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Part 3 Chapter 10

MAKAR DEVKIN.

When they had passed the bachelors' room the sergeant1 who accompanied Nekhludoff left him, promising2 to come for him before the inspection3 would take place. As soon as the sergeant was gone a prisoner, quickly stepping with his bare feet and holding up the chains, came close up to Nekhludoff, enveloping4 him in the strong, acid smell of perspiration5, and said in a mysterious whisper:

"Help the lad, sir; he's got into an awful mess. Been drinking. To-day he's given his name as Karmanoff at the inspection. Take his part, sir. We dare not, or they'll kill us," and looking uneasily round he turned away.

This is what had happened. The criminal Kalmanoff had persuaded a young fellow who resembled him in appearance and was sentenced to exile to change names with him and go to the mines instead of him, while he only went to exile. Nekhludoff knew all this. Some convict had told him about this exchange the week before. He nodded as a sign that he understood and would do what was in his power, and continued his way without looking round.

Nekhludoff knew this convict, and was surprised by his action. When in Ekaterinburg the convict had asked Nekhludoff to get a permission for his wife to follow him. The convict was a man of medium size and of the most ordinary peasant type, about thirty years old. He was condemned6 to hard labour for an attempt to murder and rob. His name was Makar Devkin. His crime was a very curious one. In the account he gave of it to Nekhludoff, he said it was not his but his devil's doing. He said that a traveller had come to his father's house and hired his sledge7 to drive him to a village thirty miles off for two roubles. Makar's father told him to drive the stranger. Makar harnessed the horse, dressed, and sat down to drink tea with the stranger. The stranger related at the tea-table that he was going to be married and had five hundred roubles, which he had earned in Moscow, with him. When he had heard this, Makar went out into the yard and put an axe8 into the sledge under the straw. "And I did not myself know why I was taking the axe," he said. "'Take the axe,' says _he_, and I took it. We got in and started. We drove along all right; I even forgot about the axe. Well, we were getting near the village; only about four miles more to go. The way from the cross-road to the high road was up hill, and I got out. I walked behind the sledge and _he_ whispers to me, 'What are you thinking about? When you get to the top of the hill you will meet people along the highway, and then there will be the village. He will carry the money away. If you mean to do it, now's the time.' I stooped over the sledge as if to arrange the straw, and the axe seemed to jump into my hand of itself. The man turned round. 'What are you doing?' I lifted the axe and tried to knock him down, but he was quick, jumped out, and took hold of my hands. 'What are you doing, you villain9?' He threw me down into the snow, and I did not even struggle, but gave in at once. He bound my arms with his girdle, and threw me into the sledge, and took me straight to the police station. I was imprisoned10 and tried. The commune gave me a good character, said that I was a good man, and that nothing wrong had been noticed about me. The masters for whom I worked also spoke11 well of me, but we had no money to engage a lawyer, and so I was condemned to four years' hard labour."

It was this man who, wishing to save a fellow-villager, knowing that he was risking his life thereby12, told Nekhludoff the prisoner's secret, for doing which (if found out) he should certainly be throttled13.

护送聂赫留朵夫的军士经过单身犯牢房时对聂赫留朵夫说,他将在点名前来接他,然后转身走了。军士刚走开,就有一个男犯提起镣铐上的铁链,光着脚,快步走到聂赫留朵夫跟前,浑身发出一股浓重的汗酸臭,偷偷地对他说:

“老爷,您出头管一下吧。那小子上了当。人家把他灌醉了。今天交接犯人的时候,他竟冒名顶替,说自己是卡尔玛诺夫。您出头管一下吧,我们可不能管,不然会被打死的,”那个男犯说,神色慌张地向四周看了一下,立刻从聂赫留朵夫身边溜走。

事情是这样的:一个叫卡尔玛诺夫的苦役犯,怂恿一个相貌同他相似的终身流放犯同他互换姓名,这样苦役犯就可以改为流放,而流放犯却要代替他去服苦役。

这件事聂赫留朵夫已经知道,因为那个犯人上礼拜就把这个骗局告诉了他。聂赫留朵夫点点头表示明白,并将尽力去办,然后头也不回地往前走去。

聂赫留朵夫在叶卡捷琳堡就认识这个犯人了,他当时请聂赫留朵夫替他说情,准许他去服苦役,把妻子一起带去。聂赫留朵夫对他的要求感到惊奇。这人中等身材,生有一个最普通的农民脸型,三十岁光景,因蓄意谋财害命而被判服苦役。他名叫玛卡尔。他犯罪的经过很奇怪。他对聂赫留朵夫说,这罪不是他玛卡尔犯的,而是他魔鬼犯的。他说,有个过路人找到他父亲,愿意出两个卢布要他父亲用雪橇把他送到四十俄里外的村子去。父亲就吩咐玛卡尔把他送去。玛卡尔套好雪橇,穿上衣服,就同那过路人一起喝茶。过路人一面喝茶,一面告诉他要回家成亲,随身带着在莫斯科挣到的五百卢布。玛卡尔听了这话,就走到院子里,找了一把斧子藏在雪橇草垫下。

