On the day following his encounter with Olympiada's aged lover, Ilya walked to and fro along the main street of the town, slowly and silently. He did not call his wares as usual, but looked at his box gloomily, and hidden in his heart there lay immovable, a heavy leaden feeling. He never ceased to see before him the scornful face of the old man, Olympiada's calm blue eyes and the gesture with which she had given him the money. Sharp little snowflakes drove through the dry, frosty air, stinging his face like needles.
He had just passed a little shop, half-concealed in a niche between a church and the big house of a rich merchant. Over the entrance hung an old rusty sign with the inscription:
"Bureau de Change. W. G. Poluektov. Old gold and silver, ornaments for shrines, rarities of every kind, old coins."
As Ilya passed the door, he thought he saw behind the window panes the old man's face, grinning and nodding at him mockingly. He felt an irresistible desire to see the old man closer. He easily found an excuse. Like all pedlars, he collected the old coins that came into his hands, and sold them to the money-changers at an advance of twenty kopecks to the rouble. He had a few at that moment in his wallet. He turned back, opened the shop door boldly, went in with his box, took off his cap and said, "Good-day!"
The old man was sitting behind a small counter, and at the moment removing the metal clasps from an eikon, loosening the little nails with a small chisel. He was deep in his work. He shot a hasty glance at the lad as he came in, then turned again to his work, and said drily without looking up:
"Good day! What can I do for you?"
"Did you recognise me?" asked Ilya.
The old man looked at him again.
"Perhaps. What d'you want?"
"You buy old coins?"
Ilya shifted his box towards his back, and felt for the pocket where he had his purse with the coins—his hand failed to find it; it trembled like his heart, which beat furiously with hate of the old man, fear of him, and a vague impulse to achieve something decisive. Whilst with his hand he felt under the flap of his overcoat, he looked steadily at the little bald head of the money-changer, and a cold shiver ran down his back.
"Well, have you got them?" the old man addressed him crossly.
"One moment," answered Ilya softly.
At last he succeeded in getting out his purse; he went close up to the counter and shook the coins out on to it. The old man gave one look at them.
"That's all, eh?"
He took the silver coins up in his thin yellow fingers, and looked at them one at a time, murmuring to himself:
"Katherine the Second, Anna, Catherine, Paul, another Paul, a cross-rouble, a thirty-two piece. H'm, who's to see what this is? This is no good, it's all worn away."
"But the size shows it's a quarter rouble," said Ilya, harshly.
"Fifteen kopecks you can have for it, no more."
The old man pushed the coins aside, drew out the drawer of his till with a quick movement, and began to feel about in it. A fierce, stabbing rage took possession of Ilya, piercing through him like a frost-cold iron. He struck out with his arm, and his powerful fist caught the old man on the temple. The money-changer fell against the wall and struck his head hard upon it, but braced himself with his breast against the counter, held fast to it with his hands and stretched out his thin neck towards Ilya. Lunev saw the terrified eyes blinking in the dusky little face and the lips quiver, and he heard a penetrating, groaning whisper:
"My darling—my darling."
"Ah! you beast!" cried Ilya in a low voice, and crushed the old man's neck with his hands in disgust. He throttled and pressed him and began to shake him, while the old man's throat rattled, and he tried convulsively to get away. His eyes filled with blood, became bigger and bigger, and gushed with tears. His tongue protruded from his dark mouth and moved to and fro as though mocking the murderer. The warm saliva dropped on Ilya's hand, and a hoarse, whistling, gurgling sound came from the old man's throat. The cold crooked fingers caught at Lunev's neck, but he clenched his teeth, threw back his head, and shook the frail body more fiercely and dragged it over the counter; he would not have loosed his hold on the yielding throat, had any one come behind him and struck him. Filled with rigid fear and glowing hate, he saw Poluektov's dim eyes grow bigger and bigger, and still he gripped him more fiercely, more passionately, and ever as the old man's body grew heavier the weighty load on Ilya's heart was lightened. At last he let go of the body and pushed it away, and the money-changer's corpse sunk slackly to the ground.
Now Lunev looked round him; the shop was deserted and still, behind the door in the street snow was falling thickly. On the floor at his feet lay two pieces of soap, a purse, and a roll of ribbon. He perceived that these objects had fallen from his box, picked them up and replaced them. Then he leant over the counter and looked once more at the old man. He was crumpled in the small space between the counter and the wall. His head hung down on his breast, nothing could be seen but the yellow, bald patch at the back of it. Then Lunev looked at the open till—gold and silver coins shone back at him, packets of paper money met his eyes; he trembled with joy, hastily caught a packet, then a second and a third, stuffed them under his shirt, and looked once more anxiously round.
