|Michail Bulgakov. The heart of a dog
Copyright 1968 in the English translation by Michael Glenny
Collins and Harvill Press
London, and Harcourt, Brace & World Inc, New York.
Ooow-ow-ooow-owow! Oh, look at me, I'm dying. There's a
moaning a requiem for me in this doorway and I'm howling with it.
finished. Some bastard in a dirty white cap - the cook in the office
at the National Economic Council - spilled some boiling water and
left side. Filthy swine - and a proletarian, too. Christ, it hurts!
boiling water scalded me right through to the bone. I can howl and
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,
Greedy pig! Just take a look at his ugly mug - it's almost fatter
is. Hard-faced crook. Oh people, people. It was midday when that
me with boiling water, now it's getting dark, must be about four
the afternoon judging by the smell of onion coming from the
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
know in Prechistenka Street, by the way, tell me there's a
Neglinny Street where they get the chef's special every day -
with relish at 3 roubles and 75 kopecks the portion. All right for
connoisseurs, I suppose. I think eating mushrooms is about as tasty
licking a pair of galoshes . . . Oow-owowow . . .
My side hurts like hell and I can see just what's going to become
me. Tomorrow it will break out in ulcers and then how can I make
In summer you can go and roll in Sokolniki Park where there's a
grass that does you good. Besides, you can get a free meal of
and there's plenty of greasy bits of food-wrappings to lick. And if
wasn't for some old groaner singing '0 celeste Aida' out in the
till it makes you sick, the place would be perfect. But where can I
Haven't I been kicked around enough? Sure I have. Haven't I had
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 -
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
trouble is that when that cook doused me with boiling water it
through right under my fur and now there's nothing to keep the cold
my left side. I could easily get pneumonia - and if I get that,
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
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
someone's stick to finish me off. And the dustmen will pick me up by
legs and sling me on to their cart . . .
Dustmen are the lowest form of proletarian life. Humans' rubbish
filthiest stuff there is. Cooks vary - for instance, there was Vlas
Prechistenka, who's dead now. He saved I don't know how many dogs'
because when you're sick you've simply got to be able to eat and
strength up. And when Vlas used to throw you a bone there was always
eighth of an inch of meat on it. He was a great character. God rest
soul, a gentleman's cook who worked for Count Tolstoy's family and
your stinking Food Rationing Board. As for the muck they dish out
rations, well it makes even a dog wonder. They make soup out of salt
that's gone rotten, the cheats. The poor fools who eat there can't
difference. It's just grab, gobble and gulp.
A typist on salary scale 9 gets 60 roubles a month. Of course her
keeps her in silk stockings, but think what she has to put up with
exchange for silk. He won't just want to make the usual sort of love
he'll make her do it the French way. They're a lot of bastards,
Frenchmen, if you ask me - though they know how to stuff their guts
right, and red wine with everything. Well, along comes this little
and wants a meal. She can't afford to go into the restaurant on 60
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 . .
think:40 kopecks for two courses, and neither of them is worth more
because the manager has pocketed the other 25 kopecks-worth. Anyhow,
the right sort of food for her? She's got a patch on the top of her
lung, she's having her period, she's had her pay docked at work and
feed her with any old muck at the canteen, poor girl . . . There she
now, running into the doorway in her lover's stockings. Cold legs,
wind blows up her belly because even though she has some hair on it
mine she wears such cold, thin, lacy little pants - just to please
lover. If she tried to wear flannel ones he'd soon bawl her out for
a frump. 'My girl bores me', he'll say, 'I'm fed up with those
knickers of hers, to hell with her. I've made good now and all I
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
I'm not saying it out of selfishness, not a bit, but because you
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
poor little fellow? Did somebody hurt you, then?'
The terrible snowstorm howled around the doorway, buffeting the
ears. It blew her skirt up to her knees, showing her fawn stockings
little strip of badly washed lace underwear, drowned her words and
the dog in snow.
'My God . . . what weather . . . ugh . . . And my stomach aches.
that awful salt beef. When is all this going to end?'
Lowering her head the girl launched into the attack and rushed
the doorway. On the street the violent storm spun her like a top,
whirlwind of snow spiralled around her and she vanished.
But the dog stayed in the doorway. His scalded flank was so
that he pressed himself against the cold wall, gasping for breath,
decided not to move from the spot. He would die in the doorway.
overcame him. He was so bitter and sick at heart, so lonely and
that little dog's tears, like pimples, trickled down from his eyes,
once dried up. His injured side was covered with frozen, dried
and between them peeped the angry red patches of the scald. All the
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,
dog that's fed on porridge, a dog with a pedigree, and he was a
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
a gentleman. As he came closer it was obvious that he was a
suppose you thought I recognised him by his overcoat? Nonsense. Lots
proletarians even wear overcoats nowadays. I admit they don't
collars like this one, of course, but even so you can sometimes be
at a distance. No, it's the eyes: you can't go wrong with those,
far. Eyes mean a lot. Like a barometer. They tell you everything -
you who has a heart of stone, who would poke the toe of his boot in
ribs as soon as look at you - and who's afraid of you. The cowards -
the ones whose ankles I like to snap at. If they're scared, I go for
Serve them right . . . grrr . . . bow-wow . . .
The gentleman boldly crossed the street in a pillar of whirling
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
make a fuss and write to the newspapers - someone has been trying to
me - me, Philip Philipovich.
He came nearer and nearer. He's the kind who always eats well and
steals, he wouldn't kick you, but he's not afraid of anyone either.
never afraid because he always has enough to eat. This man's a brain
with a carefully trimmed, sharp-pointed beard and grey moustaches,
bushy ones like the knights of old. But the smell of him, that came
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
me . . . What does he want? Oowow, owow . . . What would he want to
that filthy store, surely he can afford to go to the Okhotny Ryad?
that he's holding? Sausage. Look sir, if you knew what they put into
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
the doorway on to the pavement. The blizzard boomed like gunfire
head, flapping a great canvas billboard marked in huge letters, 'Is
Of course it's possible. The mere smell has rejuvenated me, got
off my belly, sent scorching waves through my stomach that's been
two days. The smell that overpowered the hospital smell was the
aroma of minced horsemeat with garlic and pepper. I feel it, I know
a sausage in his right-hand coat pocket. He's standing over me. Oh,
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
did to me. You'll never give me anything, though. I know these rich
What good is it to you? What do you want with a bit of rotten old
The Moscow State Food Store only sells muck like that. But you've a
lunch under your belt, haven't you, you're a world-famous figure
male sex glands. Oowow-owow . . . What can I do? I'm too young to
and despair's a sin. There's nothing for it, I shall have to lick
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
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
Take it, Sharik!'
He's christened me Sharik too. Call me what you like. For this
do anything you like to me,
In a moment the dog had ripped off the sausage-skin. Mouth
bit into the Cracower and gobbled it down in two swallows. Tears
his eyes as he nearly choked on the string, which in his greed he
swallowed. Let me lick your hand again, I'll kiss your boots -
'That's enough . . .' The gentleman barked as though giving an
He bent over Sharik, stared with a searching look into his eyes and
unexpectedly stroked the dog gently and intimately along the stomach
his gloved hand.
'Aha,' he pronounced meaningly. 'No collar. Excellent. You're
I want. Follow me.' He clicked his fingers. 'Good dog!'
Follow you? To the end of the earth. Kick me with your felt boots
won't say a word.
The street lamps were alight all along Prechistenka Street. His
hurt unbearably, but for the moment Sharik forgot about it, absorbed
single thought: how to avoid losing sight of this miraculous
vision in the hurly-burly of the storm and how to show him his love
devotion. Seven times along the whole length of Prechistenka Street
as the cross-roads at Obukhov Street he showed it. At Myortvy Street
kissed his boot, he cleared the way by barking at a lady and
into falling flat on the pavement, and twice he gave a howl to make
gentleman still felt sorry for him.
A filthy, thieving stray torn cat slunk out from behind a
despite the snowstorm, sniffed the Cracower. Sharik went blind with
the thought that this rich eccentric who picked up injured dogs in
might take pity on this robber and make him share the sausage. So he
his teeth so fiercely that the cat, with a hiss like a leaky
shinned back up the drainpipe right to the second floor. Grrrr!
We can't go handing out Moscow State groceries to all the strays
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
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? Sure . . . Hey, no, wait a minute. No. There's a porters on
block of flats. My worst enemies, porters, much worse than dustmen.
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
bring stray dogs off the street past a porter? Look at the bastard -
move, not a word! He looks grim enough, but he doesn't seem to mind,
the gold braid on his cap. That's how it should be, too. Knows his
Yes, I'm with this gentleman, so you can keep your hands to
that - did he make a move? Bite him. I wouldn't mind a mouthful of
proletarian leg. In exchange for the trouble I've had from all the
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
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,
From below, respectfully: 'No sir, Philip Philipovich' (dropping
voice and adding intimately), 'but they've just moved some more
The dog's dignified benefactor turned sharply round on the step,
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
'That's right, four of them.'
'My God! I can just imagine what it must be like in that
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
build some partitions in the apartment.'
'God - what is the place coming to?'
'Extra tenants are being moved into every apartment, except
Philip Philipovich. There was a meeting the other day; they elected
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,
me lick your boot.
The porter's gold braid disappeared from the lobby.
Past warm radiators on a marble landing, another flight of stairs
then - a mezzanine.
Why bother to leam to read when you can smell meat a mile away?
live in Moscow, though, and if you've got an ounce of brain in your
can't help learning to read -and without going to night-school
are forty-thousand dogs in Moscow and I'll bet there's not one of
stupid he can't spell out the word 'sausage'.
Sharik had begun by learning from colours. When he was just four
old, blue-green signs started appearing all over Moscow with the
MSFS - Moscow State Food Stores - which meant a butcher and
repeat that he had no need to learn his letters because he could
meat anyway. Once he made a bad mistake: trotting up to a bright
shop-sign one day when the smell was drowned by car exhaust, instead
butcher's shop he ran into the Polubizner Brothers' electrical goods
on Myasnitzkaya Street. There the brothers taught him all about
cable, which can be sharper than a cabman's whip. This famous
be regarded as the beginning of Sharik's education. It was here on
pavement that Sharik began to realise that 'blue' doesn't always
'butcher', and as he squeezed his burningly painful tail between his
legs and howled, he remembered that on every butcher's shop the
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
policeman standing in front of the last four letters of the word).
shops faced with tiles always meant 'CHEESE' and the black half-moon
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
sawdust on the floor and reeking Limburger.
If there was accordion music (which was slightly better than
Aida'), and the place smelted of frankfurters, the first letters on
white signboards very conveniently | spelled out the word 'NOOB',
short for 'No obscene language. No tips.' Sometimes at these places
would break out, people would start punching each other in the face
their fists - sometimes even with napkins or boots.
