The Heart of a Dog


      Michail Bulgakov. The heart of a dog






     Ooow-ow-ooow-owow!  Oh, look  at me,  I'm  dying.  There's  a snowstorm

moaning  a requiem  for  me  in  this  doorway and I'm howling  with it. I'm

finished. Some bastard in a dirty white cap - the cook in the office canteen

at the National Economic Council - spilled some boiling water and scalded my

left side.  Filthy swine -  and a proletarian, too. Christ, it  hurts!  That

boiling water scalded me right through to the bone. I can howl and howl, but

what's the use?

     What  harm was  I  doing  him,  anyway? I'm  not  robbing the  National

Economic Council's  food supply if I  go  foraging in their  dustbins, am I?

Greedy pig! Just take a look at  his ugly mug  - it's almost fatter than  he

is. Hard-faced crook. Oh people, people. It was midday when that fool doused

me with boiling water, now it's getting dark, must be  about four o'clock in

the afternoon judging by  the smell  of onion coming  from the  Prechistenka

fire station. Firemen have soup for supper, you know. Not that I care for it

myself. I can manage without soup -  don't like mushrooms either. The dogs I

know  in Prechistenka  Street, by the  way, tell me there's  a restaurant in

Neglinny Street where  they get the chef's special every day - mushroom stew

with  relish  at 3 roubles  and  75  kopecks  the  portion.  All  right  for

connoisseurs, I  suppose. I  think  eating mushrooms  is about  as tasty  as

licking a pair of galoshes . . . Oow-owowow . . .

     My side hurts like hell and I  can see just what's going to  become  of

me. Tomorrow it will break out in ulcers and then how can I make them  heal?

In  summer you can go  and roll  in Sokolniki Park where  there's  a special

grass that does you good. Besides,  you  can get a free meal of sausage-ends

and  there's  plenty of greasy bits  of food-wrappings  to lick.  And  if it

wasn't  for  some  old groaner singing '0 celeste Aida' out in the moonlight

till it makes you  sick, the place would be perfect. But where can I go now?

Haven't  I  been  kicked around  enough? Sure  I have.  Haven't I had enough

bricks thrown at me? Plenty . . . Still, after what I've been through, I can

take  a lot. I'm only whining now because  of the pain and cold - though I'm

not licked yet ... it takes a lot to keep a good dog down.

     But my poor old body's been knocked about by people once too often. The

trouble  is that when  that cook  doused  me  with boiling water it  scalded

through right under my  fur and now there's nothing  to keep the cold out on

my left side. I could easily  get pneumonia - and if I  get that,  citizens,

I'll die of hunger. When you get pneumonia the only thing to do is to lie up

under  someone's front doorstep,  and  then  who's  going  to run  round the

dustbins looking for food for a sick bachelor dog? I shall get a chill on my

lungs, crawl on my belly  till I'm so  weak that it'll only need one poke of

someone's stick to finish me  off. And the  dustmen  will pick  me up by the

legs and sling me on to their cart . . .

     Dustmen are the lowest form of proletarian life. Humans' rubbish is the

filthiest  stuff there is. Cooks vary  - for instance,  there was Vlas  from

Prechistenka,  who's dead now. He saved I don't know how many  dogs'  lives,

because when  you're sick you've simply got to be able to eat  and keep your

strength  up. And when Vlas used to throw you a bone there was always a good

eighth of an  inch of meat on  it. He  was  a great character. God  rest his

soul, a gentleman's cook  who worked for Count Tolstoy's family and  not for

your stinking Food Rationing Board. As for the muck they dish  out there  as

rations, well  it makes even a  dog wonder. They make soup  out of salt beef

that's gone rotten, the cheats. The poor fools who eat there can't  tell the

difference. It's just grab, gobble and gulp.

     A typist on salary scale 9 gets 60 roubles a month. Of course her lover

keeps her  in silk stockings,  but  think  what  she  has to put up with  in

exchange for silk. He won't just want to make the usual sort of love to her,

he'll  make  her  do it  the French way. They're  a  lot  of bastards, those

Frenchmen,  if  you  ask me - though they know how to  stuff their  guts all

right, and red wine with everything. Well,  along comes  this little  typist

and wants a meal. She can't afford to go into the restaurant on 60 roubles a

month  and go  to  the  cinema as well.  And  the  cinema  is a woman's  one

consolation in life. It's agony for  her to have to choose a meal . . . just

think:40 kopecks for two courses, and neither  of them is worth more than 15

because the  manager has pocketed the other  25 kopecks-worth. Anyhow, is it

the  right sort of  food for her? She's got a patch  on the top of her right

lung, she's having  her  period,  she's had her pay docked  at work and they

feed her  with any old muck at the canteen, poor girl . .  . There  she goes

now,  running into the doorway in her lover's stockings. Cold legs, and  the

wind  blows up her belly because even  though she has some hair  on it  like

mine  she  wears such cold, thin,  lacy little pants  - just  to please  her

lover. If  she tried to wear flannel ones he'd soon bawl her out for looking

a frump.  'My  girl  bores me',  he'll say, 'I'm  fed up with those  flannel

knickers of hers,  to  hell with her. I've made good  now  and all I make in

graft goes on women, lobsters and champagne. I went hungry often enough as a

kid. So what - you can't take it with you.'

     I feel sorry for her, poor  thing. But I feel a lot sorrier for myself.

I'm not  saying  it out of  selfishness, not a  bit,  but because  you can't

compare us. She at least has a warm home to go  to, but what about me? . . .

Where can I go? Oowow-owow!

     'Here, doggy, here, boy! Here, Sharik . .  . What  are you whining for,

poor little fellow? Did somebody hurt you, then?'

     The terrible snowstorm howled around the doorway, buffeting  the girl's

ears.  It blew  her  skirt up to her knees, showing her fawn stockings and a

little  strip of badly washed lace underwear, drowned  her words and covered

the dog in snow.

     'My God . . . what weather .  . . ugh  . . . And my stomach aches. It's

that awful salt beef. When is all this going to end?'

     Lowering her head the girl  launched into  the attack and rushed out of

the  doorway. On  the street  the violent storm spun her like a  top, then a

whirlwind of snow spiralled around her and she vanished.

     But the dog stayed  in the doorway. His scalded  flank was  so  painful

that he  pressed himself against  the  cold wall,  gasping  for  breath, and

decided  not to  move from the spot.  He would die in  the doorway.  Despair

overcame him. He was so bitter and sick  at heart,  so lonely and  terrified

that little dog's tears, like pimples, trickled down  from his  eyes, and at

once dried up.  His injured side  was covered with frozen, dried blood-clots

and between them peeped the angry red patches of the scald. All the fault of

that vicious,  thickheaded, stupid  cook. 'Sharik' she had  called him . . .

What a name to choose! Sharik is the sort of  name for a round, fat,  stupid

dog  that's fed on porridge, a  dog  with a pedigree, and he was a tattered,

scraggy, filthy stray mongrel with a scalded side.

     Across  the street  the door  of a  brightly  lit  store  slammed and a

citizen came through it. Not a comrade, but a citizen, or even more likely -

a gentleman. As he  came closer it  was  obvious that he was a  gentleman. I

suppose  you  thought I recognised  him by  his overcoat?  Nonsense. Lots of

proletarians even wear  overcoats nowadays. I admit they don't usually  have

collars like this one, of course, but even so you can sometimes be  mistaken

at a distance. No,  it's  the eyes:  you can't  go wrong with those, near or

far. Eyes mean a lot. Like a barometer. They tell you everything - they tell

you  who  has a heart of stone, who  would poke the  toe of his boot in your

ribs as soon as look at you - and who's afraid of you. The cowards - they're

the ones whose ankles I  like to  snap at. If they're scared, I go for them.

Serve them right . . . grrr . . . bow-wow . . .

     The gentleman  boldly crossed  the street in a pillar  of whirling snow

and  headed for the doorway.  Yes,  you  can tell  his sort  all  right.  He

wouldn't eat rotten salt beef, and if anyone did happen to give him any he'd

make a fuss and write to the  newspapers - someone has been trying to poison

me - me, Philip Philipovich.

     He came nearer and nearer. He's the kind who always eats well and never

steals, he wouldn't kick you, but he's not afraid of anyone either. And he's

never afraid because he always has enough to eat. This man's a brain worker,

with a carefully trimmed, sharp-pointed beard  and grey moustaches, bold and

bushy ones like the knights of old. But the smell of him, that came floating

on the wind, was a bad, hospital smell. And cigars.

     I wonder why the hell he wants to go into that Co-op? Here he is beside

me . . . What does he want? Oowow, owow .  . . What would he  want to buy in

that filthy store,  surely he can afford to go to  the Okhotny Ryad?  What's

that he's holding? Sausage. Look sir,  if  you knew what  they put into that

sausage you'd never go near that store. Better give it to me.

     The dog gathered the last of his strength and crawled  fainting out  of

the doorway on to the pavement. The blizzard  boomed like  gunfire over  his

head,  flapping  a  great  canvas  billboard  marked  in huge  letters,  'Is

Rejuvenation Possible?'

     Of course it's possible.  The mere smell has rejuvenated me, got  me up

off my belly, sent scorching waves through my stomach that's  been empty for

two days.  The  smell  that overpowered the hospital smell was the  heavenly

aroma of minced horsemeat with garlic and pepper. I feel it, I know -there's

a sausage in his  right-hand coat pocket. He's standing over me. Oh, master!

Look at me. I'm dying. I'm so wretched, I'll be your slave for ever!

     The dog crawled tearfully forward on his stomach. Look  what  that cook

did to me. You'll  never give me anything, though. I know these rich people.

What good is it to you? What do you want with a bit of rotten old horsemeat?

The Moscow State Food  Store only sells muck  like  that. But you've  a good

lunch under  your belt, haven't you, you're a world-famous figure thanks  to

male sex  glands. Oowow-owow .  . . What can I do?  I'm too young to die yet

and despair's a sin. There's nothing for it, I shall have to lick his hand.

     The   mysterious  gentleman  bent  down  towards   the  dog,  his  gold

spectacle-rims  flashing,  and  pulled  a  long  white  package out  of  his

right-hand coat pocket. Without taking  off  his tan  gloves he broke  off a

piece of the sausage, which was labelled 'Special Cracower'. And gave  it to

the dog. Oh, immaculate personage! Oowow-oowow!

     'Here, doggy,' the  gentleman whistled,  and  added sternly,  'Come on!

Take it, Sharik!'

     He's christened me Sharik too. Call me what  you like. For this you can

do anything you like to me,

     In a moment the dog had ripped off the sausage-skin. Mouth watering, he

bit into the Cracower and gobbled  it down in two swallows. Tears started to

his  eyes as  he  nearly choked on the  string, which in his greed he almost

swallowed. Let me lick your hand again, I'll kiss your boots -  you've saved

my life.

     'That's enough .  . .' The gentleman barked as though giving  an order.

He  bent  over Sharik,  stared  with  a  searching  look  into his eyes  and

unexpectedly stroked the dog gently  and  intimately along the stomach  with

his gloved hand.

     'Aha,' he pronounced meaningly. 'No collar. Excellent. You're just what

I want. Follow me.' He clicked his fingers. 'Good dog!'

     Follow you? To the end of the earth. Kick me with your felt boots and I

won't say a word.

     The street  lamps were alight all  along Prechistenka Street. His flank

hurt  unbearably, but for the moment Sharik forgot  about it, absorbed  by a

single thought:  how to avoid losing  sight  of  this  miraculous fur-coated

vision in the hurly-burly of  the storm and  how  to  show him his love  and

devotion. Seven times  along the whole length  of Prechistenka Street as far

as the cross-roads at  Obukhov Street  he  showed  it. At Myortvy  Street he

kissed his boot, he cleared the way by barking  at a lady and frightened her

into falling flat on the pavement, and twice he gave a howl to make sure the

gentleman still felt sorry for him.

     A filthy, thieving stray torn cat slunk out from behind a drainpipe and

despite the  snowstorm, sniffed the Cracower. Sharik went blind with rage at

the thought that this rich eccentric  who picked up injured dogs in doorways

might take pity on  this robber and make  him share the sausage. So he bared

his  teeth  so fiercely that  the cat, with  a  hiss like a  leaky hosepipe,

shinned back up the drainpipe right to the second floor.  Grrrr! Woof! Gone!

We can't go handing out Moscow  State groceries  to all the  strays  loafing

about Prechistenka Street.

     The  gentleman  noticed  the dog's  devotion  as  they  passed the fire

station window, out of which came the pleasant sound of a  French  horn, and

rewarded him with a second piece that was an ounce or two smaller.

     Queer chap.  He's  beckoning to me. Don't  worry, I'm not going to  run

away. I'll follow you wherever you like. 'Here, doggy, here, boy!'

     Obukhov Street? OK by me. I know the place - I've been around.

     'Here, doggy!'

     Here? Sure . . . Hey, no, wait a minute. No. There's  a porters on that

block of flats. My worst enemies, porters, much worse than dustmen. Horrible

lot. Worse than cats. Butchers in gold braid.

     'Don't be  frightened, come  on.' 'Good evening,  Philip  Philipovich.'

'Good evening, Fyodor.'

     What a character. I'm in luck, by God. Who is this genius, who can even

bring stray dogs  off the street past a porter? Look at the bastard -  not a

move, not a word! He looks grim enough, but he doesn't seem to mind, for all

the gold braid on his  cap. That's how  it should be, too. Knows  his place.

Yes, I'm with this gentleman, so you can keep your hands to yourself. What's

that - did  he make  a  move? Bite him. I wouldn't  mind  a mouthful of homy

proletarian leg. In exchange  for the trouble  I've had  from  all the other

porters and all the times they've poked a broom in my face.

     'Come on, come on.'

     OK, OK, don't  worry.  I'll go wherever  you go. Just show me the  way.

I'll be right behind you. Even if my side does hurt like hell.

     From hallway up the staircase: 'Were there any letters for me, Fyodor?'

     From below,  respectfully: 'No  sir, Philip  Philipovich' (dropping his

voice and adding intimately), 'but they've just moved some more tenants into

No. 3.'

     The dog's dignified benefactor turned sharply round on the step, leaned

over the railing and asked in horror: 'Wh-at?'

     His eyes went quite round and his moustache bristled.

     The porter  looked upwards, put his hand to his lips, nodded and  said:

'That's right, four of them.'

     'My God! I can just imagine what it must be like in that apartment now.

What sort of people are they?'

     'Nobody special, sir.'

     'And what's Fyodor Pavolovich doing?'

     'He's gone to get some screens  and a load of bricks.  They're going to

build some partitions in the apartment.'

     'God - what is the place coming to?'

     'Extra tenants  are  being moved into  every apartment,  except  yours,

Philip Philipovich. There was a meeting the other  day; they elected  a  new

house committee and kicked out the old one.'

     'What will happen next? Oh, God . . .

     'Come on, doggy.'

     I'm coming as fast as  I can. My side is giving me trouble, though. Let

me lick your boot.

     The porter's gold braid disappeared from the lobby.

     Past warm  radiators on a marble landing, another flight of stairs  and

then - a mezzanine.






     Why bother to leam to  read when you can smell meat a mile away? If you

live in Moscow, though, and if you've got an ounce of brain in your head you

can't help learning to read -and without going to night-school either. There

are forty-thousand dogs in Moscow and I'll  bet  there's not  one of them so

stupid he can't spell out the word 'sausage'.

     Sharik had begun by learning from colours. When he was just four months

old, blue-green signs started  appearing  all  over Moscow with the  letters

MSFS - Moscow  State Food Stores - which meant a butcher and delicatessen. I

repeat that he had no need to  learn his letters because he could smell  the

meat anyway. Once  he made a bad  mistake:  trotting  up  to  a  bright blue

shop-sign one day when  the smell was drowned  by car exhaust, instead of  a

butcher's shop  he ran  into the Polubizner Brothers' electrical goods store

on  Myasnitzkaya Street.  There the  brothers taught him all about insulated

cable,  which  can be sharper than a cabman's whip. This famous occasion may

be regarded as  the  beginning of Sharik's education.  It  was here  on  the

pavement  that Sharik began  to  realise  that  'blue'  doesn't always  mean

'butcher',  and as he  squeezed his burningly painful tail between  his back

legs and howled, he remembered that on every butcher's shop the first letter

on  the  left  was  always  gold  or brown,  bow-legged,  and looked  like a


     After  that  the  lessons were  rather easier. 'A' he learned  from the

barber on the comer of Mokhovaya Street, followed by 'B' (there was always a

policeman  standing in front  of the last four letters of the word).  Corner

shops faced with tiles  always meant 'CHEESE' and the black half-moon at the

beginning of the word stood for the name of  their former owners 'Chichkin';

they were full  of mountains  of red Dutch cheeses, salesmen who hated dogs,

sawdust on the floor and reeking Limburger.

     If  there was accordion music (which was slightly better than  'Celeste

Aida'), and the  place smelted  of  frankfurters,  the first  letters on the

white  signboards very conveniently | spelled out the word 'NOOB', which was

short for 'No obscene  language. No tips.'  Sometimes at these places fights

would break out, people  would  start  punching each other in the face  with

their fists - sometimes even with napkins or boots.

     If there were  stale bits of ham and  mandarin oranges in the window it

meant  a  grrr . . .  grrocery.  If  there were black  bottles full  of evil

liquids it was . . . li-li-liquor . . . formerly Eliseyev Bros.

     The unknown gentleman had led the dog to the door of his luxurious flat

on the  mezzanine floor, and rang the doorbell. The dog at once looked up at

a big, black,  gold-lettered  nameplate hanging beside a pink  frosted-glass

door. He deciphered the first three letters at once: P-R-O- 'Pro . . .', but

after tliat there was a funny tall thing with  a  cross bar which he did not

know.  Surely he's  not  a  proletarian? thought Sharik with amazement... He

can't  be. He lifted up his nose,  sniffed the fur  coat and  said firmly to


     No, this doesn't smell proletarian.  Some high-falutin' word. God knows

what it means.

     Suddenly  a light  flashed on  cheerfully behind the  pink glass  door,

throwing the nameplate into even deeper shadow.  The door opened soundlessly

and a beautiful young  woman in a white apron  and lace cap stood before the

dog and his master. A wave of delicious  warmth flowed over the dog  and the

woman's skirt smelled of carnations.

     This I like, thought the dog.

     'Come  in,  Mr  Sharik,'  said  the  gentleman  ironically  and  Sharik

respectfully obeyed, wagging his tail.

     A great  multitude of objects filled the richly  furnished hall. Beside

him  was  a mirror  stretching  right  down to  the floor,  which  instantly

reflected  a  second  dirty,  exhausted  Sharik. High  up on the wall  was a

terrifying pair  of antlers, there  were countless  fur coats  and  pairs of

galoshes and an electric tulip made of opal glass hanging from the ceiling.

     'Where  on earth did you  get that from, Philip  Philipovich?' enquired

the woman,  smiling as  she helped to take off the heavy brown, blue-flecked

fox-fur coat.

     'God, he looks lousy.'

     'Nonsense. He doesn't look lousy to me,' said the gentleman abruptly.

     With his fur coat off he was seen to be wearing a black suit of English

material; a gold chain across his stomach shone with a dull glow.

     'Hold  still, boy, keep still doggy . .  .  keep still you little fool.

H'm . . . that's not lice . . . Stand still, will you . . . H'mm . . . aha -

yes . . . It's a scald. Who was mean enough to throw boiling water over you,

I wonder? Eh? Keep still, will you . . .!'

     It was that miserable cook, said the dog with his pitiful eyes and gave

a little whimper.

     'Zina,' ordered  the gentleman, 'take him  into the consulting-room  at

once and get me a white coat.'

     The  woman  whistled,  clicked her fingers  and  the dog  followed  her

slightly hesitantly. Together they walked down a narrow, dimly-lit corridor,

passed a varnished  door, reached the end then turned left and  arrived in a

dark little room which the dog instantly disliked for its ominous smell. The

darkness clicked and was transformed into blinding white  which flashed  and

shone from every angle.

     Oh, no,  the dog whined to himself, you  won't  catch  me as easily  as

that! I see it now - to hell with them and their sausage. They've tricked me

into a  dogs'  hospital.  Now  they'll  force  me to swallow  castor oil and

they'll cut up my side with knives - well, I won't let them touch it.

     'Hey - where are you trying to go?' shouted the girl called Zina.

     The animal  dodged, curled up like a spring and  suddenly hit  the door

with his unharmed side so hard that the noise reverberated through the whole

apartment. Then  he jumped back,  spun around on the spot  like a top and in

doing so knocked over a white bucket,  spilling wads of  cotton  wool. As he

whirled round there flashed past him shelves full of glittering instruments,

a white apron and a furious woman's face.

     'You little  devil,'  cried  Zina  in desperation, 'where  d'you  think

you're going?'

     Where's the back door? the dog wondered.  He swung round, rolled into a

ball  and hurled himself bullet-fashion at  a glass in the hope that  it was

another door. With a crash and  a tinkle a shower of splinters fell down and

a pot-bellied glass jar of  some reddish-brown  filth  shot  out and  poured

itself over the  floor, giving off a  sickening  stench. The real door swung


     'Stop  it, you little beast,' shouted  the  gentleman  as he rushed  in

pulling  on one  sleeve  of his  white coat.  He seized the dog by the legs.

'Zina, grab him by the scruff of the neck, damn him.' 'Oh - these  dogs  . .


     The door opened wider still and another  person of the  male sex dashed

in, also wearing a white coat. Crunching  over the broken glass he went past

the dog to a cupboard, opened it and the whole room was filled with a sweet,

nauseating  smell. Then  the  person turned the animal  over on his back, at

which the dog enthusiastically bit him just above his shoelaces. The  person

groaned but kept his head. The nauseating liquid  choked the dog's breathing

and his head began  to spin, then  his legs  collapsed  and he  seemed to be

moving sideways.  This is it, he thought dreamily as he collapsed on  to the

sharp  slivers of  glass.  Goodbye, Moscow!  I  shan't see  Chichkin  or the

proletarians  or  Cracow  sausages  again.  I'm  going  to  the  heaven  for

long-suffering dogs. You butchers -  why did you have to do this to me? With

that he finally collapsed on to his back and passed out.

     When he awoke  he  felt  slightly dizzy  and sick  to his  stomach. His

injured side did not seem to be  there at all, but was blissfully  painless.

The  dog opened a languid  right eye and saw out  of its corner that he  was

tightly bandaged  all around his flanks and  belly. So those sons of bitches

did cut me up, he thought dully, but I must admit they've made a neat job of


     . . . "from Granada to Seville . . . those soft southern nights" . . .'

a muzzy, falsetto voice sang over his head.

     Amazed, the dog  opened both eyes  wide  and saw two yards away a man's

leg  propped  up on a stool. Trousers and sock had  been rolled back and the

yellow, naked ankle was smeared with dried blood and iodine.

     Swine! thought the dog. He must be  the one I bit, so that's my  doing.

Now there'll be trouble.

     '. . . "the murmur of sweet serenades, the clink of  Spanish blades . .

." Now, you little tramp, why did you bite the doctor? Eh? Why did you break

all that glass?  M'm?' Oowow, whined the dig miserably. 'All right, lie back

and relax, naughty  boy.'  'However did you manage to entice such a nervous,

excitable  dog  into  following  you  here,  Philip Philipovich?' enquired a

pleasant  male voice, and  a long knitted underpant lowered  itself  to  the

ground. There  was a smell of  tobacco,  and  glass  phials  tinkled in  the


     'By  kindness. The  only  possible  method when  dealing  with a living

creature. You'll  get nowhere  with an animal  if  you use terror, no matter

what its  level of development may be. That  I  have maintained, do maintain

and always  will maintain. People who think  you can use  terror  are  quite

wrong. No, terror's useless, whatever its colour - white, red or even brown!

