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<SPAN name="link2H_4_0009" id="link2H_4_0009"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> IX. CONTINUATION OF KARL'S NARRATIVE </h2> <p> "Zat was a terrible time, Nicolinka," continued Karl Ivanitch, "ze time of Napoleon. He vanted to conquer Germany, ant we protected our Vaterland to ze last trop of plot. Me vere at Ulm, me vere at Austerlitz, me vere at Wagram." </p> <p> "Did you really fight?" I asked with a gaze of astonishment "Did you really kill anybody?" </p> <p> Karl instantly reassured me on this point, </p> <p> "Vonce one French grenadier was left behint, ant fell to ze grount. I sprang forvarts wis my gon, ant vere about to kill him, aber der Franzose warf sein Gewehr hin und rief, 'Pardon'&mdash;ant I let him loose. </p> <p> "At Wagram, Napoleon cut us open, ant surrountet us in such a way as zere vas no helping. Sree days hat we no provisions, ant stoot in ze vater op to ze knees. Ze evil Napoleon neiser let us go loose nor catchet us. </p> <p> "On ze fours day zey took us prisoners&mdash;zank Got! ant sent us to one fortress. Upon me vas one blue trousers, uniforms of very goot clos, fifteen of Thalers, ant one silver clock which my Vater hat given me, Ze Frans Soldaten took from me everysing. For my happiness zere vas sree tucats on me which my Mamma hat sewn in my shirt of flannel. Nopoty fount zem. </p> <p> "I liket not long to stay in ze fortresses, ant resoluted to ron away. Von day, von pig holitay, says I to the sergeant which hat to look after us, 'Mister Sergeant, to-day is a pig holitay, ant me vants to celeprate it. Pring here, if you please, two pottle Mateira, ant we shall trink zem wis each oser.' Ant ze sergeant says, 'Goot!' Ven ze sergeant pring ze Mateira ant we trink it out to ze last trop, I taket his hant ant says, 'Mister Sergeant, perhaps you have still one Vater and one Mutter?' He says, 'So I have, Mister Mayer.' 'My Vater ant Mutter not seen me eight year,' I goes on to him, 'ant zey know not if I am yet alive or if my bones be reposing in ze grave. Oh, Mister Sergeant, I have two tucats which is in my shirt of flannel. Take zem, ant let me loose! You will pe my penefactor, ant my Mutter will be praying for you all her life to ze Almighty Got!' </p> <p> "Ze sergeant emptiet his glass of Mateira, ant says, 'Mister Mayer, I loaf and pity you very much, pot you is one prisoner, ant I one soldat.' So I take his hant ant says, 'Mister Sergeant!' </p> <p> "Ant ze sergeant says, 'You is one poor man, ant I will not take your money, pot I will help you. Ven I go to sleep, puy one pail of pranty for ze Soldaten, ant zey will sleep. Me will not look after you.' Sis was one goot man. I puyet ze pail of pranty, ant ven ze Soldaten was trunken me tresset in one olt coat, ant gang in silence out of ze doon. </p> <p> "I go to ze wall, ant will leap down, pot zere is vater pelow, ant I will not spoil my last tressing, so I go to ze gate. </p> <p> "Ze sentry go up and town wis one gon, ant look at me. 'Who goes zere?' ant I was silent. 'Who goes zere ze second time?' ant I was silent. 'Who goes zere ze third time?' ant I ron away, I sprang in ze vater, climp op to ze oser site, ant walk on. </p> <p> "Ze entire night I ron on ze vay, pot ven taylight came I was afrait zat zey woult catch me, ant I hit myself in ze high corn. Zere I kneelet town, zanket ze Vater in Heaven for my safety, ant fall asleep wis a tranquil feeling. </p> <p> "I wakenet op in ze evening, ant gang furser. At once one large German carriage, wis two raven-black horse, came alongside me. In ze carriage sit one well-tresset man, smoking pipe, ant look at me. I go slowly, so zat ze carriage shall have time to pass me, pot I go slowly, ant ze carriage go slowly, ant ze man look at me. I go quick, ant ze carriage go quick, ant ze man stop its two horses, ant look at me. 'Young man,' says he, 'where go you so late?' I says, 'I go to Frankfort.' 'Sit in ze carriage&mdash;zere is room enough, ant I will trag you,' he says. 'Bot why have you nosing about you? Your boots is dirty, ant your beart not shaven.' I seated wis him, ant says, 'Ich bin one poor man, ant I would like to pusy myself wis somesing in a manufactory. My tressing is dirty because I fell in ze mud on ze roat.' </p> <p> "'You tell me ontruse, young man,' says he. 'Ze roat is kvite dry now.' I was silent. 'Tell me ze whole truse,' goes on ze goot man&mdash;'who you are, ant vere you go to? I like your face, ant ven you is one honest man, so I will help you.' Ant I tell all. </p> <p> "'Goot, young man!' he says. 