If there were stale bits of ham and mandarin oranges in the window
meant a grrr . . . grrocery. If there were black bottles full of
liquids it was . . . li-li-liquor . . . formerly Eliseyev Bros.
The unknown gentleman had led the dog to the door of his luxurious
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
door. He deciphered the first three letters at once: P-R-O- 'Pro . .
after tliat there was a funny tall thing with a cross bar which he
know. Surely he's not a proletarian? thought Sharik with
can't be. He lifted up his nose, sniffed the fur coat and said
No, this doesn't smell proletarian. Some high-falutin' word. God
what it means.
Suddenly a light flashed on cheerfully behind the pink glass door,
throwing the nameplate into even deeper shadow. The door opened
and a beautiful young woman in a white apron and lace cap stood
dog and his master. A wave of delicious warmth flowed over the dog
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.
him was a mirror stretching right down to the floor, which instantly
reflected a second dirty, exhausted Sharik. High up on the wall was
terrifying pair of antlers, there were countless fur coats and pairs
galoshes and an electric tulip made of opal glass hanging from the
'Where on earth did you get that from, Philip Philipovich?' enquired
the woman, smiling as she helped to take off the heavy brown,
'God, he looks lousy.'
'Nonsense. He doesn't look lousy to me,' said the gentleman
With his fur coat off he was seen to be wearing a black suit of
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
I wonder? Eh? Keep still, will you . . .!'
It was that miserable cook, said the dog with his pitiful eyes and
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
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
darkness clicked and was transformed into blinding white which
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
into a dogs' hospital. Now they'll force me to swallow castor oil
they'll cut up my side with knives - well, I won't let them touch
'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
apartment. Then he jumped back, spun around on the spot like a top
doing so knocked over a white bucket, spilling wads of cotton wool.
whirled round there flashed past him shelves full of glittering
a white apron and a furious woman's face.
'You little devil,' cried Zina in desperation, 'where d'you think
Where's the back door? the dog wondered. He swung round, rolled into
ball and hurled himself bullet-fashion at a glass in the hope that
another door. With a crash and a tinkle a shower of splinters fell
a pot-bellied glass jar of some reddish-brown filth shot out and
itself over the floor, giving off a sickening stench. The real door
'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
'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
in, also wearing a white coat. Crunching over the broken glass he
the dog to a cupboard, opened it and the whole room was filled with
nauseating smell. Then the person turned the animal over on his
which the dog enthusiastically bit him just above his shoelaces. The
groaned but kept his head. The nauseating liquid choked the dog's
and his head began to spin, then his legs collapsed and he seemed to
moving sideways. This is it, he thought dreamily as he collapsed on
sharp slivers of glass. Goodbye, Moscow! I shan't see Chichkin or
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
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
The dog opened a languid right eye and saw out of its corner that he
tightly bandaged all around his flanks and belly. So those sons of
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
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
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
all that glass? M'm?' Oowow, whined the dig miserably. 'All right,
and relax, naughty boy.' 'However did you manage to entice such a
excitable dog into following you here, Philip Philipovich?' enquired
pleasant male voice, and a long knitted underpant lowered itself to
ground. There was a smell of tobacco, and glass phials tinkled in
'By kindness. The only possible method when dealing with a living
creature. You'll get nowhere with an animal if you use terror, no
what its level of development may be. That I have maintained, do
and always will maintain. People who think you can use terror are
wrong. No, terror's useless, whatever its colour - white, red or
Terror completely paralyses the nervous system. Zina! I bought this
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
twenty kopecks-worth of scraps from the butcher. I'd rather eat the
'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.
dare! I warn you that neither I nor Doctor Bormenthal will lift a
you when your stomach finally gives out . . .'
Just then a bell tinkled all through the flat and from far away in
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
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
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.
varnished door opened he trotted into Philip Philipovich's study.
blinded him. Above all it was blazing with light: there was a light
from the moulded ceiling, a light on the desk, lights on the walls,
on the glass-fronted cabinets. The light poured over countless
of which the most striking was an enormous owl perched on a branch
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
handsome, with a pointed beard. He put down a sheet of paper and
same as before . . .'
Then he silently vanished and Philip Philipovich, spreading his
coat-tails, sat down behind the huge desk and immediately looked
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
massive leather-covered couch. I wish I knew what that owl was doing
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
'You're a wizard, a magician, professor!' he said bashfully.
'Take down your trousers, old man,' ordered Philip Philip-ovich and
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
wrinkles covered his face yet his complexion was as pink as a boy's.
left leg would not bend and had to be dragged across the carpet, but
right leg was as springy as a jack-in-the-box. In the buttonhole of
superb jacket there shone, like an eye, a precious stone.
The dog was so fascinated that he even forgot his nausea. Oow-ow, he
'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
twenty-five years . . .' the creature started struggling with his
. . . 'Would you believe it, professor - hordes of naked girls every
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
flybuttons and took off his checked trousers, revealing the most
extraordinary pair of pants. They were cream-coloured, embroidered
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.
was decorated with a picture of a naked girl with flowing hair. He
start, bent down to pick it up and blushed violently.
'Look here,' said Philip Philipovich in a tone of grim warning,
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
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
take a look,' the man muttered, searching for a mirror. 'I'd like to
him on the snout,' he added in a rage. 'What am I to do now,
'H'm. Shave all your hair off.'
'But, professor,' cried the visitor miserably, 'then it would only
grey again. Besides, I daren't show my face at the office like this.
haven't been there for three days. Ah, professor, if only you had
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
'Splendid, everything's in great shape. To tell you the truth I
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
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
must beg you - be careful.'
The ecstaticvoice replied from behind thedoor: 'Don't worry,
professor.' The creature gave a delighted giggle and went. The
tinkled through the apartment and the varnished door opened,
other doctor, who handed Philip Philipovich a sheet of paper and
'She has lied about her age. It's probably about fifty or
He disappeared, to be succeeded by a rustling lady with a hat
gaily on one side of her head and with a glittering necklace on her
crumpled neck. There were black bags under her eyes and her cheeks
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
... I swear to you - it's terrible . . .'
'How old are you?' Philip Philipovich screeched in fury, his
'Fifty-one!' replied the lady, wincing with terror.
'Take off your underwear, please,' said Philip Philipovich with
and pointed to a high white examination table in the comer.
'I swear, professor,' murmured the lady as with trembling fingers
unbuttoned the fasteners on her belt, 'this boy Moritz ... I
to you . . .'
' "From Granada to Seville . . ." ' Philip Philipovich hummed
absentmindedly and pressed the foot-pedal of his marble washbasin.
a sound of running water.
'I swear to God,' said the lady, patches of real colour showing
the rouge on her cheeks, 'this will be my last affair. Oh, he's such
brute! Oh, professor! All Moscow knows he's a card-sharper and he
resist any little tart of a dressmaker who catches his eye. But he's
deliciously young . . .'As she talked the lady pulled out a crumpled
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
paws and closing his eyes with embarrassment. I'm not going to try
what all this is about -it's beyond me, anyway.
He was wakened by a tinkling sound and saw that Philip Philipovich
tossed some little shining tubes into a basin.
The painted lady, her hands pressed to her bosom, was gazing
at Philip Philipovich. Frowning impressively he had sat down at his
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
' ". . . from Granada to Seville . . ." H'm ... on Monday. You must
into hospital on Monday morning. My assistant will prepare you.'
'Oh, dear. I don't want to go into hospital. Couldn't you operate
'I only operate here in extreme cases. It would be very expensive -
'I'll pay, professor!'
Again came the sound of running water, the feathered hat swayed out,
be replaced by a head as bald as a dinner-plate which embraced
Philipovich. As his nausea passed, the dog dozed off, luxuriating in
warmth and the sense of relief as his injury healed. He even snored
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
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
that. You must restrain yourself. How old is she?'
'Fourteen, professor . . . The scandal would ruin me, you see. I'm
to go abroad on official business any day now.'
'I'm afraid I'm not a lawyer . . . you'd better wait a couple of
and then marry her.'
'I'm married already, professor.'
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
can he want me for, though? Is he just going to let me live here?
eccentric. After all, he could get a pedigree dog as easy as
Perhaps I'm good-looking! What luck. As for that stupid owl . . .
The dog finally woke up late in the evening when the bells had
ringing and at the very moment when the door admitted some special
There were four of them at once, all young people and all extremely
What's all this? thought the dog in astonishment. Philip Philipovich
treated these visitors with considerable hostility. He stood at his
staring at them like a general confronting the enemy. The nostrils
hawk-like nose were dilated. The party shuffled awkwardly across the
'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
'You ought not to go out in this weather without wearing galoshes,
gentlemen,' Philip Philipovich interrupted in a schoolmasterish
'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
Philip Philipovich in consternation. The silence lasted several
was only broken by the drumming of Philip Philipovich's fingers on a
wooden platter on his desk.
'Firstly, we're not gentlemen,' the youngest of them, with a face
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
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
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
'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
dark youth with suppressed fury. 'I am Shvonder, her name is
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?'
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
are charged with the problem of increasing the occupancy of this
house . .
'What d'you mean - charged?' cried Philip Philipovich. 'Please try
express yourself more clearly.'
'We are charged with increasing the occupancy.'
'All right, I understand! Do you realise that under the regulation
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
are occupying too much space. Far too much. You are living, alone,
'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
'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
library, a dining-room, and my study - that makes three.
four, operating theatre -five. My bedroom - six, and the servant's
makes seven. It's not really enough. But that's not the point. My
is exempt, and our conversation is therefore at an end. May I go and
'Excuse me,' said the fourth, who looked like a fat beetle.
'Excuse me,' Shvonder interrupted him, 'but it was just because of
dining-room and your consulting-room that we came to see you. The
meeting requests you, as a matter of labour discipline, to give up
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
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
and examine patients in the dining-room. I expect that is what
Duncan does. Perhaps she eats in her study and dissects rabbits in
bathroom. Perhaps. But I'm not Isadora Duncan. . . !' he turned
shall eat in the dining-room and operate in the operating theatre!
to the general meeting, and meanwhile kindly go and mind your own
and allow me to have my supper in the place where all normal people
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
furious Shvonder, 'we shall lodge a complaint about you with higher
'Aha,' said Philip Philipovich, 'so that's your game, is it?' And
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
now and he'll bite them. I don't know how, but he'll bite them all
Go on! Go for 'em! I could just get that long-legged swine in the
behind his knee . . . ggrrr . . .
Philip Philipovich lifted the telephone receiver, dialled and said
it: 'Please give me . . . yes . . . thank you. Put me through to
Alexandrovich, please. Professor Preobraz-hensky speaking. Pyotr
Alexandrovich? Hello, how are you? I'm so glad I was able to get
Thanks, I'm fine. Pyotr Alexandrovich, I'm afraid your operation is
cancelled. What? Cancelled. And so are all my other operations. I'll
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,
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
'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
consulting-room, which will oblige me to operate in the room I have
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,
up my apartment and going to Sochi. I will give the keys to Shvonder.
