Franz Kafka

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Großer Lärm, Great Noise," by Franz Kafka: "Great Noise," English version. "Großer Lärm, Great Noise" by Franz Kafka, translated in English, with Original Text in German

Franz Kafka in 1910

Great Noise

I sit in my room, the headquarter of noise of the entire apartment. All the doors I hear slamming, and by such noise I am spared only the continuous footsteps between them – still I hear the stove's door shutting in the kitchen. Our father barges through the doors of my room and crosses through and his nightgown trails behind him; the ashes are being scraped from the oven in the next room; Valli, bellowing word by word through the hall, asks if father’s hat has been cleaned already. A hiss, that wants to befriend me, still carries the scream of a responding voice. The house door is unlatched and blows open, like a catarrhal throat that opens wider with the singing of a female voice and finally closes itself with a dull, manly and most ruthless jolt. Father has gone; now begins the delicate, scattered, helpless noise led by the voices of two canaries. I had thought of that earlier, and now with the canaries it occurs to me again, whether I should open the door a crack and, like a snake, slither into the next room and beg my sisters and their governess on the ground floor for some quiet.

From "The Tales of Franz Kafka: English Translation With Original Text In German," available as e-book on Amazon KindleiPhone, iPad, or iPod touchon NOOK Bookon Kobo, and as printed, traditional edition through Lulu. 

Großer Lärm

Ich sitze in meinem Zimmer im Hauptquartier des Lärms der ganzen Wohnung. Alle Türen höre ich schlagen, durch ihren Lärm bleiben mir nur die Schritte der zwischen ihnen Laufenden erspart, noch das Zuklappen der Herdtüre in der Küche höre ich. Der Vater durchbricht die Türen meines Zimmers und zieht im nachschleppenden Schlafrock durch, aus dem Ofen im Nebenzimmer wird die Asche gekratzt, Valli fragt, durch das Vorzimmer Wort für Wort rufend, ob des Vaters Hut schon geputzt ist, ein Zischen, das mir befreundet sein will, erhebt noch das Geschrei einer antwortenden Stimme. Die Wohnungstüre wird aufgeklinkt und lärmt, wie aus katarralischem Hals, öffnet sich dann weiterhin mit dem Singen einer Frauenstimme und schließt sich endlich mit einem dumpfen, männlichen Ruck, der sich am rücksichtslosesten anhört. Der Vater ist weg, jetzt beginnt der zartere, zerstreutere, hoffnungslosere Lärm, von den Stimmen der zwei Kanarienvögel angeführt. Schon früher dachte ich daran, bei den Kanarienvögeln fällt es mir von neuem ein, ob ich nicht die Türe bis zu einer kleinen Spalte öffnen, schlangengleich ins Nebenzimmer kriechen und so auf dem Boden meine Schwestern und ihr Fräulein um Ruhe bitten sollte.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Nikolai Gogol's "The Government Inspector," or The Inspector General (Ревизор, Revizor), English Translation

Cover of the first edition of "The Government Inspector," or "The Inspector General" (Ревизор, Revizor, "Inspector")

A comedy in five acts

Translated by Thomas Seltzer from the Russian


The Inspector-General is a national institution. To place a purely
literary valuation upon it and call it the greatest of Russian comedies
would not convey the significance of its position either in Russian
literature or in Russian life itself. There is no other single work in
the modern literature of any language that carries with it the wealth of
associations which the Inspector-General does to the educated Russian.
The Germans have their Faust; but Faust is a tragedy with a cosmic
philosophic theme. In England it takes nearly all that is implied in the
comprehensive name of Shakespeare to give the same sense of bigness that
a Russian gets from the mention of the Revizor.

