During the fifteen years that the prisoner has been improving his mind through reading and meditation, the banker has been deteriorating mentally, physically and morally. His attachment to money has not made him happy. Instead, it has made him weak and frightened. He has lost the bold self-confidence he displayed fifteen years earlier when he made the bet to show off his wealth to the assembled guests.
Fifteen years before, his millions had been beyond his reckoning; now he was afraid to ask himself which were greater, his debts or his assets.
The banker is old now. He knows that paying the lawyer two million rubles would ruin him. He would have to sell his estate and live out his remaining years in some furnished room or cottage. Since his remaining friends would vanish along with his money, he would himself become like a prisoner living in solitary confinement--but not nearly as comfortably as his own prisoner had been living for all these years.
The banker is thinking of murdering the...
(The entire section contains 605 words.)