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EVENTS IN THE SCHOOL-LIFE OF DMITRI TERENTIEFF.



SCHOOLBOY DAYS

IN RUSSIA



BY



ANDRE LAURIE,



TRANSLATED BY LAURA E. KENDALL




BOSTON
ESTES AND LAURIAT

PUBLISHERS



Copyright, 1892,
BY ESTES AND LAURIAT.



3Snttoraitg
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.




CONTENTS.



CHAPTER PAGE

I. A CRUSHING BLOW 9

II. RECOLLECTIONS OF MY CHILDHOOD 28

III. THE HAUNTED LAKE 43

IV. SACHA 57

V. A THRILLING ADVENTURE WITH A WOLF .... 71

VI. THE SITOVKA FAIR 85

VII. AN IRREPARABLE Loss 98

VIII. A CRUEL DISAPPOINTMENT 114

IX. HOMELESS AND FRIENDLESS IN A STRANGE CITY . 129

X. NEW FACES 147

XI. A FAMOUS MUSICIAN 160

XII. THE BITER BITTEN 173

XIII. MY VOCATION REVEALS ITSELF AT LAST .... 188

XIV. A SURPRISE 201

XV. THE VAMPIRE 217

XVI. A RACE ON SKATES . 229

XVII. GRICHINE'S SECRET 247

XVIII. THE TRIAL 263

XIX. EXTRACT FROM THE Moscow CHRONICLE .... 278

XX. EIGHT YEARS AFTERWARD 292

XXI. MY SYMPHONY 305

XXII. A STRANGE WEDDING-GIFT. CONCLUSION . . . 318



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE

EVENTS IN THE SCHOOL LIFE OF DMITRI TERENTIEFF Frontispiece.

"I GAZED LONG AND SILENTLY AT THE PAPER" 13

"CAYENNE PEPPER STUNG HIS NOSTRILS AND FILLED HIS

EYES WITH BLINDING TEARS " 29

"Mv FATHER APPEARED UPON THE THRESHOLD, LAMP IN

HAND" 53

" I PLACED BEFORE HIM A BIG EARTHEN PAN OF WATER " ' 67

DMITRI RESCUING SACHA FROM THE WOLF 79

PORPHYRE AND THE ClRCUS HORSE 93

" THAT CHILD is CHARMING " 107

" ' I WANT TO SEE M. BEREZOFF,' I REPLIED " . . . 121

DMITRI'S EXPERIENCE AT HIS LODGING-HOUSE 143

DMITRI IN PERPLEXITY ABOUT HIS NIGHT'S LODGING ... 157

DMITRI IN THE OLD MUSICIAN'S ROOM 169

STRODTM ANN'S EXPERIENCE IN THE TOOL-HOUSE .... 183

DMITRI DEEP IN HIS MUSICAL STUDIES 197

DMITRI'S MEETING WITH SNAP AND PORPHYRE 205

"WHAT DELIGHTFUL HOURS I SPENT ALONE AT THE ORGAN" 225

DMITRI AND SACHA AT THE ICE CARNIVAL 241

GRICHINK AND HIS PROTEGEES 257

" IT WAS SNAP, MY POOR, FAITHFUL DOG ! " 267

SACHA IN THE COURT-ROOM 283

SACHA INTRODUCED TO COUNT OTTAVIO 299

"I AM PROUD OF YOU, DMITRI" 31 I

" IT IS TO MY DEAR SACHA THAT I DEDICATE THESE RE-
COLLECTIONS OF MY LIFE" 325




SCHOOLBOY DAYS IN RUSSIA,



CHAPTER I.

A CRUSHING BLOW.

MY name is Dmitri F6dorovitch Te'rentieff. I am just
sixteen, and since Easter I have been a member of
the Senior Class in Saint- Vladimir Gymnasium, Moscow,
where I have been pursuing my studies for the past two
years.

A most appalling and unjust accusation is now hanging
over me, and it is in the depths of a gloomy dungeon
that I am writing these lines. The heavily barred window
that lights my cell is so small that I can scarcely see;
nevertheless I shall persevere in my attempt to write my
vindication, to prove by a truthful account of my whole



10 SCHOOLBOY DAYS IN RUSSIA.

life that I am entirely innocent of the terrible crime of
which I am accused.

I think I know the real culprit. It is one of my col-
lege mates. A word from me would, perhaps, suffice to
immure him in this gloomy prison, to which I was brought
two days ago, to make him the inmate of this damp cell
infested with rats and vermin : I can hear the rats running
about now, under the dirty straw that serves as my couch.
He would receive from the hand of the jailer the loaf of
black bread and jug of water which constitute my rations
for each day ; he would find his fingers and feet becom-
ing more and more benumbed by the cold wind that blows
through the bars of my window; he would wear these
heavy chains ; he would be the object of general distrust
and suspicion.

