The Invaders, and Other Stories : Part 3, Chapter 15

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(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.)
• "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....)
• "The Government and all those of the upper classes near the Government who live by other people's work, need some means of dominating the workers, and find this means in the control of the army. Defense against foreign enemies is only an excuse. The German Government frightens its subjects about the Russians and the French; the French Government, frightens its people about the Germans; the Russian Government frightens its people about the French and the Germans; and that is the way with all Governments. But neither Germans nor Russians nor Frenchmen desire to fight their neighbors or other people; but, living in peace, they dread war more than anything else in the world." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)
• "...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, ....)

(? - 1935)
Nathan Haskell Dole (August 31, 1852 – May 9, 1935) was an American editor, translator, and author. He attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and graduated from Harvard University in 1874. He was a writer and journalist in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. He translated many works of Leo Tolstoy, and books of other Russians; novels of the Spaniard Armando Palacio Valdés (1886–90); a variety of works from the French and Italian. Nathan Haskell Dole was born August 31, 1852, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He was the second son of his father Reverend Nathan Dole (1811–1855) and mother Caroline (Fletcher) Dole. Dole grew up in the Fletcher homestead, a strict Puritan home, in Norridgewock, Maine, where his grandmother lived and where his mother moved with her two boys after his father died of tuberculosis. Sophie May wrote her Prudy Books in Norridgewock, which probably showed the sort of life Nathan and his older brother Charles Fletcher Dol... (From : Wikipedia.org.)

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Part 3, Chapter 15

Dutlof, still moving his lips, went home. At first, it was hard for him; but in proportion as he drew near the village, this feeling passed away, and a feeling of pleasure more and more penetrated his heart. Songs and drunken voices were heard in the village. Dutlof never drank, and now he went straight home. It was already late when he reached his cottage.[32] His old woman was asleep. His oldest son and the grand-children were asleep on the oven, the other son in the closet. The nephew's wife[33] was the only person awake; and she, in a dirty, everyday shirt, with her hair unkempt, was sitting on the bench and weeping. She did not get up to open the door for the uncle, but began to weep more bitterly, and to reproach him, as soon as he came into the cottage. By the old woman's advice she talked very clearly and well, though, being still young, she could not have had any practice.

The old woman got up, and began to get her husband something to eat. Dutlof drove his nephew's wife away from the table. "That'll do! that'll do!" said he. Aksínya got up, and then throwing herself down on the bench still continued to weep. The old woman silently set the things on the table, and then put them in order. The old man also refrained from saying a single word. After performing his devotions, he belched once or twice, washed his hands, and, taki* ng the abacus down from the nail, went to his closet. There he began to whisper with his old wife: then the old woman left him alone, and he began to rattle the abacus; finally he lifted the lid of a chest, and climbed down into a sort of cellar. He rummaged round long in the closet and in the cellar. When he came out, it was dark in the cottage; the pitch-pine knot had burnt out.

The old woman, who by day was ordinarily mild and quiet, had retired to her room, and was snoring so as to be heard all over the cottage. The noisy niece,[34] on the other hand, was also asleep, and her breathing could not be heard. She was asleep on the bench just as she was, not having undressed, and without any thing under her head. Dutlof said his prayers, then glanced at his niece, raised her head a little, slipped a stick under it, and, after belching again, climbed upon the oven, and lay down next his grandson. In the darkness he took off his shoes, and lay on his back, and tried to make out the objects on the stove, barely visible above his head; and listened to the cockroaches rustling over the wall, to the breathing, and the restless moving of feet, and to the noises of the cattle in the yard.

It was long before he went to sleep. The moon came up, and it grew lighter in the cottage. He could see Aksínya in the corner, and something which he could not make out. Was it a cloak that his son had forgotten? or had the women left a tub there? or was it some one standing? Whether he drowsed or not, who can say? but now he began to look again.... Evidently that dark spirit which led Ilyitch to commit the terrible deed, and which impressed the domestics* that night with its presence,—evidently that spirit spread its pinions over the whole estate, and over Dutlof's cottage, where was concealed that money which he enjoyed at the cost of Ilyitch's ruin. At all events, Dutlof felt it there. And Dutlof was not in his usual spirits,—could not sleep, nor sit up. When he saw something that he could not explain, he remembered his nephew with his pinioned arms, he remembered Aksínya's face and her flowing discourse, he remembered Ilyitch with his dangling hands.

