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Friday, 11. November 2011

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By huangzw0711, 03:49


On Sunday morning at five o'clock, when a whistle sounded in the corridor of the women's ward of the prison, Korableva, who was already awake, called Maslova.

"Oh, dear! life again," thought Maslova, with horror, involuntarily breathing in the air that had become terribly noisome towards the morning. She wished to fall asleep again, to enter into the region of oblivion, but the habit of fear overcame sleepiness, and she sat up and looked round, drawing her feet under her. The women had all got up; only the elder children were still asleep. The spirit-trader was carefully drawing a cloak from under the children, so as not to wake them. The watchman's wife was hanging up the rags to dry that served the baby as swaddling clothes, while the baby was screaming desperately in Theodosia's arms, who was trying to quiet it. The consumptive woman was coughing with her hands pressed to her chest, while the blood rushed to her face, and cheap uggs sighed loudly, almost screaming, in the intervals of coughing. The fat, red-haired woman was lying on her back, with knees drawn up, and loudly relating a dream. The old woman accused of incendiarism was standing in front of the image, crossing herself and bowing, and repeating the same words over and over again. The deacon's daughter sat on the bedstead, looking before her, with a dull, sleepy face. Khoroshavka was twisting her black, oily, coarse hair round her fingers. The sound of slipshod feet was heard in the passage, and the door opened to let in two convicts, dressed in jackets and grey trousers that did not reach to their ankles. With serious, cross faces they lifted the stinking tub and carried it ugg of the cell. The women went out to the taps in the corridor to wash. There the red-haired woman again began a quarrel with a woman from another cell.

"Is it the solitary cell you want?" shouted an old jailer, slapping the red-haired woman on her bare, fat back, so that it sounded through the corridor. "You be quiet."

"Lawks! the old one's playful," said the woman, taking his action for a caress.

"Now, then, be quick; get ready for the mass." Maslova had hardly time to do her hair and dress when the inspector came with his assistants.

"Come out for inspection," cried a jailer.

Some more prisoners came out of other cells and stood in two rows along the corridor; each woman had to place her hand on the shoulder of the woman in front of her. They were all counted.

After the inspection the woman warder led the prisoners to church. Maslova and Theodosia were in the middle of a column of over a hundred women, who had come out of different cells. All were dressed in white skirts, white jackets, and wore white kerchiefs on their heads, except a few who had their own coloured clothes on. These were wives who, with their children, were following their convict husbands to Siberia. The whole flight of stairs was filled by the procession. The patter of softly-shod feet mingled with the voices and now and then a laugh. When turning, on the landing, Maslova saw her enemy, Botchkova, in front, and pointed out her angry face to Theodosia. At the bottom of the stairs the women stopped talking. Bowing and crossing themselves, they entered the empty church, which glistened with gilding. Crowding and pushing one another, they took their places on the right.

After the women came the men condemned to banishment, those serving their term in the prison, and those exiled by their Communes; and, coughing loudly, they took their stand, crowding the left side and the middle of the church.

On one side of the gallery above stood the men sentenced to penal servitude in Siberia, who had been let into the church before the others. Each of them had half his head shaved, and their presence was indicated by the clanking of the chains on their feet. On the other side of the gallery stood those in preliminary confinement, without chains, their heads not shaved.

The prison church had been rebuilt and ornamented by a rich merchant, who spent several tens of thousands of roubles on it, and it glittered with gay colours and gold. For a time there was silence in the church, and only coughing, blowing of noses, the crying of babies, and now and then the rattling of chains, was heard. But at last the convicts that stood in the middle moved, pressed against each other, leaving a cheap uggs for sale in the centre of the church, down which the prison inspector passed to take his place in front of every one in the nave.













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By huangzw0711, 03:49


That night Maslova lay awake a long time with her eyes open looking at the door, in front of which the deacon's daughter kept passing. She was thinking that nothing would induce her to go to the island of Sakhalin and marry a convict, but would arrange matters somehow with one of the prison officials, the secretary, a warder, or even a warder's assistant. "Aren't they all given that way? Only I must not get thin, or else I am lost."

She thought of how the advocate had looked at her, and also the president, and of the men she met, and those who came in on purpose at the court. She recollected how her companion, Bertha, who came to see her in prison, had told her about the student whom she had "loved" while she was with Kitaeva, and who had inquired about her, and pitied her very much. She recalled many to mind, only not Nekhludoff. She never brought back to mind the days of her childhood and youth, and her love to Nekhludoff. That would have been too painful. These memories lay untouched somewhere deep in her soul; she had forgotten him, and never recalled and never even dreamt of him. To-day, in the court, she did not recognise him, not only because when she last saw him he was in uniform, without a beard, and had only a small moustache and thick, curly, though short hair, and now was bald and bearded, but because she never thought about him. She had buried his memory on that terrible dark night when he, returning from the army, had passed by on the railway without stopping to call on ugg aunts. Katusha then knew her condition. Up to that night she did not consider the child that lay beneath her heart a burden. But on that night everything changed, and the child became nothing but a weight.

His aunts had expected Nekhludoff, had asked him to come and see them in passing, but he had telegraphed that he could not come, as he had to be in Petersburg at an appointed time. When Katusha heard this she made up her mind to go to the station and see him. The train was to pass by at two o'clock in the night. Katusha having helped the old ladies to bed, and persuaded a little girl, the cook's daughter, Mashka, to come with her, put on a pair of old boots, threw a shawl over her head, gathered up her dress, and ran to the station.

It was a warm, rainy, and windy autumn night. The rain now pelted down in warm, heavy drops, now stopped again. It was too dark to see the path across the field, and in the wood it was pitch black, so that although Katusha knew the way well, she got off the path, and got to the little station where the train stopped for three minutes, not before, ugg boots she had hoped, but after the second bell had been rung. Hurrying up the platform, Katusha saw him at once at the windows of a first-class carriage. Two officers sat opposite each other on the velvet-covered seats, playing cards. This carriage was very brightly lit up; on the little table between the seats stood two thick, dripping candles. He sat in his closefitting breeches on the arm of the seat, leaning against the back, and laughed. As soon as she recognised him she knocked at the carriage window with her benumbed hand, but at that moment the last bell rang, and the train first gave a backward jerk, and then gradually the carriages began to move forward. One of the players rose with the cards in his hand, and looked out. She knocked again, and pressed her face to the window, but the carriage moved on, and she went alongside looking in. The officer tried to lower the window, but could not. Nekhludoff pushed him aside and began lowering it himself. The train went faster, so that she had to walk quickly. The train went on still faster and the window opened. The guard pushed her aside, and jumped in. Katusha ran on, along the wet boards of the platform, and when she came to the end she could hardly stop herself from falling as she ran down the steps of the platform. She was running by the side of the railway, though the first-class carriage had long passed her, and the second-class carriages were gliding by faster, and at last the third-class carriages still faster. But she ran on, and when the last carriage with the lamps at the back had gone by, she had already reached the tank which fed the engines, and was unsheltered from the wind, which was blowing her shawl about and making her skirt cling round her legs. The shawl flew off her head, but still she ran on.

"Katerina Michaelovna, you've lost your shawl!" screamed the little girl, who was trying to keep up with her.

Katusha stopped, threw back her head, and catching hold of it with both hands sobbed aloud. "Gone!" she screamed.

"He is sitting in a velvet arm-chair and joking and drinking, in a brightly lit carriage, and I, out here in the mud, in the darkness, in the wind and the rain, am standing and weeping," she thought to herself; and sat down on the ground, sobbing so loud that the little girl got frightened, and put her arms round her, wet as she was.

"Come home, dear," she said.

"When a train passes--then under a carriage, and there will be an end," Katusha was thinking, without heeding the girl.

And she made up her mind to do it, when, as it always happens, when a moment of quiet follows great excitement, he, the child--his child--made himself known within her. Suddenly all that a moment before had been tormenting her, so that it had seemed impossible to live, all her bitterness towards him, and the wish to revenge herself, even by dying, passed away; she grew quieter, got up, put the shawl on her head, and went home.

Wet, muddy, and quite exhausted, she returned, and from that day the change which brought her where she now was began to operate in her soul. Beginning from that dreadful night, she ceased believing in God and in goodness. She had herself believed in God, and believed that other people also believed in Him; but after that night she became convinced that no one believed, and that all that was said about God and His laws was deception and untruth. He whom she loved, and who had loved her--yes, she knew that--had thrown her away; had abused her love. Yet he was the best of all the people she knew. All the rest were still worse. All that afterwards happened to her strengthened her in this belief at every step. His aunts, the pious old ladies, turned her out when she could no longer serve them as she used to. And of all those she met, the women used her as a means of getting money, the men, from the old police officer down to the warders of the prison, looked at her as on an object for pleasure. And no one in the world cared for aught but pleasure. In this belief the old author with whom she had come together in the second year of her life of independence had strengthened her. He had told her outright that it was this that constituted the happiness of life, and he called it poetical and aesthetic.

Everybody lived for himself only, for his pleasure, and all the talk concerning God and righteousness was deception. And if sometimes doubts arose in her mind and she wondered why ugg was so ill-arranged in the world that all hurt each other, and made each other suffer, she thought it best not to dwell on it, and if she felt melancholy she could smoke, or, better still, drink, and it would pass.


















By huangzw0711, 03:49


From the Procureur Nekhludoff went straight to the preliminary detention prison. However, no Maslova was to be found there, and the inspector explained to Nekhludoff that she would probably be in the old temporary prison. Nekhludoff went there.

Yes, Katerina Maslova was there.

The distance between the two prisons was enormous, and Nekhludoff only reached the old prison towards evening. He was going up to the door of the large, gloomy building, but the sentinel stopped him and rang. A warder came in answer to the bell. Nekhludoff showed him his order of admittance, but the warder said he could not let him in without the inspector's permission. Nekhludoff went to see the inspector. As he was going up the stairs he heard distant sounds of some complicated bravura, played on the piano. When a cross servant girl, with a bandaged eye, opened the door to him, those sounds seemed to escape from the room and to strike his car. It was a ugg of Liszt's, that everybody was tired of, splendidly played but only to one point. When that point was reached the same thing was repeated. Nekhludoff asked the bandaged maid whether the inspector was in. She answered that he was not in.

"Will he return soon?"

The rhapsody again stopped and recommenced loudly and brilliantly again up to the same charmed point.

"I will go and ask," and the servant went away.

"Tell him he is not in and won't be to-day; he is out visiting. What do they come bothering for?" came the sound of a woman's voice from behind the door, and again the rhapsody rattled on and stopped, and the sound of a chair pushed back was heard. It was plain the irritated pianist meant ugg boots rebuke the tiresome visitor, who had come at an untimely hour. "Papa is not in," a pale girl with crimped hair said, crossly, coming out into the ante-room, but, seeing a young man in a good coat, she softened.

