A.P. Chekhov - A Nightmare
Kunin, a young man of thirty, who was a permanent member of the
Rural Board, on returning from Petersburg to his district,
Borisovo, immediately sent a mounted messenger to Sinkino, for
the priest there, Father Yakov Smirnov.
Five hours later Father Yakov appeared.
"Very glad to make your acquaintance," said Kunin, meeting him
in the entry. "I've been living and serving here for a year; it
seems as though we ought to have been acquainted before. You are
very welcome! But . . . how young you are!" Kunin added in
surprise. "What is your age?"
"Twenty-eight,. . ." said Father Yakov, faintly pressing Kunin's
outstretched hand, and for some reason turning crimson.
Kunin led his visitor into his study and began looking at him
"What an uncouth womanish face!" he thought.
There certainly was a good deal that was womanish in Father
Yakov's face: the turned-up nose, the bright red cheeks, and the
large grey-blue eyes with scanty, scarcely perceptible eyebrows.
His long reddish hair, smooth and dry, hung down in straight
tails on to his shoulders. The hair on his upper lip was only
just beginning to form into a real masculine moustache, while
his little beard belonged to that class of good-for-nothing
beards which among divinity students are for some reason called
"ticklers." It was scanty and extremely transparent; it could
not have been stroked or combed, it could only have been
pinched. . . . All these scanty decorations were put on unevenly
in tufts, as though Father Yakov, thinking to dress up as a
priest and beginning to gum on the beard, had been interrupted
halfway through. He had on a cassock, the colour of weak coffee
with chicory in it, with big patches on both elbows.
"A queer type," thought Kunin, looking at his muddy skirts.
"Comes to the house for the first time and can't dress decently.
"Sit down, Father," he began more carelessly than cordially, as
he moved an easy-chair to the table. "Sit down, I beg you."
Father Yakov coughed into his fist, sank awkwardly on to the
edge of the chair, and laid his open hands on his knees. With
his short figure, his narrow chest, his red and perspiring face,
he made from the first moment a most unpleasant impression on
Kunin. The latter could never have imagined that there were such
undignified and pitiful-looking priests in Russia; and in Father
Yakov's attitude, in the way he held his hands on his knees and
sat on the very edge of his chair, he saw a lack of dignity and
even a shade of servility.
"I have invited you on business, Father. . . ." Kunin began,
sinking back in his low chair. "It has fallen to my lot to
perform the agreeable duty of helping you in one of your useful
undertakings. . . . On coming back from Petersburg, I found on
my table a letter from the Marshal of Nobility. Yegor
Dmitrevitch suggests that I should take under my supervision the
church parish school which is being opened in Sinkino. I shall
be very glad to, Father, with all my heart. . . . More than
that, I accept the proposition with enthusiasm."
Kunin got up and walked about the study.
"Of course, both Yegor Dmitrevitch and probably you, too, are
aware that I have not great funds at my disposal. My estate is
mortgaged, and I live exclusively on my salary as the permanent
member. So that you cannot reckon on very much assistance, but I
will do all that is in my power. . . . And when are you thinking
of opening the school Father?"
"When we have the money, . . ." answered Father Yakov.
"You have some funds at your disposal already?"
"Scarcely any. . . . The peasants settled at their meeting that
they would pay, every man of them, thirty kopecks a year; but
that's only a promise, you know! And for the first beginning we
should need at least two hundred roubles. . . ."
"M'yes. . . . Unhappily, I have not that sum now," said Kunin
with a sigh. "I spent all I had on my tour and got into debt,
too. Let us try and think of some plan together."
Kunin began planning aloud. He explained his views and watched
Father Yakov's face, seeking signs of agreement or approval in
it. But the face was apathetic and immobile, and expressed
nothing but constrained shyness and uneasiness. Looking at it,
one might have supposed that Kunin was talking of matters so
abstruse that Father Yakov did not understand and only listened
from good manners, and was at the same time afraid of being
detected in his failure to understand.
"The fellow is not one of the brightest, that's evident . . ."
thought Kunin. "He's rather shy and much too stupid."
Father Yakov revived somewhat and even smiled only when the
footman came into the study bringing in two glasses of tea on a
tray and a cake-basket full of biscuits. He took his glass and
began drinking at once.