But how can I accuse another person without proofs*
especially when that other person is a schoolmate, and I
have only some rather vague charges to make against
him, charges based probably to a great extent upon the
antipathy and distrust with which he inspired me from the
beginning of our acquaintance?

No, I suffer too much myself under this unjust accusa-
tion to be willing to incur any risk of inflicting like suffer-
ing upon another innocent person. I have no real proofs,
so I shall be silent But I may surely be allowed to speak
frankly to myself; so I feel no scruples about tracing
upon these pages, intended for my eye alone, the name
of Capiton Karlovitch Strodtmann. He is the person
whom I believe to be guilty of the heinous crime of which
I am accused.

I will begin by briefly narrating the events which imme-
diately preceded my incarceration here, This is the sev-



A CRUSHING BLOW. II



enteenth day of April. On the morning of the fourteenth,
I reached the Gymnasium about eight o'clock, as usual,
and was not a little surprised to see two policemen standing
outside the gate, and two more inside the courtyard.

They instantly surrounded me; and as I stood there
gazing in silent amazement, first at the officers and then
at my fellow-students congregated about the gateway, the
sergeant asked,

" Are you Dmitri Terentieff? "

" That is my name."

" Then follow me."

Preceded by the sergeant, and closely followed by the
other officers, I went up to the president's room. We
found M. P6revsky in his private office; and strange to
say, this gentleman, who is usually so calm and so ab-
sorbed in thought that we call him " the moonstruck
philosopher," was striding wildly to and fro like a mad
man, with his spectacles perched on the top of his head.
A scrap of paper, which he crumpled nervously in his
agitation, was in his hand.

As I entered the room, escorted by the policeman,
M. SareVine, the assistant superintendent, together with
several of our teachers, came in by another door.

Our worthy president seated himself at his desk, and
surveying me with a troubled air which I had never ob-
served in him before, said gravely,

" Dmitri Terentieff, a most unfortunate affair which
compromises you deeply has occurred here. You are
about to be examined in regard to it. Answer all ques-
tions that may be put to you frankly, and without dis-
guising anything. Paul Petrovitch Sarevine, I yield the
floor to you. Question the accused."



12 ^ SCHOOLBOY DAYS IN RUSSIA.

Stunned by this ominous preamble, I did not even hear
the first few questions the assistant superintendent ad-
dressed to me, but gazed at him in silence, vaguely
wondering of what crime I could be suspected.

Our assistant superintendent, M. Sare"vine, is a man
about forty-eight years of age, a giant in stature, who
always reminds me of a colonel in the Imperial Guard.
He wears a long black mustache, and has bushy eye-
brows that nearly cover his eyes when he is irritated, and
contracts them. His severity, or rather the immense im-
portance he attaches to discipline, amounts to positive
fanaticism, and makes him a much more formidable per-
sonage than our kind-hearted president, who had sunk
back in his armchair, and was surveying me with more
sorrow than anger in his gaze.

" Dmitri T6rentieff," said M. Bare" vine, omitting, inten-
tionally perhaps, my middle name, 1 " look at this paper,
and tell me if it belongs to you."

My heart failed me, for it was a scrap of music paper
upon which I had begun to jot down a melody of my own
composition during study hours, the afternoon before,
instead of preparing my lessons. Supposing I was about
to be punished for this violation of rules, a breach of
discipline which our superintendent never overlooked, it
was in a faltering voice that I began to stammer out an
excuse.

" Does this scrap of paper belong to you? Yes or no,"
demanded M. SareVine, sternly.

" Yes, sir."

1 In Russia, it is considered polite to add the father's Christian name to
that of the son ; as, Dmitri Fedorovitch Terentieff, that is to say, Dmitri,
son of Fedor Terentieff.




" I GAZED LONG AND SILENTLY AT THE PAPER."



A CRUSHING BLOW. 15

"Did you write this?" continued the superintendent,
showing me the other side of the sheet.

I gazed in wonder at the words inscribed upon it, for I
had certainly jotted down only a few bars of music upon
it the day before, having purchased the paper that very
morning; but this was certainly my handwriting. I re-
cognized the curve of my b's, the little quirl with which I
finish my e's, and above all my capitals, which are very
like those we see in type, in short, all the peculiarities of
my chirography, which is fuller, rounder, and bolder than
that of the majority of my fellow students.

