There did take place, however, in the house of Anna Markovna, one strange episode, with a workaday beginning, and an enigmatic, sinister ending, incomprehensible to the minds of Yama.

One evening in winter⁠—about six, say⁠—someone rang the bell of the front entrance.

Simeon the doorkeeper, having glanced through the peeper,5 noticed a feminine figure standing on the front landing, and, having opened the door the least wee bit, asked:

“Who d’you want?”

“The proprietress.”

“And what for?”

“On business. I want to join on.”

“Wait a while⁠—I’ll tell her.”

He closed the door and went to Emma Edwardovna.

The housekeeper at first questioned him in detail as to what sort of lady it was, what her face was like, and her dress; whether the newcomer did not look like a spy in the pay of the police, etc. Then she said:

“Very well⁠—bring her here, and you yourself, in case anything should happen, stay behind the portière and listen. If I need you, I’ll call out.”

The lady came. The housekeeper, with her quick, all-seeing eye, looked her over in a second. One could see at once that this was no professional. She was dressed in a caracul sacque and a black silk dress. There were absolutely no traces or makeup on her face. She was of no great stature, but graceful and well put together. Her face, clever and handsome, was one of those which always remain pale, with a pleasant, subdued yellow tint. The eyes were glisteningly blue, their gaze frequently on the qui vive.

“About twenty, probably,” reflected Emma Edwardovna, and asked:

“Your age, Madame?”


“However, you look youngish, I must say. Would it be hard for you to undress?”


“Entirely⁠—throw off even your chemise. It’s warm in here.”

“With pleasure.”

She was left naked, altogether unashamed of her nudity.

“Good for you!” the housekeeper complimented her. “Women usually, in such cases, are more constrained before women than before men.”

Emma Edwardovna inspected and felt her over with the same calm equanimity of the expert with which drovers inspect and feel kine.

“The body is still fresh,” the housekeeper was saying, “the breasts are resilient. The muscles of the thighs and calves are very hard. There are no marks of the bad sickness,6⁠—however, that is yet a question subject to medical investigation. Let’s see your teeth. So. Only one artificial. Put your clothes on, please,” she concluded her inspection like a doctor.

“Well? Am I acceptable?” asked the lady.

The housekeeper smiled.

“You’re some gal⁠—as the Russians say. But, here’s the trouble: we’re exceedingly apprehensive of women who have known freedom, and are afraid to take them on.”

“But why? I go to you not through compulsion, but of my own will.”

“Let’s suppose that that’s so. There can always turn up relatives, who’ll suddenly take it in their heads to search for you; friends with whom you’ll start up a correspondence; acquaintances who’ll recognise you, should they come to this house.”

“Don’t be uneasy. I’m a stranger here⁠—I’m from Peterburg, and have never been in your city.”

“That may be so,” unwillingly concurred Emma Edwardovna, “but there’s also another doubt. I should judge you, by your appearance, to be a woman of society. You probably have connections⁠ ⁠… perhaps children.”

“No, I’m all alone,” answered the lady boldly. “I’m a free being. I’ve no relatives, nor children, nor friends. I’ve been long divorced from my husband. And, in order not to prolong our conversation, I accept beforehand all your conditions, submitting to all your rules and customs. You’ll find me the most zealous, the most submissive, the politest of women.”

“It’s very pleasant to hear your promises,” said the housekeeper. “It would be still more pleasant if you will be able to fulfill them. For you come ‘from freedom,’ and the details of the conditions under which you’ll have to live are far from known to you.”

“For instance?”

“For instance⁠—your passport is taken away from you, and is sent off to the police. By the by⁠—have you one?”

“Yes. Would you like me to entrust it to you right now?”

“But is it in order?”

“In full order.”

Akh! This order⁠—’tis one of the virtues.⁠ ⁠… Instead of your papers there will be issued to you a so-called yellow ticket, in which are plainly transcribed your name, your father’s name, and your family name, as well as indicated, in a single word, your profession and your title: prostitute. Your former passport remains with the police, and to get it back costs a lot of very great efforts.”

“I’d never even think of going to any trouble on that account.”

“Good! Every week you are subject to a police-medical inspection.”

“Yes. I’ve heard of that. A prudent measure.”

