B. V. (Boris Viktorovich) Savinkov.

The pale horse online

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myself. Two are not enough.'

' We are three.'

* Who is the third ? '

' I am. You forget that.'

' You ? '

' AVhy, of course.'

A silence followed.

' It 's very difficult to do it in the street,

' What 's difficult ? '

" Difficult to do it in the street, I say.'

' We wijl go to his house.'

' To his house ? '

' Yes. Why are you so astonished ? '

' You still have hope, George ? '

' I am certain. . . . You ought to be ashamed
of yourself, Heinrich.'

He took my hand with an embarrassed air.

' Forgive me, George.'

' Yes, certainly. But remember : now that
Fedor has been killed, it is our turn. Do you
understand ? '

He answered in an agitated whisper : ' Yes.'

But at that instant I regretted that Fedor
was no more at my side.


August 9.

I forgot to light the candles. In the grey
twilight I could see Erna's vacillating silhouette
in the corner. She came stealthily to my room
to-day and did not speak. She did not even

' George,' she said at last.

' What is it, Erna ? '

' It is — it is my fault.'
■ ' What is your fault ? '

' That Fedor . . .'

She spoke slowly, and this time there were
no tears in her voice.

' Nonsense, Erna. Don't you torment your-

' Oh, it was I ; it was I who . . .'

I took her hand.

' It is not your fault, Erna. Take my word
for it.'

' He might have remained alive . . .'

' Don't, Erna. You simply bore me.'

She got up from her chair, walked a few steps,
and again sat down heavily. I said :

' Heinrich thinks we had better give it up.'

' Who thinks that ? '

' Heinrich.'


' Give up ? Why ? '

' Ask him, Erna.'

' Should we really give up our efforts, George ? '

' You think so too, don't you, Erna ? '

' I wish you would say first.*

' Well, of course not. We must go on.'

Then she asked with anxiety :

' Who is going to be the third ? '

' I, Erna.'

' You ? '

' Well, yes.'

She dropped her head and, pressing her face
to the window, looked out on the dark square.
Then she suddenly rose and walked over to me,
and kissed my lips passionately.

' George dear. . . . Shall we die together ?
. . . George ? '

Again the night fell silently upon us.

August 11.
There are two alternatives left to us : the first
is to let a few days pass, and to waylay him
again in the street ; the second to go to his house.
I know that we are being sought for. We will
find it very difficult to stay another week in
town. And even more difficult to take up the


same posts. Well, let us say, I will take Fedor's
place ; Vania луШ return to his previous post, and
Heinrich will again remain in reserve.

But the police are on the alert. The streets
are full of detectives. They are watching for
us. They may surround us and seize us by
surprise. And will the governor drive through
the same streets ? He could easily choose some
roundabout way. . . . But what if we go to
his house ? Of course, I don't care луЬо dies in
the explosion — whether his family, his detec- ^
tives, or his escort. But the risk is great. The
house is a large one and has many rooms. . . .
I have great doubts after carefully considerino
all the ' pros ' and ' cons.' I am not sure whether
we ought to go there. How hard it is to decide.
Yet we must decide.

August 13.

Vania is a gentleman now : he wears a soft
hat, a light-coloured tie, a grey jacket. His hair
is curly as before, and his pensive eyes sparkle.

' How sad that we have lost Fedor,' he said
to me.

' Very sad indeed.'

He smiled a melancholv smile.

' It is not Fedor vou miss,' he said.




' What do you mean, Vania ? '

' You are sorry you lost a fellow- worker ?
Isn't that so ? '

' Certainly.*

' You see yourself. There was a worker, a
genuine, fearless worker. And полу he is no
longer here. And you say to yourself : How
shall we get on without him ? '

' It 's quite true.'

' There, you see. ... As for Fedor personally,
you have forgotten him. You don't miss him.'

A military band was playing on the boulevard.
It was Sunday. The working-men were strolling
in red shirts, with concertinas in their hands.
They were chatting and laughing.

' Listen — I can't help thinking of Fedor,' said
Vania. ' To me he лvas not merely a fellow-
worker, not merely a revolutionary. . . . Just
think what he felt hiding behind the piles of
firewood. He was firing, and he kne^^ all the
time, he knew with every drop of his blood, that
his death was coming. Hovr long did he look
into the face of death ? '

' Vania, Fedor was not afraid.'