'Come to my manufactory of rope, ant I will give you work ant tress ant money, ant you can live wis os.' I says, 'Goot!' </p> <p> "I go to ze manufactory of rope, ant ze goot man says to his voman, 'Here is one yong man who defented his Vaterland, ant ron away from prisons. He has not house nor tresses nor preat. He will live wis os. Give him clean linen, ant norish him.' </p> <p> "I livet one ant a half year in ze manufactory of rope, ant my lantlort loaft me so much zat he would not let me loose. Ant I felt very goot. </p> <p> "I were zen handsome man&mdash;yong, of pig stature, with blue eyes and romische nose&mdash;ant Missis L&mdash; (I like not to say her name&mdash;she was ze voman of my lantlort) was yong ant handsome laty. Ant she fell in loaf wis me." </p> <p> Here Karl Ivanitch made a long pause, lowered his kindly blue eyes, shook his head quietly, and smiled as people always do under the influence of a pleasing recollection. </p> <p> "Yes," he resumed as he leant back in his arm-chair and adjusted his dressing-gown, "I have experiencet many sings in my life, pot zere is my witness,"&mdash;here he pointed to an image of the Saviour, embroidered on wool, which was hanging over his bed&mdash;"zat nopoty in ze worlt can say zat Karl Ivanitch has been one dishonest man, I would not repay black ingratitude for ze goot which Mister L&mdash; dit me, ant I resoluted to ron away. So in ze evening, ven all were asleep, I writet one letter to my lantlort, ant laid it on ze table in his room. Zen I taket my tresses, tree Thaler of money, ant go mysteriously into ze street. Nopoty have seen me, ant I go on ze roat." </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2H_4_0010" id="link2H_4_0010"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> X. CONCLUSION OF KARL'S NARRATIVE </h2> <p> "I had not seen my Mamma for nine year, ant I know not whether she lived or whether her bones had long since lain in ze dark grave. Ven I come to my own country and go to ze town I ask, 'Where live Kustaf Mayer who was farmer to ze Count von Zomerblat?' ant zey answer me, 'Graf Zomerblat is deat, ant Kustaf Mayer live now in ze pig street, ant keep a public-house.' So I tress in my new waistcoat and one noble coat which ze manufacturist presented me, arranged my hairs nice, ant go to ze public-house of my Papa. Sister Mariechen vas sitting on a pench, and she ask me what I want. I says, 'Might I trink one glass of pranty?' ant she says, 'Vater, here is a yong man who wish to trink one glass of pranty.' Ant Papa says, 'Give him ze glass.' I set to ze table, trink my glass of pranty, smoke my pipe, ant look at Papa, Mariechen, ant Johann (who also come into ze shop). In ze conversation Papa says, 'You know, perhaps, yong man, where stants our army?' and I say, 'I myself am come from ze army, ant it stants now at Wien.' 'Our son,' says Papa, 'is a Soldat, ant now is it nine years since he wrote never one wort, and we know not whether he is alive or dead. My voman cry continually for him.' I still fumigate the pipe, ant say, 'What was your son's name, and where servet he? Perhaps I may know him.' 'His name was Karl Mayer, ant he servet in ze Austrian Jagers.' 'He were of pig stature, ant a handsome man like yourself,' puts in Mariechen. I say, 'I know your Karl.' 'Amalia,' exclaimet my Vater. 'Come here! Here is yong man which knows our Karl!'&mdash;ant my dear Mutter comes out from a back door. I knew her directly. 'You know our Karl?' says she, ant looks at me, ant, white all over, trembles. 'Yes, I haf seen him,' I says, without ze corage to look at her, for my heart did almost burst. 'My Karl is alive?' she cry. 'Zen tank Got! Vere is he, my Karl? I woult die in peace if I coult see him once more&mdash;my darling son! Bot Got will not haf it so.' Then she cried, and I coult no longer stant it. 'Darling Mamma!' I say, 'I am your son, I am your Karl!'&mdash;and she fell into my arms." </p> <p> Karl Ivanitch covered his eyes, and his lips were quivering. </p> <p> "'Mutter,' sagte ich, 'ich bin ihr Sohn, ich bin ihr Karl!'&mdash;und sie sturtzte mir in die Arme!'" he repeated, recovering a little and wiping the tears from his eyes. </p> <p> "Bot Got did not wish me to finish my tays in my own town. I were pursuet by fate. I livet in my own town only sree mons. One Suntay I sit in a coffee-house, ant trinket one pint of Pier, ant fumigated my pipe, ant speaket wis some frients of Politik, of ze Emperor Franz, of Napoleon, of ze war&mdash;ant anypoty might say his opinion. But next to us sits a strange chentleman in a grey Uberrock, who trink coffee, fumigate the pipe, ant says nosing. Ven the night watchman shoutet ten o'clock I taket my hat, paid ze money, and go home. At ze middle of ze night some one knock at ze door. I rise ant says, 'Who is zere?' 