That is not to say that the Russian is so defective in the critical
faculty as to balance the combined creative output of the greatest
English dramatist against Gogol's one comedy, or even to attribute to
it the literary value of any of Shakespeare's better plays. What the
Russian's appreciation indicates is the pregnant role that literature
plays in the life of intellectual Russia. Here literature is not a
luxury, not a diversion. It is bone of the bone, flesh of the flesh, not
only of the intelligentsia, but also of a growing number of the common
people, intimately woven into their everyday existence, part and parcel
of their thoughts, their aspirations, their social, political and
economic life. It expresses their collective wrongs and sorrows, their
collective hopes and strivings. Not only does it serve to lead the
movements of the masses, but it is an integral component element of
those movements. In a word, Russian literature is completely bound up
with the life of Russian society, and its vitality is but the measure of
the spiritual vitality of that society.

This unique character of Russian literature may be said to have had its
beginning with the Inspector-General. Before Gogol most Russian writers,
with few exceptions, were but weak imitators of foreign models.
The drama fashioned itself chiefly upon French patterns. The
Inspector-General and later Gogol's novel, Dead Souls, established that
tradition in Russian letters which was followed by all the great writers
from Dostoyevsky down to Gorky.

As with one blow, Gogol shattered the notions of the theatre-going
public of his day of what a comedy should be. The ordinary idea of a
play at that time in Russia seems to have been a little like our
own tired business man's. And the shock the Revizor gave those early
nineteenth-century Russian audiences is not unlike the shocks we
ourselves get when once in a while a theatrical manager is courageous
enough to produce a bold modern European play. Only the intensity of
the shock was much greater. For Gogol dared not only bid defiance to the
accepted method; he dared to introduce a subject-matter that under the
guise of humor audaciously attacked the very foundation of the state,
namely, the officialdom of the Russian bureaucracy. That is why the
Revizor marks such a revolution in the world of Russian letters. In form
it was realistic, in substance it was vital. It showed up the rottenness
and corruption of the instruments through which the Russian government
functioned. It held up to ridicule, directly, all the officials of
a typical Russian municipality, and, indirectly, pointed to the same
system of graft and corruption among the very highest servants of the

What wonder that the Inspector-General became a sort of comedy-epic in
the land of the Czars, the land where each petty town-governor is almost
an absolute despot, regulating his persecutions and extortions according
to the sage saying of the town-governor in the play, "That's the way God
made the world, and the Voltairean free-thinkers can talk against it
all they like, it won't do any good." Every subordinate in the town
administration, all the way down the line to the policemen, follow--not
always so scrupulously--the law laid down by the same authority, "Graft
no higher than your rank." As in city and town, so in village and
hamlet. It is the tragedy of Russian life, which has its roots in that
more comprehensive tragedy, Russian despotism, the despotism that gives
the sharp edge to official corruption. For there is no possible redress
from it except in violent revolutions.

That is the prime reason why the Inspector-General, a mere comedy, has
such a hold on the Russian people and occupies so important a place
in Russian literature. And that is why a Russian critic says, "Russia
possesses only one comedy, the Inspector-General."

The second reason is the brilliancy and originality with which this
national theme was executed. Gogol was above all else the artist. He was
not a radical, nor even a liberal. He was strictly conservative. While
hating the bureaucracy, yet he never found fault with the system
itself or with the autocracy. Like most born artists, he was strongly
individualistic in temperament, and his satire and ridicule were aimed
not at causes, but at effects. Let but the individuals act morally, and
the system, which Gogol never questioned, would work beautifully. This
conception caused Gogol to concentrate his best efforts upon delineation
of character. It was the characters that were to be revealed, their
actions to be held up to scorn and ridicule, not the conditions which
created the characters and made them act as they did. If any lesson at
all was to be drawn from the play it was not a sociological lesson, but
a moral one. The individual who sees himself mirrored in it may be moved
to self-purgation; society has nothing to learn from it.

Yet the play lives because of the social message it carries. The
creation proved greater than the creator. The author of the Revizor was
a poor critic of his own work. The Russian people rejected his
estimate and put their own upon it. They knew their officials and they
entertained no illusions concerning their regeneration so long as the
system that bred them continued to live. Nevertheless, as a keen satire
and a striking exposition of the workings of the hated system itself,
they hailed the Revizor with delight. And as such it has remained graven
in Russia's conscience to this day.