' I don't mean that, Georgie. I know he was
not. . . . But can yo ' actually realise his agony ?


Can you imagine how he suffered after he had
been wounded — when his eyes grew dim and his
hfe was going from him ? Have you thought
of that ? '

' No, Vania, I have not.*

' Then you never loved him,' he said in a

' Fedor is dead,' I said. . . . ' It would be
better if you told me now whether we ought to
go to . . . there, his house ? '

' To his house ? '

' Yes.'

' What do you mean ? '

' I mean whether we should blow up the whole

' And the people ? '

' What people ? '

* His family, the children ? '

' Is that лvhat you are thinking of ? . . .
Nonsense. . . .'

Vania was silent for a while.

' George,' he said at last.

' What ? '

' I can't agree to that.'

' Agree to what ? '

' To go there.'


' Nonsense. . . . Why ? '
^^ ' I can't . . . because of the children. . . .
No, George,' he went on in great agitation,
' don't do it. How can you take such a respon-
sibiHty ? Who gave you the right ? Who has
permitted you to do it ? '

I answered coldly :

' I myself.'

' You yourself ? '

' Yes, I.'

He was trembling all over.

' George, the children . . .'

' The children don't matter.'

' George, and Avhat about Christ ? '

' What has Christ to do with it ? '

' George, don't you remember ? "I am come
in my Father's name and ye receive me not ;
if another shall come in his own name, him you
will receive." '

' What is the use of quoting texts, Vania ? '

He shook his head.

' You are right ; what is the use ? . . .'

We were silent for a long time. At last I
said :

' Very well. . . . Let us watch for him in the


His face brightened up in a smile. Then I
asked him :

' Perhaps you think I changed my mind
because of the texts ? '

' Certainly not, George. What an idea ! *

' I have simply decided that in the street there
is less chance of failure.'

' Of course, much less, . . . And you shall
see : we will succeed. God л^чИ hear our

I left him. I was vexed with myself. After
all, would it not be better to go to the governor's
house ?

August 15.

My thoughts are again with Elena. Where
is she ? I ask myself. Why doesn't she try to
find me ? How can she live without knowing
what has become of me ? That means she does
not love me. She has forgotten me. Her kisses
were lies. But eyes like hers do not lie.

I don't know. I don't want to know any-
thing. I have seen the joy of her love ; I have
heard woids which spoke of joy. I want her,
and I Avill come and take her. Perhaps this is
not love. Perhaps to-morrow her eyes shall
grow dim, and the laugh so dear to me shall bore


mt. But to-day I love her, and I have no care
about to-morrow. Just now, at this moment,
she stands before my eyes as if she were actually
here. I can see her plaited black hair, the
severe outline of her face, the bashful rosiness
of her cheeks. I call her, I repeat her name to
myself. Our day Avill soon arrive — ^it will be
the last, sure to be the last. . . . Shall I ever

see her or not ?

August 17.

To-morrow we л^111 wait again for the governor

on his drive. I would pray if I could.

August IS.

Erna prepared the explosives for the tii Г(
time. At three o'clock sharp we took up our
posts. I had a box in my hands. Its contents
shook rhythmically with every step I made. I
walked on the left side of the street. There
was a smell of autumn in the warm air. In the
morning I already observed a few yellow leaves
on the birches. Heavy clouds were creeping
along the sky. A few drops of rain came down
now and then.

I was very careful lest any one should push
me. . . . There were many eyes лvatching on


the sidewalks and at the crossings. I pretended
not to see any one.

I turned round. The street was very quiet.
I was afraid the governor would drive past me
just at that moment. I Avas not sure I would
recognise his carriage. And what if I were not
quick enough ? . . .

I walked up and down for about half an hour.
When, for the third time, I reached the corner
of the square and the clock pavilion, I suddenly
saw a narrow^ spout rising up from the ground
next to Surikov's house. A column of greyish-
yellow smoke, almost completely black on the
edges, was broadening out into a funnel shape
and filling the wiiole street. And at the same
moment I heard the familiar odd cast-iron
rumble. A cab-driver's horse rose on its hind
legs startled by the noise. A lady in a large black
hat, who was walking in front of me, shrieked
and sat down on the sidewalk. A policeman
stood still with a pale face for a moment,
then rushed in the direction of the sound.

I ran to the Surikov house. Again there was
the crash of glass and the smell of smoke. I
forgot all about my box, the contents of which
beat against its sides лvith quick measured


knocks. I heard cries, and I knew for certain :
this time he was killed.