Suddenly it seemed to the old man that some one passed by the window. "What is that? Can it be the elder[35] has come to ask the news?" he said to himself. "How did he unlock the door?" the old man asked himself in surprise, hearing steps in the entry; "or did the old woman leave it open when she went to the door?" The dog howled in the back yard, but IT passed along the entry, and, as the old man afterwards related the story, seemed to hunt for the door, passed by, once more tried to feel along the wall, stumbled across the tub, and it rang. And once more IT tried to feel along the wall, actually found the latch-string. Then IT took hold of it. A chill ran over the old man's body. Here the latch was lifted, and the form of a man came in. Dutlof already knew that it was IT. He tried to get hold of his cross, but could not. IT came to the table, on which lay a cloth, threw it on the floor, and came to the oven. The old man knew that IT was in Ilyitch's form. He trembled; his hands shook. IT came to the oven, threw itself on the old man, and began to choke him.

"My money," said Ilyitch.

*

Sem'yón tried, but could not say, "Let me go, I will not."

Ilyitch pressed down upon him with all the weight of a mountain of stone resting upon his breast. Dutlof knew that if he could say a prayer, IT would leave him; and he knew what kind of a prayer he ought to say, but this prayer would not form itself on his lips.

His grandson was sleeping next him. The boy uttered a piercing scream, and began to weep. The grandfather had crowded him against the wall. The child's cry unsealed the old man's lips. "Let God arise up," he repeated. IT loosed its hold a little. "And scatter our enemies," whispered Dutlof. IT got down from the stove. Dutlof listened as IT touched both feet to the floor. Dutlof kept repeating all the prayers that he knew; said them all in order. IT went to the door, passed the table, and struck the door such a rap that the cottage trembled. Every one was asleep except the old man and his grandson. The grandfather repeated the prayers, and trembled all over: the grandson wept as he fell asleep, and cuddled up to his grandfather.

All became quiet again. The old man lay motionless. The cock crowed behind the wall at Dutlof's ear. He heard how the hens began to stir themselves; how the young cockerel endeavored to imitate the old cock, and did not succeed. Something moved on the old man's legs. It was the cat. She jumped down on her soft paws from the oven to the ground, and began to miaw at the door.

The grandfather got up, opened the window. In the street it was dark, muddy. The corpse stood there under the very window. He went in his stocking-feet to the yard,[36] crossing himself as he went. And h* ere it was evident that the master[37] was coming. The mare, standing under the shed by the wall, with her leg caught in the bridle, was lying in the husks, and raised her head, waiting for the master. The foal was stretched out on the manure. The old man lifted him on his legs, freed the mare, gave her some fodder, and went back to the cottage. The old woman got up, and kindled the fire.

"Wake the boys; I am going to town."

And lighting one of the wax candles that stood before the sacred images, he took it, and went with it down into the cellar. When he came up, not only was his own fire burning, but those in the neighboring cottages were lighted. The children were up, and all ready. Women were coming and going with pails and tubs of milk. Ignat was harnessing a telyéga. The other son was oiling another. The niece[38] was not to be seen, but, dressed in her best, and with a shawl on, was sitting on the bench in the cottage, and waiting for the time to go to town and say good-by to her husband.

The old man had an appearance of peculiar sternness. He said not a word to any one: put on his new caftan, girdled himself tightly, and with all of Polikéï's money under his coat, went to the overseer.

"You wait for me," he shouted to Ignat, who was whirling the wheel round on the raised axle, and oiling it. "I'll be back in a moment. Be all ready."

The overseer, who was just up, was drinking his tea, and had made his preparations to go to the city to deliver the recruits over to the authorities.

"What do you wish?" he asked.

*

"Yégor Mikháluitch, I want to buy the young fellow off. Be so good. You told me a day or two ago that you knew a substitute in the city. Tell me how. I am ignorant."

"What! have you reconsidered it?"

"I have, Yégor Mikháluitch. It's too bad,—my brother's son. Whatever he did, I'm sorry for him. Much sin comes from it, from this money. So please tell me," said he, making a low bow.