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,
Pyotr Alexandrovich! Oh, no. That I must flatly refuse. My patience
snapped. This is the second time since August . . . What? H'm . . .
right, if you like. I suppose so. Only this time on one condition: I
care who issues it, when they issue it or what they issue, provided
sort of certificate which will mean that neither Shvonder nor anyone
can so much as knock on my door. The ultimate in certificates.
Real. Armour-plated! I don't even want my name on it. The end. As
they are concerned, I am dead. Yes, yes. Please do. Who? Aha . . .
that's another matter. Aha . . . good. I'll just hand him the
Would you mind,' Philip Philipovich spoke to Shvonder in a voice
snake's, 'you're wanted on the telephone.'
'But, professor,' said Shvonder, alternately flaring up and
'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
going to leave him five whole rooms . . . Well, OK ... if that's how
Very red in the face, he hung up and turned round.
What a fellow! thought the dog rapturously. Does he know how to
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,
with anger, 'I'd have shown him . . .'
'Excuse me, would you like to talk to him now?' enquired Philip
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
'No, I will not,' said Philip Philipovich curtly after a glance at
Total amazement showed on the faces, and the girl turned
'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
world-famous and if you weren't being protected by certain people in
most disgusting way,' (the fair youth tugged at the hem of her
she brushed him away), 'which we propose to investigate, you should
'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
sadly, and pressed a button. A bell rang in the distance. The door
to the corridor.
'Zina!' shouted Philip Philipovich. 'Serve the supper, please. Do
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
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
and in a silver bowl packed around with snow - caviare. Beside the
stood delicate glasses and three crystal decanters of different-coloured
vodkas. All these objects were on a small marble table, handily
beside the huge carved oak sideboard which shone with glass and
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
tiaras, and three dark bottles.
Zina brought in a covered silver dish beneath which something
The dish gave off such a smell that the dog's mouth immediately
saliva. The gardens of Semiramis! he thought as he thumped the floor
'Bring it here,' ordered Philip Philipovich greedily. 'I beg you,
Doctor Bormenthal, leave the caviare alone. And if you want a piece
advice, don't touch the English vodka but drink the ordinary Russian
The handsome Bormenthal - who had taken off his white coat and was
wearing a smart black suit - shrugged his broad shoulders, smirked
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
quite good enough.'
'Vodka should be at least 40 degrees, not 30 - that's firstly,'
Philipovich interrupted him didactically, 'and secondly - God knows
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
glass down his throat in one gulp. 'Ah . . . m'm . . . Doctor
please drink that at once and if you ask me what it is, I'm your
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.
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
people who eat cold hors d'oeuvres nowadays are the few remaining
who haven't had their throats cut. Anybody with a spark of
takes his hors d'oeuvres hot. And of all the hot hors d'oeuvres in
this is the best. Once they used to do them magnificently at the
Bazaar restaurant. There, you can have some too.'
'If you feed a dog at table,' said a woman's voice, 'you won't get
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
dexterity of a conjuror. The professor then threw the fork with a
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
Philip Philipovich, thrusting the end of a thick napkin into his
'Food, Ivan Arnoldovich, is a subtle thing. One must know how to
yet just think - most people don't know how to eat at all. One must
know what to eat, but when and how.' (Philip Philipovich waved his
meaningfully.) 'And what to say while you're eating. Yes, my dear
you care about your digestion, my advice is - don't talk about
medicine at table. And, God forbid - never read Soviet newspapers
'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
newspapers felt excellent. Those whom I specially made read Pravda
'H'm . . .' rejoined Bormenthal with interest, turning gently pink
the soup and the wine.
'And not only did they lose weight. Their knee reflexes were
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
sturgeon, which he did not like, then immediately afterwards a chunk
underdone roast beef. When he had gulped it down the dog suddenly
he wanted to sleep and could not bear the sight of any more food.
feeling, he thought, blinking his heavy eyelids, it's as if my eyes
look at food any longer. As for smoking after they've eaten - that's
The dining-room was filling with unpleasant blue smoke. The animal
dozed, its head on its forepaws. 'Saint Julien is a very decent
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
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,'
'What, again?' exclaimed Philip Philipovich mournfully. 'Well, this
the end of this house. I'll have to go away -but where to? I can see
what'll happen. First of all there'll be community singing in the
then the pipes will freeze in the lavatories, then the central
boiler will blow up and so on. This is the end.'
'Philip Philipovich worries himself to death,' said Zina with a
as she cleared away a pile of plates.
'How can I help it?' exploded Philip Philipovich. 'Don't you know
this house used to be like?'
'You take too black a view of things, Philip Philipovich,' objected
handsome Bormenthal. 'There is a considerable change for the better
'My dear fellow, you know me, don't you? I am a man of facts, a man
observes. I'm the enemy of unsupported hypotheses. And I'm known as
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
you: there is a hat-stand and a rack for boots and galoshes in this
'Interesting . . .'
Galoshes - hell. Who cares about galoshes, thought the dog, but he's
great fellow all the same.
'Yes, a rack for galoshes. I have been living in this house since
And from then until March 1917 there was not one case - let me
red pencil not one case - of a single pair of galoshes disappearing
that rack even when the front door was open. There are, kindly note,
flats in this house and a constant stream of people coming to my
consulting-rooms. One fine day in March 1917 all the galoshes
including two pairs of mine, three walking sticks, an overcoat and
porter's samovar. And since then the rack has ceased to exist. And I
mention the boiler. The rule apparently is - once a social
place there's no need to stoke the boiler. But I ask you: why, when
whole business started, should everybody suddenly start clumping up
the marble staircase in dirty galoshes and felt boots? Why must we
our galoshes under lock and key? And put a soldier on guard over
prevent them from being stolen? Why has the carpet been removed from
front staircase? Did Marx forbid people to keep their staircases
Did Karl Marx say anywhere that the front door of No. 2 Kalabukhov
Prechistenka Street must be boarded up so that people have to go
come in by the back door? WTiat good does it do anybody? Why can't
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
liqueurs after dinner. They weigh on the digestion and are bad for
. . . Nothing of the sort! The proletarians do have galoshes now and
galoshes are - mine! The very ones that vanished in the spring of
removed them, you may ask? Did I remove them? Impossible. The
Sablin?' (Philip Philipovich pointed upwards to the ceiling.) 'The
idea's laughable. Polozov, the sugar manufacturer?' (Philip
pointed to one side.) 'Never! You see? But if they'd only take them
they come up the staircase!' (Philip Philipovich started to turn
'Why on earth do they have to remove the flowers from the landing?
the electricity, which to the best of my recollection has only
in the past twenty years, now go out regularly once a month?
Doctor Bormenthal, are terrible things. You who know my latest work
realise that better than anybody.' 'The place is going to ruin,
'No,' countered Philip Philipovich quite firmly. 'No. You must first
all refrain, my dear Ivan Arnoldovich, from using that word. It's a
a vapour, a fiction,' Philip Philipovich spread out his short
producing a double shadow like two skulls on the tablecloth. 'What
mean by ruin? An old woman with a broomstick? A witch who smashes
windows and puts out all the lights? No such thing. What do you mean
word?' Philip Philipovich angrily enquired of an unfortunate
hanging upside down by the sideboard, then answered the question
'I'll tell you what it is: if instead of operating every evening I
start a glee club in my apartment, that would mean that I was on the
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
Petrovna were to do the same thing, the lavatory would be ruined.
therefore, is not caused by lavatories but it's something that
people's heads. So when these clowns start shouting "Stop the ruin!"
laugh!' (Philip Philipovich's face became so distorted that the
mouth fell open.) 'I swear to you, I find it laughable! Every one of
needs to hit himself on the back of the head and then when he has
all the hallucinations out of himself and gets on with sweeping out
backyards - which is his real job - all this "ruin" will
disappear. You can't serve two gods! You can't sweep the dirt out of
tram tracks and settle the fate of the Spanish beggars at the same
one can ever manage it, doctor - and above all it can't be done by
who are two hundred years behind the rest of Europe and who so far
even manage to do up their own fly-buttons properly!'
Philip Philipovich had worked himself up into a frenzy. His
nostrils were dilated. Fortified by his ample dinner he thundered
ancient prophet and his hair shone like a silver halo.
His words sounded to the sleepy dog like a dull subterranean rumble.
first he dreamed uneasily that the owl with its stupid yellow eyes
hopped off its branch, then he dreamed about the vile face of that
his dirty white cap, then of Philip Philipovich's dashing moustaches
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
the dog's stomach.
He could earn plenty of money by talking at political meetings, the
thought sleepily. That was a great speech. Still, he's rolling in
'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
person in the country with the job of moderating the vocal outbursts
honest citizenry. You talk about ruin. I tell you, doctor, that
change for the better in this house, or in any other house for that
until you can make these people stop talking claptrap! As soon as
an end to this mad chorus the situation will automatically change
'You sound like a counter-revolutionary, Philip Philipovich,' said
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
can't tolerate. What the devil is it supposed to mean, anyway?
That's why I say there's nothing counter-revolutionary in what I
full of sound sense and a lifetime of experience.'
At this point Philip Philipovich pulled the end of his luxurious
out of his collar. Crumpling it up he laid it beside his unfinished
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
notes and handed them to the doctor, saying, 'You are due for 40
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
For one thing the rabbit has died and for another Aida is on at the
this evening. It's a long time since I heard it. I love it ... Do
remember that duet? Pom-pom-ti-pom . . .'
'How do you find time for it, Philip Philipovich?' asked the doctor
'One can find time for everything if one is never in a hurry,'
explained his host didactically. 'Of course if I started going to
and carolling like a nightingale all day long, I'd never find time
anywhere' - the repeater in Philip Philipovich's pocket struck its
chimes as he pressed the button - 'It starts at nine. I'll go in
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
of this "ruin" . . . Look, Ivan Arnoldovich, you must go and take a
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
and stitch him up. I want his flank to heal . . .'
He's worrying about me, thought the dog, good for him. Now I know
he is. He's the wizard, the magician, the sorcerer out of those
tales ... I can't have dreamed it all. Or have I? (The dog shuddered
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 frozen asphalt, hunger, evil-minded humans . . . the factory
the snow . . . God, it will be unbearable . . .!
But none of that happened. It was the freezing doorway which
like a bad dream and never came back.
Clearly the country was not yet in a total state of ruin. In spite
it the grey accordion-shaped radiators under the windows filled with
twice a day and warmth flowed in waves through the whole apartment.
had obviously drawn the winning ticket in the dogs' lottery. Never
twice a day his eyes filled with tears of gratitude towards the sage
Prechistenka. Every mirror in the living-room or the hall reflected
good-looking, successful dog.