• •••••

An hour later extra editions announcing the
news were sold in the streets.

I held the paper in my hands, and my eyes
were dim w^th excitement.

August 20.

Vania has managed to send us a letter from
prison :

' Contrary to my desire,' he wrote, ' I was
not killed. I threw the bomb from a distance
of three paces right into the window of the
carriage. I saw the governor's face. He leaned
hastily back when he saw me and threw up his
hands to protect himself. I saw how the carriage
was smashed to pieces : the smoke and the
splinters flew in my face. I fell down. When
I got up I looked round and saw bits of clothing
and the dead body lying a few steps away. I
was not wounded, although blood was streaming
from my face and the sleeves of my coat were
burned away. I walked on, but the next
moment some one seized me from behind лvith
strong hands. I made no resistance. They
took me away.


' I have done my duty. I am waiting for the
trial and shall meet the sentence calmly. I
think that even if I had managed to escape I
should not, in any case, be able to go on living
after what I have done. I embrace you, my dear
friends and companions, and I thank you with
all my heart for your love and your friendship.

' In bidding you farewell, I should like to
remind you of the words : " Hereby perceive
we the love of God, because He laid doлvn His
life for us ; and we ought to lay down our lives
for the brethren." '

Vania addressed a special postscript to me.
He wrote :

' You may wonder how I, who had ahvays
spoken of love, made up my mind to kill, and
committed the greatest sin against God and

' I had no choice. If I had the pure and
innocent faith of true disciples it would surely
have been different. I know : the world shall
be saved not by the sword — but by love, and
love will rule it. But I did not feel in me the
strength to live for the sake of love, and I under-
stood that I could and ought to die for the sake
of it.



' I do not repent, but neither do I rejoice in
Avhat I have done. My blood torments me and
I KNOW : death alone is not redemption. But I
also know : "I am the Truth, the Way, and the
Life." Men will judge me, and I pity them.
But I must face this — I firmly believe — divine
judgment. My sin is infinitely great, but the
mercy of Christ is also boundless.

' I kiss you. May you be happy, very
happy. . . .

' But remember : " He that loveth not,
knoweth not God : for God is love." '
•У I read these leaves of cigarette paper, and I
ask myself : who knows but that Vania is right ?
. . . Oh no ; the sun is shining hot to-day, the
falling leaves are rustling. ... I am strolling
on the familiar paths, and a great radiant joy
flames in my soul. I pluck the autumn flowers.
I breathe in their vanishing scent and I kiss
their pale petals.

I feel as if it were Easter. Like the solemn
words of Resurrection sound the prophetic
words ;

' And there came a great voice of the temple of
heaven from the throne, saying : "It is done." '

I am happy : it is done.


August 22.
I AM still hiding here, still unable to leave. The
police are trying hard to lay hands on us. I have
given up my room in the hotel and have changed
my mask for the third time. I am no more Fro!
Semenov Titov — nor the Englishman O'Brien.
I live like one invisible. I have no name and
no home. In the daytime I stroll in the streets,
in the evening I seek lodgings for the night. I
sleep where I can : in a hotel one day, in the
street the next ; then in the houses of people
who are perfect strangers to me, such as mer-
chants, officials, and priests. I laugh sometimes
maliciously : my hosts look at me apprehen-
sively, and treat me with a shy respect.

The autumn is advanced. The old park
gleams golden, the leaves rustle underfoot. The
pools, covered over with a thin crust of brittle
ice, glisten in the early morning sun. I love the
sad autumn. I like to sit down on a bench in
the open and to listen to the wood's rustling. I




am enveloped in an atmosphere of serene peace.
I feel as if there were no death, no blood — ^but
only the earth sacred to all, and the sacred
heaven above it.

The recent events are already forgotten. Only
the authorities remember — and we too, it goes
without saying. Vania is to be tried. There
will be the usual proceedings and speeches, the
sentence will be oassed and carried out. . . .
Life will come again to a standstill.

August 23.

I wrote a note to Elena asking her to meet
т.е. She came, and I felt at once happy and

I felt as though I had not lived through long
days of anxiety and expectation ; as though I
had not been possessed by a passionate desire
of vengeance, had not planned murder in cold
^' blood. Such a state of joy and inner peace
overcomes one sometimes on summer nights,
when the stars come out and the garden is filled
with the луагт, strong scent of floAvers.