Terror completely paralyses the nervous  system. Zina! I bought  this little

scamp some Cracow sausage for 1 rouble 40 kopecks. Please see that he is fed

when he gets over his nausea.'

     There  was  a crunching noise as glass splinters were  swept  up  and a

woman's voice said  teasingly: 'Cracower! Goodness,  you  ought  to buy  him

twenty kopecks-worth of scraps from the butcher. I'd rather eat the Cracower


     'You  just  try!  That stuff's poison for human stomachs. A grown woman

and  you're ready to poke anything  into your mouth  like a child. Don't you

dare! I warn you that neither I nor Doctor Bormenthal will lift a finger for

you when your stomach finally gives out . . .'

     Just then a bell tinkled all through the flat and from far  away in the

hall came the sound of voices. The telephone rang. Zina disappeared.

     Philip Philipovich threw his cigar butt  into  the bucket, buttoned  up

his  white coat, smoothed his bushy moustache in  front of a  mirror  on the

wall and called the dog.

     'Come on, boy, you'll be all right. Let's go and see our visitors.'

     The dog stood up  on  wobbly legs, staggered and  shivered but  quickly

felt better and set off behind the napping hem of Philip Philipovich's coat.

Again the dog walked down the narrow corridor, but saw that this time it was

brightly  lit from above by a round cut-glass lamp  in the ceiling. When the

varnished door opened he trotted into Philip Philipovich's study. Its luxury

blinded him. Above all it was blazing  with light: there was a light hanging

from the moulded ceiling, a light on the desk,  lights on the walls,  lights

on the glass-fronted cabinets. The light poured over countless knick-knacks,

of which  the most striking was an enormous owl perched on a branch fastened

to the wall.

     'Lie down,' ordered Philip Philipovich.

     The carved  door  at the other end of  the room opened and in  came the

doctor who had been bitten. In the bright light he now looked very young and

handsome, with a pointed beard. He put  down a sheet of paper and said: 'The

same as before . . .'

     Then  he  silently  vanished  and  Philip  Philipovich,  spreading  his

coat-tails, sat down  behind the huge  desk and immediately looked extremely

dignified and important.

     No, this can't  be  a hospital, I've landed up  somewhere else, the dog

thought  confusedly  and  stretched  out  on the patterned  carpet beside  a

massive leather-covered couch. I wish I knew what  that owl was doing here .

. .

     The  door gently opened  and in came a man who looked  so extraordinary

that the dog gave a timid yelp . . .

     'Shut up! . . . My dear fellow, I hardly recognised you!'

     Embarrassed, the  visitor  bowed  politely to  Philip  Philipovich  and

giggled nervously.

     'You're a wizard, a magician, professor!' he said bashfully.

     'Take down  your  trousers, old man,'  ordered Philip Philip-ovich  and

stood up.

     Christ, thought  the  dog, what  a sight! The man's hair was completely

green,  although at  the back it shaded off into a  brownish tobacco colour,

wrinkles covered his face yet his  complexion was  as pink as a  boy's.  His

left  leg would not  bend and had  to be dragged across  the carpet, but his

right leg  was as springy as a jack-in-the-box.  In  the  buttonhole  of his

superb jacket there shone, like an eye, a precious stone.

     The  dog was  so fascinated that he even forgot his  nausea. Oow-ow, he

whined softly.

     'Quiet! . . . How have you been sleeping!'

     The  man giggled. 'Are  we alone, professor? It's  indescribable,' said

the  visitor coyly. 'Parole d'honneur - I haven't known anything like it for

twenty-five years . . .' the creature started struggling with his flybuttons

. . . 'Would you believe it, professor - hordes of naked girls every  night.

I am absolutely entranced. You're a magician.'

     'H'm,' grunted Philip Philipovich,  preoccupied  as he stared into  the

pupils  of his  visitor's  eyes. The man finally succeeded in mastering  his

flybuttons  and   took  off   his  checked   trousers,  revealing  the  most

extraordinary  pair  of pants.  They  were cream-coloured,  embroidered with

black silk cats and they smelled of perfume.

     The dog could not resist the cats and  gave such a  bark  that the  man



     'Quiet - or I'll beat you! . . . Don't worry, he won't bite.'

     Won't I? thought the dog in amazement.

     Out of the man's trouser pocket a little envelope fell to the floor. It

was decorated  with a picture  of a naked girl with flowing hair. He  gave a

start, bent down to pick it up and blushed violently.

     'Look here,' said Philip Philipovich in a tone of grim warning, wagging

a threatening finger, 'you shouldn't overdo it, you know.'

     'I'm  not  overdo  . . .' the creature muttered in  embarrassment as he

went on undressing. 'It was just a sort of experiment.'

     'Well, what were the results?' asked Philip Philipovich sternly.

     The  man  waved his  hand in ecstasy. 'I  swear  to  God,  professor, I

haven't  known anything like it for twenty-five years. The last  time was in

1899 in Paris, in the Rue de la Paix.'

     'And why have you turned green?'

     The  visitor's  face  clouded  over.  'That damned  stuff! You'd  never

believe, professor, what those rogues palmed  off on me instead of dye. Just

take a look,' the  man muttered, searching  for a mirror. 'I'd like to punch

him on the snout,' he added in a rage. 'What am I to do now, professor?'  he

asked tearfully.

     'H'm. Shave all your hair off.'

     'But, professor,' cried the visitor miserably, 'then it would only grow

grey  again. Besides,  I daren't show my  face  at the office  like  this. I

haven't been there for three days. Ah, professor, if only you had discovered

a way of rejuvenating hair!'

     'One thing  at a time, old man, one thing at  a time,' muttered  Philip

Philipovich. Bending down, his glittering  eyes examined the patient's naked


     'Splendid, everything's in great shape. To tell you the  truth I didn't

even expect such results. You can get dressed now.'

     '  "Ah, she's  so  lovely .  .  ." ' sang the patient  in  a voice that

quavered  like the  sound  of  someone  hitting  an old,  cracked  saucepan.

Beaming, he started to dress. When he was  ready he skipped across the floor

in  a cloud  of  perfume,  counted  out  a heap  of  white banknotes on  the

professor's desk and shook him tenderly by both hands.

     'You needn't  come back for two weeks,' said Philip Philipovich, 'but I

must beg you - be careful.'

     The  ecstaticvoice  replied   from   behind   thedoor:  'Don't   worry,

professor.' The creature gave  a delighted giggle  and  went.  The  doorbell

tinkled through  the apartment  and the varnished door opened, admitting the

other doctor, who handed Philip Philipovich a sheet of paper and announced:

     'She has lied about her age.  It's probably about  fifty or fifty-five.

Heart-beats muffled.'

     He disappeared, to be succeeded by a  rustling lady with  a hat planted

gaily on one side of her head and  with a glittering  necklace on her slack,

crumpled neck. There  were black bags under her  eyes and her cheeks were as

red as a painted doll. She was extremely nervous.

     'How  old  are  you,  madam?'  enquired Philip  Philipovich  with great


     Frightened, the  lady paled  under her coating  of rouge. 'Professor, I

swear that if you knew the agony I've been going through . . .!'

     'How  old  are  you,  madam?'  repeated  Philip  Philipovich  even more


     'Honestly . . . well, forty-five . . .'

     'Madam,' groaned Philip  Philipovich,  I am a  busy man.  Please  don't

waste my time. You're not my only patient, you know.'

     The lady's bosom heaved violently. 'I've come to you, a great scientist

... I swear to you - it's terrible . . .'

     'How old are you?' Philip Philipovich screeched in fury, his spectacles


     'Fifty-one!' replied the lady, wincing with terror.

     'Take off your underwear, please,' said Philip Philipovich with relief,

and pointed to a high white examination table in the comer.

     'I swear, professor,' murmured  the lady as  with trembling fingers she

unbuttoned the fasteners on  her belt, 'this boy Moritz ... I honestly admit

to you . . .'

     '  "From Granada  to  Seville  .  .  ."  '  Philip  Philipovich  hummed

absentmindedly and pressed the foot-pedal of his marble washbasin. There was

a sound of running water.

     'I swear to God,' said the lady, patches of real colour showing through

the  rouge on  her cheeks, 'this will  be my last affair. Oh,  he's  such  a

brute! Oh,  professor!  All Moscow knows he's  a  card-sharper and  he can't

resist  any little  tart of  a dressmaker  who catches his  eye. But he's so

deliciously young . . .'As she talked the lady pulled out a crumpled blob of

lace from under her rustling skirts.

     A  mist  came  in  front  of  the  dog's eyes  and his brain  turned  a

somersault. To  hell with you, he  thought vaguely, laying his  head  on his

paws and closing his eyes with embarrassment. I'm not going to try and guess

what all this is about -it's beyond me, anyway.

     He was wakened by a tinkling sound and saw that Philip  Philipovich had

tossed some little shining tubes into a basin.

     The painted lady, her hands pressed to  her bosom, was gazing hopefully

at Philip Philipovich. Frowning impressively he had sat down at his desk and

was writing something.

     'I  am going  to implant some monkey's  ovaries into  you,  madam,'  he

announced with a stern look.

     'Oh, professor - not monkey's ?'

     'Yes,' replied Philip Philipovich inexorably.


     'When will you operate?' asked the lady in a weak voice, turning pale.

     ' ". . . from Granada to Seville . . ." H'm ...  on Monday. You must go

into hospital on Monday morning. My assistant will prepare you.'

     'Oh, dear. I don't want to go into hospital. Couldn't you operate here,


     'I only operate here in extreme cases. It would be very expensive - 500


     'I'll pay, professor!'

     Again came the sound of running water, the feathered hat swayed out, to

be replaced  by  a  head as  bald as a  dinner-plate which  embraced  Philip

Philipovich. As  his  nausea  passed, the dog dozed off, luxuriating in  the

warmth and the sense of relief as his injury healed. He even snored a little

and managed to enjoy a snatch of a pleasant dream - he dreamed he had torn a

whole tuft of feathers out of the  owl's tail .  . . until an agitated voice

started yapping above his head.

     'I'm too well known in Moscow, professor. What am I to do?'

     'Really,' cried Philip Philipovich indignantly, 'you can't behave  like

that. You must restrain yourself. How old is she?'

     'Fourteen,  professor . . . The scandal would ruin me, you see. I'm due

to go abroad on official business any day now.'

     'I'm afraid I'm not a  lawyer . . . you'd better wait a couple of years

and then marry her.'

     'I'm married already, professor.'

     'Oh, lord!'

     The door  opened,  faces  changed,  instruments  clattered  and  Philip

Philipovich worked on unceasingly.

     This place is indecent, thought the  dog,  but I like it! What the hell

can he want me for, though? Is he just going to let me live here? Maybe he's

eccentric.  After  all,  he could  get  a pedigree dog  as  easy as winking.

Perhaps  I'm good-looking! What  luck.  As for that  stupid owl . . . cheeky


     The dog  finally woke up late in the evening when the bells had stopped

ringing and at the very moment when the door admitted some special visitors.

There were four of them at once, all young people and all extremely modestly


     What's all this?  thought the dog in  astonishment.  Philip Philipovich

treated these visitors with  considerable  hostility. He stood at  his desk,

staring  at  them like a general confronting the enemy.  The nostrils of his

hawk-like nose were dilated. The party shuffled awkwardly across the carpet.

     'The  reason why we've come  to see you, professor . . .'  began one of

them, who had a six-inch shock of hair sprouting straight out of his head.

     'You  ought not to go  out  in this  weather  without wearing galoshes,

gentlemen,'  Philip  Philipovich  interrupted  in a  schoolmasterish  voice.

'Firstly you'll catch cold and secondly you've muddied my carpets and all my

carpets are Persian.'

     The young man with the  shock of hair broke off, and all four stared at

Philip  Philipovich in consternation. The silence lasted several minutes and

was only broken by the drumming of Philip Philipovich's fingers on a painted

wooden platter on his desk.

     'Firstly, we're not gentlemen,' the youngest of  them, with a face like

a peach, said finally.

     'Secondly,'  Philip Philipovich interrupted him,  'are you a  man or  a


     The four were silent again and their mouths dropped open. This time the

shock-haired young man pulled himself together.

     'What difference does it make, comrade?' he asked proudly.

     'I'm a  woman,' confessed  the peach-like  youth,  who  was  wearing  a

leather jerkin,  and blushed  heavily. For some  reason one of the others, a

fair young man in a sheepskin hat, also turned bright red.

     'In  that case you may leave your cap  on, but  I must ask you, my dear

sir, to remove your headgear,' said Philip Philipovich imposingly.

     'I  am not your dear sir,' said the fair youth sharply, pulling off his

sheepskin hat.

     'We have come to see you,' the dark shock-headed boy began again.

     'First of all - who are 'we'?'

     'We are the new management committee of this block  of flats,' said the

dark youth with suppressed fury. 'I am Shvonder, her name is Vyazemskaya and

these two are comrades Pestrukhin and Sharovkyan. So we . . .'

     'Are you the  people  who were  moved in as  extra  tenants into Fyodor

Pavlovich Sablin's apartment?' 'Yes, we are,' replied Shvonder.

     'God, what is this place  coming to!'  exclaimed  Philip Philipovich in

despair and wrung his  hands.  'What are you laughing for, professor?' 'What

do  you  mean   -  laughing?  I'm  in  absolute   despair,'  shouted  Philip

Philipovich. 'What's going to become of the central heating now?'

     'Are you making fun of  us.  Professor  Preobrazhensky?'  'Why have you

come to  see  me?  Please  be as  quick as possible. I'm  just  going in  to


     'We, the house management,' said  Shvonder with  hatred, 'have come  to

see you as a result of a general meeting of the  tenants of this block,  who

are  charged with the problem  of increasing the occupancy of this house . .

.' 28


     'What d'you mean - charged?' cried  Philip Philipovich. 'Please try and

express yourself more clearly.'

     'We are charged with increasing the occupancy.'

     'All right, I  understand! Do you realise that under  the regulation of

August  12th  this  year  my  apartment  is  exempt  from  any  increase  in


     'We know that,' replied Shvonder,  'but when  the  general  meeting had

examined this  question  it came to the conclusion that  taken all round you

are occupying too much space. Far too much. You are living,  alone, in seven


     'I live and work in seven  rooms,'  replied Philip Philipovich,  'and I

could do with eight. I need a room for a library.'

     The four were struck dumb.

     'Eight! Ha, ha!' said the hatless fair youth. 'That's rich, that is!'

     'It's indescribable!' exclaimed the youth  who had turned  out to be  a


     'I have a waiting-room, which you will notice  also has to  serve as my

library,  a dining-room, and my  study - that makes three. Consulting-room -

four, operating  theatre  -five.  My bedroom -  six, and the  servant's room

makes seven. It's not  really enough. But that's not the point. My apartment

is exempt, and our  conversation  is  therefore at an end. May I go and have


     'Excuse me,' said the fourth, who looked like a fat beetle.

     'Excuse me,' Shvonder interrupted him, 'but it was just because of your

dining-room  and your consulting-room  that we came to see you.  The general

meeting  requests you,  as a  matter of  labour discipline, to give  up your

dining-room voluntarily. No one in Moscow has a dining-room.'

     'Not  even Isadora Duncan,' squeaked  the woman. Something  happened to

Philip Philipovich which made his face turn gently purple.  He said nothing,

waiting to hear what came next.

     'And give up your  consulting-room too,'  Shvonder went  on. '  You can

easily combine your consulting-room with your study.'

     'Mm'h,'  said  Philip Philipovich in a strange  voice. 'And where am  I

supposed to eat?'

     'In the bedroom,' answered the four in chorus.

     Philip Philipovich's purple complexion took on a faintly grey tinge.

     'So  I can  eat in the bedroom,'  he  said in a slightly muffled voice,

'read in the consulting-room, dress in the hall, operate in the  maid's room

and  examine  patients in the  dining-room.  I expect that is  what  Isadora

Duncan does.  Perhaps  she eats in her  study  and  dissects rabbits in  the

bathroom. Perhaps.  But I'm not Isadora Duncan. . . !' he turned  yellow. 'I

shall eat in the dining-room and operate in the operating theatre! Tell that

to the general meeting, and meanwhile kindly go  and mind  your own business

and  allow me to have  my supper in the place where all normal people eat. I

mean in the dining-room - not in the hall and not in the nursery.'

     'In that case,  professor, in view of your obstinate refusal,' said the

furious  Shvonder,  'we  shall  lodge  a complaint  about  you  with  higher


     'Aha,' said  Philip  Philipovich, 'so that's your game, is it?' And his

voice took on a suspiciously polite note. 'Please wait one minute.'

     What a man, thought the dog with delight, he's just like me. Any minute

now and he'll bite them. I don't know how, but he'll bite them all right ...

Go on!  Go  for 'em! I could  just get  that long-legged swine in the tendon

behind his knee . . . ggrrr . . .

     Philip Philipovich lifted the telephone receiver, dialled and said into

it:  'Please  give  me  . . . yes . . .  thank  you. Put me through to Pyotr

Alexandrovich,   please.   Professor    Preobraz-hensky    speaking.   Pyotr

Alexandrovich? Hello,  how are you?  I'm  so glad  I  was able  to get  you.

Thanks,  I'm  fine.  Pyotr  Alexandrovich,  I'm  afraid  your  operation  is

cancelled. What? Cancelled. And  so are all  my other  operations. I'll tell

you why:

     I  am not going to work in  Moscow, in fact  I'm  not going to work  in

Russia any longer . . .  I am just having a visit from four  people,  one of

whom  is  a  woman  disguised  as  a man,  and  two of  whom are armed  with

revolvers. They are terrorising  me in  my own  apartment and threatening to

evict me.'

     'Hey, now, professor . . .' began Shvonder, his expression changing.

     'Excuse me ... I  can't repeat  all they've been  saying. I  can't make

sense of it, anyway. Roughly  speaking  they  have told  me to  give  up  my

consulting-room,  which will oblige me  to operate in  the room I  have used

until  now  for dissecting rabbits.  I  not  only  cannot  work  under  such

conditions - I have no  right to. So I am closing down my practice, shutting

up my apartment and going to Sochi. I will give the keys to Shvonder. He can

operate for me.'

     The four  stood rigid. The snow  was melting on their boots. 'Can't  be

helped,  I'm afraid  . . . Of course I'm very  upset,  but ... What? Oh, no,

Pyotr  Alexandrovich! Oh,  no. That I  must flatly  refuse. My patience  has

snapped.  This is  the second time since August  . . . What? H'm .  . .  All

right, if you  like. I suppose so. Only this time on  one condition: I don't

care who issues it, when they issue it or what they issue, provided it's the

sort of  certificate  which will mean that neither Shvonder  nor anyone else

can so much as knock on my  door.  The ultimate in  certificates. Effective.

Real.  Armour-plated! I  don't even want my name  on it. The end. As  far as

they are concerned, I  am dead. Yes, yes.  Please do.  Who? Aha . .  . well,

that's another matter. Aha  . .  .  good. I'll just  hand him  the receiver.

Would you  mind,'  Philip Philipovich  spoke to Shvonder in a  voice like  a

snake's, 'you're wanted on the telephone.'

     'But, professor,' said Shvonder, alternately flaring  up and  cringing,

'what you've told him is all wrong' -

     'Please don't speak to me like that.'

     Shvonder nervously picked up the receiver and said:

     'Hello. Yes ... I'm the chairman of the house management  committee . .

. We were only acting according to the regulations . . . the professor is an

absolutely special case .  .  .  Yes, we know about his work  . . . We  were

going to leave him five whole  rooms .  . . Well, OK ... if that's how it is

... OK.'

     Very red in the face, he hung up and turned round.

     What a fellow! thought the dog rapturously.  Does he know how to handle

them! What's his secret, I wonder? He can beat me as much  as he likes now -

I'm not leaving this place!'

     The three young people stared open-mouthed at the wretched Shvonder.

     'This is a disgrace!' he said miserably.

     'If that Pyotr Alexandrovich had been here,' began the woman, reddening

with anger, 'I'd have shown him . . .'

     'Excuse  me, would you  like  to  talk  to him  now?'  enquired  Philip

Philipovich politely.

     The woman's eyes flashed.

     'You can be as sarcastic as you like, professor, but we're going  now .

. . Still, as manager of the cultural department of this house . . .'

     ' Manager,' Philip Philipovich corrected her.

     'I want  to ask you' -  here the  woman pulled  a  number  of  coloured

magazines wet with snow, from out  of the front of her tunic - 'to buy a few

of these magazines in aid of the children of Germany. 50 kopecks a copy.'

     'No, I will not,' said  Philip Philipovich curtly after a glance at the


     Total  amazement   showed   on   the   faces,  and  the   girl   turned


     'Why not?'

     'I don't want to.'

     'Don't you feel sorry for the children of Germany?'

     'Yes, I do.'

     'Can't you spare 50 kopecks?'

     'Yes, I can.'

     'Well, why won't you, then?'

     'I don't want to.'


     'You know, professor,' said the girl with a deep sigh,  'if you weren't

world-famous and if  you weren't  being  protected by certain  people in the

most disgusting way,' (the fair  youth tugged at the hem of  her jerkin, but

she  brushed  him away),  'which we propose to  investigate, you  should  be


     'What for?' asked Philip Philipovich with curiosity.

     'Because you hate the proletariat!' said the woman proudly.

     'You're right, I don't like the proletariat,' agreed Philip Philipovich

sadly, and pressed a button. A bell rang in the distance. The door opened on

to the corridor.

     'Zina!' shouted  Philip Philipovich. 'Serve the  supper, please. Do you

mind, ladies and gentlemen?'

     Silently the  four left  the study,  silently  they  trooped  down  the

passage and through  the  hall. The front  door  closed  loudly  and heavily

behind them.

     The  dog  rose  on  his  hind legs  in front of Philip  Philipovich and

performed obeisance to him.










     On  gorgeous flowered plates  with  wide  black rims lay thin slices of

salmon and soused eel; a slab of over-ripe cheese on a heavy wooden platter,

and in a silver bowl packed  around  with snow  - caviare. Beside the plates

stood delicate  glasses and  three crystal  decanters of  different-coloured

vodkas.  All these  objects  were  on a  small marble table, handily  placed

beside  the huge carved oak sideboard which  shone with glass and silver. In

the middle of the room was a table, heavy as a gravestone and covered with a

white tablecloth set with two places, napkins folded into the shape of papal

tiaras, and three dark bottles.

     Zina brought in a  covered silver dish beneath which something bubbled.

The dish gave off such a smell that the dog's mouth  immediately filled with

saliva. The  gardens  of Semiramis! he thought as  he thumped the floor with

his tail.

     'Bring  it  here,' ordered  Philip  Philipovich greedily.  'I  beg you,

Doctor Bormenthal, leave the caviare alone. And if  you want a piece of good

advice, don't touch the English vodka but drink the ordinary Russian stuff.'

     The handsome  Bormenthal -  who  had taken off  his white coat  and was

wearing a smart black suit - shrugged his  broad shoulders, smirked politely

and poured out a glass of clear vodka.

     'What make is it?' he enquired.

     'Bless  you,  my dear fellow,'  replied his  host, 'it's  pure alcohol.

Darya Petrovna makes the most excellent homemade vodka.'

     'But surely, Philip Philipovich, everybody says that 30-degree vodka is

quite good enough.'

     'Vodka should be at least 40 degrees, not 30 - that's firstly,'  Philip

Philipovich interrupted him didactically, 'and  secondly  -  God knows  what

muck they make into vodka nowadays. What do you think they use?'

     'Anything they like,' said the other doctor firmly.