I am handsome. Perhaps I'm really a dog prince, living incognito,
the dog as he watched the shaggy, coffee-coloured dog with the smug
expression strolling about in the mirrored distance. I wouldn't be
if my grandmother didn't have an affair with a labrador. Now that I
my muzzle, I see there's a white patch on it. I wonder how it got
Philip Philipovich is a man of great taste -he wouldn't just pick up
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
apartment was incomparable. Apart from the fact that Darya Petrovna
heap of meat-scraps for 18 kopecks every day at the Smolensk market,
was dinner every evening in the dining-room at seven o'clock, at
dog was always present despite protests from the elegant Zina. It
these meals that Philip Philipovich acquired his final title to
The dog stood on his hind legs and nibbled his jacket, the dog
recognise Philip Philipovich's ring at the door - two loud, abrupt
proprietorial pushes on the bell - and would run barking out into
The master was enveloped in a dark brown fox-fur coat, which
millions of snowflakes and smelled of mandarin oranges, cigars,
lemons, petrol, eau de cologne and cloth, and his voice, like a
boomed all through the apartment.
'Why did you ruin the owl, you little monkey? Was the owl doing you
harm? Was it, now? Why did you smash the portrait of Professor
'He needs at least one good whipping, Philip Philipovich,' said Zina
indignantly, 'or he'll become completely spoiled. Just look what
to your galoshes.'
'No one is to be beaten,' said Philip Philipovich heatedly,
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
Ow-ow, whined the dog, crawling on his belly and splaying out his
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
along on his rump as if he were doing a circus act. In the middle of
study floor lay the glass-eyed owl. From its disembowelled stomach
stream of red rags that smelled of mothballs. Scattered on the desk
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
brute, and then - bang! - he had the owl by the tail. Before I knew
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
to have his nose rubbed in the owl. He wept bitter tears and
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
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
disappeared into the bathroom, where he planned to pull the collar
against a box or a basket. Soon, however, the dog realised that he
simply a fool. Zina took him walking on the lead along Obukhov
dog trotted along like a prisoner under arrest, burning with shame,
he walked along Prechistenka Street as far as the church of Christ
Saviour he soon realised exactly what a collar means in life. Mad
burned in the eyes of every dog he met and at Myortvy Street a
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
with approval and respect. When they returned home the most amazing
all happened - with his own hands Fyodor the porter opened the front
admit Sharik and Zina, remarking to Zina as he did so: 'What a sight
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
first visit to the supreme paradise from which hitherto he had been
categorically barred - the realm of the cook, Darya Petrovna. Two
inches of Darya's kitchen was worth more than all the rest of the
Every day flames roared and flashed in the tiled, black-leaded
Delicious crackling sounds came from the oven. Tortured by perpetual
and unquenchable passion, Darya Petrovna's face was a constant livid
slimy and greasy. In the neat coils over her ears and in the blonde
the back of her head flashed twenty-two imitation diamonds. Golden
hung on hooks round the walls, the whole kitchen seethed with
covered pans bubbled and hissed . . .
'Get out!' screamed Darya Petrovna. 'Get out, you no-good little
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
What d'you mean - thief? Haven't you noticed my new collar? He
towards the door, his muzzle raised appealingly towards her.
The dog Sharik possessed some secret which enabled him to win
hearts. Two days later he was stretched out beside the coal-scuttle
Darya Petrovna at work. With a thin sharp knife she cut off the
claws of a flock of helpless grouse, then like a merciless
scooped the guts out of the fowls, stripped the flesh from the bones
it into the mincer. Sharik meanwhile gnawed a grouse's head. Darya
fished lumps of soaking bread out of a bowl of milk, mixed them on a
with the minced meat, poured cream over the whole mixture, sprinkled
salt and kneaded it into cutlets. The stove was roaring like a
frying pan sizzled, popped and bubbled. The oven door swung open
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
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
a gateway, and with one ear cocked in curiosity he watched through
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.
her face, except her powdered nose, glowed with agony and passion. A
of light lay across a picture of a man with a black moustache and
from which hung a little Easter loaf.
'Don't go too far,' muttered Darya Petrovna in the half-darkness.
it! Zina will be back soon. What's the matter with you - have you
'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
of the All-Russian Surgical Society, then the great man would settle
a deep armchair in his study. There were no ceiling lights; the only
came from a green-shaded lamp on the desk. Sharik lay on the carpet
shadows, unable to take his eyes off the horrors that lined the
Human brains floated in a disgustingly acrid, murky liquid in glass
jars. On his forearms, bared to the elbow, the great man wore red
globes as his blunt, slippery fingers delved into the convoluted
matter. Now and again he would pick up a small glistening knife and
slice off a spongey yellow chunk of brain.
'. . . "to the banks of the sa-acred Nile . . .," ' he hummed
licking his lips as he remembered the gilded auditorium of the
It was the time of evening when the central heating was at its
The heat from it floated up to the ceiling, from there dispersing
the room. In the dog's fur the warmth wakened the last flea, which
somehow managed to escape Philip Philipovich's comb. The carpets
all sound in the flat. Then, from far away, came the sound of the
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
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
his breakfast - half a bowl of porridge and yesterday's mutton-bone
without the least relish. Bored, he went padding up and down the
whining at his own reflection. The rest of the morning, after Zina
him for his walk along the avenue, passed normally. There were no
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
coloured pictures spread out in front of him on the desk. It was
supper-time. The dog was slightly cheered by the news from the
the second course tonight was turkey. As he was walking down the
dog heard the startling, unexpected noise of Philip Philipovich's
bell ringing. Philip Philipovich picked up the receiver, listened
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
ran in, pursued by the voice of Darya Petrovna grumbling that the
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
Doctor Bormenthal, who brought with him an evil-smelling trunk and
waiting to remove his coat started heaving it down the corridor into
consulting-room. Philip Philipovich put down his unfinished cup of
which normally he would never do, and ran out to meet Bormenthal,
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
'Out of my way, animal! Hurry, hurry, hurry!' cried Philip
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
to let anybody in. I need you here. Doctor Bormenthal - please
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
began running back and forth between the consulting-room and the
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
What an outrage ... In an odd frame of mind, half resentful, half
he spent about a quarter of an hour in the bathroom. He felt
Right. This means the end of your galoshes tomorrow, Philip
Philipovich, he thought. You've already had to buy two new pairs.
going to have to buy another. That'll teach you to lock up dogs.
Suddenly a violent thought crossed his mind. Instantly and clearly
remembered a scene from his earliest youth -a huge sunny courtyard
Preobrazhensky Gate, slivers of sunlight reflected in broken
brick-rubble, and a free world of stray dogs.
No, it's no use. I could never leave this place now. Why pretend?
the dog, with a sniff. I've got used to this life. I'm a gentleman's
now, an intelligent being, I've tasted better things. Anyhow, what
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
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
stood up on end, as he had an eerie feeling that a horrible, wolfish
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
the collar into the consulting-room. The dog felt a sudden chill
What do they want me for? he wondered suspiciously. My side has
up - I don't get it. Sliding along on his paws over the slippery
was pulled into the consulting-room. There he was immediately
shocked by the
unusually brilliant lighting. A white globe on the ceiling shone so
that it hurt his eyes. In the white glare stood the high priest,
through his teeth something about the sacred Nile. The only way of
recognising him as Philip Philipovich was a vague smell. His
grey hair was hidden under a white cap, making him look as if he
dressed up as a patriarch; the divine figure was all in white and
white, like a stole, he wore a narrow rubber apron. His hands were
The other doctor was also there. The long table was fully unfolded,
small square box placed beside it on a shining stand.
The dog hated the other doctor more than anyone else and more than
because of the look in his eyes. Usually frank and bold, they now
in all directions to avoid the dog's eyes. They were watchful,
and in their depths lurked something mean and nasty, even criminal.
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.
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
Ugh, disgusting . . . wonder why I feel so queer . . ., thought the
as he dodged away.
'Hurry, doctor,' said Philip Philipovich impatiently. There was a
sharp, sweet smell in the air. The doctor, without taking his
watchful eyes off the dog slipped his right hand out from behind his
and quickly clamped a pad of damp cotton wool over the dog's nose.
went dumb, his head spinning a little, but he still managed to jump
The doctor jumped after him and rapidly smothered his whole muzzle
wool. His breathing stopped, but again the dog jerked himself away.
bastard . . ., flashed through his mind. Why? And down came the pad
Then a lake suddenly materialised in the middle of the
floor. On it was a boat, rowed by a crew of extraordinary pink dogs.
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
Fear vanished and gave way to joy. For two seconds the dog loved the
had bitten. Then the whole world turned upside down and he felt a
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
shaven and now Doctor Bormenthal, breathing heavily, was hurriedly
Sharik's head with clippers that ate through his fur. Philip
leaning on the edge of the table, watched the process through his
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
once. If we have a haemorrhage then we shall lose time and lose the
any case, he hasn't a chance . . .' He was silent, frowning, and
ironic look at the dog's half-closed eye, then added: 'Do you know,
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
unfortunate Sharik's great sacrificial venture. Bormenthal laid
clippers and picked up a razor. He lathered the defenceless little
started to shave it. The blade scraped across the skin, nicked it
blood. Having shaved the head the doctor wiped it with an alcohol
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.
Zina disappeared. Bormenthal busied himself further. He surrounded
Shank's head with tight gauze wadding, which framed the odd sight of
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
the small table and handed it to the great man. He too then donned a
'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,
incision down the length of Sharik's belly. The skin parted
spurting blood in several directions. Bormenthal swooped like a
began dabbing Sharik's wound with swabs of gauze, then gripped its
with a row of little clamps like sugar-tongs, and the bleeding
Droplets of sweat oozed from Bormenthal's forehead. Philip
a second incision and again Sharik's body was pulled apart by hooks,
scissors and little clamps. Pink and yellow tissues emerged, oozing
blood. Philip Philipovich turned the scalpel in the wound, then
Like a conjuring trick the instrument materialised in Bormenthal's
hand. Philip Philipovich delved deep and with a few twists he
testicles and some dangling attachments from Sharik's body. Dripping
exertion and excitement Bormenthal leapt to a glass jar and removed
two more wet, dangling testicles, their short, moist, stringy
dangling like elastic in the hands of the professor and his
bent needles clicked faintly 54
against the clamps as the new testicles were sewn in place of
The priest drew back from the incision, swabbed it and gave the
'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
murderers working against the clock.
'Scalpel!' cried Philip Philipovich.