"Come in, please. . . . What is it you want?"

"I want to see a prisoner in this prison."

"A political one, I suppose?"

"No, not a political one. I have a permission from the Procureur."

"Well, I don't know, and papa is out; but come in, please," she said, again, "or else speak to the assistant. He is in the office at present; apply there. What is your name?"

"I thank you," said Nekhludoff, without answering her question, and went out.

The door was not yet closed after him when the same lively tones recommenced. In the courtyard Nekhludoff met an officer with bristly moustaches, and asked for the assistant-inspector. It was the assistant himself. He looked at the order of admittance, but said that he could not decide to let him in with a pass for the preliminary prison. Besides, it was too late. "Please to come again to-morrow. To morrow, at 10, everybody is allowed to go in. Come then, and the inspector himself will be at home. Then you can have the interview either in the common room or, if the inspector allows it, in the office."

And so Nekhludoff did not succeed in getting an interview that day, and returned home. As he went along the streets, excited at the idea of meeting her, he no longer thought about the Law Courts, but recalled his conversations with the Procureur and the inspector's assistant. The fact that he had been seeking an interview with her, and had told the Procureur, and had been in two prisons, so excited him that it was long before he could calm down. When he got home he at once fetched out his diary, that had long remained untouched, read a few sentences out of it, and then wrote as follows:

"For two years I have not written anything in my diary, and thought I never should return to this childishness. Yet it is not childishness, but converse with my own self, with this real divine self which lives in every man. All this time that I slept there was no one for me to converse with. I was awakened by an extraordinary event on the 28th of April, in the Law Court, when I was on the jury. I saw her in the prisoners' dock, the Katusha betrayed by me, in a prisoner's cloak, condemned to penal servitude through a strange mistake, and my own fault. I have just been to the Procureur's and to the prison, but I was not admitted. I have resolved to do all I can to see her, to confess to louis vuitton and to atone for my sin, even by a marriage. God help me. My soul is at peace and I am full of joy."




















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By huangzw0711, 03:49


During an interval Nekhludoff got up and went out into the corridor, with the intention of not returning to the court. Let them do what they liked with him, he could take no more part in this awful and horrid tomfoolery.

Having inquired where the Procureur's cabinet was he went straight to him. The attendant did not wish to let him in, saying that the Procureur was busy, but Nekhludoff paid no heed and went to the door, where he was met by an official. He asked to be announced to the Procureur, saying he was on the jury and had a very important communication to make.

His title and good clothes were of assistance to him. The official announced him to the Procureur, and Nekhludoff was let in. The Procureur met him standing, evidently annoyed at the persistence with which Nekhludoff demanded admittance.

"What is it you want?" the Procureur asked, severely.

"I am on the jury; my name is Nekhludoff, and it is absolutely necessary for me to see the prisoner Maslova," Nekhludoff said, quickly and resolutely, blushing, and feeling that he was taking a step ugg australia sale uk would have a decisive influence on his life.

The Procureur was a short, dark man, with short, grizzly hair, quick, sparkling eyes, and a thick beard cut close on his projecting lower jaw.

"Maslova? Yes, of course, I know. She was accused of poisoning," the Procureur said, quietly. "But why do you want to see her?" And then, as if wishing to tone down his question, he added, "I cannot give you the permission without knowing why you require it."

"I require it for a particularly important reason."

"Yes?" said the Procureur, and, lifting his eyes, looked attentively at Nekhludoff. "Has her case been heard or not?"

"She was tried yesterday, and unjustly sentenced; she is innocent."

"Yes? If she was sentenced only yesterday," went on the Procureur, paying no attention to Nekhludoff's statement concerning Maslova's innocence, "she must still he in the preliminary detention prison ugg boots sale uk the sentence is delivered in its final form. Visiting is allowed there only on certain days; I should advise you to inquire there."

"But I must see her as soon as possible," Nekhludoff said, his jaw trembling as he felt the decisive moment approaching.

"Why must you?" said the Procureur, lifting his brows with some agitation.

"Because I betrayed her and brought her to the condition which exposed her to this accusation."

"All the same, I cannot see what it has to do with visiting her."

"This: that whether I succeed or not in getting the sentence changed I want to follow her, and--marry her," said Nekhludoff, touched to tears by his own conduct, and at the same time pleased to see the effect he produced on the Procureur.

"Really! Dear me!" said the Procureur. "This is certainly a very exceptional case. I believe you are a member of the Krasnoporsk rural administration?" he asked, as if he remembered having heard before of this Nekhludoff, who was now making so strange a declaration.

"I beg your pardon, but I do not think that has anything to do with my request," answered Nekhludoff, flushing angrily.

"Certainly not," said the Procureur, with a scarcely perceptible smile and not in the least abashed; "only your wish is so extraordinary and so out of the common."

"Well; but can I get the permission?"

"The permission? Yes, I will give you an order of admittance directly. Take a seat."

He went up to the table, sat down, and began to write. "Please sit down."

Nekhludoff continued to stand.

Having written an order of admittance, and handed it to Nekhludoff, the Procureur looked curiously at him.

"I must also state that I can no longer take part in the sessions."

"Then you will have to lay valid reasons before the Court, as you, of course, know."

"My reasons are that I consider all judging not only useless, but immoral."

"Yes," said the Procureur, with the same scarcely perceptible smile, as if to show that this kind of declaration was well known to him and belonged to the amusing sort. "Yes, but you will certainly understand that I as Procureur, can not agree with you on this point. Therefore, I should advise you to apply to the Court, which will consider your declaration, and find it valid or not valid, and in the latter case will impose a fine. Apply, then, to the Court."

"I have made my declaration, and shall apply nowhere else," Nekhludoff said, angrily.

"Well, then, good-afternoon," said the Procureur, bowing his head, evidently anxious to be rid of this strange visitor.

"Who was that you had here?" asked one of the members of the Court, as he entered, just after Nekhludoff left the room.

"Nekhludoff, you know; the same that used to make all sorts of strange statements at the Krasnoporsk rural meetings. Just fancy! He is on the jury, and among the prisoners there is a woman or girl sentenced to penal servitude, whom he says he betrayed, and now he wants to marry her."

"You don't mean to say so."

"That's what he told me. And in such a strange state of excitement!"

"There is something abnormal in the young men of to-day."

"Oh, but he is not so very young."

"Yes. But how tiresome your famous Ivoshenka was. louis vuittin free shipping carries the day by wearying one out. He talked and talked without end."

"Oh, that kind of people should be simply stopped, or they will become real obstructionists."








































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By huangzw0711, 03:48


On coming into the Law Courts Nekhludoff met the usher of yesterday, who to-day seemed to him much to be pitied, in the corridor, and asked him where those prisoners who had been sentenced were kept, and to whom one had to apply for permission to visit them. The usher told him that the condemned prisoners were kept in different places, and that, until they received their sentence in its final form, the permission to visit them depended on the president. "I'll come and call you myself, and take you to the president after the session. The president is not even here at present. After the session! And now please come in; we are going to commence."

Nekhludoff thanked the usher for his kindness, and went into the jurymen's room. As he was approaching the room, the other jurymen were just leaving it to go into the court. The merchant had again partaken of a little refreshment, and was as merry as the day before, and greeted Nekhludoff like an old friend. And to-day Peter Gerasimovitch did not arouse any unpleasant feelings in Nekhludoff by his familiarity and his loud laughter. Nekhludoff would have liked to tell all the jurymen about his relations to yesterday's prisoner. "By rights," he thought, "I ought to have got up yesterday during the trial and disclosed my guilt."

He entered the court with the other jurymen, and witnessed the same procedure as the day before.

"The judges are coming," was again proclaimed, and again three men, with embroidered collars, ascended the platform, and there was the same settling of the jury on the high-backed chairs, the same gendarmes, the same portraits, the same priest, and Nekhludoff felt that, though he knew what he ought to do, he could not interrupt all this solemnity. The preparations for the trials were just the same as the day before, excepting that the swearing in of the jury and the president's address to them were omitted.

The case before the Court this day was one of burglary. The prisoner, guarded by two gendarmes with naked swords, was a thin, narrow-chested lad of 20, with a bloodless, sallow face, dressed in a grey cloak. He sat alone in the prisoner's dock. This boy was accused of ugg australia sale uk together with a companion, broken the lock of a shed and stolen several old mats valued at 3 roubles [the rouble is worth a little over two shillings, and contains 100 copecks] and 67 copecks. According to the indictment, a policeman had stopped this boy as he was passing with his companion, who was carrying the mats on his shoulder. The boy and his companion confessed at once, and were both imprisoned. The boy's companion, a locksmith, died in prison, and so the boy was being tried alone. The old mats were lying on the table as the objects of material evidence. The business was conducted just in the same manner as the day before, with the whole armoury of evidence, proofs, witnesses, swearing in, questions, experts, and cross-examinations. In answer to every question put to him by the president, the prosecutor, or the advocate, the policeman (one of the witnesses) in variably ejected the words: "just so," or "Can't tell." Yet, in spite of his being stupefied, and rendered a mere machine by military discipline, his reluctance to speak about the arrest of this prisoner was evident. Another witness, an old house proprietor, and owner of the mats, evidently a rich old man, when asked whether the mats were his, reluctantly identified them as such. When the public prosecutor asked him what he meant to do with these mats, what use they were to him, he got angry, and answered: "The devil take those mats; I don't want them at all. Had I known there would be all this bother about them I should not have gone looking for them, but would rather have added a ten-rouble note or two to them, ugg boots sale uk not to be dragged here and pestered with questions. I have spent a lot on isvostchiks. Besides, I am not well. I have been suffering from rheumatism for the last seven years." It was thus the witness spoke.

The accused himself confessed everything, and looking round stupidly, like an animal that is caught, related how it had all happened. Still the public prosecutor, drawing up his shoulders as he had done the day before, asked subtle questions calculated to catch a cunning criminal.

In his speech he proved that the theft had been committed from a dwelling-place, and a lock had been broken; and that the boy, therefore, deserved a heavy punishment. The advocate appointed by the Court proved that the theft was not committed from a dwelling-place, and that, though the crime was a serious one, the prisoner was not so very dangerous to society as the prosecutor stated. The president assumed the role of absolute neutrality in the same way as he had done on the previous day, and impressed on the jury facts which they all knew and could not help knowing. Then came an interval, just as the day before, and they smoked; and again the usher called out "The judges are coming," and in the same way the two gendarmes sat trying to keep awake and threatening the prisoner with their naked weapons.

