Resurrection, by Leo Tolstoy

Chapter IX.

The Trial — The Prisoners Questioned.

When he had finished his speech, the president turned to the male prisoner.

“Simeon Kartinkin, rise.”

Simeon jumped up, his lips continuing to move nervously and inaudibly.

“Your name?”

“Simon Petrov Kartinkin,” he said, rapidly, with a cracked voice, having evidently prepared the answer.

“What class do you belong to?”

“Peasant.”

“What government, district, and parish?”

“Toula Government, Krapivinskia district, Koupianovski parish, the village Borki.”

“Your age?”

“Thirty-three; born in the year one thousand eight —”

“What religion?”

“Of the Russian religion, orthodox.”

“Married?”

“Oh, no, sir.”

“Your occupation?”

“I had a place in the Hotel Mauritania.”

“Have you ever been tried before?”

“I never got tried before, because, as we used to live formerly —”

“So you never were tried before?”

“God forbid, never.”

“Have you received a copy of the indictment?”

“I have.”

“Sit down.”

“Euphemia Ivanovna Botchkova,” said the president, turning to the next prisoner.

But Simon continued standing in front of Botchkova.

“Kartinkin, sit down!” Kartinkin continued standing.

“Kartinkin, sit down!” But Kartinkin sat down only when the usher, with his head on one side, and with preternaturally wide-open eyes, ran up, and said, in a tragic whisper, “Sit down, sit down!”

Kartinkin sat down as hurriedly as he had risen, wrapping his cloak round him, and again began moving his lips silently.

“Your name?” asked the president, with a weary sigh at being obliged to repeat the same questions, without looking at the prisoner, but glancing over a paper that lay before him. The president was so used to his task that, in order to get quicker through it all, he did two things at a time.

Botchkova was forty-three years old, and came from the town of Kalomna. She, too, had been in service at the Hotel Mauritania.

“I have never been tried before, and have received a copy of the indictment.” She gave her answers boldly, in a tone of voice as if she meant to add to each answer, “And I don’t care who knows it, and I won’t stand any nonsense.”

She did not wait to be told, but sat down as soon as she had replied to the last question.

“Your name?” turning abruptly to the third prisoner. “You will have to rise,” he added, softly and gently, seeing that Maslova kept her seat.

Maslova got up and stood, with her chest expanded, looking at the president with that peculiar expression of readiness in her smiling black eyes.

“What is your name?”

“Lubov,” she said.

Nekhludoff had put on his pince-nez, looking at the prisoners while they were being questioned.

“No, it is impossible,” he thought, not taking his eyes off the prisoner. “Lubov! How can it be?” he thought to himself, after hearing her answer. The president was going to continue his questions, but the member with the spectacles interrupted him, angrily whispering something. The president nodded, and turned again to the prisoner.

“How is this,” he said, “you are not put down here as Lubov?”

The prisoner remained silent.

“I want your real name.”

“What is your baptismal name?” asked the angry member.

“Formerly I used to be called Katerina.”

“No, it cannot be,” said Nekhludoff to himself; and yet he was now certain that this was she, that same girl, half ward, half servant to his aunts; that Katusha, with whom he had once been in love, really in love, but whom he had betrayed and then abandoned, and never again brought to mind, for the memory would have been too painful, would have convicted him too clearly, proving that he who was so proud of his integrity had treated this woman in a revolting, scandalous way.

Yes, this was she. He now clearly saw in her face that strange, indescribable individuality which distinguishes every face from all others; something peculiar, all its own, not to be found anywhere else. In spite of the unhealthy pallor and the fulness of the face, it was there, this sweet, peculiar individuality; on those lips, in the slight squint of her eyes, in the voice, particularly in the naive smile, and in the expression of readiness on the face and figure.

“You should have said so,” remarked the president, again in a gentle tone. “Your patronymic?”

“I am illegitimate.”

“Well, were you not called by your godfather’s name?”

“Yes, Mikhaelovna.”

“And what is it she can be guilty of?” continued Nekhludoff, in his mind, unable to breathe freely.

“Your family name — your surname, I mean?” the president went on.

“They used to call me by my mother’s surname, Maslova.”

“What class?”

“Meschanka.” [the lowest town class or grade]

“Religion — orthodox?”

“Orthodox.”

“Occupation. What was your occupation?”

Maslova remained silent.

“What was your employment?”

“You know yourself,” she said, and smiled. Then, casting a hurried look round the room, again turned her eyes on the president.

There was something so unusual in the expression of her face, so terrible and piteous in the meaning of the words she had uttered, in this smile, and in the furtive glance she had cast round the room, that the president was abashed, and for a few minutes silence reigned in the court. The silence was broken by some one among the public laughing, then somebody said “Ssh,” and the president looked up and continued:

“Have you ever been tried before?”

“Never,” answered Maslova, softly, and sighed.

“Have you received a copy of the indictment?”

“I have,” she answered.

“Sit down.”

The prisoner leant back to pick up her skirt in the way a fine lady picks up her train, and sat down, folding her small white hands in the sleeves of her cloak, her eyes fixed on the president. Her face was calm again.

The witnesses were called, and some sent away; the doctor who was to act as expert was chosen and called into the court.

Then the secretary got up and began reading the indictment. He read distinctly, though he pronounced the “I” and “r” alike, with a loud voice, but so quickly that the words ran into one another and formed one uninterrupted, dreary drone.

The judges bent now on one, now on the other arm of their chairs, then on the table, then back again, shut and opened their eyes, and whispered to each other. One of the gendarmes several times repressed a yawn.

The prisoner Kartinkin never stopped moving his cheeks. Botchkova sat quite still and straight, only now and then scratching her head under the kerchief.

Maslova sat immovable, gazing at the reader; only now and then she gave a slight start, as if wishing to reply, blushed, sighed heavily, and changed the position of her hands, looked round, and again fixed her eyes on the reader.

Nekhludoff sat in the front row on his high-backed chair, without removing his pince-nez, and looked at Maslova, while a complicated and fierce struggle was going on in his soul.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/t/tolstoy/leo/t65r/chapter9.html

Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 20:04