The scalpel seemed to leap into his hand as though of its own
at which point Philip Philipovich's expression grew quite fearsome.
his gold and porcelain bridge-work, in a single stroke he incised a
fillet around Sharik's head. The scalp, with its shaven hairs, was
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
holes, a centimetre apart, around the top of Sharik's skull. Each
no more than five seconds to drill. Then with a saw of the most
design he put its point into the first hole and began sawing through
skull as though he were making a lady's fretwork sewing-basket. The
shook and squeaked faintly. After three minutes the roof of the
The dome of Sharik's brain was now laid bare - grey, threaded with
bluish veins and spots of red. Philip Philipovich plunged his
between the membranes and eased them apart. Once a thin stream of
spurted up, almost hitting the professor in the eye and spattering
cap. Like a tiger Bormenthal pounced in with a tourniquet and
Sweat streamed down his face, which was growing puffy and mottled.
flicked to and fro from the professor's hand to the
Philipovich was positively awe-inspiring. A hoarse snoring noise
his nose, his teeth were bared to the gums. He peeled aside layers
cerebral membrane and penetrated deep between the hemispheres of the
It was then that Bor-menthal went pale, and seizing Sharik's breast
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,
syringe with the liquid and treacherously injected the dog near his
'I'm coming to the turkish saddle,' growled Philip Philipovich. With
his slippery, bloodstained gloves he removed Sharik's greyish-yellow
from his head. For a second he glanced at Sharik's muzzle and
snapped open a second ampoule of yellow liquid and sucked it into
'Shall I do it straight into the heart?' he enquired cautiously.
'Don't waste time asking questions!' roared the professor angrily.
could die five times over while you're making up your mind. Inject,
What are you waiting for?' His face had the look of an inspired
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 ...
..."... the banks of the sa-acred Nile" . . . give me the gland.'
Bormenthal handed him a beaker containing a white blob suspended on
thread in some fluid. With one hand ('God, there's no one like him
Europe,' thought Bormenthal) he fished out the dangling blob and
other hand, using the scissors, he excised a similar blob from deep
the separated cerebral hemispheres. Sharik's blob he threw on to a
the new one he inserted into the brain with a piece of thread. Then
stumpy fingers, now miraculously delicate and sensitive, sewed the
amber-coloured thread cunningly into place. After that he removed
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
Five minutes later Bormenthal had sewn up the dog's head, breaking
There on the bloodstained pillow lay Sharik's slack, lifeless
circular wound on his tonsured head. Like a satisfied vampire Philip
Philipovich finally stepped back, ripped off one glove, shook out of
cloud of sweat-drenched powder, tore off the other one, threw it on
ground and rang the bell in the wall. Zina appeared in the doorway,
away to avoid seeing the blood-spattered dog. With chalky hands the
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
Subject of experiment: Male dog aged approx. 2 years.
Coat sparse, in tufts, brownish with traces of singeing. Tail the
colour of baked milk. On right flank traces of healed second-degree
Previous nutritional state -poor. After a week's stay with Prof.
Preobrazhensky -extremely well nourished. Weight: 8 kilograms (!).
. . Lungs: . . . Stomach: . . . Temperature: . . .
December 23rd At 8.05pm Prof. Preobrazhensky commenced the first
operation of its kind to be performed in Europe: removal under
of the dog's testicles and their replacement by implanted human
appendages and seminal ducts, taken from a 28-year-old human male,
hours and 4 minutes before the operation and kept by Prof.
sterilised physiological fluid.
Immediately thereafter, following a trepanning operation on the
roof, the pituitary gland was removed and replaced by a human
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.
of the effect of combined transplantation of the pituitary and
order to study both the functional viability in a host-organism and
in cellular etc. rejuvenation.
Operation performed by; Prof. P. P. Preobrazhensky. Assisted by: Dr
A. Bormenthal. During the night following the operation, frequent
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
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
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
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
December 1st (deleted; corrected to): January 1st 1925. Dog
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:
is 'delicatessen' . . . Quite extraord . . .
January 2nd Dog photographed by magnesium flash while smiling. Got
and remained confidently on hind legs for a half-hour. Now nearly my
(Loose page inserted into notebook): Russian science almost suffered
serious blow. History of Prof. P. P. Preobrazhensky's illness:
1.13pm Prof. Preobrazhensky falls into deep faint. On falling,
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
the word 'liquor'.
Recording apparatus switched on. God knows what's happening.
Professor has ceased to see patients. From 5pm this evening sounds
vulgar abuse issuing from the consulting-room, where the creature is
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
Russian swear-word. His appearance is strange. He now only has hair
head, chin and chest. Elsewhere he is bald, with flabby skin. His
region now has the appearance of an immature human male. His skull
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
and old women . . . Dogs still crowding round beneath the windows.
report in the morning papers: The rumours of a Martian in Obukhov
totally unfounded. They have been spread by black-market traders and
repetition will be severely punished. What Martian, for God's sake?
turning into a nightmare.
Reports in today's evening paper even worse - they say that a child
been born who could play the violin from birth. Beside it is a
myself with the caption: 'Prof. Preobrazhensky performing a
operation on the mother.' The situation is getting out of hand ...
now say a new word - 'policeman' . . .
Apparently Darya Petrovna was in love with me and pinched the
of me out of Philip Philipovich's photograph album. After I had
all the reporters one of them sneaked back into the kitchen, and so
Consulting hours are now impossible. Eighty-two telephone calls
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
error: transplantation of the pituitary induces not rejuvenation but
humanisation (underlined three times). This does not, however,
value of his stupendous discovery.
The creature walked round the flat today for the first time. Laughed
the corridor after looking at the electric light. Then, accompanied
Philip Philipovich and myself, he went into the study. Stands firmly
hind (deleted) ... his legs and gives the impression of a short,
Laughed in the study. His smile is disagreeable and somehow
Then he scratched the back of his head, looked round and registered
further, clearly-pronounced word: 'Bourgeois'. Swore. His swearing
methodical, uninterrupted and apparently totally meaningless. There
something mechanical about it - it is as if this creature had heard
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,
observation of new phenomena and appears to lose patience. Once when
creature was swearing, for instance, he suddenly burst out
'Shut up!' This had no effect.
After his visit to the study Sharik was shut up in the
by our joint efforts. Philip Philipovich and I then held a
confess that this was the first time I had seen this self-assured
intelligent man at a loss. He hummed a little, as he is in the habit
doing, then asked: 'What are we going to do now?' He answered
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
explained: 'Ivan Arnold-ovich, please go and buy him some underwear,
jacket and trousers.'
January 9th The creature's vocabulary is being enriched by a new
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
out, the word remains in use. Since yesterday evening the machine
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
even laughing cheerfully. He refused underpants, though, protesting
'Stop queue-barging, you bastards!' Finally we dressed him. The
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
rear lialf of the skeleton of the foot is lengthening. Elongation of
toes. Nails. (With appropriate sketches.)
Repeated systematic toilet training. The servants are angry and
However, the creature is undoubtedly intelligent. The experiment is
January llth Quite reconciled to wearing clothes, although was heard
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
dropped from his ears. Colossal appetite. Enjoys salted herring. At
occurred a significant event: for the first time the words spoken by
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.'
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
he gave a sullen look, but said nothing. Hurrah - he understands!
January 12th. Put hands in pockets. We are teaching him not to
Whistled, 'Hey, little apple'. Sustained conversation. I cannot
certain hypotheses: we must forget rejuvenation for the time being.
other aspect is immeasurably more important. Prof. Preobrazhensky's
astounding experiment has revealed one of the secrets of the human
The mysterious function of the pituitary as an adjunct to the brain
been clarified. It determines human appearance. Its hormones may now
regarded as the most important in the whole organism - the hormones
image. A new field has been opened up to science; without the aid of
Faustian retorts a homunculus has been created. The surgeon's
brought to life a new human entity. Prof. Preobrazhensky-you are a
But I digress ... As stated, he can now sustain a conversation. As I
see it, the situation is as follows: the implanted pituitary has
the speech-centre in the canine brain and words have poured out in a
I do not think that we have before us a newly-created brain but a
which has been stimulated to develop. Oh, what a glorious
the theory of evolution! Oh, the sublime chain leading from a dog to
Mendeleyev the great chemist! A further hypothesis of mine is that
its canine stage Sharik's brain had accumulated a massive quantity
sense-data. All the words which he used initially were the language
streets which he had picked up and stored in his brain. Now as I
the streets I look at every dog I meet with secret horror. God knows
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
beginning. And I even know the solution to this puzzle - it lies in
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
rumours that the end of the world is imminent and has been caused by
Bolsheviks. Darya Petrovna told me about this and even named the
November 28th, 1925, the day of St Stephen the Martyr, when the
spiral off into infinity. . . . Some charlatans are already giving
about it. We have started such a rumpus with this pituitary
I have had to leave my flat. I have moved in with Preobrazhensky and
in the waiting-room with Sharik. The consulting-room has been turned
new waiting-room. Shvender was right. Trouble is brewing with the
committee. There is not a single glass left, as he will jump on to
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
personality, he hummed and hahed, then said: 'Do you really think
tone was ominous. Have I made a mistake? Then he had an idea. While
up these case-notes, Preobrazhensky made a careful study of the
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
with theft and acquitted - on the first occasion for lack of
the second case saved by his social origin, the third time put on
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,
I cannot understand why. He grunted something about the pathologist
failed to make a complete examination of Chugunkin's body. What does
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
(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
must be studied as such. appendices: Verbatim reports of speech,
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
hung a sheet of paper, on which was written in Philip Philipovich's
I forbid the consumption of sunflower seeds in this flat.
Below this in big, thick letters Bormenthal had written in blue
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.
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
lamp on the sideboard shining beneath its dark cerise shade. Its
reflected in random shafts all over the room, as the mirror was
side to side and had been stuck in place with a criss-cross of tape.
over the table, Philip Philipovich was absorbed in the large double
an open newspaper. His face was working with fury and through his
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
glittering sword ofjustice fi'ashes over him like a red ray. Sh . .
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
Shining' mingled in Philip Philipovich's head with the words of the
sickening newspaper article. When he had read it he pretended to
his shoulder and hummed absentmindedly through his teeth: ' "The
shining . . . shining bright . . . the moon is shining . . ." God,
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
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
His hair grew in clumps of bristles like a stubble field and on his
a meadow of unsliaven fluff. His brow was strikingly low. A thick
hair began almost immediately above his spreading eyebrows.
His jacket, torn under the left armpit, was covered with bits of
his checked trousers had a hole on the right knee and the left leg
stained with violet paint. Round the man's neck was a poisonously
blue tie with a gilt tiepin. The colour of the tie was so garish
whenever Philip Philipovich covered his tired eyes and gazed at the
darkness of the ceiling or the wall, he imagined he saw a flaming
a blue halo. As soon as he opened them he was blinded again, dazzled
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
doorway stared at the professor with lacklustre eyes and smoked a
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
'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
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
them? What did I tell you? I told you to find yourself a pair of
boots. Just look at them. You don't mean to tell me that Doctor
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
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
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
maids, but you'd think they were commissars. It's Zina - she's
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
For the hundredth time - don't throw cigarette ends on to the floor.
