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Chapter 9 A Raid at Stefan Tromifovitch's

  • Meanwhile an incident had occurred which astounded me and shattered Stepa_rofimovitch. At eight o'clock in the morning Nastasya ran round to me fro_im with the news that her master was "raided." At first I could not make ou_hat she meant; I could only gather that the "raid" was carried out b_fficials, that they had come and taken his papers, and that a soldier ha_ied them up in a bundle and "wheeled them away in a barrow." It was _antastic story. I hurried at once to Stepan Trofimovitch.
  • I found him in a surprising condition: upset and in great agitation, but a_he same time unmistakably triumphant. On the table in the middle of the roo_he samovar was boiling, and there was a glass of tea poured out but untouche_nd forgotten. Stepan Trofimovitch was wandering round the table and peepin_nto every corner of the room, unconscious of what he was doing. He wa_earing his usual red knitted jacket, but seeing me, he hurriedly put on hi_oat and waistcoata thing he had never done before when any of his intimat_riends found him in his jacket. He took me warmly by the hand at once.
  • "Enfin un ami!" (He heaved a deep sigh.) "Cher, I've sent to you only, and n_ne knows anything. We must give Nastasya orders to lock the doors and no_dmit anyone, except, of course them… . Vous comprenez?"
  • He looked at me uneasily, as though expecting a reply. I made haste, o_ourse, to question him, and from his disconnected and broken sentences, ful_f unnecessary parentheses, I succeeded in learning that at seven o'clock tha_orning an official of the province had 'all of a sudden' called on him.
  • "Pardon, j'ai oublie son nom, Il n'est pas du pays, but I think he came to th_own with Lembke, quelque chose de bete et d'Allemand dans la physionomie. I_'appelle Bosenthal."
  • "Wasn't it Blum?"
  • "Yes, that was his name. Vous le connaissez? Quelque chose d'Maite et de tre_ontent dans la figure, pomtant tres severe, roide et serieux. A type of th_olice, of the submissive subordinates, je m'y connais. I was still asleep, and, would you believe it, he asked to have a look at my books an_anuscripts! Oui, je m'en souviens, il a employe ce mot. He did not arrest me, but only the books. Il se tenait a distance, and when he began to explain hi_isit he looked as though I … enfin il avait Vair de croire que je tombera_ur lui immediatement et que je commen-cerai a le battre comme platre. Tou_es gens du bas etage sont comme ca when they have to do with a gentleman. _eed hardly say I understood it all at once. Voild vingt ans que je m'_repare. I opened all the drawers and handed him all the keys; I gave the_yself, I gave him all. J'etais digne et calme. From the books he took th_oreign edition of Herzen, the bound volume of The Sell, four copies of m_oem, et enfin tout fa. Then he took my letters and my papers et quelques-une_e mes ebauches historiques, critiques et politiques. All that they carrie_ff. Nastasya says that a soldier wheeled them away in a barrow and covere_hem with an apron; oui, c'est cela, with an apron." It sounded like delirium.
  • Who could make head or tail of it? I pelted him with questions again. Had Blu_ome alone, or with others? On whose authority? By what right? How had h_ared? How did he explain it?
  • "Il etait seul, bien seul, but there was some one else dans I'antichambre, oui, je m'en souviens, et puis … Though I believe there was some one els_esides, and there was a guard standing in the entry. You must ask Nastasya; she knows all about it better than I do. J'etais surexcite, voyez-vous. I_arlait, il parlait … un tas de chases; he said very little though, it was _aid all that… . I told him the story of my life, simply from that point o_iew, of course. J'etais surexcite, mais digne, je vous assure… . I am afraid, though, I may have shed tears. They got the barrow from the shop next door."
  • "Oh, heavens! how could all this have happened? But for mercy's sake, spea_ore exactly, Stepan Trofimovitch. What you tell me sounds like a dream."
  • "Cher, I feel as though I were in a dream myself… . Savez-vous! Il a prononc_e nom de Telyatnikof, and I believe that that man was concealed in the entry.
  • Yes, I remember, he suggested: calling the prosecutor and Dmitri Dmitritch, _elieve … ; qui me doit encore quinze roubles I won at cards, soit Ait e_assant. Enfin, je n'ai pas trop compris. But I got the better of them, an_hat do I care for Dmitri Dmitritch? I believe I begged him very earnestly t_eep it quiet; I begged him particularly, most particularly. I am afraid _emeaned myself, in fact, comment croyez-vous? Enfin il a consenti. Yes, _emember, he suggested that himselfthat it would be better to keep it quiet, for he had only come 'to have a look round' et rien de plus, and nothing more, nothing more … and that if they find nothing, nothing will happen. So that w_nded it all en amis, je suis tout a fait content."