It must be said that "Gogol himself grew with the writing of the
Revizor." Always a careful craftsman, scarcely ever satisfied with the
first version of a story or a play, continually changing and rewriting,
he seems to have bestowed special attention on perfecting this comedy.
The subject, like that of Dead Souls, was suggested to him by the poet
Pushkin, and was based on a true incident. Pushkin at once recognized
Gogol's genius and looked upon the young author as the rising star
of Russian literature. Their acquaintance soon ripened into intimate
friendship, and Pushkin missed no opportunity to encourage and stimulate
him in his writings and help him with all the power of his great
influence. Gogol began to work on the play at the close of 1834, when he
was twenty-five years old. It was first produced in St. Petersburg,
in 1836. Despite the many elaborations it had undergone before Gogol
permitted it to be put on the stage, he still did not feel satisfied,
and he began to work on it again in 1838. It was not brought down to its
present final form until 1842.

Thus the Revizor occupied the mind of the author over a period of
eight years, and resulted in a product which from the point of view of
characterization and dramatic technique is almost flawless. Yet far
more important is the fact that the play marked an epoch in Gogol's own
literary development. When he began on it, his ambitions did not rise
above making it a comedy of pure fun, but, gradually, in the course of
his working on it, the possibilities of the subject unfolded themselves
and influenced his entire subsequent career. His art broadened and
deepened and grew more serious. If Pushkin's remark, that "behind his
laughter you feel the sad tears," is true of some of Gogol's former
productions, it is still truer of the Revizor and his later works.

A new life had begun for him, he tells us himself, when he was no longer
"moved by childish notions, but by lofty ideas full of truth." "It was
Pushkin," he writes, "who made me look at the thing seriously. I saw
that in my writings I laughed vainly, for nothing, myself not knowing
why. If I was to laugh, then I had better laugh over things that are
really to be laughed at. In the Inspector-General I resolved to gather
together all the bad in Russia I then knew into one heap, all the
injustice that was practised in those places and in those human
relations in which more than in anything justice is demanded of men, and
to have one big laugh over it all. But that, as is well known, produced
an outburst of excitement. Through my laughter, which never before came
to me with such force, the reader sensed profound sorrow. I myself
felt that my laughter was no longer the same as it had been, that in my
writings I could no longer be the same as in the past, and that the need
to divert myself with innocent, careless scenes had ended along with my
young years."

With the strict censorship that existed in the reign of Czar Nicholas I,
it required powerful influence to obtain permission for the production
of the comedy. This Gogol received through the instrumentality of
his friend, Zhukovsky, who succeeded in gaining the Czar's personal
intercession. Nicholas himself was present at the first production in
April, 1836, and laughed and applauded, and is said to have remarked,
"Everybody gets it, and I most of all."

Naturally official Russia did not relish this innovation in dramatic
art, and indignation ran high among them and their supporters. Bulgarin
led the attack. Everything that is usually said against a new departure
in literature or art was said against the Revizor. It was not original.
It was improbable, impossible, coarse, vulgar; lacked plot. It turned
on a stale anecdote that everybody knew. It was a rank farce. The
characters were mere caricatures. "What sort of a town was it that did
not hold a single honest soul?"

Gogol's sensitive nature shrank before the tempest that burst upon him,
and he fled from his enemies all the way out of Russia. "Do what you
please about presenting the play in Moscow," he writes to Shchepkin four
days after its first production in St. Petersburg. "I am not going to
bother about it. I am sick of the play and all the fussing over it. It
produced a great noisy effect. All are against me... they abuse me and
go to see it. No tickets can be obtained for the fourth performance."