     'I quite agree,' said Philip Philipovich and hurled the contents of his

glass down his throat  in one gulp. 'Ah .  . . m'm . . . Doctor Bormenthal -

please drink that at once  and if  you ask me what it is, I'm your enemy for

life. "From Granada to Seville . . ." '

     With these  words he speared something  like  a little  piece of  black

bread  on his silver  fish-fork.  Bormenthal  followed  his example.  Philip

Philipovich's eyes shone.

     'Not  bad, eh?' asked  Philip  Philipovich,  chewing. 'Is  it? Tell me,


     'It's excellent,' replied the doctor sincerely.

     'So  I should think . .  . Kindly note, Ivan Arnoldovich, that the only

people who  eat cold hors d'oeuvres nowadays are the few remaining landlords

who  haven't had their throats cut.  Anybody with  a  spark of  self-respect

takes  his  hors d'oeuvres  hot. And of all the hot hors d'oeuvres in Moscow

this is the best. Once they used to do them magnificently at  the Slavyansky

Bazaar restaurant. There, you can have some too.'

     'If you feed a dog at table,' said  a woman's voice, 'you won't get him

out of here afterwards for love or money.'

     'I don't  mind. The  poor thing's  hungry.' On  the  point of his  fork

Pliilip Philipovich handed the dog a tit-bit, which the animal took with the

dexterity of  a conjuror.  The professor  then threw the fork with a clatter

into the slop-basin.

     The  dishes  now steamed with an  odour of lobster; the  dog sat in the

shadow  of the tablecloth with the look of a sentry by a  powder magazine as

Philip Philipovich,  thrusting the end  of  a thick  napkin into his collar,

boomed on:

     'Food, Ivan Arnoldovich, is a subtle thing.  One must know how to  eat,

yet just think - most people don't know how to eat at all. One must not only

know what to  eat,  but when  and how.'  (Philip Philipovich  waved his fork

meaningfully.)  'And  what to say while you're eating.  Yes, my dear sir. If

you care about your digestion, my advice is - don't talk about bolshevism or

medicine at table.  And,  God  forbid - never  read Soviet newspapers before


     'M'mm . . . But there are no other newspapers.'

     'In  that case don't read any at all.  Do  you know  I once made thirty

tests in my clinic. And  what  do  you  think?  The patients  who never read

newspapers felt  excellent. Those whom I specially made read Pravda all lost


     'H'm . . .' rejoined Bormenthal with interest, turning gently pink from

the soup and the wine.

     'And not only did they lose weight. Their knee reflexes were  retarded,

they lost appetite and exhibited general depression.'

     'Good heavens . . .'

     'Yes, my dear sir. But listen to me - I'm talking about medicine!'

     Leaning  back,  Philip Philipovich  rang  the  bell and  Zina  appeared

through  the cerise  portiere.  The  dog  was given a thick, white piece  of

sturgeon, which he  did  not like, then  immediately  afterwards  a chunk of

underdone roast beef. When he had gulped it  down the dog suddenly felt that

he  wanted to  sleep and could not bear the sight of any more  food. Strange

feeling,  he  thought,  blinking his heavy eyelids, it's as if my eyes won't

look at food any longer. As for smoking after they've eaten - that's crazy.

     The  dining-room  was filling  with  unpleasant blue smoke.  The animal

dozed,  its head on its forepaws. 'Saint  Julien is a very decent wine,' the

dog heard sleepily, 'but there's none of it to be had any more.'

     A dull mutter of voices in chorus,  muffled by the ceiling and carpets,

was heard coming from above and to one side.

     Philip Philipovich rang for Zina. 'Zina my dear, what's that noise?'

     'They're  having another general  meeting, Philip Philipovich,' replied


     'What, again?' exclaimed Philip Philipovich mournfully. 'Well,  this is

the end of this house. I'll have to go away -but where to? I can see exactly

what'll happen. First of all there'll be  community  singing in the evening,

then the pipes will  freeze  in  the lavatories, then  the  central  heating

boiler will blow up and so on. This is the end.'

     'Philip Philipovich worries himself  to death,' said  Zina with a smile

as she cleared away a pile of plates.

     'How can I help it?'  exploded Philip Philipovich. 'Don't you know what

this house used to be like?'

     'You take too black a view of things, Philip Philipovich,' objected the

handsome Bormenthal. 'There is a considerable change for the better now.'

     'My dear fellow, you know me, don't you? I am a man of facts, a man who

observes. I'm the enemy of unsupported hypotheses. And I'm known as such not

only in Russia but in Europe too. If I say something,  that means that it is

based on some fact from which I draw my conclusions. Now there's  a fact for

you: there is a hat-stand and a rack for boots and galoshes in this house.'

     'Interesting . . .'

     Galoshes - hell. Who cares  about galoshes, thought the dog, but he's a

great fellow all the same.

     'Yes, a rack for galoshes. I have been living in this house since 1903.

And from then until  March 1917 there was not one case - let me underline in

red pencil not one case  -  of a single pair of  galoshes  disappearing from

that rack even when the front door was open.  There are, kindly note, twelve

flats  in  this  house  and  a  constant  stream  of  people  coming  to  my

consulting-rooms. One fine  day in March 1917 all the  galoshes disappeared,

including two pairs of  mine, three  walking  sticks,  an overcoat  and  the

porter's samovar.  And since then the rack has ceased  to exist. And I won't

mention the boiler. The rule apparently is -  once a social revolution takes

place there's no  need to stoke the  boiler.  But I ask you:  why, when this

whole business started, should everybody suddenly start clumping up and down

the marble staircase in  dirty galoshes and felt boots? Why must we now keep

our  galoshes under lock  and key? And  put a soldier on guard over  them to

prevent  them  from  being stolen? Why has the carpet been removed from  the

front staircase? Did Marx forbid  people to  keep their staircases carpeted?

Did Karl Marx say anywhere that the front door of No. 2 Kalabukhov  House in

Prechistenka Street  must be boarded up so that people have to go  round and

come in  by the  back door?  WTiat  good does  it  do anybody? Why can't the

proletarians  leave  their  galoshes  downstairs  instead  of  dirtying  the


     'But the  proletarians don't  have  any  galoshes, Philip Philipovich,'

stammered the doctor.

     'Nothing  of  the  sort!'  replied  Philip Philipovich  in  a voice  of

thunder,  and poured himself a glass of wine. 'H'mm  ... I  don't approve of

liqueurs after dinner. They weigh on the digestion and are bad for the liver

. .  . Nothing of the sort! The proletarians do have  galoshes now and those

galoshes are - mine! The very ones that  vanished in the spring of 1917. Who

removed them,  you may ask?  Did I  remove  them? Impossible. The  bourgeois

Sablin?'  (Philip  Philipovich pointed  upwards to the ceiling.)  'The  very

idea's laughable.  Polozov,  the  sugar manufacturer?'  (Philip  Philipovich

pointed to one side.) 'Never! You see? But if they'd only take them off when

they  come  up the  staircase!' (Philip Philipovich started to turn purple.)

'Why on earth do they  have to remove the flowers from the landing? Why does

the electricity, which to the best of my recollection has only failed  twice

in the  past twenty  years, now go  out regularly  once a month? Statistics,

Doctor Bormenthal, are  terrible  things.  You who know  my latest work must

realise  that  better than  anybody.'  'The  place is going  to ruin, Philip


     'No,' countered Philip Philipovich quite firmly. 'No. You must first of

all refrain, my dear  Ivan Arnoldovich, from using that word. It's a mirage,

a vapour,  a fiction,'  Philip  Philipovich  spread  out  his short fingers,

producing a double shadow  like two  skulls on the tablecloth. 'What do  you

mean by ruin? An  old woman with a broomstick? A witch who smashes  all  the

windows and puts out all the lights? No such thing. What do you mean by that

word?' Philip Philipovich angrily enquired of an unfortunate cardboard  duck

hanging  upside down  by  the sideboard, then answered the question himself.

'I'll tell you  what it is: if instead of  operating every evening I were to

start a glee club in my apartment, that would mean that I was on the road to

ruin.  If  when I go  to the  lavatory I don't  pee,  if  you'll  excuse the

expression, into the  bowl but on to the floor instead and if Zina and Darya

Petrovna were  to do  the same  thing,  the lavatory would be ruined.  Ruin,

therefore,  is not  caused by  lavatories but it's  something that starts in

people's heads. So  when these clowns  start shouting "Stop the  ruin!"  - I

laugh!'  (Philip  Philipovich's face became so distorted  that  the doctor's

mouth fell open.)  'I swear to you,  I find it laughable! Every one of  them

needs  to hit himself on the back of the  head and then  when he has knocked

all  the  hallucinations  out of  himself  and  gets  on  with sweeping  out

backyards  -  which is  his real  job  - all this  "ruin" will automatically

disappear. You can't serve two gods!  You  can't sweep the  dirt out of  the

tram tracks and settle the fate of the Spanish beggars at the  same time! No

one can  ever manage it, doctor - and  above all it can't be  done by people

who are two hundred years behind  the  rest of  Europe and who  so far can't

even manage to do up their own fly-buttons properly!'

     Philip Philipovich had worked himself up  into  a frenzy. His hawk-like

nostrils  were  dilated. Fortified  by his ample dinner he thundered like an

ancient prophet and his hair shone like a silver halo.

     His words sounded to the sleepy dog like a dull subterranean rumble. At

first he  dreamed uneasily  that  the owl  with  its  stupid yellow eyes had

hopped  off its branch, then he  dreamed about the vile face of that cook in

his dirty white cap, then of Philip Philipovich's dashing moustaches sharply

lit by  electric light from the lampshade. The dreamy sleigh-ride came to an

end as the  mangled piece of roast beef, floating in  gravy, stewed away  in

the dog's stomach.

     He could earn plenty of money by talking at political meetings, the dog

thought sleepily.  That  was  a great speech.  Still,  he's rolling in money


     'A policeman!' shouted Philip Philipovich. 'A policeman!'

     Policeman? Ggrrr ... - something snapped inside the dog's brain.

     'Yes, a policeman!  Nothing  else will do. Doesn't  matter  whether  he

wears  a number or a red  cap. A policeman should  be posted alongside every

person in the country with the job  of moderating the vocal outbursts of our

honest citizenry. You talk about ruin. I tell you, doctor, that nothing will

change for the better in this  house, or in any other house for that matter,

until you can make these  people stop  talking claptrap! As soon as they put

an end to this  mad  chorus the situation will automatically change  for the


     'You sound like a counter-revolutionary, Philip  Philipovich,' said the

doctor jokingly. 'I hope to God nobody hears you.'

     'I'm doing  no harm,' Philip Philipovich  objected  heatedly.  'Nothing

counter-revolutionary  in  all that. Incidentally,  that's  a  word I simply

can't tolerate. What the devil is it supposed to mean, anyway? Nobody knows.

That's why I say  there's nothing counter-revolutionary  in what I say. It's

full of sound sense and a lifetime of experience.'

     At this point Philip Philipovich pulled the end of his luxurious napkin

out of his collar. Crumpling it up he laid it beside his unfinished glass of

wine. Bormenthal at once rose and thanked his host.

     'Just  a  minute, doctor,' Philip Philipovich  stopped  him  and took a

wallet out of his hip pocket. He frowned,  counted out some white  10-rouble

notes and handed them to the doctor,  saying,  'You  are due for 40  roubles

today, Ivan Arnoldovich. There you are.'

     Still  in  slight  pain from his dog-bite, the  doctor thanked him  and

blushed as he stuffed the money into his coat pocket.

     'Do you need me this evening, Philip Philipovich?' he enquired.

     'No  thanks, my dear fellow. We shan't be doing  anything this evening.

For one thing the rabbit has died and for another Aida is on at the  Bolshoi

this evening. It's  a  long time  since  I heard it.  I  love it  ... Do you

remember that duet? Pom-pom-ti-pom . . .'

     'How do  you find  time for  it,  Philip Philipovich?' asked the doctor

with awe.

     'One  can  find  time  for everything  if  one is  never  in  a hurry,'

explained  his  host didactically. 'Of course if I started going to meetings

and  carolling like a  nightingale all  day long, I'd never  find time to go

anywhere' - the repeater in Philip Philipovich's pocket struck its celestial

chimes as he pressed the button - 'It starts at  nine. I'll  go  in time for

the second act. I believe in the division of labour. The Bolshoi's job is to

sing,  mine's to operate. That's how things should be. Then there'd  be none

of this "ruin" . . . Look, Ivan Arnoldovich, you must  go and take a careful

look:  as soon  as  he's properly dead, take  him  off the  table,  put  him

straight into nutritive fluid and bring him to me!'

     'Don't worry, Philip Philipovich, the pathologist has promised me.'

     'Excellent. Meanwhile, we'll examine this neurotic street arab  of ours

and stitch him up. I want his flank to heal . . .'

     He's worrying  about me, thought the dog, good for him. Now I know what

he is. He's the wizard, the magician,  the sorcerer out of those dogs' fairy

tales ... I can't have dreamed it all. Or have I? (The dog shuddered  in his

sleep.) Any  minute now  I'll  wake  up  and  there'll be  nothing  here. No

silk-shaded lamp, no warmth, no food. Back on the streets, back in the cold,

the frozen  asphalt,  hunger,  evil-minded humans . . . the factory canteen,

the snow . . . God, it will be unbearable . . .!

     But none  of that happened. It was the freezing doorway which  vanished

like a bad dream and never came back.

     Clearly the country was not yet in a  total state  of ruin. In spite of

it the  grey accordion-shaped radiators under the windows  filled  with heat

twice a day and warmth flowed in waves through the  whole apartment. The dog

had obviously drawn the winning ticket in the dogs' lottery. Never less than

twice a  day  his eyes filled with tears  of gratitude towards  the  sage of

Prechistenka.  Every  mirror  in  the  living-room or the hall  reflected  a

good-looking, successful dog.

     I am handsome. Perhaps I'm really a dog prince, living incognito, mused

the  dog as  he  watched  the  shaggy,  coffee-coloured dog  with  the  smug

expression strolling about in the mirrored distance. I wouldn't be surprised

if my grandmother didn't have an affair with a labrador. Now  that I look at

my muzzle, I see there's a white  patch  on  it. I wonder how it  got there.

Philip Philipovich is a man  of great taste -he  wouldn't just  pick  up any

stray mongrel.

     In two weeks  the dog  ate as much as in his previous six  weeks on the

street.  Only by weight, of course.  In  quality the food at the professor's

apartment was incomparable. Apart from the fact that Darya Petrovna bought a

heap  of meat-scraps for 18 kopecks  every day at the Smolensk market, there

was dinner every  evening in the dining-room  at seven o'clock, at which the

dog was always present despite protests from the elegant Zina. It was during

these  meals that Philip Philipovich acquired his final  title  to divinity.

The dog stood on his hind legs and nibbled his jacket,  the  dog learned  to

recognise  Philip  Philipovich's  ring  at  the  door  -  two  loud,  abrupt

proprietorial pushes on  the bell - and would run barking out into the hall.

The master was enveloped in a dark brown fox-fur coat, which  glittered with

millions  of  snowflakes  and smelled of mandarin oranges, cigars,  perfume,

lemons, petrol, eau de cologne  and cloth,  and his voice, like a megaphone,

boomed all through the apartment.

     'Why did you ruin the owl, you little monkey? Was the owl doing you any

harm? Was it, now? Why did you smash the portrait of Professor Mechnikov?'

     'He  needs at  least one good whipping, Philip Philipovich,' said  Zina

indignantly, 'or he'll become completely  spoiled. Just look what he's  done

to your galoshes.'

     'No one  is to be beaten,' said Philip Philipovich  heatedly, 'remember

that  once  and for  all.  Animals and  people  can  only be  influenced  by

persuasion. Have you given him his meat today?'

     'Lord, he's eaten us out of  house and  home.  What a question,  Philip

Philipovich. He eats so much I'm surprised he doesn't burst.'

     'Fine. It's good for him . . . what harm did the owl do you, you little


     Ow-ow, whined the dog, crawling on his belly and splaying out his paws.

     The dog was forcefully  dragged by the scruff  of his neck  through the

hall and  into the study. He whined, snapped, clawed  at the carpet and slid

along  on  his rump as if he were doing a  circus act.  In the middle of the

study floor lay the glass-eyed owl. From  its disembowelled stomach flowed a

stream of red rags that smelled of mothballs. Scattered on the desk were the

fragments of a portrait.

     'I purposely didn't  clear it up so that you  could  take a good look,'

said Zina distractedly. 'Look - he jumped  up  on  to the  table, the little

brute, and then - bang! - he had the owl by the tail. Before I knew what was

happening  he  had  torn  it to  pieces. Rub his  nose  in  the owl,  Philip

Philipovich, so that he learns not to spoil things.'

     Then the howling began. Clawing at the carpet, the dog was dragged over

to have his nose rubbed in the  owl. He wept bitter tears and  thought: Beat

me, do what you like, but don't throw me out.

     'Send  the owl to the  taxidermist  at once. There's 8  roubles, and 16

kopecks for the tram-fare, go down to  Murat's and buy him a good collar and

a lead.'

     Next  day the dog was given a  wide,  shiny collar. As soon as  he  saw

himself in the mirror he was very upset, put his tail between  his  legs and

disappeared  into  the  bathroom, where he planned to pull  the  collar  off

against  a box or  a  basket. Soon, however, the dog realised  that  he  was

simply a  fool. Zina took him walking on  the lead along Obukhov Street. The

dog trotted  along like a prisoner  under arrest, burning with shame, but as

he  walked along  Prechistenka Street as far  as the  church  of  Christ the

Saviour  he  soon  realised exactly what a collar means  in life.  Mad  envy

burned  in the eyes of  every dog he  met  and at  Myortvy  Street  a shaggy

mongrel with a docked tail barked at him that he was a 'master's  pet' and a

'lackey'. As they crossed  the tram tracks a policeman looked  at the collar

with approval and respect. When they returned home the most amazing thing of

all happened - with his own hands Fyodor the porter opened the front door to

admit Sharik and Zina, remarking to Zina as he did so: 'What a  sight he was

when Philip Philipovich brought him in. And now look how fat he is.'

     'So he  should be -  he eats enough for six,'  said the beautiful Zina,

rosy-cheeked from the cold.

     A  collar's just like  a briefcase,  the dog smiled to himself. Wagging

his tail, he climbed up to the mezzanine like a gentleman.

     Once having  appreciated the proper value of a collar, the dog made his

first  visit  to  the  supreme  paradise  from which  hitherto  he had  been

categorically barred - the realm  of the  cook, Darya Petrovna.  Two  square

inches  of  Darya's kitchen  was worth more  than all  the rest of the flat.

Every day  flames  roared and  flashed in  the  tiled,  black-leaded  stove.

Delicious crackling sounds  came from  the  oven. Tortured by perpetual heat

and unquenchable passion, Darya Petrovna's face was a constant livid purple,

slimy and greasy. In the neat coils over  her ears and in the blonde  bun on

the back of her head flashed twenty-two imitation diamonds. Golden saucepans

hung on hooks round the walls, the  whole kitchen seethed with smells, while

covered pans bubbled and hissed . . .

     'Get out!' screamed Darya Petrovna. 'Get out, you no-good little thief!

Get out of here at once or I'll be after you with the poker!'

     Hey, why all the barking? signalled the dog pathetically with his eyes.

What  d'you mean  -  thief? Haven't  you noticed  my  new collar? He  backed

towards the door, his muzzle raised appealingly towards her.

     The dog Sharik possessed some secret which enabled him to  win people's

hearts. Two days later he was stretched out beside the coal-scuttle watching

Darya Petrovna  at work. With  a thin sharp  knife she cut off the heads and

claws of  a  flock  of  helpless grouse, then  like  a merciless executioner

scooped the guts out of the fowls, stripped the flesh from the bones and put

it into  the mincer. Sharik meanwhile gnawed a grouse's head. Darya Petrovna

fished lumps of  soaking bread out of a  bowl of milk, mixed them on a board

with the minced meat, poured cream over the whole mixture, sprinkled it with

salt and kneaded it into cutlets.  The stove was roaring like a furnace, the

frying pan  sizzled, popped  and  bubbled. The  oven door swung  open with a

roar, revealing a terrifying inferno of heaving, crackling flame.

     In  the  evening  the  fiery  furnace subsided  and  above the  curtain

half-way  up  the  kitchen  window  hung  the  dense,  ominous night sky  of

Prechistenka Street  with its single star.  The  kitchen floor was damp, the

saucepans  shone with  a  dull,  mysterious  glow  and  on  the table  was a

fireman's cap. Sharik lay on the warm stove, stretched out like a lion above

a gateway, and  with one  ear cocked in  curiosity  he  watched through  the

half-open  door  of  Zina's  and  Darya  Petrovna's  room  as  an   excited,

black-moustached man in a broad  leather belt embraced  Darya Petrovna.  All

her face, except her powdered nose, glowed with agony and passion. A  streak

of light  lay across a picture of a man  with  a black moustache and  beard,

from which hung a little Easter loaf.

     'Don't go too far,' muttered Darya Petrovna in the half-darkness. 'Stop

it! Zina will be back  soon. What's the  matter  with  you -  have you  been

rejuvenated too?'

     'I don't  need  rejuvenating,'  croaked  the  black-moustached  fireman

hoarsely, scarcely able to control himself. 'You're so passionate!'

     In  the evenings  the  sage  of  Prechistenka Street retired behind his

thick blinds and if there was no A'ida at the Bolshoi Theatre and no meeting

of the All-Russian Surgical Society, then the great man would settle down in

a deep armchair  in  his study. There were no ceiling lights; the only light

came from a green-shaded lamp  on the desk. Sharik lay on the  carpet in the

shadows, unable to take his eyes off the horrors that lined the room.

     Human brains floated  in a  disgustingly  acrid, murky liquid  in glass

jars. On his  forearms, bared to  the elbow,  the  great man wore red rubber

globes  as  his  blunt, slippery  fingers  delved  into  the convoluted grey

matter. Now  and again he would pick up a small glistening knife  and calmly

slice off a spongey yellow chunk of brain.

     '. . . "to the banks of the sa-acred Nile  . . .," ' he hummed quietly,

licking  his lips as  he remembered  the gilded  auditorium  of the  Bolshoi


     It was the time of evening when the central heating was at its warmest.

The heat from it floated up to the ceiling,  from there dispersing all  over

the  room. In the dog's  fur  the warmth wakened  the last flea,  which  had

somehow  managed  to  escape Philip Philipovich's comb. The carpets deadened

all sound in the flat. Then, from far away, came the sound of the front door


     Zina's gone  out to the cinema, thought the dog, and  I  suppose  we'll

have supper when  she gets  home.  Something  tells me that  it's veal chops


     On  the morning  of  that  terrible  day  Sharik had  felt  a sense  of

foreboding, which had  made him suddenly break into  a howl and he had eaten

his  breakfast  -  half a  bowl of  porridge and  yesterday's  mutton-bone -

without  the least relish. Bored, he  went  padding up and  down  the  hall,

whining at his own reflection. The rest of the morning, after Zina had taken

him for his walk along the  avenue, passed normally.  There were no patients

that day  as  it was Tuesday -  a  day  when as  we  all know  there  are no

consulting  hours.  The master was in  his study, several large  books  with

coloured pictures spread  out  in front of him  on  the desk.  It was nearly

supper-time. The dog was slightly cheered by  the news from the kitchen that

the second course tonight was turkey. As he was walking down the passage the

dog  heard the startling, unexpected noise of Philip Philipovich's telephone

bell  ringing.  Philip  Philipovich  picked  up  the  receiver, listened and

suddenly became very excited.

     'Excellent,' he was heard saying, 'bring it round at once, at once!'

     Bustling about, he rang  for  Zina  and  ordered  supper  to be  served

immediately: 'Supper! Supper!'

     Immediately there  was a clatter of  plates in the dining-room and Zina

ran in, pursued by the voice of Darya Petrovna grumbling that the turkey was

not ready yet. Again the dog felt a tremor of anxiety.