Carefully, without haste, he stepped back into the street, stopped three paces from the shop, covered his wares with the oil-cloth cover, and then went on in the midst of the thick snow that fell from invisible heights. Round him, even as in him, floated a cold, misty cloud; his eyes strove to pierce it with tense alertness. Suddenly he felt a dull pain in his eyes, he touched them with a finger of his right hand, and stood still, gripped by terror, as though his feet were suddenly frozen fast to the ground. He felt as though his eyes were coming out of their sockets, like those of old Poluektov, and he feared lest they should remain for ever thus protruded, never to be closed, for all men to read in them the crime he had committed. They felt as though they were lifeless. He touched the pupils with a finger, felt a sudden pain in them, and tried for a long time vainly to close the lids. Fear caught the breath in his throat. At last he managed to close them. He rejoiced at the darkness that suddenly enclosed him, and stood motionless, seeing nothing, breathing deep breaths of the cold air. Some one ran against him. He looked quickly round, and saw a tall man, in a short fur coat, passing. Ilya looked after the unknown till he vanished in the thick drifting snow. Then he straightened his cap and strode on, feeling still the pain in his eyes and a weight at his head. His shoulders twitched, his fingers involuntarily clenched, and a daring boldness awakened in his heart and banished his fear.
He went on till the road divided, there saw the grey figure of a policeman, and went, as if by accident, slowly, quite slowly, straight up to him. His heart stopped as he drew near. "Here's weather," said Ilya, going close to the policeman and looking boldly into his face.
"Ye—es! Snowing pretty well! Thank heaven, it'll be warmer now," answered the policeman, with a good-natured expression on his big, red, bearded face.
"What's the time, by the way?" asked Ilya.
"I'll have a look." The policeman knocked the snow from his sleeve, and put his hand under his cloak.
Lunev felt both relieved and again made anxious by the proximity of this man. Suddenly he laughed, in a dry, forced way.
"What are you laughing at?" asked the policeman, opening the front of his watch with his nail.
"If you could see yourself. It's as though some one had tipped a cart of snow over you!"
"No need for that; it's coming down in bucketsful. Just half-past one, all but five minutes. Yes, brother, it's bad for men of my trade this weather. You'll go into the public house, in the warm, and I must stick about here till six. Oh, just see; your box is full of snow!"
The policeman sighed and snapped his watch to.
"Yes, I'm off to the alehouse," said Ilya, with a forced laugh, and added, for no particular reason: "That one, up there, that's where I'm going."
"Don't chaff me!" cried the policeman, sulkily.
In the alehouse Ilya took a seat near the window. From this window, as he knew, the church could be seen next to Poluektov's shop. But now all was covered with a white curtain. Ilya watched attentively how the flakes slowly slid past the window and settled on the ground, covering the footsteps of the wayfarers as with a thick carpet. His heart beat strongly and full of life, but easily. He sat and waited for what should befall, and the time seemed to pass slowly.
When the waiter brought him tea he could not refrain from asking, "Well, how goes the neighbourhood? anything new?"
"It's got warmer, much warmer," answered the other quickly and hurried away.
Ilya waited and waited, he felt as though he were weary and fell into a doze. He poured out a glass of tea, but did not drink it, sat still, and thought of nothing. Suddenly he felt hot; he unbuttoned the collar of his overcoat, and shuddered as his hands touched his chin. It felt as though these were not his hands but the strange cold hands of an enemy that had touched him. He held them up and observed his fingers attentively—his hands were clean, but the thought came to him that he must wash them very carefully with soap.
"Poluektov has been murdered!" cried some one suddenly in the bar. Ilya sprang up from his chair as though the cry had been addressed to him. But all the other customers also were in commotion and rushed to the door, pulling on their caps.
Ilya threw a ten-kopeck piece on the counter, slung his box over his shoulder, and followed in the same haste as the others.
Already a big crowd had collected before the shop of the money-changer. Policemen moved up and down, and full of officious zeal shouted at the people; the bearded one with whom Ilya had spoken was there too. He stood in the doorway, keeping back the crowd that pressed towards it, regarded every one with troubled eyes, and passed his hand constantly over his left cheek that seemed redder than the right.