But the best literary talent of Russia, with Pushkin and Bielinsky, the
greatest critic Russia has produced, at the head, ranged itself on his

Nicolay Vasilyevich Gogol was born in Sorochintzy, government of
Poltava, in 1809. His father was a Little Russian, or Ukrainian,
landowner, who exhibited considerable talent as a playwright and actor.
Gogol was educated at home until the age of ten, then went to Niezhin,
where he entered the gymnasium in 1821. Here he edited a students'
manuscript magazine called the Star, and later founded a students'
theatre, for which he was both manager and actor. It achieved such
success that it was patronized by the general public.

In 1829 Gogol went to St. Petersburg, where he thought of becoming
an actor, but he finally gave up the idea and took a position as a
subordinate government clerk. His real literary career began in 1830
with the publication of a series of stories of Little Russian country
life called Nights on a Farm near Dikanka. In 1831 he became acquainted
with Pushkin and Zhukovsky, who introduced the "shy Khokhol" (nickname
for "Little Russian"), as he was called, to the house of Madame O.
A. Smirnov, the centre of "an intimate circle of literary men and the
flower of intellectual society." The same year he obtained a position as
instructor of history at the Patriotic Institute, and in 1834 was made
professor of history at the University of St. Petersburg. Though his
lectures were marked by originality and vivid presentation, he seems on
the whole not to have been successful as a professor, and he resigned in

During this period he kept up his literary activity uninterruptedly, and
in 1835 published his collection of stories, Mirgorod, containing
How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich, Taras Bulba, and
others. This collection firmly established his position as a leading
author. At the same time he was at work on several plays. The Vladimir
Cross, which was to deal with the higher St. Petersburg functionaries
in the same way as the Revizor with the lesser town officials, was never
concluded, as Gogol realized the impossibility of placing them on the
Russian stage. A few strong scenes were published. The comedy Marriage,
finished in 1835, still finds a place in the Russian theatrical
repertoire. The Gamblers, his only other complete comedy, belongs to a
later period.

After a stay abroad, chiefly in Italy, lasting with some interruptions
for seven years (1836-1841), he returned to his native country, bringing
with him the first part of his greatest work, Dead Souls. The novel,
published the following year, produced a profound impression and made
Gogol's literary reputation supreme. Pushkin, who did not live to see
its publication, on hearing the first chapters read, exclaimed, "God,
how sad our Russia is!" And Alexander Hertzen characterized it as
"a wonderful book, a bitter, but not hopeless rebuke of contemporary
Russia." Aksakov went so far as to call it the Russian national epic,
and Gogol the Russian Homer.

Unfortunately the novel remained incomplete. Gogol began to suffer
from a nervous illness which induced extreme hypochondria. He became
excessively religious, fell under the influence of pietists and a
fanatical priest, sank more and more into mysticism, and went on a
pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship at the Holy Sepulchre. In this
state of mind he came to consider all literature, including his own, as
pernicious and sinful.

After burning the manuscript of the second part of Dead Souls, he began
to rewrite it, had it completed and ready for the press by 1851, but
kept the copy and burned it again a few days before his death (1852), so
that it is extant only in parts.


Friday, September 9, 2016

The Poems of Trieste and Five Poems for the Game of Soccer by Umberto Saba (eBook) - A selection of the best poetry by Italian Master Umberto Saba, translated in English

Today, Umberto Saba (pseudonym of Umberto Poli, 1883–1957) is widely recognized as one of the most prominent European poets of the 20th century. Born in the cosmopolitan port town of Trieste, under the Austro-Hungarian rule, in his youth, Saba struggled with hardship and poverty. After quitting his commercial studies, he joined the mercantile marine, and later the army, enlisting in the infantry regiment. While Saba successfully published his work for over three decades enjoying very favorable reception by critics, he remained an outsider to the Italian literary establishment. Following anti-Semitic laws and persecution, he migrated to Paris, returning to Italy only in 1943, where he remained under cover until the end of World War II. His verses, tinged with melancholy and filled with compassion for the world's misery, are expressed in a language characterized by a sophisticated simplicity: light and rich of everyday words, yet musical and profound in poetic effect.
Available as e-book on Amazon KindleiPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, NOOK Book, Kobo and on Lulu. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Brothers Karamazov (Братья Карамазовы) : "The Grand Inquisitor," by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Translation by H.P. Blavatsky), "The Grand Inquisitor," by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Фёдор Миха́йлович Достое́вский)