The proceedings showed that this boy was apprenticed by his father at a tobacco factory, where he remained five years. This year he had been discharged by the owner after a strike, and, having lost his place, he wandered about the town without any work, drinking all he possessed. In a traktir [cheap restaurant] he met another like himself, who had lost his place before the prisoner had, a locksmith by trade and a drunkard. One night, those two, both drunk, broke the lock of a shed and took the first thing they happened to lay hands on. They confessed all and were put in prison, where the locksmith died while awaiting the trial. The boy was now being tried as a dangerous creature, from whom society must be protected.

"Just as dangerous a creature as yesterday's culprit," thought Nekhludoff, listening to all that was going on before him. "They are dangerous, and we who judge them? I, a rake, an adulterer, a deceiver. We are not dangerous. But, even supposing that this boy is the most dangerous of all that are here in the court, what should he done from a common-sense point of view when he has been caught? It is clear that he is not an exceptional evil-doer, but a most ordinary boy; every one sees it--and that he has become what he is simply because he got into circumstances that create such characters, and, therefore, to prevent such a boy from going wrong the circumstances that create these unfortunate beings must be done away with.

"But what do we do? We seize one such lad who happens to get caught, knowing well that there are thousands like him whom we have not caught, and send him to prison, where idleness, or most unwholesome, useless labour is forced on him, in company of others weakened and ensnared by the lives they have led. And then we send him, at the public expense, from the Moscow to the Irkoutsk Government, in company with the most depraved of men.

"But we do nothing to destroy the conditions in which people like these are produced; on the contrary, we support the establishments where they are formed. These establishments are well known: factories, mills, workshops, public-houses, gin-shops, brothels. And we do not destroy these places, but, looking at them as necessary, we support and regulate them. We educate in this way not one, but millions of people, and then catch one of them and imagine that we have done something, that we have guarded ourselves, and nothing more can be expected of us. Have we not sent him from the Moscow to the Irkoutsk Government?" Thus thought Nekhludoff with unusual clearness and vividness, sitting in his high-backed chair next to the colonel, and listening to the different intonations of the advocates', prosecutor's, and president's voices, and looking at their self-confident gestures. "And how much and what hard effort this pretence requires," continued Nekhludoff in his mind, glancing round the enormous room, the portraits, lamps, armchairs, uniforms, the thick walls and large windows; and picturing to himself the tremendous size of the building, and the still more ponderous dimensions of the whole of this organisation, with its army of officials, scribes, watchmen, messengers, not only in this place, but all over Russia, who receive wages for carrying on this comedy which no one needs. "Supposing we spent one-hundredth of these efforts helping these castaways, whom we now only regard as hands and bodies, required by us for our own peace and comfort. Had some one chanced to take pity on him and given some help at the time when poverty made them send him to town, it might have been sufficient," Nekhludoff thought, looking at the boy's piteous face. "Or even later, when, after 12 hours' work at the factory, he was going to the public-house, led away by his companions, had some one then come and said, 'Don't go, Vania; it is not right,' he would not have gone, nor got into bad ways, and would not have done any wrong.

"But no; no one who would have taken pity on him came across this apprentice in the years he lived like a poor little animal in the town, and with his hair cut close so as not to breed vermin, and ran errands for the workmen. No, all he heard and saw, from the older workmen and his companions, since he came to live in town, was that he who cheats, drinks, swears, who gives another a thrashing, who goes on the loose, is a fine fellow. Ill, his constitution undermined by unhealthy labour, drink, and debauchery--bewildered as in a dream, knocking aimlessly about town, he gets into some sort of a shed, and takes from there some old mats, which nobody needs--and here we, all of us educated people, rich or comfortably off, meet together, dressed in good clothes and fine uniforms, in a splendid apartment, to mock this unfortunate brother of ours whom we ourselves have ruined.

"Terrible! It is difficult to say whether the cruelty or the absurdity is greater, but uggs on sale uk one and the other seem to reach their climax."

Nekhludoff thought all this, no longer listening to what was going on, and he was horror-struck by that which was being revealed to him. He could not understand why he had not been able to see all this before, and why others were unable to see it.



























Thursday, 10. November 2011

panting ugg sighs

By huangzw0711, 03:08

When panting sighs the bosom fill,

And hands by chance united thrill

At once with one delicious pain

The pulses and the nerves of twain;

When eyes that erst could meet with ease,

Do seek, yet, seeking, shyly shun

Ecstatic conscious unison,—

The sure beginnings, say, be these,

Prelusive to the strain of love

Which angels sing in heaven above?


Or is it but the vulgar tune,

Which all that breathe beneath the moon

So accurately learn—so soon?

—A. H. Clough, Poem (1844)



And now she was sleeping.

That was the disgraceful sight that met Charles’s eyes as he finally steeled himself to look over the partition. She lay curled up like a small girl under her old coat, her feet drawn up from the night’s cold, her head turned from him and resting on a dark-green Paisley scarf; as if to preserve her one great jewel, her loosened hair, from the hayseed beneath. In that stillness her light, even breathing was both visible and audible; and for a moment that she should be sleeping there so peacefully seemed as wicked a crime as any Charles had expected.

Yet there rose in him, and inextinguishably, a desire to protect. So sharply it came upon him, he tore his eyes away and turned, shocked at this proof of the doctor’s accusation, for he knew his instinct was to kneel beside her and comfort her . . . worse, since the dark privacy of the barn, the girl’s posture, suggested irresistibly a bedroom. He felt his heart beating as if he had run a mile. The tiger was in him, not in her. A moment passed and then he retraced his steps silently but quickly to the door. He looked back, he was about to go; and then he heard his own voice say her name. He had not intended it to speak. Yet it spoke.

“Miss Woodruff.”

No answer.

He said her name again, a little louder, more himself, now that the dark depths had surged safely past.

There ugg a tiny movement, a faint rustle; and then her head appeared, almost comically, as she knelt hastily up and peeped over the partition. He had a vague impression, through the motes, of shock and dismay.

“Oh forgive me, forgive me ...”

The head bobbed down out of sight. He withdrew into the sunlight outside. Two herring gulls flew over, screaming rau-cously. Charles moved out of sight of the fields nearer the Dairy. Grogan, he did not fear; or expect yet. But the place was too open; the dairyman might come for hay . . . though why he should when his fields were green with spring grass Charles was too nervous to consider.

“Mr. Smithson?”

He moved round back to the door, just in time to prevent her from calling, this time more anxiously, his name again. They stood some ten feet apart, Sarah in the door, Charles by the corner of the building. She had performed a hurried toilet, put on her coat, and held her scarf in her hand as if she had used it for a brush. Her eyes were troubled, but her features were still softened by sleep, though flushed at the rude awakening.

There was a ugg boots about her. Not the wildness of lunacy or hysteria—but that same wildness Charles had sensed in the wren’s singing ... a wildness of innocence, almost an eagerness. And just as the sharp declension of that dawn walk had so confounded—and compounded—his ear-nest autobiographical gloom, so did that intensely immediate face confound and compound all the clinical horrors bred in Charles’s mind by the worthy doctors Matthaei and Grogan. In spite of Hegel, the Victorians were not a dialectically minded age; they did not think naturally in opposites, of positives and negatives as aspects of the same whole. Par-adoxes troubled rather than pleased them. They were not the people for existentialist moments, but for chains of cause and effect; for positive all-explaining theories, carefully studied and studiously applied. They were busy erecting, of course; and we have been busy demolishing for so long that now erection seems as ephemeral an activity as bubble-blowing. So Charles was inexplicable to himself. He managed a very unconvincing smile.

“May we not be observed here?”

She followed his glance towards the hidden Dairy.

“It is Axminster market. As soon as he has milked he will be gone.”

But she moved back inside the barn. He followed her in, and they stood, still well apart, Sarah with her back to him.

“You have passed the night here?”

She nodded. There was a silence.

“Are you not hungry?”

Sarah shook her head; and silence flowed back again. But this time she broke it herself.

“You know?”

“I was away all yesterday. I could not come.”

More silence. “Mrs. Poulteney has recovered?”

“I understand so.”

“She was most angry with me.”

“It is no doubt for the best. You were ill placed in her house.”

“Where am I not ill placed?”

He remembered he must choose his words with care.

“Now come ... you must not feel sorry for yourself.” He moved a step or two closer. “There has been great concern. A search party was out looking for you last night. In the storm.”

Her face turned as if he might have been deceiving her. louis vuitton outlet saw that he was not; and he in his turn saw by her surprise that she was not deceiving him when she said, “I did not mean to cause such trouble.”

“Well ... never mind. I daresay they enjoyed the excite-ment. But it is clear that you must now leave Lyme.”

She bowed her head. His voice had been too stern. He hesitated, then stepped forward and laid his hand on her shoulder comfortingly.

“Do not fear. I come to help you do that.”

He had thought by his brief gesture and assurance to take the first step towards putting out the fire the doctor had told him he had lit; but when one is oneself the fuel, firefighting is a hopeless task. Sarah was all flame. Her eyes were all flame as she threw a passionate look back at Charles. He withdrew his hand, but she caught it and before he could stop her raised it towards her lips. He snatched it away in alarm then; and she reacted as if he had struck her across the face.

“My dear Miss Woodruff, pray control yourself. I—“

“I cannot.”

The words were barely audible, but they silenced Charles. He tried to tell himself that she meant she could not control her gratitude for his charity ... he tried, he tried. But there came on him a fleeting memory of Catullus: “Whenever I see you, sound fails, my tongue falters, thin fire steals through my limbs, an inner roar, and darkness shrouds my ears and eyes.” Catullus was translating Sappho here; and the Sapphic remains the best clinical description of love in European medicine.

Sarah and Charles stood there, prey—if they had but known it—to precisely the same symptoms; admitted on the one hand, denied on the other; though the one who denied found himself unable to move away. Four or five seconds of intense repressed emotion passed. Then Sarah could quite literally stand no more. She fell to her knees at his feet. The words rushed out.

“I have told you a lie, I made sure Mrs. Fairley saw me, I knew she would tell Mrs. Poulteney.”

What control Charles had felt himself gaining now slipped from his grasp again. He stared down aghast at the upraised face before him. He was evidently being asked for forgive-ness; but he himself was asking for guidance, since the doctors had failed him again. The distinguished young ladies who had gone in for house-burning and anonymous letter-writing had all, with a nice deference to black-and-white moral judgments, waited to be caught before confession.

Tears had sprung in her eyes. A fortune coming to him, a golden world; and against that, a minor exudation of the lachrymatory glands, a trembling drop or two of water, so small, so transitory, so brief. Yet he stood like a man beneath a breaking dam, instead of a man above a weeping woman.

“But why ... ?”

She looked up then, with an intense earnestness and suppli-cation; with a declaration so unmistakable that words were needless; with a nakedness that made any evasion—any other “My dear Miss Woodruff!”—impossible.