"Shouldn't we write at once to the bishop?" Kunin went on,
meditating aloud. "To be precise, you know, it is not we, not
the Zemstvo, but the higher ecclesiastical authorities, who have
raised the question of the church parish schools. They ought
really to apportion the funds. I remember I read that a sum of
money had been set aside for the purpose. Do you know nothing
Father Yakov was so absorbed in drinking tea that he did not
answer this question at once. He lifted his grey-blue eyes to
Kunin, thought a moment, and as though recalling his question,
he shook his head in the negative. An expression of pleasure and
of the most ordinary prosaic appetite overspread his face from
ear to ear. He drank and smacked his lips over every gulp. When
he had drunk it to the very last drop, he put his glass on the
table, then took his glass back again, looked at the bottom of
it, then put it back again. The expression of pleasure faded
from his face. . . . Then Kunin saw his visitor take a biscuit
from the cake-basket, nibble a little bit off it, then turn it
over in his hand and hurriedly stick it in his pocket.
"Well, that's not at all clerical!" thought Kunin, shrugging his
shoulders contemptuously. "What is it, priestly greed or
After giving his visitor another glass of tea and seeing him to
the entry, Kunin lay down on the sofa and abandoned himself to
the unpleasant feeling induced in him by the visit of Father
"What a strange wild creature!" he thought. "Dirty, untidy,
coarse, stupid, and probably he drinks. . . . My God, and that's
a priest, a spiritual father! That's a teacher of the people! I
can fancy the irony there must be in the deacon's face when
before every mass he booms out: 'Thy blessing, Reverend Father!'
A fine reverend Father! A reverend Father without a grain of
dignity or breeding, hiding biscuits in his pocket like a
schoolboy. . . . Fie! Good Lord, where were the bishop's eyes
when he ordained a man like that? What can he think of the
people if he gives them a teacher like that? One wants people
here who . . ."
And Kunin thought what Russian priests ought to be like.
"If I were a priest, for instance. . . . An educated priest fond
of his work might do a great deal. . . . I should have had the
school opened long ago. And the sermons? If the priest is
sincere and is inspired by love for his work, what wonderful
rousing sermons he might give!"
Kunin s hut his eyes and began mentally composing a sermon. A
little later he sat down to the table and rapidly began writing.
"I'll give it to that red-haired fellow, let him read it in
church, . . ." he thought.
The following Sunday Kunin drove over to Sinkino in the morning
to settle the question of the school, and while he was there to
make acquaintance with the church of which he was a parishioner.
In spite of the awful state of the roads, it was a glorious
morning. The sun was shining brightly and cleaving with its rays
the layers of white snow still lingering here and there. The
snow as it took leave of the earth glittered with such diamonds
that it hurt the eyes to look, while the young winter corn was
hastily thrusting up its green beside it. The rooks floated with
dignity over the fields. A rook would fly, drop to earth, and
give several hops before standing firmly on its feet. . . .
The wooden church up to which Kunin drove was old and grey; the
columns of the porch had once been painted white, but the colour
had now completely peeled off, and they looked like two ungainly
shafts. The ikon over the door looked like a dark smudged blur.
But its poverty touched and softened Kunin. Modestly dropping
his eyes, he went into the church and stood by the door. The
service had only just begun. An old sacristan, bent into a bow,
was reading the "Hours" in a hollow indistinct tenor. Father
Yakov, who conducted the service without a deacon, was walking
about the church, burning incense. Had it not been for the
softened mood in which Kunin found himself on entering the
poverty-stricken church, he certainly would have smiled at the
sight of Father Yakov. The short priest was wearing a crumpled
and extremely long robe of some shabby yellow material; the hem
of the robe trailed on the ground.
The church was not full. Looking at the parishioners, Kunin was
struck at the first glance by one strange circumstance: he saw
nothing but old people and children. . . . Where were the men of
working age? Where was the youth and manhood? But after he had
stood there a little and looked more attentively at the
aged-looking faces, Kunin saw that he had mistaken young people
for old. He did not, however, attach any significance to this
little optical illusion.
The church was as cold and grey inside as outside. There was not
one spot on the ikons nor on the dark brown walls which was not
begrimed and defaced by time. There were many windows, but the
general effect of colour was grey, and so it was twilight in the
"Anyone pure in soul can pray here very well," thought Kunin.
"Just as in St. Peter's in Rome one is impressed by grandeur,
here one is touched by the lowliness and simplicity."