“You’re right⁠—it is prudent. But I’ll go on⁠—of course you are well acquainted with those cares about one’s own body which every respectable woman must never forget⁠—especially one who has chosen love as her trade. We will let this punctum pass. Is it known to you that you’ll have to go to bed with every man who may choose you⁠—let him be repulsive even unto nausea?”

“Yes⁠—this paragraph is rigorous. Well, what of it? I shall close my eyes⁠—or turn away. Is that all?”

“Practically⁠—yes. There are certain little trifles left. Now, tell me frankly⁠—it is best that we come to an understanding beforehand: haven’t you, perhaps, a predilection for any narcotics?”

“Not a single one. Not once, even out of sheer deviltry, have I tried morphine, or opium, or cocaine, or haschisch, or ether. I have seen their stupid effect upon people, and⁠—I confess⁠—it was always repellent to me.”

“Wine, perhaps?”

“I do drink in company, if I’m coaxed enough; all alone⁠—never!”

“That is a valuable trait,” approved the housekeeper. “Look here, Madame. I speak with you as one intelligent woman speaks with another intelligent woman. That you don’t drink is a very excellent thing, but our respected firm would not evince any displeasure if you were to entice our guests⁠—those who are richer⁠—into gay, expansive orgies. That’s a matter of ability and lively conversation. And it’s a profit to you as well⁠—and not a little one, at that. From every bottle you have five percent. However, one must have character and understanding in order to make the guest stop on this side of bestial intoxication.”

“I’ll try my best.”

“Well, now for a wise and friendly bit of advice. Very many of the guests will be pestering you with all sorts of sexual⁠—if you will pardon the expression⁠—nastiness. In general, it is of no interest to our firm at all how much of a present the guest has made to you after your séance⁠—separately, for your fine qualities, or through an affinity of souls. All we require is our established tax, and the money derived from the refreshments called for. For that reason, if a good guest should demand from you a perverted love⁠—you can boldly refuse him. We aren’t going to coerce you, nor have we any right to do so. The only thing in which, according to our agreement, you can not refuse him, is a love severely classic. That would be a breach of promise. But⁠—I am bound to tell you this concerning these nasty fellows⁠—they pay big⁠—and, at times, enormous⁠—amounts, and do not regret any sums at all for refreshments. All the booty is yours⁠—and our income is from the buffet. Do, I beg of you, think this over rather well.”

“I shall think it over, and see. But still⁠—pardon my frankness⁠—it goes somewhat against my grain if I must.⁠ ⁠… With absolutely everyone⁠ ⁠…”

“I understand your feelings.⁠ ⁠… But for such charming’ co-workers as yourself we allow an occasional laxity in the rule. You put into the treasury the usual tax, plus fifty kopecks for supposititious refreshments⁠—and you’re free. We tell the client that you’re having your periods, and, should he start grumbling, we show him the printed police order where, among other things, this ailment also is foresightedly mentioned. But such a favour we extend only to girls who are preeminently the pride and ornament of the house.”

“I shall try to⁠ ⁠… merit such a gracious condescension,”

“And that’s excellent,” Emma Edwardovna majestically nodded her head. “But permit me to ask you something else⁠—what has brought you to us? A desire for making easy money? Or desperation with life? Or are you doing this out of revenge for somebody? Or, finally, out of a madcap curiosity?”

“Ah, Madame⁠—all these motives are for me mere trifles,” answered the visitor decisively. “I’ll tell you the reason in secret. It’s a simple one: it is a perpetual, insatiable desire for man. But not merely always the same man, but an ever new one. Rest assured⁠—this is not sexual psychopathy. The majority of men are the same way about women. But when one lives in society, where one is known by hundreds of people, it’s difficult to satisfy such a capricious demand. To have a love affair, a long, protracted, hampering introduction is necessary; then a farcical act of a fall under compulsion; then the pivotal point of the affair, which with every day becomes more and more flat and tedious; then comes the unavoidable but listless and always complicated finale, with jealousy, reproaches, threats, and⁠—the devil take it!⁠—with inevitable tears; whereas I don’t at all know how to cry⁠—it’s always he who weeps, and threatens to commit suicide. And lo! you have the long awaited, theatrical breaking off, or the secret flight. Faugh! How vulgar! This, then, is why I’ve come to you. In your place things are simpler and more varied. True, I’ve certain apprehensions in regard to disease.⁠ ⁠…”

“Do not perturb yourself. There are far less chances of becoming infected in our place than in the city. And besides, I shall give you certain instructions.”