Elena was in a white dress ; she radiated
freshness and health. She is twenty years old.
Her eyes were not smiling. She asked shyly :


' Have you been here all this time ? '

' Yes, of course, I 've been here.'

' Then you . . .'

And she dropped her eyes.

I had the greatest desire to take her in my
arms, to lift her up and to kiss her like a child.
At that moment, looking at her and into her
shining eyes, I knew I loved her childish laugh,
the simple beauty of her life, and I listened
enraptured to her voice :

' Oh, God, if you knew how anxious I was.'

And she added in a whisper :

' How awful ! . . .'

She blushed, and then suddenly, as she did
the other day, she put her arms softly and
caressingly on my shoulders.

Her breath was burning my face, and our
lips met in unutterable anguish.

When I recovered my senses she was sitting
in the armchair. I still felt her kiss on my
lips, and she seemed so near to me and yet so

' George, dear George, don't be sad.'

And she drew towards me — so bashfully an '
so passionately. I kissed her. I kissed ht
hair and her eyes, her pale fingers, her dear lipi


I could think of nothing else. I only knew that
I held her palpitating young body in my

The glow of the sunset came in through the
window. A red ray wandered on the ceiling.
She lay white in my arms, and there was no
more remorse for the blood that had been spilt.

Everything ceased to exist.

August 24.

Ema leaves town to-day. She looked some-
how suddenly faded when she came to see me.
The red of her cheeks was gone, and only her
hair was helplessly entangled as before — ^implor-
ing as it were for pity. I took a long farewell
of her.

She stood before me — so fragile and with such
a sad face. Her dropped eyelids were trembling.
She spoke in a low voice :

' Well, Georgie, it is done.'

' Are you glad ? '

' And you ? '

I wanted to tell her that I felt happy and
proud, but there was no exultation in my soul
at that moment. I remained gloomily silent.
She sighed. Her breast heaved nervously and
heavily under the lace of her dress. She obvi-


ously wanted to say something, but felt flustered,
had not the courage to speak. I asked :

' At what time does your train start ? '

She shuddered.

' At nine.'

I looked indifferently at my watch.

' You will be late, Erna.'

' George . . .'

Her courage failed her again. I knew she
would speak of love, ask for pity. But I had
no love for her and could not help her.

' George . . . must it be ? '

' What must it be ? '

' That we must part ? '

' Oh, Erna, we are not parting for ever.'

' Yes, for ever.'

I could hardly hear her, she spoke in a low

I answered in a loud voice :

' You are tired, Erna. You must rest and

And I heard her whisper :

' I shall never forget.'

And the next moment her eyes became red,
and many profuse tears streamed down her
face, like water. She shook her head ungrate-


fully. Her locks of hair were wet with tears
and dropped helplessly on her neck. She sobbed,
and whispered incoherent words, as though she
were swallowing them :

' George dear, don't leave me . . . darling,
don't leave me.'

A picture of Elena rose up before me. I
seemed to hear her clear, happy laugh, and to see
her sparkling eyes. And I said coldly to Erna :

' Don't cry.'

She stopped instantly, wiped her tears, and
looked sadly out of the Avindow. Then she rose
and approached me with unsteady steps.

' Good-bye, George, good-bye ! '

I repeated like an echo :

' Good-bye ! '

She stopped at the door before she opened it,
and waited. And then still she kept on whisper-
ing in distress :

' You will come to me. . . . Will you,
George ? '

August 28.

Erna is gone. Only Heinrich remains with
me here, but he will follow Erna. I know he
loves her, and he, of course, believes in love. It
seems so ridiculous, and it irritates me.


I remember the time I was in prison and
expected to be executed. There was a smell of
cheap tobacco and of prison soup in the corridor.
The sentry was passing up and down under my
window. Now and then bits of life and frag-
ments of conversations reached me from the
street. And it seemed strange : outside were
the sea, the sun and life — and in my cell were
solitude and inevitable death. . . .

In the daytime I used to lie on my iron coucl:)
and to read an old literary magazine. In the
evening the lamps twinkled dimly. I some-
times climbed stealthily on the table and looked
out of the window, while gripping the iron bars
with my hands. I saw the dark sky, the
southern stars. Venus was shining bright. T
used to say to myself : There are still many days
before me ; there will be more mornmgs and days
and nights for me. I will see the sun, I mil
hear human voices.

