While two weeks after the death of Verka, the naive, sportful, meek, brawling Little White Manka perished as well. During one of the general, clamourous brawls, usual in the Yamkas, in an enormous affray, some one killed her, hitting her with a heavy empty bottle over the head. And the murderer remained undiscovered to the last.
So rapidly did events take place in the Yamkas, in the house of Emma Edwardovna; and well nigh not a one of its inmates escaped a bloody, foul or disgraceful doom.
The final, most grandiose, and at the same time most bloody calamity was the devastation committed on the Yamkas by soldiers.
Two dragoons had been short-changed in a rouble establishment, beaten up, and thrown out at night into the street. Tom to pieces, in blood, they returned to the barracks, where their comrades, having begun in the morning, were still finishing up their regimental holiday. And so, not half an hour passed, when a hundred soldiers burst into the Yamkas and began to wreck house after house. They were joined by an innumerable mob that gathered on the run—men of the golden squad [Footnote: Zolotorotzi-a subtle euphemism for cleaners of cesspools and carters of the wealth contained therein.—trans.], ragamuffins, tramps, crooks, souteneurs. The panes were broken in all the houses, and the grand pianos smashed to smithereens. The feather beds were ripped open and the down thrown out into the street; and yet for a long while after—for some two days—the countless bits of down flew and whirled over the Yamkas, like flakes of snow. The wenches, bare-headed, perfectly naked, were driven out into the street. Three porters were beaten to death. The rabble shattered, befouled, and rent into pieces all the silk and plush furniture of Treppel. They also smashed up all the neighbouring taverns and drink-shops, while they were at it.
The drunken, bloody, hideous slaughter continued for some three hours; until the arrayed military authorities, together with the fire company, finally suceeded in repulsing and scattering the infuriated mob. Two half-rouble establishments were set on fire, but the fire was soon put out. However, on the next day the tumult again flared up; this time already over the whole city and its environs. Altogether unexpectedly it took on the character of a Jewish pogrom, which lasted for three days, with all its horrors and miseries.
And a week after followed the order of the governor-general about the immediate shutting down of houses of prostitution, on the Yamkas as well as other streets of the city. The proprietresses were given only a week’s time for the settlement of matters in connection with their property.
Annihilated, crushed, plundered; having lost all the glamour of their former grandeur; ludicrous and pitiful, the aged, faded proprietresses and fat-faced, hoarse housekeepers were hastily packing up their things. And a month after only the name reminded one of merry Yamskaya Street; of the riotous, scandalous, horrible Yamkas.