In my profound astonishment, I gazed long and silently
at the paper, reading the following words over again and
again without the slightest comprehension of their
meaning :

"Death-warrant of M. Gavruchka, door-keeper at Saint-
Vladimir College ! "

" Answer me," thundered M. Sarevine. " Do you
recognize this scrap of paper? Was it you who penned
these lines?"

" It looks like my handwriting, but I certainly did not
write it," I faltered.

" My boy, my boy, tell the truth," interposed the pre-
sident. " An offence committed thoughtlessly can be
forgiven, but obstinacy and falsehood only aggravate it."

" Ivan Alexandrovitch Perevsky," I responded earnestly,
" my father never told an untruth, and taught me never to
utter a falsehood under any circumstances. What I just
said is the truth."

" Take care ! " exclaimed M. Sarevine. " I have
warned you that your words may be fraught with the



1 6 SCHOOLBOY DAYS IN RUSSIA.

gravest consequences to yourself. Do you persist in your
denial? "

"Yes, sir; I did not write these words. I am even
ignorant of their meaning."

" Very well," said M. Sar6vine. Then, turning to a
person I had not noticed before, seated in a window niche,
he asked,

" Are you taking all this down, Golovetchov? "

" Yes, in shorthand," was the response.

Behold, my former instructor in stenography was
evidently acting as clerk of the investigation. Good
heavens ! what did all this mean ?

" Bring Strodtmann in," ordered the superintendent.

My classmate was immediately ushered into the room.
He is a fellow I have always disliked. He is of German
descent on his father's side; Russian, on his mother's.
We are about the same age. He is tall, about my height,
indeed ; and like me, he has light hair and wears a white
cap.

Like me, too, he is one of the least gifted pupils of the
senior class. He comes out of his examinations no better
than I do ; nor is his career as a student attended with any
more brilliant success. In short, there is some resemblance
between us, but the resemblance, I trust, is only superficial.
In character, we are direct opposites, at least I hope so.

At first, I could not believe that he was really going to
testify against me ; but I was soon undeceived.

"Capiton Karlovitch Strodtmann, let us hear the facts
so far as you know them," said the superintendent.

Capiton, who had been unusually pale when he entered,
blushed deeply on hearing these words ; and it seemed to
me that he avoided my gaze.



A CRUSHING BLOW. 17

" The facts are as follows," he answered, in a rather care-
less tone. " Yesterday I devoted the last hour of the
session, as usual, to the preparation of my Greek transla-
tion. There were only a few students in the room, eight
or nine in all, perhaps, and among them, my classmate
now present. Having occasion to look out a word in my
Greek dictionary, I discovered that I had left it at home.
All my classmates were using theirs except Terentieff,
who was writing something on a large sheet of paper. I
approached him to ask him to lend me his lexicon ; and on
seeing me coming he concealed the paper so I could not
see what he was writing. I had time, however, to catch a
glimpse of some bold letters written upon a sheet of music
paper."

" Dmitri Terentieff, do you admit the truth of this state-
ment? " interposed M. Sarevine.

" Yes, except in regard to the bold letters written upon
the paper. It was music I was writing, notes and not
words."

" Then why did you hide the paper when your class-
mate approached you?"

" Because because it was " I paused, greatly
embarrassed. I hated so to confess the truth, to ac-
knowledge that this music was of my own composition.
How could I confess that music was the one engrossing
passion of my life? How could I confess that strange,
entrancing melodies were ever transporting my soul upon
their powerful pinions far, far from Greek and Latin,
far from the grim walls of Saint- Vladimir and Moscow, up
to the very gates of heaven. How could I confess to
these indifferent and perhaps hostile ears that I was
dreaming of abandoning science for art, letters for divine



1 8 SCHOOLBOY DAYS IN RUSSIA.

harmony; that the composition of a great symphony
haunts me day and night, and that I was jotting down one
of the melodies yesterday during study hours? Why
should I disclose my secret to every one, and expose my-
self to the ridicule of my classmates and the scorn of my
instructors?

I resolved to say no more.

" Your silence compromises you deeply," said M. Sare-
vine, after a moment. " Answer, why did you conceal the
paper from your classmate? "

" I did not wish him to see what I was writing."

" And why? "

" I do not care to divulge my reasons."

A disapproving murmur resounded through the room.
The president silenced it with a gesture, then, turning
kindly to me, he urged me to keep nothing back ; but I
could not make up my mind to speak.

" Finish your deposition, Strodtmann," said the super-
intendent.

