ALL THE CRIMES AND VILLAINIES THAT had been perpetrated were discovered wit_xtraordinary rapidity, much more quickly than Pyotr Stepanovitch ha_xpected. To begin with, the luckless Marya Ignatyevna waked up befor_aybreak on the night of her husband's murder, missed him and flew int_ndescribable agitation, not seeing him beside her. The woman who had bee_ired by Anna Prohorovna, and was there for the night, could not succeed i_alming her, and as soon as it was daylight ran to fetch Arina Prohorovn_erself, assuring the invalid that the latter knew where her husband was, an_hen he would be back. Meantime Arina Prohorovna was in some anxiety too; sh_ad already heard from her husband of the deed perpetrated that night a_kvoreshniki. He had returned home about eleven o'clock in a terrible state o_ind and body; wringing his hands, he flung himself face downwards on his be_nd shaking with convulsive sobs kept repeating, "It's not right, it's no_ight, it's not right at all!" He ended, of course, by confessing it all t_rina Prohorovnabut to no one else in the house. She left him on his bed, sternly impressing upon him that "if he must blubber he must do it in hi_illow so as not to be overheard, and that he would be a fool if he showed an_races of it next day." She felt somewhat anxious, however, and began at onc_o clear things up in case of emergency: she succeeded in hiding or completel_estroying all suspicious papers, books, manifestoes perhaps. At the same tim_he reflected that she, her sister, her aunt, her sister-in-law the student, and perhaps even her long-eared brother had really nothing much to be afrai_f. When the nurse ran to her in the morning she went without a second though_o Marya Ignatyevna's. She was desperately anxious, moreover, to find ou_hether what her husband had told her that night in a terrified and franti_hisper, that was almost like delirium, was truethat is, whether Pyot_tepanovitch had been right in his reckoning that Kirillov would sacrific_imself for the general benefit.
But she arrived at Marya Ignatyevna's too late: when the latter had sent of_he woman and was left alone, she was unable to bear the suspense; she got ou_f bed, and throwing round her the first garment she could find, somethin_ery light and unsuitable for the weather, I believe, she ran down t_irillov's lodge herself, thinking that he perhaps would be better able tha_nyone to tell her something about her husband. The terrible effect on her o_hat she saw there may well be imagined. It is remarkable that she did no_ead Kirillov's last letter, which lay conspicuously on the table, overlookin_t, of course, in her fright. She ran back to her room, snatched up her baby, and went with it out of the house into the street. It was a damp morning, there was a fog. She met no passers-by in such an out-of-the-way street. Sh_an on breathless through the wet, cold mud, and at last began knocking at th_oors of the houses. In the first house no one came to the door, in the secon_hey were so long in coming that she gave it up impatiently and began knockin_t a third door. This was the house of a merchant called Titov. Here sh_ailed and kept declaring incoherently that her husband was murdered, causin_ great flutter in the house. Something was known about Shatov and his stor_n the Titov household; they were horror-stricken that she should be runnin_bout the streets in such attire and in such cold with the baby scarcel_overed in her arms, when, according to her story, she had only been confine_he day before. They thought at first that she was delirious, especially a_hey could not make out whether it was Kirillov who was murdered or he_usband. Seeing that they did not believe her she would have run on farther, but they kept her by force, and I am told she screamed and struggled terribly.
They went to Filipov's, and within two hours Kirillov's suicide and the lette_e had left were known to the whole town. The police came to question Mary_gnatyevna, who was still conscious, and it appeared at once that she had no_ead Kirillov's letter, and they could not find out from her what had led he_o conclude that her husband had been murdered. She only screamed that i_irillov was murdered, then her husband was murdered, they were together.
Towards midday she sank into a state of unconsciousness from which she neve_ecovered, and she died three days later. The baby had caught cold and die_efore her.
Arina Prohorovna not finding Marya Ignatyevna and the baby, and guessin_omething was wrong, was about to run home, but she checked herself at th_ate and sent the nurse to inquire of the gentleman at the lodge whether Mary_gnatyevna was not there and whether he knew anything about her. The woma_ame back screaming frantically. Persuading her not to scream and not to tel_nyone by the time-honoured argument that "she would get into trouble," sh_tole out of the yard.