  • "Why, then he suggested the usual course of proceedings in such cases an_egular guarantees, and you rejected them yourself," I cried with friendl_ndignation.
  • "Yes, it's better without the guarantees. And why make a scandal? Let's kee_t en amis so long as we can. You know, in our town, if they get to know it … mes ennemis, et puis, a quoi bon, le procureur, ce cochon de notre procureur, qui deux fois m'a manque de politesse et qu'on a rosse a plaisir Vautre anne_hez cette charmante et belle Natalya Pavlovna quand il se cacha dans so_oudoir. Et puis, mon ami, don't make objections and don't depress me, I be_ou, for nothing is more unbearable when a man is in trouble than for _undred friends to point out to him what a fool he has made of himself. Si_own though and have some tea. I must admit I am awfully tired… . Hadn't _etter lie down and put vinegar on my head? What do you think?"
  • "Certainly," I cried, "ice even. You are very much upset. You are pale an_our hands are trembling. Lie down, rest, and put off telling me. I'll sit b_ou and wait."
  • He hesitated, but I insisted on his lying down. Nastasya brought a cup o_inegar. I wetted a towel and laid it on his head. Then Nastasya stood on _hair and began lighting a lamp before the ikon in the corner. I noticed thi_ith surprise; there had never been a lamp there before and now suddenly i_ad made its appearance.
  • "I arranged for that as soon as they had gone away," muttered Stepa_rofimovitch, looking at me slyly. "Quand on a de ces choses-la dans s_hambre et qu'on vient vous arreter it makes an impression and they are sur_o report that they have seen it… ."
  • When she had done the lamp, Nastasya stood in the doorway, leaned her cheek i_er right hand, and began gazing at him with a lachrymose air.
  • "Eloignez-la on some excuse," he nodded to me from the sofa. "I can't endur_his Russian sympathy, et puis ca m'embete."
  • But she went away of herself. I noticed that he kept looking towards the doo_nd listening for sounds in the passage.
  • "Il faut etre prit, voyez-vous," he said, looking at me significantly, "chaqu_oment … they may come and take one and, phew!a man disappears."
  • "Heavens! who'll come? Who will take you?"
  • "Voyez-vous, mon cher, I asked straight out when he was going away, what woul_hey do to me now."
  • "You'd better have asked them where you'd be exiled!" I cried out in the sam_ndignation.
  • "That's just what I meant when I asked, but he went away without answering.
  • Voyez-vous: as for linen, clothes, warm things especially, that must be a_hey decide; if they tell me to take themall right, or they might send me in _oldier's overcoat. But I thrust thirty-five roubles" (he suddenly dropped hi_oice, looking towards the door by which Nastasya had gone out) "in a slit i_y waistcoat pocket, here, feel… . I believe they won't take the waistcoa_ff, and left seven roubles in my purse to keep up appearances, as though tha_ere all I have. You see, it's in small change and the coppers are on th_able, so they won't guess that I've hidden the money, but will suppose tha_hat's all. For God knows where I may have to sleep to-night!"
  • I bowed my head before such madness. It was obvious that a man could not b_rrested and searched in the way he was describing, and he must have mixe_hings up. It's true it all happened in the days before our present, mor_ecent regulations. It is true, too, that according to his own account the_ad offered to follow the more regular procedure, but he "got the better o_hem" and refused… . Of course not long ago a governor might, in extrem_ases… . But how could this be an extreme case? That's what baffled me.
  • "No doubt they had a telegram from Petersburg," Stepan Trofimovitch sai_uddenly.
  • "A telegram? About you? Because of the works of Herzen and your poem? Have yo_aken leave of your senses? What is there in that to arrest you for?"
  • I was positively angry. He made a grimace and was evidently mortifiednot at m_xclamation, but at the idea that there was no ground for arrest.
  • "Who can tell in our day what he may not be arrested for?" he muttere_nigmatically.
  • A wild and nonsensical idea crossed my mind.
  • "Stepan Trofimovitch, tell me as a friend," I cried, "as a real friend, I wil_ot betray you: do you belong to some secret society or not?"
  • And on this, to my amazement, he was not quite certain whether he was or wa_ot a member of some secret society.
  • "That depends, voyez-vous."'
  • "How do you mean 'it depends'?"
  • "When with one's whole heart one is an adherent of progress and … who ca_nswer it? You may suppose you don't belong, and suddenly it turns out tha_ou do belong to some thing."
  • "Now is that possible? It's a case of yes or no."
  • "Cela date de Petersburg when she and I were meaning to found a magazin_here. That's what's at the root of it. She gave them the slip then, and the_orgot us, but now they've remembered. Cher, cher, don't you know me?" h_ried hysterically. "And they'll take us, put us in a cart, and march us of_o Siberia for ever, or forget us in prison."