" I returned to my seat, and went to work again upon
my translation. About five o'clock, M. Sarevine entered
the study hall. I glanced at Te"rentieff, and saw him hastily
slip the big sheet of paper into his desk again. M. Sare-
vine made his round, and went out. Dmitri Fedorovitch
had his books open on the desk before him, and seemed
to be studying hard all the time the superintendent was
in the room. Five minutes after M. Sardvine went out,
the bell sounded. Dmitri was one of the first to leave
the room. He had his lunch basket under his arm, and
at the time I thought it more than probable that he had
placed the paper in it, and shortly afterwards I discovered
that such was really the fact."



A CRUSHING BLOW. 19

" Strodtmann is mistaken ! " I exclaimed hastily; " I left
the paper in my desk, under my portfolio."

" Do not interrupt the witness," said M. Sarevine,
sternly.

" Dmitri having left without asking me for his diction-
ary," continued Strodtmann, " I went to his desk to replace
the book before starting for home."

" Were any of your classmates still in the study
hall?"

" No, they had all left. Gavruchka, the janitor, was the
only person in the room besides myself. As I opened
Dmitri's desk, I happened to think of the mysterious
paper, and my curiosity having been aroused in regard
to it, I thought I 'd look for it."

" This is a little too much ! " I cried indignantly. " How
impertinent in you to dare to rummage about among my
private papers, and then boast of it, into the bargain ! "

" I have already told you that you are not to interrupt the
witness," said M. Sarevine, sternly. "What followed?"

"I did not find the paper; but while I was putting
things in order, our classmate, Serge Kratkine, re-entered
the study hall.

"'What are you looking for?' he asked. 'Why are
you rummaging in Dmitri's desk? You know very well
that he won't like it.'

" ' I am only returning his dictionary,' I replied, think-
ing it advisable, quite as much on Dmitri's account as on
my own, to make no allusion to the mysterious paper
which was no longer in his desk. He had evidently taken
it away with him, as I suspected when I saw him leave
the room."

A wild paroxysm of anger seized me at this point in



2O SCHOOLBOY DAYS IN RUSSIA.

Strodtmann's testimony. His impertinent act, and the way
in which he mingled truth with falsehood in his statements,
exasperated me beyond endurance.

" What do you mean? " I shouted angrily. " After being
guilty of the gross outrage of tampering with my private
papers in order to ferret out my secrets, how dare you lie,
and say that the paper was not there? Doubtless you
have stolen it; for though I have no idea of your motive
in inventing all this, I know you well enough to feel
certain that you are plotting some villany."

As I uttered these words in tones of frantic rage, I saw
Strodtmann turn pale ; and the look he bestowed upon me
was so full of hatred that it astonished me, though no one
else seemed to notice it.

" Your very anger is conclusive evidence against you,"
interrupted M. SareVine, in tones of icy coldness. " Go
on with your testimony, witness."

" But he lies, Mr. Superintendent ! " I cried hotly.
" He pretends that he did not find this paper, this per-
fectly harmless paper, and I solemnly swear to you that
I left it in my desk, under my books, where I supposed it
perfectly safe, though that was really of very little con-
sequence, as I had written only two or three bars of
music on it. Who could have had the audacity to take
it and write all this nonsense, and above all, imitate my
handwriting so carefully? It is incomprehensible. And
if the paper was not found in my desk, where did it
come from ? "

" It was not in your desk that we found it, I regret to
say," replied our worthy president, in grave and troubled
tones. " The paper, Dmitri, was picked up this morning,
in my presence, by M. SareVine, in the room of Janitor



A CRUSHING BLOW. 21

Gavruchka, the unfortunate victim of an assault of which
you are the supposed perpetrator."

"Gavruchka? Victim?" I repeated, without compre-
hending in the least.

Up to that time, Gavruchka had certainly never figured
in the r61e of a victim, but rather in the role of a tyrant
and persecutor. For years all the students, young and
old, had cordially united in anathematizing this function-
ary, who had seemed to delight in humiliating them in
every possible way ; so upon hearing the president's word,
I instantly concluded that some rough trick had been
played upon the unpopular janitor.

" Then some one thought to play a joke upon Gavruchka
by sending him this paper, I suppose, but I know nothing
at all about it," I answered carelessly.

" The joke was a very serious one," responded M. Sare-
vine, curtly. "Gavruchka was found unconscious, and to
all appearance lifeless, in his room at seven o'clock this
morning, and everything seems to indicate that he has been
the victim of a violent assault. He has rallied a little, but
he is still unable to utter a word, and it seems more than
probable that he will die from the rough usage he has
received, as his brain is seriously injured. Appearances
are certainly very much against you, and you would do
well, I think, to confess your guilt without further delay.
Name your accomplices, and explain to us how a joke
could have degenerated into such a heinous crime. Once
more, and for the last time, I entreat you to confess all."