It goes without saying that she was questioned the same morning as havin_cted as midwife to Marya Ignatyevna; but they did not get much out of her.
She gave a very cool and sensible account of all she had herself heard an_een at Shatov's, but as to what had happened she declared that she kne_othing, and could not understand it.
It may well be imagined what an uproar there was in the town. A new
"sensation," another murder! But there was another element in this case: i_as clear that a secret society of murderers, incendiaries, and revolutionist_id exist, did actually exist. Liza's terrible death, the murder o_tavrogin's wife, Stavrogin himself, the fire, the ball for the benefit of th_overnesses, the laxity of manners and morals in Yulia Mihailovna's circle… .
Even in the disappearance of Stepan Trofimovitch people insisted on scenting _ystery. All sorts of things were whispered about Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch. B_he end of the day people knew of Pyotr Stepanovitch's absence too, and, strange to say, less was said of him than of anyone. What was talked of mos_ll that day was "the senator." There was a crowd almost all day at Filipov'_ouse. The police certainly were led astray by Kirillov's letter. The_elieved that Kirillov had murdered Shatov and had himself committed suicide.
Yet, though the authorities were thrown into perplexity, they were no_ltogether hoodwinked. The word "park," for instance, so vaguely inserted i_irillov's letter, did not puzzle anyone as Pyotr Stepanovitch had expected i_ould. The police at once made a rush for Skvoreshniki, not simply because i_as the only park in the neighbourhood but also led thither by a sort o_nstinct because all the horrors of the last few days were connected directl_r indirectly with Skvoreshniki. That at least is my theory. (I may remar_hat; Varvara Petrovna had driven off early that morning in chase of Stepa_rofimovitch, and knew nothing of what had happened in the town.)
The body was found in the pond that evening. What led to the discovery of i_as the finding of Shatov's cap at the scene of the murder, where it had bee_ith extraordinary carelessness overlooked by the murderers. The appearance o_he body, the medical examination and certain deductions from it rouse_mmediate suspicions that Kirillov must have had accomplices. It becam_vident that a secret society really did exist of which Shatov and Kirillo_ere members and which was connected with the manifestoes. Who were thes_ccomplices? No one even thought of any member of the quintet that day. It wa_scertained that Kirillov had lived like a hermit, and in so complete _eclusion that it had been possible, as stated in the letter, for Fedka t_odge with him for so many days, even while an active search was being mad_or him. The chief thing that worried every one was the impossibility o_iscovering a connecting-link in this chaos.
There is no saying what conclusions and what disconnected theories our panic- stricken townspeople would have reached, if the whole mystery had not bee_uddenly solved next day, thanks to Lyamshin.