  • And he suddenly broke into bitter weeping. His tears positively streamed. H_overed his face with his red silk handkerchief and sobbed, sobbe_onvulsively for five minutes. It wrung my heart. This was the man who ha_een a prophet among us for twenty years, a leader, a patriarch, the Kukolni_ho had borne himself so loftily and majestically before all of us, befor_hom we bowed down with genuine reverence, feeling proud of doing soand all o_ sudden here he was sobbing, sobbing like a naughty child waiting for the ro_hich the teacher is fetching for him. I felt fearfully sorry for him. H_elieved in the reality of that "cart" as he believed that I was sitting b_is side, and he expected it that morning, at once, that very minute, and al_his on account of his Herzen and some poem! Such complete, absolute ignoranc_f everyday reality was touching and somehow repulsive.
  • At last he left off crying, got up from the sofa and began walking about th_oom again, continuing to talk to me, though he looked out of the window ever_inute and listened to every sound in the passage. Our conversation was stil_isconnected. All my assurances and attempts to console him rebounded from hi_ike peas from a wall. He scarcely listened, but yet what he needed was that _hould console him and keep on talking with that object. I saw that he coul_ot do without me now, and would not let me go for anything. I remained, an_e spent more than two hours together. In conversation he recalled that Blu_ad taken with him two manifestoes he had found.
  • "Manifestoes!" I said, foolishly frightened. "Do you mean to say you … "
  • "Oh, ten were left here," he answered with vexation (he talked to me at on_oment in a vexed and haughty tone and at the next with dreadful plaintivenes_nd humiliation), "but I had disposed of eight already, and Blum only foun_wo." And he suddenly flushed with indignation. "Vous me mettez avec ces gens- la! Do you suppose I could be working with those scoundrels, those anonymou_ibellers, with my son Pyotr Stepanovitch, avec ces esprits forts de l_chete? Oh, heavens!"
  • "Bah! haven't they mixed you up perhaps? … But it's nonsense, it can't be so,"
  • I observed.
  • "Savez-vous," broke from him suddenly, "I feel at moments que je ferai id-ba_uelque esclandre. Oh, don't go away, don't leave me alone! Ma carriere es_inie aujourd'hui, je le sens. Do you know, I might fall on somebody there an_ite him, like that lieutenant."
  • He looked at me with a strange expressionalarmed, and at the same time anxiou_o alarm me. He certainly was getting more and more exasperated with somebod_nd about something as time went on and the police-cart did not appear; he wa_ositively wrathful. Suddenly Nastasya, who had come from the kitchen into th_assage for some reason, upset a clothes-horse there. Stepan Trofimovitc_rembled and turned numb with terror as he sat; but when the noise wa_xplained, he almost shrieked at Nastasya and, stamping, drove her back to th_itchen. A minute later he said, looking at me in despair: "I am ruined!
  • Cher"he sat down suddenly beside me and looked piteously into my face" cher, it's not Siberia I am afraid of, I swear. Oh, je vous jure!" (Tears positivel_tood in his eyes.) "It's something else I fear."
  • I saw from his expression that he wanted at last to tell me something of grea_mportance which he had till now refrained from telling.
  • "I am afraid of disgrace," he whispered mysteriously. "What disgrace? On th_ontrary! Believe me, Stepan Trofimovitch, that all this will be explained to- day and will end to your advantage… ."
  • "Are you so sure that they will pardon me?"
  • "Pardon you? What! What a word! What have you done? I assure you you've don_othing."
  • "Qu'en savez-vous; all my life has been … cher … They'll remember everything … and if they find nothing, it will be worse still," he added all of a sudden, unexpectedly. "How do you mean it will be worse?"
  • "It will be worse."
  • "I don't understand."
  • "My friend, let it be Siberia, Archangel, loss of rightsif I must perish, le_e perish! But … I am afraid of something else." (Again whispering, a scare_ace, mystery.) "But of what? Of what?"
  • "They'll flog me," he pronounced, looking at me with a face of despair.
  • "Who'll flog you? What for? Where?" I cried, feeling alarmed that he was goin_ut of his mind.
  • "Where? Why there … where 'that's' done."
  • "But where is it done?"
  • "Eh, cher,'" he whispered almost in my ear. "The floor suddenly gives wa_nder you, you drop half through… . Every one knows that."
  • "Legends!" I cried, guessing what he meant. "Old tales. Can you have believe_hem till now?" I laughed.
  • "Tales! But there must be foundation for them; flogged men tell no tales. I'v_magined it ten thousand times."
  • "But you, why you? You've done nothing, you know."
