I see a great building, one enormous mass. In the front wall is a narrow arch with open doors; behind them, dark mists. In front of the high threshold there is a young girl… a pretty Russian girl. A breeze comes from the dark and icy mists, a current of freezing air, bringing with it from the depths of the building the sound of a slow and muffled voice. —
‚You who aspire to cross this threshold, do you know what awaits you here?‘
— I know,‘ answers the young girl.
— ‚Cold, hunger, hate, mockery, scorn, injustice, prison, illness and even death?‘
— I know it.‘
— ‚Do you expect to be shunned by everyone? Do you expect to be totally alone?‘
— ‚I am ready. I know it. I shall bear all the suffering and all the blows‘.
— ‚Even if they do not come from enemies, but from parents, from friends?‘
— ‚Yes… even from those…‘
— ‚Good. Do you accept the sacrifice?‘
— ‚An anonymous sacrifice? You will perish and nobody… but nobody will even know whose memory to honour?‘
— ‚I have no use for recognition and pity. I have no use for a name.‘
— ‚Are you ready for crime?‘
The young girl bowed her head.
— ‚Even for crime.‘
The voice which was questioning her did not continue right away. At last it started again:
— ‚Do you know that one day you will believe no more in what you believe in now, and come to think that you have been a dupe and that it was for nothing that you have lost your young life?‘
— ‚That too I know. Well though I know it, I wish to enter.‘
The young girl crossed the threshold. A heavy curtain fell.
Gritting his teeth, someone uttered behind her:
— ‚A foolish girl!‘
At which, from another place, a voice replied:
— ‚A saint!‘
— Turgenev —