He broke down. He behaved as even Pyotr Stepanovitch had towards the end begu_o fear he would. Left in charge of Tolkatchenko, and afterwards of Erkel, h_pent all the following day lying in his bed with his face turned to the wall, apparently calm, not uttering a word, and scarcely answering when he wa_poken to. This is how it was that he heard nothing all day of what wa_appening in the town. But Tolkatchenko, who was very well informed abou_verything, took into his head by the evening to throw up the task of watchin_yamshin which Pyotr Stepanovitch had laid upon him, and left the town, tha_s, to put it plainly, made his escape; the fact is, they lost their heads a_rkel had predicted they would. I may mention, by the way, that Liputin ha_isappeared the same day before twelve o'clock. But things fell out so tha_is disappearance did not become known to the authorities till the evening o_he following day, when, the police went to question his family, who wer_anic-stricken at his absence but kept quiet from fear of consequences. But t_eturn to Lyamshin: as soon as he was left alone (Erkel had gone home earlier, relying on Tolkatchenko) he ran out of his house, and, of course, very soo_earned the position of affairs. Without even returning home he too tried t_un away without knowing where he was going. But the night was so dark and t_scape was so terrible and difficult, that after going through two or thre_treets, he returned home and locked himself up for the whole night. I believ_hat towards morning he attempted to commit suicide but did not succeed. H_emained locked up till middayand then suddenly he ran to the authorities. H_s said to have crawled on his knees, to have sobbed and shrieked, to hav_issed the floor crying out that he was not worthy to kiss the boots of th_fficials standing before him. They soothed him, were positively affable t_im. His examination lasted, I am told, for three hours. He confesse_verything, everything, told every detail, everything he knew, every point, anticipating their questions, hurried to make a clean breast of it all, volunteering unnecessary information without being asked. It turned out tha_e knew enough, and presented things in a fairly true light: the tragedy o_hatov and Kirillov, the fire, the death of the Lebyadkins, and the rest of i_ere relegated to the background. Pyotr Stepanovitch, the secret society, th_rganisation, and the network were put in the first place. When asked what wa_he object of so many murders and scandals and dastardly outrages, he answere_ith feverish haste that "it was with the idea of systematically underminin_he foundations, systematically destroying society and all principles; wit_he idea of nonplussing every one and making hay of everything, and then, whe_ociety was tottering, sick and out of joint, cynical and sceptical thoug_illed with an intense eagerness for self-preservation and for some guidin_dea, suddenly to seize it in their hands, raising the standard of revolt an_elying on a complete network of quintets, which were actively, meanwhile, gathering recruits and seeking out the weak spots which could be attacked." I_onclusion, he said that here in our town Pyotr Stepanovitch had organise_nly the first experiment in such systematic disorder, so to speak as _rogramme for further activity, and for all the quintetsand that this was hi_wn (Lyamshin's) idea, his own theory, "and that he hoped they would remembe_t and bear in mind how openly and properly he had given his information, an_herefore might be of use hereafter." Being asked definitely how many quintet_here were, he answered that there were immense numbers of them, that al_ussia was overspread with a network, and although he brought forward n_roofs, I believe his answer was perfectly sincere. He produced only th_rogramme of the society, printed abroad, and the plan for developing a syste_f future activity roughly sketched in Pyotr Stepanovitch's own handwriting.
It appeared that Lyamshin had quoted the phrase about "undermining th_oundation," word for word from this document, not omitting a single stop o_omma, though he had declared that it was all his own, theory. Of Yuli_ihailovna he very funnily and quite without provocation volunteered th_emark, that "she was innocent arid had been made a fool of.'' But, strange t_ay, he exonerated Nikolay Stavrogin from all share in the secret society, from any collaboration with Pyotr Stepanovic. (Lyamshiu had no conception o_he secret and very absurd hopes that Pyotr Stepanovitch was resting o_tavrogin.) According to his story Nikolay Stavrogin had nothing whatever t_o with the death of the Lebyadkins, which had been planned by Pyot_tepanovitch alone and with the subtle aim of implicating the former in the .crime, and therefore making him dependent on Pyotr Stepanovitch; but instea_f the gratitude on which Pyotr Stepanovitch had reckoned with shallo_onfidence, he had roused nothing but indignation and even despair in "th_enerous heart of Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch." He wound up, by a hint, evidentl_ntentional, volunteered hastily, that Stavrogin was perhaps a very importan_ersonage, but that there was some secret about that, that he had been livin_mong us, so to say, incognito, that he had some commission, and that ver_ossibly he would come back to us again from Petersburg. (Lyamshin wa_onvinced that Stavrogin had gone to Petersburg), but in quite a differen_apacity and in different surroundings, in the suite of persons of who_erhaps we should soon hear, and that all this he had heard from Pyot_tepanovitch, "Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch's secret enemy."
Here I will note that two months later, Lyamshin admitted that he ha_xonerated Stavrogin on purpose, hoping that he would protect him and woul_btain for him a mitigation in the second degree of his sentence, and that h_ould provide him with money and letters of introduction in Siberia. From thi_onfession it is evident that he had an extraordinarily exaggerated conceptio_f Stavrogin's powers.
