his house she made inquiries as to whose son he was. The next day she went to the school and met the divinity instruc... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XIII MEANWHILE the yard-porter Vassily was marching on the open road down to the south. He walked in daytime, and when night came some policeman would get him shelter in a peasant’s cottage. He was given bread everywhere, and sometimes he was asked to sit down to the evening meal. In a village in the Orel district, where he had stayed for the night, he heard that a merchant who had hired the landowner’s orchard for the season, was looking out for strong and able men to serve as watchmen for the fruit-crops. Vassily was tired of tramping, and as he had also no desire whatever to go back to his native village, he went to the man who owned the orchard, and got engaged as watchman for five rubles a month. Vassily found it very agreeable to live in his orchard shed, and all the more so when the apples and pears began to grow rip... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XIV IVAN MIRONOV had become a very clever, fearless and successful horse-thief. Afimia, his wife, who at first used to abuse him for his evil ways, as she called it, was now quite content and felt proud of her husband, who possessed a new sheepskin coat, while she also had a warm jacket and a new fur cloak. In the village and throughout the whole district every one knew quite well that Ivan Mironov was at the bottom of all the horse-stealing; but nobody would give him away, being afraid of the consequences. Whenever suspicion fell on him, he managed to clear his character. Once during the night he stole horses from the pasture ground in the village Kolotovka. He generally preferred to steal horses from landowners or tradespeople. But this was a harder job, and when he had no chance of success he did not mind robbing peasants too. In Kolotovka he... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XV IVAN MIRONOV’S murderers were brought to trial, Stepan Pelageushkine among them. He had a heavier charge to answer than the others, all the witnesses having stated that it was he who had smashed Ivan Mironov’s head with a stone. Stepan concealed nothing when in court. He contented himself with explaining that, having been robbed of his two last horses, he had informed the police. Now it was comparatively easy at that time to trace the horses with the help of professional thieves among the gypsies. But the police officer would not even permit him, and no search had been ordered. “Nothing else could be done with such a man. He has ruined us all.” “But why did not the others attack him. It was you alone who broke his head open.” “That is false. We all fell upon him. The village agreed to kill... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XVI IN a small district town, some distance away from the other buildings, an old man, a former official, who had taken to drink, lived in his own house with his two daughters and his son-in-law. The married daughter was also addicted to drink and led a bad life, and it was the elder daughter, the widow Maria Semenovna, a wrinkled woman of fifty, who supported the whole family. She had a pension of two hundred and fifty rubles a year, and the family lived on this. Maria Semenovna did all the work in the house, looked after the drunken old father, who was very weak, attended to her sister’s child, and managed all the cooking and the washing of the family. And, as is always the case, whatever there was to do, she was expected to do it, and was, moreover, continually scolded by all the three people in the house; her brother-in-law used even to beat her when he was drunk. S... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XVII PETER NIKOLAEVICH SVENTIZKY’S views of the peasantry had now changed for the worse, and the peasants had an equally bad opinion of him. In the course of a single year they felled twenty-seven oaks in his forest, and burnt a barn which had not been insured. Peter Nikolaevich came to the conclusion that there was no getting on with the people around him. At that very time the landowner, Liventsov, was trying to find a manager for his estate, and the Marshal of the Nobility recommended Peter Nikolaevich as the ablest man in the district in the management of land. The estate owned by Liventsov was an extremely large one, but there was no revenue to be got out of it, as the peasants appropriated all its wealth to their own profit. Peter Nikolaevich undertook to bring everything into order; rented out his own land to somebody else; and settled with his... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XVIII IN the village where the lame tailor lived, in the Zemliansk district of the Voronesh province, five rich peasants hired from the landowner a hundred and five acres of rich arable land, black as tar, and let it out on lease to the rest of the peasants at fifteen to eighteen rubles an acre. Not one acre was given under twelve rubles. They got a very profitable return, and the five acres which were left to each of their company practically cost them nothing. One of the five peasants died, and the lame tailor received an offer to take his place. When they began to divide the land, the tailor gave up drinking vodka, and, being consulted as to how much land was to be divided, and to whom it should be given, he proposed to give allotments to all on equal terms, not taking from the tenants more than was due for each piece of land out of the sum pa... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XIX ASKING Father Missael on his arrival to take a seat, the bishop told him what had happened in his diocese. “It all comes from weakness of spirit and from ignorance. You are a learned man, and I rely on you. Go to the village, call the parishioners together, and convince them of their error.” “If your Grace bids me go, and you give me your blessing, I will do my best,” said Father Missael. He was very pleased with the task entrusted to him. Every opportunity he could find to demonstrate the firmness of his faith was a boon to him. In trying to convince others he was chiefly intent on persuading himself that he was really a firm believer. “Do your best. I am greatly distressed about my flock,” said the bishop, leisurely taking a cup with his white plump hands from the servant who brought in the... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XX THE village priest and his wife received Father Missael with great honors, and the next day after he had arrived the parishioners were invited to assemble in the church. Missael in a new silk cassock, with a large cross on his chest, and his long hair carefully combed, ascended the pulpit; the priest stood at his side, the deacons and the choir at a little distance behind him, and the side entrances were guarded by the police. The dissenters also came in their dirty sheepskin coats. After the service Missael delivered a sermon, admonishing the dissenters to return to the bosom of their mother, the Church, threatening them with the torments of hell, and promising full forgiveness to those who would repent. The dissenters kept silent at first. Then, being asked questions, they gave answers. To the question why they dissented,... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XXI Two years previous to those events a strong and handsome young girl of an eastern type, Katia Turchaninova, came from the Don military settlements to St. Petersburg to study in the university college for women. In that town she met a student, Turin, the son of a district governor in the Simbirsk province, and fell in love with him. But her love was not of the ordinary type, and she had no desire to become his wife and the mother of his children. He was a dear comrade to her, and their chief bond of union was a feeling of revolt they had in common, as well as the hatred they bore, not only to the existing forms of government, but to all those who represented that government. They had also in common the sense that they both excelled their enemies in culture, in brains, as well as in morals. Katia Turchaninova was a gifted girl, possessed of a good memory, by means... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XXII THE minister was receiving petitioners at the usual hour appointed for the reception. He had talked successively to three of them, and now a pretty young woman with black eyes, who was holding a petition in her left hand, approached. The minister’s eyes gleamed when he saw how attractive the petitioner was, but recollecting his high position he put on a serious face. “What do you want?” he asked, coming down to where she stood. Without answering his question the young woman quickly drew a revolver from under her cloak and aiming it at the minister’s chest fired—but missed him. The minister rushed at her, trying to seize her hand, but she escaped, and taking a step back, fired a second time. The minister ran out of the room. The woman was immediately seized. She was trembling violently, and could not utter... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XXIII ONE day Maria Semenovna came home from the treasurer’s office, where she had received her pension. On her way she met a schoolmaster, a friend of hers. “Good day, Maria Semenovna! Have you received your money?” the schoolmaster asked, in a loud voice from the other side of the street. “I have,” answered Maria Semenovna. “But it was not much; just enough to fill the holes.” “Oh, there must be some tidy pickings out of such a lot of money,” said the schoolmaster, and passed on, after having said good-bye. “Good-bye,” said Maria Semenovna. While she was looking at her friend, she met a tall man face to face, who had very long arms and a stern look in his eyes. Coming to her house, she was very startled on again seeing the same man with the long arms, who had eviden... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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PART SECOND I THE whole time he was lying in the gutter Stepan saw continually before his eyes the thin, kindly, and frightened face of Maria Semenovna, and seemed to hear her voice. “How can you?” she went on saying in his imagination, with her peculiar lisping voice. Stepan saw over again and over again before him all he had done to her. In horror he shut his eyes, and shook his hairy head, to drive away these thoughts and recollections. For a moment he would get rid of them, but in their place horrid black faces with red eyes appeared and frightened him continuously. They grinned at him, and kept repeating, “Now you have done away with her you must do away with yourself, or we will not leave you alone.” He opened his eyes, and again he saw... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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II DURING the first month in prison Stepan suffered from the same agonizing vision. He saw the gray wall of his cell, he heard the sounds of the prison; the noise of the cell below him, where a number of convicts were confined together; the striking of the prison clock; the steps of the sentry in the passage; but at the same time he saw HER with that kindly face which conquered his heart the very first time he met her in the street, with that thin, strongly-marked neck, and he heard her soft, lisping, pathetic voice: “To destroy somebody’s soul . . . and, worst of all, your own. . . . How can you? . . .” After a while her voice would die away, and then black faces would appear. They would appear whether he had his eyes open or shut. With his closed eyes he saw them more distinctly. When he opened his eyes they vanished for a moment, meltin... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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III STEPAN’S cell was shared among others by the former yard-porter, Vassily, who had been sentenced to deportation for robbery, and by Chouev, sentenced also to deportation. Vassily sang songs the whole day long with his fine voice, or told his adventures to the other men in the cell. Chouev was working at something all day, mending his clothes, or reading the Gospel and the Psalter. Stepan asked him why he was put into prison, and Chouev answered that he was being persecuted because of his true Christian faith by the priests, who were all of them hypocrites and hated those who followed the law of Christ. Stepan asked what that true law was, and Chouev made clear to him that the true law consists in not worshiping gods made with hands, but worshiping the spirit and the truth. He told him how he had learned the truth from the lame tailor at the... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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IV STEPAN had been very submissive and meek ever since he came to the prison, but now he made the prison authorities and all his fellow-prisoners wonder at the change in him. Without being ordered, and out of his proper turn he would do all the very hardest work in prison, and the dirtiest too. But in spite of his humility, the other prisoners stood in awe of him, and were afraid of him, as they knew he was a resolute man, possessed of great physical strength. Their respect for him increased after the incident of the two tramps who fell upon him; he wrenched himself loose from them and broke the arm of one of them in the fight. These tramps had gambled with a young prisoner of some means and deprived him of all his money. Stepan took his part, and deprived the tramps of their winnings. The tramps poured their abuse on him; but when they attacked him, he got the better... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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V IN the meantime Mahin, the schoolboy who had taught his friend Smokovnikov to forge the coupon, had finished his career at school and then at the university, where he had studied law. He had the advantage of being liked by women, and as he had won favor with a vise-minister’s former mistress, he was appointed when still young as examining magistrate. He was dishonest, had debts, had gambled, and had seduced many women; but he was clever, sagacious, and a good magistrate. He was appointed to the court of the district where Stepan Pelageushkine had been tried. When Stepan was brought to him the first time to give evidence, his sincere and quiet answers puzzled the magistrate. He somehow unconsciously felt that this man, brought to him in fetters and with a shorn head, guarded by two soldiers who were waiting to take him back to prison, had a free soul and was imm... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VI Now it was not Chouev, but Stepan who used to read the gospel in the common cell. Some of the prisoners were singing coarse songs, while others listened to Stepan reading the gospel and talking about what he had read. The most attentive among those who listened were two of the prisoners, Vassily, and a convict called Mahorkin, a murderer who had become a hangman. Twice during his stay in this prison he was called upon to do duty as hangman, and both times in far-away places where nobody could be found to execute the sentences. Two of the peasants who had killed Peter Nikolaevich Sventizky, had been sentenced to the gallows, and Mahorkin was ordered to go to Pensa to hang them. On all previous occasions he used to write a petition to the governor of the province—he knew well how to read and to write—stating that he had been ordered to fulfi... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VII AT an evening party at the Eropkins, Mahin, who was paying attentions to the two young daughters of the house—they were rich matches, both of them—having earned great applause for his fine singing and playing the piano, began telling the company about the strange convict who had converted the hangman. Mahin told his story very accurately, as he had a very good memory, which was all the more retentive because of his total indifference to those with whom he had to deal. He never paid the slightest attention to other people’s feelings, and was therefore better able to keep all they did or said in his memory. He got interested in Stepan Pelageushkine, and, although he did not thoroughly understand him, yet asked himself involuntarily what was the matter with the man? He could not find an answer, but feeling that there was certainly something remarkable going... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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VIII ALL were silent in the common cell. Stepan was lying in his bed, but was not yet asleep. Vassily approached him, and, pulling him by his leg, asked him in a whisper to get up and to come to him. Stepan stepped out of his bed, and came up to Vassily. “Do me a kindness, brother,” said Vassily. “Help me!” “In what?” “I am going to fly from the prison.” Vassily told Stepan that he had everything ready for his flight. “To-morrow I shall stir them up—” He pointed to the prisoners asleep in their beds. “They will give me away, and I shall be transferred to the cell in the upper floor. I know my way from there. What I want you for is to unscrew the prop in the door of the mortuary.” “I can do that. But where will you go?”... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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IX VASSILY knew well that cell on the upper floor. He knew its floor, and began at once to take out bits of it. When he had managed to get under the floor he took out pieces of the ceiling beneath, and jumped down into the mortuary a floor below. That day only one corpse was lying on the table. There in the corner of the room were stored bags to make hay mattresses for the prisoners. Vassily knew about the bags, and that was why the mortuary served his purposes. The prop in the door had been unscrewed and put in again. He took it out, opened the door, and went out into the passage to the lavatory which was being built. In the lavatory was a large hole connecting the third floor with the basement floor. After having found the door of the lavatory he went back to the mortuary, stripped the sheet off the dead body which was as cold as ice (in taking off the sheet Vass... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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X THE wife of Peter Nikolaevich Sventizky, a tall and handsome woman, as quiet and sleek as a well-fed heifer, had seen from her window how her husband had been murdered and dragged away into the fields. The horror of such a sight to Natalia Ivanovna was so intense—how could it be otherwise?—that all her other feelings vanished. No sooner had the crowd disappeared from view behind the garden fence, and the voices had become still; no sooner had the barefooted Malania, their servant, run in with her eyes starting out of her head, calling out in a voice more suited to the proclamation of glad tidings the news that Peter Nikolaevich had been murdered and thrown into the ravine, than Natalia Ivanovna felt that behind her first sensation of horror, there was another sensation; a feeling of joy at her deliverance from the tyrant, who through all the nineteen years of... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XI LISA EROPKIN lived in a state of continual excitement. The longer she lived a true Christian life as it had been revealed to her, the more convinced she became that it was the right way, and her heart was full of joy. She had two immediate aims before her. The one was to convert Mahin; or, as she put it to herself, to arouse his true nature, which was good and kind. She loved him, and the light of her love revealed the divine element in his soul which is at the bottom of all souls. But, further, she saw in him an exceptionally kind and tender heart, as well as a noble mind. Her other aim was to abandon her riches. She had first thought of giving away what she possessed in order to test Mahin; but afterwards she wanted to do so for her own sake, for the sake of her own soul. She began by simply giving money to any one who wanted it. But her fat... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XII VASSILY was actually carrying out the object he had in leaving the prison. With the help of a few friends he broke into the house of the rich merchant Krasnopuzov, whom he knew to be a miser and a debauchee. Vassily took out of his writing-desk thirty thousand rubles, and began disposing of them as he thought right. He even gave up drink, so as not to spend that money on himself, but to distribute it to the poor; helping poor girls to get married; paying off people’s debts, and doing this all without ever revealing himself to those he helped; his only desire was to distribute his money in the right way. As he also gave bribes to the police, he was left in peace for a long time. His heart was singing for joy. When at last he was arrested and put to trial, he confessed with pride that he had robbed the fat merchant. “The money,” he said,... