From the mind of madness book 1 diary of a madman

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Then why did they hit Him? Did it hurt Him? Auntie, did it hurt? I sobbed and sobbed, and began knocking my head against the wall.

The Search For Self Through The Eyes Of A Madman Essay

Such had been the fits of my madness in my childhood. But after I was fourteen, from the time the instincts of sex awoke and I began to give way to vice, my madness seemed to have passed, and I was a boy like other boys. Just as happens with all of us who are brought up on rich, over-abundant food, and are spoiled and made effeminate, because we never do any physical work, and are surrounded by all possible temptations, which excite our sensual nature when in the company of other children similarly spoiled, so I had been taught vice by other boys of my age and I indulged in it.

As time passed other vices came to take the place of the first. I began to know women, and so I went on living, up to the time I was thirty-five, looking out for all kinds of pleasures and enjoying them. I had a perfectly sound mind then, and never a sign of madness. Those twenty years of my normal life passed without leaving any special record on my memory, and now it is only with a great effort of mind and with utter disgust, that I can concentrate my thoughts upon that time.

Like all the boys of my set, who were of sound mind, I entered school, passed on to the university and went through a course of law studies. Then I entered the State service for a short time, married, and settled down in the country, educating - if our way of bringing up children can be called educating - my children, looking after the land, and filling the post of a Justice of the Peace.

It was when I had been married ten years that one of those attacks of madness I suffered from in my childhood made its appearance again. My wife and I had saved up money from her inheritance and from some Government bonds of mine which I had sold, and we decided that with that money we would buy another estate. I was naturally keen to increase our fortune, and to do it in the shrewdest way, better than any one else would manage it.

I went about inquiring what estates were to be sold, and used to read all the advertisements in the papers. What I wanted was to buy an estate, the produce or timber of which would cover the cost of purchase, and then I would have the estate practically for nothing. I was looking out for a fool who did not understand business, and there came a day when I thought I had found one. An estate with large forests attached to it was to be sold in the Pensa Government.

To judge by the information I had received the proprietor of that estate was exactly the imbecile I wanted, and I might expect the forests to cover the price asked for the whole estate. I got my things ready and was soon on my way to the estate I wished to inspect. We had first to go by train I had taken my man-servant with me , then by coach, with relays of horses at the various stations. The journey was very pleasant, and my servant, a good-natured youth, liked it as much as I did. We enjoyed the new surroundings and the new people, and having now only about two hundred miles more to drive, we decided to go on without stopping, except to change horses at the stations.

Night came on and we were still driving. I had been dozing, but presently I awoke, seized with a sudden fear. As often happens in such a case, I was so excited that I was thoroughly awake and it seemed as if sleep were gone for ever. Where am I going? It was not that I disliked the idea of buying an estate at a bargain, but it seemed at that moment so senseless to journey to such a far away place, and I had a feeling as if I were going to die there, away from home. I was overcome with terror. My servant Sergius awoke, and I took advantage of the fact to talk to him. I began to remark upon the scenery around us; he had also a good deal to say, of the people at home, of the pleasure of the journey, and it seemed strange to me that he could talk so gaily.

He appeared so pleased with everything and in such good spirits, whereas I was annoyed with it all. Still, I felt more at ease when I was talking with him. Along with my feelings of restlessness and my secret horror, however, I was fatigued as well, and longed to break the journey somewhere.

It seemed to me my uneasiness would cease if I could only enter a room, have tea, and, what I desired most of all, sleep. We drove on. I was silent, but I felt better, looking forward to a rest and hoping to feel the better for it. We drove on and on in the darkness, and the seven miles seemed to have no end.

From the mind of madness (Diary of a madman)

At last we reached the town. It was sound asleep at that early hour. First came the small houses, piercing the darkness, and as we passed them, the noise of our jingling bells and the trotting of our horses sounded louder. In a few places the houses were large and white, but I did not feel less dejected for seeing them. I was waiting for the station, and the samovar, and longed to lie down and rest. At last we approached a house with pillars in front of it. The house was white, but it seemed to me very melancholy.

