14. CHAPTER XIV.
"In half an hour or so the loss was discovered, and the servants
were being put under examination. Daria, the housemaid was
suspected. I exhibited the greatest interest and sympathy, and I
remember that poor Daria quite lost her head, and that I began
assuring her, before everyone, that I would guarantee her
forgiveness on the part of her mistress, if she would confess her
guilt. They all stared at the girl, and I remember a wonderful
attraction in the reflection that here was I sermonizing away,
with the money in my own pocket all the while. I went and spent
the three roubles that very evening at a restaurant. I went in
and asked for a bottle of Lafite, and drank it up; I wanted to be
rid of the money.
"I did not feel much remorse either then or afterwards; but I
would not repeat the performance--believe it or not as you
please. There--that's all."
"Only, of course that's not nearly your worst action," said the
actress, with evident dislike in her face.
"That was a psychological phenomenon, not an action," remarked
"And what about the maid?" asked Nastasia Philipovna, with
"Oh, she was turned out next day, of course. It's a very strict
"And you allowed it?"
"I should think so, rather! I was not going to return and confess
next day," laughed Ferdishenko, who seemed a little surprised at
the disagreeable impression which his story had made on all
"How mean you were!" said Nastasia.
"Bah! you wish to hear a man tell of his worst actions, and you
expect the story to come out goody-goody! One's worst actions
always are mean. We shall see what the general has to say for
himself now. All is not gold that glitters, you know; and because
a man keeps his carriage he need not be specially virtuous, I
assure you, all sorts of people keep carriages. And by what