The Cook's Wedding and Other Stories HTML version
The Swedish Match
(The Story of a Crime)
ON the morning of October 6, 1885, a well-dressed young man presented himself at the
office of the police superintendent of the 2nd division of the S. district, and announced
that his employer, a retired cornet of the guards, called Mark Ivanovitch Klyauzov, had
been murdered. The young man was pale and extremely agitated as he made this
announcement. His hands trembled and there was a look of horror in his eyes.
"To whom have I the honour of speaking?" the superintendent asked him.
"Psyekov, Klyauzov's steward. Agricultural and engineering expert."
The police superintendent, on reaching the spot with Psyekov and the necessary
witnesses, found the position as follows.
Masses of people were crowding about the lodge in which Klyauzov lived. The news of
the event had flown round the neighbourhood with the rapidity of lightning, and, thanks
to its being a holiday, the people were flocking to the lodge from all the neighbouring
villages. There was a regular hubbub of talk. Pale and tearful faces were to be seen here
and there. The door into Klyauzov's bedroom was found to be locked. The key was in the
lock on the inside.
"Evidently the criminals made their way in by the window" Psyekov observed, as they
examined the door.
They went into the garden into which the bedroom window looked. The window had a
gloomy, ominous air. It was covered by a faded green curtain. One corner of the curtain
was slightly turned back, which made it possible to peep into the bedroom.
"Has anyone of you looked in at the window?" inquired the superintendent.
"No, your honour," said Yefrem, the gardener, a little, grey-haired old man with the face
of a veteran non-commissioned officer. "No one feels like looking when they are shaking
in every limb!"
"Ech, Mark Ivanitch! Mark Ivanitch!" sighed the superintendent, as he looked at the
window. "I told you that you would come to a bad end! I told you, poor dear--you
wouldn't listen! Dissipation leads to no good!"
"It's thanks to Yefrem," said Psyekov. "We should never have guessed it but for him. It
was he who first thought that something was wrong. He came to me this morning and