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
Cease all further conversation with Zina. She complains that you
her room at night. And don't be rude to my patients! Where do'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
to hear that word again! You will address me by my name and
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
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
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 . . .
stared up at the ceiling as though trying to remember a phrase he
taught) . . . nor would my relatives. I bet I could sue you if I
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
dustbins again? Or freezing in doorways? Well, if I'd known that I
. . .'
'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
'My name is Philip Philipovich!' exclaimed the professor irritably.
'I'm not your comrade! This is monstrous!' ('I can't stand it much
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
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
it out, with a look on his face which clearly said: 'Drop dead!'
out his cigarette he suddenly clicked his teeth and poked his nose
'You're supposed to catch fleas with your fingersV shouted Philip
Philipovich in fury. 'Anyhow, how is it that you still have any
'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
fingers through the lining of his jacket, scratched around and
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
flea, the man sat down in a chair, sticking his thumbs behind the
his jacket. Squinting down at the parquet, he inspected his boots,
gave him great pleasure. Philip Philipovich also looked down at the
highlights glinting on the man's blunt-toed boots, frowned and
'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
'Now, look,' said the man firmly. 'I can't manage without papers.
all you know damn well that people who don't have any papers aren't
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
'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
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
'Hell, I don't know exactly. Anyway, you needn't be sarcastic about
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
'Easy. Put me on the register. They say they've never heard of
being allowed to live in Moscow without being registered. That's for
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
on my own passport? One must, after all, be realistic. Don't forget
are . . . h'm, well. . . you are what you might call a ... an
phenomenon, an artefact . . .' Philip Philipovich sounded less and
Triumphant, the man said nothing.
'Very well. Let's assume that in the end we shall have to register
if only to please this house committee of yours. The trouble is -
'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
allowed to swear in the RSFSR.'
Blood rushed to Philip Philipovich's face. He filled a glass,
it as he did so. Having drunk from another one, he thought: 'Much
this, and he'll start teaching me how to behave, and he'll be right.
He turned round, made an exaggeratedly polite bow and said with iron
self-control: 'I beg your pardon. My nerves are slightly upset. Your
struck me as a little odd, that is all. Where, as a matter of
you dig it up?'
'The house committee helped me. We looked in the calendar. And I
'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
'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
in front of the professor's desk. Doctor Bormen-thal was seated in
armchair. The doctor's glowing face (he had just come in from the
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
is really Poligraph Poligraphovich Sharikov . . . h'm, born in, h'm
. . .
Bormenthal wriggled uneasily in his armchair. Philip Philipovich
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
to decide whether he was born or not ... It was your experiment,
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.
has a right to take part in a discussion about his affairs,
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
me with trivialities. What's it to do with you?' And he hurled the
back on to the hook.
Delight spread over Shvonder's face.
Purpling, Philip Philipovich roared: 'Right, let's get this
He tore a sheet of paper from a notepad and scribbled a few words,
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
experiment by means of an operation on the brain and that he
identity papers" . . .'I object in principle to his having these
documents, but still . . . Signed:
"Professor Preobrazhensky!" '
'Really, professor,' said Shvonder in an offended voice. 'What do
mean by calling these documents idiotic? I can't allow an
tenant to go on living in this house, especially one who hasn't been
registered with the police for military service. Supposing war
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
political consciousness, citizen Sharikov. You must register for
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
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
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
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
the receiver off the rest so that it hung down, spinning slightly,
blue cord. Everybody jumped. 'The old man's getting rattled,'
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
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
stifled woman's scream, then silence. An evil spirit dashed down the
corridor, turned into the consulting-room where it produced another
and immediately turned back. Doors slammed and Darya Petrovna's low
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
the bathroom and the kitchen. Zina came dashing out of the kitchen
full tilt into Philip Philipovich.
'How many times have I told you not to let cats into the flat,'
Philip Philipovich in fury. 'Where is he? Ivan Amoldovich, for God's
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
'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
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
open. Darya Petrovna, clothes torn and face distorted with anger,
in the kitchen doorway. Then the glass transom window, high up in
between the bathroom and the kitchen, shattered with a multiple
large fragments crashed into the kitchen followed by a tabby cat of
proportions with a face like a policeman and a blue bow round its
fell on to the middle of the table, right into a long platter, which
broke in half. From there it fell to the floor, turned round on
as it waved the fourth in the air as though executing a dance-step,
instantly streaked out through the back door, which was slightly
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
with her index and second fingers, stared round the kitchen with
eyes that burned with curiosity and she said:
'Oh, my lord!'
Pale, Philip Philipovich crossed the kitchen and asked
'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
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
'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
however often I throw them out.'
A dull, threatening roar of water was still coming from the
although Sharikov was now silent. Doctor Bormenthal came in.
'Please, Ivan Amoldovich ... er... how many patients are there in
'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
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 . . .'
Philip Philipovich, working himself into a frenzy. Zina and Darya
opened the kitchen door and peeped out. Once again Philip
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
appeared through the broken transom and leaned out into the kitchen
eyes were tear-stained and there was a long scratch down his nose,
'Have you gone out of your mind?' asked Philip Philipovich. 'Why
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,
'There's a sort of button on the lock,' shouted Philip Philipovich,
trying to out-roar the water. 'Press it downwards . . . press it
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
to catch the bastard by the leg I turned on the tap and now I can't
Appalled, all three wrung their hands in horror.
Five minutes later Bormenthal, Zina and Darya Petrovna were sitting
a row on a damp carpet that had been rolled up against the foot of
bathroom door, pressing it hard with their bottoms. Fyodor the
climbing up a ladder into the transom window, with the lighted
Darya Petrovna's ikon in his hand. His posterior, clad in broad grey
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
we'll have to open the door and let the water out. We can mop it up
'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
three streams - one straight into the lavatory opposite, one to the
into the kitchen and one to the left into the hall. Splashing and
Zina shut the door into the hall. Fyodor emerged, up to his ankles
and for some reason grinning. He was soaking wet and looked as if he
'The water-pressure was so strong, I only just managed to turn it
'Where is he?' asked Philip Philipovich, cursing as he lifted one
'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
knees, and Sharikov and the porter barefoot with rolled-up trousers
hard at work mopping up the kitchen floor with wet cloths, squeezing
out into dirty buckets and into the sink. The abandoned stove roared
The water swirled out of the back door, down the well of the back
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,
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.
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,
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
'When is the operation?' said an insistent voice as it tried to
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
battle-scared Sharikov had thought up a new method. He rolled up an
cloth, lay on his stomach in the water and pushed it backwards from
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
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
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
floor, clutching a soup tureen.
Bormenthal slammed the door, unable to contain himself any longer
burst into laughter. Philip Philipovich blew out his nostrils and
'What are you talking about?' he asked Sharikov from the eminence of
'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,' went on Philip Philipovich, 'are nothing but a lout. How dare
you say that? You caused the whole thing and you have the gall . . .
really! It's too much!'
'Tell me, Sharikov,' said Bormenthal, 'how much longer are you going
chase cats? You ought to be ashamed of yourself. It's disgraceful!
'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.
stole Darya's mincemeat. I wanted to teach it a lesson.'
'You should teach yourself a lesson!' replied Philip Philipovich.
take a look at your face in the mirror.'
'Nearly scratched my eyes out,' said Sharikov gloomily, wiping a
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
had stopped ringing. Philip Philipovich in red morocco slippers was
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
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
to mention it, but it's the matter of the window-pane in No 7.
Sharikov threw some stones at it, you see . . .'
'Did he throw them at a cat?' asked Philip Philipovich, frowning
'Well, no, he was throwing them at the owner of the flat. He's
threatening to sue.'
'Sharikov tried to kiss their cook and they threw him out. They had
bit of a fight, it seems.'
'For God's sake, do you have to tell me all these disasters at once?
'One rouble and 50 kopecks.'
Philip Philipovich took out three shining 50-kopeck pieces and
them to Fyodor.
'And on top of it all you have to pay 1 rouble and 50 kopecks
of that damned cat,' grumbled a voice from the doorway. 'It was all
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
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
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.
take the mayonnaise away from Sharikov.'
'Hey, don't do that,' said Sharikov plaintively. 'I'll put it on
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
'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
with such complete confidence. Of course I don't grudge you the
especially as it's not mine but belongs to Philip Philipovich. It's
that it's harmful. That's for a start; secondly you behave badly
without vodka.' Bormenthal pointed to where the sideboard had been
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
with a sideways glance at Bormenthal, poured himself out a glassful.
'You should offer it to the others first,' said Bormenthal. 'Like
- first to Philip Philipovich, then to me, then yourself.'
A faint, sarcastic grin nickered across Sharikov's mouth and he
out glasses of vodka all round.
'You act just as if you were on parade here,' he said. 'Put your
here, your tie there, "please", "thank you", "excuse me" -why can't
behave naturally? Honestly, you stuffed shirts act as if it was
'What do you mean by "behave naturally"?'
Sharikov did not answer Philip Philipovich's question, but raised
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
of bread to his nose, sniffed it, then swallowed it as his eyes
'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
eyes: 'Do you suppose so, Philip Philipovich?' 'I don't suppose; I'm
'Can it be that . . .' began Bormenthal, then stopped after a glance
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
clearer and he looked rather more approvingly at Sharikov, whose
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
up to his eye and looked through it as though it were an opera
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
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
pouring himself half a glass of vodka.
'Zina!' cried Philip Philipovich anxiously. 'Clear away the vodka,
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
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
Philip Philipovich put his elbows on the table, stared at Sharikov
'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
you suggest instead?'
'Suggest? I dunno . . . They just write and write all that rot ...
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
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?'
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
doctor?' 'Thirty-nine,' was Bormenthal's immediate reply. 'H'm . . .
roubles, shared between us three. I won't count Zina and Darya
Right, Sharikov - that means your share is 130 roubles. Kindly hand
'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
yesterday was intolerable, and thanks to you I had to turn away all
patients. You were leaping around in the bathroom like a savage,
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.
intellectually weak, all your actions are purely bestial. Yet you
yourself in the presence of two university-educated men to offer
with quite intolerable familiarity, on a cosmic scale and of quite
stupidity, on the redistribution of wealth . . . and at the same
eat toothpaste . . .'
'The day before yesterday,' added Bormenthal.
'And now,' thundered Philip Philipovich, 'that you have nearly got
nose scratched off - incidentally, why have you wiped the zinc
it? - you can just shut up and listen to what you're told. You are
leam to behave and try to become a marginally acceptable member of
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
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
gave the bell a furious jab. 'Today's incident shows it better than
'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
'There's a gang of poisonous people in this house - it's just like
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
his repeater and it gently struck a quarter past eight. As was his
Philip Philipovich leaned against his gothic chairback and turned to
newspaper on a side-table.