I felt even frightened at its aspect and stepped slowly out of the carriage. Sergius was busying himself with our luggage, taking what we needed for the night, running about and stepping heavily on the doorsteps. The sound of his brisk tread increased my weariness. I walked in and came into a small passage. A man received us; he had a large spot on his cheek and that spot filled me with horror.

He asked us into a room which was just an ordinary room. My uneasiness was growing.

The fact of the little room being square was - I remember it so well - most painful to me. It had one window with a red curtain, a table of birchwood and a sofa with a curved back and arms. Sergius boiled the water in the samovar and made the tea. I put a pillow on the sofa in the meantime and lay down.

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I was not asleep; I heard Sergius busy with the samovar and urging me to have tea. I was afraid to get up from the sofa, afraid of driving away sleep; and just to be sitting in that room seemed awful. I did not get up, but fell into a sort of doze. When I started up out of it, nobody was in the room and it was quite dark. I woke up with the very same sensation I had the first time and knew sleep was gone.

Just as I am I must be for ever. Neither the Pensa nor any other estate will add to or take anything away from me. As for me, I am unbearably weary of myself. I want to go to sleep, to forget - and I cannot, I cannot get rid of self. I went out into the passage. Sergius was sleeping there on a narrow bench, his hand hanging down beside it. He was sleeping soundly, and the man with the spot on his cheek was also asleep. I thought, by going out of the room, to get away from what was tormenting me.

But it followed me and made everything seem dark and dreary. My feeling of horror, instead of leaving me, was increasing. What am I afraid of? I shuddered. Yes, - Death! Death will come, it will come and it ought not to come. Even in facing actual death I would certainly not feel anything of what I felt now. Then it would be simply fear, whereas now it was more than that. I was actually seeing, feeling the approach of death, and along with it I felt that death ought not to exist. My entire being was conscious of the necessity of the right to live, and at the same time of the inevitability of dying.

This inner conflict was causing me unbearable pain. I tried to shake off the horror; I found a half-burnt candle in a brass candlestick and lighted it.


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The candle with its red flame burnt down until it was not much taller than the low candlestick. The same thing seemed to be repeated over and over: nothing lasts, life is not, all is death - but death ought not to exist.


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I tried to turn my thoughts to what had interested me before, to the estate I was to buy and to my wife. Far from being a relief, these seemed nothing to me now. To feel my life doomed to be taken from me was a terror shutting out any other thought. I went to bed, but the next instant I jumped up, seized with horror. A sickness overcame me, a spiritual sickness not unlike the physical uneasiness preceding actual illness - but in the spirit, not in the body. A terrible fear similar to the fear of death, when mingled with the recollections of my past life, developed into a horror as if life were departing.

Life and death were flowing into one another. An unknown power was trying to tear my soul into pieces, but could not bend it. Once more I went out into the passage to look at the two men asleep; once more I tried to go to sleep. The horror was always the same - now red, now white and square. Something was tearing within but could not be torn apart. A torturing sensation! An arid hatred deprived me of every spark of kindly feeling.

Just a dull and steady hatred against myself and against that which had created me. What did create me? We say God I had not said a prayer for more than twenty years and I had no religious sentiment, although just for formality's sake I fasted and partook of the communion every year. I began saying prayers; "God, forgive me," "Our Father," "Our Lady," I was composing new prayers, crossing myself, bowing to the earth, looking around me all the while for fear I might be discovered in my devotional attitude. The prayers seemed to divert my thoughts from the previous terror, but it was more the fear of being seen by somebody that did it.

Dancing With Madness

I went to bed again. I could not stand it any longer. I called the hotel servant, roused Sergius from his sleep, ordered him to harness the horses to the carriage and we were soon driving on once more. The open air and the drive made me feel much better. But I realised that something new had come into my soul, and had poisoned the life I had lived up to that hour. We reached our destination in the evening.