     I don't  like it when there's a commotion  in the house, he mused . . .

and no sooner had the thought entered his head than the commotion took on an

even more disagreeable nature. This was  largely due  to the  appearance  of

Doctor  Bormenthal, who brought with  him an evil-smelling trunk and without

waiting to  remove his  coat started heaving it  down the  corridor into the

consulting-room. Philip Philipovich put down  his  unfinished cup of coffee,

which  normally he would never do, and ran out to  meet  Bormenthal, another

quite untypical thing for him to do.

     'When did he die?' he cried.

     'Three hours ago,'  replied  Bormenthal, his snow-covered  hat still on

his head as he unstrapped the trunk.

     Who's died? wondered  the  dog  sullenly and disagreeably  as he  slunk

under the table. I can't bear it when they dash about the room like that.

     'Out of my way, animal! Hurry, hurry, hurry!' cried Philip Philipovich.

     It seemed to  the dog that the master was ringing every  bell  at once.

Zina ran  in. 'Zina! Tell Darya Petrovna to take  over the telephone and not

to let anybody in. I need you here. Doctor Bormenthal - please hurry!'

     I  don't  like this, scowled  the dog, offended, and wandered off round

the  apartment.   All  the  bustle,   it  seemed,   was  confined   to   the

consulting-room. Zina suddenly  appeared in  a  white coat like a shroud and

began running back and forth between the consulting-room and the kitchen.

     Isn't it time I had  my supper? They seem  to have forgotten about  me,

thought the dog. He at once received an unpleasant surprise.

     'Don't  give  Sharik  anything  to  eat,'  boomed  the  order  from the


     'How am I to keep an eye on him?'

     'Lock him up!'

     Sharik was enticed into the bathroom and locked in.

     Beasts, thought Sharik as he sat  in the semi-darkness of the bathroom.

What an outrage ... In an odd frame of mind, half resentful, half depressed,

he spent about  a quarter of an hour in the bathroom.  He felt irritated and


     Right.  This  means   the  end   of  your  galoshes   tomorrow,  Philip

Philipovich, he thought. You've already had to buy two new pairs. Now you're

going to have to buy another. That'll teach you to lock up dogs.

     Suddenly  a  violent thought crossed his mind. Instantly and clearly he

remembered a scene from his  earliest youth -a huge sunny courtyard near the

Preobrazhensky  Gate,  slivers  of sunlight  reflected  in  broken  bottles,

brick-rubble, and a free world of stray dogs.

     No, it's no use. I could never leave this place now. Why pretend? mused

the dog,  with a sniff. I've got used to  this life. I'm a  gentleman's  dog

now, an  intelligent being,  I've  tasted  better things.  Anyhow,  what  is

freedom? Vapour, mirage, fiction . . . democratic rubbish . . .

     Then the gloom of  the bathroom began to frighten  him and  he  howled.

Hurling himself at the door, he started scratching it.

     Ow-ow . . ., the noise echoed round the apartment like someone shouting

into a barrel.

     I'll  tear  that owl  to  pieces again, thought  the  dog, furious  but

impotent. Then he felt weak  and lay down. When he  got up his coat suddenly

stood up on end, as he had an eerie feeling that a horrible, wolfish pair of

eyes was staring at him from the bath.

     In  the midst of his agony the  door  opened.  The  dog went out, shook

himself, and made gloomily for the kitchen,  but Zina firmly dragged him  by

the collar into the consulting-room. The dog felt a sudden  chill around his


     What do they want me for?  he wondered suspiciously. My side has healed

up - I don't get it. Sliding along on his paws over the slippery parquet, he

was pulled into the consulting-room. There he was immediately shocked by the

unusually brilliant lighting. A white globe on the ceiling shone so brightly

that it hurt his  eyes. In the  white glare  stood  the high priest, humming

through  his  teeth  something  about  the  sacred  Nile.  The  only way  of

recognising  him as Philip Philipovich was a vague smell. His  smoothed-back

grey  hair  was hidden  under a  white cap, making  him  look as if he  were

dressed up as a patriarch; the divine figure was all in  white and over  the

white, like  a stole, he wore a narrow rubber apron. His hands were in black


     The other doctor was also there. The long table  was fully unfolded,  a

small square box placed beside it on a shining stand.

     The dog hated the other doctor more than anyone else and more than ever

because of  the look in his eyes. Usually frank and bold, they now flickered

in  all directions  to avoid the dog's eyes. They were watchful, treacherous

and in their depths lurked something mean and nasty, even criminal. Scowling

at him, the dog slunk into a comer.

     'Collar,  Zina,' said  Philip Philipovich  softly,  'only don't  excite


     For a  moment  Zina's eyes had the  same vile look as Bormenthal's. She

walked up to the dog and with obvious treachery, stroked him.

     What're you doing ... all three of you? OK, take me if you want me. You

ought to be ashamed ... If only I knew what you're going to do to me . . .

     Zina  unfastened  his  collar,  the  dog shook  his  head  and snorted.

Bormenthal rose up in front of him, reeking of that foul, sickening smell.

     Ugh, disgusting . . . wonder why I feel so queer . . ., thought the dog

as he dodged away.

     'Hurry,  doctor,'  said Philip  Philipovich  impatiently.  There  was a

sharp, sweet smell  in the air.  The  doctor,  without  taking his  horrible

watchful eyes off  the  dog slipped his right hand  out from behind his back

and quickly  clamped  a pad of damp cotton wool over the dog's  nose. Sharik

went dumb, his head spinning a little, but he still  managed  to jump  back.

The doctor jumped after him and rapidly smothered his whole muzzle in cotton

wool.  His breathing  stopped, but again  the dog jerked  himself away.  You

bastard . . .,  flashed through his mind. Why? And  down came the pad again.

Then  a lake suddenly  materialised  in the  middle of  the  consulting-room

floor. On it  was a boat, rowed  by a crew of  extraordinary pink  dogs. The

bones in his legs gave way and collapsed.

     'On  to  the table!'  Philip  Philipovich boomed from  somewhere  in  a

cheerful voice  and  the sound disintegrated into  orange-coloured  streaks.

Fear vanished and gave way to joy. For two seconds the dog loved the man  he

had bitten.  Then the whole world  turned upside down and he felt a cold but

soothing hand on his belly. Then - nothing.

     The dog Sharik  lay  stretched out on  the narrow operating  table, his

head lolling helplessly  against a  white oilcloth pillow.  His  stomach was

shaven  and now Doctor Bormenthal,  breathing heavily, was hurriedly shaving

Sharik's head  with clippers that ate  through his  fur. Philip Philipovich,

leaning  on the edge  of the table,  watched the process through  his shiny,

gold-rimmed spectacles. He spoke urgently:

     'Ivan  Arnoldovich,  the most vital moment is when I enter  the turkish

saddle. You  must then  instantly pass me the gland and  start  suturing  at

once. If we  have a haemorrhage then we shall lose time and lose the dog. In

any case, he hasn't a chance .  . .'  He was  silent, frowning,  and gave an

ironic  look at the dog's half-closed eye, then added: 'Do you  know, I feel

sorry for him. I've actually got used to having him around.'

     So saying  he raised his hands as though calling down a blessing on the

unfortunate Sharik's great  sacrificial venture.  Bormenthal laid  aside the

clippers and picked up a razor. He lathered the  defenceless little head and

started  to shave it. The blade scraped across the  skin, nicked it and drew

blood. Having shaved the head the doctor wiped it with an alcohol swab, then

stretched  out the  dog's  bare  stomach and  said with  a sigh  of  relief:


     Zina turned on  the  tap  over the washbasin and  Bormenthal  hurriedly

washed his hands. From a phial Zina poured alcohol over them.

     'May  I  go, Philip Philipovich?' she asked, glancing nervously  at the

dog's shaven head.

     'You may.'

     Zina  disappeared. Bormenthal busied  himself  further.  He  surrounded

Shank's head with tight gauze wadding, which framed the odd sight of a naked

canine scalp and a muzzle that by comparison seemed heavily bearded.

     The priest  stirred. He straightened up, looked at  the dog's  head and

said: 'God bless us. Scalpel.'

     Bormenthal took a short, broad-bladed knife from the glittering pile on

the small table and handed it to the great man. He too then donned a pair of

black gloves.

     'Is he asleep?' asked Philip Philipovich.

     'He's sleeping nicely.'

     Philip  Philipovich clenched his  teeth, his  eyes  took  on  a  sharp,

piercing  glint  and  with  a  flourish of his scalpel he  made a long, neat

incision  down the  length of  Sharik's  belly. The  skin parted  instantly,

spurting  blood  in several  directions. Bormenthal swooped like  a vulture,

began  dabbing  Sharik's wound with swabs  of gauze,  then gripped its edges

with  a  row  of  little clamps like sugar-tongs, and the  bleeding stopped.

Droplets of sweat oozed from  Bormenthal's forehead. Philip Philipovich made

a  second incision and  again  Sharik's  body  was  pulled apart  by  hooks,

scissors and little  clamps. Pink  and yellow tissues emerged,  oozing  with

blood.  Philip  Philipovich  turned the scalpel  in  the wound, then barked:


     Like a  conjuring trick  the  instrument  materialised  in Bormenthal's

hand. Philip  Philipovich delved deep and with a few  twists  he removed the

testicles and some dangling attachments from  Sharik's  body. Dripping  with

exertion and  excitement Bormenthal leapt to a glass jar and removed from it

two  more  wet, dangling testicles,  their  short,  moist, stringy  vesicles

dangling like  elastic in  the hands of the professor and his assistant. The

bent needles clicked faintly 54


     against the clamps as the new testicles were sewn in place of Sharik's.

The priest drew back from the incision, swabbed it and gave the order:

     'Suture, doctor. At once.' He turned around  and  looked at  the  white

clock on the wall.

     'Fourteen  minutes,'  grunted Bormenthal through  clenched teeth  as he

pierced the flabby  skin with  his crooked needle. Both grew as tense as two

murderers working against the clock.

     'Scalpel!' cried Philip Philipovich.

     The scalpel seemed  to leap into  his hand as though of its own accord,

at which point Philip Philipovich's expression grew quite fearsome. Grinding

his  gold  and porcelain  bridge-work, in a single  stroke he incised a  red

fillet around Sharik's head. The scalp, with  its shaven hairs, was removed,

the skull bone laid bare. Philip Philipovich shouted: 'Trepan!'

     Bormenthal  handed   him  a  shining  auger.  Biting  his  lips  Philip

Philipovich began to insert the auger and  drill a complete circle of little

holes, a centimetre apart, around the top  of Sharik's skull. Each hole took

no more than five  seconds to  drill.  Then with  a saw  of the most curious

design  he  put its point into  the first hole and began sawing  through the

skull  as  though he were  making a lady's fretwork sewing-basket. The skull

shook and squeaked faintly.  After three minutes the roof of the dog's skull

was removed.

     The  dome of  Sharik's  brain was  now  laid bare - grey, threaded with

bluish veins and  spots of red.  Philip  Philipovich  plunged  his  scissors

between  the membranes and  eased them  apart.  Once a thin  stream of blood

spurted up, almost hitting the professor in the eye and spattering his white

cap.  Like a tiger Bormenthal  pounced  in with a  tourniquet and  squeezed.

Sweat streamed down his face, which  was growing puffy and mottled. His eyes

flicked to and fro from the professor's hand to the instrument-table. Philip

Philipovich was positively awe-inspiring. A hoarse snoring noise  came  from

his nose,  his teeth were  bared  to the gums.  He peeled  aside  layers  of

cerebral membrane and penetrated  deep between the hemispheres of the brain.

It was then that Bor-menthal went pale, and seizing Sharik's breast with one

hand he said hoarsely: 'Pulse falling sharply . . .'

     Philip Philipovich flashed  him a  savage look,  grunted something  and

delved further still.  Bormenthal snapped  open  a glass  ampoule, filled  a

syringe with the liquid and treacherously injected the dog near his heart.

     'I'm coming  to  the turkish saddle,'  growled Philip Philipovich. With

his  slippery, bloodstained gloves he removed Sharik's greyish-yellow  brain

from his  head. For a second  he glanced at  Sharik's muzzle  and Bormenthal

snapped open a second ampoule of  yellow liquid and sucked it into  the long


     'Shall I do it straight into the heart?' he enquired cautiously.

     'Don't waste time asking questions!' roared  the professor angrily. 'He

could die five  times  over while you're  making up your  mind. Inject, man!

What are  you  waiting for?'  His face had  the look  of an  inspired robber


     With a flourish the doctor plunged the needle into the dog's heart.

     'He's alive, but only just,' he whispered timidly.

     'No time  to  argue whether  he's  alive or not,'  hissed the  terrible

Philip Philipovich. 'I'm at  the saddle.  So  what  if he does die  ... hell

..."... the banks of the sa-acred Nile" . . . give me the gland.'

     Bormenthal  handed  him a beaker containing a white blob suspended on a

thread in some fluid. With  one hand ('God, there's no one  like him  in all

Europe,'  thought Bormenthal) he fished out the dangling blob  and  with the

other hand, using  the scissors, he  excised a similar blob from deep within

the separated  cerebral hemispheres. Sharik's  blob he threw  on to a plate,

the  new  one  he inserted into the brain with  a piece of  thread. Then his

stumpy   fingers,  now  miraculously  delicate  and  sensitive,  sewed   the

amber-coloured  thread cunningly into place. After  that  he removed various

stretchers  and  clamps from  the  skull, replaced the  brain  in  its  bony

container, leaned back and said in a much calmer voice:

     'I suppose he's died?'

     'There's just a flicker of pulse,' replied Bormenthal.

     'Give him another shot of adrenalin.'

     The  professor replaced  the membranes over  the  brain,  restored  the

sawn-off  lid  to  its exact place, pushed  the scalp back into position and

roared: 'Suture!'

     Five  minutes later  Bormenthal  had sewn up  the dog's  head, breaking

three needles.

     There on the bloodstained pillow lay Sharik's slack, lifeless muzzle, a

circular  wound  on  his  tonsured  head.  Like  a  satisfied vampire Philip

Philipovich finally  stepped back, ripped off one glove, shook  out of it  a

cloud  of sweat-drenched  powder, tore off the other  one, threw it  on  the

ground and rang the bell in the wall. Zina appeared in  the doorway, looking

away to avoid seeing the blood-spattered dog.  With  chalky hands  the great

man pulled off his skull-cap and cried:

     "Give me a cigarette, Zina. And then some clean clothes and a bath.'

     Layino- his chin on the edge  of the  table he parted  the  dog's right

eyelids, peered into the obviously moribund eye and said:

     'Well, I'll be  ... He's not dead  yet. Still,  he'll die. I feel sorry

for the dog, Bormenthal. He was naughty but I couldn't help liking him.'







     Subject of experiment: Male dog aged approx. 2 years.

     Breed: Mongrel.

     Name: 'Sharik'.

     Coat  sparse, in  tufts,  brownish  with traces  of singeing.  Tail the

colour  of baked milk. On right flank  traces of  healed second-degree burn.

Previous   nutritional   state  -poor.  After   a  week's  stay  with  Prof.

Preobrazhensky -extremely  well nourished. Weight: 8 kilograms (!). Heart: .

. . Lungs: . . . Stomach: . . . Temperature: . . .

     December 23rd  At  8.05pm  Prof.  Preobrazhensky  commenced  the  first

operation of  its kind to be performed in Europe: removal under  anaesthesia

of the dog's testicles and their replacement by implanted human testes, with

appendages and seminal ducts, taken from a 28-year-old  human male,  dead  4

hours and 4 minutes before the operation and kept by Prof. Preobrazhensky in

sterilised physiological fluid.

     Immediately thereafter, following a trepanning operation on the cranial

roof,  the  pituitary  gland  was removed and replaced by  a human pituitary

originating from the  above-mentioned human male. Drugs used: Chloroform - 8


     Camphor - 1 syringe.

     Adrenalin - 2 syringes (by cardiac injection ).

     Purpose of  operation: Experimental observation by Prof. Preobrazhensky

of  the effect of combined  transplantation  of  the pituitary and testes in

order to study both the functional viability in a host-organism and its role

in cellular etc. rejuvenation.

     Operation performed by; Prof.  P. P. Preobrazhensky. Assisted by: Dr I.

A. Bormenthal. During the night following the operation, frequent  and grave

weakening of the pulse. Dog apparently in terminal state.

     Preobrazhensky prescribes camphor injections in massive dosage.

     December  24th am Improvement.  Respiration rate  doubled. Temperature:

42C. Camphor and caffeine injected subcutaneously.

     December 25th Deterioration.

     Pulse  barely  detectable,  cooling of  the extremities,  no  pupillary

reaction. Preobrazhensky orders  cardiac injection of adrenalin and camphor,

intravenous injections of physiological solution.

     December 26th Slight improvement. Pulse: 180.

     Respiration: 92. Temperature: 41C. Camphor. Alimentation per rectum.

     December  27th  Pulse:  152.   Respiration:  50.   Temperature:  39.8C.

Pupillary reaction. Camphor - subcutaneous.

     December   28th   Significant   improvement.   At  noon   sudden  heavy

perspiration. Temperature: 37C.

     Condition of surgical wounds unchanged. Re-bandaged. Signs of appetite.

Liquid alimentation.


     December  29th  Sudden  moulting  of  hair on forehead  and  torso. The

following were summoned for consultation:

     1. Professor of Dermatology - Vasily Vasilievich Bundaryov.

     2. Director, Moscow Veterinary Institute.

     Both stated the case to be without precedent in medical literature.

     No diagnosis established.

     Temperature: (entered in pencil).

     8.15pm. First bark.

     Distinct alteration of timbre and lowering of pitch

     noticeable. Instead of  diphthong  'aow-aow',  bark  now  enunciated on

vowels 'ah-oh', in intonation reminiscent

     of a groan.

     December 30th Moulting process has progressed to almost total baldness.

     Weighing  produced  the  unexpected  result  of 80 kg., due  to  growth

(lengthening of the bones). Dog still lying prone.


     December 31st Subject exhibits colossal appetite.

     (Ink-blot.   After   the   blot   the   following   entry  in  scrawled

hand-writing):  At   12.12pm  the  dog  distinctly  pronounced   the  sounds


     (Gap in entries. The following entries show errors due to excitement):

     December   1st  (deleted;   corrected   to):  January  1st  1925.   Dog

photographed a.m.

     Cheerfully  barks  'Nes-set-a',  repeating  loudly  and  with  apparent


     3.0pm  (in heavy lettering): Dog laughed,  causing maid Zina to  faint.

Later, pronounced the  following 8  times  in  succession:  'Nesseta-ciled'.

(Sloping characters, written in pencil):

     The professor has  deciphered the word 'Nesseta-ciled' by  reversal: it

is 'delicatessen' . . . Quite extraord . . .


     January 2nd Dog photographed by magnesium  flash while smiling. Got  up

and remained confidently on hind legs for a half-hour. Now nearly my height.

(Loose page inserted into  notebook): Russian science almost suffered a most

serious blow. History of Prof. P. P. Preobrazhensky's illness:

     1.13pm Prof. Preobrazhensky  falls into deep faint. On falling, strikes

head on edge of table.

     Temp.: . . .

     The  dog  in  the  presence  of  Zina  and  myself,  had  called  Prof.

Preobrazhensky a 'bloody bastard'.

     January 6th (entries made partly in pencil, partly in violet ink):

     Today, after the dog's tail had fallen out, he quite clearly pronounced

the word 'liquor'.

     Recording apparatus switched on. God knows what's happening.

     (Total confusion.)

     Professor has ceased to see  patients. From 5pm this evening  sounds of

vulgar  abuse issuing  from the consulting-room, where the creature is still

confined. Heard to ask for 'another one, and make it a double.'


     January 7th  Creature  can now  pronounce  several words: 'taxi', 'full

up', 'evening  paper',  'take  one  home for  the  kiddies' and  every known

Russian swear-word. His appearance is strange. He  now only has  hair on his

head, chin  and chest. Elsewhere he is bald,  with flabby skin.  His genital

region  now  has the  appearance of an  immature  human  male. His skull has

enlarged considerably. Brow low and receding.

     My God, I must be going mad. . . .

     Philip  Philipovich  still  feels  unwell.  Most  of  the  observations

(pictures and recordings) are being carried out by myself.

     Rumours  are  spreading  round  the  town  .  . .  Consequences  may be

incalculable. All day today the whole street was full of loafing rubbernecks

and old women  . . . Dogs still crowding round beneath the  windows. Amazing

report in the morning papers: The rumours of a Martian in Obukhov Street are

totally unfounded. They have been spread by  black-market traders and  their

repetition will be severely punished.  What Martian, for God's sake? This is

turning into a nightmare.

     Reports in today's evening paper even worse - they say that a child has

been born who could play the violin from birth. Beside it is a photograph of

myself  with  the  caption:  'Prof.  Preobrazhensky  performing a  Caesarian

operation on the mother.' The situation is  getting out of hand ...  He  can

now say a new word - 'policeman' . . .

     Apparently Darya Petrovna was in love with me and  pinched the snapshot

of  me out  of Philip Philipovich's photograph album. After I had kicked out

all the reporters one of them sneaked back into the kitchen, and so ...

     Consulting hours are now  impossible. Eighty-two telephone calls today.

The telephone has been cut off. We are besieged by child-less women . . .

     House committee appeared  in full  strength,  headed by Shvonder - they

could not explain why they had come.


     January  8th  Late  this evening  diagnosis finally  agreed.  With  the

impartiality  of  a  true  scholar Philip Philipovich has  acknowledged  his

error:  transplantation of the  pituitary induces not rejuvenation but total

humanisation  (underlined three  times).  This does not, however, lessen the

value of his stupendous discovery.

     The creature walked round the flat today for the first time. Laughed in

the  corridor  after looking  at the  electric light.  Then,  accompanied by

Philip Philipovich  and myself, he went into the study. Stands firmly on his

hind (deleted) ... his legs and  gives  the impression  of a short, ill-knit

human male.

     Laughed in the study. His smile is disagreeable and somehow artificial.

Then he  scratched the  back  of  his  head,  looked round and registered  a

further,  clearly-pronounced  word:  'Bourgeois'.  Swore.  His  swearing  is

methodical,  uninterrupted  and  apparently  totally  meaningless.  There is

something mechanical about it - it is as if this creature had heard all this

bad  language  at  an  earlier  phase,  automatically  recorded  it  in  his

subconscious  and  now   regurgitates  it   wholesale.  However,  I   am  no


     The   swearing  somehow  has  a  very   depressing   effect  on  Philip

Philipovich.  There  are moments  when  he  abandons  his cool,  unemotional

observation of  new phenomena and  appears  to  lose patience. Once when the

creature  was swearing, for instance,  he  suddenly  burst out  impulsively:

'Shut up!' This had no effect.

     After his visit to  the study Sharik was shut up in the consulting-room

by  our joint efforts. Philip Philipovich  and I  then  held a conference. I

confess that this was the first time I had seen this self-assured and highly

intelligent  man at a loss. He  hummed a little, as he  is  in the  habit of

doing,  then  asked: 'What  are  we  going to  do  now?' He answered himself

literally as follows:

     'Moscow State Clothing Stores, yes . . . "from Granada  to Seville" . .

.  M.S.C.S., my  dear  doctor  . .  .'  I could not understand him, then  he

explained: 'Ivan Arnold-ovich, please go and buy him some underwear,  shirt,

jacket and trousers.'

     January 9th The  creature's vocabulary is being enriched  by a new word

every five minutes (on average) and, since this morning, by sentences. It is

as if they had been lying frozen in his mind, are melting and emerging. Once

out, the word remains  in  use.  Since yesterday  evening  the  machine  has

recorded the following: 'Stop pushing', 'You swine', 'Get off the bus - full

up', 'I'll show you', 'American recognition', 'kerosene stove'.