Ilya found a place near him and listened to the remarks of the crowd. Next him stood a tall, black-bearded merchant with a stern face, who listened with knitted brows to an old man in a fox-skin coat, who was relating in a lively way:
"The errand boy comes to the house and thinks his master has fainted. He runs to Peter Stepanovitch. 'Ah!' he says, 'come quick to our house, the master is ill.' Naturally Peter hurries off, and when he comes in he sees the old man is dead. A pretty business! and think of the audacity, in broad day, in such a busy street, it's past belief!"
The black-bearded merchant gave a low cough, and said severely:
"It is the finger of God! Evidently the Lord would not receive his repentance."
Lunev pressed forward to look again at the face of the merchant and struck him with his box. The merchant called out, pushing him away with his elbow and regarding him angrily:
"Where are you coming with that box of yours?" Then he turned again to the old man: "It is written, 'not a hair falls from the head of a man except by the will of God.'"
"What's one to say?" said the old man, and nodded in agreement: then he added, half aloud, his eyes twinkling, "It is well known that God marks the wicked. The Lord forgive me, it's wrong to speak of it, but it's difficult also to be silent."
"And you'll see," went on the stern merchant, "they'll never find the guilty one; mark my words."
Lunev laughed right out. The sound of this conversation seemed to send new strength and courage streaming through him. If any one at this moment had asked him: "Did you murder him?" he would have answered "yes" boldly and fearlessly. With this feeling in his breast he pushed through the crowd, close up to the policeman.
The man looked at him, gave him a push on the shoulder, and said loudly: "Now then, what are you doing here? Be off!"
Ilya backed away and struck against a bystander. He received another push and a voice cried: "Give him one over the head!"
Then he left the crowd, sat on the church steps and laughed in his heart at all these men. He heard the snow scrunch under their feet and the muttered conversation, fragments of which reached his ears.
"Why must the rascal do his dirty work just when I'm on duty?"
"In all the town he took the biggest discount, he always was a thief."
"It'll never stop snowing to-day, you can't see the shop at all."
"He used to fleece his debtors properly."
"He was a man after all—one can't help pitying him."
"They're all greedy—think of nothing but their profits."
"Look! there's his wife."
"Ah! poor thing!" sighed a ragged peasant.
Lunev stood up and saw a stout, elderly woman in a loosely-fitting dress and a black veil, getting heavily out of a wide sledge covered with a bear's skin. The police officer and a man with a red moustache helped her.
"Ah! my dear, my husband." As her trembling, frightened voice was heard, silence fell on all the bystanders.
Ilya looked at her and thought of Olympiada.
"Where's the son?" said some one, softly.
"He's in Moscow, they say."
"He'll get the bad news soon enough."
Lunev heard, and his heart sank. He preferred to hear that no one lamented Poluektov; although at the same time, he thought all these men stupid and unreasoning, except the black-bearded merchant. This man had an air of strength and of firm faith, but the others stood like trees in a wood, and chattered in their silly way, pleased at the suffering of others. He waited until the frail body of the money-changer was carried from the shop, and then went home, cold, tired, but calm. Reaching home, he bolted himself in his room, and began to count his money: in two thick packets there were five hundred roubles in small notes, in the third packet, eight hundred and fifty roubles. There was also a little bundle of coupons which he did not count. He wrapped all the money up in paper, and considered where to hide it. As he thought, he felt that his head was heavy and that he was sleepy. He determined to hide the money in the attic, and started out there, holding the parcel in his hand. In the passage he met Jakov.
"Ah, you're back," said Jakov.
"Yes, I'm back."
"How pale you are. Are you ill?"
"I'm not feeling up to much."
"What have you got there?"
"What have——" Ilya began; then suddenly he shivered in fear lest he should babble away his secret, and said hurriedly, swinging his parcel to and fro:
"It's ribbon, that's all, out of my box."
"Coming to tea?" said Jakov.
"I? Oh, yes, in a minute."
He went quickly through the passage. He trod unsteadily, and his head was dizzy, as though he were drunk. As he mounted the attic stairs, he went carefully, in constant fear lest he should make a noise or meet some one. While he buried the money under the flooring, near the chimney, he thought all of a sudden that some one was hidden in the darkness in the corner, watching him; he felt a wish to throw a stone in that direction, but mastered his feelings, and came slowly downstairs again. Now he had no fears. It was as though he had left them with the money; but a fresh doubt waked in his heart: "Why did I kill him?"