'Open!' says someone. I shout again, 'First say who is zere, ant I will open.' 'Open in the name of the law!' say the someone behint the door. I now do so. Two Soldaten wis gons stant at ze door, ant into ze room steps ze man in ze grey Uberrock, who had sat with us in ze coffeehouse. He were Spion! 'Come wis me,' says ze Spion, 'Very goot!' say I. I dresset myself in boots, trousers, ant coat, ant go srough ze room. Ven I come to ze wall where my gon hangs I take it, ant says, 'You are a Spion, so defent you!' I give one stroke left, one right, ant one on ze head. Ze Spion lay precipitated on ze floor! Zen I taket my cloak-bag ant money, ant jompet out of ze vintow. I vent to Ems, where I was acquainted wis one General Sasin, who loaft me, givet me a passport from ze Embassy, ant taket me to Russland to learn his chiltren. Ven General Sasin tiet, your Mamma callet for me, ant says, 'Karl Ivanitch, I gif you my children. Loaf them, ant I will never leave you, ant will take care for your olt age.' Now is she teat, ant all is forgotten! For my twenty year full of service I most now go into ze street ant seek for a try crust of preat for my olt age! Got sees all sis, ant knows all sis. His holy will be done! Only-only, I yearn for you, my children!"&mdash;and Karl drew me to him, and kissed me on the forehead. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2H_4_0011" id="link2H_4_0011"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> XI. ONE MARK ONLY </h2> <p> The year of mourning over, Grandmamma recovered a little from her grief, and once more took to receiving occasional guests, especially children of the same age as ourselves. </p> <p> On the 13th of December&mdash;Lubotshka's birthday&mdash;the Princess Kornakoff and her daughters, with Madame Valakhin, Sonetchka, Ilinka Grap, and the two younger Iwins, arrived at our house before luncheon. </p> <p> Though we could hear the sounds of talking, laughter, and movements going on in the drawing-room, we could not join the party until our morning lessons were finished. The table of studies in the schoolroom said, "Lundi, de 2 a 3, maitre d'Histoire et de Geographie," and this infernal maitre d'Histoire we must await, listen to, and see the back of before we could gain our liberty. Already it was twenty minutes past two, and nothing was to be heard of the tutor, nor yet anything to be seen of him in the street, although I kept looking up and down it with the greatest impatience and with an emphatic longing never to see the maitre again. </p> <p> "I believe he is not coming to-day," said Woloda, looking up for a moment from his lesson-book. </p> <p> "I hope he is not, please the Lord!" I answered, but in a despondent tone. "Yet there he DOES come, I believe, all the same!" </p> <p> "Not he! Why, that is a GENTLEMAN," said Woloda, likewise looking out of the window, "Let us wait till half-past two, and then ask St. Jerome if we may put away our books." </p> <p> "Yes, and wish them au revoir," I added, stretching my arms, with the book clasped in my hands, over my head. Having hitherto idled away my time, I now opened the book at the place where the lesson was to begin, and started to learn it. It was long and difficult, and, moreover, I was in the mood when one's thoughts refuse to be arrested by anything at all. Consequently I made no progress. After our last lesson in history (which always seemed to me a peculiarly arduous and wearisome subject) the history master had complained to St. Jerome of me because only two good marks stood to my credit in the register&mdash;a very small total. St. Jerome had then told me that if I failed to gain less than THREE marks at the next lesson I should be severely punished. The next lesson was now imminent, and I confess that I felt a little nervous. </p> <p> So absorbed, however, did I become in my reading that the sound of goloshes being taken off in the ante-room came upon me almost as a shock. I had just time to look up when there appeared in the doorway the servile and (to me) very disgusting face and form of the master, clad in a blue frockcoat with brass buttons. </p> <p> Slowly he set down his hat and books and adjusted the folds of his coat (as though such a thing were necessary!), and seated himself in his place. </p> <p> "Well, gentlemen," he said, rubbing his hands, "let us first of all repeat the general contents of the last lesson: after which I will proceed to narrate the succeeding events of the middle ages." </p> <p> This meant "Say over the last lesson." While Woloda was answering the master with the entire ease and confidence which come of knowing a subject well, I went aimlessly out on to the landing, and, since I was not allowed