     January10th The creature was  dressed. He took to a vest quite readily,

even laughing  cheerfully. He  refused underpants,  though, protesting  with

hoarse shrieks:

     'Stop  queue-barging, you bastards!'  Finally we dressed him. The sizes

of his clothes were too big for him.

     (Here  the   notebook  contains  a   number  of  schematised  drawings,

apparently depicting the  transformation of a  canine into a human leg.) The

rear  lialf of the skeleton of  the foot  is lengthening.  Elongation of the

toes. Nails. (With appropriate sketches.)

     Repeated  systematic  toilet  training.  The  servants  are  angry  and


     However,  the creature is  undoubtedly intelligent.  The experiment  is

proceeding satisfactorily.


     January llth Quite reconciled to wearing clothes, although was heard to

say, 'Christ, I've got ants in my pants.'

     Fur on  head  now thin and  silky; almost indistinguishable  from hair,

though  scars  still  visible in parietal  region. Today last  traces of fur

dropped from his  ears.  Colossal appetite.  Enjoys  salted herring.  At 5pm

occurred a significant  event: for the first time the words  spoken  by  the

creature  were  not  disconnected  from  surrounding  phenomena but  were  a

reaction  to  them.  Thus  when  the  professor said  to  him,  'Don't throw

food-scraps on the floor,' he  unexpectedly replied:  'Get stuffed.'  Philip

Philipovich was appalled, but recovered and said: 'If you swear at me or the

doctor again, you're in trouble.' I photographed Sharik at that moment and I

swear that he understood what the  professor said. His face clouded over and

he gave a sullen look, but said nothing. Hurrah - he understands!


     January 12th. Put  hands in pockets. We  are teaching him not to swear.

Whistled,  'Hey,  little  apple'. Sustained  conversation.  I  cannot resist

certain  hypotheses:  we must  forget  rejuvenation for the time  being. The

other  aspect  is  immeasurably  more   important.   Prof.  Preobrazhensky's

astounding experiment has revealed  one of  the secrets of  the human brain.

The mysterious function of the pituitary as an adjunct to the brain  has now

been  clarified.  It determines human  appearance.  Its hormones  may now be

regarded as the most important in the whole organism - the hormones of man's

image. A new  field has been opened up to  science; without  the  aid of any

Faustian retorts  a homunculus has been  created.  The surgeon's scalpel has

brought to life a new  human entity. Prof. Preobrazhensky-you are a creator.

(ink blot)

     But I digress ... As stated,  he can now sustain a conversation.  As  I

see  it, the situation is as follows:  the implanted pituitary has activated

the speech-centre in the canine brain and words have poured out in a stream.

I do not  think that we  have before  us a newly-created brain but  a  brain

which  has been  stimulated to develop. Oh, what a  glorious confirmation of

the theory  of  evolution! Oh,  the sublime  chain  leading from  a  dog  to

Mendeleyev the great chemist! A  further hypothesis  of mine  is that during

its canine  stage  Sharik's  brain  had  accumulated  a massive  quantity of

sense-data. All the  words which  he used initially were the language of the

streets which he had picked up and stored in his brain. Now as I  walk along

the streets I look at every dog I meet with secret horror. God knows what is

lurking in their minds.

     Sharik can  read. He can read (three exclamation marks).  I  guessed it

from  his  early use  of  the word  'delicatessen'. He could read  from  the

beginning. And  I even  know the solution  to  this puzzle - it lies in  the

structure of the canine optic nerve. God alone knows what is now going on in

Moscow.  Seven black-market traders are  already  behind bars for  spreading

rumours that the  end of the  world  is imminent and has been caused by  the

Bolsheviks.  Darya Petrovna told me about  this  and  even named the  date -

November  28th, 1925,  the day of St Stephen the Martyr, when the earth will

spiral off into infinity. . .  . Some charlatans are already giving lectures

about it.  We have started such a rumpus with this pituitary experiment that

I  have had to leave my flat. I  have moved in with Preobrazhensky and sleep

in  the waiting-room with Sharik. The consulting-room has been turned into a

new waiting-room. Shvender  was  right.  Trouble is  brewing with  the house

committee.  There  is not a  single glass left, as he will  jump  on  to the

shelves. Great difficulty in teaching him not to do this.

     Something  odd  is happening  to  Philip.  When  I  told him  about  my

hypotheses and my hopes of developing Sharik into an intellectually advanced

personality, he hummed  and hahed, then said: 'Do  you really think so?' His

tone  was ominous. Have I made a mistake? Then he had an idea. While I wrote

up these case-notes, Preobrazhensky made  a careful study  of the life-story

of the man from whom we took the pituitary.

     (Loose page inserted into the notebook.)

     Name: Elim Grigorievich Chugunkin. Age: 25.

     Marital status: Unmarried.

     Not a Party member, but  sympathetic to the Party. Three  times charged

with theft and acquitted - on the  first occasion for lack of  evidence,  in

the second case saved by his social origin, the third  time put on probation

with a conditional sentence of 15 years hard labour.

     Profession: plays  the balalaika in bars.  Short, poor physical  shape.

Enlarged  liver  (alcohol).  Cause  of  death:  knife-wound  in  the  heart,

sustained in the Red Light Bar at Preobrazhensky Gate.


     The  old man continues to study Chugunkin's case exhaustively, although

I cannot understand  why. He grunted something about the  pathologist having

failed  to  make  a complete examination of Chugunkin's body. What  does  he

mean? Does it matter whose pituitary it is?


     January 17th Unable  to make  notes for several days,  as I have had an

attack  of  influenza.  Meanwhile  the  creature's  appearance  has  assumed

definitive form:

     (a) physically a complete human being.

     (b) weight about 108 Ibs.

     (c) below medium height.

     (d) small head.

     (e) eats human food.

     (f) dresses himself.

     (g) capable of normal conversation.

     So much for the pituitary (ink blot).

     This concludes the notes on this case. We now have a new organism which

must be studied as such. appendices: Verbatim reports of speech, recordings,

photographs. Signed: I. A. Bormenthal, M.D.

     Asst. to Prof. P. P. Preobrazhensky.







     A winter afternoon in late January,  the  time before supper,  the time

before the  start of evening consulting hours. On the  drawing-room doorpost

hung a sheet of paper, on which was written in Philip Philipovich's hand:



     I forbid the consumption of sunflower seeds in this flat.

     P. Preobrazhensky

     Below this in big, thick letters Bormenthal had written in blue pencil:

     Musical instruments may not be played between 7pm and 6am.

     Then from Zina:

     When  you  come back tell  Philip Philipovich that  he's gone out and I

don't know where to. Fyodor says he's with Shvonder.

     Preobrazhensky's hand:

     How much longer do I have to wait before the glazier comes?

     Darya Petrovna (in block letters):

     Zina has, gone out to the store, says she'll bring him back.

     In  the dining-room there  was a cosy evening feeling, generated by the

lamp on  the sideboard shining beneath its dark cerise  shade. Its light was

reflected in random shafts all over the room, as the mirror was cracked from

side to side and had been stuck in place with a criss-cross of tape. Bending

over the  table, Philip Philipovich was absorbed in the large double page of

an open newspaper. His face  was working with  fury  and through  his  teeth

issued a jerky stream of abuse. This is what he was reading:

     There's no doubt that it  is his illegitimate (as  they  used to say in

rotten bourgeois society) son. This is how the pseudo-learned members of our

bourgeoisie amuse  themselves. He will  only keep  his seven rooms until the

glittering sword ofjustice fi'ashes over him like a red ray. Sh . . . r.

     Someone  was hard at work playing a rousing  tune  on the balalaika two

rooms away and the sound of a series of intricate variations on 'The Moon is

Shining'  mingled  in  Philip  Philipovich's  head  with  the words  of  the

sickening newspaper article. When he  had read it  he pretended to spit over

his shoulder  and hummed absentmindedly through his teeth: ' "The moo-oon is

shining . .  .  shining bright . . .  the moon  is shining . . ."  God, that

damned tune's on my brain!'

     He rang. Zina's face appeared in the doorway.

     'Tell him it's five o'clock and he's  to shut up. Then tell him to come

here, please.'

     Philip Philipovich sat  down  in an  armchair beside his desk, a  brown

cigar butt  between  the  fingers  of  his  left  hand. Leaning against  the

doorpost there stood, legs crossed, a  short man  of unpleasant  appearance.

His hair grew in clumps of bristles like a stubble field and on his face was

a  meadow of unsliaven fluff. His brow was  strikingly low. A thick brush of

hair began almost immediately above his spreading eyebrows.

     His jacket, torn under the left armpit, was covered with bits of straw,

his  checked  trousers  had a hole on  the  right knee and the left  leg was

stained with violet  paint.  Round  the man's neck was  a poisonously bright

blue  tie with a gilt tiepin. The  colour  of  the  tie was so  garish  that

whenever Philip Philipovich covered his tired eyes and gazed at the complete

darkness of the ceiling or the wall, he imagined he saw a flaming torch with

a blue halo. As soon as he  opened  them he was  blinded again, dazzled by a

pair of patent-leather boots with white spats.

     'Like galoshes,'  thought Philip Philipovich  with disgust.  He sighed,

sniffed  and  busied himself with relighting his  dead cigar. The man in the

doorway stared at the professor with lacklustre eyes and smoked a cigarette,

dropping the ash down his shirtfront.

     The  clock  on  the  wall  beside a  carved  wooden grouse  struck five

o'clock.  The inside of the clock was still  wheezing as  Philip Philipovich


     'I think  I  have asked  you  twice  not to sleep by  the stove in  the

kitchen - particularly in the daytime.'

     The man  gave  a hoarse cough as though he  were choking on a  bone and


     'It's nicer in the kitchen.'

     His  voice had an  odd quality, at once muffled yet resonant, as if  he

were far away and talking into a small barrel.

     Philip Philipovich shook his head and asked:

     'Where on  earth  did you get that  disgusting thing  from? I mean your


     Following the direction of the pointing finger, the man's eyes squinted

as he gazed lovingly down at his tie.

     'What's disgusting about  it?' he said. 'It's a very  smart  tie. Darya

Petrovna gave it to me.'

     'In that case Darya  Petrovna  has  very  poor  taste. Those boots  are

almost as bad. Why did you get such  horrible shiny ones? Where did you  buy

them?  What did I tell you? I  told you  to find yourself  a  pair of decent

boots. Just look  at them. You don't mean to  tell me that Doctor Bormenthal

chose them, do you?'

     'I  told him  to get  patent leather ones. Why  shouldn't I  wear them?

Everybody  else  does.  If you go down  Kuznetzky  Street  you'll see nearly

everybody wearing patent leather boots.'

     Philip Philipovich shook his head and pronounced weightily:

     'No more sleeping in  the kitchen. Understand? I've never heard of such

behaviour. You're a nuisance there and the women don't like it.'

     The man scowled and his lips began to pout.

     'So what? Those women act  as though they owned the place. They're just

maids,  but you'd  think they were commissars.  It's  Zina  -  she's  always

bellyaching about me.'

     Philip Philipovich gave him a stern look.

     'Don't you dare talk about Zina in that tone of voice! Understand?'


     'I'm asking you - do you understand?'

     'Yes, I understand.'

     'Take that trash off your  neck. Sha  . .  . if  you saw  yourself in a

mirror you'd realise what a fright it makes you look. You look like a clown.

For  the hundredth time - don't throw  cigarette ends on to the floor. And I

don't  want to  hear  any  more  swearing  in  this  flat!  And  don't  spit

everywhere! The spittoon's over there. Kindly  take better aim when you pee.

Cease all further conversation with Zina.  She complains that you lurk round

her room at night. And don't be rude to my patients! Where do'you think  you

are - in some dive?'

     'Don't be  so hard on me. Dad,'  the  man suddenly  said  in  a tearful


     Philip Philipovich turned red and his spectacles flashed.

     'Who are you calling  "Dad"? What impertinent familiarity! I never want

to hear that word again! You will address me by my name and patronymic!'

     The man flared up impudently: 'Oh,  why can't you lay off? Don't spit .

. . don't smoke  . . .  don't go  there, don't do this, don't  do that . . .

sounds like  the rules in a  tram. Why don't you leave  me alone, for  God's

sake? And why shouldn't I call you "Dad", anyway? I didn't ask you to do the

operation, did I?' - the man barked indignantly - 'A nice business -you  get

an  animal,  slice his  head open  and  now you're sick of  him.  Perhaps  I

wouldn't have given permission for  the operation. Nor would . . . (the  man

stared up at the ceiling as though trying  to remember a phrase he  had been

taught) . . . nor would my relatives. I bet I could sue you if I wanted to.'

     Philip Philipovich's eyes grew quite round and  his cigar  fell out  of

his fingers. 'Well, I'll be . . .' he thought to himself.

     'So you  object to having  been turned into a human being,  do you?' he

asked,  frowning  slightly. 'Perhaps  you'd  prefer to  be  sniffing  around

dustbins again? Or freezing in doorways? Well, if  I'd known that I wouldn't

. . .'

     'So  what if I had to eat out  of  dustbins? At least it  was an honest

living.  And supposing I'd died on your operating  table? What d'you  say to

that, comrade?'

     'My name  is Philip  Philipovich!' exclaimed  the  professor irritably.

'I'm not your comrade!  This is monstrous!' ('I can't stand it much longer,'

he thought to himself.)

     'Oh,  yes!' said the man  sarcastically,  triumphantly  uncrossing  his

legs. 'I know! Of course we're not comrades! How could we be? I didn't go to

college,  I don't  own a  flat  with  fifteen rooms and a bathroom. Only all

that's changed now - now everybody has the right to . . .'

     Growing  rapidly  paler,  Philip  Philipovich  listened  to  the  man's

argument. Then the creature stopped and swaggered demonstratively over to an

ashtray with a chewed butt-end in his fingers. He spent a long time stubbing

it out, with a look on his face which clearly said:  'Drop dead!' Having put

out his cigarette he suddenly clicked his teeth and poked his nose under his


     'You're  supposed to  catch  fleas  with your  fingersV  shouted Philip

Philipovich in fury. 'Anyhow, how is it that you still have any fleas?'

     'You  don't  think I breed  them  on purpose,  do  you?' said the  man,

offended. 'I suppose fleas just like me, that's all.' With this he poked his

fingers through the lining of his jacket,  scratched  around  and produced a

tuft of downy red hair.

     Philip Philipovich  turned his gaze upwards  to  the plaster rosette on

the ceiling and started drumming his fingers  on the desk. Having caught his

flea, the man sat down in a chair, sticking  his thumbs behind the lapels of

his  jacket.  Squinting  down at the parquet, he  inspected his boots, which

gave  him  great  pleasure.  Philip  Philipovich  also looked  down  at  the

highlights glinting on the man's blunt-toed boots, frowned and enquired:

     'What else were you going to say?'

     'Oh, nothing, really. I need some papers, Philip Philipovich.'

     Philip Philipovich  winced. 'H'm  . .  . papers, eh? Really, well . . .

H'm . . . Perhaps we might . . .' His voice sounded vague and unhappy.

     'Now, look,' said the man firmly. 'I can't manage without papers. After

all you know  damn well that people who don't have any papers aren't allowed

to exist nowadays. To begin with, there's the house committee.'

     'What does the house committee have to do with it?'

     'A lot. Every time I meet one of them they ask me when I'm going to get


     'Oh, God,'  moaned Philip  Philipovich. '  "Every time you meet  one of

them ..." I can just imagine what you tell them. I thought I told you not to

hang about the staircases, anyway.'

     'What  am I -  a  convict?'  said  the  man in amazement. His  glow  of

righteous indignation made even his fake ruby tiepin light up.  "Hang about"

indeed! That's an insult. I walk about just like everybody else.'

     So saying he wriggled his patent-leather feet.

     Philip  Philipovich said nothing, but  looked  away. 'One must restrain

oneself,' he  thought,  as  he  walked over  to  the sideboard  and  drank a

glassful of water at one gulp.

     'I  see,'  he said rather  more  calmly. 'All right, I'll overlook your

tone  of voice  for the moment. What does your precious house committee say,


     'Hell, I don't know exactly. Anyway, you needn't be sarcastic about the

house committee. It protects people's interests.'

     'Whose interest, may I ask?'

     'The workers', of course.'

     Philip  Philipovich  opened his eyes  wide.  'What makes you think that

you're a worker?'

     'I must be - I'm not a capitalist.'

     'Very well. How does the  house committee propose to  stand up for your

revolutionary rights?'

     'Easy. Put me on  the register. They say they've never heard of anybody

being allowed  to live  in  Moscow without  being registered.  That's  for a

start. But the most important thing  is an identity card. I don't want to be

arrested for being a deserter.'

     'And  where, pray, am I supposed to register you? On that tablecloth or

on my own passport? One must, after all, be realistic. Don't forget that you

are  . . .  h'm, well. . . you are  what you might call  a ... an  unnatural

phenomenon, an artefact . .  .' Philip  Philipovich  sounded less  and  less


     Triumphant, the man said nothing.

     'Very well. Let's assume that in the end we shall have to register you,

if only to  please this house committee of yours. The  trouble is - you have

no name.'

     'So  what?  I can easily  choose one. Just put it in the newspapers and

there you are.'

     'What do you propose to call yourself?'

     The man straightened his tie and replied: Toligraph Poligraphovich.'

     'Stop  playing  the  fool,'  groaned Philip Philipovich.  'I  meant  it


     The man's face twitched sarcastically.

     'I  don't  get it,'  he  said ingenuously. 'I  mustn't swear. I mustn't

spit. Yet  all you ever do is call me names. I suppose  only professors  are

allowed to swear in the RSFSR.'

     Blood rushed to Philip Philipovich's face.  He filled a glass, breaking

it  as he did so. Having drunk from  another  one, he thought: 'Much more of

this, and he'll start teaching me how to behave,  and he'll be right. I must

control myself.'

     He turned round, made an exaggeratedly polite  bow  and said with  iron

self-control: 'I  beg your pardon. My nerves are  slightly  upset. Your name

struck me as a  little odd, that is all. Where, as a matter of interest, did

you dig it up?'

     'The house committee helped me.  We looked in the calendar. And I chose

a name.'

     'That name cannot possibly exist on any calendar.'

     'Can't  it?'  The  man grinned.  'Then  how was  it I found  it  on the

calendar in your consulting-room?'

     Without getting  up Philip  Philipovich leaned over to the knob  on the

wall and Zina appeared in answer to the bell.

     'Bring me the calendar from the consulting-room.'

     There  was  a  pause.  When Zina  returned  with  the  calendar, Philip

Philipovich asked: 'Where is it?'

     'The name-day is March 4th.'

     'Show me . .  .  h'm  . . . dammit, throw the  thing into the stove  at

once.'  Zina, blinking with fright, removed the calendar. The man  shook his

head reprovingly.

     'And what surname will you take?'

     'I'll use my real name.'

     'You're real name? What is it?'


     Shvonder the house committee chairman was standing in his leather tunic

in  front  of  the professor's  desk.  Doctor Bormen-thal  was seated  in an

armchair. The doctor's glowing face (he had just come in from the cold) wore

an  expression  whose  perplexity  was  only  equalled  by  that  of  Philip


     'Write it?' he asked impatiently.

     'Yes,' said Shvonder, 'it's not very  difficult. Write  a  certificate,

professor. You know the sort of thing - 'This is to  certify that the bearer

is  really Poligraph Poligraphovich Sharikov . .  .  h'm, born in, h'm . . .

this flat.'

     Bormenthal wriggled uneasily in his armchair. Philip Philipovich tugged

at his moustache.

     'God dammit,  I've never heard  anything so ridiculous in  my  life. He

wasn't born at all, he simply . . . well, he sort of..'

     'That's your problem,' said Shvonder with quiet malice. 'It's up to you

to decide whether he  was born or not ... It was your experiment, professor,

and you brought citizen Sharikov into the world.'

     'It's  all  quite  simple,'  barked  Sharikov  from  the  glass-fronted

cabinet, where he was admiring the reflection of his tie.

     'Kindly  keep  out  of this conversation,' growled  Philip Philipovich.

'It's not at all simple.'

     'Why shouldn't I join  in?' spluttered Sharikov  in an  offended voice,

and Shvonder instantly supported him.

     'I'm sorry,  professor,  but citizen Sharikov is absolutely correct. He

has a  right to take part in a  discussion about his affairs,  especially as

it's  about  his  identity  documents.  An  identity  document  is the  most

important thing in the world.'

     At that  moment  a  deafening  ring from  the telephone  cut  into  the

conversation. Philip Philipovich said into the receiver:

     'Yes . . .', then reddened and shouted: 'Will  you  please not distract

me with trivialities. What's it to do with you?' And  he hurled the receiver

back on to the hook.

     Delight spread over Shvonder's face.

     Purpling, Philip Philipovich roared: 'Right, let's get this finished.'

     He tore a sheet of paper from a notepad and scribbled a few words, then

read it aloud in a voice of exasperation:

     ' "I  hereby certify . . ." God, what am I  supposed to certify?  . . .

let's  see .  . . "That  the  bearer  is  a man created during  a laboratory

experiment by  means of an  operation  on  the  brain  and  that he requires

identity  papers" .  . .'I object in principle to his  having these  idiotic

documents, but still . . . Signed:

     "Professor Preobrazhensky!" '

     'Really, professor,' said Shvonder in  an offended voice.  'What do you

mean  by  calling  these  documents idiotic?  I can't allow  an undocumented

tenant  to  go  on  living in this house,  especially one  who  hasn't  been

registered  with  the police  for military service.  Supposing  war suddenly

breaks out with the imperialist aggressors?'

     'I'm not going to fight!' yapped Sharikov.

     Shvonder  was  dumbfounded, but  quickly  recovered  himself  and  said

politely  to  Sharikov: 'I'm afraid you  seem to be  completely  lacking  in

political  consciousness, citizen  Sharikov. You must  register for military

service at once.'

     'I'll  register,  but  I'm dammed if  I'm  going  to  fight,'  answered

Sharikov nonchalantly, straightening his tie.

     Now it was Shvonder's turn to be embarrassed. Preobraz-hensky exchanged

a look of grim complicity with Bormenthal, who nodded meaningly.

     'I was badly wounded  during the  operation,'  whined Sharikov. 'Look -

they cut  me  right  open.' He  pointed  to  his head. The scar of  a  fresh

surgical wound bisected his forehead.

     'Are  you  an  anarchist-individualist?'  asked  Shvonder, raising  his


     'I ought to be exempt on medical grounds,' said Sharikov.

     'Well,  there's  no hurry  about it,'  said  the disconcerted Shvonder.

'Meanwhile we'll send the professor's certificate  to the police and they'll

issue your papers.'

     'Er, look here  . .  .'  Philip  Philipovich  suddenly interrupted him,

obviously struck by  an idea. 'I suppose you don't liave a room to spare  in

the house, do you? I'd be prepared to buy it.'

     Yellowish sparks flashed in Shvonder's brown eyes.

     'No, professor,  I  very much regret to say that we don't  have a room.

And aren't likely to, either.'

     Philip  Philipovich clenched  his teeth  and  said  nothing.  Again the

telephone rang as though to order. Without a word Philip Philipovich flicked

the receiver off the  rest  so that it hung down, spinning  slightly, on its

blue  cord.  Everybody jumped.  'The  old  man's getting  rattled,'  thought

Bormenthal. With a glint in his eyes Shvonder bowed and went out.

     Sharikov disappeared after him, his boots creaking.

     The professor and  Bormenthal  were left  alone. After a short silence,

Philip Philipovich shook his head gently and said:

     'On my word of honour,  this  is becoming an absolute nightmare.  Don't

you see?  I swear, doctor, that I've suffered  more these last fourteen days

than in the past fourteen years! I tell you, he's a scoundrel . . .'