He slowly reached out his hands and raised her. Their eyes remained on each other’s, as if they were both hypnotized. She seemed to him—or those wide, those drowning eyes seemed—the most ravishingly beautiful he had ever seen. What lay behind them did not matter. The moment overcame the age.

He took her into his arms, saw her eyes close as she swayed into his embrace; then closed his own and found her lips. He felt not only their softness but the whole close substance of her body; her sudden smallness, fragility, weak-ness, tenderness —

He pushed her violently away.

An agonized look, as if he was the most debased criminal caught in his most abominable crime. Then he turned and rushed through the door—into yet another horror. It was not Doctor Grogan.

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But the more these conscious illusions of the ruling classes are shown to be false and the less they satisfy common sense, the more dogmatically they are as-serted and the more deceitful, moralizing and spiritual becomes the language of established society.

—Marx, German Ideology (1845-1846)



Sarah had, of course, arrived home—though “home” is a sarcasm in the circumstances—before Mrs. Fairley. She had played her usual part in Mrs. Poulteney’s evening devotions; and she had then retired to her own room for a few minutes. Mrs. Fairley seized her chance; and the few minutes were all she needed. She came herself and knocked on the door of Sarah’s bedroom. Sarah opened it. She had her usual mask of resigned sadness, but Mrs. Fairley was brimming with triumph.

“The mistress is waiting. At once, if you please.”

Sarah looked down and nodded faintly. Mrs. Fairley thrust a look, sardonic and as sour as verjuice, at that meek head, and rustled venomously away. She did not go downstairs however, but waited around a corner until she heard the door of Mrs. Poulteney’s drawing room open and close on the secretary-companion. Then she stole silently to the cheap uggs and listened.

Mrs. Poulteney was not, for once, established on her throne; but stood at the window, placing all her eloquence in her back.

“You wish to speak to me?”

But Mrs. Poulteney apparently did not, for she neither moved nor uttered a sound. Perhaps it was the omission of her customary title of “madam” that silenced her; there was a something in Sarah’s tone that made it clear the omission was deliberate. Sarah looked from the black back to an occasional table that lay between the two women. An enve-lope lay conspicuously on it. The minutest tightening of her lips—into a determination or a resentment, it was hard to say which—was her only reaction to this freezing majesty, uggs if the truth be known was slightly at a loss for the best way of crushing this serpent she had so regrettably taken to her bosom. Mrs. Poulteney elected at last for one blow of the axe.

“A month’s wages are in that packet. You will take it in lieu of notice. You will depart this house at your earliest convenience tomorrow morning.”

Sarah now had the effrontery to use Mrs. Poulteney’s weapon in return. She neither moved nor answered; until that lady, outraged, deigned to turn and show her white face, upon which burnt two pink spots of repressed emotion.

“Did you not hear me, miss?”

“Am I not to be told why?”

“Do you dare to be impertinent!”

“I dare to ask to know why I am dismissed.”

“I shall write to Mr. Forsyth. I shall see that you are locked away. You are a public scandal.”

This impetuous discharge had some effect. Two spots be-gan to burn in Sarah’s cheeks as well. There was a silence, a visible swelling of the already swollen bosom of Mrs. Poulteney.

“I command you to leave this room at once.”

“Very well. Since all I have ever experienced in it is hypocrisy, I shall do so with louis vuitton outlet greatest pleasure.”

With this Parthian shaft Sarah turned to go. But Mrs. Poulteney was one of those actresses who cannot bear not to have the last line of the scene; or perhaps I do her an injustice, and she was attempting, however unlikely it might seem from her tone of voice, to do a charity.

“Take your wages!”

Sarah turned on her, and shook her head. “You may keep them. And if it is possible with so small a sum of money, I suggest you purchase some instrument of torture. I am sure Mrs. Fairley will be pleased to help you use it upon all those wretched enough to come under your power.”

For an absurd moment Mrs. Poulteney looked like Sam: that is, she stood with her grim purse of a mouth wide open.

“You ... shall... answer ... for ... that.”

“Before God? Are you so sure you will have His ear in the world to come?”

For the first tune in their relationship, Sarah smiled at Mrs. Poulteney: a very small but a knowing, and a telling, smile. For a few moments the mistress stared incredulously at her—indeed almost pathetically at her, as if Sarah was Satan himself come to claim his own. Then with a crablike clutching and motion she found her way to her chair and collapsed into it in a not altogether simulated swoon. Sarah stared at her a few moments, then very unfairly—to one named Fairley—took three or four swift steps to the door and opened it. The hastily erect housekeeper stood there with alarm, as if she thought Sarah might spring at her. But Sarah stood aside and indicated the gasping, throat-clutching Mrs. Poulteney, which gave Mrs. Fairley her chance to go to her aid.

“You wicked Jezebel—you have murdered her!”

Sarah did not answer. She watched a few more moments as Mrs. Fairley administered sal volatile to her mistress, then turned and went to her room. She went to her mirror, but did not look at herself; she slowly covered her face with her hands, and then very slowly raised her eyes from the fingers. What she saw she could not bear. Two moments later she was kneeling by her bed and weeping silently into the worn cover.

She should rather have prayed? But she believed she was praying.

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By huangzw0711, 03:07

For a breeze of morning moves,

And the planet of Love is on high . . .

—Tennyson, Maud (1855)

It is a part of special prudence never to do anything because one has an inclination to do it; but because it is one’s duty, or is reasonable.

—Matthew Arnold, Notebooks (1868)



The sun was just redly leaving the insubstantial dove-gray waves of the hills behind the Chesil Bank when Charles, not dressed in the clothes but with all the facial expression of an undertaker’s mute, left the doors of the White Lion. The sky was without cloud, washed pure by the previous night’s storm and of a deliciously tender and ethereal blue; the air as sharp as lemon-juice, yet as clean and cleansing. If you get up at such an hour in Lyme today you will have the town to yourself. Charles, in that earlier-rising age, was not quite so fortunate; but the people who were about had that pleasant lack of social pretension, that primeval classlessness of dawn population: simple people setting about their day’s work. One or two bade Charles a cheery greeting; and got very peremp-tory nods and curt raisings of the ashplant in return. He would rather have seen a few symbolic corpses littering the streets than those bright faces; and he was glad when he left the town behind him and entered the lane to the Undercliff.

But his gloom (and a self-suspicion I have concealed, that his decision was really based more on the old sheepstealer’s adage, on a dangerous despair, than on the nobler movings of his conscience) had an even poorer time of it there; the quick walking sent a flood of warmth through him, a warmth from inside complemented by the warmth from without brought by the sun’s rays. It seemed strangely distinct, this undefiled dawn sun. It had almost a smell, as of warm stone, a sharp dust of photons streaming down through space. cheap uggs grass-blade was pearled with vapor. On the slopes above his path the trunks of the ashes and sycamores, a honey gold in the oblique sunlight, erected their dewy green vaults of young leaves; there was something mysteriously religious about them, but of a religion before religion; a druid balm, a green sweetness over all ... and such an infinity of greens, some almost black in the further recesses of the foliage; from the most intense emerald to the palest pomona. A fox crossed his path and strangely for a moment stared, as if Charles was the intruder; and then a little later, with an uncanny similarity, with the same divine assumption of possession, a roe deer looked up from its browsing; and stared in its small majesty before quietly turning tail and slipping away into the thickets. There is a painting by Pisanello in the National Gallery that catches exactly such a moment: St. Hubert in an early Renaissance forest, confronted by birds and beasts. The saint is shocked, almost as if the victim of a practical joke, all his arrogance dowsed by a sudden drench of Nature’s profound-est secret: the universal parity of existence.

It was ugg only these two animals that seemed fraught with significance. The trees were dense with singing birds-blackcaps, whitethroats, thrushes, blackbirds, the cooing of woodpigeons, filling that windless dawn with the serenity of evening; yet without any of its sadness, its elegaic quality. Charles felt himself walking through the pages of a bestiary, and one of such beauty, such minute distinctness, that every leaf in it, each small bird, each song it uttered, came from a perfect world. He stopped a moment, so struck was he by this sense of an exquisitely particular universe, in which each was appointed, each unique. A tiny wren perched on top of a bramble not ten feet from him and trilled its violent song. He saw its glittering black eyes, the red and yellow of its song-gaped throat—a midget ball of feathers that yet managed to make itself the Announcing Angel of evolution: I am what I am, thou shall not pass my being now. He stood as Pisanel-lo’s saint stood, astonished perhaps more at his own astonish-ment at this world’s existing so close, so within reach of all that suffocating banality of ordinary day. In those few mo-ments of defiant song, any ordinary hour or place—and therefore the vast infinity of all Charles’s previous hours and places—seemed vulgarized, coarsened, made garish. The ap-palling ennui of human reality lay cleft to the core; and the heart of all life pulsed there in the wren’s triumphant throat.

It seemed to announce a far deeper and stranger reality than the pseudo-Linnaean one that Charles had sensed on the beach that earlier morning—perhaps nothing more original than a priority of existence over death, of the individual over the species, of ecology over classification. We take such priorities for granted today; and we cannot imagine the hostile implications to Charles of the obscure message the wren was announcing. For it was less a profounder reality he seemed to see than universal chaos, looming behind the fragile structure of human order.

There was a cheap uggs for sale immediate bitterness in this natural eucharist, since Charles felt in all ways excommunicated. He was shut out, all paradise lost. Again, he was like Sarah—he could stand here in Eden, but not enjoy it, and only envy the wren its ecstasy.


He took the path formerly used by Sarah, which kept him out of sight of the Dairy. It was well that he did, since the sound of a pail being clattered warned him that the dairyman or his wife was up and about. So he came into the woods and went on his way with due earnestness. Some paranoiac trans-ference of guilt now made him feel that the trees, the flowers, even the inanimate things around him were watching him. Flowers became eyes, stones had ears, the trunks of the reproving trees were a numberless Greek chorus.

He came to where the path forked, and took the left branch. It ran down through dense undergrowth and over increasingly broken terrain, for here the land was beginning to erode. The sea came closer, a milky blue and infinitely calm. But the land leveled out a little over it, where a chain of small meadows had been won from the wilderness; a hundred yards or so to the west of the last of these meadows, in a small gulley that eventually ran down to the cliff-edge, Charles saw the thatched roof of a barn. The thatch was mossy and derelict, which added to the already forlorn ap-pearance of the little stone building, nearer a hut than its name would suggest. Originally it had been some grazier’s summer dwelling; now it was used by the dairyman for storing hay; today it is gone without trace, so badly has this land deteriorated during the last hundred years.

Charles stood and stared down at it. He had expected to see the figure of a woman there, and it made him even more nervous that the place seemed so deserted. He walked down towards it, but rather like a man going through a jungle renowned for its tigers. He expected to be pounced on; and he was far from sure of his skill with his gun.