'Would you like to go to the circus with him tonight, doctor? Only
check the programme in advance and make sure there are no cats in
'I don't know how they let such filthy beasts into the circus at
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
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
sure about what we're going to see.'
'Nikita's . . . Nikita's . . . h'm . . . elephants and the Ultimate
'I see. What is your attitude to elephants, my dear Sharikov?'
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
the bar! I beg you, Ivan Arnoldovich, not to offer Sharikov beer to
Ten minutes later Ivan Arnoldovich and Sharikov, dressed in a peaked
cap and a raglan overcoat with turned-up collar, set off for the
Silence descended on the flat. Philip Philipovich went into his
switched on the lamp under its heavy green shade, which gave the
great sense of calm, and began to pace the room. The tip of his
long and hard with its pale green fire. The professor put his hands
pockets and deep thoughts racked his balding, learned brow. Now and
smacked his lips, hummed 'to the banks of the sacred Nile . . .' and
muttered something. Finally he put his cigar into the ashtray, went
the glass cabinet and lit up the entire study with the three
in the ceiling. From the third glass shelf Philip Philipovich took
narrow jar and began, frowning, to examine it by the lamplight.
a transparent, viscous liquid there swam a little white blob that
extracted from the depths of Sharik's brain. With a shrug of his
twisting his lips and murmuring to himself, Philip Philipovich
with his eyes as though the floating white blob might unravel the
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
returned the jar to the cabinet, locked it, put the key into his
pocket and collapsed, head pressed down between his shoulders and
thrust deep into his jacket pockets, on to the leather-covered
puffed long and hard at another cigar, chewing its end to fragments.
Finally, looking like a greying Faust in the green-tinged lamplight,
'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
footfall of a belated walker echoed in the distance, ringing out
beyond the lowered blinds, then dying away. In Philip Philipovich's
his repeater chimed gently beneath his fingers in his waistcoat
pocket . . .
Impatiently the professor waited for Doctor Bormenthal and Sharikov
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
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
to Sharikov and handed him some papers. Sharikov put them into his
and immediately called Doctor Bormenthal.
'Kindly address me by my name and patronymic!' retorted Bormenthal,
expression clouding. I should mention that in the past six days the
surgeon had managed to quarrel eight times with his ward Sharikov
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
utter such an idiotic name in my flat. If you want us to stop
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 I'm living in it! Otherwise either I or you will get out, and
likely to be you. I'm putting a "room wanted" advertisement in the
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
by the sleeve.
'Don't you be so impertinent, Monsieur Sharikov!' said Bormenthal,
raising his voice. Sharikov stepped back and pulled three pieces of
out of his pocket - one green, one yellow and one white, and said as
tapped them with his fingers:
'There. I'm now a member of this residential association and the
in charge of flat No. 5, Preobrazhensky, has got to give me my
of thirty-seven square feet . . .' Sharikov thought for a moment and
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
food. Thirty-seven square feet may be all very well, but there's
that stinking little bit of paper which says that I have to feed
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
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
Philipovich and Doctor Bormenthal had to bandage the cut with much
and weeping on Sharikov's part.
Next evening two men sat in the green twilight of the professor's
- Philip Philipovich and the faithful, devoted Bormenthal. The house
asleep. Philip Philipovich was wearing his sky-blue dressing gown
slippers, while Bormenthal was in his shirt and blue braces. On the
table between the doctors, beside a thick album, stood a bottle of
plate of sliced lemon and a box of cigars. Through the smoke-laden
two scientists were heatedly discussing the latest event: that
Sharikov had stolen two 10-rouble notes which had been lying under a
paperweight in Philip Philipovich's study, had disappeared from the
then returned later completely drunk. But that was not all. With him
come two unknown characters who had created a great deal of noise on
front staircase and expressed a desire to spend the night with
individuals in question were only removed after Fyodor, appearing on
scene with a coat thrown over his underwear, had telephoned the 45th
Precinct police station. The individuals vanished instantly as soon
Fyodor had replaced the receiver. After they had gone it was found
malachite ashtray had mysteriously vanished from a console in the
Philip Philipovich's beaver hat and his walking-stick with a gold
inscribed: 'From the grateful hospital staff to Philip Philipovich
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
about not knowing who they were, that they were a couple of bastards
'The strangest thing of all was that they were both drunk . . . How
they manage to lay their hands on the stuff?' said Philip
astonishment, glancing at the place where his presentation
stood until recently.
'They're experts,' explained Fyodor as he returned home to bed with
rouble in his pocket.
Sharikov categorically denied having stolen the 20 roubles, mumbling
something indistinct about himself not being the only person in the
'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
'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
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
But at that moment Zina stopped crying and the others froze in
Sharikov was feeling unwell. Banging his head against the wall, he
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
'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
certain difficulty in enunciation.
The whole affair had occurred around 1 am and now it was Sam, but
two men in the study talked on, fortified by brandy and lemon. The
smoke in the room was so dense that it moved about in slow, flat,
Doctor Bormenthal, pale but determined, raised his thin-stemmed
'Philip Philipovich,' he exclaimed with great feeling, 'I shall
forget how as a half-starved student I came to you and you took me
your wing. Believe me, Philip Philipovich, you are much more to me
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
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.
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
great sincerity. 'Kindly don't talk like that again unless you want
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
leading into the corridor, came back and went on in a whisper:
see, it's the only way out? Naturally I wouldn't dare to offer you
but look at yourself, Philip Philipovich - you're completely worn
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
professor, how that touched me. But I'm not a child either and I can
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.
realise what would happen if they found us out? Because of our
origins" you and I would never get away with it, despite the fact of
being our first offence. I don't suppose your "origins" are any
mine, are they?'
'I suppose not. My father was a plain-clothes policeman in Vilno,'
Bormenthal as he drained his brandy glass.
'There you are, just as I thought. From the Bolshevik's point of
you couldn't have come from a more unsuitable background. Still,
even worse. My father was dean of a cathedral. Perfect. ". . . from
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
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
Philip Philipovich stopped him with a gesture, poured himself a
sipped it, sucked a slice of lemon and said:
'Ivan Arnoldovich. Do you think I understand a little about the
and physiology of, shall we say, the human brain? What's your
'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
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
could ever pull it off. It's obvious. No need to ask. If anybody
tell them that Preobrazhensky said so. Finite. Klim!' - Philip
suddenly cried triumphantly and the glass cabinet vibrated in
'Klim,' he repeated. 'Now, Bormenthal, you are the first pupil of my
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
wouldn't expose me - that this old ass Preobrazhensky bungled that
like a third-year medical student. It's true that it resulted in a
- and you know yourself just what sort of a discovery that was' -
Philip Philipovich pointed sadly with both hands towards the
obviously pointing to Moscow - 'but just remember, Ivan Arnoldovich,
the sole result of that discovery will be that from now on we shall
that creature Sharik hanging round our necks' - here Preobrazhensky
himself on his bent and slightly sclerotic neck - 'of that you may
If someone,' went on Philip Philipovich with relish, 'were to knock
and skewer me right now, I'd give him 50 roubles reward! ". . . from
to Seville ..."... Dammit, I spent five years doing nothing but
cerebral appendages . . . You know how much work I did on the
subject - an
unbelievable amount. And now comes the crucial question - what for?
one fine day a nice litde dog could be transformed into a specimen
so-called humanity so revolting that he makes one's hair stand on
'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
and lift the veil. Result - Sharikov. We have made our bed and now
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
short - I, Philip Preobrazhensky would perform the most difficult
feat of my
whole career by transplanting Spinoza's, or anyone else's pituitary
turning a dog into a highly intelligent being. But what in heaven's
for? That's the point. Will you kindly tell me why one has to
artificial Spinozas when some peasant woman may produce a real one
of the week? After all, the great Lomonosov was the son of a peasant
from Kholmogory. Mankind, doctor, takes care of that. Every year
ruthlessly casts aside the mass of dross and creates a few dozen men
genius who become an ornament to the whole world. Now I hope you
why I condemned the deductions you made from Sharikov's case
discovery, which you are so concerned about, is worth about as much
bent penny . . . No, don't argue, Ivan Arnoldovich, I have given it
thought. I don't give my views lightly, as you well know.
experiment was interesting. Fine. The physiologists will be
Moscow will go mad ... But what is its practical value? What is this
creature?' Preobrazhensky pointed toward the consulting-room where
'An unmitigated scoundrel.'
'But what was Klim . . . Klim,' cried the professor. 'What was Klim
Chugunkin?' (Bormenthal opened his mouth.) 'I'll tell you: two
an alcoholic, "take away all property and divide it up", my beaver
20 roubles gone' - (At this point Philip Philipovich also remembered
presentation walking-stick and turned purple.) - 'the swine! ...
that stick back somehow ... In short the pituitary is a magic box
determines the individual human image. Yes, individual ..."... from
to Seville . . ." ' shouted Philip Philipovich, his eyes rolling
'but not the universal human image. It's the brain itself in
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
human race. And now I've ended up by specialising in rejuvenation.
think I do these rejuvenation operations because of the money, do
you? I am
'And a great scientist!' said Bormenthal, gulping down his brandy.
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
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
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
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
you advice. Never do anything criminal, no matter for what reason.
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
Sharikov may become, by God!'
'Aha, so you realise now, do you? Well I realised it ten days after
operation. My only comfort is that Shvonder is the biggest fool of
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,
realising that if someone in their turn sets Sharikov against
himself, there'll soon be nothing left of Shvonder but the bones and
'You're right. Just think of the way he goes for cats. He's a man
the heart of a dog.'
'Oh, no, no,' drawled Philip Philipovich in reply. 'You're making a
mistake, doctor. For heaven's sake don't insult the dog. His
cats is purely temporary . . . It's a question of discipline, which
dealt with in two or three weeks, I assure you. Another month or so
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
vacuum. It is, after all, grafted on to a canine brain, you must
for it to take root. Sharikov now only shows traces of canine
you must remember this - chasing after cats is the least
he does! The whole horror of the situation is that he now has a
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
Footsteps could be clearly heard approaching the study, and there
mumble of voices. Bormenthal flung open the door and started back in
amazement. Appalled, Philip Philipovich froze in his armchair. In
rectangle of the doorway stood Darya Petrovna in nothing but her
her face hot and furious. Both doctor and professor were dazzled by
amplitude of her powerful body, which their shock caused them to see
naked. Darya Petrovna was dragging something along in her enormous
as that 'something' came to a halt it slid down and sat on its
short legs, covered in black down, folded up on the parquet floor.
'something', of course, was Sharikov, confused, still slightly
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
married, but Zina's an innocent girl. It was a good thing I woke
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
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
'Doctor! I forbid you . . .'
With his right hand Bormenthal picked up Sharikov by the scruff of
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
Philipovich. Bormenthal pulled himself together slightly and let
go. He at once began to whimper.