And she added in a businesslike tone:

“I’ll tell you the truth: I’ve taken a liking to you. You have the makings of an exceptional star boarder in you. And so⁠—go and think over your decision for twenty-four hours. A change of heart, perhaps? But tomorrow, at four in the afternoon, come again. I’ll present you to our honoured mistress. There is only one agreement: never set up for yourself a steady lover on the side⁠—and it would be best if even among the guests you do not favour any particular one. Turn their heads⁠—and that’s all.”

“To me, that’s the most agreeable command. You’ll see⁠—you’ll be satisfied with me.”

“I hope the satisfaction will be mutual.”

“But permit me one little word more, my dear⁠ ⁠…”

“Emma Edwardovna.”

“My dear and respected Emma Edwardovna. That in which I have confessed to you⁠—that is, my obstinate longing for males ever new⁠—will, I hope, remain a secret between the two of us.”

“O, a secret of the grave! Both for you and for me it is important and advantageous. And so, till tomorrow⁠—if you don’t change your mind.”

“Not for anything!”

On the next day this woman moved in as a steady boarder in the house of ill-fame belonging to Anna Markovna, whom she also pleased with her easy deference. Isaiah Savvich alone eyed her askance at first:

“She’s one of the learned ones, nobly-born,” he would say. “Never any good or use has come of the gentry, nor ever will. And when it comes to work, they’re rather sparing, can’t bear much; the least little thing, and they get sick right off.” But he soon became used to her and stopped grousing.

The new girl took for herself the name of Magda⁠—a diminutive of Magdalen.

At first her mates, her seniors in point of service, attempted to torment and bully Magda, making fun of her, perpetrating small unpleasantnesses, indulging in pointed little digs. Thus, always and everywhere, are novices subject to humiliations and made the butt of jokes⁠—in institutions, gymnasia, military schools, soldiers’ companies, and jails. An everyday custom.

But there was in the gaze and the voice of Magda a certain incomprehensible, calm power, which made the affronts powerless and vapid. It never came to serious quarrels between her mates and herself. Besides that, she was always gently, but unsubmissively and untoadyingly, yielding. But it was this same power which put up a barrier against any closer intimacy with her. The final upshot was that, without any friends, without any enemies, she, by degrees, took her own place in this curious microcosmos. It must be admitted that she was even respected for her constant readiness to help, to accommodate, to treat, to make loans. But the interest in her disappeared⁠—and, perhaps, it may never have even existed. It was just as though they had forgotten about her, even though they saw her every hour. Tamara alone would drop in occasionally on Magda, perch on her bed, chat with her for ten or fifteen minutes, and go away dissatisfied.

“You’re some sort of an inanimate being, Magda,” she would say. “Neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring. You have huckleberry jelly instead of a soul!”

Emma Edwardovna was faithful to her word: she had betrayed to none the sexual mystery of Magda. But by degrees she, too, became possessed with a serious perplexity.

Yes, Magda enjoyed success; she was frequently chosen. She made an impression, and was inconceivably attractive. Not infrequently the fattest of the swells, the most finicky of Geewhatawads, the ultra-refined of the visitors, would turn their high attention upon her.

But, strangely⁠—although all sang her praises, almost no one addressed himself to her for a second time. “What incongruous thing have we here?” reasoned to herself Emma Edwardovna⁠—this great connoisseur of bordello psychology. “Can’t understand a thing. She’s handsome, and she’s clever, and she’s a good talker, and has a good personality, and she knows how to make the freiers lay out heavy sugar⁠—yet her success is always cut short.”

She attempted to question certain guests, with whom she was on a footing of confidential friendship, as to what explanation there was for Magda’s captivating one so quickly⁠—and tiring one still more quickly.

She was answered with complete incomprehension:

“It would be a sin to say anything bad of this little girl⁠—she’s a darling, she’s kindly, she’s jolly, she’s graceful.⁠ ⁠… But⁠—how is a chap to put it to you?⁠ ⁠… In love she’s much too modest and respectable, and doesn’t at all set a fellow on fire. Well, now, if she were but to pretend.⁠ ⁠… But she can’t, or else she won’t.”

While libertines of wide experience responded simply and succinctly:

“Rather charming, but a fish. She ought to be served up under Provençal sauce.”