There was an old door, closed. Charles walked round the little building. To the east, a small square window; he peered through it into the shadows, and the faint musty-sweet smell of old hay crept up his nostrils. He could see the beginning of a pile of it at the end of the barn opposite the door. He walked round the other walls. She was not there. He stared back the way he had come, thinking that he must have preceded her. But the rough land lay still in the early morning peace. He hesitated, took out his watch, and waited two or three minutes more, at a loss what to do. Finally he pushed open the door of the barn.

He made out a rough stone floor, and at the far end two or three broken stalls, filled with the hay that was still to be used. But it was difficult to see that far end, since sunlight lanced brilliantly in through the small window. Charles ad-vanced to the slanting bar of light; and then stopped with a sudden dread. Beyond the light he could make out something hanging from a nail in an old stallpost: a black bonnet. Perhaps because of his reading the previous night he had an icy premonition that some ghastly sight lay below the parti-tion of worm-eaten planks beyond the bonnet, which hung like an ominously slaked vampire over what he could not yet see. I do not know what he expected: some atrocious mutila-tion, a corpse ... he nearly turned and ran out of the barn and back to Lyme. But the ghost of a sound drew him forward. He craned fearfully over the partition.

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Assumptions, hasty, crude, and vain,

Full oft to use will Science deign;

The corks the novice plies today

The swimmer soon shall cast away.

—A. H. Clough, Poem (1840)


Again I spring to make my choice;

Again in tones of ire

I hear a God’s tremendous voice—

“Be counsel’d, and retire!”

—Matthew Arnold, “The Lake” (1853)



The trial of Lieutenant Emile de La Ronciere in 1835 is psychiatrically one of the most interesting of early nine-teenth-century cases. The son of the martinet Count de La Ronciere, Emile was evidently a rather frivolous—he had a mistress and got badly into debt—yet not unusual young man for his country, period and profession. In 1834 he was attached to the famous cavalry school at Saumur in the Loire valley. His commanding officer was the Baron de Morell, who had a highly strung daughter of sixteen, named Marie. In those days commanding officers’ houses served in garrison as a kind of mess for their subordinates. One evening the Baron, as stiffnecked as Emile’s father, but a good deal more influential, called the lieutenant up to him and, in the presence of his brother officers and several ladies, furiously ordered him to leave the house. The next day La Ronciere was presented with a vicious series of poison-pen letters threatening the Morell family. All displayed an uncanny knowledge of the most intimate details of the life of the household, and all—the first absurd flaw in the prosecution case—were signed with the lieutenant’s initials.

Worse was to come. On the night of September 24th, 1834, Marie’s English governess, a Miss Allen, was woken by her sixteen-year-old charge, who told in tears how La Ronci-ere, in full uniform, had just forced his way through the window into her adjacent bedroom, bolted the door, made obscene threats, struck her across the breasts and bitten her hand, then forced her to raise her night-chemise and wound-ed her in the upper thigh. He had then escaped by the way he had come.

The very next morning another lieutenant supposedly fa-vored by Marie de Morell received a highly insulting letter, again apparently from La Ronciere. A duel was fought. La Ronciere won, but the severely wounded adversary and his second refused to concede the falsity of the poison-pen charge. They threatened La Ronciere that his father would be told if he did not sign a confession of guilt; once that was done, the matter would be buried. After a night of agonized indecision, La Ronciere foolishly agreed to sign.

He then asked for leave and went to Paris, in the belief that the affair would be hushed up. But signed letters contin-ued to appear in the Morells’ house. Some claimed that Marie was pregnant, others that her parents would soon both be murdered, and so on. The Baron had had enough. La Ronciere was arrested.

The number of circumstances in the accused’s favor was so large that we can hardly believe today that he should have been brought to trial, let alone convicted. To begin with, it was common knowledge in Saumur that Marie had been piqued by La Ronciere’s obvious admiration for her hand-some mother, of whom the daughter was extremely envious. Then the Morell mansion was surrounded by sentries on the night of the attempted rape; not one had noticed anything untoward, even though the bedroom concerned was on the top floor and reachable only by a ladder it would have required at least three men to carry and “mount”—therefore a ladder that would have left traces in the soft soil beneath the window ... and the defense established that there had been none. Furthermore, the glazier brought in to mend the pane broken by the intruder testified that all the broken glass had fallen outside the house and that it was in any case impossible to reach the window catch through the small aperture made. Then the defense asked why during the as-sault Marie had never once cried for help; why the light-sleeping Miss Allen had not ugg woken by the scuffling; why she and Marie then went back to sleep without waking Madame de Morell, who slept through the whole incident on the floor below; why the thigh wound was not examined until months after the incident (and was then pronounced to be a light scratch, now fully healed); why Marie went to a ball only two evenings later and led a perfectly normal life until the arrest was finally made—when she promptly had a ner-vous breakdown (again, the defense showed that it was far from the first in her young life); how the letters could still appear in the house, even when the penniless La Ronciere was in jail awaiting trial; why any poison-pen letter-writer in his senses should not only not disguise his writing (which was easily copiable) but sign his name; why the letters showed an accuracy of spelling and grammar (students of French will be pleased to know that La Ronciere invariably forgot to make his past participles agree) conspicuously absent from genuine correspondence produced for comparison; why twice he even failed to spell his own name correctly; why the incriminating letters appeared to be written on paper—the greatest contemporary authority witnessed as much— identical to a sheaf found in Marie’s escritoire. Why and why and why, in short. As a final doubt, the defense also pointed out that a similar series of letters had been found previously in the Morells’ Paris house, and at a time when La Ronciere was on the other side of the world, doing service in Cayenne.

But the ultimate injustice at the trial (attended by Hugo, Balzac and George Sand among many other celebrities) was the court’s refusal to allow any cross-examination of the prosecution’s principal witness: Marie de Morell. She gave her evidence in a cool and composed manner; but the pres-ident of the court, under the cannon-muzzle eyes of the Baron and an imposing phalanx of distinguished relations, decided that her “modesty” and her “weak nervous state” forbade further interrogation.

La Ronciere was found guilty and sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment. Almost every eminent jurist in Europe pro-tested, but in vain. We can see why he was condemned, or rather, by what he was condemned: by social prestige, by the myth of the pure-minded virgin, by psychological ignorance, by a society in full reaction from the pernicious notions of freedom disseminated by the French Revolution.

But now let me translate the pages ugg boots the doctor had marked. They come from the Observations Medico-psychologiques of a Dr. Karl Matthaei, a well-known Ger-man physician of his time, written in support of an abortive appeal against the La Ronciere verdict. Matthaei had al-ready had the intelligence to write down the dates on which the more obscene letters, culminating in the attempted rape, had occurred. They fell into a clear monthly—or menstrual— pattern. After analyzing the evidence brought before the court, the Herr Doktor proceeds, in a somewhat moralistic tone, to explain the mental illness we today call hysteria—the assumption, that is, of symptoms of disease or disability in order to gain the attention and sympathy of others: a neuro-sis or psychosis almost invariably caused, as we now know, by sexual repression.


If I glance back over my long career as a doctor, I recall many incidents of which girls have been the heroines, although their par-ticipation seemed for long impossible . . .

Some forty years ago, I had among my patients the family of a lieutenant-general of cavalry. He had a small property some six miles from the town where he was in garrison, and he lived there, riding into town when his duties called. He had an exceptionally pretty daughter of sixteen years’ age. She wished fervently that her father lived in the town. Her exact reasons were never discov-ered, but no doubt she wished to have the company of the officers and the pleasures of society there. To get her way, she chose a highly criminal procedure: she set fire to the country home. A wing of it was burned to the ground. It was rebuilt. New attempts at arson were made: and one day once again part of the house went up in flames. No less than thirty attempts at arson were committed subsequently. However nearly one came upon the arsonist, his identity was never discovered. Many people were apprehended and interrogated. The one person who was never suspected was that beautiful young innocent daughter. Several years passed; and then finally she was caught in the act; and condemned to life im-prisonment in a house of correction.

In a large German city, a charming young girl of a distinguished family found her pleasure in sending anonymous letters whose purpose was to break up a recent happy marriage. She also spread vicious scandals concerning another young lady, widely admired for her talents and therefore an object of envy. These letters continued for several years. No shadow of suspicion fell on the authoress, though many other people were accused. At last she gave herself away, and was accused, and confessed to her crime ... She served a long sentence in prison for her evil.

Again, at the very time and in this very place where I write,* the police are investigating a similar affair . . .

[* Hanover, 1836.]

It may be objected that Marie de Morell would not have in-flicted pain on herself to attain her ends. But her suffering was very slight compared to that in other cases from the annals of medicine. Here are some very remarkable instances.

Professor Herholdt of Copenhagen knew an attractive young woman of excellent education and well-to-do parents. He, like many of his colleagues, was completely deceived by her. She ap-plied the greatest skill and perseverance to her deceits, and over a course of several years. She even tortured herself in the most atrocious manner. She plunged some hundreds of needles into the flesh of various parts of her body: and when inflammation or suppuration had set in she had them removed by incision. She refused to urinate and had her urine removed each morning by means of a catheter. She herself introduced air into her bladder, which escaped when the instrument was inserted. For a year and a half she rested dumb and without movement, refused food, pretended spasms, fainting fits, and so on. Before her tricks were discovered, several famous doctors, some from abroad, examined her and were horror-struck to see such suffering. Her unhappy story was in all the news-papers, and no one doubted the authenticity of her case. Finally, in 1826, ugg truth was discovered. The sole motives of this clever fraud (cette adroite trompeuse) were to become an object of ad-miration and astonishment to men, and to make a fool of the most learned, famous and perceptive of them. The history of this case, so important from the psychological point of view, may be found in Herholdt: Notes on the illness of Rachel Hertz between 1807 and 1826.

At Luneburg, a mother and daughter hit on a scheme whose aim was to draw a lucrative sympathy upon themselves—a scheme they pursued to the end with an appalling determination. The daughter complained of unbearable pain in one breast, lamented and wept, sought the help of the professions, tried all their remedies. The pain continued; a cancer was suspected. She herself elected without hesitation to have the breast extirpated; it was found to be per-fectly healthy. Some years later, when sympathy for her had less-ened, she took up her old role. The other breast was removed, and was found to be as healthy as the first. When once again sympathy began to dry up, she complained of pain in the hand. She wanted that too to be amputated. But suspicion was aroused. She was sent to hospital, accused of false pretenses, and finally dispatched to prison.