The overseer, as always in such circumstances, drew in his lips silently, and went into a brown study; then having made up his mind, wrote two letters, and told him what and how he must do in town.

When Dutlof reached home, the niece was just coming out with Ignat; and the gray, pot-bellied mare, completely harnessed, was standing at the gate. He broke off a switch from the hedge. Wrapping himself up, he took his seat on the box, and started up the horse.

Dutlof drove the mare so fast that her belly seemed to shrink away, and he did not dare to look at her lest he should feel compunction. He was tormented by the thought that he might be late in reaching camp, that Ilyúkha would have already gone as a soldier, and that the devilish money would still be in his hands.

I am not going to give a detailed description of all Dutlof's adventures that morning. I will only say that he was remarkably successful. At the house of the man to whom the overseer gave him a letter, there was a substitute ready and waiting, who had spent twenty-three silver rubles of his bounty-money, and had already passed muster. His master[39] wanted to get for him four hundred rubles; but another man,[40] who had already been after him for three weeks, was anxio* us to beat him down to three hundred.

Dutlof concluded the business with few words. "Will you take three hundred and twenty-five?" said he, offering his hand, but with an expression that made it evident that he was ready to give even more. The master held out his hand, and continued to demand four hundred.

"Won't you take three hundred and twenty-five?" repeated Dutlof, seizing the master's right hand with his left, and making the motion to clap it with the other. "You won't take it? Well, God be with you," he exclaimed, suddenly striking hands with the master, and, with the violence of the motion, swinging his whole body round from him. "Then, make it this way! Take three hundred and fifty. Make out the fitanets.[41] Bring the young man. And now for the earnest-money. Will two ten-ruble pieces do?"

And Dutlof unbuckled his belt, and drew out the money.

Though the master did not withdraw his hand, yet apparently he was not wholly satisfied, and before accepting the earnest-money, he demanded a fee, and entertainment money for the substitute.

"Don't commit a sin," said Dutlof, pressing the money upon him. "We must all die," he went on in such a short, didactic, and confident voice that the master said, "There's nothing to be done," once more shook hands, and began to say a prayer. "With God's blessing," he said.

They awoke the substitute, who was still sleeping off his yesterday's spree; they inspected him, and then all went to the authorities. The substitute was hilarious, asked to be refreshed with some rum,* for which Dutlof gave him money, and began to feel scared only at the moment when they first entered the vestibule of the court-house. They stood long in the vestibule: the old master[42] in a blue overcoat, and the substitute in a short sheepskin, with lifted eyebrows and wide-staring eyes; long they stood there whispering together, asked questions of this man and that, were sent from pillar to post, took off their hats and bowed before every petty clerk, and solemnly listened to the speech made by a clerk whom the master knew. All hope of finishing the business that day was vanishing, and the substitute was already beginning to feel more cheerful and easy, when Dutlof caught sight of Yégor Mikhailovitch, immediately went to him, and began to beseech him, and make low bows. The overseer's influence was so powerful, that by three o'clock the substitute, much to his disgust and surprise, was conducted into the audience-chamber, enrolled on the army list, and to the satisfaction of every one, from door-tender to president, was stripped, shaved, dressed in uniform, and sent out to camp. And at the end of five minutes Dutlof had paid the money over, and taken his receipt; and after saying good-by to the recruit and his master, he went to the merchant's lodging-house where the recruits from Pokrovskoé were stopping.

His nephew and the wife were sitting in one corner of the merchant's kitchen; and when the old man came in, they ceased talking, and behaved toward him in a humble and yet hostile manner.

"Don't be vexed, Ilyúkha," he said, approaching his nephew. "Day before yesterday you said a harsh word to me. Am I not sorry for you? I remember how my brother commended you to my care. If it* had been in my power, would I have let you go? God granted me a piece of good fortune: you see I have not been mean. Here is this paper," said he, laying the receipt on the table, and carefully smoothing it out with his crooked, stiffened fingers.

All of the Prokrovski muzhíks, and the merchant's people, and also some of the neighbors, came into the inn.[43] All watched inquisitively what was going on. No one interrupted the old man's triumphal words.