“连我自己也不知道为什么要带斧子,”他讲道,“只听得有个声音对我说:‘带上斧子。’我就把斧子带上。我们坐上雪橇出发。一路走去,什么事也没有。我也把那斧子给忘了。直到离村子不远,只剩下六俄里路,我们的雪橇离开村道,走上大路,往山坡上爬去。我就从雪橇上下来,跟在后面,这时他又低声对我说:‘你还在犹豫什么呀?你一到山上,大路上就有人,前头就是村子。他就会带着钱走掉。要干,现在就得动手,还等什么呀?’我弯下腰,装作整理一下雪橇上铺着的草,那斧子仿佛自动跳到我手里。他回过头来对我一看,说:‘你要干什么?’我抡起斧子,想把他一家伙劈死,可他这人挺机灵,霍地跳下雪橇,一把抓住我的手,说:‘混蛋,你想干什么?……’他把我推倒在雪地上,我也不还手,听他摆布。他用腰带捆住我的双手,把我扔在雪橇上。他就把我送到区警察局。我就坐了牢,后来开庭审判。我们的村社替我说好话,说我是个好人,从来没有做过坏事。我的东家也替我说好话。可是我们没有钱请律师,我就被判了四年苦役。”

现在,就是这样一个人要搭救同乡。他明明知道,这事有生命危险,但他还是把犯人中的秘密告诉了聂赫留朵夫,万一人家知道这事是他干的,准会把他活活勒死。


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 sergeant REQzz     
n.警官,中士
参考例句:
  • His elder brother is a sergeant.他哥哥是个警官。
  • How many stripes are there on the sleeve of a sergeant?陆军中士的袖子上有多少条纹?
2 promising BkQzsk     
adj.有希望的,有前途的
参考例句:
  • The results of the experiments are very promising.实验的结果充满了希望。
  • We're trying to bring along one or two promising young swimmers.我们正设法培养出一两名有前途的年轻游泳选手。
3 inspection y6TxG     
n.检查,审查,检阅
参考例句:
  • On random inspection the meat was found to be bad.经抽查,发现肉变质了。
  • The soldiers lined up for their daily inspection by their officers.士兵们列队接受军官的日常检阅。
4 enveloping 5a761040aff524df1fe0cf8895ed619d     
v.包围,笼罩,包住( envelop的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. 那眼睛总是死死盯着你,那声音总是紧紧围着你。 来自英汉文学
  • The only barrier was a mosquito net, enveloping the entire bed. 唯一的障碍是那顶蚊帐罩住整个床。 来自辞典例句
5 perspiration c3UzD     
n.汗水;出汗
参考例句:
  • It is so hot that my clothes are wet with perspiration.天太热了,我的衣服被汗水湿透了。
  • The perspiration was running down my back.汗从我背上淌下来。
6 condemned condemned     
adj. 被责难的, 被宣告有罪的 动词condemn的过去式和过去分词
参考例句:
  • He condemned the hypocrisy of those politicians who do one thing and say another. 他谴责了那些说一套做一套的政客的虚伪。
  • The policy has been condemned as a regressive step. 这项政策被认为是一种倒退而受到谴责。
7 sledge AxVw9     
n.雪橇,大锤;v.用雪橇搬运,坐雪橇往
参考例句:
  • The sledge gained momentum as it ran down the hill.雪橇从山上下冲时的动力越来越大。
  • The sledge slid across the snow as lightly as a boat on the water.雪橇在雪原上轻巧地滑行,就象船在水上行驶一样。
8 axe 2oVyI     
n.斧子;v.用斧头砍,削减
参考例句:
  • Be careful with that sharp axe.那把斧子很锋利,你要当心。
  • The edge of this axe has turned.这把斧子卷了刃了。
9 villain ZL1zA     
n.反派演员,反面人物;恶棍;问题的起因
参考例句:
  • He was cast as the villain in the play.他在戏里扮演反面角色。
  • The man who played the villain acted very well.扮演恶棍的那个男演员演得很好。
10 imprisoned bc7d0bcdd0951055b819cfd008ef0d8d     
下狱,监禁( imprison的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • He was imprisoned for two concurrent terms of 30 months and 18 months. 他被判处30个月和18个月的监禁,合并执行。
  • They were imprisoned for possession of drugs. 他们因拥有毒品而被监禁。
11 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
参考例句:
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
12 thereby Sokwv     
adv.因此,从而
参考例句:
  • I have never been to that city,,ereby I don't know much about it.我从未去过那座城市,因此对它不怎么熟悉。
  • He became a British citizen,thereby gaining the right to vote.他成了英国公民,因而得到了投票权。
13 throttled 1be2c244a7b85bf921df7bf52074492b     
v.扼杀( throttle的过去式和过去分词 );勒死;使窒息;压制
参考例句:
  • He throttled the guard with his bare hands. 他徒手掐死了卫兵。
  • The pilot got very low before he throttled back. 飞行员减速之前下降得很低。 来自《简明英汉词典》


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