Masha greeted him joyfully in the cellar, where she was busy at the stove with the samovar.
"Ah, how early you are to-day!"
"That's the snow," he said; then added, crossly: "What d'you call early? I've come, as usual, when it's time. Can't you see how dark it is, you little goose?"
"It's dark here in the morning; and what are you shouting at?"
"I'm shouting, as you call it, because you talk like the police. 'You're very early—Where are you going?—What have you got there?' What business is it of yours?"
Masha looked searchingly at him, and said, reproachfully:
"How high and mighty you've grown!"
"Oh, go to the devil!" snarled Lunev, and sat down at the table.
Masha felt insulted, and turned away. Looking small and delicate, she shook back her dark hair from time to time, coughing and blinking when the smoke from the samovar she was tending irritated her eyes. Her face was thin, and the eyes shone all the more brightly for the dark circles round them. She was like the flowers that spring up amid grass and weeds in an overgrown garden.
Ilya looked at her and thought how the child lived all alone in this underground cave, working like a full-grown woman, how there was not, and perhaps never would be, any joy in life for her, condemned always to live in this straitened, dirty place. But he might live now as he had always desired, in peace and cleanliness. The thought filled him with happiness. Then at once he felt his unkindness to Masha.
"Masha!" he cried.
"Well, what now, cross-patch?"
"D'you know, I'm a bad lot," said Lunev, and his voice shook, while he wondered in his heart if he should tell her or no.
Masha turned towards him with a smile:
"Pity there's no one to give you a beating, that's what you want, you bad fellow!"
"Oh! have a little patience."
"No—no—you don't deserve any," said Masha, then approaching him quickly, she said in a tone of entreaty: "Ilya dear, ask your uncle to take me with him, will you? Ask him! I'll go on my knees and thank you."
"Where do you want to go?" asked Lunev, tired and too busy with his own thoughts to attend.
"To the holy places. Dear Ilya, ask him."
With hands clasped and eyes streaming, she stood in front of him, as though before a shrine.
"It would be so lovely, in spring, through the fields and woods. I'd go on and on, ever so far. I think of it every day—I dream that I'm going there, how good it would be; speak to your uncle, tell him to take me! He listens to you—I won't be a trouble to him. I'll beg for myself. I'm so little, they'll give to me. Will you, Ilusha? I'll kiss your hand."
Suddenly she seized his hand and bent over it. He sprang up, pushing her back.
"Silly girl," he cried, "what are you doing? I've strangled a man!"
His own words terrified him and he added at once: "Perhaps—perhaps for all you know, I've done something terrible with these hands, and you'll kiss them."
"No, let me," said Masha, pressing closer to him. "What does it matter? I'll kiss them! Petrusha is worse than you, and I kiss his hand for every bit of bread. I hate it, but he wants it, so I do it, and then he pinches me and touches me, the beast!"
Ilya's heart sprang up joyfully in a moment, perhaps because he had said the terrible thing, perhaps because he had not said everything.
He smiled and spoke gently to the child. "All right, I'll fix it up with uncle, I'll manage it, you shall go on your pilgrimage. I'll give you some money for the journey."
"You dear!" cried Masha, and fell on his neck.
"Here let go! Stop it," said Lunev, seriously. "I promise you shall go. Will you pray for me, Mashutka?"
"Pray for you! My God!"
Jakov appeared in the door, and said wonderingly:
"What on earth are you screaming at? Can hear you in the courtyard."
"Jakov!" cried the girl joyfully, eager to tell him. "I'm going away, on the pilgrimage. Ilya's promised to speak to the hunchback, he'll take me with him," and she laughed delightedly.
"Will he do it?" Jakov asked thoughtfully.
"Why not? She won't get in the way, and it's a good thing for her. Look at her, her eyes are shining, hardly like a live person."
"Yes—yes," said Jakov. After a moment's pause, he began to whistle softly.
"What's up," asked Ilya.
"Now I'm done for, all alone here, like the moon in the sky."
"Oh, hire a nurse," said Ilya laughing.
"I'll take to drink," said Jakov, shaking his head.
Masha looked at him, hung her head, and went towards the door; from there she spoke in a reproachful, sad voice:
"How weak you are, Jakov!"