But his devout mood vanished like smoke as soon as Father Yakov
went up to the altar and began mass. Being still young and
having come straight from the seminary bench to the priesthood,
Father Yakov had not yet formed a set manner of celebrating the
service. As he read he seemed to be vacillating between a high
tenor and a thin bass; he bowed clumsily, walked quickly, and
opened and shut the gates abruptly. . . . The old sacristan,
evidently deaf and ailing, did not hear the prayers very
distinctly, and this very often led to slight misunderstandings.
Before Father Yakov had time to finish what he had to say, the
sacristan began chanting his response, or else long after Father
Yakov had finished the old man would be straining his ears,
listening in the direction of the altar and saying nothing till
his skirt was pulled. The old man had a sickly hollow voice and
an asthmatic quavering lisp. . . . The complete lack of dignity
and decorum was emphasized by a very small boy who seconded the
sacristan and whose head was hardly visible over the railing of
the choir. The boy sang in a shrill falsetto and seemed to be
trying to avoid singing in tune. Kunin stayed a little while,
listened and went out for a smoke. He was disappointed, and
looked at the grey church almost with dislike.
"They complain of the decline of religious feeling among the
people. . ." he sighed. "I should rather think so! They'd better
foist a few more priests like this one on them!"
Kunin went back into the church three times, and each time he
felt a great temptation to get out into the open air again.
Waiting till the end of the mass, he went to Father Yakov's. The
priest's house did not differ outwardly from the peasants' huts,
but the thatch lay more smoothly on the roof and there were
little white curtains in the windows. Father Yakov led Kunin
into a light little room with a clay floor and walls covered
with cheap paper; in spite of some painful efforts towards
luxury in the way of photographs in frames and a clock with a
pair of scissors hanging on the weight the furnishing of the
room impressed him by its scantiness. Looking at the furniture,
one might have supposed that Father Yakov had gone from house to
house and collected it in bits; in one place they had given him
a round three-legged table, in another a stool, in a third a
chair with a back bent violently backwards; in a fourth a chair
with an upright back, but the seat smashed in; while in a fifth
they had been liberal and given him a semblance of a sofa with a
flat back and a lattice-work seat. This semblance had been
painted dark red and smelt strongly of paint. Kunin meant at
first to sit down on one of the chairs, but on second thoughts
he sat down on the stool.
"This is the first time you have been to our church?" asked
Father Yakov, hanging his hat on a huge misshapen nail.
"Yes it is. I tell you what, Father, before we begin on
business, will you give me some tea? My soul is parched."
Father Yakov blinked, gasped, and went behind the partition
wall. There was a sound of whispering.
"With his wife, I suppose," thought Kunin; "it would be
interesting to see what the red-headed fellow's wife is like."
A little later Father Yakov came back, red and perspiring and
with an effort to smile, sat down on the edge of the sofa.
"They will heat the samovar directly," he said, without looking
at his visitor.
"My goodness, they have not heated the samovar yet!" Kunin
thought with horror. "A nice time we shall have to wait."
"I have brought you," he said, "the rough draft of the letter I
have written to the bishop. I'll read it after tea; perhaps you
may find something to add. . . ."
A silence followed. Father Yakov threw furtive glances at the
partition wall, smoothed his hair, and blew his nose.
"It's wonderful weather, . . ." he said.
"Yes. I read an interesting thing yesterday. . . . the Volsky
Zemstvo have decided to give their schools to the clergy, that's
Kunin got up, and pacing up and down the clay floor, began to
give expression to his reflections.
"That would be all right," he said, "if only the clergy were
equal to their high calling and recognized their tasks. I am so
unfortunate as to know priests whose standard of culture and
whose moral qualities make them hardly fit to be army
secretaries, much less priests. You will agree that a bad
teacher does far less harm than a bad priest."
Kunin glanced at Father Yakov; he was sitting bent up, thinking
intently about something and apparently not listening to his
"Yasha, come here!" a woman's voice called from behind the
partition. Father Yakov started and went out. Again a whispering
Kunin felt a pang of longing for tea.
"No; it's no use my waiting for tea here," he thought, looking
at his watch. "Besides I fancy I am not altogether a welcome
visitor. My host has not deigned to say one word to me; he
simply sits and blinks."
Kunin took up his hat, waited for Father Yakov to return, and
said good-bye to him.