Finally Emma Edwardovna decided to have a talk with Magda herself.

“Well, now, Magdochka, how do you find tricks in our place? Are you satisfied?”

“Exceedingly so. If Muhammad had conceived his paradise not for men but for women, I’d say that I’m living in Muhammad’s paradise.”

“But are your guests satisfied with you?”

Magda began laughing.

“Well, that’s something I don’t know, at all, at all. And, to tell the truth, don’t even want to know. I’ve no concern whatsoever for their emotions. I do but carry out honestly my duties⁠—and that’s all.”

The housekeeper retorted with bitterness:

“That is egoism, Magdochka⁠—to think only of one’s own self. Men adore to have a woman sigh, moan, cry out, bite, scratch, utter indecent things. One can’t be a stone image in love. You must really learn to squeal a little, occasionally, at least.”

Magda made a squeamish grimace:

“Thank you! Once in a while I have occasion to hear from the adjacent rooms these pretended wailings of passion⁠—it’s both funny and repulsive. I couldn’t act that way⁠ ⁠…”

“Well that, already, is your affair,” said the housekeeper, and immediately assumed a more familiar form of address. “If you don’t want to be a general, go and be a soldier. Now all consideration for you is over. No more pamperings for you. From this minute on, no matter who chooses you in the drawing room, that’s the fellow you’ll go with, let it be even a monster among monsters⁠—the most abominable and the stinkiest.”

“But what if I don’t want to?” flared up Magda.

“You’ll be made to⁠—yes, my dearest,” hissed out the housekeeper venomously, “you’ll be made to.”

“Who’ll make me?”

“Why, this same Simeon. You haven’t yet seen his lash made out of ox-sinews? So you’ll try out its taste on yourself. Don’t upset yourself. We’ve subdued not only such as you, but some even more dreadful.”

“I’m going to complain!”

“To whom?”

“To the police⁠—to the governor!⁠ ⁠…”

“The governor is far away, while our police is all bought up. You won’t succeed in sending out even a letter. You are now under sharp surveillance.”

“I’ll run away!” Magda cried out wrathfully.

“There is no place to go to, my dearie-dear. You’d like to run away, but even to run away is impossible. Kill you we won’t, but we will take the edge off your high spirits. Better⁠—I recommend it in all conscience⁠—better tame down your character, now. ’Twill be better even for you. And now⁠—march to the drawing room!”

Three days later an amazing event took place. Just at noon a tall Adonis of an officer, in the uniform of a captain, appeared in the house of Anna Markovna, and passed on into the drawing room. A pace behind him, all drawn up, as if on parade, tagged Berkesh. Never yet had Yama beheld the ferocious and brazen Berkesh so abased and quaking so.

“I would like to see the mistress of the house,” said the officer politely.

“She’s not here just now,” meekly reported Simeon. “She’ll be here in half an hour.”

Berkesh cautiously approached the captain.

“Your Highness,” said he, in a respectful, high-pitched voice, “give me permission to see to this. It’s far too degrading for you to talk with this trash. With us of the police it’s an entirely different matter; all sorts of horror and filth are a matter of habit to us. All in the day’s work!”

“If you please,” said the officer.

“Fetch the housekeeper here!” Berkesh began yelling, in a voice so loud that the panes in the windows rang, and the crystal pendants of the lustres began to swing, tinkling.

But Emma Edwardovna was already shoving her turtle head out of the half-open door of the cabinet in alarm, while the girls, all upset, in their night clothes, were huddling in another door, peering into the drawing room over one another’s heads.

“Right away, right away,” babbled the housekeeper, covering her neck with her arms. “But you must excuse me⁠—I’m not entirely dressed. I request you to wait just one little minute.”

“Not a second!” Berkesh burst into a roar, and shook his finger at her threateningly. “We haven’t come here for to admire you, you old stiff!”

The officer stopped him with his hand.

“Just a little softer,” said he.

“Your Highness, these cattle don’t understand delicacy. One can’t get along with them without severity. If you please, sir captain,” he added in a lowered whisper, “if you please⁠—into this room.”

They entered that same little cabinet where, upon a time⁠—during Trinity⁠—Berkesh had been regaled with coffee and Benedictine in such intimate company. The housekeeper was still dashing about the room with certain rags and pins. Berkesh quickly set her to rights:

“You’ll never be any handsomer, you worn-out overshoe. Squat! D’you see this thing?” And he thrust under her nose a paper, signed by the mightiest man in all the universe⁠—the head of police of the Lybedskaya Precinct. “D’you know this woman?” he went on, indicating the text of the paper.