Lentin, in his Supplement to a practical knowledge of medicine (Hanover, 1798) tells this story, of which he was a witness. From a girl of no great age were drawn, by the medium of forceps after previous incision of the bladder and its neck, no less than one hundred and four stones in ten months. The girl herself introduced the stones into her bladder, even though the subsequent operations caused her great loss of blood and atrocious pain. Before this, she had had vomiting, convulsions and violent symptoms of many kinds. She showed a rare skill in her deceptions.

After such examples, which it would be easy to extend, who would say that it is impossible for a girl, in order to attain a de-sired end, to inflict pain upon herself?*

[* I cannot leave the story of La Ronciere—which I have taken from the same 1835 account that Dr. Grogan handed Charles—without add-ing that in 1848, some years after the lieutenant had finished his time, one of the original prosecuting counsel had the belated honesty to sus-pect that he had helped procure a gross miscarriage of justice. He was by then in a position to have the case reopened. La Roncifere was com-pletely exonerated and rehabilitated. He resumed his military career and might, at that very hour Charles was reading the black climax of his life, have been found leading a pleasant enough existence as mili-tary governor of Tahiti. But his story has an extraordinary final twist. Only quite recently has it become known that he at least partly deserved the hysterical Mile de Morell’s revenge on him. He had indeed entered her bedroom on that September night of 1834; but not through the window. Having earlier seduced the governess Miss Allen (perfide Albion!), he made a much simpler entry from her adjoining bedroom. The purpose of his visit was not amatory, but in fulfillment of a bet he had made with some brother officers, to whom he had boasted of hav-ing slept with Marie. He was challenged to produce proof in the form of a lock of hair—but not from the girl’s head. The wound in Marie’s thigh was caused by a pair of scissors; and the wound to her self-esteem becomes a good deal more explicable. An excellent discussion of this bizarre case may be found in Rene Floriot, Les Erreurs Judic-iaires, Paris, 1968.]

Those latter pages were the first Charles read. They came as a brutal shock to him, for he had no idea that such perversions existed—and in the pure and sacred sex. Nor, of course, could he see mental illness of the hysteric kind for what it is: a pitiable striving for love and security. He turned to the beginning of the account of the trial and soon found himself drawn fatally on into that. I need hardly say that he identified himself almost at once with the miserable Emile de La Ronciere; and towards the end of the trial he came upon a date that sent a shiver down his spine. The day that other French lieutenant was condemned was the very same day that Charles had come into the world. For a moment, in that silent Dorset night, reason and science dissolved; life was a dark machine, a sinister astrology, a verdict at birth and without appeal, a zero over all.

He had never felt less free.

And he had never felt less sleepy. He looked at his watch. It lacked ten minutes of four o’clock. All was peace now outside. The storm had passed. Charles opened a window and breathed in the cold but clean spring air. Stars twinkled faintly overhead, innocently, disclaiming influence, either sin-ister or beneficent. And where was she? Awake also, a mile or two away, in some dark woodland darkness.

The effects of the cobbler and Grogan’s brandy had long worn off, leaving Charles only with a profound sense of guilt. He thought he recalled a malice in the Irish doctor’s eyes, a storing-up of this fatuous London gentleman’s troubles that would soon be whispered and retailed all over Lyme. Was it not notorious that his race could not keep a secret?

How puerile, how undignified his behavior had been! He had lost not only Winsyatt that previous day, but all his self-respect. Even that last phrase was a tautology; he had, quite simply, lost respect for everything he knew. Life was a pit in Bedlam. Behind the most innocent faces lurked the vilest iniquities. He was Sir Galahad shown Guinevere to be a whore.

To stop the futile brooding—if only he could act!—he picked up the fatal book and read again some of the passages in Matthaei’s paper on hysteria. He saw fewer parallels now with Sarah’s conduct. His guilt began to attach itself to its proper object. He tried to recollect her face, things she had said, the expression in her eyes as she had said them; but he could not grasp her. Yet it came to him that he knew her better, perhaps, than any other human being did. That ac-count of their meetings he had given Grogan . . . that he could remember, and almost word for word. Had he not, in his anxiety to hide his own real feelings, misled Grogan? Exaggerated her strangeness? Not honestly passed on what she had actually said?

Had he not condemned her to avoid condemning himself?

Endlessly he paced his sitting room, searching his soul and his hurt pride. Suppose she was what she had represented herself to be—a sinner, certainly, but also a woman of exceptional courage, refusing to turn her back on her sin? And now finally weakened in her terrible battle with her past and crying for help?

Why had he allowed Grogan to judge her for him?

Because he was more concerned to save appearances than his own soul. Because he had no more free will than an ammonite. Because he was a Pontius Pilate, a worse than he, not only condoning the crucifixion but encouraging, nay, even causing—did not all spring from that second meeting, when she had wanted to leave, but had had discussion of her situation forced upon her?—the events that now led to its execution.

He opened the window again. Two hours had passed since he had first done so. Now a faint light spread from the east. He stared up at the paling stars.


Those eyes.

Abruptly he turned.

If he met Grogan, he met him. His conscience must explain his disobedience. He went into his bedroom. And there, with an outward sour gravity reflecting the inward, self-awed and indecipherable determination he had come to, he began to change his clothes.

My strange distorted youth

By huangzw0711, 03:07

How often I sit, poring o’er

My strange distorted youth,

Seeking in vain, in all my store,

One feeling based on truth; . . .

So constant as my heart would be,

So fickle as it must,

‘Twere well for others and for me

‘Twere dry as summer dust.

Excitements come, and act and speech

Flow freely forth:—but no,

Nor they, nor aught beside can reach

The buried world below.

—A. H. Clough, Poem (1840)




The door was opened by the housekeeper. The doctor, it seemed, was in his dispensary; but if Charles would like to wait upstairs ... so, divested of his hat and his Inverness cape he soon found himself in that same room where he had drunk the grog and declared himself for Darwin. A fire burned in the grate; and evidence of the doctor’s solitary supper, which the housekeeper hastened to clear, lay on the round table in the bay window overlooking the sea. Charles very soon heard feet on the stairs. Grogan came warmly into the room, hand extended.

“This is a pleasure, Smithson. That stupid woman now— has she not given you something to counteract the rain?”

“Thank you ...” he was going to refuse the brandy decan-ter, but changed his mind. And when he had the glass in his hand, he came straight out with his purpose. “I have some-thing private and very personal to discuss. I need your advice.”

A little glint showed in the doctor’s eyes then. He had had other well-bred young men come to him shortly before their marriage. Sometimes it was gonorrhea, less often syphilis; sometimes it was mere fear, masturbation phobia; a wide-spread theory of the time maintained that the wages of self-abuse was impotence. But usually it was ignorance; only a year before a miserable and childless young husband had come to see Dr. Grogan, who had had gravely to explain that new life is neither begotten nor born through the navel.

“Do you now? Well I’m not sure I have any left—I’ve given a vast amount of it away today. Mainly concerning what should be executed upon that damned old bigot up in Marlborough House. You’ve heard what she’s done?”

“That is precisely what I wish to talk to you about.”

The doctor breathed a little inward sigh of relief; and he once again jumped to the wrong conclusion.

“Ah, of course—Mrs. Tranter is worried? Tell her from me that all is being done that can be done. A party is out searching. I have offered five pounds to the man who brings her back ...” his voice went bitter “... or finds the poor creature’s body.”

“She is alive. I’ve just received a note from her.”

Charles looked down before the doctor’s amazed look. And then, at first addressing his brandy glass, he began to tell the truth of his encounters with Sarah—that is, almost all the truth, for he left undescribed his own more secret feelings, He managed, or tried, to pass some of the blame off on Dr. Grogan and their previous conversation; giving himself a sort of scientific status that the shrewd little man opposite did not fail to note. Old doctors and old priests share one thing in common: they get a long nose for deceit, whether it is overt or, as in Charles’s case, committed out of embarrassment. As he went on with his confession, the end of Dr. Grogan’s nose began metaphorically to twitch; and this invisible twitching signified very much the same as Sam’s pursing of his lips. The doctor let no sign of his suspicions appear. Now and then he asked questions, but in general he let Charles talk his increas-ingly lame way to the end of his story. Then he stood up.

“Well, first things first. We must get those poor devils back.” The thunder was now much closer and though the curtains had been drawn, the white shiver of lightning trem-bled often in their weave behind Charles’s back.

“I came as soon as I could.”

“Yes, you are not to blame for that. Now let me see ...” The doctor was already seated at a small desk in the rear of the room. ugg a few moments there was no sound in it but the rapid scratch of his pen. Then he read what he had written to Charles.

“’Dear Forsyth, News has this minute reached me that Miss Woodruff is safe. She does not wish her whereabouts disclosed, but you may set your mind at rest. I hope to have further news of her tomorrow. Please offer the enclosed to the party of searchers when they return. ‘Will that do?”

“Excellently. Except that the enclosure must be mine.” Charles produced a small embroidered purse, Ernestina’s work, and set three sovereigns on the green cloth desk beside Grogan, who pushed two away. He looked up with a smile.

“Mr. Forsyth is trying to abolish the demon alcohol. I think one piece of gold is enough.” He placed the note and the coin in an envelope, sealed it, and then went to arrange for the letter’s speedy delivery.

He came back, talking. “Now the girl—what’s to be done about her? You have no notion where she is at the moment?”

“None at all. Though I am sure she will be where she indicated tomorrow morning.”

“But of course you cannot be there. In your situation you cannot risk any further compromise.”

Charles looked at him, then down at the carpet.

“I am in your hands.”

The doctor stared thoughtfully at Charles. He had just set a little test to probe his guest’s mind. And it had revealed what he had expected. He turned and went to the book-shelves by his desk and then came back with the same volume he had shown Charles before: Darwin’s great work. He sat before him across the fire; then with a small smile and a look at Charles over his glasses, he laid his hand, as if swearing on a Bible on The Origin of Species.

“Nothing that has been said in this room or that remains to be said shall go beyond its walls.” Then he put the book aside.

“My dear Doctor, that was not necessary.”

“Confidence in the practitioner is half of medicine.”

Charles smiled wanly. “And the other half?”

“Confidence in the patient.” But he stood before Charles could speak. “Well now—you came for my advice, did you not?” He eyed Charles almost as if he was going to box with him; no longer the bantering, but the fighting Irishman. Then he began to pace his “cabin,” his hands tucked under his frock coat.

“I am a young woman of superior intelligence and some education. I think the world has done badly by me. I am not in full ugg boots of my emotions. I do foolish things, such as throwing myself at the head of the first handsome rascal who is put in my path. What is worse, I have fallen in love with being a victim of fate. I put out a very professional line in the way of looking melancholy. I have tragic eyes. I weep without explanation. Et cetera. Et cetera. And now...” the little doctor waved his hand at the door, as if invoking magic “...enter a young god. Intelligent. Good-looking. A perfect specimen of that class my education has taught me to ad-mire. I see he is interested in me. The sadder I seem, the more interested he appears to be. I kneel before him, he raises me to my feet. He treats me like a lady. Nay, more than that. In a spirit of Christian brotherhood he offers to help me escape from my unhappy lot.”

