Unfortunately, with these very words, the original manuscript comes to an abrupt end. The autobiographer’s death in 1868 pre- vented him from finishing the story of his life. His further fate is known only from oral histories, told to me by people well ac- quainted with him. I will retell it in brief. I am sorry for the lack of details, which would perhaps be of great interest.
The serf bailiff, Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii, who fell into dis- grace as the result of another’s guilt and because of hostile slander, came out of his lord’s study neither dead nor alive. The scene had been terrible. The landlord strictly ordered him to “go back to the village immediately and wait there for further instruction.”
This terrifying phrase “wait for further instruction” over- whelmed Purlevskii. He imagined the kind of reprisals that he him- self had been witness to many times—corporal punishment, maybe the “red hat,” perhaps even Siberia... Usually logical, on this occa- sion he lost his head completely and immediately decided to flee. Where to? There was no need to think much about this: where the Old Believers, who probably often fled his village, usually ran to— beyond the Prut, beyond the Danube!
On that very day he disappeared from St. Petersburg. The reali- zation that his sudden disappearance would serve as proof of his guilt made him uneasy. In order to discourage the landlords from thinking of him as a runaway and of his flight as a confession of
122 The following text was written by the journal editor Shcherban.