"Here's the paper. I paid nearly four hundred silver rubles for it. Don't blame your uncle!"

Ilyúkha stood up; but said nothing, not knowing what to say. His lips trembled with emotion. His old mother came to him sobbing, and wanted to throw herself on his neck; but the old man slowly and imperiously pushed her away with his hand, and proceeded to speak:—

"You said a harsh word to me," repeated the old man. "With that word you stabbed me to the heart, as with a knife. Your dying father commended you to my care. You have taken the place of my own son; but if I have done you any harm, I am sorry. We are all sinners. Is that not so, Orthodox believers?" he asked, turning to the muzhíks standing around. "Here is your own mother, and your young wife;[44] here is the fitanets for you. God bless it,—the money. But forgive me, for Christ's sake!"

And spreading his cloak out on the floor, he slowly got down upon his knees, and bent low before the feet of Ilyushka and his wife. The young people tried in vain to raise him: not until he had touched his head to the ground, did he rise, and shaking himself sit down upon the bench. Ilyushka's mother and the* young wife wept for joy. In the crowd were heard voices expressing approbation.

"That's right, that's God's way," said one.

"What money? It must have taken a lot."

"What a joy!" said a third. "A righteous man, that's the word for it."

But the muzhíks, who had been named as recruits, said nothing, and went noiselessly out into the court-yard.

In two hours' time, the two Dutlofs' telyégas drove through the suburbs of the city. In the first, drawn by the pot-bellied gray mare with sweaty neck, sat the old man and Ignat. Behind rattled a number of pretzels and crackers. In the second telyéga, which no one drove, dignified and happy, sat the young wife and her mother-in-law wrapped up in shawls. The young woman held a jug under her apron. Ilyúshka, bending over with his back to the horse, with ruddy face, shaking on the dasher, was munching a cracker[45] and talking in a steady stream. And the voices, and the rumble of the wheels on the bridge, and the occasional snorting of the horses, all united into one merry sound. The horses, switching their tails, trotted along steadily, feeling that they were on the home stretch. Those whom they passed and those whom they met looked upon a happy family.

Just as they were leaving the city the Dutlofs overtook a detachment of recruits. A group of the soldiers stood in a circle in front of a drinking-saloon. One recruit, with that peculiarly unnatural expression which a shorn brow gives a man, with his gray uniform cap pushed on the back of his head, was skillfully picking on a three-stringed balaláïka; another, without any* thing on his head, and holding a jug of vodka in one hand, was dancing in the midst of the circle. Ignat halted his horse, and got out to gather up the reins. All the Dutlofs looked on with curiosity, satisfaction, and joy, at the man who was dancing.

The recruit did not seem to notice any one, but had the consciousness that an admiring public was attracted by his antics, and this gave him strength and ability. He danced dexterously. His forehead was wrinkled, his ruddy face was motionless, his mouth was parted in a smile which had long lost all expression. It seemed as though all the energies of his soul were directed to making one leg follow the other with all possible swiftness, now on the heel and now on the toe. Sometimes he would suddenly stop, and signal to the accompanist, who would instantly begin to thrum on all the strings, and even to rap on the back of the instrument with his knuckles. The recruit stopped, but even when he stopped still, he seemed, as it were, to be all the time dancing. Suddenly he began to slacken his pace, shrugging his shoulders, and, leaping into the air, landed on his heels, and with a wild shriek set up the Russian national dance.

The lads laughed, the women shook their heads, the lusty peasants smiled with satisfaction. An old noncommissioned officer stood calmly near the dancer with a look that said, "To you this is wonderful, but to us it's an old story." The balaláïka-player stood up in plain sight, surveyed the crowd with a cool stare, struck a false chord, and suddenly rapped his fingers on the back, and the dance was done.

"Hey! Alyókha," cried the accompanist to the dancer, and pointed to Dutlof. "Isn't that your sponsor?"

*

"Where? O my dearly beloved friend!" screamed the recruit,—the same one whom Dutlof had bought,—and stumbling out on his weary feet, and lifting his jug of vodka above his head, he made for the team. "Mishka! waiter! a glass," he shouted. "Master! O my dear old friend! How glad I am! fact!" he went on, jerking his tipsy head towards the telyéga, and began to treat the muzhíks and the women to vodka. The muzhíks accepted, the women declined. "You are darlings, why shouldn't I treat you?" cried the recruit, throwing his arms around the old women.

