Categorized In


Tolstoy, Leo, trans. Louise Maud | Dover, 2004


pp. 130 - 131

Prince Dimitri Nekhlyudov (neck-lee-YOO-dov) seduces a beautiful housemaid, Katerína Máslova, impregnates her by the seduction, and spoils her life. She becomes a prostitute to support herself. She is sentenced to Siberia for crimes she apparently had not committed. Nekhlyadov, having served ineffectually on the jury that convicted Máslova, visits her. He discovers the depths of his corruption of her. Her “once sweet face,” is now “defiled and puffy and lit up by an evil glitter in the black, squinting eyes.” Nekhlyudov senses in her soul “one who was now hostile to him . . . preventing him from getting at her heart.” He reads in her eyes “something so dreadful, so coarse, so repellent that he cannot go on.” Worse, her corruption is so advanced that when he tries to ask her to forgive him (he selfishly asks for forgiveness without first confessing his sin) she appears not even to register what sort of a thing forgiveness might be. She twice calls his reference to it “odd.”