"I have simply wasted the morning," he thought wrathfully on the
way home. "The blockhead! The dummy! He cares no more about the
school than I about last year's snow. . . . No, I shall never
get anything done with him! We are bound to fail! If the Marshal
knew what the priest here was like, he wouldn't be in such a
hurry to talk about a school. We ought first to try and get a
decent priest, and then think about the school."
By now Kunin almost hated Father Yakov. The man, his pitiful,
grotesque figure in the long crumpled robe, his womanish face,
his manner of officiating, his way of life and his formal
restrained respectfulness, wounded the tiny relic of religious
feeling which was stored away in a warm corner of Kunin's heart
together with his nurse's other fairy tales. The coldness and
lack of attention with which Father Yakov had met Kunin's warm
and sincere interest in what was the priest's own work was hard
for the former's vanity to endure. . . .
On the evening of the same day Kunin spent a long time walking
about his rooms and thinking. Then he sat down to the table
resolutely and wrote a letter to the bishop. After asking for
money and a blessing for the school, he set forth genuinely,
like a son, his opinion of the priest at Sinkino.
"He is young," he wrote, "insufficiently educated, leads, I
fancy, an intemperate life, and altogether fails to satisfy the
ideals which the Russian people have in the course of centuries
formed of what a pastor should be."
After writing this letter Kunin heaved a deep sigh, and went to
bed with the consciousness that he had done a good deed.
On Monday morning, while he was still in bed, he was informed
that Father Yakov had arrived. He did not want to get up, and
instructed the servant to say he was not at home. On Tuesday he
went away to a sitting of the Board, and when he returned on
Saturday he was told by the servants that Father Yakov had
called every day in his absence.
"He liked my biscuits, it seems," he thought.
Towards evening on Sunday Father Yakov arrived. This time not
only his skirts, but even his hat, was bespattered with mud.
Just as on his first visit, he was hot and perspiring, and sat
down on the edge of his chair as he had done then. Kunin
determined not to talk about the school -- not to cast pearls.
"I have brought you a list of books for the school, Pavel
Mihailovitch, . . ." Father Yakov began.
But everything showed that Father Yakov had come for something
else besides the list. Has whole figure was expressive of
extreme embarrassment, and at the same time there was a look of
determination upon his face, as on the face of a man suddenly
inspired by an idea. He struggled to say something important,
absolutely necessary, and strove to overcome his timidity.
"Why is he dumb?" Kunin thought wrathfully. "He's settled
himself comfortably! I haven't time to be bothered with him."
To smoothe over the awkwardness of his silence and to conceal
the struggle going on within him, the priest began to smile
constrainedly, and this slow smile, wrung out on his red
perspiring face, and out of keeping with the fixed look in his
grey-blue eyes, made Kunin turn away. He felt moved to
"Excuse me, Father, I have to go out," he said.
Father Yakov started like a man asleep who has been struck a
blow, and, still smiling, began in his confusion wrapping round
him the skirts of his cassock. In spite of his repulsion for the
man, Kunin felt suddenly sorry for him, and he wanted to soften
"Please come another time, Father," he said, "and before we part
I want to ask you a favour. I was somehow inspired to write two
sermons the other day. . . . I will give them to you to look at.
If they are suitable, use them."
"Very good," said Father Yakov, laying his open hand on Kunin's
sermons which were lying on the table. "I will take them."
After standing a little, hesitating and still wrapping his
cassock round him, he suddenly gave up the effort to smile and
lifted his head resolutely.
"Pavel Mihailovitch," he said, evidently trying to speak loudly
"What can I do for you?"
"I have heard that you . . . er . . . have dismissed your
secretary, and . . . and are looking for a new one. . . ."
"Yes, I am. . . . Why, have you someone to recommend?"
"I. . . er . . . you see . . . I . . . Could you not give the
post to me?"
"Why, are you giving up the Church?" said Kunin in amazement.
"No, no," Father Yakov brought out quickly, for some reason
turning pale and trembling all over. "God forbid! If you feel
doubtful, then never mind, never mind. You see, I could do the
work between whiles,. . so as to increase my income. . . . Never
mind, don't disturb yourself!"
"H'm! . . . your income. . . . But you know, I only pay my
secretary twenty roubles a month."