'Right,' hissed Bormenthal, 'just wait till tomorrow. I'll fix a
demonstration for him when he sobers up.' With this he grabbed
under the armpit and dragged him to his bed in the waiting-room.
tried to kick, but his legs refused to obey him.
Philip Philipovich spread his legs wide, sending the skirts of his
flapping, raised his arms and his eyes towards the lamp in the
ceiling and sighed.
The 'little demonstration' which Bormenthal had promised to lay on
Sharikov did not, however, take place the following morning, because
Poligraph Poligraphovich had disappeared from the house. Bormenthal
to despair, cursing himself for a fool for not having hidden the key
front door. Shouting that this was unforgivable, he ended by wishing
Sharikov would fall under a bus. Philip Philipovich, who was sitting
study running his fingers through his hair, said:
'I can just imagine what he must be up to on the street. . . I can
imagine .. . "from Granada to Seville .. ." My God.'
'He may be with the house committee,' said Bormenthal furiously, and
At the house committee he swore at the chairman, Shvonder, so
that Shvonder sat down and wrote a complaint to the local People's
shouting as he did so that he wasn't Sharikov's bodyguard. Poligraph
Poligraphovich was not very popular at the house committee either,
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
bottom. Nowhere was there a trace to be found of Sharikov.
Only one thing was clear - that Poligraph had left at dawn wearing
scarf and overcoat, taking with him a bottle of rowanberry brandy
sideboard. Doctor Bormenthal's gloves, and all his own documents.
Petrovna and Zina openly expressed their delight and hoped that
would never come back again. Sharikov had borrowed 50 roubles from
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
number of patients and by the third day the two men were faced with
question of what to tell the police, who would have to start looking
Sharikov in the Moscow underworld.
Hardly had the word 'police' been mentioned than the reverent hush
Obukhov Street was broken by the roar of a lorry and all the windows
house shook. Then with a confident ring at the bell Poligraph
appeared and entered with an air of unusual dignity. In absolute
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
long English riding-boots laced up to the knee. An incredible odour
immediately permeated the whole hall. As though at an unspoken word
command Preobrazhensky and Bormenthal simultaneously crossed their
leaned against the doorpost and waited for Poligraph Poligraphovich
his first remark. He smoothed down his rough hair and cleared his
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.
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
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?
don't tell me - I can guess.'
'Yes, well, it was Shvonder.'
'Forgive my asking, but why are you giving off such a revolting
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.
the slightest warning he stepped up to Sharikov and took him in a
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:
apologise . . ." ' 'All right, I'll repeat it . . .' replied the
Sharikov in a husky
Suddenly he took a deep breath, twisted, and tried to shout 'help',
no sound came out and his head was pushed right into the fur-coat.
'Doctor, please . . .' Sharikov nodded as a sign that he submitted
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
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
silent. He had leaned against the doorpost with a miserable look,
nails and stared at the floor. Then he suddenly looked up at
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
After this silence fell on the flat and lasted for two days.
Poligraphovich went to work in the morning by truck, returned in the
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
Two days later, however, there appeared a thin girl wearing eye
and pale fawn stockings, very embarrassed by the magnificence of the
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
with me. Bormenthal will have to move out of the waiting-room. He's
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
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
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
For about five minutes nothing was heard from the study, then
came the sound of the girl's muffled sobbing.
Philip Philipovich stood beside his desk as the girl wept into a
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
on. 'I'm genuinely sorry for you, but you can't just go off and live
the first person you happen to meet at work . . . my dear child,
scandalous. Here . . .' He opened a desk drawer and took out three
'I'd kill myself,' wept the girl. 'Nothing but salt beef every day
the canteen . . . and he threatened me . . . then he said he'd been
Army officer and he'd take me to live in a posh flat . . . kept
passes at me . . . says he's kind-hearted really, he only hates cats
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.
'Did you really find him in a doorway?'
'Look, I'm offering to lend you this money - take it,' grunted
The door was then solemnly thrown open and at Philip Philipovich's
request Bormenthal led in Sharikov, who glanced shiftily around. The
his head stood up like a scrubbing-brush.
'You beast,' said the girl, her eyes flashing, her mascara running
her streakily powdered nose.
'Where did you get that scar on your forehead? Try and explain to
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
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
let him do you any harm.' He turned round and gave Sharikov such a
he stumbled backwards and hit his head on the glass cabinet.
'What's her surname?' asked Bormenthal. 'Her surname!' he roared,
'Basnetsova,' replied Sharikov, looking round for a way of escape.
'Every day,' said Bormenthal, grasping the lapels of Sharikov's
'I shall personally make enquiries at the City Cleansing Department
sure that you haven't been interfering with citizeness Basnetsova's
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,
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!'
shout pursued him as he fled. That night and the following morning
tense as the atmosphere before a thunderstorm. Nobody spoke. The
Poligraph Poligraphovich went gloomily off to work by lorry, after
with an uneasy presentiment, while Professor Preobrazhensky saw a
patient, a tall, strapping man in uniform, at a quite abnormal hour.
insisted on a consultation and was admitted. As he walked into the
politely clicked his heels to the professor.
'Have your pains come back?' asked Philip Philipovich pursing his
'Please sit down.'
'Thank you. No, professor,' replied his visitor, putting down his
on the edge of the desk. 'I'm very grateful to you ... No ... I've
h'm, on another matter, Philip Philipovich ... in view of the great
I feel . . . I've come to ... er, warn you. It's obviously nonsense,
course. He's simply a scoundrel.' The patient searched in his
took out a piece of paper. 'It's a good thing I was told about this
away . . .'
Philip Philipovich slipped a pince-nez over his spectacles and began
read. For a long time he mumbled half-aloud, his expression changing
moment. '. . . also threatening to murder the chairman of the house
committee, comrade Shvonder, which shows that he must be keeping a
And he makes counter-revolutionary speeches, and even ordered his
worker, Zinaida Prokofievna Bunina, to burn Engels in the stove. He
obvious Menshevik and so is his assistant Ivan Arnoldovich
Bormenthal who is
living secretly in his flat without being registered. Signed: P. P.
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
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
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
you . . .'
Philip Philipovich could only gesture in despair. It was then that
patient noticed how hunched the professor was looking and that he
have recently grown much greyer.
The crime ripened, then fell like a stone, as usually happens. With
uncomfortable feeling round his heart Poligraph Poligraphovich
evening by lorry. Philip Philipovich's voice invited him into the
consulting-room. Surprised, Sharikov entered and looked first,
frightened, at Bormenthal's steely face, then at Philip Philipovich.
of smoke surrounded the doctor's head and his left hand, trembling
slightly, held a cigarette and rested on the shiny handle of the
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
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
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
hand, which stank most horribly of cats, and cocked a snook at
Philipovich. Then with his right hand he drew a revolver on
Bormenthal's cigarette fell like a shooting star. A few seconds
Philipovich was hopping about on broken glass and running from the
to the couch. On it, spreadeagled and croaking, lay a sub-department
controller of the City Cleansing Department; Bormenthal the surgeon
sitting astride his chest and suffocating him with a small white
After some minutes Bormenthal, with a most unfamiliar look, walked
on to the landing and stuck a notice beside the doorbell:
The Professor regrets that owing to indisposition he will be unable
hold consulting hours today. Please do not disturb the Professor by
With a gleaming penknife he then cut the bell-cable, inspected his
scratched and bleeding face in the mirror and his lacerated,
trembling hands. Then he went into the kitchen and said to the
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
temporary, not because we don't trust you. But if anybody came you
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
back door, locked the front door, locked the door from the corridor
hall and his footsteps faded away into the consulting-room.
Silence filled the flat, flooding into every comer. Twilight crept
dank and sinister and gloomy. Afterwards the neighbours across the
said that every light burned that evening in the windows of
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
Bormenthal and the professor emerged from the consulting-room,
there, by the
study fireplace, Ivan Amoldovich had frightened her to death. It
was squatting down in front of the fire and burning one of the
notebooks which contained the medical notes on the professor's
doctor's face, apparently, was quite green and completely - yes,
- scratched to pieces. And that evening Philip Philipovich had been
peculiar. And then there was another thing - but maybe that innocent
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
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
crowd filled the brightly-lit waiting-room with its newly-glazed
There were two in police uniform, one in a black overcoat and
brief-case; there was chairman Shvonder, pale and gloating, and the
who had turned out to be a woman; there was Fyodor the porter, Zina,
Petrovna and Bormenthal, half dressed and embarrassed as he tried to
up his tieless neck.
The door from the study opened to admit Philip Philipovich. He
in his familiar blue dressing gown and everybody could tell at once
over the past week Philip Philipovich had begun to look very much
The old Philip Philipovich, masterful, energetic and dignified, now
his nocturnal visitors and apologised for appearing in his dressing
'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
stared uneasily at Philip Philipovich's moustaches and ended: 'to
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'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
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
since he disappeared and the evidence, if you'll forgive my saying
'Doctor Bormenthal, will you please produce Sharik for the
ordered Philip Philipovich, pocketing the charge-sheet. Bormenthal
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
while in other patches his coat had grown. He entered like a trained
dog walking on his hind legs, then dropped on to all fours and
The waiting-room froze into a sepulchral silence as tangible as
nightmarish-looking dog with the crimson scar on the forehead stood
on his hind legs, grinned and sat down in an armchair.
The second policeman suddenly crossed himself with a sweeping
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
'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
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
'But he talked . . .' the man in black giggled nervously.
'And he still talks, though less and less, so if you want to hear
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.
tried, but unsuccessfully, as you can see. He talked and then he
revert back to his primitive state. Atavism.'
'Don't swear at me,' the dog suddenly barked from his chair and
The man in black turned instantly pale, dropped his briefcase and
to fall sideways. A policeman caught him on one side and Fyodor
him from behind. There was a sudden turmoil, clearly pierced by
Philip Philipovich: 'Give him valerian. He's fainted.'
Doctor Bormenthal: 'I shall personally throw Shvonder downstairs if
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
the thick Prechistenka Street night sky with its lone star. The
powerful benefactor of dogs sat in his chair while Sharik lay
on the carpet beside the leather couch. In the mornings the March
the dog's head ache, especially around the circular scar on his
by evening the warmth banished the pain. Now it was easing all the
warm, comfortable thoughts flowed through the dog's mind.
I've been very, very lucky, he thought sleepily. Incredibly lucky.
really settled in this flat. Though I'm not so sure now about my
Not a drop of labrador blood. She was just a tart, my old
rest her soul. Certainly they cut my head around a bit, but who
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
sacred Nile . . ." '
That evening the dog saw terrible things. He saw the great roan
his slippery, rubber-gloved hands into a jar to fish out a brain;
relentlessly, persistently the great man pursued his search.
examining, he frowned and sang:
' "To the banks of the sacred Nile . . ." '