A woman peddling eatables was standing in the throng. The recruit saw her, grabbed her tray, and flung its contents into the telyéga.

"D-don't worry, I'll p-pay—the d-deuce," he began to scream in a drunken voice; and here he drew out of his stocking a purse with money in it, and flung it to the waiter.

He stood leaning with his elbows on the wagon, and stared, with moist eyes, at those who sat in it.

"Which is my mátushka?" he asked. "Be you her? I've got something for her too."

He pondered a moment, and diving into his pocket brought out a new handkerchief folded, untied another which he had put on as a girdle under his coat, hastily took the red scarf from his neck, bundled them together, and thrust them into the old woman's lap.

"Na! I give 'em to you," he said, in a voice that grew weaker and weaker.

"Why? thank you, friend!—What a simple lad he is!" said she, addressing the old man Dutlof, who came up to their telyéga.

The recruit was now entirely quiet and dumb, and kept dropping his head lower and lower, as thoug* h he were going to sleep then and there.

"I'm going for you, I'm going to destruction for you," he repeated. "And so I make you a present."

"I s'pose he's really got a mother," cried some one in the crowd. "Fine young fellow! Too bad!"

The recruit lifted his head. "I've got a mother," he said. "I've got a father[46] too. They've all given me up, though. Listen, old woman!" he added, seizing Ilyushkin's mother by the hand. "I made you a present. Listen to me, for Christ's sake. Go to my village of Vodnoe, ask there for Nikonof's old woman,—she's my own mother, you understand,—and tell this same old woman, Nikonof's old woman—third hut at the end—new pump—tell her that Alyókha—your son—you know—Come! musician, strike up!" he screamed.

And once more he began to dance, talking all the time, and spilling the vodka that was left in the jug all over the ground.

Ignat climbed into his wagon, and started to drive on.

"Good-by, good luck to you," cried the old woman, as she wrapped herself up in her sheepskin.

The recruit suddenly stopped.

"Go to the devil!" he shouted, threatening the teams with his doubled fist.

"Oh, good Lord!"[47] ejaculated Ilyushkin's mother, crossing herself.

Ignat started up the mare, and the teams drove away. Alekséi the recruit still stood in the middle of the road, and doubling up his fists, with an expression of wrath on his face, berated the mushíks to the best o* f his ability.

"What are you standing here for? She's gone. The devil, cannibals!" he screamed. "You won't escape from me! You devils! You dotards!"

With these words his voice failed him; he fell at full length, just where he stood in the middle of the road.

Swiftly the Dutlofs drove across the country, and as they looked around, the crowd of recruits were already lost from sight. When they had gone five versts, and were slowing up a little, Ignat got out of his father's wagon, when the old man was drowsing, and got in with his cousin.

The two young men drank up the jug of vodka which they had brought from the city. Then after a little, Ilya struck up a song; the women joined in with him; Ignat gaily shouted in harmony. A jolly party, in a post-wagon, dashed swiftly by. The driver shouted to the horses harnessed to the two jolly telyégas. The postilion glanced at the handsome faces of the muzhíks and the women in the telyéga as they dashed by, singing their merry songs, and waved his hand.

[32] izbá.

[33] Ilyushkin's baba.

[34] Ilyushkina baba.

[35] stárosta.

[36] dvor.

[37] khozyáïn.

[38] molodáïka.

[39] khozhyáïn.

[40] a meshchánin.

[41] Mispronunciation of quittance.

[42] starik-khozhyáïn.

[43] izbá.

[44] khozyáïka.

[45] kalátch.

[46] bátiushka.

[47] okh Gospodi.

(Source: Published by Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., New York, 13 Astor Place, 1887.)

From : Gutenberg.org

Chronology

November 30, 1886 :
Part 3, Chapter 15 -- Publication.

June 09, 2021 18:06:28 :
Part 3, Chapter 15 -- Added to https://www.RevoltLib.com.

June 09, 2021 18:55:50 :
Part 3, Chapter 15 -- Last Updated on https://www.RevoltLib.com.

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