     From a distance  came the faint tinkle of breaking glass, followed by a

stifled woman's  scream,  then  silence.  An  evil  spirit dashed  down  the

corridor, turned into the  consulting-room where it produced  another  crash

and immediately turned  back. Doors slammed and Darya Petrovna's low cry was

heard from the kitchen. There was a howl from Sharikov.

     'Oh, God, what now!' cried Philip Philipovich, rushing for the door.

     'A  cat,' guessed  Bormenthal and  leaped  after him. They ran down the

corridor into the  hall, burst  in, then  turned into the passage leading to

the bathroom and the kitchen.  Zina came dashing  out of the kitchen and ran

full tilt into Philip Philipovich.

     'How many times have I told you not to let cats into the flat,' shouted

Philip Philipovich in fury. 'Where is he? Ivan Amoldovich, for God's sake go

and calm the patients in the waiting-room!'

     'He's  in  the  bathroom,  the  devil,'  cried  Zina,  panting.  Philip

Philipovich hurled himself at the bathroom door, but it would not give way.

     'Open up this minute!'

     The only answer from  the locked  bathroom  was the sound  of something

leaping up  at  the walls,  smashing glasses, and  Sharikov's  voice roaring

through the door: 'I'll kill you . . .'

     Water  could be heard gurgling through the pipes and pouring  into  the

bathtub. Philip Philipovich leaned against  the door and  tried to break  it

open. Darya  Petrovna, clothes torn and face distorted with anger,  appeared

in the kitchen doorway. Then  the glass  transom window, high up in the wall

between the  bathroom and the kitchen, shattered  with a multiple crack. Two

large fragments crashed into the kitchen followed by a tabby cat of gigantic

proportions with a face like a  policeman and  a blue bow round its neck. It

fell on to the middle  of the  table, right  into a long  platter,  which it

broke in half. From there it fell to  the floor, turned round on  three legs

as it waved  the fourth in  the air as  though executing  a dance-step,  and

instantly  streaked out through the  back door, which  was slightly ajar.The

door opened wider  and the cat was replaced by the face of an old woman in a

headscarf, followed by her polka-dotted skirt. The old woman wiped her mouth

with her index and second fingers, stared round the kitchen with  protruding

eyes that burned with curiosity and she said:

     'Oh, my lord!'

     Pale, Philip Philipovich crossed the kitchen and asked threateningly:

     'What do you want?'

     'I wanted to have  a look at the  talking dog,' replied the  old  woman

ingratiatingly and  crossed herself.  Philip  Philipovich  went even  paler,

strode up to her and hissed: 'Get out of my kitchen this instant!'

     The old woman tottered back toward the door and said plaintively:

     'You needn't be so sharp, professor.'

     'Get  out, I  say!' repeated Philip  Philipovich and  his eyes  went as

round as the owl's. He personally slammed the door behind the old woman.

     'Darya Petrovna, I've asked you before . . .'

     'But  Philip  Philipovich,'  replied  Darya  Petrovna  in  desperation,

clenching  her  hands, 'what can I do?  People keep coming in all  day long,

however often I throw them out.'

     A  dull, threatening roar of water  was still coming from the bathroom,

although Sharikov was now silent. Doctor Bormenthal came in.

     'Please,  Ivan Amoldovich ... er... how  many patients are there in the


     'Eleven,' replied Bormenthal.

     'Send them all away, please. I can't see any patients today.'

     With a bony finger Philip Philipovich knocked on the bathroom door  and

shouted: 'Come out at once! Why have you locked yourself in?'

     'Oh . . . oh . . .!' replied Sharikov in tones of misery.

     'What on earth ... I can't hear you - turn off the water.'

     'Ow-wow! . . .'

     'Turn off the water! What has he done? I don't understand  . . .' cried

Philip  Philipovich, working himself into a frenzy.  Zina and Darya Petrovna

opened  the  kitchen door  and peeped  out.  Once again  Philip  Philipovich

thundered on the bathroom door with his fist.

     'There  he  is!'  screamed  Darya  Petrovna from  the  kitchen.  Philip

Philipovich rushed in. The distorted  features  of Poligraph  Poligraphovich

appeared  through  the broken transom and  leaned out  into the kitchen .His

eyes were tear-stained and there was a long scratch down his nose, red with

     fresh blood.

     'Have you gone out of your mind?' asked Philip Philipovich.  'Why don't

you come out of there?'

     Terrified and miserable, Sharikov stared around and replied:

     'I've shut myself in.'

     'Unlock the door, then. Haven't you ever seen a lock before?'

     'The blasted thing won't open!' replied Poligraph, terrified.

     'Oh, my God,  he's shut the  safety-catch too!' screamed Zina, wringing

her hands.

     'There's  a sort of  button on the lock,'  shouted  Philip Philipovich,

trying to  out-roar  the water. 'Press  it downwards  .  . .  press it down!


     Sharikov vanished, to reappear over the transom a minute later.

     'I can't see a thing!' he barked in terror.

     'Well, turn the light on then! He's gone crazy!'

     'That damned cat smashed the bulb,' replied Sharikov, 'and when I tried

to  catch  the  bastard by the leg I turned on the tap  and now I can't find


     Appalled, all three wrung their hands in horror.

     Five minutes later Bormenthal,  Zina and Darya Petrovna were sitting in

a  row on a  damp  carpet that had been  rolled  up against the foot of  the

bathroom  door, pressing  it hard with  their bottoms. Fyodor the porter was

climbing up a  ladder into the  transom window, with the lighted candle from

Darya Petrovna's ikon in his hand. His posterior, clad in broad grey checks,

hovered in the air, then vanished through the opening.

     'Ooh! . .  . ow!' came Sharikov's  strangled shriek above  the  roar of


     Fyodor's  voice was heard: 'There's nothing for it, Philip Philipovich,

we'll have to open the door and let the water out. We can mop it up from the


     'Open it then!' shouted Philip Philipovich angrily.

     The three got  up  from the carpet  and pushed  the bathroom door open.

Immediately a tidal wave gushed out into the  passage, where it divided into

three streams -  one  straight  into the lavatory opposite, one to the right

into  the kitchen and one to the left into the hall. Splashing and prancing,

Zina shut the door into the hall. Fyodor emerged, up to his ankles in water,

and for some reason grinning. He was  soaking  wet and looked as if he  were

wearing oilskins.

     'The water-pressure was so strong, I only just managed to turn it off,'

he explained.

     'Where  is he?' asked Philip Philipovich, cursing as he  lifted one wet


     'He's afraid to come out,' said Fyodor, giggling stupidly.

     'Will  you  beat  me.  Dad'  came  Sharikov's tearful  voice  from  the


     'You idiot!' was Philip Philipovich's terse reply.

     Zina and  Darya Petrovna, with bare legs  and skirts tucked up to their

knees, and  Sharikov  and  the porter  barefoot with rolled-up trousers were

hard at work mopping up the kitchen  floor with  wet cloths,  squeezing them

out  into  dirty buckets and into the sink. The abandoned stove roared away.

The water swirled out of  the back door, down the well of the back staircase

and into the cellar.

     On  tiptoe,  Bormenthal  was standing in  a deep puddle  on the parquet

floor of the hall  and talking  through the crack of the  front door, opened

only as far as the chain would allow.

     'No consulting  hours  today,  I'm  afraid, the  professor's  not well.

Please keep away from the door, we have a burst pipe.

     'But when can the professor see me?' a voice came through the door. 'It

wouldn't take a minute . . .'

     'I'm  sorry.'  Bormenthal rocked back  from his toes to his heels. 'The

professor's in bed and a pipe  has burst. Come tomorrow. Zina  dear, quickly

mop up the hall or it will start running down the front staircase.'

     'There's too much - the cloths won't do it.'

     'Never mind,' said Fyodor. 'We'll scoop it up with jugs.'

     While the doorbell rang ceaselessly,  Bormenthal stood up to his ankles

in water.

     'When is the operation?' said an insistent  voice as  it tried to force

its way through the crack of the door.

     'A pipe's burst . . .'

     'But I've come in galoshes . . .'

     Bluish silhouettes appeared outside the door.

     'I'm sorry, it's impossible, please come tomorrow.'

     'But I have an appointment.'

     'Tomorrow. There's been a disaster in the water supply.'

     Fyodor splashed about in the lake, scooping it up  with a jug,  but the

battle-scared Sharikov had thought up a new method. He rolled up an enormous

cloth, lay on his stomach in the water and pushed it backwards from the hall

towards the lavatory.

     'What d'you think  you're doing,  you  fool, slopping it all round  the

flat?' fumed Darya Petrovna. 'Pour it into the sink.'

     'How can  I?'  replied Sharikov,  scooping up  the murky water with his

hands. 'If  I don't push it back into  the  flat  it'll run out of the front


     A  bench  was  pushed  creaking  out  of   the  corridor,  with  Philip

Philipovich riding unsteadily on it in his blue striped socks.

     'Stop answering the door, Ivan Amoldovich. Go into the bedroom, you can

borrow a pair of my slippers.'

     'Don't bother, Philip Philipovich, I'm all right.'

     'You're wearing nothing but a pair of galoshes.'

     'I don't mind. My feet are wet anyway.'

     'Oh, my God!' Philip Philipovich was exhausted and depressed.

     'Destructive animal!' Sharikov suddenly burst out as he squatted on the

floor, clutching a soup tureen.

     Bormenthal slammed the  door, unable to  contain himself any longer and

burst into  laughter.  Philip Philipovich  blew  out  his nostrils  and  his

spectacles glittered.

     'What are  you talking about?' he asked Sharikov from  the eminence  of

his bench.

     'I  was  talking about the  cat. Filthy swine,' answered  Sharikov, his

eyes swivelling guiltily.

     'Look here,  Sharikov,'  retorted  Philip  Philipovich, taking  a  deep

breath. 'I swear I have never seen a more impudent creature than you.'

     Bormenthal giggled.

     'You,' went on Philip  Philipovich, 'are nothing but a lout.  How  dare

you say  that? You caused  the whole thing and you have the  gall  . . . No,

really! It's too much!'

     'Tell me, Sharikov,' said Bormenthal, 'how much longer are you going to

chase cats? You  ought to be ashamed of yourself. It's disgraceful! You're a


     'Me - a savage?' snarled  Sharikov. 'I'm no  savage.  I won't stand for

that cat in  this flat. It  only  comes  here to find  what it can pinch. It

stole Darya's mincemeat. I wanted to teach it a lesson.'

     'You should teach yourself a lesson!' replied Philip Philipovich. 'Just

take a look at your face in the mirror.'

     'Nearly scratched my eyes out,' said Sharikov gloomily,  wiping a dirty

hand across his eyes.

     By  the time that the water-blackened  parquet  had dried out a little,

all the mirrors were covered in a veil of  condensed vapour and the doorbell

had stopped ringing. Philip Philipovich in red morocco slippers was standing

in the hall.

     'There you are, Fyodor. Thank you.'

     'Thank you very much, sir.'

     'Mind you  change your clothes straight away. No, wait -have a glass of

Darya Petrovna's vodka before you go.'

     'Thank you, sir,' Fyodor squirmed awkwardly, then said:

     'There is one more thing, Philip  Philipovich. I'm sorry, I hardly like

to  mention  it,  but it's the  matter of the window-pane  in  No 7. Citizen

Sharikov threw some stones at it, you see . . .'

     'Did he throw them at a cat?' asked Philip Philipovich, frowning like a


     'Well,  no,  he  was  throwing  them  at the owner  of  the flat.  He's

threatening to sue.'

     'Oh, lord!'

     'Sharikov tried to kiss their cook and they  threw  him out. They had a

bit of a fight, it seems.'

     'For God's sake, do you  have  to  tell me all these disasters at once?

How much?'

     'One rouble and 50 kopecks.'

     Philip Philipovich  took out three shining 50-kopeck pieces  and handed

them to Fyodor.

     'And on  top of it  all you have to pay 1 rouble and 50 kopecks because

of  that damned cat,'  grumbled a voice  from  the doorway. 'It was  all the

cat's fault . . .'

     Philip Philipovich  turned  round, bit his  lip  and  gripped Sharikov.

Without a  word  he  pushed  him into the waiting-room  and locked the door.

Sharik immediately started to hammer on the door with his fists.

     'Shut  up!'  shouted  Philip Philipovich  in  a  voice  that was nearly


     'This is the limit,'  said  Fyodor meaningfully.  'I've never seen such

impudence in my life.'

     Bormenthal seemed to materialise out of the floor.

     'Please, Philip Philipovich, don't upset yourself.'

     The doctor thrust open the door into the waiting-room.

     He could be heard saying: 'Where d'you think you are? In some dive?'

     'That's it,' said Fyodor approvingly. 'Serve him right . . .a punch  on

the ear's what he needs . . .'

     'No,  not that,  Fyodor,' growled  Philip Philipovich  sadly.  'I think

you've just about had all you can take, Philip Philipovich.'









     'No, no, no!' insisted Bormenthal. 'You must tuck in vour napkin.'

     'Why the hell should I,' grumbled Sharikov.

     'Thank you, doctor,'  said  Philip  Philipovich gratefully.  'I  simply

haven't the energy to reprimand him any longer.'

     'I shan't allow you to start eating until you put on your napkin. Zina,

take the mayonnaise away from Sharikov.'

     'Hey, don't  do  that,'  said  Sharikov plaintively. 'I'll  put  it  on

straight away.'

     Pushing away the  dish  from  Zina with  his  left hand and  stuffing a

napkin  down  his  collar with  the right hand,  he looked  exactly  like  a

customer in a barber's shop.

     'And eat with your fork, please,' added Bormenthal.

     Sighing long and heavily Sharikov chased slices of sturgeon around in a

thick sauce.

     'Can't I have some vodka?' he asked.

     'Will you kindly keep  quiet?'  said Bormenthal.  'You've been  at  the

vodka too often lately.'

     'Do you  grudge me it?' asked Sharikov, glowering sullenly  across  the


     'Stop talking such damn nonsense . .  .'  Philip  Philipovich  broke in

harshly, but Bormenthal interrupted him.

     'Don't worry, Philip Philipovich, leave  it to  me. You,  Sharikov  are

talking  nonsense and the most disturbing thing of all is that you  talk  it

with  such  complete  confidence.  Of course  I  don't grudge you the vodka,

especially as it's not mine but belongs  to Philip Philipovich. It's  simply

that  it's harmful.  That's for a start; secondly  you behave  badly  enough

without vodka.' Bormenthal  pointed  to where  the sideboard had been broken

and glued together.

     'Zina, dear, give me a little more fish please,' said the professor.

     Meanwhile Sharikov had stretched out his hand towards the decanter and,

with a sideways glance at Bormenthal, poured himself out a glassful.

     'You should offer it to  the others first,' said Bormenthal. 'Like this

- first to Philip Philipovich, then to me, then yourself.'

     A faint, sarcastic grin nickered  across Sharikov's mouth and he poured

out glasses of vodka all round.

     'You act just as if you were on parade here,' he said. 'Put your napkin

here, your tie  there, "please",  "thank you",  "excuse me" -why  can't  you

behave naturally? Honestly,  you stuffed shirts act  as if it was still  the

days oftsarism.'

     'What do you mean by "behave naturally"?'

     Sharikov did not answer Philip Philipovich's question,  but raised  his

glass and said: 'Here's how . . .'

     'And you too,' echoed Bormenthal with a tinge of irony.

     Sharikov tossed  the glassful down his throat, blinked, lifted a  piece

of bread  to his nose, sniffed it, then swallowed it as his eyes filled with


     'Phase,' Philip Philipovich suddenly blurted out, as if preoccupied.

     Bormenthal gave him an astonished look. 'I'm sorry? . . .'

     'It's  a phase,'  repeated  Philip  Philipovich  and  nodded  bitterly.

'There's nothing we can do about it. Klim.'

     Deeply interested, Bormenthal glanced sharply into Philip Philipovich's

eyes: 'Do  you  suppose  so, Philip  Philipovich?'  'I  don't  suppose;  I'm


     'Can it be that . . .' began Bormenthal, then stopped after a glance at

Sharikov,  who  was  frowning  suspiciously.  'Spdter  .  .  .' said  Philip

Philipovich softly. 'Gut,' replied his assistant.

     Zina brought in  the turkey.  Bormenthal poured  out some red wine  for

Philip Philipovich, then offered some to Sharikov.

     'Not  for me,  I  prefer vodka.' His face  had  grown  puffy, sweat was

breaking  out  on  his  forehead  and  he  was  distinctly  merrier.  Philip

Philipovich also cheered up slightly after drinking some wine. His eyes grew

clearer and  he looked rather more approvingly at Sharikov, whose black head

above his white napkin now shone like a fly in a pool of cream.

     Bormenthal however, when fortified, seemed to want activity.

     'Well now,  what  are you and  I  going to  do this evening?'  he asked


     Sharikov  winked and replied:  'Let's go  to  the  circus. I  like that


     'Why go to  the  circus every day?'  remarked  Philip Philipovich  in a

good-humoured voice. 'It sounds so boring to me. If I were you I'd go to the


     'I won't  go to the theatre,' answered Sharikov  nonchalantly and  made

the sign of the cross over his mouth.

     'Hiccuping  at   table  takes  other  people's  appetites  away,'  said

Bormenthal   automatically.  'If   you  don't  mind   my  mentioning   it...

Incidentally, why don't you like the theatre?' Sharikov held his empty glass

up to his eye and looked through it as though it were an opera  glass. After

some thought he pouted and said:

     'Hell, it's just rot . . . talk, talk. Pure counter-revolution.'

     Philip Philipovich leaned against his high, carved gothic chairback and

laughed  so hard  that  he  displayed  what  looked  like two  rows of  gold

fence-posts. Bormenthal merely shook his head.

     'You should do some reading,' he suggested, 'and then, perhaps . . .'

     'But I read a lot . . .' answered Sharikov, quickly and surreptitiously

pouring himself half a glass of vodka.

     'Zina!' cried Philip  Philipovich anxiously.  'Clear away the vodka, my

dear. We don't need it any more . . . What have you been reading?'

     He suddenly  had a mental picture of a desert island, palm trees, and a

man  dressed  in goatskins.  'I'll bet  he  says  Robinson Crusoe  .  . .'he


     'That guy . . . what's his name . . . Engels' correspondence with . . .

hell, what d'you call him ... oh - Kautsky.'

     Bormenthal's  forkful  of  turkey meat  stopped  in  mid-air and Philip

Philipovich choked on his wine. Sharikov seized this moment to gulp down his


     Philip Philipovich put his elbows on  the table, stared at Sharikov and


     'What comment can you make on what you've read?'

     Sharikov shrugged. 'I don't agree.'

     'With whom - Engels or Kautsky?'

     'With neither of 'em,' replied Sharikov.

     'That is most  remarkable. Anybody who says that . . . Well, what would

you suggest instead?'

     'Suggest? I dunno . . . They just write and write all  that rot ... all

about some  congress  and  some  Germans .  .  . makes  my  head reel.  Take

everything away from the bosses, then divide it up . . .'

     'Just  as  I  thought!'  exclaimed  Philip  Philipovich,  slapping  the

tablecloth with his palm. 'Just as I thought.'

     'And how is this to be done?' asked Bormenthal with interest.

     'How  to  do  it?'  Sharikov,  grown loquacious  with  wine,  explained


     'Easy. Fr'instance - here's one guy with seven rooms and forty pairs of

trousers and there's another guy who has to eat out of dustbins.'

     'I suppose that remark about the seven rooms is a hint about me?' asked

Philip Philipovich with a haughty raise of the eyebrows.

     Sharikov  hunched his  shoulders and  said  no  more. 'All  right, I've

nothing against fair shares. How  many patients did you turn away yesterday,

doctor?'  'Thirty-nine,'  was Bormenthal's immediate reply. 'H'm  .  . . 390

roubles,  shared  between us  three. I won't  count Zina and Darya Petrovna.

Right, Sharikov  -  that  means your  share  is 130  roubles. Kindly hand it


     'Hey, wait  a  minute,' said  Sharikov, beginning to be scared. 'What's

the idea? What d'you mean?'

     'I  mean the  cat  and the tap,'  Philip  Philipovich  suddenly roared,

dropping  his  mask  of   ironic  imperturbability.  'Philip   Philipovich!'

exclaimed Bormenthal anxiously. 'Don't  interrupt.  The  scene  you  created

yesterday  was  intolerable, and  thanks  to you I had  to turn  away all my

patients. You were leaping around in  the bathroom like  a savage,  smashing

everything and jamming the taps. Who killed Madame Polasukher's cat? Who . .


     'The  day  before  yesterday, Sharikov,  you bit a lady  you met on the

staircase,' put in Bormenthal.

     'You ought to be . . .' roared Philip Philipovich.

     'But she  slapped me  across  the mouth,' whined Sharikov 'She can't go

doing that to me!'

     'She  slapped  you  because you  pinched  her  on the  bosom,'  shouted

Bormenthal, knocking over a glass. 'You stand there and . . .'

     'You belong  to  the  lowest  possible  stage  of development,'  Philip

Philipovich shouted him down. 'You are still in the formative stage. You are

intellectually  weak,  all your actions are purely  bestial. Yet  you  allow

yourself  in  the  presence of two  university-educated men to offer advice,

with  quite intolerable familiarity, on  a cosmic scale  and of quite cosmic

stupidity, on the redistribution of  wealth . .  . and at the same time  you

eat toothpaste . . .'

     'The day before yesterday,' added Bormenthal.

     'And now,' thundered Philip Philipovich, 'that you have nearly got your

nose scratched off - incidentally, why have you wiped the zinc ointment  off

it? - you can just shut up  and listen to what you're told. You are going to

leam to  behave and try to become a marginally acceptable member of society.

By the way, who was fool enough to lend you that book?'

     'There  you go  again  -  calling everybody  fools,'  replied  Sharikov

nervously, deafened by the attack on him from both sides.

     'Let me guess,' exclaimed Philip Philipovich, turning red with fury.

     'Well, Shvonder gave it to me ... so  what? He's not  a fool ... it was

so I could get educated.'

     'I  can see which way your education  is going  after reading Kautsky,'

shouted Philip  Philipovich, hoarse and turning faintly yellow. With this he

gave the bell a furious jab. 'Today's incident shows it better than anything

else. Zina!'

     'Zina!' shouted Bormenthal.

     'Zina!' cried the terrified Sharikov.

     Looking pale, Zina ran into the room.

     'Zina,  there's  a  book  in  the  waiting-room   ...  It  is  in   the

waiting-room, isn't it?'

     'Yes, it is,' said  Sharikov obediently. 'Green, the  colour  of copper


     'A green book . . .'

     'Bum it if  you  like,'  cried  Sharikov in desperation. 'It's  only  a

public library book.'

     'It's called Correspondence . .  . between,  er, Engels  and that other

man, what's his name . . . Anyway, throw it into the stove!'

     Zina flew out.

     'I'd like to  hang that Shvonder,  on my word  of honour, on  the first

tree,' said  Philip  Philipovich, with a  furious  lunge at  a  turkey-wing.

'There's a  gang  of poisonous  people  in  this  house - it's just like  an

abscess. To say nothing of his idiotic newspapers . . .'

     Sharikov gave  the  professor  a  look  of  malicious  sarcasm.  Philip

Philipovich in his turn shot him a sideways glance and said no more.

     'Oh,  dear,  it  looks  as  if  nothing's  going  to  go  right,'  came

Bormenthal's sudden and prophetic thought.

     Zina brought in a layer cake on a dish and a coffee pot.

     'I'm not eating any of that,' Sharikov growled threateningly.

     'No  one has offered  you  any.  Behave  yourself.  Please  have  some,


     Dinner ended in silence.

