Mist rose up from cobblestones slick with rain. An acrid smell of smoke hung heavily in the air. I strained to hear a distant sound.
Listen! Did you hear that–the hammering of horses’ hooves on stones? Perhaps…but was it only in a dream? I shook my head as if to dispel…I knew not what!
Where could I be?
I began to walk. I was becoming used to these trips in Cyberspace but were they really only dreams produced by my fervid imagination? It is sometimes difficult to find reality hovering in this haze of possibilities and probabilities.
But do forgive me! By now you are likely wondering just who is speaking to you. It is I, Alexander Wainwright–the character from The Trilogy of Remembrance. In my so-called real life I am a landscape painter. As you can see, I exist in flesh and blood right here in Cyberspace where I meet some of history’s most famous people.
I continued to walk. With no warning whatsoever, I was inexorably drawn into a dreadfully dilapidated building. Or-could I better describe it as an achingly beautiful ruin? I felt as if a hand had seized my entire being and pulled me inward.
Inside, the contrast stunned me. The foyer and main staircase were overwhelmingly grand. Passing from the exterior to the interior, was a leap of planetary proportions.
I climbed up to the second floor only to find myself, once again, in shabby surroundings. It must be a dream. No real buildings could go from ruin to grandeur in just a few steps. How many contradictory realities could there be? First glimpses are so often entirely deceiving!
But then, I followed along a hallway which suddenly narrowed. I squinted but still could not make out whether there was a figure or some sort of light at the far end. Again I was drawn along the corridor as if I had no choice in the matter.
As I walked, I passed an insubstantial figure whose gaze seemed fixed on another world. Did he grasp my arm? Did I struggle?
I arrived at a door at the far end of the corridor and, without thinking, immediately knocked. The door opened just a crack. At first I saw only a hat, but then the face and body of an extremely tall, rail-like man. A thin smile played upon his lips. The eyes spoke of fierce intelligence—and suspicion.
Even today, I do not know why I said the next few words to the young man.
“Mr. Dostoevsky! I am honoured to meet such a famous writer as you!”
He nodded curtly and stepped aside to let me in. Perhaps it was the strange building itself or my mysterious journey to this little flat which made me mistake the young man for the writer. But no–it was more than that. Somehow the young man seemed to exude the very essence of the great writer.
I was delighted to see the interior of the apartment composed of a warm and welcoming set of well furnished rooms of the nineteenth century. I entered the parlour where the great man received company.
The dining room was spacious where one could sense the presence of Dostoevsky’s second wife Ana. So strong was my impression that I immediately recalled a story I once read of his proposal of marriage to her.
Dostoevsky made up the plot of an imaginary new novel. He then told Ana about it, pretending to seek her advice on female psychology. In his story an old painter proposed to young girl.
“Could such a girl,” he asked Ana, “fall in love with the much older man—say a painter.” She agreed it was possible. “Imagine I am the painter and asked you to be my wife. What would you answer?”
Ana said: “I would answer that I love you and I will love you forever.”
I put my recollection of this story down to the fact that I, too, am a painter and would love to have had such a response. On a personal note, I must confess that I have only recently [in the third novel, Night Crossing] learned that one must find a balance between the demands of one’s art and real human love. [Workaholics take note!] That which once was confusing and contradictory now seems inextricably linked–art and love.
We walked into the great writer’s study…the inner sanctum where I stood for several moments gazing at the desk where he wrote “The Brothers Karamazov.”
Suddenly, I looked about me. Both the older and younger man had vanished. In despair, I sank to the writer’s chair at his desk and stared at his papers.
I cannot tell you if it was a vision…some sort of hallucinatory flash…or incipient madness on my part. But I witnessed a parade of images before my eyes which you will see if you click on the video which I have made, describing the inexplicable event.
Now that you have seen into my dream, you will understand my disgust at such an unspeakable, murderous act committed by Raskolnikov. And yet, why does that character Raskolnikov resonate with us so strongly even after one hundred and sixty years [or so]. Raskolnikov lives on in all human beings–especially Dostoevsky. If that were not so, how could I have met both of them in the apartment?
If we were to doubt this, remember Dostoevsky said, “There are things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.–Raskolnikov–the monster lives on in us all. ”
Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice; and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue. Be inspired by the newly released and final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing. Presently, The Drawing Lesson is a Wattpad Featured novel which you can read in it’s entirety right here Wattpad.com
Have you ever visited the home of a famous artist or a museum dedicated to him or her. If you have please share your story [and a picture of the place if you can]. Any three entrants win a free download of any novel in The Trilogy of Remembrance from Smashwords. Just click Follow My Blog, leave your email and leave your entry in the comment box below.