On the same day, of course, the police arrested Virginsky and in their zea_ook his whole family too. (Arina Prohorovna, her sister, aunt, and even th_irl student were released long ago; they say that Shigalov too will be se_ree very shortly because he cannot be classed with any of the othe_risoners. But all that is so far only gossip.) Virginsky at once pleade_uilty. He was lying ill with fever when he was arrested. I am told that h_eemed almost relieved; "it was a load off his heart," he is reported to hav_aid. It is rumoured that he is giving his evidence without reservation, bu_ith a certain dignity, and has not given up any of his "bright hopes," thoug_t the same time he curses the political method (as opposed to the Socialis_ne), in which he had been unwittingly and heedlessly carried "by the vorte_f combined circumstances." His conduct at the time of the murder has been pu_n a favourable light, and I imagine that he too may reckon on some mitigatio_f his sentence. That at least is what is asserted in the town.
But I doubt whether there is any hope for mercy in Erkel's case. Ever sinc_is arrest he has been obstinately silent, or has misrepresented the facts a_ar as he could. Not one word of regret has been wrung from him so far. Ye_ven the sternest of the judges trying him has been moved to some compassio_y his youth, by his helplessness, by the unmistakable evidence that he i_othing but a fanatical victim of a political impostor, and, most of all, b_is conduct to his mother, to whom, as it appears, he used to send almost th_alf of his small salary. His mother is now in the town; she is a delicate an_iling woman, aged beyond her years; she weeps and positively grovels on th_round imploring mercy for her son. Whatever may happen, many among us fee_orry for Erkel.
Liputin was arrested in Petersburg, where he had been living for a fortnight.
His conduct there sounds almost incredible and is: difficult to explain. He i_aid to have had a passport in a forged name and quite a large sum of mone_pon him, and had every possibility of escaping abroad, yet instead of goin_e remained in Petersburg. He spent some time hunting for Stavrogin and Pyot_tepanovitch. Suddenly he took to drinking and gave himself up to a debaucher_hat exceeded all bounds, like a man who had lost all reason and understandin_f his position. He was arrested in Petersburg drunk in a brothel. There is _umour that he has not by any means lost heart, that he tells lies in hi_vidence and is preparing for the approaching trial hopefully (?) and, as i_ere, triumphantly. He even intends to make a speech at the trial.
Tolkatchenko, who was arrested in the neighbourhood ten days after his flight, behaves with incomparably more decorum; he does not shuffle or tell lies, h_ells all he knows, does not justify himself, blames himself with all modesty, though he, too, has a weakness for rhetoric; he tells readily what he knows, and when knowledge of the peasantry and the revolutionary elements among the_s touched upon, he positively attitudinises and is eager to produce a_ffect. He, too, is meaning, I am told, to make a speech at the trial. Neithe_e nor Liputin seem very much afraid, curious as it seems.
I repeat that the case is not yet over. Now, three months afterwards, loca_ociety has had time to rest, has recovered, has got over it, has an opinio_f its own, so much so that some people positively look upon Pyot_tepanovitch as a genius or at least as possessed of "some characteristics o_ genius." "Organisation!" they say at the club, holding up a finger. But al_his is very innocent and there are not many people who talk like that.
Others, on the other hand, do not deny his acuteness, but point out that h_as utterly ignorant of real life, that he was terribly theoretical, grotesquely and stupidly one-sided, and consequently shallow in the extreme.
As for his moral qualities all are agreed; about that there are no tw_pinions.
I do not know whom to mention next so as not to forget anyone. Mavrik_ikolaevitch has gone away for good, I don't know where. Old Madame Drozdo_as sunk into dotage… . I have still one very gloomy story to tell, however. _ill confine myself to the bare facts.
On her return from Ustyevo, Varvara Petrovna stayed at her town house. All th_ccumulated news broke upon her at once and gave her a terrible shock. Sh_hut herself up alone. It was evening; every one was tired and went to be_arly.
In the morning a maid with a mysterious air handed a note to Darya Pavlovna.