to go downstairs, what more natural than that I should involuntarily turn towards the alcove on the landing? Yet before I had time to establish myself in my usual coign of vantage behind the door I found myself pounced upon by Mimi&mdash;always the cause of my misfortunes! </p> <p> "YOU here?" she said, looking severely, first at myself, and then at the maidservants' door, and then at myself again. </p> <p> I felt thoroughly guilty, firstly, because I was not in the schoolroom, and secondly, because I was in a forbidden place. So I remained silent, and, dropping my head, assumed a touching expression of contrition. </p> <p> "Indeed, this is TOO bad!" Mimi went on, "What are you doing here?" </p> <p> Still I said nothing. </p> <p> "Well, it shall not rest where it is," she added, tapping the banister with her yellow fingers. "I shall inform the Countess." </p> <p> It was five minutes to three when I re-entered the schoolroom. The master, as though oblivious of my presence or absence, was explaining the new lesson to Woloda. When he had finished doing this, and had put his books together (while Woloda went into the other room to fetch his ticket), the comforting idea occurred to me that perhaps the whole thing was over now, and that the master had forgotten me. </p> <p> But suddenly he turned in my direction with a malicious smile, and said as he rubbed his hands anew, "I hope you have learnt your lesson?" </p> <p> "Yes," I replied. </p> <p> "Would you be so kind, then, as to tell me something about St. Louis' Crusade?" he went on, balancing himself on his chair and looking gravely at his feet. "Firstly, tell me something about the reasons which induced the French king to assume the cross" (here he raised his eyebrows and pointed to the inkstand); "then explain to me the general characteristics of the Crusade" (here he made a sweeping gesture with his hand, as though to seize hold of something with it); "and lastly, expound to me the influence of this Crusade upon the European states in general" (drawing the copy books to the left side of the table) "and upon the French state in particular" (drawing one of them to the right, and inclining his head in the same direction). </p> <p> I swallowed a few times, coughed, bent forward, and was silent. Then, taking a pen from the table, I began to pick it to pieces, yet still said nothing. </p> <p> "Allow me the pen&mdash;I shall want it," said the master. "Well?" </p> <p> "Louis the-er-Saint was-was-a very good and wise king." </p> <p> "What?" </p> <p> "King, He took it into his head to go to Jerusalem, and handed over the reins of government to his mother." </p> <p> "What was her name? </p> <p> "B-b-b-lanka." </p> <p> "What? Belanka?" </p> <p> I laughed in a rather forced manner. </p> <p> "Well, is that all you know?" he asked again, smiling. </p> <p> I had nothing to lose now, so I began chattering the first thing that came into my head. The master remained silent as he gathered together the remains of the pen which I had left strewn about the table, looked gravely past my ear at the wall, and repeated from time to time, "Very well, very well." Though I was conscious that I knew nothing whatever and was expressing myself all wrong, I felt much hurt at the fact that he never either corrected or interrupted me. </p> <p> "What made him think of going to Jerusalem?" he asked at last, repeating some words of my own. </p> <p> "Because&mdash;because&mdash;that is to say&mdash;" </p> <p> My confusion was complete, and I relapsed into silence, I felt that, even if this disgusting history master were to go on putting questions to me, and gazing inquiringly into my face, for a year, I should never be able to enunciate another syllable. After staring at me for some three minutes, he suddenly assumed a mournful cast of countenance, and said in an agitated voice to Woloda (who was just re-entering the room): </p> <p> "Allow me the register. I will write my remarks." </p> <p> He opened the book thoughtfully, and in his fine caligraphy marked FIVE for Woloda for diligence, and the same for good behaviour. Then, resting his pen on the line where my report was to go, he looked at me and reflected. Suddenly his hand made a decisive movement and, behold, against my name stood a clearly-marked ONE, with a full stop after it! Another movement and in the behaviour column there stood another one and another full stop! Quietly closing the book, the master then rose, and moved towards the door as though unconscious of my look of entreaty, despair, and reproach. </p> <p> "Michael Lavionitch!" I said. </p> <p> "No!" he replied, as though knowing beforehand what I was about to say. "It is impossible for you to learn