“Where can I go?” thought Volodya.
He had been in the street already; he was ashamed to go to his schoolfellows. Again, quite incongruously, he remembered the two little English girls. . . . He paced up and down the “general room,” and went into Avgustin Mihalitch’s room. Here there was a strong smell of ethereal oils and glycerine soap. On the table, in the window, and even on the chairs, there were a number of bottles, glasses, and wineglasses containing fluids of various colours. Volodya took up from the table a newspaper, opened it and read the title Figaro. . . There was a strong and pleasant scent about the paper. Then he took a revolver from the table. . . .
“There, there! Don’t take any notice of it.” The music teacher was comforting maman in the next room. “He is young! Young people of his age never restrain themselves. One must resign oneself to that.”
“No, Yevgenya Andreyevna; he’s too spoilt,” said maman in a singsong voice. “He has no one in authority over him, and I am weak and can do nothing. Oh, I am unhappy!”
Volodya put the muzzle of the revolver to his mouth, felt something like a trigger or spring, and pressed it with his finger. . . . Then felt something else projecting, and once more pressed it. Taking the muzzle out of his mouth, he wiped it with the lapel of his coat, looked at the lock. He had never in his life taken a weapon in his hand before. . . .
“I believe one ought to raise this . . .” he reflected. “Yes, it seems so.”
Avgustin Mihalitch went into the “general room,” and with a laugh began telling them about something. Volodya put the muzzle in his mouth again, pressed it with his teeth, and pressed something with his fingers. There was a sound of a shot. . . . Something hit Volodya in the back of his head with terrible violence, and he fell on the table with his face downwards among the bottles and glasses. Then he saw his father, as in Mentone, in a top-hat with a wide black band on it, wearing mourning for some lady, suddenly seize him by both hands, and they fell headlong into a very deep, dark pit.
Then everything was blurred and vanished.
THROUGH causes which it is not the time to go into in detail, I had to enter the service of a Petersburg official called Orlov, in the capacity of a footman. He was about five and thirty, and was called Georgy* Ivanitch.
Both _g’s_ hard, as in “Gorgon”; _e_ like _ai_ in _rain_.
I entered this Orlov’s service on account of his father, a prominent political man, whom I looked upon as a serious enemy of my cause. I reckoned that, living with the son, I should—from the conversations I should hear, and from the letters and papers I should find on the table—learn every detail of the father’s plans and intentions.