Portrait of Dostoyevsky by Vasily Perov, 1872

The following is an extract from M. Dostoevsky's celebrated novel, The Brothers Karamazov, the last publication from the pen of the great Russian novelist, who died a few months ago, just as the concluding chapters appeared in print. Dostoevsky is beginning to be recognized as one of the ablest and profoundest among Russian writers. His characters are invariably typical portraits drawn from various classes of Russian society, strikingly life-like and realistic to the highest degree. The following extract is a cutting satire on modern theology generally and the Roman Catholic religion in particular. The idea is that Christ revisits earth, coming to Spain at the period of the Inquisition, and is at once arrested as a heretic by the Grand Inquisitor. One of the three brothers of the story, Ivan, a rank materialist and an atheist of the new school, is supposed to throw this conception into the form of a poem, which he describes to Alyosha—the youngest of the brothers, a young Christian mystic brought up by a "saint" in a monastery—as follows: (—Ed. Theosophist, Nov., 1881)



Feodor Dostoevsky

(Translation by H.P. Blavatsky)

"Quite impossible, as you see, to start without an introduction," laughed Ivan. "Well, then, I mean to place the event described in the poem in the sixteenth century, an age—as you must have been told at school—when it was the great fashion among poets to make the denizens and powers of higher worlds descend on earth and mix freely with mortals... In France all the notaries' clerks, and the monks in the cloisters as well, used to give grand performances, dramatic plays in which long scenes were enacted by the Madonna, the angels, the saints, Christ, and even by God Himself. In those days, everything was very artless and primitive. An instance of it may be found in Victor Hugo's drama, Notre Dame de Paris, where, at the Municipal Hall, a play called Le Bon Jugement de la Tres-sainte et Gracièuse Vierge Marie, is enacted in honour of Louis XI, in which the Virgin appears personally to pronounce her 'good judgment.' In Moscow, during the prepetrean period, performances of nearly the same character, chosen especially from the Old Testament, were also in great favour. Apart from such plays, the world was overflooded with mystical writings, 'verses'—the heroes of which were always selected from the ranks of angels, saints and other heavenly citizens answering to the devotional purposes of the age. The recluses of our monasteries, like the Roman Catholic monks, passed their time in translating, copying, and even producing original compositions upon such subjects, and that, remember, during the Tarter period!... In this connection, I am reminded of a poem compiled in a convent—a translation from the Greek, of course—called, 'The Travels of the Mother of God among the Damned,' with fitting illustrations and a boldness of conception inferior nowise to that of Dante. The 'Mother of God' visits hell, in company with the archangel Michael as her cicerone to guide her through the legions of the 'damned.' She sees them all, and is witness to their multifarious tortures. Among the many other exceedingly remarkably varieties of torments—every category of sinners having its own—there is one especially worthy of notice, namely a class of the 'damned' sentenced to gradually sink in a burning lake of brimstone and fire. Those whose sins cause them to sink so low that they no longer can rise to the surface are for ever forgotten by God, i.e., they fade out from the omniscient memory, says the poem—an expression, by the way, of an extraordinary profundity of thought, when closely analysed. The Virgin is terribly shocked, and falling down upon her knees in tears before the throne of God, begs that all she has seen in hell—all, all without exception, should have their sentences remitted to them. Her dialogue with God is colossally interesting. She supplicates, she will not leave Him. And when God, pointing to the pierced hands and feet of her Son, cries, 'How can I forgive His executioners?' She then commands that all the saints, martyrs, angels and archangels, should prostrate themselves with her before the Immutable and Changeless One and implore Him to change His wrath into mercy and—forgive them all. The poem closes upon her obtaining from God a compromise, a kind of yearly respite of tortures between Good Friday and Trinity, a chorus of the 'damned' singing loud praises to God from their 'bottomless pit,' thanking and telling Him:
Thou art right, O Lord, very right,