I somehow could not believe in death. It
seemed unnecessary and therefore impossible.
I did not even feel joy or calm pride at the
thought that I was dying for my cause. I felt
strangely indifferent. I did not care to live,
but did not care to die either. . 1 did not question


myself as to my past life, nor as to what there
might be beyond the dark boundary. I re-
member I was much more concerned as to
whether the rope would cut my neck, whether
there would be pain in suffocation. And often
in the evening, after the roll-call, when the drum
ceased beating in the courtyard, I used to look
intently at the yellow light of the lamp, stand-
ing on the prison table, among the bread-crumbs.
I asked myself : Do I fear or not ? And my
answer was : I do not. I was not afraid — I
was only indifferent.

And then T escaped. During the first days
there was the same dead indifference in my
heart. I did mechanically all that was necessary
to avoid being recaptured. But why I did it,
why I fled from the prison — that I could not
tell. While in the prison I thought at times
that the world was beautiful, and I longed for
the open air, for the hot sun. But once free I
felt a weariness again. But a day came when
I was walking alone in the evening. The sky
was already dark in the east, and the early
stars made their appearance. The mountains
were veiled with a rose-blue mist. The night
breeze blew from the river below. There was


a strong smell of grass. The grasshoppers
made a loud noise. The air was sweet and

And I suddenly realised at that moment that
I was alive, that death was far off, that life was
before me, that I was young and strong and in
perfect health. . . .

I have the same feeling now. I am young,
strong, and in perfect health. I have escaped from
death once more. And I ask myself for the
hundredth time : Was it wrong on my part to
kiss Erna ? But it might have been worse to
have ignored her, to have repulsed her. A
woman came to me and brought me love and
affection. Why does affection create sorrow ?
Why does not 1ол^е give joy, but pain ? Love.
. . . Love. . . . Vania used also to speak of
love, but of what kind of love ? Do I know
love of any kind ? I do not know, cannot know,
and do not try to. Vania knows, but he is no
more with me.

September 1.

Andrei Petrovich has come again. He had
the greatest difficulty in finding me, and when
we met at last he shook my hand a long tiuK
and with great joy. His old face was beaming.


He was happy. The wrinkles round his eyes
relaxed into a smile.

'I congratulate you, George,' he said.

' What about, Andrei Petrovich ? '

He screwed up his eyes with a cunning air,
and shook his bald head.

.i ' For achieving a triumph in your under-
taking.' ' :'

His presence bored me, and I had a desire to
leave him. His words and silly congratula-
tions annoyed me. But he went on with a
candid srhile :

' Yes, George,' he said, ' we had lost all hope
— to tell you the truth. After all those con-
tinual failures. And I can tell you ' — he stooped
and whispered in my ear — ' we even thought
of dismissing you.'

' Dismissing me ? . , . What do you mean ? '

' It is now a thing of the past, and I don't
mind telling you. We did not believe anything
would come off. It took such a long time,
and nothing whatever луаз done. ... So we
thought : would it not be better to dismiss you
altogether ? It seemed all so hopeless. . . . Are
we not old fools ? . . . Eh ? '

I looked at him in sheer amazement. He was


the same grey, decrepit old man. His fingers
were stained with tobacco as before.

' And you . . . you thought of dismissing

' There, George, you are cross ! '

' I am not. . . . But tell me, do you really
think it possible to dismiss us ? '

He patted me affectionately on my shoulder.

' Oh, you are . . . It 's impossible to joke
with you.'

Then he added in a businesslike tone :

' Well, and what do you intend to do now ?
Tell me.'

' Nothing, as far as I can see.'

' Nothing ? . . . The committee has de-
cided . . .'

' The committee may decide whatever it likes.
But as for me . . .'

' Oh, George ! . . .'

I laughed.

' Well, why are you so upset, Andrei Petro-
vich ? I only say : Give me time.'

He lapsed into thought, and kept on munching
with his lips in the manner of an old man.

' Do you remain here, George ? ' he asked at


' Yes/

' You had better go.'

' I have some business to attend to.'

' Some business ? '

He looked grieved : what sort of business
could I have ? But he did not dare to ask me.

' Well, George, we will talk things over when
you come.'

And he shook hands with me with renewed
good spirits.

Andrei Petrovich acted like a judge : he
approved and disapproved. I did not contra-
dict him. He was so sincerely convinced that

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