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XIII NATALIA IVANOVNA SVENTIZKY’S telegram proved useless. The committee appointed to deal with the petitions in the Emperor’s name, decided not even to make a report to the Czar. But one day when the Sventizky case was discussed at the Emperor’s luncheon-table, the chairman of the committee, who was present, mentioned the telegram which had been received from Sventizky’s widow. “C’est tres gentil de sa part,” said one of the ladies of the imperial family. The Emperor sighed, shrugged his shoulders, adorned with epaulets. “The law,” he said; and raised his glass for the groom of the chamber to pour out some Moselle. All those present pretended to admire the wisdom of the sovereign’s words. There was no further question about the telegram. The two peasants, the old man and the young... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XIV EVERY one tried to look as if Isidor’s sermon contained nothing unpleasant, and nobody mentioned it. It seemed to the Czar that the hermit’s words had not made any impression on himself; but once or twice during that day he caught himself thinking of the two peasants who had been hanged, and the widow of Sventizky who had asked an amnesty for them. That day the Emperor had to be present at a parade; after which he went out for a drive; a reception of ministers came next, then dinner, after dinner the theater. As usual, the Czar fell asleep the moment his head touched the pillow. In the night an awful dream awoke him: he saw gallows in a large field and corpses dangling on them; the tongues of the corpses were protruding, and their bodies moved and shook. And somebody shouted, “It is you—you who have done it!” The Czar woke up bathed in perspiration an... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XV HAVING served his second term in the prison, Prokofy, who had formerly worked on the Sventizky estate, was no longer the brisk, ambitious, smartly dressed fellow he had been. He seemed, on the contrary, a complete wreck. When sober he would sit idle and would refuse to do any work, however much his father scolded him; moreover, he was continually seeking to get hold of something secretly, and take it to the public-house for a drink. When he came home he would continue to sit idle, coughing and spitting all the time. The doctor on whom he called, examined his chest and shook his head. “You, my man, ought to have many things which you have not got.” “That is usually the case, isn’t it? “Take plenty of milk, and don’t smoke.” “These are days of fasting, and besides we have... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XVI IN the meanwhile, the affairs of Eugene Mihailovich had grown worse and worse. Business was very slack. There was a new shop in the town; he was losing his customers, and the interest had to be paid. He borrowed again on interest. At last his shop and his goods were to be sold up. Eugene Mihailovich and his wife applied to every one they knew, but they could not raise the four hundred rubles they needed to save the shop anywhere. They had some hope of the merchant Krasnopuzov, Eugene Mihailovich’s wife being on good terms with his mistress. But news came that Krasnopuzov had been robbed of a huge sum of money. Some said of half a million rubles. “And do you know who is said to be the thief?” said Eugene Mihailovich to his wife. “Vassily, our former yard-porter. They say he is squandering the money, and the police are bribed by him.”... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XVII FOURTEEN priests were kept in the Suzdal friary prison, chiefly for having been untrue to the orthodox faith. Isidor had been sent to that place also. Father Missael received him according to the instructions he had been given, and without talking to him ordered him to be put into a separate cell as a serious criminal. After a fortnight Father Missael, making a round of the prison, entered Isidor’s cell, and asked him whether there was anything he wished for. “There is a great deal I wish for,” answered Isidor; “but I cannot tell you what it is in the presence of anybody else. Let me talk to you privately.” They looked at each other, and Missael saw he had nothing to be afraid of in remaining alone with Isidor. He ordered Isidor to be brought into his own room, and when they were alone, he said,—“Well, now y... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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XVIII TEN years passed. Mitia Smokovnikov had finished his studies in the Technical College; he was now an engineer in the gold mines in Siberia, and was very highly paid. One day he was about to make a round in the district. The governor offered him a convict, Stepan Pelageushkine, to accompany him on his journey. “A convict, you say? But is not that dangerous?” “Not if it is this one. He is a holy man. You may ask anybody, they will all tell you so.” “Why has he been sent here?” The governor smiled. “He had committed six murders, and yet he is a holy man. I go bail for him.” Mitia Smokovnikov took Stepan, now a bald-headed, lean, tanned man, with him on his journey. On their way Stepan took care of Smokovnikov, like his own child, and told him... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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AFTER THE DANCE “—AND you say that a man cannot, of himself, understand what is good and evil; that it is all environment, that the environment swamps the man. But I believe it is all chance. Take my own case . . .” Thus spoke our excellent friend, Ivan Vasilievich, after a conversation between us on the impossibility of improving individual character without a change of the conditions under which men live. Nobody had actually said that one could not of oneself understand good and evil; but it was a habit of Ivan Vasilievich to answer in this way the thoughts aroused in his own mind by conversation, and to illustrate those thoughts by relating incidents in his own life. He often quite forgot the reason for his story in telling it; but he always told... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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ALYOSHA THE POT ALYOSHA was the younger brother. He was called the Pot, because his mother had once sent him with a pot of milk to the deacon’s wife, and he had stumbled against something and broken it. His mother had beaten him, and the children had teased him. Since then he was nicknamed the Pot. Alyosha was a tiny, thin little fellow, with ears like wings, and a huge nose. “Alyosha has a nose that looks like a dog on a hill!” the children used to call after him. Alyosha went to the village school, but was not good at lessons; besides, there was so little time to learn. His elder brother was in town, working for a merchant, so Alyosha had to help his father from a very early age. When he was no more than six he used to go out with the girls to watch the cows and sheep... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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MY DREAM “As a daughter she no longer exists for me. Can’t you understand? She simply doesn’t exist. Still, I cannot possibly leave her to the charity of strangers. I will arrange things so that she can live as she pleases, but I do not wish to hear of her. Who would ever have thought . . . the horror of it, the horror of it.” He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, and raised his eyes. These words were spoken by Prince Michael Ivanovich to his brother Peter, who was governor of a province in Central Russia. Prince Peter was a man of fifty, Michael’s junior by ten years. On discovering that his daughter, who had left his house a year before, had settled here with her child, the elder brother had come from St. Petersbu... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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THERE ARE NO GUILTY PEOPLE I MINE is a strange and wonderful lot! The chances are that there is not a single wretched beggar suffering under the luxury and oppression of the rich who feels anything like as keenly as I do either the injustice, the cruelty, and the horror of their oppression of and contempt for the poor; or the grinding humiliation and misery which befall the great majority of the workers, the real producers of all that makes life possible. I have felt this for a long time, and as the years have passed by the feeling has grown and grown, until recently it reached its climax. Although I feel all this so vividly, I still live on amid the depravity and sins of rich society; and I cannot leave it, because I have neither the knowledge nor t... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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II Alexander Ivanovich Volgin, a bachelor and a clerk in a Moscow bank at a salary of eight thousand rubles a year, a man much respected in his own set, was staying in a country-house. His host was a wealthy landowner, owning some twenty-five hundred acres, and had married his guest’s cousin. Volgin, tired after an evening spent in playing vint for small stakes with [ A game of cards similar to auction bridge.] members of the family, went to his room and placed his watch, silver cigarette-case, pocket-book, big leather purse, and pocket-brush and comb on a small table covered with a white cloth, and then, taking off his coat, waistcoat, shirt, trousers, and underclothes, his silk socks and English boots, put on his nightshirt and dressing-gown. His watch pointed to midnight. Volgin smoked a cigarette, lay on his face for about five minutes reviewing the day’s... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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THE YOUNG TSAR THE young Czar had just ascended the throne. For five weeks he had worked without ceasing, in the way that Czars are accustomed to work. He had been attending to reports, signing papers, receiving ambassadors and high officials who came to be presented to him, and reviewing troops. He was tired, and as a traveler exhausted by heat and thirst longs for a draft of water and for rest, so he longed for a respite of just one day at least from receptions, from speeches, from parades—a few free hours to spend like an ordinary human being with his young, clever, and beautiful wife, to whom he had been married only a month before. It was Christmas Eve. The young Czar had arranged to have a complete rest that evening. The night before he had worked t... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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1912 :
The Forged Coupon, And Other Stories -- Publication.

February 16, 2017 ; 7:37:51 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

April 14, 2019 ; 4:29:05 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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