Thou hast condemned us justly.
"My poem is of the same character.
"In it, it is Christ who appears on the scene. True, He says nothing, but only appears and passes out of sight. Fifteen centuries have elapsed since He left the world with the distinct promise to return 'with power and great glory'; fifteen long centuries since His prophet cried, 'Prepare ye the way of the Lord!' since He Himself had foretold, while yet on earth, 'Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven but my Father only.' But Christendom expects Him still. ...
"It waits for Him with the same old faith and the same emotion; aye, with a far greater faith, for fifteen centuries have rolled away since the last sign from heaven was sent to man,
And blind faith remained alone
To lull the trusting heart,
As heav'n would send a sign no more.
"True, again, we have all heard of miracles being wrought ever since the 'age of miracles' passed away to return no more. We had, and still have, our saints credited with performing the most miraculous cures; and, if we can believe their biographers, there have been those among them who have been personally visited by the Queen of Heaven. But Satan sleepeth not, and the first germs of doubt, and ever-increasing unbelief in such wonders, already had begun to sprout in Christendom as early as the sixteenth century. It was just at that time that a new and terrible heresy first made its appearance in the north of Germany.* [*Luther's reform] A great star 'shining as it were a lamp... fell upon the fountains waters'... and 'they were made bitter.' This 'heresy' blasphemously denied 'miracles.' But those who had remained faithful believed all the more ardently, the tears of mankind ascended to Him as heretofore, and the Christian world was expecting Him as confidently as ever; they loved Him and hoped in Him, thirsted and hungered to suffer and die for Him just as many of them had done before.... So many centuries had weak, trusting humanity implored Him, crying with ardent faith and fervour: 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not come!' So many long centuries hath it vainly appealed to Him, that at last, in His inexhaustible compassion, He consenteth to answer the prayer.... He decideth that once more, if it were but for one short hour, the people—His long-suffering, tortured, fatally sinful, his loving and child-like, trusting people—shall behold Him again. The scene of action is placed by me in Spain, at Seville, during that terrible period of the Inquisition, when, for the greater glory of God, stakes were flaming all over the country.
Burning wicked heretics,
In grand auto-da-fes.
"This particular visit has, of course, nothing to do with the promised Advent, when, according to the programme, 'after the tribulation of those days,' He will appear 'coming in the clouds of heaven.' For, that 'coming of the Son of Man,' as we are informed, will take place as suddenly 'as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west.' No; this once, He desired to come unknown, and appear among His children, just when the bones of the heretics, sentenced to be burnt alive, had commenced crackling at the flaming stakes. Owing to His limitless mercy, He mixes once more with mortals and in the same form in which He was wont to appear fifteen centuries ago. He descends, just at the very moment when before king, courtiers, knights, cardinals, and the fairest dames of court, before the whole population of Seville, upwards of a hundred wicked heretics are being roasted, in a magnificent auto-da-fe ad majorem Dei gloriam, by the order of the powerful Cardinal Grand Inquisitor.
"He comes silently and unannounced; yet all—how strange—yea, all recognize Him, at once! The population rushes towards Him as if propelled by some irresistible force; it surrounds, throngs, and presses around, it follows Him.... Silently, and with a smile of boundless compassion upon His lips, He crosses the dense crowd, and moves softly on. The Sun of Love burns in His heart, and warm rays of Light, Wisdom and Power beam forth from His eyes, and pour down their waves upon the swarming multitudes of the rabble assembled around, making their hearts vibrate with returning love. He extends His hands over their heads, blesses them, and from mere contact with Him, aye, even with His garments, a healing power goes forth. An old man, blind from his birth, cries, 'Lord, heal me, that I may see Thee!' and the scales falling off the closed eyes, the blind man beholds Him... The crowd weeps for joy, and kisses the ground upon which He treads. Children strew flowers along His path and sing to Him, 'Hosanna!' It is He, it is Himself, they say to each other, it must be He, it can be none other but He! He pauses at the portal of the old cathedral, just as a wee white coffin is carried in, with tears and great lamentations. The lid is off, and in the coffin lies the body of a fair-child, seven years old, the only child of an eminent citizen of the city. The little corpse lies buried in flowers. 