“That’s right, sir.”

“In the first place, let’s have the card you use for her here. So. Sir captain, would you like to have it torn up, or would you permit me to hand it to you?”

“Give it to me.”

“In the second place, what name did she use here?”

“Magda, sir.”

“In the third place, which one of your wenches is the most orderly and quick-witted?”

“I think⁠ ⁠… Tamara.”

“Tamara? Good enough!”

He leaned out of the doorway and shouted:

“Fetch Tamarka here! Instantly! What? You’re not dressed? Come here the way you are! Come here to me.”

Tamara walked up to him with rapid steps.

“You’ll go this minute to Madame⁠ ⁠… to Magda. You’ll assist her to dress⁠—in her own clothes⁠—and to wash up, and so forth. And then you’ll bring her here. Let the rest of the wenches march to their rooms. Let me see nor hide nor hair of you, or I’ll run all of you into the lockup!”

When Magda came⁠—not at all frightened or upset, but, on the contrary, as calm as ever⁠—the officer arose quickly and, making a low bow, kissed the hand extended to him, while Berkesh drew himself up like a post.

“There’s a bit of a bill⁠ ⁠…” the housekeeper began weakly.

“No bills of any sort! Silence!” the inordinately zealous Berkesh barked out at her; but the officer squeamishly ordered him to cease.

The housekeeper’s bill was paid not only in full, but with a large pourboire. A chic carriage awaited the officer and the lady at the front entrance. Berkesh assisted both of them into it.

There had been an interesting conversation between Magda and Tamara, who was helping her to get ready.

“So, Magda, it turns out that you’re no wench at all?” asked Tamara.

Magda smiled:

“I never was that.”

“That means you’re respectable?”

“No, my dear. I’m an enemy of respectability.”

“Well, then, why⁠—why did you ever come into such a house? Or weren’t there enough men for you when you were free, if you’ve such a hankering after them?”

Magda again smiled, with a shading of some hidden sadness:

“Ah, Tamara, Tamara⁠—you wouldn’t believe me, for anything, if I were to tell you that I’m an innocent girl, even right up to now.”

Tamara simply exploded from laughter.

“You don’t say! You took on six or seven men a day in our house⁠—fine innocent girl you are!”

Magda’s face became serious. She leant toward Tamara, who just then was squatting on her heels, and asked her quietly:

“Tamara, you’re a clever girl. Tell me.⁠ ⁠… Suppose you’re a young girl, and ‘innocent,’ as you girls put it.⁠ ⁠… And that, now, some low-down skunk has raped you. After that, are you a maid, or aren’t you?”

“What bosh you ask. No maid⁠—of course. I’d no longer be whole then.”

“Well, and before God, or before a good husband, who’d understand everything and take pity upon you⁠—or even before your own self⁠—would you be guilty or innocent?”

“Well, now⁠—innocent, of course.”

“Just so in my case. Well, you would hardly understand me⁠ ⁠…”

Tamara was silent for a while. Then she asked quietly:

“But this officer? Is he your husband? Your fiancé? Your brother?”

“None of these. He’s my comrade.”

“Ah, Magdochka, I feel that you’re not lying to me the least wee bit, but I simply can’t understand you. Just as though you were some sort of a lil’ natural. That you’re a lady⁠—I’ve been feeling that long since. But why⁠—why, of your own free will, have you come into our cesspool? I, for instance⁠—I’ll open up to you⁠—I received an education at one time, even though a superficial one. I still remember two foreign languages. The language I speak here isn’t mine, but assumed; I used it in speaking with you on purpose. But I’m a vagabond, a bird of passage⁠—never do I know whither my soul is flying, nor where it will perch. But you! You! You! Why did you do it?”

Magda’s face suddenly became stony, cold.

“Yes,” said she dryly. “I, too, have long since penetrated your pretence, assumed for the sake of equality in this company.⁠ ⁠… Well, now, if you find the matter so interesting. I’ll tell you straight. I’m a writer⁠—I wanted to write up the customs and life of sporting houses, and, in order that my novel might be authentic, I decided to go through it all. Through all!”