Mental illness in fiction

The whole day long I remained struggling with despair, and finally conquered it; but a horror remained in the depth of my soul. It was as if a misfortune had happened to me, and although I was able to forget it for a while, it remained at the bottom of my soul, and I was entirely dominated by it. The manager of the estate, an old man, received us in a very friendly manner, though not exactly with great joy; he was sorry that the estate was to be sold.

The clean little rooms with upholstered furniture, a new, shining samovar on the tea-table, nice large cups, honey served with the tea, - everything was pleasant to see. I began questioning him about the estate without any interest, as if I were repeating a lesson learned long ago and nearly forgotten. It was so uninteresting.

But that night I was able to go to sleep without feeling miserable. I thought this was due to having said my prayers again before going to bed. After that incident I resumed my ordinary life; but the apprehension that this horror would again come upon me was continual. I had to live my usual life without any respite, not giving way to my thoughts, just like a schoolboy who repeats by habit and without thinking the lesson learned by heart.

That was the only way to avoid being seized again by the horror and the despair I had experienced in Arzamas. I had returned home safe from my journey; I had not bought the estate - I had not enough money. My life at home seemed to be just as it had always been, save for my having taken to saying prayers and to going to church.

But now, when I recollect that time, I see that I only imagined my life to be the same as before. The fact was I merely continued what I had previously started, and was running with the same speed on rails already laid; but I did not undertake anything new. Even in those things which I had already taken in hand my interest had diminished. I was tired of everything, and was growing very religious. My wife noticed this, and was often vexed with me for it.

No new fit of distress occurred while I was at home. But one day I had to go unexpectedly to Moscow, where a lawsuit was pending. In the train I entered into conversation with a land-owner from Kharkov. We were talking about the management of estates, about bank business, about the hotels in Moscow, and the theatres. We both decided to stop at the "Moscow Court," in the Miasnizkaia Street, and go that evening to the opera, to Faust.

When we arrived I was shown into a small room, the heavy smell of the passage being still in my nostrils. In the room next to mine I heard somebody coughing, probably an old man. The maid went out, and the porter asked whether I wished him to open my bag.

Diary of a Madman

In the meanwhile the candle flame had flared up, throwing its light on the blue wallpaper with yellow stripes, on the partition, on the shabby table, on the small sofa in the front of it, on the mirror hanging on the wall, and on the window. I saw what the small room was like, and suddenly felt the horror of the Arzamas night awakening within me. Must I stay here for the night? How can I? When the bag had been untied I said to the porter, "Please tell the gentleman in Number 8 - the one who came with me - that I shall be ready presently, and ask him to wait for me.

The porter left, and I began to dress in haste, afraid to look at the walls. I am not afraid of ghosts -" Ghosts! Absolutely nothing. I am only afraid of myself I slipped into a cold, rough, starched shirt, stuck in the studs, put on evening dress and new boots, and went to call for the Kharkov landowner, who was ready. We started for the opera house. He stopped on the way to have his hair curled, while I went to a French hairdresser to have mine cut, where I talked a little to the Frenchwoman in the shop and bought a pair of gloves.

Everything seemed all right. I had completely forgotten the oblong room in the hotel, and the walls. I enjoyed the Faust performance very much, and when it was over my companion proposed that we should have supper. This was contrary to my habits; but just at that moment I remembered the walls in my room, and accepted. We returned home after one. I had two glasses of wine - an unusual thing for me - in spite of which I was feeling quite at ease. But the moment we entered the passage with the lowered lamp lighting it, the moment I was surrounded by the peculiar smell of the hotel.

I felt a cold shudder of horror running down my back. But there was nothing to be done. I shook hands with my new friend, and stepped into my room. I had a frightful night - much worse than the night at Arzamas; and it was not until dawn, when the old man in the next room was coughing again, that I fell asleep - and then not in my bed, but, after getting in and out of it many times, on the sofa. I suffered the whole night unbearably. Once more my soul and my body were tearing themselves apart within me. Then why live?

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