I was overwhelmed with consternation by this announce-
ment. Gavruchka lying at the point of death ! and I
Dmitri Terentieff accused of being his assassin! They
could calmly announce such a fact to me ! They believed



22 SCHOOLBOY DAYS IN RUSSIA.

me capable of such a crime ! The mere thought was
enough to drive one mad. For a moment my head
whirled wildly round and round ; then a terrible darkness
seemed to settle down upon me, and like one in a dream I
listened to the testimony of the other witnesses.

Serge Arcadievitch Kratkine, my most intimate friend,
was next summoned. He confirmed Strodtmann's testi-
mony in relation to his return to the study hall, and stated
that he and Strodtmann left the building together. Serge
felt sure that I was innocent; but he had no proof of
it, and was even compelled to admit that the writing
corresponded with mine in every particular. Several of my
classmates, among them Grichine Yegov, testified likewise.

Afterwards one of the policemen gave his testimony.
He declared that he had seen me enter the janitor's room
about eight o'clock the evening before. He recognized
me perfectly. I was wearing the same clothing, and the
same white cap.

"What brought you here last evening?" asked our
superintendent.

I had no difficulty in answering this question. It was
only necessary for me to tell the truth.

" On returning home last evening I discovered that I
had forgotten my Greek dictionary," I replied. " I had
lent it to Strodtmann, as he told you a few minutes ago ;
and as I had not even looked at my translation for this
morning, I "

" What were you doing in study hour ? "

" With such a grave charge hanging over me, I can no
longer hesitate to tell you. I spent the entire study hour
in jotting down a melody which was running in my head,
and which prevented me from thinking of my translation;



A CRUSHING BLOW. 23

so I resolved to prepare it in the evening at home, and it
was in the hope that Gavruchka would allow me to enter
the study hall, and get my dictionary, that I returned here.
I rapped at the small door on the right of the main
entrance, the one leading directly into the janitor's room.
Gavruchka opened the door himself. I entered, and made
known my request ; but he absolutely refused to open the
classroom, saying it was contrary to rules, so I left
immediately afterwards."

"How long did you remain in Gavruchka's room?"
inquired the president.

" One minute, perhaps ; two, at the very longest."

" Did you see the accused leave the building? " asked M.
Sarevine, turning to the policeman.

" No, or at least not alone. After I saw him enter the
janitor's room, I walked on to the end of this street, and
then down- the next street. This took me at least a half
hour, and I forgot all about the young man until, finding
myself about fifty yards from the college about quarter of
twelve o'clock, I saw the side door cautiously open, and
three young men come out. One was tall, just about
Terentieff 's height and size, I should say ; the others were
much smaller. They all wore long coats, and were muffled
up to their very eyes. The tallest of the three wore the
white cap of a senior student. Surprised to see them
coming out of the building at that hour of the night, I con-
cluded to follow them. They walked very rapidly, and
parted without exchanging a word, at the corner of the
next street. I continued to follow the tall one, and as he
passed a street-lamp, I could see that he had light hair.
In fact, I feel certain that it was the same young man I
had seen entering the building about eight o'clock.



24 SCHOOLBOY DAYS IN RUSSIA.

Nevertheless, I must admit that the witness Strodtmann
has hair of the same color, and that he looks almost as
much like the young man I followed last night as the
accused does."

I glanced at my fellow student as the officer uttered
these words ; and seeing that his face was absolutely livid
in hue, there flashed across my mind a hasty, but none the
less firm conviction that he was the real culprit, but that
he had resolved to cast the odium of the crime upon' me.

I glanced at the other persons present, but to my great
surprise, no one seemed to notice his agitation.

" I followed the young man as far as the Petrovska," con-
tinued the officer. " There, he either slipped around some
dark corner or hastily entered a house, for all at once I
lost sight of him. Having no special reason to suspect
him of any mischief, I abandoned the pursuit, and probably
should have forgotten all about it, if our sergeant had not
been hastily summoned here this morning. I accompanied
him. On our arrival, we found the president and the
superintendent in the janitor's room, bending over the
apparently lifeless body of Gavruchka. The unfortunate
man was in a kneeling posture, with his forehead resting
upon a table, his eyes closely bandaged, his hands securely
tied behind him, and a wet towel, twisted like a rope, on
the back of his neck. On the floor beside him lay the
paper with his death-warrant written upon it. I watched
the pupils as they entered the building this morning, and
without the slightest difficulty identified T6rentieff as the
young man who entered the janitor's room at eight o'clock
last evening; but I was not able to identify the persons
who were in company with hirn when he left the building
about midnight."



A CRUSHING BLOW. 2$

The officer's testimony seemed unanswerable. How


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