     Sharikov pulled a crumpled cigarette out  of  his  pocket and  lit  it.

Having drunk his coffee, Philip Philipovich looked at  the clock. He pressed

his  repeater and it gently  struck  a quarter past eight.  As was his habit

Philip Philipovich leaned  against  his gothic chairback and  turned  to the

newspaper on a side-table.

     'Would you like to go to the circus with him tonight,  doctor?  Only do

check the programme in advance and make sure there are no cats in it.'

     'I don't know how they let such filthy  beasts into the circus at all,'

said Sharikov sullenly, shaking his head.

     'Well never mind what filthy  beasts they let  into the circus for  the

moment,' said Philip Philipovich ambiguously. 'What's on tonight?'

     'At Solomon's,' Bormenthal began to read out, 'there's something called

the Four. . . . the Four Yooshems and the Human Ball-Bearing.'

     'What are Yooshems?' enquired Philip Philipovich suspiciously.

     'God knows. First time I've ever come across the word.'

     'Well in that case you'd better look at Nikita's. We must be absolutely

sure about what we're going to see.'

     'Nikita's . .  . Nikita's . . . h'm . . . elephants and the Ultimate in

Human Dexterity.'

     'I see. What is your attitude to elephants, my dear Sharikov?' enquired

Philip Philipovich mistrustfully. Sharikov was immediately offended.

     'Hell  - I don't  know. Cats are a special  case. Elephants are  useful

animals,' replied Sharikov.

     'Excellent.  As long  as you think they're useful you  can go and watch

them. Do as Ivan Arnoldovich tells  you. And  don't get talking to anyone in

the bar! I beg you, Ivan Arnoldovich, not to offer Sharikov beer to drink.'

     Ten  minutes later  Ivan  Arnoldovich and Sharikov, dressed in a peaked

cap  and  a raglan overcoat with turned-up  collar, set  off for the circus.

Silence descended  on  the flat. Philip Philipovich went  into his study. He

switched  on the lamp under  its heavy  green shade,  which gave the study a

great sense of calm, and began to pace the room. The tip of his cigar glowed

long and hard with its pale green fire. The professor put his hands into his

pockets and deep thoughts racked his balding, learned brow. Now and again he

smacked  his lips,  hummed  'to  the banks of the sacred  Nile  .  . .'  and

muttered something. Finally he put his cigar into the ashtray, went over  to

the glass cabinet and  lit up the entire study with the three powerful lamps

in the ceiling. From the  third  glass  shelf Philip Philipovich took  out a

narrow jar and began, frowning, to examine it by the lamplight. Suspended in

a transparent, viscous  liquid there swam a little white blob that had  been

extracted from the depths  of Sharik's brain. With a shrug of his shoulders,

twisting his lips and murmuring  to himself, Philip  Philipovich devoured it

with his eyes as though the floating white blob  might unravel the secret of

the  curious events  which had  turned  life  upside  down  in that flat  on


     It could  be  that this  most  learned man  did succeed in divining the

secret. At  any rate,  having gazed his full  at this cerebral appendage  he

returned the  jar to the cabinet, locked it, put the key into his  waistcoat

pocket and  collapsed,  head pressed down between  his  shoulders and  hands

thrust  deep into his jacket pockets,  on  to  the leather-covered couch. He

puffed  long  and  hard  at another cigar,  chewing  its  end to  fragments.

Finally, looking  like a  greying  Faust in the  green-tinged  lamplight, he

exclaimed aloud:

     'Yes, by God, I will.'

     There  was  no one  to reply.  Every sound in  the flat was  hushed. By

eleven o'clock the traffic  in  Obukhov  Street always died  down. The  rare

footfall of a belated walker echoed in  the distance,  ringing out somewhere

beyond  the lowered blinds, then  dying away. In  Philip Philipovich's study

his repeater chimed gently beneath his fingers in his waistcoat pocket . . .

Impatiently the  professor  waited for  Doctor Bormenthal  and  Sharikov  to

return from the circus.








     We do  not know  what  Philip Philipovich  had  decided  to  do. He did

nothing in particular during the subsequent week and  perhaps as a result of

this things began happening fast.

     About six days after the affair  with  the bath-water  and the cat, the

young person from the house committee who had turned out to  be a woman came

to Sharikov and  handed him some papers. Sharikov put  them  into his pocket

and immediately called Doctor Bormenthal.


     'Kindly address me by my name and patronymic!' retorted Bormenthal, his

expression  clouding.  I should mention that  in the past six days the great

surgeon had managed  to  quarrel eight times with his  ward Sharikov and the

atmosphere in the flat was tense.

     'All  right, then you  can call me  by  my  name and  patronymic  too!'

replied Sharikov with complete justification.

     'No!'  thundered  Philip Philipovich from the doorway. 'I forbid you to

utter such an idiotic name  in my flat. If you want  us  to stop calling you

Sharikov, Doctor Bormenthal and I will call you "Mister Sharikov".'

     'I'm not mister - all the "misters" are in Paris!' barked Sharikov.

     'I see Shvonder's been  at  work on you!'  shouted  Philip Philipovich.

'Well, I'll fix that rascal. There will only be "misters" in my flat as long

as I'm  living in it! Otherwise either I or  you will get out, and it's more

likely to be you. I'm  putting  a "room wanted" advertisement in the  papers

today and believe me I intend to find you a room.'

     'You  don't think  I'm  such a  fool  as to leave  here,  do  you?' was

Sharikov's crisp retort.

     'What?'   cried  Philip  Philipovich.  Such  a  change  came  over  his

expression that Bormenthal rushed anxiously to his side  and gently took him

by the sleeve.

     'Don't you  be  so  impertinent,  Monsieur  Sharikov!' said Bormenthal,

raising his voice. Sharikov  stepped back and pulled  three pieces  of paper

out  of his pocket -  one green, one yellow and one  white, and  said  as he

tapped them with his fingers:

     'There. I'm now a member of this residential association and the tenant

in charge of flat No.  5, Preobrazhensky, has got to give  me my entitlement

of thirty-seven square feet .  . .' Sharikov  thought for a  moment and then

added  a  word  which  Bormenthal's mind automatically  recorded  as  new  -


     Philip Philipovich bit his lip and said rashly:

     'I swear I'll shoot that Shvonder one of these days.'

     It was obvious  from  the  look  in Sharikov's  eyes  that he had taken

careful note of the remark.

     'Vorsicht, Philip Philipovich . . .' warned Bormenthal.

     'Well,  what do you expect? The gall  of  it  .  .  .!' shouted  Philip

Philipovich in Russian.

     'Look here, Sharikov  ... Mister  Sharikov ...  If  you commit one more

piece  of impudence I shall deprive  you of your dinner, in fact of all your

food. Thirty-seven square feet may  be all very well, but there's nothing on

that stinking little bit of paper which says that I have to feed you!'

     Frightened, Sharikov opened his mouth.

     'I can't go without food,' he mumbled. 'Where would I eat?'

     'Then behave yourself!' cried both doctors in chorus. Sharikov relapsed

into  meaningful silence and  did  no  harm  to anybody that  day  with  the

exception of himself - taking advantage of Bormenthal's brief absence he got

hold of the  doctor's razor and cut  his  cheek-bone  so badly  that  Philip

Philipovich and Doctor Bormenthal had to  bandage the cut with much  wailing

and weeping on Sharikov's part.

     Next evening two men sat in the green twilight of the professor's study

-  Philip Philipovich  and the faithful, devoted Bormenthal. The  house  was

asleep.  Philip Philipovich was wearing his sky-blue dressing gown  and  red

slippers, while  Bormenthal was  in his shirt and blue braces. On  the round

table between the doctors, beside a thick album, stood a bottle of brandy, a

plate of sliced lemon and a box of cigars.  Through  the smoke-laden air the

two scientists were heatedly  discussing  the  latest  event:  that  evening

Sharikov had  stolen  two  10-rouble  notes  which  had been lying  under  a

paperweight in Philip Philipovich's study, had disappeared from the flat and

then returned later  completely drunk. But that  was not  all. With him  had

come two unknown characters who  had created a great deal  of  noise on  the

front staircase and expressed a desire to spend the night with Sharikov. The

individuals in question were  only removed after  Fyodor,  appearing  on the

scene  with  a coat  thrown  over his  underwear,  had telephoned  the  45th

Precinct  police  station. The  individuals  vanished instantly as  soon  as

Fyodor  had replaced the receiver. After they had  gone it was  found that a

malachite ashtray had mysteriously vanished from a console in the hall, also

Philip  Philipovich's  beaver  hat  and his walking-stick with a  gold  band

inscribed: 'From the grateful hospital staff to Philip Philipovich in memory

of "X"-day with affection and respect/

     'Who were  they?' said Philip  Philipovich aggressively, clenching  his

fists. Staggering and  clutching the fur-coats,  Sharikov muttered something

about  not knowing  who they  were,  that they were a couple of bastards but

good chaps.

     'The strangest thing of all was that they were both drunk . . . How did

they manage  to lay  their  hands on the stuff?' said  Philip Philipovich in

astonishment, glancing at the place where his presentation walking-stick had

stood until recently.

     'They're experts,' explained Fyodor as he  returned home  to bed with a

rouble in his pocket.

     Sharikov  categorically  denied having stolen the 20  roubles, mumbling

something indistinct about himself not being the only person in the flat.

     'Aha, I  see - I suppose  Doctor Bormenthal  stole the money?' enquired

Philip  Philipovich  in  a voice  that  was  quiet  but  terrifying  in  its


     Sharikov staggered, opened his bleary eyes and offered the suggestion:

     'Maybe Zina took it . . .*

     'What?'  screamed  Zina,  appearing  in  the  doorway like  a  spectre,

clutching an unbuttoned cardigan across her bosom.

     'How could he . . .'

     Philip Philipovich's neck flushed red.

     'Calm down, Zina,' he said, stretching out  his arm  to her, 'don't get

upset, we'll fix this.'

     Zina immediately burst into tears, her  mouth  fell wide  open  and her

hand dropped from her bosom.

     'Zina  -  aren't you  ashamed? Who could imagine you taking it? What  a

disgraceful exhibition!' said Bormenthal in deep embarrassment.

     'You silly girl, Zina, God forgive you . . .' began Philip Philipovich.

     But at that moment Zina stopped crying and the others froze in horror -

Sharikov  was feeling unwell.  Banging his  head  against the  wall, he  was

emitting a moan that was pitched  somewhere between the vowels 'i' and 'o' -

a sort of 'eeuuhh'. His face turned pale and his jaw twitched convulsively.

     'Look out - get the swine that bucket from the consulting-room!'

     Everybody rushed to help  the ailing  Sharikov. As he staggered  off to

bed  supported  by  Bormenthal he  swore  gently and melodiously,  despite a

certain difficulty in enunciation.

     The whole affair had occurred around  1 am and now it was Sam, but  the

two men  in the study talked  on, fortified by brandy and lemon. The tobacco

smoke in the room was so dense that it moved about in slow, flat,  unruffled


     Doctor Bormenthal, pale but determined, raised his thin-stemmed glass.

     'Philip Philipovich,'  he exclaimed with great feeling, 'I  shall never

forget how  as a half-starved student I came to you and  you took  me  under

your wing.  Believe  me,  Philip Philipovich, you are much more to me than a

professor, a teacher . . . My respect for you is boundless . . . Allow me to

embrace you, dear Philip Philipovich . . .'

     'Yes,  yes,  my  dear  fellow  .  . .'  grunted  Philip Philipovich  in

embarrassment and rose  to meet  him. Bormenthal embraced him and kissed him

on his bushy, nicotine-stained moustaches.

     'Honestly, Philip Phili . . .'

     'Very  touching,  very   touching  .  .  .  Thank  you,'  said   Philip

Philipovich. 'I'm afraid I sometimes bawl at you during operations. You must

forgive an old man's testiness.  The fact is  I'm  really so lonely  ..."...

from Granada to Seville . . ." '

     'How can  you say that, Philip Philipovich?'  exclaimed Bormenthal with

great  sincerity.  'Kindly don't talk  like  that  again  unless you want to

offend me . . .'

     'Thank you, thank you ..."... to the banks of  the sacred  Nile ..."...

thank you ... I liked you because you were such a competent doctor.'

     'I  tell  you,  Philip  Philipovich, it's  the  only  way  . . .' cried

Bormenthal passionately. Leaping up from his  place he firmly shut the  door

leading  into  the corridor, came back  and went on in a whisper: 'Don't you

see, it's  the only way  out? Naturally I wouldn't dare to offer you advice,

but  look  at yourself, Philip  Philipovich  - you're completely  worn  out,

you're in no fit state to go on working!'

     'You're quite right,' agreed Philip Philipovich with a sigh.

     'Very well, then, you agree this can't go on,' whispered Bormenthal.

     'Last time you said you were afraid for me and I wish you knew, my dear

professor,  how that  touched me. But I'm not  a child either  and I can see

only too  well  what  a  terrible  affair  this could  be.  But  I am deeply

convinced that there is no other solution.'

     Philip Philipovich stood up, waved his arms at him and cried:

     'Don't tempt me. Don't  even mention it.' The professor  walked  up and

down the  room, disturbing the grey swathes. 'I won't  hear of it. Don't you

realise  what would happen if  they  found us  out? Because of  our  "social

origins"  you  and I  would never get away with it, despite the  fact of  it

being our  first offence. I don't suppose your "origins" are any better than

mine, are they?'

     'I suppose not. My father was a plain-clothes policeman in Vilno,' said

Bormenthal as he drained his brandy glass.

     'There you are, just as I thought.  From the  Bolshevik's point of view

you couldn't  have come from a more  unsuitable background.  Still,  mine is

even worse. My father  was dean of a cathedral. Perfect. ". . . from Granada

to Seville ... in the silent shades of night. . ." So there we are.'

     'But  Philip  Philipovich, you're a celebrity, a figure  of  world-wide

importance, and just because of some, forgive the expression, bastard  . . .

Surely they can't touch you!'

     'All   the   same,  I  refuse  to  do  it,'  said  Philip   Philipovich


     He stopped and stared at the glass-fronted cabinet. 'But why?'

     'Because you are not a figure of world importance.' 'But what . . .'

     'Come now, you don't think I could let you take the rap while I shelter

behind  my  world-wide reputation,  do  you?  Really  . .  .  I'm  a  Moscow

University graduate, not a Sharikov.'

     Philip Philipovich  proudly squared  his  shoulders and looked like  an

ancient king of France.

     'Well, then,  Philip Philipovich,'  sighed  Bormenthal. 'What's  to  be

done?  Are  you  just going to  wait until that hooligan turns into  a human


     Philip Philipovich stopped him with a gesture, poured himself a brandy,

sipped it, sucked a slice of lemon and said:

     'Ivan Arnoldovich. Do you think I understand a little about the anatomy

and physiology of, shall we say, the human brain? What's your opinion?'

     'Philip Philipovich -  what  a question!'  replied Bormenthal with deep

feeling and spread his hands.

     'Very well.  No need, therefore, for any false  modesty. I also believe

that I am perhaps not entirely unknown in this field in Moscow.'

     'I  believe there's no one to touch  you,  not  only in Moscow  but  in

London and Oxford too!' Bormenthal interrupted furiously.

     'Good. So be it. Now listen to me,  professor-to-be-Bor-menthal: no one

could  ever pull it off. It's obvious. No need to  ask. If anybody asks you,

tell them that Preobrazhensky said so. Finite. Klim!'  -  Philip Philipovich

suddenly  cried triumphantly  and the glass  cabinet  vibrated  in response.

'Klim,' he repeated. 'Now, Bormenthal, you are the first  pupil of my school

and apart  from that my friend, as I was able to convince myself today. So I

will  tell you as  a friend, in secret - because of course  I know that  you

wouldn't expose me - that this old ass Preobrazhensky bungled that operation

like a third-year medical student. It's true that it resulted in a discovery

- and  you  know  yourself just what  sort of a discovery that  was' -  here

Philip Philipovich pointed  sadly with both hands towards  the window-blind,

obviously pointing  to  Moscow  - 'but just remember, Ivan Arnoldovich, that

the sole result of that discovery will be that from now on we shall all have

that creature Sharik hanging  round our necks' - here Preobrazhensky slapped

himself on his bent and slightly  sclerotic neck - 'of that you may be sure!

If someone,'  went on Philip Philipovich with relish, 'were to knock me down

and skewer me right now, I'd give him 50 roubles reward! ". . . from Granada

to  Seville ..."... Dammit, I spent five years  doing nothing but extracting

cerebral appendages . . . You know how much work I  did on the subject -  an

unbelievable amount. And now comes the crucial question -  what for? So that

one  fine day a  nice  litde  dog  could  be  transformed into a specimen of

so-called humanity so revolting that he makes one's hair stand on end.'

     'Well, at least it is a unique achievement.'

     'I  quite  agree  with  you.  This,  doctor, is  what  happens  when  a

researcher, instead of  keeping in step with nature, tries to force the pace

and lift the veil. Result - Sharikov. We have made  our bed and  now we must

lie on it.'

     'Supposing the brain had been Spinoza's, Philip Philipovich?'

     'Yes!'  bellowed  Philip Philipovich. 'Yes! Provided the  wretched  dog

didn't die under the  knife -  and you saw how  tricky the operation was. In

short - I, Philip Preobrazhensky would perform the most difficult feat of my

whole career  by transplanting Spinoza's, or  anyone  else's  pituitary  and

turning  a dog into  a highly  intelligent being. But what  in heaven's name

for? That's the point. Will you kindly  tell me  why one has  to manufacture

artificial Spinozas when  some peasant woman may  produce a real one any day

of  the week? After all, the great Lomonosov  was the son of a peasant woman

from Kholmogory. Mankind, doctor, takes care  of that. Every  year evolution

ruthlessly  casts aside the mass  of dross and  creates a  few  dozen men of

genius who become an ornament to the whole world. Now I hope  you understand

why  I condemned  the  deductions you  made from Sharikov's case history. My

discovery,  which you  are so concerned about, is  worth about as much  as a

bent penny . . . No, don't argue,  Ivan Arnoldovich, I have given it careful

thought. I don't give my views lightly, as you well know. Theoretically  the

experiment  was  interesting. Fine.  The  physiologists  will be  delighted.

Moscow will go mad  ...  But  what is  its  practical value?  What  is  this

creature?'  Preobrazhensky pointed toward the consulting-room where Sharikov

was asleep.

     'An unmitigated scoundrel.'

     'But what  was Klim . . .  Klim,'  cried the  professor. 'What was Klim

Chugunkin?' (Bormenthal opened his mouth.) 'I'll tell you:  two convictions,

an alcoholic,  "take  away all property and divide it up", my beaver hat and

20  roubles gone' - (At this point  Philip  Philipovich  also remembered his

presentation walking-stick and turned  purple.) - 'the swine! ...  I'll  get

that stick back somehow  ... In short the  pituitary is  a  magic box  which

determines the individual human image.  Yes,  individual ..."... from Granda

to Seville . . ." ' shouted Philip Philipovich,  his eyes rolling furiously,

'but not the universal human image. It's the brain itself  in miniature. And

it's of  no use to me at all -  to  hell  with  it.  I was  concerned  about

something  quite  different, about eugenics,  about the  improvement of  the

human race. And now I've ended up by specialising in rejuvenation. You don't

think I do these rejuvenation operations because of the money, do you? I  am

a scientist.'

     'And a great scientist!'  said Bormenthal, gulping down his brandy. His

eyes grew bloodshot.

     'I wanted  to do a  little experiment as a follow-up to my  success two

years ago in extracting sex hormone from the pituitary. Instead of that what

has happened? My God!  What use were  those  hormones in the pituitary . . .

Doctor, I am faced by despair. I confess I am utterly perplexed.'

     Suddenly Bormenthal rolled up his  sleeves  and said, squinting  at the

tip of his nose:

     'Right then, professor, if you don't want to, I will  take the  risk of

dosing  him  with  arsenic  myself.  I   don't  care  if  my  father  was  a

plain-clothes policeman under the old regime. When all's  said and done this

creature is yours - your own experimental creation.'

     Philip  Philipovich, limp  and exhausted, collapsed  into his chair and


     'No, my dear boy, I  won't let you do it. I'm sixty, old enough to give

you advice. Never do anything criminal, no matter for what reason. Keep your

hands clean all your life.'

     'But just think,  Philip Philipovich,  what he  may  turn  into if that

character Shvonder  keeps on at him! I'm only just beginning to realise what

Sharikov may become, by God!'

     'Aha, so you realise now, do you? Well I realised it ten days after the

operation. My only comfort is that Shvonder is the  biggest fool of all.  He

doesn't realise that Sharikov is much more of a  threat to him than he is to

me.  At the  moment he's doing all he can  to turn Sharikov  against me, not

realising  that  if  someone in their turn  sets  Sharikov against  Shvonder

himself, there'll  soon  be nothing left of Shvonder but the bones  and  the


     'You're right. Just think  of the way he goes for cats. He's a man with

the heart of a dog.'

     'Oh, no, no,' drawled Philip Philipovich in reply. 'You're making a big

mistake, doctor. For heaven's sake  don't insult  the dog. His  reaction  to

cats is purely temporary . . . It's a question of discipline, which could be

dealt with in two or  three weeks, I  assure you.  Another  month  or so and

he'll stop chasing them.'

     'But why hasn't he stopped by now?' 'Elementary, Ivan Arnoldovich . . .

think  what you're  saying. After all, the pituitary  is  not suspended in a

vacuum. It is, after all, grafted on to a canine brain, you must  allow time

for it to take root. Sharikov now only shows traces of canine  behaviour and

you must remember this - chasing after cats is the least objectionable thing

he does! The whole horror of the situation is that he now has a human heart,

not a dog's heart. And about the rottenest heart in all creation!'

     Bormenthal,  wrought  to  a  state  of  extreme anxiety,  clenched  his

powerful sinewy hands, shrugged and said firmly:

     'Very well, I shall kill him!'

     'I forbid it!' answered Philip Philipovich categorically.


     Philip Philipovich was suddenly on the alert. He raised his finger.

     'Wait ... I heard footsteps.'

     Both listened intently, but there was silence in the corridor.

     'I thought.  . .'  said Philip Philipovich  and  began speaking German,

several times using the Russian word 'crime'.

     'Just a minute,' Bormenthal suddenly warned  him and strode over to the


     Footsteps could be clearly heard approaching the study, and there was a

mumble  of  voices. Bormenthal  flung  open the  door  and started  back  in

amazement. Appalled, Philip Philipovich froze in his armchair. In the bright

rectangle of the doorway stood Darya Petrovna in nothing but her nightdress,

her face  hot  and furious.  Both doctor and  professor were  dazzled by the

amplitude of her powerful body, which their  shock  caused them  to  see  as

naked. Darya Petrovna was dragging something along in her enormous hands and

as that 'something' came  to a halt it  slid down and sat on its bottom. Its

short legs, covered  in  black  down, folded  up on  the parquet  floor. The

'something',  of  course,  was  Sharikov, confused,  still  slightly  drunk,

dishevelled and wearing only a shirt.

     Darya  Petrovna, naked and magnificent, shook Sharikov like  a  sack of

potatoes and said:

     'Just look at  our precious lodger Telegraph Telegraphovich. I've  been

married, but Zina's an innocent girl. It was a good thing I woke up.'

     Having said  her piece, Darya Petrovna was  overcome by  shame,  gave a

scream, covered her bosom with her arms and vanished.

     'Darya Petrovna, please  forgive us,' the red-faced  Philip Philipovich

shouted after her as soon as he had regained his senses.

     Bormenthal  rolled up his shirtsleeves higher  still  and bore down  on

Sharikov. Philip Philipovich caught  the look in his eye and said in horror:

'Doctor! I forbid you . . .'