The note had, so she said, arrived the evening before, but late, when all ha_one to bed, so that she had not ventured to wake her. It had not come b_ost, but had been put in Alexey Yegorytch's hand in Skvoreshniki by som_nknown person. And Alexey Yegorytch had immediately set off and put it int_er hands himself and had then returned to Skvoreshniki.
For a long while Darya Pavlovna gazed at the letter with a beating heart, an_ared not open it. She knew from whom it came: the writer was Nikola_tavrogin. She read what was written on the envelope: "To Alexey Yegorytch, t_e given secretly to Darya Pavlovna."
Here is the letter word for word, without the slightest correction of th_efects in style of a Russian aristocrat who had never mastered the Russia_rammar in spite of his European education.
"Dear Dabya Pavlovna,At one time you expressed a wish to be my nurse and mad_e promise to send for you when I wanted you. I am going away in two days an_hall not come back. Will you go with me?
"Last year, like Herzen, I was naturalised as a citizen of the canton of Uri, and that nobody knows. There I've already bought a little house, I've stil_welve thousand roubles left; we'll go and live there for ever. I don't wan_o go anywhere else ever.
"It's a very dull place, a narrow valley, the mountains restrict both visio_nd thought. It's very gloomy. I chose the place because there was a littl_ouse to be sold. If you don't like it I'll sell it and buy another in som_ther place.
"I am not well, but I hope to get rid of hallucinations in that air. It'_hysical, and as for the moral you know everything; but do you know all?
"I've told you a great deal of my life, but not all. Even to you! Not all. B_he way, I repeat that in my conscience I feel myself responsible for m_ife's death. I haven't seen you since then, that's why I repeat it. I fee_uilty about Lizaveta Nikolaevna too; but you know about that; you foretol_lmost all that.
"Better not come to me. My asking you to is a horrible meanness. And wh_hould you bury your life with me? You are dear to me, and when I wa_iserable it was good to be beside you; only with you I could speak of mysel_loud. But that proves nothing. You defined it yourself, 'a nurse' it's you_wn expression; why sacrifice so much? Grasp this, too, that I have no pit_or you since I ask you, and no respect for you since I reckon on you. And ye_ ask you and I reckon on you. In any case I need your answer for I must se_ff very soon. In that case I shall go alone.
"I expect nothing of Uri; I am simply going. I have not chosen a gloomy plac_n purpose. I have no ties in Russia everything is as alien to me there a_verywhere. It's true that I dislike living there more than anywhere; but _an't hate anything even there!
"I've tried my strength everywhere. You advised me to do this 'that I migh_earn to know myself.' As long as I was experimenting for myself and fo_thers it seemed infinite, as it has all my life. Before your eyes I endured _low from your brother; I acknowledged my marriage in public. But to what t_pply my strength, that is what I've never seen, and do not see now in spit_f all your praises in Switzerland, which I believed in. I am still capable, as I always was, of desiring to do something good, and of feeling pleasur_rom it; at the same time I desire evil and feel pleasure from that too. Bu_oth feelings are always too petty, and are never very strong. My desires ar_oo weak; they are not enough to guide me. On a log one may cross a river bu_ot on a chip. I say this that you may not believe that I am going to Uri wit_opes of any sort.
"As always I blame no one. I've tried the depths of debauchery and wasted m_trength over it. But I don't like vice and I didn't want it. You have bee_atching me of late. Do you know that I looked upon our iconoclasts wit_pite, from envy of their hopes? But you had no need to be afraid. I could no_ave been one of them for I never shared anything with them. And to do it fo_un, from spite I could not either, not because I am afraid of the ridiculous_annot be afraid of the ridiculousbut because I have, after all, the habits o_ gentleman and it disgusted me. But if I had felt more spite and envy of the_ might perhaps have joined them. You can judge how hard it has been for me, and how I've struggled from one thing to another.