"Good heavens! I would take ten," whispered Father Yakov,
looking about him. "Ten would be enough! You . . . you are
astonished, and everyone is astonished. The greedy priest, the
grasping priest, what does he do with his money? I feel myself I
am greedy, . . . and I blame myself, I condemn myself. . . . I
am ashamed to look people in the face. . . . I tell you on my
conscience, Pavel Mihailovitch. . . . I call the God of truth to
witness. . . . "
Father Yakov took breath and went on:
"On the way here I prepared a regular confession to make you,
but . . . I've forgotten it all; I cannot find a word now. I get
a hundred and fifty roubles a year from my parish, and everyone
wonders what I do with the money. . . . But I'll explain it all
truly. . . . I pay forty roubles a year to the clerical school
for my brother Pyotr. He has everything found there, except that
I have to provide pens and paper."
"Oh, I believe you; I believe you! But what's the object of all
this?" said Kunin, with a wave of the hand, feeling terribly
oppressed by this outburst of confidence on the part of his
visitor, and not knowing how to get away from the tearful gleam
in his eyes.
"Then I have not yet paid up all that I owe to the consistory
for my place here. They charged me two hundred roubles for the
living, and I was to pay ten roubles a month. . . . You can
judge what is left! And, besides, I must allow Father Avraamy at
least three roubles a month."
"What Father Avraamy?"
"Father Avraamy who was priest at Sinkino before I came. He was
deprived of the living on account of . . . his failing, but you
know, he is still living at Sinkino! He has nowhere to go. There
is no one to keep him. Though he is old, he must have a corner,
and food and clothing -- I can't let him go begging on the roads
in his position! It would be on my conscience if anything
happened! It would be my fault! He is. . . in debt all round;
but, you see, I am to blame for not paying for him."
Father Yakov started up from his seat and, looking frantically
at the floor, strode up and down the room.
"My God, my God!" he muttered, raising his hands and dropping
them again. "Lord, save us and have mercy upon us! Why did you
take such a calling on yourself if you have so little faith and
no strength? There is no end to my despair! Save me, Queen of
"Calm yourself, Father," said Kunin.
"I am worn out with hunger, Pavel Mihailovitch," Father Yakov
went on. "Generously forgive me, but I am at the end of my
strength. . . . I know if I were to beg and to bow down,
everyone would help, but . . . I cannot! I am ashamed. How can I
beg of the peasants? You are on the Board here, so you know. . .
. How can one beg of a beggar? And to beg of richer people, of
landowners, I cannot! I have pride! I am ashamed!"
Father Yakov waved his hand, and nervously scratched his head
with both hands.
"I am ashamed! My God, I am ashamed! I am proud and can't bear
people to see my poverty! When you visited me, Pavel
Mihailovitch, I had no tea in the house! There wasn't a pinch of
it, and you know it was pride prevented me from telling you! I
am ashamed of my clothes, of these patches here. . . . I am
ashamed of my vestments, of being hungry. . . . And is it seemly
for a priest to be proud?"
Father Yakov stood still in the middle of the study, and, as
though he did not notice Kunin's presence, began reasoning with
"Well, supposing I endure hunger and disgrace -- but, my God, I
have a wife! I took her from a good home! She is not used to
hard work; she is soft; she is used to tea and white bread and
sheets on her bed. . . . At home she used to play the piano. . .
. She is young, not twenty yet. . . . She would like, to be
sure, to be smart, to have fun, go out to see people. . . . And
she is worse off with me than any cook; she is ashamed to show
herself in the street. My God, my God! Her only treat is when I
bring an apple or some biscuit from a visit. . . ."
Father Yakov scratched his head again with both hands.
"And it makes us feel not love but pity for each other. . . . I
cannot look at her without compassion! And the things that
happen in this life, O Lord! Such things that people would not
believe them if they saw them in the newspaper. . . . And when
will there be an end to it all!"
"Hush, Father!" Kunin almost shouted, frightened at his tone.
"Why take such a gloomy view of life?"
"Generously forgive me, Pavel Mihailovitch . . ." muttered
Father Yakov as though he were drunk, "Forgive me, all this . .
. doesn't matter, and don't take any notice of it. . . . Only I
do blame myself, and always shall blame myself . . . always."