     With his right hand Bormenthal picked up Sharikov by  the scruff of his

neck and shook him so violently that the material of his shirt tore.

     Philip  Philipovich  threw himself  between them and began to drag  the

puny Sharikov free from Bormenthal's powerful surgeon's hands.

     'You haven't  any right to beat me,' said Sharikov in  a stifled  moan,

rapidly  sobering as  he  slumped to  the  ground. 'Doctor!' shrieked Philip

Philipovich.  Bormenthal pulled  himself together slightly  and let Sharikov

go. He at once began to whimper.

     'Right,' hissed Bormenthal, 'just wait till tomorrow. I'll fix a little

demonstration for him when he sobers up.'  With  this  he  grabbed  Sharikov

under the  armpit and dragged him to his bed in the  waiting-room.  Sharikov

tried to kick, but his legs refused to obey him.

     Philip Philipovich spread his legs wide, sending the skirts of his robe

flapping,  raised his arms  and  his eyes towards the  lamp in  the corridor

ceiling and sighed.







     The 'little demonstration' which Bormenthal had promised  to lay on for

Sharikov  did  not,  however,  take  place  the  following morning,  because

Poligraph Poligraphovich had disappeared from the house. Bormenthal gave way

to despair, cursing himself for a fool for not having hidden  the key of the

front  door.  Shouting  that this  was  unforgivable,  he ended  by  wishing

Sharikov would fall under a bus. Philip Philipovich, who was  sitting in his

study running his fingers through his hair, said:

     'I can just imagine what he must be up to on the street. . . I can just

imagine .. . "from Granada to Seville .. ." My God.'

     'He may  be with  the house  committee,' said Bormenthal furiously, and

dashed off.

     At the house committee he swore at the chairman, Shvonder, so violently

that Shvonder sat down  and wrote a  complaint  to the local People's Court,

shouting  as  he  did  so  that he  wasn't Sharikov's  bodyguard.  Poligraph

Poligraphovich  was not very popular at the house committee either, as  only

yesterday he had taken 7 roubles from the funds, with the excuse that he was

going to buy text books at the co-operative store.

     For a  reward of 3 roubles  Fyodor searched the whole house from top to

bottom. Nowhere was there a trace to be found of Sharikov.

     Only one thing was clear - that Poligraph had left at dawn wearing cap,

scarf and overcoat, taking with him a bottle  of rowanberry brandy  from the

sideboard.  Doctor  Bormenthal's gloves,  and all his own  documents.  Darya

Petrovna  and Zina  openly expressed  their delight  and hoped that Sharikov

would  never come back again. Sharikov  had  borrowed  50 roubles from Darya

Petrovna only the day before.

     'Serve you right!' roared  Philip Philipovich,  shaking  his fists. The

telephone rang all that day and all the next day. The doctors saw an unusual

number of  patients and by  the  third day the two  men were  faced with the

question of  what to tell  the police, who  would have to start looking  for

Sharikov in the Moscow underworld.

     Hardly had the word 'police' been  mentioned than the reverent  hush of

Obukhov Street was broken by the roar of a lorry  and all the windows in the

house shook. Then with a confident ring at the bell Poligraph Poligraphovich

appeared and entered  with an air of unusual dignity. In absolute silence he

took off  his  cap and hung  his  coat  on the  hook.  He  looked completely

different. He had on a  second-hand leather tunic, worn leather breeches and

long  English riding-boots laced up to the  knee. An incredible odour of cat

immediately  permeated the whole hall.  As  though  at an  unspoken  word of

command  Preobrazhensky and  Bormenthal  simultaneously crossed their  arms,

leaned against the doorpost and waited for Poligraph  Poligraphovich to make

his  first remark. He smoothed  down his rough hair and cleared his  throat,

obviously wanting to hide his embarrassment by a nonchalant air.

     At last he spoke. 'I've taken a job, Philip Philipovich.'

     Both doctors uttered a  vague  dry  noise in  the  throat  and  stirred

slightly.  Preobrazhensky was the first to collect his wits. Stretching  out

his hand he said: 'Papers.'

     The typewritten  sheet read: 'It is hereby  certified that the  bearer,

comrade Poligraph Poligraphovich Sharikov,  is  appointed in  charge  of the

sub-department  of  the   Moscow  Cleansing   Department   responsible   for

eliminating vagrant quadrupeds (cats, etc.)'

     'I see,' said Philip Philipovich gravely. 'Who  fixed this for you? No,

don't tell me - I can guess.'

     'Yes, well, it was Shvonder.'

     'Forgive my asking, but why are you giving off such a revolting smell?'

     Sharikov anxiously sniffed at his tunic.

     'Well,  it may  smell a  bit -  that's  because of my job. I spent  all

yesterday strangling cats . . .'

     Philip  Philipovich  shuddered and looked  at  Bormenthal,  whose  eyes

reminded him of two black gun-barrels aimed  straight at  Sharikov.  Without

the  slightest warning he stepped up to Sharikov  and took him  in a  light,

practised grip around the throat.

     'Help!' squeaked Sharikov, turning pale.


     'Don't  worry, Philip  Philipovich,  I  shan't  do  anything  violent,'

answered Bormenthal in an iron voice and roared:

     'Zina and Darya Petrovna!'

     The two women appeared in the lobby.

     'Now,' said  Bormenthal, giving  Sharikov's throat a  very slight  push

toward  the  fur-coat hanging up  on  a  nearby hook, 'repeat  after me:  "I

apologise .  . ." ' 'All right,  I'll repeat it . . .'  replied the defeated

Sharikov in a husky


     Suddenly he took a deep breath, twisted, and tried to shout 'help', but

no sound came out and his head was pushed right into the fur-coat.

     'Doctor, please . . .' Sharikov nodded as a sign that he submitted  and


     repeat what he had to do.

     '. . . I apologise, dear Darya Petrovna and Zinaida? . . .'

     "Prokofievna,' whispered Zina nervously.

     'Ow . . . Prokofievna . . . that I allowed myself. . .'

     '.  .  .to  behave  so  disgustingly  the  other  night in  a state  of


     'Intoxication . . .'

     'I shall never do it again . . .'

     'Do it again . . .'

     'Let  him  go, Ivan  Arnoldovich,'  begged both women at once.  'You're

throttling him. '

     Bormenthal released Sharikov and said:

     'Is that lorry waiting for you?'

     'It just brought me here,' replied Poligraph submissively.

     'Zina, tell the  driver he can go. Now tell me -  have you come back to

Philip Philipovich's flat to stay?'

     'Where  else  can  I go?' asked  Sharikov  timidly, his  eyes nickering

around the room.

     'Very  well.  You will be  as good  as gold and as  quiet as  a  mouse.

Otherwise  you  will  have  to  reckon  with  me  each  time you  misbehave.


     'I understand,' replied Sharikov.

     Throughout Bormenthal's attack  on Sharikov Philip Philipovich had kept

silent. He had leaned against the doorpost with a miserable look, chewed his

nails and stared  at the floor.  Then he suddenly looked up  at Sharikov and

asked in a toneless, husky voice:

     'What do you  do with them ... the dead cats,  I mean?' 'They  go to  a

laboratory,' replied  Sharikov,  'where they make them into protein  for the


     After this silence  fell on the flat and lasted for two days. Poligraph

Poligraphovich went to work in the morning by truck, returned in the evening

and dined quietly with Philip Philipovich and Bormenthal.

     Although  Bormenthal  and  Sharikov  slept  in  the  same  room  -  the

waiting-room - they did not talk to  each other, which Bormenthal soon found


     Two days later, however, there appeared a  thin girl wearing eye shadow

and pale fawn stockings, very embarrassed by  the magnificence of  the flat.

In  her  shabby  little coat  she trotted  in behind Sharikov  and  met  the

professor in the hall.

     Dumbfounded, the professor frowned and asked:

     'Who is this?'

     'Me and her's getting married.  She's our typist.  She's coming to live

with me. Bormenthal  will have to move out of the waiting-room. He's got his

own flat,' said Sharikov in a sullen and very off-hand voice.

     Philip  Philipovich blinked,  reflected for a  moment as he watched the

girl  turn crimson, then  invited  her with  great courtesy to step into his

study for a moment.

     'And I'm going with her,' put in Sharikov quickly and suspiciously.

     At that moment Bormenthal materialised from the floor.

     'I'm sorry,' he said, 'the professor wants to  talk to the lady and you

and I are going to stay here.'

     'I  won't,'  retorted   Sharikov  angrily,   trying  to  follow  Philip

Philipovich and the girl. Her face burned with shame.

     'No, I'm sorry,' Bormenthal took Sharikov by the wrist and led him into

the consulting-room.

     For about five minutes  nothing was heard from the study, then suddenly

came the sound of the girl's muffled sobbing.

     Philip Philipovich stood beside his desk as the girl  wept into a dirty

little lace handkerchief.

     'He told me he'd  been wounded  in  the  war,'  sobbed the  girl. 'He's

lying,'  replied Philip  Philipovich  inexorably. He shook his head and went

on. 'I'm  genuinely sorry for you, but you can't just  go off and  live with

the first  person you  happen  to  meet at  work  . . . my dear child,  it's

scandalous. Here . . .' He opened a desk drawer and took out three 10-rouble


     'I'd kill  myself,' wept the girl.  'Nothing but salt beef every day in

the  canteen . . . and he threatened me  . . .  then he said he'd been a Red

Army  officer  and he'd  take me to live  in  a posh flat . .  . kept making

passes at me . . . says he's kind-hearted really,  he only hates cats ... He

took my ring as a memento . . .'

     'Well, well... so he's kind-hearted ..."... from Granada to Seville . .

.".' muttered Philip Philipovich. 'You'll get over it, my dear. You're still


     'Did you really find him in a doorway?'

     'Look, I'm offering to  lend you this money -  take it,' grunted Philip


     The door was then  solemnly  thrown open  and at  Philip  Philipovich's

request Bormenthal led in Sharikov, who glanced shiftily around. The hair on

his head stood up like a scrubbing-brush.

     'You beast,' said the girl, her eyes flashing, her mascara running past

her streakily powdered nose.

     'Where did you get that scar  on your forehead? Try  and explain to the

lady,' said Philip Philipovich softly.

     Sharikov staked his all on one preposterous card:

     'I was wounded at the front fighting against Kolchak,' he barked.

     The girl stood up and went out, weeping noisily.

     'Stop crying!' Philip Philipovich  shouted after her. 'Just  a minute -

the ring, please,' he said, turning  to Sharikov,  who  obediently removed a

large emerald ring from his finger.

     'I'll  get  you,'  he  suddenly said with malice.  'You'll remember me.

Tomorrow I'll make sure they cut your salary.'

     'Don't  be afraid of him,' Bormenthal shouted  after the girl. *I won't

let him do you any harm.' He turned round and gave Sharikov such a look that

he stumbled backwards and hit his head on the glass cabinet.

     'What's  her  surname?'  asked Bormenthal.  'Her  surname!' he  roared,

suddenly terrible.

     'Basnetsova,' replied Sharikov, looking round for a way of escape.

     'Every day,' said Bormenthal, grasping the lapels of Sharikov's  tunic,

'I shall personally make enquiries at the City  Cleansing Department to make

sure that  you haven't been interfering with citizeness Basnetsova's salary.

And if I find out that you have . . . then I will shoot you down with my own

hands. Take care, Sharikov - I mean what I say.' Transfixed, Sharikov stared

at  Bormenthal's nose.  'You're  not  the  only  one with  a revolver . . .'

muttered Poligraph quietly.

     Suddenly he dodged and  spurted for the door. 'Take care!' Bormenthal's

shout pursued him as he fled.  That night and the  following morning were as

tense  as  the  atmosphere before a thunderstorm. Nobody spoke. The next day

Poligraph Poligraphovich went gloomily off to work by lorry, after waking up

with an uneasy  presentiment, while Professor  Preobrazhensky saw  a  former

patient, a tall, strapping man in uniform, at a quite abnormal hour. The man

insisted on a consultation and  was admitted. As he walked into the study he

politely clicked his heels to the professor.

     'Have your pains come back?' asked Philip Philipovich pursing his lips.

'Please sit down.'

     'Thank you. No, professor,'  replied his visitor, putting down his  cap

on the  edge of the  desk. 'I'm very  grateful  to you ... No ... I've come,

h'm, on another matter, Philip Philipovich ... in view of  the great respect

I feel .  .  . I've come to ...  er,  warn you. It's obviously nonsense,  of

course. He's simply a scoundrel.' The patient searched in  his briefcase and

took out  a piece of paper. 'It's a  good thing I  was told about this right

away . . .'

     Philip Philipovich slipped a pince-nez over his spectacles and began to

read.  For a  long time he mumbled half-aloud, his expression changing every

moment.  '. .  . also  threatening  to murder  the  chairman  of  the  house

committee, comrade Shvonder, which  shows that he must be keeping a firearm.

And  he makes  counter-revolutionary speeches, and even ordered his domestic

worker,  Zinaida Prokofievna Bunina, to burn Engels  in the stove. He  is an

obvious Menshevik and so is his assistant Ivan Arnoldovich Bormenthal who is

living secretly in his flat without being registered. Signed: P. P. Sharikov

     Sub-Dept. Controller City Cleansing Dept. Countersigned: Shvonder

     Chairman, House Committee. Pestrukhin Secretary, House Committee.

     'May  I keep this?'  asked  Philip  Philipovich,  his face blotchy. 'Or

perhaps you need it so that legal proceedings can be made?'

     'Really, professor.' The patient was  most  offended  and blew out  his

nostrils.  'You seem to regard us  with contempt.  I . . .' And  he began to

puff himself up like a turkeycock.

     'Please forgive  me, my dear  fellow!' mumbled  Philip  Philipovich. 'I

really  didn't mean to offend you. Please don't be angry.  You can't believe

what this creature has done to my nerves . . .'

     'So  I can  imagine,' said  the  patient, quite  mollified. 'But what a

swine! I'd be curious to have a look at him. Moscow is full of stories about

you . . .'

     Philip Philipovich could only  gesture in despair. It was then that the

patient  noticed how hunched the professor was looking and that he seemed to

have recently grown much greyer.







     The crime ripened, then fell like a stone, as usually happens.  With an

uncomfortable feeling round his heart Poligraph Poligraphovich returned that

evening   by  lorry.   Philip  Philipovich's  voice  invited  him  into  the

consulting-room.  Surprised,  Sharikov  entered and  looked  first,  vaguely

frightened, at Bormenthal's steely face, then at Philip Philipovich. A cloud

of  smoke surrounded the  doctor's head  and  his left  hand, trembling very

slightly, held a cigarette and rested on the shiny handle of the obstetrical


     With ominous calm Philip Philipovich said:

     'Go  and collect your things at once - trousers,  coat, everything  you

need - then get out of this flat!'

     'What is all this?' Sharikov was genuinely astonished. 'Get out of this

flat  - and today,'  repeated  Philip  Philipovich,  frowning  down  at  his


     An evil  spirit  was at  work inside Poligraph Poligraphovich.  It  was

obvious that his end was in sight and  his  time  nearly up, but  he  hurled

himself towards the inevitable and barked in an angry staccato:

     'Like hell  I  will!  You got  to  give me  my rights. I've a  right to

thirty-seven square feet and I'm staying right here.'

     'Get out of  this  flat,' whispered Philip  Philipovich in a  strangled


     It was Sharikov himself who invited  his own death.  He raised his left

hand,  which stank  most  horribly of cats,  and cocked a  snook  at  Philip

Philipovich. Then with  his right  hand he  drew  a revolver  on Bormenthal.

Bormenthal's cigarette fell like a shooting star. A few seconds later Philip

Philipovich was hopping  about on broken glass and running  from the cabinet

to the couch.  On  it,  spreadeagled  and  croaking,  lay  a  sub-department

controller of  the City  Cleansing Department;  Bormenthal  the surgeon  was

sitting astride his chest and suffocating him with a small white pad.

     After some minutes Bormenthal, with a most unfamiliar  look, walked out

on to the landing and stuck a notice beside the doorbell:

     The Professor regrets that owing to indisposition he  will be unable to

hold consulting hours  today. Please do not disturb the Professor by ringing

the bell.

     With a  gleaming  penknife  he then cut  the bell-cable,  inspected his

scratched  and  bleeding  face  in  the  mirror and his lacerated,  slightly

trembling  hands. Then he went into the kitchen and said to the anxious Zina

and Darya Petrovna:

     'The professor says you mustn't leave the fiat on any account.'

     'No, we won't,' they replied timidly.

     'Now  I must  lock the back  door  and keep the key,'  said Bormenthal,

sidling round the room  and covering his  face  with  his  hand.  'It's only

temporary, not because we don't trust you. But if anybody came you might not

be able to keep them out and we mustn't be disturbed. We're busy.'

     'All right,' replied the two women, turning pale. Bormenthal locked the

back door, locked the front door, locked the door from the corridor into the

hall and his footsteps faded away into the consulting-room.

     Silence  filled the flat, flooding into every comer. Twilight crept in,

dank and sinister and gloomy. Afterwards the neighbours across the courtyard

said that every light burned that evening in the windows of Preobrazhensky's

consulting-room and that they even saw the professor's white skullcap ... It

is  hard to be  sure. When it  was  all over Zina did say, though, that when

Bormenthal and the professor emerged from the consulting-room, there, by the

study fireplace, Ivan Amoldovich  had frightened her to  death. It seems  he

was squatting down  in  front  of the fire and burning one of the blue-bound

notebooks which contained the medical notes on the professor's patients. The

doctor's face, apparently, was quite  green and completely - yes, completely

- scratched to pieces.  And that evening  Philip  Philipovich had  been most

peculiar. And then there was  another thing  -  but maybe that innocent girl

from the flat in Prechistenka Street was talking rubbish . . .

     One  thing, though, was  certain:  there was  silence in the flat  that

evening - total, frightening silence.







     One night, exactly ten days to the day after  the struggle in Professor

Preobrazhensky's consulting-room in his flat on Obukhov  Street, there was a

sharp ring of the doorbell.

     'Criminal police. Open up, please.'

     Footsteps  approached, people knocked and entered until  a considerable

crowd  filled the  brightly-lit waiting-room with  its newly-glazed cabinet.

There  were two in police uniform, one in a black  overcoat  and carrying  a

brief-case; there was  chairman Shvonder, pale and  gloating,  and the youth

who had turned out to  be a woman; there was Fyodor  the porter, Zina, Darya

Petrovna and Bormenthal, half dressed and  embarrassed as he tried  to cover

up his tieless neck.

     The door from the study opened to admit Philip Philipovich. He appeared

in his familiar  blue dressing gown and everybody  could  tell  at once that

over  the past  week Philip Philipovich had begun to  look very much better.

The old  Philip Philipovich,  masterful, energetic  and dignified, now faced

his nocturnal visitors and apologised for appearing in his dressing gown.

     'It  doesn't matter, professor,'  said the man in civilian  clothes, in

great embarrassment. He faltered and then said:

     'I'm sorry to say we have a warrant to  search  your flat and' -the men

stared  uneasily  at Philip Philipovich's moustaches  and  ended: 'to arrest

you, depending on the results of our search.'

     Philip Philipovich frowned and asked:

     'What, may I ask, is the charge, and who is being charged?'

     The man scratched his  cheek  and began  reading from a piece  of paper

from his briefcase.

     'Preobrazhensky,  Bormenthal,  Zinaida  Bunina  and  Darya  Ivanova are

charged   with   the   murder   of   Poligraph   Poligraph-ovich   Sharikov,

sub-department controller. City of Moscow Cleansing Department.'

     The end of his speech was drowned by  Zina's  sobs.  There was  general


     'I don't understand,' replied Philip Philipovich  with  a regal  shrug.

'Who  is this  Sharikov?  Oh, of  course, you mean my  dog . . . the  one  I

operated on?'

     'I'm sorry, professor,  not a  dog. This happened  when  he  was a man.

That's the trouble.'

     'Because he talked?' asked  Philip Philipovich.  'That doesn't mean  he

was a man. Anyhow, it's irrelevant. Sharik is alive  at this  moment and  no

one has killed him.'

     'Really,  professor?'  said  the  man  in black,  deeply astonished and

raised his eyebrows. 'In that case you must produce him. It's  ten days  now

since  he disappeared and the evidence, if you'll forgive my saying  so,  is

most disquieting.'

     'Doctor Bormenthal, will you please produce Sharik for the  detective,'

ordered Philip Philipovich, pocketing the charge-sheet. Bormenthal went out,

smiling enigmatically.

     As he  returned he  gave a whistle  and from  the door into  the  study

appeared a dog of the most extraordinary appearance. In patches he was bald,

while in other patches his coat had grown.  He entered like a trained circus

dog walking on his hind legs, then dropped on to all fours and looked round.

The waiting-room froze into a sepulchral  silence as tangible as jelly.  The

nightmarish-looking dog with the crimson scar on the forehead stood up again

on his hind legs, grinned and sat down in an armchair.

     The second policeman suddenly crossed  himself with a sweeping  gesture

and in stepping back knocked Zina's legs from under her.

     The man in black, his mouth still wide open, said:

     'What's been going on? ... He worked in the City Cleansing Department .

. .'

     'I  didn't  send  him  there,' answered  Philip  Philipovich.  'He  was

recommended for the job by Mr Shvonder, if I'm not mistaken.'

     'I don't get it,' said the man in black, obviously confused, and turned

to the first policeman. 'Is that him?'

     'Yes,' whispered the policeman, 'it's him all right.'

     'That's him,' came Fyodor's voice, 'except the little devil's got a bit


     'But he talked . . .' the man in black giggled nervously.

     'And  he still talks, though less  and less, so if you want to hear him

talk now's the time, before he stops altogether'.

     'But why?' asked the man in black quietly.

     Philip Philipovich shrugged his shoulders.

     'Science has  not yet found the means of turning animals into people. I

tried,  but  unsuccessfully, as you can see. He talked and then he began  to

revert back to his primitive state. Atavism.'

     'Don't swear  at me,' the dog suddenly barked from  his chair and stood


     The man in black turned instantly pale, dropped his briefcase and began

to fall sideways.  A policeman caught him on  one  side and Fyodor supported

him  from behind. There  was  a  sudden  turmoil, clearly pierced  by  three


     Philip Philipovich: 'Give him valerian. He's fainted.'

     Doctor Bormenthal: 'I shall personally throw Shvonder downstairs  if he

ever appears in Professor Preobrazhensky's flat again.'

     And Shvonder said: 'Please enter that remark in the report.'

     The  grey accordion-shaped radiators hissed gently. The blinds shut out

the thick Prechistenka Street night sky with  its  lone star. The great, the

powerful benefactor  of dogs sat in his chair while Sharik lay stretched out

on the carpet beside the leather couch. In the  mornings the  March fog made

the dog's head ache, especially around  the circular scar on his  skull, but

by evening the warmth banished the pain. Now it  was easing all the time and

warm, comfortable thoughts flowed through the dog's mind.

     I've  been very, very lucky, he thought sleepily. Incredibly lucky. I'm

really settled in this flat. Though I'm  not  so sure now about my pedigree.

Not a drop of labrador blood. She was  just a tart, my old grandmother.  God

rest her soul. Certainly they  cut my head around a bit, but who cares. None

of my business, really.

     From the  distance came a tinkle of glass. Bormenthal  was tidying  the

shelves of the cabinet in the consulting-room.

     The grey-haired magician sat and hummed: '  ". . .  to the banks of the

sacred Nile . . ." '

     That evening the dog saw terrible  things. He saw the great roan plunge

his  slippery, rubber-gloved hands into  a  jar  to  fish out a  brain; then

relentlessly,  persistently  the  great  man  pursued  his  search. Slicing,

examining, he frowned and sang:

     ' "To the banks of the sacred Nile . . ." '