in that way. I am not going to earn my money for nothing." </p> <p> He put on his goloshes and cloak, and then slowly tied a scarf about his neck. To think that he could care about such trifles after what had just happened to me! To him it was all a mere stroke of the pen, but to me it meant the direst misfortune. </p> <p> "Is the lesson over?" asked St. Jerome, entering. </p> <p> "Yes." </p> <p> "And was the master pleased with you?" </p> <p> "Yes." </p> <p> "How many marks did he give you?" </p> <p> "Five." </p> <p> "And to Nicholas?" </p> <p> I was silent. </p> <p> "I think four," said Woloda. His idea was to save me for at least today. If punishment there must be, it need not be awarded while we had guests. </p> <p> "Voyons, Messieurs!" (St. Jerome was forever saying "Voyons!") "Faites votre toilette, et descendons." </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2H_4_0012" id="link2H_4_0012"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> XII. THE KEY </h2> <p> We had hardly descended and greeted our guests when luncheon was announced. Papa was in the highest of spirits since for some time past he had been winning. He had presented Lubotshka with a silver tea service, and suddenly remembered, after luncheon, that he had forgotten a box of bonbons which she was to have too. </p> <p> "Why send a servant for it? YOU had better go, Koko," he said to me jestingly. "The keys are in the tray on the table, you know. Take them, and with the largest one open the second drawer on the right. There you will find the box of bonbons. Bring it here." </p> <p> "Shall I get you some cigars as well?" said I, knowing that he always smoked after luncheon. </p> <p> "Yes, do; but don't touch anything else." </p> <p> I found the keys, and was about to carry out my orders, when I was seized with a desire to know what the smallest of the keys on the bunch belonged to. </p> <p> On the table I saw, among many other things, a padlocked portfolio, and at once felt curious to see if that was what the key fitted. My experiment was crowned with success. The portfolio opened and disclosed a number of papers. Curiosity so strongly urged me also to ascertain what those papers contained that the voice of conscience was stilled, and I began to read their contents. . . . </p> <p> My childish feeling of unlimited respect for my elders, especially for Papa, was so strong within me that my intellect involuntarily refused to draw any conclusions from what I had seen. I felt that Papa was living in a sphere completely apart from, incomprehensible by, and unattainable for, me, as well as one that was in every way excellent, and that any attempt on my part to criticise the secrets of his life would constitute something like sacrilege. </p> <p> For this reason, the discovery which I made from Papa's portfolio left no clear impression upon my mind, but only a dim consciousness that I had done wrong. I felt ashamed and confused. </p> <p> The feeling made me eager to shut the portfolio again as quickly as possible, but it seemed as though on this unlucky day I was destined to experience every possible kind of adversity. I put the key back into the padlock and turned it round, but not in the right direction. Thinking that the portfolio was now locked, I pulled at the key and, oh horror! found my hand come away with only the top half of the key in it! In vain did I try to put the two halves together, and to extract the portion that was sticking in the padlock. At last I had to resign myself to the dreadful thought that I had committed a new crime&mdash;one which would be discovered to-day as soon as ever Papa returned to his study! First of all, Mimi's accusation on the staircase, and then that one mark, and then this key! Nothing worse could happen now. This very evening I should be assailed successively by Grandmamma (because of Mimi's denunciation), by St. Jerome (because of the solitary mark), and by Papa (because of the matter of this key)&mdash;yes, all in one evening! </p> <p> "What on earth is to become of me? What have I done?" I exclaimed as I paced the soft carpet. "Well," I went on with sudden determination, "what MUST come, MUST&mdash;that's all;" and, taking up the bonbons and the cigars, I ran back to the other part of the house. </p> <p> The fatalistic formula with which I had concluded (and which was one that I often heard Nicola utter during my childhood) always produced in me, at the more difficult crises of my life, a momentarily soothing, beneficial effect. Consequently, when I re-entered the drawing-room, I was in a rather excited, unnatural mood, yet one that was perfectly cheerful. </p> <p>
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