Charles made to interrupt, but the doctor silenced him.

“Now I am very poor. I can use none of the wiles the more fortunate of my sex employ to lure mankind into their power.” He raised his forefinger. “I have but one weapon. The pity I inspire in this kindhearted man. Now pity is a thing that takes a devil of a lot of feeding. I have fed this Good Samaritan my past and he has devoured it. So what can I do? I must make him pity my present. One day, when I am walking where I have been forbidden to walk, I seize my chance. I show myself to someone I know will report my crime to the one person who will not condone it. I get myself dismissed from my position. I disappear, under the strong presumption that it is in order to throw myself off the nearest clifftop. And then, in extremis and de profundis—or rather de altis—I cry to my savior for help.” He left a long pause then, and Charles’s eyes slowly met his. The doctor smiled, “I present what is partly hypothesis, of course.”

“But your specific accusation—that she invited her own...”

The doctor sat and poked the fire into life. “I was called early this morning to Marlborough House. I did not know why—merely that Mrs. P. was severely indisposed. Mrs. Fairley—the housekeeper, you know—told me the gist of what had happened.” He paused and fixed Charles’s unhappy eyes. “Mrs. Fairley was yesterday at the dairy out there on Ware Cleeves. The girl walked flagrantly out of the woods under her nose. Now that woman is a very fair match to her mistress, and I’m sure she did her subsequent duty with all the mean appetite of her kind. But I am convinced, my dear Smithson, that she was deliberately invited to do it.”

“You mean ...” The doctor nodded. Charles gave him a terrible look, then revolted. “I cannot believe it. It is not possible she should—“

He did not finish the sentence. The doctor murmured, “It is possible. Alas.”

“But only a person of ...” he was going to say “warped mind,” but he stood abruptly and went to the window, parted the curtains, stared a blind moment out into the teeming

night. A livid flash of sheet lightning lit the Cobb, the beach, the torpid sea. He turned.

“In other words, I have been led by the nose.”

“Yes, I think you have. But it required a generous nose. And you must remember that a deranged mind is not a criminal mind. In this case you must think of despair as a disease, no more or less. That girl, Smithson, has a cholera, a typhus of the intellectual faculties. You must think of her like that. Not as some malicious schemer.”

Charles came back into the room. “And what do you suppose her final intention to be?”

“I very much doubt if she knows. She lives from day to day. Indeed she must. No one of foresight could have be-haved as she has.”

“But she cannot seriously have supposed that someone in my position ...”

“As a man who is betrothed?” The doctor smiled grimly. “I have known many prostitutes. I hasten to add: in pursu-ance of my own profession, not theirs. And I wish I had a guinea for every one I have heard gloat over the louis vuitton outlet that a majority of their victims are husbands and fathers.” He stared into the fire, into his past. “ ‘I am cast out. But I shall be revenged.’”

“You make her sound like a fiend—she is not so.” He had spoken too vehemently, and turned quickly away. “I cannot believe this of her.”

“That, if you will permit a man old enough to be your father to say so, is because you are half in love with her.”

Charles spun round and stared at the doctor’s bland face.

“I do not permit you to say that.” Grogan bowed his head. In the silence, Charles added, “It is highly insulting to Miss Freeman.”

“It is indeed. But who is making the insult?”

Charles swallowed. He could not bear these quizzical eyes, and he started down the long, narrow room as if to go. But before he could reach the door, Grogan had him by the arm and made him turn, and seized the other arm—and he was fierce, a terrier at Charles’s dignity.

“Man, man, are we not both believers in science? Do we not both hold that truth is the one great principle? What did Socrates die for? A keeping social face? A homage to de-corum? Do you think in my forty years as a doctor I have not learned to tell when a man is in distress? And because he is hiding the truth from himself? Know thyself, Smithson, know thyself!”

The mixture of ancient Greek and Gaelic fire in Grogan’s soul seared Charles. He stood staring down at the doctor, then looked aside, and returned to the fireside, his back to his tormentor. There was a long silence. Grogan watched him intently.

At last Charles spoke.

“I am not made for marriage. My misfortune is to have realized it too late.”

“Have you read Malthus?” Charles shook his head. “For him the tragedy of Homo sapiens is that the least fit to survive breed the most. So don’t say you aren’t made for marriage, my boy. And don’t blame yourself for falling for that girl. I think I know why that French sailor ran away. He knew she had eyes a man could drown in.”

Charles swiveled round in agony. “On my most sacred honor, nothing improper has passed between us. You must believe that.”

“I believe you. But let me put you through the old catechism. Do you wish to hear her? Do you wish to see her? Do you wish to touch her?”

Charles turned away again and sank into the chair, his face in his hands. It was no answer, yet it said everything. After a moment, he raised his face and stared into the fire.

“Oh my dear Grogan, if you knew the mess my life was in ... the waste of it ... the uselessness of it. I have no moral purpose, no real sense of duty to anything. It seems only a few months ago that I was twenty-one—full of hopes...all disappointed. And now to get entangled in this miserable business...”

Grogan moved beside him and gripped his shoulder. “You are not the first man to doubt his choice of bride.” “She understands so little of what I really am.” “She is—what?—a dozen years younger than yourself? And she has known you not six months. How could she understand you as yet? She is hardly out of the schoolroom.”

Charles nodded gloomily. He could not tell the doctor his real conviction about Ernestina: that she would never under-stand him. He felt fatally disabused of his own intelligence. It had let him down in his choice of a life partner; for like so many Victorian, and perhaps more recent, men Charles was to live all his life under the influence of the ideal. There are some men who are consoled by the idea that there are women less attractive than their wives; and others who are haunted by the knowledge that there are more attractive. Charles now saw only too well which category he belonged to. He murmured, “It is not her fault. It cannot be.”

“I should think not. A pretty young innocent girl like that.”

“I shall honor my vows to her.”

“Of course.”

A silence.

“Tell me what to do.”

“First tell me your real sentiments as regards the other.”

Charles looked up in despair; then down to the fire, and tried at last to tell the truth.

“I cannot say, Grogan. In all that relates to her, I am an enigma to myself. I do not love her. How could I? A woman so compromised, a woman you tell me is mentally diseased. But ... it is as if ... I feel like a man possessed against his will—against all that is better in his character. Even now her face rises before me, denying all you say. There is something in her. A knowledge, an apprehension of nobler things than are compatible with either evil or madness. Beneath the dross ... I cannot explain.”

“I did not lay evil at her door. But despair.”

No sound, but a floorboard or two that creaked as the doctor paced. At last Charles spoke again.

“What do you advise?”

“That you leave matters entirely in my hands.”

“You will go to see her?”

“I shall put on my walking boots. I shall tell her you have been unexpectedly called away. And you must go away, Smithson.”

“It so happens I have urgent business in London.”

“So much the better. And I suggest that before you go you lay the whole matter before Miss Freeman.”

“I had already decided upon that.” Charles got to his feet. But still that face rose before him. “And she—what will you do?”

“Much depends upon her state of mind. It may well be that all that keeps her sane at the present juncture is her belief that you feel sympathy—perhaps something sweeter— for her. The shock of your not appearing may, I fear, produce a graver melancholia. I am afraid we must antici-pate that.” Charles looked down. “You are not to blame that upon yourself. If it had not been you, it would have been some other. In a way, such a state of affairs will make things easier. I shall know what course to take.”

Charles stared at the carpet. “An asylum.”

“That colleague I mentioned—he shares my views on the treatment of such cases. We shall do our best. You would be prepared for a certain amount of expense?”

“Anything to be rid of her—without harm to her.”

“I know a private asylum in Exeter. My friend Spencer has patients there. It is conducted in an intelligent and enlight-ened manner. I should not recommend a public institution at this stage.”

“Heaven forbid. I have heard terrible accounts of them.”

“Rest assured. This place is a model of its kind.”

“We are not talking of committal?”

For there had arisen in Charles’s mind a little ghost of treachery: to discuss her so clinically, to think of her locked in some small room...

“Not at all. We are talking of a place where her spiritual wounds can heal, where she will be kindly treated, kept occupied—and will have the benefit of Spencer’s excellent experience and care. He has had similar cases. He knows what to do.”

Charles hesitated, then stood and held out his hand. In his present state he needed orders and prescriptions, and as soon as he had them, he felt better.

“I feel you have saved my life.”

“Nonsense, my dear fellow.”

“No, it is not nonsense. I shall be in debt to you for the rest of my days.”

“Then let me inscribe the name of your bride on the bill of credit.”

“I shall honor the debt.”

“And give the charming creature time. The best wines take the longest to mature, do they not?”

“I fear that in my own case the same is true of a very inferior vintage.”

“Bah. Poppycock.” The doctor clapped him on the shoul-der. “And by the bye, I think you read French?”

Charles gave a surprised assent. Grogan sought through his shelves, found a book, and then marked a passage in it with a pencil before passing it to his guest.

“You need not read the whole trial. But I should like you to read this medical evidence that was brought by the de-fense.”

Charles stared at the volume. “A purge?”

The little doctor had a gnomic smile.

“Something of the kind.”

Wednesday, 09. November 2011

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By huangzw0711, 03:54

ONLY THREE BLOCKS from the Hall, Le Fleur du Jour is a popular morning hangout for cops. At 6:30 a.m. the smell of freshly baked bread made noses quiver up and down the flower market. Joe, Conklin, and I were at one of the little tables on the patio with a view of the flower stalls in the alley. Having never been with Joe and Conklin together, I felt an uneasiness I would have hated to explain.

Joe was telling Conklin some of his thoughts about the arson-homicide cases, saying he agreed with us, that one person couldn’t have subdued the victims alone.

“These kids are show-offy smart,” Joe said. “Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.”

“And that means what?” I asked, raising an eyebrow. Did everyone know Latin but me?

Joe flashed me a grin. “It means, ‘Anything said in Latin sounds profound.’ ”

Conklin nodded, his brown eyes sober this morning. I’d seen this precise look when he interrogated a suspect. He was taking in everything about Joe, and maybe hoping that my ugg boots with his high-level career in law enforcement might actually have a theory.

Or better yet, Joe might turn out to be a jerk.

No doubt, Joe was appraising Richie, too.

“They’re definitely smart,” Conklin said, “maybe a little smarter than we are.”

“You know about Leopold and Loeb?” Joe asked, sitting back as the waiter put strawberry pancakes in front of him. The waiter walked around the table distributing eggs Benedict to me and to Conklin.

“I’ve heard their names,” Conklin said.