"And you're very strong, aren't you? leaving a friend in the lurch. Nice way you treat me—how shall I endure it without you?"
He sat down at the table opposite Ilya with a gloomy face, and said:
"Suppose I just go with Terenti, too, eh! on the quiet?"
"Do it! I would," advised Ilya.
"Yes, but my father'll put the police on me!"
All were silent. Jakov began with forced gaiety:
"It's jolly to get drunk! You think of nothing, you understand nothing, and it's jolly."
Masha put the samovar on the table, and said, shaking her head:
"Oh, you Aren't you ashamed to talk like that?"
"You can't talk," cried Jakov, crossly. "Your father doesn't worry you—let's you do as you like. You live as you please."
"A nice sort of life!" answered Masha. "I'd run away to get rid of it."
"It's bad for us all," said Ilya softly, and fell to brooding again.
Jakov began looking thoughtfully out of the window.
"If one could get away, anywhere, out of all this, sit in a wood, by a river, and think about things."
"That would be silly, to run away from life," said Ilya, peevishly. Jakov looked at him inquiringly, and said shyly:
"D'you know, I've found a book."
"What sort of book?"
"Very old. It's bound in leather. It looks like a psalter, and it's really a heretic book. I bought it of a Tartar for seventy kopecks."
"What's it called?" asked Ilya. He had no wish for conversation, but felt that silence might be perilous for him, and compelled himself to keep talking.
"The title's torn out," answered Jakov, sinking his voice, "but it's all about the very beginning of things. It's difficult, and so horrible. It says that Thales, of Miletus, first of all said: 'All life proceeds from the water, and God dwells in matter as the power of life.' And then there was a wicked man called Diagoras, who taught that there were more gods than one, and he didn't believe in God properly. And Epicurus is talked about, and he said that there is a God, but He troubles about no one, and cares for no one. That's to say that if there is a God, men have nothing to do with Him; at least, that's how I understand it. Live just as you please, there's no one who takes any heed what you do."
Ilya got up out of his chair with wrinkled brow, and interrupted his friend's discourse.
"It'd be a good thing to take that book and thump you on the head with it."
"Whatever for?" cried Jakov, hurt at Ilya's comment.
"So's you won't read any more, stupid! And the man who wrote that book's a stupid too." He went round the table, bent over his friend, full of anger, shouting at Jakov, as though hammering his big head with the words.
"There is a God! He sees everything. He knows everything. There's no one beside Him. Life is given to you to try you, and sin to prove you. Can you stand firm or no? If you can't then comes the punishment, be sure of it. Not from men; from Him, d'you see? It'll come; it won't fail."
"Stop!" cried Jakov. "Did I say anything about that?"
"I don't care. Your punishment'll come. How can you judge me, eh?" cried Ilya, pale with excitement, mastered by a quite incomprehensible passion that had caught him all of a sudden. "Not a hair falls from your head, except by His will, d'you hear? And if I have fallen into sin, it was by His will, you fool!"
"Are you crazy or what is it?" cried Jakov, terrified, and leaning against the wall. "What sin have you fallen into?"
Ilya heard the question through the buzzing and roaring in his ears, and it was like a cold breath blowing upon him. He looked suspiciously at Jakov and at Masha, who was also disturbed by his excitement and outcry.
"I was only speaking by way of example," he said, in a dull way, and sat down again.
"You don't seem well," remarked Masha shyly.
"Your eyes are so heavy," added Jakov, and examined him attentively.
Ilya passed his hand involuntarily over his eyes and said, quietly:
"It's nothing; it'll pass off."
A few minutes later he felt he could not endure this painful, distressing association with his friends, and went to his own room without waiting for tea. He had scarcely lain down on his bed before Terenti appeared. Ever since the hunchback had decided to go to the Holy Cities to seek forgiveness for his sins, his face wore a clearer, happier expression, as though he experienced already a foretaste of the joy that release from his weight of guilt would achieve for him. Gently he approached his nephew's bed, and said, smiling and friendly, stroking his beard:
"I saw you come in, and I thought, I'll go and have a chat. We shan't be here together much longer."
"You're really going?" asked Ilya, drily.
"As soon as it's warmer, off I go. I want to be in Kiev for Easter."
"Look here! Couldn't you take little Masha with you?"
"What? No; that's impossible," cried the hunchback, with a gesture of refusal.