Father Yakov looked about him and began whispering:
"One morning early I was going from Sinkino to Lutchkovo; I saw
a woman standing on the river bank, doing something. . . . I
went up close and could not believe my eyes. . . . It was
horrible! The wife of the doctor, Ivan Sergeitch, was sitting
there washing her linen. . . . A doctor's wife, brought up at a
select boarding-school! She had got up you see, early and gone
half a mile from the village that people should not see her. . .
. She couldn't get over her pride! When she saw that I was near
her and noticed her poverty, she turned red all over. . . . I
was flustered -- I was frightened, and ran up to help her, but
she hid her linen from me; she was afraid I should see her
ragged chemises. . . ."
"All this is positively incredible," said Kunin, sitting down
and looking almost with horror at Father Yakov's pale face.
"Incredible it is! It's a thing that has never been! Pavel
Mihailovitch, that a doctor's wife should be rinsing the linen
in the river! Such a thing does not happen in any country! As
her pastor and spiritual father, I ought not to allow it, but
what can I do? What? Why, I am always trying to get treated by
her husband for nothing myself! It is true that, as you say, it
is all incredible! One can hardly believe one's eyes. During
Mass, you know, when I look out from the altar and see my
congregation, Avraamy starving, and my wife, and think of the
doctor's wife -- how blue her hands were from the cold water --
would you believe it, I forget myself and stand senseless like a
fool, until the sacristan calls to me. . . . It's awful!"
Father Yakov began walking about again.
"Lord Jesus!" he said, waving his hands, "holy Saints! I can't
officiate properly. . . . Here you talk to me about the school,
and I sit like a dummy and don't understand a word, and think of
nothing but food. . . . Even before the altar. . . . But . . .
what am I doing?" Father Yakov pulled himself up suddenly. "You
want to go out. Forgive me, I meant nothing. . . . Excuse . . ."
Kunin shook hands with Father Yakov without speaking, saw him
into the hall, and going back into his study, stood at the
window. He saw Father Yakov go out of the house, pull his
wide-brimmed rusty-looking hat over his eyes, and slowly, bowing
his head, as though ashamed of his outburst, walk along the
"I don't see his horse," thought Kunin.
Kunin did not dare to think that the priest had come on foot
every day to see him; it was five or six miles to Sinkino, and
the mud on the road was impassable. Further on he saw the
coachman Andrey and the boy Paramon, jumping over the puddles
and splashing Father Yakov with mud, run up to him for his
blessing. Father Yakov took off his hat and slowly blessed
Andrey, then blessed the boy and stroked his head.
Kunin passed his hand over his eyes, and it seemed to him that
his hand was moist. He walked away from the window and with dim
eyes looked round the room in which he still seemed to hear the
timid droning voice. He glanced at the table. Luckily, Father
Yakov, in his haste, had forgotten to take the sermons. Kunin
rushed up to them, tore them into pieces, and with loathing
thrust them under the table.
"And I did not know!" he moaned, sinking on to the sofa. "After
being here over a year as member of the Rural Board, Honorary
Justice of the Peace, member of the School Committee! Blind
puppet, egregious idiot! I must make haste and help them, I must
He turned from side to side uneasily, pressed his temples and
racked his brains.
"On the twentieth I shall get my salary, two hundred roubles. .
. . On some good pretext I will give him some, and some to the
doctor's wife. . . . I will ask them to perform a special
service here, and will get up an illness for the doctor. . . .
In that way I shan't wound their pride. And I'll help Father
Avraamy too. . . ."
He reckoned his money on his fingers, and was afraid to own to
himself that those two hundred roubles would hardly be enough
for him to pay his steward, his servants, the peasant who
brought the meat. . . . He could not help remembering the recent
past when he was senselessly squandering his father's fortune,
when as a puppy of twenty he had given expensive fans to
prostitutes, had paid ten roubles a day to Kuzma, his
cab-driver, and in his vanity had made presents to actresses.
Oh, how useful those wasted rouble, three-rouble, ten-rouble
notes would have been now!
"Father Avraamy lives on three roubles a month!" thought Kunin.
"For a rouble the priest's wife could get herself a chemise, and
the doctor's wife could hire a washerwoman. But I'll help them,
anyway! I must help them."
Here Kunin suddenly recalled the private information he had sent
to the bishop, and he writhed as from a sudden draught of cold
air. This remembrance filled him with overwhelming shame before
his inner self and before the unseen truth.
So had begun and had ended a sincere effort to be of public
service on the part of a well-intentioned but unreflecting and