Tamara, who was by now finished with her work, straightened up and said:

“Good. I believe in the sincerity of your intentions⁠—but when it comes to this authoress part⁠—no. Your sweep is much too great. But about this conversation of ours⁠—I swear I shan’t tell anybody.”

“Just as you wish,” said Magda coldly. “Thank you.” Then suddenly, as if relenting, she clasped Tamara hard, kissed her ardently, and, in a whisper, said in her ear:

“I’ll write you.”

Some eight months passed after these events. The days of Gapon,7 of the All-Russian Strike, of the Little Constitution, came on. In a word, one sniffed revolution in the air. Political raids and arrests were the order of the day all over Russia.

And so, at the dead of a certain night, there burst into the peaceful little domicile of Anna Markovna some gens d’armes, accompanied by the police. A cordon was thrown around the house. All the guests found in the house were held and politely transferred to the large cabinet, under guard; those sleeping were awakened for this purpose. The house was searched, from garret to cellar. Brochures, proclamations and bombs were being sought. Nothing, of course, was found. The young ladies, by turns, were led into another cabinet, and there the chief of the gens d’armes, now sternly, now kindly interrogated each one of them concerning Magda: What had she been doing? What had she said? Whom had she seen? Whom did she write letters to? Did she, perhaps, give to any of her mates any brochures, or books?

The young ladies understood nothing of these questions, became confused, turned so red that they sweated, blinked their eyes, and frequently threw themselves at the feet of authority: “May thunder strike me on the spot if I’ve done a single thing⁠—if I killed anybody or stole anything!⁠ ⁠…” They were quickly dismissed.

Tamara could have said a great deal⁠—especially about her last talk with Magda. Thus would have acted the majority of prostitutes, in whom a hysterical passion to make themselves stand out somehow, to be marked apart, is excessively developed.

But Tamara answered rather cynically:

“I can’t tell you anything about her, mister chief, save that she was a low-down tart and a depraved creature. There wasn’t enough men for her in the world⁠—she had to get into a cathouse!⁠ ⁠…”

The gens d’armes and the police went away, and came no more, but for long after that all of Yamskaya Street teased Anna Markovna’s boarders with being “soshalists,” which angered them quite seriously.

But one day Tamara with horror heard (or, more exactly speaking, overheard) the story which the brave, blue-eyed, bearded Berkesh was telling in the small cabinet to the proprietress, her husband, and the housekeeper, over a pony of liqueur:

“D’you remember your Magda? This, I must say, was a bird of the loftiest flight! Big game! She had almost half-a-score of names, and one of them was the very same name that was on the passport which you, Emma Edwardovna, brought personally to the police-station, to exchange for a yellow ticket. According to the passport she then had, she was designated as Olga Lavinskaya⁠—one of the nobility and a teacher of music. But d’you know why she insinuated herself into your house? It’s amazing! It’s over-r-whelming! She was making her first steps in your place, going through the primary class, so to speak, of instruction in the school of prostitution. Don’t upset yourself⁠—don’t ah and oh! That which follows is still more amazing. Having studied up on the trade in your place to such an extent that, calling herself a prostitute, she might deceive even an experienced eye, what did she do? She went South, to Sebastopol. In the beginning she joined on in a sailors’ dive, then in another, then a third and a fourth, and after that took up the same practice in Odessa and Nikolaev. Mark you, now⁠—all naval ports. And everywhere, under cover of the yellow ticket, did she carry on a desperate, anti-government propaganda, summoning everybody to the annihilation of the reigning dynasty and all those in power, as well as to the destruction of the monied interests⁠—especially landowners. Through her, in all these cities, were scattered millions of agitatory appeals and proclamations. They couldn’t catch her, no matter how they tried. She was helped everywhere by her friends, the comrades of the revolution. Why, that captain who so brazenly carried her off from here, leaving us all holding the bag, was the ex-student Novikov, simply dressed up in a military uniform. And just see what a stunt this devil pulled off at that time: he came before the head of police from the governor of the town himself, and handed him a letter on official paper, with a seal, and with an indubitable, personal signature. The nerve of the scoundrel! Well, now, no matter⁠—they caught him and shipped him off to the mines of Siberia, to dig gold. They didn’t give him enough, the scoundrel!”

“And Magda?” asked Anna Markovna.

“Magda is quits. She threw a bomb at the governor. They hanged her.”