Prince Yuri Lubovedsky

They were a motley crowd of people of all nationalities, some with a past, some perhaps with a future. Among them were criminals who had already served their terms, and also many political exiles either sent there by the courts or by the administrative orders widely used at that time in Russia.

The surroundings and conditions of life of these exiles were so wretched that all of them without exception gradually became drunkards; even those who formerly never drank and had no hereditary predisposition to drink fell quite naturally and easily into this common tendency.

The company in whose fight I had got mixed up belonged to this category. After the fight I wished to take my companion-in-arms to his home, fearing that if he went alone something unpleasant might happen to him on the way, but it turned out that he lived in the same place as the other four, in repair cars on the railroad tracks. As it was already night, there was nothing to be done but suggest that he come home with me, to which he agreed.

My new acquaintance—and this was Soloviev—turned out to be still a young man, but it was clear that he had already taken to drink. He had come out of the fight rather damaged; his face was all bruised and one eye badly blackened. The next morning his eye was swollen almost shut, and I persuaded him not to leave but to stay with me until it was better, the more so since the Easter Holidays had begun and he had finished work the day before. On Good Friday he went off somewhere, but came back to spend the night with me.

The next day I had to run about almost all day long. I had to deliver the flowers ordered for Easter. I was not free until evening, and as I had no Christian acquaintances and nowhere to go to celebrate, I bought a khoulitch, paskha, some painted eggs and everything else customary for this feast, as well as a small bottle of vodka, and brought them home.