  • "That makes it worse. They'll find out I've done nothing and flog me for it."
  • "And you are sure that you'll be taken to Petersburg for that."
  • "My friend, I've told you already that I regret nothing, ma carriere es_inie. From that hour when she said good-bye to me at Skvoreshniki my life ha_ad no value for me … but disgrace, disgrace, que dira-t-elle if she find_ut?"
  • He looked at me in despair. And the poor fellow flushed all over. I dropped m_yes too.
  • "She'll find out nothing, for nothing will happen to you. I feel as if I wer_peaking to you for the first time in my life, Stepan Trofimovitch, you'v_stonished me so this morning."
  • "But, my friend, this isn't fear. For even if I am pardoned, even if I a_rought here and nothing is done to methen I am undone. Elle me soupfonner_oute sa vieme, me, the poet, the thinker, the man whom she has worshipped fo_wenty-two years!"
  • "It will never enter her head."
  • "It will," he whispered with profound conviction. "We've talked of it severa_imes in Petersburg, in Lent, before we came away, when we were both afraid… .
  • Elle me soupfonnera toute sa vie … and how can I disabuse her? It won't soun_ikely. And in this wretched town who'd believe it, c'est invraisemblable… .
  • Et puis les femmes, she will be pleased. She will be genuinely grieved like _rue friend, but secretly she will be pleased… . I shall give her a weapo_gainst me for the rest of my life. Oh, it's all over with me! Twenty years o_uch perfect happiness with her … and now!" He hid his face in his hands.
  • "Stepan Trofimovitch, oughtn't you to let Varvara Petrovna know at once o_hat has happened?" I suggested.
  • "God preserve me!" he cried, shuddering and leaping up from his place. "On n_ccount, never, after what was said at parting at Skvoreshnikinever!" His eye_lashed.
  • We went on sitting together another hour or more, I believe, expectin_omething all the timethe idea had taken such hold of us. He lay down again, even closed his eyes, and lay for twenty minutes without uttering a word, s_hat I thought he was asleep or unconscious. Suddenly he got up impulsively, pulled the towel off his head, jumped up from the sofa, rushed to the looking- glass, with trembling hands tied his cravat, and in a voice of thunder calle_o Nastasya, telling her to give him his overcoat, his new hat and his stick.
  • "I can bear no more," he said in a breaking voice. "I can't, I can't! I a_oing myself."
  • "Where?" I cried, jumping up too.
  • "To Lembke. Cher, I ought, I am obliged. It's my duty. I am a citizen and _an, not a worthless chip. I have rights; I want my rights… . For twenty year_'ve not insisted on my rights. All my life I've neglected them criminally … but now I'll demand them. He must tell me everythingeverything. He received _elegram. He dare not torture me; if so, let him arrest me, let him arres_e!"
  • He stamped and vociferated almost with shrieks. "I approve of what you say," _aid, speaking as calmly as possible, on purpose, though I was very muc_fraid for him.
  • "Certainly it is better than sitting here in such misery, but I can't approv_f your state of mind. Just see what you look like and in what a state you ar_oing there! Il faut etre digne et calme avec Lembke. You really might rush a_ome one there and bite him."
  • "I am giving myself up. I am walking straight into the jaws of the Hon… ."
  • "I'll go with you."
  • "I expected no less of you, I accept your sacrifice, the sacrifice of a tru_riend; but only as far as the house, only as far as the house. You ought not, you have no right to compromise yourself further by being my confederate. Oh, croyez-moi, je serai calme. I feel that I am at this moment d la hauteur d_out ce que il y a de plus sacre." …
  • "I may perhaps go into the house with you," I interrupted him. "I had _essage from their stupid committee yesterday through Vysotsky that the_eckon on me and invite me to the file to-morrow as one of the stewards o_hatever it is … one of the six young men whose duty it is to look after th_rays, wait on the ladies, take the guests to their places, and wear a rosett_f crimson and white ribbon on the left shoulder. I meant to refuse, but no_hy shouldn't I go into the house on the excuse of seeing Yulia Mihailovn_erself about it? … So we will go in together."
  • He listened, nodding, but I think he understood nothing. We stood on th_hreshold.
  • "Cher"he stretched out his arm to the lamp before the ikon" cher, I have neve_elieved in this, but … so be it, so be it!" He crossed himself." Allans!"
  • "Well, that's better so," I thought as I went out on to the steps with him.
  • "The fresh air will do him good on the way, and we shall calm down, turn back, and go home to bed… ."
  • But I reckoned without my host. On the way an adventure occurred whic_gitated Stepan Trofimovitch even more, and finally determined him to go on … so that I should never have expected of our friend so much spirit as h_uddenly displayed that morning. Poor friend, kind-hearted friend!