"Listen," Ilya went on, obstinately. "She's nothing to do here; and now she's just the age—Jakov, Petrusha, and all the rest, you understand? This house is like a gulf of destruction for every one, a damnable place! Let her go. Perhaps she'll never come back."
"But how can I take her with me?"
"Take her—just take her!" said Ilya, persisting. "You can spend for her the hundred roubles you were going to give me. I don't need your money. And she will pray for you. Her prayers will be worth a good deal."
The hunchback came nearer, and said, after a pause: "A good deal—That's true—You're right. But I can't take the money from you. We'll leave it as we settled. And for Masha, I'll see to it." His eyes shone with joy, and he whispered: "Do you know whom I got to know yesterday? A famous man, Peter Vassilitsch. Have you never heard of the Bible preacher, a man of wisdom! God must have sent him to me, to free my soul from doubt concerning the Lord's forgiveness of a sinner like me."
Ilya said nothing. He only wished that his uncle would leave him alone. With half-shut eyes he looked out of the window.
"We talked of sin and the salvation of the soul," whispered Terenti. "He said to me: 'As the chisel needs the stone to gain its sharpness, so man heeds sin, to wear away his soul, and bring it to the dust at the feet of all-merciful God.'"
Ilya looked at his uncle, and said, with a mocking laugh:
"Tell me, is this preacher like Satan, by any chance?"
"How can you talk like that?" and Terenti recoiled a step. "He's a God-fearing man, he's more famous than Antipa, your grandfather—yes."
"Oh! all right, what else did he say?"
Suddenly Ilya laughed, a dry, unpleasant laugh; his uncle turned away surprised and asked: "What's the matter with you?"
"Nothing. He was quite right, that preacher. Yes—the devil! I think so too, word for word."
"He said, too," Terenti began with relish, "that sin gives the soul wings—wings of repentance to fly to the throne of the Almighty."
"Do you know," interrupted Ilya, "you're rather like Satan, too!"
The hunchback stretched out his arms like a great bird spreading its wings, and stood paralysed with fear and anger.
Ilya sat up on his bed, pushed his uncle aside, and said, gloomily:
Terenti stood in the middle of the room; he looked darkly at his nephew who sat on the bed, his head on his breast, and his shoulders up to his ears.
"Suppose I won't repent," said Ilya boldly. "Suppose I think I didn't want to sin—everything happened of itself, everything is by God's will, why should I trouble? He knows all, and guides all; if He hadn't willed it, He would have held me back. So I was right in all I did. All men live in unrighteousness and sin, but how many repent?—Well, what do you say to that?"
"I don't understand; God help you!" said Terenti sadly and sighed.
"You don't understand? Then let me alone!"
He stretched himself again on his bed; after a pause, he added:
"Really, I believe I'm ill."
"It looks like it."
"I must get to sleep; go, let me alone. I want to sleep."
When he was alone, Ilya felt a whirlpool raging in his head. All the extraordinary experiences he had lived through in a few short hours, grew to a dense hot mist, and weighed on his brain. He felt as though he had endured the torture for ever so long, as though he had killed the old man not to-day, but many days ago.
He shut his eyes and did not move. In his ears rang the old man's squeaking voice: "Now then, your coins, quick!" and again came that hoarse cry of anguish: "My darling! My darling." The harsh voice of the black-bearded merchant, Masha's entreaty, the words of the heretic book, the pious talk of the preacher, all blended into one wild confused sound. Everything reeled around him, and in swift, ungoverned movement, swept him down. Fear left him, he needed only rest, sleep, forgetfulness. He slept.
In the morning when he waked, he saw by the light on the wall opposite the window that it was a clear, frosty day. His head was dull and confused, but his heart was peaceful. He recalled the events of yesterday, watched the course of his own thought and felt convinced that he would know how to conduct himself. Half an hour later he went down the sunny street, his box against his breast, blinking his eyes before the dazzle of the snow, and calmly contemplating the folk he met. If he passed a church he took off his cap and crossed himself. Even before the church near the closed shop of Poluektov he crossed himself and went on without a trace of fear or remorse or any disturbing feeling. At his mid-day meal in an ale-house, he read in a paper the account of the daring murder of the money-changer. At the end of the article was written: "The police are taking active steps to arrest the criminal." As he read these words he shook his head with an incredulous smile, he was firmly convinced that the murderer would never be arrested, unless he himself desired to be taken.