"Dear friend! Great and tender heart which I divined! Perhaps you dream o_iving me so much love and lavishing on me so much that is beautiful from you_eautiful soul, that you hope to set up some aim for me at last by it? No, it's better for you to be more cautious, my love will be as petty as I a_yself and you will be unhappy. Your brother told me that the man who lose_onnection with his country loses his gods, that is, all his aims. One ma_rgue about everything endlessly, but from me nothing has come but negation, with no greatness of soul, no force. Even negation has not come from me.
Everything has always been petty and spiritless. Kirillov, in the greatness o_is soul, could not compromise with an idea, and shot himself; but I see, o_ourse, that he was great-souled because he had lost his reason. I can neve_ose my reason, and I can never believe in an idea to such a degree as he did.
I cannot even be interested in an idea to such a degree. I can never, neve_hoot myself.
"I know I ought to kill myself, to brush myself off the earth like a nast_nsect; but I am afraid of suicide, for I am afraid of showing greatness o_oul. I know that it will be another sham againthe last deception in a_ndless series of deceptions. What good is there in deceiving oneself? Simpl_o play at greatness of soul? Indignation and shame I can never feel, therefore not despair.
"Forgive me for writing so much. I wrote without noticing. A hundred page_ould be too little and ten lines would be enough. Ten lines would be enoug_o ask you to be a nurse. Since I left Skvoreshniki I've been living at th_ixth station on the line, at the stationmaster's. I got to know him in th_ime of debauchery five years ago in Petersburg. No one knows I am livin_here. Write to him. I enclose the address.
Darya Pavlovna went at once and showed the letter to Varvara Petrovna. Sh_ead it and asked Dasha to go out of the room so that she might read it agai_lone; but she called her back very quickly.
"Are you going?" she asked almost timidly.
"I am going," answered Dasha.
"Get ready! We'll go together."
Dasha looked at her inquiringly.
"What is there left for me to do here? What difficulty will it make? I'll b_aturalised in Uri, too, and live in the valley… . Don't be uneasy, I won't b_n the way."
They began packing quickly to be in time to catch the midday train. But i_ess than half an hour's time Alexey Yegorytch arrived from Skvoreshniki. H_nnounced that Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch had suddenly arrived that morning b_he early train, and was now at Skvoreshniki but "in such a state that hi_onour did not answer any questions, walked through all the rooms and shu_imself up in his own wing… ."
"Though I received no orders I thought it best to come and inform you," Alexe_egorytch concluded with a very significant expression.
Varvara Petrovna looked at him searchingly and did not question him. Th_arriage was got ready instantly. Varvara Petrovna set off with Dasha. The_ay that she kept crossing herself on the journey.
In Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch's wing of the house all the doors were open and h_as nowhere to be seen.
"Wouldn't he be upstairs?" Fomushka ventured.
It was remarkable that several servants followed Varvara Petrovna while th_thers all stood waiting in the drawing-room. They would never have dared t_ommit such a breach of etiquette before. Varvara Petrovna saw it and sai_othing.
They went upstairs. There there were three rooms; but they found no one there.
"Wouldn't his honour have gone up there?" some one suggested, pointing to th_oor of the loft. And in-fact, the door of the loft which was always close_ad been opened and was standing ajar. The loft was right under the roof an_as reached by a long, very steep and narrow wooden ladder. There was a sor_f little room up there too.
"I am not going up there. Why should he go up there?" said Varvara Petrovna, turning terribly pale as she looked at the servants. They gazed back at he_nd said nothing. Dasha was trembling.
Varvara Petrovna rushed up the ladder; Dasha followed, but she had hardl_ntered the loft when she uttered a scream and fell senseless.
The citizen of the canton of Uri was hanging there behind the door. On th_able lay a piece of paper with the words in pencil: "No one is to blame, _id it myself." Beside it on the table lay a hammer, a piece of soap, and _arge nailobviously an extra one in case of need. The strong silk cord upo_hich Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch had hanged himself had evidently been chosen an_repared beforehand and was thickly smeared with soap. Everything proved tha_here had been premeditation and consciousness up to the last moment.
At the inquest our doctors absolutely and emphatically rejected all idea o_nsanity.