Tolstoy, Leo, trans. Louise Maud

Dover, 2004

pp. 53 - 57

Prince Dimitri Nekhlyudov (neck-lee-YOO-dov) seduces a beautiful housemaid, Katerína Máslova, impregnates her by the seduction, and spoils her life. (Immediately after the seduction, a conflicted Nekhlyudov comforts himself with the thought that “it happens to everybody—everybody does it.”) Because she is pregnant she is expelled from her position and becomes a prostitute to support herself. Sometime later she is falsely accused of theft from and poisoning of one of her customers and, after a wholly incompetent trial, sentenced to Siberia. As it happens, Nekhlyudov had been assigned to her jury, and, appalled by what his seduction has wrought in Máslova’s life, tries to avert the courtroom disaster, but without success. He spends the rest of the novel wrestling with the corruption his seduction has sowed. A momentary surge of lust has led to a lifetime of preoccupation, of guilt and sorrow, and in Máslova’s case, of misery.