Mama Temkin nodded to the door, and picked out death’s march on her instrument.  What grit this old horse has! thought Galashnikov.





Misha Temkin’s room was tidy but for the papers strewn about the floor and desk and bed.  Sloppily inked and mostly nonsensical, these notes were of no use to the doctor.  He needed something more concrete, a clue about Temkin’s true being, his private thoughts.  Finding Temkin’s diary, then, was most convenient.


Galashnikov’s hands trembled as he opened the small hide-bound volume.  All day long his suspicions had leaned to one diagnosis, and all day long had he fought them to no avail.  It was ludicrous.  Possibly heretical!  And yet, in his bones, he knew there was but one explanation for the demise of Misha Temkin.  Would this be the turning point?  Would this diary tell the doctor what he needed to know? 





13 August 1857

…my state makes sunshine of misery.  If one is unhappy, as I truly am, then one ought to change things, “to cause a stir,” as good Ovitch says.  But friend Dzhugashvili then reminds me that stirring too much makes for runny honey, which is not easily enjoyed…