'He will raise the child to life!' confidently shouts the crowd to the weeping mother. The officiating priest who had come to meet the funeral procession, looks perplexed, and frowns. A loud cry is suddenly heard, and the bereaved mother prostrates herself at His feet. 'If it be Thou, then bring back my child to life!' she cries beseechingly. The procession halts, and the little coffin is gently lowered at his feet. Divine compassion beams forth from His eyes, and as He looks at the child, His lips are heard to whisper once more, 'Talitha Cumi'—and 'straightway the damsel arose.' The child rises in her coffin. Her little hands still hold the nosegay of white roses which after death was placed in them, and, looking round with large astonished eyes she smiles sweetly .... The crowd is violently excited. A terrible commotion rages among them, the populace shouts and loudly weeps, when suddenly, before the cathedral door, appears the Cardinal Grand Inquisitor himself.... He is tall, gaunt-looking old man of nearly four-score years and ten, with a stern, withered face, and deeply sunken eyes, from the cavity of which glitter two fiery sparks. He has laid aside his gorgeous cardinal's robes in which he had appeared before the people at the auto da-fe of the enemies of the Romish Church, and is now clad in his old, rough, monkish cassock. His sullen assistants and slaves of the 'holy guard' are following at a distance. He pauses before the crowd and observes. He has seen all. He has witnessed the placing of the little coffin at His feet, the calling back to life. And now, his dark, grim face has grown still darker; his bushy grey eyebrows nearly meet, and his sunken eye flashes with sinister light. Slowly raising his finger, he commands his minions to arrest Him....
"Such is his power over the well-disciplined, submissive and now trembling people, that the thick crowds immediately give way, and scattering before the guard, amid dead silence and without one breath of protest, allow them to lay their sacrilegious hands upon the stranger and lead Him away.... That same populace, like one man, now bows its head to the ground before the old Inquisitor, who blesses it and slowly moves onward. The guards conduct their prisoner to the ancient building of the Holy Tribunal; pushing Him into a narrow, gloomy, vaulted prison-cell, they lock Him in and retire....
"The day wanes, and night—a dark, hot breathless Spanish night—creeps on and settles upon the city of Seville. The air smells of laurels and orange blossoms. In the Cimmerian darkness of the old Tribunal Hall the iron door of the cell is suddenly thrown open, and the Grand Inquisitor, holding a dark lantern, slowly stalks into the dungeon. He is alone, and, as the heavy door closes behind him, he pauses at the threshold, and, for a minute or two, silently and gloomily scrutinizes the Face before him. At last approaching with measured steps, he sets his lantern down upon the table and addresses Him in these words:
"'It is Thou! ... Thou!' ... Receiving no reply, he rapidly continues: 'Nay, answer not; be silent! ... And what couldst Thou say? ... I know but too well Thy answer.... Besides, Thou hast no right to add one syllable to that which was already uttered by Thee before.... Why shouldst Thou now return, to impede us in our work? For Thou hast come but for that only, and Thou knowest it well. But art Thou as well aware of what awaits Thee in the morning? I do not know, nor do I care to know who thou mayest be: be it Thou or only thine image, to-morrow I will condemn and burn Thee on the stake, as the most wicked of all the heretics; and that same people, who to-day were kissing Thy feet, to-morrow at one bend of my finger, will rush to add fuel to Thy funeral pile... Wert Thou aware of this?' he adds, speaking as if in solemn thought, and never for one instant taking his piercing glance off the meek Face before him."....
"I can hardly realize the situation described—what is all this, Ivan?" suddenly interrupted Alyosha, who had remained silently listening to his brother. "Is this an extravagant fancy, or some mistake of the old man, an impossible quid pro quo?"