“Well, in 1924,” Joe said, “two smart and show-offy kids who were also privileged and sociopathic decided to kill someone as an intellectual exercise. Just to see if they could get away with it.”

Joe had our attention.

“Leopold had an IQ that went off the charts at around 200,” Joe said, “and Loeb’s IQ was at least 160. They picked out a schoolboy at random and murdered him. But with all their brilliance they made some dumb mistakes.”

“So you’re thinking our guys could have a louis vuitton outlet motive. Just to see if they could get away with it?”

“Has the same kind of feel.”

“Crime TV has been educational for this generation of bad guys,” Conklin said. “They pick up their cigarette butts and shell casings. . . . Our guys have been pretty careful. The clues we’re finding are the ones they’re leaving ugg purpose.”

Right about then, I stopped listening and just watched body language. Joe, directing everything to Conklin, coming on a little too strong. Conklin, deferring without being deferential. I was so attached to them both, I turned my head from one to another as if I were courtside at Wimbledon.

Blue eyes. Brown eyes. My lover. My partner.

I pushed my eggs to the side of my plate.

For probably the first time in my life, I had nothing to say.

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By huangzw0711, 03:53

CLAIRE AND I were sitting up in her bed that night after our outing at Susie’s, having a two-girl pajama party. Edmund was on tour with the San Francisco Symphony, and Claire had said, “I really, really don’t want to go into labor here all by myself alone, girlfriend.”

I looked over at her, lying in the huge divot she’d made in her memory-foam mattress with her rotund 260 pounds.

“I can’t get any bigger,” she said. “It’s not possible. I wasn’t this big with two boys, so how can this little girl-child turn me into the blimp that ate the planet?”

I laughed, thinking it was possible that when she’d had her first baby twenty years ago, she was a few sizes smaller than when she’d conceived Ruby Rose, but I didn’t say so.

“What can I get you?” I asked.

“Anything in the freezer compartment,” Claire said.

“Copy that,” I said, grinning at her. I returned with a carton of Chunky Monkey and two spoons, climbed back into the bed, saying, “It’s cruel to call an ice cream Chunky Monkey when that’s what it turns you into.”

Claire cackled, pried off the lid, and as we took turns dipping our spoons in, she said to me, “So how’s it uggs with you and Joe?”

“What do you mean?”

“Living together, you idiot. Are you thinking of getting seriously hooked up? As in married?”

“I like the way you kind of edge into a subject.”

“Hell. You’re not such a subtle creature yourself.”

I tipped my spoon in her direction - touché, my friend - then I started talking. Claire knew most of it: about my failed marriage, about my love affair with Chris, who’d been shot dead in the line of duty. And I talked about my sister, Cat, divorced with two young kids, holding down a big job, and having a bitter relationship with her ex.

“Then I look at you, Butterfly,” I said. “In your grown-up four-bedroom house. And you have your darling husband, two great kids off into the world, and now you have the guts and love enough to make another baby.”

“So where are you in all this, sugar?” Claire said. “You going to let Joe make the decision you don’t love him enough to marry him? Let some other girl make off with Joe, the perfect man?”

I threw myself back against the pillows and stared at the ceiling. I thought about the Job, about working with louis vuitton outlet seventeen hours a day and loving that. How little time I had for anything but work; hadn’t done Tai Chi in ages, stopped playing the guitar, even turned the nightly run with Martha over to Joe.

I put my mind on how different it would all be if I were married and had a baby, if there were people who worried about me every time I left the house. And cheap uggs - what if I got shot?

And then I considered the alternative.

Did I really want to be alone?

I was about to run all this by Claire, but I’d been quiet for so long, my best friend picked that moment to jump in.

“You’ll figure it out, sweetheart,” she said, capping the empty ice-cream container, resting her spoon in a Limoges saucer on the nightstand. “You’ll work on it and then, snap. You’ll just know what’s right for you.”

Would I?

How could Claire be so sure, when I was without a clue in the world?

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By huangzw0711, 03:53

IT WAS AFTER SEVEN when I got to Susie’s. The patrons at the bar had achieved a high degree of merriment. I didn’t recognize the plinky tune the steel band was playing, but it was all about sun and the sparkly Caribbean Sea.

Made me want to move to Jamaica and open a dive shop with Joe. Drink passion fruit mai tais and grill fish on the beach.

I reached our table in the back room as Lorraine was clearing away a plate of chicken bones. She took my order for a Corona and dropped off the menu. Claire was taking up one side of our booth, what she called “sitting for two,” while Cindy and Yuki sat across from her - Yuki pressed up against the wall as if she’d been smushed there like a bug.

It looked like she’d lost a fight.

I dragged up a chair, said, “What’d I miss?”

“Yuki gave a great closing argument,” Cindy said, and then Yuki broke in.

“But Davis obliterated it!”

“You are nuts. ugg got the final damned word, Yuki,” Cindy said. “You nailed it.”

I didn’t have to beg. As soon as we ordered dinner, Yuki launched into her impeccable L. Diana Davis impression, screaming, “Where’s the beef? Where’s the beef?”

When Yuki paused for breath, Cindy said, “Do your rebuttal, Yuki. Do it like you mean it.”

Yuki laughed a little hysterically, wiped tears from her eyes with a napkin, downed her margarita - a drink she could barely handle on a good day. And then she belched.

“I hate waiting for a verdict,” she said.

We all laughed, Cindy egging Yuki on until she said, “Okay.” And then she was into it, eyes glistening, hands gesturing, the whole Yuki deal.

“I said, ‘Was a crime committed? Well, ladies and gentlemen, there’s a reason the defendant is here. She was indicted by a grand jury and not because of her relative social standing to the deceased. The police didn’t throw a dart at a phone book.

“ ‘Junie cheap uggs for sale didn’t call the police and make a false confession.

“ ‘The police developed information that led them to the last person to see Michael Campion. That person was Junie Moon - and she admitted it.’ ”

“That’s gooood, sugar,” Claire murmured.

Yuki smiled, continued on. “ ‘We don’t have Michael Campion’s body, but in all the months cheap uggs he saw Ms. Moon, he has never called home, never used his credit card, his cell phone, or sent an e-mail to his parents or friends to say he’s all right.

“ ‘Michael wouldn’t do that. That’s not the kind of boy he was. So where is Michael Campion? Junie Moon told us. He died. He was dismembered. And his body was dumped in the garbage. She did it.

“ ‘Period.’ ”

“See?” Cindy said, grinning. “She totally nailed it.”

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By huangzw0711, 03:53

NO ONE HAD YET DISCOVERED what the L. stood for in L. Diana Davis. Some said it was something exotic; Lorelei or Letitia. Some said that Davis had stuck the initial in front of her name to add mystique.

Yuki guessed the L. stood for “lethal.”

Davis was wearing Chanel for her closing argument: a pink suit with black trim, calling up memories of Jackie Kennedy, although there was nothing of the former president’s wife in Davis’s strident voice.

“Ladies and gentlemen. You remember what I asked in my opening statement,” she demanded rather than asked. “Where’s the beef? And that’s the bottom line here. Where’s the body? Where’s the DNA? Where’s the confession? Where’s the proof in this case?

“The prosecution is trying to convince us that a person confesses to a crime and the police have her in custody and they don’t record her confession - and that doesn’t mean anything? They say that there’s no blood evidence and no body - and that doesn’t mean anything either?

“I’m sorry, ugg boots but something is wrong here,” Davis said, her hands on the railing of the jury box.

“Something is very wrong.

“Dr. Paige, a distinguished psychiatrist, got on the stand and said that in her opinion, Junie Moon falsely confessed because her self-esteem is so low it’s off the charts, and that Ms. Moon wanted to please the police. She also said that in her opinion, Ms. Moon feels guilty about being a prostitute and so she confessed to discharge some of that guilt.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you the dirty little secret about false confessions. Every time a major crime is committed, false confessions pour into the hotlines. Hundreds of people confessed to the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. Dozens of people told police they killed the Black Dahlia. Maybe you remember when John Mark Karr caused an international brouhaha by confessing to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey ten years after her death.

“He didn’t do it.

“People confess to crimes when they’ve been cleared ugg DNA evidence. Go figure. People confess for reasons you and I would find hard to understand, but it’s the role of a good investigator to separate false confessions from real ones.

“Junie Moon’s confession was false.

“The absence of evidence in this case is remarkable. If the name of the so-called victim was Joe Blow, there probably ugg have been an indictment, let alone a trial. But Michael Campion is a political celebrity and Ms. Moon is at the bottom of the social totem pole.

“It’s showtime!

“But this isn’t Showbiz Tonight, ladies and gentlemen. This is a court of lawwww,” Davis trumpeted. “So we’re asking you to use your common sense as well as the facts in evidence. If you do that, you can only find Junie Moon not guilty of the charges against her, period.”

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By huangzw0711, 03:53

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, Junie Moon is a prostitute,” Yuki said. “She’s in violation of the law every time she works, and her clientele is made up largely of schoolboys below the age of consent. But we don’t hold the defendant less credible because of what she does for a living. Ms. Moon has her reasons - and that doesn’t make her guilty of the charges against her.

“So, please judge her as you would anybody else. We’re all equal under the law. That’s the way our system works.

“Ms. Moon is charged with tampering with evidence and with murder in the second degree.

“In my opening statement, I told you that in order to prove murder, we have to prove malice. That is, that the person acted in such a way as we can construe them to have had ‘an abandoned and malignant heart.’

“What does an abandoned and malignant heart look like?

“Ms. Moon told the ugg boots that she ignored Michael Campion’s pleas for help, she let him die, and then she covered up this crime by dismembering and disposing of that young man’s body.

“Could any of you cut up a person’s body?” Yuki asked. “Can you imagine what’s involved in dismembering a human being? I have a hard time cutting up a chicken. What would it take to dismember a person who was living and breathing and speaking only hours before - someone who was sharing your bed?

“What kind of soul, what kind of character, what kind of person, what kind of heart, would it take to do that?

“Wouldn’t that behavior define an abandoned and malignant heart?

“The defendant made this confession when she thought she was off the record and in the clear. But Junie Moon got it wrong. A confession is a confession, ladies and gentlemen, on tape or off. It’s as louis vuitton outlet as that. She made an admission of guilt, and we’re holding her to it.

“Now, the People have the burden of proving our case beyond a reasonable doubt. So if you can’t answer every question in your mind, that’s normal. That’s human. That’s why your charge is to find the defendant guilty ugg reasonable doubt - but not beyond all doubt.”

Yuki’s voice was throbbing in her throat when she said, “We don’t know where Michael Campion’s body is. All we know is the last person to see him is sitting in that chair.

“Junie Moon confessed again and again and again.

“And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all you need to find her guilty and to give justice to Michael Campion and his family.”