7. CHAPTER VII.
"I HAD a small pocket pistol. I had procured it while still a
boy, at that droll age when the stories of duels and highwaymen
begin to delight one, and when one imagines oneself nobly
standing fire at some future day, in a duel.
"There were a couple of old bullets in the bag which contained
the pistol, and powder enough in an old flask for two or three
"The pistol was a wretched thing, very crooked and wouldn't carry
farther than fifteen paces at the most. However, it would send
your skull flying well enough if you pressed the muzzle of it
against your temple.
"I determined to die at Pavlofsk at sunrise, in the park--so as
to make no commotion in the house.
"This 'explanation' will make the matter clear enough to the
police. Students of psychology, and anyone else who likes, may
make what they please of it. I should not like this paper,
however, to be made public. I request the prince to keep a copy
himself, and to give a copy to Aglaya Ivanovna Epanchin. This is
my last will and testament. As for my skeleton, I bequeath it to
the Medical Academy for the benefit of science.
"I recognize no jurisdiction over myself, and I know that I am
now beyond the power of laws and judges.
"A little while ago a very amusing idea struck me. What if I were
now to commit some terrible crime--murder ten fellow-creatures,
for instance, or anything else that is thought most shocking and
dreadful in this world--what a dilemma my judges would be in,
with a criminal who only has a fortnight to live in any case, now
that the rack and other forms of torture are abolished! Why, I
should die comfortably in their own hospital--in a warm, clean
room, with an attentive doctor--probably much more comfortably
than I should at home.
"I don't understand why people in my position do not oftener
indulge in such ideas--if only for a joke! Perhaps they do! Who
knows! There are plenty of merry souls among us!